Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is the "Blind" Archer Really Blind?

This is one of the questions I explore in my latest BuddyTV Olympic article.  My piece looks at the "blind" archer who broke a world record this weekend.  The Korean Im Dong-hyun never wanted to be considered blind, but that is exactly what the media jumped on.  It is an interesting story, and you can find out all about it over at BuddyTV.

Alas, Dog Trimmers Have Always Been Denied Olympic Glory

I had a lot of fun researching for my article about the oddest events in Olympic history.  The hard part was actually having to narrow it down to the few events that made the final cut.  There was one event that I really wanted to include in the article, because it was so absurd and over the top.  I had to leave it out of the article, because there just wasn't enough room.  Oh, and it also wasn't real.

During my research for the article, I came across several newspapers and entertainment sites that had done their own version of the oddest events in the history of the Olympics.  A few of the pretty reputable newspapers and entertainment sites included an event from the 1900 Olympics, poodle clipping.  The competition was apparently who could trim the most poodles in two hours.  The gold medalist was a farmer's wife from France, Avril Lafoule. 

I instantly thought this was even too ridiculous for those crazy folks back in 1900.  I wanted it to be true.  There were several news sites with solid reputations that were reporting it as fact.  But the problem was that I'd already scanned a site that listed all the now defunct Olympic sports.  Poodle clipping wasn't on it.  There was a chance the site was embarrassed by such a "sport" being showcased at the most grand of sporting events.  Maybe they wanted to erase the one moment dogs had a chance to shine at the Olympics.  Maybe the compiler once had a dog pee on his leg, and so out of revenge, decided to wipe their records from Olympic history.  Maybe these news sites and newspapers were able to uncover the truth.

I did a bit a more research.  I wanted to verify this golden nugget.  I wanted it very badly to be the centrepiece of my article.

It took me about 30 seconds to discover the original source of the poodle clipping competition.  It was an article written by Chris Lyle for the London Telegraph, and it was written 128 before the Beijing Olympics in 2008.  In the piece, it mentioned that with 128 days to go that it was fitting to mention there were 128 competitors in the poodle clipping event in the Paris 1900 Olympics.  He then went on to give a quick recap of the event.

Now, you may wonder how can an article in 2008 be the original source of an event that happened in 1900.

Well, look at your 2008 calendar.  The Olympics started on August 8th.  If you go back 128 days, then your finger should land on April 1st.

Hmmmm. . . whatever happens on April 1st?

Yes, several newspapers and news sites have fallen for an April Fool’s joke planted back in 2008.  Now, some of the sources I read were back in 2008, but none of them ever offered up a retraction.

This again pushed me towards my venomous rant against people who don't bother to verify sources, but happily gobble up whatever they read.  It is even worse when it is a reporter who should know better.  But I'll spare you today, and leave my venom in the drawer for now.  I'm sure I'll have to use it when I spend too much time watching Olympic coverage over on NBC (always my very last stop on the Olympic coverage tour).

How did so many usually high quality sites get so easily suckered?

Well, one is that it is a pain in the ass to have to do actual research.  It is much easier to just grab another article and report their stuff as fact.  You just hope they did their research or that they aren't doing a joke article.  Probably best to not get your facts on April 1st though. 

To be fair, it would be pretty hard to get a lot of details from the 1900 Olympics.  They didn't have the internet then, you know.  But a reporter’s job is to research the facts.  We do have things like archives and libraries for a reason.  I am the last person to get on a person's case for being lazy, but I'm also a writer.  When I am writing fact articles, I tend to like making sure they are actually fact.

The other reason is that it is just so absurd and silly that you want it to be true.  If you're compiling an article about the oddest facts, this is the crown jewel.  A sport that is clipping poodles.  It is ridiculous.  It will surely make your entire readers chuckle.  You really want it to be true.

Plus 1900 was the year they had an event to see who can kill the most pigeons.  They did have some crazy events, and stuff that would never be allowed today.  The poodle trimming probably is only slightly more absurd than the pigeon shooting, but that is a pretty debatable point.  They do still have hunting shows, but they'd never get away with doing something like that on a global stage.  But then again, they also have dog shows, and I only have a very vague idea of what they do.

