Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Pushing It Down

For someone reason, I'm hesitant to post anything - simply because each successive post pushes the picture of Maureen McCormick down just that little bit further from the top of the page....

*Damn* did it again...

UPDATE: Here's Vickie's contribution to the cause:


Before we left home for school this morning, L. reminded me, to remind Gigglegirl:

a) Don't forget your jumper and ballet shoes after dance practice this afternoon, and

b) Don't forget to give your teacher your folder (with some papers she needed to see)

So off we go. When we get to school, both kids are getting out of the car, and as GG gets out, she turns back to me and says, "Well?"

Me: Well what?

Her: Remind me!

Me: Huh? Remind you wha-- oh. Don't forget your jumper and ballet shoes this afternoon...

Her: (Nodding, hands on hips) And..

Me: (Rolling my eyes) Don't forget to give the folder to your teacher.

Her: Yep. Bye, daddy...

Who's the parent here? I forget.

Violins in the Streets

I got an email news alert from my local TV station, with this headline:

News Alert! KSO Investigating Possible Shooting

I had to do a double take, because I couldn't quite figure out why these folks were involved....

Actually, they meant the Knox County Sheriff's Office, but for as long as I rememember it's been referred to as the Knox County Sheriff's Department - abbreviated KCSD.

Well, if I get an email saying something like the KSO has broken up a prostitution ring, I'll wonder if it was a case of illicit sax and drums.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Speaking of Greg Brady

I watched the TVLand Brady Bunch 35th Anniversary show last night.

I'm sorry, L. I love you and all that stuff, but I've renewed my mad crush on Maureen McCormick (Marcia).

Still hot after all these years....

Pet Peeve of the Day

Prepare for a completely useless rant.

My name is Barry. It's been Barry for most of my life. In fact, probably all of it. Rumor has it that I was born with it. My parents chose it because they didn't want a name that was easily nick-named. Except for one early friend calling me "Bear", Barry is all I've even gone by.

Well, except for "Mad Dog", but that's another story.

Anyhoo - how many of you out there have ever heard of other people named "Barry" in your life? Besides me, that is. There's Barry Sanders, former NFL running back. Barry Williams was Greg Brady on the Brady Bunch. Barry Goldwater was a politician. Barry Bostwick is an actor. Barry Manilow writes the songs...well, you know. Barry Allen was the secret identity of The Flash.

You get the picture. Not the most popular name, but not unknown, right? Surely everyone out there has at least heard the name "Barry" before...

And, more importantly, knows how to spell it?

Ok, now think - how many people have you every known named Berry? First name, not last - forget Chuck, forget Halle. First name?

I Googled "Berry" just to see if there were any references to anyone who spelled their first name B-e-r-r-y. The closest I found was Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records. Any others? I couldn't really find them.

So why....why....why when I tell someone my name, 99% of the time, they write it down B-e-r-r-y? I want to ask them, "Why?? Why??? When have you EVER heard of anyone named Barry whose name WASN'T spelled B-a-r-r-y??"

Sure, it's petty. But how would you like it if your name was constantly mispelled, for no reason? It's not like it's a hard name like oh, say, Fistandatilus? Penelope? Aloisius?

This is a painful burden I've been forced to endure for years. Please, all you waitresses and order-takers out there - spell my name correctly. It's for the children.

Ok, that's my totally pointless rant for the day. I'm done. Go back to your grape juice.

The Good, the Bad, and the Pink

What a weekend.

In the midst of an intermittent fever, random fits of coughing and sneezing and general malaise:

1) Gigglegirl turned five. We took her to Build-a-Bear at West Town Mall, and she picked out a bright pink and white unicorn, which she affixed a bright pink princess hat and a bright pink saddle.

Brainyboy (v8.6)'s attempts to claw his eyes out were unsuccessful.

She'd already picked out a name, "Wishful" - but this unicorn's nickname is "Sparkle". No, I don't get it either.

Back to grandparents house for dinner, cake, ice cream, and more princess presents....

2) BrainyBoy had two soccer games, one Friday night, one Saturday morning. He's just started playing last spring and he's still figuring out you have to actually go to the ball to kick it, but he did score a goal in one game.

Less than a week now till we leave for DisneyWorld. If it's still there, that is....

Friday, September 24, 2004


I'm sick. Sneezing, coughing, wheezing, temperature. I'm staying home.

But thank God it's not a stomach thing. I can take 15 head colds, but not that....

Tomorrow is Gigglegirl's kindergarten birthday party, and hopefully I'll be well enough to drag myself to her school and help out.

She turns 5 on Saturday :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Theatre Thursday

Week 18 - The Big Screen.

The very first movie I [Misty] ever watched on the big screen was Home Alone. Now that cute litle boy is being arrested for drug charges.

Do you remember your first time?

1. Do you remember the very first time you watched a movie on the big screen? Describe it.

I remember my dad took me to a re-release of Song of the South at Knoxville's Tennessee Theatre (this was back when you could actually see the movie somewhere). Googling the movie, this would've been in 1972 or 1973, so I was about 6 or 7. I remember looking up and marveling at the high, art deco ceiling (see photo).

As an aside, the first movie we took BrainyBoy to see was Mulan when he was two. There was a trailer for the remake of Mighty Joe Young that about scared him out of his wits - imagine your first time ever seeing a film on a screen that large, and it's a giant, roaring ape?

The first movie we took GiggleGirl to see was Fantasia 2000 (do you detect a trend here?) when she was just one - she was younger, and slept in her carrier for a good amount of the movie. The final segment of the movie, "Firebird Suite - 1919 Version" starts off all sweet, and beautiful and melodic - until the Firebird awakens with a great crash of percussion and drums, and frenetic, fiery action on the screen. Let's say GG woke up in a hurry, and let everyone in the theatre know it as well.

