Monday, December 24, 2007


The boys are eagerly awaiting the arrival of you-know-who tonight. First thing this morning we checked in with the NORAD command center to find out where Santa was at that moment...

In other holiday news, Mary Ellen and her family safely arrived Saturday night. It's been so great to see all of them. We've been having so much fun spending time together.

Yesterday we ventured to Syracuse for the day where Kris' sister Kim lives. THeir parents where there too and we had our Christmas with them. It was a really nice visit.

Whoever you're spending your holiday with, have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas in the 'Burgh

Sometimes I miss life in Plattsburgh. I got a kick out of this holiday e-card from my alma mater.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The end of the road

It's been a long time since I've written about my nephew Patrick. It was way back in the early days of this blog that he first got his leukemia diagnosis, which hit everyone in the family like a ton of bricks.

Now, three years later, Patrick is about to receive his final chemo treatment. If the tests turn out well -- as they are expected to -- he will have officially beaten cancer!

There was a nice article written about Patrick yesterday in his hometown newspaper. That's where I got this picture of him and his mom, my sister Mary Ellen.

Patrick is now a freshman in college and is considering a career in medicine.

He and his family are coming up north for Christmas. We haven't seen him, his brother Philip or his dad Mark in more than three years. So we're all really excited for their visit.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Potter Puppet Pals

I stumbled across this on the Internets and thought it was just too silly not to post here...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Buried alive

After I finished plowing the driveway this morning, I turned on Snowflake, our inflatable snowman (actually, Kris insists it's a snowgirl).

He had some trouble breaking through the snow. I eventually had to clear some snow off so he could spring to life.

At first, only this single mitten clutching a candy cane managed to surface. It looked like some horrible Christmas tragedy had taken place!

It reminded me of the end of "Terminator 2" when Arnold gave a thumbs up as he sank into the pit of molten metal.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The good, the bad and the merry

I love Christmas music of any variety. But there are some holiday tunes I just can’t handle – like anything by the Carpenters. There must be at least three radio stations in the Albany area that play non-stop Christmas music. But as soon as I hear Karen Carpenter’s voice I reach for the tuner. It’s like a reflex.

But there is one song that I think has the indisputable claim to the Worst Holiday Song of All Time title. I was working out the YMCA recently, listening to seasonal songs on the radio, when “The Christmas Shoes” came on. ARRGGHH!!! When you’re exercising you want energetic music that pumps you up. This song makes you want to slit your wrists. I don’t condone censorship, but I’ll make an exception in this case. This song should be banned from the airwaves forever!

I think my favorite Christmas song on the radio right now is Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan performing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

One of my all-time favorites is “O Holy Night.” I’m a sucker for any version of it – except Mariah Carey’s. I always worry the glass in the windows is going to shatter when she shrieks the high notes.

On another note, while thinking about Christmas music recently it dawned on me that the ongoing writers strike is going to rob all of us of one of my favorite holiday traditions: the “Late Show with David Letterman” Christmas episode. You can count on this episode every year for three things:

  • Paul Shaffer will do his impression of Cher singing the aforementioned “O Holy Night” (“OOOooooo HOOOOooooolllly Night, the stars are brightly shiiiiiiiiining!”).
  • Jay Thomas will come out, as he has every year since 1998, and tell his classic Lone Ranger story and then he and Dave will take part in the Late Show Quarterback Challenge (you can read the story and an explanation of the QB Challenge in this recap of last year’s show).
  • And last, but certainly not least, the great Darlene Love comes out to blow the lid off the dump with a rousing rendition of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

Darlene first performed the song for Letterman in 1986 on “Late Night” on NBC. She appeared on “Late Show” on CBS to do the song in 1994 and has returned every year since (except this year).

Of her 14 Letterman appearances singing this song, I found six on YouTube. I wanted to pick one to post here and narrowed it down to two. When I couldn’t decide further, I figured what the hell, let’s post them both. You decide which one is better.

First up is the 2000 appearance. Darlene is backed up by the Singing Sergeants of the U.S. Air Force and the performance was broadcast live to service members overseas.

Next up is last year’s appearance. This slightly extended version (compared to the other clips I found) is another show-stopper, complete with a sleigh on stage and a brief appearance by Late Show’s Grinder Girl and Hula Hoop Girl.

Friday, December 14, 2007

No's the 'Dark Knight' trailer

I'm not sure how this will last since it's obviously a bootleg shot off a movie theater screen. The quality is poor. But if you enjoyed "Batman Begins," you won't care -- you'll get a charge out of this...
The Dark Knight

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UPDATE: You can now watch and download a much higher quality version here.

The calm before/after the storm

After a couple of storms that dumped sleet and freezing rain on us, we had our first real snow storm of the season yesterday. It left us with five inches here in town, which Thomas helped clean up this morning.

But this is just the beginning. We're supposed to get hit with a BIG storm Saturday night and into Sunday. One of the weather guys at work even used the word (potential) blizzard when talking to me about it yesterday.

If you were dreaming of a white Christmas, it looks like you'll get your wish.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yuletide festivities

We had a very festive day on Sunday.

It started with a trip to the Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center. This is a beautiful nature preserve that Kris discovered a few months ago. It was the first time the boys and I had been there.

Every year they have a Yule log celebration to mark the start of winter. Somewhere hidden on the miles of trails on the property was large log with a ribbon tied around it. After receiving a few clues, everyone sets out to see who can find it first.

