Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Official

We suck. I realize we're only 7-7, but this is the second time we've played pathetically against a sad, lousy team. Previously, we lost to the winless (at the time) Rams. And now we lose to the Bengals, who had only one win going in to today's game. It's really sad. I don't know what the problem is. We've got the 2nd or 3rd rated RB in Portis. We've got the 2nd rated TE in Cooley. We've got a top 10 WR in Moss. We've got a top 10 QB in Campbell. Our defense is one of the tops in the league in several categories. But our offense just can't seem to get it together.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stephen King's Dark Tower

I'm a little sad... Anyone who has read one of my various online profiles knows that one of my favorite books (or series of books) is Stephen King's Dark Tower series. In said series, there exists in our world a vacant lot in NY City. Amid the rubble and garbage of this lot is a solitary rose. If you have read the books, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, it would take too long to explain the significance of the rose in this lot. When people walk by the lot, it's like they hear a choir of angels singing in thier heads. It puts them in an inexplicably good mood. They don't know why they are happy or where the joy comes from. They just know the world seems a bit brighter when they walk down this particular street.

Anyway, for the past few months, there has been a vacant lot next to my office building. This lot is strewn with rubble and refuse. On the fence in front of this lot is a sign for the company of Greenbaum & Rose. When I walk by this lot (about 2-4 times a week), it reminds me of the significance of this rose in the vacant lot in the books. That is, to say, its importance is that of the survival of all reality.

When I walked by the lot yesterday, for the first time, the fence door was open. there were workers laying down blacktop. When I walked by today, the job was complete. No more rubble. No more glass. No more garbage, though knowing D.C., that will soon change. The fence is half hanging off its posts. No more fantasies about the rose in the vacant lot. Now, it's just another section of D.C. street.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Too Funny!!

Ok, so I'm reading a list of E-Exclamation Point's Best of 2008 Top 10 whatevers. The last one is Top 10 Time Sucks. Lo and behold, two of my favorite pastimes are at #'s 9 and 10! Love! It! Of course, posting this, I am now thinking that this makes my life sound pretty pathetic... Oh well. If you're reading this post, you've probably read others on this blog, and already knew that.

Say, that reminds me, I know my last post seemed a bit random. I don't know what made me think of it, and looking back, I realize that without some sort of context, it seems an odd thing to post about. Then again, as I said above, if you're reading this post....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"I sweat when I eat"

My favorite NYPD Blue quote, and one of my favorite all-time TV quotes. Ever the smooth talker and ladies' man, Andy Sipowicz tells his future wife, A.D.A. Sylvia Costas (whom he had previously told, "'Ipso' this, you pissy little bitch!") that he sweats when he eats. They're having dinner, on their first date no less, and he doesn't want her worrying that he's having a heart attack or dying on her, but simply that he sweats when he's eating. Naturally, she falls for him hook, line and sinker. Who wouldn't?

Speaking of flawed cops, and really, Sipowicz was the prototype for the modern flawed police detective, the series finale of The Shield was last night. My God, this show kicked ass. As is par for the course, it wasn't the ending I expected, and it wasn't the ending I thought might happen because it was the opposite of what I expected. As usual, they come up with a third option that is more fitting for the characters and the story and completely blow me away! It wasn't exactly a happy ending, but it wasn't as slam-bang an ending as one might have expected, given how the series started off, but damn if it wasn't a fine piece of writing. It also appeared that the writers put in little tidbits for the loyal fans to let them know that they appreciate the people that stuck around for 7 seasons. Not huge scenes, but just little asides. For example, toward the end, Julian is riding down the street with his partner, Tina (who will always be Maria Quesa Dilla to me). He looks over and sees a gay couple holding hands and playfully laughing. It is a reminder that, while it was not something that needed to dominate his character, or become the defining characteristic, the writers haven't forgotten who he is. He is a cop. He's the senior officer to his rookie partner. He's a black man. He's gay. He may not be open about it, in fact, he is in denial. But it's there. I thought it was a nice touch. One among many. Damn, I'm going to miss this show.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hopefully, Just the Beginning...

We've done it before. Hopefully, the Redskins' 20-17 win over Seattle on Sunday will be the beginning of our end-of-the-season win streak. Hell, I'll settle for 4 of the last 5. That would put us at 11-5, which would probably get us a wild card berth. Unfortunately, the way the Giants are playing, I think they'll clinch the division. We'll see. Maybe this Sunday will be the beginning of the Giants' downward spiral. *crosses fingers* I won't be holding my breath. We just weren't looking crisp. We did well enough to win, but Seattle was 2-8 and struggling. We can't do "well enough" against a team like the Giants. We gots to bring our "A" Game. Fortunately, we tend to play to the level of our competition. Earlier in the season, we beat the Eagles by 6 (when they were still playing well), and the Cowboys by 2 (both on the road). Then we get beaten by the Rams at home. So who knows?

In non-football news, I'm very sad that one of my favorite shows, The Shield, is ending tonight. After seven seasons, the finale is tonight. For seven seasons, Michael Chiklis has been portraying Vic Mackey, L.A.'s toughest, most morally ambiguous cop (this, from the guy who played The Commish!). He sums it up perfectly in season 1, when a suspect asks if he has come in to play "bad cop" and he responds, "I'm a different kind of cop." He really manages one of the most subtle, nuanced characters on TV. He does things that make him seem irredeemable, yet he doesn't completely lose our sympathy. It is a credit to the writers as well as to the actor that the character is as good as he is. It is a crime that in 6 seasons so far, he has only been nominated for an Emmy 3 times, and has only won once.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Snowing!!

Yaayy!! Ok, it's just a light flurry, but it's snow nonetheless. I love snow. Chrissy keeps saying she hates it, but I keep trying to tell her it's not snow she hates, it's ice. And, of course, the idiot drivers who freak out when they see one flake and drive 10 mph in a 55 zone. Or the idiot drivers who think just because they have an SUV, that it's safe to drive 85 in a 55 zone in 3 inches of ice. Or the jackasses who freak out when there's even a forecast of snow and run out to the store to buy bread, milk and toilet paper, like they're going to be holed up in their homes for the next three weeks... But the snow itself, I love it! Yaaayy!

I guess if this is my worst problem....

I'm doing ok. So, as you can see from the list on the right, I have a TV few shows that I watch. Well, the list is about to get shorter. The other day, My Own Worst Enemy got cancelled by NBC. Yesterday, it was Pushing Daisies. Then, as I type this, I realize that the last episode of The Shield is next week. *sigh* Well, at least 24: Redemption is on this weekend (are we going to have to call it 26 now?). Then Lost and Big Love are coming back in January. I guess I'll be fine.

Of greater concern, however, is the Redskins' loss to Dallas on Sunday. It was nice to see CP in the game, but I'm not sure what's up with our O-line. No pass protection for Campbell whatsoever! D-line isn't getting any pressure on the opposing QB, either. Though I read an article yesterday about Defensive Coordinator Greg Blache, and he said not to expect a bunch of sacks this year. His philosophy is basically to stop the run and guard against the big plays in the secondary. As long as we do that, he's happy. I guess since our defense is ranked 4th overall, I can't complain. Now if only our offense can pick it up...

Friday, November 14, 2008


I think I'm beginning to see the fascination of Facebook. It's kind of like mini-blogging, but more immediate. People don't have to actually go to your blog page. Any updates just pop up on their own home page. I can't even imagine what those pages look like for people with hundreds of friends. I only have 15 (at last count) friends on my Facebook. Is that sad? I'm sure I will accumulate more. I've only been playing with it for less a week now. Chrissy went berserk on her page last weekend, so I thought I would check it out. I'm enjoying it so far. We'll see if the interest sustains.

I'm excited about the Skins game this weekend. This will be my first Skins/Cowboys game. I'm in my 2nd year as a season ticket holder, but last year, I threw my back out the day before the Dallas game and watched from an emergency room bed. Fun times. Turned out being Gibbs' last game at FedEx Field, too. Bummer. But, God willing, I will get to see Zorn's first Dallas game at FedEx!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Colin Powell

Ok, I will be the first to admit that I am not overly knowledgeable about politics. However, a few weeks back, when I watched Colin Powell announce his support of Barack for President, one of my first thoughts was, "In return for the support, I'd love to see Obama appoint Powell as Secretary of Defense." I think he'd do a great job. He would certainly be a popular choice. I don't think anyone could claim that he wasn't capable. I just wonder why his name hasn't come up yet. The only other name I am familiar with that has been coming up has been John Kerry for Secretary of State. Works for me!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks three years of marriage to my wonderful, beautiful wife. Between that, and the election results, this has been a pretty good week. Only thing that could have made it better might have been a Redskins win Monday night. But that might have been bad news for Obama. Ah well. Given the choice, I'll take the loss if it means Obama wins. So here's to the last three wonderful years and hopefully an even better next four years!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President Obama!!

