Monday, March 27, 2006

NYC - What Is It About You?

This Wednesday afternoon we leave for New York City.

BrainyBoy and Tink are both in a show choir in Oak Ridge called "Sound Company" - well, that's not quite accurate. BB is in "Sound Company", which is travelling to New York for a show-choir competition Friday morning. Tink is in "Sound Company Too", the younger kids version, which is not competing. She is along for the ride.

We leave Wednesday afternoon with 1000 other elementary, middle school and high school age screaming kids and their equally screaming parents on several buses. We'll camp overnight in a nice hotel in Harrisburg, PA, then continue to our main hotel in New Jersey on Thursday.

Thursday night we have free, so a number of us will be taking in The Lion King at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway. Just in time, too, because TLK soon moves over to the Minskoff Theatre to make room for Mary Poppins, which opens at the New Amsterdam in October.

Friday morning is competition, but we'll be done by around noon. After that we have the whole Friday free to explore Manhattan. Plans are to visit:


That evening we've scored tickets to the preview of Tarzan at the Richard Rogers Theatre. I'm a little nervous about what we're going to see in a preview based on this story, but hey, it's a Broadway play. Who cares.

Saturday is another free day until mid-afternoon when they hold the awards ceremony. That evening all the competitors and their families are treated to a cruise around New York Harbor.

Sunday we leave at crack'o'dawn, driving straight back to arrive in Knoxville late that night.

Should be a great trip. I'll have pictures to post when we get back.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Memories, the Dark and Frightening Corners of Our Minds...

I did this a couple years ago but Tish brought it up, so it's time once again for everyone to post their favorite memories of the us together. Yes, you and me, gentle reader - what's the best "memory" you have of our long and complex relationship? Answer in comments...

Friday, March 24, 2006

This Just In...

Huge blast rocks French college
"A huge explosion has ripped through a chemistry institute in Mulhouse, eastern France, killing one person and injuring another.

It is not yet clear what caused the explosion. It is believed to have happened in a ground-floor laboratory."
There are unconfirmed reports that the last words heard coming from that ground-floor laboratory were, "Hey, what would happen if I poured this into here--?"

Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow...

(sorry)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

State Religions...

Following their defeat in World War II, the Emperor of Japan issued a statement renouncing his claim to being a "Living God", and Japanese believed the hubris of an Empire's lust for territorial conquest blinded it to matters at home. The U.S in post-war reconstruction required the Japanese to disband their state support for Shinto, which from the mid-1800's to that point had been the State-sponsored religion. While I'm sure there was initial resistance to the move at the time, Japan has prospered and Shinto has matured into a less-militant and more private, home-based religion with little ill effects.

Obviously, this was pushed for by the U.S. in self-defense as much as it was for the good of the Japanese people. A conquered nation of individuals still adhering to the tenets of Emperor-worship and other divine ideals such as kamikaze would've caused endless trouble for Americans and possible fueled a future reemergence of Japan as an enemy (see Third Reich, Germany, 1933, Establishment of). By discrediting and disbanding a state religion that up to that time had been responsible for the deaths of thousands of individuals on both sides in the war, Japan became a safe and prosperous nation.

Afghan man faces death after leaving Islam for Christianity

Abdul Rahman told his family he was a Christian. He told the neighbors, bringing shame upon his home. But then he told the police, and he could no longer be ignored.

Now, in a major test of Afghanistan's fledgling court system, Rahman, 42, faces the death penalty for abandoning Islam for Christianity. Prosecutors say he should die. So do his family, his jailers, even the judge. Rahman has no lawyer. Jail officials refused to let anyone see Rahman on Monday, despite permission granted by the country's justice minister.
Even though the Taliban was defeated 4 years ago, Afghanistan law is trumped by Islamic sharia law, which according to the prophet Muhammed demands that anyone who leaves Islam should be killed.

Should the U.S. follow historical precedent and disband Islam as the Afgan state-sponsored religion? Can we afford to? Can we afford not to? Obviously the times and circumstances are different - as far as I know, Shinto was not widely practiced outside of Japan. Islam is practiced around the world, and in the U.S.

