Friday, December 30, 2005

Random thoughts from the road

Some observations from my trip today
  • Favorite sight: the overweight couple reading in the Hartford airport. He's reading The South Beach Diet; she's reading People - cover story: "They lost half their weight." Any guesses on their resolutions?
  • I liked flying on Southwest - but have one complaint. No seating assignments - we know that going in. But they let all the families with children board first. The result is that they take all the front seats. Fine - puts the loud kiddies away from the less-forgiving adults (me). But that also means they're first to get off the plane = they clog up aisles trying to get organized long after the rest of us are ready to move. And then you witness things like I saw - young mom with two very small kids, trying to get hug carry-ons out of overhead compartment WHILE talking on the phone...
  • Why is my luggage always the last off?
  • How can you drink red wine on a 10am flight?
  • Bradley International Airport has the slowest security check point known to man.
  • Why do some people hug their coffee cups like they're made of gold?
  • On the drive from Nashville to Chattanooga, you cross from Central to Eastern time. I actually saw my phone clock change!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Coming attractions

Wow, can't believe I haven't blogged in days. The holidays have been super busy - lots of time with family, chasing my adorable nephews around. Spend a few days on Block Island. I intend to write more about BI in a future blog - don't feel like being eloquent at the moment. As a matter of fact, I think this will be my entire entry!! On the road back to the Scenic City tomorrow - and here's a preview of some of the entries for 2006:

Block Island
Reviews of Brokeback Mountain, The Producers, Memoirs of a Geisha and others
Pre-season thoughts on - what else - the Sox

I'll add to this list - it's easier than jotting on a piece of paper and losing it! 8-)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2005

I'm TRYING to turn the page

...but I keep reading more about the Damon debacle. I'm up in New England for the holidays, so I'm literally surrounded by Sox/Yankee fans and periodicals. I imagine that there will be tons of complaints and discussions about the signing tomorrow with the family.

Anyway, you can always count on Bill Simmons over at ESPN to capture the feelings of Red Sox fans and yet add some realism. He's got a great column today - "Damon, Dollars and You." I heartily agree with one of his points, that Sox fans would be the first to turn their Johnny if the Sox had signed him for big $$ and then he tanked next season. As he writes:

Fans can be incredibly unrealistic and naive. We expect athletes to maintain an unyielding loyalty to their current cities, even if they have been playing there for only 3-4 years. We expect them to understand the "importance" of something like the Sox-Yanks rivalry, to think exactly like us, to say to themselves, "Wait, I can't switch sides to the Yankees, that's our archrival!" We expect them to feel hatred for the teams that WE don't like, ignoring the fact that rivalries thrive solely because of the fan bases, because we're the ones keeping them alive. And we expect them to turn down Godfather offers out of loyalty to their fans, only we'll turn on them the moment they start struggling...

Anyway, if you're a Red Sox fan, I hope you learned two things this week. First, the Sox-Yankees feud matters infinitely more to us than it does to the players. That's why these guys have no problem switching sides. They just don't give a crap. Sadly, we do. And second, to paraphrase Ordway, it's almost always about the money..

Go read the article for a great perspective - one I share. And he closes with this great thought:

If he struggles coming out of the gate, Yankees fans will turn on him fast and furiously, leading to the rare scenario of BOTH Yankees and Red Sox fans being furious that Johnny Damon has signed with the Yankees. We can only hope.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Welcome back Mark!

So, amidst all the angst about Johnny Damon going over to the dark side, there is one bit of good news in MLB-land - at least from my perspective. Yesterday, former Red Sox second baseman, Mark Bellhorn, signed a one-year $800,000 deal with the San Diego Padres, where he will most likely be their starting 2nd baseman! Yeah Mark! He'll join former RS teammates Doug Mirabelli and Dave Roberts; and there is the potential for David Wells to join them as well.

There is a theory about Bellhorn - the so-called "alternate year theory." This theory posits that Bellhorn seems to perform best in alternate years. He had a then-career year with the Cubs in 2002; and we all know how he performed in 2004! The odd-numbered years seem to be his downfall - 2003 and 2005 were the pits! So, if this theory holds, 2006 could prove to be another awesome year for "the Bell."

