Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why are toys so expensive?

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$10-$12 each, after shipping.

And these two are $90-$150 each online

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


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Does anyone else carry latex gloves with them to use when they pump gas for their car, or is it just the one woman with the pink hat?

If this ; is a semicolon, what's a pseudocolon?

Has anyone ever mistaken a "meteorologist" for a muscular bladder doctor? (Seriously, say it out loud).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This is November?

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Tomorrow's high is forecast as 75 degrees. November 4th. 75 degrees.
I saw a shirtless guy across the street today blowing the leaves off his lawn.

The change back from Daylight Savings must have thrown off the weather.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Barack Obama is wrong for America

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Barack Obama is the wrong choice to be president of the United States. Sure, he can stand up and give a good speech that makes people hopeful about "change", but what is truly frightening is what he means when he says "change". I'm convinced that 80% of people voting for him don't know what it means. I can ask them why they're voting for him and they come off sounding like a Saturday Night Live skit (FIX IT!).

If elected, Obama will be the least experienced president in recent history. Only two years after being sworn into the senate he began running for president, having authored a single passing piece of legislation. Even his running mate and those campaigning for him know this.

"The Presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training." - Joe Biden
"I'd be honored to run with (or against) McCain." -Joe Biden

"His entire campaign is based on one speech he gave at an anti-war rally in 2002. I give him credit for making the speech, but his speech was not followed up with action, which is the pattern we have seen repeatedly -- a lot of talk no action. We have one speech in 2002 versus a record of accomplishment and a record of action." - Hillary Clinton

Running for president is a job interview. What better predictor do we have for someone's future actions than their past performance? Certainly not vague promises and glowing speeches.

Obama has never been completely honest about his past. Everything that we have learned has had to be dragged out of him or uncovered some other way. It's still not even clear whether he was born on U.S. soil, one of a very few Constitutional requirements to run for the office. There are people who will point to his "certification of live birth" (which is not the same thing as a birth certificate) posted on, but besides the fact that no hospital's name or doctor is found on the document, do they not know who is?

The allegedly non-partisan is financed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The president of the Annenberg foundation has endorsed Barack Obama, who just happens to have been the chair of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The money for this project was awarded by a grant proposal written by William Ayers.

Not only has Obama not allowed access to records from his past education or employment, he hasn't been honest about his past associations. Every time someone questionable from his past is brought up, he minimizes the relationship, only to later have it revealed that a much closer association existed. He's consistently shown poor judgment in his relationships. Sure, they've thrown money his way and helped him get ahead, but the result is that Barack Obama would fail an FBI background check for security clearance.

An astounding number of voters still think Congress is controlled by the Republican party. While John McCain and Republicans have warned for years that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in danger of collapse, Democrats continued to encourage loans to people who couldn't afford the payments. Now voters want to give that same liberal Congress a bigger majority and a put the most liberal senator in the White House so he can sign every bill put on his desk. It would be impossible for the Congress to write a bill too liberal for Obama to sign, as he has been found the single most liberal Senator in office.

If the best predictor of future action is previous performance, then Obama has given voters no reason to believe he will lower taxes. 94 votes to raise taxes or against lowering taxes in his short Senate career. Even if he manages to lower taxes, he won't be "cutting" taxes for 95 percent of Americans since 40% of American workers don't pay federal taxes. Those people will be getting welfare checks at the expense of the top 5% of taxpayers.

(For the record, I owed no federal taxes for the past 2 years, and I oppose tax increases on the wealthy for the purpose of getting a government handout.) And who exactly gets the tax increases? People that make $250,000, $200,000, $150,000, or $120,000? It depends on how close it is to election day, it seems, since the number keeps getting smaller. But let's say Obama succeeds in creating an even more progressive tax system. (Is it really a coincidence that the stock market goes up and down with McCain's poll numbers? Investors know better.) The hidden part of his tax plan is the intention to allow the Bush tax cuts to lapse, increasing taxes on those making just $25,000/year or more, lift the cap on Social Security taxes and increase capital gains taxes. THAT is consistent with his record of voting to increase taxes on those making just $42,000. Now you're paying more taxes despite Obama apparently keeping his promise to lower them. You just forgot to read the fine print. Meanwhile small businesses, the number one source of new jobs in the country, are forced to either lay off employees, or attempt to raise their prices. You'll either lose your job or not be able to afford what you could before. John McCain knows you can't tax your way out of a budget deficit. You have to decrease spending. You need less government, not more social programs. Obama's commercials claim McCain will cut taxes for companies shipping jobs overseas. Well why do you think they're sending jobs overseas?! Their taxes are too high. The U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Joe Biden insists that paying more taxes is patriotic. I'm not sure that means much coming from a man who has given $3,500 to charity over the same time period that he made $2.5 million. If you ask me, these impossible promises of doing more for the people while making them pay less is quite literally a case of buying the election. "Vote for me and I'll take care you from the cradle to the grave. You won't have to worry about a thing. Trust us to handle all your problems."

Probably one of the most concerning issues at hand is Obama's promise to appoint Supreme Court justices who agree with him. He has insisted that Constitution must be constantly changed and reinterpreted. John McCain has vowed to appoint justices who will stick to judging laws according to what the Constitution actually says, and not activists who just by what they think it should say. If Democrats have filibuster-proof numbers in Congress, there will be no one to prevent Obama from appointing any far-left lawyer he wants to sit on the Supreme Court for the next 20-30 years, creating a liberal court that will legislate from the bench.

31 million people watched Barack Obama's infomercial on Wednesday. Of course, the infomercial itself always ends up being better than the product it's selling. This air time couldn't have been purchased except for another of Obama's Broken promises.

Obama's critcism of McCain's health care plan are misleading and most people will be better off. Obama's plan, however, will create more government bureaucracy where the government says what you can and can not have done. And when they side with you, you'll have to get in line. It's not universal health care, it's rationed health care.

