Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pretty Much What Meets the Eye

Endurance finally paid off, and Netflix delivered Transformers this afternoon. This DVD is probably the best argument I've had for buying a plasma TV--my (very nice) laptop screen just didn't do it justice. The F/X were great--if Lucas had these tools back in the 70's...but I digress.

I absolutely understand all the great press LaBeouf got over the summer. Kid's good. Real good. (not that I'm going to run out and get the Even Stevens DVDs or anything. Didn't think any of the other performances were really stand out--pretty solid work throughout (no stinkers that I recall).

The catchphrase: "No sacrifice, no victory," isn't quite as catchy as "With great power comes great responsibility," but it works.

It's a fun action flick--nothing more, nothing less. Thankfully, that's all it sets out to be. Some laughs, some tension, lots of explosions, wicked cool robots. Worth watching if you like that kind of thing.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tomorrow on TV

One thing the last few years have taught us is how vital comedy shows are to the political process. Which I think says a lot about our process...

ANYway...Ron Paul is going to be on the Tonight Show tomorrow, 10/30. So check your senses of humor at the door, and tune in!

Hope Dr. Paul's message gets out just a little further.

and because I'm not sure I've put the link up enough lately: http://www.ronpaul2008.com; http://www.ronpaul2008.com; http://www.ronpaul2008.com; and http://www.ronpaul2008.com!

File this under "Z" for Quite Odd

While on hold today, I clicked on that link to your lower right that says "» Blogs that link here" and it pulled up the usual suspects--#prosapologian folks, the Real Life friend or two that still remembers my name...--and a something in German.

That, naturally, got my attention, (it was also the top entry). So I click on over. It takes me a couple of minutes to figure out what's going on, but I couldn't figure out why. This blog had taken my post about the last field trip, translated it into German and posted it there.


One of my smarter-than-me friends explained it thusly: "its like some aggregator blog...pulling "excursion" and "travel" or something." And "a 'travel blog' in German...basically a clearing house for 'travel related' blog posts and screaming ads for pills."

Am not quite sure why anyone thinks that reading about my kids and a helicopter is going to make anyone want to buy Ciallis or Valium...but hey, more power to 'em, I guess.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thought for the Lord's Day #13

it is not necessary for me to be rich, but it is necessary for me to make my peace with God; it s not necessary that I should live a pleasurable life in this world, but it is absolutely necessary that I should have pardon of my sin; it is not necessary that I should have honor and preferment, but it is necessary that I should have God as my portion, and have my part in Jesus Christ, it is necessary that my soul should be saved in the day of Jesus Christ. The other things are pretty fine indeed, and I should be glad if God would give me them, a fine house, and income, and clothes, and advancement for my wife and children: these are comfortable things, but they are not the necessary things; I may have these and yet perish for ever, but the other is absolutely necessary.
- Jeremiah Burroughs

Thought for the Lord's Day #12

For a day in your courts is better
   than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
   than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
   the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
   from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
   blessed is the one who trusts in you!
- Psalm 84:10-12

Friday, October 26, 2007

Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me. . .

Battlestar Galactica has pushed back it's final season to start in April rather than January.

Now, it's better than the geologic age that Sopranos fans had to endure between seasons, I realize. And it's almost guaranteed to be worth the wait. But that extra wait time...that's longer than a season for some USANetwork shows.

Maybe there's a support group I can join . . .

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I can't do this all on my own

and thankfully, I don't have to, with people like my favorite critic Alan Sepinwall on the job and writing about my favorite comedy (and the genesis of my non-gay Zach Braff crush). His column about the Scrubs' premier tonight is so right that it's scary.

Because it debuted in the waning days of NBC's comedy empire (even briefly airing after "Friends," but so irregularly that it didn't help build an audience), overlapped with several other laugh track-free comedies that got bigger ratings and/or more award show love ("Malcolm in the Middle," "Arrested Development"), and comes to the end of its run with so many other shows having cribbed from it, "Scrubs" never got and probably never will get the credit it deserves. But at its best, it was as funny as any other comedy on television, as moving as any drama.

But even better is the Top 10 Scrubs episodes side-bar, complete with youtube links. Yeah, I wasted a good part of my morning watching these (and other linked videos).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Close Call

Few weeks back, Samwise gave his brother a Sea-Monkey Ocean Zoo for his birthday. Frodo's done much better with his Sea-Monkeys than I ever hoped to 20+ years ago. We've got quite the little colony of 'em going now--prolific little critters.

Couple days back, Frodo, TLomL and I are peeking in, and see a couple of them...um...being prolific. Reflexively, I start to worry. THAT question is just seconds away. What am I gonna say? Why haven't I gone to bed yet? It's after dinner, need to be sleeping...work's only a few hours away...

