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Friday, May 26 2017 @ 08:48 AM MDT

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Stop Smittens

ColumnsAs a nation, we agree on so few things.

We all understand that Tom Cruise is pretty freaky, and that Paris Hilton is pretty yukky and that Scarlett Johansson is pretty dreamy.

But we have something now to rally around that goes way beyond the lives of the rich and famous.

We must band together to stop Smittens.

I hadn't heard of this scourge until earlier this week so don't feel bad if you are behind the times. But we cannot rest or they might actually become popular.

Smittens are a product that allow men and women to hold hands while wearing mittens. The set consists of one left-handed mitten, one right-handed mitten and an oversized mitten that will fit two hands so the couple can hold hands in the cold weather.

Yes, I'm as disturbed as you are.

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On the Couch

BlogI have spent the last three nights on the couch.

No, Maria hasn't finally wised up. I am just fighting something which I think is bronchitis. I self-diagnosed myself using the Net.

This cough is just such a pain, it's easier for me to crash down there and not bother her. If I tried to sleep upstairs, I would spend half my time coughing and the other half stressing out and trying not to bother her. I've actually slept pretty well.
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Better Late Than Never

BlogI have not followed baseball that closely in years. Sure, I still take part in a fantasy baseball league, but that's more for the beer and hanging out with the guys than my interest in the sport. Soccer long ago took over as my favorite summer pastime and guys like Don Carmen make me remember why I have left baseball in the past for the most part.

Twenty years from now, I really can't see many modern players doing what Carmen did recently. Not every baseball player is a self-involved jackass, but I have a hunch that the utility players of today - guys who are making close to a million a year - might not care as much about the fans as Carmen did.

But Carmen (does anyone else want to call him Eric like I do? I don't know if it's the cheesy 80s music reference or my South Park fascination) stood out from the rest during his playing days. He developed a list of answers for reporters that would fit pretty much anything they wanted to ask.

I wonder if he ever played with Ron Shelton.

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500 Channels and Lots of Stuff On

Columns I have received some very bad news. I didnít contract some terrible disease or lose my job or anything like that. This bad news came in a letter from my cable company.

They have decided to add a bunch of channels.

Why is this bad news? Well, I donít think Iíll see my wife or daughter again once the channels hit my set unless they come down to the basement to see me.

I was giddy with excitement when I opened the envelope. It was like Santa Claus himself mailed the information to me.

Not only will I have On Demand, I will get two soccer-only channels. If you donít understand the significance of this, I donít know if I can help you.

Bruce Springsteen once wrote a song about 500 channels on the television with nothing good to watch. He couldnít have been more wrong.
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BlogNovember is coming to a close which means the end is near for Nanowrimo, the shortened name for National Novel Writing Month. The contest challenges writers to finish a 50,000 word novel in one month. I have never completed the challenge, but have tried for most of the past few years.

Until this year. I had an idea. I wrote an opening. I even outlined the first few chapters. Then I realized that I should work on projects I have started previously and not finished instead of starting something else that would just sit there.

Of course, I have barely started working on my old stuff, but that's beside the point.
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BlogWith Bridget away for the weekend, Maria and I had one of those rare opportunities to check out a bunch of movies. We ended up going to see two and renting one.

We passed on seeing Borat, deciding that would be a better choice for rental. And when we rented, we oculdn't get The Davinci Code or You, Me and Dupree because Blockbuster was out of them. At least we got a coupon for a free rental of Davinci.

First, we saw Casino Royale on Friday. Maria loves Bond and I like things getting blowed up and chicks in skimpy clothes. The movie was really fun. I liked bad-ass Bond a lot. Daniel Craig may not be suave, but he pulled off the character very well in my eyes.

Of course, some douchebag on a message board I frequent has his thong in a bunch because this goes back to the beginning of the series. Apparently, all the time he has spent in his parent's basement watching Bond movies with his invisible girlfriend (from Canada) is invalidated because this is about Bond's early career. Some people really need a life.

