Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...


The contents of this blog are my own comments and opinions and do not reflect those of my family, friends, colleagues, clients, employers, or anyone else I may know. Additionally, their comments and opinions are not a reflection of me or this blog. Any links contained in posts are maintained by third parties and are not under the control of this blog, and as such, this blog is not responsible for their content. All links are provided "as is" with no explicit or implicit warranty of any kind.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Are You Old?

Alex: "Dad, are you old?"

Dad: "No, but I'm working on it..."

This post is simulcast in full living Technicolor on and on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Holidays

For as long as I can remember, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas were greetings I heard and used often after Thanksgiving leading up to New Years. Everyone used them, and no one took offense to them. Generally these were better greetings than Season's Greetings, which I think was more of a Hallmark\Budweiser\High School Sign type of greeting. No one ever said "Hey, Rich, Season's Greetings!", but plenty of people would say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays".

Now lately, to some it seems that Happy Holidays means you're appeasing someone that does not celebrate Christmas because we don't want to offend anyone.

Anything could be further from the truth.

Sure, we have a more diverse culture now, and a lot more people don't celebrate Christmas. But the phrase has been around a lot longer than that, and for some people to think it's a ploy to dechristianize our society is simply not remembering history.

Personally, I like Merry Christmas better. But I won't go off on a fit of rage if someone says Happy Holidays to me.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Get over it! :)

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Alex's Reflections on Medicine

Conversation with Alex this evening when he saw an ambulance and fire truck across the street.

Alex: "Dad, why is there an ambulance across the street?"

Dad: "I don't know, Alex. I didn't ask them."

Alex: "I think someone died, and then got hurt."

I hope by the time Alex gets his First Aid badge, he gets the order correct.

This post is simulcast in full living Technicolor on and on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Another survey from Facebook. I haven't done one in a while. So here it is.

Facebook friends, if I tag you on this, you're supposed to do your own and tag me back. It's not required, and I won't cry myself to sleep if you decide not to. I did this for me, not for you :)

1. First thing you wash in the shower?


2. What color is your favorite hoodie?


3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?


4. Do you plan outfits?

I plan to wear them...

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?

Tired but not exhausted.

6. What’s the closest thing to you that's red?

A book entitled "The Notebooks of DaVinci"

7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having.

I saw someone I haven't seen in a long time, and she was happy to see me too.

8. Did you meet anybody new today?

Yes, some old lady that lectured me about onions.

9. What are you craving right now?


10. Do you floss daily?

I try...

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?

Cole slaw.

12. Are you emotional?

I can be if I need to be...

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?


14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?

I spoon it.

15. Do you like your hair?

Yes but the bald spot has GOT to go...

16. Do you like yourself?


17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush?

Only if he says "Strategery"

18. What are you listening to right now?

Alex saying "CRASH!"

19. Are your parents strict?

They're decide...

20. Would you go sky diving?

Maybe...if the plane were on fire...

21. Do you like cottage cheese?


22. Have you ever met a celebrity?


23. Do you rent movies often?

I have Netflix on the Wii...I have movies all the time!

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in?

No, I don't do sparkly...

25. How many countries have you visited?

1 - UK in 2005

26. Have you made a prank phone call?

Yes. Ask Duber...

27. Ever been on a train?


28. Brown or white eggs?


29. Do you have a cell-phone?


30. Do you use chap stick?


31. Do you own a gun?


32. Can you use chop sticks?

Yes. I can even eat rice with them.

33. Who are you going to be with tonight?

My Three Sons

34. Are you too forgiving?

Depends on the offense and my mood.

35. Ever been in love?


36. What is your best friend(s) doing tomorrow?

Might be deep frying a turkey. I should go over after my feast is done to make sure he doesn't burn the house down...

37. Ever have cream puffs?


38. Last time you cried?

Last night

39. What was the last question you asked?

"Alex, did you hear what I said?"

40. Favorite time of the year?


41. Do you have any tattoos?

No, but I want one.

42. Are you sarcastic?

I'm a Tocci...

43. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect?


44. Ever walked into A wall?

I've done better than that...I rode a bike into a wall!

45. Fave color?

Blue, Black

46. Have you ever been slapped by someone?

My mother is Catholic...

47. Is your hair curly?


48. What was the last CD you bought?

Godsmack's latest, but I downloaded it...

49. Do looks matter?

Yes, as part of the entire package...

50. Could you ever forgive a cheater?

We don't have enough room to discuss this subject here :)

51. Is your phone bill sky high?


52. Do you like your life right now?

I'd like to do a little better but I like it overall...

53. Do you sleep with the TV on?

Only when I'm away from my home for business and staying in a hotel.

54. Can you handle the truth?


55. Do you have good vision?

No. I've had glasses since I was 8.

56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people?


57. How often do you talk on the phone?

Quite a's part of my job...

58. The last person you held hands with?


59. What are you wearing?

White t-shirt and shorts. Hey, it's Texas. Tomorrow I'll need jeans and a jacket...

60. Do you like being "tagged" in these type of things?

Couldn't hurt...

61. Where was your profile picture taken?

My livingg room, College Station TX

62. Can you hula hoop?

I used to but my hips have decided they can't move like that anymore. Or maybe it's becauuse I'm fat...yeah, that's it...

