Sunday, December 24, 2006

Getting ready

Thomas went out in the front yard today to sprinkle from "reindeer food" (oats and glitter).

I taped him with my super-spiffy new camera that my wonderful wife gave to me last night as an early Christmas present.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The title of the final Potter book is...

..."Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

If you go to J.K. Rowling's site and click on an elaborate series images, you'll eventually get to a hangman game that reveals the title.

Or can just read this Associated Press article like I did.

Still no word on a release date, but it's expected sometime in 2007.

Holiday choir

The Christmas videos keep coming fast and furious.

I dug this one from 1989 out of the attic this morning. It features the combined Niskayuna High School Choir and Studio Singers (both of which I was a member of) performing on a WMHT special program called “Holiday Choirs.”

We did three songs for the show. The other two were the much more mainstream “Sleigh Ride” and a Hanukkah song called “Eight Candles.”

I chose to post this song because, narcissist that I am, you see more of me in it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Top 2006 search terms

So what do people care about? According to Google Zeitgeist, here are Google’s most searched terms for 2006. Draw from this whatever social commentary you wish…
1. bebo
2. myspace
3. world cup
4. metacafe
5. radioblog
6. wikipedia
7. video
8. rebelde
9. mininova
10. wiki

Google News
1. paris hilton
2. orlando bloom
3. cancer
4. podcasting
5. hurricane katrina
6. bankruptcy
7. martina hingis
8. autism
9. 2006 nfl draft
10. celebrity big brother 2006

From the 'Duh' file

I read this last night. A new report says most Americans have had premarital sex. Did we really need a study to figure that out?

Tell me where the eggnog is!

Merry Christmas from the folks at Fox...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cringe-inducing carols

I saw where PLANET3RRY is planning to come up with a list of his favorite Christmas songs.

I have lots of favorites. I really like “O Holy Night”—especially the version performed by Michael Crawford, not the one belted out by screeching banshee Mariah Carey

Which brings me to an entirely different list—EW’s Pop Watch has a list of least favorite Christmas songs. This sounds like more fun!

Easily the worst Christmas song in my opinion—perhaps one of the worst songs in the history of music—is “The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong. What’s the point of a Christmas song that makes you want to slit your wrists after you listen to it?

Also, anything by the Carpenters makes me immediately change stations and I’m not wild about Stevie Wonder’s “One Day at Christmas.”

What Christmas songs make you say “Bah, humbug”? Start the list in comments below…

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hey Ya! It's Christmas, Charlie Borwn

As long as we're having fun with the Charlie Brown Christmas special, there's this...

Merry Christmas, 'Scrubs' fans

According to TV Squad, this video was created by a couple of guys who work behind the scenes on "Scrubs" during the show's third season...

Ringing the digital bell

Ever since I was a kid I’ve always enjoyed dropping money into the Salvation Army’s red kettles at Christmas time. Once I vowed that anytime I saw a kettle I would empty my pockets of whatever spare change I had.

Here’s the problem with that policy in the 21st century—I very rarely have spare change in my pocket, or cash in my wallet for that matter. More and more I pay for things with a credit card or some other form of electronic payment.

Last night was a case in point. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work to pick up some milk and juice. I was planning to use my credit card. But there was the lonely bell ringer standing outside the store—and Scrooge McRooney had nothing to give him.

One year I actually volunteered to ring the bell a couple times. I enjoyed it a lot. I found it to be very fulfilling and I’ve wanted to do it again ever since, but I never seem to find the time. Does that make me a bad person?

Anyway, I’m trying to make up for all of this by hosting an online kettle. You can click on the link on this blog to make a donation.

Merry Christmas. God bless us, everyone.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Idiot Box

Here are some of Brian Williams' "rules of television" from The Daily Nightly...

There are a few simple, constant rules of television: Rachel Ray is always on (she is usually cooking, somewhere, on some channel) and so is the guy who sells "OxyClean" and those new wall hooks that can be used to mount a frozen turkey in your den. A few more rules of television: Dane Cook is on HBO most hours of the day... and when you come across "Pulp Fiction" while channel surfing, it's usually at the point in the film just before the twist contest at Jack Rabbit Slim's.

Monday, December 11, 2006

O Tannenbaum

All of the kids in Nolan’s class are doing presentations on one of their family’s holiday traditions. Nolan decided to make a video about our Christmas tree.

We got our tree on Friday, but didn’t finish decorating it until Saturday morning.

Here’s the video we put together last night for his project…

Candy Bombing

We took the kids to the Empire State Aeroscience Museum Saturday for some holiday fun.

Things kicked off when one of the most realistic Santas I’ve ever seen arrived with Mrs. Claus via airplane. It was cute to see all the kids rush to the plane to greet him like a rock star.

Once inside, kids visited with Santa while eating cookies and working on craft projects. One of the projects involved making little wooden rockets that were launched with rubber bands outside.

We toured the museum and then listened to the story of the Berlin “Candy Bomber.” It’s the tale of a U.S. pilot who dropped candy tied to parachutes made of handkerchiefs to children below during the Berlin airlift in 1948.

After hearing the story, we went outside where museum volunteers re-created the candy bombing by dropping candy tied to little parachutes from a second-story window.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The return of Andy

I'm pretty psyched about Andy Pettitte coming back to the Yankees. They never should have let him go in the first place.

Here's a photo I snapped of Andy in the bullpen during a 2000 trip to the Bronx.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I Really Wanna Wii, Please

I Really Wanna Wii, Please

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Scared of Santa

If you're a small child, can you imagine anything more frightening, more terrifying than...SATNA CLAUS?!?

Check out this hilarious collection of photos of kids less than thrilled to be meeting Jolly Old St. Nick.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

How the reports stack up

I found this photo of reports from various Washington commissions on The Daily Nightly.

