Saturday, September 30, 2006

Week 4: Football Picks

Week 4
SUN, SEP 30Pick
Arizona at AtlantaAtlanta
Dallas at TennesseeDallas
Indianapolis at N.Y. JetsIndianapolis
Miami at HoustonHouston
Minnesota at BuffaloBuffalo
New Orleans at CarolinaNew Orleans
San Diego at BaltimoreBaltimore
San Francisco at Kansas CityKansas City
Detroit at St. LouisSt. Louis
Cleveland at OaklandCleveland
Jacksonville at WashingtonWashington
New England at CincinnatiCincinnati
Seattle at ChicagoChicago
MON, OCT 1Pick
Green Bay at PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sign Language Update

Class last night was fun. It was our teachers birthday, so we all sang and signed happy birthday to him. It was bad on both counts. He got several cards and a cake, which had happy birthday in hand signs on it. That was very cool. The cake was good.

After class I attended my first sign group. We stuck around and chatted just about things. We spent more time talking with our mouths than our hands though. I caught myself doing it several times. I would start a story in sign, then get excited about what I was telling, and take of verbally leaving my hands way behind. In the race, my voice always won.

Again I learned a bunch of new signs. There are a lot of everyday things that I don't know the sign for, so I'm planning on working on learning signs before being taught in class. I think the kids will love to be able to sign for the foods we eat and animals we see, so my plan is to start with learning foods and animals. There are so many songs that can have signs done along with them too.

I wonder if there are any special sign songs that exist.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Jonas Update

Today Jonas went to the doctor and had his cast removed. His leg is healing nicely, but is not ready for everyday activity yet. Now he has to wear an air cast for 6 more weeks. There are some limits that will be hard on him.

He cannot stand without the air cast, a sock, and shoe. These have to be on him from the time he gets up until he goes to bed at night.

My little hill-billy will have trouble with this. The bigger problem will be that he gets up by himself so early in the morning that he could forget about it and try to get up before I'm even awake. The air cast does allow him to walk and take baths, but he cannot do anything else. Running, jumping, riding a bike, playing on a slide, these are all off limits. Any stredd on the leg could break it again. November 6th he'll go back and have his leg checked again.

Week 3: Football Pick results

Week 3
SUN, SEP 24TIME (ET)PickResult
Washington at Houston1:00 PMWashingtonWin
NY Jets at Buffalo1:00 PMBuffaloLoss
Green Bay at Detroit1:00 PMGreen BayWin
Jacksonville at Indianapolis1:00 PMIndianapolisWin
Chicago at Minnesota1:00 PMChicagoWin
Tennessee at Miami1:00 PMMiamiWin
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh1:00 PMCincinnatiWin
Carolina at Tampa Bay1:00 PMCarolinaWin
Baltimore at Cleveland4:05 PMBaltimoreWin
NY Giants at Seattle4:15 PMNY GiantsLoss
St. Louis at Arizona4:15 PMArizonaLoss
Philadelphia at San Francisco4:15 PMPhiladephiaWin
Denver at New England8:15 PMDenverWin
MON, SEP 25TIME (ET)PickResult
Atlanta at New Orleans8:30 PMNew OrleansWin

I am amazed. I went 11-3, that brings my running total to 33-13. I'm doing pretty well. One of my friends at work is in a pool that they pick the weekly winners like this, and he has a few more losses than I do. Hahaha. Maybe he'll start asking me for advice.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Jaden update

Jaden didn't start walking while I was in training. He is progressing and is now walking along the couch with just one hand.

We have been trying to get Jaden to clap for a while. I'm not sure why he doesn't want to do this. He has the fine motor skills for it, but he won't clap his hands. It's starting to be frustrating for Erin. He can clap his feet, and does so regularly.

Over the past two weeks we have been showing Jaden the sign for more and telling him more when he had finished eating his fruit puffs. Then we would give him some more. Yesterday, we were playing with Jaden kissing him and tickling him. We asked if he wanted more and he did the sign for more. I mistakenly thought he had just clapped for the first time, and got excited. Less than a minute later he did it after we said the word more again, and I realized my original mistake. He is signing more!!! It's awesome. I was even more excited than I had been. I guess we'll have to keep waiting on that whole clapping thing. Maybe he just won't be much of clapping type of motivator.

Saturday while grocery shopping, we bought Jaden his first real pair of shoes. He has owned shoes, but he didn't ever wear them. This pair we bought for him to wear at school. He was very excited with them and kept clapping his feet together. I think he got used to the extra protection on his foot though. That night while eating his dinner he kicked the high chair tray and hurt his foot. Too bad he wasn't wearing his shoes.

I've read several places that today is family day. Strangely it is going to be displaced family day for me. Ady will be with Erin's mom, Jonas will be with his mom, and Erin has a meeting at work, leaving me and Jaden home alone.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Week 3 Football picks

Week 3
Washington at Houston1:00 PMWashington
NY Jets at Buffalo1:00 PMBuffalo
Green Bay at Detroit1:00 PMGreen Bay
Jacksonville at Indianapolis1:00 PMIndianapolis
Chicago at Minnesota1:00 PMChicago
Tennessee at Miami1:00 PMMiami
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh1:00 PMCincinnati
Carolina at Tampa Bay1:00 PMCarolina
Baltimore at Cleveland4:05 PMBaltimore
NY Giants at Seattle4:15 PMNY Giants
St. Louis at Arizona4:15 PMArizona
Philadelphia at San Francisco4:15 PMPhiladephia
Denver at New England8:15 PMDenver
Atlanta at New Orleans8:30 PMNew Orleans

I'm trying to follow up the awesome week I had last week. There's a few upsets in here. I picked against Pittsburgh at home. Cincinnati has been on a roll and ended up last year with a better record than Pittsburgh.

I also picked against New England, I think they have fallen a long way from where they used to be.

Another travel nightmare

Coming home wasn't much better than going out.

Flight scheduled for 1:51. I was supposed to be home in Bloomington at 5:38.

I checked into the airport at 11:30 , just over the 2 hour recommended arrival. As I checked in the ticket counter guy told me that there was bad weather in Chicago and my flight had already been delayed and would not depart until 3:30. I thought oh no. not again.

We did board the plane at 3:00 and took off at 3:30. Then we got to Chicago and circled, and circled, and circled. A storm had stopped over O'Hare and it was closed. Nothing was going into or out of Ohare. We circled for just over an hour then redirected to Des Moines Iowa. Why? We were going to run out of gas. We didn't get to depart the plane in Iowa, we just sat there for 45 minutes while we filled up on gas and were able to get back in the air.

