31 December 2007

Brattleboro v. George Walker Bush

Check out this article. Yes, Vermont is the only state not visited by our not so esteemed President in his almost 7 years in office. Now, there may be good reason for that.

30 December 2007

Congratulations 2007 Undefeated New England Patriots


*photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images*

We interrupt your regularly scheduled year-end countdown to bring you these words.

Congratulations on an undefeated season to the 2007 New England Patriots. The celebrations were subdued however as in two weeks they will resume their quest for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, but the undefeated season almost wasn't.

The Giants were on their game, at least for the first half, and the Pats really got lucky a number of times and almost threw it away on a ridiculous penalty. In the first quarter on the Pats' second drive, on a 3rd down and 14 play, the Giants get called for soft penalty, giving the Pats 5 yards and a fresh set of downs, allowing the Pats to score 6 plays later.

During the touchdown celebration as pictured above, a zebra was almost struck during the play, warranting him to throw a flag for excessive celebration, constituting as unsportsmanlike conduct. That brought the Patriots' kickoff back 15 yards, allowing speedy kickoff returner Hixon to return the kickoff for a touchdown. Had the Pats kept those 15 yards, they might have had a chance against Hixon, who didn't make a return for less than 11 yards all night except for the one touchback.

New York led most of the game, but began to lose their focus and sharpness in the second half, whilst the Patriots seemingly found theirs. Patriots go on to score 22 unanswered points, and that pretty much was the end of that. Giants brought it back within 3, but the ensuing onside kick failed for the Giants, with about a minute to spare for a timeout and a couple QB kneels.

Now if I may shift to the other football, that's soccer to us Americans, hooray for Dimitar Berbatov for scoring 4 goals, a hat trick and then some in a massive goal-scoring fest in Tottenham's 6-4 win over Reading yesterday. Also, cheers to West Ham United for toppling Manchester United yesterday 2-1, no easy feat. Too bad for Everton, just getting manhandled by Adebayor's Arsenal yesterday 4-1.

As Casey Kasem would say, now on with the countdown.

28 December 2007

Top 10 Songs and/or Albums of 2007

10. Feist: "1 2 3 4" - Fantastic breakout for the Canadian anti-folkie and former Broken Social Scene member. Questionable move to allow Apple iPod to use her song and video for their commercial (Selling out? But it's Apple, they're the anti-man.), but a beautiful cheery simple little tune that I don't mind getting stuck in my head. Her follow-up "My Moon My Man" also is quality.

9. Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood - Although this came out last year, this has been a big year for Americana and her appearance at Austin City Limits really pushed her to the forefront of the genre. Still working with The New Pornographers, Neko's star shines bright into 2008.

8. Adele: "Hometown Glory" - Londoner Adele garnered loads of radio play based on her mySpace offering in 2007. Brilliant singer with soul, expect lots to come from Adele.

7. Band of Horses: Cease to Begin - This was a great find with regular rotation on BBC 6 Music and Sirius 26 Left of Center. Hints of Americana in this Indie band. Wonderful stuff.

6. The Arcade Fire: Neon Bible - A wonderfully diverse and big sound from this Canadian "gang". I was fortunate enough to catch the PBS Austin City Limits and see the intensity and change of instrumentation (hurdy gurdy to accordion to percussion) on this accomplished group. A huge year for these fine young men and women from Montréal, we haven't seen the last of them, no matter how big they get.

5. Bloc Party: "The Prayer", "Flux" - Fine dance-oriented rhythms from Bloc Party. I once posted that the Red Sox should play "The Prayer" in the locker room pre-game on Surviving Grady, someone must have been reading because after I did, they went on a fantastic winning streak. Guaranteed to hype you up.

4. Sigur Ros: "Hiljomalind" - More gloriousness from what you would expect from Sigur Ros. This single was released this fall prior to an acoustic tour, which made a stop in Camden, London for the BBC Electric Proms. Chills. Every time I listen to Sigur Ros.

3. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: Raising Sand - Ok, I know what I said about Led Zeppelin a few weeks ago, but this combination is absolutely brilliant. A different twist on Americana - a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll. I don't think I'll grow tired of this album any time soon.

2. Editors: An End Has a Start - Sophomore effort from Birmingham's Editors doesn't disappoint. Having heard this album first before their debut The Back Room, I can see the forward progression in their musicianship, and I have made them my new favorite band.

So why haven't I made Editors my #1? Because:

1. British Sea Power: "Waving Flags" - From the upcoming 2008 album, this anthemic single reminiscent of Embrace has really summed up the year for me. Such a euphoric feeling comes from this track and I can't hardly wait at all for the full length album. British Sea Power really rivals Editors for being my favorite new band, but I simply must wait for the new album to be able to make that distinction.

Next time: Movies of 2007!

26 December 2007

5 Worst Songs of 2007

5. Fergie: "Glamorous" - Fergie teaches us how spell again and "if you don't have no money take your broke ass home" (broke broke in the censored version - Huh? WTF?). Nod to the casting of Freddy Rodriguez of Six Feet Under.

4. Soulja Boy: "Crank That" - I've only heard this once or twice and I can't make it all the way though it, it's sooooo bad. Apparently its got an accompanying dance that Ellen DeGeneres has got a hold of on her show, which is surprising that it's making its way into middle age moms' ears, given that it's so unlistenable.

3. Avril LaVigne: "(Hey Hey You You I Wanna Be Your) Girlfriend" - Now try to get this earworm out of your head. Just try.

