Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Years Resolutions 2006

This time last year, along with most of the universe, I posted list of New Years Resolutions. Unlinke most of the universe, mine occasionally crossed the line into 'bawdy', for which I humbly apologize.

Before I go about lising what I'll fail to accomplish in 2006, I'd like to revisit the unfufilled dreams of 2005.

I will lose weight by exercising more and practicing self-control of my eating habits. I will go to the gym on a regular basis. I will also quit smoking.

Uh, yeah. I think I'll finish the year ten pounds heavier, and while I quit smoking (about a dozen times) it remains a monkey on my back.

I will learn to braid my daughter's hair. Nope.

I will figure out how to transfer my home videos to DVD's using my computer Nope. Sensing a trend here?

I will attend church more often  Yup, 'tho in fairness the bar was set pretty low in '04.

I will help my wife catch up on our children's scrapbooks. No, well, sorta . . I consider this blog a scrapbook of sorts.

I will no longer invest hope, excitement, or expectations in my Milwaukee Brewers Well, be proud, I accomplished this - and in return they posted the first non-losing season in 12 years.

I will make every effort to secure publication of my writing, and will accept rejection with renewed determination  No, and no.

I will read a hundred books. Try twenty or fewer - I was behind the pace but still a'tryin' in June, but after getting that promotion I managed only one the rest of the year.

I will take the extra time to relearn my parenting skills to benefit my son. I don't know - ask my wife.

 I will not lose any more teeth in the coming year What a depressing list of failures. I lost an abcessed tooth on the 5th of July.

I will attend an out-of-state baseball game with my Dad  Sigh.

I will make some effort at mental improvement Well, I did watch a lot of the National Geographic Channel.

I will successfully find a better paying, safer, more challenging day job. Done. Good thing it was probably the most important thing on the list, or this whole thing would be a wash.

Ok, enough of the past. May I  present  Slapinions Rambling List of Likely Unattainable but certainly Doable New Years Resolutions (Had I Only a Smidgen of Ambition And Personal Will Power) 2006 Edition.

Except for the Brewers' thingy, ditto 2005's resolutions. Yay for me. In additon

Repair the videocamera/christmas tree stand

Finish my dang book

Boost revenue at my business 10% (minimum), with an overall goal of a 33% increase

Move into a better neighborhood, with more room for the kids.

Take my first real vacation in years; hopefully, a 10th anniversary cruise

Pick up XM radio so I can binge on MLB games this summer

Okay, that's  enough rope to hang myself. To everyone out there, a safe and happy 2006!

 

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Quote of the Day

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
— Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

To  my visitors, be they friends, family, or casual readers: a safe and Merry Christmas to you all! God bless, and enjoy the season!

Monday, December 19, 2005

More assorted links

Look, I hate to fall into the blogging trap where all you do is post link after link to stuff that catches your eye - we have the Drudge Report for that, thank you - but I'm going to do it anyway.

First, there's the Milwaukee connection to the Bermuda Triangle debates. I've lived here all my life and had never heard of this, even with some pretty steady dealings over the years with the Air Force group in question.

On a more conterversial note, here's a scathing investigation into Tom Cruise's 'religious' life.

In Britain, there's a study that says girls routinely mutilate their Barbie dolls for giggles. They needed to fund a study to prove this? Socialized countries are the bomb.

And here's a neat little bit of karma - the same day I read about Racine WI's wooly mammoth controversy, I came across a link that says scientists are keen on resurrecting the species.

With thousands of intact carcasses frozen in Russia's soil, researchers may be able to inject mammoth sperm into elephants, eventually creating an animal 88% mammoth. They're also working on decoding the genetic code of mammoths.

Sure, it's very Jurassic Park, but this doesn't trip my ethical meter too much. a) mammoth's were around until at least 10,000 years ago (and some anecdotal reports indicate as late as a few centuries ago) and were eliminated primarily by man, not nature b) a reasonable facsimile of mammoths still exist (elephants) and thus, it isn't such a giant stretch of our world's natural order and c) mammoths are pretty darn cool.

How's that for a convoluted, hypocritical ethical position?

Later :)

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Friday, December 16, 2005

What is the closest star to the Earth?

