Friday, December 30, 2005

Attack of the ankle-biters

Pack of angry Chihuahuas attack officer in Fremont
This story isn't really that funny or interesting. I just like the phrase "pack of angry Chihuahuas."

'Where did you get this number?'

Jack's Cell Phone: "1-888-9-24-JACK"
If you're a "24" fan, call this number...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Holiday week wrap-up

  • I’m back at work today. I put off requesting my vacation time at the end of the year and as a result I had to take what I could get. I was off Monday, worked from home Tuesday and then was off Wednesday. Now I’m working today and again tomorrow, but I’ll have next Monday off.

  • We took the kids to a screening of “The Polar Express” at the Colonie Town Library last night. Nolan and I saw it last year, but it was the first time for Kris and Thomas. They both loved it.

  • I got together with Aaron and his wife Chris last night and we went to visit our friends Marc and Lynn, who were in town staying with his parents. It was great to meet their baby daughter Mara.

  • Besides Thomas the Tank Engine and the Dukes of Hazzard, Star Wars was also big at our house this Christmas. I got episodes III-VI on DVD (well, technically, the original trilogy was a birthday present) and Nolan got a Star Wars coloring book and the very cool “LEGO Star Wars” video game for his new GameCube. The game is pretty simple for young gamers, but still loads of fun for grown ups too. Kris and I even spent an hour playing it after the kids went to bed one night.

  • I really enjoyed the special Doctor Who episode “The Christmas Invasion.” That had it all going on—humor, drama, action, suspense and some pretty decent FX. The dialogue was also very good, with about three episodes worth of memorable lines packed into one story. I also like the new Doctor, David Tennant. I thought Christopher Eccelston would be big shoes to fill, but after one episode Tennant has me hooked. Can’t wait for the new season to start in the spring.

  • Just before Christmas I finished reading “The Tender Bar.” That was a fantastic book! What was really cool was that after finishing it I went to the computer and googled the author. I quickly found a recent podcast made of a discussion he led about the book during an appearance at a Denver book store. I also found an e-mail address to write to him and tell him how much I liked his book. Gotta love the Internet!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Dukes of Albany

We’re enjoying our Christmas vacation. Today we took Nolan, Thomas and Nolan’s friend Danny to Albany Dodge to see the “General Lee” sitting in their showroom.

Actually, it was a 2005 Dodge Charger painted to look like the General. The real General Lee was a ’69 Charger.

The boys thought it was really cool.

I didn’t check to see if the doors would open. I’m sure they would have—and that would spoil the illusion!

I’m sure the boys also would have loved to climb through the open windows, but I’m not so sure the people at the dealership would have liked that.

Thanks to Noah for tipping us off that the car was there!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Morning

More, hopefully including some videos, to come later...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Calvin & the Snowmen, part 4

Thursday, December 22, 2005

'You'll shoot your eye out!'

We’re marking another holiday tradition tonight—watching the modern classic “A Christmas Story.” It’s on TCM right now.

Yeah, I know, it will be on for 24 hours on Christmas Day and I’ll probably wind up watching bits and pieces of it again. But I just can’t help it. If it’s on, I have to watch!

I first saw this movie in the theater in 1983 at Dan Markiewicz’s birthday party and have loved it ever since. But it’s funny how I see the movie in a new light now. Kris and I are watching it and find ourselves identifying much more with the parents now.

By the way, I read the book version of “A Christmas Story” last year. My sister had given it to me for my birthday. If you love the movie, then I highly recommend you pick up the book. It was originally titled “In God We Turst: All Others Pay Cash.” It’s a collection of short stories by Jean Sheperd that collectively make up the storylines in the movie.

A Christmas Carol

We were treated to some sounds of the season tonight in our very own home. Our neighbor Mike, a teacher at Van Antwerp Middle School (and owner of Chester’s buddy Winthrop) brought some students by to sing Christmas carols.

They were raising money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

It was nice to share some holiday cheer and help a good cause.

Paying last respects

I attended a wake last night for an old family friend—Sharon Brazell.

The Brazells were neighbors when I was young and they had two daughters my age. Brigid was in the same grade as me and Kelly was a year older. We started off going to St. Helen’s School together.

Eventually my parents moved me into public school, but I would still see the girls around the playground near our house. In time the Brazells moved out of the neighborhood, but our families would still see each other at various Christmas parties and backyard barbecues.

After a while our families drifted apart. Except for bumping into Brigid a couple of times in the first few years after college, I couldn’t tell you when the last time was that I saw any of the Brazells.

Nonetheless, I really felt I should go last night. It was a little strange seeing them. In my mind I always picture the Brazell girls as little kids. By the time we were teenagers they had moved and we were only seeing each other once or twice a year. So I never really got used to seeing them grown up.

And yet now here we are—full grown adults with our own families. I’m glad I was able to see them, albeit under such rotten circumstances. I enjoyed talking to these old childhood friends and felt bad for all of the years that have past without any contact with them.

I went to the wake by myself after work. My mom and my sister had already gone earlier. Afterward mom called me up and said she was proud of me for going. She said I was “good about going to wakes.”

The truth is I hate wakes. I don’t think I’ve ever been to one that I didn’t feel awkward and uncomfortable at (except, strangely enough, maybe my own father’s).

But I remember my father’s wake and how grateful I was for everyone who came. I remember all of the people from my life who showed up—friends old and new, my boss, a co-worker I hardly knew—and how much it meant to me. That’s why I suck it up and go to these things. It made me feel so good to see all of these people turn out for my father and I hope that I can make others feel good too.

Grandma's revenge?

Those are caribous -- not Santa's reindeer -- hanging outside store

MORAVIA, N.Y. (AP) - Children in an upstate town can rest easy. Despite the rumors, those aren't Santa's reindeer hanging outside a local hardware store.

That rumor -- likely started by older kids -- made the rounds in the Finger Lakes town of Moravia after hardware store owner Phil Franklin and some friends returned from their annual hunting trip to Quebec, where they bagged ten caribous.

Before the carcasses are processed for meat, Franklin hangs his kills in front of his business in the neighboring town of Locke. That sparked rumors at the elementary school in Moravia that the carcasses were those of the reindeer who pull Santa's sleigh.

Franklin says for someone driving past his store, the animals can be mistaken for reindeer. So he understands how children could mistake them for Santa's herd -- especially if an older kid is telling them so.

One of his hunting partners says parents have been helping squelch the rumors by telling kids the animals are caribou from Canada and not Santa's reindeer.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Calvin & the Snowmen, part 3

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More on the Damon deal

I was going to put this in comments, in response to Aaron mentioning that his Yankee fan co-workers are upset about the Damon deal, but I decided to put it out here for all to see instead.

