My son's 4th birthday party is approaching. In this day and age of
parental overindulgence, this is nothing short of organizing a small

The invitations: Do we make them? Do we fill out pre-printed? Do we order them custom?

The cake: Is it Thomas the Tank Engine? Is it Bob the Builder? Is it
Spider-Man? Yellow cake with chocolate icing? Chocolate cake with
yellow icing?

The food: (because it's mostly family and mostly adults, we can't just
throw a bunch of chicken fingers in the oven and be done with it) Do we
cook? Do we cater? Do we cook some and cater a few trays?

Then there's the themed plates and napkins and cups. The party favors
and goodie bags. You can't give the older kids the same stuff that's in
the little kids goodie bags? And the babies that come, well they get
goodies too, age-appropriate never gonna remember if they got anything
or not goodies.

And activities…hence the title.

Bouncy…Bouncy thing…jumper…big inflatable thing for kids to jump
on while parents cross their fingers that there are no skull cracking

Actually I didn't think about that part until now. I love bouncy things
the last time we were at a kid's party, it was my son's first time
seeing one of these contraptions, so dear old Dad spent a good portion
of the time in there, too. And, yes it is fun.

Now finding a rental place in our proximity with the day availabile,
and the type of bouncy we are looking for (a train theme) at a
reasonable price with a reasonable cancellation policy, has been a bit
trying. My wife has been starting to stress a bit, so I jump in and
turn to Google for help.

Search terms: bouncy (not sure what to call the thing, I figuree
“bouncy” is a good place to start), middlesex county (that's our
county), jersey (we live in New Jersey, the “new” would probably be too

The results weren't nearly as focused as I would have expected. I found
one bouncy company that looks like it will be out of our price range,
but plenty of bouncy companies in the U.K. Damn those bloody wankers.

After that, there were a few items on the list that I found odd and/or disturbing to appear on this page of search results:

Let's start with #4: Furries Meetup

Yes, furries.
You know, the kids who worked at amusement parks wearing those animal
outfits that never wanted to give them back, the acrobatic and/or
annoying mascots at college sporting events. A sampling of the furries
on this page included: a Purple Tiger, a Rabwolf, a Shaggy Reversed
Zebra, an Arctic Fox, and a Snow Leopard.

But, who am I to judge? Furries are moving from the edge to the mainstream. There's the now infamous E.R. episode. The excellent DJ Format video for “We Know Something…” directed by Ruben Fleischer.
The costumed mascot needed liberation from the college campus and onto
main street. It makes me wonder how tough things were starting out for
the Phillie Fanatic. He's like the Jackie Robinson of the
subculture. Maybe someday we'll have a world where all prejudices will
be washed away and we'll see Goths
(NSFW) and Furries walking hand-in-hand. But those Renaissance fair outfit
wearing people still kind of weird me out, and I've even played Dungeons & Dragons in
my lifetime. I've rolled the 20-sided die.

Now #19 is a bit more obvious:

It links to a page from the Breast Expansion Archive.
I saw the title and thought, maybe this is like a support group forum
for women thinking of upping a cup size. Discussing pros/cons,
before/after, prep/recovery and that sort of thing. But after looking
at the choice of icons in the messageboard, I started thinking that's
probably not the case.

Moving to the main page of the site (NSFW), it became clearer that the
site was more for guys that prefer some enhanced cleavage. although it
seemed that surgical enhancements weren't enough, and Photoshop
enhancements are the enhancement du jour. (I could have used synonyms
or metaphors just now. But I thought I would just repeat the word
enhancement until you wanted to beat me over the head with it.)

In the Top 30 links there was also a Discordians meetup site (another blog, another day) and The UK Face Painting Association page.

Face Painters of the U.K. Unite!

I wonder if they have a union. I'd paint my face for better and cheaper medical coverage. I'd probably don the fur as well.

but I still don't have a bouncy thing.

THE LAST WORD: My favorite new word is “fursona”. I suppose it would be
defined as your furry persona. Are you a chinchilla? Maybe an okapi?
Perhaps a lynx? Great bastardization of our language. I wonder how many
years before it's in Webster's.

Is you is, OR-TIZ you ain't, my Baby?

I haven't had that much sleep that's the best I can come up with.