63. Do you have a job?


64. What was the most recent thing you bought?

A beenie for Alex and Hayden

65. Have you ever crawled through a window?

Yeah, a few times, and she enjoyed it every single time :)

This post is simulcast in full living Technicolor on and on Facebook.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Change My Name, and Other Revelations

Conversation with Alex tonight about his name.

Alex: "Dad, I want to change my name to Evan Alexander."

Alex's full name is Alexander Evan Tocci. It was the only name combination his mother and I could agree on. He was almost named Evan Alexander, but then we realized his initials would be "E.A.T." and decided against it. I told Alex about this fact.

Alex: "Never mind...that does sound stupid, doesn't it?"


Conversation this evening while watching the Eagles game.

Dad: "Alex, would you please go get me a beer from the door in the fridge?"

Alex: "Sure, Dad. I'll try not to drink it."

Thanks, pal. I appreciate your candor.


Conversation with Alex during dinner tonight. He's not been feeling well and has had an upset stomach for a couple of days.

Alex: "Dad, I need to go to the bathroom."

Dad: "Well, OK, hurry up."

Alex: "I will. It'll be a soft poop."

I hope everyone enjoys their dinner!

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Saturday, November 13, 2010


Conversation with Alex on who is married, or not married, to who. Alex apparently has a hard time keep it all straight.

Alex: "Mom, you are not married to The Other Guy. You are married to...(pointing at me)...THAT!"

I have been reduced to a demonstrative pronoun...

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Dad, You're Gettin' Old

Alex had an epiphany while riding in the car this evening:

"Dad, when I grow up, you'll be old, like Papa (his grandfather). You'll eat pills all the time. Not me, though - I'll just wear glasses, like you."

I'm glad to see Alex has my golden years all planned out for me...

Sent in living technicolor from my Crackberry

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fair Weather Fans

I'm a fan of Philadelphia sports. Always have been. Anyone that knows me knows that I follow the Phillies, the Eagles, and the Flyers, and my neighbors are keenly aware of my loyalties... mainly because of the amount of noise I make when watching my teams play.

With the Texas Rangers winning their first pennant and advancing to the World Series, I thought back to the past couple of weeks and my travels around town. I recall relatively few Rangers shirts, hats, or jerseys worn around town before the postseason. But lately, I've seen more and more hats, jerseys, and shirts.

It makes some sense -- the Rangers are based in Dallas, three hours away, and there are fans out there, so they start to wear their wares once the Rangers make it to their first postseason. But the Bryan-College Station area is closer to Houston, so the Astros have a bit more loyalty here. Yet when the Rangers made it to the postseason, and began winning, the amount of support shown to the Rangers has increased.

That got me to thinking. I'm not sure how many Rangers fans have ever been in this area. I'm sure there were a fair number, but why the sudden influx of shirts worn in public, and caps proudly displayed on head and dashboard? One phrase comes to mind...

Fair Weather Fans.

A Fair Weather Fan is someone that supports the team when they win, and doesn't bother to support the team when they lose.

I'm not saying everyone is a fair weather fan -- that would be unfair and stupid. All I'm saying is that if you support your team, like I do season after season, enduring ridicule because I support a yankee team (I am NOT a New York Yankee's fan by ANY stretch of the imagination, so don't even GO down that road!), then you support the team, good or bad, year after year, regardless of the record.

You don't have to wear a t-shirt or hat or jersey all the time -- I don't, but I'm still a loyal fan.

I believe a lot of the "fans" out there are just supporting them because the jersey says "Texas". I can't believe that, all of a sudden, the BCS area is chock full of Rangers fans.

Some of you may stop and say "Hey! Wait a minute, bub! You live near Houston, and you've followed the Astros quite a bit! Aren't you a hypocrit?"

It is true that over the last few years, I've followed the Astros, mainly because my son was a fan, and my now ex-wife loved the Astros. I haven't followed them much since my separation and divorce. But I've always followed the Phillies, Eagles, and Flyers, and will continue to follow them. Besides, I can't fault the Astros entirely...they traded quite a few players to the Phillies the last couple of seasons!

So to you true blue Ranger fans, good luck in the World Series. And to the Fair Weather Fans? Let's hope you decide to become true blue fans.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Cloudy ,The Future Is Not...

I've talked about my son Hayden a lot since he was born. I've talked about how well he's doing growing up with cerebral palsy, and how he's faced challenges and overcome so much in his young life.

Yesterday and today, I had the rare opportunity to get the boys to school. This is the first time I've had to put both boys on the bus, and as much as I relish their education, it was difficult to watch Hayden in his wheelchair, hoisted up into the bus, and whisked away to his four hours of afternoon classes.

It was not difficult to understand he was going to school. I'm a huge proponent of education, as any parent should be, and I am involved as much as I can in my children getting a good, solid, well-balanced, and relevant education.

What happened to me today was a glimpse into the future.

Hayden kissed me goodbye, and I rolled him onto the hoist for his lift to the bus. He sat quietly, his little hands resting on his knees, his feet resting comfortably on the foot rests of his wheelchair. I had prepared for his departure to school, and was ready to wave goodbye...