He said his co-workers hate this deal and are quieter than they were the day after the Yanks blew the 2004 ALCS (which Damon’s two-run homer and grand slam played a big part in). I find that very hard to believe. There is no hot stove move that could be more upsetting to a fan than seeing your team blow a four-game lead in a best of seven LCS.

I wouldn't say I hate the deal. I'm not surprised by it that much—it was clear Johnny and George were interested in each other a year ago. The key was getting the number of years he’d agree to down to the right number. Damon wanted seven years, and there is no way he’s worth that to anyone. Four years is a little more reasonable.

Also, the deal includes only a partial no-trade clause. We don’t know which teams are included, but it’s not an absolute no-trade. So it’s possible Damon could be traded if he has his problems.

And that’s possible. I’ve read a few quotes from Damon and I’m not thrilled with some of what I’ve heard. It sounds like he’s bringing a rather large ego with him to the Bronx. Quotes like this:

"They haven't had a championship since Chuck Knoblauch was there when they had a great leadoff hitter," Damon said. "I think the leadoff role has been under-appreciated. A good leadoff hitter is tough to find and I think New York just found the best leadoff hitter in the game."

I wonder how that attitude will play in the clubhouse. But, like Aaron, I’m not worried. All it takes is a couple of bad outings and some run-ins with the New York media to bring about an attitude change (remember Randy Johnson’s encounter with a WCBS photographer?).

I think this is an exciting move that will make my favorite sport fun to watch come spring.

Okay, now that's more than enough for now about Johnny Damon. Comment all you like, but I'm ready to move on to other things today.

Manny Christmas Page 2 : Happy Holidays
While we're on the subject of the Red Sox,'s Page 2 today features some Christmas cards from various figures in the world of sports, including this one from Manny Ramirez to John Henry...

Inside the card it says:
Merry Christmas, Mr. Henry!
I love ya? No I don't! Yes, I do! No, no I don't!

Love, Manny
No. 25 No. 24

Calvin & the Snowmen, part 2


For Sox, a little off the top - The Boston Globe
In response to Aaron's "no worries here" comment (and at the risk of setting off a firestorm of more comments) here are some choice excerpts from Dan Shaughnessy's column in this morning's Boston Globe, which echo similar sentiments from Erik Kuselias and Buster Olney on ESPN Radio...

No way around this one. Johnny Damon is a Yankee and it looks like the Red Sox don't know what they are doing. Time for Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer to say hello to Lou Gorman and Dan Duquette.

And also...
So now your Boston Red Sox have no center fielder, no shortstop, and no first baseman to go along with no Theo Epstein and no clue. It's fair to say this is becoming a winter of discontent in Red Sox Nation. Ben and Jed and Craig and Larry and Tom and John and Crosby, Stills & Nash can spin this anyway they want, but Sox fans can't escape the conclusion that there's chaos at the top. The Josh Beckett trade bought some goodwill and glad tidings, but losing Damon to the Yankees is a devastating blow to the foundation of the Nation.

And he saved the best part for last...
Bottom line: The Yankees just got better and more interesting, and the Red Sox just got worse and more boring. And a Nation is certain to wonder if this would have happened if Theo were still on the job.

You may commence spinning...

Heeere's Johnny! - MLB - Olney: Johnny on the spot
Anybody know the name of a good barber in New York City? Johnny Damon will need one before he puts on his pinstripes!

The Yanks signed the former BoSox center fielder to a four-year deal worth $52 million.

Four years...that's not too bad. Damon was asking for seven years, which would not have been worth it.

He will likely be the starting center fielder and lead off hitter.

I guess I'll have to take down the chart hanging on the wall in my office that compare's Damon to a neanderthal. Maybe I'll wait to make sure he doesn't stink, then I'll get rid of it.

UPDATE: The signing of Damon puts a big question mark over the future of longtime Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams. ESPN's Buster Olney was on ESPN Radio this morning reporting that the Yankees will sign Bernie to a one-year $1.5 million deal to keep him around as a bench player.

Meanwhile, Sports Bash host Erik Kuselias, who was filling in on the Mike & Mike show, called the Damon move the biggest defection in the greatest sports rivalry since Babe Ruth (he wouldn't count Roger Clemens, who spent two years in Toronto before arriving in the Bronx).

He also called Damon's upcoming trim "the most famous haircut in sports history" (Kuselias is a devout Red Sox fan). I, of course, have been known in the past to refer to Damon as "Captain Hairdo."

You may now take up valuable bandwidth with your comments...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas cookies

After stating that I often disregard forwarded e-mails, um, well, here's another I got today from another co-worker...

Christmas Cookie Recipe
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup nuts
  • 2 cups of dried fruit
  • 1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila
Sample the Cuervo to check quality.

Take out a large bowl.

Check the Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality. Pour one level cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.

At this point it's best to make sure the Cuervo is still okay. Try another cup...just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick the frigging fruit off floor.

Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something.

Check the Jose Cuervo.

Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table.

Add a spoon of sugar or somefink. Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don't forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cose Juervo and make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.


Calvin & the Snowmen, part 1

I usually disregard many forwarded joke e-mails. But a co-worker passed along one containing a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips depicting the "creative" snowmen Calvin would build in his front yard.

So I figured I'd periodically share some of them with you this winter—unless I find out all of you have received these in your e-mail too...or until Universal Press Syndicate shuts me down...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Kim Bauer, children's TV host

We went to the library on Saturday and everybody got a video to bring home.

Nolan picked up a DVD containing four episodes of the TV show “Popular Mechanics for Kids.” The shows spotlighted the inner workings and behind the scenes action of roller coasters, the circus and other such things. He liked it a lot. We plan to get more of these DVDs on future library trips.

The shows are about six or seven years old. They’re Canadian-produced and apparently still air on Discovery Kids in Canada.

It was hosted by two kids—a boy and a girl—who couldn’t have been more than 16 years old. The girl, who introduced herself as “Alicia,” looked very familiar, but I couldn’t quite place her. That is until I saw the closing credits and realized her name wasn’t Alicia, but rather Elisha—as in Elisha Cuthbert of “24” and such movies as “The Girl Next Door.”

It was pretty bizarre seeing a much younger Kim Bauer hosting a kids’ show. And to answer your question, no, there were no mountain lions lurking about and she made it through all four episodes without getting kidnapped (if you're not a “24” fan, then forget it—this is lost on you).

Peter, you're home...again

Argh!!! I can never escape the holiday season without seeing that annoying Folger's Coffee commercial where the college kid comes home and wakes his parents with the delicious aroma of fresh-brewed Folger's Coffee. I just saw it now on MSNBC.

I know I ranted about it last year. Now it's back.

How old is this commercial? It has to be at least 20 years old.