I realize how this prank got passed as fact.  And I really wish it wasn't fiction.  It is the most awesome absurd event ever.  But sadly, Avril Lafoule never won the only poodle clipping Olympic competition, and she also likely never existed.

Now, freestyle Llama racing from the 1908 Olympics, that was a classic. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

So, I Haven't Filled Your BuddyTV Article Craving?

Well, I've just got two more articles published on the site.  You've got three articles to fill your time in between swimming heats tonight.  You'll want to check them out, because I think they're pretty good, but also, it is easier to justify getting more work if people actually read my stuff.

My second article for the site is about Canadian diver Alexandre Despatie's remarkable recovery from his career threatening injury he sustained in June.  It was a Hollywood like comeback, but we'll have to wait to see if it has a happy ending.

My third article of the night is an incredible story about marathon runner Guor Marial.  He is running as an independent in the Olympics, but he is still full of patriotism.  Defintiely check out his amazing journey to the Olympics, because he has experience stuff many athletes have never even imagined.

It is two great tales about recovery and preseverance.  It is stories like these, that make me love the Olympics.  Plus there is also my first article about crazy former Olympic sports, which may make you laugh a little after the two deeper articles.

Guess What! BuddyTV Has a New Contributing Writer for the Olympics. . .

Actually, they have quite a few.

But one them is somebody you know really well.  Actually, you're reading his words this very minute.

Yeah, sorry, your dream of David Hasselhoff covering the Olympics will have to wait at least two more years.

It's me.  I've actually known about it for a little while, but I have a "get something published" before I announce it kind of personal policy.  You never know what may happen, and that way, you're less likely to throw rotten fruit at me for being a liar.  I'd much rather fresh fruit.  But the really soft kind.  Please don't throw pineapples or coconuts at me.

Anyway, my first article for BuddyTV is up there already.  It is a look back at some of the odder Olympic events in history.  It is a pretty fun piece, and you'll likely be shocked by some of the "sports" that athletes competed in.  Go check that out, and learn about some of the craziest events in Olympic history. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, We've Hit the 1,000th Post!

I've now officially posted something here a thousand times.  And yet people still come here to read it.  Wow.  If you've been with me since the  beginning, then thank you so much for reading all my rantings since 2004.  If you came along later, then I still love you just as much and appreciate you putting up with all my rants. 

Now, I would have hit a thousand a lot sooner if I didn't disappear from the blog for about two years.  And the real heavy work has been done over the last two and a half years, but then again, that is also the time period that has drawn in the most readers (what a shock, I consistently put out content and it actually gets readers).  It has definitely been a lot of fun writing on this blog.  I feel that I've written some of my best pieces ever on here.  Which probably leads to the question of why I didn't saves those ones for payment?  Though I've also made some money off some of my blog posts, and that is something I never thought would happen.  This blog has definitely been good to me.

When I started it back in 2004, it was largely done as a way to pass a few minutes or so.  I didn't necessarily have any dreams of the blog launching my writing career.  This is partly because at the time I thought I was going to have a career as a teacher.  But if I am honest with myself, I know that I always really did want to be writer.  I just didn't have the courage to actually enter into the competitive and scary world of freelancing.  I finally took the plunge in 2010, and this blog did a rather amazing job of helping me land clients and actually start making money.  So, thank you blog, because you're pretty spiffy.

But seriously, the real thanks go to you guys.  It is pretty awesome to know I have people that actually look forward to what I have to say.  It is also pretty humbling.  Hopefully, you guys will stick with me as I hope to produce more and more content outside of this blog.  It'd be nice if you also buy my books, because they'll come.  Oh please, I hope they will come.  But I should actually start writing them first.

For now, you've got this blog.  You also have my work over at Pregnancy & Newborn, Collective Publishing, and sales copy you don't realize has been written by me.  But there will be more.  Oh yes, there will definitely be more.

