I just don’t even know…

  1. I’m not the perfect parent, I’ll admit that.  I’ll also admit that I’ve only been doing this for 15 months now.  But, if you’re letting your child walk around and disturb (even quietly) other patrons at a restaurant while you sit and chat idly about your day (I assume), then you’re not doing your job.  Make no mistake, it’s a job.  It can be a fun job.  It can be a crazy job.  But, it’s a job that you’re required to do.  So do it.
  2. If you’re a child, I give you a lot of leeway because I can understand that you don’t get normal social attitudes.  I’ll also allow for the fact that you may have some borderline social disorder.  But, if you’re standing less than 3 inches (no joke!) from my arm, staring at either me or my family while we eat, you need to back the hell up!  And, I say this with love, but if you continue to do this throughout life, you’re never going to have any friends.  Oh, and tell your parents (who are using the restaurant as a babysitter) that you need a belt, because when your shorts fall of your bony little body at your age, it’s not cute.  It’s weird.
  3. I agree with my wife.  Sonic, your commercials are so much better than your food.
  4. We’re in the midst of a nasty heat wave.  And, it’s not just us.  It’s the whole country.  I saw the USAToday map the other day and the whole thing was a version of orange.  Dark orange, light orange, orange like the sun…and just as hot.  Even I’ve started to sweat recently which lets me know that the temperature is out of control.  If I’m sweating, it’s hot.
  5. I’m so bummed about the Red Sox.  This year has been devastating in the injury department and I hate it when people make excuses to explain away poor performance, but most of this year they’ve been playing without a full complement of their players.  I don’t mean that the roster has gotten smaller, but the players that they broke spring training with have been missing from most of the games.  And, the loss of Youkilis for the rest of the season really puts a damper on the season.  I haven’t written them off, because even in the midst of all this, they’re still within striking distance in the most difficult division in baseball.  I’m still very proud of them for dealing with the injuries, but it’s going to be a long winter if we don’t make the playoffs.  A good showing against the Yankees this weekend would go a long way to making it feel better.
  6. My wife watches Project Runway.  I sit through it because I think Tim Gunn is cool.  My wife watches So You Think You Can Dance.  I sit through it because occasionally there’s a decent dance and Mary Murphy is no longer screaming on my television.

See you in the funny papers!

Random Thoughts

It’s been forever since I did a Random Thoughts, but I was inspired by my friend N. who does these ramblings occasionally on Facebook…and mine may be slightly more random than hers.

  • If my Red Sox don’t start playing better, I’m gonna have to take up golf or something.
  • I made dinner tonight, Whole Wheat Pasta with Sesame Peanut Sauce.  It was good, and I threw some edamame in there for flair, but the cayenne in the sauce is really burning me at the moment.
  • I drink more coffee than I ever thought I would.
  • I continue to realize how much being a grownup really sucks.
  • I also continue to be amazed at how well my parents provided for my sister and I, and have no idea what they must have given up in their own lives to be able to do so.
  • I would really like for mowing the grass to be a more zen experience than it is.
  • I need to get back to some form of exercise, if someone would just point out the extra hours in the day when that’s possible.
  • Have I mentioned lately how much I love my job?  It just sounds so weird for me to say that out loud.
  • Oh, and my cough is back.  If it continues, I think I’ll have to bite the bullet and go back to the doctor.  It’s not that I don’t like the doctor, I just think my time could be better spent doing other things.
  • IvyCat is sleeping through the night (for all intents and purposes) these days which has made existence a little more bearable.
  • I love that my wife is actively interested enough in baseball to ask pertinent questions.  Or, at least she fakes it good.
  • At various times, I crave root beer and/or grape soda.  This is not a bad thing.
  • I need a vacation.  My current desires are the Pacific Northwest, the Okavango Delta, and the Swiss Alps.  I’m a geography nerd.
  • Sarah Vowell…if you’re reading this, I need you to write a new book.
  • Speaking of books, I really need to get back to reading more.  I have a stack of books that are waiting for me.
  • Getting a haircut tomorrow, thank goodness.  Starting to look a little like Wolverine.
  • Taking the GRE next week.  Wish me luck.  I’m gonna need it.

That’s all for now.  I need to go to bed.  I’ll hopefully write again soon.  Good news, the Red Sox won tonight…a 2-game win streak.  WOOHOO!

See you in the funny papers!