I think Red Sox and Yankees fans are all dumbfounded over what they've
just witnesses. Sunday night's game I missed, falling asleep reading my
son a few stories, although I had dreams of the Red Sox tying the
score. Although the real game departed from there; my dream included
the Yankees decked out in white pinstripe business suits (and no, the
dream did not include Michael Kay's midgame uniform description), as
well as the tying run being scored by Dana Snow, the first female
pinch-runner in MLB history, as far as I know.

Now the Yankees in bussiness suits is by no means much of a stretch of
the imagination, based on their usual efficiency and productivity in
slapping beatdowns like Donald Trump handing out pink slips. As far as
Dana Snow, I don't know any Dana Snow. I marginally knew a Dana in high
school who drove a Fiero, but she had different last name. Snow could
be her married name. But who knows, its hard to score with a Fiero.

Anyway I was prepared to be calling for Terry Francona head on a
platter with some fava beans and a nice chianti, but despite his best
efforts, the Red Sox still won. He must have known something the rest
of the world didn't. But I hope he counted his blessings on 10 fingers,
and realized he doesn't have an 11th.

I had a running list last night of management miscues, but a Sox
victory and good night's rest has shortened it down a bit. Here's a few

(1.) The score was 4-2 with no outs and Johnny Damon comes up after
Bellhorn led off with a double, and relieving Mussina from the game,
much as he did to Mussina in Game 1, ending the perfect game that
evening. Damon's about 1-for-122 so far in this ALCS, and is typically
a good bunter. But since the Red Sox led the majors with the fewest
sacrifice bunts (12), Damon swung away, and if memory serves me
correctly, struck out swinging. Needless to say the runner did not get
over, and did not score.

Later in the game, Bellhorn failed to buunt a runner from 1st to 2nd,
but then ripped an 0-2 pitch for a single. This time Damon got the bunt
sign, and promptly popped out to Posada.

To be fair, I can't lay the blame on Francona for lack of execution in
the second example, but for not giving a bunt sign with Bellhorn on
second, I don't know. I know they were down 2 runs, but I've seen
enough Yankees-Red Sox games to know that almost every inning has a run
scoring opportunity, so let's take one at a time. Just as the Res Sox
had to look at this series day-by-day, down 3-0.

(2.) Cabrera's on first. Posada gets hit in the hand with a foul pitch and is visited by the trainer.


Cabrera's a fast runner, will steal close to 20 bases a year in a full season, why not put him in position to score on a single.

(3.) Dave Roberts is a great asset to this club, and showed everyone
why when he rattled Tom Gordon and went from 1st to 3rd on aTrot Nixon
single. But I don't like putting in a pinch runner on first base for
Trot Nixon, in a close late inning game. Trot's had some big hits
against New York in the past, and taking two starters out of the game,
when the spectre of another extra inning ballgame is looming in the
shadows, could come back to bite you in the ass.

Turns out it didn't. Kapler even made a nice play on a Jeter fly hit to left.

(4.) Arroyo came in and pitched lights out to the top of the order,
striking out A-Rod and Sheffield. Then didn't come out for the next
inning. There may not be a tomorrow to save this guy for. There's no
“in case Schilling isn't healthy enough” just yet. You got to win one,
before you win two. and at this point each day is another day to wake
up and just win one.

But the Boston bullpen combined for eight scoreless innings, as a
whole. This teams has more rubber arms than Plastic-Man, Elongated Man,
Dr. Reed Richards, and Stretch Armstrong combined. Mike Myers came in
to start the next inning and struck out Matsui on 4 pitches.

(5.) Myers a lefty, pitches to one batter, Matsui (see results above),
and is replaced by another lefty in Alan Embree. A situational lefty is
still a lefty, but as I said before 8 scoreless innings by Red Sox

Now I'm seeing a pattern, although originally I thought I'd be
lambasting Francona, someone could probably make a good argument that
he did a great job last night.

Let's just say that luck was on his side. I got 2 more and I'm not sure they can be explained away.

(6.) David Ortiz attempting to steal second. 4 stolen bases in his
career, and Francona sends him now. Even if it's a lie, please tell me
someone missed a hit-and-run sign. Or that Ortiz went on his own.

You know what, don't tell me anything. David Ortiz doesn't deserve
anything less than hero status right now. And if he thinks he's Rickey
Henderson (circa 1984, not 2004) then he just might be.

