Saturday, May 12, 2007

Insensitive Mrs. Poop

If you've seen Mets games on SNY you've no doubt seen those ubiquitous anti-smoking ads, the guy who got laryngeal cancer at age 39 and now he talks with an artificial voice box.
He used to like swimming but now he has a permanent hole in his throat which he needs to clean with a cotton swab.
Tonight we are at dinner and the guy at the next table had one of these artificial voice boxes. For some reason, Mrs. Poop thought this was hysterical. And that of course encouraged me to speak as if I had an artificial voice box too. That just made it worse.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mets Opponents

A few things I wanted to mention this week but left out of the recaps:

Alberto Callaspo has to be the coolest name in the majors. Just make sure you pronounce it Alberrrrrrrrrrrrrto (like carrrrrrrrrrne) and pronounce the double L as a Y. Cai-yas-po.

Pedro Feliz and Pedro Feliciano aren't related. At least I don't think they are.

Craig Counsell scored the winning run in Game 7 of two World Series (1997 & 2001). I believe the only other walkoff win in Game 7 of a World Series was 1960.

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Corey Hart does not wear his sunglasses at night, nor does he sing that song.

not that Corey Hart
that Corey Hart

Sound Legal Advice

The lawfirm of Greenberg Trauring is representing Adam "Pacman" Jones in his appeal of the NFL's 16 game suspension.
Because Commissioner Roger Goodell cited only 3 incidents (and the failure to report one of them) in his suspension of Pacman, Pacman's lawyers point out that other players received less severe punishments for more frequent and more serious offenses.
With their appeal they presented this document, which lists every arrest of an NFL player this century. It takes up 22 pages.

Down With the FCC!

Opie and Anthony joked about rough sex with Condoleezza Rice and now there is talk that the FCC will use this as an excuse to reject the XM-Sirius merger.
I want the FCC to reject the merger because it's clearly anti-competitive and harmful to the consumer.
It would be a terrible misuse of power, and a violation of the First Amendment for the FCC to consider the content of XM and Sirius when considering this merger.
And it's funny but I think most subscribers are hoping that the two sides merge. Either they are too short sighted to anticipate the price increase and the decreased need to pursue quality programming or they just don't care.

The Brewers Also Have Cool Fans

As Billy Madison taught us, peeing in your pants is the coolest. If the Brewers make the playoffs hundreds of Brewers fans have pledged to makes themselves cooler than Miles Davis.
Pee Your Pants For the Brewers is taking pledges from Brewers fans who are pledging to wet themselves if the Brew Crew makes the playoffs.
The online pledge form has some funny questions such as "last time you peed your pants." One woman replied "sneezing when pregnant."

Horsey Recap

Despite some trouble with the link, last's week Derby game on ESPN attracted 6 contestants.
Pa Beers got a respectable 3 out of 6 races correct, and Josh got the Derby right, but Brother-in-law Derick won our group with 4 correct and made the leaderboard but fell short of the prizes.
That makes sense since he probably knows 33% more than Beers about horse racing and 4 times as much as I do.

Who Are These Guys?

This weekend, the Mets will find they play three games against the partially anonymous Milwaukee Brewers. The best team in baseball. Right now the Brewers are 24-10 (half a game better than the Red Sox), 2 games better than the NL's second best team, the Atlanta Braves and 2 1/2 better than the Mets.
But the Brewers have played a preponderance of their games at home (62%), where they are 16-5. But on the other hand, the Mets are only 7-7 at home so far this season.

The Brewers hot start has surprised many, but I've seen it coming for a couple of years. They have some excellent young players coupled with solid veteran starting pitching.

Rickie Weeks is their second baseman and leadoff hitter. Pressed into duty due to illness I selected Weeks for Master Bates' fantasy team in the draft prior to last season, over Jason Giambi. The move may finally start to pay off as Weeks is becoming a legitimate 20/20 guy, though his OBP is low for a leadoff man.

