Monday, September 29, 2008

Political backlog

- HEADLINE OF THE WEEK, from a galaxy far far away: "Two Jawans, 4 Militants Killed in Gunbattle" - Stormtroopers suspected. The Bantha tracks are side by side. Sand People travel single file to hide their numbers.

- FREE RIDE ON GAFFES: While the media and the left (sorry for repeating myself) are trying to spin the idea that Sarah Palin is an idiot, cloaked behind GOP operatives and unable to think for herself. Meanwhile, Joe Biden comes up with gems like this and is unscathed:

"When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, ‘look, here’s what happened.’"

Of course, TV didn't exist in 1929, and FDR wasn't president at the time. But Katie Couric didn't play a "gotcha" game and call him on it.

- PALIN IS THE ENEMY: Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings warned an audience of Jewish Democrats Wednesday of a new political Holocaust at the hands of Sarah Palin, because "anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. ... If Sarah Palin isn't enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention."

At the same event, Tennessee congressman Steve Cohen, recently criticized by the Right (though naturally not the Left) for comparing the Obamessiah to Jesus and Palin to Pontius Pilate, goes further: "A lot of what Jesus talks about is wonderful," Cohen said. "Talks about helping people and lifting them up and caring about people who are sick and all those things. He's a great Democrat."

Remember, when Republicans seek to be on God's side, they're called religious wackjobs. When Dems do it, it's cool because they're just pandering and they don't really mean it.

- GREEN REVOLUTION?: Algore has offiically crossed over into the world of environmental terrorists who firebomb new homes and businesses, urging young people on Wednesday to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal plants. As with Hastings above, you can guess that his comments were met with great applause.

- STILL WAITING FOR THE MEDIA'S OUTRAGE: A Democrat group led by DNC chairman Howard Dean's brother has a new ad out that attacks McCain .. for having had cancer. The ad opens with a photo of McCain with an ominous Band-Aid on his face and the wording: "John McCain is 72 years old and had cancer 4 times."


- WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA?:

Katie Couric says Palin shouldn't use terms like "Great Depression," even though she was only replying to Couric's question in which the CBS anchor brought it up first.

Luke Russert, Tim's son, says smarter college students vote Obama.

Couric begins a report on Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens by pointing out he's a Republican, but the night before she never got around to mentioning that ethically challenged Congressman Charles Rangel of New York is a Democrat.

- GOON SQUAD: We've already seen examples of how the Obama campaign is trying to intimidate its critics into silence. Now we get word out of Missouri that sheriffs and prosecutors have a "truth squad" to threaten critics of Obama, as KMOV reports: "They will be reminding voters that Barack Obama is a Christian who wants to cut taxes for anyone making less than $250,000 a year. They also say they plan to respond immediately to any ads and statements that might violate Missouri ethics laws." You think if law enforcement in Tennessee supporting McCain had threatened prosecutions of Obama supporters that it might be a tad controversial? Emperor Palpatine would be so proud.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Free Jeff!

If I could have mown the lawn this weekend, I would have found three balls in the backyard. At least, that's how many I found just showing my brother-in-law, Ken, where to cover after he volunteered to help. I hope he wasn't just being kind, because it took approximately ten seconds for us to jump at the offer. Luckily for him the front yard isn't too high, so he didn't have to tiptoe sideways on the hill by the front sidewalk. It's a delicate balancing act. At least, it makes me feel useful and manly.

I don't think I would have realized this a year ago, but after 20 years of not being able to do so because of my asthma, I actually miss mowing the lawn, just one of many activities I'm not allowed to perform due to the surgery two-and-a-half weeks ago. I want to carry heavy things. I want to climb on the ladder and dangle from the ceiling with cans of paint. I want to be able to carry a 24-pack of bottled water from my car into the house.

Even more so that last one, I'm tired of people at the grocery store giving me funny looks when Val is the one who puts the water in the cart and on the belt at the register. We have to cover by talking loudly so others can hear.

"GOLLY, IT SURE DOES STINK NOT BEING ABLE TO CARRY THAT WATER DUE TO MY MAJOR SURGERY."

"I KNOW, HON, I WISH YOU COULD DO IT AS WELL."

Otherwise, I feel fine. It's only a little uncomfortable lying on my side sometimes, but I can tie my shoelaces again and I don't get too worn out just walking around the mall. It's my rumbly tummy that has yet to recover.

Lesson learned today: If I haven't eaten yet, don't eat if you don't want to miss a good 15 minutes of a movie. We went to see "Tropic Thunder" at lunchtime, enjoying hot dogs and nachos and popcorn (no butter - we're on a diet), and as usual, within 10 minutes I was running for the bathroom for my own form of thunder, if you know what I mean, and by that crinkle in your nose I think you do. I had to go back near the end of the film, too, so I look forward to seeing it on cable in two years to fill in the gaps. Val assures me that even more hilarity ensued.

From what I did see, the movie's funny stuff. There are gutbusters throughout, and the way it skewers Hollywood and war movies never failed to deliver. Robert Downey Jr. deserves an Oscar nomination for his role as a "serious" Aussie actor who dives so deep into his roles that he has his skin colored to play an African-American Army grunt. Make sure you pay attention after the real trailers for the fake ones at the start of "Tropic Thunder" featuring the actors playing over-the-top actors in ridiculous flicks, especially the one featuring a cameo from the "winner of the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss."

The new season starts this week!

Here's the schedule for the ALDS, where the Red Sox will tango with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of the U.S. of planet Earth (times to be announced later):

* Game 1: Wed., Oct. 1 @ Anaheim, 9pm central time, TBS
* Game 2: Fri., Oct. 3 @ Anaheim, 8:37 pm, TBS
* Game 3: Sun, Oct. 5 @ Boston, TBS
* Game 4: Mon., Oct. 6 @ Boston, TBS (if necessary)
* Game 5: Wed., Oct. 8 @ Anaheim, TBS (if necessary)

Interesting factoids of the day:

Dustin Pedroia (20), Coco Crisp (20) and Jacoby Ellsbury (49) give the Red Sox three players with 20 or more steals for the first time since 1914.

When Boston beat Cliff Lee the other night to solidify a playoff spot, the Red Sox became the first team to clinch a playoff spot by beating a 20-game winner since Oakland beat Wilber Wood to win the AL West in 1973, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jeff's Top 5: Coolest Scenes in Film

I have simple criteria for this top five, that while watching I was overjoyed, entertained and said, "Holy cow, that rocked!"

1. "The Fifth Element" - On the cruise "ship," the blue opera singer is belting out a rocking hip-hoppy ballad as Milla Jovovich is kicking serious shape-shifting alien tail.