Am I the only one who can't stand this ad? Even when I was a kid I found it overly sappy. I did a quick Google search on the ad to see if I could find a picture from it to use with this post, but instead all I found were people reminiscing about their fond memories of Peter and the Folger's Christmas commercial.

I guess I'm just a Scrooge.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Date night

Kris and Nolan are off enjoying “The Melodies of Christmas” at Proctor’s Theatre tonight. They’re tagging along with our friends, the Brownells.

Nolan was excited to get dressed up for his night at the theater. We joked that he would get to be mommy’s “date” for the evening.

Meanwhile, Thomas and I had a quiet evening in. After watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” it was off to tubby time, then we read a good book and now he’s tucked away in bed.

There is really nothing good on TV tonight. I was hoping for some good, old holiday movie or special on somewhere, but no such luck. So I’m listening to Christmas music on Radio VH1 and am about to curl up on the couch with my current book, “The Tender Bar.”

Friday, December 16, 2005

Weekly wrap-up

It’s been a busy week.

On Tuesday I wasn’t feeling good, but I decided to go to work anyway.  That wound up being a mistake and I came home sick half way through the day.  I wound up spending the rest of the day in bed.

I felt progressively better each day after that until today, which is the first that I feel 100 percent.

I haven’t written much because when I wasn’t being sick it’s been busy at work.

In other news, I had the day off from work today.  That allowed me to go volunteer in Nolan’s classroom.  Kris has done this a few times, but it was the first time for me—and it was a lot fun.  I was there for the last hour of the day and was one of several parents (the only dad) to help the kids with various arts and crafts projects.  After we were all done, Nolan went home with me instead of on the bus.

Now he’s over playing at his friend Danny’s house.  Kris is there with him, visiting with her friend Marlene, Danny’s mom.

I had a little bit of time to myself to decorate the blog for Christmas while Thomas was sleeping (or at least he was supposed to be—I could hear him moving around a lot up there).  Now he’s having a snack and watching “The Santa Clause.”  After I’m done writing here, I think I’ll flop on the couch and join him.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The gang's all here

Here's another photo of the kids that came out a little brighter than Shannon's (I guess she had flash issues with her camera).

It was great seeing everyone on Sunday. It's always fun to get the kids together.

The mind of a 5-year-old

I was in the car with the boys the other day when Nolan spotted the 1st National Bank near our house, which has a large sign out front with big “1st” logo on it.

“Dad, that’s the ‘one’ bank,” he said.

“That’s the 1st National Bank, Nolan” I told him.

“The first bank?!?” he said with wonder.

“No, Nolan, that’s just the name,” I corrected.

“Is there a 2nd National Bank?” he asked.

I smiled. “That’s a good question,” I said. “I don’t know.”

He thought about it. “There is,” he declared. “There’s a bank for every number.”

Hectic holidays

Christmas may still be about two weeks away, but we spent this past weekend making plenty of merry.

I had the day off from work on Friday. That worked out well, because Nolan wound up having the day off from school. We were supposed to get four to eight inches of snow Friday. By 7 a.m. there were two or three inches on the ground, so school was cancelled. However, we never got more than three inches in the end. They could have easily gotten by with just a delay—closing down for the whole day was a bit of an overreaction.

But, like I said, it worked out—not only because I had the day off, but also because Kris’ sister Kim and her husband John made the drive from Syracuse to spend the day with us and deliver some Christmas gifts for the kids. We had a very nice visit with them.

Saturday was spent helping my mom put up her Christmas tree and some other decorations around her house.

Then later that night we got all dressed up and it was off to the company holiday party. It’s an annual tradition: we show up for our free meal and drinks, verify that we’re not winning a prize, dance to a couple slow songs and then hit the road. The prizes we did not win include: a trip to Las Vegas, a night at the Desmond, a $100 gift certificate to Crossgates, a gift basket valued at $100, a gift basket valued at $75 and various promotional crap related some of shows we carry. This was our 11th Christmas Party and I still haven’t won anything—but I’m not bitter.

Sunday was a busy day with not one, not two, but three Christmas parties in one day. After church Kris took Nolan to a party for all of the kids taking religion classes at our church while I took Thomas to Tumbling Tykes for a Christmas party for kids adopted from Korea and China. Then later in the afternoon we went to the home of my friend Scott and his family for a gathering of some of my high school friends and our families. Everyone always enjoys seeing “the next generation” get together.

>>Pictured here are Emma Price, Alyssa Lortie, Oliver & Cameron Brownsey, Nolan & Thomas Rooney, Evan Price and Maggie Gray. Unable to attend was Mara Colosimo. Present but not pictured are Bret Lortie and soon-to-be-born “Baby Hull.” Thanks to Shannon for the picture.>>

By the time our kids went to bed Sunday night, the weekend had caught up to me and I was ready to crash myself. But instead I sucked into “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” on TNT and wound up staying up until midnight (although I fell asleep near the end, somewhere in the middle of the Battle of Helm’s Deep).

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Lennon remembered

No disrespect to John Lennon, but it's 2:55 p.m. and I'm already sick of hearing "Imagine" today.

Yes, he was a great musician. Yes, his death was tragic. I remember the day 25 years ago.

And yes, "Imagine" is a great song. But c'mon, he was resposible for plenty of other great music too. Can we hear some of that today too?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Airman's best friend

An airman, a dog and an act of Congress
NBC's Chip Reid had a great story last night about Air Force Tech Sergeant Jamie Dana and her bomb sniffing dog, Rex.

They were injured when a bomb exploded under their Humvee in Iraq.

Dana was badly injured. The doctors thought she would die, but she survived and is recovering stateside.

Initially she was told Rex was killed. But it turns out he survived. Rex was found and has been brought to back to the U.S. to be by Dana's side as she recuperates.

Dana will soon be out of the military and she wants to adopt Rex. The top brass at the Air Force have given their blessing. However, believe it or not, it takes an act of Congress for a "military mutt" to retire early. If Congress doesn't act, Dana and Rex will eventually be separated.

Currently, Rex's retirement is attached to the Defense Appropriations Bill. A spokesman for Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., who represents Dana's district, says "it's not a matter of whether the act passes, it's a matter of when."

You can read the story and watch the video here and read more about the story from Chip Reid on The Daily Nightly.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Mutant mania

USA Today has revealed the first image of Kelsey Grammer as the blue-furred Beast in “X-Men 3.”

For those not familiar with the comic book, Beast—despite his ferocious appearance—is actually Dr. Hank McCoy, a brilliant scientist with an over-the-top egghead vocabulary, not to mention super strength and amazing agility.

Grammer has the absolute perfect voice for the part, and now I have to say that I’m pretty pleased with the look as well.

Check out USA Today’s X-Men 3 preview for some other images from the movie, including a first look at Ben Foster as Angel.