Selfishly, this is fantastic news for me. The Scenic City is just 120 miles from Atlanta - and the Padres are due in there the second week in April!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

King Kong

Okay, I'm trying to leave behind my bitterness about Johnny. [One of my favorite quotes was about why would be shocked he'd pick another new trophy wife?!"]

I forgot to give you my take on Peter Jackson's new version of King Kong, which I saw this weekend - just prior to my flu. (I don't think the events are connected!) I thought it was visually spectacular - the special effects, art direction were beautiful. I thought Naomi Watts was wonderful - she goes through about the last third of the movie with barely any lines, communicating with the big age through body movements and her eyes. I loved seeing Colin Hanks again - he's been a favorite of mine since the tv series Roswell.

Okay, here I must admit that I don't think I've ever seen the original all the way through - just caught snippets of it here and there. But of course I know the story. So this was really a fresh film for me, rather than a remake, and I feel like I could see it with a fresh eye. The story is simple, but well written.

What is most striking if you compare the three film versions is how REAL King Kong is in this version. Brought to life by Andy Serkin (who was Golem in the LOTR series), he and Peter Jackson clearly studied real apes. Every move is natural, and feels real. It's easy to forget how huge he is and picture him as real. It reminded me of visiting the Atlanta Zoo years ago and seeing their gorilla exhibit. My companion remarked, "How can you look at these animals and NOT believe in evolution? They are clearly our cousins!" And that's how Kong feels - like our wild cousin.

My only complaint is the length - the three hours felt too long. I would have trimmed some of the dinosaur battles, although that is what will attract the teenaged fanboys. And I wouldn't bring any child younger than at least 10 or 12 - it's really quite a scary, gross film in parts.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Goodbye Johnny

Well, I was awakened by my 7 year old nephew with the news: Johnny Damon signs with the Yankees. My initial reaction was shock and disgust. Not our Johnny...

But then I started reading some of the news reports. It soon became clear: it's all about the money. Within minutes, he's talking about "our" mission - us being the Yankees, of course. Face it: he was a superstar in the little town of Boston, but how many pumpkins can throw out of the Ritz Carlton before you get bored? He's ready for the big city - and I'm sure he and Michelle will be featured daily in the Page Six column.

Or so he thinks. Just wait until the Yankee "faithful" watch him throw in from center! And will he, like Sampson, lose his star power once the hair and beard are gone?

And how's this for high self-esteem:
"A good leadoff hitter is tough to find, and I think that New York just found the best leadoff hitter in the game," he told WBZ.

And said former RS teammate - and now current Yankee teammate - Mike Myers: "I think he'd fit in great in the clubhouse, even though I don't know what the clubhouse is."

And that's the question. On paper, the Yanks are looking pretty scary - but one has to wonder how that gang is going to mix. Imagine Jeter - Captain Intangibles - trying to maintain order in a clubhouse that includes A-Rod, Damon, Farnsworth... Sounds combustible to me. I hope Torre got a deal with Metamucil this year like Francona had last year.

[What I found funny about the above cover was the opposite (front) cover. The headline read "Mad as Hell." That seems to describe some of the Fenway Faithful's reaction!]

Monday, December 19, 2005

Spice Molasses Cookies

This is one of my favorite cookie recipes - perfect for the holidays!

Spice Molasses Cookies
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups flourt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp baking poweder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice

Cream shortening, gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Add egg and molasses; mix well.
Combine flour and next 8 ingredients; mix well. Add about 1/4 of flour mixture at a time to creamed mixture, beating until smooth after each addition. Chill dough 1 hour.
Shape dough int 1" balls, and roll in sugar. Place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes (tops will crack). Cool on wire racks.
Yield: 4 dozen
Source: Southern Living 11/87

Sick call

Sorry I haven't updated in two days. I wish I could say I was doing something fun - but, no, I was sick with a stomach virus. A real killer - it comes on you all of a sudden and there's nothing to do except moan and sleep. Luckily, it wraps up fairly quickly - after 48 hours, I'm feeling better every hour. But I could barely lift my head off the pillow yesterday!

