Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Newspapers, Letters & the Future

It seems somewhat appropriate to write this particularly with the identity of Deep Throat being revealed today. Last week, David McCullough, the historian and author or Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies of Harry Truman and John Adams was on washingtonpost.com for a chat. He was asked if he thought newspapers were going to disappear. This was his reply:

"I doubt very much that newspapers will disappear altogether. What's of far greater concern to me is the fact that very few people write letters any longer, or keep diaries and it's in the letters and diaries of people from other times that we can really find them and hear their voices. It's our way of getting beneath the surface. And alas, we are going to leave very few letters and diaries and so it's going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for future historians and biographers to know what we really felt and have had on our minds. The flavor and humanity of our times will be considerably harder to measure and appreciate without letters and diaries that survive into the future."

This struck me for several reasons. First, newspapers (particularly The Washington Post) had a huge impact with Watergate, but I doubt that a newspaper or group of newspapers could have that type of impact today.

Second, how will blogs, e-mails, etc. from today be viewed in 50 or 100 years? For me, I keep (much to the dismay of my wife) any card or letter that I receive. I also seem to keep most of my emails (I have about 1000 messages in my Yahoo in box). However, after a few years, I won't print them out; I'll just delete them. So if a historian is writing a book on me (unlikely), he/she probably won't see this blog (I guess I could print everything) and would only find birthday and holiday cards.

I have no idea where I'm going with this. I just thought it was interesting. Feel free to comment and discuss.

Monday, May 30, 2005

May Updates

I've covered a wide variety of topics over the past month, and wanted to give an update of some of the things written here.

* Thanks to everyone for the Coupling comments. Although I have only watched four episodes, I really enjoy the show. I did a little research and found that the first four seasons are on DVD. It's a very odd DVD cover since it includes the primary characters from the first three seasons and the guy who starts in Season 4. It looks like they were all there from the beginning.

* I need to thank Christine for correcting what is said for the bubble wrap website. I thought the woman's voice says "must have war." Apparently, it is "must have more." Either way, it's pretty creepy. I'm not endorsing visiting the website (although popping bubble wrap is fun), but here is the link. As a side note, the website is from Latvia. I have no idea how I now have links to a website in Latvia and one in Indonesia. Maybe I'm becoming the UN of blogs.

* I was a referee for a pretty big soccer tournament over the weekend. Putting sunscreen in my hair seems to have worked as I'm not red and burned. The sunscreen also seems to work like hair gel.

* Although it was technically from April, I took some of the book suggestions from Marc & Nick. Augustine Burroughs (author of Running with Scissors) had a really screwed up childhood. I wasn't ready to go right into his second book, but will probably read it later this summer. I'm almost finished with Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horowitz. I've always been a big history fan, so the Civil War history part has been really intriguing. The people Horowitz meets are fascinating even if many of their views are a little (or a lot) out there. Hitchhiker's Guide is probably next on my book list.

* The home warranty company may pay for the repairs to the refrigerator. Here's my question. Let's say the cost of the parts and labor is $500. It makes sense to me to see if the company will give us $250-$300 towards a brand new one. It would save the company a few hundreds bucks and they won't have to be responsible for the refrigerator if there are future problems (which there probably will be with an old fridge). Do warranty companies do this?

Have a good week!!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Star Wars Review

I saw Star Wars, Episode Three last night. I really enjoyed the movie and it answered a lot of the questions to the original Star Wars movies. However, one question remained unanswered...how did the Rick Moranis character become Dark Helmet? I don't understand why George Lucas did not address this.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Spice Girls News

Major news...the Spice Girls may be reuniting to perform at Live Aid II. While I realize that the Spice Girls are viewed primarily as a joke these days, I think they are extremely underrated. Did you know they had 9 #1 hits in the UK? I remember hearing that they share the record (with a group called the Beatles) of consecutive #1 hits to start a career. For better or worse, they have had a huge affect on popular culture. They changed the pop music world. Seriously. The "girl power" motto had a huge impact on the performers who debuted during and right after their tenure: Britney, Christina, Jessica and Mandy Moore. Everyone knew that they weren't the best singers but it was about catchy songs and they entertained the audience. It was part singing/part acting, but all entertaining.

They were brought together during an audition process. The Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync were major stars following their mold. While those two bands may have been created more in the New Kids template, would someone have tried to do that same formula without the Spice Girls' success? Anyway, the Spice Girls were formed (or at least managed) by a guy named Simon Fuller. While I can't stand the show, you may know Fuller as the creator of American Idol, who was only watched by 29+ million people. It may be a bit of a stretch, but the Spice Girls may be somewhat responsible for reality shows where people compete for jobs (American Idol, Making the Band, The Apprentice, The Contender, etc.)

Or maybe I just like the song Wannabe!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Refrigerator Diaries

You may remember earlier this year, I wrote about my continuous problems with the heat in my home. There have also been problems with our refrigerator. In the last few weeks, it has been worse. We regularly find puddles of water next to the refrigerator and a few times, the drinks on the top shelf have become frozen even though the temperature was never changed.

Today, we had a repair person check out the frig. There are several parts that need to be replaced such as the evaporation drain, compressor drain and F.F. gasket. I honestly have no idea what these things are or what F.F. stands for but I know that it's not worth it to pay $300+ for parts (not including labor) for an old refrigerator. Besides realizing that we need to buy a new refrigerator (there goes the soccer ref $$), I'm extremely frustrated with the warranty company. When we bought our home in September, we got a 1-year warranty to cover the major appliances and equipment. Well, the warranty didn't cover the heat problems and does not cover fixing the frig (or give us $ towards purchasing a new frig). Needless to say, I have no idea why we have the warranty or what it does. I'm going to call the warranty company to complain on Thursday or Friday, but I know nothing is going to happen. I guess I just want to vent.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Stress Solution

Updated 5/25 6:50am

This is now the third version of this post. I have found that a great way to relieve stress is to pop bubble wrap. Seriously, popping bubble wrap is fun. Anyway, I had a link here where you can pop bubble wrap online. However, when you click the fresh start button to get a new sheet of bubble wrap, there was a disturbing voice that I believe says must have war. So, I've taken the link away. Popping real bubble wrap is much better.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Harry Potter Blog

Just for fun, I decided to hit the "next blog" button on the top right corner of this page. The blog that I found is about Harry Potter, which I like. However, there's one catch: the site is Harry Potter Indonesia. Part of the blog (a very small part) is written in English, but I'm having a lot of problems understanding the rest of it, aside from words Snape, Harry and Gryffindor.

Weekend Observations

* I went to a very nice fine arts festival on Saturday. I think the difference between an arts festival and a "fine" arts festival is at the latter, most people will not be able to afford the art. I did see a very nice sculpture for $17,000. Sculpture or car? I'll go with a car.

* One of the highlights of the festival was giant sculptures of fruit. My wife heard a parent tell her kid not to kiss the fruit. I guess it's good to love art from a young age.

* Both of my fantasy baseball teams are terrible. I'm really close to giving up on the season and it's not even Memorial Day. When does fantasy football start?

* I watched the Preakness yesterday, which was a great race. However, with Afleet Alex's near fall, one of my favorite parts of racing didn't happen. I love when the announcer says "and down the stretch they come!" That's got to be one of the best lines in sports and life.

* I also watched the show Coupling on BBC America for the first time this weekend. I realize the show has been around many years and the American version bombed, but it's a very funny show.

* I need some advice. While being a soccer referee this weekend, I was smart enough to actually remember my sunscreen. However, I'm a little red on the top of my forehead and scalp, where my hair is not as thick as it used to be. Am I supposed to put sunscreen in my hair?

* I overheard a mother of a 9 year-old girl in today's soccer game yelling at the kid to push the opponent. Nice sportsmanship!

* I haven't done a lyric of the week for a while, so here's one I heard on the radio today. The lyric is from the 1999 (I think) song "Better Days" by Citizen King.

"I've seen the better days. I've been the star of many plays." I'm guessing that the singer was also the star of many musicals, but days and plays were easier to rhyme.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Star Wars Commercials

On Wednesday of this week, Dan mentioned that he finds the current Darth Vader Burger King commercials hilarious. I completely agree and also like the Diet Pepsi commercials featuring Yoda. However, I think I've found the best commercial on TV. Unfortunately, I'm guessing no one outside of the DC metropolitan area and the state of Virginia has seen it. The commercial is for the Virginia lottery's new "hot scratchers" (which is a phrase that can sound bad out of context). Anyway, the commercial features a fake band singing a song called I'm So Hot, going along with the "hot" theme of the new scratchers. The band is a combination of Right Said Fred (the group who sang I'm Too Sexy)/Mike Myers' Saturday Night Live character, Dieter. I'm trying to find the lyrics of the song, but have had no luck. When I find them, I'll post it. It's very funny.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

America West/US Airways Merger

As you may have heard, it's official...America West and US Air are going to merge. While my first thought is how the merger will affect jobs (particularly in Pittsburgh), has anyone heard how the merger will deal with the frequent flyer miles? I have enough miles for one free flight on US Air and almost one for America West. I hope they combine, but that's probably being optimistic.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Britney's TV Show

While I was busy complaining last night that there was nothing on TV, no one told me that the Britney Spears-Kevin Federline TV show debuted on UPN. The Washington Post's style columnist Tom Shales wrote an article about the show. Here are some of his thoughts:

One sure thing about Britney Spears's new reality TV show: There's no danger of anyone ever dumbing it down. A dumber downer would potentially be lethal.

Incredibly, Spears and hubby Kevin Federline took "credit" for the cinematography on the show, which was done by them on a standard-issue home video camera with more out-of-focus scenes, blurry wild pans and unintelligible visual gibberish than something shot by a 2-year-old child or a 100-year-old granny. Actually, there is no need to insult children and grandmothers here.

Then onto something else, like a view of two mounds accompanied by Spears's narration: "They look like boobs but they're not. They're my knees."

The least that the smutty-mouthed, pudgy-faced brat could have done was to give her fans a musical number or two, but no. Entertainment was banned on the show, unless you count Spears gigglingly interrogating those around her with questions about "marriage and commitment and relationships . . . and stuff."

Federline, who has bad posture, no personality and wears diamond studs in his ear, didn't really figure in the proceedings...Later, at their hotel, he was asked by Spears to philosophize: "I feel that love is love," he declared. "Love is a commitment." And, a moment later: "Love, it is what it is. It's everything. Everything."

[Spears] also repeatedly asked her pals to describe their favorite sexual position, a needlessly tasteless touch for a star whose fans include little girls of 10 and younger.

I guess that he didn't like the show or Britney and Kevin. HOW DID I MISS THIS!?!?!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Academy of Country Music Awards Notes

Yes you are reading that title correctly. Since I refuse to watch American Idol, there is NOTHING on TV tonight. Mostly by accident, I found the Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS. So I am creating notes like I did for the Grammys and Oscars. Here we go:

8:00pm - The show starts with Gretchen Wilson performing. Who knew she had a song other than "Redneck Woman?"

8:04 - In the front row of the audience is the very country, um, Blue Man Group. I saw their show and don't remember any country music.

8:05 - Big question of the night: is Renee Zellweger going to be at the ceremony with Kenny Chesney? Is there a person who got more fame as quick as Kenny Chesney? Actually, yes. Mr. Britney Spears.

8:10 - Keith Urban is performing in London to show that country music is international. Just wondering, is their a performer named Keith Rural or Keith Suburban?

8:13ish - (I stopped keeping track of time) - The first commercial of the night is for Dr. Pepper. The commercial features the music of the famous country singer, um, Meatloaf.

Montgomery Gentry is now performing. Apparently, that is the name of the two guys. One of them (Montgomery?) is wearing a cowboy hat (he's obviously bald/balding) while the other guy (Gentry?) is not wearing a hat since he has hair. The cowboy hat-wearing guy seems to be wearing carpet. How do they decide on their wardrobe? I wonder if Montgomery Ward has the same problem.

Great awards show. There are no awards, just performances.

I just realized that the awards show is being held in the home of country music, um, Las Vegas. I guess that explains why the Blue Man Group is there. Renee Zellweger is not there.

Next performance is by Big & Rich. The one guy (Big?) looks a lot like Tom Petty with the long blond hair and the mad hatter hat.

8:32 - My wife is tired of watching this and changes the channel. I don't object.