For now, here is the first post I wrote on this blog.

And here is a picture of my boys, because this is the real reason half of you ever come here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Quick Opening Ceremony Thoughts

That was definitely one of the better Olympic Opening Ceremonies.  The three hours flew by, it was visually impressive, and had the right amount of humour.  I also enjoyed the Great Britain history lesson that showed the different eras, and the set designs were incredible.  I got a kick out of James Bond and Mr. Bean, and you got respect the Queen's acting debut.  She definitely has a sense of humour.  The little musical history lesson shows that the Brits sure do know how to rock, and it was great reminder of all the amazing music that has come from the Isles.

But you know what was the greatest part of the Opening Ceremonies?

Coolest Olympic cauldron ever.  They lit all the pedals which then united to make one giant flame of spectacularness.  It looked magical.  It was something out of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.  Considering who the host country is, it is pretty fitting.  I totally felt I was being transported into some awesome fantasy epic and can't wait for the dragons and unicorns to make their appearance.  I'm also a big geek.

Anyway, that cauldron was magnificent, and this was a great start to the Olympics.

I Will Blog Again, But for Now, Be Distracted by My Son's Cuteness

Because next to a badger dressed in armour ride a platypus into battle against a yeti, it is the best way to be distracted.

And because I forgot to mention it, seven months yesterday was one of the most magical days of my life.  And it has got more spectacular with each passing day.

I love you, Everett. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What is That You Say? You Want a Picture of Everett Making a Funny Face?


Been a crazy past few days (weeks/months) trying to write pay copy, negotiate future projects, market my super skills, and be an awesome daddy.  It's been paying off.  But I miss you guys.  Honest.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dark Knight Rises Review

Dark Knight Rises is not only the most anticipated film of the year, but probably the most anticipated film since Dark Knight was released.  The buzz for this film has been amazing, and Christopher Nolan has created an army of loyal fans.  But is this film worthy of all the hype?  Is it a proper conclusion to what is one of the greatest film trilogies of all time?  Well, I answer those questions in my Dark Knight Rises film review over at the Collective Publishing.  Check it out, and see if you have a modern classic awaiting you at the cinema.

When Everett Makes Me Look Like An Amazing Dad

I like to think I am a pretty good parent.  I make sure my son is clean, clothed and fed.  I am great at entertaining him.  If you've been reading my columns for the last seven months then you might even be fooled into believing I was some kind of super parent.  I've been able to go five days looking after him by myself, or had minimal problem getting him to sleep, or able to get him to instantly eating new food.  Everett makes me look good.  But that is the thing, it really doesn't have much to do with my own skills.  My son is just an amazing baby that tricks people into believing that I have a clue about what I'm doing.  Well, I just recently accomplished another parenting feat that I wanted to brag about, but after some reflection, I realized most of the credit has to go to my son.  In today's "Dad's Eye View", I write about yet another time that Everett's amazing baby skills make me look good.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Proof My Son Can Sit on His Own

I claimed Everett can sit on his own in last week's "Dad's Eye View", but I failed to provide any pictorial evidence.  Well, this is for the doubters.  Or anyone that likes baby pictures.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Final Friday Pregnancy & Newborn Column

This will be the last "Dad's Eye View" to be published on a Friday.  From this point on, my "Dad's Eye View" columns will be published once a week on Wednesday.


Well, because life decided I'd provide you with a real world example of why you need multiple revenue streams when you're a freelance writer.  You never know when things can change or you may lose a revenue source.  Plus Pregnancy & Newborn decided to make a few changes to their content, and so my Friday columns were a victim of that.  But I'll be fine, and you still get a delicious and nutritious Wednesday "Dad's Eye View" for several more months.

As for today's column, it is all about sitting.  Because you'll likely be sitting when you read it.  And well, I talk about Everett's latest love of sitting on his own.  In today "Dad's Eye View", I specifically look back at when he just started to sit and he began to learn how to master his craft.  He has actually improved drastically since this was written.  Have a seat, and enjoy today's column.