Finally, the 2nd trip to Chicago for me wasn't too bad. We only had to circle once before being able to get in line to land. Once we were on the ground we had to wait for a plane to pull away from the gate. Finally at 8:40, I departed the plane from my 1:40 minute flight to Chicago.

Before I left Dallas I was told that my connecting flight to Bloomington had already been cancelled and that there was no other flight for me to get on. Rather than get stranded in Chicago I called my dad and asked him to come and pick me up from the airport, and I asked if my bag could get off the plane in Chicago for me. I was told it could and the agent working the counter made a note in the computer.

My poor dad had to wait in the airport for me for over 2 hours. While he was waiting he sat down and chatted with the limo drivers that were sitting around waiting for their passengers to arrive. One of them mentioned that Gallagher was walking around just a little bit away. As Gallagher walked by, one of th drivers said something and he stopped and talked to them for a bit. So the delay was good, it let my dad meet Gallagher.

I however, got to stand around waiting for my bag. After everyone who was on my flight was gone and my bag hadn't I then went and stood in line at the baggage counter and waited. After about 30 minutes I got to talk to someone that told me that my bag was already on another plan headed for Bloomington. How can my bag be on a plane that doesn't exist for me to get on? Ok, well an hour after getting off the plane I am finally walking out of the airport with only the clothes on my back and my laptop bag.

The goog thing about being stranded at an airport and on a flight for a while is that there's lot's of time to read. I ran to the bookstore at the airport and bought a copy of a little known book by an author Dan Brown. It's called "The Da Vinci Code". This book had a really interesting looking cover and a few interesting quotes on the back, so I bought it. I got to read just over 200 pages on the way home. If you haven't heard of "The Da Vinci Code", I recommend it. I'm not finished with it yet, but it's definitely a page turner.

About 2 AM I was able to get off the phone with the baggage call center in India. Apparently there was nothing I could do to get my bag shipped home to me without me paying the shipping fees for the 50 pound bag. I won't get into the bad customer service that I got on the phone. My parents woke up and drove me the rest of the way home first thing in the morning. Finally at 10 AM on Saturday I was home.

It's interesting to note that both on the way out and the way back, I could have made better time by driving the entire distance on my own. I hate flying. I don't know what my next training will be, but I'm going to do everything possible to keep it within driving distance.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blazin hot

Tonight I went out for dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. I love being able to eat wings and watch baseball, so I was excited when I heard from one of my fellow attendees this week that Thursdays are .50 boneless wings. I almost always get Spicy Garlic when I go. It's about as hot as I'm comfortable with. Tonight I decided to venture outside my comfort zone and order half spicy garlic, but the other half, Asian Zing. Ok, it's not far outside my comfort zone. They are right next to each other on the heat chart.

I got my food and started eating and was shocked at how weak I felt. I have never had the spicy garlic hit me this hard. I must be getting weak, so I had a couple more figuring I would settle into it. Nope, I was feeling worse and worse. I noticed that my Asian Zing had a sticker on it telling me what it was, so I checked the other one. It was Blazin hot. Hrm. That sounds hot, let me check the menu. I'm glad they keep it at the table. No wonder I'm not feeling well. Blazin hot is as hot as it gets.

I've had hotter food before, but this is as hot as I've had several wings out to eat. Now an hour later I'm still a little shaky. I did handle the hottest that they had to offer, but I won't be ordering it again any time soon.

Missing Sign language

Class this week happened without me. It happened without Erin too. She wasnt' feeling well and decided to stay home. It's strange how much I look forward to going to these sign language classes. This isn't something that I have to learn. Bryan was born deaf, but he may be able to get implants that will allow him to hear at some point. However, there has always been a desire in me to learn sign language. It goes back to when I was an altar boy (no jokes please). I would sit during mass and watch Deacon Bob sign to some deaf people in the front row. I was always amazed. When he was my teacher for confirmation class I earned a 100%. He said that nobody had ever earned a 100% before. He enthralled me so much that I even entertained, for a while, the idea of becoming a catholic priest. Somehow my fascination with him fueled my desire to learn sign language. It's something that has constantly popped up in my life too.

When I was a freshman in college I became friends with a couple that were about to graduate. They were great people. I learned that they were both majoring in sign language. "You can major in that?!?" His parents were both deaf and he wanted to be a teacher to deaf kids. He was completely normal. His fiance, just wanted to be able to talk to her future parents, so she learned it. They were both awesome people. I'm kind of sad that I lost touch with them.

When I started my first post college job, a few months after I started a great woman named Lili started working there. She was a strange mixture. A Computer programmer who was also a sign language interpreter on the weekends. She could have made a full-time living interpreting sign language in Chicago, but she chose to work on computers. I had many discussions with her about sign language, and sign language with kids. She taught her daughter to sign, and at 6 months old Jessica was able to sign.

Now my cousin has a child that is born deaf. I think it's finally time I listen to the spirits. I get it. You want me to learn sign language.

During the last class, that I attended, we started to sign in sentences. This wouldn't be hard if we had something interesting to talk about, but we are given a word that we have to use in a sentence, and then put on the spot to come up with a sentence that seems to make sense. I'm not too bad at this, but it seems to give most of the people in the class a severe case of signer's block, which I'm hoping really is something like writer's block. In order to combat this hesitation, Teacher Steve suggested we get a sign group together outside of class to practice. This wouldn't be something that we are particularly using to learn, just a place to practice. The more often we practice the more comfortable we'll feel with the signs, and the faster we'll be able to use them. We spent almost half the class discussing when we can have the groups. Strangely, Tuesday night, is the only night that people seem to have available for this group, and that's when we have class. So now my Tuesday's are super Tuesdays. I get to go to class, then stick around after class and practice with my signing group. Some of the students will meet before and some after, we just couldn't all get together at the same time, and day of the week. A phenoma that has proved itself by only having a complete attendance for class one time.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jaden about to walk

Last Wednesday Jaden took his first steps. Erin and I were sitting on the floor a few feet apart. He needed some help to get his balance, but if he was balanced, he could take 3 or 4 steps before falling. In less than a week he's started try to walk away from the couch and turn himself around. He's still only getting 3 or 4 steps before falling, but he's so close. As soon as he gets moving he gets so excited that his feet start moving really fast and he can't get his balance. I was worried when I left for training this week that I'd come home and he'd be walking by himself. After talking to Erin tonight I don't think that's as likely. He's still progressing towards the walking goal, and I think he'll be there before he turns one. Ahh, that's just around the corner. I won't get into the insane rantings and conversations we've had about his upcoming birthday party, that can wait for another time.

