Thursday, September 29, 2005

Rush hour

I know the tollbooth can be a scary place sometimes when everyone is in a hurry, but these two idiots from the Buffalo area took it to new heights today.

What makes these guys even dumber -- you'll notice neither one of them has E-ZPass. I can see an accident like this happening when two cars are trying to rush through without stopping. But it looks like these guys were in a major hurry just to see who could stop and deal with the booth attendant first.

Click on the picture to see the larger version -- I love the expression on the face of the guy in the Honda!

More whining from the den of sickness

What I refer to as “the dreaded stomach death” is sweeping through our house this week.

Nolan had it Monday night and missed school Tuesday (his first absence! Is this going to keep him out of medical school?!?). Thomas has it today.

But yesterday it hit Kris and me both. For some reason the dreaded stomach death always strikes in the middle of the night. It hit Kris first. Within the hour I found myself running to pay homage to the porcelain god.

As parents, we were pretty much useless yesterday. We were both flopped on the couch the whole day. Fortunately the kids were very well behaved and didn’t take the opportunity to chase each other through the house with knives.

What really stinks is that we missed out on going to our first Back to School night!

Here's an example of just how sick I was: I never even had an urge to check my e-mail at any point in the day!

We’re feeling much, much better today, although neither of us is 100 percent. As for Thomas, so far he doesn’t seem to have it quite as bad as the rest of us did. Hopefully by the weekend we’ll all be healthy again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Which 'Star Wars' character am I?

I was kind of hoping to come up with Chewbacca, but I imagine you could do a whole lot worse than Liam Neeson...

Monday, September 26, 2005

We'll miss him by that much...

TV has lost another one of the greats – Don Adams is dead at age 82.

For many, Adams will always be remembered as Maxwell Smart, a.k.a. Agent 86, in the classic TV series “Get Smart!”

His Associated Press obituary (below) goes into great detail about “Get Smart!” But doesn’t mention the voice work Adams was also known for. When I think of Don Adams, of course “Get Smart!” is the first thing to come to mind. But right on the heels of that is “Tennessee Tuxedo.”

In later years he provided the voice for “Inspector Gadget” – a sort of cross between “Get Smart!” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.” also says he had uncredited role in “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” as Coach Comet during the reindeer games scene. I never realized that was him, but thinking back on it now it does sort of sound like him.

In the hands of creators Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, "Get Smart!" was a classic. Unortunately, efforts to revive the show failed miserably. A movie version of show released in 1980 called "The Nude Bomb" was...well...a bomb. And a 1995 version for Fox that brought back Don Adams and Barbara Feldon from the original show but focuses on Andy Dick as their son was a flop.
Don Adams, TV's fumbling secret agent on `Get Smart,' dies at 82
By BOB THOMAS Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP)- Don Adams, the wry-voiced comedian who starred as the fumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in the 1960s television spoof of James Bond movies, "Get Smart," has died. He was 82.

Adams died of a lung infection late Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his friend and former agent Bruce Tufeld said Monday, adding the actor broke his hip a year ago and had been in ill health since.

As the inept Agent 86 of the super-secret federal agency C.O.N.T.R.O.L., Adams captured TV viewers with his antics in combatting the evil agents of C.H.A.O.S.
When his explanations failed to convince the villains or his boss, he tried another tack: "Would you believe ...?"

It became a national catch phrase.

Smart was also prone to spilling things on the desk or person of The Chief (actor Edward Platt). Smart's apologetic "Sorry about that, chief" also entered the American lexicon.

The spy gadgets, which aped those of the Bond movies, were a popular feature, especially the pre-cell-phone telephone in a shoe.

Smart's beautiful partner, Agent 99, played by Barbara Felden, was as brainy as he was dense, and a plot romance led to marriage and the birth of twins later in the series.

Adams, who had been under contract to NBC, was lukewarm about doing a spy spoof. When he learned that Mel Brooks and Buck Henry had written the pilot script, he accepted immediately. "Get Smart" debuted on NBC in September 1965 and scored No. 12 among the season's most-watched series and No. 22 in its second season.

"Get Smart" twice won the Emmy for best comedy series with three Emmys for Adams as comedy actor.

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

More reasons to dislike Dr. Phil

Read this is this morning's "ShopTalk"...

