Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Bad and The Ugly

The LA Times is ecstatic about the kind of news it's reporting in Baghdad:
I want to take this opportunity to thank BORZOU DARAGAHI, SOLOMON MOORE and LOUISE ROUG for their outstanding work in our Baghdad bureau. We had a truly remarkable year in 2006 with a wonderful mix of news, analysis, investigative stories and features. We were out front on death squads and the fact that the country had descended into civil war. We had a detailed reconstruction of neighbor-on-neighbor killings in Balad, a heart-breaking account of a family coping with the loss of a child, and a ground-breaking piece by one of our Iraqi staffers, recounting his own dehumanization as he watched the shooting of a man in front of him and did nothing to help.


The memo later adds, "And next year, if you can get some shots of skateboarders racking themselves or kittens trapped in wells, it would be WICKED AWESOME!"

They'll never guess who this is!

More names are coming out in the ongoing steroid scandal in athletics, and today Gary Matthews Jr., Evander Holyfield and Jose Canseco were put on the media marquee.

Among other things, the report says that Holyfield went by the name "Evan Fields."

Wow. Way to hide it, Sherlock. What investigator could ever bust through such a cryptic alias?

He's no Ron Mexico, that's for sure.

Wait, what?

The Duke lacrosse team is accused of rape, pronounced guilty by the state of North Carolina before the DA even got the accuser's story, then, oh wait, it was all an obvious big fat lie used by the media to point the wagging finger of racism at whitey.

So how does the university respond?

By recommending students take a course about racial, religious, gender or socioeconomic differences in the country.

In other words, they still think the lacrosse team is a bunch of heathens who got away ... this time ... and if only these rich white kids understood why a stripper was forced to make accusations that ruined lives.

Play Ball!

The Red Sox Spring Training starts tonight, and it's surprising how excited I am to be watching the feed here at work, considering it's not even March yet.

Joel Pineiro came in after Schilling, meaning he didn't have to close the game, even though he's the new closer. Did I mention that Pineiro's ERA was over 6 last year? I'm sure this will only go well for my heartburn problem this summer.

Thanks Tom!

One year ago today I sent Val a message on MySpace that would change our lives ... nay, the entire fabric of the universe, forever!

(Forgive me, I'm still a newlywed and thus prone to hyperbole regarding my still-newfound love life.)

To see just how innocuous we were at first, how run-of-the-mill, unrevealing and certainly not expecting anything like this, click on the screengrab below of her response and my first message to her, our first communication in nine years:



Within a couple of days our messages were paragraphs, not sentences, and when I compiled all of our MySpace messages, emails and even chats, by the end of May it topped 300 pages on Microsoft Word. I haven't compiled since, but I don't know if my computer has enough memory to hold it all!

Carnival of Jeff's Blogroll

No time for my own posts? Then it must be time to see what everyone else is up to!

- Big bro and religious scholar Scott, naturally, took up the story about James Cameron's documentarians "discovering" Jesus' tomb. Until this is verified by Indiana Jones I'll remain skeptical.

- My sisters turn 30 tomorrow. Stacy is excited, though I think it's more that most everyone is coming here to Atlanta and a bunch of us are going to see "Spamalot" at the Fox on Saturday. I was going to add the world's funniest joke to this, but my co-worker read it and promptly died, so I'll pass.

- Meanwhile, the "younger" twin, Stephanie, is watching the Grease audition show. Unless Vince Fontaine is doing the judging, count me out.

- Steve is getting some things off his chest, something about staying focused or HEY look at that pretty pen!

- Oxford Memphis Jenn is excited about the chance to visit Chicago this summer. Careful, Jenn. Want to know how you survive there? Here's how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way!

- Eric has decided the lottery is for suckers and is going to Goodwill to get his fortune. I won't even point out the sadness I feel in noting that a 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card sold this week for $2.35 million, or about ten times what the original copy of the Declaration of Independence might fetch. Maybe if someone *coughJohnHancockcough* hadn't been a big shot and signed it too big, it might be worth something.

- Tim was quoted in the paper today in an article about being a good writer. 'Cause that's good and stuff?.! Or something?

- Erin is relieved to finally get done with her test. Wow, what's that like, to wait for test results that don't involve sharp needles and doctors putting their fingers in scary places? I'm so old.

- Cyndi throws down the gauntlet with a post inviting us to ask her anything. I'll play. So how's it feel to root for a baseball team that was the first to blow a 3-0 lead in the ALCS? To your hated rivals? And haven't won the Series since last century? While one of your star players bemoans the lack of sleepovers with another star player?

- Semaj is running through the top 15 bad guys (and girls) of sci-fi. Jokingly, I'm picking the producers of Star Trek Voyager who turned the originally badass even-the-Borg-were-afraid-of-them Species 8472 into a bunch of hippies who need to "understand" humans. Seriously, I'm sticking with Star Trek (duh) and going with Q. Yep. I love the character, John de Lancie rocked, and most wouldn't think of him as a bad guy, I reckon. What good did he do? He toyed with humanity and even when he became comic relief he still tries to render our "tiny human minds" moot.

- Mark is amused by the prospect of dinosaurs aboard Noah's Ark. While we're at it, how about those aliens helping build the pyramids? That's amazing!

- Misawa wants you to carry guns in the mall. Because prices in those boutiques are murder.

- The Christophers continue to blog with reckless abandon. Amy notes ten things she'd do if she were younger, and not a one is "close the blinds so that guys with binoculars can't look into our dorms." Michael would like to tell you what you can do with your teeny tiny boulders you like to call "hills." Meanwhile, on their adoption blog, paperwork is fun! Make sure to have those TPS reports for us this afternoon? That would be terrific, OK?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sore loser

Eddie Murphy was so devastated after losing the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award that he stormed out of the ceremony.

Guess he wanted to catch a late screening of Norbit.

Reality Bites

MSNBC compiled a list of all the links you need to apply for reality TV shows.

It also links to an article about "Deal or No Deal," and yes, it's as we expected, you have to be an annoying raving lunatic to get picked.

Windy, eh?

Working at the summit of Mount Washington blows.

All I need to know about how much fun it would be to spend a week up there is this entry from the blog: "It snowed upward."

And the sun rose in the east

Cheney avoids assassination attempt, left-wing asshats disappointed.

UPDATE 1:05 a.m. 3/1 - According to the Media Research Center, the NY Times wins the Bad Timing Award. The morning everyone woke up to news of an attempted assassination of the VP, the Times had an article confused about the "extraordinary secrecy surrounding Mr. Cheney's visit."

