Madness of the TV deprived

Irregardless of which side I'm on (writers), this whole strike-so-no-new-programming-just-oodles-of-reality-tv is putting a real damper on my mission to completely veg out on the couch after a long day. While I'm finding myself oddly addicted to programming I had never in a million years imagined I'd enjoy (Project Runway), I also found the clicker finger stalling out somewhere in the 24-hour news network range of channels the last two nights.

Yes, this means I watched the debates.

Now, don't get me wrong. Deep down I'm a political junky. In fact, in other places on the web I even wax poetic on all sorts of political/news/social issue topics over at The Soccer Mom Vote . But debates? Really? It's rare that I sit still long enough to absorb anything relevant from them. I've never found them to be anything more than some verbose posturing by giant egos who have spent hours and hours of prep time being coached by the little people that live behind the scenes. Nothing new is ever said. A good debate, in my view, is a regurgitation of some decent sound bytes. (Lockbox? Read my lips? It's the economy stupid? Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy? Am I ringing any bells?)

Except that was all in the past. That was not in the era of the WGA strike. The lack of alternative programming means I've developed a new appreciation for the debates. No, I'm being serious. These things are the best reality TV show going.

Of course, if we're talking issues and reasons to vote for a person, I still can't tell you much more than sound bytes from any of the 6 people I saw on a dais the last two days. BUT, I can tell you lots of other things I learned from watching them fight it out amongst their respective parties.

For example:

- Did you know Ron Paul has ears like Ross Perot? Not only that, but he also has that same "eccentric little guy" thing in common with Mr. Independent.

- I'm not the only one that thinks Mike Huckabee bears at least a slight resemblance to Richard Nixon. (Go ahead. Google their names together and find more like me. It's down right spooky.)

- To be a (near) front runner in your party's race, you need to perfect the "Holier than thou but I'm still sincere" smirk. McCain, Romney, Clinton and Obama all have it. Don't believe me? Watch any of them when their opponent speaks. It's all Miss America smile while the eyes say "Oh give me a break."

- If you're in distant, distant third but refuse to give up, it's really cool to whine to the moderators "You know, I didn't come here to referee. I want questions too." Do that a few times. It amuses people like me sitting on the couch at home. I was waiting for Simon Cowell to roll one of the CNN folks out of the way so he could lay down some snark on Gov. Huckabee. Now that might have been fun.

- I heard that the senior (and I do mean senior) Senator from Massachusetts has compared Senator Obama to his late brother JFK. This came flying back to me around the same time I decided Gov Mike was channeling Nixon. "Oh! Can we do an two party debate right after the Super Bowl?!" I asked my husband. "I want to see if we can recreate 1960."


Google images don't fail me now

This morning we made an important discovery. One of the bottom center teeth in the boy's mouth is loose. At 5 1/2 years old, its his first loose tooth. To say he's excited is an understatement.

After running laps around our house yelling "“MY TOOTH IS LOOSE!!!”, he made a couple of phone calls - Grandparents and Daddy. He insists that Dad tell the boss too. Being a good listener (sometimes) Dad does just that. The boss, being humored by a 5 year old, sends home a gold dollar coin.

By dinner time, Logan had regaled a slew of people with his news including: Grandma, Papa, sister, Dad, Dad's boss (indirect), the bus driver in, the substitute teacher, the art teacher, the kids on the bus to and fro, the kids at his table in class, the bus driver home. I'm sure if he could have figure out how to do it he'd have commandeered the PA system at school too.

When he's not talking about that tooth, he's wiggling it with his finger or his tongue. That thing is going to pop out sooner than it may want to. I find comfort in the fact that there's a gold dollar sitting in my jewelry box - something I had discovered was erroneously given in place of a quarter weeks after the fact. When I made the fine in my "spare change holder" in the car I stashed it away assuming sooner or later we'd find ourselves right where we are.

But then there’s tonight. The boy is going to be the death of me. Here, ease drop on our conversation as I tucked him earlier:

Logan (seemingly out of no where) – What does she do with them?

Me – Who do with what?

Logan – The teeth.

Me – You mean the tooth fairy? Umm, well that’s a good question. What do you think she does with them?

Logan – I think she uses them to build a castle. Or maybe sculptures in her garden. That’s why she leaves money. She’s buying them.

Me – Maybe she just uses magic to change them into money.

Logan – No. She’s building something. Instead of money I hope she leaves me a picture of what she’s building.

Me – Oh, wow, yeah, that’d be neat.

Logan – Instead of a paper dollar, I hope she leaves me a quarter dollar like the boss gives you.

Me – Logan, that’s not a quarter-dollar, that’s a whole dollar. A gold dollar. It’s just the size of a quarter.

Logan– Ok, well when my tooth falls out I hope the tooth fairy gives me a golden dollar AND a picture of what she’s building.

Ugh! Ok, so now I’m off to find a photo I can pass off as a tooth sculpture. Drat. I hope that tooth hangs in for a good month or more. I’ve got work to do!

(Oh and for lest you find yourself in the same predicament some day - Google Images came through again. Do you know there's an artist from Ballarat [Australia] that builds sculptures with teeth? Yeah. I know.)


Sports Cynic

I was never a baseball fan until I was about to turn 23.

When I talk about my 'fandom', I usually qualify which season drew me in by saying "I was hooked on the game in April!", lest someone thinks I threw myself at the first bandwagon rolling by.