Weeks leaps sliding baserunners in a single bound

JJ Hardy is the other half of one of the best young double play combinations in baseball. Hardy is batting .331 with 9 homers already this year. He had 9 in all of 2005 in roughly 3 times as many at bats. An ankle injury cost Hardy most of last year.

Prince Fielder bats behind Hardy and leads the team with 10 homers. Prince is the prodigal son of the prodigious home run hitter (and eater) Cecil Fielder. As we learned on an episode of "Real Sports," father and son have no relationship because of gambling and bad business investments by Cecil which left the family broke. But he sure hits like his pops.

JJ and Prince celebrate one of their 19 combined home runs

Bill E. Hall sometimes bats cleanup and usually plays centerfield. Hall had a breakout season last year by hitting 35 home runs. One of those home runs came against the Mets, in the bottom of the 10th inning, to win a game against the Mets, on Mother's Day, with a pink bat in those awesome retro uniforms.

Bill E. Hall speaks softly but carries a big pink stick

Geoff Jenkins, who's off to a hot start this year, starts the veteran part of the order along with Kevin Mench, Craig Counsell and the catcher (Johnny Estrada and Damian Miller).

The Brewers also have an excellent starting rotation. It all starts with Ben Sheets who will face Mike Pelfrey on Saturday. Sheets is a legitimate ace who can never seem to stay healthy. He is their highest salaried player at just over $11 million but is only 2-2 this season with a 4.04 ERA (numbers that closely approximate his career record 63-71 with a 3.84 ERA).

Before the 2005 season I made fun of Chris Capuano at a fantasy baseball draft. Since then he is 34-24 with a 3.89 ERA. This year he is John Maine's main competition for this year's Way Too Early Cy Young Award in the National League. Capuano has a 5-0 record to match Maine's but his ERA of 2.31 is half a run higher. Unfortunately, that dream pitching matchup won't happen. Capuano will face Oliver Perez on Sunday.

Friday night's game will be started by free agent pickup Jeff Suppan. Soupy who haunted the Mets in the NLCS last year is 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA.

The Brewers other two starters are Dave Bush and Claudio Vargas.

In the bullpen the Brewers have Francisco Cordero, a volatile closer who is hot right now. He's 15 for 15 in save chances with a 0.54 ERA.
Demoted closer Derrick Turnbow is the setup man.

I don't think the Brewers can play .700 baseball all season but .600 is not out of the question, which translates in 97 wins...5 more than they will need to win the NL Central.

The Brewers cannot afford an injury to one of their top 3 starters but with Turnbow as insurance they can withstand a potential Cordero blowup. And a solid young lineup should have this team in the hunt for many years to come.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Staten Island Hottie

Maybe the reason why Yunjin Kim does such a great job playing Sun Kwon on "Lost" is because she has experience on island with a bunch of assholes. Exceopt instead of the Others she had to deal with the SILLs (Staten Island Low Lives).
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Kim moved with her family to Staten Island when she was 10 years old. To combat her shyness (understandable as a foreigner living on Staten Island), she decided to take acting classes. She went to the Fiorella Laguardia High School for Music & Art & the Performing Arts in Manhattan.
Had she gone to Wagner High she would have been in the same class as Step On Me (both were born in 1973).
After high school she studied drama at Boston University, alma mater of Master Bates.
In 1996, she returned to Korea to begiin her acting career.

Baseball is Poop

Test This Guy
After hitting 23 homers in 2005 Felipe Lopez became a mainstay of Master Bates' fantasy team. Then he went about 300 at bats last year and this year without homering. He's hit one in each of his last two games.

Pitching Like Koufax
Our favorite Jewish pitcher from Staten Island is off to a hot start with his new team, the Chicago Cubs. After beating the Pirates 1-0 on Wednesday, Marquis is 5-1 with a 1.70 ERA. That victory was the first time the Cubs ever won a 1-0 game at Wrigley Field with a homer in the first. Marquis has allowed 10 runs in 47 innings so far this season. Last year he had two starts in which he allowed more than that.

