Thursday, February 28, 2008


It's officially spring today. For me, anyway. Today, my current hometown team, the woeful Orioles, play their first game at spring training. But today they're not woeful. Not yet anyway. No teams suck yet and everybody has a chance.

The other day on the radio I heard two baseball analysts saying the Cubs and Indians could be in the World Series this year. And they weren't kidding! If that happened, it could signal the end of the world, or at the very least lead to the end of my marriage (Marcy is a cradle-Clevelander and I've been a Cubs fan since the mid-1960s).

On this day, it's not far-fetched to consider a Cubs-Indians series match up. Heck, you could even be optimistic about the chances of the Orioles on this day. No losses yet.

Hooray for baseball!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Five Easy Pieces

Erika at Tummy Treasure tagged me for a meme. She was working off two of her own, so I took the easier of the two - the "Five Little Bits Meme." So, here are five things about me, and five other bloggers I'm infecting with this thing.

1. I didn't know what a meme was. I had to look it up, which was a little humbling for someone whose job is steeped in multimedia and webby things. I wasn't sure if it was pronounced "me-me" (it isn't), "meem" (nope) or "mem" (yep). For those of you whom I've tagged who might find themselves in the same situation, your charge is to list five things about yourself, then "tag" five more bloggers by naming them in the post, then leaving a comment on their blogs to let them know they've been tagged. If they don't want to play, that's fine. No jail time, no tickets, no public humiliation. Just drop them from your Christmas card list next year.

2. I'm bald thanks to a Portuguese barber. I once had a full head of long, thick, brown hair. When I hit my mid-30s, it began to thin on top, but there was enough there that it was still serviceable. This was at a time when I worked in the Tribune Tower in downtown Chicago. Tucked away on an upper floor of the tower was a two-chair barber shop run by a Portuguese man named Alberto. Alberto charged only $8 per cut, but nobody really went to him for the haircut. His claim to fame was an electric massager he strapped onto his hand that he would run over your head, neck, shoulders and arms for about 10 minutes after the haircut. Once I discovered Alberto, I started booking appointments on a weekly basis. It was probably after the third consecutive week that the top of my head was cut so short that I officially and undeniably passed into the category of bald guy. It was quite a shock when he spun me around to look in the mirror. And I think it may have been more of a shock for the Remarkable Marcy when I got home. The shock was short-lived. The baldness, however, is still with me. We've been out of Chicago for 11 years now and of all the things that I miss, Alberto is still near the top of the list.

3. Some movies make me cry. But they're mostly sports movies. When those guys are running on the beach in Chariots of Fire, I'm verklempt. And when Kevin Costner has a catch with his dad in Field of Dreams, I sob like a baby.

4. I invented a natural lava lamp. It was a total accident, but very cool. Chill some diet Sprite or 7-Up in the fridge. Take it out and pour it in a glass with no ice. Add some green seedless grapes. Wait a couple of minutes and voila!

5. I worked with a clown. My first job was at a TV studio in Columbus, Ohio, where I had the privilege of working with Flippo the Clown. Flippo was legendary in Columbus and anybody who lived in the city or went to Ohio State in the '50s, '60s and '70s spent afternoons watching his afternoon movie show. Flippo was like a Vaudeville comedian dressed in a clown suit and he hosted a studio audience and did wraparound segments for whatever movie happened to be on that afternoon. Nobody watched for the movie. In the late '70s, Flip was hired away by the QUBE cable system, an interactive cable experiment that was the world's first interactive anything. I was hired there following an internship and spent the first four years of my career there. One of my most enjoyable assignments was working on an interactive game show in which Flippo played the viewers' hand in card games with local celebs (it's a little hard to make that any less abstract in this amount of space. Perhaps a longer post at another time). In the name of research, we used to play cards all day, and Flippo - out of costume during this R&D stuff - was still spouting out the jokes. It's hard to believe I was getting paid (but not much) for that sort of work. Flippo, aka Bob Marvin, also led a jazz band and his band played at the reception at our wedding. Flippo died in June 2006. I can only imagine the fun they've had in Heaven since then.

Okay, now it's your turn. I'm tagging...

Chef JP at the Chef From Hell blog, whose recipes are in large part responsible for the weight I gained last year.

Natural Woman at Thinking Out Loud, who offers a great spin on life, family and technology.

Pete at My GPS Camera Phone, a great photo site which has recently undergone a redesign.

Olga, The Traveling Bra, my favorite travel blog because it makes me laugh.

My buddy Alan, author and animator at Adventures in Pond Scum.

Sorry for assigning you the work, but am looking forward to reading what you come up with.

Monday, February 11, 2008

My What?!!

Every now and then something will jump out of an innocent conversation and smack me up side the head like a baseball bat.

I just had one of those conversations.

Brother Dave was talking about the impending birth of his daughter, Emily's, and her husband, Dave's, first child. I wrote about this a few months back when the happy news first broke.

Anyway, tonight big bro referred to the incoming family addition as my "grand niece."

My what?!! Holy crap! I'm going to have a grand something! I've never been on this side of the grand thing. When did I get this old?

Ugh. I need a stiff drink to help me deal with this.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Why BBQ Is Good For You

I was watching TV recently and there was a commercial for the Maryland Lottery. They were talking to a recent winner by the name of Mark Dayton, who won $100,000 back in January.

I swear he's one of the counter guys at Big Bad Wolf Barbecue on Harford Road in Baltimore. While the commercial didn't identify where he works, they showed him inside the place, which is pretty unmistakable.

Good for him, and proof that smoking bbq brings good karma.