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

Monday, October 31, 2005

Steinert grad gets the Supreme Court nomination

Good to see a local boy from Trenton get the SCOTUS nomination. Let's hope this has better results than the Harriet Miers fiasco. Now, if I could only find out what street Sam Alito grew up on. Although it would be neat to say, "Hey, I'm living in a Supreme Court justice's old house!", I doubt it's possible since he graduated in 1968 and my house was built in 1973...although his dad was a local teacher and could have moved in here later.

UPDATE: Turns out Sam Jr. was a little more local to me at one time than I had known. My father just told me that when we were living in Chambersburg, Sam Jr. lived a few doors down from us on Division Street during either the late eighties or early nineties when he was working in the NJ courts. Small world.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Gettysburg pictures

This and more pics from our Gettysburg vacation now available here.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Why the f--- are Mickey and Pooh still popular?

Okay, being in my mid-thirties I've only recently been re-introduced to kids TV. However, since I never really grew up I prefer to think that although I got out of the water my bathing suit was still wet.

Anyway, now that I'm seeing all the kids toys and children's shows on TV, I have to ask...why the hell are Disney and Winnie the Pooh characters still emblazoned on so many kids products? We all remember them when we were kids, but what have the Disney and Pooh gangs done recently?

At least with Sesame Street, you get to watch them every day on TV. You get to follow the daily interactions between the characters. You get to understand each character's strong points and weaknesses.

But not with Mickey and Pooh. Maybe because I've been out of the children's mainstream for a awhile but, aside from the Heffalump movie, I don't recall seeing much done from Disney to promote the main characters from either product. I mean, Christ, Disney has their own channel but you're lucky to find one show dedicated to Mickey, Donald Duck, Goofy and the gang. Ditto for Pooh. With what they currently show, they might as well replace all the Disney World mascots with The Wiggles, Kim Possible and Raven. At least my kid will recognize those characters...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Check this out. A reporter gets busted for embellishing the flooding situation in Wayne, NJ last week. Her piece starts about 20 seconds into this video clip and gets exposed as a fraud about 10 seconds later when two passersby walk past her canoe...which appears to be submersed in only about 3-4 inches of water. Watch the whole thing to hear Katie Couric & cohost busting on her after the piece is done.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Birth Parent search update: Rejected!

So, midway through my Gettysburg trip last week, I get a call on my cell phone from CHS (Children's Home Society). They give me the second worst news I wanted to hear (birth parent being deceased being the worst). The mother doesn't want to meet me.

But here's the odd thing. The phone call had come from her husband, not from her. CHS tried to persuade him to allow them to talk to her, but he said she was "at work". Apparently, he was aware of my existence as he asked CHS if I was the person who she gave up back in 1970, so at least I wasn't a surprise (at least not at the time of that phone call...she might have just sprung the news on him the night before for all I know).

And here's where it get's interesting...apparently they're jaded on the reunion idea because they had a bad experience with ANOTHER son they had given up for adoption. It seems that after they reunited with him, this kid's father (unknown if it's his birth or adopted father) came after them for money. So now my attempt at meeting her is going to be screwed because of some half-brother I don't know about. And on top of that, I can't search for my birth father until she waives the confidentiality agreement that was signed when she put me up for adoption. So now I'm doubly screwed.

But at least some good news came out of this. CHS managed to pull some health information from the husband before they hung up. Both her parents are healthy and in their 80s. And there's no known recurring health issues in the family. Sure there's an uncle who died of cancer and an aunt with diabetes, but every family has those.

But I'm not giving up. I'm going to meet with CHS sometime soon to see if there's a mutual waiver we can sign where we agree not to pursue each other's assets. I have no problem signing something like that on my end...I don't care if she's Martha Stewart...I don't want her money. But I want this to be a *mutual* agreement. Let's sum up what I know about her:

  • When she gave me up at age 21, it was commented in her records that she was "immature".
  • It was told to CHS that I was conceived "against her will", although that testimony was given in front of both of her parents and in 1970 when premarital sex was still taboo in most families (although I *was* conceived one month after Woodstock occurred). But now that I know she's given up two possibly-illegitimate children (that I'm aware of) for adoption, exactly how much does that claim hold water?
  • Her husband...not her...called CHS. That means that she's possibly in a controlling, possibly abusive relationship. Did she even get the letter, or did her husband intercept it and not tell her about it? We don't know. Or is it possible that she's so weak or scared that she had her husband call CHS for her? Either one of these scenarios wouldn't surprise me if she was in her 20s or 30s, but she's in her mid-fifties now. Perhaps she hasn't "matured".
  • Although they wouldn't go into detail, CHS hinted that there might been a "legal" issue in her past.
So, with that assessment, I think it might be wise to protect MY assets as well.