The movie, which doesn’t come out until May, is already getting a lot of bad buzz on the Internet thanks to many changes to the behind the scenes crew—namely new director Brett Ratner. But I’m still holding out hope that it will be good.

UPDATE: The first trailer for "X-Men 3" was posted on Apple's Quicktime site at 8 p.m.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

It's beginning to look a lot like...

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care—and the rest of our Christmas decorations are up too.

We started last weekend when we put up “Snowflake” in the front yard. He’s one of those giant, inflatable snowmen—making ours the cheesiest house on the street.

But the kids love him. And the truth is Kris and I think he’s pretty cool too.

This is actually our second year with Snowflake (Nolan named him) in our front yard. He and I actually went out to buy him on Thanksgiving Day last year. I couldn’t believe I was in a Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving. I think I actually apologized to the clerk for being there and therefore requiring him to be working.

Kris put up some more decorations in the house during the week and then today we went to get the tree. We tried someplace new this year—Van Etten’s Tree Farm in Altamont. Kris spotted an ad in the paper stating that we could get any tree, any size for just $23. As a result, our living room is now home to what I’m sure my brother-in-law Mark would describe as a “big ass Christmas tree.”

I’m not sure the tree deserves the coveted “Best Christmas Tree We’ve Ever Had” status, but it is a good tree and Kris really likes it because it has that look like we went out into the woods to find a random tree and cut it down (which sort of is what we did).

We always look forward to cutting down our tree despite the fact it is usually a source of stress. Although this year wasn’t as bad as past years. Instead of grunting my annual vow, “Next year we’re getting a fake tree!” I merely grunted, “Next year we’re getting a pre-cut tree!”

Now that it’s December and the tree is up and some snow is on the ground, I’m finally in the Christmas spirit. More and more each year it seems like the holiday season begins right after Halloween and Thanksgiving is just a footnote. I was very “bah humbug” up until this past week.

Speaking of which, I’m staying up late watching a holiday classic on AMC—the 1951 version of “A Christmas Carol” starring Alistair Sim. I’m a sucker for faithful adaptations of the Dickens tale, and this is one of the best. Another one of my favorites is my double CD of Patrick Stewart reading the book and providing voices for all of the characters.

Merry Christmas to all! God bless us, everyone!

Happiness is a warm puppy

We spent Thanksgiving with Kris’ parents last weekend.

They’ve welcomed a new addition to their family—a black Labrador puppy named Mose (as in “mosey”), which was the name of a character in a John Wayne movie.

Sadly, their last dog, a loveable chocolate Lab named Fred, died earlier this year.

Mose is still just a few months old and is growing into that stage when he’s all legs and boundless puppy energy.

I was anxious to see how Chester would deal with Mose. Chester loves seeing other dogs, but sometimes there are limits to his patience when dealing with energetic puppies. However, I’m pleased to report that Chester and Mose got along quite well.

He really is very adorable!

The cutting room floor

For as much as I post on this blog, there is so much that I don’t.

I really enjoy keeping the blog and sharing with all of you what’s new with my family and my thoughts on things.  Often times as I’m experiencing or witnessing something, I immediately start composing a blog entry about it in my head.

But most of those entries never make it out of my head (or “off the top of my head” as the case may be) for a variety of reasons.  Usually it’s because I’m just too busy.  Sometimes it’s the opposite—I’m just too lazy.  And other times it might be something that would be great to write about, but maybe better off kept to myself.

So I will continue to deliver what I can to my loyal readers.  Besides, I’m sure if I did unload everything that’s swimming around in my brain you would be bored to tears anyway!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Lady, that's one ugly baby

Another story I spotted today:

Baby, what a misunderstanding.

A Houston woman who called for help overnight in getting her "baby" out of a sewer is facing a possible six months in jail. Turns out her two-year-old "baby" is actually a cat, named "Baby."

The cat was rescued, and the owner given a ticket for filing a false report.

- - - - - - -
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

I got it! I got it!

Red Sox file suit to keep World Series ball
It's one of the basic rules of baseball -- make sure to call the ball.

In the final game of the 2004 World Series, Red Sox pitcher Keith Foulke flipped the ball to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz for the final out, snapping the Sox 86-year championship drought.

After the game Mientkiewicz put the ball in a safe deposit box.

Not so fast, said the Red Sox. They said they own the ball and they wanted it back.

In January, days after Mientkiewicz was traded to the New York Mets, he agreed to lend the ball to the Red Sox for one year and it was delivered to Fenway Park in a Brinks armored truck. The ball then joined the World Series trophy on a tour of Massachusetts cities and towns.

Now that the year is almost up, the Sox are suing keep the ball.

I don't know why, but this whole story strikes me as funny. Of course, what would be really funny is if the judge decides the ball should go to Steve Bartman.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Back where it started

TSA to allow small scissors, tools on planes
So it's now okay to bring your nail clippers, small scissors and other sharp objects on airplanes again. The TSA says they want their screeners focusing on looking for things like explosives.

Umm, isn't that what they were doing before 9/11? I thought that was the whole problem?

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Hamburglar strikes

Ronald MacDonald Charged in Wendy's Theft
A Wendy's employee was caught stealing from the restaurant's safe in Manchester, NH. That employee's name? Ronald MacDonald.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Hope everyone has a great holiday. Drive safe and eat well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Book shelf update

I’ve moved on to a new book. “All the Stars Came Out That Night” wasn’t really grabbing me.

Besides, another book I had on reserve at the library came in. I had requested this book so long ago that I forgot all about it. A woman from the library called me last week to tell me my book was in and I had to ask her “What book?”

The book is called “The Tender Bar.” It’s the memoir of a guy who grew up on Long Island. His father ran out on him when he was a baby. He had few male role models in his life. That is until his uncle started taking him to the neighborhood bar—a place populated by colorful cast of characters from all walks of life, and who all wind up playing a role in the boy’s upbringing. It’s described as “fatherhood by committee.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

That's gotta sting

See if you can read this story without squirming...

Police Hit Man in Genitals With Taser

Naked man hit in genitals with Taser after running from deputies in Florida, authorities say

Police accidentally hit a naked man in the genitals with a Taser after he was caught breaking windows and asking women to touch him, authorities said.

Jeremy J. Miljour, 26, tried to run away when sheriff's deputies approached so one of them shot their Taser, said Cpl. Matt Chitwood. But one of the gun's prongs accidentally hit Miljour's genitals and got stuck, Chitwood said.

"The Taser is relatively accurate, but when someone is moving like that, it doesn't matter if you have a Taser, or a pistol. (Officers) can't aim," Chitwood said.

Miljour was treated at a hospital before being taken to the Lee County jail. He was charged with indecent exposure, resisting an officer and criminal damage.

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Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Oprah to sit down with Dave!