On the left, obviously, is today's report from the Iraq Study Group. It's about a half-inch thick. That's followed by the 9/11 Commission's report, which is an inch and a half. Just slightly larger, at two inches, is the Tower report on the Iran-Contra scandal.

Anyone care to guess what the massive nine-inch volume on the right is?

No points for you if you cheat and use the link above to find the answer!

The Martian Holy Grail

Scientists have theorized that there may have been water on Mars millions of years ago--maybe billions of years ago.

Now NASA thinks it's found evidence of water on Mars right now. How cool is that? Could there be life in that water?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Million dollar ideas

Remember the Million Dollar Homepage that had everyone slapping their forehead and saying, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Well, read the story of the kid behind the simplest moneymaker on the Internet and find out what his next brilliantly simple idea is.

Yada, yada, yada

Three weeks later, people are still talking about the Michael Richards brouhaha.

The thing that gets me about the whole incident is the role technology played in it. If it wasn’t for a cell phone capable of shooting video and the Internet the whole story would have been just a blip on the radar. Most of us probably never would have heard about it.

So is that a good thing? Or are we blowing this way out of proportion?

Does Michael Richards deserve to be vilified and have his career ruined (not that the parts were rolling in right now)?

I think a very well written comment on a recent post at BuzzMachine puts it well:
As a Black man I’m all in favor of people of all colors using the n word all they want, but I’m also in favor of people beating the piss out of non-blacks who use the word poorly, as in the case of Kramer.

To me the n word is like lsd, semi-automatic weapons, and unprotected sex. In the wrong hands and in the wrong situations it could be a bad trip. But when used properly it can be a positive, life changing tool.

All seriousness aside, one of the first things I thought of was how much it seemed like something out of a “Seinfeld” episode—like the one where Kramer accidentally burns a Puerto Rican flag.

I guess I wasn’t the only one who thought that. If you were a fan of “Seinfeld,” then you’ll enjoy National Lampoon’s “lost episode.”

WARNING: it might not be entirely work-friendly.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Holiday Train

We took the kids to see the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Holiday Train when it rolled into Saratoga Springs today.

The Holiday Train is a freight train all decked out in Christmas lights and decorations. It stops at various train stations where one of the box cars opens up and the musicians perform some Christmas songs. It started in Scranton, PA on Friday and will eventually wind up in Quebec.

While the train is there they also collect canned goods for local food pantries.

Santa Claus was also on hand. The kids got to have their picture taken with him and told him what they want for Christmas, and he gave each of them a nifty train whistle.

The train pulled into the Saratoga Train Station around 12:45 p.m. As neat as it is to see, it’s much more impressive at night. Our friends the Brownsey’s saw the train last night in Cobleskill and have some good nighttime pictures on their blog here and here.

The video I shot is pretty shaky since I was standing on a wall at the time and holding Chester’s leash with the other hand. So I tried to make up for it by adding some fun holiday music.

Friday, December 01, 2006

E-mail from Iraq

Everyone should read this e-mail to the CBS Evening News from the father of soldier serving in Iraq.

Friday fun

From the makers of "Brokeback to the Future," enjoy George Lucas' remastered "Singin' in the Rain."

Deck the blog

It's December 1. So, despite that fact it's going to be in the 60s and raining today, I'm breaking out my "holiday header" for the top of the blog.

It comes at Nolan's request, who asked if I'd be putting up the funny picture of me in the hat again this year.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Greg turns over keys to Big Red Car

If you have a kid under the age of 6 in your house, then you’re all-too-familiar with the Wiggles.

So the news today may come as a shock—Greg Page, aka “the yellow wiggle,” is leaving the group!

Greg, who is 34 years old, suffers from a chronic heart condition known as orthostatic intolerance. He’s quitting the kids group to focus on his health.

Although the condition is not life-threatening, it’s bad enough to keep him from being able to perform on stage.

A guy named Sam Moran, a longtime understudy for the group, will take over as the new yellow Wiggle. In a video on the group’s site Greg explains his condition, his decision to leave and officially hands his yellow shirt over to Sam.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

'X-Men' artist Dave Cockrum dies

Wow. I just read some very sad news. Dave Cockrum, one of the comic book artists who put “X-Men” on the map, passed away on Sunday.

Cockrum was 63 years old. He died at his home in South Carolina after a long battle with diabetes and related complications.

Cockrum worked on many books during his career at both Marvel and DC, but he’ll be best remembered for his stints penciling “X-Men” in the 1970s and early 80s.

“X-Men” had failed to find an audience when it was first published in the 1960s. It was on the verge of cancellation when Cockrum took over the book in 1975 with writer Len Wein and later Chris Claremont. The rest is comic book history as the book became one of the most popular titles in the industry.

I have very fond memories of Cockrum’s work from my comic book collecting youth. He created one of my favorite characters, Nightcrawler, and helped create or shape many of the other characters that would later be featured in the “X-Men” movies.

Cockrum, who served in the Navy during Vietnam, never saw a dime from the three X-Men movies.

"Dave saw the movie and he cried -- not because he was bitter," family friend Clifford Meth said. "He cried because his characters were on screen and they were living."
There is a nice tribute to Cockrum on the Marvel Comics site.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hero notes

Here are some thoughts on last night's episode of "Heroes"...

Does anyone else find it odd that Sylar (played by actor Zachary Quinto) looks like an evil Clark Kent? Coincidence?

Meanwhile, I finally picked up on the significance of Eden's name. At first I thought her power was simply that she could do the Jedi mind trick ("These aren't the droids you're looking for"). But so far we've only seen her use her power on men. So she can get men to do whatever she tells them--just like Eve told Adam to take the apple in (all together now) the Garden of Eden.

