Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday musings

Another business profile written by yours truly ran in yesterday's Commercial Appeal.

I was listening to Dan Patrick's radio show this morning and heard a California sports columnist discussing Al Davis, Lane Kiffin and the Raiders. If I ever had a single doubt that Al Davis is a nut case whose insanity trickles down to anyone else unfortunate enough to work for the man, Raiders senior executive John Herrera erased them with this threatening outburst.

And in happy Thursday news,
The Office returns tonight. Yay! Time to escape the election, financial crisis and football madness with my favorite guilty pleasure.

Debate or no?

The debate must go on. I've tried to understand John McCain's reasons for wanting to postpone the event, but I just keep coming back to the same thought--it doesn't make sense. Now more than ever we need a fair, balanced forum in which the candidates present their platforms and answer some tough questions. We need to know how the person who's going to inherit these problems proposes to address them. I can put aside my personal beliefs to see that this country needs to hear from our presidential candidates on many issues, and if there's any change in the debate, it should be in the subject matter (our national economy).

A collection of late night jokes on the issue (from

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
● John McCain wants to postpone Friday’s presidential debate. And, he has temporarily suspended his campaign . . . until he’s ahead in the polls.
● Right after he announced that, Sarah Palin said, “That’s OK — I don’t really need him, anyway.”
Late Show with David Letterman
● After canceling, he rushed right back to Washington to deal with the crisis. And I thought, "Woah — he sure nipped that in the bud."

Late Night with Conan O'Brien
● Yesterday, President Bush gave a speech on the economic crisis. The title of Bush's speech: "Two More Months and It Ain't My Problem."
● During his speech, Bush said, "We are in a once in a century crisis." He said we shouldn't worry though, because this once in a century crisis shouldn't happen again for 10-15 years.

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
● He also canceled an interview with David Letterman, but then he did an interview with Katie Couric at the same time he was supposed to be on Letterman. He said that he was in a rush to get back to Washington, but apparently he had time for a game of softball with Katie before he left.

Jimmy Kimmel Live!
● McCain asked Obama to stop campaigning and stop campaign ads. Obama said no, but they have agreed to put out a joint statement. They just released it about an hour ago: It’s All Bush’s Fault!
● Bush has an interesting way to fix the economy: a bake sale.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Musings

A business profile I wrote on private investigator Ron Lax appeared in yesterday's Commercial Appeal.

I'm really looking forward to the Dallas-Green Bay game tonight, and I hope the Packers shock the Cowboys. Terrell Owens and crew are a little too cocky for a team that hasn't won a playoff game in over a decade, and I think they're buying into the hype that they're destined for the Super Bowl this season. It's time for someone to knock 'em down a peg or two.

A few NFL players who are really impressing me this season, and whom I really wish I had on either of my fantasy teams: QBs Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler; RBs Brian Westbrook (though that's not a surprise--people always underestimate him) and Chris Johnson; WR Eddie Royal; and TE Jason Whitten (again, not a surprise).

I'm thrilled to see that a new season of Entourage has begun. Great show (Sunday nights on HBO).

The Office returns this week. Yay! Lots of fun romantic twists going on there. I can't wait to see what becomes of Jim & Pam; Michael & Jan & Holly; Angela & Dwight & Andy. Should be a fun season.

Have a good week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Regarding Tony Kornheiser

More football controversy:

Tony Kornheiser said something on Monday Night Football that apparently offended people of Hispanic descent, but he promptly apologized.

Now I'm not one to defend Kornheiser, but reaction to his comment has been overblown. I suspect that people calling for his firing are long-time Kornheiser haters trying to take advantage of the gaffe to get him off MNF.

Kornheiser should be removed from the MNF team because he's terrible at it, not because of a silly comment that obviously was not meant to offend. I love Jaws and especially Mike Tirico, whom I think is one of the best play-by-play guys around, but Kornheiser just detracts from the game and adds nothing to the conversation.

So ESPN, if you're going to dump Kornheiser, do it for the right reason--because MNF would be better without him.

Regarding Ed Hochuli

As an NFL fan and fantasy football aficionado, I was pretty upset with the way the San Diego-Denver game ended Sunday. It had no direct effect on me, as I'm not really a fan of either team and I had no fantasy dogs in that fight (I lost both my matchups last weekend after posting two wins in the first week).

But I was angry with
Ed Hochuli and felt (rightfully so) that he handed the game to the Chargers. I'm not a big Hochuli fan to begin with, mostly because I don't understand why an NFL official is so high profile and why so many women worship him. (Personally, I like Mike Carey better and think he's much more handsome that Hochuli.)

But c'mon,
hate mail and death threats because the guy made a mistake in a split-second call during a very competitive, high-adrenaline football game? Get a life!