Letterman finally gets Oprah to return
It seems all those pleas of "Oprah, call Dave!" have finally paid off. The daytime queen will appear on Letterman's show on Dec. 1 to plug the opening of the Broadway musical version of "The Color Purple," which she is producing.

Monday, November 21, 2005

'Christmas' comes a little early

Doctor Who Special
If you would like to see how Rose Tyler initially reacts to the Doctor's regeneration, you can find the first seven minutes or so of the Doctor Who special "The Christmas Invasion" online. It was broadcast on the BBC Friday night as part of their Children In Need telethon.

The full show runs on the BBC Christmas Day and hopefully be available on the Internet by the end of the night.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The plot thickens

Did everyone see the article about the Porco e-mails in The Daily Gazette this morning?

For those out of the area, this is a year-old murder case that has riveted many in the Capital Region. On Nov. 15, 2004 someone entered the home of prominent law clerk Peter Porco and attacked him and his wife with an ax. He was killed and his wife was left for dead. She survived the savage beating, but was left disfigured and has no memory of the attack.

The investigation—which has been criticized by some, namely the defense—focused early on the couple’s youngest son. It took the Albany County District Attorney’s Office an entire year to get an indictment.

I’ve been giving 22-year-old Christopher Porco the benefit of the doubt up until now. His outspoken defense attorney has made a compelling argument that parts of the investigation have been botched, while the prosecution has shown very little of their hand.

I’m not saying I didn’t think he did it—just that there has been nothing to convince me he did.

But that may have changed now. A series of e-mails between the son and his parents, filed with the court as part of a prosecution motion, were published in the paper this morning. There have been rumors they argued over money and this seems to confirm it.

Some of the more damning messages:


Dad and I are very upset about you not communicating with us. We don’t know if you are well or mentally stable…




…I want you to know that [if] you abuse my credit again I will be forced to file forgery affidavits in order disclaim liability and that applies to the Citibank college loan…Also American Express keeps calling but won’t discuss anything with me so I presume you’re in trouble with them too. Things are obviously spinning out of control with you…


Basically, it seems the kid was forging his dad’s name on some loans. The article also says he failed out of University of Rochester at one point, went to HVCC and then got back into U of R after reapplying with his good HVCC grades. Except the paper says he failed all his HVCC classes and forged the transcript he used to reapply.

This will be an interesting trial…

Friday, November 18, 2005


I’m pleased to announce my computer is Vundo free!

The Winfixer problem I blogged about is caused by a Trojan horse called Vundo.  Since my initial post about the problem it had gotten worse, with more and more popus and for things other than Winfixer.  Plus the system was noticeably slower.

Special thanks go out to John W. (and Shannon) who showed me how to rid my computer of the nasty, pain-in-the-ass Trojan.

I really wish the people responsible for this could be caught and prosecuted!

Point of no return

It’s official—I broke out my winter coat this morning. Right now it’s only 34 degrees. The wind chill is only 27.

Just two days ago it was in the mid-60s. Ah, those were the days.

Now I just have to cross my fingers and hope we don’t any snow before the town picks up the loose leaves in front of our house.

Bring on the white Christmas—and then bring on spring!

This is CNN, baby!

Seacrest proves capable of filling Big Guy's shoes
Here's what you get when CNN lets pretty-boy "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest try to fill the ancient Larry King's suspenders (from Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times):
My favorite moment came when they went to the phones and Seacrest did his King imitation.

"Big Stone Gap, Virginia. You're on with Nicole Richie. Go ahead."

Caller: "Hi. First off, I'd like to say my fiance loves your hair."

Richie: "Oh, thank you."

Caller: "Well, actually, I was talking about Ryan's."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The book shelf

I've been delinquet in keeping up with my "Now Reading" selection on the righthand side of this page.

I actually finished reading "Casino Royale" more than a week ago. It was good -- very different from the Bond movies, given that it really gives you a chance to get into the character's head. In the movies James Bond is what he is and there never seems to be much thought behind his actions. He just always knows what to do, whereas the book describes his thought process more and shows him at times mapping out his strategy and mentally preparing himself for a task. He also makes mistakes.

Interestingly, Martin Campbell, the director of the upcoming "Casino Royale" movie says the first half of the book will be thrown out in an effort to update the Cold War era story. Personally, I thought the first half was the "Bondiest" part of the book. The last chunk is very different from what Bond movie fans are used to.

I've moved on to "All the Stars Came Out That Night." Set in 1934, it tells a fictional story about a baseball game at Fenway Park between a team of Major League all-stars and a team of Negro League all-stars.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

'Go for it'

I was just wrapping up my cardio work at the gym this morning and moving on to the weights when what could possibly be the perfect workout song started coming through the gym’s speakers: Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” from “Rocky III.”

C’mon! What song could possibly motivate you more to get your butt in gear (except maybe the original “Rocky” music)?

Usually I have my headset on while I’m on the elliptical or bike so I can listen to the news—you have to plug in to this little box on the machine in order to hear the TV. But once in a while I lose the headphones because they do play a great mix of ‘80s tunes. Another great song to work out to: “Take On Me” by one-hit wonders A-ha.

On a side note, here’s the best line from “Rocky III”:

Reporter: Clubber, what’s your prediction for the fight?
Clubber Lang: My prediction? (Mr. T stares into the camera) Pain.

Family Fun Day

Do you live in the Capital Region? Do you have young kids?

If you answered “yes” to both of those questions then you must have been WMHT’s Family Fun Day last Saturday—because I think every kid in the Albany area was there!

WMHT recently cut the ribbon on its new $20 million studio at the Rensselaer Technology Park in North Greenbush. The Family Fun Day was one of the ways they were marking the occasion. There were activities and chances to meet a few characters from some of the PBS Kids shows.

So we made the 30 minute drive to the other side of the Hudson River only to be greeted with a line of Disney World proportions! Basically, we wound up standing in line for 90 minutes so the kids could get their picture taken with Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Ord from “Dragon Tales” was there too. But there was a separate line for him, and we weren’t about to get back in line.

But there were some other activities. There were some arts & crafts tables and the kids got to jump around in front of a green chroma key wall and see themselves on TV. They also got some temporary “Jakers!” tattoos slapped on the back of their hands.

They also got to see the Noo-noo from “Teletubbies.” Thomas was excited to see him (he’s some kind of robot vacuum cleaner thing—I don’t know, I’ve somehow managed to avoid seeing a lot of that show) from a distance, but not so much up close. Kids are funny that way.

The place was an absolute mob scene. I couldn’t believe how many people were there. The woman dishing out the tattoos (in the parking lot to keep the kids occupied while waiting on line) admitted they were getting more people than anticipated.

But as crazy as it was, the kids say they had a good time. And as always, that’s what matters.

