Monday, December 27, 2004

Patrick news update

Vaught's Views: Being home is the perfect Christmas gift for Barsotti

There was yet another article about Patrick in his local newspaper Sunday. You can read the whole thing at the link above, but I really like the last part:

When he does start playing again - and he has no doubts that he'll be back next year - he insists he'll be as competitive and fun loving as ever. But he also has learned a painful lesson we all should heed.

"I will play every game like it is the last one I will be able to play. There are no guarantees," he said. "You never know what will happen next. I am just going to enjoy every day for what it brings.

"Everybody gets so wrapped up in so many things that they forget to stop and enjoy each day. When I get back out there and play, I am going to play every game like it is a gift."

As you put away your gifts today, think about that last statement and value the gift of good health we all take for granted until someone like Barsotti helps us remember what really is important.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Where is Santa RIGHT NOW?

Welcome to the 2004 NORAD Tracks Santa Website
I know I said I probably wouldn't blog again before Christmas, but I want make sure everyone knows to check out this site.

I can remember listening to the NORAD reports of Santa's progress on the radio. It was always one of the highlights of Christmas Eve. And now you get those reports all day long online...

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

I started my vacation today. I don't go back to work until Jan. 3!

Posts might be few and far between for the next week or two. Since I doubt I'll get around to blogging again before Dec. 25, I tought I'd take a moment now to wish all of you in the blogosphere a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The eye of the beholder

Quiz: Art or Crap
Test your artistic knowledge...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

How I'll spend my summer vacation...

Sixth Harry Potter Book Due Out in July
Woohoo! We now have a release date for the sixth Harry Potter book. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" will hit bookshelves on July 16. Mark your calendar!

The clock wll start soon

Here are Fox’s plans for starting the new season of “24”…

FOX PLANS TWO-NIGHT 24 PREMIERE - Fox plans to kick off the fourth season premiere of action series 24 with a two- night, four-hour season premiere on Sunday and Monday, January 9 and 10, from 8-10 pm ET on each day. The show will then move to its regular time period on Monday, January 17, at 9 pm ET, and unfold on a weekly basis without repeats or preemptions until the season finale.
As I previously blogged, I’ve already seen the first three hours. One of these days I’ll get around to posting a review, but suffice to say, I liked what I saw!

Monday, December 20, 2004

An evening with Santa

Nolan, Thomas and Kris visit Santa in his sleigh.

Despite the dropping temperatures last night, we bundled the kids up took them to visit "Santa's Playland."

The event is thrown by the folks at Quick Response Restoration in Round Lake. They're a company you can hire to come clean up your house after it's been damaged by a flood, fire or smoke.

They set up a whole bunch of those light displays, like the Capital Lights in the Park in Albany. Except instead of driving through in your car you ride in a horse-drawn wagon. Afterward you enjoy hot chocolate, hot dogs, popcorn and cookies. There are live reindeer to check out, and you can visit with all sorts of costumed characters -- including the big man himself!

The best part is -- it's absolutely free! I think we just found a new holiday tradition.

Geography quiz

Place The State - Intermediate
This game gets easier as you go along, but some of those early states can be a bit of a challenge.

Friday, December 17, 2004

When is a fetus a baby?

Police Find Baby; Could Be From Slain Mom
Thank God that missing infant from Missouri has been found safe and sound.

If you're not familiar with the story, a pregant woman was attacked, killed and her unborn child was stolen from her womb.

There was a debate about this story here at work. Someone I work with said we shouldn't be referrring to the child as a "baby" since, at that point, we weren't sure if she was alive and techinically it was never born -- it was instead ripped from her mother. It is still a fetus, he said.

So I asked him, "By your logic, if this child survives, when she is 30 years old is she still just a fetus because technically she was never born?"

He chuckeld at me, at which point I told I wasn't kidding, I was asking him a serious question. He never gave me an answer.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

No more Blockbuster late fees (sort of)

Blockbuster Cancels Late Fees
I don't think this business about Blockbuster dropping their late fees is such a big deal. They say they're dropping their late fees in order to deal services like VOD and Netflix, but when you read the fine print you''ll see that nothing is really changing.

Blockbuster will still assign a due date. You get a one-week grace period after the due date. After the grace period, your account will be charged for the purchase of the movie or game. If you don't want the product, you have 30 days to return it for for store credit, minus a "re-stocking" fee.

How is this any different? You get a one-week grace period -- so now Blockbuster will essentially let you keep a movie for two weeks instead of one. But otherwise, you are still being charged an extra fee if you keep a movie too long.

Blockbuster is going to have to come up with a better plan if they want to be serious about competing with the options out there.

New 'Batman Begins' trailer online

Check out the new trailer for "Batman Begins." Joel Schumacher, eat your heart out!

Magneto the movie?

X-MEN`s MAGNETO to be spun off
A "Wolverine" movie seemed fairly obvious, and in fact 20th Century Fox is developing a WOlvie film in addition to "X-Men 3." BUt now comes word they are also proposing a "Magneto" movie.

The suggested story will focus on the (future) mutant villain's early years, starting where the prologue to the first "X-Men" movie left off. So it's likely we will see younger actors playing Magneto and Charles Xavier instead of Sir Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart.

McKellan and Stewart are heavyweights. What younger actors could possibly follow in their footsteps?

Role reversal

Central Florida Man Accused Of Biting His Dog
It's the standard definition of news. Dog bites man is not newsworthy. Man bites that's a story!

Monday, December 13, 2004

Countdown without Clark

Regis to host 'New Year's Rockin' Eve'
Can 2005 actually start without Dick Clark? It's going to have to.

Clark suffered a stroke last week and his doctors have told him he will have to sit out this year's event in Times Square.

Who do you go to when you need a last minute sub for an iconic TV host? Regis Philbin, of course! You'll recall, Regis was the first and most frequent sub for David Letterman during his two recent health-related leaves of absence.

Friends in high places

I talked to my sister last night. She told me an amazing story about the woman who lives across the street from her.

Apparently this woman is one of the few people in her family who did not go into the clergy. Most of her siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles are priests or nuns or somehow employed by the church.

The woman has an uncle who works at that the Vatican. She had shared with him the story of my nephew, Patrick. He sent Patrick some medals that had been blessed by the Pope and Patrick keeps them nearby in his room.

It seems her uncle is in a position where he is allowed to submit prayer intentions to the Pope. I'm not sure how often he gets to do this, but I guess the last time he asked the Pope to pray for Patrick by name. In addition, the Pope blessed the rosary beads he used to pray for Patrick and they are now being sent to him.


Completed Christmasifiction

I love our house when it's decorated for Christmas.

Yesterday, we cut down our tree and put it up. That's an event that, it seems, is almost always accompanied by some degree of stress for one reason or another, and yesterday was no different. It took us a long time to find a suitable tree, complicated by the fact we were dragging the kids and the dog through the field with us (actually, they were all troopers). Finally, after cutting it down, we wound up getting charged for a more expensive Fraser Fir when we thought we were getting a White Spruce. At that point though, I didn't care. I just wanted to get out of there. Tying the tree to the roof of our van, which lacks a roof rack, was another minor ordeal.

By the time we were done and on our way home, I was so frustrated that I actually uttered the words, "Next year we're getting a fake tree!" I hate artificial trees, so that should tell how grumpy I was.

But once the tree was in the stand and the ornaments started coming out, the tension started melting away. I love trimming the tree. It seems like I can remember the story behind each and every ornament. The tree is a sort of record of our family and all of our Christmases past.

Last evening, after the tree was finished, the stockings hung by the chimney with care, the lights dimmed and the candles lit, I couldn't help but sit back with a cup of hot chocalate and enjoy the moment. At this time of year, our house always feels so cozy and comforting.

It truly is the most woderful time of the year.

Friday, December 10, 2004

'Apprentice' bets on the money

Off the Top of My Head: 'Apprentice' spoiler?
The "Apprentice" spoiler that leaked out back in September appears to have been right on track. Back then there was word that an off shore betting agency suspended bets on the show's outcome after noticing an unsual number of bets being placed on two contenders: Jen M. and Kelly.

Sure enough, those two emerged as the final two candidates last night.

Even though most of the show was taped last summer, we won't know who the winner is until Trump makes his announcement on the live finale next Thursday.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Is Peter ever going to graduate?

I have MSNBC on at work right now and I can't believe what I just saw -- one of my all time least favorite Christmas commercials!

I'm sure you've seen the Folger's commercial. Peter gets dropped off on his family's doorstep early in the morning. Only his little sister hears him come in. So Peter wakes mom and dad by brewing some delicious Folger's coffee. They're awakened by the woderful aroma and as mom comes down the stairs she yells, "Peter!" and throws her arms around her big lug of a son.

I don't know why but this commercial has always gotten on my nerves. I can't put my finger on it, but I find it really annoying.

And I can't believe it's still on! This ad has got to be at least 20 years old.