Wow. I am speechless. I was so nervous tonight. When the initial numbers started coming in, at one point, with nearly 40 million votes in, there was only 320,000 votes separating the candidates! As the night went on, the numbers separated and President-Elect Barack Obama pulled farther and farther ahead! As I type now, Obama is projected (by CNN) to have 338 votes in the Electoral College to McCain's 155. I really hope that he can accomplish even 10% of what I think he is truly capable of. It is an amazing day in America. It is a great day!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Since Coach Zorn has come to town, much has been made of his open enthusiasm, and frank style. Lately, though, Greg Blache has been giving Coach Z a run for his money. After we beat the Lions (holding them to 57 yards rushing, and 274 yards overall!), he said that, "We played like the south end of a northbound skunk." Did I mention he holds the defense to a very high standard? In reference to how beat we looked after the game, he said we looked "like the Confederate army going home." In reference to the fact that the Skins have sacked the QB 10 times this year, he said, "We applied for a job at Giant and couldn't get it because we couldn't sack groceries." Then, to describe our general style of play, "We've got to wash our face, put on our makeup and comb our hair, or nobody's going to ask us out. We’re not that good looking." Then, of course, my favorite, when someon asked him if he had aspirations to a head coaching job, "I have no interest in a head job. All I want to do, I want to win Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins a Super Bowl championship, that's my goal. Past that, a good glass of wine, a good Cuban cigar, and hell, life is beautiful." Gotta admire the man's taste...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Someone Has Way Too Much Time on Their Hands!

I don't know which is worse, that someone took the time to create this, or that I took the time to post it. You make the call... Say, that reminds me, does anyone else remember those old "IBM Presents: You make the call..." snippets during NFL games? They would show a clip of some controversial call from a football game, and ask whether the ref made the right call or not. Then, they would pull some obscure rule out of their asses to justify why the ref made the right or wrong call. Those were pretty cool. I'd like to try those again, now that I actually understand the game. Back then, I just watched because my Dad was watching.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Skins Win is Like Pizza and Sex

Even when it's bad, it's good. It may not have been pretty, but yesterday's 25-17 win over the truly pathetic Lions was still a mark in the W column for the Skins. We tried like hell to give it away (8 penalties for 67 yards, 2 fumbles, 1 lost), but in the end, the Lions couldn't overcome the fact that their entire team did not cover as many yards as Moss (140 yds receiving and an 80-yd PR) and Portis (126 yds rushing and a 6-yd reception). Did I mention Campbell (230 passes w/ out an INT - knock wood) had a near perfect game (23 for 28, 127.4 QB rating)? Did I mention CP became only the 2nd player in NFL history to run over 120 yards in 5 consecutive games twice in his career? The first was OJ. Even with all that, we went in to the locker room at the half down by 4 points. Not only that, but we were the first team all year to allow the Lions to score in the first quarter! Previously, they were outscored 55-0 in the 1st Q. Yet, somehow, we managed to pull a win out of our asses. I worry about next week's game against the Steelers, but hopefully, we will continue to play to the level of our competition, and bring the pain.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dare I Say It?

Ok, so we kicked ass in a way that I didn't think possible against the Eagles. I was worried after that 14-0 start. Forget that the 2nd TD should have been called back due to penalty. It wasn't. Who knows how the rest of the game would have gone if it was? Now, we're going into a 3-game run (2 at home) against teams with a combined record of 1-11! That means there's a better than good chance that (dare I?...) we're going 7-1. Especially if we can stick to Coach Zorn's mantra of Playing Medium. We didn't get down on ourselves after going down early in the Eagles game. We didn't get too full of ourselves after beating the early Super Bowl-favorite Cowboys.

Every week, I'm increasingly impressed with Jim Zorn. I like the aggressive play calling. I like the honesty when he gets to the microphone. I like the enthusiasm for the game. I really like his willingness to let banged-up players rest, so that they'll be healthier for the long run. Along with that, he has the confidence in the 2nd and 3rd string players that they will pick up where the starters leave off. Most of all, I like the attitude he instills in the players. He loves the game, has fun with the game, and he lets the players know that yes, he wants them to have fun too, but most of all, he won't accept anything less than their best on and off the field.

So. Not to be overconfident, but I think we'll win today. And the next two weeks. I won't go into predictions past that. GO SKINS!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Well, it looks like it's gonna be a tough day today. Big win against Dallas last week, but today's going to be rough. First off, there's the drop-off after such a big win last week. It's going to be difficult to sustain the energy after that. Second, Westbrook is back for the Eagles. So is LJ Smith. For us, Springs is out. Taylor and Heyer were expected, but Springs was iffy through Friday. Also Marcus Washington's inactive for today. That's a lot of injuries. Key for us is going to be our O-line. Johnson's D is aggresive and one of the toughest in the league. Our line has got to open holes for Portis to run and keep Philly off of Campbell. If we can keep our QB off his ass, we will have a shot. Unfortunately, I think our streak of 0 offensive turnovers will end today. I hope not, but I think it will. Our secondary is going to have its hands full without Springs.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cool Weekend

Well, I would say this was one of the better weekends we've had in a while. As background, back in April (I think), we went on a behind-the-scenes tour at Pimilico Race Course. During this tour, we were taken to one of the training stables, which due to budget restraints, have now moved to Laurel. Anyway, we met an adorable and sweet horse named Gammy's a Winner. Of course, once everyone found out that Gammy was racing that day, they crowded around him, fussed over him, got him all riled up and so on. So naturally, he got worked up, kicking his stall, wasting all his energy, and came in last. Chrissy and I still thought he was adorable, though, and continued to follow his progress. Well, we found out he was racing this past Saturday at Laurel, so we decided to go see him. Our friend Tonya joined us. Tonya didn't bet, she was just there to see horsies. Chrissy and I bet some, but realized early on that it wasn't going to be a good day for wagers. Fast forward to the 9th race - Gammy won! Not only did we basically recoup our losses for the day, but as we're cheering, his owner, Donald Metzger looks up from the Winner's Circle. We asked if he was Gammy's owner, to which he said he was. We told him how we met Gammy on the tour and had been following him ever since, so he says, "Oh? Well come on down and get in the Winner's Circle with me & Gammy for the winning picture!" Our jaws dropped! We immediately ran down into the Circle for the picture. After the photographer (Jim McCue - good guy) took the pic, Mr. Metzger told us he'd get an extra copy of the win photo for us! What a cool guy and what a cool day!

Then, as if that wasn't cool enough, the Redskins beat the Cardinals 24-17! The offense looks like it's coming together. Campbell is looking poised in the pocket, and best of all, is showing some pocket awareness. O-Line is giving him some time to scan through his options. Defense is looking good. D-backs are, for the most part, covering well. They're up for a challenge this week, though. Because this week is... DALLAS WEEK! We have two tough games back to back, against division rivals, on the road, against two of the best teams in the league. If we can really step it up, though, I think we have a shot.

Here are my "4 Keys to the Game." 1) The secondary really needs to jam the receivers at the line and cover TO like nobody's business. I'd rather give up five 10-yard receptions to Witten than one 50-yard pass to TO. Keep the long ball out of TO's hands and he'll be pouting like a baby on the sidelines. 2) D-Line needs to shut down Barber. He's too explosive to let him get a head of steam on his runs. 3) Most of all, we need to pressure Romo! Drop him on his ass a few times, get in his face. Make him make bad decisions. For all the talk about how wonderful he his, let's not forget that this is only his second full season as a starting QB. Watch any Dallas game when the opposing team can get pressure on Romo and you'll see that he will get flustered. 4) Finally, Durant Brooks needs to play like he's in the NFL. If we have to punt, we can't let the Cowboys start off with good field position. Pin them back in their own end zone! I know we have the ability to do all of the above. The team has demonstrated all of these abilities at one time or another. Now, we just need to bring it all together at once. I know we can do it. Hail to the Redskins!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


It's been about three weeks, and hardly a day goes by that I don't think, "Oh, I'm going to need to blog about that." Three weeks later, I've blogged about nothing and damned if I can figure out one thing that I was planning on blogging about.

Ok, one thing - The Redskins. We lost the first game against the Giants. We played pretty piss poor in the first half. The second half, the offense was still struggling, but the defense picked up a bit. As an optimistic fan, I look at the game like this: We were playing the defending Super Bowl champs, we had a new coach and our young QB was learning his 7th new offense in 8 years. We held the Giants scoreless in the second half and only lost by 9 points (7-16).

Second game was our home opener at FedEx Field against the Saints. Being a season ticket holder, I went to the game. I took my sister Gail, who is a big Chris Cooley fan. It was hot as balls out there! It was also insane!! Today (Thursday) was the first day my voice started to sound normal. Actually, someone did ask me this morning if I had a cold. Again, the defense looked pretty good. Offensively, we had a fairly lousy first half. I don't know what happened, but about 2/3 of the way through, Campbell connected to Cooley and BANG!, our offense started working. We were able to run. The vaunted West Coast Offense began connecting. It was amazing. We beat the Saints, 29-24.

