Standing up for big brother

Monica Turner is Michael Steele's sister.

She is starring in Steele's latest political ad, combating the ad by Ben Cardin, his opponent for the U.S. Senate seat in Maryland, featuring Michael J. Fox.

In Cardin's ad, Fox urges Marylanders to vote against Steele because he is against stem cell research, research that could help find a cure for the Parkinson's disease Fox currently suffers with. Turner responds that Steele is for stem cell research and he must care about sick people because she has Multiple Scherosis.

First of all, it appears Steele is for stem cell research that would not destroy human embryos, but it against research that would cause the destruction of them. I don't agree with that stance, but I put that in the 'reasonable people can disagree' category.


How can anyone take anything she says seriously with that lapse of judgement on her docket?

Speaking of Iron Mike, he 'endorsed' Steele, his former brother-in-law for the Senate seat, even though
  • He isn't a Maryland resident
  • He can't vote, due to that pesky rape conviction thing
  • The sister of the man he is endorsing cleaned his clock in divorce proceedings

While I don't think Tyson is working on his Mensa application in his spare time, I think he is smarter than people believe and has a keen sense of self awareness. The endorsement is payback for the divorce in general and Steele's alleged involvement in the negotiations in particular.

Then again, Steele may just be a fan of felons in the boxing world. He also has the endorsement of Don King.



Roger Clemens doesn't want to talk about the past

So Pedro is basically done. Between rotator cuff surgery mileage on his arm and the fact other parts of his body are failing like the warranty just expired, the days of Pedro as the bulletproof ace are over.

But that is not important to me right now. The most important baseball story to me is that Roger Clemens name has been mentioned in an affidavit as using performance enhancing drugs.

If you gave me a choice between a New York Mets World Series win and the Clements drug rumors to be true, the Mets wouldn’t get out of the NLDS. I want this to be true so much, I may go to church and pray for it.

I want to find out Rog was on the gas back in the mid 90s, when he went from a sub .500 pitcher with the Red Sox (10-13; 3.64 era) to a Cy Young award winner in Toronto the next year (21-7; 2.05 era). By the way, he was in is mid 30s then.

I want to buy a Roger-centric Game Of Shadows like book, giving the time frame and his drug of choice. I want to put money in the pocket of the writer that puts it all together.

I want the mainstream sports media to take Roger’s (most likely shriveled) testicles out of their respective mouths and hound Clemens like they hound Barry Bonds.

I want people to see all the crazy shit he has done (brushback pitches at his wife, tossing various baseball equipment at various Mike Piazza body parts) as a side effect of the drug he was taking.

I want a blowhard congressman to interrupt his pornographic IM chat with a teenager to say Roger Clemens is a bad role model for kids.

I just want what Roger deserves.


Landscaping is completed 9/23

Finished. Azaleas, Blue Juniper (for ground cover) and pine mulch have been planted.

Here is a root that had to be pulled out with rope and the truck of my neighbor.


Landscaping contiues 9/21

The latest pictures of my front yard.

Notice the huge root up against the house. It will have to be pulled out with a rope and a car.

The shrubs on the left have already been pulled from the yard. The county wouldn't take the bin full of roots last week, so I will have to illegally dump them in the wooded area across the street recycle them to the wooded area nearby.

A picture of the yellowjacket hive in my yard. Spraying got most of them; I'll give it another dose tonight as I've seen some straglers around.


Michael Steel's Commercial judgement

Michael Steele is the current Lt. Governor of Maryland. He is running for Senate on the Republican ticket. This is a screenshot of a portion of his first television commercial.

Wow. You have to see the whole commercial to get the full effect (this is not an endorsement of his campaign). There is a camera cut to this knowing glance while he is stating he approves the message. The commercial looks like the best MySpace personal ad I've ever seen. As a commercial for someone running for a U.S. Senate seat? Not so good.

Undaunted, a second commercial was produced in the same vein as the first. In this, he warns Maryland voters the attack ads are coming, including...

He does have an answer for that critique though...

He doesn't even use a different dog for the newspaper mockup.

Besides the cheapest ads outside the HeadOn pain reliever, Steele is portraying himself as an Washington outside. This may have some traction, considering his opponent, Democrat Ben Cardin, has been in the House for almost 20 years. He has also not mentioned in either of his commercials that he is a Republlican. Not the dumbest move, considering Maryland leans solidly to the left politically.

He also recently received an endorsement from Rudolph Giuliani, who I hate more than any politician in America. This means Steele has gone from an entertaining goober I won't be voting for to a asshole by association I won't be voting for. How Rudolph didn't have his security team shove a nightstick up Steele's ass for old times escapes me.


Sun Rises In East

This may be the most unnecessary front page story ever.

Carl Pavano is a pitcher for the New York Yankees. He got himself into a minor bit of controversy when he got into a car accident in Florida, broke two ribs, and didn’t tell Yankee management. This all hit the fan about two weeks ago.

