Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Who You Looking At?

I haven't done a lot of deep posting lately, so here's your chance -- nay, your privilege and opportunity -- to explore my mind...

Russ McBee has some thoughts regarding an ABC News Poll about how Americans feel about arbitrary video camera surveillance:
The question in the poll was worded this way:
Some people support the use of surveillance cameras in public places as a way to help solve crimes. Others say these cameras go too far as a government intrusion on personal privacy. What’s your opinion – do you support or oppose the increased use of surveillance cameras in public places?
Although I think the results may have been different if the question had consisted merely of the third sentence and omitted the first two, I find it shocking that 71 percent said they favored surveillance cameras, and only 25 percent were opposed.
I can understand his point, and I basically agree with the premise that the government has no business sticking a camera in my face, asking, "ARE YA GUILTY??? ARE YA??? HUH? HUH? NO? ok, nevermindmovealong....."

However, although I generally agree with his contentions, I'm not libertarian by any stretch of the imagination, and a few of his arguments strike me as...well, as a little paranoid....
Seventy-one percent of the American people apparently don't think the Fourth Amendment means anything, or that it was added for no good reason. Seventy-one percent of the American public has lost sight of the fact that unfettered police power not only can be abused, it will be abused. It's a metaphysical certainty that innocent people, minding their own business, would be tracked and monitored.
Ok, let's take a quick look at the Fourth Amendment:
Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I really despise hyperbole. In this case, exaggerating both a problem, and the response to it. First of all, I don't believe being "secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects" applies to being videotaped in a public place. I know in my business, there are public events that have photos taken of various attendees. Normally in small, private situations such as inside the hospital photo releases would need to be obtained by all subjects of a photo before it could be published. But when you're outside at a public event, like a golf tournament or charity race, you have no expectation of identity privacy - anyone can see you, and anyone can take your picture when it's related to your attendance at the event. That way we don't have to get releases for 10,000 people downtown at a race. If you're walking down a public street, anyone can take your picture as long as they're not harassing you to get it - that's how paparazzi can take photos of celebrities. I may not like it, but I can't consider a video camera taping me coming out of Mast General in downtown Knoxville as removing the security of my person, house, paper or effects. Now, if the camera were capable to recording what I had in my pockets, my wallet, anything placed on my person with an expectation of privacy - that's different. But they can't and won't do that, so it doesn't apply.

Secondly, he says, "71% of Americans don't think the 4th Amendment means anything". Again, that's a huge exaggeration. Even allowing for a little bit of emphasis for effect, just because one person interprets the amendment one way, that doesn't mean I have to interpret it the same way. I think the 4th Amendment is extremely important - I just don't agree that I "don't feel it means anything" just because I differ in my interpretation.

And do people really consider video cameras on the street corners "unfettered police power"? Really? Unfettered? One would equate breaking down doors in the middle of the night, dragging off political dissenters while shooting their families to be the equivelant of monitoring for purse-snatchers and jaywalkers? If there's an argument that exists for equating the two examples of loss of civil liberties, I'd like to hear it.
Being free from unwarranted search is fundamental to the American notion of liberty. Surrendering our privacy to police cameras would be no different from allowing police to stop people randomly on the street and demand to see their papers.
Again, I don't see random videoing to be the equivalent of stopping and asking for papers. Asking for papers is a way for the police determining if you, Joe Innocent, has the right to be doing what you're doing and to be where you are, and that you are indeed who you say you are. It also actively disrupts your life. Being videoed merely records your presence, to be compared to known criminals. While neither may be wanted or entirely private, they are not the equivalent of the other.
We decided collectively a long time ago that the police may not search us without a good reason to do so. Blanket surveillance, whether instigated by the White House or by local authorities, is anathema to our history and our values.

Liberty cannot exist without a fundamental right to privacy, even when walking down the street.
Again, I don't think being videotapes means being searched. The items that the public cannot see when walking down the street, from papers to wallets to the insides of purses to pockets, remain undetected even with the most sophisticated cameras. When actively searched by police or asked for "papers", then the 4th amendment would apply. (Now, if they do develop and utilize cameras that can videotape what's in my pockets or my wallet, then we have a mighty big problem. Also a fun toy at frat parties.)

