Friday, December 28, 2007

Here we have Idaho, Winning Her Way to Fame . . .

was just sent the list of The 25 Dumbest Quotes of 2007, and am proud to note that Idaho's senior senator shows up 3, count 'em 3, times. Between Mr. Wide Stance and our state police academy we'll be lucky to end 2008 without being the first state to be ejected from the Union....

(I should add that the 25 Funniest Political Quotes are quite chuckle-worthy)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Absolute Worst Hair I've Ever Seen on a Televangelist

but the best one I've seen in content. ;)

Former mentor, and White Noise's first (and so far, only) guest blogger, Pastor Jason Wallace, has a new TV show. Here's episode 2.

Particularly appreciated the phone-in Q&A starting about halfway through...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Very Gotham Christmas...and a Terrorized New Year?

I somehow stumbled onto ItsJustSomeRandomGuy's youtube videos some months ago, and he's been crackin me up ever since--I never thought I'd enjoy watching someone play with toys (well, of course, other than Wash or Steven Banks [about 4:30 into this clip])'s enough to make me wish I'd starting filming my action figures than throwing them away.

Anyway, figured I had to post this:

And just as I was about to post this...I found this sure-to-be-a-classic video of Achmed the Dead Terrorist's Christmas caroling. If you want to see more of Achmed, click here. (both of these PG-13)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Seasonal Radio.Blog #3

Everyone has songs they just need to hear for it to be the holiday's most of mine (the rest were on #1 and #2)

  1. Winter Wonderland - John Jonethis Back on Turkey Day one of my aunts was talking about such and such Christmas album, how great it was because "it's not stylized". I was on my best behavior and didn't ask how you could have a style-free song, much less album. But I know what she means. Jonethis' Lounge Christmas CD is the closest thing we have in our library to a straight-forward "traditional" Christmas album. Only in our collection is a novelty record the most normal.

  2. Tennessee Christmas - Aleixa from the CD Christmas in Heaven, TLomL got me addicted to this one

  3. Come On Ring Those Bells- Phantasmic see above.

  4. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen am not a huge fan of The Boss, and have no idea what possessed him to record this--but just gotta have it.

  5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas- John Jonethis

  6. White Christmas- Robert Downey, Jr. and Vonda Shepard a perfect version of this Christmas classic (I'm not the only one who's asked this, but have yet to see a good answer--why are Jewish writers responsible for so much of the best Christmas music?)

  7. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)- Darlene Love Not sure why, but this is my favorite Christmas song, but am sure Love's annual performance on Letterman is part of it. I was tempted to throw 4 versions of this song on to this playlist, but decided to go for the best.

  8. Auld Lang Syne - BNL ...and we bring this series to a close :)

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Great New Year.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Speaking of Music...

Ken Levine had a great post on Unchained Melody last must listen to the second version he posts there. Turn those speakers up!

And Chowmein tells me via email that Dakota Motor Co. is putting out a new album! O frabjous day!

Raise your hopeful voice on a roll this week. Another one hit out of the ballpark! (tomorrow it's back to Law & Order: SVU episodes, so won't have one of these posts) This time was the indy modern musical, Once.

The musical for people who hate musicals. The primary characters are song-writers working on a project together, so the songs are natural part of the story--not a hey, let's get an elaborately choreographed performance at the post-graduation carnival, or during the storming of the Bastille. For Once, it's while writing a song...or practicing for a recording session. And, true to the singer-songwriter genre, the songs reflect their emotional life and move the story along.

This movie was made on the quick (17 days of filming) and on the cheap, in typical indie style. Which, of course, just helps the film. It's a pure, beautiful, moving film--clearly interested in telling it's story, not in making money or pleasing a studio. (both of which I'm pretty sure it's done now)

The performances are understated--the whole thing is understated. I think only 2 characters have names--neither of the leads do. The script was sparse, simple. The actors match that. The only time they really let go and give push themselves is during the songs (and even then, I think they could both let go a little more). Markéta Irglová is the sweetest thing on film this side of Serenity's Kaylee, and Glen Hansard is perfect as the sensitive yet awkward artist.

The music is great. The music would be worth sitting through a bunch of posing and pontificating, bad lines and miscast actors. Thankfully, John Carney, the writer/director didn't give us any of that. As I'm typing I'm just skipping through the DVD to find my favorite songs to listen to. The Offspring are going to get sick of this soundtrack once I get it. I can promise that.

Release Your Inner Warrick...

According to this week's Boise Weekly (not your everyday newspaper):

The Ada County coroner has launched a new Web site giving residents the chance to try their hands at CSI-style investigations. Each month, the site will be updated with a new photo from one of the department's past investigations. Along with the picture, coroner's staff provides details of the investigation and the ultimate outcome.
For those with less-queasy stomachs, the site will use photographs and X-rays to lead viewers through the investigation process.
For the would-be Nick Stokes out there, the first case is posted here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pretty Sure it Wouldn't Meet Code, but...

