Sunday, October 31, 2004

Da Iggles Are 7-0

With baseball done, I have to turn my attention to pro football. That means, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are my third favorite hometown team after the Flyers and Phillies. Given the NHL is on strike, my focus will be on The Iggles (as they are called in Philadelphia).

I watched the second half against those nasty Baltimore Ravens (surely one of pro sports’ oddest nicknames). The "Never-More" Ravens have a convicted drug dealer on suspension and a one-time murder suspect on the team. Now that’s entertainment! I shudder to think of your boys in Baltimore with Jamal Lewis and Raw Lewis (not related) posters on their walls.

The Iggles won 15-10, but they did not look scintillating. TO (who does have a cool house, featured on “Cribs”) scored the winning touchdown and mocked Ray Lewis with a victory dance styled after Lewis’ “Freak Show,” which the loudmouthed linebacker does after every great defensive play.

Dick Enberg, a fading 69-year-old broadcaster, some 10 years past his prime, did the play-by-play of the game and needs to begin to investigate those Alzheimer’s drugs. Dan Dierdorf, the former Academic All-America at Michigan (and NFL HOF great), did color and was not at the top of his game. But then, I was watching in Hi-Def, so I wasn’t paying attention to the announcers.


I noticed in my Sunday Arizona Republic a supersized, 200-page insert from Ikea, the popular Swedish DIY furniture store. Ikea is opening its first store in Tempe on Nov. 11th, which is inconsequential to me as I have no intent of visiting the store. Asking me to put furniture together is like… welll… insert your own ridiculous metaphor.

What prompted me to post was on the front page of the Business section, there’s a headline story about Ikea. The story seems to have no purpose other than to see how many times they can say the name “Ikea” in one paragraph. It’s much like how certain companies try to get their results ranked higher on a search engine by manipulating language and HTML coding In this case, it’s more obvious.

I guess, with the election only two days away, there’s nothing better to chronicle in the business world other than the opening of a store 11 days from today.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

For the Cause

Two hours and 50 phone calls later, I’ve done my part for the Kerry-Edwards cause today. I really am fairly sure it didn’t really do much for the campaign—I spoke to 30 voice answering services/machines, a few no answers, and some wrong numbers and about five live people. Only one hung up on me. The others were cordial, but somewhat pissed, as I was the third or fourth person calling them today about Kerry. Lo and behold, when we arrived home, there was a call on our answering machine reminding me to vote for Kerry on Tuesday. Our ballots are already in via early mail-in, thank you very much.

I told my wife the calling is rather foolish but I’m not sure what else I can do to help. My thought is that Kerry and Edwards campaign people need to focus on those swing/undecided voters such as minorities. I said they need to find some Phoenix-area Hispanic leaders and have them do a meet and greet at some high-traffic area.

Oh, I did start recruiting volunteers for the “Weiner for Congress” campaign in 2010. Really.

While our daughter (who was up last night til the wee hours at a friend’s sleepover) baby-sits in half-asleep mode, we celebrated by going to Corleone’s for a cheesesteak and then to Wal Mart for one of our twice-a-year visits. Yes, my wife was the only person there wearing a “Kerry for President” button. We bought lots of crap we don’t need (including the DVD of “The Lonely Guy” with Steve Martin for $5.50) but couldn’t live without. Yep, as my wife says, we sure know how to have a good time.

One more thing—we recorded and later watched “RV Today” on the Outdoor Life Network. It sure was hokey, but we loved every second!

A Shabbat for John Kerry

Today, my wife and I will be part of Arizona’s Get out the Vote effort. We’re scheduled to call people today and tomorrow and tell them…. Well, I am not sure what we’ll be telling them? I read a piece in the WSJ this morning about people who say they’re sick and tired of being called. We have about seven Caller ID tags from the past week of people reminding us to vote (not to be cynical, but will my reminder actually push someone on the fence to vote?).

Working for the Kerry cause is a significant way to spend the Sabbath afternoon. Today is the 38th anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah and my wife and I did an Aliyah (blessing before the Torah) in honor of my father’s Yahrzeit (anniversary of death) which is Monday night. I am glad my wife joined me on the “bimah” (a synagogue’s stage) as my father loved her dearly.

If time permits, we’ll head over to a RV center and do more exploration. We actually went in a Class C model yesterday and it was way cool. I asked all sorts of really dumb questions, but the salesguy was a nice guy (with a really funky tattoo on his neck) and gave us good background info. We’re now committed to renting on in December while our daughter is at camp. We may go to Palm Springs as it’s a manageable 257-mile drive, most of which is flat. We even identified a nice campground that has Wi Fi access (oh, the blogging possibilities) We also got (and hooted at) a promotional CD-ROM from “Go Rv-ing,” a RV association. . We have the fever. We may wind up with a trip like an old Lucy & Ricky episode, but we’ll have a blast.

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Tide Is Turning

Just seems like all the events of the past few weeks are going John Kerry's way. I told my wife that if the BoSox win the World Series it would be an omen. Let's keep our fingers crossed and Get Out The Vote.