My 2012 Emmy Predictions, AKA I Expose My Actual Pop Culture Skills

The Emmy nominations were announced today.  The zombies get the shaft once again.  Though I openly admit the second season of The Walking Dead was rotten in spots and doesn't really deserve recognition of being one of the premier dramas of the season.  It seems like the Emmy committee doesn't like to acknowledge the supernatural series, because the excellent Once Upon a Time was kicked to the curb.  It is actually pretty clear they have a very set type of show they like to give the nominations to.

Anyway, I was thinking about making my predictions the subject for my next pop culture column over at Collective Publishing, but next Wednesday's piece has to be a review of a little indy film about a guy who likes to dress as a nocturnal flying creature and tries to help his town deal with the unexpected renovations of their beloved football stadium.  And I can't really wait a two whole weeks after the nominations reveal to serve up my predictions. 

More importantly, after reading all the nominations, I realized my opinions and thoughts aren't going to count for much.  This list reveals how little I actually know about pop culture despite the fact I write about it for money.  I'm willing to know much more if a billion dollar entertainment conglomerate wants to throw a little moolah my way. My lack of knowledge or expertise or even competence in a subject has never stopped me from rambling on before.  So, here are my totally ill advised, completely unresearched or thought out and sure to be terrible wrong predictions for this year's Emmy winners.  

Outstanding Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire

Breaking Bad

Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Mad Men

Rambling Thoughts: Network TV has been given the boot from dramatic series consideration for almost a decade now.  Cable, especially premium cable, has become the place for top notch dramas.  The reality is that cable allows for the shows to be edgier and deal with issues that network TV can't even think about addressing due to regulations.  Network TV continues to churn out thousand different versions of a cop show, while cable serves up the real original and engaging programming.  It is almost enough for me to want to order HBO, but once again, I'll wait for the billion dollar conglomerate to help pay my bill for that (come on Disney, you know you want me to watch premium cable).

Oh yeah, I was supposed to offer up a prediction here.  Surprisingly, AMC has fared really well in this category for the past several years thanks to Mad Men.  This isn't surprising because of any lack of quality, but rather AMC does have a few more constrictions than a premium cable channel like HBO, which can basically present a story without any form of censorship or restrictions (offer up all the same lovely violence and nudity you'd get in the cinema).  I also know there is a lot of buzz for HBO shows like Game of Thorns and Boardwalk Empire, and there is probably a really good chance that Empire will win here because it had the pedigree and is a critical darling.  I also like to root for the underdog.  So, instead I'm swaying back to AMC, but this time not for Mad Men.  It is Breaking Bad's last year, so I think the committee will toss the statue their way as a "thanks for several wonderful seasons" type gesture.  It really isn't rare that  a long running show that is about to end its run will finally grab the Emmy victory as a token award for many years of consistency, just like the Academy often gives a Best Actor Oscar to someone who is near the end of their career but never given the big Academy recognition previously.

Prediction:  Breaking Bad

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Modern Family
30 Rock

Rambling Thoughts: This is the category that Network TV still fares pretty well at.  This is largely due to the fact that comedies don't really need to touch on serious issues or be too ground-breaking, but rather just need to make you laugh.  The lack of being edgy or being limited in what you can present doesn't really hurt effective comedy.  Though, it is a 50/50 split this year between premium cable shows and network comedies, which probably is a sign that the Networks' glory days are wrapping up in the sitcom land too.

I'm thinking the Emmy committee will let Network TV hold on to one more year of the Emmy Comedy Award glow, especially since all three of their offering are critic's beloved play things.  I was leaning towards The Big Bang Theory, because Modern Family has had the stranglehold on the award for three years now.  Then I remembered that the Emmies are different than the Oscars, in that they don't really shy away from continual victories for the same person or show.  Modern Family had a really strong season, and some of the funniest moments of the entire series.  I don't see why they shouldn't get the shiny toy once again.