Another quick note on Jaden's development. He finally started saying Mama tonight without being mad. He's been able to say it for about a month, but he would only say it if he was mad, any other time he would always call for dada. Of course he also knows ball, which comes out ba, and dog, which comes out da. But he very clearly looks in the direction of what he is saying with both of those. Erin was so excited tonight that she called me when he was doing it, but he wouldn't do it during the call. It figures that he won't perform on command.

Men are sloppy

I don't get this. The urinal is a very unsofisticated device. It juts out from the wall, a man hangs his thing over it and pees. This is not a big deal, there is no touching involved. Even a small man can stay 8 inches or more away from the porcelain and still go easily. A toilet has the complexity of having to aim down inot a bowl full of water which can splash, but a urinal, you just pee straight ahead, splashing is not an issue.

So why is it that men constantly pee on the floor in front of the urinal. I don't understand why I have to straddle their ignorant urine missed shots in order for me to pee nicely without making a mess. Are some men just so damn stupid when they have to pee that they don't realize what they are doing? Are they too busy trying to do something else, maybe talk on a cell phone. What?!?!?!

It's easy. Peeing takes all of about 30 seconds at most to aim, hold, and fire. Dedicate the 30 seconds needed in your life to be a straight shooter.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Jonas being manipulative

Jonas has taken into doing what I would hope is a fairly normal part of being a stepson. He's trying to manipulate and tell me that his mom says one thing, then tells her that I'm saying something that I'm not also.

I know that lying to try to please your parents is normal for kids, but Jonas is a little early for it. There are several websites that discuss the lying phenomena.
Queensland Government

Several of Jonas' stories include me saying that I want him to cut his hair, or that I said it was ok for him walk on his cast.

I'm very grateful that his mother and I are pretty good friends. We know each other well enough to know that the other wouldn't say some of the things that Jonas has been saying, and if we question it, we don't have any problem asking the other one about anything that we are concerned about. Raising kids is hard enough, raising in a blended family can add another level of complexity to it. Trish and Erin and I will all have to work together to raise that little boy into a great man. I know we can do it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Football Picks Week 2 Results

Week 2
SUN, SEP 17TIME (ET)PickResult
Carolina at Minnesota1:00 PMMinnesotaWin
Buffalo at Miami1:00 PMBuffaloWin
NY Giants at Philadelphia1:00 PMNY GiantsWin
New Orleans at Green Bay1:00 PMNew OrleansWin
Houston at Indianapolis1:00 PMIndianapolisWin
Detroit at Chicago1:00 PMChicagoWin
Cleveland at Cincinnati1:00 PMCincinnatiWin
Tampa Bay at Atlanta1:00 PMAtlantaWin
Oakland at Baltimore1:00 PMBaltimoreWin
Arizona at Seattle4:05 PMSeattleWin
St Loius at San Francisco4:05 PMSt. LouisLoss
Tennessee at San Diego4:15 PMSan DiegoWin
New England at New York Jets4:15 PMNew York JetsLoss
Kansas City at Denver4:15 PMDenverWin
Washington at Dallas8:15 PMDallasWin
MON, SEP 18TIME (ET)PickPick
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville8:30 PMPittsburghLoss

Wow, I only had 3 losses. I can't remember ever having done this well. I did have several very strange endings to games that went in my favor. The way that Pittsburgh looked today, and the way that Charlie Batch played last week, I wish they would have played Charlie Batch and let Ben Rothlisberger have another week to recover from surgery.

Is Minnesota for real? They've looked like crap, but they are 2-0 and the Bears have looked awesome and they are 2-0.

Buffalo is also 2-0. They helped to prove that Daunte Culpepper in Miami, is still just Daunte Culpepper. Is it just me, or does anyone else think he's losing muscle. With Human Growth Hormone being talked about here and there in the NFL, I'm starting to wonder about Daunte's possible illegal drug use.

Philadelphia's defense has been looking good, but now that they are minus Javone Kearse for the rest of they will give up a lot more than they have been.

I will not pick Oakland to win a game this season. Their best week will be their bye week when they don't have to lose. If you play fantasy football, put your players in when they play against Oakland, they will have good stats.

Travel nightmare

I'm in training this week. I expected that I would be able to catch up on a lot of little things that I've been putting off. Well, that hasn't gone well so far. My plans were that I would get to Dallas about 8 and be in my hotel by 9 for a good night sleep before training this morning.

Reality set in before I even got out of Bloomington. My flight out of Bloomington was scheduled for 3:30. I made it to the airport on time. While waiting, a giant storm blew through and delayed my flight. It was announced as being delayed for 2 hours. I ran up to the vending machine and bought a soda then got on the computer. It took me a while to get online and I checked my email, then they announced that we had been cleard to leave. It ended up being just a 40 minute delay. Since the department of homeland security doesn't trust the Coca-Cola bottling company I had to chug my coke before getting on the plane. I think this may have been a mistake. I got ill on the plane. I've never had a problem with flying before, but I had cold sweats and was holding the vomit bag praying not to need to use it. I felt bad. It didn't help that we flew through non-stop turbulence and the plane was constantly bouncing a lot.