36 newspapers do flip-flop to endorse Kerry

Movies and DVDs

For some reason, we haven’t been to the movies in quite a while. We have two giant, state-of-the-art theaters nearby but also I have a 42-inch plasma-HDTV in my living room. It’s not that we rent a lot of movies—in fact, we were discussing the fact that we have rented very few of late—it’s that we actually buy more movies and TV programs on DVD than rent. We have the “Seinfeld” set coming at the end of November and am likely to soon buy Season 14 of “Law and Order” and Second 2 of “SCTV.” The Half Wits skits on “SCTV” are worth the price alone. Just imagine Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, John Candy, Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara all on the set together. Sheer brilliance.

Also, on Election Day, Season 3 of “The West Wing” comes out. I’ll probably wait til the next time we are at Costco to buy that. “Posse Comitatus,” the “WW” season-ender of season 3 is one of the finest hour-long TV drama episodes I’ve seen. “Two Cathedrals,” the season ender of season 2 isn’t half bad either.

After watching a segment of last week’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio” in which William H Macy was guest, I’m anxious to rent “State and Main” and/or “Magnolia.” I had “recorded” “State and Main,” but when my DVR got full, I had the choice to delete old episodes of “Law and Order” or “State and Main.” Guess who won?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Random Thursday Thoughts

This Saturday is the 38th anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah and oddly enough, I will be called to the Torah to do a blessing in honor of my father’s “Yahrzeit” (anniversary of death) which is next Monday night. The Torah portion is called “Vayera” and deals with the covenant between G-d and Abraham.

I am wondering which TV network we’ll watch for the all-important election coverage next Tuesday night. I will have my Wi-Fi connected PC with me in front of the TV and may blog along with the coverage.

From what I gather, Wally Backman is the leading choice for the Diamondbacks managerial opening. From what I read, he’ll be a great choice. Please, please… no Bob Melvin!

My project to build a TV network (along with Mike’s music network) is stalled. Still hope to get it rolling in November.

Speaking of November, I have no idea what we are doing for Thanksgiving other than not eating turkey. I am hoping for Luby’s, although last night the place was not very clean. What the heck, we’re stockholders. Funny, we own stock in two restaurant chains at opposite ends of the spectrum—Luby’s (LUB) and Cheesecake Factory (CAKE). We’ve done better with the latter than the former.

We Are Big Rip Torn Fans!

He was amazing as "Nixon" and hilarious in "Larry Sanders" and a family favorite--"Summer Rental." Talk about odd couples, Rip is married to Amy Wright, the woman who played the strange sister in "The Accidental Tourist" (not to mention roles in "Breaking Away" and "Crossing Delancy").

Yahoo! News - Actor Rip Torn Acquitted of DUI Charges

There Goes My TV Career

Alas, the TV network that made "stars" out of me and many of my analyst colleagues, is going bye-bye.

Yahoo! News - AP: CNNfn Will Shut Down After 9 Years

Add to 2005 Baseball Plans

Hope to see the Washington Whatevers with my friend from college, Dennis Klein.

washington baseball club : welcome!

MLB Season Over

The Major League Baseball season is over. Honestly, I didn’t care who won the World Series, and am happy for Boston fans as long as they don’t kill each other. If they do, I hope they have to wait another 86 years for a championship.

For me, I had a great season. Although I have a Fall League game or two left, my pro season was awesome. The highlight, for sure, was the Phillies game in July at Citizens Bank Park. It still seems like a dream. Although I enjoyed TS’ company, the Oakland game at the end of August was the least enjoyable as the stadium’s handicapped seating really sucks.

So, what will next season hold? I’d love to go back to Citizens Bank Park and maybe to Yankee Stadium for the first time. Maybe we’ll be in our RV and tour all of the Texas League (AA Minors) teams (and eat some great brisket) Also, I’d put Safeco Park on the list. I was at the Kingdome a few hundred times, but have not visited the new park.

And, of course, lots of spring training games here in Arizona. Hats off to the BoSox—Boston fans, please don’t hurt one another!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Yard Signs and Buttons

It’s beginning to storm here in Arizona, so I took in our Kerry-Edwards yard sign.

I have to say, I think yard signs are dumb. I know I disagree with my wife, but I don’t think much more of campaign buttons. I don’t think I’ve ever worn one. OK, part of it stems from the fact I have worked for three newspapers, and wearing political buttons is a big no-no in such a job. I view the political process as a private one and not one that includes proselytizing to friends, neighbors and strangers. Sure, you’ll get the oddball in the supermarket who admires your button or the fool who glares at you because you support “the other guy,” but mainly they are one step above painting your face “to support the team” (as David Puddy said).

And, if wearing a button would be the instrument that changes someone’s mind to vote for Kerry—as in some undecided sees my button and has a major revelation—then I’d cover myself from head to toe in buttons.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Day Turns Out Just Fine

Well, I was seething after my trip was cancelled—again. And, again at the last minute, And again I had to ask a hotel to waive its one-night cancellation fee. And again I had to tell Alaska Airlines I would not be flying with them today. At least I was not at the airport asking the airline to retrieve my bag before it took off for the friendly skies.

