Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New TV Season--Termintor--The Sarah Connor Chronicles & Others

After a relatively tame fall televsion season as far as shows for me goes, it seems that things are beginning to really heat up for me.

I have heard the various plugs on both tv and the radio about the new fox Show, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Being a fan of the franchise, I was somewhat reluctant. I mean, come on, a tv show about such a well known film icon as The Terminator? What is Fox thinking? After hearing yet another plug on the radio, I went home and tried to set the Tivo. I couldn't come up with the correct name in the search, and gave up trying to set the Tivo. However, as I watched the Giants/Cowboys game on Fox, yet another commerical came on advertising it, with the thumbs up Tivo icon flashing in the corner telling me to press "thumb ups" to record. I did so.

I didn't get a chance to watch it Sunday night as I helped get the kids to sleep, but following dinner Monday night as the kids were getting their baths and playing, I decided to sit down and watch the pilot. Wow!!!! This show was pretty impressive. The action is non stop and the first hour was like a min Terminator movie. The actors I think are rather impressive despite having big shoes to fill, namely the actress who plays Sarah Connor. There is a lot of fighting and shooting, but done reasonably well for primetime TV. After watching the pilot, I could not wait the 2 hours for the 2nd episode to air. Following watching the pilot, I set up a Season Pass on the Tivo. I don't know how I ever lived without Tivo!!!!

Another show that Jay and I watch together is the reincarnation of American Gladiators. Sure it is campy, sure it has some bad writing. It's hosted by Hulk Hogan, and he has never been camera shy. Regardless, its fun tv and Jay and I have a good time watching it together. On Sunday as we were getting ready for church to start, he said to me, "Daddy, I want to be on American Gladiators when i grow up, not a gladiator, but one of the blue or red guys (contenders)." He thinks the "big girl" is rather impressive. Her name is Helga and lets just say she is the only gladiator to wear a skirt instead of the rather tight high cut shorts. Last night, Helga got launced in Assault into a the pool to get defeated. Jay especially enjoyed that.

The excitement never ends it seems. As a child I was a huge fan of Knight Rider. Most of my readers know that ever since I was a child, I have been a car nut, so a show about a super car is right up my alley. It can be 1983 or 2008, sign me up! There have been some teasers on NBC and the internet giving some hints about this incarnation of this classic show. Some facts: KITT is now a Ford Mustang GT500 Shelby. Of course black in color and has the red rolling strobe, but I believe he has double strobes under the hood scoop. In the one teaser I have seen, we see the shape of a Mustang under a sheet, after a few seconds, we see the red strobe start to begin, and we hear the words, "hello Mike." It should be a good time, I can't wait.

Of course a lot of the timing of this and my other favorite shows hinge on the writer's strike. I also can't wait for Jericho and Battlestar Galatica to return. However, the few I mentioned should keep my interest for a while. So far, so good!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Home Again!

Well, we made it home from Retreat and lucky for us, Mom had Lasagna ready for us when we got home. I was supposed to get it for my birthday last week, but Mom, Dad and Tracy were not able to come down due to weather. Since Mom came to watch the kids, I asked if she could do this favor for Elaine and I.

We had a good time at Retreat, but it is always good to be home. I have found that as I age, I am becoming more and more a home body. Apart from vacation, I don't like to leave home too much. I like my recliner, I like my TV, and my laptop computer!

My son also shares these feelings. He likes being home as well, so in addition to looking alike, we sometimes act alike.

Its great to be home!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Thoughts from Massachusetts...while thinking a bit about New Hampshire

Tonight I write to you from the Sturbridge Host Hotel in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. We are away at Officer's Retreat. Don't worry, any would be theives that are reading this our house is still guarded by a 50something tough lady who shall remain nameless and an extra viglilant Brittany Spaniel.

We had a good start to Retreat. Our guests are USA National Leaders, Commissioners Israel and Eva Gaither. Our paths have crossed multiple times over the years and consider them friends. They are great people, and Commissioner Israel Gaither has presented the Word in his standard...most excellent manner. Sorry, I had a Bill and Ted moment there!

