12.20.2008

David Hasselhoff and a bunch of Mormons go to Vegas.....

It's a good thing Max Hall doesn't have good enough vision to see what's going on around him, and it's hard to believe a Mormon named Bronco could look this awkward stuck between a black man and a showgirl.

12.16.2008

Minnesot-ah!

Here are a few reasons I am happy to live in Minnesota right now.
  • Still no sales tax on clothes or shoes of ANY price.
  • We'll definitely have a white Christmas this year.
  • Even in snow, driving doesn't hurt as much anymore.
  • The end is in sight.
  • This store at the MOA.
  • This restaurant being 20 minutes away.
  • Heaven less than a mile away.
  • Being close enough to home to get the ingredients, if I run out, for the Christmas treat!

12.14.2008

Modern Journalism

Is this really the most newsworthy item happening in the world right now?
Apparently, since every news outlet, whether it be ET, Inside Edition, Anderson Cooper, MSNBC, The Soup, Regis and Kelly, The View etc., etc., etc., made it their top story last week. I guess the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over. Every African country is at peace with itself. World hunger has been cured, global warming is over and the U.S. economy is nearing heights it hasn't seen in 54 decades.
I love how entertainment "news" shows now seem to be on par with "hard hitting" news shows.
Celebrities have overtaken top news stories and we all have the 24 hour news crawl announcing Brad and Jen's divorce to thank for the mainstreaming of all things celebri-news. Personally, I'm just glad that I can find out what Britney's favourite gas station snack is since 8364 paparazzi's are there capturing it on film to sell to the highest bidder.
That's my pet peeve for today! Thanks for reading.

12.04.2008

Calling All Exercisers

So the unthinkable has happened...I have gone back to the gym. I know, I know, it's only been two days, but it's been two days in a row! This news won't solve any economic crisis or create world peace, but small steps kids, small steps.
Now this is where I need your help. In making the decision to get back on the exercise track, I have discovered that when shuffle is chosen on the ipod most of the songs seem to belong to Mark and we all know Mark and I have nothing in common when it comes to music, except maybe Kelly Clarkson. So most of my work out time is spent fast forwarding through his tunes to try to find some of mine. While I love my tunes, not all of them lend themselves to keeping the motivation up, so I need your help to put together a good gym mix. What are your faves?
Just one thing to keep in mind... I have music ADD like no one else. Even on songs I love, if I can get through 2/3 of a song, it's either a fabulous song, or I haven't heard it in forever (like Young MC's Bust A Move) but usually I will fast forward to a new song or turn to a different channel on the radio.
So give me some rocking, beat blasting, mind focusing tunes!!

12.01.2008

Music

Jeff has posted quite a bit about music and his favorite songs and it got me wondering what my favorite songs are and why. I've previously listed my favorite all-time music videos, but wanted to try something different today. For those that know me, you have seen my eclectic taste in music. So what makes some music, or some musicians, great? I think more than the beat, lyrics or genre it comes down to feeling the emotion behind the music. Some musicians are simply creations of producers looking to send mindless pop to impressionable youth without any substance or feeling behind it with the purpose of making millions of dollars (see most eighties and nineties pop music for an example). When I listen to music I want something that I can feel because the person singing it is "in it". So without further ado, here are some songs and artists that I think personify being "in it" and created great music:

Otis Redding: watch this video and I think you'll agree that Usher doesn't have enough soul to wipe up Mr. Redding's ball sweat after a show.

The Who gave voice to a whole generation.

Sam Cooke: this is change you can believe in.

Marvin Gaye: listening to this gives me a little songasm every time.

Eric Clapton: whether it's Layla, Tears in Heaven or numerous others, you can always feel his music.

Queen. Three words, Freddie F'n Mercury.

Nirvana makes me want to chase the dragon more than anything else, except maybe Lou Reed singing.

What do you think? Who did I miss?

11.28.2008

Happiness

So it's the time of year again when we reflect on the things we are thankful for, wake up the next morning to fight people for material posessions, spend a month worrying about money, family and social situations, enjoy time off, set new goals and immediately become disappointed in ourselves for not keeping our resolutions. For those who don't remember my views on Christmas, you can find them here. I can probably add shopping on Black Friday to my things I hate list. So today while shopping I spent a good portion of the day wondering why there are so many miserable individuals on Earth and remembered a fantastic research report on Happiness printed a few years ago. Now when I think of Happiness the last thing I think of is investment bankers, but James Montier, formerly of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, wrote this brilliant article on the psychology of Happiness. I highly recommend everyone read this. For a summary, here are the 10 ways you can improve your happiness, in no particular order:
  1. Don’t equate happiness with money. People adapt to income shifts relatively quickly, the long lasting benefits are essentially zero.
  2. Exercise regularly. Regular exercise is an effective cure for mild depression and anxiety. It also stimulates more energy, and is good for the mind and body.
  3. Have sex (preferably with someone you love). Need I say more?
  4. Devote time and effort to close relationships. Confiding and discussing problems and issues is good for happiness, so work on these relationships.
  5. Pause for reflection, meditate on the good things in life. Focusing on the good aspects of life helps to prevent hedonic adaptation.
  6. Seek work that engages your skills, look to enjoy your job. Doing well at work creates happiness, and the easiest way of doing well at work, is doing a job you enjoy.
  7. Give your body the sleep it needs. Too many people have a sleep deficit, resulting in fatigue, gloomy moods and lack of concentration.
  8. Don’t pursue happiness for its own sake, enjoy the moment. Because people don’t understand what makes them happy, pursuing happiness can be self-defeating. Additionally, if people start to aim for happiness they are doing activities for happiness’s sake rather than actually enjoying the activity itself.
  9. Take control of your life, set yourself achievable goals. People are happiest when they achieve their aims, so set yourself goals which stretch you, but are achievable.
  10. Remember to follow rules 1-9. Following these guidelines sounds easy, but actually requires willpower and effort.

I try to do each of these things at least once a month, some I try to do a lot more than that but I'm not always successful. If you want more information on the first step, I recomend you read Mr. Montier's follow-up piece which was titled "It doesn't pay: Materialism and the pursuit of happiness"; I couldn't find a link but will happily send the report to anyone who wants it. A suggest the men also read the footnotes in the report as it quotes other studies that confirm what we all know, such as: "In Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwarz and Stone (2003) Measuring the quality of life, the authors found that among a sample of 1000 employed women that sex was rated retrospectively as the activity that produces the largest amount of happiness. Commuting turns out to be the least pleasurable activity. Also Blanchflower and Oswald (2004) Money, Sex and Happiness, find that sexual activity enters strongly into happiness equations."

Hopefully everyone finds this helpful and enjoys the holidays.

11.26.2008

Paper or Plastic?

Whatever happened to grocery baggers? Where did they all go? Has that job been eliminated due to the recent economic woes? are grocery baggers always the first to be let go?
When we lived in NYC, I will admit I loved Fresh Direct. There is something wonderful about getting groceries while wearing flannel penguin pjs, and having them delivered directly to my door. However, I do enjoy grocery shopping in an actual grocery store (call me weird, it won't be the first time). So when we moved back to suburbia, I was a wee bit excited to go grocery shopping and be able to buy whatever quantity I wanted because I had a trunk and backseat to put the groceries in, not a small granny cart with 2 wobbly wheels. Yesterday though I wasn't too excited about the whole process...maybe it was because T didn't want to be there, or that there seemed to be many more shoppers than usual for a Tuesday afternoon (thanks Thanksgiving!), or most likely because when T did finally start to fall asleep, everyone and their dog had to come up and start talking to her "oh you're a wide awake shopper, aren't you?" Actually yes, she usually shops with her eyes half closed. Then when it is finally time to leave and I have a 15 pound turkey and hordes of other items...the check out lady decides it would be better to continue pushing the button to make the conveyor belt move so that all of my food smashes together at the end of the belt. No bagger in sight, it's all me. Once said items are paid for we begin the task, which I usually don't have a problem with, but T is crying, a strange, random woman is talking to T, and the check out lady is just standing there, pushing that stupid button that makes the belt move...like that helps me...I can push it myself!!
So while Paula Cole asks Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? I ask Where Have All the Baggers Gone?