2. "The Untouchables" - The obvious scene would be on the stairs as Andy Garcia shoots the goon in the face while holding the baby carriage. I'm going with the scene on the border when Sean Connery freaks out the accountant by shooting the already dead goon in the head.

3. "Tombstone" - Any scene with Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday will do, but one in particular. Kilmer makes fast-shootin' gunslinger Johnny look like a doofus by spinning a tea cup like a gun to diffuse a tense situation in the casino. He's your Huckleberry, indeed.

4. "The Bourne Identity," "The Bourne Supremacy," "The Bourne Ultimatum" - In each movie there's a fight scene of hand-to-hand combat between Bourne and another assassin. He uses whatever is on hand to win, and it's brutal and awesome.

5. "Lord of the Rings" - Legolas (Orlando Bloom) has one per movie: Mounting the horse from the front in battle, sliding down the shield while firing bows into orcs, and climbing a charging olyphant, killing it and sliding down the trunk as it collapses dead.

There are so many more cool scenes in movies. Five just won't suffice. Here are some more and feel free to tell me I'm an idiot and add your own:

 "Die Hard" - As the L.A. cop gets ready to leave, a body lands on his car and the terrorists open fire as Willis uses one of his many great one-liners in the movie, "Welcome to the party, pal!"

"The Quiet Man" - A boxing "match" lands winds through the Irish countryside between The Duke and Victor McLagen.

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" - Newman and Redford play nice with the train representative as they blow it up for the safe's cash.

"Top Gun" - Woo hoo! Jester's dead!

"Raiders of the Lost Ark" - Indy takes on an entire platoon of Nazis in a truck, and hilariously easily takes out a motorcycle to his side.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A second dance

"Dancing with the Stars" on Tuesday was pretty much the same as Monday, the good danced well, the bad danced poorly, and the so-so were meh.

We bid adieu to comedian Jeffrey Ross, which is unexceptional other than his partner Edyta will have to wear clothes with more than two inches of fabric on Monday nights for once.

The good:

Lance was in a boy band and he's gay, so really, is it any surprise that he can boogy as well as those who preceded him: Drew Lachey and Joey Fatone?

Toni is an R&B artist, who no doubt shaked her moneymaker on more than one occasion on stage.

Brooke is a surprise. She looks like one of the pro dancers, and pulled off both a ballroom and Latin dance with ease.

Cody is a young whippersnapper with all kinds of energy and a ginormous crush on partner Julianne, so he'll have to work off those excess hormones.

Maurice is fine, and I like his partner Cheryl, but right now I'm in Don't Care Land.

The bad:

Kim is famous for having a big butt and a sex tape, and how she got a reality show even on cable is a mystery. She's dead behind the eyes, a vapid personality, and she shook her stuff less than Cloris Leachman.

Speaking of, Cloris, granted, is 82 years old, but the producers did put her on so we have to be honest and say that she shouldn't last. Very entertaining, though I may have to burn out my retinas if she does one more booty-slapping routine.

Misty is a gold medal winner and I adore her for that, but she moves like Monica Seles did last season, and that's not a good thing. Very stiff, has to think about moving her hips in any fashion.

Rocco can cook, but on the stage he just simmers. Funny guy, however, so let's hope he makes it a few more weeks.

The decent:

Susan Lucci is just so cute! Though the judges were right Monday, she looked awfully tiny and frail. She'll play the elegant leading lady role a la Jane Seymour for a while.

Warren Sapp reminds me of what I like to think I'll look like on the show, a big guy who can still move pretty well.

Ted has potential like The Guttenberg did last year, but you saw how little that mattered when he exited quickly. If we're going to have someone from "Married: With Children," I'd rather see any of the Bundys or even Jefferson or Marcy first.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Time to defend that title!


Sweet: The Red Sox clinched a playoff berth tonight with a win over Cleveland and their Cy Young favorite, Cliff Lee.

Sweeter: They eliminated the dang Yanks from contention in the process, the first time since 1993 that the Evil Empire has missed the postseason (to put into perspective, that's when I graduated high school).

Not sweet: The Orioles were swept by Tampa Bay in a doubleheader, so now Boston is three games back for the AL East title and pretty much has to settle for the wild card now.

Then again, we won the Series from the wild card in 2004, so why worry? Go Sox!

UPDATE - Congratulations to Johnny Pesky, who's No. 6 will be retired by the Sox this weekend! Pesky (known nationally mostly for the right field fair pole named for him) is the sixth Sox to earn the honor, joining Ted Williams (No. 9), Bobby Doerr (1), Carl Yastrzemski (8), Carlton Fisk (27), and Joe Cronin (4).

UPDATE 4:05 p.m. - Poor wittle put upon Hanky Steinbrenner just can't see how his precious Yanks didn't make the playoffs, and it certainly isn't his fault:
"The biggest problem is the divisional setup in major league baseball. I didn't like it in the 1970s, and I hate it now," Steinbrenner wrote. "Baseball went to a multidivision setup to create more races, rivalries and excitement. But it isn't fair. You see it this season, with plenty of people in the media pointing out that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are going to the playoffs while we're not. This is by no means a knock on Torre - let me make that clear-but look at the division they're in. If L.A. were in the AL East, it wouldn't be in the playoff discussion. The AL East is never weak."
Aw, what a tragedy that has befallen the dang Yanks. They just couldn't compete against the Rays and Sox in their own division this season, despite spending $170 million more than Tampa. It's obviously Major League Baseball's fault! In fact, I think the dang Yanks should be given a spot in the National League playoffs to make up for his hardships.

Heroes, Dancing back

I have absolutely no clue what happened in two hours of "Heroes." They waited nine months to set up this season and confuse the heck out of me.
 
And what's with the gross out factor? Looking at Clair's brain? Suresh covered in pussy sores? A big scorpion on Matt's face? Ick. Ick. Ew. If they're trying to drive my wife away, then good job. If not, let's focus less on blood and guts, more on Peter flying or Hiro talking about Batman and Catwoman, mkay?
 
Meanwhile, over on this fall's edition of "Dancing with the Stars," out of 13 couples there are maybe five stars who could be considered contenders: Lance Bass, Toni Braxton, Cody Linley, Brooke Burke and Maurice Greene.
 
So get ready for two months of crappy dancing peppered with a few decent performances. Not that it won't be entertaining, I mean. Seriously, Cloris Leachman is 82 years old! Fun, yes, but come on.
 
Good to see Lacey, a finalist on "So You Think You Can Dance" in summer of 2007, as one of the new pro dancers. I'm surprised that ABC would let someone primarily known for her Fox work on their ratings baby.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This is why you should evacuate

Check out this collection of impressive pictures of the Galveston area pre- and post-Ike from the US Geological Society.

