Tuesday, August 31, 2004


CLE 22, NYY 0
The Yankees make history -- and not at all in a good way. Their 22-0 loss to Cleveland is the largest loss in franchise history.

The previous record was 18 runs in losses in a 19-1 game against Detroit in 1925 and 24-6 against Cleveland in 1928. And the previous record for a shutout was 15-0 against the White Sox in 1950.

I'm sure I'll have to hear from Aaron about this tomorrow. Ugh.

Chris and Andy play armchair critics

Andy Yang and I have been wasting far too much time e-mailing back and forth today about what we like and don’t like on TV. Andy made the comment that we should be conducting this conversation here, so all the world could see how unproductive we’re being! ;-) So here is our conversation:

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Yang
Sent: Monday, August 30, 2004 11:20 PM
To: Chris Rooney
Subject: Re: Gmail

Dude... did not know that you are a fellow "24" fan. My Mac was chalk full of "24' soundbites for error messages until my co-workers threaten to assassinate me...

Anyway, your news on the show is eye opening... I guess it gives me more time to catch up with "Alias." And if you haven't started watching it already, check out "MI-5" from the BBC (it airs on A&E). Great British drama about the internal security force for the UK (Ministry of Intelligence 5). Sister branch of MI-6, otherwise known as James Bond's employer... you can get MI-5 season 1 on DVD.


On Tuesday, August 31, 2004, at 10:50AM, Chris Rooney wrote:

I’ve seen MI-5 once or twice. It is a good show, although I haven’t been able to get hooked on it yet.

Have you heard that Brent Spiner will be guest starring in three episodes of “Star Trek: Enterprise” this season? He will play the great, great grandfather of Data’s creator – and may just turn out to be the story’s villain. The episodes are scheduled to air in November.

Chris Rooney

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Yang
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 11:00 AM
To: Chris Rooney
Subject: Re: Gmail

MI-5 takes a while to grow on ya, I agree.

I got Kim hooked on Alias last year, when I purchased season 1 & 2. We never did catch up with Season 3, but now that I have ReplayTV, we'll be sure to watch Season 4 (after Season 3 comes out on DVD).

I get my current fix of TV by watching "Nip/Tuck" on FX. What a great show.

Enterprise is also good--I missed the episode with Dean Stockwell... was it any good? I am getting all confused with the "expanse" and the whole deal with the Xindi... whatever happend to just duking it out with the Klingons? Will wait to see Brent Spiner... I still can't get over his performance in "Independence Day."

That's all for now.


On Tuesday, August 31, 2004, at 11:11AM, Chris Rooney wrote:

I got into “Alias” toward the end of season 1 and watched it for all of season 2. But the show lost me in season 3. I watch it occasionally now, but it isn’t one of my regulars anymore.

You’re not missing much on “Enterprise.” The Dean Stockwell episode was a waste of a great guest star. And despite a fairly decent season finale (except for the lame cliffhanger) I did not care for the Expanse storyline. I’m with you – let’s just stick to duking it out with Klingons and playing mind games with the Vulcans and Andorians.

Chris Rooney

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Yang
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 2:29 PM
To: Chris Rooney
Subject: Alias and the Xindi

Yeah, I hear you on the plot of Alias... chasing some Italian artifact around the globe is more Indy/Laura Croft than Bond for for me... I liked how she worked for SD6 and had to keep things a secret... that was cool.

JJ Abrams has another new show "Lost." Supposedly it's another conspiracy theory show about a jet-liner crashing... and the plot will twist and turn as to why they crashed...

I started watching "Rescue Me" because I like Dennis Leary, but just too much to watch these days.

You watch "Nip/Tuck" at all? Or "Family Guy?"


On Tuesday, August 31, 2004, at 02:46PM, Chris Rooney wrote:

I like the SD6 angle on “Alias” too. It was a pretty bold move changing the show’s direction in the middle of season 2, and the rest of the season was good. But I missed the first few episodes of season 3 where Sydney suddenly wakes up two years later. When I did try to get back into it, I was hopelessly lost. I tried to read recaps online, but I just couldn’t get back into the show.

I’ve heard of “Lost” and I will check that out. It’s getting great buzz, but J.J. Abrams can be hit and miss. He also wrote “Armageddon,” which was not one of my favorite movies, and if you read about any of the details of his first draft for the new “Superman” script you would cringe.

I watched the first episode of “Rescue Me,” but I haven’t seen much more since. It didn’t really win me over. I haven’t gotten into “Nip/Tuck” yet and I’ve never really cared for “Family Guy” (give me “The Simpsons” any day of the week).

I think “24” is starting to lose steam. At the low point last year – when Chase’s lovechild showed up – I declared that I would see it through season 3, but then I was done. Who am I kidding? I’ll still watch it in January.

I’m looking forward to the premiere of “Scrubs” tonight and I’m curious about “Father of the Pride.”

Chris Rooney

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Yang
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 2:29 PM
To: Chris Rooney
Subject: RE: Alias and the Xindi


we need to start making these comments on your blog page!

Totally agree with you on all your points. I was not overly impressed with "24" season 3, considering the phenomenal close of Season 2... the handshake of death! Why did they not explain that??? Or bring back the assassin?

I wrote back to the fan page that they should have a dramatic death scene (exploding toilet), killing off Kim Bauer, the IT geek, and the annoying chick Chloe. I got lots of hate mail from 15 year old boys that week. Partnering Jack with another male character was a bad idea. Maybe some hot, exotic "Bond girl" would have made more sense... oh well.

And Palmer... he became Mike Dukakis overnight. What happened? Wimp or Shrimp? Thought we were going to see him in a tank commercial soon...

I say, bring back Nina and Mason... and some real evil bastards. Maybe they could get Sean Bean to play another terrorist role. He's faced off with some of the best heros in Spy Cinema: James Bond and Jack Ryan. Hell, he's even tried to kill Hobbits.

And that's my take...


The latest Rooney news

Rooney on verge of joining Man Utd
Hey, look! My soccer-star cousin is making the big time.