I got the impression that for most of the people there, this as been a longstanding holiday tradition. As the newbies, we never stood a chance at finding the log. But that’s okay. We still got to go for a nice winter hike.

Later the log was brought back to the cabin we started at where it was burned on the campfire. Inside the cabin there were snacks and crafts for the kids to work on. There was going to be an outdoor treasure hunt too, but we had to leave as that was getting started.

Afterward we went to mom’s house to help her put up her Christmas tree with my sister Annie and her daughters Helen and Olivia.

We usually help mom put her tree up every year. But there was something special about it this year. My sister Mary Ellen, my brother Tim and their families will all be visiting over the holidays. It will be the first in a long time that we’ve all been together at once. So it was fun helping mom get her house ready for everyone to enjoy.

Say cheese

Last weekend our church had a pancake breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus. We forgot our camera, but our friend Tina was kind enough to snap this and pass it on.

This picture of Nolan cracks me up because that teeth-gritting smile reminds me so much of my dad. Lately, whenever Nolan poses for a photo, this is how his smile comes out. It’s the exact smile my dad had in every driver’s license or photo ID he ever had.

Obviously, some sort of weird smile gene has been passed down.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Kick Ass Teaser Poster

The first official teaser poster for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" has been released. And it's pretty damn cool!

The art is by Drew Struzan -- a long time favorite of mine and perhaps the greatest movie poster artist of all time.

We should be very close to seeing a trailer for this movie. The film is set to open on May 22. I haven't heard anything about when a trailer will be released, but I've got to think it will be any week now. There probably will be a teaser trailer anytime between now and the end of the year followed by a full trailer in a few months.

Meanwhile, here are some (relatively) new plot tidbits from an article on Sci Fi Wire:

USA Today revealed details about the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which it said is set in Cold War 1957.

Citing co-producer Frank Marshall, the newspaper said the fourth installment in the hit franchise deals with a quest for South American relics with supernatural powers.

Meanwhile, Indy has settled into a quiet life as a professor, the newspaper reported. But once the archaeologist is thrust back into danger, the adventure will take him to New Mexico, Connecticut, Mexico City and the jungles of Peru.

Indy will face off against operatives from the Soviet Union, including Oscar winner Cate Blanchett as the seductive Agent Spalko.

Ray Winstone (Beowulf) co-stars as an unethical rival archaeologist. Shia LaBeouf sports greaser hair and rides a motorcycle as the hero's sidekick.

Crystal Skull will also revisit bits from other films, including Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood character from 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Marshall added that the artifact of the title is inspired by real quartz sculptures of disputed origins that are carved in a way that defies the natural structure of the crystal.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opens May 22, 2008.

Too much of a good thing

I love my morning coffee.  Usually I drink one cup in the morning.  Once in a while I'll get an extra cup.  But today I went crazy and had a third cup.
The result: caffeine overdose!  I'm feeling quite jittery -- and maybe a little buzzed, if that's possible.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Stop the cuteness!

All of the cute animals on the Internet have decided to stop being adorable as a sign of solidarity with the striking writers...according to the writers of "The Colbert Report," at least.

The joke's on you

Check out the wicked cool poster for "The Dark Night."

I loved "Batman Begins." As big a Tim Burton fan as I am, I think it might have been better than his original film. I can't wait to see the next installment.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


The halls are decked, the stockings are hung and the tree is trimmed in our house. We're all ready for Christmas!

We set a new family record yesterday for picking out a tree. We returned to Bob's Trees, where went for the first time last year. After hopping out of the car we all pretty much zeroed in on the same white spruce and agreed it was the one. Within a matter of minutes it was cut down and in the van.

We didn't decorate it until today. Yesterday we just put it up in the stand in the afternoon and strung the lights up after the kids went to bed.

In between we spent some time ringing the bell for the Salvation Army out in front of Price Chopper. This was a Cub Scout activity. We signed up for a four-hour block and got families to commit to spending just one hour standing by the kettle.

It's a really easy thing to do that makes you feel good about helping others. I rang the bell a couple of times a few years ago and have been wanting to do it again ever since. Now we're thinking about making it a family tradition.

'Tis the season for holiday traditions. Hope you and your family enjoy all of yours.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The man with the hat is back...

I am woefully behind in posting these, but alas, it has been another one of those weeks. Anyway, feast your eyes on the first official publicity photos from "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Holiday kickoff

Another crazy weekend has come to a close.

On Saturday, the Cub Scouts held a pancake breakfast in the morning. Nolan had basketball in the afternoon. Then we bundled up and went the Schenectady Christmas Parade (excuse me, Holiday Parade) with our friends, the Kirsteins, in the evening.

You're probably asking, "Isn't it a little early for a Christmas parade?" That's what we thought too. But once we were there sipping hot cocoa and watching all of the floats and marching bands go by we got into the spirit of it.

Traditionally the parade is on the Friday night after Thanksgiving. But they moved it this year because of a conflict with Proctor's. They've got a big show playing this week and no one wanted a traffic nightmare on what will hopefully be a busy night for the theater.

This was the first time for the kids to see the parade. Since it was on a Saturday this year, they started it a couple of hours earlier than usual. We were still home in time for everyone's usual bedtime.

Speaking of Cub Scouts, I never got around to blogging about the camp out we want on a couple of weeks ago. We stayed overnight at Rotary Scout Reservation out in Poestenkill. This was the first time Nolan and I stayed overnight on this trip. Last year we just went for the day.