Finally, Christians should be seriously concerned about voting for this man on Tuesday.
"The first thing I'll do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act" (July 17, 2007, speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund).
Among the federal and state laws that FOCA would NULLIFY are:

*Informed consent laws
*Waiting periods
*Parental consent and notification laws
*Health and safety regulations for abortion clinics
*Requirements that licensed physicians perform abortions
*Bans on partial-birth abortion
*Bans ..ion after viability. FOCA's apparent attempt to limit post-viability abortions is illusory. Under FOCA, post-viability abortions are expressly permitted to protect the woman's "health." Within the context of abortion, "health" has been interpreted so broadly that FOCA would not actually proscribe any abortion before or after viability.
*Limits on public funding for elective abortions (thus, making American taxpayers fund a procedure that many find morally objectionable)
*Limits on the use of public facilities (such has public hospitals and medical schools at state universities) for abortions
*Legal protections for individual healthcare providers who decline to participate in abortions
*Legal protections for Catholic and other religiously-affiliated hospitals who, while providing care to millions of poor and uninsured Americans, refuse to allow abortions within their facilities

Wait, did I read that right? This man who very clearly claimed, by all definitions, to be a Christian at the Saddleback Forum will make part of his first act as president an end to the legal right of doctors to refuse to perform abortions on religious grounds. Doctors forced to violate their own moral code and religious law or go out of business? Doctors and nurses will lose their jobs for refusing to compromise their own religious convictions. This is only the first step down the road that will lead to the increasing loss of religious freedom in the country that was founded on it, while the very behavior they oppose becomes an "inalienable right". Catholic adoption agencies have already been forced to shut down for refusing to place children with homosexual couples. How long until churches are sued for refusing to marry those same couples?

The United States needs a president that will not stand aside while the left-wing Congressional leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid catapult the country towards a socialist, big-government, anti-religious, economy-choked future. We need a president who has proved he knows how to work with both parties to get bills passed. We don't need president who sides with his party 97% of the time, won't let anyone know the truth about his past, who we're not even sure is Constitutionally eligible for the office. We don't need someone to hold our hand and give us hand-outs, but someone who is ready to lead on day one, doesn't punish hard working Americans for their success, and remembers how to lay the economic foundations for growth.

The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we as Americans have the capacity now, as we've had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.

-Ronald Reagan

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Practical socialism

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Commenter Mickey writes: I have to pass this note on to everyone. Here is a creative approach to redistribution of wealth as offered by a reader of the local newspaper, the Eagle Tribune.

Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign the read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed--just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient deserved money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Pedro the Lion

Not to be confused with "A Lion Named Christian" from the very popular youtube video of a 400 pound lion "hugging" the guys who raised him many years afterwards. Also not the award winning children's book, "Herbert the Lion". Instead, Pedro the Lion was the name used by David Bazan for his band and it's constantly changing lineup of talent.

Before going any further, I need to say that music reviews aren't really my thing. Neither are movie reviews, or anything else that requires the writer to use words to describe a visceral, emotional experience, while digging beneath the surface to point out subtext, undertones, references, similarities, differences, etc. For me, writing about music might as well be dancing about ice cream. Which is why I'll expect it won't take me to long to get to the point where I give up and say, "Listen to this!"

Pedro the Lion is the first musical experience I can remember as being solely the result of reading someone else's raves online. I know I'd heard the name since they were on the big popular Christian rock label at the time. Being in college and not having a car, I walked the 2 blocks to the Family Bookstore just to buy their 6-song debut CD. It was certainly unlike anything I had heard before, but it would be another year before I could begin to fully appreciate the songwriting talent of the man behind the sound and lyrics.

In 1998 we went to the Cornerstone music festival and Pedro the Lion was there, we liked the 6 songs we'd heard, so we checked out the set. But the debut E.P. hadn't prepared anyone for the new batch of songs. There came a point in the set (probably The Bells, or Secret of the Easy Yoke) where I felt that everyone under that tent realized at the same time we were seeing this incredible musical talent emerge onto the music scene before our very eyes. We all wanted these new songs we were hearing. As luck would have it, a table was set up next to the stage with boxes of shiny new discs holding 12 new songs for us to devour (well, 11 plus a re-recording of one that was released as a 7" single the previous year). The album was on a record label no one had ever heard of before, and it wouldn't be officially released for 5 more months. We felt like we'd found a giant musical diamond in the muddy Illinois farmland.

I believe it was the winter of my junior year that Pedro the Lion and Damien Jurado came to play, not in the auditorium, but in the LOBBY of the auditorium of my relatively small college. I got to see Pedro a couple other times over the years, mostly in bars, as the lyrics got more political, cynical, and dark. The final Pedro the Lion album in 2004 was much less dark, and intentionally so, before Pedro the Lion became just David Bazan in 2006. In his own lyrics:
Should I really reconsider my reasons for going solo?
I still run the show, and don't you forget it, so I had to let some go, don't think I don't regret it, because I do, and I don't think I'm better off alone...Fewer moving parts mean fewer broken pieces

The Lyrics
Bazan's words have never been short of a little controversy, and heavy on pain. From the very first release which discusses his apparent previous drug addiction (or maybe they're just lyrics) to the closing line of the final Pedro the Lion album:
My old man swore that hell would have no flames, just a front-row seat to watch your true love pack her things and drive away.

Or just listen to Indian Summer below. Or read the lyrics to Backwoods Nation.
I don't claim to understand all of Bazan's lyrics. Most of them tell stories. He has an entire song about Arizona cheating on New Mexico with California, wrapping up with lyrics about rock/paper/scissors. However, he certainly has a knack for writing lines that stick in your mind. At least until the next memorable line replaces it. Or I'm wrong and they're only memorable in the context of the music. (These are all from different songs)

The problem with rules is, they alienate the criminals

Your father drank a little, You're on liver number two

The breakfast cereal talked more than we did all day long

You won't survive the information age unless you plan to change the truth to accommodate the brilliance of man

But I can't say it like I sing it

And I can't sing it like I think it
And I can't think it like I feel it
And I don't feel a thing

The list could go on, but they don't have quite the same impact without the music.

The Music
I'm no musicologist, but since we're dancing about ice cream, I can hardly skip over the music itself. Bazan has an incredible talent for crafting songs so as to build sad, moody, emotional tension through most of the song, a lot of times allowing things to quiet down in the middle, only to build it back up again to release the tension in the final chorus (Criticism), or an unexpected bridge (3:09 of Arizona, 2:57 of I Am Always the One Who Calls, 1:41 Transcontinental, 3:02 of Eyes on the Finish Line) or occasional coda (live version of Secret of the Easy Yoke).

Some of the best versions of Pedro/Bazan songs end up being the versions he plays live. If it were an option, I'd have everyone listen to Omaha 2004, but apparently it was a limited time free download (at a lower bitrate), because I can't find it anyway. Bazan is pretty well know for doing several cover songs (and doing them REALLY well.) The best known is his cover of Radiohead's Let Down, and he does a great version of Randy Newman's Political Science. You'll no doubt recognize Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah below.

