Sunday, December 30, 2007

Congrats, Pats. Now, Lose In The Playoffs

It was strange watching the Patriots beat the Giants last night 38-35, completing the first 16-0 season in the history of the NFL. Strange because I'm really tired of New England, and, being an Eagles fan, I just couldn't get myself motivated enough to root for New York.

I really wanted to see a tie.

The only good thing to come of this 2007 season by the Patriots, for me at least, is that all of the living members of the 1972 Dolphins can take their champagne bottles, cocky attitudes, and go away for a long time.

I'll admit, I admire what the Patriots have accomplished. And, no, I'm not going to demand an asterisk be placed next to their record this season after the "spygate" stuff from week 1. I'm just tired of their success. Ok, jealous is a better word.

They've had their run at the same time that my Eagles have been title contenders as well. Problem is, while New England has won three times -- and, most likely soon to be four -- the Eagles have only made one Super Bowl, losing to...the Patriots.

So, while I wallow in another season of Philly phutility, I'm faced with the very real possibility of a Super Bowl featuring New England, and of all teams, Dallas -- an Eagles fan's most hated rival.

Can there be a tie in the Super Bowl?

Friday, December 28, 2007

A White Christmas After All

This has been an odd holiday season so far. I'm all out of sorts.

Christmas day was thrown out of whack because a few days prior, my dad started to run a high fever, and after a trip to the hospital, was diagnosed with Viral Meningitis, always a crowd favorite.

So, getting together with my family would have to wait a few days while he recovered -- and the good news, is he's almost back to 100%.

Also, by Christmas day, the sizeable amount of snow that had accumulated throughout the month of December had melted, and although Tuesday's mild temperatures felt nice, it didn't feel like Christmas at all.

Even Christmas Eve was strange. Normally, we get together with my in-laws and do gifts with them on that day, but since my wife and I both had to work on Monday, we decided to move events up a day, so we'd have more time to spend with her family. We did gifts, etc. on Sunday, the 23rd.

But, things are turning around. With my dad feeling better, and all of our schedules cooperating, we are getting together on Sunday the 30th for our family Christmas. Yes, the numbers will be out in full force this weekend.

Plus, since we're doing this on a different day than Christmas, my brother's fiance gets to share in the experience with us, which will be fun for us, potentially frightening for her.

Hopefully, for my brother's sake, it's not a deal breaker.

And, as I'm typing this, we're getting 3-5 inches of snow, with temperatures cold enough over the weekend that none of this stuff is melting anytime soon.

So while this December 30th might not have the global impact of December 30th, 2006, I know my family can't wait to get things started.

And thank goodness it's this weekend, and not one day later. I'd hate for the eggnog to go bad.

I'd better test it to make sure it's still good.

Excuse me, I need to go reacquaint Mr. Egg Nogg with Mr. Dark Rum.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas


Yeah, I guess when an 18-month old is willingly given by her parents to a fat guy, with a loud red-suit, and a beard from the backwoods, it'd be tempting to lose it and cry like there's no tomorrow.

I think our youngest daughter, Sarah will recover. As you can see, our oldest, Megan is used to the drill.

Along with my two daughters, and my wife Laurie, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's The Holiday Season

Just some random videos in the spirit of the season...

Bad Santas - is this how Santa treats the naughty kids now? Fine by me.




Full Metal Christmas - Today, you are no longer maggots. You are elves.




Lord Of The Reigns - Take the audio of the Lord Of The Rings movie preview, and mix it with video from Rudolph, and you get this entertaining mashup.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Eagles 10, Cowboys 6

Well, that was kinda nice.

Certainly not the prettiest win of the season, but anytime the Eagles can get a win against Dallas -- on the road no less -- it's a good day.

I'm not quite ready to give up on the Donovan McNabb era just yet. They need to find a way to get him another stud wide receiver. The guy can still get the job done, and clearly, when given a weapon -- like he had with Owens in 2004 -- the team rocks and rolls.

Yes, they played better offensively with A.J. Feely in at quarterback for a couple of weeks, but unless they can get a splendid deal for D-Mac in a trade, I say hang onto him for at least one more year, and get the man some outside threats.

The win yesterday makes things a little tougher for the 'Boys to get home field advantage throughout the playofss -- also good.

I'm rooting for Favre from here on out in the NFC, and things could still break right so that Dallas would have to go to Lambeau in January for the title game.

Although, as good as that may be in helping the Packers knock off Dallas, it would mean we'd have to look at Jessica Simpson in layers and layers of clothing -- not so good.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Mitchell Report: So, Now What?

Anyone surprised by anything they heard yesterday when the Mitchell report came out? Didn't think so.

I think the bigger surprise was the lack of names. Although, considering about 99.9% of current players refused to talk to Mitchell -- and why would they -- it was hard to imagine that the list of names would be anywhere near complete.

Sammy Sosa didn't even make the list.

How many major leaguers were sweating bullets yesterday, waiting to see if they had been named in the report? Even without any cooperation from the players, Mitchell was still able to name almost 90 players. Safe to say another 100-200 players were crappin' their pants counting the minutes until 2pm Eastern, when the report was released.

And that's steroid-fueled feces, too. Nasty, I'm sure.

I was pleased to see that none of the current Phillies made the list, and the most recent Phillie to be linked in the report was David Bell, who had already been rumored to be a user.

Considering how poorly he played for the Phils, maybe Bell should have taken more 'roids.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Eagles Have Landed (With A Thud)

I don't know what's bothering me more: The fact that the Eagles will miss the playoffs, and most likely finish under .500 for the 2nd time in three years, or that my attitude toward those developments has been so non-chalant.

The Eagles dropped another winnable game yesterday 16-13, putting them at 5-8 on the year, and I just don't seem to care that much.

This whole season has just kind of existed for me in the background. I haven't put a lot of thought, energy, or emotion into it.

I think I know why.

A) The Phillies. As the Phils rode a thrilling September into the playoffs for the first time since 1993, I found myself devoting just about all of my sports attention to them, and not much to the guys in green. By the time the Phils were done in mid-October, the Eagles were already on the ropes.

B) The Patriots. Once it was established that New England was the class of the league, and by a wide margin, what was there to get excited about with the Eagles and a possible playoff berth? It was clear by about halftime in week 1 that no matter how good the Eagles played this year, it wouldn't be good enough to get the ultimate prize, which at this point, is the only ending I'm interested in. When the city you root for hasn't produced a title winner since 1983, titles are all you want.

C) The "been there, done that" factor. This season has looked like too many other Eagles seasons from recent years. McNabb hurt, bad receivers, not enough commitment to the running game, the knack for losing the close games, bad clock management, and the always demoralizing slow start to the season. I've seen it before, and could tell by the way they blew the opener at Lambeau that it just wasn't going to be their year. It was really a blessing that I could recognize it so early. Saved me a lot of restless Sundays.

The good news about the NFL is that teams can turn things around in a flash. Problem is, I'm not sure if McNabb and Reid are up to it. It's maddening watching these two year in and year out. Maybe it is time for some changes.

On the plus side, the Eagles have plenty of cap space, they'll get a good spot in the draft, and with the right moves -- some receivers, a little help on defense -- they could be right back in the mix next year.

I certainly hope they are. It's been a pretty emotionless football season for this Eagles fan.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Charlie Brown Christmas - Scrubs Version

I know this is a video from last year, but after sitting through the real Charlie Brown Christmas last night, it reminded me of this pretty well done version voiced by the Scrubs characters.

