Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam, we hardly knew ye

You gotta like the no-nonsense nature of Saddam's hanging. Not so much the actual execution, but the quickness with which it was carried out in relation to when he was convicted. It took merely 56 days to go from guilty verdict, to "rope-a-dope". Not bad.

How would this have played out here? Ten, fifteen years on death row? Awaiting Saddam's demise sometime around, oh, say 2020 -- you know, around the same time that Rocky XII would come out.

I'm sure the nature of the crimes, and the fact that is was after all, Saddam Hussein, meant a faster conclusion to the story. Make that a much faster conclusion. His appeal was denied early last week, and the order was to carry out the execution within 30 days. "Hey, why wait that long?" they thought to themselves, and after a U.S. judge refused to stop Saddam's execution on Friday, the noose around Hussein's neck tightened -- literally.

At least he dressed up for the occasion. He had a nice black suit on, decent looking white shirt underneath, and his beard looked nice and trim. The executioners had on ski masks, huh? Were they going to rob the place after they were done? I would have liked to have seen them in full executioner attire, or better yet, grey suits with George W. Bush masks on. Now that would have been high comedy.

And since this all happened so close to the end of the calendar year, I think an opportunity was wasted with this execution. Couldn't they have flown Saddam and the Executioners -- don't think there won't be a punk band with that name next year -- to New York, and gone ahead with the execution in Times Square?

Think about it. It's almost midnight, thousands are gathered down below to ring in 2007, and as the final seconds tick away, instead of the ball dropping, it's Saddam and the Executioners. During that final minute, they start a slow decline to where the ball usually finishes its descent. Then three-two-one...midnight hits just as Saddam is hanged as Led Zeppelin's "Gallows Pole" roars in the background.

Hangman, hangman, upon your face a smile.
Tell me that I'm free to ride
Ride for many mile, mile, mile.


(Clink) Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas


From my daughters, Megan and Sarah, my wife Laurie, and of course, me, Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Numb3rs

I've talked about it several times on the show, but I feel the need to post this very useful information on the web, so that people all across the world can utilize this method of labeling their gifts on Christmas day, for generations to come. My little way of making the world a better place.

Or, something like that.

Truth is, my family has been doing gifts this way for a very long time. It's fun, easy, and mysterious. Like Angelina Jolie in the good 'ol days.

Here's how it works...instead of simply placing name tags on gifts, you place a number. No names, just numbers. This way, nobody has any idea which gifts go to which person. Well, the person in charge of the list knows, but that's it.

So, instead of looking under the tree and within minutes knowing how many, or how few gifts you have, you end up having no idea. Thus, the mystery. You see a big box in the corner of the room and hope its yours, but you won't know until the moment that gift is about to be opened.

My dad usually keeps the master list, and in the years since I've moved out of the house, I've kept the list for the gifts we've purchased.

The trick is trying to have all of the gifts blend in -- both in appearance, and numbers chosen -- so that it becomes difficult to know at first glance which gifts are coming from which person.

There ends up being dozens and dozens of gifts uner the tree, all numbered 1 thru whatever, and one of us starts by selecting a gift. The number is called out, my dad says who it belongs to, and that person opens their gift.

Then they select the next gift, and it goes on from there. One gift at a time. As a fan of opening gifts, I never want to see that last gift opened. Anything that drags it out is fine with me.

As a kid, you probably did this too, you'd rip through however many gifts you had in about ten minutes, and then it was all over. Kind of a letdown. Take your time. It's like eating a big steak, you want to take your time with it, not shove it all down your throat in two minutes. Savor it.

That's how this works. My folks and my brother come over around 10:00am, we put out the gifts, then we eat a nice breakfast, then we settle down for gift opening around noon. One by one the gifts are opened, and it usually wraps up around dinner time.

As we get down to the last few gifts, again nobody knows if they've opened up all of their gifts or not, it starts to get tense, wondering who gets what of the remaining presents.

Maybe this isn't for you. But, maybe you're intrigued and are willing to try it for a year. Hopefully this was a good explanation.

If not, do you have my number?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Holiday Gift for you

If you're a fan of holiday programming, or if you have kids that love all of the Christmas shows, I have found a fantastic website that allows you to point, click, and watch 101 Christmas classics online.

This site has just about everything, from essentials like "It's A Wonderful Life", "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer", and "Frosty The Snowman", to the awful -- can anyone say, "Star Wars Holiday Special - Parts 1 and 2"?!?!

Cartoons, commercials, music videos, Christmas-themed sitcoms, it's all there.

Spongebob, the Flintstones, Seinfeld, Newhart, Bugs Bunny -- it's quite an assortment.

Enjoy the clips. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch Santa Claus Conquers The Martians.

Friday, December 15, 2006

August Max Woman

One of the most anticipated moments on Christmas day at my house is the revealing of who ends up with the August Max Woman box. This goes back many years. It goes back so far, that I can't even remember the year it started.

Sometime, probably back in the late 80's or early 90's, one of the men in the house received a gift that had been placed in an old August Max Woman box. Many of the gifts we give each year are placed in boxes that make those gifts hard to predict -- like putting a DVD inside an old Cheerios box, or placing a gift certificate inside of an empty box of Ritz crackers.

You just have to make sure that the actual gift is better than what the box makes you think the gift is. In other words, don't put your clip-on tie for Uncle Bill inside your empty digital camera box from last Christmas.

So, the August Max Woman box was cause for a few laughs, and as is the case with many of these boxes, it got reused year after year. You can never have enough old shoe boxes, or clothes boxes for next year's gifts. And, as the years went on, the August Max Woman box kept popping up. Its' peach color helped it stand out, too.

After awhile, having one of your gifts inside the August Max Woman box was almost like receiving an award. The box would elicit a bigger reaction than whatever was in it.

Two years ago, my parents feared the worst. They couldn't find the August Max Woman box. Maybe it had been thrown out with the trash the previous Christmas. We needed a replacement, so mom grabbed another box that would serve as AMW Box II. The new box had a label on the side of it, explaining that the August Max Woman box was no more -- complete with an R.I.P, headstone, etc. -- and that this was to be its replacement. We came thisclose to having a moment of silence for good 'ol August Max Woman box.

So, a few minutes later when I gave a gift to both my mom and dad, you can imagine their shock, joy, and bewilderment when that gift was nestled inside -- you guessed it -- THE AUGUST MAX WOMAN BOX!!!

We had it all along. Since we hosted the previous Christmas, the gift ended up staying at our house for the year, and my folks didn't realize it. The moment the box is rediscovered, reborn if you will, is captured on video, and one of these days, I'll throw the audio on the show for you.

Last year, Megan received the box, and even she knew how to react. She peeled away the wrapping paper, saw what was in front of her, and squealed with delight, "I GOT THE AUGUST MAX WOMAN BOX!! I GOT THE AUGUST MAX WOMAN BOX!!"

Not many families grab the camera to capture the magical moment when one of their loved ones receives a box -- no matter what is inside.

Yes, we are a bit strange. In a good way.

So, who is getting the August Max Woman box this year? It's anybody's guess. I know we don't have the box, so it's going to come from my parents. What will be inside?

Does it really matter?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Philly phollies



Those of you that know me, or have listened to me over the years, know that I am a Philadelphia sports fan. There, I've admitted it yet again. I feel like I'm introducing myself at a Philly fan support group. Yep, being a Philly sports fan requires support, and a little therapy wouldn't hurt.

The video at the top of this post is a pretty accurate assessment of what it's like to be a fan of Philly sports.

Watch the video, then you'll understand why I laugh at Cubs fans, for example, that cry the blues about not having won a world series since 1908. Sure, that's a long time. But, the odds are that if you are a Cubs fan, then you also root for the Bulls (six titles in the 90's), or the Bears (Super Bowl XX winner), or the Blackhawks (ok, bad example).

The point being, at least one of the Chicago teams has been able to come through with a title for you in the past few decades. Even the White Sox should qualify for Cubs fans, to a certain extent. As frustrating as it may have been to watch the Sox win the series in 2005, at least they gave you a chance to watch a Chicago baseball team win a title, get a parade through the streets of Chicago, and then woefully underachieve the following year.

For us Philly fans, we've gone 23 years without one of the four major sports teams winning a championship. And to make matters worse, they've come very, very close to winning at least one, in several sports.

Since the last title (the 1983 76ers), Philadelphia has been in title games or championship finals seven times, and won zero titles. The Flyers are 0-3, the Phillies are 0-2, and the Eagles and 76ers are each 0-1.

