Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I'm not much on fruitcake. I tasted it once and decided it was best left to be used as a speed bump, if one should ever be in need of a portable speed bump. I was a big believer in the Johnny Carson theory, that there was really only one fruitcake in existence, and it just got re-gifted multiple times a year, globetrotting from house to house like a bizarre hot potato. When December 25th came up, the family with the fruitcake was stuck with custody...until next year, when they could pass it along to the next victim. I was OK with that theory until I went to Cracker Barrel one December, and saw a whole stack of them on display...and I hadn't been drinking, so I knew it wasn't quadruple vision squared. My entire belief system was shattered.

And so we come to this thing left in our break room. Things left in the break room are considered fair game for anyone who walks by. Usually if there are leftovers from a lunch meeting, like pizza, they show up there. When people have excess Halloween candy they'd like other people to guessed it...break room. Today's featured product, something called Panettone. It's a traditional Italian cake (or so says the box it was in). I decided to give it a shot. After all, I'm Italian...sort of...and the box, sitting off to the side, looked familiar. I had seen it before, even if I had never tasted the contents, so I was curious.

This shit is....nasty. It's like a fruitcake/bread combination, so it's not even suitable in the speed bump arena. It has these little chunks of unrecognizable fruit-like things embedded in it and it's just...I dunno. All I can say is I'm no longer curious.


American Idol...again

The youngster and I hit the gym again last night. I really am making an effort at this, but that's not what I came to write about.

In the gym there are several TVs, and we arrived with all of them on the same guessed it...American Idol. Seeing as the 'crowd' appeared to want it that way, I didn't object. I just hung with it, but it did give me all the more reason to hate that show.

A parade of wannabes, some serious, some not, from some place in Alabama. One huge woman who looked a bit like Big Bird in a feathery yellow tent, one girl from Florida with hair so long she could step on was like a carnival show and the gong show (with Paula Abdul looking more and more like Jaye P. Morgan as the show went on) squeezed into one hour. Sorry, but I just don't get it, and after that sampling, I probably never will.

Sports Center would have been far more enjoyable, but I wasn't there to enjoy the TV show. I was there to sweat.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

my apple is so much better than your orange

Now the great debate rages over the sports talk airwaves and Sports Center and wherever else...which is better? Tiger Woods's streak of wins in golf or Roger Federer's streak of wins in tennis.

I can't believe people are actually trying to justify either side of that argument. The answer is neither. They're both pretty cool, and great accomplishments, but they are so different you can't reasonable argue one is any better than the other. They are both individual sports, but beyond that, they have no real comparable qualities. One ball is small and hard. The other is big and fuzzy. You hit one with titanium, the other with netting. One gets hit at you and you hit it back on the fly. The other sits on the ground 'til you hit it. One's played on grass. the other...well, never mind. Yes, I'm being overly obvious, but so is the point I'm making. Neither streak is "better" than the other. They're both just pretty huge accomplishments. Stop trying to quantify them.

Which is harder? Well, if you're the tennis player, I'd think the golf tournament thing would be harder and visa versa. For me, they're equally in "no freakin' way".

I mean, which is worse...losing a Super Bowl or losing the World Series?


Monday, January 29, 2007

SNL quote

and no, I probably don't have it perfect, but it was hilarious...a fictional rapper describing Dolly Parton's breasts...

"It's like Beyonce's booty built a house up north and painted it white."

The wife looked at me and asked, "What did he just say?"

I told her, and she just started cracking up and managed to get out, "That's what I thought."


the will power kicks in

I guess I'm serious about this "get myself in shape" thing. The youngster is doing his part, constantly bugging me to go to the gym, and we are.

The best though was going to the grocery store yesterday. I do the grocery shopping in our house, usually over the weekend. I was going through the dairy section and there, with the Philadelphia Cream Cheese, was a new item. It was a tub, about ther size of a Cool Whip tub, with Philadelphia brand ready-to-eat cheesecake filling.




A friend of mine went to bike week down in Daytona one year. He came back and told me he saw the personification of sin, standing in the doorway of a bar in a leather thong. I'm thinking, Ms. Leather Thong has nothing on this tub.

Tt's so wrong on many levels. How do you pack that much fat and cholesterol and edible temptation in one little tub? Talk about what is probably my biggest weakness...cheesecake (yes already, the kind you eat...OK, OK already, the kind you bake and eat), and to just have a tub of the filling and a spoon??? I could take that tub and polish it off in one sitting and then look for more. I know I could.

But I passed it by. We're just not going there.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

the gym

Let me start with...the gym isn't my friend.

I like getting out and doing things that could be considered exercise, but going someplace for the specific purpose of exercise isn't really my thing. Go for a bike ride, sure. Ride a stationary Go for a brisk long walk, sure. Walk the treadmill, I don't think so. There comes a time, though, when you have to do something, and thinking about it while taking another couch potato nap isn't cutting it. The gym is becoming "my thing" out of necessity, or at least perceived necessity.