And that was when it happened. A sudden and inexplicable glimpse maybe 20 years into the future. I saw my son, his face older but just as happy and just as handsome, his hair shaggy but not unkempt, his hands resting on his knees, older and callused from rolling his wheelchair on his own yet still youthful. He was an older man but still a young man, with hope in his eyes. He smiled at me. And then he was gone, and little Hayden was there, that same bright smile, so full of life...

I watched the bus drive away. I went into the house, and I cried. I haven't cried like that in years, and I don't know why but it was a mixture of sadness and jubilation. I was sad because my son will not be like other children and I know how hard that will be. I was jubilant because I finally saw hope -- the hope that my son will be as good as he can be, that he will succeed, and will have a full life, albeit a little more difficult than others can imagine. I finally saw it...

And love. I cried out of pure love of my son.

I am not a religious man, but I was given a glimpse into the future of a boy that will grow up and become whatever he wants to be. Just like I always knew -- deep down in my heart -- he would be.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kissing Mom

Conversation Alex had with his friend Madison in earshot of his mother.

Alex: "It's disgusting, but I kiss my mom. Do you kiss your mom?"

This post is simulcast in full living Technicolor on and on Facebook.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Birdies or Dummies?

Conversation with Alex this afternoon while playing 18 holes of Wii Resort Golf. I was only ahead of Alex by one stroke, and I just sank a beautiful birdie put from about 40 feet with a slight right-to-left grade in the middle off my path. The putt was so nice that it warranted the Wii to replay it.

Dad: "Yes, birdie! Excellent!"

Alex (not happy, as he's now 2 strokes back at even): "No, that was not a birdie."

Dad: "Yes, it was. That was a par 4 and I hit it in 3. That makes it a birdie."

Alex: "No, it wasn't a birdie. It was a dummy."

Dad: "I don't care if it's got a Ph.D in Dummy, it's still a birdie"

Alex: "Yeah, whatever. Play the game, Dad, and quit you're talkin'!"

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why We Tech Geeks Tell You Not To Do Certain Things

I work as an IT professional, and have for the last 16 years. I enjoy my work tremendously -- it's challenging and rewarding, and it affords me many things in life I never expected.

IT has become a large part of the business and social culture today that it's impossible not to have a computing device as part of your life. I know a few people that avoid IT technology altogether, but for the most part, people have embraced technology and use it in full force in their lives. I recall going out to dinner with a friend of mine recently, and the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed. Instead of simply guessing if another restaurant was open, or just calling off the night entirely, I whipped out the Blackberry, looked up another place on the Internet, found a phone number, and called the place directly from the web page. In 30 seconds, we made new plans. THAT is why I love technology -- making it easier to do things that in the past would have become a major project.

But for all that it does right, it takes a small amount of direction to make sure it works the way it's supposed to, and a little cooperation from the people that benefit from technology's rewards. In the computing industry, we call this group of people the "end user".

In the corporate world, or any relatively secure computing environment, we have a simple guideline -- a rule, perhaps:

Do not carry a computer from home and attach it to the network at work without first telling an IT professional at your place of business first.

Seems reasonable enough, I believe. While technology has made things easier, there are elements of the world that want to wreck havoc on our lives by trying to steal our identities, our financial lives, and even pose as us on Facebook, all with the intent of making money. I'm a capitalist, and I love making money, but there are ways to do it without stealing identities and making other people's lives miserable. For this reason, you just don't take your computer to work and plug it into the network.It poses a security risk and needs to be approved.

Here's what can happen if you don't do your due diligence...

WARNING: Techno-GeekSpeak to follow

Recently, I worked with a customer that called because the application I support suddenly stopped working. It had been working earlier in the day, but ceased later in the day. Because the software I support is used to electronically file corporate income taxes to the US Government, the application being down so close to a filing deadline is not acceptable and needed resolution.

The problem was that when the user logged into the application, they used their network login and password -- that being the same one they used to log into their computer each day. Makes it easier to remember passwords and makes the application more secure because it uses Active Directory authentication. In other words, there is a database that holds your login information on a computer on your network (and more than likely, there are a couple of these computers on your network) and tell you what you can and cannot do, and what resources you are allowed to use.

Now this is not a problem, but when they brought their computer from home (one the company provided), it caused my application to fail. That was because the name of the computer was the same name as the network name. So when the application tried to find the correct server, it was being redirected somewhere else (specifically, that computer that a user attached to the network) and login then failed.

What does all this mean to you?

It means that even if a company gives you a computer, you should make sure that you will be able to connect to the work network directly. That is your responsibility as an end-user. And, it's common sense.

If your IT department says it's OK and then something fails, the IT department needs to do their job and find the problem. So long as the end-user tells IT exactly what they did, and that they had permission ahead of time. My customer did do this and found the issue pretty quickly. However, that doesn't always happen, and the burden lies with IT and not you as the end-user. If you did your due diligence and asked first, and you were approved, your responsibility ends and IT has the burden of proof. IT should also not take the immediate posture that it's not their problem -- nothing irritates me more than when an IT department just blows off an end-user's concern because they don't think there is a problem.

Your should help IT as much as possible, giving them all details of the problem. That makes it easier to narrow down the problem.

The lesson is to use your head, ask permission, and if something fails after that, IT needs to fix it. Oh, and document everything.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010


Conversation with Alex while driving to the RSHS Class of 88 40th Birthday Party.

