Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dinner in Jackson

Last Friday night we went up for dinner at Los Portales with The Jackson Gang:

Melanie and Roger's little Erica (two weeks younger than Cooper) was just adorable:

Cooper was one exhausted baby on the way home:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trailer Park - Summer Blockbusters - July

The Last Airbender - Directed by M. Night Shyamalan-a-ding-dong, which doesn't inspire confidence anymore and then it's just another kids-with-almost-superhuman powers flick. (July 2)

Despicable Me - Could be cute, could ruin animation for a generation. (July 9)

Predators - Yes, those predators. Pretty much the same as the first, a bunch of folks are being hunted, only this time like they're on a safari, only they are the hunted. (July 9)

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - You'll never buy this story: A kid who thought he was normal, turns out to be a wizard and has to save the world. Crazy plot. It's Disneyfied in a "National Treasure" kind of way, so it might be fun. (July 14)

Inception - Freaky trailer, even freakier visuals, and I think that sound effect throughout that sounds like a mutant fog horn is addictively cool, but it'll have to be a rental. (July 16)

Salt - Angelina Jolie is a super agent, and she's framed! Oh no, whatever will she do that involves awesome skills and righteous anger?! (July 23)

Dinner for Schmucks - I admit, this could be pretty daggum funny, and then overly sappy. (July 23)

Cooper playing in his car seat

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Joy of Children

Funny baby stuff from and Reader's Digest ...


I had never been so zonked in my life. After my first child, Amanda, was born, my mother came to stay with me for a few weeks to help out, but I still woke up whenever the baby made the slightest sound during the night. One morning, I groggily asked my mom, "How long before I stop hearing every noise Amanda makes?"

Mom was obviously only half-listening. "Honey, are you coming down with something?" she asked. "You were coughing in your sleep."


My husband is wonderful with our baby daughter, but often turns to me for advice. Recently I was in the shower when he poked his head in to ask, "What should I feed Lily for lunch?"

"That's up to you," I replied. "There's all kinds of food. Why don't you pretend I'm not home?"

A few minutes later, my cell phone rang. I answered it to hear my husband saying, "Yeah, hi, honey. Uh…what should I feed Lily for lunch?"


My sister Susan and her husband, Frank, were entertaining for the first time since the birth of their baby. Everything ran smoothly until one of Frank's buddies arrived with his new girlfriend— a woman Susan did not particularly care for. Susan beckoned her husband upstairs with the excuse that they had to check on the baby. In the privacy of the nursery, she spoke freely of her disdain for the new guest.

When they went downstairs to rejoin the party, they were greeted with an awkward silence — except for the occasional murmurings of the sleeping baby that came from the infant monitor sitting on the table.


Children's Books that Didn't Make the Cut

"Curious George and the High Voltage Fence"

"Strangers Have the Best Candy"

"The Little Sissy Who Snitched"

"Some Kittens Can Fly!"

"Kathy Was So Bad Her Mom Stopped Loving Her"

"The Attention Deficit Disorder Association's Book of Wild Animals of North Amer-Hey! Let's Go Ride Our Bikes!"

"You ARE Different and That's Bad"

"POP! Goes the Hamster...and Other Great Microwave Games"

"The Boy Who Died From Eating All His Vegetables"

"Daddy Drinks Because You Cry"

"Babar Meets the Taxidermist"

"The Care Bears Maul Some Campers and Are Shot Dead"

Tired Baby

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jeff's Top 5: Ballpark Foods

1. BBQ Nachos - The ones at Redbirds games are awesome on every level.

2. Hot Dog - I have dreams about Fenway Franks. Part of it actually being at Fenway, no doubt.

3. Cracker Jack - Hello, "Buy me some!" It's in the song!

4. Ice Cream - Especially when served in a helmet.

5. French Fries - The thick ones that come in that little cup, and if you squeeze some ketchup into it the fries get all squishy and messy.

Our little All-Star

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cooper's mood swings

Because our mini Cooper's teething, he swings pretty quick from happy to frustrated, as you can see from his big smile to the funny faces he makes when playing with his mouth:

Getting hot in here

Oh dear. This morning I woke up with Cooper at 6:30 a.m. While I'm feeding him, I think, "Why is the air on? It should be cool in here by now?"

You see where this is going.

So I check the vents, and air is coming at a trickle. Uh-oh. I look outside at the air-conditioner, and the lines coming from it are frozen solid. We're out of freon.

Next step, call around for estimates and see who can come out today. That was at 7 a.m., and the people we called said they'd be here in the early afternoon. It's noon now, so wish us luck. Val gets to leave in a little bit for a cousin's bridal shower, but Cooper and I will be trying to stay cool until we get some relief.