Thankfully, there's no need to fear. Frodo's uptightness saves me. The Sea-Monkeys came with a healthy dose of documentation--lots of tiny print, in red ink I believe. And Frodo loves instructions, warnings, whatever sort of documentation that comes with this toys, games, etc. Whether it be a FurReal pet, a MiltonBradley game, or the stupid little wind-up thing from a Burger King Kids Meal--he'll know it the way that I knew the liner notes to "Even Worse" in 1988. I swear, there are times he enjoys carrying around and reading the instructions to something more than the thing itself.

How's that help me? Well, somewhere in that tiny red print, it addresses the subject of reproduction and says "try to give them some privacy." So what's Frodo do? He quotes that to us (not really ordering us, merely letting the authority of the instructions weigh upon us) and turns and walks away, giving his little shrimp all the privacy they need.


Dumbledore's Outing

I'm assuming by now you've all heard that J. K. Rowling outed Dumbledore in Australia last week. Now obviously, I'm not going to be excited by this--but I'm not going to use this an excuse to rant about the morality of a fictional character. One of the strengths of the series was that every character was flawed, they all did heroic things (well, except You Know Who and some of his cohort), and they all acted foolishly and immorally. Dumbledore was no exception to this at all. So adding one more sin to his list really doesn't affect what I think of him.

And that's what bothers me the most about what Rowling did--it doesn't really add to, or detract from, the character. There's one attraction in his youth, apparently unrequited, which has really no affect whatsoever on the events in the series. So was this just Rowling needing to get her name in the headlines again? (not sure I buy that) Her trying to make some sort of political statement? (eh, maybe). I'm not sure, it seems so purposeless, senseless to do this.

Now, is Deckard a Replicant or not? That makes a difference. Is Hobbes really alive or a stuffed toy? That makes a difference. This? I just don't see how it matters. No more than knowing what third-world country Fez is from.

Then John C. Wright weighs in on the issue, and helps me see another problem with her announcement (Fabio Paolo Barbieri's comments are great, as well). Potter fans, take a second or and read 'em.

H/T: Thanks, bluewoad for catching the typo.

I'm half crazy all for the love of you....

Some good TV news...Pushing Daisies gets a full season pickup! The Newton Kiss of Death fails again! (this could mean bad things for Chuck or The Reaper...gulp)

hey, while I'm talking about Daisies, anyone know what the deal is with Bryan Fuller and girls with guys' names? Dead Like Me had George, Daisies has Chuck (never watched Wonderfalls so I don't know if he did it there). I'm just curious....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Okay, it's not the Cute Tyke with a Bowl Haircut...

...but it's darn close.

John Francis Daley joins the Bones cast tonight as a...couples counselor? Just what every forensic anthropologist and her FBI partner needs. Starting tonight with a 4-part arc that's going to become a recurring role, Daley's Dr. Lance Sweets, is apparently going to get the two leads to open up to each other.

I've got nothing against Daley--loved him in Freaks and Geeks, he was decent in Waiting. I liked the little shrink arc they did last year with Booth and Stephen Fry. But this is...pointless.

Bones has never been the best show on TV--or even on FOX--but it's been a solid, entertaining, show that brings me back week after week (heck, I even bought Max Allan Collins' tie-in novel--and would buy more). But this leaves me wondering if I'm seeing Booth shopping for waterskis next to those shark-infested waters.


"Lazy Sunday," this ain't. (Chronic(what?)cles of Narnia!) But, if you're jonesing for an Andy Samberg/Chris Parnell type joint, this'll do quite nicely.

hmmm, gotta see if I can get tiredofXX to do a John Owen rap with me...

(H/T: Reformed Chicks Blabbing)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Field Trip

I was waiting to download the pictures of this field trip before I blogged about it, sadly, all the pictures were blurry, of only a slice of someone's face, or both. So, I'll just write a little bit about it.

Friday, our field trip group went to check out Air St. Luke's, one of the local airborne medical transport companies. This was a great field trip. The staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming (which is pretty great considering more than a few were in the middle of a 24 hr shift). Gave us a pretty casual, but informative, tour of their facilities and one of their helicopters. The kids were able to crawl into the patient compartment, where an EMT talked to them about what happened there; and then the pilot showed them around the cockpit (each kid got to sit in the pilot seat for a few minutes). And unlike other field trips we've been on--no one seemed concerned the kids would break anything (considering we're talking a $7 million aircraft, that's pretty impressive). Then, on a whim, they took them over to the ambulance and another EMT talked them through that. All the kids had a blast--which was good considering the gray, cloudy, almost rainy mid-50's morning it was.

