Friday, September 29, 2006


Only a few days ago - since we landed in DC - the Phillies stood atop the National League wild-card race.

I told everyone within earshot it wasn't going to happen; of course, I told everyone within earshot that same thing in July too. The Phillies were cursed beyond their control: They're based in Philadelphia.

So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the Phils (and Ryan Howard in the AP pic at right) lost two of three from the last-place Nationals, including Thursday night's rain-delayed loss which didn't start much before midnight. The loss left them two games behind the Dodgers with a mere three games to play.

It's the cycle of sports life in that town, a town whose teams I grew up rooting for.

Let's take a look at the recent heartbreaking past:

-- Eagles: Reached the NFC Championship three straight years (2001-03), losing all three years. Finally broke through in that fourth year, only to lose Super Bowl XXXIX to New England.

-- Flyers: Swept out of Stanley Cup finals in 1997 by star-studded Detroit; since then, have made pushes to return to the Finals, but have consistently come up short.

-- Sixers: Have made it past Eastern Conference first round as recently as 2003, but have not come close to the NBA Finals since 2001. In that series, they shocked another star-studded team, the Lakers, in the first game, and then lost four straight.

-- Phillies: Mostly a dog since their 1993 World Series trip, which was lost on a home run in the bottom of the ninth in Game 6. They've gotten better recently, however, but still have not made the playoffs. They were swept in a pivotal series with Houston in September last year; only a miracle could save them this year.

And as we've seen, miracles are in short supply around Philly.

It's a shame that one must temper expectations to avoid inevitable heartbreak. Then, if a team does make the playoffs, it's an unexpected bonus.

So, before you ask, the Eagles will finish a game under .500.

(Dear Lord, Please let the Eagles make the playoffs. Amen.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

The big picture of the weekend

I left on Thursday knowing two things (in chronological order): First, I would land in a state I'd never before step foot in. Secondly, I'd see two people near and dear to me get married.

The first was pretty cut and dried. In addition to seeing how beautiful Ketchum, Hailey and Boise were, I got to cross another state off of my "visited" list - bringing the total to 28. (It was revealed in one of the reception speeches that locals frown upon the use of "Sun Valley" to describe a location; the town names are preferred, apparently.)

We had a nice tour of Boise, including a brief tour of the Boise State campus. We managed to intrude on football practice a little bit, checking out the JV team (apparently) working on the main field and the varsity squad doing a day-after workout in the school's new indoor practice facility.

And I can confirm that the stadium field really is very blue. I have a photo of my own, but I'll have to wait until it's downloaded. For now, the shot at right is an AP photo via Yahoo and it pretty clearly backs up the point.

The main event, of course, was the wedding of my brother-in-law, Mark, to his fiancee, Maya. It was a beautiful ceremony: an outside wedding backed by a spectacular view that was typically western.

Just beyond the wedding party was an open field of high grass, framed on the left and right by massive trees. To see the sun set there, just as the reception was kicking into high gear, was beyond words. (Fortunately, each trip to the keg provided just such a view, giving the trip a double-bonus quality.)

My wife and I were incredibly honored to have a reading during the ceremony. We put together a back-and-forth between the two of us on what we'd learned during our first 11 months of marriage. I got plenty of compliments on it, and was further encouraged when people sought me out to tell me they liked it.

As beautiful as all of the pomp and circumstance was, it was just as beautiful to see two people you care so deeply about commit to each other. I know a lot of people have problems with in-laws, but Mark is one hell of a guy and a person that I could easily spend a week with and not be bored for one second. I'm beyond proud to call him family. (He mentioned a possible trip for the four of us down the east coast to Maya's relatives in Florida, and I cannot begin to imagine how much fun that would be.)

As for Maya, this was only the second time ever that I've been in the same town as her. But you can spend 10 minutes with her and come away seeing what a caring, wonderful person she is. And I'm beyond proud to call her family, too.

On the whole, that was the thing that blew me away most from the weekend: I have a sister. Well, a sister-in-law, but a sister nonetheless. That point was brought home when we finally made our way out of the reception after a long night of dancing and celebrating: Maya's sister, Naomi, happened to be in the hallway leading out of the reception site. As we walked by each other, we both said, "What's up, family?"

My super-extended family grew larger in just a few moments on Saturday, though it grew larger in territory than in numbers: Maya has relatives that flew in from as far away as Israel and Australia. Maya herself was born in Israel and, if memory serves right, was raised in Seattle.

If you're looking for the most amazing big-picture element to the weekend, it's this: Country bumpkin me, with all of my east-coast (lack of) sensibility has an Israeli-born, Seattlian relative. A sister, no less.

And I couldn't be prouder or happier.

Congratulations, you guys. Here's to many glorious days together, and a steady stream of love from DC.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

On air travel...

This is probably just an extension of this August post, but I promised, so I shall deliver.

I think air travel is the best. Probably because it happens so rarely for me (this year a notable exception: trips to Indianapolis, Oregon, Idaho - in six hours - and possibly one to Las Vegas).

But like the destination cities on highway signs, there's so much possibility at hand. If our plane to Phoenix leaves from the same gate at Reagan National that it usually does, I'll pass several other gates to get to ours. Beyond each door, at the end of each jetway, is a new destination. Maybe it's as boring as Norfolk or as exciting as Los Angeles.

(I should note that the Indy trip was one of the worst air travel experiences I've had. Not because it was anyone's fault, but because of the fact that we flew from National to Atlanta - Atlanta! - and had a four-hour layover at Hartsfield. On the way back, we caught the last media shuttle from our hotel and wound up with a three-hour wait in Indy's airport.)

That bad time aside, just the experience of flying is a thrill. The jet is loud and commands attention. There's no cooler moment than when you make that final turn onto the main runway and the pilot puts the hammer down. The ride gets faster and bumpier and faster and bumpier and faster and bumpier. Then, all of a sudden, it's smooth - and by the time you realize that, your stomach seems plastered to the bottom of the seat.

Once you're in the air, you get to play a bit of a voyeuristic role, peering down at people's land and the random towns you fly over. Towns that look so small it looks like you could hold them in the palm of your hand - and have room to spare. (On our last trip out west, we flew into Vegas and I was afforded a beautiful, one-of-a-kind view of Hoover Dam. It was incredible to me how massive the thing looked, even from a few thousand feet in the air.)

The voyeuristic role only increases on descent and approach. It's just that the houses and the cities (suburbs) look bigger. Then usually you zip over a few highways, the ground gets closer and closer and suddenly it's all barren land. The runway comes into view and plunk! You're on the ground, and the jet announces its arrival with a thunderous roar of the engines.

