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.