If this was obvious to everyone else already, then please forgive me.

Holiday fun & games

OfficeMax is spreading holiday cheer with two fun sites inspired by "A Christmas Story." Check out Stuck to a Pole and Don't Shoot Your Eye Out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

'It's a...nice day for a...White Christmas'

Something about seeing 80s bad boy Billy Idol doing his best Bing Crosby impression just doesn't feel right...

Friday, November 24, 2006

More Thanksgiving humor

Talking Turkey

Thursday, November 23, 2006

WKRP Turkey Drop

For your Thanksgiving viewing pleasure...a little something to enjoy for dessert...
"As God as my witness, I thought turkey's could fly."

Spotted on Lost Remote.


The Rooney family wishes all of you out there have a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your time with loved ones. Don’t eat too much…oh, who am I kidding? Go crazy! Stuff yourself!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

First Grade Feast

Yesterday was the “First Grade Feast” at Nolan's school. All of the first graders dressed as pilgrims and Indians and sat down in the hallway to have lunch together.

The menu included chicken nuggets, veggies and popcorn—just like the first Thanksgiving!

For entertainment, the music teacher led the kids in some songs and even the principal came down to perform a number for the kids on his guitar.

Fun was had by all.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Family hike

We had lunch early today and found ourselves with nothing to do. So we decided to hop in the car and go for a quick hike.

The trail we went to is not that far from our house. It runs between the GE R&D Center and KAPL. It starts on the side of River Road and takes you to the Mohawk River, right across from the Llenroc mansion.

It's actually quite a scenic hike when you consider that we're in the middle of town and a stone's throw from two industrial complexes.

A section of the area, I believe, used to be a commuter rail line that connected Schenectady to Troy a long time ago. The track is long gone and the area is all grassy now. But we did stumble across what looked like some old railroad ties--which thrilled a certain choo-choo fan in our party.

Oh my!

More great geek news...TrekToday reports George Takei (Mr. Sulu) will appear on "Heroes" as Hiro's father. He's set to make his first appearance in a cliffhanger episode on Jan. 29.

Meanwhile, the same article also reports Christopher Eccleston (aka the Ninth Doctor Who) will also be joining the cast. No word on who he will play or when he'll make his first appearance. Although I can't help bu wonder if he's goingto turn outto be the mysterious super serial killer Sylar.

Friday, November 17, 2006

NBC swag

This little NBC promotional item was passed on to me today. It’s my very own set of official “Save the Cheerleader…Save the World” pom-poms.

I brought them home and gave them to Thomas, who had fun shaking them and trying to place them on my head.

I’m looking forward to Monday night’s big episode of “Heroes,” in which we’ll supposedly find out why Claire the cheerleader needs saving and how that will save the world. The promo makes it look pretty cool—and we all know how well promos can be trusted.

VHS, 30, dies of loneliness

After a long illness, the groundbreaking home-entertainment format VHS has died of natural causes in the United States. The format was 30 years old.

No services are planned.

The format had been expected to survive until January, but high-def formats and next-generation vidgame consoles hastened its final decline.

VHS is survived by a child, DVD, and by Tivo, VOD and DirecTV. It was preceded in death by Betamax, Divx, mini-discs and laserdiscs.

Read the rest of the "obit" that appeared in Variety this week.

The story goes on to say that many retailers have stopped stocking VHS tapes since they no longer have shelf space for them. Subsequently, most studios have stopped producing videotapes.

Our two VCRs still get a workout in our household. They may not be releasing mainstream movies on tape anymore, but you can still find plenty of kid videos. And we also still haven't joined the 21st century world of DVRs. So if we miss a show, we still tape it, not "TiVo it."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Play ball

Major League Baseball owners approved television contracts today. The bad news is, the World Series will remain exclusively on Fox through 2013.

The good news is Fox will no longer have exclusive rights to the ALCS and NLCS. They’ll start sharing those series with TBS under the same system they used to have with NBC. Fox will have the ALCS next year, TBS gets the NLCS. Then the following year they’ll switch.

I don’t know if TBS will be any good or not, but at least it will be nice to have an alternative to Fox.

The ESPN article doesn’t make any mention of the Divisional Series. Right now ESPN gets some of those. I believe that’s part of a separate deal that’s still continuing.


If you watch “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” you might be surprised to learn that the dusty little town of Pahrump, Nevada—where Nate Cordry’s character got arrested and hauled before a gruff judge played by John Goodman—is actually a real place. It’s a town of about 40,000 residents west of Las Vegas.

Pahrump is in the news today because the town council there is fed up with those pesky illegal immigrants. So they passed a (unconstitutional) law barring people from flying the flag of a foreign nation higher than the U.S. flag or by itself. Doing so gets you a $50 fine and 30 hours of community service.

The town council also pushed through measures to deny services to illegal immigrants and make English the official language in Pahrump.

Coming soon

I’m pretty excited to find out one of my favorite books is being made into a movie. The lengthy title of the book is “Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II.” I suspect they’ll shrink that title down for the movie.

Peter Weir is in talks to direct. His most recent movie was “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” He also directed “The Truman Show” and “Dead Poets Society.”

“Shadow Divers” tells the incredible story of two deep wreck divers who discovered a German U-boat about 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey back in the early 1990s. No one in the German or American governments had any idea how the submarine got there. These two guys spent the next six years obsessed with identifying the sub—risking their lives and their marriages in the process.

Although they survived, some other divers working with them were killed. This book portrays deep wreck diving as just about the most crazy, dangerous “hobby” anyone could ever take part in.

Although this is a non-fiction book, it reads like an adventure novel. It’s a real page-turner. I didn’t really know anything about diving or U-boats, but I got sucked into it and couldn’t put it down. It should be a great movie.

