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.


Avast, ye scallywags! Today, September 19, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Monday, September 18, 2006

'Death to anyone who says we're violent!'

This business with the pope and the outrage over his statements about Islam is crazy.

Last week he gave a speech where he referenced a record of a 14th century conversation between Byzantine Christian emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, and a Persian scholar. Here is the piece of text he quoted:
“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

The pope didn't say if he agreed with that sentiment at the time, but he sure is backing off from it now.

Muslims took this as a criticism. They thought the pope was saying Islam was a violent religion.

So how have they responded? With violence. Churches in the Middle East have been attacked. A nun in Somalia was murdered.

On Sunday the pope said he was “deeply sorry” about the angry reaction to his speech. The Vatican says the pope's use of the quote is being taken out of conext. Nonetheless, a militant group led by al Qaeda vowed a war against the “worshipers of the cross.”

But Islam is not a violent religion, right? At least it's not supposed to be. The Muslim leaders of the world need to do a better job reminding their followers of this fact.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

'Studio 60' poised for success

This could be a good year for NBC. I think they’ve got a hit on their hands.

Earlier tonight I watched the pilot episode of the new show “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” and it looks like writer-producer Aaron Sorkin is poised to knock another one out of the park.

The show, about life behind the scenes of an SNL-like comedy show, is kind of a cross between his earlier shows “Sports Night” and “The West Wing.” Actually, it’s more like what “Sports Night” should have been had they not tried to squeeze that into a strictly-comedy mold (okay, maybe “Sports Night” wasn’t exactly knocked out of the park, but I liked it).

The great rapid-fire Sorkin dialogue is there. And I think Matthew Perry may have found a character that will make people forget about Chandler.

On the other hand, Bradley Whitford spent the entire episode in a jacket and tie, since the story begins with him at a Hollywood awards ceremony. As a result, it’s kind of hard to shake the image of his “West Wing” character. Hopefully that will change down the road.

I also have to give NBC a lot of credit for letting the show turn a harsh critical eye on themselves. Judd Hirsch’s rant at the start of the show skewers the current state of network TV, but takes a couple stabs at some NBC shows in particular—from “SNL” to “Fear Factor” to “The Apprentice” (without actually naming them, of course).

I’m looking forward to following this show.

By the way, look for a guest appearance by “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, playing herself. She, of course, was one of the stars of “Sports Night.”

Thursday, September 14, 2006

'We have the technology'

I was a big fan of "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman" back in the day. How cool is it that we now have a real life Steve Austin and Jamie Summers?

A former Marine from Arkansas recently became the first woman to be outfitted with a bionic arm.

A Tennessee man received a set of bionic arms back in 2001.

Meanwhile, a quick Google search turned up this picture of my first lunch box from 1st grade 1978...

Never, ever feed them after midnight...

Last night Kris and I caught part of the 1984 movie “Gremlins” on Sci-Fi.

We were debating whether or not the movie was appropriate for Nolan when we got to the part where Phoebe Cates’ character tells the horrible story of how her father died on Christmas Eve. He broke his neck trying to slide down the chimney of her family’s home in the Santa suit.

“That’s how I learned there was no Santa Claus,” she said.

Well, I guess that settles that debate…

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years later...

Today is kind of a depressing day. If you watch the news, all you’re going to hear about is the anniversary of September 11th and the funeral for Trooper Joseph Longobardo.

There seems to be an enormous amount of attention paid to the anniversary of the attacks this year. Over the weekend, every time I flipped through the channels I would stumble across a special of some sort about the attacks—and I kept on flipping. Not because I didn’t care, but because it was just too depressing.

That got me thinking about our fascination with numbers. Is the fifth anniversary any more important or significant than the fourth was or the sixth will be? Yet there is something about the numbers divisible by 5 that makes them seem extra special. Why is that?

I had the Today show on this morning and I heard Matt Lauer remark about how there would be a moment of silence at Ground Zero at 8:46 a.m., when the first plane hit. He said he was sure there would be a similar moment of silence in every town and city in the country.

