December 29, 2009

End of the aughts, Part 2

If you were here yesterday, you were wowed, amazed and possibly blown away by Part 1 of my end-of-the-decade wrap-up chat with Daddy Geek Boy. And you're dying to catch the rest of the conversation in Part 2.

Well, this is your lucky day. Because Part 2 - which, as I mentioned, is way more interesting - is now up on Daddy Geek Boy. So check it out. And then take care of one of your 2010 new year's resolutions by signing up on his site to become a DGB follower. (What? That wasn't one of your resolutions? It should be.)

If you weren't here yesterday, you should should stop what you're doing right now and go read Part 1 immediately. Seriously. Failing to do so would be like watching Step Up 2: The Streets without first seeing Step Up.* That is, you really might not understand the sequel.

December 28, 2009

End of the aughts: A deep conversation with my (other) favorite blogger

You might have heard that we're rapidly approaching the end of a decade.

To mark this momentous occasion, I decided to... um... blog about it. Which sounds very predictable, but you're in luck, because I decided to blog about it in the form of a witty, snappy and enlightening conversation with Daddy Geek Boy.

We talked music, movies, politics and more. We laughed, we cried. And we did it all on instant messenger, which made it incredibly easy to transpose. I'm nothing if not brutally efficient.

Part 1 follows; you can read the equally amazing conclusion on his site on Tuesday.

DGB: At the end of every year, there are all of these recaps. And since we're at the end of a decade, the pressure to put a fine point on it all is huge. But I've been thinking about what we didn't have 10 years ago.

SFTC: Well, right now, I'm watching the Ravens game on TV, and checking Twitter and email in between our instant messages.

DGB: That's something right there - how much multitasking did you do 10 years ago?

SFTC: A little, I guess, but it's nothing like now when I'm checking Twitter, blogs, email, Facebook and whatever else at work and at home. How about you?

DGB: Yeah, the way I communicate with people is completely different. How are the Ravens doing?

SFTC: Ravens were down 17-0, are still trailing, but now back in the game at 17-14. You mostly don't follow sports, right?

DGB: I don't. Nothing against sports. I really like them. But I feel I don't have the time to really devote to them. I guess I could call myself a Redskins fan, if I kept up with football. But from what I gather, this season it wouldn't really matter.

SFTC: You're right about the Skins. I have to say it's hard for me to imagine doing everything I do now, and then adding two children to the mix, and having time to do anything else - like watching sports - so working parents have my immense admiration.

DGB: If it's a choice of sports over movies, I'm going to have to pick movies. But since we're talking about sports: What events capture the '00s in sports for you?

SFTC: You know, none of my favorite teams won championships, so the most memorable sports events for me were the ones I got to see up close and in person thanks to my job. (Not the same job I have now.) I went as a reporter to the NBA All-Star Game in Houston and the MLB All-Star Game in Detroit. And although I'm not a big NASCAR fan, the coolest experience of all was getting a ride in a stock car that was driven by Rusty Wallace... on the day before the Daytona 500 at the Daytona Speedway. It was unreal.

DGB: OK, you rode in a stock car? Sports fan or not, that's really cool right there. For a lot of my friends, the Red Sox winning the World Series will go down as their favorite moment this decade.

SFTC: Yeah, the Sox win was amazing - I was hoping the Cubs could follow suit in the next few years, but they might never win.

One of the things that I've delved into on SFTC is the too-good-to-be-true political scandals. I know you don't really get into those on DGB, but did you have any, um, favorites of the 2000s?

DGB: The whole Larry Craig thing was the first to jump in my head. For the sheer ridiculousness of it, mixed with a dash of pathetic. How about you?

SFTC: Maybe because I spent so much of my life in Chicago, I got a special thrill out of the Blagojevich incident. Just his arrogance, his complete disregard for the law, the audaciousness of it. I got to see a large part of his rise to prominence and it was amazing how swiftly he just fell apart.