But those are mostly the side benefits, as I see them, to air travel. Because for me, the biggest payoff is in knowing I'll be someplace different and unusual and imagining the possibilities of that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sun Valley, on my mind

Early Thursday morning - too early for me, but I don't set the flight schedules - my wife and I set sail for my brother-in-law's wedding in Sun Valley, Idaho.

It'll be a fun trip, for sure, and I'm really looking forward to it.

At the moment, I keep seeing an image of Sun Valley - or, specifically, the towns that encompass the greater Sun Valley area - in my mind. This usually happens with places I'm never been, and I'm sure this is a common occurence with you, too.

The photo to the right here purports to be from Hailey, Idaho, one of the towns in Sun Valley. (Yes, it's snowy and no, it's not winter yet. But claims we'll see low temperatures in the low 30s. And that's just too effing cold for September.)

(But, as usual, at least it's not like Barrow, Alaska. Seeing the forecast for that place usually makes me feel better about wherever I am - even in Washington in winter. Barrow makes us look like Key West.)

Back to the original point: I imagined that Sun Valley would be in, well, a valley. So far, I'm not disappointed. The one difference between this shot and my in-brain picture is that I expected the mountains to be sloped much more dramatically. Still, there's a lot of beauty in that photo, slight slopes and all.

But that's once we get there. Some thoughts on air travel tomorrow...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hangover? You suck. Eagles? You too. Cross-promotion? Same to you, pal.

As fun as Saturday was, Sunday was flat-out miserable. As you can guess by the title, the fun of Saturday led directly to part of Sunday's misery.

After months of planning, we finally sprung a surprise party for my wife's 30th birthday (which technically happens Monday). One thing led to another - more tellingly, one drink led to another - and we cabbed home since none of us was in any shape to drive.

A mix of Yuengling, scotch, Red Death, wine and a couple of shots swirled around my stomach and left my liver feeling like it had gone the distance in a heavyweight title bout. Needless to say, said stomach and liver and the rest of me were pretty pissed off when I woke up this morning.

I didn't have a headache, thankfully, but felt plenty shitty nonetheless: woozy, nauseous, you name it. I even managed to string a few dry heaves together, which felt like I was getting kicked in the gut each time. (And dry heaves are the worst. When you puke, at least there's a sense of accomplishment and finality - wow, I finally got that out of my system - but with dry heaves, there's all the accompanying misery without anything to show for it.)

After a while of sitting around trying to recover, I felt well enough - though still not great - to take home a friend who'd stayed over with us. (I was concerned that having to watch the NFL pregame shows would've again sent me running to the baƱo, but thankfully that was not the case.)

I returned just in time to see my hopes lifted, if only for a little while. The Eagles were absolutely killing the Giants, and it was wonderful to watch McNabb pick apart the Giants' secondary while watching Eli Manning continue to suck.

But, as I'm sure you know by now, it didn't last. Philly lost all momentum in the second half and pissed a double-digit lead down its feather-encased leg. A Jay Feely field goal in the final seconds of regulation pushed the game into overtime which, predictably, the Eagles lost.

There is plenty of blame to spread for the second-half collapse. But for me, the bulk of it goes to Trent Cole, the Eagles' defensive end who reportedly kicked a Giants player in the groin late in the fourth quarter. His 15-yard personal foul gave the notably shaky Feely a 35-yard field goal attempt, not the far more daunting 50-yarder he would have faced without the penalty. For how awful Philly was in the second half, if Feely misses a 50-yarder, the Eagles win and overtime is averted.

As you can probably guess, there were f-bombs aplenty lobbed around the apartment in the fourth quarter. Honestly, it's games like these when I wonder why it's worth the agony of being a fan. Outside of Cleveland, there's no worse place to be a fan than in Philly. No matter what happens and no matter how rosy things seem to be, you know there's a stinkbug in the middle of that rose. Philly teams always come up a yard short, a run short, a goal short or a free throw short. (The Phillies are a game out of the wild card the last I checked, but there's no real possibility they'll make it. And even if they do, they'll match up well against whoever they'd play in the first round - likely St. Louis - and lose then. Or make it to the seventh game of the World Series and lose it in the bottom of the ninth, like they did in '93.) You can't spell failure with out a "PH".

Anyway, we left to pick up my car before overtime started. I just had no interest in football after the Feely field goal. Like here's honestly what I know of Week 2 in the NFL: Baltimore beat Oakland, Minnesota ran a fake field goal and the Eagles lost. Oh, and the Redskins were losing in Dallas. Other than that, my appetite for the NFL is about as great as my appetite for a glass of scotch.

After returning home with my car, we kicked back and enjoyed the rest of the evening. We were disappointed at the lack of viewing options at 7:30 after the Simpsons were over. So we managed to take in a little bit of America's Funniest Home Videos (again, there was nothing else on). AFV is usually good for a chuckle or two despite the fact that a) host Tom Bergeron is decidedly unfunny and b) the funniest videos are never among the three at the end.

To make matters worse, we were forced to listen Bergeron ramble on in between clips about how awesome Dancing with the Stars is. Look chief, I have no interest in that damned show and your continued gushing about it does not sway my opinion. Of course, it's probably not Bergeron's idea, since no one does cross-promotion better (or worse) than the Mouse.

Surely there's not been a show on ABC in prime-time that hasn't been mentioned on ESPN's SportsCenter at least seven times. ("Clinton Portis could've used a visit to the folks at Grey's Anatomy. Portis missed Sunday night's game in Dallas with a bum shoulder." Or whatever drivel they spew on SC.) ABC Sports is dead; now anything on ABC is branded with ESPN. ESPN The Weekend at Walt Disney World.

It's enough to make me sicker than I was this morning.

(Photos from and AP via Yahoo)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Working on something big...

I've posted quite frequently over the past few days, and I'm working on the biggest one yet. It's not a one-night job. But it should be ready in a few days, so I'll hold off on any other posts until then.

Until then, enjoy another of my favorite pasttimes: news bloopers/outtakes. This is from the station mentioned below, WPVI-6 in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The biggest list yet!

My wife questioned my ability - OK, not so much my ability, but my sanity - to do this.

You guys know I'm apolitical. I hold some liberal ideologies and some conservative ones. I'm very appreciative of Virginia's senior Senator, John Warner, and hope he continues to hold office as long as he wishes. However, I'm not at all a big fan of our junior Senator, George Allen. (Even you non-Virginians have probably heard of him; he's the guy at the center of the "macaca" flap. Oh, and he happens to up for re-election this fall.)