I was always the fairly thin guy, in my teens, 20s and 30s. Then I hit my 40s and, like a lot of other people, stopped metabolizing food at the same rate or whatever. About then I quit smoking, too and...I started expanding. This was new ground for me and I didn't like it much. Still don't.

So we moved into this neighborhood that has an exercise room...gym...sweat it what you will. I figured, I have no excuse at all. It's all right here. As much as I despise the place, I need to use it, and five years ago, I did. I did religiously. I was one of the two or three people who knew all the regulars, cuz I was one...and it was having the desired effect.

Then I got the flu. It was December, and I stopped. When I got better, it was still December and cold, and I still didn't go. My religious routine came to a dead halt, and never really started back up. I just let other things suck up that time, and never made a huge effort to get it back.

So we get to this Christmas season and I went to the grocery store one day. On a lark I stepped on the scale. We don't need to get into specifics (because those are going to be history), but the needle settled on a higher number than it ever has before, and I decided I need to do something, again. I don't get home from work 'til after dark, so bike rides and such aren't that practical this time of year...and so that room loomed large once more.

I talked to the youngster, who always wanted to go to that sweatshop of a gym, but was too young. Technically, he still is. You're supposed to be at least 14, and he will be in May. But he wanted to go, so we went Tuesday night. He's all pumped to do it again. (I will say this though. Five years ago when the development wasn't as built out, there were only a few people in there. Now, it's a bit more crowded and you're waiting for equipment.) He asked Wednesday, but we had to study Social Studies. He asked again last night, and we went again, after reviewing Science. He loves the place, and that, my friends, just might be the motivation I need to keep going. He'll bug me...every night, and if I say no, he'll want to know why, and no piddly ass excuse is going to do. I need to keep going, and maybe, he'll push me into it.

No, it's not the greatest thing when you count on your kid to nag you back into shape, but hey...whatever works.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

life comes at you fast, if you have one

Apparently Nationwide Insurance has a commercial ready for the Super Bowl. It features, Kevin Federline, the not-so-famous ex of Britney Spears, in an imaginary status descent from Spears' love machine to burger flipper in a fast food restaurant. The message being, life comes at you fast and it's not always for the better, so be prepared.

In a move eerily similar to the GEICO caveman parody, the burger flippers of America are pissed. Some head burger flipper wants the commercial pulled because it portrays flipping burgers as a somewhat unpleasant, undesirable or demeaning career.

Well.....DUH! If you're flipping burgers at Ronald's House of Fine Meats, and you're not still living with your parents and/or going to school, doesn't "ditch digger" start to look like a move up in the world? If you're asked where you want to be in 5 years and your aspiration is head burger flipper at the Main Street Burger King, you're not setting a bar. You're doing the limbo under it.

Should we also castigate anyone who uses the running joke about high school dropouts and English majors being all about learning the phrase, "Do you want fries with that?" It's not exactly a rung up above rocket scientist. So, I have to ask, "Where's the beef?"

Perhaps "undesirable" and "demeaning" are just bad words. Maybe we could put it through the "politically correct" filter and say the job is "challenge challenged". But yeah dude, wake up and smell the grease fire. If it's such an amazing career, bring it on, and give me that seven figure salary and country club membership perk to boot, and I'll be there to prove I'm your guy. I mean, making me feel good about myself doesn't come cheap.

Face it. That minimum wage paycheck you're shelling out is doing a whole lot more to portray the job as unpleasant and demeaning than any insurance commercial.

If this "problem" is occupying your time, it's obvious life isn't coming at you fast. You really need to go out and find one, so it can come at you at all.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

sleep aids

I'm pretty ignorant on the subject of sleep aids, and perhaps I should be thankful about that. Crashing has never been that big of an issue for me. Weird ass dreams, that's another matter.

So I'm watching this commercial for one of them on TV last night and the usual quieter fast talking sentences are running through the end of the commercial when I hear..."side effects can include...blah blah blah...drowsiness..blah blah blah."

Am I missing something? I really thought drowsiness was the general idea.


the Woodman strikes again

Every year (6th through 8th grade) the youngster's school does this thing called "the Woodman". I blogged about it last year when he did it, and I'm doing it again.

The Woodman is an exercise in public speaking. The students are given a general subject and they pick something specific within that subject to speak about, for between three and a half and five minutes. They have to memorize the speech they do. Beyond being an exercise in public speaking, one or two from the school that do it very well move on, where it's a competition in public speaking, between schools. Last year he was told he would move on to the competition, but got edged out and was seriously bummed about it. Two years ago the subject was great moments in American History, and he did the moon landing. Last year it was American States and he did Florida. This year it was great American Presidents, and he did Dubya. (Just kidding, as JessieE either rolls on the floor or goes into shock. I do, however, believe history will be far kinder to Dubya than current public opinion would have us believe, but that's another story.)

