Monday, July 31, 2006

August Self-Portrait Challenge #1

The Self Portrait Challenge for August is "Enclosed Spaces":
First - Use an enclosed environment‚ a space that has the confines and restrictions of the photo-booth.

The shower in my bathroom is ridiculously kids and the guest room have a bigger shower than we do. Sometimes the walls just close in....

9/11 Tribute Project

The 2,996 Project
The idea is simple, but powerful: have a special tribute for each victim of 9/11, with each tribute being created by a different blogger. We started 2,996 Project to coordinate the creation of the tributes, and that's what this site is all about. Here you can sign up to make a tribute yourself, on your blog (we'll randomly assign a victim to you). You can also browse or search through either the victims that have already been assigned, or those that have not -- and you can get pointers to more information on all of them.
Go to this site, sign up, and post about the individual victim and their lives on your own blog on September 11, 2006. If 2,996 bloggers can make a tribute to one person, it will be yet another example of how a community can come together to honor victims of a tragedy.

Let's celebrate life on this day.

(HT: Denise)

80's Video Blast of the Week

[Ported from Blogathon 2006]

Been a while on these. In honor of Blogathon 2006 and our Food/Good Eating theme, here's "Eat It" by Weird Al Yankovic.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Blogathon Accessories

Not only will I be blogging at Fresh Food, Fresh Blog tomorrow from 9pm - 3am (you did remember didn't you?) there will be other festivities related to Blogation 2006 all over the web:

Blogexplosion has Live Blogathon Coverage on BE Radio for 24 fun hours starts at 8:30am EST (5:30am PST) . BE Radio is open to everyone - not just BlogExplosion members, so I would encourage everyone to drop in and get an update on the Blogathon.

You can listen to BE Radio just by clicking the "Listen Now" button on
the BE Radio homepage. There is a known issue with some versions of
Firefox, so you might want to use Internet Explorer. Alternatively, if you
want to listen to BE Radio in your favorite media player (like Windows
Media Player or Winamp), you can use this URL in your player's Open URL

There will also be a special chat room for Blogathon participants at

Blogathon 2006 is Tomorrow

Be sure and stop by Fresh Food, Fresh Blog tomorrow (Saturday) for Blogathon 2006. Cathy, Doug, Jay and I will be participating in in this group blog for charity.

Sponsorships are still available and welcome:

We will be blogging nonstop for 24 straight hours starting at 9am on July 29 to raise money for Farm Aid. Tune in between 9pm and 3am Sunday to catch my shift, although all of us will be dropping in at various times during the day.

I plan to post an interview with Farm Aid representative Wendy Matusovich during my time, plus some other interesting items. Join us, email us, comment, do all that stuff while we're on so we don't get lonely and start throwing things... :)

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, July 28, 2006 - Feast One-Hundred & Four

Appetizer - What's the funniest dream you can remember having?

I don't even remember having a "funny" dream. My dreams are always dramas.

Soup - If you were a dog, what breed would you be, and why?

I think I'd be a Golden Retriever or maybe a Dalmation. Those were just the first two dogs to pop into my head when I started thinking about myself as a dog...

Salad - Continue this sentence: "I get confused when..."

I get confused when I try to learn something new, like new techniques of web design or script coding. Heck, I get confused remembering the design techniques I already know.

Heck, I get confused deciding which side of bed to get out of in the morning...

Main Course - Name two things that need to be done, but you are procrastinating in completing.

I have to call a tire store and see about getting four new tires for my car. I've had the car about nine months, it's a 2005 and hasn't even existed that awful long, and already the treads are almost worn down. Something seems wrong with that picture, but I can't put my finger on it. Anyway, I've been putting off calling and getting a price and an appointment.

I've also been putting off calling and finding new primary care physician and eye doctor and setting up appointments for both. I'm not very happy with either of the present ones I have and need to find new ones.

Dessert - When was the last time you tried something new, and what was it?

A couple of weeks ago some of the people at my office judged a recipe contest, and we all made dishes. I actually tried some things I normally wouldn't touch with a ten foot fork. Things...things with, like, walnuts in them. And pine nuts. Lord help me.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Dream Job

Wow. I think I might just apply for this:

Director of Online Programming and Operations

Department: Lucas Online

Summary: Since 1996, Lucasfilm has been an internet entertainment leader and pioneer. The successful candidate will continue the advance in technical and creative excellence, leading the content development of Lucas Online and the publication of the Lucasfilm websites, including, and others.