While the kids were checking out the helicopter, the other pilot called me over and asked me if I wanted to look at the engine. I have no idea why this happens to me (okay, not true, I know exactly why--I'm generally the only man in the group). Last year at the PBS station, the engineers called me over to look at a control panel none of the other parents/kids saw. This time it was the engine (looks smaller and wimpier than my wife's Mercury Villager's--which just made it all the more impressive, IMHO). While he was showing me the bonus stuff we were able to talk about homeschooling--the pilot's moving soon and there aren't any private school options like he enjoys where he is--challenges, benefits, regulations, etc. So we were both able to get something out of the day (I hope I helped him anyway).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Thought for the Lord's Day #11

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
To God the Father, God the Son,
   And God the Spirit, three in one,
Be honour, praise, and glory given,
   By all on earth, and all in heaven.

Now the the Father, and the Son,
   And Spirit be adored,
Where there are works to make him known,
   Or saints to love the Lord.

Give to the Father praise,
   Give glory to the Son,
And to the Spirit of his grace
   Be equal honour done.
- Isaac Watts

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fall TV '07

We're 3 or 4 weeks into the new TV season, and I haven't uttered a word about it yet. I know you're all wondering what's up with that. Never fear, here's my run-down of this year's crop (minus Scrubs which has yet to air).

I know some of you will think that's a lot of TV I'm watching. Let me remind you, I put in a lot of hours in the middle of the night with nothing to do but read and watch TV. I can only check out so many books at a time, not much else to do.

So, on with the TV thoughts...first the returnees, then the rookies:

How I Met Your Mother - okay, the first two episodes were among the flattest this show has ever had. But they were necessary to move the story beyond last year's finale. Am hoping and trusting that things'll pick up quickly. If nothing else, I'm keeping an eye on the countdown (as is Barney).

Smallville - haven't watched an episode yet this year, but am hearing good things. Need to get back on track...(tho last year, didn't watch an episode 'til Christmas, so am still ahead of that)

House, MD - to be perfectly honest, I'd have been content for this to stay in it's nice little formula most of the time like it has in the past. That said, I'm really glad they shook things up--for a little while at least, am sure the status will be quo'd again soon. Yeah, the whole "reality show" thing is annoying and far-fetched in theory, but in practice, it's pretty funny. And it's not like we watch House for realism...

Bones - Hey, it's Bones. What can ya say? Little tired of the whole search for Angela's husband story, but figure it's going somewhere. Everything else is jake with me. Glad to see they've got the Federal Prosecutor from Louisiana in a more regular role--just love her reaction shots (even if the character doesn't add much if anything). One note in particular--okay, I know somewhere there's a law that your police procedural has to do at least one episode dealing with a murder involving fetishists, featuring tough cop being weirded out by it, so I can live with the third episode of this year--but wow, that's a straaaaaange one to use. The whole thing is worth it to have Booth describe what love is at the end of the episode. That little speech is a keeper, right up there with House's "no death with dignity" speech from the pilot, Rory's valedictorian speech, the tribute to Buffy that went with the presentation of the umbrella to her at prom, etc.

Back to You - frequently called the savior of/return of the traditional, one-camera sit-com. Um...what about How I Met Your Mother? Not the best sitcom on the air, but it makes me chuckle. The young producer character is funny, even if he's basically just a fat Miles Silverberg. Fred Willard is, well, Fred Willard. Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton (how did two of the most outspoken Republicans in Hollywood end up on a sitcom together on FOX?!?!?) are real pros...pleasure to see them work. The show has a lot of promise.

Chuck/The Reaper - my current favorite 2 hours of TV each week. Let me quote Alan Sepinwall to describe the show/shows (?):

Meet Sam. Sam is in his 20s, an underachieving college drop-out who works at a big- box store and lives with his parents. One day, through the actions of his folks, he develops superhuman powers he doesn't want and has to moonlight for Satan or face eternal damnation.

Now meet Chuck. Chuck is in his 20s, an underachieving college drop-out who works at a big-box store and lives with his sister. One day, through the actions of his ex-roommate, he develops superhuman powers he doesn't want and has to moonlight for the U.S. government or face a quick execution.

Yup, a new TV season is upon us, and that means it's time for the annual case of double vision. [click here to read the rest of this column
It's tough to say which of these is the better show, overall they're pretty evenly matched. I think Reaper is better with the comedy (barely), Chuck is better with the characters (barely)--I'm pulling more for Chuck to get the girl than I am Sam to get his; Sam's loser friend is better than Chuck's (barely); Chuck's family is more interesting; Reaper has Ray Wise (a perfectly witty, charming, and seductive Devil); Chuck has Adam Baldwin. Frankly, it's a toss-up, and thankfully, I don't have to pick between the two. Hope they both keep it going like they have been.

Bionic Woman - I haven't given up hope on this yet, but it's not what I (or probably most people, esp. NBC executives) had hoped it would be. Best thing about the show is Kara Thrace Starbuck Katee Sackhoff--hopefully this shows producers in the future that she has versatility as well as acting chops and she can get other gigs once Battlestar is done with w/o being typecast.

Pushing Daisies - And here I give this the kiss of death: I Love This Show! I'll watch just about anything with Chi McBride in it--thankfully he's generally attached to things worth watching. This show has charm, it has style, it has pizazz, it has a really cool narrator. Kristen Chenowith is a peach (her performance of "Hopelessly Devoted to You" was great...didn't know whether to laugh or sigh). I know nothing about the two leads, but am enjoying them so far. Everything from the scripts to the look to the characters...I'm hooked, I love it, and fully expect it to be off the air by January.

Battlestar Galactica - oh where, oh where are you?


Finally got around to picking up Ken Jennings' book, Braniac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs at the library. Only made it through the first couple of chapters before I fell asleep tonight (the main book I'm reading at the moment, Nanny State, has been hijacked by TLomL). This promises to be a very fun read--best first chapter I've read in ages.

Got a hankerin' to start watching Jeopardy! again for some reason...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bring Back, Mo!

here's an online cause I can get behind:

I stand by what I said a couple of years ago, the man's the best, he needs to end his career with the best.

Song of Solomon for Literalists

Was talking to a friend this morning who's reading through Song of Solomon/Songs for a OT Survey class about some of the tropes used to describe the woman, and how there are some things that just don't translate from culture to culture.

During that convo, I remembered a photocopy that was passed out during a lecture on the poetic books by Rev. David Bass--thankfully, was able to find the image pretty quickly online. It's worth a smile or two if you have the time: The Song of Solomon Illustrated (For our literalist friends)

(yeah, I know, seem to be throwing up a lot of little posts this morning...kids are doing their work, washing machine is churning, dryer is drying, dishwasher is washing...not like I'm being 100% lazy...)

Phew! It's over

Fall Ball wrapped up Saturday--think last year was a longer season, but I'm not sure. And frankly, I don't care. Last year was a great year to be playing baseball--warm, sunny days. This year we contended with rain, wind, chilly temps, downright cold temps--more than one game was played in the lower 60's--not exactly weather conducive for young guys to work on fundamentals.

Another drawback to this year--neither team really had anyone who could pitch (there's only enough players for two teams to play). By the end of the year there were some guys who showed promise, but still no good arms. So you had a lot of walks, a lot of swings on bad pitches.

But--Frodo and Sam ended up on the same team with the son of one of the High School baseball coaches, who ended up coaching their team--occasionally assisted by some of his players. That was great. Some great instruction. Hope some of it stuck.

And hey, they had fun, so hard to complain about that.

But it's over now. We have our Saturday's back (no more 2.5 hr games following 45 min. of warm-up), we have our weekdays back (at least 2 more days a week I can get a little more sleep). Now we just have to find something to keep these guys occupied :)

Things that make you go 'duh'

Saw this headline on my iGoogle page this morning:

Craig interview: Senator says he made 'a very big mistake'
Haven't read the interview (doubt I'll waste my time), but that's a pretty major understatement there, don't ya think?

Monday Morning Crack-Up (And You Can, Too!)

Stephen Colbert took over Maureen Dowd's space yesterday. The results were...hilarious, with a capital "HI"

After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up. [Oh, so he's dispensational...]

winning the Nobel Prize does not automatically qualify you to be commander in chief. I think George Bush has proved definitively that to be president, you don’t need to care about science, literature or peace.

Almost bought his book Friday, am now really kicking myself for not doing so...

Thanks, Jules, for this...really needed the laughs this morning.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Thought for the Lord's Day #10

Jehovah who created all things is equal to every emergency; heaven and earth are at the disposal of him who made them, therefore let us be very joyful in our infinite helper. He will sooner destroy heaven and earth than permit his people to be destroyed, and the perpetual hills themselves shall bow rather than he shall fail whose ways are everlasting. We are bound to look beyond heaven and earth to him who made them both: it is vain to trust the creatures: it is wise to trust the Creator.
- Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An oldie but a goodie...

One of those rare e-mail forwards that's worth the time. But since I don't have all of your addresses (and I hate doing bulk forwards) I'll just post it here:

by Frank L. Visco

My several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:

1... Avoid alliteration. Always.

2... Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3... Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat.)

4... Employ the vernacular.

5... Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

6... Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

7... It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

8... Contractions aren't necessary

9... Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

10.. One should never generalize.

11.. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

12.. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

13.. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

14.. Profanity sucks.

15.. Be more or less specific.

16.. Understatement is always best.

17.. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

18.. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

19.. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

20.. The passive voice is to be avoided.

21.. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

22.. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

23.. Who needs rhetorical questions?

(yeah, yeah, I was too tired to finish one of the in-works posts but wanted to get something new up...)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

October Giveaway...

Challies' giveaways are never anything to sneeze at, but this month's takes the cake. Do yourself a favor and enter now.

Do me a favor and enter by clicking below (cuz then I get another entry) :)

October Giveaway

Tip of the Day

Don't try to write a nice inscription on a gift book, say...a Bible, while answering a question from an inquisitive first grader. The results can be quite unfortunate.

Heading into our Twelfth Lap...

We celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary last Friday. This year's was obviously much more celebratory than most, since we really didn't expect to see it. Solomon (who knew a thing or two about wives...other than when to stop collecting them) tells us that an excellent wife is far more precious than jewels (Prov. 31:10) and she is the crown of her husband (Prov. 12:4). He's (of course) absolutely right, and I'm very glad to say that God has given me more time with this particularly lovely piece of headgear.

When we first were married we had this little game we played (come to think of it, it might not have been a game, I just treated it like one) where she'd ask my why I loved her and I'd come up with a quip in response. Last year, for our tenth anniversary, I tried to come up with a list of reasons to give her a serious and honest answer to that question. It didn't take me too long to realize this was a pointless activity--everything I thought of about her was a reason I loved her, which meant the list was always growing.

Basically, to me, knowing TLoML and not loving her is like looking at the Grand Canyon and thinking "huh, big hole in the ground." It just seems impossible to not be struck with a sense of grandeur and awe when looking at that monument in Arizona, and it seems to me to be equally impossible to not love this woman. Not for this or that reason or trait (or flaw)...but because of who she is.

A few years back a sitcom character (who I won't name to save myself the grief) was faced with a choice between his current girlfriend and the girl he'd loved since high school. Because he's a sitcom character, he decides the thing to do is make a list of pros and cons of both women with his friends. He comes up with a list of cons for the girl from high school--some surface level, a couple potentially substantial. And then he comes up with exactly one con for the current g/f: she wasn't the other woman. Didn't matter what pros there were to her, she just wasn't the other one. That's pretty much how I've spent the last dozen years thinking of women...TLoML and everyone else. Frankly, the rest of 'em just don't measure up, and I feel a little sorry for the rest of the males out there who don't get to be with my gal (but not too sorry...).

I wish I could show her how much she means to me, but I'm just not smart enough to come up with enough ways. But I'll keep trying, hoping that I stumble into the right way one day...Lord willing, I have a few decades of attempts before us.

Here's last year's post from Oct. 5th, which says a lot of the same things I want to say today...

From the Father of lights you came
And I know I'll never be the same again
A beautiful gift has been given to me
Your smiling face is all I see

The look that's in your eyes
And your smile that sets me free
Has made me realize
All that you see in me

Most important day of my life. I entered into a blessed covenant with the most wonderful woman I've ever met, because God was gracious enough to bring us together. I'd do it, and everything since all over again. 'Cept this time with more laughs, more love, and a few different mistakes (not crazy enough to think I'd make less).

My best friend, my heart, my life, my soulmate...

I love you, dear. May be cliché, but love ya more now than then. More now today than yesterday. Here's to many more.

Together now and forever
You are the one
You are my everything
To me you bring
The love that I have waited for

Friday, October 05, 2007

On the need to keep up with one's friends

Has Jules been visiting the Pittsburgh area?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Win Ben Stein's Ire

How can we say there is justice in this world...

...when Rascal Flatts is allowed to cover "Revolution"?

That's right, Rascal Flatts--Country Music's answer to 'NSync is covering The Beatles. Heard this on the radio on the way in to work tonight, and naturally, had to listen to the whole blasted thing just to find out who the criminals responsible were. Somehow found the strength not to drive my van into a telephone pole.

If you have to hear the travesty yourself, click here and fast-forward to about 3:18 or so.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Your Zoology Moment of the Day

All Work and No Play, Makes Orca a Dull Whale

The above includes the line, "Like a dim-witted teenager in a bad horror flick..." since when do nature-shows have narration like this? You'd never hear Marlin Perkins utter that line while Jim Fowler played killer whale bait.

Cool birdy