Anchor X

Another great excerpt from Brian Williams on The Daily Nightly:
There are checks and balances built into the television business to ensure that those of us who have on-air jobs don't get too full of ourselves. I consider myself blessed to have a robust home life to go home to each night -- a busy place where any self-importance is forced to give way upon crossing the threshold. There was also this scene in the hallway outside our newsroom recently: While en route to the studio at 6:25 p.m. to do the newscast one evening last week, I passed a tour group going in the other direction. We often encounter these groups (they are led by a consistently bright, cheerful and able fleet of NBC Pages) as they file through our hallways every few minutes each day. We often have very pleasant encounters with members of the public who are taking the tour. On this particular day, one man in the group paused as I entered the Nightly News studio. He gave me a look of recognition, he half-waved and smiled... clearly understanding that I was moments away from anchoring this nation's highest-rated evening newscast. It was obviously important to him to say something that took advantage of the moment, and he did: "Go get 'em, Tom!"

Monday, November 14, 2005

MVP Goes to A-Rod

A-Rod named American League MVP
Well, it looks like the baseball writers agreed with my assesment of the AL MVP race. Lucky for him the voting took place before the post season.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Sports Toys

Just in time for the holidays! ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning show gave this rundown today of new athlete dolls available at stores everywhere:

The Raphael Palmeiro doll >> Comes with ear plugs, three-piece suit for appearing before Congress and a year’s supply of B12 vitamins.

The Allen Iverson doll >> Comes with two full wardrobes – one made up of collared shirts and khakis and the other with throwback jerseys and bling!

The Brad Lidge doll >> Pull the string to hear the sound of a major league crack of the bat. Then watch Brad’s head spin 180 degrees to watch the home run he just gave up!

The A-Rod doll >> Pull the string to hear A-Rod say, “I’ll see your $500 and I’ll raise you $3,000.”

The TO doll >> Comes with camouflage pants, headphones and an incredibly large chip on its shoulder. Agent sold separately.

The Chad Pennington doll >> Guaranteed to last at least two weeks and comes with three backup quarterbacks!

Happy holiday shopping everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What Walt Said

In case you're wondering, I've read from a few different sources that when played backward what Walt said on "Lost" last night was:
"They're coming, and they're close."

Now, was he referring to "The Others" or his dad and the other survivors?

Meanwhile, Shannon obviously never saw the movie "Scream." She violated the first rule: have sex=get killed.

Cyber Comeback

The producers of the BBC's "Doctor Who" have revealed the new look of the classic villains the Cybermen.

For those unfamiliar with the Cybermen, who made their first appearance in 1966, are very similar to the Borg on "Star Trek."

One of the first "Doctor Who" episodes I ever saw as a little kid featured the Cybermen -- "Revenge of the Cybermen" starring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor. So I've always had a soft spot for these guys.

The new cyber story is being filmed right now and will be part of the second season of the new "Doctor Who" that begins airing in the spring.

Election Night 'Hangover'

I'm a little more with-it today. I worked until 2:30 a.m. on Election Night. By the time I got home and got to bed it was after 3 a.m. So needless to say, I was dragging yesterday. I almost fell asleep right before "Lost" started.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Decision 2005

It's Election Day. If you haven't already, get out and vote!

Enter Sandman


The villains Tobey Maguire’s character will face in “Spider-Man 3” have been a closely guarded secret over at Sony Pictures.

The last film ended with the stage apparently set for James Franco’s character, Harry Osborne, to become the new Green Goblin – just as he had in the comic books.

However, Sony announced earlier this year that Thomas Hayden Church, fresh off his Oscar nomination for “Sideways,” would play the villain in “Spider-Man 3.” But they never said which villain.

Now the rumors that have circulated since that announcement have been confirmed. Sony has announced Church will play the Sandman – one of the classic Spidey villains I can’t wait to see brought to the big screen.

One mystery still remains. Not long after announcing the casting of Church, Sony announced another villain in the movie will be played by Topher Grace of “That '70s Show.” His character’s identity has yet to be revealed.

If you believe what you read on the Internet, it’s all but confirmed he will be playing Venom. I was a big fan of Venom back when the character first appeared in 1988, but in time Marvel completely overexposed him. I hope this rumor doesn’t prove true because
A. I don’t think you can do justice to the character in one movie.
B. I prefer seeing them stick to the classic villains from the early Stan Lee stories.
C. If you are going to bring Venom to the big screen, Topher Grace is completely wrong for the part. You would be better off with someone like the Rock.

There are also rumors that Grace might be playing Electro, not to mention rumors about an appearance by the Hobgoblin and of course there is the aforementioned possibility of a new Green Goblin.

It’s worth noting Sandman eventually reformed and became a hero. Will that happen in “Spider-Man 3,” with Sandman ultimately teaming up with Spidey to defeat the other villain?

The movie is set to begin filming early in 2006 and released in the theaters in May 2007.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Most Wanted

So there is a serial bank robber on the loose in the Capital Region. So far he has hit about eight banks in Schenectady, Brunswick, Lake George and Bennington, VT. The latest was the bank at the Eastern Parkway Price Chopper around 9 p.m. last night. When you look at surveillance photos you can tell it’s the same guy.

On paper, his description sounds a little familiar. He’s described as 5’8”, 160 lbs., 35-40 years old and with brown hair.

Sound like anyone we know? Let’s see…I’m 5’7”, 165 lbs., about to turn 34 years old and I have brown hair.

Fortunately, I have solid alibis for all of the bank jobs!

Saturday, November 05, 2005


From the “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait Department,” Nolan scored not one, but two goals in soccer today.

>> See below for video of goal #1 (207KB).

This was the last game of the season. Nolan has wanted to score a goal since Game 1, but never did before today. He never once got discouraged. He just played harder and harder each week.

And today it paid off with two goals for his team. I lost track of the score, but I think his team won 6-3. No official score is kept, but most people – including the kids – keep track of the score anyway. It’s funny to see the kids congregate on the field after a goal and hold up their fingers as they try to count how many goals each side now has.

They were playing later into the year than usual because we got rained out for a couple of weeks. Initially I was not thrilled with the idea of playing soccer into November, thinking it would be too cold. But today was one of the nicest days of the season. With the temperature right around 70 degrees, most kids were able to play in shorts and T-shirts.

UPDATE (11/7): I got the video file down to a much more manageable size. However, that meant sacrificing some video quality. I'll see if I can find a happy medium later. In the meantime, it should be easier for those of you with slower connections to watch now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Zogby shows huge lead for Santos

Santos Enjoys Huge Lead Over Vinick in West Wing Race for the White House
What do pollsters do in an off year? Well, fortunately for them there's the TV White House to follow.