So, I missed one big thing. The LA Dodgers are now looking like Fenway West. They signed Nomar yesterday to a one year contract (reportedly $6 million plus a potential for $4 m in bonuses). Hard to believer he turned down that $60 million deal from the Sox just two years ago. Shows how quickly things can change in baseball. So he joins Bill Mueller, Derek Lowe, and Grady Little out there. Somehow I wouldn't be surprised to see Kevin Millar signing as a back-up out there. You remember, Damon said he thought Billy, Kevin and JD might offer themselves as a package somewhere - well, that's two of the three pieces with JD yet to sign as a FA anywhere. Hmm.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The All-Alphabet Team

One of my favorite parts of watching a baseball game is to keep score. I've got an official scorebook, and I track all the pitches, at-bats and plays. Every person who keeps score kind of has their own style, and I've spent this season fine-tuning mine. I even mark which plays get picked for the Top-10 plays on SportsCenter, what the attendance was, what the weather was like - even what funny things Remy and Orsillo discuss.

The hardest part is getting all the players' names in - especially if there are a ton of substititutions.

I pity those fans of the Kansas City Royals who keep a scorebook. Because today KC signed two of the longest, most difficult to spell names in baseball: Doug Mientkiewicz and Mark Grudzielanek! As someone on the Remy board pointed out, the KC infield now uses the entire alphabet: Minky, Grudz, Angel Berroa and Mark Teahen!

This opens up all kinds of possibilities for other acqusitions: Pierczynski, Graffanino, Garciapara...

Can't wait to hear how Jerry and Don deal with these when KC visits Fenway!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bye Bye Buelly

(Photo from

So, Bill Mueller signed a two-year deal with the LA Dodgers yesterday. He'll be paid $9.5 million - quite a raise in pay, as he made only $2.5 million with the Sox last year. Good for him!

I think we'll always remember two moments from Billy's career with the Sox. The first was THE game in July, 2004 - the incredible game that defined the 2004 season. The near cancellation because of weather, then the team leaders demanding that they play. The Tek-A-Rod brawl - that picture defines it all. And then Billy hitting the game-winning home run off Mariano Rivera. Simply awesome.

And of equal importance was his second head-to-head with Rivera, in game four of the ALCS. His hit up the middle to score Dave Roberts saved the game - and put the Sox on track to win the ALCS and the World Series.

On top of it all, a super professional and all-around nice guy. He was the eye of the storm in that Red Sox clubhouse, the voice of reason and professionalism. And he really won my heart when he autographed my baseball this summer. Looked me right in the eye, smiled and thanked me for supporting the team. Melt, melt....

What also struck me is that he's kinda short! Here's a photo I took of him and one of the KC Royals:

This is also one of my favorite shots - from Getty Images - they look like they're having so much fun!

So, good luck Billy. I hope that you're more appreciated and applauded than you were in Boston. Not that the Sox didn't appreciate you - but you were definitely not the superstar you should be.

I love this quote from today's Boston Herald:
Curt Schilling has been calling [manager Terry] Francona a lot — “Every time we make a move, Schill calls,” he said
Can't you just picture Schill siting around the house, drinking a beer, playing his computer games or surfing, picking up the phone and wanting to yak with Tito?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

You better watch out!

He's coming!

Please, Mr. Santa, bring us a new contract for Johnny Damon; a new 1B, SS, and maybe LF; and another winning season!

Oh, and there are several bad boys over in NY that don't deserve anything beyond a lump of coal. 8-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

As the stomach turns (continued)

The soap opera also known as the Boston Red Sox continues. Yesterday, they named Jed Hoyer (who's kinda cute!) and Ben Cherington as co-General Managers. What fascinates me is that it seems to take two guys to do the same job Theo did. But wait - if you read how Larry Lucchino describes their responsibilities, it seems like they're going to continue doing the jobs they're already doing -
[Hoyer] will handle major league issues, including player contracts, negotiations, and trades. Cherington, the 31-year-old former director of player development, will be charged with his area of expertise, minor league issues.
So who's going to do the GM's job? Will LL be the "man behind the curtain"? Hmm. LL then said that no details would be released on the length of their contracts or pay packages. And further intrigue when LL was asked about Theo -
''All we're saying is we'll keep the light on in the window, the door ajar, and if there's a fit, we'd like to see it happen."
[Is this a major league ballclub or Motel 6??]

