Sunday, April 30, 2006

Let's get ready to rumble



By this time last year, the Red Sox and dang Yankees had played approximately 147 times. Tonight is the first meeting in 2006, and as usual there must be something on the line. The teams enter tied for first place in the AL East, and if you don't think that matters on May 1, you don't know anything about this rivalry and probably just got rescued from a lagoon in the south Pacific where you were stranded at age two.

Not to say that Sox catcher Jason Varitek took A-Rod's manhood or anything in that scuffle in 2004, but I have this exclusive photo of A-Rod and Jeter from spring training:



Here's what A-Rod's never seen, and Jeter since last century, a title ring:



Game on!

Vents

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

- I’ve never told anyone, but I have a used throat lozenge in my pocket. It’s my dirty little Sucret.
- I hope everyone noticed that both “The Da Vinci Code” and the Judas gospel attack traditional Christianity, yet no Christians have rioted nor chopped off any heads.
- I almost got divorced over a Home Depot discount coupon which I cut off the back of the sports page last week. The message parlor ads were also on the back.
- Has President Bush considered the possibility of selling New Orleans back to France as a “fixer-upper?”
- You know that article in Sunday’s paper about how friends shouldn’t bombard their friends with e-mail spam? Is it available online? I’d like to send it to about 30 of my friends.
- Only on TV could we have such a historical event as a Democrat being elected president to replace a sitting Democrat. It hasn’t happened in real life since 1856.
- I became addicted to the Vent several years ago when I read, “The stronger sex is the weaker sex because of the stronger sex’s weakness for the weaker sex.”
- Most venters think the Degas is what you put in Detank of Decar.
- Likewise, many venters think that Degas is what makes ‘da Van Gogh.
- It takes so much Monet to guy Degas to make de van Gogh, one fill-up and you’re baroque.
- The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is actually a typo. It should read, The Alabama Snakes ‘N Beer Festival.
- When my blond cousin heard about the infantry, she said it was wonderful that the military has whole divisions of soldiers dedicated to the care of babies.
- They can’t bus them out of New Orleans to save their lives, but they can bus them in to vote?
- The people appearing on Dr. Phil are just as dysfunctional as those on Jerry Springer. However, they are thinner, dress better and don’t have as many tattoos.
- My sister-in-law complained that her dentist husband is forever inspecting people’s teeth during conversations. My husband told her to thank her lucky stars her husband isn’t a proctologist.
- If reading Harry Potter turns kids into witches, watching “Smallville” turns me into Superman.
- Life Lesson No. 62: Don’t take a laxative and a sleeping pill the same night.
- Why don’t the illegals stage rallies in Mexico to change the laws and conditions there?
- I think congressmen should wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers so we could identify their corporate sponsors.
- What’s with the popularity of talking animals in the comics? I am fed up with them and my dog tells me he is, too.

Vents I Sent:

- So the conspiracy today is that Bush invaded Iraq to drive oil profits up? I thought we were stealing their oil to increase supply to meet our SUV-guzzling demands?
- Democrats boasting of how strong they are on national security is like Bush holding a press conference to brag about how smart he is.
- If a man is out in a field all alone and there is no woman to hear him, is he still wrong? (Courtesy Grif.net)
- My Weight Watchers leader said I was losing weight too quickly. I think she’s just trying to keep me paying longer.
- A liberal is someone who believes it's peachy for an 18-year-old girl to perform in a dirty movie as long as she gets health insurance. (Borrowed from Irving Kristol.)
- I’m frustrated by people who say we can’t do everything, and therefore should do nothing. For heaven’s sake, we are the United States. We could build a fence around Mars if we wanted to, but we can’t stop illegal immigration? (Inspired by James Lileks.)
- A pessimist's blood type is always b-negative. (Courtesy Grif.net)
- The Weight Watchers god is vengeful to cheaters, but the Pepto Bismol god works miracles.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Back to reality

Today's fortune cookie: "A pleasant surprise is in store for you soon."

Okay, but if anything else positive comes along y'all are going to think I live in a land of make-believe with talking puppets and toy trains.

I'm not even depressed that today my vacation has ended, and in eight minutes I'm back to work. I actually got here two hours ago for a strenuous workout and a little Chinese dinner (white rice, baked chicken - Weight Watchers calls again), and I'm pretty happy to be here.

Not that I wouldn't rather be somewhere else, but someone has to pay my bills, of which there are many!

Pinson Mounds

I'm compiling pictures from Thunder Over Louisville, but today I can post evidence from Thursday's visit to Jackson ...

This is Saul's Mound, center piece of the Pinson Mounds Indian archeology site:



It's a long way up, but great practice for when we're on The Amazing Race:



Not a bad view at the top:



The boardwalk has a very forest-moon-of-Endor feel:



Pringles Park, home of the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, AA affiliate of the Cubs:

Friday, April 28, 2006

Home again

Got back a few hours ago after what seemed like a longer six-hour drive than usual, even though Alabama has finally completed four-laning highway 78 through Jasper. No more one-hour dilly-dallying through the sticks and towns with 30 mph speed limits lest you run over a stray goat. Wow, how Big City Elitist did that sound? Speaking of liberals ...

Could someone please tell me why Democrats, especially Bush-haters (but do I repeat myself?), are so keen on expressing their feelings about the current administration on bathroom stalls? I don't remember such invidiousness in gas station bathrooms during the Clinton years, so it's gotta be libs, right? And does it make you a better person to curse at the president via graffiti next to the crapper?

"I wasn't sure if Bush's policies were the right ones, but now that you've written 'Impeach Bush' on the wall in permanent marker, I see clearly that my views were incorrect and you have swayed me to your side. Do you really want to meet me here Tuesday at 2 a.m.?"

Back to work tomorrow and normal blogging. Look for pictures of the vacation soon!

Alas

Alas, the end of one of the more extraordinary weeks of vacation in a while is finished. It’s time to head back to Atlanta this afternoon to rejoin the workforce and the hustle and bustle of city life. As you no doubt can tell through your sixth, seventh and eighth senses, this does not leave me overly thrilled.

Meanwhile, I would provide all of the details of my Thursday in Jackson, but I promised Valerie that I don’t write everything in my blog, so it’s classified. What I can concede is that she exists, but beyond that, leaks from sources knowledgeable with the operation can get you sent to Guantanamo Bay to perform the annual “Flush a Koran Down the Toilet Day.”

Here are the facts I can reveal.

I picked up Val at her apartment at 12:30, we went to Cracker Barrel for lunch, then decided to try something we never did in college or since she moved back to Jackson to work at Union, drove about nine miles south of town to see the Pinson Mounds State Park, a series of prehistoric Native American mini-malls or something. That turned out to be a splendid decision on such a gorgeous day (70 degrees, sunny, slight breeze).

We toured the museum for a few minutes, didn’t pay a whole lot of attention, then headed outside to the biggest of the mounds, Saul's Mound (probably not the name the Indians used), one-tenth of a mile down a path. It was pretty tall alright, and we climbed that sucker. Okay, so there are a series of stairs leading to the top with an observation deck, but we made it in one breath without stopping. Once we caught our breath it turned out to be incredible up there alone with a great view, the sun streaming through the swaying trees, and butterflies flittering above. Hollywood couldn’t have written it better. At least without explosions, ‘cause those rock.

Anyway, as I was saying, we walked down another path, The Boardwalk, which is a raised wooden walkway over some swampground next to the Forked Deer River, earning guilt-free points towards lunch after walking almost two miles of trails and up that huge mound near the museum. Unlike Monday, all of this was 27% perspiration-free!

After spending plenty of time at Pinson Mounds, we headed back into Jackson for supper at Chili’s, then out to Pringles Park to see some minor league baseball between the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx and the Jacksonville Suns. (The Jaxx used to be the Memphis Chicks and moved to Jackson the year after I left Union - of course, lest I enjoy them while I was in school.)

You might be asking, why didn’t you ask Valerie out before y’all graduated together nine years ago? Hey, I didn’t ask anyone out in college, okay? Not prime years for Jeff’s singlehood. Let’s just say the highlight of my Friday nights was getting to walk away from movie nights on campus with the leftover tacos from Taco Bell.

Val has to be at Union at 7 a.m., so I bid adieu before she collapsed and drove back (I mean, I drove, not her after collapsing), resigned to a six-hour drive later today. Wish me good weather and Alabama drivers who aren’t dumber than this keyboard I’m typing on! Or if you live in Alabama, I meant Mississippi drivers.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Maximum Relief

The Weight Watchers god is a vengeful god. I have egregiously cheated on my diet twice this trip, Saturday during Thunder and yesterday at the movie theater (hot dog) and Café Ole (everything else).

Both times I’ve ended up with a major tummy ache that night. At Steph and Bill’s they had a bottle of the pink stuff in the fridge? Nana? Not to my knowledge after a simple search. I even followed the old guy’s advice in Doc Hollywood when Michael J. Fox was ready to cut open the kid, and had one of Nana’s Diet Rite sodas. Must only work in the movies.

After tossing for a couple of hours - not just for the ache, but excited for today - at 3 a.m. this morning, I finally decided to finish this once and for all. It’s either me or you, tummy discomfort! No worries, I drove the two minutes, Krogered it and returned.

But remember, it’s me. The guy with Eeyore as his mascot. It’s never that easy.

