Saturday, June 12, 2004

Add This Site To Your Must Read List

I know my buddy Mike mentioned this site as well. If you want to see what the future of reporting is about, check out this site; the guy who runs it is an 18-year-old Maryland college student. Runs rings round the high-priced spread!

CableNewser: CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and why they matter

Carlsbad Dining Tip

I first heard about Carlsbad’ s Fish House Veracruz on the ‘Net. Last year, we couldn’t find it, but last week, driving in from I-5 to our hotel, there it was. We went to eat there twice in five nights. The place is similar to a few of our favorites: Crab Cooker (in Newport Beach) and The Fish Market (multiple AZ and CA locations).

The fish is grilled/BBQ-ed and done to perfection. All the fish is fresh and there are varied choices. FHV features great Manhattan Chowder (that’s the red kind) and these potatoes that are cheesy and similar in nature to Potatoes O’Brien. I think this O’Brien guy has high cholesterol.

The prices are very reasonable and there are generally crowds, as the place does not take reservations. It’s a block from The Coaster, so I’d bet a number of people take the train up from San Diego for dinner and a walk around picturesque Carlsbad.

I do have some experience in rating restaurants; I was a former newspaper restaurant critic, but that was short lived. While I know a good deal about food and cooking, I have way too many food allergies to be competent at critiquing restaurants, plus one of the newspapers I reviewed for was almost sued after one of my reviews.

So Says Esteban Loiza

I am reading this profile of White Sox pitcher Esteban Loiza in ESPN-The Magazine, and he says Tono Rosario is among his favorite artists.


Friday, June 11, 2004

This Is Only A Test....

this is an audio post - click to play

Web Real Estate

I’ll never forget the morning of Sept. 11 when I woke up and went about my daily morning work ritual. I turned on my computer, and before even checking my work mail, I went to Yahoo!’s home page and in its “In The News” box, there was a headline about a plane crashing into the Twin Towers in New York. I immediately flipped on my TV and tuned to CNN.

I thought then, and think now, that the “In The News” box on Yahoo! is among the most important pieces of real estate on the Web. I actually know how it works from Yahoo!’s perspective, but it’s not appropriate to go into that here. But, safe to say, the editor who adds or deletes stories from the small box has the world at his or her fingertips.

In a few short days/months/years when TV capabilities are baked into Websites such as Yahoo!, I’ll not need to turn on CNN; I’ll click on the headline and be able to see video and read the story simultaneously. Is every news company working on this? If not, they’ll be an afterthought.

Rodman and Electra?

Did you see Carmen Electra's new boyfriend at the MTV Movie Awards last night? Yikes--she was better off with Rodman. At least Dennis can rebound!

Yahoo! News - Rodman's Newport Party Pad Closes Up

Useless Sports Info Department

I know I should have better things to think about, but before last night’s Giants-Rays game, Giants TV announcer Mike Krukow pointed out the Giants infielders each had a “z’ in their names. Is that cool, or what?

1st Base: Pedro FeliZ
2nd Base: Neifi PereZ
SS: Devi CruZ
3rd Base: Edgardo AlfonZo

Skip The Funeral, Read This Instead--A Story of A Real Hero

About the Charity Lemonade Stand

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Is This Why My Wife Puts Cinnamon On Everything?

Yahoo! News - Health Tip: Cinnamon for Diabetics

Vacation II: Weeks Away

On our upcoming vacation to the NJ/PA area, I was contemplating taking my wife to The Benetz Inn in Quakertown, PA. Given the place has been closed for a dozen years that seems out of the question.
I have been thinking a lot about our upcoming vacation--probably way too much. I am looking at it as both a relaxing and cathartic experience. It will be the first time I have been back to the area with just my wife and no family obligations. We have circumvented obligations by taking the path of greatest resistance: we’re not telling anyone we’re coming. This way, our trip will be of our design and without a need to be here, there or anywhere. It will include baseball, seafood, sun, surf and more baseball.
The cathartic end is a bit hazier. I left Philadelphia in 1980 and now consider Arizona my home. I never considered either Seattle or The Bay Area home—they did not feel like home. My memories of growing up in Philadelphia are conflicted, to say the least. My parents are deceased and I have but one sibling. We are talking about launching a somewhat surprise visit on my uncle (he’s in his 80s and haven’t seen him in several years) but that remains a penciled-in activity.
The New Jersey shore brought me some of my happiest and saddest moments. I’ll go into those in real time, with photos, come July. The same goes for the four nights we’ll be spending in Center City Philadelphia. Will I cry when I walk into Citizens Bank Park on July 11th? You bet—my dad took me to my first game in 1959 when we say the Milwaukee Braves play the lowly Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium. Over the course of our precious time together, my dad and I went to more than 200 games together. I live each day to pay back the powers that be for blessing me with such a special father.
Well, I am rambling…. See what I said about catharsis?