Clearly, when it comes to this household and Dec. 25th, I'm alone in distaste. This weekend, TLomL and the Offspring played confectionery construction workers and assembled their first Gingerbread House.

Well, I'm not exactly sure how much the Offspring did...I know a couple of them watched good portions of the process, and I think they all had candy in their hand at one point or another...but pretty sure the bulk of the work was done by one lone laborer:

In the end, after much blood, sweat and tears (or was that frosting, sugar, and gumdrops?) a decently-sound structure was standing

Not only did this provide some good quality time for mom and the kids, a (probably) tasty treat on the 35th...more importantly (to me) it provided some "let's give sick Daddy some peace and quiet." Oh yeah, and some opportunities for good discussions between TLomL and the Offspring on ethics, just punishments for rule violations, etc. (not all the cobblestones made it through the first night...)


I probably shouldn't write this right now...should put it off for a few hours so I can collect my thoughts and what not...oh well.

I just finished Stardust, based on the Neil Gaiman novel, starring Claire Daines, Charlie Cox, and Michelle Pfeiffer. I'm in awe. I'm astonished. I'm bewitched, bothered and bewildered. I'm. . . at a loss for words.

The movie opens with Ian McKellen's narration:

A philosopher once asked, "Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Pointless, really...”Do the stars gaze back?" Now that's a question.
To get the answer, we follow young shop-boy Tristan as he travels to find a fallen star so he can bring it back to his love, and win her heart. He, of course, is not the only one looking for the star--there's a group of witches who want it for its power, some princes who want it because obtaining it will also give them the stone they need to become king, and...ugh. If I'm not careful I'll end up retelling the story--pirates, magic, flying ships, magic spells, sword fights, ghosts, unicorns, adventure, romance...

It was simply magical. Movies were invented for experiences like this. I sat here smiling pretty much the whole 2 hrs and 7 minutes it was on. TLomL can attest to the rarity of that. It was fresh, original, and practically timeless... The only parallel I can think of to the experience was the first time I saw The Princess Bride.

I've never seen Cox before, but will keep an eye out for him in the future. I've been impressed by Daines every time I've seen her, but this goes beyond that. Pfeiffer was nearly pferfect as always. Great supporting appearances by Robert DeNiro (shock!), Peter O'Toole, Rupert Everett (he proves that old adage about "no small roles" here), Sarah Alexander, and Ricky Gervais.

Okay, I'm going to shut up now and hit the play button again.

As interesting as that philosopher's question was...there's a better question asked in the film:
What do stars do?
Trust me, you want to find out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chaos was what killed the dinosaurs, darling

Christian Slater near the height of his career, Winona Ryder before she took on "adult" (read: serious and dull) roles, a quick glimpse of Phill Lewis before he got stuck in The Tipton Hotel, Shannen Doherty right after she escaped the clutches of Wilford Brimley but before she falls into the hell of 90210. Biting commentary on: teenage suicide (and society's reaction to it); high school social life; clueless parents; clueless educators (of various stripes). Shoulder pads aplenty. What more could you ask for?

Just this--Someone delivering this line: "Whether to kill yourself or not is one of the most important decisions a teenager can make."

Throw all that together and you get Heathers. The best High School movie I've seen in years. (only high school movie I've seen in years, but that's beside the point). Don't ask me how this happened, but somehow I managed to make it through the last 18 years--an entire 1st-time voter's lifespan, mind you--without seeing the cult-classic, dark comedy. Took care of that last night, and am more than a little annoyed at myself for having put it off so long.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Seasonal Radio.Blog #2

We get a tad more serious with this one. Call it the "(Not the Crass Capitalist) Reason for the Season" mix

  1. Joy to the World - O. C. Supertones Fun take on a good postmill hymn--which shouldn't get stuck in the seasonal category, either.

  2. O Come All Ye Faithful - Flight 180 a spirited take on the classic

  3. The First Noel- Leigh Nash our first dose of Nash this mix, second of the season...

  4. Babe in the Straw - Derri Daughtery/Riki Michelle/Steve Hindalong from the ever-so underrated album Noel (which could be seen as City on a Hill: It's Christmastime: The Prequel)

  5. Holy Emmanuel- Terry Scott Taylor from City on a Hill: It's Christmastime, Taylor can really sing when he's not goofing

  6. O Holy Night- Leigh Nash and Michael Tait Nash + the best voice from DC Talk

  7. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - Chasing Fluries TLomL's favorite Carol (if I recall correctly)

  8. What Child is This - Poor Old Lu This is one of my all-time favorite bands, and their style fits this one to a T

  9. Angels We Have Heard on High - Carolyn Arends/Stephen Murray/Jenny Gullen another from Noel, possibly my favorite Carol

  10. Joy to the World/For Unto Us a Child is Born - Amy Grant Ms. Grant provides a bookend of sorts along with a nod to Handel's "Easter" piece that for some reason is a Christmas favorite...


So yesterday, TLomL checks this space and makes an exasperated noise while muttering something about nothing new. I defend myself, "Just haven't had anything interesting to say." She shoots me a look saying, "Never stopped you before." But she has enough tact to only say it with her eyes, not her mouth.

So while my young scholars are chomping at breakfast, I'll babble a bit, maybe saying something interesting along the way.

Watched Serenity for only the second time this week. Not sure how that happened without the world ending--if I'd guessed before the film was released, I'd have said that the 2nd time I saw it would've been within a week of the first. Quite wrong. Still a great film. I actually got a little choked up...can't think of another SF movie that made me do that...(wait, A. I. made me cry when I realized I was never going to have that two hours and twenty-six minutes back). Infinately quoteable, filled with well-rounded characters--not one or two well written people and a bunch of characters for them to react to, but an entire cast of them--F/X that serve the story (odd notion, that).

Am wearing a hole in my library card--something I haven't done since High School. Yet, if I were to think about it, I'd say that I have absolutely no time at all to read. I get most of it done a paragraph here and there while doing other things. Showing a great lack of discernment in genre, style, target age, topic, etc. Just reading any and everything that catches my eye. Have read some passable stuff, some great stuff, and some "eh" stuff because of that. But hey, it's something. I've been working on a couple of posts about some of the more notable things I've read lately, but haven't gotten around to finishing year's end.


I haven't mentioned for awhile, so I'd better do that. Don't forget the Tea Party!

I've been wanting to talk about the off-season moves the Yanks have made, but haven't found the time...on the whole I'm pleased. As long as the Steinbrothers don't make that lousy three-for-Santanta trade they toyed with recently, I might even go so far as to say I'm happy about it.

One question: told me this morning before I left work that it was 23, but felt like 11. Once you hit 23...does it matter if it feels colder? If it was 78 and felt like 62, I could see pointing it out. But at 23? It's all just numbers and being mind-numbingly freezing at that point...

Okay, my oatmeal bowl is almost empty and the clean-up crew is working on the table...that'll have to do for now.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

We're 'bout to get tickets to a dream-world of magic.

Nariaweb has the first Prince Caspian trailer up!

The Chronic- What? -Cles of Narnia!

Yes the Chronic- What? -Cles of Narnia!

We love the Chronic- What? -Cles of Narnia!

Pass the Chronic- What? -Cles of Narnia!

When Al Gore Starts Pushing for 'Family Values'

Divorce is bad for the environment.

"A married household actually uses resources more efficiently than a divorced household," said Jianguo Liu, an ecologist at Michigan State University whose analysis of the environmental impact of divorce appears in this week's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More households means more use of land, water and energy, three critical resources, Liu explained...
Be Green, Stay Married.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Recent Reads - Fiction

Okay, I realize my post last week on TV has probably got some of you thinking I've turned my brain completely off and become nothing but a tube watching vegetable. Never fear, am still literate. Here's a quick sample of things I've been reading, just haven't had the energy to write anything long on...

Boomsday by Christopher Buckley - I've read all but one or two of Buckley's novels, and it's fair to say he's my favorite satirist. In Boomsday, he takes on the impending failure of Social Security (particularly timely as the first Baby Boomer applied for SS benefits this past week). Political blogger and PR rep Cassandra Devine (a disciple of a disciple of Thank You for Smoking's Nick Naylor), has dedicated her off-hours life to the issue. After accidentally inciting riots at retirement homes/golf courses, she proposes a plan for older Americans to help out their children and grandchildren by choosing to "transition" from this life to the next. In return for this, transitioners would receive large tax benefits. Throw this idea into a presidential campaign featuring a rich fire-brand, an incumbent overseeing too many foreign wars and a horrible economy, a prolife evangelist (who may or may not have killed his mother) and hilarity ensues.

Buckley's novels tend to run away from him--he generally loses control (think those rickety coal carts at the end of Temple of Doom) towards the end. His last few novels have shown a lot of improvement in this area--and I think this is his best ending yet. Best novel he's written--but the characters and satire aren't his best (but they're nothing to complain about, either). Give this one a B+/A-

The Deader the Better by G. M. Ford - The latest (last?) installment in the Leo Waterman series, is definately the darkest. About half-way through this novel Leo stops going about this the way he normally does and instead assembles a team of criminals to start a major sting/blackmail operation. It bugged me while reading it, and by the time it was over, it bugged me a lot. I can't really put my finger on it, but it didn't feel like Leo, more like one of Spenser's weaker escapades. The romantic subplot really worked for me, as did the b-plot with the runaway, but the I really hope that Ford gets back to this series so I can see how he's going to take things with Leo's love life--part of me is glad to see him risking the status quo; but the other part of me really likes Rebecca as a character, and I'd rather see more of her than less. But mostly I want to see if Ford continues to take this series in the darker direction this novel heads down (and his newer series seems to take), or if he lets Leo return to being Leo. Personally, I hope he takes the latter route--I miss the fun Elvis Cole (not that I totally mind the darker Elvis), don't want to lose the fun Leo, too.