Actually, I have no relation to Wayne Rooney (that I know of). I'm just not used to seeing my name in the headlines.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Dustin in drag vs. the ketchup queen

Separated at birth? You be the judge! Posted by Hello

Is it just me, or is Tootsie prettier?

Thanks, Dan.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Farewell Athens

Is it just me or were the closing ceremonies of the Olympics kind of boring. I'm watching them right now, and they really aren't doing all that much for me. So why am I watching them, then? Well...I am, after all, here blogging instead. So I guess I'm not really playing complete attention anymore. Besides, there is nothing else on.

For the most part, the ceremonies just seemed to be this disorganized mess of people wandering around. And NBC isn't helping. They're cutting in and out with commercials. When they come back, whatever was going on before that they seemed to have bailed out of in the middle is long over and they are now in the middle of something else. And you're like, "Woah! How did we get from A to B?" It's as if they don't really care anymore and just want to get it over with. Bob Costas isn't even doing the "play by play." He's probably already on the plane back home.

As for the entertainment, what was with the parade of wacky Greek tourists in tacky beach clothes, armed with umbrellas and blow-up toys? And lets not forget the pickup truck carrying a load of watermelons and being followed by a parade of Gypsies!

Things picked up a little when they turned the show over to the Chinese as a "preview" of Beijing 2008. They put on a much more interesting show.

It looks like they're getting ready to put the torch out now. I should add that the torch lighting at the opening ceremony was a tad on the lame side too. It spoiled the great track record they had going. 1992: the flaming arrow! 1996: Mohammed Ali! 2000: that cool "ring of fire" in the water rising up around the torch bearer. 2004: Some Greek sailor touches his torch to the cauldron and lights it without much frills. Whoopdeedoo.

It's lucky the games in between the opening and closing ceremonies were so much more interesting. I enjoyed watching most of the events. And the great thing about the coverage this year was that with so many channels, just about every sport got on TV at some point. It's fun to watch some of the more "obscure" events that rarely got on TV at all in the past. One of my favorites was the track cycling. How these guys don't crash into each other is beyond me. Simply amazing to watch. (Although I did see one nasty spill the otehr day.)

(Hey, they're interviewing Yao Ming right now. I didn't realize his English was that good.)

Some of the lasting memories of the 2004 games (for me at least):
Paul Hamm's freakishly high voice (is he representing the lollipop guild, or what?).

Paul Hamm is the first American man ever to win the all-around Olympic gold medal...sort of.

A tearful Rulon Gardner placing his shoes in the center of the ring.

Rulon Gardner of the United States wipes his face as he walks off the mat, leaving his shoes behind in the traditional sign of retirement.

Iraqi citizens gathered around the TV in a small cafe to watch their team kick ass.

Paula Radcliffe sitting on the curb with four miles left in the women's marathon.

Two British fans help Paula Radcliffe to her feet.

The wingnut rushing the Brazillian runner with three miles to go in the men's marathon and costing him the gold.

Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil is forced off the course by a protestor while leading the marathon. Lima recovered to finish third and received a special Olympic medal from IOC president Jacques Rogge.

And of course, the jubilant celebration after Misty May and Kerri Walsh won the gold in beach volleyball. You know, I read somewhere that NBC only aired beach volleyball in primetime once in 2000. This time was on about 20 times. My prediction for 2008: more events with women in bikinis!

Misty May and Kerri Walsh celebrate with the crowd at the Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre after winning gold.

I'm sure there is more I'm leaving out...like the U.S. basketball team being taken down a peg or two or watching Mia Hamm and company claim another gold (poor Nomar -- how many championships does his wife have while spends his career with the Red Sox and Cubs?). It was also fun watching a former local girl take home a silver and place fifth in another event.

Overall I enjoyed the Olympics. I seem to get more out of it each time. Let's do it again in two years in Italy!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

All hail the Rubberband Man!

If you don't love Office Max's Rubberband Man, then there is clearly something wrong with you.

He first appeared passing out office supplies to the tune of the Spinners' 1970s funky tune "Rubberband Man" last December. He returned this summer in a back-to-school ad. The original spot has now been nominated for an Emmy award.

It is easily my favorite commercial on TV right now. Guaranteed to bring a smile every time!

See Kris run...Run, Kris, run

Kris never ceases to amaze me. She ran 18 miles today as she continues training for her marathon. Actually, she looked at her map afterward and figures she may have actually done closer to 19 miles, from Central Park in Schenectady all the way into Cohoes.

It was not an easy run for her. Today was one of the hottest days of the summer, and very humid. It was rough and she was hurting after it was all done.

Still, I could never even dream of doing that. I have all I can do to run a 5K. Every time she does a long-distance run I tell her how proud I am of her.

Still, she is nervous about doing this marathon. She spent the rest of the day asking me if I was sure she could do a marathon. And of course I am sure, and I told her so.

That's my job. I'm her support chief and number one cheerleader. It's my job to drop off her water bottles along the route the night before and to be there to pick her up at the end of the line the next day. I am her Bobby Boucher.

So keep on running, Kris. You can do whatever you set your mind to. And your waterboy will be there help however I can.

Friday, August 27, 2004

New Nisky alumni page online

Alumni Main Page - Niskayuna Central School District
The Niskayuna School District has a new alumni section on their site, including a new and improved alumni databse. If you had info in the old database, then it was imported over into the new one. Check it out and see if you want to do any updating.

If you didn't have yourself in there before -- then what's wrong with you?!? I'm sure all the people from high school that you never talked to then would love to know what you're doing now!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Sooo sleeeeepy....

Man, I'm tired. I have got to start going to bed earlier! Last night I stayed up past midnight to watch the news after the Olympics knowing full well that I would have to get up at 5:30 this morning for my bike ride.

What am I, an idiot?

I was doing fine most of the day today, but right now I feel like I'm hitting the wall. Ugh.

I was going to go for another ride tomorrow. I'm going to try to start riding on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. But first -- I could really use a nap!

Going to the dogs

Pricey Pets
Check it out...I was on TV (again) last night. WNYT did a story about the lengths people are willing to go to (and the amount of money they are willing to spend) for their pets. Rebecca Hall interviewed me about Indy, his heart problems and all that we did to keep him healthy as long as we could, despite the costs.

