Friday, April 30, 2010

Not color coordinated

Does it make me a lazy father that when putting together Cooper's Playtex Vent-Aire (Advanced!) bottles, I make almost zero effort to match the colors of the bottom the top pieces? Does he care if the nipple cap is baby blue, and the bottom cap is white?
(The real question is, does it bug my Darling Valerie when she walks into the kitchen and sees the bottles lined up for cleaning on the counter, all mismatched colors?)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our mini Cooper is 6 months old today!

Can you believe it?!

It's been quite a journey thus far. In a few years Val and I will probably look back and say, "The time, how it flies." For now? Seems like forever ago, way back on October 28!

Oh how he's grown ...

He weighed in at exactly 20 pounds today for his checkup, and barely even cried when given his two shots. Our boy's just getting so big. *sniff*

Cooper's so interested in the world around him. He's easily distracted, like one of those dogs in "UP:" "I'm eating, I'm eating, I'm eating ... SQUIRREL!" He'll jerk his head around at any shiny object or noise, which also means that when he's fussy it's not as difficult to turn his mood around. It's not foolproof, but we are finding that he's getting good at playing while his mommy and daddy finish up a chore.

Cooper's developing his own personality, full of smiles and demands. He likes his veggies, but not so much the rice cereal. He will play anywhere in Six Flags Over Cooper in the living room, though we have to figure out which one he really wants at the time. He has his own habits, such as a telltale sign of being tired, he rubs his left eye with the back of his left hand.

It's a lot of fun to watch him plays on the floor with his toys, rolling all over and screeching happily, keeping his Mommy awake back in the bedroom at night. He's not really crawling, per se, but he does travel quite a bit on the rug between the couch, chair and entertainment center. We keep an old queen-sized comforter on the floor under a playmat, and if you walk away for more than a few minutes you will hear him calling out muffled whimpers because in the process of discovery he's managed to wedge himself in the corner by the big brown chair, off the blanket altogether in some interesting predicaments.

He likes the Baby Mozart DVDs, too. We'll put those on and he'll watch from his saucer or bouncer, for instance, while I peel potatoes for tomorrow's dinner or finish the dishes, or Val does the laundry. Don't worry, we don't run it on a loop 12 hours a day as the babysitter. Cooper gets lots of attention, hugs and kisses!

Idol 6 ride the Shania Twain

First, did you notice that the Red Sox beat Toronto, 2-1, a night after hanging on for a 13-12 victory? This was their sixth straight victory by one run. If these guys are going to be the Cardiac Kids of 2010, I may not survive the summer.
Before the IDOLs even begin, I'm sure that in some order, Aaron and Siobhan need to go next. No debate. That's just the way it is. Let's see how they fared in my rankings ...
1. CASEY, "Don't" - Made it into his own Monster Ballad, and easily the best of the night.
2. CRYSTAL, "No One Needs to Know" - Pleasant, but with the band on stage with her it seemed like any other performance you'll see at a bar. Randy compares the bluegrassy sound to Nickel Creek, although I'd much rather go to a Nickel Creek concert than Crystal's.
3. LEE, "Still the One" - Shania mentors him to drop the heavy guitar, which was a good call, made him seem more sincere a la Big Mike.
4. BIG MIKE, "It Only Hurts When I Breathe" - Starts singing while sitting on Gozer's staircase, so you know it's serious. Typical Big Mike performance, and yet the judges never rip him for never leaving his comfort zone. Made Shania nearly cry.
5. AARON, "You Got a Way" - Surprisingly he did not sing "The Woman in Me." Gee, Aaron sings a lovey-dovey ballad. Before Kara said it, I had already written that at least, thankfully, he dropped the "way we make love" line, and since he later dedicated it to his mom, all the better! That would have been even creepier than the guy who dedicated "Let's Get it On" to his mom a few years back.
6. SIOBHAN, "Any Man of Mine" - Apparently the judges were fooled by the upbeat fun of the song, because her vocals were awful. She lacked sass, her regular singing voice is so plain and not nearly strong enough. Is it just me? Anyone else notice this?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

But if you really love me, you'll get me a costume, size 3XLT

Planet Hollywood in Vegas is hosting a Star Trek auction on Sunday, June 27th, 2010, of items from Gene Roddenberry's collection.

If you're looking for a little something to get me and want to keep it affordable, I'll be perfectly happy with, say, the "Next Generation" Peabody Award for, about, $500?

Only took 6 months!

We're finally doing it, and it's not so bad. Cooper is now sleeping in his crib, sans car seat. God be praised!

When our little man started being able to roll around in the seat at night, we figured it was time to get him out of there. But Val's mom started putting him in the pack-n-play this weekend to success, so Sunday night I tried the same, rolling up a blanket to put behind him while he lays on his side. He slept his normal five hours at night - four of which were in the crib - before waking up, then two more when Val put him back down at 3 a.m. Last night, the same.

Now, if only he would consistently sleep a good eight hours or so ... One step at a time!

He's been teething for a month now, with two (sharp) teeth in the lower front, but it doesn't seem to bother him most of the time. He really enjoys chewing on things, but what baby doesn't? When he is upset, however, I'm growing fond of these teething tablets that dissolve under his tongue. In a matter of seconds, he'll be screaming - especially since my hand is in his mouth holding the tablet - and then ... silence. Acceptance. Sigh of content. Nappy time.

More fun with Val in the backseat with Cooper

One hand in his mouth, the other on his feet. Our mini Cooper's a happy boy.

Soooo close!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Now what?

If you don't buckle him into his bouncer, he will get out of it now! And I'll have you know, Val was the one giggling while taking this, though I heartily approved. He's just so cute when he's angry!

This is my view for at least an hour a day, as Cooper likes to play in my lap, eating his hands, grabbing his feet and screeching happily.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cooper likes mobiles, is mobile

Cooper playing in his crib in the church nursery ...

