Sunday, November 30, 2008

A sad sign of the times

The effects of the weakened economy hit home today as one of my favorite restaurants closed its doors for good. This was the last day of business for Garcia's Mexican Restaurant in Colonie.

I developed my love of Mexican food in Garcia's, which seems like it's been around forever (it's actually been 25 years).

Admittedly it has been a while since we last ate there. But for a while, we would go there often (for us that might mean two or three times a year). I remember going there to celebrate our first Gotcha Day and another time for dinner on New Year's Day. The first time I ever went there was for lunch with a bunch of people from work shortly after I started at the station (that had to be 1994 or 95).

Garcia's owner Rick Lamparelli was a frequent guest on the noon news for cooking segments. Whenever he came in he usually brought in plenty of food for everyone -- and it was always so good! I enjoyed his Cinco de Mayo visits almost as much as the famous Golub Price Chopper feast.

When Rick did come to the station he usually brought a stack of free Margarita coupons (at least he used to). We still have some in a drawer that we never redeemed. Sadly, now we never will.

So adios Garcia's. Thanks for all the great food!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thankful for Thanksgiving

We had an awesome Thanksgiving yesterday.

The boys caught “Willy Wonka” on TV in the morning and then watched a good chunk of the parade.

After lunch, we needed to get out of the house and do something. So we all walked up to the high school and held the first annual “Rooney Thanksgiving Race” on the track. Nolan came in first and was awarded a medal we made before heading up there.

Later in the day we went over to my sister’s and just had the best time. The kids had a blast playing with their cousins and we enjoyed visiting – and eating! I massively overate, but that’s what it’s all about isn’t?

Don’t worry, this morning I got up early to work out. So now I feel a little less guilty.

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and I even got to watch some snowflakes fall this morning, I’m feeling decidedly less bah humbug about the Christmas season. Now I’m ready! Bring it on!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Memorable moments

The folks at and have narrowed the list of Yankee Stadium's greatest moments down to 10 and are now asking the fans to cast their vote.

Here’s the list:

  • April 18, 1923: Babe Ruth hits the first home run in the stadium on its opening day.

  • July 4, 1939: Lou Gehrig delivers his emotional farewell speech.

  • Oct. 8, 1956: Don Larsen pitches a perfect game in Game 5 of the World Series.

  • Oct. 1, 1961: Roger Maris hits home run No. 61.

  • Oct. 18, 1977: Reggie Jackson becomes “Mr. October” after hitting three home runs in Game 6 of the World Series

  • July 18, 1999: David Cone pitches a perfect game with Don Larsen in attendance.

  • Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2001: Tino Martinez homers in the ninth to tie Game 5 of the World Series. Derek Jeter’s 10th inning home run at 12:03 a.m. wins the game.

  • Oct. 16, 2003: Aaron “F*****g” Boone’s dramatic 11th inning homer defeats the Red Sox in the ALCS and sends the Yankees to the World Series.

  • July 1, 2004: Jeter dives into the stands to catch a foul ball in the 12th inning against the Red Sox.

  • Sept. 21, 2008: The end of an era – the last game ever is played in the House That Ruth Built.
Before looking at the list, Gehrig’s speech was the first thing to leap to my mind.

I came up with more or less the same list on my own before looking to see what had. One of the events I thought of that they didn’t include was George W. Bush throwing out the first pitch before Game 4 of the 2001 World Series, just a month and half after 9/11 and a couple of weeks after the beginning of the war in Afghanistan.

So what do you think? Cast an official vote on or vote just for fun right here on my blog.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The most wonderful time of the year

When you prepare for any event, you need to make sure you warm up first. Thanksgiving is no different.

So in advance of the official holiday in a few days, I just finished eating my first Thanksgiving meal of the week. Today was the day Neil Golub of Price Chopper came on the Midday news to demonstrate how to carve a turkey.

This is an annual event. The Price Chopper CEO will make the rounds on most of the local TV stations. Then his staff puts out a spread for the entire staff, leading to a lunchroom line that stretches out the door and down the hall.

It is hands down the best day of the year at work!

God, I love baseball

Can you deny that more than any other sport, the American pastime drives American innovation?

They may not have a cannon, but all the same I can't wait to try to catch a chicken spiedie at the Joe!

h/t Yanksfan Soxfan

Good news from The Onion

I've posted Onion video clips from time to time. But "The Onion Radio News" is always great for quick hit of humor.

And now the good news -- they've finally made their radio segments embedable...

'Destiny Calls'

Ok, "Lost" fans, what's this all about?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Talkin' turkey

By posting this video, it is not my intention to knock Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, although I'm sure some will take it that way. I just think it’s kind of funny – and would be no matter who was giving the interview.

Here’s the deal –the governor of Alaska gets to traditionally pardon a turkey each year before Thanksgiving just as the president famously does.

This year, after ceremoniously giving one bird a new lease on life at a turkey farm in her hometown of Wasilla, Palin proceeded to grant an interview to KTUU-TV.

However, as she was speaking a farm worker can clearly be seen slaughtering birds in the background. Turkeys can be seen twitching through their final moments as the governor talks about everything from the Alaskan state budget to her Thanksgiving plans with her family.

At least I think that’s what she was saying. After a while you stop listening to her just watch the farm guy in the background and wonder, “Doesn’t anybody realize what’s going on in this shot?”

