Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A rare must read.

Matt P over at the point me to this so credit where credit is due.

This is funny.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Snippets of My Life These days.

Last night i fell asleep early while madness was still going on in my home. My sister-in-law and nephew were visiting and the boys had some friends over for the night. At about 11 I was woken by my wife gently nudging me and asking:

"Honey, is it OK for the kids to have candles lit in shed?"

At first I was still asleep and it wasn't really registering.

"You mean where I keep two gas cans and the lawnmower?"

Ahh, no. Open flames would be a bad thing.

Everyone was safely evacuated from the shed where they had decided it would be cool to play dungeons and dragons by candle light.

Youngest son ruined his cell phone in a spectacular end over end flip that landed in his iced tea. He couldn't do it twice if he tried. At first the phone worked fine except the "8" was a little sticky and then the thing died outright. Now we have 4 people and three phones.

Now we are scrambling for phones and his Mom has been home for the past few days and did not need hers so we swapped his sim card into hers. Did you ever see that episode of Gilligan's Island where the seven castaways swapped bodies? When I call him, Frank Sinatra's "Summer Wind" plays and the default ring tone is "(Night Time is) The Right Time" by Ray Charles. It ain't right.

One of the back up phones is an old Blackberry that neither he nor his Mother want. It's more blue than black so really its a Blueberry . They hate it.

He asks me if he has to wear a belt to carry it. I told him yes and a pair of khakis, a button down shirt and loafers.

While my sister-in-law was here she brought her new 16 week old Jack Russel terrier. We already have two schnauzers, one male and one female. For the first day it was like being at Michael Vick's for a day as our male defended his home turf.

In honor of Bruce Springsteen's new album due out on October 2nd, here is the Bruce Matching game. Match the girl and the song:

1. Mary A. 4th of July, Asbury Park
2. Wendy B. Thunder Road
3. Sandy C. Born to Run
4. Mary (Again) D. The River
5. Mary (yet again) E. Mary's Place

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bricks and Axe

I sure didn't see this coming and after hearing McNabb's press conference today, neither did, neither did Dawkins nor Spikes.

Quite a shock.

It seems like just yesterday he was on the cover of SI in his bare arms with the temperatures in the teens.

I'm still not understanding this as I thought Trotter played well in the first two preseason games and there wasn't a hint of this in any blog or article that I saw.

But the Eagles as an organization does have a pretty good track record at deciding when someone doesn't perform at a high level anymore. Look at Corey Simon, Bobby Taylor, Hugh Douglas and Todd Pinkston over the last few years. All ended up either retired or barely hanging on some where.

But Trotter? I sure didn't see it coming and don't think he did either. It was a surprise and a shock.

Here is Brian Dawkins reaction from the Inquirer:

"This one hit me like a ton of bricks," Dawkins said. "No matter how many years you play, it's always hard when you lose someone like that, that you've come in contact and gotten so close with. I'm going to make it as far as I can in this press conference."

Which reminded me of a Ray Rhodes quote about Trotter when he was drafted from Spadaro's column on

"Wait until (center Steve) Everitt gets a look at him," snorted Rhodes. "That kid is going to knock the snot out of Everitt. You're going to see a 260-pound load of bricks coming down the 'A' gap!"

And so the inevitable head lines about the Ax Man getting axed were in full swing today but boy I think this a mistake. We'll see.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Shopping Trip.

I joined my wife and youngest son for a trip to the mall this afternoon to shop for clothes for us guys. For me this rates somewhere between a painful constant itch and shaving with a cheese grater.

I hate the mall.

We started in H&M since youngest son needed pants for school. H&M is a lot more like S&M to me but with snappier music and less whipping. I really tried to hang in there and shop with him but in minutes I found myself drifting to the exit, walking out of the store and looking for a seat.

Thank God for cell phones since I did not check out with any other away-team members before heading out on my own. I would have been overridden by our away team leader anyway, had I had asked permission. I was AWOL.

I had all the credit cards, so I was pretty sure they would find me.

I found myself in front of Victoria's Secret wondering why $25 sweat pants that say P-I-N-K across the A-S-S in the colors Y-E-L-L-O-W and B-L-A-C-K are doing in the front window. When did Victoria's Secret put sweat pants in the window? Where are the teddys and underwear?