I couldn’t find my key to Nana’s. Wasn’t under the car seat. Wasn’t on the ground where I parked before leaving. Wasn’t swooping in from a magic flying frog to save the day. Drove back to Kroger, all the while thinking, “Great, now I’m going to have to sleep in my car until Nana gets up, ’cause there’s no way I’m knocking on her window at this hour lest she have a heart attack - hee, I love this “Mustard” song on the Buffy soundtrack - anyway, so if I sleep in the car and wait until she leaves for the Spa, but wait, she was going to call first since the pool was closed, so I’ll just have to guess when she’d be awake and I hope it doesn’t get any colder tonight and …” (that’s the two-minute drive)

Never mind. The cashier had the key on her counter. Must have fallen off when I got my car keys out to swipe my Kroger Plus card for that whopping 30 cents saved on the generic Kroger “Stomach Relief.” (MAXIMUM STRENGTH!)

With a big swig, immediately the real God smote the fake Weight Watchers god with giant lasers from His eyeballs and I fell asleep with nary a gurgle. I’m off to Jackson now and out of pocket for the next 12 hours, so be good and go take on the day! (And always keep a bottle of the magical pink elixir in the fridge.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Vacation now Pickler free

My vacation is starting to wrap up, but there's plenty left to do and talk about.

Tonight, I went with Syd to Cafe Ole for dinner, sizing up her new boyfriend, Andy, and to watch the Grizzlies play in Dallas in game two of the opening round of the playoffs. That did not turn out well. At least the first 20 minutes were entertaining? Ouch. Memphis went like three years between baskets in the second and third quarters. They may be 0-10 in the playoffs the last three seasons, but at least they’re getting there, am I right?

Keeping in the spirit of disappointment, I recorded the wrong channel before I went out, so I didn't see the American Idol results show. However, I have just visited the Television Without Pity forum, and I'm fairly happy with the results. The Pickler got the boot, eh? Guess her fans realized she herself seemed uninspired the past two weeks. Katharine in the top two? Fabulous. I feel redeemed. I hope the judges kissed her feet in apologetic fashion.

Earlier today I got in some exercise and a movie. I went with Nana to the French Riviera Spa, though the pool was closed so she came back home and I went alone later with a free pass to get in some cardio and work off some of the naughty meals I've enjoyed on vacation. The lady at the desk told me I could only come free one day per visit, and would I go ahead and pay $20 to use the gym the rest of my visit? I’m still chuckling over that one. I was able to get in an hour workout, despite my thighs being so sore from bowling Monday that I'm walking like a wounded penguin. Just stepping up and down takes thought. Kind of pathetic, actually.

Took in a matinee of The Sentinel this afternoon, which was about as expected. Meaning, not great. If you want to see a Secret Service-assassination movie, stick with In The Line of Fire, where Clint Eastwood puts Michael Douglas to shame. Plus, he gets Rene Russo in the end. Okay, so Douglas goes home to Catherine Zeta-Jones, so it’s not like he cares. Kiefer’s in the movie, too, playing a federal agent. Really stretching his range, he is not.

Not much Tuesday. Spent the day with Nana, and the evening at Linda's watching Dave Brown tell us why the tornado sirens were going off for two hours. (According to the "Viper," there were little purple circles coming right for us, though it really just rained a lot, with plenty of thunder and lightning for effect.)

Tomorrow I'm driving up to Jackson to spend the day with Valerie, then I'll head back here for one more good night of sleep before my Friday departure. I'll have all kinds of pictures eventually, so be patient. (Not that you have any choice. I have the power! Bwahahahahahahahaha!)

American Idol with a baseball bat!

It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

No, wait, I meant it’s time for American Idol! (Stupid flash animations and their catchy lyrics.)

Tonight, the final six have the chance to get ogled by Andrea Bocelli, who is blind yet has a sixth sense about babes, and berated by producer David Frost, which was fantastic.

If the guest is Bocelli, he must be pimping his newest classical love collection, “Amore.” (Now in stores!) I actually like the guy. I even have his “Because We Believe” on the iPod after he sang it during the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

Unfortunately, I hated this show from minute ten on, because Katharine totally sang the heck out of “I Have Nothing,” then was ripped by all three judges for daring to take on crackhead Whitney, who apparently is to be worshipped and her songs should never, ever, be tried on this show. Whatev. Katharine, you were gorgeous, your voice was powerful and the judges were morons. Did she run over Randy’s dog?

For example, here’s what was written on my notepad, in succession … “WTF????? WTF??? WTF!!!! FRACKERS!”

Putting my journalism experience to use every day, I am.

Elliott sings a dull song I’ve never heard, Randy criticizes the arrangement and then praises his singing, Paula actually cries before transferring her love of Ace, and Simon plays along since apparently the new conspiracy is to elevate Elliott to the top three. I blame Bush. All I know is, David Frost kept saying something about Elliott trying Donnie Hathaway’s licks and I was a little creeped out in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” way.

I cannot believe that Bo Bice agreed to sing that “The Real Thing” crapfest as last year’s runner-up. How much did Coke pay for that? What’s ahead for this year’s runner-up, Katharine belting out “I Can’t A-Ford To Lose You” on VH1?

The Pickler goes for “Unchained Melody” and gives the Waffle House version: Every note was scattered, smothered and covered. Awful. Funny thing was, Frost predicted it, saying that if that song “is sung without passion, it’s the most boring song on the planet.” Never a good sign when Paula begins her critique with “it’s hard.”

Oh, look, Ryan and Simon are being bitchy again. Good thing I didn’t get tired of that two seasons ago.

Paris’s choice of Babs’ “The Way We Were” means that my Atlanta girl is dead to me. And don’t you come back with, “Hey, Jeff doofus, you’ve got ‘You Don’t Bring Flowers’ on your iPod,” because that’s a Neil Diamond song, and the demon spawn just happens to be the co-vocalist! At least Paris is back to the feathery Farrah flip 70s do, which I adore.

Taylor is uninspired, so Frost’s prediction that Taylor “potentially has the most charisma” went ker-splat. I pay more attention when C-SPAN shows the Senate roll call vote for lunch.

Chris brings it all home with the Mexican guitar version to Bryan Adams’ “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman,” which is also the record for most words in a title sung on American Idol. Probably. Unless “Can Someone Please Get Paula And Simon A Room Already, Or Ryan and Simon If They Want To Swing That Way” was a song sung on stage, or just in my head? Anyway, everyone loves it, but secretly wishes he sang it lying on the floor like in practice with Bocelli.

Next week, I really think Chris should try out the song “Rest in Peace” sung by Spike in the “Buffy” musical episode. Is that part of the list of approved songs? Can we make it so? I’d also like a pony, and season tickets to Fenway, and a life-size cardboard cutout of Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Oh, wait, I have the last one.

Should go: Pickler. Will go: Paris.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Guess who is in Memphis?

This guy!

It's 1:00 a.m. Sunday night, and I'm on the last leg of my round-the-South vacation, having left Louisville this morning at 9:30, spent the afternoon and evening with Valerie in Jackson, and am now in the comfort of Nana's guest room.

To catch up ...

The Sunday after Thunder was lazy by design. We were plumb tuckered out.

I didn't wake up until after Noon, and while I typed the previous update Stephanie made lunch (which for me would mean a can of Chunky soup, for her it meant teriyaki chicken, mashed taters and peas & carrots).

We hung out at Stacy and Joe's all afternoon, while Gabriel was at the YMCA with his friend Gabe. Chinese take-out for dinner at a restaurant called You-A-Carry-Out-A (for real), Joe had to work until mid-afternoon, Bill also joined us after work, and we spent the last bits of daylight outside on the porch playing with a mondo bubblemaker, which Nate preferred less than pushing the lawn mower back and forth. (Turned off, of course, lest you have social services on speed dial.)

The only activity was gathering in the computer room to watch silly Internet animations like Peanut Butter Jelly Time (Gabriel loves that one) and I introduced them to the wonders of Bananaphone. Ya gotta love the world wide web. What else are you going to use it for? News? Research? Pshaw! You can get that anywhere, like "The Soup" on E! or VH1's "Best Week Ever," or Rachel Ray's cooking show. OK, that one's just for kicks.

This morning, off at 9:30 a.m. EDT and south to Tennessee. I figured that by gaining an hour to central time, I'd arrive in Jackson with over an hour to spare, and I was spot on, and needed every minute it turns out.

Oh, and did I mention that it rained briefly? (sarcasm alert) Big shock there. It's not like it's rained on any of the other legs. (/sarcasm)

At least my driving music was first-rate. I burned Stephanie's soundtrack to the musical episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" that was most excellent, and holds up quite well. Then Stacy burned me a copy of a podcast from Cinecast of the best of 2005, and a mix CD made for traveling, very Elizabethtown. I kept expecting Stacy's voice to pop up. "Okay, this is 'Preacher Man.' You should be passing Calvary Baptist in Ashland City. Go talk to Pastor Bob about life in your thirties."

Once in Jackson, before whisking Val up at work early, a la Richard Gere and Debra Winger in An Officer and a Gentleman - only without the lifting on account of my bad back, and no uniform, but otherwise exactly the same - I wanted to eat lunch and take a few pictures for future episodes of Union memories.

By the time I was done with that it was past 2:30 and I needed a car wash. The first one I went to spurted foam at the front of my car and windshield like a drunken Gary in Team America, so I had to go inside and get my money back. I went down the street to another one successfully, though it took a few extra minutes to take my one-dollar bills (Can someone please invent a device that accepts ratty bills? Please? Get cracking already.)

Then I needed to change, since I was in driving clothes, a.k.a. t-shirt and shorts. The BP was also a Subway, and I checked the men's room door. Locked. Checked again. The light was out, so maybe it was broke? No, this Subway worker opens the door and strolls out on the phone, so apparently he was chatting while sitting in a dark gas station bathroom. The mind, it boggles.