2. What was the last movie you saw on the big screen?

Benji: Off The Leash!, which is about the oddest little movie I've ever seen. It looked like Joe Camp's film school senior class project. Haphazard editing, 70's dialogue and an almost incomprehensible plot, but the but cute characters almost make up for it. Fun, but strange.

3. Did you ever like a movie so much that you paid to watch it more than once? If so, what movie?

All the original Star Wars movies I paid to see multiple times. I think I saw A New Hope about 17 times in 1977, all told.

BONUS) How much does a movie ticket cost in your neck of the woods?

Benji cost our family of 4 about $25 (2 adults, 2 kids). That may be the most I've ever spent for all of us to go to the movies.

I used to work at a theatre in Knoxville back in the mid-80's, and I remember then adult tickets were $4.00 and kids were $2.50, so the same experience would've only cost $13 bucks back then.


Anybody here? Anyone?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Seen In Skies Above New York Today

And I Have It!

Review forthcoming....




One Shining Moment

I was sitting here at the PC, late in the evening. The kids' rooms are down the hall from me, and both were asleep - as was my wife, L.

It's quiet, but I hear a murmer - a muffled sob. Gigglegirl.

Being the ever-diligent dad I am, I walk into her room to check on her.

She's barely awake, a little frown on her face and a quiet sniffle.

I tuck her legs back under the covers and brush her blond hair from her eyes. She turns over, squirms for a moment to get back into a comfortable position.

I notice she has no stuffed animals nearby, so I grab her favorite big blue stuffed fish. I tuck it into her arms underneath the blanket.

I lean down and give her a quick kiss goodnight. In her Snow White nightgown, she looks up at me, smiling. Her lips purse up in a little smooching shape.

I bend down again, and she kisses me on the cheek. Closing her eyes, she falls back to sleep.

Standing there a moment, I tell myself - once again - that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be.

On the cusp of heaven.

"West Wing" Words of Wisdom

Corruptio optimi pessima
- Corruption of the best is worst

from the fifth season episode "An Khe"

Monday, September 20, 2004

It's a F-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ke!

CBS: Bush Memo Story A 'Mistake'
"In a statement, CBS said former Texas Guard official Bill Burkett "has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents" and "admits that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report, giving her a false account of the documents' origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source."
And Rather begs your pardon...

Saturday, September 18, 2004

From Goat to Hero

I've never seen a kicker go from missing the potentially game-tying 4th extra-point to hitting a game-winning 50-yard field goal before Jason Wilhoit tonight, as Tennessee beats Florida at home 30-28.

The two true freshman quarterbacks, despite 3 turnovers, were great - Eric Ainge played more than Brent Schaeffer this time, but that was mainly due to Tennessee struggling to come from behind most of the game.

The defense was porous early in the game, but came through in the end when it was needed.

Tennesee was penalized once - ONCE - for 5 yards.

This team is special.

UPDATE (09/20/04): Sorry, we had another penalty for "Excessive Celebration" after the winning field goal. Plus there were two holding penalties on kickoffs that were declined. But who cares??

(all together now) All...By...My....selllllf

L. and the kids are gone for the day on a trip to West Tennessee, and won't get back till late tonight.

So, until the Florida/Tennessee game tonight - I have nothing to do all day.

Do you hear that? Nothing to do. All Day!!!!



Guess I'll go back and lay down on the couch.


Friday, September 17, 2004

Time Out

Is it just me, or does it feel like the whole country's asleep today?

It's quiet...

Too quiet.

Friday's Feast

How are you today?

I'm realizing more and more I can't stay up past 1am anymore. It's rainy, so my SAD starts to kick in - that combined with staying up makes this wizard need caffeine - badly.

Name 3 television shows you watch on a regular basis.

Haven't we done this one? Maybe not. Ok:
"Star Trek: Enterprise"
"The Dead Zone"

Special Bonue Bonus Show:
"The West Wing"

What's the scariest weather situation you've experienced?

There've been several tense situations in the East Tennessee valley where tornadoes have come through, some near enough to cause some major anxiety but I've never actually experienced one. Maybe the scariest was at Gulf Shores, AL a few years ago when a hurricane made landfall nearby (sound familiar?) and spawned several tornadoes in the area. There was also a waterspout sighted just off the coast nearby. We all huddled in the stairwell of our hotel with the kids, who were several years younger.

Main Course
If you could wake up tomorrow morning in another country, where would you want to be?

Scotland or Ireland, because that's where my heritage lies. I want to commune with my ancestors.

Wait - what am I saying? Barbados!!! St. Maartin!! Chad!!

What do you usually wear to sleep?

Heh. Usually just shorts, unless the kids are gone......;)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Big Orange Survivor Magnolia, Week 1

Michael is running Big Orange Survivor Magnolia

I havent' watched Survivor since Tina Wesson from Knoxville was on (and won), and have no plans to watch this one, but I'm going to play this and just guess - let's see if my educated guesses are better than anybody else's :).

1. Which tribe (men or women) will win the first Reward Challenge (1 point)?


2. Which tribe (men or women) will win the first Immunity Challenge (1 point)?


3. Who will be the first Survivor voted out of the tribe? (1 point)

I'm going to say John K., the 20-year-old mechanical bull operator/model (???) from L.A. His hair is too high.

Bonus Question:
4. Which of the female tribe members will show off her bikini first?