2. Rhianna: "Umbrella" - 'Nuf Ced.

1. Sean Kingston: "Beautiful Girls" - This song was inescapable this summer. It had not only one but two censored versions here in America: one with the word "suicidal" muted and one replacing "suicidal" with "in denial", which is even worse. To think that this country is so politically correct that uptight parents are so up in arms about the word "suicidal" in the chorus, they actually think that kids hearing the word might get them to go on and do the deed. Not suprisingly, these censored versions more often than not appeared on Rupert Murdoch's conservative ClearChannel station evil empire.

Happy Boxing Day! Feel free to list any honorable mentions in the comments - any songs you'd like to rid your memory of for this year?

20 December 2007

Yule Love It


Merry Christmas everyone!

Coming next week: best and worst of 2007 as we wrap up the year.

18 December 2007

No Place Like Home

We made it home safely. The timing of it all was great - we travelled the three hours down between the storms and back again on Monday after the second storm. Some thoughts on this weekend:

1. It's amazing how one can get used to a screaming baby in the car for 45 minutes straight.

2. Those push-snowblowers are harder to operate than they look.

3. When loading the car, walk carefully down the steps when they're icy (my hand and back are still thanking me for that one).

4. When people offer you food just after saying you need to exercise more, politely decline. This is a test.

5. Passive-aggressive people are less so when they're hosting holiday parties at their homes.

6. I almost got my face chewed off by the chupacabra pup. Errr, I mean licked off. Quite the nicest pup I've had the pleasure of keeping warm with. (It was wicked cold, he gives off beaucoup heat.)

14 December 2007

13 December 2007

Ring a Ding Ding!


No Teeth and Tongues

This is something I've noticed with old people who have no teeth from an early age. They are constantly sticking their tongues out and contorting their face like a pile of retards. Why is this? Just because they can? Is there some freakish satisfaction out of this? Are they trying to be like the 'cool geezers'?

12 December 2007

A Lot


One of my co-workers yesterday was telling me how all her life she was taught that a lot was one word when said in reference to a number or an amount of something. A lot, when referring to a property lot, was two separate words, she said. Her teachers taught her this. If you disagreed with the teacher, she said it was wrong without even so much as a lookup in the dictionary. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

When she was trying to explain this to me, she had a hard time believing me that a lot was two words in every case. Yes, I looked it up on Dictionary.com and I was right - ALOT is an acronym for something, there is no word in the English language as alot.

Now I can understand, undoing 30+ years of incorrect grammatical teaching is very difficult. And what of this teacher, teaching for years hordes of school children the wrong thing? It isn't even accepted as an Americanism. Pet Peeve #85 - A lot is two words, not one, in any context.

/rant

11 December 2007

Ice Ice Baby


photo by: AP photo/ news.yahoo.com

10 December 2007

The Only Non-Led Zeppelin Fan

Tonight, as heavily promoted, will be the Led Zeppelin reunion concert at the O2 Arena in London. To be quite honest, I really couldn't give two farts about this. Now, I know this might sound like musical heresy, but to me, they are just all right. I know, they have influenced countless musicians, blah blah blah, and if you tune right now to any classic rock station, there's at least a 50% chance they are playing Led Zep right now.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate them, that's too strong. I'm just terribly indifferent to the Led Zep movement - maybe it was just before my time, maybe it was because they straight-up ripped off songs of other artists without due credit. And just the thought of a Led Zep renaissance makes me cringe: 24 hours of "A Whole Lotta Love" really doesn't excite me, as if they aren't overplayed already.

08 December 2007

The Tudors: Season One Review


I've just finished watching the first season of The Tudors last night, and, whoa.

When I first heard that CBC was going to show this this fall, I was so there, for many reasons of course. Being an history buff and an anglophile of course this would be of interest to me, but more importantly I wanted to see how Thomas Cromwell was portrayed.

I had to remember going into this that it is historical fiction - following real events and figures in history, but fiction had to fill in the gaps. Beginning in the earlier part of King Henry VIII's reign (ten years in I'm told), we meet Henry and his court, a cast of characters: Cardinal Wolsey, Duke of Norfolk, Sir Thomas More, etc. There is much bodice ripping, scheming, and secondary plot lines of episodic nature. I never remembered reading of a widespread plague - played out as the "sweating sickness" - during Henry VIII's reign, only that of the 1349 and 1666 plagues, but who's not to say there could have been a minor epidemic during that time. I suspect much of this is imagined for us.

For the first couple of episodes I was thrilled to see a minor credit to actor Steven Waddington (of The Last of the Mohicans fame) as the Duke of Buckingham. It's an inside name game with that one so I wouldn't expect anyone outside of my family to understand. But he was plotted against, sent to the Tower, and executed, so sadly that story line didn't last more than a few episodes.

Henry meets Mary, then Anne Boleyn (setting up the eventual adverts for The Other Boleyn Sister, the film based upon the book, coming to theatres near you in February! Yes, I'm such a sucker for films like these), falls in love, and the search for divorce from Catherine of Aragon and the fall of Wolsey begins.

Thomas doesn't appear until the third to last episode, when he hands Anne a Protestant book, which would have been heretical in those papal times. After that, he is seen initially as an errand boy, but then more and more with Henry, who takes a liking to him as a way to clear his conscience for the divorce. In the last episode, Henry exclaims "I have high hopes for Cromwell," while a couple onlookers (I'm not sure of the minor character names) say "Cromwell is cunning."