Zogby International has released the results of a poll they conducted breaking down the race between Democratic Congressman Matt Santos and Republican Sen. Arnold Vinick on NBC's "The West Wing."

The poll shows most viewers think Santos, played by Jimmy Smits, will win the fictional election even though the majority of viewers think Vinick, played by Alan Alda, is more presidential.

Escaping the Rising Water

Shootout at Pass Christian
You've got to read this incredible account on The Daily Nightly about what a group of people went through to survive the rising waters while trapped in a Mississippi public library during Hurricane Katrina.

I know it sounds cliche, but this really does read like a scene from a movie. The tale invloves floating cars, a hail of bullets fired by police and a heroic police chief diving into rushing water.

There's some decent home video shot from inside the library too.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

South of the border

A co-worker who is a member of the official Rolling Stones Fan Club forwarded to me a recent e-mail announcing a new concert date. See if you can figure out what's wrong with the first line of the message:
Dear Stones Fan,

The Rolling Stones are bringing their "A Bigger Bang" World Tour to South America, with a new concert date announced for Mexico City's Foro Sol stadium!

Um, the last time I checked, Mexico was still part of North America. Has someone gone and moved the Panama Canal to the Texas border without telling the rest of us?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hazzard Halloween

Last night we brought a little bit of Hazzard County to Niskayuna.

Nolan and his best bud Danny dressed up as their heroes, Bo and Luke Duke. Their outfits came complete with big belt buckles and fake sideburns on Bo (Nolan).

We went trick-or-treating through Danny’s neighborhood with a miniature General Lee in tow. We also carried with us a small tape deck playing a continuous loop of “The Dukes of Hazzard” theme music and the sound of the General’s horn.

We were also accompanied by Chester, filling in Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane’s dog Flash, and a small pony and a Yankee player. The last two were actually Danny’s little sister Stephanie and, of course, Thomas.

I must say, the General Lee was quite impressive looking. It’s too bad there wasn’t some sort of contest we could’ve entered it in. Kudos go to Kris and Danny’s mom Marlene who did the bulk of the work, transforming our Radio Flyer wagon into the classic Hazzard hotrod. They each got in the spirit of things with their orange “01” shirts.

The kids had a great time. They were so excited for Halloween. Yesterday morning, they came into our room to wake me up. Nolan said, “Boo! Happy Halloween…trick-or-treat!” Then Thomas, who knows what the true meaning of the holiday is all about, followed with, “Trick-or-treat! CANDY!!!”

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fall back

It never fails…every year I get excited at the prospect of returning to Standard Time and getting an extra hour of sleep. But I never get the benefits because:
  1. I wind up staying up too late for it to really make a difference. I fell asleep in front of the TV around midnight EDT. I finally went upstairs around 1 a.m. EDT.

  2. Small children don’t really grasp the concept of “fall back.” Thomas woke up at 5:37 a.m. EST. Subsequent efforts to get him back to sleep failed miserably.
There were more pre-Halloween activities today. We carved our pumpkins this afternoon. The kids had fun scooping the “guts” out. I never enjoyed that when I was little. (Yuck!) The truth is, it eventually got a little too yucky for Nolan and he just watched and offered jack-o-lantern design tips.

Then Nolan had a Halloween birthday party to go to today. He wore his Yankee costume again. Some of the other costumes kids were wearing included Spider-Man, Mr. Incredible and the Human Torch (I find it ironic that the Human Torch costume must be flame retardant).

After dinner -- in honor of Halloween -- we watched "Monsters Inc." together.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Candy & chaos

Last night was the Halloween party at Nolan’s school. They had activities in the gym, cafeteria and art room, and also kids could go trick-or-treating from door to door in some of the classrooms.

It started before I usually get home from work. So I had to meet Kris and the kids up there. But it was a crazy place full of costumed kids and parents. I wandered around for about 20 minutes, bumping into everyone we know but Kris and the kids, until I finally found them (she was volunteering in the art room, which I had apparently been informed of and forgot).

One guy was particularly helpful. “I know I saw her somewhere. She’s wearing an orange shirt.” Um, thanks. So were half the moms there.

Despite the chaos, the kids seemed to have a good time. But they’re anxious for the real thing Monday night.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Popup problems

My computer at home is being plagued by the WinFixer popup ads.  I have no idea how I picked up this annoying adware and I can’t get rid of it.  I’m running both Microsoft AntiSpyware and Ad-Aware – neither of which seems to have any effect.

Anyone out there know how to get rid of it?  Please?!?

You've gotta be kidding me!

Lawyer plans to sue MLB over Minute Maid Park roof mandate
A Houston lawyer is planning to file a class action lawsuit against Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig for insisting the roof at Minute Maid Park be open for Game 3 of the World Series -- forcing baseball fans to sit in "frigid" temperatures in the 50s in stead of the pleasant 70s.

Acording to KTRK in Houston:
She claims some fans got sick because they weren't given adequate notice that the roof would be open and therefore, weren't prepared for temperatures in the 50's. Some think the lawsuit is a joke, but [Lisa] Sechelski says she's serious.

"They expected to go and enjoy a game instead they were met with conditions they weren't prepared for," said Sechelski.

I'm sure this will be laughed out of court. At least I hope so...

Way to go White Sox

Congratulations to the Chicago White Sox on their World Series victory.

I only know one White Sox fan. I haven’t seen him yet today, but I’m sure he’s very happy.

Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio this morning ran two very funny little satirical spots. One was a fake advertisement for 2006 Cubs tickets, describing the Cubs as the only loveable losers left in Major League Baseball and touting that the first 97 people through the gate on opening day will receive crying towels and shot glasses.

The second was an announcement that went as follows:
After the Red Sox broke their curse last year it’s become clear that’s not the way things were meant to be. Since that time we’ve seen hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis…and now chickens are poised to wipe large populations of the world.

Now that the White Sox have won the World Series, is it time to panic? Yes!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Front page news

If you saw the Times Union today then you certainly saw that they took a page from Ted Koppel's playbook and printed the names of all 2,000 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines killed in Iraq.

It's an interesting choice. While this grim milestone took up most of the paper's front page, it was NOT the lead story on last night's NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams explained the reasons on his excellent Daily Nightly blog:

"Our 2:30 editorial meeting was just breaking up... the first participants had risen and were making their way to the door... when someone looking at a computer screen said so all could hear it, '2,000.'

We knew what that meant. After confirmed word of a soldier's death today, at roughly 3 p.m. eastern time, 2,000 American fighting men and women have now died since the invasion of Iraq. And I will say just as quickly: while we will cover this milestone, and while it is indeed a milestone, it will not be our lead story. Having met families who have lost a loved one to this effort, as I pointed out in the after-meeting just now, they would all have just cause to write me and ask why we didn't lead the broadcast with the death of their particular son or daughter, father or mother, sister or brother. As one veteran's group so effectively reinforced today, every death means the loss of someone's whole world...and no single death carries greater importance than any other -- especially in a conflict where the milestones are decided upon by the media. We will use this number as a way of looking at the status of the war effort, hearing the words of the President today, and looking perhaps at the mood of the nation."

