Sandlot Hero

5 04 2009

Opening day for Major League Baseball is this weekend.  This post is not about that.  It’s about sandlot baseball, whose opening day isn’t until the last day of school.

A few years ago ESPN counted down the top 25 sports commercials of all time, and I’ll never understand how this one wasn’t even on the list:

An egregious oversight.  I identify a lot with that kid.  I loved playing baseball with the neighborhood kids, even though I was terrible at it.  When you’re the youngest they send you to deep right field like this:  “Keep going… keep going…. farther…” and after you cross the street they’ll say “Perfect!  Stay right there and don’t let anything past you!”   

Only four months left until the Little League World Series.





It’s as if you were there…

26 03 2009

The school where Isaac takes his piano lessons had their annual performathon.  It’s always fun, we can sit for however long we want and listen to students of all ages and abilities performing on piano, violin, guitar, voice, etc.  We really enjoy it.  But Jonathan gets restless, so this time Karen handed him her point and shoot digital camera.  I always love seeing Jonny’s photographs; it’s like seeing into his brain and how it works.

nothing odd here

quite lovely

what is that thing on the ceiling, exactly?

okay, I suppose the chairs are interesting

yes we all knew this one was coming...

He made me show him these pictures right after he took them.

At this point I'm shaking with laughter

whew!  Back to normal.

omg why am I laughing tears?

So there you have it.  A peek inside Jonathan’s brain.  We hope you enjoyed the show.





The groundhog was right this year

15 03 2009

I’m not sure if I’ve done a “signs of spring” post in the past.  This is my third spring in the blogoshpere.  But I don’t care.  After months of cold and wind sucking the life force out of me I noticed three things this past week that that boon a change in the seasons.  

The birds have come back.

He looks delicious.  I'll bet he's lean from flying all that way.

The crocuses have sprouted.

It looks like they've sprouted, seeded, and died all while I was locked inside.

And the lilac bush is budding.  

Right next to the trash cans.  They make our garbage smell real nice.

So winter is on the decline and spring is speeding towards us.  You know what that means.  I’ll have to start cutting the grass again.





I’m Now Accepting Bids

2 02 2009

It wasn’t the refs, it wasn’t the crowd, it wasn’t the weather.  The difference in the game was my cooking and you know it.  Two years in a row now I’ve picked the Super Bowl winner correctly based solely on my cooking.  If any team would like my services I would be happy to start the bidding at two tickets to the game.

Ben was riveted by the game the whole time, honest.

And one other thing.  I can officially say that the most effective Super Bowl ad was the one for the Hyundai Genesis.  With all those people yelling “Hyundai!!!” a two-year-old in the room started yelling it too.





How do I cook a cardinal?

19 01 2009

Last year I used my cooking to predict the winner of the Super Bowl.  (Click here for the link)  It worked with amazing accuracy, but I had no idea just how much affect my cooking has on the outcome of football games.  Let me explain.

We had a friend over to watch the games this weekend and so we decided to cook as if there was a party.  I made a bunch of food that was heavy on the prep work and light on cooking effort, so we could watch the game relatively undisturbed.  Then the Eagles started to play badly and Arizona took a big lead early in the game.  It was then that I realized something.  Our menu consisted of chili, cornbread, and chips and salsa.  Southwest food!  

super chili

Then I realized something else.  Even though Ben was dutifully wearing a Steelers jersey, Karen had dressed Nate in red.

getting him Troy jersey tomorrow

See? Even Nate was shocked that the Cardinals won.  These two minor infractions cost Philadelphia the game, I’m sure of it.  So now I understand that my cooking has some mystical powers to it, giving me the power to change the fates of NFL teams.  I apologize to the city of Philadelphia, but I didn’t discover this power until after halftime.  Perhaps it was the wings I made a little  later that sealed the win for the Steelers, I don’t know.  I took Bobby Flay’s dry jerk rub recipe and made some jerk wings, and these were some birds that really bit you back (just like the Ravens) when you bit into them.

Have no fear, Steelers nation, I won’t be cooking again until I find a recipe for Primanti sandwiches.  And also, does anyone know, are cardinals game birds or something?  Maybe  close to pigeon, I could cook a squab.  

I’m even afraid to heat up the leftovers.





My superpower

13 01 2009

Hi.  My name is Mark and here’s my superpower.  I can watch the Steelers in the playoffs and still keep quiet enough that two babies can fall asleep on my lap.  Ben hasn’t been feeling well and required a lap to sit on all day on Sunday.  And Nate was, well, he was being Nate.  

he can still wave the terrible towel while sleeping

So I had two babies on my lap while Karen made dinner and helped Jonathan glue candy fish to a cutout of a snowman for kindergarten.  Ask her about that one, I have no clue.

Some good did come out of it.  Nathaniel got his first lesson in waving a Terrible Towel.





Cred

10 01 2009

I’m no chef, and that’s probably why you should never take my cooking advice.  But it seems as though you need to have a good reputation to garner any respect around the dinner table.  Let me explain. 