I love the guys on the "Surviving Grady" blog site. I think Denton said it best today:

We don't have a center fielder, our left fielder wants out, no shortstop or legitimate first baseman, but we now have two GM's! Swell. ..At this point, I don't really care. Get me a shortstop with less errors than Dennis Rodman has STD's. Get me a centerfielder that doesn't have to run in and hand the ball to the cutoff man. How about a first baseman while you're at it?...This is baseball, not politics. Get us baseball players, not GM's.

In one other interesting note, Edgar Renteria was introduced to the Atlanta press yesterday. He admitted to having a bit of a hard time with the booing in Boston, and also (finally) admitted "that he dealt with back and leg injuries this season, which he said limited him to ''50 to 60 percent" at times, though he didn't say how much of the season he spent coping with those injuries." But my favorite line was that his 30 errors were really the fault of the Fenway infield -
''The ball bounces too much in the field of the shortstop, where I play," he said. ''The field is not good like other stadiums. One day it's bad, the next day, it's worse . . . I was uncomfortable the whole year."
Okay. Right. Whatever. How does he explain that 1/2 those errors (15) took place when the Sox were on the road - in other words, away from Fenway?

Finally, I want to point out a great editorial by William Raspberry in yesterday's Washington Post. He discusses his upcoming retirement, and about how he has to find another "space" to make his own. He says we all have three spaces - work, home and some other place, "those informal gathering spots where one finds not just escape but camaraderie, conversation, friendly argument and pleasant conversation with regulars." He laments that most of those places seem to have been lost. But I think they exist now in cyberspace. I have made a ton of "friends" through my RS message boards and chat rooms, people I can have those pleasant conversations with about our shared passion for baseball and the Sox. Maybe these are the third places of the future?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Also tried this one this weekend, from the December issue of Cooking Light. Very yummy!

Chicken Cordon Bleu
1/4 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
5 tsp. butter, melted
1 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 Tbs grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tsp. paprika
4 (6 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 thin slices prosciutto (@ 2 oz)
1/4 cup (1 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place broth in microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high 15 seconds or until warm. Stir in butter and garlic. Combine breadcrumbs, parmigiano and paprika in a medium shallow bowl; set aside.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap, and pound each to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt, pepper and oregano. Top each breast half with 1 slice prosciutto and 1 Tbs mozzarella. Roll up each breast half jelly-roll fashion. Dip each roll in chicken broth mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place rolls, seam side down, in an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour remaining broth mixture over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 28 minutes or until juices run clear and tops are golden.

Yield: 4 servings. 297 calories; 9.9 g fat; 0.5 g fiber. 7 WW points
Source: Cooking Light, December 2005

Szechwan Chicken Meat Loaf

Since the Sox are in disarray and my Christmas shopping is nearly done, I did some cooking this weekend! Here's one of my all-time favorites - it's great reheated or as a sandwich.

Szechwan Chicken Meat Loaf
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
2 Tbs finely chopped green onions
2 Tbs finely chopped carrot
2 Tbs finely chopped celery
1/2 tsp minced peeled gingerroot or 1/8 tsp ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cooked long-grain rice
1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs all-purpose Szechwan hot and spicy sauce
1 pound ground chicken or ground turkey
Vegetable cooking spray
2 Tbs sesame seeds, toasted

Heat oil in small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions, carrot, celery, gingerroot and garlic; saute 2 minutes or until tender

Combine green onion mixture, rice, water chestnuts, soy sauce, and Szechwan sauce in a large bowl; stir well. Crumble chicken over green onion mixture, and stir just until blended.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pack mixture into an 8x4" loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle sesame seeds over top of loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until meat loaf registers 160 degrees. Let loaf stand in pan for 10 minutes.

Remove loaf from pan; cut into 12 slices. Serve with Chinese hot mustard or plum sauce, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings. 163 calories; 4.8 g fat; .5g fiber. WW points: 4
Source: Cooking Light, March 1996

Friday, December 09, 2005

Who are you?