It is great American Presidents this year, but his class integrated it into a few other requirements. They had to read a biography this year and do a research paper, so the biography had to be a great American President, and that was also the subject of the research paper. (I told him he could do it on Clinton, but the library didn't have that issue of da bing.) He picked Franklin D. Roosevelt. I didn't object, but you can imagine, he wasn't exactly my choice. We went to the bookstore to get a biography, but everything on Roosevelt was about 3 or more inches thick, and he found a slim book on Thomas the subject immediately changed. Out of the New Deal frying pan and into the flaming commie liberal fire. A few deep breaths and I was OK with it. I figured Declaration of Independence, Lewis and Clark, Louisiana Purchase, there ought to be plenty of speech-ifying material in that choice. (Before you get all impressed, yeah I knew the Declaration of Independence part, but the rest is only fresh in my mind because I'm up on my 8th grade Social Studies.)

The due date was originally the 7th, so over Christmas break, we made him write and start memorizing the speech. The deadline got moved to the 21st, so over the last couple of weeks, we've been working on it. By Sunday night, he had the thing down. He's not one for volunteering to go early, but I told him, "You know the thing. Why not go first and get it out of the way. That way you can relax while everyone else does theirs, and...the teacher grades easier on those that volunteer to go the first day. You could benefit from that too."

For once, he listened. He went first and nailed it. He got a very good grade and depending on how everyone else does this week, might be moving on to a competitive level. He's crossing his fingers.

Yeah, I'm pretty proud....and so is he.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

why do some people have to make things so hard?

So we did the whole cotillion thing last Friday. Let me back up and lay some groundwork.

There are three kids in our neighborhood who go to the youngster's school in the age group that does the cotillion thing, and all three do participate. We have the youngster, young Steeler Fan and Ms. Hard to Deal With. I was going to try to give Ms. Hard to Deal With the benefit of the doubt and lay all the blame on her parents, but that's not true. She's following in Mommy and Daddy's footsteps.

Ms. Hard to Deal With used to carpool with the rest of us, but she, or her parents, or her brother had issues, almost on a weekly basis, that involved someone else doing something out of the ordinary to accomodate them, and eventually they gave up on the carpool. The remaining families at the time threw a small party.

Still, this cotillion deal is a fair distance, so we try to get everybody there in one fell swoop. This time young Steeler Fan was bowing out, because this time it was formal and, "I don't have any formal clothes." The wife winced and called Mrs. Hard to Deal With to see if they wanted to share rides to the dance. Mrs. Hard to Deal With had great news. She was volunteering at the dance and could actually take the kids both ways. WOW! That was unexpected. This is way too easy. Later Mrs. Steeler Fan called. Young Steeler Fan was indeed going. She just needed to buy him some pants, and did we want to carpool? The wife shared the news that Mrs. Hard to Deal With was doing all the driving...and there was much rejoicing.

Of course, it was too good to be true.

About an hour later, Mr. Hard to Deal With calls the wife and asks, "Does the youngster need a ride to the dance?" OOOOOkay, where is this coming from. Thought that was all arranged. The wife explains that she talked to his wife and thought she had it handled.

In his best Office Space Lumbergh voice, "Weelllll, you see, that's the thing. Ms. Hard to Deal With has a soccer game and will be leaving late. Mrs. Hard to Deal With can take them, but Mrs. Steeler Fan is bringing her son over here to make it easier. Can you do that with the youngster?"

"Sure, no problem"

Sill doing Lumbergh, "Greeeeaaaat."

"Mrs. Hard to Deal with is still bringing them home, isn't she?"

The resemblence is uncanny (the wife is fabricating an excuse for why her TPS reports aren't done), "I'll get back to you on that."

A few minutes later he calls to say Mrs. Hard to Deal with isn't feeling well and will be leaving the dance before it ends, soooo....the wife just stops the conversation short, throws in the towel and volunteers me (of course) to pick them up...which is what happened.

So....why? Why does it have to be difficult? Why does he call and ask if the youngster needs a ride, knowing full well his wife already volunteered? Why the pretense, when we're all big kids and know better? Can't we just cut to the chase and say, we were going to do it this way, but we can't, so can you help...or something? Why does it have to be pulling teeth for something as simple as the logistics of getting three kids to and from a freakin' dance?

Sorry...the rant is ending now.

Bottom line, the youngster had fun so it was all worth it, and that's what really matters.


Monday, January 22, 2007

a few quick hits on a Monday

OK, one of his writers is actually responsible, I'm sure, but it's a great Jay Leno quote anyway....
"David Beckham is coming to the United States. People say he could make a huge impact on the way Americans ignore soccer."

Hillary threw her overly televised eye roll in the Presidential ring. I hear Monica's already been contacted for a return engagement on her kneepads. She doesn't have to worry about this Presidential hopeful staining her dress so much, but she's stocking up on those cigars.

