Saturday, May 22, 2004

That's For Sure

At some point in time, I'll tell the story of our pre-Internet adoption. I can only imagine how the 'Net would have helped. Wouldn't have allowed us to adopt a more wonderful, special gift from heaven; but it would have made the process much easier.

Yahoo! News - Livewire: Internet Transforms Adoption Process

I Guess This Was Inevitable

Ugh. Flyers lose again.

Philly.com - Philadelphia local news, sports, jobs, cars, and real estate

Happy Birthday To You

One of my blogging rules, in case you care, is not to be too specific about my wife and daughter. Sadly, having been around the Internet since its earliest days, I know way too much about its seamy side. Knowing how people search, I refuse to mention my wife and/or daughter’s name or feature their pictures.

That said, today is an historic day. We’re celebrating my daughter’s birthday even though the date itself is more than a month away. Summer birthdays, especially after school has ended, are not ideal for Arizona. People leave on vacation and it gets too hot to do anything that requires people to leave their air-conditioned homes.

If you were a fan of the old “Mary Tyler Moore” show, you recall one of the recurring themes was that Mary always had bad luck in her parties. Most notable was when Rhoda invited a work friend to one of Mary’s parties at the last minute. The man was fired that day at the department store and Rhoda felt sorry for him. Oh, BTW, the man was Henry Winkler in one of his first TV roles. The point is that because he was an extra invitee, he had to sit at a small table by himself off to the side of the main event.

Long way to make a point: my daughter’s birthday parties have had similar experiences. One year, at a park we had a birthday picnic, a guest wandered off causing a full-scale manhunt. At the same party, a guest brought her entire family and they ate everything in sight. At another party, we decided to invite her entire class. Bad call. One kid brought his entire family and they ate everything in sight. And then there was the bowling party where one girl stood in the lane, dropped the ball in the lane and walked away looking way too pouty for a 10-year-old. There’s more—let’s stop here.

Anyway, today’s party will be great. We planned it for months. It will be the capper to a great school year. Again, she deserves a great day; in fact, she deserves nothing but great days.

Friday, May 21, 2004


Tonight, I had the “honor” of being the techno-geek at the Regional Synchronized Swimming tournament in Scottsdale. As TG, I was in charge of playing the music for each solo routine for about two and one half-hours. It’s quite disorganized, as people hand you home-burned CDs that are poorly recorded and cassettes that are not properly cued up. It does take some matter of concentration to keep things straight. My motivation is that these young ladies are working so hard and have committed an enormous amount of time to these routines.

My daughter, who is part of the team, was not there which made the whole event rather odd. She did not qualify for the regionals. She is a first year synchro swimmer, but a very gifted athlete who can excel at gymnastics and swimming. As a first year person, however, she was paired up with another first timer. Without going into details, let’s just say it was someone who had some issues that made her participation a challenge. Needless to say, these issues impacted her teammate (my daughter).

Long story short, I have learned the value of good team play and the value of skilled mentoring and the positive impact it can have on those being mentored. My daughter’s sixth grade teacher has been a heaven-sent person who inspires his students without being overbearing. He will be the subject of a posting dedicated to his brilliant work. The point here is that a caring teacher/coach/mentor makes an amazing difference in lives of those he or she touches. I witnessed it first hand.

I hope my daughter is able to find that mentor to bring out her athletic prowess. She deserves it.

White Nile-Blue Nile

Not sure which color Nile is bigger news? Blue Nile, an online diamond store, went public the other day. Heck, it's deja vu all over again; the stock shot up many points in its first few days of trading.

I ask--who buys diamonds online?

Yahoo! News - Rafters Conquer World's Longest River

Why Search Stinks

One of the reasons I started this blog was to see first hand how content moves around and in particular how search works. After launching my blog a few weeks ago, I submitted my new site to all the search engines. I also added a site tracker to see how many people come to the site and how they get there. I especially wanted to see what search terms people use to arrive at this site. It might shock/scare people, but the search engines don’t do a good job at providing relevant search results For example….