Hoping to be chosen again...this time for Cy Young

Time Stood Still
Jamie Moyer, 44, beat Randy Johnson, 43, in the battle of the ancient lefties. Johnson was doing pretty well through 6 shutout innings, but he allowed three baserunners in the 7th and they were all brought home on a grand slam by Ryan Howard off a reliever. The last time Moyer and Johnson pitched against each other was in 1989, 36 years of combined age ago. Moyer says he did not remember that game. Moyer really is a marvel, making at least 32 starts in 8 of the last 9 seasons.

Fear The Angels
The Angels called up 1B/DH Kendry Morales and he homered in his first game back with the team. Morales joins Casey Kotchman, Dallas McPherson, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and Brandon Wood as talented infielders in their system. Throw in Vladimir Guerrero, K-Rod, Jered Weaver and the underrated John Lackey and its hard to imagine the Angels not experiencing a lot of success over the next 5 - 10 years.

He's An Excellent Driver

Authorities say Michael Wiley, 40, was behind the wheel of a car which evaded police in St. Petersburg after an 8 minute chase.

Wiley overcame three amputations, taught himself to drive with stumps and proceeded to become one of Pasco County's most accomplished traffic violators.

His license has been suspended so many times that driving itself has become a felony.

About 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday, a police officer spotted Wiley in a suspicious vehicle - a blue Ford Explorer - at a convenience store. When the officer went to investigate, the Explorer took off.

About 1 p.m., the officers broke off the chase because it could have put others in danger.

In 1998, while driving a green Corvette, Wiley led deputies down Interstate 75 at nearly 120 mph.

According to court records, Wiley has stolen a car, kicked a state trooper and attacked his wife headfirst. He is awaiting trial on separate drug and illegal-driving charges. He faces up to five years in prison.

Most Ford Explorers have automatic transmissions, though several people say Wiley is perfectly competent with a stick shift.

"He is one of the best drivers I've ever seen in my life," said Lee Michie, a longtime acquaintance. "But he's the worst person I've ever met."

excellent driver

This reminded me of the time The Concierge and I saw a tabloid headline "Armless Man and Legless Buddy Go Tandem on Bike Trip." And it had a photograph.

I Heart the Trampoline Bear

Derek Fisher's Daughter

Utah Jazz guard Derek Fisher had a busy on Wednesday.
In the morning he was at New York's Presbyterian Hospital with his wife, Candace.
Their 10-month old daughter, Tatum had been diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a rare cancerous tumor of the retina, and the doctors were rushing to get her into surgery.
Last week they noticed a green glow in Tatum's eye and took her to the pediatrician. Seven days later, she was having life-saving surgery which Fisher said couldn't have waited another day.
It seems like Tatum will be ok and with a few more treatments doctors expect she won't lose even lose her eye or the vision it.
And later that evening they said the Fishers, including Tatum could go home.
So they flew back to Utah and Candace gave Derek permission to go to the game.
The Jazz knew of Tatum's illness and allowed Fisher to miss Game 1 of the Warriors series. They could have replaced Fisher on the roster for the series not knowing if he'd play at all.
On his ride from the airport to the game he heard on the radio the starting point guard Deron Williams was in foul trouble, and his backup Dee Brown got hurt. Andrei Kirilenko (AK-47) had to man the point.
The Fisher arrived at the game, and checked right into the game. Then he was taken out and took his time warm up on the bike, got a neck massage, and re-enter the game.
Fisher hit a couple shots in the overtime then used his postgame interview with Pam Oliver to tell everyone about the ordeal he'd just been through. Previously only Jazz personnel knew.
He told Pam Oliver and everyone watching to get their kids checked, to send them to the opthamologist, because he almost lost his little girl.
I'm glad he didn't.

More Mets Heads

David Newhan used to have a great head of hair. Now his nose looks huge.

Oliver Perez doesn't look so bad with the shaved look. But if you notice behind him, leaning on the rail is Howard Johnson. HoJo did not take part in the ritual cleansing. He probably said "I've been there before and I don't want to be there again. I paid too much money to get this back to shave it off."

