Sunday, June 25, 2006
Despite the small controversy of prize money (I am in favor of equal prize money, if not more for the gals!), I couldn't be more amped for the Championships. The withdrawal of Dav hurt, a lot. And the rest of the year isn't looking to bright for America's sweetheart anymore. I am pegging a return for the US Open and then retirement. A shame she never got that last slam - damn the Williams sisters in 2005! Still, I will give her a more fitting tribute on that sad day of retirement, but until then, I will think of her fondly as an older, wiser, taller, more articulate friend, who has a fun knack of cursing under her breath when she chokes!
Ok, the gentlemen: Simple enough, Federer to 4peat. A Federer upset is near impossible. He will inch closer to breaking Sampras' records, which will please me beyond words.
Other thoughts on the men: Nadal, seeded 2nd, won't make it past round 3 if that. His third round opponent, interestingly, would be #25 Agassi, and I would root for and expect an Agassi win. I just don't see much happening with Nadal on grass, which benefits Roddick, at #3, tremendously. Possibly a gift of a seed for Andy, who has not done much at all since the finals of Wimbledon last year. But he has made it to the finals the past 2 years, and has a fine chance to make it there again, where he will lose to Federer....again. As for old Andre, he will create a minor stir, perhaps making it to the round of 16 or the quarters, but he hasn't played in forever and has been losing to nobodys a lot. Hotties to watch for: unseeded Marat Safin, who always has the possibility of lifting his game and winning. He actually is up against British Greg Rusedski, a veteran with a huge serve, and this will probably be the most interesting first round match. Other hotties: #17 Robby Ginepri , #19 Tommy Haas, and unseeded Mark Philoppoussis, the 2003 runner-up, who is too perfect for words. Henman, Britain's pride and joy, whose every loss here is more and more painful to watch, has Federer in round 2.
(1) Federer vs. (7) Mario Ancic
(8) James Blake vs. (4) Nalbandian (shaky with him)
(6) Lleyton Hewitt vs. (3) Roddick (i feel like these two hate each other. will be funn!)
(17) Ginepri, sadly beating Agassi in round of 16 vs. who knows. This quarter is wide open. Maybe Nadal will learn how to play on clay. I don't know enough about the men.
Federer vs. Blake
Hewitt vs. Ginepri
Finals: Federer vs. Hewitt
Ugh, JHH just won Eastbourne, the final Wimbledon tuneup, whereas Sharapova lost her Wimbledon tuneup, where she was the two-time defending champ. Perennial semifinalist (or finalist) Dav is out. My new favorite Nadia is out. Mauresmo, a three time-semifinalist, is officially too shaky for even me to side with anymore. Clijsters has not done much on grass, and we are still yet to see Hingis (12) fully break through with some consecutive wins over top players. Then there is current title holder Venus, who is seeded 6th despite her ranking of 12 or so. Ok, let's work this out...my stomach hurts already by the way.
Top quarter: Mauresmo should advance easily to the quarters. Fun sidebar on her, she has the best grass-court game of any woman. As stated before, she is a 3time semifinalist, but she has advanced to those semifinals relatively unnoticed. This year as the top seed that can't happen for her. Her semifinal loss two years ago to Serena 4-6 in the third was one of the best matches ever and showed she does have something in her. She lost in the semis last year to Dav, also 4-6 in the third. She is so close here! A re-burgeoning Anastasia Myskina (9) will clash with Venus in the round of 16. Venus will muscle through there easily.
Quarters: Mauresmo vs. V
2nd quarter: Sharapova should own this quarter. She will be pumped for the title, and there really is no one else worth mentioning here anyway. Elena "Mc-NoServe" Dementieva (7) probably won't last very far. Eleni Danillidou, who destroyed JHH in round 1 last year, is a potential threat for Sharapova in the round of 16.
Quarters: Sharapova vs. Elena Likhovtseva (25)
3rd quarter: Somewhat interesting quarter with #3 JHH, #12 Hingis, #8 Schnyder, who has a tendency to never go away, #15 Daniela Hantuchova, a pretty quarter-finalist a couple of years ago, and Jamea Jackson who recently beat Sharapova.
The Hingis/JHH quarters will be every commentator's favorite battle of pint sized strategists.
4th quarter: This quarter is full of all the hot players from the French Open: Svetlana Kuznetsova (5), Nicole Vaidisova (10), and Ana-Lena Groenefeld (13). Along with good old Clijsters at #2. In a rematch of the French Open semifinal Vaidisova will meet Kutzy in the round of 16. Clijsters doesn't strike me as being a safe-bet on grass, but she is mostly consistent enough to find ways to win.
