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."