If you've read this far, it's possible you need a new hobby, but do yourself a favor and check out some of the songs below. I think it says a lot that after 10 years of knowing this music, I've spent most of the last week listening to almost nothing but Pedro and David Bazan songs. But it's already tomorrow, so here, listen.

How to fix the financial crisis

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It all seems so simple now.

Friday, October 10, 2008


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It's kind of like watching a car crash in slow motion. You don't want anyone to get hurt, but you can't look away out of fascination in finding out how far the car will roll before it comes to a stop up its roof. Clearly people are in a panic and selling whatever they have for whatever they can get. Meanwhile, people who actually have money realize what's actually going on. Stocks are on sale. Warren Buffett has bought $8 billion worth of stock in TWO companies...THIS MONTH.

What does the government want to do? They want to be your landlord, and now your banker. At this rate it won't take Obama to usher in American Socialism. It'll already be waiting for him when the rigged popularity contest hands over the keys to the White House.

I guess the only upside is the price of gas. I actually saw a line at the pumps for $2.79 gas at one station last night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


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The Swell Season

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What an incredible show last night in Columbus. After the opening act, and 2 songs from friends of Glen who happened to also be playing in the Columbus the same night at a different venue, Glen started off the show by stepping around the microphone and not plugging in his guitar, holding his finger to his mouth to quiet the audience, and playing Say It to Me Now with no amplification whatsoever. After introducing Marketa, they went straight into Falling Slowly, clearly to get it out of the way and not keep everyone waiting for an encore. The rest of The Frames were introduced as the backing band, and they played When Your Mind's Made Up together. They performed a mix of the songs from Once, Frames songs, covers, and new songs over the course of the night. The official set list (available as a download from is:

01. Say It To Me Now
02. Falling Slowly
03. The Moon
04. When Your Mind's Made Up
05. I Have Loved You Wrong
06. Leave
07. Back Broke
08. Astral Weeks
09. Go With Happiness
10. Low Rising
11. Lies
12. Red Chord
13. The Hill
14. If You Want Me
15. Blueshoes
16. War Pigs
17. Fitzcarraldo
18. People Get Ready

The harmonies at the end are incredible. I was thinking while they were singing that they actually reminded me a little of the harmonies at the end of Coldplay's Fix You.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike in Ohio

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Ike in Ohio

..and a bunch of pictures I stole

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


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Monday, September 8, 2008

iPod 1979

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I found this story online today and thought it went perfectly with the fake iPod ad I had found previously:

iPod roots traced back to 1970s UK
12:03PM, Monday 8th September 2008

Apple has admitted that a British man played a part in developing the iconic and extremely profitable iPod, although he has so far received no money for his invention.

In 1979 Kane Kramer from Hertfordshire filed a patent for a digital music player that stored just three and a half minutes of music to a solid state chip - limiting media options to just one short song.

Nonetheless, a company was set up by Kramer to bring the IXI to a commercial release, but it slipped into the public domain in 1988 when the firm failed to raise the £60,000 needed to renew international patents.

Because of this patent lapse, Kramer has received no money from the sale of any of the 163 million iPods Apple has so far sold.

However, Apple recently contacted Kramer and hired him as a consultant in a legal case against another company that claimed the iPod infringed on its own patents, Burst.

"To be honest, I was just so pleased that finally something that I had done which has been a huge success and changed the music industry was being acknowledged. I was really quite emotional about it all," says Kramer, speaking to the Daily Mail.

After ten hours of deposition from the Briton the case was settled out of court. Kramer is now in talks with the company to agree on a compensation package, giving credit to the man for his design which was years ahead of its time.

Kramer isn't resting on his laurels, though. He is currently working on a new device which will record telephone calls and send the audio file via email. The device is expected to be used for business meetings and interviews.

Apple was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


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Usually we get so tired of gray, gloomy days during the colder months. As the remnants of Fay blew overhead yesterday, though, it felt rather refreshing, and somehow beautiful to have a day full of dark overcast weather in the summer.

DNC: Since Hillary Clinton gave her speech Tuesday night, talk radio kept playing clips from it all day yesterday. I realized I'd rather listen to Fran Drescher. Why does she feel compelled to yell everything she says into the microphone? No wonder Obama wouldn't pick her for his VP. He doesn't want to be yelled at all the time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

That’ll all folks...

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It seems the end is here for my computer monitor. It just went black on me and the power light started blinking. I checked all the connections, but even with the computer off, it's freaking out on me. I'm about 107% positive the Dell warranty is long past.

Maybe this is my chance to buy a bigger, higher-res monitor...

Friday, August 15, 2008

You might be a...

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You might be a(n) redneck eBay addict if you've ever tried to outbid yourself without realizing who you were bidding against. I just crossed that line.


What the ?

Bigfoot found

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Breaking News! Nothing has changed!

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I was in my car today (driving, not just sitting) listening to syndicated talk radio when the local station broke in with a news alert to report that the Federal Reserve had not changed the interest rate. Let me repeat that. They broke in just to report that NOTHING HAPPENED. That's not news. Certainly not "breaking" news. It's literally anti-news.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

LOST spoilers from Comic-Con

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  • The island did not travel when the hatch imploded, but something did happen.
  • We'll see more of Locke and Jin on the show. "Dead is a relative term," and there's still a lot of story to be told about those characters.
  • We will see Rousseau's story this year, but it won't exactly be a flashback. We're done with flashbacks and flashforwards, but there will be some time-jumping excitement anyway. There will be storytelling on and off the island, and in different periods of time.
  • Vincent the Dog is fine and will be in season five — and will survive until the end of the show.
  • The Jack/Kate/Sawyer triangle is central to the show, and we'll see more interesting permutations of it over the next two seasons. And Kate will see Sawyer again.
  • The nameless extras in the Zodiac boat with Farraday, stranded with the island gone, may be toast, but "things are looking up" for Farraday himself.
  • Speaking of Daniel, he has a little notebook that tells him stuff that's happened, and stuff that will happen soon, and it's going to figure prominently in season five.
  • Richard Alpert is "quite old," thanks to the island's mystical properties, and we'll see more of his history this year. We'll also see him barefoot in "the near future, pun intended," so we'll find out how many toes he has.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

She & Him

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I just bought my ticket to see them at OSU. If anyone wants to go along (general admission), let me know. Just don't use Ticketmaster because they charge $8.85 in extra fees. I paid by phone and only paid $1.50 extra.

