Monday, February 20, 2017


A few months ago I had an idea for a series of posts that would be scheduled for April during some blogging marathon challenge thingy. I decided not to join in that madness.. but I thought I'd share my theme with you anyway.  

Here's a list of my favorite animated television characters from A to Z.

Sterling Archer (Archer)

Beavis and Butthead

Carl Brutananadilewski (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)

Disco Stu (The Simpsons)

 Err (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)

Phillip J. Fry (Futurama)

  Gary (SpongeBob SquarePants)

Homer Simpson (The Simpsons)

 Ignignokt (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)

 Joe Swanson (Family Guy)

 Kyle Broflovski (South Park)

 Lana Kane (Archer)

Master Shake and Meatwad (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)

Nelson Muntz (The Simpsons)

 Ollie Williams (Family Guy)

Peter Griffin (Family Guy)

Glenn Quagmire (Family Guy)

Ralph Wiggum (The Simpsons)

SpongeBob SquarePants

Tina Belcher (Bob's Burgers)

Uter (The Simpsons)

Victor the Villain (Wallykazam)

Woodhouse (Archer)

Mr. X (The Simpsons)

You There (Futurama)

Dr. Zoidberg (Futurama)

Who are some of your favorite animated characters?


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Presidents' Day

This is the second of two "cross-promotion" posts I'm doing across both of my blogs.

Tomorrow is President's Day here in the US, and I thought I'd discuss it today so that I can spend the day off reading and commenting on your blogs.

I usually refrain from political commentary on my sports card blog (#safespaces) and I only refer to my political leanings on this blog indirectly, as a source of stress in my family life. But lately I have been leaving some supportive comments for my fellow progressives, and so I'll add some more partisan thoughts here.

I'm going to share two politically-themed trading cards, and then I'll split this into two different endings, like those old Choose Your Own Adventure books.

For a card-centric ending, head over to my other blog The Collector.
For a  more opinionated ending, keep it here. (Or you can read both!)

This man needs no introduction. He's arguably the greatest president since and possibly including George Washington. He won the Civil War. He united the country. He freed the slaves. He also happened to be a Republican, which many of them will remind you of whenever they're accused of being racist. 

Here's the flaw in that theory: it ain't the 1860's anymore. In the 1960's, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson attempted to build on Lincoln's legacy by passing the Civil Rights Act - ending segregation in schools, buses, and businesses. No southern state in the old Confederacy has gone blue since. 

Obviously Hillary Clinton is not our president (but many of us wish she were.)

Many of you reading this have been horrified by the actions of our Tweeter-in-chief. Over the past three months you might have thought to yourself what if? What if Hillary Rodham Clinton had shattered that glass ceiling? What if our 45th president were also our first female president? 

When I scanned this Clinton card I considered a different what if? 

What if the Dems had picked Hillary instead of Barack Obama in 2008?

It's possible the following things don't happen:
  • relentless Republican obstruction
  • the Tea Party
  • Russian and/or Syrian aggression (because Hillary is more hawkish?)

 It's likely the following things don't happen:
  • the Benghazi witch hunt, which led to
  • the investigation of HRC's e-mails, which led to
  • "lock her up" chants and "Hillary for Prison" t-shirts

And it's almost certain the following things don't happen:
  • Donald Trump's political career
  • (overt) racism making a comeback
  • Republican control of SCOTUS for the foreseeable future
  • That horrible thing you just saw on the news

That third one might not be so obvious. I do believe that Senator Turtleface would have prevented President Clinton from selecting a Supreme Court justice to fill Antonin Scalia's vacant seat. However, announcing that the outcome of the 2016 election would determine who gets to fill that vacancy would have backfired on the Cons, since this past election would have been about choosing Hillary's successor. 

Is there any doubt the Dems would have nominated Barack Obama? Is there any doubt that since Obama had not already been president that Donald Trump would not have run, and one of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Jeb Bush would have been the Republican nominee?

Is there any doubt that Obama would have wiped the floor with any one of them?

But that's all hindsight, since there was no way the DNC could have denied Obama the nomination in 2008 without the appearance of being completely unfair and (possibly) racist. 

Even if you had a time machine and you told Obama supporters in 2008 (much like Bernie Sanders supporters in 2016) Let her have this one. He can be secretary of state or something, and run at the top of the ticket in eight years. What do you say?

Bernie didn't have that option, and yet he did what Obama didn't. He conceded. He let Hillary have this one. 

What if?


Saturday, February 18, 2017


This is the first of two "cross-promotion" posts I'm doing across both of my blogs. You can read the beginning of this story on The Collector.