Maria Shriver Has Her Fill of Dr. Phil
Dr. Phil may not be so lovable after all.

According to the New York Post's Liz Smith, Dr. Phil McGraw showed some divalike tendencies when scheduled to speak at an obesity forum hosted by California first lady Maria Shriver a week ago.

Dr. Phil wanted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to introduce him, but a last-minute conflict prevented it. Dr. Phil then refused to speak, and when he asked for a restroom, he refused to use a public bathroom.

After Dr. Phil finally relented on both counts, Shriver told him, "My 7-year-old doesn't act the way you do."

Friday, September 23, 2005

Cheap ice cream!

Stewarts Shops
While you're at the pump filling up your tank before Rita pushes gas prices to the $4 mark, grab some ice cream at Stewart's. To mark their 60th anniversary they're offering 60 cent make your own sundaes today and tomorrow.

NOTE: I've received no compensation from Stewart's for this mention. I'm just a fan of ice cream and anything that's free or cheap.

Quote of the day

Landing in San Francisco after a United flight from Denver, Linda Gallegos heard the flight attendant's announcement:
"On behalf of all our crew, we realize you have a choice of bankrupt airlines, and we thank you for choosing United."

From TV Spy ShopTalk

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Getting the point across

Daily Nightly: A grim detail in Port Lavaca
NBC's Ron Blome reports on the Daily Nightly that Mayor Alan Tharling of Port Lavaca, Texas is going to extremes to encourage people in the path of Hurricane Rita to evacuate.

Tharling says that the 1,000 or so die-hards who refuse to evacuate are being given permanent markers and asked to write their Social Security number, next of kin and a phone number on their arm or across their abdomen — so that returning officials can identify their bodies.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Tonight's TV strategy

There’s a busy night of TV on tap for tonight.

Everyone raves about what a great show “Lost” is. Last year I caught most of the pilot, but then missed the next few episodes. I saw the occasional episode here and there after that, but I found it hard to get into the show without seeing it every week.

Part of the problem was that it was hard for me to always catch it at 8 p.m. With the show moving to 9 p.m. (and nothing else that I’d really want to see on at that time) I’m hoping to start following it this year.

Which brings us to tonight. Before watching the season premier of “Lost,” I’d like to catch “Destination Lost” – the primer show that catches the uninitiated up on what happened in season 1 (it was a show like that that got me hooked on “The X-Files.”)

However, at the same time that is on, I’d also like to watch “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” and Kris is planning to watch “America’s Next Top Model.”

So I guess that means I’ll watch “Lost” while she watches “Top Model” and we’ll have to catch up on “Apprentice: MS” at some point down the road – maybe tomorrow night while we’re waiting for the original recipe Donald Trump “Apprentice.”

And then of course there is a new “Law & Order” at 10 p.m.

All of this, plus I’ll be checking in on the Yankees during commercial breaks!

UPDATE: Hurricane Rita is now a Category 5 storm! So I imagine I'll find some time to check in on the Weather Channel and the cable news channels tonight too.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A tour through history

I enjoyed a fun activity Saturday afternoon. I went on a bicycle tour of the Saratoga Battlefield.

The Battlefield is preserved as a national historic park. For those unfamiliar with the history, many believe the events that took place there in 1777 where the turning point of the Revolutionary War. Had it not been for the Battle of Saratoga, we might all still be singing “God Save the Queen.”

There were actually two battles fought there. The first was 228 years ago today and the second was on Oct. 7, 1777.

The park is set up so you can either drive or bike through it and stop at designated areas to view plaques and exhibits detailing what happened at each particular location.

At a couple of the stops they also had people in period costumes. At one – the Neilson House – a patriot camp was recreated. It was complete with tents, soldiers and a couple of Indians milling about and women cooking over open fires.

A crowd gathered around a man dressed as Major General Horatio Gates to hear him tell his tales. And I recognized one man’s costume as that of a ranger and struck up conversation with him, asking him some questions about the rangers and Robert Rogers, who I read about in “The Adirondacks: A History of America's First Wilderness.”

I got to hold a replica of a “Brown Bess” rifle and watched soldiers fire their similar weapons. More impressive was the artillery demonstration. Three, five and nine-pound canons were fired. I wisely followed the advice to stick my fingers in my ears – those things were loud!