Oliver Perez

Manny Is Either Gay...Or Not Straight

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Song of the Week

"I Tried" - Bone Thugs N Harmony featuring Akon
TON loves these guys

Vernon Wells Rules

Toronto Blue Jays centerfielder Vernon Wells was getting heckled by some unruly fans in Cleveland. So he tossed them a baseball.

"Dear Mr. Dork,
Here is your ball! Can you please tell me what gas station you work at, so when you are pumping my gas, I can yell at you!!! Now sit down, shut up and enjoy the game.
- Your favorite centrefielder

Schilling on Bonds

Curt Schilling speaking on a Boston radio show said :

"He admitted that he used steroids. I mean, there's no gray area. He admitted to cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes, and cheating on the game."

Schilling says so much crap that something is bound to be right, and this was it.

The media of course is quick to defend Bonds saying he never publicly admitted those things. But he did tell a grand jury he took steroids although it thought it was flaxseed oil, in testimony that was leaked. We know he had a mistress and giving her money is what could get him in trouble with the IRS, but we'll give him a pass on the taxes thing.

You Can Win With Randy Winn

A few interesting notes about Giants outfielder Randy Winn, one of Pa Beers' favorite players.

1) This is pretty well known but Winn played basketball for two seasons at Santa Clara. He wasn't very good and hardly played but he was on the team that beat Arizona in the first round of the tournament and he roomed with and is still friends with Steve Nash.

2) His uncle is former Orioles outfielder Don Buford. In the 1969 World Series, Buford led off the game with a home run. According to Buddy Harrelson, as he rounded second base Buford said to him "you ain't seen nothing yet." Harrelson responded "first inning, first game, you ain't seen nothing yet either." As it turns out, Buddy was right. The Mets would lose that game but win the next four straight to win the World Series.

3) His cousin is former Mets outfielder Damon Buford. The Mets acquired Buford and Alex Ochoa for Bobby Bonilla.

Glad This Never Happened to Billy

A man died while trying to outdo a rival with an acrobatic move while "battle dancing," police said.

Robert Stitt, 48, and his rival were competing in a parking lot Monday night when he tried a forward flip and landed on his head.

"It was just two guys dancing. Everybody was laughing," Stitt's friend John Boxley said.

Boxley said James Brown was on the radio and Stitt wanted to outdo a rival dancer, who had flipped in the air.

Police said the victim went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead a short time at a local hospital.

Police said several people were in the parking lot drinking and battle dancing — a competition in which each dancer tries one-upmanship with unique moves.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Playoff Haircuts in May

After Monday night's game David Wright decided to shave his head to break out of his season long slump. Odd since the only guy doing worse than him is Carlos Delgado who already has the haircut Wright went to.

After seeing Wright's new do, most of the rest of the Mets got clipped, by Carlos Beltran. In all 21 players consented to the buzzcut. Tom Glavine, Jose Reyes, Aaron Sele and Aaron Heilman declined.

I feel badly for Jorge Sosa who had a beautiful head of hair and probably won't be around the team that much longer, unless he keeps pitching like he did in his last start.

David Newhan and Shawn Green were the last two to go under the buzzers and they used each other for moral support. Newhan had long hair which probably will take a year or more to return. Green just looks incredibly goofy with the new haircut, and it makes his ears look huge.

Tom Glavine is too old for this shit. Plus I doubt he wanted to change his look and his luck on the day he pitched...and went for win #294.

Aaron Sele says he has a family portrait scheduled for this week and his wife would kill him if he showed up with no hair but he says he will shave his head after that.

Hitting coach Rick Down, trainer Ray Ramirez and even PR guy Jay Horwitz joined in. Willie Randolph and Rick Peterson did not.

Keith Hernandez said he never would have shaved his hair. He did say "I'd meet them halfway and shave my moustache." I think most people would say his moustache is more of a trademark than his hair. He said he only shaved his 'stache once, in 1988, in Chicago, for a stupid reason.