The successful candidate will be well versed in not just one, but all areas of a successful internet business. They are able to skillfully manage such diverse disciplines as content creation, web design, website implementation, engineering web applications, online communities, effective online marketing and visionary strategic thinking.


* Manage skilled team of online content, design, production and engineering.
* Represent the Lucas brands online, delivering websites that innovate and appeal to both an existing and expanding audience.
* Lead major initiatives, including video, social networking and user-generated content.
* Lend insight to and lead implementation of business strategies and projects.
* Support company-wide online activities and requirements.
* Effectively communicate operations activities and current online trends to senior management.

Education, Experience and Skills:

* 5 years management-level experience in leading both creative and strategic functions and initiatives for a high-volume website, or collection of websites.
* Extensive knowledge and understanding of existing and emerging web technologies, including...
o web and user interface design (html, CSS, Flash, PhotoShop)
o development processes (publishing, version control, server technologies)
o information architecture (content management systems, XML, SQL, RSS)
o application development (Java, JavaScript, Perl)
o digital video delivery (DRM, encoding, streaming, peer-to-peer delivery)
* Creative enthusiasm and passion for the online medium and digital media.
* Ability to lead, motivate and challenge a talented web operations team and inspire team confidence and respect.
* Strong written, oral communication and interpersonal skills.
* Exceptional work ethic, strong organization and time management skills.
* Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines in constantly changing environment.
* Appreciation, understanding and respect for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, and their audiences.
* Experience in visitor trend analysis and traffic generating strategies.
* Experience in e-commerce a plus.
Scarily enough, I'm mostly qualified for this....

UPDATE (07/28): I did it - I applied. Now to just sit back and wait to see if I actually hear from anyone.

Did I mention that the job is in San Francisco?

Humourous Campaign Sign

On the side of the road I noticed a campaign sign for Sheriff Tim Hutchison that said "For Safer Neighborhoods". Nothing unusual in and of itself, but then I thought...shouldn't they be about as safe as you can make them by now? Sheriff, you've been in office for, like, 16 years. Are you implying that you haven't gotten around to it yet, but if we reelect you, you'll now get to work on making our neighborhoods safer?

Better late than never I suppose.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Powell High Scandal

This is really only of interest to locals, though if you're interested the story is here:

Official at Powell High under investigation
female assistant principal at Powell High School has been suspended temporarily while Knox County school officials investigate allegations that she had a sexual relationship with a student athlete and tampered with students' grades last school year.
In a nutshell, the student athlete is a UT signee that's supposed to play for the Volunteers this fall on a full scholarship and is already enrolled in summer school. The asst. principal is married to the girl's basketball coach at my old school, Knoxville Central High. The student also used to go to Central but transferred a couple years ago. At this point there are only allegations:
[School District spokesman Russ] Oaks said supervisors in the district's human-resources department informally have been looking into all the allegations against [the asst. principal] for about a month, after receiving tips from "two or three different sources."
So we see again that all it takes to ruin one and maybe two people's careers are two or three allegations. I'm not saying things shouldn't be fully investigated, but the publicity is damaging even if both involved are innocent of the allegations. I'm not even going to use their names in this post.

Unfortunately, regardless of her guilt or innocence, the asst. principal has already lost her job:
Whatever the outcome of the investigation, Knox County Schools Superintendent Charles Lindsey has said [she] will not return to Powell High School.

"The superintendent has determined that, given the nature of the allegations and the nature of the atmosphere in the building, that it would be in the interest of everyone for [her] not to return to the building," Oaks said.
All it takes is for two or three people to submit a rumor, an allegation, something that might possibly put a higher power (in this case, the school system) in a bad light, and the only possible solution is to get rid of the problem. It's a shame.

There is one interesting tidbit of information I heard on the radio this morning driving to work: Mickey Dearstone and Jeff Jacoby do a morning drive-time sports call-in show on The Sports Animal 99.1, an affiliate of powerhouse WIVK-FM. Mickey reported that last fall, the morning crew of WIVK, Andy and Allison, did a continuing series called "Rocky Top Wakeup," where someone would call the station and summon a 6-piece band to someone else's house early in the morning, whereupon the band would play a stirring rendition of "Rocky Top" to get the person out of bed.