Random Thoughts

- I wanted to flip away from the station. I mean, XM has some 150 music channels, right? So why couldn't I turn off of channel 23, The Heart? Oh, right, because Spandau Ballet's "True" was on, and what else could be better at that moment, 70 degrees and sunny with the windows down?

- Apartment dwellers of ginormous complexes like mine tend to get creative and earnest about taking out the trash, which is often too far away to comfortably walk while carrying a heavy sack that could bust at any moment. And no one wants to put a smelly sack in their car, so most end up balancing one or two or three on the back of their cars (a spoiler helps), carry them outside the window, or what I do is open the back hatch of my gas-guzzling SUV and put the trash in the rear, figuring that the fresh air will keep the smell from lingering. Seems to work, although on rainy or cold days it's not the best method.

- Congrats to Val's cousin Destiny and her hubby, the tastefully named Jeff, on the birth of their firstborn, Bailey Dawn, last night! She's actually going home late tonight. Not sure if I'm going to be comfortable with that when our twins are born. (We're assuming twins. Not that there's any news to report.) I think Val and I will want to hang out for a few days or a week or a month with as many nurses and doctors around as possible! Of course, maybe it won't matter, since we're already planning on her mom staying with us for the first week and my mom the second week. I hope that's okay, Moms? Dads, sisters, brothers, in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles, random friends and strangers, y'all are welcome to keep coming the following weeks! We'll be in Jamaica.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Me, Myself and I

- Psychologists say today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors. Yeah, fine, but how does this pertain to me?

- It's official, "Heroes" is kicking "24"s butt. Maybe in another five seasons it will slow down, but right now, I'm enjoying every episode about the folks with super abilities and only occasionally giving a rat's poo about Jack Bauer and gang. I completely tuned out "24" while watching over the phone with Val, and had to check the recap on Television Without Pity to be reminded what was going on.

- Krispy Kreme is debuting a whole wheat glazed doughnut made with 100 percent whole wheat and contains 180 calories. Great! I'll take a dozen.

- My favorite part of this story about a taxi driver running over two students after arguing about religion is this line: "Metro police spokeswoman Kris Mumford ... said that (Ibrahim Sheikh) Ahmed's religion was not known." I'm sure it's a religion of peace.

UPDATE: Apparently, before trying to run over the students, the cabbie praised Adolph Hitler’s campaign against Jews.

- Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner survived a plane crash into Lake Powell on Saturday. He's either the luckiest or the unluckiest man alive, having also had brushes with death before; a motorcycle crash in 2004 and surviving a night in Wyoming's back country during a snowmobile outing in which he lost a toe to frost bite. Oh, and he was impaled by a hunting arrow, too. Gardner might want to rethink that sponsorship with ACME.

- Wendy's said that sagging sales will force it to close the restaurant where the nation's third-largest hamburger chain began. Potential buyers of the building request large chili on the side, and "don't be stingy with the crackers."

- Today's headline: "Pentagon cancels huge test explosion". Says "ginormous" test explosion still on.

"Do as I say, not as I do"

"Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES). . . . The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average. Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359."
(Hat tip: Instapundit)

UPDATE 2/28 12:15 a.m. - Oh this is too good to let go. This year's Oscar goodie bag contained gift certificates representing 100,000 pounds of greenhouse gas reductions from TerraPass, which describes itself as a "carbon offset retailer." The 100,000 pounds "are enough to balance out an average year in the life of an Academy Award presenter," a press release from TerraPass asserts.

Um, isn't that like giving someone ten live minks to make up for your mink coat? You do realize, the minks in the coat are still dead, right? No backsies!

March Madness approaching

Hey folks,

Since we enjoy picking against one another for the Oscars, why not extend that to something else we generally can't figure out: March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament.

I started a league on Yahoo, and sent out invites to most of you. If you didn't get an email, that means I don't have yours on file, so email me and I'll send you an invite!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Final 2006 Oscar tally

Who picked The Departed for Best Picture: Me, Val's mom, Michael, Kimberly, Jennifer M. and Aunt Lynn.

Congrats to my father, Rann, winner of Jeff's 3rd Annual Oscars Contest! Who does he join? My brother and brother-in-law, Scott and Joe, respectively, took home the initial prize in 2004, Scott's friend in Nashville, Jeremy, was our 2005 champ, and I won last year, though since I can't rightly claim victory in my own contest, lil' sis Stephanie officially "won."

As for the low score this year? Sorry to say it's my cousin Amy. She joins her sister Karla, last year's low scorer, and brother-in-law, Bill, as our first low man in '04. Last year, Steve and my sis-in-law, Jenn, shared the "honor," which destroyed them both they didn't enter this time. But good news, as every year, Amy receives a prize as well as Dad! Congrats!

UPDATED 7:09 p.m. to add Scorsese winners

Final scores:

Dad - 16
Jeremy - 14
Me - 14
Michael C. - 14
Sydney - 14
Mom - 14
Stephanie - 13
Val - 12
Scott - 12
Stacy - 12
Aunt Lynn - 12
Carol Howell - 11
Jennifer M. - 9
Cyndi - 8
Kimberly - 8
Karen - 7
Amy C. - 6
Amy J. - 4

11. 11 Oscar updates, ha ha ha

Kate Winslet presents Film Editing, a category we could've thrown out three hours ago to speed things along. The winner is ... The Departed. Who doesn't end up on the cutting room floor with their pick? Me, Val's mom, Dad, Mom and Aunt Lynn.

If I'm right, Dad is going to win, since everyone has Whitaker, Mirren and Scorsese, and only Picture has variety:

Dad - 13
Jeremy - 11
Sydney - 11
Mom - 11
Stephanie - 10
Michael - 10
Me - 10
Val - 9
Scott - 9
Stacy - 9
Cyndi - 8
Aunt Lynn - 8
Carol Howell - 7
Karen - 6
Amy C. - 5
Jennifer M. - 5
Kimberly - 4
Amy J. - 4

Oscar update 10

(Scott, I'm at work. Because you asked in a post a long time ago, like ten minutes ago.)

More Hollywood self-praise to extend the Awards ten minutes. By 11:40 eastern time, really, shouldn't someone start hitting the cut button? And they haven't done the dead people montage yet!

Think Dad's praying to baby Jesus to hold on right now?