Chicago wasn't much better. My connecting flight was the only one that got out on time. I missed it. I also had to run to the bathroom and throw up after getting to Chicago. With as bad as I was feeling, I was beginning to think that missing the connecting flight was a blessing. I was able to get booked on the next flight, and it was scheduled for 8:30. Before long the flight got pushed back to 9:30. 3 gate changes later, I was ready to board. But no, the announcer comes on and says, the flight attended didn't show up , we are waiting on a replacement. Finally we get on the plane...9:50. I feel sick still.
10:20 we are finally all on board, we've taxid out. I'm trying not to throw up. The seat on the new flight for me is the back row. My seat doesn't recline. I'm sitting with the bathroom right behind the wall from me. It stinks.
10:25. The pilot announces that engine number 2 won't start. We need to go back to the gate to get it fixed, but since the airport has so many planes late, it will take a while before there is a road open for us to get back.
11:00 we are back at the gate getting the engine fixed. I'm trying to fall asleep, but I still feel like throwing up. It must be about 90 on the plane, and the air is not blowing.
11:45 The pilot announces that the engine is working. Now we just need to wait for some ground crew to become available to push us backwards. Somehow, this multi-million dollar plane doesn't have reverse. All we need to do now is get out and push. I jokingly say let's just get out and push, those in the back few rows by me laugh. I resist the urge to stand up and yell it. I'm sure everyone is thinking it.
12:00 finally we are on our way. I'm so tired. I can't stay awake. I am in and out of sleep so many times over the 2 hours flight, I may have gotten about 30 minutes, but nothing was comfortable. At least I don't feel quite as sick this trip as I did the first flight.
2:00 we land in Dallas.
3:00 We have gotten off the plane and bags have finally come through baggage claim. Thankfully mine is on this flight, since I was supposed to be on a different flight.
3:30. The shuttle to the rental car place finally shows up. We stood there for 30 minutes, with the sign stating that it would be back in 11.5 minutes the entire time.
4:00 I am checking into my hotel.
4:30. I finally get everything settled in and lay down.
I overslept for class this morning. I didn't get up until 9 AM, class started at 8:30. I made it to class at 10. Thankfully, the first 2-4 hours of any weeklong training is really wasted, and I didn't miss anything important. I'm still sick. Hopefully after one good night of sleep I'll feel better.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Week 2 picks

Week 2
Carolina at Minnesota1:00 PMMinnesota
Buffalo at Miami1:00 PMBuffalo
NY Giants at Philadelphia1:00 PMNY Giants
New Orleans at Green Bay1:00 PMNew Orleans
Houston at Indianapolis1:00 PMIndianapolis
Detroit at Chicago1:00 PMChicago
Cleveland at Cincinnati1:00 PMCincinnati
Tampa Bay at Atlanta1:00 PMAtlanta
Oakland at Baltimore1:00 PMBaltimore
Arizona at Seattle4:05 PMSeattle
St Loius at San Francisco4:05 PMSt. Louis
Tennessee at San Diego4:15 PMSan Diego
New England at New York Jets4:15 PMNew York Jets
Kansas City at Denver4:15 PMDenver
Washington at Dallas8:15 PMDallas
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville8:30 PMPittsburgh

I don't have much in the way of upsets. I think New England will be a dissapointement, and for Miami fans, who are true believers they won't think they they could possibly lose again after being humiliated by Pittsburgh. The best thing that they have for them is that they have the 2nd longest week to prepare for this game.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Reggie Bush broke the rules.

It may not matter if USC goes undefeated this year. There were recently questiona about Leinart taking money from agents, and now Reggie Bush and his family have been reported to have taken $100K. What I find most interesting about this story is "The report was based on an eight-month investigation by Yahoo Sports". That's right. Yahoo Sports is not just reporting what others do, they are doing their own investigations. That's real journalism by a free website.

What I always think sucks about this though, is that, if true, Bush broke all these rules while in college. Now he's making millions in the NFL and the punishment that he'll receive is to lose the Heisman, and get his college banned from NCAA competition for a few years. The school that he used to go to gets in trouble.

If the NFL really wants to stop this and make college players stay clean, it needs to set up it's own policy that if players take money illegally while in college they are banned from the leage for 5 years. It will indirectly ban players from life it they break the rules, because almost no player will be worth anything in the NFL 5 years after having played in college, even if they stay in good shape. Drew Henson is a recent example of that.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

End of Season Baseball thoughts

The white Sox are frustrating to cheer for. With probably the best roster next to the Yankees in the AL, they are in 3rd place. They also are still close enough that with a single really good week they could win the division. I wish they would just turn it on early and run away with this thing. The way it looks is that they are just coasting and hoping someone else stumbles. The easiest way for someone else to stumble is when you are firing on all cylinders and kicking the crap out of everyone, including the pithcers that usually beat you. I hope we don't have to face Santana or Sabathia again this year, they both own us.

Alfonso Soriano is learning again why it is so hard to be a 40/40 guy in this league. He only needs one stolen base this time, and every team he faces knows that he wants that base. Be prepared for a lot of throw behinds and pitch outs. I think there is enough time left that as long as he continues to be patient at the plate and get on base, he will have his chance when a pitcher is too focused on a batter. I think he'll get there this time.

How close will Barry Bonds get to Aaron with Homers. He's been on a tear the last 3 weeks, now after being back in the league for a year after his knee he seems to almost be the Bonds of old. He already needs less homers next year than he has this year to pass Aaron, each one he gets this year makes next year that much easier. Does Barry stop after 1 year, or does he play 2 more trying to break 800? After all if you want to be considered the best you can't just edge out the best, you have to slaughter them.

Frank Thomas vs. Jim Thome. There's no question that Thome ignited the White Sox early this season, but he's been much slower since the All Star break.
Oakland has only one less win than the sox, Thome has 39 homers and 99 RBIs while Thomas has 36 homers and 98 RBIs. The biggest difference though is that Thome has the 3rd most RBIs on the sox, with Crede only 5 RBIs behind him, while the Big Hurt is running away with the Homers and RBIs on Oakland. Frank has worse numbers than Thome but would blow him away in a head to head MVP vote count. He's just meant so much more to Oakland than Thome has meant to the Sox. Personally there are some things that I like to watch about Thome that would drive me nuts when Frank was there. Thome can run. I've seen him get infield hits, and prevent double plays by beating the throw.; both things I can't ever remember the Big Hurt doing.

Alex Rodriquez is having a terrible year. He's only hitting .289, with 33 Homers, 110 RBIs, 14 Stolen Bases, and 104 runs scored. he does seem to be turning it on here at the end of the season, but that's when a team really needs you. In the last 2 weeks he has 6 homers and 14 RBIs. Where ARod really gets ripped by fans is his 22 errors fieldings. A gold glove short stop should play better defense at 3rd. I agree. But with the Yankees running away with the division and the best record in the AL I don't think he's hurting them. Is he worth the 25 million he's making, probably not, but that's really the fault of the Texas Rangers. The Yankees just happened to be the only team that could handle picking up that bill when Texas wanted out of it's huge accounting mistake. Rather than get rid of A Rod they should have fired the owner, manager, and GM that decided to pay that much.

MVP candidates.
In the NL I think Ryan Howard is probably the leading candidate. His Homer run and RBI totals are both very impressive. I think if Pujols didn't get hurt he would have been the best candidate. However, many voters are nostalgic, and Pujols has been good enough for long enough that he may get it because his numbers are also awesome.

