Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Is Instant Communication Too Instant?

I have three email accounts that I keep up with regularly. One is my work address, that I use to communicate with other employees and the occasional member of the public with whom I have business. Since we're on Microsoft systems here in my office, we use MS Office and I have Outlook open the entire time I'm at my desk. I could get an email at any time advising me of a system outage that might affect my company's websites, an error on a page that requires immediate correction, or feedback from the public on any of the 30+ feedback pages scattered about all the hospitals' sites.

It's also set to deliver me local and national breaking news stories emails, enewsletters, error notifications and of course spam. The company's spam filters intercept most of it, but sometimes it gets through. There are rare occasions I will access this email account remotely from home but it doesn't happen often. The vast majority of my work is done at work.

I also have a personal Yahoo account that stays open all the time in Internet Explorer, the same browser I use to build my websites. This account is mainly for communication with friends and acquaintances, a lot of personal newsletters and Yahoo Group post notifications, theatre communication, and freelance web design work I do here and there. I don't advertise that account on the blog but it does exist and several people I know have it.

Finally, I also have my Inn of the Last Home email account open in Firefox all the time. I use Firefox simulatenously to test sites in the other most popular browser, keep up with blog postings and post to this site (like I'm doing now). And email sent to me having to do with blog feedback or other of that type of online business comes through there.

Here's my point - all three of these email accounts are open while I'm at my desk, and any time someone sends me an email on any of them, I get it fairly quickly. When I'm at home the lag time increases but I frequently check both Yahoo addresses often during the evening and the morning to see if there's any personal business or correspondence that needs to be taken care of. Typically if I receive an email that needs a response, it will be sent out very shortly after receiving it. Sometimes in minutes. Since chat is blocked at my work, Big Orange Michael and myself have been known to let the emails fly back and forth at times.

None of this email attention affects my work productivity, as it's always answered or read during slight downtimes between tasks. Sometimes my wife looks at me funny when I'm checking my email first thing in the morning ("who's going to send you anything at 3am?") but I feel it's my responsibility to answer an email as quickly as possible. If you were standing in a room and someone asked you a question, you wouldn't walk away, take care of some business, eat a meal, watch some TV, then walk back in and answer would you? I feel it's rude on my part to not respond in due haste.

This is an unknown practice at work, as most of my marketing manager clients check and respond to email haphazardly. I may send an email linking to a test site for review and it could be days before I hear a response. Which throws my productivity schedule off, because I have to stop what I was doing waiting for further instructions and comment. This is common in the print world they're accustomed to, but in the online world where communication and decisions are made instantaneously and on-the-fly it can be maddening.

What is your email etiquette?

How many email accounts do you use regularly?

How quickly do you check it? How quickly do you respond?

Do you handle work emails and personal emails differently?

Do we have a responsibility, ethically - if we accept that our email accounts are as viable a way of reaching us as telephones - to respond with all due haste? Or do we treat them as Caller ID and answer when we feel like it? I admit I screen calls at home, but only when I can tell they're solicitors or political calls. I think it's also rude to ignore call from someone you know just because you don't want to talk to them.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

That's My Girl

A few days ago, helping 2nd-grader Tink with study her spelling:

Me: Spell "turkey".

Tink: T-U-R-K-E-Y.

Me: Good... (searching for next word, but saying under my breath) "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly..."

Tink: (smirking, under her breath) "Oh, the humanity!"

Do I raise 'em right or do I?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Word of the Day

Because I coined the phrase preggerventures to describe what lies ahead for my in-a-family-way-friend Tiger at Tiger Babble, I've submitted it to the Urban Dictionary.

I'll let you know if it's accepted...

Try to remain calm.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, January 26, 2007 - Feast One Hundred & Twenty Eight

Appetizer - If you could take lessons to learn any musical instrument, which would you want to learn?

I've always been fascinated by the tone and emotion of the cello. I've never attempted to play a string instrument before, and I'm unsure if I'd have the patience to learn but I'd love to give it a try. A cello has such a plaintive, melancholy sound that (to me) is much more expressive than any other string instrument (except the piano, of course). How much would a used cello go for, anyway?

Soup - Have you ever mistaken a person for someone else?