11.25.2008

Can't Hardly Wait

Just one month to go!!

11.22.2008

Sweet Anticipation

With the down turned economy, job losses, show cancellations and other all around crappy news... it makes January that much more sweeter. My countdown has begun. Oh how I can not wait!

11.21.2008

For the Love of...

With all that's going on with the economy, I have one more to add to Jeff's timely list. Thanks to celebrities, head shrinkers will never need to worry about job security... well, thanks to celebrities who have kids.

11.19.2008

Schwetty Balls*

Aren't you glad you live in a world where this is news? I know I sure am.

*Who doesn't love Alec Baldwin on SNL?

11.18.2008

Been Caught Stealing

Let the madness begin!!
Every year I look through ads and wonder...do I really need something THAT badly to awake before the dead? Kill someone for a parking spot? Spend 8.5 hours in a line...all for 10% off an item that I could have bought the day before? Of course not. Will I go out and spend countless hours muttering how I hate people? Probably. Will I come home with purchases? Probably not.
At least when I go, most of the crowds have gone home. True, most things have been picked over, but there is never anything I really need that badly to wake up at 4AM. These days sleep is worth much more than 10% off. Lucky for me that most of the stores I would shop at are all within half a mile from each other, and my house. I could go over the night before, put a chair in line, go home and show up 30 minutes before the store opened, refreshed, showered and with a mug of steaming hot chocolate and a croissant and reclaim my seat...that is unless some unruly line stander had a meltdown because the doors didn't open early enough and smashed my chair to pieces...you don't want to mess with early morning shoppers - they think you might be there to steal the dancing Christmas Santa for 50% off!
So what say you? Will you be participating this year?

11.17.2008

Roundabout

Ever see a commercial or hear a song and you just can't get it out of your head? I know, stupid question, we all have that happen to us....but lately I have found one particular commercial and one particular song stuck on a constant loop playing through my head and it's very annoying. Usually one replaces the other, so it's not like I get a break or anything.
I thought since I seem to be suffering with these annoyances, I would share them with you in the hopes of having some company during my misery.
What songs/commercials do you have running relentlessly through your head at any time of day or night? And how do you get rid of them??

11.14.2008

This post is too bootylicious

In another "What's Up With The Smith's" exclusive, I recently interviewed Beyonce about her new album and life in general.

Mark: Beyonce, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions today.

Beyonce: No problem, after your interview with Stephenie Meyers I just had to sit down with you.

First question, did you decide to do a schizophrenic album after the success of Garth Brook's "Chris Gaines" album?

Who's Garth Brooks.

Did you realize Sasha Fierce is an anagram for Shiesa Farce?

No.

How do you respond to criticism that your new song "If I Were a Boy" is complete fiction because you never discuss scratching your nuts or masturbating into a sock?

If I Were a Boy is a great song.

Will your fans have enough money to buy your new album after their large donations to defeat Prop 8?

My fans are great.

Your mother's family is French, was it difficult to not raise the white flag after losing Star Search?

No.

You have been credited with writing most of your songs, after reading the lyrics for Bootylicious I have to ask, are you functionally retarded?

No comment.

Your new movie "Cadillac Records" is supposedly Oscar worthy, who do you think you'll lose to this time?

I'm a good actress.

You've ruined the careers of Mike Meyers and Steve Martin by starring alongside them in comedies, will you please do a movie with Dane Cook?

My comedies have been very successful.

Rihanna: bad singer, or worst singer?

Rihanna is good.

Is there a bigger tool than Puffy?

No.

Does Jay Z get annoyed with your dad micro-managing you in the bedroom?

My dad is great.

I think I'm ready for your jelly (wink, wink), what do you say?

No.

I'll call you Sasha and you can call me HOVA?

No.

11.12.2008

Thanks

A big thanks to Jeff for taking over the blog this week. I have been entertained, made to think and didn't get much work done while he held down the fort. Go check out his blog to stay entertained.

I will give you a bit of a warning that Jeff's enthusiasm for blogging has motivated me to be a little more active, so be prepared for more hatred, sarcasm and genital references.

I also want to point people to an awesome blog post from my brother Jared about his elk hunt this weekend. If you are at all interested in hunting than you need to check out the pictures and video of his trophy hunt. I would post them here, but The First Lady would freak out with a video of something being killed on our family friendly blog.

Welcome Back Kotter

We hope everyone enjoyed the change of pace here on the Smith blog. It's always nice to know what random thoughts go through other people's heads...and it seems Jeff has a lot of time to let those thoughts swirl around!! We appreciate the time he took to enlighten folks with such a myriad of topics...although perhaps bevy would be a better word?
I am sure in the days to come the blog will get back to housing my random and nonsensical thoughts and Mark's offensive and inappropriate words to ponder. Perhaps this year he will again share with us all of the many things he hates about Christmas. I am sure he has a few new things to add to his list.
There are many things going on right now in my head that might make good blog fodder, but I am not sure if I want to go there with them as I never seem to get my thoughts out on paper (virtual or real) in quite the right way. I was leafing through some papers I wrote back in the days of University and there seemed to be one common thread no matter what the topic , grade or subject...awkwardness. My thoughts make sense in my head, but apparently they don't make the journey to paper without a few casualties. However, if you ever want to read my thoughts on topics such as Eva Peron, Chernobyl, the Role of the Secretary General, the Death Penalty and a host of other random subjects, let me know! I can't promise mind altering arguments, but I can promise awkward wording and irrelevant subject matter. Thanks University Professors!
So until then, enjoy the musings of Dolphinsbarn and the calmness until Mark returns.

11.11.2008

Thanks Mark and Melanie

Thanks again to Mark and Melanie for letting me mess with their blog today. I really enjoyed writing here... if you were bored then you're in luck. I'm done for the day. However, if you did enjoy any of it, come visit me (and leave a comment or two) over at Dolphinsbarn

It's a constant party. No, seriously, it's crazy.

-Jeff

Part 2: Why baseball is actually the perfect sport or Why Kyle's post on football is dumb.

Part 2 of 2 (Here's part 1, and here's Kyle's original)- Why baseball is actually the perfect sport or Why Kyle's post on football is dumb.

6) Points (runs) actually mean something. Unlike the other major sports, baseball runs are actually worth something. In football you can easily score 34+ points in a game. In basketball 100 isn't unreasonable. With games that you can score so easily and in such large numbers, teams don't have to play the whole game. You can make up loads of ground in the second half or even last quarter. In baseball, every inning, and every out matters. Every player has to be prepared on every play to save the game.

7) The ball park is one place where you can spit and scratch your junk as often as you please. I was watching the ALCS this year when an on field camera frame (that had previously held a tight shot on the right fielder) was suddenly consumed by a players body from the waist down. Unbeknownst to the player, the camera continued to film him as he reached down and rearranged his furniture. He then waltzed off, never realizing what just went down. What other event lets this fly? None. It's part of baseball. Football is still recovering from JT & Janet's wardrobe malfunction. In baseball, dudes can be dudes.

8) There is more strategy involved in baseball than any other sport. Pinch hitters, finesse pitchers, closers, power pitchers, signal calling, place hitters, etc. The entire offense is dictated by the manager and players work together to achieve the goal. You can change so many facets of baseball: batting orders, five infielders, infield shift, outfield shift, intentional walks, defensive specialists, double switches, pinch hitters, double steals... it goes on and on. Professional baseball is a chess game that changes as the game progresses. It's not a finite number of plays in a playbook (like football), but a living game that uses interchangeable strategies to win depending on the current situation.

