Our first Christmas tree!

Here it is. Probably needs some more ornaments, but that's something you add over time I think.



Here are some photos of the new Christmas lights. I didn't realize until today that we have about 60+ feet of hedges wrapping around the house.

I think it came out pretty well. I'd still like to do more with the porch and house.. maybe some icicle lights.

I also picked up a Christmas tree today. It's an artificial one (I'm told real pine needles are bad to have around dogs), a 7.5 foot Wesley Pine. That's still in the box, though. We'll probably put it together and decorate tomorrow.


Christmas weekend

This is officially Christmas decoration weekend. We are getting a Christmas tree and outdoor lights and putting everything up this weekend.

It's a big project considering we don't have any of this stuff and I've never done lights from scratch. I'm thinking I'll string the hedges and the porch railing with white lights (colors are tacky, I'm told).

Any suggestions?

Maybe I'll go for something like this:


Thanksgiving with niece Jamie

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


More on the turkey massacre

A follow-up to video #2 below... Dave Letterman's top 10 excuses for Palin not noticing the extended turkey slaughter behind her during an interview.


My YouTube/Thanksgiving Top 5

For all those who need something to pass the time while your Turkey is roasting, I've compiled my top five Thanksgiving-related YouTube videos.

Please enjoy, and comment. Let me know if I missed anything.

5. Thermite Thanksgiving

4. Will It Blend? - Thanksgiving Dinner

3. Celebrity Bric-a-Brac: The Story of Thanksgiving

2. Sarah Palin turkey massacre

1. WKRP Turkey Drop


Today's New York Post.


Soup for you, two

UPDATE: The sweet potato butternut squash soup recipe has fallen to No. 2 most-read, as of 10 p.m. (surpassed, of course, by sex).

Soup for you

Usually there are obvious reasons for why things end up as the No. 1 most e-mailed story on The New York Times website -- major scoops, scathing columns, bizarre trends are the usual culprits.

But for some reason, today the most-emailed article on the whole site is a recipe for sweet potato and butternut squash soup. It's not even a story -- just pure recipe.

Never underestimate Thanksgiving.


24 live 2

Holy ghosts! The biggest revelation of the night: Tony Almeda is back in Season 7 -- as a bad guy! Clohe appears to have a return role as well, even though there's no more CTU.

Come on January!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

24 live

24 update: about one hour in and we've just had our first terrorist neck snap (with Jack's leg, no less). Already a torture scene too
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Jack effing Bauer

Beep.. beep.. beep..

After almost two years on hiatus, Jack Bauer returns to America's TV screens tonight just in time. Will he single-handedly win our two wars and kill Bin Laden? Will he solve the economic crisis by torturing some dude and stealing a secret data card? WWJ(ack)D?

Tonight at 8 p.m. EST (7 p.m. Cardinals time) "24: Redemption" comes back with a two-hour special episode. The full Season 7 doesn't actually start until Jan. 11/12.

Here's the official explainer for Redemption:

"Filmed on location in Cape Town, South Africa, and Los Angeles ...

"After sacrificing everything for his country, Jack Bauer is wanted by the U.S. government and now stands to lose the only thing he has left: his freedom. Working as a missionary in Africa, Bauer is called upon to stop a ruthless warlord from drafting innocent children into his murderous militia. First, Bauer must confront his own torturous past and face an impossible decision that will change his life forever. A decision that will set the stage and raise the stakes for Season Seven, which debuts in January 2009."

In the meantime, some things to enjoy:
  • 24 reasons to be excited about Jack Bauer's return. Some of my favorites: "Because it's been almost two years since someone bit a terrorist's neck off on network television." "Because, if you time it just right, you can watch Andy Rooney's segment on 60 Minutes, and then catch the start of 24: Redemption. This is as close as any human will ever get to time travel." "Because freedom isn't free unless Jack Bauer is thwarting nameless renegades and torturing in the name of America."


Wedding site

We're back. We found a great place in the Poconos on the Delaware river called the Shawnee Inn. Its a golf resort and hotel with great scenery for an outdoor wedding and very nice reception rooms inside.

Looks like this is probably the one.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Favorite people

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wedding day

We are going to look at a couple potential wedding sites in the Poconos today. Both are very scenic mountain settings. I'll post some updates later.



Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


A twisted colleague found this today. It is one of the more disturbing things you'll see. A Clay Aiken stalker impersonator thinks he's just singing alone after winning a look-a-like contest, then the real Clay appears and a total freak-out ensues.

Factose Intolerant

Comedy Central funnyman Stephen Colbert has a new subliminal catchphrase in the opening credits. It used to be: "President Bush, have a hot dog with me."
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Obama stuff

Really funny bit on the Daily Show last night about the crazy rash of Obama merchandise that followed his election.


Just learned about some cool online research and analysis tools at the workshop. Check out manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Road trip

Off to Harrisburg today for a workshop on investigative reporting and new open records laws. My journalist friends will find this interesting, the rest of you not so much.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


We (almost) made The Office again

Watch this deleted scene from The Office for the reference to hidden swear words in the "Scranton Times" Christopher J. Kelly columns. Yes, he's a real person and really our local columnist.

(Thanks, Chrissy)

Car trouble

Mr. Michigan, Mitt Romney, has a really interesting op-ed in today's New York Times, saying that taxpayers should not offer a bailout package to the Detroit-based U.S. automakers.

