Image hosted by To read the tribute to SFC Marcus Muralles, please click here Image hosted by

Friday, June 30, 2006

A Major Anniversary

Talking to my mom this evening, I found out that I goofed big time. Today is a major day in my family, and I forgot. (Well... technically, I thought it was tomorrow... but I was wrong.)

Thirty years ago today, I guess I was hanging out at my grandparents house. Mom, Dad, and Grandma K were at the hospital, and everyone on both sides of my family were more than a little nervous. You see, thirty years ago today, my grandma gave my mom a kidney. One that's still doing its job today.

One Mother's Day, a local radio station down here was having a little call-in contest. They had people call in and tell Austin what their mom had done for them. Then, once an hour, they picked the best story and awarded the person a gift certificate to a local restaurant (the intent was that you should take your mom out to lunch with it). So, I called in, saying it wasn't my mom, but my mom's mom who gave up a kidney for her child, which, in turn, gave me my mom for a lot longer than I would have otherwise. (Needless to say, I won the gift certificate. As the guy on the radio said, giving up body parts trumps just about anything else. I wasn't able to take my mom down here, but... I think I took her out the next time I was in town... right, Mom?)

So... Happy Anniversary, Mom... and... many many more!!!!

Can You Jump a Shark on the Pitcher's Mound?

Evidently, Jose "I Never Met A Performance Enhancing Drug I Didn't Like" Canseco is going to play professional baseball again... for the San Diego Surf Dawgs. And... don't laugh... he's going to... are you sitting down?... pitch. Yes, the man who has pitched one inning in his professional career and had a fly ball bounce off of his head to become a home run has agreed to a deal to play minor league.
"Jose's been playing in a summer league, a semipro league in the L.A. area, and he's hit a whole bunch of back-to-back home runs," Saunooke (Canseco's lawyer) said. "He's knocked the ball out of the park. He's still a very talented athlete. He never stopped being a talented athlete."

The GBL is essentially baseball's lowest rung. Rickey Henderson played for the Surf Dawgs last year as he tried to attract the attention of a big league team.

Canseco, once one of baseball's most-feared hitters -- and one of its most colorful figures, on and off the field -- hasn't played in the big leagues since 2001 with the Chicago White Sox, who purchased his contract from the independent Newark Bears.

"I'm looking forward to having fun in professional baseball again, as I've really missed it," Canseco said in the Surf Dawgs' news release. "I love what this league is doing for players, communities and families, and I want to be part of it. Rickey had a great experience with the Surf Dawgs last year and it will be great playing for Terry Kennedy and reminding him of the stomping my A's gave his Giants in the '89 World Series."

The GBL said Canseco has agreed to be subjected to its drug-testing policy "that immediately expels any players found using steroids or illegal drugs." The league said nine players, out of more than 200 tested, were tossed for illegal drug use last year. (emphasis mine- B)
So... He was Rookie of the Year... twenty years ago. He hasn't done much of anything (except go yard) since his one inning of pitching back in 1993. He needed a ligament transplant after that. (I didn't even know they did ligament transplants). Einstein felt a sharp pain after the second pitch... and threw 31 more pitches.

More recently, Canseco has kept his name in the news by writing his autobiography, claiming that, not only did he use steroids, but he introduced several of his teammates to them. Then he testified before Congress, naming names (and most of those players denied the allegations). Then he did interviews and named more names.

Yeah, I know steroid use is wrong... and dangerous... and unsportsmanlike. It needs to be stamped out of sports (starting with Barry Bonds... sorry... did I say that out loud?) That's not what I'm arguing. Many of the players Canseco named have never tested positive for drugs and have denied everything. And Canseco was never known for shying away from the limelight. I'm questioning his honesty, his integrity, and... well... frankly, his ability to throw a knuckleball at 42.

I have no idea what the Surf Dawgs are thinking... maybe they just wanted to know what it feels like to throw $2500 a month away.

Going To See The King...

... or his house, at least.
Amid the ceramic monkeys, floor-and-ceiling green shag carpet and animal-head armrests of Graceland's Jungle Room, the delighted prime minister just couldn't hold back the Elvis lines.