Yesterday I got an order of baseball cards in the mail. Mostly Red Sox, some other assorted stuff... and this First Pitch card of Victoria Justice.

I think I mentioned it before, but I didn't actually have the card in-hand. Now I do ;-)

I've never really mentioned Victoria on this blog (too busy talking about Taryn Southern I suppose) and that's because I'm not all that familiar with her work. My Nickelodeon watching days started with You Can't Do That On Television and Double Dare.. and ended with The Amanda Show. Amanda Bynes was my dream girl - tall and talented and funny and very sweet.

...or so we thought. Amanda had sooo many issues as an adult. She was the subject of a wildly popular blog post from the guys at A Beer For The Shower. I'll let them explain her downfall. 

While Amanda was crashing and burning, Victoria Justice was quietly (at least to me) taking her place at Nick. I was too old to be watching tween shows at that time, but my niece was watching Victorious one day when I spotted this slender brunette on the screen.

Who is that? I wondered. She's gorgeous!

Before long, she was overshadowed by her red-headed co-star Ariana Grande. When Ariana 'blew up' I was not impressed. Pop stars rarely appeal to me, but pop stars who have to dress provocatively and act like an actual baby to mask their limited talent definitely do not appeal to me. 

I deduced that Victoria Justice was different, mostly because I had never seen nor heard any mention of her on celebrity gossip shows. She seemed like she was transitioning from tween icon to young adult actress seamlessly enough. And she can actually sing

While researching an old blog post I came across a song on the Victorious soundtrack that I actually like.

I'm a little bit out of her demographic, and I'm still not familiar enough with her acting, but I'd consider myself a Victoria Justice fan. I wouldn't call her a "crush" (yet?) but I admire the way she carries herself. She's a good role model for young girls.. like my daughters. I hope they become fans one day (They're almost there - Victorious still airs on Teen Nick, and they're already watching other Dan Schneider shows.)


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Love Day!

It's Valentine's Day. The ladies at work are dressed in red, and I'm drinking red and black Monster through a pink straw. (I'd take a pic if I had a decent phone.)

Like everything else these days, it seems that everyone either loves this holiday or hates it. I'm not enthusiastic nor jaded, I just feel sort of melancholy. D and I have been married for like a dozen years, we're poor, and we have two young children, so a romantic dinner date ain't happening. I'm still obligated to buy her a heart-shaped box of candy, but she doesn't necessarily care if I do so today (for full price) or on the 16th (for 80% off).

When I was a freshman in high school, I had a crush on this very tall blonde senior girl who looked a lot like Uma Thurman. (I actually had a thing for two girls named Liz, and so I referred to this one as "Uma Liz")   

Uma Liz was waaaay out of my league and I knew it... but that didn't stop me from chasing her down in the hallway and handing her a Valentine's Day card. She seemed to appreciate the gesture, and I walked away satisfied. If she did laugh as she ripped up the card and threw it in the garbage, at least she was nice enough to wait until I was out of sight. 

I probably have other random V-Day memories stored somewhere but I'm at work right now so I can't brain at the moment. Instead, I will share one of my favorite love songs with you guys. I can't play it for my wife, she hates Snow Patrol.

Happy Valentine's day everyone!


Friday, February 10, 2017

Love, Taryn

This isn't going to make much sense if you haven't read my previous post..and I don't usually post on back-to-back days, but...

As a rule, I do not comment on things (other than blog posts). I don't tweet, I don't do Facebook, and I never comment on news articles. I try not to even read other comments because it stresses me out. When I feel like I have something to say, I say it here or I bother D with it because the last thing my life needs is a flame war with a total stranger.

Even when I have something positive to say, I bite my tongue.  I am still the incredibly awkward boy I was in school. Constantly worried about being misunderstood, or ridiculed. When I met a girl I liked, either in real life (Angela) or online (Joy) I tried desperately to be cool, before quickly realizing I don't have the first clue how to do anything but overreact and overthink. I spared myself a great deal of humiliation with one, I completely f*cked up with the other. Andso I keep my mouth shut. 

Except...I didn't follow my rule yesterday. I poured my heart out to a girl I like. 

I commented on Taryn's video.