The big quandary is for the U.S. to push for the freedom of the individual, Rahman, to practice his religious freely, we should also push for the Afghans to practice their religion freely. And in their religion, leaving Islam = Death. Where do you draw the line? Do we make the unilateral, humanitarian choice for them that while all religions are created equal, some Religions are more Equal than Others? Do we assert that it's a crime against humanity to murder someone for their religious choice? If so, do we prosecute that crime with deadly force (effectively breaking our own law by enforcing it)?

It's a tough, tough question. I would imagine it would inflame more passion than it would protect. But it's a horrible practice to kill someone who dares leave your religion. Should we be politically fair or morally practical?

Can I go back to bed?


UPDATE: There are reports that he may be freed - but the courts are hemming and hawing. International pressure can be a productive thing, especially when it's the right thing to do...

Because You're Mine...

...I Walk the Line.

Actually, I walked the line last night and finally got a chance to watch the big-screen biopic of Johnny Cash that was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

My thoughts, not that they're totall relevant anymore, but here goes.

I've never been a big Johnny Cash fan. I love the song, "Ring of Fire" and enjoyed hearing some more of his music during the film but I've never really connected with it. Cash was part of my household's country music repertoire as I was growing up, along with Tammy Wynette, The Statler Brothers, Dolly Parton and Tanya Tucker. But other than that one song, and a little bit of "Walk the Line" I wasn't familiar with much of his music. So I went into the movie with a bit of a blank slate.

To briefly summarize the movie, Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) rose from cotton-growing obscurity to country/rock/bluegrass stardom in the 50's and 60's, touring with future greats like Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and oh yeah, some kid from Tupelo named Presley. And of course, future wife June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) joined in here and there. Johnny was married with kids at home while he was on the road, all the while flirting with and chasing June from town to town. Eventually the booze and the pills catches up to Johnny - he loses his family, his fame, his self-respect and bottoms out face down in the rain. Only with the love of a good woman, Carter, and her famous down-home family does Johnny come in from the storm. And the rest is history.

The most famous plot in history is the story of a guy with good intentions who screws up his life, turns it around, and finally redeems himself. Most every story or movie ever created has this theme in some fashion. Of course, no story about a musician could be any other way (or VH1 would have no programming) so we see Johnny follow his dream of being a singer. Since being a rock-n-roll musician is in the blood of people like Johnny, it's in his soul and it's his fire, and it can never be quenched. Being a salesman and supporting his young family is secondary to him - the music in his heart cannot be denied so he cuts a record, goes on tour and leaves the responsibilities behind to his wife. We're all expected to "get it" how some musicians have to express those fires in their soul through their music, and how wives and family are just supposed to deal with their absence and grow up without them.

Sure, as Johnny gets big he sends home money that puts his wife and kids in nicer houses but he never spends emotional time with them or participates in their lives.

But hey, as long as he has the music...

Then we see his continuing infatuation with June Carter - he resists the impulses at first, but an attractive young groupie and a friend with an envelope full of pulls start him down the road to standard musican carousing. Wine, women and song lead him around and around the charts, greater success and closer to June while his family waits at home.

Even those of us unfamiliar with Cash's life know he's headed for an inevitable crash. And it happens. Johnny wanders about in a half-withdrawal/half-addled haze for the latter part of the movie, making half-hearted attempts to reconnect with his family and June at the same time, neither of which succeed. Finally at an ill-fated Thanksgiving in his new lake-side home in Hendersonville, TN with all his family present (minus his wife, who has since left him) Johnny is finally allowed to confront his tortured demons. June, of course, ministers to him - takes him to church, incidentally, where apparently Johnny finds God - cleans him up and they both live musically ever after.

So the moral of the story is - no matter how bad it gets, you can always crawl back out from under. And if you have the fire of music in your soul it has to come out or it will eat you alive. And the love of a good woman conquers all.

Johnny, your tortured struggles to overcome the bad things that happened to you in your life are legendary. Do I feel a surge of triumph for you when you end up coming out ahead in the end?

Nope. Not really.

It's interesting to try and understand this American concept of the "fire in the belly" that often punctuates movies about musicians. Most Elvis movies have it, it's probably in the Buddy Holly story, "La Bamba", "Great Balls of Fire" and a hundred others. It's even part of "Amadeus", although he was just bonkers. For some people there is a real or imagined torture in their lives that they identify with and somehow feel performing music is the only way to purge it. Even Cash's tortures were in some way imaginary - he sang about being in prison when he'd never been in one until later in life. That they were metaphors for the "prison" of an unhappy childhood were obvious (his father preferred his pious older brother to him and rejected Johnny after the older brother was killed in an accident) and it supposedly fueled that righteous rage and anger within him.

