Friday, March 31, 2006

Beware the monsters on the monster! Grrr!!!!

Flash back to yesterday, I was bidding on eBay to get Green Monster seats for my trip with Dad to New York and Boston in June.

A few minutes ago, I won the auction for the low, low price of ... well, let's just say they weren't cheap, the same amount as Monday and Wednesday's tickets combined, plus $100. Totally worth it.

Actually, I would have paid $40 less per ticket if some moron with the login sawy5 hadn't logged on and driven up the price in the last hour. Bastard.

How to celebrate? I'm going to bed. I have to be awake in six hours to work the 4a-Noon shift Saturday and Sunday, then the 7a-3p shift Monday through Friday. Should be a long week.

Sweet sassy molassey, I can't believe Dad and I are going to be watching a game from up there!

Weighing on the mind

Weight loss is 90.443 percent mental. It’s science. You can look it up.

Case in point, yesterday at my Weight Watchers weigh-in.

I was in line behind five women, all of whom had to use a certain scale. What do I care, and besides, the scale they’re avoiding is the one I’ve used the last two weeks. So I pay, hop on and ta da!

Even better, the woman behind the counter starts calling out, "I’ve got 5.8 pounds lost here! Don’t be afraid of me!" No takers.

Not that I can make fun easily, since clearly I have to use that same scale from here on out.

Odds Jeff is arrested for stalking Katharine: 2-1

*This website does not condone gambling.

With that said, here are the current American Idol odds on Sportsbook.com:

Chris Daughtry, 7-5
Katharine McPhee, 5-2
Taylor Hicks, 4-1
Mandisa, 6-1
Kellie Pickler, 10-1
Elliott Yamin, 15-1
Paris Bennett, 15-1
Ace Young, 30-1
Bucky Covington, 100-1

Chris is obviously the favorite, though Mandisa at 6-to-1 odds is something I’d put money on. Looks like the Sportsbook people agree with me on Katharine, that she should go a long way.


(*I’m totally lying. If you aren’t addicted, place a frackin’ bet when you’re at a casino or buy lottery tickets.)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

"I was always impressed by the way he handles his bat ..."

Here's a lesson for young Major Leaguers: Don't mess with veterans who make 120 times your salary:
Dear Blue Jays, we are gathered here ...

Halladay and Burnett arrange mock nuptials of infielders
Mar. 30, 2006. 05:55 AM
Allan Ryan, The Toronto Star

DUNEDIN, Fla. — The groom wore a ballcap. So did the other groom.

Aaron Hill and Russ Adams, the Blue Jays' young second base/shortstop combination, were surprisingly "married" — the surprise being entirely theirs — in a team-building prank yesterday orchestrated by pitchers Roy Halladay and A.J. Burnett.

The mock nuptials, which were fully catered and included wedding gifts, were retaliation for a stunt Hill and Adams pulled a couple of weeks back. Noting that Halladay had a new training buddy in Burnett, the two had T-shirts printed featuring the two ace starters and with reference to "Brokeback Mound" — a play on the movie Brokeback Mountain.

Adams and Hill knew revenge was in the air when a plane circled the field during yesterday morning's stretch towing a sign that read: "Aaron, will you marry me? I love you. Russ."

"We thought the fly-by was it," said Adams.

But no.

On reaching the clubhouse, Adams and Hill walked in on a catered affair. In the parking lot, Hill's SUV was festooned with blue and white balloons and signs, some of which can even be printed here. The best: "Watch us turn two later tonight."

"They didn't miss anything," said Adams, wedding cake still in his hair. "They had a deejay, a freakin' videographer or whatever you call it, a fondue pot, gifts ... well, gag gifts.

"We spent maybe one-hundredth of what they must've spent."

Asked what he thought Halladay and Burnett spent, Adams said: "Enough to let you know not to mess with them again."

"They out-funded us," laughed Hill.

He and Adams will make roughly $700,000 (all figures U.S.) this season; Halladay and Burnett are in line for a combined $120 million over the next five years.

The wedding joke was capped in the third inning of yesterday's game against the Phillies with another plane: "Congratulations, Aaron and Russ."

"They had some good ideas to start the whole thing, so we had to come back with something," said Halladay. "I think we've put an end to it."

The honeymoon?

"Toronto, I guess," said Adams.

And last night?

"Getting my car washed," said Hill.
(Hat tip: Boston Sports Blog.)

Watching the weight go down

Back from my meeting, and another 5.8 points lost this week, 11.8 total in two weeks. Normally you'd need a cheat, like a tapeworm or a disease, for this great of a drop! (Oh, crap, I have cancer, don't I?)

Still, I can't really tell based on appearance or clothes. That'll come soon enough, I'm sure, and I can start digging through my closet for my skinny clothes that have been in storage for five years. I'm not saying they're old, but my Hampster Dance t-shirt might not feel as cool as before. (If it ever was, and I doubt it.)

My leader actually told me to add a couple of points a day to keep from losing weight too fast. Cynical ol’ me, I figure she just wants to keep me around and keep paying Weight Watchers the weekly fees!

To show what I'm doing, here's my daily points for the week, with a target of 34. (I don't count activity points despite working out a few days this week.)

Thursday - 47
Friday - 34
Saturday - 33
Sunday - 29
Monday - approx. 24
Tuesday - 31
Wednesday - 30

Again, it's a relief to have lost so much since it didn't feel like I'd lost any. At least last Thursday night's chili & nachos feast at the sports bar didn't derail me, and I've still been able to enjoy the Chinese place downstairs in the CNN Center.

Of course, having lost this weight, crossing below the 350 threshold I lose a point a day, but as you saw above, I'm cool with that. I eat well to get those points.


Keep Jeff accountable
Starting weight (March 16, 2006) - 362.2
Current weight (March 30, 2006) - 350.4
10% target - 326
Ultimate goal – 200

Summer dreaming

Preparations for my and Dad’s trip to New York and Boston for two weeks in June are in full force. We’ve had tickets to the U.S. Open golf tournament at Winged Foot for months, but we have to make reservations in Manhattan and figure out whether to go for the roadtrip and drive or take the easy way out and fly.

The next step, procuring Red Sox tickets in earnest for the week after. That’s my job, and I’m all over eBay trying to mix a decent price with location. For Monday, I bought tickets close to home plate on the first base side, Grandstand section 18, row 18:



I’m holding my breath until Friday at 9 p.m. with a bid on Green Monster seats for Tuesday’s game. They’re a lot more expensive, but totally worth it in our minds.

Should that work out, Wednesday’s game I’m looking for seats right behind home plate and down low close to the action. We only get to Fenway every few years, so we might as well splurge for the best seats possible, right?

Speaking of the Sox, following up on the Julian Tavarez-Joey Gathright brouhaha, two links. The first is quick and hilarious: Oh, snap!. (WARNING: SOUND)

(Almost as good as Khan!!!!!!.)

The next link is a composite of photographs of the fight pieced together. This is as close as we’ll get to video evidence, since no news cameras caught the action and Red Sox network NESN wasn’t covering the game.

(Sound here, too, but just a description of the scene by Associated Press freelance photographer Brita Meng Outzen.)

UPDATE 4:30 - These seats are ours for Wednesday the 21st, section 134.

You should all be ashamed

I mean, what the heck? Future Mrs. Jeff, Katharine, was not only in the bottom three of the American Idol results show, but next-to-last?

It's not just that Ace made bottom three but was sent back first, but for goodness' sake, BUCKY BEAT HER.

Okay, yeah, I don't vote, but that doesn't mean millions of y'all shouldn't be.

I just thank my lucky stars that the suckfest known as Lisa was around to serve as a buffer this week.

SHAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Amazing Race: Munich to Palermo

This week’s Amazing Race notes now that we’re down to the final eight …

Let’s play a game. Who pronounced Palermo correctly (Puh-LAIR-mo):

The Hippies – Yes
Eric/Jeremy – No
Lake – No
Monica and Joseph – Not even close, then she talks about not being a dumb blonde, which was clearly the editor’s purpose.
Ray and Yolanda – No, he says “Palmeiro,” so either he’s an Orioles fan or takes steroids.
Danielle and Dani – Yes!
Fran/Berry and Dave/Lori we never hear them say it.

For some reason I get really nitpicky about this kind of thing. When Dad and I were vacationing on Margarita Island off the coast of Venezuela back in '94, I would get uppity about the way he pronounced the city we stayed in, Porlamar. I admit, it was a little assholey.

We’re in the ninth season of The Amazing Race, and neither of the Danielles is good at driving stick? What did they expect, to recruit some guy based on their looks to do their bidding?

Fran and Barry are clueless about finding clue boxes.

Even after Ray and Yolanda got horribly lost on the way to Segesto and Lake and Michelle ran a mile in the wrong direction to the Roadblock, Danielle and Dani still couldn’t win. Lucky for Ray and Yolanda that the Danielles were Yielded when Lake apparently didn’t realize they weren’t in last place at the time.

Eric and Jeremy get admonished by Phil for being unhappy in second place, “You think you could be a little more excited?” I love Phil.