I'm going to say Eliza, because she goes to Syracuse and it just doesn't get too warm up there :)

5. Which tribe will get fire first?

Men. Ugh. We make fire, make things go.

And You Think You Have Trouble At Work...

Already reeling, troubled Los Angeles hospital receives huge blow from JCAHO
"For months, disclosures and sanctions against the hospital have been mounting. Several times, the federal government has threatened to cut off funding for lapses, including giving the wrong patients potentially toxic medications and using stun guns on mental patients.

They also have found that neglect by King/Drew's staff contributed to the death of at least five patients last year."

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

There Be Squalls Ahead!

Kevin Yee from not only fisks Michael Eisner's retirement letter to the Disney Board...
[EISNER:] "As to our current performance, we are and should be proud of how we have managed and strengthened the Company during difficult times...I have been told by you, by friends, but mostly by outside observers, that it is quite extraordinary that we have been able to remain focused on our objectives and have managed to run the Company so well amidst the distractions that have taken huge chunks of time during the past several years.
[YEE:] What distractions? I'll assume he doesn't mean 9/11 or the recession which followed. Those aren't distractions... those are the things a CEO of a major multinational is supposedly paid big bucks to strategize about. I wonder if maybe the "distractions" are the dissident shareholders out for Eisner's head? The mobilized fan movement trying to oust the Big Cheese himself?"
...but also dissects Roy Disney and Stanley Gold's counter-letter to the same Board of Directors on which they used to serve...
[DISNEY/GOLD:] "While Mr. Eisner's announcement at first blush looks like a major change, it is in truth mere window dressing. What he has really proposed is a scheme to arrogate the authority of the Board and maintain the status quo at the Company's expense.

Press accounts suggest that Mr. Eisner intends to ask you to install him as chairman after he relinquishes the CEO title. In other words, his "succession plan" is for a company led by Michael Eisner and his obedient lieutenant, Bob Iger, to be handed over to . . . Michael Eisner and Bob Iger. Do you really think that this result will be tolerated by stockholders or will satisfy anyone that you have carried out your responsibilities? Any arrangement that permits Mr. Eisner to remain as Chairman after relinquishing his position as CEO is contrary to best governance practices. Disney stockholders deserve exemplary governance from their directors."
[YEE:] Again, Save Disney puts the burden squarely onto the backs of the Directors. In essence, Save Disney is backing off the calls for Eisner's head, and now focusing only on the Directors. Should they remain in Eisner's pocket, Roy and Stanley will attack them instead.
Finally, the gauntlet is thrown down:
"[DISNEY/GOLD:] We intend to make it clear - to our fellow stockholders, to Disney Cast Members and to other Disney constituencies - that we will strongly support Directors who want to move Disney forward by requiring Mr. Eisner to leave as CEO and as a Director no later than the 2005 Annual Meeting and who are committed to the Board conducting an immediate search for a new CEO. By the same token, we will oppose with unrelenting vigor Directors who continue to support drift, delay, and decay. Should the Board not take the actions proposed above - immediately engaging an independent executive recruiting firm to conduct a worldwide search for a talented CEO and concurrently announcing that Michael Eisner will leave the Company at the conclusion of that search - we intend to take our case directly to our fellow stockholders and propose an alternate slate of directors committed to moving the Company forward aggressively.
[YEE:] There is it. The cards are on the table. If they don't see positive results, Roy and Stanley are threatening to do what has long been rumored: try to take over the Disney Board of Directors by a general election from the actual owners of the company, the shareholders. Not coincidentally, this same election, if successful for Roy and Stanley, would take away the jobs from the current Directors. Thus, those Directors now have personal motivation to finally DO something.
This continuing series of battles that has raged between the embattled Michael Eisner and his disgruntled shareholders, led by Walt's nephew Roy Disney and his ally Stanley Gold, has raged hot and cold for almost a year now since Disney and Gold resigned from the Disney Board of Directors last fall.

Eisner was hired in 1984 to resurrect Disney from the clutches of not only greedy takeover-minded corporations, but also a creeping creative entropy within the Company. For that he should be, and has been, thanked and given all accolades. But in the last ten years, his vision for Disney has increasingly been focused on the bottom line and pleasing big-budget shareholders, at the expense of all the people who've trusted the Disney company over the years to exemplify the best of American culture. Deteriorating theme park maintenance, security and creativity; saturation of direct-to-video sequels and decreasing quality of Feature Animation; expensive traditional media acquisitions such as ABC/Capitol Cities and ESPN that overall required subsidization from Disney's other, more profitable companies...not to mention the perpetuation and growth of an endless layer of soulless, in-over-their-heads middle management bureaucracy....all these have led those dissatisfied with the transformation of The Walt Disney Company into just another media conglomerate to storm the castle, so to speak.

Yee compares the Eisner/Disney-Gold battle to the Pirates of The Caribbean attraction at Walt Disney World. Until someone or something gives, the ride will cycle, endlessly, replaying the same skirmishes over and over.

And right now, American needs Disney. The old Disney. The one we were proud of.

Dead men tell no tales....

UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot this was Sunday!


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Ear Worm!!!

"I Think I Love You" by the Partridge Family.

There. Just try and get that one out of your head....

From the Dark To The Light

Attacks on Iraqi Police Kill at Least 59

'A car bomb Tuesday ripped through a busy market near a Baghdad police headquarters where Iraqis were waiting to apply for jobs on the force, and gunmen opened fire on a van carrying police home from work in Baquoba, killing at least 59 people total and wounding at least 114.'
Another terrible example of Iraqis killing their own people, and another example of how the citizenry seem to concontinue to refuse to help drive these terrorists out of their own midsts.