The second time around would be a lot nicer for Bill. He could have a whole lot more time to insert himself into anything with an orafice without that whole Presidential job pain in the ass getting in his way...especially with Hillary doing it (the job, that is). That'll keep her busy and out of his way, too. I'm sure it's not near the character issue when it isn't the President lying in America's collective face about screwing anything that will allow it. It's just her husband.

Much was made of the two Super Bowl coaches being African American. I'm so looking forward to the day when race becomes such a non-issue, that nobody will notice, or care.

The basketball team from the little Main Line Philly school beat two top 25 teams in the last week (and they wonder why this Catholic boy isn't a Notre Dame fan). No, we aren't making the same noise we did last year, but we're starting to turn a head or two. Go Wildcats!

The Super Bowl...has lost a whole lot of interest in the lumberyard. I'm happy Tony Dungy got there, because he is, by all accounts, a great guy and deserves to be there. I can't, however, stomach rooting for Peyton and the Colts. I would rather see the Bears beat them, but I don't think that vision has a realistic chance. I think the Colts will blow the Bears out and make the game boring some time in the second quarter. Somewhere in the back of my mind, a voice says I should be happy about the prospect of an AFC South team winning the Super Bowl, on which my Jaguars hung 44 points, but that's not quite doing it for me. Still, I have to admit...they're gonna roll. At least I can be happy for their coach.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Cotillion, part duex

Yeah, I threw the French in cuz we're gettin' all snooty now.

Tonight is the third in a series of Cotillion dances. The youngster had a blast at the first, but blew off the second because nobody else in his class was going, so he didn't want to go.

This one gets a bit more....uppity. It's a "formal" which means the boys must wear a shirt and tie. The youngster could actually wear a suit, because we bought him one this summer when we trekked north for the folks 50th anniversary. I think he can get by with just shirt and tie and in the youngster's world, it's all about getting by. To be honest, when it comes to playing dress up, I'm right there with him. I'm all about comfort. Once you get past t-shirt and shorts, the minimum required is as far as I want to go. Let's just say that "Are you wearing that?" is a popular phrase in out house whenever we have some function to go to, which usually results in a change of attire for moi. (Yes, more French.)

I figured that would be enough to scare him away from this outing...the whole 'formal' thing, but he's itchin' to go. He's itchin' to go, however, because this time, everyone from school is going. I don't know how uppity it really is, but I know there will be a photographer, because we got his price list and crap in the mail.

I just hope he has fun. The rest of it is what it is, but as long as he has a good time with it, I'll be happy.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

American Idol

Count me among those not exactly enamored with the show.

I never got the bug, and I'm not exactly upset about that. I hear people talking about it, like everyone ought to know what's going on. At work, at the end of every season, for fun, the company boss's admin assistant runs an employee poll over who should win between the last two contestants. I vote for Pedro every time. This year I will, again, vote for Pedro.

I'll admit, the William Hung thing was hilarious. Now though, it's been done. How many talentless people get their 15 seconds of fame attempting to sing material they are clearly unqualified to perform? The woman singing "Don'cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me" in the commercial for the show....that's just got to go, and it did nothing to get me to watch a half hour of that.

The people who win that thing...I dunno...none of them put out a product I'm dying to go out and buy. They make vanilla ice cream seem radical. I mean, really....Clay Aiken? It's Barry Manilow without the personality. Taylor Hicks...doesn't hold a candle to Taylor Dayne, who doesn't hold a candle to...well...a candle. What's the attraction?

In my opinion, the best thing to come out of that show is that Paula Abdul made a booty call, but she denies that ever happened, so go figure.

I guess I'm missing the Idol gene.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

more is always better, or not

As part of my job, I get a cell phone from the company. I have blogged about said phone before. I hate it. I hate cell phones in general. To me, it's more of an electronic leash, giving my job 24/7 access to me, than any kind of convenience. Yes, I get to use it for personal calls and that is sometimes convenient, but make no mistake. It's here because they want to find me....anytime they want. I liked the good ol' days far better, where you couldn't talk on your phone and attempt to drive. If you needed to make a phone call, you got out of your car and used a pay phone somewhere, thus not even giving you the opportunity to overestimate your ability to multitask.

So we get to this morning in car pool...where one of my Steeler fan kids hadn't finished his homework.

"Does anyone have a calculator?"

Lot's of mumbles but no affirmative answers.

"Mr. Lumberyard, do you have a cell phone with you?"


"Does it have a calculator?"

"Well, honestly, I don't know. Here, look at it."

"Good, it does, but this is an old phone. You should get a blackberry."

So the youngster launches into this speech about how dad's work offered him a blackberry and he refused it...which is true. It's bad enough that they can find me all the time. All I need now is to be pulled from dreamland in a Saturday afternoon nap to hear, "Well, I sent you an e-mail twenty minutes ago and copied your boss, but you didn't respond. So I sent another ten minutes ago and copied him again, figuring that would get your attention. Since it didn't, I'm calling." That, and yet another spam recepticle...I really need one of those.

So the Steeler fan kids all chime in...

