NCAA: Don’t Pay the Players – But Let the Players Get Paid

Full disclosure, I love Arizona Basketball. In fact, I think I actually ended up at Arizona because I went to the 1988 Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games at the Kingdome, and Steve Kerr became my favorite college basketball player.

And now the Arizona basketball program is in – shall we say – some turmoil. So I’d be remiss if I didn’t say SOMETHING. But since I know NOTHING, what can I really say?

Except this.

Any NCAA athlete should be allowed to profit from their likeness.

We don’t need schools to pay athletes. We should just allow people who want to pay athletes out of their own pockets to pay them. If that means the guy who runs Tuscaloosa Ford and Chevy wants to give an 18 year old kid $250,000 to be a spokesperson, who cares? If John L Scott in Seattle decides a good use of funds is paying $80k to a UW QB to be their official face of Instagram, why not?

What does it hurt to let 18-22 year olds get paid for the notoriety that 90% of them will never have again?

You could argue that we can’t let high school kids be corrupted by agents who want to take advantage of them. But that is a solvable problem. There are ways to create a licensing program where only people who properly qualify – and stay qualified – can gain access and negotiate on the behalf of a minor. It would actually lend legitimacy to an already existing corrupt system.

Now should the NCAA be paying the players? Thats a thornier question that begets a ton of problems. But in the meantime, let’s just let players get paid by people who want to pay them.

The Conspiracy Theorist’s Guide to the NFL Playoffs

(This is a work of fiction. I do not believe there is an NFL conspiracy. At least, I’m pretty sure there’s not.)

It’s Playoff time! And our favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks, are seeded um,  wait a second?! No Seahawks in the Playoffs? So in order to keep these playoffs interesting, I’m going to make some predictions based on the ludicrous idea that the NFL is scripted by screenwriters in New York.

see url Overarching themes for the playoffs:

  • The NFL need some new and exciting matchups. And one of those is going to be a new Belicheck vs Brady rivalry, with Belichick leaving for New York after a disastrous 2017 post-season. So this year, no Patriots in the Super Bowl.
  • There a couple of new cool young QB’s. They’ll lose in the first round.
  • There’s one team left that needs a new stadium and new ownership.
  • The NFC is going to win.

single point piercing kosten Week 1:

  • les sites de rencontre gratuit en norvГЁge Tennessee vs Kansas City: The NFL wants the young but not elite QB’s to do well enough to stay interesting. Mariotta fits that bill. He leads the Titans to victory over the coach that the NFL hates for some reason.
  • rencontre en ligne dvdrip Falcons vs Rams: Goff vs the NFC West is the storyline in the division for 2018 and beyond. But Matt Ryan’s revenge is more compelling this year. Falcons win, but the Rams are going to be poised and positioned to be the NFC favorite next year.
  • http://www.ivst-vz.de/?debin=bin%C3%A4re-optionen-broker-deutschland binäre optionen broker deutschland Buffalo vs Jacksonville: Buffalo tried to lose this season, and yet the NFL needed them to be a playoff contender so the rich guys in Toronto would want to adopt them. A playoff birth is really all this terrible team needed to get. Now the franchise is worth an extra $250mm dollars. Jacksonville wins.
  • here Carolina vs New Orleans: The NFL is still annoyed at Cam Newton. Saints make him look silly and he has a meltdown in his press conference.

conocer chica en cordoba Week 2:

  • rencontre femme montreal Tennessee vs New England: Here’s the dumb upset of the playoffs. It’s inexplicable but the necessary plot twist to cause the Belichick/Brady breakup. Tennessee wins.
  • follow Jacksonville vs Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh has some of the most exciting players in NFL. Plus, I’m pretty sure the Rooney and Mara families have a deal with the NFL where one of them makes the Super Bowl every 3 years. Jacksonville is 2018’s team, this year Pittsburgh wins.
  • http://qhublogistics.net/?ploskis=rencontre-sur-facebook-amour&c48=5f Atlanta vs Philadelphia: There is something about seeing Philly fans of any sport be miserable. But they’ll be more miserable if they lose next week. Philly wins.
  • https://www.gemeinde-stammham.de/destolo/342 New Orleans vs Minnesota: Best game of the playoffs. It goes down to the wire and New Orleans wins, because the NFL needs enough time to get Minnesota’s stadium ready for the Super Bowl.