Changed into appropriate attire for Monday evening fun, I brushed my teeth in the Union parking lot for one final touch. Charming, I'm sure. Still, I walked into Val's library office at 2:59 and nearly broke her chair when I plopped down and didn't realize it had wheels and nearly crashed into the wall. All kinds of charming oozing here.

(Quick primer: A Millington grad, Valerie is also a Union alum class of '97, and was my editor of the Cardinal & Cream student newspaper. We hadn't even heard from each other since graduation but all-of-a-sudden found each other on MySpace a few months back. Back to the story.)

We walked around campus so she could update me on new buildings and changes, take pictures, fill me in on any relative gossip (not that there would be any at a good Christian school), and work up a good sweat (Not that she perspired. Not one bit. Lovely and proper lady, Val is). Dear me it was hot today. Could have used some rain.

What to do in Jackson at 4 o'clock on a Monday? Bowling! That's what I'm talking about! You'll get none of that fancy-smancy stuff like "paintings" or "theater" when I'm in town!

Good thing scores didn't matter. Oh sure, I "won" both games, but then again I'm the one wearing size 14 shoes and wielding a 14-pound ball, so I've got a slight advantage. Okay, the shoes don't help, but with her size sixes she couldn't just fling the ball everywhere on that slippery surface. I don't know what any of that meant. Let's move on.

For dinner I took Val to a Japanese hibachi steakhouse, which it turns out she'd never done before. Good times watching her face as that first fire flamed in front of us. Is the food ever bad at those places? And the salad dressing is addictive, like there's a chemical in it that makes me crave it fortnightly. (Yeah, the Weight Watchers is going swimmingly this week. Remember, it's a process, not magic, he tells himself while rolling his eyes unbelieving.)

After a cruise around Jackson to check out the new stuff, of which there's lots (restaurants and stores like Best Buy and Home Depot that I didn't dream of between 1993 and 1997), we ended up at Val's place, where I met her roomie Meredith and the two of us (me and Val, not me and Meredith) watched "24."

I left about 11 and came on to Memphis. That's all you get from here, you nosy interrogative cheeky monkeys. (Not that there's anything to add. Remember, I'm a weenie.)

More embellished fun later intended to make me look good and yet wackily dumb. Stay tuned ...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Thunderstruck

No time to write long, flowing run-on sentences about our Saturday.

WewenttheThunderyesterdayandhadagreattime.

To confusing?

How about cutting out unnecessary things like verbs and articles?

Thunder. Party. Food. Fireworks. No traffic. Home. Shaun of the Dead. Funny. Sleep. Tummyache. Pink stuff. More sleep.

Or I'll try a little explanation.

So seven of us piled in my Aztek to use Stacy's one parking pass at her work, ServiceNet, which is about two blocks from the river and the main festivities for Thunder Over Louisville, the annual air show and fireworks extravaganza held a few weeks before the Kentucky Derby.

I was driving, Stephanie in the passenger seat, Joe's sister Michelle in the middle with Gabriel and Nate, and Stacy and Joe reclining/stuffed in the trunkish hatchy back part with the cooler, blankets and chair.

ServiceNet had a party set up for everyone, with loud dance music and karaoke, a tent for the cookout later, and two inflated bouncy thingies for the kids (and Steph). Gabriel spent much of his day either bouncing or watching outside not wanting to go inside because bigger kids were playing rough. As an adult and an uncle, I wanted to go in there, push a few of the kids on their backs, and once they bounced back up explain to them they were idiots and let the little kids have fun, though that may not be legal. Once we convinced Gabriel he didn't have to use the Spider-Man bouncy every time, he was good to go and enjoyed the Blue's Clues bouncy the rest of the day.

Nate napped on the way to Thunder, and slept on the way home. In between? Wide awake and feisty, but manageable. Once he got the knack of looking up at the planes he could be distracted by the fact that we were mostly trapped in this little concrete jungle. Much of the day we could fold down the middle seats put up the netting in the back of my Aztek in front of the tailgate and use it as a playpen. He had plenty of food bags and bottles and whatnot to keep him company, and I have the goldfish crackers all over the floorboard to prove it.

The air show started at 3, though without being on the river I felt we missed out on a lot of cool stuff and the scenic views since you'll notice later my pictures have a lot of buildings and warehouses instead of trees and bridges.

The planes would do their aerobatics and fly-bys for the crowds there, and we'd catch the tricks from a little distance or when they regrouped away from the river. Still, we saw plenty of cool planes - old and new - and, oh yeah, did I mention that the Blue Angels were one of the first acts?

(Vader voice) Impressive. Most impressive. (/Vader voice)

We walked over to an open space between streets where traffic wasn't allowed to get a better view of the Angels, and they don't disappoint. What a nifty job that must be for a Navy pilot. Do you even need a pitch? "Okay, so you're going to fly around the country entertaining people who think you're super cool, and you get to fly fast and perform tricks while people below blast "Danger Zone" from Top Gun. Not good enough? Chicks, man. Chicks dig the need for speed." Just once I want to be their wing man, and I don't mean in the air.

At 6 the ServiceNet folks started serving food and grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, only by the time we noticed the line stretched a good ways and looked to be standing still. We waited. Got hungry. Line still long.

By 6:45, Joe and I walked about a half-mile to a mini-mall to fetch some pizza, only they weren't serving anymore, but did I mention this was also a Subway? We picked up subs and cookies for everyone, convinced Stacy and Stephanie the futility of waiting another 45 minutes in line when we had food now, and ate heartily.

A half-hour later, the line was virtually gone and on principle alone we went to get hamburgers and hot dogs and potato salad and beans and whatever people brought as a buffet, and there was one brownie left over from Stephanie's pan that she grabbed.

About the only negative was the group of people beside us. They were about our age, five guys and four gals, I believe, and didn't mind intruding on our parking space in their chairs between their two cars. The problem was that they had one trunk open and windows down, blasting country music all day, which was annoying seeing as how 50 feet away the ServiceNet DJ was blasting upbeat rock, hip-hop and dance music. It's like the people next to us were just being stubborn in their anti-Blackeyed Peasness, 'cause there's no way they could really hear their own radio. Then, a little later when their music was off, I climbed in my front seat looking for baseball scores via my XM radio, and flipped through some music channels to sample songs for my group, when one of the people next to us turns on their country again - louder than before - seemingly just because I dared to turn up Don't Fear The Reaper. (I think we were all seriously in need of more cowbell by this part.)

Here's where Dad would be proud. He of the "hey, let's leave a couple of minutes early" from nearly every sporting event we ever attended when I was a kid. I think he sabotaged me in the Memphis spelling bee one year to get out sooner, too. Bedlam, my a**.

(Ever since we went to a U. of Memphis game and he wanted to skedaddle when the Tigers were down big to New Orleans and I asked to stay and the Tigers came back and won, I'm more vocal about refusing to go. Not that he really cared anyway, but after I tell you this next bit I now know why he would do that.)

The fireworks started at 9:30, and we stayed near ServiceNet instead of walking towards the river like most everyone else. We saw them all just fine anyway. They were awesome, incredible, ooh ahh, blah blah blah, but because everyone else had walked away, even as the final explosives were fading out we were in the Aztek and driving off. In fact, I almost pushed everyone to leave too soon and miss the finale after a two-minute pause in the action.

What did it mean? The wicked awesomeness of waiting only five minutes at one stoplight, then cruising past people walking to their cars and laughing and yelling and gleefully getting home by 10:23, a full three hours sooner than my first Thunder in 2001 when my sisters lived in Old Louisville. It was quite a rush. (Yes, leaving without encountering much traffic was the highlight of my day.)

We were home so soon that we ended up ordering from Papa John's and watching Shaun of the Dead, a British zombie comedy that was pretty brilliant.

This morning? Not so much. My Weight Watchers-trained stomach apparently didn't like the combination of a steak & cheese Subway, hot dog, hamburger and four slices of pizza, and I woke up to a massive tummyache this morning. Took a big swig of the generic Pepto in Steph's fridge, and slept another four hours, waking up refreshed and ache-free at 12:30 this afternoon.

I love being on vacation.

Today's schedule, head back over to Stacy and Joe's, then a cookout tonight at Steph and Bill's (oh, just typing that made my tummy ache again).

Tomorrow morning I'll drive south to Jackson to hang out with Valerie before getting into Memphis late tomorrow night.

Stay tuned ...

(I just did a spell check of this document, and the only word that popped up was Memphis. That's just sad.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Stage two

Had a good visit in Chapel Hill last night. Caught up with family goings-on, ate a fine dinner with lots of yummy chicken and veggies courtesy Granddad, and slept very well despite several severe storms overnight.

Wish that was it for the rain, though. It stormed like the dickens when I got into Kentucky this afternoon, drenching us so much that you couldn't see 100 yards in front of you for the last 60 miles to Louisville. Heck, I had to slow down to 90!

A lazy evening here in Jeffersonville with everyone. Nate's quite the handful now that he can climb on anything and Gabriel is enjoying card games even if the people who make Crazy Eights can spell neither "crzay" or "dimond" correctly.

Stacy left for work after a couple of hours, but Joe was home and we watched the Miss USA pageant, pretended that we were good enough to actually decide which women were attractive and which "weren't," and I'm at Stephanie and Bill's now, crashing her Weight Watchers fudge bars and keeping him off the computer where I'm sure he has a game to finish.

They have one of those ergonomic keyboards that splits the keys and curves the board and is supposed to be better for hand placement, but I find myself staring down a lot trying to figure out which fingers are in the right spot. Takes some getting used to. For now I'll stick with my Carpel Tunnel Keyboard 2000.