Lori and Dave’s nerdness just couldn’t grasp the concept that not all the statue pieces couldn’t fit. Even after Lake finished, she didn’t notice that he had two pieces left. I admit, I was nervous and freaking out for them when they began to panic. If Dave said one piece “has to be part of a thigh” again, I would personally take away his computers for a month.

Lake calls Dave, “Fat Dave,” because he’s bigger than him? That’s his reasoning? Michelle’s bigger than him, too, so does he refer to her as his “fat wife?”

Bye Danielles. You didn’t offer much but whining the last two legs, anyway.

This week's theme: The Un-Idol

One hour, ten singers, better get a move on and keep the songs short. This week's "theme" is the 21st century, i.e. 2000-2006 (2001-is-the-millennium nerds need not apply).

Lucky to still be here, Lisa goes first, and selects "Because of You" by Kelly Clarkson. WARNING! WARNING! Lisa, wave off! Do not buzz the tower! You will be compared with a previous winner, the most successful in show history, and you will fail. And ... she did. Hit a few wrong notes, didn't carry the emotional oomph of Kelly. It made me sad.

Second up, "ballsy" Kellie, who looks a lot younger without all the makeup they pancake on her. Unfortunately, she made upbeat "Suds in a Bucket" sound far too serious and dull. Pretty awful, actually. Maybe Simon would like to take back his prediction a couple of weeks ago that the final three in this season's finals will be Chris, Taylor and Kellie.

Ace goes for "Drops of Jupiter," which is where I wish they’d send him. And as terrible as Lisa and The Pickler just were, he can’t be any worse. Almost. He was pretty bad, straining to match any of the right notes with his back-of-the-throat style. We’re 0-for-3, folks, and the judges have agreed with me (even Paula’s on her meds). Will anyone provide the Wow Factor tonight?

I don’t think Taylor has ever tried a contemporary song in his act, so let’s see where he goes with this. Okay, I admit, I’ve never heard of Ray LaMontagne or his song "Trouble." (And yet I spelled his name correctly on the first shot. Yay me.) Maybe someone should tell Taylor that the reason no one’s ever performed it on this show is because no one in the audience has any clue who the guy is, even if you do say the word trouble six times before anything else. Oh, he’s worrying six times, too. It’s probably not a good sign when the final three words of your song are "I’m in trouble." Apparently Taylor’s going for the manic depressive vote tonight. I’m underwhelmed, but at least he didn’t spaz out.

Mandisa time! Bring it, girlfriend! "Wanna Praise You" is her selection, a gospel song. Pretty sure no one’s ever sung this, either, on "AI." What the heck? She sounds out of breath and is shrieking. This show may be unsavable (is that a word?). Paula says that 40 million people are ready to join the Church of Mandisa, and ends up first in line for the fiery underworld.

Chris, our savior! (Oops, now I’m second in line.) I don’t know this Creed song, and now I know why. It stinks. Yet another bad song choice. We’re six-for-six. Oh sure, Chris’s vocals are fine, but big whoop. No one cared, and I was just hoping he’d stop yelling at me.

Katharine! You can save us! (Dangit, back first in line.) Can the future Mrs. Jeff pull off Christina Aguilera? For one thing, she’s dressed better, no silky nightie on, looking like the 22-year-old hottie in jeans that I love. And she sang? Awesome-ish, at least best of the night so far. *swooning* Randy’s complaint? She sounded too much like Christina. Yeah, like that’s a bad thing. Simon says it’s the best so far, but isn’t exactly smiling and jumping up to take pictures with Katharine with balloons dropping.

Everyone say hi to Bucky. No, wait, come back! Let’s give him a shot with a fun Mr. Faith Hill ditty. Never mind. Bucky does fine, but he doesn’t bring anything to the table. Feel free to get a snack. What’s the best thing ever? Paula saying that Bucky needs to improve his diction. They’re pointing this out now, what we’ve all known for six weeks? I was calling him Boomhauer of "King of the Hill" from the start!

Paris, what have you got, sweetheart? She works it out, alright. Sassy filly, that one. I don’t have anything else. I’m typing this while watching my DVR recording at 2:30 a.m. after work. My bed is calling me … "Jeff, snuggle up. You know you want to read the comics section, watch 'Family Guy' and lay your head on the pillow dreaming of Katharine McPhee." Yes, yes I do.

Not a good sign? Me wondering who the tenth performer is after the break. Oh yeah, Elliott’s left. He tries to be a tough guy, slips up a sentence doing some shaky choreography and sounds like a karaoke singer after three beers. The lyrics talk about not being something anything other than you’ve been lately, but that’s exactly what Elliott just did. For the first time, Randy disagrees with me. Paula calls him a "funky white boy," and all of us funky white boys (stop laughing) died a little inside.

My verdict? Bye, Lisa. But can you take Ace out with you? Maybe trip Bucky down the steps?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

No mas!

New Red Sox hothead pitcher Julian Tavarez completed all of the steps in the "How To" book of getting suspended yesterday by instigating a fight with Tampa Bay outfielder Joey Gathright:
A week away from Opening Day, Red Sox pitcher Julian Tavarez faces the likelihood of disciplinary action from Major League Baseball after punching Devil Rays outfielder Joey Gathright in the chin after a tag play at home plate Monday afternoon in City of Palms Park.

The play took place in the eighth inning of the Sox’ 12-11 win over the Devil Rays at City of Palms Park. Tavarez was covering the plate because the catcher Ken Huckaby had Julio Lugo caught between first and second after his base hit sent Gathright to third. Huckaby ran toward Lugo, then threw to second baseman Zach Borowiak, a Sox minor-leaguer.

Gathright broke to the plate, Borowiak threw home, and Tavarez tagged the runner out. A frame by frame examination of photographs taken of the play, however, show Tavarez stepping on Gathright's left arm after the play and possibly was saying something to the Devil Rays player.



Gathright placed his hand on Tavarez's left knee and attempted to push it away, at which point Tavarez cocked his right fist. Gathright was still on one knee when Tavarez threw a roundhouse right, catching Gathright in the area of his chin and knocking his batting helmet off. Tavarez can then be seen pulling back his arm and throwing another punch, which appeared to glance off Gathright's shoulder.





Devil Rays teammates Carl Crawford and Greg Norton grabbed Tavarez, and Norton body-slammed Tavarez to the ground, Crawford on Norton's back, with Gathright underneath the players. Both benches emptied -- Trent Durrington was in the middle of the pile -- and both Tavarez and Gathright were ejected. When Hee Seop Choi was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the eighth by Wayne Franklin, umpires warned both teams.


Hello! Memphis! Hello!

Kudos to WMC superstar reporter George Brown for being on Larry King Live last night. Very cool.

Jeff reviews "Inside Man"

This doesn't happen often. Okay, never. I'm going to recommend a Spike Lee movie, Inside Man, and do so with gusto.

I admit, normally if the words "A Spike Lee Joint" came on during the credits of a movie I was seeing, I would stand up, curse loudly and use a pretzel as a weapon to take the audience hostage, demanding reparations for my ticket, a bus and a plane to New York where I would be allowed to slash Lee's tires before surrendering.

I take it back. Be not afraid this time. Inside Man may be directed by Lee, but you wouldn't know it unless his name was in the credits. That, plus the little plays on racial politics and the New York City setting (what, a cops-and-robbers flick in Kansas City? As if.). This one never delves into "kill whitey," though, and plays more like a Chris Rock routine where all sides take a hit and laugh about it.

I haven't seen the last few Denzel police action flicks and skipped Jodie's most recent thrillers, but after seeing almost every review was positive I gave this seemingly rote heist thriller movie a chance.

An homage to Dog Day Afternoon, Clive Owen is the robber who takes over a bank, ends up surrounded by cops and orchestrates the situation as everything gets all wiggy wacky. Clive has a "leave the gun, take the cannolis" approach to bank robbery. Movie heists are never "just about the money."

Jodie may be featured in all the advertising, but this is squarely Denzel's picture. Jodie has a small, if important, role as a power broker with the mayor's ear. She's quite good, and when they're on screen together you can just feel the whole of Hollywood moviestar history grinning down on them.

The impressive ensemble cast includes Willem Dafoe as a command post captain and Christopher Plummer as the sketchy bank owner who may or may not have a vested interest in the robbery.

Since we all know how the plot will turn, the story stays fresh by revealing bits and pieces at a time, flashing forward to interrogations with hostages who may or may not be hostage-takers. Even then, the extended ending requires an overabundance of exposition to explain the whys and hows of what just happened.

Only one thing bothered me. Near the end, Denzel is encouraged to drop the follow-up and told that the public has moved on. Trust me, as a guy who still reports on Natalee Holloway on my news, no one would just forget this odd robbery occurred and ended in mystery. Ever hear of D.B. Cooper? The mystery makes it even more newsworthy. The hostage crisis would warrant continuing coverage and a big "Developing Story" font, but the mystery would make for six-page Sunday special stories.

That's a minor quibble. I'm going to heartily recommend Inside Man because Lee's film looks good, flows smoothly, the language snaps without being typical cop flick stuff, and it's full of good humor and intrigue.

Yes, Spike Lee made a film I like. The world is truly changing its axis.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The whacky world of baseball

Two items from Deadspin today proved that baseball players are either weirder than the rest of us, or it's something to do with players for the damn Yankees.