MLB's Late-Late Show

So did anyone else stay up for all 14 innings of last night’s longest-ever World Series game?

Personally, I think I nodded off near the end of the 9th (I had been up since 5:30 a.m. after all). I think I missed most of the 10th and was in and out during the 11th. I remember opening my eyes and seeing the White Sox were up in the top of the 12th and finally convinced myself I needed to get off the couch and go to bed. It was about 1 a.m. when I finally dragged myself upstairs.

This brings me to my annual complaint that post season baseball games start entirely too late.

Yesterday on ESPN Radio’s Sports Bash Erik Kuselias brought up a point I hadn’t yet realized: that there were no black players on Houston’s World Series roster. He said that’s the first time that’s been the case for a World Series team in more than 50 years.

Erik didn’t think that was the result of any sort of racism. He pointed out that plenty of other minorities are represented on the Astros and in baseball in general. He only said that he doesn’t think baseball reaches black youths the way other sports do – that young black kids aren’t getting excited about baseball at the Little League level.

I’ll take that a step further and say that is the case of many American kids of all racial backgrounds. And the late hour of baseball’s most important games can’t be helping. I can remember my dad watching playoff games in the afternoon after I came home from school. Now my kids are in bed by the time the first pitch in a World Series game or the All-Star game is thrown.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Reality in Muppetvision

Muppets pull strings at ABC
Variety is reporting the Muppets may soon be the stars of their own prime time "reality" show on ABC. "America's Next Muppet" will spoof shows like "America's Next Top Model" and "American Idol" as various new characters compete to become the latest major Muppet star.

How cool would an "Apprentice"-style Muppet show be with Sam the Eagle firing Gonzo wannabes? (and you'd have to have Statler and Waldorf among the judges!)

I loved the Muppets as a kid, but as an adult they can still be appreciated for some smart satire. I'm anxious to see how they send up reality TV.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Wet weekend

What a soggy month October is turning out to be.

Nolan finally got a soccer game in Saturday morning. That’s their first game since Oct. 1! We thought it might be cancelled again since it was pouring just a few hours before game time. But by then it was just cold, damp and miserable – but not raining (actually, it did drizzle on and off during the game).

Nolan played goalie for the first half of the game. After letting a few sneak past him he settled in and got the hang of it. He even made one really great save. I was standing behind the goal coaching him (and the other goalie during the second half) and pumped my fists in the air shouting “YES!!!” when he stopped the ball. Then I realized that maybe I was getting a little too excited about a kindergarten soccer game.

We made the best of the rest of the weekend. We were stuck inside most of the time. The picture above is of everyone on the couch for story time Sunday night.

Nolan had a friend sleep over Friday night, which was fun. I enjoyed making breakfast for the kids on Saturday morning. Don’t get me wrong – my lack of cooking skills are well known and Kris will be the first to point out how rare it is for me to prepare a meal. But it seemed like the “dad thing” to do (my dad always made a great breakfast). So I cracked open a cookbook and a few eggs and made a “magic pancake puff” that everyone enjoyed.

I also started a new a book. I’ve always been interested in reading “Casino Royal,” Ian Flemming’s original James Bond novel – especially since they announced it would be adapted as the next 007 film. Well, I finally got it from the library.

As for the World Series, I know I said I would be rooting for the Astros, but it’s awful hard to root against the White Sox. At this point, I’m just rooting for good games and I haven’t been disappointed so far.

Play-by-play, Fox style

A 'Break' from Fox
If you missed Game 2 of the World Series on Fox, check out the transcript courtesy of Eric Wilbur of NESN. Here's a sample:

Buck: While you were watching that ad for the new Fox hit "Bones" Tuesday nights at 8, right here on the Fox network, I'll just let you know the only thing you missed was a Morgan Ensberg home run to make it 1-0 Astros.

The Astros are looking for their first World Series victory in their first World Series appearance. They've finally made it to the wedding, after being left at the altar so many times before. It's like Eartha Kitt once sang, "Who's got the ding dong, who's got the bell. Somebody know but nobody tell."

Buck: My God, where's Troy Aikman?

He's sitting there behind home plate.

Buck: Indeed he is. And you can catch my other booth partner and I every week on Fox NFL Sunday, right after JB, Terry, Howie and Jimmy at noon.

Thanks, Shannon.

Friday, October 21, 2005

LOL moment of the day

Tom Cruise Kills Oprah
Need a good chuckle? Then watch as the maniacal Tom Cruise demonstrates the true nature of the Force on Oprah Winfrey!

See the short clip here.

Spotted on

Thursday, October 20, 2005

This Bud's not for you

Brewer to End Sound-Alike Bar Game
Budweiser is ending is "Bud Pong" promotion -- basically a version the drinking game known as beer pong -- because (gasp!) people were playing it with beer!

The rules of the game vary, but basically it involves sinking a ping pong ball in a glass of beer. The more points you score, the more your opponent has to drink.

Anheuser-Busch sent out Bud Pong sets -- including tables, glasses and balls -- to bars around the country with instructions the game be played with water. However, they're shocked, SHOCKED, to hear people were playing it with beer and getting themselves crazy sloshed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Taunton vs. tauntaun

Mass. town braces as dam nears breaking point
Am I the only geek that can't hear about the town of Taunton, Mass., where a dam is in danger of breaking, without thinking of the creatures Luke Skywalker and Han Solo rode around on in the beginning of "The Empire Strikes Back?"

Sunday, October 16, 2005

How about them apples

Today was the annual family apple picking trip to Bowman Orchards.

I think the buckets of rain we’ve been getting worked to our advantage. Usually the apples are pretty picked over by this time. But there were plenty of good apples left – huge ones in fact! And many were low enough on the trees that the kids could pick them. So my theory is that the rain has been keeping people away, leaving more apples for us!

The same goes for the pumpkins. Bowman has a good sized pumpkin patch that was still filled with plenty of good sized, good shaped pumpkins.

That’s not to say the weather was perfect. It was very windy today. The top wind gusts today were about 59 mph! There are lots of tree limbs down around our house, although fortunately nothing too big.

After picking two pumpkins and filling our sack with apples, we stopped to visit the farm animals and play on the playground for awhile before calling it a day.

Everyone had a good time – even Chester, who came along too (and yes, he also got to eat some apples).

Then came the best part – this afternoon Kris baked an apple pie! Mmmm…apple pie… Perhaps the best part of fall.