My wife saw that I was pissed, and had the idea of the year—let’s go to a Fall League baseball game! I had my work calendar locked up for planned travel, so why not. So, next thing I know, we are at Peoria Stadium watching the Peoria Saguaros host the Mesa Solar Sox. It brought a smile (sort of) to my face (see below).

I was excited to see Delmon Young of Tampa Bay (see below) who was the top pick in the 2003 draft. He’s a year or so away from the bigs and appears to be a five-tool player. Delmon is related to Dimitri Young (brother or cousin) and luckily, Delmon is slimmer and more athletic that his relative. Young walked once and made a great throw from right field, otherwise the day was all Saguaros.

My players of the game (featured below) are Jason Botts of Texas (facing the camera) with an inside the park homerun (misjudged by the center fielder) and Nate McLouth of the Pirates (right). McLouth is a speedy center fielder with great speed and pop. He clocked one over the right field fence. Also noted is Alberto Concepcion of the Red Sox who also has great pop in his bat and looks good behind the plate. Jason Varitek is a free agent, so who knows?

I spoke to Glenallen Hill, ex of the Cubs, Cuns, Indians and Giants. He once hit 24 home runs for the Giants and I remember Dusty Baker speaking of Hill with great praise as a player and clubhouse influence. So, I asked Hill (a coach in the Rockies system) if he was aiming to follow in Dusty’s shoes. All he said was “Dusty is a good man.” I take that to be a yes. One more note: Hill is from the Santa Cruz area-just like Mike.

Trip Rained Out?

Trip to Seattle cancelled again. Difficult to believe.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Return of Rex

In my previous blog, I had a lengthy post about Van Dyke Jones, a wonderful artist whose works my wife and I collect. Well, Jones sent us a letter at our previous home (in California) which one of our neighbors forwarded to us here in Arizona.

Seems that Van Dyke has some new Rex work in the pipeline (see above). He also will have a new book as well. I will keep the world posted as to where to find this brilliant man’s work.

An Official Kick

It’s official—we are on a kick. We may never board an RV, but we’re having an amazing time looking at the different models to rent and listing the places we’d go in our RV rental. We like the ones like an Airstream or Rialta that look like big vans—they seem easier to drive. We have this dream of driving to some strange AA Minor League baseball game in Midland, Texas or Wilmington, N.C, and parking in their lot. We would have spent the day foraging local farmers markets, taking pictures, blogging and hunting for the best brisket/deli/clam chowder/sushi/pizza, etc.. in the US.

Will we do the RV thing? I sure hope so.

Fingers Crossed: Tuesday Night Dinner

If flights are on time, traffic OK, etc... we're dining here tomorrow night.


This Bodes Well

I am off tomorrow for a one-night trip to Seattle. Rain? I lived there of more than nine years--I hated the weather then, I hate it now. - Tenday Forecast

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Red Socks

Note to Fox Sports--stop showing us Curt Schilling's bloody socks. We as a nation are beyond grossed out.

And I Can Think Of Many More Reasons


By Ted Rall

Ten Reasons America Needs a Change

PORTLAND--George W. Bush has been a busy boy these past four years. Because his Administration's policies are so radical and his attempts to change our country so far-reaching, it is sometimes difficult to remember them all. Here's a summary of why Bush and his gang of bloodthirsty corporate goons must go; voters may take them along to the polls to help them cast their ballots.

1. He stole the 2000 election. Voting to "reelect" an illegitimate commander-in-chief who seized power by judicial coup d'état is a tacit endorsement of how he got into the White House in the first place. How the U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) ruled in Bush v. Gore is irrelevant. As a federal court, the five runaway Supreme Court justices had no right to agree to hear the case. Under our system of government, elections--and election disputes--fall under state jurisdiction. Their decision to take the case, the way they fixed the outcome in Bush's favor, and Bush's willingness to assume the presidency extraconstitutionally are outrages that no patriotic American, even if they agree with his policies, can forgive.

2. He politicized 9/11. During the early days after the attacks on New York and Washington, a stunned nation came together to mourn, and to assess the motivations of the 19 men who despised us so much they were willing to commit suicide as mass murderers to drive home the point. Rather than channel our newfound solidarity into positive initiatives, however, Bush used 9/11 to push for the USA Patriot Act, fast-track signing authority on free trade, tax cuts for the wealthy, lax regulations for polluters and a multitude of items from the partisan Republican Party wish list. He portrayed Democrats and others who disagreed with him as un-American traitors.