The season ends with Wolsey taking his life during a musical montage juxtaposed with a courtier play depicting Wolsey going to hell after leading a greedy and self-serving lifestyle, not to mention Thomas More saying he will be harsher on heretics and burning them after a conversation with Cromwell said in confidence, which he does burn an unnamed heretic shortly thereafter. With Wolsey dead, Henry and Anne make off for the forest for a tryst. Frustratingly, Anne throws Henry off of her mid-coitus, presumably because she doesn't want to be pregnant if they get married and have a bastard child. Daddy Boleyn's words ring: Keep Henry's interest longer.

Initially, Thomas More is likeable, fresh off his Utopia publishing, but as time goes on, his idealism for saving papacy in England grows dangerous. Conversely, Wolsey is seen as shamelessly scheming, then turns to pity as he loses favor, banished, and arrested for treason. Henry seems like a pawn, anyone close to him can influence him any way the wind blows, which is somewhat saddening, but His Majesty has the power to do what he likes, again, seemingly under the guise of his court's patrons.

A second season is coming (I can't wait... SQUEEEEE!! - I just might order Showtime so I can see it in HD and sooner than when CBC can bring it, commercial free) and it seems as though the soft cliffhanger will deliver: More reformation, more scheming, more plot twists, more bodice ripping, more history. And certainly more Thomas Cromwell, as history tells us.

4.5 out of 5 stars, a must see. Full episodes are still available on demand at CBC.ca/Tudors. Picture care of tv.yahoo.com/tudors.

07 December 2007

Guilty Pleasure: Kid Nation


One of our favorite new shows this year is Kid Nation (photo care of CBS.com). Generally they let 40 kids run amok in a "deserted" New Mexico town with "no adult supervision". (Read as: CBS production oversee the quality of life in this recreated theme park of a ghost town.) The TV presenter (a younger non-abrasive version of Survivor's Jeff Probst) wrangles the herd together twice an episode for a reward challenge and tribunal (hmm... how original), then sends the kids back to their bunks, sometimes in the middle of the day. Yeah, that would go over real well in my house, work them all up then send them to bed - sheah!

Anywho, this week's golden star went to Alex, as pictured above. He's a surprisingly savvy 10 year old of mixed race descent (Asian and Caucasian) who sports Transition lenses. Anything else I'm missing?

Oh yeah, A GINORMOUS FRONT TOOTH!

I mean, how does this kid keep from tripping over it?

It's like a piece of Dentyne Ice (Chiclets for you old schoolers) hanging from his upper gum.

If he fell, would his pearly white break his fall?

If he started gnawing on his $20,000 gold star, would it sharpen?

Would poachers kill him for ivory scrimshaws?

Can a whole black market industry be created for children's teeth?

These are the sort of things I think of whilst watching Kid Nation. Now back to your regularly scheduled Chupacabra talk.

P.S. Who would win in a fight: Bear Grylls or a Chupacabra? My money's on Bear.

06 December 2007

Guest Blogger: Bigfoot!

Hello all, some of you have probably heard of me. I also go by the name Sasquatch, and I'm often confused for a Wookkee, who is actually a distant cousin. I was wildly popular in the 1970s and 80s, and there have been several films done on me, most notably Harry and the Hendersons featuring that bastard of a minister from Footloose.

Anyway, I digress. I'm deeply troubled by all this attention given lately to this so-called Chupacabra. I don't know what all the fuss is about. I could totally take him in a cage match to the death, if he exists, that is. Have you seen any home movie footage? I didn't think so. Goats aren't even all that tasty, to be quite honest.

That is why I propose next week should be Bigfoot week. My career has suffered lately, partly due to my other cousin's Caveman show getting the ax, but overall because of a decline in interest. Let's get this Bigfoot wagon back on the road. Not that I need your sympathy, but I have 11 baby sasquatch mouths to feed at home. Hugs and kisses!

P.S. Please email me at bigfoot@mythologicalcreaturesyouhaveenjoyed.com

05 December 2007

Chupacabra Sighting!


I believe my brother-in-law is harboring a chupacabra pup in his home. Can't you see the goat blood dripping from its snout, the killer instinct in the eyes?

04 December 2007

Born under a bad sign / Chupacabra Week



Another heartbreaking loss to my Spurs on Sunday. Up 2-1 at home, Robbo gives up the equalizer, Keane is red-carded after a legal looking slide tackle (yellow card at worst, it was nothing flagrant), then the nail in the coffin in the closing minutes, 2-3 Birmingham City. It's absolutely maddening that last year's quality club have sunk so low with wins only against rubbish clubs Wigan and Derby County. Now with their best scorer on the bench after the red card appeal was rejected, things are still looking grim. Yes, I'm a masochist if you must ask.

Now I'm no comedy writer. I barely have a sense of humor according to my wife. But I will still attempt to write something about Chupacabras, being that this is Chupacabra week, so I offer the following:

Top Ten Chupacabra Books: (Little known fact: Chupacabras are quite keen on the literary world!)

10. Green Eggs and Goats

9. To Kill a Chupacabra

8. Chupacabras and Peace

7. Pride and Chupacabras

6. Chupacabras for Dummies

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Chupacabras

4. The da Vinci Code

3. How to Win Friends and Influence Goats

2. Jonathan Livingston Chupacabra

1. Goat Soup for the Chupacabra's Soul

p.s. Reward offered for Chupacabra attack on this referee in the Yahoo.co.uk photo above!

01 December 2007

Little Miss Sunshine

If this doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will. I apologize for the mess but when you have a toddler, your home is in a constant state of disarray. We were watching The Winter Guest while i filmed this so there's a spot in it where one of the boys shouts "Wanker!" I don't remember what exactly made her giggle so much, but here's the wee one with the ginger hair. She might not be chatting it up with the Queen, but it doesn't take much to get her going.