If we're showing commercials purely for the nostolgia value, then about some others? Anyone else remember Santa riding over the snowy hill inside the Norelco electric shaver head?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

'Cars' stalled

Pixar delays its next film 'Cars' to summer 2006
Granted, I haven't even seen "The Incredibles." So it might be jumping the gun to talk about Pixar's next movie already, but I love the Pixar movies so much.

Anyway, the studio is delaying the release of their next film, "Cars," until summer 2006 in an effort to alter their release pattern -- and makes even more gobs of cash by having their movies roll out in the summer when kids aren't in school.

If you haven't seen the trailer for "Cars" yet, check it out here.

Monday, December 06, 2004

'Batman' poster arrives online

Seeing is believing with the BATMAN BEGINS poster
The teaser poster for this summer's "Batman Begins" has leaked out on the Internet. I'm very optimistic for this movie. Judging from what I've seen so far, it looks like director Chirstopher Nolan has captured the right tone. Hopefully the awful Joel Schumacher movies will soon become just a faded memory...

Friday, December 03, 2004

Patrick update

I got an update on Patrick last night. He was released from the hospital Thursday. He's feeling good and is in great spirits.

His high school football team, on which he was a kicker, is playing hte state championship game this weekend in Louisville. When his doctor told he he was releasing him, he told him there were a few conditions.

"You have to go to that game," he said, "and you have to take a picture of yourself at the game wearing your jersey."

His friends recently brought him a big bag full of 24 small, wrapped presents and told him he was allowed to open one a day until Christmas. How cool is that?

Patrick's attitude and maturity throughout this has been so impressive. Last night he told his mother, "This is how it was supposed to be. This is a road I have to take."

Et tu, Barry?

Bonds testified that substances didn't work
The other shoe has dropped. The word is, Barry Bonds used steroids to, but didn't realize they were steroids when he was using them.

Isn't that a little like Bill Clinton smoking pot, but not inhaling?

How many fans will still root for Bonds to break Hank Aaron's record now?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Giambi on the juice

Admissions before BALCO grand jury detailed
The big sports story of the day is the revalation Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi admitted to a grand jury he used steroids.

I don't think anyone is really shocked by this. They've just had their suspicions confirmed.

As for me, I'm disappointed. I always want to give people the benefit of the doubt. While Giambi, before the 2004 season, looked like the poster boy for steroid use, I always hoped that wasn't the case.

When Giambi appeared noticeably smaller during spring training 2004, everyone again assumed it was because he was now off steroids. I hope that means he's learned his lesson. If he hadn't learned by then, the recent death of Kem Caminiti should serve as a wake up call.

I also heard a doctor on TV today say he didn't think Giambi's recent health problems were steroid-related. I hope that's the case and I hope he hasn't screwed himself up.

Baseball and the Players Association really need to address this issue, or they're going to suffer real integrity problems. I know they've taken some steps, but they're baby steps. Hopefully the Giambi news will serve to get the ball rolling toward some significant change.

But I doubt it. In a week or two there will a be a promo featuring a football player and a towel-clad actress, or a brawl at a basketball game, or a nipple-baring singer at a half-time show to provide the next great sports scandal...and life will move on.

Kaiser Soze as Lex Luthor?

From a USUAL SUSPECT to Lex Luthor
Kevin Spacey confirms he's considering an offer to play Lex Luthor in Bryan SInger's "Superman" movie. Singer directed Spacey in the actor's Oscar winning performance in "The Usual Suspects."

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Cashing in on free publicity

'Jeopardy!' Whiz Ends 74-Game Win Streak :
More on the fall of Ken Jennings...

Kansas City, Mo.-based H&R Block Inc. capitalized on the chance for a little publicity by offering him free tax and financial services for life, which Jennings accepted.
"If he had to lose, it was nice that he lost to us and we could offer him something," David Byers, senior vice president for tax operations, said Tuesday.
Jennings will probably owe about $1.04 million in federal and Utah taxes on the winnings, Byers said, citing preliminary calculations by H&R Block.

Shades of "Quiz Show?"

Does anyone else think Ken Jennings took a dive on "Jeopardy!" last night? After 74 consecutive wins, earning more than $2 million, Jennings (aka the Jeopardy Guy) lost on this question (excuse me, answer):

Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year.

The correct "question" was What is H&R Block. Jennings said FedEx.

C'mon, FedEx?!? That seemed like a pretty lame guess to me -- espicially from a brainiac like the Jeopardy Guy.

So let's start the conspiracy theories. Did he just decide it was time to throw in the towel himself? Did Merv Griffin tap him on the shoulder and say, "Enough is enough"?

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Don't worry...I'm still here

Sorry to go so long between posts. Work has been crazy-busy for the last week or so, which has kept me from blogging during the day (which I probably shouldn't be doing anyway). Then when I get home, assuming I'm not working more, I've been so drained that I can't bother myself to blog at night.

A lot has happened since my last post:
  • I finished the last book I was reading -- Double Play
  • We went to New Hampshire to visit Mike & Sharon -- and I took Nolan and their son, Simon, to see "The Polar Express"
  • World War III broke out at an NBA game
  • We finally launched the new (the source of so much of my frustration and exhaustion)
  • There was a little holiday called Thanksgiving
  • We became the cheesiest house on the street by putting up one of those inflatable Christmas characters on our lawn

And I'm sure there are other odds and ends I'm forgetting.

In much more serious news, Patrick is back in the hospital. His counts were low and he was running fever, so they admitted him Saturday night. He may have some sort of infection. He was bound to wind up back in the hospital at some point, but it is a huge bummer nonetheless (to put it mildly).

Anyway, I hope to get back into the swing of things with regular updates.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Hummer heist

Hummer heist under investigation
Four Hummer H2s were stolen from a car dealership in Colonie.

How in the world do you not notice you have four giant Hummers missing?!?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Confetti craziness

Rip Taylor just made a cameo on "Will & Grace." Who even knew he was still alive?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Falling with style

Disney Booting Up 'Toy Story 3'
Disney is planning to go ahead and make "Toy Story 3" without Pixar.

I totally side with Pixar in their rocky dealings with Disney. I love the first two "TS" movies, but I hope the third one flops.

I would hate to support Disney by buying a ticket to "TS3." However, the trouble will be trying to explain that to the kids...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

To each their own

Nolan just called me on the phone to let me know he likes Shrek better than the Yankees.

“Ok,” I told him.  “That’s fine.”

On the front lines

Kevin Sites Blog
Kevin Sites apparently hasn't had a chance to update his blog since witnessing the shooting of an injured Iraqi insurgent by a U.S. Marine.

This story is getting huge play and shows signs of turning into the "second coming" of Abu Graib.

I worry that this incident might be taken out of context. Some people seem to almost laugh when they here the explanation that the Marine may have been acting in self defense. What threat could wounded guy pose?

Well he could pose quite a threat, since we're told many insurgents booby trap dead bodies and themselves. Was this guy actually faking being dead as the Marine thought? Did this Marine actually believe his life and the lives of others could be in jeopardy?

We may never know the answers to those questions. But Sites was there and saw it with his own eyes. So I'm anxious to see what he writes about it on his personal blog.

Pedro in pinstripes

Yankees mailbag: Friend or foe?
Jorge Posada says he would be able to bury the hatchet if Pedro Martinez winds up with the Yankees.

"I don't have anything against Pedro -- if he's my teammate. [If he signed in New York,] we're going to work things out, I'm going to catch him. This guy is a winner. He knows how to pitch. I'd have no problem of getting things straight and moving on. We're gentlemen here, we're adults. We can work things out." -- Jorge Posada

He's a better man than I. I just don't know if I want Pedro on the team -- I've invested so much in hating him over the years! :-)

Meanwhile, Posada is making the pitch to bring back another Martinez -- Tino. That would be a very welcome move.

Monday, November 15, 2004

CAUTION: Gasoline fumes may be hazardous

My tinkering with the snowblower Sunday may have done more harm the good.

Kris went to bed around 10 p.m. last night. I stayed up for another couple of hours, catching up on the latest episode of “Enterprise” that I taped over the weekend and reading my new book. I went to bed around midnight.

I remember being aware of Kris getting out of bed and assuming it must be 5:30 a.m. and she’s getting up to go for her run. I was too tired to actually roll over and look at the clock. However, the next thing I know, I hear Chester running up the stairs and he jumped up onto our bed (usually he would be sound asleep on his chair in our room – why was he downstairs?). Kris came in behind him and climbed into bed too. Was she skipping her run today?

Only then did I realize that it was only 1:30 a.m. I had only been in bed for a little more than an hour.

It seems Chester was acting funny. So Kris got up to let him out. He was still acting strange. So for some reason I figured I’d try taking him out myself to see what he does. All he did was try to eat grass – which always makes him sick. So I made him come back in.

Soon we figured out what may have been making him act weird. When I climbed back into bed, I realized that our room reeked of gasoline. In my delirious state, I thought it might all be in my head until Kris mentioned it too (our bedroom is right above the garage).

