Saturday, December 31, 2005

Waiting for the New Year

The new year is less than nine hours away and it is about three hours until I leave to go to a New Year's Eve party. In the meantime, I'm a little bored. The San Diego-Denver football game is still an hour away and I have no interest in the college football games currently on TV (TCU vs. Iowa State and Fresno State vs. Tulsa). I'm listening to the end of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game thanks to Apparently, the Penguins just scored in overtime but it was called off because the referee blew the whistle when he thought the puck was under the goalie when it was really in the net. I could watch another episode of Law & Order since the USA Network is showing it non-stop. Hey, Sidney Crosby just scored so the Penguins won! Way to go Sidney! I'll have to check and see if the Penguins are out of last place now. Paul Steigerwald just called Crosby the "Wizard of Croz." I've never heard that before, but I don't think I like the nickname.

Anyway, Happy New Year everyone! (& Go Steelers!)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cell Phone Film Contest

If there's an Ithaca College story, you know that it will be here. Maybe you have seen the story that an IC dean has invited high school and college students across the country to submit a 30-second movie shot entirely with a cell phone. The prize: $5000! I liked the idea of it even before I know that IC was involved in the contest. Here is the official contest website and if you missed the story, you can see it on ABC News, The Seattle Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and CBS News. It is almost exactly the same story but it's nice to see it in so many places.

Pittsburgh Basketball

Pitt's basketball team defeated South Carolina 58-51 last night. Even though this was not technically an upset, I have seen several national college basketball commentators criticize the Panthers for not leaving Pittsburgh yet this year for a game. On Andy Katz's "The Weekly Watch" on, he said, "The Panthers are undefeated. Ho-hum. Let's see what happens when they leave the city for the first time this season." So I guess Pitt earned a little respect nationally last night. Next up is a difficult game at Wisconsin on Saturday.

This may be the first and only time I discuss Carnegie Mellon University and athletics. CMU defeated Princeton 51-46 last night becoming the first Division III team to defeat the Tigers in 23 years. I don't know the actual statistics, but Division III teams do not often beat Division I teams.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Year in Review

The other night, I decided to click the "next blog" feature at the top right of the page to see what else was out there. I found this idea on one blog for a year in review to take the first line of the first entry of each month and post them in order to produce a random and (hopefully) interesting review of 2005. Here goes:

January: Over the past few months, I have had a lot of free time at work.

February: If you're reading this on February 2nd, Happy Groundhog Day!

March: It's nice to know that other people living in the DC area can make fun of people's reaction to (or threat of) snow.

April: I am leaving for Chicago today for my fantasy baseball league draft.

May: Congratulations to Sarah and Gobo on the impending arrival of their new blog, I mean baby. :)

June: Congrats to Ravens running back, Jamal Lewis on being released from jail today after serving four months for being a part of a drug deal.

July: Since I still haven't figured out how to fix the large gap between the headline and text, I'm probably going to change templates over the weekend.

August: At this time exactly one year ago, I was in the pool and hot tub at the Hilton Garden Inn in Southpointe/Pittsburgh, PA. And in less than three hours from this time one year ago today, I got married. :)

September: The pictures tonight of people dead or dying on the streets of New Orleans and thousands of people needing medical attention, food and water is awful to watch and is even more amazing to know that this is happening in this country.

October: Thank you ABC for showing the premier of Commander in Chief again since I missed it on Tuesday.

November: Trick: We didn't have any kids last night.
Treat: I guess that means candy for me and people at work.

December: I know it has been a week since Thanksgiving, but I wanted to share a story about the day. My primary contribution to helping with the Thanksgiving meal was to go to the store and buy the ingredients.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy December 25th!

Happy Hanukkah & Merry Christmas to everyone out there!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

(Mostly) A Good Day

Anytime the Steelers win, it's a good day. It's especially good when they beat Cleveland and win impressively. As much as I and almost all Steelers fans are critical of the Steelers, even in wins, the team played nearly perfectly today: 41 points scored, 0 points against, 8 sacks by the defense, big games for Hines, Big Ben & Fast Willie, the offensive line played great, a blocked punt and few penalties. Just as good for the Steelers is that Jacksonville won and the Chiefs beat the Chargers. Therefore, the playoff picture is very easy for the Steelers; if they win against Detroit next Sunday, they make the playoffs.

The only negative of today was that my fantasy football team lost in the championship game. My opponent got huge games from Larry Johnson, Frank Gore(!) and stupid Josh McCown (he's beat me in championship games in two of the last three years). Although I got a solid performance from Torry Holt and Carson Palmer, it wasn't enough (thank you Jerry Poter, Willis McGahee and Jason Witten).