There was a funny moment in one of the games I attended at Fenway this summer. It was during the series vs. Kansas City, and they were bringing in their umpteenth pitcher from the bull pen. Over the PA system, suddenly the Who were heard - singing "Who are you?"

I'm beginning to think that should be the song played on Opening Day at Fenway this year. As of this morning, we have a totally unrecognizable infield. Lowell? Loretta? Marte? Oh, Youk - I know him. And now that we've cut our losses and traded Renteria, we need a short stop. (Nomar, anyone?)

Last night, word came down that Billy Mueller had signed with the Dodgers. What a great, underrated player - he'll be missed.

But the one interesting development is the Miguel Tejada situation. The legendary Baltimore ss is saying he'd like off the team - they're not doing enough to build a championship team, he says. Where would he like to play? Uh, how about Boston. Gordon Edes has a great column in this morning's Globe Edes suggests a straight up Manny-for-Miggy trade - Tejada is really the only player in baseball from who the Sox can get equal value money-wise and talent-wise. As he writes:
Replace Ramírez with Tejada, and the Sox become the best team in baseball. The only thing more obvious than his talent is Tejada's burning desire to win. Even his most ardent supporters can't say the same about Ramírez.
Plus - how about that Miggy-Papi combo? Might bring back some of the joy to the clubhouse that will leave in Kevin Millar's bag.

This prospect is exciting - but we'll have to see....

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The End of the 25

I think that someday they'll almost be mythological figures in Red Sox Nation. The 25 men who finally brought a World Series Championship to Boston. There were a few superstars, some real professionals, a few idiots. But mostly they were hard-working, middle-class kind of guys. The epitome of that team for me was Kevin Millar. He was the first to admit he didn't have the "five tools" that make a professional player. But he had a sixth - he had heart and determination. He never quit. Not when he wasn't given a scholarship to play college ball, not when he went undrafted out of college, not when he played in the independent Northern Leagues, not when he crossed picket lines to play for the Marlins, not when he was nearly shipped to Japan. And through it all, he kept a sense of humor, a sense of fun. A sense of optimism. Would the Sox have come back in game 4 of the ALCS in 2004 without his frenetic "Don't let us win today" speech? Maybe. But without his walk in the 8th inning of that game, the Red Sox would still be cursed.

Yesterday, the Sox declined to offer him arbitration, meaning he's gone from the team. He's a free agent - and after his poor season last year, the teams aren't exactly lining up to sign him. At best he'll probably find a spot as a back-up - maybe as DH. Maybe he'll pursue broadcasting - his appearances on "Best Damn Sports Show" on Fox and his handling of the media that last three years show that he's quick with a quip. Or maybe he'll try coaching. Whatever he chooses, he'll always be my favorite from 2004.

And NOW the anti-Millar forces even seem like they're realizing his value. Even some of the curmugeons over on SOSH have started a "thank you kevin millar" thread - saying they'll buy him a beer anytime he's in town. Right. Gordon Edes has a great tribute to him in today's Globe - comes across as a real class act.

As for the rest of the 25, I think we're down to 10 now! Gone already were Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Orlando Cabrera, Pokey Reese, Dave Roberts, Gabe Kapler (although he came back - only to be injured), Doug the Ballstealer MienkqwlKF (never did learn how to spell that!), Curtis Leskanic, Williamson, Mendoza. Over the season, we lost Dave McCarty, Mark Bellhorn (still bitter about that one!), Alan Embree. Now Millar. And Doug Mirabelli got traded yesterday.

Who does that leave? For the moment, Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Trot Nixon in the outfield - all of whom are subject of speculation (JD is a free agent, the other two are apparently being offered in trades). Billy Mueller was offered arbitration, but will likely go elsewhere for a multi-year deal. Mike Myers wasn't offered arbitration.

That leaves Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Curt Schilling, Bronson Arroyo, Tim Wakefield, Keith Foulke.

And with the trade talk about Renteria, the starting infield in April could be unrecognizable.