As you can read at Instapundit, things are pretty bad in the Galveston-Houston area right now. Lots of damage, little power. And yet, the media has already forgotten about it. Why? Here's a guess that it has to do with a people who are not clamoring for federal bailouts and solid GOP-led state leadership dealing with the problem.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jeff's Top 5: Fall Shows

Top 5 returning shows I'm looking forward to:

1. "Heroes" - It's the best show on the boob tube, and I'm looking forward to seeing the new villains.
2. "House" - He'll be the same, the cases will be the same, I'll like it the same.
3. "The Amazing Race" - People I largely dislike have troubles around the world.
4. "How I Met Your Mother" - Barney and Robin?
5. "CSI: Miami" - Oh no! Cane was shot! Will he live?! Duh.

Honorable Mentions: "Dancing With the Stars" and "The Biggest Loser."

Note: "Lost" and "24" won't be back until January.

Top 5 new shows I'm anticipating:

1. "90210" - Val and I tried the pilot just for nostalgia's sake, then realized this new version is cover-your-eyes awful.
2. "Kath and Kim" - It will probably end up being unwatched by me and Val like the acclaimed "My Name is Earl" and "The Office," but the previews have made me chuckle.
3. "The Mentalist" - I doubt I'll see it, since I've seen enough crime dramas, but this one has potential for sticking around a while.
4. "Opportunity Knocks" - We'll try any game show once. And I don't want to admit that I've stopped and watched "Hole in the Wall" many times already.
5. "Crusoe" - Will it be more "Tarzan" or "Swiss Family Robinson?" When he ignites coconut grenades, we'll know.

5 new shows I don't care to see at all:

1. "Fringe" - I'm done with "The X-Files," and I don't seek any more "Lost" mysteries.
2. "My Own Worst Enemy" - It will be on hiatus for sweeps, come back for a few weeks in the winter, then go away quietly.
3. "Knight Rider" - Loved the original, but the new one has no charm.
4. "Worst Week" - Meet the Parents was embarrassing and humiliating, so why do I want to watch it weekly?
5. (tie) "Gary Unmarried" and "Do Not Disturb" - Jay Mohr and Jerry O'Connell, respectively, try once again at TV comedies, and once again, will get terrible writing and few laughs.

Politics is personal

Here's a winning strategy from the Obamessiah yesterday in Nevada:
"I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face."
Let me know how that works for you.

Which is more unsurprising, that hackers broke into Sarah Palin's email account, or that the Associated Press didn't give copies of the leaked emails to the Secret Service?

Just in case you think Obama is having to fight the meanie Repubs, an analysis of their ads thus far shows that 77% of the Obama campaigns' ads were deemed "negative," compared to 56% for McCain.

What kind of negative ads are being aired by the Obamaniacs? You know, the normal, like a new Spanish-language TV ad that seeks to paint Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as anti-immigrant, including two quotes taken wildly out of context by Rush Limbaugh: “…stupid and unskilled Mexicans” and "You shut your mouth or you get out!”


UPDATE 10:30 p.m. - Here's what Palin's Hacker has to say for himself:
I read though the emails… ALL OF THEM… before I posted, and what I concluded was anticlimactic, there was nothing there, nothing incriminating, nothing that would derail her campaign as I had hoped, all I saw was personal stuff, some clerical stuff from when she was governor…. And pictures of her family
If he had found something, anything worth talking about, you can bet that the media would be saying "privacy schmivacy" and air it 24-7.


UPDATE 10:44 p.m. - Joe Biden calls high taxes "patriotic". He must feel that paying taxes is like giving to charity, because it turns out he only gives an average of less than $400 a year.

Sox need to scuffle on field like Schilling on the microphone

Okay, reality check. After winning the first game of the series at Tampa to even the AL East, the Sox dropped the next two. Now we're down two games with ten to play.

This weekend the Sox are in Toronto for three games, then it's back to Fenway for four against Cleveland and the final three against the dang Yanks. The Rays are home against the Twins for four games, at Baltimore for four (including a doubleheader) and then finish at Detroit with four games.

The chances they'll choke the lead away? Right now I'm saying slim, although I like that they don't have any more off days, and have that doubleheader in Baltimore, so they may be thin on pitching.

I just hope Boston isn't relegated to the wild card, because that means playing Anaheim, and right now no one wants that! (Or didn't my guys notice their 1-8 record against the Halos this year?)

Meanwhile, Curt Schilling may be hurt, but his mouth is working fine, and boy did he come out slamming against Manny, saying the now-Dodger's "level of disrespect to teammates and people was unfathomable.":
"The guy got to dress in a locker away from the team for seven years," said Schilling, talking via telephone with Glenn Ordway and former Sox players Lou Merloni and Brian Daubach. "And then [when] he's on this crusade to get out of here, all of a sudden he's in the locker room every day, voicing his displeasure without even having to play the game that night."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jeff's Top 5: The frills of eating out

Setting aside main entrées, here are my favorite parts of the meal at all the major chains 'round these parts:

Side Items

1. Okra - Especially at Old Timer's (Where we had our rehearsal dinner in Millington). Also acceptable at Dixie Cafe and Cracker Barrel.

2. Baked Potato - Outback Steakhouse and Cracker Barrel are usually tops, because they twice-cook and season them to perfection.

3. Corn on the cob - Chili's covers theirs in pepper, and it's awesome.

4. Mashed Potatoes - I love my potatoes, have you noticed? TGI Friday's has some good ones, stuffed with cheese.

5. Sautéed mushrooms - The best is when Val orders the Alice Springs Chicken at Outback, with her mushrooms on the side just for me. Val, meanwhile, is wondering where the heck Cracker Barrel's hashbrown casserole is on this list.

Appetizers

1. Bloomin' Onion, Outback Steakhouse - We make special trips Down Under just to start the meal with this. The steaks are great, but never as enjoyable as stuffing these greasy strips in my mouth.

2. Calamari, Olive Garden - I get these all to myself. Val won't try it, so I get to enjoy dipping all these chewy fried suckers in their tomato sauce. Val likes the toasted ravioli in the meantime.

3. Spinach and artichoke dip, O'Charley's

4. Boneless Buffalo Wings, Chili's

5. Queso Dip and Chips, Applebee's

(Actually, all three of the last three have all of these, so they're interchangeable.)

Bread (Free with the meal)

1. Breadsticks, Olive Garden - Love dipping them in the marinara sauce of the meal. When the waiter asks if we want more, they usually get a "yeah, duh, moron" look back.

2. Yeast rolls, O'Charley's - So hot, so soft, they flake down your food pipe with ease.

3. Corn Muffins, Cracker Barrel - Cornbread is mandatory here for this Southern boy.

4. Cheddar Bay Biscuits, Red Lobster - They have cheese! Cheese!

5. Honey Wheat Bushman Bread, Outback Steakhouse - Even better when the butter is soft and you can dip the hot bread straight in there.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I'm not sure if you will be more horrified by my stretch marks or the staples scarring my belly after gallbladder surgery exactly one week ago, so click on the little picture at your own risk!