Once again, launching model rockets was the big activity. The night before, the kids occupied themselves by poking the fire with sticks and running around like crazy people in the cabin. You know, boys will be boys and all that. Actually, the highlight for me was watching Nolan sit down by the fire and read aloud to some of his friends from a book of scary stories he had. That was very cool.

Here are some photos from the excursion...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Your overdue moment of zen

Last week the writers of "The Office" took their case to YouTube. Now "The Daily Show" reports (sort of) from the WGA picket line...

Trek tunes

From the Too Much Free Time Dept. Thanks to Shannon for passing this one along...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What could have been recently launched their latest redesign. For an intersting look at the creative process and what might have been, their designers have posted screen shots of some of the designs they didn't use.

This one is my favorite, just for the slogan. Look closely under the MSNBC logo and you'll see that it says "Now with more cow bell!"

Friday, November 09, 2007

Welcome, Jack. You've Got Mail.

While you're waiting for the writers strike to end, here's some new "24" to enjoy. If you thought Jack Bauer had a tough job now, imagine what it was like in 1994...

'The Office' is closed (and other strike news)

Watching this week's episode of "The Office," I was thrilled to hear there is a Dunder Mifflin branch right here in Albany (not to mention the office in nearby Utica seen last week). Now I know where to go for all of my paper product needs!

Unfortunately, the folks from Dunder Mifflin won't be around much longer. Production on the show has shut down due to the Writers Guild of America strike. I believe next week's episode will be the last original episode and then the show will go back into reruns until the strike is settled.

In this video, some of the show's writing staff -- many of whom are also cast members -- outline their case. I first saw this a couple of days ago and wanted to post it then. Alas, it's been a busy week and now this clip has spread everywhere. You've probably seen it by now. If not, here it is...

In the meantime, we've finally learned what it takes to stop Jack Bauer -- a WGA strike. Remember that "24" trailer I posted? Enjoy that, because it's all the "24" we'll get for a while. Fox has pulled the planned January season premiere from their schedule -- delaying the show indefinitely. They want to wait until they're sure they can run all 24 episodes in Day 7 consecutively.

I fear the strike is also going to doom the new "Star Trek" movie, which began shooting this week. Director/producer/writer J.J. Abrams agreed to start production on schedule, but is refusing to take part in any rewrites along the way. So if a scene isn't working out as well as it seemed on paper, they're stuck with it. Actually, I'm sure someone will do the script tinkering, but it probably won't be any of the original writers who worked on the script, but rather some studio hack.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Campaigning for free stuff

If you're like me, you hate seeing politcal campaign signs around days and weeks after the election is over.

Rick Lamparelli, the owner of Garcia's Mexican Restaurant, doesn't like seeing them either. So until Nov. 16 you can bring in a campaign sign and exchange it for a free appetizer!

MMmmm...bipartisan nachos...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Where are the flying cars?!?

It's the 21st century. Where are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars!

Mean Automakers Dash Nation's Hope For Flying Cars

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Here's another Halloween photo Kris wanted me to add. Our next door neighbors took this one when we stopped by their house...

Friday, November 02, 2007

'Yeah, it's my house'

I missed Barry Bonds' interview with Kieth Olberman on MSNBC last night, but I read about it this morning on

In case you didn't realize, he's an incredibly arrogant SOB.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The haul

Here's a couple of happy trick-or-treaters...

A very long and busy Halloween has come to an end. The kids are now in bed and the doorbell hasn't rung in a while.

Everybody had a good day. Here's some shots of the kids in costume at Nolan's school earlier. Thomas was Superman and Nolan was a ghost...

The logic of truthiness

Check it out...I made it on the Stephen Colbert blog, Colbert Nation! They challenged fans to attach Stephen's face to someone else's head. My entry got posted today.

Although, it's actually not very good. If I had it to do over again, I think I see ways now that I could make it much better.

But it's still cool that they posted it anyway.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dog's shot is worse than his bite

"Dog bites man" might not be news, but what about "dog shoots man?"

Might as well 'Jump' a cliff

You know how when you drive by a car wreck, you just can't help but slow down and gawk at it? Well, if you'd like to see a wreck in progress, check out this clip from Van Halen's current tour...

For an in-depth discussion of what might have gone wrong, check out EW's Pop Watch blog.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Free tacos!

The never-ending quest for free stuff continues...get your free taco tomorrow at Taco Bell between 2 and 5 p.m.

They promised to give away free tacos if there was a stolen base during the World Series. They called the promotion "Steal a Base. Steal a Taco."

The Bronx is Burning

It’s a turbulent time in the Bronx.

The good news, it looks like Joe Girardi is going to be the next manager of the Yankees. He’s the guy I’ve been hoping would land the position…

Of course, it will be weird not having Joe Torre in the dugout, no matter who winds up with the job. I’d love to see Torre’s No. 6 retired (do they retire numbers for managers?), but after they way his exit was handled, I’m not holding my breath.

The bad news is the apparent departure of Alex Rodriguez. I can’t say I’m surprised that he’s opting out of his contract, but I’m certainly disappointed. He had his ups and downs in New York and it took a while for many fans to accept him. But I was always rooting for him to succeed, to prove his worth and shut up the Yankee-haters.

