Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Needless to say, I moved on to look for another station. Up and down Broadway in Menands, the prices ranged from $2.77 to the $3.15 pictured here.
A New Hampshire doctor is in hot water after a woman complained he told her she was fat.
"I told a fat woman she was obese," Bennett says. "I tried to get her attention. I told her, 'You need to get on a program, join a group of like-minded people and peel off the weight that is going to kill you.' "
So now this guy is being investigated by the New Hampshire Board of Medicine -- for apparently telling someone what they didn't want to hear.
The Garden District, though it fared better than many parts of New Orleans, largely because it is one of the highest points in the low-lying city, is deserted and suffering.
The article goes on to describe toppled trees and buildings in the neighborhood, including damage to one of the city's famous above-ground cemeteries.
The Wal-Mart in that section of the city was a free-for-all, according to the Associated Press. It's one thing to be grabbing canned goods and diapers and life's essentials, but what about the people stealing anything that isn't nailed down, like TVs and DVD players in a city with no power?
''Is everything free?" asked a woman who pulled up in a red car. Hearing ''yes," she started to chant, ''TV! TV! TV!"
Inside, a teenager held up a pair of blue lacy panties and snickered, ''I want to see somebody in these so bad," before tossing them in his basket.
Another man used a table to break into one of the last unscathed jewelry cases. A little girl balanced atop a cart filled with cases of beer.
And then there's this:
When a teenage girl passed out face down between the baby clothes and a women's sock display, people pushed past or stepped on her.
Joseph LoCascio, of Picayune, Miss., stopped to try to help the girl. He rolled her over, and she vomited pink liquid all over her face and hair. He then rolled her back.
''This is [messed] up," he said. ''. . . People just walking around like they don't care. All they're worried about is getting free [stuff] instead of a human life."
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
We’ve been very worried about her since she was unable to leave her home and flee the city.
Fortunately, she lives in part of the city that has not flooded. Her house suffered some damage, but remains dry inside. I guess she has some food stocked up and will be okay for now.
That’s a load of our minds – the one person we know in New Orleans is okay. But my heart still goes out to the thousands (millions?) of others on the Gulf Coast who have such a long road ahead of them.
As I watch the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region, I thank God I live in the Northeast. I will gladly take the occassional two feet of snow rather than have to live through a hurricane!
(and now that I've made this statement in writing, I can be reminded of it when I'm wrestling with the snowblower in January!)
"September and October are going to be the most punishing months for motorists,” said Tammy Melo of Hudson Valley AAA. “And then when November rolls around things will lighten up and we’ll see gas prices go down.”
Thank you, Katrina.
This editorial pretty much sums up how I feel about the Sandra "Beth" Geisel case...
Sunday, August 28, 2005
I'm glued to the Hurricane Katrina coverage. Kris has an aunt who lives in New Orleans -- so needless to say, we're worried.
Here's a quote I found on Lost Remote from a Weather Channel blog:
"I started forecasting the weather professionally 25 years ago and I've not seen anything like this since then," said Stu Ostro, senior meteorologist. "On behalf of everyone at (The Weather Channel), our thoughts are with the people of the Gulf Coast."
Let's all say some extra prayers...
Saturday, August 27, 2005
I really enjoyed the four main characters. I thought the story nailed them – except for Reed Richards, who seemed a little too spineless up until the end of the movie. I don’t remember him ever being quite like that in the comic books (well, except for the terrific “FF vs. X-Men” mini-series from 1987).
The film’s weakest point was the villain. Doctor Doom is the grand-daddy of Marvel Comics villains. So it’s a crime they screwed him up so much. In some regards, Doom resembles Darth Vader, which could be why they monkeyed with him (despite the fact Doom was created about 15 years before “Star Wars”). This version is basically a cross between a watered down Lex Luthor and Norman Osborne from the “Spider-Man” movie – not the disfigured, scientific genius, madman, king of Latveria encased in a suit of armor from the comics.
I really enjoyed the interactions between the four heroes. The story was at its best when focusing on them and their adjustments to their new abilities. But I felt like the Doom character dragged the movie down (that, and the fact there were a couple of scenes with some glaring plot holes that made no sense).