Scores:

Dad - 12
Jeremy - 11
Sydney - 11
Mom - 10
Stephanie - 10
Michael - 10
Me - 9
Val - 9
Scott - 9
Stacy - 9
Cyndi - 8
Aunt Lynn - 7
Carol Howell - 6
Karen - 6
Amy C. - 5
Jennifer M. - 5
Kimberly - 4
Amy J. - 4

Oscar update 9

We're starting to have the ability to predict who can win and how. Best Picture is spread out. Dad, Syd, Scott, Stacy and Stephanie have Babel, Jeremy Little Miss Sunshine, Michael and I have The Departed, Mom and Val The Queen.

For Actor, Forest Whitaker is chalk, Actress it's Helen Mirren or bust and Martin Scorsese is the only pick among the leaders for Director. Song, only Stacy isn't going with "Listen," she's got "Love You I Do." Steph is the only leader with "Our Town." Mom has "I Need to Wake Up."

That leaves Film Editing, where Dad, me and Mom have The Departed, Val, Michael, Syd, Scott and Steph picked Babel, and Jeremy and Stacy have a real chance to make a move with United 93.

Scores:

Dad - 12
Jeremy - 11
Sydney - 11
Stephanie - 10
Michael - 10
Me - 9
Val - 9
Mom - 9
Scott - 9
Stacy - 9
Cyndi - 8
Aunt Lynn - 6
Carol Howell - 6
Karen - 6
Amy C. - 5
Jennifer M. - 5
Kimberly - 4
Amy J. - 4

Oscar update 8

Best Original Score is Babel. Finding the right pitch are Dad, Amy C., Michael, Sydney, Mom, Stacy, Cyndi and Aunt Lynn.

Original Screenplay goes to Little Miss Sunshine. Not an original pick, but these folks will be happy: Val, Val's mom, Dad, Michael, Sydney, Jeremy and Cyndi.

Seriously, I'm not interested in Pan's Labyrinth. I'm sure it's fabulous, but looks way, way too gross, creepy and scary. Still shocked that the Germans overran it for Best Foreign Language film, though.

Oscar Update 7

Documentary (Short Subject) is won by "The Blood of Yingzhou District." Wow, combine a cute kid, exotic location and AIDS and you've got a winner!

(I know, I'm so desensitized and cynical.)

Reason for not being cynical? Picking this one right! Kudos to myself, Michael, Sydney, and Scott.

Nice addition of Seinfeld. Unfortunately, he's going to ride the Anti-Bush train by awarding Al Gore's exercise in self-absorption for Best Documentary. The convenient truth? Nearly all of us knew Hollywood would do it. Everyone but Amy J. and Amy C. Not a good category to be named Amy.

Thankfully, Clint Eastwood follows, and you know everyone has already forgotten that guy, the ex-vice president, what's his name. He presents a special award to Ennio Morricone, who deserves it if only for his theme to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

While they play all his music, let's review the scorecard, and note the nice comebacks by Jeremy and Michael:

Dad - 10
Stephanie - 10
Jeremy - 10
Me - 9
Sydney - 9
Scott - 9
Val - 8
Mom - 8
Stacy - 8
Michael C. - 8
Karen - 6
Cyndi - 6
Carol Howell - 5
Jennifer M. - 5
Aunt Lynn - 5
Amy J. - 4
Kimberly - 4
Amy C. - 3

Oscar update 25 (give or take 19)

For Achievement In Picking Cinematography, points are awarded to Val's mom, Michael, Jeremy, Karen, Cyndi and Stephanie for selecting Pan's Labyrinth, and not believing all that Children of Men-is-genius-cinematography hype. Not that I did. Not at all. Nope. *cough*

That's three Oscars now for the weird Mexican film. Aren't you kind of surprised now that Pan's Labyrinth didn't get nominated for Best Picture? Did the Academy figure Best Foreign film would suffice?

Visual Effects goes to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Feeling special in our contest are me, Val, Dad, Amy C., Michael C., Sydney, Mom, Scott, Stacy, Jeremy, Karen, Amy J., Cyndi, Steph and Aunt Lynn. In other words, everyone but my wonderful, perfect mother-in-law who never gets anything wrong, Kimberly and Jennifer M. Oops!

Folks with accents present Foreign Language Film to, whoa, upset, Germany's The Lives of Others. Speaking another language correctly from the rest of our contestants include Jeremy and Karen.

Who wins Best Supporting Actress? No shock here, former "American Idol" loser, Jennifer Hudson. And yet From Justin to Kelly remains winless of any major awards. Travesty. Earning our sympathetic support for NOT picking Jennifer? Kimberly and Karen. Everyone else? Pat yourself on the back like a Hollywood A-lister.

Oscar update 5

If Queen Elizabeth was as attractive an older broad as Helen Mirren, then she wouldn't have been so jealous of Princess Diana. Or maybe that's just me.

Let's move on ...

Adapted Screenplay goes to The Departed. Adapting their genius to pick correctly were myself, Val, Val's mom, Dad, Michael, Syd, Mom, Scott and Jeremy.

By the way, I'd like to protest Borat as being both "Adapted" and a "Screenplay."

Best Costume, at least according to the Academy, is Marie Antoinette. Eating cake are Amy C., Michael, Jennifer M and Steph.

Current scores, which are pretty significant, since most folks picked the same major winners, so the obscure categories make the most difference:

Dad - 7
Stephanie - 6
Me - 5
Val - 5
Mom - 5
Sydney - 5
Scott - 5
Stacy - 5
Jeremy - 5
Jennifer M. - 3
Kimberly - 3
Aunt Lynn - 2
Karen - 2
Amy J. - 2
Michael - 2
Carol Howell - 2
Amy C. - 2
Cyndi - 2

Oscar update 4

Why the heck is Al Gore on stage? Ridiculous. Great, they're going to pat themselves on the back, saying that "environmentally friendly" projects went into the Oscars. Does that count all the stars arriving in hundreds of limousines, all waiting in line with fumes clogging the L.A. sky? How many flew to L.A. in private jets this week? Are they fueling the lights from the energy of their egos and speechifying? Whatever.

The winner for Animated Feature Film is Happy Feet. The winners, running over the majority who picked Cars, are Dad, Kimberly, Mom and Karen.

Oscar update - Can you hear me now?

Sound Editing pickers: Val, Scott, Stacy, Steph and Aunt Lynn were rewarded with Letters from Iwo Jima.

Sound Mixing: Dreamgirls won, and congrats to Me, Val, Dad, Kimberly, Syd, Scott, Stacy, Jeremy, Jennifer M., Amy J., Cyndi and Steph.

