Thursday, November 30, 2006

Igawa's rights go to Yankees

NEW YORK -- After missing out on star Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka earlier this month, the Yankees made sure not to let history repeat itself when Kei Igawa became available via the posting system.

Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday night that the Yankees had won the rights to the Japanese left-hander, who has pitched the past eight seasons for the Hanshin Tigers.

Published reports put the winning bid between $25-$26 million, which is roughly half of the $51.1 million it cost the Red Sox to acquire the rights to Matsuzaka. The Yankees would only pay Hanshin if they sign Igawa to a contract.

Hmm. This guy was not even on anyone's radar when the post season ended. It was all about Matsuzaka. I hope he's decent. At least he's a lefty and he's cheaper than Matsuzaka. It should be fun when the two go up against each other.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pelosi passes Hastings for Intel chair

From Yahoo News:
WASHINGTON - In a decision that could roil Democratic unity in the new House, Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi passed over Rep. Alcee Hastings (news, bio, voting record) Tuesday for the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee.

Critics pointed out that he had been impeached when he was a federal judge and said naming him to such a sensitive post would be a mistake just as the Democrats take over House control pledging reforms.

"I am obviously disappointed with this decision," Hastings, D-Fla., said in a statement thanking his supporters. "I will be seeking better and bigger opportunities in a Democratic Congress."

He learned his bid for the chairmanship was unsuccessful during a closed-door meeting with Pelosi on Tuesday.

In a statement, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Hastings has made national security his highest priority. "He has served our country well, and I have full confidence that he will continue to do so," she said.

In a sign of the bitterness that has surrounded the debate, Hastings closed his statement by saying: "Sorry, haters, God is not finished with me yet."
Wait a minute. He actually used the word "haters" in a formal statement? I think this shows exactly why passing him by was a great idea. Sheesh.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Hate Verizon. And Linksys.

I've been having a lot of problems with my Verizon DSL service since Spring. It got to the point about two months ago where I was forced to reboot the modem/wireless gateway every time I logged on just to ensure a connection that would last 10 minutes without dropping. Not since the days of dial-up have I had service so piss-poor. I'm not talking about just turning off the modem by shutting off the power or hitting the reset button, mind you. That doesn't do squat. I had to connect to the modem through its web interface and disconnect it then reconnect. Unbelievable.

Finally, I'd had enough. I called Verizon and purchased a new plain Jane DSL modem for $35. Then I went to J&R and bought a Linksys Wireless-G broadband router with "SRX speed and range eXpansion" for $80.

You know what?

My connectivity is worse than it was before!


Half the time I can't even see my own router in the list of available networks! As I'm typing this I'm connected to the Internet through somebody else's router! Whoever owns the router named "Sonia," thanks, man. At least your shit works. If it wasn't for you I'd have no wireless Internet whatsoever.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Wii Workout: When Videogames Hurt

From the Wall Street Journal:
A videogame maker has finally succeeded in getting kids off the couch and moving around. But the new approach is turning out to be more exercise than some players bargained for.

These surprisingly vigorous workouts are being triggered by Nintendo's new Wii videogames. The Wii game console, which went on sale last weekend, competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's new PlayStation 3. One of the Wii's distinguishing features is a motion-sensitive technology that requires players to act out their character's movements, wielding the game's controller like a sword or swinging it like a tennis racket.

The new console has been wildly successful, selling out at stores and winning high marks from critics and game buffs. But as players spend more time with the Wii, some are noticing that hours waving the game's controller around can add up to fairly intense exertion -- resulting in aches and pains common in more familiar forms of exercise. They're reporting aching backs, sore shoulders -- even something some have dubbed "Wii elbow."

"It's harder than playing basketball," says Kaitlin Franke, a 12-year-old from Louisville, Ky. She has been camped out in front of her family's TV, fine-tuning her bowling motion and practicing boxing footwork in two of the Wii's games. Almost immediately, she says, her right arm started to feel numb.

In Rochester, Minn., Jeremy Scherer and his wife spent three hours playing tennis and bowling, two of the games included with the Wii. Mr. Scherer says he managed to improve his scores -- at the cost of shoulders and back that were still aching the next day. "I was using muscles I hadn't used in a while," says Mr. Scherer, a computer programmer who describes himself as "not very active." Mr. Scherer is vowing nightly "Wii workouts" to get in better shape.
ROFL! I wonder if the sales will drop once word gets out how physically demanding the games are? Moreover, I wonder when the first lawsuits for Wii-related injuries will hit?