Our snowblower usually smells of gas after I use it. I usually have to leave the garage door open for a while to let it air out. I went down and checked the garage and sure enough, the gas smell would almost knock you over. I checked the snowblower and it was leaking – sitting in a big puddle of gasoline. I figured I’d fix it in the morning and tried to go back to bed.

But Kris was very worried about it (and rightly so – I was just too tired to think straight). So I went back downstairs and moved the snowblower outside. When I came in, Kris was preparing to sleep downstairs. She asked me if I cleaned up the puddle, which of course I hadn’t. So I trudged back into the garage, opened the door back up and started hosing the spot off. Then I mopped it up with some rags and tossed them outside with the snowblower.

When I came back in, Kris had gone back upstairs. She decided that with my going in and out, the downstairs now smelled worse. I climbed back into bed, and she said now she was worried about the snowblower leaking a puddle of gas on the driveway. I insisted that was no big deal and convinced her of such.

However, now I couldn’t get back to sleep (it was about 2 a.m. at this point). Despite my instance that it was no big deal, I went back downstairs – again – to go outside with a flashlight and try to stop the damn snowblower from leaking gas.

I stopped the leak, went back upstairs, crawled into bed…and then was informed that my clothes smelled. So I had to get back up again and change my clothes.

Finally, sometime after 2 a.m., I was able to get to sleep. Could a Monday get off to a worse start?

Weekend with the Rooneys

We had a pretty good weekend.

We spent Saturday morning cleaning up my mom’s yard. She now has mountains of leaves and pine needles in front of her house, waiting for the town to take them away. I’m really impressed with how much we raked up in a short amount of time. Kris is a fast leaf raker!

In the afternoon, Kris and Nolan went and volunteered at the Regional Food Bank. While they were packing up donated cleaning supplies for the needy, Thomas napped and I worked out in the driveway tuning up the old snowblower (!) for the season. Yes, it’s that time. Better to be safe than sorry.

Saturday night, we actually got out of the house without the kids. We determined that we haven’t been on a date since early September. So we figured we were due. My 13-year-old nephew came over to babysit for the first time and that worked out great. He came over and hung out at the house while we went out to dinner with our friends Scott & Carmella. We ate at Garcia’s – you know who much I love Mexican food – and then stopped at Starbuck’s for coffee afterward. It was a really nice evening. Hopefully we won’t wait more than two months before doing it again.

Sunday morning was the Stockadeathon – a 15K race through Schenectady. Normally, Kris probably would have run in this race, but she skipped it this year since it’s still a little soon after her marathon. Instead, we volunteered at it. With the kids as our assistants, we worked one of the parking lots – making sure no one pulled out in front of the runners (one jerk went right past me and cut a runner off).

Lunch was served for the volunteers at a nearby restaurant, owned by an old high school classmate of my brother’s.

Nolan was supposed to go to a birthday party in the afternoon, but he seemed to be coming down with a bit of a cold. So we kept him home. While he veged out on the couch in front “Shrek,” I tinkered with the snowblower some more. After his movie was done we played Chutes & Ladders and Don’t Spill the Beans until Thomas woke up from his nap.

That evening, Kris built a roaring fire in the fireplace. We ate dinner in the living room and watched the flames. We also made paper pirate hats from what was left of the Sunday paper and watched the kids run around in them. Then I read them "The Polar Express" (this was the third night in a row Nolan got this story before bed).

After the kids went to bed, Kris and I watched a movie. I rented “Shrek 2,” but purposely didn’t tell Nolan about it. Kris hadn’t seen it yet and wanted to watch it in peace. Nolan would get to see it on Monday.

So we had a very nice weekend. Too bad Monday got off to a rough start…

Don't forget your towel

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - A Yahoo! Movies Exclusive
The teaser trailer to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is being featured on Yahoo!

I read this classic scifi-comedy book by the late-great Douglas Adams when I was a kid and have been waiting 20 years for a movie version.

I never did read the later books in the series, although I do own copies of them. I may have to take a crak at them before the movie comes out.

Tom Hanks takes on Da Vinci Code

Tom Hanks Deciphers The Da Vinci Code

Oscar winner Tom Hanks will star as symbologist Robert Langdon in the move adaptation of Dan Brown's bestseller The Da Vinci Code.

If you're among the one or two people left who haven't read this book yet, you should check it out. It's a fast-paced adventure and its fun to unravel all of the clues as you go along.

I'm very anxious to see how it translates to the screen. I admit, Tom Hanks is not at all what I imagined when I was reading it, but I think he will do very well in the role anyway.

Meanwhile, I continue to groan every time I see an ad for Nicholas Cage's "National Treasure," which looks like a blatant Da Vinci ripoff.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Add WTEN to the list

"Saving Private Ryan" Pre-emptend on WTEN-TV
WTEN here in Albany is among the stations refusing to air "Saving Private Ryan" out of fear of the FCC.

This has been a difficult and agonizing decision for us. However, we have a responsibility to operate in accord with the law, and until the FCC or the courts clarify what the broadcast legal standards are for programs of this type, we will continue to be confronted with these difficult choices.

Brosnan plans sequel, but not to Bond

Brosnan back for a new AFFAIR
Pierce Brosnan is planning to make a sequel to "The Thomas Crown Affair."

I really enjoyed his remake of "Thomas Crown," although I must admit I never saw the original with Steve McQueen.

The new movie will be a remake itself of a movie called "The Topkapi Affair," although it will be adapted to fit the Crown character.

Reading withdrawl

I need a good book to read.

About a month ago, I read a fantastic page-turner called “Shadow Divers” that told the true story of these men who found a mysterious World War II U-boat sunken off the coast of New Jersey.  Not long before that I read a so-so thriller called “The Donor.” Before that, I jumped on the bandwagon with the rest of the country and read the excellent “Da Vinci Code.”

For the first time I can remember, I’m watching less TV.  There aren’t that many shows that hold my interest and make me tune in every week or tape it if I’m going to miss it.

So, I find myself longing for a new book to sink my teeth into.  I know, I know, my wife would tell me to finish one the books I already have (I’ve had a bad habit of starting books and not finishing them), but I’d rather try something new.  I can be fiction or non-fiction.  Anyone have any good suggestions?

Putting the 'F' in FCC

Some Stations Won't Show 'Private Ryan'
The FCC continues to have broadcasters scared silly.

Tonight, for the third year in a row, ABC will air "Saving Private Ryan" uncut and with limited commercial interuptions in honor of Veterans Day.

However, many ABC affiliates are reportedly planning to pre-empt the movie with local programming out of fears over represussions for broadcasting the film's harsh language and graphic (although realistic) violence. They're especially worried about the movies intense first half hour that will air during the so-called family hour at 8 p.m.

Again, this is all despite the fact the movie has already aired on ABC twice before.

Also see Lost Remote

Honoring America's heroes

I would just like to wish a happy Veterans Day to everyone who has ever served our country, and sincerly thank them for their service.

Dial '24' for action

This is pretty cool. Unfortunately, however, I won't be able to view it on my low-end cell phone...

MOBILE VERSION OF 24 - 20th Century Fox TV has approved production of a live-action version of the 24 TV series that will be produced exclusively for cell phone users. 24: Conspiracy will feature characters that are different from the 24 TV series on Fox and will unfold over 24 one-minute episodes. One episode will be downloaded to subscribers' phones every week. Vodafone will premiere the series in the UK January 30, in conjunction with the fourth-season premiere of 24 on SkyOne. It will arrive in the U.S. next spring or summer via Verizon.
From Magid Morning Facts

Monday, November 08, 2004

Damn Spam

No, I don’t want a rolex. Now leave me alone!

Back in business

I've been having lots of problems with blogger lately, which explains the lack of recent posts. But it looks like everything is back to normal now.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Mr. Popularity

It should be noted that Bush has taken 51% of the popular vote -- something, as we all remember, he did not do last time.

Even Clinton didn't take more than 50% when he was re-elected in 1996 (although he had Ross Perot to deal with).

It's over

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Associated Press has learned that Senator John Kerry has called President Bush to concede the race for the White House.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

I'm just glad this isn't going to drag on for weeks again. John Kerry did a good thing for the country this morning.

NBC is now reporting Kerry will deliver his consession speech in Boston at 1 p.m.

Election too close to call, but I'm calling it a night

It's 2 a.m. and I'm finally ready to leave work and head for home. Once again, I'm going home still not 100% sure who the next president will be -- but it seems rather unlikely Kerry will pull this one out.

We'll see what the morning brings.

Tom Brokaw and the NBC News folks are still on the air. I'll fight the temptation to watch more TV when I get home.

Not so fast

Kerry and his 10,000 lawyers are refusing to concede Ohio.

This is like deja vu all over again.


NBC News just called Ohio for Bush. Tim Russert and his handy-dandy marker board shows that Kerry will need to win every remaining state just to tie -- but he cannot win.

It's over -- four more years for Bush!