I know what you are thinking, I went to hang out specifically in front of Victoria's Secret for wink-wink nod-nod look at the lingerie.

Really, and this is the truth - I was just looking for a seat. I'm old and the magic of Victoria's secret wore off on me about the time I learned that Victoria's Secret is that she really, really likes chocolate - especially around her period.

Finally I got the call: Bring in the credit cards. I stood in line with three pair of pants that had the knees half worn out and cost $84. A girl whose name should have been "Lauren" as all girls that work in H&M are named, took off all the secret security devices, rang me up and I was done.

I was free of H&M and the Lauren's.

Except that my wife and youngest son were still shopping and youngest son came up with a hoodie that I needed to get back in line for. I love you son and now I shall prove it by getting back into this line manned by 16-year-old-gum-snapping girls named Lauren that couldn't spell H&M if you put a gun to their heads.

Next it was off to Macy's to buy shoes for me for work. My current work shoes are pair of dark chocolate brown low cut Timberlines that have that distinctive wear to them that only two years working in Center City can bring. It was time and they needed to go.

The men's shoe department at Macy's was a zoo. Two salesmen were "servicing" 10 customers at a time. By servicing I mean they were running to the back to look for "this" in a 9 and a half and then throwing the shoes your direction. I was within 5 yards of the counter so I put the bump on a Hispanic man from Pennsauken and caught a pair of Rockports.

By the way, what ever happened to the art of the shoe salesman? It used to be that they would come out and measure your feet with the black thing with the sliding volume controls that your mom would tell you stop playing with because it is not a toy. They would announce that you were a nine and half as if this were news, disappear to the back and come back with a box or two of shoes. Then they would put the new shoe on you, lace it up with graceful, masterful strokes and making a show of it. Next, they would squeeze the front toe to make sure you had enough room and ask you to walk back and forth on one shoe like a moron. What ever happened to those guys?

Unfortunately, I had guessed incorrectly at my own shoe size for my Rockports. For the record, I am not a 9 but I am a 9 and 1/2. I had to get a second, correctly sized pair thrown my way by my "salesman", Dean and then I tried them on. They seemed to fit fine and I did the "I'm trying out new shoes" walk away from my wife and Dean.

I could have sworn she said "walk off the carpet" but this did not make sense to me since in my 40 something years of shoe purchasing I do not ever remember walking off the carpet. You take 5-7 steps, you turn around and you come back. You stay on the carpet. Those are the rules.

This is her area of expertise and I thought she said walk off the carpet.

So I did.

The next thing I know, I was getting the evil eye from Dean and an earful from my wife about how walking off the carpet scuffs the shoe. But you told me to walk off the carpet didn't you?

Apparently she said DON'T walk off the carpet, which is different.

On the way out we saw shirts on sale and by we I mean "my wife". Next thing you know we had an arm load of shirts and I was trying on pants like a 10 year old. I wanted to crawl under a rack and start kicking my legs and screaming that "I WANT TO GO HOME" but it seemed somehow inappropriate.

Finally we had our fill of pants and shirts and it was check out time.

The salesperson rang everything up and then asked if I had a Macy's charge. I said I don't think so since I have no idea what charge cards we do have other that the three I carry. I was thinking "won't these work" as I was handing over a fistful of cards like a tourist in Tijuana handing over Pesos. I know we have lots of them but I really had no idea if one them is a Macy's card. She asked if I wanted to open one and said it would be "100 dollars off".

I gotta tell you the truth right here. I would rather paid an extra $100 to get out of there NOW but I got hoodwinked into opening a Macy's charge right there by nasty looks from the Sales lady, her gay "helper" and my wife. A three were in agreement, $100 off is a good deal. The process was less painful then I thought it would be but was alarmed when I was presented a bill for the full $300 something dollars. I was told it would be discounted on the first bill and my wife said "yeah, we'll get the 20% off when the bill comes in".

What? What happened to the $100 off? In what universe is 100 20% of 300? Where am I, the twilight zone? So my $100 off is really more like $64 dollars in the time-space continuum that I live in.

Then I was told that that I would get this 20% off everything I bought today and tomorrow.

Great! I just had bought $150 dollars worth of shoes so I get 20% off that right?