He is by no means a lock, but certainly a fairly safe bet to retain his seat. However, he is supposedly looking at a 2008 presidential candidacy which, frankly, scares the hell out of me.

So, with that in mind, here's my list of 500 people (in no particular order) I'd rather have as president than George Allen. (The list was originally 1,000, but I just can't go that far.)

1. Bill Frist
2. Mark Warner
3. Barack Obama
4. John Warner
5. Andy Card
6. Ed Rendell
7. Eliot Spitzer
8. Tom Kean
9. Arnold Schwarzenegger
10. Tim Kaine
11. Dianne Feinstein
12. Trent Lott
13. John McCain
14. Paul Kanjorski
15. Tom Davis
16. Lynne Abraham
17. Anthony Williams
18. Karl Rove
19. Jeb Bush
20. Douglas Wilder
21. Elaine Chao
22. Condy Rice
23. Michael Chertoff
24. John F. Hanosek
25. Bill Euille
26. Charles Getz
27. William O'Gurek
28. Wayne Nothstein
29. Lindsay Hunsicker
30. Jack Finn
31. Alexis Bayer
32. Steve Largent
33. Kim Hunter
34. Catherine O'Mara
35. Al Gore
36. Janet Reno
37. Jim Gibbons
38. Tony Blair
39. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
40. Vladimir Putin
41. Vicente Fox
42. Brian Mulroney
43. Margaret Thatcher
44. Madeline Albright
45. Bob McDonnell
46. Robert Ehrlich
47. Michael Steele
48. Douglas Gansler
49. Doug Duncan
50. Jack Johnson
51. Josh Rales
52. Ben Cardin
53. Ross Perot
54. Gerald Ford
55. George H.W. Bush
56. George W. Bush
57. Dick Cheney
58. Don Rumsfeld
59. Michael Dukakis
60. Jimmy Carter
61. Rudolph Guiliani
62. Ed Koch
63. Tom Ridge
64. Arlen Specter
65. John Murtha
66. Don Sherwood
67. Wilson Goode
68. Henry Kissinger
69. Colin Powell
70. Alan Greenspan
71. Ben Bernanke
72. Dick Thornburgh
73. Norman Mineta
74. Tom Thune
75. Tom Daschle
76. Sean Richardson
77. Glee Smith
78. Celia Sims
79. Jen Swenson
80. Lindsay Morris
81. Kenny Guinn
82. Jim McGreevey
83. Andrew MacDonald
84. Ludwig P. Gaines
85. K. Rob Krupicka
86. Timothy Lovain
87. Del Pepper
88. Paul Smedberg
89. Gary Olson
90. John V. Reynolds
91. Hwa Yol Jung
92. J. Patrick Dobel
93. Laura Evans
94. May Kay Gugerty
95. Paul Hill
96. Sanjeev Kaghram
97. Stephen Page
98. Steven Rathgeb Smith
99. Brewster C. Denny
100. William M. Zumeta
101. Donovan McNabb
102. Donte Stallworth
103. Mark Brunell
104. Willie Parker
105. Brad Johnson
106. Hines Ward
107. Bill Cowher
108. Joe Gibbs
109. Jeremiah Trotter
110. Jevon Kearse
111. Brian Dawkins
112. Reggie Brown
113. Brian Westbrook
114. Thomas Tapeh
115. L.J. Smith
116. Jon Runyan
117. Shawn Andrews
118. Jamaal Jackson
119. Todd Herremans
120. William Thomas
121. Darren Howard
122. Mike Patterson
123. Darwin Walker
124. Dhani Jones
125. Matt McCoy
126. Roderick Hood
127. Lito Sheppard
128. Sheldon Brown
129. Michael Lewis
130. David Akers
131. Dirk Johnson
132. Bill Parcells
133. Mike Holmgren
134. Tom Brady
135. Tedy Bruschi
136. Chad Pennington
137. Wayne Chrebet
138. Ronnie Brown
139. Junior Seau
140. Daunte Culpepper
141. Willis McGahee
142. Takeo Spikes
143. Steve McNair
144. Carson Palmer
145. Chad Johnson
146. T.J. Houshmanzadeh
147. Romeo Crennel
148. Gary Kubiak
149. David Carr
150. Dwight Freeney
151. Robert Mathis
152. Matt Jones
153. Jack Del Rio
154. Jeff Fisher
155. Billy Volek
156. Jay Cutler
157. Trent Green
158. Priest Holmes
159. Larry Johnson
160. Randy Moss
161. LaDainian Tomlinson
162. Antonio Gates
163. Marty Schottenheimer
164. Renaldo Wynn
165. Jon Jansen
166. Shawn Springs
167. Tom Coughlin
168. Michael Strahan
169. Lovie Smith
170. Mike Brown
171. Muhsin Muhammad
172. Steve Hutchinson
173. Darren Sharper
174. Warrick Dunn
175. Jim Mora Jr.
176. Keith Brooking
177. Reggie Bush
178. Sean Payton
179. Jake Delhomme
180. Kris Jenkins
181. Cadillac Williams
182. Ronde Barber
183. Derrick Brooks
184. Matt Leinart
185. Larry Fitzgerald
186. Anquan Boldin
187. Vernon Davis
188. Mike Nolan
189. Shaun Alexander
190. Walter Jones
191. Scott Linehan
192. Torry Holt
193. Tiki Barber
194. Keenan McCardell
195. Casey Rabach
196. Roy Williams (DAL)
197. Joey Porter
198. Marcus Washington
199. Jeremy Bloom
200. Tom Heckert
201. Tommy Bowden
202. Bobby Bowden
203. Ralph Friedgen
204. Chuck Amato
205. Chan Gailey
206. Larry Coker
207. John Bunting
208. Frank Beamer
209. Randy Edsall
210. Bobby Petrino
211. Dave Wannstedt
212. Greg Schiano
213. Rich Rodriguez
214. Kirk Ferentz
215. Joe Paterno
216. Barry Alvarez
217. Mike Mangino
218. Bill Callahan
219. Bob Stoops
220. Mack Brown
221. Charlie Weis
222. Mike Stopps
223. Dirk Koetter
224. Jeff Tedford
225. Mike Bellotti
226. Mike Riley
227. Pete Carroll
228. Walt Harris
229. Pat Fitzgerald
230. Karl Dorrell
231. Tyrone Willingham
232. Bill Doba
233. Urban Meyer
234. Mark Richt
235. Steve Spurrier
236. Phil Fulmer
237. Houston Nutt
238. Tommy Tuberville
239. Les Miles
240. Sylvester Croom
241. Dick Anderson
242. Tom Bradley
243. Galen Hall
244. Larry Johnson
245. Bill Kenney
246. Mike McQueary
247. Brian Norwood