9) The better team wins. Time is not an issue. In football you have 4 quarters to complete the game. If you have a tie at the end of regulation, you have one of the worst tie break systems in pro sports (sudden death). In baseball, you have 9 innings to finish the game. If you are tied at the end of regulation, you play until one team bests the other. It's simple, elegant, and there is no controversy. It's not who has the ball last. The best team always wins.

10) Benches clear, batters charge the mound, pitchers go "head hunting." Hockey is just plain brutal, a football hit can end a player's careers. When there's emotion and violence in baseball, it's good old fashioned fist fights in a grass field. You can't get more manly then that.

11) It's the Great American Past Time. It just is. Get over it.

Look, you're talking to a football fan... I get it Kyle, football is exciting, hard hitting, and flashy. Football is the busty blonde that sits in the center of all the boys in class. She's hot, she's flirty, you love to hang her on your arm. Football's the sport you take out on a Friday night, hit it like a champ with in the back of your El Camino, and dump the next morning. Sure, she'll make you feel like a man for a few hours, but you'll always end up all empty & guilty when you drop her off.

But Baseball, Kyle... Baseball doesn't make you feel like a man, she straight up makes you a man. She's smart, reliable, consistent, and full of class. She's not just there to excite you on the weekend, she's there to spend time with every night of the week. She's the game you take home to meet your mom and out to hang with your friends. She's the game you court, marry, and teach your kids to love. She's deep, complex, powerful, and full of tradition and values.

That is why baseball is the perfect sport.

Why I like to blog again.

I started getting sick of my blog a few months ago. It seemed like every time I wrote anything I felt like it had to be an in depth discussion on something relevant. I was spending way too much time on writing and rewriting every post... eventually I got sick of it and was ready to quit. Around the same time, I got turned onto Twitter. Twitter helped me realize two things: 1) Not everyone cares about my overture posts. They were too long. People like succinct posts on interesting things. I needed to start thinking of my blog like a microfeed instead of a soapbox. 2) With fresh, consistent updating, people feel like they need to check back more often, and my click rate goes up. Win for the reader, win for me.

I don't feel overwhelmed to post anymore. While I'm going through drafts of my long posts, I keep my readers engaged (I think) by posting more often on little thoughts on stuff I read and see on a daily basis. It seems more interesting, I get more hits, and I like writing on my blog again. It's nice.

Style. You're a fickle beast.

The girls said I was too boring in my baseball post... How about this? It's about fashion.

Saw a kid with some crazy hair on my way in this morning. His hair was cut very short all over, except for a 7 inch rat tail. The rat tail was styled in two ways: half of it was slicked straight back (like a good rat tail should) but the second part was slicked up the back of his head and over it... all the way to his forehead (like a rat tail/Mohawk). I felt for the kid and wondered what in the world his mom was thinking. It made me think of my childhood, and three style mishaps I had.

1) In grade school, I pegged my pants (like this girl). The hallmarks of a sweet peg were its tightness and its ability to stay put for long periods of time. A good peg could withstand most of the day without being re-rolled. I remember feeling really stupid the first time I pegged my pants, but it went over so well at school, I thought it must be cool... I kept doing it.

I remember where I was and what grade (5th) I was when I stopped pegging. The bell had just rung to come in from recess. I was standing with a red kick ball and walking toward the building when a girl named Charlotte tapped me on the shoulder. She was a pretty and popular little girl, so I stopped and said, "hi." She didn't say hi. Instead she gave me this little number: "Jeff, we don't peg our pants anymore. It isn't cool." With that she walked away.

I bent down right then, unrolled my pants, and walked into the building feeling peggless and sad.

2) I was in 4th grade and I thought sweat pants and climbing on stuff was pretty awesome. I had climbed up on a volleyball standard in sweat pants and I was standing with my foot on the hook where the bottom of the net went, and holding on to the top hook to stabilize myself. I was fairly impressed with myself, and I stood up there swinging my free leg around.

Some of the girls that my friends and I had crushes on came walking by, including the girl I always went "steady" with. I yelled out to them, and kicked my free leg pretty fiercely, trying to show off. In my excitement, my leg standing on the hook slipped off of the hook and I began to fall straight down. The hook caught the leg of my sweats and as the girls looked on, I fell and my sweats tore all the way up the leg. I stood up quickly, not realizing that as I did, my pants flapped wide open, revealing the goods. In my humiliation, I didn't know what to do. I took off running for home.

3) In 8th grade I thought my sister (who was 4 years older than me) was the coolest. Because she was in high school, she always got more expensive, and nicer clothes than me. One day she was out shopping and came home with a white polo shirt with colored polka dots on it (it was the early 90's). I thought the shirt was pretty cool, told her so, and she said that it was a unisex shirt, so maybe I could wear it sometime. Looking back, I think she was just humoring her little brother by being nice, but I didn't know better & thought she was serious. One day when she had already left for school, I went into her closet, took the shirt, and decided to wear it to school. In my mind, I looked awesome. In the mirror, I blew myself away.

My first period was gym. We did the fun run that day, so I changed, ran, and afterward changed back. As I pulled the shirt from my locker, I remember feeling excited to wear it out into the halls again. I pulled the shirt over my head, shut my locker, turned to leave and heard, "Hey Jeff!" I turned and several of the really cool 9th graders were standing there. I figured they were going to compliment my shirt (since it was so awesome), and I said, "Oh, hey guys." One of the coolest (that I'd played baseball with for years) then said, "Nice shirt. Did your mom dress you?" and they all started laughing. I didn't really have any sort of comeback... knowing that my although my mom hadn't necessarily dressed me, my sister (in essence) had.

This is how it felt:


I guess at the end of the day, the kid with the rat tail is paying his dues on the way to being a normal adult... just like the rest of us. Lucky little devil.

Number one with a bullet... or eight bullets.

Skip the boycott. Ski instead.

Some people aren't comfortable with world leaders making out with the media.

As long as it doesn't conflict with the elk hunt.

Someone punch me in the face soft enough that I'll live, but hard enough that I'll forget about this.

One of the only crowds weirder than Harry Potter fans.

There are bigger issues than the election, media leaks, and Starbuck's 97% implosion... well, bigger than the election and media leaks anyway.

This creepy picture always gets loads of hits. I have no idea why. It's gross.

AIG=Zombie?

Part 1: Why baseball is actually the perfect sport or Why Kyle's post on football is dumb.

On October 30, Kyle had the audacity to call Football the "Perfect Sport." I took offense to this for two reasons.

1) Football is not the perfect sport (any sport that needs that many cameras for instant replay, cannot be called the perfect sport).

2) He sacrilegiously wrote this post in October, which every sport fan knows is owned by baseball. It's like French kissing your girlfriend's mom at the New Year's party. It's wrong Kyle... just wrong.

Anyway, in response to his post, I give you "Why baseball is the perfect sport, or, Why Kyle's post on football is dumb."

1) Baseball is by far the most team oriented sport. Although baseball begins with a one on one dynamic of pitcher vs. batter, its rules are designed to end each play with the ball in the field. Once the ball reaches the field, the game completely revolves around team play. Imagine a baseball game without a short stop, a first baseman, an outfielder, or a catcher. Without any one of the 9 positions that are active on the field, you could not play, or win a game. Professional batters are so good at place hitting that if you were missing any of the 8 fielding positions, they would dissect you over, & over, & over again. Sure, every player isn't active on every single play, but I give you a challenge: choose the best team in the NFL and remove an offensive lineman, or a special teams blocker, or a defensive end. Other teammates could pick ups the slack and you still have a shot at winning. I take the best team in MLB and take out ANY of the fielders... let's say right fielder. You get decimated. There's no way to make up for a missing teammate in baseball.

