Friday, April 27, 2007

Baseball is here!

The Rooneys are now in the throws of baseball and spend our waking hours on the field. Nolan absolutely loves it. He is so excited every time he goes out there and has even been hiding his cold so I won't think he's too sick to play. Every year, it is more like the real rules of baseball. This year the coach stands and pitches instead of kneeling, they call outs (but not strikes) and they get to play catcher. Nolan hopes he gets to do that soon and wear the gear (including a cup!). Thomas is also into the scene. He was helping Daddy pitch yesterday at practice. Mostly he has been working the crowd, talking to anyone that will listen to him (and he has a lot to say!). There is one boy that is a younger sibling of a player too but he is 5. Thomas thinks he is IT and trails after him a lot. I love it because he's getting more independent so I can actually watch the game.

But it's not all baseball. Last weekend, we had a great time going to a campground, Cherry Plain State Park. What a little gem that is! We just went for the day to check it out for a future camping trip. It was an old CCC camp that is converted to a campground. There is a dam built to make a small pond, and a charcoal kiln which we didn't find but hope to explore next time. We had a little picnic and went for a walk. There was a thin layer of ice on the water that we had fun throwing rocks at, in hopes of breaking through. Nolan was the only one to do it.

Nolan's class is hatching duck and chicken eggs, so we're becoming embryology experts. We've been learning to ride bikes too. We found a bigger bike for Nolan on the side of the road that someone didn't want anymore (score!) and Thomas got a little bike with training wheels. So we're figuring them out. And of course there is a ton of yardwork. Thomas and I are going to get dirt today. Yesterday I finished cleaning out the garage and it looks fantastic! I keep going out to look at it.

This weekend will be more of the same--yardwork, playing with friends and a birthday party. 37 more school days left!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Universal universities

I spotted this on The News Hole...

THEY KNOW FROM LOSS More than 200 University professors in Iraq have been killed in the past few years, never mind the number of students, making the banner hung at Baghdad Technology University that much more poignant. "We, the students of Technology University, denounce the attack at Virginia Tech. We extend our condolences to the families of the victims who faced a situation as bad as Iraq's universities do. The sanctity of campuses must be protected around the world."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Are there still radios at Radio Shack?

I was going to just link to this in my "Things That Caught My Eye" section. But then I saw that the Onion articles have this neat little "Blog This" button that gives you the code to embed snippets like this on your site...

Even CEO Cant Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business

The Onion

Even CEO Can't Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business

FORT WORTH, TX—After a through review of its operations, RadioShack CEO Julian Day could provide no real explanation for the analog-riddled company's staying power.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Honoring Ponch

Hey, I loved "CHiPs" and all when I was a kid, but come on. Is it just me or does it seem like standards are being lowered when Erik Estrada gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?

And if we're giving Ponch a star, then where's the love for Larry Wilcox?

Life moves on

A sign that life is moving on after the Virginia Tech shootings...MSNBC just reported an Anna Nicole Smith story for the first time in several days.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Courting disaster

Whenever there is a tragedy like the massacre at Virginia Tech, it makes me think of one particular kid I went to high school with. Let’s call him “Junior.”

If you asked me to pick the kid from my class most likely to go on a shooting rampage, I’d say it was Junior.

My town is fairly affluent. But Junior came from the “other side of the tracks.” He was quiet, a little awkward and didn’t seem to have too many friends (any of this sound familiar?).

I also remember him getting picked on a lot. And not just by students. Junior was in my freshman math class and was a favorite target of our teacher’s ridicule. I remember he used to poke fun of Junior almost every day right in front of the whole class.

That seemed be this teacher’s schtick. He would single out a kid in each of his classes and pick on him with a variation of his usual set of insults. In my class it was Junior.

Even back then I remember thinking that this teacher was a jerk and kind of a bully—especially for the way he treated Junior. But I never did anything. If I had it to over again, I would go to this teacher and tell him to ease up on the kid. It probably wouldn’t have hurt also to befriend Junior try to get to know him better.

Seeing horrible events like Columbine and Virginia Tech, and given what we eventually learn about the students pulling the triggers, it seems like back then our math teacher—and all of us really, by our actions or inactions—were courting disaster.