The altered dialogue is probably in the PG-13 range.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Just What Are Those Elves Doing Up There?

With Christmas approaching fast, instead of telling you which toys to buy for the kids on your shopping list, it might be better to tell you what not to buy.

Check out this list of The 25 Most Baffling Toys From Around The World.

I'm certainly not buying any of these for my kids, but I might take a penis putter (No. 13) for myself.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Watch 101 Christmas Specials Free Online

Sorry I've fallen behind on posting. I seem to be in a "Thursday only" rut at the moment. And even this post is basically a re-hash of a previous post, but for those that missed it last year, it's a good one for the holidays.

This site is the gateway to 101 Holiday Specials that you can watch for free online. After checking out Shrek The Halls and How The Grinch Stole Christmas last night, I thought about this site, and know how valuable it is to be able to utilize with two young kids in the house.

Enjoy.

UPDATE: It looks like there is a fresh list -- although there are some reposts -- of holiday shows for 2007, also on that same page.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving



Here's the perfect way to allow your toothless Uncle Floyd to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.



Take some time today, or this weekend, and rent or watch Planes, Trains, And Automobiles. It's one of my favorite movies, has a Thanksgiving theme, and, I'm not ashamed to admit, always chokes me up at the end.

Now, here's how that movie would have looked had it been presented with a more Brokeback Mountain feel.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Men That Look Like Old Lesbians

As long as I'm on a bit of a streak here where one of my posts inspires another one, after my recent post about the lesbian ministers being eliminated from The Amazing Race, I felt compelled to follow that up with a link to a fun site I found today.

The site is simply a collection of fairly famous dudes that have an uncanny resemblance to old lesbians.

Brilliant.

The older lady from the couple that was recently eliminated on The Amazing Race always reminded me of a man, so I thought it was a good tie-in.

And, no, I have no interest in seeing her do the yoga routine.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yoga To The Rescue

I'm nominating this girl for the Yoga For Hangovers program. She certainly could have used it after this display.

The yoga routine would have done wonders for her, although doing the routine on the concrete floor in a jail cell may have been a bit uncomfortable.


http://view.break.com/101661 - Watch more free videos

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lesbian Ministers Eliminated From Amazing Race

Thankfully, Kate and Pat, the married ministers that were competing on the current installment of The Amazing Race, have been eliminated. Now we can watch the rest of this season without having to deal with explaining to our 7-year old daughter, Megan, why two women are married.

It's just not a conversation we're ready to have right now.

And, when we all sit down as a family to watch one of the few shows that is family-friendly -- save for the few times when words like "bitch" are uttered, or others are bleeped out -- conversations about why women, or men, would marry each other isn't at the top of my list of things-I'd-like-to-do-while-watching-the-show.

Hey, I have no problem with homosexuality, especially when it involves two women, I just didn't want to deal with the awkwardness each time these two would embrace, kiss, or talk about how much they loved each other.

I understand that much of what drives the program is showing the tension, communication skills, and ability to work together within each of the teams of two, but I think CBS overdid it a bit with these two.

And, if the network is going to continue to show kissing and embracing between married lesbians on future teams, couldn't the casting department give us a hotter couple?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Yoga For Hangovers



The holiday season is approaching. More appropriately, the holiday party season is approaching.

Many of you will be heading to numerous parties with family, friends, office workers, or just total strangers at some downtown club. Some of you are going to be faced with the dreaded hangover the next morning.

That's where Ford model Tara Stiles comes in. She's put together the above video to help cure that morning-after hangover.

So, sure, re-hydrate with water, Gatorade, Pedialyte, or whichever drink you choose. Take some pain relievers, and try to get a meal down if you can. But don't forget to throw on some short shorts and a midriff baring t-shirt, and yoga your way to feeling better - the Tara Stiles way.

I may just have to watch this video many times, you know, so I can memorize the routine in case I'm hungover, but nowhere near a computer.

It's the least I can do.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Shop(ping) Talk

After working the last ten Friday nights covering football games, I had my first Friday evening off since the middle of August last night.

I celebrated the way most guys would -- went grocery shopping after dinner, came home, and was asleep before nine o'clock.

Granted, I needed to be up by four o'clock to get to work Saturday.

As far as the grocery shopping, well, I've done the large majority of the grocery shopping over the years, and brace yourself, but I actually enjoy it.

After my wife and I got married, either she would do the shopping by herself while I worked, or we'd both go together at some point on the weekend. After we had our first child, she'd stay home with her, and I'd go to the store.

My wife would put the shopping list in the order that the items would appear in the store, making it very easy for me to do some precise, in-and-out shopping, instead of wandering around aimlessly, wide-eyed with my mouth open -- kind of like the first time I went to a stripclub.

Over time, I started getting the hang of things, and eventually, I just started doing the shopping each week.

Now, with two young kids at the house -- a 7-year old and a 1-year old, I actually look forward to going to the stores. An hour out of the house, no matter what it is that you're doing, is kind of nice sometimes.

Plus, whe you're the one doing the shopping, you can adjust off the list, grab a couple of extra things that you like, and not feel disappointed after someone else brings home the groceries and you notice that they bought you Milwaukee's Best beer instead of Heineken because it was cheaper.

I've been doing the shopping for so long now, that I'm the go-to guy as far as knowing prices, recognizing good deals, and spotting the best bargains.

My wife will say, "Hey, honey turkey lunchmeat is only $6.98/lb. at Jewel."

Not even a half-beat later, I counter that "It's $5.98/lb. at Food 4 Less."

Then she turns her eyes and walks away, much like Shelly Duvall started to do at about the halfway point of The Shining.

It's a little frightening. You'd think a guy like me, even after doing this for so many years, would be like a typical guy...go aisle to aisle, grabbing the first thing he sees, not paying much attention to prices, etc. Not so. In fact, I think I'm taking things a little too seriously lately:

* I'm always disappointed when there are not a good variety of bananas. There need to be half that are ripe, and half that are green. I'm buying a dozen bananas to get through the week, and it does me no good when they're all going to be ripe at the same time!

* One weekend, while hitting two stores back-to-back, after passing up a head of lettuce at the 1st store because it was $1.29, I actually shouted "damnit!" at the 2nd store when lettuce was $1.59.

* Standing in the checkout line a couple of weeks ago, I was behind a woman who was writing a check. What year is this, anyway? It took her about ten minutes to complete the transaction. I was so upset, when she wasn't looking I stole her bottle of wine. Well, I at least thought about it.

* There are usually three stores that we choose to go from week to week, and I now know where everything is at each store, and know the trends as far as which store has the lowest lunchmeat prices, best quality of fruits, consistently reliable $0.50 individual containers of yogurt, the best prices on 93% lean ground beef, etc. I'm developing Rain Man-like qualities.

I don't even mind bagging my own groceries, which I have to do at certain stores. I'm getting good at it, too.

Working in radio, the low-paying and usually insecure job market that it is, learning how to bag groceries properly isn't the worst skill in the world to be learning.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

One of my favorite "Treehouse Of Horror" segments from the classic Simpsons' Halloween episodes is "The Shinning".

Obviously, this clip is ten times funnier if you've seen The Shining, but even if you haven't, it's still a treat on Halloween, or anytime.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Dream Of Cameron

I've always been fascinated with dreams. Usually, it's the small, silly stuff in dreams that intrigue me most. We've all had strange dreams before, but isn't it the minor throwaway details that always have you wondering the next morning, "what was the significance of that?"

