Sunday, January 30, 2011

So that's what happened to Rudy Giuliani...

Looks like he's become a professional wedding crasher. And who knew his wife was such a babe?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I got to play "Can't Beat Kennedy" on Boston's Mix 104.1 this morning!

On my morning drive to work, I listen to Mix 104.1 and its drive-time team, Karson & Kennedy. And every morning, around 7:30, they invite a listener to play "Can't Beat Kennedy". It's a five-question pop culture trivia game, where you go head-to-head with Kennedy, the "queen" of all things trivial (if you're reading this Kennedy, that's meant as a compliment!). In order to win, you need to answer more questions correctly than Kennedy does: a tie is not a win. And if you beat Kennedy, you win $100!

I've been trying for months to call in and play the game, but I always get a busy signal. But today was my lucky day - on my first dial, the phone started ringing. It rang about 20 times before Karson picked up and asked if I wanted to try and beat Kennedy. "Game on!" I said. Karson put me on hold for a few minutes, and I took the opportunity to get off the expressway and find a side street in Quincy where I could park my car. Safety first, doncha know? And before I knew it, I was on the air! Here are the questions I had to answer: 
  1. He’s the lead singer of a rock band and a new judge on “American Idol.” Who is he?
  2. CEO Steve Jobs a medical leave of absence from the company he helped launch. Name the company.
  3. True or False: Shaq was teammates with Lebron James on the Cleveland Cavilers last season.
  4. Gwyneth Paltrow hosted “SNL” over the weekend. He daughter has a famously odd name. What is it?
  5. What super successful young rapper & actor was shot and killed in Las Vegas in 1996?
I'm trying to embed a recording of my game, but it's not working for some reason. You can go here and listen to the entire game and see the right answers.

In case you didn't listen all the way through, I got all five questions right (a TOTAL guess on #3). And then Kennedy came in and ALSO got all five right, so it wasn't a win. But because I scored a 100%, they decided to give me the $100 anyway! Isn't that great? So after months and months of wanting to play "Can't Beat Kennedy", I finally got my chance and ended up with $100 in my pocket. Pretty sweet way to start the day. Thanks, Karson and Kennedy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

I draws 'em as I sees 'em

When we're playing Scrabble, I'm the designated scorekeeper. That means I have a pen and a pad of paper at the ready. So if my opponent (and I'm not naming any names) ends up taking too long with his/her turn, I get a little bored and start doodling. I'm sure that some day, all of my drawings will end up in a glorious coffee table book. But in the meantime, I'm storing them all in the Scrabble box. Sifting through them from time to time, they serve as a great reminders of places we've visited, friends we've spent time with, and fun things we've done. Here are a few sketches from the Scrabble box:

This drawing commemorates the first time our friend Ian, who's now 11, tried his first hamburger. He was 10 months old at the time, and we were in a restaurant called "The Charcoal Pit" in Wilmington, DE, the night before Thanksgiving. Having spent all day in the car, we decided to go out for a burger, fries, and a milkshake. All settled into our booth, Ian's mom popped a teaspoon-sized piece of burger into his mouth. About two seconds later, that burger, along with all the rest of the content's of Ian's stomach, came hurtling out his mouth. His quick-thinking mom expertly caught it all in her hands, amazing and disgusting me at the same time. That's me on the right, and Ian's mom in the middle, telling me to get over myself!

This drawing always make me cringe! It's my younger sister, when she and her husband came to Boston probably more than ten years ago. They brought their bikes with them, and we were enjoying a ride along the Charles River when we stopped for a soda. When we finished, we all stood up and my brother-in-law was trying to help my sister put her helmet back on. Unfortunately, he caught just a little bit of the underneath of her chin in the plastic fastening. Ouch!

When your Scrabble rack is filled with crappy letters, it's hard to make a move that's worth anything. So I've got lots of doodles featuring me quitting the game. To be clear here - I've never quit a Scrabble game because I'm doing poorly, but I've felt like quitting plenty of times. I have NO idea why there's a face floating above my "I Quit" sign. 

Here's my tearful "I Quit" from a long-ago vacation in Palm Springs, CA. We were staying at a place called the Harlow Club, a guesthouse with lush gardens and a beautiful pool. It was February, our favorite time to escape the Boston winter to spend a few days in the sun. The Club must have been going through some hard times, because for three days, we were the only guests in the place. Part of the appeal was the lunch was served poolside every afternoon, and rather that ordering out from the local deli, the owners made us a wonderful homemade lunch (salads, sandwiches, fruit, ice tea, and desserts) every day. It was like our own little kingdom.

OK - one more "I quit" drawing. This is from 10 years ago. If you can't read it, it says "Mike narrows his chances of winning the "Good Sportsmanship" award after receiving all of the vowels in the Srabble game. 12/13/01"

Peter was working for a large corporation when this was drawn. This was how I imagined his Monday mornings at the office.

A couple of portraits.