Bottom line: you have a right to privacy, except for that which you willfully give up when going out in public. When in public, you are who you are and that face you choose show to the outside world is public property. Having it videotaped, while not the best answer in the world, is certainly not the same as giving up your privacy.

This kind of hyperbole is not helpful to win others to a cause. Careful presentation of the facts and not exaggeration are better at making a case.

Bush League

The Urban Dictionary defines "bush league" as:
Amateur performance. Behavior that doesn't belong in the major leagues.

Curt Schilling has a running feud with Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, once calling Alex Rodriguez's swat of a tag in game 6 of the ALCS a "bush league play" on The Jim Rome Show.
In baseball, bush league is a reference to the minor leagues - especially all the development leagues out there that are semi-professional, but where the players have no real major league skill and little hopes of making it to the big leagues. No knock against those players, that's just the reality of the situation.

But the popular usage of "bush league"* describes an action or practice that's unprofessional in a situation where professionalism is expected. Cheating, especially immature cheating, can be considered "bush league." A few weeks ago, the aforementioned Alex Rodriguez called out "I got it" while running from third during a pop-up that caused the third baseman of the opposing team to move away from the ball, letting it drop and Alex to score. That was a very "bush league" move which earned him some deserved scorn. Major leaguers should act professionally and show class in the sport they play.

Lately we've seen "bush league" action from Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons and Adam Jones of the Tennessee Titans (aka He Who Must Not Be Nicknamed - I refuse to sully the memory of a perfectly good video game). Both players have acted unprofessionally off the field and refuse to own up to their actions.

But the most egregious example locally has been the actions of our Knox County Commission. All the locals know what I'm talking about, and for you out-of-towners here's an article in yesterday's News Sentinel:

Day of political dealings detailed

Here's why I call this "bush league"...
Chairman Moore, a former [outgoing Knox County Sheriff Tim] Hutchison employee, had decided before the meeting started there would be no debate, no stump speeches or public airing of candidates’ credentials.

“I believe that’s the rules,” Moore said in his deposition.
Bush League #1: Moore decided arbitrarily that succession to commission seats would be done without meaningful discussion or debate. Which means most of the deals had been made beforehand (in violation of law) and all that remained was seeing who stayed loyal to whom.
One of those would be filled rather uneventfully by Richard Cate, a businessman and former economic development official whose company lost a civil lawsuit to a woman who said Cate sexually harassed her. Cate denied the allegations. Fellow commissioners apparently didn’t know of the matter when they voted.
Bush League #2: With no debate or discussion, Cate's past was not brought up as a possible reason for not appointing him. Guilty or innocent, commission should have been made aware.

Another even more trouble example was Diane Jordan's son, a former drug dealer, was nominated to replace her on commission without his past criminal activity being discussed. Again, guilty, innocent or even reformed, the commission and by extension the public has a right to know the background of the people representing them.
The most hotly contested of the two [remaining seats] was a battle between Scott Davis, a developer who served on commission with [County Mayor Mike] Ragsdale in the 1990s, and Lee Tramel, a Hutchison employee and longtime politico.

The pair shouldn’t have even been in the running, given commission’s gentleman’s agreement on deferring to district wishes. But Commissioner Phil Guthe had refused to publicly name his nominee. District mate John Schmid tapped someone else.
Bush League #3: Gentleman's agreements broken, without regret or remorse. Decisions made unilaterally and without public opinion. Bush.
The Ragsdale and Hutchison factions each saw a chance to seize the West Knoxville seat, several deposed commissioners agreed.
Bush League #4: Factions??? We actually admit to having factions??? That's playground stuff when you get down to it. The two toughest kids on the playground, each with their own hangers-on and admirers. It plays all the way up to the top with Democrats and Republicans, but to see it at its basest, here it is in Knox County. Factions...sheesh.
Commissioner Ivan Harmon recalled in his deposition a meeting with Ragsdale.