For example, I had a dream years ago that included me having to urinate. The strange thing was, it happened in a long hallway, in the open, with urinals lined up along one wall. As I got to the urinal, i was only able to reach it if I stood on my tippy-toes. What did that mean? I prefer to think it was just some randon quirk of the dream, and not some sort of indication of "shortcomings" in my manhood.

I think the only reason I'm posting about my dream that featured Cameron Diaz from the other night is so that I have an excuse to get some pictures of her on the blog. I've always had a thing for her. Cute as hell, great body, funny, and she just seems like she'd be a great chick to have a beer with. She wouldn't roll her eyes if you told her you wanted to go to a bar and watch the game. She'd throw on a cap or jersey of the team you root for and go with you.

Plus, she's one of the few women that can wear her hair real short and make it work. It doesn't work for everyone. What's the percentage of good looking women with long hair that would remain as attractive if they got it cut real short? 10%? 20%? 3%? I think Diaz's hair almost looks better short. That's saying a lot.

But enough fawning.

The dream consisted of Cameron, me, my brother, and a group of other people that I don't remember at someone's house. We were all asleep, and it was almost daylight. Just then, I heard some thunder as a storm started to move in. I got out of bed and walked over to a couch near the window. Also joining me on the couch, Cameron Diaz.

Now, I wasn't surprised to see her. In the dream, I guess I knew she was there all along, but at the same time, I was a bit star-struck. As we both looked out at the incoming storm, she seemed concerned, so I held her hand. She didn't object, and all of a sudden I'm thinking, "I'm holding hands with Cameron-frikkin-Diaz!"

I pointed to the sky and a really dark cloud that was producing visible rainfall. As it approached -- and this is where the dream really turneded a bit bizarre -- the bottoms of the clouds started to change shape, and emerging from the clouds were several jet planes.

The planes started dive bombing the ground nearby. It was odd that they were doing that to begin with, but even more odd that they weren't targeting anyone. THey were just diving into the ground. A misguided kamikaze assault? Who knew. Hey, it was a dream -- anything goes.

Sensing danger, I turned around and yelled, "Get Down! Get Down!" Cameron and I headed for the floor. It dawned on me that this could be the last few seconds of my life, so I called over to Cameron to come over closer to me, which she did, and we were holding each other. I'm sure she felt safe by my overpowering 5'8", 160 lb. frame.

In fact, I think she's taller than me. Ah, who cared. I was in an embrace with Cameron Diaz!

And yes, I realize my wife is nowhere to be found in this dream, and if you're reading this, honey, remember the rule of dreams, which was stated above...

"Hey it was a dream -- anything goes."

So, the assault of the misguided planes comes to an end, Cameron and I start to get up, and after we looked at each other for a few seconds, she leans in to give me a kiss, before pulling away. I think I countered by saying, "Please?!"

D'oh!

After a few seonds of awkward silence, she asked if I could check on her daughter in the other room. Being a nice guy, I said yes. I guess the fact that she doesn't have a daughter mattered much in the dream. Anything goes.

I checked on her, she was fine. There was a dog in the room -- another random occurence that makes dreams so much fun to analyze.

As I came back to the room with Cameron, more people were now awake and milling about. I sat back down on the couch next to her and said, "that thing that almost happened between us earlier...is that something that could possibly happen in the future?"

She just shook her head "no".

It was at that moment that I woke up. Maybe my mind decided that there was nothing of pleasure left to squeeze out of this dream, so it was wakey wakey time.

After I awoke, I actually spent about 20 seconds thinking to myself, "damnit, I just blew it with Cameron Diaz!"

But then I came to, realized that it was all just a dream, and -- even more foolishly -- thought to myself, "wait a minute, it was just a dream! Cameron doesn't know anything about this! I still may have a chance!"

Of course, this is the internet, and who knows, she may actually read this. If that's the case, maybe I really should say, "please".

Hey, it's a dream. Anything goes, right?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Football Game Ends With 15 Laterals



Since I do broadcasts of high school football games as part of my radio gig, as I was watching this crazy play unfold from over the weekend, I was naturally paying almost as much attention to the call of the play than the play itself.

Of course the play was unbelievable, and the call of the play wasn't bad, either.

You can never plan for a play like this. If and when it happens, you just have to do the best you can, and hope you get it right, because I'm sure it dawned on this dude's mind that the clip would be played all over the country.

The key -- and he does a pretty good job of this -- is to stay in control as the zaniness unfolds. Notice how he doesn't really start to go too crazy until it's clear that the last lateral is going to lead to the game winning touchdown. Even the color commentator keeps quiet until those final few seconds. It would have been easy for either of them to start to go ballistic prematurely.

Premature speculation? Premature prognostication? Proclamation? It's a problem suffered by many broadcasters. Men, mostly.

I'll work on that phrase.

What makes it tough is that there's no way to anticipate the progression of the play. You have no idea when the next lateral attempt will be made, or who it's going to. Plus, it's such an improbable play that the natural thing to do would be to anticipate the pending tackle -- which of course never comes.

All of the hyperbole after the play is fine, too. This is the biggest athletic moment any of these kids will ever be involved in, and most likely for these broadcasters, too, and his comment about it being possibly the "most sensational, incredible ending...the most miraculous plays in all of football history" isn't that far off the mark.

I can't fault these guys too much with their call, especially because I have no idea how it would have sounded if I was doing the broadcast.

But you can bet your bippy that I'll be thinking about this play at my game this Saturday.

It's hard to watch this play and not think of two other crazy finishes from "football history"...

"The Play" - Cal vs. Stanford. Classic call by Joe Starkey, the uncle of our very own Jay Capron -- the news director at my radio station.



1994 Texas High School comeback - This one is about 4:30 long, but it's worth it. The trailing team was down 41-17 with about three minutes to go, and you can figure out the rest.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Scrubs Returns

The 7th and final season of Scrubs debuts tonight, so enjoy the show while you can. The under appreciated, low-rated gem has delivered zany laughs since the very first episode.

Here are a few classic clips from previous seasons...

Turk's "Poison" dance



"More Than A Feeling" Air Band



"Guy Love"



"Sanford And Son"



Let's Dance



The Two Sides Of Dr. Kelso



"Kung-Fu Fighting"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Top American Roller Coasters

Even though the amusement park season is just about over here in the midwest, it's never a bad time to talk about roller coasters. Maybe this post will help you plan a trip somewhere in 2008.

I found this website that not only lists the top 56 coasters in the U.S., but each one comes with a handy youtube clip that shows you the ride. Granted, watching a video is nothing like experiencing the real thing, but these give you a pretty good idea what these thrill rides are like.

Pre-tty, pre-tty, pre-tty good.

I've been telling my wife for several years that I want to go to Cedar Point for a vacation one year -- or at least a long weekend.

After checking out this list -- which features Cedar Point coasters in the first group -- I'm already looking at accomodations for next year.

But, as great as this list is, they left off one of my all-time favorite coasters. It must have been number 57 and just missed the list.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bill Maher Kicks Out Protesters

Friday night during his live HBO show Real Time, Bill Maher, along with the help of security, kicked out several protesters that were in the audience. It was great television, and Maher handled it perfectly.

The protestors were shouting about conspiracies surrounding 9/11 -- real topical stuff. Maher was calm while the first couple of things were shouted from the protesters, but after it continued, Maher stood up and yelled, wondering where security was. He then charged into the crowd to help escort one of the protesters, "Out. Out. Out!"