First up, ex-Red Sox Johnny Damon, whose wife wants to put a swing in their new New York home. And I'm not talking about a swingset.

Next, Roger Clemens, who rubs Icy Hot on his diddly do area to prepare for pitching a game.

Even weirder was A-Rod, who likes to dangle from a noose before games to prepare himself for a playoff atmosphere.

Final Bore

If you see these guys, buy them a drink. Out of millions of brackets on ESPN.com, four picked the Final Four of LSU, UCLA, Florida and George Mason.

I'm not alone in my misery, at least (that's right, I'm taking all of you down with me!): 66 percent of all brackets had zero Final Four teams.

That's what I'm talking about


  • From the city of tolerance comes this heartwarming tale of open-mindedness:
    More than 25,000 evangelical Christian youth landed Friday in San Francisco for a two-day rally at AT&T Park against "the virtue terrorism" of popular culture, and they were greeted by an official city condemnation and a clutch of protesters who said their event amounted to a "fascist mega-pep rally."
    Opponents were seen carrying a banner reading "We'll support the Jesus freaks when they shoot their preachers."

  • A former aide to Fidel Castro spills the beans that the Cuban dictator burns his underwear, likes expensive Spanish ham and he and his brothers have as many as 300 cars for them, their families, and their bodyguards.

    John Kerry saw the demands and shrugged, "Hell, I get more perks at the Burlington Lions Club."

  • A student in Iowa spent his spring break at Wal-Mart without telling the store he was doing so. Store officials said they suspected something was up because even after 41 hours he smelled better than the normal clientele.

    (Hat tip: Tim Ellsworth.)

  • The Massachusetts State Lottery today said it will introduce a Red Sox scratch-ticket game, in which players can win everything from season tickets for life to cruise packages to jerseys used in games, as well as more traditional cash prizes of up to $1 million.

    Winners must scratch off three boxes that underneath says “Yankees suck” over a picture of A-Rod kissing Jeter.

Keep it short and pithy

The latest quotable Vents posted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (registration required - use this):

- Figures. The Cobb County emergency weather warning system test was postponed because of bad weather.
- The kids at my son’s school appear to be walking report cards – the lower the pants, the lower the grades.
- Ever wonder why Noah didn’t swat those two mosquitoes?
- My grandpa went hunting with Dick Cheney, and all I got was this T-shirt full of holes.
- Seeing all those Olympic ice dancers falling on their derrieres was almost as much fun as watching a multi-car NASCAR wreck.
- I saw the FEMA float at a Mardis Gras parade. It was broken down, but nobody would get off.
- I’ve invented a quiet leaf blower. I’m calling it the rake.
- I’ve finally figured out the oil companies’ law of supply and demand. They have the supply, and we have to pay what they demand.
- Has anybody ever disappeared into thick air?
- I’m working with a whole bunch of turkeys, and I was just wondering if there’s any chance of catching the bird flu.
- To all you good church-going men who block the fire lane at Publix while your wife runs in for one or two things: God would want you to find a parking spot.
- Forget sex. As a 14-year-old, I would have had perfect attendance just to LOOK at that Tampa teacher every day!
- I’m not a housewife, I’m a Home Maintenance Officer.
- I hereby declare today National Political Reversal Day. All conservatives must listen to Air America Radio and all liberals must listen to Rush Limbaugh. Tomorrow is National High Blood Pressure Treatment Day.
- At my age, I don’t mind all my laugh lines. I just wish I could remember what the heck was so funny.
- I got a notice from my neighborhood association telling me we were going to meet in the “colder sack” to talk about improvements.
- Botox is what helps me keep a straight face when I tell people I’m only 29.

Vents I Sent:

- For a group that claims they don’t care what Middle America thinks about their films, Hollywood sure does grumble when box office receipts are down.
- If Bush really wants the Democrats’ heads to explode, he should give the ports deal to Halliburton instead.
- Considering the ports being sold to the UAE are currently under British ownership, how exactly is this selling out the U.S.?
- Wow, those liberals sure are intolerant and close-minded, calling for racial profiling of the nation’s ports.
- Now that liberals are on board with racial profiling our ports, can we please stop patting down blue-haired grandmothers with rebuilt knees at the airport?
- Talk only if you can improve on the silence. (Borrowed.)
- If Bush hadn’t ousted Saddam, protestors would still be in the streets, crying that sanctions were starving to death millions of Iraqi kids.
- I took Ambien, and now I’ve got insomnia because I’m worried about the pot belly I’ve got from eating in my sleep! (Jeff note – Kidding. Never took Ambien.)
- When weeding you garden, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. (Courtesy Grif.net)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

100 Things About Me, 11-20

1-10 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-70 | 71-80 | 81-90 | 91-100 | 101-110 | 111-120 | 121-130 | 131-140 | 141-150 | 151-160 | 141-150 | 161-170

11. When walking around, my wallet is in the back pocket. Sitting down, I transfer it to my front pocket, hence the constant wallet-shape on my jeans, which probably looks like I smoke. Maybe I should stop rolling cigarette packs up in my t-shirt sleeves, too.

12. If I sneeze particularly deep, it reverberates in my body so much that it hurts my groin. That is some serious pain, like a cramp in your leg wakes you up in the middle of the night.

13. I remember walking to the school bus stop one morning as a kid and being very excited checking my calculator watch and watching it at October 9, 1987, and the time was 6:54:32 a.m. (11 years old, already a geek. Go figure.)

14. Ginger Mary Ann.

15. I delete any and all e-mails asking me to forward something. If Bill Gates sends you $100 or God personally thanks you for sending ten people his touching story within ten minutes, I'll apologize.

16. I have a million scraps of paper around my home, because I write down every story, political idea and thought that seems cool or funny (based on what you read here, obviously many are not). I have a pad next to my bed, a pad in the bathroom and in the car. I have gotten pretty good at writing in the dark, especially in movie theaters, since I'm going alone and not making out with a girl in the back.

17. I hate chocolate ice cream, yet I love chocolate candy and fudgesicles. I used to think I was allergic to chocolate, since I got headaches after eating a certain kind of candy, but now I realize I was allergic to nuts and am lactose intolerant. So make that two allergies for the price of one!

18. I don’t like bananas. I love banana pudding and banana milkshakes. I don’t like vanilla wafers in my banana pudding. How does a gooey cookie enhance the experience? I don’t know. I do like vanilla wafers outside the pudding, though.

19. If I was going to be stranded on a desert island, the one food I’d take is a huge batch of Mom’s potato salad. And a fridge to store it. Don't want the mayo going bad, after all. And a generator to run the fridge. And gas for the generator. Maybe I shouldn't get stranded in the first place, after all.

20. Boxer briefs are one of the top five inventions ever, right behind the Internet, DVR TV recording technology, Maxim magazine and Diet Cherry Coke. (I know you're thinking that I missed one, but I can slice my own bread, thankyouverymuch.)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Will the Tigers ever growl?

Memphis is down 39-31 with 9:13 to go. They're lucky to be this close.

Worrisome, indeed.

I don't think I've ever seen so many blown layups, and Memphis couldn't make a three-pointer if the entire UCLA team stayed on the other end of the court playing Texas Hold'em for a half-hour.

For 30 minutes now, I've been keeping calm, saying to myself, "Just wait until they make their customary run, and UCLA will find themselves in a ballgame."

Still waiting.

UPDATE 9:20 - The audio was just interrupted by an Amber Alert on my affiliate. I didn't even mind. Like the announcers were helping anyway. Speaking of, 1:46 left, UCLA up 44-39. Still waiting for that run.

UPDATE 9:35 - Final score: UCLA 50, Memphis 45. Blech. The dream is over. The Tigers usually score 45 points by halftime. They made their first three-pointer in garbage time with 13 seconds left, down by nine. Pathetic. Frankly, I couldn't care less who wins the NCAA tournament from here on out. I'm ready for baseball season. Let's go Red Sox!

UPDATE - Still, it was a season of success. A school-record for wins. A school-record for field goal percentage defense. The first Elite Eight since 1992. The first No. 1 seed in history.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Trailer Park

The Break-Up - One of those rare times when a second trailer does what the first couldn't - get me to see the movie. Besides, I'm a big fan of Aniston and Vaughn, and enjoy the pain of others' relationship failures, so this was a no-brainer. (June 2)

United 93 - A 9/11 movie, at last, and with Oliver Stone coming out with his own at the end of this year, better get the facts out of the way now and let Hollywood spin the conspiracies later. Powerful trailer. Might be a painful film to watch. (April 28)

Apocalypto - Mel Gibson's Mayan flick, and the trailer doesn't mention the fact that it will be told in the ancient language. Good luck getting moviegoers, Mel, 'cause this preview has far too much of a "what the frack?" factor. It's also redundant. There are plenty of shots of well-tanned people with odd sticks poking through their noses and surprised looks, but nothing in terms of what to expect.