Surf’s up

Today’s Olympic sport: Snowboarding

I am a child of the snowboarding age.  Though it has been around since the 1960s apparently, its true emergence Aside: at least in my opinion, and it’s my blog dammit. was in the early 80s with its ultimate arrival in the early 90s.  I have always imagined that I’d be pretty decent at snowboarding, mostly because you’re only strapping yourself to one piece of equipment, whereas skiing has two.  With snowboarding, there seems much less chance for me to end up going in two directions at once causing irreparable harm to what we boys like to refer to as “the family jewels.”  Of course, I’ve never been snowboarding, or snow skiing for that matter.  I did go water skiing once…well, I say I went skiing.  Mostly, I just skidded along face down behind the boat swallowing as much of the lake as I could because I was too stupid to let go of the damn rope.  I’m much better at tubing…again, one piece of equipment.  Why does everything have to be so complicated?

Anyway, so how do I relate to snowboarding?  Well, a close second, in my opinion, would be skateboarding, which was my primary mode of transportation for some time in the mid to late 80s.  I had a board that I went everywhere on, but mostly “everywhere” consisted of the local drug store to purchase Topps baseball cards with my friend Jon Aside: whose last name I can’t even remember now, some friend huh? and when we didn’t buy cards, we bought candy.  All of this was back before I realized I would actually NEED money and I should’ve saved some of that dough.  It was also back before child obesity was an issue…but I guess it wasn’t an issue because we would actually go outside and ride skateboards everywhere rather than sitting around on our asses and having our mothers bring us potato chips while we played Super Mario Bros. until our eyes melted, but I digress.

Well, there was one hill on our block which was prime real estate for shredding and catching air.  None of which we did.  I’m certain that if any of the four wheels of that board had left the hill at any moment I’d have flipped over and died.  No, our “tricks” were limited to kicking the board up, Michael J. Fox from Back to the Future-style, when we were picking it up.  Shredding for us was simply riding from side to side down the hill, provided there were no cars coming.  And catching air…well, the only air I caught was the breeze as I rode down the hill.  Consequently, I’m not a professional boarder of anything; skate, snow, or surf!  That’s my connection to snowboarding…tenuous at best, I realize, but we only get heavy snow in Kentucky about every 10-15 years, so it’s not like there’s a lot of opportunity.

See you in the funny papers!

NaBloPoMo 2009 – SFG

NaBloPoMo2009Last night, I participated in a once in a lifetime event.  It’s not often that these sorts of things come around, I believe that’s why they’re called once in a lifetime.  Anyway, before I tell you what it was, I have to tell you how it came to be.

Every summer, my dad and I make a trip together to a couple of major league ballparks.  You may have read about this before on this blog.  The point of this event is for me to collect a hat from every major league ballpark…the ulterior motive is for my dad and I to spend some quality time together.  Nothing says quality time like a drive through Iowa.  Anyway, for the last few years this has been our tradition and I believe that we have both enjoyed it immensely.  Well, this summer, due to forces beyond our control Aside: Okay, not completely beyond our control.  I mean, I was involved in the baby making, but I’ll spare you the details we were unable to make our usual trip.  Now, my parents are some of the most generous, well-meaning individuals you will ever meet.  Never, and I do mean NEVER, have they let me or my sister down Aside: except that once when I locked myself out of my house and they weren’t home…but I digress and truly we have never wanted for anything in our lives.  That’s not to say we’re spoiled, but we received gifts well beyond their means at times and I hope we never forget that.  All of this brings me to the story of last night.Hank Aaron -- Living Legend

In lieu of a baseball stadium trip this summer, my parents saw fit to purchase for me a genuine Louisville Slugger, autographed by my favorite player of all time, Henry Aaron.  This was no small deal.  This official bat was one of a very small number created by the Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum and had both of his contract signatures on it, Henry Aaron and Hank Aaron, as well as a personal autograph by the man himself.  Well, surely this was more than enough to please me and I was astounded by the gift, not the least of which because I did not expect it.  However, it doesn’t end there.  Last night, my dad and I went down to the Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum and enjoyed a ceremony in which Mr. Aaron was given the “Living Legend” award.  This award was bestowed on him, not only because of his baseball prowess, but for the manner in which he persevered through intense racism in pursuit of one of baseball’s greatest records, and because of his work with the “Chasing the Dream” Foundation.  To stand in the room with the man as he lauded one of the batmakers, Danny, telling that he had done his job well brought tears to my eyes.  I was truly in awe of the man whom I’ve admired for many years.  But I was even more proud to be there with my father who may never have hit a major league home run, but stands tall in my eyes and heart.

I love you Dad.  And thank you very much to both you and mom for such a wonderful gift.  I truly will cherish it forever.

See you in the funny papers!

NaBloPoMo 2009 – MIL

NaBloPoMo2009I’ve debated all day between ranting about a work issue, complaining about the Yankees World Series win, or trying to find some piece of goodness in the world to rejoice in.  I just don’t really have a lot of vested interest in any of it.

