Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween and Another Earthquake

Thank you everyone for your concern about how the Solomon's weathered the earthquake on Tuesday night; it's very much appreciated. In the event you are unsure, yes, that was dripping with sarcasm.

On a serious note, that was really something. It struck at 8:00 pm while I was reading the kids a story. The Wife was in the shower and missed the whole thing but boy was that was quite the experience. While it only lasted around 10-15 seconds, it was exceptionally violent; it's hard to describe, but it felt like the house was pitching to its side. The kids did not react well at all - the girl in particular really freaked out and was inconsolable until she fell asleep. I'll say one thing: now that I've experienced two earthquakes, I don't feel any desire to experience a third. And this one at 5.6 was relatively small.


Obviously, today was halloween. Our town really takes this holiday seriously: the day starts off with a parade at the kid's school and a little show in which each class comes up and sings a song. I hate using words like "adorable" but it really was something close to that, particularly the girl and her kindergarden crew. The Girl, by the way, was a Dragon (kind of appropriate) while the Boy was .. get ready for it .. Derek Jeter. This is a kid after my own heart.

We went to a friends house for dinner and then headed downtown. There is a three or four block radius that *really* gets into the halloween spirit: haunted houses, spooky music blaring from speakers, extensive decorations, -- the whole nine yards. Then the high school kids come out and cause all sort of craziness. All in all, it's a really good time.

One weird thing happened though: an adult -- a freaking adult -- got in the Boy's face and started spouting off about how the Yankees sucked. Yes, he was a Red Sox fan and yes, he was serious. It was kind of bizarre; he kept going on and on about how they were in disarray, and welcome to their world of suffering and blah, blah, blah. It was really weird. I said to him, dude, he's a kid, he doesn't get this stuff but it didn't really seem to resonate.

Damn Red Sox fans.

One thing I don't like about halloween -- and I do not mean to sound like a curmudgeon now -- but if you think about it, the whole candy thing is really idiotic. The last thing in the world these kids need today - mine, especially - is 14 pounds of freaking candy. Actually, make the 12; the wife just ate two pounds worth.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Medal of Honor vs. No Honor

Last week, in a story that did not capture nearly the media attention it deserved, Lt. Michael Murphy of Patchogue New York, a Navy SEAL, was posthumously awarded the military's highest award: The Medal of Honor. He was the first Seal awarded the Medal of Honor since Vietnam.

Ironically enough, just days before this ceremony I had finally completed Marcus Luttrel's book on this now infamous firefight, Operation Redwing, so I was very familiar with his story.

In a nutshell, Murphy and four other Seals, including Luttrel, were caught in a terrible position by the Taliban. Engaged in a fierce firefight and recognizing how dire the situation was, Murphy came to the conclusion that the only way he could save his men was to radio in a support team. In order for him to get an audio connection, however, he was forced to walk directly into the line of enemy fire.

He did so without blinking, knowing he was sacrificing his life for that of his platoon mates. He did so without any degree of hesitation. As he made the call for air support, two shots pierced his chest. Mortally wounded, he did not waver. He completed his call and signed off by saying "thank you, sir" to the commanding officer on the other end of the line.

Moments later, he was dead.

On the other side of the coin, we have a prima donna athlete who is making 30 million dollars a year to play baseball.

He refuses to meet face-to-face and hear the offer being being tendered by his current employer - the one paying his 30 million dollars a year -- and instead hides behind the skirt of his his agent, who sends notice of his decision to the Yankees via text message and to the Associated Press during the 7th inning of the decisive game of the World Series.

And so, an example of beyond exemplary honor contrasted versus no honor whatsoever. Yet one is a household name, the other barely recognized. Which typifies everything that is wrong with our celebrity laden culture.

It is a good thing I don't own an Alex Rodriguez jersey, because if I did, I would remove the stitching that comprises his name and have it replaced with "Murphy."

I'd give it to the Little Boy and teach him that their are real heroes in this world and there are false ones. And that it is up to him to recognize who's who.

Good riddance Alex Rodriguez.

Rest in peace, Lt. Murphy.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New York Times Play Magazine

One of my favorite pleasures in the world is the Sunday edition of the New York Times. There's nothing like sitting down on a Sunday evening (or, pre-kids, Sunday am. But that isn't happening any time for the next 15 years) and making your way through the Times. I love every section: Week in Review (featuring the trifecta of Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd and Tom Friedman) to The Sunday Styles section (aka the Jewish sports pages) to the Business section, to Book Review, Travel and more.

I've been reading the Sunday Times since I was a wee lad and I'll probably read it until the day I die.

One thing I've been especially digging a lot about the Sunday Times over the past few years is the special Magazine sections (not to be confused with the weekly New York Times Sunday Magazine. They alternate between Men's Fashion (another favorite, actually), Women's Fashion, Travel, and a relatively newcomer, called Play, which covers the world of sports.

Each issue of Play, which is published quarterly, has been fatastic, but I think this past weekend's edition is as close to Magazine Nirvana as I will ever get, which is saying something as I am a magazine devotee (which I believe I have covered off on in a previous post).

Although I do not have the magazine in front of me, articles include:

-- a very timely article on back pain, which is remarkably interesting to me right now (evidently, I need to work on more "core," but this I knew) for obvious reasons (btw, the back is feeling a tad better. I spent an hour yesterday and 30 minutes today in an industrial hot tub with the jets right on my back. It seems to have helped).