“He asked me who I was going to support — Lee Tramel or Scott Davis,” Ivan Harmon recalled. “I said, ‘I’m supporting Lee Tramel.’ The mayor more or less said, ‘Well, if you support Lee Tramel, I can’t support your district.’ Of course, he says he didn’t say that but I had no reason to lie to him about it or anybody, but he just didn’t feel like Lee would be a good team player.”
Bush League #5: More of the same. No mention or debate on whether Tramel would be a good representative of his district - only that he would support Ragsdale's "faction". You see this in Supreme Court nominations all the time.

Special Bonus Bush League #6: I believe I went to high school with Lee Tramel, and knew him slightly if it's the same guy. I graduated with his younger sister. He seemed like a decent enough guy, although rather arrogant. What's bush about this is that he's sullying the name of the great Knoxville Central High School. But I digress...
Harmon said when he asked Jordan to support his nominee, she responded, “Those orange ballot people — referencing the pro-term-limit folks — said some very nasty things about me, so, no, I won’t.”

He repaid her in kind. When it was time to fill her slot, “Commissioner Jordan sort of leaned back in her chair and asked me if I would nominate Josh Jordan, and I leaned back in my chair and said, ‘No, I won’t.’”
Bush League #7: Bush, bush bush. It just goes on and on.

We elect people expecting them to be professional and conduct business with respect and honor. We are often disappointed, reduced to watching grown men and women who have made the big leagues act as if they're back in the minors - pretending to be important and skilled when all along they're just playing around on the schoolyard. It's not just unprofessional, it's childish, immature, irresponsible and unethical.

Read the rest of the article, there are many more examples including a commissioner that was named as a replacement then sworn in to cast his lot with his "faction" - against the agreement that all replacements would be sworn in together.

Bush league. We deserve better.

* Despite the similarity in names and resemblance to possible decisions a certain president may or may not have made, the phrase "bush league" has nothing to do with any current, past or future presidents. No matter how much they try to make it appear so. Your Jokes May Vary.

Monday, July 30, 2007

My Puppet Partner

I'd like to invite everyone to welcome the newest blogger on the block, The Beaver Dam, starring Anniebeth!

Anniebeth and her husband, the Beav, are two of our best friends. Beav played drums for me for Suessical and Anniebeth is my partner in our church's puppet ministry. Here's a shot of the two of us doing a skit for kids at this past season's Easter egg hunt:

That's me as "Timmy" and Anniebeth as "Sasha". We've been performing these two puppets for several years now, and it's been a hoot.

Their kids (or "kits") are Buddy and Princess, two wonderful little ones who are quite a handful but quite loveable.

I definitely shouldn't neglect to mention Anniebeth is also our softball team's star third-baseman ;)

Go visit Anniebeth and welcome her and the whole Beaver gang to the block!

UPDATE: Picture lightened somewhat...

I Survived!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Tomorrow Today It Begins

Tomorrow Today is Blogathon 2007.

Please consider tossing a couple of your hard-earned shekels our way as Cathy, Doug, Rich and I blog for 24 hours straight (in 6-hour increments) to benefit STAR (Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding), a program that uses horses for therapeutic purposes.

My uncle was a very big supporter of riding programs such as these in Georgia, so part of my blogging will be in his memory.

There are a couple folks out there that read my site I know could surrrrrrely be counted on to donate a few bucks? Hmm? Hmmmmmmm? HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!?!?!?!?!? (I'm looking at you, former BUMC'ers...)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One of the Many

Reason #1,402 of the many, many reasons I love my wife:

  • Last night we watched Premonition on DVD. If you haven't seen the movie I won't reveal any plot details but I think most everyone who's heard of it knows that Sandra Bullock lives the days of one week in jumbled-up order, and tries to prevent her husband from being killed somewhere in the middle.