Frank A. Benetz | Quakertown inn owner, 62

Because There's Something In The Air

I have said this before in previous posting: I see the summer ahead as a combustible time in our political history. Just check out the ingredients for this precarious recipe:

Presidential election that follows by two large political conventions
Ongoing war in Iraq with growing elements of controversy
The release of Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
A better economy (real or imagine) that will lead to more summer travel that leads to more concerns over terrorism
Real time communications via the Web, blogs, etc.. that allow ideas and information to be shared with viral speed.

Maybe it’s because I am child of the ‘60s, but I have seen these signs before. I’ll date myself and toss in some '60s lyrics from British rockers Thunderclap Newman:

Call out the instigators
Because there's something in the air
We've got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution's here, and you know it's right
And you know that it's right

USATODAY.com - Michael Moore's '9/11' ignites Hollywood night

My Camera Failed Me

Speaking of strange vacations, nothing can top my family’s trip to Hong Kong, China and Bangkok in 1998. It was something like a month after I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, so we should have cancelled, but the airfare was non-refundable.
To the point: I had been the China before on business for a two-week trip that took me from Beijing to Shanghai to Guangzhou. My family was jealous, so they insisted we take a day trip from Hong Kong to China. I told them they were nuts to spend the entire day on a bus riding through industrial China, but I was overruled.
One of the destinations was the zoo in Guangzhou, which housed a rare panda. Somehow, either my camera didn’t work or I just plain was in a bad mood, but I never took a single picture of these pandas. I did, however, get a picture of the world’s largest rat, which was on exhibit not too far from the pandas. I jokingly asked how they got Richard Nixon (get the rat reference?) in a cage.

Yahoo! News - China Says Panda Population Up 40 Percent

In Tribute To Our Dog

Chelsea, the dog that came with my wife to the marraige, understood a few words:

1. Shrimp shells
2. Dog soup (don't ask)
3. Tennis ball

Yahoo! News - Research Finds Dogs Understand Language

Another Great Idea Into The Dumper

Minor league team scraps 'Sports Criminals Night'

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Chil G

Well, now that I’ve trashed The Beach Terrace Inn with my review on Tripadvisor, let me say something nice. A guy named Chil G was the server at the continental breakfast two of the five days of our visit. He was really nice, or so says my wife and daughter. I never made it to the breakfast since it was several flights of stairs from our room. Chil works part time at the hotel and is a musician the remainder of the time. I’ll be candid: I don’t know if he sings, plays an instrument or “DJs.” I met him for a few seconds and that was to take his picture. He has song clips at his site, so check it out.

Too Little, Too Late

Game over; the PC will win as the media controlling device.

Yahoo! News - TiVo Adds Internet Connections

Short Memories

Yes, my heart goes out to former President Reagan's family. As with any relationship, we tend to remember only the positive aspects. Read below:


Son of Pins

Back in the ‘70s, the scoreboard at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia was less than state of the art. It was more police artist’s sketch than Jumbotron. When the “picture” of then-Phillies outfielder Oscar Gamble (he of large Afro hairdo) would appear on the scoreboard, it would have large streaks of light through the rather bouffant hair. My friends and I called him “pins” because the light streaks looked like pins. Not exactly a brilliant observation, but it made us laugh. Guess you had to be there.


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

It's Called CYA

ESPN.com - NHL/PLAYOFFS2004 - Bad press for paper: Editorial said Lightning lost

Watch Wayne Disappear

I have no idea what made me think of Wayne Cody the other day. When I was a media critic in Seattle, Wayne was the “big” sportscaster at KIRO-TV and radio. He was a rather large man with a beard and was not very well versed in sport, but was quick witted and had a bigger than life personality (and ego). Wayne and I had many encounters, some pleasant, some not so pleasant. I made fun of him many times in my column and often his skin was not as thick as it appeared.
I remember two things about Wayne. During a sweeps period sometime in the early ‘80s, KIRO had a promotion called “Watch Wayne Disappear.” They goal was to keep track of Wayne’s weight loss and get the viewers engaged in the drama. Wayne was not happy about this, although he did lose a few pounds. He promptly gained it back (and then some) after the promo was over. I once saw Wayne drink two Super Big Gulps ® during the course of one two-hour radio sports talk show. It was not diet cola.
Second, one of the most memorable quotes I heard in my journalism career was from Wayne. It was during my first interview with Cody when I was doing a personality piece on the big guy. At the time, the Seattle Supersonics were coached by the legendary Bill Russell. Wayne said his goal was to be so popular, people would see him and Russell together and ask, “Who’s that tall guy with Wayne Cody?”

from KIRO, 2002:We have sad news to report for the many fans of former KIRO sportscaster Wayne Cody.
Wayne passed away early this morning at Valley Medical Center in Renton after suffering a heart attack several days ago.
For more than two decades, he was the biggest name in sports broadcasting around here, with an even bigger sense of humor.
He spent many years behind the microphone at KIRO Radio and in front of the camera here at KIRO 7.
This morning, we say a final farewell to our good friend and colleague.
Wayne Cody was 66 years old.
Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family.