I don't recall a specific instance, but if you're caught staring at someone by accident and you feel like a fool you can always say, "Oh, I'm sorry - I thought you were someone else.."

Salad - On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how well do you keep secrets?

C'mere...let me let you in on a little secret... Actually, I don't know very many secrets unless they're privileged information from my work or something like that. I suppose I'd have to be a 9, because there are sometimes I'll share information with my wife that I might not've been given strict permission to include her in the discussion - simply because I believe a married couple should not be considered separate entities in that regard.

Main Course - What's the closest you've ever been to a dangerous animal?

You mean, outside a zoo? :) Last summer we took a trip through the Everglades and came close to several gators - we were in no danger, but they were right there in the water outside our airboat. At Animal Kingdom in Orlando there are no cages separating your tour bus from the animals. I guess the closest would be the time I was bitten twice on the leg by a brown recluse spider. Oooh...big game hunter, me...

Dessert - When was the last time you lost your patience?

I lose my patience with my kids sometimes when they take forever to finish a task, like cleaning their room or picking up toys. I've lost patience with people at my office before, when they take too long to get back to me with information or complete a project. But I usually keep a good handle on my patience and temper.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


My daily readership has gone way down. Am I just that boring? Do I need to post something controversial to get the interest going?

BlogFest Coming Up

Rich has announced a Blogfest get-together:

Where: Calhoun's on Kingston Pike at I-140 (that would be near Pelissippi and Mabry Hood Rd.)
When: Saturday, February 10 starting at 5:00PM
Who: Everybody
Why: Because.

I may have a band gig that night, but if not I hope to be there. Anyone in Knoxville who blogs or reads blogs or even just reads is welcome!

The New Ferret Face and Hot Lips

Aren't the pretty much filling the same role as characters in their respective shows? Dwight/Frank is the second-in-command, always wanting more power and abusing it when he has it, rival with the smarter and funnier co-worker, gets pranks pulled on him all the time, rigid and by-the-book. Angela/Margaret is the "secret" lover everyone knows about, very disciplined and whiny, looks down on her coworkers, plots with Dwight/Frank against everyone else.

Friday, January 19, 2007

One More Reason to Subscribe to Netflix

I get Netflix's RSS feed for New Releases - coming up this week:

  • Pride FC: Shockwave 2005

    Shockwave 2005 presents every no-holds-barred match held at Japan's Saitama Super Arena. Relive the bone-crushing thrill of matches featuring top-rated Pride fighters such as Wanderlei Silva, Takanori Gomi and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic as they face off in this premier mixed martial arts event. The Pride championships showcase a unique form of extreme hand-to-hand combat incorporating elements of judo, karate, jujitsu, kickboxing and wrestling.

  • The Best of Hooters

    Get ready to enjoy plenty of toned, tanned and exceptionally endowed talent with this scorching hourlong compilation of highlights from five years of the legendary Miss Hooters International Swimsuit Pageants. Previously unavailable raw footage supplements traditional clips of these vivacious young beauties as they take to the runway to model some of the sexiest -- and scantiest -- swimwear around.

  • Mystery of the Megavolcano

    Join "Nova" science detectives as they journey to Southeast Asia to reveal details of one of Earth's most destructive volcanic events. Known as the Toba eruption, this cataclysmic explosion that occurred 75,000 years ago is considered one of the most devastating natural occurrences in history. Watch scientists reconstruct this monstrous catastrophe as they ponder the fragile nature of Earth's crust and the power of the magma within its core.

  • Monster of the Milky Way

    The award-winning science series "Nova" explores the galaxy for evidence of astronomy's most foreboding monster: the supermassive black hole. Though historically scientists have scoffed the black hole's existence, recent data points to the startling reality of the universe's most destructive objects. Computer imagery helps illustrate the creation, structure and movement of this cannibalistic phenomenon that sucks up everything in its vicinity.

  • Hooters: How Sweet It Is

    You'll travel to one of the world's hippest hot spots -- Miami's famed South Beach -- with this sizzling collection of highlights from the Hooters Swimsuit Pageant week. More than 100 Hooters girls from around the globe display their ample assets as they take to the runway in the skimpiest swimwear you've ever seen. After the winner is crowned, you'll join the ladies on the beach for some extended party action.