    The movie was very good, despite some plot holes and continuity errors that are inevitable for time travel-type stories. Nonetheless we watched the entire thing, bouncing ideas back and forth what was going on. We'd pause the movie, rewind, discuss, watch it again, discuss some more, theorize and make fearless predictions on the outcome. After the movie was over we watched a Special Feature on the DVD that laid out the entire week, in order. While that played, we continued to discuss the possibilities of time travel and disrupting/altering time streams.

    You know, the typical stuff couples talk about.

    Anyway, Laura has a keen mind and wonderful sense of story. It's a joy experiencing stories and movies like that with her. I remember a similar time when we first saw The Sixth Sense, although all that discussion happened after the movie was over since we saw it, completely unspoiled, in the theatre.

    She's way cool ;)

    PS - What other movies like these do you recommend, where discussion about plots and mysteries and what-the-heck's-happening do you recommend?
  • Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    Four Days Till Blogathon 2007

    Don't forget this weekend from 9am Saturday - 9am Sunday is Blogathon 2007.

    Cathy, Doug, Rich and I will be temporarily moving our blogging duties to here, and each taking a 6-hour shift. I will be live and in person from 9pm Saturday evening to 3am Sunday morning. Family plans will prevent me from joining folks at Bailey's at 6 that evening but I will try to stop by and blog live after 9 or so.

    We're sponsoring STAR (Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding), a program that uses horses for therapeutic purposes.

    I still need ideas for interesting things to do or blog about during my shift. Rich will be writing a story live, the vidcam will be turned on at D&C's... I need ideas, folks! Send 'em in! I'll be up till 3am and things are likely to turn a bit weird...

    Sounds Like Something I'd Say...

    Driving around town

    Laura: (reading sign at local produce store) "Lackberries? What are lackberries?"

    Me: I think that's supposed to be "Blackberries" The "B" fell off. (snicker)

    Laura: Oh....

    Monday, July 23, 2007

    Things On My Mind Today

    • Last night I jammed with several other guys on guitar at church after our contemporary service. I don't play guitar that often, so my fingers haven't built up calluses very well. Today the tips of the middle and ring fingers of my left hand are numb, and it feels very stranger to type with them. I kep makin mstakes

    • Harry Potter finally arrives to me, 2 days after release, here at work sometime today. *cough cough* I think I'm beginning to feel poorly, round about 11:30 or so.... Last time that happened, strangely enough, was the day "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" opened two years ago. Strange thing, those flu bugs.

      So far I passed a huge stack of them at Krogers, glanced at the first page and moved on. Willpower.

    • The top of my scalp

    • The kids are off at Wesley Woods camp until Friday afternoon. Looks like a great time to....um. Well, let's see. We could...

      *blank look*

      World of Warcraft, anyone?

    • If there's a funnier stand-up comic movie than this that's clean, I'd like to see it.

    Saturday, July 21, 2007


    I was all set to meet the UPS man with my copy of Harry Potter this afternoon, but thought.."Hm. I'll check the tracking record from Amazon. I'm certain I changed the default shipping destination to my house..."

    Looks like I can expect it in my office Monday morning.


    Friday, July 20, 2007

    Friday's Feast

    Feast One Hundred & Fifty Two

    Appetizer - On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest) how much do enjoy watching sports on television?

    I enjoy watching football, college basketball and baseball on TV. Unless it's UT or one of a few NFL teams playing, I typically don't watch a game from beginning to end. And I usually don't just watch any sport like golf, tennis, etc unless someone else has it on. I'd say I'm about a 7.

    Soup - If you could completely memorize any one work of fiction, which one would you pick?

    Wow. Good question. Maybe "Macbeth" or "Hamlet" so I could play one of the roles...

    Salad - What is your favorite breakfast food?

    Bacon and eggs, ham, sausage - that sort of thing. I'll eat cereal on occasion. I'm not a big fan of muffins and other "sweet" breakfasts.

    Main Course - Name something fun you can do for less than $10.00.

    I think movie tickets still are less than $10.00 around here, at least on matinees so I can do that. I can go to an arcade and get $10.00 worth of tokens ;) I can get into the entire Smithsonian Institute and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park for free since they're national parks/museums which is very cool.

    Dessert - How long does it usually take you to fall asleep?