Usually, they come up short due to their own ineptitude, but other times it's something more...a dramatic homerun, a freak injury, a quarterback throwing up in the huddle, a goalie being killed in a car crash, things like that.

Oh so close, yet oh so far.

The current state of Philly pro sports? Well, the Eagles, who have been one of the top NFL teams this decade, are for the second straight year, dealing with a season ending injury to their quarterback (who also was throwing up in the huddle in a game this season -- the game they lost on a last second 62-yard field goal). So, safe to say I don't hold out a lot of hope for their chances.

The Flyers, another team that has been a Stanley Cup contender for the better part of ten straight years, are horrible. The worst team in their conference, 2nd worst team in the sport. Even the Blackhawks are laughing at them.

The 76ers have won just five games and are about to trade their only good player, most likely for another team's garbage.

At least the Phillies appear headed in the right direction, and they just picked up White Sox starter Freddy Garcia in a trade for a couple of minor league pitchers. I'm trying not to get too excited about Garcia helping the Phils' pitching staff though, because I'm sure by mid-June he will have blown out his arm, or suffered some intestinal injury after eating a cheesesteak too fast. It's bound to happen.

Oh well, I've been following them too long to stop now. As soon as I'd abandon them, they'd win. It's hopeless.

So don't fret Chicago fans, things may be a bit bleak in Cubdom, Hawkland, etc., but at least you have some of those other titles to fall back on. It's been a whole generation since the last Philly pro sports title. Just watch the video and see what I've been going through.

I hope you like it. I sure didn't.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Odds and Ends

Here are a few things on my mind that I've gathered up and lumped into one post...
  • I'm really disappointed that the San Francisco Giants have signed Barry Bonds. And, really, 16 million dollars?!?! How great would it have been if every team in the league had ignored Bonds, leaving him a man without a team, unable to chase Hank Aaron's record. Perfect justice for an obvious cheater. It would have been the ultimate intentional pass.

  • I read recently that Rosie O'Donnell may leave The View after her one-year contract and join Nip/Tuck fulltime. Someone please wake me up and assure me that this is just a bad dream.

  • The holidays are coming, and a gift we've given to our parents for the past few years is a family calendar with personal pictures appearing on each of the twelve months. There are plenty of fine area businesses that offer this service. However, we've been doing ours online for the past few years, and we had been using Shutterfly. Nice service, dependable, affordable. This year, we discovered Snapfish. If you plan to do a family calendar online, this is the site to use. Many more features. Don't wait too long, though.

  • Can someone tell me why Dane Cook is so popular? And let me know which one of his jokes/bits I'm supposed to laugh at -- because it hasn't happened, yet.

  • For the Morris readers...is it possible to make a left turn from Washington St. onto Route 47, and then make the green lights at both North and Benton Streets? That hasn't happened yet, either.

  • TV pet peeve -- Contestants on American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, or other similar shows that feel the need to hold up the amount of fingers that relate to the phone number viewers are to dial to vote for them. Those have to be some of the most annoying few seconds on television. Along with Rosie O'Donnell on Nip/Tuck, or anything else for that matter, and...

  • ...any commercial starring Joan Cusack. Just not doing it for me.

  • Now here is a commercial for Arby's that has made me laugh out loud each time I've seen it.

  • I've lived in this area for over a decade. How much longer do we have to wait before we get an Olive Garden? Throw us a Red Robin, too while you're at it.

  • As a non-Bears fan, this season is shaping up nicely. Defense and good fortune is helping the team to a deceivingly good record in a horrible division, while a young quarterback struggles, and fans get anxious. Just like last year. I'm looking forward to their 1st round home loss even more than I did last season.

  • Are there any good looking women, celebrity or not, named Nancy? Really. Who is the leader in the clubhouse at the moment...Nancy O'Dell? Nancy Kerrigan? Am I forgetting anyone? Cool, a homework project.
'Til next time...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Hooray for Horatio



If you are a CSI: Miami fan, you should check out the above video. If you are not a fan of the show, you should definitely check it out. Someone has taken the time to splice together clips of David Caruso delivering his final line leading into each week's opening credits. It's a thing of beauty.

Wouldn't it be cool to be able to walk through your day-to-day activities being able to end of conversation with a pun, or a zinger as you're putting on your shades, putting your hands on your hips, and then walking away as Roger Daltrey screams a little "We Won't Get Fooled Again" in the background?

I can picture it. Schramm and I are at the coffee machine some weekday morning as he pours the last bit of coffee from the pot to his mug. He looks at me and says, "Looks like I got the last of it!" Then I stare at the empty pot for a second and say, "Looks like you (putting on shades as I look Schramm in the face) are making a new pot of coffee" as I walk away back into my studio (cue Roger Daltrey) "YEEAAAHHHHHHHHH!"

How cool would that be?

I have to admit, I had a bit of a man-crush on David Caruso. This goes back to his days playing John Kelly on NYPD Blue. For that one season, he was as captivating a character as there was on television. You couldn't take your eyes off him when he was in a scene. I'd never seen someone deliver lines like him, the way he stood, the way he pointed his head down low and looked down when he was talking, the 'don't mess with me' swagger. It was my favorite hour of the week.

I still remember hearing that he was leaving the show from my dad one morning in the kitchen as we were getting ready for work. Devastating.

Yeah, Caruso went for the big bucks in Hollywood. I guess he never read Shelly Long's "Leaving A Hit Show Too Early: Don't Make The Same Mistake I Did" manual. After a couple of so-so movies, the quickly forgotten lawyer drama Michael Hayes (was I the only one that watched that show?), he seems to have landed on his feet.

I guess my man-crush on Caruso has evaporated. I still like the guy a bit, but I haven't watched a CSI: Miami yet. It's just not the same as that brilliant first year of NYPD Blue. Judging by what I see in this video montage, I'm not missing that much. Except a lot of laughs.

And what's with the name Horatio? How many red-headed white guys do you know named Horatio? It just doesn't make sense.

Enjoy the video. It's a doozy.

Now, we just need someone out there to put together a montage of John Kelly's "Ok's" from NYPD Blue. Please feel free to omit his bare buns scenes. I had a man-crush, but let's not get carried away.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Greg needs to 'Wiggle' out of this

Greg Page, lead singer of The Wiggles, will be leaving the group due to what is being called a "serious illness" according to an AP story. For those that don't recognize Greg by name, he's the one in the yellow shirt, or as I like to call him, the talented one.

Megan has been a big fan of The Wiggles. We first discovered them at the end of one of her Barney tapes. These guys have a musical background, and the kids songs they have written and performed aren't too bad to listen to. It won't drive parents nuts like say, well, like Barney's music does.

Plus, they're from Australia, so they're basically harmless. And it's fun to hear them talk. When Greg would be talking about a "big scary bear", it would come out more like "big scahhee behhh".

The production quality of some of their early videos is certainly high comedy. Of course that has all changed now that they are multi-millionaires. They grossed 39 million dollars last year alone. I'm impressed at their staying power. They're huge hits in Australia, and thanks to a partnership with Barney, and the Disney Channel, they're pretty popular over here, too.

Maybe that's the route for me. Is it too late to start a second career writing children's songs? Kids are pretty easy to please, so the songs don't even have to be that good.

For appearances, all I would need to do would be to wear something colorful and flash a big, bright, silly smile -- you know, like I always do. To cover up the mediocre singing and songwriting, I could just give out candy during the songs for all of the kids. Hey, this has potential. Although, the parents might be a bit hesitant with the whole, "don't take candy from strangers" thing. It's a work in progress.

In the meantime, here's hoping that Greg takes some time off, gets the treatment he needs for whatever he is suffering from, and gets back up on stage where he belongs with the rest of The Wiggles. They need him.

The kids do, too.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!


Did anyone notice that one of the TBS reruns of Seinfeld on Monday night -- the first weeknight following Michael Richards' onstage fiasco -- was the one where Jerry and Elaine are in the bakery and Jerry is eating the black and white cookie, talking about racial harmony.

At least they didn't run the one where Kramer is dating a black woman, accidentally tans too long, and shows up at her place (with her family there to meet him) looking as if he was pulling an Al Jolson.

I'm not going to try to defend what Richards did on stage in Los Angeles. But, I am interested in trying to understand why it happened. Is he really a racist? Was he trying to be outrageous and shocking and simply went too far? Should he go around town trying to convince everyone that he has many black friends, as George did in a Seinfeld episode?