In the AL David Ortiz name has been out there for a while. But with Boston falling apart and not a chance for them to make the playoffs I don't think he'll get it. I think it will fall to someone on a playoff team. Frank Thomas, Jermaine Dye, Justin Morneau are in my mind the most likely candidates. I think Derek Jeter is probably the most deserving, but with such a strong supporting cast I think it will go to one of the these three.

Cy Young Candidates
Johan Santana is running away with the Cy Young in the AL. I think even if he falls flat on his face to finish the season, which history has shown us he won't, he would still win it in the AL.

The NL leaves much more room for debate. Carlos Zambrano is 14-6 on a terrible Cubs team. They are so bad that I think they have a good shot at finishing as the worst team in baseball this year. At least they'll get a good draft pick. He's also got a good ERA and good strikeout numbers, but it's hard to give the Cy Young to a pitcher that can't raise his team up to a winning record. He even had Greg Maddux there to help earlier this season, and still the Cubs fell. No, I think that both Brad Penney and Chris Carpenter are more likely to win. Brad Penney because he is helping the Dodgers win their division, and leads the NL in wins at 16-8. Chris Carpenter at 14-6 has a better ERA than Zambrano, his team leads the division, and he's only given up 50 walks; Zambrano has given up 104. Plus, having made one less start than Zambrano, he still has pitched an additional 6.2 innings. That means he's helping the team's bulpen out that much more than Zambrano. If I had a vote it would be for Carpenter.

I think the Florida Marlins should fire Joe Girardi. He's only taken the team with a payroll less than half of the next lowest team, and put them in the middle of the wild card race. Please, fire him. The Cubs need a good manager, and he's got the makings of a good manager.

The timeless Roger Clemens is sitting at 347 wins right now. Will Houston hit well enough for his 2.27 ERA to get him to 350 this year? I hope he wants to come back again next year. If his biggest worry is getting into the hall of fame by a certain age, then the rules should be waived. Enshrine him now! He's got 347 wins, and is 2nd in strikeouts. Unless he starts gambling (like Pete Rose), then he's a guaranteed first ballot. He may be the first guy since Ty Cobb to be a unanimous entry to the Hall. Ok, I don't know if there has been another unanimous inductee, but he's just that awessome.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Book Review: God's Debris

Scott Adams has taken a very strange view on God and philosophy in his book God's Debris. There are some times in this book where I want to just throw it away, but there are also a lot of things that are interesting to think about in it. There are a few times that he seems to have run out of ideas on one topic and switches unexpectedly to another topic never to reference the previous topic again. There's some very interesing ideas on the viewpoints of men and women that make at least that section worth reading. All in all, this was an entertaining book. It was a free eBook, so it was definitely worth the price.

Football Picks Week 1 Results

Week 1
THU, SEP 7TIME (ET)PickResult
Miami at Pittsburgh8:30 PMPITW
SUN, SEP 10TIME (ET)PickPick
Baltimore at Tampa Bay1:00 PMBALW
Atlanta at Carolina1:00 PMCARL
Denver at St. Louis1:00 PMSTLW
Buffalo at New England1:00 PMNEW
Philadelphia at Houston1:00 PMPHIW
New Orleans at Cleveland1:00 PMCLEL
Seattle at Detroit1:00 PMSEAW
NY Jets at Tennessee1:00 PMTENL
Cincinnati at Kansas City1:00 PMKCL
Chicago at Green Bay4:15 PMCHIW
Dallas at Jacksonville4:15 PMDALL
San Francisco at Arizona4:15 PMARIW
Indianapolis at NY Giants8:15 PMNYGL
MON, SEP 11TIME (ET)PickPick
Minnesota at Washington7:00 PMWASL
San Diego at Oakland10:15 PMSDW

I managed to go 9 and 7. Not too bad considering I had a few that I was sure was going to win, but didn't. The Bears started off looking very good against a week Green Bay team. It will be interesting to see them play against Detroit, who looked awesome this week, at home. Go Bears!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fantasy Football Week 1 Results

AAHHHH!!! It's not good. My players let me down big time. Of the players I had, I did start the ones that earned me the most points, however, I didn't earn many points. Trent Green was injured and earned zero points, I'm glad he was on the bench. But my quarterback through enough interceptions to negate his touchdown, and none of my players scored a touchdown. There were 2 defenses that the defense alone practically earned more fantasy points than my entire team. I'm sitting in 5th (of 7) with no players in tonights games. Now I need to re-evaluate everything and see if there is anything that can make my team better for next week. I may be out of luck though, I think I've pretty much scoured the free agent list and feel that my current players are stronger than what's on the free agent list. I guess I just hope for better luck from my players next week.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lowe's rocks!

You have been reading about my home improvement adventures. I purchased all of my supplies on a Lowe's credit card which gave me 0% interest for 1 year. Yesterday I received my first bill and it has 21% interest on it. I flipped out. I'll spare you the 10 minute random rantings of a crazed overcharged madman. I waited a day to calm down. After all, whoever I talk to on the phone will not be the person who setup my account incorrectly.

I called the number on the bill, and after an IVR which was only mildly annoying recognized that I wanted to talk to a person I got patched through. I explained to Adam that I made my purchase on a 0% for a year deal, and he said, ok, I have changed it.

What?? I've only been on the phone 4 minutes. This can't be right. Are you telling me that as a customer service rep you are actually serving your customers. That's awesome. I'm definitely taking my purchasing power back to Lowe's instead of Menards.

Book Review: Chrysanthemumm

Chrysanthemum is a great childrens book. This is one of my favorite stories to read. The message in it is great. Chrysantemum's parents support her and raise her spirits even when her classmates make fun of her name. Finally a teacher that the children adore says that she has the long nam too. Then the other kids all want to be like chrysanthemum. The catch phrase from the book is "Absolutely perfect". I love it.

I find several other things interesting in this book. The illustrations are awesome, bright and colorful. Chrysanthemum's father has wonderful phrases in this book. After her mother says "Your name is beautiful", he continues with "And precious and priceless and fascinating and winsome." The next day after coming home and telling her parents about being made fun of, mom says "They're just jealous." But dad has to continue supporting his daughter with "And envious and begrudging and discontented and jaundiced." Holy cow. These are some great advanced words to help your childrens vocabulary grow. My kids haven't been curious enough to ask what they mean yet, but they are hearing them at a very young age.

