Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jon And Kate Plus Hate

This is Kate Gosselin, of the increasingly unwatchable TLC show Jon & Kate Plus 8.

If I never see this woman on my television again, I will be a happy man.

Alas, the odds on that happening are not good. Our oldest daughter, Megan LOVES the show. Luckily, all of the adult drama has passed right over her head, so on each episode that she watches, she focuses on the kids and what they do.

Kate should take note.

The picture above depicts her "working", and doing her "job" while ignoring her kids at home. She spends about 20 days a month traveling across the country for various speaking engagements (cha-ching) and book signing (cha-ching), leaving husband Jon to take care of the kids back at their mansion (thanks to the $75,000 per episode they receive from TLC. Cha-ching!).

Then, when she does show up at the house in the premiere, she takes the kids with her to help pickj out party favors for the sextuplets 5th birthday party. She's all too eager to point out that Jon is not around for that weekend, so she has to do everything by herself -- something she whined about multiple times last night -- and then spent the rest of the episode putting on phony displays of laughter and happiness, while the people around her -- including the kids -- had grim looks on their faces.

She's narcissistic, overbearing, a shrew, selfish, and demeaning. And those are her good qualities.

I won't go into all of the details on the show, or the fractured relationship between Jon and Kate -- who seem ready for a divorce, after watching last night's season premiere -- because there are countless articles and websites that recount the details, or at least the allegations much better than I could in this post.

Just suffice it to say that, as usual, the ones that will suffer are the kids. They might not know everything that's going on, but they know enough to realize that something is wrong. Dad's not around -- probably kicked out of the house -- and Kate is bound and determined to keep those cameras around, and keep her "career" of touring the country alive, instead of staying at home where she belongs and fixing her family.

Oh, but it's all Jon's fault according to her. When allegations of her indiscretions were brought up, Kate wanted to change the subject because it made her mad. It doesn't matter. After watching this show way more than I wanted to these last few months, it's obvious her heart belongs to Benjamin Franklin.

You know, I actually don't mind if Kate is on my television in the future.

The more Megan watches, the more she'll realize how good she has it.

And, really. Chop off the hair.

It looks ridiculous.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hawks Win!

After blowing a 3-0 lead, the Blackhawks put away Detroit in overtime last night, 4-3 at United Center.

Let's hope Martin Havlat will be okay after the crushing hit leveled upon him early in the game.

For the first five seconds or so after this hit, I thought he was dead.

This is one of the reasons I play golf.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Baseball Bets

Not sure if anyone remembers, or cares, but now that we're a little over a month into the season, I thought I'd update you on the progress of the season-long baseball bet going on between the Three Stooges (your truly, Jay, and Kevin).

It's a pretty tight race. We weighted the win total category, since the Cubs are picked by just about everyone to rack up more wins than the Phillies and White Sox. We just may not have weighted it enough.

Going off a Vegas gambling site, we had the Cubs slotted for 92 wins, the Phils for 88, and the Sox for 80. Well, Kev's just about caught me in that category (just one game behind heading into this weekend), and he's just seven behind the Sox (making up almost 50% of the deficit within the first six weeks of the year is not a good sign for Jay).

On the flip side, with the injury to Aramis Ramirez, and the slow start for Giovanny Soto, Kev is lagging behind in third place in the RBI category.

Our "goofy" stat is the Sunday winning percentage, and so far, Schramm's Cubs are a perfect 4-0.

That category was my idea.

Excuse me while I bang a baseball bat over my head.

The good thing is, the overall stats are very close for our bet, and it should make for a competitive season.

I'll update you again in a few weeks. Be sure to clear your schedule.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hat Trick For Patrick

Here come the Hawks!

There's still time to get on the bandwagon, folks.

Could things get much better for the Chicago Blackhawks this season? A young team, getting better day by day, their longtime play-by-play announcer, Pat Foley, back in the booth where he belongs (although, in a sad twist, wouldn't be behind the mic in the Cup Finals, if they get that far), all games on television for the first time ever, over 22,000 fans in the seats, and in the standing room sections, pushing overall season attendance to over one million, and a berth in the conference finals!