Oh, and we put up our tree today. Real tree of course, cut down by yours truly. I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay.

21 November 2007

What I'm thankful for


Happy Thanksgiving America! Everyone else, happy Thursday!

This year I'm thankful for:

The Red Sox winning the World Series, AL East, and tied for the best record in baseball.

My loving wife who does so much, you are appreciated very much.

My sweet daughter who astounds me with new things everyday. Daddy wishes he could be with you more.

My friends at Survivinggrady.com, I can't get through a workday without you. Also all my other friends throughout the world, the world is a better place with you in it.

Mike Lowell re-signing with the Red Sox, and Dustin Pedroia winning the Rookie of the Year award.

Good health - I haven't gained any weight in years and I haven't been sick since last winter.

My extended family who is always there for me and my family.
----------------------------------------------

Don't eat too much turkey, you'll gobble your way into a tryptophan coma! Stay safe you travelers.



photo from: Kansas City Library www.kckpl.lib.ks.us/YS/crafts/


20 November 2007

Winter Wonderland

The snow Friday nearly melted as soon as it fell in my town, but Saturday we took a drive into the hills. Just one mile up the road from our home one can see the snow-capped majesty of Mount Mansfield, highest peak in the state.


Sledders already take advantage of the slippery powder.




It's snowing again this morning.

16 November 2007

Snow or No Snow

I woke up a few minutes ago, hoping to see some snow on the ground. It's still dark outside, so I can't see that it's falling, but there's none on the ground. In a way I'm relieved; driving home near freezing on wet roads make me fear for black ice, that invisible slick icy spot on the road that sends me careening into a ditch.

The bulk of my 70-some mile round trip commute goes through some valleys and hills (at one point rising to 1100 feet of elevation where it has snowed while rain settled in the valley). One valley I drive through is a 15 mile stretch of 4-lane interstate which is essentially a gorge, with 2 of the tallest mountains in the state on either side; Bolton Mountain and Camel's Hump. This stretch is notorious for accidents in the winter. In the 3 winters that I've worked there, I've avoided disaster, sometimes on bald tires. Here's hoping for one more accident-free winter; supposedly next summer the company will move closer to my home, which will make my life so much easier.

15 November 2007

Tomorrow Beowulf comes out!

I've never been this excited about a movie in a long time, I'm really looking forward to Beowulf. (As I'm writing this they are reviewing this on 6 Music.) I know I won't be able to see it until next week but hopefully I will be able to see this in a theatre as it was meant to be seen. We don't have an IMAX near us (nearest one is in Montreal, almost 2 hours from here), but I hear it's coming out on IMAX. My mind would be blown to bits if I could see it there, but ah well.

I've made my mind up, I'll go up to the PS3 when I get my tax refund next year. And the first game I want to check out after it comes out later this month is Assassin's Creed. It really contains the elements that interest me. Also there's a Beowulf game coming out, and that interests me also. The main thing I don't like about that type of game is getting stuck, and I don't like using cheats. I like playing the game honest, but yeah, there is a level of skill-learning that one must adapt to playing most games. Then FIFA, next year's baseball version, and the current Madden(08?).

We saw Shrek the Third last night, excellent film, as good as, or if not, better than the first and second Shreks. 3.5 stars out of 5.

Tonight we are to get the first snow in the valleys, 1 to 4 inches. Yippee!

13 November 2007

Changes, Awards, and Spurs


I've been doing some changes to the blog as you can see - new layout, new titles. I hope you, the reader, like the improvements.

Congratulations to Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox 2nd Baseman, for winning Rookie of the Year for the American League yesterday. Today the AL Cy Young award comes out for top pitcher, and really no-one deserves it more than Josh Beckett, the league's only 20 game winner, and probably most improved pitcher from last year. Next Monday 19/11/07 the AL MVP is announced, which with any luck should be another Red Sox.

Also I should mention congrats to Tottenham on their win over Wigan on Saturday. Clearly they don't belong in the bottom 3 and Wigan was an easy victory. Hopefully it's the kind of rebound win they can use to propel them back to the middle seven and finish somewhere in the middle of the pack and avoid relegation. I chose Spurs at the beginning of the Premiership season as my team to follow because it wasn't one of the big 4, their proximity to Cambs, Bucks & Lincs and my ancestry, but they placed within spitting distance of the big 4 so I had hopes that they would be able to make for some great upset games, although the season under Jol seems to have been lost, and now with one win and one draw under Ramos they are beginning to make strides.

I have also followed Everton and West Ham this season as secondary favorite clubs, and they have been doing better than Spurs, but I won't give up on my Spurs and Robbie Keane. I also considered following Fulham, just being over the bridge from Putney, where some of my ancestors lived for a time, but Fulham is a downright awful club. To dare is to do!

12 November 2007

"You have to be Catholic to be a nun."

Leave it to my wife to come up with such Joe Morgan-esque brilliance. We were talking about something, I can't remember what exactly, and she said that to create some sort of expression. I thought maybe she was taking the piss for a second, then I thought, well no s**t Sherlock, and we both ended up having a laugh. We had some great moments that we haven't had for a while, and now she's taken to calling the red beard "Pepperoni" and that gets me giggling.

The kibbe was good. It's not so much spicy as it has the herbs in it that makes it safe to eat raw ground meat. But I missed the toom, they didn't make any this time but it was ok with just the olive oil.