248. Jay Paterno
249. Ron Vanderlinden
250. John Thomas
251. Scot Dapp
252. Gary Martell
253. Jeff Pukszyn
254. Steve Gordy
255. Kurt Poling
256. Fran Meagher
257. Adam Stauffer
258. Joe Pollock
259. Jim Newhard
260. Andy Cerco
261. Drew DiGiacinto
262. Jafar Williams
263. Jim Larranaga
264. Karl Hobbs
265. John Chaney
266. Gary Williams
267. Roy Williams (UNC)
268. Seth Greenberg
269. Tom Izzo
270. Jeff Capel
271. Lorenzo Romar
272. Billy Donovan
273. Ben Howland
274. Ed Little
275. John Makuvek
276. Jim Walker
277. Doug Pollard
278. Mary Beth Spirk
279. John Byrne
280. Ron Cardinal
281. Gary Williams (my old OL coach at Moravian, not the one mentioned earlier)
282. Chris Ault
283. Terry Donahue
284. Vince Dooley
285. Pat Dye
286. LaVell Edwards
287. John Gagliardi
288. Don James
289. Don Nehlen
290. Tubby Raymond
291. George Welsh
292. Jim Beoheim
293. Lou Carnesecca
294. Pete Carrill
295. Lute Olsen
296. Dean Smith
297. Pat Summitt
298. Denny Crum
299. Bob Knight
300. John Thompson
301. Sam Perlozzo
302. Jason Varitek
303. Jon Papelbon
304. Derek Jeter
305. Randy Johnson
306. Joe Torre
307. Justin Verlander
308. Jeremy Bonderman
309. Nate Robertson
310. Joe Mauer
311. Torii Hunter
312. Howie Kendrick
313. Adam Kennedy
314. Mike Socscia
315. Dallas McPherson
316. Barry Zito
317. Billy Beane
318. Raul Ibanez
319. Brad Wilkerson
320. Michael Young
321. Hank Blalock
322. Jeff Francoeur
323. Chipper Jones
324. Bobby Cox
325. Dontrelle Willis
326. Dan Uggla
327. Reggie Abercrombie
328. David Wright
329. Lastings Milledge
330. Nick Johnson
331. Brian Schneider
332. Kerry Wood
333. Mark Prior
334. Juan Pierre
335. Bronson Arroyo
336. Adam Dunn
337. Chris Denorfia
338. Roy Oswalt
339. Roger Clemens
340. Andy Pettitte
341. Lance Berkman
342. Morgan Ensberg
343. Ben Sheets
344. Laynce Nix
345. Geoff Jenkins
346. Jack Wilson
347. Chris Carpenter
348. Chris Duncan
349. Skip Schumaker
350. Brandon Webb
351. Chris Counsell
352. Luis Gonzalez
353. Brad Helton
354. Clint Barmes
355. Choo Freeman
356. Andre Ethier
357. Nomar Garciaparra
358. Jeff Kent
359. Jake Peavy
360. Khalil Greene
361. Russell Branyan
362. Steve Kline
363. Moises Alou
364. Jason Schmidt
365. Aaron Fultz
366. Geoff Geary
367. Tom Gordon
368. Cole Hamels
369. Jon Leiber
370. Ryan Madson
371. Jamie Moyer
372. Arthur Rhodes
373. Randy Wolf
374. Chris Coste
375. Mike Leiberthal
376. Jeff Conine
377. Ryan Howard
378. Jimmy Rollins
379. Chase Utley
380. Michael Bourn
381. David Dellucci
382. Shane Victorino
383. Aaron Rowand
384. Charlie Manuel
385. Frank Robinson
386. Joe Girardi
387. John Gibbons
388. Jim Leyland
389. Willie Randolph
390. Dusty Baker
391. Jerry Narron
392. Jim Tracy
393. Joe Maddon
394. Ron Gardenhire
395. Mike Hargrove
396. Buck Showalter
397. Ned Yost
398. Tony LaRussa
399. Clint Hurdle
400. Mike Piazza
401. Eminem
402. 50 Cent
403. Blackie Lawless
404. Tom Araya
405. Brad Garrett
406. Lewis Black
407. Ron White
408. Russell Crowe
409. Bob Ley
410. Michael Wilbon
411. Charles Barkley
412. Gnarls Barkley
413. Paul Zimmerman
414. Jayski
415. David Poole
416. Moddy
417. Webby
418. Riki Rachtman
419. Coolguy
420. Chuck D
421. LL Cool J
422. Paul Stanley
423. John Force
424. Mike Rowe
425. Jason Whitlock
426. Alan Schwarz
427. Dick Yuengling
428. Andrew Jackson errr, Peter Gammons
429. Paul Tagliabue
430. Chuck Norris
431. Leon Harris
432. Jim Gardner
433. Cecily Tynan
434. Kevin Smith
435. Sarah Fraser
436. Bob Marbourg
437. Clint Eastwood
438. Snoop Dogg
439. Nelly
440. Jay-Z
441. Brad Nessler
442. Fred Funk
443. Tiger Woods
444. Soledad O'Brien
445. Daryn Kagan
446. Suzanne Malveaux
447. Mike Helton
448. Jeff Burton
449. Jim Hunter
450. Joe White
451. Tom Hanks
452. David Hasselhoff
453. Gene Hackman
454. James Earl Jones
455. Darius Rucker
456. DCRTV Dave
457. Bob Dylan
458. Bob Marley (the comedian)
459. Morgan Freeman
460. Harry Shearer
461. Chris Rock
462. Jenna Jameson
463. Casey Kasem
464. Wolf Blitzer (but not if Jack Cafferty was veep)
465. Tony Stewart
466. Kevin Harvick
467. Mrs. Robinson
468. David Robinson
469. Tom Doak
470. Pete Dye
471. Rees Jones
472. Kevin Bacon
473. Diedrich Bader
474. Sandra Bullock
475. Dave Chappelle
476. Tina Fey
477. Alyson Hanigan
478. Sherman Hemsley
479. Rob Lowe
480. Mackenzie Phillips
481. Pink
482. Henry Rollins
483. Ben Stein
484. Wanda Sykes
485. GE Smith
486. DangerMouse
487. Hank Hill
488. Homer Simpson
489. Beavis
490. Butt-Head
491. Tom
492. Jerry
493. Bugs Bunny
494. Papa Smurf
495. Secret Squirrel
496. Droopy
497. Barney Gumble
Betty Rubble
499. Jane Jetson
500. Grace the Cat

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 & MNF

If you're at all worried that this country is not fully back to normal, worry no more. If you were worried at all this country would not be normal on Monday, the five-year anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, again, you need worry no more.