3. He let the terrorists get away while giving them a payraise. The 9/11 hijackers were Egyptians and Saudis recruited by an Egyptian group, Islamic Jihad, with funding from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, some of whom received training at camps which were mostly in Pakistan, all of which were funded by Pakistani secret intelligence. Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), who may have funded all or part of the operation via Al Qaeda, was in Pakistan on 9/11. So who does Bush go after? Afghanistan (news - web sites), at best a back lot of Pakistani-backed Islamists and Iraq (news - web sites)--which had nothing to do with 9/11. And what does he do about our real enemies in Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia? He sells them more weapons. Egypt becomes the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid after Israel, collecting over $2 billion annually. Pakistan, ruled by a pro-Taliban general who jailed and tortured his democratically elected predecessor, is encouraged to develop its nascent nuclear capabilities. The 3,000 victims of 9/11 remain unavenged--and the stage is set for future attacks.

4. He murdered nearly 100,000 people. The war in Afghanistan killed at least 10,000 civilians and 20,000 Afghan soldiers (of which 10,000 were POWs allegedly massacred by Northern Alliance soldiers as U.S. Special Forces troops supervised the slaughter.) As of three weeks after the fall of Baghdad, General Tommy Franks estimated Iraqi dead at 30,000 civilians and 30,000 Iraqi soldiers, men who were fighting to defend their country from a hostile invasion army. At least 10,000 more civilians and 5,000 Iraqi resistance soldiers have died since then. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq have anything to do with the war on terrorism, which has yet to start. Both wars were waged to expand American military and economic hegemony and Dick Cheney (news - web sites)'s policy of "total energy dominance" over oil and natural gas resources. The world would be safer if Charles Manson, a mere amateur killer by comparison, were released and Bush was sitting in prison.

5. He bankrupted the treasury. When Bush took the oath of office in January 2001, the U.S. Congressional Budget Office (news - web sites) projected a surplus of $5 trillion over the next ten years. Now, after two expensive wars of aggression and two series of extravagant tax cuts for the ultrarich--including the elimination of inheritance taxes on multimillionaires' estates--the federal budget is facing a $5 trillion shortfall. That's a $10 trillion net deficit--ten times more than the Reagan deficit that took Clinton his entire tenure to pay off--for giveaways to Bush-connected defense contractors like Halliburton and a fraction of one percent of wealthy individuals. Most Americans will get nothing out of this but the bill which, if history serves a guide, won't be repaid until our children are dead. Goodbye national healthcare, sayonara help with college tuition. Bush has stolen our future.

6. He threw thousands of innocent people into concentration camps. Drawing from another of fascism's greatest hits, Bush used his fictional war on terrorism as a lame pretext to throw thousands of Muslims and Arabs into a new gulag archipelago spanning the globe from secret CIA (news - web sites)-run prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq--including the infamous Abu Ghraib--to INS detention centers in Brooklyn to the naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Detainees caught in battle were denied their Geneva Convention rights as POWs, tortured and even murdered. Illegal immigrants who should have been deported were jailed indefinitely without access to attorneys, or visits from family. In the ultimate Orwellian twist, they were turned into "unpersons"; even their names were withheld from the media. Any president who endorses such atrocities, as Bush has repeatedly done in speeches, is against everything that America purports to stands for. Bush has even signed a secret directive authorizing himself with the right to assassinate anyone, anywhere--including American citizens--as "enemy combatants."

7. We are more feared than Al Qaeda. Bush's radical new policy of "preemption"--a self-ascribed right to invade other countries based on a presumed hunch--has terrorized then international community. Even though they have never threatened us, nations like Iran and Syria wonder whether or not Bush will invade them next--and are racing to develop nuclear weapons to protect themselves from the U.S. threat. Our traditional allies, who still want to engage themselves with the rest of the world, have been forced to distance themselves from our bull-in-a-china-shop foreign policy. We, not Islamist terrorists, are the world's most feared power. We are feared, which is why we are hated. Because we are hated, we are in greater danger.

8. Bush has done nothing to improve the economy. At one of the presidential debates, Bush was asked what he would tell someone who had lost their job to outsourcing overseas. He answered that the unemployed had received their $300 tax cuts, and that within five years his education policies would start to help children. The truth is, Bush did nothing to jumpstart the weak post-dot-com economy he inherited in 2000. Like most Republicans, he favors high unemployment as a way to keep labor week and salaries cheap. A Bush victory would ensure more of the same--fewer jobs, lower salaries, reduced unemployment benefits. A president can do a lot to stimulate the economy: jobs programs funded by the government, tax cuts for the working class. But Bush won't act because it would run counter to his ideological beliefs.

9. Bush will appoint the next Supreme Court justice. Whether they're values issues like abortion or gay marriage, or the next election dispute, the Supreme Court is balanced on the razor's edge between reason and right-wing fascism. Sandra Day O'Connor (news - web sites) and William Rehnquist (news - web sites), who originally intended to step down during the last four years but evidently decided not to do so because of Bush's lunacy, are over 80 years old. They may not last another four years. We can't let Bush have the chance to appoint their successors.

10. We deserve a president who can speak English and doesn't look like a chimpanzee. John Kerry (news - web sites) is a far from ideal prospect but he's a huge leap forward from an evolutionary standpoint.