Alex: "So are you going to take me to play golf?"

Dad: "Yes, I can do that with you."

Alex: "Tiger Woods. He's a good swinger!"

You have NO idea how right you are...
Sent in living technicolor from my Crackberry

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Picture of the Week

Jill Gupta sent me this picture for the Picture of the Week, and it's a good one.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010


I went over to Best Buy yesterday and got my hands on an iPad. Best Buy had three of them on display for customers to try before they buy.

Having the device in my hand, I really liked the design. It was sleek and beautiful, but that's where the love affair ended.

I wanted to browse the Internet. OK, open up Safari, find the keypad.

Wow, was that keypad SLOW. I had typed out the URL I wanted and it didn't even fill in the address bar as fast as I typed it.

Web sites came up rather slowly for my taste. A bit below any of the browsers I was used to on my laptop, but enough to notice. This could get annoying real fast.

Oh, and then there's Flash. Or, rather, the lack thereof. Loads of sites on the Internet use Flash for video and games. They didn't work. Seriously, the one of the most popular and most developed platforms used on the Internet and it's not supported? Really? That's stupid!

A quick Google search (NOT on the iPad, by the way) revealed that newer iMacs might have had a bit of a problem with Flash performance. There also appears to be a Flash iPad release on it's way, currently in pre-alpha, but nothing official yet. The arguments in the field thus far are that Flash is dying, and HTML5 needs to take precedence. I agree with that, but until that happens on ALL browsers and operating systems, and Flash is still out there in use, then iPad needs to support it. Remarks by Steve Jobs suggest he hates Flash, but his hatred should be trumped by his customers needs. Since he wants to make them happy, as he mentioned in the recent iPhone 4 Press Conference, he should support Flash.

There were a few apps on this device that intrigued me. One was a star chart, but it not move with me as I changed direction, holding up the device, as would happen with a phone I once used. There was a music application with a piano keyboard, and it was OK, but not spectacular.

I think the iPad is a good device. Not great. I don't have a list of things I think would make it great...yet.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Picture of the Week

I decided I'll keep the title though it's not entirely accurate. It sounds good anyway.

Here's the latest picture. I found this off a website some time back, and thought it was humorous.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

The Heat on LeBron

OK, I really don't care about this, but you have to admit it's DAMN funny stuff.

LeBron James decides, hey, I need to leave Cleveland. Maybe. No one really knew. He decided to have a "special on ESPN" to announce "The Decision". The only good thing about this special, prime time slot was that proceeds from the broadcast were given to the Boys and Girls Club of America.

Couldn't he just write a check for that?

No, he had to go Prime Time. You know what will happen,right? He'll fall on his face and fail miserably.

I don't have that big a problem with him leaving the Cavs to go where he think he'll win a championship. That's his goal, fine, that's his goal, and in the end it's his decision and he has to do what he thinks is best for him. I really don't even think he'll fail flat on his face, though karma has a way of sorting these things out.

What bothers me is that from all the reports I heard and read, the owner of the Cavs didn't know until 9:01 PM EDT, one minute after the Prime Time special began, that he was leaving. His agent and PR person took care of it for him while he pandered on TV. You would think that the owner of the team would know before anyone else. That's just common courtesy.

It appears evident, to me at least, that LeBron had issues with Dan Gilbert for a while now, too. It's no wonder that Dan Gilbert's other company, Fathead, lowered the price of the LeBron Slam Dunk Fathead to $17.41. That would be the year that Benedict Arnold was born. Wow, talk about a statement. Not to mention, Dan had a few things to say to everyone else.

I've always been a fan of a player sticking with a team for the duration of his career, especially one that touts his hometown like LeBron did time and time again. I think LeBron could have made a big statement to his hometown, since he talked so much about it. Instead he went for what he thinks will be a championship. We'll see...

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Magic Tricks

Conversation with Alex while out walking at the mall today.

Alex: "Dad, I'm hungry."

Dad: "Alex, you had a burger two and a half hours ago with fries and a drink when you ate with your Grandma and Grandpa before I came to get you. You just ate a hot dog and some pretzel sticks from the hot dog stand a few minutes ago. How do you eat so much and stay hungry?"

Alex: "'s magic..."

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Picture of the...Month?

Maybe I'll call it "Picture Whenever The Hell I Want To", but in any case, here's another picture.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Photo of the Week

This is the beginning of a new weekly feature I'll call "Picture of the Week", until I come up with a more original name. Your job is to come up with a caption to the photo.

The inaugural picture is one of my son, Hayden.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

I'll Have What She's Having

Thanks for Crystal Cox Felty for this one. Made my week!

You can link to the video here.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hayden's Progress

In the last few months, Hayden has shown tremendous progress both physically and developmentally.

Lately, eating has become much less of a chore, with Hayden being able to chew his food without choking, and being able to tell me when he wants more. He uses sign language now to tell me "more food" or "more drink". The last 6 meals or so he's eaten more than I've ever seen him eat. For a guy with Italian heritage, that's-a my boy!

His understanding of language is incredible. While he still can't talk (other than saying "Ooooo" when asked what a cow says), he can identify all of his body parts and even articles of clothing. He can also say "I love you" in sign language. He certainly knows what he's doing when I tell him to stop playing on the TV stand and he smirks at me, and then crawls away when I get up to move him!