He's not really crawling, per se, but when we lay him on the floor he certainly does travel a long distance when he wants to!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lost, NCIS

I always plan on writing a recap of LOST, but this week I can't think of a hook. Did anything really happen? All I have are questions. And next week is a repeat, so we have to wait until May and the final four episodes.
This week's NCIS was a replay of the Christmas episode that I hadn't seen. What kind of holiday spirit did they show forth in December? An episode in which a Christian family is ashamed of - and one of them ultimately kills - a brother converting to Islam. Good job, producers. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a politically correct show that talks about how Muslims are nothing but honor and courage while Christians are intolerant, the reverend father slaps his kid, and anyone who wants to leave is whapped on the head by a lacrosse stick. Seasons greetings, indeed, CBS.

Red Sox not stinky poo-poo after all?

The other day I was all set to post a woe-is-the-Red Sox blog titled, "Red Sox are stinky poo-poo."
After all, the Sox were swept in a four-game series by the Rays at Fenway, had the worst start at Fenway since 1932, hadn't had a hit with runners in scoring position in 32 at-bats, were 4-9, six games back of the AL East lead, lost two outfielders - Ellsbury and Cameron - to the DL, gave up nine steals in a game for the first time since Oct. 3, 1913, and our tape op who is an obnoxious Dang Yankee fan was riding me at 5 a.m., when I'm too tired to ask him how it feels to sniff A-Rod's jockstrap every day.  
Now? Optimism! Two walk-off wins in a row will do that for a fan. Sure, I could bemoan Boston being down 6-1 Tuesday and 4-0 Wednesday and having to come back at all, but so long as the offense wakes up and the players are hopping around the field after the game showing some emotion finally, why argue with success? After all, the Sox started 2-6 last year before winning 95 games and making the playoffs. Why bust out the Freakout Machine so early?
Darnell McDonald, we thank you! Never heard of the guy, and then Tuesday night in the eighth inning he became the first player to homer in his first Sox at-bat since Orlando Cabrera Aug. 1, 2004, and the first player to homer in his first Sox at-bat as a pinch hitter since Curtis Pride Sept. 19, 1997, and in the ninth inning the first ever member of the Red Sox to collect a game-ending RBI in his debut.

He thinks he can, he thinks he can

Cooper's not crawling, but he looks ready, should he try.

Nothing better to do

Jim Geraghty of National Review Online on reports that Democrats nationwide are being asked to infiltrate Tea Party events carrying nutty and racist signs:
"So, just to clarify, the contention of these liberals is that the tea parties must be demonized and discredited because they're full of violent, angry, often gun-toting extremists with temper-control issues, and their plan to expose this fact is to walk into the middle of a large crowd of said short fuses, who are fed up with being painted as lunatics, carrying obviously outlandish and offensive signs, and then start making racist comments."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cooper's green ring

Cooper likes to play in Mommy's lap while they're sitting on the floor ...

We've found all of his ticklish spots!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Idol 7

My rankings on "inspirational" night ...

LEE, "The Boxer" - As soon as he started singing and this was "his own" version, I thought, "The judges will eat this up." And yep, they did, deservedly.

CRYSTAL, "People Get Ready" - Never heard of this song, had to look it up. With her hippie dippy lamp-microphone stand, she broke down at the end in tears. Ryan was not there to encourage her not to quit, nor did he need to be this time.

CASEY, "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)" - Knew the judges would be bored, but this is the same old sure-to-be-final-four Casey that we enjoy.

BIG MIKE, "Hero" - Not his best. Should have ditched the guitar.

SIOBHAN, "When You Believe" - Very good song from "The Prince of Egypt," and yet again, she always picks songs that I really like, then doesn't do them justice according to my ears. Plus, she looks like a fairy from a woodland nymph musical.

AARON, "I Believe I Can Fly" - Looks like he walked off the set of "The Suite Life on Deck," screeches R. Kelly's top hit, but does it matter since apparently this could be the season of Justin Bieber Idol? On how many walls is Aaron's pic from Teen Beat, Tiger Beat or Cosmo Girl?

TIM, "Better Days" - Some Goo Goo Dolls song I don't know, and it mattered nil. Flat as always. Funny that now the judges aren't automatically expecting him to stink, so his own "not so crappy" songs are coming back to hurt him.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cooper's dedication

Sunday morning the church held the semi-annual Parent/Child Dedication. We stood before the church with about 15 other parents and about 35 mostly babies to vow to raise Cooper in a godly home and not let him watch Inglorious Basterds until he's at least 16 years old.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yummy, yummy, yummy, Cooper's got food in his tummy

Nothing says, "Go Sox" like a full carrot goatee!

Snoozing buddies

Everyone's always afraid that my wandering camera will take pictures of them at their worst/weirdest moments, at least that's what I tell myself when no one wants to be near me a family gatherings.

In the interest of fairness, I present a photo my Darling Valerie took of me and Cooper napping during the Red Sox-Twins game last week:


- HEADLINE: "Earth Under Attack From Death Star" - The Sun, March 12

Quick, someone tell them where you hid the plans!

- TODAY'S EDITION of "If a Republican had said it..." comes from Dan Rather about the Obamessiah's leadership, in which he describes the pres as "very articulate" but that he "couldn't sell watermelons if you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic." Rather then said that the pres makes him hungry for fried chicken.

"Albermarle County GOP's Headquarters Vandalized" - WBDJ-TV, Roanoke, Va., March 26
"Brick Smashes Michigan GOP Office Window" - AP, March 29
"Norman Leboon, Accused of Threatening to Kill Rep. Eric Cantor, Donated to Barack Obama's Presidential Campaign" -, March 29
"Two Republican party officials were shocked to hear someone had thrown a brick through a window at their headquarters downtown — with a message directed at stopping conservatism. 'Stop the right wing,' was written in purple ink on a piece of notebook paper." - Marion, Ohio, Star, April 1

- BUT I'M A CONSERVATIVE THUG ON THE VERGE OF CRAZY TOWN. "We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work." - Greenpeace's threat to start "mass civil disobedience" against those who disagree with them on global warming.

