Friday, August 29, 2008

The Chosen One

Apparently Barack Obama is the One (and all this time I thought it was Neo...or Anakin Skywalker).

If you're not familiar not familiar with his life story, here it is courtesy of "The Daily Show."

I also got a kick out of this bit (I know it looks the same, but trust me and play -- it's a different clip)...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

'Job well done'

I often can't stand all of the negativity that surrounds presidential campaigns.

The truth is we're all just people and we have different opinions -- and that's okay. Many of my closest friends have vastly different views than me, but we don't hate each other.

I think politicians on both sides of the aisle understand this. Just look at how Bush 41 and Bill Clinton have become buddies.

But during a campaign there is such venom spewed from candidates and their supporters that I get a little fed up. They only serve to rile people up and polarize the two sides.

I've always said that if I was interviewing a presidential candidate or moderating debate the question I'd most like to ask is "What is your opponent's greatest accomplishment?" or "What do you like most about your opponent?"

That's why I was so pleased to see this ad from John McCain that will air during tonight's coverage of the Democratic National Convention...

Sure, it serves a political purpose for McCain. It portrays him as gracious and generous light during coverage of an event mostly focused on bashing him.

But still, I thought it was a welcome change of pace. Too bad it won't last.

Back in the swing of things

We were gone on vacation all last week. Since returning I have been too busy, too tired or too lazy to provide a write up of all of our activities.

Fortunately, my better half was none of those things. She recapped the whole trip on our other blog. So you can read all about it on The Rooney Train and check out the pictures I uploaded to Facebook.

In other news, I thoroughly enjoyed the Olympics. No matter what was on, I found it all to be pretty compelling TV (I actually stayed up until 2 a.m. one night watching a couple of Chinese guys play for the gold in ping-pong).

But what was fun was the fact that Nolan was really into it. Whatever was on – women’s gymnastics, track & field, volleyball, rowing – he was glued to it. He couldn’t get enough. At age 8, I think this was probably the first time he was really aware of the Olympics and he thought the whole thing was pretty cool. So it was great sharing it with him.

We’ve been to Lake Placid many times and have told him over and over how the Olympics were held there before. But I don’t think that really meant anything to him until now. I’m anxious to see if he gets as excited over the Winter Olympics in 2010.

With the Olympics gone and our vacation over, there is unfortunately no denying that fall is right around the corner. Next week Nolan and Thomas go back to school and we will soon be up to our necks in homework, Cub Scouts, fall travel baseball, etc. It’s been a great summer and I’m sorry to see it go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mark Spitz is all wet

It’s always interesting to watch the reactions of former athletes as their records are about to fall.

Case in point: Hank Aaron. I don’t think it was any great secret that he wasn’t thrilled to see Barry Bonds break his career home run record last summer because of what Barry allegedly did to get there. But he handled himself throughout the hoopla with class and composure.

Then there is Mark Spitz.

Spitz set a record in 1972 by winning seven gold medals at single Olympics. That record has a good chance of being broken this year by Michael Phelps, who now has three golds and hopes to take home five more before these games are done.

Spitz seemed gracious enough when I heard him interviewed on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning not long ago. But then I read an interview with him this morning that left me with a very different opinion of the Olympic legend.

To be fair, he doesn’t seem all that bent out of shape about Phelps surpassing him. His beef is that no one invited him to watch it happen.

"I never got invited. You don't go to the Olympics just to say, I am going to go. Especially because of who I am," Spitz told AFP in Hong Kong.

Spitz feels he’s been snubbed because he didn’t get an engraved invitation from the International Olympic Committee, NBC Sports or FINA -- the international body that governs world swimming.

"I am going to sit there and watch Michael Phelps break my record anonymously? That's almost demeaning to me. It is not almost -- it is,” he said.

Perhaps he has a legitimate gripe. But he’s better off taking the high road and keeping it to himself and avoiding phrases like “because of who I am.” Newsflash Mr. Spitz: this is Michael Phelps’ time. It isn’t all about you.