This Was Cool!

060704: ESPN Goes Digital

Monday, June 07, 2004

The Three Hour Tour

There’s something strange about Oceanside. It’s a beautiful little town just north of Carlsbad. It has a lovely beach and a wide array of homes, ranging from shacks to luxury condos. It’s also a military town, just being south of Camp Pendleton, a large Marine facility. The mix of surfer, military and old California is an odd melange that’s difficult to read. I’ve been there twice and each time I leave not sure whether I like Oceanside or find it rather freaky.

On another note, I swear Oceanside harbor is the backdrop for the opening scene of “Gilligan’s Island” (see above). Given “Gomer Pyle, USMC” was “set” in Camp Pendleton, it’s a TV trivia lover’s paradise.

This Makes No Sense

I have seen the Padres young pitching talent in both the Arizona Fall League and Spring Training, and believe me, there are no starters in the offing. They already have a young, star shortstop in Khalil Greene. What gives?

ESPN.com - MLB - Padres draft local high school shortstop No. 1

My New Transistor Radio

So, I am sitting on the beach and I’m wondering why can’t I listen to any radio station in the world? Heck, I am in San Diego and Verizon is testing EVOD service here (that’s wireless broadband). All I need is a portable radio that has wireless access and I am in the brave new world. I could listen to my MLB games via mlb.com or my favorite station from back home (if I had one) or maybe Capital FM from London. It’s very, very do-able at this point. This radio from Tivoli is close. I have one a previous model in my home. Yes, I have a lot of radios (all with names based on place of origin).

Gradually, they will figure this out. The Philips Stremium has wireless access but has fixed stations. A new device by Linxys also has the same capability. My the end of the year, my hunch is other will get the idea. The concept is to allow me to stream music from my desktop and/or listen live to Internet broadcasts. Later, I’ll be able to watch TV remotely (as I did at SFO.. see previous posting) with great ease.

But you have to walk before you run.

Dancing Yellow Pages

It was Verizon Yellow Pages night at the Padres game last Friday (free Padres caps), and one of the stars of the evening was a Verizon mascot (seen above) who was involved in pre-game activities. I am not sure if it threw out the first pitch; too many people were walking down the aisle in front of us and blocked the view.
San Diego is a hot area for competition between Verizon and SBC in the Yellow Pages business. Verizon bought GTE and GTE had a major presence in the San Diego area and is trying to win the Yellow Pages business there. Not sure if a mascot is the way to go to win a multi-billion dollar business, but then again, no one asked me.
A note: baseball first and most famous mascot—The San Diego Chicken—was a fixture at the old Jack Murphy Stadium (AKA Qualcomm Park). The Verizon mascot was yellow like The Chicken. I’d say that’s where the similarity ends.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Post-Vacation Hindsight

Some thoughts about our recently concluded family vacation:

The place we stayed at, The Beach Terrace Inn, in Carlsbad, was OK, but sure not as great as it seemed from those who commented about it on Tripadvisor. This leads me to believe that those who comment on these sorts of sites represent the extremes: lovers or haters. Most people praise the location (which is great) and the staff (which ranged from semi-helpful to plain disinterested) and the clean rooms. I guess the world’s largest cockroach found in our tub was part of this cleanliness campaign.
We were placed in a bottom-floor unit, which sucked because I am mobility impaired. Even though I made the reservation three months in advance, that held no sway in getting a room that would have prevented me from walking several flights of stairs.
And then there is a guard from some company called “City Events” who sits by the pool to make sure no interlopers come on to the hotel property to use the bathroom, pool or shower. The guard was incredibly belligerent; I heard her tell some one she looks forward to kicking people’s ass when they try and sneak into the hotel. Now that’s hospitality!
On a five star rating, I’d give it 2 ½ stars. The beach is great and the location is great. And there was this cool musician dude who ran the continental breakfast two of the days we were there. There will be a separate posting on him
We’re back to the drawing board looking for a great place to stay North of San Diego on the beach.

Welcome Home, The Sign Said

That’s what the sign on Interstate 8 said as we crossed the Colorado River. Well, it said, “Welcome to Arizona.”
Vacation over, but then again, there’s nothing like riding 6.5 hours across the desert in 108-degree heat.
Next vacation in four weeks and six days. That will be a vacation of a much different color as we head east to Philadelphia and The Jersey Shore. For me, it will be a trip back into time. More details to come.
Just a quick note: I saw a peculiar commercial for deep woods Off starring the previously praised Bill Clement (former Philadelphia Flyer, now hockey commentator). The commercial was very strange and he looked out of place. Maybe he’s a famous outdoorsman or camper or just someone who has a thing for chiggers. Who knows?

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