I really enjoyed this video. It might be an ad, but IMO it's more effective at selling Taryn Southern - and I'm already a loyal consumer. The fun, silly videos are great (and I miss them - please do more!) but this sort of summarizes what you're all about - taking risks, following your own path, being your own boss. Not to mention all of the charitable work you've done, with Tribe of Good and VR-related projects. Keep being that strong, defiant, kind-hearted woman we all love. (And throw us an 80's cover once in a while ;-)

She does reply occasionally, though it's often first-come, first-serve. I was not expecting a reply, nor was I going to worry myself over the lack of one. I had lots of other stuff on my mind.

But while I was opening a package of baseball cards I acquired in a trade with a blogger, this notification popped up.

Taryn Southern replied to your comment

Taryn Southern
1:49 PM
This is the sweetest message Chris!! Thank you so much.

At this time I would like to announce my retirement from the world of YouTube commenting. 

This might just be enough to get me through the awful day that awaits me tomorrow.



Thursday, February 9, 2017

Snow Day

Yesterday started out rough, but it ended up being a good day (it was also Work Mom's birthday and two pieces of funfetti cake were consumed.) The weather was so sunny and warm that I didn't even need my jacket.

My co-worker had asked if I had my shovels and snow boots ready. I thought she was joking. Snow? It's frickin 60 outside! But she was serious. "Haven't you seen the news?"

"I don't watch the news anymore." I told her. "I can't stand it."

Sure enough, she was right. By 7pm last night my daughter's school had announced their closing. I went to bed at around midnight, expecting to get a call from my boss around 7am. Woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Checked my phone for the time. 4:40am. Peered through the window shade to see the snow. It was barely an inch.

I went back to bed.

Not two minutes later my wife woke me up. My boss had called on the house phone to inform me that the office would be closed today. She said he tried to reach me on my cell. I always set my phone to 'alarm only' so that my sleep isn't disturbed by a wrong number (or an Amber alert). Didn't think my boss would call that early, but I'm glad he did.

This day off could not have come at a better time. I desperately needed a day to sleep in and catch up on blogs before this weekend - which will be jam-packed with awful things I really don't want to do. Friday night my 7 year-old gets to watch Finding Dory with her Girl Scout troop (and mommy) while I stay home all night and watch my 4 year old. Then on Saturday I'm being forced to participate in some mystery room thing with my wife's brother, before heading to her parents for her other siblings' birthday party.

But there are exciting things happening 'round here. My wife bought tickets to see her favorite band (and two of my favorites)

We'll be attending the Jones Beach show in New York. Wifey ordered the tix yesterday during a presale; she said that after Ticketmaster bullshit the total came to about $350, or more than twice what we paid to see Muse alone (technically X-Ambassadors opened for them). She blames Jared Leto.

It's almost six months away, and I don't know how I feel about being in the "pit" all day in the middle of summer with hundreds of kids half our age... but I'm looking forward to it because we never get to go out anywhere anymore. (My wife actually justified it by calling it our 'anniversary gift' which shows just how obsessed she is with Muse.)

The other thing I'm very excited about is the 2017 baseball season - and the 2017 baseball cards - will be arriving soon. I won't bore you with the details of how I sold enough cards to pay for a major purchase I'd been anticipating for years (that's what my other blog is for). But I'll share one bit of news...One of My Favorite Girls has her own baseball card!

Hey girl...wanna play catch?

I did not know this until a blogger on my baseball card blogroll pulled this out of a pack. He initially thought she was 16, until he Googled her. She's 23!

While we're on topic, I have not watched one single Taryn Southern video in calendar year 2017. This is mostly because I was busy being sick, applying for a job, and collecting cards but also because I've been watching a lot less YouTube. And lately Taryn's been giving up the comedic stuff and talking about virtual reality and other gadgets that don't really interest me. Honestly I made it a New Year's resolution to stop crushing on Joy and I think that Taryn got caught in the undertow.

Andso I submit her latest video as a litmus test. She posted this...whatever it is..two days ago (Taryn Tuesdays, they're still a thing). I bookmarked it, read a few comments, and embedded it here but I have not watched it yet. Let's watch it together, shall we?

Okay, I haven't hit 'play' yet and I'm already intrigued. She's in bed, after all. And I've missed that pretty face. (pressing play now)

It looks like she's in the Pacific Northwest, because she's driving on a winding mountain road and wearing flannel. (note: i have never been to the Pacific Northwest)

This is where the screen cap comes in. She looks damn cute in her PJ's. Damn cute.

And now we're in a studio, where Taryn tells us a little bit about herself. Finance, huh? That is a very interesting fact I did not know. (Was that on her Wikipedia page?)

I want an autograph! And I missed that whole phase of her carer where she acted and sang and hosted stuff (did I mention she was on Attack of the Show? Seems like the perfect gig for her.)