But then there's this:
'Angry crowds of young men pumped their fists in the air and denounced President Bush and interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, saying the had failed to protect Iraqis. "Bush is a dog," they chanted.'
Yeah, right, ok. Yes, it's our fault we didn't protect you enough. You bloody cowards. We're the ones who've lost 1000 of our own soldiers not protecting you enough. Take charge of your own lives and get rid of al-Sadr and al-Zawahiri yourselves. You've lived in fear of Saddam Hussein and his sons and secret police for thirty years - I understand the light is bright, and it takes time to learn again how to stand on your own two feet. But prove to us the story of how tough you are and stand up for yourselves against the people who are trying to take your freedom away from you again!!

Iraqi people, we want to see you free. We want to see you sit safely in your cafes and drink coffee and eat sandwiches and live happy lives, not worrying whether someone's going to haul you off in a car to be tortured. We want to help you let your daughters grow up and not worry about being someone's slave. We're sacrificing our own lives to help you live the way you want, and deserve to live.

But there comes a time when you have to prove you can handle freedom, and responsibilities that come with it. Denouncing us for not protecting you enough is not being responsible, and it's not being mature. It's continuing to be the abject sheep you've been (forced to be) for thiry years. The pen is now open - stop cowering in the mud!

You have every bloody right to be angry. These "Freedom Fighters" just murdered or injured almost 200 of your friends, neighbords, sons or daughters. But to blame the US for not protecting you is like gaining 100 pounds and blaming McDonalds for not stopping you buying all those Big Macs.

You could be an American...

No, we didn't ask your permission to invade your country. Yes, we did it mostly in a spirit of self-preservation to stem the tide of growing Middle-Eastern terrorism. But bringing freedom to oppressed people is what our country is about, and we gladly share it with you. But if you want to keep freedom, you have to show you want it and are willing to struggle for it.

War is easy. It was over in 3 months or so. Peace, however, is hard, and it's bloody. And it will be more bloody the more you try to stay in the shadows and let people like al-Sadr and al-Zawahiri speak for you.

We've done the hard stuff for you - Saddam and his sons and the secret police are gone. The opportunity exists for you all to sit in a Baghdad cafe and sip tea and eat sandwiches without fear of being blown to hell - but you have to take a stand for yourselves as a people, as a nation, against the ones who say they're fighting in your name --- and then do something like this.

Your thirty years of darkness are over. We'll help you as much as we can, but ultimately it will be your responsibility to stand up for yourselves.

Have the courage to step into the light.

Fair Days

The kids and I went with some friends to the Tennessee Valley Fair last night.

They'd never been, and I don't think I've been since I was a teenager.

While we didn't spend a whole lot of time there, 3-1/2 hours or so was just about enough time to see what we wanted to see. BrainyBoy's not fond of carnival rides, and GiggleGirl's too small, so that wasn't much of a problem. Not to mention each ride cost between $2 and $4 each to thank you. Even the old "Haunted House" and Fun House/House of Mirrors cheapos that were there twenty years ago cost that much to get in.

No, they actually were entranced by exhibits in the Jacobs Building Exhibition Hall such as the miniature circus and a puppet show up by the Bandstand. Plus smelling live sheep in their pens was an education as well.

I mused to BrainyBoy that had he been born a hundred (or even 70 years) earlier, he would've been very familiar with that smell.

Simply walking around at dusk, seeing the fairgrounds light up was enough for them (that and some cotton candy and caramel apples).

We got back home about 10:00 last night - hopefully they won't be dragging the ground at school today, but as my friend said last night..."Hey, it's the fair."

Monday, September 13, 2004

Defying the Hurricane

My brother was able to get word to us via email that the cruise he's on - Norwegian Cruise Lines "Norwegian Sea" and they were scheduled to stop in Cozumel today on the first port of a 7-day Western Caribbean trip.

Well, there seems to be a little storm brewing down that way...

Anyhow, the ship's sailed through the Yucatan Channel and is headed down toward their scheduled later ports in Roatan, Honduras & Belize. Hopefully they'll be able to make Cozumel and Cancan as scheduled later this week.

It was a little uncomfortable not knowing exactly what was going on with their ship so close to Ivan, but his email helped alleviate those concerns.

I've cruised a couple times before, and the ship captains have tons of experience knowing where to go to dodge hurricanes so there was never any real danger. But it's still nice to know everything's ok :)


The Houston Chronicle asks: Who said we are expected to tolerate your rudeness?
"another guest stormed in. "PROFANITY!" she screamed, when she saw that all the treadmills were filled, "This is utter PROFANITY PROFANITY. This is the worst kind of PROFANITY mess I've ever seen!" She stood in front of us, muscles beautifully cut, wearing the face she certainly deserved, and pursed her lips, clearly challenging one of us to surrender the equipment. When we didn't, she leaped on to an exercise bike, with a 15-pound dumbbell in each hand and began pedaling wildly, pumping the dumbbells as she muttered, "I can't believe this PROFANITY!"


A week before that, I bought a pair of relatively inexpensive shoes on sale. I'd tried on a size too small, so the seller came back with the right size in a box. When I got into the car, I discovered one of the shoes had no heel, which I pointed out when I came back in. "No returns on sales," the woman said. She was on the telephone, "Wait a minute," she told the caller (it was like a parody), "I have to deal with some lady."

"I don't want to return them; I just want the ones with heels."

"You bought those," she said, "If you wanted to make sure they both had heels, you should have checked before you walked out of the store."