Falling Man by Don DeLillo - I really wanted to like this book--DeLillo's one of my favorites. But this thing? Blah. This is DeLillo's take on 9/11 and the aftermath. The scenes about the protagonist leaving the scene of the WTC attacks, and those showing how his son and his friends are reacing to the attacks--those are really well done. And there were sentences, or paragraphs, that were great to read. But on the whole, this was a dreary novel, about dreary people reacting to horror in a dreary way. Worst thing I've read by him--which is strange, as many critics hail it as one of his best--who knows, maybe bluewoad's rubbing off on me.

How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper - Tropper delivers yet another fun novel about a young man dealing with death (and how often can you say that?). This time, Tropper's protag married an older woman with a teenage son. A plane crash cuts short their life together and now the widower has to put his life without her together. Of course, the teenage son is a complication that he's not ready for. Tropper's characters frequently have a strong woman character as friend/love interest (no matter how taboo). This time a twin sister takes care of the friend part of the equation--and is one of the more interesting characters he's created. The quirky disfunctional family is along for the ride--the father, of course, being the most screwed up (not that mom is that together). Tropper doesn't miss a beat, hit a wrong note, or flub the rhythm once in this book. Charming, funny, bleak, and hopeful. Probabably his best work to date.

Leepike Ridge by N. D. Wilson - Wilson proves that you don't have to be named J. K. Rowling to write children's fiction that's worth reading if you're over 13. Good, imaginative, adventure story. Wilson's got a natural (genetic?) way with words, that he's honed well--would likely be a pleasure to read even if the plot and characters were weak.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - This one's a "Young Adult" novel, which again, puts me out of the target audience. Ooops. Actually, I think the target is teenage girls, so I'm really out of the target. Really don't care. Meyer can tell a story. Even if the story is an implausible love story about a loner teen girl and a vampire whose Byronic personality is on loan from a Bronte novel. Probably one of the better vampire novels I've read (and I seem to be reading a lot of them lately for no apparent reason).

by George by xxx - Wilson proves that you don't have to be named J. K. Rowling to write children's fiction that's worth reading if you're over 13. Good, imaginative, adventure story. Wilson's got a natural (genetic?) way with words, that he's honed well--would likely be a pleasure to read even if the plot and characters were weak.

The Devil You Know by xxx - This one's a "Young Adult" novel, which again, puts me out of the target audience. Ooops. Actually, I think the target is teenage girls, so I'm really out of the target. Really don't care. Meyer can tell a story. Even if the story is an implausible love story about a loner teen girl and a vampire whose Byronic personality is on loan from a Bronte novel. Probably one of the better vampire novels I've read (and I seem to be reading a lot of them lately for no apparent reason).

Hood by Stephen Lawhead - Wilson proves that you don't have to be named J. K. Rowling to write children's fiction that's worth reading if you're over 13. Good, imaginative, adventure story. Wilson's got a natural (genetic?) way with words, that he's honed well--would likely be a pleasure to read even if the plot and characters were weak.

1st to Die by xxx - This one's a "Young Adult" novel, which again, puts me out of the target audience. Ooops. Actually, I think the target is teenage girls, so I'm really out of the target. Really don't care. Meyer can tell a story. Even if the story is an implausible love story about a loner teen girl and a vampire whose Byronic personality is on loan from a Bronte novel. Probably one of the better vampire novels I've read (and I seem to be reading a lot of them lately for no apparent reason).

Monday, December 03, 2007

Common Sense

Am delighted to note that while I was watching this for the first time, the Princess comes up (before his name's on the screen), points and asks "Is that Ron Paul?"

A Confession/Radio.Blog Returns!

Finally got ye olde back up. But somewhere along the way, I lost the tweaks I'd made to make it look nicer. Will be playing with that when I have a spare second here and there. (by the way, do yourself a favor, and click the box next to "Crossfader" to turn that wanna catch the end of some of these tracks)

Oh well, this is the first of my Christmas music's that I've planned for this Dec. What? Christmas? Yeah, Christmas music.

Those who know my aversion to this particular cultural event might be a bit surprised that I'd post something like this. In fact, some might think I've sold out/changed/been brainwashed. But no...I'm still not crazy about the way this man-made holy day has trumped the 52 we've been given and ought to celebrate correctly before we get around to making any of our own. But I've always maintained that it's a matter of liberty when it comes to individual celebration (still think it ought to be verboten on the ecclesiastical level, but that's another story) of the day, and I choose to exercise my liberty in a way that causes minimal strife on the homefront every December.