Apparently last year the student-athlete in question was the subject of said prank. The person that called in the prank? The asst. principal.

I don't know what that means, but it's interesting.

Still, I'm leaning toward believing the two of them that there was no sexual relationship, and no grade tampering. It sounds to me like a jealous girlfriend or rival, or even someone from another SEC school out to hurt UT sports. Who knows. I wish good luck to both the asst. principal and the student, and hope their names are cleared soon.

UPDATE: now has the prank call on audio clip. Not sure what it sounds like, because streaming audio is blocked here at work.

Just remember, though, you heard about it here first. Unless, of course, you heard it on the radio yesterday...

It's odd that an administrator would take enough of an interest in a student's home life to play a public prank on him - with or without his family's permission - but it's not unheard of. In relatively small towns and small schools, students and teachers form friendship bonds all the time, and rarely do they ever step over the bounds. I remember when I was in school I got to be friends with several of my teachers, and some of my classmates got to be very close to their teachers. It's unfortunate for the asst. principal that she did it (assuming it was all harmless) because it will make her defense more difficult, but there was no way to know back then all this would come up. Again, assuming everyone's innocent.

Good Luck, Code Monkey

In honor of Will from Hit Coffee finally leaving his crazy, wacked out job of software applications, high finance and office politics, I leave him this long-distance dedication:

Code Monkey, by Jonathan Coulton.

This song is also dedicated to all you other Code Monkeys out there who toil endlessly, day after day, hunched over your computer, churning out output for those who don't really understand what it is you do, why you do it, or what it's for.

By the way, everyone should check out Jonathon Coulton's site - he's a singer/composer that puts all his stuff out on the web for download and (hopefully) eventual purchase. His specialty is Wierd-Al-type novelty songs but he's a much better singer that Big Al and he doesn't really seem to do parodies, only originals (or the occasional cover). His lyrics and music are great, besides the above-mentioned "Code Monkey," check out some of my other favorites:

  • Skullcrusher Mountain
  • The Future Soon
  • Re: Your Brains

    Again, Jonathan requests donations if you appreciate his efforts, so cut him a dime if you like his work.

    Thanks, Big Orange Michael, for introducing me to Jonathan's stuff. Michael does that a lot :)
  • Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    Oh, Sure, Now They Think About It

    Fox president think fans of serialized dramas deserve closure
    Speaking to critics at the TCA press tour, Fox Entertainment president Peter Liguori mentioned that the proliferation of serialized dramas offered by the networks this year might start to wear on viewers, especially if many of them end up getting cancelled before fans see a satisfying ending to the show's story arc. He felt the networks and show producers should put together a plan to wrap such shows up if they get axed prematurely. "I think the audience deserves some closure," Liguori told the critics.
    Fine. Great. Close up the open-ended series - see if I care.

    I just wanna know why this wasn't considered before NBC axed Crime Story back in the day. Last we saw, Detective Mike Torello and mob boss Tony Luca were locked in mortal combat in an airplane that crashed into the ocean. That's it, end of season, end of series. Bah.

    Monday, July 24, 2006

    Self-Portrait Challenge 2

    This is my second entry in the Self-Portrait Challenge: Me and the cat.

    I was napping on the couch, and Skie crawled up and settled on my shoulder. Laura *BrainyBoy was sufficiently sneaky enough to take our picture. I was, however, awake enough to notice the sneakiness...

    * - I was informed by said Brainyboy that it was him taking the picture, not Laura. I stand corrected at the threat of a tantrum.

    Pretty Please?

    Would you consider sponsoring me for Blogathon 2006?

    I'll be on from 9pm-3am Saturday/Sunday January July 29/30. Come visit, comment, keep me company, keep me awake.

    If you don't sponsor me, our new kitten will be so sad...

    Don't disappoint the kitten.

    Welcome, Skie

    Meet our new 12-week-old kitten, Skie. He's part Siamese. Dig those blue eyes...

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Must've Missed That One

    Albertini, out of jail, says he was not drunk
    Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Albertini says he was not drunk when he was arrested Thursday night on a public intoxication charge, but says he will ask the public whether they want him to drop out of the Aug. 3 primary.
    To which the public will reply, "Do I know you?"