    Not very long at all. Even wearing the dreaded CPAP, it only takes about 5-10 minutes..

    Thursday, July 19, 2007

    88 Miles Per Hour!!!

    I Want One

    Hey! I can buy my own for the low, low price of $75,000!

    Seems a small price to pay for being able to go back in time, right? I mean, the opportunity to see them sign the Declaration of Independence, or witness the Birth of Christ....

    Wait, it does work, doesn't it?

    (Hat Tip: Les Jones)

    A Foursome

    Rich from Shots Across the Bow will be joining Doug and Cathy and myself for Blogathon 2007.

    Remember, you can sponsor us here.

    Rich has told me what he'll be doing in his 6-hour stint to engage the reading audience, encourage participation and bring awareness to the cause. I'm going to let him reveal it in his own time, but suffice to say it involves live commentary-blogging the entire 4th season of "Full House" on DVD. Or something like that.

    Welcome, Rich!

    Charity Begins at Blog

    The fine folks at Blogs We Luv have bestowed upon yours truly the:

    ...for my work (to be done in a little over a week, on 7/28) at Blogathon 2007 for STAR.

    Thanks guys!

    Sign up today and sponsor me today!

    In related news, I'm going to put out a general call for ideas to blog about or do during my section of time of the Blogathon. Until then, any ideas are welcome...

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    Unexplained Phenomena

    Ah lahks mah iced tea.

    Pardon the Southern patois for a moment, but it's true. I love iced tea. More specifically, sweet tea. The kind that only comes south of the Mason-Dixon line, east of the Mississippi River. And even then, there's a particular variety in East Tennessee unique for its intense sugar content. Those of us who've traveled abroad (meaning, like, New York or even Texas) know the looks waiters and waitresses get when you order your iced tea sweetened.

    "Pre-sweetened??," they think. "What kind of barbarians are you, anyway? You order sweetened iced tea...yet you wear shoes. What manner of madness is this??"

    Anyway, that's beside the point and another post away. Suffice to say I love it and drink it almost exclusively in whatever restaurant I happen to patronize.

    I also love it so much I usually get one or two refills, and very often will get some in a to-go cup to take with me--

    Wait a second, something's coming on TV...


    Cue X-Files music

    Mulder: No, that's ok, Scully - I've got the check this time.

    Scully: Mulder...what's that sitting on top of your go-cup?

    Mulder (looking down): It looks like a straw, Scully. (squats down to peer at the straw, sitting innocently on top of the lidded cup) And it's still wrapped. Scully, this is a new straw!

    Scully: Mulder, that's impossible. That can't be a new straw. I mean, look at your glass you were drinking out of bef-- (stops in puzzled disbelief, as she examines Mulder's empty glass on the other side of the table, slightly bent and chewed straw sticking out the open top)

    Mulder: I'm telling you, Scully, believe it with your eyes or not, the waitress brought me a brand new straw. Still wrapped and everything.

    Scully: But why, Mulder, why?? It doesn't make sense...

    Mulder: I know, Scully. Why waste a perfectly good unused straw to go with the to-go cup, when the one I was using is fine. (picks up the straw and examines it closely)

    (Scully surreptitiously takes notes for her secret report to the Cancer Man)

    Mulder (blowing through straw lightly): Why would a waitress think I'd want to take the time to unwrap a new straw when I have my own still here... I guess it's just one of those weird things, Scully. Let's go - the Lone Gunman won't wait much longer for us...

    (Scully stops writing, quickly sticking the notepad back in her pocket)

    (Mulder shrugs, pokes the nicely used and ready straw into the hole in the to-go cup lid and takes a sip as he walks out behind Scully.)

    (A moment later the wrapped straw, resting alone on the empty table, begins to writhe and morph into a black-oilish substance. It slithers off the table to the floor and oozes away)

    (In the corner of the room, The Cancer Man frowns)


    Ok, well it may be an insidious ploy by my enemies to unwittingly introduce a dangerous alien presence onto my person. Or it may not. Still, it's pretty pointless and wasteful to throw away a new straw.