(Ted Rall is the author of two new books, "Wake Up, You're Liberal!: How We Can Take America Back From the Right" and "Generalissimo El Busho: Essays and Cartoons on the Bush Years." Ordering information is available at

Birthday Season Over

Our birthday celebration officially ended last night. We had an awesome dinner at Michael’s at the Citadel. It’s just five minutes from our house; we have had reservations a few times in the past and canceled at the last minute. Last night, though, we followed through and it was outstanding. Not your usual Arizona dining experience (chains) and very understated yet adventurous.

One of our topics for the evening was our idea to rent a RV next year and do some sort of road trip that involves a few of our favorite things—farmers markets and baseball. My wife never knew that such a plan was always something I wanted to do, but I haven’t thought about it for something like 30 years. The RV would allow us to sample our farmers market discoveries and just travel spontaneously. I love the blogging potential.

Who knows, we might even do it. If so, we’ll rent one for a long weekend to see if it works for us. About 17 years ago, when we lived in Seattle, we toyed with the idea of buying a small boat and taking weekend trips on the boast. We never did it, but we had a great time talking about the possibilities. It’s why I love that woman—she is as crazy and wide-eyed as me. Who else would travel through South America for three months on trains and buses?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Thanks to HDTV

The only reason I am watching the series is that we have HDTV, and even the Expos vs. the Brewers looks good in High Def.

Someone needs to teach Steven Tyler the words to The National Anthem.

Yahoo! Sports - MLB

Shabbat Afternoon

We’re having a lazy Shabbat afternoon watching the Cactus Wrens do their thing in our backyard. A friend of my daughter’s celebrates her Bat Mitzvah today and we went along with our daughter to synagogue. Of course, she wouldn’t be caught dead with us, so we dropped her off so she could sit with friends while we took our usual seats (OCD behavior).

It was a bittersweet day, filled with life’s juxtaposition: while this young girl and her family beamed with pride, the wife of the late, beloved Rabbi Herbert Silberman showed deep, heartfelt emotion. I went over to console her at one point; she called me on my birthday and I was so deeply touched that I wanted to go over and thank her in person. The late Rabbi Silberman had tutored the young girl who celebrates her big day today, and that had to make the day extra painful for his wife.

I told my wife that it’s all right to grieve with such passion. In order to truly understand the heights of joy and happiness in life, you also must be prepared to cope with life’s horrors and sadness. Still, our heart aches for her in her period of mourning.

Tonight, my daughter will be at her friend’s celebration party and we will be out to dinner in honor of our recent birthdays.

Friday, October 22, 2004

For Me, Where It All Began

I started my newspaper career at this paper (see below), in Sept. 1998. At that point, the Morning Call, was owned by a prominent family, the Millers. The funny thing is, I told the managing editor I wanted to be a media critic, and he told me that was a great ambition, but first I needed to learn the newspaper business. For two years, I covered courts, crime, fires, plane crashes, school boards, and everything else a nasty night editor can throw at a rookie reporter.

I eventually left the Morning Call to become a media critic at The Everett Herald (right outside Seattle). I still hold fond memories of the Morning Call and am glad to see they are embracing the 21st Century.

Three Wise Bloggers Bear Good News for Newspapers

Empty Bowls

In honor of our birthday week, my wife and I ventured out at lunchtime to the Foothills/Carefree Empty Bowl project. Upon arrival, you picked out a ceramic bowl (the choices were varied), went to the rinsing station and then loaded up with food. The cost was $10 per bowl. Sadly, the meal was something I couldn’t eat (what a shock!) so I grabbed a Hebrew National hotdog from a nearby vendor. As consolation, I bought a T-shirt that commemorates the event. That puts us up to three million t-shirts.

Birthday Recap

All in all, it was a really nice 51st birthday. We went out for a fun dinner at Carrabba’s (which is Arizona’s answer to Italian food) and ran into some groups of women in the area for a Breast Cancer fundraising walk. Their devotion to the cause brought tears to my wife’s eyes.

Got some fun gifts including a Sponge Bob wall clock. My family feeds my Sponge Bob habit. I think he’s a funny cartoon character and was somewhat dismayed over the WSJ piece that connects gay men to Sponge Bob. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that). I enjoy watching the cartoon with my daughter and sharing a good laugh—what more can I say?

Not related, but I have stepped up my efforts to build my own TV network. I am roping Mike into the deal and will have him create the music/radio channels. Mike has far more eclectic taste in music than I do (which is not saying much). I still listen to Jerry Butler (the original Iceman), so what does that say about me?

Not Enough Losses

Why hire an enthusiastic, popular former player when you can hire Bob Melvin, the ex-Mariners skipper who lost close to 100 games this season.

Mark Grace eliminated from team's managerial search

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Alternate Birthday Plans

Curses—our Fall League plans were washed away by a monster storm. It looked gray as we headed West on 101, but once the wind picked up, we knew it was time to head home and live to spectate another day.