It's true. I never really watched a baseball game until that year. However, I was dating someone (who I have since married) that practically eats, sleeps and breathes Yankee pinstripes. It was hard to ignore the sport with a baseball fanatic around.

One morning in April 1996 we sat on Bruce's cracked brown faux-leather couch and debated how to spend our day. His eyes got wild and big. He flew for the phone book, made a quick call and came back triumphant. "Let's drive to the Bronx and go to a Yankee game."

"Oh goody," I thought, while my mouth formed the sounds, "Ahhh, umm, k? Baseball, huh? I know nothing about baseball."

It sounds cliche, I'm sure, but it's a factual statement - when we walked out into the concrete cathedral to the sport I was in awe. There's something about the lush green grass and the climbing rows of stadium seating that gets your attention. I had a good time even though the Yankees lost. More seasoned fans were actually even more elated than I was - the team might have fallen short but that game was the best one Doc Gooden had pitched in his return that season. It gave them hope even though they couldn't guess what would lie ahead.

Days later I was on a plane headed out to a trade show. The coworker sitting next to me said, "Did you see Doc pitch? Isn't that great?"

I confessed my status as neophyte, adding that I had been at that game. Dennis took it upon himself to tutor me in baseball. From that day forward he'd send me emails and instant messages that went something like this: When you talk to your man tonight, say "I don't know about you, but I swear Boggs was safe in the 7th inning. That 6-3-4 double play with a hard slide coming down is tough to execute and I don't think they did it! Those umps are blind."

I, of course, dutifully repeated his lines, often adding in "At least that's what Dennis told me to say." Over time I didn't need his insights. I knew Doc Gooden's no hitter was a big deal. I knew Jeter was having a rookie-of-the-year caliber season. I knew it was worth staying up late and watching the World Series underdog surge to take the crown from Atlanta. I was hooked. I was a Yankee fan.

I still am.

Even in 'Roid era.

Of course, the events leading up to, through and beyond the Mitchell report have left their mark.

I am also a football fan, although not as glued to the set each week as some (read my husband) people are. I'm a Giants fan and I have been since childhood. I had no expectations for them this playoff season and so I'm not only elated to find them Super Bowl bound, I'm unbelievably shocked about it.

We were watching the game last night, as you might expect having read this far. I watched the offensive and defensive lines take their places for the first drive. I turned to my husband with a snarky smirk on my face and said:

"This line up brought to you by Balco."

And he laughed in return saying, "Yeah, no kidding."

It's sad, isn't it. An athlete in any sport can't excel, can't hone their skills or build their body without the shadow of doubt looming over them. A player can't hit a peak and then fall off the statistical cliff without a fan wondering if the guy's simply "Giambied" (as in Jason who earned multiple MVP awards while admittedly juiced and then, upon giving up the cheating aspect of his game, failed to break out of the mid-200 batting average range...which for you non-fans out there, is a bad range to be mired in.)

It's sad that each record set in the last decade or more is looked at with a question in the eye of the beholder. "Did he really win that many games because he's that good or because his trainer injected HGH? Can that guy really knock the cover off the ball that many times in a season...in a career...after 40? Is that rookie really that good? Is that superstar clean?"

It's sad that the greed and self-doubt of some cast a shadow on all.

It's not stopping me from watching, I admit it. It is stopping me from watching it with the same innocent awe at a person's raw talent.


Best of 2007

I know. I'm a little late. Not quite a week late, but late just the same. Last week, probably when it was actually New Year's, Jenn tagged me for the "Best of" meme. In the interest of being a good blog-bud, I now give you, albeit belated (have I said that enough?), my best of 2007 entry.

There were rules and all that too - start copy and typing and end copy and...well it's a meme so there was some tagging. Yet, as we've already covered ad nauseum I'm late to the party so we'll skip the formatlities of the meme rules. Work for you? I thought so.

Vacation, all I ever wanted
BK (Before Kids) we traveled quite a bit. Sometimes to exotic places. Sometimes to the inlaws. After kids the trips took a drastic cut back. Some of it logisitics. Some of it budget. The last week of January 2007 we moved back to the "on the go" mode for a trip to Disney World. The kids loved it. The husband loved it. I loved it. All is right with the world.

As a matter of fact, I am glued to this camera
When we were deciding when to get married I put up quite a "mature" argument that I did not want to get married in May. Why you ask? Because my birthday is in May. I didn't want my birthday and my anniversary to get all mushed up together. I wanted to get married in April. The man, however, assured me that if we got married in April, he'd still find a way to mush together my birthday with our anniversary and that the weather in Bermuda (where he was advocating for our honeymoon) was so much nicer in late May, early June. In the end I relented. My birthday and anniversary are 1 week apart. Sometimes they do get squished together...along with Mother's Day like it they did in 2007. And I'm ok with that because this year the man decided to splurge BIG time on an anniversary, birthday, mother's day gift -- he bought me the Nikon D80 I'd been lusting over for quite some time.

My finger is rarely far from the shutter button.

Speaking of Anniversary
May 31st, 2007 marked 10 years of marriage for the man and me. We celebrated the milestone by taking our first long-weekend trip sans kids, which of course simply gave us permission to act like children:

Since we're on the topic of weddings
My brother got married this year. Not so much a highlight.

The kids, however, were adorable in their flower girl-tux attire.

Bucket full of milestones
The first half of September was a really busy month for us. Within the first two weeks, Logan started Kindgergarten, Megan started preschool...and then she went and turned 3-years old. I'm all teary-eyed and proud just remembering it.