  • Abba: In Performance

    In this video critique (which includes archival concert footage), experts and insiders discuss the legacy of Swedish sensation Abba -- who burst onto the pop scene in the 1970s and quickly became one of the world's most commercially successful bands. With such catchy tunes as "Dancing Queen" and "Waterloo," combined with marketing smarts that led the group to record in several languages, Abba remains popular long after disbanding in 1983.

Wow, something for everyone!

And the Old Get Older...

Everybody join me in wishing Big Orange Michael a very happy birthday!!! Go visit his site and leave him a comment, he lives for that stuff...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Gave Up

I just gave up on a project I was working on, trying to figure out how a new piece of equipment can be used here at work. I couldn't get it, our IT guy couldn't get it, so we've submitted the equipment to a higher power.

I hate it. I should've been able to figure it out, but I couldn't. So now once again I let someone else take up my slack. I hate this.

Why Not - Everybody Else is Doing It?

Since everyone else in Knox County has apparently decided they want to be one of the new County Commission appointees, I figured it was my turn. I'm officially throwing my fedora into the ring for 5th District County Commission. I figure my singular lack of experience in any sort of governmental protocol is more than outweighed by the fact that I'm a) nonpartisan, 2) not beholden monetarily or by political or business relationship to any entity, party, group or individual, c) have slightly more common sense than the average water mollusk, and 4) probably have more personal integrity than all politicians combined.

What the heck, I'm not doing anything important these days, except raising a family, holding down a full-time job, working part-time at my church and now supporting two full grown after-hours hobbies in theatre and my band. I should be able to give the job more real attention even with all those conflicts than most any other Knox politico ever has...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

You Know Your Day's Gotten Off to a Bad Start When...

You notice the cat has jumped up onto the sink and is gnawing on your toothbrush...

Needless to say it was discarded. The toothbrush that is, not the cat.

Although it was close...

Just in From NetFlix

Although with Galactica, Studio 60 and 24 starting up again, who has time?

Um, I guess I do.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

So Long, Valencia...

...we hardly knew ye (*sniff*)


Six Flags Magic Mountain
CalArts, home of the Walt Disney Modular Theatre
(CTU Estimates) 100,000 people.

Does the fictional nuking of an American city bother anyone else besides me? This is the reason I haven't been able to watch Jericho and why "The Day After" still resides in a dark place in my memory...

UPDATE: Just a point of order, after Season 3 of 24, Jack's daughter Kimberly was said to be living in Valencia with ex-CTU'er Chase and his daughter. After Season 4 and Jack's faked death, Chase left her for parts unknown - presumably she stayed put. During season 5 she is in a relationship with her psychiatrist, but no mention (that I recall) of marriage or moving. Therefore, with a lack of evidence to the contrary Kimberly Bauer may now be so much nuclear vapor.

It may never be mentioned one way or the other, but the one residence that was referred to for her was Valencia, so I would imagine that could be a very devastating plot point very soon for Jack Bauer.

Plus they'll never get to go to Magic Mountain together again...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Zombie Commisioners

If you don't live in Knox County, you won't get this at all. And for that I envy you...

Randy Neal asks:
If someone is appointed and then stands for election and wins, does their appointed term count against the two-term limit?

Michael Silence answers:

Which leads me to ponder:

If it's true that appointed commissioners won't have their abbreviated term count against them should they decide to run for office in 2008, doesn't that logically also mean the term-limited Commissioners could simply be appointed back to their old seats - since the abbreviated terms won't count against term-limits?

They wouldn't be able to run again in 2008, but they would still serve out the remainder of this term.

I can totally see, politically, the Commission doing this "to ensure a smooth transition of power" and to "not disrupt the efficient running of Knox County government services" and to "thank all the outgoing commissioners for their years of outstanding service", etc. etc.

Zombie Commissioners - rising from the dead to eat your brains...

24...Up to its Old Tricks

It's like slipping into a ratty old robe - worn and frayed, but still comfy and satisfying:

One perimeter set up - fails.

Another mcguffin (the mysterious package in the wall).