I thought the effects were good. The Invisible Woman is pretty hard to screw up. Some people were critical of the Thing, saying he looked too much like a guy in rubber suit, but I was pleased with his appearance. By the far, the best of the bunch, effects wise, was the Human Torch, who looked awesome in full “flame on” mode. The weakest was Mr. Fantastic, whose stretching abilities always seemed a little cheesy.
The cast was decent. The best of the bunch was Michael Chiklis. I was thrilled when I heard he’d been cast as Ben Grimm, and he lived up to every expectation. I was pleasantly surprised with Jessica Alba. She hardly seemed right for the part when her casting was announced, but she won me over pretty quick.
Of all the Marvel movies released in recent years, easily the best two were the “Spider-Man” films (which one was better is up for debate – it depends on what day of the week you ask me). After those comes “X2: X-Men United” followed by the first “X-Men.” I’d rate “FF” below “X-Men,” but ahead of “Hulk” (granted I haven’t seen “Daredevil,” “Punisher,” “Elektra” or “Blade: Trinity,” but I hear I’m not missing much).
There is definitely some still some good stuff in here. I hope a sequel is made, because this movie could still serve as a good foundation. In the right hands, it can only get better.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for raising money for charity, especially Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's foundation Curt's Pitch for ALS -- a cause that hits close to home for my family and others I know.
But is his subpoena to appear before Congress to testify about steroids really worth $2,000?!? That's how much he auctioned it off for to raise money for ALS research and also for the Shade Foundation, a charity that promotes sun safety against skin cancer (Schilling's wife is a skin cancer survivor).
The subpoena was bought by Kevin Bronson, a Yankee fan and memorabilia dealer from Massachusetts. Here's what Bronson had to say about the piece of paper:
"It's probably one of the more significant baseball documents of the new era of baseball," Bronson said Thursday. "I think in years to come it's going to be more significant."
I think that's pushing it a little bit. Polmeiro's subpoena maybe...
Counter Terrorism Unit!!
Another member of Hollywood's "next generation" is joining the cast of "24."
Sean Astin (son of Patty Duke and the great John Astin of "The Addams Family"), who was fantastic in "The Lord of the Rings," will be on "24" this year.
No word yet who his character will be, but AICN reports he will be a member of CTU.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
While we're on the subject of my college days, my old buddy Greg Keuhn recently posted some pictures of some of the PSTV gang, including a few featuring yours truly.
The photos are circa 1994 and were taken in and around the Williams Street apartment (was it 33 Williams?) of Michelle Scanlon, Dawn Matias, Christy Gifford, Amy Waite, Christie Corologos and Christie's cousin whose name I can't remember. It was a frequent hangout for many of us PSTVers.
The $14 million renovation of Macdonough Hall is complete at Plattsburgh State University.
That's the dorm where Kris and I met when we each lived there for the first couple of years of college.
They closed the dorm down in May 2004 and spent the last year gutting the building, one of the oldest on the campus, and completely updating it.
I'd love to get a look at the place, which now features suites, computer labs and a flat-screen TV in the main lounge.
Since my time at Plattsburgh (11 years ago) all of the dorm rooms now are also equipped with cable TV and Internet access. Macdonough also now has Wi-Fi access.
The Plattsburgh Press Republican has all sorts of quotes from various college officials singing the praises of the new and improved dorm. However, there is no word on the reaction of Mortimer -- the legendary ghost that many believe has been calling Macdonough Hall home for decades.
It sounds like a lot of changes have been made to the basement, which now includes a computer lab, laundry rooms and a new entrance leading to the courtyard behind the dorm (or the "backyard" as we used to call it).
I'm not sure what to make of the basement changes. I was a "cellar dweller" in my sophomore year. Those of us who lived in the basement thought it was one of the best kept secrets on campus -- and we kind of liked it that way. Very few people ever came to the basement. We didn't have our own RA either. The RA above us on the first floor was supposed to be responsible for us. So we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
There were only about five or six dorms rooms down there. The rest of the space contained locked off storage and bomb shelters that were always fun to try to get into and explore. The locked off portions were referred to as "the catacombs." In my freshman year I designed the dorm T-shirt. It had a picture of Hobbes of "Calvin and Hobbes" dressed like Indiana Jones. Over the picture was a logo reading "Macdonough Hobbes and the Catacombs of Peril."