Quarters: Kutzy vs. Clijsters.
Venus vs. Sharapova (last year's semis)
JHH vs. Kutzy
Finals: Sharapova vs Kutz
When all of these predictions prove disastrously untrue, I will blog about my little cross-country jaunt to obviously avoid the painful truth of it all.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Two queens in a palace
Former Gov. James E. McGreevey and his partner, Mark O'Donnell, are about to purchase a 17-room, $1.4 million home in Plainfield's historic Sleepy Hollow neighborhood, according to two people with direct knowledge of the deal.The house sounds fabulous -- 17 rooms, 8 bedrooms, 4 baths, a solarium, and a pool! A slice of heaven, right here in New Jersey!
The ivy-covered Georgian Colonial boasts eight bedrooms, five fireplaces and four bathrooms. The neighborhood is home to several local politicians, including former Plainfield Mayor Al McWilliams and Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union).
McGreevey will live in the 92-year-old home with O'Donnell, a successful Manhattan financier who has been dating the former governor for about a year. The couple is expected to close the deal next week, the sources said.
McGreevey retreated from public view after resigning the governor's office in 2004, following his public admission of a gay extramarital affair. But he resurfaced in recent weeks as he prepares to release his memoir, "The Confession," which is due out in the fall.
The palatial home, which includes a solarium, a butler's pantry and in-ground swimming pool, sits on 1.7 acres and was originally built for a founder of the New York Stock Exchange. Its gardens were designed by the firm of noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who created Central Park.
Now close your eyes and imagine what the McGreevey pool parties will be like.
Jim, Mark? Let us know where to send the signtaure Pot and Kettle housewarming gift, mkay?
Jim, don't jump on the couch, ok?
Jim's got himself a man
Brokeback and McGreevey, Perfect Together
Also: Smile, Jim
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Top Ten Rules About Road Trip with Ms. K:
10. Mr. R on speed dial.
9. Sadly, only vegetables for in-car snacks.
8. Grits...whenever, wherever.
7. Roadhouse stops for dart hustling.
6. No spontaneous rock climbing.
5. English trumps Math.
4. Don't be totally against the word "plan".
3. No Deliverance jokes. Just don't even.
2. If there is a tie hung over the front seat/back seat divider, do not disturb.
1. Always wear something revealing, whether the revealed be biceps or breasts.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Back to yearbook camp, Mr. Runyon
It is these lengthy writings -- a full yearbook page (not merely an 8.5x11 sheet of paper) for each student -- that draw much of my joy and a lot more of my ire. I will admit, most of my joy comes at the expense of others. But some of it also happens to come when a seemingly nice kid thanks his parents, says a few other nice words and ends it without making it seem as if he or she is authoring an autobiographical obituary at the age of 17. I also feel great joy when the Kettle gets a shout out.
I've hinted where most of my anger comes from. Yep, its those full page, 9 million word essays on life that these high school seniors seem to think are necessary and appropriate. I don't mind the sappy thanks to mom and dad and little sis and to some friends who they have shared their entire school career with thus far. I can even stomach (sometimes) the ridiculous comments from fake blondes about how they promise to stay in touch with 37 of their closest friends forever, giving each top billing on their cell phone speed dial for life. We all know that post-high school, you drop 97.9% of the people you knew then for various reasons (of which I won't discuss). But what I can't handle at all, not even for a minute, not even at all, are the long disserations on how special and significant every person, from mom and dad to the employees at McDonalds who spend countless hours making Egg McMuffins, is and how those people touched your life, mentored you, showed you how to be a good vegetarian and taught you the meaning of life form home and even places as far away as New Haven. COME ON, Sponge! You're 17. You don't have that much to write, you haven't experienced enough to make it worthwhile and all you've done is put into words the exact reason why most people didn't really like you all that much.
So, in an effort to curb my yearbook hostility, I propose that each student be given not more than half of one yearbook page -- still way more than necessary -- to say what they want to say. If someone will please make this motion at Yearbook Camp, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Oh, and a lesson to all yearbook advisors, nix all the Hitler quotes:
Two high school seniors picked quotations from Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" to appear under their high school yearbook pictures, prompting an apology from school officials.
"It's our responsibility and we failed miserably," said Northport High School principal Irene McLaughlin. "The fact that the book went out in the form it did was a grave mistake on our part."
The quotes picked by Christopher Koulermos and Philip Compton, both 18, were attributed to Hitler in the yearbook. Koulermos' read "Strength lies not in defense, but in attack." Compton chose "The great masses of people ... will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one."
Compton's father, Steven, said Monday that his son meant no harm in picking the quote.
"I guess he didn't seriously consider the source; he was more interested in the quote," he said. "He's a child."