Posada (ROTFLHFAO) fired a ball to Bernie Williams in center that M.J.,
I mean Derek Jeter intercepted and layed the tag on the mercurial

Replays show that Ortiz right hand looked like it beat the tag. 
Perhaps the umpire used his David Ortiz Strat-O-Matic card and some
dice to determine the call, or maybe even more careful review may show
that Jeter's tag nipped the helmet before landind square in the back of

But about 2 innings prior, the second base umpire might have missed the
call when the troubled Johnny Damon, attempted to steal second after an
infield hit. Replay showed Damon to be in just before Jeter's tag with
the wrist, then the heel of the glove.

At this point, I'm thinking, the Sox are not supposed to win this game.
It would have happened already. Perhaps the ghost of Ted Williams is at
war with the ghost of Joe Dimaggio, in the dark recesses of
Cooperstown, (no museum's open at 11:00 PM that I know of), vying to
battle the Babe to save the entire Red Sox Nation from eternal
damnation and reverse the curse.

And I thought things weren't looking good for New England as I watched #7 unfold.

(7.) Varitek catching Wakefield. This was like watching a game of “hot
potato” at a convalescent home. I KNEW I was watching how the Red Sox
were going to lose this baseball game.

I thank God that my Red Sox fan father, born in 1925, decided to shut
off the game just before Varitek hit the game-tying sacrifice fly to
center. Because with his multiple bypass surgeries, I'm not sure he
would have made it through this.

Varitek only caught Wakefield for about 2 innings this season. doug
Mirabelli catches Wakefield's starts to give Varitek a day off. But
your starting catcher doesn't typically get days off in the ALCS. But
sometimes they should.

Especially when marathon games follows marathon game on consecutive nights, and catching knuckleballers just ain't your bag.

3 passed balls. The first on a strikeout of Gary Sheffield. Of course,
Sheffield reached first safely, that's the way the script should read.
But Wakefield shook this off, and shook off every dropped pitch by
Varitek that didn't result in a passed ball.

Mirabelli desperately needed to be in this game. I know Francona wanted
Varitek's bat in the lineup. I know that Varitek, who has hit miserably
against Mike Mussina drew a walk batting right-handed against Mussina
to score the first Boston run. And yes, I know it was Varitek who hit
the sacrifice fly to tie this game.

But, if each passed ball is worth 90 feet, and you have 3 passed balls,
simple algebra tells you the 4th passed ball puts a runner on home
plate. And then you would most certainly like to have Varitek's bat in
the lineup.

After the first passed ball, every pitch by Wakefield was excruciating.
But it wasn't his fault. Maybe it was his fault that he was that good,
consistently throwing strikes. You knew one of those balls, that always
hit Varitek in the glove, would eventually score the winning run.

Francona had time to realize even before the 2nd and 3rd passed balls,
how badly this could end. But he stuck with Varitek for better or
worse. Even intentionally walking Posada after a passed ball had moved
Matsui from first to second.

Francona knew that Varitek would catch just enough balls to give Ortiz
another shot at becoming hero and sending the last remaining Nomar
jerseys in Boston to the Salvation Army.

I'm just happy we've got at least one more game.

Grand Theft Soundtrack

Visit the official GTA: San Andreas site for the tracklist for the 2-CD soundtrack, as well as the list of radio stations in the latest version.

The rap and “alternative” stations were no-brainers. The New Jack Swing
station is clever and timely. The house music station might be a good
idea, particularly if it has more of a techno bend (i.e. Lords of Acid,
James Brown is Dead, that kind of stuff). The playlists for each of the
radio stations were not yet posted on the official site, so exactly
what songs are included on the “alternative” station will be quite
interesting. Hopefully Courtney didn't ask for too much cash and we'll
get some Nirvana on there. With all the good music coming out around
this time, a college radio station, complete with awkward-sounding dj's
would be a nice inclusion.

By the way, if your more concerned about the game itself, the site is
quite deep with background and maps. But it won't be long now, will it?

Fox Fucks Fall Fastball Festival ! Freakin' Fascists !

the fall classic. The leaves must be falling, cool breezes are blowing,
and my chocolate suede car coat readies for another season. No, I am
not the copy editor of the J.Peterman catalog, just a baseball fan.