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Washingtonienne: A Review

As promised, here you go. The Washingtonienne is about a small town girl trying to make it in the big city and wanting to help all Americans through her work on Capitol Hill. Maybe not. It's really about a woman who gets dumped by her fiancée in New York after cheating on him and comes to Washington where she sleeps with a Presidential appointee, a high-powered lawyer, two Hill staffers and a few other folks while working in a Senator's office. Oh my gosh, sex on Capitol Hill! I'm guessing that has never happened with any member of Congress or Presidents. What's more is that she shared her exploits in a blog, which was picked up and became big-time news, causing her to be fired. The book makes it sound like all of Washington was talking about it. I'll be honest that I live in the DC area, and I don't remember seeing anything about it or seeing her give TV interviews. The only time I heard about it was when I read an article in the Washington Post Magazine, probably several months after she was exposed. Here's the real shocking news of the book, she never slept with any Senators or Congressman!

While I'm not a therapist nor play one on the web, she has some issues with alcohol and drugs (this was mentioned by a real therapist in the book) and does not have a very supportive cohort of family of friends. All in all, I'm glad I checked it out of the library and I'm glad that I was able to return it. It was an interesting read, but certainly not worth $17 to buy it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New Link

I haven't posted any fun links lately, so here's one for Reportervote, where you can vote on whether or not a reporter is hot, credible or cool. The leading woman for the "Hot" category is Amy Robach of MSNBC (who is she?), while the guy in the lead is Sean Hannity. I have to say that I have never heard anyone say that "Sean Hannity is hot." Katie Couric is in last place for all three categories among woman. While I like the idea of the site, I have never heard of most of the reporters. Almost everyone is from FOX, CNN or MSNBC. They really should add more reporters from ABC, CBS and NBC.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Let's Get Political

Yes, I do this once in a while. Last Thursday, Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis of my state of Virginia introduced Bill Number H.RES.579 with the purpose to express "the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected." I wish I was making this up. Apparently, there was a lengthy discussion on the House floor about this bill, which passed overwhelmingly but with slightly different language (the line in quotes above was taken out).

You would think the House would have more important things to do like discuss Iraq, Social Security or health care.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Book Help Needed!

I really need some suggestions for good books to read. I finished The Washingtonienne (I'll give a review of this later) and am currently on the waiting list for two books at the library, The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam and The Scorpion’s Gate by Richard Clarke. In the meantime, I have a book by Walter Cronkite (because I was embarrassed to check out The Washingtonette by itself) and a Kurt Vonnegut book which I should finish in a few days.

Please, please, please give me some book suggestions. Thanks!

Don't Tell My Wife

that I have already bought her Hanukkah gift. Actually, I bought it more than a few weeks ago. I'm generally not good with the whole gift-giving thing, and when I do buy gifts, they tend to be the day before the occasion.

Anyway, since my wife will read this, she'll know that I have a gift and will now be wondering what it is. I won't be sharing that here or with her!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Tale of Two Teams

Last night, I switched back and forth between OLN for the Penguins-Blues hockey game and ESPN2 which was showing highlights of 1995 AFC Championship game between the Steelers and Colts. The Penguins are just pathetic at this point and for some reason were on national TV on back-to-back nights. The only highlight was the great play of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, but as I wrote a few weeks ago, it does not matter who the goalie is, the team is still going to lose.

The Steeler highlights were much better to watch. It was fun seeing former Colts QB Jim Harbaugh say that Greg Lloyd was the only player he was scared of. I didn't realize (or I must have forgot) that current Steeler Chris Gardocki and annoying announcer Tony Siragusa were both on the Colts. I also forgot how great Kordell Stewart was in the Slash role and that he caught a TD pass in the game. Stewart really could have had a nice career as a Wide Receiver. In a completely unrelated note, if anyone wants to buy my Kordell Stewart jersey for the holidays, please let me know!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Florida Trip

As I wrote yesterday, my wife and I spent a nice and warm few days in Florida visiting my parents. We did have a few adventures along the way. First, we were honored to sit two rows in front a woman who sounded like a drunken Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies. She was extremely loud but made me laugh several times. She was constantly talking to the probably terrified person next to her and provided some wonderful quotes like, "You didn't think that you would sit next to an old woman telling you the secrets of life" and "I'm the Christmas elf thing." I also heard her say "Tower Power" (I believe in reference to cell phone towers) and Bermuda Triangle Phenomenon (possibly describing herself). Good times all around especially when I had XM radio on very loudly.

Another highlight was a trip to the Festival Marketplace Mall, which is a super flea market. There is a huge mix of nice stuff and junk. Festival features more wig stores per capita than anywhere else I've ever been.

In all seriousness, it was nice getting away for a few days and to see my family and friends. The 75 degree weather and ocean weren't so bad either.

Monday, December 12, 2005

My Return

I've been in south Florida the past few days escaping the whole winter thing that is here in the DC area. I'll talk about the trip tomorrow, but I wanted to share a quick observation about AirTran. This was the first AirTran experience and I really enjoyed the fact that they had XM radio on the plane and gave everyone free headphones. However, there was no XM radio on the flights back. Why not have XM available on all flights or at least on both portions of the same flight.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Iron City Troubles

The Pittsburgh Brewing Company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Although all Pittsburghers and Iron City lovers hope things turn out OK, I had to laugh at the following line from the Post-Gazette story: "Iron City beer has been a staple at Western Pennsylvania weddings, funerals, picnics and sporting events for more than 100 years." (I added the bold text.) Apparently, nothing says a funeral like Iron City!

