Friday, January 26, 2007

Eleven Months Old!!!

We got out of the habit of posting a monthly photo -- so here's a few to give you your Gavin fix. The two of us went to the grocery store today and for the first time Gavin rode in the shopping cart seat. You would have thought he was going on the world's most exciting carnival ride for the first time... his giggles and squeals of delight made every shopper we encountered smile from ear to ear. Who knew it would be such a fun experience?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Random Thoughts - Team USA, ManU-Arsenal

Back at you here with some more random firings from the brain....standard caveats apply.

Saturday Team USA knocked off Denmark 3-1 in California. Nice to get the win, but it was a game we should have won, so not too excited about that.

I am excited about Justin Mapp's 60 yard run with the ball and assist after beating four players. Not often a guy in the red, white, and blue makes that kind of play or has the guts to run at people with the ball (Dempsey and maybe Convey being the only other guys recently who would have gone for it). He did pretty much disappear for the rest of the half after that play though.

Cooper's goal was well taken, but he was more the beneficiary of a great pass over the top against an extremely high Danish line than having a moment of brilliance. Well taken though, would like to see him light it up in MLS this year and continue to get chances with the nats.

Donovan's goal was lucky twice over. Shouldn't have been a penalty and should have been saved by the keeper. Overall Donovan continued his weak, non-assertive play. The only part of the game that he steps up for is in demanding to take all the free kicks, despite the fact that he seemingly failed to deliver a single quality dead ball in all of his 2006 appearances for Team USA. Here's hoping Bradley finds someone else that can actually do the job. We aren't asking for Becks (knew he'd work his way in here somehow), just a guy that can consistently put the ball into good spots and get his shots actually on frame instead of high and wide EVERY time.

Last thought on the game, the only guy more open while standing six yards from the net than Danish goal scorer Dennis Sorenson this last weekend was Thierry Henry in the Manchester United - Arsenal game Sunday.....

.....which was an excellent, excellent game to watch, especially for Arsenal fans as they stormed back in the last 15 minutes to notch a 2-1 victory. Even for the neutrals such as myself this was a heck of a game, great play by both sides, great attacking, defending, and goal keeping.

The biggest pleasure for me though was watching Henrik Larsson. I certainly wasn't keeping a tally or anything, but damn if he didn't win 4 out of every 5 balls played to him in the air, getting a large # of them down for his wingers to run on to. In addition to playing a great target role he also forced a tough save for Lehman on a corner, though to be fair an Arsenal defender would have had a shot at it. For a man in his mid-thirties though, I was extremely impressed with his play, wish we could have seen him play in the premier league in his prime.

Arsenal again showed that they are going to be challenging for the title within the next few years despite playing one of the youngest teams they've had in years. Similiar to the 1-1 draw with Chelsea a few weeks back, they played with grit, determination, and skill, matching their "more experienced" opposition stride for stride. For a team that has been almost completely made over in the last three years, the Gunners are starting to look downright scary. Give them another year or two of experience and get them performing consistently every week? Just maybe one of the faster "re-loading" jobs in recent memory.

And people, get pumped as we are just 3 weeks and 6 days from Champions League round of 16 games - my Tivo is already salivating!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Sleigh ride-The Movie!

Sleigh ride pics

We enjoyed a visit to the park down the street from us this afternoon when Don got home from work. It was a good reminder that winter has its joys -- a great boost after a week that definitely brought about a case of the winter "blahs." Keely enjoyed the snow, too!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Real Women Have Curves

Most of you know my fondness for watching awards shows. Earlier this week was no exception, as I enjoyed the Golden Globes Monday night in the company of some good friends. I also like to take a few minutes after the show to read up on people's best/worst lists for fashions of the night and other fun commentary.
This year, I am finding myself aligned with two of my favorite bloggers at
The funny, often irreverent women who put this site together have been singing the praises of actresses who look like real women and are not in dire need of a sandwich and I wanted to devote a little space to doing the same.
I couldn't agree more with their assertion that the word "curvy" has become some sort of euphemism in Hollywood-speak to say someone is overweight EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT. It's asinine and it has to stop. Just within the last week, the Council of Fashion Designers of America put out some new guidelines for models, saying they want to discourage them from being too thin. Do you believe them? I am not sure I do. The rules don't seem to have a lot of teeth, let alone fat or muscle, so we'll see. The most striking thing about the article I've linked here is how one source quoted says the scary-thin ideal gets passed on to the general public through actresses, many of whom probably starve themselves to fit into the designers' size zero sample garments. That might be why the lovely and stylish women pictured here (who probably ate 3 squares a day in the weeks leading up to the event) seem to be a rarity on these glamorous nights. I say, work it ladies!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Random Thoughts – Becks, MLS, and why Real has been out-everythinged by Barca over the last few years.

First, thanks for taking the time to read this. Second, this is a random collection of thoughts that have been kicking around my head as I’ve digested the various media, domestic and international, reports, stories, opinions, etc… that have been tossed around over the last week or so. Any silly mis-spellings, mis-quotes, glaring errors, and made up words like “everythinged” are all me, but at least they are as random as the rest of it. Third, feel free to ignore me, comment (positive or otherwise), or do whatever else floats your boat.

