Wednesday, May 31, 2006

If you want a friend in Washington...

Am I the only one who finds it ironic Ted Kennedy named his dog "Splash?"

Sen. Kennedy and his dog, Splash, visit Fenway

BOSTON (AP) - It was a dog day at Fenway Park as Senator Edward Kennedy and his Portuguese Water Dog, Splash, visited the old ballyard for a school reading event.

The senator read a portion of his new children's book, "My Senator and Me: A Dogs-Eye View of Washington D.C.," to a group of Boston-area school children.

The picture book takes readers through a day in the life of the senator, told from the perspective of Splash.

Joining Kennedy was Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler, who is recuperating from a torn Achilles tendon. Kapler swapped his baseball bat for a tennis racket and hit tennis balls toward the "Green Monster" for Splash to fetch.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

I was going to make a crude joke about JFK having a cat named Marilyn, but this is a family blog (use your imagination)!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Rating the records

If you’re like me—and it seems many people are in this regard—Barry Bonds hit his 715th career home run and your reaction was “Ehh…let’s move on.”

We can debate the reasons why people like me react this way. Is it a dislike for Barry because of the steroids issue? Or just because he’s a self-centered jerk? Or is it possible we’re suffering “home run fatigue,” with records being broken left and right?

Think about it. Roger Maris’ single season HR record stood for 37 years. Then after a short period of time he went from first on the list to fourth!

Heck, the guy who caught Bonds 715th wasn’t even paying attention to the game. With the San Francisco slugger due to come up to bat and take his shot at history, this guy was in line to get a beer.

So if we’re not getting as fired up about the long ball like we used to, what does excite us in the baseball world? ESPN’s Jayson Stark has compiled an excellent list of the top 10 non-HR-related records in baseball.

The first thing to leap to everyone’s mind is DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. After that, everything is up for debate…

War...Good God y'all

I guess I should chime in with a more detailed response to the war discussion started by ADK Mom yesterday. I fear that I’m coming across as sounding like some kind of warmonger—and nothing could be further from the truth.

First, I direct you to the message Aaron left in comments. For two guys with a reputation for having opposite opinions on many topics, we find ourselves in agreement once again (at least in principle).

Do I like war? No! I pray my children will go through their lives without ever having to experience it. Are peaceful resolutions preferable? Of course.

But I acknowledge that is not always possible and that some things are worth fighting for. The American Revolution was worth it (see also Marc’s comments). Stopping Hitler was worth it. And I believe going into Afghanistan in 2001 was the right thing to do.

Iraq is a whole other breed of cat. Although I was onboard in the beginning, those I’ve discussed the subject with know that I freely admit now it was a colossal mistake. While I may disagree with some of you loyal readers on theories behind the reasons for the war, we’re on the same page in thinking that it was wrong to begin with and has been handled wrong so far.

I stop short before joining the cry for immediate withdrawal. Now that we’ve created this mess, I think it would be wrong to just leave. I know you can’t publicize the “exit strategy” without tipping our hand. But I’d just like to know that there is an exit strategy—because right now I don’t believe there is one.

That’s all I have to say on this topic for now. Now let’s move on to lighter things…

Why didn't I think of that?

Here's a really simple, crazy invention some guy will probably make money with that anyone could have thought of on their own: the cordless jump rope.
It's perfect for the clumsy, [inventor Lester] Clancy said. "If you are still jumping, you're still using your legs as well as your arms, and getting the cardiovascular workout. You just don't have to worry about tripping on the rope."

It is also good for mental institutions and prisons where rope is a suicide risk, said Clancy, who works as a laundry coordinator in a state prison. And low ceiling fans aren't a hazard any more, he said.

There are moving weights in the handles that simulate the feel of the rope moving around.

Monday, May 29, 2006

HTML hiccups

I tried to be slick and use the <embed> tag to post my demo tracks in the right hand column. But that turned out to cause more trouble than it was worth.

So they’re posted with run-of-the-mill hyperlinks now.

Sorry for any inconvenience, folks!