Apparently, we are now not just allowed to practice rudeness, but we are expected to tolerate it. The swearing health club lady was "just a Californian," someone explained to us. The abusive builder was a great customer."
This is one of the great black pits of today's society, and indeed of the blogosphere in particular.

We see it all the time. There are people out there that apparently have the inability to stand other people, and make their opinions known at all opportunities.

The blogosphere is a prime example of this type of intolerance. Reasonably eventempered people in Real Life become raving, spittle-flinging, profanity-hurling lunatics when confronted with people they a) disagree with, b) don't like, or c) just rub them the wrong way. Apparently they feel this elevates them in the eyes of others - that somehow their defiance of humanity is a positive trait and one to be admired or respected.

And there are some, judging by the volume and tone of their commenters, that agree with them.

I told my group of high school students this weekend that when people are looking for God, they're looking for Him in you. And your actions reflect this - I challenged them to find ways to demonstrate how God works in their lives by how they interact with people. Simple acts of smiling to others in passing offer huge opportunities to improve our quality of life. I told them that every opportunity I have, I hold a door for someone. It costs me nothing except time, and improves someone else's life, however insignificant as it may seem.

So why do we persist? Why do we tolerate and elevate those among us that persist in treating others with deliberate rudeness and malice?

I saw this link on Donald Sensing's site, and one of his commenters had good insight:
'It's because of the widespread attitude that "I can do whatever I want". That includes throwing temper tantrums. Morality and community standards went out the window when youth rebelled against 'the best generation' in the late sixties and early seventies.'
How much longer do we have to accept the sins of the sixties hanging over our heads?

If it's not the permissiveness of the "hippie" generation, it's the ghosts of Vietnam that won't leave us alone.

What do we seem to have lost? Honor for one. And I want to talk about honor soon, but that's another post I have to muster up some courage on.

For now, when you encounter rudeness I feel the best response is probably to ignore it - eventually the unfocused anger and uncivility should burn itself out when left to itself. But judging by how people flock to those sites where the hosts rant and rave and rail against anyone unlucky enough to earn their enmity, they will continue to flourish.

UPDATE (09/16/04): Ray McAllister of the Richmond Times-Dispatch would seem to agree.

Tacky Cardys

Go give a shout to my co-worker/partner in crime Hatamaran who's having a heart cath done this week and wish her well.

Friday, September 10, 2004

And Not a Minute Too Soon...

Report: Eisner to Leave Disney in 2006
"Michael Eisner, who led the Walt Disney Co. to huge success in the 1980s but more recently clashed with dissident stockholders including the founder's family, said in an interview published Friday that he will leave the company in 2006 when his contract expires."
This is no real surprise, as a lot of people expected him to read the writing on the wall and slip off into obscurity when his contract expires.

It would've been better if he'd been ousted this past spring when Roy Disney and Stanley Gold initiated their "Save Disney" campaign and helped muster up a huge no-confidence shareholder vote against Eisner and most of the rest of the existing Disney Board of Directors. But Eisner held on, and looks like he'll hold on for a couple more years.
"Eisner recently told Walt Disney directors that company president Robert Iger would be a good successor, the Los Angeles Times reported. Iger, whose contract expires in September 2005, has recently met with investors and executives and told the Times he would like the top job."
Iger is and was the head of ABC, and has not done a good job bringing that network around. Why Eisner, and more importantly Wall Street, would think he'd be the man to run the Walt Disney Company defies explanation. Iger may be a good guy, and maybe he'd do a good job but he will put business ahead of creativity - which is exactly what the WDC does not need.

Here's hoping the investors see what's what and pressure the Board to make a smart choice.

Oh, and in case they're interested - I'm available. I'd make the sacrifice and move to Anaheim to become Disney CEO. I'm that kind of guy.

PS - In all fairness, Eisner seems to have done some things lately (or at least not stood in the way of things) that are actually positive for the Disney customers. Disneyland is getting a much-needed overhaul in preparation for its 50th anniversary next year. But he would've needed to do much better in a shorter amount of time to lose the enmity he's built up over the last several years.

Friday's Feast

What movie soundtracks do you own?

All Star Wars and Star Trek movies, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings, several Disney animated films, Toys, The Firm, many others that I'll add as I think of them. I love soundtracks :)

How much cash do you usually carry with you?

If you're planning on mugging me, I carry no cash. If not, I usually only carry about $10-15 in my wallet at a time. I mostly use my debit card when I purchase anything.

Are you more comfortable around men or women? Why?

I've always been more comfortable around women because on the whole women are more inclined to the arts than men, and I have more in common with them on that regard.

Main Course
What is the most mischievous thing you remember doing as a child?

Me? Mischievous? Never. Seriously. Right, mom?

Who is the funniest member of your family?

That'd be me, in both my families. Well, Gigglegirl and BrainyBoy make me laugh, but usually in grim terror.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Theatre Thursday

Week 17 - And Now For Something Completely Different

We're going to take a different tack at Theatre Thursday this week.

You've just been hired to write, cast, direct and produce your own movie. You've been given $75 million to hire a cast and crew, and 90 days to shoot. The film is scheduled to open a year and 1/2 from today.

1) What is the name of your movie?

The Return of Ferris Bueller or something like that.

2) Who are the stars you hire?

I would like to get the original cast back from the first movie: Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck, Jeffrey Jones (keeping him away from small children), Jennifer Grey, and Edie McClurg. Oh, and Charlie Sheen.

3) What is the general plot/style/theme of your dream movie?