Anyone who has watched the Seinfeld DVD's, and has seen the bloopers, or interviews, can either tell, or have heard, that Richards was a very intense guy. A perfectionist who always seemed a bit upset when a co-star would blow a line, forcing a retake. Sure, he'd smile and look like it was no big deal, but you get the feeling that inside he wasn't too thrilled. Doesn't he seem a little too calm during his interview segments? As if he's bottling up something? Maybe I'm reading too much into things.

It would be nice to see footage of when the heckler first starts going at Richards. I think the clip that is all over the internet begins in the middle of his rant. My guess is that Richards was being heckled, tried to diffuse it by being outrageous, the crowd started to turn on him, he pushed it further, and lost control.

He has a history of onstage outbursts. This New York Post article talks about some previous episodes he's had. Clearly, the guy has some issues.

For some Seinfeld fans, this may forever tarnish the show, and I've read some comments on various forums that those fans may not watch the show again. Or at least they won't be able to watch it the same way again.

Not me. I love the show too much to just give up. An, I'm able to separate Michael Richards, the person, from Cosmo Kramer, the character.

It's too bad that Richards didn't use Frank Costanza's relaxation technique while he was being heckled. He should have just stood there and said quietly to himself, "Serenity now, serenity now." Of course, Kramer eventually used that technique too much, and his real feelings and anger came out in an explosion of screams of rage.

Okay, bad example.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Upon further review...


Some common sense has seeped into the brains of those that were going to publish a new book by O.J. Simpson, "If I Did It", and the accompanying television interview that was to air on Fox over two nights later this month.

According to the Associated Press, after a firestorm of criticism, News. Corp. said Monday that it has canceled the book and TV special.

"I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project," said Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman. "We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson."

A dozen Fox affiliates had already said they would not air the two-part sweeps month special, planned for next week before the Nov. 30 publication of the book by ReganBooks. The publishing house is a HarperCollins imprint owned like the Fox network by News Corp.

So, what took them so long?

I'm still up for the pay-per-view ideas I posted here.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lazytown's stunt double

In my halloween post, I had promised you a pic of Megan in her costume. She decided this year to go as Stephanie from Lazytown.

To the right is Megan in our kitchen prior to trick-or-treating. The best part of the costume is the wig. She received plenty of compliments about it while making her way through the neighborhood. It kept bothering her though.

The wig, not the compliments.

It had a hard time staying on her head, and Megan wanted to take it off at least a dozen times in the 90 minutes we were trick-or-treating. The wig was essential to the costume considering she had a coat on over top of the rest of the "Stephanie" ensemble -- remember, it was cold that night -- so she had to leave it on. It would be like going as Steve Irwin, but not leaving the stingray barb in your chest.

Friday, November 17, 2006

O.J. Simpson's unsportsmanlike conduct

UPDATE: Fortunately, both the O.J. book and interview that are discussed in this post, will NOT happen. The Associated Press reported that News. Corp. has canceled the O.J. Simpson book and TV special "If I Did It."

I still can't believe the latest developments with O.J. Simpson. This piece of garbage actually has the nerve to release a book, and a TV interview -- conducted by the publisher of the book -- talking about how he would have killed Ron and Nicole if he had committed the crime.

Of course, we all know that he did it. In fact, everyone but delusional O.J., and those 12 dopes that were on the jury know that he did it. So what exactly is the purpose of this?

Is whatever money that is made from the book, or the interview, going to the Goldman's, or to his children? Possibly. Judith Regan, the publisher and interviewer, has indicated that O.J.'s kids would receive money earned from both the book and television show. I'm sure the kids will be so pleased to receive a check that was made possible by their father detailing for the world just exactly how he would have killed their mother, you know, if he did it.

Maybe this is Simpson's way of getting certain things off his chest, and his conscience. Maybe he just wants to be in the spotlight again. Frankly, I really don't care what his motivation is, and I won't be watching. From what I've read, at one point during the interview, he stops talking, tears up a little, and says something to the effect of, "I can't let my kids hear this". Hey, Orenthal, if you were so concerned about your kids, you shouldn't have killed their mom.

And if you really are innocent, and then go comfort those kids that you're so concerned about, and hold off on the interviews and book releases detailing how you would have murdered Nicole and Ron.

Then you have the poor Goldmans. I watched a little of Fred and Kim on Larry King the other night. Poor Fred. He still looks the same, still has the 'Rollie Fingers' mustache, and he still looks as sad, angry, and as beaten down as he did throughout the trial. Each time he vented his frustraion at this latest O.J. fiasco, I kept waiting for the mustache to straighten from his anger. Didn't happen -- yet.

Here's an idea for "Juice". Now that he's taken a few minutes off from searching for the real killers, let's just make the confession real and legit. I have no idea how the double jeopardy rules apply, but just go for it O.J., confess for real. You want to be loved again by America, you want to be a hero again, do the right thing, confess to the murders.

Ask for the death penalty while you're at it. Throw yourself on the mercy of the courts. Take it like a man. You'rethisclose to actually coming out and saying you did it, anyway. And if Fred Goldman doesn't approve of the form of capital punishment, he can do an interview and release a book saying how he would have done it.

And it still seems you owe the Goldman's roughly 33 million dollars. Why don't we offer your execution on pay-per-view. I'm sure we could muster up at least 4 or 5 million people at $10 apiece. That would cover the civil suit, you'd gain back some dignity, and we would finally accomplish what you've been trying to do for the past 11 years -- find the real killer and bring him to justice.

Too harsh you say? Fine. Let's keep the pay-per-view idea, but instead, let's put Fred and O.J. in the same room. Tie O.J.'s hands behind his back, and let Fred have at him for an hour. You wouldn't pay $10, $20 to see that? George Bush might even support that one.

I even have the perfect sponsor to help raise a few extra dollars to help pay off that civil suit. What better sponsor could there be for an event with O.J. that involves pain and torture other than...

Hertz.

Whaddya say, O.J.? I know I'm in.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Colin Mochrie

Thanks to Colin Mochrie for calling in Thursday morning to promote his show at the Rialto with fellow Whose Line Is It Anyway alum Brad Sherwood. Both the interview, and show, went very well. Well, I assume the show went well, I wasn't able to make it.

I don't have an audio link for you, but as we did with the Rick Springfield interview, I'm posting the transcript -- the highlights at least -- of our chat.

I've edited it down a bit because I'm too lazy to type out the full 17-minute interview.

Mike Williams: What can fans expect with the show at the Rialto?

Colin Mochrie: Well, we like to say it's sort of a live version of Whose Line Is It Anyway, without the tall guy, the black guy, and the rich guy. The 'deadweight' actually we called them. A lot of games will be familiar to fans of Whose Line, and we have some different games that we play that we didn't have a chance to on the show because of time constraints or whatever.

MW: How did this tour with Brad come about?

CM: It was Brad's idea to go out and test the waters. We'd gone out as a group to Vegas and places like that, and the shows were great and a lot of fun, the only problem was, there were about 10 of us on stage, so you didn't ever really feel like you were able to warm up, or got to be a big part of the show, so Brad asked me and I said yes. That was about three years ago, and we've been having a great time.

It's great, we're both stage hogs so it's really a chance for us to make people watch us. There's nobody else on stage, and we have been having such a great time and the shows have been going very well, and it gives us a chance to experiment with games that we didn't get to do on the show. For example during this stage show we do the World's Most Dangerous Improv Game where we litter the stage with 100 live mousetraps and we walk around the stage barefoot and blindfolded.

MW: While doing an improv game...

CM: Yeah. It's really stupid. We're doing sort of an alphabet opera. We keep adding things to make it more and more stupid.

MW: Audience participation is important in your show, and I read that you and Brad don't really like to bring anyone onstage that seems too eager to be up there. You look for those that may be a bit shy and hesitant.

CM: Exactly. You don't want to bring someone onstage that wants to compete with you. Because improv is such an ensemble artform, you want someone that is going to help the scene. We usually pick couples because they feel a little safer with someone else they know on stage with them, and we try to make the stage the safest place in the world for them. We never try to humiliate them or anything because they are such a big part of the show.

MW: On Whose Line Is It Anyway, what were some of your favorite games, and what were some of the games you thought, "Oh no, not this one again"?

CM: Hoedown I hated, and I don't think that was a secret. I don't think anyone on the show really liked Hoedown, but for some reason, that was always one of the more popular games. We get asked all the time during the stage shows to do a hoedown, and it will never happen.

MW: Irish Drinking Song...