Now that's the Taryn I know. I wish she'd get back to that fun, silly stuff. (I know, I know... can't do it forever. Expanding your horizons and whatnot.)

And we end at the present, where Taryn kicks open her own path. Because she's got drive, y'all.

Then there's the Ford logo (this was a commercial?) and some quick commentary from her about the cause. (which of course someone surmised is all a dig at the Donald.)
Meet the women who are breaking down barriers in front of the camera, behind it and beyond. #shesgotDRIVE

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media mission is to create worlds where women are half of the characters and have half of the adventures.  To show girls what they can aspire to.

If she can see it, she can be it.

Okay, well. That was interesting. I learned more about Taryn than whatever product they were selling, so that's cool. I hope this airs on television, mostly because I want D to know who it is that I've been talking /writing about, and she's not going to seek out someone who only exists online. (She's too busy on Twitter and Muse message boards).

Also, I'm old school. I still believe that TV is special. You can find anything online. 

When Angela was in a Windows 7 commercial I learned about it through her social media. I watched it on YouTube. But when it aired on my TV during the biggest game of the football season it was just different. Angela is on my TV! This is incredible!

I've never met Taryn, and I never will. It's not exactly the best comparison - other than  her commercial being part of a series of commercials with 'real people' instead of established celebrities*. Maybe I'm showing my age, but I'd still like to see Taryn on the tellie. I didn't get to see her episode of Rules of Engagement and I've only caught her New Girl ep in reruns. (that was a trip - she played a Mitt Romney supporter haha). 

 *excluding Ms. Southern, of course

Is it me, or does her voice sound waay different in this? I don't know if she was 'acting' or what, but she sounds so high-pitched and mousey. 

Okay, I gotta go before YouTube sucks me into a Taryn Southern wormhole and I happily spend waste the whole snow day watching all 8,000 of her videos. Told you the internet has everything. Don't let the internet suck you into a wormhole. Go outside. Enjoy yourselves. Which reminds me, I should go out and shovel the snow. 

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Books I Need To Read

I haven't had time to read a book in at least two years, and the pile of unread books on my shelf is growing. A few weeks ago I received a book from Matt Shifley (aka Mr. Shife) author of the blog Confessions of a Dumb, White Guy - and the book of the same name. (Thanks again, Matt!)

I'd have started reading this book already if I weren't sick for three weeks, or if my wife ever took both of the kids out of the house at the same time, or if they ever went to bed before I do. I used to walk to the library and read, or read on long car rides to the beach or my mother's in Connecticut. 

Maybe I'll start reading it next time I visit my family, which should be in a month or two. I'd like to start reading it sooner, but my book reading record has not been good lately. In addition to Matt's book, I have five other books sitting on my shelf that I have not even started to read:

I got this one after reading "Hate List" by Jennifer Brown. Not surprised that I needed some time before reading my next 'school shooting' novel, but I think it's been long enough.

I bought this when I was on a "sick-lit" bender. (Likely during the time I was attempting my own novel.)

This is the only thing John Green has written that I haven't read yet (although I feel like I might have started reading it some winters ago?) It may be wise of me to save it for another year or two since John might never publish another book again.

 Speaking of John Green...

This is the story of Esther Earl, the real-life Hazel Grace Lancaster. I bought this book after The Fault In Our Stars movie was released.. and while I've seen TFIOS at least five times, I have not read a single page of this, including John's introduction. Shame on me.

But the one book that I've left unread the longest by far is this biography of baseball legend Sandy Koufax.

I bought this at an indie bookstore in Mystic, Connecticut. Or Old Saybrook, Connecticut. or maybe it was Salem, Mass. I dunno..I'm pretty sure it was in New England though. I've had this book for so long I couldn't even remember when I bought it, and so I opened it up just now to find the publishing date. There were a couple of clues tucked inside the front  cover:

That can't be right, I know this book is older than 2008. I think maybe I hid this so my family wouldn't make me go to my commencement. I didn't know anybody anyway (except Angela - and she only counts in my dreams.)

Here's the second clue...

Tickets from the Devils 2002-03 season. The shiny one was inside the front cover, the boring Ticketmaster one was somewhere in the middle of the book. These definitely make great bookmarks - but I don't know why I stuffed so many things into a book I've never read. 

Maybe I did read it... or some of it, at least. I've always said to myself that I'll read this Koufax bio one day. Apparently I've been saying that for fourteen years.

How many books are on your 'To Read' pile? How long have they been sitting on your shelf, or in your queue?