Thursday, September 27, 2007


After a long offseason, the season premiere of The Office is finally here tonight. Long live Dunder-Mifflin.


9/8c 09.27.2007

SPECIAL ONE-HOUR PREMIERE - A freak accident causes Michael (Golden Globe winner Steve Carell) to feel the office is cursed. He explores the religious beliefs of his employees before deciding to hold a charity 5K fun run. Meanwhile, further developments in the romances of Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski), and Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Angela (Angela Kinsey) are explored. B.J. Novak, Melora Hardin, Ed Helms, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Kate Flannery, Oscar Nunez, Phyllis Smith, Paul Lieberstein, Mindy Kaling, Craig Robinson and Creed Bratton also star.


Kentucky football is the darling of the sports media's attention right now. The New York Times even has a piece on them. Having a chance to be 5-0 for the first time in 30 years shows how bleak things have been in recent football history. You could even say their fortunes were sealed when Bear Bryant walked away from the job because he got a watch while Rupp got a car as rewards for their respective successes.

It took 50+ years but now Kentucky may have found its answer in a football coach retread that most people wrote off after his first two years on the job. I love the sweet retribution that is allowing Rich Brooks to have the last laugh.

As for the fans -- the tortured UK football fans -- who have stuck with the Cats through the lean years, they are finally experiencing the thrill of victory as well:
“They’ve been pretty loyal through some pretty sorry football,” Brooks said in a telephone interview last night. “Some of it was while I was coaching here. They are being rewarded for being faithful.”

Go Big Blue!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Derek

The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune. English Proverb

Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy Birthday to Amy

Happy birthday to Amy B who every year gets to put up with my annoying barbs about being two days older than her husband. Cheers!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Survival Mode

Amy & I often talk about the different modes of parenting that we go through on a daily basis. The good days are the organized days where as a parent you know what needs to get done, where you and the kids need to be, and when you need to be there. This mode requires thought and planning up front, which at times can be a downer because we don't want to feel like we have to live by an hourly schedule. But we have learned it is not a good idea to open the freezer at 5:45 and look for things to cook for dinner. A little planning helps ease the stress in the long run.

The other mode is survival mode, which is used on those days where you do whatever has to be done just to get through the day. Survival mode at our house involves more TV than we would ideally like (Curious George, Clifford, and Cars are periodic life-savers), take-out dinner, and questions like "Is a diaper really full if technically one of the adhesives is still attached even though the diaper is dragging on the ground?" I think all parents go through survival mode from time to time. It's not like we're the only ones by any means. And survival mode can work in the short-term, but we have found it wears us out if we try to stretch it into more than a couple of days.

This week at our house has been one recurring survival day after another. Perhaps Amy & I got spoiled last week when Billy and Elaine were in town to visit and there were four helping hands to entertain the boys. But several things have shoved their way to the front of the line this week. Three of our four are sick as the cough, cold and fever bug has landed at our house. Owen's fever topped out at 105 yesterday which had us watching him very closely. The sickness has thrown off everyone's sleep. Gus has refused to nap which sends him over the edge late in the day. Amy & I have been getting up at night like we did when the boys were newborns. Our neighbor saw Amy one night this week and remarked, "Wow, you look rough."

So needless to say it has been a survival week. One more day and we should get a reprieve with the weekend. In the meantime when we ask the boys if they love their mom or dad and one of them (Gus) responds with, "No, my love Monkey George!" we just have to shake it off and realize that survival mode is temporary.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Conductor & The Showboat

Each week the boys' preschool teacher sends out pictures taken during the week of all the activities that the kids take part in. From this past week, Owen & Gus stayed true to form as...

...the train conductor...

...and the showboat.

The boys are loving preschool.

How Sweet

What a throw. What a roar. What a win.

Go Big Blue!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Kentucky vs. Louisville tonight. Our crew will be glued to the tele to see if the Cats can break their losing streak to the Cards. Nana and Granddaddy are in town for a visit so we're making a college football day out of it as Tennessee plays Florida this afternoon. Granddaddy is trying to teach the boys to say, "Go Big Orange." So far the boys have obliged but continue to shout "Go Big Blue!" right afterward.