It's been an amazing transformation, and a long time coming. Back in the 60's and 70's, when Bobby Hull, Stan Makita, and Tony Esposito were stars for the team, the Blackhawks were the hottest ticket in town.

There was a brief resurgence in the mid 80's, when Denis Savard helped the 'Hawks to a couple of Conference Finals appearances.

For a time in the early 90's, the Blackhawks also enjoyed a handful of years where they were legitimate contenders for the Stanley Cup, reaching the finals once, but getting swept by Pittsburgh (I was in attendance for the final game. A sad night, for sure, but, man, I got the chance to watch a team skate around with the Stanley Cup. Even though it was the opponent, it was an awesome moment for a hockey fan like me).

When players were allowed to leave via free agency without getting paid what they deserved from "Dollar" Bill Wirtz, the team started to struggle, fans found other ways to entertain themselves, and the Blackhawks became an afterthought.

Then, Wirtz passed away, and everything turned around. Son, Rocky Wirtz took over operations, hiring John McDonough from the Cubs as President of the team. He brought back Pat Foley, all games were televised, and -- most importantly -- the team on the ice continued to improve, becoming contenders at just the right time.

Will the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup this year? Who knows? They may get swept in the next round. But, there's no denying that the future looks as bright for this team as it has in a very long time.

There's still room on the bandwagon.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Amazing Race...To The Bathroom

On the show this morning, Jay and I recounted the events of Sunday's Amazing Race episode, when Jen and Keisha finished in last place due in large part to Jen's inability to control her bladder.

As they were racing to the finish line, Jen -- who had gulped down several bottles of water to help get her through a difficult eating challenge -- couldn't hold it anymore, and had to stop at a restroom to relive herself.

That allowed the cheerleaders to sneak ahead of them, and finish in third place, sending Jen and Keisha home.

I referenced a marathon runner who displayed much more determination, bravado, and fearlessness when he faced a similar situation while racing recently. And, this was much more than just a simple need to relieve the bladder.

Yes, this racer was faced with a more colon-related matter. A fecal matter, if you will.

However, there was no way this racer was going to let that get in his way. Either that, or he just couldn't get to the port-a-potty on time.

Click here to see what I'm talking about.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

So Long, Scrubs

One of my favorite sitcoms of all time, Scrubs, signed off last night -- most likely for good.

There's a chance it will come back next year with a few of the cast members gone, including star Zach Braff, but, even though I'd welcome the chance to get a few more laughs from future episodes, considering how strong last night's finale was, I think the best plan would be for it to go away for good.

There are a large amount of great montages and clips at Youtube, and I'll just leave it up to you to dig up some of your favorites, or some clips you haven't seen in awhile from the show's past.

On today's show I played the song "Book Of Love" (the Peter Gabriel version) that played over the final scene as J.D. pondered his future outside of the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital.

While the song is strong enough on its own, seeing it in the context of what was happening on the show adds the proper amount of depth.

Here's the final scene...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Love The Drake

As you can see by the wide smile on my daughter Megan's face, she was absolutely thrilled to meet Drake Bell, the star of Nickelodeon's now defunct hit show Drake and Josh.

Drake and his band were at the Rialto Square Theatre for a concert Saturday night.

Thanks to some connections here at the station, I was able to round up an interview with Drake the day before the show. When the interview was over, I started to ask Drake if he would do me a favor. He must have already known what I was about to ask, because he interrupted me mid-sentence and said, "do you want me to record a message for your daughters?"

He must get that a lot.

As of Friday, one day before the show, I had kept the fact that Megan and I were going to the concert a secret from her. I was holding out hope that I could get Drake to help out with my favor in the hopes of really giving Megan a thrill.

I had Drake record a message to Megan basically inviting her and myself to the Saturday show. I told Drake that we had seen him perform at the Illinois State Fair in 2007, which he included in his message, and that he was hoping to see her at the show.

After recording Drake's message, I called home and had my wife let the machine pick up. Then, I played back the audio as if Drake was personally calling our house.

After picking Megan up from school, my wife and I told her there was a special message waiting for her on the phone. We rolled some video, and captured her surprised reaction to the Drake Bell "phone call".