-- an article that I have not yet read (saving it for a plane ride this week) by one of my favorite writers, Michael Lewis, on the fortunes, and misfortunes as the case may be, of NFL kickers

-- a profile piece on marathon great, and one of my all-time heroes, Alberto Salazar

--a profile piece on Phoenix Sun's great Steve Nash

-- a fantastic article my best-selling author Michael Crichton on his ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro (I love climbing articles/stories, especially ones relating to Everest and Kiliminjaro, which is on my life "to do" list).

Anyway, the terrific thing thing about this magazine is you do not need to be a sports fan to enjoy it and each article is just wonderfully well-written.

If possible, I very strongly suggest you find a copy; it's that good.

Sports Recap

So, let's recap recent events in the world of sports:

1. The dreaded Red Sox are World Series champions. Enough said.

2. A Rod has decided to opt out of his contract. Unbelieveable. He wouldn't even agree out of respect to sit down and listen to the Yankee's offer. And for him and Boras to make the announcement DURING the World Series is literally beyond my comprehension. That announcement could not have waited until today? What was the point of that -- to totally alienate the Red Sox from future negotiations? From a PR standpoint that was a completely unnecessary move that will engender him a lot of bad will. Good freaking riddance A Rod. Sure, you're a regular season Monster but the playoffs count for something, too. And ps -- you might be more gifted, but you are no Derek Jeter.

3. Yanks pick Joe Girardi over Mattingly. While I think Giradi has the fiery temperment the Yankees need, I think that for the sake of continuity, Mattingly would have been the better call. I really feel for Donnie Baseball.

4. Ohio State is number one. Michigan is on a tear of late, and I think we are getting set of a Battle of the Unbeatens in the Big Ten. Not to sound pessimistic but based on recent history, I'm not entirely compfortable with this notion.

5. Patriots are 8-0 and looking like a juggernaut; maybe the most potent offense in the history of the game. Conversely the Jets are 1-7 and look completely lost.

6. The Celtic have Garnett, Pierce and Allen as a nucleus. The Knicks, who I have been protesting now for three years, have Isiah and the Dolan's. 'Nuff said on that topic as well.

As stated in previous posts, I'm still trying to figure out how I can have so much emotionally invested in sports. It's completely idiotic, to put it mildly. If anyone has any suggestions as to how I can shake this addiction, I am all ears.......

(Ps. There is one upside to the Red Sox championship; it's nice to see two fellow cancer survivors -- Mike Lowell and Jon Lester -- play such a prominent role in their victory. I wish the media would play up this angle just a bit more)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cancer Post

Today is the fourth anniversary of The Wife's hysterectomy: as many of you know, in 2003 she was diagnosed with early stage cervical cancer. Fortunately for her, she was diagnosed early, as hers was very fast growing, which is an anomoly for cervical cancer, which typically is very slow growing and can be monitored over the course of years.

Anyway, four years ago today she was lying in a hospital bed and today she ran 5 miles from the Miwok trail to Tennessee Valley, which is a *very* tough run. Congrats Wife, I am very proud of you and look how far you have come.

She wanted me to link to an article in this month's Vogue on the relatively new HPV vaccine for cervical cancer, but unfortunately, the article in not yet online.

As many of you are aware, HPV is the virus that causes about 70% of cervical cancers, and in what was touted as a major medical breakthrough, a highly effective vaccine was introduced to the marketplace about two years ago.

However, as is generally the case when politicians get involved, the HPV vaccine has become mildly controversial. Many politicians do not support it, because they think it is an implicit endorsement of premarital sex; they argue that it sends the wrong message to teen girls. They believe that instead of promoting vaccines, we should be promoting abstinence.

I argue: let their freaking daughters get cervical cancer (god forbid) and then let's see how they feel about the vaccine.

I am relatively apolitical (though I follow politics keenly, I am somewhat dispassionate) but sometimes I truly feel that we live in the stone age. How a politician could possibly not endorse a potentially life-saving vaccine singularly because of politics is totally and completely beyond my comprehension.

Anyway, that's my cancer diatribe for the day.

Happy Cancer Free anniversary, Wife!

Sunday Pictorial: Hawk Hill

It's been a while since I did a Sunday Pictorial. Because of my back I wasn't able to do an extensive hike, but on Saturday we took my cousin Matt (pictured) who was visiting from NYC up to Hawk Hill. On top of boasting some of the most picturesque views the Bay Area has to offer, Hawk Hill is also a landing station of sorts in the Fall for thousands of Hawks who catch the thermal winds as they travel westward. Unfortunately, we only saw a handful of Hawks, but the views are not to be believed.

We had a great visit with Matt; he's one of my favorite people ever and he's as close to being a fourth brother as possible. He's as mellow as they come, funny and just a cool kid. I think my daughter has a crush on him to boot, but after spending four days with my insane family, I am sure he's happy to be East. Anyway, thanks for making the trip, Matt, and come again soon!

Friday, October 26, 2007

My Aching Back

My back pain finally got so bad (probably having something to do with my back to back runs in LA earlier this week) that I finally had to go to the doctor. The time had come: I've been spending too much time in my office taking calls while prone on the floor.

Anyway, the diagnosis: a severely strained or possibly slightly torn muscle in my lumbosacral region. She recommends muscle relaxers (which I won't take; never liked them, never will), and physical therapy. She also said no running or cycling for the near term. I still intend to swim though -- without some form of exercise I'll likely lose my mind.