I'm sure there's more, but it's late and I'm tired. More later.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Redskins Game

Yow. We got our asses handed to us by the Panthers last week! That one hurt. But, as I said before, maybe it's a good thing to get such a horrendous loss out of the way during preseason, where it really doesn't matter. Hopefully, now, Coach Zorn can get on with the business of winning some games! Now, don't get me wrong. I don't expect him to come in, wave his hand and take us to the Super Bowl. I realize Campbell, as talented as he is, is still a young developing quarterback learning his, what, seventh offensive system in eight years? I realize we have one of the toughest schedules in the league. But I'm still a fan, and I still hope to win every game we play, and still root for them to win, no matter what! Hail to the Redskins! I am, however, saddened to see that my favorite cheerleader from last year is not on the squad this year. (Yes, I am pathetic enough to have had a favorite cheerleader). Katie, I will miss you! :-p But seriously, I just hope we make it through the night without any injuries and looking not quite as pathetic as last week. We need to build some momentum before taking on the World Champion New York Giants in the NFL Season Opener (told you we had a tough schedule!).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Today would have been my Grandmother's 100th birthday. She passed away six years ago. Six? Has it really been that long? Hard to fathom. My sister, the writer, is much more eloquent than I am, and spent much more time with Grandma than I did (to my lasting regret). So, at the risk of appearing to pass the buck, I will allow her to express what I would not have adequate words to express.

Today - She would have been 100!

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Know It's Only Preseason

So we're up to 2-0. I know it's only preseason, but two wins is two wins. Although Rob and I were saying that maybe Favre will light into us this week and Zorn will get his first taste of defeat. Naturally, we don't want the Skins to lose, but maybe it would be better if he lost his first game when it doesn't really matter.

Well, we couldn't sell our tickets, so Rob and I wound up going to the game. We took his step-daughters, and had our first IHTD day with the girls. We had a good time.

First team looked good. Campbell still looked sharp. Portis looked good. Betts looked good. Taylor made his first appearance on the D-Line. He & Carter looked good (I'm sure I'll get no argument from Gail). Collins didn't look great. Once again, Brennan came out to thunderous applause. And once again, Derek Devine came out in the 4th basically to hand the ball off. We'll see how the Defense looks against Favre & the Jets. Jeez, that sounds weird.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hall of Fame Weekend

A few observations on the Pro Football Hall of Fame weekend. Darrell Green & Art Monk are a couple of class acts. I was glad they both made it in. I liked what Darrell Green's son had to say about setting an example for future generations of young athletes, in work ethic and off-field behavior. It speaks volumes to Green character that his son seems so level-headed. Hopefully, he'll stay that way as his career progresses.

The team looked pretty good. Granted, there's only so much to see when half the starters are on the bench, or still rehabbing from off-season surgeries. Still, we got to see a little of the Zorn influence in action. Campbell looked very good. Quick, sharp, decisive. Much more confident than last year. It was great to see a healthy offensive line, too. Made all the difference in the world! Third string and backup RBs going 17-20 yards? As Monty Burns would say, "Eeeeeeexcellent." *steeples fingertips together*

One area of concern I did have was on Defense. I noticed in the 1st quarter seeing Reed Doughty all over the field on every play. I don't know if this is a design of Blache's defense, or if this was Doughty fighting hard for a starting position, but it's not something he will be able to keep up for 4 quarters every game. Hopefully, he just saw some opportunities to make some plays and took them.

Colt Brennan actually looked really good. Very comfortable in the pocket. Not at all thrown off by the speed of the game. He may give Todd Collins a run for his money as the #2 QB. Collins has the experience, but after his good but not spectacular performance last night, I wonder how much of his impressiveness last year was due to his familiarity with the Al Saunders system. Not that Collins did poorly by any stretch. It's just that Campbell and Brennan looked so good, it made Collins' solid performance look mediocre. I felt a little bad for Derek Devine, since basically, he just came in to hand off the ball and run down the clock.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ugh Ugh Ugh...

Ok, so I've been a little out of it lately. I'm not sure why. I was doing very well for a while. I seemed to be more focused. I was getting things done. Then, the last month or two, I've been a bit out of it. Not just blogging, but obviously, if you're reading this, then this may be where you noticed it. I'm going to try to get my shit back together. I won't catch up everything all in one post, but I'll try to ease back in a little at a time.

First off, my "What I'm Reading" section. I have updated for what I'm reading now, but in the past month, I have been through the next two books in the Star Trek: New Frontier series, Stone and Anvil and After the Fall. In addition, for nighttime reading, in honor of the new movie trailer that was just unveiled, I have been reading the Watchmen trade paperback of the series by psychotic, but brilliant Alan Moore. Now, I'm on to Stephen King.

Second, tonight marks the return of football! After the Hall of Fame inductions last night of Darrell Green and Art Monk, tonight, the Redskins take on the Colts in the Hall of Fame Game. I'm not expecting much, since many of the starters won't even be playing, but it's a chance to see Coach Zorn in action, and it's Redskins football! Woo Hoo!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Happy Birthday to my sister Gail! Love you BIG!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

False Advertising?

Ok, at the end of last week's Hell's Kitchen*, we got the standard "Next week on Hell's Kitchen..." Announcer guy says that someone loses their temper with the wrong person, and Petrozza was shown yelling at someone to do their job. The implication, of course, is that he's yelling at Chef Ramsay. We knew that couldn't be the case. But they did show Christina in the kitchen crying while someone was yelling, "You lied to us!" So we thought maybe she sent something out raw, then denied responsibility for it. Regardless of what we thought was going to happen, nothing remotely like it occurred during the episode!

***spoiler alert***
In fact, despite a rough service, Christina made it to the final against Petrozza. Corey went home. I was surprised at first, because I think Corey was a stronger cook than Christina, but Christina has a better palate, and was better working the pass. After Bobby was eliminated two weeks ago (when Jen should have gone - pain in the ass), I didn't doubt that Petrozza would make it to the final. He has kind of flown under the radar. He hasn't won any challenges, but he hasn't gotten nearly kicked out of the kitchen like everyone else has. His biggest problem is that he's messy in the kitchen. He kicked ass at the window (after missing the lack of peas in the risotto, that is). I hope he wins it. I really think he could do the job, and he seems like a really cool guy.
***end spoilers***

*I'm sure Jackie is disappointed in me that I watch, especially since I actually watch it and not just as a drinking game. Problem is, drinking games aren't much fun when your spouse doesn't drink. If there's no one to compete against, you're just drinking alone, and that can be kinda sad...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Big Brown Belmont Blunder

I love alliteration. Anyway, over the course of the past few weeks, there have been a ton of theories as to what happened the day of the Belmont. There is some new information that leads to a possible explanation for Big Brown's Triple Crown loss. Upon leaving the gate, another horse (Guadalcanal) stepped on Big Brown's right rear (there's that alliteration again) hoof. Slow motion of the video shows BB jerked his head as Guadalcanal stepped on his foot, and BB's shoe came loose. As apparently happens sometimes, the horse often steps on the shoe and drives the nail right back into his hoof. This is nothing new. A new picture has surfaced, however, of Big Brown running into the final stretch with the shoe still hanging off. This would mean that he ran the entire race with a shoe dangling off and possibly with a nail digging into his foot. Was this enough to cripple him? Of course not. But it certainly would be enough to annoy him, throw off his stride, piss him off, and irritate him to the point of not wanting to keep running. It's also absolutely possible that it had no effect whatsoever, and he just wasn't feelin' it that day. We'll never know.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Babies & Boxing

Well, we had a pretty good weekend. We went to our friends' place (hey Mike & Colleen!) for a bbq yesterday. (Ironically, they live in Ashburn, home of Redskins training camp, yet know nothing and care nothing about football). They have a 3 year-old boy, so most of the attendees' had kids of similar ages. The kids were all very well behaved, and the parents were all very nice. Gee, go figure. They're great people, and their friends are great people. Shocker. We spent most of the time chatting with the the only other childless couple there. Raakay and Carol were very cool. They tracked with us on a ton of things. We would quote a movie, and they actually got it! Fun times! Not that we wouldn't have enjoyed ourselves if it was just us and 14 babies, but you know what I'm saying.

I finally finished watching the boxing matches I recorded from Showtime on Saturday night. In the undercard, 37 year-old veteran Raoul Marquez handed young favorite Giovanni Lorenzo his first defeat. After a slow start, Marquez showed his experience by adjusting to Lorenzo's game plan and increasing his pressure. Despite getting three separate cuts on his face, including a bad one over his right eye, Marquez showed heart. He stayed in there and showed young Lorenzo what it takes to be a title contender.