I watched 4 movies over the weekend, and I've reviewed them out of 5 stars:

Afraid of the Dark: 1.5 stars
The Winter Guest: 4 stars
Meet the Robinsons: 3 stars
Deck the Halls: 2 stars

Well, it's Monday, very busy work day so it's a shorty today.

09 November 2007

I've never been so happy to see a Friday



Honestly, this has been the longest week ever. And it doesn't help that we're broke either, having paid rent this week and already done our grocery shopping. Mike Lowell still hasn't been signed for the 2008 season. Gasoline/Petrol is at an all time high (I try to remind myself it could be worse - 3.10 per gallon in the US is better than ~8.00 per gallon (£1 per litre) in the UK) . The laundry list goes on and on. Trying to see some positivity despite all this is difficult, but finally! The weekend! Now that's something. I can catch up on my DVR recordings, play with my daughter, search the internet for downloadable music.


Also, we're going to my wife's Lebanese aunts for Sunday dinner, featuring Kibbe (pronounced kub-buh as they did in the Bekaa Valley), which is spiced ground meat eaten raw with olive oil and Toom, a spicy garlic dip. Mmmm... yummy. Of course this took some getting used to for this white boy with Northern European roots, but it didn't take long for me to overcome my fears and leave my palate's comfort zone behind.


If anyone has any genealogical inforation regarding Dalbey/Dalby from Glens Falls, NY and Mechanicsburg, PA, Waddington from New Baltimore, NY, Adach or Lackowicz/Lackowitz from Schenectady, NY and Poland, or Anderson/Andersen from Glens Falls, NY and Sweden, please leave me a comment or email me. So far internet searches have led me nowhere for these ancestors; any and all information would be greatly appreciated. Have a lovely weekend!

And the picture above, also from Halloween, my Lebanese in-laws as Austin Powers and Fat Bastard.

08 November 2007

Writer's Block



Life lately has consisted of: Wake up. Commute. Work. Commute home. Eat dinner. Catch a couple hours of television. Sleep.

Not much more than that. Stick season in November doesn't really get interesting until Thanksgiving time, a couple weeks from now.

No wonder I never made it as a writer, not that I ever really tried. So in the meantime until I get another dose of inspiration, enjoy these Halloween photos of Sierra. Cheers.

03 November 2007

World Series Champs


I know it's 6 days late in coming. The champagne had all been drunk. The celebrating has quieted to a hush. The confetti has been cleaned from the paraded streets of Boston. The appearances on chat shows have all been made. And what more can be said about this year's illustrious championship run from our pirate band of personality? What a year it was, and now we await the presentation of this year's awards.

I am not a huge American football person, even less basketball or ice hockey or soccer/football. Nothing quite stirs the soul as baseball, that thinking man's game, as my beloved Red Sox. And the hot stove appears to be interesting with all the free agent sweepstakes. Less than four months until Spring Training, my friends, until it all starts again. You may resume normalcy now.

24 October 2007

Why You'd Want to Live Here



Riverside and Newport Beach, CA, respectively, taken by co-workers out in the sales field. It seems a nice enough place to visit, but not to live says this East Coaster. I'll take snow and cold anyday over earthquakes, mudslides, smog, and currently, wildfires.
Let's go Red Sox! Game 1 tonight - wearing my new unnumbered authentic Red Sox uni that I just received as a gift from my employer! Yay! What a way to celebrate today!

22 October 2007

So Eric Wedge, are the Red Sox a Great Team, or the Greatest Team?


I've got a cool, easy feeling. See you on Wednesday, 8pm, Beckett Standard Time.

Hello, Colorado Rockies!

(photo care of AP - Stephan Savoia)

21 October 2007

Game 7 - Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting

Nothing gives me more chills than mentioning Game 7. Down 3-1, it almost seemed impossible, but we've been down this road before.

Believe. Keep the faith. Heroes abound everywhere. Schilling. JD Drew. Even Eric Gagné closed the game with a perfect inning, in his more familiar role.

20 October 2007

This is how we do

What? 3 posts, three days in a row? This must be some kind of miracle, sign from the heavens, or desperate times calling for desperate measures. Not that I have a whole lot of free time between work and family, but given the occasion I will blog. Not that anyone is reading but at least for my own satisfaction, and hopefully readers will come.

So this goes out to my boy Blue. You know who you are, and if you are reading this Blue or if you know Blue, you are welcome back to the fold anytime. Do what you must, and happy and safe journeys on your way if we are not to cross paths again. But we will be waiting for the prodigal son to return.

Go Sox tonight! I'll be finishing my Manny being Merlot tonight, and possibly be picking up another bottle, maybe Caberknuckle, for Game 7 tomorrow.

19 October 2007

One More Saturday Night


Beckett would not fail us. Really a toss up for player of the game, Beckett or Youkilis. But I tried every kind of mojo possible. Manny being Merlot mojo. Lucky Hat mojo. Falling asleep before the end of the game mojo (I had some crazy dreams about the outcome, I fell asleep in the 5th with a 2-1 lead).
Manny being Merlot isn't all that bad. It's quite acidic and a little hard to take at first, but it finishes clean with no aftertaste and after half a bottle, it got me buzzing. I corked it and saved the other half for Saturday night's game.

18 October 2007

Last Chance Baseball - no baseball for the next 165 days



I've been quiet for awhile, yes, but I've been enjoying the playoffs thus far, even if our beloved Red Sox are down 3-1. Down, but not out. I'm remaining fairly positive, but I will be cracking open the Manny being Merlot tonight, in case this is the end of the road this year. Beckett will save us, or any number of dark horses on this club.