I hate to think of what this means for Mankind . . .a fun little article, courtesy (in a roundabout way)  of Tom at Tomsastroblog.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Blockbuster Resumes Late Fees

Well, some Blockbusters anyways . . . here's the link. Consider this a public service announcement, as they've allegedly been ambushing customers with the new fees.

You know, of all the alleged Evil Empires I frequent - WalMart, AOL, etc - the only one that lives up to its horrid reputation is Blockbuster. Though I'm a Gold member and consider it one of my favorite stores, I've been screwed many a time - and I've lost track of how many coupons/discounts I've received as part of one lawsuit settlement or another.

I do agree the no late fee's policy had one drawback. Since it started, you had to play hooky from work if you wanted any chance of getting a new movie off the shelves. By 5'oclock they were all gone, not to be seen again for the better part of a week or more.

Oh, btw I have indeed updated the Amazon Wish List, as I discovered Dead Like Me's second (and final) season is now on DVD . . . naturally my Blockbuster doesn't carry it as a rental.

In other news, William Proxmire, a former Wisconsin senator voted one of the 20 most influential WI politiicans of the 20th century, passed away at 90. I disagree with much of his work, from his assault on NASA to his ridiculous 'Golden Fleece' awards (a publicity stunt to its core). Still, the guy had the knack for making his constituents love him, and he's a part of WI history that can't be ignored.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My Greedy Xmas List

If you're planning on getting me a gift this year - oh, and I know you are - here's some ideas for you.

You'll note that despite the sarcastic comment my Mrs. left on a previous post , there are very few books on the list.

I don't want to own more books, I just want my library card paid off so I can get them for free.

I'm sure I'll add more to the list in the days to come. ;)

What the??

Look, I don't know if this woman is just plain lonely, desires her 15 minutes of fame, or is looney tunes . . . decide for yourself.



Suzy Walker found the love of her life in her husband, D.B. The only problem: He makes his living deep below the waves on a submarine.

So to help her endure the separation, Suzy Walker found a temporary companion -- a 40-pound mannequin who, with a mustache slapped on, looks just like her husband.

Tookie Williams

While it's nice to see Hollywood doing their normal 'kumbaya' dance around Tookie Williams, I hold that Gov. Schwarzenegger's statement cuts the arguement to its core.

"Stanley Williams insists he is innocent, and that he will not and should not apologize or otherwise atone for the murders of the four victims in this case, Wthout an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings there can be no redemption."

"Based on the cumulative weight of the evidence, there is no reason to second guess the jury's decision of guilt or raise significant doubts or serious reservations about Williams' convictions and death sentence."

Williams also dedicated a 1998 book to a black militant, casting doubt on his rejection of violence as a social tool; he may have lied about founding the notorius Crips to claim credit for their bloody resume, and is reported to have laughed hysterically over the memory of how one of his victims sounded as he died.

The folks in Hollywood should have found a better use for their time and energy - Williams didn't deserve it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Our trip to Ohio on December 10th

Not that I begrudge my kids, but as of this past weekend my four year old's been to six states. Not driven through six states, mind you, but spent a decent amount of time in each.

I was twenty-one before I spent the night outside of Wisconsin.   Anyway, we decided to venture 7hrs east and visit my wife's brother, a long time member of the Air Force, in Ohio. We left in the middle of the night, loading the kids up while they were half asleep.    

Here's a pic proving that 10 years of dental work can erase any memory of how to smile - I swear, when I try to grin I look as natural as a toupee.    Our goal: get there in time to see Santa disembark from a plane at the base Christmas party.  

Alas, while we were prompt enough I didn't have the proper paperwork - insurance card, vehicle registration, yada yada - to get past the guards.   

 So, we scrapped that and headed back to my in-law's house. The ladies took the kids to the mall to see Santa, while my brother-in-law and I hunkered down to watch some action movies.

In the evening the ten of us had a great dinner at Carraba's, passing the hour wait for a table by perusing the Goodwill next door - and picking up a Reds helmet for Parker.  

 All the kids got along like great friends rather than relatives that see each other once a year at best. They certainly have a fascination with Princesses in common .. .

