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John Moe's 2008 Highlights

John Moe

Weekend America host John Moe revisits some of his favorite stories of the year. First he checks in again with super-villain Dr. Cruelty, now in search of an economic bailout. He talks with the last pick of the 2008 NFL draft. And he gives an update on his son's hamster Fuzzy, whom John transported halfway across the country earlier this year.

---

An update now on more stories from the last year. In October, the economic collapse was in full force. It seemed like the perfect time for a super villain to take over the planet. But when we reached super villain Dr. Cruelty, world conquest was not on track.

DR. CRUELTY: If the credit markets are frozen, I can't pay scientists to build a death ray. I can't get factories going to build a robot army. How do I get billions of people to cower before me without a death ray or robot army? No cower, no power, John.

MOE: You still have dozens of henchmen in matching jumpsuits.

DR. CRUELTY: Not really. We've had a few layoffs. I had this scheme, I would steal from Lehman Brothers, Wachovia, Washington Mutual. It was the perfect plan! They were financial institutions! They're banks!

MOE: So that was October and Dr. Cruelty joins us again. Hello, doctor.

DR. CRUELTY: Hi John.

MOE: Where are you right now?

DR. CRUELTY: I'm on a payphone at the Stop n Go store. My skull-shaped mountain lair was foreclosed on and I'm now living in what is technically a storage locker. So yeah, so that happened.

MOE: Well, I'm sorry you've had that setback.

DR. CRUELTY: TEMPORARY setback, John. Tough times don't last, tough people do. I have a plan to get right back on top.

MOE: What do you mean?

DR. CRUELTY: Seven magical letters, John. B-a-i-l-o-u-t.

MOE: Now come on, Dr. Cruelty. You can't ask for a federal bailout.

DR. CRUELTY: Look at the facts, John! I've run my business poorly. I'm arrogant. As CEO, I've rewarded myself with obscene riches. I fit the profile! Bail me out, John. Get America on track.

MOE: How much are you asking for?

DR. CRUELTY: 100 zillion dollars.

MOE: But you're evil. And zillion isn't even a real number.

DR. CRUELTY: I really don't anticipate that being a problem.

MOE: Well, good luck to you.

DR. CRUELTY: I'd settle for 10 zillion. Five million. Twenty bucks.

MOE: Thanks, Dr. Cruelty.

DR. CRUELTY: Ham sandwich.

Dr. Cruelty's plans are a longshot. Ramzee Robinson was a longshot too. He was the final pick in the 2007 NFL draft, earning him the title Mr. Irrelevant. Every year, the last pick becomes a tongue in cheek celebrity, gets flown to California for a big silly Mr. Irrelevant banquet by some millionaires with too much time on their hands.

I talked to Ramzee, who plays for the Detroit Lions, in April the weekend of the NFL draft as a new Mr. Irrelevant was about to be picked. I asked if he had any advice for his 2008 successor.

ROBINSON: Believe in yourself, have faith in your abilities. Because nobody is really going to give you any credit for good you might be or could be.

The next day, David Vobora was chosen by the St Louis Rams with the final pick of the 2008 draft. The new Mr. Irrelevant. I reached David after practice the other day. He's had a good year.

VOBORA: Well in preseason I got a bad ankle sprain and had to battle back from that to make the team. Week one, I wind up getting released. Signed back to the practice squad and after spending almost eight weeks, seven-eight weeks on the practice squad they reactivated me. And then I actually got to start a game a couple weeks ago against Miami. Had ten tackles.

David was the first Mr. Irrelevant to start a game in his rookie season since 1994. The Rams finish their season tomorrow and they've had a terrible year. But when you've already been told you're irrelevant, you're spirit is hard to break.

VOBORA: Every morning when I wake up I ask myself two things. The first is do I love football? And the answer is always yes. The second thing is would I be acting any differently or working any harder if we were 11 and 2 rather than 2 and 11? And if that answer is yes, I would be working harder, than you're doing the wrong thing.

So is his title now in jeopardy?

VOBORA: I know. I might have to drop the I and the R and just be relevant.

---

Last spring, I chronicled my cross country move from Seattle to St Paul. My family was going to be traveling out by train. But a few weeks before that trip, I took another.

Good morning, Fuzzy. Are you ready to go on a trip?