Some may say that when a pitcher is doing well, no other player is involved in the gameplay. False. Baseball's rules are such that a pitcher can't just get up, get hot, and throw 27 outs in a row. The longest a pitcher can stand up there and throw at one time is 3 outs worth. This rarely involves 3 straight strike outs (K's), forcing the pitcher to rely on his teammates. Now, it's true that no-hitters (a game where no earned hit reaches base) are thrown, but only 256 have been thrown since 1875 (that's about two per year in the entire league). Every single one of those no hitters has involved excellent defense by the entire team. Additionally, a perfect game (amazing that baseball actually owns the term: perfect game... coincidence? I think not) has only been thrown 17 times in MLB history. A perfect game is when no-one reaches base on a walk, a hit, hit batter, or error by fielders. This is literally 27 up and 27 down, and even it is reliant on solid fielding. A pitcher is to baseball what a quarterback is to football: The catalyst for gameplay.

2) Baseball is the fairest sport. Every player gets at least 3 pitches thrown to them. Those pitches have to be in a pre-determined area which is based on the batter's size and stance. The sport's officials have the least impact on the outcome of the game of any major sport. All pitch calls are reviewed for accuracy after each game. EVERY play, be it a pitch, throw to a base, tag for an out, or an outfield catch is one player against another. In other words, all action on any given play is at a single point on the field, easily callable by an umpire. Instant replay was only instituted THIS YEAR solely for home run accuracy, not for judgement calls made on base by umpires. Conversely, in football, so much is going on on every play that an official could call any number of penalties on any play. Instant replay is considered a necessity and challenge flags have been instituted because refs can and often get calls wrong. Additionally, a form of pass interference, holding, or offsides happens on almost EVERY single play. The refs have to subjectively ignore most of the penalties just to let the game progress. Another way ref's can influence football is when they "spot" the football. A team can gain or lose 1-3 yards based on the spot which is at the sole discretion of the ref. Trust me, referee bias is a problem... if it wasn't, why would the Pac-10 force all non-conference opponents to use their refs? In baseball, there is complete transparency for all plays called by an umpire.

3) The action is constant, but not too constant. The name of the game is consistency. There is no play clock because the game doesn't stop. You have enough time between innings to switch sides, but the gameplay is continuous. Umpire's regulate time at the mound, batters getting out of the batters box, etc. I know MANY football fans that would rather watch football at home on their HD Tivo's so they can forward timeouts. Baseball is good on TV, but it is best live because of the living atmosphere of the park (except Yankee Stadium... where you feel like you're going to get stabbed if you go out for a hot dog).

4) Every position is a "skill position." In football there are several "skill positions" (the positions that throw, run, or catch the ball). This implies that the rest of the team are playing unskilled positions. In baseball, all positions are skill positions. I would argue that baseball has the most talent per team than any major sport. Not only are these guys amazing fielders, but they each have to go out and hit against guys throwing 95+ mph balls at them. Every player on every team has had to fight through (or to stay out of) the brutal MLB farm system, which creates an environment where every single player on a MLB roster is an excellent player.

5) The feel of the gameplay is natural to most people. The game just makes sense. The general game is simple enough that a first time watcher can pick it up in no time, but the intricacies of the sport can keep the greatest statistician entertained. True blue baseball fans can delve as far down the rabit hole as theyd like into squeeze and suicide plays, bunts, batting counts, hit & runs, pitch outs, splitters, knucklers, short field, the shift, cut-off men, pickles, hitting signals, southpaws, submarine pitchers, on base percentages, and batting averages. However, the beauty of baseball is that at the end of the day, it's as simple as swinging a bat at a ball and getting around the bases to score. Everyone can enjoy it.

Part 2 to come...

11.10.2008

Dolphinsbarn.

Hello blogging friends,

I wanted to say thanks to Mark and Melanie for asking me to invade their blog today (and for posting such a nice picture of my nasal passages). What's up with the Smiths? is (by far) one of my favorite blogs to surf, so I'm flattered and excited to write along side these guys.

I'm going to treat this like it's my blog, so I'll be posting here throughout the day. Hopefully, you'll find something interesting. If you don't, well, sorry. I only ever make one blogging promise: not good, never boring.

Introducing......

We've decided to try something new here on the blog. Introducing our newest feature, guest bloggers. Jeff from http://www.dolphinsbarn.blogspot.com/ will be providing a post(s) over the next day or two.


We chose Jeff first for this feature, because he is an active blogger and always entertaining. I highly recommend you check out his blog, despite the strange name. Everytime I see the name I think of this:

So keep checking back and enjoy this feature. If this works well than others may have the unique opportunity of blogging on this critically acclaimed site. Stay tuned.

11.08.2008

Please Do Not Adjust Your Screen

I'm thinking about saying "Bah Humbug" to Christmas this year. I know it's not even Thanksgiving here in the US, but the Christmas season is well under way. From snowflakes falling to stores playing holiday jingles...it is quickly sneaking up on everyone. My reason for saying "BH" this year are many and varied; from being a single income family now to the crabby people you meet in the stores, and everything in between.
I love Christmas; I love the real reason for the holiday, family, buying gifts for people, decorating, LIVE Christmas trees, stockings, cookies, nanaimo bars, eggnog, Christmas cards, the Rockettes Christmas show, snow, just about everything - except for it being over. I always want to put up the decorations as soon as possible, but have somewhat begrudgingly agreed to wait until Thanksgiving has finished (one more reason I love Canada - Thanksgiving in October!!). Christmas shopping is always fun for me, but I usually make myself wait until the end of November to start or I will buy way too much and spend way too much money.
For some reason this year, or maybe it's just today, I sort of don't care. One might think I would be extra excited this year now that T has joined us, but she is too little to really know what is going on or get excited...and let's face it, there's not a whole lot of awesome toys out there for kids under the age of 6 months. I am sure next Christmas will be more fun with her, not that this year won't, but hey, if you've got to scrimp on a kids Christmas, now is the chance to do it, right? She won't even remember to be mad at us when she doesn't get a lot of gifts or that life sized pony, Buttercup, or Butterscotch, or whatever it's called.
Being out today for an hour and a half really took any holiday excitement I had and popped it like a balloon. I pulled into the parking lot and was amazed at all of the cars already parked and those circling trying to find somewhere to park. I thought it looked more like 2 weeks until Christmas, not 7 weeks until Christmas. As I went into the first store I began to notice what I detest most about Christmas - the people. I know, not a very Christlike, or Christmas like attitude to have, but when it seems that everyone is vying for the title of Mr/Mrs/Ms Rude of the year, it makes it hard to enjoy the shopping process. No one says excuse me, they look at you like you just ran over their dog if you try to pass them, even when they run into you they act as if it is your fault. Now, I am not expecting people to bow and step out of my way as we approach, but maybe if you see me trying to exit out of the doors with my stroller wheel caught on one door and the stroller handle caught on another..maybe, just maybe you could give me a hand (or at least offer), instead of walking by us to another door because we're slowing you up.
Maybe this year I will park Christmas at the door and let others battle it out for the last "item of the moment" on the shelf, and I'll just sit on my couch in my pj's, drinking egg nog, eating nanaimo bars and watching Rudolph and the Grinch.