Wild-eyed Arabic-quoting "your-family-will-be-notified-of-your-heroic-sacrifice"-jargon-spewing Islamic terrorists (although they're so less interesting than Victor Drazen and his Chechnyans or Vladimir Bierko and his Russians..)

Disgusting torture/assault methods - Jack biting the neck of his captor (should we now call him "Jackula"?), shoulder nerve cluster severed, spinal cord skewered, Muslim traitor's kneecap muscles sliced..

Jack miraculously survives and recovers from his wounds (see previous shoulder nerver cluster sever and flat-lining after spinal cord skewering).

American citizens becoming paranoid.

FBI throwing its weight around.

Chloe getting involved in a hair-brain scheme (she would've fit right in with the Scooby-Doo gang), almost compromising the mission, then all is forgiven as Buchanan gets involved.

Shady, weaselly White House personnel...

Over-their-head CTU managers.

Did I miss anything?

Friday, January 12, 2007

And in the "Don't Let the Door Hit You..." Department:

Supreme Court upholds term limits
Sheriff Tim Hutchison, eight of 19 county commissioners and other officeholders must leave office under a ruling issued today by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

The court upheld two-term limits approved by voters in 1994 for all government officials except court clerks and school board members. Politicians who have served more than two terms therefore must leave office.

Affected are Hutchison, Register of Deeds Steve Hall, Trustee Mike Lowe, County Clerk Mike Padgett and commissioners Mark Cawood, John Griess, John Mills, Diane Jordan, Larry Clark, Billy Tindell, Phil Guthe and John Schmid.

Question about "The Office"

Who else watches "The Office"? (counting show of hands) Ok, good.

Laura and I just started getting into this show regularly for just a few weeks now. We're divided on the concept of the show - are we supposed to assume there's a film crew taping the antics of Dunder-Mifflin for some unnamed, long-term documentary (i.e a similar concept used in Christopher Guest's amazing "Waiting For Guffman"/"Best in Show"/"A Mighty Wind" set of mockumentaries)? Or are just supposed to assume we're another worker in the office there with them, watching everything that's going on?

If it's the documentary option, I found it hard to accept(even for the purposes of sitcom satire) they had five different "film crew" that would go out and cover each sales team as they made their visits around the city in last night's episode. Nor do I find it easy to believe the "film crew" would be allowed to film some of the more intimate, emotional or embarrassing moments - at least without some interaction between the characters being filmed and their imaginary documenteers.

Maybe on earlier seasons this whole concept is addressed, we've just missed it. Any assistance?

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, January 12, 2007 - Feast One Hundred & Twenty Six

Appetizer - What comes to mind when you see the color orange?

Ha! Well, in Tennessee this is certainly a loaded question. I could say it's the color of all the construction cones and barrels we see all over the roads and interstates for months and years on end...I could say it's the color of the gorgeous sunsets we always seem to have this time of year...I could say it's a fresh glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice...but I will have to say that, along with white, it's the team colors of the greatest school to grace the face of the Earth - the University of Tennessee Volunteers.

Soup - Did you ever get in trouble while you were in school? If so, what was it for?

I don't think I ever got in trouble when I was in school, at least not after I was old enough to know better. I never cut class, never sneaked off early, never smoked, never smarted off to a teacher - I don't know what you call that, I guess when it came to personal responsibility I just matured in that respect very early. I'm sure my parents will remind me if I've forgotten some long-ago incident...

Salad - Which topping(s) make up your perfect pizza?

That's funny, we had pizza for dinner tonight. For me the basics: pepperoni and sausage, with cheese. My kids went through a long stage where they had to have "Hawaiian" pizza (with ham and pineapple). I do like the occasional meat-lovers with pepperoni, sausage, ham, beef, bacon, rack of lamb, salmon, elk, ostrich, blue whale blubber and petrified dodo meat. But that doesn't happen too often. And NO veggies. I don't want to see a speck of peppers, olives, onions...and ESPECIALLY NO mushrooms. I don't eat things that have been growing on a forest floor and have been peed on by frogs. Oh, and lay off the "goat cheese", "feta", "smoked swiss tofu" and all that other weird stuff you get at Tomato Head and Mellow Mushroom. Just mozarella, 'kay?

Main Course - Do you believe in UFOs/aliens/etc.? Why or why not?