I have no idea where Junior is now or how he turned out. I don’t mean to paint him as potential homicidal lunatic—that’s why I didn’t use his real name. I’m just saying that I see certain parallels when these cases happen. High school couldn’t have been easy for him. So when these things happen, I count my blessings—and even though he didn’t snap, I still wish I stepped up for Junior.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

'Indiana Jones and the...'

The word on Ain't It Cool News is that the title for Indy IV is...

"Indiana Jones and the City of Gods"

Besides Harrison Ford we know the cast will include Cate Blanchett and Shia Labeouf (most likely as Indy's kid...ugh). They're still in talks with Sean Connery and the fanboys are hoping the rumors are true that Karen Allen will appear.

Goin' to the Zoo

Here are some highlights from our trip to the Bronx Zoo last weekend. For some reason I was having trouble getting video from my camera into the computer. So I made this just using still photos.

That's not a big deal, except I didn't shoot any stills of the gorillas. I just have video of them. So unfortunately they didn't make it into this clip...

The trip was a lot fun. We drove straight to the zoo Saturday morning and spent most of the day there. Kris had been there before, but it the first time for the rest of us. It's really an impressive place!

We spent the night in a Marriott just north of New York City. It was very nice. Our usual standards are more along the lines of Motel 6. We hit the pool and then had some pizza for dinner.

I've already detailed our trip home.

It was a great trip. It's always nice to get away for a little while.

Monday, April 16, 2007

BoSox Betrayal?

A Red Sox-fan friend of mine sent me the link to a funny SportsCenter promo that features a sight that would make most Boston fans cringe.

April showers

We took the kids to the Bronx Zoo on Saturday. I hope to youtube some highlights are at least post some photos at a later date. But for now, it will have to wait because:
A) my computer at home has died.
B) the weather is the more pressing concern right now.

As most of you know, the northeast is getting hit pretty hard. We spent the night in Tarrytown Saturday. I was optimistic we would get home before the worst of the weather hit. That didn’t work out. The trip up the Thruway was a little hairy at times. We saw seven or eight accidents—mostly cars slid off the road. Fortunately we were not involved in any of them.

When I left the house this morning, Kris was still in the basement, armed with a bucket and trying to bail out the water. Our pump just couldn’t keep up with the water as it was coming in. The water never got over an inch deep and it looked like it was slowing down when I left. But with more rain in the forecast for the next 24+ hours, I’m a little concerned.

One of the highlights of the day: I was in the midst of dumping out a bucket of water when the alert sound went off on my cell phone. I checked it and, what do you know, it was a message telling me there was a flood warning. Wow! Thanks for that tip! I would never have guessed!

My brother, a much better man than me, is getting the real raw deal from the weather day. Within the hour, he will be starting the Boston Marathon (I think this is his ninth) despite the horrible conditions there. Good luck, Tim!

UPDATE: Tim's finish time was 3:42:14.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Life after Imus

Jeff Jarvis over at BuzzMachine has some good thoughts on the Imus affair—or as he refers to it, Imus’ “macaca moment.”

He admits he’s no fan of Imus and applauds his firing. He believes that in this case, Imus’ true character was revealed and that firing was something he’s had coming for a long time.

However, he warns against setting black & white, zero tolerance standards. He points out that people are human and make mistakes. Instances like this won’t always demonstrate a fatal character flaw, but will sometimes be just an honest screw-up. The problem is that these screw-ups will be magnified 100 times on cable news and the Internet.

...Imus is a good case for discussion because what he said was truly offensive, it did reveal his essential character, and he met his justice beyond the sin of that one moment. But that won’t always be the case and even in the fast-forward society of internet and cable, we need to be able to judge thoughtfully and independently which are macaca moments and which are merely mistakes.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The fall of Don Imus

Well, this Don Imus thing sure has snowballed, hasn’t it? CBS just announced that the I-Man has been fired from his radio show—less than 24 hours after MSNBC cut ties with him.

Look, I don’t like what Imus said. I think what made it even worse was his comments weren’t directed at a public figure, but some ordinary college kids who don’t live in the public eye.

I completely agree with the decision to pull him from MSNBC. There is no place for comments like that on a news network. Imus’ defense has been that his is a comedy-entertainment program. Fine. Then get it off the news channel.

Personally, I always thought watching his radio program on TV was like watching paint dry. But I know others who enjoyed it.