All it took was a simple invitation from Bush.

"You're a pretty good Elvis singer," the president said, in an obvious prompt to his guest. Bush knew what was coming, having previously experienced Koizumi's tendency to burst into song when it comes to the late rock 'n' roll legend who is the Japanese leader's undisputed musical hero.

Koizumi quickly complied. "Love me tender," he sang. "Wise men say, `Only fools rush in.' "

Enter the special tour guides for the two leaders' private tour of Graceland: Presley's only child and heir, Lisa Marie, and her mother, Priscilla. "I want you, I love you," remarked Koizumi, spouting more Elvis tunes. Draping his arm around Lisa Marie, he went on. "Hold me close, hold me tight," the prime minister crooned.
I've seen some of the photos and a little bit of the video. Priscilla looked like she wanted to hide under some of that shag carpet in embarassment.

Prime Minister Koizumi is a major Elvis fan... he'll sing an Elvis duet to anyone who will give him a chance (W... Tom Cruise... you name it). Soon after taking office, he even released a cd of his favorite Elvis songs (and you wonder why I hate karaoke???). So... I can understand him wanting to go to Graceland while he's in the US for his last trip as PM (he steps down in September).

But that doesn't really explain this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

You know, I don't think Scott McClennan would have done that... or Ari might have... but I'm not so sure...

Then... if that wasn't enough... "Elvis" made an appearance this morning on Fox & Friends:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(Click here for video link, then click on video... it'll make sense)

Greg Kelly... Marine pilot, White House Journalist and... Elvis impersonator?

Yeah, this is all goofy, but... do you remember that in Karate Kid II they referenced Japan's facination with Elvis? (yeah... random, but that was the first I'd heard about it). Elvis is a really big deal in Japan. What's the big deal? I mean... it's one thing to be a fan... but they take it to a whole new level.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jumping The Shark, As Only They Can

I'll admit it... I thought this was a joke when I heard about it on the radio. But, alas, no, KISS really did open up a coffeehouse in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Thousands of fans - many ranking members in the fan club known as the KISS Army, several showing off their latest KISS tattoos - came from New Jersey, Michigan and even Poland for the chance to shake hands with the guys who played the tunes that created such devotion.

They lined up as early as 8:30 AM for the grand opening party that started nearly 12 hours later. They sat through downpours, clutched cameras and took days off work just to see half the band.

"Once you see them, it is like an aura. It takes over," said Rob Frasure of Conway, who walked around with the back cut out of his shirt to show off his new KISS tattoo.

The line of fans snaked from the coffeehouse near Celebrity Square well past Hard Rock Cafe. Officials said that devotion will help ensure the coffeehouse's success.

"Anything that keeps KISS in the public eye," said Patrick Power of Greenville. "We are going to be here for KISS."

What were they thinking? I mean... I was a huge fan of KISS... back in the day. In fact, I think their Dynasty album was the first non-kid music I owned (it was either them... or The Carpenters... don't ask.) For some reason, Beth is one of my favorite songs (it's really depressing, if you listen to the lyrics... but I've always loved it). But, guys... seriously... you ceased to have musical relevence when you sold out to disco... and don't tell me you didn't... and it was probably beofre Dynasty...

Then again... reading those articles... they're going to make money. I mean, there are plenty of people stuck in their adolescence. Plenty of people who spend good money for a little taste of their teen years. So what if that taste vaguely resembles french vanilla coffee?

So... I guess it's not really a case of KISS jumping the shark. It's more a case of KISS separating a bunch of mullet-heads from their money. Capitalism at its finest. Good work, guys.

Doesn't mean I'm going to drink their coffee, though... nope. Not gonna go there...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Someone Had Too Much Time On His Hands

Some people have far too much time on their hands... and they do stuff like this... (if you're on dial-up, click on the link, go make yourself a snack, and then come back... it might take a while)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Say It Isn't So...