Even if we did nothing with decorations, gifts, treats, days off and whatnot around here, (and who knows, one day TLomL might go for that--probably after Arnold's out of the house) we'd probably still listen to the music. Something about it, I just love Christmas music. "Traditional" carols/songs, new ones, new takes on traditional songs, pretty much all of it.

By the way, a great new Christmas album--A Very Mylo Christmas--has just been released and you can listen to demos, purchase CDs and downloads over at (that's your source for the best farm-based humor on the Internet) This album also features some very nice Christmas music by Clyde & Janet Bauman in addition to the funny stuff from Mylo.

This list is the least serious of the bunch, and some of the favorites of both myself and the Offspring.

  1. Jingle Bells - BNL When this track is played, it's officially Christmas season in the Newton household. The Offspring go nuts.

  2. Merry Christmas, I Don't Want to Fight Tonight - The Huntingtons a cover of that Tradional Old English Carole made famous by Joey Ramone.

  3. You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch - Sixpence None the Richer Is there any song that Leigh Nash and the crew can't make sound better? Nope.

  4. You Gotta Get Up - Five Iron Frenzy not quite as sappy as the Mullins original, but captures the feel

  5. Elf's Lament - BNL Okay, time to get political. Who takes the time to consider the plight of the North Pole Laborers?

  6. Santa Claus - Harry Connick, Jr. Toe-tapping goodness. We generally have to listen to this one 2 or 3 times when it comes up on iTunes here.

  7. Christmas Day - MxPx Because nothings better than melodic punk to celebrate the day. (this one might actually have the best 'message' on this list)

  8. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - Jane Krakowski Had to be done.

  9. Jingle Bells - Diana Krall Whoops. Repeat of the first track. Ah well. This one's for those who don't appreciate the Batman-Smells verse

  10. Winter Wonderland - Steve Taylor Not the best version of this song in my library, but hey, it's Steve Taylor.

  11. The Chipmunk Song - The Lost Dogs No comment needed.

  12. Christmas at Ground Zero - Weird Al The Cold War Classic. First non-traditional Christmas song I got to know. You can blame this entire playlist on this one track.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It was an interesting day....

Thanks to the lovely winter weather I recently whined about, the Interstate was a parking lot, so I took some back roads in (and not the back roads I'd have picked if I'd planned on it), making us 10 minutes late from the get-go. Not an entirely auspicious way to begin.

First thing when we get there is that we find out that instead of sending me the prescription for the Valium, they went ahead and filled it for us, so he got a little something to take the edge off. But that's not all, they have this cream (don't remember the name, don't care enough to look it up) they put on his arms to numb them. Basically just trying to make sure that he doesn't start the day cranky, annoyed or in pain (or all of the above). Then we get to wait for an hour while these things kick in. Thankfully, the hospital that we're doing this in has a great Children's Specialty center--and by great, I mean they have a large and well-stocked play area.

We then saunter over to the pediatric unit of the hospital--by this time the Valium's working and Arnold's a little buzzed, nothing major, but definitely in a good place. They're using the pediatric unit to insert the IV's for a couple of reasons: 1. the nurse in charge of the study is squeamish about poking kids, especially when there are pros available, and 2. they don't want the subject angry at the people he's spending all day with. (they're very concerned with the subject's state of mind--which is fine with me, considering the subject in question). Like I said before, Arnold's a pro at this stuff, but they bring in a legion of people to do insert the IVs. At one point (in addition to the three of us) there was his nephrologist, the nurse in charge of the study, two RNs, two other nurses, and a "Child Life Specialist" (whatever that is, but apparently you have to have mad bubble blowing skillz) in the room to make sure everything went smoothly. I almost volunteered us to leave the room to alleviate overcrowding. He got through that okay, one quick "ow" per IV, and then we went back to the center.

We know Arnold's small, but every now and then we get a healthy reminder of it. On the pediatric unit, all the nurses guessed that he was "about 2." When people who spend all day dealing with kids are off on that by 16 months, you know he's short for his age.
They fed some contrast dye into one arm, and then removed that IV. Then they took blood samples at 10 min., 30 min., 1.5 hrs and then 5 hrs. to see how the kidneys filtered it out. Then, like I said before, there were typical physical stuff. The early blood work results were good--hormones, sodium, etc. are stable, height, weight, etc are okay--but we won't have any results from the major tests for about a month.

The highlight of the day was, of course, watching Arnold go through this all. He was a little out of it, yet mostly there thanks to the Valium. But watched everything that happened to him, paying very close attention to every step of the process with the IV insertions--despite the best efforts of the woman blowing bubbles. He quickly picked up the procedure during the blood draws, and started talking the nurse through the steps. He was very chatty, particularly after the Valium wore off. Kept talking about "the red bloods" coming out of his arm, and going from the syringe to tube. He really seemed to have a good time. By the end of the day, all three of us were pretty drained, but his spirits kept up. But he was still plenty ready to get that last IV out, and be able to put both arms in his jacket (next year we'll take Frodo's for him).