Supporting Actor goes to Alan Arkin, and those who get a smiley face are myself, Val, Dad, Syd, Mom, Stacy and Jeremy.

Your scores after seven categories:

Dad - 5
Stacy - 5
Stephanie - 5
Jeff - 4
Val - 4
Scott - 4
Sydney - 4
Jeremy - 4
Mom - 3
Aunt Lynn - 2
Kimberly - 2
Jennifer M. - 2
Amy J. - 2
Cyndi - 2
Carol Howell - 1
Amy Christopher - 1
Michael Christopher - 1
Karen - 1


So how's everyone liking Ellen so far? She hasn't done much, but you knew she'd dance, and she's a funny gal. I think most folks will remember Abigail Breslin and Will Smith's kid presenting awards. So cute!

Oscar update 2

Lots of folks got Live Action Short Film right: Dad, Amy C., Michael C., Kimberly, Scott, Jennifer M., Karen, Amy J., Stephanie

That puts Jennifer, Karen, Amy J. and the Christophers out of the hole! Everyone has at least a point!

Now in the lead, Dad and Steph with 3.

Oscar update 1

Art Direction first instead of Supporting Actress, eh? Ooh, tonight's a big mix-up!

Who picked Pan's Labyrinth? Dad, Syd, Stacy, Jeremy and Stephanie.

Who picked Pan's Labyrinth correctly for Makeup? Me, Val, Dad, Val's mom, Syd, Mom, Scott, Stacy, Jeremy, Cyndi, Stephanie, Aunt Lynn

Animated Short: Me and Mom

The score so far:

Me - 2
Dad - 2
Sydney - 2
Mom - 2
Stacy - 2
Jeremy - 2
Stephanie - 2
Cyndi - 1
Scott - 1
Carol Howell - 1
Val - 1
Aunt Lynn - 1

Who is zero for three? Amy and Michael Christopher, Kimberly T., Jennifer M., Amy Jinks, Karen

Oscar update - Time to go

Blah, blah, Best Actress, aka Helen Mirren's Award to lose. Penelope Cruz had to sing in Volver? Didn't know that. Doesn't help. Meryl Streep wasn't the lead in Prada. She might have won Supporting Actress. SURPRISE! Kidding. Mirren won. Duh.

Who did NOT pick her? Shame on Amy C. (Winslet), Amy J. (Streep) and Cyndi (ditto).

And Sunday turns to Monday, and I'm still here ... time for Actor ... Forest Whitaker, no surprise. Amy C., Karen, Amy J. and Cyndi all picked otherwise.

Best Director is obvious, also, with Martin Scorsese winning, and only Karen, Amy J. and Cyndi picked someone else.

Dad's still doing his victory lap down in Miami.

Dad - 16
Jeremy - 14
Sydney - 14
Mom - 14
Stephanie - 13
Michael - 13
Me - 13
Val - 12
Scott - 12
Stacy - 12
Aunt Lynn - 11
Cyndi - 9
Carol Howell - 10
Karen - 7
Jennifer M. - 8
Kimberly - 7
Amy C. - 6
Amy J. - 4

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The hive mind

The latest quotable Vents posted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

- My wife told the waiter, “I’m going to order the broiled skinless chicken breast, but I want you to bring me lasagna and garlic bread by mistake.”

- Look out, Vent Guy! My husband just headed to the bathroom with the newspaper and his Blackberry.

- Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut and still think they are sexy.

- Were it not for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all.

- The good news: The Labor Department said 100,000 jobs were created in January. The bad news: Nearly all of them were on presidential exploratory committees.

- So the Dixie Chicks are talented. So were Mata Hari, Tokyo Rose and Hanoi Jane.

- New higher mathematics office pool: Guess the number of Republican and Democratic presidential candidates plus the number of people claiming to be the father of Anna Nicole’s baby.

- Where is the FDA approved drug for side effects?

- When the Cartoon Network general manager resigned, did he fall through the Acme trap door?

- Nancy Pelosi was going to fly AirTran, but they won’t allow her to scream and stand up in her seat.

- After watching how Anna Nicole Smith flew through life, you just knew the landing was gonna be ugly.

- I call my new friend at the chemotherapy clinic Chemosabe.

- It’s been so cold outside that the flashers have started walking up and describing themselves.

- Spamarang: (n) E-mail sent to you by different people two or three times a year.

- I just read an article that said taking a nap in the afternoon decreases the risk of a heart attack by 37 percent Hey, if I take three naps every day, I could live forever!

- If man hadn’t invented trains, how would we know what a tornado sounds like?

- Maury could have this [Anna Nicole] "baby daddy" thing sewed up in an hour, including commercials.

- Little help here: I go to my friend’s house and sit down with him and his wife. Above the couch is a large portrait of the wife, fully nude. What exactly should I say?

- I’m so confused. The instructions with my reversible vest say to turn inside out before washing.

- I thought the nation’s largest gathering of idiots was on our roads and highways. Then I discovered YouTube.

- I’ve got two words for liberals who say they could run this country like a business: Air America.

- When Nancy Pelosi appointed Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson to the Homeland Security Committee, did she tell him it would be OK for him to store top secret documents in his home freezer?

- Rather than get married, about every eight years I just find a woman I don’t like and buy her a house.

- The neighborhood I live in has gotten so rough that when I went to a convenience store for milk the clerk asked, “Sir, will this be cash, check or holdup?”

- Will Anna Nicole and James Brown be buried before Britney’s hair grows out? Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets!

- It’s safe to say Jack Bauer’s father doesn’t own a “World’s Greatest Dad” T-shirt.

- The news says that a meteor could impact Earth in 2035 and cause a new Ice Age. Does that mean the global warming problem is solved and I can drive my SUV now with no guilt?

- School day dilemma: Do I dress my kids for the 110-degree bus ride or the 60-degree classroom temperatures?

- House Speaker Pelosi wants a big airplane to use in her new position. She must have gotten tired of flying on her old broom.

- I asked the Delta rep to confirm the accuracy of their “on time” sign for my flight. “You also believe in the tooth fairy, don’t you?” she replied.

- Britney is in rehab? What religious or racial group did she offend?

- Saw a sign that read ”Huge Kids Sale.” Who wants huge kids?

- I don’t drink, smoke, cuss, or chase women. About my only vice is lying.

- Al Gore recruiting hundreds of musical groups to fly around the globe to his “Live Earth” concert for Global Warming is like the American Lung Association throwing a cigar party to raise awareness of lung cancer.

- I’ve gotten my thumb reflexes trained so that the channel changes between the second syllable of “Anna” and the first syllable of “Nicole.”