The Sentinel - Michael Douglas is a veteran Secret Service agent framed for attempted assassination, goes on the run and Keifer Sutherland and Eva Longoria will undoubtedly be the agents who believe him and help him thwart the real killer at the last minute. I'm guessing. (April 21)

The Da Vinci Code - I have stopped being offended by the premise of this book-turned-movie, and will give it my undivided attention with Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou starring. Fine, Jesus made sweet sweet love and had a kid. Whatever. If Ron Howard doesn't mind going straight to Hell after directing it, I'll get behind the entire crew in line after seeing it. (May 19)

Poseidon - I'm not sure why I should care, since I've seen the original Poseidon Adventure and Titanic. Big boat, big ocean, extravagant deaths. Yippee. (May 12)

Everything leads to Saturday at 7

Not much doing on this, my Sunday. Saw Denzel and Jodie's new flick, Inside Man, went to Target to buy stuff I didn't really need (new pajama shorts; a USA Winter Olympics beret - it was on clearance!; and Smart Ones frozen dinners were on sale). (Though it hasn't hit 60 yet.)

Every time I go to Target just for the heck of it, I don't get a cart or a basket, figuring at most I'll get one or two inconsequential items. Every time I end up going back up front to pick up a basket or cart when I end up with several items or one or two large items. Think Target will sponsor my bankruptcy filing?

As lazy as today was, tomorrow's agenda is much more important:

Work 10a-6p.

4:40p - The NCAA regional final at the Georgia Dome between Texas and LSU tips off.

7 - The Hawks play the Mavs next door at Philips Arena. So long as the next director gets there right at 6, I should be able to head north against incoming traffic and beat the Dome crowd out of downtown, since ....

7:05p = Memphis vs. UCLA in the Oakland region final. At tip-off, life officially is suspended until the game is over. Should the Tigers advance to the Final Four, life continues to lie still for the next week. Just a warning.

Oh look, there's a sale on nuts

Actor Charlie Sheen has become a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, officially confirming that he's the 1/2 in "Two and a Half Men."

What other disasters does Sheen blame on the government? The Hindenburg, Titanic, tsunami, prostitution laws, alien abductions and Men at Work.

Charity starts at home

U.S. and British soldiers rescued three so-called Christian aid workers from nearly four months of captivity in Iraq on Thursday. The Christian Peacemaker Teams are in Iraq trying to log instances of civil rights abuses by coalition forces.

The three were abducted November 26 in Baghdad along with a fourth member of their team, American Tom Fox, who was found dead on a street on March 9. His body had gunshot wounds to the head and chest and showed signs of torture with hands and feet bound.

The previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigades claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

CPT posted a statement on its Web site expressing joy in the hostages' release but also criticizing the U.S.-led operation in Iraq:
"We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq," the statement said. "The occupation must end."
So the CPT went to a war zone to find abuses by Western troops, were kidnapped and tortured by Islamic enemies of America, are rescued by the U.S. and Britain and then blame us for being there in the first place.

UPDATE - Mark Steyn puts it best, as usual:
The stunted morality of these Christian "Peacemakers" is apparently boundless. They evidently didn't grasp the lesson of their long capture and the murder of their comrade - that, even if you spend weeks on end with them and even if you agree with them, the jihadists still decline to acknowledge even the most basic common humanity. Even though you're objectively on their side, to the jihad you're still "the other". The late Mr. Fox didn't need to acquire Stockholm Syndrome: he was already on the "insurgents''' side. But they killed him anyway.

You should see the Peruvian Grim Reaper Taxis

Today's headline:

"Chilean death bus wasn't licensed."

Actually, I'd be surprised if it was.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Elite Eight

How ‘bout them Tigers!

Sure, the first half I was pulling my hair out, but then I remembered that the Tigers always look sloppy. You just have to be patient until all-of-a-sudden these amazing athletes are ten points up and the other team is looking at their coach, all, “What happened?”

Final score, Memphis 80, Bradley 64.







As expected, I had to go to the sports bar to see the game, since the Duke-LSU game was being played downtown and aired locally. Except for having to strip naked immediately when I got home and take a shower to get the smoke out of my clothes and body, it was worth it.

Be there, Saturday evening, 7 p.m. EST. No. 1 seed Memphis versus the No. 2 seed, UCLA. Revenge for the ’73 title game? I think the Tigers are due, don’t you?

And hey, what do you know, I work 10-6 Saturday, so I’ll actually be home watching this time. I’m happy as a clam about this, and you know how jovial clams can get.

Bush is Hitler, blah blah blah

Just in case you weren't aware just how badly high-ranking government officials in France and Russia wanted to protect their oil-for-food money and thwart U.S. efforts to oust Saddam:
Two Iraqi documents dated in March 2003 — on the eve of the U.S.-led invasion — and addressed to the secretary of Saddam Hussein, describe details of a U.S. plan for war. According to the documents, the plan was disclosed to the Iraqis by the Russian ambassador.

The first document (CMPC-2003-001950) is a handwritten account of a meeting with the Russian ambassador that details his description of the composition, size, location and type of U.S. military forces arrayed in the Gulf and Jordan. The document includes the exact numbers of tanks, armored vehicles, different types of aircraft, missiles, helicopters, aircraft carriers, and other forces, and also includes their exact locations. The ambassador also described the positions of two Special Forces units.

The second document (CMPC-2004-001117) is a typed account, signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hammam Abdel Khaleq, that states that the Russian ambassador has told the Iraqis that the United States was planning to deploy its force into Iraq from Basra in the South and up the Euphrates, and would avoid entering major cities on the way to Baghdad, which is, in fact what happened. The documents also state "Americans are also planning on taking control of the oil fields in Kirkuk." The information was obtained by the Russians from "sources at U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar," according to the document.

This document also includes an account of an amusing incident in which several Iraqi Army officers (presumably seeking further elaboration of the U.S. war plans) contacted the Russian Embassy in Baghdad and stated that the ambassador was their source. Needless to say, this caused great embarrassment to the ambassador, and the officers were instructed "not to mention the ambassador again in that context."
Remember, the Bush administration never said that Saddam planned 9/11 with bin Laden, only that the U.S. will go after anyone who supports terrorism across the globe. As it turns out, what we knew already keeps coming out more and more in newly translated documents that Saddam knew the Taliban and bin Laden's posse quite well:
A newly released prewar Iraqi document indicates that an official representative of Saddam Hussein's government met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan on February 19, 1995, after receiving approval from Saddam Hussein. Bin Laden asked that Iraq broadcast the lectures of Suleiman al Ouda, a radical Saudi preacher, and suggested "carrying out joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. According to the document, Saddam's presidency was informed of the details of the meeting on March 4, 1995, and Saddam agreed to dedicate a program for them on the radio. The document states that further "development of the relationship and cooperation between the two parties to be left according to what's open [in the future] based on dialogue and agreement on other ways of cooperation." The Sudanese were informed about the agreement to dedicate the program on the radio.

The report then states that "Saudi opposition figure" bin Laden had to leave Sudan in July 1996 after it was accused of harboring terrorists. It says information indicated he was in Afghanistan. "The relationship with him is still through the Sudanese. We're currently working on activating this relationship through a new channel in light of his current location," it states.
But hey, we just want Iraq's oil, so what do I know?

Order of the Phoenix news

(Insert sigh of relief.)

After troublesome speculation, Harry Potter's godfather will indeed be played by the only actor for the job, Gary Oldman.


(Hat tip: Semaj.)

Weight off my mind

Today is a Good Day. The Red Sox are playing on ESPN right now, Memphis plays tonight in the Sweet 16, and I just got back from my first weigh-in at Weight Watchers.

Drum roll please .......

… wait, I don't know how to play drums ....

...

I lost six pounds this week.

Not a bad start. I think I'll order a pizza to celebrate.

Kidding.

But I do have to be careful tonight. Since the Atlanta regional plays downtown at the same time, the Memphis game isn't on my local affiliate (big shock there) so I'll be heading to the sports bar. Maybe a grilled chicken sandwich and a baked tater, maybe a cup of chili, but absolutely no plate of nachos or wings. Promise.

I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive driving to the center this morning. I was feeling a little bloaty and had a bowl of oatmeal an hour before the meeting, and at my size you can’t really tell any difference until you lose several pounds. Or that's what I tell myself to make up for the fact that I've been a pig for fifteen years.

I wore the same outfit as last week just to make sure the variables were limited, but if I’m feeling particularly guilty one week in the future I’ll end up wearing shorts instead of jeans, no socks and flip-flops. Is that cheating the weigh-in? 'Cause I'll totally do it and not feel guilty. I'll shave my head, too, if it would help.

At least I can take a deep breath. I didn't know if I was given too many points to start, so I'm terrified to use my Weekly Allowance. I'm allowed 34 points a day, yet they offer me 35 free points for the week? Who are they the Fat Fairies, sprinkling pixie dust to make the fat go away with limited effort? That would be wicked cool.

I just figure I'm miscalculating my day-to-day points anyway, wondering if some foods have hidden points that aren't visible to WW’s eye, so I didn’t use any of my allowance and averaged 32 points a day. Being 6'4, I figure if I don't give them time, the points won't spread out and it's possible my infuriating love handles will be the first to go.

I also don’t count activity points, despite the fact that I work out five days a week all the time anyway. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I spent an hour a day alternating between crosstrainers, exercise bike and treadmill, and last weekend I spent an hour riding my new mountain bike around the neighborhood. As soon as it warms up again, I'm taking the clubs out to the course to test my will power when the cute beverage cart girls come wheeling around to show off their goodies. And the snacks aren't bad, either. (Ba-Dum-Pum!) (Still can't play the drums. Where's that coming from?)