Apparently someone did. KTUU says the photographer did alert the governor, but she didn’t really care. After all, she is a hunter.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Trailer Trekkin'

It's a cruddy bootleg, but here's the trailer to the big screen "Star Trek" reboot. It debuted yesterday in front of "Quantum of Solace" (which I still haven't seen, damn it).

It will officially be released online on Monday. I'll probably embed a better version then.

So? What do you think? It certainly looks different than anything we've seen before -- and yet also familiar at the same time. It was cool seeing all this different looking stuff and then hearing the classic "red alert" siren.

It will remain to be seen if J.J. Abrams and company have changed the right things.

UPDATE 11/25: As promised, I've updated with a better quality version of the trailer, although I hoped to find a more "official" embeddable version. I guess, sadly, not every studio is on board with letting people embed their trailers and supply their films with free publicity.

By the way, now posted here is a newly tweaked version that includes a glimpse of Leonard Nimoy at the end. You can find it in high-quality Quicktime on Ain't It Cool News.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's NOT beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Have you noticed anything odd while surfing through the radio tuner in your car? Two local stations – 98.3 WTRY-FM and 100.9 WKLI-FM – have already made the switch to all-Christmas music, all the time.

Are you freakin’ kidding me?!?

Look, I love Christmas as much as the next guy, but this is kind of ridiculous. We’re still raking leaves for crying out loud! Who wants to be listening to Christmas carols on Veterans Day?

I always feel kind of bad for poor old Thanksgiving. That’s a great holiday on its own. But it doesn’t stand on its own anymore. Now Thanksgiving is simply the kick-off to the Christmas season.

Or at least it was. The way things are going, soon Halloween will be considered the start of the holiday season (if it isn’t already).

The bottom line is, these radio stations and the stores that start putting up their holiday displays after Labor Day must be doing it because someone wants it. Everyone I know complains about seeing Christmas stuff too early, but if there wasn’t a demand for it then it wouldn’t be here.

So who are you people? I know you’re out there. Stand up and admit it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yesterday's Enterprise

So this is what the Enterprise will look like in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek."

At first I wasn't too sure how I felt about it. Yeah, it looks cool. But if this movie is supposed to fit into established Trek canon, then this ship doesn't work -- it strays just a little too far from the original design of the 1960s TV series.

Yeah, they changed it for the earlier movies, but that was worked into the story. The Enterprise was retrofitted after the the events of the TV series. But this is supposed to be a prequel (sort of). So the ship should look like it used to, shouldn't it?

I finally rationalized the slick new Enterprise by comparing it to the Klingons, who famously underwent a makeover in the movies and modern spinoffs -- after make-up effects and budgets advanced. And the new and improved bumpy-headed Klingon look extended into many flashbacks, time travel stories and whatnot that predated the original series.

So if I was OK with that, then I guess I can learn to be OK with this souped up Enterprise.

Alright, I'll stop acting like such a ginormous geek now.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Our greatest natural resource

How many of us have joked that if we just find some way to harness the seemingly boundless energy of our kids then we would solve our nation's energy crisis?

Well, then there's this...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Michael Crichton dies

This news came as a shock:

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The literary agent for Michael Crichton says the author has died in Los Angeles.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights
Crichton is one of my favorite authors, having written such great books as Jurassic Park, Airframe, Timeline, Prey and Disclosure, just to name a few. He also created the TV show "ER."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a posting on his website says Crichton died unexpectedly after a courageous battle with cancer (I can't get into the site -- it appears to be down).

Crichton was 66. He started writing books about 40 years ago to help pay his way through medical school.

One of the things I loved was how he would take a complex scientific subject -- like DNA and paleontology in Jurassic Park, quantum physics in Timeline, nanoscience in Prey or genetic engineering in Next -- and explain it so thoroughly, but also in a way that made sense to the average reader. And then he'd marry it to an awesome adventure story.

His last book came out in 2006 and I was looking forward to his next one. He'll be missed.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Free Stuff Files: Election edition

Election Day is here and you can celebrate Democracy buy getting free stuff!

Stop into any Starbucks today and pick up a free tall cup of coffee. I will be all over that one. I might even hit a couple of different Starbucks, since you can't travel a half mile in any direction around here without bumping into one.

The other two deals I wish I could take advantage of, but sadly they don't have any shops with convenient locations for me. But maybe this will be helpful for some of you out there in blogland.

First up, enjoy the sweet taste of freedom at a participating Ben & Jerry's scoop shop between 5 and 8 p.m. That's when they'll be passing out free cones. Personally, I'd pick Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream.

Lastly, an "I Voted" sticker will get you an free star-shaped doughnut with red, white and blue sprinkles at Krispy Kreme.

MMmmm...delicious democracy...

Monday, November 03, 2008

John Williams tribute

This is just too darn awsome...

Getting it all done

We had an insanely busy weekend, which featured:
  • Halloween (see above photo)
  • Junior Warriors Basketball
  • Selling more popcorn for Cub Scouts
  • Donating blood
  • Dinner with the Prices
  • Church and religion classes
  • The Wiggles concert in Albany
  • Yard work

Kris has chronicled all of it on the Rooney Train.

Needless to say, I’m exhausted today. I need to get to bed early tonight because it’s going to be a looong day tomorrow!