The Redskins passed out American flags to each of its fans for Washington's Monday-night home opener, and fans waved them in earnest during the pre-game ceremonies as the crowd paused for a moment of silence. Among the other pre-game ceremonies were a chorus represented by all four branches of the military, which sang The Star-Spangled Banner.

After each activity, the fans put those flags to good use, waving them in a frenzy and chanting "USA! USA!" Cheers were never hard to find, whether it was for the chorus or any of the other ceremonies.

The cheering only stopped once: when the Minnesota Vikings jogged onto the field. Then, the boos began. With gusto.

Of course, the state of Minnesota, by the account of most maps, are very much within the borders of the United States. And Minneapolis is as much an American city as Washington, New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, if not quite as big.

The cheering, apparently, only goes so far.

We're fully back to normal, from five years ago and from re-living it all today.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Taking me back...

My summer vacation officially ended as of 7:30 last night, when the first big Friday night of high school football began. (Effectively, though, it had ended more than a month earlier, when the Redskins began training camp.)

And it brought back a few memories, as it always does.

Most of them occurred when the teams were running onto the field, because, well, that's at a time when I can let my mind wander. And it took me back to my old days in Lehighton.

My days in the locker room, pre-game, were mixed. In 10th and 11th grades, when I knew I wouldn't play unless we were kicking ass (or, rarely, getting our ass kicked), the experience was pretty relaxed. A nearby friend and I would joke in hushed tones, as to not upset the vibe that was dictated by the seniors.

In 12th grade, it was different, when I was the one trying to psyche myself up. Plus, by then, we had moved into a different corner, one that was usually claimed by the seniors, since they had first choice of where they wanted to set up their locker. (In college and pro sports, locker room location is a big deal, one that is taken care of by the manager or coach. In the Nationals' locker room, position players occupy most of the right side and part of the back row, while relief pitchers are to the left and starters in the other part of the back row.)

Coming out of the locker room was always the same for me. As one of the linemen, I spent the most time in there and came out last. (Kickers and returners went first; skill positions a little later; and us last.) We'd go and do our stretching and a few warm-up drills, then come back inside.

"OK, let's go," one of the coaches would say before we left the field house for the final time. Then we'd all pile up at the far end of the room, where we always left when heading to the field for a game. There were double doors there. Above them was a sign that said, "Through this door go the best damn kids in the world."

We'd file out behind the field house and head towards the field, coming from the back. We'd make our way onto the cinder track, pause for one of those group celebrations and then run through the cheerleader column to ours, the far sideline.

Once there, we'd all gather in a tight circle with our coach in the middle. He'd give us a few quick words of encouragement - the "official" pre-game speech was in the locker room - and he'd always use this a traditional ending: "We're gonna go out there and grab these [opponents' mascot - i.e. Cardinals, Bombers, Cavaliers, Mounties, etc.] right by the balls and what are we gonna do?!"

In unison, all of us: "Squeeze! Squeeze! Squeeze!" (Trust me, it sounder better in quick succession and with a bunch of dudes yelling it. As a youngster, I had always wondered what the hell they were yelling.)

Good times.

More on my pre-game favorites later. Time to go get some lunch. I'm in Richmond for tonight's Nextel Cup race, and the woman at McDonald's screwed up my order this morning. (I wanted two bacon, egg & cheese biscuits, not one.) Sustaining a fat guy takes, well, sustenance. And I'm about to go get me some.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A full day later...

and, well, here we are. Computer's obviously on. The light behind me is too.

The lantern is still poised and ready to jump into action at a moment's notice.

No, there won't be any updates at 10-minute intervals tonight. Once you use a line, you gotta burn it, you know?

Instead, I'll give you all a little slice of home. My home. (I only wish I could see my wife shudder when she hits play.) Without further ado...

As you can probably tell, this is the opening to Action News on Philly's WPVI (or 6ABC if you prefer). The opening is absolutely legendary. There is no way you can tell me that after seeing that, you're not ready to sit and watch some news.

The theme has been around, literally, for decades. You can catch some elements of the hippy 60s in this 6 p.m. close from 2003. Unfortunately, TV Ark doesn't allow embeds, so you'll have to click on the link to see it (it's a RealMedia format, too). If you do, you'll notice there are some lyrics to it: "Move closer to your world my friend/Take a little bit of time/Move closer to your world my friend/And you'll see..." Has a very Woodstock-y feel to it.

But it's stuck. In the mid-90s, WPVI famously tried to re-vamp the music; they were promptly swamped with phone calls from irate viewers. (Imagine that. Folks in Philly irate about something.)

Of course, the theme's popularity is officially cemented with lampoons. Like this one, which is hilarious:

I don't know what the ratings look like nowadays - it's been six years since I spent any appreciable time in Pennsylvania - but back in the day, Channel 6 was the ratings giant. Just before I left, the NBC affiliate (WCAU-10) and CBS affiliate (KYW-3) made a concerted effort to push to the top, and seemed to be succeeding.

Channel 6 was the first station I ever heard affiliated with the phrase "If it bleeds, it leads." Their lead story was usually dramatic, but invariably, the newscast always led with Eagles results on a Sunday night in the fall. I swore I would tune in one time and hear: "A high-rise fire strikes one of Philadelphia's most recognizeable buildings and shuts down Center City ... and a massive tsunami has wiped most of South Jersey off the map. But the big story on Action News tonight is (anchor shakes head) another loss for those Eagles."

But I digress. Nothing takes me back home like hearing that music.

I know it probably seems campy to you guys, I guess it's a Philly thing.

Hopefully the Philadelphians in the audience got my back on this one. Right? Right? (Crickets.)

Oh, right. It's Eagles season. My bad.

Speaking of multimedia files... I'm happy to present this, a rundown of our recently-completed softball season. It's a photo/video collection presented by resident rightfielder Jack Bienko. (Unfortunately you see me hit a weak-ass grounder. Had I know I was on tape, I'd have been more selective with the pitching.)'s a Google video, so again, no embed.

Midnight hour, almost here

Looks like we're in the clear for another night. Of course, that only postpones the inevitable.

But that's fine by me, the procrastinating bastard that I am.

Still confused? Check here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Still on, getting close

Nearing the midnight cutoff. (Hopes he doesn't jinx himself.)

If you're confused, look here.