   One neat thing was that my nieces, who've lived only in Texas and Georgia before moving to Ohio this year, had never experienced a real winter.
So once we got home from dinner we took them sledding for the first time in their lives

 

 - and the grown-ups got into the act too.   After a great breakfast we were on the road again, this time joined by my mother-in-law,who'd injured her hip on a business trip in nearby Kentucky and asked for a ride home.   Some memorable sights on the way home: YaYa's first glimpse of the Sears Tower, a fireworks display (!!!) in southern Wisconsin, a truck accident in Indiana, an Auntie Annie's pretzel for the kids at the Lake Forest Oasis, with traffic flowing beneath us.

  And just for kicks, here's a pic of the just completed Christmas tree from the day after Thanksgiving. Thankfully, I successfully avoided having to do anything to decorate it by leaving it to the ladies.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Student Suspended for Blog

Now I know the student in question was subject to the ethical obligations of his future profession, but this seems a little on the Stalinist side to me (then again, I do hate Marquette - Go UWM!)

Marquette Student Suspended Over Blog

Monday, November 28, 2005

My Personal Quote of the Day

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four, unless there are three other people.

- Orson Wells, as quoted on The Mad Perseid

Friday, November 25, 2005

Useless Web Nonsense

Sure, it's pointless - but it's fun.

 


My blog is worth $12,984.42.
How much is your blog worth?

YaYa's 4th Birthday

I know it seems like I talk a lot about my oldest here, and I do - but in fairness, the baby's pretty darn boring and Middle Child's only now producing good copy .. . I'll update on those two soon :)

Last month was YaYa's 4th birthday. It was a bit of a bust, as of the nine kids invited the only two who showed up were my own. Everyone else came down with a cold, got scooped up by their father for the weekend, or had a death in the family. So at the last minute (literally with an hour to spare) we called some kids from her class, and darned if some didn't show - and during a Packer game no less!

Neatest of all was the fact that my brother in law drove his girls 5 hours to Milwaukee to surprise their cousin on her birthday. That goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Anywho, the main reason for this post is to show off the grand cake my wife baked for her:

My wife also conducted a treasure hunt (a well written quest courtesy of my brother in law) . .

and read the Princess and the Pea ('twas a Princess party, don't ya know).

She followed that up by playing a game where the kids reenacted the story, with the winner being the one who felt the prize beneath the pillow they were sitting on.

Wouldn't you know it though, midway through the party my birthday girl sucummbed to the flu, getting sick midway through dinner. Didn't stop her from enjoying her gifts though.

As I said, more on the other munchkins soon. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

On Banner Ads and Other Schtuff

I've kept mum on the whole banner-ad controversy because I didn't want to offend anyone involved. Like the saying goes - as far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with everyone. Still, since everyone else has sounded off . . .

For those of you not on AOL, here's the problem:  the powers-that-be have decided to add banner ads across the top of AOL Journals. This has caused a major upheal in J-Land, as journal after journal has defected to other services or screamed bloody murder over the deed.

My opinion? Really, I could care less.

If you hate the ads and feel it violates your personal 'space', I sympathize.

But I don't notice the ads any more than I notice those littering a hundred pages more interesting and well-known than mine across the web. I certainly don't assume the writer condones or promotes the advertisers. And while I think AOL could have come up with something prettier, it conveniently blends into the color scheme of my journal.

Let me hedge my bets by saying this: I am a bit of a writing whore, which is, I believe, the whole point of writing. What did Mark Twain say? Something about how only a fool writes for free. . .

Or maybe that was my wife . . .

Put it this way: If the Democratic National Committee - for me, a mere step below the Chicago Bears/Minnestota Vikings on the 'hate 'em' meter for this Wisconsinite - wants to throw me a thin dime in exchange for an ad on my page, I'll be happy to send them my paypal address.

To sum it up, I don't really feel offended/hurt/violated/annoyed/betrayed/happy/sad about this issue. I'll keep reading those folks who've migrated off to other lands, not because they're banner-free, but because they're worth reading.

Which is, I would assume, the main reason advertisers thought it was worth their $ to slap an ad on their page in the first place.