    On a brighter point: The X-Files II, coming soon!

    Blogathon 2007

    Once again this year, I'll be joining Doug and Cathy for Blogathon 2007.

    This year our selected charity will be STAR (Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding), a program that uses horses for therapeutic purposes.

    Here's a little bit of what they do:
    We offer therapeutic riding designed to meet the specific needs of each participant. The prescribed program may include grooming, saddling, and learning riding skills or may be passive in nature. With some riders we position them so the movement of the horse can relax tight muscles, increase range of motion, improve trunk stability, and balance. These individuals are not learning riding skills but they are reaping great benefits from being on the horse.
    If you would like to support STAR and sponsor us in our blogging marathon, please visit the sponsorship page at the official Blogathon 2007 site.

    We will be blogging from one central site, and all four of us will be found posting there throughout the entire 24-hour period about this, that, and whatever comes into our minds. I had the 9pm-3am shift last year, and let me tell you things get a little weird after midnight...

    Cathy has promised to turn on their video cam (a frightening prospect) if we get at least three sponsors. I think somewhere I threatened to blog from the tub at some point, although those rumors are as of yet unsubstantiated. I may even try to draw in a guest blogger or two from around the house, if I can pry them away from the TV for a few minutes.

    Please pledge your support, and even if you can't give anything at this time be sure and drop by the site and say hi - comments will be welcome, appreciated, and desperately needed, especially around that 1:30-2:00 time...

    Hold on, there's a question...yes, you in the back?

    "You said four people - so far you just mentioned yourself, Doug and Cathy. Who's the fourth?"

    Ah, now that would be telling. Check back soon for the Mystery Blogger's identity...

    Friday, July 13, 2007

    Becky Interviews Me

    Becky from Searching for Oz recently put out a challenge for interviewees, and I accepted. Here are her questions for me:

    1. Do you believe in the theory that there is only one right person out there for each of us?

    I don't believe too much in the "pebbles in the stream" theory, that if a person's life is going on in one direction and if you toss a "pebble" into that stream (even a very large one), their life would keep going on in the same way, seeing little effect from the pebble. Meaning if a man and woman are supposed to be together, they will be. There are any number of possible choices both I or my wife could have made in our youth and college lives that would have meant we'd never meet - it's a very happy set of coincidences: 1) I changed majors at UT, necessitating a 5th year. That's the year we met. 2) She stayed instate for her undergraduate degree (Lambuth University in Jackson, TN) and didn't go somewhere else like Syracuse - who knows who she might've met away from home. 3) She happened to choose UT as a grad school. Not a huge leap as she's from Jackson, TN but still. 4) She decided to join Chamber Singers (of which I was already a member) and also start going to the Wesley Foundation Methodist Student Center (of which I was also a member). 5) Through a strange series of circumstances, I started going to Wesley myself a couple of years earlier. 6) I decided not to go to grad school and stayed in town.

    Any one of those details or decisions, had they been different, might've meant we would never have met or necessitated breaking up early. So I don't believe "destiny" takes a special hand.

    Now maybe it was God's Plan for us to be together. I believe we each have free will to pick and choose who we want to be with and fall in love with, but who would I be to argue with the possibility God didn't throw some roadblocks or open some doors that might've steered us in the right direction? :)

    2. Assuming money were no object, where's the one place in the U.S. that you haven't visited that you would most like to?

    I'd say probably Hawaii - interesting answer, since it's former Hawaii resident Becky asking the question. Since all my beach visits have been on the East Coast/Gulf Coast/Caribbean, it'd be interesting to experience an entirely different area of sand and surf. Not that it'd be particular different, it'd just be different for its own sake.

    3. What do you and Laura usually do to celebrate your anniversary?

    For our 10th anniversary, we took a 10-day Carnival cruise. For our 15th, this October, we're flying down to Orlando and park-hop for a week. Some years, we take family vacations around the anniversary date. Other than that, not a whole lot. It'd be nice to take a weekend every year and just get away but it's not very feasible.