Friday, July 18, 2008


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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ultimate geek footwear

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For the past 19 years, we've been aware of one thing missing from our fashionable high-top Nike's. Power-laces. Now, as much as I despise Nike and the fact that they bought Converse, they do have one pair of shoes I would like to own. They don't exactly have power laces, but they are limited edition and apparently adjusted for inflation from the year 2015.

As I said, they're limited edition, and the only place I've been able to find them is on eBay for $850. But I guess there is the whole Mr. Fusion shipping surcharge. The only thing better would be a DeLorean. Or a hoverboard. Or maybe just a flux capacitor.

Monday, July 7, 2008


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Lawrence of Arabia is epic in every sense of the term. It runs 3 hours 36 minutes, and what is on screen much of the time is a truly epic desert landscape most of us will never get to see in person. I used to have a wishlist, somewhere, of movies I felt must be seen on the big screen to be truly experienced (although, that should be true of most movies). This summer I'll get to check two of those off the (now mental) list: Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago. Both are directed by David Lean, whose name is nearly synonymous with "epic". (This isn't going to be a movie review. It's a 46-year-old movie. You can get off the couch and get it from Blockbuster.)

Lawrence played today, and it was the first time I'd gone to the Victoria Theatre for a movie on a Sunday afternoon. They usually run a movie for three days then it's done, so this was the last day. It was much less crowded than the last time I went (a Friday night Hitchcock movie.) I assume it was the fact that it was a Sunday, but it's also the 4th of July weekend, and a 3 1/2 hour movie (although one guy behind me, seeing the running time given in minutes, seemed to do some fuzzy math and declared it would be nearly 3 hours long). The crowd was the same as usual. A median age of around 72. In fact during the Wurlitzer organ concert preceding the show (I know, they might as well beg for an older crowd, right?) he had everyone sing "Happy Birthday" to a man turning 85. I guess all that really says is that they've got better taste in movies than the generation eagerly awaiting the newest Brendan Fraser movie in 3-D.

I stayed up way too late last night watching season 4 episodes of LOST on the PS3, so I was a little worried about staying awake through the movie. I actually had no problem staying awake at all, but the man a chair over from me was snoring 15 minutes into the film (+6 minutes for the Mr. Magoo cartoon). He eventually woke up, and probably even saw most of the movie, but I kept hearing that deep breathing and saw his wife elbow him a couple of times. It's pretty amazing he was able to sleep with his head upright.

Anyway, it was a memorable experience seeing it project in 35mm (all the 70mm only seem to end up in big cities) as opposed to the first time I watched it, on DVD on a 32" SDTV.

If anyone sees that 2001: A Space Odyssey is showing within 50 miles or so, let me know.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


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I think I prefer colder weather for one reason and one reason only. Wearing a coat or jacket usually doubles the number of pockets available to me. In the winter, I can comfortably carry my wallet, keys, a couple of pens, Chap Stick, PDA, analog notebook, and digital camera (and cell phone if I wanted to be bothered by an income-sucking nuisance.) The only reason I bring it up, is that I literally left my Chap Stick in my other pants when I left this morning, so I set myself up to have a bad day. By 10 PM I was looking forward to finally getting home, Marble Slab shake in hand, but what I came home to was far from a chance to relax (and find my Chap Stick). When I leave the dog home alone for a long time I make sure she can go outside, but that doesn't mean I expect to find grass puked up on my bed and soaked through to the mattress. She didn't even eat all the food in her bowl. Sheets are in the washer, mattress is clean and drying, and I haven't even gotten around to getting the mail.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Twisted Dream

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I don't normally have a clear memory of my dreams, but when I do, they're generally pretty bizarre. Last night I was dreaming I was driving around in my car and there were dark clouds in every direction. Looking one way, though, it looked like the cloud was all the way to the ground, the way it looks when it's raining heavily in the distance. Eventually I realized that it was a gigantic tornado like the one at the end of Twister. I realized I was going to need to hold on to something, so I pulled over and grabbed some steel bars that were conveniently secured to concrete by the side of the road. It didn't take long for the tornado to pick up my car, but I held on tight and saw up through the middle of the tornado, thinking to myself, "They really got it right in Twister, because that's exactly what the inside of a tornado looks like." I also remember thinking, "No one is going to believe this when I post it to my blog tomorrow", still believing my dream to be true. Yes, I dreamt about my blog page. It might sound impressive that I held myself to the ground while a huge tornado passed over my head, but I'm pretty it's cheating when you're Superman. Did I forget to mention that part? Yes, I was also Superman, but without the tights. And apparently without the ability to fly since I was having a lot of trouble with that after the tornado.

Told you. Bizarre.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Why bother?

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I was filling up my car this morning (Okay, that's not true. I only had enough money for 5 gallons.) and I realized that they're still tacking on 9/10 of a cent to each gallon. Honestly, what's the point? It might have made some when gas was still $0.99. (I still remember in 1991 when everyone was saying, "We'll never see gas under $1 again." And it was only 3 years ago that we thought $2.35 was really high for gas.) So again I ask, why bother? What's the point? Why not just round up to the next full cent?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Y’all Tube

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I thought I had a great idea today: A hillbilly Youtube called Y'all Tube. Turns out it's already been taken, but it's a site for Hip-Hop and Dance videos. Now I know how Elisha Gray felt.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Coen Brothers

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Anyone who has seen more than two Coen movies knows they like to use the same actors. Frances MacDormand and George Clooney are probably at the top of that list, but it turns out there's another very strong commonality in their films. Maybe I'm the last to figure this out, but after watching the trailer for the new Coen Brothers movie, Burn After Reading, it dawned on me that nearly every movie bearing their name can be boiled down to one basic plot point, or to borrow Hitchcock's term, MacGuffin. "Get the money." The money isn't always real, but it's nearly always the motive.

Think about it:
No Country for Old Men (drug money)
The Ladykillers (casino heist)
Intolerable Cruelty (alimony)
The Man Who Wasn't There (blackmail)
O, Brother Where Art Thou? (treasure)
The Big Lebowski (fake ransom)
Fargo (ransom)
Hudsucker Proxy (stock scam)
Miller's Crossing (prohibition $)
Blood Simple ("hit" $)

and now, back to blackmail

(Not safe for work - well, depends where you work)

Maybe, in a way, it's actually an impressive commentary on their films that it took me this long to see a common thread. Most of their movies are not all that similar, although a couple are similar in tone, but nearly all of them are very good. I'll leave it to the reader to decide which ones don't fall in with the good ones.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

1911 Wright "B"

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I worked the evening shift instead of my Friday morning shift today, so I was there when the 1911 Wright "B" look-a-like housed at Dayton-Wright Brothers airport landed and taxied up for fuel. One of the pilots is a fellow flight instructor at the Aero Club and took this picture.