On the steps of the Neilson House we watched a recreation of a court martial proceeding. It all seemed very authentic until the cell phone of one of the men guarding the defendant started ringing!

We also saw the monument to Benedict Arnold. He was one of the heroes at Saratoga. It would be another three years or so before he would become the most famous traitor in American history. The monument was erected in the 1800s and stands on the site where he was wounded. It has a lengthy inscription detailing his feats, but never mentions his name!

The whole route is about 11 miles. As I said, you can drive through the park, but I can’t think of a better way to see it than on a bicycle. I’ve always had a passing interest in colonial America and the Revolutionary War. This was a great way to learn a little more about our history while enjoying a pleasant ride (except for a couple of challenging hills) with some beautiful scenery.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Old habits die hard

Back in the day, Oprah's TV talk show was just as trashy and tabloidy (is that a word?) as all of the other daytime talk show's.

Then somewhere about 10 years or so ago she decided from now on she would only do "positive" shows. This move elevated her to class well above the likes of Maury Povich, Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones...oh yeah, and that Jerry what's-his-name

Flash forward to 2005 -- I just saw the promo for today's "Oprah" show: "When your identical twin has a sex change!"

Making a difference...Changing lives. That's Oprah...doing God's work!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Any RSS recommendations?

With the number of sites and blogs I read every day increasing (I've taken up reading Brian Williams' "Daily Nightly" blog) I think it might be time to consider downloading an RSS reader.

I've never used RSS before. Does anyone out there have any suggestions?

Sick of being sick

I stayed home sick from work yesterday. I hate taking sick days for two reasons:
A.) It throws me off at work.
B.) I feel guilty, since Kris doesn’t exactly get to call in sick at her job. Granted, if she’s really under the weather I’ll call in sick and stay home to take care of the kids, but it’s very rare when that happens. For the most part, she’s a good soldier and she toughs it out. So I feel like a loser when I spend the day flopped on the couch.

Which is essentially what I did yesterday. When not watching CNN or MSNBC, I watched the DVD of the “Who Shot Mr. Burns” episode of “The Simpsons” twice – once by itself and then again with the commentary and deleted scenes – an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” on Spike TV and the final episode of “Star Trek: Voyager” on DVD (the ending is still disappointing).

And of course, not a day goes by in our house it seems without seeing at least part of a “Dukes of Hazzard” episode. I watched part of an episode with Nolan from his Season 2 set after he got home from school and then we watched another show on CMT before bedtime.

I was a little productive. Last night I hung some baskets on the wall near the front door that Kris bought, which will essentially server as “in” and “out” boxes for each of us, and I folded some laundry. So at least I accomplished something.

I woke up thinking I felt better and went to work. But now that I’m here I feel lousy. For some reason when I get a cold, it always comes with a back ache.

But enough whining from me. Back to work!

More 'Harry Potter' coolness

Moviefone: 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' Movie Exclusive Extra-Large Trailer
The latest trailer for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" is now online. If thought the last one was cool, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

More great baby news!

Congratulations to my old friend Marc Colosimo and his wife Lynn on the arrival of their new daughter Mara Elizabeth.

Mara was born on Labor Day (appropriately enough) but just came home after spending some time in the NICU under circumstances very similar to what Nolan went through when he was born.

Rest assured, everyone is very happy and healthy now.

Way to go Marc & Lynn!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Season of Sickness Begins...

Here’s another sure fire sign summer is over: I came down with a cold today!  Ugh.  And with school back in session, I’m sure this will be the first of many illnesses to insidiously work their way through our house.


I'd like to take a moment to wish a very happy birthday to my favorite person in the whole world -- my fantastic wife Kris!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Events occur in real time

The power is out in Los Angeles with no apparent explanation why.
Quick!  Call CTU!  Get me Jack Bauer!!!

How do you spell 'Duh'?

I find it funny that Blogger's spell checker doesn't recognize the words "Blogger" or "blog."

Word Verification

I hate to do it, but I've activated the "word verification" feature for leaving comments on this blog.

I enjoy getting comments, but lately I've been hit by too much "comment spam." Usually I'm able to catch it quickly and remove it, but I don't like having to worry about it at all.

What is word verification? Here's Blogger's explanation:
...people leaving comments on your blog will be required to complete a word verification step...