This sequel to the 1987 hit Ferris Bueller's Day Off would take place 20 or so years later. Ferris (Broderick) is an uber-successful NYC businessman, his wife Sloane (Sara) is a lawyer and they have no time for their kids. Old friend Cameron Frye (Ruck) comes into town and seizes the opportunity to repay Ferris for getting him to stand up for himself so many years before, and schemes with Ferris's sister Jeannie (Grey) to get him to take a day off and spend time with his kids. Mr. Rooney (Jones), now teaching the Bueller children, sees an opportunity to get back at Ferris after all these years. His former secretary Grace (McClurg) and Jeannie's brief paramour (Sheen) have cameo appearances.

After showing the world that sometimes you just have to take the day off, Ferris learns that his role as a father and husband are more important than work and career, and his friends return favors he granted to them long ago.

Feel free to dream - what movie would you, Gentle Reader, like to make yourself with all those resources? It can be autobiographical, historical, or completely fictional. Be careful and don't go overbudget (Getting Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, and Robin Williams all in the same film won't leave you enough money to actually shoot, nor will on-location filming on Mars likely leave anything for actors).

BONUS) What's one obstacle you see that could prevent you from achieving this dream movie?

From time to time an actual Ferris Bueller sequel was floated around Hollywood, but nothing ever seemed to come of it, which is a shame. I'm afraid, though, if it ever actually got greenlit, the plot wouldn't be the same.

Roll 'em....Action!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

My New Obsession

I've suddenly become hooked on The West Wing.

Michael could be blamed thanked for getting me hooked on other shows I previously never thought I'd like. I was never a Quantam Leap or X-Files fan until he lent me videotapes of several episodes.

I've never had a chance to watch this show before, although I did make a point to watch the "Isaac and Ishmael" post-9/11 episode they aired a few years ago. I also saw part of the episode where the President curses God in a cathedral for letting his secretary be killed in a car wreck.

Bravo is showing reruns, and I happened to be flipping channels the other day and caught the last half of a mid-4th season episode. I can't believe I've purposefully resisted watching until now....

I'm not sure why I'm so fascinated by this show, but I believe it's coming to me. To those unfamiliar (and really, so am I by all accounts, having not seen the first 3-1/2 seasons) is this is the story of President Josiah "Jed" Bartlett, and his senior staff in a fiction White House set in today's world. The issues are real - there was no 9/11, but terrorism and current events are a major backdrop to the setting.

I think one huge reason I've gotten into it is I've never quite gotten a grasp on how the White House works. Now, obviously this is a fictional show and it can't be 100% accurate by former Clinton Press Secretary is (or was) a consultant so I would imagine a great deal of the situations and day-to-day issues that are depicted are pretty accurate. I'm going to assume that the White House of Presidents Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II are or were pretty close to what I'm seeing.

And if what I watch on The West Wing is fairly similar to what goes on in the real White House, I find it difficult to believe that, while I don't consider GWB anything close to the Angel of Grace his supporters make him out to be, neither could he be the Spawn of Satan his detractors claim he is. I just don't think the structure of the Administrative Branch, and how it deals with the Legislative Branch, would cause something like that to happen. There are hundreds of people who work in the White House, either in Communications, Legal Affairs, etc etc that messages and policies are filtered through both to and from the President and his advisors. It's impossible to believe every one of them would be complicit in all the evil schemes a number of Democrats seem to think are being perpetrated by Bush. Not that anyone sould deliberately disobey orders, but I think it unlikely that a culture of deception would exist up and down the rank and file.

Again, caveat this by the realization the GWB White House may be nothing like this. President Bartlett is a Democrat. His staff are (mostly) all Democrats. If the show were about a Republican president, it might have been quite different in style and tone. Dee Dee Myers was with Clinton, so the show as it exists is probably modeled very closely to that version.

There are moments on the show I've seen so far - and I'm sure there are plenty more on the episodes I haven't seen - where the President has been faced with a difficult decision. There was agonizing, and second-guessing, and yes, politicking. Obviously it's a drama, so there's going to be dramatic moments and tension, but I find it hard to believe that Bush, Clinton, or Bush hasn't gone through these same moments. Life and death decisions such as invasions, missle strikes, etc aren't made in a vacuum by robots. I'm sure the popular vision of Clinton by Republicans is him lounging in the Oval Office chair with a goofy grin on his face, ordering the bombing of Kosovo with Monica Lewinsky on his lap and smoking a cigar. Similarly, the vision of Bush II is of him hovering over a big pile of green toy Army Men and playing war games while ordering the invasion of Iraq (or the alternate version, with Dick Cheney pulling his marionette strings). These visions, while fanciful, are not close to the way any President makes life-or-death policy decisions where the future of the nation could hang in the balance. It's just not the way humans work in the real world.

The point is - don't demonize or, er, angelize the people in power. They're humans, just like us. They have tough decisions to make, just like us, and regardless of whether they're rich, weak, strong, pliant, whatever - the government doesn't run in a vacuum. There are checks and balances beyond the ones written into the Constitution that keep things from falling overboard.

You know, I didn't intend to go off on a tangent like this - honest, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed watching the West Wing. Now, I guess I know why.

UPDATE: Does anyone in the Knoxville area want to lend me Season 1, 2, or 3 on DVD so I can catch up?


Genesis Space Capsule Crashes Into Desert

"I thought you were gonna catch it!"

"No, I thought you were gonna catch it!"

"No, I thought you were gonna catch it!!!!"



Just a thought - now that Genesis has crashed on the planet, does that mean we're about to re-terraform and we'll soon be visited by Klingons? Just curious if I should pack before all that protomatter causes the Earth to explode...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

TV Tuesday

Week 22 - Kid Shows

Being a stay at home aunt has been an interesting experience for me. My husband and I had been alone for years and it'd been a long time since I'd seen any kids shows. They sure aren't what I remember them being so this week we're going to see what's what in the world of kids!!