11.05.2008

Cross Border Musings

I think we're all glad the election is over...even if we hoped for a different outcome...and in that vein, as I drove back home from my "home and native land", a few things struck me about each country and I wanted to share them with you. I always tell Mark that I can tell when I am in Canada and no longer in the US. The main reason is that there are no billboards for hotels, casinos, pro-life causes, lawyers or anything else along our highways, just speed limits, "Welcome to Wherever" signs (in French and English of course), the occasional dead animal and litter.
The US Custom guards always ask the oddest questions. When we were travelling home last Christmas, the only question the agent posed to us was, "Do you have any Mandarin oranges?", to which we replied no (even though I had really, really wanted to bring some home with me - thanks a lot no citrus over the border rule!!)
A small town is a small town no matter what country you are in. From random signs (We love Canadians - which I found an odd sign since it was in a Canadian town...?) that only locals get, to wild turkeys roaming alongside the highway in Morris...small towns retain their "smalltownness" everywhere you go.
For some odd reason it seems Americans don't know what a washroom is... at least the Americans I have come across anyway. Every time I ask where the washroom is I get met with a blank stare and a "what?"...until I say bathroom or restroom...why is that?
North Dakota has an absurd amount of country music radio stations...does any one place really need more than one? In my opinion there doesn't need to be any, but I know some people like that sort of music, so one should do just fine. ND seems to have about 39575 country stations - way too many.
ND also has a great speed limit...75mph. I don't think anyone passed me for the entire 4 or so hours I drove through that state, and I was doing just shy of 80. Once I crossed into MN and the limit drops to 70 (I do just under 75) I think every other car on the road passed me!! I guess Minnesotans must love to speed.
Gas is still ridiculously expensive in Canada. Expensive enough that I fill up just before crossing the border and not again until I come home...thank you Manvel, ND for having a gas station so that I didn't have to park my car on the side of the highway and walk to Grand Forks with a 5 month old in her car seat!!
Sometimes when you visit stores or restaurants in other countries, they change to suit their locations, but it is nice to know that, like the church, Wal-Mart is the same where ever you go...always retaining that little bit of trashiness that brings you the comfort of knowing you are at Wal-Mart.
For some reason Canadian cable channels feel it is necessary to carry US channels in Canada, so I was privy to 3 different states (MN, MI and WA) and their political ads. Canada had an election last month (albeit to the lowest voter turnout in many, many years) that was called on September 7 and was held October 14th. Started and ended in just over a month...now that's the way to hold an election!
And whether or not Canadian cuisine exists (find me one person who has dined on the exquisite poutine and they will tell you it does!!) there is nothing like being able to go to Safeway and pick up all the Habitant pea soup, pierogies, Canadian mint bars, and caffeine free Mountain Dew!! O Canada!! How I love thee!

Pain

"I will move away from here.
You won't be afraid of fear.
No thought was put into this.
Always knew it would come to this.
Things have never been so swell,
I have never failed to fail."

I will have heroin and shotguns available for those who are as depressed as I am.

11.03.2008

10.30.2008

Why can't us?

Congratulations to the Phils on the WS win, but the following video of fans celebrating made me think about politics.


Besides being an awesome video, I think we're all a lot like this fan as it pertains to this years election. We're excited for the change, but we don't fully realize the consequences of our actions. To those that are excited about an Obama presidency, enjoy the celebration while you can because tht empty bottle of Grey Goose is coming at us and I'm afraid it will be a nasty fall.

10.24.2008

The Return of the A-Hole

It's been a while since I graced the pages of this blog with my thoughts, and I think its time people get offended again. I don't have much to share, but I thought I would leave a few random thoughts.

My new favorite song.





I realize I'm about two months late on this song, and that its only from a commercial for a video game that I will never play, but it has all the elements I need to be awesome, violence, falsetto and a catchy beat. The other song I can't get out of my head these days is "Plastic Jesus" from Cool Hand Luke (RIP Paul, one of the coolest guys ever). The Jack Johnson version is pretty catchy as well.

The book I just finished.

Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions for new books to read from this post, but I went on my own and read "When Genius Failed" by Lowenstein. This book was a great look into the LTCM blowup in 1998 and the resulting market chaos. Its incredible how similar that financial turmoil was to today's problems; CDS, leverage and equity volatility. Definitely recommended reading to other nerds.

Fly fishing in the West is the best vacation a man could ask for.

I recently spent a few days fishing the Henry's Fork of the Snake River, the Madison River and a secret creek in South Eastern Idaho. It was some of the best fishing I've had in a long time and a perfect vacation.

The market sucks.

Below is a picture reference of what has happened to the market over the last month.

Sometimes its better not to ask any questions and just move on.

It's hard to believe the markets could be down when we have traders working as hard as the guys in this clip from CNBC.




I was going to write a bit about politics, but it will have to wait for another day. I'm afraid this post is too long and too sexy already.

Other than these things not much is going on. My personal investments are down 36% ytd, I'm slammed at work with earnings season, we're about to elect a socialist and the forecast for this weekend calls for snow. Life is pretty awesome right now.

10.22.2008

Daily Annoyance

Why doesn't anyone use their turn signal??
Come on people!!

10.14.2008

Rainy Day Solution

How awesome is a place that plays Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself" as their hold music??
Makes me want to call every day and just have them place me on hold!

10.06.2008

Today's Special

It appears to be beef. Beefs actually, and not the edible kind. The kind that sort of run through my brain all day, making me wonder.
Beef #1: Why does it seem like every time I clean (okay not EVERY time) it ends up costing me money? Example 1 - washing dishes, the crockpot to be exact. Drop said crockpot in the sink (a ceramic sink)...bye bye crockpot. It was actually kind of funny seeing that my MIL had just given me a crockpot cookbook a short time earlier. (On a side note, I am now on my third crockpot, but thankfully I was not the reason the second one broke).
Example 2 - vacuuming the living room. Seeing that my hair is falling out at a pace no one can keep up with (I am holding out hope that it will slow down soon), and T is rolling around, the LR must be vacuumed more often. The Hub usually does this chore because he doesn't think I do it as well as he does (I won't fight him on it if it means I don't have to vacuum). However today the hair needed to be vacuumed up. As I was vacuuming away I thought to myself. "I should play some Wii this afternoon, perhaps when T is napping...hmm, why has the vacuum stopped so suddenly?" Well, that would probably be because you just vacuumed up the cord for the remote sensor. After spending about 10 minutes unravelling the cord I noticed it hadn't been pulled out of any plug, it had ripped the cord in half. So now we need to replace the remote sensor...do they sell those separately? I sure hope so.
Beef #2: The View. OK, I will admit I watch The View...sometimes it's just on in the background, but sometimes I sit and watch it. Anyway, my beef with this has been simmering for awhile. As far as I understand the point of the show is to have on women with different "views" so they can discuss whatever is going on in the world, shoes, kids, celebs, whatever. Well, as far as I can tell, 4 of the 5 women seem to have the same view on most issues (especially politics). Seems sort of unbalanced to me. They also seem to gang up on the odd man out (I'm sure you can figure it out if you've seen it). Here's the beef - now I don't necessarily agree with the odd man out, or the other 3, but if the point of the show is to discuss different views, shouldn't everyone be allowed to offer their view, without being yelled at, shushed, cut off or talked over? How can you have a discussion including everyone's views if you aren't allowing them to be heard? Also, isn't the deck a little stacked? I mean, couldn't you have 2 women who tend to lean the same direction? Whether the minority opinion is correct, fact driven or based on emotion, at least give her the same courtesy that you expect when you speak your mind. If not, give her the boot, bring in someone new who will "yes ma'am" Barbara and you'll all be happy. Whether you like her or not she fills a purpose to the overall point of the show. Unfortunately I think she is being portrayed unfairly.
Beef #3: Why does every movie that looks intriguing to me (and believe me, not a lot do) have to be rated R? Whatever your feelings on movie ratings I don't make a habit of watching R rated ones. I have no problem with movies that are rated R because of the subject matter (war movies, crime movies, etc.) but I am just not a fan of gratuitous bad language and the sort. Anyway, I saw an ad for The Changeling this morning, and I actually felt like I would like to go see it...in the theatre!!! Then the ad popped up stating it was rated R. If anyone does go see this movie, could you let me know why it's rated R? And just in case any movie folks read this, here's a challenge..could you make a thoughtful, smart, intelligent, and enjoyable movie that isn't rated R? Just one, that's all. I know it's been done before..I own a couple of them! It seems the current crop of hit movies aren't up to the challenge... you've got ones about amateur pornos (no thanks), drugs (nope), chihuahuas(um, no)...is there anything out there worth seeing? Someone please let me know.
Beef #4: Why won't the child nap longer than 30 minutes???