Idol Chatter

Melinda's first song was the first time I ever really disliked her. She did seem like a 40 year old woman doing dinner theater on the Upper East Side.

I also hated Blake's version of "You Should Be Dancing." He way overdid it with the beatboxing. Every "yeah" was turned into a "yea-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah." And the other part with his right hand like he was scratching a record. It sucked. And his hair looked horrible. He couldn't decided between blond and brown so he went with both.

LaKisha on "Staying Alive" was pretty interesting. Simon was right that she was shouting and she has the tendency to do. Also it seemed like Gibb told her to sing higher, but she stuck with lower range anyway. I guess I never thought about the lyrics to this song but they make no sense. What is the New York Times effect?

Jordin was the first good performance. She chose a song that was less disco so it was a little easier for her to fit it into her style.

Same thing with Melinda's second song. Like Jordin's "You Don't Know What It's Like," "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" has been sung 1000 times but I enjoyed her version, she always sings well even when she's seeming too old for her age. I liked the little anecdote about her not wanting to sing the line about being a loser.

I never heard Blake's second song before but I really liked it. That's the type of song I could see him covering and having a big hit with. Although whether he wins or not I'm pretty sure his first single will be an original and his second song will be his version of "You Give Love a Bad Name." This time he couldn't decide between a sweater, a sweater vest and a shortsleeve shirt so his sweater had one short sleeve and no sleeve at all on the other arm. I think he tried very hard early in the season to not beatbox in every song but now he's done it a few weeks in a row, probably because he thinks that's what he has to set him apart.

LaKisha's second song was pretty unremarkable. And she is going home this week.

Jordin's second song was good but nothing special.

Judge Judy is a ham. She stole the spotlight from Simon's mum.

Why were they so rushed this week?

The Strange Workings of the Universe

You may have heard about this DVD called "The Secret." It's based on the belief that there is a power out there called the universe and you can make things happen or come to you just by thinking about them. Oprah Winfrey is a believer, she calls it "the laws of attraction."
Less than 24 hours after posting about Rita Spitzer and at least 10 years after seeing her, I ran into her in the parking lot of Buy Buy Baby. We spoke briefly, not about her current situation.
I am going to spend the rest of the day thinking about Meadow.

This Is Why Roger Clemens Won't Suck

A response to SCZA's post about Roger Clemens:

1) His schedule

Ask most pro athletes the worst part of their job and they'll say the travel. I firmly believe Clemens' limited travel schedule was a contributing factor to why he did so well as a member of the Astros when he didn't have to make road trips or show up for games when he wasn't pitching. I think the Mets should try something similar with Pedro if he comes back this year, and for next year as well. He's never going to pinch hit or pinch run, so why not cut down on the stress on his body? I don't believe it fractures the team. And I think at some point in the future it'll be standard for starting pitchers to only be at the game when they are scheduled to pitch.

2) His innings

Cutting his season short by two months, plus no spring training, helps him stay at peak performance deeper into the season. Also, his best performances are no more than 7 innings. So in a mediocre performance he'll only go 5. If he averages 6 innings over 20 starts he'll be at 120 innings, and still have plenty left for the playoffs.

3) Steroids

Roger Clemens has definitely done steroids, it explains how he's been able to combat the aging process most pitchers experience. He also had a roid rage incident on the mound during the World Series. The fact that he keeps retiring means he has plenty of time to juice during the offseason, cycle off, juice again, cycle off, and get it all out of his system before he has to pee in the cup for MLB.

I expect Clemens to go 10-5 with a 3.20 ERA for the Yankees in the regular season, better stats ERA-wise than he put up for most of his previous stint with the Yankees. Postseason performance is anyone's guess.

Hilton's New Suite

Paris Hilton is going to jail. She violated the terms of her probation for a drunk driving arrest by driving with a suspended license. She claims she didn't understand the terms of her probation and even fired her PR person because of it. She says the punishment is extreme and she is being singled out for being famous.

For years she got everything she wanted because she was famous for being famous. Now she's going to see the downside.

