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


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 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.