It's not the first time I've had my picture taken in a plane at the Aero Club.

It would later overfly the Air Force Museum for the Tattoo, as would 4 Aero Club planes. After our planes got back, an F-15, F-16, and F-22 all departed from the runway right in front of our hangars for the Tattoo.

(I didn't take this one either. I was on the ground.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Road Trip

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I had to go to Columbus this morning for a friendly visit to the FAA. Mostly I just had to drop off my paperwork to renew my flight instructor certificate for another two years, but I also had message on the answering machine yesterday from someone in Operations that wanted to speak to me about an incident involving one of my students. So I combined those two things and also stopped into Sam's Club to get some New Mexican salsa with flame roasted green peppers. It's shipped from Albuquerque, but I don't understand why only 3 stores in the whole state are listed on the 505 website as carrying it. I bought four 40-ounce jars.

It's only about an hour drive, but when you consider that the Columbus skyline can be seen from an airplane flying over Xenia at 3,500 feet, it leaves a person wishing it was quicker. There's actually quite a lot of farmland between Dayton and Columbus and at one point I saw a field with tall grass and just hovering there above the top of the grass was a deer's head. That doesn't sound right. I'll clarify. The head was still attached to the deer, but she was standing in the tall grass so that's all that could be seen.

I paid $3.97 to get gasoline before I left, so there was no way I was going to waste gas by going over the speed limit, and there were plenty of people on the road thinking the same thing. Here's what I don't get, though. Does the state of Indiana require people to actually do anything to earn a driver's license, or do they just mail them to people automatically? I lost count of how many cars with Indiana plates there were driving 70 in double-fine, 55-mph construction zones, weaving in and out of traffic without using turn signals. Why do Indiana drivers act like they own the roads in Ohio?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Easily Amused

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I'm fairly easily amused. As such, I get a kick out of this picture of Tom and Colin Hanks at a ball game together, inadvertantly sitting exactly the same way. Genetics? You be the judge.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Re: Pens

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On a bit of a whim, I decided to get a space pen. Mostly because of the design, but come's a space pen. Not only will this one not leak in airplanes, if I'm ever under water and upside down, in space, with nothing to write on but grease-smeared paper, I'll still be able to write.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pens and blogging

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As a flight instructor, it's important that I always have a black-ink, fine-tipped pen handy for filling out student logbooks, etc. Lately I've been using a Pentel EnerGel .5mm because a 4 pack was much better priced than a 3 pack of that the ones I was using before. They work well enough, but I felt more comfortable with the Uniball Vision Elite .5mm because they guarantee on the package that they will not leak in flight. I was contemplating switching back today after finally throwing out a couple of old empty Vision Elites I found laying around, and came across an entire web site devoted to "the quest for the perfect pen." Penquest isn't really a website, but a blog, with several pen reviews, and even an article about the pens used on the Daily Show and Colbert Report. I guess there's nothing left to add to the internet. It's all here, already.

I'm wondering what it is about writing a blog that allows people to share things with the entire webernet which they might never be able to say aloud to one person? It's not as if there's a lot of anonymity. That's my actual face at the top of the page. I didn't borrow someone else's for the picture. Even if someone doesn't know me, they could still figure out quite a bit about me if they were the least bit observant. What once may have been written in a journal, perhaps never to be read again is now just out there, archived on an unknown numbers of hard drives just waiting for some 23nd century cultural anthropologist to find and analyze "how they really lived back then." If they can't figure it out given the petabytes of information we're leaving behind, they should maybe get a new job. It's never too early start looking.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Real advertisements

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Don't shoot the messenger.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Female singers

There was probably a time in high school when I didn't own a single CD by a female vocalist or female-fronted band (but honestly, was there much to choose from as far as good music was concerned?) Eventually I picked up a few here and there. Bands like Velour 100 , Sixpence None the Richer/ Leigh Nash , Evanescence, or Kate Jones.

So it's kind of strange that the two artists I've recently been listening to the most, for two different reasons, are female-fronted groups. I discovered Abigail Washburn because she released a couple of CDs that have banjo savant Béla Fleck on them, and The Sparrow Quartet showed up on a youtube search for him. She plays clawhammer-style banjo to Béla's 3-finger picking, and she also sings. It's clearly bluegrass music, but she's spent so much time in the Chinese culture and language that it makes it's way into her music. Most obviously in the songs sung in Chinese.

And then there's Zooey Deschanel, and her new band with M. Ward called She & Him. I've been waiting for her to release an album ever since I heard her sing in the movie Elf. Ward finally convinced her to share some of her own music, as well as some covers, but most importantly, to sing. Her voice and musical style are about 50 years "behind", but that's a good thing in this case. A very good thing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 27

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I had to cancel a flight with another instructor's student today for weather. Visibility was 7 miles at the time, but the ceiling was about 700-foot overcast. So instead of going flying, I...went flying. In the clouds. I never got much "actual" instrument time since I did most of my flight training in the southwest U.S., but today I chalked up a full hour in the clouds. It still amazes me when we start to see the ground through the clouds, then about a hundred lower see the runway RIGHT in front of the plane. Thanks May 27, for crappy weather that turned out perfect for flying in the clouds.

I'm not sure why I'm writing about this (and it'll be the last time), but this date just glares at me from the calendar. 2 years ago, May 27 was on a Saturday. My "wife" had flown to Phoenix the day before to help pack up the apartment for my move back, and to celebrate my birthday and our anniversary, both of which were the previous weekend. We never made it to dinner. Somewhere around 2 or 3 in the afternoon we took a break from packing and sat down to rest. Through a unique set of circumstances (involving her Treo phone having saved the last web page she visited, which just happened to be her work email account, and an email from her boss ending with "I love you"), that Saturday turned out to be one which has affected, directly or indirectly, every day since in my life. I guess it's appropriate that this 24-month mark be my last comment on it, since that's exactly the length of time she'll be making payments. But no matter how "moved-on" I can be, May 27 will always look a little darker on the calendar than other dates and leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Vatican Astronomer: Aliens Might Exist

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"Just as there are a plethora of creatures on Earth, there could be others, equally intelligent, created by God," said Father Funes, the pope's chief astronomer.