I’m going with 34 points per day, and that’s it. Of course, if I lose six more pounds this week, my limit will drop to 33 a day. Not that it matters, my body will probably go into starvation mode and hold on to my fat with sharp, pointy damnable claws, but we’ll see.

(Remember ladies, this can all be yours.)

Keep Jeff accountable
Starting weight (March 16, 2006) - 362.2
Current weight (March 23, 2006) - 356.2
Goal (March 24, 2006) - 200

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Random musings


  • In case you missed it yesterday, during the 2p show there was a small fire directly above anchors Linda Stouffer and Chuck Roberts. The story and video can be found via TV Newser. The fire wasn't big and we ran a section off the digital server before coming back a few minutes later. Who knew there were such risks when I chose this profession? Linda tried to stick with the story she was reading, but Chuck was adamant about getting the heck out of there. If the switcher caught on fire with me in the control room, you wouldn't ever see a shot change on air 'cause my tail would be outta there.

  • Speaking of, I know this isn't an original idea, but I hate pain. I see TV cop shows where they endure a lot of agony to get the bad guys, but that's TV, where Rosie O'Donnell once had a popular talk show, so none of it's real. On TV, pain doesn't look so bad. Frack that. Pain sucks. Those people called "cutters" who cut themselves on purpose, that's whack, yo.

    Emotional pain? Nah. I'm a guy, I can turn it off with a flick of the switch and be all Captain Kirk with that "I need my pain!" spiel. But physical pain? No sir, no way.

    Let's just say that if I was in a room with a bad guy and he said, "Give us the nuclear codes or we'll step on your toes," I'd say, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5."

    In other words, I'm Prince Humperdink, not the Dread Pirate Roberts.

  • Beep! Beep! My Cool Gadget Alert is at Code Green (as in the color of money). I am all over this Nokia Internet Tablet. The size of a book, it uses WiFi to log on, plus I can use the stylus to write on the tablet without having to type everything, and adapts to read my own horrible handwriting. For $360, I am so there. Stay tuned.

  • Where did people yell "fire!" before crowded theaters were built?

  • Commemorating the final season of TV witch show Charmed, on the cover of my TV Week Sunday insert a few weeks back was ginormous picture of Rose McGowan, better known as Shannen Doherty’s replacement four seasons into the show. What gives? Don’t Alyssa Milano and Holly Marie Combs deserve the cover treatment? They’ve been there since the start, they’re prettier and McGowan’s acting is the cinematic equivalent of an ice cream headache.

  • I have been introduced to the joy that is Candystand.com. I have mastered the miniature golf, now it's time to be the Barry Bonds of Home Run Rally. By that I mean, if it takes cheating, I'm fine with that.

  • What do y'all do when there's a scrap of litter on the floor in public? You know you should pick it up, since littering makes Indians cry and all, but do you make the effort to bend down, pick it up and find a trashcan?

    What happens if you pick it up, toss it towards the trash but miss? Now you have to make double the effort. After all, you tried once, so the universe can't hold it against you, right?

    This weekend during a particularly windy day I was in the parking lot at Target when a bag of trash flew towards me and I stepped on it with my foot, picked it up and put it in the trash. A cute woman behind me said I'd done my "good deed for the day." Indeed. She knew the rule; you see it, you trash it.

    Yes, these are the things I think about without having a wife or children to blog about.

Kevin off Idol

I think someone has to say it. Barry Manilow's voice was awful tonight, and based on the promo for his live DVD, this wasn't a one-time thing.

Ace survives. *sigh* Obviously the giggling 10-year-old girls rallied last night in the chat rooms to spread the word after his bottom three finish last week.

Kellie asked "what's a ballsy?" It's an act, isn't it? She's not like that for real, right?

The bottom three: Kevin, Lisa and Bucky. I was fine with any of them leaving, but mostly Kevin and Bucky.

Thankfully, it was Kevin who got the boot. I will not miss him. He may have played the loveable nerd part, but he didn't have the voice to make up for the look. And Ryan's Chicken Little comparisons may have sunk Kevin more than his singing. I'd sue Seacrest for libel.

Sometimes you have to break some bottles to get the clue

The Amazing Race proves why we watch the show: International coolness. Speeding down a Mercedes test course so fast that you take the 80-degree curve sideways. Even better, breaking (stunt) bottles over your partner's head. Awesome. Even better, as much fun as that was, the smarter route actually looked tougher, learning and performing a German dance.

Phil (peace be upon him) employed the eyebrow pop at Eric and Jeremy's girl-craziness again, but this time I was with the boys. That Bavarian blonde was a cutie. Even the hippies took a break from acting stupid to say hi.

Speaking of, when the hippies ran to the mat backwards, they officially became dead to me. Must they have a shtick for every since piece of the race?

Unfortunately, Wanda and Desiree had a spat, panicked and as a result, were last and eliminated. Bummer. I'll miss Desiree, She's movie star pretty, and a sweetheart. She just got flustered during the drive and it carried over into the Roadblock. I blame the frackin' Travelocity gnome.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Idol on Fox

Currently at work until 2 a.m., so I taped American Idol and am watching it in bits and pieces. I haven't heard anyone yet, but I'm pretty sure Kevin, Bucky and Ace need to go. Or that's just my bias.

Right now, Katharine, aka Future Mrs. Thanks For Noticing Me. Apparently this is Oldies Night, what with Barry Manilow. Katharine? Wearing this silky, slinky number that's, well, could someone turn down the heat in B-Control? Seriously, she's like ten ways to awesome. Finally, Simon has become at Katharine fan, and that's only good. Vote for her, America! I demand it!

UPDATE 9:11 - Taylor is just so affected he annoys me. He wasn't near as spazzy this week, but not especially entertaining, either.

Lisa? Bye, sweetheart. Her performance was rinky dinky (technical singing jargon) and gave me no reason to believe she deserves to make the top ten, let alone the top six. I never felt like she was singing the correct key, like the song needed changes and she was staying on the same one. Randy says the perfomance was "just alright." Paula only points out her youthfulness, but doesn't mention how she sang this song, and Simon calls her out on it: "Shall I judge the singing or the dancing, Paula?"

UPDATE 9:18 - Ad break. "24" ratchets up the Awesome Level to 9.99 next week when Jack gives Audrey the throat-grab! I'm going to record this on DVR, VCR and etch it in stone.

UPDATE 9:24 - Barry Manilow told Kevin to sing "When I Fall in Love" vulnerably. What I'm hoping? That's he's vulnerable to the chopping block tomorrow night. No love here.

UPDATE 9:35 - Elliott's best yet, but since they just showed Constantine in the audience, pardon me while I puke in the wastebucket.

UPDATE 9:41 - Barry Manilow just admitted that he's never heard of the Patsy Cline song "Walking After Midnight." What the heck? Is he kidding? What's next, "I never heard of this fun ditty, "Good Vibrations." What young group is this? Kellie sang it very well, and the power of her boobs just popped the lapel mic on her shirt. Rowr.

UPDATE 9:55 - Did all of the judges just acknowledge that Ace can't sing but it doesn't matter since he's "sexy"? That sound you just heard? I died a little inside.

UPDATE 12:33a - Back to the competition and from the beginning ... Mandisa can do any song, any genre, anything she wants. What class, what style. Top three with a flourish, dollface.

I don't get Bucky. How'd he make the top 12? It was something with Scientology, wasn't it? Anyone seen he and Isaac Hayes at a get-together?

Paris is next, and ooh la la, she's got the fever! Simon may say this about Kellie, but Paris is this year's saucy minx.

Chris tackles Johnny Cash and "I Walk the Line," making it his own, rock style. He could release this as a single and make bookoos bucks. Dude is great, and if he's not in the top three I'll be surprised, angry and not responsible for my actions.

UPDATE 12:40a - The best of the night: Chris, Mandisa, Katharine, Kellie. In trouble: Lisa, Kevin, Bucky. Dead to me: Ace.

Arrrrggghhhhhh

This is killing me. I can't pull up the NAIA women's championship where I'm sitting at work because the satellite feed is being fed somewhere I can't route up. And who in this world has the CSTV network anyway? Is it on Direct TV?

Turning to the NAIA Game Tracker for backup isn't helping. When it launced at 6, I kept wondering if the game was starting late due to festivities, but no, at 6:20 an update pops up, showing Union down 19-18 to Lubbock Christian. It hasn't updated since, when it's supposed to do so continually. I'm in the dark. The NAIA blows.

UPDATE 7:58 - The stupid thingamajig updated again, and Union's women are up 41-30 at halftime.

UPDATE 8:54 - No updates since halftime. HATE.

UPDATE 9:26 - Still nothing. Note to the NAIA - do not use DakStats next year to run your online Game Tracker. Nothing's come across the news wire, either. What year is this, 1990?

UPDATE 9:50 - Tim says in the comments that Union won, but I've seen nothing. Ridiculous. Judging by the NAIA's women's basketball site you'd never even know there's a championship tournament going on. What a lame organization. I could run that website better during my down time here at work.