Our little couch potato doing some reading

Friday, June 25, 2010

Looks like someone got into the toy bin!

A Cooper Duper Update

Today is the three year anniversary of Mom-Mom's passing, which leaves me saddened that she'll never get to meet my son, her great-grandson, and that he'll never know his Mom-Mom.

In other Cooper news as we approach the eight month mark ...

- Me and Val already over pack for trips as it is. I can only imagine that when we leave for our upcoming weeklong annual Chickasaw State Park vacation that we will have so much stuff loaded in and on my car that it will look like we're driving cross-country with the Beverly Hillbillies. ("There's diapers on them thar hills!")

It will be our first big vacation with Cooper. Eek. While I've been very much looking forward to having a week off, I'm worried that it's going to be more difficult than we think. For one, there will be at least a half-dozen people in the cabin any given night, so will he sleep okay in his pack-and-play while we're up until after midnight playing poker? Will he sleep okay with us in the room, coming and going to the bathroom and such, instead of alone in his nursery? We won't have a dishwasher, so that's a lot of bottles and bowls and spoons to wash by hand. So I'm worried that this will be more stressful than we'd like.

Plus, there will be Val's cousins with their infants and toddlers, and I wish I could hold a meeting on day one to declare a moratorium on comparing our kids to the point that it sounds like we're all competing instead of being supportive and sharing stories.

Of course, the first time we take him down to the lake with is cute little swim trunks and put him in his little floatie, and when he plays with his little cousins and we take pictures that are just adorable, all will be forgotten and The Cuteness will take over.

- I'm not comfortable with the term "cutting teeth." For one, I'd never even heard the phrase until Cooper was teething at four months old. It also sounds painful. Can't we just say "growing teeth?"

- I know the popular saying is "If you wait until you can afford kids then you never will," but holy cow, you don't even realize the costs until it happens. I don't think we're atypical at all. We're "We have one middle-class job, an eight-month-old and a mortgage" kind of broke. But when the experts say that it costs $200,000 to raise a kid until the age of 18, I at least expected it to average out per year, not front-loaded with the first $150,000 in the first year.

- Every day I think of something that I'm looking forward to, such as having Cooper cuddle up to us on the couch to watch an animated movie we've seen a thousand times but toss in the DVD player "one" more time, or playing with Cooper at the table, full of games and Legos, or kicking the soccer ball out back ... Gonna have a lot of fun with my little buddy!

- I'm betting that Val and I enjoy watching Nick Jr. a lot more than Cooper does, although he seems to like to focus on Moose during the between-shows segments. I have to wonder about these Nick Jr. shows, though. On "Max and Ruby," Ruby's always bossing around Max. And Olivia's too goody-goody to the point of being annoying.

- We're still working with Cooper's eczema. Val slathers him with creams and hydrocortisone whenever a rough patch emerges, and we are using dye-free detergent and dryer sheets to prevent anything rubbing off our clothes. The good thing is, the cradle cap on top of his head seems to be gone so he's not constantly scratching or rubbing the top of his head on everything.

- Cooper's still not crawling, and he's not inclined to care much that he's not crawling. He manages to make his way from one side of the living room to the other just fine, and if he needs to reposition himself he uses his strong legs to push off the couch, chair or entertainment center. He's also managed to learn to backward crawl, at least. We're not in a hurry to get him crawling and walking, frankly, because that means we have to hurry up and get the safety stuff put up, and lower the crib, and all the things that deal with freaking out about a baby roaming underfoot and unseen.

- It's very reassuring that he's sleeping all night now. At least, until 6 a.m. Hey, the sun is up, he's ready to play! Which is why we're going to invest in some dark curtains to go under the current ones. Maybe he can last until 7 and give Val an extra hour. Or is that cheating? I believe it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, "There was a never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Playtime with Mommy and Daddy

Left-Wing Weenie Watch

If you were like me and cheered and clapped and jumped up and down and celebrated the extra=time winning goal today to advance to the second round of the World Cup, then you are not the kind of American who would peruse the liberal site of The Nation:
It reminded why these kinds of international competitions can leave me with such a sour taste. Why can't we just recognize that Algeria played gallantly against a better US team, which won by the skin of its teeth? Why must an insanely miraculous athletic victory also be a reinforcer of cultural supremacy? It's yet another reminder why it is so important for progressives to not just thrill to the joys of sport but be conversant in the politics of sports. The right will forever try to pump the worst kind of racist, nationalist garbage through our play, even at moments that by all rights should be above and beyond politics and just about the electric thrill of the moment. Especially given the right’s (and Loverro’s) contempt for "the beautiful game", soccer of all things shouldn’t suffer the curse of being a cheap, political football.
One presumes that anytime the writer goes to a ballgame and the national anthem is played, he sits on his hands. pouts and tries to think happy thoughts about Abu Ghraib and Obamacare.