The clip is below, and just a warning, it contains several obscenities.

Granted, he probably waited until he saw security personnel already grabbing the guy to kick him out before he went into the crowd, and as he admitted in his online segment on HBO.com, he's able to be so brave because there are metal detectors in use at his show tapings, I still thought it was a ballsy move, and a reminder of how much fun live, uncensored television can be.

I watch Bill every week, learn something each time, and get a healthy dose of laughs from things that are said on the show. His show is so consistently good, that I've almost forgiven him for his appearance in D.C. Cab.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Can I Trim Your Sideburns And Talk Your Ear Off?

Most times when I go to get my haircut, I just like to sit in the chair and relax. I'm not one to strike up big conversations with whomever is cutting my hair. It's nothing against the girls at the place I go, it's just how I am. If they talk, I'll answer, but most times I just want to zone out for the ten minutes it takes to craft my very low-maintenance 'do.

In fact, I usually close my eyes during the haircut. It's so relaxing, plus it keeps stray hairs out of my eyes. One time, even nodded off a bit in the chair. I woke up bald.

Kidding.

Part of the reason I don't like to talk too much, is that I usually get my haircut on weekday afternoons -- when most normal people are working -- so that inevitably brings up the question, "So, do you have the day off today?" I usually just say that I am taking a late lunch, or that I'm on a sales call, or that I'm a homeless, crack addict just killing time until my next fix down under the bridge.

I could tell them the truth -- that I work at a radio station from 5a - 1p, but then that opens up a whole can of "Oh, cool, what do you do?", and, "I've never heard of that station", and "Is the pay really as bad as they say in small-town radio?" I'm not ashamed of what I do, I just don't like talking about it that much.

I realize that they're just trying to be nice, act interested in their customer, help get a better tip, break up the monotony, etc. And, don't get me wrong, if they start talking to me, I always respond and do my best to keep up some halfway decent conversation.

In fact the other day when I got my haircut, oddly enough, I was the only one in the shop, and there was only one hair stylist visible. I felt like I was walking into a scene from a Cinemax: Friday After Dark movie, or a Penthouse Forum letter. Sadly, it ended up just being a cut.

As the cut was underway, maybe the silence in the otherwise empty shop was deafening. The stylist started talking to me -- thankfully it wasn't about my job -- and the discussion turned to IKEA, and her decorating plans for her apartment. Usually snooze city, right? But, I actually paid attention, and tried to offer my opinions where warranted ("Yeah, red and black colors in the living room really do make a statement!").

So what is your stance when it comes to conversing with your hair stylist? Do you like the mundane conversations about work, weather, and interior design, or do you prefer to risk baldness by closing your eyes and staying quiet?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Kitchen Nightmares is coming back

I was very happy to read this morning that Fox has renewed Kitchen Nightmares for another season.

If you've read the blog for any length of time, or listened to my show, you know I'm a big Gordon Ramsay fan. Love the attitude, the bluntness, and the countless cries of, "Oh deeeaarrrr", "Oh noooooo", and, "What are you dooooooooing?" as he encounters boundless incompetence at each of the restaurants he tries to fix.

After having seen the British version of this show many times -- which is a little more subdued, is shot on film, which gives it a more documentary feel, and is more focused on food then workers -- I was a little nervous about seeing the U.S. version.

More accurately, nervous about the Fox version. The network certainly has a way of adding just enough sound effects, quick cutaways, cheesy narrating, and ramped up tension and drama to make most of their reality shows unwatchable. This is the same network that gave us My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance several years ago.

Wait a minute. I actually watched that show. Oops.

Although the U.S. version of Nightmares is a bit changed from the British version (more frantic editing, focus on workers' relationships and drama, and shot on video), much of the original concept remains intact. Of course, the one thing that is constant, is Ramsay.

It doesn't matter that the basics of each episode are the same: A restaurant with very few customers, a lazy or inept chef/staff, and filthy conditions in the kitchen which lead Ramsay to clean the kitchen, change up the decor a bit, freshen up the menu with easier meals to make, with fresh ingredients, and happy customers coming through the doors. What makes the show so engaging is watching Ramsay interact with those he's trying to help.

There's still time to catch this season's episdoes which air on Wednesday nights. And, fortunately, there's plenty of time to catch future episodes.

As Fox's Mike Darnell said, ""I think this show is going to be on this network for a long time."

Bon appetit.

Here's the season teaser for Kitchen Nightmares to give you an idea what the show is like.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

This Chick Really Blows

Once in awhile, a clip comes along that is so painfully bad, so achingly cringe-worthy, so brilliantly horrendous, that you just want to get down on your hands and knees and thank Al Gore for inventing the internet.

After bouncing around the 'net Sunday, I found this gem. It's a pageant of some kind, apparently. This, I'm guessing, is the, umm, talent portion of the contest, featuring contestant Stacey Hedger.

I don't want to spoil it, so let's just throw out some key words...Star Wars, trumpet, Charlie Chaplin, and crickets (from the audience).

This will undoubtedly require multiple viewings.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Real Men Of Genius Spoof: Notre Dame Fans

We've talked on the show recently about the musical similarity between "Home" from Daughtry, and the music found in the classic Real Men Of Genius campaign from Bud Light.

Below is a spoof of those commercials with the topic being Notre Dame fans.

Given my disliking of the Notre Dame football program, their woefully inept season, plus the high quality of this clip, I couldn't resist posting it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Rocky Mountain Low

That didn't take long, did it? The Phillies bowed out of the playoffs so fast, it makes their division championship clinching victory seem like it was a week ago.

Well, it was, but you get the idea.

My biggest fear heading into this postseason was that the Phillies would meet the Cubs in one of the playoff rounds, and lose. So much for that happening. At least I don't have to go through that weeklong Pepto Bismol diet.

And, yes, I'd rather have them lose in this first round, then win the round, but lose to the Cubs in the NLCS. And, yes, watching the Cubs get swept out of the first round helped ease my Phillies pain, but only a little.

The Rockies were just too tough. The Phils couldn't hit, couldn't pitch -- well enough -- and just weren't the better team. I've read a lot about how the Phils may have been playing tight, considering this was their first postseason in a long time, and for many players, their first playoff experience at the big league level. I'm not discounting that theory, but those same elements certainly didn't hurt the Rockies at all.

Oh well, like I said before the series started, I have nothing against the Rockies, and if they were to continue to move on, that would be fine. The more successful they are, maybe that makes the Phillies' season stand out a little more.

The interesting thing will be what they do to improve the team for next year. They need pitching, pitching, and then some pitching. Of course, so does every other team.

But, they've cleared a big hurdle by defeating the Mets and claiming the division, thanks to a torrid final three weeks of the season when they went 13-4 to edge out New York by one game. Maybe this season was necessary for the Phils -- a stepping stone to bigger success next year. Ahh yes, the dreaded phrase, "next year".

It's too bad they were only able to clear one hurdle (the Mets), and not the other (Clint) Hurdle.

In the meantime, please enjoy the final few minutes of the last professional sports championship for the city of Philadelphia...the 1983 76ers defeating Magic, Kareem, Jack Nicholson, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

30 Rock Returns

Welcome back, 30 Rock. Although, I've only missed you for about three days. That's when I finished watching the episodes from the first season. Thanks to NBC.com, I was able to catch all 21 shows, and it only took me about three weeks.