Man, not to be wallowing in self pity, but I've had a bit of rough go of it lately.

While I was there, we chatted about my present situation re: thyroid cancer. She asked what it was like to have a TSH level of 49 (the level I was tested at about four days before my scan dose). She said she could not imagine getting through the day with a TSH that high, let alone three weeks. She was incredulous to learn that I did not miss one day of work during that period of time; she said most people would have been absolutely leveled. So, I got that going for me, I guess.

Anyway, headed out shortly to a Texas Hold 'Em tournament with the boys, which is exactly what I think I need tonight.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

2008 Tour de France

This is a variation on an email I sent out to a few of the boys today in regards to the 2008 Tour course, which was unveiled on Thursday afternoon. For the first time in many, many years, they've shaken up the Tour in a big way. Despite the fact that for the first time in eons there will be no American-sponsored team, I am pretty stoked nonetheless.

Anyway, the news, as follows:

1. for the first time I can recall, there is no time trial prologue. We start with a long stage!

2. no boring first week of sprints! We move to some big ass climbs late in the first week.

3. lots of mountain finishes, including the return of Alpe d'Huez. For sure this will be a climbers tour which bodes well for Alberto and Levi.

4. most important and interesting change: no time bonuses will be awarded for winning a stage. This is huge and will keep the pressure constant.

Lastly, without question, I will be rooting for two teams this year: Astana (which is essentially Team Discovery, replete with Contador, Levi and Johan) and Slipstream, presuming of course that they get a bid.

It's not too early to be thinking about July, y'all.

California Wildfires

I just returned from two days in southern California. I arrived on Tuesday night and I got to my hotel in Santa Monica just as the sun was setting. It was the most fiery red sunset I have ever in my life seen and was evidently an atmospheric affect caused by smoke. Beyond the sunset (which I really wish I had photographed) there wasn't any other major indication of a problem. I went for an evening run and though it was a bit hotter than usual, it was hard to detect anything out of the ordinary.

That all changed on Wednesday, when I went to visit a client located about 10-15 miles from the Camp Pendleton fire (which is relatively minor compared to some of the others). As we got closer to our meeting, visibility dropped significantly and by the time we arrived, it resembled near white out conditions. It was the first time I've exeperienced anything quite like this and it was disconcerting, to say the least.

And the real spooky part was that we still were nowhere near a true danger zone.

During our meeting, Governor Arnold's helicopter zoomed right by our meeting. My client had a TV on in her office, and it was bizarre to see the Governor buzz by our office, and two minutes later walk on to a podium for a press conference. Evidently, his command center is located a few short miles from our clients office. On the way home, we saw his motorcade on the other side of the highway.

Another one of our clients, Sony Electronics, is located in Rancho Bernardo, which is at the heart of the action. Their offices have been shut down but fortunately are not damaged. Most of their employees have been temporarily displaced and one of our direct contacts has been evacuated from her house, though I believe she has since returned.

I'll say that though I wasn't anywhere near the fires themselves, it's one thing watching all this on television and another thing quasi-experiencing it as it unfolds.

The other reminder here is the incredible power of Mother Nature. Much like the New Orleans situation, She truly is an awesome force unlike no other. And when She unreleases her power, there's not much one can really do but wait it out, pray and hope for the best.

I obviously hope and pray that things temper down over the next few days. Godspeed to all who have been affected, and to all the heroic firefighters, many of who have been working upwards of 96 consecutive hours.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Male Bonding

So, as I noted yesterday, I bought the Little Boy a Wii for his birthday. In the spirit of candor, I actually bought the damn thing about seven months ago (!), but I was too afraid to open it, as I didn't think he (or his siter for that matter) was quite mature enough to handle a videogame and I didn't want it to interfere with his homework.

That being said, as his birthday aproached, I figured it would make a pretty darn special birthday gift. Only time will tell if he is in fact "ready" but it does come with some very major caveats: no Wii-ing until after his homework and other activities are complete and only a half-hour a day, max.

Ok, now that I've stated the groundrules, hot damn is that thing fun. We got it set up last night and wowza -- I might have to limit myself to half hour a day. We played the Sports package (baseball, tennis, boxing, golf and bowling) and each game is better than the previous.

Last night was a good time. After we finally got this thing set up (we experienced some technical difficulties, but as usual, The Engineer, aka, The Wife, figured it out) it was late, so we sent The Boy and the Girl to bed, with the Boy in particular skulking that he couldn't play more.

I was pretty anxious myself to play with it and noticing that the Mom/Wife was on the phone downstairs, I figured what the hell: I tiptoed into his room and told him to silently make his way into the den so that we could play a game or two together.

The look on his face was one of pure joy.

It was hilarious, he was SO stoked but at the same time was trying to be as quiet as possible, which isn't exaclty easy for an eight year old. Every time we heard his mother rustling downstairs, he made a beeline for his room in order not to get caught.

Anyway, we got into an intense game of tennis (the kid's got game!) and weren't paying attention and we got stone cold busted by The Sheriff. The look on his face was a mix between complete amusement and utter fear.

Anyway, after a stern look and a moment of quiet, mom relented and joined in on the fun before we sent him off to bed at the very late (for a schoolnight) hour of 9:30 pm.

I got into a bit of trouble myself but it was well worth it; sometimes -- only sometimes, Dear Wife -- rules are meant to be broken.

