Month: May 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

R’s – Drastic Measures

I don’t think we’re at rock bottom yet – hopefully we won’t find out how low that is – but I think it’s safe to say there are a lot of concerns about the Kansas City Royals Baseball Club* at the moment. With that in mind, I think it’s time to take drastic measures.

(That was for Carl Peterson.)

So, I will be attending the next two games in person. Perhaps my presence will kick-start the offense, help Banny keep the hitters on their toes, and give Meche the boost he needs to find his best form. I hope to see a few of you at the K over the next couple nights.



You may remember my four-month battle to get new glasses that spanned last October to January. I’m at it again.

This time I’m trying to get some prescription sunglasses. Since the first week of April I have 1) ordered a pair and been informed a week later that the frames I ordered will not work with my prescription, 2) ordered a new pair in the correct frames only to receive them and find the prescription was wrong, 3) sent that pair back to be corrected and then had my eye care provider fail to call and let me know they were in, 4) finally went in and got them and, you guessed it, the prescription was off again.

Step four came yesterday. The woman helping me asked what the problem had been on my previous visit, checked the problem on the pair I was trying on, did some looking at my account, and then said, “Oh, I think I see the problem. We shouldn’t have ordered this kind of lens material with your prescription. Let’s try plastic and I bet they’ll work fine.”

That information would have been helpful two months ago.

Keep in mind, because my optometrist is a family friend, we go to a fancy place and not the eye department at Target or Costco. Even with my crazy prescription, I’m beginning to wonder if I would have better luck going to one of those places.

So my sunglasses are on their way back to Louisville again. Hopefully they’ll remember to call me this time, but I won’t hold my breath that they’re going to work. With some luck, I’ll have them by the time we go to Mexico next month.

Delayed Weekend Wrap Up

Busy weekend, busy week, busy month.

So for starters, I hope all youse guyses had fine Memorial Day weekends. Ours wrapped around the end of a period where S. worked 11 of 14 days, so we were all a little fried and are enjoying the fact she has this entire week off.

Friday was the final day of preschool and the tradition at ours is for the kids to have a bike parade before they share a lunch with their families and teachers. Younger siblings were invited, so C. brought her trike and joined in on the fun. Watching kids in the age range two to five on bikes is pretty funny. The five year olds were all flying around. The four year olds were kind of showing off and excited to be riding their bikes. The three year olds were as likely to be riding big wheels or scooters as bikes, and were focused on doing a good job. And the two year olds* were typical two year olds: just kind of zooming around, happy to be part of it but also kind of oblivious to everything.

(Although C. is now three, I’m treating her as a two-year-old for this story. She just rode around the parade route, smiling and having fun, but in no way interacting with others the way M. was.)

After lunch we said goodbye to M.’s teachers. She really liked both of her teachers a lot, but she bonded especially closely with one of them. The teacher told me it was hard to say goodbye to M., which was sweet and nice to hear.* I think M. is going to miss her, too, but she’s so goofy she didn’t get emotional.

(The day before was a very difficult day in this house. It was one of my five worst parenting days ever. I had to bite my tongue not to make a smart ass remark like, “If you like her so much, want to keep her for the summer?” or something along those lines.)

And thus summer vacation started for the B. girls. It kind of snuck up on us, but the sudden warm and muggy weather sure made it feel like summer time.

Sunday we explained to the girls that there was a big race downtown that we would listen to on the radio, and then watch on TV that night.* M. was obsessed. She asked at least 1000 questions about the race. We went to my in-laws’ for a late afternoon cookout, and M. threw a fit on the way home when we told her we weren’t going to the race track.


Tantrums are great.

(The Indy 500 is still not shown live in Indiana.)

The replay started right around bedtime, so I promised to tape it and said we could watch it in the morning. She could not wait to watch it once we ate breakfast. She ended up watching about an hour. We told her that Helio won, so she always wanted to know which car was his. She also loved Alex Lloyd’s car, since it was pink. We showed her the front page of the paper, which had a full-page shot of Helio celebrating his win. She promptly found her scissors, cut it out, and taped it to the wall in her room. So I guess she’s a race fan now. Weirdly she showed no interest in Danica, Sarah, or Milka, the three women who raced. C. was interested, too, but not to the same level that M. was.

I figured out something important about C. over the weekend. I’ve been struggling with how to describe her running style, because it is quite unique. I finally got it when she ran through the kitchen Monday. She entered the room at full speed, took two more steps, hopped straight up in the air, ran a couple more steps, did a half spin, hopped again, then ran out of the room. Clearly she was, in a previous life, and antelope or some other swift animal that is often chased by predators and must take evasive measures. I think I need to set up a series of cameras through the house so I can get some of her moves on video. It’s ridiculous how many moves she makes to get from point A to point B that take her in a different direction from her destination.