Now, is it right that he lost his radio show? I don’t know. Certainly, I’ve heard worse things on the radio. I was once a regular Howard Stern listener. I used to tell people that if you don’t like Stern, then don’t listen. I think I would have said the same thing in this case.

But the writing was clearly on the wall. On Mike & Mike this morning on ESPN Radio, the comment was made that this was not a black or white issue, but a green one. Radio is a business. Once the major advertisers start pulling out, what incentive is there to keep him on?

So the powers that be have stood up and made an example of Imus. Okay. Just don’t stop there. Let’s see Al Sharpton and company put the same kind of pressure on the record labels and radio programmers that promote the hip hop music full of the same kind of language that brought Imus down.

As for Imus, I doubt we’ve heard the last of him. Anyone want to place bets on how long it will be before he turns up on satellite radio?

Looks 'Smart' to me

Ok, I can't help but share one more piece of geeky movie news. USA Today has first look at the new movie version of "Get Smart!"

Steve Carell and Ann Hathaway are stepping in for the late, great Don Adams as Maxwell Smart and Barbara Feldon as Agent 99.

I enjoyed "Get Smart!" reruns as a kid and I'm looking forward to this movie version.

Translating classic TV shows to the big screen with new cast members can be tricky business. It seems like there have been more misses than hits. But there's something about this photo. These two really look the parts.

The casting is great. Besides Carell and Hathaway, the movie wil also feature Alan Arkin and The Rock.

The movie isn't due until June 2008.

'I Am Iron Man'

I'm counting the days until the release of "Spider-Man 3."

But in the meantime, Ain't It Cool News has a scoop on another Marvel Comics character coming to the big screen. Here's a first look at Iron Man's first suit.

When Iron Man first appeared in "Tales of Suspense #39" he wore a clunky, gray suit of armor before eventually upgrading to the sleek red and gold outfiit fans are more familiar with.

It looks like he will follow suit (no pun intended) in the movie--starting out with this makeshift outfit.

Jon Favreau is directing "Iron Man" with Robert Downey Jr. starring as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Inner peace

This was passed along to me by a co-worker...

We could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too, can find inner peace. Dr. Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started and
never finished."

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I'd started and hadn't finished. And before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a bottle of Kahlua,a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos and a box of chocolates. You have no idea how freaking good I feel.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Happy Birthday, Thomas!

It's hard to believe, but our little Thomas turned 4 years old today!

He had his first, real kid party. We had about four kids plus Nolan and Thomas. As you can tell from the video above, the party had a Superman theme. They played great games like "The Kryptonite Toss," "Ring Around the Daily Planet" and "Pin the S on Superman." The kids also got to decorate their own super hero capes.

All of the credit goes to Kris. She did a great job planning the party and coming up with all of those cool ideas.

My small part was taking care of the party music. I put together a nifty mix of Superman theme music that we listened to over and over.

Thomas had a great time. He went to bed very happy tonight. He's already looking forward to his next birthday--when he can once again eat candy for breakfast, doesn't have to share his toys and can pretty much do whatever he wants all day long!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Easter preps

We had some fun last weekend that was chronicled with the video camera. However, I didn't get around to youtubing it for posterity until tonight.

We took the boys to the annual Easter party at Parsons Child and Family Center, the agency we used to adopt Thomas.

In past years the eggs were scattered around outdoors. Last year it was raining. So everything was contained inside the gym.

As you can see in the video above, everything was in the gym again even though we had nice weather on Saturday. As a result, it took Nolan and Thomas about 10 seconds to "find" 20 eggs each, which they took to the person in the bunny suit and exchanged for candy.

The Easter party didn't take up as much time as we thought it would. So since we were all the way over in Albany, we decided to stop at Washington Park and hang out on the playground.

You can watch some more playground fun here.

Evil Easter Bunny

While publishing my Easter party/playground videos, I stumbled across this. Don't let the kids watch it...they may find it too disturbing!

This reminds me of what happened to Superman after he touched Richard Pryor's faux kryptonite in "Superman III." Maybe there was a bad egg or some tainted Peeps...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Red Planet getting redder?

Global warming isn't just an Earth phenomenon. Scientisits say it's also an issue on Mars.

No one has found a way to blame it on humans...yet.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Know when to say when

You all know how much I love Indiana Jones--and how skeptical I am of "Indy IV" (I hope I'm wrong)...

Indiana Jones is as Good as Dead