And I simply could not think of a better boys night out if I tried.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Random Thoughts

Couple of random thoughts, apropos of not much in particular:

Couple of cool things happened relative to this blog that I want to acknowledge. First, I was slightly flabbergasted (but in a good way of course) to learn that someone actually listens -- and purchases-- music, based on my recommendations. It's a small thing, I know, but it was very cool all the same and I discovered this by happenstance (checking out her iPhone during dinner). So, thanks Megan C -- you made my Friday night (of course your company was more than enough!). Second, my main man Finkel was cool enough to send me Season I of Friday Nights Lights via Amazon. Super cool of you Finkel and much appreciated. I intend to watch (and write about it) in the coming weeks.

This weekend was the Little Boy's eight birthday. Since when did little kid's birthdays become weekend-long extravaganzas? When I was a kid my father would give me five bucks and tell me to get a pack of smokes and baseball cards. Ok, not exactly but you get my point. The Boy's celebration lasted two freaking days and included:

-- High School Music on Ice, which you all know about
-- post-event lunch with a bunch of his buddies
-- sleep over with his main buddy
-- post game cupcakes with his entire baseball team (the little fella got his first hit of his season. Talk about birthday gifts!)
-- dinner at Benihana with his other main boy

On top of it, the little brat, er, fella, got a Nintendo Freaking WII. Granted, it's more for me, but still.

Anyway Little Boy, happy birthday. I love you very much.


Sports continue to haunt me. Cleveland Freaking Indians choked so badly it's not even funny. I feel for their fans. They live in Ohio and have to deal with that loss for the rest of their days. Just kidding about the Ohio part, btw. Kind of, anyway. You still out there Joel??! Now y'all know how us Yankees fan feel circa 2004. Three years later and it still hurts.

So, the Red Sox are back in the World Series. And I am very afraid they are going to paste the Rockies. What a nightmare. Lord I hate Boston fans. And to make matters worse, they have the Patriots, too, who I am convinced are going to go undefeated (ok, that's going to be tough. But no way do they lose more than two games).

Oh well, at least I have my Wolverines.

I didn't just say that, did I?


My back is still killing me. It's at the stage where I am borderline alarmed and am thinking about seeing an orthopedist. Since this is a "confessional" blog, I might as well confess to what's been on the back of my mind: I did have a spot of cancer, presumably, on my hip, and this back pain is in the same general region (far right side of the small of my back). I am sure that it's just sports-related, but one never really knows. Might be smart if I stopped running//biking/swimming for a few days but I never laid claim to being all that smart.


Speaking of not too smart, I'm headed to LA tomorrow for a day and half and have a business meeting not all that far from Malibu. That is, if Malibu is still standing come Tuesday, given how fast those wildfires are moving. I'll have more on this tomorrow.

Lastly, I have decided to dedicate one post a week to the subject of cancer. It can be personal, a new medical report, a guest blogger, anything, but I've strayed away a bit from the subject of this blog and I think I need to bring it back a little. That being said, I'l work hard to ensure that it doesn't become depressing or morose.

Over and out.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Evidently i am not the only one here who's hungover: thus far I've counted three skaters who have wiped out. This has entertained me tremendously though the kids aren't quite as amused.

Heres a little secret. My entire life I've been unable to follow musicals. I get lost within the first two minutes. So - I am completely no following this which is somehat disconcerting given that the five year old next to me is giving me a Talmudic like interpretation.

Intermission is ending. More later.

live from high school musical on freaking ice

Live from oakland; this is so brutal i decided to liveblog it from the iphone. Though the show has ye to start its as brutal as can be imagined. To top matters off i have a mild to moderate hangover which is perfecly appropriate given the circumstances.

Evidently my daughter thought on ice meant she was going to be on ice.

The boys are throwing popcorn at the people in front of them. My wife just bought two popcorns and two waters for nineteen dollars.

How I got roped into this is beyond my comprehension.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Yankee Birthday

Saturday is the Little Boy's birthday. Two packages -- the first of many, I am sure -- arrived this evening. The first package was from the New York grandparents. Contents included:

Yankees hat
Yankees pennant
Yankees tattoos (?)
Yankees pen set
Yankees watch
Yankees pencil set

Package two frm the New Jersey grandparents, consisted of:

Yankees Derek Jeter shirt
Yankees magnet
Yankees baseball card set
Yankees Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter biographies for kids

Detecting a trend anyone? It is like Yankees freaking armegedeon in my house right now. Suffice to say, The Boy is maybe as stoked as I have ever seen him. And I am pretty psyched too. In fact, he's sleeping now and I'm thinking maybe this is a good opportunity to steal one of his Yankee pens.

On the topic of the Yankees, best wishes to Joe Torre; I wish him nothing but success and great happiness. He is a Yanklee forever. But please do me this one favor Joe and never agree to coach the Sox.

I think the offer the Yankees dangled in front of him today was a pretty lame move, and I hope this isn't a sign of things to come with the Steinbrenner progeny. You can't offer a guy like Torre a pay cut; it's disrespectful, dishonorable and most especially, disengenuous. It was an offer they knew he had to refuse. If he had accepted it he would have lost tremendous respect in the clubhouse.

All that being said, while I respect all that he's accomplished, it's time for a new start in New York. While accountability certainly lies with the players first and foremost, I think three consecutive first round playoff eliminations speaks for itself. it's just time to try something new. It happens in business, in life and in sport.