Still on, risky move

Bathroom trip uneventful. Was forced to cut time in bathroom to fraction of my normal time there, but still managed to learn that American Express headquarters is on Vesey St. in New York. Know where NYC is, don't know where Vesey is.

If you're confused, read this'n.

And, we're still on...

Gotta run to the bathroom. Taking World Almanac and lantern with me.

If you're confused, peep this.

While I'm thinking of it, following up on this post: I turned down the job offer earlier today.

Still on

And still typing away, was just finishing an e-mail.

If you're confused, read me first.

At any moment, the lights could go dark

I really wanted to do something similar to what I did for the last entry, and make my way through the World Almanac, picking out random facts you may or may not find intriguing.

But I fear that won't be an option tonight. Our landlords, for better or worse, have decided that they want to upgrade the electricity service to ours and surrounding buildings. To do that, they'll have to turn off the juice overnight.

Except we don't quite know when this is supposed to happen. The first target night was last night; but everything stayed on.

The letter they left for us said that if power wasn't off by midnight, it wouldn't be turned off at all that night. Midnight Wednesday came and went without incident.

So, here I am, with a trusty lantern - at right - within reach, waiting for something that may or may not happen.

(No, wiseasses, I'm not going to use the image of a lantern to light up a room. We have an actual version of the lantern at right.)

It's kind of frustrating, actually. Never mind the fact that everyone in the building needs to find an alternative to a plugged-in alarm clock. That's the most pressing of the problems.

Wouldn't it have been easier to do in the daytime, when most folks are at work? At least the water still works then, and I can get by with a lantern in the shower.

But I'm a night owl, which is a prerequisite for being a sportswriter. So I'm SOL, I guess. Luckily, I'm tired as hell, thanks to a lack of sleep last night (went to bed to late), getting up early and taking a decent road trip to Richmond today. I actually nodded off during the 7 p.m. Simpsons, which is unheard of. (I did that while boiling water to make dinner, which is damn near f--king brilliant.)

Now, I'm just hoping I haven't wasted all this time to write a blog that won't get saved, and will disappear the second the flow cuts off. And of course, I'm not helping myself by continuing to ramble on about nothing in particular.

I better not push my luck anymore. It's 11:06. Darkness may be just around the corner. Save, save, save...

EDIT: Save, obviously, went OK. I'll be posting updates at every 10 minutes, just for the hell of it. If, suddenly, the updates stop, you know what happened.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Because I've got to keep it fresh...

Random facts that I find interesting, courtesy of the World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005 edition. (Website is here, though it's not as comprehensive as the book itself.) I'll be taking a fact from every 30th page, starting on page 60 and working to the end. Much of the material before p. 60 is a review of events from 2004. With that...

-- The only Secretary of the Interior from Pennsylvania was Thomas M.T. McKennan, who served under Millard Fillmore starting in 1850.

-- People with special medical conditions can obtain emblems for emergency medical personnel by writing to the Medic Alert Foundation, 2323 Colorado Ave., Turlock, CA 95382.

-- The budget for the U.S. Department of Education nearly doubled between 1999-2004.

-- White males over age 55 have the highest median income, earning $862 per week.

-- As of press time, 1,824 animal and plant species were listed as threatened or endangered. Yet only 1,022 were listed as "species with recovery plans."

-- Two blowouts - one at the Ixtoc I oil well in the southern Gulf of Mexico in June 1979 and the other Nowruz oil field in the Persian Gulf in Feb. 1983 - accounted for the world's largest oil spills. Both were listed at 600,000 tons, though the Nowruz spill was an estimate. (Multiplying the tonnage by seven gives a close look at the number of barrels, and there are 42 gallons in a barrel. You do the math.)

-- The longest distance between two major U.S. cities is the Boston-San Francisco trip, which covers 3,095 miles. The only other trip greater than 3,000 miles is Boston to Portland, Ore.

-- Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) is known for his harpsichord compositions.

-- According to a 1998 survey of the 100 Best American Movies of All Time, the following were released in my lifetime: 9. Schindler's List (1993); 15. Star Wars (1977); 20. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975); 24. Raging Bull (1980); 25. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982); 28. Apocolypse Now (1979); 31. Annie Hall (1977); 47. Taxi Driver (1976); 48. Jaws (1975); 53. Amadeus (1984); 60. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); 62. Tootsie (1982); 64. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977); 65. The Silence of the Lambs (1991); 66. Network (1976); 71. Forrest Gump (1994); 75. Dances With Wolves (1990); 78. Rocky (1976); 79. The Deer Hunter (1978); 83. Platoon (1986); 84. Fargo (1996); 94. Goodfellas (1990); 95. Pulp Fiction (1994); 98. Unforgiven (1992).

-- Toby Keith won four awards - Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, Top Male Vocalist, and Video of the Year (with Willie Nelson) at the 2004 Academy of Country Music Awards.

-- The average surface temp on Mars is -81 degrees Fahrenheit.

-- E-mail spam dates to 1978 and computer viruses have been around since 1988.

-- Corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum and hay are Illinois' chief crops.

-- Philadelphia's tallest buildings are One Liberty Place (at 1650 Market St.) and Two Liberty Place (at 1601 Chestnut St.). Go figure.

-- Cap'n Crunch cereal is owned by Quaker Oats, which is a division of Pepsi.

-- Using the mobility of a cavalry, Genghis Khan built the largest land empire ever known.

-- The first U.S. Senators were elected on Sept. 30, 1788. Both were from Pennsylvania.

-- The 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was first proposed on Sept. 25, 1789. It was ratified on May 7, 1992.

-- Since 1948, only two Republican presidential candidates have carried Massachusetts: Ronald Reagan (1980 and 1984) and Dwight D. Eisenhower (1952 and 1960).

-- In 2002, Baltimore admitted 6,340 immigrants, more than Orlando, San Antonio and El Paso.

-- My hometown, Lehighton, Pa., lost 401 people since between the 1990 and 2003 Census. I would be one of the 401.

-- Associations and societies that begin with the letter "F" that are based in the DC metro area: Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (Reston, Va.); Farm Bureau, American (Washington); Feminists for Life of America (Washington); Financial Professionals, Association for (Bethesda, Md.); Financial Women International (Arlington, Va.); Fire Chiefs, International Association of (Fairfax, Va.); Fire Protection Engineers, Society of (Bethesda, Md.); Fisheries Society, American (Bethesda, Md.); Fleet Reserve Association (Alexandria, Va.); Food Industry Suppliers, International Association of (McLean, Va.); Foreign Trade Council Inc., National (Washington); Foresters, American Society of (Bethesda, Md.); 4-H Clubs (Washington); Freemasonry, Scottish Rite of, Supreme Council Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of, Southern Masonic Jurisdiction (Washington); Free Press Readership Council, American (Washington); Frozen Food Institute, American (McLean, Va.); Future Business Leaders of America/Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. (Reston, Va.).