    Blogathon 2006

    Cathy, Doug, Jay and I will be participating in Blogathon 2006 this year in a group blog created especially for this occasion.

    We will be blogging nonstop for 24 straight hours starting at 9am on July 29 to raise money for Farm Aid. Tune in between 9pm and 3am to catch my shift, although all of us will be dropping in at various times during the day.

    Blogathon 2006
    Blogathon 2006
    Click on the button above or click here to contribute to our efforts and sponsor us. Also, please consider copying the button and link and adding it to your site.

    Be sure to drop by at various times to Fresh Food, Fresh Blog on July 29th - comment often, heckle us, generally make our lives miserable. This time it's for a good cause!

    Friday's Feast

    Friday's Feast

    Friday, July 21, 2006 - Feast One Hundred Three

    Appetizer - Fill in the blanks: I ____________ when I _____________.
    Who are you, Gene Rayburn? Ok, I procrastinate when I need to do something necessary, like improve the home, work out, spend time with my kids, talk with my wife....

    Soup - Name something you use to make your home smell good.
    Microwave popcorn

    Salad - If you could receive a coupon in the mail for 50% off any product, what would you want it to be for?
    A new TV for our living room. The old one is dying and everyone looks all pale and colorless. Oh wait, that's the mirror...

    Main Course - Besides sleeping, what do you spend the majority of the hours of your typical day doing?
    Sitting behind a computer. Seriously. 8 hours a day at work (more or less) and another 2 hours a day at home usually, after everyone's in bed. Plus 5-10 minutes here or there throughout the evening.

    Dessert - What can you hear right now while answering these questions?
    Various office chatter and keyboards clattering.

    Celebrity News of the Day

    Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson are getting married!

    Oddsmakers are setting the over/under at about 20 minutes.

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    What IT's All About

    James Lileks:
    On the way back from morning class I was nearly killed by a driver who blew through a red light. Pissed me off for fifteen blocks. Like I can die when I have so much to do. Idiot: I just BOUGHT this car. Thinking of it now, though, it made me realize she [my daugheter] is my IT, and perhaps the reason I worry about the other nonessential IT projects is because I can get them done. I can see them through. Any IT I start tomorrow I could finish in a year, barring comet / intersection T-boning / Road-Warrior future (meep meep!). It’s all about that; it’s all about her future, and there’s not a damn thing we’ll do tomorrow she’ll remember. And kids wonder sometimes why you hug them so tightly.
    6-yr-old Tink snuggled up against me last night on the couch as we watched Klingons on TV. It was time for bed. "Don't wanna go," she said, in her faux-2-yr-old voice. "Wanna stay with Daddy."

    Daddy want you to stay with him too, sweetheart.

    Sunday, July 16, 2006

    Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the 1982 World's Fair

    Justin Griffin, an I.T. worker at U.T, has a great guest editorial in Sunday's Knoxville News Sentinel about how Knoxville is dropping the ball in preserving the memory of the 1982 World's Fair.
    In 1982, when the World's Fair came to town, I was only 10 years old and unfortunately too young to realize the importance of the event. To me, it was just a fun time that frequently resulted in aching legs.

    Now, almost 25 years later, I see it as a shining point in Knoxville's history. However, since the World's Fair closed, it seems Knoxville began the process of forgetting rather quickly.


    In my newfound enthusiasm, I have tried to rally some interest in recognizing the 25th anniversary of the World's Fair May 1, 1982, without much success. In fact, it seems most people I talk to around town would like to put this event out of their minds.

    At first, I thought it had to do with the Jake Butcher scandal that happened after the fair ended, but now it seems to be something deeper.


    I heard that, during discussions of what to do with the Sunsphere, the architectural hallmark of the World's Fair, it was stated that the heating and cooling bill for using the structure would be nearly prohibitively expensive. It has been years since anyone could travel to the observation deck of this unique structure, and the once well-used Tennessee Amphitheater, standing just beside it, is now kept inside a fence, slowly rotting.


    If the Sunsphere joins the U.S. Pavilion and the amphitheater on the junk heap, it will be clear that the people of Knoxville stood up and with a singularly clear voice stated, "We don't care."