DGB: This has been the decade where I've started to pay attention to politics. But every time I get sucked in, I get turned off just as quickly. It's sad to admit this, but it feeds my pessimistic side.

SFTC: Well, there was a long stretch last year where it was interesting without being terrible. It was nice to be able to follow it and be interested for reasons that weren't negative.

DGB: True. I was never so involved as I was during the election. But I think the same thing - it seems like a never-ending story of greed and corruption and ego and inefficiency, and it's hard to stay tuned in. It's all so contentious and nasty. Though I feel like that's something that's developed over the past handful of years. I feel like as a nation after 9/11 we were told that it wasn't okay to have dissenting opinions.

SFTC: Speaking of which, where were you when you first heard about the 9/11 attacks?

DGB: I was in the gym. Which is crazy to think about now because I've become such a sloth. But I was working out with a trainer, and we watched it go down on the monitors in the gym. We finished the workout, because frankly we didn't know what else to do. I came home and spent the rest of the day crying on the couch with the woman who would become WW™.

SFTC: That seems practical. (The gym part.)

DGB: How about you?

SFTC: A woman who lived in my building in Chicago said something about it to me while I was on the elevator that morning. But she brought it up by asking just, "Did you hear?" I assumed she was talking about Michael Jordan's return to the NBA from his second retirement, because that had been the big news on SportsCenter the night before - that he was about to come back. So I told her that I'd heard about Jordan, and she said, "No, a plane flew into the World Trade Center." Of course at that time, we obviously assumed it was just a bad accident. The Sears Tower is visible from the building where I lived in Chicago, and as I was walking to work that morning, I kept looking up at the Sears Tower and thinking what it would look like for a jet to fly into the top of that building. Then, spent most of the day at work just watching it on TV.

DGB: You know, I flew four days after the attack?

SFTC: You did!?! Why? Where? What did FWW™ think?

DGB: I was living in L.A. and my best friend was getting married that weekend in Philly. There was no way I couldn't be there. I got lucky and when they reopened the airports, I got a seat on a flight. FWW™ was really nervous about it. She said that's what made her realize she loved me. Oddly, I wasn't nervous.

SFTC: Wow. I'm impressed. Were you drinking heavily?

DGB: The odds of something happening again so soon were astronomical. And it really did bring people together. Everybody huddled together in the airport bar and just talked to each other. I was so focused on being there for my friend. That wedding, by the way, was one of the best I've ever been to. It was such a catharsis.

Don't forget: Part 2 - which I promise you'll find way more interesting - is on Daddy Geek Boy tomorrow! We talk Wilco and Harry Potter and reveal how DGB scored a wife-approved absence on Valentine's Day. Don't miss it.

December 24, 2009

The second annual nothing-to-do-with-Christmas holiday post

Some people get bent out of shape about not being surrounded by snow during the winter holidays.

I am not one of those people.

Photo credit: Me

Palm trees with lights - even if they're located in someone's front yard next to a fountain that could generously be called tacky - are just fine with me.

Lawn ornaments representing the crew from Peanuts aren't bad, either.

Photo credit: Once again, Me

Whatever you're celebrating (or have already celebrated) this December, and whatever weather you're celebrating them in, happy holidays from snow-free Los Angeles.

December 23, 2009

If I can make it there

First, let me just say that as I'm typing this I'm eating a Ritter Sport chocolate bar*. And yet - despite the name - I don't feel any more athletic.


I was born in New York City. I visit at least once a year. I have at least twelve and a half relatives who live there. I spent my college years way the heck up in sunny** Rochester. Which is why I don't find this New York Times article the least bit surprising. A survey that concludes New Yorkers are the least happy citizens of our great nation? Sure, I'd believe that.

(One of my very best friends in the whole wide world lives in the Empire State, too, but I think the Oswego metro area must have been exempt from these ratings because it's a little slice of heaven up there.)