And that is why I have to lose weight.

Saved up

A bunch of political thoughts that I've had in the tank ...

- Based on their feelings about Sarah Palin, it appears that the loony libs and their feminists are ready to get back to the good old days of the 50s and put women back in kitchens making dinner and out of that man's world of the workforce! As a spokeswoman for the National Organization for Women, noting Palin’s opposition to abortion and support of other parts of the social conservative agenda, told Politico, “She's more a conservative man than she is a woman on women's issues. Very disappointing." Because all women should be liberals, pro-choice and anti-gun, see, lest they get kicked out of the club.

- From a reader to The Corner on National Review Online: "When Obama says he'll "restore America's reputation" what it really means is that people who hate America will be delighted by his election. Why so many Americans don't see it that way astounds me."

[Side note: Actually, it's only the spoiled countries where this is prevalent. This is the opening paragraph of an article by Andrew Natsios, former administrator of USAID: "When President Bush traveled to sub-Sahara Africa in February he was greeted by large and tumultuous crowds of admirers — which mystified many of his critics, who believe that the animosity toward his administration abroad is universal. But polling data from the Pew Foundation shows something different: Approval ratings for the United States exceed 80 percent in many African countries, some with large Muslim populations. In Darfur, many families name their newborn sons George Bush."]

Another reader, on the difference between the candidates: “McCain’s message was that the government needs fixing, while Obama’s message was that the country needs fixing? Quite a difference there.”

- "Democrat Barack Obama says he would delay rescinding President Bush's tax cuts on wealthy Americans if he becomes the next president and the economy is in a recession, suggesting such an increase would further hurt the economy," the Associated Press reports. So he's waiting for the economy to recover before hurting the economy again?

- Obama says that his experience for being president is that he's running for president: "My understanding is, is that Gov. Sarah Palin's town of Wasilla has, I think, 50 employees. We have got 2,500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. You know, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month. So, I think that our ability to manage large systems and to execute, I think, has been made clear over the last couple of years."


- From the If McCain or Palin Had Said It beat:

Democrat VP pick Joe Biden asks a politician in a wheelchair to "stand up" and be recognized.

A new Obama ad mocks McCain as an out-of-touch, out-of-date computer illiterate. Of course, as reported in the Boston Globe in 2000: "McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes."

During the Dem convention, Obama appeared on a monitor and told them he was with a family in St. Louis, and then when corrected by his daughter said he was actually in Kansas City.

Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia, appears to believe that his state borders Joe Biden's home state of Delaware. Mr. Geography Wiz is incorrect. Not that Obama would notice, since he thinks there are 57 states. (Understandable, since he thinks he'll get electoral votes from NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times, Washington Post, BET and Europe.

Obama introduces Biden as "the next president."

- In case you're wondering why the media isn't as keen on debunking myths about Sarah Palin as much as it has done for Obama, it's because the media is spreading them.

- Liberal chicks are harsh: "South Carolina Democratic chairwoman Carol Fowler sharply attacked Sarah Palin [yesterday], saying John McCain had chosen a running mate 'whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn't had an abortion,' " Politico reports. So the "right to choose" apparently only goes one way.

- Obama needs to control his thugs trying to shut down TV and radio stations who dare to air dissenting voices.

- Tennessee Democrat congressman Steve Cohen (from here in the Memphis area) confirms that indeed, the Obamessiah is Jesus! Cohen then compares Sarah Palin to Pontius Pilate. You can imagine how well that's going over.

- Apparently ABC anchor Charles Gibson and his media cronies believe that Sarah Palin seeking to do God's will is akin to asking God to do her will.

Or was Charlie just a part of something else bigger, according to the New York Times: "Mr. Obama and his campaign have seemed flummoxed in trying to figure out how to deal with [Sarah Palin]. His aides said they were looking to the news media to debunk the image of her as a blue-collar reformer."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lose an organ and more with this proven weight loss method!

I got my first full night's sleep last night since the surgery. Actually, it was also a full morning's sleep, since I didn't get up until Noon, and wow that felt good! Of course, it was on the couch and I fell asleep watching a Bill Engvall comedy special, but hey, whatever works.

I thought about taking a thick rubber band to the hospital with me to ask the doc to wrap it around my stomach while removing my gallbladder. Two birds with one stone and all that.

If they didn't work out, then the surgery itself and the recovery seems to have done the trick. I weighed about 365-370 pounds before the surgery, 362 on Friday morning, and today only 353 at home, so even though I don't recommend this method, it works!

It's a lot easier to get around today, too. I don't need the walker anymore for balance, and though I need Val's help to shower since I can't bend below my waist much, in another week I think I'll be ready to mow the lawn. If I wanted to, I mean. We are enjoying spending time outside on the back patio where afternoon temps are in the 70s and nights in the 50s. I loves me some autumn!

All even again

The Sox put a whoopin' on the Rays in Tampa Monday night, 13-5. Five and a half out as the month began, Boston has won three straight and Tampa has choked away three in a row, the AL East is all square, and it's on like Kong!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Back home

Hey folks! I got back home Friday after 6 p.m., a day sooner than expected. I'm very sore but not really in any pain. I haven't taken any of the prescribed painkillers, and took very little in the hospital to the surprise of my nurses, but I figure being in pain and being uncomfortable are different. I can suck it up if I'm just sore. I can also belch the national anthem, because I am a man! Roar! (No, not really that last part.)

Many, many thanks to all who called me, tried to call me (my cell phone was off since it wasn't charged because I'm an idiot), called the room and talked to Val or Dad, took Val to lunch to get her out of the hospital for a little bit, came by to say hi, offer advice on experience, and all who emailed that I'm catching up on this weekend.

So the surgery put me in the hospital two days longer than expected. Oops. Guess my gallbladder was so goshawful bad that the doc had to do the "major" intensive surgery cut, which left a foot-long strip of staples in my upper belly, plus by my bellybutton where he put the camera at first, plus a couple of other spots to make it look like he made a mistake and kept poking until the gallbladder squirted.

Thanks to Scott for guest blogging and keeping y'all informed. I know he has other things on his mind. I would have expected Ike, being that he's in Waco, but apparently the fear of the world ending is even stronger.

Most thanks go to my darling wife. Val's been a fabulexcellent nurse, taking care of me at every step. I know she and Dad were nervous in the waiting room for the hour and a half the surgery took, and then they had to wait another five hours until I could move from the recovery area surrounded by other surgical patients into my own room.