Only thing is that I hope the Yanks do the right thing and bring in Donnie Baseball. That will go a long way towards ensuring some measure of continuity.

For the record, this will be my last Yankees-related post of 07.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Guest Post: Brian "Awesome" Burch

Alrightee, my first guest post since my father wrote something relating to his penis.

First on the mic is my main man and former colleague Brian Burch. All I can say is I thought I watched a lot of TV but wow -- Burch definitely wins first prize, by a longshot. Must not be much to do out there in old Western Michigan.

Anyway, without further ado, I bring you Mr. Brian Burch posting his review of this season's newest shows.

(Ps. I agree with most of his post, the exception being Dirty Sexy Money. I think "tepid" is the correct word for the moment, but I also think it has a lot of upside potential. The Wife and I are rooting for it to prove itself, but it is running out of time and has only a week or two left to prove itself)

Let me preface my comments with "I watch a lot of TV." I don't do it because I'm lazy, I do it because I'm cheap. Per capita, this is free entertainment. I don't have to buy a ticket or wear pants to see this, I can wake up TiVo up and laugh my crack off.

That said I've watched alot of shows so far. Now that we're almost mid-way through the first installment of the new TV season, following are my thoughts on the good and badness of TV. First the goodness.

Dancing with the Stars

Wife Wifely and I love this show. Well, we both love the dancing and she really gets into the back stories of the people. I could give a crap about that. I want to see dancing and hear judges critique. We're almost mid-way through, and I have to admit, this show almost went the way of Survivor (another show we were dedicated to, but got bored with), but since Wayne Newton got the boot the show has really taken off. It's bittersweet, because DwtS conflicts with two of my all time favorite-est shows everest--How I Met Your Mother and Heroes.

How I Met Your MotherIf you're not watching this show, you are not awesome, you are sucky. Imagine a show where every character talks exactly like you and your friends. And I mean EXACTLY. The Chicago boys and I have had the same conversations about high-fives, slap-bets and picking up women. It's either uncanny or an example of how shallow we really are. They also overuse the word awesome (I have also been told I overuse that word, several times by the host of this blog, but that is ridiculous, since it's the most awesomest word in the English language). Watch it. The show is legen-DARY!

It's so satisfying to have a show pay off so well. Heroes gave us a really dramatic and slow start in Season 1, and Season 2 isn't any different. But the characters are so great and interesting that I can't stop watching. So many questions, so many mysteries, so many twists, keep watching this show.

Wifely and I watch almost every doctor show that exists, (except Private Practice, but more on that later) and House is the one that makes them all worthwhile. Yes, it's formulaic and I know they're certain to discover that the problem was either incredibly simple or a rare form of cancer with only three known cases in the entire history of the world. But I watch becuase it's interesting and Hugh Laurie makes me laugh. And there's something about Cutty that gives me a funny feeling--I assure you it's a good feeling.

30 Rock
So incredibly funny. I cry laughing during every episode. I can't explain it, but I do. The writing is just so good. Why isn't SNL as funny as this?

The Office
I'm not sure the writing has gone downhill, but I still think this show is a riot. Bloody nipples?! OMG I'm laughing while I write this post.


Grey's Anatomy
Let's start by saying I really love hating this show. But hate seems like such a weak term to describe my feeling for the characters... I MEGA-LOATHE everyone on this show. They are shallow and vapid and every situation they're in is make-believe. It is impossible for so few people to have so many problems and issues and quirks. I hate that. But like Wife Wifely I am sucked in and watch with earnest every week.

I think Wife Wifely is the only person still watching ER. Somehow she really enjoys the people and the drama still. I think it's a big, fat snoozefest. So it's on our TiVo, sadly I never watch it, but I do know exactly what's going on thanks to Wifely's weekly updates.

Back to YouI watched two episodes and wasn't really into this show. Frasier and Raymond's wife are really great and Fred Willard is off-the-wall, but it's too traditional for me to get into. I got bored.

'til Death
Raymond's brother stars in this show and so does the chest region of some woman actor. I watched a couple eps of this show last year and don't remember there being nearly as much emphasis on the boobs--I guess I should've watched more. What sucks most is the young couple is incredibly lame. It's an OK show, but nothing to get excited about.


I want to love this show, because the last show about crazy, dysfunctional rich people (Arrested Development) was a work of genius. But this is not AD and sadly never will be. They're situations aren't crazy enough and I'm not sympathetic to what's happening. I think Peter Krause and Jack Bauer's dad are awesome, and the priest character is very interesting, but not enough to save the show.

Private Practice
This spinoff of Grey's Anatomy is certain to fail. Why? Wife Wifely said it best, "everybody on this show is old" and nobody wants to watch, or even think about, old people having sex. Not even me.

Big Shots
You would think a show about womanizing and incredibly good-looking dudes would be ratings gold. But these dudes don't even act like dudes, they act like girls. It also has the suckiest writing that has ever sucked. Side question, why do two ABC shows have storylines about tranny call girls? DirtySexyMoney has the same thing. Where's the originality people???
Don't waste your frickin' time.

CavemenHow do you take a spot-on brilliant commercial and turn it into a waste of frickin' time. Oh, Cavemen. This show is absolutely useless. Don't watch.

There is this idiot kid who is the son of one of the carpool dudes. He's funny. Everyone else, NOT FUNNY. Don't watch.