Tomorrow is Thunder Over Louisville, so it should be a long, tiring, fantastic day with no rain in the forecast and the Blue Angels flying overhead during the air show. We've got free parking at Stacy's workplace a block from the river, with free food and a place to use the potty, so I can't expect anything can go wrong (knocking on wood).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Had a basketball jones

I am an idiot. No, seriously. You're going to love this. So I go on the Yahoo sports page to see when the Grizzlies play Dallas in the first round of the NBA playoffs. I see that they're home on Saturday and Monday. Sweet! I'm getting tickets!

I go to Ticketmaster, remember my wallet is next door, sprint to beat the three-minute deadline that's holding my tickets, and make it in time. I've got playoff tickets for Monday's game four at FedEx Forum!

I forgot, however, that the first round of the NBA playoffs takes approximately three months, give or take a week. The Grizzlies play their home games NEXT Saturday and Monday, when I'll be back in Atlanta.

There ya go. Anyone got $92? I've got two Terrace level seats, section 208 (near half-court), row L, seats 5-6, ready to sell.

See? I wasn't lying. I'm an idiot. Frankly, I'm surprised I'm still breathing involuntarily.

Travel and weight

I'm in Chapel Hill, after battling heavy traffic, jams both south of Chattanooga and in Chattanooga, and a severe thunderstorm that started as I made my way up the Monteagle mountain, and stopped 100 feet beyond the bottom of the mountain. Hey, at least I gained an hour, right? Okay, I lose it tomorrow again, but I'm game for playing a good game of pretend.

The grandparent units are not home (such party animals), so Mom and Aunt Lynn, I'm all up in your space on your computer. So far the connection's working fine, and smart idea to unplug the computer before going to work this morning.

Today starts my first real Weight Watchers test - The Vacation. How will I do? Stay tuned.

Before leaving, the weigh-in, now just over a month in.

Not a great start before leaving, however. This week I only lost 1.8, which at least gets me past 20 total.

Apparently I only really HAD to lose that first 17 pounds that frittered away with barely a problem. A mere glance at those fat cells with a stare of madness, and they fled at the first sight of vegetables.

I am not invincible, but still on the downward path. It may actually take a year, instead of the, oh, seven weeks I was hoping to lose all 160 pounds.

Still, I have reason to be happy even if the scale is a big fat liar. (Wow, how quickly I turn on it.)

I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure yesterday I noticed a little physical difference due to weight loss. For starters, I'm on the last hole of my belt, so that's a start. And yes, I am a guy, so frequently I stare at my awesomeness in the mirror no matter my weight, but still, I think I saw a little sign. Less of a butt, perhaps, which is fine, but c'mon body, let's get cracking on those love handles! I ain't gettin' no lovin', so I need them not!

Keep Jeff accountable
Starting weight (March 16, 2006) - 362.2
Current weight (April 20, 2006) - 341.0
Total lost - 21.2
10% target - 326
Ultimate goal – 200 (or 225 - I'm too tall to be that skinny.)

Gimme some skin

Today is National High Five Day!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Good times x 10

I flipped over from the Red Sox game right on time for the bottom three of American Idol. That's good timing, since I got to skip all the puff pieces and Rod Stewart performing.

Wow, Chris in the bottom three. When Paris got sent back first, we knew Ace was gone.

Didn't we? Deep breath.

Thank goodness.

Sing it from the rooftops! Ace is gone! Party time!

And Boston's leading 9-1 in the seventh. Keeps getting better.

And my vacation has already started as of 5 p.m. this evening. Sweet, eh?

In case you didn't know I had a vacation the next week, here's the schedule:

Tomorrow - Drive to Chapel Hill, eat well, say hey to Mom, Aunt Lynn, Mom-Mom and Granddad, build up "most favoritest grandchild status." ;)

Friday - Drive to Louisville.

Saturday - Spend the day at Thunder Over Louisville, and spoiled since Stacy's work is sponsoring a private area for parking, great viewing for the air show and fireworks by the river and, oh yeah, food.

Sunday - Cookout at Steph and Bill's, hopefully meet up with fellow Union alum, Melissa, who was also my hip and fun first date to my first fraternity party as a SAE pledge.

Monday - Drive to Jackson, out and about with another favorite Union alum, Valerie.

Monday late - Continue to Memphis and Nana's. More good food. (Dang, I'm really, really spoiled.)

Tuesday and Wednesday - Open dates. Current plans to go to the zoo with the Russell clan.

Thursday - Drive home, stopping in Jasper to see Patrick, Julie and their offspring.

Friday - Relax. Catch up on DVR. Sleep.


Not that I'm going away entirely. Check for updates and picture samples! The power of Thanks For Noticing Me compels you!

Little Papi

Apparently the Red Sox closer position is as cursed as the teaching position for Dark Arts at Hogwarts.

(See how I can get my sisters’ attention on a baseball post? Brilliant! Now you may skip ahead to the next post.)

Of the top 11 performances for saves in a season, 11 different pitchers are on the list:

Rank- Player - SV - Year
1. Tom Gordon - 46 - 1998
2. Derek Lowe - 42 - 2000
3. Jeff Reardon - 40 - 1991
Ugueth Urbina - 40 - 2002
5. Jeff Russell - 33 - 1993
Bob Stanley - 33 - 1983
7. Keith Foulke - 32 - 2004
8. Bill Campbell - 31 - 1977
Heathcliff Slocumb - 31 - 1996
10. Dick Radatz - 29 - 1964
Lee Smith - 29 - 1988

What does this mean? I have no idea.

But with Keith Foulke out of the closers spot by game three and rookie fireballer Jonathan Papelbon closing the door on a Major League-best seven games already, I think we’ll have a 12th member to add to that list in a couple of months.

Plus, I get to make a “I hope every AL team gets Pap-smeared this season!” reference, which is wicked awesome.

(Numbers from Baseball-Reference.com.)

He was not inspecting chicken

A 76-year-old Florida perv was arrested after he posed as a doctor and went door-to-door offering women free breast exams.

I, of course, continue to offer my services free of charge without posing as a doctor, but no takers.

According to a Broward County Sheriff's Office report, two women in their thirties fell for the scam.

If just one woman is saved, wasn't it worth it?


(Ow, stop throwing things! Okay, who has the four-inch heels?!)

A bare bones post

I got my haircut yesterday.

That’s not what this post is about, lest it be the dullest ever. “Used a No. 5, ‘cause I didn’t want to go to short with a No. 4, yet can’t stay long since it’s hot outside and I want to be cool on the neck and …” You see where that kind of post could lead. The inner side of a noose at your own hands.

No, what stands out about this trip is that when I used the term “bare bones,” the barber/male stylist said he’d never heard it before. Then he kept going on and on about it, saying it out loud to roll it around his tongue and try it out.

What do I say to that? I don’t want to be a condescending elitist – or at least sound like one in his face – but do I just take credit for it and hope he never hears it again and realizes I’m a big fat liar? Is this how Simon feels talking to Kellie Pickler?

It’s like when I started working at Headline News. I had never heard anyone start a sentence with “Meantime,” but there it was in our scripts, all the time and to this day.

Sure, I was familiar with “in the meantime,” but to start a sentence requires “Meanwhile,” right? Like in, “Can The Joker be stopped? Meanwhile, back at the Bat Cave, Robin was home, washing Batman’s tights.”

Maybe it’s me. I could be wrong. Meantime Meanwhile, this was still the dullest post ever.

Huggable and funny

You Are Fozzie Bear

"Wocka! Wocka!"
You're the life of the party, and you love making people crack up.
If only your routine didn't always bomb!
You may find more groans than laughs, but always keep the jokes coming.


Hat tip: Misawa and Mark.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Never in jeopardy

Cue the Queen!

“I like to ride my bicycle, I like to ride my” … no wait, I mean this one …

“We are the champions …”

I just got back from trivia at Tijuana Joe’s with fellow Union alum Amy, her husband, Michael, and his friend, Mike. In a tight match and a comeback in the bonus round, we took first place by one point among a pool of about eight teams.

First prize was a $50 gift certificate, which also paid for our dinners. Bonus! (Weight Watchers update - I had soup and salad all day, so I had plenty of points left for chips, rice & beans, an enchilada and tamale. So good.)

Our wicked awesome team name was taken from Major League: Jobu Needs A Refill, and one Amy and Michael use all the time, because yes indeedy, they are that cool.

Even better was catching up on the Union days with Amy, and realizing how much I’ve forgotten from those four years. Apparently I joke about stalking, but it must have actually happened my freshman year one night, because both Amy and Jenny and Jenny Hefner all remember me, a pair of binoculars and a phone call. All in good fun, of course. Still. Me? Creepy. And yet I remain single like nearly the entirety of college. Go figure.

Also cool, getting into my car, turning on XM Radio and promptly hearing the Red Sox score three runs in the eighth inning to beat pesky Tampa Bay.

Idol Watch

Tonight on American Idol, the American songbook.

Chris starts things off with “What a Wonderful World,” which is totally not rock, and totally boring from anyone but Luis Armstrong, even if Chris sung it well. About all I could muster was a golf clap. “Good sport, old chap, please bring it similarly next week. Pass the martini.”

Paris tackles Billie Holiday’s “Foolish Things,” which probably requires her to smoke a pack of cigarettes beforehand. She did not. I mean, Paris is fine, but not as deep and raspy as she needed to be and tried to be near the end. The judges gushed – even Simon - so maybe I was wrong. It’s happened before. Rarely, yes, but possible.

Taylor’s choice is “Darling You Send Me,” or thrill me, or something. He’s fine. Nothing to worry about, most likely. I have no idea what this Soul Patrol is about, but it’s annoying already, even more than cellphone commercial with the dropped calls that makes me wonder why my sound just went off. Stupid clever advertising campaigns.