L. loves watching all her sisters’ crazy antics. She watches and laughs and cheers them on. I thought she was going to crawl over the weekend, but she only managed to get stuck in reverse, rocking for a few moments and then losing ground. One day, as I was putting away laundry and she was approaching naptime, she pissed herself off. I heard her start screaming an angry little scream and looked down to see that she had just moved backwards a half foot or so. She’s clearly getting sick of not being able to move forward on her own. She can now chase her sisters in the driveway when she is in her walker and they’re on their bikes. It’s pretty funny to watch her go after them and hear all three screaming happy little screams.

It was warm enough over the weekend that we filled the baby pool up twice. Thursday I thought to do it fairly early so the water was nice and warm when we put the girls in after lunch. L. loved it, sitting in it and chewing on the toys that would conveniently float over to her. We’ll have to try to get her in a real pool soon.

Oh, and the Royals are sucking just in time for my KC trip.

R’s – Have We Seen This Before?

Is it officially time to get worried?

Conventional wisdom a week ago, after the 0-6 road trip, was that the Royals would come home, beat up on a couple last place teams, and get their groove back. A 2-4 home stand did not inspire confidence. And, of course, they were lucky to be 2-4, thanks to the epic 9th inning comeback on Monday night. They also got some help from Baltimore Sunday in the other win.

The defense went from poor to pathetic. The bullpen is melting down. The starting pitching was actually solid, outside of Hochevar. But the offense couldn’t give Meche or Greinke enough runs to keep the pen from ruining their solid, if unspectacular, efforts.

Now they’re off to St. Louis and then get red-hot Detroit back at home on Memorial Day. I don’t think it’s time to panic. Tread water until Soria comes back and balances the pen out, hope Meche continues to be right, and then hope someone can put a glove on the ball on defense and the heady days of April could return. But if Detroit keeps winning, it won’t really matter. It would be nice if they got their shit together next weekend, since that’s when I’m making my annual baseball trip to KC.

Random thought: It seems the Red Sox don’t know what to do with Clay Buchholz. He’s stuck in Pawtucket, unable to crack the rotation in Boston. Word has it they still like his potential, but aren’t convinced about his makeup. Sounds kind of familiar.

It’s too early to give up on Hochevar,* but if that point comes, what about a Buchholz for Hochevar deal? Now I think a guy who confidence issues should never get near Boston, but perhaps the Sox might think their approach can help him. Meanwhile the Royals would plug Buchholz in and let him sink-or-swim in the bigs. Just a thought.

(Get back to me about that after his next start. We’ve turned quickly on him, haven’t we?)


R’s – Fed Up

Not much to write about this time around. With guests for C’s birthday and a work assignment over the weekend, I was only able to follow the O’s series casually. Thank goodness for pulling out Sunday’s game, or we might have needed to go to Defcon 2.

To lighten the mood, though, let’s take a look at George Brett offering his comments about the criticism of manager Trey Hillman. It looks like they got to George on the back nine. Wow. I like that he’s going after Jack Harry and KC’s biggest blowhard, though.

<a href=””>George Has Had A Few And Isn’t Going To Take It Anymore</a>


Say Goodbye To Two

C. turned three on Sunday. Unfortunately, that did not mean she suddenly stopped throwing tantrums, reacting wildly to tiny things, or master using the potty. In fact, she threw her normal fit at breakfast because it was not presented in the manner she desired and peed either her pants or on the floor four times. But if you subtract all the left-over, two-year-old garbage, it was a fine day.

She was very excited, and for a couple weeks had been telling everyone that her birthday was coming up and she would be “this many,” holding up three fingers as in the picture above. She was less excited ahead of time about presents as she was about cupcakes. In fact, she kept telling everyone that we were having chocolate cupcakes – or cutcakes as she calls them – with pink frosting AND chocolate cake with pink frosting. Since she had been saying that for about a month, we figured we better split the batter in half and do both. Hate for her to throw a fit because she had to eat two cupcakes.

She got the obligatory new clothes, a cool princess table and chair set from Mimi and Ampa, and a pair of soccer goals from S. and I. At first she loved the goals, but Monday she was more interested in doing other things. While M. and I were “playing soccer,” she watched while she made a “salad” out of mulch, leaves, and grass. M. scored after an extended run* and I turned, hammered the ball, and knocked it into the net 30 feet away. C. shrieked and said, “Congratulations, Daddy! You scored so fast!” Congratulations?

(M. is not the most adept dribbler of the ball. She’ll knock it about a foot, carefully size it up, and then knock it another foot. But when she gets close to the goal, she can put some force behind it.)

Monday was C.’s final day of preschool, so in addition to celebrating her school birthday (“Dad, I got popsicles for treats!”), there was a lot of wrapping up of things. She brought home tons of dazzling artwork, pictures her teachers had taken all year, and a nice CD with a movie of all the class pics of the year. The movie was set to Green Day’s “Time Of Your Life.” I bought the new Green Day album on Friday and have been thinking about how far they’ve come in their career. This is just another sign of their ubiquity. Not only was that song good enough for <em>ER</em> and the clipshow before the final <em>Seinfeld</em>, not to mention a million other goodbyes, but it is also good enough for a Catholic preschool. I think her teachers are pretty cool and had more to do with it than any of the priests or bishops around here.