What this does is to prevent automated systems from adding comments to your blog, since it takes a human being to read the word and pass this step. If you've ever received a comment that looked like an advertisement or a random link to an unrelated site, then you've encountered comment spam. A lot of this is done automatically by software which can't pass the word verification, so enabling this option is a good way to prevent many such unwanted comments.

I hope this doesn't cause anyone who comments here too much inconvenience and that you continue to share your comments.

Even Better

I forgot to mention that we learned late last week that Kris' aunt from New Orleans, who was eventually evacuated to Baton Rouge, is now out of the state altogether and staying with her brother in New Jersey.

The Price is Right...D'oh!

From the New York Daily News:

Destination's wrong on 'The Price Is Right'
There were red faces at CBS yesterday - and profuse apologies - after the network broadcast a rerun of "The Price Is Right" that included a "showcase" prize package featuring a trip to New Orleans.

"You and a guest will fly round-trip coach from Los Angeles to New Orleans for a six-night stay at the Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel, within walking distance to the French Quarter," the announcer boomed as host Bob Barker and contestants Shannan and Jeri Sue stood listening onstage.

In the final moments of the show - originally aired in December - Shannan overbid on the New Orleans package and thus didn't win the trip.

After the episode aired in most of the country - in the East, Central and Mountain Time Zones - mortified network execs killed it for the West Coast.

CBS spokeswoman Beth Haiken said in a statement: "Trips to New Orleans are frequently offered as travel prizes on 'The Price Is Right.' Out of consideration for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, we made every effort to pull all repeat episodes from circulation that feature trips to New Orleans.

"However, this one episode was unfortunately overlooked … and the content of all other episodes scheduled for rebroadcast has been carefully reviewed to prevent this from recurring. Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave citizens of the Gulf Coast."

Enough said.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

With Nolan starting school, I think it’s safe to say the summer is over. So without further ado, here are my personal top 10 highlights of the season that was:

  1. Silver Lake. As stated before: Best…Vacation…Ever!

  2. Kitchen Aid. Probably the best improvement we’ll ever make to our house.

  3. The Return of the Brownells. The Brownell family are friends of ours. Marlene and Kris are close friends and Danny is one of Nolan’s best friends. They moved to Pennsylvania last year, but returned to the area this year – thus increasing the summer fun for everyone.

  4. Noaln’s Birthday. I think I enjoyed some of his presents as much as him!

  5. Day Out With Thomas. This was such a fun event and a great way to celebrate Gotcha Day.

  6. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Price.” This book was a great read. Can’t wait for Potter 7!

  7. Tour de Cure. I had a great ride, the family came out to cheer me on and I raised $860 for the American Diabetes Association.

  8. The Great Escape. Okay, technically this counts as part of Nolan’s birthday. But our trip to the Great Escape with our friends, the McDonnell family, came almost two weeks before his birthday. So I’m counting it separate here.

  9. Backyard Party. We had a fun party at our house with our friends the Brownseys, the Hulls and the Prices. It’s always great to spend time with friends.

  10. Yankee Stadium. Even though the Yanks lost to the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a trip to the stadium is always fun. And what could be better than a road trip with my good buddies Aaron and Noah?

UPDATE: There were some other items I left off the list because I thought they were more from the spring. But it's nagging me that I left them off, so here they are:

  • Nolan's End of the Year Pre-School Concert. One of the cutest sights ever. Now on to kindergarten!
  • Last Game of Tee-Ball. They were a great group of kids and everyone got a trophy.
  • "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith." This came out in May, but I think it was June before we saw it. It was also fun showing the original three movies to Nolan over the course of the summer.

I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting, but these are the big highlights.

UPDATE #2: I forgot about the circus! We took the kids to the Big Apple Circus in Saratoga Springs on July 4 (which seems like forever ago).

Friday, September 09, 2005

The First Day of School

Well, today was the big day. This morning Nolan climbed onto the bus and headed of to his first day of kindergarten!

He was bouncing off the walls this morning. He had been getting increasingly excited everyday as the first day of school approached.

The rest of the district started on Wednesday, but for some reason they didn’t start kindergarten until today.

We went outside about five minutes before the scheduled arrival of the bus, which was then about 15 minutes late. When the bus did pull up to the edge of our driveway, the door opened and the driver stepped down to introduce herself to Nolan. I heard her say her name was Cathel.