Indy back in the good old days.

I don't show up until almost two minutes into the story. I think I came across pretty well. However, the promo just used the soundbite of me saying, "We were spending more on our dog than we were on son," which kind of made me look like the worst father in the world. Child Protective Services should be knocking on my door any time now. The promo producer bumped into me in the newsroom yesterday. She smiled and said she was sorry for "exploiting" me in the promo. Wow. I don't know if I've ever been exploited before! :-) It could have been worse. I could have looked into the camera and shouted like a crazy man, "Humungorama!" (For those of you out of the Albany area, you missed my commercial debut last spring -- count yourself lucky).

My part of the story was actually taped about a week ago. The reporter, Rebecca Hall, and photographer, Pete Rajotte, followed me home after work. Nolan and Thomas were already dressed for bed. In fact, Nolan makes a brief appearance in the story. You'll notice that he's running around in his boxer shorts!

Naturally, they taped a ton more than they actually used. But being in the business, I expected that. Besides, the mosquitoes were really bad in our backyard that night. So in half the shots you can probably see us swating bugs away. Pete joked that the next time we do a West Nile story, we'll have to send a crew to our backyard.

Hello? Is anyone there?

I guess no one wants the Gmail account. Is anyone out there actually
reading any of this stuff?

Take it again...I think I blinked

athens_olympics_2004 Photo Gallery by Vincent Thian at pbase.com
Check out these pictures of people taking pictures. I wonder how many cameras per athlete there are the Olympics?

Thanks Lost Remote.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The pie is stale!

Why?!? "American Pie" is a modern classic. "American Pie 2" was good (but not as good as the original). But "American Wedding" was just plain awful. Please, put this franchise to rest!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Gmail giveaway

I have a Gmail invitation to give away to whoever would like it. As you may know, you can't just sign up for a Gmail account -- you have to be invited to join.

Google's Gmail is set up a little differently than most Web based e-mail systems. The biggest difference is the whopping 1000 MB of storage they give you, which allows to archive mail rather than deleting it.

If you're interested, contact me at crooney@gmail.com.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Fanning the flames

Billy Joel for the 21st century
Someone with far too much free time translated "We Didn't Start the Fire" into buddy icons.

Thanks Joe Video.

That's gonna make a mess

Bloody Pingu Throw
Everyone remember the "Penguin Baseball" game everyone was playing last winter -- the one where a yeti takes batting practice with a penguin instead of a ball? If that wasn't sadistic enough, here's the slightly more graphic version.

Thanks, Allie.

The agony of defeat

Tearful Radcliffe has no explanation

Kris and I watched the women's Olympic marathon Sunday. Well, I only saw bits and pieces of it, but Kris was glued to it since she is currently training to run her first marathon in October.

Anyway, we were both stunned by what happened to Paula Radcliffe of the U.K. She's the world marathon record holder and was the favorite in yesterday's race, but she couldn't even finish. She wound up sitting and crying on the curb on the side of the road, watching the other runners and her Olympic dreams pass her by.

I can't imagine the devastation of training for something of that magnitude and then not even finishing. Words can't describe it -- it's beyond "sucks."

Of course, this made Kris a little nervous about what might happen during her marathon. I reminded her that she is trying to complete a marathon, Radcliffe was trying to win one -- big difference. Not to mention, Kris won't be running in 90-plus degree weather.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Take that, Uday!

NBCOlympics.com - Soccer - Spectacular goal puts Iraq past Australia, into the semis
Can you just imagine what a story it will be if Iraq gets a medal? They're only one win away. They play Paraguay Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET. If they lose, they still get to play the winner of Italy vs. Argentina for the bronze. If they win, they advance to the gold medal game, where they will still get the silver even if they lose.

Emad Mohammed scored Iraq's game-winning goal on a bicycle kick.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

If it looks like a duck...

Michael Jackson Stop Calling Me 'Wacko Jacko'
Fine. Stop acting like one and we will.

Anatomy of a rainy day

For such a damp and dreary day, it was kind of nice.

It poured and poured today -- well, the first half of teh day at least. The temperature never got of the 60s. It was the kind of day that makes you want to stay inside and reminds you that summer is almost over and fall is around the corner.

We spent the morning at the Y with Scott and Carmella Price and their kids, Evan amd Emma (who are just about the same age as Nolan and Thomas). Sort of ironic that on a wet day when most people want to stay dry, we went swimming -- but it was fun. After we went to McDonald's for lunch, which is of course always fun for kids of all ages.

When we got home, the kids took nice, long naps and we watched the worst movie on TV. It was a schlocky horror movie called "Beyond Evil," which fits into the so-bad-it's-good category.

The kids woke up, we had a steak dinner (Mmmm...red meat...) played for a little while, and now Thomas is in bed and Nolan is watching "Queer Eye" with his mom before he calls it a night.

I was going to write that we had a nice, lazy day -- but actually -- I guess we did a lot. Either way, this was my kind of Saturday.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Out of control Olympic rules

Official Olympics Site Linking Procedures
It seems the International Olympic Committee has a series of silly, impossible to enforce rules regarding how anyone can link to the official Olympic site.

Please! Consider this my official protest: I dare you to come after me, IOC!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Gotcha Day

That was then... Posted by Hello

Today is a big day for the Rooney family. It was one year ago today – Aug. 19, 2003 – that Thomas came to our family. In fact, as I type this, it was almost one year ago to the minute that we laid eyes on him for the very first time.

We picked him up at JFK in New York City that day. My sister Annie drove Kris, Nolan and I down along with my mom and Annie’s son Louis. I remember we got the airport about 20-30 minutes before his flight from South Korea was due to land (2:50 p.m. if memory serves). Of course, in this day and age we weren’t allowed to be waiting there for him at the gate. After passing through customs he finally came out around 4 p.m. We didn’t spend too much time at the airport after that. We rushed out of there, hoping to avoid rush hour traffic out of the city.

And just like that, all of a sudden, we had a new baby!

He was about four-months-old then. And look at him now! He just recently started walking. He loves his big brother and his dog. He has his cranky moments, but it is also very easy to get a laugh out of him. The weird, spiky baby hair he had at first is gone, and he’s already been to the barber twice. He’s currently working on teeth #9 and 10 and he’ll eat just about anything you put in front of him.