But Spitz was just getting warmed up. He insisted he would have won eight golds in 1972 if he had the chance.

"I won seven events. If they had the 50m freestyle back then, which they do now, I probably would have won that too," he said.

It sounds like the word humble isn’t in this guy’s vocabulary. The article closed out with Spitz explaining why he thinks Phelps is so successful.

"He's almost identical to me. He's a world-record holder in all these events, so he is dominating the events just like I did," Spitz said. "He reminds me of myself."

The whole article made Spitz seem like he has an ego the size of Rhode Island.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

We'll always have Paris

If you're not thrilled with Barack Obama or John McCain as choices for president, there is always...Paris Hilton?!?

I this clip Paris responds to McCain's "Celebrity" ad that called Obama "the biggest celebrity in the world," comparing him to Hilton and Britney Spears, but questioned if he was ready to lead.

I never thought I'd see the day I'd post a Paris Hilton clip on my blog, but the crazy thing is -- her energy policy makes some sense.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Belated happy bloggiversary to me

Hey, my bloggiversary blew by unnoticed. I just remembered today that July 26 marked the day I started "Off the Top of My Head."

Four years and 1,228 posts -- and nearly as many hours wasted.

Where the wild things are

It seems like boom in the rabbit population in our neighborhood. We, and several of our neighbors, have commented that it seems like there are even more of the little critters than usual this summer.

A few weeks ago Kris and the kids spotted a fox in our neighbor’s yard. A friend of ours who lives a few blocks away spotted a fox near his house earlier that morning – probably the same one that eventually made its way down to our street.

A few days ago our neighbor across the street says she caught sight of some sort of “wild animal.” She didn’t think it was a fox, but I was sure that must have been what it was. Especially after what I saw today.

I dropped the kids off at camp this morning, which is near my mom’s house. After leaving them I spotted a fox with my own two eyes trotting down her street. In all my life I had never seen an animal like that in the neighborhood before.

I guess with the increase in rabbits, it would make sense that there is an increase in things that like to eat rabbits. Still, it’s an unusual sight.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

America's pastime in Schenectady

The boys and I had a great morning yesterday. We headed over to the Schenectady Museum to take in their special baseball exhibit.

It was billed as the "The Science Behind Baseball." There was a little bit of science stuff. One display helped you figure out how to find the sweet spot on a bat. We also watched a short movie in which two kids conducted experiments to determine which bat sends the ball farther -- aluminum or wooden (their results gave aluminum the slight edge).

But it was mostly a great collection of baseball memorabilia -- particularly as it pertained to Schenectady and the surrounding region. There were lots of great old photos of the Schenectady Blue Jays -- a former farm team for the Phillies best known for producing future Dodgers manager Tommy LaSorda. I also spotted a photo of a young Phil Rizzuto being interviewed on WGY.

There were also items on display from more recent memory, including lots of memorabilia from the Albany-Colonie Yankees and the Tri-City ValleyCats.

I would have liked to have spent more time looking at the old photos and reading all of the captions next to them, but the kids didn't have the patience for that.

The highlight for them was getting up close and personal with several of the VallyCats players (and their mascot, Southpaw). They each brought baseballs that were filled with signatures before long.

They also spent a good deal of time testing their arms against the radar gun. Nolan says his best pitch was 28 mph (although the highest I remember seeing was 27). Little Thomas topped out at 25 mph and even did a pretty good job of hitting the strike zone.

View more photos here.

Friday, August 01, 2008

'The news better run'

The best f@#$%ing news promo ever!

Big air

Nolan gets a kick out watching skateboarders and other extreme sports. So it's no surprise I caught him watching the X Games last night on ESPN.

I sat down with him and we watched some guys doing BMX stunts.

Then this morning while at the Y I caught some skateboarding highlights and knew he'd love to see it. So tonight we found these highlights of the "mega ramp," which he thought was "wicked cool."

Although it's fun to watch, there is no question these guys must be a little crazy.