Physically he's also improving. He's started to walk on his knees, and if I hold his hands, he can walk quite far. Today he wanted to walk up steps but I was not ready for him to do that. He was pissed at me for 20 minutes!

I'm so glad we're seeing progress. Too soon, he'll be asking for the car!

New Math

Conversation with Alex this evening on the way home to my house.

Alex is learning math, and asked me to drill him. So I threw him a bit of a curveball.

Dad: "What's 5 plus 0?"

Alex puts up 5 fingers on his left hand, and raises none on his right.

Alex: "5!"

Dad: "Very good. Any number plus 0 is always that number. So, what's 10 plus 0?"

Alex: "10!"

Dad: "Very good! What's 100 plus 0?"

Alex: "100!"

Dad: "Excellent! Now, what's a billion plus 0?"

Alex: "130!"

Must be that new math. Perhaps Alex's processor has a floating point error and needs to be replaced.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Random Thoughts

Kolbheads -- Seriously?

Making turns in your car is generally easier when you're not blabbering into your cell phone.

When making a turn into a parking lot, it's not a good idea to stop when you're halfway into the parking lot. Just get in and turn around later. Please. For me?

Gravy is now easy. No lumps!

Earthquakes are caused by promiscuous women, huh? Wow...maybe it's the underground nuke testing?

McNabb and T.O together again? This is the Ike and Tina of the NFL.

There once was a man named Bertold
Who drank beer when the weather grew cold
As he reached for his cup...
Oh, snap! You just got limerickrolled!

"Here I come to save the DAAAAAAY!"

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Monday, April 12, 2010

"I said stop talking!"

Or here

Thanks to Rob Heller for posting the video.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

McNabb is Now a Redskin

What are they thinking?

Donovon McNabb, the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback for nearly all of his 11 years on the team has been traded to the Washington Redskins for a 2nd round draft pick this year, and a couple of other draft picks next year. Earlier in the week, it was announced that all quarterbacks on the Eagles roster, including Kevin Kolb and Micheal Vick, were up for trade possibilities. McNabb was the intended target all along, however, and now is headed 100 miles south to the Nation's Capitol.

While business is business and the NFL is certainly a business, I only have one thought:


McNabb, of ALL players on the Eagles, should be an Eagles till he retires. Like Johnny Unitas being a Colt, Walter Payton a Bear, John Elway a Bronco, and Dan Marino a Dolphin, Donovan McNabb will always be, to me, an Eagle. I don't care what uniform he wears. He loved the team, he loved the fans, even when they booed him. He wanted to remain in Philly for the rest of his career.

He holds just about every QB record in Philly. Ron Jaworski has him on speed dial so when he had to congratulate him on breaking yet another of his records, it would not take too much time. McNabb's number should have been retired at the end of his career, in Philly, where it belongs.

Yes, I'm pissed. I'm upset. I will still support my team but I will not be able to help myself when the Redskins beat the Eagles twice a year for the next several years. Yes, I said it -- the Redskins will beat the Eagles every time they play as long as McNabb is at QB.

No one would ever want to see Craig Biggio in another uniform besides an Astro's uniform. Mike Schimidt play for New York? Are you kidding me? Bret Favre a Viking...oh, wait...never mind...

It's just not right, and I believe the Eagles will rue the day they traded McNabb.

And, let's add more insult to injury. The Redskins have the number 1 draft pick this year. The least the Eagles could have done is scooped up that draft pick for such a highly skilled player.

Of course, I may be totally wrong, and McNabb will go down in a heap of flame, fire, and brimstone, and washout in Washington, and Kolb may be the next Coming of Christ in terms of football. Just sayin'...

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dropping the F-Bomb

Today, as the Healthcare Reform Act was signed into law, Vice President Joe Biden introduced President Obama to the mostly partisan crowd. As the President shook Biden's hand, Biden turned to the President's other ear -- the one away from the microphone -- and told him that this was "a big fucking deal".

In case you missed it:

You can see it here.

Immediately, news outlets latched onto this. CNN created several segments analyzing the F-Bomb. Some detractors chastised the VP on his language.

C'mon. Are you SERIOUS? Does anyone remember THIS little F-Bomb drop a few years back:

That video is here.

And then there's the time John Kerry called one of his Secret Service agents a "son of a bitch". Yeah, the guy that's supposed to take a bullet for him is an SOB.

Oh, and how about the time Dick Cheney told a member of the Senate to go fuck himself. On the floor of the Senate.

You know, the more important issue today was Healthcare Reform, and there are arguments for and against. Personally, for the record, it's needed, but I'm really concerned about cost. There is no clear, straightforward plan on how it's going to be paid for. And, the CBO states that the deficit will go down the first few years but then goes back up again, provided policy does NOT change at all in the next 10 years. If my taxes get hit because of this, on top of the child support I pay and the premiums I pay for health insurance for me and my three boys, that's going to really piss me off. There is also the issue of paying fines, starting in 2014, if you don't have an insurance policy, which is simply retarded to me.

But too many times today, this story popped up. "Oh, no, Biden said the F-Word!"

As if he's never used it before. Your kids probably drop the F-Bomb more often than Biden does.

There was plenty of other news today that was more important. Get of the fluff.