Val even slept pretty well on the couch in my room. It pulled apart to a good six feet, but the fact that she was cooped all day with me, then me snoring all night, in a freezing hospital room deserves a medal. She fed me when it was difficult to sit up, emptied my pee bucket, and never complained about the crap I watch on television. (Like "World's Most Amazing Videos," though secretly I think she gets into it when the crooks wreck or get beat up by ticked off cops.) Thursday night we did what people will do when held hostage with basic cable in a hospital and nothing is on at 9 o'clock, we tuned in The In-Laws on AMC. And like people with Stockholm Syndrome, we didn't dislike it.

Wednesday morning we got to the hospital at 7:30 a.m., checked in and they took me straight to my own pre-op room where I got nekkid and put on the gown that would be my only wardrobe for three days. I knew I was in good hands when my nurse looked like Lynda Carter as principal of Sky High, even though I said she looked like Lindsay Wagner, which probably just confused her since she later talked about being called "Wonder Woman" by a child patient, and I was like, "exactly!" Anyway, another bonus was during the pre-surgery area where I met with all the staff who would be watching the doc cut me open, my anesthesiologist was named Michelle Pfeiffer. Or at least her last name was pronounced "Fifer." Okay, so she was short and African-American, but close enough.

The five-hour wait in the recovery area is mostly a blur. I was in and out of consciousness, but really thirsty. My nurse could only provide ice chips, which was fine, but never again. NEVER. AGAIN. Need agua. Got me? H2O. Water.

After I'd been moved to my own room, I stayed in bed and tried to keep count of the hospital staff coming and going, poking and prodding and asking to "rate" my pain on a scale of 1-10 (10 being, "Stop putting more holes in me.") I was in and out of the 14 inning Red Sox-Rays game on ESPN, which the Sox lost, 4-1. Probably better that I was unconscious for the most part.

Thursday wasn't much more active, other than a couple of physical therapists getting me up for the first time to walk down the hall and back. It was like a surreal comedy, these two little women, one Asian wearing braces, and an older white woman with a lisp, talking over one another and yet in unison in quick fashion, giggly and upbeat. If it was a horror movie you'd never see when they pulled out the branch cutters. Friday's PT was a young Russian woman with an awesome accent, and we did a couple of laps around the floor while comparing gallbladder surgeries. I won, being that I didn't do that wussy "easy" surgery everyone else did.

After my walk Thursday we decided to sit me in a reclining chair next to the bed instead of laying there all day wallowing in my uncomfortableness. Actually, the chair was preferable, and I stayed there from 11 a.m. until bedtime after 11 p.m. Friday I did the same, hopping in the chair by mid-morning while Val took the bed next to me to watch TV together, do the crossword puzzles and read (courtesy the hospital, "So Your Husband's Doing Gross Stuff Like Drooling That You Have To Clean").

For the most part, the staff of Methodist Germantown is very good, with only a couple of exceptions. But eight of ten nurses were very attentive, responded quickly and answered every question Val had. Awkwardly and slightly disconcertingly, for lunch Thursday they brought me a "soft" meal, and then an hour later a dietitian came in and said that wasn't supposed to happen. So they came in again for dinner and again it wasn't a liquid diet. Unfortunately instead of scarfing down what was brought, we told the nurse and I was back to broth and pudding.

A couple of other miscommunications included not hooking up the oxygen even though I had the tubes in my nose all night Wednesday, and they had these cool leg massagers to keep my blood flowing all night, but they forgot to hook it up Thursday night. So long as the TV worked, I wasn't complaining.

Friday morning my doc came by to check on everything, remove the bandages and look at my staples. He declared everything to be fine, and said we could be gone by 3 p.m. Val got her hopes up. I knew it wouldn't be as soon as she thought. When the hospital's Internist finally showed up at 5:30, we finally did finish up the paperwork and skedaddle. Dad's rental car was bigger than Val's car, so he carted me home while Val tried to find a gas station where consumers hadn't panicked and started lining up to top off their 3/4-full tanks because of Ike. (People are strange.) Hers actually was on empty, but since it had been parked at the hospital for two days we didn't foresee the craze.

Friday night I slept well in our own bed, and sitting on the couch with a remote that works better than the one in the hospital are the little luxuries I enjoy. That, plus not being attached to ten electrodes and an IV.

*****WARNING: TOO MUCH PERSONAL INFORMATION HERE *******

We were so happy that Saturday morning I made a poopie! Doc told me after surgery that there would be three to five days of constipation, so it was nice to get it out of the way, and on its own since it hurts too much to push. Hey, I said this was too much information!

In the hospital much of my worry was about having to go No. 1. Day one I could only stay in bed and use my trusty pee bucket, so even shuffling to the bathroom with Val on my arm was welcome. I think two years of marriage is enough time for the newlywed glitter to wear off so we can share these experiences together.

Finally taking a shower on Friday felt really good, though it's not easy. Strangely, with a lot of assistance from Val, who, again, doesn't complain as soap gets in her eyes, it's not as sexy as I would have hoped.

*** TMI WARNING OVER *****

Now home, I'm a little better every day. I can pull myself off the couch, roll off the bed, even slept on my side for a few hours this morning to relieve my back pain from laying on it for four days straight. If something falls, well, screw it because I'm not picking it up. Not that Val couldn't insert a paintbrush in my hand and guide me around the chair rail to fix the spots in the kitchen that need touching up.

My greatest fear isn't pneumonia or infection or anything silly like that. It's coughing. Granddad and Nana both advised me to cover my stomach tight with a pillow to stifle some of the trauma, but there's no way to prevent it. It sucks. So does sneezing. I'm even avoiding comedies, because laughing ain't so funny sometimes, either. Which is why we watched "Saturday Night live" last night. No worries there. (See below.)

Val heads back to work Monday, leaving me anchored to the couch for the six or seven hours she's gone and with the remote glued to my hand. My mom-in-law brought over tons of food yesterday, so I won't have to scrounge for meals, and my dad-in-law brought over Val's grandfather's walker to help me scoot around. Sure, in another few weeks I'll be begging to go outside and dig holes in the garden, but not now. There be NFL football on, so here I come again, fluffy brown couch!

(Oh, and is it too much to hope that the surgical staff accidentally left a sponge or towel inside me? Not that it would hurt me, just enough that if they had to cut me open again to remove it, I could sue them enough so they'd, say, pay off the mortgage and student loans, like in Sneakers?)

Live, from New York, it's another year of crap

Every season I try to watch the first episode of Saturday Night Live in the hopes that this one will be better than the last 15. Every year I'm disappointed. Last night was no different. After the opening bit with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton provided a few laughs, I barely chuckled for the next hour.