Prediction:  Modern Family

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, Girls
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Rambling Thoughts:  A really strong list of talented and funny woman.  I thought maybe McCarthy might grab a win to make up for not getting the victory over at the Academy Awards for her performance in Bridesmaids.  I don't really know if there has ever been a case for a sympathy win from one awards show to another, because the other passed them up.  Even if there is a history for that, I'm not really sure Mike & Molly is the show that deserves such sympathies, even if McCarthy is super talented and it is always great when a celebrity with an atypical look gets recognized.  I then started thinking that Fey would get the nod, based off my very likely flawed "give the award because the show is ending" theory.  I decided that my best bet is Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, because people desperately want the Seinfeld curse to end and show one of the actors not named Larry David or Jerry Seinfeld has success after that series entered into rigor mortis.

Prediction: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men

Rambling Thoughts:  Larry David continues to be awesome in his role, but I think everyone in the world hates him and prefers to see him unhappy.  Though I have no clue if an award would actually make him less of a grumpy pants.  I know people glow over Baldwin's performance on 30 Rock, but I promised my teddy bear I'd never predict victory for a Baldwin.  I've been watching lots of Louis C.K. on YouTube, and the guy really cracks me up.  I think that is good enough reason to give him the nod.

Prediction:  Louis C.K.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live

Rambling Thoughts: It nice to see that Blossom is getting recognized after all these years.  I watched way more episodes of that series than I'd ever want to admit.  Even in the early '90s, I knew Joey Lawrence wasn't destined for rap greatness, though I wished I could just fall asleep and be transported into my own music video -- I just kept ending up in the front of the whole school in just my underwear.  Anyway, I'll give this one to Sofia Vergara, because she is hot and she also makes me laugh.  But mostly she is hot.  Sorry Blossom.

Prediction:  Sofia Vergara

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live

Rambling Thoughts:  It appears Modern Family has gone all Friends here, and opted to have no one be the main star.  I guess this is sort of true anyway when you actually watch the structure of the show.  It leaves this category in an interesting spot, as over half of the nominees are from the show.  It sort of declares right there what kind of power the sitcom is wielding, and keeps it a heavy favourite in my books.  Though my books are soaked by spilled Kool-Aid, and are going to be proven to be on the wrong subject when the awards actually arrive.  Despite that, I like Ed O'Neill, and I like rooting for things that I like.

Prediction:  Ed O'Neill

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Rambling Thoughts: I want to give my stamp of approval to Kathy Bates, because it is always great to root for the actress who not only has the atypical star figure but also is not the typical female actor age.  But we all know nobody watched Harry's Law, including most members of the committee.  Even though I don't think there is any crossover between the Oscars and the Emmies, I think Glenn Close was robbed by not even getting a nomination for her amazing performance in Albert Nobbs.  Based off that, I think she deserves the win here, plus I'm sure she is marvelous in Damages.

Prediction: Glenn Close

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Rambling Thoughts: If Breaking Bad has any chance of winning best series, then it needs to get some statuettes in other categories too.  This is why I'm inclined to go with Cranston.  But my grandpa always said, "You never vote against, Steve Buscemi."  I've got no reason to go against that wisdom now.

Prediction:  Steve Buscemi

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Rambling Thoughts: I think Christina Hendricks is the actress who gets all the media attention for having two steroid injected watermelons stuffed in her shirt.  Since I don't watch Mad Men (but I really need to catch up), that is all I know about her.  That is more than I know about the rest of the list.  I am sure I would know them all if I had their pictures, but damn, I've already spent enough time on this blog, so I don't really want to Google all these names.  I'll go with this being the spot that Breaking Bad rakes in another win.

Prediction:  Anna Gunn

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Jared Harris, Mad Men

Rambling Thoughts: Or maybe this is the category for the second Breaking Bad win.  They have more people over here.  But I'd rather a little person get a well-deserved win, especially after they all got robbed from getting work in Snow White and the Huntsmen.  I'll give Game of Thorns their first win over here.