The story was also the subject of a documentary on “Nova” in 2000 called “Hitler's Lost Sub”. I’ve never seen it, but the companion website is still online.

The lost 'Spider-Man' footage

Well, Sony seems to have successfully exorcised that unfinished "Spider-Man 3" trailer from the Web. I can't find it anywhere. has an article about how the movie studio scrambled to plug the leak and how Google and YouTube find themselves caught in a tangled web (get it?) when it comes to uploading copyrighted material.

But here's a screen grab of the top secret footage they don't want you to see...

Monday, November 13, 2006


Kris took this picture back on Halloween. I just didn't get around to posting it until now...


Maybe I've been going a bit overboard with the movie trailers, but this one is worth while. Here's the latest trailer for "The Simpsons Movie"...

UPDATE: Well, it looks like the trailer got yanked from YouTube. So here it is on Google Video (why it's still available on one and not the other I'm not sure).

I don't really understand why studios don't want their trailers to go viral. Isn't it all about creating buzz for your product? I would think the more eyes that view a trailer, the more places it's available, the better.


I don't how long this will last before it gets yanked--but check out this alternate trailer for "Spider-Man 3."

The big nit-pick on the one that came out last Thursday was there was still no sign of Venom. Then this trailer leaked out over the weekend. It's longer and clearly unfinished. A lot of the shots are missing their effects or are animatics. But stick around for the very end and you won't be disappointed!

A link to this trailer went up on Ain't It Cool News over the weekend and then was quickly removed when Harry Knowles got a phone call from the Sony folks. I guess they wanted to keep Venom under wraps a little longer. But a quick search found it on YouTube. They'll probably get the cease and desist order too, so enjoy it while you can!

UPDATE: Well that didn't last long. About an hour after I published this post, I went to play the trailer for a co-worker and it was already gone. So I've replaced the YouTube version with one from Google Video. We'll see how long that lasts.

In the meantime, in case that gets yanked too, you can see a screen grab of Venom here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


This was a very big day for Nolan—one we’ve all been anticipating for quite some time: he lost his first tooth!

One of his bottom teeth in the front has been wiggly for quite some time. For what seems like a couple of weeks we’ve been expecting it to come out “any day now.”

Finally tonight, right before bed, Kris was wiggling it and got a hold of it. When he pulled away from her, the tooth just stayed between her fingers.

Needless to say, we were all pretty excited.

Incidentally, the Tooth Fairy’s going rate right now is $1 and a couple of baseball cards.

Toon Trek

The geek-ization of the boys continues…

On Friday I got a copy of “Star Trek: The Animated Series” on DVD. It has all 22 episodes of the cartoon version of “Star Trek” produced in 1973-74.

As I kid, I was vaguely aware that there had been a “Trek” cartoon, but I don’t remember ever actually seeing it. I finally caught one episode on cable TV somewhere when I was in middle school.

The animated “Trek” is actually quite good. It brings back most of the original cast (sorry, no Chekov) and members of the live action show’s writing staff. The writers turned in scripts that were every bit as intelligent as the original show (except they’re only 22 minutes long). They didn’t “kidify” the show for Saturday mornings at all. Better yet, in an animated form they were no longer constrained by what passed for special effects on TV at the time.

Despite that reputation, I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce Nolan to “Star Trek.”

When he was younger (possibly pre-Thomas) Kris used to sometimes watch reruns of “Star Trek: Voyager” with him. He used to call it “The Space Ship Show.” That routine didn’t last long and he hasn’t really been exposed to Trek since.

A couple of times I’ve caught one of the “enhanced” versions of The Original Series that started running this fall and I tried to get him to watch. But he didn’t show much interest.

So when I got my hands on these DVDs, I thought maybe he’d be more interested if it’s a cartoon.

We popped a disc in and sure enough it was pretty “adult” and “scientific-y.” I was thinking that it was over his head and that he must be getting bored. But he really dug it! In fact, he was clamoring for more. I couldn’t be more proud. It will only be a matter of time before we work our way up to “Wrath of Kahn” (“K H A A N N!!!”).

Thomas was around when we were watching the shows too. He wasn’t paying too much attention though. He was more interested in playing with his monster trucks. That’s ok. We’ve still got lots of time to work on him.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Heroes or villains?

Is “Heroes” helping or hurting the comic book biz? That’s the question Entertainment Weekly poses in an excellent article that looks at the relationship between Hollywood and the comic book industry.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My geek sense is tingling!

Speaking of "Spider-Man 3," here's the new trailer.

They're still not showing us Venom (although some concept art leaked out earlier this week), but Sandman looks great.

It looks like this is going to be a pretty dark Spidey film. It seems like the overall theme is going to be how thirst for revenge can consume a man's soul.

It looks like it's going to be great. I know what I'll be doing the weekend of May 4!

Energized Spider-Man!

While checking out iFilm in geeky anticipation of the new "Spider-Man 3" trailer, I found this commercial for Energized Spider-Man.

I got this toy for Christmas in 1978! He had a "web" you could pull out of his hand and hook onto a clamp that you'd attach to a table or bookshelf or whatever. Then watch him climb!

The other big gifts that Christmas: my spiffy "Star Wars" jammies, a Kenner X-Wing fighter and an Oscar Goldman doll (he was the Six Million Dollar Man's boss--he came with an exploding briefcase).

Bank of America: The Musical

Oh my God. Do things like this actually happen where people work? I swear, this is like a scene right out of "The Office." This might as well be Michael and Dwight on stage (or David and Gareth if you prefer the British version).

This video appears to have been taken at some sort of Bank of America conference, where an emlpoyee gets up and sings about their merger with MBNA to the tune of U2's "One."