site de rencontre tunisien gratuit Week 3:

  • Tennessee vs Pittsburgh: We can try to pretend this will be competitive, but Pittsburgh blows them out.
  • ginseng buyers australia New Orleans vs Philadelphia: As we said before, it’s nice to see Philly fans miserable. And everyone in Pennsylvania would be hoping for an intra-state Super Bowl. So karma leans to the Saints.

cytotec buy online usa Super Bowl

  • buy soft viagra Pittsburgh vs New Orleans: Brees vs Roethlisberger. Ingram and Kamara vs Bell. Good WR’s on each squad. An exciting Super Bowl ends with the Saints getting screwed on a bad replay call, and the Steelers get the Super Bowl win.

10 Things To Do On New Year’s Day

The New Year is upon us. For many people, New Year’s Eve means staying up past our normal bedtimes, drinking champagne past a reasonable hour, and awaking the next morning thinking that the year can only improve from there.

But the good news is that you have the day off from work. You could turn on Netflix, find a show, and spend the next 10-15 hours between your couch and kitchen. But you could also be a little productive with your spare time and dead brain. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Take a walk around the block: Yeah it’s going to be cold. Probably rainy. One walk around the block will get your blood moving and lungs working. Plus it will get your brain going again – not much, but just enough to accomplish the rest of the stuff on the list.
  2. Remember your successes from 2017: It’s easy to get hung up on what you want to do better in 2018. Be in better shape, lose weight, make more money, etc… But you did some things really well in 2017. You did some things other people admire. Remember those wins.
  3. Backup all your photos: Oh some of you are really good at doing this on the fly. But the rest of you have hundreds of photos on your phone that you haven’t put in a safe place for awhile. Sure, I know they all get uploaded to the cloud, but why not save yourself the heartache of wondering if Apple is hack-proof? Just get all your photos on a backup hard drive. It takes very little effort.
  4. Clean up your phone: While you’re backing up your photos, why not take a spin through the 346 apps on your phone and clean some out. That new cool app you read about on FastCompany or Geekwire probably isn’t even in business anymore. Take an hour and wipe out the clutter.
  5. Read your LinkedIn profile: Remember that profile you updated the last time you needed a job, or got a new one? Yeah, the world has changed since then. Probably a good time to go in and make sure your professional internet presence reflects who you really are.
  6. Call some old friends: Hey guess what your friends are doing on Jan 1. Lying on the couch! Give them a call.
  7. Put all your gift cards in a stack by the front door: Maybe you aren’t like me, but I often receive gift cards that I never remember getting, then have them scattered around the house, so I forget to use them. I like to find them all and put them in one place next to my keys, so I can’t miss them when I’m leaving the house.
  8. Cook something delicious: Are you hungry now? Debating the prospects of leftovers vs a pizza? The internet makes it easy to find recipes. You can type in something like, “Easy things to cook on New Year’s” and I bet you’ll get a variety of chili and crockpot recipes that are awesome. Spend 20 minutes off the couch, go to the grocery store in your sweats and baseball hat, and then slow cook something that makes you seem like a culinary genius.
  9. Clean up your bookmarks: You have 100 articles stores somewhere that you meant to read at some point during the year. Either read it or delete it or both. Get a fresh palette of reading material.
  10. Write down the gifts you wanted and didn’t get this year: In a few months people will ask what you want for your birthday. And you won’t know. But if you have a list of “Xmas Didn’t Gets” in Evernote or GoogleDocs or whatever, you can just email it to them.

Happy New Year everyone. Whatever you do on your own New Year’s Day, I hope it leads to a prosperous and happy campaign.

5 tips for a Non-Nutritionist’s Plan for Losing Weight

It’s almost time for New Year’s resolutions. And thanks to our 6-12 holiday parties, we’re all at our maximum weights and feel like sloths crossing a 10 lane highway.

You can read all the web sites you want, and pay to subscribe to all the diet programs that claim they  work. But you really need is advice from someone like you, not some egg head marathon runner. So here’s what I’m attempting in 2018.