Today, the Daily News reported Pavano had a female passenger in the car. One who has been a Miss Italia, Miss South Beach and Miss American Teen.

This somehow is news; a single male athlete in a car with a single woman.


Get Out Of My Pocket (9/13)

The first of a (hopefully short) series on how companies try to get me to give them extra money

Back in July, I received my mortgage bill, along with an escrow account review. It was a year after my wife and I bought our new house and the company that holds our mortgage chose that time to review taxes and insurance payments that come from them.

Our total bill was to increase by over $100. The fact there was an increase was not surprising as property rates in Montgomery County have been rising with great speed over the last few years. The size of the increase was surprising. Further investigation into the review found a ‘reserve requirement’ of about $80. I spoke to the realtor who helped sell our old home; neither he nor a mortgage contact he uses had ever heard of such a charge. It seemed legitimate; our mortgage company even had a breakdown of how the reserve requirement was determined. I finally called the company to get information on this charge. It turns out the reserve requirement is there to provide a cushion on my escrow account in case of any tax or insurance increase. If, at the end of the fiscal year, there is still money in the escrow account, that money is returned.

In other words, an interest free loan to the mortgage company. Luckily, I could ask for the reserve requirement to be removed. Which I did.

Fast forward today. I get another escrow account review in the mail (the company is settling into reviewing the account at the beginning of the fiscal year). And, shockingly enough, they tried to sneak the reserve requirement past me a second time. I quickly called and had it taken off. Again. I have a feeling I’ll be doing this every year until we have no mortgage.


Landscaping continues 9/12

The bushes on the right side of the yard have been cut back.

Pulling the roots will be a pain in the back/legs/arms/.


The latest project that will cause me grief - 9/11

The shrubs in front of our home are sickly at best. With fall approaching, it is time to remove them and add new ones. For the sake of comedy (and cheapness), I am doing the work myself instead of hiring people to do the work for me.

I was able to clear out most of the bushes from the left side of the yard. I was stopped by rain and what appears to be an undergound bee colony under the remaining bush.

After all the bushes are removed, the roots will have to go. Much digging and cursing will acompany that detail, I'm sure. Then get some topsoil, new shrubs, and mulch.

We will see how this goes. One thing I can be sure of; I won't be going to Home Depot for any purchases.


Kitchen remodel 6/27

We are in the homestretch.

The new railing is in.

Ironically, we don't drink much wine.

All that is left to do is paint the walls and other cosmetic changes (adding a dimmer for the center recessed lighting fixture, adding the moulding to the walls and base cabinets, etc.) , but the kitchen works. We have power to the microwave and electric cooktop.


Kitchen remodel 6/15

The room looks like a kitchen

We have a sink but no faucet. The plumber comes Friday to hook up the water. I never thought I'd be so excited about washing dishes ever.

We don't drink much wine, but we have a wine rack.

The pantry doors will be stained the color of the cabinets at some point.


Kitchen remodel 6/6

Somehow, I haven't killed anyone at Home Depot or the contractor yet. I won't know what to do with a kitchen when it is finally competed.

Please ignore the paper on the window. The glare from it doesn't allow for a clear picture.

Allegedly, the people measuring for the countertops show up Thursday.


Line of the day

From Jason Whitlock, guest hosting on PTI

"...the Cardinals have asked rookie quarterback Matt Leinart to tone down his late night partying with no booty having billionaire bimbo Paris Hilton.'


Kitchen remodel 5/16

Please excuse the mess, the kitchen is being rebuilt.

The microwave isn't operational yet, but it is up.

Yes, the floor tiles have been fully installed.


Kitchen remodel 5/9

Progress is slow but forward.

We have a working oven! It heated up frozen potatoes sucessfully Saturday. Also, notice the lack of door to the right of the oven. It will be replaced by a simple frame.


It must be sabotage

According to the Daily News, the Knicks may be interested in pursuing Kenyon Martin.

On Tuesday, Martin did not attend a season-ending players meeting with Karl. Afterward, Karl said that he would like to speak with Martin but added that the six-year vet needs to get "mentally and physically healthy."

The Nuggets will look to trade Martin during the offseason and the Knicks and Heat have emerged as potential suitors. Denver, which desperately needs outside shooting, may be willing to take Quentin Richardson and Maurice Taylor's expiring contract in exchange for Martin, who is scheduled to earn a whopping $71.9 million over the next five years.

The Knicks wouldn't blink at such a hefty number, which is both a strength and a weakness of Garden chairman James Dolan. However, a defensive-minded power forward who competes on every possession is exactly the type of player Isiah Thomas would want to pair with Eddy Curry. Having Frye off the bench to back up Curry and Martin is another plus.


The last thing the Knicks need is an undersized, injured power forward with an attitude problem and a maximun contract on their roster. Isn't it enough for Larry and Isiah that they helped two teams dump their high priced players (Steve Francis and Jalen Rose) off their rosters?