A glimpse of the future

Here's a great quote from Stephen Colbert, by way of Couric & Co.:

"Tomorrow, you're all going to wake up in a brave new world, a world where the Constitution gets trampled by an army of terrorist clones, created in a stem cell research lab run by homosexual doctors who sterilize their instruments over burning American flags. Where tax and spend Democrats take all your hard earned money and use it to buy electric cars for National Public Radio and teach evolution to illegal immigrants. Oh, and everybody's high!" -- Stephen Colbert, a national treasure, on last night's Colbert Report.

The Sky's the Limit

Hey, "Heroes" fans...I spotted this T-shirt for sale on Television Without Pity.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The times, they are a changin'

George W. Bush has really let down so many people who were once on board with him.

I was convinced invading Iraq was the right thing to do at the time. I was pleased he was re-elected in 2004 (although I still don't think Kerry would've been good). But now we all know better and it's clear his "stay the course" (non) policy has cost his party control of Congress (Katrina sure didn't help either).

Nice job, George.

Let's look at the Sweeney-Gillibrand race (which is not my district). Sweeney didn't lose because of allegations of domestic abuse. That may have been the final nail in his coffin, but Gillibrand never should have been in striking distance in the first place. And she wouldn't have been if it weren't for the war.

The war is a mess and it motivated the Democrats like never before. They saw an opportunity and poured money into races that otherwise would have been no contest (like New York's 20th district). George Bush cost Sweeney his seat (although Sweeney certainly didn't help matters). And that was the case all over the country.

Now the Democrats have the House and could still wind up with the Senate. How will things change? Here's an excerpt from today's editorial in The Daily News...
The people's sentiment is crystal-clear on the war. They simply want out of the conflict - if there is a way to get out. But there isn't...

...But the bring-the-troops-home-now bunch has largely been marginalized; reasonable souls understand full well that this war, however disagreeable it is - and it sure is - cannot just be walked away from. For now, the anti-war fervor of this newly reconstituted Congress runs smack into the ugly reality that giving up the fight in Iraq will leave behind only catastrophe.

Which means soldiering on with a President, now decidedly lacking in political capital, while hoping for the best.

I'm sure there will be much flaming in comments. So let 'em rip, you guys...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Don't vote for Billy

Those "out of hand" political ads I mentioned? They've spread to our nation's schools!

Short term memory

There has been much talk about the nastiness of this year’s political ads. A lot of people keep remarking about how they’ve never seen it this bad before.

But here’s the thing—this is exactly how it has been for the last 230 years. Mudslinging is as old as our nation.

And yet, somehow every two years the nastiest campaign ads ever are produced. It’s kind of like how every year our Christmas tree is “the best tree we’ve ever had” and how every holiday is “the busiest travel day of the year.”

Granted, the Sweeney-Gillibrand race has been pretty dirty. We’ve had our share of political fist fights in the past, but not many get as “personal” as this one has.

Nonetheless, you watch—two years from now there will be a new crop of nasty campaign ads and I guarantee people will be scratching their heads asking, “Wow, when did it get this bad?”

Anyway, don’t let any of this keep you from the polls. Voting is one of the most important things we get to do! I was still undecided on a few races down to the wire, but in the end I made my decisions. Tonight we’ll see how things turn out.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Nolan and his friend Chris attended a Cub Scout campout today. We weren't able to spend the night since the boys also had their last soccer game of the year this morning. So we just went for the day.

The big activity for the scouts was launching some Estes Rockets.

We were very fortunate--only one rocket got stuck in a tree. All the rest were recovered intact. That inludes Nolan's rocket, which shot high in the sky and then sailed down into the woods. But the "recovery team" went charging into the woods and quickly found it on the ground.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John Kerry's poor simpleton soldiers

The "uneducated" fighting men and women of America are reaching out their hero from Massachusetts...

Monday, October 30, 2006

'I don't recall'

We are approaching the 20th anniversary of the day news of the Iran-Contra scandal broke--Nov. 4, 1986.

The whole story provided me with an excellent civics lesson, teaching me what the 5th Amendment was all about.

There's an interesting post on the Daily Nightly today about what it was like when the story broke. They've also included a video clip of the NBC Nightly News from that date.

There is also this observation from NBC News Senior Investigative Producer Robert Windrem...
The scandal also resonates now in ways that couldn’t be imagined back then. Today, the Lebanese magazine that broke the story would be online. Experts and journalists with responsibility for the region —- not to mention bloggers -- would have found it almost immediately and pushed it out a lot quicker. And what few recall is that the scandal unfolded in large measure because of the White House’s nascent e-mail system, a prototype electronic mail system from IBM called the Professional Office System (PROFs). As North and countless others have learned since, e-mail leaves a long digital tail that lives on even after being deleted.

Does CTU know where you are?

24 Map

Thanks, joevideo.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


We’re gearing up for Halloween. Today Kris and Thomas carved pumpkins…

Friday night there was a Halloween part at Nolan’s school. That gave the kids a chance to try out their costumes. Nolan is going as SpongeBob SquarePants this year. Thomas is (surprise, surprise) Thomas the Tank Engine. Kris made the costumes herself and did a fantastic job…

At the party people who saw Thomas kept saying things like, “Hi, Thomas!” and “Look, here comes Thomas.” And I kept wondering, “How do all these people know him?” Yeah, that dad’s a real sharp one, isn’t he?

Friday, October 27, 2006

High tech communications

I meant to blog about this yesterday, but alas, I got too busy.

Anyway, here’s a history lesson: Oct. 26 was the anniversary of the opening of the Erie Canal. It was on that date in 1825 that New York Gov. DeWitt Clinton traveled on the first vessel to make the journey on the canal from Lake Erie to New York City.

