Friday, September 29, 2006

There are pigeons living on my balcony ...

... and I don't know why. What I do know is that there is no sign of an actual nest anywhere, and there is pigeon crap all over the place. Maybe they're having a lost weekend or something. I won't bug them, but they better clean up after themselves.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The ghost of Tom Cruise ...

There's an old saying that goes something like this: Those who do not know their history are bound to repeat it. In Hollywood terms, we may be about to see a glaring example of that. Word is that Britney Spears has fired her longtime publicist with the goal of handling her own non-music p.r. from here on in. In other words, Brit has pulled a Tom Cruise, and we all know how well things went for poor Tommy after he kicked ├╝ber-publicist Pat Kingsley to the curb in favor of his own sister. And considering the kind of pub Britney and her hubby K-Fed were getting with a professional lackey running things ... well, shudder the thought.

Get ready for some fun!

(Click the subject line to read the related article.)

Interesting campaign tactic ...

Click the subject line to read about how Jeanine Pirro, who is running for the position of attorney general of New York State, is now being investigated by the feds for plotting to illegally wiretap her wealthy husband over suspicions that he was having affairs behind her back.

This blog has purposely stayed away from political discussions for reasons both obvious and not so much. (Well, they're obvious to me, at least.) But I do have this observation: It may not be the best idea to break the law while seeking the elected position of upholding the law. Just a thought.

Oh, and notice Pirro's wonky eye in the photo accompanying the article. They can't help at the ballot box, either.

Wins and losses, in more ways than one

In sports - in life, actually - in order for a Goliath to exist, there must be a David. Just ask the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the moribund baseball franchise that has spend its entirely short existence in the same division as the New York Yankees. But is there a point where enough is enough? Should there be mercy rules when defeat is inevitable.

Earlier this year Connecticut instituted a "mercy rule" for its high school football teams, mandating that the coach of any team that defeated an opponent by more than 50 points would be suspended for the following game. Now a Michigan school board has gone one better (or one worse), canceling the remaining games of the team representing Oscoda Area High School because of their 0-4 opening record - four losses, no wins and no points. The rationale was that the team was overmatched by all of its opponents (the full story can be read by clicking the above subject line). But what does it say to the players who were valiantly giving their all? We teach our children never to quit, to always try their hardest, but when their elders do the quitting for them, how can that be a positive lesson in life? And what about the seniors on the team? I would bet that, even in this situation, at least a few of them may have had aspirations of football scholarships, scholarships that would have paved the way to college educations. Are they screwed now?

Yeah, it sucks to get your ass kicked week after week, whether it be on a football field or some other field of life. But those are the situations where characters can be forged for the better. But not in Oscoda, apparently, where the easy way out rules the day.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Shiver your timbers indeed!

Hey, Popeye, put that spinach down! There is a crisis surrounding the leafy green vegetable, as an E. coli outbreak that already has killed one person has put the temporary kibosh on spinach consumption. The FDA is warning everyone not to eat spinach, particularly the fresh, bagged variety, until further notice. The full story can be accessed by clicking on the subject above, but if your kids start celebrating that they won't be forced to eat the stuff, remind them that there's always Brussels sprouts.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Talk about "extra point"!

The spirit of Tonya Harding is alive and well (!) and living in Greeley, Colorado. That's the home of the University of Northern Colorado, where the Bears take to the gridiron and compete in the Big Sky Conference of the NCAA's Division 1-AA. It's also where what has to be the most bizarre police blotter report of any college sport this year just was written. From ESPN:

"The backup punter at Northern Colorado has been arrested on suspicion of stabbing his teammate -- the starting punter -- in the kicking leg.

The motive may have been competition for the first-string job, police said Wednesday."

Wow, sure is nice that the police may have figured out the motive that allgededly led Mitch Cozad from attacking Rafael Mendoza. 'Cause it was confusing to me.

Not surprisingly, Cozad has been kicked off the team and, indeed, off of campus as well. No word on if Mendoza did his best Nancy Kerrigan and sobbed "Why?" as blood poured from his thigh. I kind of doubt it.