- GO SOX! A new study says Democrats watch more TV, but dedicated sports fans are more likely to vote for Republican candidates. Check the link, there are charts with cool bubbles and colors and stuff. The most unsurprising stat? That Democrats overwhelmingly watch daytime talk shows more than Republicans. I mean, have you seen Maury lately?

- SOME MESSED-UP ****. Charles Krauthammer on Vice President Biden’s profane utterance at the signing ceremony for Obamacare ["This is a big f**n deal"]:
I think he is the man who, perhaps without intending, has given historical context to this presidency. After all, Obama sees himself as a successor to FDR and Truman, so now we have the historical procession: the New Deal, the Square Deal, and the "Big F**n Deal."

- PETER'S TWEETS MAKE ME GAG. I want to separate my love of baseball from politics, but then when I'm looking at uber-analyst Peter Gammons' Twitter page to get some research for my fantasy team, I come across left-wing claptrap like this:
"Watch AEG's WhiteHouse concert, then listen to racist Palin and her hate-monger illiterates, can they regress us 50 years?"

"If Rush Limbaugh leaves, we reduce hatred in our land by 25 per cent. Trash by 15 per cent"

- KEEP THAT PELVIS FAR FROM ME! Memphis Memories from March 7, 1960:
Elvis arrives in Memphis after discharge Some 200 fans waited at Union Station to welcome Elvis Presley home from his stint in the U.S. Army on March 7, 1960. He was wearing a (nonissue) dress blue Army uniform made in Germany. Elvis was discharged at the rank of sergeant, but the tailor had mistakenly given him the stripes of staff sergeant. Asked by reporters if he planned to wiggle his hips when he returned to singing, Elvis said: "I'm gonna sing and I'll let the shaking come naturally. If I had to stand still and sing, I'd be lost. I can't get any feeling that way."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quick start to Saturday

It's 8:45 a.m. and the grass weeds are flat, so that's a good start to the day. Found two golf balls, one in the front yard by the mailbox (a tremendously bad duck hook) and the other in the back where someone kicked down the white out-of-bounds stake bordering my yard and the golf course. Hey bud, just because you're mad that you can't get it straight don't blame the course!

Now, Val and I are headed over to Faith Baptist to pick up some groceries. Yes, you read that right. It's something called Angel Food Ministries, a non-profit organization all over the country that somehow comes up with cheap groceries in bulk. It was featured on our morning show a while back and I always wondered how it worked, so this month I decided to give it a try. Check out what you can get for $30! Hey, if you can save some dough, do it, am I right? You might not be surprised, but food is always the biggest part of our budget. Next time I may try some of the other deals.

UPDATE Sun., 7:30 a.m. - My good deed of the day, I was almost hit by an errant shot while in the patio yesterday afternoon, but tossed the ball back in-bounds to give the guy a break. You're welcome, dude.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cooper telling us a story about his feet

Lights out

This morning I noticed that my left headlight was out, leaving me terrified while driving to work at 3:30 in the morning. There's no way to blend in with traffic and hide from the fuzz when you're the only car for five miles. All the criminal reports on our news flashed in my head, the ones that start with "the suspect was pulled over for a broken light," and end with, "beaten to a pulp." (I kid, I love the po-po!)


But I made it okay, and now I have to go buy a light on the way home and try to figure out the complicated 12-step process of removing the old bulb, which somehow involves a ratchet set, chicken bones and drawing a pentagram under the engine. I'm not saying it's complicated, I'm just sayin' that there's a reason why GM was losing more money than a blind gambler at a back alley dominoes game.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gettin' a Cooper fix!

More pics of Cooper in Chapel Hill this weekend ...

High fives or patty-cake?

Aunt Steph's lap is a good place to stretch out:

Cooper had such a poopy diaper that the only recourse was a sink bath!

But afterward he gets be tickled by Mommy!

And, of course, Daddy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hurley on Lost, Idols sing Elvis

Everybody Loves Hugo! The episodes are running out on LOST, and I don't know if we're wrapping up any story lines, but they are giving me people to root for, such as, just like I'll never forgive the producers if Desmond and Penny don't end up together at the end, now I have to threaten to egg their houses if Hurley and Libby don't end up as a couple in the end. Love them! So sweet, how Crazy Libby in Alt-04 "reminds" Hurley of their budding Island romance.
Meanwhile, Hurley blows up the Black Rock because Ghost Michael told him that Richard's idea to blow up Ze Plane was a bad idea (evidenced by Ilana going KABLOOEY!), and he reveals that The Whispers are the dead souls trapped in Limbo on The Island for their sins.
Over at Evil Village, Not Locke throws Desmond down a well, Sayid is a zombie and probably has to be killed, Sawyer spends all of his time asking questions without getting answers, and Hurley, Jack, Sun and Frank (the PILOT who can fly the Man In Black off The Island) come in for a pow-wow. Richard, Ben and Miles all head for Ze Plane with destructive motives.
In the end, the gang is all together again and Alt-Des runs over Real Live Locke in the school parking lot. Awesome!
By the way, when everyone says that the Man In Black has to use Ze Plane to fly off The Island for good, does anyone else get a "Star Trek V" vibe? Like, Kirk asking, "What does God need with a starship?" Hey immortal Smoke Monster dude, can't you blow away in a puff of smoke and skedaddle to the nearest island and start terrorizing native chicks in coconut bikinis?
Just askin'.
(Speaking of Ze Plane, shouldn't "Fantasy Island" be playing in syndication somewhere? Even a random channel on DirecTV that I never watch?)
Two will go home during Elvis Week on AMERICAN IDOL, with Adam Lambert as the mentor, and I admit it, Glambert's kind of awesome, and can teach something about entertainment value to their performances. Then again, he lost to boring ol' Kris, so maybe not.
As always, the contestants are listed according to my ranking:
Crystal, "Saved" - Sounded pretty doggone great, full of the essence of Elvis, and no, that doesn't involve having to take numerous prescription drugs.
Lee, "Little Less Conversation" - Sans bagpiper, back to the consistent gritty-voiced rock. I think he needs to be the lead of a band, though, when this is over.
Big Mike, "In the Ghetto" - Admit it, if Aaron had tried this it would have been high comedy. As usual, a sincere performance, solid vocals.
Casey, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" - Cruising to the final three, which is disappointing because, as Simon noted, he could have really had more fun with Elvis week.
Katie, "Baby What Do You Want Me To Do" - Smart girl. She went with an upbeat song that had the audience clapping along, the right song to get voted back next week.
Tim, "Can't Help Falling in Love" - Winner of the Most Improved trophy, and it no doubt made 14-year-old girls with his Teen Beat picture on the walls swoon. Still, stop staring at me, Creepy Tim!
Siobhan, "Suspicious Minds" - Not the person I want singing my favorite Elvis song. Better than the past two weeks, but she really needs to rectify the difference between her "normal" singing voice (so-so at best) and her "yelling" singing voice (powerful).
Aaron, "Blue Suede Shoes" - Great googly moogly, he didn't sing a ballad! Too little, too late, however.
Andrew, "Hound Dog" - An odd lounge act performance. Not as bad as the judges said, still watchable, just not any better than anyone else, either.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Notes for a Tuesday