It's a common American story theme. We're supposed to admire such people with such passions, cheer them on as they struggle against the oppression of fate and sympathise with the soul-sucking hand they've been dealt in life.

I say too freaking bad for you, pal.

He had what he needed - a beautiful wife, two beautiful daughters. And he turned his back on them. He turned his back on them to chase some Impossible Dream. Johnny's windmill was country/rockabilly music and it didn't matter what he had at home. It didn't matter what responsibilities he'd willingly accepted as long as chased his dream. What, his wife wouldn't support him completely? Raise the kids by herself? Be quiet and quit complaining when he sent home the checks every week and stopped back in for a visit when not on tour? What did she want from him, anyway? He had a dream to pursue and demons to excise. Captain Cash had to hunt his whale...

Well fine, dear. Since you're being so unreasonable he'll just take up with the little Southern Jewel herself, Miss June Carter. And start taking pills. And drink himself plastered every night. Hey, he's taking responsibility for his life, right?

Right?



I knew Johnny eventually marries June. That's part of history. So I knew his marriage to his wife would eventually fail. Seeing how he just lets it slip away was maddening, no matter how sweet and lovable (and fairly noble) June was. She did truly love him and was able to bring him back out of the depths to a bigger success later on but I never got the impression Johnny loved anything or anyone but himself. He loved himself so much, and he loved those demons so much, and he loved that "fire in his soul" so much that he sold out everything he had to please himself and his own ego. And maybe later in life, after the scope of the movie he came to realize what a jerk he'd been earlier but it's not really evident in the movie. And there are also stories of how the first wife wasn't entirely blameless in the whole situation, but I'm going by what's in the film itself.

So Johnny, you get no sympathy from me. I assume the movie-makers intended to get it by the end of the movie but I feel pity for him. He destroyed a woman who loved him, ignored his kids and avoided seeing them grow up, was a drug addict, an alcoholic, a philanderer. But as long as you "redeem yourself" in an American movie, all is forgiven. But not by me. If he'd avoided all the temptations or made restitutions for all his infractions along the way he'd be a much nobler character. But not this way.

I've recently been going back through the home video I shot of my kids, from birth to learning to walk, to first words, to birthdays, to Christmas....everything. Seeing BrainyBoy as a 2-yr-old again brings back particular emotional flavors of love and pride I haven't felt in years, and they're very very sweet. I wouldn't trade those years with my kids and wife and family for anything.

But some people choose to ignore those years, because they have a fire in their soul. And we're supposed to cheer them on for it.

Hey, enjoy yourself pal. Go Walk your Line. But you'll never get that life back.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My Question of the Day

Why doest the FCC "require" certain AM stations to go off the air at sunset?

There's an AM talk station in Knoxville that seems to to now carry the Hugh Hewitt Show (WETR AM 760). James Lileks occasionally makes guest appearances on his show, and I'd like to hear him sometime. But a number of times the guy comes on about 6:15 and says, "Due to FCC Regulations, we must now close our broadcast day. Goodbye."

Why?

Top 10 Things That Have Really Gotten Old on 24

10) How people can get from one side of LA to another in like five min--- oh, skip it. It's just not worth it anymore.

9) Chloe's uncanny ability to call up any information in the world, anywhere, at any time. "Want the ultra-top secret WET list? Gimme one second.........Got it! Anything else?" She must have hot keys programmed on her keyboard for every database in US (and global) Intelligence.

8) That every terrorist attack takes place in LA. What, Kansas City not a tempting enough target for ya? How about Fargo? Dover?

7) The wanton disposal of long-time or major cast members, amazingly at or within five minutes of the top of the hour for all. (Terri, Mason, Chappelle, Sherri, Palmer, Michelle, Edgar, Tony)

6) Female information brokers who only want immunity, signed by the president, vetted by lawyers, notarized in 12 states and delivered to her Hotmail account in Sanskrit before she'll spill her guts. And then she goes free. (Nina, Mandy, Collette - aka Mandy 2.0)

5) The neverending supply of terror minions that always seems to replenish, no matter what just happened to the last batch.

4) Stupid or evil Vice Presidents and their men.