By the time Weekend Update came on, I knew to have the mute button ready, because almost every joke was about Sarah Palin and/or John McCain. And it was sad. Yes, she's new to the national scene, and yes, there's plenty of satire ready to dig up, but there was about Obama last year, too, and they wouldn't touch him.

All Val and I kept saying to one another was, "They've been saving up all summer for this?"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The gall of it all



Jeff must be recovering well from his procedure (doesn't that sound better than surgery?) today. He asked Val to call me (by the way, this is Scott, Jeff's brother) to write an update to tell you that he's doing better. Everybodygetthat? Good.

In other news, The Large Hadron Collider passed its first test today, which may or may not be good news. While some scientific experiments are unsuccessful, they usually pose little or no harm to the rest of us. If the Large Hadron Collider is successful, then we could learn loads (loads? When did I start speaking like an English gentleman?) of information about the origins of the universe. The purpose of the collider is to recreate the moment immediately following the Big Bang by colliding atom particles at the speed of light. Sounds impressive, right?

But the downside is that if the experiment goes bad, there's always the chance that the exploding particles create a black hole and suck the earth into nonexistence. Fortunately for us, someone has created a web site for the purpose of informing us if such an event should pass.

The moral of this story? Maybe Jeff didn't need to go through the exercise of having his gall bladder removed. Someone has already had the gall to experiment with removing all of our organs in the very near future.

By the way, I informed my class that if this scientific experiment does indeed suck our planet into a black hole, then the rest of the semester is canceled. They were a bit too enthusiastic about my announcement!

Cut me, Doc

Today's the day I bid adieu to my gallbladder. In just 7 1/2 hours I report to Methodist Germantown hospital, and two hours after that the doc will perform "routine" surgery, and that's that. I'm sure I'll walk right out a few minutes later.

No? That's not how it works? Will they at least let me watch the Red Sox-Rays game at 6 p.m. on ESPN? Someone call management, tell them "Little Jeffy" is watching the game from his hospital bed and all he wants is to see Josh Beckett throw a no-hitter, see if we can get an inspirational story on Outside The Lines or some overly dramatic tearjerker show.

Speaking of the Sox, tonight me and Val and Dad spent the entire game at Buffalo Wild Wings, eating too much bad food, drinking gallons of iced tea, playing trivia and oh yeah, watching the Sox come back to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth only to watch Papelbon blow it in the top of the ninth. Alas, we can't take the AL East lead this week, but soon.

Today I spent my last day strong and healthy for a while by mowing the lawn and painting the kitchen. Neither went well. I only found two golf balls despite the lawn being roughly high enough to hide Sneezy, and since it rained this morning the grass in the backyard was wet, heavy and tall, and the mower kept stopping on me.

In the kitchen, the red looks great so long as you don't look closely. Red seems to bring out every imperfection, and in a 25-year-old house there are plenty. Plus, when I was taking up the tape I became more and more apoplectically horrified as some of the paint came off with it, leaving little strips of yellow underneath. I primed those strips and touched up with red paint tonight, but it will never look quite right and that will have to do for three weeks or so.

But now's not the time to worry about that, not when I have days of sitting on the couch moaning and sleeping to look forward to. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Time short for one of Jeff's organs

Jeff Surgery Watch: Less than 35 hours before my faulty gallbladder will be forcibly removed. I haven’t thought much about it, since there’s so much to do on the “honey do” list tomorrow, but Val is worrying for me. I figure I’ll be asleep the whole time, so no big deal.

My focus has been on figuring out what to do, what to watch and what to eat in the few days after the surgery. I’ve lined up movies to see on cable, magazines and books to read, and I’ll keep a cooler on the couch next to me full of drinks and pudding. Good times.

Meanwhile, Val and I got a brilliant idea while watching HGTV a month ago, we'd repaint our kitchen! How exciting! Wait, no, I mean, how excruciating.

We have black and white checkerboard tile, the show had it, and they painted the room red. BOLD! So we're trying it, including black on the paneling under the chair rail. And then we remembered this week, we HATE painting. Wonder how I forgot that after six weeks of repainting the entire house, walls, ceilings, the tub and even floors, before we moved in.

For some reason painting walls red is hard. We didn't learn our lesson painting the front door red, which still doesn't look quite right (lots of streaking). We even used gray primer first, and it still isn't helping much after two coats. So I re-primed the gray over the red (the paint peeps at Home Depot didn’t approve), and hope it comes out more even after three coats by Tuesday afternoon. You'll know it doesn't work if you play hole No. 14 at Stonebridge behind our house and see half the fairway appear to be bleeding.

Like an idiot, I accidentally took my blood pressure medicine twice Saturday. How do you forget that? I have no idea. And I even have a pill box separated by the days of the week. I'm only 32, folks. In the meantime, I'm trying to start cutting down on fried foods, and nixing soft drinks in favor of juice. I've rediscovered my love for the juice, and a great invention, little packets that you pour into a bottle of water and shake until TA DA! Instant juice! I love this country!

Val had a health scare of her own last week, bless her heart. She's had some pains in her lower tummy, and they almost took out her appendix. We even went to a surgeon, who said that it was fine and the pain should go away on its own. Today we went to a back doc so he could tell her “gosh, that stinks, but what do you want me to do?”, and didn’t get called back until 4:25 for her 3:10 appointment. Doctors out there, that’s just rude. You want a long lunch break? Make it first-come, first serve, and stop teasing us with pesky things like “times” that we plan our days around.

Besides, we had a dinner date scheduled with Dad and Nana. Dad flew in Sunday night for a week, so we ate at this little Italian place called “The Olive Garden” (motto: No olives in sight.). Then me, Val and Dad went to Buffalo Wild Wings to see the important Red Sox-Rays series, which the good guys won, 3-0, to pull within a half-game of first place. We’ll be back there Tuesday night to see if we can get into first place for the first time since the All-Star break.

Sunday, Val and I went up to Millington Sunday morning for church with Val's parents and grandmother, and not just because of the promise of Old Timer's afterwards for lunch.

It always peps me up when we sing praise songs that I can actually sing. Important fact: Anything with the word "hast" is not something that can be sung easily. I loved the singable worship songs in high school and college, especially Rich Mullins songs and from Amy Grant's "Songs from the Loft" album before she got all slutty, taking off to shack up with Vince Gill and divorcing the lovable Gary Chapman.

I still get chills during baptisms every morning, yet spend the entire offering strategizing how to pass the plate down my mostly-empty row to the right.

Congrats to my and Val's alma matter. After suffering disastrous losses to property Feb. 5, Union rebuilt all of the dorms in time for classes to start this week. And they built some sweet, sweet dorms, too. Not that I can complain. We felt spoiled having our own rooms and kitchens. Although, my roommates, Steve and Patrick, may not have agreed during my Atkins Diet when I would grill onions and stink up the place for an entire day.