    If that happens, it will be a truly sad day for children growing up in this city. As for me, I will lose a great deal of respect for my hometown.
    Preach it, brother.

    As evidenced in my list below, I have a very special place in my heart for the 1982 World's Fair. I was 15 years old and practically spent my whole summer there. To think Knoxville will just let this 25th annivesary pass by is deplorable.

    While the park is nice and well maintained, some of the relics of the fair lie in ruins - the Tennessee Ampitheatre, which once played to celebrities such as Red Skelton, lies rotting. The US Pavilion fell under the wrecking ball long ago.

    I was too young to even notice the financial scandals and other malfeasance going on around the Fair. Maybe all that still leaves a bad taste in peoples' mouths. Maybe there's still lingering political bad-feelings. Maybe it's just the good-old typical Knoxville apathy. I don't know.

    But I do know the 1982 was the best thing to happen to Knoxville in the 20th Century, and it deserves to be commemorated.

    I'd love to help Justin and lead/help lead a Knoxville are blogger community initiative to get things moving again on this. What do you say, Michael? Cathy/Doug? Tish? Teresa? Uncle? Randy? Dare I say, Glenn?

    Let's prove East Tennessee Bloggers know how to get things done!


    UPDATE: I've started a new site, Worlds Fair 25, as a starting place for garnering support, remembrances and other information about a 25th Anniversary celebration. If anybody would be interested in helping administrate it, let me know.

    I also will begin working on a logo/button for supporters to put on their sites. Again, if anyone is interested in putting something together or has any suggestions let me know.

    24 Things About Me

    Logtar has issued a general challenge, so here it is: 24 Interesting Things About Me That You May Know Or May Not Know.

    1. I once played the Tin Man in the 6th grade production of "The Wizard of Oz". I believe I still have the wooden axe we made.
    2. I hate nuts and can't stand the smell or taste of peanut butter.
    3. I was in the University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland Marching Band from 1984-1987 and played at the Superdome in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl where UT beat Miami 35-7. I was the tip of the beak of the eagle we made at halftime.
    4. I came in second as "Most Talented" in high school behind a guy who dropped out between semesters. He also had been my best friend in elementary school and lived down the street from me, but got weird in Junior High and went punk.
    5. I went to the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville about 49 times. My family had seasons passes, and a friend and I would take a bus from Ftn City to downtown every weekend during the summer and sometimes during the week.
    6. I can only open one eye underwater.
    7. I used to be an asst. manager at a movie theatre in Sevierville. Every evening while I was counting up the daily receipts, I would fill a big cardboard tub I kept in the office up with popcorn and eat the whole thing.
    8. I have no problems flying whatsoever. From takeoff to touchdown I enjoy the trip. It's getting to the airport, checking luggage, finding ticket, going through security, finding the gate on time, changing planes, finding your luggage on the carrels and securing ground transportation that I loathe.
    9. I can vibrate my eyes. It's quite unnerving, so I hear.
    10. My college roommate and I (not this one, an earlier one) kept all our empty pizza delivery boxes stacked in the kitchen, just because. Once it got to be almost my height we threw them out and discovered the roach colony(s) living inside them.

    11. My family visited relatives in Atlanta every summer when I was growing up, and we always went to Six Flags over Georgia. My favorite ride was the Okeefenokee Swamp, and my favorite attraction was the Sid & Marty Krofft Puppet Theatre. The first real rollercoasters I ever rode were there (Dahlonega Mine Train, the Mindbender and the Great American Scream Machine)
    12. I can eat a whole bag of chips in one sitting.
    13. I have every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation on video tape, beginning from when they first aired back in 1987. I also have almost every episode of Deep Space 9 and Voyager and the first season of Enterprise. I stopped taping them when DVD Season Boxed sets started appearing in stores.
    14. I've never bungee jumped, nor do I ever intend to. I've also never hang-glided or parasailed, though I'd love to.
    15. I've been in love with two women in my life. Someday I may talk about the first one, though there's not much to tell except she was already engaged. Oh, and I married the second one :) Thank goodness the first one didn't work out.
    16. I bawled on my dad's shoulder in the few minutes after my son was born out of relief and joy. It's the first time I'd cried in front of my parents in 20 years.
    17. My favorite vacation is a cruise to the Caribbean.
    18. I would dearly love to be able to compose, record and perform my own original music, or perform one-man shows in public. This fellow's talent and ingenuity is amazing, and this guy's showmanship is also amazing. Why don't you just go for it, Barry, you ask? Good question.
    19. One of my favorite things I do to annoy people is recite movie dialogue that I'm familiar with right along with the movie.
    20. My "pointer" toes are longer than the other toes. This is a trait of Scotch-Irish heritage, so check your feet - do your second toes stick out past your big toes? Welcome to the family, lads and lassies! It didn't get passed on to my son, but my daughter's feet are like that.

