eating country ham and watching tv

Linette and I had our first ultrasound yesterday. It was cool. We saw the baby; the head, the legs, the arms, the profile of the face, the little, beating heart. He or she was swimming around like a giant sea monkey inside Linettes belly.

Were both very happy.

We were driving in different cars on the way back from the hospital, where we had the ultrasound done. Whenever Id pull up alongside of Linette, shed hold up the pictures from the ultrasound. Then shed smile this really big smile and say something like, You got me pregnant.

We pulled over at Big Boy and had some pie.

Right now, shes out at the bar and Im home alone watching the new Donald Trump reality series The Apprentice. I dislike Donald Trump, and I wasnt going to watch it, but the review in the New York Times made it sound worthwhile. I suppose it was. I didnt really learn anything about business, but, then again, I wasnt expecting to.

Trump is executive producer of the series and Mark Burnett, the guy behind Survivor, is somehow involved as well. It essentially works on the Survivor model two teams compete against each other each week, with the losing team having to eject a member. In this instance, however, its not the other teammates who vote the person out, but Trump.

Trump, if you believe the back-story, is looking for someone to run one of his companies. This is the method hes arrived at to find the right person. Among the competitors you have everyone from a Harvard MBA to a photocopier salesman.

As Trump is the executive director of this show, you have to wonder what his real motives are. I actually dont think its that hard to guess. He, and Mark Burnett, want good television. Sure, the winner of this thing might get a one year contract to work for some obscure Trump company, but his goal in putting this project together was not to find a good employee. His goal clearly was to further promote the Trump brand and insinuate himself further into the psyche of America. Its a brilliant move on his part.

So, on tonights episode, he has to choose one person to leave the group. He narrows the field to three, and then to two. At that point he decides to throw everyone a curve-ball and keep the person that all of the other participants had suggested to him that he remove. The other participants look shocked when they learn the outcome. It was as though it didnt even occur to them that this might be more about the business of ratings than it is about finding someone to run one of his water-bottling facilities in upstate New York. Of course hes going to keep the mentally unbalanced little freak who everyone spoke out against. Thats good TV. Now, youve got a really pissed off, mentally unbalanced little freak. What could be better than that?

Just in case theres any confusions, the show runs a quick, little disclaimer at the end. Here it is:

Producers and NBC may have consulted with Donald Trump and his advisors regarding the choices and decisions, however all elimination decisions were made solely by Donald Trump.

Oh, speaking of men who grew up wealthy in New York, the new issue of the New Yorker contains a good biographical sketch of Howard Dean. I havent finished it yet, but I plan to print it out and take it up to bed with me tonight.

And, while were on the subject of Dean, did you hear about the shocking evidence that the Republicans have against him? Its really quite unbelievable.

Apparently, after introducing governor Dean yesterday, the much taller Bill Bradley stepped down off of the podium, making room for Dean! The appearance, you see, was that they were the same height, when in fact they really arent!

Rush Limbaugh broke the story and its hilarious how seriously hes taking it. Hes got all of these photos on his site, like they were images of the Kennedy assassination or something. There are close-ups showing where Bradley and Dean have their feet positioned. Youd think it was a huge story, like shall we say giving lucrative no-bid contracts in Iraq to companies that have enriched your friends and given sizeable contributions to your various campaigns.

Maybe its just me, but my dream is to one day live again in an America where peoples heights are the only things that are lied about. Deans height, even if this thing with Bradley were done on purpose so as not to make him look like a dwarf when standing next to the former NBA player, doesnt quite rank up there with exaggerating a threat to our country so that our sons and daughters can be sent to war.

So, thats the kind of stuff that Im thinking about tonight, as I sit here at the kitchen table, waiting for my wife and our beautiful little fetus to come home from the bar.

(One last note to my mother, who now reads this site When I say that Linette is out at the bar, I dont mean to imply that shes drinking. Shes just out having dinner with her writing group.)

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