UPDATE 2:30 a.m. - Just finished putting on the second, second coat of red paint in the kitchen. Here's hoping it turns out better than last time, because it only gets one more coat. If it looks too splotchy, well, we're just going to have to tell people that it's a new form of "texture" that we saw on the DIY network and is that way on purpose.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Apnea'ing all night long

Snory McSleepy here, with the follow-up report on my overnight sleep study back on the 25th. Not looking good for the Jeffmeister:
Our records indicate you do have severe sleep apnea. You snored heavily through the entire study. You stopped breathing over 60 times per hour and your oxygen level dropped well below normal. It was impossible for you to get a very deep sleep.
Okay, okay, I get it! Wow, so fierce!

Technical mumbo jumbo alert:
Sleep Parameters:
Total Time in Bed: 394.0 min
Total Sleep Time: 330.5 min
Total Wake Time: 63.5 min
Total Stage I Sleep: 28.5
Total Stage II Sleep: 278.0
Total Stage III/IV Sleep: 1.00
Total Stage REM Sleep: 23.0

Lights out: 23:08:26 min.
Sleep Onset from Lights out: 16.5
REM Onset from Lights Out: 284.5
Awakenings: 10
Sleep Efficiency: 83.9%

Electrocardiogram:
The average heart rate was 98.9 BPM during wake, 70.1 BPM during non-REM sleep, and 79.2 BPM during REM sleep.

Respiratory Disturbance Summary: There were 41 apneas or periods of complete obstruction in respiratory airflow. Of these apneas 27 were obstructive, 13 were mixed, and 1 were central. There were 304 hypopneas or periods of partial obstruction in respiratory airflow. There were a total of 345 apneas and hypopneas for an Apnea/Hypopnea Index (AHI) or Respiratory Disturbance Index (RDI) of 62.6 per hour. The AHI or RDI arousal index was 42.66 per hour. The longest respiratory event lasted 74.0 seconds. The minimum oxygen saturation associated with a respiratory event was 79 %. Audio and digital monitoring of respiration revealed snoring in the following body positions: back, right side, light side.

Obviously, accordingly, I go back for another overnight sleep study on Wednesday the 17th to get fitted with a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) breathing assistance device.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Making our own Society Page

I understand wanting to make the Commercial Appeal's Party Line page. It's cool to be in the paper. And it's probably great fun to attend the parties. But does the newspaper really need to dedicate a page a day to these social networking "see and be seen" events?
 
What about the 99 percent of us who don't attend and don't care? Can we have our own "society pages" of sorts?
 
"Wearing their casual evening clothes, Jeff and Valerie sipped fruit punch and played trivia among pictures of large furry mammals against the yellow and black decor at the Buffalo Wild Wings at Wolfchase Galleria on Thursday night in an event to benefit the owners of the establishment.
 
"Entertainment was a Red Sox-Orioles baseball game on the big screen, surrounded by fellow diners consuming Budweiser and the occasional high-ender with a bottle of Heineken playing poker, focused on the TVs hanging from the ceiling, contributing to an atmosphere of fun and frivolity.
 
"With a dessert menu standing on every table to entice visitors with visions of chocolate, the restaurant featured finger food-inspired fare including chicken wings (honey flavored), onion rings and mini-cheeseburgers.
 
"After watching Boston win, the evening concluded with Jeff and Valerie paying the restaurant for the food and drinks that were well worth two hours of a weeknight."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

But what about Uranus?

For the first time in nearly a century, an entire month passed without a sunspot noted by astronomers. Big deal, right? Algore has told us that the sun is just a big ball ball in the sky, and the real effects of climate come from people driving one too many times to Sonic, right? Not so much:
In the past 1000 years, three previous such events -- the Dalton, Maunder, and Spörer Minimums, have all led to rapid cooling. One was large enough to be called a "mini ice age". For a society dependent on agriculture, cold is more damaging than heat. The growing season shortens, yields drop, and the occurrence of crop-destroying frosts increases.
Looks like it's time to break out the hair spray and aim for the sky!

Jeff's 2008 NFL Predictions

Oh dear, is it time for the regular season already? Not that I would make any more informed decisions after more research, but it's safe to say there are a lot of guesses here:
 
NFC
 
East - Dallas
South - Tampa Bay
North - Minnesota
West - Seattle
Wild Cards - Philadelphia, NY Giants
 
AFC
 
East - New England
South - Indianapolis
North - Pittsburgh
West - San Diego
Wild Cards - Jacksonville, Denver
 
Super Bowl - Dallas over Jacksonville
 
(Okay, that would actually just be a fun Super Bowl because it would match up my wife's immediately family and her uncle Allan's down in the Jax area, where we went in Sept. '06 to see the Jaguars beat the Cowboys.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

That's a lot of Fenway Franks

Not only did the Red Sox come back to beat Baltimore 5-4 this afternoon to move three games out of first in the AL East (thanks to the dang Yanks *gulp*), but today Boston tied the major league record with their 455th consecutive home sellout. The streak began May 3, 2003.

And yes, this is just a good excuse to post reminders of my and Dad's visits to Fenway, such as two summers ago during the streak when we sat on the Green Monster and behind home plate:





As the Boston Globe's Extra Bases blog notes, some facts about the streak:

* The mark equals the standard set by the Cleveland Indians from June 12, 1995 to April 2, 2001.

* Entering today's game, the Red Sox had a .650 winning percentage at Fenway during the streak (295 wins, 159 losses).

* It's the longest active sellout streak in the four major professional sports.

* The longest streak in any sport belongs to the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, who sold out 744 straight games from 1977-95.

* Only two current Red Sox were in the lineup during the 9-1 victory over the Twins that began the streak: Jason Varitek and David Ortiz.

Very random on Sept. 3

- Val and I decided to watch the first 15 minutes of the new "90210" just to see how bad it could be. In that time, there was a scene of suggested oral sex, one of the characters was revealed to be a druggie, and another made the "Mean Girls" look like the Miss Manners Club. (Remember the original, when Brenda and Dylan having sex off screen at prom was scandalous?) Save for the fish-out-of-water kids replacing Brandon and Brenda, every other teen was unlikable and repulsive. I found myself wanting to watch adults more, which just made me feel old. Then again, the adults include Jennie Garth and Shannon Doherty, whose characters were exactly my age during the original series, so maybe that makes more sense.
 
- The joys of going to a baseball game, where, even though 30 teams play 62 games each, something different happens almost every day. On Monday, Stephen Drew and Adrian Beltre became the first players to hit for the cycle on the same day since Bobby Veach of the Detroit Tigers and George Burns of the New York Giants did it on Sept. 17, 1920, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
 
- What Liberal Media? watch: If Joe Lieberman were a Republican speaking for Obama at the Democrat Convention, he'd have been given a Profile In Courage award by Dems.
 
