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: