Thursday, October 28, 2004

Fiction Stranger Than Truth

Interesting - last night's "The West Wing" featured President Bartlett (Martin Sheen) helping the (fictional) Israeli Prime Minister and (fictional) PLO Chairman broker a tentative peace agreement.

This at the same time the real PLO Chairman, Yassar Arafat, is reportedly near death...

Not that a real agreement would've happened during Arafat's lifetime anyway, but it's nice to speculate about.

I wonder if his successor will be more amenable to compromise?

Probably not.

PS - RIP Chief of Staff Leo McGarry.

Or not.....?

Congratulations the Boston Red Sox! the moon, which made it through another devouring by the ancient dragon (or whatever causes an eclipse) the 3,000 people who braved cold and rain yesterday to get a Flu Shot in Knoxville. Now I want to see statistics in a week or two how many of those 3,000 people caught colds or pneumonia...

Oh, and Senator Kerry? I think the next two words we need to hear out of your mouth are:

"I'm sorry...."

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


While the song "Mambo #5" is a pretty cool song to listen to, it's hell when you have the tune stuck in your head.

Without the regular progression and conclusion of the song, all you hear in your mind is the same two notes, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over..........

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A Reminder

Just a quick reminder in this last week before the election - rather than being dumbfounded or incensed or disheartened by any "revelations" or "October Surprises" before next Tuesday, remember that any new news about either of the canidates "found" or "uncovered" or "unearthed" is likely to be false. Or at least, can be sufficiently explained away.

Don't be fooled by 11th-hour discoveries that link GWB to alien plagues, or John Kerry to the 1929 Stock Market Crash, or anything offering proof that either of them shot J.R.

People so involved in politics that they will tear up campaign signs, shoot up campaign headquarters, falsify documents, etc. etc. cannot be trusted to be truthful and fair this week.

Take everything with a grain of salt.

And if something big does come up - if you're still undecided or on the fence, investigate it thoroughly, listen to the discussions on both sides and wait until the last possible moment to decide. You owe it to yourself and your country not to be swayed by politicos.

To thine own self be true.

TV Tuesday

Week 29 - Animal shows

Animals have always been a part of the TV market, from commercials, to their own shows, even their own channels, let's talk animals!! :)

1. What's your favorite or least favorite "wildlife" show? Why?

The family favorite is probably Crocodile Hunter with Steve Irwin. Yes, he's goofy and cheesy and he's apparently despised in Australia but his enthusiasm is infectious and the kids love him. And the crocs are cool :)

2. Who's your favorite animal TV star?

A tie between Darwin the dolphin from "Seaquest" and Muffit the robot dog from "Battlestar Galactica".

As you can tell, I don't watch many shows with animals...

3. What animal (pet or wildlife) shows do you watch?

Besides Croc Hunter, we watch Jack Hannah on NBC and Jeff Corwin on Animal Planet.

~Bonus~ For pet lovers, if your pets had their own TV show what would it be called? Why?

"Three's a Crowd" - the wacky adventures of two suburban housecats whose blissful, idyllic life is shattered by the addition of a wild and hyperactive beaglebasset named Ramona. Hilarity ensues.

Monday, October 25, 2004

See You Later, AlliGator

UF football coach Ron Zook fired
(Orlando Sentinel, 10/25/04 - Registration Required)
"Florida coach Ron Zook has been fired, and a meeting has been scheduled with the players for 2:30 p.m. to announce the news, wide receiver Andre Caldwell told the Orlando Sentinel.

Zook has faced constant criticism for 2 and one-half seasons, which hit a climax when Florida lost 38-31 against Mississippi State on Saturday.

Following the game, Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley said the loss was, "unacceptable." Foley said he would continue to evaluate his position."

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Friday's Feast

Name 3 things that you are wearing today.

Today I wore a blue dress shirt, button-fly jeans and my Mickey Mouse baseball hat I bought at WDW.

Who was the last person you hugged?

BrainyBoy, as I was tucking him into bed.

What do you like to order from your favorite fast food place?

I really don't like fast food anymore, except for Back Yard Burgers and Arby's. BYB has great burgers and hot dogs, and I like Arby's Ham & Cheese.

Main Course
What time of day do you usually feel most energized?

Probably between 9-12pm. Actually, I'm pretty energized all day long, as I'm both a morning and evening person. The only time I fall off is right after lunch.

Using the letters in your first name, write a sentence. (Example: Sweet unusual spaniels are nice.)

Good grief. Ask a difficult question, why don't you?

Brave aardvarks really require yams.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Happiness Is...

Finding cheap DVD's at the drugstore.

I picked up a 4-episode set from the Dick Van Dyke show and three Our Gang shorts for $7.

Plus I also quickly ordered this the other day....this is why it pays to keep an Amazon Wish List and always keep an eye on it - you never know what bargains are going to pop up....

Do You Believe in Miracles?


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Blogger Laws

First Law - The more self-important a blogger feels he or she is, the less likely they are to acknowledge or reply to an email from someone who disagrees with them.

Second Law - The more self-important a blogger feels he or she is, the less likely they are to feel loyalty to a blogger coalition, especially one formed or joined before they became self-important.

Third Law - The objective political insight of a blogger is inversely proportional to their actual real-life experience in politics.

Fourth Law - If a blogger has children, one-half to three-quarters of their posts must be regarding cute things their kids have done, are doing, or will be doing sometime in the future.

       Lileks' Corollary - If your child is extra cute, it will be given a nickname, like "Gnat" or "LilZ" or "BusyBaby" or "Tink".

Fifth Law - Free Republic and Democratic Underground exist in entirely separate planes of existence, and any sign of common ground between their readers would signal the end of civilization as we know it.

Sixth Law - If a female blogger posts a picture of herself on her site, her traffic will double. If she posts a semi-nude picture of herself on her site and hints about sex, her traffic will triple. If she posts a nude picture of herself on her site and talks explicitly about sex, she will appear on CNN.

Seventh Law - Dan Rather and Trent Lott will never be bloggers, nor invite one to dinner, nor allow their daughters or granddaughters to marry one.

Eighth Law - Spam not, lest ye be banned.

Ninth Law - Memes and Quizilla quizzes are not a substitute for original posting. A bloggers credibility index is inversely proportional to the number of memes and Quizilla quizzes they post each day.

Tenth Law - No matter how much people drop in the PayPal jar at your site, pajamas are not tax-deductable. Neither are tin-foil hats.

Eleventh Law - If you are reading these laws and have violated any of them, it's not your fault. It's the mainstream media's fault.


Twelfth Law - People who do not understand and ridicule blogs will be blogged about. Their confusion and objections to what bloggers write about their misunderstandings will be blogged. Their protests regarding bloggers' reactions about their original objections will be blogged. And so on. This is known as the Circle of Life.

       Klein's Corollary - There is no such thing as an innocent remark.

Thirteenth Law - Merely linking to a site that supports your position does not prove the point, and multiple links do not necessarily prove the point. In fact, the number of linked sites that support your point is inversely proportional to the point's factual validity. This is also known as the "Quality, not Quantity" Law.

Fourteenth Law - The number of regular commenters to a particular blog is equal to:

# of daily posts about your family and job +
# of daily posts about the weather and where you live +
# of daily posts about politics +
# of daily posts about animals
X the number of times you mention sex.

       Bubba's Corollary - The more extreme your political views, the greater the number of sycophantic commenters and the fewer the number of objective commentors.

Keep them coming in the comments!

Welcome, D'argo Sun-Crichton. Take a look out at the stars....

This is your playground.

Play well.

Who's Your Daddy?

I'm your daddy.

RIP Ka D'argo...

Monday, October 18, 2004

Gone Hollywood

Local young actor Jarron Vosburg has a part in the new movie "Pillar of Light: The Work and the Glory", shot here in Knoxville and East Tennessee.

The movie opens November 24, though I'm not sure if it will be opening here in Knoxville on that date. It releases nationwide in January.

Congratulations to Jarron and all the young actors in our community!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Agony and the....well, the Agony.

I went back and worked out again this afternoon...

Now I can't extend my right arm out straight. It only goes out to about a 90-degree angle.

UPDATE: Well, now I realize my arm isn't just sore, it's actually swollen. I don't know how that happened, but my right elbow kinda looks like Popeye... Ug-gug-gug-gug-gug.

Friday, October 15, 2004

I'm a Somebody!

This is very cool....

I'm #9 on a Yahoo! search for the name "Barry".

Guess my griping worked.

Friday's Feast

What is your favorite beverage?

For years, the answer would've been Coca-Cola but now it's definitely iced tea. Sweet. Very sweet.

Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.

Home: 1) My Civilization III manual, 2) A copy of "A Stranger Is Watching" by Mary Higgins Clark I'm reading while things are loading on the PC, and 3) an empty glass of iced tea (natch)

Work: 1) Various Star Trek ships, 2) a glass jar of Wild Cherry and Watermelon jellybeans, and 3) the hot-sync cradle for my Palm Pilot

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?

I think I'm very honest to other people, not so honest with myself all the time. I'd say (honestly) about a 7 or 8.

Main Course
If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?

There's a small town in Tennessee named Wartburg. I think I'd rename it AnAbnormalElevatedBlemishOnTheSkinburg

What stresses you out? What calms you down?

Being frustrated at situations with an inability to affect them stresses me out. I'm not controlling by nature, but in the moments where I should have control and don't it's very stressful.

Playing a game on the computer is very calming, especially something that requires you to think and be creative like the aforementioned Civilization III, or Zoo Tycoon, or Rollercoaster Tycoon 2.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

My Evening

7:00 - (At the new fitness center we just joined) "Hi, I have an appointment at 7 for orientation."

7:20 - (after finishing the tour of the equipment, in which the trainer put together the list of what machines and cardio stuff to work on) "Yeah, I'm just going to put my stuff in a locker, then I'll come back and go ahead and start."

8:15 - Just shoot me now....Just shoot me now (groan)

If you don't see any more posts from me, you'll know I died during the night.

Ouch. Even my fingers are sore...

Theatre Thursday

Week 21 - Movie-Going Habits

So you're going to the movies. We know all about which ones you like, which ones you don't like, your criticisms, your raves, your rants....

Eh. Let's get to the real stuff. What are your movie-going habits?

1) Do you go to the movies alone or with friends/family? Do you know exactly what movie you're going to see before you get there, or do you stand for 30 minutes outside the box office trying to decide between Pauly Shore and Meryl Streep?

Occasionally I'll take in a late-night movie by myself after the family's in bed, but usually we all go together to something the kids can see, or my wife and I will go. We always know exactly what we're goigng to see. I remember when I used to work box office for a theatre and having to wait (im)patiently while patrons actually stood, slack-jawed, staring up at the movie list deciding what the heck they came there for...

2) When you go to the movies, do you usually buy:
a) Popcorn? What do you put on it?
b) Cokes? What's your favorite?
c) Candy? What gets stuck most in your teeth?
d) Other (hot dog, nachos, sushi)?

Even if I've just had a meal, I almost always get popcorn. With butter. And that cool orange seasoning salt they have - now one theatre in town has four different flavors. How cool is that? I'll usually get a coke, too, but most likely a fruit punch or something non-carbonated. No candy. It's been a long time since I've eaten anything else.

3) Do you like it load and raucous in the theatre, or do you immediately stuff crying babies in the nearest waste can? Do you talk back to the screen and interact with the movie, or do you sink way down in your seat and just experience it?

<greatandpowerfuloz>THERE WILL BE SILENCE!!!!</greatandpowerfuloz>

Seriously, I hate when people talk out loud during the movies, but natural whispering is to be expected. I love to just experience a movie and lose myself in it...

BONUS) What's your favorite, most memorable movie-going experience? What experience almost (or maybe did) make you vow never to darken the door of a cineplex again?

My very first ever viewing of Star Wars: May 24, 1977, the old defunct Cedar Bluff Theatre. My friend won tickets to a day-before-opening screening when I was 10. We got there early, beat the line, got to the very front of the crowd and when they dropped the ropes I was the first one in and raced down to the exact center of the theatre and sat down. My world hasn't been the same since :)

Remember, silence all cell phones, pagers, and electronic devices while answering this quiz. And NO SMOKING!!! (water gun effect)

Question of the Day

I just had a stromboli for lunch.

Why do I have this sudden urge to go corrupt a marionette?


I find it increasingly incomprehensible with both on-air and online pundits fascination with who "won" a particular debate.

As if each debate were a state with Electoral College votes that, if won, could be applied to some larger contest.

Were I to watch the debate, which I tried for a few minutes then went upstairs to get away from it, I would look for the answers I wanted to the questions I had. I would want to see which topics each candidate was familiar with, had confidence in their positions for, and could stand up to scrutiny. I don't keep a running tally in my head..."Ok, Bush has successfully handled 10 questions and only flubbed 3, for an adjusted score of 7, while Kerry handle 9 questions well and screwed up only 2, but I'm iffy on another one so his adjusted score is about a 7.5....Ok, looks like Kerry is the winner by a nose."

If that's the way you are judging the debates, you're going at it wrong. Each successive stance on an issue, each proposed solution to a problem, each turn of the head, each lift of an eyebrow, each nauseatingly crooked frat-boy smirk - they are all part of a mosaic that should be pieced together as a whole.

Consider it this way - do I care which team "won" the 2nd quarter of a football game? No, not really, since it's the sum total of all quarters that determines the winner.

So don't obsess over who won the debate, concentrate on how the answers contributed to the big picture.


Spent a couple hours at BrainyBoy's school today helping his class build an "invention". Seems they and a couple of the other classes are putting on a musical next week, and the part BB is playing is Alfred the Inventor. He shows several inventions during the play, and I was asked to help build the...let me see...XP Mondo Crop Terminator. Basically it consists of a big cardboard box with several arms sticking out all over that a kid sits inside and moves around, plus a ribbon running through a pully on the outside, and a smokestack on top.

His school is great like that - very project and task oriented, where everyone gets to be creative and pitch in with design ideas.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Curing the Lame

Bill Frist needs to remember where he came from.

John Edwards had this to say about stem cell research and the late Christopher Reeve:
"[Reeve] was a powerful voice for the need to do stem cell research and change the lives of people like him.

"If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."
Tennessee Senator and Majority Leader Bill Frist retorted:
"I find it opportunistic to use the death of someone like Christopher Reeve -- I think it is shameful -- in order to mislead the American people. We should be offering people hope, but neither physicians, scientists, public servants or trial lawyers like John Edwards should be offering hype.

"It is cruel to people who have disabilities and chronic diseases, and, on top of that, it's dishonest. It's giving false hope to people, and I can tell you as a physician who's treated scores of thousands of patients that you don't give them false hope."
It's very odd for Frist to be saying something like this, because as a doctor his life has been dedicated to giving people hope.

If you strip out the election rhetoric regarding Kerry's election, Edwards is saying (what a lot of others in the medical community are saying) that he is confident that continued stem cell research will provide cures or at least more effective treatments for conditions like Reeve's spinal cord injury, or Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's, or any number of other diseases.

It's rhetoric, sure, but it's forward-thinking, positive, hopeful rhetoric. And it's language that's been used to bridge the medical community with the public for years in providing hope and requesting funding for continued medical research.

Look at Edwards' quote again but without the bit about Kerry:
If we do the work that we can do in this country, [...] people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.
Sure he wants Kerry to be president, and he believes a Kerry presidency will do more for stem cell research than another Bush presidency. That's pretty obvious from past events. But looking at the meat of the quote, he believes that it's possible with enough hard work, determination, support, money and research that spinal paralysis can be cured.

Where would we be of people had not thought the same about other diseases? Would cancer have the same cure rate it does today without confidence and research? How about heart disease? Polio? While there's still a long way to go, even AIDS research is making lives better for its victims than a couple of decades ago.

Frist said:
It's giving false hope to people, and I can tell you as a physician who's treated scores of thousands of patients that you don't give them false hope.
Senator Frist, everything that comes out of an opposite party member's mouth is not automatically false, and you as a physician should know that it's not false hope Reeve championed, it was true hope. Unless you have some exclusive research that we're not privy to that stem cell research is utterly useless, then you are the one giving the false hope.

Grow up.

UPDATE: Don't believe there's hope?

A human face on dreams - Chris Reeve's legacy: superhuman clout to medical research (Knoxville News Sentinel, 10/12/04, Registration required)

Shall we argue with the president of the American Spinal Injury Association?
""The biggest hope is in biological research to allow the spinal cord to heal itself and even regenerate. That's just over the horizon but closer than ever before. Most people feel within the next 10 to 15 years, somewhere within our lifetimes," said Dr. Jack Ziegler, president of the American Spinal Injury Association."
How about Johns Hopkins University?
'"Some even thought it would come in time for Reeve. "I thought it was going to happen," said Dr. Doug Kerr, a Johns Hopkins University neurologist who works with stem cells - controversial research that Reeve advocated with superhuman strength even as he wheezed through a respirator from his wheelchair. "It was Star Wars science fiction, this concept of rewiring the nervous system," but Reeve "thrust this field forward by leaps and bounds," Kerr said.'
And it's worked in the lab, with animals:
"Scientists think these early, all-purpose cells can be coaxed to form nerves and specialized tissues to repair a host of woes. Reeve and fellow actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, have helped make stem cells a major campaign issue between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry.

At Hopkins, research a few years ago demonstrated that stem cells could allow paralyzed mice and rats to do just that."
Think it's hype?
'Finally, a feeling of hope: "This is one of the most difficult tasks you can ask a stem cell to do - to rewire, to extend axons and to form new connections at great distances to restore function," said Kerr. "We're clearly getting there."'
You think it's a false hope?
'Before Reeve, if someone had a spinal cord injury, "there was really no hope," said Dr. John McDonald, director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program at Washington University in St. Louis where Reeve was treated. "He's changed all that. He's demonstrated that there is hope and that there are things that can be done."'
Hope is all that some people have.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Another Christopher Reeve thought...

Does anyone remember the commercial they aired during the Super Bowl a few years back that posited a future where they showed Christopher Reeve getting out of his wheelchair and walking again? All special effects, of course, but pretty moving in that manipulative sort of way.

Does anyone remember which product they were selling?

TV Tuesday

Week 27 - New Seasons

It's officially fall and most of the new shows and new seasons have started, let's talk!!

1. Is there a new show that's caught your attention? Good or bad?

I've managed to miss all of Lost so far, which is a shame because it looks good and I think I'd like it. Oh well. I've watched a couple of episodes of Joey so far, out of loyalty to Friends and, well, it's obvious which of the six possible spin-off characters they could've picked which was the least interesting....

2. Were there any season premieres you were just dying to see? Did they live up to the wait?

So far the only one's I've been looking forward to that I've seen are E.R. and Enterprise. They were decent, nothing special (although Enterprise's premiere is a two-parter, and won't be resolved till Friday).

24 doesn't start till January, and who knows when The Dead Zone will be back...

3. What's your all time favorite season or show premiere?

Probably Star Trek: The Next Generation fourth season premiere of "The Best of Both World's - part II", resolving the Borg cliffhanger from the previous season is the one I've looked most forward to.