******

BTW - here's a shout out to Vortexgirl, who put together a nice little ditty that mentioned me back on the 14th. I'd like to add more url's to my favorites here, but it appears I've plum run out of room . . . maybe AOL can use some of that ad money to buy some more space for my favorite places :)

 

 

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Random goo

Kind of a random post today . . .

Tonight was my parent's 35th wedding anniversary, a shinding my sister Katie put together pretty much on her lonesome. It was held at the Safehouse/Milwaukee Press Club. Despite a very crowded venue, and the fact that my wife had three kids under 5 to keep quiet for three hours, it was a lot of fun.

I say 'my wife' had to keep them quiet because more and more it seems I'm either busy with work or trying to unwind. It's become a sore spot between us. Be careful what you wish for I guess . . .

The food was great, and for the first time in memory, my Dad's side of the family joined the festivites. I've never been quite sure of the reason for the attendance gulf between my Mom and Dad's families, but it was nice to get reaquainted.

Maybe I'll post pics of the event later. Maybe not.

 *************************************************************************************

I'm surprised my Pearl Harbor post didn't garner more comments. Guess I did lose my audience over the summer. Sh**ty.

**************************************************************************************

Also over the summer, some of the links on my favorites fell prey to the temporary nature of the net. The 'No One's Child' link now jumps to a dumpy little sex site, and Tom's Astronomy Blog  - one of my everyday reads - has experienced hosting problems and will be moving on to another site.

***********************************************

Speaking of unintended side effects, I'm woefully behind on my reading. Part of it is the time crunch, part is because of a nasty $35 fine I owe the library for some children's books that were overdue. Nazi's.

Anyhow, here's a list of what I'd like to read, if/when I get the chance. Oh, and some big ticket items I'd like to own sometime before I'm fifty:

*********************************

Laptop

telescope

Electric Guitar

one of them fancy memory sticks that carry info from computer to computer

Amazon.com: School Days (Spenser): Books: Robert B. Parker  

 Amazon.com: Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, Book 11): Books: Robert Jordan  

 Amazon.com: Fiddlers : A Novel of the 87th Precinct (87th Precinct Mysteries (Hardcover)): Books  

 Amazon.com: The Closers: Books  

 Amazon.com: Drive to the East (Settling Accounts Trilogy, Book 2): Books  

Amazon.com: Return Engagement (Settling Accounts Trilogy, Book 1): Books: Harry Turtledove

  Click here: Amazon.com: I Am Legend: Books  

Click here: Amazon.com: Private Wars: Books: Greg Rucka .

 Amazon.com: Creepers: Books: David Morrell  

 Amazon.com: The Pale Horseman: Books

Amazon.com: The Planets: Books  

Amazon.com: Sea Change (Jesse Stone Novels (Hardcover)): Books: Robert B. Parker

Amazon.com: Sharpe's Escape: Books: Bernard Cornwell

Amazon.com: The Fallen Angels: Books: Bernard Cornwell

Amazon.com: Never Have Your Dog Stuffed : And Other Things I've Learned: Books: Alan Alda

  Click here: Amazon.com: Here's Johnny! : My Memories of Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show, and 46 Years of Friendship: Books  

 Click here: Amazon.com: The Historian: Books: Elizabeth Kostova   Click here: Amazon.com: Broken Prey (Lucas Davenport Mysteries): Books

   Click here: Amazon.com: Crusader's Cross : A Dave Robicheaux Novel (Dave Robicheaux Mysteries (Hardcover)): Books: James Lee B  

 Click here: Amazon.com: One Shot (Jack Reacher Novels (Hardcover)): Books  

Friday, November 11, 2005

An Interview with a Pearl Harbor Survivor

My family has a strong military tradition - no career soldiers (except for my brother-in-law), but vets of Guadacannal, D-Day, Korea, Vietnam,WWI, etc. On this Veteran's Day, I extend a thank-you to all the members of our military, past and present.

When I was 17 I interviewed my Great Uncle Leo, a Navy vet that was present at Pearl Harbor. I was a shy, nervous kid, and if I had a time machine I'd go back and ask a hundred different questions. Still, at least his memories are on record. The complete transcript is on file with the local historical society.