Shows I miss because there's just too much going on
CSI: NY (I really like CSI)

Shows I'm looking forward to returning immedjietly:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


My father asked me if I was running out of inspiration for this blog, which was kind of interesting. I hadn't given that much thought, to be honest, though in retrospect I recognize that my subjects of late aren't all that poignant, or frankly, all that interesting. I guess that's both good and bad. Good from the perspective that at least the cancer talk has been limited, which is obviously fortunate (though that could possibly change next month when I'm scheduled for my next battery of blood and ultrasound tests). The bad part of this, though, is obviously I want this blog to be somewhat interesting/compelling.

The other part of it is Fall is our busy season at work (actually, it seems as if every season is busy season) and for the past six weeks or so i've had the pedal to the metal with various events, new business pitches and most especially, travel.

All that being said, please let me know if you have any subjects you'd like me to touch upon, or conversely, whether any of you would like to pen a guest article. Which reminds me: aren't a few of you supposed to send me TV reviews?

What else? Go Indians -- they won tonight and I'm really pulling for them to win the Series. Halloween season is officially upon us. I know this, as similiar to this time last year, my daughter refuses to take off her costume. I'll spill the big surprise: she's going to be a dragon. Man, does she look cute. Although in the disturbing as hell category, she is convinced the the costume tail is actually a certain part of the male anatomy, if you know what I am saying.

The Boy turns eight on Saturday. The Wife came up with a grand plan for his party celebration. You ready for this? Evidently, we are taking the Boy, Girl and two of his friends to freaking Oakland to see -- get ready for it -- HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL ON ICE. I am literally contemplating suicide as an option. How I allowed myself to get roped into this is beyond me and I get the sense this is going to be the longest four hours of my life, short of the 2004 Wiggles concert in Chicago. I might have to Live Blog this one.

That's it for tonight. And for the record and in the event anyone cares, my back is still so bad that I had to lie prone in my office for a short while today. Damn paddleboarding.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Today, unbeknownst to many, is Blog Action Day. From their web site:

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

Slightly contrived, I recognize, but hey, I'm in PR and can recognize a fairly decent stunt when I see one, so kudos to those behind this. I'm not sure what to personally say about the environment. A couple of random thoughts:

1. for starters, I obviously recognize that this a huge issue - one which will grow increasingly significant in the future. That said, and again, in the spirit of candor, I don't think I/my family does our part. We can do better and this is something I will give more thought to

2. fortunately for us, we live in Marin County, which is probably the most environmentally aware part of America (people out here were environmentally conscious before it became in vogue) so there is an adequate compensating mechanism for the Solomon's. One of my neighbors in particular is really passionate about this subject: he drives not one but two electric vehicles (electric mind you -- not hybrids) and his house is completely solar. While he is a tad oreachy about it at times, he's a good guy (and a fellow survivor to boot) and I admire his passion for the cause

3. I'm very excited for Al Gore. I'm a huge believer in karma, and the fact that he's now was an Oscar and a Nobel Freaking Peace Prize while our President is mired in muck, is not lost to probably three quarters of the world. And without dipping my toes too deeply into political waters, I'd welcome another Gore run at the White House and would vote for him again in a second -- not that I think that's going to happen though.

Anyway, that's my short diatribe on the environment. In other news, I am writing this blog from the prone position, as I tweaked my back something fierce this weekend. I injured it two weeks ago while paddleboarding and must have
re-aggravated it either during my trail run on Saturday or while mountain biking yesterday. Boy, does lower back pain suck. I was literally walking around all today hunched over like an old man.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Random Thoughts

I am concurrently blogging, enjoying a Lagavulin 16 year scotch (arguably the finest commercially available scotch in the world) courtesy of my lovely wife, recovering from an incredibly long work week and watching Las Vegas with the Mrs. Without question, this show wins the award as worst, but most watchable show on TV. It's so bad it is good, if you know what I am saying.


It rained non-stop today in NorCal, our first rainy day since March or April. All things considered, it was much needed; one thing I have learned is that California parches easily and the rain is very necessary and almost welcomed. That all said, here's hoping to a drier -- and sunnier -- weekend.


The new Radiohead album is very good. As I noted in a previous post, I've never been the biggest fan, but having listened two times through, I have to say that it is very good, and I have a feeling it's going to get better with each successive listen. Go to and download.


Three other noteworthy albums: Vampire Weekend, Springsteen and Justice.


Freaking Red Sox badly beat the Indians. I have a nagging suspicion that for the second time in three years, my worst nightmare is about to come true. Go Tribe. As far as the national league is concerned, I have two words: who cares?


A guilty pleasure: The Thursday and Sunday Style section of the New York TImes.


Yet another guilty pleasure: starting each day by reading Page Six of the New York Post.


Things that stoke me: Patagonia, paddleboarding, Paradise biking loop in Marin, The Dipsea trail, happy clients, everything about the iphone, family hikes, open water swims, The Buckeye Coffee Shop; seeing my Michigan boys, having a catch with The Boy, The Miwok trail, my baby girl when she's good, ditto for the Mrs.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ironman Hawaii

This Saturday is Ironman Hawaii; the Super Bowl of triathlon. I love Hawaii and will most certainly follow as it unravels on Saturday, if only to watch how my friend Monique from Endurance does, but at the same time I'm pretty pissed off at the race.

A bit of background: it's long been my dream to race Ironman Hawaii. I've applied through the lottery every year for the past decade. Us mortals can only get in through the lottery system; 150 lucky individuals are chosen each year. The rest of the participants are the Gifted Ones, who qualify via posting incredible times at other races.