As I type this, I am a little sad that Senator Clinton was just named the winner of the New Hampshire Primary. The Senator has looked broken over the last few days. This will now give her a little bounce. I did not buy her emotional episode yesterday. I firmly believe her ego was bruised, and not her feelings. I just feel that a Clinton 44 Presidency will be just a carry over of the "Old Washington" style, and you will know from previous posts, I am a firm believer that this attitude has to change. Hopefully, Senator Obama can establish a good strategy for the upcoming states leading to Tsunami Tuesday. That is a new one I heard today I believe on MSNBC.

The next few weeks should be rather interesting.

Oh, something else. The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2008 was announced today and former Yankee relief pitcher Rich "Goose" Gossage was the only player for this year. One thing to note is the minimal support for Mark McGwire. I believe his final numbers were eitehr 23 or 24 percent, far short of the 75 percent needed for induction. Goose was an incredible pitcher in his day and still tries to intimidate at the Yankees Annual Old Timers Day. He regularly "plunks" the first batter he faces.

Ahhh, Hillary is gloating now. This should be interesting. Let's see what she takes credit for tonight.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Election 2008

The last 72 hours have been exciting for me. For the past few months, I have been on the fence regarding the Presidential candidates. None of them have really excited me. I recently had a change of heart.

Since I was 18, I have voted Republican. I was incredibly excited that there was a presidential election the year of my 18th birthday. That year, especially after the success of Gulf War I, I chose to vote for George Bush 41, despite the temptation to pull the handle for Ross Perot. I still have enormous respect for Bush 41 and have met him and his lovely wife Barbara.

The next election, I was at the SFOT, and at the time did not feel the need to file an absentee ballot. The 2000 and 2004 elections changed this philosophy! I also was not excited about President Clinton, nor Senator Dole. I just could not get into the 1996 election.

When 2000 came along, I was on the fence at least as far as the Republicans were concerned. I really liked the honesty of Senator McCain. I think I even voted for him in the Primary. However my support of him was eventually shifted to then Governor George W. Bush.

Like many other right wingers, I was irritated when I heard of the pranks that the Clinton White House did on inauguration day. I was a die hard republican, and how could those Clinton's be so immature? I thought that Bush 43 would be a good President, and like many others, seeing him in action in the days immediately following 9/11/01, I thought I am glad we have this guy and not the other guy.

However, in the last 6 years, things have changed. Our country has become incredibly polarized more so than in the Clinton years. We are now identified by the states we live in. For the past 10 years, I have lived in two blue states. We even refer to ourselves specifically as right or left, conservative or liberal, or even moderate. I dream of day where right and left sing God Bless America together for a good reason rather than a terrible terrorist attack. We are all freedom loving Americans after all.

All of this leads me to my initial statement regarding a change of heart. As I look at the Republican candidates, none of them excite me. I used to like Senator McCain, but that was 8 years ago, and he is now 71 years old. He would be older than Ronald Reagan when he was elected in 1981.

I am no longer on the fence. I am supporting Senator Barack Obama for President. I believe that the Senator will bring healing to our nation. He is open to healing our image both domestically and around the world. I particularly was swayed following the Iowa Caucuses as I watched his speech. In my mind, he seems very Presidential. On Friday, I began researching the various candidates and was immediately impressed with what I found out on Senator Obama. He has been honest about his past, and he has worked in the trenches to help the poor on the south side of Chicago. His father came to the US from Kenya, and I believe his mother is from Kansas. I cannot recall specifically because I have read so much in the last few days!!! His rivals attack his lack of experience, but lets look at his rivals experience. Senator Edwards (whom I like) was a one term Senator and lawyer prior to that. Senator Clinton was first lady for 8 years and a term and a half Jr. Senator from New York. Sure she has legal experience, but she has not been without scandals of her own. I believe that Washington needs an out with the old and in with the new philosophy. Last night in the debates when Senator Clinton was attacking her rivals, Senator Edwards spoke up and said, "look at this, when you go against the status quo you are attacked." He went on, "When Senator Clinton was ahead, she didn't attack, now look." That of course is a rough paraphrase, I can't recall specifics. I personally think he is aligning himself with Senator Obama hoping to find a place possibly on the ticket. He is a young man himself and has a bright future ahead of him.