He loves to laugh. He loves to dance and play. He’s a great little boy well on his way to toddlerhood. And we’re all the better for having him in our family. I can’t wait to see how many more changes the coming year brings.

Happy Gotcha Day, Thomas!

This is now! Posted by Hello

Incidentally...we're celebrating tonight with dinner at Garcia's. MMmmm...Mexican food...

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


FREDDY VS. JASON VS. ASH = everyone wins
New Line Cinema is in negotiations with Sam Raimi to use "Evil Dead" anti-hero Ash (played by the great Bruce Campbell) in its sequel to "Freddy vs. Jason." How cool would that be?

Remember -- in "Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn" Freddy's glove was visible in one shot down in the fruit cellar.

Sometimes I hate computers

While I was gone last week, someone got in here and royally screwed up my computer.  It’s infected with…something.  I don’t know what.  But it’s messing up my Web browser and making it difficult to do my work today.  Argh!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Geek alert! Geek alert!

I have been on a big “Doctor Who” kick lately. Production on the new series started this summer, so I’ve been searching around online now and then looking for pictures or tidbits of news on the show. Have you seen the new Doctor yet? The Web site Outpost Gallifrey has posted pictures that are apparently of Christopher Eccleston in costume. He looks less like the Doctor and more like Angel. Gone is the colorful, eccentric wardrobe in lieu of a leather coat and a dark shirt and pants. Is this a modernized Doctor Who for the 21st century, aiming for a more mainstream audience?

I’ve also come to enjoy some of the “webcasts” on the BBC’s official site. I just got done watching the animated version of “Shada, the Douglas Adams story that was never finished back in 1979. The story was obviously written for Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor, but this one is done with Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor from the 1996 TV Movie. Although there is no Baker, this version does bring back Lalla Ward as Roman II (who is now president of Gallifrey) and John Leeson as the voice K-9.

You should also check out “Scream of the Shalka. This story has the best quality animation on the site. It features Richard E. Grant as the Doctor. Production on this animated adventure began before the new TV series was announced. At the time, Grant’s cartoon Doctor was supposed to be the official Ninth Doctor. However, the new series and the casting of Eccleston have rendered Grant’s Doctor irrelevant. That’s too bad. I like Grant and I would like to learn more about his Doctor and what makes him tick. The story begins with his Doctor already established, but it’s hinted that since the last time we saw the Doctor some major events have taken place that have had a profound impact on the character. He seems much more tortured than before. But the nature of those events is never revealed. That would have come in future stories. The story also features Sir Derek Jacobi (“Dead Again”) as the Doctor’s sole traveling companion at the outset of the story – an android version of the Master! Or is it the Master’s sprit inhabiting a mechanical body? Either way he apparently can’t leave the TARDIS, but why not? And why is he now working with the Doctor? Unfortunately, these are all questions we’ll now never get the answers to. But the story is still worth watching. Also, listen for a cool new remix of the classic theme music.

The BBC site also has a Cybermen story featuring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor called “Real Time.” I haven’t gotten around to watching this one yet. There was another one with Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor (and Sophie Aldred as Ace) called “Death Comes to Time.” Unfortunately this one was pulled from the site for some sort of legal reason before I could get a chance to watch it.

Anyway, there is still no word on when or if the new TV series will air in the United States. Lets hope we don’t have to wait too long.

The home stretch

Guess what we did last weekend?  Nothing!  Guess what have planned for this weekend? Nothing again!

We’ve had a very busy summer.  We’ve had plans just about every other weekend.  Since Memorial Day we’ve gone to Kentucky, been on three camping trips and visited Kris’ family at her sister’s house in Syracuse.  We have one more trip planned – to go visit Kris’ friend Marlene and her family in Pennsylvania on Labor Day weekend.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had lots of fun.  It’s been a great summer, but I think I’m almost ready for it to be over.  We’re already focusing mostly on fall activities: Nolan’s first day of pre-school is around the corner and Kris is knee-deep in training for her marathon in October.

Summer 2004 was great, but it would be nice if the last few weeks remain quiet and relatively uneventful.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Whedon to take over 'X-Men 3?'

Sure, Joss Whedon is up for X-MEN 3
This is the best rumor on the Internet right now!

Since Bryan Singer has left the world mutants behind to direct the looooong in development Superman movie, the question is: who will helm 'X3?'

Well, "Buffy" Mastermind Joss Whedon has said he'd be up for the job (assuming Fox offres it to him). Begin salivating...

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Fellowship is broken

The third time was not the charm for me and "The Lord of the Rings."

I don't know what it is about me, but to most people I apparently seem like the kind of guy who would've read JRR Tolkien's trilogy. When the first movie was bout to come out and I told people that I was looking forward to it, but would like to read the books first, they seemed surprised I hadn't already.

So I signed a copy of "The Fellowship of the Ring" out from the library and started reading it. Is it just me? I thought the story dragged on and on. Iknow, I know, it's just the beginning of much longer story -- the same thing I told people when I defended "The Phantom Menace." But still I just found it so difficult to read.

So I saw the movie (on DVD -- I don't get to the theater as often as I'd like anymore) instead. And I loved it. I decided to take another crack at the books before seeing "The Two Towers." Surely, now that I've seen the movie and knew what great things lay ahead, the book would be easier to get through, right? Guess again. I borrowed copies of all three books from a friend, but again I just couldn't get through "Fellowship." (In the meantime, I saw "Two Towers" on DVD and thougth it was great.)

Then this summer I finally saw "The Return of the King" on DVD and was just blown away by how great it was. I felt inspired to try reading the series again. I started off with the best of intentions, but once again I just couldn't plow through it.

So that's it. Strike three. I love those movies and I appreciate that the books are landmark pieces of literature, but I guess I was just never meant to read them. It seems I've been spoiled by the fast-paced works of Michael Crichton and Dan Brown.