We're not biased, you're just a bunch of hicks


Here's how the L.A. Times led off their story about the runoffs for Republican primaries in South Carolina this week:
South Carolina Republicans buck biases in runoff election

"COLUMBIA, S.C. — In a break from the state's racist legacy, South Carolina Republicans overwhelmingly chose Nikki Haley, an Indian American woman, to run for governor and convincingly nominated Tim Scott, who could become the former Confederate stronghold's first black GOP congressman in more than a century."
Meanwhile, CBS has moved their headquarters to Denial Land:
Katie Couric opened Monday's CBS Evening News by touting how "in a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, 43 percent of Americans approve of President Obama's handling of the spill. Only 13 percent approve of BP's efforts." She offered no further details, such as how 47 percent disapprove of Obama's performance, and only those checking would realize the selectivity in the assessment of Obama she chose to highlight.

You stay classy, French World Cup team

France is in the headlines for stinking up the pitch and acting awfully, well, French, in this year's World Cup:
France winger Florent Malouda apologized to his nation and its fans after the team's disastrous World Cup, saying that restoring its battered reputation is now the priority.

Coach Raymond Domenech and his players were expected to return home Wednesday to a hostile reception from a nation shocked by their behavior during the tournament.

Striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home after verbally abusing Domenech, causing the rest of the players to refuse to practice two days before France's 2-1 upset loss to South Africa that left the team in last place in Group A.

...France striker Thierry Henry will meet President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday to discuss the debacle. Government spokesman Luc Chatel said Sarkozy also is holding a meeting with ministers later Wednesday on how to reform French soccer.

...Whether it was Domenech's failure to manage the team, the attitude of Evra and other players or an interfering French soccer federation, the answers promise to be more entertaining than the team's performances.

"The End of a world," read the dramatic headline on the front page of sports daily L'Equipe on Wednesday.

Not only did France go out in the group stage for the second consecutive major tournament without a single win, but Domenech's handling of the team and the extraordinary player strike added to the problems on the field.

Last Sunday, the squad refused to train over the FFF's decision to expel Anelka from the team after details of his expletive-filled rant were printed in L'Equipe. Anelka had insulted Domenech at halftime during France's 2-0 loss to Mexico.

The extraordinary scenes from France's practice field as Domenech broke up an altercation between Evra and a fitness coach were beamed live back to the nation. One FFF official stormed off, shouting "I'm ashamed" before resigning on the spot. Domenech was left alone to explain why his players were not training and sitting on a bus.

...Many observers, including former France stars like Zinedine Zidane and Bixente Lizarazu, blamed Domenech for letting the situation spiral out of control and the FFF for retaining him after the team failed to make it out of the group stage at Euro 2008.

Domenech ended his six-year tenure without a trophy and in contentious style, refusing to shake the hand of South Africa's coach.

Hump Day links

"Pittsburgh coal is now selling at 40 cents per barrel and wise Memphians are taking advantage of the low price to lay in their supply for next winter. But not many Memphians are that wise."

- THAT'S A LOT OF BATHROOM BREAKS. Memphis Memories from June 20, 1910:
Mr. and Mrs. George T. Brodnax and their daughter, Miss Sue Brodnax, will leave tonight for Louisville where they have shipped their automobile and whence they will start a 1,500-mile motor trip to New York City. They will follow the same route as Frank Jones, also of Memphis, who made the trip in 11 days.

- WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA? Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC admitted that she has been "working with the White House" on oil spill talking points.

I don't condone a general for publicly vilifying his commander-in-chief during a time of war, but is there any doubt that if Afghanistan commander McChrystal had ripped George W. Bush the way he has the Obamadministration that he'd be a hero to the media and their left-wing Obamaniacs?

- While President Kick-Ass blows smoke up your butt by trying to convince you that his health care reform won't end up with you having to find a new doctor despite evidence to the contrary by his own peeps, here are some GREAT MOMENTS IN GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE:

"Overstretched maternity units mean mothers face a 100-mile journey to have baby"
"Hundreds of patients died needlessly at NHS hospital due to appalling care"
"Prove you're sick enough for surgery: Cash-strapped NHS trust introduces rationing for common children's conditions"
"Standard of care in some wards 'would shame a third world country'"
"Stafford Hospital caused ‘unimaginable suffering’"

A Father's Day nap

Cooper finally gave out after a long morning at church while we all enjoyed a Father's Day lunch at Old Timer's:

But he was awake and ready to give Daddy his card, pre-chewed!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We only have eyes for you

A couple of cute pictures of Cooper with Julie, who works with my Mom-in-Law:

He makes me seasick

The best reaction I could come up with to this story comes from one of the online commenters: "I want to punch that guy in the face":
Reid Stowe isn't seasick after returning from 1,152 days on the ocean - he's lovesick.