You have to go back to the circus of a shoe department, return the shoes and repurchase them with the new card. I WANT TO GO HOME NOW. TAKE ME HOME NOW OR I'LL START SCREAMING.

She is dragging me over to the shoe department. I look down at the paper work for the charge card I just signed up for. I actually get 15% off today and tomorrow.

My $100 off is now down to $47.

I tell her there is no way I am standing back in that line for 15% off. I don't know why. I was cranky. I was tired. I WANTED TO GO HOME. It would have been either $20 or $300 off, I wasn't sure how much it would be off but it didn't make a difference since I WANTED TO GO HOME NOW.

Finally, she gave in and let me go home.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Return of McNabb

I unexpectedly got a chance to go to the preseason Eagles game last night when my friend's daughter bailed on him at the last minute. I spent a lot of NFL family capital when I ran out on a heated discussion about how oldest son hasn't visited any colleges yet, it's August, we don't have a final list of schools and how Gonzaga may be a bit tough to visit being that it is in Spokane and that is 3000 miles from Jersey - when I got the call.

I was needed for the preseason.

Before you could say "Fordham", I was in my McNabb jersey, had my camera and was yelling "I'm going". A perfect 50 minutes later we were sitting listening to the Star Spangled Banner.

A few things I thought about as I watched a mini weather system form around my 5 dollar minute maid frozen lemonade in the hot, humid August air:

  • McNabb looked great. Good protection, 6 for 9, 138 yards in a single quarter. He looked mcnabulous as Mike Quick would say. If it were a full, real game he would have had a record day, only it wasn't a real game and it was the Carolina Panthers. Here is McNabb's first pass of the year.

  • Is it the system or talent that makes you say "LJ who?" when Matt Schobel and Brett Celek are on the field? Celek had another good game and Schobel had one of those rumblin' stumblin', no bumblin' plays for 71 yards. The Eagles are going to have a problem if they only plan on keeping 2 tight ends but with LJ Smith hurt they will more than likely keep 3.
  • Ackers was a fantasy football mad man hitting two for over 50 yards. Too bad it was preseason. That was with Sav "Australian-rules-football" Rocco holding on the 52 yarder!
  • Tony Hunt's stats by December are going to look like this: 35 Yards Rushing, 7 carries and 7 touchdowns.
  • How long until the Philly sports press is using the term "pass wacky"? Every time number 5 is back there they seem to forget that Westbrook can run the ball. It's like Reid makes a half-hearted attempt at running almost to set up the passing game.
  • Kevin Kolb looked better. Let me change that to great considering who was in by time he played.
  • Was this the same defense that made the Ravens look like the '96 forty-niners four days ago? What the heck happened in less than a work-week?
  • Where were Jevon Kearse and Brian Dawkins?
  • We got to hear the Lito song when Shepard ran back a Delhomme pick for 40 yards.
  • William "I'm not Will Peterson" James showed why there is no "Will" song (Will-iam uh uh uh ohhhooooo ?) when let a pick and sure TD slip through his hands a play or two before that. In all fairness though, he played better than he did on Monday.
  • There is a preseason for the fans to get ready too. These two were working on their "The bald guy didn't call for a time out" routine and it needs some work, but like a good offense, comedy is all timing. They'll have down by September.

As the pee-wee team took the field for the halftime entertainment, there were loud cracks of lightning and the rain was perfectly timed to stay within the bounds of halftime.. We stayed for the third quarter for what I like to call "Reno Mahe Time" and left as it ended.

Th Eagles looked good, so good in fact that we should just give the Eagles the NFC Championship now. Look at all the time and family aggravation we'll save!

Driving oldest son to Band Camp practice this morning I looked in the review mirror on the mini-van and saw the scotch tape still in the rear window from the Eagles poster from the loss to the Panthers on January 19th 2004. It was their third NFC championship loss in a row and it was tough to swallow. It pains me every-single-time I see that piece of tape.

This did not look anything thing like that Panthers team and it is hard to remember that the Eagles have been consistently good for so long.

Monday, August 13, 2007

All hail the Queen.

The scene: On our deck on a beautiful Sunday morning overlooking the pool. We are sitting on cushioned deck furniture under the canopy. It's my brother-who-does-not-exist-on-the-internet-even-though-he-owns-a-domain, me and my wife.