  1. When you can’t go to the gym, just walk: Here’s the easiest thing we can do. If you are going to to grocery, mall, whatever… just park far away. That’s an extra 300 yards each way that is moderately useful. Will it drive weight loss? No. But it gets you to understand that walking is good.
  2. 100 pushups are awesome. 10 pushups are better than 0 pushups: You don’t feel like going to the gym. Me either. So we’re watching TV instead. But the commercials suck, so why not roll off the couch and do 5-10 pushups. Is doing pushups really worse than watching that lame iPhone commercial again?
  3. Stop with the sodas: If you buy some ginger, lemons, limes, cucumbers, and oranges, along with a decent citrus squeezer, you really never have to buy a sugary soda again. Choose your fruits and spices and make your own flavored waters.
  4. Research some recipes: I’m not going to tell you what you should eat. But I think we can agree that any restaurant that is making the most amount of money serving affordable food to as many people as possible, is probably cutting a corner somewhere in the nutrition department. The internet is your friend. Look for the things you love to eat, and make them yourself.
  5. Air Fryers work: I love chicken wings. They’re calorie hell if cooked in oil. But an air fryer cuts out 80% of the calories. Give it a shot.

Mark Cuban 2020?

Mark Cuban set about to troll President Trump, in what was surely the only newsworthy event from the NBA’s Celebrity All-Star game.

Source: USA Today

But wait a minute, does a Mark Cuban presidency make sense? Have the times changed so greatly, that this something we should consider? Let’s speculate a little for fun.

  1. He’s not beholden to a single ideology. Cuban has self-identified as a Republican. Living in Dallas, that makes perfect sense. But he also has called himself fiercely independent and supported Hillary Clinton in 2016. So while so many want to force people into binary positions of Democrat or Republican, it’s fair to say that Cuban has pro-business values while also respecting the social causes and rights of all Americans. That’s a pretty good set of qualities for a leader of the free world.
  2. He identifies with everybody. He’s a Billionaire who really did scrap and claw from a middle class upbringing. He became a reasonably successful millionaire, then managed to see the future, leveraging some simple technology deals into a $6 billion payday for his company. He is the guy the middle class high school student can look to and say, “I can do that too.”
  3. He’d be able to assemble an incredible cabinet and set of advisors. Cuban runs in entrepreneurial circles, regularly engaging with the best and brightest minds around. But he’s also part of the business establishment, being part of venture capital groups and working with the key influencers in many industries. And most importantly, he seems to value the input and opinions of others to help him make his decisions. That’s someone who could recruit a top-notch team.

So, could he win?

Well, that would probably be up to the Democrats in power today. Will the DNC have the same pollsters and strategists who mishandled the Clinton campaign running their 2020 program? So for the sake of argument, let’s say the DNC didn’t get in the way of a populist Mark Cuban campaign in the primaries and just let it play out.

Primaries:

I don’t know enough to know who the leading Democratic challengers will be. I assume Elizabeth Warren will be a front runner. So let’s focus the conversation on Cuban vs Warren and a bunch of wild cards.

  1. Cuban has his own financial resources and doesn’t need to rely on donations from fringe groups. He can buy a talented team and build a ground game. I don’t know if Warren could raise the same amount of money.
  2. He’ll win Texas, and probably all the midwest and rust belt states that Obama and Trump won. That’s a good starting point.
  3. Can he take Warren in New York, California and Florida? I don’t know.
  4. I don’t think he has an issue with women voters. He seems to have mainstream appeal across all genders.

General Election:

  1. There will never be an election in which more Democrats come out to support whoever is running against Trump. So he’ll have that going for him.
  2. After 4 years of being beaten up by Trump, every media outlet in the world would be giving Cuban free air time.
  3. He can be a unicorn – a Democrat who wins Texas. Assuming Democrats also win New York and California, he’s almost halfway home at that point.
  4. Then he wins the middle of the country, the people who didn’t get what they were promised by the current President.

It’s a far out scenario, but reasonable at the same time. The question is if it’s a job he’d actually want.

A Conspiracy Theorist’s Predictions for the 2017 NFL Playoffs

We all know the NFL playoffs aren’t rigged. But if they WERE being written by a team of storytellers in New York, here’s how it would go down.