CM: That one was kinda fun, I always enjoyed Greatest Hits because I got a chance to sit down, and it gave Ryan and I a chance to banter and have fun and put it over to the singing guys and watch them perform. Scenes From A Hat was always fun. I like the games where you don't have to move around much.

MW: I always enjoyed Props, and Film Dub...

CM: Props was always a challenge because the props people would be workign in a room in the back that we were never allowed to go into, and they'd come out with these giant foam things and my first thought always was, "this looks like genitalia". And you can't use that. So it was always a little challenging.

MW: What kind of filter do you work with on stage? If a killer line comes into your head but you think that you shouldn't use it, how do you deal with that during a show?

CM: Well, Brad works with no filter. I'm the one with the conscience. It usually works out that very rarely does something filthy becomes the first thing that enters my mind. Sometimes things of questionable taste will come in, but I tend to squash those because there's a very fine line between making an audience laugh, and making them uncomfortable and turning against you. We are, basically, just wanting to do a show that's a lot of fun for everyone, so we're pretty good at keeping it that way.

MW: Doing what you do, you have to have a complete open mind, be brave, take chances, be willing to look like a fool just to get that laugh?

CM: It's pretty sad, pathetic really, but we'll do anything for a laugh. I think describing the mousetrap game pretty much shows that. We will go anywhere, anyhow to humiliate each other and ourselves just to get that audience participation.

MW: After all of these years doing improv, the two of you must have an assortment of techniques, or fallbacks so that in case a scene isn't quite going in the direction you want, you can change it up completely by just saying one line?

CM: You'd think so. Usually what happens, one of us just takes off our pants and hope that works.

MW: Or make a poop joke...

CM: Oh yeah.

MW: You were a shy kid, right?

CM: I was shy, I still am. Actually, the success of Whose Line helped get me out of my shell because I had too in order to do promotion and appearances. But as a kid, I was very quiet, very studious, a bit of a bookworm. Then I tried out for the school play, got my first laugh, and that was it, it was a turning point in my life.

MW: We certainly can't relate to what that's like to have an audience that constantly finds you hilarious, and what kind of a thrill that must be to have people laugh at your jokes, and love what you do.

CM: It is the most incredible, legal stimulant you could ever feel to have a whole audience laugh at something that you've done or said. Part of it is because it is so hard to get a laugh from a large group of people. Everyone's sense of tragedy is basically the same, the loss of a loved one, a relationship breaking up. It's hard finding a group with a common sense of humor. Everyone's humor is so personal, so when you actually find some way to make an entire room laugh, it's such a great feeling of power. Of course, I can't really do anything with it, I can't take over the world, but it certainly makes me feel good.

MW: How much do you stay in contact with the other guys from the TV show?

CM: As much as possible, I just saw Drew (Carey) at the Just For Laughs Festival this summer, I just saw Greg Proops who was in Toronto on tour. Ryan (Stiles), the person I'm closest too, oddly is the person that is hardest to stay in contact with. He's always sort of moving around, and changing his number, and I'm trying not to take it personally.

MW: Colin, thanks so much for your time, and have a great show.

CM: Thanks, Mike.


You can find out more about Colin at his website.

There are also hundreds of Whose Line Is It Anyway clips at Youtube.

You're Welcome.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

NFL = No Fun League

Well, that post I made way down the page about watching old Bears clips on Youtube is irrelevant. Thanks to the latest party-pooper move by the No Fun League, the video sharing site was told to remove over 3,000 NFL clips that included game footage, and they complied.

The full story can be found here.

I can understand if the league wants recent clips pulled -- from last Sunday's games for example. But what is the harm in having older clips available to view? Maybe down the line, there will be clips made available on a pay-to-play basis.

The NFL is strange concerning old broadcast footage. Ever notice how on ESPN Classic, or even their own NFL Network, you can't find actual play-by-play coverage of old games? Why is that? You mean you wouldn't plop down in front of the television to watch an old Monday Night Football matchup with Howard Cosell and the gang? I sure would.

The NFL should start up a 2nd channel that does nothing but show classic games of the past 50 years. Or, offer that service online. Click the game you want to see, pay a small fee, and watch a great game from the past as it originally aired.

These classic games need to be made available. I'm telling you, there's a market out there for the old broadcasts, and if the NFL did it wisely, they could make a few bucks, too.

But, for now, all we have as options are games we may have been smart enough to tape ourselves when they first aired, NFL Films produced highlights of games that just aren't as good as the real thing, or the clips that now are available on youtube -- usually some guy with a camcorder filming a touchdown from his upper-deck seat while cheering as the play happens, causing the camera to shake so bad that you have no idea what you're looking at. Not the best choices.

Thanks, NFL. Now it stands for Nostalgia Forever Lost.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fed-Ex



Britney has filed for divorce from K-Fed, Fed-Ex, Fed-Up, F'd-Up, whatever you want to call him now. It's bad enough that you get dumped by the now thin and sexy again Britney Spears via text message, as has been reported, but to have it apparently captured on tape for the whole world to see? Priceless.

The video above may very well be showing Fed-Ex as he gets the text message from Britney saying that it's over. He's either looking at that, or his first-week album sales (6,500 -- by the way, not good).

Fed-Ex is going to try to get custody of their two kids. I give him credit for wanting to take some responsibility, especially after reading about the various adventures involving Britney and her parenting skills over the last year. However, I'm not sure how eager a judge will be to hand over these kids to Fed-Ex after hearing how much he's been partying lately. According to People magazine, he took a trip to Vegas to do just that, a mere three weeks after their 2nd child was born. This was reportedly one of the final straws for Britney in deciding that she was K-Fed-up.

At least he has an aspiring music career to now fall back on. Oops. He played at the House of Blues in Chicago Wednesday night, and they had to actually give away tickets. No joke. Amidst the musical genius that is a K-Fed koncert, fans were treated to shout-outs to the crowd like, "You know I'm a free man, right, ladies? You wanna dance with a pimp?"

"Ladies if you're drunk, let me hear you scream!"

"All my ladies, I love you to death!"

I guess you get what you pay for.

Meanwhile, Britney is ready to take over the world again. She's working on a new album, she's lost some excess weight (about 180 lbs. worth, or whatever Kev weighs these days), and she's back to looking hot. And judging by this picture, just a tad happy.

I may just have to put her poster back up in the studio.

I like how behind her is a scrolling marquee that apparently is announcing that she has filed for divorce from K-Fed. She fled-K.

Let's just hope those kids are given good daycare. And a good psychiatrist down the line.

Meanwhile, what's next for Kevin Federline? Well, the music career is over before it even started. He also said he won't go back to being a dancer (he was a background dancer with Justin Timberlake). He might just have to get a regular job.

With the holidays approaching, I bet Fed Ex is hiring.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

That's one Hill of a reaction



Faith Hill's honest reaction after losing out to Carrie Underwood for a CMA award Monday night.

You know the other nominees were thinking the same thing. At least they didn't lose to Kellie Pickler.

UPDATE: Okay, so now, Faith Hill is saying that her reaction was just a joke. In a statement, Hill said, "The idea that I would act disrespectful towards a fellow musician is unimaginable to me. For this to become a focus of attention given the talent gathered is utterly ridiculous. Carrie is a talented and deserving Female Vocalist of The Year."

Maybe she's doing an about face after getting some bad press today -- or maybe she really was joking around.

I guess we'll have to go all the way back to last week for a more believable meltdown after Kanye West didn't receive an MTV Europe Award.

Although, now I'm hearing that even that was an act to keep up his cocky image. Whatever.

My head hurts.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Colin will be callin'



The great Colin Mochrie is scheduled to join me next week on the show. Mochrie, along with Brad Sherwood, will be performing improv Friday night at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.

Colin and Brad were part of the cast of the succesful Whose Line Is It Anyway show that ran from 1998-2004 on ABC. Reruns can be seen on ABC Family at 9:00pm weeknights.

There are literally hundreds of clips from the show available to view at YouTube. Get comfy and prepare to laugh. This was one of my favorite shows when it aired, and when those guys were on their game, it was top notch. Mochrie and Sherwood are excellent, and if you stumble across any Mochrie clips that also feature Ryan Stiles, sit back and enjoy -- the two of them together are as good as it gets on that show.

The clip I've included is part of the show that Colin and Brad are bringing to the Rialto. If you're going to the show, and don't want to be spoiled, then don't step in the trap.

If you have any questions you want me to ask Colin, post them here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween



I didn't know Nicole Richie was such a good dancer.