And it
must be the Yankees vs. Red Sox once again. I know this because the
Pedro Martinez takedown of Don Zimmer has just eclipsed the falling of
the second tower as the most aired video clip across all the combined
Fox Networks. At this point like most of you and your kin, I've been
scarred for life by both.

the easily offended, well your easily offended and it's too late for me
to make it up to you. But I have no intention of taking these matters
lightly. Just as the Bush administration and its public relations
people, (for convenience sake, let's just call them Fox News) have
hijacked the 9-11 footage to use in its campaign for 4 more years of
wiping their ass with the Constitution. Wow, I think that last sentence
was offensive in too many ways to name. Perhaps I should say wiping
their asses with the Constitution. At last that will get the Grammar
Police off my ass. Are they still independent or are they now part of
Homeland Security, too? If anyone would like to reply with just how
many ways that last sentence was offensive, that's cool. Someone told
me the other day that this was still a free country, although they
spoke in hushed tones and in tongues at the time.

was I? Oh yeah, Bush used 9-11 in his campaign advertisements to show
how strong and resolved he is. And then he told us about how resolved
he is. And then he told us again.

Now I
have a bit of a problem with this because to put it briefly, 9-11
happened on his watch, and there's enough stories about all the
warnings and briefings that were ignored, that there's no need to link
to them. Everyone knows, or knew and forgot and went shopping. Me too I
got a sweet pair of shades at PacSun today. Then I remembered again.

So anyway this behavior is despicable. Using peoples deaths in the worst tragedy to befall the U.S. to get more votes.

don't look at planes the same way when I look up in the sky, especially
when they're flying at just the wrong angle. You know the angle I'm
talking about, you saw it, too.

in Atlantic City I saw a young Dominican and a crotchety senior (I
never actually looked up the definition of “crotchety”, but I'm sure it
means something like “full of piss and vinegar”) in a heated debate and
I started having flashbacks. As the elder moved in closer, I nearly
fainted expecting to see his younger adversary palming his skull and
sending him to the asphalt. Post-traumatic Zimmer syndrome does not
appear in WebMD, and I'm pretty sure any drugs I take to combat it
won't be deductible on my Schedule A.

overdoing it but now we're getting to the point of this rant, and
actually where it all began before my Tarantino-esque typing sent me
back up top of this diatribe. So what follows is the beginning, and I'm
not re-typing it again so let's hope this prologue meshes well, and
hasn't sent you back to your usual pron-crawling.

it surprise anyone that Fox is broadcasting both playoff games at the
same time? It doesn't make sense ratings-wise to pit both of your
networks against one another and sabotage ad revenues, since true
baseball fans are spending about 4 hours flipping between games, as
opposed to spending 8 hours watching them at different times. 3 of the
4 teams are from great baseball markets which should ensure high
ratings no matter when the games are broadcast. So to the
less-than-average joe, it seems like a dumb business move and someone
should lose their job.

But it's Fox.

Fox knows exactly what they're doing.

final Presidential debate is on right now. As I'm typing. It'll be done
by the time you are done reading this. And I can't tell you about it
either. Because I'm watching the Red Sox and Yanks (1-0 Yanks in the
bottom of the 2nd right now, by the way).

knows that the greatest baseball rivalry of all time is a much greater
rivalry than Bush versus Kerry and is exploiting that truth, so less
Americans will see  Bush embarass himself on live television
against John Kerry. And even if Bush doesn't put his foot in his mouth
at any time, Fox isn't taking any chances.

presidential debate could only worsen things in “the polls” for King
George II. Now I know my accusations of Fox bias is nothing new.
Michael Moore told you (and showed you), the Outfoxed guy did the same
thing, as well as any Democrat you've talked to for more than 5 minutes
about the state of the U.S. media.

can re-broadcast the Desperate Housewives and Lost season premieres, a
la HBO's treatment of the Sopranos and Sex in the City, would it be too
much for FOX to re-broadcast the presidential debates?

This just in…

…straight from the Fox News ticker…

…they are…

…Superbowl Sunday.

Thanks, Uncle Rupert.

it from me, the idiot who decided to miss both baseball games and the
Presidential debate, because he got a bug up his ass to launch version
2.0 of his blog.