I have to be honest. I don’t care for Rod Stewart’s music, but in these little videos he’s wicked cool, someone you’d want to hang out with all the time until he got annoyed with you, all, “Would you stop asking me to say ‘bloody hell’ and show naked pictures of Rachel Hunter all the time?”

Here comes Elliott with “It Had To Be You,” and it wasn’t him. I’ve never really cared for him (sorry Amy), and he fails any comparison with main male rival, Chris. He wasn’t bad, wasn’t great, just … was, all positive judging and clapping aside. I do agree with Randy that everyone seems relaxed tonight, and no one has stunk, which is something I couldn’t say the last three weeks.

Kellie’s bubbly and dumb blondish, as usual, and even though I don’t recognized that song she had me at “bewitched.” Kind of strains at the end, but otherwise solid. Then Randy and Simon knock her as the worst thus far, and I know nothing. Paula has a good point, that Kellie looks fabulous. What a great figure. She may send herself to the bottom three by saying she “butchered” the song, which is never a good strategy. Then again, if the Pickler leaving means saving Katharine, I’m all for it.

Oh look, it’s Ace. What the heck happened to his hair? It’s all slicked back like he’s casting for a Dean Martin biopic. My soul just temporarily left my body, so can’t die in the next four minutes. Singing-wise? Not near as tight as that ponytail.

Who’s got the McPheever!? Just me? Still? A solo bandwagon here for the Future Mrs. Jeff. Which is fine, she’s singing right to me through the boob tube, “thinking of you.” I can feel it. I’m a sick puppy. Admit it, even though you ladies hate her the same way you hate Jennifer Love Hewitt, she’s got some great pipes. Which is what’s important, am I right? The pipes, yeah, that’s the ticket. Simon just said she ruled the night, and that’s what I’m talking about!


Wednesday's bottom three: Elliott, Ace and Paris. Who goes? Who knows?

Can we be this stupid? Yes we can!

Here's a new one from the liberal union thinktanks: Bob the Builder is making your children into worker drones for The Man:
EAGER TO BEGIN THE DAY'S construction project, the workers cheerfully conduct calisthenics drills and beg their supervisor for the most difficult jobs. They then chant in unison, ''Can we build it? Yes we can!" When given a day off, the workers spend it practicing their duties.

These might be scenes from a North Korean propaganda film but they're actually from ''Bob the Builder," one of the most popular children's cartoons on American television. The characters in ''Bob the Builder," many of which are anthropomorphized construction vehicles, exhibit a single-minded devotion to toil-one that is celebrated in several of today's top-rated children's television programs.

Thomas the Tank Engine and the other trains in ''Thomas & Friends" want only to show their boss, Sir Topham Hatt, that they are efficient, productive, and ''really useful." The New Economy version of this is ''Cyberchase," in which a team of young computer geniuses program their way out of danger. ''Little Einsteins" offers models of prodigies who ''achieve goals through teamwork" for preschoolers to emulate. Even the notorious SpongeBob SquarePants, assailed by many as a corruptor of our youth, loves his job flipping burgers so much that he was named ''Employee of the Year" by the fast-food restaurant where he works.
His solution to such insanity? Watch "work-averse lollygaggers" like Fred Flintstone and George Jetson.

Fewer smoky vans on the road, too

Supporters of illegal immigration are trying to organize a May 1 boycott of all things gringo.

You know what this means?

I can go to Wal-Mart and shop in peace! I’ll have the place to myself! Woo-hoo!

Cowardly Central

So South Park does a two-part episode about the dangers of letting Islamofascists decide what run in the American media through violence, and Comedy Central edits out a cartoon of Muhammad, because they’re afraid of fomenting Muslim anger. Later they did not edit out a part of the show where George W. Bush is crapping on Jesus.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Here are some new logo suggestions for the network.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A thin revelation

You’re not going to believe this, but Calista Flockhart has admitted she suffered from anorexia while filming "Ally McBeal."

I know! I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

I mean, next you're going to tell me that Kenyans swept the Boston Marathon!

Oh.

Peoria Death-Eaters gets four points

Think your city is fierce and intimdating? Does that come from the nicknames of your sports teams? Maybe.

After all, according to the Mascot Fearsomeness Ranking, Oakland ends up No. 1, and I think we'd all admit that being in that city would instill fear.

Then again, Nashville ended up No. 2, so there's room for debate.

Points ranked mascots from 0 to 4 based on how "badass" it seems, and combined each city's rankings.

I can't exactly be upset that the Red Sox score a 0, but Braves is a 2? An Indian carrying a tomahawk? Really? Wouldn't that be as fierce as a Warrior (4 points)?


Hat tip: Deadspin.

Ticket to ride

Okay everyone, you can stand down from Defcon 3 regarding my Extra Innings scare.

Ever since I ordered the package, I couldn’t help but notice that today’s game was listed as a 1:00 p.m. start, when in fact the game always begins at 11a .m. on Patriot’s Day, a holiday in Massachusetts and also the same day as the Boston Marathon.

I emailed them, looking for answers. No reply from the darkness. I cried into the night sky. No response.

I still woke up at 10:55, hoping someone was there to flip the switch to the NESN feed.

10:59 … The InDemand schedule still says 1:00. …

11:00 … That’s Fenway! Prayers. Answered. Heavens. Open. Jeff. Happy!

I don’t have to be at work until 2, so let’s get this game going!

Wait, never mind. Ichiro just scored. Seattle up 1-0. Let's rewind this and start over!


Speaking of thinking ahead …

Dad and I have our reservations and tickets for our two-week June vacation, three nights in D.C., seven nights in Manhattan, three nights in Boston. Tickets are ours for the U.S. Open and three Red Sox matches.

Last night, I completed another of our desires, to go to a game in (damn) Yankee Stadium. I bought tickets (off MLB.com, not eBay, since it’s easier to buy Yank tix than Red Sox – nyah!) for the June 13 game against Cleveland, our first night there.

Heck, I even already bought and printed tickets to visit the Empire State Building. So Dad, yeah, we’re gonna stop there on the visit. I was just told to get them ahead of time to avoid the very long lines at the booth.

If this were The Amazing Race, we’d be totally winning. Wish we had that CBS credit card, though.

UPDATE 2:11 - Nothing like listening on XM Radio to the Red Sox win with a walk-off home run while sitting in the CNN parking lot and doing the fist-pump mini-hop in the car.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Jeff reviews "Thank You For Smoking"

See here Nic Cage, this is what I was hoping to see from you in Lord of War a few months ago.

It doesn’t take much guts for Hollywood to lecture audiences on the evils of international arms smuggling, so don’t blow smoke up our bums by making us feel guilty for rooting for the likable rogue like Cage, or in this case, Aaron Eckhart, a lobbyist for Big Tobacco. If you’re going to make a satire, go all the way. So thank you, Thank You For Smoking.

You might say that this film is unfiltered, or smooth and refreshing. Tastes good like a cigarette should, as Barney used to say to Fred out behind the stone house during ads for Winston during breaks in “The Flintstones.”

If you’re going to caricature a proponent of near pure evil, don’t wimp out and defend beer or pistols. As Eckhart says, he likes the challenge of cigarettes. “If you can do tobacco, you can do anything.” That’s why even his fellow Merchants of Death - Maria Bello (alcohol lobbyist) and David Koechner (guns), lose an argument comparing body counts and can only wish that they were notable enough to be threatened by vigilantes.

Eckhart’s Nick Naylor is a masterful BS artist, and I heartily respect that. I count it among one of my favorable traits, in fact.

My favorite tests in high school and college were those full of essay questions. If you’re unsure about a multiple-choice test, you only have a 1-in-4 chance of being right, and if it’s fill-in-the-blank, well, you’re screwed. But on an essay test, you can take all of the basic facts you know about a subject and stretch it to make the teacher believe you’re an expert in the field.

As Naylor says to his son, “If you argue correctly, you’re never wrong,” no matter which side you take in a debate. Turn an argument so that you make the other person wrong, and you win, whether you’re a lobbyist convincing an audience that Big Tobacco isn’t to blame for a cancer-stricken teen or a defense lawyer getting a murderer off on a technicality.

Not that I have the smooth arrogance Naylor has in everyday situations. He doesn’t hide it, either. “Know that guy who could pick up any girl? I’m him, on crack,” he narrates in one of his many blunt statements that is more charming than standoffish.

Another reason to like Thank You For Smoking comes when William H. Macy shows up as the uptight anti-tobacco foil to Naylor’s plans, and he’s a Democrat! Senator Ortolan K. Finistirre, - a Vermont Democrat, no less, with bottles of syrup on his desk, a big cheddar sign on the wall and wearing Birkenstocks under desk - wants to put skull & crossbones on all packs with the word “poison,” and then remove all traces of smoking from old films, which would be funny until you realize what Spielberg did taking out guns in his E.T. DVD edition.

Yes, sure, Finistirre is probably on the higher moral plane in real life, but this isn’t that kind of movie, so we just want him to get figuratively smoked at the hearing in the end.

When Naylor goes to L.A. get the sex back into cigarettes on the silver screen and by someone other than Europeans or villains, he meets his morally flexible match in agent Rob Lowe. Even Big Tobacco can’t compare to the shallow existence of the typical Hollywood toady.

Elsewhere in support, Sam Elliott is a former Marlboro Man who smoked Kools and has cancer; Katie Holmes is a distraction as a reporter (one wonders if her Scientologist handlers snipped some of the sex scenes); and Robert Duvall’s “Captain” of the industry is like some antebellum plantation owner who says stuff like, “tobacco takes care of its own” as if he’s some sort of tobacco mafia cartel boss.