"This was all accomplished through the power of love," Stowe, 58, said Thursday after stepping off of his 70-ft schooner "Anne" at Manhattan's Pier 81.

"Every time it got hard, every time I got afraid, every time I needed strength I just called on love. And I got strength to go on."

Stowe calls his epic trip, which broke the record for the longest non-stop sea trip in history, the "Love Voyage," and it was - in more ways than one.

When Stowe stepped ashore, he kissed his 26-year-old girlfriend Soanya Ahmad on the cheek and first met Darshen, the nearly 2-year-old son that they conceived at sea.

Ahmad set sail with Stowe on April 21, 2007, but left after 306 days because she was battling nausea. It turned out to be morning sickness.

"He's a little shy to meet a big guy like me," a very sunburnt Stowe said about little Darshen, who spent much of the reunion asleep in his mom's arms. The three will now live together aboard the "Anne."

"It's just so overwhelming," said Ahmad. "It's going to be a new experience for all of us."

The voyage's most difficult moment was deciding that Ahmad would abandon ship, Stowe said. Even so, he decided to stay on course and miss the birth of his son.
What a tool. He's the Anti-Father's Day. Check your ego at the door, go home, see your son born and don't worry about setting a stupid record.

Monday, June 21, 2010

And I think libs who insist on calling it "futbol" are pandering elitist a-holes

This guy thinks that conservatives who don't like soccer are racists. So I guess I'm off the hook. This time! (Dun-dun-DUN!)

Ah, yes, those cosmopolitan Europeans and their multiculturally kumbaya world. Here's what the USA Today had to say during the 2006 coverage in Germany:
Despite the new look, the stadium might have a hard time escaping its history as a symbol of racial intolerance. Seventy years after what became known as the Nazi Olympics, increasingly menacing racism within Europe is a major story line for this edition of soccer's quadrennial showcase.

In Germany and several other European nations, crowds shower minority players with racial insults at times. Several of the U.S. team's African-American players who compete professionally in European leagues say they have been targets of discrimination and verbal and even physical abuse because of their race — on and off the field. There are concerns about how racial incidents might affect the World Cup in Germany, where the 32-team tournament begins June 9 and will be held in 12 cities.

An anti-racism group in Germany is so concerned that it has warned non-white World Cup visitors to avoid rural towns and villages outside Berlin, in the formerly communist eastern part of the country.
The best stories from the World Cup in 2010 come from the North Korean team. First, it turns out that the bouncy happy North Korean fans are actually Chinese actors hired to be supportive "North Koreans," since the Dear Leader would never allow a random citizen to leave the country.

Second, did you know that Kimb Jong-Il is coaching the team via an invisible phone that the coach keeps on the bench? Please, don't give President Kick-Ass any ideas.

A non-story in the news

The national media, liberal bloggers and the gay and lesbian community have decided to make an example of my former church, Bellevue Baptist, here in Memphis, for not allowing a softball team with a lesbian coach to play in their league.

For those of us who are Southern Baptist, or conservative in our Christian views at all, would largely say, "Duh."

Do you think that the church would allow a homosexual to be a deacon? A Sunday School teacher? Any sort of leadership role at all? Of course not. So why would they sanction a lesbian coach?

Instead, Bellevue is going to take the heat on this one as the "intolerant," "unloving" church that wants to "shut out those it disagrees with."

If she walked into the church on any given Sunday morning she would be welcomed with open arms and ushered to a front row seat to hear the Word. I think that if she was just a player and not a coach, this wouldn't have been a factor, either. It's just one more way for the Left to attack Christian morality and try to tilt the popular culture against us even more.

And this is coming from a guy who isn't entirely opposed to gay marriage in some form. I've known many, been friends (I know, I know, it's so cliche), and I would never want to keep them from being happy. But I also know what my church teaches and follows, and it's not the place to make your political stand.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Credit is due

For the record, I would not have booed Manny in his first at-bat in Boston since being traded from the Red Sox in 2008.

Manny was instrumental in winning the 2004 and 2007 World Series titles. No matter what else he's done before, during or since, he deserved my cheers for his return to Fenway Park.

Now, in every subsequent at-bat, as a member of the opposing team, yes, jeer him, root against him, but for that ceremonial first trip, give the guy credit for letting us see the Sox holding the trophy:

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day! To the most awesome Daddy in the whole world!
From Darling Valerie and Your Little Buddy!