While I don't necessarily believe we've ever been visited by a UFO or any other aliens, I find it very difficult to believe that there isn't life somewhere on another world. In the almost infinite varieties of solar systems supporting infinite varieties of planets with their own unique ecosystems, there must - by law of averages - be life somewhere out there. And if you assume there is life, by those same infinite varieties out there, there must be higher life and even intelligent life. I'm just going to assume they haven't progressed much farther than us yet. I hope that in my lifetime, if they do exist, we find out for sure.

It will be a huge theological question though - for Christians, are they saved? Did Christ make an appearance on their world in their species as well as ours? Does that make us less unique or more mundane? All the aliens-land-on-Earth books and movies I've ever seen have mostly dealt with assimilating (hah!) the "newcomers" into Earth society and rarely touch on how religions and creation stories might fit together...

Dessert - What color is your bedspread/comforter/quilt?

That's it? After a feast of epic proportions, that's the dessert question you ask?? *sigh* Oh, geez, I have no idea...I think it's maybe green. Shall I delve into the philosophical and sociological implications of such a choice? What does it mean in the continuing harmony of the family and married relationships? Why is it--

Oh, forget it. It's green.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

DeLurker Week

Apperently it's DeLurker Week around the web, the age-old traditional time when we all gather around the campfire, roast marshmallows and sing songs about--

Oh wait, that's not it. It's the time when folks who read certain blogs regularly but rarely if ever comment finally take the time to de-lurk and say hello. So if you visit the Inn every once in a while but don't typically make a comment, break tradition and say hi in the comments below.

You'll be glad you did, really ;)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Time Enough at Last!

Ex-teacher gets more time for nude photos

Well, this is good because teachers these days are very busy, and rarely find enough time in their hectic day to take nude photos of themselves.

Oh wait, I'm not sure that's exactly what it means....

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ask and You Shall Receive...

Due to popular demand (well, Becky), now's your chance to hear me and the boys (and girl) caterwaul:

Play That Funky Music

- as interpreted by The Atomic Horns

Fourth Bloggiversary

Four Years Ago today I opened the Inn of the Last Home blog for business. It's been insightful, frustrating, eye-opening, maddenening, boisterous, cantankerous and exciting. I've made some good friends, met some wonderful people and reconnected with friends long gone.

A hearty thank you to everyone who's ever visited, commented, and gotten close to me in these four years. Here's to as many more as the web will allow!

It's been customary for me to publish a year in review - I don't know if I'll have time to do one this year. Maybe a small one. We'll see.

Thank you - the bar is open!

Gators Win National Championship

Ok, rah rah, yay...whatever. Can I go now?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Uh-1...uh-2...uh-1, 2, 3,....

Friday night I performed on stage in a rock band for the first time.

For years I've been in an orchestra pit (such as they are) leading a band and playing keyboards for stage musicals. I've also performed onstage for plays and musicals, sung everything from jazz to swing to Broadway to oldies and standards. I've been in the chorus, behind a mike, pretended to play a trumpet in a ragtime band, punched out an unruly member of the Argentinian rabble to protect Juan Peron, served drinks to George and Mary Bailey, channeled Ed Sullivan to introduce Conrad Birdie and given Ado Annie a "Persian Goodbye".

But the other day I actually stood behind the keyboard, surrounded by bass, lead guitar, drums, trumpet, sax and trombones. The Atomic Horns band, based in Oak Ridge, played its first gig - a wedding at Cedar Bluff Holiday Inn attended by an estimated 200-250 people.

The bride and groom were young, early-to-mid-20's in my estimation, so the whole wedding party was young. And subsequently had a lot of energy - and they showed it on the dance floor. One couple from the guests obviously had dance experience swing dancing, which was impressive. It felt like the evening was a big success, and gives me encouragement for the future.

I sing solo or "Burnin' Love,", "T-R-O-U-B-L-E", "Volcano", "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You," and "Play That Funky Music" plus backup on most of the rest of the songs in the three sets. Eventually we'll add "CC Rider" and "Fins". I'm also one half of a "Blues Brothers" section where I don the black hat, jacket and shades.

We finally started around 9:30pm and played till pushing 1:00am before the stragglers folded up shop.