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Police Kill Man After a Queens Bachelor Party

From the New York Times:
Hours before he was to be married, a man leaving his bachelor party at a strip club in Queens that was under police surveillance was shot and killed early yesterday in a hail of police bullets, witnesses and the police said. Two of his friends were wounded, one critically, they said.

Witnesses told of chaos, screams and a barrage of gunfire near Club Kalua at 143-08 94th Avenue in Jamaica about 4:15 a.m. after Mr. Bell and his friends walked out and got into their car. Mr. Bell drove the car half a block, turned a corner and struck a black unmarked police minivan bearing several plainclothes officers.

Mr. Bell’s car then backed up onto a sidewalk, hit a storefront’s rolled-down protective gate and nearly struck an undercover officer before shooting forward and slamming into the police van again, the police said.

In response, five police officers fired at least 50 rounds at the men’s car, a silver Nissan Altima; the bullets ripped into other cars and slammed through an apartment window near the shooting scene on Liverpool Street near 94th Avenue.

Mr. Bell — who was to have been wed at 5 p.m. yesterday to Nicole Paultre, 22, the mother of his two small daughters — was shot in the neck, shoulder and right arm and was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Wow. Kinda fucked up. On the surface some may see this as another Diallo case, but I don't see how these cops will be indicted. It looks like the groom was smashed out of his mind and unfortunately for him he hit the wrong car. Oh, and I'm sure the cops will say one or more of the guys in Bell's car had weapons and/or drugs. Yet another example of why you never, EVER let your friend drive drunk. Especially hours before his wedding.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Richards tells Jackson racial slurs stemmed from humiliation

Comedian Michael Richards, known best as Kramer on TV's Seinfeld, told Rev. Jesse Jackson's radio program that he recently yelled racial slurs at two black men out of anger, not prejudice.

Richards appeared on Jackson's nationally syndicated program, Keep Hope Alive, after the black leader invited him to appear.

The 57-year-old comic drew public fire after he hurled racial epithets at two hecklers who were ordering drinks during his act a week ago at a club in West Hollywood. His outburst was caught on a camera video and has since been posted on the internet.

The comic says he was trying to deal with hecklers at the time and was "in a place of humiliation" when he started using the racial epithets, which he claims he had never used before.

Richards' publicist Howard Rubenstein said the comedian would begin psychiatric counselling to learn how to deal with his anger and to comprehend how he ended up making those racist remarks.
Yo, didn't I say he'd end up in some kind of rehab? He's so full of shit.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Family Day

As late as 7:20 a.m. on Friday I was having my doubts, but as Orlando drank his milk I looked at him and said, "Let's do this." Friday was "Family Day" at work and seeing as how they laid off 500 people a few weeks ago, they may never do this again. Or I may not be around if they do.

Within 40 minutes his diaper bag was packed and Orlando, me and my mom were in a cab and on our way. The cabbie was lousy and stubborn. He stopped for gas and refused to put on a seatbelt. Nevertheless, I was at my job by 8:45.

Orlando was great. He was very animated and social. He giggled when people were talking to him while I was taking him around and showing him off. He drank all his milk and he even had a long nap. The only bump in the road came when a former co-worker brought her baby to meet him. The other baby is three weeks younger, but taller, heavier and he can sit up on his own. The other baby also had a serious shoe fetish. He kept darting forward and touching Orlando's sneakers.

Orlando didn't know what to do. He looked at me, looked at the other baby, then he smiled tentatively. But the other baby kept doing it and Orlando looked like he was going to cry. I told him, "You live in New York, that's not the last time someone's going to try to take your clothes."

He looked at me blankly. ;)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Orlando's teeth are coming in!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Racist Rant By Seinfeld's Kramer

Pretty over the top, I'd say. He'll probably say he was drunk and he needs to go into rehab.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Soriano Gets Fifth-Richest Contract Ever

From ABC

NEW YORK Nov 20, 2006 (AP)— Alfonso Soriano is thinking about a World Series title, something the Chicago Cubs have never brought to Wrigley Field.