Monday, May 16, 2005

My Weekend & the Supreme Court

For my birthday, my wife surprised me with a weekend bed and breakfast trip to Culpeper, Virginia. We stayed at the beautiful Fountain Hall B&B. During the weekend trip, we visited James & Dolly Madison's place, Montpelier, which is under major renovation. It should be very nice...in 2008. We also visited two wineries and tasted many types of wine (and bought a few as well). So what does all of this have to do with the Supreme Court? The Court ruled 5-4 that states can't bar out-of-state wine shipments. I think this is a very good decision. It just seems silly to me that if you live in New York and want to buy wine from a Virginia winery, you could not do it before the Supreme Court decision. Next, maybe the Court (or at least states) can change some of the outdated alcohol laws, such as the Pennsylvania state store system.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Quiz Time

I haven't posted a quiz on here for a while, but a friend forwarded me this senses challenge.

Good luck! I got 9 out of 20.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Since I'm still awake, I might as well wish Happy Birthday to myself. I am officially 30 at 12:13pm Eastern time. Am I supposed to feel much older now? Maybe more mature? Maybe I should just go to sleep so that I can enjoy the day tomorrow (well, today)!

Oh, if you live in the Northern VA area, there's a birthday party tonight. You're welcome to join us!

Celebrity Sighting...in Mississippi!

Yes, I did actually see a celebrity in Mississippi today/yesterday (Thursday). I'll get more to the sighting a little later, but I wanted to share a few anecdotes from my trip. I left on Tuesday morning for Gulfport/Biloxi, Mississippi and stayed until earlier this afternoon at the Beau Rivage. The Beau Rivage is a hotel and casino owned by the MGM/Bellagio group. The hotel and the place where I visited for work was right on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. A somewhat odd area in that there is a combination of casinos, condo being built, random beach-type shops, at least 4 Waffle Houses and a few "adult" stores right along a 10-mile plus stretch. I forgot to mention there is also some beautiful Antebellum (if that's the word I'm looking for) homes along with Jefferson Davis' summer (or possibly winter) retreat. Anyway, here are some thoughts:

- Mississippi is in the Central time zone. Maybe someone in Chicago can help me with this. Scrubs, which is on at 9:00pm Eastern is on at 8:00 Central. However, Good Morning America and the Today Show are on at 7:00am in both time zones. I don't get it.

- The local weather forecast for Wednesday said 83 degrees with 98% humidity with a caption that said "summer-like." Um, that's not summer-like; that's summer.

- Funniest line from the trip and I can't remember the exact quote. When I checked into the Beax Rivage, I talked to the woman about the various entertainers who perform there. Apparently, Diana Ross was there for a show within the last few weeks. The hotel employee said she was amazed at how many people came to see someone who is washed up! I wonder if the other Supremes were smiling.

- It's nice going out for supper instead of dinner.

- Listed as hobbies on a resume I reviewed: Own and raise purebred horses for site and show with wife. Hmmmm.

If you made it this far, thank you. I haven't written anything for 3 days, so bear with me. As for the celebrity sighting, I saw Vanessa Williams today. You may know her as former Miss America, actress, signer (the song from Pocahontas) and former (I think) wife of former NBA player Rick Fox. Anyway, she was at the cabana area of the hotel pool today with four or five other people, and is performing at the Beau Rivage on Friday. I never expected to see a celebrity on the trip.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Trip to the DMV

My cab to the airport is not picking me up for another 30 minutes. Therefore, I was able to spend some quality time this morning at the Department of Motor Vehicles. What a wonderful place! A place where you can interact with people of all cultures and backgrounds. Where everyone is friendly and smiling. In reality, a place where a guy who was taking one of the pre-driving tests was actually caught cheating today. How? He had someone with him to translate the questions. Apparently, the translator (not a DMV employee, just some guy who came with the guy taking the test) was also giving him the answers. One of the DMV employees who speaks four languages heard the translator giving the answers, and the guy failed. The translator/translatee (if this is a word) left without incident, although I was hoping that the security guard, who told me the whole story, would tackle the cheaters and take them out back.