Incidentally, the nurse was telling us about some conversations she's had with other centers for this study--not everyone does the IV thing ("for the kids' sake"), instead they just poke their subjects each time. How does that make sense? What kids want that? What kid's veins are up to it?

Then 7+ hours after we fought our way to the hospital, we got to fight our way home, in time for me to collapse for a few before work. Thankfully the next appointment should only take 3 hours--with no IVs involved. It'll be focusing on psychology, development and whatnot.

Representative Shot

Was going through some photos from today and came across the shots I took from Samwise's birthday...pretty much every one had an expression like this.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Whys and Wherefores

Why I blog.

This has the makings of an interesting day

So Arnold has a big day today. He's going to be part of a nationwide study on pediatric kidney problems. His involvement will take part over the course of four years, starting in abouuuut four hours.

Today's festivities kick off with him getting an IV put in his hand--they were supposed to give us a prescription for some Valium to help him deal with that, but that didn't happen. He's had about as many needles stuck into him at this point in his life as I have, and generally does okay, so it shouldn't be too bad--but I'd feel better if he was relaxed. Anyway, that IV will be used to get 4 or 5 blood samples over the course of the day. He'll also have a decent physical, his regular nephrology checkup, and some other things. Once all the results are in, we'll have a much better idea of how he's going than we've had since...well, ever.

In a couple of months there'll be some psychological tests (that should be fun), and an annual repeat of today, along with other assorted fun times along with way.

But that's then. Before us today is trying to come up with ways to fill the time between blood draws and exams w/o TLomL, myself or Arnold doing violence against each other. Thankfully, the Princess, Frodo and Samwise are spending the day with some friends, or I know there'd be bloodshed. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

One part Little Mermaid, One part Roger Rabbit, One part...

...yeah, okay, couldn't think of anything to finish that with. (shrugh) Whatcha gonna do?

We celebrated Samwise's 8th birthday over the weekend (8th!?!?!?!), and somewhere in between piecing together Bionicle warriors, Sponge-Bob Lego sets, and playing with remote control tarantulas, we managed to squeak in a movie, namely, Disney's Enchanted.

Say what you will, I liked it. Really.

A lot of books, movies and whatnot lately have been playing with or on the conventional fairy tale--Shrek, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Hoodwinked, to name a few. But where some do it out of a spirit of deconstruction, or mocking, postmodern detachment, and whatnot, Enchated does out of a spirit of fun. Yeah, it makes jokes about some of the fairy tale/animated fairy tale movie cliches, but it does so with love, not a sense of superiority.

This movie combines animation and live action, fairy tale world and the "real" world, a clash of cultures, a firm belief in happily-ever-after and skepticism about happiness in general. The musical numbers are just a blast (I've gotta get this soundtrack).

Marsden plays the good-hearted dullard that most Disney princes are perfectly. I haven't liked Dempsey this much since Can't Buy Me Love. Adams is...spectacular--she is a Disney heroine brought to life. I loved the cameos by past Disney voices (took me WAY too long to recognize Jodi Benson, and after all the Mermaid special features that Frodo's made me watch). Sarandon and Peter Pettigrew Spall are the perfect Disney foes.

I honestly can't think of a certain false note. Yeah, it's not going to walk away with Best Picture--but it's good wholesome fun that'll leave you smiling.

"Yippee ki yay . . ."

For those who found the unrelenting realism of John McClane's exploits to thwart Hans Gruber's escapades in the Nakatomi building too much to handle, never fear, the fourth installment of the Die Hard franchise gives the occasional nod to reality, but doesn't let it interfere with telling its story.

As usual, McClane's personal life is in shambles--this time the focus isn't on the disintegrating/disintegrated marriage with Holly, but on the strained relationship with his daughter. I really liked the interaction between McClane and the girl--I thought her change in attitude was a bit on the quick side, but eh...trama does things to people. Serves as a decent B Story.

The A Story is what it should be--some terrorist-y types wreak havoc, in this case it's a group of hackers bringing the entire country to its knees. But, since this is a Die Hard film, it's not really about the terrorism. McClane is brought into all this by chance, having to pick up a hacker for questioning about the early stages of the terror. This hacker is played by the always reliable Justin Long--who gets some of the best lines of the flick.

Have to mention Kevin Smith's two scenes--Smith plays an ubernerd/uberhacker living in his mother's basement (which he insists on calling his "command center"). Smith got great reviews for the role, but I'm not sure why. He was decent, but I know he can do better--and given the character, I expected a bit more from him. But at the end of the day, he's still Kevin Smith, and I can't help but grin when he's on screen.

Good action film, some great stunt sequences (could've lived w/o the jumping on to the jet myself), some good laughs. Well worth the time if you like the genre. Pretty sure this is the only one of the 4 in the series that TLomL has watched in its entirety with me, so that's saying something...

Monday, November 26, 2007

A matter of Perspective

Although my kids keep pointing out that Dec. 21 is weeks away, Winter has definately set in around here. This morning I noticed something odd...when it's 7 a.m. and the end of your shift, and you have to think warm thoughts while scraping your window in 19 degree weather and hope that your heater will actually do something about the environment in your van before you make it all the way home... It's cold, painfully cold.

But it's a whollllle new kind of cold when it's 7 a.m. and you just rolled out of bed and you're remember nice, warm thoughts while taking out the trash and scraping your window in 19 degree weather and knowing that the heater isn't going to do anything to help things out as you take your wife to work.

This morning I was really tempted to chuck it all, buy an RV and tour the country while homeschooling the kids like Lisa Whelchel, so I could be in Arizona or New Mexico right now.

But then I remembered that neither TLomL or I starred in a silly 80's sitcom, and will probably never be able to afford to buy an RV and tour the country (much less do so while we are feeding, clothing, and educating kids).

Ah well...chalk it up to my blood being too cold to properly navigate its way through my vessels and get the brain working.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chuck Norris Humor

Like many of you (I assume), I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at this Mike Huckabee/Chuck Norris ad that swept the airwaves/InterWeb this week (this anti-federalist goofball is the evangelical answer to Romney?)--I was sure inspired to find more money to give to Dr. Paul.

Thankfully, the good people over at the webcomic Sheldon, posted an old Chuck Norris-related strip that it was easy to choose the proper reaction--laugh out loud, and then re-read and laugh some more.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Someone had Fun with Photoshop

Eat your heart out Doug Ross, M.D..

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hey, don't I know you from some other life?

it's Friday, so time for a tune. This time from that band that was too good to last, I just can't pronounce their name...

Am I boring you?
I could say more
we were destined for somewhere
but that was before you traded in your peace sign for a finger

And I don't believe it's the way you were raised
or the cards you were dealt
or a poor self-image
I think you love yourself too much

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Early Morning Laughs...

  • Prickly City's apparently doing a series on National Health Care this's is particularly funny.
  • Non Sequitur has the best reaction to the whole Dumbledore announcement.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tea Party 07 Commercial

If you haven't taken the time to watch this yet, now's the time:

actual original content to follow in the next couple of days...I think.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Lost Dogs Live

Just 'cuz it's Friday...good day to relax with some music from one of my favorite bands:

(and yes, Chowmein, you can watch more of this concert at youtube :-D )

This is the sound of my head exploding

Listen carefully to what our Commander in Chief says...

"you can't be President and head of the military at the same time".

(H/T: Socks and Barney)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Proud to be a Vandal

Boise State University has turned down a request from veterans for a 21-gun salute on campus Monday to mark Veterans Day, saying it might scare bystanders still spooked by school shootings in other states.
Translation: Administrators consider BSU students too stupid to read the flyers/signs/etc. that would be inevitably posted about the event.

In related news: a BSU student was arrested by campus police last week when his car's backfire convinced co-eds that there was a sniper in his backseat.

(the real story can be read here, my fake story can be read above):

UPDATED: After receiving several complaints, BSU reversed their decision. Still a stupid call, but at least they fixed it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So, How's NaNoWriMo Going?

Slightly better for me than for Matt McLimore--slightly.

Good RP Interview

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Craving for Tyranny?

The national symptoms roll on. The United States is in the middle of a portentous abandonment, rapid now, of the ideas that led to the founding of the country, and certainly of what were previously regarded as the purposes of a university. It is the strangest damned thing I have seen. Americas never lived up to its ideals—who or what does?—but it actually tried to and at least said it wanted to. Often it succeeded. Now it deliberately reverses all it stood for.

Curious. Usually it is a government that imposes control over the population. Extreme governments of the right seek absolute control over behavior, and those of the left, over thought. But it is usually the government.

(read the whole thing!!)

and then..."Let it not be said that we did nothing." Remember the 5th of November and on this November 5th, donate to Ron Paul's campaign.

If you are desirous to live in peace

Presbyterian Thoughts' Sabbath a'Brakel posts are always worth a read (and usually a re-read), but this one in particular struck me. I grant you, most of my friends (particularly those from #pros) will roll their eyes at the thought of me being this way. But believe it or not, I actually've been trying to live this way for awhile--I just never put it as well, or succienctly, as a'Brakel.

If you are desirous to live in peace:

(1) Crucify your desire for money, honor, and love; it is neither possible to have a peaceable heart nor to maintain such a disposition without self-denial.

