Jim Varagona

Month: June, 2006

>Things Have Changed


“People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed.”

–Bob Dylan, Things Have Changed

Bobby is right, times are strange. And it’s odd how I can gauge that. Last night, the annual draft for the NBA occured. That is when the general managers and other head honcho’s for the 30 teams in the National Basketball Association get together to pick players from college teams and other international organizations to better their own teams.

For some reason, even though I am not always the biggest fan of watching basketball on TV, I get a great kick out of the business of it. That goes for a lot of sports. In fact, when I play the video game versions, I spend more time on the business aspect of thins than playing the actual games.

I began watching the NBA draft in 1992, for 2 primary reasons–Shaquille O’neal and Anthony Peeler. Shaquille was touted as an animal athelete. He was 7 feet and 1 inch tall and around 300 pounds of man. The Orlando Magic drafted him with the first pick, which they earned through a lottery of the worst teams. He was to be their savior. Shaq did take them to the NBA Finals during the 1995-96 season, but left them in the following offseason for the L.A. Lakers.

During that 1992 NBA Draft, the Lakers selected Anthony Peeler with the 15th pick. Peeler was from the University of Missouri, and the first big pick from my area since Anthony Bonner went to the Sacramento Kings as the 23rd pick in the 1990 Draft. It was exciting since this type of thing didn’t happen often. Peeler’s career hasn’t amounted to much, except for him being a solid player to have off the bench. He did lead the league in three point field goal percentage during the 2003-04 season with the Washington Wizards.

We know where Shaq’s career has gone. He just nabbed his 4th NBA title ring with the Miami Heat, the team he left the Lakers for in 2004 after some public feuding with Kobe Bryant.

Since that amazing draft in 1992 that reeled me into the drama of the business of sports, professional basketball in particular, I have watched it every year, at least the first round, since. Keep in mind, I am not the jocky, sporty type of guy. I fit into a more dorky, nerdy mold, if any.

During my high school years, this annual observance involved my good friend, Picklehead, who shared the same passion as I did. We even incorporated the video games, by creating many of the drafted players and trying them out on their new teams. After I graduated, I still watched, but with less enthusiastic parties, that laughed at me for my enjoyment of the business and not the sport itself.

It still was a ritual for me that lasted until this year. It wasn’t because the prospects for the draft weren’t as good, which they weren’t. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anyone to share my love for it with, which I haven’t in a while. My wife thinks it is silly, as much as some of my previous friends have.

Things have changed though.

I have moved out of my parents’ place, becoming more independent, but with that, poorer and without cable. Now I am married and currently jobless.

I did have the internet to keep up to date on the happenings of the Draft, but it wasn’t the same. Seeing names appearing on my screen wasn’t like watching it all unfold with predictions from commentators and interviews with the draftees, who are now all younger than me, and once their name is announced, much richer than I will ever be.

That’s how this country works though. In a way, it is still a beautiful thing. Within seconds, one can become a millionaire, based on athletic prowess, or some other talent, which probably doesn’t deserve a pile of money. We pay to see their show for us, though, whether it be professional basketball or some rock star playing a guitar on a stage of pyrotechnics, because it’s an escape from the nonsense of our daily lives. We can’t bash them for that, because we fund their lives.

I think I’ll go shoot some hoops now…shit…can’t, I have a job interview.


>The Angry Rant of a Downsized Diabeto

>Since I am angry, there are things I must address. My analyst says it would be healthy and wise.

To my landlady:

The grass is 3 weeks grown again. Tiny little trees are sprouting that Bob Ross would be proud of–god rest his soul. I refuse to pick up my dog’s dung anymore until it is cut, especially considering the insects that now inhabit the wilderness that is the backyard I put rent money towards. They got a healthy lunch in the form of my shins and calves.

In other news, a month and a day after
my nuptials, the Don informs me that a week from yesterday will be my last with the company. The official word is that someone had to be downsized. The unofficial word is that, well, I guess my thoughts on that will wait until I separate from the company.

I did think though, as an observation, that downsizing usually skimmed from the bottom of the totem pole. Considering where I am on the ladder of seniority, that theory certainly wouldn’t work here. It makes one wonder who to believe and trust.

Since, being put it this lonely and awkward position by a company I put a good 9 months in for, I have no choice but to dissolve the Italian Retail Service, including the honorary Pinoy wing. This will take effect immediately.

Now what do I do during my lame duck week with the company? It feels strange putting forth effort for an organization that deemed me unfit, or too pooped to pop for them. Speaking of that, why is it that it is respectable for employees to give employers two weeks notice, but the employees are not given such respect? Rodney Dangerfield hit the nail on the head with a big ol’ Ludell sledgehammer.

Why must business be such a dirty thing? Why must drama and politics infiltrate every aspect of life? I know money has a lot to do with this, because profits are the bottom line. One guy goes, more money is saved. Riddle me this though…what happens to his money while the fat cats add more greenbacks to their bubbly money baths? I’m sure there are plenty more sob stories of those that were spared, but thinking of myself for a moment, I’m trying to start a new life here as a married man, and this is a hell of a fungus ridden foot to start it off on. To continue the analogy, whose gonna be my BOOM!–Tough Actin’ TINACTIN?

Save me John Madden.

This also makes me wonder, what do rich people dream about? Apparently our President has plenty of time to dream. It must be alot easier in positions of power, in which your decisions have no effect on your place in life, except maybe bringing you closer to all of those virgins in heaven. I only hope that if the virgins exist, that they are packs of angry nuns. And they’ll give them physicals too. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Like it was for Corky on Life Goes On,

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, Life Goes On, whoa, la-la-la-la, Life Goes On.