Soriano's $136 million, eight-year contract was announced Monday by the Cubs after he passed a physical, the fifth-highest contract in baseball history and the first of eight years or more since Scott Rolen's deal with St. Louis in September 2002.

"It's a big contract, but that's not my goal," Soriano said. "My goal is to play hard and give you a championship for the city. That's my goal. It's not about the contract."

Chicago, which gave third baseman Aramis Ramirez a $75 million, five-year deal, hasn't won the World Series since 1908, when it played at the second West Side Park. In hopes of winning a championship, the Cubs are moving to the top level of baseball spenders, joining the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

That's a lot of dough for a guy that strikes out a lot. The Cubs are in a very winnable division, however, so they should go for it. Now all they need are three more starting pitchers.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

My Favorite Podcasts

I moved up from an iPod Shuffle to a 30GB iPod video in August and I started really getting into podcasts. At first I listed to news and political commentary, but that quickly got boring and I moved on to sports and fiction.

During the baseball season I was really into ESPN Baseball Today. Their coverage was great through the regular season and through the conclusion of the World Series. I also listened to Steven A. Smith. I’m not sure if I like his style or not, but there’s something inherently creepy that hits you after you listen day in day out to sports guys trashing black and Hispanic men. It’s nice to hear at least one non-white guy give his opinion.

ESPN Podcasts

During the baseball season I was also listening to Without A Curse, a bi-weekly podcast by 13-year-old Red Sox fan, Alex Reimer. He’s not bad for a adolescent. He has a tendency to say “sucks” too often, and since he’s only 13 he has no sense of history (thing about it – in his lifetime the Braves and Indians have had more good seasons than bad), but, like I said, he’s not bad. He even manages to get adults who know a little something (like sports editors and the like) to appear on his show and do phone interviews. His show is weekly now that the season is over, but I’m still listening.

Why do I listen to a Red Sox show, you ask? Why, because it’s so fun to hear the suffering. You’d think they didn’t win that championship in 2004. More importantly, there’s no one doing a similar Yankees podcast. What’s up with that?

When I’m not listening to sports podcasts I listen to fiction podcasts. My favorite is Escape Pod, which gives me a weekly 30 to 50 minute sci-fi, fantasy or horror fix. Escape Pod tries to supply Hugo award winners or nominees to the listeners, so the quality of the stories is good. So far my favorite Escape Pod stories have been The King’s Tail and I Look Forward to Remembering You.

I also like the Union Dues stories, which fall into the superhero genre:

EP80: Cleanup In Aisle Five
EP62: Baby and the Bathwater
EP49: Off White Lies
EP27: Glass Jaw

Escape Pod has a sister show called Pseudopod which is dedicated to horror. My favorite Pseudopod stories have been Turista and Sacred Skin.

In the superhero genre I like How to Succeed in Evil, the story of an “Evil Efficiency Expert” who helps villains maximize their potential. Unfortunately, it’s been a month since an episode has come out, so they may have run out of steam.

Last but not least, I like Retrieval Detachment, which is a podcast that reviews other podcasts, but alas, they’ve disappeared since they’re doing NaNoWriMo. What I liked about the podcast was the freeform brainstorming of the two hosts as they analyze the themes of different stories – mostly Escape Pod stories. I liked their discussion of time travel as a business. They went way beyond the idea of guided tours to the past and came up with fun ideas like kidnapping Leonardo DaVinci to teach a special one day “Master Class” at a university. LOL!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

PS3 Insanity

Sony’s PlayStation 3 went on sale at midnight on Friday. All over the country there were reports of people sleeping on sidewalks to be one of the first in line and people robbing the people who slept on the sidewalks (LOL!). And, of course, there’s the usual flurry of eBay activity whenever something is hot and the supplies are low.

I’ve seen a number of consoles offered up for $10k or so, only to go unsold, but here’s an auction that was actually completed. Somebody paid $15,000 for three consoles -- two 60GB and one 20 GB .

Maybe I’m the stupid one? Maybe next time one of these “must have” items comes out I should sleep on the concrete so I can get paid. When you think about it, that’s easy money.

But who are these people who are willing to pay ten times what the consoles are worth? Why do they do this when, if they just had a little patience, they could get the console five weeks from now for list price?

Beats me.

Friday, November 17, 2006

FDA OKs wide sales of silicone breast implants

From Yahoo News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Silicone breast implants will be widely available in the United States for the first time in 14 years after U.S. health officials approved sales by two companies on Friday.