What would life be like without the internet?

This is one of those shows that, for whatever reason, did absolutely nothing for me when it premiered. I didn't watch it, and had no interest in it. But, as was the case with The Office, Friday Night Lights, Battlestar Galactica, and Heroes -- all shows that I initially ignored, only to catch up on all of them online -- after getting continued praise from critics, not to mention the Emmy for Best Comedy, I thought it was time to try 30 Rock.

Having access to free episodes on NBC.com certainly didn't hurt, either.

I'm certainly glad I did. The show is smart and silly at the same time, has a very good cast -- including the irreplaceable Alec Baldwin -- and packs as many jokes into a half-hour as any show this side of Arrested Development.

Plus, I've always had a bit of a thing for Tina Fey. Smart, cute, funny, and showing a surprisingly frequent amount of cleavage as Liz Lemon.

If you haven't seen the show yet, and would like to catch up, well, my guess is NBC will pull the first season's episodes to make room for season two, which begins tonight.

My suggestion is to rent the DVD's of season one, and then once you've caught up, go to NBC.com and check out season two.

I'm too lazy to go into in-depth discussion of the characters, or the premise. You can always go here to get a pretty good idea.

Also, here are a couple of clips from NBC.com that deal with Liz Lemon's lackluster love life, and the brilliance of Jack Donaghy -- Baldwin's character.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Red October

Here's the top of the 9th inning, Sunday, as the Phillies clinched the National League's East Division title. The fact that the Mets' loss to Florida became a final during this inning is just icing on the cake.

Thousands of fans cheering away 14 years of frustration, plus having living legend Harry Kalas on the call isn't too shabby, either.

Rock(ies) On

From a competitive standpoint, I was rooting for San Diego to win the playoff game last night against Colorado. The Padres seem like a much easier foe for the Phillies, considering the injuries to their offense, and the fact that ace Jake Peavy pitched last night, and would only be available for one start in the five-game series.

But, now that the Rockies have made it -- thanks to an improbable, one-for-the-ages kind of game -- I'm ok with it. The Rockies and Phillies are pretty similar: Plenty of offense, so-so pitching, and no post season appearances in over a decade.

One other similarity is the way these two teams finished the season in order to get to the playoffs. The Phillies finished 13-4, while the Rockies have won 14 of their last 15 games. Two pretty evenly matched teams, and the Rockies are a team that I have no built up anger or frustration. There's very little history between the two squads, and frankly, I kind of like the team.

I've been to a couple of Rockies games, one at Mile High, and one at Coors Field. I actually kind of like the team, and I think we're in for some explosive games over the next week. I like Colorado as a place to vacation, I have no problem with Denver, and how can you go wrong with a Coors?

Side note: If you ever visit the Coors Brewery, just ask for the "short tour" and go right to the beer garden.

Besides, the Padres are boring. Any city that can boast a weather forecast of sunny and 75 degrees every day doesn't deserve to also celebrate a World Series winner.

That said, if you think Mets fans are having a hard time, Padres fans must be searching for a trolley to jump in front of, after coming so close to getting in. They were one strike away on Sunday, before blowing that game to the Brewers, and in last night's playoff game they took an 8-6 lead in the 13th inning, only to once again have Trevor Hoffman blow the game by giving up three runs in the bottom of the 13th.

I'm not sure where those rank in Bill Simmons' "Levels Of Losing" over on ESPN.com, but they have to fall somewhere between "This Can't Be Happening" and a "Stomach Punch".

So, bring on the Rockies. And, usually when a team knocks my team from the playoffs, no matter what sport, I continue to hate that team, hoping they lose their next game or series. That's part of the reason I actually rooted for the Cubs in 2003 to defeat the Marlins, who beat out the Phillies for the wildcard that year.

Well, if the Rockies were to defeat the Phils, I think I'm going to root for them to get to the World Series.

I think.

If nothing else, the Phillies should get a nice welcome from Rockies' fans, and grounds crew workers. Remember the tarp incident from July?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Muck The Fets!

I've done my fair share of criticizing the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. But, after the way the last few seasons have brought the Phils close to the playoffs, only to come up short -- usually being eliminated in the last week of the year -- it's easy to see how I could have been so negative.

Friday night, the Phillies took the lead in the division for the first time this year, following Cole Hamels' brilliant pitching performance -- and yet another Mets loss -- but I didn't do a post about it because I still had that sinking feeling that they would relinquish that lead over the weekend.

Sure enough, after Saturday's games, the Mets and Phils were tied once again.

But, wouldn't you know it, this year apparently is different. The Phils actually pulled it off. They didn't choke, they didn't wilt under the pressure, they didn't repeat the close calls and near misses of recent years. The Phils caught, and passed the Mets, and won the NL East.

It couldn't have happened any better. Having the Mets blow a 7 game lead with just 17 games to go is such a wonderful development. Jimmy Rollins -- who may have secured the MVP award on Sunday -- said back in January that the Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East, and he and the Phils backed that up. Sure, the Mets played horrible baseball down the stretch, but it took a 13-4 finish by the Phillies to complete the comeback.

Muck the Fets, indeed.

Who knows, maybe this will be the year that the Phillies not only reach the playoffs, but win the whole damn thing. Of course, they could just as easily get swept out of the first round and have their season over by the weekend.

I'm sure that once the playoffs begin, my feelings may change, but, for now, just the fact that they were able to clinch at home, in front of 44,000 rabid, hungry fans, finishing off a truly amazing comeback against a hated rival has made this upcoming postseason gravy.

The Phillies have already won.

Ahh, who am I kidding? Go out and win the whole damn thing.

Just don't get bounced by the Cubs.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Family Guy: I Have Some Work To Do

I stumbled upon this page of 10 songs from Family Guy on the Adult Swim website. Working in radio, I certainly have a soft spot for the classic FCC song.

Several of my other favorites are listed below. All 10 songs are good, though.

How in the world have I not found time in my life for this show?

I have some catching up to do.

You'll have to click the links to see the videos. I tried to embed them into the blog, but that didn't work.

"My Drunken Irish Dad"

"Peter's Got Woods"

"Vasectomy Barbershop"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

After weeks of chasing the Mets, and the wildcard leaders -- mainly the Padres -- four a playoff spot, the Phillies found themselves tied for the wildcard lead entering Tuesday night's home game against Atlanta.

It's been an agonizing 14 years since Philly's last playoff appearance, with several near misses over the last few years. Each of those near misses went about the same way...get off to a bad start, rally late in the season, then falter in the final week or two, and just miss the post-season, finishing with about 85 wins, give or take.

The phortunes of the Phillies are so predictable, here's what I wrote on April 2nd when trying to predict the upcoming season...

"They'll probably fall within the 83-89 win total like they've done the last few years, and fall short of the postseason. Again."

By the way, I had the Cubs winning 78 games, finishing 3rd in the NL Central. I had the White Sox finishing 3rd in the AL Central with 88 wins. Not so good on those picks.

Ah, but the Phillies are easy to predict. Sure enough, they started the season 4-11, then rallied to play some of the best baseball in the National League to fight and claw their way into a tie for the wildcard lead with San Diego.

So what did they do with their opportunity to finally control their destiny?

Naturally, they crapped the bed and lost to the Braves 10-6.

San Diego defeated San Francisco thanks to a 4-run ninth inning, and the Phils are now 1 game back again.

Now, the Phillies get to face Hudson and Smoltz, while looking uphill, and needing to look at the scoreboard.