As noted by the Media Research Center: "Newsweek's Eleanor Clift disclosed on the McLaughlin Group -- seemingly without any compunction for how she was outing her fellow journalists as behaving the same way as Barack Obama's campaign staff, but I suppose we already knew that intuitively -- that John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for VP was greeted by "literally laughter" in "very many newsrooms."
 
How did the Commercial Appeal treat the story that the Iraqi forces have taken over the formerly troubled Anbar Province from our troops, even after calling it a "U.S. success story"? They put it on page A8.
 
- Religion Of Peace watch: Five women in Pakistan were killed for trying to choose their own husbands in what a lawmaker there called a "centuries-old tradition." What's this tradition? "Honor killings," in which the women, three of whom were teens, were shot, thrown into a ditch and buried alive. Some honor.
 

This is the Loony Left thought process

- Former Democrat Chairman Don Fowler apologized on Sunday for joking in a private conversation that the timing of Hurricane Gustav demonstrates that God is on the side of the Democrats. And then he blamed a "right-wing nutcase" for it.

- Before new McCain VP pick Sarah Palin revealed her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, the liberal blogosphere was claiming that Palin is not the mother of her four-month old son, and in fact was covering for her daughter. Fox News anchor Alan Colmes was worse when he posted a blog that pondered if Palin was to blame for her son's Down Syndrome by not taking proper prenatal care.

- What's a little underhanded sexism among VP candidates? Joe Biden on Sarah Palin: “There’s a gigantic difference between John McCain and Barack Obama and between me and I suspect my vice presidential opponent,” Biden said. “She’s good-looking,” he quipped. Ha Ha! Oh those wacky feminist Democrats and the way they'll stay silent on this so long as the GOP loses.

- Kevin Drum of The Washington Monthly notes this quote from Obama in 1995 that shows he's been pushing this idea that his white granny is a big fat racist, "telling a story about the first time his grandmother came to Chicago to meet his in-laws":
My grandmother walks in, it's all black people in the room, she's the only white person there except for my mother, and she's feeling a little nervous and a little out of place. And she suddenly sees this table set with fried chicken, and succotash, and a jello mold, and suddenly she realizes that she has a culture that she's sharing with all these people.
Remember back in March, Obama defended his racist pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright, by saying it was okay because his grandmother was a racist "who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made (Obama) cringe."

- President Bush is apparently perceived by liberals as everything that annoys them. Fabien Baron, director of an ad for a fragrance that was so racy that TV networks won't air it until after 9 p.m., decided it was Bush's fault: "This country really needs a new president. This country is so messed up . . . I really can't believe this is happening."

During the Olympics, we learned that softball getting cut from the Games in 2012 was all Bush's fault, according to Sports Illustrated reporter Selena Roberts: "One other wild card for 2016 is the exit of the Bush administration. The undercurrent of anti-Americanism within the IOC, which some say has hurt the U.S. because of its softball dominance, may abate somewhat with a potential administration led by Barack Obama, a rock star in Europe."

- Mike Gravel, former senator from Alaska, ran for the Democrat nomination for president earlier this year, in case you don't recognize the name. In early August, he advocated harassing a federal prosecutor who "helped bring criminal contempt charges against a Palestinian activist," Fox News reports. The "activist" pleaded guilty to conspiracy and charged with aiding a terror group. Here's what Gravel said, and see just how much a bully he is dangerously close to inciting violence:
Find out where he lives. Find out where his office is. If you've got some chutzpah--which is a word that you don't hear often--if you've really got it, find out where he lives, find out where his kids go to school, find out where his office is; picket him all the time. Call him a racist in signs if you see him. Call him an injustice. Call him whatever you want to call him, but in his face all the time. They can't take the heat; deliver it to them. We have to stop laying down to these injustices.

- Washed-up singer Jackson Browne added his name to the list of petty artists who just can't believe a right-wing fascist would use his songs on the campaign stump and have sued to make it stop. ABBA, Frankie Valli and John Cougar Mellencamp, among others, have all thrown hissy-fits over the issue as well.

- National Review columnist received a note from someone in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the art fair recently had a booth dedicated to "supporting the Iraqi resistance," i.e. the ones trying to kill our troops.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

All Good Things

To the last, I will grapple with thee.
From hell's heart, I stab at thee.
For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee.
- Shakespeare, as quoted by Klingon General Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Alas, Star Trek: The Experience is ending a ten-year run at the Las Vegas Hilton.

When I met Dad out in Vegas in August of '98, besides our trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon this was one of the top must-sees on my list, because I'm that much of a geek:

Monday, September 01, 2008

Pharaoh pride

The last time we checked on a fellow Raleigh-Egypt High School alum, mixed martial arts fighter Rampage Jackson lived up to his name.

This weekend, another former Pharaoh and current running back for Navy, Shun White, rushed for a school-record 348 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-13 victory over Towson.

Jeff's Top 5: Picnic Foods

Today is Labor Day, a fine day for hanging outdoors with family and friends at home, at the lake, at the park, and cooking out. What gathering doesn't involve so much food you get sick? Good times.

My top five foods at a picnic/cookout:

1. Potato Salad - Everyone has their own version, and naturally I like Mom's the best, but my mom-in-law enjoys making hers for me as well because she knows I'll chow down and stab anyone's hands who dares approach the bowl.

2. Hot Dogs - Yes, even more than burgers. So easy to carry around, easy to decorate with condiments (none of that pesky "lift bun, close bun" nonsense), fits directly into the mouth.

3. Burgers - Cooked correctly, i.e., on a grill, the taste of a thick charred burger makes you feel like a caveman who finished the hunt. Even though you've never even touched a cow before.

4. Baked Beans - Good for the heart. The more you eat them, the more you ... you know the rest.

5. Chips & Dip - This is for those dips that are specialties of attendees. My Mom makes a great salmon dip and spinach dip, for examples, and my mom-in-law brings her Mexican dip (perfect with Fritos) to family gatherings and it lasts about as long as someone waving a "Free $100 bills" sign on a street corner in downtown Memphis.

Honorable Mention: Deviled Eggs; Pie; Fresh baked cookies; Watermelon; Coca-Cola Cake. (Hmm, maybe desserts should have been its own top five!)

This year, of course, well be going to Millington for Val's mom's birthday, so instead of making her cook we'll treat her to her favorite eating joint, Casa Mexicana, and we'll come home and order a pizza to watch while watching the UT-UCLA game at night. Next week, though, after my surgery, we're hoping to have everyone over, including Dad and Nana, for a cookout to celebrate my eating only mashed potatoes and pudding. (Neither of which are probably any good grilled.)