Monday, July 23, 2007

Happy Birthday...To Us!

Yes, my little piece of the internet has turned 1. The blog debuted on this date last year, and it's been a fun ride so far.

I've tried to update it a couple of times a week, with everything from cool things I find online, to my thoughts on various topics, to some personal stuff or things going on at the station.

If you have any suggestions on things you've liked, things you haven't, things that can make this blog better, let me know in the comments section. That might be tough to do for some of you -- the listeners to my daily radio show, mainly -- because I'm convinced none of you even have computers.

I've enjoyed keeping tabs on visitors to the site that aren't from the listening audience. Thanks to keywords on Google searches that have brought my blog to the forefront, a lot of random folks -- an odd amount of people from out of the country, too -- have stopped by to read what I've posted.

In a related note, there was a time for about three weeks when I was getting about ten times the normal amount of visitors to the site each day. It was bizarre. Even more bizarre when I noticed that about 90% of the visitors were getting to my site after first clicking on a Looney Tunes image within a Google search.

The image was on one of my old posts. You can see it as it appeared in the original post by clicking this. For those three weeks, when you did a Google Image search for "Looney Tunes", the image I chose for my post was the first one that came up.

Great horny toads! Never knew there was such a high demand these days for Looney Tunes pictures, but thanks for visiting anyway.

To recognize the blog's 1st birthday, I thought I'd give you my Top 10 favorite posts, in no particular order:

* The very first post. This one introduced you to me, the blog, and our newborn daughter, Sarah.

* The transcript of my Rick Springfield interview. He came on the show promoting a concert in Joliet. I don't get to have many big names on the show, so this one earns a spot on the list. This was the first real interview that I transcribed for any reason. I have a new respect for writers.

* I might as well group these are posts of interviews with Colin Mochrie...

*...Greg Proops...and Kathy Kinney. These two posts are grouped together as they made appearances on my show within a few days of each other to promote the improv show where I got to meet them, and Drew Carey. Name dropping is over now.

* This post from March of this year details the first hockey game my daughter, Megan has ever attended. Add in a beauty of a fight, called by one of my idols, Pat Foley, and it's a can't miss.

* I'm sure everyone with a blog made some kind of post in and around the time that Saddam Hussein was hanged at the end of December, 2006. I'd like to think I was the only one that made the suggestion that he be hanged at Times Square as the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, but I doubt it. I may have been the only one that suggested that, AND threw in a perfectly appropriate song to play in the background.

* My life as a Philadelphia sports fan. Not pretty. This was a painful post to write. And, no, it wasn't cathartic at all.

* Everyone loves news bloopers! Many of my posts are links to cool or funny things I find online that I think you'll enjoy. Thanks to the power of embedding, many videos I stumble across can be viewed right on my site. This is just one example of a post that hopefully made you laugh, just like I did. There are countless other posts just like that on here. Well, of course I could count them for you, but why would I want to do that?

* My thoughts on RUSH. One of the nice things about the blog is the freedom to talk about anything. Well, almost anything. For example, since I do a radio show that a lot of kids may listen to, I do my best to keep most of the material on the blog -- which in theory should have many listeners checking it out, again, if they have computers -- relatively kid-friendly. Along the same lines, I don't get to play any songs from RUSH on my show. They don't exactly fit the format. So, it'd be rather pointless to talk about the group on the air. On the blog, however, it's a perfect place to tell you a little bit about the band, and also about myself as well.

* My girls. Yep, I admit it: I like posting about my girls. I've heard from many listeners that they enjoy hearing about them on the radio show, so I've made sure to get them some airtime, and now, some air, or (web)space I guess you could say. No need to send me any pictures or posts about your kids, because although I hope they're healthy, and a joy and all that, honestly, I really don't care. And you may not care about mine. That's the beauty of the blog. There's always more news bloopers!

Thanks for visiting during the past year, pass the word -- or better yet, pass the link -- and keep coming back!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Michael Vick: Dog Daze

Michael Vick's story is about as bad as it gets. I'm very surprised NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell hasn't suspended Vick yet for violating the NFL's conduct policy. He did it with former Bear, "Tank" Johnson. He did it with "Pacman" Jones, and Chris Henry.