One of my favorite shows it Top Chef, and season 5 is currently showing.  And one of my favorites this year just got voted off.  His name is Eugene, and he was born in Hawaii and trained in kitchens in California, but never went to culinary school.  He started out as a dishwasher and worked his way up to being head chef in a restaurant.  To me, he’s already beaten the odds.  But this past week he made a dish that had everyone scratching their heads.  He used daikon, which is a Japanese root kind of like a radish.  He used a vegetable peeler to make thin strips of daikon and then cooking them like fettuccine and serving them with a tomato and basil sauce.  EVERYONE HATED IT.  I believe the sentiment was “What was he thinking?” by both the chef-contestants and the judges.  They made it sound like the worst food idea ever.  

But here’s the thing.  When I saw him introduce this dish I recognized it.  I saw it in the cookbook by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto (the most awesome chef in the world).  

It's my life's goal to eat at his restaurant.

I also saw him demonstrate the dish on Emeril Live.  Here’s a link to the recipe from Emeril’s show.  Here’s a video of the same demo on Martha Stewart’s show.

So here’s the question. Does Morimoto have enough authority that everyone gave him the benefit of the doubt, but Eugene doesn’t rate as much?  Or was everyone thinking “The old man’s gone crazy!” when his book came out?  Or didn’t they hear about this at all? 

Whatever.  I’m making this dish in the very near future to see if it is really that terrible of an idea.  I’ll keep you posted.





Resolutions revisited

29 12 2008

Part of the problem of having a blog is that you can’t ignore your new year resolutions.  There, they are, on Google’s cache for the rest of time, mocking me.  At the beginning of 2008 I made a list of things I would do this year.  Here’s the post.  I had four things on my list.  Let’s see how I did.

Replace the toilet paper holder?  Success!

That engineering degree is coming in really useful

Finish painting the stairway?  Success!

I used a really long stick to paint this

Do a better job with the dishes? Meh.

If you want them clean, come clean them.

Water the plants? FAIL!

Let's see... that used to be jalepeno plants

FAIL!

and that one used to be an African violet

FAIL!

started out as a tree; now more like a stick

Next year I’ll take better care of the yard.





Homage to Christmas Past

22 12 2008

Crash Bandicoot was Isaac’s first video game addiction.  I can highly recommend it for children.  It’s very silly and the kids love them still.  Yes, I caught Isaac playing Crash Bandicoot Warped on my old PlayStation 1 last month.  And this first exposure to video games came with a lesson in marketing for Mom and Dad.  At the mall arcade Karen and a four-year-old Isaac noticed a plush Sonic Hedgehog as a prize for winning tickets.  Isaac was inspired and asked if he could have a stuffed Crash Bandicoot.  “Maybe Santa will bring one” says Mommy.  Later that evening a very worried Mommy looked on Ebay to see if such a thing existed.  It did, and Santa brought it for Christmas.  

That was four years ago, and Crash has seen better days.  As the boys get older they enjoy torturing plush toys, especially ones that are already starting to rip at the seams (You should what Isaac did to the Spiderman at my sister’s house).  One of Crash’s arms was starting to separate, so he became the latest victim of the fearsome Four Cousins of Destruction

CSI PlayStation

I’ve been given no details of the interrogation (and I have no idea what happened to his eyeball), but this is how Crash was found the day after Thanksgiving.  As “Mean Ole’ Auntie Dawn” was about to earn her title I informed her that Crash was not long for this world anyway.  She relented.  Crash is bound for the refuse, and it does make us a little sad because it reminds us of a different time in our lives.  Jonathan couldn’t talk yet.  MMmmmmmm………………





The Cockroach Lives

4 12 2008

Back in ’01 I inherited a six-year-old car with 20,000 miles on it.  It still had the new car smell.  So Karen drove it to work – about a half mile away – for three years.  Then we moved to our current location, where Karen’s job is a bit farther away.  So now we have a thirteen (soon to be fourteen) year old car with not quite 90,000 miles.  Works for me.

Last year it needed over $700 in repairs.  It needed four new tires – oh yeah.  These were apparently the original tires to the car.  “These tires haven’t been manufactured since ’98” they told me.  I also needed to replace the exhaust system.  The muffler had rusted out and was dragging on the ground.  I hated spending all this money on a car that was ready to die anyway.  In frustration I told Karen “When this car fails inspection next year I’m getting rid of it!”  To be honest I was a little excited to replace the old girl.  I started looking at Jettas.

This year came and the car passed inspection.  No repairs needed.  Crestfallen, I collected my perfectly working Grandma car from the mechanic.  We’ll be driving her another year it seems.  I started calling this car “The Cockroach” because it refuses to die.

But then our OTHER car started giving us problems.  Our family car, you know, the minivan?  One headache after the other, and now that we have four little boys it is a very big deal when the van is in the shop.  So now we’re thinking that we might replace it before getting rid of the cockroach.  Then comes Thanksgiving weekend 2008 and she won’t start.

No!!  Take the van instead!!

But no worries, we had it towed to the mechanic and $200 later she’s back on her feet, er, wheels.  He told me “It looked like this car had never had a tune up – ever.”  He’s right.  But now that she’s entering her twilight years I think we’ll put a little more effort into preventative maintenance.