We meet Tuesday night to go over and review how we did, and prepare for our second show in early February at a fundraiser for the Oak Ridge Playhouse. This is your chance to come hear us yourselves - more info will be forthcoming.

I can't believe I'm the one singing "Play that Funky Music".....

Friday, January 05, 2007

Flowers on the Wall

This song has been running through my head. I don't know why...

I keep hearin' you're concerned about my happiness
But all that thought you're givin' me is conscience I guess
If I was walkin' in your shoes, I wouldn't worry none
While you 'n' your friends are worried about me I'm havin' lots of fun

Countin' flowers on the wall
That don't bother me at all
Playin' solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo
Now don't tell me I've nothin' to do

Last night I dressed in tails, pretended I was on the town
As long as I can dream it's hard to slow this swinger down
So please don't give a thought to me, I'm really doin' fine
You can always find me here, I'm havin' quite a time

Countin' flowers on the wall
That don't bother me at all
Playin' solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo
Now don't tell me I've nothin' to do

It's good to see you, I must go, I know I look a fright
Anyway my eyes are not accustomed to this light
And my shoes are not accustomed to this hard concrete
So I must go back to my room and make my day complete

Countin' flowers on the wall
That don't bother me at all
Playin' solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo
Now don't tell me I've nothin' to do

Don't tell me I've nothin' to do
The Statler Brothers are a underappreciated act in the history of popular music.

Listen to a snippet here if you're unfamiliar with the tune.

Course if you sung it today you'd have to substitute Spongebob for Captain Kangaroo. But then if I were up all night I'd just be on the computer or watching something I'd DVR'd...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire...

Dec. 7th, - No thanks! Saban declines chance to interview for 'Bama post
Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban said Thursday that Alabama approached his agent about its coaching job but he declined to meet with school officials."I'm flattered that they may have been interested in me, but it never really progressed, because we just never let it progress," Saban said.

Speculation tying Saban to the Crimson Tide job first surfaced the day they fired Mike Shula on Nov. 27. Saban publicly denied interest several times, but on Thursday, he acknowledged that the school had contacted his agent, Jimmy Sexton.

"They called Jimmy and said, 'Is Nick interested?' And Jimmy said no," Saban said. "Jimmy asked me on several occasions, and I said no.

Dec. 12thMontgomery Advisor - Saban continues to deny UA interest
In his weekly news conference Monday, Saban was again asked about the situation.

"I think I've addressed that enough. I mean, when does this become a dead story?" he said. "I've already said what I've said. I've already talked to our team, and I don't think that I need to continue to address this. I don't see the issue here, and I don't see any reason to talk about it."

Dec. 21st Miami Herald - Dolphins' Saban: `I'm not going to be Alabama coach'
Challenged to state flatly he would not be the next University of Alabama coach, Dolphins coach Nick Saban said today, ``I guess I have to say it -- I'm not going to be the Alabama coach.''

''I shouldn't even have to comment on this,'' Saban continued. ``I think I've said this over and over and over again.''

Jan. 3 - - After repeated denials, Saban takes Bama job
Nick Saban has accepted an offer from Alabama to coach the Crimson Tide and leave the Miami Dolphins, two weeks after declaring "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach.

Saban's agreement with Alabama is for eight years and a fully-guaranteed $32 million, according to's Len Pasquarelli. Saban can potentially earn an additional $700,000 to $800,000 annually in bowl-game bonuses."

My Office Looks at Forty...

Gaze upon the destruction and mayhem wrought by my wife and coworkers...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

May I Recommend....

Go See It: - Night at the Museum

Very, very good movie. Great special effects, funny, nothing objectionable, and with a little history and science thrown in. Oh, and Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt. Great movie for the family.

Go Buy It: - Olevia 332H LCD HD-Ready TV

I believe my friend Ferris Bueller said it best: "It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

Probably best birthday present I've ever gotten. Thanks, everyone!

Not To Be Insensitive, But...Why?

WATCH LIVE: Gerald Ford Funeral Services
(ABC News) Ford left his beloved Capitol for the last time, as the period set aside for ordinary Americans to say goodbye gives way to an invitation-only funeral. more

A Winner, Finally

Last week, I won a free Fandango movie pass from Blingo, which is a search engine that supposedly piggybacks on Google but gives out prizes to users. I know Doug and Cathy use it and have won before, so finally it was my turn.