So there you have it. A lifetime conservative has crossed over to the "other side." In the days ahead, I will be changing my party affiliation so that I can vote for Senator Obama in the Super Duper Tuesday Primary. I have also registered on Obama's website, and perhaps in a few weeks, will order a bumper sticker.

To quote Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV..."I guess what I'm trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change"

Change is good...Barack Obama for President

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Christmas and New Year's

I know it has been a while, but I am back! This year's kettle campaign was the most difficult of my 10 years of officership. I would love to go into details, but due to our policies on blogging, I will decline!

After kettle were brought in on Christmas Eve, we loaded up the Sienna and headed north to Maine. I made record time and didn't even speed excessively. The cruise was set at 75 and due to minimal traffic, we pretty much stayed at that speed the whole 191 miles. However I think I did increase on the ever fast, I-495 to 77 mph. I was going 75 and being blown by!

Upon arrival to my parents home, we quickly enjoyed a family tradition of having cheese fondue for Christmas Eve. Added to the lineup this year were BBQ chicken wings, chocolate fondue, mozzarella cheese sticks, and other finger foods that I cannot recall at this time. Soon the cookies and milk were left for Santa and Jay and Sam went to bed.

Lucky for us, they slept in reasonably well the next morning. I think we all woke up around 8:30. Below is a picture of the sight we witnessed after being visited by Santa during the night.

Santa was good to all of us, The kids got a lot of what they wanted, For Jay, this included Star Wars toys, movies, and nice clothes. For Sam, Hannah Montana Stage, MP3 player, CD's, dolls, great clothes and all that good girly stuff .

Elaine got a Vera Bradley purse, a leather coat, and plenty of nice clothes. I got a 8 game season ticket plan to the Yankees, some clothes from Mom, Dad, and Tracy. Mom however, bought me a special gift....an i-Pod. In fact, I am listening to Billy Joel right now as I type this post on my silver i-Pod classic. Thanks Mom! I cannot forget to mention another great gift from Tracy, although it truly can be a shared gift for Jay and I. She bought me the original Star Wars Trilogy on DVD. Jay and I have already enjoyed numerous showings in these last couple of weeks. Jasmine and Taylor (mom and dads dog) made out well with gifts as they each got biscuits and dog blankets from LL Bean. Our dogs are loved!

That evening we did something most people don't do on Christmas Day...we went shopping! Yes we made the short trip to Freeport to buy Jasmine the aforementioned dog blanket. She loves laying on blankets that the kids leave around, so we bought her a heavy blanket designed for dogs to lay on. Below is a picture from LL Bean Christmas night.

After a quick day on the 26th visiting and loading songs on my i-Pod, we loaded up the car and headed to Oneonta, NY to visit Elaine's parents. It was a about a 5 hour trip, and in Albany we hit a nasty snow squall that had me a little nervous, but I knew we would be fine for the last hour. The snow quickly stopped but not before my clean car was dirty again! We arrived in Oneonta, opened more gifts and again, I was busy dealing with unpackaging the toys for the kids.

The next morning my father in law and I headed over to Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. I had not been there since 1993, so I was excited about this. We spent a few hours there and had a good time. One thing to note is the evidence of the steroid era in the records room, particularly in home runs, and since the Mitchell Report...pitching, specifically, Roger Clemens. Below are a couple of pictures from the Hall of Fame.

It is nice to visit family, but it is always nice to come back home. We came home on Saturday the 29th, and then celebrated my 34th Birthday on New Year's Day. I cooked one of my specialties, Baked Stuffed Shells and we had a good day at home. For our birthday's, Elaine and I went to see Wicked a few weeks ago in Hartford. It was an enjoyable evening and Wicked is a great show. Its no wonder why it ranks up there with Hannah Montana tickets on Stub Hub and is considered a sold out show on Broadway.

Well that summarizes our holiday festivities, I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year's!