29 September 2007

Thank You, Mariano Rivera; or, Lucky Man



It's indescribable what I'm feeling. So much joy, so much energy, so much positivity. Where to begin?

Honestly, I wasn't watching the start of the game, Jess and I were watching the phenomenal film called Knocked Up. A study in 21st century American (Californian) young adult society. We turned on the Sox in the 8th, we were up 4-2 and we added a solo homer to finish it 5-2. We see that the Yanks are up 9-6 after being up big 7-2 over the O's. For some reason, we channel flip since we are getting free Showtime this weekend. We also notice, hey, why are these MLB Extra Innings coming in? We find the O's broadcast of that game, so we follow along, flipping back to NESN for the anticipation of a possible celebration. Rivera takes the mound in the 9th. With every pitch, I solo chant "Marco... Scutaro..." - my wife doesn't even blink at my crazed state. She doesn't know the SG people that well, but she knows it's significant. 2 outs, bases loaded, Jay Payton triples in 3 runs to tie it!!!! We go nuts, high-fiving, doing a manic little dance, trying not to be too auspicious so we don't wake up the baby or irritate the neighbors, but who cares - the Red Sox could be AL East Champs tonight for the first time in 12 years!

Now in bed, we see that NESN is now carrying the game via the Fenway jumbotron and highlighting every out. Yanks put the B squad in the field, Kewar Ramirez (8.xx ERA) takes the mound. So you know what's coming. I so thought Kevin Millah would be the hero, as the ex-Sox. 2 outs, bases loaded. Melvin Mora comes through with the walk-off single RBI, the celebration officially kicks off, and I can't help but be speechless in awe. I was just taking it all in, in sort of a zone-like trance, occasionally laughing at the feverish antics of schoolboy foolishness. It is real, it is genuine, as much as the grin on this Sox fan's mug.

And it was on a Friday. The best day of my life in quite some time. A red-letter day, at the least.

Photos by: AP Photo/Elise Amendola, Elsa/Getty Images

09 September 2007

Family Connections, an open letter




In my search for my ancestry, so far I have made 3 Ingalsbe connections, all of which I have made contact with this weekend. I'm sure there are countless numbers of cousins out there waiting to be found.

Here is a letter to one which I initiated, by a Ingoldsby related search on the internet:

Hi Elyssianfields,

I found this site on the web by researching my own genealogy. Somehow we are distant cousins as it turns out. I've just recently started my own blog at redbeardonredsox.blogspot.com and I invite you to check it out. I've just started it this summer so there's not much there compared to here and your myspace. I've linked my lineage much as the same as yours, John Ingoldsby came over from England in 1640 to the Massachusetts Bay Colony at about the age of 20, married in Boston.

Currently I live in northwest Vermont, but was born and raised in Glens Falls, NY, where for several generations the Ingalsbe family has resided in nearby Washington County, NY. Other Ingalsbes still reside near Fort Edward, NY, whilst others have migrated to Kansas (I remember meeting them at one point as a child, all of which carry the Ingalsbe prominent feature, the oversized nose, possibly carried down from Cromwell lineage). My grandmother on my father's side was Esther Louise Dalbey, nee Ingalsbe.


As I continue my search, I'm sure I will discover plenty of interesting cousins along the way, and eventually hope to make contact with ones that remained in England.


photo: care of cariningalsbe.blogspot.com/Carin Ingalsbe

08 September 2007

Fatherhood

video

You like to see moments like this when you're a parent, a happy giddy child in the throes of a massive gigglefest. Unfortunately, this is only a small fraction of parenting bliss when raising a soon-to-be toddler. The other quite larger fraction of the equation being the force-feeding of vegetables, the nappy changing, the more ever-present moodiness of miserable unhousebroken child. Soon enough, she will be off to school four years on, and I'll remember these moments rather than the negative ones, and I'll be the miserable one, bewept over the joyous moments of wonder. There she will be a teenager-in-training, meeting new friends, gaining in new influences, distancing herself from the influence of her natural parents.

The need to remind myself of these moments is ever more apparent, and though I highly value my private time, I absolutely treasure the weekends alone with my daughter while her mother is out working for the measly few bits we need to sustain a family.

No real notes on the Red Sox today, as I missed the majority of last night's game whilst we visited Miss Sierra's Pappa in Underhill, but was pleasantly unsurprised once we hopped back in the car to retreat home, as the Sox were up 3-0 mid-game. Final score: 4-0, Lester pitched well and there was a moment where the benches cleared to the field, but no punches were thrown after a knock-down pitch. The Sox stay ahead of the second place Yanks by 6.5 games, who lead the other teams for the wild card spot.

02 September 2007

The Catalyst


Last night's no-hitter by rookie Clay Buchholz was certainly the morale booster the Sox needed after 4 losses. More like an adrenaline injection. Not that all of it fell squarely on Buchholz' shoulders; baseball, after all, is a team effort. Excellent plays in the field, in particular by Dustin Pedroia and Coco Crisp contributed to the blanking in the hit and run columns. But devastating curveballs and change-ups were key to the now-historic game. September has begun with an explosion, and I foresee the rest of my favourite month of the year to continue with fireworks.