You had the Patriots. You had the Red Sox. You just can't win 'em all, Massachusetts!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Repetitively redundant

What’s another way to say “hotly contested?” It seems like the phrase pops up in every election story tonight.

Democracy at work

I'll admit, there was one race in my district -- for county judge -- where I didn't know anything about either of the candidates. Usually, when in doubt, I go Republican (however, contrary to popular belief, I do not always vote GOP across the board).

But this time I had a different strategy. Nolan was with me in the voting booth. So I said, "Nolan, should I vote for the one with the bird or the one with the star?" He picked the one with the star. And so, Democrat Phil Mueller got my vote (he's currently losing to Republican Karen Drago).

Who is running for what?

With 30% of the precincts reporting, we can project that 70% of the voters still have no idea who Warren Redlich or Howard Mills are.

Large Lockhart

Is it just me or does Kerry advisor and former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart look fatter every time you see him on TV? I don't mean to be harsh, but come on!

T minus 1 minute

The polls are about to close in New York. Let the counting begin!

Three cheers for Jeter!

Jeter hauls in Gold Glove Award

Derek Jeter dives into the stands in to make an amazing catch. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Here's one thing for Yankee fans to be excited about: team captain Derek Jeter won his first gold glove this year!

That amazing 12th inning dive into the stands in the July 1 game against the Red Sox alone probably won it for him. If you've been living under a rock or would just like to see it again (and again), see the link above.

Jeter becomes the first Yankee shortstop ever to win a gold glove. That gives the team at least one gold glove in every position over the team's history.

Busy night

I notice Blogger is hit or miss tonight. Sometimes this blog loads. Sometimes it doesn't. I tired e-mailing a post earlier today, but it never appeared.

I can't help but wonder if this is due to hight activity tonight as Election Day nears its climax. It will be interesting to see what sort of Web stats go along with the election.

Polls closed in Vermont

Kerry took Vermont. There's a shocker. Check out's links to MSNBC's exit poll data.

Stay tuned. The night is young!

Election Day... finally here! Go vote!

I'll be putting in a long night tonight at work. I'll try to blog if I come across anything worth mentioning.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Early glimpse of Episode III

Episode III Teaser Poster Revealed
It looks a little bit like a comic book cover, but it's cool nonetheless...

'OK, but I get to be on top!'

Albany Paper Runs Two Front Pages: One Starring Bush, One Starring Kerry

By Jennifer Saba
Published: October 27, 2004 5:50 PM EDT update 8:00 PM

NEW YORK Well, they won't try that again any time soon. "Yes, I wish we hadn't done it," the editor told E&P.

But with so many accusations flying around of media bias, it's no wonder newspaper editors across the country are bending over backward to seem fair and balanced.

Indeed, at the Times Union in Albany, N.Y., editors went so far as to customize its front page on Tuesday, printing two editions of the paper with two different A1s.

Editor Rex Smith said that in Monday's editorial meeting he was presented with two horizontal photos of equal size for Page 1. One photo featured Kerry and Bill Clinton, the other included Bush and Rudolph Giuliani. His dilemma: Who gets the top?

Newspaper editors are only too aware that readers increasingly analyze each front page -- and especially photo selection -- for bias. James G. Wright, assistant managing editor for local news, said that people get most worked up over pictures. "If it's perceived as being just a little bit racy, people call," he explained.

So Smith decided to stage two press runs, swapping the positions of photos halfway through, with Bush on top in one run and Kerry in top placement in another.

"I just felt it was worthwhile to make the extra effort in the interest of fairness. I didn't want readers to perceive any bias in our photo selection," Smith said. "We go through all kinds of machinations to convince our readers that we're fair."

With a circulation of 99,957, the Times Union produces five editions, four county editions and a zoned-advertising edition.

The Kerry-dominant editions, as it happened, went out to the Democratic stronghold of Albany County. Was this by design, with Bush-friendly editions circulating in Republican enclaves? Smith dismissed the conspiracy theory with a laugh: "Now that would be a story!" The Bush/Giuliani version was sent to Schenectady, Saratoga, and Rensselaer Counties.

Smith insisted he did not gerrymander distribution: "It was a convenience thing. It was really an effort to be fair, not to target pro-Bush coverage to Republican counties."

He points out that Schenectady county, which leans Democratic, received the Bush edition: "That theory wouldn't work there."

Readers, apparently, were indifferent. Wright, who also serves as the paper's ombudsman for the month, said he got zero phone calls about the two editions, or the photo placement.

Which raises the thought: If no one complained, and some Bush fans got Kerry-on-top copies, and vice versa, was it worth doing at all?

Apparently Smith now thinks, no. He told E&P late Wednesday that it upset a lot of people in the newsroom, who may not have understood his reasoning. "I'm afraid it's given the impression that we are kowtowing to overly sensitive partisan readers," he said.

Realizing it was a mistake, he now plans to write a memo to staff on Thursday, and possibly a column.

Jennifer Saba ( is associate editor at E&P.

Adding insult to injury

Bombers at Sox flag day
It turns out, the way the 2005 Major League Baseball schedule works out, the Yankees will be in Boston for the Red Sox home opener. That means the Yanks will have to sit and watch in person as the Sox raise their World Series banner and receive their rings.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Wayback Machine

This is a very cool site. Head over to, type in the address of any site and you will be able to browse old versions of that site going as far back as 1996!

Thanks Mike Sussman

Hell freezing over?

I don't know, everyone. First there's the total lunar eclipse. Then the Red Sox win the World Series. And then there are reports of up to one foot snow in areas near Las Vegas!

I'm keeping an eye out for reports of flying pigs.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

World Champion Boston Red Sox (Ugh)

Well there you have it. Congratulations Red Sox fans. Your "idiots" dominated the World Series and earned their victory.

I'm shocked the Cardinals didn't put up more of a fight and win at least one game. Could the lunar eclipse/deal with the devil theory be far off (see below)?

I guess the "Boston Red Sox: Wait Till Next Year" picture hanging in my office will have to come down tomorrow.

And F***in' Manny is the MVP! Let's just twist the knife a little more!

So a new era for the Red Sox now begins. Where do Sox fans go from here? They've been defined by failure. The life of the loser is all they've known. Will the Sox repeat anytime soon? Will this put a fire under the Yankees? Will thousands of Boston fans who have been saying, "I just want to see the Sox win before I die," suddenly drop dead? Only time will tell.

But for now, congratulations Red Sox. We'll see you next year.

Deal with Devil key to Sox success

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein discusses the trade of his soul for a World Series title.

BOSTON, Oct. 27 – Baseball’s “Boy Wonder” has made some important deals in his brief time with the Boston Red Sox, but this one will go down as one of the game’s biggest.

Sox General Manager Theo Epstein announced recently a one-year deal with Satan to ensure his club its first World Series victory in 86 years.

At age 30, Epstein is the youngest general manager in Major League Baseball. He signed the deal with the Prince of Darkness on Oct. 17, mere hours after the Sox crushing 19-8 defeat at the hands of their arch rivals, the New York Yankees.

The Sox have not lost a game since the deal was struck. That includes two brilliant starts from Boston starting pitcher Curt Schilling, despite a career-threatening injury that hampered him in Game 1 of the ALCS against New York.

“The deal benefited everyone,” Epstein said at a news conference. “It turns out God wears pinstripes and the Devil was anxious for a chance to stick it to the man upstairs.”

The exact terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but will most likely include Epstein’s eternal soul and the burning of Boston at the hands of a rabid Red Sox Nation following the team’s victory. It is also believed that the full lunar eclipse on the night the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino is no coincidence.

The unthinkable

Wow. I think this is going to actually happen. With the Boston Red Sox up 3-0, it looks almost certain that the're going to win their first World Series in 86 years.

Don't worry everyone. I've checked myself into anger management therapy just in case.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share this interesting baseball stat from Kieth Olbermann:
Do you realize that as of Wednesday afternoon, every baseball team that has gone up 3-0 in a best-of-seven playoff series since 2000 has gone on to lose that series?

Just a thought.

A new look at the new 'Who'

Here is a promotional image of the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and his new companion, Rose (British pop singer Billie Piper), from the BBC's new "Doctor Who" series:

Friday, October 22, 2004

A class act or an act of treason?

This image is a sight some Yankee fans (and I suspect some Red Sox fans too) don't want to see right now.

Many in New York City are still reeling from the Yankees loss Wednesday night. But a popular restaurant is honoring the conquering foes from Boston.

Mickey Mantle's on Central Park South has temporarily changed its name to "Ted Williams’," honoring the former Boston great.

The New York Post says the sign will stay up through the World Series.

They are even displaying a symbol of an apparent truce: a photo of Williams shaking hands with Babe Ruth.

Wednesday would have been the Mick’s 73rd birthday.

Not everyone is pleased. Apparently they are even selling Red Sox hats inside the restaurant, but one worker said he would quit before he wore one.

