Caleb Hanie’s moustache and Sony

Worst part about the Bears losing to the Packers last Sunday? Caleb Hanie’s moustache was so close to sainthood. He pulls off that win and his moustache has its own facebook page, it starts sending out Super Bowl updates on Twitter, the paparazzi start reporting on how soon it’ll be till it starts dating Kim Kardashian. So close…

Best part is that Mom and I can watch the Super Bowl together. In the same room. Mom’s a Bears fan and I don’t really like to watch the Steelers with folks cheering for the other side. Two years ago in the AFC Championship Mom and I are watching the Steelers lead melt away against the Ravens. Four minutes to go and the Ravens get the ball back down two. I’m pacing. Mom’s mom innocently asks why the Steelers are letting the Ravens back into the game and why aren’t they playing better.

Some of you are laughing because you know exactly what happens when you do this to a fan.

“I don’t freaking know. I’m not a freaking coach. Do you think Tomlin is out there telling them to choke the game away! Dammit, it’s like the ghost of Schottenheimer stayed in the freaking football complex is haunt Tomlin just like it did to Cowher.”

Then Troy picked off Joe Flacco, cut back to the middle of the field, and made history.

Anyhow, we have two serious problems going into the game next Sunday. The first, of course, is that Maurkice Pouncey’s ankle is in worse shape than the funding prospects for Obamacare. The second is that far right quarter of our HD TV’s screen decided to go AWOL. I’m not kidding. It went to stripes. And it’s a Sony Bravia. Yeah, um…note to self…all that talk from Sony about reliability is crap. You know why the Jets scored that late first half field goal last Sunday to turn momentum? Because I couldn’t see what the Steelers DB’s were doing to disguise coverage. I’m watching this game blind!

But Coach Tomlin, in a feat of extreme testicular fortitude threw the ball to seal the game instead of giving the ball back to the Jets.

But I’m still missing 25% of my TV screen. And the girls keep asking me why we have this old crappy TV upstairs instead of our good one.

I call the Sony customer service number as soon as I get home from work on Monday. Gotta have this thing figured out before the Super Bowl. “Please call back during regular working hours.”

Seriously. It’s a freaking customer service number. They don’t even have an automated system to log in your complaint or problem. Sony’s ranking so far? Sucky.

Mom decides to call Target and see if they have a local service place. They hook her up with “an outsourced provider.” So Max from the Kingdom of Siam or some freaking place spends a good 15 minutes “getting the data” only to give the Sony manufacturer’s number that you have to call “during regular working hours.”

So we do that on Tuesday and Sony hooks us up with a local place that fixes their TVs. Mom drops off the TV and they tell her it’s 3-5 days before they can look at it, $75 just to check it out and they have no idea of the repair cost until they charge us the $75 to look at it.

Mom calls me today and says the part to fix the screen costs $775. Thanks for nothing Sony reliability.

An updated look at Sony’s approval rating in our house shows a staggering drop over the last week.

So…it looks like we’re buying a new freaking TV.

Did the Hippies get something right?

I think the hippies may have inadvertently gotten a few things right. Sure they like to take credit for inventing anti-establishmentarianism but that recognition really belongs with some folks sprinkled along the eastern seaboard back in the 1770’s. But you really have to give them credit where they’ve earned it. And I’m not just talking about the baseball uni’s of the 70’s.

Other things they got right? Fringe jackets, moustaches and Creedence. But the one thing that I ‘ve come to appreciate is guidance class.

I’m naturally skeptical of anything like guidance. Parents, teachers, coaches and adults in general should be able teach and provide the right kind of examples to kids without specifically dedicating a portion of the school day to it.

But I also realize that the baby boomers/hippies, and I say this with all due respect, have spent a helluva lot of time building an entitlement attitude amongst themselves, spending money and praising and praising their kids without doing a helluva of raising. That might be a generalization based around anger associated with the fact that Gen X’ers like myself are going to have to foot the bill. But maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, in our school, the girls have guidance at least once a week where they talk about things like the Character Counts curriculum. A couple weeks ago Kinsey had guidance and they talked about facing your fears. To overcome something you find scary, you should step up, be brave and face it.