Houston: No NFL team has ever won a Super Bowl in the year their city hosted the game. The host city needs the tourist revenue. So no Houston this year. 1st round out.

Oakland: Their QB is out so they should have no chance. BUT, that wasn’t supposed to happen. The NFL needs the Raiders to become America’s favorite team so that either Oakland or Las Vegas will build them a new Billion Dollar stadium. Oakland is going to the Super Bowl behind a rookie QB who has never started an NFL game. Cinderella plus history + need for stadium = NFL preference.

Seattle: This is a tough one. The NFL finally had a team full of interesting characters a few years ago. Richard, Marshawn, Earl, Russell, Kam, and everyone’s favorite grandpa coaching them. But then something happened and the storytellers saw their characters go off script. Beast Mode quit, the goody-two-shoes QB married 50 Cent’s ex, Earl got hurt and spoke of retirement, Sherman seems to have lost his cool. This isn’t a team the NFL loves anymore. This is the team that goes down inexplicably this year.

Detroit: The Cavaliers, Cubs, Indians, Donald Trump… notice a trend? The world is conspiring to provide some relief to the Rust Belt. Detroit gets a cinderella win this year, even though they stink.

Miami: No one cares about the Dolphins, including Miami. If a team loses a playoff game and no one in the city notices, did they actually lose? Doesn’t matter. 1st round out.

Pittsburgh: I’m pretty sure the Rooneys and Maras have a deal with the NFL that one of them gets to win the Super Bowl every 4-5 years. They also fit well into the Rust Belt conversation. I see them to the AFC Championship where they do what is best for the league and lose to Oakland.

Giants: The Giants vs Cowboys rivalry is going to be THE rivalry for the next 3 years. But it starts in earnest next year. This year is the appetizer where we learn how important the regular season will be to each team. The Cowboys get a bye, the Giants go down in the best game of the 1st round. OR, they win a few games and end up losing to Dallas in the NFC Championship where home field matters. This is a tough one.

Green Bay: Is it the end of an era? Or is this the transition year where Aaron Rodgers gets a new cast of characters to make great? Once Tom Brady is gone, Aaron Rodgers will have another 5-7 years. I think Green Bay gets a win but goes on a Super Bowl drought until Rodgers’ final year when he gets to have his Peyton Manning Swan Song. OR, they have to bow to New York and let the Giants vs Cowboys NFC Championship game take shape.

New England: Every year, they could be the team that wins it all. They’re the guys you know will get there one or two of every three years. And this year they are simply going to need to take one for the league and let Oakland get to the Super Bowl. It’s just good business sense to let Oakland beat them.

Kansas City: Blah. No one outside of Kansas City cares about Kansas City. A league that saw TV ratings go down this year needs a HUGE Championship weekend and Super Bowl. Neither of those lead to Kansas City success. Out as soon as possible.

Atlanta: The Falcons have managed to get tax payer money to get a new stadium built. That was rewarded with a trip to the playoffs. But the idea of Aaron Rodgers vs Dak Prescott is too good to pass up.

Dallas: GOD the NFL needed Dallas this year. It’s a ratings bonanza. Kids love Dak and Zeke. Old guys love Dez and Whiten. This is NFL gold. Pencil them in to go all the way to the Super Bowl.

Round 1:

AFC: Oakland (5) over Houston (4) and Pittsburgh (3) over Miami (6)

NFC: Detroit (6) over Seattle (3) and Green Bay (4) over New York (5) (or vice versa)

Round 2:

AFC: Oakland (5) over New England (1) and Pittsburgh (3) over Kansas City (2)

NFC: Dallas (1) over Detroit (6) and Green Bay or New York (4 or 5) over Atlanta (2)

Championship Round:

AFC: Oakland (5) over Pittsburgh (3) in a classic AFL battle that makes the old people happy.

NFC: Dallas (1) over Green Bay or New York (4 or 5) in a classic NFL battle that makes old and new young people happy.

Super Bowl: TBD.

 

What I Learned – 6 Business Lessons To Learn From Bruce Springsteen

3 hours and 45 minutes. That was the amount of time Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played at Key Arena on Thursday night. What can a musician teach a business person in 4 hours? Here are some simple lessons of which I was reminded.