10.03.2008

Here We Go Again

Ok, so we all know I have a little obsession with TV - I won't deny it. And there's nothing better than the Fall TV season kicking into high gear (with the exception of LOST starting in January) as it has this past week. One of the shows I look forward to the most is The Amazing Race. I have been a watcher since the beginning and have a mildly odd crush on Phil (or maybe it's Browsie....). Anyway, TAR started up again last Sunday and unfortunately for me, we were out of town. Fortunately our DVR is back and was all set and ready to record so that Phil would greet me upon my return. So we decided to spend an exciting Friday night with our DVR (thanks to this wonderful sinus cold I received on the last day of our trip, and that we are just that boring). We sat down on the couch, dinner in hand and pressed play to begin another wonderful relationship with 11 wacky teams and Phil. It only took about .0385675 seconds for my jaw to drop, my shoulders to slump and, had I not had the sore throat I do, an angered scream that would have made the neighbours cover their ears escape from my mouth. See, not only is it Fall TV season, it is also Sunday Night Football on CBS, and I hate them. No one in particular of course, but I hate them for taking time outs, injuring themselves, dancing around, and whatever else they do that causes the game to go over its scheduled time slot, because when you do that, you mess up my Sunday night. What I found in place of Phil when play was pressed, was 60 Minutes...and it was then that I remembered the dreaded football games that run over EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. So if I am not home, and I have forgotten to record Cold Case as well...I miss anywhere from 2 minutes to the entire show. Way to kick off the season kids. This week I only missed the last 10 minutes, but I still had to look online to see how was eliminated - which is okay because I LOVE reading Josh Wolk's recaps on ew.com...but it's still annoying! Needless to say, a series recording has been issued for Cold Case so we never have to experience the horror again.
I missed you Browsie!

9.23.2008

You Better Watch Out...

Just 3 months to go...so have you been naughty or nice?

9.18.2008

Boggled

Why?

Can I Really Go on?

Is life worth living without you?
Please come back soon....we need you...even though Comcast is stupid and their new boxes apparently don't work with my brand of TV (lame-O) so I have to wait for them to find an old model, and if they can't....well, I might just have to switch to a dish and I don't know if I am ready to go there again.

9.15.2008

Here I Go Again

I know I already posted a pet peeve, but I guess today is just ripe for them!
So I am sitting on the couch letting T take a nap and we (okay, really just me) are channel surfing. I stop on Oprah, now let me preface this by saying that generally I am not an Oprah fan, but I usually check and see what her topic du jour is.
Today I see it is about Internet predators. Kind of skeezy, but an ever seemingly increasing problem. I decide to check it out...I didn't last long.
I can handle watching shows like Law & Order SVU, and other police/murder/dark tales type shows, but I turned the channel on this one pretty quickly. I will admit some of the things they mentioned were pretty hard to listen to, but it was not the reason I turned the channel.
The first reason I turned the channel was because of a "how to" book that has been written by predators on how to do these sorts of things. The fact the book exists is not why I turned the channel, but it was due to the fact that Ms Winfrey proceeded to read the entire brochure like document out loud, step-by-step (with the kindness of censoring for the at home audience, but the in home audience got the uncensored version).
The second reason I turned the channel was after I had gone back to the show to see what they had moved on to only to discover that Ms Winfrey was now talking to a man from Wyoming whose job was to find predators. Okay fine, however they then proceeded to share with the audience a video of which the at home audience was spared from viewing it due to the nature of it. BUT the man did describe what everyone was looking at...so you got to picture things for yourself.
These two reasons together form my third reason for being highly bothered by this show. I know the intention was to bring to bring to light the severity of Internet predators and just what is out there, but do we really need to see blurred out photos of infants and toddlers? I am guessing the audience did not see the blurred images.
I will preface my next thought with this - I did not watch the show in it's entirety, so perhaps I missed something that was done that would contradict my feelings, but I didn't get that impression from the parts of the show I did see. I am all for stopping Internet predators, but does such detail about how people commit these crimes have to be given? Ms Winfrey READ (word for word) a how-to guide on how to get started in child pornography...I mean really? Granted pedophiles know this, but do we have to make the details known on such a mainstream level?
These thoughts were echoed as I watched Primetime tonight discussing some thread of unsuccessful terrorist plots. They did say nothing they would be showing was new to terrorists, but what about those would-be terrorists, or the really curious kid who might be on the brink? Do we need to delve into how shoe bombs are made, or why I can't bring that bottle of pop through security anymore?
Please, inform people of the scary things that exist in this world so that we can be informed and aware and do our best to protect ourselves and the ones we love, but can we limit the amount of information shared so that not everyone and their dog knows how to hide their computer stash of child porn or how to convince your 3 year old that it's okay to do those things? I think we'd all be a little better off without knowing.

All Bottled Up

I discovered this weekend a pet peeve that maddens me to no end.
Why does every type of pump bottle...hand soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, etc., never EVER let you use every drop in it? And why is it always so much more than a drop? Sometimes it seems like it's a quarter of the bottle that's left! You would think that they'd make the straw inside a little bit longer so I can actually use all of the soap I paid for! But no, I end up throwing it away and buying a new bottle... what a waste.

9.11.2008

I Can Feel It Coming in the Air Tonight...

OK, so it's not happening tonight, but Phil it is coming soon!
Yes it is that time of year again....Fall TV season is almost upon us! While some shows may have already started, the real treasure is still to come.
I have noticed that there are not nearly as many new shows this year that I am interested in checking out. Is that because I could care less, or is it because of that pesky writer's strike we had to middle through? I am betting it's a little of both, but I thought I would get the excitement started anyway!
I am a little interested in checking Fringe out - the new JJ Abrams show on Fox. Less for the actual show itself, more for Joshua Jackson. I don't expect I will continue watching it (seeing as I missed the premiere, but shockingly (!) Fox is reshowing it tomorrow) but I thought I would give it a try.
It's not a new show this season, but it will be new to me. Might not be one I DVR, but if there is nothing up against it, I may add House to my addiction. I have been watching it over the summer and USA had this 2 day marathon on...not a bad show, although I do cover my eyes for some of the "medical" scenes.
The only other show I am going to give a try to is Kath & Kim. For two reasons: 1) it's smack dab in the middle of Thursday night TV, and 2) John Michael Higgins - love him!
Other than that, it's the old standbys:
ANTM (always lame, but it's like that car wreck you just can't look away from)
SNL (at least 15 minutes of it to see if it won't be lame)
DWTS (if it's as lame as last season, it's the first to go!)
L&O: SVU (holy guests stars Batman!! Luke Perry!!)
Ugly Betty
My Name is Earl (it better be better than last season or it will be the 2nd to go!)
The Office (I just still really wish they would get rid of Steve Carell - I know I am going to be murdered for my opinion, but I don't care)
TAR (Browsie's back!!!)
Chuck
Pushing Daisies
Eli Stone
30 Rock (still THE best comedy on TV)
Hopefully the CW gets Reaper on the air soon, that show is hilarious! Especially Ray Wise as the devil - the only person on TV who can make Mark wet his pants laughing!
Of course this list is missing something and I am sure you all know what it is, but the real TV season doesn't get underway for me until January 2009...yes LOST. I hate the wait, but it is definitely worth it. Last season was incredible and I can't even begin to think about what this season will be like. I just hope Desmond is still going to be around.
Thankfully a few shows ended or got cancelled last season and lightened up the DVR load. As time goes on I sure love that DVR more and more, especially when I have to get up at 4:00AM and there is nothing but paid programming on (granted that doesn't seem to happen very often anymore, but when it does, my DVR will never fail me!).
So what shows are you looking forward to this season? Anything you're scratching off your list?