Macdonough was a fantastic place to live. It sounds like it will be even more fantastic for the kids going there now. Kris and I have fond memories of Macdonough. Hopefully we'll be able to get a look at the new and improved version soon.
It was announced a while back that in the coming season of "Doctor Who" Elisabeth Sladen would be reprising her role as Sarah Jane Smith -- a part she played on the origianal "Doctor Who" in the 1970s with Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.
Sarah Jane will only be appearing in one episode. But it turns out that episode will also feature the Doctor's beloved robot dog, K9 -- who was a popular character on the show from 1977-1981.
It gets better. The episode will also co-star Anthony Stewart Head of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I searched for this classic clip online so I could show it to Nolan after he heard the Mahna Mahna song on the Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper commercial.
Here's a little history on this Muppet gem from Muppet Central:
Original Airdate: November 30, 1969
The now famous, Mahna Mahna was created specifically for this appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. He was designed as a symbol of free expression, a concept that was quite popular in the 1960's. The original song "Ma-Na-Ma-Na" was written by Italian artist Peter Umilioni.
Two cow-like creatures, the Snowths (a blend of the words 'snout' and 'mouth'), sing "Doo Doo Dee Doo-Doo". As the song continues, Mahna Mahna upstages the Snowths by excitedly repeating his name. A couple things to look for in this original rendition, Mahna Mahna winks quite a bit throughout this piece which adds to the humor. He also looks directly into the nose of each of the Snowths as he sings Mahna Mahna.
Mahna Mahna would also air on Sesame Street in 1969 and the first episode of the Muppet Show starring Juliet Prowse. A parody of Mahna Mahna was on the 1996 Sandra Bullock episode of Muppets Tonight. Mahna Mahna was also performed live in December 2001 at the Muppet Show Live during MuppetFest.
The good folks at The Leaky Cauldron have posted a copy of the international trailer for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which is due in theaters later this year.
The film, which has earned a PG-13 rating, looks fantastic. I think I prefer "Prisoner of Azkaban" as a book, but "Goblet of Fire" looks like it might be the better movie (just ignore the French subtitles).
Monday, August 22, 2005
It's going to be at Clinton's Ditch -- a new pub in Schenectady I've been wanting to check out -- on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
If you're a member of the Niskayuna Class of 1990 and didn't get an invitation, let me know I'll get the info to you.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
The event was held at the Delaware & Ulster Rail Road in Arkville, N.Y., which is in the Catskills.
It took us about 2.5 hours to get there. We printed out directions from Mapquest, which were a little misleading in one spot. That resulted in me taking a wrong turn and going about 25 miles in the opposite direction before we realized we were off track. When we bought our “Day Out with Thomas” tickets we were advised to show up an hour early. Instead we go there 15 minutes early.
But it all worked out. We went straight to the train – which looked just like Thomas the Tank Engine – and climbed aboard. We sat in an old fashioned coach and took a train ride that lasted about 25 minutes.
Afterward we got out and went to take a good close-up look at the Thomas the train. Thomas the boy and his big brother Nolan were blown away to see this character in “real life!”
There were plenty of other things to do there too. There was an area where kids could sit and watch Thomas videos. There was a tent where performers were telling stories and singing songs. A tent called “the Imagination Station” had bunch of tables set up with Thomas toys for kids to play with and arts & crafts projects to do. There were also animals, a hay maze and – of course – a giant souvenir shop. We didn’t escape with buying some new Thomas toys.
The Delaware & Ulster Rail Road also has plenty of its own vintage engines and rail cars to check out.
Sir Topham Hatt (a human character from the Thomas stories for those of you without young children) was also there. Nolan says he saw him from a distance. I missed him and we never got a chance to go see him up close.
They were serving food, but there was no place to sit that wasn’t out in the open, and the skies were starting to look threatening by lunchtime. So we decided to leave and the rain began falling just as we started heading for our car.
We found a nice little diner in town to have lunch in and then headed home.
When we got back, Thomas went down for a nap and Nolan and I went to the library to pick out a new Thomas video. The kids are happily watching their show in the basement right now.