Happy Father's Day

To my legendary Dad, for raising me right and filling me with great memories to last a lifetime, and no doubt some interesting stories to share with my boy as he grows up!

p.s. Can't wait until Cooper's in the picture with us at Fenway!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cool Cat Cooper

Happy Weekend!

- Cooper slept 11 hours Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, and again past 7 a.m. Thursday. I could sense Val's "Hallelujah!" from here. And then, both Wednesday and Thursday he slept for almost three hours on his first nap. Wednesday Val kept expecting him to wake up, so she didn't get anything done because "it could be any minute." Yeah, we're still new parents.

When Cooper's rolling on the floor we usually have Nick Jr. playing on the TV. He may or may not care. But I have the song for "Olivia" on a loop in my head. I only hope that the guy who wrote it didn't get paid per word, since the only lyrics are "Olivia! ... Olivia! ... Olivia!" It's like kid-TV's version of the vuvuzela horns at the World Cup.

- Not to sound like a whiny, spoiled fan of a team that's won two World Series in the last six years, but did you notice that the Red Sox have the third best record in the majors right now, and yet are still in third place in the AL East, two games behind the Rays and the Dang Yanks? I'm just sayin' that this will be a long hard summer to get to the playoffs.

- Is there anything duct-tape can't fix? Right now the only contraption that's keeping me from getting kicked out of bed due to 747-level snoring decibels - my CPAP - is duct-taped together after a piece broke off that keeps the top strap against my forehead. The replacement could take another week to arrive, so every night I have to re-tape it and hope that it doesn't come apart in my sleep. If it does, trust me, Val will let me know.

- On our morning show today we had a dealer bring out a few Ferraris in the parking lot. While they were indeed slick and cool, I guess that's one of the things that, as a guy I'm supposed to, but I just don't go nuts about fancy cars. But when we have cooking segments, I clear a path to make sure I get my share!

- Hey, there's some new TV this summer! SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE just finished its first week on the big stage, so they're already down to the top 10. Which is a problem for me and Val. Normally, with a top 20 that is paired up, we have a few weeks to learn to like the dancers, and four or five are easy picks to go. So if we start with a top 11 like this year, and they randomly pair up with past all-stars, then when a few are lame then by the time we get down to the best it's time for the finale. Plus, since they don't team up together, it's going to be difficult to figure out who we like.

This week someone named Alexi went home. We didn't care. We never saw her before. While wondering why Mia was dressed like Shrek, here are my first impressions:

Billy - Mia said that he dances like a boy and needs to be a man now. In other words, stop looking so gay.

Cristina - All I can say is that she got dragged around the stage by Mark just fine. No surprise she was in the bottom three.

Jose - A street dancer gets hip-hop to start? Yeah, that's COMPLETELY different (*eye roll*). Conspiracy alert!

Adechike - The pre-package made us spend our time watching for his attempt to take off partner Kathryn's shoes, although we were much more concerned with the potential for disaster with the office chair.

Melinda - Her ballroom was so-so. She wasn't sure what to do with her feet a few times.

Alex the Asian Guy - The judges had an out of body experience, we said, "meh." I guess you had to be there. I would like to declare a moratorium on any show ever using Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" anymore. We're over it as a device to evoke an emotional response.

Alexie - A hip-hop that didn't impress me either way.

Lauren - She was the judges favorite all through auditions and Vegas, so they had to take her down a notch with some stupid criticism about "connecting" with the audience, or some such nonsense.

Kent - Oh my gosh, is he already the winner? This guy has "audience favorite" practically beaming from his farmer-tanned pores.

Ashley - Touches on every contemporary dance move we've seen a million times, including the headfirst jump into his arms, the dramatic leap onto his shoulder, the flying steps, et al.

Robert - He needs to stop acting surprised and putting his hands over his open mouth every time someone gives him a compliment. If his "secret" was correct, he would not have made it as a baseball player like that.

The favorites after week one: Kent, Lauren, Alex and Robert.

By the way, during the bottom three dances on results night, the ten-second countdown has got to go. When it pops up, that's all I'm watching anymore. The dancing doesn't even matter because I'm waiting to see if they finish.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cooper makes new friends

Amy and Michael C. drove over from Atlanta with their little LynnMarie, and all had a good ol' time meeting each other!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


- HEADLINE: "Obama Tells Politico the Oil Spill is Like 9-11… Then Goes Golfing for 4 Hours"

- KING BARACK: The Obamessiah responded to the oil spill in the Gulf by suspending all offshore drilling for six months, a purely political action that doesn't change anything a lick except to please his enviro-weenie admirers. Now, in a move that takes major cajones, he wants BP to pay not just for damages to the Gulf from the spill, but also the wages of workers who aren't working while the president dithers with BP and tries to be President Kickass.