Read the full ESPN story by clicking the subject line.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A wee lovely idea ...

Well, Steve Jobs slapped on the black sweater again today and announced some more new toys for Apple devotees (myself included) to play with. Including in his presentation this time was a new iTunes application that now includes downloads of feature films, along with still more new versions of the company's iPod music player. There's a "monster" that has 80 GB of storage (that's as much as my MacBook), a new incarnation of the nano that has 24 hours of battery life - and my personal fave, a reinvention of the iPod shuffle that half the size of the first model, which itself was the size of a pack of gum. Now the shuffle (seen above) is only 1.6 inches long and can be clipped onto your pocket. Song capacity: 240.

Now, I won't buy the shuffle, partly because I had just purchased a regular iPod a few months ago, and partly because the shuffle is so wee, I would lose it within a week - if not on the bus or at the mall, then definitely in my train wreck of an apartment. But the reason the shuffle bemuses me so is because of a skit on "Saturday Night Live" last fall that involved Fred Armisen doing a passable take on Jobs and his singular presentation style, one-up-manship and all. Click here to check out exactly what I'm talking about. And click the subject line if you're actually interested in buying the shuffle. I bet it's popular with 4-year-olds and smurfs. :)

Monday, September 11, 2006

My hero ...

I spent part of my weekend on a film set in Atlanta, waiting until 5 a.m. to interview the star of the movie, who was just as tired as I was. Earlier, at 1 a.m., I had "lunch" with much of the crew, eating homemade mac and cheese.

My friend Beth Kujawski spent part of her weekend walking 60 miles through suburban Chicago on behalf of breast cancer awareness and prevention.

I am a writer. Beth, who is also a writer, happens to be a hero as well.

The word "hero" is something to be used carefully, especially on this particular day and date. But while Beth didn't run into a burning building, she did walk a long distance for the betterment of others and the world in general. That sounds like a hero, or at least a type of hero, to me.

At some point today or tomorrow, Beth will write her account of her weekend on her blog, which is bookmarked on the right. Be sure to read and pay close attention. You will be glad you did, trust me.


Say what you will about the mess this country is in right now - and, without getting terribly political, a mess is exactly what it is - but on this day, five years later, let's not forget why we're in the mess in the first place. May God, the Creator or whomever or whatever you believe in keep a look out for those who died on that horrible September day, and those who were left behind.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, lies dead tonight, the victim not of a bear or a python or a shark or even a croc, but of that most deadly of aquatic life - the stingray. Yes, in what may end up being the freakiest celebrity death of 2006 - that is, unless Andy Dick rears his peculiar head - the 44-year-old Irwin was done in by a chance encounter with one of the otherwise graceful sea creatures during a diving tour off of the Great Barrier Reef. It seemed that as Irwin jumped into the water, the stingray, buried in the sand underneath the water, picked that exact time for its barbed tail to spring out, where it stabbed Irwin in the chest and punctured his heart. The great Aussie environmentalist probably never knew what hit him.

This is a time to mourn the loss of a larger-than-life figure, to feel for his American-born widow and partner in business and nature, Terri, who now will have to raise two young children on her own and most likely maintain the vast empire she and Steve had created for the benefit of the wildlife of Australia and beyond. But it's also a chance to smile - not only for the good times Irwin brought to his fans, but out of envy for a man who died doing what he loved, and how many of us will be able to do that? Well, maybe Andy Dick eventually, though that's the fodder for an entirely separate blog entry. As wacky as Irwin could be, and that was pretty damn wacky (did I mention he was from Australia?), he inspired a generation of young people worldwide to get involved, in ways big and small, in the preservation of this planet and the fascinating creatures who live on it. And he did more for the fashion of shorty shorts on men than anyone this side of Richard Simmons.

So as you sit at your dinner table to say grace or whatever tonight, think a good thought for Steve Irwin. Better yet, hoist a pint or two of beer in his honor. Bonus points if it's a Foster's.