He should do the same with Vick.

Isn't there enough known, even before the pending trial, that we can at least say with certainty that Vick at the very least, housed these dog fights on his property, and based on reports was involved (possibly the ringleader).

Vick faces a possible six-year jail sentence if convicted. Now, it's tempting to jump to a "he'll get off easy because he's a star athlete" conclusion, but Lester Munson dispels that in an ESPN article that ran a few days ago.

Let's hope he's right.

Hosting the dog fights was bad enough. Hearing what was done to the dogs when they were out of the ring, is sickening.

So, let's lighten the mood with a pretty darn good parody song to the tune of "Cat's In The Cradle", entitled, "Dog's In The Kennel".

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Our youngest daughter, Sarah, turns 1 today. In this pic, she's sporting the "I just had my hair washed, and mom and dad wanted to slick it back and make me look like a boy for the heck of it" hairdo.

A+ on the pose, too.

Being a parent is exhausting. Keeping up with our seven year old, Megan, and now Sarah -- who just within the last couple of weeks has begun to master the art of crawling -- leaves both my wife and I fatigued, as all parents reading this can empathize.

But, it's also something that I wouldn't trade for anything, as all parents reading this can empathize.

Kudos to Megan, too, for being such a great big sister. She loves playing with Sarah, and the feeling is mutual, as Sarah is constantly giggling at whatever crazy thing Megan is doing.

I appreciate the interest some of the listeners have taken in the girls. I'm always getting calls asking how they're doing, hoping I'll talk about them more on the show, etc. Considering I'm one that really doesn't care much about anyone else's kids -- sorry, just the way it is -- the fact that so many are interested in mine does mean a lot to me and my wife.

For those that want to see a few more pics...

Sarah sporting the "I just got up" hair.

Daddy and the girls on the couch.

One of our many "Sister, Sister" pics

Here's one of Sarah where I think she's thinking, "Put down the camera, Dad, and get me more Cheerios and banana...NOW!"

And, since I wasn't around the computer a whole lot while we were on vacation -- during Megan's birthday -- here's a belated birthday wish to our seven-year old future heartbreaker. This is her in the backyard moments before getting freaked out after seeing a Cicada on the swingset.

Happy Birthday, girls!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cardinal's Sin

It's still hard to believe the amount of money, or worse yet, the number of victims, involved in the California abuse case that settled earlier this week.

From the Associated Press...
As abuse victims sobbed in the courtroom, a judge approved a $660 million settlement yesterday between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and 508 people who had filed suit over sexual abuse by clergy members.

The settlement in the nation’s largest Roman Catholic diocese is considered a landmark because the legal battle endured for more than four years, and because the sum is more than six times larger than any previous deal struck by a diocese.

508 cases?!?! Wow.

Now, I'm not going to spend a lot of time, or space, going over the details of this case, whether or not Cardinal Mahony dragged his feet trying to get a settlement, or tried to cover things up, etc. But after countless amounts of cases involving sexual abuse, week after week, month after month, and year after year, I'd just like to offer a suggestion:

Umm, I think it's time to ease back a little bit more on the whole "celibacy" thing.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Jacobson Tries To Get Out Of Deep End

There obviously may be a lot more to the Amy Jacobson story than what we've been told so far. In an interview with Eric Zorn from the Chicago Tribune, she's a little evasive about any previous visits to the Stebic house -- besides the one that was famously captured on video, and led to her firing -- only saying that, "All of us (reporters) have been by the house and to the door a bunch of times, of course".

However, until we know more, apparently Jacobson was invited to the house (by Stebic's sister, not Stebic himself), she phoned her husband to tell him where she'd be going and that she'd be bringing their two young children (there were other kids at the 'party' as well), and although her visit looked very social, she was there to help gather facts about the case for her ongoing coverage of the story for NBC.

What exactly did she do wrong? The only problem would be if her "relationship" with the Stebic family prohibited her from reporting the story fairly and accurately. We have no knowledge that this has been the case, so I think she should be cut some slack.