Friday, August 19, 2005
I recently got a copy of "The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season."
Personally, I kind of get a kick out of the packaging, which is shaped like Homer's head.
But apparently, enough people have complained that the new packaging design doesn't match their old "Simpsons" DVD sets that 20th Century Fox has agreed to send out new boxes that match the old style to whoever wants them.
What's funny is the way the website where you go to request a new box makes fun of these people. The opening message reads:
Welcome complainers, all those that fear change, and greedy people who like free stuff...
You have reached the Sixth Season Alternative Packaging Program
(click the button to receive a very derivative, old style, nothing new, just like before box)
As a father, stories like this scare the crap out of me.
Boy, thank God they're keeping those pesky teenagers out of Crossgates so it can remain safe for everyone!
On Aug. 19, 2003 we drove down to New York City to meet this adorable 4-month-old little boy from Korea, who we had heard so much about and had been waiting so long to meet.
Pictured are Thomas and his big brother Nolan then and now.
It's been a great two years. Thomas is now a very happy 2-year-old. He loves choo-choos and music. Play a song, any song, and he'll smile and dance and sing along.
Like any 2-year-old, he is very inquisitive -- always asking "Why?" and looking for trouble to get into.
But Gotcha Day isn't just about Thomas. It's a special day for all of us, since this is the day our family became complete. And we have big plans to celebrate this weekend.
Both of the kids enjoy "Thomas the Tank Engine." Thomas really loves his namesake. He'll spend all sorts of time playing with his and Nolan's toy trains on their wooden track in the basement.
So Sunday we'll be taking them to "A Day Out with Thomas," where we have tickets for a ride on a train made up to look just like Thomas the Tank Engine! The event is at the Delaware & Ulster Railroad, which is almost two hours away. But it should be worth it just to see the look on his face when he sees that train!
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I suppose this would have been even funnier if Mario Cuomo was still governor.
Granted it was reported as $2.46 yesterday and this morning it was $2.52. Nonetheless, there were still plenty of other people there when I showed up to fill up Kris' van.
It's hard to believe that just four days ago I was outraged to spend $2.53 and today I think $2.52 is a deal! The average price per gallon in the Capital Region right now is about $2.62.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
I paid $2.53 a gallon last night. I don't know about you, but that's the most I've ever had to cough up for gas.
UPDATE: The gas station where I paid $2.53 yesterday jumped a dime overnight to $2.63!
I think we wil leasily be paying more than $3 per gallon by this time next year.
Friday, August 12, 2005
It's nice to see the brainiacs at MIT are hard work inventing useful things like...the Jerk-O-Meter. It's a program for cell phones that tells you how engaged in the conversation the person on the other end of the call is.
Another lawsuit naming ABC as a defendant was filed yesterday. This one stems from the re-building of a home for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Stay with me on this one ... Five siblings, ages 15-22, lose both parents in a very short period of time. A couple in the town who attend the same church, offered to have the children live with them, which they subsequently did. Enter ABC and EM: Home Edition. The show re-built the couple's home to accommodate all the new residents. Around the same time the show made it to the air, the five kids moved out, claiming the couple drove them from the house by treating them poorly, etc. Here's the part that seems to miss the mark - the five kids are suing ABC for break of contract and fraud, saying Extreme Makeover said they would build them a house, when in fact the house was built for the couple. Seems kind of thin. And I don't know if it helps that they kids are suing the couple as well.
I'm not sure if it will stay like this. I might play around some more. For that matter, I also might just put it back the way it was.
Let me know if you like the changes.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
He caught a fish the very first time he ever went fishing last year and hasn't caught another one since -- until a couple of weeks ago.
On Tuesdays in Central Park in Schenectady they hold a little "fishing clinic" for kids in the park's small lake. He went on the Tuesday after we got back from our vacation. The men who run it try give some pointers to the kids, but Kris says Nolan insisted he already knew how to fish!
And I guess he was right. He hooked this little sun fish.
He was quite proud of himself. He called me up on the phone as soon as he got home to tell me all about it.
He's been having quite the summer, filled with fun outdoor activities. But school is just around the corner...