Of course, the biggest surprise here is not that Roman Catholic leaders have a theology based on science fiction instead of the Bible, but the fact that Vatican has its own astronomer.

I suppose this official position shouldn't be surprising, since the Vatican have refused to take a position denying evolution, and alien life is an evolutionary worldview.

Father Funes: "We cannot place limits on God's creative freedom."

And we do not. Nor can we demand that He go beyond the limits He placed on His Creation. Nor can we put words in His mouth. What we can do is take Him at His Word.

"How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?" Funes said.

Life does not "develop". It was Created. I have to wonder if he's actually read the Bible, or perhpas just chosen to ignore the parts he doesn't want to believe. This view denies that the Earth is specially created for human life in the image of God, and is the only planet so created.

Isaiah 45:18

For thus says the LORD,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited

It denies God's Self-revealed order of Creation: The Earth created on days 1 and 2. The Sun, Moon, and stars on day 4.

The largest gaping hole in this newest position is a denial of redemption to these hypothetical intelligent extraterrestrials.

Father Funes: "If other intelligent beings exist, it's not certain that they need redemption."

Romans 3:23

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"

Romans 8:22

"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."

Even if for some bizarre reason "all" included only humans and specifically excluded our imaginary E.T.s, they would live in a fallen universe and suffer the effects of original sin. They would be living in punishment for that of which they were innocent.

They could "have remained in full friendship with their creator" without committing the original sin, he said.

How many "original" sins can there be?

If E.Ts are in need of redemption, he claims they would benefit equally from the incarnation, in which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, assumed earthlings' flesh, body and soul in order to redeem them, which Father Funes called "a unique event that cannot be repeated".

He admits it can not be repeated, but fails to explain how life on another planet could possibly know about it. And if they knew about it, how could it benefit them? Sin entered the world, and the universe through one man. Redemption can only come through one Man.

Romans 5:12

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned"

We share that sin nature because we share the same blood. We share in redemption because we share the same blood.

Acts 17:26

"And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings"

The only acceptable sacrifice for human sin is one who is perfect (God), yet is one of us (Man). The only acceptable sacrifice for alien sin is a God-alien, which can not be.

Hebrews 10:10

"By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

The Bible simply does not allow for aliens, evolution, or a big bang cosmology billions of years ago. Such teachings about the Hebrew scriptures not only contradict the Gospel message, but also deny what Jesus believed.

Mark 10:6

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female."

At the beginning. Not 14 billion years after the beginning.

He ought to know. He was there.

John 1:1

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Exegesis: critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text, esp. of the Bible.

Eisegesis: an interpretation, esp. of Scripture, that expresses the interpreter's own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.
(Also known as taking outside ideas created by fallen, sinful man, like evolution and aliens, and trying to "fit" them into the Bible.)

Matthew 15:14

"And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Swell Season

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Yep. I'm going.
Columbus. September 22. Fourth row.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cleveland Cavaliers

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This is too good. It deserves its own post. Playoffs start this weekend and Cavs have home court advantage against the Washington Wizards.

"I think everybody wants Cleveland in that first round. They've been a .500 team ever since they made that trade, and everybody wants a chance at that matchup. We want Cleveland for our own reasons, we don't think they can beat us in the playoffs three years straight. It's hard to beat a team three years straight. We want to try our luck." - Gilbert Arenas

"I think the Washington Wizards have got to be the dumbest team in the history of civilization. I think for them to rile up LeBron, who's the second-best player we've got in the NBA . . . I think that's just stupid. I thought [the Wizards] had a chance to win that series. I don't think that any more." - Charles Barkley

Saturday, April 12, 2008


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I've had the same background image on my page for awhile and I was looking for something with which I could replace it (also, I probably need a new avatar. I don't actually wear 23 for the Cavaliers, and I finished reading that book 2 weeks ago.)

I still haven't picked out a new background, but I came across some pictures of Tucson (taken when I lived in Phoenix for flight school) that reminded me of the year we lived there when I was 10 and decided to write about it (and show pictures) on the off-chance someone might care about what I was doing 19 years ago.

For my whole life my dad has had ankylosing spondylitis, and my parents decided to move us to Arizona for a year, hoping that the almost non-existent humidity would help him out. Back then he could walk well with only a cane, and even ride a 2-wheel bicycle. It must have been the fact that we were someplace different, but I could probably tell more stories about my 5th grade year than I could my 4th or 6th. Most of the things that really stand out as memories can pretty much be seen in the pictures, but need explaining.

We had never lived in an apartment before, so that was new. Our complex was within site of Mt. Lemmon.

Topping out at 9,000 ft., Mt. Lemmon was always much cooler than in the valley, so it was a fairly popular place during the warm months (and during the winter if you wanted to play in the snow. We used to spend entire days up there with a picnic, climbing on rocks, and sitting in the shade of the pine trees.

The complex was also just up the street from Circle K (we had been used to 7-Eleven at the time in Ohio.) That was where we would go to mix as many flavors of soda as we could to go with our junk food, and play the video game they had there, Gauntlet.

The other place we spent a lot of time was, of course, the pool. We actually grew up with a pool in the back yard, but this was much larger, and it was more of a social gathering place. It was pretty much a given that as soon as we could get home from the bus stop, it was time to go swimming. We also got to swim on Christmas day.

See how some of the bricks on the right side are darker red than the others? That's because most of them weren't there when we moved in, and the ones that were got torn down. Not that we had anything to do with it, of course, but we had easy access to the back ally, and we could easily walk up the "steps" onto the wall and just walk along it. In the mind of a 10-year-old boy, spending the afternoon walking along the wall is even more fun than playing in the pool. I don't know why.

This mini-wall seems to serve no purpose, but that's where the school bus picked us up, so we climbed up and sat on the wall to wait.

I know, we already saw the pool, but check out the pay phone on the right. That was the only phone we had for a year. One of the neighbors let us use theirs on occasion, but for some reason my parents decided not to get a phone in the apartment. On at least one occasion one of the other kids in the complex came knocking on our door to tell us that someone from back home had called the pay phone. Maybe it was just the one time when Uncle Jack died just a couple of weeks after he came all the way out from Ohio to visit.

