American Idle

It's kinda like American Idol, but only if you sing my posts out loud.

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Location: Hamilton Square, New Jersey, United States

Tax guy, host & producer of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, former co-host of the Wall Street Journal E-Report

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Wanted: A Lodge for Nerds

Hunters have the Ozarks, Veterans have the Elks and Freemasons have both the Shriners and a national treasure sought by Nicolas Cage.

Either I'm missing something, or the nerds need a place to play.

If our fathers, uncles, grandfathers, etc. have been able to escape for nights or weekends at a time to attend to club duties, why haven't us geeks been able to establish a similar club that's devoted to technology? Think about it...escaping to a lodge with:

- a full blown LAN (or LANs) for gaming purposes
- a separate LAN for intellectual purposes (research, etc.)
- perhaps ANOTHER LAN for "file sharing" purposes, (ex. a giant MP3 library for people to listen to music, read ebooks, etc.)
- a bar (okay, the bar will have a LAN too)
- other stuff that's currently escaping me

As for community activities, people could volunteer time for PC assistance, training classes, perhaps even schedule knowledge sharing sessions for people to BS about certain technologies.

Aside from cash flow, the biggest drawback to this is that it would force us to socialize. Primary attendance would be around 2 AM when we'd hope no one else would be around (although reverse psychology would probably dictate since we'd all be thinking the same thing, meaning the best time to come would be 7-8 PM).

Anyone else have any great ideas for this Utopia? Does anyone have a lot of money, or a big building we could rent? I could offer up my basement as a launching point, but I think the wife would get that wouldn't really be an escape for *ME*, now would it? ;) (just kidding, dear!)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Daddy keeping Mattie awake

This one here's a couple of months old, but still one of my favorites. After Matt has his 8:30 PM bottle, Debbie tries to get him to go to sleep. But if I should be home from work and he hears me in the kitchen, he goes from being groggy and on the verge of sleeping to whipping his head straight back and giving daddy a big gaping-maw grin.

For the benefit of everyone, I've since learned to try not to be around him when he goes down for the night.

The Mutt & Jeff Robbers and other celebrity little league stories

ESPN is promoting the remake of the "Bad News Bears" with an article chronicling little league adventures of sports celebrities. Although I'm not one to promote promotions (hmmm) of movies that tinker with sports classics, there's a gem here among mostly otherwise disposable tales.

From Oriole alumnus Rick Dempsey, who's little league coach turned out to be part of the Mutt & Jeff robbery duo: "He would rob a bank in every city we played in. We played in San Pedro, San Diego, Granada Hills, Lancaster, San Jose. We won the West Coast Championship and earned a trip to a tournament in Pennsylvania. It was ironic. He successfully robbed 12 banks, and we won 12 games. We lost the 13th, and he got caught on the 13th robbery. When we lost, he lost...Our shortstop's father was a detective assigned to the Mutt and Jeff robberies. How coincidental is that? He was assigned to catch them, never knowing one of them was the manager of his kid's all-star team."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Mattie & Unkie Buke

"Hey there Unkie Buke! What's that piece of fur on your chin? Mind if I just RIP...THAT...THING...OFF???" (click image for larger photo)

Personally, I think Buke's one corncob pipe shy of pulling a Popeye pose.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

This is not the doobie77 you're looking for

It's bad enough when you have a great idea for a name (American Idle), but then find out at least 432 people thought of it before you did. Or when you try to get a personalized license plate at the DMV only to find out someone else has your nickname and you're stuck with "DOOB1E"

So you go through internet life thinking a handle like doobie77 is safe, but then you find out someone ELSE is also using that handle and telling revealing stories about themselves. If I could only sue for slander...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Local boys steal car during test drive, rob Hamilton bank.

This might be the first Hamilton Township news story in USA Today since the anthrax scare and Megan's Law. Hey, better "offbeat" news than damaging front page news. Even better, Buke played fall ball with the "chest pain" guy.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Lift that fork, eat that snail, garcon summon up a new cocktail...

Although my TMBG collection is pretty thorough, I'm lacking in a few areas...specifically in the band's solo/other works. If anyone can help me with John Linnell's "State Songs"(I only have part of the album) or any Mono Puff work, please let me know. Since these albums are pretty obscure, it's hard to find them by my "conventional non-conventional" means...if you catch my drift. Thanks!

The search begins...

Well, after 15+ years of procrastination and postponements, I'm finally embarking on the biggest search of my life (no, not my feet, I found them last month)...finding my natural parents.

As some of you already know, I was adopted when I was a baby. That means that anyone of you out there could be related to me! Hey, wait! WAIT!! Come back!!! It's only a slim chance, so there's no need to panic!