Instead, we spent our lunch hour watching “Diary of A Political Tourist” which I recorded/taped/digitally captured from HBO. It’s the second such film from Alexandra Pelosi (daughter of Calif. Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi), the first being, “Travels with George” (about you know who).

This film (which we are half-way through), is a political junkie’s dream. Also, it’s shot on video, giving it a real in-your-face intimate quality. Filmmaker Pelosi is a graduate of USC’s film school. That’s the same school at which Mike and I (along with our boss) presented last week. To the best of my knowledge, Pelosi was not there—but the great Michael Mann (“Thief,” “Miami Vice”) was there and was brilliant.

Google--No. 1 in Iraq!

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Google 'saved' Australian hostage

Great for The Brand Image

Target gives boot to Salvation Army; Valley poorer for it

We Are In Circle K Land

I'd love to buy a John Kerry cup, but we live in Circle K land--cannot think of a nearby 7-11.

Campaign Jitters: Candidates Cup-and-Cup After Second Week of 7-Election


So, today is my birthday. I am 51, which is a minor milestone of some sort. Also, I am thinking about the fact that it was six years ago that I first learned I was/am diabetic. On one memorable birthday in 1980, the Phillies won the World Series. Over the years, I remember cakes, phone calls, gifts and parties. This year, I will be light on calls and gifts (the greatest one is being with my family) and will not indulge in a high-carb birthday cake.

I have had a number of memorable recent birthdays, and my favorite activity on my birthday is to go to a Fall League baseball game. The weather looks OK right now, but it calls for rain later, so that plan might be tenuous. Other than that, it will be a day to see my girls, feel good about my life and look forward to many more celebrations (I hope).

Here is one of my horoscopes for the coming year: You've been known to fall in love with an idea or a fantasy, and that could happen again this year much to your delight. Interview several before you choose, and pick one that will last for years. Accept only the best quality

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Democracy in Action

Grassroots supporters in Arizona sign up to work for Kerry

Tonight, I saw democracy in action and "kicked off" my campaign for U.S. Congress, District 7 in Arizona. I have written in my previous blog about running for Congress in six years, so I will not dwell on the topic here. Tonight, I went with my wife to a local library conference room to learn about a new grassroots strategy to get last-minute volunteers to work for John Kerry in Arizona. Seems that the official DNC people and paid Kerry organizers have been pulled from the state to work in closer races (Colorado, New Mexico…). Heck, there was a “West Wing” episode in which both parties left Orange County when the man running for Congress from the Democratic Party died. No one here died, but other state races need bodies, so the party is wisely reallocating resources.

There were about 30 people at tonight’s gathering, with an average age of 55. There were a lot of silly questions after the new organizer (who said he was a senior in college when he worked on the ‘92 Clinton campaign) gave his pitch but they people there were giving of their own time and seemed sincere. They are looking for all sorts of volunteers; I signed up to manage call centers, which is a natural given the work I do as well as the fact I once edited a telecoms magazine (A big joke around my house). My wife volunteers to be one of my deputies!

My wife wanted me to go so I’d see the people I am choosing to represent when I run for Congress. I jokingly said they would make “loyal subjects.”

Know The Issues--Get Out & Vote!

Click below if you need help in understanding the issues and candidates.

Politics1 - 2004 U.S. Presidential Election (P2004)

Never Let 'Em See You Sweat

Yahoo! News - Top Stories Photos - AP

The Flu

I have to admit I am a bit of a germophobe. Also, probably borderline OCD (in fact, my wife pointed out some of my OCD behavior this morning) which might stem from the fact I am a Type 2 diabetic. As such, I live in a regimented world that is difficult to describe, but I have developed certain coping mechanisms geared for survival.

So, that takes me to the topic of the flu. I cannot take a flu shot because I am allergic to eggs (the yolks, which is the part where the vaccine is incubated). I have never taken a flu shot, so the lack of flu vaccines does not impact me directly, but, really it does. As a diabetic, the last thing I want is to catch the flu. While it won’t put me in the hospital, and it won’t put me on a home IV (which I’ve been on before), it will screw up my life. It takes me several extra days (against the norm) to get rid of a cold, so the flu would knock me out for many, many days. As others cannot take the flu shot, that means more people will get the flu thereby exposing the other diabetics and me (as well as others who may have lower than normal immune systems) to the flu.

I project lots of lost work hours this year and lots of people avoiding the doctor’s office for fear of catching the flu from people hacking away in the waiting room. As for me, I was at the Mayo Clinic the other day to see my dermatologist; given the number of people coughing and sneezing, I won’t be back unless it’s an emergency.

Please, wash your hands as much as possible and cover your moth when you cough. I thank you, and others in my situation thank you.

The Human Rain Delay

The Seattle Mariners will announce a new manager today—Mike Hargrove. Hargrove bears a great nickname—“The Human Rain Delay.” The name stems from the fact that, as a player, Hargrove would take about 15 minutes for every plate appearance. He would step out of the batter’s box, fidget with his gloves, his helmet, his pants… He drove the pitcher nuts, but that was his plan.