Kinsey finds gymnastics scary. Or, more specifically, she finds her coach scary. He’s bald and has an eastern European accent. I don’t really blame her. Ivan Drago is scary enough without him being bald.

Anyway, since September we’ve spent every Monday night dealing with Kinsey as she whines and cries about having to go to gymnastics where she can’t do anything her coach is asking and how all the other girls are better than. Then we spend at least an hour every Tuesday after gymnastics dealing with her whining and crying about how awful gymnastics was.

A few weeks ago she went to bed crying on back to back nights because she got herself so worked up. She looked like Al Davis complaining to Pete Rozelle before the ’75 AFC Championship Game. And, mind you, she does this while constantly being asked to stop doing gymnastics in our family room. In fact she performed an entire routine directly between me and my HD TV while I was watching my fantasy football team with its 2nd league championship in the last 5 seasons a few Sundays ago. Did it after drafting Randy Moss and Antonio Gates too. Who else won their league with their 2nd and 3rd round draft choices missing nearly half the season?

Anyhow, Kinz has come home after the last two gymnastics classes beaming. Beaming! What happened? Well, it hasn’t hurt that all of the girls who were in her class during the fall quit or moved to a different class. The result is that the new girls in the class are about the same skill level as Kinz and she thinks she pretty tough for sticking it out and not quitting like the other girls. But mostly it is because she learned in guidance that if you are afraid of something you need to face your fear.

I was genuinely surprised to see guidance class applied in such a direct and successful way. It was like seeing Tawny Kitaen in Ratt’s Back for More video. “Hey, that’s Tawny Kitaen. I could have sworn she spent all her time in Whitesnake videos. Hmm…”

So…I guess…thanks for guidance class.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 58 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 213 posts. There were 70 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 30mb. That’s about a picture per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 4th with 1,512 views. The most popular post that day was Tales from the Dishwasher.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were theschwarcks.blogspot.com, blogger.com, facebook.com, search.aol.com, and mail.live.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for battle of the planets, barry sanders, baseball furies, lou ferrigno, and diamonds are forever.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Tales from the Dishwasher September 2010

2

Rudy and The Baseball Furies April 2009
2 comments

3

Parent-Teacher Conferences November 2009
1 comment

4

Things I Learned at a Dance Recital May 2009

5

62 Scat Flasher Z Level February 2009
2 comments

Published in: on January 18, 2011 at 11:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

77 F Double Seam Go

It’s wasn’t 62 Scat Flasher Z Level. And it certainly wasn’t 66 Circle Option. But 77 F Double Seam Go was pretty freaking awesome. Who throws the most important pass of the season to a rookie from Central Michigan? Ben does. A freaking rookie with 16 total catches who literally uses his head to reel it in. Amazing. I kept waiting for the refs to overturn the call or throw a flag on Hines Ward for being too mean.

By the grace of God, Scooby Doo Camp Scare was on the same time as the Steelers. This means the girls do not bother me during the game and I don’t have to police my mouth as much as I normally do when the Steelers fumble twice and are behind by 14 at halftime.

Although I wish I would have watched this Scooby Doo movie before the girls. Normally, you can count on Scoob and gang for some funky hi-jinks on the way to solving a cheesy mystery. Two things, however, are apparent when you watch this adventure by the meddling kids. First, its legitimately scary. It’s has a real slasher flick vibe to it with The Woodsman character. He’s really big, green and carries an axe.

Second, in another nod to slasher filicks, they animators really took their time to…um…enhance Daphne, Velma and Jessica the super hot counselor from a rival camp. Seriously, the only animated character hotter than Jessica is Ariel from Thundarr the Barbarian. So what you end up with is a Scooby movie about a summer camp in the woods, hot chicks, and an axe wielding maniac.