Prediction: Peter Dinklage

Outstanding Miniseries
Game Change
American Horror Story
Hatfield and McCoys
Hemingway and Gellhorn

Rambling Thoughts:  I'm shocked they still even bother with this category anymore.  The miniseries hasn't really had any life for almost two decade now, except for the rare TV Event.  But then again, Event TV has never really been an actual must see event for over a decade thanks to the vast expansion of cable, and the fact, people have found other things to veg out to other than evening Network TV. 

It appears they've even got a little desperate on what is defined as a miniseries now.  American Horror Story is about as much of a miniseries as Quantum Leap was. It has a full season order, or at least, as full as most other FX series.  It is also returning for another season next year.  How is that a miniseries?  Even if this season was standalone, it is still a full series.  I'm pretty sure Sherlock is a full series too, or at least, in how the British define a series.  So yeah, it is a very short season, but I don't think it falls under what is a traditional miniseries.

After saying all that, Hatfields and McCoys was a miniseries, and it was a miniseries that drew the kind of ratings that proved miniseries aren't entirely dead.  You just need to come up with a miniseries that distracts the elderly from Golden Girl reruns.  This seemed to be the magic trick.  Since it broke ratings records, it probably will get the pretty little mantel piece.

Prediction:  Hatfield and McCoys

Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Connie Britton, American Horror Story
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Ashley Judd, Missing
Emma Thompson, The Song of Lunch

Rambling Thoughts:  Wait a sec, wasn't Missing just a series that got cancelled?  I'm calling shenanigans in the entire nominations for all things miniseries.  This isn't the style of TV storytelling that it once was.  That is for sure, as the pickings seems to be sparse since they keep on picking non miniseries  Anyway, Emma Thompson is awesome, and even though, I don't even know what The Song of Lunch was about, I'm sure she sang about hamburgers with gusto.  That lady is great.

Prediction:  Emma Thompson

Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys
Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Idris Elba, Luther
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia

Rambling Thoughts:  Seeing Woody Harrelson's name, reminds me that I really need to see Zombieland.  This also reminds me that apparently there have been talks about making that into a series, because TV apparently, needs two shows about the undead.  Anyway, I feel bad that Kevin Costner has fallen from the tower of Hollywood glory and has become one giant punchline.  I hope he acted the hell out of his role in Hatfields & McCoys, and gets himself back on track.  To help him out, I'll show my faith and predict a win.  If there is anything we love more than kicking celebrities when their down, it is watching them get back up.

Predictions:  Kevin Costner

Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Sarah Paulson, Game Change
Mare Winningham, Hatfields & McCoys
Judy Davis, Page Eight

Rambling Thoughts:  I'm going to close my eyes, and whoever I point to, will be the winner.  Okay, I lied.  I just randomly picked Judy Davis, because why not.

Prediction:  Judy Davis

Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Denis O'Hare, American Horror Story
Ed Harris, Game Change
Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys
David Strathairn, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia

Rambling Thoughts:   Once again, I haven't seen any of these miniseries and possible movies.  See, I don't even know if any of them were TV films.  I'll pick Ed Harris, because I like him, too.

Prediction:  Ed Harris

Outstanding Reality Competition Show
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars

Project Runway

So You Think You Can Dance

The Voice

Top Chef 

Rambling Thoughts:  I'd rather pick one of the reality shows I pitched to network executives.  But I'll have to wait a whole season before those can be unleashed on the public.  Then again, this is my article, and I can do what I want.

Prediction:  Can Humans Eat This?

Outstanding Animated Program
American Dad
Bob’s Burgers


The Penguins of Madagascar: The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole

The Simpsons

Rambling Thoughts: Ugh, I remember this was once a category that actually contained some of the best shows on TV.  Now, I haven't seen all these shows, but I've caught glimpses of their horror.  If this is the best animated programs have to offer, then maybe this medium is dead.  Or the Emmies need to get their heads out of their asses and check out the real quality animated shows.  Simpsons stopped being about quality about a decade ago, and Bob's Burgers is horrendous.  Really, really, really, really, really atrocious.  I haven't seen Futurama since the '90s, but I've heard it is at least borderline witty.