Here's a
great column by San Diego Union Tribune columnist Tim Sullivan. I found it very persuasive, and I forgive Ed Hochuli, which I'm sure is a big relief for him. The man has admitted his mistake and apologized profusely, and there's nothing he can say or do now to fix the mistake that NFL rules wouldn't allow to be corrected by replay.

In light of the way he's handled this unfortunate incident, I now count myself among the many fans of Ed Hochuli. The world would be a better place if more people admitted their mistakes with such candor, honesty, contrition and integrity.

Monday, September 15, 2008

If you haven't seen the Tina Fey/Sarah Palin-Amy Poehler/Hillary Clinton skit from Saturday Night Live, you've got to check it out. I figured Tina Fey would return to play the character, but I didn't know she would be THAT good, and Amy Poehler was equally hilarious. One of the funniest skits I've seen on SNL in a while.

But SNL was downhill from the opening. I love Michael Phelps, but I just don't think he has the personality to carry the show. It's hit or miss with athletes hosting. Peyton Manning and Michael Jordan were huge hits, but others (Lebron James) just didn't quite pull it off.

Hopefully, other hosts will be able to keep the show funny and cutting-edge after the inevitable, almost weekly Tina Fey take on Sarah Palin. It should be a fun season for SNL.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ahhh, festival season in Memphis. Just about my favorite time of year. Here are some fun happenings in town the next couple of weeks.

The Cooper-Young Festival is today, and Kevin and I plan to attend on our date night (the kids are headed to Grandma's).

Next weekend is Wifflestock, promising "Two days of peace, love and wiffle" to benefit the wonderful Ronald McDonald House. Think we'll gather up a few kids and hit the moon bounce.

We'll probably do that instead of attending the Mid-South Fair, which begins Sept. 19. We rarely attend the fair any more, as it's just gotten too expensive, too commercial and too crowded. I'm sad to see it leave the Fairgrounds after all these years, but I hope revamping the event might bring it back to its former glory.

I can remember attending every year when I was a kid, but it's just not the same and doesn't hold much appeal for my family. For the $100-plus we'd spend in one day there, we instead buy a year's membership to the Children's Museum of Memphis or the Memphis Zoo and even have a little left over for lunch.

See you at Cooper-Young.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Here's a funny, non-partisan (anti-partisan?) poke at the Presidential candidates and their cohorts.

And some funnies from the mouths of my babes:

Nina is enjoying kindergarten and is proud to report that she's received E's in conduct every single day. Recently she explained the conduct grading system to me. She told me that "E is the best, S is sorta good, N is kinda bad and U is very bad." A couple of days later, I heard her more specifically explain it to her five-year-old cousin Riley.

"E is for Excellent-factory, S is for Satisfactory, N is for Naughty-factory and U is for Unsatisfactory," Nina said.

And the first words out of Amelia's mouth nearly every morning are: "Mommy, you forgot to give me a vitamin." She's a pill fiend already, feigning illness pretty frequently and requesting a cough drop or "pink medicine." This morning she told me that she doesn't ever want to take grown-up medicine until she's "forty hundred eighty zero," because it's ugly colored.

Have a good weekend, all.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Commemorating Sept. 11

I was very glad to read that John McCain and Barack Obama put aside politics today to commemorate Sept. 11.

Here is a
news archive of that terrible day.

Where Were You compiles everyday people's memories of Sept. 11.

While my children are still too young to understand the events of that day and I don't want to scare them (I spent much of my youth terrified of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union and won't subject them to similar fears of terrorists), I am interested in books about Sept. 11 geared toward children. I'd like to read some first and decide the age-appropriateness, as it's a tough subject to address with kids.

Any suggestions?

Sept. 11, 2001

Thanks to Kerry Haines for sending this Budweiser tribute to those who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thank to my brother-in-law Jay Fite for sending this link to a disturbing Pocono Record slideshow on the environmental hazards of plastic shopping bags. I've been considering buying some canvas, reusable shopping bags for a while now, but I don't like the idea of being a walking advertisement for a grocery store. But after seeing this slideshow, I've decided I need environmentally friendly shopping bags SOON.

So I hope to kill two birds with one stone by asking our school PTO to consider selling canvas grocery bags with the school's logo. Sounds like the perfect fundraiser to me. These bags are growing in popularity, and I'm sure people would rather have some that say "So-and-So Elementary" instead of "Kroger," plus they'd be helping out the school in the process.

In the meantime, I've been on the lookout for reusable grocery bags that support a good cause. Also, I'm interested in reasonably priced bags (I've seen some that are $60 and support a great cause, but that's not exactly within my means or the means of most people I know). I've read in quite a few places that ordering such bags online somewhat negates the environmental benefits of reusable bags, once you factor in the environmental impact of shipping.

If anyone knows of some reasonably priced, environmentally friendly shopping bags offered locally, benefitting a good cause and absent of a grocery-store logo, please let me know.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rookie sensations

I almost forgot to make note of some rookie performances from yesterday.

Quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan put up average fantasy numbers, but both were impressive in managing their respective teams, engineering drives and putting points on the board while limiting mistakes. While I wouldn’t grab either of those guys off the waiver wire, it is comforting to know that the other fantasy starters around them will likely not be hampered by having a young ‘un under center.

Running backs Matt Forte and Chris Johnson lived up to the hype and proved they’re both the real deal, each finishing in the top 10 among running backs for fantasy points this week.

DeSean Jackson also had a great game (especially considering he’s a wide receiver, typically the hardest skill position for rookies to make an impact). But I think it’s a safe bet that Donovan McNabb’s yardage will fall off some and subsequently so will the Philadelphia receivers (three different ones amassed over 100 yards yesterday), plus the Eagles’ two starting receivers (Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis) should soon return to the lineup, taking much of Jackson’s opportunities.

As has historically been the case, the running backs stand the best chance of all rookies to contribute to a fantasy team.

Every girl's Fantasy

Well, the first Sunday of the 2008-09 NFL season did not disappoint. Lots of action, excitement, upsets and (unfortunately) injuries. I’m not a New England fan, but I sure hate that Tom Brady went down that way and is apparently done for the season. After his record-breaking season last year, I finally bought into him being one of the league’s all-time bests and looked forward to watching him chase last year’s numbers.

But there were plenty of great games and exciting moments. That Roscoe Parrish punt return for a score was something else, and it was good to see Brett Favre start his Jet career off with a win. I also have a soft spot for New Orleans, so I was happy to see them pull out the victory.

And some big defenses returned to old form. Chicago and Baltimore both managed to shut down typically very effective offenses.

Atlanta, Buffalo and Philadelphia were all surprisingly impressive in routs of their opponents. Granted, their competition left much to be desired, but these teams have struggled in recent years to win period, let alone to blow their opponent out of the water. I really find myself pulling for all three, especially Atlanta, where newcomers Michael Turner and Matt Ryan might be able to turn things around and make the city forget all about that Vick fellow.

I’m looking pretty good for wins in both my leagues (one matchup was against Kevin, and I’m resisting the urge to trash talk my dear hubby). Lucky for me I didn’t face him in the other league we’re in together--Kevin raked up an impressive 155.7 points on the backs of such week-one studs as Donovan McNabb, Marion Barber, Michael Turner and Brian Westbrook. I sure don’t look forward to facing Kevin later in the season in that league.

Players I wish I had on either of my fantasy rosters:

Donovan McNabb
Philip Rivers
Michael Turner
Willie Parker
Chris Johnson
Andre Johnson
Lee Evans
Dante Rosario
Anthony Fasano
Bo Scaife

All of these guys were undervalued in fantasy drafts this year (or went undrafted) and, IMHO, were not one-week, week-one flukes.

Players I need to get off my rosters, and fast:

Marc Bulger
Derrick Mason
Torry Holt (though I need him to have one big game so I can hopefully trade him, hoping the name itself still carries enough weight to make him appealing to some other owner)

There are a few more players I’m a little disappointed in and worried about (read—T.J. Houshmandzadeh), but I’ll hold on to them hoping they rebound in the next week or two.

All in all, it was a great start to the fantasy football season, and I’m already looking forward to next Sunday.

Friday, September 5, 2008

How do you spell 9-1-1?

This cracked me up. Thanks to Kristy Macre for emailing it to me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Fey Tina Palin

Darnit! If I had only been paying closer attention (and not stuck without TV in the mosquito-infested hell of Crowley's Ridge State Park), I might have been the first to point out Sarah Palin's uncanny resemblance to Tina Fey. Just Google "Sarah Palin Tina Fey," as I did two minutes ago, to see a few photos and articles on the subject.

Oh,'s not the first time I've been scooped. But I sure hope 30 Rock hasn't filmed too many episodes. This is a goldmine for the Emmy-winning-but-underappreciated NBC sitcom.

Man, I can't wait to see Tina Fey address her lookalike this fall. Now that the Olympics and presidential party conventions are over, it's time for the real fun to begin.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Camping, mosquitos and illness

Our camping trip was fun for the most part, but we were swarmed by mosquitoes at night and had to seek refuge in our tent by 8 p.m. Then a couple of days after returning home, those in our party of six started becoming ill one by one. Vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, headaches, muscle pains, lethargy—all six of us are experiencing most or all symptoms.

I took Nina and Amelia to the doctor this morning, fearful that we had all gotten some mosquito-borne illness. He seems to think it’s food poisoning (common when camping) or some sort of virus. My sister-in-law took our niece to her doctor and she thinks it’s likely a virus.

So my fears of something more serious are allayed, but that doesn’t make me feel any better physically. Time for all of us to go pile up on the couch…again.