Wife: These cushions need to be replaced.
Me, to imaginary slaves standing around waiting for the queens commands: (clap-clap) So it is written, so it shall be done. Please bring the queen new cushions.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Help Wanted - Theoretical Physicist

Prove Einstein wrong and be part of the next big thing! A Theoretical Physicist is wanted for a large scale military-industrial complex project researching and developing the next frontier of advanced weaponry in a secure remote location. Must have expertise with traversable worm holes, faster than light travel and special space-time geometries. A doctorate level degree is required and candidates familiar with the Novikov self-consistency principle will be considered ahead of equally qualified candidates.

The successful candidate will also exhibit superior skills in hand-to-hand combat, knife and sword play and be proficient in karate, jujitsu and kick flips. A thorough and complete knowledge of world cultures, especially from the past, is a plus.

Some time-travel required.

Please apply to:
General Heywood Kirk
PO Box 4799
Yuma, AZ

Project Tic-Toc is an equal opportunity employer.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Time Tunnel

When I was eight I was fascinated with a science fiction TV show called Time Tunnel. I loved this show and even got my friends to play "Time Tunnel" at a local Storm Sewer. It left a lasting impression on me but since I was so young, maybe I didn't appreciate how cheesy the show really was. Through the magic of Blockbuster, I was able to find out.

Time Tunnel only lasted one season on ABC in 1966 but I remember thinking it was the greatest show ever.

Set in 1968, Time Tunnel was about project Tic Toc, a secret government endeavor to travel through time. When a Senator comes to investigate the project, located 800 stories underground in the Arizona dessert, he threatens to pull the funding unless the team members can prove that this giant apparatus they have built at great Taxpayer expense actually works.

To prove it and thereby save the project, one of the Scientists, Tony Newman, configures the device for the past without permission and sends himself back in time. He ends up on the Titanic on April 13th 1912 just before the great liner sinks. Another Project Tic Toc scientist, Doug Phillips, is sent back to rescue him and the two then become trapped in time, never to return to 1968 but can be moved from one time period to another if the Scientist "Ann" played by Lee Merriweather can "get a lock on them".

And so Tony and Doug helplessly travel travel through time every week, aided by the staff of Project Tic Toc as they try to bring them back to 1968. Every week Tony and Doug are rescued at the last minute and sent spinning off in time to another adventure.

Each week TV viewers hear the announcer as he says:

"Two American scientists are lost in the swirling maze of past and future ages, during the first experiments on America's greatest and most secret project, the Time Tunnel. Tony Newman and Doug Phillips now tumble helplessly toward a new fantastic adventure, somewhere along the infinite corridors of time."

Did I mention I was eight?

Watching it now, some 41 years later, I realized how ridiculous this show was:

1. It was in color. Vivid, Living Color. This was age of color for color's sake on TV. Things were bright colors even when they didn't have to be so. When I was growing up, we didn't have a color TV, we only had Black and White so seeing it in color was, well, different.

2. History is never boring. Tony and Doug always seemed to land in the middle of the most exciting times in Earth's history. They never land in Nebraska in 300 BC, on a Tuesday, in the middle of the great plains, with no humans around for thousands of miles. This is in spite of the astronomical odds in favor of doing precisely that or being flung to some remote planet 1 million years ago with no air.

This is because this would make for a very boring TV show and so Tony and Doug land just before Custer's last stand, Jericho as the walls come down, Pearl Harbor on December 6th, 1941.

They also always seem to land 24-48 hours in advance of the event.

Every. Single. Week.

Someone should have a look at that Time Machine. I think its broke.

3. Tony and Doug are very poor salesmen. No matter what Tony and Doug do, they can never, ever convince people that they know the future. They are always looked upon as crazy people but yet somehow are allowed to wander freely about. All this is despite being dressed as men from the 20th century US.

The more that they passionately plead with people that Krakatoa is about to explode, the Titanic is going to sink or that the Japanese are about to attack Pearl Harbor, the more strange people think they are. Yet, they are able to move freely about talking to the captain of the Titanic, prance into any office on the Pearl Harbor Naval station or get thrown into Ulysses's tent.