Anyway, my driver's license is not renewed until May of 2010. Plus, my height remains OFFICIALLY at 5'7" even though I'm really closer to 5'6 & 1/2"

Monday, May 09, 2005

Headin' Out

I'm getting the opportunity to travel for work over the next few days, but I probably will not be able to blog until I get back late Thursday night.

If you are wondering where I am going, I'll give you a hint. The state that has 4 S's, 4 I's and 2 P's in its name!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Weekend Notes

I had a nice trip to Pittsburgh this weekend. Nothing extremely exciting; just nice to visit family. I did have a few thoughts from the weekend that I wanted to share...

- It's interesting to see Houston Astros Mike Lamb is also running for Pittsburgh's mayor. I don't know how he has the time for both.

- This may be the first and only time this ever happens. There was NO construction on the PA Turnpike between Breezewood and Monroeville in either direction. Inconceivable! There are actually signs on the turnpike saying tax dollars at work, the construction has been completed one year ahead of schedule.

- I like chocolate and I like Lucky Charms, but I'm not so sure about Chocolate Lucky Charms. It was on sale so I'm going to try it. I'll keep you posted.

- I know I'm not the first person to make this observation, but the Pirates (13-17) have a better record than the Yankees (13-19). That's just nice to type. I wonder if the fire Joe Torre campaign is just as intense as the fire Lloyd McClendon one.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

What's Worse?

Seeing a guy reading a Nicholas Sparks book on the Metro yesterday or the fact that he was wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I'm celebrating by, um, posting this message, doing laundry and packing for a weekend trip to Pittsburgh. Today is also the birthday of Family Ties' Tina Yothers. That's worth celebrating, right?

On an unrelated note, Monster-in-Law starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda looks like it could be the worst movie in years. I predict many Razzie nominations.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

MTV Holocaust Special Documentary

As I am typing this, MTV is showing "I'm Still Here," a documentary where celebrities read diary entries written by children during the Holocaust. I want to applaud MTV not only for airing the documentary, but also for showing it during Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). I'm not trying to funny or critical, but it seems odd having commercials during the documentary for the Blazin Reggae CD set, Jamster (customized cell phone ring tones) and movie previews for Star Wars, House of Wax and The Longest Yard. If you missed it, hopefully MTV will show the documentary again.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Major Pittsnogle News

This just in from SI.com (here's a plug for JQ): WVU student and basketball player (and Sean's Ramblings favorite), Kevin Pittsnogle has declared for the NBA draft. He has not yet hired an agent. Stay tuned for further information.

I hope that Mrs. Pittsnogle drops a note to say hi and let us know how she and the family are doing.

Random Stuff

- To celebrate being able to eat real food again, we went out to Uno's tonight. I haven't been to Uno's in many months, but the restaurant is trying to show that it is classier by having the wait-staff wear ties and not name tags. So how do you remember the name of your waiter or waitresses? They hand-write their names on cocktail napkins. Mike was unforgettable throughout the meal.

- I noticed two Alaska license plates in the park-n-ride parking lot today. If you are driving all the way to Northern Virginia from Alaska, you may as well drive the extra few miles to DC.

- I don't talk about the NBA very often, but I like the Washington Wizards decision to suspend Kwame Brown for the rest of the playoffs. He missed several practices and I believe last night's playoff game because of an alleged stomach virus. He has been a total bust here in DC as the #1 overall pick. He could do well somewhere else, but it's not happening here.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Over the last few years, I have noticed more and more players have theme songs before they bat to get them pumped up. When I went to the Nationals game a few weeks ago, the PA guy/DJ played "Walking in Memphis" by Marc Cohn before one of the players came to bat. While I like the song, this was the most random song I have ever heard before a player batted. Fortunately, since the Nats are so new, they don't have theme songs yet, so it Walking in Memphis was only played once (what an awful sentence!).

Anyway, it got be thinking. If (when?) I become a major league baseball player, what song would I want before I went to bat? Here are some thoughts:

Ready to Go - Republica
It Take Two - Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock
Most Nelly songs (particularly "Shake Ya Tail Feather" with P Diddy & Murphy Lee)
The Distance - Cake
(Just to throw off the pitcher) Man, I Feel Like a Woman - Shania Twain

Sunday, May 01, 2005


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