Instead of going to a second movie that day, we rented Accepted, with Justin Long (from Ed and the Mac commercials) and Lewis Black. Not a bad movie. Had some real funny spots and let the characters be themselves instead of constantly relying on juvenile humor.

On Saturday, we went to see Stranger than Fiction with Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson. Now I am a huge Will Ferrell fan so I figured I would like this flick, but it far exceeded my expectation. Everything about it was great. The plot was fantastic. The acting - including Dustin Hoffman who I didn't even know was in the film - was dead on. The music was cool. And Maggie Gylenhall was smoking. This movie could sweep The Brians. Will has basically sewed up Best Actor with his trio of performances (Curious George, Talladega Nights and this).

So far, eight movies are eligible for The Brians - Taladegga Nights, Click, Date Movie, Casino Royale, Stranger Than Fiction, Curious George, Ice Age 2 and Over the Hedge. I may have to create a special category for animated films.
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Happy Thanksgiving

BlogI hope everyone has a great holiday. We'll be off to my mother-in-law's to stuff our faces a little later. Then I'll watch way too much football while everyone else wonders why I watch way too much football. I find it very hard to function in a setting where people are so suspicious of watching football on Thanksgiving.

I am one of the lucky ones who has the NFL Network (in HD no less) to watch tonight's game. We should be home for me to catch most of it, which is cool. And Comcast has announced all the new channels since they took over my cable system. OnDemand, Fox Soccer Channel and GolTV are coming to my house on December 13. ITEOTWAWKIAIFF.

So be thankful for all you have and remember the real reason we celebrate Thanksgiving. Go Dons! Beat the Hall!

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Why Starbucks? Why?

BlogI haven't been to Starbucks for a while. First of all, it's not really convenient on my commute. Secondly, I only like going there for specialty drinks and haven't really had a hankering lately.

Until today. I had a hankering for some Gingercrack and I was making good time so I figured I would make the extra effort and satisfy my craving. I don't work again until Monday and there's no Starbucks in Hanover (although two are under construction) so if I didn't do it today, it would be a while before I got another chance.

The drink was fantastic, but I had a few problems. First of all, they asked for my name. I have had problems with this before. I told them my name was Joe to avoid my petty issues with them, but it astounded me because I was the only person in line at the time. Why do you need my name?

Secondly, the freaking lid on the cup cracked, but I didn't notice, and I spilled some on my shirt. Luckily, it wasn't until I was nearly done, and my shirt kind of has a pattern so you can't notice.

But why does Starbucks mock me with their delicious gingerbread latte, then cause me so much pain and suffering?

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The Best Medicine

SportsI didn't have a bad weekend, but if I had, the win by the Ravens would have made things better. The only thing wrong with it was the late push in the fourth quarter, but only because I wanted them to have more return yards than total offense.

And to top it all off, the Redskins lose again, which is awesome. The only bad part about that is that Chris Cooley is a weekly guest on Elliot in the Morning, the show I listen to on the way into work. He seems like a really good guy so I feel bad that he's stuck on that team. But not enough that I'd change my mind about hating the Skins.

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Shopping Time Is Almost Here

Columns The time to Christmas shop has almost arrived.

Yes, I know some people have already started. A select few crazies have even wrapped up their shopping. Thatís just crazy.

Christmas shopping should not begin until we finish with Thanksgiving. I donít see how anyone can really focus on buying presents without suffering through a tryptophan coma.

Now donít take this as an endorsement for waking up at an ungodly hour the day after Thanksgiving and fighting with some other crazy person over the last Elmo doll.

Christmas shopping shouldnít really start until the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Especially since the NFL Network will now show a football game on Thanksgiving night. How can you get up at 4:30 a.m. when you watched football until midnight?

Friday is for recovering from the gluttony of Thursday, watching the recording of about Greyís Anatomy (the only show I watch on Thursday which is not a rerun on Thanksgiving) and falling asleep in front of the TV with college football on.

Thereís no time for shopping.