I hope I'm not making my New York readers even more upset by posting this. But you have to admit that if you place below New Jersey in too many national rankings, it's probably not a great sign.

* Don't fret, lactose patrol. It's dark chocolate.
** Just kidding about the "sunny" part.

December 17, 2009

It's in his kiss

One of the top 57 reasons I probably won't kiss any ladies in Miami in the foreseeable future is to prevent something like this from happening.

I'm guessing the attorney who got tennis star Richard Gasquet exonerated on the all new Coked-Up Kiss-Off defense is probably not the same lawyer as the one who wears Spanish-language "No Cupable" t-shirts for his clients.

(A big ol' tip of the SFTC cap to Highland Park Attorney for sending the story.)

Speaking of cocaine: I don't remember much about elementary or middle school, but while researching today's post* I was reminded of the drug education classes we had to take in the 80s. This was during the Nancy Reagan years, so if memory serves, the main message we were supposed to take away was that when we were inevitably offered heroin and/or PCP by our local ne'er-do-wells and hoodlums, we were generally supposed to say "no."

I guess that lesson stuck, but I don't recall much else about those classes. Except that - at least in my mind's eye - the teacher seemed to spend a lot of time with us poring over the drugs' street names. Like a dozen nicknames for each of them. Nothing better than a middle school teacher explaining that the pushers might call marijuana "Mary Jane" or "weed."

It was edifying, though. Certainly, I was prepared for the eventuality that if I were at a sixth grade party and the other kids were talking about doing some "blowcaine," I'd know they were talking about something other than a new hairdryer.

* What? You thought I was doing this sans research? This is serious stuff.

December 16, 2009

Fighting impotence

I'm writing today's headline against my better judgment. I thought it would be a nice way to introduce today's SFTC Quiz!*

Ready? OK!

Today's headline, "Fighting impotence" is...
(a) a funny oxymoron, sort of like the name of the Dodge Ram. (Did the geniuses who came up with this name want you to dodge things or ram into them? If I had one of those trucks, I'd constantly be wondering about the proper driving strategy.)

(b) almost guaranteed to result in a steady stream of Viagra and/or Cialis ads over there in the right sidebar for a few days.

(c) refers to my impression of today's Story-That-Doesn't-Quite-Seem-To-Add-Up from my favorite online news source**,

In case edits the headline before you get there, here's what it says at 1 a.m.*** on December 16: "800,000 H1N1 vaccine doses for young children recalled; safety not a concern."

Yeah, sure.

Makes sense - I mean, companies recall hundreds of thousands of their products for their lack of impending danger all the time. If anything, according to the story, the vaccine doses might have been too safe - the pharmaceutical company claims they were 12 percent less potent than they were supposed to be. Oh. Kay.

I guess it's reassuring that the CDC says all kids who have received the vaccine are safe. But still, I'm taking a wild guess that the CDC spokesman's comment - that parents should do "absolutely nothing" - might not exactly mollify parents of vaccinated kids all across our great land. Parents are funny like that.

Speaking of the CDC, its full name was changed 17 years ago to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - the last two words added to the agency's moniker - but the initialism remained "CDC." If I were one of the scientists who worked on the "and Prevention" stuff there, I would be pretty pissed. It's like their contributions don't even count.

I bet it's why these vaccines are so weak.


If you have any interest whatsoever in good music, I'd like to point out that an SFTC emerging favorite, Amy Cook, is offering a free download of "Hotel Lights," a tune from her forthcoming album, over here on her website. Consider it a holiday gift from your sixth-favorite blog.


Oh, the answer to the quiz? I guess it's (d), all of the above. Which you probably already figured out.

* Since when do we do quizzes around here?
** Not really "favorite," so much as it is the most useful for this blog, on account of its frequently questionable news judgment.

*** I really need to go to sleep.

December 11, 2009

The Good Wife

Wowie. Anyone else see this news coming?

OK, so we all saw it coming. Actually, I think it's nice that as 2009 comes to an end, we all get some closure on one of the juicier adultery stories of the year.