- As you can see in the photos posted earlier, a good time was had by all in Chapel Hill this weekend. I just wish it was a longer interval between driving to give us some rest. The 3 1/2 hours there and 3 1/2 hours back home were a nailbiter, especially after the previous trip to middle Tennessee two months ago. But, with Val staying in the backseat with our mini Cooper the entire time, it wasn't too bad. Cooper's getting better about playing with toys and not needing constant attention. The drive home was so-so, though. Poor guy was tired. Every five minutes his mood would fluctuate from happy to mad. Once we got him home he crashed for a three-hour nap.


I tell you what, there's nothing sweeter than sitting on the couch with a sleepy Cooper, and how he wiggles in your arms to get comfortable, stretched out over my tummy with his head in the crook of my left arm (propped up by pillows for the proper height), and hearing him sigh with contentment. Every bit of fussiness and every gag-inducing diaper is excused at that point.


- No DANCING WITH THE STARS update today. I watched the first hour, realized, "Meh, why do I give a rat's fart?" and started catching up on my backlog of "Castle" episodes instead while Cooper was snoozing. And then I accidentally deleted the second hour of a two-parter with the awesome Dana Delaney guest starring. Stupid DVR.


- Since I can't afford to fork over 200 bucks for MLB's Extra Innings package, I'll have to stick with my regular DirecTV to watch Red Sox games. Seems like it should be easy, since non-Sox fans whine that the 2004 and 2007 World Series champs are on TV all the time, right? If these two weeks are indicative of when they'll be on, I'll have to settle for highlights. Yesterday they were on at 3 p.m., which is my prime naptime. Next Sunday they're on at noon, but we have Cooper's baby dedication at church and lunch afterward. Next Monday they're on at 10 a.m. for the annual Patriot Day game. I don't get home from work until after noon. Hey stations, how about, say, a 6 o'clock game on a weeknight? Too obvious?


- I admit to being surprised to open the Commercial Appeal's scoreboard section of the sports page and see that my high school alma mater, Raleigh-Egypt, has actually won three soccer games already this spring! Let's just say that when I was on the squad we were happy to score three goals in a week, let alone win once a season. Not only are these Pharaohs winning, they're beating the likes of Bartlett, which is a shock, considering how much the school turned "urban" after I left, which was great for basketball, not so much for the sports I played, golf and soccer. Upon closer reflection, though, a look at the box score reveals a telling answer to the "why" of the improvement. The names that pop up include Francisco, Louis, Javier, Roberto and Xavier. Maybe they should be called the El Pharaohs Bueno!   


- Jeff's teeny look at "Sherlock Holmes": It only took me four months to get over my expectations that this re-imagining of the classic detective would be major suckitude, full of fake looking CGI and unnecessary action.

I admit, however, despite the dingy and dark cinematography that was a turn-off, largely I came away anticipating a sequel, should they so choose.  

Robert Downey Jr. is a great actor, and likable despite being an obnoxious genius, although I wonder whose decision it was to take a prim and proper Holmes and turn him into a loon who crawls around his messy room and shoots at the walls, then boxes in underground street fights like Jean-Claude Van Damme in "Lionheart."

The best part of any Holmes story is how he deduces the crime and finds the little details that matter. At first it seems like he's just good for a parlor trick, like how Matt Damon explains to Franka Potente how he knows everything about a room in the diner in "Bourne Identity." In the end we do get a full explanation for the events of the film, which is what I was waiting for all along, even if I didn't understand a third of the dialogue.

- Val and I were ultimately just glad to get to see the movie. It took three tries for the projectionist to get the audio working during the trailers, and the fire alarm went off for a few minutes right in the middle.

Carseat posing

Plenty of photo opportunities with Mommy in the backseat for seven hours on the way to and from Chapel Hill this weekend:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Back home

We went to Chapel Hill this weekend to see Mom, Aunt Lynn, and Cooper's aunts, Steph and Stacy, and cousins Gabriel and Nate, and of course, his great-Grandaddy. Naturally, Cooper had a great time, and Mommy and Daddy were happy to pass our prodigy around:

Obamasox should be ashamed to have First Fan

I really just want to post this and let it stand as a big, big reason why guys should never trust our president:
Obama swings and misses at Sox lore

Blame Rahm Emanuel for team’s No. 1 fan dropping the ball during interview Jeff note: Yeah, right, because if he isn't a true fan, then it must be an aide's fault.