Our view from the beach cottage we rent each summer in Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod. We've been spending at least a week (two weeks most years) at the beach for probably eight years running, and it's the vacation I most look forward to each year. It's total down-time and spending time playing with Otis, our Portuguese Water dog, on the beach.

Here's my drawing of Peter winning a killer game of Scrabble with a record-setting score of 461 on the beach in Provincetown. How did he do that? By putting down two words ("hunkers" and "stoagies") that used all of the letters on his rack, which earns a 50 point bonus. You can see how pleased I am with the outcome of this game, but had to concede -- it was a well-earned victory.

OK, last sketch. That's impatient me on the left, urging Peter to "go already!". If I remember correctly, it was the near the end of a game that Peter was clearly winning, and he was trying to figure out how to play the last two tiles on his rack. 

The Battle Hymn of Sarah Palin

My apologies for two Sarah Palin posts in a row...but when Peter found this on Andrew Sullivan's blog and showed it to me, I knew I had to feature it. This "tribute" to former Governor Palin, sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", will put a lump (from your lunch) in your throat. Truly bizarre, and as always with the Tea Partyers, coming from a place of love.

Everybody sing along…

She’s a cold blast from Alaska, ingrained with common sense.
She’s not a Harvard lawyer but she knew what the founders meant.
A cold blast from the north that freezes Congress in its tracks.
With God and the Tea Party, she’s gonna take it back.

Sarah Palin, she won’t listen to their bunk.
Sarah Palin, she’s coming south to hunt some skunk.
Sarah Palin, she’ll throw them all in jail.
And when she gets to Washington, it’ll be cold as hell.

(Editor’s note: Uhhh…that last sentence. Aide from them cramming in way too many word, what exactly are they saying? That it’ll be a cold day in hell before Palin gets elected to national office? Or that there will be hell to pay when/if she earns a national platform? Or are they just keeping with that "cold blast from Alaska" theme?) 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Double bingo in tonight's Scrabble game

Any other Scrabble fans out there? Peter and I play at least once a week, more often in the winter, and I've got at least 10 games going on right now through the app on my iPhone. Tonight, something very rare happened: I scored two "bingos" -- that means I was able to place all 7 letters on my rack on the board at the same time. So not only did I get some nice points for "ADDITION" and "GYRATION", but each time, I scored a 50 point bonus. Peter had a great game too, and ended up with a score of 300; but with my bonus points, I topped out at 410 points. This might never happen again, so I thought I'd better blog about it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A snow day in South Boston

As expected, my company (along with scores of others and most schools in the Boston area) are closed today due to the storm. We woke up around 4:00 am and looked outside and while it was snowing, it didn't look too bad out there. But as the morning wore on (and yes, we went back to bed), the intensity has really picked up. It's really blowing out there, and the snow is of the wet, heavy variety. We bundled up around 8:00 am, grabbed our travel mugs filled with a mixture of strong coffee and hot chocolate, and headed out for a walk with Otis. Here are some scenes from our morning adventure:

South Boston is notorious for narrow streets with parking on both sides that quickly become difficult to navigate during a big snowstorm. 

A statue of Admiral Farragut, half covered in snow, looks out over Pleasure Bay in South Boston.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

As a rule, I just say "no" to Broadway

Let me start off by saying that (bucking the stereotype) I’m not a huge fan of Broadway musicals. I’ve seen my fair share of shows, but if I’m in New York, I’d much rather go out to a great restaurant for dinner or a fun bar than to spend a lot of money to see a show.  I’ve got a good friend who will see two or three shows every time she’s in New York, and she’s been trying to convince me to change my ways. “You’ve got to see ‘Promises, Promises”, she’ll say, (or “Memphis” or “Wicked” or “La Cage aux Folles” or any of the latest shows she’s recently seen.)
Here’s my rundown of some of the shows I’ve seen:
  • “Chorus Line” (thrilling. saw it on my first trip to New York City.)
  • Les Miserables” (ruined by a woman behind me sucking on hard candy. In the lobby on the way out, I heard another woman ask her husband, “So, what did you think?” He replied, “Well, it was good, but it was no “Cats”)
  • “Phantom of the Opera” (tiresome)
  • “Damn Yankees” (starring everyone’s “favorite funnyman”, Jerry Lewis. Dreadful.)
  • “Rent” (Jonathan Larson’s score is amazing – like a big jigsaw puzzle that keeps being put together in wonderful, different ways. Treat yourself to the final performance, which was filmed and is available on Netflix.)
  • “The Lion King” (meh)
  • “Mama Mia” (ABBA songs are weaved into a very loose story line. OK, I get it, I get it! And don’t even get me started on the movie version starring Meryl Streep. I lasted about three minutes.)
  • “Spring Awakening” (saw it because I got a half-price ticket and it had just won a Tony Award for Best Musical – but really disliked it. I was very tempted to leave at intermission, but I had a great seat in the front row of the balcony. The experience would have been more interesting if I had known I was watching a pre-“Glee” Lea Michele in the starring role.)
  • “Jersey Boys” (high energy and a lot of fun)