Excuse me, I'm wrong. what would be even worse than have having the undersized, injured power forward with an attitude problem and a maximun contract on their roster is having the undersized, injured power forward with an attitude problem and a maximun contract on their roster taking time away from the Channing Frye. You know, the guy who showed enough promise in his rookie year to make the NBA All-Rookie Team?

They are really testing my loyalty.


Kitchen remodel 5/1

Please don't ask me why it took so long for this current post. I don't have the energy to go on the rant today.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Notice the removed soffit. The cabinets (if they ever arrive) will go to the ceiling.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The box our new wall oven will go into.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Marketing works

Today, I purchased a TaylorMade R7 425 driver. I can't hit my current driver straight, and there is no reason I should be able to hit this driver straight. But I did hit last year's version of the R7 well at a demo day, and the club looks cool. So I traded in my old drivers and got this one. Went immediately to a driving range and couldn't hit anything straight, even the irons I've owned over a year. I'm going to assume this is because I pulled a muscle in my back last week and this is the first time in a couple of weeks I swung a club with a outcome in mind.

Of course, in the back of my mind, I think I just wasted a bunch of money. Damn commercials.

David Toms - Whiner

David Toms is a very successful professional golfer. He ranks in the top ten of the PGA Money list and the World Golf rankings . Over his career, he has 12 PGA Tour victories and has made over $25 million dollars on the links. As a Louisiana native, he has been on the forefront of the golfing community, raising awareness and funds for Hurricane Katrinia relief. Under any criteria, Toms can be considered one of the finest golfers on the planet today.

And that is why his constant whining is so unbecoming.

First, at the Ford Championship at Doral, he complained players who drive the ball far have an unfair advantage on the course, specifically on the famous 18 hole where water beckons on the left side of the fairway:

"I just don't think it's fair," said Toms, who shot 6-under-par 66 and was two
strokes behind first-round leader Tiger Woods and one behind Villegas. "Why do I
have to hit into whatever that little fairway is and a third of the field can
just hit it as hard as they want to?"

Um, because it is a sport, David? Bigger, stronger, faster has always been the way of sports. Unless you believe players are cheating, or have access to different equipment that you, what leg do you have to stand on? How long should players be allowed to drive the ball, only as long as you can?

At least the driving complaint is rooted in his ability to make money at golf. Most recently Toms had this to say about the Masters tournament:

"To me, it's still a place where the players walk around on egg shells, not knowing if they are in the right place,'' Toms said Tuesday in a conference call. "They're worried about their cell phone being on, having to stop by the hut on the way in to scan your ticket, making sure you only have one parking
pass and somebody else doesn't get in there.

"It's the only place all year where the players don't feel like they're the most important thing there,'' Toms said. "That's the way I see it, and I don't think I'm the single opinion on that.''

Allow me to translate this for people who don’t follow golf regularly:

“It isn’t right that this tournament doesn’t kiss the ass of the players like other tournaments do. For a week out of the year the world is not my oyster and I’m not happy about it. Don’t you know who I am?”

There is nothing I dislike more as a fan of golf (and sports in general) is a blatant sense of entitlement. David Toms is one complaint away from being the poster child of the self entitled.


F*%k you, watch me

Jason Whitlock writes an entertaining column on the Page 2 portion of ESPN.com. His latest piece talks about the current season of The Sopranos. He isn’t too enamored with it because he feels the show makes him think too hard to understand it. Late in the article, he makes this comment:
David Chase has either forgotten why we watch "The Sopranos" or he doesn't care why we watch. It's probably the latter. He wants us to watch the show "the right way."

This should have been in the beginning of the article. Because David Chase doesn’t care about you.

Have you ever heard the phrase 'fuck you money'? If you haven't, it is the amount of money you would have to have to feel comfortable to tell anyone you don't want to deal with (bosses, spouses, parents, etc.) to fuck off, regardlesss of the consequenses. Chase has a fuck you show. He doesn't have to worry about ratings, since he is on HBO. He doesn't have to worry about actors getting pissy; none of them were such stars at the beginning of the series that they have many demands, most of them have been so typecast by the show they dare not leave (except maybe Edie Falco) and if any of them annoys him, he can just kill them off. He's killed off characters he likes, why wouldn't he kill someone asking for more dough.

David Chase is like Dave Chappelle in this way; he is a true artist who's art is wildly apprecaited by the masses. Because he did not have to compromise his art to achieve public acclaim, he can have three episodes of Tony Soprano dream sequences without worrying about any backlash. Becasue he didn't have to compromise his art, he can take two years off between seasons without batting an eye.

I enjoy the program. And when I hear people complaining about it, I just laugh to myself. Chase is taking us for a ride, and doesn't much care if you don't like the scenic route.


Kitchen upgrage 4/12

Not a kitchen, but an empty room with random circuits and duct work coming from the floor.


Kitchen Upgrade 4/9

The kitchen before any work has been done