"Both my mom and dad have blackberries. You can do so much more with one and it has cool games and you can text message easy with it because it has a keyboard and you could e-mail our parents when you can't drive in the morning and...why don't you want one?"

"I don't need to text message anyone."

The youngster..."But I do!"

Ahhhhh, the madness behind the method.

I turn the phone on when I'm going to be away from the house or office, and when that's the case, I don't want to be e-mailing anybody. Nor do I want them e-mailing me and expecting an immediate response. Actually, I don't want them calling me either, but there are necessary evils. I'm....out doing things, and they don't involve e-mail. They don't involve video games. If I wanted to play those, I'd have stayed at home. They don't involve text messages...If I need to do that, I'll just call.

It's bad enough that I have a phone with me....I really don't care to drag the rest of the e-world along as well. So yes, my "old" phone is about a year and a half old...and it doesn't e-mail....and I like that. I can understand the necessity for all that crap if you work outside an office a lot, and travel a lot, and don't have a desktop computer you can get to whenever you need to, but I don't do that shit. My phone can access the web, but I called the phone company and specifically had that ability turned off, because I did it by accident once and got charged for it, even though it didn't do anything once the web was accessed, and it was for all of two seconds. (That's kind-of a funny story. I called to complain about this charge on my bill I didn't understand. The woman at the phone company said, "Well, you accessed the web." "Oh, I did? How'd I do that?" "You must have hit zero twice. That does it." "Did I do anything once I got there?" "It doesn't look like it. You were there for two seconds." "Can you stop it from doing that?" They took the charge off the bill and disabled the double zero thing.). It has a calculator though, if you should need one. I haven't disabled that feature....yet.

Five years ago they gave me a Palm Pilot, because we developed software for one and we needed a test environment. Once that was done, they let me keep it, even though it wasn't technically "mine", but it just sat on my desk and grew dust. The most use it got was an occasional game. I finally just turned it back in. I really had no practical use for the thing. Some things are pretty cool, but if you don't need them, you just...well...don't need them.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the playoff plot thickens

I'm running out of teams to get behind in the NFL playoffs. There is one obvious choice, and I find myself shying away from that just because it's so obvious..and maybe I ought to just give in and hope for the feel good story.

The remaining teams after all the attrition and carnage:

The Indianapolis Colts - just can't go there. There's no way I can root for the arch nemesis of my Jaguars. I have a lot of respect for Tony Dungy, but I can't like his team.

The New England Patriots - yawn, again? Been there, done that, and done that, and done that. Let someone else play. Given the other choice in the AFC though, I have no choice. I find myself pulling for Brady and the Patriots to get to the Super Bowl, by default.

Da Bears - tried so hard to give the game to the Seahawks, and failed...because the Seahawks tried harder. Face it Chicago, Seattle wanted it more. They're such givers. Da Bears, incompetence in motion, can't even lose right.

Then there is New Orleans - rising from the damp ashes of Katrina with the quarterback nobody wanted to take a chance on. New Orleans has a lot of ongoing problems and winning a Super Bowl won't solve them, but wouldn't ya like to see them win it, just to bring the spirits up of everyone who lives there....everyone who has endured decades of a losing Saints team and the devastation of Katrina? No it doesn't give you running water, but it would bring a smile to your face....for a little while anyway. I guess I ought to give in and just pull for these guys and the Hollywood ending that would ensue.


Friday, January 12, 2007

I have a dream

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

I used to think we were pretty close to that day. I have since realized we have a long way to go, and for a lot of reasons.

I dream of a day where one man of greater qualifications is not refused a job in place of another man of lesser qualifications based on skin color, and this goes both ways, whether because the hiring authority is somehow bigoted or is trying to fill some racial quota. I dream of the same day for college admissions.

I dream of the day when colleges feel no need for those quotas, because all races strive to be the best they can be, and don't succumb to pressures that hold them back, and everyone competes on an equal footing.

I dream of a day when I am welcomed in any neighborhood in any town, regardless of my skin color, and that everyone else can say the same thing.

I dream of a day when nothing can't be understood because it's a black thing, or a white thing, or an latino thing, or any other racial thing.

I dream of a day when there is no double standard that says a black comic, or rapper, can throw the 'nigger' term around and a white person can't. Nobody gets a pass based on skin color. That word just needs to be retired by everybody.

I dream of a day when nobody blames their bad fortune (or bad decisions) on some other race taking what they think belongs to them, and the events of 100 years ago, or 50 years ago stop being obstacles or excuses for what someone can and does (or can't and doesn't) accomplish in their life.

I dream of a day when pride is based on the accomplisments of your life, and not the color of your skin or the name you were born with, and none of those accomplishments are police record fodder.

Am I asking too much?


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Brace yourself

We knew this day was coming. Didn't do a ton of preparation for it, but we did know it was coming.

We knew for years the youngster would need braces. It had to wait until he lost all his baby teeth though, so we were just waiting for the other tooth to drop, so to speak. That happened in the fall, and we got everything scheduled with the orthodontist. This week, it happened.