I think A-Rod certainly earned his stripes this year when he put up amazing numbers and helped drag the Yankees out of the cellar. Who wouldn’t want him back? It became apparent this year that if he remains healthy, Barry Bonds won’t be the home run king for long. I would have loved to have seen him break that record in a Yankee uniform. Oh well, that's me -- the eternal optimist.

BTW, it was not cool at all for his agent to try to upstage the World Series by making the announcement A-Rod was opting out of his contrat during Game 4. I understand he wants to get as much attention for his client as possible, but c'mon. Taking the focus off the game on the field is pretty low class.

Now we’ll have to wait and see what becomes of Jorge Posada, Andy Petite and Mariano Rivera. Next year, it’s going to be a whole new ball game.

SIDE NOTE: How cool is it that you can now embed ESPN video?!?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just Joshin'

Terry Francona Announces Josh Beckett Will Start Games 1, 4, 7, 2, 6, 3, 5

The Onion

Terry Francona Announces Josh Beckett Will Start Games 1, 4, 7, 2, 6, 3, 5

BOSTON—Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona announced Tuesday that the Colorado Rockies would receive a healthy dose of pitcher Josh Becket...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

And on the 7th day...

Behold, the return of the Soul Patch! Here's the trailer for the seventh season of "24."

If you prefer, there is a better quality version here.

Here's a brief description of the plotline...
24 is back, unlike ever before. Set in Washington, DC, “Day 7” opens with CTU dismantled and JACK BAUER (Kiefer Sutherland) on trial. Bauer’s day takes an unexpected turn when former colleague TONY ALMEIDA (Carlos Bernard) returns. Meanwhile, President ALLISON TAYLOR (Cherry Jones) leads the country alongside White House Chief of Staff ETHAN KANIN (Bob Gunton) and First Gentleman HENRY TAYLOR (Colm Feore).

A national security crisis prompts an investigation by a team of FBI agents including Agent JANIS GOLD (Janeane Garofalo), Agent RENEE WALKER (Annie Wersching), Agent LARRY MOSS (Jeffrey Nordling), Agent SEAN HILLINGER (Rhys Coiro) and security specialist MICHAEL LATHAM (John Billingsley). Although CTU is no longer, CHLOE O’BRIAN (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and BILL BUCHANAN (James Morrison) are back for another momentous day of shocking events.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scoopin' out the pumpkin guts

Here's the follow-up to our pumpkin picking excursion from a couple of weeks ago. Kris helped the kids carve their Jack-O-Lanterns today...

The five & dime

Doctor Who fans have something to look forward to. The BBC has finally confirmed a rumor that's been floating around for a while now. Peter Davison, who played the fifth Doctor from 1982-1984, will reprise his role opposite David Tennant's 10th Doctor.

The two Doctors will pair up for a special mini-episode that will air as part of the BBC's annual Children in Need telethon next month. The episode is titled "Time Crash" and will be written by none other than Steven Moffat, who has written some of the very best episodes of the new "Doctor Who" show.

I was a big fan of Davison's Doctor. So it will be cool to see him back.

Meanwhile, the BBC has not confirmed the rumor that Sylvester McCoy will also be popping up as the seventh Doctor. Time will tell.

Sick day

I was out sick from work yesterday with some sort of dreaded intestinal bug (you don’t want to know). I spent most of the day in bed feeling useless – and watching a lot of TV.

I caught Drew Carey as the new host of “The Price is Right” for the first time. He seemed pretty rusty. The highlight was when a contestant called him “Bob.”

I also got to watch “Psycho” in the middle of the afternoon. I always enjoy that movie. I love Hitchcock’s less is more approach compared to most modern slasher flicks. It’s what you don’t see that’s most scary!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The end of an era

BREAKING NEWS: The Associated Press and ESPN report Joe Torre rejected a $5 million, one-year contract to return as manager of the New York Yankees on Thursday.

Manny keeps on being Manny

With the Red Sox one game away from losing the ALCS, here's what Boston outfielder Manny Ramirez has to say about the possibility of elimination:
"It doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like it's the end of the world."

So Sox fans, are you outraged? Or are you just shrugging this off as "Manny being Manny?"

Personally, I would find a public somment like that unacceptable.

It was the hot topic on Mike & Mike this morning, with lots of people chiming in. Reggie Jackson didn't have a problem with it. Wade Boggs hopes the team pulled him aside to give him talking to.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mapping America's pastime

I saw this on Mike Sussman's blog and thought it was just too good to pass up. He found it here.

Thoughtful Analysis of Decision 2008

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

A Night With Frog and Toad

Nolan has been waiting for today for a while now. Right now, he and Kris are at Proctor’s to see a production of “A Year with Frog and Toad.”

Nolan loves Frog and Toad. When he was a baby a friend of Kris' family gave us “The Frog and Toad Treasury,” which includes three of the Frog and Toad books. It sat on a shelf for several years until he got into first grade last year and his reading really took off. He picked it up one day and could not put it down. It was the first book he ever read on his own and really, truly loved.

Since then he’s been an avid reader and has read lots and lots of books. But I believe he’ll always have a special place for Frog and Toad.

So when we heard this Broadway version of Frog and Toad was coming to town, we knew he’d love it. He’s been excited ever since Kris surprised him with the tickets last week.

I’m anxious to get his review of the show.

By the way, Arnold Lobel, the man who wrote and illustrated the Frog and Toad books in the 1970s was from Schenectady!