What's interesting is that if someone who signs up for the service at my invitation wins a prize, I also win whatever they won. So whoever signed me up (I think it was a blogger friend who has long since quit blogging) also has a Fandango ticket coming to her...

So, hey, it actually works. Click below to sign up and see if you can win something, too!


Tennessee loses..

Ah well, UT lost to Penn State in the Outback Bowl yesterday. We're now 0-3 against the Nittany Lions in bowl games, although thank goodness this loss wasn't nearly as bad as the Fiesta "Fiasco" Bowl loss back in the early 90's (does anyone remember the hit on QB Andy Kelly back against our own goal that caused him to cough up the ball straight into a Penn State defender's arms, who ran it into the end zone?).

I can definitely agree with Big Orange Michael that the ESPN coverage of the game was unfairly slanted toward Penn State. Now, it's the network's prerogative to feature one team over another if they feel the attention is warranted. I can understand the repeated shots of Penn State fans in the stands (including the three idiots in the football players rubber masks and shoulder pads and the other idiot in the JoePa rubber mask they kept showing - I mean, we do have Checkerboard Head so I can't really complain). I can understand the stories about the guy who cut his hair even though Paterno was really instructing someone else to, but the guy did it "just in case" - cute college football player story. And since ESPN was pushing Bobby Knight's 881st win, the anecdote about he and Paterno almost coaching for the same school was a big reach but hey, they have to promote it somehow. Then there was the timeline of Paterno's career, the trivia question about who was president when he started coaching, the Lion mascot... Does someone detect a trend? I may not like it, but all the camera angles and feature stories about one team over another may be annoying to the other team but I can live with it.

However, inexcusable was using Todd Blackledge - former Penn State alumni and, oh, did I mention All American quarterback from 1983 under Joe Paterno - as color commentator on the game was extremely unprofessional of ESPN. I counted at least three times they put up either photos of Blackledge as a player or video clips of him introducing his Penn State teammates before their 1983 bowl game. While I thought he handled himself fairly graciously, praising Tennessee when they did things right (not often) and chastising Penn State when they messed up (again, not that often) the appearance of impropriety was as blatant as I'd ever seen.

Can you imagine the uproar if Peyton Manning had been calling the game? We would have never heard the end of the bias accusations.

Of course, all the network bias in the world didn't affect the outcome of the game in any way - even if Manning had been the color commentator, John Ward calling play-by-play for ESPN and the network strung orange crepe paper around the broadcast booth while running clips of Eric Ainge in his first 5-yr-old grasshopper league game, we still would've lost. It just made the experience that less pleasant to watch.

Bob Kesling and the WIVK radio call feed was inexplicably almost 5 seconds behind the live TV coverage, so I turned them off after a while. Another inexcusable error, not that I minded not hearing Kesling mangle the down-and-distance like usual or praise Travis Henry for running the ball, even though he's been in the NFL for 5 years...

But really, the worst thing about the ESPN coverage wasn't the bias, or the clips, or Blackledge in his 1983 mullet - it was the interminable shots of that Troll, Paterno relaxing in the coaching box, watching the game like any other fan. I can't stand that guy.


I got to my office this morning and it was plastered with "Happy 40th Birthday" signs, photos, balloons, confetti - even a "Pin the Tail on the Old Man" game taped to my door.

My wife and co-workers have outdone themselves ;)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Our annual gigantic New Year's Eve blowout bash is over - 5 families, 19 people over for a grand total of about 10 hours. Les came by at 3 to start the rib smoker, the rest of his family arrived at 5 and everyone else filtered in by 7:30.

We ate, and ate, and ate...and, oh, ate some more. Then played "Things" and "Cranium" till ringing in the New Year at midnight.

There's something surreal about watching 8 kids running around the front yard fighting lightsabers and plastic swords, screaming at the tops of their lungs at 12:30 am in a warm January. :) Welcome to East Tennessee in the winter!

One of the kids is spending the night with BrainyBoy. All is well.

I hope 2007 is a blessing to all of you and your families.