    21. I love the smell of hot buttered popcorn, barbecue cooking and fresh baked bread and bacon sizzling. Hm, all B's. What does that mean there, Barry?
    22. I've never broken a bone or had a significant injury.
    23. I have high blood pressure, but it's controlled nicely by medication.
    24. I've never been drunk. I've been buzzed a couple of times. I've never smoked a cigarette or drank a beer. I hate tequila but like rum. My favorite alcoholic drink is a strawberry dacquiri. My favorite regular drink is sweetened iced tea.

    Saturday, July 15, 2006

    Fun in the Sun

    Vacation pics from Ft. Lauderdale

    (Note: This first photo is now my initial entry into the Self-Portrait Challenge! Welcome to all those new readers...)

    Tink, Brainboy v10.5 and me sitting on the edge of the pool at the condo, next to a cool waterfall/fountain thing. Presently the waterfall is going down the back of my trunks. Laura took all the photos, so she's not in the pictures..

    At Wannado City, Tink's a fire fighter.

    Also at Wannado City, Brainyboy's working in the Coca Cola Bottling Plant

    On the Airboat in the Everglades. Note the earplugs to keep out the deafening noise of the propeller fans. For some reason I look very stern... My t-shirt says, "One Fine Scotsman - Measured, Weighed, and Found Fit"

    A denizen of the swamp. The guide threw wadded up pieces of grass at him...

    Space Shuttle and fireworks photos were taken with the print camera, so those'll come later...

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    No-Show Sheriff

    I wanted to help make sure as many people in Knox County saw this story:

    Hutchison fails to show up for debate (From WATE-TV6)
    Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison did not show up Thursday night for a scheduled debate with his opponent in the race for county sheriff.

    The debate between Hutchison and former Knoxville Mayor Randy Tyree was set to take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Halls Senior Center in north Knox County.

    Instead, members of the media were informed that Sheriff Hutchison would not be attending. That came just moments before the debate was supposed to begin.

    "He does apologize for not being able to be here this evening," said Hutchison's legal advisor Mike Ruble. "He had a conflict with a civic organization and he promised to do something for them a long time ago."


    Sheriff's officials say Hutchison's civic meeting was taking place at Austin East High School. 6 News dispatched a news crew to the scene shortly after the debate began.

    At 7:05 p.m., the only activity on school grounds was a football practice. There were no signs of the sheriff.
    Keep note of that last statement. Apparently there was no "civic event" or Mr. Legal Guy would've specified it, or given details.

    Remember that when voting for Sheriff.
    "This the third time that we were supposed to appear together in a public forum. Now as far as I'm concerned, third time is a charm," said Tyree.

    "I am certainly not surprised that the sheriff was not here," said Lori Lesslie, who came in hopes of hearing the sheriff speak.

    "If he really wanted to be elected, I think he would be here to give the courtesy to at least talk with his constituents and tell them why he wants to be re-elected," said Beth Smith, another person in the audience.

    Tyree told 6 News after the debate that he doesn't think a debate between with the sheriff will actually happen.
    Again, remember that when voting for Sheriff.

    For you out-of-towners, that's the way things work with politics in Knoxville and Knox County.

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    Interesting World War II Archive Photos Revealed

    Some interesting photos of never-before-revealed Nazi and Allied weaponry have been uncovered recently, and I think everyone should see some of high-tech gadgets they had to deal with.

    The German war machine was certainly prepared to march right over the enemy.

    Interestingly, the pilot seemed to have been trying to land with his S-Foils in attack position.