I never had them, although my sister did. Still, when she had them, I didn't pay much attention, so I remaind fairly ignorant on the subject of mouth wire.

Last week he went in for spacers. I had no idea what that meant, but apparently they slam these little wedges in between your teeth to start moving them apart in preparation for the braces. All I know is from the youngster's reaction, it's not a pleasant experience. There was motrin involved. Lots of motrin.

Then the wires came this week, and so did the payment book. Yeah, you read that right...payment book. I knew this wasn't a cheap thing, but the first two payments in that book are $600...each.

Then today, we hear a commercial on the radio for some orthodonture place on the radio. Yeah, you read that right, they advertise on the radio. He turns and says, "We should have gone there. Jane went there. They give you a free i-pod when you get your braces." Free, my ass. Nothing about that payment book says "free" anything.

Between that and his high school bill next year...I think we're going on the pork and beans diet.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

rock 'em, sock 'em commercial

I don't know how many of you actually watched the Gators/Buckeyes game. This commercial has been on the air before that but it was on an annoying amount of times during that game. It was grating has some decent special effects but the concept is illogically stupid.

The original rock 'em sock 'em robot toys were in a plastic boxing ring. Two players manipulated them and their arms moved in something akin to boxing motion. The object was to get your robot to hit the other robot in the chin, making his head pop up on a spring loaded metal rod, and do it first (known as knocking his block off). You could then reset the head and do it all again...for hours upon hours of good clean fun.

So we have the commercial, in which that script is followed, until the blue robot makes the red robot's head pop up and wins. Then he leaves the ring and goes outside, apparently looking for other tough things to rock and sock, and finds this truck. He starts hitting the truck in the grill, again and again. The truck of course, does nothing. It just sits there, being tough I suppose. Then, the blue robot's head pops up, out of the blue, without provocation. What's up with that? How stupid is that? Are we supposed to think the truck was tougher than the blue robot, and proved it by...just sitting there until the robot lost its head? I'm not buying it. Watching it over and over a bazillion times only made it more absurd.

I suppose the first question I would get would be...well, if you made the commercial, how would you get the truck to knock the blue robot's block off? The answer is, I wouldn't. I'd have seen this idea for a commercial as the piece of stupidity it is, and scrapped it in the first meeting. Then we'd come up with something that actually makes sense.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

well, I ceratinly wasn't expecting THAT

So after all the trash talking between the Steeler car pool kids (who are also huge Ohio State fans) and the youngster, and the brother-in-law (who lives in Columbus Ohio and is a Buckeye fan) and the youngster, we watched the game with fingers crossed.

I'm hoping for a good game, and if Florida wins, that'd be cool too. The opening kickoff goes back for an Ohio State touchdown and I'm's going to be a long night. The phone rings as the extra point goes through the uprights. It's the oldest of the Steeler fan car pool kids wanting the youngster...for more trash talk. happened.

It was like a dream. The Gators drove easily...too easily, for a touchdown to even it up and the youngster is reaching for the phone for payback. The Buckeyes go three and out and the Gators score another touchdown. The youngster again reaches for the phone and I grabbed it. Enough is enough and we have a little discussion about class. By halftime the Gators are up by 20 and I'm thinking...the Gators are not only hanging with them. They're handling them.

The second half started as more of a stalemate, but that was OK, as long as the clock was running and the Gator defense is holding the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback to absolutely nothing. The Gators scored again in the fourth as if they needed to, and it was over. The youngster was alseep long before that, but he was up and bouncing off the walls this morning.

The trip to school was a bowl of sour grapes of the, "You know, 9 out of 10 times we would have beaten you. You got lucky." and "On paper, we're still better than you." variety. The youngster.."No, if we beat you 14 to 13, maybe you could say that, but you got stomped. Face it. We're better than you. 10 out of 10 times, on paper and the field."

Silence, except for the murmur..."I hate living in Florida. First the Steelers. Now this."

No, it wasn't that big a deal to me. I'd rather see the Gators win than Ohio State, but I'm not exactly elated today. For those of you that are, congratulations. Your Gators deserved it.


Monday, January 08, 2007

be careful what you wish for

It occurred to me last night, Gator fans will become insufferably obnoxious (OK, moreso than they already are) if they own the national championship in college football and basketball at the same time. Living here could become downright intolerable.

Maybe I need to start pulling for that Ohio State team.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

THE Right in the Lumberyard Blog

Hello, this is John, author for THE Right In The Lumberyard Blog. I know, you're extremely impressed, Me too. It's the THE that does it. Because I call it THE Right In The Lumberyard Blog, there's an assumption that there are thousands of other Right In The Lumberyard Blogs out there, waiting to take my place, but nooooo. This is it. This is THE one and only. It's THE Right In The Lumberyard Blog, and you should feel somewhat priveleged to be here.