I think his win earned him a fight against the winner of the evening's main event: "King" Arthur Abraham v. Edison "Pantera" Miranda. In their first fight, Miranda broke Abraham's jaw in the 4th round. Since they go to the score cards only in the event of an accidental head butt, Abraham had to either continue the fight, or lose by TKO. He went on! (Miranda is a hard puncher, too - 26 of his 30 wins are by KO). Despite fighting for EIGHT ROUNDS with a broken jaw, Abraham won! There was some controversy due to five (!) points being taken away by the ref for intentional head butts and low blows, but given the final scores, they wouldn't have made a difference in the outcome. Miranda was determined not to leave any doubt about the outcome this time. He came in lean and mean and ready to kick some arse. Miranda came out jabbing. He was definitely more active. Abraham had said before the fight that he was expecting Miranda to wear out later in the fight, so it wasn't a surprise that he wasn't more active early on. By the third round, Abraham picked up a little. Then, in the fourth round, the same round when Miranda previously broke Abraham's jaw, the "King" unleashed a vicious straight right that landed "Pantera" on his tail. Two more knockdowns, via powerful left hooks, and the ref rightly stopped the fight. Unfortunately for Miranda, if he couldn't beat Abraham with a broken jaw in eight rounds, I think that says something about the match-up and I think the outcome was inevitable. So, I think I saw that Abraham will defend his middleweight title (this fight was at super-middle) against Marquez. Either that, or he will go for the unification bout against Pavlik. That's the one I want to see. Marquez looked great against Lorenzo, but I don't think he would last long against Abraham. But a man who can fight with a broken jaw for eight rounds? That's a man I want to see take on The Ghost.

P.S. Belated congrats to Sergio "The Latin Snake" Mora on his victory against Vernon Forrest to take the WBC Light Middleweight title!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Well, this weekend, we went to the The Incredible Hulk, Marvel's franchise reboot, and the second movie produced under Marvel's financing deal that allowed them to make their own movies rather than licensing them out to other movie studios to butcher. In case you couldn't tell from the title of this post, I thought it kicked ass. Now, don't get me wrong, I did like Ang Lee's version (entitled, simply, Hulk). I just thought this one was much better. The special effects were better, the action was better, the acting was better (Ed Norton - go figure) and the emotion between Bruce & Betty was better.

I was actually surprised that it didn't do better in the box office opening weekend. We went to a 10:30 a.m. show on Saturday and the theater was half to two-thirds full. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and I thought it kicked ass. I was thinking the gross would be about equal to the 2003, or maybe a little more. I'm hoping it's got some legs though, like Iron Man has, and avoids the almost 65% drop that Hulk experienced in its 2nd weekend. Iron Man has been out six weeks, is still in the Top 10, has dropped 50% or less every weekend and is breaking $300M worldwide as I type this. It's a good enough movie, and should avoid the nosedive. Which leads me to my rant. Above was the good. Below is the bad.

What pisses me off about this movie is what pissed me off with the first one - the media. For the past two weeks, the mainstream media has talked about nothing but whether this movie was necessary, and how terrible Norton's feud was with Marvel over the final cut of the movie. If the jackasses actually read anything by the people who were actually involved in the "feud," they would know that there was no huge battle. There was a disagreement on the first cut of the movie, which ultimately went in the studio's favor. Norton rarely, if ever, does publicity for his movies, but the media kept saying he was "boycotting" doing it for this one. The media kept claiming that the studio was keeping Norton's name off of the writing credits (despite his extensive rewrites of the script - at the studio's request), but the Writer's Guild made that call. I think they really hurt the grosses on the movie. They did the same thing with the 2003 version. By the Saturday night of the first weekend of release, the media was reporting how the box office was plummeting for the Hulk, and how terrible fan reaction was. I think people stayed away on Sunday as a result. Go to Mania (a "genre" (read fantasy/sci-fi) website) and read the comments on any Hulk article. You will see that there were quite a few people who thought Lee's version was good. Maybe not the direct copy from the comics that many fans expected, but an interesting and entertaining movie nonetheless. You didn't hear that from the media, though. Not until this movie came out, then suddenly critics who drubbed the first one when it came out are saying, "Oh, this one is an action-filled mess, the first one was so intelligent." Grrr.

In any case, if you like a good superhero movie, go see Iron Man. Seriously. It rocks so much more than either Hulk movie. Probably one of the best superhero movies ever made. BUT... If you've already seen IM (twice, in my case), go see The Incredible Hulk. It's worth the time and money.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Big Brown

Well, it's been just over a week now since Big Brown missed winning the Triple Crown, and everyone who followed (or knew I followed) him asks me the same thing: What happened? Given what I saw, and the subsequent testing and such (he checked out physically healthy), my best guess is: He didn't feel like it. See, that's the problem (and the exciting thing) with horse racing - you're dealing with a living, breathing creature that has a personality, emotions and moods. Because of that, there are no guarantees. You can do everything right, have the right jockey breaking from the right post, and you can still lose. Many of the anti-horse racing groups (*cough*PETA*cough*) say that it's cruel to "force" horses to run. Well, the Belmont was a perfect example of why that is ridiculous. If a horse decides he doesn't want to run, you are not going to make him run. It could have been the heat. There have been rumblings that there was no water in the barn that morning. There are rumors that Rick Dutrow asked advice from Bobby Frankel (another trainer) and was told to withhold electrolytes (WTF??). People who know nothing about horse racing are theorizing that "the fix was in." If you watch the break from the front view, you can see BB was fighting Kent from the beginning. Unfortunately, until we can figure out how to talk to the animals, we'll never know what really happened. Regardless of what happened in the Belmont, we shouldn't forget how easily Big Brown won the Derby and the Preakness. In my book, he's still a champion.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fifty-Three, Oh Five for French Toast??!?

Ok. In posting a comment on another blog, I realized I never posted any sort of explanation on my blog about the origin of the name. Does anyone care? Probably not. But that hasn't stopped me from blogging about my life, the Redskins and movies for the past four (!) years. So anyway, here's the story.

Back in the day (sorry, Noelle), Rob (best friend for 25+ years and best man at my wedding) and I were taking our college classes at night after work. I would pick him up after work, we would play a few games at the arcade, grab McD's, get stomach aches from the food, then go to class. After class, most of the time, we would go to Denny's and have breakfast food at 10:00 at night. Rob's order would vary on occasion, but without exception, being the picky eater that I am, would get the same thing every time. French toast with bacon, side order of hash browns, large ice water.

One fateful night, it was my birthday. We hadn't yet turned 21, so we couldn't go out drinking. Ergo, it must have been '87 or '88. We decided that, perhaps, we were in a rut. We ALWAYS went to Denny's. Maybe we were missing out on something better. Maybe, as much as we liked Denny's, someone else had better food. We decided to try IHOP. [N.B. This is the IHOP on Rte 1 in Laurel which later was closed by the Health Department, and has since opened up in a new location a block away with a new building]

IHOP was a mistake from the moment we walked in. There was construction going on, and there was a jackhammer running for much of the time we were there. As a result of the construction, there was a huge hole in the floor in front of the men's room. Assuming you made it past the mini-Grand Canyon alive, the bathroom was filthy and smelly (to put it nicely). The service was slow, and the food was mediocre.

We finally finished eating. We decided we would get our check and write off the night to experience. I asked for the check. Unfortunately, about 15 minutes passed with no sign of our waitress. I finally got up to look for her and found her huddled over the register with her manager. "I'm sorry," she said, "the computer is down and we've been trying to find your check. I'll just write it up by hand." After watching her struggle painfully with paper and pen for about 5 minutes, she handed me a check with an amount circled at the bottom: $53.05.

At this point, in a raised voice which was about as loud as could be without shouting, I exclaimed, "FIFTY-THREE, OH FIVE FOR FRENCH TOAST??!?" The dining patrons around us turned their heads in unison like an E.F Hutton commercial, looking at me in disbelief. Then they turned their heads to their dishes as if to say, "How much is MINE going to cost??" The waitress said apologetically, "Oh, sorry. That's the tax." I shrieked in shock, "WHAT???" At which point, she took back the check, moved the decimal point over to denote $0.53 in tax and totaled the check. I promptly paid, and we got the hell out of Dodge.

Thereafter, any time anything seemed to cost too much, it became a standard expression of disbelief. We'd see a new car that costs $150,000 - "Fifty-three, oh five for french toast?" We'd see a $15 bottle of shampoo - "Fifty-three, oh five for french toast?" You get the idea.

Then, when I first gained access to a computer, I went by default to AOL to get internet access (this was pre-Comcast-or-Verizon-in-every-home). I decided to use an abbreviation (5305fft) of the expression as a screen name, but AOL would not let me start my screen name with a number (I think they do now, but it's irrelevant because I don't have the account any more). Therefore, I used fft5305!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Nazgul v. Labradoodle

Ok. I've you've seen Lord of the Rings, I'm pretty sure you remember the Nazgul. They were the creepy guys on horseback who had been warped by the power of the Nine Rings of Power that were given to the Kingdom of Men. They were extremely well done, IMHO. Or so I thought. This guy is apparently very similar to me in that he thinks about things like this far too often. In any case, he blogged about the Nazgul (God, how geeky does that even sound?), and I'm not so convinced about their bad-ass-ness any more. In any case, I think I've found a new fun website to follow. This dude sounds a lot like me.