None of them, however, overshadow Eckhart, who is delicious in the smarmy role, and makes this satire a delightful study in argumentative perspective. Nick Naylor is Bill O’Reilly’s nightmare. There is nothing but the Spin Zone in the world of lobbyists, especially for merchants of death.

Oh sure, the filmmakers get a little serious, such as in Eckhart’s relationship with his son (Cameron Bright), and the script has to interject a bit of morality to remind us that they aren’t complete asses, but we don’t want Eckhart to have a change of heart or feel bad about his job, and he doesn’t.

Easter means food

I found out one good thing about not having a wife and kids yet. At my Weight Watchers meeting Thursday, all the women kept talking about how hard it was to stay true to the diet with all that candy lying around and family get-togethers with special dishes lined up ten deep.

I smirked, "huh, no worries here. I just won't buy any candy, and I can eat for myself, by myself." I'll just sleep until noon, watch the Red Sox game, have a fudge bar, a Smart Ones meal or two, and not worry one bit about extra points. A normal Sunday, in other words.

Advantage, Jeff! (So lonely.)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Make God laugh


A couple of Easter jokes in celebration of the season, courtesy Grif.net:

It was Palm Sunday and, because of a sore throat, five-year old Kristen stayed home from church with a sitter. When the family returned home, they were carrying little palm branches. Kristen asked what they were for.

"People held them over Jesus' head as He walked by", Mom replied.

"Wouldn't you know it," Kristen fumed. "The one Sunday I don't go, He shows up!"

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

Trying to illustrate the season and show the difference between godly reminders of this time of year (like a cross or a nail) and society's imitations (baskets with plastic grass, chocolate bunnies), the pastor reached into his bag and held up a large plastic egg. Pointing to it, he asked the children, "What do you suppose is in here?"

Quickly a little boy exclaimed, "Pantyhose!"

Apple gives written wedgie to third-grader

I'm guessing that Mark Aaker, Senior Council of Apple's Law Department, has a folder on his iPod titled "Playground Bully":
Apple Computer recently held a meeting to discuss changes to its corporate policy after the company sent an upsetting legalese reply to a third-grade girl who had hand-written a letter to chief executive Steve Jobs with her thoughts on improving the iPod.

When 9-year-old Shea O'Gorman and her third-grade class began learning about writing business and formal letters, she thought who better to write to than the chief executive of the company that makes her iPod nano.

In her letter to Mr. Jobs, little Shea offered her ideas on how the company could improve on its iPod digital music players, such as adding song lyrics so listeners can sing along to their tunes.

After waiting nearly three months, Shea finally received a reply from Apple's Cupertino, Calif.-based headquarters, and the entire family gathered around to read it.

To the dismay of Shea and her family, the letter wasn't from Mr. Jobs. It was from Mark Aaker, Senior Council of the company's Law Department, telling the third-grader that Apple doesnt accept unsolicited ideas, so she should not send them her suggestions and if she wants to know why, she could read their legal policy posted on the Internet.

"She was very upset, and kinda threw the letter up in the air and ran in her room and slammed her door," the girl's mother told CBS 5 News.

Of course, Apple's policy was instated to protect the company -- and anyone who submits ideas to the company -- from ending up in a costly legal spat if similar ideas are ever adopted into future Apple products. However, you'd think the handwriting of a 9-year-old may have drawn company's lighter side.

Apple reportedly decline to comment on the mishap, but the company's General Council placed a personal call to Shea to apologize following a CBS 5 News inquiry.

It was also reported that Apple held a meeting this past Wednesday in which it discussed ways that it could amend its corporate policy when dealing with children.
Bill Gates responded immediately, "That's nothing. I screw over millions of Americans every minute with my Windows software! I'll bet I was responsible for at least 20% of deleted homework last night!"

Hat tip: Fark.com

Liberal professor insanity

There are many times I am thankful that I attended a private Christian college rather than a secular public university. Here are just two recent examples:
A professor at Northern Kentucky University said she invited students in one of her classes to destroy an anti-abortion display on campus Wednesday evening.

NKU police are investigating the incident, in which 400 crosses were removed from the ground near University Center and thrown in trash cans. The crosses, meant to represent a cemetery for aborted fetuses, had been temporarily erected last weekend by a student Right to Life group with permission from NKU officials.

Public universities cannot ban such displays because they are a type of symbolic speech that has been protected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

… Sally Jacobsen, a longtime professor in NKU's literature and language department, said the display was dismantled by about nine students in one of her graduate-level classes.

"I did, outside of class during the break, invite students to express their freedom-of-speech rights to destroy the display if they wished to," Jacobsen said.

… Pulling up the crosses was similar to citizens taking down Nazi displays on Fountain Square, she said.
Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Officials at the Ohio State University are investigating an OSU Mansfield librarian for “sexual harassment” after he recommended four conservative books for a freshman reading program. ADF has demanded that OSU cease its frivolous investigation, yet the university is pressing forward, claiming that it takes the charges “seriously.”

… Scott Savage, who serves as a reference librarian for the university, suggested four best-selling conservative books for freshman reading in his role as a member of OSU Mansfield’s First Year Reading Experience Committee. The four books he suggested were The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian, The Professors by David Horowitz, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye’or, and It Takes a Family by Senator Rick Santorum. Savage made the recommendations after other committee members had suggested a series of books with a left-wing perspective, by authors such as Jimmy Carter and Maria Shriver.

Savage was put under “investigation” by OSU’s Office of Human Resources after three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against him, saying that the book suggestions made them feel “unsafe.” The complaint came after the OSU Mansfield faculty voted without dissent to file charges against Savage. The faculty later voted to allow the individual professors to file charges.
Hat tip: Ace of Spades

Kerry then and now

John Kerry was on "“Meet the Press" last weekend in one of his typical “can you believe this was the Democrat nominee for president” performances.:
SEN. KERRY: Tim, it’s unconscionable that any young American is dying because Iraqis, five months after an election, are dithering and squabbling and cannot find the ability to compromise and come together in a democracy. Our kids didn’t die for that. Our kids didn’t go over there to do that. Our soldiers have done their job. They’ve given them several elections, three elections. They’ve given them a government, the opportunity to have a government.
Let’s rewind to John Kerry on “Meet the Press” back in 1779 …
SEN. KERRY: Tim, it’s unconscionable that any young colonist is dying because the Continental Congress, three years after declaring independence, are dithering and squabbling and cannot find the ability to compromise and come together in a democracy. Our kids didn’t die for that. Our soldiers have done their job. They’ve given them a government, the opportunity to have a government.
Good thing our founding fathers didn’t pull out the troops.

Hat tip: Oxblog

Yellow specks of wheezing

Let’s play everyone’s favorite spring event here: What’s Atlanta’s pollen count?

Remember, over 120 is considered “Extremely High”

April 3 - 5,861
April 4 - 2,562
April 5 - 670
April 6 - 1,729
April 7 - 3,193
April 10 - 894
April 11 - 644
April 12 - 1,312
April 13 - 1,121
April 14 – 733

*Numbers from the Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic.

Friday, April 14, 2006

100 Things About Me, 31-40

1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 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


Today's fortune cookie: "Others will be impressed by your generosity."

Then let's make today's blog free of charge! All posts must go!

31. The Turner Tech Gods are making us change our passwords from something simple (like 12345, which, as it stands, is the combination of my luggage). Not once this week have I logged in correctly on the first try.

32. I wasn’t in Boy Scouts, but when I was young (10 or so?), a group of us were in the Indian Scouts, something similar, I guess, without the merit badges. My asthma attacks on campouts didn’t help, plus Dad and I learned we weren’t exactly a superior team on a canoe when we took a trip down the Buffalo River. I remember being in the water at least twice. I would suggest we try it again now that I’m grown, but really, who cares? I’d rather go tubing on a slow-going river, and stay in a decent hotel at night.

33. I’m like Rain Man when it comes to drinking water from bottles. If I can’t find Aquafina I get hysterical. I care more about it than which oil goes in my $20,000 Jeffmobile, a.k.a. a 2004 Pontiac Aztek, my first car bought new

34. Should a military plane or helicopter every fly overhead, I will always stop what I’m doing and watch, because I am a man, and find such aircraft neat, and watch shows on the History Channel and Discovery Wings about the minutiae of an F/14 versus an F/16.

35. I love baked potatoes. The whole thing, skin included. Instead of fattening butter or sour cream, I learned from Nana to use salsa as a condiment, and it’s wicked awesome as well as healthy. That, and bacon bits.

36. I collect shot glasses from my travels, making special note of the ones from Hard Rock Café. My favorite is one from Maine that has a plastic lobster wrapped around it.

37. When in Brazil I could never find shot glasses in touristy shops, so when we were at a Japanese steakhouse in Sao Paulo, I stole a little cup with Japanese characters on the side. I now use it as a toothpick holder.

38. Three golfers I’d add to my foursome: Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Paula Creamer. (In case one of those can’t make it: Laura Diaz, John Daly and/or Charles Barkley.)

39. I am nosy. I want to get up all in your business. Like the great Barbara Walters said, “Show me someone who never gossips, and I'll show you someone who isn't interested in people.” She added, “And if you don’t watch The View, you’re a woman-hating man with feelings of inadequacy in bed.” Okay, I made up the second quote.

40. I no doubt think I’m funnier than I really am.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Good Friday

  • I spend $13 a month on XM Radio, in large part due to the ability to listen to Red Sox games during summer driving season. Unfortunately I can’t pick up XM in my apartment due to some sort of mix of not facing south and my place being covered in lead or something.