It's the same with Ohio State...errrr...excuse me...THE Ohio State University. Sounds impressive doesn't it...or maybe slightly they know K Mart is busy building a slew of Jacklyn Smith Collection knock offs in Ashtabula, and they want to make sure everyone knows which one is THE Ohio State they're a bit fearful someone else might want their spot. Come to think of it...sounds a bit stupid (or like someone could use some therapy).

Just so you don't think I'm biased, let me say the University of Miami is just as guilty, with "The U". Watching a game last night during the introductions, the players say their name and school. One guy from either the Seahawks or Cowboys (can't remeber his name) said he went to "The U", as if there's only one University out there and he attended it. Fact is, Miami has so little creativity that all they could come up with for thir helmets is a orange and green U...becuase we all need help knowing it's a University. Left on our own, we might think...oh, I dunno...crack house? If you've been to the neighborhood of "The U", you know what I mean.

Can I go back to being just Right in the Lumberyard now instead of THE Right In The Lumberyard Blog? I'm a bit more comfortable with that.


Friday, January 05, 2007

The Mighty Florida Fighting Gators and...well...uhh...the buckeyes

Anyone who's read here for any length of time knows the youngster is a huge Gator fan. I, on the other hand, am not. I'll pull for them when they play teams from other places just cuz they're the local guys, and I will again on Monday, when the Florida Gators face the Ohio State Buckeyes for the college football national championship. It won't bother me a whole lot if they lose though. I'd do the same for Florida State, which is one thing the more rabid fans of both teams can't grasp.

This time I'll do it for another reason though. It's not quite teeny-weeny Boise State against big powerful Oklahoma, but it runs in the same vein. The Gators are supposedly pretenders, not really deserving to even be in this game. They supposedly have no chance to win, and again, it's not a matter of Ohio State winning. The only question is, by how much. Urban Meyer, the Florida coach, held a publication about the game...a thick magazine of sorts. It had about a hundred pages devoted to the Ohio State Buckeyes and two, count 'em two pages about the Gators. They're an afterthought. Ohio State already has the trophy in hand and the only reason the Gators are even in Arizona is because...well...we couldn't have a national championship game if there was nobody there for Ohio State to beat. That in itself makes me want to pull for the Gators. The Ohio State coach didn't vote in the final coaches poll, which helped determine who his opponent would be in this game. There was speculation that he didn't want to vote Michigan number 2. He didn't want to face Michigan again (because he was afraid his Buckeyes might lose) but would rather play a wimpier Florida team, yet couldn't vote for Florida and have people think he voted for the weaker team. I'm not saying that's true, but that is the national perception, outside the southeast. It's a lot like how Texas was percieved going up against big bad USC last year and had no chance of winning. When no other rooting interests come into play, I love the underdog. I love seeing the experts eat their words and the saying, "that's why they play the game."

I know the experts can't be wrong all the time. I don't expect the Gators to beat the Buckeyes, and in my world, no biggie if they don't...but what fun it'll be if they do.

The next question is, why do we have to wait until Monday night to play this game? I know there are NFL games this Saturday, but not all day. Wouldn't a weekend game get you a much larger TV audience and more attention than one played on a Monday night? I'm sure this thing could be played Saturday night and let the NFL have the afternoon, but hey...who am I to inject a little common sense into all that?


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Is America ready for a black woman President?

I am so sick of the question "Is America ready for a black President?" or "Is America ready for a woman President?" Maybe I give us too much credit, but I don't really believe being black, white, purple, red, man, woman, or alien much matters. I think what matters is what's under that skin.

Years ago, when Jessie Jackson ran for President, everyone said he couldn't get elected because America wasn't ready for a black President. I think that's crap. I think America could very well have been ready for a black President....just not that black President. America wasn't and isn't ready for Jessie Jackson to be President because he's an media attention grabbing idiot. I don't care what color he is. He's a veritable rainbow of idiocy. The fact that he's a black media attention grabbing idiot really doesn't change the equation any. If Colin Powell ran, however, I would give him serious consideration. I wouldn't vote for Teddy Kennedy for dog catcher, but that doesn't mean I'm not ready for a white, male animal control officer.

Now people are asking the same kinds of questions because Hillary and Obama are big Democratic possibilities for a run at the Presidency. Hillary will run, but is America ready for a woman President? I don't think the woman part has anything to do with it. The bigger question is, is America ready for Hillary to be President, and that's a huge question. We have survived some bad Presidents, but Hillary....yeah, she'd push that envelope, or at least I think so (and let's face it, in the lumberyard, it's all about me). Even if she won, and we survived her Presidency, I don't know if we've answered the question of, is America ready for a woman President. I'm not sure she qualifies. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a woman I would vote for, but Hillary, and Nancy Pelosi, for that matter, fall somewhere between Katie Couric and Britney Spears in my "no freakin' way" hierarchy. If one surfaces as a possible candidate though, I'll be sure to let you know. As for Obama, I honestly don't know enough about him to comment...yet. I will though, if he starts looking like a serious candidate. When I do, his skin color won't matter in the least. His views and his vision for this country will be what decides whether or not I'm ready for him.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Christmas Story

I know I'm a bit more than a day late and a dollar short...more like a season late and a hundred and fifty bucks short, but anyway....