Photo: care of AP-Winslow Townson

01 September 2007

Bring home the trophy


Fantasy Football is a tricky proposition. You draft players with your peers, taking the best available player, or, if you're more savvy, you've developed a strategy. You avoid injuries, the dreaded bye weeks, but there's never any guarantee that you're a winner. Even if you have drafted the best possible squad. Every week is a crap shoot, nothing is consistent unless you are lucky enough to draft one of the top 3 players. American Football season is now upon us, a grinding 17 weeks where every week matters. Ok, so I'm not standing by the Vince Lombardi trophy, rather Lord Stanley Cup, in the more attractive days of my youth 8 years ago. But the point is to win, to the victors the spoils, and I intend to be victorious. I just need to place in the top 4 for a chance at the 2 week playoff. There's no monetary gain, only the splendor of bragging rights, but the victory is just as sweet. Now to dispatch 11 SG peers...

The Red Sox clubhouse is starting to look more like a MASH unit lately as the injury count surmounts. Luckily, this first day of September, the rosters are expanded, not a moment too soon. Tonight isn't a must-win versus Baltimore, but it would sure be good for morale. A Yankee win earlier this afternoon isn't encouraging either.

28 August 2007

Insomnia, or, Are You Ready to Ramble?


This is the second of the past three nights that I haven't been able to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. Tonight, after watching a somewhat painful loss to the Yankees, a game that we were in until a late inning 2 run shot by traitor Johnny Damon, self-indulgent curtain call included, I am still awake wondering why can't we give Daisuke any run support? I'm still not concerned about a Yankee run-up to the playoffs. Well, I am but I'm not. I had to check where things stood 29 years ago, the sodding Bucky Dent year, yes, 1978. The Red Sox were ahead by 7.5 games at this point in the season. We are now at 7 after tonight's loss. No worries, we have Josh Beckett tomorrow, "Commander Kick-Ass of the F**k You Brigade"™, versus that overweight, overpaid, overage unctuous Texas toad named Roger Clemens. The Dixie Chicks should have also been ashamed to be from Texas because of that asshat Roger, in addition to that other asshat, the Decider. It's Texan vs. Texan night. Ok I've fulfilled my quota on mentioning Texas for awhile.
Sunday night? I wasn't sure what was eating me, so I watched 2 hours of "A History of Britain", hosted by noted Cambridge and Columbia University historian Simon Schawa. Of course I couldn't wait to watch it, I wanted to learn more about Cromwellian England. Thusly, after watching it, I was a little skeeved; the normally short walk back to bed felt like an abnormally long one in the dark, haunted by cruel wars that tore apart the British Isles, tormented by that face of cousin and Lord Protector. God help me if I ever make it to Ireland to travel one day. One slip of that name could cost me. Then again, that's just the paranoid in me talking again, and thank heavens I'm not directly related to him, only his grandfather, uncle and cousins. Like I said, my line was kind enough to come to America to live a life of obscurity in Boston, then Tewksbury MA, then eventually upstate New York. And now that I've satisfied a lot of my curiosity of England, I move further back in time to Welsh ancestry, near Cardiff, with internet information going as far back as the mid 1100s before Edward Longshanks.
Ok, I've got to go to bed. 6 o'clock is calling, however I have about 2 weeks worth of Hollyoaks to catch up on! Another time...
Photo care of: AP, Bill Kostroun.

12 August 2007

The Ugly American


The more time passes, the more I obsess on my heritage and all things English and try to distance myself from the commonly regarded "ugly American". The past week or two I have been trying to surround myself with BBC America TV, BBC Radio 1 (which they play way too much American hip-hop/R&B music, I would much prefer that they play European artists only), and have been familiarising meself with Britain itself in a Fodor's travel book and researching on Wikipedia anything I come across. Having been Americentric for my first 30 years on the planet, especially with the state America and the world is in currently, it would do me good to think outside the box from a world point of view.

In other news, my daughter's just learned how to stand up in her crib on her own. And both the Red Sox and Yankees keep on winning, only 5 games separate the two, making it rather uncomfortable for Sox fans like me who have seen it happen all to often before - Yankees heat up in August, while the Sox flounder. To the Powers that be: Please make the end of the summer as glorious as the beginning of the summer!

01 August 2007

It ain't my fault

Digging further into my past and the history of Britain, my great x 9 grandfather's family had a hand in the English Civil War. A major one. Sir Richard Ingoldsby was forced against his will to sign King Charles I death warrant by his cousin Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. This was my great x 9 grandfather's brother and cousin, respectively. However, John Ingoldsby fled to Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1640, just prior to the wars, and changed his child's name's spelling to (Ebenezer) Ingalsbe. He was either smart to flee with impending war, disloyal, or encouraged to join the Puritan population in Massachusetts. This link to the past connects me to Sirs and Sir Knights as far back as 1230 A.D. in the Ingoldsby Manor of England.

Lastly, last night's game stunk - Beckett did not have a good night. More tonight at home vs. the orange birds.

28 July 2007

Cheers!

A whole month going by without a new post? Unacceptable, I know. Very busy with a young child in the house and a week's vacation. By the time I get home from work, it's just about time to put Sierra to bed, and since the computer is in her room, I don't have access to it most nights. One of these days we will have the ambition to move some furniture.

These are great days for the Sox. Manny is on fire, Lugo has turned around his first half slump, and it seems the team is firing on all cylinders. There is not a slow cog in the machine, we've won 7 of our last 8 (10-6 since the All Star break). Even Wily Mo Pena had a breakout game the other night (4-5, HR, 2B, 4 RBI). I really think the Sox don't need another piece to add to the mix right now, except maybe a 4th outfielder and deal away Pena. Schilling was reported to come back next week (August 4 or 5), but what does that do to the rotation? Kason Gabbard has been a rock star for all but 3 bad innings of walking batters/not hitting the strike zone. If he has another good start this week, it would be really hard to send him back to Pawtucket. Could the Sox do with a 6 man rotation? Or trade a pitcher? The Sox are in a good position for the end of July.