3) Perimeters that never, ever, ever work. No perimeter has ever been set up by 24 security after a suspect has escaped or a terrorist attack has been committed that has captured anyone. It's a joke.

2) Someone working on the inside at CTU that turns out to be a bad guy/mole. (Just too, too many to list. Nina was the first and should have been the last)

And the #1 Thing That Has Gotten Really Old on 24...

1) The everpresent new person who has to come in, take over CTU, and "get things on track again." (Alberta Green. Ryan Chappelle. Tony/Michelle/Buchanan last year. Lynn McGill. And now Karen Hayes)


UDPATE: I wanted to add this great truth. However dumb the subplots get on 24, we must always remember: Jack Bauer does not jump the shark. The shark swims over and asks permission to jump the Jack. Jack will then proceed to throw the shark against the wall, choke the shark, demand to know who it's working for and proceed to trade it net immunity and a copy of the DRY list for what it knows. Because, as we all know, that shark is their only lead, the perimeters have failed and the superiors at Division have sent the herring to bring him.

Startling New Letter Found

Historians have unearthed a strange document in the archives of Elektra/Asylum records. It appears to be a letter from a mysterious hotel near Cabo San Lucas to the family of someone named "Ron Benley". Judge of it what you will:

Monday, March 20, 2006

I'd Like to Write Something. Really, I Would...

Ever have so much you'd like to get into, but everything that's of interest to you is either to complicated or convaluted you'd end up talking more about background than the subject? Or everything else would require so much background explanation that you'd never get around to the point?

That's how I feel lately. I have thoughts about the 3rd anniversary of the Iraq invasion, humor writing, what American teenagers are supposedly doing to each other in the hallways of their schools these days, whether even the best-skilled and best-attentive parents can end raising a child who goes off the deep end, Tennessee sports, raising the ire of blogger friends and how difficult it is to correctly express subtext in the printed word, why "24" is really bugging me by killing off the best characters, why "The West Wing" has become such a wonderful but impossible political utopia...

Got any preferences? Thoughts? C'mon, somebody engage me. Let's talk about something.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Final Letter from Brenda to Eddie

Dear Eddie,

I wanted to let you know I enjoyed our dinner the other night. Meeting with you again after all this time was difficult, but being back at The Parkway made it much more comfortable. It seems we were destined to begin our relationship, end it there, and finally say goodbye to it one last time.

You were sweet to remember the old wine bit. Red, white, rose... I never could make a decision which to have with our meal. Even when it was The Parkway Diner and I was trying to choose between different a Coke and Pepsi, you were always charming about it. The lasagne was excellent as it always was - there's something about having a favorite dish you haven't eaten in years and it bringing you right back to the old days.

I appreciate the chance to talk about where we came from and where we're going. Things seemed so simple when we were just teenagers - bright futures, cold beer, hot lights, fast cars, adventures. Even when we got married the adventure was still out there just waiting. Eventually, as you well know, reality strikes and adventures conclude. Money got tight, the arguments began... well, no use bringing up the things you remember so well.

I'm sorry if this is going down a strange path - I have no desire to disrupt your new life. I may not have appeared so, but I'm glad you remarried. Nothing makes me happier to know you have a new life, a better job and that your family is still doing well. I always wanted the best for you, Eddie, I really did. My life didn't turn out quite the way yours did, and I think you recognized that.

Thank you for the compliment about my weight. It was at that point I almost gave in last night and told you everything, but I just couldn't. Couldn't at least, till now. I'm thinner than you remember me because of... well, you know cancer has run in my family for years and years - my mom and grandmother both died before they were 45, and now, well, it looks like it's caught up with me.

Don't be angry that I didn't tell you last night. The look in your eyes was so full of contentment and peace I didn't want to spoil it by telling you the real reason I wanted you to meet me. But I couldn't let it go without giving you the truth. It's been going on for a while, and it's been a battle - and now the battle's finally almost over.

Eddie, do you remember the Senior Prom? That night was the first night you really kissed me and told me you loved me - the silly crowns they put on us finally blew off when we left in your convertible, but I didn't care. At that point I could see we would be a part of each other, no matter what. Even if everyone said we were crazy. I know now we weren't, at least not in the ways that mattered.