But at about that time, I was getting ready to leave for work. I kissed my wife goodbye. I noted the painters hard at work on my neighbor’s house. On the radio Mike & Mike were recapping Sunday s football games. People were walking up and down the street and in and out of the nearby grocery store. Life was moving on.

And maybe that’s the greatest tribute on 9/11. Americans are still going about their daily lives in the face of a world threatened by terrorism.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I am psyched for “Casino Royale!” A lot of people have had reservations about Daniel Craig and the new direction of the James Bond films. To them I say: check out the new trailer! This movie looks very cool.

I read Ian Flemming’s “Casino Royale,” the first Bond novel, last year. Looking at this trailer it looks like parts of the movie are going to be pretty faithful to the book.

Obviously, there are also plenty of parts that are completely original. But then, the book did come out in 1953. It’s in pretty serious need of an updating. Besides, it didn’t have a ton of action in it.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the Pierce Brosnan films a lot. But it looks like this more serious approach to Agent 007 is going to succeed in getting him back to his Ian Flemming, “Dr. No” roots.

Starting school

It sounds like the first day of pre-school was a resounding success.

When Chester and I came back from our early-morning walk a little before 7 a.m. we found Thomas already dressed and ready for the day. Of course, his school doesn’t start until 9:15.

Nolan’s bus picks him up at about 7:30. When he was getting ready to leave, Thomas ran to the closet and put on his shoes. He then got his backpack and proceeded to fill it with every one of his Thomas the Tank Engine trains. He couldn’t understand why Nolan was getting leave while he had to wait longer.

But wait he did and when the time came Kris and I both took him to his school. It was an odd feeling. He’s going to the same pre-school Nolan went to. So we had been there plenty of time before, but of course this was different.

When it came time to enter his classroom he was a little apprehensive. But he soon found a cool table filled with macaroni and toy dump trucks to play with, and that was all he needed. I don’t think he even realized we left.

When Kris picked him up he couldn’t wait to tell her about every detail of everything that happened! With Nolan the conversation would go like, “How was school?” “Good.” “What did you do?” “Stuff.”

If the first day is any indication, it seems like pre-school is going to be a great experience for Thomas.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back to school

The alarm clock went off at 6:45 a.m. this morning. I went downstairs to feed the dog and start making the coffee.

Soon after came Nolan, all dressed and ready for the first day of school.

After breakfast he was ready to gear-up and head out for the bus. He had his backpack and another bag full of back-to-school supplies he needed to bring in on the first day.

His backpack looks pretty cool. When we went camping over the summer, he completed a book full of puzzles and quizzes about the environment. That earned him a “junior naturalist” patch, which Kris sewed onto his backpack. It looks really good.

He didn’t want a big fuss at the bus stop. I insisted on one picture, but I promised not to take one of him getting on the bus.

He’ll be getting home in a couple of hours and I can’t wait to hear from him—especially about his first experience with lunch in the cafeteria!

Tomorrow it will be Thomas’ turn…

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The digital frontier

Last night I got my first glimpse of the “new and improved” version of the original “Star Trek.”

As you may have heard, the classic “Trek” series is going back into broadcast syndication this year with updated modern CG effects.

You can get an idea what the shows will look like at STAR TREK: Enhanced. The site is from one of the guys behind the new effects. It features some clips, including a side-by-side comparison of his “proof of concept” video playing next to the original footage. It shows the first few minutes of the episode “The Doomsday Machine.”

I’m not sure what to make of it. Yeah, it looks good—certainly better than it used to. The changes are not as drastic as the changes George Lucas made to the “Star Wars” movies.

But was it necessary? I don’t think so. With all good sci-fi, the story matters more than the effects. And in 2006, the cheesy effects are part of the original show’s charm.

Who Wants to Live Forever

Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, would have turned 60 years old today. Wow.

Sadly, Mercury died of pneumonia complicated by AIDS in 1991.

Mercury was a great performer and Queen was truly one of the best bands around in the 1970s and 80s.