1) Treat your customer right
How do you get you most ardent fans, all who have seen you play multiple times, to spend hundreds of dollars to see you again? Deliver them something so over the top, that they can’t say no to you. Do something unheard of – like playing “The River” from front to back for 2 hours, and then delivering another hour and 45 minutes of your hits. No intermissions, no fake encores, just turn on the lights and start playing.

2) Deliver consistent product
Once Springsteen hit his groove, he continued to deliver what his audience wanted. Sure, he dabbled here and there with some things like Tunnel of Love, but for the most part he has kept driving updated versions of what his customers were clamoring for. And when he wasn’t producing new material, he was on the road reminding his customers why they loved him.

3) Work with a strong team
Look at the folks he works with, and those who have passed. Solid musicians who do things better than he can. You don’t see him doing a vanity song on the piano or sax to show us he can play any instrument. He has the E Street Band, who are a key part of his storyline, and critical to the customer’s overall experience. Oh – and don’t be afraid to bring on someone like Eddie Vedder for a freelance consultant role.
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4) Let your team discover their own creative outlets
I bet there are fans of Silvio Dante who has no idea he was the lead guitarist for Bruce Springsteen (while even fewer Lilyhammer fans had a clue.) And plenty of Conan O’Brien lovers didn’t know who Max Weinberg was hanging out with on weekends. These were creative outlets where the guys in the shadows could get some spotlight and be known for being more than, “That guy who plays in Bruce’s band.”

5) Work harder than everyone else
Did I mention 3 HOURS AND 45 MINUTES. Without a break. With stage diving. At 66 years old. You don’t just do that. You train for it. You eat right, train better, and have the will to get it done. You practice so that you know exactly how to be the most efficient with your effort. You plan so that you know how to give everyone a couple of minutes here and there to get some water (or whatever they need) to stay on top of their game. This isn’t stumbling onto a stage at Bumbershoot and goofing around for 45 minutes. Any half-ass band or company can fake it for a little while. But that’s why he’s been selling out stadiums for 30 years.
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6) And of course, it’s good to be The Boss.

Imagining Presidential Candidates as League Commissioners

I don’t know what made me think about this, but indulge me if you will. If you took the remaining Presidential candidates and put them in charge of the sports leagues, which ones would they run? Here’s my proposal.

1) MLS
Let’s start with the easiest one first. Major League Soccer is by definition a socialist endeavor. The league revenues are split, the labor force has few rights for negotiating wages, and all transactions must go through the league office. This is Bernie Sanders’ league, plain and simple.

2) NFL
The country’s most powerful league is going to need a member of the establishment to carry out its charter. Someone who knows everyone on Wall Street as well as the rest of the Billionaire owners. They must have political clout to wield or they’ll be a lame duck. But also, the NFL needs someone who can deflect controversy, pretend things that are happening aren’t actually happening, and show a strong willingness to tiptoe on the wrong side of the rules. I think the NFL goes to Hillary Clinton.

3) MLB
This league is much harder to determine a proper commissioner for. Its leader must have the clout to appease 30 billionaire owners, manage municipalities to get stadiums built, and negotiate billion dollar TV deals, all while presiding over a sport that is losing its appeal to much of America. In some ways, to some people, MLB has become somewhat a relic of days gone by. A memory of what once was, rather than what will be. And with that in mind, I hand the keys to Jeb Bush.

4) NBA
Another tough decision. We’re looking for someone who can see the international picture while not overlooking the inner cities. Someone who can manage across different cultures. But also someone who can simply step into the shoes of his mentor and merely continue to operate the machine rather than create a new one from scratch. I think this role is given to Marco Rubio.

5) NHL
Here we have a league that not enough people get excited about. It rarely registers on your sports mind, even though the few times you pay attention to it, you find it quite enjoyable. It is the epitome of being John Kasich.

6) NCAA
With this organization, we’re looking for a few key qualities. This leader must be fairly tone deaf to the cries from its labor force who want to be paid. The leader must embrace the idea of the 1% receiving all of the money, and have strong convictions about who should be let into the system. Plus this leader must be stubborn, resistant to the opinion of others, and able to hold true to their beliefs. I believe Ted Cruz is our answer here.

