Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Apparently, all the penis references you can make about Randy Johnson's name and nickname are true.

The Big Unit is suing the mother of his 16-year-old daughter for $71,000 in day-care payments and $26,000 in interest because the girl was too old to be in day care, according to legal papers. Johnson and the mother, Laurel Roszell, were in a relationship when she became pregnant, but the two split up.

Now, before everyone starts jumping to unwarranted conclusions, here are a few facts to consider:

* At the time of the daughter's birth, Johnson was earning $70,000 a season pitching for the Montreal Expos.
* Roszell was employed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, although in what position is not known.
* Johnson has been paying $5,000 per month in child support since the girl was six, along with $750 per month in day-care expenses.

Summing these parts up, I think it's fair to say Roszell was not out on the prowl looking to land a meal ticket. There was a relationship, it ended, she had Johnson's daughter and he paid child support, or at least started paying child support in 1997 or so.

Not long ago, Roszell asked Johnson to buy a truck and a computer for the daughter and pony up some cash for her studies at a community college. Johnson declined, and then filed the lawsuit claiming he was due back his payments for child care plus the interest.

I'm sure this looks terrible, especially when you consider that Johnson will pull in $17M in salary alone this season. However, I believe any father has the right to say no to such a request, no matter how rich he is. $5,000 a month for child support is some pretty big cake, certainly enough for Roszell to make the daughter comfortable.

I also don't believe child support should be on a sliding scale. The father (or mother -- I'm just going to say father because it's less confusing here) should be willing to share with the child, but if he isn't, that's not a matter for the courts so long as he's living up to the original agreement.

However, Johnson filed the lawsuit shortly after the request for the extras was made. He's asking for the interest back on the payments. That's a Big Unit move. I can't believe Johnson started making payments when the girl was six and this never crossed his mind before? Seems like a retroactive vindictive shot at the family for asking for the extra stuff.

Here's the kicker, though -- Johnson has seen his daughter once in 16 years. She said he didn't answer letters, but instead just send signed baseball cards. Maybe his people just thought it was fan mail, but it's no excuse. I don't care how screwed up your relationship is with the mother -- you do right by the child.

Of course, this will degenerate into a battle over women's rights and a man's responsibility to a child in which he had no interest. Perhaps it should.

But it should also make every fan of the Big Unit wonder whether this man should be treated as a hero. In at least one young girl's heart, Johnson's already struck out.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Just an update for those wondering -- Mackenzie Jane and mother are both doing fine. MJ has found her voice and has been a little squawky at times, but she's mostly good-natured and pleasant. She's so quiet, in fact, that sometimes I'm glad to hear her cry a little -- just not at 4 a.m.

The fun part has been watching Cabot adjust. He'll be five soon and the universe has revolved around him in both his mother's house and his father's house, I think. Now, he has one sister in our house and another in his dad's. That's a tough lump to swallow, I would imagine -- suddenly having an attention drop of at least 50% in both places. I know I'd be pissy, at least.

We've been very lucky, though. Cabot, after a pouty and crabby first few days, has responded like a trooper. He's been extremely affectionate with his new little sister, and I think he understands that Mackenzie's going to require an extraordinary amount of care.

I'm also lucky enough that I now can take two consecutive days off from the store (Sunday and Monday) and spend much of them with the family. The two of us hit Chuck E. Cheese yesterday and had a blast. Cabot has his eye on a huge pirate ship, and he's patiently saving up for it. Unfortunately, I stink at winning those stupid tickets, so I suspect it will be a good 20-30 trips before he gets to take it home. Anyone with any tips can certainly feel free to drop them here.

We also walked the behemoth that is Vaughn Mills. I was saddened to see Unique Games is closing up. Anyone in the area should stop in, as everything is 50% off right now. Yhey have some exceptionally nice chess sets (which I believe are discounted even more deeply) and a ton of interesting board games.

Cabot and I received balloon swords and had a couple of minor skirmishes in the hallway before hitting the Disney store. When is someone going to make Incredibles underwear in my size? I mean, here the boy gets a six-pack of these brightly-coloured drawers, and I get nothing. It's a conspiracy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

News N' Notes from around the sports world:

* The University of Tennessee's Candice Parker became the first woman to dunk in the NCAA Tournament, flushing a pair in the Lady Vols' win over Army. New York Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas is apparently interested in Parker, saying she had "great leaping ability and a sweet ass."
* The Toronto Argonauts signed former South African rugby player Jaco Booyens as a punter/placekicker. This isn't a move to push incumbent Noel Prefontaine, but rather an attempt to get ESPN Sportscenter's Stuart Scott to use CFL highlights. How can he pass up the chance to scream, "Last-second field goal ... BOOYENS!"
* U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has apparently withdrawn her name from the running to replace retiring NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Dick Cheney, however, remains the favorite to take over the presidency of the National Shoot-A-Buddy-In-The-Face Society.
* Washington Nationals second baseman Alfonso Soriano has finally agreed to a move to the outfield after clarifying his concerns. Soriano will play left field in every park except PacBell, where he said he fears being stuck by discarded syringes.
* The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon that former Oriole and three-time DUI loser Sidney Ponson had won the final spot in the rotation this season. Perhaps not surprisingly, Ponson is penciled in as the fifth starter.
* Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper said he did not get a lap dance from women aboard the infamous "Love Boat" cruise last October. Culpepper said he was busy playing craps with teammates during the outing, but prosecutors say they doubt the claim, as with as badly as Culpepper played last season, the dice would have surely ended up in the lake.
* Former MLB superstar Dwight Gooden admitted in court that he had recently used cociane in violation of his probation. Gooden could get up to five years in prison, but the judge has already thrown out the prosecution's suggested punishment of listening to a tandem of Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver analyzing a spring-training game as "cruel and unusual punishment."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Thanks to my buddies over at Sportsfilter -- only the bestest sports site on the intarweb -- for the kind words on the arrival of Canada's next curling sensation.

This, from our friend Samsonov14, was the best, though:

Fraze, I just sort of skimmed the thread, and I was pretty sure your pic was a first-person view of a cyborg throttling a tiny eskimo. I was relieved when I learned that this was not the case. The real story made me happy for you (and also tiny eskimos, bless their little icy hearts).

Congrats, dude!

It's nice to know really smart and funny people.

By the way, the nurse who checked out Mac on our way home referred her bowel movements as "peeing and dirting." That might be the funniest emphemism I've ever heard. I hope somehow I can make it catch on -- "I was so scared I dirted my pants!"

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Have to give some props to Howie Mandel. He's brilliant on "Deal or No Deal", funny and charming enough to get me to watch on a semi-regular basis. I can't say the same about his pitching for Boston Pizza, though ... I'm always afraid I'm going to go in for a sub and find him pantsless at the bar.

I had a thought on how to improve the game. How about this for the next round of contestants:

One of the 26 cases contains not only a monetary amount, but also a coin. One side of the coin says "DOUBLE" while the other says "HALF".

When the case is chosen, the model walks down to the stage and hands the coin to Howie, who then places it on the table next to the deal or no deal button and explains its possible use.

The player can choose to employ the coin at any time after completing a round of picking cases, but must declare the intention to do so before Howie reveals the banker's offer, i.e. the banker calls down the offer to Howie, who then asks, "Use the coin?" If the contestant chooses to do so, Howie reveals the number and the contestant then flips the coin and receives either half or double the offer.

It sounds complicated, but it's not. What it does is force some thought into those first two rounds of choices. Right now, every contestant just bypasses those almost immediately, as the possibility of a big score is still too tempting.

But giving that contestant a reason to think about doubling a possible $45,000 offer to $90,000 when there aren't that many big values left would make the game much more dramatic, and hell, the coin flip would be cool also. Plus, you get to have a model walk down and chat with Howie, which can't hurt.

NBC, please feel free to send my royalty check to me in American funds.

If this post is rife with typos and/or grammatical errors, forgive me -- Michelle and I had our first child together last night. Mackenzie Jane Frazer was born at 10:17 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day, dooming her to a lifetime of lousy green beer and bad corned beef and cabbage on her birthday.

My wife was an absolute trooper, fighting through a full day of labor after being induced. Michelle also suffered through four hours of extra pain due to a nurse jarring loose the needle for her epidural, something she handled with far more grace than I (although her anger may have been tempered by the nitrous with which she was dosing herself).

Maczenzie and Mom are fine this afternoon, resting comfortably and working on latching, whjich apparently happened for the first time just a short while ago. I'm at the store, struggling to stay awake and grinning like a cat locked in a fish market -- the whole experience was amazing.

I'll post one picture here, and the link to see Mackenzie's rookie photos right here. More will be added early next week.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Congrats to Toronto's Paul Haggis on his triumph on Oscar Night. I'm hoping the headlines will read:


Thursday, March 02, 2006

I just stumbled across interesting piece of progress -- a time clock which uses visual recognition software to register employees entering and leaving the work floor.

Leave it to the Japanese to be at the cutting edge of facial technology.