But seriously, I hope you have a fun Halloween. Give out some decent stuff, too. Don't give out candycorn, or the non-descript candy wrapped in solid orange or solid black wrappers. Forget the raisins, the popcorn balls, and homemade peanut brittle. There's a simple formula to giving out good Halloween candy. Name-brand, chocolate themed candy bars. Snickers, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Reese's Cups, Milky Way, etc. This shouldn't be that difficult to accomplish.

Don't be surprised if you come by my house and nobody's home. All of us are going out trick-or-treating this afternoon. Megan will be dressed as "Stephanie" from "Lazytown". The last few years, Megan has dressed up as Snow White. When she went to look for a costume this year, she saw the "Stephanie" and went right to it.

Have you seen "Lazytown"? A tad bizarre. Imaginative and ambitious, but a tad bizarre.We'll bundle up Sarah in some blankets and bring her along in a stroller. Maybe we'll put an alien mask on her and dress her up as baby Suri. I'll try to round up some pictures one of these days.

I was going to go as "Sportacus" from the show, but I didn't want to act like a showoff tonight by imitating his jump-do-the-splits-in-mid-air move.

I'll just be dressed up in the same costume I wear every day -- overworked, underpaid radio host.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Don't Talk To Strangers

Fortunately, Rick Springfield did talk to a stranger last Friday on the show -- me. Of course, he was promoting a concert and a DVD. If I'd bumped into him at the grocery store, I doubt we'd have had as nice, or as long of a conversation. Just sayin.

For those that missed the interview, here are some of the highlights...

Mike Williams: I don't believe you've played the Rialto before, is that correct?

Rick Springfield: No, I hear it's a great looking theatre. We're very up for the show.

MW: My wife and I saw you back in '99 at Joe's on Weed Street in Chicago.

RS: (Laughs) That was one of the first shows we did (on the Karma tour).

MW: Yeah, there was a Sinatra impersonator that opened for you...

RS: Yeah, wow (laughs).

MW: And the day after, my wife and I found out we were pregnant with our first daughter, so anytime we bring up the concert, we think "oh yeah, and the next day we found out we were pregnant", so the concert is special to us.

RS: Good memories.

MW: I asked some of our listeners to throw some questions your way, and my wife gets the first one. She had heard that you were working on a Christmas album.

RS: Yeah, it kind of got delayed because fans who know me call it "Rick-time", so I was hoping to get the opportunity to do it for this Christmas but it isn't going to happen, there's too much to do -- we just finished the live DVD that's out now, then we did a VH1 show that we had to mix. We've done some of the Christmas album, and we'll finish it next year.

MW: Another listener, Amy, had heard that there are plans for a new studio album, too. Is that something that you're looking to do in the near future?

RS: Yeah, I'm actually building a new studio, and when that's done hopefully we'll have enough songs to go in and record a new album. We actually do one of the new ones live, we start the show out with "Who Killed Rock and Roll", and it's, you know, a good up-tempo song that's got a good beat, you can dance to it, and that's what most of the songs will have I think.

MW: What can fans expect to see on the new DVD that is out now, "Live in Rockford"?

RS: I think it's really representative of what the show was toward the end of last year. It's 5.1, and high definition, it's like an eight camera shoot, it's really just an amazing job. It's a very exciting representation of the show. The sound is great and the theatre is beautiful. We actually looked at doing it at The Rialto in Joliet. We were going online looking for a real pretty theatre to film this thing in and The Coronado (in Rockford) won out mainly because it was available.

MW: I think one of the things that people will notice when they come to see you Saturday, or if they get the DVD, is the pure joy you have onstage playing music. The enthusiasm, the energy, you really seem to love what you're doing, and it really comes through onstage.

RS: Yeah, I absolutely love playing live. I will do it as long as I'm physically able, and as long as the energy's there, and the energy is great. The crowd energy's amazing. We actually did a USC show for a cancer fund, like a sorority thing in a parking lot and there were about 500 twenty-year olds, and it was great. That kind of energy is awesome, too, you know, you launch into songs and they recognize them and it was wonderful to see.

MW: The other big question on people's minds, when is Noah Drake (the character he plays on General Hospital) coming back?

RS: Well, he's still on the road. They called up the other day trying to find out what my schedule's like in the new year because they want to start writing some stuff in. Obviously they have a storyline in mind. Touring is the most fun for me, but it hasn't hurt to be back on that show, and it seems to have opened up other opportunities, too.

MW: Did you recover from, what was it a liver problem? I'm trying to remember through my wife's watching of the show.

RS: Yeah, it was a liver transplant and yes I did recover from that, as people do on soap operas. They recover 100 percent (laughs).

MW: Many times over.

RS: Yeah, I remember one of the characters got shot and she said, "ohhh, I get shot again?!?!"

MW: Was there pressure from General Hospital to play your music on the show, especially as things took off for you in the early 80's?

RS: Actually, I was originally hired as an actor by Gloria Monty who was the brains behind behind the whole GH phenomenon, and I'd been on the show for about three weeks and she quietly came up to me and said 'I hear you're also a singer' (laughs), so it was very cool that they didn't know about the music side, and then obviously when the music side really hit they started saying 'would you play on the show', and I always said 'no'. I just thought it was too goofy to suddenly have this doctor launch into a song that was by this guy who was going out touring. It was too much of a sellout. They didn't push it too hard.

MW: Right, you'd be visiting a patient, along their bedside in the hospital saying to them, "let me help you out, let me play this song for you" and grab the guitar...

RS: (laughs) The believability factor is hard on soaps sometimes as it is, so I think launching into a pop song as a doctor would stretch the limits of that even.

MW: With your music, there was always kind of a critical acclaim vs. popularity in the early days. I know you felt the merits of your music were strong enough, that it shouldn't have been 'I'm successful musically because I'm a soap star'. I think when your songs stand the test of time like yours have, that's pretty much testament to that.

RS: Yeah, that's great. There was really no way for me to address that other than to just keep playing, and whatever happens, happens. You can't have someone that doesn't think you have any credibility, you can't talk them into thinking you have credibility. You just have to let time go and either have them change their mind, or make up a new set of views, so, that's all I could do, is wait, and fortunately the music has had legs. I've been playing guitar for 35 years, I have some expertise. In fact, the live show, it always surprises people the kind of viruosity of the band, so I'd rather surprise them, then have them be disappointed, so that's great.

MW: You've had the Behind The Music treatment from a few years back, and wasn't there a cartoon about you back in the 70's?

RS: Oh jeez (laughs), that was a serious misstep, boy. I've made a few missteps in my career, but that was the biggest.

MW: What were some of your influences musically growing up?

RS: Rodgers and Hammerstein. My parents were big musical fans, movie musicals, Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific, and I really loved all that kind of music, because that was the only music I heard at the time. And also the writers. Writers were the kings with all the broadway shows that went to musicals and movies, so I was very aware of the power of songwriters. Then The Beatles hit and that kind of took it to a new level for me, and they were in the same age group. It's always been focused on the writers as far as I'm concerned.

MW: I know there's a girl that you've been involved with as far as charity work and fund raising efforts for Sahara Aldridge. Can you give us an update on her situation and how fans can help out?

RS: I've known Sahara since she was five years old. She's twelve now. She's amazingly brilliant, bright, beautiful kid, and absolutely out of nowhere was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Things were looking pretty bad, and her parents took her to Houston for some treatments -- they've done some pretty radical stuff, and it's actually looking...she's back home right now, and they're doing fundraisers for her, and it looks like we'll be doing a fundraiser in her hometown in December. People can find out more at my website. She's very worthy of your attention, and your prayers, and whatever you want to send her. I love her, and I doing it because I have to, you know? I must.

MW: Absolutely. Thanks so much for your time, Rick. We hope you enjoy The Rialto, I know the fans are looking forward to it. Bar none, when it comes to reaction from my listeners to music we play, you're at the top, and I'm not just saying that because you're on. It's usually you, Bryan Adams, and Bon Jovi. Something about you guys...

RS: (laughs)

MW: I get the most emails, requests, and reaction to your music.

RS: God bless them all.

MW: Thanks, Rick.

RS: All the best.


Fans can find out more about Rick at rickspringfield.com

Monday, October 23, 2006

Kenny Rogers was filthy in Game Two


Big controversy surrounding Detroit Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers and the "dirt" that he claimed to have smudged on his pitching hand in Game Two of the World Series Sunday night.

This image from ESPN.com shows Rogers' hand as it appeared in Game 3 of the ALCS (left), and Game 2 of the World Series (right).