Memorial Day

We have a controversy at our house over war. It's funny in a way because Chris has always known where I stand so I don't know why he seems surprised by my feelings against it. Maybe I'm just more vocal about it lately. Anyway, Chris thinks war is a necessary evil at times. I think there's always another option and we should be investing our time and money in discovering them. My hero is Gandhi. I don't know who Chris's hero is--maybe he'll share. I do support our troops and I do honor those that have died in war. I just think it is sad that they are put in that position. How many lives we honor today...maybe if nonviolent methods like boycotting, fasting, sit ins, etc were used then we wouldn't be mourning them now. I'm not saying turn the other cheek and get run over. We should all stand up for what we believe in. It's just I don't think people need to get killed to do it. I'm interested what other people think, although I might be in the minority on my views since this is Chris' blog. I'm taking a risk!
Anyway, it's been a fun weekend. We bought a grill finally so, Chris will tell you, he feels secure in his manhood again! We had steaks last night (Thanks Dad! We've been saving them for our first grill food.) and they were fabulous. I painted Nolan's room. He's going to have a Star Wars theme. He had a mural in his room that Chris and I did 4 years ago and it took 4 coats of paint to hide it. It's a butter yellow now, his pick. And of course lots of baseball games to go to. Friday night was really wet on the field and Thomas was a mud monster by the time it was over. Only 6 games left. Chris has to work today and it's raining so I have to figure out how to keep the kids busy. Hope everyone enjoys their Memorial Day. Maybe you can have controversy over war in your house today too!

EDITOR'S NOTE: The "controversy" evolved from a discussion about the Revolutionary War, not Iraq.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Now hear this...

My voice demo came in today! Feel free to give a listen and let me know what you think. Track 1 is a sample of my commercial work. Track 2 contains narrations.

I’ve also posted both tracks permanently to the right under my picture.

Now all I have to do start sending them out and let the bucks roll in.

So if you know anyone looking for a voice—make sure to tell them about me!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Apple & Nike's 'iRun'

The iPod is on my wish list of gadgets I don't have.

Now comes word that Apple and Nike are teaming up to develop a running shoe that can be fitted with a sensor that will feed data on your run (time, pace, distance, etc.) to your iPod Nano.

Apparently it also has a "Power Song" feature that will let you punch up the theme from "Rocky," or whatever music gets your heart pumping, with the push of a single button.

I'm not a runner, but I know plenty of people who are. This sounds really cool!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Doggedly determined

We splurged Sunday and hit the McDonald’s drive-thru for dinner. The kids got these little stuffed animals in their Happy Meals (sidenote—does anyone else remember when a Happy Meal toy consisted of a tiny rubber eraser?).

Chester loves chewing on stuffed animals. Just knowing these things were in the house was driving him nuts. He kept trying to take Thomas’. So we tossed it in a big wooden bowl in the center of the dining room table where it should be out of his reach.

He just had to have that animal. After dinner Thomas and I were in the living room and I could here him trying to get at that bowl. Finally I returned to the dining room to see what he was up to and this is what I found…

Welcome aboard, Wifey

I’d like to take this opportunity to officially welcome Kris to the blogoshpere.

As she explains below, she’s not sure if she has enough interest in blogging to start her own blog.  So she’s just going to get her feet wet here as a special “guest contributor.”

Let’s all give her a big “Off the Top of My Head” welcome!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sickness Break

So our crazy lives are on pause right now because Nolan and I are sick. Check back in a couple days and find out if Thomas and Chris get it. We have some sort of cold and cough thing but Nolan gets a fever at night too. We have been so busy lately that it is actually nice to take a break. With baseball, swim lessons, after school programs, story hours, play dates...whew! But I can't believe school is almost over. Before you know it, it will be summer and we'll be searching for things to do. And really, I love it all. I wouldn't trade being home with our kids for anything. Of course, it would be nice if I got sick days though.

Hi world.