-- Tuition at USC is greater than tuition at Vanderbilt; however, Vandy's room and board are $3,000 more. Both tuitions are well behind that of Vassar.

-- Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Rosario are the three biggest cities in Argentina.

-- Gold, timber, diamonds, bauxite, magnesium, fish, rubber and hydropower are all natural resources in Ghana.

-- Page 810 recaps, in color, some notable events of 2004.

-- Chernobyl, site of the world's worst nuclear power disaster, is in Ukraine.

-- Through 2004, the United States won 10 of 19 gold medals in the Olympic Women's 400-meter freestyle.

-- It's common knowledge that Cy Young's 511 wins are the most in Major League Baseball history. But his 316 losses are also a major-league record.

-- The only college football champions from outside the current BCS conferences (including Notre Dame) are Texas Christian (1938), Army (1944-45) and Brigham Young (1984).

-- In 2001-03, jockey Jerry Bailey piloted horses that won more than $22 million each year.

-- Homeschool information can be found on page 699.

Hope you enjoyed it...and learned something, too.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Ringer rebound?

Imagine, for a moment, that you're a stockbroker. You're at a party, and everyone - like they always do - wants to know about your job. Specifically, they want to know if you have any hot tips.

You tell them the standard line that, by now, you've got down cold. Bellwether telecoms are always a good buy; it's probably too late to get into oil stocks; think about winter services and products as people start gearing up for snow.

"That's bullshit," you hear. "Telecoms, even the industry leaders, are too unstable. Oil profits continue to soar, so even if you get in now, you'll make some money. And Wall Street expects wintertime stuff to get big just before winter; by upping their expectations, you only stand to lose money."

Huh? That guy's a teacher. And an English teacher at that. What the hell does he know about what you do?

"If you've got all the answers," you reply, "then put your money where your mouth is. I'll give you three industries of your choosing and I'll go with my two and a third of my choosing. Come spring, we'll count our cash."

He agrees, and the bet is on. Spring rolls around and, lo and behold, you find he's got more dough than you. And a lot more, too. He just kicked your ass, plain and simple.

By the photo at the top, you see where this analogy - no matter how long-winded - is going. I was in a fantasy football league last year and got my ass beat, badly, by a bunch of people outside of sportswriting.

Frankly, it was a long time ago, so I can't offer and credible excuses. But there's no excuse for how pitiful my team was, finishing dead last - a dishonor that earned the right of the league champ to rename my team. So, you're looking at the draft class for Campbell's Chunky Soup.

So today, we set out to make things right. You can see my draft pretty clearly above: QB Donovan McNabb (PHL; keeper), RB Willie Parker (PIT), WR Anquan Boldin (ARI), WR Javon Walker (DEN), RB Jamal Lewis (BAL), QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), TE L.J. Smith (PHL), RB Cedric Benson (CHI), WR Michael Clayton (TBY), K Adam Vinatieri (IND), TE Daniel Graham (NE), WR Ashley Lelie (ATL), PIT Defense, QB Matt Leinart (ARI), TE Kellen Winslow (CLE), WR Chris Henry (CIN).

Then, I got home and flipped on ESPNews to see their little breaking news box in the lower right: Roethlisberger has emergency appendectomy. Balls.

Oh well, at least I did it my way this year. With such a piss-poor finish, I figured I'd had enough with the draft guides. I brought SI's NFL preview for a list of starters, and relied on my brain for the rest.

We'll see how it turns out. I'm always pretty pumped in the hours after the draft, but looking back, I could have made some better picks. But that's what happens when you bring a couple of beers...oh well.

Chances are, though, that my attitude won't be so blase if I'm in the same spot this time next year.

-- On a sad note: Very saddened tonight to hear of the death of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. My wife and I watch a lot of Discovery, and caught his shows from time to time. The guy was a bit crazy, but you can't deny he had a great love for the animal kingdom. It's a shame to see that love extinguished far, far too soon.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Saturday's Gameplan

My wife made the call of the year this morning, dialing up Comcast and ordering ESPN Gameplan, just hours before the first full weekend of games began.

Usually this is a day that has long been since marked off on the calendar. Today was that much better, watching all of these random games I normally wouldn't give a rat's ass about. (It's like listening to baseball on XM. Why tune into that Royals-Mariners game? Because you can.)

By the time my wife went to bed, we had caught parts of - are you ready? - 22 different games. We saw at least one play - and usually many more - from each of those games.

Here's the rundown of the games we saw (with network in parentheses):

North Texas at Texas (Fox Sports via CSN): Tuned in when it was 14-0 or so, and by then, the game was essentially over.

Vanderbilt at Michigan (ESPN): Tried to catch an upset over dreaded Michigan. When it became apparent that wouldn't happen, found another game.

Grambling State vs. Hampton (ESPN2): I watched this the most, because it was the most competitive of the noon games. Hampton had a bit of a lead before Grambling rallied and took it to OT. Game seemed headed for a second OT after both teams scored TDs, but the Pirates blocked the PAT, giving Hampton a 1-point win. Best game of the day.

Idaho at Michigan State (Gameplan): Another potential upset thwarted. Another game we didn't need to watch all of.

Western Kentucky at Georgia (Jefferson Pilot via Gameplan): Saw Mikey Henderson's punt return where he fumbled just before reaching the end zone. Hilarious play. Turned away, turned back in time to see Henderson's second punt return, which really did go for a TD.

Akron at Penn State (ESPN2): Well, Lions don't have to worry about listening to any more talk about looking ahead to Notre Dame. They looked good in dispatching Akron, but then again, Akron ain't Notre Dame.

Stanford at Oregon (ABC via Gameplan): Duck uniforms look worse every year. I can't figure out if I like the diamondplate design on the shoulders and knees. Either way, solid performance by Oregon and an absolute stinker for the Cardinal. If Stanford plays like that all year, they might lose to Washington and Wazzu. (Sorry honey.)

Northern Illinois at Ohio State (ABC): Watched two plays because 1) I can't stand Ohio State (sorry Mandy) and 2) the game was over before it started.

La. Tech at Nebraska (CSN): Watched two plays because I can't stand Nebraska. Yes, I'm still bitter from '94.

Marshall at West Virginia (Gameplan): Had a chuckle when I saw there was an actual logo for the "Friends of Coal Bowl."