    Top photo via Airminded
    Bottom photo via Hell In A Handbasket

    Two More Things I Don't Quite Get (Part 2)

    Here's the other movie I watched on HBO while on vacation, that I seriously don't get the seeming universal admiration of:

    Napolean Dynamite

    Ok, I get the humor in a clueless slacker trying to fit it. I get the oddball cast of characters. I even get the Montana/Utah/Morman-esque society where everything is a little behind the times and little more sanitized than the rest of the country.

    It was mildly amusing, I laughed in a couple of spots.

    But it was certainly no Ferris Bueller, and not even a Better Off Dead or One Crazy Summer (both Savage Steve Holland movies, who made some great quirky teen comedies in the 80's). I could sense it almost trying to be a SSH movie, but never quite making it over the hump.

    For one thing, the leads in the previous movies (Matthew Broderick, John Cusack) were much stronger actors than Jon Heder, and their characters were much more likeable, believable and identifiable.

    When your main character's a hopelessly lost kid who stands around mumbling all day, occasionally gets angry over mundane things, and can't muster an emotional reaction above the occasional, sorry, not buying it.

    Apparently this guy has become a slacker cult hero. If this is what people are identifying with as a hero these days... oh boy.

    I'm sure I'll hear from Napolean-philes out there, telling me how wrong I am - it's ok, I can take it :)

    Barnard Hughes Dies

    Veteran actor Barnard Hughes dies
    Veteran actor Barnard Hughes, star of stage, big screen and small screen, has died after a brief illness at age 91.

    According to the Associated Press, Hughes passed away on Tuesday at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

    Hughes appeared in dozens of Broadway productions and also movies like Midnight Cowboy, Doc Hollywood, Sister Act 2 and The Lost Boys (as the seemingly clueless grandfather-turned-last-minute-rescuer).

    He is perhaps best known to TV-viewing veterans as the star of such series as Doc, Mister Merlin and Blossom.
    He also had a very memorable role in Tron, one of my favorite movies...

    I always liked Mr. Hughes and enjoyed his performances. He seemed like he would be a nice guy to get to know and work with. I'm surprised they remembered he was Mr. Merlin, that was a great show way back when...

    So long, Barnard.

    End of Line.

    Two More Things I Don't Quite Get (Part 1)

    While on vacation I had the opportunity to persuse something I don't normally get a chance to see: Pay TV.

    No, not that kind of Pay TV, I'm talking HBO. Our condo was equipped with HBO, so I was able to catch a couple movies here and there. I saw the last half of Titanic, which was nice because I hadn't seen the ship sink in a while...

    Hm, that was kind of a bad thing to say.

    Anyway, I also saw two other things I'd never seen, and I'm a bit puzzled by their popularity.

    1) Deadwood - I've heard of this original HBO series about an old Wild West Town and its citizens, but never caught an episode. I know it's old news to anyone who's watched or even heard of this show, but the swearing was....well, it was beyond uncomfortable to the point I actually started to get used to it. When every other word out of the characters' mouths was f- this and f- that and shut your f-ing mouth or I'll beat the f-ing s- out of you...blah blah blah - by the end of the episode, I hardly noticed it.

    Maybe that's a good thing? I don't know, but I doubt it. Is it authentic to the time and era? Maybe so, but we have 80+ years of cowboy movies and TV shows without swearing that tell me it's not a necessary convention of the Western.

    I have a whole big long post about swearing just itching to get out (I'm sure Becky's looking forward to it) and maybe one day I'll write it.

    Meanwhile, was the show any good? Well, not knowing the characters and situations it was a bit confusing because there were a lot of them. Characters and situations, that is, all running together. There was tension, and some comic bits, plus some nice interaction I might like to explore more of. But did it make me want to see another episode? Not really. And it doesn't matter now because we're home and don't subscribe to HBO. And I'm not planning on wasting a Netflix queue on it.

    Puzzling HBO Show #2 will be in the next post, so y'all can comment on Deadwood in this one.

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Is it a Law?

    Supposedly there was a Knoxville city cop at a speed trap on Sutherland Ave. last night outside my church - the word from someone who went out and talked to him was that he had nabbed 16 people, and would ticket anyone pulling into the church parking lot too quickly. And that we need to install speed bumps at the entrance and exits.

    My question is, is there a speed limit for entrance and exits to private parking lots? If the speed limit on Sutherland is 35 and you're caught doing 45 that's one thing. If you're doing 35 and pull into the parking lot at about 25 mph would that earn you a ticket? Where's the actual statute for parking lot speeding?