1. When you were a kid what was (or is if you're still a kid LOL) your favorite show?

Land of the Lost

2. What is the silliest kids show you've ever seen? (You can use stupidest, most outrageous, worst, etc if you prefer!)

Anything related to a kid's card game or toy. "Pokemon", "Yu-Gi-Oh!", "DragonBallZ" - any of those shows are worthless pieces of animation. Unfortunately, my kids love them, so what can you do? The animation style is cheap, unimaginative, and hardly worth being considered animation.

3. If you could be any character in a kids show (past or present) who would you be? Why?

When I was a kid I wanted to be Johnny from "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters" or Mark from "Lidsville".

~Bonus~ This one is kind of for the adults and parents out there. Do you feel kids shows have changed for the better or worse since you were a kid?

There are some great kids shows on right now like "Strange Days at Blake Holesy High" and "Scout's Safari", plus "The Wild Thornberries" and even "Jimmy Neutron", but these gems are outshone by the rest of the drek on FoxKids, KidsWB and others...

What's Goin' On?

Here's what's been goin' on with me this past Labor Day Weekend:

1) Friday: L. and I went down to Market Square to see Ferris Bueller's Day Off with 500 of our closest friends out in the plaza. What a great place, a great evening to watch a movie. FBDO proves it's still one of the funniest movies I've ever seen and the audience loved it - even at almost 20 years old, the humor wasn't dated. And that's the way a good comedy should be.

It's always interesting to see how Matthew Broderick hasn't aged a day in 20 years.

Oh, and I believe Mia Sara might have been in this movie somewhere...


(fill in your own blanks)

By the way, Tomato Head pizza on Market Square is pretty good, but way overrated pizza. The crust is too flat, and there's not really enough toppings. But that's just me.

2) Saturday - Spent the afternoon riding around in neighborhoods near our church help hand out ice cream to kids. We're promoting a KidsFest this coming Saturday, and thought this might be a good way to bring some smiles to kids who don't get a lot of smiles.

3) Sunday - Saw the UT game in the skybox. L. bought two tickets in the Lady Vols box at an auction last month, so we got to go up in the West boxes for the first time ever.

It's an experience, for sure - first you go in a special gate with your little hang-tag passes and up an elevator to the 5th level. Now, the 5th level doesn't have the swankier of the boxes, but it was the main Media Level. This is where all the sports writers get to sit and report on the game to the unfortunate masses back home. The Lady Vols box was also right next to the Stadium Announcer's box, so we got to watch Bobby Denton announce the game, and Bill Williams narrate the half-time show. Plus the scoreboard operator was in that booth as well. Glass walls separate the boxes, so we could see everything around us.

The next box down was the visiting coaches' box - the poor guys in red didn't look to happy as we were leaving :)

There was a buffet dinner for everyone before the game, and we chowed down on nachos and other Mexican food, then later at the half were meatballs, popcorn, ice cream, etc. Spare no expense.

Our actual vantage point wasn't that impressive, from a game perspective. We were on the 10 yard line on the South side of the stadium, and when the ball was on the other end of the field, it was tough to make it out through several panes of glass. However, the JumboTron was just ahead to the right, not to mention the TV in the corner of the box, so, big deal. I really liked they could open a small window at the top to let in the crowd noise. Plus they could pipe in the radio feed.

After the game we got caught in post-game traffic and didn't get home till about 1:30.


Monday (Labor Day): Not a darn thing ;)

Sunday, September 05, 2004


Score Prediction
Tennessee: 20
UNLV: 14

I've got skybox tickets - so long, suckers!!

Friday, September 03, 2004

Be Honest

Ok, the Olympics and both Conventions are over.

How many of you thought we'd get through all three of these without a terrorist attack?

Not me.

Random Occurances from Last Night

I stayed late last night to work on a project, and headed home after dark. It's very odd to leave the office when it's dark, and there's no one around.

Anyway, I had decided to pick up some Arby's for dinner, but I needed some cash - luckily there's a bank right next door to it on Cedar Bluff Rd. Those of you that live in the Knoxville area might be familiar with the 1st Tennessee on Cedar Bluff - the ATM is off behind the bank building, at the end of a fairly long little driveway.

As I pull into the driveway towards the machine, I notice something moving on the ground in front of it.

Something furry, four-legged, and black and white.


Mr. Skunk was having a grand old time munching on something someone dropped on the ground (or possibly ran over) in front of the ATM. I calmly put my car in reverse and b-a-a-a-c-k-e-d slowly up away from the potentially deadly foe. I figured I'd just wait him out, and hopefully he'd amble on into the woods behind the bank.

Nope. Apparently a buffet was being served, and Flower remained contendly blocking my monetary access.

Well, with other small woodland creatures like possums, racoons, badgers, etc - it's easy to scare them off with a honk, or revving your engine, or even chucking a small rock or two at them. For some reason I was disinclined to use the same tactics with little Fluffy, being that skunks are the only animal in the wild with a ranged weapon. So, still having no money and there being no other banks nearby, I drove home hungry.

Yeah, waaaah me.

Oh, I did run through the Walgreens drive-thru to pick up a prescription. This has always puzzled me: on the window is a sign trumpeting their policy:




And other such promises of round-the-clock availability. But inside the pharmacy against the door are two light switches. Around the switches are stickers that say,


To remind people to turn off the lights and save electricity when everyone leaves the pharmacy.


If you're never closed - EVER! EVER!!! When would you have a reason or opportunity to turn off the lights? EVER?