Granted, her statement in the Zorn interview that she shared information of her conversations with the police could very well put her in a witness stand someday soon, and while journalism experts criticize Jacobson's actions, the Plainfield Police Chief, Donald Bennett, said she wasn't doing anything wrong.
Amy Jacobson advised us on a couple of occasions that she had talked to Mr. Stebic.. That was it. It wasn’t like she was doing anything in conjunction with us. In my opinion she was simply making us aware that she had gone to the Stebic residence and had had a conversation with Mr. Stebic so that we’d know who was coming and going from there.

Amy Jacobson was not providing us insight or special information relating to the case. She was just making us aware when she was having contact with Mr. Stebic.

In my experience, most reporters try to have some rapport with law enforcement agencies.All our contacts with her were very professional.

Other news people have also told about when they tried to talk to Mr. Stebic, or when they did talk to him and that he didn’t say anything. It’s small talk. Amy Jacobson did the same as other people did.

I say, kudos to her for being in a position to be able to garner an invite to the house from the sister. In an ultra-competitive field, Jacobson took advantage of an opportunity to get some info from the Stebic household, while at the same time, spending time with her kids. The fact that it involved a pool, and Jacobson in a swimsuit is the reason this has escalated.

If the sister had invited her over for cookies and milk, and Jacobson went to the house to talk to the Stebic family while wearing a work outfit while sitting on the patio, or at the kitchen table, this would not be news. But put her in a swimsuit, at the same time a rival network's news cameras are rolling, and all of a sudden, a firestorm erupts.

Look, was it an odd situation? Yeah. Even a tad creepy. Her intent was to learn more about the story she's been reporting on for over two months. Whether the discussion took place in a living room, or at the side of a pool, why does that matter? As long as she is still able to report the story fairly, leaving aside any possible personal feelings of friendliness to the Stebic's, then there should be no problem. If there is, take her off the story. Suspend her. Firing her? Too harsh.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Odds and Ends...

A few things that either happened during my mini-vacation earlier this week, or have just popped into my mind in the last few minutes that I thought you might be interested in:
  • Cool TV recommendation: Cash Cab airing on the Discovery Channel. Amazingly simple game show concept -- and very inexpensive to produce as well -- in which passengers that unknowingly enter the special "cash cab" are able to answer trivia questions for cash. The questions last as long as their cab ride, or until they get one wrong.
  • Good grief! Is this how Angelina Jolie looks these days? It almost makes me feel sorry for Brad Pitt. The guy actually upgrades from Jennifer Aniston, only to spend most of his time traveling to third world countries, adopting a child-a-day it seems, and now, his white-hot girlfriend is wasting away right in front of our eyes. Almost feel sorry for him. He's Brad Pitt after all. I think he'll be fine.
  • Sarah is in full crawl mode now. Her first birthday is on the 18th. She's actually ahead of Megan's pace. Megan didn't even really crawl at all, and didn't walk until she was 17 months old. One of these days, I'll upload a video clip of something related to the girls.
  • So, am I supposed to feel bad for these two brothers, who were gored by a bull during the running of the bulls in Pamplona? Sorry, not happening. If you're dumb enough to participate, then you have to deal with the consequences. My level of sympathy for these two -- and anyone else that messes with the bull and gets the horns -- falls somewhere around the level of sympathy I feel for people that get injured playing with fireworks, and those that overdose on heroin. These guys were celebrating a victory over cancer. Hey, they beat cancer, that's great. Really. So, go buy a bottle of champagne, have some friends over for a cookout, and hire a stripper if you feel like it. But, going to Spain to run with the bulls? Dumb (and dumber).
  • If you've heard the show, or read certain parts of the blog, you know I love me some Gordon Ramsay. Well, there's another cooking show I'm into now. Top Chef, on Bravo. I know I'm a little late to the party, but I'm really digging it. Even though my personal fave, Camille, has been booted. Who knows if she can cook or not, but she certainly added some sizzle.
  • Attention music fans: There's a guy on youtube that plays a mighty mean acoustic guitar. He's truly amazing, and the videos on his page are simply him sitting at the computer, absolutley nailing each song he plays. I stumbled upon several of his versions of old Genesis songs. There are some Beatles tracks as well as dozens of others. He's exceptional. Plus, he has gone through about 37 different looks over the year or two that he's been posting videos. My personal favorite is the short hair, sans facial hair. It makes me think Keith Olbermann is the one on the axe.
  • While on vacation, we pulled off one of our favorite one-two meal combos. It started with burgers and (bottomless baskets of) fries at Red Robin, and concluded with ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. You can't go wrong with the Banzai Burger -- the pineapple sends it over the top -- and the Mud Pie Mojo at Cold Stone. Yes, I'm hoping someone from either chain reads this and feels inclined to set me up with freebies.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Great America