I'm sorry...I'm not sure what I'm trying to say, or why. Last night was the last time we'll ever see each other, Eddie. Tomorrow morning I fly out to Texas where I'll try one more experimental drug combination, but I don't expect much and neither does my doctor. Not in so many words, but he doesn't believe I'll be coming back. So this is why I decided to write this to you instead of saying it last night when emotion would've overcome the necessary words.

You and I were together for more years overall than I've not been with someone. From our sophomore year in high school, through the good times and bad of young married couple life to the...I suppose inevitable end. We were too alike to stay together, each too much of a free spirit to put away the youth and live like adults. I wonder what would happen if we met each other for the first time today, if it might be the same and yet different. But I can tell you have a very happy future with your new family and I have... well I have whatever the future holds for me.

Together we introduced each other to a joy of living we ultimately couldn't share together. I think after we split up it gave you stability and purpose - I wish I could say the same.

But it's ok. I can still remember how things used to be - the engineer boots, the leather jacket, the jeans. The jukebox in the corner that still has the Johnny Horton song... the damn waterbed.... ha.

I'm about done now, Eddie. Thank you, for showing me the time of my life. Thank you for teaching me how to love lasagne, and red wine, and how to live life. I plan to keep on living it the way we both learned to, right to the end.

Thank you for dinner, Eddie. Take care of yourself, and maybe we'll see each other again someday. Every so often, have a drink for me - a bottle of red, a bottle of white, whatever kind of mood you're in tonight....

Brenda


------------------------------------


Dear Brenda,

I'll meet you any time you want,
In our Italian Restaurant.

Eddie








Reference here and here







UPDATE: Ok, here's the genesis of this post. At this site are posted a number of "follow-ups" letters about famous songs. For instance, the latest one is a rebuttal to Carly Simon from the object of her song, "You're So Vain," where the guy complains about his rotten treatment in the song. And there are others that are hilarious, so I thought I'd give it a try with one of my own. So I racked my brain for story-type songs and came up with my favorite Billy Joel tune, "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant". Except as I just started writing it, the melancholy nature of the tune took over and it became a (hopefully) serious piece. If there's any interest, I may try again with another song - this time a little more light-hearted. What do you think?

Bold Prediction of the Year...Possibly the Decade

Tennessee's #2 seeded men's team will advance farther than the #2 seeded Lady Vols in their respective NCAA tournaments.

You heard it here first, folks.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Eye on the Prize, Pat...

Apparently Lady Vols head coach Pat Summitt is none too happy with her team's #2 seeding in one bracket of the NCAA tournament.

From WATE:
Despite active lobbying by Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt for a number one seed, the Lady Vols received a No. 2 seed in the Cleveland Region of the NCAA Women's Tournament Monday night.

Summitt tried to make a case for a number one seed, pointing out Tennessee's number two ranking in Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and number one ranking in schedule difficulty.

Though they are the most successful team in tournament history, the Lady Vols haven't won it since 1998.
According to the WATE Sports Blog, Pat Summitt told her team this was “a slap in the face” for them and their program. After winning the SEC Tournament in Little Rock, and beating Auburn, Georgia and LSU (a number one seed) to do it, the Lady Vols felt they had done enough to deserve a top seed.

You know, Pat, far be it from me to tell someone like you how to coach your team but if you spent a little less time worrying about the NCAA relying on your past glories to guide the seeding and a little more time working on the fundamentals and team focus that were lacking in losses like the one on the road to Kentucky you might have a better seeding.

From ESPN:
That's a slap in your face," Summitt said after watching the selection show with her players at her Knoxville home. "It's a slap in our program's face. I guess it's my fault for putting together the toughest schedule in the country year in and year out. But as far as I'm concerned we got no respect and I don't understand it."

Joni Comstock, the selection committee's chairman, explained on ESPN that the RPI is only used as a tool for seeding. She said Tennessee's four losses hurt a chance for a top seed.

The Lady Vols lost at Duke, at Kentucky, at home to LSU and at home to Florida. The losses to Kentucky and Florida marked the first time Tennessee has ever lost to two unranked teams in a season.
I'm typically as much a Pat Summitt fan/apologist as the next person, but we've seen a noticeable downturn in intensity, player talent and overall quality of the Lady Vols basketball program in recent years. They let Geno "Guido" Auriemma and the UConn Huskies take over as the preeminent program in the country, stepped back several places in the average national rankings, etc. I just think it's time to not worry about "respect" and being "dissed" and worry about proving the seeders wrong.