    For $160, I purchased the MLB Extra Innings package this spring in order to watch games in the comfort of my living room. Tonight, I had to drive to a sports bar to see the game. Why? Because the geniuses at Comcast are using the same channels for both the MLB and NHL packages, and tonight they chose to give the NHL every channel, bumping the Sox.

    This is how five-state killing sprees start, people. I’m not threatening, I’m just providing a motive that no jury would convict.

    Not that I didn’t enjoy my sports bar experience, what with playing trivia and eating Weight Watchers-friendly chicken and veggies.

    The problem, as always, was the smoker’s taint on my clothes. When I got home, I stripped nekkid, put my clothes in the washing machine and hopped in the shower to feel clean again. I don’t think I’d feel as nasty if I crawled through a sewer a la Tim Robbins in Shawshank Redemption.

    Y’all might remember one of my Amy exes, the one from Memphis and FOK – Friend of Kimberly – a couple of years ago. When we started dating, she didn’t tell me that she sucked on those cancer sticks (and good for her, since I wouldn’t have jumped into a relationship in ten seconds flat. Well, maybe. I was pretty desperate to have contact with a woman who didn’t throw up afterwards).

    Anyway, I didn’t know she smoked, but could tell something was amiss by the taste of her kiss. She did quit soon after we began dating, and told me, which was when I realized just how much I noticed the difference after she quit. It’s unreal. Smoking is such a turn off, no matter how much you’ve convinced yourself of the Cool Factor by watching Lauren Bacall movies from the 40s. She probably tastes like an ashtray, too, but she was also a movie legend so no one said anything. You don’t have that luxury.

  • Back at the sports bar … I didn’t stay for the whole game, since Matt Clement gave up a grand salami and trailed 6-1 by the second inning, which was only a little worse than David Wells performance the night before. Great. Now starting pitching looks dreadful. The old Braves had “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.” The 2006 Red Sox? “Schill and Beck and what the heck?”

  • Still at the bar … There were some women dressed in tight little outfits hired by Bud Light to conduct interviews with patrons about alcohol preferences. They never approached me, though I did catch a couple out of the corner of my eye look in my direction before quickly turning to another table. Either a) They didn’t want to bother me playing trivia; b) They didn’t want to bother me watching the Red Sox game; or c) They saw that I had two glasses, one with H20 and another with Diet Coke, and guessed that I don’t drink. I’m going with d) It’s me. But that’s how I always guess, ain’t it?

  • About 20,000 years ago (long depending on when you read this), women apparently chose men as providers. Now comes The New Scientist to tell us that women are changing their minds about men. As they become more financially independent they prefer looks over finances. The study will be revealed in Duh Weekly.

  • Name of the day comes from Chicago Cubs rookie Angel Pagan. Almost as good as the hockey player, Miroslav Satan, assuming Miroslav is Czech for "disciple of Christ."

  • Could someone in Memphis please tell the Grizzlies to stop winning? They’re ruining their playoff chances! What I mean is, because of the way seeding goes, as a No. 6 seed they would get to play Denver, a team with a worse record who nonetheless is leading their division. If Memphis ends up with the 5, they have to face Dallas, the No. 4 seed but with the third-best record in the entire NBA! Unfortunately, the Clippers figured this out and lost a couple of games to drop behind Memphis. Sad day when the frackin’ Clips are wiser than the Griz.

  • Mexican officials seized 5 ½ tons of cocaine packed in more than 100 suitcases from a commercial aircraft that landed after flying from Venezuela. The drugs are said to have a potential street value of up to $100 million, but once you figure in the cost of the nice luggage, it’s probably more like $99, 999,000, so I think that bumps it down to a misdemeanor in Mexico.

  • Fun with punctuation, courtesy National Review’s Jay Nordlinger. First, punctuate this sentence:
    Jane while John had had had had had had had had had had had the teacher's approval.
    And another:
    That that is is that that is not is not.

    The answers:
    Jane, while John had had "had," had had "had had"; "had had" had had the teacher's approval.

    That that is, is; that that is not, is not.

  • More for Red Sox fans, or anyone who wants to understand what it’s like to be a member of Red Sox Nation, a visual and audio experience of opening day courtesy the Boston Globe: New Views at the Old Park.

  • Another example? From Dan “2005 Curse” Shaughnessy, a tidbit from Opening Day:
    Six months after the Red Sox were swept out of the playoffs by the eventual world champion White Sox, Boston fans were ready for baseball. Standing atop the Green Monster at 6:30 a.m. yesterday, one could see six young men playing Wiffle ball on top of the crumbling garage across Lansdowne Street from the Wall. While the sun rose over the right-field pavilion, and fans in tents began to thaw from an overnight stay waiting for standing-room tickets, the Wifflers set up a makeshift diamond and took turns trying to put some good plastic on the ball.

    Repeat: This was at 6:30 in the morning. (Emphasis Dan’s.)


  • Obviously I’ll never be able to use this service, but if you think you’ve taken great photos or written some good material on your blog and want to cut down some trees to read it offline and share with friends and family, check out Blurb.com.

  • The last three songs that just shuffled on my iTunes:
    "Father Figure" - George Michael
    "S.O.S." - ABBA
    "Whoomp, There It is" - Tag Team

    Just so you know.

Ticket parade

They're all here, mine and Dad's tickets for the Red Sox series in June:



Reservations have also been confirmed for six nights in New York for the U.S. Open, three nights in Boston, and we're waiting for confirmation on three nights in D.C. on the way up. Should be a heck of a trip!

28 Days Later

I knew I wouldn’t have a big number at my Weight Watchers meeting today since I weighed in Saturday, so I wore shorts and figured it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Still, when she said I was down "only" 2.2 pounds, I was a little disappointed. How can I make it look better? Over two weeks it’s four pounds a week, and thisclose to 20 pounds for four weeks. Not bad.

Next week I’ll just have to make sure to eat plenty of fiber and have a big bowl of baked beans Wednesday night.

I know that sounds gross, but you gotta make that scale purr anyway you can!

Some weight-loss "tips," courtesy Grif.net:

"A diet is a weigh of life."

"It's not the minutes spent at the table that put on weight, it's the seconds."

"It's something most of us do religiously: We eat what we want and pray we don't gain weight."

"The toughest part of a diet isn't watching what you eat. It's watching what other people eat."

A simple "Italian Pasta Diet". If you want to lose weight . . .
1. You walka pasta da bakery
2. You walka pasta da ice cream shop
3. You walka pasta da candy store
4. You walka pasta da table and da fridge


Keep Jeff accountable
Starting weight (March 16, 2006) - 362.2
Current weight (April 8, 2006) - 342.4
Total lost - 19.8
10% target - 326
Ultimate goal – 200

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Taking a leak on the truth

This week's drummed-up charge by the media/Democrats of alleged Bush administration malfeasance in Iraq: Did he know that trailers originally thought to manufacture WMDs weren't really what he said when he said it?

Last week, for some reason the "leak scandal" has been boiled down to whether or not Valerie Plame was a CIA operative, but it goes back to the fact that she sent her Democrat hubby, Joe Wilson, to Africa, and he proceeded to lie about what he found concerning Bush's "16 word" statement in the 2003 State of the Union address: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Let's go to Christopher Hitchens for the reality check:
In February 1999, Zahawie left his Vatican office for a few days and paid an official visit to Niger, a country known for absolutely nothing except its vast deposits of uranium ore. It was from Niger that Iraq had originally acquired uranium in 1981, as confirmed in the Duelfer Report. In order to take the Joseph Wilson view of this Baathist ambassadorial initiative, you have to be able to believe that Saddam Hussein's long-term main man on nuclear issues was in Niger to talk about something other than the obvious. Italian intelligence (which first noticed the Zahawie trip from Rome) found it difficult to take this view and alerted French intelligence (which has better contacts in West Africa and a stronger interest in nuclear questions). In due time, the French tipped off the British, who in their cousinly way conveyed the suggestive information to Washington. As everyone now knows, the disclosure appeared in watered-down and secondhand form in the president's State of the Union address in January 2003.
The basics come down to this: Liberals are seriously self-delusional about Saddam Hussein's regime and their past statements calling for regime change.

"Saddam Hussein has already used these weapons and has made it clear that he has the intent to continue to try, by virtue of his duplicity and secrecy, to continue to do so. That is a threat to the stability of the Middle East. It is a threat with respect to the potential of terrorist activities on a global basis. It is a threat even to regions near but not exactly in the Middle East." - John Kerry, Feb. 23, 1998

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (or Jackson)

When I started a MySpace page a couple of months ago, one of the gems was finding fellow Union alum Valerie Howell, whom I hadn't seen since graduation. She was my editor at our student paper, The Cardinal & Cream, while I was sports editor my senior year.

She actually has pictures from the period (it was eight years ago, though it seems like the Jurassic era), and was gracious enough to scan them for me today.

The first is the two of us at graduation, the second is me and Steve - who was sports editor our junior year and we swapped places - working on the paper.





More pictures of Union a couple of years ago here.

I'm passing through Jackson to see Val in a couple of weeks, so I promise to take an updated photo for comparison.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Idol Watch

The past two weeks have raised the level of suckitude to Defcrap 3, and tonight doesn't look to get any better.

I'm equal parts elated and horrified that the contestants are tackling Queen tonight, since several of their tunes are in my iPod. Please, oh please, somebody sing that "I like to ride my bicycle" song. I will vote for you, even if you stink. Promise.

Before the singing, fun with the director. Let me assure you that a grand total of zero of the directors at Headline News make a practice of snapping at us TDs while switching a show. And we do just fine. Then again, we don't have an audience of 27 million for one hour, so shut up, me. Actually, I'm lying. A couple of times directors have snapped like that, but only when they were going to be on TV and to make a fun show of it, like this director did, and he may not snap when off camera, too. So this paragraph didn't mean anything, and I apologize.