Meanwhile, Mickey’s family is less than thrilled with the owner of the restaurant, Bill Liederman.

“Mickey loved Ted and we hold Ted's memory in the highest regard," said Merlyn Mantle, "But Mr. Liederman's conduct is disgraceful and an insult to Mickey's memory and to the Yankees and their fans."

Danny and David Mantle went on to say "We want everyone to know that Bill Liederman did this without the approval or knowledge of our family.”

The picture of the Splendid Splinter and the Sultan of Swat is a nice sentiment. Unfortunately, when most people think of the Yankees and the Red Sox, it instead conjures images like this:

Great news!

Patrick just IMed me.  His doctors are going to let him go home tonight!

Today is his 16th birthday.

Apparently, his counts really jumped in the last two days.

Coincidentally (or not) I e-mailed my mother’s cousin -- Father Bill, who lives in Brazil -- two days ago to let him know what was going on.  As Patrick and I were IMing, Fr. Bill e-mailed me to let me know he was thinking of Patrick on his birthday, and that they prayed for Patrick at his prayer session this morning and at Mass yesterday.

Just try to tell me prayers don’t help!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Fenway faithful freak out

Rowdy Sox Fans Rampage In Streets

A Boston Red Sox fan throws a smoke bomb outside of Fenway Park in Boston. Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

And they were worried about a riot from fans at Yankee Stadium?!?

The celebration turned deadly outside of Fenway Park. An Emerson College student died this afternoon from injuries suffered last night after she hit in the head by a projectile fired from a bean-bag gun used by police to subdue the crowd.

More than 2,000 UMass Amherst students gathered around a huge bonfire at a campus pond. Twenty-nine people were arrested, not all of them students. Most were charged with disorderly conduct or inciting a riot.

One officer suffered minor injuries while making an arrest.

The fun wasn’t limited to Boston. Rioting also broke out at the University of Vermont. More than 1,000 people set fires, toppled light poles and fences. One van was also flipped on its side.

Although police used rubber pellets to disperse the crowd, no injuries were reported.

The gloating is in full swing

A Red Sox fan here at work just brought in a Boston Cream Pie “so the Yankee fans could eat there hearts out.”  Next to the pie he placed a sign that read “Who’s your daddy now?”

Mark this date down on your calendar folks – the day I turned down free food in the newsroom (and normally I love Boston Cream Pie)!

Meanwhile, I’ve only received three gloating e-mails from Aaron.  He’s enjoying himself a little too much.  He should be careful how much he dishes out – the Sox still have four more victories to go.

Game 7 Blues

I've been trying to think about what I would write if it came to this. Although I am filled with thoughts and emotions, I find I'm at a loss for words. Maybe something better will come to me later in the day.

Someone forgot to tell the Boston Red Sox that this wasn't supposed to happen. How can the Yankees blow a 3-0 lead to a bunch of guys who call themselves "The Idiots?"

The Sox simply outplayed the Yanks. They outpitched them (Kevin Brown sucks!), and they had David Ortiz. That was bad enough. Then Johnny "Captain Hairdo" Damon had to go and snap out of his slump all of a sudden.

The Sox won and thereby proved to be the better team. It doesn't change the fact that I still hate, hate, HATE the Boston Red Sox! I'm an American League guy. I always root for the the AL in the All-Star Game. If the Yanks aren't in the World Series, I always root for the AL team. But I will root with all my heart for the National League team (which will hopefully, if there is any justice, be Roger Clemens and the Houston Astros).

The worst parts of all this?
  • The historical aspect. Losing is one thing. Losing in Game 7 is one thing. Allowing the the Sox to become the first team in baseball history to come back from 3-0 sucks beyond description.
  • Losing at home. Watching the Red Sox celebrate in the House That Ruth Built is cringe inducing -- especially with "New York, New York" playing in the background.
  • Dealing with Red Sox Nation. All of you Sox fans will do your best gloating, I'm sure. Go ahead, get it out of your system. I'm sure there will be a nasty e-mail or three waiting for me in my inbox in the morning. You know who you are.

Some parting thoughts: For all of you "Reverse the Curse" people, remember that this doesn't change anything. You still need to win the World Series. Besides, if the Sox do win the World Series, their fans won't know what to do with themselves -- their whole image for the last 86 years is built around being losers. And finally, enjoy your victory while you can, Boston. You still have a long way to go catch up to Yankees' 26 championships and 39 penants.

I guess I found some words after all.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Red Sox fans...tonight the Empire will strike back!

We're going to Game 7

Crap! This series is killing me. I can't believe we're going to Game 7 after the Yankees started out 3-0. That's the first time in baseball history that's happened. Ugh.

Tony Clark had his chance be this year's Bucky Dent/Aaron Boone and permanently change his name in the eyes of Red Sox fans to Tony F***in' Clark when he came to the plate representing the winning run in the bottom of the 9th. With two outs anda full count, Clark struck out. There is no joy in Mudville tonight, folks.

Well, the Yanks have beaten the Sox in Game 7 before, that much is for sure. After all, seven games was my original prediction, right?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

All clear

I don't know what's changed in the last few minutes, but the riot police have now withdrawn from the field.

Bedlam in the Bronx

The umpires have called in reinforcements...literally.

After twice reversing calls in favor of the Red Sox -- costing the Yankees a run the second time -- the umps are worried for their personal safety. So now there are cops in riot gear lining the sides of the field in case an angry mob storms the field.


Granted, a bunch of assholes threw tuff onto the field after that second reveral in the bottom of the 8th, when A-Rod was ruled out on interference at first base and Jeter was sent back to first after scoring (you might recall Boston fans did the same after disagreeing with a call in 1999). But this, to me, seems like a huge over reaction. Everyone talks about the "Brox Zoo," but do they really think so little of Yankees fans as to worry about a riot breaking out?

Not to mention the potential impact on the game. What happens if one of these cops gets in the way of a player trying to catch a foul ball?

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry has sunk to new depths of ugliness.

Catching up...

A lot went on over the weekend. There was a lot that I ordinarily would’ve loved to blog about, but because I was so busy I never really had a chance to. Here are the highlights:

  • Took the kids to a great pumpkin patch in Schoharie County where they had all sorts of things to do – hay ride, corn maze, hay maze, animals, awesome cider doughnuts, these cool pedal-powered race cars and, of course, pumpkin picking.
  • I finished the book I was reading, “Shadow Divers.” It told the amazing true story about these divers who discovered a sunken WWII U-boat 60 miles of the coast of New Jersey in 1991. No one – not the Americans, the British or the Germans – had any idea what U-boat it was, what is was doing there or how it was sunk. These guys spent six years unraveling the mystery and rewriting history along the way. Three divers were killed in the process. It was a fantastic read – I highly recommend it!
  • I did get a chance to mention Saturday night’s Yankees-Red Sox blowout already. But Sunday and Monday’s games are killing me! Too damn long. I finally went to bed at about 1:15 a.m. Monday morning, after the 11th inning of Sunday’s game and I fell asleep last night and missed the end of last night’s game. Let’s hope the Yanks can wrap this up tonight.
  • My old friend Dan Markiewicz came to visit Sunday evening. Dan and I have been friends since the second grade. This was only the second time I’ve seen him in the past 12 years (the last time was about seven years ago in Seattle). He lives in California now, but was in Boston last weekend for his sister’s wedding and came over to see us after.
  • From the “Not So Fast Department,” after spending a morning at Starbucks with a bunch pro-Kerry buddies, Kris is now back in the undecided column with two weeks to go until Election Day.
  • The BBC has unveiled the logo for the new “Doctor Who” series…

  • Jon Stewart went at it with Paul “The Forehead” Begala and Tucker Carlson (mainly with Carlson) on CNN’s “Crossfire.” It got fairly heated and ugly. If you missed it, you have to see it!
  • Finally, check out this article about the guy who got a surprise visit from the Air Force after it was determined his Toshiba flat screen TV was transmitting a signal on the frequency used for international distress signals. True story!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

On second thought...

Bombs away in Boston

Saturday night's final score: Boston 8, New York 19.

I think I can safely revise my seven game prediction. A sweep would just be too much to hope for, do I'll play it safe and say Yankees in five games (bt I'm getting my broom out just in case!).

Meanwhile, I'm campaigning for Matsui for MVP!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Way to go, Brian!

Fremd wins first battle against persistent Conant

My nephew Brian got his name in the paper after scoring a goal in a recent high school hockey game:

Fremd's constant pressure finally paid off when Brian Rooney scored on a rebound goal assisted by Fitton and Steve DeCarlo for a 2-1 lead with 5:20 left in the second period.

Brian plays in the Chicago Metro High School Hockey League. He's the only freshman on the varsity team!

Backing Bush

My wife never ceases to surprise me.

All along, it’s been common knowledge I would probably vote for George W. Bush. Sure, there are some things about him I don’t care for, but it’s not enough to make want to vote for John Kerry.