Okay, so this is the school we went to. It was broken up so each building had pretty much one grade. The classrooms were kind of wedge shaped, with a circular room in the middle connecting to all the classrooms. The circular room had computers where we got to play Oregon Trail. Now, the above picture looks pretty normal, and that's about how it was when I went there, but if we zoom out:

We were not fenced in when I went there. I don't remember living in a bad part of town, but maybe I was just too young to remember. It did seem run down and dirty when we were driving around, but I don't know if it had been that way, or just deteriorated in the time after we moved back to Ohio. There's probably a dozen other things I could reminisce on that still no one would care about, but I don't have pictures.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Air Force One / Ghost Hunters

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I've seen some interesting things in the time I've been at my job. DC-3, F-86, F-16s, F-15s, T-34s, A-10s, and of course plenty of C-5s. I've had the privilege of taking off and landing on the same piece of land used by Orville and Wilbur to develop their planes following their Kitty Hawk flight.

Tuesday I was returning from a flight with one of my students and saw a 747 flying in the pattern on the parallel runway. As it came around next to us on base to final, I could see the highly polished white and blue paint job and presidential seal on the side. Obviously the president was not on board, so it was not "Air Force One" at the time, but it was clearly one of the planes that uses that call sign. The call sign they were using was Venus Zero One. I didn't have my camera with me, but...

Then last night the Sci Fi channel aired an episode of Ghost Hunters which was recorded at Wright-Patt a few months ago. I don't usually watch those kinds of shows because I don't believe in ghosts lingering around on Earth after they die (Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" Luke 23:43). But it was fun to see the hangers at the Aero Club where I work and all the other familiar sites around the base.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Waste of taxpayer money - in Yen

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You probably thought it was only the U.S. gov’t that wastes taxpayer money. Japan is trying to show they have what it takes to spend millions on pointless endeavors as well.

Japanese scientists and origami masters hope to launch a paper airplane from space and learn from its trip back to Earth.

It’s no joke. A prototype passed a durability test in a wind tunnel this month, Japan’s space agency adopted it Wednesday for feasibility studies, and a well-known astronaut is interested in participating.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, accepted it Wednesday for three years of feasibility studies and promised up to $300,000 in funding per year.

Takuo Toda, the head of the Japan Origami Airplane Association, had nursed the idea of flying a shuttle-shaped paper plane since NASA in 1977 launched its first space shuttle Enterprise, a craft without an engine or heat shield that was used to perform test flights in the atmosphere.

He spent 18 months figuring out how to fold a perfect origami spacecraft from a plain sheet of paper — without cutting, stitching or taping it — and tested hundreds of designs in the process.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Weather, Sam Neill, and

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So here are a couple of recent weather pictures. The snow blowing through the screen last weekend stuck to the window in fairly interesting ways.

The fog this morning was worthy of a Stephen King novella. The first picture doesn’t quite capture how thick it was, but the second is better. It seemed to be much worse on the road, where stop lights appeared suddenly, and right on red could have caused a problem.


I don’t like Sam Neill. He bothers me and I don’t know why. Yet, I can’t seem to get away from him. In the past week I’ve had the urge to watch both Doctor Zhivago and In the Mouth of Madness.

I can’t get that stupid country commercial song out of my head. We get it already!

Customer Service

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To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to encourage the ChapStick brand to return to its original formula for Chapstick All Natural. While it’s clear that 100% Botanical Medley is supposed to take that place of the All Natural product, and the ingredients appear to be the same, it is noticeably not the same. The smell is different (less coconut oil?), and it’s not as smooth on the lips as the All Natural product. Not only that, but the All Natural product was about $1 cheaper. It usually retailed for about $1.99 in the blister pack, so how does putting the (nearly) same product in a box justify the new $2.99 price point?

I have had to resort to eBay to find what tubes are left of All Natural, and have picked up 13 so far. ($2.99/4 is a lot better than $2.99/1.)

Also, why does your company not have a customer service email or web form available on your web site? It’s 2008. I refuse to call your customer service line because I’m not convinced the full impact of my point will be made over the phone, so I have to spend the 41 cents to mail a letter and wait for it to arrive, when every other company in the world (except for Lay’s, apparently) has digital means of serving customers.

Please let me know when you come to your senses and return to the original formula (don’t feel bad, it didn’t work for Coca-Cola, either.) Until then, what do you think Blitex’s Herbal Answer is like?

Mark [Last Name]
[Street Address]
[City], [ST] [Zip]
[email address] (That’s an email address. It’s like mail, but faster.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

LOST Addiction

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Thursday, March 6, 2008


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I just know that one day I’m going to wake up late and find my alarm clock dead, but I can’t bring myself to do anything about it. It’s been running on the same AAA battery for well over seven years. In fact, the battery reads, "Best if installed by Jan. 2002." Now logically, this battery is going to have to run out at some point. More likely it will be sooner rather than later, but if I change the battery now, I’ll never find out how far below the "E" I can go before the car stops, so to speak. Could an Indiglo travel alarm clock be so effecient that I’ll never have to change the battery?

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Constant

After last night's episode of LOST, I posted a comment about the editing of the show. In fact, during the show, I remember saying "wow" out loud during one of Desmond's "transitions", and the phone call at the end, the quick cuts back and forth between Desmond and Penny, clearly the emotional heart of the episode, is not likely to be forgotten soon. So when I woke up this morning, I was very surprised to get an email (through youtube) from Emmy Award Nominee (for LOST - Through the Looking Glass) Mark Goldman.

Are you the BubbaCoop who said "If that doesn't get an Emmy for editing, nothing should." about the Lost ep "The Constant" over at DarkUFO? If so, I couldn't agree more. And thanks for noticing!

Mark J. Goldman

and then his follow-up to my reply:

Well, thanks Mark. I'm thrilled with everyone's reactions to the episode. There was some discussion about using a very subtle visual effect on the transitions, but from the moment I read the script, I told Damon Lindelof that I felt the transitions should be clean. Luckily, everyone liked them that way, so while we did a little experimenting with visual effects, they never went anywhere. It was great fun to do things you normally would never do -- cutting in the middle of a line, for ex. Jack Bender did a bang up job in shooting the ep., of course. And where would I be without Ian's heartbreaking performance? But I spent hours shaving frames here and there on the phone call, and it's probably my favorite scene that I've cut from the series. So I appreciate your appreciation!

Glad you liked the show.