My Vents:

- The Dixie Chicks weren't "redeemed" at the Grammys. A hive mind thinking alike and giving each other awards is the height of superficiality.

- Dissent is the highest form of patriotism, except when you dissent from the Dixie Chicks. (Via Mark Steyn)

- I'm guessing all the liberal venters submit via email since they're frothing at the mouth too much to speak clearly on the phone.

- You know it's windy when you pop up your drive and the ball lands behind you.

- If the Democrats won't cut funding, they're permitting men to fight in a war they think is immoral because they want to use their sacrifice to make a political point in the 2008 election. (Courtesy Right-Thinking)

- A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man. (Courtesy Grif.net)

- The most effective way to remember your wife's birthday is to forget it once. (Courtesy Grif.net)

- Do you think liberals would be so opposed to talk radio if they could actually muster one successful national show by one of their own?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Get yer votes in!

The Academy Awards are only a few days away! Don't forget to send me your entries for my Third Annual Oscar Contest!

For full disclosure, here are my picks:

1. Best Picture: "The Departed"

2. Actor: Forest Whitaker, "The Last King of Scotland."

3. Actress: Helen Mirren, "The Queen"

4. Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, "Little Miss Sunshine"

5. Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls"

6. Directing: Martin Scorsese, "The Departed"

7. Foreign Language Film: "Pan's Labyrinth," Mexico

8. Adapted Screenplay: William Monahan, "The Departed"

9. Original Screenplay: Guillermo Arriaga, "Babel"

10. Animated Feature Film: "Cars"

11. Art Direction: "Dreamgirls"

12. Cinematography: "Children of Men"

13. Sound Mixing: "Dreamgirls"

14. Sound Editing: "Flags of Our Fathers"

15. Original Score: "Notes on a Scandal," Philip Glass

16. Original Song: ""Listen" from "Dreamgirls," Henry Krieger, Scott Cutler and Anne Preven

17. Costume: "Dreamgirls"

18. Documentary Feature: "An Inconvenient Truth"

19. Documentary (short subject): "The Blood of Yingzhou District"

20. Film Editing: "The Departed"

21. Makeup: "Pan's Labyrinth"

22. Animated Short Film: "The Danish Poet"

23. Live Action Short Film: "Helmer & Son"

24. Visual Effects: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"

You really like me! (A little too much.)

In a poll by MSN Movies, Shakespeare in Love has been voted the most undeserving Oscar best film winner of all time. It was was followed by the 2002 musical Chicago, and the 1997 epic Titanic.

I'm going to disagree. Even as much as I detested that Saving Private Ryan lost, Shakespeare was a lovable picture.

My list:

1. Driving Miss Daisy (1990) - The other nominees include Field of Dreams, Dead Poets Society and Born on the Fourth of July. Any of those are one trillion times more memorable and watchable today.

2. Terms of Endearment (1983) - Over The Right Stuff and The Big Chill. As if.

3. Around the World in Eighty Days (1957) - The Ten Commandments, The King and I and Giant lost to this forgettable bore. Quick! Name two stars of the movie! Bzzztt!

4. How Green Was My Valley (1942) - Disclaimer: I actually like John Ford's classic film starring the FABULOUS Maureen O'Hara, but it doesn't hold up against Sergeant York, Citizen Kane, Suspicion and, oh yeah, a little film called The Maltese Falcon.

5. A Beautiful Mind (2002) - Fine film, worthy of accolades, but not as great as In the Bedroom, Moulin Rouge or definitely not Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Netflix reviews: The Departed & The Guardian

I keep falling into this trap, that I'm supposed to regard every Martin Scorsese film as a masterpiece. Then I see them, and the majority of the time I leave with a headache. See: Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York. All are far too bloody, tragic, dark and overladen with unlikable characters.

And now we come to The Departed, which was better than those films, but not as good as The Aviator, much cleaner than Scorsese's usual fare, Bringing Out the Dead, which I liked, but I was the exception among critics. I guess what I'm saying is, very much like Stanley Kubrick films, I prefer movies that are anything but "typical" Scorsese.

The acting is stellar, and even though Leo, Jack and Marky Mark keep getting the nominations during awards season, Matt Damon delivered my favorite performance. Then again, I’m biased, since Damon will soon be starring in a biopic based on my life story.

When you check the awards and nominations page on IMDB for The Guardian, there is, shall we say, considerably more room on the page than for The Departed. I blame Bush.

That’s not to say that The Guardian isn’t entertaining. I was going to give both of these movies three stars, but that would be silly. I didn’t dislike The Guardian, but The Departed really is a finer film, and should get an extra star if only because it is a film for the ages, whereas The Guardian will barely be remembered by the spring.

What I will remember is that The Guardian might as well have been called Top Gun And A Gentleman. Not only does the movie feature the “best of the best” aspect – among Coast Guard swimmers instead of Navy pilots – there’s plenty of melodrama concerning Costner and whether Kutcher is up to the task.

All we were missing were quotes like "I see real genius in your swimming" or "I got nowhere else to go!" complete with Costner spraying water on Kutcher. In fact, I’m convinced that the DVD has a deleted scene of Ashton and Kevin singing “Take My Breath Away” in a bar, or at least Kevin carrying Ashton away at the end to “Up Where We Belong,” complete with the applause of their merry Coast Guard brethren.

It’s fluff, but likable fluff, and for every cliché of filmmaking that is obvious, is a cliché I don’t mind so much and didn’t care how many times I’d seen similar scenes before. I’m a Costner fan, and heck, I even liked Ashton in The Butterfly Effect, no matter how much I’m supposed to loathe him as a guy and a movie lover.

I’ll recommend both The Departed and The Guardian, so long as you know that one is for acclamation and the other to pass a couple of hours on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Around the telly

Wow, tonight's batch of male performances on "American Idol" set the bar high for Suckitude the rest of this season, didn't it? I think I saw one or two correct notes flying by the screen, but the guys never seemed to find them. Simon lined 'em up and knocked 'em down, and as usual, he's my hero. Of course, I'm a big Rob & Amber fan, so perhaps my judgment isn't in line with the rest of y'all. (What was the deal with Simon and Ryan after the curly-haired dude sang? You'd think they were A-Rod and Jeter.)

Rewinding to Monday, "24" recovered from four weeks of boredom bombs to give us what we need, more James Cromwell, Keifer preening in that velvet voice for next year's Emmy, and almost none of the most unlikely president ever, Wayne Palmer.