Bucky - Looking like a poodle again and singing "Fat Bottommed Girls," he's typical Bucky (the singing, I mean, not his taste in heavy-set women, which may or may not be true). I really mean he shouldn't make the top five. Ever. Even if the other four consisted of mute fascist mimes. [In retrospect, he was one of the best of the night, and his wife's pretty darn cute. Paula was right, he made it a good country-rock song. The lesson, as always: I'm an idiot.]

Ace - Goes for "We Will Rock You," a song recognizable to everyone, meaning his version is easily ripped. Nowhere in this song does one get to show off their range, and still Ace sings out of the back of his throat. Even Freddy Mercury came out of the grave to tell the audience at the end, "He did not rock you, and I apologize for the group selling out in my absence." Paula acknowledges that he sucked, but she wants to get in his pants so she gives a backhanded compliment.

The Pickler goes for "Bohemian Rhapsody," and that's sure to be awkward. Where's Dana Carvey and Mike Myers when we need them? She still has a bit of twang while rocking it out, so to speak, and yeah, it's so odd. Still, as Randy said, kind of entertaining, in the same way it's entertaining to watch a seven-year-old dress up and rock to "Jesus Freak" at a church retreat.

Chris - Goes for the obscure, some song I never heard of and Queen says they never sang live. Unless Live did a cover. (Speaking of obscure references.) As usual, Chris is a rock god on this show, and he's safe. Actually, I just wrote that before he even began singing. Now, I'm not sure what the heck just happened. There's a reason Queen never sang that song live, and it's because the song is terrible. Simon has my back; he expected a better song, too. Randy and Paula don't care, 'cause their dog is howling.

We have another theme tonight, too. Last week: Song choice is everything. Tonight: Song choice doesn't matter. Screw song choice. Song choice has weird diseases and should be stoned.

Time for the Future Mrs. Jeff, Katharine! Love her, America! Adore her like I do! Wait, not as much as I do. That'd be creepy, and there wouldn't be any room in the bushes across the street from her home. She sings a song from the movie Highlander, and how awesome would it be if Sean Connery did background vocals? Without him, she's a little pitchy, to borrow the most overused term on the show. In fact, it's pretty ugly as she builds up in the first minute. And she never gets better. I'm worried she might get another chance next week. Hold me, Katharine, and we'll get through this together. The judges think she was better overall than I did, so maybe she'll be safe.

Next up, Mandisa ... um, er, never mind. *sigh*

Elliott gets free time to introduce his pre-song video using his radio voice, because apparently the show is manipulating him to make it further than he deserves. Singing "Somebody to Love," he doesn't break down any doors, but he's not terrible. As usual, I'm neither here nor there when it comes to Elliott.

At first, Taylor plays is safe with the ultimate sports rock tune, "We Are the Champions," then changes his mind. So he goes with the even safer "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." He also provided the funniest part of the show, when he tried to kick the mic stand down and whiffed. I also learned something. When you just listen to his vocals, as I did at first here at work on break, he's pretty darn good. When you watch him, you get nervous during his spazzy dance tics.

I don't want to jinx us, but so far I'm quite enjoying the lack of an insult war between Ryan and Simon and Simon and Paula.

Last up is Paris, who seems to be most out of her element, but the Queen guitarist is overwhelmed that she's "damn good" singing "The Show Must Go On," so now my expectations have been raised. Tonight's hairdo is long and straight, and pretty rocking, actually, very Pat Benatar. You go, girl. Her voice gets a little shaky when she gets physical slamming her leg down on the stage, but quickly recovers.

Thankfully, Ace sounds even worse during the final montage than I thought he did live, so that's a good sign. Unfortunately, so does Katharine. (Help!)

This week was ten times better than the previous two combined, so I'm enthusiastic again about what's ahead. So long as Ace leaves soon, that is.

UPDATE Wed. 9:30 - Bucky's gone. No biggie. Just wish it could have been Ace first. Next time, perhaps.

Maybe it's not even a hat

I wish I could say this was Much Ado About a Hat and could only happen in New York, but this bulletin board conversation could devolve into PC insanity about sexism in any city. High-larious, yet sad. Thankfully most of the parents see the humor in it.


(Hat tip: Lileks.)

Brokeback Mountain out of a mole hill

Remember, I am not against gay marriage.

That being said, there's a story out there from the media and the gay lobby trying to advance a story that shouldn't be a big deal.

A student at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky, was expelled for being gay.

Well, duh.

The university is a private Baptist school and spells out its policies in the handbook, so the student has no standing for his case, especially not for a lawsuit.

Another disclaimer: I went to a private Baptist school, Union University in Jacksont, Tenn., that has similar policies, and everyone knew it. We knew there were gays at the school, but if they were public about it or got caught, then they were gone.

We couldn't drink alcohol on campus, either, but did anyone sue over it? No. Them's the rules. Don't like it, find an education on a more permissive campus. Try those heathen Methodist colleges.

(Kidding! I meant Presbyterian.)

(Aw, see, that's not right.)

Kung Ye-ow!

Every once in a while I'll try something out of the ordinary, something simple but a teeny bit spontaneous, and then quickly reminded why I prefer my orderly little world with as little unexpected as possible.

Today for lunch at work I tried the spicy kung pao at the Chinese place downstairs. You know, something a little kick that's stil fine on my Weight Watchers diet.

Bad idea.

Three bites into the chicken, my breath could ignite a brush fire.

There's a reason I never eat spicy food. Namely, I prefer to eat without crying (unless I'm downing a pizza while watching the end of The Rock, but we won't talk about that).

Even worse, the spice from the kung pao had contaminated the rest of my plate's ecosystem, The rice was spicy, the onions and peppers, the bourbon chicken, all making my tongue go numb and the roof of my mouth peel like 50-year-old asbestos at a high school.

Then again, I did end up tossing half my plate, so that saved a lot of points tonight to enjoy some cheese nips as a snack. That's spontaneous, right? (Just nod and move on.)

Monday, April 10, 2006

In the mood

Most baseball closers run out of the bullpen with a song of their choice playing in the stadium - always something rocking or with a beat - both to pump them up and the crowd, while hopefully intimidating their opponent. For instance, both Billy Wagner and Mariano Rivera use Metallica's "Enter Sandman."

When Rockies closer Brian Fuentes jogged in the other night, what was playing? Not his usual, Staind's "For You," but The Village People's "YMCA." At first the people in the audio booth were going to play "In the Navy," but that was deemed "too gay."

What are some of the songs a macho tough-as-nails closer would rather not walk out of the bullpen to earn a save?

"Dancing Queen" - ABBA (Mariano Rivera, NYY)
"Born to be Wild" - Steppenwolf (Brad Lidge, Hou)
"Love Train" - The O'Jays (Joe Nathan, Min)
"Yellow Submarine" - The Beatles (Francisco Rodriguez, LAA)
"Killing an Arab" - The Cure (Billy Wagner, NYM)
"Two Less Lonely People" - Air Supply (Huston Street, Oak)
"We Built This City" - Starship (Chad Cordero, Was)
"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" - The Police (B.J. Ryan, Tor)
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (Trevor Hoffman, SD)
"Orinoco Flow" - Enya (Jason Isringhausen, STL)
"The Woman in Me" - Shania Twain (Francisco Cordero, Tex)
"Bad Moon Rising" - CCR (Bob Wickman, Cle)
"Paradise by the Dashboard Light" - Meat Loaf (Derrick Turnbow, Mil)
"Miracle Drug" - U2 (Ryan Dempster, ChC)
"Homeward Bound" - Simon & Garfunkel (Bobby Jenks, ChW)
"The Rose" - Bette Midler (Tom Gordon, Phi)
"A Good Run of Bad Luck" - Clint Black (Eric Gagne, LAD)
"Don't be Cruel" - Elvis (Brian Fuentes, Col)
"Livin' on a Prayer" - Bon Jovi (Jose Valverde, Ari)
"Born to Hand Jive" - Grease (Jonathan Papelbon, Bos)
"Free Fallin'" - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (Keith Foulke, Bos)
"Ice Ice Baby" - Vanilla Ice (Eddie Guardado, Min)
"Creep" - Radiohead (Armando Benitez, SF)
"Asshole" - Denis Leary (Todd Jones, Det)
"Everybody Hurts" - R.E.M. (Mike MacDougal, KC)
"Let the River Run" - Carly Simon (Mike Gonzalez, Pit)
"Loser" – Beck (Joe Borowski, Fla)
"Miss Independent" - Kelly Clarkson (Chris Reitsma, Atl)
"Playing with the Boys" - Kenny Loggins (Chris Ray, Bal)
"Land of Confusion" – Genesis (Chad Orvella, TB)
"Don't Stop Believing" - Journey (David Weathers, Cin)

Did I mention that all of these are in my iTunes library?

(Hat tip: Deadspin.)

Big Papi re-signs

Release the balloons and toss the confetti, good times continue to roll from Red Sox management, who today agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension with David Ortiz.

Ortiz batted .300 with a career-best 47 home runs, 148 RBIs, 119 runs, 102 walks, a .604 slugging percentage and a .397 on-base percentage in 159 games for the Red Sox in 2005. He was listed first or second on every MVP ballot cast, finishing second in AL voting to New York's Alex Rodriguez, who signed a deal with the devil two years before to ensure that he would win even though he chokes in the clutch and gets beat up by Girl Scouts.

UPDATE 12:05 a.m. - What's not wicked awesome? Coco Crisp has a fracture on the base of his index finger on his left hand and will be sidelined for at least 10 days.