You would think they would learn something along the way, like a new angle on convincing people they knew the future.

  • Use Money: I'll bet you $10,000 the Japanese attack tomorrow so let's go out to that radar station and hang out.
  • Slowly lead people to the truth: Don't you think that these massive earthquakes on this tropical island with the giant volcano will lead up to a massive explosion?
  • Use the Obvious: Are you kidding me? Look at how I am dressed. Do you think I just found these funny looking clothes and made all this up? Why would I do that?
  • I am a god: Therefore you should listen to me.
  • Ignore the whole thing and get rich: Yes, Japanese, in planes, that's really, really bad. I'd like 10,000 Shares of IBM stock please.

4. Traveling through time cleans your clothes. No matter what happens in the previous episode, Tony and Doug always land with freshly laundered clothes in the next episode. Tony in his green turtle neck sweater that says "yes, I'm a swinger" and Doug in his 1910's era suit that he changed into right before his "rescue" of Tony on the Titanic. Its as if they picked up dry cleaning while falling through the "time vortex".

Also of note: Being that we are watching in living color, Doug is wearing a bright yellow tie. I can't keep a tie clean through lunch yet Doug gets in swords fights, knife fights and fist fights and yet the tie remains perfect.

5. Tony and Doug are really,really good at history. They should be on a freaking game show some where. They know the exact time and date that Krakatoa explodes, they know all of the details of the events leading up to the Trojan Horse and the exact time and date of the Alamo, all without Google or Wikipedia.

If it were me, I may generally know that being near Krakatoa is bad but who the heck knows that it blew at 10 AM local time on the 27th of August in 1883? Doug, of course, since he wrote a book on the topic.

If my wife were the Time Traveler, we'd have been screwed. I am not sure she ever even heard of Krakatoa. She would say "My husband would know" and that would be the end of the episode.

6. Tony and Doug get in lot of fist fights. Every week Tony and Doug get in bare knuckles fights with the native inhabitants of the time period. This is a fight practically everyday and in fact every episode could be boiled down to:

Tony and Doug fall into time period X. They attempt to convince Y that some tragic event is about to happen. Unconvinced, they then get into fist (knife/sword) fight with Y's minions. Tony and Doug win the fight and then at the last minute are yanked from the time period by the beautiful Dr Ann.

The reality is that fist fighting was a 60's and 70's TV plot must-have and every dramatic TV show of the period had fist fights. For example:

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: The Seaview goes to location X where a secret base of Y's is located. Y's minions sneak on the Seaview by an unguarded hatch and get in fist fight with the crew.

Star Trek: Jim Kirk is trapped on some far away planet where he must fist fight some giant alien being twice his size to save the ship while the crew watches on the giant plasma screen on the bridge. It's like pay-per-view.

Bonanza: Little Joe gets in a fist fight to save the ranch.

Think about it: Batman, The Green Hornet, The Rat Patrol, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. etc all had bare knuckles fist fighting as a major plot device in every single episode and every single sixties show short of Match Game involved fist fighting of some kind.

They say that our TV and Radio signals travel endlessly through space and that our first impression with any alien race will be our broadcasted entertainment. If this is true, then don't be surprised then when Aliens show up in Washington, DC in their flying saucer and then send their own Jack Dempsey, dukes up, down the ramp to beat the crap out of the President.

Back to Time Tunnel: I think Project Tic Toc has another secret: Tony and Doug might have a problem with anger management and the other scientists in Project Tic Toc know this, and therefore deliberately prevent them from returning so they don't have fist fights in the secret project lair 800 stories under the Arizona Dessert (and who builds a "story" underground?)

7. Maybe some of the project Tic Toc budget should have been saved for HR screening. If Tony weren't such a hot head and have used the Time Tunnel in an unauthorized fashion, none of this would have happened. Don't you think Tony showed warning signs of such poor judgment before jumping into the tunnel? Hot heads like Tony always do. A fist fight or two in the employee cafeteria? ("I told you, I don't like green jello!") A disagreement about parking? Shouldn't he have been kept away from the controls or had his access limited? Processes and procedures about who should be in the control room alone? Who the heck is in charge of security on the project? Shouldn't the security leader have been fired? Don't they have annual reviews?