UDATE 9:53 - Um, okay, the shopping site is update with Union title shirts available, so when they want money the NAIA is quick on the draw.

UPDATE 10:50 - It's official. The first report from The Jackson Sun:
Union repeats

Union was able to claim its second consecutive NAIA women's basketball title without having to sweat in the final minutes, cruising to a 79-62 victory over Lubbock Christian on Tuesday night at Oman Arena.

The Lady Bulldogs' post controlled the game throughout as freshman Josephine Owino scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Junior Natanya Smith scored 16 points and had 14 rebounds.

It is the third national title in Union's history, the others coming in 1998 and 2005. The Lady Bulldogs (30-6) won 14 of their final 15 games this season.


The game was close in the first half until Union used a 16-0 run midway through the first half to take a 38-26 lead and never came close to trailing again.


After the game, Union's Mark Campbell was named NAIA coach of the year.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Curse you, Dan

This doesn't surprise me at all, Boston Globe columnist moron du jour, Dan Shaughnessy, writing that he was supporting Cuba in the World Baseball Classic.

His reasoning?
I'm rooting for the guys who put team above self. I'm rooting for the guys who make $20 a month to play baseball and cling to a free sweat suit like it's gold, guys who play the game the way it's supposed to be played.
Hey Dan, why don't you try to ask the Cubans - in private, anonymously, without their minders - if they'd rather be in the States making Major League salaries like defectors Orlando Hernandez, Jose Contreras and Livan Hernandez, buying brand new sweatsuits every day? Instead of playing only for titles like the WBC, they would have a chance at glory in the World Series; all three of the aforementioned players having won at least one.

Maybe Dan could personally fly to Havana and sit down with Fidel and ask the dictator to allow players from Cuba to travel freely to and from the States to play in the majors.

UPDATE: Shaughnessy just revealed he was rooting for Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, and thinks the Others on "Lost" are happy-go-lucky fishermen who should be left alone.

UPDATE II: More research shows that Dan was also rooting for the birds in The Birds, and hopes the bird flu is able to make the airborne leap from animals to humans.

Title Tuesday

While I have to wait until Thursday to see Memphis in the sweet 16 of the NCAA tourney, Tuesday holds a fair chance that my alma mater will be crowned champions of the NAIA for the second consecutive year.

The No. 4 Union Lady Dawgs won their semifinal matchup against a team called The Master's - which sounds like a school for Bond villains - and take on No. 23 Lubbock Christian in the championship Tuesday night. If you get CSTV they play at 7 p.m. EST, so hopefully I can watch at work.

At Union we were required to attend 21 chapels per semester (though I'm quite proud at how I could get them reduced significantly due to extracurricular activities - you can see how well the school influenced my devoutness.) (Oh, and now it’s just 14 per semester.). Lubbock Christian, however, may have God's ear more than Union, since the Church of Christ school requires students to attend chapel every Monday through Thursday, Friday is voluntary, and you only get 14 excused absences per semester.

Those going over their allowed chapel absences face potential of campus probationary actions including not being able to pledge clubs, forfeiting scholarship money, and other school related activities. "Students continuing to show blatant disregard for chapel attendance policies will be subject to immediate suspension."

In other words, "YOU WILL COME WORSHIP THE LORD OUR SAVIOR OR WE WILL BRING THE THUNDER!"

It's not in the handbook, but I also heard that all Lubbock Christian faculty are Communists and most of the incoming freshmen were voted "Most likely to eat kittens" in high school.

Talk about buzzkills. The cheerleader page lists their favorite verses.

What else can I talk smack about? Lubbock Christian's nickname is the Chaps, short for Chaparral, which Dictionary.com says it's either 1. A biome characterized by hot dry summers and cool moist winters and dominated by a dense growth of mostly small-leaved evergreen shrubs, as that found in the foothills of California, or 2. A dense thicket of shrubs and small trees.

The university's newspaper is the DusterToday, so I guess they're real proud of living in an area of the country that few others would tolerate. Average summer temperature: 911 degrees. No lie. It's science. The average precipitation is described as "spit in your hand. Congrats. You just doubled our annual rainfall."

Have I mentioned that in Jackson there are actual seasons, not to mention trees and lakes? Oh, and Jackson is 80 miles from Memphis and 120 miles from Nashville. Lubbock? Middle of nowhere. Leave town and all the signs say "Comanche country. Watch for incoming arrows."

Here's a stumper. Prominent attendee of LCU? Meat Loaf. I really hope he wrote "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" or "Bat Out of Hell" while at Lubbock Christian. Maybe the Union pep band should play those songs during the game tomorrow.

Jackson was the home of rock legend Carl Perkins. Mr. Loaf isn't worthy to hold Carl's blue suede shoes.

And that's why Union will win yet another national championship in women's basketball.

Luna queso es muy bueno

Check out Google's tribute to the Apollo landings with a NASA imagery interface of the sites.

Zoom all the win, though, and you might be interested in their exclusive proof of what we already suspected about the moon's surface.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Little Jefflets of Love


  • I’m no frackin’ computer genius, but I curse iTunes with every fiber of my being tonight. The other day they asked if I wanted to upgrade to iTunes 6.0.4. No big deal. I usually download the upgrades with every other update, but this time it froze my computer, wouldn’t open correctly the next time, and tonight when I hooked up my iPod and walked away, I returned to find it automatically updating my iPod, erasing dozens of songs purchased and lost during my previous computer disaster.

    Thankfully the majority were backed up on CD, but not all, and it turns out that when the iTunes downloaded this time, it switched my options to automatically update the iPod and Podcasts instead of my choice, the manual option. Frack you, Steve Jobs. What, you’re hoping we develop Stockholm Syndrome after you’ve worked us over and threatened our computers for these many years? Is this a brainwashing tactic? It’s not Steve’s fault. After all, I should know better. Yes sir, I’ll buy that $1,000 iPod cover with diamond stud.

    Weren’t computers supposed to make life easier and less stressful? I mean, besides the naked pictures? Instead, I’m spending my Sunday night re-downloading CDs onto my iTunes to re-upload and arrange my iPod.

  • I can’t help but wonder if any of the anti-war protestors marching this weekend, were there any signs supporting the Ladies in White commemorating a crackdown that jailed 75 opponents of the Cuban government three years ago. Sixty remain jailed. Where were the protestors when former Miss Czech Republic Helena Houdova was detained by the Cuban police for 11 hours after taking photographs of a slum. Houdova managed to hide the memory card from her digital camera in her bra.

  • Here’s a first for me, due to the Weight Watchers diet. I had a 12-inch veggie sub at Subway tonight. Sorry, “veggie delight.” The key is to pile on the veggies so that the sandwich is still thick and cruncy. The mayonnaise and bag of Doritos didn’t hurt, either. (I kid. I had fat-free honey mustard and pretzels.)

  • Trekpassions.com advertises itself as a 100% Free Dating & Personals for Singles into Sci Fi. In case you’re interested in hitting on chicks while debating who’s better as the lonely interloper representing the exploration of humanity, Data or Odo, for every Leeruien (yummy), there’s the stereotypically strange sci-fi fan, such as Bashir Babe.

    (Oh, and Odo, hands down. I could never date a Data fan.)

Madness!

You'd think, being at work I'd be able to pull up the Memphis game on one of our satellite routers. You'd be wrong. I'm watching the Tigers using the CBS/NCAA March Madness on Demand, watching streaming video.

Oh well, at least I'm able to take a break and see them up 27-15 currently, so no complaints. Thank you, CBS and NCAA, for making this service free.


UPDATE 3:08 - In his column yesterday, Geoff Calkins digs and discovers that Thursday hero Andre Allen was named for another spritely Tigers guard, Andre Turner. I wonder how many Keiths and Elliotts are out there for similar reasons? Me, my first son will be named Baskerville, as in 80s sensation Baskerville Holmes. No? How about Anfernee? Any takers? Did I ever mention how proud it made me feel that my church - Merton Avenue Baptist - was on the same street where Anfernee was shot in the foot during an attempted robbery?

Oh, crud. I must not have been paying attention my senior of college and didn't realize that Holmes died in a murder/suicide back in '97. My condolences to his family and his victim's family, his girlfriend of six years. (Sorry, didn't mean to turn this into a bummer.)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

About Jeff

11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-70 | 71-80 | 81-90 | 91-100 | 101-110 | 111-120 | 121-130 | 131-140 | 141-150 | 151-160 | 141-150 | 161-170

One of the popular - and self-centered - blog trends is to post 100 things about yourself, whether basic facts, quirks, sexual partners, pet peeves, etc.

I’m as self-centered as they come and a slave to Internet trends, so I might as well do a roll call of my traits.

Instead of one giant list that you’ll never read due to the sheer volume of information and time it takes to process (not to mention tire of the stupid jokes), I’m going to break down my catalogue into bite-size pieces.

-------------------

1. I totally stole this ten-at-a-time idea from Internet Quasi-Celebrity Jason Mulgrew.

2. I think Carrot Top is funny. You may now cast the first stone.

3. I check the mail once a week. Nothing but bills, anyway, with the exception of looking for an Amazon.com package to fill my single, lonely time.