So it’s kind of funny to me that the past week, I’ve been listening to (and really enjoying) the music from a CD I had long ago relegated to the bottom of the CD rack. Quite by accident, I came across the original cast recording of “They’re Playing Our Song”, a musical that opened on Broadway in 1979. Starring Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz (yup, the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz), this was a two-person show about a composer (Klein) and a lyricist (Arnaz) whose professional and personal worlds collide. Written by Neil Simon with lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager and music by Marvin Hamlisch (I’ve met him, but that’s a story for another time), this show features really simple, straight-forward music: nothing fancy or over the top. And there’s a beauty to its simplicity.
And here’s the kicker: I’ve never seen the show. And I can’t even remember how I came to own the CD. But letting it spin around and around in my car this week, the music is transporting me back nearly 30 years (!). I’m remembering most all of the lyrics, and it’s making me wish Klein and Arnaz would reprise their roles on stage just one more time, so I could see this music and story come to life. That’s one show I wouldn’t miss. Here’s a clip of Klein and Arnaz performing at the Tony Awards. 

So am I being too hard on Broadway, or does anyone else out there feel the same way? Let me know what you think!

PS: does anybody know if Lucie Arnaz is still around? I wonder what she's up to?

PPS: Peter just reminded me (I had blocked it out of my memory) of a horribly pretentious show we saw on Broadway several years back. It was called "Metamorphosis" and it was just an excuse for the actors to prance around and into a pool of water that was located center stage. Ooooh, watch you, you front row might get splashed!

Bring it on!

Dozens of schools in the Boston area have already cancelled classes for tomorrow, and safety officials are urging folks to stay off the roads on Wednesday morning, when the height of this winter storm is supposed to hit the area. Sounds good to me! My office has issued a "delayed opening" memo, saying that our doors won't open until 10:00 am tomorrow, and that we'll get another message by 8:00 am if anything changes. So at the very least, I won't have to set the alarm clock tonight. As you can see on the map above, they're predicting Boston could get 14-15 inches of snow. Now THAT'S a winter storm. Having grown up near Rochester, NY, where we'd often get buried by "lake effect" snow, I think I've got snow in my blood. So again, I say "bring it on". Be careful out there, folks...and have fun!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Today in "big mouth" news...

A Stoughton (MA) man stuffed bags of cocaine in his mouth to avoid arrest in a supermarket parking lot on Tuesday. Police were watching as two men allegedly participated in a drug transaction. When they approached the pair, the suspect spoke through clenched teeth, leading officers to suspect he was hiding something. Police say the man eventually spit out the contents of his mouth: 11 bags of crack cocaine, valued at about $500. Police say the man also had $200 in cash in his hand. "Not guilty, Your Honor!"

Conservative talk show hose (oops...did I mean "host"?) and professional cry baby Glenn Beck has been dropped by New York radio station WOR due to poor ratings. According to news reports, Beck's radio show is due to go off the air in two weeks. Although Beck's radio show is the third-biggest in the country, WOR program director Scott Wakefield told the New York Daily News, "Somewhat to our surprise, the show wasn't getting what we wanted."

Former Massachusetts state senator Dianne Wilkerson will be sentenced tomorrow for taking nearly $24,000 in bribes, including $1,000 she stuffed in her bra, unaware that she was being photographed by the FBI. Wilkerson pleaded guilty last summer to taking the cash from undercover agents in exchange for securing a nightclub liquor license and backing legislation to jumpstart commercial development in Roxbury, the Boston neighborhood she represented. She faces up to four years in jail. And now for the "big mouth" part. "Your Honor, I appeal to you for mercy,’’ she wrote to the judge who will preside over her sentencing. “Please allow me in your compassion and wisdom the opportunity to redeem myself. I am asking you for a second chance to try again.’’ Prosecutors argue that a four-year prison term is warranted because of Wilkerson’s "history of ethical lapses and illegal conduct, including a 1997 conviction for tax evasion". Oopsies!

Yes, this video is real. Be very afraid.

Random thought Wednesday

Otis goes to the doctor this morning for his first-ever teeth cleaning. The vet will have to "knock him out" for the procedure, so that meant no food or water as of 9:00 last night. Of course, Otis woke up this morning dying for a drink of water, and we found him sitting in the dining room, staring up at his water bowl we had placed on the bar. I expect his choppers will be frighteningly white, and that he'll be pretty woozy when we pick him up late this afternoon.

It was a musical trip back into the 1970s this morning on my way to work. I'm constantly switching radio stations in my car trying to find something worthwhile to listen to, and today, I found three great songs in a row that brought me back to my early teens: "Main Street" by Bob Segar (this tune almost makes up for "Old Time Rock and Roll" which goes into the"Jukebox from Hell" category), "Country Road" by James Taylor, and "Operator" by Jim Croce. Great sing-along stuff. Too bad there was no body in the car to appreciate my dulcet tones.

So how much fat is there really in the Dunkin' Donuts egg white and turkey sausage breakfast sandwich? Just supposing I ate one this morning, although I'm trying to be good about what I am consuming these days...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...