Freddie died much too soon. I’d love to know what Queen would have done throughout the 90s and into today.

Meanwhile, Mercury’s birthday is causing controversy in Zanzibar. He was born there when the country was still a British protectorate. A huge beach party is planned for this weekend there to celebrate the occasion. But a Muslim leader in Zanzibar wants the party banned because Mercury’s gay lifestyle conflicts with Muslim teachings.

Summer wrap-up

Well, summer is basically over. Labor Day has come and gone and tomorrow Nolan goes back to school.

For having no plans, we kept pretty busy over the weekend.

On Saturday we took the kids to the main the branch of the Schenectady County Library to kill the morning. We picked up a ton of books and some DVDs: “Bionicle: Mask of Light” for Nolan, a Thomas the Tank Engine DVD for Thomas and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” for mom and dad.

After the library, we stopped by mom’s for lunch. Later in the afternoon, the Rooney boys all got haircuts (we have a great barber—Kris!).

That night we flattened out the futon in the basement and we all watched Nolan’s Bionicle movie together. I’m not that familiar with the Bionicle toys, but apparently they’re some kind of spin-off of Legos. The movie was kind of like “Lord of the Rings” with robots. We all thought it was pretty cool.

On Sunday Nolan’s friend Danny came over to play. Meanwhile, Thomas and I spent some time hanging out at Barnes & Noble where he played with the train table there. Then we walked over to PetSmart to check out the animals.

We had dinner with mom that night. Then after the kids went to bed we popped in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and quickly proceeded to both fall asleep. We’re both fans of Kevin Spacey and John Cusack, but this movie just couldn’t hold us.

On Monday we headed over to the Sportsplex of Halfmoon. It’s a large indoor soccer facility. They have an area in there they call Tippy’s Play Zone. It’s a space filled with three bouncy bounces and plenty of soccer balls, kick balls, footballs and all sorts of other fun sports equipment for kids to play with. We met our friends, the Price family, there and had a great time.

So those are the highlights of our final summer weekend. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago I was blogging about the start of summer. We’ll have updates on the start of school and preschool soon.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sad death downunder

Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin killed
: "AP - Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the 'Crocodile Hunter,' was killed Monday by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44."

This is truly sad news. Steve Irwin was very entertaining and had a very likable TV personality. I remember when Nolan was about 3 years old, we used to wake up on Saturday mornings and watch "Croc Files," the Discovery Kids version of his show "The Crocodile Hunter."

He wil surely be missed by many.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Belated camping shots

As I mentioned before, I pulled out our camera while camping in New Hampshire last weekend only to discover the batteries dead and I didn’t have nay back-ups with me.

We were camping with our friends, Mike & Sharon Reed, and fortunately their camera was working just fine. Sharon e-mailed us a bunch of photos and a couple of videos yesterday.

Pictured here are Nolan and Thomas with Simon and Ava Reed. This was taken during a nature hike at the campground we were staying at.

I’ve youtubed the videos she sent. The first is of Nolan and Simon on the swings…

The second clip shows a Rooneys vs. Reeds volleyball match…

Friday, September 01, 2006

An Inspirational Enterprise

You’ve all seen those “Successories” posters before. You know, the ones that have some sort of nature picture or an athlete making an amazing play and it will say something like “DETERMINATION” with some sort of inspirational quote or message under it.

Well, a “Star Trek” fan with too much free time has created a series of Star Trek inspirational posters.

A co-worker found this site. He uses the one pictured here as his desktop wallpaper.

Some other good ones include:

“EXPENDABILITY: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Ensign Ricky are beaming down to the planet. Guess who's not coming back.

“INGENUITY: Yes, it is perfectly reasonable that Kirk had the know-how to make the gunpowder and put together the bazooka to defeat the Gorn. That's why he's the goddamn Captain.”

“KOBAYASHI MARU: It's okay to cheat, if you just really don't like to lose.”

If you’re a Trek fan then you'll find them pretty funny. Check it out.