7) WWE
Come on, is this one really that hard? There’s only one Presidential candidate capable of running the circus that is Worldwide Wrestling. The one and only, Donald Trump.

Have I missed a league that needs a Presidential candidate as a commissioner? Let me know.

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2016, List 1

I don’t do predictions. But I like to read other people’s predictions. And based on what I accomplished in 2015 and what other people are saying is coming, here’s what I’m looking forward to in the year ahead.
1) Travel: In 2015, I made it to Spain, France and Italy. I also enjoyed a fantastic 2 week road trip through Southern California and the Central Coast, and an annual trip to Arizona. In 2016, I’d love to get to France for a Euro 2016 match, Cuba, and Orlando to see the Sounders play.
2) More medical technology: This isn’t really my field, but I’m fascinated how devices are becoming available that can help people with preventative medicine. From heart trackers, to cholesterol monitors to simple devices that measure stress, I’v never been more interested in health products.
3) 3D Printing: It’s still years away from being practical in every home. But there was also a day when mobile phones were useless devices that weighed 8 pounds and had to be plugged into a cigarette lighter. Keep you eye on this and notice the baby steps the industry makes.
4) Really bad political drama: Oh lord, this year’s Presidential election is going to be a disaster. If you were a company that needed to fly under the radar, this campaign is going to give you plenty of air cover.
5) The Mariners: Last year I was skeptical. I believe in Mariners 2017, and that Mariners 2016 will at least be interesting to watch as it’s being built.

That’s today’s top 5. More later in the week.

Man vs Plumbing, or, The Great Kitchen Sink Adventure

It all started innocently enough.

It was a Friday morning that looked like any other Friday morning.  Except this time, as I headed through the kitchen on my way to work, I noticed the sink was backed up.  I’m not very handy, so these kind of things fill me with dread.  So, I walked over and followed the process adhered to by every man who suffers from my lack of home improvement ability.

  1. Look at sink and say to self, “(Sigh) This doesn’t look good.”
  2. Turn on garbage disposal, and think, “I’m a genius” as the water goes away.  However, as soon as the disposal was turned off, the water returned.
  3. Stare at garbage disposal and try to figure out what law of physics caused Step 2.
  4. Grab plunger, plunge, and watch water spray out of the silly useless little release valve on top of the sink that I had never noticed before.  Plunge more, and notice how all the water from one side of the sink was being pushed into the other side of the sink.  Stop plunging, and watch the water return to its original home.
  5. Look under the sink.  I’m not sure why we do this.  It’s like we’re expecting to see a little elf with his hand stuck up the pipe, and a sly mischievous grin saying, “Ha, you caught me.”
  6. Look at sink again and say, “Well maybe it will magically fix itself while I’m at work.”

I successfully made it through all 6 steps, and headed to work.  And to my surprise and delight, when I returned home, the sink was clear.  Sure, there was residue, but no more clog.  Life was good.  I was a home repair genius for not panicking.

Now just to be safe, I called for a moratorium on kitchen sink usage.  I wanted to make sure we were safe.  No dishwasher, no washing machine, no sink.  And so when I looked that evening at a messy (but not smelly) kitchen sink with dirty water backed up, I had to scratch my head.  Where did that water come from?  I decided to worry about that later.

Attempt 2: The solution seemed easy enough.  If it was a clogged kitchen sink pipe, all I needed to do was undo the pipes, find the clog,  replace pipes. Piece of cake.  So, I emptied the sink out the kitchen window, pulled out the pipes and…..found no clog. (Sigh).  Now I had an empty sink, but one that wasn’t connected to the pipe system.

Attempt 3: After careful consideration, it was now my expert plumbing opinion that there was a clog somewhere below the second floor.  So I grabbed about a gallon of Drano, and dumped it down the kitchen wall pipes.  Surely, a gallon of Drano would do the trick.  Environment be damned.  It was with a certain amount of displeasure that I watched the Drano come back out of the wall pipe, and into the bucket below the pipes.   Side effect – Child was starting to find this quite funny, and I was becoming a trending topic in her text world.