~Bonus~ Did you ever end up liking a show that you disliked the premiere of? Which show? Why?

I can't think of a show that I stuck with even after a bad premiere...

Monday, October 11, 2004

Christopher Reeve
09/25/52 - 10/10/04

"You Will Believe a Man Can Fly"

Happiness Is...

...a week without worrying about or listening to political commentary, or news about the election. The VP and Presidential Debates came and went and I happily missed them both - I did check the coverage to make sure one of them didn't burp or fart or something onstage, which would've been humorous...

Can I do it again this week? Probably not.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

We're Back

Well, we're home - visited all four WDW parks in four days, saw two parades, two massive fireworks shows, videotaped part of a bird show from onstage at Animal Kingdom, took BrainyBoy through The Haunted Mansion for his (and my) first time, introduced the kids to several new rides and watched the sparkles in my daughter's eyes as we breakfasted with The Mouse and co. at "Chef Mickey's".

Oh, and we went to Sea World. And I read the final Stephen King "Dark Tower" book, say thankya.

By the way, I'm making an official announcement. I'm changing GiggleGirl's nickname. From thenceforth on, she'll be officially known as "Tink". Because that is exactly her personality, and it fits her better; as a five-year-old, she's grown out of the giggly stage and smack into the attitude stage. So GiggleGirl is Tink is Gigglegirl. Please submit any questions in writing at the end of the tour.

Pictures will be posted when we get them developed.

Friday, October 01, 2004



Be back 10/11. Don't nobody blow up anything while I'm gone. If anybody out there ruins my kids' trip to the Magic Kingdom, I'm gonna get angry....

Hatamaran, take care of things at the office. Don't fall asleep too often :)

Debate Recap

So being a blogger, is it required that I give my impressions of the debate last night?



I'm with SayUncle on this one: 300,000,000 in this country and these are the two best candidates?

Metropulse described Bush's public persona best, and the debates confirmed it:
I don't like George W. Bush. I don't like his protuberant ears or his simpering smile. I don’t like his maddening malaprops or his thick-tongued declamations...
However his debate points, while thickly presented like he was trying to push them out through a jar of molasses, were correct and mostly accurate, that I could tell.

Kerry actually looked pretty good and displayed more charisma than I remember seeing earlier. But he still has no substance whatsoever, and continues to press an alternative agenda that doesn't exist. He says he would make different choices, and that he has a plan to win the War on Terror but continually refuses to give details.

Truthfully, I could have stood on that podium, recited the same answers word for word as Kerry (except the ones about Vietnam service) and there would have been very little difference in the choices. He can say he'd do things differently, but to convince me to vote for him I need specific details - and what does Kerry do in a debate? He refers to a website for more information. No thanks, that's your job.

We'll see what happens next week at the next debate. Well, you will - I won't. I'll be too busy riding "Pirates of the Caribbean" at Walt Disney World.

Friday's Feast

What sound, other than the normal ringing, would you like your telephone to make?

Well, since we're starting off light I'll make a True Geek Confession. My cell phone rings with the theme to "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

Stop laughing.

But if would be cool if my home phone could announce, "*beep* Incoming transmission from ______ for Barry. Shall I put it on speakers, sir?"

Describe your usual disposition in meteorological terms (partly cloudy, sunny, stormy, etc.).

Sunny, but very hazy with occasional dark patches. Rarely rainy or stormy. Always warm, though.

What specific subject do you feel you know better than any other subjects?

Drama and music analysis, theory.

Main Course
Imagine you were given the ability to remember everything you read for one entire day. What books/magazines/newspapers would you choose to read?

a) The New Testament (as much of the epistles as I could). Proverbs would be good to have memorized, too.
b) So much news is fleeting, so there's no point to memorizing a newspaper or magazine...

If a popular candy maker contacted you to create their next candy bar, what would it be like?

White chocolate with pepperoni. Oh, and watermelon.

Hey, you asked...