Mentor Corp. (NYSE:MNT) and Allergan Inc. (NYSE:AGN) each must study the implant risks in 40,000 women for 10 years, the Food and Drug Administration said. Silicone breast implants were banned for most U.S. women in 1992 after some complained the devices leaked and made them chronically ill.

FDA officials said the companies had provided "reasonable assurance of the benefits and risks" that would enable women to make informed decisions.

"We now have a good understanding of what complications can occur and at what rates. We also know that women who get these devices will probably need to have additional breast implant surgery at least once," said Dr. Daniel Schultz, director of FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Breast pain, hardening of the area around the implant, change in nipple sensation, implant rupture and the need for additional surgery all were reported in the companies' studies, the FDA said. Still, most women said they were happy with the implants.
You know, I understand that there are women out there who feel they need this because they don’t feel like women if they don’t have huge tits. Or they want to be actresses and they think they’ll get more jobs this way. But, MAN! The fucking side effects! So not worth it.

Read more…

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Final Destination?

Last month, Bob Cartwright learned that his friend and personal pilot died in the plane crash that killed a New York Yankees pitcher.

"I was supposed to be on that plane," Cartwright told friends at the time. The pilot, Tyler Stanger, had invited Cartwright and Rod Watkins, a mutual friend, to a playoff game between the Yankees and the Detroit Tigers, but neither could make the trip.

Thirty-four days later, Cartwright got caught in a strange and sad twist of fate.

Cartwright died Tuesday at the age of 68 with two other men in a plane that crashed into the shoreline of Big Bear Lake, which is near his mountain home in nearby Sugarloaf.

Whoa. It's just like that movie.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Red Sox Win Bidding Rights for Matsuzaka

Japan WBC team starter Daisuke Matsuzaka pitches against Japan's Yomiuri Giants in the first inning of their exhibition game at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo in this Wednesday, March 1, 2006 file photo.

From Yahoo News:
The Boston Red Sox have won the bidding battle for Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, national broadcaster NHK said Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006. Matsuzaka's Seibu Lions accepted the Red Sox bid early Wednesday, NHK said citing the ball club. The pitcher now has 30 days to negotiate the contract. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)
I'm totally cool with this. I did not want the Yankees to shell out big bucks for an unproven talent only to get burned again. Can you say Hideki Irabu? Jose Contreras? Hopefully he'll suck against MLB hitting.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Apple Teams Up With Six Airlines to Deliver iPod Integration

From Apple Hot News:
Apple is teaming up with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United to deliver the first seamless integration between iPod and in-flight entertainment systems. These six airlines will begin offering their passengers iPod seat connections which power and charge their iPods during flight and allow the video content on their iPods to be viewed on the their seat back displays.

Read more…

Monday, November 13, 2006

Shea It Ain't So

From the Daily News:
For an estimated $20 million a year, banking giant Citigroup got a 20-year deal that will put its name on Citi Field, the 45,000-capacity ballpark now being built just east of the 42-year-old Shea Stadium.

But the main entrance, modeled on the one in Brooklyn's old Ebbets Field, will be called the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, it was announced at yesterday's gathering.
Okay, first of all, "Citi Field"? How long before they call it "Shitty Field"? I hate these corporate names for ball parks. How am I supposed to remember who plays where when the name of the team isn't even in the name of the park?

Second, that's a nice gesture for the memory of Jackie Robinson and all, but excuse me, he played for the Dodgers, right? Shouldn't they honor him? The Mets don't have a Met that they could honor?


Sunday, November 12, 2006

All Star Wars, All The Time

The evil bastards at Cinemax were showing all six Star Wars movies back to back to back to, well, you get the picture, all weekend. And they're gonna continue showing the movies in story order and release date order through December.

Mustn't... black... out... ARGGGH!

View schedule here.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day

In case you didn't know, yes, I'm a veteran. I served 8 years in the Army Reserve and I was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as part of operation Enduring Freedom.

Let's just say, it was very stressful.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sheff Shipped to Motown

From the Daily News:
The Yankees fulfilled their first objective of the offseason by trading outfielder Gary Sheffield to the Tigers for three top pitching prospects, the Daily News has learned.