P.S. Go Big Brown!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Obama is The Man

It is official. Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate for this fall's Presidential election. Yay! Now, we'll have to wait to see who the VP candidate will be. Regardless of who the Veep will be, it is truly historic that he's the Presidential candidate. I really think he's got a shot at going all the way!

Let's see. What else is going on? Speaking of historic occasions, it looks like this weekend, we may very well have our first Triple Crown winner in 30 years. Big Brown looks to be the real deal. Unfortunately, I think I will have to back down on my previous prediction regarding the size of his margin of victory. I didn't realize that Secretariat had set the record in 1973 when he won by 31 lengths! I think Big Brown is looking at 10-12.

Idol finale was a surprise. I am amazed that Cook won it, and not Archuleta. I think he'll do pretty well commercially. Probably better than Little David would have. We'll see.

Saw Indiana Jones last weekend. It was good. I don't think it was as good as the previous movies, but very enjoyable. Lots of fun and lots of nostalgia. I enjoyed the various nods to the previous movies (similar scenes/images etc.). I highly recommend. Although (and I almost hate to admit this, but), I think I would recommend Iron Man first. I went to see that with Rob & the boys (IHTD) the previous weekend. It kicked just as much ass as the first time. Next weekend is The Incredible Hulk! Wahoo!!

P.S. Congrats to Captain Chaos himself, Chris Cooley, who married his former-cheerleader girlfriend (who got kicked off the squad for dating him) Memorial Day weekend. Way to go, Dude!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Catching Up

Ok. So I've been getting lazy lately. What else is new? Big news of the day - it looks like we may be getting our first Triple Crown winner in 30 years! Go Big Brown! I don't see, barring any catastrophic circumstances, how he can not win the Belmont. When he won the Preakness (sans whip, I might add), he looked exactly the same after the race as he did before the race. He didn't even look winded! When he came out of the last turn in both races, it was like he just kicked into another gear. With the Belmont being the longest race of the Triple Crown, it just gives him more time to pull away from the rest of the pack. My prediction is that he will set a record for the biggest win in Belmont history.

Idol final is tonight. Kind of anti-climactic. I don't see any way Archuleta doesn't win it. The primary voting demographic for the show is 13 year-old girls who can text message 150 votes an hour, and they're the ones in the audience screaming for Archie. Cook is a more versatile singer, but Arch is more technically proficient and has the teenybops going for him. Honestly, my interest took a nosedive once Michael Johns and Carly Smithson got booted. They really deserved to be in the final.

There was something else I was going to mention here, but I can't remember what it is. Oh well. Guess I better get used to it. I'm not getting any younger.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Penultimate Idol and Fall TV

Ok, Idol has gotten a bit boring now that Michael Johns and Carly Smithson are out. The votes have proven time and again that it is less a singing talent competition than it is a teenage popularity contest. I'm sure the same will hold true this week as we narrow down to the final two contestants. David Archuleta demonstrated why, especially with the field narrowed as it is, that he will be in the finals and, most likely, win the whole thing. The only thing that may hurt him is backlash about his stage dad getting barred from backstage for meddling. I doubt it will have a significant effect, though. Syesha performed very well and looked fantastic. I do think she thinks a bit much of herself, though, and I don't think people like her personally, no matter how she sings. I disagree with Randy, though, about her lack of a defining performance. She had it three weeks ago on Andrew Lloyd Webber week when she sang One Rock & Roll Too Many. It showed exactly what her performance of Fever showed last night - she belongs on a live stage doing musical theater, not in a studio recording a pop song. When the show and the tour are over, she'll have a fine career for herself on stage, probably on Broadway. David Cook did his typical Cook performance. He also thinks a bit much of himself, but people like him. I personally don't care too much for him, but I seem to be in the minority. He completely tanked the 2nd song last night, and it was a terrible song choice (Dare You to Move by Switchfoot?). He did better with Aerosmith on his 3rd song, but not well enough to win the night, as Simon claimed. Based on performance quality, it should be Archuleta and Syesha going on to next week. But based on popularity I think Syesha will go home and Cook will be in the final.

In other news, post-strike Fall TV schedules are being released by the networks. Moonlight, New Amsterdam, Bionic Woman and Journeyman are all getting the boot. Former on-the-bubble shows Reaper, Sarah Connor Chronicles and Supernatural got picked up. No surprise that Chuck, Lost, 24, Idol and Pushing Daisies will be back. Most of them had gotten pick-ups pre strike. Not too many new series that have grabbed my attention so far. Looking forward to Dollhouse and Fringe, by Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams, respectively. Of course, they're on Fox, so they'll probably show the first 4 episodes out of order, then yank it. And, naturally, these are only the shows that I care about. That's about it.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Pot Candy, Idol and Iron Man

Ok, this story is mildly amusing. I didn't even know that "they" made candy that tasted like pot, but it doesn't surprise me. It doesn't surprise me that someone wants to ban its sale, at least to minors. What does surprise me is the name of the state senator who introduced the bill - Doug Stoner! Too funny! I think if I were him, I would work a deal with another legislator, "You intro my bill, and I'll intro yours." I can't believe he was even taken seriously enough to get this bill passed.

Idol was a mess last night for Rock & Roll Hall o' Fame night. In the first round, the mics were turned up too loud, and you couldn't hear the music or background singers on any of the selections, until, guess who? David Archuleta! Far be it from me to promote any conspiracy theories, but come on... Anyway, Cook started the night with Hungry Like the Wolf. Just didn't do it for me. Then came Syesha with her Tina Turner impression on Proud Mary. Vocals were pretty good, and she looked good, but just seemed like she was trying to hard to be Tina. And she's not. Jason followed with I Shot the Sheriff. This should have been a gimme, but it was all over the place. I don't know how different it would have been if we could have heard the background singers, but it just didn't seem right. Archuleta followed with probably the best performance of the night (shocker) with Stand By Me. I thought he would hyperventilate while Ryan was giving out the #s. Second round started with Cook singing Baba O'Riley. Shocker, I thought it was just OK, judges loved it. Syesha's 2nd was A Change is Gonna Come. Again, technically good, but not a great emotional connect with the audience, despite the total breakdown after Paula's critique. Jason missed the boat and a whole line of the lyrics with Mr. Tambourine Man. I think he's just gotten to the point in the competition where he's out of his league, and he can't keep up. Archuleta finished the night with Love Me Tender. It was fine, but not as good as his 1st. My prediction? I'm going for the upset. Despite Jason practically standing up and begging to be sent home (and he should be after last night), I'm guessing Syesha will go home tonight.

Finally, Iron Man ROCKS!! It kicks ass! Great story, great actors (of the 4 main parts - 3 Oscar nominees and 1 winner), great f/x! I could go on for pages about how cool it is, and how many easter eggs are in there for the fanboys, yet it is perfectly accessible for casual viewers etc etc etc. Suffice it to say the movie is great. Go out and see it!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Missing In Action

Ok, so I missed my Idol analysis last week. First off, I threw my back out again last Monday. It wasn't nearly as bad as it had been before. I was out of work Tuesday and Wednesday. And while I was still able to make it to two previously-scheduled appointments, and to see my GP about the back (thank God for Mobic!), it meant that as soon as I got home, I went straight to bed. So I was able to watch Idol, but not to sit at the computer to blog about it. See, this is why I need a laptop. Well, one of the many reasons. Also, since Michael & Carly have been booted, I'm not nearly as interested in who wins. It will probably be Archuleta, who I don't think is the greatest thing since sliced bread, as the judges and teen voters apparently do.

Ok, so Neil Diamond night. We're at the point in the competition where each contestant gets/has to sing two songs. The producers try to switch things up by having the judges hold their critiques until the end of the first round. All that did was serve to confuse Paula. First round, they all were boring, so I won't even bother. Second round. Jason starts with September Morn. I thought it was good, but safe. Cook followed with All I Really Need Is You. I didn't know either of the songs Cook sang, and didn't really care. I thought he was fairly dull. He should be worried, but I'm sure he'll get the votes. Brooke moved behind the piano for I Am I Said. Much better peformance for the second song, but her first was far from the "nightmare" Simon said it was. Archuleta sang America, which I thought would have served Cook better. America is a rocking song, and little David is not a rocker. But I'm sure he'll get the most votes he's so good he's so cute yada yada yada. Syesha closed out with Thank the Lord for the Night Time. I didn't know the song but she kicked it with the performance. I think it was the best of the night. She's really starting to find her groove. As Simon said (and she agreed a bit too quickly), she's a good singer-slash-actress. She will do well on Broadway once the show & tour are over. I think bottom two will be Jason and Brooke (though it should be Jason & Cook). Jason will go home.