Is anyone who knows really shocked that I wasn't exactly into Barbie when I was growing up? I had one... I even had a Barbie plane... but I just wasn't into Barbies and dolls and stuff like that... science experiments... mud pies... books... those were more my style.

So... is it wrong of me to grin when I read this headline?
Is it time for a Bye Bye Barbie?

...Today, a radical idea is being proposed: Kill her. Dead. End of brand. Los Angeles Times columnist Pat Morrison is writing Barbie's obit.

"So let's all have a go at Barbie,” Morrison wrote. “Give up on the re-re-reinvention. Take out Barbie at the top of her game. With a big, dramatic exit, Mattel could actually make a killing out of killing Barbie.”

Not everyone is ready to bury her. Mattel, now under the control of industry veteran Neil Friedman, may be headed in the right direction.

“Kids aren't just playing with toys, they are watching movies, they are going to shows, they are wearing clothes,” said Chris Byrne, an independent toy industry analyst. “So the Barbie brand — it's not just dolls anymore. It's $3 billion worth of merchandise and entertainment around the world every year.”

But as Mattel's biggest seller, slumping sales could mean it's time for a Farewell Barbie.
Oh, darn. It's tragic. Really. I'm fighting back the tears.

Granted, I think that the idea of killing her off might be a bit... much. How about letting her retire to The Hamptons or something?

Hate... and Who Hates Whom...

Today, I saw a bumper sticker in the grocery store parking lot that really made me think. "Proud to be everything the Right Wing Hates." Uh... so... what is it exactly that this person was proud of? What is it exactly that the Right Wing hates so much that a person would go out of the way to be that?

Fortunately, the proud owner of the bumper sticker was kind enough to answer my question just before I drove away. She came out of the store, put her groceries into the back of her minivan, put her cart behind the truck parked next to her, climbed into her vehicle, and drove off.

So, evidently, the Right Wing hates selfish, rude behavior. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Phone Calls From The Enemy

Imagine that you have a loved one who is currently serving in Iraq, and imagine that your loved one had the forethought to take a cell phone along to make calls home whenever possible. Good thing, right?

Well, yeah... unless the insurgents got their mitts on intercept technology and could get your home phone number and then make harassing phone calls to you.
Wives and family members of soldiers fighting in Iraq have received telephone calls, believed to include death threats, from insurgents, according to military documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph.

...It is understood that the threats range from claims that a husband or son is dead or will be killed fighting in Iraq, to verbal abuse. Many of those who have received calls say that they were made by people with a poor command of English or with a Middle Eastern accent.
Unfortunately, if I stretch my brain cells into some bizarre yoga position, I can almost see the reasoning behind the calls. If you scare, harass, and intimidate the family of those fighting you, you will distract your enemy ('cause you know they're hearing about it in phone calls home and letters) and cause them to lose just a little of their resolve. And that's all you might need to get that advantage (I mean, it's not like they have a tactical, strategic, logistic, or material advantage to work with). But it still just seems like a... desperate ploy by desperate people. And, it will only work until the families realize what's up and decide to laugh at them.

I remember my cousin prank calling people one night. Yeah, I was there. No, I didn't participate. It seemed... pointless. Maybe I just didn't get it. Then again, (with the exception of putting Limburger cheese in the muffler of someone who really, really deserved it) I never did understand those kind of things. I guess I life of juvenile delinquency wasn't for me.

Hmmm... given what we know, it all starts to make sense to me. The "insurgents" (geez, I hate that name) are unemployed hoodlums who like to spread mischief and chaos whereever they go. They're like some warped inner city gang looking to make more recruits however they can. And now, they're nothing more than a bunch of juvenile delinquents prank calling to pass the time.

Eye Updates

Well, T1 has been to 7 doctor's appointments in 6 days, had cultures and ultrasounds taken of his eye, and has slept 2 hours at a time, tops. Finally, we're getting some better news.

The evil, nasty pseudomonas bacteria is the culprit, and the hero of the day seems to be tobramycin. There was a relatively large (3-4 mm wide) sore on his cornea, but that is healing now. He will have a scar there, but we won't know how much it will permanently impact his vision until all of the inflamation is cleared up. He's doing well enough that he doesn't have to go back to the doctor until Thursday.