"Heroes," on the other hand, continues to prove why if I had to choose between the two, I'd take the DNA-enhanced over CTU. For now. Especially last night, since Claude was back and "Heroes" was 100 percent Nikki/Jessica-free, and amen to that! Although, was anyone else bored by the Hiro story? Did it matter at all? Give him the sword and his powers back already! Now that Peter can stop tasers with his mind, all Matrixy, and fly, very Supermany, what's next, talking to fish? Dare we dream?

Why "You got Scootered" should be a new verb

Great letter to the editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this weekend:
Libby piece based on old, unfounded claims

As a follower of the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial, I was disappointed and incensed to see the article by John Farmer ("Little fish gets tossed into the frying pan," @issue, Feb. 11).

The article was nothing more that a regurgitated lump of debunked garbage from a clearly biased author. Farmer's article reads as if it had been written in 2003, before any of the now-known facts had come to light.

For example, since 2003 we have learned the following:

> Valerie Plame was not a covert CIA agent and therefore could not have been "outed" as such.

> Former Ambassador Joe Wilson was suggested for the Niger trip by his wife, Plame, not Vice President Dick Cheney as Wilson has falsely claimed.

> Although Wilson claimed (again, falsely) that his trip to Niger "debunked" Bush administration claims that there was a Niger-Iraq uranium deal, the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation contradicted that claim, stating that Wilson's report "lent more credibility, not less, to the reported Niger-Iraq uranium deal."

> Libby has been charged with perjury in a federal investigation that has determined no crime was committed.

> Throughout the entire "investigation," prosecutors already knew the identity of the "leaker" because former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has revealed that he came forward "almost immediately" in 2003 to tell the Department of Justice that he was the "leaker."

> Libby and Cheney have both cooperated fully with prosecutors, immediately releasing reporters with whom they spoke of any obligation to confidentiality.

I can only conclude that Farmer purposely chose to base the gloating conclusions of his screed on disproven claims.

What I don't know is why the AJC or any other reputable newspaper would choose to print something that is so provably false. Oh, did I say reputable?

DEBBIE WAGNER, Sandy Springs

Eat More Chicken

Even though we've all heard this, I can never miss an article that points out that cars aren't as harmful to the environment as cow farts:
"Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems," Henning Steinfeld, senior author of the report, said when the FAO findings were released in November.

Livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent, reports the FAO. This includes 9 percent of all CO2 emissions, 37 percent of methane, and 65 percent of nitrous oxide. Altogether, that's more than the emissions caused by transportation.
Buy stock in Chick-fil-A!

Over on Fox News, Sean Hannity goes on the attack as well:
In short, flying in a private jet does more than four times the carbon emission damage to the environment than flying a regular commercial jet. So if you were worried about your quote-unquote "carbon footprint" on the environment, and if you are concerned about carbon neutrality, the last thing that you should be doing is flying on private jets. Sit in coach, you might save a polar bear.

But that doesn't seem to stop the environmental elites. The Reuters news agency reports that Europe's largest private jet operator recently came under fire from environmentalists about the 50 flights that he booked for clients to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Yes, that's the same forum where the, quote, "global climate change" was on the top of the agenda.

This sort of hypocrisy among environmental elites is not uncommon. The same crowd that once landed the nickname "limousine liberals," well, should be considered "Gulfstream liberals." They are those who lecture us about the dangers posed by climate change and then fly awfully close to the sun in their beautiful luxurious private jets.
I, for one, will take the challenge. I will NOT fly on a private jet this winter, to prove how serious I am about confronting the climate killer!

Cyndi, here are your 2007 Yankees

A-Rod says he's not as close with Jeter as he once was.

In his defense, Jeter says it got really weird when A-Rod named his bat "Derek's Spanking Tool" and bought his teammate one of those Hallmark kissing bears for Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Can't believe I ever doubted her

It finally happened, Hillary has taken a courageous stand in a civil war:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that South Carolina should remove the Confederate flag from its Statehouse grounds, in part because the nation should unite under one banner while at war.
BRAVO, Senator! You show those Confederates just what you think about them!

Rocky Balboa review

Should I mention that we saw this two months ago? If Stallone can make a sequel 15 years after the disastrous Rocky V, I can post a late review, right?

ESPN's The Sports Guy claims that Rocky Balboa is a love-it-or-hate-it movie. No, it's a love-it-and-hate-it movie. Hate the beginning, love the ending. As one of his readers suggests:
Went and saw "Rocky Balboa" tonight with a group of five friends. We pretty much all agreed that the first hour of this movie was absolutely awful with some of the worst acting caught on film. However, the last 30-40 minutes were highly entertaining and extremely well done. This got me thinking that the movie should have two start times. There should be the regular time when the movie actually starts and the time when the training scenes begin. They can even rope off a section of seats in the theater for those that only want to see the quality portion of the movie. -- Bret, New York

That's an excellent idea. The first hour is highly depressing, the rest is full of awesome hurtin' bombs, and Val's favorite part was Rocky's dog, and that's all you need to know.

We find Rocky living off his restaurant, called Adrian's, of course, where he wears the same red blazer and tells the same boxing stories to adoring patrons who could care less how well Mexicans cook Italian food.

Adrian's dead, but don't worry, she and Rocky's grown-up boy (Peter on "Heroes") is there to be the wet blanket and tell Rocky he can't do it. Thank goodness Rocky meets Marie, who is actually supportive of Rocky, the Bizarro Adrian.

Rocky's brain damage from V? Gone! Well, except for his stream of consciousness. Rocky's got two extra-long soliloquy's that go on and on in circles and say nothing, and are barely intelligible.

I actually felt sorry for Mason Dixon, played by real-life boxing champion Antonio Tarver. The guy seems like a decent fellow; he says the right things and wants to do right, but his agents are a-holes and the crowds are taking it out on him that boxing is weak nowadays and there's no real competition.

Bill Conti's memorable music is worth three-quarters of any praise. If you can't get pumped when the training montage starts, check your pulse. Seeing Rocky get cheers from the crowd during and after his final bout is worth the other quarter. The first half of the film, though, is three-fifths depressing, one-fifth compelling and one-fifth as boring as fractions.

The big fight itself is disappointing. What should be exciting and fingernail-biting, is instead confusing, heavily edited and full of surreal color changes, camera tilts and flashbacks.

Doesn't matter in the end. Mondo chill moment at the end as Rocky basks in the cheers of the crowd. I admit, I might have gotten some popcorn dust in my eye. The theater was a little blurry.