Anyway, I'm not ready to close the book just stay tuned.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Gettysburg Campaign '05: PFC Matthew wins Sidewalk Skirmish

Well, our sightseeing tour climaxed yesterday afternoon when Debbie tripped on the sidewalk outside of the Gettyburg Ghost Tours office (cooincidence?). The problem was that she was carrying our one-year old son in a Hip Hammock (TM) at the time. Fortunately (although not for her), she landed squarely on her hands and knees. Mattie's head wound up hitting the concrete, but after nervous few minutes, it turns out he was fine...he got a little knot on the head above his ear but there was no bleeding and he never lost consciousness. We called our pediatrician for advice and headed over to Gettysburg hospital as a precaution. The ER staff confirmed what we suspected and hoped...just a bump. Fortunately, he was tired before the accident and had fallen asleep in the car on the way to the hospital. He woke up when we took him out of the car seat and brought him into the ER. This was something the ER staff was glad to hear, as having a healthy sleep cycle is a concern for those with head injuries.

So Mattie returned from his first ever ER visit with a clean bill of health. Let's hope he doesn't have to go there again for...oh...the next 75 years.

Aside from the whole falling-mysteriously-in-front-of-the-ghost-tours-office incident, here are some other interesting tidbits from yesterday.

  • Not being fully familiar with the area I was in, when I called the hospital from my car I asked for directions originating from my hotel. After driving back to the area of our hotel, getting on the highway and traveling south for a bit, getting off, and coming back into town, I discovered the hospital was on the street directly behind where we were. We could have freaking walked there.
  • The ER doctor who looked at us was a Dr. Codori. This name I instantly recognized from an auto tour of the battlefields we were just on the previous day. He confirmed that his family was indeed the family who owned the Codori farm, which played a host to the famous "Pickett's Charge".
  • It took us about 15 minutes to be seen at the Gettyburg Hospital ER. From past experiences by myself and others, it normally takes about 3-4 hours to be seen while sitting in the RWJ/Hamilton Hospital ER. Considering the three hour drive, if we're injured at home in the future, it might make more sense to drive to Gettyburg to get medical help.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Shit Still on my TiVo

As those of you with infants know, free time becomes a precious commodity pretty quickly. You spend it doing the important things and when you actually have downtime, you try to spend it wisely. Of course, in my case, I spend it playing Madden football. I still watch stuff on our primary TiVo...stuff that currently has my interest such as current sports-themed shows, Ghost Hunters, Weird US, MythBusters, Robot Chicken and Reno 911. I even have "Constantine" that's been sitting on that TiVo for over a month because Debbie and I can't watch it for an hour without getting interrupted. As a result, my personal TiVo in my office (where I record stuff Debbie has zero interest in watching) has really become backlogged with shit I don't either have time to watch, or don't feel like seeing at the time. Here's what I currently have stashed away:

  • Bridge On the River Kwai (since December)
  • Dr. Strangelove (January)
  • Scent of a Woman ( I haven't seen this movie yet)
  • Eight Men Out (March)
  • Star Trek: Enterprise (the last four episodes)
  • Family Guy (the newest episode)
  • Amrican Dad (the three newest episodes)
  • Raiders games (six classic games courtesy of Classic Sports Network)
  • Blue Collar TV (two episodes)
  • South Park (two older episodes that I don't think I've seen)
This is the reason I don't get involved in too many newer shows like "Lost" or "24". I've already got a bunch of other crap that needs to be watched first.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Pics from Matt's 1st Birthday

Debbie posted pics from Matt's 1st birthday party. If interested, you can click here to view them.

Stupid Doob photos

You asked for it, you got it.

Here's me in 2002 dressed up as "White Trash" for Halloween. Unfortunately, it wasn't really a stretch for me as all I needed was a wig, a flannel jacket and a beer themed t-shirt. The rest came naturally. Note: pay no attention to the tag hanging from the armpit...I was modeling the outfit for the first time.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

You know this place is dead when...

...even the guy you give contributing rights to your blog (Moose Buckman aka Buke aka Kid Minneapolis aka The Shropshire Slasher) hasn't contributed. In fact, most people I tell that I have a blog can't even get through their polite reply without yawning. If it wasn't for Darren I'd think I was talking to myself.

And even Darren is looking mighty bored nowadays. I unknowingly pull up behind him at a gas station and he doesn't even tell me it was him until AFTER I leave. Now that I think about it, I think he even might have dove in the back of his van at the time to avoid eye contact. Hey, look buddy, my mom will send you the check...just keep posting replies.

Aside from the whole adoption thing, my life's been pretty dull lately. The baby refuses to sleep through the night so my life is an endless cycle of working until midnight, sleeping sporadically when I get home, waking up at 6 AM to see Debbie off to work and the baby off to grandma's and then catching up on my sleep until I go back to work. And then on the weekends I play Madden football with my spare time and then watch REAL football on Sundays. Not that I'm complaining but, well, it's been uneventful.

But on a positive note, we're vacationing in Gettysburg next week. If all goes well, there'll be a picture of me in an Abe Lincoln outfit to match the picture of me in the Elvis outfit.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Yeah, I'm still alive

It's been a busy week, what with Mattie's first birthday and all. Of course, there's never just ONE birthday party....first, you have the family birthday party on the night of his actual birthday (Wednesday), then you have the weekend extravaganza where you invite everyone short of the fifth cousins and your neighbors from the house you lived in back in 1982. So that was yesterday and now, there's football to be watched! (by the way, I was 3-1 in my picks last week putting my season total at 9-6)

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