- TAKING OBAMA'S SIDE: Republican Iowa Congressman Steve King proves why too many people can successfully buy into the idea that conservatives are just trying to stick their fingers in the president's nose, pick his nose and declare that he has scary communist boogers. King requested that Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango, testify before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law after she was granted asylum last month, as if there's something sinister. For fraks' sake, if you're the president you should at least be able to give your relatives a freakin' break, am I right? Chill, pickle!

Toys, rolling and kicking, while watching cartoons!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pooptastrophe, weekend visiting and movie reviews

On my way home Thursday, Val informed me that she was dealing with the aftermath of a poop catastrophe. I admit, it led for the first time since Cooper was born to the thought, "You know, I could really go hide at a bar for a couple of hours." Alas, I went home anyway, where Val had already given Cooper a bath after he went No. 2 that spilled out of his diaper while playing in the saucer, and ended up under his feet where he smeared it all over. Lovely. I threw the fabric seat in the washing machine and scrubbed the bottom of the saucer of all remnants of squishy baby poop, and all is well. I know this will not be the last time.

Anyway, this was a good weekend, although much of it was spent trying to avoid any contact with the outdoors since temps were at least 95 and the heat index somewhere around three thousand degrees. Give or take two-thousand-nine-hundred-eight-five.

Got to see Amy and Michael C. during there Tour De Tennessee, both Friday and Saturday nights for dinner, first at Corky's, and then, because there's never too much barbecue, at Garibaldi's for some BBQ pizza. They also took in the zoo and some museums, but when you're with the Rushings, fellowship involves getting some good grub.

Saturday afternoon we also made sure to watch the U.S.-England World Cup match, which ended in a draw thanks to a completely awful yet awesome blunder by the Brits' goalie. Good thing, because I'm pretty sure that President Kickass made a bet with their Prime Minister that if we had lost, they could have Delaware. (Not a big effing deal, according to Joe Biden.) If we'd won, Britain would just have to supply a signed box set of Beatles albums to the White House, plus all MI:5 documents related to President Kicass being born and raised in Pakistan until the age of 14.

Now, a look at last weekend's Netflix picks:

"It's Complicated" - It certainly is, but hey, it's okay because Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin have turned on the Cutesy Machine to a 10, so whatever those wacky and horny divorced Baby Boomers want to do is okay with us. I would like the declare a moratorium, however, on movies featuring the Baby Boomer generation in which characters end up smoking pot in some attempt to recreate their early 20s exploits. It's not funny, it's dumb. In fact, the biggest laughs didn't even come from our leads. That goes to the dude from "The Office," who as a future son-in-law was an unwitting witness to the zany affair.

"Terminator: Salvation" - Turns out, this is kind of a prequel to first Terminator, in that we see what happened in the war in the future (2018) before John Connor's dad was sent by John Connor to save his mom, Sarah Connor. And then, in the end, nothing is solved. The war rages on, humanity is in peril and John Connor and bunch still have to keep sending back friendly terminators to save his younger self from newer, fancier terminators.

"Salvation" did deliver in that there are many "Wow that was wicked cool" scenes, such as the terminator motorcycles and the giant Transformer-looking robot attacking a desolate desert town. As John Connor, Christian Bale is like he is in every movie, while Sam Worthington was better than expected as the human/terminator battling his conscience. Ron Howard's daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, is lovely, and could have used some more screen time as Bale's wife (played by Claire Danes in the previous Terminator movie).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Comfy Cooper

We upgraded Cooper from an infant car seat to a big boy one, and now he has plenty of room to relax!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The week in links

"A small publishing company is under fire after putting warning labels on copies of the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and other historical documents," Fox News reports:

Wilder Publications warns readers of its reprints of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Common Sense, the Articles of Confederation, and the Federalist Papers, among others, that "This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today."

The disclaimer goes on to tell parents that they "might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work."

"Scientists hit on universal theory of bubbles"

"Is that woman pregnant or fat?"

"Wang injury not serious" Au contraire. It's ALWAYS serious.

"Flip-flops do's and don'ts for summer"

- REPRODUCTION! WHERE DOES THE POLLEN GO? I don't what's sadder, noted eugenist Peter Singer's blog on the New York Times advocating ending all reproduction after this generation, or the depressed, lifeless people in the comment section who think humanity is worthless and damaging to the planet.