Dirt, huh? Dirt that just happened to be smudged in the same exact spot in your last start?

The popular theory is that it was pine tar, something that is common for pitchers, and position players, to use on cold nights to help them get a better grip on the ball.

What's interesting is that Major League Baseball doesn't do anything more to stop players from using a 'performance enhancing substance' like this. And if the Cardinals lose the World Series, shouldn't more criticism rain down on Tony "The Genius" LaRussa for not making more of a stink about the Rogers situation in Game Two after LaRussa was told about the "smudge" by some of his players who noticed it on a television monitor in the clubhouse?

The "dirt" may or may not have had any direct impact on Rogers' ability to shut down St. Louis' lineup, but if I'm LaRussa, I'm talking to the umpires immediately, and talking to baseball officials about the possibility of getting Rogers tossed from the series. Or, I'm at least doing everything I can to get as many cameramen in Rogers' way wherever he goes in the hopes that he'll shove a couple of them and draw a suspension.

Now I'm not sure. I just looked at the picture again. Maybe it's not pine tar after all. Maybe he's just a sloppy wiper.

Yep, he was filthy alright.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Flushing Nemo

Two years ago for her 4th birthday my brother, Rick gave our daughter, Megan a Betta fish as a gift. He and his girlfriend brought a tank, helped put it together, and Megan was all excited. It was Megan's first pet. Well, the fish died last week. Not a big surprise, these fish only live a couple of years anyway, and it had been real lathargic the last few weeks and months. I even tried to prepare Megan for the fish's ultimate demise by telling her that he wasn't feeling very well, they don't live that long, etc. I was trying to cushion the ultimate blow.

I keep saying "the fish". Megan originally came up with the name "Sincomm" for the fish, but after a few days, she changed it to "Nemo". The tank stayed in her room, and Nemo was actually pretty easy to care for. Change out the water every so often, feed him once a day, and that was it. In fact, the small container of food we got on the day of her party in '04 hadn't even run out yet.

As Nemo started to become less and less active, and given how long we'd had him, my wife and I realized we'd soon be reaching the day when we'd have to break the news to Megan that Nemo had died. Over the last few weeks, everytime I looked at his tank, I was expecting him to be floating on top. Most days, he'd just be lying on the bottom, sleeping, resting, meditating, whatever they do. Megan started to ask about him, why he wasn't moving much, and that's when I started to tell her that he was getting old, tired, and might not be around much longer.

About a week ago, I checked on Nemo, and there he was, on the bottom of the tank again. I looked closer, and he wasn't moving at all. I tapped on the tank several times, turned the light switch on several times, even dangled a picture of a sexy female Betta fish in front of him -- nothing. This fish was fried.

I wasn't looking forward to the upcoming talk with Megan. I remember telling her that my family's dog had died a year or two ago, and that was pretty rough. And that was a pet that Megan had only been around a couple of times. I was hoping that my earlier talk with her about Nemo's advancing age and poor health would help ease the sadness of what I was about to tell her.

I sat her down after school, told her the news, and she cried as I expected. After a few minutes she was better, and she wanted to see him. After she looked at him for a few seconds, she said she wished I hadn't told her. Megan would have rather had us just get rid of Nemo, replaced him with a new fish, and then at that point, we should have told Megan.

It reminded me of when I told her about our family dog. I wanted to avoid telling her the truth, and instead, make up some excuse as to why "Lollie" wasn't around anymore. We went with the truth then, and with Nemo, too. I told her we wanted to be upfront and honest with her about Nemo. I told her that we could get another fish if she wanted, and she shook her head yes.

Later that night, we scooped Nemo out of his tank, took him to the bathroom where we all stood around the toilet and prepared to flush him as they did in the memorable scene from The Cosby Show.

My wife and I each said something about Nemo, and Megan did, too. Then Megan flushed the toilet, and there went Nemo.

Then more tears came from Megan. A few minutes later, she said she didn't want another fish, because she didn't want the next one to die, too. Understandable.

Megan and I both want a dog, but my wife always shoots that one down. If I were to get a dog, I might as well build myself a doghouse in the backyard.

Maybe I can get my brother to give me one as a gift.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Il will

Osama? Saddam? Rosie? Nope. This dude is more frightening than any of them. Slowly stockpiling nuclear capabilities over the years, while assembling an army of over a million soldiers, Kim Jong Il is puffing out his chest lately and letting everyone know that he has some very big toys that go boom.

It's hard to take him seriously, though. Look at him. What's he going for, the Yoko Ono/Elvis/Johnny Cash/Cosmo Kramer look?

Dig the shades.

Can't we send Jack Bauer over there to take this guy out? All Jack would have to do is get to North Korea, pull the hood of his sweatshirt up over his head, knock out a guard or two, and he'd be face-to-face with this thing.

He'd corner Kim Jong Il, throw him a few "WHERE ARE THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS?!?!", or "WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?!?!", or as he leans closer to K.J.I., "You're going to disarm those missles, and you're going to disarm them NOW!"

After a few minutes, the CTU torture guy would emerge carrying the suitcase full of goodies.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

There's probably one guy that doesn't mind all of the nuclear testing news coming out of North Korea -- Mark Foley. At least for a day or two, he goes from the front page to the back page.

On the back of a page is where he would like to be anyway.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bugs update

Just want to give you an update on my quest for more Bugs Bunny.

How silly of me to scan the television looking for these cartoons. My wife was able to find some old time favorites at this Looney Tunes site.

It's certainly not all of the classics, but it's a pretty good start.

For Daffy Duck fans, "Robin Hood Daffy" is one of the all-time greats.

For some reason, I had a hard time getting this site to load properly on my browser. I use Avant, but if you use Internet Explorer, it should work fine.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Long live ACME



Does anyone know if there is a cable network out there somewhere that is showing old Bugs Bunny, or Road Runner cartoons? These are classics that should never be taken off the television. I can't seem to find them anywhere, so this is yet another endorsement for YouTube, which at least has a few of these legendary cartoons available for viewing.

How many kids out there have no idea who Bugs, Daffy, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Sylvester and Tweety, and Foghorn Leghorn are?

Hmmmm, too many hands raised. Sad times.

I was watching TV with Megan the other day, trying to explain to her about Bugs and the gang. She sounded interested, so I found a few cartoons for her to watch online. She really liked Bugs -- I found her the Bugs, Daffy, Elmer Fudd "Jack and the Beanstalk" parody -- but she REALLY liked the Road Runner cartoon that I made available for you at the top of this post.

She watched it five or six times, bookmarked the page, and was watching it this past weekend, too. Good to hear the giggles.

I know there are plenty of entertaining shows out there for the kids these days, both animated, and live action. But there will always be a place in my heart for the Merrie Melodies that gave me so many laughs on Saturday mornings as I was growing up.

And some laughs shared with my daughter, too. Enjoy the clip.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sarah smile

Hey, somebody call Hall and Oates -- that might make a good song title someday.

A few posts back, I mentioned I'd post a picture of Sarah taken by her big sis, Megan. Today is that day my friends.

Megan asked us one day, "Why are we always taking pictures of Sarah. How come when she smiles we have to take a picture?" I think I said something initially about how we were so excited to finally see Sarah smiling when we didn't think it was just gas.

But seriously, we told Megan then, as we've done with a lot of these kinds of discussions we've been having, that we did the same thing for her when she was a baby.

And it wasn't as if Megan could object. The 437 photo albums filled with pictures of her first six years overule that objection.

Overall though, Megan continues to be a model citizen around the house concerning her little sister. She talks to her, laughs when Sarah makes silly noises or faces, and is more than willing to help out when needed, and many times, without even being asked.

Photo album number 438 is off and running, and it's nice to have added a young hot shot six-year old to our arsenal of photographers.

Now, if I can just get her trained to shovel snow this winter...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tough day for this sports fan

As we were sitting down to have dinner last night, I leaned over to our daughter, Sarah -- who is two-months old today by the way -- and told her to not be a sports fan when she grows up, it's too much torture. After spending six hours watching two of my favorite teams self-destruct, throwing away games they should have won, I was ready to join Sarah in a fit of crying, drooling on myself, and pooping my pants.

It started with the Eagles/Giants game. Since we got the Bears game on TV, and I wasn't able to run off to a nearby sports bar, I was relegated to following the game online. As the afternoon progressed, the Eagles erased an early seven-point deficit, and eventually had a 24-7 lead in the 4th quarter.