I drove out to drop off the family minivan and my son's hamster, Fuzzy. Fuzzy wasn't allowed on the train and couldn't be mailed. So we drove, just me and the hamster.

We got snacks. You want snacks? You want a carrot? (chomp chomp) Hey, that's my microphone.

It was a long trip and a cold one. Minus 20 at times. And Fuzzy became symbolic. This fragile little creature represented my family, this van ride was our move to the Midwest.

If I could just keep this hamster alive from Seattle to St Paul, maybe I know what I'm doing in some way. Maybe I can handle things a little. It's kind of crazy that it's come to that but that's what it's come to.

By the end of the trip, everything was okay.

That was a long day. It's about 12:30. We're in the hotel. And you're in your exercise ball. And you're doing fine. Your continued living makes me feel like a more capable human being, Fuzzy.

Since then, my family has settled in to St Paul. Bought a house. Unpacked.

A few weeks ago, just before my son Charlie's birthday, we noticed Fuzzy was moving pretty slowly. Eyes closed. Charlie asked if Fuzzy was going to be okay. I said I didn't think so. He cried. We all cried. We went to bed that night sure that Fuzzy would be gone by morning. My son gave me explicit instructions in the event of Fuzzy's death: bury her and THEN break the news.

The next morning I went to check on Fuzzy, and she seemed to be better. Eyes open. Not spry but active. Charlie's birthday came and went. A few days later, Fuzzy died.

I buried her inside her little wooden house out in the garden. My wife said, "Now that we have a pet buried out there it really feels like home."

When I told Charlie, he was sad but didn't cry. He had already done that, he said. Then he asked if we could go get a new hamster.

A good parent probably would have said, no, let's wait. Let's grieve. But Charlie has experienced loss before. He's known people who have died.

So I said, yeah, let's go. I wanted to celebrate life. We went down to the Petco in St Paul and found a male long hair. A really young one. He was adorable. "He looks like a little like Fuzzy," Charlie said and he decided the hamster would be named Little. Then we brought Little home.

Comments

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  • By debra mowers-brown

    From burnsville, MN, 01/24/2009

    So Mr Moe...... As a regular listener - I am intensely interested. R U packing to return to Seattle? Or happily nestled in beautiful ocean-less St. Paul. Angry at the upheaval? Or finding that Lake Minnetonka is just like an ocean, minus the tide thing. and crustaceans? whales. And your family. Was this just a sabbatical? Bad Joke? And you're not the only staff member lured to MN. thanks for the show. sorry. (i'm minnesotan we apologize for everything - especially weather)

    By debra mowers-brown

    From burnsville, MN, 01/24/2009

    So Mr Moe...... As a regular listener - I am intensely interested. R U packing to return to Seattle? Or happily nestled in beautiful ocean-less St. Paul. Angry at the upheaval? Or finding that Lake Minnetonka is just like an ocean, minus the tide thing. and crustaceans? whales. And your family. Was this just a sabbatical? Bad Joke? And you're not the only staff member lured to MN. thanks for the show. sorry. (i'm minnesotan we apologize for everything - especially weather)

    By Stefanie Cook

    From Chicago, IL, 12/28/2008

    I too know what it is like to travel with a hamster. I once drove from Vancouver to Winnibeg, a spur of the moment decision I made to get back to Iowa from Washington state. While I drove down the "Maple Leaf 1" as I called it, I got the idea to buy a Canadian hamster for my Iowa hamster. Bad Idea. I arrived at customs around 4am, my friend sleeping in the front seat, I had no passport, an unmarked bottle of aspirin, three id cards, and a hamster. The border officials gutted my car and then told me to wait two days till the "live stock guy" could check out my hamster. After sleeping in various parking lots we arrived to meet the live stock guy who just shook his head in disgust and let us out of Canada. The hamster, who I named Maple, lived only a few days after the trip. She contracted 'wet tail' which the small animals vet told me was a common hamster cold. A few days after Maple's death, my Iowa hamster fell ill from contact with Maple. I did everything I could, but no good came from traveling with that hamster.

    By Joanne Chang

    From vancouver, BC, 12/27/2008

    The responsible thing to do would have been to go to an animal shelter to adopt a new hampster. Try the local shelter next time. There are millions of animals just waiting for a loving family to take them home.

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