Now I'm reading a book called "The Donor." It's about a guy who wakes up in a hospital only to discover that someone has removed one of his kidneys -- and that's not all. It appears two years earlier, someone removed a piece of his liver. Appearenlty this man is a match for someone and they are harvesting organs from him one-by-one. So he goes on the run and sets out to find out who is stealing his organs before they find him.

New and improved WNYT

If you haven't already, check out WNYT to see our new graphics and music and let me know what you think. I hink its a huge improvement, but most od the veiwer e-mail has been negative (although that isn't really a surprise -- we always get more negative feedback than positive).

Our long-overdue redesigned Web site is still coming along. Now we're looking at launching it on Aug. 18. I'll keep you posted on that.

Back to civilization

Our third and final camping trip of the summer was a success. We had a great campsite right on Little Pond.

As the name suggests, it's a small pond in the Catskills (I almost typed "Adirondacks" out of habit). No motorized boats allowed -- just occassional people passing by in canoes, kayaks or row boats.

Nolan loved going to the edge of the water and throwing rocks in. He also got to do a lot of fishing. We got a nibble at one point, but he got away. At one point we could see a fish in the clear, shallow water swimming right around our hook, but he wasn't falling for it. We were getting excited and Nolan declared, "I love that fish, but I can't hug him -- he's too slippery!"

Thomas enjoyed himself too. I think he really progressed with his walking while we were there. He kind of hit a turning point. Since the trip, I think it's safe to say he's walking more than crawling now.

We were there from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday morning. Sunday we set up camp and just hung out. Monday we spent the morning hiking around the pond, had a picnic lunch next to the pond, did a lot fishing and playing catch in the afternoon, and then Kris -- ever the outdoorswoman -- built a great, roaring fire that night (smores for everyone!). Tuesday morning we packed up and came home.

The only downside to our trip was that we found out just a few days before we left that my brother Tim was going to be in town Monday night. Tim lives in Chicago and we don't get to see each other very often. I was bummed that we missed him, but then it all worked out in the end. It turned out Tim was still in town Tuesday night. So we were able to see him over at mom's house after all.

Wednesday was spent unpacking and catching up with a few things around the house. Today it was back to work. Now you're all caught up. :-)

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Mountain men

We're on top of the world! Posted by Hello

We're getting ready to go on our third camping trip of the year. The first was at the end of June at Coles Creek State Park, up on the St. Lawrence River. The second trip was a last month, right around Nolan's birthday, at Nick's Lake State Park near Old Forge. For our next trip, we're going south for a change to Little Pond in the Catskills.

In meantime, we just got our pictures back from the Nick's Lake trip, and I had to share this shot. We hiked Bald (Rondaxe) Mountain. This was Thomas' first mountain and Nolan's first time hiking up under his own power (we used to carry him in the back pack when he was smaller). It was a nice easy climb for them -- and Chester, who came with us despite the fact that Basset hounds aren't really built for mountain climbing.

Friday, August 06, 2004

'Don't call me stupid!'

Another classic 1980s movie..."A Fish Called Wanda" was on TV tongiht. What a great movie. I haven't seen it in a long time.

Unfortunately, it was an edited version on basic cable -- so we never got to hear Kevin Kline shout, "Asshole!" in his Oscar-winning performance.

But at least we still get to hear him say, "It's k-k-k-ken, c-c-c-oming to k-k-k-kill me!"

Brings me back to high school. I had this poster hanging in my room and I think we watched this movie several times in Marc's basement after it came out on video.

Preview of the Jack Bauer Power Hour season 4

Learn What
Jack Bauer's
Up To In 2005!!

The fourth season of "24" doesn't debut on Fox until January. But there are tidbits about the new season already leaking out.

As you will recall, season 3 ended with President Palmer dropping out of the election and Tony "Soul Patch" Almeida getting arrested for treason. How would they resolve these plot twists?

They don't. It seems Jack will be the only returning regular. I can't say this a bad thing, since every other character was really getting on my nerves towards the end of season 3 (and Kim has been on my nerves even longer).

Further more, AICN reports Jack won't even be working for CTU anymore. See the link above to find out where Jack is working now and what the new threat will be.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Terrorist craziness

Mohammed Hossain, 49, and Yassin Aref, 34, are chared in alleged plot to purchase a shoulder-fired missile.

What a day. I'm sure you've seen the news by now. Essentially, here is what happened: two leaders of an Albany mosque were arrested early Thursday morning following a year-long investigation. It seems they're accused of laundering money to help a terrorist buy a shoulder-launched missile, which would be used to assassinate a Pakistani diplomat in New York City.

What these men didn't know is that there was no terror plot. The man they were laundering money for was an informant working for the federal government. Sure, he showed them a missile, but was a dud provided by the feds for use in this sting operation.

Sometime around 1:30 a.m., the FBI, state police and Albany police swooped down and sealed off the neighborhood and raided the mosque and the men's homes.

The story touched off a good old fashioned media circus like we haven't seen in Albany for a while. I would say this was bigger than the Columbia High School shooting story, only because it involved sending people out of town. WNYT sent a crew to Washington, D.C. to cover a news conference with the U.S. Department of Justice. I did not see much of the other stations' coverage, but I'm told WRGB and WTEN had crews in D.C. as well.

The whole day was pretty much spent working on this one story, or aspects of it. The one good thing about that is that when we have these "all hands on deck" situations, the boss usually buys lunch for everyone. MMmmm...free pizza. My lunch can sit in the fridge and wait for me tomorrow.

Anyway, here is a sample of the hard work cranked out at WNYT today:
Albany men arrested in missile scheme (VIDEO)
Court papers give missile plot timeline (VIDEO)
Life goes on at suspect's pizza parlor (VIDEO)
Members of Congress react to arrests
Pataki, Jennings pleased with arrests (VIDEO)
Muslim community shocked by arrests (video only)
Dept. of Justice: 'Not the crime of the century' (video only)

Darth Vader Voice Changer

Star Wars: Collecting | Become Darth Vader with the New Darth Vader Voice Changer
Hasbro has come out with a Darth Vader mask which, when you're wearing it, will make your voice sound like the famous sci fi villain's.

Personally, I think it would be much more fun to try the mask on and say thinkgs like "This is CNN," and mimic Verizon commercials.