Ironically enough this is probably Kentucky's best chance to beat Louisville in several years and it happens to be a year when the Cards are a top 10 team. Neither team has shown much on defense the first two weeks of the season, and both teams have potent offenses. Jane & C.E. will be tailgating at Commonwealth and yelling for the Cats to bring home the Governor's Cup.

First team to punt loses. Go Big Blue!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fusion Addiction

My assault on my arch nemesis Roger Federer continues....

As my buddy Chris pointed out to me, the Gillette commercial touting Federer, Tiger Woods & soccer star Thierry Henry has already begun to completely saturate the airwaves, first during the US Open and now with the beginning of college and professional football. While the commercial hasn't reached the annoying levels that Chevy reached with its "This Is Our Country" ad last year, give this Gillette ad another month.

There is something more aggravating than the saturation factor of the ad and the "Look how fabulous I am" smirks these sports stars emit. I happen to own one of the Gillette Fusion razors that the commercial advertises. I got one free in the mail through a promotion. The razor is a great product with something like 4,000 tiny blades that provide a great shave. However when I went to the store to get replacement blades I realized that is how they get their hooks in you. A package of blades is something like $14. The free razor is the candy enticement, and I fell for it.

I am sure that Gillette will probably say they spent millions of dollars on research developing this little techno wonder mama of a razor. But I remain convinced that at least half of the proceeds go to the polish that Darth Federer uses to shine his pitchfork.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Lost Art

Great parenting read on the lost art of instilling respect in kids.

Maybe it wouldn't be so painful if parents would sign on to the following manifesto: Let's expect more help from our kids around the house and withdraw some of our frenetic investment in their academic, sporting and social achievements. Let's shore up boundaries and let them be kids in the kid zone. And let's allow them to experience some of life's disappointments. Let's talk on the phone and go out on weekends with our friends. Let's start worrying less whether our kids are happy all the time and more about whether we are enjoying them and ourselves. Let's get a life in the parent zone. And last but not least, let's resurrect an old concept: Father and Mother Know Best. ?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sister Act

Amy had her 18-week ultrasound today, and we learned (as sure as technology can tell you anyway) that there is a little girl on the way. At an earlier ultrasound a few weeks back the doctor told us he had a pretty good idea it was a girl, but today was much more conclusive. Baby #3 held up a sign that her brothers were already picking on her and told us to tell them there was about to be a new sheriff in town. Oh my.

Any name suggestions?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cousin Pix

As I mentioned last week upon our return from Glasgow, one of the bright spots of the weekend was the gathering of the family including several of the cousins and our little ones. Uncle Dude, Aunt Mel, Amy & I were joined by our cousins from Tennessee -- Brooke (with daughter Gabby), her brother Shane & husband Geoff -- for a rare opportunity for all of us to be together.

Young Gabby -- who is the spitting image of her mother -- entertained her younger cousins Gus & Owen on the back patio.

Owen & Gus don't get to see their cousins too often so we were glad to visit while we had the opportunity. Thanks to Brooke for the photos.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Return of Football

In honor of the return of college football, here is the final 1:47 of I-AA Appalachian State's incredible 34-32 upset of Michigan last weekend, what many are calling the greatest upset in football history. Enjoy!

Friday, September 07, 2007


Random notes on a Friday...
  • Amy has started working part-time again with IBM. She gets to work from the house, and she finally got the PC situation worked out. (The first time IBM sent her a laptop only an empty box arrived.) So we are working out our routines with the boys in preschool and Amy working. Amy sent me a message today that Gus decided not to nap this afternoon and was upstairs banging on the door for her to let him out. Conference calls with work can be difficult with two year-olds in the house. Like I said, we are still working through our routines.

  • Owen and Gus are really starting to enjoy preschool. They are in a Montessori program three days a week which gives them wide boundaries and allows them a lot of opportunity for self-direction. Gus loves to sing the songs (ABC's, "Good Morning to You", "There Are Seven Days in a Week" to the tune of "Clementine"). He is pursuing a greatest hits collection that we might be able to capture on video at some point. Owen is enjoying peeing on the toilet. No kidding, the notebooks that the teachers send home with the boys each day had an entry this week that Owen was doing really well going to the bathroom on the toilet and even drew a crowd of kids to watch. Nothing like cultivating your talents early...