Chris and I are experimenting with me being a contributor to his blog. Sometimes there are things we do that I say, hey put that on the blog and he can't for whatever reason. So, as most women do, I'll do it myself! Seriously, I don't want to take away from the coolness and uniqueness of Chris' blog. I just thought I might add a note here and there and if I get carried away (or he gets sick of me), I'll start a blog of my own. So hello out there. It's the better half.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Niska-Day 2006

Today was Niska-Day 2006—the 25th annual Niskayuna Community Day.

The good news is it didn’t rain on the parade. The bad news is it was raining on and off when we tried to take in the festivities at the high school.

The day will be capped off, as usual, with a fireworks show tonight. Nolan has always been scared of fireworks. We thought we might be able to talk him into it this year, which would be great since they’re being hyped as the biggest the town has ever seen. Unfortunately, he’s got a cold and went straight to bed. So I wound up walking up to see them by myself. And they were pretty cool.

Anyway, here are some highlights from the parade and the high school. Click on a thumbnail for a larger picture...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chillin' in the desert

If you’ve spent any amount of time on the Internet in the last five months, then odds are you’ve stumbled across SNL’s “Lazy Sunday” video (or one of the 5,000 spoofs of it). If, by chance, you haven’t seen it yet (and it’s worth a watch) you can find it here.

Anyway, as mentioned, there are a gazillion spoofs of the video (yes, I counted). But this one is great. A couple of soldiers in Iraq grabbed a camera and a computer and put this together for their friends and family back home—and now their Internet celebrities.

I give you: “Lazy Ramadi”…

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

I have the greatest wife in the world!

Despite the fact that tomorrow is Mother’s Day, I came home from work last night and sat down at the dinner table only to find my Father’s Day present waiting for me, a month early.

She got me two tickets to see the Yankees play the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in June!  I’m glad she told me now, because it’s on a weeknight and I’ll need to make sure I can get away from work.

The plan is for me to take Nolan.  This will be his first visit to the House that Ruth Built.  I’ve been dying to take him since he was born.  The last time I went to the Stadium with my dad Nolan was only about 2-months-old.  I remember telling my dad how I couldn’t wait to take Nolan some day and him telling me not to be anxious for him to grow up too fast.

This will be a fun trip.  In a couple of years when Thomas is a little older we’ll bring the whole family.

Anyway, happy Mother’s (and Father’s) Day everyone!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Can you hear me now?

I haven’t quite made up my mind how I feel about the whole NSA phone data collection issue.

On the surface it feels like a borderline privacy issue, but I don’t see where there is anything illegal about it—so long as the government doesn’t force phone companies to turn over the records without a warrant.

Otherwise, they’re the phone companies’ records. They can do what they want with them. It’s no different than any other company selling your info to telemarketers/spammers.

When Kris first heard about this last night she thought it was no big deal, saying, “Didn’t people figure they were doing this already?”

So I guess it sounds like I’m in the “no big deal” camp after all. If it’s within the law, which this seems like it is, and it keeps planes from falling out of the sky, then I guess I’m okay with it.

Sith silliness

I spotted this on PLANET3RRY's blog and it's too damn funny.

"Star Wars" fans know the only film the Emperor didn't appear in was the original movie.

Now, here is the lost scene where Darth Vader breaks the news to the Emperor that the Death Star has been destroyed, recreated courtesy of Cartoon Network's "Robot Chicken" (and if you're a "24" fan, listen for when the phone rings)...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

And now a word from our sponsor...

“A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!”—Ralphie Parker, “A Christmas Story”

Anyone else feel a little let down by “Lost?”

During “Lost” last night they ran another commercial for the fictitious Hanso Foundation—this time plugging the web address

So I go check it out. What you find are six TV screens rotating around in a circle with the word “OBEY” in the center. Could this be somehow related to the new hatch Eko and Lock found in last night’s episode—the one filled with TV monitors observing other hatches on the island?

I clicked around and eventually got some sort of message that features the words “Code” and “Heir Apparent.” It makes no sense. So I Google the word “sublymonal” and find a Wikipedia entry that included the following:

This term was also used in a sprite commercial according to this website: The site shares the same nameservers as coca cola.