I have - for your comfort and convenience - decided that I didn't need to add my two cents about that golfer who apparently cheated on his gorgeous Swedish wife. I'm alluding to it here only to pay a compliment to the soon-to-be-former Mrs. Sanford: Very smart media strategy to announce your impending divorce from a philandering, high-profile husband during Tigergate.

December 8, 2009

Know when to fold 'em

On the way home from family Thanksgiving festivities, our flight stopped for about an hour at scenic Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. And by "scenic," I mean "dark, depressing and filled with people trying to gamble away every last nickel before boarding their flights back to the Midwest."

(If you haven't had the pleasure of dropping by McCarran yourself, the terminals are lousy with slot machines, and the slot machines are constantly busy.)

So, obviously, I was inspired to give Lady Luck a whirl and waste a few minutes on the 25-cent slots. Here's where I was smart about it: I didn't want to get too deep into a hole, so I set a limit: One dollar.

Big player that I am, though, I was going to go for it and bet the full 25 cents per spin. First spin: nothing. Second spin: zilch. Third spin: Nope.

Aw, man, I thought. I've lost 75 cents. How am I going to explain this to my super-amazing wife?

Down to my last 25 cents, I hit the Bet button one more time: A blue 7, a red 7 and a white 7! Jackpot! I had won $1.25! Oh, the feeling! I hit the Cash Out button and carried my ticket up to the redemption window. "Buck twenty-five, please," I proudly said to the cashier. "I'll take it in paper and silver."*

I found my wife in line at the airport shop, where she was about to buy a bottle of water, and I told her about my good fortune. "I guess that means you should probably pay for this," she said.

What I learned from the whole joyous experience was far more valuable than my 25 cent winnings. (Which, now that I think about it, isn't saying that much.) What I took away was an affirmation that it's important to know when to walk away - a lesson that I wish I could have shared a few years ago with Terrance Watanabe.

Who's Terrance, you might ask? He's the guy who did this.

* I didn't really say this. But I was thinking it.

December 3, 2009


There's an episode of Friends* in which Monica, auditioning for a job as a chef, cooks several dishes for a very stoned restaurateur, played by Jon Lovitz. When Monica tells him that she's going to be serving tartlets, he responds by very stoned-ishly** repeating the word back to her:

"Tartlet. [pause] Tartlet. [pause] Tartlet," and then adding, "The word has lost all meaning."

Which, thanks to Barbara Walters, is now exactly how I feel about the word "fascinating." You know, because of this.

Come to think of it, tartlet is about right.

* I guess this is the week in which I draw most of my inspiration from long-gone NBC sitcoms.
** Suggestions for a better adverb, anyone?

December 1, 2009

New feature! Say It, Sajak

Welcome to the first installment of a feature that I hope will be a regular part of SFTC for years to come*. I'm calling it Say It, Sajak!

In each exciting webisode, we'll recap something really funny that game show host extraordinaire Pat Sajak said during a recent Wheel of Fortune telecast. Today's quote, for example, was so freaking hilarious when it aired, that the world's most beautiful wife and I nearly spit out our beverages, in tandem, all over the living room floor.**

One metaphysically challenging aspect of this feature is that although I obviously am sitting in front of a computer screen, typing about things Sajak said on the air, you will never get me to admit that I watch Wheel of Fortune, much less that I watch it an average of 3.5 nights a week.

One ground rule for Say It, Sajak: Each entry will be presented without any explanation. Which could possibly mean that the only way you'll agree that it's rip-roaringly funny is that you'll just have to trust me. Oh, and since I'm doing this by memory, the quote might not be totally, 100 percent accurate. Other than that, I think this is going to be an awesome idea.

Today's Say It, Sajak! Quote of the Day is... "Somewhere in Nashville, someone is getting ready to massage chickens!"

See what I mean?

* Upon further reflection, I sort of hope this is the one and only installment.
** This is actually true.