For the record, it's the only Ironman I'll ever do. I don't have the time or inclination for another Ironman distance race, but Hawaii would be motivating.

Anyway, I wrote a candid, personal letter to the race director back in March stating my cancer story and I still didn't get into race, which is fine, as I've never lived my life expecting favor or exemption, but I think the courtesy of a reply would have been nice. The favor of a response would have been the kind and humane thing to do and it wouldn't be bad business eithr, as I've previously spent hundred of dollars with the WTC (think of it as the Ironman "holding company.").

So that's why I am pissed. But that being said, I am sure I will apply to the lottery again next year.

That all being said, best of luck to all participants. Here's my predictions for the men's and women's races:

1. Chris McCormack
2. Faris Al Sultan
3. Mario VanHonecker (or however the hell he spells his name)
4. Luke Bell
5. Norman Stadler

1. Michellie Jones
2. Natascha Badmann
3. Joanna Lawn
4. Desiree Ficker
5. Main County's own Monique Petrov!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I am just now back from New York and so tired that I can't see straight, so another short post tonight. As many of you music aficionado's know, Radiohead, one of the most influential bands possibly of all-time (more on that subject later) released a new album today. While that in and of itself is probably news, what's most interesting is the manner in which they released it. Being that they are no longer tied to a label, they posted the album for download to consumers, and offered a "pay as you please" model in which consumers can download it for free, or make whatever payment they so choose. I think Radiohead can get away with this because they have a loyal, almost cultish following, who will, in my opinion, inevitably choose to support the band for taking this unique risk. That said, despite what the prognosticators are saying, in my humble opinion I don't think this quite spells the end of the recording industry as we know it. Either way, it will be interesting to watch. In the meantime, while I'm personally not the biggest Radiohead fan, I do have the album and I intend to make a "payment." The amount of that, however, is still tbd.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Live From New York

Greeting from NYC. I'm at a work related event that my company produced on behalf of our client, TiVo. It was a killer even announcing TiVo's partnership with online music service Rhapsody. It was held at New York nightclub Area and it culminated in a five song performance by Fountains Of Wayne, which was awesome. All in all, a great event and a good time to boot.

On a separate note, I think I am transforming into a California. Though New York is and always be "home" aside from my family and friends, there's not too much I really miss.

Anyway, I am writing this from the "Bloggers Booth" we set up for attending technology reporters (of which we had approximately 50) and all of a sudden there is a line, so I gotta make this post short. More when I return home tomorrow.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

New Obsession

As many of you are aware, I have a borderline obssesive/compulsive personality. Once I get into something I'm generally in pretty deep. To that end, every few years I get into a new sport and tackle it pretty intensely. First it was running. Then triathlons. Then I got bit by the ultra running bug. A few years ago I got *really* into kung fu, which I probably would have continued if I hadn't moved West. Well, after two years, I think I have a new sport. And it's pretty damn gnarly.

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to paddleboarding.

My buddy Mark S, who's a serious surfer and all-around water guy (and an awesome guy to boot) turned me on to this and took me out yesterday. It was just killer, though I wish I had a westsuit of some sort, as that water is c-o-l-d.

The board is about 14 feet long, and super angular and aerodynamic. It has cushioning on the top third for comfort purposes and a waterbottle holder on the top. You lay down on it and ... paddle. Much like you would paddle out while surfing. That's it. The only thing is that the paddleboard is built for speed and with each stroke you get serious speed and distance.

We paddled around for about an hour and the perspective of the Bay Area you get from the water is, as you'd imagine, quite unique -- and beautiful. The only thing is that my back, shoulders and lower back are absolutely killing me: it requires muscle groups that I didn't even know I had.

So, though they are not exactly cheap, I'm going to order one of these suckers. You are all invited out to formally give one a try. If you like being on the water, you'll find it a ton of fun.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Why I am Done Following/Caring About Professional Sports

I'm done.

After 41 long, arduous years (exclusive, of course, Michigan and Yankee championships, And Knicks back in the day) I am officially retired as a sports fan. I have had enough, I raise the white flag, I throw in the towel. I'm done caring, I'm done screaming at the damn TV, I'm done pacing. I am done with it all. And yes, I am hugely disappointed about the Yankees loss tonight. But even more so, I'm angry that I'm angry and care so much about such nonsense

Here's the thing: if I look at it objectively over the past years, sports has been filled me with far more sorrow than joy; more anger than pleasure. And this isn't all about mere wins and losses. What's bugged me far more than the Yankees loss tonight (and I just freaking KNEW they were going to lose that game. It wasn't a matter of "if" but rather "when") is the Marion Jones news.

I'm a huge track and field fan and to learn that she has lied all these year, after VEHEMENTLY denying she over doped, just disgusts me. And yes, I'm not naive enough to recognize that she was clearly lying, but to hear her make the confession she did today, just raises my ire. Though at the same time, good for her for finally coming clean. I wish others had the fortitude to do the same.