I could go on and on about work issues for days, not the least of which is incompetence.  The depth of incompetence continues to astonish me even after nearly 15 years of working for the same university.  However, as I’ve said before, “Thou shalt not blog about work” and to avoid what could potentially be career-shortening, at best, I’m going to leave that where it lies.

The Yankees.  As you no doubt have surmised from repeated readings of this particular blog, there is no love lost between me and the Bronx Bombers.  I dislike the Yankees with an intense passion and it only seems to grow with each passing season.  There was a time when I allowed for the casual observer to ply me with the idea that DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, and the like were likeable enough and really the Steinbrenner Era is what was wrong with the Yankees.  However, my thoughts now are firmly entrenched that the only good Yankee was Gehrig and even that is tinted by my repeated viewings of Gary Cooper’s portrayal in “Pride of the Yankees.”  I’m not happy they won the Series…it’s immaterial whether they deserved it or not.  I still view A-Rod and Posada with utter contempt because I find them detestable.  I will say that Jeter and Rivera are fine ballplayers, but their association with the Yankees makes them unpalatable as heroes.  I wish the Phillies had won, but as I didn’t even have a horse in the race (Better luck next year Sox!) I’ll just have to live with it.

There is goodness in the world.  I know it.  I’ve seen it.  It’s just that, often times, it’s extremely difficult to find.  Just this hour, there’s the shootings at Fort Hood, the Iowa mom who killed her son, an NYPD commissioner guilty of lying to the White House, H1N1 becomes the dominant flu virus…and those are just the headlines.   I know that the news is quasi-sensational because that’s what drives the ratings, and that’s unfortunate.  Still, these things are happening out in the real world and that’s even more unfortunate.  Just once I’d like to see an entire news program devoted solely to people doing good things and the people that benefit from that.

See you in the funny papers!

NaBloPoMo 2009 – BOS

NaBloPoMo2009Today our little girl turned 6 months old.  You know, everybody and their mother literally tells you that this time will go so fast and that you need to savor each and every moment.  And, at those times, you nod and smile and think, yes, well, you weren’t up with her all night last night and you didn’t change 5 diapers in the last 2 hours and it doesn’t happen to you.  But then, one day you go from cradling her in your hand to holding her in both arms to watching her sit up on her own and you realize that it did happen to you.  And all you have is picture and video to remember those moments because your brain, marvelous little organ that it is, is incapable of conjuring the possibility of your baby growing this quickly.

I wouldn’t change a single moment of parenthood thus far.  She’s been wonderful and she’s been fussy, but I’ve loved her for every moment.  And, I know that C. feels the same way.  She blows bubbles now, which is her favorite thing to do.  And she is sitting up on her own and she seems likes she’s just 14 seconds from hitting the ground with both feet and running off.  So, my plan,

Ivy Catherine

for the next 6 months is to savor every moment.  To enjoy the time she spends in my arms, to experience life on her level, to see the world through her eyes.  Let’s see if my poor brain can keep up.

In other news, I believe that winter may have finally come to the Ohio Valley.  This morning as I was taking the munchkin to daycare, the slight rain was a little icier both in temperature and consistency.  I guess that means that baseball season is almost over and it will be dark and gloomy until at least March.

See you in the funny papers!

Music for your morning

Good MORNING!  Yes, good morning.  How’s it going?  Did you get enough sleep?  Good, I’m glad.  Have you had your morning beverage, whatever that might be.  Good…good.  Okay, so let’s get to it.  Here in Ye Olde Hometowne we have a magnificent radio station supported by the public.  They call it “public radio”, heavens knows where they get these titles.  Anyway…at little old WFPK they play the best music and it’s the only radio station that C. and I listen to on a regular basis.  That said, our friend, Kyle Meredith has a short program on WFPK called The Daily Feed which promotes the latest and greatest music found on the Intertubes and the other day he had this little gem:

Warm Heart of Africa (Alan Wilkis Remix) by The Very Best

Now, if this particular tune doesn’t have you jamming throughout the day, then you need to reexamine your life and focus on your inner happiness.  Aside: I know, I know…inner happiness coming from me, Mr. Cynical Bastard. Also, I’m listening to these other items which I’m sure can be found at your local iTunes or other purveyor of fine musical gems:

Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant

Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon

Resurrection Mary by Vandaveer

That about does it for today, except to say that I’m man enough to admit that the Red Sox stole the game from the Angels last night with a little help from the blue boys.  Nick Green swung at that ball and then he got another ball on an obvious strike.  The Angels have every right to be upset.  But, let me say this, I don’t really care because my boys in Boston won another one to put themselves up 6.5 games over Texas for the wild card.  It was awesome!

See you in the funny papers!


Balls, I say!  Bollocks, even!