I know, life goes on - it's all about renewal - we need fresh blood (and legs and knees). And I'll be rooting for the new team as hard as I did this year. But it doesn't mean I can't take a moment, and mourn the passing of a memorable team, one that was fun to watch, fun to root for, and fun to win with.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Some fun quizzes

These are fun!
Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Astro Fire
Your Superpower is Extra-terrestrial
Your Weakness is Men
Your Weapon is Your Electro Knife
Your Mode of Transportation is Stilts
What's your Superhero Name?

Your Birthdate: March 28

You have a Type A personality so big it makes other Type A's shrink away in shame.
You never shy away from adversity - and you love to tackle impossible problems.
Failure is not an option for you, and more than a few people are put off by your ego.
You tend to be controlling, and you hate leaving anything up to chance.

Your strength: Your bold approach to life

Your weakness: You don't accept help

Your power color: Bronze

Your power symbol: Pyramid

Your power month: October

Now this one is eerie:
Your Career Type: Social

You are helpful, friendly, and trustworthy.
Your talents lie in teaching, nursing, giving information, and solving social problems.

You would make an excellent:

Counselor - Dental Hygienist - Librarian
Nurse - Parole Officer - Personal Trainer
Physical Therapist - Social Worker - Teacher

The worst career options for your are realistic careers, like truck driver or farmer.

Hot Stove Heating Up

So, all kinds of rumors and news coming out of the MLB Winter Meetings. Grady Little - former Sox manager and scapegoat - gets hired as the new manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers (back together with D-Lowe!). The Toronto Blue Jays have opened up the wallet - and acquired some pretty impressive pitching (all with initials instead of names - AJ and BJ and JP - are they going for the all alphabet team?). Lots of players lurking in the hotel lobby looking for jobs - Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon...

Latest Red Sox trade rumors: Renteria may be going to Atlanta. The Journal-Constitution confirming today that the Braves are very interested, now that they've lost Furcal. And Gordon Eades says in today's Globe:
the Red Sox were moving aggressively to trade shortstop Edgar Renteria...He could be headed to the Braves as part of a three-way deal with the Devil Rays in which the Sox would receive Devil Rays shortstop Julio Lugo while Tampa Bay would get prospects from Atlanta, presumably highly regarded third baseman Andy Marte and another player.

Poor Edgar - he never really produced offensively or defensively like we'd hoped. 30 errors is pretty noteworthy, and not in a good way. And when the "Faithful" turn against you, it's hard to recover (just ask Mark Bellhorn, ER)

Wells still being shopped to the West Coast, although now Oakland seems a possibility. Manny Ramirez - who knows? Now the word is that Doug Mirabelli might be headed to San Diego. (What will Wakefield do without him? Although I don't blame Doug wanting to be an everyday player) And Eades also reported in his "Extra Bases" blog that:
Ran into Scott Boras walking through the lobby last night just before 3 a.m. Boston time, and he said that he'd spent considerable time talking with the Sox and things were looking "good." Scott doesn't say that kind of stuff unless he's closing in on a deal.
Now that's good news! (Although it means another four years of Michelle!)

Finally, good-bye and thank you to John Olerud (or the Olderdude as we called him). He's decided to retire after 16 years in the Majors. What a sweet hitter - I saw him hit a grand slam this summer! And a class act all the way around. What I find amazing is that his stint in Pawtucket this past season was the first time he'd played in the minors. I hope he has a peaceful and happy retirement.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Jessie's Chicken

Over twenty years ago, when I was first entering the working world, my sister Kathy gave me a cookbook that her Junior League group in Rocky Hill, CT, had published. I'm not sure I've ever used any recipes in it - except one. It's called Jessie's Chicken, and it's a regular in my cooking routine. I made it this weekend - it's so easy and so good. And if you use low-fat ingredients, it's about 6 points per serving.

Jessie's Chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
1 can 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup
1/2 can white wine
1 pkg. low-fat Swiss cheese slices (optional)
1 pkg. Pepperidge Farms dry stuffing mix

Put ingredients in a 13 x 9" baking dish in the order listed. Spray top with non-fat butter spray (optionally, use pats of butter). Cover with foil. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes.