It's going to be very liberating being over sports. Here's just a mere sampling of things I will never again have to worry about:

-- Michigan looing for the umpteenth year in a row to Ohio State

-- Michigan following a OSU loss by getting demolished in a Bowl game -- mostly likely by USC in the Rose Bowl

-- Michigan losing to Appalachian State and setting themselves up as the butt of jokes for the next millenium and maybe beyond

-- Rooting for a Tour de France guy then immediately worrying (hello Floyd Landis) that he's going to fail doping controls

-- Rooting for the Yankees all damn year only to see them spit the bit in round one in the playoffs

-- The Jets consistently sucking

-- Everything about the Knicks, which has quickly devolved into the most dysfunctional team in sports, both on and off the court

I could go on -- and on -- but you get my point. F*&^ it. If I've learned one thing from cancer it's that life is too short for trivial pursuits. Moving forward, I'll focus (modestly, I might add) on my own athletic endeavours: ultra running, swimming, triathlons, etc. And of course, my kids pursuits as well.

Life will be just grand without my being consumed by professional sports. And it will free up a lot of extra time in my life. Man I can't wait.

Of course, none of this goes into effect until after the Yankees series.

Go Yanks, go.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Freaking Yankees

Man, the Yankees stage an epic second half comeback, make the playoffs .. only to puke out in the first round again? Lord I hope this isn't the case, but the Indians are very underrated and they killed Wang tonight. I hope they get their act together tomorrow.


Currently watching 30 Rock season debut right now, featuring Jerry Seinfeld as guest star. I don't know how you all feel about this show, but I think it has the potential to become one of the top three shows on TV. Tina Fey is a comedic genius, and say what you will about Alec Baldwin, but he is terrific. Tracy Jordan is a madman: he was on Howard Stern a few weeks back and I think he's truly -- truly -- out of his mind, but he too is very funny. 30 Rock/The Office is a formidable lineup.


Speaking of Howard Stern, I haven't mentioned him on this blog for a while, but man, I do not know what I would do without his radio show. Between work, family and dealing with cancer (if even the spectre of cancer that kind of hangs over my head), The Howard Stern provides me with about 40 minutes of complete escape each day, which I really relish. I think I have said this before, but even if you took away the Howard Stern Show, Sirius is the best value you can find for $9.95 a month.


Lastly, based on one listen, the Springsteen album sounds pretty solid and for the third (and last time), you really, really want to get that new Eddie Vedder album. I think this one might be an all-time classic.


That's it for now. Go Yanks. Go Cubs

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Concert Review: Dave Matthews Band, Live at the Hollywood Bowl in LA

So, last night a colleague/friend from our New York office took me to the Dave Matthews Band concert at the Hollywood Bowl in LA.

I've never been a big fan of DMB, even though I do find the music listenable. I think as much as anything else, I made a fairly broad generalization that DMB's audience skewed towards post collegiate/fraternity. That being said, I also had a feeling that this was a band that I needed to see live in order to fully understand and appreciate, similar to what I experienced with Springsteen (I bought the album tonight btw and will review shortly), The Grateful Dead and a few other bands as well.

So, the bottom line is I was right on all accounts; I don't particularly care for his audience, though I do applaud them for being so passionate and loyal; and as I thought, the concert was absolutely terrific, and I will now be able to view and appreciate this band with new eyes. The interesting thing about DMB is with the exception of the violinist (who I am told is Juilliard trained) and the trumpet player (who I understand participated in this tour but isn't formally 'in the band') they aren't the most talented band in the world. Read: from a guitar perspective, Dave M is no Jerry Garcia. However, they are a great example of the phrase "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" (I think that's the phrase, anyway. I am known to butcher colloquialism) which I guess by definition makes them a great jam band.

Anyway, long winded way of saying I enjoyed it a lot and if you get a chance to see DMB, I suggest you do so. I think you'll enjoy the entire experience.

And one other thing: the Hollywood Bowl is one of the coolest venues of all time.

(Ps. The other cool aspect to the show was guest appearances by Steven and Ziggy Markey and John Mayer).

(Pss. If none of this mkes sense, forgive me: I got home from the concert at 12:30 am and had a wake call of 4 am for my 6 am flight. For the record, 6 am flights SUCK. They are worse than red eyes)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Music and Books

I am pretty exhausted and need to prepare for some more travels, so short post tonight.

I just ordered The Nine, by Jeff Toobin, who's an esteemed reporter with the The New Yorker (which is my new favorite magazine). I read a chapter while at the bookstore and it seems phenomenal; it's an inside look at the current Supreme Court members, and it examine how the court has taken shape over the past twenty years or so. It has received nearly across-the-board accolades and is considered the best "insider" look at the Court since Bob Woodward's acclaimed The Brethren. I have a feeling I will get through this one quickly and will post a more detailed review.

Couple of noteworthy new albums. I think I have previously mentioned the new Eddie Vedder album which is the Soundtrack to Into the Wild. I suggest purchasing this one immediately; it gets better with each listen.

Another one I highly recommend is the new Foo Fighters. I have never been the biggest Foo Fighters fan, but this one has captured my attention. It has received only lukewarm reviews, but upon two listens, I think it's pretty rocking and pretty darn solid. Sometimes the reviewers leave me utterly mystified.

The new Kanye West sounds great too. I'm expecting to pick this one up soon and will review in more detail, but suffice to say that the hit song, Stronger, is going to be the song of Fall/Winter.

Lastly, Springsteen's new album breaks tomorrow. Despite growing up in New Jersey I've never been a fan of the Boss until I saw him live a few years ago. Not sure if it was that show or if his songs resonate as I grow older, but I can say that I definitely appreciate him now as an artist and musician, and I'm excited to give this one a listen as well.

That's it for now.