Too close to home

Federal agents raid mosque in Albany
Busy day here at work. If you haven't heard, the FBI raided a mosque and one or two homes in downtown Albany this morning and arrested two men with suspected terrorist ties.

Read all about it at WNYT.com. I'm working hard to try to keep it updated as new details come in.

He Who Must Not Be Named is, well, named

Voldemort cast in GOBLET OF FIRE
The Dark Lord is coming to the big screen. No, not Darth Vader -- the other Dark Lord!

Warner Bros. has announced that Ralph Fiennes will play Voldermort in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." They also announced that Miranda Richardson will play Rita Skeeter, furthering the theory that every British actor of note will appear in this series by the time it's done!

Exterminate! Exterminate!

Daleks back to fight Doctor Who
This is great news! The Daleks will return after all in the new "Doctor Who" series set to debut next year on the BBC.

There had been a dispute between the BBC and the estate of Daleks creator Terry Nation. I think the new producers wanted to update and modernize the Daleks and the Nation estate didn't like the plans and insisted on editorial control. Talks broke down and it was announced that there would be no Daleks in the new show.

Thankfully, that has changed. Every Doctor has to, at least once, deal the the big three -- the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Master (I once thought of a great storyline that could combine all three, but the BBC isn't returning my calls). I suppsoe if you were going to pick just one of those, it would have to be the Daleks. They are the quintessential Doctor Who villains.

I can't wait to see this new show. I haven't heard anything yet about when or if it will be shown in the United States. Will it be on PBS again? Will a cable channel like Sci Fi or Bravo pick it up? I just hope it doesn't wind up on BBC America, because I don't get that channel. I like "Doctor Who," but I don't know if it's worth shelling out the bucks to get digital cable.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

More Clinton TV

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not the biggest Bill Clinton fan. But I still stayed up last night to watch his appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman" because I know how good an interviewer Letterman can be with "serious" guests and I was curious to see how it would go.

Dave asked some very intelligent questions, but he also obvioulsy restrained his humor. So I think all in all it was a bit of a wasted opportunity.

But that's ok, because now we get another chance. Comedy Central just promoted that Clinton will be on "The Daily Show with John Stewart" Monday night. John asks great, smart questions while still being funny and usually doesn't hesitate to point out BS when he thinks he sees it. I can't wait to see how he conducts himself with Clinton.

Yankees put kibosh on CBS show's pinstripes

Fictional Empires to have plain unis on series
When CBS announced its new fall lineup last May, I remeber reading that their new show "Clubhouse" would be about a batboy for the New York Yankees. Now it seems like the series is distancing itself from the Yankess -- at the Bronx Bombers' insistance.

It turns out, the team in the show is actually going to be called the New York Empires, but would be based on the Yankees -- complete with pinstripes.

However, it seems the Yankees don't like that they have no creative input in the series. For example, I'm sure they were uncomfortable with a plotline in the pilot episode that involves a player on steroids.

The solution? According to ESPN.com CBS has agreed to go back and digitally remove each and every pinstripe from each and every uniform.

Yankees win! Thhhhe Yankees win!

Two -run, walk off home from A-Rod wins the game in the 11th.

OAK 6 F/11

Now I get it...sort of

Ok...I think I figured out what was causing the link colors and the font to go all screwy. It has something to do with the posts that were submitted via e-mail. For some reason, thos have lots of surpufluous code in them. Once I stripped the extra code out of those posts, everything went back to normal. Hopefully now if this problem pops up again in the future I'll be able to fix it!

Now I can go back to watching the Yankee game with piece of mind. ;-) Right now it's tied at 6 in the top of the 11th!

Sorry, Alvin

I just got off the phone with my high school friend Alvin Chu. I was calling because I felt bad that we aren't going to be able to make it to his wedding. We had already made plans to visit friends in Pennsylvania that weekend.

Alvin is getting married on Labor Day weekend. That's a busy weekend for a lot of people. I got the impression that we weren't the only ones canceling.

But still, it would have been fun. It sounds like it was going to be a nice wedding. He's getting married in Jersey City at the Hyatt Regency - with a nice view of the New York skyline. I know Scott Price is going, but I'm not sure who else. Alvin said he's trying to get Dan Markiewicz to go. Dan is apparently living near Sacramento now. I haven't seen him in seven years - we haven't spoken in two years. We used to be like best friends, but we kind of drifted apart after his family moved away during college. I'll be really bummed if it turns out he was there and I missed him.

There aren't that many weddings left for the old gang. I think Andy Miller (Brooker) is the only one left. I'll have to tell him to get a move on - we always have a good time at each other's weddings!

A chip off the old geek

Nolan was so excited when I got home from work tonight. He couldn't wait to show me the new Spider-Man underpants he picked out for himself at the store today.

That's my boy. I'll have him and Thomas turned into comic book geeks like their dad in no time.

The Weather Channel is driving me nuts!

For a long time I've been registered to get severe weather alerts from the Weather Channel sent to my cell phone. I'm only supposed to get alerts for my ZIP code.

But now getting I'm tropical storm/hurricane updates too. And ever since Alex appeared, I've been getting pages left and right all day long.

So I tried to go the http://www.weather.com/ to adjust my account settings and see if I can fix this problem, but life just isn't that easy is it? Every time I try to sign in to their site, all I get is blank page. I've e-mailed them to complain, but I haven't heard anything back.

Ugh. In meantime, if you would like to know anything about weather in the Atlantic, just let me know - I'm your man.

Turner takes on big media

"My Beef With Big Media" by Ted Turner
Wow. Whatever your opinion of Ted Turner, you have to read what he has to say in this Washington Monthly column. He hits the nail right on the head!

Now that's more like it!

I finally figured out how to fix the link colors in the sidebar -- sort of.

I tried changing the code. I tried using different templates. Nothing worked.

Ultimately, the solution was to create an entirely new blog. So for a while I had "Off the Top of My Head" and "Off the Top of My Head II" at a different URL. I was able to copy all of my old posts (fortunately, I've only been at this for a week) over to the new blog. Then I just deleted the old blog, renamed the new one and changed the URL back to what the old blog was.