April 07, 2010|By John Kass, Chicago Tribune

What's happening to President Barack Obama, America's No. 1 White Sox fan, is just absolutely terrible.

OK, sure, the poor guy committed a grievous baseball sin. But now he's taking a beating, the kind Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano would give his own catcher, or maybe his manager.

It almost reminds me of the time CBS' Katie Couric sweetly asked Sarah Palin what she liked to read. Palin drew a blank and reporters never let her live it down.

But I say, let's leave the poor president alone. After all, he's a White Sox fan, isn't he?

Obama's troubles started Monday after he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener.

He threw lefty and missed the plate, which wasn't surprising. What was surprising is what happened after he joined announcer Rob Dibble in the booth for some happy talk.

Dibble commented on Obama's hat — a nicely faded black Sox cap — which the president proudly wore on the mound reminding all of us once again of the heroic team from Chicago that has actually won a World Series in the past 100 years.

Dibble asked the fateful question, one so easy that Hawk Harrelson would have called it a "can of corn."

Dibble: "Who was one of your favorite White Sox players growing up?"

Obama: "You know … uh … I thought that … you know … the truth is, that a lot of the Cubs I liked too."

Ouch. The silence between the stammers was excruciating. America's No. 1 Sox fan couldn't name one Sox player.

Not former players like Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk or future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas or manager Ozzie Guillen. The least he could have done was mention a current player, say grizzled veteran Paul Konerko or our spunky new leadoff man, the fleet-footed Slappy McPopup.

Slappy McPopup's real name is Juan Pierre, an ex-Cub. Slappy earned his nickname with a signature swing so weak that it regularly results in harmless pop flies, negating Slappy's one asset, his speed.

You wouldn't expect Obama to name Slappy. But you would expect a Sox fan to know the name of the ballpark.

"When I moved to Chicago," Obama babbled to Dibble, "I was living close to what was then Cominskey Park and went to a couple of games and just fell in love with it."

What's that? Come-in-ski? Is that how Obama invites the Russian foreign minister into the Oval Office during a diplomatic crisis?

Clearly, there was no teleprompter upon which White House media wizard David Axelrod could type the words "Pudge = Carlton Fisk" or "Big Hurt = Frank Thomas."

A panicked Obama tried to escape by using an old standby I've used myself, ripping on Cubs fans for delicately "sipping their wine" at ivy-covered Wrigley. Then it got worse.

"I did not become a Sox fan until I moved to Chicago," said Obama. "Because, you know, I was growing up in Hawaii, so I ended up being an Oakland A's fan."
Reminds me of another Democrat who pretended to be in tune with fandom, someone whose favorite Red Sox player is "Manny Ortez."

Friday, April 09, 2010

Jeff's Realistic Children's Music & Top 5 Pit Stops

- I hope Cooper is okay that in "our" version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider, it ends with, "And then Daddy crushed the spider because we won't tolerate nasty bugs in or near their home."


By the way, did y'all know that "pattycake" actually started as "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man" in the original English version over 300 years ago? Actually, if you go to Wikipedia and look up "nursery rhyme," you'll be amazed how old many of these are.


- I hate Tiger for messing with my enjoyment of The Masters. One of best sports-watching weekends of the year (coupled with a free preview of MLB Extra Innings), but we'll have to listen to the crap about his being a cheating weasel and "coming back" instead of immersing ourselves into Amen Corner.  


JEFF'S TOP 5 - Pit Stops

Since we're going to Chapel Hill this weekend, this is a topical top 5. In my many travels between Memphis and Atlanta, Atlanta and Nashville/Louisville and Memphis/Atlanta to Chapel Hill the past, oh, dozen years, I've come to be fond of certain places to stop for refueling my car and my belly ...

1. Pilot/Arby's, Exit 143 Linden/Waverly, TN, I-40 - Either the last stop with food and gas before getting off the interstate for the long sludge of two-lane roads for an hour-and-a-half to Chapel Hill, or the first stop on the way home.

2. Kimball/Pittsburg, TN, I-24 - Halfway point of Atlanta-to-Chapel Hill route, has a Krystals that's open 24 hours. Oh heck yeah.

3. Pilot/Wendy's, Exit 6, I-65 in Kentucky - Best stop in the middle of the Louisville-to-Nashville route.

4. Love's/Arby's, Columbia, TN, exit off I-65, Hwy 412 - Newer travel center, last stop before Chapel Hill heading east if you want a quick roast beef sandwich or need gas to make it to the interstate heading west.

5. Pilot/Wendy's, Hwy 78 off I-20/59, Birmingham - Heading east from Memphis, highway 78 was a long stretch of non-interstate between Mississippi and Birmingham. This was the last stop to stretch before hopping back on the interstate for the final 2 1/2 hours to Atlanta.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Big Mike saved, but work still to do

Big Mike gets the save!

Of course, that means two go next week, so let's all get together and agree not to vote for Tim! C'mon, teenage girls, take his picture off your wall from Teen Beat and see the light!

Do I sound bitter? I feel like I sound bitter.

- FREE MONEY! Memphis City Schools will get about $68.4 million in what's called Race To The Top funds given to Tennessee by the U.S. Dept. of Education. In accordance with Memphis government, I'm guessing that next week we'll get an announcement that coincidentally, 68 jobs are being created, each paying out "close to $1 million apiece."

- YOU STAY CLASSY. Race-baiting Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen, a classic white-guilt liberal Democrat who represents a majority black district and thus feels compelled to say all kinds of ridiculous things in a pathetic effort to kiss up to his constituents, said that the Tea Party is essentially the same as the KKK "without hoods and robes." He also said of John McCain at a recent rally, "behind Sarah Palin, he looked more like a captured soldier in North Vietnam than he did a United States Senator." Um, you mean like when McCain actually WAS a prisoner for six years of the Viet Cong? Like how he's an American hero, and you're a whispy bullying a**hole?

- WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA? Check out how the AP covered the Obamessiah's appearance on Opening Day to throw out the first pitch (Video):
In front of thousands of fans, President Barack Obama strolled to the pitcher's mound and tossed a baseball to Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, officially launching the team's baseball season.

The setting - freshly cut grass, a brilliant sun and clear skies - was a picture-postcard quality introduction to a new Major League Baseball season. And the lanky Obama, appearing in khakis and a Washington Nationals warmup jacket, was the star attraction for a moment.
Oh, and also he donned a White Sox cap once he got to the mound, leading to boos from the crowd, and then he threw a ball that was so high and wide left that he might as well have been trying to hit the White House. Call me old-fashioned, but I would feel a lot better about a president who can throw a freakin' ball. Couldn't he at least practice beforehand?

Compare it to how they covered President Bush under the same circumstance:
President Bush had enough to worry about--like not flubbing the first pitch in front of a crowd that might not exactly be his biggest fans anyway.

So before the game, when a couple of Atlanta Braves gave him a team jersey and suggested he wear it to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park, Bush laughed. Uh, no thanks, guys. Might as well put on a sign that says "Boo me."

- GOD HATES THE FOOD COURT. For some reason the people reopening the Hickory Ridge Mall decided to invite MLK daughter, Bernice King, to speak, and they got their money's worth when she announced that she knows all about God, and the tornado that ravaged the mall back in February of '08 was heaven sent, telling gatherers that "God got tired of a mall that did not respect its people." I mean, I may not be a fan of those people accosting you with sea salts, but I don't know if the Lord cares, am I right?

The crowd thought that was great, though. Hey, if Pat Robertson is a loon for declaring that God's wrath brought on Katrina and Haiti - and he is - then how about some criticism of this stupid statement, that the Lord is so worried about Hickory Hill that he tore a wall off Sears with a tornado?

- SILLY MAN, BENCHES ARE FOR WOMEN. Memphis Memories from April 1, 1885:
Sergeant Rogers yesterday arrested a Memphian who violated the rules of Court Square by sitting upon one of the benches set aside for the exclusive use of women or women escorted by men.

Church membership, Lost, Idol

Sunday morning Val and I finally walked down the aisle at First Baptist Millington and joined, more than three years after moving back and attending regularly with her parents and grandmother. I don't know what took us so long, other than a brief flirtation with finding a church closer to home. I think it was just the nervousness of walking down front and be the center of attention. In the end, since we joined on Easter Sunday we barely had to even worry about that.

I guess they expected a lot of decisions after the service, so instead of keeping us in the sanctuary to fill out paperwork and standing up at the end for all the "amens," we were taken to a conference room in the church office to do the paperwork. Meanwhile, Cooper's sleeping in my arms, because I had gone to the nursery to pick him up. I wanted him to come down with us to the front, partly so that we could tell him how he was there when we joined, and partly because the congregation would be staring at our adorable infant instead of wondering why "that woman doesn't get her husband to cut his hair already. I mean, look at that, it's like a dead mullet." (I got a haircut yesterday, so all is well now.)

Anyway, so by the time we finished, the service was over and my mom-in-law brought the carseat and Cooper's diaper bag from the nursery, and we took pictures to show on the screen before next week's service (which we won't see, alas, because we'll be at Mom's in Chapel Hill).  

Another reason we decided to join now is that the semi-annual baby dedication is the 18th and we're looking forward to having Cooper participate. There are lots of babies at FBC, but I'm sure he'll be the only one folks notice, am I right? (Forgive us, we're new parents and completely enthralled in the "Our child is the cutest most awesomest in the whole wide world" mode.)

Either way, I'm glad we finally did it. I'm looking forward to Cooper growing up with all the other newborns, and Val and I are hoping to settle down with a Sunday School class. We've been to a few different ones, but there's another we're going to try that has more people our age, I'm told. Plus, the teacher is a fellow Union grad, so Bulldog reunion!

Meanwhile, on the TV ...
I was thisclose to getting my way on last night's DANCING WITH THE STARS. Buzz got kicked off, which is fine, but I would rather he stick around two more weeks until the other two in the bottom three - Kate and Jake - went home first. Keep hope alive!

LOST centered on Desmond's return to The Island, although most of the show was based in the alt-L.A.-'04 universe, which became more and more revealing. Apparently as Charlie, then Desmond, and then Daniel Faraday, see visions of love they sense another reality, the one set on The Island. Faraday - a musician in alt-L.A.-'04 who has an epiphany of quantum mechanics, like some of us are wont to do - seems certain that he set off a nuclear bomb that has screwed with reality, asking Desmond, "What if this wasn't supposed to be our life?" After getting further creeped out by Eloise and her assertions that all is not right in that world, Desmond sees all of this back on The Island (!!), is all of a sudden okay with Widmore kidnapping him on the sub, and wants to help out in order to squash that alt-reality, while at the same time in alt-L.A.-'04 working to show his fellow passengers on Oceanic 815 their "visions," too. Got it? Not only was it an interesting episode, we got to see Desmond and Penny together, and that's always worth the price of admission.

The top nine tackled Lennon and McCartney songs of The Beatles on AMERICAN IDOL, and surprisingly they were mostly good in what has been a Season of Suck overall. Here's how they ranked:

1. Crystal - Jammed "Get Together."

2. Casey - At first viewing I considered him dull, but the judges loved it, and in highlight replays I did come to appreciate his performance more.

3. Big Mike, "Eleanor Rigby" - In his zone.

4. Lee, "Hey Jude" - Wow, that got weird with the kilt-wearing bagpiper. Showed Crystal and her didgeridoo a thing or two, eh?

5. Katie, "Let it Be" - Not too bad, but still doesn't have the pipes to win this thing.

6. Aaron, "The Long and Winding Road" - Ho hum, another ballad.

7. Tim - The judges found it an improvement, but he's still flat to me.

8. Andrew, "Can't Buy Me Love" - Mayor McCheese.

9. Siobhan, "Across the Universe" - When she's not screaming, it sounds like she's singing out of the back of her throat.