(2) Keep to yourself and let others govern their own matters. Do not appoint yourself as a detective and judge concerning the deeds of others; close your ears for backbiters. Do not listen for what is being said about you. "A whisperer separateth chief friends" (Prov. 16:28); "Where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth" (Prov. 26:20).

(3) Be always the least--both in your own eyes as well as in your conduct toward others. Endure being wronged, and forgive such deeds (Col. 3:13). In all things yield to the will of others insofar as this is not contrary to the will of God.

(4) If someone else encounters you in an unpleasant manner, or if you perceive the first motion of displeasure within yourself, arm yourself at once and resist strife at the very outset; be completely silent (IV: 100-101).

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Mazel Tov!

to Don and Manuela as they tie the knot today.

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. And may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Dr. No on Leno

Writing Thought of the Day. . . #2

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
- Thomas Mann

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Celebrity Sightings 10/31

Is he strong? Listen bud,
He's got radioactive blood
King Edmund the Just
Ahhh, Doctor Turkelton-ette?
ba DUM
baaaa DUM
ba DUM da DUM da DUM
when Terry Francona lets his hair down...
he really lets it down

'This is What Good Parents Do'

from msn:

Parents are taking a more active role in raising their children than they did a decade ago
Active parenting? What is this world coming to?!?!
"Whether it’s a realistic panic or not, things like school shootings or child abductions or pedophile predators, that has a certain group of American parents pretty worried," said Angela Hattery, a sociology professor at Wake Forest University.
"We’ve really moved into this cultural expectation that this is what good parents do," Cooksey said. "It’s more a cultural consensus, that if we are going to be parents, we are going to have to put time into it."
You have to put time into parenting? Why didn't somebody warn me? Is it too late to get out of this??!?!

Max Klinger would love this idea...

After Betray-Rod's little stunt during Game 4 this weekend, Hank Steinbrenner asked, "Does he want to go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee, or a Toledo Mud Hen?"

The Mud Hens jumped on that idea:

Dan Royer, a graphic designer for the team, created a mock Hall of Fame bust, with Rodriguez wearing a Toledo hat.

The Mud Hens also prepared a letter that they plan to mail to Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras.

(H/T: Patrick over at YanksBlog)

Writing thought of the day...

Writing everyday is a way of keeping the engine running, and the something good may come out of it.
- T. S. Eliot

Taking the Plunge

Okay. It's November 1. The beginning of NaNoWriMo.


That's National Novel Writing Month, for those who haven't heard of it before.

Because between co-rebuilding my marriage, homeschooling, holding a full-time job, my SAHD duties, etc. I don't have enough going on. So I've elected to write a 50,000 word novel between now and Nov. 30th (roughly 1667 words a day).

I'm such an idiot.

Nevertheless, I'm gonna give it a shot.

Feel free to ask me about the NaNoWriMo Powers That Be say:

Tell everyone you know that you're writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who've had to hear about your novel for the past month. Seriously. Email them now about your awesome new book. The looming specter of personal humiliation is a very reliable muse.
It's up to you now...make sure I feel the pressure :) You can visit my profile and track my progress, etc at

Enough of this nonsense...time's a wasting...sadly, my brains going in several different directions, none of them plotward. oh yeah, 1667 will be a piece of cake...

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:;;; and!

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 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'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 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

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Thought for the Lord's Day #9

It cannot be over-emphasized that we have not seen the full meaning of the cross till we have seen it... as the center of the gospel, flanked on the one hand by total inability and unconditional surrender and on the other by irresistible grace and final preservation.
- J. I. Packer

Saturday, September 22, 2007

that's what I'd like to know

R. Scott Clark asks the question I've been asking for years:

Why Should We Care What Jim Dobson Says?

A multi-tasker AB have to approve of

Cushions you in a crash, performs the Heimlich manuver...that's what I call a safety feature.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

And as long as you will be true to Old Narnia you shall be my King, whatever they say.

Who'da thunk it?

from on 9/19/07:

Journey says it all:

misc thoughts on the video:
  1. 1. I've read somewhere that the theory that his chorus was stuck in Barnabus' head as he penned the 19th book of the New Testament will serve as the basis of Dan Brown's next book, The Steve Perry Code
  2. Think the last time I saw pants that tight on a dude was the last time I saw John Schlitt in concert. There should be a support group for people like that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ahoy, me hearties!

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day...
For entertain:

and Tom Smith's song, "Talk Like a Pirate Day"

To educate:

Have at it, ye salty sea dogs!

Update: Heh, seems Julie had a similar thought.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is simply breathtaking...

(H/T: Kletois)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Couple of (short) things to read...

It bugs the tar out of me to read bloggers (especially 'prolific' bloggers) who simply copy someone else's post in its entirety (generally w/o a link to the original site, but they put the other blogger's by-line on it for the sake of intellectual honesty or whatever), but if there was ever a time I was tempted to do it...