The only downside to this was that I blew out any comments that people had added to my posts. Sorry about that everyone. Please add new comments -- I promise to try to not get rid of them!

'Crack' for the media

This goes along with what I was saying in my earlier post about the Lori Hacking case.

Hacks on Hacking
Debra J. Saunders
San Francisco Chronicle

It doesn't speak well for the TV news business that at noon California time, CNN made a top story that Utah's Mark Hacking had been charged with the murder of his missing pregnant wife, Lori -- in the middle of the Iraq war and a contentious political race to win the White House.

Even Internet columnist Matt Drudge hadn't rushed to report this item. The Hacking story wasn't on the Drudge Web site at noon, although Drudge did see fit to feature such headlines as: "Police drug-sniffing dog dies from overdose," "Cruise ship catering to eco-tourists spills 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel," and "Iran allowing sex-change operations."
Fox News ranked the Hacking story as its top Web site report, as CNN advertised that Monday night's "Larry King Live" would air the latest on the Hacking case.

Here we go again.

Another beautiful young white woman missing and another hinky husband -- add them together and you get another murder-trial media circus.

The same faces are back to comment. You met them at the O.J. trial. You saw them again when Chandra Levy disappeared, then Laci Peterson. They were on the case when authorities indicted Michael Jackson for child molestation and the feds accused Martha Stewart of insider trading. I don't need to name them -- you know who they are.

Now they are elbowing each other to be the next breathless expert to tell America "the latest dramatic new development" (in CNN parlance) or "shocking new lead" (in Fox News speak) in one of the oldest stories in the world.

First, let me say this: The news business always has traded in silly items, lurid tales and salacious stories, and it always will. Newspapers aren't the Magna Carta; hence they make room for astrological forecasts, comics, commentary on sports figures and crime stories that fascinate readers because the suspect is a heel or the victim was attractive, or one of the figures is a celebrity.

Many journalists hate working on these stories. At the Ronald Reagan burial at his Simi Valley presidential library, I remember hearing one TV camera crewman quip to another: "Hey, did you hear Scott Peterson is coming today?"
It's not so much the story that grates on some journalists, but the hype, the over-coverage, the pretense of news when there is no news. If there's a small development, they tease viewers with a big new development.

The worst of it is that cable news focuses more on the suspect than the victim. A lovely young woman is dead, but she quickly becomes old news.

Instead, the stories are all about the suspect: He lied about his whereabouts. He bought something suspicious. He is acting funny. He's leading a double life.

After the indictment, the focus turns to whether the suspect can win in the obstacle course called a courtroom. The legal experts provide commentary on the skill of the lawyers, as forensic showmanship trumps evidence. The focus isn't on guilt or innocence. It is: Will he get off?

The trial has become a spectator sport. Analysts talk about the defense attorney as if he is a star pitcher. A good cross examination is a home run. They marvel at his technique. They opine on who has a good offense and good defense. You would never guess somebody had died.

Last year, I defended why the media would cover Laci Peterson's disappearance. If a story is of interest to readers and viewers, I said, the media should cover it. And I still believe that.

I simply do not understand how anyone but family and friends can still be interested in the trial, as TV covers it. The experts have taken a quest for justice and turned it into a game. A game show.

As the late great Jerry Nachman of MSNBC put it, the Peterson story is "crack for us in the business ... we can't stop ourselves."

Bill O'Reilly told Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth that every time he does Peterson, his ratings spike: "We do Laci Peterson every 15 minutes and see the numbers go up. It's a story that resonates with women particularly."

Someone should produce a another remake of the classic 1928 Broadway hit, "The Front Page" -- replacing Ben Hecht's and Charles MacArthur's ink- stained wretches with well-groomed cable TV commentators. But, this time, the movie can't be made without the essential supporting cast -- the viewers who change the channel if there is no non-news on the crime story of the day.

From ShopTalk

Color change

I changed to a new template for the blog. I don't like this one as much, but it makes it easier to view the links in the sidebar to the right. What do you think?

No matter what I do, I can't alter the link colors in the sidebar on the index page. If you look at any of the interior pages, you could see what the links are supposed to look like. But no matter what, the colors on the index page are always whatever your broswer default is set at.

I'm having the same problem with this template, but at least with lighter background the links are easier to read.

The Blogger tech support people weren't much help. Hopefully I'll be able to figure it out so I can switch back to the earlier template. In the meantime, I guess I'll stick with this one.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

From the 'The Truth Is Out There' Dept.

Vacationers say they saw creature in Lake Champlain

CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. (AP) - Five vacationers claim they've seen Champ, the mythical Lake Champlain monster.
Bob Gload and four of his grandchildren said they saw a black snakelike creature while bass fishing last Wednesday. The Maryland man says there was an "explosion" in the water, and then he saw three humps, two-to-three-feet tall and four-to-five feet apart.
He told the Plattsburgh Press Republican that he was born in Champlain but never believed in Champ. But he said he believes now.
Lake Champlain is home to lake sturgeon that can grow to seven feet long. But Gload is convinced that what he saw was a creature like no other.
The reported sighting comes as the village of Port Henry, about a hundred miles north of Albany, prepares to hold its annual Champ Day festival this Saturday.

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

The Batmobile in action

Batmobile footage on AICN
Some very lucky geeks were in the right place at the right time with their camcorder and caught some video of the new batmobile in Chicago where some of "Batman Begins" is being filmed.

The footage first showed up on SuperHeroHype.com, but I found it on AICN.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Best dressed Democrats

I just heard an "Entertainment Tonight" promo touting "Cojo's" picks for best and worst dressed at the Democratic National Convention. What is this world coming to?!?

Yellow ribbon magnet mania

Am I a bad American if I find all of those yellow ribbon magnets that you see on everyone's cars annoying? Don't get me wrong, I'm not unpatriotic. I support the troops. It's just that those ribbons seem like they're becoming this decade's answer to "baby-on-board" signs of the 1980s.

You know, I didn't mind all of the flags that went up everywhere after 9/11, but they got on Kris' nerves. I think now I understand how she felt.