                                                       *   *     *    *   *

My Uncle Leo was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1920. A Machinist’s Mate 1st Class in the Navy, he was a survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and served his country for five years aboard the USS Vestal - a vessel moored alongside the Arizona that fateful morning. His 49 year marriage to  produced three daughters and an equal number of grandchildren. A retired employee of General Electric Medical Systems, he died in 1999 from complications of a stroke.

At the time of this interview he was 70 years old, and the interviewer 17.

A: [I was a] machinist I would run lathes, mills, repaired, went and repaired ships that were sunk or brought up. If we had to repair ships we had to go on ships and repair them.. . .

Q What was wrong with the Arizona, that you were moored alongside?

A: Well, we were doing a routine…a routine overhaul on it. Supposed to. That day we pulled alongside of them.

Q: You pulled alongside on the seventh?

A: No, the sixth.

Q And that was supposed to start Monday or something?

A: Yeah. We pulled over Saturday. So we pulled over Saturday night over to the Arizona, ‘cause I was gonna see a bunch of buddies of mine aboard the Arizona that I went through training with.

Q: Did they make it through?

A: I didn’t see….[sad]

Q: Now that morning [12-7-41] you were heading to church right?

A: Yeah, we were going to church. There was, well all together there was about 13 of us. And..

Q: Were you already on land?

A: Oh yeah. We were going to church and then they started their bombing..that’s when these two airplanes started dive-bombing us and shooting machine gun bullets at us. The guy next to me got killed, from my department. His name was Kerrigan. He was, I think, the first guy that died.

Q: Did you know what was going on right away?

A: No, no. We thought, I looked up there and I saw them and I said "Jesus, [unintelligible; perhaps ‘mock warfare’] dressed as Japanese". ‘Til they turned around and started machine gunning. We were going [into the] church, we tried to get into the church. Now they had a round concrete thing [gesturing] that went over like that. It went from one end open to the other. Well this guy would shoot these machine gun bullets through there and we . ..but we were running to get out of the way when he got killed, when he got killed we were alongside of a fence. And . . the bullets went all in between, you could see the cars behind us all had holes in ‘em, and out of thirteen guys he was the only one killed. One guy out of thirteen of us. And we were all close, one alongside of each other. How them bullets got between us and hit him only, I don’t know. Because the cars in the back with all holes [in] ‘em.

Q: What’d you do after that?

A: Well, then we ran. They told us to get back to the ships.

Q: Did you make it back to the ship?

A: No. Couldn’t get it. We couldn’t get..they wouldn’t let ya, they were gunning, machine gunning. So then I had … we went to the dock, and we were supposed to go aboard [a] submarine, ‘cause they didn’t have enough crewmen. Then somebody said to us to go man a machine gun on a beach, so that’s where I went. And then about half of the day, at night I delivered camels, these big wooden squares they call it. They put between ships so they don’t collide [with] each other. I delivered them between these ships, at night, so they could maneuver around, the ships. So, we had that duty at night, and after we got back we machine gun…the ship got sunk, our ship. We rammed it into the beach. Then I went back there and we manned machine guns, the whole ship.

Q: Is that how you spent the day, just at a machine gun?

A: Yeah, spent the whole day. It only took a few minutes. I mean the attack was [laughs] aboard the Vestal and there it didn’t take long. [The Japanese] dropped two bombs aboard our ship, one was in the back and it didn’t explode. One was forward, it hit the deck, went through the mez deck [sp?], killed I don’t know, 3 or 4 people aboard there, the mez deck . . . and then went into what they call a metal locker, where we kept billets for machining like for, and material for machining, like brass, copper, menal [sp?], stainless steel for repairing ships. Well, the bomb hit that and exploded see, otherwise maybe it would have gone right through the ship too.

Q: Shrapnel everywhere, eh?

A: Oh God, yeah.

Q: Is there anything else you remember about that, about Pearl Harbor?

A: No, just that [laughs] I was scared like hell.[laughs] We all were running, you know, trying to get away from him. And there were two of ‘em, and they coming, one would come this way and the other one would come this way. Everybody was running around. Then we, they sent us to eat. And then we got into the line then they stopped all the lines and said all the food was poisoned, nobody could eat. Yeah, we didn’t have nothin’ to eat. I didn’t have anything to eat from Sunday morning ‘til Monday morning. I went aboard my ship, on deck, and we had the cook made eggs.