Get the DVD, skip ahead, and cheer Rocky for the last time. Hopefully.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Taxed

Being married rocks. Doing taxes as a married couple? Not so much. It's not that filing jointly is a big deal, but when she made all her money in Tennessee and Georgia has a state income tax, it makes it difficult to compute the latter's forms.

When Turbo Tax did it for me, I was going to get spanked, because they didn't have an easy way to remove Val's income from the equation. When I did it on my own I have us being owed some change. The dilemma then, to trust the computer tax form or my own instincts and math skills. Perhaps I should put money now into a account to hire a lawyer when the IRS and/or Georgia Department of Revenue comes calling!

(The key is that it's called the department of revenue, not "Letting Taxpayers Keep Their Hard-Earned Income.")

Support the troops by letting them win

According to Investor's Business Daily, when asked "How important is a U.S. victory in Iraq," Democrats say yes by 53 percent, Republicans 85 percent. When asked "How hopeful are you that we will succeed," 43 percent agreed, to 80 percent of Republicans.

As the site says, "The Congress the terrorists wanted is doing their bidding."

From Instapundit: "To some people, Vietnam wasn't a defeat, but a victory. To them, the right side won. And lost. Naturally, they're happy to repeat the experience."

UPDATE - Check out this video from 2003, and you'll even feel sorry for Hillary as she faces the insane rantings of Code Pink.

Chocoholics unite!

The brilliant and always correct Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology tells us that flavanols in cocoa (i.e, chocolate) lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and make your skin softer.

Now, if they can ascribe similar benefits to peanut butter, I'm going to eat nothing but Reese's Peanut Butter Cup miniatures all day, every day!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Academy Awaits

Don't forget to send me your entries for my Third Annual Oscar Contest! The Awards are less than a week away!

For the heck of it

  • When church signs talk smack.

    As for all the cute signs that are intended to scare you into church, let's see what would really entice Southern Baptists to walk in off the street:



    (Make your own at The Church Sign Generator.)

  • Why isn't Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" available on iTunes? What, I'm supposed to find it on that radio thingy? It's an on-demand world, Paul! Gimme what I want, and now!

  • I'm watching a Saturday Night Live replay with Justin Timberlake hosting, and is it possible to dislike him? I want to, I really do, but I just can't.

  • Mets slugger David Wright is asking for help choosing a new song to play when he enters the batters' box at home games. Sure, I'll give it a shot:

    - Send In the Clowns - Judy Collins
    - Man I Feel like a Woman - Shania Twain
    - My Ding-A-Ling - Chuck Berry
    - Copacabana - Barry Manilow
    - Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm - Crash Test Dummies
    - 40 Boys In 40 Nights - The Donna's
    - My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
    - Invisible - Clay Aiken

  • This is an ex-parrot! Nah, he's probably pining for the fjords.

  • What has this world come to when even cheetahs betray your trust?

  • This misleading stat has been back lately, so let's revisit The 76-Cent Myth.

  • So A-Fraud has written a children's book titled "Out of the Ballpark," drawing from Rodriguez's life experiences of a baseball-crazed boy. Presumably, the boy strikes out in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and his team down by a run in the title game, and learns an important lesson about how friends only like you when you help them win.

    What other model athletes are coming out with children's literature? Let's find out:

    Shawn Kemp - "How To Live With Your Six Siblings, All From Different Mothers"

    Mike Tyson - "Ears Don't Taste Like Chicken"

    Tim Hardaway - "Accepting Those Different From You. Except Gays."

    Michael Waltrip - "Jet Fuel Gives Me Gas"

    Zinedine Zidane - "Using Your Head Wisely"

    Roger Clemens - "Easy Money But No Friends"
  • GOPuh-leeze

    Scott is already tired of the 2008 presidential campaign, and really, who can blame him? By January 21, 2009, I'm pretty sure we'll start getting tired of hearing about the 2012 election.

    Scott's real problem? That the national media decided that Harold Ford Jr. lost for being Black In Tennessee. Of course, no mention that he's also a Democrat. In a state that has voted overwhelmingly Republican in the last several presidential elections.

    When the liberal media asks whether whites will vote for a black or woman candidate, what they imply is that whites are racist and Americans are sexist, especially flyover country yokels. What they don't investigate is, say, if they'd vote for a black Republican. I'd pull the lever for Condi in a second, and hey, what do you know, she's both black AND a woman! But do you think the media or Democrats (sorry for repeating myself) would treat that as big a deal as if Obama or Hillary won? I think we all know the answer.

    Now, while we're here, let's take a look at the 2008 candidates, notably on the GOP side since it seems so wide open and mysterious:

    Sam Brownback - A rare treat, his name sounds like both a racial slur and a homophobic one.

    Mitt Romney - Mitt? I don't care if he's Mormon. His name is Mitt. At least Millard Fillmore would get out of having the goofiest presidential name in history.

    Mike Huckabee - At best, his name provokes quaint Mark Twain times. At worst, he's a governor from Arkansas, and we all know how that turned out last time.

    John McCain - A weasel of a politician at their worst, he enjoyed being the "maverick" far too much when the media kept putting him on television for disagreeing with Republicans on everything important the last several years.

    Newt Gingrich - The Dan Quayle of the 2008 field, a solid conservative with good ideas but not even a Faustian deal could save you from the media horde. Thanks for 1994, but give up now, Newt. Stick to being an analyst and columnist where you can express your opinion freely and wisely.

    The official Republican candidate of Thanks For Noticing Me, at least as of one year before anyone votes in a primary:

    Rudy Guiliani - I spelled that by memory. Let's check ... crud. Wrong. It's Giuliani. Sorry. I'll have it correct by next fall, I promise. And Scott, you stole my answer. Thanks a lot.

    My reasoning? I'm more interested in the politics of fiscal and military conservatism than social conservatism. Abortion won't be repealed anytime soon, gun control won't fly with any congress for the near future, gay marriage is off the table for a while, and the world needs a strong American leader who wants to win the War on Terror, not pussyfoot around the U.N. And no matter how hard the libs and the media try, they'll never be able to convince the country that Rudy's an idiot like they try every minute of every day with Bush.

    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Sunny Valentine's Day, continued


    I had to work Wednesday night, so last night to complete our Valentine's (two-)Day experience, I took my bride to the Sun Dial Restaurant way up on the 72nd floor atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel downtown.

    Fancy, but not fancy-smancy (i.e., dressy but not 007), the restaurant features a revolving floor for a panoramic view of the city. I believe we went around three times while we dined, so I'm guessing it's twenty minutes per rotation.