Kris on the other hand, has been undecided, but clearly leaning toward Kerry. She has some friends who are diehard Democrats and have been pumping Kerry up to her. Just a week or two ago she told me that she thought she would vote for Kerry, and I told her, “Well I guess our votes will just have to cancel each other out.”

I watched the first two presidential debates and the vice presidential debate. Kris did not watch all of those debates, but caught bits and pieces of each one. Every time there would be responses that I thought Bush (or Dick Cheney) just nailed, while Kris thought the total opposite, leaving me to wonder if we were watching the same debate.

As I said before, I did not watch the debate Wednesday night. There were much more important things going on, like the Yankees demonstrating once again to Pedro Martinez who his daddy is. I never thought that Kris would watch the debate either. She usually gets bored by those sorts of things very quickly.

But to my surprise, she announced to me last night that she did watch the debate – and that she was going to vote for Bush! This caught me by complete surprise. What changed her mind?

Kris still isn’t wild about Bush. He did make a few points in the debate that she liked, but what really convinced her was that she came away from the debate believing Kerry was a phony who would say whatever he thought people most wanted to hear (and I agree completely!). Kris figured given the choice between four more years of the same, such as it is in her opinion, or rolling the dice on Kerry, she would rather stick with Bush.

So I’m proud that we’re both backing the same candidate. Now if only, in heavily Democratic New York State, our votes could actually count.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Friday nights at 10

Farrell, Foxx headed for MIAMI VICE?
It seems Michael Mann wants to bring "Miami Vice" to the big screen. According to Cinescape top choices to play Crocket and Tubbs are Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx.

I must admit, when I first saw the headline above, I feared they meant WILL Farrell and that the movie would be done as a comedy, like "Starsky & Hutch."

Cinescape makes a good point -- fine, go ahead and recast Crocket and Tubbs, but you MUST bring back Edward James Olmos as Lt. Castillo. No one else can play that part!

The important questions: Will the movie still be set in the 1980s? Will Glen Frey and Phil Collins be on the soundtrack? Will Jan Hammer do the music?

The Harassment Factor

O'Reilly Hit With Sex Harass Suit - October 13, 2004
Holy cow! A Fox News Channel producer has filed a sexual harassment suit against professional blowhard Bill O'Reilly. You have got to read the details on The Smoking Gun. You have to wonder if any of these conversations were caught on tape!

On to Fenway

So the Yanks won 3-1 last night. Noah and I had a good time. Aaron took it well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Oh yeah, and there's a debate

Does anyone still care that there's a debate on tonight? I watched
the first two and the VP debate. I feel like I've made up my mind.
While I found the others to be very interesting, I just don't care
about this one. Let's have Election Day here and get this over with!

Not to mention, and I might be biased on this one, how can a boring
debate compare to a Yankees-Red Sox post season baseball game?!? ;-)

Enemy territory

Aaron has invited Noah and I to watch Game 2 at his house tonight.
Aaron's house is Red Sox territory! It should make for an interesting

Mariano Rivera is the man

No save bigger for Rivera
As if I didn't already have enough respect for Mariano Rivera as a player, I have even more now. After spending the weekend in Panama to attend the funeral of two family members, he hops a jet and arrives at Yankee Stadium during the 2nd inning. Then, with his heart still heavy with grief, he takes the mound and does what he does best.

Rivera has stood at the center of the Yankees' success since 1996. The Yankees are used to finding him there. But everyone understood that this was something above the call of duty.

"Mo and I take a golf cart to the bullpen in the bottom of the fifth in every game," backup catcher John Flaherty said. "When I came in, I didn't even know he was here yet. He was dressed and ready to go, I gave him a hug and he said, 'Let's go, buddy.' He was ready to go.

"He looked like he was tired, but it sounded like he was ready to go. He told us he was happy to be back, that he took care of what he needed to take care of. Nobody would ever question this guy's focus.

"It was very special. It tells you a lot about him to know what he's gone through the last couple of days and then do what he did."

Said Alex Rodriguez: "To see what he did tonight, to be a leader for his family, to be a leader for this family here, it's pretty awesome."

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Close call

Man! To go from 8-0 to 8-7 in two innings? Talk about nerve wracking! Fortunately, the Yanks pulled it out 10-7.

It's going to be a long series. I'll say Yankees in seven.

Rumble in the Bronx

Bottom of the 3rd and the Yanks are up 6-0. Curt Schilling is getting beaten up pretty bad.

The fans are chanting "WHO'S YOUR DAD-DY?!? WHO'S YOUR DAD-DY?!?"

I love it! I hope Pedro gets a chance to hear it tomorrow night.

Damn delays

I'm watching Game 1 of the ALCS (go Yanks!). Generally I can't stand baseball on Fox, so I decided to mute the audio and listen to John Sterling and Charlie Steiner call the game on the radio. I've done this in the past, but I haven't done it recently.

I soon noticed there was a significant delay between the radio broadcast and the TV broadcast. It made it unwatchable using the radio.

I suppose we have the FCC and Janet Jackson's boob to thank for this. Ugh.

The John Hughes Collection

Kris and I caught parts of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” not once, but twice, over the weekend. To this day that still remains a great movie – a true classic.

That got me thinking – if someone were to come out with a box set of John Hughes movies on DVD, I think I would have to snatch that up.

What movies should be included? I think “Sixteen Candles, “The Breakfast Club” and “Ferris Bueller” are givens. But let’s say it’s a six-disc set. What other movies should be in there?

I think I know my choices, but let’s hear what you have to say. Let’s limit it to Hughes’ teen movies, even though that would leave out his biggest money-maker, “Home Alone,” and the classic “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” However, I think we can include “Uncle Buck” since a good part of the plot revolves around Buck’s dealings with his troubled teenage niece Tia.

One day I’m going to show some of these movies to my kids and explain to them that this is “my era” – and my kids will probably think I’m some kind of dinosaur.

So what do you think? What are your favorite John Hughes movies?

Political humor

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude."

She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Democrat."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met but, somehow, now it's my fault."

The latest on Patrick

I haven’t posted any Patrick news lately. I keep meaning to, but I never get around to it.

Anyway, he seems to be responding well to his treatments. According to my sister, the doctors think he’s right no track – right where they would expect him to be at this point.

Remember the article about Patrick that ran in his local paper? After reading it, I e-mailed the writer just to let him know that his uncle up in New York got to read it and how great I thought it was. It turns out, the printed my e-mail in the paper down there! My sister said she was reading the paper and spotted the name “Chris Rooney” and thought, “Hey, how about that,” until she realized that it was me.

So nothing hugely new. As always, I’ll keep you posted as developments warrant.

Bicycling buddies

I took the day off from work yesterday to help Kris out as she recovered from her marathon the day before. One of the highlights of the day was some time I spent with Nolan.

For a long time, mom had this small, blue BMX kids’ bike collecting dust in her garage. She originally picked it up at a garage sale for my nephew Louis to use when he was visiting her house. But it never got much use. This year, for Nolan’s fourth birthday, she wanted to have it cleaned up and have some training wheels put on it and give it to him.

Actually, I was the one who cleaned it up and put the training wheels on. Mom gave it to Nolan, but he wasn’t that interested in it. The truth is, he only just this year started using the Radio Flyer tricycle she bought him for his second birthday. He tried the bicycle, but had a hard time figuring out how to make it move forward and quickly got frustrated. Given the choice, he always preferred the tricycle, and I didn’t want to force the issue at this point. I wanted bicycling to be a very positive experience for him.

Then about a week ago he was riding his tricycle as Kris walked Chester and pushed Thomas in the stroller, and he kept falling over. Kris explained that he was starting to get too big for his tricycle (something I had told him before). Just like that, he declared he wanted to go home and try his blue bike. By the time I got home from work that night, he couldn’t wait to take me outside and show me how he could do laps around the patio. Now when it’s time to walk the dog, he’s always excited to ride along on his bike. He just needed it to be his idea.

Which brings us to yesterday. For the first time, we went for a bike ride together. No dog. No baby brother. No mommy. Just the two of us pedaling around the neighborhood. It was so much fun!

At the end of the day I always ask Nolan what his favorite part of the day was. We had gone out to dinner that night, so he said the restaurant was his favorite. But make no mistake, I told him my favorite part was our little bike ride.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Marathon mania

Mohawk Hudson Marathon
Kris completed her marathon today! She was hoping to finish in under five hours. In the end her finish time was 5:00:47.

But hey, what's 47 seconds anyway? The awesome thing is that she did it. In fact that's what I told her -- "You're awesome, you're my hero!" I am extremely proud of her. As I've said, I huff and puff my way through a 5K. I could never do a marahton.

The boys and I caught Kris and her running partner, Sunny, at about mile 3. After that we went home for a bit and then hopped in the car and caught them again at mile 16, where we passed off water and energy gels. Then it was on to the finish line in Albany where we ate lunch and waited for mommy to arrive.