Wonder why the same managers keep getting recycled? Hargrove, of late, has been a mediocre manager, never taking the Orioles close to the playoffs. Odd, indeed.

I Volunteer To Shut Mine Off Myself

Yahoo! News - Keychain Remote Control Turns Off Most TVs

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Strange doings today. First, our electricity went out for a few hours and then I had a work call to some journalist in Germany who goes by the name “Killer.” No joke. He works for some sort of online radio network. The conversation was pleasant, but his name is somewhat off-putting—given my heritage.

That Moustache Alone In A Crime

Yahoo! News - World Photos - AP


Today is my beloved wife’s birthday. We don’t have anything really special planned other than to be together. We have had some birthday celebrations (particularly one 15 years ago) that were less than stellar. You get to a point in time when what’s important in life becomes very clear. Just being together is what's most important to us.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Bumper Sticker

I promised not to take pictures of bumper stickers on my blog. However, I saw one an hour ago too good to not mention--"Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing an idiot."

Red Sox Nation? Hah!

I cannot begin to say how little I care about the Red Sox-Yankees series. Five hours on baseball is outrageous, even if they brought The Babe back to life to slug it out with Barry Bonds and Cy Young was on the hill. Lots of tired folks in Boston today. The networks are no doubt hoping for a Yankees-Cardinals series (shades of 1964, with Bob Gibson pitching) and are holding their collective breathe that Houston does not make it to the WS…although a Roger Clemens-Yankees matchup has some potential

Don't Push The Panic Button Yet

Mike and I went into a Sony Style store a little more than a week ago. There are lots of cool things there, but aaside from asking us every few minutes if "they" could help us, the clerks are "T on a B" (as my father would say).

Yahoo! News - Sony to Open More Stores, Worrying Others

Sunday, October 17, 2004

"Fahrenheit 9/11"

My wife and I just finished watching “Fahrenheit 9/11” for the first time. My initial reaction is that is a powerful, poignant and often sickening movie. It is not as deeply emotionally moving and personally disturbing as “Bowling for Columbine,” but more historically evocative and more likely to elicit visceral reactions of anger, hatred and, hopefully, action. As a documentary, it is not great filmmaking, but as an “experience,” it’s up there and worth of its Cannes Film Festival Award.

The film made me think of Vietnam, the wretched power of media to distort facts and what we think about when we elect leaders. It makes me think of a nation suffering short-term memory loss and a nation that believes that Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather are trusted friends when they actually are actors, or as the British call them, presenters.

I have two major thoughts immediately, perhaps more later. One thought is that we as a nation must look at the facts and those who are running for president and look into our hearts to make the right choice. We must make a choice we can live with, and, more appropriately make the choice that takes us down a more just and moral path. This coming election is the most important one since World War II.

Second and this related to my work, we must take every chance we have to seek out news and information that is not filtered and edited by media organizations that have financial and political motivation. The Internet will change the way we “get news” forever. We must embrace the means to collect a variety of unbiased facts and opinions and share those with others. We must embrace the tools that allow us to build and disseminate networks of truth. The technology is here to facilitate this new paradigm. We are lucky to be living in a time when we can be in charge of our informational intake.

My New Ipod

OK, I have come around. Recently, I came into possession of an Ipod from HP (the Windows kind) and am now a believer. My two-year-old iRiver is now a paperweight.

At first, I struggled getting the darned thing to work, but I realized I misread one of the error messages (a bifocal issue). All I needed was a simple update to my Windows 2000 and the install disk then worked fine.

I like the ease of use and the ability to automatically update files. I love the sound and the menu. I am not wild about the flywheel on the menu, but I’ll get used to it. Also, not having used it for long periods of time, I am not clear on power life. There is no battery backup that I can find. In a few weeks, when I am off to Seattle I’ll see if it lasts an entire three-hour flight.

Props to Apple. Also, props to HP’s customer support help line.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Minor Sighting

We had a minor celebrity slighting this afternoon. There we were, minding our business, making our weekly trip to Nordstrom Rack, returning everything we bought the week before. And, there she was—Jill Cordes, co-host of Food TV Network’s “The Best Of.” Jill was leaving The Rack with her purchases and hopping into the back of a car (we assume she was being chauffeured, albeit in a standard-issue Japanese car). BTW, Jill was smoking like a chimney.

Or at least we thought it was her.

Thom & His Boys

Here’ a sports oddity—On the FOX Cardinals-Astros NLCS games Thom Brennamen is teamed up with two former partners from his Arizona Diamondback broadcasting duties. There’s Bob Brenly, who want from the booth to the manager’s office and Steve (Psycho) Lyons, who went from the broadcast booth to the dumpster (I wish). Lyons is an idiot who was suspended for making a ridiculous comment about Shawn Green taking a day off for Yom Kippur.

I Was Pleased To See...

No one is selling flu vacciens on eBay. Nautral remedies, though.

eBay - flu, flu Health Beauty, Dietary Supplements Nutrition, Over-the-Counter Medicine, and Coupons items at low prices

The ME-TV Network Emerges?