I do believe a normal person who committed the same offenses would have received a lighter punishment but I don't weep for Paris Hilton. I don't buy her ignorance excuse, I have no patience for drunk driving and if she didn't know better, in the words of Vincent Vega she "shoulda fuckin known better."

She's going to be in a prison for low level criminals but I still hope her cellmate is some big bitch who wants to reenact Paris' most well-known moment, every night for 45 nights.

a cell similar to the one Paris Hilton will soon share with a horny lesbian
she'll only be provided a thin mattress, not good for kneeling on while performing sex acts for a camera
a small sink, but since she'll be in a women's prison spitting won't be necessary

Akon Humps 14-Year Old Girl

At a recent concert in Trinidad Akon called girls on stage to see who could danciest the sexiest, the winner would get a trip to Africa. Turns out a slutty 14-year old won the contest, but her prize wasn't a trip to Africa. It was the chance to get humped on stage by an African.

Akon is from Senegal and he's a polygamist. Maybe his religion condones sex with girls who are considered underage in the US. Verizon doesn't see it that way. It dropped sponsorship of his tour with Gwen Stefani.

You can see the humping (SFW) here.

You're Right, Life is Short

Life is short...get a divorce...because some women (presumably not your wife) have big boobies. That's the message behind this billboard in Chicago's "Viagra triangle," so-called because of the many bars where it's easy to meet loose women. The ad is light-hearted, designed to get the attention of unhappy people, or at least get the name of this divorce law firm out there.
Of course, you have marriage groups complaining that this promotes divorce. Do they really think happily married people will look at this and think, "I could be banging her instead, let me get a divorce." Or that unhappy people are thinking "man, I hate my husband, I wish I never married him. Too bad there's no way out of it. Oh wait, that billboard says there's this thing called divorce. Great."

boobies on the left, douchebags on the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with Mrs. Poop

The Sad Story of Josh Hancock

Some things in life you just can't understand. Why Josh Hancock basically killed himself, is one of those things.

Josh Hancock a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals had a career ERA of 4.20 and early in 2007 in just a few appearances had a 3.55 ERA.

On April 28th, a Saturday, the Cardinals lost to the Cubs. Hancock pitched three innings and allowed one run. After the game he went to Mike Shannon's a steakhouse, bar, etc. He started drinking, paying for drinks for others as well. A little after midnight he decided to leave, restaurant staff told him to call a cab. He declined. He got into his rented Ford Explorer (more on that later) and started to drive on I-64 (also called Highway 40).

At 12:28 am Sunday morning now, a Geo Prism was cut off by another car and hit the median. A few minutes later a tow truck passing by pulled off the road to assist the Prism. It stopped and put on its flashing yellow lights. At roughly the same time Josh Hancock's phone rang. Hancock was driving 68 mph in a 55 mph zone. His blood alcohol content was 0.157 (almost twice the legal limit of 0.08).

He didn't see the tow truck. The driver was still in the truck and unhurt, but he was honking to try to get Hancock's attention. It didn't work.

Three nights earlier Hancock left either a bar or strip club at 5:30 in the morning when a tractor-trailer (going about 35 mph) clipped the front of his Denali. Police took him in and said he was not drinking at that time. But he did tell officers he had recently broken up with his girlfriend. He left his car at the station or took it for repairs, which is why he needed a rental car.

After that incident, Hancock was late for the next afternoon's game. LaRussa fined him but said he overslept. How could LaRussa be tough on a player for drinking? I bet he wish he had been.

Josh Hancock 1978-2007

They Shoulda Kerriganed Him

The story from Freedo:

"We were walking to brunch on Sunday after game 3 [Saturday night], and the Spurs were staying in our neighborhood. They were on their way across the street to brunch, when we saw Ginobili, Duncan, Popovich, Bowen and Tony Parker. My friend had a Florida Gators shirt on, and Matt Bonner, being a Gator, yelled "Gator Nation!!" We asked Timmy if we could grab a pic, and the valet at the hotel took this picture. Duncan was freaked out about the whole thing to be honest. He looked so scared. He has the biggest hands i've ever seen."