Attempt 4: It was clear I needed some professional help here, so I consulted the place that all amateur home repairmen go – the Internet.  And the Web provided a genius solution – the baking soda and vinegar bomb.  Child was particularly excited to find out how this would play out, as my battle with the pipes was achieving Movie of the Week status, and her frequent updates were giving her unemployed friends something to focus on.  So the next day, I carefully mixed a few boxes of baking soda with water and salt, and poured them down the pipes.  Then I dumped a bottle of white vinegar down the pipes.  I could hear the compound getting ready to fizzle back up, so I shoved a sock in the pipe to force the mixture in the right direction.  In my head, I imagined a gigantic, organic explosion, blasting its way through my invisible clog, like a supernova soaring through space……In reality, I have no idea what happened, but the clog seemed unfazed.  All I had were pipes with baking soda in them.

Now, somewhere along this time we had a discovery.  Remember, I still never figured out how that sink filled with water again a few days back.  However, suddenly upstairs I heard a toilet flush, and watched with horror as water came from the pipes and filled my bucket.  Our problem was somehow related to the pipes associated with the toilet upstairs.  Not a happy discovery. The upside was that now we had introduced a new set of drama into Child’s broadcasts, and ratings were up.

Attempt 5: It was time to do some real man’s work on this thing, so the next day, I commandeered a 25′ snake from a friend, and shoved it down the pipe.  I went down 25′ without issue.  No blockage.  I thought maybe I had saved the day, and confidently went back upstairs to flush a clean toilet just to test and confirm my successful snaking effort.  Alas….I once again had a full bucket.  At least the water was clean.

Attempt 6: It was time for some real professional macho man work on this thing, so I did what us men do when we want to release our inner caveman.  We head to Home Depot and rent big tools.  Tools so big, they get their own room in the back corner of the store, back where women refuse to wander. In this case, I got the big ol’ 100′ mechanical snake to run through the clean out valve.  It was dirty, heavy and nasty, and I prepped myself for the mess that would come from opening the clean out valve.  Except….. I couldn’t get the clean out valve open.  It was glued shut.  Now, I could have forced it open, but I took a moment to pause and reflect.  Whoever had built my house had gone through a lot of work to stop a yahoo like me from successfully acting upon the thought that it would be a good idea to open the pipe.  He obviously knew something I didn’t, and I trusted that opinion.  The clean out valve would stay closed, and I would return the super snake.  Child had mixed emotions on this.  She was anxious for some real open pipe drama – though admittedly less so when she realized the clean out valve was in her room.

So now we’re close to a week without sink, laundry, dish washer or upstairs toilet, and the natives are getting restless.  But I’ve invested enough hours into this process that stubbornness trumps practicality.  It’s been kind of the theme for the month anyway, dealing with some toxic people and situations, so what’s one more.

Attempt 7: There seems to be one solution left, and if I had known what I know now, it would have been Attempt #1, not #7.  It’s time to remove the toilet, and go in through the pipe.  I’ve never removed a toilet before.  It certainly doesn’t look hard on YouTube, so what the heck.  I get another mechanical snake, this time a slightly smaller 75′ version.  And I go to work on it.

I’m not going to lie, it took me a good 20 minutes to figure out how to use this machinery without either getting my hand or shirt stuck in the wire and almost getting flipped upside down.  I mean, there was a pretty good chunk of time where that snake was beating the heck out of anything in the bathroom that it wanted to.   But for the grace of god did I make it through that “training period” with all my fingers and not winding the power cord into the spinny thing.  But I eventually settled into a nice rhythm, and only had to jump out of the way and hit the emergency stop button every 10-15 minutes or so.

And then suddenly, success!  There was a silence down the hole, as whatever the snake had been banging on for 30 minutes finally gave way.  I recoiled the snake, and the size of the clog I brought back up made me pretty sure I’d solved the problem.

I was riding a pretty high level of confidence, and thus the re-assembly of the sinks and toilets were accomplished at a speed normally reserved for someone who knows what they are doing, not me.  It was a pretty crowning achievement in my home repair merit badge list.  I felt like Foursquare should have a check-in for “I fixed my plumbing” and give me 100 points.

Anyway that’s my story.  9 days, 3 snakes, 4 trips to Home Depot, 2 trips to hardware stores, a gallon of Drano, a few boxes and bottles of Baking Soda and Vinegar, and about $80 in supplies.  But in this episode of Man vs Plumbing…..Man wins.