The one last thing that I find interesting in this, is that when Chrysanthemum is coming home from school, her dad is reading self-help books to help them get through her tough times. First he's reading "The Inner Mouse vol. Childhood Anxiety". Then he's reading "A Rose By Any Other Name... Understanding Identity".

We also own Owen and Oh by Kevin Henke and Owen is another one of my favorite stories to read to the kids.

Book Review: Step Families

Step Families is a book that should be read by all of the parents that are involved in some way in a step family. Not just the step father/stepmother, but the parents outside of this as well. There are a lot of really good insights into different types of relationships that people have and how it affects the children. The reason the exes of the stepfamily should read it, is that they still play a very large role in the lives of the chlidren. I feel a lot better about things after having read this book. There are a lot of things that I know will come up down the road, and hopefully being aware that they could happen will help me be better prepared to deal with it.

Not that all knowledge comes from books, but a lot of experience that has already taken place can be put down in books and passed on. Sometimes it's better to learn from others mistakes than having to make them ourselves. This way, we can better ourselves without having to go through the struggles and low points that may have been part of the experience. Pick up a self-help book. Learn how to do something new, expand your mind.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I am a runner

"The more you run, the more you are a runner. It sounds simple and it is. There's nothing more to becoming a runner than running. It isn't how fast or how far you run. It isn't even how long you've been running. It's only that you run that makes you a runner."
-From No Need For Speed, by John Bingham

This quote from John "the penguin" Bingham accurately reflects my feelings as a runner. I am a runner because I want to run. I try to improve my times and increase my distance. I am not a jogger. I do not just slog through a routine in order to lose weight. I am a runner because I want to be a runner and I try to improve as a runner.

The same thing holds true for you. Not only with running, but with whatever you do. You are what you do and what you want to do. Are you an artist? Do you think about art, view art, doodle, draw, paint? If you do, then you are an artist. You don't have to get paid for being an artist, if it's what you want to do and what you spend time doing, then it is what you are.

Think about this the next time that you talk to a child. Don't discourage them. If they want to be something, anything, then encourage it. If that's what they are trying to do and thinking about and acting on, then that is what they can be. Being something doesn't mean being great at it. Too often we find something that we ar good at, or are pushed in the direction of something that will make money and miss out on what we are great at. Good is the enemy of great. Let children be whatever they want, and encourage them to do everything, maybe you can help them find their own great.

My first backup

Instead of spending all night blogging tonight, I backed up my important computer files to CD. 3 CDs for pictures and 1 CD for all the rest of my important files.

This is a momentous occasion for me. Even though I'm a big computer nerd. This is the first time I have ever backed up my important files. It's not that it's ever been hard. I've just always found something else to do. Not anymore. I'm making regular backups part of my new habits.

I have lots of new posts coming soon, my weekend may be very productive with posts. It's not that I've been skimping on my blogging lately, but this week, I've had quite a few good thoughts. I currently have 10 notes of things that I want to blog, but just haven't had time to.

My new 2nd cousin Connor and family

My cousin Brian was on the ball and sent me a picture right away. Here is baby Connor, mom Rachelle, sister Hannah, and Proud Pappa Brian.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


ESPN goofed today and posted their new story before it was ready. Take a look at the links. Someone else brought this to my attention, but I couldn't resist posting it.

Fantasy Football Week 1

This is the first time I've ever played Fantasy football. I'm kind of excited about it. My cousin setup a free league through Yahoo, and my team was auto picked for me. I did spend a bit of time prioritizing some picks and I'm mostly happy with the team I have. I've already checked the free agents, and I am pretty much going to stick with what I've got, with the exception of releasing Tatum Bell and picking up Thomas Jones. Denver is still undecided on their RB, but I think Thomas Jones will gain over 1,000 yards again this year, as well as get the touchdowns, which is where points really rack up in Fantasy football. The only downside is that since my team wasn't picked until last night, I can't get the change in place fast enough for week one. I think Thomas Jones will do well against GB this weekend, and I wish I could have him.

Here is my team.
Trent Green (KC)QBNo
Drew Bledsoe (DAL)QBYes
Rod Smith (DEN)WRNo
Donal Driver (GB)WRYes
Javon Walker (DEN)WRYes
Keyshawn Johnson (CAR)WR
Tiki Barber (NYG)RBYes
Cadillac Williams (TB)RBYes
Tatum Bell (DEN)RBNo
Jason Witten (DAL)TEYes
Dallas Clark (IND)TENo
Adam Vinateri (IND)KYes
Sebastian Janikowsi (OAK)KNo

Did anyone else find it funny that Brian Griese is auto ranked to be picked higher than Rex Grossman, which one is the backup?

Tigers release Young

The Detroit Tigers released Dimtri Young

The article says it's entire performance related, but I don't buy that. Dimitri has been performing fairly well for Detroit in the years he's been there. He was the first big name guy that wanted to go and help the team rebuild. I think that there is something deeper here. Either the rehab didn't work and the team doesn't want to deal with that, or he's just a pain in the ass in the locker room. A cancer in the locker room can kill a teams moral. The tigers have not been winning since he came back, it makes more sense to get rid of the player and try to get back to winning than it does to stand by him.

At least baseball is different from football. His contract should mean that he continues getting paid through the end of his contract. In football when a player is released they are no longer paid, that's why the guaranteed signing bonuses have gotten so big. It's the only money that a team owes a player that it releases.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New baby in the family

My cousin Brian and his wife Rachelle now have a new baby!
Connor Wilken was born 6 Sept 06 at 1403 hrs (that's 2:03 pm)
He weighed 7 lbs and 2 oz
He was 20 in long

Congratulations to them! They are both great, and I bet their daughter Hannah is very excited to be a big sister.

Weight loss observations.

Lately I've been trying to exercise more. I've been fairly successful at getting a few runs in during the week. And I've gotten myself in the habit of doing weightless exercises such as situps, pushups, and sqauts whenever I feel like I'm not doing something else. The good thing is that this has started working and my weight is dropping (yeah for me). However I find that I'm hungry more now. I'm not really cutting any food down, I'm just exercising more.