Prediction:  Futurama

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Jimmy Kimmel Live

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Real Time With Bill Maher

Saturday Night Live

Rambling Thoughts:  I'm going to flip a coin.  Heads it is The Daily Show.  Tails it is the Colbert Report.  Because bother these shows are truly the awesome, and I wish there could be a tie.  They are equally hilarious, but also are far more informative than most news talk shows.  Okay, I am too lazy to find a coin.

Prediction:  The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Outstanding Reality Show Host
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance

Rambling Thoughts:  Why is this a category?

Prediction:  Frontier Bonesaw McGraw (host of Can Humans Eat This?)

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Martha Plimpton, The Good Wife
Loretta Devine, Grey's Anatomy
Jean Smart, Harry's Law
Julia Ormond, Mad Men
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Uma Thurman, Smash

Rambling Thoughts:   None of the dramas I watch ended up getting nominated.  I apparently watch un-award worthy crap.  Or the Emmies just suck at picking winners.  I'll pick Joan Cusack, because I don't want to bother thinking too hard.

Prediction:  Joan Cusack

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Mark Margolis, Breaking Bad
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Jeremy Davies, Justified
Ben Feldman, Mad Men
Jason Ritter, Parenthood

Rambling Thoughts: At least my wife watches one of the shows on this list.  But I'm not picking Jason Ritter.  Because I just noticed Michael J. Fox is on this list, and how do you not let Michael J. Fox win?  The man has Parkinson's disease but still had the guts to pull an award nominating performance.  Thought, so did Kevin Costner apparently.  But still, I've loved Fox ever since he went through all that trouble to get a Pepsi back in the '80s.  He is awesome, and he is like Buscemi.  You're not allowed to vote against him.

Prediction:  Michael J. Fox

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy
Michael J. Fox, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Greg Kinnear, Modern Family
Bobby Cannavale, Nurse Jackie
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Will Arnett, 30 Rock
Jon Hamm, 30 Rock

Rambling Thoughts:  Holy shit!  Michael J. Fox just didn't quit this year.  He was in at least two shows in 2012.  Good for him.  Even an idiot like me knows he can't win twice.  Right?  I'll go with Will Arnett, because I'm sure he was funny.

Predictions:  Will Arnett

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Elizabeth Banks, 30 Rock
Margaret Cho, 30 Rock
Kathy Bates, Two and a Half Men

Rambling Thoughts:  Actually, I know that Greg Kinnear was funny.  We've moved on, even though I actually don't know how funny Arnett was but know Kinnear hit a homer with his spot on Modern Family.  But what does this have to do with the Outstanding Guest Actress spot?  Nothing.  Because I didn't see any of these performances.  But maybe this can be where Melissa McCarthy gets a win, and ladies with less than Hollywood figures can cheer everywhere.  Plus she is funny, and I'm sure she rocked it on SNL.  I don't know, because I gave up on that show years ago.  Plus I'm a cranky curmudgeon that rarely makes it to 11:35pm even on a weekend night.

Prediction:  Melissa McCarthy

We'll see if I even get one of these right.  Any predictions on that?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Because I Have Another Photogenic Son As Well

Just far more furry.

This is What Happens When Daddy Feeds Everett

You get to know what he actually ate.  Don't you want to know what I'm feeding the baby?

And of course, he washes it all down with a delicious finger or two. 

The Future of Reality TV

Reality TV hit it big in the early 2000s, and I've been whining about it ever since.  Though admittedly, I've softened on my reality show stance, and even got hooked on one (Survivor).  For the most part, I could live just fine in a world that doesn't show me the daily exploits of Kim or Snooki or Plastic Trophy Wife.  But I am also well aware that reality TV isn't going anywhere.  It isn't as popular as it was a few years ago, but it is still super cheap to produce and garners decent ratings for smaller cable channels.  I've decided there is no purpose in continuing my fight against reality TV, but rather it is time to join up.  So, in today's Collective Publishing Pop Culture article, I've pitched several reality shows that one day could be the next big classic.