Fantastic! "They'll be 2-0, the Giants will be 0-2" I'm saying to myself. "The Eagles are in control of the division now...they could be making a run at another Super Bowl appearance" I'm thinking. In fact, I actually allowed myself to be happy about this game, and this team.

Big mistake.

I really don't want to get into the details, but you know how this story ends...The Giants score 17 points in the 4th quarter, force overtime, and win 30-24.

I think deep down I had a bad feeling about this one as the game headed to the 4th quarter. I called my parents to see how they were doing, and my dad answered. He's gradually withdrawn from watching sports over the years. Oh, he'll watch a baseball game, or a college football game now and then, but if it's a team from Philly, forget it. He's had enough. He simply doesn't pay much attention to it anymore. As I was talking to him, the Eagles were winning 24-7 in the 4th quarter. I knew he wasn't aware of the score, but I didn't even tell him they were winning, because I thought that would jinx it and the Eagles would eventually blow the game.

I hate Sundays in the fall.

So the Eagles game ends, and now it's 3:00, and the White Sox are taking the field in Oakland. Already fading in the AL playoff chase, there's still time left to make a run and sneak in at the end of the regular season. Maybe the Sox can salvage the finale of the series, and start a winning streak heading into the big Tigers series that starts tonight. After taking a 2-0 lead, things looked good.

Well, again, I really don't want to get into the messy details, but you know how this one ends as well. Former Sox star Frank Thomas hits a 3-run homer, the White Sox waste opportunity after opportunity to score, and they lose 5-4.

Yes, I know the White Sox won the world series last year, so even a disappointing finish to what was a promising 2006 season shouldn't be that difficult to deal with, but this team has missed so many opportunities, they're blowing a chance to repeat and really do something memorable. Granted, they're in the toughest division in baseball, but that shouldn't be an excuse.

There was one good thing that happened yesterday in sports for me, the Phillies won another game, 6-4 in Houston, and are just one game out of the wildcard. Given how many times the Phightin' Phils have let me down in the past, I'm not getting my hopes up about this playoff chase just yet. When you root for the teams I do, it's wise to brace for the worst, and just be pleasantly surprised when anything good happens.

And truth be told, I hope Sarah grows up to be a huge sports fan. Well, not that huge, I'd hate to see her have a weight problem. I have Megan brainwashed, I mean, aimed in the right direction. She cheers for the Sox, and yesterday she asked me how the Phillies were doing. Good kid. Now let's get set for the Sox/Tigers series, and the Cubs/Phillies series.

And Sarah, make some room for me. I may need some space to cry, drool, and poop myself later tonight.

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th, 2001: Where were you when it happened?

Everyone remembers where they were, and what they were doing the morning of September 11th, 2001. Many of you know exactly where I was, and what I was doing. I was in the middle of another award winning morning show, and the first official news report that I heard was during the 8:00am news from ABC Radio. Their report mentioned a "small plane" had hit one of the twin towers.

We don't have televisions at the station, so getting any visual perspective for us was not easy. All we would get would be through internet sites, and by 8:00am, the internet was moving at a snail's pace as people just like me were trying to find out everything they could.

The newscast ended at 8:04, a minute after the second plane hit. There was no mention of that on the newscast. My boss, Jack came up to the studio and told me that a second plane had hit the other tower. We soon picked up the ABC news audio coverage, and we spent the rest of the morning here at the station listening to Peter Jennings tell us what was happening.

It wasn't until I got home that afternoon that I got to see the horrible video images.

Our daughter, Megan was just a one-year old at that time. I remember sitting with her during the coverage that day and night. She was oblivious to the events and more concerned with simple things like pacifiers, rattles, and Elmo. I just looked at her, wondering what kind of world she was about to grow up in. I teared up a little, gave her a kiss and a hug, and braced myself for a life and a world that would never be the same.

Where were you that day? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Investigate this!



How does this not happen more often? An investigative reporter in San Diego is attacked during a report on a real estate scam. Fortunately, it's caught on tape, and after a minute or two see if you, like me, started rooting against the reporter.

I think my favorite moment is when the wife gives the reporter's head the pinata treatment with her water bottle.

So, if you see Mike Haensel doing an interview wearing a football helmet and a chest protector, you know why.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Chubby Cheeker


As Sarah relaxes on our couch, it looks like she's playing air violin, with the bow in her left hand. Maybe she's trying to do a Bob Dole impression. A funky new hip-hop dance move? Only she knows, and she isn't saying -- yet.

Megan snapped a great picture of Sarah smiling over the Labor Day Weekend. I'll post that one in a few days.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

CNN: Chatty News Network



While President Bush gave a recent speech in New Orleans regarding Hurricane Katrina, a CNN reporter spent some time in the bathroom talking with another woman about relationships. The CNN viewers got to listen in as the reporter left her microphone on.

Unfortunately, just as the conversation started to get good -- the reporter called someone's wife a "control freak" -- a third person enters the bathroom and tells the reporter that her mic is still on and to please turn it off.

It is my belief that it was at this precise moment that this reporter found herself thankful to be near toilet paper.

Not quite as good as the Frank Drebin my-mic-is-still-on-while-I-go-to-the-bathroom moment from the Naked Gun movie, but not bad either.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Katrina: One year later...

I've been watching several shows and documentaries recounting the horrible events that took place one year ago in the gulf region as Hurricane Katrina battered that area. It's still unbelievable to me that this country could have failed the people of New Orleans in a time when they needed help the most.

I remember going on the air a day or so after the storm hit, and talking about how the New Orleans area came out of it better than was expected, and that was the common believe. Streets were dry, and damage, although substantial, could have been much worse.

Then the levees broke, and, well we know what happened next. So much blame to go around. Former FEMA chief Michael Brown got the majority of it, but that was mainly due to the fact that he was one of the only government officials that was brave enough to be interviewed during the first few days after the hurricane hit. Brown, while certainly deserving plenty of blame, was not alone. Bush, Chertoff, the Army Corps of Engineers, and to a certain extent, Nagin, and Blanco, all had their fingerprints on this mess.

"Brownie" agreed to be interviewed on various TV shows, but I like the one Ted Koppel did on Nightline the best. You can see it here. He really starts to squirm at about the five-minute mark. Koppel was relentless, as he should have been.

Recounting an event like this is never easy. The images are as brutal today as they were then. The memories still fresh. We'll be going through this again in two weeks when the 9/11 tragedy hits the 5th anniversary milestone.

It's important that we remind ourselves of what happened, and in the Katrina tragedy, why it happened and how so much of the aftermath of the storm could have been avoided. Many people agree that it was TV, print, and radio journalists regained some bite to go along with their bark during that event. Koppel, Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper, and many others made themselves heard and helped get the word out as to what was going on and what needed to be done.

Too bad the people that had the power to help, didn't take notice until it was too late.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Redskins embark on title defense

Is it really the start of another football season? Wasn't it just a few days ago that baseball ended with Minooka finishing 3rd at state? Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that the Seneca Boys won the basketball title? Wasn't it just a month or so ago that the Morris Redskins finally got past JCA and went on to a perfect season?

Sure seems that way. So, here we are at the start of another high school football season, and the Morris Redskins are primed for another run at post-season glory. I couldn't help but go into the John Facenda voice while typing that last line.

It'll be a little different for me this season in the broadcast booth. I'll be starting my 14th year as voice of the Redskins, and for the first time since my very first year, Jay Zumbahlen will not be on the broadcast with me. Now that his son Dane has graduated, Jay wants to spend more time with Dane and the rest of his family on Friday nights. Whatever. How dare he prioritize family over Friday nights with me. I'm kidding of course. Because we all know, there would probably be a Saturday game here and there.

Tonight's opener will take place at the school that I did my very first Morris football game, Geneva. Back then, in 1993, I was doing play-by-play along with Dick Steele for brand new WJDK. Jim Murray did the game that night with Daryk Brayton on WCSJ. Since it was my first night, I made sure I got there early. Early enough that I was the first of the four broadcasters in the press box. Early enough that Jim and Daryk had to do the game standing up off to the side because they only had room for one station, and I, the new guy, got the prime spot.

Jim Murray will be with me tonight on the broadcast, and for several other weeks during the year. I'm looking forward to it. I think Jim is excited too. After all, he may get to sit while doing tonight's broadcast.

It's been quite a ride doing Morris football all these years. It's hard not to get spoiled by all of the wins, playoff appearances, state championship runs, and memorable nights. There have certainly been a fair share of memorable nights. And days, too.