P.S. If you follow my "What I'm Reading" section on the right, you may notice I have two books listed there now. Since my back was hurting, and Dark Tower is such a ginormous book, I began carrying White Night (a smaller paperback) to work and reading Dark Tower at home. I should be finished with both soon, and will be back to one book at a time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mariah Night

Well, last night's mentor on Idol was Mariah Carey. Personally, I liked Mariah better when she started out. She didn't seem so full of herself and didn't dress like a slut. But, she's a very talented singer, so I was looking forward to seeing what she would do with the contestants. Despite the fact that she's got more number ones than the binary code (let's hear it for geek humor), I wasn't overly familiar with a lot of the songs. Archuleta started off with When You Believe. It was wonderful, he's great, yada yada yada. Carly followed with Without You. I understand what the judges mean about her confidence, which has been shaken over the last few weeks with lackluster performances, but I thought she did great. I often wonder what the judges are hearing that I am not. Syesha was Syesha singing Vanishing. I'm sure she was happy not to have to worry about the judges saying she was trying to sing Mariah. As usual, Simon gave her the backhanded compliment that she was technically very good. He was right. She's just missing something. But I think she was technically good enough to make it to next week. Next, Brooke struggled singing Hero. It was weird. It seemed like she started off a little shaky, then decided to just rush through the end of the song to get it over with. Kristy surprised everyone by actually doing a good job singing a Mariah song (Forever). I would never have guessed that she would have done well this week. But she did great - better than Simon & Randy gave her credit for. Looked hot, too. I know you'll be shocked, but I didn't care for David Cook's version of Always Be My Baby. I didn't think it was a "haunting rock ballad." I just thought it was slow and boring. Jason did a good job ending the night with I Don't Want to Cry. Not fantastic, but good. Should be good enough to bring him through to next week. I think we're getting to the point in the show where even really good performers are going to get eliminated. There's just not much choice at this point. I think Syesha, Brooke and Jason will be bottom 3 (David Cook and Jason should be there instead of Syesha and Kristy, but they won't). Brooke will go home.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Happy Birthday to my niece & nephew!! Today, they turn 22 and 16! Hope you guys had a great one!! Love you BIG!!!

P.S. Hey Bub, when are you getting your license?

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Sweet Science

Ok, I'm trying to be very supportive of my sister's sports blog (The Sixteenth Minute - plug plug). I understand, perhaps, her not following NASCAR or horse racing. But two posts on boxing (about the same fight) since going online in November of last year? Come on, Jack! Boxing is the very pinnacle of athletic competition. Two warriors, face to face, with but the slightest bit of fabric to separate fist from jaw. Now, I don't hold myself out to be an expert in the sport, but this is a very exciting time, for me at least, as an amateur viewer.

Oddly enough, at the same time as I write this, ESPN has just announced that they are not renewing The Contender. Last season (the 3rd) ended with a knockdown, drag-out fight between Jaidon Codrington and Sakio Bika that was considered by many to be one of the best fights of 2007. Other alums of the reality show include Alfonso Gomez (1st season), who is fighting Miguel Cotto tomorrow night for the WBA Welterweight title. K-9 Bundrage (2nd) just decisioned former title holder Kassim Ouma. Brian Vera TKO'd up-and-coming Andy Lee. Steve Forbes (also 2nd) is getting a shot next month against none other than Oscar De La Hoya. Finally, Sergio "The Latin Snake" Mora, season 1 champ, gets his title shot against Vernon Forrest in June. Hopefully, this level of competition from their contestants will demonstrate to another network that this show is worth picking up.

Outside of The Contender, in the "real world" if you will, Antonio Tarver will attempt to unify the IBF and IBO titles tomorrow night. Next weekend, Joe Calzaghe moves up to light heavyweight in an attempt to shut B-Hop's mouth. A tall order for anyone. On May 31, Ruslan Chagaev puts his heavyweight title on the line against the Russian Giant Nikolai Valuev. The following weekend, Kelly Pavlik puts his unified WBO/WBC middleweight title up against Gary Lockett. Finally, in July, Wladimir "Dr. Steelhammer" Klitschko (Chrissy and my personal favorite) has his first mandatory defense of his unified WBO/IBF/IBO title against Tony Thompson. If he is successful, he will then defend against Alexander Povetkin. Hopefully, then he will go on to unify all the heavyweight belts for the first time since Lennox Lewis. Like I said, a very exciting time!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Ok, so Idol Gives Back is over. It was interesting seeing all the celebrities and all. It's just that it all seems so contrived and manipulative. Yes, I did give. Just like I did last year. Not because Miley Cyrus told me that there were starving kids in the ghetto... but because there are starving kids in the ghetto. Not to sound cynical or jaded (which I am), but these things just seem a bit much. But enough of that. On to my weekly analysis/prediction.

Well, I think we will have a first tomorrow night. I think Kristy Lee "Smokin'-est-contesant-ever" Cook will stay out of the bottom 3! Michael started off the night singing Dream On. Now, I don't know that I would necessarily go straight to Aerosmith for "Inspirational Night" but I would qualify this song... one of my favorites. Michael knocked it out of the park! He kicked ass. I still don't know what he's doing with the scarves/ascots, but the boy can sing. He even did the high pitch wail at the end. Excellent. Syesha followed with I Believe, by Fantasia. I wasn't familiar with this song, but I absolutely agree with Randy & Simon. She was technically proficient, but completely emotionally detatched. I think she's in the bottom 3 this week. Jason went off the charts with his song choice singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, arrangement by some Hawaiian dude named Iz. It was an odd choice, but he made it work. He played the ukulele and made it work. Don't know if I loved it as much as the judges did, but definitely good enough to make it to next week. KLC stayed country with Anyway, by Martina McBride. Perfect song choice for her and she looked hot as usual. She should sail on through. I predict David Cook will make his first appearance in the bottom 3 this week after choosing to sing Innocent by Our Lady Peace. Not only is it too obscure a song without a good hook, it seemed like he gave up halfway through. I think there's a chance he will go home tonight, but I think he has enough fans to keep him around. Unless the voters have the same reaction to the white jacket that Simon did. Carly also struggled with The Show Must Go On. By now, you know my feelings about contestants singing Queen. Normally, I would have said Carly was an exception (she did pull off Heart), but she had the same problem Cook did - gave up half way through. I think she will round out the bottom 3. Archuleta sang Angels by Robbie Williams. Another one I don't know. Very weak start, but strong finish. Naturally, he'll sail through. Brooke finished out the night with You've Got a Friend, by Carole King. I only know the James Taylor version, but it sounded pretty close. Brooke did well. Not the most memorable or original performance, but good. She should be fine. Overall, I think Syesha, David Cook and Carly will be the bottom three and unfortunately, I think Carly will go home. I think she's one of the best and could win the whole thing, but she had a poor performance on a poor song choice.

Weekend and Idol

Well, we had a fantastic weekend in Lexington, Kentucky. We left early on Thursday from BWI, landing in Louisville (Loo-uh-vull). We rented a car and headed out. We had planned to stop on the way at Woodford Reserve Distillery (Woodford is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby). They have a "Picnic on the Porch" lunch, which we thought we'd check out before taking a tour. Given my penchant for pickiness, I wasn't sure I'd find something I liked, so we stopped for a snack on the way there. For the snack, I had my first White Castle burgers! While they were no Five Guys burgers, they were pretty tasty. I can see why they became Harold & Kumar's objects of obsession. The tour of Woodford was great. We got too see a brief film of the history of bourbon in America, the fermenting tanks, and the distilling machines ("machines" plural - Woodford is triple distilled). Then we saw where it is loaded into the casks, which are rolled to the aging house (it's aged 6-8 years), then the building where it is bottled and labeled. Finally, we went back up to the main house where we got to taste a sample. Naturally, since Chrissy doesn't drink (though she did try a tiny sip), I got two samples! :-) We left Woodford to head back to our hotel. Just next door to the hotel was Malone's Steakhouse. Malone's is one of Tom Horan's Top Ten Steakhouses in America. It is a reputation that is well deserved. The food and service were amazing. I started with the fried mozzarella appetizer (little balls, rather than sticks, of cheese in panko bread crumbs, thick marinara). For the main course, I had the Kobe NY Strip. This was my first experience with Kobe beef and it was delicious. Though, I think I should have gone with the Filet Mignon. The steak came with a house salad (no dressing, natch) and 1 side (the 1-lb. baked potato). Did I mention that I added the lobster tail on the side? Wash it all down with a glass of Fat Bastard Cab and you got yourself a damn tasty meal.

Friday, we met up with our friend Dianna (from Ohio) and made our rounds at the various horse facilities in Lexington. I don't even remember it all (though Chrissy remembers every detail), but it was great. We saw Derby winners (Smarty Jones), Preakness winners (Bernardini), and Belmont winners (Point Given). We saw movie stars (Popcorn Deelites - one of the horses who played Seabiscuit in the movie) and famous sires (Dynaformer - who was Barbaro's father). We actually got to witness a breeding, which was a little weird, but very interesting. We got to see Stormello, who was one of the main reasons we went to Kentucky. We finished up the day going to Old Friends, a home for retired thoroughbreds. We got to get a tour from the President and founder, Michael Blowen! He was a newspaper movie critic until he heard about Ferdinand, the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner, who got shuffled around until he was killed in a slaughterhouse in Japan in 2002. He then decided to open a "retirement home" for thoroughbred horses. It was very sad to hear about the shape some of these horses were in when they came in, but they are all happy, healthy and very much loved now!