$250 million for Beckham. Damn. Honestly even if he wasn’t sure he wanted to make the move to the States just yet in his career, how do you say no to that kind of money? Even if most if it is endorsement money, and not guaranteed at that. Nick Saban’s interest level in the Alabama job certainly changed once the talk moved to a guaranteed $4 million a year over eight years, and really can you blame him for that?

Does this, as some people have said, mean Beckham’s best days on the pitch are behind him? Maybe, maybe not. By all reports, he could have signed with a number of Premiership teams - Bolton being the one I heard most often, and they are challenging for European competition consistently the last few years. Not ManU ceratinly, but nothing to sniff at either, especially with Davies and Anelka available to get on the end of his crosses. For me, the main thing it indicates is that his priorities have changed. He’s played at the highest level, won everything you can at the club level (at least in England), he’s out of the England set up for Euro08 and the next World Cup, what else is left to do? Moving to Los Angeles is a decision made putting his family, their financial stability and their lifestyle ahead of his soccer career. Can he still bring it on the pitch at the highest level? I do not know. What seems clear to me is that he does not feel he needs to anymore.

Is this a desperate MLS ploy that will bring it to a NASL-like demise? The whole set up of MLS is designed to prevent an implosion and the “Beckham rule” is no different.

Is this a genius-marketing move that will catapult professional soccer into the mainstream of American sports? While it is certainly getting soccer into the discussion held by the talking heads of our national sports talk scene, it doesn’t make the sport viable in their eyes. Soccer will continue to be blasted by those who are threatened by it, don’t understand it, or just prefer football and basketball. It is another small step down the path to grow our game in this country, but not nearly as large as Garber and company would like you to believe.

One thing I think it does accomplish – AEG’s money is buying the MLS more awareness internationally than domestically. It will not bring a sudden influx of “in their prime” international players (and Edgar Davids is definitely past his prime, though he will be just as effective as Beckham if he does sign with FC Dallas), especially when they realize that they are not going to get Beckham like money. It will cause players and fans across the globe though to take a second look at MLS as a legitimate league, and (for the same reason Real sprung for him to begin with) don’t be surprised the next time you are in Asia to see MLS games being broadcast and children wearing Galaxy jerseys.

Finally, on the subject of Real Madrid - Capello has banished Beckham to training only. Calderon has publicly blasted him for going behind Real’s back and claiming he will be nothing more than a “second-rate” star or some such thing. I honestly wonder how much of the anger coming from that camp is really indignation over the $$$$. Seriously, when was the last time someone was able to outspend Real Madrid? Ever? And Calderon, do you think that Beckham is going to complain about getting MORE money to deal with LESS paparazzi. Oh yeah, you get to live in nice, sunny, warm weather too. Though David, I must warn you the traffic is total “pants”.

Beckam signs with another team and finds himself benched by Real. Henrik Larsson signs with another team and not only keeps his place, but manages to break Gunner hearts everywhere by crafting the two goals Barca needed to see off Arsenal in the Champion’s League Final last May.

Real pride, Barca pragmatism. An indicator of why the Catalans have topped their rival in the standings going on four consecutive years and hold the highest honor in European club football right now?

Oh yeah, this is "the other half" blogging, not your regular blogger...but you probalby figured that out...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

Under the spell of the Sisters Mandrell...

...Come on, you know you watched it. Now it's out on DVD. Available TODAY people. It aired from 1980 to 1982 and featured Barbara, Louise and Irlene, often in matching, spangled costumes. There was also usually some kind of skit, sometimes involving puppets.
Barbara played 19 instruments or so, including the saxophone. Louise played the "fiddle," and Irlene played the drums. It was what we people over 30 know as a "variety show."
It got me to thinking, where are they now?

I know Barbara continued on with her singing career. She survived a car crash and Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady) portrayed her in the TV movie of her life story. Remember, she was country when country wasn't cool. My grandmother went to see her at the Dane County Coliseum once and described her as being really slim and wearing black leather pants and a white blouse. Sadly, her official Web site says she gave her last performance in 1997. The site also notes she is slated to appear in the upcoming spring fashion issue of Harper's Bazaar and on the 700 Club. How's that for opposite ends of the spectrum?

So what about Louise, you ask? Well she's been performing in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (home of Dollywood, in case you didn't know). She had her own theater, even. Apparently hers was "the most attended show in the Smokies." I am not sure what the competition is, but I bet it's fierce. Her last show was in 2005.

And that brings us to Irlene ... not the most talented of the bunch. She skated by on her looks and ability to pretend to play the drums. She came out in 1983 with "Texercise," the first country-western exercise program, which included "The Thighs of Texas," "The Big Bend," and "The Saddle Bag Stomp." She is now the spokeswoman for a gun manufacturer. At least she shoots for charity now and then, too.

Thanks for reading -- this extremely random post has been knocking around for a few days. It might become an occasional series -- next up "Whatever happened to Dawn after the gig with Tony Orlando was up?"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007