My parents told me I was adopted when I was about 8 or 9 and I've never had a problem with it. I had a great upbringing, and my parents will always be my parents...I never had an urge to find out who was responsible for bringing me into this world. Hey, they didn't want me, so why should I care?

But as I got older, there started to be some questions raised...big ones like, is there a history of health problems in my family? They were only mere kids (about 21) when they gave me up so they didn't have any notable health issues that they released to the adoption agency. But, as we all know, things pop up as you get older. I'm a big guy (as you can tell by paragraph one), so I need to know...Is there a history of heart disease in the family? Diabetes? What about cancer? Fortunately, I can rule out baldness, although I have recently developed a bit of a widow's peak recently (a pox on you, old age! A POXXXX!!!)

That segues into the next question...are they still alive? They were 21 in 1970 when I was born, so they're only in their mid-50's. But, let's face it, no one's getting any younger and each year that passes increases the likelihood that one of them isn't going to be around. I figure I've waited long enough.

So, what do I expect out of all this? First, I'd really like to meet my dad, since I've probably inherited most of his genetic makeup. But as much as I'm hoping that the two of them eventually married and are still together, the reality is probably that since I was an unwanted child to begin with, the two of them broke up after (or before) I was born and haven't seen each other since. So if I only get to meet my mother, I would be fine with that.

And both my parents warned me about a potential problem...I might be walking into a bad situation where my parents may not WANT to find me. There's always the chance that my mother or father never divulged to their future spouses that there was kid they gave up for adoption in 1970. So you could imagine the shock any one of you would have if you suddenly find out you have an brother or sister that you were never aware of. Or what if it's YOUR spouse who had the kid and you didn't know about it?

But anyway, I'm moving forward and plopping down the $500 search fee at Children's Home Society. I'm promising myself not to get emotionally involved, but it may be inevitable. I'll keep everyone statused on how it goes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

More Baby Pictures - Mattie in the pool

As promised, here's more baby pictures. That's Matthew in the pool with his cousins, Sarah and Alexis. Click each for bigger versions.

I'm such a tool for my audience.

Game on!

Drop the puck! We have a deal!!!!

I'm overjoyed to hear that I might be able to enjoy another season of slightly-above-average hockey play from the Bruins in October.

Granted, this is all assuming that the players RATIFY the deal, which is another issue in and of itself....

Monday, July 11, 2005

"Dairy" of a Madman

...because things were getting way too serious around here.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Diary of a Madman

Apparently, not only do normal citizens have blogs, but so do murderers and child molesters. In case you haven't seen it, Joseph E. Duncan kept his own blog on Blogspot. As you may know, Duncan is the sex offender allegedly behind the kidnapping of Idaho children Shasta and Dylan Groene and the murder of their parents...and now probably Dylan as well.

This blog is particularly eerie, with a post from May 11 titled "The Demons Have Taken Over" being especailly telling.

This brings up my question. Why does no one ever bring up the topic of castrating sex offenders before letting them out? You want to see the light of day? First, we cut off your balls. Otherwise, get used to your concrete and iron surroundings. And I don't mean "chemical" castration, I mean "bring out the anasthesia and scissors Matilda, we're going to have some Rocky Mountain Oysters". While I'm certainly no expert on the matter, I would have to assume that removing the sex drive would have to reduce these crimes exponentially. Granted, if you've got a screw loose it might not mattter, but if molesting kids are what the turn on is, then castration removes the motive operendi.

Yankee Candles: A Dissertation

Yes, I like candles. Yes, I'm masculine in most other ways. Yes, this admission will probably get me kicked out of Raider Nation. But I can't help it. I figure if I'm trying to stop eating, I can at least indulge my other senses.

Like most people, I believe Yankee Candles are the candles to beat. No one else can seem to nail scents like they do. Sure, you can buy those crappy, waxy looking "Bougie Parfumee" candles at your local supermarket or Wal-Mart, but they mostly just smell like wax after the first 15 minutes.

Anyway, as much as I like Yankee Candles...we try to visit their flagship store in S.Deerfield, MA whenever we head up to the Berkshires area...I can't help but think they've been getting cocky. For every four new scents they roll out, at least one seems to be a repackaging of a similar scent. (One example..."Carrot Cake", smells exactly like "Pumpkin Spices".)

Plus, one thing that bugs me is that, as good as Yankee is, they haven't gotten the two best flavors nailed yet...Peanut Butter and Chocolate. They've made attempts in the past (Peanut Butter Cookie and a "Chocolate Bar" candle that you can only find in the "unmarked votive candle" section of the flagship store), but neither really seems that strong. Although I can't really blame them...I've sampled other brands in the past and it doesn't seem ANYONE can get it right. Of course it's possible someone DID get these scents right, but people preferred to eat the actual items instead of smelling a facsimile of them and the products tanked.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Never being one to turn down free money, I've sold my soul to the Google gods and am going to give this AdSense thing a whirl. So be a pal and occasionally solicit any ads you might see on the site.
Insert humorous tagline here.