McLaughlin and superintendent William Brosnan said the yearbook's student staff and its adviser, teacher Robert Runyan, saw the quotations before they were published.
Brosnan said that while the school district has no formal policy for reviewing quotations from seniors, common sense dictated that the Hitler quotes should have been run by administrators before they were published.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Scenes From a High School Prom
How did I come to this serendipitous, yet paradoxical, epiphany? A little thing known as the Senior Prom!!!
I should further confess, however, that as an educator, there are many days at school, where my main motivation for being there and doing the things I do, is solely to try and correct the disaster that was known as The Kettle: The High School Years. I think it is an entirely fair comparison to say I was Brian Krakow, from My So-Called Life, except I went to an all-boys high school and Brian Krakow probably spoke even more than I did in high school. So I surprisingly have been doing well in my quest "to put right what once went wrong" (Quantum Leap, anyone?), and we can now cross off my list of regrets Senior Prom 1995. Two highlights from my actual prom: my reluctant date and I sat at the table of rejects, those who never found a spot at any other table, so the 6 of us sat at one half of some table... and my date had an older brother who was friends with one of the younger teachers/chaperones, who was a huge tool, but she and I spent approximately 65% of the prom only talking to him.
Anyway, what made my recent prom so fun? Well for starters, I was able to sit at a complete table, go figure, and all the tool chaperones were at another table, so I didn't have to talk to them all night. Moreover, Ms. K (half-Korean, Math teach, buxom) was a spectacularly fun date, and she and I battled Ms. N (short, English teach) and Mr. Sheff (disheveled, oddly rosey-cheeked, Spanish teach) and Ms. SJ (vampy dance teach) and Mr. S (smarmy Athletic D) for the unofficial prom king and queen. We won hands down. All of us had an odd little dance party going on, where we never actually made it to the dance floor, because that would have been weird, but instead, we busted out in the free space around our delinquent chaperone table. Trust me when I say, it really wasn't that weird. Frontloading on champagne helped, too!
Rest assured, the night did NOT end with any de-virginating. Ms. K and I were without a strap-on...Kidding! Who wrote that???
So, that was my shining night of glitz and glamour and semi-popularity. And at midnight I turned back into a pumpkin.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
A long lost Bayside Beauty
Still, some celebrities can be crazy fun. So I am devoting this to a wayward celebrity who has unfortunately fallen off the map of fame. Lark Voorhies, better known to us as fashion-obsessing, buddy-band sewing, Screech-hating, acerbic wit throwing Lisa Turtle from Saved by the Bell, has finally (FINALLY!) resurfaced. And can I say, it’s about freakin’ time!?!?!?!? Why did Lisa make the news? Unfortunately, she isn’t being cast in a new CW sitcom, she hasn’t posed for Playboy, she isn’t hosting a Project Runway reality show rip-off, she didn’t give birth to a daughter she is naming Turtle. She isn’t even going on record for saying she will never participate in any more Saved By the Bell reunions, if God Forbid, they are in the proverbial works.
No, good old Lisa had to come out of acting retirement to defend herself against allegations of cocaine addiction. I refuse to believe it. But I also refuse to believe that these allegations have cost her numerous acting roles. Her career ended when gal-pal Tori randomly replace Kelly and Jesse, and then left with as little explanation as was given when she arrived.
So anyway, mull this over. But don’t spread the rumors because it is hurting her feelings, k? This coming from the girl who said:
Screech: You girls are lucky; wait 'til you see me in a wet t-shirt.
Lisa: Only if it involves you drowning.
Funner Lisa quotes include:
Lisa: If you don't get rid of Linda, I'm gonna throw her out the winda.
Lisa: Girl, if I were Leslie I woulda slapped you until my hand hurt, and then I woulda slapped you for making it hurt.
Can we please applaud early Saturday morning NBC TV for giving us such a strong black teenage diva clearly well before her time???
Monday, June 05, 2006
Roland Garros, Part Deux. Mistakes Were Made
1. Maria Sharapova losing 7-5 in the third set, when she was up 5-1 to Dinara Safina. Surprisingly though, I accurately foresaw Safina's victory over Sharapovs last week. Remember when Safina's hottie older bro Marat dropped his shorts at the French a couple years ago? It was heaven.
2. Amelie Mauresmo, who I chose to make it to the final. Again, I was going with my heart. This should have a no brainer that she would crumble. One day someone will write a psychology text book about this flaky lesbian. Seriously.
3. 2004 surprise champ Anastasia Myskina lost the first set to JHH in 25 minutes. This one-Slam-wonder should have just asked for a do-over.