I was making myself laugh this morning. I thought of mock awards the teachers could give out to the two year olds on the final day. “And the worst poopy diaper of the year goes to Jeffrey. Whoo do you have some stinky ones, Jeff! Annabelle, you threw the biggest tantrum of the year when, who can forget this, we gave you goldfish instead of pretzels for a snack in November. Congrats!”


Wayman Tisdale was a force of nature. One of the most devastating college basketball players I’ve ever seen. He was also the catalyst for the Big 8’s ascension as one of basketball’s power conferences, blazing a trail for Manning, Chievous, Grayer, King, Smith, etc.

Rest in peace.

<a href=””>Former NBA vet Wayman Tisdale dies at age 44 after cancer fight – NBA –</a>


R’s – Lost Luggage

Well that sucked. So much for the winning steak, clear possession of first place, and pretty much every good vibe that had been associated with the Royals just a week ago.

There’s something about the phrase “West Coast Swing” that makes whatever happens on it seem perhaps more significant than it really is. I don’t know if it’s our cultural memory of the Joads and the Clampetts and the O’Malleys or if it’s just the fact few of us can stay awake until the end of each game and the result the following morning is a surprise. But something about heading west makes the last five games seem bigger than they probably are.

We knew the Royals likely weren’t as good as the team that won six straight. So, too, are they not the team that just went 0-fer the coast. The only saving grace is that they play in the AL Central and no one decided to go crazy while they were losing. They’re still tied for first and a game up on third place.

Still, it’s hard not to be totally bummed after the trip. The offense was downright awful, creating few scoring opportunities and failing to connect when they did get runners on. There were a couple woeful decisions on the bases. The pitching wasn’t horrible, outside of Hochevar’s debut on Monday, but it still felt like everyone but Greinke was dodging bullets and working out of jams most of the trip. The defense had a couple key gaffes. Throw in Torii Hunter’s over-the-wall treatment of Miguel Olivo’s potential tying blast on Sunday and the Royals got about as little good luck as possible. Oh, and Brian Bannister may be hurt. And they’re not really sure what’s wrong with Soria’s shoulder.


Perhaps it is best just to move on and hope returning to the K is the potion to cure the Royals’ ills.


Bubblegum Cards

As my generation approaches middle age, we’re going to have to start answering for some of the things we’re responsible for.  Example: ruining baseball cards.

It’s not all our fault.  The Baby Boomers, as always, deserve some blame.  They were the ones who started the nonsense, paying insane amounts for cards from their youth.  And they were the ones who opened baseball card shops back in the 80s and enabled those of us who were kids then.

But we were the first generation to, as kids, get stupid about our cards.  At some point we lost the youthful joy of opening a pack, searching through it, and then taking our favorites with us everywhere we went.  We were the first kids to stick them in plastic sheets and individual holders.  We obsessed about each card’s condition, freaking out if we bent a corner or marred the surface.  And we tolerated the late 80s explosion in the price of cards.

The result was we turned it into an adult hobby, one that required a steady income rather than a weekly allowance to fund.

What’s the point?  This is an interesting little film about the current state of card collecting.  I love the guy that owns the shop.  And I couldn’t help but think that if John Rocker was still playing, he would cringe at the thought of these people potentially collecting his cards.

<a href=”″>The Baseball Card Movie</a>


Radio Thoughts

A couple thoughts related to radio that have nothing to do with Casey Kasim.*

(I’m still listening to the American Top 40 replays, although for some reason there wasn’t one last weekend. Just haven’t had any good stories from one for awhile.)

First, three times in the last week I’ve heard songs and thought, “Is that U2?” The answer was always yes* but what made it weird is that this is the first time since 1984, I guess, that I haven’t bought a U2 album as soon as it was released. I didn’t like the last album, wasn’t impressed by any of the advance tracks I heard this time, so I’ve taken a pass on <em>No Line On The Horizon.</em> I’ve had a couple people tell me it’s not bad, but I’m really not interested.

(Although I did think one of the songs sounded as much like Coldplay as U2. So that’s what U2 has become: a band that sounds like the band that desperately wants to be them.)

Second, I don’t listen to the radio very much. Usually only when driving and when the kids are with me and they’ve tired of their CDs. And then, I’m constantly switching stations looking for a good song. All that adds up to very little time dedicated to a given station, reducing the chances I will hear a given song, right? Yet, somehow, I hear Heart’s “Magic Man” at least once a week.

As I asked a couple friends via e-mail, is it just a much more awesome song than I ever realized, and thus is in constant rotation on retro and classic rock stations? Or did a whole generation of DJs grow up watching <em><a href=””>Swingers</a></em> and play it as an homage to the great mobile home scene?


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