Is the season over? Hell no. But the way this story ends is starting to look all too familiar.

I will now go back to banging my head against the wall.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My Busy Weekend

Boy, I have been a busy guy this weekend. The weather was too nice to not take advantage.

I took some video of all of the things I did.

Hope you like it...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

R.I.P. Brett Somers

I was saddened to hear of the recent death of Brett Somers after a long illness. Brett was a mainstay on The Match Game.

Somers was always seated in the middle of the top row, with another Match Game legend, Charles Nelson Reilly -- who passed away in May -- to her left. Somers was married to Jack Klugman.

They say these things happen in groups of three. So, what does that mean for people like Richard Dawson, Fannie Flagg, Gary Burghoff, Lee Meriwether, Bill Daily, Arte Johnson, Elaine Joyce, Betty White, Marcia Wallace, Mary Ann Mobley, and Jo Ann Pflug?

Well, you may still have a few days and weeks left to secure some life insurance, but I wouldn't be buying any green bananas this week.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My RUSH Concert Diary

Ever since the concert schedule came out for Rush's Snakes And Arrows Tour, I had always thought that I'd be going to their September 8th show in Tinley Park. Not only are they one of my favorite bands, but the concert was on a Saturday night, allowing me a chance to get home late, without having the early turn around of a 3:20am wake-up-for-work awaiting me the next morning.

As I've mentioned before, Rush is one of my two or three favorite bands. There was always a very good chance I'd be going to this show.

The problem was finding someone to go with me. My wife, even though she's gone with me to a few of their shows in the past, was a little indifferent to going this time. My brother was a "maybe", but ended up having other plans that night. The guy I saw Rush with in 2002, my co-worker Kevin Schramm, had to work that night. Our new news guy, Jay, is trying to watch his spending while in the middle of paying a mortgage on a house he's trying to sell in Iowa, and also paying rent at an apartment in Morris -- a situation that has been made much easier now that he has sold his house.

For a minute, I even thought about bringing along Megan, our 7-year old. I took her to her first concert last month, so I thought she might like going to a concert featuring one of my favorite bands. I eventually decided against it, since she didn't know more than a couple of their songs, plus I didn't feel like carrying her all night considering she'd likely not be able to see anything.

Bottom line, I came thisclose to not going, simply because I didn't want to go by myself. I went back and forth on it, until the morning of the concert. I just said "screw it", and decided to go alone. The spoiler-free reviews I allowed myself to read about the concerts were very good, I had heard they were playing songs they hadn't played on tour in many years, and of course, it was on a Saturday night.

So, about a week late, here is my diary of what transpired on concert day...

10:46: I arrive at Carson Pirie Scott in Joliet to purchase a lawn ticket. As I get out of the car, I notice a line of about 30 people standing outside the door waiting to get in. I knew they weren't there for Rush tickets, but, I certainly didn't want to have to wait behind them to grab my ticket and go. A guy told me they were in line for Springsteen tickets. The girl from the store asked what I was trying to buy. I told her Rush tickets, and she said I could go right in. She also said she was going to be at the show, too. Hey! I found someone to go with. Oops. My wife reads this. Moving on.

5:52: Driving to the show on I-80, I know I'm getting close when I see an unusual amount of cars driven by guys with ponytails getting in the right lane approaching the Tinley Park exit.

5:59: I pull up to a stoplight next to a truck full of twenty-something kids talking and laughing while "Tom Sawyer" is blaring from their speakers. The odds on seeing this on any other day of the year are pretty slim, so at least I know I'm driving in the right direction.

6:03: Getting into the First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre, or, The Amp, as we'll call it from here on out, is a bit of an adventure. There are no direct entrances off Harlem avenue. So, after turning onto the connecting street, you have two choices as far as where to enter, neither one is all that clear.

Then once you turn to get into the parking lot, you have two more choices -- right lane for drop off or VIP parking, or a handful of left lanes for general parking. It took me a few seconds to realize I needed to be in the left lanes, and I had to pull off a couple of Greg Brady pylon moves to get into the right spot. I was just hoping I wasn't heading into oncoming traffic. Considering most people attending concerts are either drunk, stoned, or both, shouldn't getting to the place be a little easier?

6:04: I've driven over 47 different softball sized rocks, each one making me cross my fingers and toes hoping that I haven't just gotten a flat tire. Is it too much to ask to pave the lot? Or, at least crush down the rocks a bit. I want my rock experience at a concert to be limited to the music coming from the stage.

6:06: I get out of the car and grab all of my gear...blanket, hat, jacket, bug spray, bottle of water, and two magazines to kill the time before the show. Am I going to a Rush concert, or an afternoon of bird watching in the woods?

6:09: A Dunkin Donuts truck is sitting near the entrance, and while in line to get into The Amp, a man comes by with a tray full of sample vanilla lattes for everyone to try. Where are we, at a Rush concert, or Ravinia? Naturally, I take one.

6:11: As I enter The Amp, I'm asked to open my blanket so they know I'm not packing any heat. Then, a lady asks for my cap. Bewildered, I hand her my hat, thinking they want to make sure I'm not carrying a hand grenade in there, or whatever. She laughs and says, "no, the cap on your water bottle." Huh? Great. Now I have to walk around with a bottle of water with no cap on it. This isn't going to end well.

6:13: I'm handed a promotional card that says it's good for a free concert shirt, plus a chance at front row tickets to tonight's show. All I have to do is stop by whatever booth it was. Can't do it now, too busy trying to hold my blanket, magazines, and jacket while not spilling my capless water bottle.

6:19: I find my spot on the lawn, fairly close to the concourse, with a clear view of the stage. You gotta love outdoor concerts for at least this reason: I can wait around for months without buying a ticket, then nine hours before Rush takes the stage, I can round up a lawn ticket and get a very nice view of the stage and video screens for about $30. On the other hand, it's starting to get a little too cold for the shorts I'm wearing, and it's supposed to rain.

6:25: I spot a guy that is a dead ringer for Jerry Springer, only this guy has blonder and bigger hair. Anyone who was on the lawn that night is nodding and smiling right now. Nobody on the lawn didn't notice this guy. It's impossible.

6:33: Oh yay, someone brought a beach ball for everyone to try to volley around the lawn. Didn't this fad go out of style about a week after "the wave"?

6:36: Scratch the complaining. Some dude just got walloped in the face by the beach ball when he wasn't looking. Too bad I didn't have some kind of tape rolling so I could send it to Tom Bergeron. I love this beach ball thingy.

6:42: After all this time, is "Check...1,2,1,2" still the best we can come up with when testing microphones? Isn't there anything more original or entertaining to say? Tell a joke, sing a song, insult everyone in the first three rows -- something.

6:52: "Jerry Springer" is returning from his third beer run.

6:59: Still about 45 minutes from the show starting -- don't you love this diary of the concert that's already over 1,000 words long, and we haven't even gotten to the show yet? -- so I decide to check out this whole "free concert shirt" thing. Too good to be true, right? Right. I get to the booth, and the shirt only becomes mine if I open a First Midwest Bank checking account. Thanks, but no thanks.

7:21: There's nothing like sitting on the lawn at a concert, glancing in front of me to my left, and seeing the plumber's crack of some overweight dude in sweatpants. Although, considering it's a Rush concert, maybe the term "Working Man's" smile is better suited. I couldn't luck out and glance at a similar view of a young, fit, beautiful girl that either went au natural, or at least was showing off a sweet thong. Of course, this is a Rush concert. The odds of seeing any good looking girls, in any kind of attire, is rather slim.