I had cheese and crackers for dinner at home.

Friday's Feast

If someone gave you 3 new goldfish today, what would you name them?

I'm sure my son would give them Yu-Gi-Oh names

What's the worst movie you've seen this year so far?

Spy Kids 3-D on DVD. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

If given the chance and you could pick the person, would you want to switch lives with someone on earth for one whole day?

I'd switch lives with George Lucas for one day - long enough to transfer some funds into a "special" Knoxville bank account, examine the script for Return of the Sith, rewrite and order reshoots if necessary. There can be no mistakes this time :)

Main Course
What's your favorite season? Name 2 things you love about it.

Interesting, my season preferences have shifted around from time to time. When I was in school I loved fall and spring - now I love summer. I just love hot weather (not too hot, though) and long, bright evenings. I can't stand dark, cold winters.

What is something you frequently buy that you don't really need?

Potato chips, Cheetos, etc. Stop the madness!!!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Theatre Thursday

Week 16 - When Animals Attack

Anacondas opened up in theaters last week. There have been tons of movies made about 'killer' animals. From Cujo, to King Kong, to Jaws, what do you think of these 'bad' animal flicks?

1) What is your favorite movie about some type of 'animal gone wrong'?

There was a period my family had just gotten HBO in the early days of cable, and HBO didn't quite have a big volume of movies built up to show. One month they showed "Kingdom of the Spiders" over...and over...and over again. For months. There he was - William Shatner as Dr. Robert 'Rack' Hansen running around with tarantulas all over his back. But anyway, I still loved that movie so it's probably the one I think of first.

The final shot of the whole lodge wrapped up in spiderwebs is killer, though.

Another one I always liked that also got the early HBO treatment was "Empire of the Ants" with Joan Collins. Remember, if you're ever chased by giant killer ants -- sugar. Find lots and lots of sugar.

2) Do you end up feeling sorry for the animal, or just scared to death?

Well, I don't think I've ever actually been scared from a killer animal movie, but I usually don't feel bad for them. I mean, animals are all cute and fuzzy and everything, but when they start wrapping people up in webs and eating them alive and all, sorry, Fluffy.

3) Do you think there is a movie about a 'killer animal' that went way too far or was just a ridiculous movie?

A lot of people would think the movies above were too cheesy. And that's fine, because they were - but I still liked them. I haven't watched them, but there seem to be a huge number of "killer animal" movies on the Horror Sci-Fi Channel lately with titles like "Alligator II: The Mutation" and "Snakehead Terror" and * "3-Toed Sloth III: Slow Death"... show the killer animal genre can go about anywhere as long as there are actors willing to spend 1-1/2 hours screaming and running from CGI or puppets.

BONUS) What kind of killer animal movie would you like to see made? Scary squirrels anyone?

I really want to see "Chigger Wars"

* Yeah, you know you almost clicked on it...;)

Oh Please...Oh Please....

Scientists tune in to 'radio message from the aliens'

"A radio signal picked up by a search for extraterrestrial intelligence marks the best candidate yet for "first contact" by aliens.


It is unlikely to be the result of any obvious radio interference or noise, and does not bear the hallmark of any known astronomical object.


However, a physical message stays where it lands. As for the form of alien messages, he speculates that it could be anything from text in a real language to, more likely, organic material embedded in an asteroid or in a crater."
Ok, Vulcans, if you're out there listening to us - we need you. Land here. Now. Don't wait for Zephram Cochrane to invent the warp drive out of an old nuclear missle left over from World War III...

And bring holodecks.

Update: And salsa.

(Thanks to Pathetic Earthlings)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Reason #142 I'm So Proud To Live In East Tennessee

Woman Horrified by Commissioner's Response to Letter
"I felt most elected officials wanted to know what their constituents think and how they feel, so I wrote a letter which I sent to all 17 county commissioners," says Shirlee Grabko, Union County taxpayer.

Shirlee Grabko was thrilled when one actually responded to her concerns, until she opened the envelope.

'You need to take you letter and wipe you ass with it," Shirlee reads the letter she received from County Commissioner Charlie Cox.'
Yes, this from an elected county official in Union County, just one county to the north of Knoxville.

The news showed "Commissioner" Cox, hightailing it out of his wrecker business to go pick up a truck - undoubtedly headed for cement blocks in someone's front yard.

Oh, there's more:
"Mr. Cox isn't exactly a model citizen here in Union County, these delinquent tax receipts go back 16 years. We did the math, he owes more than $12,000.

'I've got my taxes paid, I paid 'em this morning, they're paid as far as that's concerned,' snaps Cox.

'They are still unpaid,' says Doris Seymour, Union County Clerk & Master.


After our visit this morning, Union County's Clerk and Master reported Charlie Cox showed up this afternoon, he paid off two thousand dollars of his back taxes but still owes about $10,000.

The county is threatening to take his business and home if Cox doesn't pay up."
Load up the repo men, boys. If anyone deserved to be in trouble it's this loser.

It's a black eye on our region when yokels like this guy manage to get elected to public office, regardless of how rural your county is.

But I don't get this:
"'I'm a citizen, I'm a taxpayer and a volunteer to this county,' says Shirlee, 'eventually, I'd like to see people like this off the commission.'

She'll have to wait at least two years, that's the next time Charlie Cox is up for re-election."
Assuming Union County has similar rules to Knoxville or Knox County, she might look into a recall vote. That would get him out very quickly. Ms. Grabko seemed, on camera, to be a very intelligent and capable person that could lead something like that.

And if "Commissioner" Cox has enough support in the community to withstand a recall after this episode, the county is in deeper trouble than it seems.