Politically it's great for conservatism. The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto calls the Roe Effect:
It is a statement of fact, not a moral judgment, to observe that every pregnancy aborted today results in one fewer eligible voter 18 years from now. ... The Roe effect, however, refers specifically to the nexus between the practice of abortion and the politics of abortion. It seems self-evident that pro-choice women are more likely to have abortions than pro-life ones, and common sense suggests that children tend to gravitate toward their parents' values. This would seem to ensure that Americans born after Roe v. Wade have a greater propensity to vote for the pro-life party--that is, Republican--than they otherwise would have.
And yet pro-abortion groups act surprised when polls show young voters skewing more and more pro-life. Viva life! Reproduce!

Cooper at the Dr.'s office

Cooper in good times with Mommy, before the poking and prodding!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The 2010 World Cup starts Friday! Being a soccer aficianado in my youth, the World Cup is one of my favorite sporting events. When the Olympics came to Atlanta in '96, the thing me, Dad and big bro Scott enjoyed most was going to Birmingham to watch some soccer, including the U.S. play two matches. (One win vs. Tunisia, one loss vs. Argentina.)

Here's a fun website tracking the Likability Rankings to figure out which team to root for (after the U.S., of course).

Super Duper Cooper update!

Val and I have such a good time watching our mini Cooper roll around the floor. 

I don't mean that we lay him in the kitchen next to the knife set and walk away, thinking, "He'll be fine."

No, we have a pair of blankets laid out in the living room area between the couch and entertainment center, flanked by his bassinet and swing on one side and my old big brown chair on the other to keep him somewhat confined. Of course, if we avert our gaze for even ten seconds while on the computer or in the kitchen, we'll find that he's rolled clear off the pallet and ends up past the end table kissing the tile floor. Oops!

He can roll at approximately Mach 1 speed, so be careful when carrying a tray of food to the couch, lest he roll right under your legs while playing with a particularly sing-songy toy, either his Mozart music player, talking remote control or giraffe that plays music. (Including, interestingly, "Silent Night," which sounds much peppier when coming out of a toy.)  

Fortunately, he's been playing fabulously even though his health isn't 100 percent. The last few weeks he's had some congestion, and has come to think of the nasal aspirator approaching his nose like I would a colonoscopy: Something unnatural is heading toward a sensitive area, and it ain't gonna be pleasant.

We went to see his doctor, and of course, every time you go to the doctor you come away with prescriptions, even if you're just driving past the office accidentally (as they chase you down the street yelling, "You look pale! Go get an antibiotic and radiation!").

So now we have to give 1) An oral antibiotic that is flavored (and he still hates, so we started putting it in his cereal mush), 2) An oral steroid that he equally dislikes and tries to squirm his way out of, and 3) A liquid that goes in his nebulizer in addition to the Albuterol when he wheezes. We hadn't used it since he was sick in January, but the doc pretty much told us that we will have to use the nebulizer whenever he's wheezing from now on. Cooper will not be thrilled.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Have knuckle, will travel

Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield has proven that a trick pitch can get you places. The knuckleballer pushed Roger Clemens out of the Boston record books as the all-time leader in innings pitched as the Red Sox beat Cleveland 3-2 on Tuesday night.

His career innings pitched is now 2,777, one more than Roger Clemens worked in a Red Sox uniform.

Even better, the Sox starters are absolutely owning opponents now, and all April woes are long forgiven. The starters are 9-0 with a 0.75 ERA in the last 10 games away from Fenway Park.

Kick Kick Kick

Cooper loves to kick against the entertainment center!

He's thisclose to crawling. We love to watch him in this position try to figure things out.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Food Network Star

Two notes about Sunday night's debut of this season's "The Next Food Network Star:"

1. If you know you're going to be on a show about cooking on TV, practice in front of a camera beforehand. You know at some point you'll cook a dish that's supposed to describe you, so go ahead and have something prepared. If you can't cook but look good on TV, you'll last longer than someone who cooks awesomely but freezes up on cam.

2. Like in "Chopped," if you're cooking chicken or pork in a timed round, the first order of business is: Cook it all the way through so that it's not raw! Also like "Chopped" in a timed round, your water's not going to boil fast enough for you, and the oil won't get hot enough to cook your original dish.

3. Giada's head is way too big for her body. Interesting that they felt the need to bring her in as a co-host. Guess they think Bobby Flay's too dry? Too busy?

Stayin' Classy

In response to a radio transmission by the Israeli Navy warning the Gaza flotilla that they are approaching a naval blockade, passengers of the Mavi Marmara respond, "Shut up, go back to Auschwitz" and "We're helping Arabs go against the US, don't forget 9/11".

So, Paul McCartney is in the East Room of the White House, with President and Mrs. Obama. He is being fĂȘted because he has just won an award from the Library of Congress. He caps the evening with this remark – this is his farewell, his send-off: “After the last eight years, it’s good to have a president that knows what a library is.”