    I blame the Charter.

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Back Home

    Back home from Ft. Lauderdale.

    The following are the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from our vacation....

    The Good:
    1) The weather, overall, was much nicer than I anticipated. Highs in the upper 80's, with not a lot of humidity - well, at least not the kind of humidity that keeps you up at night here in Knoxville. The only bad spot was Friday when lightning storms rolled through and we had to scramble off the beach into the condo before we all became so much crispy bacon strips on the sand...

    2) We were treated to a 6+ hour Fourth of July fireworks show, courtesy of the entire city of Ft. Lauderdale. I'll probably have photos to show later, but the balcony off our 8th floor, 3 bedroom condo wrapped all the way around from bedroom to living room to kitchen to other bedroom (the third being windowless). We were able to sit outside on the deck and watch fireworks go off all over town, from up to beach toward West Palm Beach to across the entire town, to down the beach toward Miami. The actual Ft. Lauderdale "official" fireworks were behind the condo, thus hidden from us, but we could see everything else.

    It was a continuous 180-degree concert of light and sound, everywhere you looked there were fireworks going off somewhere, either nearby or in the distance. And it lasted from just before sundown to finally tapering off close to midnight. Even then you could see random bottle rockets and Roman Candles going off. Fantastic.

    3) My brother got engaged! Congratulations, little guy :)

    4) We got to take an airboat tour of the Everglades, and saw three alligators in the wild. Very, very cool. The boat just drifted up to the old gator and every once in a while the captain would throw a piece of wadded up vegitation at it, causing it to roll and thrash. Nicely thrilling. The boats were very loud, and we had to wear earplugs.

    Which I later regretted throwing away while riding with kids back home to Knoxville...

    5) I've found my new profession. I'm chucking website design and theatre, and I've decided to apply for the manager's job, or creative designer job, of one of these places. If they ever come to Knoxville or Pigeon Forge.

    Wannado City in Ft. Lauderdale was amazing - just take a look at the website and browse at the geekiness of it all. If one of these had been around and nearby when I was a kid, you would've never gotten me out of it.

    If they ever decide to franchise and open one in this area, I want to run it. I want to run the whole thing, from design, to HR, to corporate sponsorship opportunities to advertising. That's it, I'd retire a happy man.

    6) No sunburn. For once. And a decent tan, to boot. Cool.

    The Bad:
    1) There we were - stationed at a park in Titusville, FL, right across the little bay from Cape Canaveral. We had a great viewing location, and could even see the Space Shuttle Discovery launching pad from our viewpoint. A number of menacing clouds had drifted about all afternoon, but about an hour before launch there was an official "no-go" unless weather conditions improved. They waited until only about T-10 minutes to launch to decide to scrub..

    We were right there!!! *sigh*

    Then we had over an hour of mega-post-UT-game-type traffic to get through in exiting the Cape area. I'm not kidding, it was bumper to bumper, stop and go getting out, so we finally started exploring by taking back roads around Titusville.

    2) Didn't make it down to Key West like we'd hoped - the drive was just going to be too long, and bad weather was threatening the Keys. So our visit to the original Margaritaville didn't happen. Yeah, all together now, awwwwwwwwwwwww...

    But buck up, little twooper... we did get to eat at one of these places in Ft. Lauderdale which is almost the same. So all was not lost.

    3) Punked out in the Texas Hold-Em Tournament. Ah well. Good thing it wasn't for money...

    The Ugly:
    1) I love my fellow man as much or more than a lot of people, but there is only so much of that obnoxious New Jersey/Bronx/Brooklyn attitude and that !*@^%^! accent that a man can take. The two only complement and feed on each other. The more obnoxious the Yankee, the more screechy the accent. Oh, my, I love you all, but please go back home and leave the South to the Southerners...

    2) In a similar vein, it becomes all too clear that when you are in America, your primary language around others should be English. And if you are a clerk and other clerks are around you and the customer (me), don't speak together in Spanish while I'm standing there. It's too much like the Seinfeld episode with the Korean manicurists talking in Korean about Elaine. It's just unnerving - don't do it.

    3) Speaking of Korea....oh, never mind.