Now, my memory is so bad these days, that I can't even remember how I started this sentence, but I thought I'd take a stab at giving you some of the more memorable Redskin games that I've broadcast over the years...

2005 Morris 28, Joliet Catholic 21 - I've never had a broadcasting night quite like that one. The crowd was amazing. The game unbelievably exceeded the hype. John Dergo went from one of the Morris Redskins' best players ever, to a folk hero for the town of Morris, and a legend to generations of Morris fans for many years to come.

1999 Joliet Catholic 16, Morris 14 - My first Morris/JCA game. Everyone remembers the field goal kick that came up a little wide and short, but the sweep that was snuffed out for about a six-yard loss helped seal Morris' fate just seconds earlier. A great game, and a rivalry was born.

1996 Minooka 29, Morris 28 - Dan Sharp, then coach at Minooka, decided to go for two after the touchdown that had pulled Minooka to within one in overtime. What a gutsy move, and in the playoffs no less. The Indians scored on the conversion, and all was well on Wabena.

1995 Morris 64, Westmont 0 - A real stinker of a game, from an announcer's point of view. And this was before the days of the running clock. What made it so bad was, Westmont did not have any room inside for a radio station. The "press box" was basically the size of a phone booth, and with less amenities. Jay and I did the game from the top of the bleachers, on a cold and windy October afternoon. By halftime, my nose was running like a faucet, I couldn't keep my papers still, and we were both pretty miserable.

Jay pulled his truck up near the sideline, and after we ran extension cord to the concession stand, we did the second half from Jay's truck. Only problem, by sitting in the truck, we were at field level -- kinda difficult to see thru the players who were lined up on the sideline.
So, I did the play-by-play standing on the step of the passenger side with one arm on the mic, and the other arm holding onto the roof so I wouldn't lose my balance. The angle gave us no depth perception either. I Couldn't tell if a run up the middle went for 1-yard, or 21-yards. Fun times.

2003 Morris 17, Minooka 14 - This was cornfest Saturday. The night before, lightning forced the postponement of the game until the next day. Morris rallied late and a last second field goal won the game. One of the rare home day-games that Morris has had since I've been doing the broadcasts.

2001 Joliet Catholic 27, Morris 20 - The Redskins had four cracks at the tying score from the 10-yard line, and couldn't score. Morris would have gone for two had they punched it in.

2005 Morris 33, Crystal Lake South 13 - Memorable for being Westmont-esque, only much colder and windier. Jay and I were on top of the press box, and I think I set a record for most layers of clothing for a human being that night. By the 4th quarter, I tried to scarf down a few hotdogs real fast -- just for the heartburn! But seriously, it was very cold, but the Redskins stayed hot, won the game, advancing to the state championship...

2005 Morris 14, Normal Community 9 - Did anyone think Morris was going to lose this game? Were they worn out? Sure, probably emotionally more than physically. But the letdown game would have been the previous week at CLS. It took Morris awhile to get going, but they did, and this turned out to be a pretty tight game. But no matter how close the game was, or how well played, a state championship is always memorable.

Congrats again Morris for the title, and for giving me, and many others, so many wonderful memories.

Well, I'm sure I've left off some real classics...the playoff battles at Kankakee, the 2003 JCA game, the Glenbard South game when Dan Darlington got tossed, some classic opening week clashes with Pontiac. Feel free to add some of your memories in the comments section.

I'm looking forward to going to the place Friday night where all of this started for me back in 1993, Geneva, to start taking in the 2006 memories.

I think I'll get there early.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Bears fans -- 'Shuffle' on over to Youtube

UPDATE: As I posted in my blog on November 11th, The NFL has asked Youtube to pull over 3,000 clips of game footage from NFL games. That includes the games that I provided links to in the post below. I'm leaving the original post, so for now at least, just ignore the links, because they won't give you the clips. Thanks NFL.

Here's further evidence that YouTube is one of the best sites on the internet, if not the best. As I mentioned on the show this morning, the other day I discovered some old Chicago Bears clips from the Super Bowl season on Youtube. If you are a Bears fan, and especially if you don't have any of that championship season on tape, or on DVD, I highly recommend you check out these clips. I was psyched to watch them myself, and I'm not a Bears fan.

What's great about these clips is that it's the actual game footage as it aired on CBS, NBC, and ABC during that memorable season. You get a younger, although most likely inebriated, Pat Summerall, and a much more youthful sounding John Madden. You get a Tim Ryan, a Don Criqui, and a Monday Night Football crew that featured Frank Gifford, Joe Namath, and (yikes) Orenthal James Simpson.

What makes it even more of a treat is that getting to see actual game footage of old NFL games on any of the networks these days is about as impossible as finding a copy of The Jazz Singer at Mel Gibson's house. Whether it's ESPN Classic, the NFL Network, or any network in between, old NFL footage is usally made up of highlight reels and slow-motion NFL Films montages. Still enjoyable, but not authentic.

I'm a sucker for the old play-by-play footage. That's why these are fun to watch, even when you're not a Bears fan.

If you go to Youtube and search "Chicago Bears", many of these clips will come up, and then some. I'll give you direct links to a couple of intersting ones I've found from the Super Bowl season...

Super Bowl XX highlights - Here is about an 8:00 collection of plays from the Super Bowl win over New England. Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen on the call. I need to email this link to Tambling.

NFC Championship Game - This is the opening drive of the win over the Rams. The clip opens with part of the NFL Today preview. I may be in the minority, but I am a Brent Musberger fan.

NFC Divisional Game - This is a collection of plays from the win over the Giants. I forgot how long it took Summerall and Madden to realize that Sean Landeta whiffed his punt attempt. Also, check out this postgame feature where Rams coach John Robinson tries not to look like he's scared to death at the thought of having to play the Bears the following week. Clip earns an A+ within the first two seconds thanks to a Jimmy "The Greek" appearance.

Even a treat for a non-Bear fan like me.

Now where did I put Tambling's email address?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hell's Kitchen and even more Gordo

The 2nd season of Hell's Kitchen wrapped up Monday night as Heather was chosen over Virginia for the top prize. Heather becomes executive chef in Las Vegas at a casino restaurant, and it seems after having watched every episode this season, the right person won.

Overall, this group of contestants seemed overwhelmed most of the time, and in some cases (sweaty Tom, pants-too-low K-Grease, hairnet-less Giacomo) seemed a lot closer to a health department citation than to becoming an executive chef at an actual restaurant.

My guess is the people at Fox weeded out the people who applied to be on the show that were top-notch chefs in favor of decent chefs that would provide enough drama to keep viewers coming back each week for more.

Let's face it, a show that features a bunch of highly skilled cooks that make good food, work well under pressure, and don't swear, sweat in the food, fart, make obscene gestures, and undercook chicken like this group, might not be that interesting. And the ratings for this season were up over last year by the way.

This show is a hoot. Lots of yelling, crying, insults, knives, fire, bleeped out words, cool theme song, a pompous Brit, it's all there. Sure Ramsay is obnoxious, but that's the point! This is not breaking news. Especially for the contestants. They know what they're getting into.

So thanks, Gordo. And even thanks to you sweaty Tom, slimy K-Grease, ex-con Garret, gassy Sara, buxom Virginia, and the too-often forgotten Larry. The guy that admitted his weakness for "the ladies" in episode 2, and then literally displayed that weakness after a night spent in the hottub with several of the ladies from the show.

His body coudn't handle it, along with the other shows pressures, and he ended up in the hospital with some kind of heart/stress issue, and was never heard from again. Larry joined Dewberry as one of my favorite Hells' Kitchen castoffs ever. Or as Megan calls him, Blueberry.

I already can't wait until season 3.

If you still want your Gordon Ramsay fix, and especially if you'd prefer to see a softer side of the master chef, then try "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" on BBC America. It airs Tuesday night's at 8pm.

I've only seen half of one episode, but I really liked what I saw. Ramsay goes around England visiting one restaurant per episode. He observes for awhile, then spends time trying to improve what they do -- the menu, presentation, service, prices, etc.

There's still a lot of the Ramsay attitude, but he's much more nurturing on this show, and for many viewers (Haensel), much more tolerable I'm sure. The good thing is, this show is just as entertaining as Hell's Kitchen. It plays out more as a documentary, then a reality game show. Check it out.

So Heather, congratulations. Larry, get well. Tom, wipe the sweat off your brow. Keith, pull up your pants, Sara, don't forget to take your Bean-o.

Gordon, see you when Hell's Kitchen opens up for season 3.

And Tuesday night, too.