    4. Do you have a nickname that you haven't told us about?

    Heh. Heh heh. Heh heh heh heh.....


    UPDATE: Ok. Just one.

    Mad Dog.

    That's all I'm gonna say.

    5. Do you tend to follow the rules are are you an "ends justifies the means" kind of person?

    I am very much a rule-follower in the more ordinary aspects of life. Not so much a rule-follower but a status-quo-keeper.

    Case in point: We rented bikes to ride around on while on vacation on Edisto Island in South Carolina. Laura and the kids had already picked theirs up when I arrived late last Monday afternoon, so we drove down to the rental shop to pick up mine, which had already been reserved. I went in to show the guy the receipt and pick up the bike, and he said that they couldn't release any more bikes that day after 4:30 (it was 5pm) and they were all locked up. Knowing we didn't have any particular plans to use the bikes that evening, I shrugged and said okay, we'd pick it up tomorrow morning. When I went back and told Laura we couldn't get it this evening she went back inside and talked the guy into letting us have it. To me, if they set the rules to say they close the bikes up at 4:30, who am I to buck their rules? I can live within other peoples' boundaries. She's not like that, though, and is willing to stand up for what she perceives is not right and fixes them. Sometimes it causes friction but most of the time our two points of view complement each other.


    To fully appreciate this latest conversation with my kids, you have to a) be a fan of Jurassic Park, and b) have a somewhat passing familiarity with the John Williams theme from Jurassic Park. You can listen to a snippet of it here.

    Set up: Brainyboy and Tink are at Camp Invention this week at their school, where they and other kids bring various devices in, dismantle them, and recreate things entirely new. And strange. And somewhat useless. But still interesting.

    Brainyboy brought in his old, walking Tyrannosaurus robot - articulated with moving head and legs. It doesn't work very well anymore. His friend brought in an old DVD player.

    ME: So, you should hook up the DVD player to the T-Rex. Then you could play the Jurassic Park theme while he's walking around.... (singing) "T-Rex is com-ing..he's going to eat you up! And then he'll spit you out!"

    TINK: (picking up the tune) "Ob-jects in mir-ror are closer than they ap-pear!"

    BRAINYBOY: (another verse) "There's ooh-ing and aah-ing, then running and screaming, too..."

    I love my media-addicted kids ;)

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Random Facts

    I was recently tagged by Lane and a while back tagged by Logtar so I guess I have to do it. Here goes...

    The Rules:

    * Players start with 7 random facts/habits about themselves.
    * People who are tagged need to write their own blog posts with their 7 things as well as these rules.
    * You need to tag 7 others and list their names on your blog.
    * Remember to leave a comment for them letting them know they have been tagged and to read your blog.

    My random facts:

    1) I can't stand beer. Gack. How anyone can drink that stuff is beyond me. Same with peanut butter, for that matter.

    2) I've kayaked off the coast of Barbados, swam with sea turtles, faced down a rampaging zebra and went nose-to-snout with an alligator. Well, more on that last one to come today or tomorrow...

    3) I am an unabashed Disney theme park-aholic, and love theme parks in general. My wife and I are taking our 15th anniversary trip by ourselves to Orlando in October...that should tell you something. Driving home from our vacation I was planning out our route through the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, trying to figure out which attractions were must-sees, and which we could skip this time around.

    4) I hate this meme. I can't think up 7 interesting things about myself. Never mind random facts/habits. If it isn't interesting, there's no point in posting it.

    5) I have a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre from UT-Knoxville. I've done a lot of Musical Direction around town off and on for 15 years or so. I've also acted and directed in a few shows. I want to direct more. Much more.

    6) My senior year in High School I sang Weird Al's "Eat It" during Senior Day festivities with our pops choir band.

    7) I expect everyone to be good. I don't assume someone's going to be bad, rude, obnoxioux or otherwise socially unacceptable. And I'm usually right - very, very seldom to I encounter people I just don't like. I attribute this to the fact that I'm looking for the good in people, not expecting the bad. And I'm rarely disappointed. You should try it sometime.

    THANK GOODNESS that's over.