"If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

"Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course ...

"Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check."

Not only is Romney a former Michigan governor, who you might think beholden to automaker interests, but his father once ran American Motors.

His idea, shared by many others, is that bankruptcy could be good for the automakers -- a chance to overhaul and reemerge as companies retooled for the modern market.

The biggest risk I've heard explained, though, is that the label of "bankruptcy" may destroy the business. Consider whether consumers would buy any GM or Ford vehicles if they have concerns about whether the companies will be around in a couple years. Warranties could be voided, parts suppliers may no longer be around when repairs are needed.

Tough call. Here's another interesting take.


Hello World!

Hola, Salaam, Namaste, and Hello.

No telling why exactly, but traffic to the blog took on a sudden international flavor yesterday according to a check of the ol' analytics tonight. As you can see on the map above, we had visits from 21 different countries on Monday.

Here is the rundown: U.S., Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Australia, Argentina, Spain, Indonesia, New Zealand, India, Chile, Pakistan, Colombia, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, China, Venezuela, Japan, Peru and Taiwan.

Welcome to all. Hope you stick around.

I call this one, "Everything in my mouth at once"

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


The view from the hedges this morning.

We got a little sleet and snow last night, and sub-freezing temperatures for the morning dog walk. Guess I'm back to the mornings of fleece socks, three layers of coats and sweatshirts -- while Deacon trots along just fine with nothing but fur.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Been waiting for me to get home

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Blogging about learning about our new blog system at work. Pretty cool.

I may be starting a new work blog soon. Stay tuned for that.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


60 minute man

As I saw Barack Obama's first interview as president-elect tonight on 60 Minutes, I couldn't help thinking how neat it would have been if Ed Bradley were still around to do the interview. Steve Croft is good, but there would have been something really special about seeing Ed Bradley (the first black network White House correspondent) interview the nation's first black president.

I had the same thought about Tim Russert on election night. Tim wasn't black, of course, but he was such a central figure in chronicling American politics for decades and I would have liked to see him cover a story like this.

Click here for one of several Ed Bradley remembrances you can find by searching his name. The actual 60 Minutes piece that aired after his death was spectacular, but I can't find a version of it preserved online.

Niece Jamie

Visiting little niece Jamie today. She just started crawling and is kind of talking ("Hi dada").
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Lookin good

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Awesome game

If you're like me, you love games that challenge logic, problem-solving and wits. Check out this one I found... you play a suicidal businessman whose only goal, unlike most games, is to die in each level.

It's harder than it sounds. You have to learn new systems and rules as you progress. (Hint: While it says to just use the keyboard to move around, the trick to beating some of the final levels is to use the mouse in various ways).

I just beat it, see if you can.

Play Games at AddictingGames

Title on the line

Thanks to the Texas Longhorns' 35-7 romp over Kansas today, the Mizzou Tigers (8-2, 4-2) can clinch the Big 12 North title tonight against Iowa State (2-8, 0-6). Kickoff at about 6:40.


So sleepy

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

There it is

Tada. This will look better in the spring, but at least it's done. Those are some dormant tiger lillies in there now.

Not a bad project. Probably a couple hours of work, after acquiring all the materials. It takes a shallow gravel bed for leveling, and I used landscape fabric around the bottom and sides to control erosion and stop weeds. The rest is stacking bricks, filling soil and planting.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Papa Bear

Jon Stewart had a must-see interview with Bill O'Reilly last night. I particularly like the exchange (in part 2) where O'Reilly thinks the bear is a panda. (It's not.)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Today's project

A retaining wall planting area in the back yard. Never done it before, but it should be interesting. Ill keep you posted.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Democracy Uprising

If you thought Cheney's 2004 episode was bad, check out the way lawmakers settle things in Ukraine.. This happened this week as the Parliament voted on removing its speaker:


Science, the environment, human behavior and biology, design, technology and bold ideas -- if any of that interests you, you should check out something called TedTalks.

TedTalks (an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, Design) essentially are extraordinary people presenting extraordinary ideas. They come at an annual conference where these fascinating people gather to give brief presentations.

Fortunately for the rest of us, the most interesting ones are captured in audio and video and available at Ted.com or for download as podcasts. I highly recommend you check them out. There are more than 300 available, and many are sure to catch some of your interests.

Click here to go to the TedTalks video podcast page in iTunes.


One of my readers has requested frequent updates on our dog, Deacon.

For those who haven't met him, Deacon is a 14 month old Golden Retriever. Very playful and personable.

This is a picture just after eating this morning. He's definitely enjoying my being around all week to keep him company.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Dressing up

Going to hobnob with the Pittston glitteratti tonight at the big fundraiser dinner for the Pittston YMCA at the Mohegan Sun.

Perhaps some slots after?

Viral video

So I was watching "Morning Joe" on MSNBC earlier this week (like most mornings) and happened to catch host Joe Scarborough in a world-class accidental swearing on the air.

Naturally I instantly rewound the DVR, recorded the clip and had it up on YouTube in about 10 minutes. As of this post, it has been viewed more than 30,000 times and has 162 comments posted.

Pretty cool to have a video get that kind of traffic so quickly.


First post

So I'm starting this blog to help keep up with all of you friends and family out there who I don't see so often.

Hope you keep checking back for updates on life, work, videos and other stuff I find interesting enough to bother you with.

See you around.