Of course, I contributed to the fluff, only because I wanted to point out how stupid it was. Big fuckin' deal :)

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Micheal Vick, the Eagles, and Does It Matter

The Answer is...No. But I'll get to that in a moment.

I have kept my thoughts quiet on the subject of Micheal Vick and his playing time with the Philadelphia Eagles for quite some time. There were plenty of times I started to write a reply to one of the several posts regarding Vick, his signing with the Eagles last season, and whether or not he deserved it. I stopped because I did not have enough space or time to write all I was thinking on the subject. I still may not hit all the points I want to hit, but I'll do what I can.

Last season, when the Eagles signed Vick for one year with an option for a second, my initial reaction was "What, are they NUTS?" I was thinking of the public backlash, the fan's reaction, and how the city, who wants a football championship to go along with the recent Phillies winning ways, would react to this new and clearly controversial subject.

Vick was chastised in the media for his actions, and punished for his actions, as he should have been, and deserved. Everything he received was justified. Even now, I believe that what he gets from the media and from fans is clearly justified. What he did was horrible, and he should be reminded of that every single day of his life.

But let's put this into context. It really makes no difference on the field at all.

Last season, Vick's contribution to his football team, which is his job and one he was paid to do, was not that high. He was paid little from a football perspective to practice with the team, be a part of the final team that played the season, contributing just one touchdown all season and providing little more than a quick change-up to opposing defenses.

But no one cares about that, because the root of their angst is his crime. A crime which he has done his time by law, was released by law, and was mentored, and continues to be mentored, by one of the most respected coaches in the NFL, Tony Dungy, upon release from prison. He was recently given the Ed Block Courage Award by his teammates. His statements to the press have all expressed thankfulness and humility, and it appears he is working his way back to football and his life.

Philly fans, and those that abhor his crimes, do not care about any of this. We are an emotional and strongly opinionated bunch, regardless of the opinion we take, and we are proud of that. The problem is that we are also headstrong and will hardly ever listen to reasonable arguments. We only care that he killed dogs for sport, but forget that he served time for that crime and was released under various plea arrangements.

So , what do I think? I don't like what he did. It was horrible. I have 2 dogs, both of which I love and trust more than a lot of people I know and have known. They are my children's pets, and they love my children as much as my children love them. To think that he committed these crimes is horrible.

But, from all I've seen, he's paid for, and continues to pay for, his crimes, whether by money, or time, or taking abuse from all angles of his life, including from within himself. But this in no way changed my view, as a fan, of the Eagles. I watched every single Eagles game last season that I could and did not get the impression that Vick was a factor in any of those games. Nor did I turn on each game thinking "Well, let's see if The Dog Killer is going to play today". It's just not what I was going to do. I was watching the games as an Eagles fan, as I have all my life, and that's it. Because in this case, I didn't see this as such a big controversy as everyone else did. Here's why:

  • He did the crime.
  • He did his time.
  • He continues to express regret and humility.
  • He continues to work toward forgiveness.

I have to accept that he's on the right path. Maybe not to salvation, but to being a better person. Only time will tell. I am not a religious man, but I do believe that people deserve to be forgiven. But forgiven does not mean forgetting, and the fact is that many people will not forget and will continue to condemn him for his actions. But I won't be one of those people.

Some of my friends will strongly disagree with me, and I welcome that disagreement. One of the greatest things we have in our lives is the right to disagree and to accept that we will disagree with each other from time to time. Additionally, they have taken their own steps in protesting Vick and the Eagles, mainly by not watching games, not purchasing Eagles merchandise, and just not being a fan. I support them, because that is their choice, and it's reasonable.

I try to put a lot of things into context, though, and there are worse things in this world than this one man who ran a dog fighting ring in his past.

I'll give you two examples of what I think deserve more attention, and that I would get into a more emotional argument about. My first example is the situation in Haiti and how that country is suffering from the recent earthquake, and from a government that has been historically corrupt and has done little to help its own people. On top of that, we have people in our own country that need help, and so little is done to help them. While I am all for helping people in need, it stands to reason that if you can give up $10 to send to Haiti, you can give up $10 to a local shelter or charity to help poor or underprivileged people in your own backyard. You should do both, but not forget either.

Another example is the ongoing allegation of priests in the Catholic church that continue to be hidden, moved around, and protected when they were clearly pedophiles (more stories here, here, or more recently in Germany and how close this gets to Pope Benedict XVI). I have 4 children, and would gladly and unquestioningly put myself in harms way to protect them. To think that kids that are abused in this way makes me angry, and to think that trusted spiritual leaders in a church are responsible for doing things to young boys just boils my blood to no end.

So when I put the entire Vick thing into perspective, while I am not oblivious to the public backlash, I just think there are more important things in this world that deserve more attention.

I also think about other people in this country who have served time for other crimes, and when they get out of prison, they are in the same situation as Vick, only much less publicized. Think about the gangbanger that serves, say, 2 or 3 years of a prison term, and is released back into society, looking to make his way back into productive society and is successful. There are plenty of examples of people that try to do the same thing as Vick -- get out and put his past behind him, learning his lessons without forgetting his crimes, and working toward redemption. We hear more about Vick because he was famous in the NFL, and as such this was a highly publicized event.