Lymon is a conflation of lemon and lime and the long running advertised flavor of Sprite, the commercial's sponsor.

The link in the entry leads to a Marketing Daily article on Sprite’s new ad campaign, which includes this tidbit:
The spots carry the line, "Welcome to Sublymonal advertising. Don't worry, it will only affect your brain." The ads sign off with "Obey," which echoes the 12-year-old "Obey your thirst" Sprite tagline.
I swear, I felt just like Ralphie. What a rip off!

As for the episode itself—there was literally a question mark on the ground? **groan** Why not have a big “X” to mark the spot? And why doesn’t Locke seem to be interested in following that vacuum tube to see where it leads? That was the first thing I thought of.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Back to the 'Toy' store

Disney’s “Toy Story 3” is marching forward, with Pixar now onboard.

The news came out almost a year ago that Disney was going to make “TS 3” without Pixar. The upcoming film “Cars” was supposed to be the last movie in the initial deal between the two studios and it seemed they would be parting company.

Meanwhile, Disney, which owned the rights to the “TS” characters was going to make their own sequel. As a Pixar fan, I was really hoping it would suck.

But since then Disney went out and bought Pixar—so now they’ll be making “TS 3” after all.

I’m still not excited about this movie. I’d rather see new original material coming from Pixar, who has always been the leader in the CG animation field. And I can’t help but wonder if their heart is really in this movie, or if it’s being forced on them by Disney.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Rookie of the year

Well, I remembered the camera for Nolan’s game last night and snapped some decent pictures and one video clip.

The video is of Nolan fielding a ball at the pitcher’s mound and throwing it to first.

I thought I had shot a really good one of him hitting it and running the bases, only to find out the clip was actually of my feet walking away after he was done. I never pressed record at the start, and then when I thought I was stopping it I was actually starting it. Uggh. What a rookie mistake.

I’ll just try again another day. It was pretty cold and cloudy, and it looked like it was going to rain. So I didn’t bother bringing the camera to today’s game.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Dance fever

This guy is pretty good. There are a few parts that are a little sloppy or where I thought he could do more. But all in all I thought it was entertaining enough to post the clip.

Thanks, Terry!

Brain power

You can see me making a fool of myself on TV once again. WNYT put together a report on the Nintendo DS game "Brain Age," which hypes itself as exercise for your mind. Does it really work? And what is my brain age? Watch to find out!

'Tell me where the popcorn is!'

Maybe 20th Century Fox is moving ahead with plans for a "24" movie after all. Keifer Sutherland said on a BBC talk show that the movie will be filmed in London.

Are you gonna eat that?

DES MOINES, Iowa - Wendy Dershem may think twice before leaving that egg roll on her plate at her next Chinese buffet. The Des Moines woman, her boyfriend and her two children were kicked out of a restaurant last week after management accused her of leaving too much food on her plate.

Read the rest: Family Kicked Out of Buffet Restaurant - Yahoo! News

Thursday, May 04, 2006


A co-worker just brought up a very good point about the Times Union taking on the naming rights of the Pepsi Arena. Why in the world would they change the name from “Arena” to “Center?”

He points to the example of Bank One Ballpark in Arizona, aka “The BOB” (as in short for Robert). Bank One spent who knows how much money on those rights, and no one calls it Bank One Ballpark. Everyone calls it the BOB.

The Times Union Center could easily become known as “The TUC” (as in tuck). If they had left it as “Arena” no one would go around calling it “The TUA.”

What's in a name?

So the word is Albany’s Pepsi Arena is going to become the Times Union Arena. The official announcement is expected later this morning.

The arena, which is owned by Albany County, was originally called the Knickerbocker Arena (known as “the Knick” for short). The county sold the naming rights to Pepsi 10 years ago for $300,000 a year.

When the deal expired, the county upped its price to $350,000 a year for 10 years, and no one bit—not even Pepsi. So presumably the price has been lowered (by how much we still don’t know) and the TU has jumped on it.

This makes it one of the few venues named after a newspaper. The St. Petersburg Times Forum is the only other one that leaps to mind.