There's some interesting observations that I've made about this.
1. I'm always craving carbohydrates. I don't just want food, anything that's not carbs doesn't look good to me. And by carbs, it doesn't have to be junk food, pasta and potatoes are the biggest cravings I have.
2. When I eat carbs I am never full. I could eat 3 pounds of potatoes, I've come close.
3. Fiber does not satisfy any hunger that I have. I buy Shredded wheat and raisin bran because they have the most fiber (from readig the labels) but I still crave more food.
4. I cannot eat cereal for breakfast because I will starve.
5. Right now fatty foods are grossing me out. When I eat something fatty I gag. I have no idea what's causing that. Maybe it's the results of those hypnosis tapes that I was doing.
6. Protein, although it never looks appetizing to me, is the only thing that satisfies my hunger. I've been making sure I have some kind of meat to eat in the morning for breakfast, and for lunch.

I do what I can to eat healthy. I love salads, and use lots of lettuce and not many toppings in my salads. I just can't eat the salad and be full if it doesn't have any meat in it.

Football Week 1 picks

I have been picking football games for years. I must warn you, I'm fairly poor at doing this. Growing up my brother, dad, and I would each pick who we thought would win each week. We did this all season, it gave us weekly bragging rights. About the 4th or 5th year we were doing it I stumbled across the notebooks we had used from the previous years. Here are my picks for week one. I'll update my standings on Tuesday

Week 1
Miami at Pittsburgh8:30 PMPIT
Baltimore at Tampa Bay1:00 PMBAL
Atlanta at Carolina1:00 PMCAR
Denver at St. Louis1:00 PMSTL
Buffalo at New England1:00 PMNE
Philadelphia at Houston1:00 PMPHI
New Orleans at Cleveland1:00 PMCLE
Seattle at Detroit1:00 PMSEA
NY Jets at Tennessee1:00 PMTEN
Cincinnati at Kansas City1:00 PMKC
Chicago at Green Bay4:15 PMCHI
Dallas at Jacksonville4:15 PMDAL
San Francisco at Arizona4:15 PMARI
Indianapolis at NY Giants8:15 PMNYG
Minnesota at Washington7:00 PMWAS
San Diego at Oakland10:15 PMSD

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New CEO at Ford

Bill Ford has finally decided that his business skills aren't good enough to save Ford. This may be the biggest boldest leadership step he's taken. He has named a big boss from Boeing to help with the turn around. I think this is awesome because I am a fan of Ford and think that there is a lot of potential in their lines of cars. I have always been a fan of the Mustang and the F150. I also like the Escape and Focus. Ok, I know, most people can rip Ford up and down, but there are still some great things in this company, and Henry Ford is still one of the most quoted men.

Sign Language

After the second class I had a hard time remembering the new signs, but I kept at it and worked through my problems this week. Tonight we started with reviewing last weeks signs and I felt like I did very well. Erin kept telling the others not to encourage me. I guess she is worried that I'm getting a big head.

I find myself reverting back to my old ways in class of making funny remarks under my breath. It's both easier and harder to get away with it. Steve cannot hear my comments so I get away with them, that is until the others start giggling and he sees it.

Class with Steve is a ton of fun. He likes to tell stories, and be funny. He jokes when we stumble through our words trying to talk, but it's all good natured and we all laugh about it.

Tonight we started to work on phrases and communicating with signs rather than just learning words. It's strange trying to come up with things to say when you only know about 150 words.

Saving strategies for the poor

Don't spend money on things you don't need.

Only buy food that you need and cut down expensive habits such as Soda.

Cook at home. I can buy 20 hamburgers from the grocery store for $5. That only buys me 4 hamburgers at McDonalds, the cheapest of cheap fast food joints. Plus pasta and canned veggies/fruit can be purchased for less than 50 cents each.

Take advantage of potatoes. I can buy 10 pounds of potatoes for $2. There is no other food that I can get that volume for the price. A baked potato and a half a chicken breast makes a pretty good meal, add some salsa to it and you have a cheap variation.

There are lots of free or extremely cheap things to do for entertainment. Buy a notebook, (I just bought some for 10 cents) and write your life story. You can keep busy for months on the cost of paper and pen (total less than a dollar).

Go to the discount rack at Barnes and Noble. You can get books here for $3 that will keep you entertained for weeks. A bonus is that a book lasts longer than a movie and keeps your mind more involved.

Teach yourself to draw. For the costs of pen and paper, plus the cheap book from B&N you can stay busy for months. This could maybe even turn into a money making venture if you find you have a talent that you never knew about.

Go for a daily walk. Walking cost nothing and doesn't even require any kind of investment in clothes.

Exercise. A rubber band exercise set can be purchased for $10-$15. This can offer resistance training for most exercises. The last one that I purchased came with a chart of over 50 different exercises to do. Do this for 45 minutes a day.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fun with the kids

We had a fun ride back from the party with the kids in the car. It all started earlier this week. The kids were being super heros and Erin was "Evil Mommy", the vilain to scare all insecure children. At one point in the car Ady said "When I was a little boy, I used to play with boy toys. Mommy what's my name?". Erin told her, but I think Ady was looking for her superhero name.

Another Ady funny is when I call her Mistaken. She must think I'm saying Miss Taken, because she gets so upset and yells back at me, "No, I'm not taken, I'm ADY!" It's so much fun.

I can't remember even a quarter of what happened after that, but we giggled the entire hour drive home. It didn't seem that either kid could say things normal.

Jonas today was in the car and said, "Ady, you know what trading is? It's when I give you something and you give me what I want. So can we trade, I want your book, you can have mine". He didn't get to trade, Ady was too busy with the book to even acknowledge him.

Friday, September 01, 2006

What a day.

I wonder if Karma was trying to keep me from going to Springfield tonight. Today was completely nuts for me. At work I was the supposed to be in charge of production support, which means that any trouble any system was having it was my responsibility to fix.

Instead, Jonas decided to have trouble breathing and have two breathing treatments at daycare. Erin told me to get him to the Doctor. "Sure no problem." I wasn't real happy about having to leave work scrambling to cover me, but the kids health definitely comes first; really I swear, I'm the family first kind of guy. I called the doctor and got an appointment just far enough away that I could pickup Jonas and get to the office. I practically ran out to my car only to find that the front driver side tire was flat. Not just flat, like out of air; blown, as in metal mesh jutting out from both the inside and outside. I started to change the tire, but realized, that wouldn't be very useful. I'm not going to be fast enough to get it changed and still get Jonas to his appointment. Looking as if my midlife crisis and a nervous breakdown just ran into each other, I started to head back into work. I was ready to break down and cry about how bad of a father I must be, while having to call the daycare and tell them that Jonas will just have to hold his breath until I get there, followed by calling the doctor to ask that they stay open extra late for me tonight, it takes a long time to walk 30 miles twice. Then a car pulled up coming back from lunch and one of the passengers asked if I needed help. I quickly ran through the story, and I must have sounded like I was a recent graduate from Auction U.