Cooper holding his bottle

He's not really sure how to eat like this yet, but Cooper's starting to grab anything and everything within reach. This is fun for some things, bad for Val's hair, eyeglasses and when we're trying to feed him solids and he just wants the spoon!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

2010 March Madness Challenge results

Congratulations to my Mom-in-Law, Carol, for going with her heart and picking Duke and coming away with this year's March Madness Challenge! Enjoy your "one shining moment!"

1. Carol's Picks- 105
2. Michael C. (Mike Does Not Watch Basketball) - 77
3. Scott (Bears Commodores Bruins oh my!) - 68
4. Dad (redsox0407) - 63
5. Kevin's Picks - 61
6. Natalie (lucky) - 60
7. Cody (Belew'sPick) - 57
8. Erin (Not So Picky) - 54
9. Stephen (One Shining Bracket) - 52
10. Jorge/Miami - 51
11. Jose (Torch the Twine) - 50
12. Val (Cooper's Mom's Picks) - 48
12. cheryls picks - 48
14. Jeff's Worst Guesses - 41

Yes, that's right, it's your host, bringing up the rear. You know, just trying to be an accommodating moderator, make y'all feel better about yourselves. *cough*

Past results:


1. Steve R. - 131
2. Rann R - 126
t2. Jonathan M. - 126
4. Scott - 109
5. Syd - 102
6. Cody - 100
7. Kevin H. - 92
8. Jenn R. - 85
t8. Val - 85
t8. Carol H. - 85
11. Jorge - 81
12. Randy B. - 76
13. Cheryl - 75 (43 of 63)
14. Erin M. - 70
15. Me - 69
16. Karen P. - 59
17. Stephen M. - 53


1 Cody B. - 142
2 Stephen M. - 138
3 Val - 127
4 Erin M. - 120
5 Randy B. - 117
6 12345 - 113
7 Cheryl B. - 112
8 Dad - 105
9 Me - 103
10 Sydney G. - 98
11 Carol H. - 96
12 Natalie M. - 88
13 Steven R. - 86
14 Michael C. - 85
15 Scott R. - 74
16 Stephanie L. - 72
17 CUT THE NET - 70
18 Jenn R. - 53


1. Me - 151 points
2. Dad - 143
3. Jorge - 138
4. Michael C. - 128
5. Karen - 107
6. Syd - 104
7. Carol H. - 99
t8. Kevin - 93
t8. Erin - 93
10. Val - 91
11. Steve - 90
12. Southern Girl - 87
13. Cody - 83
14. Scott - 64
15. Jenn R. - 50
16. Amy C. - 28

DWTS, top 10

Thanks to you guys who aren't watching FLASHFORWARD with me and Val, it's probably going to get cancelled. Y'all are the best. Really. I'm not just saying that. Then again, like HEROES, maybe something based on a gimmick like this can only work for one season?
Here's how I ranked the DANCING WITH THE STARS last night:
EVAN & ANNA - Love these guys.
PUSSYCAT DOLL & DEREK - I don't care that the judges didn't consider it appropriate dancing, it was darn entertaining and looked right out of a classic dancing movie from 50 years ago. Curse you, Derek!
ERIN & MAKS - He blindfolds her halfway through the waltz, which was pretty cool, especially since she didn't stumble.
PAMELA & DAMIAN - Liked the music ("Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" from the "Kill Bill Vol. 1" soundtrack). She stumbled a few times trying to be cute.
CHAD & CHERYL - For someone so colorful on the football field, why is he so stiff on the dance floor?
AIDEN & EDYTA - He's getting more comfortable every week.
NIECY & LOUIS - For a comedian she doesn't look to be having any fun out there, so what's the point?
JAKE & CHELSIE - Sorry, Chelsie, I can't root for you so long as this guy is your partner. What a dolt.
BUZZ & ASHLY - OK, enough with the saluting before the dancing. We get it. His time is up, time to fall back to earth.
KATE & TONY - Buzz can stick around until the top four so long as it means Kate goes home as soon as possible. She's a terrible person, and I reject the show for trying to make me sympathize with her. Hey lady, you sought the limelight by pimping out your poor children, don't act surprised when the cameras are pointed in your direction.

Top 5 Red Sox Storylines for 2010

I admit, when it was 5-1 in favor of the Evil Empire and the Sox were playing like the Bad News Bears Sunday, I was worried. And then the Sox released the Kraken, if you know what I mean, and slayed the bad guys, 9-7. Good times.

Here are the storylines I was looking at during Spring Training and how it stands after just one game (162-0 season still a chance!).

1. No pop in the lineup - The Sox don't have a player who hit 30 homers last year. The Sox just scored nine runs to beat the Yanks, including two doubles and a triple by Youk, and a homer by little Dustin Pedroia. Somebody will come through in the clutch.

2. Third baseman Adrian Beltre, centerfielder Mike Cameron, and shortstop Marco Scutaro join the team - The club framed it so that we couldn't criticize them if they slumped at the plate by saying that they were brought in "for defensive reasons." That may be so, but I think they'll contribute at the plate plenty with some good hitters around them.

3. Will Big Papi be back or is he gone forever - He was 0-for-3 with a walk, and I'm going to be pessimistic on him until he wacks at least three homers in a week.

4. 'Tek relegated to a backup role, V-Mart takes over - Martinez can hit, no doubt about that, but based on Beckett's opening night performance we will have to wait and see about how well Victor calls the game behind the plate. That double-steal that Martinez screwed up in the fourth, allowing Jeter to score from third, was a pretty ugly brain fart.