When my brother was in college, he had a marketing internship with the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. He was paid in beer. I believe it was two cases every two weeks, but I'll have to confirm that with him.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Much to Discuss

Since it's December, why not start with the winter sport of, um, baseball. The Pirates made their most significant move since the free agent signings of Derek Bell and Pat Mears in trading for Upper St. Clair native Sean Casey (who because we share the same first name is welcome to add posts here). There seems to be a lot of excitement in Pittsburgh about the move and has temporarily knocked the worry about the Steelers off the front of the sports page. In a somewhat related note, are the Pirates worried that Brad Eldred could become the next Ron Wright or Mark Johnson (it's OK if you don't know who they are)?

Grammy nominations will be announced tomorrow. The favorites to receive the most nominations are Kanye West, Gwen Stefani and Mariah Carey. I'm guessing Kelly Clarkson and Black Eyed Peas will also get a good number of nominations.

Here's something about a real winter sport: hockey. I went to the Washington Capitals game this past Saturday night and saw them beat the New York Rangers 5-1. Rookie Alexander Ovechkin had a goal and three assists and was clearly the most dominant player on the ice, including future Hall-of-Famer Jaromir Jagr.

Finally, congrats to JQ for winning on Jeopardy tonight There was some difficult subjects (Barry Manilow songs?), but he was able to survive and will be back on Thursday.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'll Take Therapists for $100

Ladies and gentlemen, start your Tivos. JQ will be appearing on Jeopardy on Wednesday, so check your local listings.

I Love Snow

Actually, I love the reaction to people in the DC area to snow. A couple of inches on the ground, and everyone freaks out. There are many schools closed or opening two hours late today. Here is the current list of closings/delays. I've said this before, but people in Minnesota, Vermont and upstate New York are laughing at us.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Positive News

The University of Pittsburgh basketball team was supposed to receive their first test this season in tonight's game against Auburn. Although Auburn was picked to finish near the bottom of the SEC standings, they are still in the SEC, so I am pleasantly surprised by Pitt's 37-point win. The fact that Pitt out-rebounded Auburn by 21 and shot 57% from 3 are both very positive signs.

Frustrated Incorporated

I am using this post as therapy. It is probably better to share my feeling in writing than to keep them inside, so here I go. The Steelers did everything they could to lose the game against Cincinnati today. Three interceptions on poor decisions by Ben Roethlisberger, a lost fumble by Hines Ward, three fumbles (2 by Parker and 1 by Staley) that were lucky not to be recovered by the Bengals, penalties at bad times of the game and an awful performance by the defense who produced 0 turnovers, 1 sack, little pressure on Carson Palmer and allowed Rudi Johnson to have a big game. After losing three straight games to go to 7-5 overall, the playoffs look doubtful. The Bengals pretty much clinched the division today, so the Steelers are fighting with Jacksonville (9-3), Kansas City and San Diego for the two wild card spots. KC and San Diego have tough schedules the rest of the season but have also looked much better than the Steelers over the past few weeks.

To be positive, so I'll end with these two items. Thanks to Washington's CBS affiliate (WUSA) for showing the Steelers/Bengals game over the Ravens game. Second, it was nice to see the Nextel commercial with the two guys dancing to the Salt N Pepa song "Push It" again. Makes me smile every time I see or think about it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thanksgiving Adventure

I know it has been a week since Thanksgiving, but I wanted to share a story about the day. My primary contribution to helping with the Thanksgiving meal was to go to the store and buy the ingredients. While I got everything at Giant (the grocery store around the corner), they were out of shredded Swiss cheese. No big deal, so I went to Harris Teeter which is about a mile away. No luck there. I then tried Trader Joe's about a 1/2 mile from Harris Teeter, but they were closed for Thanksgiving. At this point, I went to Safeway about 2 miles from Harris Teeter. It is amazing how many types of shredded cheese they had, but no Swiss. Actually, they didn't even sell a block of Swiss cheese. How can a store have absolutely no Swiss cheese? At this point I was determined to find shredded Swiss cheese. Next stop: a Hispanic grocery store just down the street from Safeway. You can guess how I did there. Finally, I went to a different Giant about 7 miles away where I found what I was looking for (maybe shredded Swiss cheese was what Bono was referring to).

You may be asking (if you even made it this far), why did I go to six stores to buy shredded Swiss cheese? The answer goes back to my role in preparation for the Thanksgiving meal. When I said that my primary contribution was to buy the ingredients, I should have said it was my ONLY contribution (well, besides eating the food). I felt it was my duty and responsibility to find the cheese. Maybe someone moved my cheese, but I was going to find it. I should also add that we do not own a grater, which will probably be holiday purchase I make for our home.

The end result was that I found the cheese and the food was good!