Q: So there were rumors going around …

A: Yeah. Blood was splattered all over the mez deck. But that was the first meal I had in say, 24 hours.

Q: Were you worried, like, there were rumors, like, Hawaii was going [to be invaded]. . .

A: Yes! Well, that’s why we were manning the machine guns on the beach, to, for an attack. And I don’t know how many of our planes, they wouldn’t even let our own planes come in to Hawaii, they were knocking them down. Because they didn’t know…

Q: Everyone was jumpy and everything. . .

A: Yeah. And we, they killed dogs, and cows. Yeah! Anything that moved they shot at, I mean everybody was afraid, you know?

Q: Afterwards what did you do?

A: Well, we would…after Pearl Harbor?

Q: Yeah.

A: Then we were all sent out to repair ships.

Q: I mean right after Pearl Harbor. In the book it said you went to the Oklahoma and cut it open, or you went and repaired your own ship . . .

A: Yeah.

Q: What did you do? Did you go to another ship, or. ..

A: No. I was aboard my ship, making parts for the ships, like the ones that needed repair, especially the Enterprise, carriers or that, that had to go out. And we worked like that for two weeks, then we went into dry-dock. And repaired ourselves. They had a big hole in our rear end. So what we did, they made a wooden box and he took a big piece of canvas, put it underneath the hole, brought the cranes up, pulled the box up, and we poured concrete for a whole…I think it was fifteen hours they poured concrete down in that hole to plug that hole up. Then they kept air in it, as they were pouring, then we took it and pumped out all the water right?

Q Yeah.

A: Then we got the ship [to] come up. We righted the ship up. Then we went and repaired all these other ships. We sent crews here, and crews there. Well I was in the machine shop, so we needed parts, so I was working on lathes and stuff. And, after we got done repairing as much of these ships as we could, ones that were so bad that they had just patch ‘em up so they could go to a repair base where they could put ‘em in a big dry-dock and repair them. Because you had to cut big holes in it. That’s what we had to do. We had to go into a dry-dock. But we repaired our own ship. We cut the plate out and we welded a new one up in there, and fixed our ship so it could go on the way.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005

One Year of Blogging Under my Belt November 9th

Well, a year and a week, as I really started on November 3rd of '04, but who's counting.

No big brouhaha for the anniversary, just wanted to thank everyone who's tuned in to this site over the past 12 months. I appreciate it.

Here's a rehash of the first half of the year, and a link to my nephew's site. It gets mighty lonely here in blogdom; why don't you stop by and shout hello to encourage the guy. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Halloween 2005 November 8th, 2005

I don't remember Halloween being all that big of a deal when I was a kid, but as a parent it's morphed into a marathon of festivities.   First there was the Halloween party at work, which I'll pass on describing due to my "you don't  . . where you eat rule"

 

Then came a dance at YaYa's school that the Mrs. described as "better than most of the college parties I went to" (which, I might add, is saying a lot j/k).

 

YaYa went as Dorothy, as the Wizard of Oz remains one of her favorite movies year after year. She almost won for best costume, but someone not nearly as smart/pretty/cool got the prize. Meanwhile Middle Child and I sat home and watched Hocus Pocus - a movie, in retrospect, that's a wee harsh for a two year old to see.

.  

Next on the list was nighttime Trick or Treat. Long illegal in Milwaukee, there's a few neighborhoods that close off the streets and (for a per child fee) allow you to trick or treat after dark.   We've gone for three years now, and it's great - a far cry from the feeble daytime trick or treat I grew up with. YaYa had to ditch Dorothy in favor of the warmer Barney costume, but she didn't seem to mind.  Middle Child was a pro, chugging along house after house and only pooping out after 4 or 5 blocks - and garnering comments on her "Toto" costume at every stop!

        

 Next up: the standard daytime trick or treating.   I went against my nature and took the kids up and down a whole stretch of the neighborhood. We encountered ghosts, Grimace from McDonalds, and a host of other ghouls and goblins . .         Afterwards we just stayed home and passed out candy.     It was, of course, Parker's first Halloween. He outgrew two - TWO - costumes, but thankfully our neigbor came through with a Dalmation suit at the last minute.