Consider this yet another lumberyard public service announcement. If I remember, I'll try to make the same one in November, but since I doubt that'll happen, I'm making it now. Better late, or very very early, depending on your perspective, than never. Like others made in the past, I'm not working on commission or anything. I'm just letting you know what's out there.

I, like many of you, love the movie, A Christmas Story. I, like many of you, always wanted the Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, which would shoot our eye out, kid. That, you could go out and buy.

But if you wanted the Major Award, to proudly display in your front window...where could you get that? I, like many of you, coveted this timeless treasure. Winning it wasn't easy. I could never find any competition or contest that offered that kind of prize. Now you can, and all you need Apparently, you've been able to own one for a few years now, but I just found out about it in a holiday discussion about the movie. It can come in an official wooden crate maked fra-GEE-lay (It must be Italian) and everything. Just go here and you're on your way. Thank me next Christmas, when you have one sent to the fan on your list. C'mon. I triple dog dare ya.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

the stare magazine theme for January

The babe of the day models for January must all be hand models. I'm guessing that's the theme for the month, because so far, we're getting a real good look at a bunch of young ladies' hands. They are very sexy hands though.


the game tells you what you are, part 2

That saying works for golf too.

Day after Christmas, I lost more than a half dozen balls. It might have been a whole dozen. I lost count. I was hitting everything in the water, and what didn't go there found the sand. I shot 111, which is worse that I have in a very long time.

Four days later I played again. Same course (which is fairly difficult), but OK, the weather was nicer. I finished the 18th hole with the same ball I teed up on the first hole (which is a first for that course, where water is in play on 14 of 18 holes) and shot a 93, which is one stroke less than the previous outing on every hole played.

So as much as I'd like to think I'm getting better at this, I'm not, and probably won't until I can play more often. Other than that, about the only consistent thing about my game is its inconsistency...oh, and the goal. I'm going to break 90 one day, dammit.


pass the Tostitos

My apologies to all you Sooner fans, BUT doncha just gotta love what Boise State did to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl?

It was a great David and Goliath story, with Boise State given no chance to win, and being told they really didn't belong. They were facing an Oklahoma squad that was supposed to roll them under the Sooner Schooner and not look back. It wasn't a matter of beating Boise State. It was just a matter of how bad.

I'm not any big Boise State fan All I really know about them is they have that funky blue field in their home stadium, but I had to watch...and gleefully, as all the pundits got the Broncos shoved in their expert faces. I felt for the Sooner fans (OK, just a little) that went and sat in shock, as the team they thought got cheated out of a chance to play for a national championship was struggling, and not very successfully, with little Boise State. The look on some female Sooner fan's face, as the Broncos went up 14 to nothing, said it all. From there Oklahoma came back, but they had to be very surprised with the fight in the underdog, who finally beat them in overtime. You go, Boise State Broncos! You made for a great cap to New Years Day Bowl watching.

Now, I will say the fairy tale ending was a bit over the top. The running back, after scoring the winning two point conversion in overtime, runs over to his cheerleader girlfriend and, on national television, gets on one knee and asks her to marry him. In typical "happily ever after" fairy tale fashion, she says yes and wraps her arms around him. How hilarious would it have been if she would have politely declined?


Gerald Ford

I don't know. I guess it irks me a bit, but at the same time, I don't have an answer. I'm finding all this fawning over Gerald Ford by the nightly news media just a little...hypocritical. I know when people die, we get selective memory and say lots of nice things about them, but still...

I remember Gerald Ford, when I was in high school and college. It was in my idealistic, blissfully ignorant liberal days. Chevy Chase was using him to help further his comedic career on Saturday Night Live and the nightly news was telling me what a jerk he was for pardoning Richard Nixon. Chevy big deal. Presidents are always fodder, but back then I didn't know that Gerald Ford was one of the more athletic and coordinated presidents we ever had, as Chase portrayed him falling all over a Christmas tree. What does that say about the rest of those guys?

The thing that hits me is, no, it's not exactly the same news guys, because those talking heads from the 70's aren't talking much anymore, but it's the same organizations that vilified him then. They had me, and millions of others, duped into believing he had to go. Now all I hear is how strong he was for doing what the country needed, despite public opinion and despite knowing he was killing his re-election chances. Well, damn. A guy who does what's right for the country without regard for his latest poll numbers. Isn't that what we want in a President? Isn't that what we hope for? Why then, couldn't we see that at the time? Why did we ridicule this great man? I know, hindsight is 20/20, but if he was such a great person of character and willing to do what the country needs to be done (and I believe he was...and it's nice that we finally figure it out), why couldn't we see that through bell bottoms and disco balls?

Rest in peace President Ford. It's nice that, at least in hindsight, we figured it out.