Two people have searched on the words “pictures of Rob Dibble’s wife.” Those terms took people to my site because, in two separate postings, I spoke of Rob Dibble and my wife. The way search works does not always distinguish between separate threads in a document…so…the net result was a hit on “Rob Dibble’s wife.” This is not to say I’d hit on his wife even though she is no longer his wife.

Blog On

My buddy Mike’s blog is up. Mike works with me at my day job and together we’re changing the way the world thinks about media. It’s definitely a one plus one equals 10 experience. We’ve known each other for 10 years, although not consecutively; I left the company for a few years to be involved with one of those Internet start-ups you used to read about. The one I worked at actually did very well.

Mike is a music guy. I am somewhat of a music guy except a) I cannot play an instrument and b) I hate country music. I mean really hate. I once wrote a column (when I was a media critic at a Seattle-area newspaper) that talked about my hatred for country music; I wound up being a guest on the morning show at Seattle’s top Country Station.

Mike’s playlist is way cool. Mine (based on what’s on my recent Rhapsody list) is comical. It includes: Ballroom Blitz (The Sweet, from both “Wayne’s World” and “Daddy Day Care”); “One Headlight” (The Wallflowers); “Poor Little Fool” (Rick Nelson); “Let’s Get Retarded” (Black Eyed Peas); “Brothers In Arms” (Dire Straits, featured in the chilling episode season two ending of West Wing, “Two Cathedrals”) and some others I just wont’ mention.

Garlic Fries?

Hopefully, this does not include those people who make and serve the garlic fries at SBC Park.

Yahoo! News - SBC Workers in 13 States Begin Strike

Thursday, May 20, 2004

I Think They Mean The Cubs

Yahoo! News - Scientists Say Chicago Sinking Every Year


I have been on two elephant rides, both in Thailand. Some day, if I ever get a decent scanner, I will post a picture of me on an elephant. They are amazing creatures both in terms of size and intelligence. They are generally very gentle and extraordinarily gentle. At the place we went to embark on our elephant ride, the trainer (or mahoot, as they are called) has the elephant gently massage you with his (rather large) foot.

Yahoo! News - Detroit Zoo to Free Elephants on Ethical Grounds

I Just Saved A Bunch Of Money On My Car Insurance

No, make that my digital camera.

I as all set to plunk down $350 for a new digital camera because my Nikon Coolpix 990 had a) terrible battery life and b) slow shutter release. Also, it could only store 10 pictures; this problem I solved with a visit to Costco where I bought a new storage card that will hold a few hundred pictures. The card was $40.

Now I learn that my problem is my battery choice. Like a donkey, I was using rechargeable alkaline batteries. Three or four shots and I was cooked. Duh. So, on a great Coolpix FAQ page, I learn the power of NIMH rechargeable batteries. I need to get as high a MAH rating as possible, The Circuit City near my house has a kit with four batteries (1850 MAH) with charger for $25.

Sounds like I’ve saved myself the price of a new camera.

Because You Can't Fire All The Players (But Should)

Coaching the GS Warriors has to be one of the worst sports gigs on the planet. In the entire time I lived in the Bay Area, I never paid attention to the team because a) they played home games in Oakland and b) they stunk. Bad drafts, bad coaches, players who choked coaches, bad free agent signings, bad trades, etc…

This once proud franchise is in need of a major overhaul. For one thing, they should move the team back to San Francisco (remember those cool The City unies once worn by Rick Barry?) and then get some decent young players. As is, they are light years away from even being playoff contenders let alone title contenders.

Why on earth did they draft Dunleavy?

Ahead of The Bandwagon

We were on this show early. The reason the networks fail so miserably is that they just recycle old ideas and old stars. CBS just announced its fall lineup. Sadly, it's so pathetic it makes you want to shake your head in disbelief. Luckily, with new devices that stream content from your PC to your TV, network TV will meet Dr. Kevorkian in the next few years. Wonder what TV Guide will do with its infamous Fall Issue?