I'd post the video, but computer speakers all across the region would probably be destroyed by the piercing scream of joy that she let out about three seconds after the message was finished.

After she asked a few obvious questions, we let her in on how he actually got around to "calling" her, and she was fine with the reveal, and still in the same amount of shock and awe.

As we prepared for the Saturday show, Megan wanted to make a poster for Drake saying that she was the "Megan" that he left the message for. A simple "Hi Drake, I'm Megan" was designed late Saturday afternoon, complete with hearts above the i's, and a big I "heart" U at the bottom.

Then, I called the box office to ask if posters could be brought to the show. A simple "No" was the response, and that was that. Of course, once we got to the show, we noticed several fans with posters, that were allowed inside. No matter. What happened later made up for it.

We had also read something about no cameras being allowed, so, foolishly, we left our digital camera at home. Then we got to the Rialto, and noticed everybody walking in with a camera, no questions asked. Then I saw a sign on the door saying that Drake would be signing autographs after the show, and that no one would be turned away.

Fortunately, we were there early enough, and we live close enough that I was able to call my wife and convince her to bring the camera to the Rialto for us to use during the night. I couldn't let this opportunity pass.

And, if we were to get to say a quick "Hi" to Drake in the autograph line, the need for the poster was gone now.

The show was good, a real solid set of fun, upbeat songs, and the appropriate amount of squeals from the primarily young female audience.

Afterward, Megan and I met up with a classmate and her dad, and we waited in the autograph line. Since we stayed for all of the songs, unlike others that preferred a better spot in line, we were at the back of the pack of autograph seekers. It was worth it, though.

As we got closer, Megan grew more and more excited. I had purchased a Drake Bell poster for her before the show, and that was what we handed over for Drake to sign. As we got to him, I told him that I was the one who interviewed him the day before, and he smiled and shook my hand. I then introduced him to Megan, the subject of his message. He smiled, shook her hand, and asked if she got his message.

Megan looked at him with a wide-eyed grin and shook her head yes. Speechless, but at least not totally unresponsive.

He kindly allowed us to take his picture with Megan, and it capped off a great two days of fun for my daughter. And me.

Yep, I'm a fan. As I mentioned in the interview, I always thought he was funny, from watching him portray the Tony Soprano-esque "Tony Pajamas" on the old Amanda Show, all the way through his time on Drake and Josh.

Plus, his music is very adult-friendly as well. His main influence is the Beatles, so it doesn't take long to follow along with his music, and find some common ground. He's talented, and watching him work the fans in his autograph line, he seems to get it, which I respect.

He went out of his way, even if just for a few seconds, and gave my daughter a couple of memories that she'll always have, and a few days she'll never forget.

Me too.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Drake Bell

We're hoping to have an interview with Drake Bell, star of the Drake and Josh show on Nickelodeon, that will air on the Saturday morning show between 6:00 and 9:00.

UPDATE: I did the interview Friday afternoon, and it will air Saturday, May 2nd, at 8:15am.

Bell is appearing in concert at the Rialto Square Theatre Saturday night, May 2nd.

I highly recommend it.

In the summer of 2007, I took my oldest daughter, Megan, to go see Bell, along with Corbin Bleu, at the Illinois State Fair. You can read about that here.

Bell's music is heavily influenced by the likes of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Brian Setzer. His songs, written and performed by Bell and his band, are catchy, upbeat, and very accessible. If you can concentrate on the songs over top of the screaming girls, you'll notice some really good music in there.

We'll be at Saturday night's show, too. Moms and dads, if your kids have seen the commercials for the concert tomorrow, or heard me talking about it, and are bugging you to go, there are still tickets available at the Rialto Box Office.

Take them. You'll enjoy it, too.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Swine Flu Fever

I guess it's time to start paying attention to this whole swine flu problem.

It's reached the U.S. -- resulting in at least one death so far -- including a possible case in Rogers Park here in Illinois.

That's plenty close enough that it's probably a good idea to start taking some precautions. Just like I have in the above picture.

Hey, I have no idea where that mic has been.