5. Knock the champs down - The Sox started 8-0 against the Dang Yanks to start 2009 and watched a five-game lead slip away by the end of the season before quietly exiting in the first round of the playoffs. Anytime you can come back against the defending champs and make them worry, at least temporarily, it gives hope for the second half that this squad won't be boring.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Cooper's actually a big Rasmus fan

Cooper's going to root for the Cardinals for Mommy, too, and watched Albert Pujols hit two home runs on Opening Day today!

Cooper's Easter

Finally, a video!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Opening Night!

Cooper says, "Go Sox!" 162 games to watch with Daddy this summer!

Happy Easter!

Cooper's first basket, full of all the things in the world he enjoys!

He had a big week, actually, because a few days ago he got his first tooth! It's on the bottom in the front, and he's very proud.

Another big event today ...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Darling Valerie!

Her Mom took Cooper Friday and Saturday nights, so we spent all day yesterday out and about, using her birthday money to shop for her and Cooper, plus we saw "Sherlock Holmes" at the theater with a big tub of popcorn and at the beginning we started with getting her some chocolate chip pancakes at IHOP and ended with cheese biscuits at Red Lobster. Then, back home, snuggling on the couch, rubbing her feet, watching Duke win and baking cookies.

A pleasant day, even if I did have to mow the lawn when we got home because the weeds had gotten so bad that passing golfers were posting signs that said stuff like, "Abandon all balls, ye who enter here," and "In there be dragons."

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Jeff's 2010 MLB Predictions

I can't predict much to change from last year's best teams. I'm sure there will be at least one surprise, but good luck figuring out which team that will be:

AL EAST - Boston. I will always predict that, unless it's an obviously awful lineup, and even then I'll pick them for the wild card!

AL CENTRAL - Minnesota. Defending division champs, new stadium, same rotation, two MVP-caliber starters in Mauer and Morneau.

AL WEST - L.A. Angels of Anaheim of California of the U.S. of planet earth. Trying to decide if I should believe the hype about Seattle, but not yet, not with L.A. winning five of the past six division titles.

WILD CARD - Dang Yankees. 103 wins last year, not much different in '10.

NL EAST - Phillies. Been to the World Series two years in a row, and they added Roy Halladay. Yowzers.

NL CENTRAL - St. Louis. Say it loud, say it proud, redbird fans: Pujols and Holliday, Carpenter and Wainwright. That's all you need.

NL WEST - Colorado. Originally going to go with the L.A. Dodgers again, but the Rockies won 92 games last year and with the combination of big young bats and consistent pitching, these guys might be pretty good.

WILD CARD - Atlanta. I really like their young pitchers.

WORLD SERIES - Red Sox over Phillies. It would be fun to beat Doc Halladay even after he left the AL East.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

An actual elected official

- Democrat congressman Hank Johnson, who already has to act crazy to keep notorious Georgia nutjob Cynthia McKinney out of office, asked an admiral the other day in a hearing about the chance that Guam might capsize if it is overloaded with new troops.

- All those kids crazy over Obama and hope and change? Sorry, this isn't an April Fool's joke:
Under the health care overhaul, young adults who buy their own insurance will carry a heavier burden of the medical costs of older Americans--a shift expected to raise insurance premiums for young people when the plan takes full effect.

Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That's when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average, or roughly $42 a month, according to an analysis of the plan conducted for The Associated Press. The analysis did not factor in tax credits to help offset the increase.

The higher costs will pinch many people in their 20s and early 30s who are struggling to start or advance their careers with the highest unemployment rate in 26 years.

- Before there was Pantene: Memphis Memories from March 22, 1910 :
Dr. C.J. White, dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, warned yesterday that women must reduce the number of trips they take in automobiles or face the horrible danger of becoming bald. He explained that many do not cover their heads properly before auto trips thereby resulting in the need for too many shampoos because of the dust collected on the rides. He said that a shampoo once a month is sufficient for healthy hair but washing the hair more often may be dangerous.

Applesauce rocks!

He's really liking his entertainer saucer:

Sleeping like a baby

- FIGURING OUT OUR LITTLE MAN'S SLEEP SCHEDULE is still, let's say, a work in progress. Last week he decided that he wanted to wake up every two to three hours overnight, which really was a joy (*cough*). No one said parenting was easy and yes it's rewarding, but that doesn't mean we're not looking forward to Cooper sleeping eight hours a night, every night!


Yes, he's still sleeping in the car seat, too. I'm sure it's getting a little claustrophobic, but the only other option to get him to sleep multiple hours is in our arms, and even though I'm okay with snoozing on the couch, it feels really, really good to slide into bed for a few hours.


- We had our first freakout of almost losing his favorite toy at church on Sunday. It's this cloth starfish with a face in the middle and every arm has a different texture to chew on. Somehow it ended up in a bin under some other stuff. He might not have missed it, but I'm already nostalgic for his favorite things! Speaking of church ...


- THIS PAST SUNDAY AT CHURCH the special music was "Arise My Love," originally by NewSong. That brought back some memories, back to eighth grade at Scenic Hills Baptist Church when the youth choir (and yes, I was in it; everyone was in it, no matter how awful) performed a musical based on the album, "Say Yes!" by the contemporary Christian group, and "Arise" is the showstopper.
I joined Scenic Hills because of my bud, Patrick, and since it was the neighborhood Southern Baptist church, not to mention my parents were married there and my maternal grandfather helped build the addition to it when they lived across the street. I was only a member for about a year, though. It was in the month before ninth grade that I switched to my big bro, Scott's, church, Merton Avenue after going on a camping trip with the group and catching the most catfish. Of course, that church is also where I met Steve, and a bromance was born.
- I'M ALWAYS MISSING stuff that I probably should remember as a LOST fan who has watched the show loyally since September, 2004. This week, it wasn't until I read the recaplet on Television Without Pity that I caught on that in alt-2004, Mikhail has use of both eyes - unlike on The Island - that is, until Jin shoots out an eye in the restaurant shootout. See, I would have found that much funnier had I remembered at the time.