Here’s the cool part that I learned yesterday…soon after Clinton departed, people in Manhattan knew he was on the way. The route was lined with cannons, spaced just within earshot of each other. They were fired, one after another, to spread the word. It took just 80 minutes for the signal to reach its destination.

Here’s how George Condon described the cannon telegraph in his book Stars in the Water, the Story of the Erie Canal
“[The] first gunner lighted the fuse … fearsome enough to be heard by the next, unseen, gunner down the line because it seemed as if the echoing boom from the northeast came so quickly as to step on the lingering reverberations of the first roar … it rolled through the country of the Mohawks, the Senecas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, the Oneidas, and the Tuscaroras … moved east, through the Niagara Country, the Genesee Country, the Montezuma swampland, through the Mohawk Valley, past the Catskills, and down the Hudson… It took the cannon telegraph relay only one hour and twenty minutes to reach the island of Manhattan and deposit its historic word before turning about for the return relay to Buffalo.”
Telecommunications sure have come a long way.

Some other facts about the canal that was known as Clinton’s Ditch: it was 360 miles long, 40 feet wide, and 4 feet deep—just deep enough to float barges carrying 30 tons of freight. It was built by European immigrants—mostly Irish—who were paid $10 a month. They were also given whiskey, which was stored in barrels along the construction site. No mention of any mules named Sal.

Falling leaves

I went for a run this morning through Central Park and so many leaves were falling to the ground. It was so pretty to see the different colors falling through the sky. This fall seemed to be nice and gradual, with temperatures slowly dropping. But I think the end is near with 26 degrees on the thermometer this morning and day light savings approaching this weekend. I'll be running in the dark pretty soon.
People ask me what's new and I really get lost in the many activities we have to say what so I end up saying not much. But the kids are constantly doing something and seem to have smiles all the time. Thomas loves preschool. If you ask him, he will say no because he loves the controversy. But he asks if it's a Kiddie Car day and cries if it isn't. He still has trouble separating when Chris brings him there, but he quickly changes his tune and goes with the flow afterward. The fire truck came this week. Thomas also has fun at story hour at the library and a social program in Colonie called Toddler Tales. We're trying to get him some boy friends so he can have some play dates. Nolan, on the other hand, is play date central. He's had a lot of boys over from school. He is finishing up soccer this weekend, has a Creepy Crawly Ball at the school tonight and is getting ready for his first Cub Scout Campout. He has a computer class he takes after school on Mondays too. So I guess that's what's new in a nutshell.
Be sure to watch the leaves before their gone. That's true of your kids too!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Still searching

That M&M's game I blogged about before has a timer built into it, so you can tell how much time you've cumulatively wasted between saves. At the 1 hour mark, I've figured out 45 of the 50 movies.

The last five are driving me nuts. I know there are sites where you can look up the answeres, but I don't want to cave.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

'The Google'

It's always interesting to ask a president (of either party) if they know the price of a gallon of milk and see how they answer (I think that was part of a "West Wing" episode once).

Yesterday, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo interviewed President Bush and asked him the 21st century equivalent of that question: "Do you ever use Google?" Here's his answer:
"Occasionally. One of the things I've used on the Google is to pull up maps... I forgot the name of the program, but you get the satellite, like I kind of like to look at the ranch... reminds me of where I want to be sometimes."

As I've mentioned before, I also use the Google for many of my needs on the Internets.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Speaking of “24,” while setting up the link to Fox’s “24” site for my previous post, I couldn’t help but notice the message that the season 6 trailer is going to debut tomorrow. Check out at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday for a first glimpse of what’s in store next for Jack Bauer.

The trailer will also air during the World Series tomorrow night.

'Save the cheerleader...Save the world'

NBC's “Heroes” is easily my favorite show on TV right now. I so look forward to sitting down in front of the TV every Monday night and satisfying my inner comic book geek.

My favorite character on the show has to be Hiro—because he is a comic book geek who embraces his new abilities and adventures with such wide-eyed enthusiasm. It's what every kid with a comic book collection dreams of.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do in January when “24” returns on the same night and time.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Exploring the dark side

Here's a great time-waster, courtesy of PLANET3RRY.

To promote their new dark chocolate M&Ms, and to tie in to Halloween, M&Ms has launched a clever online game. This picture contains images that represent the titles of 50 "dark" movies. When you think you see one, click on it and type your guess in to see if you're right.

How many can you find? I've been working on this for a while now (you cansave your game and come back to it later) and I'm stuck at 35 out of 50. Some of them are pretty obvious. Others, not so much.

Not it!

I thought this was pretty outrageous when I first read about it earlier in the week. But at the time I thought it was limited to just one kooky school in Massachusetts.
Now it seems there are more schools banning "tag" and other playground games that include any sort of physical contact. Another school in the Bay State as well as schools in Wyoming and Washington are worried about lawsuits if a child is hurt in a contact game.
Never mind the jungle gyms, swing sets and slides.
If one of my kids was somehow hurt playing tag, suing the school would be the last thing I'd think of. When I was in the seventh grade I broke my arm playing football on a playground. No lawsuits were filed, nor were they even considered. Accidents happen.
Officials at one school say they've ordered kids to come up with other games to play.
"What we require is that children do not touch each other," said the principal at one of the schools.
Where do we draw the line? Is duck, duck, goose out? You know, someone could suffer a head injury!

Treehouse of Horror!

You've got to check out the cool "Treehouse of Horror XVII" promotion over at

You can make your very own promo for the annual Halloween episode! They've posted loads of clips, music and sound effects from the show. Then you can use their simple editing tool to pick and choose the elements you like and put them together however you want.

Once you're down you can share your video with friends and even submit it for a chance to win a trip to the Simpsons 400th episode party.

Here's my entry.