The three prospects are Bronx native Humberto Sanchez, relievers Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett.
I don't even care if these prospects don't pan out. Good riddance. I liked Sheff in 2004, but after that he started running his mouth. What an asshole. My only regret is that we didn't ship him off to an NL team so we'd never see his ass again.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Virginia is for Lovers

A celebratory Democrat James Webb holds up his Marine Corps son's combat boots during an election victory rally in Arlington, Va. Photo by Bill O'Leary - The Washington Post

From The Washington Post:
Virginia Sen. George Allen (R) today conceded the election to Democrat James Webb, cementing Democratic control of the Senate.

As of this morning, Allen trailed Webb by 7,484 votes. Republican sources said Allen had concluded that no amount of recounting would change the outcome, but members of the senator's campaign staff would not publicly confirm his intentions.

The concession spared the country from a recount that could have left control of the U.S. Senate in limbo for weeks. And it makes official what many have been saying since late Wednesday: that Webb will become Virginia's junior senator, giving Democrats a 51-seat majority and complete control of Congress for the first time in more than a decade.

With the vote tally so close, Allen noted that he had the legal right to ask for a recount, a procedure he said could drag on until Christmas.
Yay! The misogynist beat the racist! Woo hoo! It's a great day.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Aftermath

[Who thought it was a good idea to have an ass as a political party's mascot anyway?]

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Did You?

You did vote today, didn't you?

Monday, November 06, 2006

U.S. is twentieth most corrupt nation on Earth

Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) ranks 163 countries based on perceived levels of corruption among public officials and politicians in its 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

TI said several countries had a significant worsening of their ratings, including Brazil, Cuba, Israel, Jordan, Laos, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the United States.

"This survey suggests that corruption in Iraq is very bad," TI Chief Executive David Nussbaum told Reuters.

Nussbaum, noting the recent Enron trial, said U.S. court cases had highlighted the scale of corruption there and may have contributed to the deterioration in the U.S. score. The United States was ranked 20th, next to Belgium and Chile.
Wow, we really do stink.

Not only did the U.S. suck at the Winter Olympics, World Cup, World Baseball Classic and the World Basketball Championships this year (not to mention yesterday's New York Marathon), we’re not even capable of being number one at evil? What kind of shit is this? Where's the pride?

Let’s all go out and vote tomorrow. Be sure to pick the candidates most likely to do evil, so hopefully we’ll break into the upper echelons of corruption next year and blow away punk ass countries like Seychelles.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Thirteen Writing Prompts

Thinking about writing (even though I'm not trying to get anything done), I came across this list of writing prompts for a contest on



- - - -


Write a scene showing a man and a woman arguing over the man's friendship with a former girlfriend. Do not mention the girlfriend, the man, the woman, or the argument.


Write a short scene set at a lake, with trees and shit. Throw some birds in there, too.


Choose your favorite historical figure and imagine if he/she had been led to greatness by the promptings of an invisible imp living behind his or her right ear. Write a story from the point of view of this creature. Where did it come from? What are its goals? Use research to make your story as accurate as possible.


Write a story that ends with the following sentence: Debra brushed the sand from her blouse, took a last, wistful look at the now putrefying horse, and stepped into the hot-air balloon.


A wasp called the tarantula hawk reproduces by paralyzing tarantulas and laying its eggs into their bodies. When the larvae hatch, they devour the still living spider from the inside out. Isn't that fucked up? Write a short story about how fucked up that is.


Imagine if your favorite character from 19th-century fiction had been born without thumbs. Then write a short story about them winning the lottery.


Write a story that begins with a man throwing handfuls of $100 bills from a speeding car, and ends with a young girl urinating into a tin bucket.


A husband and wife are meeting in a restaurant to finalize the terms of their impending divorce. Write the scene from the point of view of a busboy snorting cocaine in the restroom.


Think of the most important secret your best friend has ever entrusted you with. Write a story in which you reveal it to everyone. Write it again from the point of view of your friend. Does she want to kill you? How does she imagine doing it? Would she use a gun, or something crueler and more savage, like a baseball bat with nails in it?


Popular music is often a good source of writing inspiration. Rewrite Bob Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" as a play.


Write a short scene in which one character reduces another to uncontrollable sobs without touching him or speaking.


Your main character finds a box of scorched human hair. Whose is it? How did it get there?