Baltimore went through a similar situation with Ray Lewis years ago when he was accused of murder, but was later acquitted on inconclusive evidence or evidence that supported him solely as a peacemaker in the incident. However, he made a deal to only be charged with obstruction of justice in exchange for testimony against the other defendants in the case, and was fined by the NFL and put on probation. He also reached a monetary settlement with the families of the victims in that case. Lewis continues to play football with the Ravens and is always involved charitably in the Baltimore community. I think, over time, Vick can take a lesson from Lewis.

So, The Answer is No, it doesn't matter, and that doesn't mean I don't see that Vick committed a horrible crime, and that he deserves all the press and backlash he gets. I'm saying it doesn't matter because there are other things that deserve more attention than whether or not Vick deserves to play football in the NFL.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Aggie Baseball

On Tuesday I went to an Aggie Baseball game at Olsen Field in College Station. This is not a rare thing, but usually baseball games are quite crowded due to Aggie Baseball's popularity, rivaled only by Aggie Football and, in recent years, Aggie Basketball.

The reason the stadium was light in attendance was because the visitor was Penn State University, which is the reason I went to the game. My friend Jeff Hughes told me about it, and for $8 I can sit in general admission seating right along the first base line and up over the visitor dugout.

If you have never been to an Aggie Baseball game, you are in for a fan shock. Aggie fans that sit behind he opposing dugout are quite brutal, and it takes a cool head to prevail when being on a visitor's team. I have witnessed people banging their hands on the dugout roof when the Aggies score runs, quick verbal jabs, insults, and other behavior rivaled only by what I've seen in my living room watching an Eagles Football game, or Battery Day at old Veteran's Stadium when JD Drew would appear.

The student section, the 200 section which is also general admission, is a lively group of guys and girls, figuratively throwing everything they have at the opposing team. Jeff is a former student, so this is where he sits when he goes to a game, and I joined him here. I could not help but laugh at the variety and originality of the rituals. For example, when the Aggies strike out an opposing batter, the opening theme from The Rifleman plays over the speakers, with the video on the flatscreen scoreboard:

Here's another link to the video.

At the end of the opening theme, the students sing the words "...because it feels so GOOOOOD!" along with the ending cadence.

When the opposing team switches pitchers, the students great him after his last warm-up pitch by announcing "Howdy, New Guy!" And then there's the taunting of the opposing base coach that refuses to step in the box, or steps partially in the box, asking him to please step in the box, or make a decision about the box.

But not all rituals are aimed at the opposing team. When a fly foul ball goes up behind home plate, a net is there to catch the wayward ball. Fans sing a note that goes up in pitch (no pun intended) when the ball rolls up the net, and lower in pitch when it rolls down the net. Eventually it rolls off the net, and one of the ballboys (kids under the age of 10, usually, dressed smartly in clean Aggie Baseball uniforms that match the team that day) runs over to get it. If they are quick enough to catch it, they get a big cheer. If not, they get "Awww!", and some students will even throw a jab at THEM! In the Penn State game I attended, a student yelled "Wow, your brother was better than you!", even though the child likely didn't hear the jab at all.

If a foul ball goes out of the stadium and out of site, students point in the direction it flew, and wait for one of many sound effects. Those effects include skid marks followed by a deafening car crash, or a car alarm going off.

And then, there's the train. Running parallel to right field is a train track that is in use for freight transport:

View Larger Map

Link to the Google Map web page.

Since the train runs through a populated area, the train is required to sound the horn before passing through a crossover. When that happens, fans raise their hands, extending fingers (not THAT one) to guess the number of engines on the train. The only prize is bragging rights that you were lucky enough to guess correctly.

The Aggies, in the last 14 years or so, have not had anything less than a really good team. There have been a few that have not performed well enough to make it into tournament play, but most do and get to at least the Super Regionals. Unfortunately, as much as I like Penn State, their baseball team is not at the same NCAA level as their more famous football team. The Aggies took advantage of that, and whooped them 17-3 that night. But the highlight of the night was when the PSU third baseman caught a popup fly ball and didn't screw it up. The Aggie students clapped patronizingly, made a few clean, offhanded comments that included how proud the boy's mother was, and wondering what the hell a Nittany Lion was (which I had to look up, too, because I had no idea either). But one clever fan did something that was just plain funny: He sang the cadence to Sports Center, as if to say that was his highlight of the night. I figure that was clever enough that he should get his degree.

Even if there was a baseball team I liked a lot more than the Aggies, I would have enjoyed the game because the antics are just as entertaining as the game itself. If you are fed up with how PC and nice-nice youth little league has become, take your kids here and let them see what they're in for at the college level, unless you think it might harm their delicate sensibilities.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Fire From The Texas Sky

Today in Austin, Texas, Joseph Andrew Stack III flew his Piper aircraft into the side of a building on TX 183 that was a local branch of the IRS. As the story unfolded from uncertainty, details unfolded to tell the tale of a man that was clearly depressed, angry, and finally, suicidal.

The question is not whether he was crazy in the end. The question seems to be, for how long did this occur?

As I flipped between CNN and Fox News, the story came together. He started his ending journey with a post of a 6 page manifesto\suicide note that explained why he did what he did. The note was no explanation by any definition of the word. It gives us incite into his mind, which, even Stacks admitted, was difficult to write because of the "storm raging in my head". But it was clear to me at least that Stack had enough and took a wrong turn in his logic to resolve his long-standing issues in his life.