Which is why Freedo did not want Amber standing next to Duncan.

Bloody Nose

Steve Nash's bloody nose may have cost the Suns Game 1 of their series against the Spurs. It looks pretty disgusting.

More Pictures of Kevin

taking over Izzie's boopy

rolling over

soooooooooooo tired

Virginia is For Lovers...and Cute Kids

Mrs. Poop and I had been trying to find the time to make a trip to Virginia to visit Isabelle, Kevin and Josh and Erin. There had never been a good time, so we decided this weekend was about our only choice. Once the summer started we would be too busy, and once the fall came, well, then it would be too late.

So we got home from work Friday morning, got a few hours sleep then hit the road. First we had to travel to New York to drop Diesel off at his exclusive kennel.

Then it was back through New Jersey where we hit traffic on the Turnpike. Then we traveled almost the whole length of the state of New Jersey until we got into Delaware, where we hit traffic on the bridge. We stayed only a few minutes in Delaware which led us into Maryland where we encountered more traffic around the Fort McHenry tunnel.

Aside about Fort McHenry tunnel: Papa Poop always talks about a time when he was driving Poop On Me to visit colleges and he was listening to a Mets game and he lost the signal right before the Fort McHenry tunnel. WFAN must have improved it's wattage since then because I was able to hear the Mets game all the way to Josh's though Mrs. Poop was getting frustrated by the static.

Anyway, after about 7 hours in the car (including one for the trip to the kennel) we finally arrived. Josh brought Kevin outside to greet us. Kevin went nuts barking. Josh says he always does this around new people. We ignored Kevin's barking and won him over. Clearly he tries to intimidate people due to his lack of size. Then when he can't intimidate his next method of self-preservation is to be really nice to you. Other than a couple incidents when Mrs. Poop tried to pick up the hot dog, Kevin behaved like a perfect angel.

I wish I could say for the same for Josh. He was cursing, farting, talking really loudly. Fatherhood hasn't changed him at all.

The next morning we were able to meet Izzie. She is so cute. She has a beautiful round face with chubby cheeks and a nice crown of soft golden hair. Plus she is the most mild-mannered baby I've ever encountered. We know plenty of babies and love them all, but Izzie didn't cry once (for more than 30 seconds) the entire weekend. I think she can sleep through anything because he parents speak so loudly she's used to loud noises.

She also loves her big brother Kevin, though sometimes she pets him a little too roughly.

The weather didn't cooperate with any of our plans Saturday as it rained a little in the afternoon. I even tried to take Kevin for a walk, but that was cut short by rain. So basically we just sat around relaxing, watching Izzie play, messing with Kevin, enjoying the company. In celebration of Cinco De Mayo we went to a nice little Mexican place. Then we tried to listen to the Mets game on the radio but couldn't get it. I declined Josh's offer to sit in the car and drink beer. We watched a little NBA basketball but I was so sleepy I couldn't keep my eyes open.

The next day was more of the same. I deemed it too windy to go the National Zoo. It was questionable but it was going to be quite a schlepp and I'm glad we just did more hanging out. We went to the mall. Mrs. Poop and Erin looked at purses and baby items. Josh and I tried on Redskins leather helmets while pushing a baby stroller. Not our finest moment.

Then we went for lunch at this sports bar, Champs. We were evidently seated behind some kind of invisible curtain. We could see out, but nobody could see in. We sat for ten minutes before Josh finally flagged down a waitress who seemed completely confused. Eventually they sent a waiter over. We decided to order three appetizers for us all to split. Plus Erin ordered salad, Mrs. Poop and I had soup and Josh got the chili (thankfully we didn't stick around to smell the aftereffects of that). Then they brought two of our appetizers, the Mile High (literally) nachos and buffalo chicken tenders. The waiter came over to apologize because our potato skins were late and because they brought us buffalo chicken tenders we didn't order (but we did), and to assure us they wouldn't be on the bill. Then when he brought the potato skins he told us those wouldn't be on the bill either since we waited so long for them. Also at one point he brought an extra coke and said "doesn't matter there's free refills anyway." So basically instead of a check they gave us a bunch of gift cards. We gave the guy a nice tip and appreciated our good fortune.