Here's one of the ones someone else created that I liked.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Tiger Cub Fun Day

We had a fantastic time at the Tiger Cub Fun Day yesterday at Camp Boyhaven. There were all sorts of great activities for the boys to take part in.

I haven’t been to Boyhaven in close to 25 years.

While we were there I bumped into longtime scout leader Jim Burgess and Marc’s dad, Don Colosimo. Mr. Burgess told me that a long time ago, probably during my brother’s era, my dad got some parachutes from the Air National Guard and gave them to the scouts to be used for games and activities. Mr. Burgess said those parachutes are still being used a Boyhaven today.

Anyway, here’s some quick video I youtubed of the relay race yesterday. Each cub had to put on a hat and vest, run around a tree and then pass the hat and vest off the next cub…

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Thomas the Tank Engine

Thomas and I spent some nice one-on-one time together this afternoon while Kris and Nolan were out together. We built a big track with his wooden Thomas the Tank Engine parts and played with his trains.

It was good to have some nice, simple fun at home on a quiet afternoon. We had so much fun that I grabbed the camera to take some shots…

Friday, October 13, 2006

Rooney wrap-up

Sorry, everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve neglected the blog for this long.

It certainly hasn’t been for lack of material. Maybe that’s just the problem. There has been too much going on. This has been a crazy-busy week.

Last weekend was filled with good news and bad news. The good news was that we had a very nice visit with Kris’ parents—and the scenery on the drive up and back through the Adirondacks was some of the most beautiful I’ve scene on that route. The bad news is I forgot to bring the camera. But the good news is that Aaron was in Lake Placid over the same weekend and he did bring his camera. So check out his blog to see what the peak foliage looked like.

Oh yeah, and there was another small piece of bad news—the Yankees loss to Detroit Saturday. As bummed as I was about that, it’s hard to complain about it being one of the low points of the week when just a few days later Cory Lidle was dead after his plane crashed into a high-rise on the Upper East Side. So while I have other thoughts about Joe Torre and A-Rod, maybe I’ll save them for another time.

Work and school and, it seems, life in general have been keeping us busy lately. Looking ahead to the weekend, we’ve got another soccer game tomorrow (I’ll have to tease his coach, who also coaches the girl’s varsity team, about the incident at the girls’ game this week) and our first Cub Scout outing on Sunday—the Tiger Cub Fun Day at Camp Boyhaven.

I’ll leave you now with a couple photos Kris took of the boys playing basketball in the driveway…

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Rockin' out with the Blue Man

I thought Blue Man Group totally rocked tonight!

Back in the 1990s, BMG started out as bunch of guys who wanted to make fun of pretentious performance artists. Somewhere along the way they became some of the most well known performance artists in the world themselves.

Likewise, their “How to be a Megastar 2.0” tour is meant to be a parody of arena rock concerts. But in fact, this was one of the best concerts I’ve seen (granted, I don’t get out to a lot of concerts). Hearing their cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly” alone made it all worth it.

Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, here’s a sample of one of the numbers they performed…

Friday, October 06, 2006

Page puns

From the Double Entendre File: I just heard this on Tucker Carlson's show on MSNBC. This is the last sentence from the editorial in today's edition of The Hill, a newspaper described as being "for and about the U.S. Congress"...
[House Speaker Dennis] Hastert and [House Majority Leader John] Boehner need to get on the same page or Republican troubles will continue to mount.

As Tucker points out, no, if these two guys were to "get on the same page" that would only make their problems much, much worse.

Anniversary Blues

Tomorrow Kris and I will celebrate 11 years of wedded bliss. We’re marking the occasion one day early tonight by taking in the Blue Man Group’s “How to be a Megastar 2.0 Tour.”

Blue Man Group! How cool is that?!? I’ve always got a kick out these guys on TV, in their Intel commercials and various talk show appearances (granted, they don’t talk). Over the summer we saw parts of their special on PBS and enjoyed it.

So when I heard they were coming to Albany I just had to get tickets. We’re pretty psyched.

Tomorrow after soccer we’ll be heading up north to visit Kris’ parents for the weekend. Maybe I’ll offer a Blue review after we get back.

Biff sings!

Check out actor Thomas Wilson, aka Biff Tannen of the "Back to the Future" movies, sing about being asked endless, annoying questions about his most famous role...

Thanks, Joe Video.

They report, we decide

Jeff Jarvis over at BuzzMachine makes some really intersting points today as he comments on the 10th aniversaries of Fox News, The Daily Show and Al Jazeera. Here's a sample...

FoxNews is 10 years old this week. This year, Al Jazeera turns 10. So did The Daily Show. All that the three have in common, besides birthdays, is that they brought new voices to TV news: no longer the allegedly objective, cold, institutional tone that journalism took on when it became a monopoly, one-size-fits-all business in this country, thanks to the impact of broadcast on the media marketplace. These fraternal triplets each brought perspective to news, a distinct and clearly apparent worldview, and a passion about serving a public that each believed was underserved.

I know many people have strong feelings about Fox News and Al Jazeera. If you're on the far right, you might find The Daily Show irritating.

But Jarvis goes on to make a very good point: How can adding more voices with more opinions to the conversation be bad for democracy?

A former co-worker I have great respect for once taught me that those with strongly held views should not be afraid to have those views challenged and listen to what the other side is saying.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

'Indiana, let it go'

In a recent interview George Lucas said "Indiana Jones 4" is still in development, but not exactly on the horizon. He says he and Steven Spielberg are still trying to come up with something everyone in involved can agree on.

That's the same line we've been hearing for the last...I've lost track of how many years. At one point this was supposed to be out in 2005 to dovetail with "Star Wars: Episode III." Now we're in the latter part of 2006 and Lucas saying they're about a year away from being ready to shoot.