Holly, it turns out is an extremely nice lady. She really doesn't know squat about me. Just that I sit in the corner, listen to my headphones and am mostly quiet while I work. It's better that way, not only does my voice sound like I'm 15 and on drugs, I don't ever seem to have anything clever to say. With about the most that she knows about me being from looking at the beat up Hyundai that I'm trying to change a tire on, she says, "You can use my truck, it's right over here".

WOW!!! Are you serious. I'm practically a stranger. Thank you God for putting Holly on this planet, Bless her and keep her safe.

Her truck is a nice Jeep Cheroke. And I'm on the road. The trip to get Jonas went faster than it's ever gone. I swore her spedometer was broken. 80 has got to be too fast. Does that really say 80, why is this semi passing me? Why am I still going 80 and not passing cars. Well, I was going 80, I'm a big enough nerd that I monitored the number of seconds between the mile markers. All that math did come in useful.

The Doctor's office was fine, Jonas it turns out only has a cold which is aggravating his asthma. I have to give him a treatment every 4 hours for the next 24 hours, and get him a liquid steroid. Back to work to change the tire. It took 25 minutes to get into and out of work. All I had to do was give Holly her keys back, wouldn't you know it, after 6 years working there, I know practically everyone in the building and most of them have seen Jonas. They all wanted to know about his broken leg. Here's how that conversation goes every time.

"What happened to your leg?" "I broke it." "I can tell you broke it, how did you break it." "I was at my grandpas and I was jumping and it turned up under me like this (grab other leg and twist)". "That must have hurt". Yeah, that's exactly how it goes every time. 12 different conversations in 25 minutes, exactly the same. I could have handed them their lines.

It took me about an hour to change the tire. The jack was a pain, and the car was parked on a slight hill. During that hour the car backed up just enough to fall off the jack twice. I don't have a rock spare, I have another tire, but it's bigger, and flat. After finally getting the tire changed I now have a flat driver's front tire. Ahhh!!! What was the point of that, maybe I should have just driven on the rim to the store. Luckily for me Rick was outside and I know him as a pretyy handy guy. He had an air compressor in his car. Thank you God for Rick and his help. Twice now the people I work with have shown that they are extremely helpful and great people. I've known that for a long time, I work with some really great people.

Finally, I'm ready to go to Walmart, it's 3:40. Walmart was fun. Jonas was tired. He has been stuck pretty much sitting still for the past 3 hours. It's not a good thing for him. But I have to deal with the guy at Walmart. 25 minutes later I finally am done at the counter. They are getting me two new front tires. I really need all 4, but the back two have different size rims and cost more and the technician doesn't seem very happy about it. At least from my untrained eye the back two look a lot better than the front two did, so I'll just get those.

Erin is now on her way to get me from Walmart. The lady who has since taken over for the guy who checked me in doesn't seem to happy with me wanting to leave the car overnight. "You can, and we'll lock it up, but we're not responsible if anything happens." I'll take my chances. Erin will be here in a minute, Jonas has been asking for a drink for an hour and half, I have to pee and I still haven't had lunch. Thankfully Walmart can solve all of these problems. But where will I meet Erin. I forgot my cell phone, and took hers when I got Jonas from the daycare, so I can be reached, but she doesn't have anything to reach me. I'll just guess that she'll meet me in the car department. Quickly, push the cart quickly... The bathroom, then French fries from the deli section, then a pop and pay, hurry back to the auto section, who the heck is calling me from behind.... "Erin, hey sweetie, I love you" That's so weird how did she find me in the middle of the store like that? Did I miss the page? Ok, let's get out of here.

We made it to Springfield for the party. Maybe Karma isn't working against me. Of course Jonas is had even more trouble breathing, and Bryan decided to take a nap, a very long nap. I got to eat dinner, but I missed getting to sing happy birthday to Bryan and I didn't get to see him play in his cake. That's ok though, I got to wake up at 1:30 and give Jonas a breathing treatment.

With as crazy as the day was, it was still a great day. Jonas is not having too much trouble and will get better over the next week. I have to go pick up the car tomorrow, but the tires will be safe. I did get to see Bryan, but more importantly I got to tell his parents how lucky they are to have had this absolute miracle born at 23 weeks, exactly one year ago.

Clinton-Gore for president?

It's clear that Hillary has been setting herself up for a run as the first female in the white house.
This recent poll on FoxNews shows that neither she nor Gore currently hold a lead over either Republican candidate that is favored. I find this very strange since Gore vs. Bush was so dynamic as well as Bush's rating being so low.

I haven't heard of Hillary having done anything while a Senator to screw up her chances for anything. Could a Clinton-Gore ticket re-unite the Deomcratic party against the Republicans? It could be that the familiarity would have voters turning out. They can even re-use campaign material from the past making the run for Presidency cheaper. Of course that would really depend on Gore wanting to help the democrats and serve his country rather than run it. Turning down the vice presidency with a mindset of "President or nothing" is a good thing. If you can't put yourself in a position to serve then we don't really want you in a position to lead.

In an era where a father and son served in the white house with only one president between, we seem almost eager to put a husband followed by his wife into the White House. Maybe after she serves for 8 years Jeb Bush can take it, Will Chelsea be old enough to be the 2nd female in the White house after another 16 years? How long can we keep the Democratic/Republican battle between just two families; the elite of America being contained within just these two bloodlines?

Maybe Guliani is the Republican savior. It's clear that he was the face of Patriotism after 9-11, but I have no idea what he's done that would merit a run for presidency. However, anymore all you need is for your name to be well enough known. I would think that Colin Powell is the best qualified Republican, but he is standing by his statement that he does not want to be President. It makes sense, no one with good leadership abililty really wants to be President. It is a position which takes a lot of blame, but doesn't actually have a lot of authority. The real power comes from congress, which the white house has to bargain with to get anything done. And it's a place where leadership goes to die.

What will it take for our goverment to allow our country to flourish again? We are faltering, failing at educating our children, losing business, dependent upon the Middle East, which we constantly declare as our most evil enemies. The only thing we export in America is jobs. As the country that is the most fruitful we should hold more sway in the world. We can feed it, as well as we have some of the biggest wallets. Let's put them back to use the way we need to. Cut the red tape and let American's trully be innovative again. Cut taxes, cut government. We need more protection from criminals, not more government.