The whole time all this was happening Izzie was sitting quiet as a church mouse.

Then it was time to go home. The trip home was a lot better than the trip there. We listened to the Mets game, but they lost and Mrs. Poop told me everything I need to know about baby furniture.

Josh loves $8 t-shirts even when they demean him

her daddy smells

because he doesn't shower on Sundays

Sorry Izzie, we took more pictures of Kevin than we did of you

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Wagner High School Scandal

The investigation of Regents exam tampering at Susan Wagner High School has expanded to include unrelated allegations that an assistant principal siphoned thousands of dollars in school funds for her own use, the Advance has learned.

Former assistant principal of organization Rita Spitzer, who retired from the Sea View school over the December break, is being investigated for "financial improprieties" by the Department of Education's investigative arm, according to a department spokeswoman.

Those alleged improprieties include filing an exorbitant amount of overtime hours, known as per session pay, for time that she did not work, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Reached by phone last week, Ms. Spitzer acknowledged that she put in a lot of overtime at the school, but she insisted that those hours were legitimate and approved by principal Gary Giordano.

"I was there days, I was there nights, I was there working all the time," said Ms. Spitzer, who added that she often oversaw the school's afternoon and Saturday programs. "If I was there, then I'm the person who got paid for it. If I wasn't there, then another [assistant principal] would be paid for it. There's a whole document trail."

Giordano has himself been at the center of a Department of Education investigation since November, when more than a dozen teachers came forward with accusations that he had directed them to bump up Regents exam scores that were as much as 15 points below the passing mark of 65.

Since that investigation began, related allegations have emerged that an assistant principal at the school re-graded Regents exams in her office, and that another assistant principal -- Giordano's girl friend, assistant principal Mary Incantalupo -- helped re-grade tests at home, sources said.

Ms. Incantalupo, who transferred in September to a middle school in Brooklyn, could not be reached for comment.

The Regents tampering is the latest of several investigations of Susan Wagner High School administrators conducted by the Office of Special Investigations in recent years. Past allegations of impropriety have not been substantiated.

But the number and nature of complaints suggest an administration often at odds with its teaching staff, as well as opposing opinions about the ethical boundaries that govern Staten Island's traditionally close-knit education community.

Investigations have been spurred by questions about:

Whether Ms. Incantalupo's promotion to assistant principal after five years of teaching was influenced by her relationship with Giordano.

Whether Giordano's purchase of a home in Westerleigh in 2005 -- which his parents had bought from Nancy Ramos and her sisters in 2002 -- was a conflict of interest, since Ms. Ramos had become Giordano's supervisor as district superintendent in the interim.

Investigators also dismissed questions about Giordano's per-session pay, according to Giordano's lawyer, Mark Fonte, and about Ms. Spitzer's daughter's part-time work at the school last year, according to the Department of Education.

"Mr. Giordano's character is pristine and these anonymous allegations are totally unfair," Fonte said.

The latest inquiry of Giordano -- by far the most extensive of the lot -- has further soured the mood inside the school, according to teachers, and has at least partially trickled down to students.

"I do think it effects the students indirectly because it does directly affect the teachers who have been working under this cloud for a while," said a teacher at the school, who did not want to be identified. "The principal, his presence isn't nearly as strong as it was in the building. There has been some division among the staff as well, which doesn't lend to a good working environment."

He was one of several teachers who said that after six months of waiting, any resolution would be welcome.

"Whatever the case may be -- if the administration is found innocent, so be it," he said. "Move on."

But another teacher suggested that if Giordano's name is cleared, moving elsewhere could be an easier option than moving on.

"It sounds good to say it: 'Should he stay, then we move ahead with respect for one another; it will never go back to the way it was,'" she said. "[But] my sense is that a lot of people will transfer because they really don't believe that."