7:24: I decide to lay down on my back, close my eyes and rest for a few minutes before the show. Then I get paranoid someone will purposely step on my head, so I sit back up. I'm getting too old.

7:32: The ineveitable has happened. Someone walking by my spot has inadvertently kicked my water bottle, spilling it in front of my seat. The water has run down the slope to the guy in front of me. I apologize, claiming my innocence. He nods, and I just thank my lucky stars that I'm not sitting directly behind Mr. Hiney Crack.

7:44: There's nothing better than that moment right before a concert begins when the lights are dimmed. It's a thrilling feeling knowing the show is about to begin. The crowd starts to cheer, everyone gets on their feet. It's, well, it's a rush is what it is.

7:46: Love the intro video with Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart as bedmates. Anything that gives Neil some personality is fine by me.

7:48: Alex comes out on stage playing the opening riff from "Limelight". Geddy doesn't join him, yet. Alex retreats to his side of the stage and plays the riff again, this time joined by Geddy, and the song starts in full. I assume it was a mistake, but I found out later, it was planned. One of the drawbacks from being on the lawn...being too far away to detect the little things.

7:49: Ahhh, I catch the first of many whiffs of weed. Maybe it was a good idea not to bring my 7-year old, Megan.

8:08: Wow, Geddy is hitting just about all of the high notes. Are his vocal chords on H.G.H.?

8:12: I love the mounted acoustic guitar that Alex is using for certain songs. He wears the elctric around his neck, then when he needs to go acoustic, there is one perched atop of stand at the perfect angle for him to walk up to it and play as if it were slung around his neck, too. A high five for the designer of that little time saver.

8:16: Between songs, I glance around at the crowd. The place is packed! How many other bands that have been around for over 30 years, with the same lineup, that continues to produce new music, would pack a top-tier stadium like this? Correct. One.

8:20: Springer just went on another beer run.

8:24: During this first part of the concert, I've heard two of the songs that I really like -- "Entre Nous" and "Circumstances" -- that I've never heard them play before. The show could end right now, and I'd be happy. Wait, what am I talking about? That would only be a 40-minute show! Keep playing, boys.

8:27: Another whiff of weed.

8:40: As the first set is coming to a close, my cell phone rings. It's my wife. After a dozen "What?" "I can't hear you?" "Huh?" "Say what?" exchanges, I'm finally able to decipher from her that the radar shows we are about to get hit with a steady rain. All that stuff I said earlier about the positives of an outdoor concert, forget it.

8:43: Intermission. Any second now...wait for it...and bingo! Springer on the run for another brewski. This guy would be a good subject on an episode of Springer.

8:50: Trying to remember where I parked.

8:54: It's been nice sitting down for the last 10 minutes since part one of the concert ended. I don't understand why we need to stand during the whole concert. Once they come out, fine. After a couple of songs, why not sit back down on the lawn, or in your seat. And, of course, once the person in front of you gets up, you, and everyone else has to get up as well. I guess one reason for getting up is it makes it easier to dance, but there aren't many danceable Rush songs. Air drumming is the thing, and that's much easier to do when sitting.

9:13: The between sets music has stopped, and the buzz in the crowd begins again. The second half of the show is about to start, and sure enough, here comes Springer with yet another round of beers.

9:16: The second set begins after a video featuring a rather goofy Alex Lifeson portraying several different characters. The choice of "Far Cry" to open the set is a no-brainer. I really thought they'd open the concert with that song. It's the most recognizeable release from their new album, and it's got a killer beginning that just begs to start a show.

9:25: Pretty gutsy of a classic rock band to devote so much time in their concert to the new songs. Generally, when a band that's been around for awhile says "here's one from our new album," a subtle groan can be heard throughout the venue, and Springer-types in the crowd get up to get more beer, or drain the beer already in their system. However, with Rush, and with this new album, the crowd is as enthusiastic for the new stuff as they are for the oldies as well. By the time the concert ends, nine new songs will have been played, and none of them disappoint. Reason number 83 why I like these guys so much.

9:32: Quick note on the crowd. A very diverse group. In the past at Rush shows, it would be basically a bunch of guys in their 30's, all wearing concert shirts two sizes too small. In this crowd, sure there are those guys, but also guys in ther 50's, women of all ages, teenagers, young kids, probably the most wide-ranging group I've ever seen at a Rush concert. New fans, old fans, from generation to generation. Still, the crowd could use an infusion of hot women.

9:40: Rush always brings the goods when it comes to lights, lasers, fog, smoke (or is that just extra puffs of weed), and tonight, plenty of pyro!

9:46: As much as I love the internet, and as much as I was checking out the Rush message boards ever since their album was released earlier this year, I have to say that I'm proud of myself for avoiding most of the spoilers concerning the concert. I've been pleasantly surprised by the intro video, the handful of songs that I wasn't expecting to hear, the order of the setlist, etc.

9:49: I've also been surprised at how good Geddy's voice sounds. He just ripped through the highest of high parts in one of my favorite songs, "Freewill" -- right after the instrumental break in the middle -- and the crowd went nuts. They appreciate the fact that Geddy must be playing tonight with a swarm of bees in his pants to be able to pull off some of these notes that he hasn't been able to hit this consistently since the Reagan era.

10:21: Finally, the drum solo. The only downside is that the crowd insits on cheering throughout the entire. I understand the desire to cheer on Neil Peart, a drum god with few peers, but I don't know, maybe it's just me, I'd like to actually hear the damn thing. Save your applause until it's over, and zip it with the "wooooooos", too. I'm sounding too cranky. Maybe I can get Springer to get me a beer next time around.

10:28: I'm planning my exit strategy. Two summers ago, my brother and I saw Coldplay at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin. 30,000 in the crowd, and when it ended, we sat still in the parking lot for two hours. That's not an exaggeration. My plan for avoiding that kind of disaster again tonight was simple. Get from the lawn to the side of the pavillion (near the exit) as close to the end of the show as I could, then bolt for the parking lot before the majority of the crowd so I could high tail it out of there in just a few minutes.

10:39: Tom Sawyer has just concluded -- after being introduced from the boys from South Park -- and Rush has left the stage. We all know an encore is coming. The rock concert encore...the worst kept secret in music.

10:49: "Passage To Bangkok" is song two in the encore. The smell of weed is strong enough to knock a maggot off of a meat truck.

10:54: "YYZ" begins, and this seems to me to be a good song chocie for the final song. I make my way toward the concourse, and stand and watch the end of the performance near the walkway that leads to the exit.

10:58: End of show, and I am doing my "I really need to walk fast, but not fast enough that I'm going to bother running" walk. As I'm hunting for the exit, I'm thinking many things...where did I park? I remember, it was near A3; wow, the guys played a phenomenal show in front of a packed, jacked crowd; my legs are killing me from standing for about three hours; I never tried to get that last beer from Springer.

11:02: I find my car, in front of most of the crowd, and actually get out of the parking lot and back onto I-80 within five minutes. One Little Victory for me. I make it home by 11:30, and pat myself on the back for going ahead and getting a solo ticket for yet another tremendous Rush show. These guys are in their 50's, have only released three albums of new music since 1996 (although I get the sense the next album will come sooner rather than later), and who knows if and when they may tour again. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to see them again.

Cheers, Alex, Geddy, and Neil. You all deserve a toast. If you need a drink to raise, ask Springer for one.