Story time with Cooper

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Mi Casa, Cooper Casa

Cooper enjoys dinner at the family joint, Casa Mexicana in Atoka. Well, at least he enjoys a piece of it.

He's not quite settled into a new life in a high chair at restaurants.

Cody wasn't trying to show Cooper how to play, he wanted to play with the stuff himself.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Cooper and Nana

Tuesday afternoon I was able to bring Cooper over to play with Nana, and she was very happy to see her great-grandson!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ending the week on a high note

- THAT'S A LOT OF ANGEL SOFT TOILET PAPER: The other day I stopped at the Dollar General on Dexter Rd. in Cordova to get a generic medicine and a two-pack of my favorite gum (Dentyne sugarless). I figure that should take, what, one minute, tops? 30 seconds to find the items, 30 seconds to check out?

Instead I stood behind a couple for 10 minutes. They spent $295. At Dollar General. I didn't even think that was possible. Plausible, yes, but how much stuff can you pile up to spend that much dough? There are, what, five big-ticket items there?

- HEADLINE: "Butt test shows U.S. cigarettes high in chemicals"
Why would you test there? I guess these crack scientists would know.

- BULLSH*T ALERT: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says she believes she must pursue public policies "in keeping with the values" of Jesus Christ, "The Word made Flesh." Except when it comes to abortion, of course. Or gay marriage.

- BRRR: A Super Bowl in New Jersey in February - average temperature, 34 degrees. What could go wrong?

- ONE IS FISHY, two is a pattern: "U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff acknowledged tonight that he discussed three possible jobs with the deputy chief of staff of the Obama administration -- all contingent upon a decision by Romanoff not to challenge U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet," The Denver Post reports.

- BUT BASHING ISRAEL IS MORE FUN THAN THE TRUTH: National Review columnist Mona Charen has a useful fact check on what you're not hearing about the condemnation of Israel for its raid on a so-called "aid" flotilla.

- AN OBSERVATION: Is anything ever engulfed in something other than flames?

- Poor Armando Galarraga. Losing a perfect game on a blown call on what should be the 27th out is one of the worst calls in baseball history. I can think of only two more that could top it due to circumstances, both in the World Series:

1. Cardinals vs. Royals, 1985 World Series, from ESPN:
Don Denkinger was the umpire at first base in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. With the Cardinals leading the Royals three games to two, the Cardinals had taken a 1-0 lead into the eighth inning. Todd Worrell came in for the Cardinals in the ninth to face Jorge Orta, who hit a slow roller to first baseman Jack Clark. He tossed it to Worrell covering first base. Denkinger called Orta safe, though television replays showed he was out by half a step. The Royals went on to win Game 6 and the World Series.
2. 1991 World Series, Twins vs. Braves, the ump helps Minnesota win game two:
Nothing brings out the best in a good sportscasting team like a controversial call.

Game 2 of the World Series provided one in the third inning when the Twins’ Kent Hrbek tagged Atlanta’s Ron Gant out at first base, apparently after first lifting Gant’s leg off the base.

First base umpire Drew Coble ruled that Gant didn’t have control of the base, so Hrbek’s tag was a good one.

Even before multiple replays suggested otherwise, CBS’ broadcasters labeled it a bad call. Guest commentator Tommy Lasorda, manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, asserted that Hrbek “deliberately pulled Gant off the bag.”

Analyst Tim McCarver, a pretty wily player himself in his day, said Hrbek did exactly what he should have done with the Braves in the middle of what could have been a big rally – and was lucky enough to get away with it.

“Nice effort by Hrbek,” commented play-by-play man Jack Buck. “I bet he was surprised when he got the call.”

During one of the many replays that showed Hrbek using – how shall we put this? – a little leverage on Gant, McCarver mentioned that Hrbek “is a big wrestling fan. I think this might be a wrestling move right here.”

But it was Buck who came up with the best comment on what might have been the game’s pivotal play: “I know some of you fans like to keep score,” Buck said. “That play went 7-1-3-Umpire.”
Similar to Armando Galarraga's failed perfect game was 1972:
In Milt Pappas's no-hitter on Sept. 2, 1972, Pappas had a perfect game with two outs and a 3-2 count on the 27th batter, pinch-hitter Larry Stahl. Pappas's next pitch was very close but called a ball by home plate ump Bruce Froemming. Pappas got the next man out, settling for a no-hitter.

Naptime for Cooper

So cute when he's asleep!

Those Duke boys don't pay tolls

Doesn't it seem like you should hear this car's horn playing "Dixie" as it vaults into the air over the Dallas/Fort Worth airport toll booth?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Tuesday, June 01, 2010