9.06.2008

Hey Ladies

I fully planned on posting my half finished diatribe on the media’s treatment of Sarah Palin, why I am a Republican, and the flawed economic theory of the Democratic Party, but then I watched Ms. Palin speak the other night and shelved my previous writing. My reaction to her speech was quite different then I imagined it would be. Instead of feeling excited about the GOP’s chances in November, I felt proud of where I come from, the people that are closest to me and the opportunities this country affords each of us.

I have always been surrounded by loving, smart and tough women. I have a great grandmother who could take a bullet without complaint, brand cows with the toughest of men and soothe a grandchild after being stung by a bee. My grandmother taught me the value of an honest days work. Although as a kid I bitched and moaned about the level of pay and her high quality standards (even though I was filling a manure spreader), she taught me how to do a job and do it right. I thought a lot about my mother when I saw Ms. Palin speak. For those who don’t know my mom, she managed a household of seven rowdy kids, a cousin who didn’t have another home and cared for her dying father-in-law while my father lived and worked out of state. My mother is tough, the type of woman who would smack other people’s kids when they get out of line at the grocery store. All the neighbor kids knew that you didn’t cross Eva cause if you pissed her off one way she’d put a boot in your ass the other. Outside of this tough exterior, she is a caring, passionate and intelligent mother and grandmother. Mostly I thought about my lovely wife, a tough, passionate woman who can’t be easily categorized by a single title. Melanie is a woman of deep thinking, deep passion and an uncompromising belief in doing what’s right. I never realized how strong she is until the last few months. The best thing I can say about these women is that they are good people and good mothers, just like most of us have.

As a man I often talk about the Washingtons, Jeffersons and the Rockefellers who “built” this nation, but I know better. This nation is built upon the backs of strong women. That is why it is so refreshing to see someone like Sarah Palin. I think it’s great to see an elected official who has struggled through the fight of kids, jobs, school, marriage, mistakes and everyday living; someone who seeks out office not to break down barriers or prove something, but to try to make life better for their family. The pundits all debated whether she was talking to the base, swing voters, Reagan democrats or Hillary supporters, but I think it was more than that. She spoke to me as a person who struggles to make a living and tries to do what’s right every day. She spoke to me the same way that strong women have spoken to me throughout my life, and that was a breath of fresh air.

9.04.2008

1988 - All Over Again

Since it is very likely that Mark will take this blog political very soon, I thought I might get a word in before that happens. Not on politics though, I'm not going there. Mark would just think "his" blog had been hijacked by some radical socialist spouting crazy talk. Actually I would probably just complain about the whole US election process, the circus it is, how no one actually lays out the specifis of accomplishing all of their promises, just what they will do, and the most annoying part of all, how it just becomes about who can take the lowest swipe at their opponent without breaking the skin.
What I would like to talk about is the only other people who seem to be on TV as much, or more, than anyone/anything political. Who might this be you ask? One acronym - NKOTB. That's New Kids on the Block for those who might be too young to know who I am talking about. Probably the forerunner for the modern day boy band, only from the 80's (how much do you love Donnie's t-shirt?).
I know this dates me incredibly, and if my 17 year old niece was to read this, she probably has no idea who they are and any semblance of coolness I might have once had has now flown out the window, but yes, I was a New Kids fan, and will happily admit I still rock out to their tunes from back in the day. I had the t-shirt with the painted hand prints on the back (Thanks David!), the tapes, the pins... my friend and I would drive down Portage Ave with my mixed tape in the tape player blaring Step By Step - we were THAT cool.
I won't get in to why I think they finally got together...it does make me wonder though since vh1's Bands Reunited tried to get them back together a few years ago only to have Joey say no. Hmm, now he is suddenly all over it? His stint on Wicked is over, Dancing with the Stars flamed out... just sayin'.
Anyway, as they've lipsynched their way through The View and now the Today Show (for the 2nd time this summer), I wonder why I am pulled into watching them. Memories of days gone by? Rekindling the love of an old favourite group? Seeing if their new material can ever top Hangin' Tough or Step By Step?
No, it seems I watch them to try and gauge the level of uncomfortableness shown by Jon, the always painfully shy looking member of the group. He makes me wonder if he even wants to be there. Perhaps brother Jordan pressured him into it? It's not like he ever sung lead on a song or was their unofficial spokesman - they could reunite without him, it would be rude, but they could. It's quite interesting to watch him give a half effort to the outdated dance steps, sleepily lipsynch his way through the lyrics... he just looks like he doesn't care. When interviewed, I don't think he ever leaps to answer a question, and when questioned directly, it's always a nice 2 or 3 word answer. Funny. After 80 million albums sold and throngs of girls screaming for him (and the others), he just doesn't seem to care, or want to be back in the spotlight. I sit there and think, "Is this the song/dance routine he just finally gives up on wand walks off stage?" I doubt it would happen, but I think it would be hilarious if he did!!
I am saddened to say while many a poster of Joey adorned my bedroom walls growing up, I seem to have outgrown the crush. Is it just me or does he not come off as little mister arrogant? Just a thought. Donnie seems to be the most successful, in a non-arrogant sort of way. Remember him in the Sixth Sense?? Did you even know he was in it?
We always laughed at my little sister because she thought Danny was the hottest and we thought he looked like a monkey.
So, am I glad NKOTB has reunited? Meh...doesn't change my life the way it might have a decade ago...okay maybe more than a decade ago. Will I buy their new cd? Nope, but I might download a few old school tunes for my mp3 player though. Boy, will Mark be excited for that and this post since this is how he feels about most of what I write. Oh well, I'll let him rant about Obama, Biden, McCain, Palin and everything in between another day - someone has to be the voice of all things craptainment on here, right?

8.28.2008

Twilight

In an M&M Smith exclusive, I had a chance to sit down with Stephenie Meyers, author of the Twilight series for a little tete-a-tete about the books.

Mark: Ms. Meyers, thanks for joining me today.
Stephenie: No problem at all, I've been a fan of your blog for quite some time and I'm looking forward to being questioned by a man who writes about pushing old people down and has a hatred of just about everything, including Christmas.

First question, is it true that the idea for the Twilight series came to you while hiking in bear country during your period?

No.

How does it feel to inspire a group of young fans as douchy, immature and out of touch with reality as Harry Potter Fans?

My fans are great.

Was your mother's name, Candy, the inspiration to give all of your female characters rocking stripper names?

Candy is a fine name.

What would Anne Rice think about the books if she were alive today?

Ms. Rice is alive.

Whatever, moving on. You wrote a spicy sex scene in the last installment of the books, were you concerned that you would offend the 40-something year-old Mormon book club fans who won't read books like "The Diary of Anne Frank" and Alma because of their gratuitous sensuality?

The scene was done in good taste.

Have you ever actually had sex?

No comment.

You were very involved in the Twilight movie that is coming out later this year, was it your idea to have actor Robert Pattinson who portrays Edward base his character on Johnny Depp's Edward Scissor Hands, but to be less retarded and more gay?

Who's Johnny Depp?

Will you give me a hug and not bite me?

No.