4. I haven't owned a brush since the first week of college. Wash, dry and let it go is now my creed, not even paying attention to the cowlick that was so bad that I once broke a mirror with a brush because of it.

5. I have attended an Air Supply concert. And enjoyed it.

6. Favorite comic strips: Get Fuzzy, Pearls Before Swine, Fox Trot, and Garfield. I read the two-page comics section second page first, and first page bottom up to end at Get Fuzzy every time.

7. I "bleed" on almost every page of a book with notations of thoughts, underlining points in red pen, and then fold the corner of the page as a reminder. Seriously, in a 600-page book, I'll probably end up with 200 creases.

8. As a young'un, circa ages 9-14, I would shoot hoops in the driveway, playing out entire seasons of college basketball. This included my own top 25 rankings and every game of the NCAA tournament (many a game was decided on a last-minute shot from the sidewalk or falling out of bounds by the carport), keeping thick notebooks of fake standings and stats. Everyone's favorite star, "Jeff," (duh) played for Tulsa (I have no idea why) before transferring to Syracuse in a dramatic move. Tulsa officials cried.

9. I always have to have the last word.

10. Seriously, I do.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Tiger pride



Tigers win! Oral Roberts fought hard, but Memphis’ depth and three-point shooting was too much for the school named after a wacko nutjob. By the end the only drama was whether Coach Cal’s guys could hit the 100-point mark. No go. Final score, Memphis 94, ORU 78.

Next up is Bucknell, Sunday afternoon, which I’ll be watching from work (in case you’re wondering why Headline News is in black all the time and no one seems to be at the switch).

CBS didn’t show the game for most of the second half, so I logged onto Yahoo and listened to the Memphis feed. Talk about nice memories, listening to voice of the Tigers, Dave Woloshin, calling the game on the radio.

It’s too nice of a day to stay inside, though. Earlier I made a Target run, rolling down the windows, opening the sunroof and enjoying the 65-degree sunshine.

It's that time of year, the dogwoods bloom and then the sap starts leaking on my champagne beige baby like a ‘66 Corvair leaks oil. Next? Pollen. So I’ll be seeing this every few days for the next two months:



As soon as Memphis wraps this up, I’m heading back out for groceries, then I’ll take the bike out for a spin around the apartment complex, maybe down to the river (which should be fun on the way down the mountain, not so much the return trip uphill).

Jeff go Bragh!


May your blessings outnumber
The Shamrocks that grow
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

So many points, so little time

It’s official, I’m a Weight Watcher.

At noon today I walked into a local WW Center, paid my $20, and attended my first meeting right then and there.

What was astonishing was my initial weigh-in. The scale at the gym was lower by 30 pounds. Either my jeans weigh 25 pounds, the gym tilts its scales to make you look like you’re making progress, or WW tilts them the other way to make their plan look better. Either way, I’m fat, so why argue?

The lecturer was Connie, a pleasant middle-aged woman with a WW-slimmed figure, graying hair and an enthusiastic disposition. (Not necessarily because of the gray; I’m just giving a description.)

When she started she first said, “We don’t have anyone new here, so let’s get on with the lesson.”

Um, okay, I’m kinda new. Darn, missed my opportunity to talk about myself (a favorite pastime). No chance to wow them with my job at CNN, prowess with my gym regimen, and ability to eat an entire bag of chips and jar of salsa during the first quarter of a football game.

For the meeting she clipped out seven questions and seven answers to those questions and handed out the slips of paper for us to read. One would read the question, we’d discuss and try to figure out the answer, then someone else would read the answer, confirming that we all know what to do but it’s just so daggum difficult to do so.

The questions referred to exercise mostly, but occasionally there was a stirring discussion of whether the 6 ounce WW smoothie can count as a milk for the day when the plan calls for 8 ounce servings. Oh the drama!

Turns out Connie’s daughter, Heather, is on the program and was at the meeting. Heather is a recent college grad, and just watched her older brother and sister get married last fall (Connie mentioned this about three times, referring to the food intake of the average wedding, although we all know she was fishing for sympathy after all that drama, stress, costs and empty nesting. She deserves it, so no worries.).

Considering Heather must be under that “when will I get married” doubt, if I was honest I would have said my first goal is to “get Heather to go out with me,” but I couldn’t find that in the books as an option. Looks like I’ll stick with losing five pounds, then 10 percent of my current weight.

Afterwards, I went home, watched my first two picks of the NCAA Tournament go horribly wrong, and decided to drive fifteen minutes west to the Silver Comet Trail - a 37-mile series of connecting trails going all the way to Alabama - and ride my new bike. Not to Alabama. That’s a hella long way without a gas pedal and easy access to Twizzlers.

The day, she was gorgeous for riding, even if I was out of breath only 1/10th up the first incline.



So far this evening I’ve been frantically calculating everything in the kitchen. Turns out the George Forman grill is 20 points. No fat, but the calories are a knockout.

No, not really. The WW ruler they give us measures fiber, calories and fat to come up with the total points for the food item in question, which leads to a lot of “aw, crap” moments when you realize you can never eat your favorite snack in the pantry again, and if you do you’re a fat pig who deserves to be laughed at by small children. Or something like that.

Next week, the first weigh-in on the diet, so we’ll see if I’ve been a good boy. My money’s on me. The first couple of weeks are a breeze, and then the Mr. Goodbar temptation kicks in. Damned chocolatey-peanut buttery goodness.

By the way, there was one other guy at my meeting, a grandfather named Ollie who had hearing aids in both ears and was coming off heart surgery. I'm pretty sure, then, that he won't take away any potential dates under 40. Maybe. He seemed like a fun fellow, so I'd better watch out.

Edgar's nerve

Apparently Louis Lombardi is upset that "24" killed off his character, Edgar, two weeks ago.

He even went so far as to make this claim: "My character was loved more than any character on that show and you kill him?"

Uh, no Louis, not at all. Yes, I was angry over Edgar's death. Angry that I couldn't guest star on the show and be the one to install the nerve gas that did him in.

Really, did anyone like Edgar? What an annoying, wussy, sweaty character.

And to think, the producers gave that moron the silent clock to end the show.

Politics and sports rarely mix

I knew there was a good reason I don't care about the NBA. Commissioner David Stern has given $781,780 in political contributions, and zero of it has gone to Republicans or conservative groups.

Here's a better sign. Golfer Phil Mickelson donated to GOP congressman J.D. Hayworth, but how did he come up with a number like $705? Did he lose a bet with Hayworth on the course and keep adding five dollars?

Even better. Mike "can beat God in football" Ditka has given $20,788, all to the GOP.

Disappointments: Hank Aaron's $11,461 has gone all to the Dems, as has Andre Agassi's $94,200.

Gives me the willies: MLB Players Union president Donald Fehr hedges his bets, splitting the pot evenly, even giving equal $1,000 payments to W and Algore in 1999. That's slimy.

Pleasant surprises: Mario Andretti has given $40,465 to Republicans. Maybe I should pay more attention to Formula One races? Nah.

Here's one donation that I feel good about even though it went to libs: ESPN blowhard Chris Berman gave $2,700 to Joe Lieberman and the DNC. If Berman were a conservative I'd be wretching right now.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

WBCzzzzzzzz

If Bud Selig really wants us to care about his World Baseball Classic, perhaps he should have gotten ESPN on board when they signed on to carry the games.

The other night, the U.S. squad lost to South Korea. They played at 10 p.m. EST, but ESPN didn’t air the game until 3 a.m.

Currently Japan and South Korea are facing off in a pivotal game that has huge implications for the U.S. What is ESPN showing? The Clippers and Suns. ESPN2? College softball.

Guess where I’m watching the game at work? ESPN Deportes, the Spanish-language service.

Yep, a game between Japan and Korea, played in Los Angeles, aired with Spanish-speaking announcers. I'll at least give him points for globalization of the sport.

The Daily Idiot

Swear to god, this is my final "Memphis is being disrespected" blog entry. It's like they're the Goonies, being treated like dumb kids while the "adults" take care of things in the real world.

I know, Memphis is a No. 1 seed, how can that be?

First off, the people who vote for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year
Award didn't include Coach Calipari on their list of 15 finalists.

After all, he only took a team that didn’t even make the NCAA tournament last year and made it into a 30-3 juggernaut that played the second-toughest non-conference schedule, lost just once in the conference, which was also the only road defeat for the Tigers all season.

You really want to hear nonsense on stilts? The ESPN.com Daily Quickie dipwad, Dan Shanoff, is trying to be bold by predicting Memphis as the first 1 seed ever to lose to a 16 seed.

Remember, Memphis playing Oral Roberts, a school named after a guy who thinks he had a vision of a 900-foot Jesus.

Here are some of Shanoff’s quotes this week:

"Does anyone really take the champion of C-USA seriously?"
"Don't buy Memphis!"
"(T)here are at least four teams (UCLA, 'Zaga, Pitt, Kansas) I'd take winning the region over Memphis."

Just a quick note here: during the season, Memphis beat UCLA and Gonzaga. But why should that matter when you're trying to make headlines?

Now, do I have the Tigers winning the whole kit 'n kaboodle? No, I don’t. In a few of my brackets I don’t have them making the final four. Heck, I have them losing to Pittsburgh in the Sweet 16 in one bracket. But predicting they’ll lose tomorrow or Sunday is a play for cool points, and picking on Memphis apparently became trendy.