Holy blast from the past! Cathel was one of my drivers all through school, and of course dad knew her when he was a school bus driver. I quickly jumped in and said, “Cathel, you drove me to school!”

And mom, who was there, asked Cathel if she remembered dad.

Cathel looked at all of us and couldn’t believe it. She pointed at Nolan and said, “This is…?”

“Yup,” I said, “This is my son.”

I told her I was pleased to know Nolan was in good hands, and with that, the bus was on its way.

Nolan just called me a few minutes ago. He’s home. Kris had already played 20 questions with him about how his day went, so he wasn’t up to fielding too many more of the same questions from me. But it sounds like he had a good time.

Now, with his first day of school behind him, he’s anxious to dive into the generous gift Grandma & Grandpa Chase sent to down to him yesterday: “Dukes of Hazzard” Season 2 (Thomas got a new “Thomas the Tank Engine” video)!

In related news, Nolan had his first soccer practice last night. He actually looked pretty good out there.

The experience is a little different for me than baseball was, because I’m not quite as involved this time. I don’t really know a whole lot about soccer.

The first game is tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Katrina Konfusion

Right city name, wrong state
There is plenty of blame to go around in the Katrina mess -- the local, state and federal governments have all dropped the ball.

Here's the latest example of the rocket scientists at FEMA hard at work:

Emergency officials in South Carolina are scratching their heads over some post-Katrina confusion.

Dozens of medical workers rushed to a hangar in Charleston Tuesday, to prepare for 180 injured evacuees. But the evacuees' flight was actually headed to Charleston, West Virginia. It was the second time the federal government told South Carolina officials to be ready for a plane full of people, only to have it end up hundreds of miles away.

No one's been able to explain the confusion so far.

A triage unit to evaluate patients will be kept at the Charleston Air Force Base through the week because officials think injured evacuees will eventually make it to the city along South Carolina's coast.

- - - - - - -
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Returning to the scene of the crime

Kris and I are very excited. We just booked a reservation to go away for our 10th anniversary next month.

We’re going to stay at the Point Au Roche Lodge in Plattsburgh – back where it all began. We plan to do a little hiking in Point Au Roche State Park, walk around the campus to take in some of the changes to our old stomping grounds and dine at one of the restaurants downtown we used to go to.

Believe it or not, the start of the new school year marks 15 years since we first crossed paths in the second-floor lounge of Macdonough Hall.

It’s very rare that we ever get away overnight without the kids. In fact this will be the first time we’ve ever left Thomas overnight.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Safe & Sound

A loyal reader wrote in today to inquire about the well being of Kris' aunt. I'm pleased to report we learned over the holiday weekend that some friends helped her evacuate to Baton Rouge.

Her house, though damaged, never did flood. She locked it up and left it behind. Hopefeully she'll find it as she left it when she returns...whenever that will be.

Kanye Who?

A column in the L.A. Times describes Kanye West -- the rap artist who spouted off against President Bush and the government on NBC's Katrina telethon -- as...
arguably the dominant creative force in mainstream popular music right now...

So why hadn't I ever heard of him before Friday night? Have I been living under a rock (which I admit is entirely possible when it comes to popular music)?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Photo Gallery

I'm experimenting with the new "photo gallery" in the right hand column. I found the code for it on

I can control the number of pictures that appear and the order they're in. If I choose, I can also have the gallery display random images from a larger group of pictures.

Right now it's only displaying the four most recent pictures I've added to the gallery. Or does anyone think random images would be better?

The only thing I'm not crazy about is the ad under the photos. But that's what I get for using free code.

UPDATE:I decided to add a whole bunch more photos to the gallery and turn on the randomization feature.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Higher and higher

That $3.15 at Stewart's yesterday is a distant memory now. Read 'em and weep -- they're up to $3.45 at the Stewart's Shop in Mendands.

The Exxon station across the street from work is $3.09. Why is Stewart's so much higher? Stewart's President Gary Dake offered an explanation on the news last night. Here's my favorite quote from the story:
“We have customers driving in and looking at the price and then driving away. I'm thankful I sell ice cream cones and not just gasoline on a day like today."

At least we haven't seen sights like the one on joevideo's blog...yet.