8.26.2008

Olympics

Well, that was fun. Mel and I spent the last two weeks camped in front of the tv watching the olympics. I think the olympics have lost that special something it had when I was a kid when it was the good ole U.S. of A. kicking some pinko Communist A'. I wasn't expecting much from the olympics, but after watching the first men's swimming relay gold, I wanted to find a Frenchman, kick him in the groin and start a chant, "USA, USA, USA".
I think my favorite part, except for the women's beach volleyball (why don't they make all women athletes wear those same outfits, except for the weightlifters and shotputters), was Bela Karoli. With the exception of maybe Einstein, this is the greatest person we've stolen from a fascist nation. I think NBC needs to have him cover more sports, look at the energy he brings to some of the demonstration sports.

8.22.2008

Do we need Jitterbugs already!?

When did we become so old?
Was it when I first moved away from home? Graduating from University with a graduate degree? Moving to New York City? Buying a house? Buying a bedroom suite? Having a baby?
Or was it many years ago when my love affair with Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy started?
I know for Mark it must have been when we rented our first house and I discovered I had married an 80 year old man who was fixated with feeding hummingbirds and mowing his lawn. I guess it won't be too long before we are sitting in our rockers on the porch, Mark shaking a stick at those darn kids walking across the lawn and me cursing those punk kids driving by with their car stereos blasting out some sort of "rap" music. Mark will long for the days when kids respected other people's property (oh wait he does that know) and I will long for the days when kids drove by blaring the good tunes like Styx's Mr. Roboto or anything else from the 80's! (Oh how T will openly laugh at us!)
Maybe I need to hot a club one night and see if the bouncer would card me!!
Think there are people who can teach you to be as cool as you once were (or at least as cool as you thought you once were)?
I just hope Wheel and Jeopardy are always on my TV.

8.21.2008

Boobies

This pretty much sums up the Smith home these days.


8.13.2008

Going Under Cover

Saturday night we dined at a "chain" restaurant for our 7 year anniversary (it was Sunday, so we thought we would be good kids and eat out on Saturday), and I don't think I saw too many of Mark's restaurant bingo squares while we ate. Maybe it was because we got there at 8:45ish, and unlike NYC, restaurants in Minneapolis aren't as busy at 8:30 as they are at 6:30. Or maybe because it was P.F.Changs, and I kind of hold it a bit above the typical chain restaurant such as Applebee's or Fridays. Either way, I love the Mongolian Beef and would go there even if our server was the one with teased bangs, FUPA and a Harley Davidson tank top on.
As we were driving in the car the song Time After Time came on, although it wasn't by Ms. Lauper, it was a remake, and it got me thinking if there has ever been a remake that I liked better than the original? I had been contemplating this whole remake thing for a few weeks now, and then read Jeff's blog entries (here and here) on remakes (you beat me to the punch!), and it made me think about it even more.
I came to the conclusion that I can only think of one remake I like better than the original and that is Suspicious Minds - Dwight Yokam's version. Now this is odd for a number of reasons. First off, I don't like Elvis (he is the originator); second I don't like Dwight Yokam; and third, I don't like country music. The third has more to do with Dwight than the song, as I don't think it is very "country".
I say if you're going to remake a song, REMAKE it, don't just repeat it, change it up!!
Mark listens to a band called Me First and the Gimme Gimmies and all they do is cover songs, but they turn them into punk songs. Most of the time you sit there listening to the song thinking "I know this song, but I can't think of the name" and then you find out it is Boyz to Men's End of the Road. You should check out there stuff and see how many songs you can recognize right from the start!
Anyone a Gimme Gimme fan? Have some remakes you like better than originals? What song do you wish was never remade? Or who is off limits to have songs remade? For me, that would be INXS's Never Tear Us Apart - that song is sacred.

8.06.2008

Chain Restaurant Bingo

Mel and I eat out quite a bit, especially with my job. We are constantly eating at chain restaurants with little personality that all blend into the same white trash hang-out after a while. Recently while eating out we decided that we should find a way to make our experience more enjoyable, thus was born Chain Restaurant Bingo. We are providing this free of charge until we get the IP locked up. Simply mix the board up and see who can spot the items first to form a bingo.What do you think, did we miss anything that could be added to the board?

7.30.2008

To Pee or Not to Pee

I can't keep it in any longer. Every day it bombards me, seeps into my brain, occupies thought, and drives me crazy.
Seriously, what is the big deal with Miley Cyrus?! If I hear one more story or song about her I might just have to have a chat with someone.
It's easy enough to tell I am not on the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana bandwagon (thankfully she'll be old news by the time T is old enough...although there will be someone, or something else I am sure). I've never seen the show, and I have only heard one or two songs thanks to the radio. I never really had a problem with her until I saw her video and when she performed on the Today Show. Now it's not like I have an actual problem with her or anything, she just bugs me...and the main reason for this bugging you might ask? Has anyone ever watched her dance?
I swear she is having a seizure!! She makes Elaine look like she belongs on So You Think You Can Dance. Wouldn't you think Miss Cyrus would have a choreographer? I would. Maybe the choreographer wants her to look like she is epileptic or really, really has to pee.
It's bugged me for a long time and I just couldn't keep it in anymore, thanks for letting me vent.

7.25.2008

You Can't Judge a Book by It's Cover...or Can You?

So in the few short weeks we have been parents, I have found a new frustration. I don't know if all parents, or mothers specifically, have this frustration, but I don't see it can be avoided.
Being a first time parent for anyone can be stressful enough with just being pregnant and all that it entails, add on to that having to buy every gadget ever made for baby, or at least that you think you need but probably don't, and it is a wonder people even have babies. Even more stressful, and more important (outside of buying the cutest clothes ever made) is how you will parent that little baby. Granted things like discipline are not needed at this young age, but how on earth will you schedule your baby's day, or will you schedule it at all? I guess it depends on what book you read, what your Doctor tells you, how your Mother thinks you should do it, or how the wind blows. Whatever method you go with, I say congratulations, because I don't know how you decided. I thought we would go one way, but after trying it for a few days I realized it just made me feel like I was inadequate and stressed me out too much. Not too mention it made me feel like I was missing out a little bit on baby time - you know, the sit on the couch while you watch Law and Order and the little one sleeps ever so soundly (or ever so grunty like ours does) on your chest.
It seems that everyone and their dog has a "theory" on how you should parent a newborn, but does anyone take into consideration the personalities of these little newborns? I'm sorry but my little one does not take 4 or 5 naps a day that last up to 2 hours. I am lucky if I can get her to sleep 45 minutes in the afternoon...unless I want to spend every nap time with her sleeping on me, then I think she might tend to sleep all day. I would love it if she slept 9 hours a night, but right now we get up to 6 hours in a row, a 40 minute interruption and then another 2-3 hours. I think that's pretty good, but according to some, if it's not a straight 9 hours we are doing something wrong.
As my Dad mentioned numerous times while they were here when T was born, they never had all of these books, or theories or rules to newborn care. Heck, they didn't even have car seats!! Sleeping on their back? Never, tummies were the best sleep position.
Sure times change and thankfully technology, science, medicine and knowledge have enlightened us in some areas, and mostly for the good. I am all for what will help babies, but for any parent who reads all of these books and opinions... it seems like confusion, stress and maybe a little self-doubt are the only things you will get from them!
I've found a few nuggets of wisdom that we like and want to make into our routine, but I think some "experts" seem to overlook that gut feeling about what a parent feels is right for them and their baby. If your baby only naps for 45 minutes at a time, but is happy and healthy... I guess you just have to become super efficient at getting things done with minimal time!
Who knows, maybe we will end up scarring T because she isn't sleeping for 10 hours at night when she is 8 weeks old, or maybe she will be cold, distant and hate us because we didn't cuddle with her enough... given who her father is, I think there is a good enough chance of that anyway, right? Just kidding Mark! Sort of. No really.
Anyway, maybe some more "seasoned" parents out there have different opinions on baby matters and theories that they swear up and down by, but I just don't know if I want to even try reading what any more "experts" have to say. I'll just go with the flow, try to get our own routine down and hope little T has a little bit of fun with Mom every day!