  • Gus caught a case of pink eye from his cousin and/or aunt back in Kentucky. Of course I had to milk it by calling Melanie to give her a hard time. The pink eye quickly spread to both of Gus's eyes, but luckily for us the infection did not spread to Amy, Owen or me. By the second day of treatment, Gus was actually enjoying the attention that medicine time brought him and happily sat there while we put the eyedrops in his eyes.

  • Nomination for the best argument of 2007 goes to this week's spat featuring Amy and me and the missing baby monitor. Some couples argue over finances; some over infidelities; Amy & I go for big ticket items like whose responsibility it is at midnight to find that annoying Fisher-Price piece of plastic that is missing because the boys removed it from our bedroom.

  • Finally, my drum set has been dusted off and removed from the garage. No, Sightless Creed isn't planning a reunion tour featuring grunge songs from the early 90's. I have been playing with a few people from our church as part of a new service that we are trying out this Sunday. While my musical tastes tend to be much more on the secular side, I have to admit I have really enjoyed playing music with people again. The boys have enjoyed coming to our practices at the church and banging on the drums as well. Fingers crossed for a good first performance this weekend.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

US Open

Darth Federer is back in action -- dressed in full black attire no less -- as the US Open continues this week. Just a reminder if you call or email Amy, keep in mind that watching her dreamboat compete consumes a lot of her energy and may cause slow response times. ;-)



Life has a way of intervening at times that causes us to change our plans at a moment's notice. Last week was one such case. Our initial Labor Day plans included diving into a list of chores that has accumulated over the past several weeks and spending some quality R&R time at home as a family. On Wednesday that all changed as we got an early morning phone call that my uncle Carroll Benedict had passed away after battling lung cancer. It was a call that although many in my family were eventually expecting, we certainly were not expecting the call this soon. Once we found out the news, Amy & I put our plan in place to get back to Kentucky to be with family.

After an afternoon of sorting out work obligations, getting the van serviced, and packing clothes, food, toys, twins and dog for the trip, we drove to Asheville that night to meet the Crumpton crew which was also making the trip from Charleston. On Thursday we all drove the final leg through the mountains and across the gorgeous Cumberland Parkway to Glasgow.

The funeral visitation, funeral service, and burial service were all very respectful and obviously very sad. Carroll was very active in the community as a businessman and as chairman of the hospital board and active in the Tennessee walking horse community as an owner and breeder. He will certainly be missed by his family and friends. Our thoughts & prayers go out to my aunt Karen, cousins Jane Layton and Spencer and family.

While it is always difficult to find happiness in situations like this, we did manage to spend some quality time together with family and friends. With Owen, Gus and Corinne together for the first time in Kentucky there was a sense of energy and new life that helped raise our spirits. Corinne was fixated on her older cousins as they rummaged through Matchbox cars and Chevron trucks (given to me many years ago by Carroll no less). Now that she is crawling all over the place she was determined to participate in the fun with the boys instead of sitting on the sidelines.

Similarly we got to visit with many people that we rarely get the chance to see. We got to spend time with aunts, uncles, cousins, my grandmother, many friends like the Downings & Wards, and neighbors on all sides. We got to spend a lot of time with Karen and talking about the path ahead. We watched a DVD of little Maren, the girl from Guatamala that my cousin Jane Layton is adopting.

Being together with family and friends gives perspective and helps get through the troubling times. I am glad that we were able to make the trip back to Kentucky to be together with family.

Politico Tuesday

The coming weeks will be politically charged as Congress returns to session this week and General Petraeus's progress report on the troop surge in Iraq is due next week. The posturing has already begun on both sides.

Gene Robinson has a really good take on President Bush's statement last week comparing Iraq and Vietnam.

Bush, Rove, Dick Cheney and the other principal architects of the Iraq war never served in Vietnam -- in fact, they went to great lengths to put distance between themselves and the military adventure they now describe as both necessary and noble. At the moment, though, I'm less concerned about their hypocrisy than their distortion of history.

To say the United States should not have withdrawn its forces from Vietnam is to say that there was something those forces could have done -- something beyond napalm, carpet-bombing, destroying villages in order to save them -- that would have led to some kind of "victory." Of course, Bush and the others don't say what that special something might have been, because they don't know. They're seeing nothing but a historical mirage.