TIME - James Poniewozik - My Wheels, My Self

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Toby's Talis

This afternoon, Bravo is showing a rerun of “The West Wing” episode of “Take The Sabbath Day.” It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s good with two things that capture my attention. The one that bothers me is that Toby Ziegler is not wearing a talis (Jewish prayer shawl) in synagogue. It’s a Saturday morning, and all Jewish men over the age of 13 are required to wear one. It has been established he is Jewish. Was it an oversight? Doubt it—Aaron Sorkin, the creator and writer is Jewish.

Second, more of an observation: the casting of David Proval as Rabbi Glassman—Toby’s rabbi—is an odd choice. Proval will always be Richie Aprile to me. Aprile was Jackie Aprile’s older brother in “Sopranos,” and died at the hands of a gun held by Tony’s sister in Season Two (arguable the best season). Richie Aprile is one of the show’s most memorable characters to whom Tony once said: “Don’t you give me those Manson lamps.” Tony was referring to Richie’s stare, which could penetrate steel. Side note: in last week’s episode, “The Test Dream,” many of the characters that have died in recent years (including Pussy, Ralph and Carmine) were part of Tony’s long dream; Richie Aprile was not there. Did Proval ask for too much money?

The Return of Peter Puck

Yahoo! News - NHL Agrees to Two-Year Deal With NBC

It's Like The Old Catskills Joke

Father says to son: What do you want for your 16th birthday?
Son: I wanna watch.
Father: OK, next time, I'll let you

(insert drum beat here)

Yahoo! News - Top Stories Photos - AP

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

He Knows From Where He Speaks

One of the joys of watching NHL telecasts (especially in HD) is Bill Clement’s commentary. He is the best commentator in hockey and perhaps among the elite in any sport. I know some people like the brashness of Dick Cherry (he of outrageous attire and outrageous remarks) but Clement is thoughtful, quick and has a peerless ability to communicate.

Clement is a former Flyer (maybe one of the reasons I like him) but never roots for his old team.

Sneezin' Sammy

Sammy Sosa missing a game for injuring himself while sneezing is hardly the strangest baseball injury. In fact, I'd say David Wells' injury yesterday to his wrist and palm while at home is stranger. The Padres swear Wells was not in a fight, but instead hurt himself on a glass.

All time best baseball injury: Arnold Ray (Bake) McBride missed a major part of a season with the Phillies when he had an eye infection.

My Favorite Tony Randall Role

When Tony played himself in "King of Comedy." BTW, I hate Jerry Lewis except for his role in "King of Comedy." Wonder what it took for Martin Scorsese to keep Lewis under control.

Yahoo! News - 'Odd Couple' Star Tony Randall Dies at 84

Sounds Like A Sweeps Winner To Me

I'd love to see Martha cook in the prison kitchen; heck, I'd even pay to see her make soup for 100.

Yahoo! News - Martha Stewart Living TV to Go on Hiatus

Monday, May 17, 2004

The Moustache Gave Him Away

ESPN.com - MLB - Probe: Did player use nephew's ID to hide age?

Thought My PVR Box Was Broken

I have been looking for this show for days and could not find it. Now I know why. Hey, it's not "American Idol," but it's better than most of the other stuff on the networks!

Yahoo! News - NBC's "Restaurant" Closed?

Amusements for Morons

Back when I was in seventh grade at Solomon Solis-Cohen Elementary School, I had a teacher, Mrs. Stott, who used to chide use for idle behavior, which she called “amusements for morons.” Right, she was a gifted and empathetic teacher.

Anyway, I conduct such amusements all the time. My latest is to single out actors who have appeared across a number of TV shows I like. For example, what started off as a “Seinfeld”—“West Wing” connection has grown to include “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” So far, I am hard pressed to get someone for all three. Bob Balaban (who was in both Seinfeld as well as West Wing) seems like a logical person to be on CYE at some point.

Here are a few Seinfled-West Wing combos: Balaban; David Graf; Don R. McManus; Daniel Von Bargen; Thom Barry; Lisa Edelstein; Miguel Sandoval; Richard Fancy… I am sure more will come to me…

Things I Love: 1800-SHOPTJS

The first time we went into a Trader Joe’s was in 1993 and we were changed for life. It was the one in San Rafael, California and we frequented it weekly as our primary grocery destination. Add Whole Foods and the local farmers market to the mix, and you are good to go.