When she came down the path and saw us we (the boys and I and some people from Kris' running group) started to cheer and I saw her face light up. After crossing the finish line she came walking over to us and looked thrilled. But as I went to hug her she burst into tears. Kris would later admit that she wasn't thinking straight and can't remember the moment very well. But I could tell they were tears of joy.

Right now Kris says she doesn't think she wants to do this again, but lets give her some time and then see how she feels. I think she'll be running a marathon again someday.

I found the whole thing very inspirational. Now I'm anxious to tackle another long bike ride. Only eight more months until next year's Tour de Cure!

Incidentally, my brother Tim also ran the Chicago marathon today. He finished in 3:20:16. Way to go, Tim!

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Off to the races

Everybody wish Kris good luck. Tomorrow is the big day -- the Mohawk-Hundson Marathon!

Another one bites the dust

Rowling to pick off another Potter pal
J.K. Rowling revealed Friday that another character will buy it in her next book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

Anyone want to make any predictions? A lot of people seemed to think it my Hagrid that would be killed in the last book, only to have it turn out to be Harry's godfather, Sirius Black. I'm betting it will be one of the following: Mr. Weasley, Remus Lupin or Mad Eye Moody.

Friday, October 08, 2004

The debate drinking game, round 3

Last time I drank every time someone said “Halliburton” (which was only seven times). For the first debate, I took a swig every time Bush said “duty.” What’s tonight’s phrase that pays? Grab your beers kids and take a gulp whenever the president uses the words “hard work.”

Thursday, October 07, 2004

9 years and counting

I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly wish my wonderful wife, Kris, a very happy anniversary.

At this very hour, nine years ago, I saw her come walking down the aisle and was swelled with joy at thought of being married to her. I still feel that way today.

Kris slipped a card into my lunch before I left for work this morning. In it, she said that I "keep her sane." I called her to say thanks and told her that I thought I drove her nuts. She said, "Sometimes you do that to." :-)

I know that every good thing that's happened to me in the last 14 years since we met can be traced back to Kris in some way. Without a doubt, she is the best thing to ever happen to me, and as I'm fond of telling her, she's my favorite person.

Happy anniversary, kiddo!

TARDIS on course for the U.S.

The Doctor Who New Series News Page at Outpost Gallifrey
It looks like we can hopefully expect an announcement soon about who will carry the new "Dr. Who" series in the United States. It was announced earlier in the week that the show has been sold to the CBC in Canada. Yesterday came a report that the BBC is talking to an "interested party" here in the states. Toward the end of the summer there were rumors the Sci Fi Channel was interested in the show.

A new online addiction

This simple game is extremely addictive. My personal best so far is 6.594 seconds.

From Lost Remote

UPDATE: 5.809 seconds!
UPDATE: 5.748 seconds! (I know, I know, I should be working...)

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The times, they are a changin'

Former TV Guide critic Jeff Jarvis (also creator of Entertainment Weekly) weighs in on Howard Stern's move to Sirius satellite radio on his blog BuzzMachine...

There, ladies and gentlemen, is the last nail in the coffin of broadcast as the central medium in America. And the FCC hammered it in.

Stern gets Sirius

Howard Stern making jump to satellite radio
Well there you go, FCC. You wanted Howard Stern off the air -- you got your wish (sort of).

Stern annouced today that he will move his show to Sirius satellite radio when his contract with Infinity Broadcasting expires in 15 months.

“It has been my dream to have the top-rated show in radio since I was five years old,” Stern said in a statement. “Sirius — the future of radio — will take this dream to a whole new level as I bring my fans my show my way. It will be the best radio they will ever hear.”

Sirius reportedly signed Stern to a 5-year deal worth $100 million! Is he worth it? I used to be a regular Stern listener, but haven't listened regularly in years. Even if I was still a regular listener, I don't think I liked his show enough that I would be willing to pay for it.

It will be very interesting to see how this changes things in the future? Will Sirius sell more subscriptions? Will XM Radio try to pick up a shock jock of its own to compete? Will other shock jocks change their tune now that the FCC's No. 1 target is out of the picture? Time will tell.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Giving Rodney the respect he deserves

Rodney Dangerfield dead at 82

Actor and comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who had a heart valve replaced Aug. 25, died Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 82.

We've lost a comedic legend. The great Rodney Dangerfield past away today. He never recovered from the heart valve replacement surgery he had on Aug. 25.

Before going into the hospital, Rodney was asked how long he would be in. He said (I'm paraphrasing), "If things don't go well, not very long." There's the classic Dangerfield wit.

Unfortunately, Rodney suffered a stroke shortly after surgery and remained in the hospital for more than a month -- most of the time in a coma.

MSNBC is running poll, asking people what their favorite Rodney role was. There are 10 choices on the list, but it really comes down to "Caddyshack" and "Back to School" -- both classics. "Caddyshack" is the better movie, but had an ensemble cast. "Back to School" was a better showcase for Rodney. I'm hoping both will be replayed continuously on cable somewhere in the days ahead.

The VP debate drinking game

I'm watching the vice presidential debate right now (I'll go back to the ballgame as soon as the debate is over). I've got a bottle of Saranac Octoberfest Lager in front of me, and I've decided to take a drink everytime someone mentions "Haliburton." I'm up to seven so far.

Personally, I think Cheney is doing great. He's cool under pressure, very matter of fact and to-the-point with his responses. Edwards seems more emotional, high strung and is doing all the smirking and eye rolling that Bush was criticized for.

This is much more interesting than the presidential debate last Thursday. I almost wish these were the two guys running.

You know, I like Dick Cheney, even if he does look a little like old man Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life."

Decisions, decisions...

Voters' choice: debate v. baseball
Tonight's vice presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards looks to be the more interesting than the presidential ones. Ordinarily, I would be looking forward to it. There's just one problem...

The Yankees and Twins are facing off in the Game 1 of the ALDS. I'll probably start with the game, since it begins about an hour before the debate (on the dreaded Fox -- the worst baseball broadcasters EVER!). Then once the debate starts I'll probably flip over to that during breaks in the game.

Tonight is the kind of night when I'll miss my picture-in-picture. Our last TV had PIP, but the new one we bought in the spring does not.

The Batmobile!

I stumbled across this picture today and just had to post it. Friends from high school will remember this is the fabled Batmobile. These were the Rooney family wheels during my high school days -- a 1986 Chevy Eurosport.

Ours was just like this one, except it was all black with a red pin stripe. And like I said, ours was an '86 (although mom and dad actually bought it in November 1985). The one in the picture is an '85. The big difference between the '85 and the '86? 1986 was the first year all cars had to have the brake light in the rear window.

I loved this car. This was the car I learned to drive in. I drove that thing all over Niskayuna, and then it used to take me back and forth to college. Just this morning as I was driving to work I was thinking about how the car had a quirk that allowed you to pull the keys out while the car was running. I used to have fun scaring passengers by yanking out the keys while driving down the road and tossing them into their lap, saying, "Here, hold these."

Dad took excellent care of the Batmobile. Over the years he probably put far more money into it than he paid for it. He finally got rid of it sometime in the mid to late '90s in favor of a Honda Accord.

Friday, October 01, 2004

On the road again

We’re off to visit Kris’ parents this weekend.  Actually, Kris and the kids (and Chester) should be there already.  I’ll be taking off as soon as I leave work.

Despite all my complaining about how busy we were over the summer and how nice it was to have some time with no plans, it’s kind of nice to be getting away.

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

License to wait

James Bond 21 - Delayed
The folks at MGM have admitted the inevitable and announced they are delaying the release of the next Bond movie because no director has been hired yet (not to mention, Pierce Brosnan, or any other actor for that matter, hasn't been signed). Sony's buyout of MGM is also a factor in the delay.

For the November 2005 release they were planning on, they would need to start filming in January. That won't happen without a director in place now to work on preproduction.

All of this is despite the fact the writers of the last two Bond movies have already turned in a first draft of the script.

So the question is, when will the next movie come out? They're looking at either summer 2006 or winter 2006. The last Bond movie to come out in the summer was Timothy Dalton's "License to Kill" in 1989, which was clobbered at the box office. I'd place my bet on a winter 2006 release.

Either way, this will be second longest gap between Bond movies, following the six-year wait between "License to Kill" and 1995's "GoldenEye."

'Apprentice' spoiler?

Suspicious bets trump `Apprentice' action
An offshore betting agency has suspended betting on "The Apprentice" after noticing an unusual betting pattern on two of the contestants.

Could they be the final two contenders who make it to the last show? Click the link above if you'd like to know who they are.

I hope it isn't either of them, because that would mean I just spoiled one of my favorite shows! At least, there is no way of knowing who the ultimate winner will be since that will be announced in a live show.

Gee whiz

And Now, a Few Words From the Urinal:
Advertisers will stop at nothing to find new ways to reach consumers. Enter the Wizmark. It's a "liquid activated" device that will play a recorded message when it gets wet. It will be placed in urinals, where a captive audience will have to listen to its sales pitch once the device is...ahem...peed upon. It's also sensitive to light and motion.