A man has a terrifying dream in which he is being sawn in half. He wakes to find himself in the Indian Ocean, naked and clinging to a door; a hotel keycard is clenched in his teeth. Write what happens next.

I like prompt number 5 best. The contest winners are here.


Okay, here's runner-up number two who used prompt number 7:

A Day in the Life of R. Kelly.

By Jenny R. Thomas

- - - -

"See, girl? Those bills ain't nothin' to me, plenty more where that came from— No, no, not in the bucket; I got people to dry-clean the upholstery! Shit."



Saturday, November 04, 2006

Dissing the Dead

From the New York Times:
Long-silent mistresses, disgruntled former employees, estranged family members — Katie Falzone has seen them all.

They turn to the online guest books at the obituary Web site where she works,, to convey unflattering thoughts about the recently departed.

It is Ms. Falzone’s job to stop them.

Legacy, which is now eight years old, carries a death notice or obituary for virtually all the roughly 2.4 million people who die each year, but few foresaw how nasty some of the postings to its guest books would be.

Some of the snubs are blunt. “Everyone gets their due,” a former client writes of an embezzling accountant. Or, “I sincerely hope the Lord has more mercy on him than he had on me during my years reporting to him at the Welfare Department.”

Others are subtler: “She never took the time to meet me, but I understand she was a wonderful grandmother to her other grandchildren.”

“Reading the obit, he sounds like he was a great father,” says another, which is signed, “His son Peter.”

I’d never heard of this site before. They even had an obit and a guestbook for Yankee pitcher Corey Lidle.

A fascinating article and a fascinating site.

Read more…

Friday, November 03, 2006

IE7 = The Devil’s Browser

If you’ve used Windows Update in the last few days you by now have been given the opportunity to download Internet Explorer 7. Internet Explorer 7 has all sorts of nifty features such as tabbed browser windows, plug-ins, a choice of search engines to use, themes and the ability to subscribe to RSS feeds.

This would be awesome, except for the fact that Firefox (AKA Mozilla) has had these features and more for fucking YEARS now. And shit prints nicer from Firefox too.

Oh my God, how weak can you get?

Technorati tags: | | |

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Total Recall

Here's a nice picture of Orlando playing with a toy that could kill him.

Once again I've purchased a toy that could kill a child. I received an email today from the Consumer Product Safety Commission about one of Orlando's favorite toys:
RC2 Recalls Toy Keys Due to Choking Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Toy Keys

Units: About 275,000

Importer/Distributor: RC2 Brands Inc., of Oak Brook, Ill. The recalled products are marketed under RC2’s Learning Curve and The First Years brands.

Hazard: The colored top portion of the keys can crack, resulting in the release of small parts, which poses a choking hazard to young children.

Incidents/Injuries: RC2 has received four reports of cracking. No injuries have been reported.

Description: “Shake ‘n Jingle Keys,” “Shake & Jingle Keys,” “My Jingle Keys” all by The First Years and the John Deere “Real Keys” are toy keys, with three colored keys attached to a blue, red or green remote control with electronic features. Various colored buttons on the remote activate sounds. Only toy keys with the letter “F” in the date code stamp on the packaging and product are involved in the recall. The date code can be found on the back of the remote control. Toy keys with “TE” in the date code or yellow sides on the remote are not included in this recall.

Sold at: Department stores and independent toy stores nationwide from August 2005 through October 2006 for about $6.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the recalled toy keys immediately and contact RC2 for a free replacement toy.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact RC2 at (800) 704-8697 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the Learning Curve’s Web site at

Earlier this year another toy (a toy cell phone) I'd purchased for one of my cousins also got recalled. Oh, and the batteries in my PowerBook G4 and Sony Vaio laptops were recalled too.

I think anything more complex than a large rubber ball is probably lethal and flawed.

Technorati tags: | |

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NaNoWriMo… No. Again.

Well, it’s November and once again I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I mentioned back in February that I’d started this blog in 2005 in order to prepare for NaNoWriMo, but it still hasn’t happened. I don’t seem to have the ability to create anything new, so the only way I’m ever going to get a novel done is to piece together the stuff I scribbled down in pencil on loose-leaf paper when I was 14 years old. Somehow that feels like cheating, like I’m ripping off that younger, more creative self.

But, hey. That’s what old folks do -- feed off of the energy of the young.