Great t-shirt

Thanks to Buke for this great submission. And yes, I was fed up with the media coverage one day into it.

I mean, you gotta feel bad for the family, but does the rest of America REALLY care enough to have 24x7 "updates" of this? I wouldn't even call them updates since no one in the Aruban goverment is saying anything...what we have is 24x7 speculation. And does anyone REALLY think that one or two slapasses is going to prevent tourism in Aruba? There's probably a dozen or so of these kind of people in each of our *counties*. Hell, why not escape to Aruba, get fewer slapasses per capita and get a tan while you're there?

Why does the media only cover crimes happening to cute white women? Aren't there any blacks, Asians, Eskimos, etc. who are victims? Or even just ugly people?

Or even better, how about some more pertinent news? Other events that seem to have taken a back seat to all this: the Iranian "election" or the stepping down of Justice O'Connor.

Losing ass and taking names

At the beginning of the year, a few work colleagues and I decided to embark on a well journeyed path...getting our collective fat asses in shape. To provide extra motivation, we each coughed up $200, with the pot going to the people who could lose the a) highest % of body weight and b) the biggest % of body fat.

Since there were some serious leviathans in our group, we had to go with the percentages since it would encourage some "only-slightly-overweight" women to join. And, trust me, enlisting women is a tricky and dangerous task. Unlike guys, you can't go up to a woman and say, "hey, we're starting a contest to see who can lose the most weight, you interested?" And when the person posing that question is 300+ pounds, you're basically telling the woman, "I not only think you're fat, but you're SO enormous that you can compete with what *I* have to lose."

Anyway, we managed to get six guys and two girls involved, putting the pot at a sweet $1600. We also decided to have a midway "tax incentive" point on April 15th so that those getting off to quick starts would be rewarded. At the recommendation of a co-worker, I also decided to have a per-pound pledge drive for UNICEF to benefit the tsunami victims. People could either make a flat donation or offer a certain amount for each pound I lost. This way I could give myself an extra incentive by doing it for a good cause.

I came out of the gate fast, using the often-heard-of-but-rarely-used "eat less, exercise more" weight loss method. Except, as in most cases, the exercise never came to the level of intensity I had hoped. Regardless, the eating less was paying off and the results were showing and, I think, began to psyche out the rest of the group. Some people who had gotten off to slow starts quickly bacame jaded and started to give up. And one of the early favorites, a guy who had lost 70+ pounds a few years ago, wound up going to London on business. And anyone who's been on a business trip knows that, faced with eating only restaurant food, losing weight is near impossible. Come April, I took both the weight and body fat prize money easily. I also raised $600 bucks, which I was also able to get Dow Jones to match (via their previously existing plan).
Chalk up $1,200 for UNICEF.

Then lethargy set in. I spent most of the next few months coasting. Dieting, but cheating more than I should have. Exercising, but barely. Meanwhile James, someone I work closely with, went into overdrive. As I found out later, he began to go on a serious diet, even going vegetarian for a month. I saw him losing weight, but I didn't know how much.

Come the night before the final weigh in, I consulted a co-worker who used to wrestle in high school. Surely, he could offer suggestions on how to "make weight". His suggestion: lose all that water I've been drinking. Aside from some fasting, I now had to figuratively squeeze my body like a wet rag. So the next few trips in my car I made with the heat on full blast...with 90 degree temperatures outside. I ran a hot shower and spit frequently. Some other tips he recommended which I didn't do were sleeping in a nylon sweatsuit (who the hell keeps one of THOSE around?...although I did have some old parachute pants) and bringing my exercise bike into the bathroom, running a hot shower and exercising while in a sauna atmosphere. I did, however, decide on taking Ex-Lax the night before...usually coffee works fine as my morning laxative, but I couldn't risk the extra few ounces I would have to consume.

So the end result? I lost 41.2 pounds in six months. But I finished second in the weight loss percentage category...James had played tortoise to my hare and dropped 48 pounds. Considering he weighed less than me at the beginning, he took it easily and walked out with a thousand bucks. But all was not lost for me...I managed to take the body fat % portion. Apparently, even though I hardly exercised, James must have exercised less. So I still won 400 some bucks. Couple that with the $150 I won at the halfway point and I would up with almost 600 bucks. And, when it's all collected, I'll have pulled in an additional $200+ for UNICEF. AND I still lost 41 freaking pounds! Success across the board!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

My son, getting a head start on the important things in life.

It's never too early to learn how to mash uncontrollably on a keyboard. Daddy's been doing it for 20 years.

And so it begins...

Just what the world needed...a place for Doobie to rant. More to come when I'm not at work and have a cloud of guilt over my shoulder for doing this.

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