UPDATE: Nolan loved the show! Kris says he laughed through the whole thing and it sounds like all of his favorite parts from the books were in there. I'm really glad he got to go.


I Just finished eating the first Sausage Egg McMuffin I've had in a long time. It was soooo good. I could taste how unhealthy it was with every bite. To think, there was a point when I used to eat one of those every day!

I got my free McMuffin courtesry of the McDonald's Monopoly game. Nolan is holding out hope we'll win big money so he can get a Wii. But if you ask me, I already hit the jackpot (I'm so easy to please).

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Autumn activities

I’ve been very negligent in keeping up with the latest Rooney news here on the blog. Lately life has just been too busy to do all the blogging I’d like to do.

Anyway, here are some highlights I’ve been meaning to post for a week now of our pumpkin picking excursion at the Pick a Pumpkin Pumpkin Patch in Schoharie. This place is great, with all sorts of fun activities besides just pumpkin picking. We spent more than two hours hanging out there enjoying the beautiful weather. It was sunny and in the 80s that day.

Meanwhile, Cub Scouts is now in full swing. Today we attended the annual Cub Scout Fall Family Fun Day at Camp Boyhaven. Nolan took his first crack at archery, which was pretty cool. But I think his favorite part was the kickball game with all of the other scouts.

I’ll try to do a better job of keeping up with things.

Friday, October 05, 2007

First down

I took Nolan to see his first football game tonight at the high school. Colonie clobbered Niskayuna. It was 34-0 when we left in the third quarter.

But he still had a good time. It was all very exciting for him. And it helped that he bumped into a few classmates and that a local car dealership was handing out free mini footballs.

Also, Time Warner Cable was carrying the game live. So Kris got to see us on TV during one of the crowd shots.

I should also add that it was a little strange seeing all of the people wearing shorts and T-shirts to a nighttime football game in October. But I'm not complaining!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Fall TV

Here are some thoughts on some of the new and returning shows I’ve sampled so far this fall…

I took advantage of NBC’s free download of this show’s pilot episode and watched it before it hit TV. I enjoyed it – just the right mix of comedy, action and sci-fi. And of course, there is plenty of geek humor. I was walking around for a couple of days with Prince’s “Batdance” in my head. I haven’t seen the second episode yet, but I plan to catch it online.

I’m still waiting for this show to heat back up. I thought the first two episodes were a little blah. It started like this last year and built slowly, but that was ok then because it was new. Now we know all of these characters. So we want to see them actually doing something worthwhile. After a few episodes last year, they were already building on the whole “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” storyline, which reached its crescendo in November. So maybe there will be something big coming soon this year. I’m still waiting for Uhura to show up. And do you really think Hiro’s father is dead? Me neither.

The jury is still out on this one. I thought the pilot was a little interesting. I skipped the second one, but I haven’t given up on the show altogether. I may stick around to see where it’s going.

Dr. Gregory House remains one of the best characters on TV. Although I can’t figure out how they’re going to work Foreman, Chase and Cameron back into the show as regulars. Presumably that’s coming since their names still appear in the opening credits each week. If not handled properly, their return could be a jump-the-shark moment. In the meantime, it’s fun to watch House try to pick a new team. And I welcome the addition of Kal Penn as a series regular.

Law & Order: SVU
A few weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch blog wondered how this show had become “especially heinous.” I’ve always enjoyed “SVU” (not to mention original recipe “L&O” – I never got into “L&O: Criminal Intent”), but perhaps EW is on to something. The season premiere, with a phony psycho Cynthia Nixon, was pretty good. But this past week’s show that revolved around a spoof of Second Life was way over the top.

Back to You
Generally I can’t stand movies and TV shows about TV news. They feed into every stereotype about the business and are completely unreal (I’m sure doctors hate “ER” and lawyers probably can’t stand “Boston Legal”). But I like Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton. Also, I read an article where several news anchors from Pittsburgh (where the show takes place) sat down together to watch the pilot and offer their reviews. They didn’t hate it – some actually liked it. So I decided to check it out. I need to trust my gut on these things. This show is AWFUL!

Pushing Daisies
Here’s my most pleasant surprise so far this year. I had heard the title tossed around and heard some people saying it was supposed to be a good show. But I wasn’t really paying attention and had no idea what it was about. Last night I stumbled across it while flipping channels and was hooked! It has a delightful “Tim Burtonish” quality (although the episode was actually directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, who was behind the camera for the “Men In Black” and “Addams Family” movies). It’s possibly one of the most original shows I’ve seen on TV in a while.

Bionic Woman
I mentioned here how I got an early look at this show. I watched the pilot again with Kris when it came on TV. The early version I saw was a little different. Mainly, the character of Becca, Jaime’s kid sister, had been re-cast. In the early version, besides being played by a different actress, Becca was also deaf. I thought that could have been an interesting angle down the road (why can’t she get her ears repaired?), but I guess the powers that be felt like going in a different direction. While the early version moved right along and held my interest, it felt like it was dragging a little with commercials added in. Seeing it for the first time, Kris made two observations. “How long until this chick is selling us Sleep Number beds?” she wondered. Later, when Jaime and fellow bionic babe Sarah Corvus were duking it out in the rain, Kris rolled her eyes declared that the show was so obviously made for men.

I watched the first 10 minutes of the first episode, but it didn’t hold my interest. On Wednesdays at 10 p.m. I’ll probably either be watching “South Park” or going to bed early.