Well, this has taken the better part of my lunch. Since Idol has their whole Idol Gives Back thing tonight, and the elimination show isn't until tomorrow night, I'll wait on the recap of the show until tonight or tomorrow. I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Dolly Parton Night

It doesn't happen very often, but last night, I agreed with Paula. She said, and I agree, that even though people may not know a lot of the songs, Dolly Parton is such a great songwriter that the performances would be enjoyable and the songs great. I knew about 2 or 3 of the 9 songs sung last night, but enjoyed pretty much every one. I also knew it would be a rough night for Simon, as it is painfully obvious that he simply does not like country music. Any time someone sings a country-ish song, he is much tougher on them. Brooke started off singing Jolene (which I did know). I disagree with Simon, and thought it was a very heartfelt performance. I liked it. Cook, after the obligatory disclaimers about whose arrangements he's using on the songs, sang Little Sparrow. Dolly loved how "confident" David was. I think "arrogant" might be a better word. But he did fine. I'd like to see him do one song without his crutch... I mean, guitar. Ramiele, thoroughly starstruck by Dolly, sang Do I Ever Cross Your Mind. She did well (certainly better than she has to this point), but it's getting to the point in the competition that even if you do well, it may not be good enough. Jason also did well with Traveling Through. Same thing for Cook and Ramiele apply to Jason. He needs to do a song without the guitar and needs to do better than "well." Carly sang Here You Come Again. I thought it was a great performance. Much more restrained and controlled than we're used to with Carly, but showed that she doesn't need to belt in order to be good. Archuleta followed with Smokey Mountain Memories. I hate to admit it, but this was David's best in weeks. Fantastic performance. Excellent vocals. Kristy had the unenviable task of following the 17 year-old Wonder Boy, singing Coat of Many Colors. However, this being a country week, I expected her to have her best week so far. She did. I think she looks better more natural and less glammed out, though. Syesha, predictably, sang I Will Always Love You. Also predictably, she sang well, hit the big notes well, and Simon didn't like her because she's not Whitney. Michael finished up the night with It's All Wrong, but It's All Right. Wow. Holy moley. That was Michael's best performance so far and the best of the night. Hands down. That was the breakout performance Simon had been waiting for. Overall a good night for all. But like I said, good may not cut it. My money's on Ramiele to go home tonight.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Laurel Park

Well, we had a great time on Saturday. Today, April 1, is the fifth anniversary of the passing of my father-in-law. So Saturday, we had a race named in his honor at Laurel Park. It was the first running of the Tim Sinck Memorial Classic! We wanted to remember Tim, but not have a sad, mournful memorial. He was such a great guy, we wanted to honor him in an equally great way. The day began shortly before noon. Everyone met in front of the Clubhouse entrance, but since it was much colder than we had anticipated, people quickly began moving inside. Once everyone was there, we were brought up to the Brass Horse, which is a section of the dining room. We had the Brass Horse to ourselves all day, with our own teller, too! We had a sandwich lunch, with chips, potato salad, pigs in a blanket and cookies. Just after the third race, we were escorted down to the paddock to watch the horses being brought out for the fourth race (ours). After the horses were saddled, we were brought to the Winner's Circle. Fifteen or so people from our group were allowed to actually watch the race from inside the Winner's Circle! The rest of the group watched from around it. Abel Castellano, Jr. won the race on Dynamic Dan, a gray. Chrissy's grandad always said, "Always bet on the grays." After the official photo, our group was allowed to come back in to the Circle and get our picture with the winning jockey. Then, we went back to the Brass Horse to watch and bet for the rest of the day. It was a very fun day, and a good way to remember Tim.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Love Stupid People...

No, I'm not insulting my wife. She's smarter than I am. I'm laughing about the 18-year old guy in Chicago who tries to rob a muffler shop, only to be told that the owner has the combination to the safe and he's not in yet. So naturally, he does the only logical thing he can do. He gives them his phone number (two, actually) and tells them to give him a call when the boss gets in so he can come back and rob them. I love it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Top 10 Night

Some interesting choices this time around. The contestants chose songs from the year they were born. It seemed like everyone was born in 1987. Made me feel very old. Ramiele started off with Alone. I have made my feelings clear on people trying to sing Heart songs. This is why. Jason followed with Fragile, by Sting. Didn't know this one, but he did a good job with it. I can see what the judges are saying about Jason, but I don't think he has the range some of the others do. He knows what he's good at and he's sticking with it. Syesha sang If I Were Your Woman, another one I didn't know. She did well with it. No bottom 3 for her this week. Chikezie did If Only for One Night. Not bad, but I think he should have listened to the judges about the ballads. It was technically proficient, but boring enough that I think he'll be bottom 3. Brooke did very well with Every Breath You Take. I thought the arrangement was fine. Another artist, David C. perhaps, when the band came in for the uptempo part, could have kicked back the piano bench, grabbed the mike and moved around the stage some. Wouldn't have worked for Brooke, though. Michael killed with We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions. He is an exception to the Queen/Heart/Celine/Whitney rule. There aren't many, but he's one. He does great with Queen. Probably 2nd best of the night. Carly did well singing Total Eclipse of the Heart. I kind of agree with Randy & Simon. Not sure what it was, but it wasn't great. There was something missing and I can't put my finger on it. But it should be good enough to get her to next week. Archuleta did another song I didn't know, You're the Voice. Simon nailed this one. Theme park performance. Absolutely. Kristy had the best song choice of the season with ubiquitous God Bless the U.S.A. Not the best of the night, but her best performance. She won't even be in the bottom 2. Maybe even bottom 3! Excellent. I hate to admit it, but Cook turned in the best peformance of the night singing a slow rock version of Billie Jean. I still don't care for him, but I do have to give credit where it's due. He's original. Still don't think he's as good as he thinks he is, though. My money is on Ramiele, Chikezie and Carly to be in the bottom 3 and Ramiele goes home.

Monday, March 24, 2008

My New Toys!

A few months back, for Christmas, we got a gift certificate from After almost three months of deliberating, I finally made my choice. I bought a Swissco 5-piece, Nickel Shave Set. I've always wanted to try a fancy shave set with the bowl (or mug), shave soap, brush and ideally a straight razor and strop. I have always heard/read that a straight razor gives the best shave, hands down. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford that yet, since straight razors alone can be upwards of $150-200, up to $1,000 or more! In my research on the matter, though, I did discover that, next to a straight razor, the best shave you can get is from an old-fashioned double-edged safety razor. It seems to be fairly unanimous that modern disposable/cartridge razors are crap. So, since all the shave kits seemed to come with the crap razors, I went ahead and bought a Merkur "Hefty Classic" Double-Edge Safety Razor. I haven't used it yet, but I am hopeful. The brush that came with the set is a badger brush. Some day, I may get a silvertip (or superbadger) brush, but, as with the straight razors, they can run upwards of $80-200 or more. So far, I have used the badger brush and soap and am loving that! Definitely a better shave than the with cream or gel out of a can. No environmental disposal concerns, either. Bonus!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Beatles Week, Part II

Well, I think the producers were pushing their luck to do a second Beatles night in a row. But they didn't ask me. I think the performances prove my point. Amanda started out singing Back in the USSR. This should have been great for Amanda, but she just seems bored with the competition. I don't think she cares if she goes on and it shows in her vocals. Not great. Kristy improved on last week, singing You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, but still is having trouble putting together a memorable performance. Or for that matter, a very good one. I hate to admit it, but Archuleta had the best performance of the night singing Long and Winding Road. At least he didn't forget the lyrics this time. Michael did pretty well with Day in the Life. Very hard song to compress into 90 seconds, but did a decent job of it. He did have one early pitch problem (with a falsetto note?), but brought it together by the end. Unnecessary, though, to bring up the recently deceased friend. Blatant attempt to get sympathy votes. I thought Brooke did a very good job with Here Comes the Sun. She obviously is not comfortable moving around and "dancing" on stage, and I think the judges took that out on her. But she killed with the vocals. Paula actually noticed the same thing I did that Brooke is one of the only ones who is vocally strong in the low range. Cook did the rocker thing with Day Tripper a la Whitesnake. One of the top 3 performances of the night, but I absolutely agree with Simon - it wasn't nearly as good as Cook thought it was. The voicebox thing was completely pointless and stupid. Carly rocked it with Blackbird. Not sure I cared for the arrangement, but her vocals were great, as usual. Jason did well with Michelle. Not fantastic, but as the judges said, he's got charm. And, I think, in the top 3 of the remaining contestants (behind Carly & Archuleta). Syesha did ok with Yesterday. Kinda boring. Though that dress may keep her in the contest until next week. Wow. Chikezie did pretty well with I've Just Seen a Face, but it felt like a replay of last week. Only not as good. Still, should be enough to make it to next week. Ramile finished the night with I Should Have Known Better. She had the same problem Kristy did - kind of forgettable. Not worth of the ability we know she has. I think as we eliminate contestants out of the top 12, we won't be getting rid of bad singers, just bad performers. All the top 12 can sing, but they won't all be able to keep getting the votes to move on. I'm going out on a limb and saying Amanda will go home tonight.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Beatles Night