So, what, may you ask has gotten my dander in a lather this morning?  Oh, Intertubes, ya’ll have no idea.  Seriously, it’s just that bad.  But, here’s the thing, I’m about to lay it on you…so grab your cup of joe, or for those of you across the pond, at this hour, I suppose maybe a spot of tea.

Those bastards from New York swept my beloved Red Sox over the weekend.  Yes, I know, it’s not all that difficult to believe since we’ve been batting anemic since the All-Star break and the Yankees went out in the offseason and purchased an entirely new roster practically with which to beat my Beantown brothers.  Still, we had beaten them 8 straight times this season, and suddenly, they lose four straight?  It’s enough to conjure images of 1919.  I mean, our bullpen, though taxed in the 15-inning game on Friday, just fell apart last night and gave up the ghost.  It was a sad, sad day.

To compound the misery, I’m now at work, bathed in my own sweat, wasting a perfectly good shower AND a good shave even though, due to last week’s flooding, this building is still officially closed.  So, here I sit, desperately willing the fan to blow something other than hot air as I breathe in mildew and toxic mold Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but who can say for sure. I realize that this breaks my rule of blogging about work, but I feel this warrants it.  I know that they want us to work, but really, REALLY, this seems a bit unnecessary.  We should be able to stay home until they get the air handlers working again.  On the bright side, I am wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

In other news, C and I had a wonderful date for our anniversary.  We went to see (500) Days of Summer which you definitely need to go out this week and see.  It’s just that good.  The review is available on my movie page.  We also had dinner at the lovely 60 West Bistro and Martini Bar.  I did have a martini, called Chewbacca’s Scream of course! and it was quite good.  Thanks to my parents for watching the bebe while we went out.

See you in the funny papers!


Things I’m currently in love with:

Things I currently despise:

Oh, and due to my current baby-induced vacation, please check out the terrific number of movies I’ve seen lately on the updated (practically daily!) Spoiler-Free Movie Reviews page.  See you in the funny papers!

Take me out to the ballgame

Russ Smith writes an article about his trips to 17 major league ballparks that I found over on The Hardball Times which is an absolute overkill for fans of baseball like myself.  Like Smith, I have been on a continued quest over the past few years to visit every major league ballpark.  Some days it seems like they’re tearing them down faster than I can get to them.  Unfortunately, this means that many of the venerated houses of our national pastime have disappeared before I can enjoy their cramped splendor.  Nowadays, if you don’t have a video board at every sightline and a concessionaire who caters to every possible diet, then your ballpark is practically obsolete.  My father, whom I coax into these outings (though, I suspect he enjoys them as much as I do, regardless of midnight drives through Iowa), and I are pretty much purists.  We enjoy hot dogs and peanuts and while we enjoy the convenience of a yacht-sized scoreboard, we could also keep score with a pencil and a scorecard.  We stand for the National Anthem and for the 7th-inning stretch.  So, I look forward to more trips to more parks with him…and, maybe my daughter will want to come when she’s older.

In honor of Spring, I’d like to take a trip down memory lane to my very first major league game.  I was 20 years old and on my first work-related conference in Chicago.  There were 5 of us, and I, being the only guy, decided to skip the dreaded shopping and focus on the bright afternoon sipping beer within the Friendly Confines (that’s Wrigley Field, for those of you who don’t know).  It was a matchup between the beloved Cubbies and the Pittsburgh Pirates, I’m sure a highly touted contest as both were more than likely in the midst of a dreadful season…and a quick check of Baseball-Reference shows that, indeed, both teams were doomed to finish under .500.  Still, I was there and I was excited.

I stepped up to the window and asked the man there, “If this was your only game, what seats would you get?”  Ever the upseller, he said he’d get the best seats he could buy.  Knowing my wallet couldn’t swallow this and allowing for the fact that I was being taken for a rube, I calmly settled for some mid-range seats back behind home plate under the grandstand.  I sensed every moment as I entered beneath the iconic Wrigley Field sign, from the smells of hot dogs and beer to the sounds of batting practice and vendors.  I wandered along the concourse beneath the banners of Cub greats as I found my seat.  I stopped for a hot dog with mustard, onions, and relish (the prototypical baseball snack in my opinion) and a large Pepsi (being too young for a beer at this point) and settled in to watch the game.  

Unfortunately, at this point, I don’t remember anything else.  I don’t remember who won.  I don’t remember any of the players, some of whom have gone on to have wonderful careers.  I don’t even remember hearing Harry Caray slur through “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  I do remember having a wonderful afternoon and the sun was shining…so it wasn’t a bad first visit.

Many trips to many ballparks have followed and I’m certain that there will be many more to come.  Hopefully, some I will remember better than this one.  But you never forget the first time.

See you in the funny papers!