Anyway, here’s what learned from the Steelers win on Saturday.

1) Don’t screw with The Terrible Towel. TJ Houshmazilli infamously wiped his cleats back in December of ’05 with The Terrible Towel after the Bengals beat the Steelers to seal up the AFC North. TJ disprected The Towel. Result? The Steelers take out the Bengals in the ’05 playoffs and win the Super Bowl for the 5th time. Is The Towel done with TJ? No. The Towel’s magical powers are at their peak in the playoffs. And The Towel never forgets. 4th and 18, Steeler’s 38 yard line, just over a minute to go. TJ beats his man, Flacco sees it and delivers a perfect dagger into Steeler Nation’s heart…and TJ inexplicably drops it. Hit him in both hands and both numbers. Hope that’s a lesson learned TJ.

2) Down 21-7 at halftime I disgustedly threw off my sweet Jack Lambert black throwback jersey. Despite my despair, I made sure it never touched the floor and I quickly folded it up as not to disrespect Count Dracula. I sat dejectedly on the couch for a few minutes. Realizing I was kinda cold I went up and put on my favorite Steelers sweatshirt. Karma changing gear switch. Not foolproof but certainly a time tested and somewhat successful fan strategy. Final score? 31-24 Steelers. Guess I’m not crazy after all…

The 2012 Caucuses and babysitting

You know what’s awesome? Winning my second fantasy football championship in the last 6 years with Roethlisberger and Mendenhall leading the way. That’s what.

You know what else is awesome? Being home when you get a polling call about the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. I gave favs and unfavs for a whole list of the Republicans possibly running. Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, etc., but I achieved a first today, for me at least, by actually making the lady making the call laugh out loud and totally lose her place in the script.

“Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Sarah Palin?”

“Favorable.”

“What do you like best about Sarah Palin?”

“That she’s freaking awesome! That every time she says something she makes all the liberals mad. That the GOP establishment cringes whenever she’s around.”

“Well, sir that’s the first ‘freaking awesome’ I’ve had this evening.”

“Yeah, well when the guys who paid for this poll read the verbatims, it’s going to crack them up even more. Now ask me something about Mitt Romney so I can blast him.”

Awesomer than that? Riley is 11 and we had her watch the other two girls while we went to a movie. How Do You Know with Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon. Mom is a Paul Rudd fan. And after watching his acting genius as Brian Fantana in Anchorman and finding out he’s lifelong Steelers fan, I’m okay with him too. But the awesomeness comes from the fact that we were able to watch a movie outside of our house without children and without paying a babysitter.

We didn’t even really have to plan it either! I know, weird. We just woke up and said, hey, let’s go to a movie tonight and have Rye just watch the two little ones.

I know, the levels of awesomeness are almost incomprehensible. Our oldest kid is just old enough to watch her sisters for a couple hours without lighting the carpet on fire. Mom and I used to go to movies all the time. It was our thing. Friday night and the movies just went together. Like May of ’83 and first seven guitar chords of Photograph.

This is an entirely new phase of life. Rye is just going to keep getting older. And we’ll, over time, be able to leave her at home to watch the other two for longer periods of time. Your mind fills up with possibilities faster than a room of coaches fired by Al Davis. Seriously, this is a breakthrough reminiscent of Operation Cobra in July of 1944. Only thing we’re missing is Patton’s tanks racing through the bocage.

Our window of opportunity here isn’t small either. She won’t be able to drive until she’s 16. That’s not soon. By then somebody will have come up with a suitable replacement for LOST and the comeback of hair metal will be going strong.

The key, we think, is to maintain the illusion that we’re not going to take advantage of this every single weekend. Because, at some point, Rye is going to start asking for a little something. She’ll start talking to her friends about working conditions, wage discrepancies and pretty soon we’ve got labor problems and a union movement.

So we’re trying to maintain our composure. But most of the time we look like this: