Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Pirate Looks at Forty

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call,
Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall
You've seen it all, you've seen it all
Let's get the basics out of the way first. On December 30th, 2006 I turn forty years old.

Several people have told me lately that forty is no big deal - it's fifty, or sixty. Or just forty-one, because that proves your on your way to fifty. Whatever. After all it's really just an arbitrarily ordered random number. It's based on our base10 decimal counting system, which has its origins in the fact that we all have ten fingers and ten toes. As this guy taught us, had we been born with twelve fingers and twelve toes our counting system would've been quite different, and our age milestones would come about (what we call) thirty-six and forty-eight. This wouldn't even be the year 2006, it'd be... um, well actually I have no idea what 2006 would be in base12 but that's not the point - the point is that just because forty, in human terms is a nice round number and starts off an other set of ten numbers, it really doesn't mean a heck of lot different than thirty-nice or forty-one.
Watched the men who rode you switch from sails to steam
And in your belly you hold the treasures few have ever seen
Most of 'em dream, most of 'em dream.
So what does this mean to me? I don't really consider myself a "pirate" like the song says but I do see myself as a romantic, a dreamer, a creator - someone who enjoys the lure of adventure and drama.
Yes I am a pirate, two hundred years too late,
Cannons don't thunder, there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an over-forty victim of fate.
Arrivin' too late, arrivin' too late.
But I've not traveled the world, barely ventured beyond the borders of the U.S. I've not written a Great American Novel (though last month I sure tried). I'm not a captain of industry, not a great leader, not a person of any particular note outside my immediate sphere of family and friends.

I've never sailed a sloop through the Keys, never climbed El Capitan, never rode horseback in the Colorado plains. Never scuba'd the Great Barrier Reef, never watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace or walked the Great Wall of China.
I've done a bit of smugglin', I've run my share of grass
I made enough money to buy Miami, but I pissed it away so fast
Never meant to last, never meant to last
I've never started a business, run a business, been responsible for the management of a business. I don't have a stock portfolio - if you ask me if I have Bonds, I'll ask you "Barry or James?" I'm not sure what my future holds for employment - I'm still looking for what I want to be when I grow up.

I've had some small success in performance arts. I've created a small name for myself in musical directing plays, which certainly keeps me in theatre but it's past time I move up and become a fully invested director.
And I have been drunk now for over two weeks
I passed out and I rallied and I sprung a few leaks
But I got stop wishin', got to go fishin'
Down to rock bottom again
Just a few friends, just a few friends
So now, at forty, where does this leave me?

I have a wonderful family. A wife who loves me, and whom I love. Two kids I think the world of and are growing up before my eyes. My parents still encourage me, my brother's getting married. My church has given me a host of friends I will cherish the rest of my life - of which about 16-20 will be at our house Sunday night for New Year's Eve. I'm comfortable, I can still get out and play a game of softball without keeling over.

Heck, maybe now that I have my thirty's out of the way, I can start really living.
Mother, mother ocean, after all the years I've found
My occupational hazard being my occupation's just not around
I feel like I've drowned, gonna head uptown
Who knows? Guess I'll untie from the dock and shove off - looks like the sea is smooth and the weather's calm. I wonder what's beyond that horizon?

Let's find out. Wanna sail?


"A Pirate Looks at Forty"

-- Lyrics by Jimmy Buffett

Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, December 29, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Twenty Four

Appetizer - How do you usually celebrate on New Year's Eve?

For the last several years, we've had 4-5 families that we go to church with come out and spend the evening with us. This year we're smoking ribs (per Laura's request) and adding a lady whose family will be in New York for New Year's. It's a great time we look forward to all year.


Soup - Name one thing unexpected that happened to you in 2006.

Here's two - I suffered some employment setbacks that had me reevaluating my place there. Most of the immediate problems have at least been addressed, though time will tell what the ultimate resolution will be.

The other would be the fact that, unexpectedly, I ended up in a horn band that rehearsed throughout the year and will have our first public performance at a wedding on January 5. I've never actually played in a band before (keyboards) and I'll also be singing a few numbers, and I'm really looking forward to it. I also had a couple other good experiences music directing shows in 2006 that have put my hobby/career on a nice path.



Salad - Where was your favorite place that you visited in 2006?

We visited Ft. Lauderdale and spent the week there during the 4th of July and had a wonderful time.


Main Course - What resolution is your top priority for 2007?

Same as every year, Pinky...to take over the world.

Well, absent that to perform necessary home repair that we've been putting off for a while. Also we'll be moving BrainyBoy from his small room to the bigger playroom downstairs, and moving the playroom into his old room. He'll be 11 in February, and really needs a bigger space since he's becoming a young man.



Dessert - Using just three words, describe 2006.

Preparing, evaluating, enduring.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, December 22, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Twenty Three

Appetizer - What is one of your Christmas traditions?

We always travel to visit my wife's extended family in West Tennessee on Christmas Day and spend several days down there.


Soup - Who is the easiest person on your list to buy presents for?

I'm a guy so my list's not too extensive: my wife, and...well, that's about it. She generally takes care of buying for the kids and our parents (although I do have some advisory responsibilities).


Salad - What is your favorite Christmas scent?

Hmm...the sausage balls my mom makes every year :)


Main Course - If you could give a fellow blogger a Christmas gift, who would it be and what would you give them?

I'd give my good buddy Michael someone to share the rest of his life with who respects him and appreciates his wacky sense of humor and inexplicable love for Dr. Who and the Washington Redskins.


Dessert - What's something on your Christmas wish list this year that you need (not just want)?

I don't really "need" anything, per se.

Come See the World

My 25th Anniversary World's Fair blog gets props and a link in today's online edition of the News Sentinel.

The story is about the vendor with the kiosk at West Town Mall selling 1982 World's Fair memorabilia, hoping to drum up some interest in a 25th Anniversary celebration. A noble goal :)
"The whole point of selling the T-shirts was to gage what Knoxville's interest in a 25th anniversary celebration would be," [co-proprieter Ronnie] Wilson said. "Across the board, people have been really interested in it. The fair is so nostalgic. People are definitely proud of the fact that we were just a small city and hosted the world."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Halloween Comes Early in 2007!

The news is in! The title of the final Harry Potter book will be:

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is the title of author J.K. Rowling's seventh and final book in the wildly popular Harry Potter series. Rowling handed fans a special Christmas present this morning by unwrapping the eagerly awaited title on her Web site, jkrowling.com, launching feverish speculation about the meaning of each word and clues for the outcome of the series.
Speculation is running rampant regarding meanings behind the title. I'm just bummed because my guess was blown out of the water, "Harry Potter and the Disdainful Stare".

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Blogettes

Congratulations to a couple of local bloggers who recently welcomed new members of their extended families:

Rich of Shots Across The Bow has a new grandson, Mason.

Cathy of Domestic Psychology has a new niece, Elizabeth.

I'm sure they'll each be getting new laptops from their proud relatives any day now!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

How the Mighty Have Fallen...

My wife would probably laugh at me for posting this..

But let's put it this way - Tennessee fans out there, think back to when UT won the national championship in 1998. Great, huh? And for you Red Sox fans, remember when they won the Series 2-3 years ago? What an experience! Finally, there must be a time when your high school team won the state basketball title, or your cousin's Jr Varsity Lacrosse team won the Region?

Now imagine three of those championships rolled into the span of one or two weeks. Pretty exciting, heady stuff right? And wouldn't you feel like at least one of them would do nearly as well the following year, right?

Right?

(here's where the laughing starts)

Last year I placed 1st in all three of my fantasy football leagues. All Three. First place. Won the league, won the tournament, the whole thing.

This year?

Flopped in all three. Because of the less-than-stellar machinations of New Orleans QB Drew Brees, who was on two of my teams, and other factors they all lost in the first round of our playoffs.

So no three-peats this year.

I'm sorry, why all of you are out there laughing about how pathetically sad this sounds, I'm going to go off here and sulk.

Oh wait - one more thing that just makes it that little touch worse.

The aforementioned wife? Her fantasy team had a bye this week, and now plays my opponent for a shot at the championship.

Hmm...I think I'll try Fantasy Golf...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Yeah, This Is a Good Time To Post...

...when nobody's online.

Finally finished all my "productions" this weekend, culminating in the great Christmas youth drama/comedy Sunday morning. I'd be happy to provide details, but you'd just skip over them anyway so there's no real point.

So what's everyone's plans for Christmas Day and the immediate vicinity thereof? We'll be headed for Jackson, TN Christmas Day to visit the in-law relatives for several days. Probably will bump into Big Orange Michael at some point coming back.

Friday, December 15, 2006

World's Fair Anniversary Update

Check out my 25th Anniversary of the 1982 World's Fair site. A couple of updates, especially a link to a recording of Red Skelton reciting his inspiring "Pledge of Allegiance," and some photos I posted of the Tennessee Amphitheater from during the World's Fair.

The 25th anniversary is May 1, 2007 - Little more than 4 months away. What's Knoxville doing to commemorate this huge milestone? As far as I know to this point, not so much.

Anyway, enjoy.

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, December 15, 2006 - Feast One Hundred and Twenty Two


Appetizer - What was your very first job with a paycheck?

I worked as an usher at Halls Cinema 4 when I was in my first year of college - that was my first job with an actual paycheck. In fact I may have actually started that summer after I graduated before I started UT. Later the theatre upgraded to 7 screens, and I heard recently that it is now or soon will be closing. Bummer. I had a lot of good times in that theatre :)


Soup - Did you ever lose something really important to you?

I watched "Arrested Development" three times over a span of months, as a favor to Michael. Unfortunately that's an hour and a half of my life I lost and will never get back...


Salad - What is the best Christmas present you ever received?

A fiancee :) My wife and I publicly "proposed" to each other at the Wesley Foundation Christmas service at UT back in December of 1991.


Main Course - Tell about a favorite "hang out" place for you and your friends when you were in high school.

While it was never quite the equal of Arnold's on "Happy Days", after football games a lot of us went to Mr. Gatti's pizza on Clinton Highway. I enjoyed doing that. It's gone now, too.


Dessert - Name something that always brings a smile to your face.

My kids would be the sappy answer, but I always laugh if I'm watching "Who's Line is it Anyway" or "The Dick Van Dyke Show"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Well, That Was Annoying

Apparently the site filtering system my company subscribes to, our old friend WebSense, has decided that the Beta Blogger editing site falls under the category of "Sex".

I'm not sure how that happened...

Anyway, I'm home now and unable to blog at work for the foreseeable future. Which I'm sure has most of you just on your knees bawling, I'm sure...

UPDATE (12/15): Huzzah! It's not filtered anymore! So now I can waste more time posting from work. Like....I am right now.

And....now.

And...still now.

Wow. More time wasted. Hey, this is fun.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ponderances, Perplexions, Puzzlements...

Here are a few things percolating around my brain these days.

  • Remember the old hit song about the guy who's calling long distance information in Memphis, TN to try and find the number for his little girl, Marie?

    How dumb was his uncle to write the message on the wall, anyway?

  • Whose bright idea was it to remake "A Year Without a Santa Claus" as a live action movie? Amen, sister. I refuse to watch the Grinch or Cat in the Hat live actions as well as one of her commenters does.

  • I went to the mall Saturday afternoon around lunch for over an hour. Probably one of the worst times of the whole season to go to the mall, right? Wrong. People were friendly, it was crowded but not too much. Traffic was heavy but not too bad. I was able to park close enough to not have to hike. Sales clerks were helpful and friendly - not just to me but to other customers, cause I made it a point to watch. No pushing, shoving, raised voices, bad feelings. Where in the world do people actually find these rude holiday shoppers and workers I keep reading about?

    I think you bring into situations what you yourself possess, and expect to find. I'm typically a pretty friendly person and I expect to find friendly, good-hearted people. And that's who I find.

  • Why is David Cutcliffe's name not being mentioned in connection with the Alabama coaching vacancy? Should I mention Alabama grad David Cutcliffe? Should this fact in itself give me cause to worry?

  • Isn't the fact that we might be able to put a moonbase on the moon sufficient reason? Does everything have to have a zero sum cost-benefit analysis? Can't we just do cool stuff for the hell of it? I mean, we found 71 trillion dollars to fight the war in Iraq and didn't take a hit, we can scrape up a couple billion and go to the moon to stay, right?

    Oh, and...take me with you?

  • Why are anti-global warming pundits always so fired up to repute the facts of global warming, as they understand them? Regardless of whether our coal-fired emissions and auto exhaust and everything else causes holes in the ozone layer and is raising the temperature of the earth or not, isn't it still, like, a good idea to reduce that pollution if we can? So c'mon, lay off it the resistance - even if it's not necessarily going to affect global temperature or whatever, it's still a good thing.

  • Why do semi trucks continue to get free passes to pull out traffic and pull into truck stops around Lovell Road, while blocking cars all over the place? I'm just waiting to get behind a slow-moving semi getting on the interstate and suddenly realize the light's turned red while I'm still in the intersection - and then get zapped by the traffic camera. Not to mention the way they always line up and pull right into your path to go wherever they want to go.

  • (checking the political news) What...we still have functioning political parties in America? C'mon, give it up already!!

  • Why does December 30, 2006 loom ever closer and closer like a big black hole on the horizon, threatening to devour me and suck the ever-loving life out of what's left of my quaking, dessicated limbs?!?!?!?!?

    GUESS.

Safe Landings...

Long-time Knoxville traffic reporter Pete Michaels will attempt an emergency landing at Downtown Island Home airport around noon. Reportedly his landing gear is stuck and won't come down, so he's circling to burn up fuel before attempting the landing.

Godspeed, Pete. Good luck.

UPDATE: CNN has live video.

UPDATE 2: All clear. Belly landing successful. Return to your homes - nothing to see here...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Resolutions

Well, the work situation has resolved itself somewhat. My supervisor has worked her magic and whipped up a compromise, and my "nemesis" has apologized. I'm somewhat mollified, although there are still some unresolved issues. While the actual details of the problem have been addressed and clarified, the principles involved by and large have not. My job requires me to be the lead source of expertise on web design, how the internet works and how it relates to healthcare marketing and the the truth remains that I was completely bypassed in all areas.

Like I said, the marketing rep apologized and said she had had a lot of pressure from all sides to produce a working site and took what she felt at the time was the path of least resistance. She assured me that while she's never had a problem with my responsiveness to their needs or my skills, she knew I'm usually backed up with a number of projects at once and the third party they contracted with would be able to provide them with easy and personal access. And that she just took what she thought was the easiest path for everyone. I told her that I understand wanting things to work out the easy way, but next time to at least consult me for assistance and let me use the things I've learned to help pave the way.

I know, clear as mud without specifics... I've tried to keep the details and people vague, because as we all know it's bad juju to blog about work, but this is more of a personal thing to me than a work thing, really. It goes back to the old self-confidence/self-esteem/respect by others thing I mentioned a couple of posts back. It'll be awhile till those needs are met to my satisfaction, but it's a start.

So the manager and myself are ok, which is good. It's completely in my nature to forgive easily and I hate knowing that I'm carrying a grudge of any kind and anyone would be carrying a grudge against me. It is a bit of a load off my mind.

Now we'll see where the practical compromises arrived at this afternoon lead us, and whether they will actually solve the problems.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, December 08, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Twenty One

Appetizer - Which language would you like to learn and why?

I took several years of French in high school and college and still retain enough to be able to translate a little bit of the written language. Not much spoken. I'd love to be fluent in French. I just think it's a beautiful language to speak and hear.


Soup - What's the funniest thing you've heard or read so far this week?

Tink has been in rare form in the "Conversations" mode this week. That'll be a separate post... Suffice to say sometimes kids when they're angry or upset can really say some funny things...


Salad - Which movie was so bad you couldn't watch the whole thing?

I can't recall ever actually leaving a movie theatre or turning off a video just because it was unwatchable. The worst movie I recall seeing in the theatre was "The Stuff", a wretched little "horror" movie with an stupefyingly boring Michael Moriarty.


Main Course - If there were a holiday in your honor that didn't use your actual name, what would the day be called?

There already is: Father's Day.

(cue "awwwwwwww"'s)

No, if I were a big time famous dude who like, freed slaves or invented Jello or something, my holiday would be called: Arts Appreciation Day where all forms of art: music, dance, theatre, painting, etc. would be honored and performed/created. And they would serve nachos and dip, cause I love nachos and dip. And Cheese Bings from Old College Inn.



Dessert - Name one movie which is coming out soon that you would like to see.

I'd like to see "The Nativity". If the production quality is anything like "Passion of the Christ" it's going to be a heck of a film...

My son wants to see "Night at the Museum" because he just finished the book about the movie, and he started it before he even realized it was a movie that was coming out soon...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hierarchy of Needs

I've never seen this - what do you think of its use or value?

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a theory in psychology that...contends that as humans meet 'basic needs', they seek to satisfy successively 'higher needs' that occupy a set hierarchy. .

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as deficiency needs associated with physiological needs, while the top level is termed growth needs associated with psychological needs. While deficiency needs must be met, growth needs are continually shaping behaviour. The basic concept is that the higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus once all the needs that are lower down in the pyramid are mainly or entirely satisfied. Growth forces create upward movement in the hierarchy, whereas regressive forces push prepotent needs further down the hierarchy.
I found it very interesting to examine the levels of needs and use it as a guide to see what holds one back in life.

Based on my previous post, I see one notable area of deficiency - The Esteem level. At least in my work, I have a need for self-esteem, confidence, achievement and respect by others. I do not think it has affected my respect of others in a base way, except where circumstances have cause others to fade in my estimation of their professionalism.

I notice other areas scattered throughout the pyramids I feel lacking in as well.

I wonder, though at the Self-Actualization at the top - I don't feel a loss of creativity, though it's possible I just don't recognize it. It will take some thought to consider the other areas of Self-Actualization I have lost sight of while waiting for the baser needs to be met.

As I said, it's an interesting map to better understand oneself. Where do you feel some of your own basic needs are being unmet, and how does that affect your life and how you live it?

(Hat tip: Michael Williams)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Adrift

Whenever a show finishes, I sometimes feel a bit lost - as if I should be doing something, but I'm not. I feel like I should be getting ready to do something tonight, but all I have is a small church rehearsal.

It's not just creatively, either. Although I work full-time, I find I'm unable to devote my entire attention to my job (obviously that's never the case, since I'm typing this here at my desk). But it's moreso during a show. Now that the play is over, I'm trying to jump headlong back into my real job and I notice things I either neglected, set aside till later or just missed or let slide while I was "gone". One of them jumped up at me yesterday afternoon, when I learned that while waiting on a set of web updates to come from a particular department, said department decided to contract out to a 3rd party vendor for their services. Which completely circumvents the entire purpose of my being here - I'm charged with handling all web design for the whole company, and for someone to go behind my back and spend extra money for someone else's design is a huge slap in the face, an unprofessional action that involved deception and irresponsibility. Tomorrow I'll see the person responsible for it, and I will need to contain my own emotions and maintain professionalism when all I want to do is chew them a new one.

It's so wonderful to be appreciated for the things you do.

Meanwhile I received today a wonderful note from one of the members of my King and I band thanking me for the opportunity to play and complimenting me for how I handle that large part of a show. It was very kind and considerate of him to do so - he in fact had nice things to say about everyone involved - and in that case I felt quite appreciated, as if the things I do and work hard for actually meant something to someone.

We put up Christmas lights last night and the night before - I'll try and get some pictures if I can snap that 2-1/2 minute window between when I get home and when it gets too dark (see what I mean about hating Standard Time?). At least I get to spend a little time with my family now before everyone goes to bed...

We're gearing up for the first performance of "The Atomic Horns" just after the new year. It's a wedding, then we play a huge gig at a fundraising gala for the Oak Ridge Playhouse. I'm enjoying and looking forward to concentrating on the band for awhile and laying off the theatre. In fact, unless something irresistible comes up like a directing job (ha! talk about unappreciated...) I'm going to do nothing performance-wise but the band for the first half of 2007.

So at times I drift, sometimes I'm stable. Not sure which happens more right now I'm looking for a rope...

Monday, December 04, 2006

And What Was Your Sunday Like?

Here's mine:
  • 6:45 Get up, drive to church.
  • 9:00 Direct choir in big Christmas cantata with orchestra accompaniment
  • 11:00 Direct choir in big Christmas cantata with orchestra accompaniment again
  • 12:00 Run to Buddy's directly after last note of 11am service, pick up lunch for myself and Tink while Laura fixes Tink's makeup for the show coming up...
  • 12:30 Drive myself and Tink to Oak Ridge
  • 1:15 Prepare for performance
  • 2:00 Direct band for final "The King and I" performance
  • 5:00 Strike band equipment, load everything into car while helping get Tink out of costume
  • 5:05 Learn panic-stricken Tink believes she's lost her street clothes
  • 5:10 Find Tink's street clothes hanging where she left them, resolve panic
  • 5:40 Finish loading car, say last goodbyes, drive back to church
  • 5:41 Realize you left Tink behind, return to theatre
    (just kidding on the last)
  • 6:15 Get to church, grab bite to eat from youth supper, hand Tink back off to Laura who was there for handbell practice
  • 6:30 Rehearse with church youth for Christmas play coming up in two weeks. Rejoice because all of them get there eventually.
  • 8:15 Go home
  • 8:45 Spend small amount of quality time with family, watch Seahawks kill Denver defense and ruin my fantasy team's chances this week, watch replay of last second Titans field goal I taped earlier, cuddle with Tink and her wet hair just out of the shower, watch a bit of Harry Potter with BrainyBoy
  • 9:30 Rest of family goes to bed. I'm too wired to sleep. Watch more football. Eat popcorn.


And how was your Sunday?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Four to Go

The Tennessee Titans (5-7) have four games left in the season. Today they beat AFC Super Bowl favorite Indianapolis with a last second field goal, similar to how they beat the NY Giants last week with a last second field goal.

Tennessee has four games left to play in the season: Houston, Jacksonville, Buffalo and New England (all AFC teams). I believe Indy was probably the toughest team left on their schedule before today, with the Patriots running a close second.

It's very possible the Titans could end up the season, after starting off 05, at a respectable 9-7 or 8-8. Going by past history, it's entirely possible for a 9-7 or even an 8-8 team to make the playoffs. That's a very, very big IF but it's exciting nonetheless - especially they way the Titans have been playing of late.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Gas up again

Gas went up another 6 cents everywhere yesterday. Inexplicably. Amazing, wot?

Then I noticed this morning that the first station I saw go from $2.07 to $2.13 is now at $2.19. In two days gas went up 12 cents. I expect other stations to quickly follow suit.

Sorry, did a pipeline burst and I missed it? Did the price of crude suddenly rise? Whoops, quite the opposite although there are fears it might rise. Sometime. In the future. Whenever. Best to hike the prices now, before the holiday travel season actually starts, because, you know, people might be paying too little.

Expect it to go back toward the $2.50 mark at least by Christmas.

Blackout

No, not the power outage kind - although that did happen this morning at our house and apparently all over Knoxville.

I'm talking about why the Ravens-Bengals game on the NFL Network was blacked-out in Knoxville last night? What's up with that, NFL Network? You think anyone from Knoxville is going to drive four hours to Cincinnati and catch this game? The purpose of a black-out game is to keep locals interested in attending the game...

NFL Network, supposedly you're trying to drum up interest in your channel by televising these live games...

Wouldn't it help to, like, actually televise the live game?

Just a thought.

Citizenship Test

Frank at Left of the Dial has posted the first 10 of the proposed 144 new citizenship tests prospective US citizens are required to take. Since he challenged his readers to see how well they'd do, I thought I'd test my retention of Mr. Secrist and Mrs. Payne's American History/Government classes and see how I do:

1. Name one important idea found in the Declaration of Independence.

That all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights: the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


2. What is the supreme law of the land?

The United States Constitution


3. What does the Constitution do?

It sets up and explains our system of government, as well as spells out our basic rights and responsibilities as Americans.


4. What does “We the People” mean in the Constitution?

It certifies that the people, the citizenry of the United States are solely responsible for creating, upholding and following the laws of the land. The government is to be a servant of the people's will and not their ruler. We the people take it upon ourselves to create a nation, united together in a common cause in pursuit of perfection. We ourselves establish what laws will be created and followed, and how our people will be protected from within and without. We will help our fellow citizens and defend them, no matter who they are or where they live, ensure that all citizens are well and fairly treated and ensure that these freedoms are secure and stable to last for all generations to come. And we the people sign our names to this document, via our representatives, and swear to uphold these laws and guidelines.

Funny, I learned more about that question from Schoolhouse Rock than in high school...



5. What do we call changes to the Constitution?

Amendments


6. What is an amendment?

An alteration or addition to the basic rules of the Constitution that spells out a law affecting all citizens, regardless of state citizenship.


7. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

The Bill of Rights


8. Name one right or freedom from the First Amendment

The people have the right to free speech, and not have their ideas, words, writing, music, art or opinions regulated by the government or risk persecution, prosecution or imprisonment for holding and relating such views.

I think it's important for all Americans to remember that with that right we must be responsible with how we use it. Nobody has the human right to scream "Fire" in a crowded theatre, since it could immediately produce a panic that might bring harm. Similarly we don't have the human right to release information that might prove harmful to other people, especially in times of war or other conflict. There are moral differences between the legal rights spelled out in the 1st amendment and the human rights we all as civilized and responsible people should understand.



9. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

Wow - got me there. I'd have to look the exact number up... 25 maybe?


10. What did the Declaration of Independence do?

It established the 13 British colonies as a separate and independent nation, free from fealty to the throne of England and all taxation responsibilities, etc.


How'd I do?

Two Heads are Better Than One

Prepare to be creeped out, spellbound and amazed for about 9 minutes. Unbelievable.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, December 01, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Twenty

Appetizer - Have you ever flown in a helicopter?

No, but I would love to someday. I'd love to fly in a helicopter over Disney World or Washington D.C. or some big geological phenomenon like the Grand Canyon.


Soup - What color is your warmest coat or jacket?

I actually have an interesting coat that's blue with gold trim - it looks a bit like a letterman's jacket, actually, but thicker - with the 20th Century Fox logo on the front. I bought it at an auction a few years ago that Regal Cinemas had donated some items too. I've had several people come up and ask me when I worked for 20th Century Fox ;) Naturally I told them me and George Lucas were best buds and I came up with the idea for lightsabers.

Right, when I was, like, seven. ;)



Salad - What is your favorite rainy day activity?

Same as my favorite sunny warm day activity, laying on the couch reading a book. I've never gotten into the "mellow out to the sound of rain on the roof" kind of thing..


Main Course - Describe your hands.

Hm. My hands are average size I suppose, but my fingers are pretty long and dexterous. I've played piano for many, many years and computers are how I make my living so keeping my hands healthy and strong are absolutely essential to not only my hobbies and pastimes but also my livelihood. For instance I raked a bunch of leaves this past weekend and developed a blister at the base of my right thumb that burst while I was working. It was rather painful and, while it didn't hinder my playing keyboards for "The King and I" that weekend, as it healed and began to scab over it got tight and my right hand has a slightly narrower reach at the moment. Which is a major thing when attempting to span an octave on the keyboard at various spots. Little things can be important...





Dessert - If you could eat only one nut for the rest of your life, what nut would you pick?

That's easy - none. I don't like nuts of any kind. So, hooray for our side.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Top 5 Things I Learned When I Called My Cable Company Today

5) It only costs $9.95/mo. extra to get an HDTV-compatible set-top box.

4) It only costs $12.95/mo. extra to get an HDTV-compatible/DVR combination set-top box. Which I found it just asking a throw-away question about what's necessary to get a DVR... Score!

3) Knology actually gets the NFL Network! (I'm available to rent out Thursday and Saturday nights this month - $5 cover, no minumum)

2) I can watch Battlestar Galactica and Firefly in HD! (Ha!)

1) The new box gets installed on Saturday and requires no other equipment or setup besides the new box :)

Things I've Done...

Found at TN Girl - Copy, bold the things you’ve done, [italicize the things you would love to do] and post:

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink

02. Swam with wild dolphins

03. Climbed a mountain

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive

05. Been inside the Great Pyramid

06. Held a tarantula

07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone

08. Said “I love you” and meant it

09. Hugged a tree (All the tree-climbing I did as a kid counts, right?)

10. Bungee jumped

11. Visited Paris

12. Watched a lightning storm at sea

13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise

14. Seen the Northern Lights

15. Gone to a huge sports game

16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa

17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables

18. Touched an iceberg

19. Slept under the stars

20. Changed a baby’s diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon

22. Watched a meteor shower

23. Gotten drunk on champagne

24. Given more than you can afford to charity

25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope

26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight

28. Bet on a winning horse

29. Asked out a stranger

30. Had a snowball fight

31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

32. Held a lamb

33. Seen a total eclipse

34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run (I had an inside-the-park home run in softball last year. That counts, right? Right??)

36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day

38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment

39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 50 states

41. Taken care of someone who was drunk

42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country

44. Watched wild whales

45. Stolen a sign

46. Backpacked in Europe

47. Taken a road-trip

48. Gone rock climbing

49. Midnight walk on the beach

50. Gone sky diving

51. Visited Ireland

52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love

53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them

54. Visited Japan

55. Milked a cow

56. Alphabetized your CDs

57. Pretended to be a superhero (I still do that)

58. Sung karaoke

59. Lounged around in bed all day

60. Played touch football

61. Gone scuba diving

62. Kissed in the rain

63. Played in the mud

64. Played in the rain

65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China

67. Started a business

68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken (18 years and still going strong!)

69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class

71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight

72. Gotten married

73. Been in a movie

74. Crashed a party

75. Gotten divorced

76. Gone without food for 5 days

77. Made cookies from scratch

78. Won first prize in a costume contest

79. Ridden a gondola in Venice

80. Gotten a tattoo

81. Rafted the Snake River

82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”

83. Got flowers for no reason

84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas

86. Recorded music

87. Eaten shark

88. Kissed on the first date

89. Gone to Thailand (Does Siam count?)

90. Bought a house

91. Been in a combat zone

92. Buried one/both of your parents

93. Been on a cruise ship

94. Spoken more than one language fluently

95. Performed in Rocky Horror

96. Raised children (Working on it...)

97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour

99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country

100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over

101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge

102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking

103. Had plastic surgery

104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived

105. Wrote articles for a large publication

106. Lost over 100 pounds

107. Held someone while they were having a flashback

108. Piloted an airplane

109. Touched a stingray (Once. Once.)

110. Broken someone’s heart

111. Helped an animal give birth

112. Won money on a T.V. game show

113. Broken a bone

114. Gone on an African photo safari

115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears

116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol

117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild

118. Ridden a horse

119. Had major surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet

121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours

123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states

124. Visited all 7 continents

125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days

126. Eaten kangaroo meat

127. Eaten sushi

128. Had your picture in the newspaper

129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about

130. Gone back to school

131. Parasailed

132. Touched a cockroach

133. Eaten fried green tomatoes

134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey

135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read (I never read any Mark Twain and started to read "Tom Sawyer" but never finished it because the book started falling apart. I need to go back and finish.)

136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

137. Skipped all your school reunions

138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language

139. Been elected to public office

140. Written your own computer language

141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream

142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care

143. Built your own PC from parts

144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you

145. Had a booth at a street fair

146. Dyed your hair

147. Been a DJ

148. Shaved your head

149. Caused a car accident

150. Saved someone’s life (I saved another kid from drowning in a pool once when I was a kid. Well, there were other folks around who probably would've helped but I was closest and actually pulled him over to the side)

What More Compelling Reasons Do You Need?

Less sun, more sneezing - Theory suggests that a shortage of vitamin D triggers outbreaks of flu
As the annual flu season looms, some scientists have this question on their minds: Why now?

For more than a century, physicians have recognized that influenza sweeps the Northern Hemisphere during the winter months, typically peaking here between late December and March.

In a paper scheduled for publication next month in the journal Epidemiology and Infection, a Harvard University-led team proposes that a vitamin D deficiency caused by inadequate winter sun exposure may predispose people to infection.
This is one of the most compelling reasons to date for extending Daylight Savings Time to all year round. Let's keep that extra hour of sunlight in the winter as long as possible, to keep folks exposed to the Vitamin D that much longer. Sure some people would still exist in the darkness of the early-morning hours just as much, and there's nothing anyone can do about the length of the days in the winter, but every little bit helps.

And so far the only reason I've ever heard floated out for keeping Standard Time is the old "kids at the bus stop in the dark" complaint.

I think the positives from afternoon sun far outweigh the negatives and it's once again time to look into eliminating this outdated tradition.

What's Going On

  • Second weekend of "The King and I" is over, two days of school shows Tuesday and Wednesday plus the final weekend starting Friday night.

  • Christmas Cantata Sunday morning I'm leading with 10-piece orchestra and full choir. No solo this year...well, not a typical solo - I'm doing puppets in one number. After that and the final "King and I" matinĂ©e that afternoon, I'll be finished with most of my major performance responsibilities for the year.

  • Youth drama comes up in three weeks, with rehearsals scattered about until then.

    It's nice to be taking my breather this early in the season - we're usually booked solid throughout December, now (knock on wood) we may have a less hectic Christmas this year.

    It's kind of like a football open date coming mid-season instead of late...

    Speaking of football:
  • UT Vols: Unimpressive win over Kentucky that was over much later than it should've been. Arian Foster, RB, needs to pack it in and warm the bench with perennial fourth-stringer David Yantzey. The two times one-time starter Foster touched the ball, he ran backwards or was caught in the backfield. Apparently a combination of the early-season injury, his mid-season arrest for fighting and losing his starting job has caused him to lose any competitive spirit he once had. He's now a liability to the team and shouldn't see playing time unless desperately needed, especially not on special teams. I feel sorry for the guy, but he looks like Eric Ainge did last year - maybe next year he'll bounce back, too.

  • Who else but UT could accomplish two fourth down conversions in a game-winning drive? And who else but UT could once again stop Kentucky on a 1st-and-goal to preserve a lead and a win (see 1987)?

  • How much longer can the Vol Network continue to give the game-calling responsibilities to Bob Kesling? I'm sure he's a nice guy in real life and he has a great radio voice and personality, but the sheer volume of mistakes he makes during a broadcast are embarrassing. Michael is on record as hating the TV announcers for their bias against UT, and I have to have the local analysis of the game while watching it at home, but it's simply painful to hear constant missed downs, missed distances, missed player names or numbers, missed estimates of how far for a first down, etc. Some of it could be chalked up to bad spotters but someone who's really good at what they do should cover those mistakes.

    As much as I love hearing Mike Keith call the Titans games, he belongs at home behind the, er, mike at a UT game. Come home, Mike!

  • Speaking of the Tennessee Titans.......

    Music City Miracle II

    Each of the five teams left on the schedule is beatable - with the Colts next week being the toughest test, followed by the finale at home vs. New England. Other than those two, we have Houston and Buffalo (better than average chance) and Jacksonville (a toss-up). It's quite possible the Titans could end up with a 9-7 or 8-6 record after starting 0-5.

    Playoffs? Still highly unlikely, and we'll probably end up 6-10....but hey, Miracles happen in Nashville more than once....!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, November 24, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Nineteen

Appetizer - Have you ever changed a flat tire by yourself?

Yes, a couple of times. It's not much fun.


Soup - Do you have an "innie" or an "outie" belly button?

An "innie". Who wants to know?


Salad - Name a new paint color and describe it.

"Turqa" - that weird color halfway between blue and green that's not quite turquoise, not quite aqua, but the horrible half-existence in between. Sometimes seen on faded Howard Johnson roofs or old 60s's kitchen counters. One of the worst colors ever pigmented.


Main Course - What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Listening to "The Cinnamon Bear" radio show with my kids.


Dessert - If you were a cookie, what kind of cookie would you be, and why?

I'd be an oatmeal raisin because I'm kind of lumpy but full of little sweet fruit. Oh, man, I just described myself as Louis Anderson. Help!

Monday, November 20, 2006

New Book Coming Out Soon...

"How I Would Have Aired the Special and Published the Book if I'd Actually Decided to Air the Special and Publish the Book", by Rupert Murdoch.

Conversations

(This one was actually between Tink and Brainyboy in the back seat on the way to school this morning).

Tink: Do you know what I saw written on a car when I was at the birthday party [she attended as a guest] yesterday?

BB: No, what?

Tink: (pause, leans over to whisper to BB) psst psst psst psst..

BB: Wow..

Tink: (to herself) That's just inappropriate....




Apparently the car had "I'm so sexy" written on it somewhere.

My Christmas List

You can buy me anything on this list.

Heck, anything at that website would be fine ;)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

"The King and I" Opens Tonight

It's time. Tonight is the open performance for "The King and I" at the Oak Ridge Playhouse. We run for three weekends - come out and enjoy a night at the theatre.

Cultures clash in exotic Bangkok when an English school teacher is hired to instruct he many children of the King of Siam. A classic Broadway musical featuring one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most beautiful musical scores.
Pictured above are Robert Tenyson as The King and my good friend Laurie Bowles as Anna. Laurie was the lead in the first production I ever did at Oak Ridge, another Rodgers and Hammerstein, "Oklahoma!" back in 1997. We've crossed creative paths here and there since then but it's been several years since I've worked with her and she's a pleasure to know and a wonderful talent.

As always, if you come to see the show I'm the guy waving his arms at the orchestra and playing the electonic keyboard. My buddy Michael V. is once again churning out the bass and I'm glad to have him with us again. In fact three of the other four members of the orchestra (Michael, Carey and Patti) were with me last year in "Annie" and I hope to keep the team together with my new pianist Emily for future productions. It's hard to believe I've gone from begging for help to having a regular "troupe"!

I promise I'll have a photo of Tink in her Siamese garb soon. Keep watching!

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, November 17, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Eighteen

Appetizer - Do you believe there is intelligent life on other planets?

I think there's a great chance there is life on other planets, of lower orders. Whether there is intelligent life I don't know. I'd like to think so because it's impossible to imagine the heights we could reach learning from other cultures' art, literature, music, philosophy, etc. I would be afraid it would throw religious beliefs into a whirlwind so I'm nervous of that... Life? Yes. Intelligent? Not sure. Maybe by the time we find some intelligent life on Earth we'll find some in space ;)


Soup - What is one thing you said you'd never do, but you eventually did?

I always told myself I'd be skinny my whole life and never weigh over 200 pounds.

Oops.



Salad - Who is the teacher that influenced you the most in school?

I had several great high school and junior high teachers - Mr. Roberts was a young guy who taught 7th grade science that was very cool and accessible. Mrs. Mayer was a very supporting and encouraging Jr. High choral teacher. Mrs. Payne and Mr. Secrist were engaging, funny and creative teachers of American History and Government in High School. Mrs. Woodall and Mrs. ....um...can't-remember-her-name were amazing AP English and Literature teachers my junior and senior years. But no one really stands out as having influenced me personally in a profound way. I think if you asked my parents they would actually say it was Mrs. Morgan who taught me in first grade and Mrs. Steed in fifth grade. They tell me they recognized and encouraged my potential and really set me on a good path at the beginning. I don't remember much about them except what they looked like (from old photos mostly) and their voices, but there you go. Thank you Mrs. Morgan and Mrs Steed. :)


Main Course - If you could trade places with anyone for one day, who would it be and why?

The first thing that pops to mind would be to trade places with the guy who just started playing Javert on Broadway in "Les Miserable" or whoever's playing The Baker in the biggest production of "Into the Woods" currently running. After that, maybe an astronaut on the International Space Station or the Space Shuttle.


Dessert - What is your favorite dish to prepare?

The only dish I prepare is the dish I scoop my food into from the hot pans or containers and sit it down at the table. I don't "prepare" food that way...the results would be toxic..

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Update

I haven't posted much lately because I've been completely consumed with Music Directing "The King & I" at the Oak Ridge Playhouse. Last year I chronicled my experiences as MD of "Annie" here with my Diary of a Musical Director series and wanted to continue this time but there just hasn't been nearly as much of interest to comment on.

That, the funeral, and the fact the elections last week dominated the blogosphere so completely has lessened my enthusiasm and energy somewhat for a lot of things.

My interest has also waned on writing my NaNoWriMo story, "Secret Identity". I've posted six chapters so far online and invited commentary, criticism, etc. but have yet to hear from anyone. I have no burning need to write to exorcise my own personal demons so I thought I could rely on some external support and feedback but since there hasn't been any I can't get a real need to continue. If any of you are reading and interested in where the story goes I will try and keep going but please let me know.

I know that's no reason to write, just like it's no reason to blog - to expect feedback. Well, at least I hear people say that. I have to have the commentary back and forth to keep the creative posting going. I can't simply pour my life out in individual posts throughout the day, attempting to make sense of it all in my head - nobody cares that I ate a half a bag of chips and some crackers last night for supper, nor that I couldn't get to sleep until about 3am because of all my personal mental gremlins that won't release me when I go to bed. Does that interest anyone? No, probably not.

Ok, enough running off at the blog. That's where I stand at the moment. Good picture of Tink coming up later this week as she starts her theatrical career as a Royal Child to the King.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Power of Focus Groups

Everyone hates negative attack campaign ads, mudslinging, candidates who focus on the faults or perceived faults of their opponents and not on their own qualities and strengths. Everyone hates the incessant commercials, the unwanted recorded phone calls. Yet every election time we get them and in great quantities. Despite overwhelming dislike and even revulsion at the political process, all of the above continue unabated.

By the time Halloween is over, Christmas decorations and advertisements start appearing. As Thanksgiving approaches, so do the "holiday" commercials and TV specials. "Rudolph" is airing this year on Novermer 30th. They're not even waiting till December! There is Christmas merchandise already in every department store and drug store and we're still two weeks from Thanksgiving. Do people really begin stocking up on Christmas merchandise this early, and would retailers lose significant money by waiting? Everyone complains about the early commercialization of Christmas and there's not a soul out here who enjoys hearing Christmas Carols before the jack-o-lanterns have been thrown out. Yet the shopkeepers, the ad companies, the TV networks and the rest of the nations retailers persist in this practice.

Speaking of TV networks, for the last five years or so we've been subjected to an increasingly bizarre array of "Reality shows" on television. While Reality shows have been around for years, ranging from Candida Camera to Real People to the more recent COPS, only recently has the trend taken off to reach epic proportions. At the beginning of this cycle we had Survivor, Big Brother, and of course The Real World. But since then we've endured more and more outlandish versions of the same concepts, either a group of people are forced to live together under unusual circumstances or unmatched couples are paired up in some strange way. Each season brings shows with less and less taste, and for the most part the American viewing public is a bit sick of the whole concept. Yet every few weeks, a new one starts up on one channel or another.

And then, even under persistent evidence to the contrary...some people in Nashville continue to be Vanderbilt football fans. That's a real headscratcher. But I digress.

All that to say, why do campaign strategists, ad companies, TV executives etc. continue to assume these things are what the public wants and is clamoring for? While less a case can be made for the lessening popularity of Reality shows (the ratings are still up - people are still watching them and making advertisers happy) I can't imagine if you polled 100 random people on the street even one would admit they think the current level of extremely negative campaigning is a vital part of the election process, or that Christmas decorations and advertising starts at just the right time. Not one. So why does it persist, in the face of such widespread disdain?

Somehow, somewhere, small bunches of Americans are pulled together in Focus Groups and their brains are picked. More informally, people are polled and surveyed twenty degrees from Sunday. The results are tabulated, calculated, formulated and prognosticated and the resulting conclusions create the state of politics, advertising and programming we see today.

But that's not the only indication that these practices work. In numerous situations, the candidate to sling the most mud subliminally creates the impression that his opponent does not deserve to be elected. And it will sometimes work. While we hate the Christmas stuff being up already, how many of you have bought a Christmas-related item already? How many of you continue to tune into My Cousin Married A Castaway on Fox?

If you want these things to go away, resist them. Resist the temptation to vote against one candidate - instead find reasons to vote for a candidate. If you hate commercialization of Christmas, don't put out your lights until December. And for God's sake, turn off the intelligence-insulting Reality Shows.

Don't become a one-person focus group.

Inevitable

Gas prices just jumped about a dime.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Conversations


As Tink and I are performing "The King and I" these days, we've spent a lot of time in the car together. Last night we were listening to the CD recording of one of the productions. The actress that plays Anna has a very operatic voice.

Tink: You know, opera singers have to have big breasts.

Me: *blink blink* What did you say??

Tink: I said opera singers have to have big breaths to hold all those notes out so long..."Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"

Me: Um, yep right. They do...


That's what I get for half-listening to a conversation. Although she wasn't really wrong either way...

"Secret Identity" - Chapter Five online

"Secret Identity" - Chapter Five:

http://lasthome.wordpress.com/2006/11/08/secret-identity-chapter-five/

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It Kinda Goes With the Job Description....

The electronically challenged:
WBIR producer Rob Lloyd says he didn't get to cast his vote at the Farragut polling center this morning and he's not happy about it.

He says he did cast his vote for the governor's race, but then couldn't figure out how to make the electronic machine move forward to the next race in which he wanted to vote. When Rob asked a campaign worker to help him move past the governor's race to the Senate race, he was instructed to "push the red button." But when he did this, he was informed he had finished casting his votes.

Rob tried to explain to the election worker and her supervisor that he had not finished casting his votes when he was instructed to push the red button, but they told him there was nothing they could do.

Rob says he's very disappointed that he was prevented from voting. He also says that if he can't figure out how to work these fancy, electronic voting machines, he worries that older voters will have a truly difficult time.
I don't know. I'm kinda less worried that all the poor, senile old folks in Knoxville can't figure out how to turn a little wheel than I am that a TV Station executive can't use a device not much more complicated than a TV remote. It's not a F-15 you're trying to fly here, kids.

But that's just my opinion...I could be wrong.

"Secret Identity" - Chapter Four online

"Secret Identity" - Chapter Four:

http://lasthome.wordpress.com/2006/11/07/secret-identity-chapter-four/

Monday, November 06, 2006

For Everyone Out There...

...with a bumper sticker that has some variation of the word "WAR" with a red line through it similar to this one I saw on a car yesterday...

Roger Simon:
"You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."
-- Leon Trotsky
It's fine to be against war. Nobody wants to be at war, nobody wants our nation to attack another nation for political gain or expansion.

But to be against war that already exists, and has existed not just since 9/11 but for decades even while the Cold War was still raging, is to be as shortsighted as I am nearsighted without my contacts.

We can't just decide to stop making war and pull away. The war will follow us here. Again. And again. And we were never the aggressors in the way our enemies are. We can't just stop and leave. We have to finish what we started.

"War - what is it good for? Absolutely nothing."

Yeah, that's right. When you're the one perpetuating it. In this case it isn't war, it's self-defense as surely as Normandy and Hiroshima were self-defense back in the 40's. If our enemies were to suddenly say, "We give - we're tired of fighting. Go ahead, leave us alone and we'll leave you alone" we would, and the violence would cease. If we said the same thing to them and offered up the proverbial olive branch, the violence would increase, and increase, and increase until there was no stopping it.

Oh, and please, please, please read Donald Sensing's site here and here. And if anyone has rebuttals to any of his points, I'd love to hear them.

Note: the other sentiments expressed in the bumper sticker above are up for discussion. But not here. I'm just pointing out the --WAR-- one.

Knights and Sorceresses

A little late, but here's Sir BrainyBoy the Knight and Sorceress Minnie (Tink) from last week.

Other Tennessee Football Awards

Rocky Top Talk, a fine UT football news site, missed a couple of post-UT/LSU game awards:

Best The-First-Time-Was-Just-to-Warn-You Award: Early in Jonathan Crompton's first series, he calls an shift that causes a Chinese Fire Drill in the Tennessee backfield. All the backs and receivers run around each other for a moment, then shift to a 3-wide set to the right. Crompton play-actions and gives to Arian Foster for a run off-tackle to the left. Stopped for no gain.

Later in the second half, Crompton calls a shift again. Everybody in the backfield dances a gavotte and a jig until three receivers line up wide - this time to the left. "Foster off-tackle to the right," I said. Crompton play-actions again, hands off to Foster who runs off-tackle to the right. LSU, appreciating the practice against that play in the first half, takes Foster down for a loss. Entire LSU Defense waves to David Cutcliffe in the press box to thank him for the rehearsal.

When I can actually tell what play is being run, you know we're being transparent.

Worst Waste of the God-Given Right to Play-Overturning Instant Replay: LSU's fumble during their final drive that, if noticed and called correctly, would have snuffed their advance at midfield and probably sealed the win. Unfortunately it wasn't reviewable due to...um, due to...something about the moon being full and a dark horse riding through the streets of town or something. I don't remember. Anyway, it wasn't a fumble, and more UT defensive hilarity ensued.

Best Rerun: A UT defense giving up key 4th-and-relatively-long conversions on game winning drives. How many times have we seen it? Remember the UT/Georgia game about 6 years ago: Travis Stephens had given UT the lead with a long screen pass reception for a TD with a minute to go. A short kickoff gave UGA the ball near midfield and they drove 60 yards in about 50 seconds to win the game. Plus there was the 1990 1993 Bama game where they drove to tie us in the last seconds on a David Palmer 2-pt conversion. Florida converted two 4th-and-long plays on a final game-winning drive several years ago. It's a recurring nightmare for Tennessee to protect a precarious lead late in the game, or even protect their 4th down chances.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I've Had It With...

...the incessant, unsolicited and unwelcome telephone calls from supporters of Harold Ford, Jr and Bob Corker - mostly Harold Ford, Jr. - using a recording to remind me to vote, and remember what their candidate has done for his constituents, and what values they pretend to adhere to, etc. etc. etc. Not a day has gone by in the last two weeks or so when Caller ID shows a (615) 000-0000 number, or others similar to it as faithful followers pound the computer keys and send out the recorded messages over the phone lines.

I know that non-profit companies are somewhat exempt from No-Call Lists, but I think allowing political advertising over the phone to be exempt as well is a Bad Idea. And it should be prohibited. Not just because I don't believe your messages, don't trust your sincerity, or don't really think either one of you will be particularly good for me, Tennessee, or the United States serving in the U.S. Senate (not that either one could be much slimier than Bill Frist or Fred Thompson). I just don't think you should be forcing your message into my home by a seemingly innocent phone call. Luckily I have Caller ID so some calls can be screened (thank you, Knology) but sometimes I'm not near the TV and my answering machine has been filling up with recorded nonsensical babble from two would-be politicians who don't believe in what they're professing and only serve their own interests and the interests of their Political Parties. And I don't want a part of it.

So stop, please.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Chapter One of "Secret Identity" is online NOW

Chapter One of "Secret Identity" (working title) is online NOW:

http://lasthome.wordpress.com/

Feedback and comments are not only welcome but begged for... Without positive reinforcement, my enthusiasm wanes quickly ;)

Friday Meal Replacement

Since our good buddy Logtar's such a swell guy who eats his Froot Loops like any other semi-normal person, I'm going to do his Friday Meal Replacement meme.

1. When was the last time you drank a full glass of water, and do you drink water regularly?

I do actually drink water fairly regularly. The tap water at my house is surprisingly good, and unless there's some tea in the house I'll drink 2-3 glasses at night. I haven't actually drank any the last couple of days, though.


2. Name one food that you do not even put in your mouth.

Long time friends and readers know I won't touch anything that is or has peanut butter in it. But for sake of variety let it be known I have never, and will never, eat radioactive waste from Y-12. Or octopus.


3. You have an awesome meal… but you don’t know what kind of meat it was… after finding its an exotic animal what do you do?

Depends on the animal, and how much I liked it. If it was octopus, though, it's coming right back up so stand back.


4. What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

Probably curry, during a progressive Christmas dinner several years ago (remember that one, Michael?). In fact, I remember that day very well. It was the night of the 1997 Heisman Trophy awards that were Stolen from Peyton Manning (bitter? nahhh). I also went to bed that night and got sick as a dog, ending up missing our Christmas cantata the next day when I had a solo. Ah, memories...


5. Would you eat a Madagascar hissing cockroach for money? … how much would it take?

If you could guarantee my mortgage paid off, my cars paid off and tuition paid for both kids through high school...I'd eat one. But, as with octopus, stand back...

Helpful Hint For Those Seeking Healthcare Employment

When inquiring about a job in the healthcare field, it might help not to ask about job openings for a "sergical teck".

Just trying to be helpful...

A "Lost" Episode 3x05 Conundrum...

Ok, I've seen this week's Lost. If you haven't stop reading now and go read my story ;)

Anyway, so Ben tells Jack he feels God or fate or whatever caused a spinal surgeon to drop out of the sky two days after he was diagnosed with a spinal tumor. Ok, fine. What that tells us is that before the crash none of the Others knew a) that there was going to be a plane crash (they were all surprised to see the plane coming down in the big season-opening flashback this year) and 2) even though they seemed to have planned for some such eventuality (Ben sends Ethan, etc to infiltrate the survivors right there on the spot, they already know to prepare a "list") they don't know at that point who is going to be coming their way.

But then why does Ben ask Jack why he never noticed Juliet looks remarkably like Jack's ex-wife? If you follow what he seems to be hinting, they used an ex-wife look-alike to try and win Jack's confidence.

But...Juliet was already right there on the island when the plane crashed. And they didn't know Jack was onboard, so why would she already be there? The story Ben tells Jack doesn't make sense that that part was all planned.

I have two possible explanations - one is that Juliet is actually related to Jack's ex and they realized this at a later date (after the crash but before the abduction). The other is one I've had since last season, that there are an elaborate set of twins (or "twinners" as Stephen King might put it) among the Others and Losties. For some reason I think Libby has a twin that may just pop up since her stint in the Mental Institution doesn't seem to match up with her established back stories (not just that she was a clinical psychologist, but also set Desmond on his round the world cruise). It's also possible there are two "Juliets" - one that's sympathetic to Jack's cause that was brought here later, and the other that we saw witness the plane crash.

There's also evidence in the first few episodes this season that Juliet may not have been able to be in two places simultaneously. She may also have some history with Sawyer. More food for thought.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

No NaNoWriMo Yet

As you can see, nothing yet. This week is just too crazy to wrap my brain around so far.

Tonight, chapter 1 - I promise!

I hope. Maybe.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

National Novel Writing Month 2006

Today is the first day of the National Novel Writing Month, in which participants are challenged to write an entire 50,000-word novel during the month of November.

I've decided to give it a go, and will be posting periodic installments over at my WordPress site just to keep things separate. I'll put a notice here whenever there's a new installment - please give me comments and suggestions as time goes along.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a first line idea. I will definitely use one of them... whoever's I choose will get special mention as a character name somewhere in the book! (more incentive to read the installments)...

Chapter 1 will be posted later today. Stay tuned, and thank you.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Top 10 Words That More or Less Rhyme with "Brico"

In honor of Tish's call for Top 10 Lists to celebrate her boytoyfriend Brico's birthday, I present:

Top 10 Words That More or Less Rhyme with "Brico"

10. Crisco
9. Rico
8. Tivo
7. Freak-o
6. Meco (Beware - Sound!)
5. Leko
4. Coleco
3. Citgo
2. Schadenfreude

And the #1 Word that More or Less Rhymes with "Brico"....

1. Whipped

Thank you, good night everyone! Happy Birthday Brico!