Over the years, we’ve been to TJ’s in Capitola, California; San Diego and Carlsbad, California and Tucson (to name a few). The prices, quality and selection are unbeatable.

Some of my personal favorite products are: jars of pickled snap peas; nuts; dried fruits; cello packages of endive; half-sour pickles; Garden Patch juice (better than V-8); bulk green tea; hearts of palm; olives; pasta, ginger snap cookies, smoked gouda cheese, and so on…

Here’s the amazing part: Trader Joe’s—which did $2.5 billion in sales in 2003—is a privately-held company. They finance expansion out of cash flow. Started by Joe Coulombe as a Los Angeles convenience store chain in 1958, the company was bought in 1979 by German billionaires Karl and Theo Albrecht, who also own the food chain. Aldi was featured in a WSJ story last week, as Europe’s most revolutionary grocery chain.

One of the factors that inspired us to move back full time to Arizona in 2001 was the opening of a new Trader Joe’s on Frank Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale. We go at least once a week.

Advice For The A's

I read this morning that of the 20 series in which Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson have made consecutive starts, the Oakland A’s have won only six of the series. This past weekend was one of those six.

Six of 20 is 30 percent. That is generally good enough for last place unless your are the Mets of the ‘60s or the Tigers of last year. Or maybe the 76ers of the Steve Mix era of the early ‘70s. So, the classic argument continues: does good pitching beat good hitting? The answer is that you need both as in the Florida Marlins of last year.

So, the A’s need to trade Mark Mulder for a great bat and then move Joe Blanton from AAA into the lineup. Then move Rich Harden to the pen to be the closer and they’ll be good to go.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

It's An Arizona Thing

Arizona is not for everyone. We learned this in October 1989. It’s not the adjustment to the heat. In fact, we came to Arizona with about 10 cents to our name and two cars without air conditioning. We drive more than two and one half years without A/C in our cars and used oven mitts when it got too hot. The real adjustment is in this odd culture that is not really indigenous because most people are from somewhere else.

It’s a tradeoff: great weather and an ease in getting from here to there (nothing is ever more than 30 minutes away) for a fairly large dose of road rage and odd crimes of passion. People move here and either take to it right away and stay forever or leave after six months. Again, it’s not for everybody. We missed Arizona after eight-plus years in the Bay Area so we moved back. We tried living in both places at the same time, but that’s tough with a young child. Also, it gets very costly.

One of the odd blended cultural happenings here are the roadside memorials that are created for people killed in car and/or motorcycle accidents. I recall having seen these same memorials in Mexico, so I think these elaborate shrines generally have a Mexican feel to them with those tall candles in colored glasses.

The one pictured here is on the NE corner of Tatum and Thunderbird. We used to live a few blocks northwest of this corner. My wife brings up a great point: what happens to the home or business perched on the corner of a shrine? While I’d never want to get in the way of the grieving process, I am not sure I’d particularly like people hanging outside my house putting candles, cards and whatnot on the sidewalk where I live. Let’s hope I never have to deal with this issue.

I Love The Flower Girl

Could anything be cornier than quoting a Cowsills song?

I love the flower girl
Oh I don't know just why; she simply caught my eye
I love the flower girl
She seemed so sweet and kind; she crept in to my mind
To my mind ... to my mind

Each night, my wife walks around the neighborhood looking at cactus flowers. She is giddy when she returns to saw how many she found and talks about them with such utter joy. Often, my wife drags my daughter with her to see these marvels. My daughter says she enjoys the scene; I think she’s just humoring her mom.

We have a cactus flower in our back yard. It is quite lovely, but I pay little attention to it. I am more of a mountain man (well, not like Grizzly Adams) in that I like the mountain scenery. My wife provides daily play by play about our backyard flower. It’s quite touching. She sees beauty in the smallest things.

It’s why I love the flower girl.. and have since we met in October, 1982 in Seattle. Lucky me.

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