Here’s hoping Coach Cal and the Tigers have heard all of this, find a bag of gems and come out to prove a point. I’ll be wearing my Tigers cap at 2:50 Friday, expecting a blowout victory, looking forward to making Shanoff do the truffle shuffle when he's proven wrong.

Goonies never say die!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A night of Wonder

Before tonight’s American Idol I made a list of predictions:

The favorites - Chris, Mandisa, Katharine

First to go - Melissa, Bucky, Lisa, Kevin (but please let it be Ace).

Now on to the show:

Ace – First thing he does is tell Stevie that Stevie is old. Good job, chief. Oh, and the first two minutes, he sounded like you do when you’re trying to sing weirdly from the back of your throat without breathing, so it sounds cool when you say words like kazoo. Does anyone else do that? Just me? Oh well, Ace sucks, is what I’m trying to say. Randy and Simon are honest, while Paula wasn’t listening because she was busy text-messaging Ace her security gate code.

Kellie – The Pickler is so charming, I hope her utterly boring performance doesn’t do her in this week. She was clearly out of her comfort zone, but I adored how she said “I’m sorry” when Randy and Simon said she wasn’t great.

Elliott – He’s alright, I guess. There’s no way he can beat Chris, his main competition, so don’t expect him to make the top six. Unfortunately, though he’s better than Ace, he’s not a particularly attractive guy. Dude, you’re done. Maybe not this week, but soon enough.

(Commercial break: Let me squelch this Diet Coke claim right now. It does NOT make you brave enough to go back for an after-date kiss. Doesn’t even get you to turn around. Mine is the voice of experience, and I call the Coca-Cola company a bunch of big fat phonies. Bastards.)

Mandisa – Wow. I was actually underwhelmed. The parts where she belted out her strong pipes were fine, but in between she sounded shaky. Healthy finish, so let’s remember that. Randy agreed with me, said she wasn’t spectacular, and called her the best so far, but that’s not saying much.

Bucky – He’ll never win, therefore I don’t care except to say that he apparently is going with the Farrah Fawcett hairdo this week. Heh, Simon just said it was a Jessica Simpson style, so maybe I should be more contemporary.

Melissa – The Kingdom of Suckonia has a new Queen! All hail the Queen! Okay, I’m biased. She didn’t deserve to be here over Ayla, therefore I will never forgive her. Like Kellie, she comes out in a little black dress sure to provoke Simon to call her look “too old,” and also like Kellie, she was boring as heck. Extra points to Stevie Wonder for getting pissed that she messed up his lyrics in practice, and then was all, “don’t touch me, trick!” Oh, and she forgot her lyrics again. Goodbye.

Lisa – Wait, who? Is this an imposter? Could there be less buzz about an Idol contestant, positive or negative? What was that Howard Dean scream in the middle? Signed, sealed, delivered, the facts at hand indicate you gots to go, sweetheart. Simon disagrees. My heart, it breaks.

Kevin – Yeah, we get it, he’s cute and has pinchable cheeks. Let’s face it, he doesn’t sing all that great, and his nerdness is boring. Can we please quit with the Aikenites? Seriously, he’s 16, and called him the “sex symbol of the show.” Ickfactor 10. Simon says Kevin was appalling, so Simon’s back on my team. Then Kevin gets attitude with Simon, and becomes my enemy. But even if he doesn’t win, if this gets Kevin some dates where he can find out what second base is like, good for him. (Then he can call me and tell me what second base is like. And first base. And how to get there without a balk.)

Katharine – America, attention must be paid. The future Mrs. Thanks For Noticing Me can tap on my window pane any day. The sooner the better, before she gets all famous and then it’s all of a sudden “illegal” to follow her around Los Angeles at 2 a.m. Sheesh, people get so touchy. I’m just saying I’ll be keeping abreast of her career.

Taylor – After all but taking out Stevie’s trash and washing his feet, Taylor was a spaz, of course. Duh, is he ever not? The singing? If you’ve heard him once, you’ve heard every song he sings. I’m pretty sure he could make “Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid into a soulful Michael McDonald-esque ditty. I like his energy, and hope he can beat the wannabes like Ace, Kevin, Bucky, Melissa, Elliott and Lisa.

Paris – The only Georgia girl left, I have to pull for her, and it’s not difficult considering how bubbly Paris carries herself. She’s also the only girl to actually dress her age, looking like a 17-year-old full of life. By the way, girl can sing something fierce.

Chris – According to his bio, he wanted to be a martial arts film star as a teenager. What do you want me to say? Chris rocks, and he's never screwed up on the show, which is a hallmark for all finalists.

Unlucky spin

Big bucks ... no Whammys ... STOP!

Oh dear ...
The brotherhood of game show hosts lost a key personality Monday when Peter Tomarken, ringmaster of the 1980s hit Press Your Luck, was killed along with his wife and two others when a plane he was piloting went down off the coast of Los Angeles Monday.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Can I date a hot musician babe now?

What do you do when you get “free” money? Spend some on something you otherwise wouldn’t, and put the rest in savings.

With that, I present to you my new bicycle:



I’ve been doing the online research for a week or two, so today I made the next step. Went to Atlanta Cycling and tried out the bikes around the parking lot. My first choice didn’t feel right. Too tall (yeah, go figure, 6’4, but short legs, long torso) and I wasn’t comfortable riding fast or making turns.

My next choice ended up being my purchase, the Trek 3900 mountain bike series.

First off, it had an easy seat-adjustment, so I could hop on and not teeter. When I sat on it I was much more comfortable. You know how the saying goes, “it’s like riding a bike,” perhaps my muscles were remembering the mountain bike of my childhood. I was zipping around the parking lot and making tougher turns with a big smile.

Sure, on pavement it’s not as easy as the first one I tried, but I’m all about comfort. Besides, who says I won’t go off-road, too?

Atlanta Cycling isn’t a Sports Authority or Target, it’s more like a car dealership. They did a thorough check on the bicycle before my purchase, attaching the water bottle, too. They provide a lifetime warranty for the major functions and perform all the services I’d need.

Stacy, tell Gabriel that yes, I did buy a helmet (and gloves, the cool ones without fingers).

When’s the first ride? Dunno. Thursday, perhaps, although that’s also when the NCAA Tournament begins and I need to attend my first Weight Watchers meeting. Memphis doesn’t play until Friday, so maybe basketball can wait a few hours. I’ve got a new hobby!

And I will NEVER look like this:

Lovin' the IRS (today, at least)

Remember last week, I saw that my tax refund was 300 percent higher than I signed off on?

I called today, and the automated system said that they corrected my return, fixed my refund and the higher number is the correct one.

Oh hell yes.

Not to be too happy, of course. After all, I’m currently watching the “Deep Space Nine” episode where Quark gets Morn’s vast inheritance and finds out that getting free money is not such a good thing after all.

I’m willing to try, though.

(My new favorite thing about this episode? Vice-President President Logan from 24 is one of the rogues out to get the 1,000 bricks of latinum from Quark.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

So thin, so minty

At work this afternoon I picked up the five boxes of Girl Scout thin mints that I purchased before I started my diet. If I hadn’t been so worn out from the gym I might have torn into a sleeve right then and there.

As it is, I’m currently in a staring contest with two of them in my kitchen.



The other three are in my locker at work, to be shared lavishly whilst I wear a reminder necklace adorned with charms of a tiny scale set at 225 pounds, a laminated buy-six-get-one-free card of the Chinese takeout at work and a tiny vial of my own fat (cheese-flavored).

Using words and sentences and stuff to make a, um, good story or something

Congratulations to my cousin Sara up in Tennessee for being one of the winners of the National Novel Writing Month contest.

Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Sara’s “Braids of Destiny” came in over 56,000 words, and once her parents got the book published, it officially made Sara an author.

She actually hit 50,000 words by Nov. 22, and you can’t B.S. that college, using double-spacing and the Arial font at size 12.

In comparison, on my blog last November I logged 21,589 words, and that counts such “words” as “pyew pyew!” and “zap!”

The line forms at the self-help section for my autograph, which will be a stamp with a smiley-face winking and the phrase, “Is your sister cute?”

(I would also like to point to Sara's bio on the site linked above, where she lists the Lord of the Rings soundtracks as her favorite music. I didn't even have to bribe her to put that down. I'm so proud. It runs in the family.)

Oh, and Sara, if you go to Mom-Mom and Granddad's and wonder what they did with their copy, they let me borrow it. To read, I mean, not to hold up a table or anything.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Fans



All went well for the meeting of the Tim Ellsworth Atlanta Bureau, held at Digger’s sports bar in Roswell.

Also there were Galen and Mark, with his son Andrew.

Meantime ...

Is it weird that instead of cleaning the oscillating fan in my bedroom, I just bought a new one when I was at Target this afternoon?

Even weirder, for the life of me I couldn’t fit all the parts together on the new one, so instead I kept the stand from the old one and attached the newer, cleaner fan blade and cover, which may not work based on the shimmy it’s currently doing.

Yep, just checked, still have a Y chromosome, even based on those current events.