Well, I think on the whole, the contestants did much better this week. They generally did much better on song choice, perhaps because of the quality of the songs they had to choose from. Syesha started off with Got to Get You Into My Life. While my bro-in-law Caleb thought it was terrible, I thought it was fine. Not great, not her best, but should be enough to get her to next week. Chikezie went next with She's a Woman. It started with, as Paula put it, an O Brother, Where Art Thou vibe. Then he kicked it into the stratosphere with this sort of rock and funk fusion that blew me away! Easily the best performance of the night. Big risk, huge payoff. I felt bad for Ramiele following up with In My Life. Regardless of who she followed, it was a boring performance. Technically fine, but pretty forgettable. Jason went next with If I Fell. Excellent song choice, very good (but not fantastic) performance. A little breathy for me. Big shock, Carly rocked her version of Come Together. I think she's going to make it to at least the top 3. Probably the final. She's that good. David Cook sang Eleanor Rigby. I think I must be missing something. I'm not overly crazy about David. He's good, but I seem to be in the minority of people that think he's not the second coming. I thought he struggled with the low notes, and screamed the high notes. Brooke sat behind the piano and sang Let it Be. Wow. She's getting better and better each week. Just like Elliot Yamin did last year. He made it to the top 3, and if she continues the way she is, so will she. David Hernandez casually mentioned in his film clip that he worked at Pizza Bistro. Is that what they're calling the gay strip club these days? He sang a cabaret version of I Saw Her Standing There. I think he's bottom 2 this week. Amanda sang You Can't Do That, which I don't believe I have ever heard. She was fine, but I'm getting bored with her. It's one thing to "make a song your own," it's another thing to do the same performance week after week. Amanda's got to mix it up a little. Michael did well with Across the Universe, but I don't know that it was the right song. A little lethargic. He's capable of much more, and if he doesn't step it up to where he's capable of performing, he won't last to the top 2, where I think he belongs. Kristy. [sigh]. Kristy made 8 Days a Week into a country song. I think she took Simon's previous comments a little too far. She needs to keep her country spin on the songs, but not change the songs entirely. Her arrangement didn't really work and she could be in trouble tonight. On the other hand, she's smokin' hot. That could save her with the teenage boy vote. David Archuleta finished the night with We Can Work It Out. He said in his film clip that he was nervous because he wasn't familiar with the songs. He then proceeded to prove he it by forgetting the lyrics in 3 different places! If anyone else did that, they would be out tonight. No question. I think David's past performances and present cuteness will probably save him. Unfortunately, I think Kristy will be the one to go home tonight.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Top 8 Ladies

Well, Ladies' Night wasn't quite as clear cut as the guys. At least not for one of them. Asia'h started the night singing I Wanna Dance with Somebody. It's always risky singing Whitney Houston. As a general rule, no Idol contestants should sing Whitney, Celine, Heart or Queen. Just don't. They rarely can pull it off. Asia'h did pretty well, though. Good enough to make it to next week, at least. Kady bombed singing Who Wants to Live Forever (see above re: Queen). It brought to mind McPheever's iffy performance of the same, and she's 10 times the singer Kady is. Amanda did her Rocker Nurse thing with I Hate Myself for Loving You. Perfect song selection, but she seemed like she could have cared less to be there. Maybe she's doped up on something. Her attitude may hurt her this week. Carly killed it singing I Drove All Night. Not the best song selection (I agree with Simon), but she always nails it. She's great. Kristy finally brought the country twang to Faithfully. Definitely improved the performance, and she looked great, but I don't know if she's got the talent to make it to the top. I hope I'm wrong. Ramiele did OK with Against All Odds. I was shocked that David A. didn't sing this on guys' night when it was announced that he was singing Phil Collins. I was positive that he would. Oh well. I knew someone would. She did OK. She shouldn't have worn that short of a skirt, though; it made her legs look a bit stubby. When they went to a commercial saying they would be back with Brooke singing Love is a Battlefield, I winced. I thought it was another poor song choice. Boy, was I wrong! She sang a beautiful acoustic arrangement that was easily the best performance of the night. Perfect song choice, perfect arrangement, perfect execution. I could not have disagreed with Paula more. It was the right move to keep the band out of it. Syesha finished the night with more Whitney (Saving All My Love for You - see above re: Whitney). They must have been running short on time by now because the judges kept their answers to "good." In comparison to Whitney, Syesha wasn't great, but on its own, I think this performance will be good enough to get her to next week. No question Kady should go home this week (she should have gone last week and she knew it). I'm guessing Kristy will be the other to go this week. I wouldn't be surprised with Amanda or Ramiele either, but sadly, I think it will be Kristy.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Last Week Before Idol Finals

This was the last week of eliminations before the contestants are narrowed down to the top 12. As I said last week, I think absolutely the wrong people went home. This week I think will be much easier with the guys singing songs from the 80s. Even more of a clear-cut line with the guys as to who should leave. Luke started off singing Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. Aside from the fact that Wham should generally be stricken from the memory of the American public, Luke was just all over the place. Very karaoke performance. David A. has the judges so enamored with him that Paula says she enjoys when he sucks (not in these words) because it proves he's human. He did fine technically (singing Another Day in Paradise), but I agree with Simon. David needs to show a little more personality and energy, not be so depressingly earnest. I also agreed with Simon on Danny Gay Elvis Noriega. Awful. When he tried to sing the low notes on Tainted Love, it sounded like his voice hadn't changed yet. And the attitude is getting old. "TMTH"? Please... David H.'s most embarassing moment is having a picture taken with a booger in his nose? Somehow I doubt that. I can understand them not harping on his male stripper fiasco, but I admit to being a bit distracted when he sang the line, "When you touch me like that." I don't know how the audience didn't laugh at that. Thought he sang the song (It's All Coming Back to Me Now) pretty well, though. Michael sang (Don't you Forget About Me). I don't particularly care for that song, but I thought he did a good job with it. Again, I agreed with Simon, Michael hasn't had that defining performance. For me, one of the best performances in all of Idol, and a perfect example of what Simon is talking about was when Chris Daughtry sang Hemorrhage (In My Hands). That was amazing! David C. sang an interesting arrangement of Hello. I didn't like the performance as much as the judges did. It was good enough for him to move on, though. I think he should have ditched the guitar. I was more entertained however by the story of Simon running in to Lionel Richie at the Whole Foods. Too funny! Jason finally ditched the guitar and sang a restrained Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. I thought this was a bit of a risk, to sing an overtly religious song on Idol, but he did a great job. It wasn't his best performance, but it was one of (if not THE) best of the night! Awesome. Chikezie finished out the night singing All the (Wo)man I Need. I thought he did very well with it. Again, not fantastic, but should definitely be good enough to make it to the finals. In the end, Luke and Danny should go. I'll be pissed if they don't.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Oh What a Night!

Wow. Chrissy and I went to see Joshua Bell last night at the Kennedy Center. It was a wonderful night all around. It started when we left work an hour and a half early. Always good. We drove over to the Kennedy Center with almost no traffic. It was easy to get to; we just followed the signs. We got there a few hours early. We spent a little time looking around at the gift shops. Then we spent some time out on the balcony. Washington and the Potomac don't look nearly as dirty at a distance, not to mention how wonderful the weather was! As the sun set, the town actually looked quite lovely. We finally decided to go in and grab a bite to eat around 6:00-6:30. We were debating between the Roof Terrace Restaurant & Bar and the KC Cafe. We decided to go with the Cafe. We were thinking it looked like a basic cafeteria style restaurant. I was thinking I'd get a slice of pizza or a ham sandwich and a soda. I wound up having garlic rubbed prime rib, roasted potatoes, couscous, chocolate mousse for dessert and a glass of Chateau St. Jean cabernet. This was all before we even got to the concert!

When we finally decided to head to the concert hall, they weren't letting people in yet. So we were forced to wait outside and enjoy more of the gorgeous weather! When the time came, we went in and followed the signs to the Parterre Orchestra Boxes. Now... we knew we had paid a healthy price for these tickets and that they were good. But when the usher walked us through the door and we saw the edge of the stage five feet away from us, our jaws dropped! We looked on the stage, saw the piano in the middle and realized that he was going to be standing in front of it. Playing the violin some 40 feet away from us! He was unbelievable. There were times when I swore there were five other violins on stage with him. There were other times that I thought I must have been imagining things, because a human beings can't move their fingers as fast as his appeared to be moving. To put it in layman's terms, to make a heathen comparison, it was like watching Eddie Van Halen play guitar. Like watching Michael Jordan slam dunk a basketball. Like watching Meryl Streep act. In between each passage that he played, Chrissy and I just looked at each other and shook our heads. We couldn't believe that: a) someone was physically able to create such beautiful sounds; and b) we were able to be there.