NBC Thursday Night Line-up
I still enjoy “My Name Is Earl.” “The Office” remains the best comedy on television – hands down! I’m anxious for tonight’s premiere of “30 Rock” and the eventual return of “Scrubs.” However, can someone explain to me why I’m still watching “ER?” It remains one of Kris’ favorite shows, but for the last few years I think I’ve just been watching it out of habit. I find very few of the characters to be likable – particularly those played by John Stamos and new addition Stanley Tucci. When they butt heads it’s hard to care since I don’t feel like rooting for either of them. The glory days of George Clooney and Anthony Edwards are long gone. I think the breaking point had to be when they dropped the helicopter on Dr. Romano. The Army tank rolling down the street a few years ago was pretty dumb too.

So there’s my viewing summary so far. What’s caught your interest on TV?

Pre-Post Season

What an interesting Major League Baseball it turned out to be.

I was pretty silent during the most of the season – mainly because for a while, as a Yankee fan, there wasn’t much to write about. I admit, at one point I was one of the naysayers ready to stick a fork in them. I know the ride can’t last forever.

But boy, did they turn things around. It’s very impressive to come back from a 14-game deficit and wind up with a post-season berth. I’d like to go on record now as saying that whatever happens next, I won’t count this season as a disappointment.

That said, a 27th World Series title sure will make it all the more enjoyable!

Gametime tonight is 6:37 p.m.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Turn Off 13...for now

As a rule, I generally avoid writing about work here. But those of you who read the paper here in town know what's going on.

The contract between our union, NABET-CWA Local 21, and WNYT expired at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 1.

Take a moment to visit to learn more about the company's unreasonable demands.

The video below was shot as members of the union gathered outside the station at the contract deadline.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The top man's office

Ain't It Cool News has a real juicy tidbit today about "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Suffice it to say, it involves one of my favorite screen images in the history of movies.

I agree with Moriarty at AICN. The more I hear about Indy IV, the less skpetical I am and the more excited I get!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Test driving Utterz

This mobile post was sent by Roon using Utterz.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Survivor: MLB

Who made the greatest post-season play in baseball history? The tribal council has spoken...

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I completely forgot last high tide' be Talk Like a Pirate Day (thanks fer th' reminder Sweetpea, er, I mean "Iron Man")! So I be playin' catch-up today. Here`s me seafarin' hearty name...

My pirate name is:

Mad Harry Rackham

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Take off, hoser

How long until we see something like this tested on MythBusters?

Firemen Lift Car With Hose Water - Watch more free videos

Enjoying the view

Whether you're a NASA buff or not, you've got to check out these pictures from the last shuttle mission. I'm not 100 percent sure if they're legit. But either way -- they're amazing!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Classic TV?

The Onion

Nation Suddenly Feels Old After Seeing Nick-At-Nite Lineup

SCHAUMBURG, IL—The American people were thrust into a profound existential crisis Sunday after noticing that nostalgia-programming...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Armor up!

The "Iron Man" teaser trailer has arrived!

I had a YouTube version the foootage shown at Comic-Con posted here for about a day last month before Paramount had it yanked.

This new trailer is very similar to that. It's not quite as long and is missing some cool stuff -- but at least you can watch it in glorious HD Quicktime.

Enjoy some shots of ol' shell head in action while rocking out to Black Sabbath!

Sign of the times

The kids have enjoyed watching some of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons on YouTube. So over the weekend we went to the library and picked up "Space Jam," the 1996 movie where Michael Jordan teams up with the Looney Tunes gang.

Nolan was already familiar with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd. But he admitted that there were a lot of other Looney Tunes he wasn't familiar with -- like Porky Pig. He hadn't ever seen him before.

Then the Road Runner showed up. Here was a character Nolan knew. He shouted, "Look! It's the Time Warner Cable guy!"

Keeping busy

We had a very full weekend. It started with an ice cream social at Nolan’s school Friday night. Since Kris is now on the PTO board, she had to work at it. Meanwhile, the kids had fun running around on the playground all night long.

Saturday morning Thomas and I went to a special screening of a Thomas the Tank Engine movie at Crossgates. It was billed as “Thomas & Friends on the Big Screen.” But you could tell it was probably just a DVD being put on the screen with a video projector. Every kid got a $5 Wal-Mart gift card. So we headed over there right after the movie to blow that.

Later that afternoon we attended my union’s annual clambake. After 13 years this was the first time we ever went. I don’t know why we never went before, but we’ll be going again next year. There was lots of good food and Nolan had fun in the bouncy bounce despite the fact it was raining and he got soaked.

I’ve mentioned before our family hobby of Letterboxing. We’ve found more than two dozen letterboxes so far. But now for the first time we’ve planted one of our own (I can’t tell you where – it’s a secret!). I carved a handmade stamp for it and then we packed it all up Saturday afternoon. Then we planted it Sunday morning after church and listed it online. Less than 24 hours later, someone had already gone to find it!

Sunday afternoon we attended our parish picnic, which was lots of fun despite a little bit of rain. Once again there was lots of good food -- and once again I ate far too much of it.

Somewhere in there I managed to watch a little bit of football and baseball.

It doesn’t stop there. We’ve got a busy week ahead of us. Either Kris or I have a meeting of some sort almost every night this week.

Never a dull moment!