Here are a few vids to enjoy...

"Entre Nous" from the tour (not the show I was at however)



"Spirit Of Radio" from the same concert as above



"Freewill" from The Hollywood Bowl, showing off Geddy's top notch high-pitched vocal

Notre Shame

Week 1: Georgia Tech 33, Notre Dame 3.

Week 2: Penn St. 31, Notre Dame 10.

Week 3: Michigan 38, Notre Dame 0.

Somebody pinch me before I wake up from this joyous dream.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Parenting Test No. 273

Considering how big a fan of High School Musical our 7-year old daughter, Megan is, my wife and I have worked extra hard at trying to keep all of the latest Vanessa Hudgens news away from her.

Any info, stories, links, discussion about Hudgens and those pictures floating around the net should only be handled by an adult, preferrably, me.

As far as we could tell, Megan hadn't heard anything about the photos, blissfully unaware of the whole controversy. The problem is, that my wife and I can't be with her throughout the entire day. Those darn school kids.

We were sitting at dinner the other night when out of the blue, Megan starts talking about Hudgens. She mentioned that her friend at school told her that Vanessa "took pictures of herself without any clothes on, and sent them to Zac (Efron)." My wife and I took a deep breath, looked at each other with a half smile/half "oh, boy" expression.

We really weren't prepared for her next comment.

"(My friend) was wondering if they had s-e-x."

That's how she said it, too, spelling it out, so she must know that it's something bad or naughty.

Frankly, we didn't ask her if she knew what s-e-x was, or if her friend had told her what it was. After the shock and awe of the question wore off, after our hearts started beating again, and after the realization that "oh, no, our daughter has moved up a rung on the growing up ladder of life" by making her first known reference to sex, we did what we could to abandon the subject.

We honestly had no comeback for what she said. We were not prepared to deal with that topic with a 7-year old. Should we have been? Several times during the rest of the night, my wife would just look at me and say, "She's seven!"

All we ended up telling her was to not talk about it to anyone else because it was no one else's business. It was Vanessa's personal business, not ours. That seemed to work, but again, not being with her all day long makes me wonder what she, or anyone else, has been saying about this whole thing.

As a parent, especially of a girl, hearing her make that first reference to sex, whether she knows what it is or not, doesn't rank up their with other "first" experiences, like the first steps, first words, or even first solid poop.

I realize that it's September in the midwest, and the bees are going to be all over the place here soon. I didn't expect the birds to join them for several years, however.

So, let's just hope that for now, all of this "pics without clothes on", and "s-e-x" talk concerning Vanessa Hudgens, and anyone else for that matter, stays away from our precious little 7-year old. She's way too young to be thinking about any of this stuff.

There's been talk that more pics, and possibly a video or two from Hudgens' past are out there, too, and may make an appearance online soon. Hopefully those things will stay far away from Megan's eyes and ears, and end up where they belong...in my email.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Do You Know The Muffin' Men?

Is it hockey season yet? Okay, it may be a little too early to write off the Eagles, but just giving away a very winnable game to Green Bay is not the way to start a season.

First, Greg Lewis muffed a punt early in the game -- granted, Lewis is very new to the position, and was leveled right as he was trying to catch the punt -- and the ensuing scramble for the loose ball resulted in a Packers touchdown. Of course.

Second, with about a minute to go in the 4th quarter, with the score tied 13-13, J.R. Reed sprinted to try to catch a short punt, couldn't get under the ball, and muffed it. The Packers recovered, and seconds later kicked the game winning field goal. Naturally.

Now, had the offense done something with the ball after getting the all-too-common Brett Favre turnover late in the 4th quarter, at least Reed's muff never would have happened. Ifs and buts, candy and nuts.

It was the kind of loss that just leaves you in a grumpy mood the rest of the day. Considering yesterday was our wedding anniversary, maybe I should have just done yardwork all afternoon, or taken the family out somewhere, or watched High School Musical 2 with the kids for the 33rd time, instead of subjecting the household to that dud of an Eagles debut.

At least I didn't have to watch the final field goal. Since we live in the Chicago market, Fox cut away from the Eagles-Packers game to go to San Diego for the Bears-Chargers matchup. Ironically, just a few hours prior to that, I said to my wife, "You just know the Eagles are going to be driving for the game winning field goal when Fox is going to cut away to get to that all important Bears-Chargers kickoff." Well, after watching that second muffed punt, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman never looked so good.

A few posts back I mentioned how much of a roller coaster the baseball season is. Highs and lows seven days a week. Well, football is worse -- when you lose. A full week of feeling like crap about your favorite team, until they suit up again. And, of course, I'll be there with them next week, and every week. I'm a fan. Just a very frustrated one. Goes with the territory rooting for this team.

Meanwhile, where did I put the Flyers 2007-08 schedule?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Are You Ready For Some (Classic) Football?

A full slate of NFL games is just one day away, and to help get you in the mood for all of the fun, I thought I'd point you in the direction of some classic video from the past.

Hurry, though. It's quite possible that these clips will be pulled from Youtube before you even get a chance to enjoy them. The NFL doesn't like having any of their precious clips available for public consumption. Heaven forbid. So watch these before they go away.

The clips come from someone named WIICTVFAN, a Pittsburgh sports fan apparently. He's posted complete Super Bowl footage as the games actually aired. This is priceless stuff!

We're talking Super Bowls IX, X, XIII, and XIV, plus the 1978 AFC Championship game as well. There's even footage of the last Stanley Cup Finals game the Blackhawks played in, the deciding game four loss at home to Pittsburgh in 1992 -- a game I attended.

Rather than try to link every single game, etc., just go to this dude's video page, and you can figure out the rest.

I can't tell you how stoked I am that these clips are here -- even though they may only be available until I finish typing this sentence.

Whew, just checked, they're still there (for now).

The first Super Bowl I remember watching was Super Bowl XIII, and at that time, it didn't get much better than Pittsburgh vs. Dallas. Tremendously exciting game featuring the top two teams in the league during that era. Plus, as an Eagles fan, I hated the Cowboys. I still have the t-shirt from my youth of the eagle pooping on the Dallas helmet. So, watching Jackie Harris drop that touchdown pass was bliss.

These were some of my first football memories, and to see classic games the way they aired is a real treat. Even the simple stuff is cool, like in the Super Bowl X footage, the CBS theme music being played each time they went to commercial. Or, how about the promo for the Mary Tyler Moore Show? Too cool.

I was too young to remember the first Pittsburgh/Dallas Super Bowl (X), so to see it here as it originally aired has been as big an online thrill for me since the day Vanessa Hudgens emailed me those pictures of her.

The Super Bowl X video has been my favorite so far. Summerall and Brookshier. A Super Bowl played during the day. A setting that seems so simplistic compared to Super Bowls today -- it's all about the game, not the pomp and circumstance. Commercial breaks that aren't more than 90 seconds long. Lambert. Staubach. Bradshaw. Pearson. And in the clip I'm posting below, Lynn Swann's amazing catch, easily one of the 10 best catches in league history (it comes at about the 6:43 mark).

There's just something about seeing this stuff as it aired. Chills.

Each of these clips is about 10 minutes long, so for some games there could be as many as 15-20 parts. A minor flaw. For something this good, I don't mind the extra clicking.

This is what should be on NFL Network. And it should still be part of the basic cable package on Comcast. At the very least, it should be left alone on Youtube.

Please.