Monday we made our third annual trip to Great America. We usually go in early July to celebrate Megan's birthday, although we went in August last year. She loves the park, and is rapidly approaching the minimum height required to be able to ride the best rides (Raging Bull, Superman, Deja Vu, and Batman).

Megan has mastered The Whizzer, and also likes The Demon. Although she's tall enough to ride The Viper, and The American Eagle, I wasn't able to coerce -- I mean convince -- her to go on those rides.

It rained that afternoon, and rides were shut down for a couple of hours, and we were also deprived of a chance to ride in the 3:30pm parade as the Grand Marshall Family, or whatever it's called.

Just before the thunderstorms hit, I was in line for the Superman ride -- I didn't make it before they shut it down -- and my wife and the girls were watching a show. They were approached by someone from the park to see if we were interested in being the "family" for the parade. We'd get to sit in the first car, smile and wave, etc. After saying yes, the rains came, and the parade was washed out.

Yes, it literally rained on our parade.

Strange things have happened these last frew years while we've been at Great America:

2007: Rain washes away our chance to be the featured family in the daily parade.

2006: A girl had a seizure and died inside Camp Cartoon Network, minutes before Megan and I were about to go there and ride Spacely's Sprocket Rocket, the same ride where the girl in the story may have suffered her attack.

The pic above is Megan and I enjoying the coaster in 2005. This was Megan's first coaster ride of any kind.

2005: While I was in line for Deja Vu, a kid tried to hurdle his way over a metal railing to meet up with his family, slipped, and crashed mouth-first into the railing. He was knocked out for about five minutes.

Spooky. Maybe I'm bad luck. In fact, next year, I'll try to let everyone know when I'm going so you can avoid the park, (shorter lines for me) and whatever catastrophe will happen on that day (shorter lines for me). Please, stay away (shorter lines for me). I'm only trying to help you (shorter lines for me).

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Phillies Phutility: 10,000 Losses

Any day now, the Philadelphia Phillies will hit a milestone that no other team in the history of sports ever has: They will have lost their 10,000th game. That's right. No team, in any sport, has ever been so good at being so bad.

I'm typing this on the morning after yet another Phillies Pholly. Last night in Colorado, the Phools had a 6-1 lead heading to the bottom of the 6th against the Rockies. Naturally, they gave up two in the 6th, one in the 7th, 8th, and 9th (the tying run), and then lost it in the 11th, 7-6.

They're back at .500, miraculously only 4.5 games out of first place, but this team is going nowhere, once again. No matter how close you are to first place, having the worst ERA in the National League is not part of the recipe for a playoff team.

In years past, I'd follow as many games as I could online (Living in Illinois, that was the only way to keep track. Yahoo was usually the choice), but that became too frustrating. This year, I've decided to try to avoid looking at scores until the next day. I'd rather have my morning ruined by waiting to see how they blew the previous night's game, then lose a night's sleep due to the frustration I'd feel heading to bed after following the most recent loss online.

The life of a Phillies fan.

I don't have the energy, or the desire, frankly, to recap any ot the other 9,997 losses for this laughable franchise. And this loss total doesn't take into account playoff losses. Some of those carry extra weight, of course. But at least they don't make the list.

So, no Mitch Williams' game. No Black Friday game. No Maddox drops the fly in center field against the Dodgers game.

If you want to find out more about this incredible amount of losses, this article does a nice job. As does this one.

All of these losses, including another gut-wrencher last night, has me asking just one question...

When does the Eagles' training camp start?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy 4th Of July

Boom goes the dynamite

"It's gonna take a lot of fireworks to clean this place up"

Not the usual toilet explosion