Indiana Jones and the Official Movie Title

So much for "The City of Gods."

Last night during the MTV Video Music Awards, Indy IV co-star Shia LeBeouf announced (and later confirmed) that that new movie will officially be titled "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

That's a mouthful. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for a trailer by the holidays, if not sooner.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

'The Most Wonderful Time of the Year'

I swear to God, Kris was practically dancing around like this when the kids went to bed tonight...

Raiders of the Lost Change Jar

An e-mail conversation with Shannon this morning about Foxtrot, Indiana Jones and the Fairly OddParents led to me reminiscing about this classic Simpsons clip...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fall preview

Summer is almost over. How did you spend your summer vacation?

Here's what Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam and the others at "The Office" have been up to for the last few months...

While we're on the subjected of the fall TV season, I've been meaning to mention that I recently got to see the pilot episode for NBC's updated"Bionic Woman."

When I first heard this classic show from the 1970s was being remade, I was not enthused. I thought it sounded like a lame idea.

But then I watched the BBC's "Jekyll" (great show!), which also featured "Bionic Woman" star Michelle Ryan. I liked her in that. So I decided to check "Bionic Woman" out.

I was pleasantly surprised. They've updated the show very well. It's kind of a cross between the original series and "Alias" (with maybe a little "Buffy" thrown in). I'll probably be back for more...and I think I'm already a Michelle Ryan fan.

Staying connected

This morning while working out at the Y I saw a girl riding an exercise bike while listening to her iPod, reading a book and holding her cellphone -- which she at least once used to make a quick call or check a text message. Oh, and there was also a TV on in front of her.

Hey, I'm all into the Information Age, but that just seemed like a little sensory overload to me.

Just the facts, ma'am

Part of me is embarassed for Sen. Larry Craig and his family.

But if he's telling the truth and he's innocent, then he's completely handled this situation wrong and shot himself in the foot.

If the allegations against Craig are true, then he turns out to be a big hypocrite. Although I would still feel bad for him since he has remained closeted his entire life and is apparently terrified of his secret getting out. That's kind of sad.

All the same, this re-enactment of his arrest from MSNBC's "Countdown" is quite funny. The dialogue (most of it anyway) comes directly from the Minneapolis police arrest report.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How Vonage lost a customer

In the early days of this blog I went into great detail about our disastrous turn with AT&T’s broadband phone service.

But we were still interested in VoIP and in time we switched to Vonage. I was pretty pleased the with service most of the time.

Now, a little more than two years later we’ve dumped Vonage and changed to Time Warner’s digital phone service. Here’s what happened…

Back in July we picked up the phone one day and discovered there was no dial tone. Eventually, when I couldn’t solve the problem on my own, I broke down and called tech support. After spending an hour on the phone with a technician, she determined that our phone adapter was dead and needed to be replaced.

For those unfamiliar with VoIP, the adapter is a box that connects to both our phone line in the house and our cable modem.

Anyway, the technician told me that the warranty had expired on our adapter. So we would have to buy and new one ourselves out of our own pocket. They range in price from $50 to about $80.

We kind of felt like we were getting screwed and didn’t want to shell out the money for a new device. So we decided make the switch to Time Warner. But Vonage doesn’t make it easy for their customers to leave and it took about a month for the switch to take effect.

Here’s the kicker. Yesterday we were switched over. Today I got a phone call at work (I don’t know how they got my work number) from Vonage. The woman said she was returning a call from us.

I said, “No, we didn’t call you – in fact we just discontinued your service.” Then I explained why.

So she offered to send me a free adapter and give me a 60-day free trial to lure me back. But I told her that I just got done with the month-long process of switching and didn’t want to start messing with my phone service again.

She assured me that she wasn’t going to switch me now. She was just going to send me the free device. Then if I decided in the next 60 days that I wanted Vonage, all I had to do was just call them and I’d already have the device and be good to go.

Ok. Fine. If it’s free, then what the hell. Go ahead and send me the adapter. Maybe upon further review we would decide Vonage would save us more money and decide to switch back. We could at least think about.

So she starts taking all of my information – address, phone number, etc. – and then tells me she’s going to charge me $14.95 for shipping and a $29.95 activation fee!

Woah! Hold it right there. Forget it, I told her. I didn’t want to give them any money.

She insisted that all of this would be refunded if after 60 days I still didn’t want Vonage. But I still said no. So she offered to waive the activation fee.

That’s when I said, “Look, it’s nice you want to give me a free adapter now. But if you had just given me the free adapter back in July you’d still have me as a customer and we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.”

At this point I reminded her that she had called me at work and that I needed to go. We had been on the phone for almost 10 minutes now. She wouldn’t take no for an answer and continued the hard sell. So I basically hung up on her.

So the moral of the story: take care of your customers when they need your help. If you don’t they’ll move on – and no matter what you try, you might not get them back.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Check it out...I signed Stephen Colbert's cast!

My name might not be as big as some of the others (Brian Williams, Katie Couric, Tim Russert, Nancy Pelosi) to sign the cast that will be auctioned for charity on eBay, but it's pretty cool nonetheless.

Find out how you can sign the cast and also do your part to your part to raise awareness for wrist health at Colbert Nation.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Great Chiken Wing Hunt

A noble pursuit of there ever was one. This group of wing buffs passed through Albany recently and declared it was a great wing town (who knew?!?). Their quest is being made into a documentary about the search for the best chicken wing.'s been too long since I've parked myself in front of a plate of wings. Anyone out there remember Tuesday night Wing Nights in high school? Or how about a heaping order of wings from Monopole in Plattsburgh?