Get to it. Shore up the play, jack up the intensity and win the games. Then the respect will come. Don't keep relying on the memory of Chamique Holdsclaw and Tamika Catchings and the 3 straight NCAA titles of the late 90's to keep you going. Make your own history. Now's the time.

And while your at it, make sure the men's team does the same? Thanks.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ok, One something...

Quote of the decade from UT Football coach Phil Fulmer:
"We’re not very mean upfront yet. It just looks like two butterflies making love out there to be honest with you."
How great a quote is that?



UPDATE: Photo added because it was too good to resist. Found at Tom Bishop Photos via Google Image Search. I wanted to properly attribute the photographer.

Nothing

I got nothing.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, March 10, 2006 - Feast Eighty-Four

Appetizer - On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how intuitive do you think you are?

About an 8. I can almost always tell a person's mood from how they speak or act, so I usually sense when someone's intentions are different than their outward appearance.


Soup - What is your favorite kind of gum?

I hate gum. All gum. Yuck.


Salad - Name a CD you own that you would never get rid of.

Well, I can always buy a new copy of most any CD I might give away or lose, but I have a compilation CD of clips from "The Haunted Mansion" at Disneyland, the regular ride sound effects and music, plus songs from the Christmas version and Disneyland Paris. It's great to listen to at Halloween. Although I still have the clips on the computer, if they were gone the CD would be irreplaceable.


Main Course - When was the last time you said something you didn't mean?

"You talk too much". She really didn't talk too much, I just wanted to kiss her ;)


Dessert - What is the sum of the numbers in your birthdate? (Example: 3 + 2 + 1 + 9 + 7 + 9 = 31)

1 + 2 + 3 + 0 + 1 + 9 + 6 + 6 = 28

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Personality DNA

Who knows how to interpret this, but it's pretty. I haven't fully read the results yet, but it's probably pretty accurate.



My Personal DNA Report

Rutlhless - the Post-Mortem

My bass player friend Michael (who had a blog but recently shut it down, so I can't link to it) asked me if was going to give a final report on "Ruthless!", the show I just finished at the Oak Ridge Playhouse.

I'd love to give some great analyses of the show itself but I didn't see it. Literally. We were behind the set the entire show and could only hear the dialogue through a monitor in front of us. David, the Musical Director, had a TV from which he could see the action on stage and time the musical cues off the visuals but he was the only one who could see it.

Well, I take it back. I could see parts of the show twice. Once when the set opens up and we're wheeled out on stage to provide a lounge act-type backup to one of the numbers. There we were in our mustard yellow jackets and black bow-ties....and then we were gone again after the song was over.

The other time was at the very end - throughout the play, the mom, Judy, makes references to her husband Frederick who is never seen. She and her daughter are the only ones who know him, and all their relatives never seem to know who he is. At the very end, after everyone is dead and lying all over the stage Frederick finally makes an appearance - "Honey, I'm home!" - looks around bewilderedly, pours a drink, shrugs, and exits. That was me. I was a last minute addition as a cameo appearance.

So that was about it - the music was probably more difficult and complex than it needed to be. A lot was takeoffs and riffs on other musicals such as "Gypsy", "Hello, Dolly," etc. David is an excellent pianist but was too critical of himself - he was a nervous wreck by the time the show opened. I hope he manages to calm himself down. Cary, the drummer is great - he and I may be actually working together again soon in a horn band that's being formed by one of the members of the cast and her husband. Apparently they're looking to put together a performing group somewhat like the Tower of Power Horns and a regular rock/standards band, and needed a keyboardist and drummer. They'll be doing things like Johnny Cash, Elvis, Jimmy Buffett, and everything else you can think of. So I'm looking forward to that.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Politician's Goal

I've just realized what every politician's real goal in life is.

To gain a level of prominence and importance that, if they were shot and killed, the media would report them as assassinated rather than murdered.

I don't know why that distinction just occurred to me but hey, there it is.

Blogging Against Sexism

Logtar writes:
"Withough even knowing about it, tomorrow is Blog Against Sexism Day, I blogged about it on Sunday. If you have nothing to write about tomorrow, go ahead and give us your point of view on this very real issue that affects our world. Wether American culture trying to make Barbies out of our young girls, or woman being reduced to being property on some place in the world."
I replied on his site, got a little long-winded and accidently hijacked the post. Sorry, Logtar :) Here's my comment:

--------------------------------------

Interesting topic, and one of those that’s so over-reaching it’s good sometimes to come at it from the beginning.