  

Gandhi moment of the day: when we ran out of  candy with an hour left to go,YaYa volunteered to give away her own stock rather than just close up shop.  

 Anti-Gandhi's of the day: any number of folks from 'other' neighborhoods who drove their kids - sans costume, makeup, and in most cases EVEN A BAG - to plunder other areas of town.

Trick or Treat where you like, but if the parents can afford a car, they could show they care  - or pretend to - by spending a few dollars on their kids.  

 Argh, I sound like Scrooge. But it gets old after a few years, ya know?  

 Anyhow, another Happy Halloween is in the books. Next up: Thanksgiving.   Comment on this Post  (non AOL)                   View Comments

Broadband! Broadband! November 8th

Today, on the eve of the one year anniversary of this blog, my family and I finally - FINALLY - purchased AOL Broadband via the local cable provider.

Considering that we've been online as a couple since ~'96 (and the mrs. online since the DOS version of AOL), this is, to quote Henry Kissinger, a "Big Big Wup".

Really, for technological glee this ranks right up there with my first computer and our  DVD player. I've already hit MLB.com, ITunes, and the Kurt Cobain site on the favorite section to the right . . .

Be prepared for mucho pics in the days ahead . . .

Thursday, November 3, 2005

The Post about the 2005 MLB Season, or why my summer didn't suck Nov 3rd

Knowing that I’m a huge Yankees fan, a lot of sarcastic folks have been asking how I felt about the White Sox winning the World Series.

My answer: I love it. If someone other than the Yanks had to win, at least it was someone in pinstripes.

[Their win also meant Boston sat home this year. All true Americans have to love that.]

And in truth, I’ve always been a bit of a White Sox fan. I even took my father down to a game in Chicago a few years ago. I like their park, their history, and the way they never tolerated failure, or used a ‘curse’ as an excuse for it.

As an added bonus, they also aren’t the lousy, much hated Cubs.

Still, this affection met with the strong disapproval of my brother-in-law. “Milwaukee used to be in the American League Danny. The White Sox were our sworn enemies!”

[To which I replied: “We once fought a war with Japan, but the last time I checked you drive a Nissan.”]

Chicago’s victory was a pleasant end to a great season of baseball.

True to my word I boycotted my hometown Brewers after ‘04’s ‘last straw’ heartbreak, save for that one trip to see the Yankees. They flipped me the bird in the best way possible, ending a consecutive streak of losing seasons that stretched over a decade.

J.J. Hardy and Rickie Weeks looked pretty good in their first year in the bigs. my team favorite Bill Hall had a breakout year, and the pitching staff continues to perform above expectations.

In the AL East, despite a disastrous start and pitching injuries that would have buried a lesser club, the Yankees fought back and took the division crown. Sure, they bowed out in the first round of the playoffs, but I’ll tell ya what: I cried when they took the division.

I didn’t cry when my kids were born, for Pete’s sake.

It meant more to me than the championship years at the turn of the century. Everyone had written them off for dead, but they’d scratched and clawed their way to the top on the backs of guys like Shawn Chacon and rookie Robinson Cano. That’s my team, baby. I didn’t think their pitching was strong enough to survive October, and it wasn’t, but I loved ‘em anyways.

In the AL Central Minnesota finally took it on the chin, and good riddance. Cleveland shocked me though; they just might be back to mid-90’s form.

The NL West was a joke, though thankfully Steroid Barry sat out most of the year.

Like most people, I was surprised to see the Braves take the NL East.

Like most people, I wasn’t surprised to see the Braves lose in the playoffs.

I’m ecstatic that the Astros made it to the big show, primarily because of manager Phil Garner. He deserved better talent than what Milwaukee gave him to work with, and I’m glad to see him doing well.

All the better that they got to the Series by wiping out the detested Cardinals and their incredibly overrated manager.

For AL MVP, it has to be A-Rod. Not because he’s a Yankee, but because his numbers, when combined with stellar defense at third base, put him heads and shoulders above David Ortiz.

In the NL, the MVP should go to Andruw Jones. Pujos deserved it in past years, but take away Jones and the Braves go nowhere.