Ok, so we are left with the following quarterfinal match-ups:
1. Venus (11) vs. Nicole Vaidisova (16)
2. Safina (14) vs. Kuznetsova (8)
3. JHH (5) vs. Anna-Lena Groenefeld (13)
4. Hingis (12) vs. Clijsters (2)
I got 4 out of the 8, by the way, for all you score-keepers!
All of a sudden I am pulling for a Venus/Hingis final. We can all pretend it's 1998! And Venus can put her beads back in! Holla if you're with me! Sorry, I thought I would give that a try.
1. Venus vs. Vaidisova. Lately, Venus has fallen in the early stages of a slam due to sloppy play, but you can never rule her out at all, especially the further into a slam you get. She will pummel the inexperienced 16 year old in this quarter, and due to sheer athleticism, I like her to get to the final.
2. Safina vs. Kuznetsova. I am sticking with my original guns and going with Safina as the surprise semi-finalist of the tourney. Kutzy can be feisty, but fickle, and Safina is coming into her own.
3. JHH vs. Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who will only be memorable for having the worst name ever. JHH in about 37 minutes, annoyingly.
4. Hingis vs. Clijsters. The best quarter-final by far and the only to go 3 sets. Neither has dropped a set, and Clijsters has the power here, but for some reason I feel like the stars are just aligning for Hingis this year. And every newspaper in the world may will her to a win here. I am shakily going with Hingy.
Venus v. Safina
JHH v. Hingis
Venus will eek out a victory over Safina, in two tough sets.
JHH annoyingly will do the same to Hingis.
Venus vs. JHH
The entire world will be praying for Venus to literally sweep up the court with this Belgian bi-atch. I think she can do it. She clearly has the power to blow her off the court. Let's tighten up those errors though, V so I dont kill myself while I am watching early next Sunday morning. I could easily be wrong, but I will never ever choose JHH to win anything anyway.
And the men?
For some reason I am thinking Federer may be able to get the victory from Nadal here.
Obvious Nadal sidebar: Could Rafa, from the neck down, be any hotter? And the tight pants and sleeveless shirt.....a) yum b) i love that he is just throwing it in your face. Well done.
Lastly, despite Amelie's shaky play, let's give credit where credit is due, her body is awesome.
Look at you, you have a baby . . . In a bar
A Cape Cod infant was taken for a wild ride this weekend after her mom partied all night, placed the 4-month-old girl in a car seat at 4 a.m. and eventually slammed the car into a curb, police say.
Yarmouth police say Devon Lee Hammond, 21, of Brewster, was driving drunk on Route 28 at yesterday when her Subaru sedan suddenly swerved, hit a curb and blew out a tire.
The new mom reeked of booze and kicked, screamed and spat on officers when they tried to arrest her, police said.
All the while, Hammond’s infant girl was covered with a blanket and asleep in a back-seat car seat. The Department of Social Services was notified and the agency placed the newborn with an adult family member.
Obviously forgetting the cardinal rule of not kicking and spitting at police officers when they pull you over, not to mention that you shouldn't take an infant to a bar, drunken parties or pretty much any other place until 4:00a.m., Devon seems destined for Not-So-Smart-Classiest-Mom-Of-The-Year Award.
She did one-up Britney, though. At least Devon put her kid in a car seat.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Kerry and the Bee
Even more appropriate is that this year's winner, 13-year old Kerry Close is not only from New Jersey, but from the Irish Riviera town of Spring Lake. The Jersey Shore!
Ursprache was the winning word, meaning "a parent language, especially one reconstructed from the evidence of later languages."
Yeah, ok. I'll remember that.
Some other words that Kerry correctly spelled: "recrementitious," "psittacism," "aubade," "kanone," "izzat," "tmesis" and "kundalini." Kettle, know any of these, smart guy?
And the word that did in Kerry's final competitor: "weltschmerz," which means sadness over the evils of the world. That's a white word if I've ever heard one.
Congratualtions Kerry! A Jersey girl done good.
And if you haven't seen Akeelah and the Bee, get to the theaters now! Just don't see it at Security Square.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Honey, that shirt is heaven on you
Karen: Lay on your back, point your heels to Jesus, and think of handbags.
Good stuff, as well as this paragraph from the recent Onion article, "Series Finale Of Will & Grace Ends Eight-Year Truce Between Gay, Straight Communities"
Ok, I feel a little better. Thanks Nads.
"Will & Grace opened up the lines of pithy, innuendo-laden dialogue between gay and straight America," said Tom Harris, a freelance writer for The Advocate. "But since it ended, straight men have been far less apt to engage in tartly witty, rapid-fire exchanges with me, and are far more likely just to call me 'faggot.'"