First of all, what exactly is meant by “making Barbies out of our young girls”? Does that mean the media and commercials and toys push the girly-girl stuff on young women as they grow? Some girls are very feminine when they’re young, some are very tomboy-ish. As they grow they may stay that way or switch back and forth. I think it depends on their nature and the how much influence the mom is on that type of girl-lifestyle. If the mom’s really feminine it will influence the daughter in some ways. If the mom’s not so feminine, it will influence them in other ways. Either way I don’t think the culture has a whole lot to do with it.

…Or does it mean they’re being taught the “Barbie” persona, in that girls should stay cute, stay quiet, and use their looks to get ahead in life? I don’t really think that’s such a cultural norm that resistance to it is futile - with or without parental influence one way or the other. I think however the parents decide to raise their girl is the way she’ll be raised.

Bottom line - culture and media has less to do with how kids turn out than we think it does. Parents just are willing to cede their control to the culture, and give up a lot of the nurturing and shaping of their children’s culture. It always is and always will be ultimately up to the parents how much popular culture affects their children, and if they turn out to be subservient Barbies or oversexed vixens, don’t blame MTV. Blame mom and dad....

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Best of TV Quiz

Cut and paste the questions in a comment and add your own answers!

FAVORITE TV MOM: Florence Evans
FAVORITE TV DAD: Andy Taylor
FAVORITE ENDEARING NERD: Radar from "M*A*S*H"
RUNNER UP: Chloe from "24"
FAVORITE SHOW, NOSTALGIC: "The Dick Van Dyke Show" "Land of the Lost" (I didn't really think about this question. It should be which show is your favorite that instantly transports you back to your youth or childhood. "Dick Van Dyke" is nostalgic for everyone - "Land of the Lost" is extremely nostalgic for me.)
FAVORITE SHOW, EVER AND EVER, AMEN: "Star Trek" (All)
VERY CLOSE RUNNER UP: "M*A*S*H"
CHARACTER I KINDA WANTED TO BE WHEN I WAS A KID: Will from "Land of the Lost"
CHARACTER I REALLY WANT TO BE NOW: Hawkeye Pierce
CHARACTER I REALLY AM: B.J. Honeycutt
BEST TV HOUSE: The Brady Bunch house.
BEST ROMANCE: Rob and Laura Petrie
BEST FINALE EPISODE I CAN REMEMBER: "All Good Things" from Star Trek: TNG
FAVORITE EPISODE EVER: "The Coming of Shadows" (Babylon 5)
RUNNER UP: "Love's Labour Lost" (E.R.)
FAVORITE RANDOM LINES: "There were no survivors..." (M*A*S*H*), "History favors fools, little children, and ships named Enterprise" and "Mr. Worf...fire." (ST:TNG), "I'm gonna need a hacksaw" (24), "I never got to tell you how much I loved you" (Archie Bunker's Place), "As God is my witness - I thought turkeys could fly..." (WKRP in Cincinnati)
CHARACTER I WOULD MOST WANT TO BE STRANDED ON DESERT ISLAND WITH: Jamie Buchanan (Helen Hunt) from "Mad About You"
BEST CHEMISTRY: Jamie and Paul Buchanan ("Mad About You")
BEST DREAM GUY: Um, no.
BEST DREAM GIRL: Jamie Buchanan or Laura Petrie
SUPER FANTASTIC BESTEST MOST GREATEST THING EVER: "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" (M*A*S*H)

Seen (and altered a bit) at Sarcomical

Friday, March 03, 2006

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Feast Eighty-Three

Appetizer - How many pillows and blankets do you sleep with?

One pillow, though I have two really nice soft and squishy ones... unfortunately having two under my head tends to give me backaches the next day. So the spare stays at the foot of the bed. I sleep under a sheet and a comforter, unless it's particularly cold then we'll use a quilt my grandmother made for me some years ago.


Soup - What are you currently "addicted" to?

I tend to get "addicted" to ideas, games, TV shows, projects, etc for short periods of time then lose interest. In the past coupld of years, I've tackled geneology, writing a novel, "The West Wing", Civilization III, copying old videos to DVD, and others. Most of these fascinations tend to fade shortly after I start them, although some do persist.