As Life Rolls On

Everett's development has been rapid over the last several weeks.  To the point that by the time my columns are getting published over at Pregnancy & Newborn, the news is rather old and we're now marveling at a brand new feat.  But that doesn't mean that each accomplishment hasn't been amazing and worth some parental bragging.  In today's "Dad's Eye View", I tell a tale about a boy who tired of life on his back and wanted to see things from a different perspective.  The boy is obviously Everett, but the new place, well, you'll just have to read today's column.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

So, What Was the Thing That Ate Up a Huge Portion of Time at the Spicer Manor This Weekend?


The first stage of what will eventually be a deck that will take up about a quarter of our yard.  Right now, it probably takes up barely 3% of our yard.  But a deck is truly growing in our backyard, and it would have grown significantly more if we didn't have to attend to family picnicking Sunday afternoon.

I need to add that this is a deck in which I had not part in building.  Instead, it was the hard work of a good friend and my wife (and a cameo by another good friend).

Now, why would my wife be the labourer of deck construction when a strapping young man like me hides inside the house?

Well, there are a few reasons.

1.  Drilling and hammering and cutting and hauling wood is about as exciting to me as watching a 24 hour Housewives of Orange County marathon while sitting in a cauldron of red hot coals.  This is to say, “No, it doesn’t really appeal to me a whole lot."  I'm not what you would call really skilled with the power tools or any type of person that could be mistaken as handy.  Now, if you want me to write some copy about building a deck then I can easily master that, because I'm a wizard with words and often write about things that I've never done.

This isn't to say I never ever do manual work or house projects.  If an alien race invaded my home and threatened to devour my entire family unless I drilled some wood together then I'd try to find the drill.  Plus I did play a part in the assembling of the fence two years ago.  But if I have a choice in the matter, I'd rather find something else to be productive for the household.  On the other hand, my wife has been giddy about building the deck for weeks, and likes doing projects that involve power tools.  She is the owner of all the power tools in our house, after all.  Plus she is actually good with her hands and won't turn all the expensive lumber into wood chips.

2.  All our usual sources of babysitting were occupied.  Somebody had to look after Everett.  I know, Summit was up for the challenge, but society dictates that you should have a caregiver with opposable thumbs and able to walks on only two limbs.  Between drilling holes in wood or entertaining Everett for several hours, I not only would prefer to spend time with my son, but I do the least damage that way.  It only made sense that I took up "Baby Duty," and Emily did magic with wood.

3.  The best way I could contribute to the deck build was to make sure we have the cash to either pay for the deck or make sure we have enough left over money to pay for things like bills and mortgages -- because they don't disappear when you sink money into large projects.  Now, I'm not rolling in enough wonderful cash to justify paying for a crew to build the deck (especially after the Great Baby Spending Splurge of 2012), but I'm in a fine enough spot to ensure we aren't living in a cardboard box after we dropped all the cash on lumber.

So, while people were sweating outside and playing with power tools, I was inside working out my fingers.  I had a fair bit of pay copy that needed my attention this weekend.  The best part of pay copy is that you get money when it is all over.  So, my writing was my contribution to the deck building process.  Though, I've learned it is rather hard to get a large amount of pay copy done when you've got a son that likes to be constantly entertained or has a habit of accidentally migrating under chairs or desks.  But luckily, quickly turning my head away from my work doesn't lead to severed thumbs.

This was the weekend at the Spicer Manor.  What a wonderful weekend it was.  Though it looks like we have at least one more weekend to go before our backyard is fully deckified.  It means another weekend of each Spicer member digging into their bags of special skills.  Emily will make holes in wood.  I'll smear oatmeal and mashed banana in my son's face.  Everett will try to figure out how he got on his stomach.  Summit will announce to the neighbours HIS backyard is changing.  It should be a wonderful time for all.

Since, I started this blog displaying the accomplishments of my wife and our helpful friends.  Here is a sample of what occupied my attention for the weekend.

Yeah, I got the much better weekend.