>Death TV


Yep, he’s dead.

Yep, them too.

And we see this on the national news too. I wonder how parents explain that to their inquisitive children.

I mean I like that bad guys are dead. Yay. And I guess since our government is known to lie to us a bit, it is good that they have proof that they accomplished something, but it is still a bit weird.

And why is it that when you are watching the national evening news, bombings, murders, and other brutal, bloody events overseas are shown uncensored, even when innocents are involved? Here, our local news may be filled with murders and accidents, but they at least they use a tarp and body bags, especially when a doctor throws himself and his boys from a balcony to protest his rocky marriage, from Alton, Illinois, by the way.

I don’t know what kind of precedents we are starting here. I mean I know we live in a sick world, but there is some gray area created here that I cannot figure out. Why is it okay to show the dead of others and not our own? If we do it out of respect, why not give them respect? If we act like it is so horrible that terrrorists show off the kidnapped and murdered, why do we show off their dead and allow our soldiers to have photos of torturing their people?

What a world, what a world.

Speaking of the dead, a woman from St. Peters, Missouri, which isn’t too far from me in the STL, beat her dead chihuahua’s breeder with the corpse of the dog. Apparently at 5:30 in the morning, she broke into the woman’s home to get a new dog, since hers died so soon.

The breeder wrestled the woman out of her house to the front porch, where the woman then hit the breeder over the head numerous times with the dead puppy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, citing police.

This is what someone should have had a camera ready for and aired on TV. I’m sick of pointless war and terrorism.


>Buy a Badonkadonk

>Times are a bit too busy for blogging, what with the being married and servicing so much retail, but I’m trying my best to put finger to the key.

Anyway, I was bored and browsing Amazon earlier today. It’s amazing what folks get away with, but still very amusing. Check out this tank someone’s selling. A real Badonkadonk tank for $20K, or is it?! I really enjoyed the comments below the description.

You too can find bizzare items for sale (?) on Amazon, like this inflatable party sheep. I wonder how many usable orifices it has, or if that’s the kind of gag sheep it is.

A nice throwback item is the family size pack of stink bombs. There’s nothing better than strategically placing those around the office or at school. I never did it though, because I was poultry dung as a child.

Glancing at some of these items led me to this Amazon user’s guide, which has links to more listings that got through the cracks, like pennies and nickels from 2003. He also lists my favorite real item, Anti-Monkey Butt Powder.

Feel free to comment with more links if you find them.


>Blog of a Married Diabeto–a review of the nuptials and honeymoon


The happy Diabeto’s, now in married flavor!

To answer the first question people have naturally been asking me, it feels exactly the same. That’s not to say none of what has happened in the last 3 weeks has not been special. The past 5 years have pretty much been a trial marriage with my Russian grandmother, so this is simply the formalizing of it all. Before, we were happy together, like The Turtles’ tune, and now we are happily married.

An amazingly flush Diabeto and the Brothers Pinoy

I’d like to thank everyone that shared the occasion with us and those that wished us well. Even the Filipinos and that dirty old man I work with graced us with their presence. Special thanks to the Don for his gift of a set of stainless steel Knorks. We are forever indebted to him.

The ceremony was held at The Jewel Box in Forest Park, here in St. Louis. The weather cooperated and things went swimmingly. Best man Dan Roth managed to keep the rings in his posession until it was time for them to be exchanged. We were so appreciative of this feat achieved by our hippy friend.

At the reception, Dan was a real hit with his speech, during which he quoted Bob Dylan by using his line “How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?” and said I must’ve walked down my last road. He also said something about my bride and I sailing away into the horizon, which makes me wonder if he got the brown acid. He also did a great rendition of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” with my sister’s friend Cara, whcih makes one wonder further (click to watch the video).

My new sister-in-law, Amy, gave a heart wrenching toast, which quoted my first words to her…”I’m bleeding.” When I went to pick her older sister up for our first date, she approached me at my vehicle to tell me that if I hurt her sister, she would kick my ass. All I could say was “I’m bleeding,” because I just rushed out of the house with a bad shave.

Photos from the wedding and reception will be available for viewing at Collages.net until 7/27. The event name is VARAGONA and the password is 9478. Enjoy.

My babushka and I went on our honeymoon to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s great to forget about what time of the day it is, what day of the week it is, and who you are, all without having horribly much to drink. The only drawback is that I get patchy burns in the sun. You’d think my Italian blood would put me more on par with my Pinoy brethren, but my midsection ended up looking more like Gorbachev’s head.

We did go parasailing, but have yet to develop the photos. That is probably for the best, considering I was whining like Woody Allen, because the knot didn’t look secure and we were over water that I couldn’t see through, except for the masses of jellyfish, that I later found out were an order whose sting couldn’t hurt humans.

The best part of the honeymoon was that we accidentally went during Bike Week, which happens every Memorial Day weekend. First the Harley boys and girls come through town and take over. We missed them. Then the sport bikers come through, which is mainly made up of young black men. Behind 80% of those men on their bikes, was a large assed black female, with variations of decoration on their buttocks, ranging from fishnet to thong to a lightly draped short skirt. We sure did get a kick out of all of the cottage cheese we got to see. Although I did not get a photo of the real thing, the following t-shirt on sale there, illustrates this amazing sight.

And then it was back to the rat race of the IRS and our new married life. We’ll always have those asses though.


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