Spit 'n image? Clemens tossed from son's game

Reaction plants seed(s) for Rocket's ejection

Roger Clemens was asked to leave his 10-year-old son's baseball game after arguing a call with the umpire and spitting sunflower seeds at him.

Roger, Roger, Roger (shaking my head)...

The missing jogger

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Police say Mark Hacking has been arrested
for murder in the case of his missing pregnant wife.

The coverage of this case been bugging me all along. I wish someone could explain to me why this was national news. Obviously, there are comparisons to the Laci Peterson case, but I don't really get that one either.

Don't get me wrong. I mean no disrespect to the families involved and I feel terrible for all of them. But it's not as though this was the crime of the century. It's a missing persons/murder case. What is so interesting about it?

Also, there was
a very good column on MSNBC.com that points out that if you're going to go missing, you're more likely to get national coverage if you're a young, white female. Check the column out.

Oh! The Guilt!

Nolan just called me on the phone a little while ago and asked me to play catch with him. I had to explain to him that I would love to play catch, but I'm stuck here at work right now. I'm not sure his four-year-old brain really understands that.

Every time he asks me to play with him and I have to say no "Cats in the Cradle" starts playing through my head and I feel awful!

The A-Rod suspension argument

Here is the exchange between myself and Aaron Hull in regards to my earlier post about the suspensions handed out after last weekend's New York-Boston brawl:

Aaron says...

Here we go again...another Yankee Fan that thinks their precious Yankers got shafted.

First of all...I talked to a fellow colleague of mine here that is more die hard Yankee Fan then you then you (he knows every Yankee Team back to the 50's) and he even agrees with me that A-Rod started it. Let's get it straight...

1. A-Rod got hit in the shoulder. Amazing he realized that the pitcher was pulling a "Roger Clemmens" and hit him on purpose. 2. As John Cruck said, at this point, a batter has two choices, they can either charge the mound or shut-up and walk to first base. None of this mouthing-off pretty boy stuff. But A-Rod want's his cake too...so of course, A-Rod, the pretty boy, doesn't want to ruin his manicure so instead of charging the mound, he decides to start shouting the "F" word numerous times at the pitcher (This is clearly shown in the replay). 3. Now, in steps Varitek. Now every Yankee fan, except for my colleague, is saying why would Varitek get involved. The answer...that's his job. It his job to protect the pitcher...his teammate. When he heard pretty boy mouthing off, he probably told him to shut up and go to first...again, he is protecting his pitcher.


from there it escalated and Varitek and pretty boy got in each others faces, and finally...A-Rod said something that I'm sure he regrets now...He taunted Varitek into a fight by saying "Come On" to Varitek (This is clearly shown in the replay and reiterated by the announcers). 4. As soon as he said that, Varitek bashed him in the face....and we all know what happens next.

So if you wasn't to sit there and say it is all Varitek's fault, be my guess. But all I can say is that if A-Rod simply walked to first after he got hit...I wouldn't be writing this e-mail. But he didn't...and that is why he got 4 games. Yes, he got hit with a ball...I don't really know if he got hit on purpose...But I also I don't know if Roger hit Piazza in the head on purpose either...according to most Yankee Fans, clemmons was trying to go "inside". It's amazing how people know when a pitcher is going inside and when pitcher is going after someone's head, I mean shoulder. Regardless, I do know it's a unfortunate part of the game that could be alleviated if they did away with the DH...but that is another argument... A-Rod is just as at-fault as Varitek. Veritek started the punching, but A-Rod started the whole thing with his mouth. Just shut-up and go to 1st.


Chris says...


1. When are you going to let the Clemmons/Piazza thing go? No one wants to talk about it anymore. Even Fox (?!?) barely mentioned it at the All-Star game. Move on with your life.

2. I'm sorry that you failed reading comprehension in school. You actually agreed with 90% of what I said. I never said A-Rod had no fault. He did mouth off to everyone -- he should have shut and taken his base. I agree with you -- it is Veritek's job to protect his pitcher.

But I don't care how much of as***le A-Rod behaves like, it is not Veritek's job to shove A-Rod in the face. He would have come off looking much cooler, and A-Rod would have looked much more like a chump, if he took the high road and kept his hands to himself.

A-Rod has culpability. He deserves something. But there is a difference between mounting off and throwing punches from behind your catcher's mask.

Veritek earned his four games. A-Rod deserves three.

Aaron says...

"But there is a difference between mounting off and throwing punches from behind your catcher's mask" Come-on Please...When you are in a hostile situation and someone taunts you to start a fight...Guess what...it's time to rumble. How can you give the person who started the whole thing with his mouth less punishment then someone who throws a punch?...By doing that you are not punishing the whole problem/issue, you are only punishing part of the problem...the punch. Baseball knows that if A-Rod simply walked to first...this never would have happened.
He was the INSTIGATOR when he starting yelling the f-word and he was the instigator when he yelled COME-ON. That is why he got 4 games. As for the Clemmons/Piazza...it was brought up to prove a point....The Yankees have done stuff like this many times before, and yanker fans never bitch then.

Chris says...

Cut the macho crap. "Its time to rumble." Please! This isn't the WWE, it's baseball. A-Rod was being a baby. I would have had much more respect for Veritek if he took the high road.

Aaron says...


When I say "By doing that you are not punishing the whole problem/issue, you are only punishing part of the problem...the punch"

what meant to say is "By doing that you are charging less blame to the instigator then the person he threw the punch"

Chris says...

And I have never said A-Rod should get off. But there is no denying that Veritek let his emotions get the better of him (as did A-Rod) and made a bad situation worse.

Yes, A-Rod started by mouthing off and deserves punishment. He did not start the brawl.

We're never going to agree on this. This is last week's news. Lets find something new argue about.

'Putting "F" back in freedom'

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are proven geniuses (ok, maybe "That's My Bush" didn't work out so well). This movie looks like it could be pretty funny.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Watching the world go by

My next door neighbor took this picture of Chester back in November, but just got around to sending it to me this weekend.

Back then we used to have the corner of our sectional right next to the window and this was Chester's "perch." I think he was upset when we redecorated the living room and moved the sectional away from this window.

How much is that doggie in the window? Posted by Hello