Thank you for all of the prayers. I do believe they've helped a lot.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Annika's Response

By now, many of you have heard about (or even seen) Mike Luckovich's recent editorial cartoon which equated A- Qaeda with the US military. Here is Annika's response. I love it.

W. is a prophet?

West Point is getting ready to start its annual basic training for new cadets, and, among its ranks will be the first Iraqi ever admitted. His name is Jameel, and he's worked his rear off the past year to get ready for this. He's already learned all about that "Beat Navy" thing...

I know there has been a lot of MSM attention to the "fact" that "most Iraqis want the US out of their country" or something like that. Well, besides the fact that this is just a cool story, with an awesome young cadet, I have to admit that this is the money quote:
Aside from getting a military education, his goal in America is to meet President Bush "and tell him that my mother thinks he is a prophet, because he took the devil out."
So much for that "evil Bush"...

And I learned something new today. I didn't know that foreigners were admitted to any of our military academies.

Good luck to Jameel. He'll do his country proud, I'm sure.

More Things I Learned on Summer Vacation

One I forgot to mention... sprained thumbs take a looooong time to heal...

Funny Punny Friday

Got this from Strange Cosmos... you know it's funny...
Vincent Van Gogh's Strange Relatives

After much careful research it has been discovered that the artist Vincent Van Gogh had many relatives.

Among them were:

His obnoxious brother, Please Gogh

His dizzy aunt,Verti Gogh

The brother who ate prunes, Gotta Gogh

The brother who worked at a convenience store, Stop'n Gogh

The grandfather from Yugoslavia, U. Gogh

The brother who bleached his clothes white, Hue Gogh

The cousin from Illinois, Chica Gogh

His magician uncle, Wherediddy Gogh

His Mexican cousin, Amee Gogh

The Mexican cousin's American half-brother, Grin Gogh

The nephew who drove a stagecoach, Wellsfar Gogh

The constipated uncle, Cant Gogh

The ballroom dancing aunt, Tan Gogh

The bird lover uncle, Flamin Gogh

His nephew, psychoanalyst E. Gogh

The fruit loving cousin, Man Gogh

An aunt who taught positive thinking, Wayto Gogh

The little bouncy nephew, Poe Gogh

A sister who loved disco, Go Gogh

His Italian uncle, Day Gogh

And his niece who travels the country in a van, Winnie Bay Gogh.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Things I Learned on Summer Vacation

So... we're back from 3 weeks in Illinois visiting my family. Had plenty of fun. Learned a few things, too...
That's it for now... more later...

Yeah, I Know I Said I'd Post...

Well, we're back from Illinois. In fact, we got back Monday night, and I had a great post planned in my head. Then life happened.

Tuesday night, T1's eye got red and swollen. Thinking it was another allergy attack, I gave him the appropriate meds and sent him to bed. He woke me up several times during the night because he was hurting. Wednesday morning, I took him to the eye doctor, and he sent T1 to a corneal specialist. The corneal specialist looked around in his eye, and diagnosed a nasty bacterial infection (probably pseudomona) and put him on 2 different antibiotic eye drops, to be given hourly, staggered (that means one at the top of the hour, the other at the bottom, and repeat). During the night, they could be combined and just done once every hour.

This morning, we went back to the corneal specialist. The doctor was unable to really see into T1's eye because of all of the inflamation. He's sending him to a retinal specialist, and they'll take an ultrasound of his eye.

Yeah, I'm worried. A lot. I'll get around to the great post sooner or later. I just have other stuff on my mind right now.

UPDATE: Ultrasound was normal, so there's no damage to the retina. There will probably be some corneal scarring, but we won't know how much until the pseudomonas is taken care of. At least that's something...

FRIDAY UPDATE: Specialist said that T1's eye is starting to look a little better. And he can see more than clouds out of that eye. Still doing to hourly eye drops, but we're going in the right direction.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?