Salad - If you could make a small change to your current routine or schedule that would make you just a little bit happier, what would it be?

Have the ability to get off work at 2:30 and pick my kids up from school, bring them home and spend the afternoon with them. But that would necessitate me going in to work about 6am, or working weekends. I feel like I'm missing a small but vital part of their childhood, since we usually have plans in the evenings and we don't get a lot of just "downtime" together, nor do the kids get to just come home and crash for a while after school.


Main Course - Which adjective do you find yourself using often?

"Totally..."


Dessert - Have you ever picked up a hitchhiker?

No, but I mentioned to someone the other day that if I didn't have to worry about being attacked or putting my family in danger, I would be happy to pick up hitchhikers. Ah well.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Boy and his Magic Golden Flute

Jack Wild dies at 53
"Actor Jack Wild, who played The Artful Dodger in 1968 film Oliver!, has died at the age of 53. Wild was nominated for an Oscar when he was just 16 for the role. He also starred in late-1960s US children's fantasy TV series HR Pufnstuf.
Pufntstuf was second only to Land of the Lost as the media event that basically defined my childhood. I know a number of you watched and remember this show, about a little boy named Jimmy who was lost with my magic flute, Freddie, on an island filled with talking dragons, owls, mushrooms and a fanatical witch with a cynical castle.

Wild of course was also the Artful Dodger in the 1968 musical, "Oliver!".

He was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2000 and lived the last several years of his life without a voice box or a tongue. Years of heavy smoking and drinking led to the deadly combination that lost him the ability to speak, and ultimately, his life.
Wild recently said: "Until I was diagnosed with mouth cancer, I'd never heard of it.

"What I learned very quickly was that my lifestyle had made me a walking time bomb.

"I was a heavy smoker and an even heavier drinker and apparently together they are a deadly mixture."
So long, Jimmy. Hope you finally made it home.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Confessions of a Salty Mind III - Here We Go Again

I must be a sucker for punishment.

As chronicled the two of the previous three years (Confessions of a Salty Mind and Confessions of a Salty Mind II) I'm resolving to give up chips and chip-related snacks for Lent.

2003 was more successful than 2005 (I skipped 2004 because I was out of town for most of Lent, and who can be out of town and survive a Lenten covenant?).

I've resolved to not eat potato chips, cheese snacks (like Cheetos), or tortilla chips (Doritos, Tostitos) until after Easter, which is April 16. I've made allowances for crackers and I'm going to try very hard for popcorn, although giving up popcorn would entail giving up movies and that's like giving up air.

One reason I'm doing this is to drop some pounds - I'm bad about late night snacking, and I'm certain that's a big part of what's keeping the extra 20 pounds on me that I don't want. Last year I actually dropped about 15 over Lent, and that was with limited success in the sacrifice department. Hopefully this year I'll reach of goal of breaking the 200-pound mark (in reverse).

Another big reason is the fact that I have hypertension, and too much salt is not good for high blood pressure. Although I keep it under control with medication, it's still not a good idea to tempt fate.

Finally, the real reason is I need to practice self-sacrifice. I need to show I can be committed to a goal, reflect on my spiritual life and set an example for my kids. I may even ask them to try and give something up.

Here we go. Um, could I have just one more? No? Ok...

Blingo! Blingo! Blingo!

Blingo!, the Google-esque search engine with prizes, is starting a March blitz tomorrow (March 1, 2006).

Apparently they're upping their prize giveaways to a huge degree - if you sign up as a "friend" of someone who's already signed up, then if you or the friend win a prize the other wins a prize as well.

So, since you're all my friends...

Blingo

"Barry has invited you to visit Blingo and join Blingo Friends.
Blingo gives away prizes every day just for searching the web:
58 prizes yesterday and 1,452 prizes in the past 30 days.

To visit Blingo and see your invitation, click here (or
paste the link into your browser):

http://www.blingo.com/friends?ref=Y2j%2FxG1%2FtfQIgK1Zs%2B2NfZCBRZs"


I use Blingo all the time, hoping for that rare search when I'll win an iPod Nano. Or Amazon.com gift certificates, or movie passes, or whatever they're offering.

Go for it! Signup and (hopefully) win!

Thanks, BusyMom, for the tip!)