It's yummy - and so easy. Perfect on a night when you're running late and need something easy to prepare. Or on a cold winter night!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Sportsman of the Year

Last year, Sports Illustrated of course picked the Red Sox as Sportsmen of the Year (although the accompanying article was really a celebration of RS Nation - a beautifully written tribute). This years's pick?Our man Tom!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Yours, Mine and Ours

I grew up in a big family - I was in the middle of six. I still remember seeing this movie for the first time in the early 70s - and thinking, man, somebody has it worse than me!

The original film stars Henry Fonda as a widower with 10 children, who meets and marries the widowed Lucille Ball, who has eight of her own. They move into this massive house - one of my favorite scenes is how Fonda sets up the kids' bedrooms and bathroom assignments based on color and number. Of course, they all come to love each other - the big emotional ending is when each parent legally adopts the other's kids.

I love this movie - it's still one of those guilty pleasure films for me. If I feel down - or just in need of some "comfort food" - this is the film I stick in. Some of my favorite scenes are Fonda's kids spiking Ball's drink so that she gets wrecked; and the "typical" day in the Beardsley household - with poor Phillip always missing out on food or properly sized clothing. Add in a very young and hunky Tim Matheson....

I will not see the remake currently making the rounds. I'm sure this generation's version will appeal to them - looks like lots of slapstick fun a la "Cheaper by the Dozen." And I love Dennis Quaid - he played a similar role in the remake of "The Parent Trap" (which WAS superior to the original). But I can't bring myself to support this! Watch the original instead! As a a matter of fact, I might go do that right now!

So, I DID go back and watch it! Some notes
  • the original was made in 1968. That means Fonda was 63, Ball was 57. In the film, they have a baby. Don't see that happening in real life! But they did try to make them look late 40s - my mom had a baby at 46, so it COULD happen
  • Breakfast at the Beardsleys: 5 pounds of bacon, 3 dozen eggs and 40 slices of toast!
  • They go on their first date for an Irish coffee (Side note: went to the same place for Irish Coffee in March!) - the price posted was 75 cents!
  • Best line: hippie girl to Fonda as he squeezes by her and apologizes: "That's okay - that's why I come here"!!
  • Bill for several huge carts of groceries: $126.63
Man, I do love this movie!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I hate speed bumps

I think one of the worst "innovations" in traffic control is the speed bump. They seem to be mulitiplying and appearing everywhere! Several local neighborhoods have had our city install the bumps in an effort to control the speed of traffic using "their" street as a shortcut to the mall. Do they work? Are they effective?

My research says NO! According to this site by the Association of British Drivers (which is a non-profit organization whose mission is "to provide an active, responsible voice to lobby for Britain's beleaguered drivers & motorcyclists") studies have shown that speed bumps increase the noise level, the pollution level, and obviously damage done to vehicles. One report I read from the American Bar Association asserts that the installer of a speed hump is financially liable for any damage done to vehicles by the humps. There is also the danger of emergency vehicles being slowed in their response time. Finally, according to this article in Realty Times, there is some question over whether the Americans with Disabilities Act would prohibit the use of speed bumps. Certainly, private institutions which use these would be wise to provide alternative routes for those with disabilities, including those with neck and back problems.

Check out the last paragraph of that last article:
But, for every action there is an equal and/or greater reaction. Speed bumps incite drivers to drive erratically in an attempt to get around them, increase their speeds in-between the bumps in order to make up for the lose of time, and increase the cases of road rage as the driver becomes frustrated. In addition, speed bumps also have health implications in that they can aggravate disorders of the spine and neck, decease the time for emergency response vehicles, and increase traffic anxiety for the elderly. In the past, speed bumps have been touted as the Holy Grail, but the reality is that they are nothing more than a panacea that could end up costing you and your community an enormous amount of money as result of lawsuits.
I have decided to protest in a passive/aggresive manner. Every time I am confronted by a speed bump, I slow down and careful drive over it. However, the whole time a loudly and repeatedly beep my horn. I know, immature, but perhaps the cranky neighbors will miss their peace and quiet enough to have those #$#%%$ things removed!

{Have you ever noticed that the people who creep the slowest over these menaces are those in suvs and 4-wheel drive vehicles? Excuse me, I think those vehicles are built to take such obstacles are more than 3 miles per hour! Floor it baby!}