I'm getting tired of hearing about this movie that's never going to happen. They really need to just let this one go.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Foleygate: a dramatic reading

As if the slipping support for the war wasn't enough, this Mark Foley perv might just single handedly (no pun intended) swing the House to the left. Yeah, it's not looking too good for the GOP.

I don't blame you if you don't want to read the transcript of Foley's IM converstion with a Capitol page. You might feel like you need a shower afterward.

Instead, check out this dramatic reading of selected excerpts...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Soccer season

I brought the camera to catch shots of the action at this past Saturday's soccer game. I just didn't get around to posting them until now.

I only shot stills this time. I'll try to grab some video at a future game. If you want video, you'll have to go back to the clip from last year with the crazy father completely overreacting to his son's goal.

Nolan scored two goals this past Saturday. Although he didn't even realize he scored one of them. It sort of ricocheted of his leg.

Of course we don't keep score at a soccer game for first graders. But if we did, the red team would have won 12-1. Just ask any of the kids--they all keep track!

Google World

Google is slowly taking over my life. As you can see, I use Blogger (a Google product) to run this site. I use Gmail for my primary, non-work e-mail. I keep track of my schedule on Google Calendar. I have a Google personalized homepage. And I'm completely addicted to keeping track of all of my feeds on Google Reader.

Granted, I prefer YouTube to Google Video.

So what portion of my life will Google insidiously weave it's way into next?

My post-season pledge

Good afternoon and welcome to post-season baseball. Before we get started, I'm making a pledge right now not to whine (at least not here) about the Fox coverage or the late start of the games like I do every year.

If you want my thoughts on those issues, here are the old links:

Friday, September 29, 2006

Power suit

Am I the only geek that finds it ironic that there is a news piece about Japanese scientists creating a "power suit" that augments someone's strength on the same day the news breaks that Robert Downey Jr. will star in the new "Iron Man" movie?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

What happened to T.O.?

It seems most people are abandoning the notion that Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens attempted suicide and are embracing his explanation that he had a bad reaction after mixing pain medication with supplements.

T.O., who was back at practice today, says he was out of it and didn't know what he was saying when police responding to the 911 call from his publicist, Kim Etheredge, asked him if he was trying to hurt himself. They say he answered “Yes.”

Granted, that possibility was one of the first things I suggested upon hearing the breaking news yesterday morning. Everyone else is now on board, but this time I'm the one who's not so sure.

Here's the sticking point: the police report. It says Ethridge told police he was depressed and that he apparently swallowed most of his prescription.
Etheredge and T.O. flatly denied that yesterday. So were the police just making this stuff up? That's what they'd have you think. Here's what Etheredge said yesterday:
“I am just upset that I just feel they take advantage of Terrell,” she said. “Had this been someone else, this may not have happened.”

Yes, everyone is out to get poor T.O. Here is the response today from a representative of the Dallas police union:
“The officers reacted because they were called to this location to do this job. Now they're being put under a microscope by some fancy little football person,” Senior Cpl. Glenn White said. “Give me a break. Those officers are 10 times better than this man. ... We police officers don't go out to these calls and make stuff up.”

I'm not saying I believe T.O. attempted suicide. I'm merely not dismissing the possibility.

People are saying that it makes no sense that someone would try to kill himself one day and be out tossing footballs and acting like nothing is wrong the next. Um, hello?!? That's textbook bipolar disorder.

Again, I'm not saying he definitely tried to kill himself or that he is bipolar—just that it's possible. Either way, I do believe that something much fishier than a random allergic reaction happened at T.O.'s house Tuesday.

UPDATE: Here's CBS correspondent Armen Keteyian with another take on the T.O. drama.

Free popcorn

My never-ending quest for free stuff brings us to the Dale and Thomas Popcorn company (by way of PLANET3RRY).

It seems October is National Popcorn Month and they're celebrating the occasion by giving away bags of what they describe as "the most mothwatering, munchy and crunchy popcorn you've ever had."

Granted, you need to send them $2.95 for shipping to get your free popcorn.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Cub Scout kickoff

This is a big night tonight: Nolan’s first Cub Scout meeting!

They start the Cub Scouts younger than they did in my day. I started in the third grade, but now they begin in first grade.

We went out and bought him his uniform last week, which prompted me to go up in the attic and bring down the box with what’s left of my old Cub Scout memorabilia. I still have the kerchiefs, medals and handbooks from all three years of Cub Scouts.

The Pinewood Derby cars we’re pulled out for the kids to play with as toys long ago.

Now it’s Nolan’s turn. Hopefully there will be plenty of Pinewood Derbies, Blue & Gold Banquets and trips to Camp Boyhaven for years to come.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rough game

This makes me feel a little better about my (so-called) golf game...

Japanese golfer has rough time, shoots 19 on par-3 hole

"Superstitious or not, Japanese golfer Mitsuhiro Tateyama is likely to shudder whenever he comes across the number 19 in future after an horrific round Thursday at the Acom International."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

10 years of tickles

I cannot believe it's been 10 years since "Tickle Me Elmo" first hit the shelves.

I was producing the news on the weekends back then and I remember doing stories about how stores couldn't keep the furry Muppet in stock. I also remember showing a radio station promotion where they ran over an Elmo doll with a steamroller. And I remember closing our newscast one night with a closeup of Elmo sitting on our news set.

We eventually wound up with one of these contraptions in our house several years later.

Today Fisher-Price took the wraps off the 10th anniversary edition of the doll, code named T.M.X. for "Tickle Me Extreme" of "Tickle Me 10." This version can stand up and then fall over laughing when tickled.

Retailers are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle again. I predict the toy will be popular, but won't match the craze from 1996.