Maybe they could name the road Yahtzee?
Town nixes 'Notsi' name for new road
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) - Officials in an Adirondack town have rejected a request that a road in a new subdivision be named Notsi (NAHT'-see).
Last night, the town board in North Elba -- which includes the village of Lake Placid -- sent the request back to the Essex County Enhanced 9-1-1. The agency had wanted two new roads in the John Brown subdivision to be given the Cherokee names of Atali -- which means mountain -- and Notsi -- spelled N-O-T-S-I. It means pine tree.
But town officials objected to the second name, saying it sounded too much like Nazi -- N-A-Z-I.
The county's 9-1-1 office has been asked to find more appropriate names. It's not clear why names from an American Indian tribe from outside the region were chosen.
The John Brown subdivision is named for the famed abolitionist who tried to organize an armed slave rebellion prior to the Civil War. He's buried just outside Lake Placid.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Monday, August 08, 2005
After several minutes of coverage devoted to the life and death of the newsman, Charles Gibson tossed back to local programming.
And the first thing we see on WTEN is ultra-annoying car salesman Billy Fusello "floating" among the clouds, talking about his crazy HUGE sale in "Hyundai Heaven."
Does Peter Jennings get his own Hyundai in the afterlife?
Thursday, August 04, 2005
That part of the path goes along I-890, Rice Road and eventually Route 5-S. It also follows the Mohawk River, passing Lock 8.
I rode five miles out to park next to the river where I took a water break and then turned around and went back.
It's always fun finding new places to ride and the weather this morning was beautiful.
I haven't been on my bike in a while, so I'm glad Kris encouraged me to try this out.
Apparently in Florida there is no law protecting drunk-bartender confidentialality.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
This is a national event with similar walks being staged all over the country, including here in Colonie on Sept. 30. Patrick will be the "Honored Patient Hero" at the Oct. 8 walk in Lexington, KY.
I've posted a link to his family's fundraising page. They're hoping to raise $1,000. Please do whatever you can to help them out!
UPDATE: I just received an e-mail from my sister, Mary Ellen. She tells me they attended the Light the Night kickoff event last night are now setting their goal at $20,000!
They will need all the help they can get. So please donate!
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I wish I could discuss the book openly here, but I know there may be some of you here who haven’t read it yet. And the things I’d most want to talk about are the things that should be most unspoiled!
Suffice it to say, I had my suspicions about the identity of the Half-Blood Prince. I was wrong. I had my suspicions about the identity of the rumored character to be killed off. I was wrong. I thought I knew where one character’s loyalties laid. I was wrong.
Rowling kept me guessing to the end. After reading “Order of the Phoenix,” I wondered what Book 6 would be like, since Book 7 is the one everyone is really waiting for – the one where everything is wrapped up once and for all. But this book was better than I could have hoped for and left me with no idea what to expect in the next (and final) installment.
I just hope the wait won’t be too long.
Meanwhile, after a week’s worth of late-night reading, tonight I hope to get a good night’s sleep.
Monday, August 01, 2005
The show will be on Saturday, Sept. 17. Tickets go on sale this coming Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
Add this to the short list of concerts I'd love to see, but have absolutely no chance of getting to -- not at these ticket prices: $351, $161, $86 or $61. That's right folks -- $61 for the nosebleed seats in the back of the arena!
If recent reports are true, last March not only did Rafael Palmeiro probably lie to Congress, to the fans, and to America when he denied using steroids, but to the young children who look up to him as a hero. This incident clearly reiterates the need for Major League Baseball to implement stricter standards. This is further evidence that MLB must step up to the plate and work with Congress to rid baseball of steroids. This problem isn't going away and the need for transparency is testing and stricter must be part of any solution to address this national public health problem.
Orioles' Palmeiro suspended 10 days for violating steroids policy
By RONALD BLUM AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Rafael Palmeiro was suspended Monday for violating Major League Baseball's steroids policy, nearly five months after telling Congress that "I have never used steroids. Period."
Palmeiro two weeks ago collected his 3,000th hit, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players with 3,000 hits and 500 homers.
Palmeiro, 40, is the seventh and highest-profile player to test positive under the major league policy adopted earlier this year.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)