Ok, now my mouth is watering.

Going to the dogs

A friend passed this along this morning...

Thanks, Pat.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Leona's legacy

How would you like to be remembered? The obit for Leona Helmsley on begins like this:
Leona Helmsley, the "Queen of Mean," has died of heart failure at the age of 87, surprising since many thought her heart had stopped working long ago.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gotcha Day 2007

Today we celebrated Gotcha Day -- the fourth anniversary of when we got Thomas.

It was a low-key event this year. We just hung out around the house today playing in the backyard. But tonight we splurged and went out to dinner.

Here are the annual then-and-now photos...

Scout Night at the Joe

Last night Nolan and I went to the Tri-City ValleyCats game at Joe Bruno Stadium for "Scout Night."

All of the scouts who came to the game got a patch. But the really cool part was that after the game we got to go down on the field, pitch our tent and spend the night sleeping in the outfield.

It was a late night. We wound up joining an impromptu whiffle ball game in left field. There was also a flag football game going on in right field, and the movie "Garfield" was playing on the jumbo screen. The whiffle ball game broke up a little before midnight, at which point we got in our tent and watched the end of "Garfield."

We had a great time, despite the fact we were the sole representatives of our Pack. We didn't know anyone else there, but fortunately for Nolan he's always been good at making new friends. As long as there is a bunch of kids, that's good enough for him. You could drop him in a foreign country where they don't speak English and he'd do fine as long as there were some other kids willing to share their ball or Frisbee or whatever their playing with. I really admire that about him.

The only other downer on the night was the outcome of the ValleyCats game. The Cats are in last place in the New York-Penn League. They got clobbered by the first place Oneonta Tigers, 14-1.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Doing what I do best

Making a fool of myself, that is.

A couple of weeks ago we attended a fun event at the Niskayuna Community Center. They put up a big screen outdoors and showed the movie "Happy Feet." People could bring blankets and lawn chairs and watch the movie under the stars.

The movie started once the sun went down. But before the movie, Radio Disney was there with music and all sorts of games and activities for the kids.

One of the games involved hula-hoops. I think we were supposed to see who could keep their hula-hoop going the longest. I couldn't do it very well around my hips. So I opted for the around-the-neck technique.

Anyway, this event was sponsored by the county. Small world that it is, it turns out that a friend we haven't spoken to in a long time was in charge of organizing it. She snapped this picture of me being a goofball and just passed it along yesterday. Thanks, Wendy!

(BTW, although the rest of the family liked it, I wasn't wild about "Happy Feet." I thought it was too preachy. But I still had fun anyway.)

Another sign we're getting old...

The baby on the cover of Nirvana's hugely successful 1991 album "Nevermind" is now a 17-year-old high school student in California.

Spencer Elden says he feels like a porn star because so many people have seen him naked.

The ire of Red Sox Nation

I saw this on The Onion this morning. It appears to have been written a couple of days ago. It would be even funnier if the Yankees hadn't just dropped their last two games against Baltimore...

Fucking Yankees, Reports Nation

The Onion

Fucking Yankees, Reports Nation

BOSTON—Moments after the New York Yankees continued a month-long stretch that has seen them climb from the bottom of the AL East to pull within a once unfathomable four games of the first-place Red Sox by defeating the Baltimore Orioles...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Last trip of the summer

We made our final camping trip of the summer over the weekend with a return to Old Forge.

In the five years that we’ve been camping, this is the first time that we’ve ever repeated a campground (not counting our stays at Uncle Rush’s cabin this year and in 2005). Usually we always try to pick a different spot, but we enjoyed Limekiln Lake so much last year that we went back this year.

Our campsite was even better this time. This year we were right on the water. The panoramic shot above is the view from our site.

Being on the water also meant that we had some extra visitors. As soon as we arrived, a duck heard us and swam over to the shore. He came out of the water, hopped up the embankment and then waddled right over to the picnic table where we were eating lunch. We didn’t give him any food, but he was persistent. He returned several times, and with reinforcements. The ducks were obviously used to getting free handouts.

We also made a return visit to Enchanted Forest Water Safari. Once again, I let the family pick any slide in the park for me to go down. This time they wanted me to go down “The Shadow” – a 42-foot-tall twisty, curvy tube that sends you sliding down pretty fast.

Nolan wanted to try to The Shadow too, which really surprised me. I remember how scared he was of most of the rides at Disney World and last year it took us while to convince him to try the kiddy slides at Water Safari. This time he seemed all into it. He stood in line, but had a change of heart at the last minute. That’s probably just was well. The ride was faster and little scarier than I thought it would be.

We were supposed to stay for two nights, but with the end of our busy summer in sight the fatigue is starting to set in. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want summer to end. But we’ve been doing so much that our heart wasn’t completely into this trip. We might have skipped the whole thing, but the kids (ok, and me too) were looking forward to Water Safari. So we only went for one night instead.

Next year we might take a break from tent camping and stick to cabins. But you never know. That’s what we say now. Maybe by next summer we’ll be anxious to break out the camping gear again.

BTW, it was cloudy the one night we stayed (in fact, there was a thunderstorm overnight). So we didn’t see any of the meteor shower. Bummer.

Here are some more photos from the trip…