Mark Goldman

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Au Dentiste

It's awkward to sit in what basically amounts to a recliner that you can't control, with a light shining in your face, and a stranger looking in your mouth. You can't just stare back at them. So as I was trying to find a place on the ceiling to lock my eyes, I had the thought that it would really even the playing field if she took her mask off and let me look into her mouth at the same time...and no, I was not on any anesthesia or drugs at the time. That's okay. I didn't really want to look in her mouth anyway.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Merry Christmas!

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For me, anyway. In more ways than one. Except for the the food...and family.

My two big presents at Christmas were Cleveland Cavaliers tickets in Indianapolis for tonight (thanks Eric and Monica), and a gift certificate, which I used to order a new aviation headset, which happens to be set to arrive UPS today.

Also, there's something like 6 inches of snow on the ground, so I'll be spending a significant amount of time shoveling out my car and clearing grass in the back yard so my foot-high dog is physically able to squat without sitting in snow.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Perfect Time

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Taken from If Jesus Has Come by Steve Brown

World History's Preparation for Jesus
If you will, allow me to give you a short history lesson. There are two great streams of human history. One is the Judeo-Christian stream. Some two thousand years before the birth of Christ, a group of nobodies in the middle of a desert came up with the crazy idea that God had chosen them to be His people. These nobodies lived in the midst of cultures far more sophisticated and civilized than their own. One would have expected that these Hebrews, with their nomadic lifestyle, would have been absorbed into the cultures that surrounded them. That is the way things happen in the "real" world. But in this case it didn't happen. In fact, just the opposite happened.

Living among people who sacrificed their children to their many gods, people who worshiped the sun and the moon, these Hebrews worshiped one God. In fact they developed the highest form of monotheism the world had ever known. Their ethical and moral value system was incredibly sophisticated, and their theology was far ahead of anything yet seen on the face of the earth. The Hebrew religion is one of the great mysteries of history. From a sociological standpoint, there is simply no explanation for its development and perseverance. From a biblical standpoint, there is no mystery at all. They really were God's people! They had been chosen. They were right.

So imagine this Judeo-Christian stream of human history, beginning in about the twentieth century B.C., moving down a corridor of time. Now let's look at the other main stream of human history: the Greco-Roman stream. This stream began in the twelfth century B.C. with the Greek conquest of the Aegean civilization, and it moved through the Athenian golden age, the Peloponnesian War, the conquest and rule of Alexander the Great, and finally to the rule of Rome. Within this stream of human history we find our political roots. Here we find great learning, philosophy, architecture, art, and science. By the time the Romans ruled, there was a common language, a common coinage, a common road system, and best of all, peace. You may have heard the term Pax Romana, or "Roman Peace."

These two great streams of history moved in parallel, separate corridors of history for more than a thousand years. And here is where our history lesson becomes most interesting: In the first century, these two streams of human history crossed. And do you know what happened when they crossed? A Jew by the name of Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem.

From a purely human standpoint, if Jesus had been born seventy years earlier, when the Parthians occupied Jerusalem, you would never have heard His name. Nor would you have heard His name had He been born seventy years later, after the fall of Jerusalem. But during that brief interval, for the first time in human history it became possible for a story to spread throughout the Western world. For the first time in human history an idea could be heard by men and women everywhere. For the first time in human history it was possible for a man born in a little village in a small country, never traveling more than forty miles from His hometown, to become known and loved by thousands in countries and cultures far different from His own.

Do you think that was an accident? Do you think it was just one of those coincidences that happen occasionally in the annals of history? Or do you think that maybe, just maybe, God planned it all? Do you think that maybe, just maybe, all of history was prepared for this one event? Could it be that God prepared the conditions under which His coming would be the most favorable? The Bible says that, like the great communicator He is, God didn't speak until the audience became quiet. (See Rom. 5:6, Gal. 4:4.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

In My Opinion

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Cake is just a socially acceptable excuse to eat frosting. The dominant food of celebratory events should be replaced with bowls of frosting eaten with spoons.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Note to self:

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Watching the movie "Sunshine" right before bed causes really weird dreams.

Friday, February 15, 2008

CFA, Driving, and Inner Monologue

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I got to go in late to work today because no one was on the schedule to fly until 10:00, and there was no afternoon dispatcher on the schedule, so I had to stay late. But that gave me the chance to go to Chick-fil-A for breakfast without having to get up before the sun does. Plus I knew they had Free Breakfast Friday, so I got a free chicken biscuit for breakfast, and bought a second one for lunch.

On the way back to the base, this one driver was holding everyone else up. It's 45 mph, no reason to do 30...UNLESS you're busy doing things OTHER than driving. This guy's got a GPS on his dash, a bluetooth on his ear, and he's drinking a bottle of water. How he found time to bother with controlling the vehicle is beyond me.

Which brings me to creepy Mr. Rogers-looking dude at work today. He started off in the office with the manager for an hour or two and is apparently doing an audit of selected member folders on Tuesday. He sat there in the office with his legs crossed, the way that only skinny tall guys (and women) can, and his khakis are clearly way too short, only coming down to the bottom of his calves in this position, revealing his white socks. Eventually he left the office by himself and walked past my desk, walking around the table and talking at that volume where you can't quite be sure if he's talking to you, so you keep looking up to see if he's looking in your direction, but he's not. So then I wonder if he's on the the phone with a magical earpiece. I had to wait until got around to the other side of the counter to see his right ear and sure enough, nothing. Okay, then I wasn't annoyed, I was just creeped out. This guy spent a full 2 minutes mumbling to himself. How full does your brain have to be that it's impossible to think without every thought dribbling out of your mouth?

The base commander came to the club today in an unofficial capacity. She was visiting with a friend who was stopping for fuel on the way from Scott AFB near STL to New York. At one point she pulled out a wooden nickel someone had had engraved for her with her name and the base shield. It had head and tails, and it was a "decision" coin on whether or not to close the base. Heads: Close the base. Tails: Close the base. She said it landed on its edge Tuesday, because there was only a start delay (and someone apparently forgot to open the gates, so I happened to see lines of traffic on the highway just before 10:00 that day). Anyway, I thought the coin was clever.

BTW, if you need a pre-determined day in February to tell someone you love them, you probably don't.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Everything must go!

[migrated from myspace blog]

I mean, SOMEONE must want a 1988 Delco factory stereo from my old Camaro, right? No idea why I had it in the attic for the last 10 years, but it's for sale if someone wants to listen to cassettes while they're driving around.