Cy Young? I’d go with Roy Oswalt and just about anybody from Chicago’s staff.

What a great year for baseball. And best of all?

Only four more months before Spring Training . . .

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Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Short Movie Reviews Nov 2nd

We rented Dominion last night, the prequel to Exorcist. Oh, we'd seen the version that appeared in theaters, but I was estatic to see this one released in full. (once upon a time, the producers believed Dominion to be too arty and intellectual and reshot the entire movie with a new director - the ok Exorcist the Begining).

I  believe it was a solid, well-crafted prequel to the king of horror movies. Subtle and morose, most of the horror was internalized in the characters - Merrin's loss of faith, Rachael's guilt, etc. It was much better than the version that was in theaters and a nice addition to the Exorcist collection.

I do wish the exorcism itself had been more dramatic; it was, after all, Father Merrin's first battle with Lucifer, but it's worth your time.

Over recent weeks I also rented Gus Van Sant's Last Days, a movie based loosely on the last hours of Kurt Cobain's life. Despite being a huge Cobain fan - check out Slivers, the new collection that was released on CD yesterday, btw - it was disgustingly boring and tedious. Skip it.

Kingdom of Heaven had my vote despite being having characters that were horribly agnostic and PC for crusaders a thousand years ago in Jerusalem. Then I caught some of the true story of the characters background , realized the movie was 99% drivel even by Hollywood standards, and said the hell with it.

Just my opinions.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

The Post about K4 Soccer November 1st

Let’s get one thing straight: no matter what you may read below, I still hate soccer.

And not just because the French like it, although that’s reason enough. There are many rationales, in fact, but if you need just one: I have to believe that if God had intended feet to be the preferred tool of athletes, his foresight would have squashed the need for Odor Eaters in the world.

That being said, the only sport open at the K4 level is soccer, so we signed YaYa up.

I wasn’t too enamored by it. The uniform was acres too large, her enthusiasm at practice was limited to snack time, and the debate over shin guards (under the socks or over?) wasn’t exactly Lincoln-Douglass quality.

The first game was a downer too. It was a miserable affair in which YaYa laid down on the job. That’s not a figure of speech; she actually laid down on the field in the middle of the game.

Ugh.

When the second game came around she’d listened to a solid week of pep-talks and Successories quotes. I wandered the sideline shouting encouragement - loudly - , and midway through the game she made contact with the ball and gave it a short kick.

Huzzah!

I gave her a huge grin and a thumbs up. From then on any contact with the ball was met with a mutual ‘thumbs up’, and her enthusiasm for the sport began to grow.

As in all scholastic efforts, YaYa’s the youngest on the team. She’s just now four on a team of K4 and K5 kids, and while she’s not the shortest in height she’s dwarfed by some of the kids.

At this level they all run in a giant pack, back and forth in search of the ball. The sight of my little munchkin relentlessly following at the back of the group is burned into my mind.

Week 3 brought disaster. With my wife’s father in the ’stands’ the team was beaten down by a larger, more experienced team .

The next week brought redemption. Not only did the team win, but YaYa had her moment in the sun.

With a slight lead in the 2nd half the coach decided to make her goalie.

“NO!,” I screamed. “Don’t make her goalie, there goes the game!”

I make no apology. I thought the lead was too slim to risk the win on some wishy-washy feel-good “let’s all take turns” philosophy.

So sue me.

Naturally, she did me proud. Not only did she save two goals, she fearlessly threw herself face-first into a melee of kicking feet to pounce on the ball. Before she got up I half feared she was going to need stitches.

Brings a tear to the eye, it does.

The next and final week wasn’t destined to be a repetition of glory. The game itself was extraordinarily well played, with defenders advancing on the ball and kids moving it to and fro - even a head shot from one kid. What a difference a month makes.

YaYa did alright in front of the goal. No shots got past her, and she diligently went after the ball (past the appropriate line, too, drawing a foul) but there were no highlight reel saves.

Next year, next year.

I’m not a convert, you understand. But I did go and purchase two books on teaching soccer, and I’m looking forward to next year.

‘Long as it doesn’t conflict with the little league schedule . . .

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