He's an idea: only build 700 stories underground instead of 800 and then get some Security and HR folks involved.

8. In the future, there are a lot of pissed-off Aliens. Every single episode involving the future was about Aliens. Aliens steal the oxygen out of the Earth's atmosphere, Aliens kidnap Dr Ann and Aliens attempt to conquer Earth. There are Aliens freeking everywhere on this show.

Here Dr Ann admires the size of an Alien's "ray gun".

9. When the writers run out of history, they just make crap up. Here is a plot summary from Raiders from Outer Space, an episode that first appeared on March 31, 1967:

"The two travelers arrive in the middle of a battle between British and Arab forces in the Sudan. In their efforts to hide from the battling armies, they encounter two aliens who take them prisoner." WTF? Aliens in Sudan? Another episode had Machiavelli at Gettysburg.

10. All the Men Scientist think Dr Ann is an idiot. Dr Ann is allowed to "try and get lock on them" or read the stupid clock on the machine and tell us things like "They are somewhere near at least 100 BC" but when push comes to shove, the men scientist push Dr Ann out of the way to take the controls. There is no way they are going to trust a woman with things like locking onto a bomb and bring it back to the Time Tunnel or to be the voice that speaks to Tony and Doug through time.

The only one who doesn't do this is a scientist character named "Jerry". "Jerry is even lower on the Tic Toc totem pole than Ann. It would not surprise you to have General Heywood Kirk and Dr. Raymond Swain pull "Jerry's" underwear over his head and give him an "Atomic Time Warp". "Jerry" is just lucky that he isn't an extra operating the "computer" in the background.

In the end, the American viewing public was right for not tuning in every Friday at 8PM to watch as Tony and Doug fought Aliens and the disbelieving.

In the light of being more truthful, the voice over in the beginning episode should have been:

"Two American pugilists, dressed in colorful clothing and posing as scientists are lost in the swirling maze of past and future ages (but mostly past), during the first experiments on America's greatest and most secret project, the Time Tunnel. Tony Newman and Doug Phillips now tumble helplessly toward a new fantastic adventure, picking up dry cleaning and fighting Aliens somewhere along the infinite corridors of time. And Ann is pretty hot."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

First License

Today was an unusual day. I took the day off and took oldest son to take is drivers test.

He passed. This both good and bad.

He and I then spent the morning running errands such as adding him to our insurance. In New Jersey this is going to cost us $1100/year and the agent pretty much told me to kiss my accident free discount goodbye.

I got home just in time for a power outage. Power at the house died for most of the hot afternoon.

Then the car broke down. The battery died in front of the house. If we had lost the phone it would have been like Gilligan's Island for about an hour. (No Phone, No lights, no motor car....)

The AAA guy came and I figured out an errand we had missed in the morning, namely adding Oldest Son to AAA.

The gruff AAA guy came and turned into a battery savant telling me that I had purchased the battery over five years ago (Thanks, just start the car OK?).

He brought this tiny little box that hooked up to the battery and it started the car right away. He offered to sell me a battery for $100. I couldn't believe that a battery for Honda Civic was going to be $100 and politely declined.

I drove right over to Wal-Mart for a Jeff Foxworthy moment as I changed the battery in the shade of the corner of the parking lot and brought the old one right back into the store in a shopping cart. (if your porch collapses and kills more than three dogs... you might be a redneck. If you've ever done auto repairs in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart....)

I have no pride, especially if I can save $40.

The real reason I did this is because I know that I would never return the old battery unless I did it there. I know because I still have the one from the minivan sitting in my garage.

And I wanted my $9 back.

So now we have 3 drivers in the house and two cars which is not going to add up. After I changed out the battery, Oldest Son took the car and
  • Dropped off his girl friend in Cherry Hill.
  • Drove himself over to Marching Band Practice
  • Drove back over to Cherry Hill to pick up his girl friend.
  • Drove home.
This of course was after I sent him out for paper for the printer at noon and he came back with his girl friend from Cherry Hill.

Getting the logistics down is going to be tough. For example, tonight a friend picked him up after all that and he left with my car keys.

Ohh and by the way, that is my actual first license at the top of this entry. I passed my test on the 19th of October in 1974, almost 39 years ago.