So let’s get to the big question: what do we nickname (or perhaps “knickname”) the arena. Shortening it “the TU Arena” is obvious.

Since the paper also used to run the now-defunct Knickerbocker News, how about calling it “the Knickerbocker News Arena?”

My pick: they should call it “the Rex” after TU editor Rex Smith.

UPDATE: It's official. The TU is reporting on its site the arena will become the Times Union Center effective Jan. 1. It's seems they're going to pay the asking price of $350,000 for 10 years.

From the article:
''We are taking one of what will be many steps toward becoming a more diversified media company,'' [Times Union Publisher Mark E.] Aldam said.

He called the investment ''a great marketing opportunity'' for the newspaper.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Damn you, George Lucas!

I knew it! I knew this would happen.

When they announced the Star Wars movies would be coming out on DVD in 2004 the deal was that we would get the 1997 Special Edition versions (further altered for the DVDs), not the originals.

That angered a lot of fans who didn’t care for the changes made to the movies. Personally, I can appreciate both versions. I couldn’t see why Lucasfilm couldn’t release both versions all in one set. After all, there is a special edition DVD of “Terminator 2” out there that actually has three different cuts of the movie included in the set.

I resisted the urge to get the Stars Wars DVDs for a year, but finally caved in December. Now, just five months later, comes this news: in September they will issue a set that includes both versions of the original Star Wars Trilogy.

Here’s a tidbit from the news release on

In response to overwhelming demand, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release attractively priced individual two-disc releases of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Each release includes the 2004 digitally remastered version of the movie, as well as the original theatrical edition of the film. That means you'll be able to enjoy Star Wars as it first appeared in 1977, Empire in 1980, and Jedi in 1983.

See the title crawl to Star Wars before it was known as Episode IV; see the pioneering, if dated, motion control model work on the attack on the Death Star; groove to Lapti Nek or the Ewok Celebration song like you did when you were a kid; and yes, see Han Solo shoot first.

Arrrggh! If only I had waited one more year!

In other news, the same day the new DVDs hit the street, the “LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy” videogame will also be released. That will be a must have in the Rooney house.

Bang! Bang!

Wow. The ending of tonight’s “Lost” was great. I sort of knew something like that would happen with those characters, but I didn’t know when or how—and I wasn’t expecting it tonight!

Look! Up in the sky!

Make sure to check out the new trailer for this summer's “Superman Returns.” It looks great!

Kevin Spacey makes a great Lex Luthor.

I'm really excited to see this movie. I've always been an X-Men fan, but I think Superman is going to blow “X-Men: The Last Stand” out of the water. Don't mess with the big red S!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Catching up

I realize I’ve been really neglecting the blog lately. Here are some of the significant goings on…
  • I recorded my demo Friday night, which I will soon send out to people in hopes of landing some voiceover work. The recording session was a great experience. I can’t wait to hear the finished product. I should get the demo in about a month. At that point I’ll make sure to find a spot for it online so you all can hear it.
  • The price of gas continues to frustrate everyone. Last Thursday it took $50 to fill the minivan (it would have taken a little more, but I stopped at $50)! Subsequently, we’ve cancelled our planned summer vacation in Maine. Instead we’re going on an extended camping trip in the Adirondacks, a little closer to home.
  • Nolan played another game last weekend. Once again I failed to bring the camera. He has two games this weekend. So I’ll try to get some pictures of one of them.
  • I’ve been enjoying the new season (ok, “series” if you’re British) of “Doctor Who.” The first episode was fun. The second was better. But this past Saturday’s show, “School Reunion,” was a sheer delight! It was so much fun seeing old characters Sarah Jane Smith and K9 make a welcome comeback. The special effects were the best ever produced for a “Doctor Who” show—and on par with the best of sci fi TV (long gone are the days of guys in cheesy rubber monster suits and really cheap sets). And Anthony Stewart Head made a terrific villain.
As always I’m sure there’s more I’ve forgotten about that has slipped through the cracks. I’ll endeavor to do better.