On of the reasons I started my new blog was to add the topic of staring a personal TV network. The plans are in the works (I think that’s a line from some movie) for that to happen. I told my family if I get the various pieces I need to build the network, I would have to buy a new TV. No one objected—imagine my surprise!

After starting my new network, I have discovered the means to actually share the network with other people. If you are prepared to watch the things I find entertaining and informative, we might have a revolution on our hands. I sure hope so!

Kiss Your Pets

I have written in previous postings about the adventures and misadventures of my wife and I as pet owners. This is not about that. This is about the stat I read this morning in The Arizona Republic.

For the week ending October 9th, at the 11 Maricopa County shelters, they did intake on 1,679 pets. For the week, 710 pets were adopted and 855 were euthenized (humanely put to sleep). Years ago, my wife and I watched a documentary about humane societies and the rampant lack of care of pets that leads to this population explosion. It was a deeply emotional program, and actually led us down one of our pet misadventures (check previous pet postings).

So, this leads me to a baseball topic. Yes, I hate the St. Louis Cardinals, but manager Tony LaRussa is a remarkable man. LaRussa heads ARF, a charity involved in humane treatments of animals. LaRussa was a decent ballplayer, a lawyer and perhaps the top manager in the game. Plenty of teams have talent, but LaRussa is the game’s top strategist. With pitching coach and long-time friend Dave Duncan by his side, he has commandeered the A’s and Cardinals to greatness. After reading this stat about Arizona-area pets today, I might be forced to root for the Cardinals today. After all, I hate Roger Clemens.

New Rightfielder For The Giants?

The A's dropped their option on Jermaine Dye. He was probably a little too fragile for the team's taste, plus he does not fit Billy Beane's "Moneyball" image as Dye strikes out too much. Would he be the man to protect Barry Bonds in the number five slot for the G-men?

Baseball Today

Friday, October 15, 2004

Big Week

This is an historic week in my life. Some 22 years ago, this past week, is when I first met my wife. We met on a blind date at a place in Queen Anne Hill in Seattle that no longer exists. Less than a year later, we were married.

Next week is our birthday week. Our birthdays are two days apart, making us both the ultimate Libras. I contend it’s why we get along so well, given we are both bad at making decisions, forcing us to float through life, side by side, on our own private magic carpet.

Early on, we generally did something special on our birthdays—such as a trip to Vancouver, BC for the weekend—but in recent years, it’s been lower key. Generally, we go to an Arizona Fall League Game with some sort of dinner.

Regarding gifts….my best gift was in 1992: a little over a month after my birthday we went to pick up our baby girl from Latin America. Nothing will ever top that.

In The Rain?

Why on earth do they play important baseball games in the rain like they did last night (Cards vs. Astros)? I was at the game mentioned below, and Tommy John was spectacular (it was the year after he had the surgery that now bears his name), as he took advantage of the terrible weather conditions in Philadelphia that night forcing Phillies sluggers (Schmidt and Luzinksi) to pound the ball into the ground. It rained the entire game and I sat there soaked to the bone. I paid $30 for my ticket and was not about to let my money go to waste.

So, of the three entities involved in the game--the team, the fans and TV, the fans get shortchanged. I hate that! Well, when TV's power begins to erode, things will be much different.

Baseball Digest: Tommy John: the game I'll never forget: former pitcher recalls his playoff matchup against Steve Carlton and the Phillies in 1977

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Not Your Typical Backyard Picnic

This was the menu from a picnic we attended last weekend. Sure sounds good (and looked good), although (with so many food allergies) there wasn't much for me to eat.


Bingo is Mike and Rebecca's dog. He is a sweet and gentle sort--just the kind of critter my wife and daughter would just adore.

The Week That Was

I have been gone for a week, but it seems longer. As I have said, seven nights in four hotels in three locations. The beds uniformly were lousy and I actually have not had a real dinner in a week save for a great time with Mike and his wife Rebecca last Friday night. I have had one breakfast and a few lunches.

There were things I loved and things I didn’t love in the past week. I loved the sheer magnificence of my wife and daughter last weekend. I loved everything that had to do with work the past few days.

A few notes:

*Dr. Dean Edell mentioned something on his radio program last Friday in that Americans seek out Eastern medical treatments for the ailments, while those in Asia seek out America technology and medical research for their problems.

*There was a Microsoft new media event a few days ago at the Shine Auditorium in LA. At the hotel we stayed at around the corner, there was no high-speed Internet access in the room. In fact, my attempt to get connected ruined my email settings.

*The great singer, Joan Baez, was on my flight Tuesday from San Francisco to LA. She looked great!

*I saw an in-flight TV program about service dogs. It was amazing. My wife would have gone berserk over Willie, the service dog who is trained to help his owner with her seizures. Willie can dial 9-1-1.

*I saw Allen Covert (of Adam Sandler movie fame) on the Sony Pictures lot. Big deal, right.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Moving Day

This is a continuation of my previous blog; I thought it was time to move to a more updated look.... more later