I can't stop thinking of plans for a trip to the UK, my motherland. Kept me up most of the night last night. Some initial thoughts: the trip should be at least a fortnight for what I want to do. Of course London we can't miss, and all the action there - that's at least 4 days. Then on to Huntingdon/Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire, where my Ingoldesby & Cromwell ancestors are from. 2 days there should be enough. Then on through Peterborough (Applied Energy, who supplies our electric tankless water heaters, resides there), north towards North Yorkshire, where there's a small town with my namesake, Dalby (variant spelling, of course). Near there is the North York Moors National Park. One of my other missions is to visit all 14 British National Parks, but that will be too much to do in even one month's time. I'm still collecting all my thoughts on a grand holiday in the fair isles, which it will take years to accomplish, but consider it a new hobby.

23 June 2007

Keep it Classy! (6/22, 9:35pm journal entry)

It's been awhile, I apologize - blame lack of inspiration, lack of time, lack of energy. The Sox have won 5 of their last 6 and I couldn't be happier, still the best record in baseball after losing 2 of 3 to Colorado. Finally I have a chance to write again tonight with the late west coast game.

TC - "It's nice to see those UPS hats on [the Padres players]." The Padres and Sox are wearing throwback 80s unis tonight.

So my comments have been immortalized last week on Surviving Grady. I made a dumb comment about how it isn't classy to win by a blowout margin, that close games are more classy (I tied in the MFYs somehow, I don't remember my exact words that drew the initial criticism). Of course they took it and ran with it; who doesn't want to win by a lot of runs? So now, whenever a team is winning by a lot, it is said that "they have no class", or "those classless bastards," or if it is a close game, the teams are keeping it classy!"

Ooooh... Hazel Mae cleavage on the Ultimate Red Sox show preview! Hmm.... while Hazel still gets my blood pumping andTina Cervasio can cause my temperature to rise by glistening, it's Amalie Benjamin who has stolen my heart. Since she came on the scene this year with her "librarian hot" looks, I can't stop daydreaming about her when she comes on - all I can do is stare at her, I can't pay attention to a word she says...

Now there's a NESNStore.com commercial, and in particular, they are selling a women's shirt in pink that says "Flash some leather" - being a regular SG contributor, all I can think of is "Flash some HOOTS!!!" (( o Y o ))

Daisuke gets into some trouble in the Padres first by walking the first 3 batters to load the bases. He pitches out of it, giving up only one run. It is very fortunate that no more damage was done.

In the 4th, Maddux gets in some trouble - the Sox put 2 on with 1 out, and score 2 runs on 4 hits. This inning went not without controversy - Youk, on a 2 strike count, gets a lucky call from the HP ump on a marginal outside corner fastball from Maddux. Youk then laces the next pitch for a hit, with Maddux still visibly upset about the call, understandably so, since that hit (instead of the strike out) led to the 2 runs that won the game for the Sox. Lugo, now at the Mendoza line .200, no longer the leadoff hitter, strikes out to end the rally, still continuing to disappoint.

Timlin - "I can't tell you about it, I'd have to kill you." - on flying in a Navy helicopter to an aircraft carrier 60 miles offshore on the day off. From Timlin, this is not an empty threat. :)

Aqua Velva Commercial - do they still make that nasty shit? Smells like old man ass...

Not much other offense to speak of: Okajima holds the 8th and Papelbon saves the 9th despite one baserunner. One San Diego thing to mention: the scoreboard people at Petco Park took the liberty to enhancing photos of the visiting team. They made Manny to look like he had long fluffy punk rock hair and a septum ring, and Youk had 80s aviator/cop glasses and a crew cut. Not funny, and slightly obnoxious. And not classy.

11 June 2007

Sounds like someone's got a case of the Mondays...

Day off today for the Sox, traveling back home to Fenway to play the Rockies on Tuesday.

After a fairly decent day (work went by quickly, in a reasonably good mood today), i come to find out my friend from fantasy basketball may sue me. What a crock for only $100 or so. I did write back to see if we could work out a friendly arrangement.

Daisuke didn't fail to pitch a good game, however some defensive miscues cost us the game and failing to get the bats going was also at setback.

Welcome back, Mike Timlin. I know it wasn't your fault, you were put in an awkward situation. If only the bats came out to play.

10 June 2007

First Post!

Hello, and welcome to my new space, glad you found it.

This week I just started a baseball journal on Red Sox games. My journal writings will be transferred here, going forward. Or I may forgo the journal now that this blog exists. The thing of it is, I don't have a laptop, only a desktop. In my baby daughter's bedroom. A laptop is now on my wishlist so i can liveblog and watch TV at the same time.

In approximately 2 hours today's game vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks will begin. Being a firm believer in "no expectations", so as not to be disappointed after a loss, and to be more ecstatic after a win, that's my approach to this and every game.

$100 million man Daisuke Matsuzaka faces aging Randy Johnson in what is billed to be a potential pitchers duel. JD Drew has turned in an outstanding first 2 games in this series, with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs on Friday. Last night the Sox came from behind, 3-0, to win 4-3 in 10 innings, almost a 4 hour game.

I'm very happy to have NESN, local affiliate of the Red Sox, as Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo are the best color and play-by-play in recent memory, second only lifetime to maybe the Cubs' Harry Caray. Their on-air antics and gigglefests are highly entertaining.

On the homefront, my baby daughter has been intolerable today, crying almost all day, as she was yesterday. Fortunately she is napping again right now.

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