I left the TV on Fox News for no particular reason other than I had a phone call, and the luck of the draw meant Fox News stayed on until my call was over. The 4PM CST hour arrived, and Glenn Beck decided to discuss this story in his usual, questionable manor.

Listen, I don't watch this guy hardly at all, mainly because his style reminds me of those late night televangelists that are so charismatic in front of the camera that it gets scary, and they get you to believe anything. You know, kind of like a sleazy used car salesman. I don't much like him.

But today I wanted to see his take on the big story. Within the first 5 minutes, he called Stack a "madman". I listened to his diatribe, and you can and decide for yourself. But when I think of a madman, I think of people like Stalin, like Hitler, like Hussein, who had a long gestating agenda to oust his opponents and fulfill self-delusional needs for power and absolution. Stack does not fit this description in the slightest. His logic was tragically flawed, and his need to make a statement evident. He was a danger to others and to himself, but there was no evidence of that until after his actions were taken. I don' believe he planned this months ago -- at least, the evidence does not show that to be fact at this point. I believe he simply snapped and took his actions on a path that was only logical and sensible to himself.

But there is one thing Beck and I agree on -- violence on this scale should not be ignored or excused. He was wrong to do what he did, and if he had survived, he would have to answer for his actions and pay for his crime. His actions serve no purpose other than to strengthen the resolve of the so-called lunatic fringe, on the left and the right, and does nothing to resolve the issue or assure the remaining 95%+ of us that would rather solve problems, and not try to kill people. As Beck points out, Bin Laden and McVey are the same in that regard -- killing people does not solve the issue.

So let's go back to my original question -- how long did he plan this eventt? It is still not clear for how long he made his plans. It would appear to have taken a short period of time, and over the next few days I presume we'll learn more about the planning of this event.

One thing Beck attempted to do was to use this as a lesson of how people like Stack make the republic weak. If you read what Stack wrote, he had legitimate concerns, though his thoughts were not entirely coherent, but I hardly think Stack's thoughts make the republic weak, no less and no more than Beck says the news makes you insane. The problem is, Clyde took a left turn and made a connection from the facts as he saw them to a course of action that made no sense to anyone but himself. Crazy? Perhaps. Lunatic? Yes. Madman? No, not by the definition I know.

The irony of this story is that the man was an accomplished pilot. He was single engine, instrument, and multi-engine trained and could have had an excellent second career as a small commercial pilot. Had he been a clear-headed thinker, or even had someone to help him think clearly, he may have been able to get himself out of his troubles. But his purported state of mind evidently prevented that from happening.

I hesitate to say that we should pity this man. He had a lot of trouble, and could have received a lot of help regardless of his previous challenges, and his loss of direction was his ultimate demise. But he took actions that should not be excused.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010


Conversation with Alex tonight during the drive back to my house.

This week, Alex stood on a chair at school, jumped, and somehow missed the floor and smacked his head on the table in front of him. He has a lovely bruise above his eye that's considerably smaller than it was when it originally occurred.

I was curious why he did this in the middle of class.

Dad: "Alex, what made you jump off the chair?"

Alex: "My feet."

I asked for that, didn't I?

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dramatic Chipmunk

I talk often about Alex and the conversations we have, because they are genuinely funny and I like to share how funny my child is. I think children at this age and even older, are funny -- something I think some adults lose over time.

But Hayden is funny, too, in his own way, and I've shared some things he's done. But I finally got some video of Hayden laughing so hard I think he wet himself.

YouTube has two videos that Hayden thinks are so funny, he laughs so hard that he almost has a hard time breathing, and in one case coughed and sputtered so hard I thought he was going to throw up. Both videos are by a group called ParryGripp, and all of the videos they make are very silly, but funny.

The first is called "Cat Flushing A Toilet":

This next video is called "Dramatic Chipmunk":

Now, here is Hayden, laughing his head off at the "Dramatic Chipmunk" video. I like that he quits laughing just when the video ends:

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

NBA Dancers and their Underwears

Conversation with Alex tonight as he and I watched the beginning of the rebroadcast of the Rockets-Heat game from The Toyota Center in Houston, broadcast on FSN Houston.

Rockets take a timeout. Commentators begin to breakdown the game so far to explain why the Heat are catching up (Two Words: Dwayne Wade), and the camera switches to a shot of a blond in a red sequin two-piece dance outfit, shaking what her momma gave her to a bass-thumping dance number. Alex stares at the screen.

Dad: Alex, I don't think you need to stare at the girl in the bikini that hard.

Alex (rolling his eyes): Dad, I wasn't looking at the girl. I was looking at her underwears.

Well, thanks for clearing THAT go get a towel and wipe your face there, Sparky...

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Sunday, January 3, 2010


Conversation with Alex last night while he took a bath, Hayden sitting next to him in his bath seat.

Dad shakes the bottle of no-tears soap to squeeze out soap and wash Hayden's hair, and accidentally bumps Hayden in the head. He realizes his mistake and rubs the spot on Hayden's head, and apologizes. Hayden was not hurt, but Alex was upset.

Alex: Dad, be careful. He has BONES in his head!

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