The Country Music Channel plans to use the Wizmark to promote its network and Molson is already using it in some city's in Quebec.

I kid you not. It's in the New York Times, so it must be true. Here's an excerpt:
There were several obstacles to overcome before the Wizmark came to market. First, [the inventor] had manufacturing problems in China, where standards, he said, are slack. Then the speakers were too loud, so he had to create a thicker plastic casing. And then there was the splash factor, an issue better left unexplained.

From Lost Remote.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Beware of William Shatner

Shatner's cloaking device: Iowa movie was fake
Earlier this month, William Shatner arrived in a small town in Iowa and informed the people there he would be filming a movie he wrote and is producing, directing and starring in. It was supposed to be a low-budget sci-fi flick called "Invasion Iowa."

Local people were hired to play some of the roles and work on the crew. Shatner kicked everything off with a news conference and news of the movie made the local papers.

Last night, after 10 days of "filming," Shatner revealed it was all an elaborate hoax. It's part of a reality show about what happens when a bunch of kooky Hollywood types invade a small, rural town.

It is expected to air early next year on Spike TV.

Thanks Lost Remote.

Patrick makes the news

Vaught's Views: Teammates and friends rally to support Barsotti
The sports columnist in Patrick's hometown newspaper, the Advocate Messenger, wrote about his story today. It appeared on the front page of the sports section.

Here's an excerpt:
Friends says Barsotti remains his usual fun-loving self and is determined to return to a normal life as soon as possible. I would have expected nothing less from him even though most of us would be tempted to wonder "why me" and fear the worst.

But not Barsotti. He's not that way. The same competitive drive that kept him playing soccer even when he wasn't feeling well will help him combat this illness.

It's a good piece that does a great job of illustraing what a great kid Patrick is.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Which movie hero are you?

I took the quiz, and I must say I'm pleased with the results...

The future of late night TV

I’ve always preferred Letterman over Leno. I’ve been watching Dave since his short-lived morning show on NBC before he started hosting “Late Night.”

However, I have to commend Jay Leno for the way he handled the announcement last night that he would be turning the show over to Conan in five years. He started off by praising Conan as a person and a TV host and acknowledged NBC’s concerns that he would jump to another network. Then he acknowledged the dispute over who would take over “The Tonight Show,” Leno or Letterman, and said that some good friendships were permanently damaged (remember, Jay used to be a frequent guest on Dave’s show). Leno said he’d hate to see anyone go through that again, which is why he’s glad it’s determined now that Conan will be his successor.

In 1994, Bill Carter – a writer for the New York Times – wrote an excellent book called “The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno and the Network Battle for the Night.” Don’t bother watching the awful made-for-HBO movie. Just read the book. It describes every gory detail of what was going on behind the scenes, from both Dave and Jay’s perspective, from the time Carson announced his retirement to the time Dave moved to CBS. It’s a great read.

Carter was on the “Today” show this morning. He predicted that Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” will eventually take over for Letterman and that the next generation of late night TV will be all about Stewart vs. O’Brien, instead of Letterman vs. Leno.

So who do you prefer? Letterman or Leno?

And who would you prefer in the future? Jon Stewart or Conan O’Brien?

Monday, September 27, 2004

Conan gets the nod

O'Brien to replace Leno in 2009
When the host of NBC's "Tonight Show" steps down, the host of NBC's "Late Night" will get to take over. Except we're not talking about Johnny Carson and David Letterman.

NBC announced Monday that current "Late Night" host Conan O'Brien will get what David Letterman always wanted -- a shot at the big chair as host of "The Tonight Show." O'Brien will get to take over when Jay Leno departs in five years.

This is a great accomplishment for O'Brien who came from relative obscurity 11 years ago and overcame horrible (largely deserved) reviews. In the end, he will have hosted "Late Night" five years longer than Letterman, and then get the prize Letterman felt he deserved (Letterman did deserve it, but that's a whole other issue).

So the questions become: will Letterman still be on the air in 2009? If so, how does a Letterman-Conan match-up work out? And who will take over on "Late Night?" Five years is still a long way off -- it could be someone we've never even dreamed of.

A big thanks

While we’re on the subject of Patrick, thanks to everyone who has sent their well-wishes.  I will pass them all on to Patrick and his family.  I really liked what Allie said: “he's got more people on his side than he realizes!  That thought made me feel a little better.  Ill tell that to Patrick and his mom hopefully it will make them feel a little better too.


I’m an impulse blogger.  I blog whenever the mood strikes me and about whatever strikes my interest or pops into my ahead (well, almost – there is a little self-censoring).  This blog doesn’t have a specific topic, like so many others.  It is not about the news, sports, politics, sex, the media, etc.  It’s usually goofy stuff about upcoming movies, something funny or unusual I read somewhere or interesting things going on in my life.

So how do I get back to blogging about crap like the new “Fantastic Four” movie after the last two posts I published?  After writing about Patrick, it seems a little awkward to post a story about some weirdo covering himself and his hotel room with Vaseline.

So consider this post the official buffer.  I will still post about Patrick, since it’s hard to get him off my mind.  But I will go back to posting some of the other “meaningless” stuff I used to post too.

Sometimes it feels strange to go about my business while thinking about what he and his family are going through right this second.  But maybe pointless, random blogging will help me keep my spirits up.  And if my spirits are up, maybe I’ll be better at helping them keep their spirits up.

Maybe I’m rambling and over-analyzing…

Patrick update

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
They determined Sunday what type of leukemia Patrick has. It's known as acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). You can learn more baout it here or here.

ALL is fairly common. About 4,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. It is the most common form of leukemia in patients under 19 years old. It usually occurs in kids under 10, but can strike any age group.

I'm told he had his first round of chemo Sunday, although I'm still not certain what type he's getting.

Apparently Patrick's soccer team had a big game Saturday night. The game was dedicated to Patrick and his best friend wore Patrick's jersey. The team won and after the game they all went to Lexington to see him in the hospital and present him with a banner they had all signed. I get choked up just thinking about it!

Friday, September 24, 2004

The worst news

It was just about 6:30 p.m. I was doing some mindless Web surfing and thinking that I really should be filling out my time sheet so I could get out the door on time and not be late home.

That’s when my cell phone rang. I figured it was Kris, but it was mom, which is unusual because she doesn’t call my cell very often. When I answered she called me Tim.

“No, Chris,” I said.

She corrected herself and told me she had just got off the phone with my brother Tim. I could tell her voice didn’t sound right and she told me she had bad news.

“Patrick is in the hospital,” she said. “They think he has leukemia.”

Leukemia. I hate that word.

For those of you who don’t know, my very good friend Mike died of complications from leukemia two years ago. His death capped what was probably the worst summer of my life. It followed my father’s passing about six weeks earlier and my first dog’s death about month before that.

And now it was all rushing back. I almost dropped the phone out of my hand.

Patrick is the oldest son of my sister Mary Ellen. He’ll turn 16 years old next month. Apparently he’s been having some pain in his joints and has been very fatigued lately. No one thought a lot of it. After all, he’s on both the football and soccer teams at school.

Patrick is one of the star players on his soccer team, but the last few games he’s been asking his coach to pull him from the game early. Last night his coach had enough and yelled at him – accusing him of having a bad attitude and not wanting to play.

So with that, Mary Ellen knew something must be wrong and took him to the doctor this morning. If anything, they figured it might be mononucleosis. It wasn’t mono. That afternoon, after the blood work came back, the doctor called Mary Ellen and her husband in and gave them the news no parent ever wants to hear.

Patrick is in the hospital right now – about a 40-minute drive away from their house. He’s going to start treatment tomorrow. I don’t know yet what sort of chemotherapy he’ll be receiving.

On the phone with mom, my initial shock eventually wore off, and my tone started to become more clinical as I told her about what type of leukemia Mike had, how his treatments worked, how long he was in remission, etc. I knew that I was definitely late leaving work now and after about 10 minutes I finally realized there was no reason why couldn’t be walking out to my car while I was talking to mom.

I reached the car just as we wrapped up our conversation. When I hung up the phone, my cool, clinical demeanor disappeared and I was right back where I started. I literally threw my bags into the car and then started pounding the roof, on the verge of tears.

Normally I call Kris when I’m going to be late, but I didn’t want to tell her about this on the phone. I’d let her be annoyed at me for being late. She would understand once I told her why. I spent the car ride home trying to figure out how to tell her. She was very close with Mike, so I worried this news would hit her hard too. But when I got home, she already knew. My other sister, Annie, had called her about the same time mom called me.

Patrick and his family are in for a long haul. I don’t mean to go all biblical on you, but I’m going to ask everyone reading this for a favor – please pray for Patrick. Pray for his whole family. I wish I could be there for them, but they live in Kentucky. So right now prayers are probably the best I can do. This is something I believe in – and the more prayers the better.

I’m pulling for you Patrick. We all are.