Cal at Tennessee (ESPN): I don't understand this about my wife. She's a Washington alum and a damn big fan. Yet she was overjoyed to watch the Vols piss on Cal but later promised to cheer for Wazzu against Auburn. Huh? Speaking of which...

Washington State at Auburn (ESPN2): Solid win for Tigers. Wazzu has some good players, though. Despite an improved UW team, I wouldn't count the Apple Bowl as an auto win if I were the Dawgs.

Utah at UCLA (CSN): UCLA was in control for much of the game. Not much to see here. Except the occasional hottie at a UCLA game. They're few and far between. So I'm told. (Right, honey?)

Notre Dame at Ga. Tech (ABC): Calvin Johnson is a beast. I was torn whether I wanted an upset (seeing ND lose) or didn't (an upset would have meant a good, pissed off ND team vs. Penn State next week). I decided on the former, got the latter.

UAB at Oklahoma (TBS): Best hit of the day, courtesy of Sooners' Quentin Chaney (I think). On a long Adrian Peterson run, caught some poor UAB sap flush when he wasn't looking; dude's ass and feet were about three and a half feet off the ground. Most devastating hit I've seen in a long time.

So. Miss at Florida (Gameplan): Watched a play so I could say I did. Is Chris Leak almost finished at Florida? Seems like he's been there for seven years or so.

Wisconsin at Bowling Green (Gameplan): Props to the Badgers for going to Bowling Green. All of the other MAC teams got their ass kicked on the road, which makes life doubly bad.

McNeese State at South Florida (Gameplan): Surprised this wasn't on ABC instead of ND-GT. Watched because, well, when will I ever get to see McNeese State again? Didn't know their helmets were yellow.

Hawaii at Alabama (Gameplan): From the beauty of Honolulu to, uh, Tuscaloosa. Speaking of unis, when did the 'Bows get a silver uniform?

Louisiana-Lafayette at LSU (Gameplan): Come on, like you wouldn't tune in to see a team called the Ragin' Cajuns. Look closely at their logo, and the apostrophe is a chili pepper.

USC at Arkansas (ESPN): From the trendiness of L.A. to, uh, Fayetteville. I got flustered when it was the SEC dateline that I couldn't remember off the top of my head: Gainesville, Athens, Lexington, Columbia, Knoxville, Nashville, Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Baton Rouge, Oxford, Starkville...dammit, what's the 12th?! Now I'll remember. (Clearly, I wasn't so concerned about the game.)

BYU at Arizona (TBS): Arizona's unis are as cool as Oregon's are weird. I love the dark blue helmet too with the "A" logo. BYU, however, is decidedly retro. And not retro cool like Penn State.

Damn, that was a lot to remember. Especially Fayetteville.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What to do?

I was going to write about the day and the misery that Ernesto brought. But honestly, we needed the rain - a fact that I would have brought up anyway.

But that's not what is on my mind at the moment. Not since checking my inbox a few minutes ago, anyway.

Over the past month, maybe a bit less, I've been interviewing for a promising new job. I don't want to give away too much about the place - you never know who happens to land here (not like it would be hard to figure out anyway) - but it would satisfy a lot of things that I'm missing from my job right now.

When I opened my inbox tonight, there was an e-mail from my contact at the place where I interviewed. It was vague, lacking any hints of a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Clearly, it would be presumptious of me to assume that a job offer is iminent. It's a job that I'm certainly qualified for, but who's to say there's not someone more qualified?

Still, the topic of this particular job has been discussed at length in this household. There's a lot to like about it: steady hours, no driving around to random events, a near-doubling of my salary, a chance to work in the city, a feeling that I'd be doing something positive with my life.

(I know that last factor sounds really random. But those who have talked with me at any length know that one of the biggest frustrations of my job is that, it seems, it exists purely for entertainment purposes. Not once have I ever had the feeling that I am contributing to the greater good of society or that I'm really, truly making an impact on someone's life. Perhaps that's not a concern for some folks, but for me, there's a void there. Secondly, you may wonder how my resume qualifies me to do something that makes an impact - a valid question, to be sure. But as I said, I don't want to give too much away, so you'll just have to trust me.)

So that's a lot to look forward to, right? Right. But there's a rub. There's always a rub. Otherwise, what would compel me to sit any type all of this out - and to type in such vague terms?

The hours.

As it stands now, I basically make my own schedule - something that could only work at a smaller newspaper. I come in, do my work and go home. Since my work isn't always time-sensitive, there's not always a reason for me to be in the office late at night.

The new job would be from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday. This would quash a lot of things - meeting up with my parents on a Sunday afternoon, Thursday evening softball games, weekends with my wife. And that doesn't take into account the random get-togethers we have with friends from time to time.

It seems hard to believe that one negative would outweigh so many positives. Yet here I am: After considering that there might be a job offer for several weeks, I'm as conflicted as I was when I was first told of the hours.

I've run through all sorts of scenarios, and all of the same questions and doubts remain. I've made a pretty comprehensive positive/negative list, which does nothing but show me that positives and negatives are equal in number. I've tried to discern whether I'm making a better quality of life for us, or whether I'm putting job ahead of family.

Some kind of breakthrough is needed soon if, in fact, this offer comes through. Perhaps the familiar feeling of deadline pressure will spur my brain into greater action; perhaps I'll just be more frantic in searching the corners that have already been visited.

My biggest fear of the whole thing - and my biggest fear in looking for a new job, period - is that once I move out and get into a routine at a new job, I'll find myself miserable. My current job has its good and bad, but there's comfort in the familiar. I know what's expected of me, and I know what to expect from the job on a day-to-day basis.

Then again, there's a certain excitement about new opportunities. Perhaps I'd look back at this and wonder what the fuss was about, and that we were making do just fine.

On the flip side, perhaps I'd look back and wonder why in the hell I turned down a job like that.

I haven't slept great lately, and tonight promises to be another one of those nights.

Friday, September 01, 2006

And now for something a little different...I hope

Softball season ended today with a forfeit win against the BALCO All-Stars. I remember writing about the beginning of softball season, and now it's a bit sad that it's over. It's never a bad time having fun with good people.

So, in honor of the 2006 season (which we finished 7-8), I'm a little bummed out. I turned to a combination of Web sites to lift my spirits: YouTube and Ultimate 80s Songs.

Since I'm a child of the 80s, I can guarantee that most of the tunes I like have a video to go along with them. With that in mind, the list of videos I watched/listened to in order to cheer myself up tonight is below. Yes, you'll have to play them to see what they are and no, there's no WASP or Iron Maiden.

Here's hoping this works...

Well I'll be damned. Despite a little HTML troubleshooting on the fly, it worked.