    That, and the gentle motion eases sickness when they bring the check. Which was totally worth it. Great experience, and the New York strip featuring smoked bacon onion jam and red wine demi-glace was divine. and I have no idea what any of that means.

    I do believe Val enjoyed her grilled tenderloin of beef as much, even if we never figured out what "haricot vert" is, though her roasted garlic whipped potatoes were might tasty. For dessert, we each had our own helping of the Valrhona Chocolate "Volcano," which was a big scoop of vanilla ice cream to mix in with a tall mound of chocolate that burst with molten chocolate "lava" when opened. Awesome.

    And the peach daiquiri? Deliciously Peachy Keen, as the title of the beverage suggests:



    (By the way, for the first photo, we were sitting upstairs in the lounge waiting for our table, and I had to set the camera on a table that wasn't rotating, and time it so that the ten seconds would be up as we rotated into view. Fun for the whole family!)

    Thursday, February 15, 2007

    Netflix review: Flyboys & Flags of Our Fathers

    I'm going to go on record as saying that it's probably not a good thing when the first reaction at the end of Flyboys was to figure out the actors and actresses who could have replaced the unknowns in order to make this a decent film.

    To say that a bunch of nobodies inhabits the screen is to understate the case. Our head honcho? James Franco, otherwise known as Peter Parker's friend/nemesis. Otherwise, Jean Reno is the only actor in support whom I've ever heard of, and even then he's limited to smirking and making vroom vroom sounds while playing with miniature bi-planes.

    Flyboys is the only movie I know of that involves World War I aerial combat that doesn't involve a beagle and a doghouse, and for that at least I can say that the dogfight scenes are original and exciting.

    Handed a good story, of Americans flying and fighting for France before the U.S. entered the Great War, the rest of the movie is anything but original, however. At least ten times I expected someone to say either, "You're everyone's problem. That's because every time you go up in the air, you're unsafe," or, "I feel the need, the need, for speed!"

    If there's a stereotype, the movie found it. The troubled kid-turned hero and leader? Check. The rich racist who has a change of heart? Check. The black pilot out to prove he's equal to the white guys? Check. The evil German? Check. The wussy French? Check. Check. Check.

    Sure, it's all based on a true story, but since we're thrown a Cliche Parade, can't you Hollywoodize it a teeny bit? The love story ends up nowhere, a lost love. If you're going to give us a movie that isn't anywhere close to Oscar-type drama and war, then at least give us plenty of happy endings.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If the cast of Flyboys was channeling Top Gun, then the cast of Flags of Our Fathers is trying to emulate the mood of director Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven. The idea is that everything you've been told and shown about World War II/the West is bunk. There's no glory, no purpose, no good or evil, and frankly, you should be ashamed for even considering it.

    Perhaps I just have to acknowledge that in the time we live in, Hollywood isn't ready to crown anyone a hero, even those who fought in World War II to save the world's collective behind.

    Instead, I'll acknowledge that the movie is done very well, with a compelling true story of the raising of the famous flag on Iwo Jima and the soldiers who fought there for that dreadful piece of rock.

    The acting is solid (yep, even the guy who cheated on America's darling, Reese Witherspoon) and the script nearly flawless, though the editing takes some getting used to. There's a lot of time jumping early on, and I was dizzy after the first ten or so jumps within the opening half-hour.

    Still, I can't help but think, we get it, Hollywood, war is hell. A dirty business. After all, it never solved anything, except slavery, fascism, or communism. How about next time we let the troops be recognized for taking part in the great effort to make the world a better place? Man, I miss John Wayne. But to the leftist elite, that just makes me one of "them," doesn't it?

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Time for baseball!


    The first pictures of the Sox in Ft. Myers to begin Spring Training nearly made me weep with joy. Consider the cockles of my heart warmed.

    The Mind of a Married Man - First Valentine

    Even nearly four months after our wedding, the number one question people still ask is, "How's married life?"

    Absolutely, positively, unbelievably, FANtastic! It’s been better than watching the Red Sox win the Series, better than cheese dip at Casa, better than twelve hours in line for Star Wars Episode I, better than Hillary losing in 2008! Heck, even better than actually getting a rebate back from Best Buy!

    Having reunited last spring and gotten married so quickly, we're able to enjoy a lot of Firsts as husband and wife: First Halloween together, first Thanksgiving together, first Christmas together, first New Year's together, first new season of "24" together, and now, our first Valentine's Day together.

    You might remember that my history with this day hasn't been on friendly terms. You would consider us spurned, even. If Valentine’s Day were a woman, I would have been calling her at 3 a.m. and hanging up when she answers, and making a mix tape consisting of nothing but R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts."

    Since Val has also never had a true Valentine, I’m fairly sure that this will be the one we'll remember for the rest of our lives, until we die in a tragic parachuting accident at the age of 125 in Mongolia on Valentine’s Day. It’s not that our parachutes didn’t open. No one told us that landing in a field of tiny horses was so dangerous.

    In the short time we’ve been able to enjoy having someone there to go to bed with every night, wake up next to every morning, talk back to the television with you on the couch and let you know when every single gray hair grows in, here’s a teeny tiny sampling thus far of What Marriage Means To Me:

    - Letting her pick off my soft french fries.

    - Muting commercials that annoy her (especially the Geico ad with Vern Troyer, horror movie previews and any of the scooter ads during "The Price is Right")

    - Getting Chick-fil-A after work knowing it will pick up her day

    - Telling her to call her parents and spend as much time as she wants on the phone, 'cause I know she misses them.

    - Killing bugs without shrieking and crying (me, not her)

    - Finding surprise love notes in the strangest places

    - Opening jars and being made to feel super manly by her cooing

    - When she reads the jokes from Reader's Digest during trips

    - Her forgiving nature of my blog posts

    Nearly four months into married life, I feel qualified to give my secret to a long and happy marriage: I'm always sorry, she never has to say she is. Val will say that it’s my rule, not hers, and sure, I’ll own it. (*wink)

    Also in our short time as hubby and wifey, I’m quickly learning that marriage is about, well, learning.

    For instance, the "what should I wear" trap is so beloved by comedians and columnists because it defines a major area of marriage: Making decisions. Sometimes, she really wants your opinion; she's stuck trying to figure out which of her six white turtlenecks to wear under one of her seven brown sweaters. Other times, she knows what she wants but wants YOU to figure it out. (Stand back! It's a trap! Quick, tell her to go with one because it reminds you of her big blue eyes; she'll wish you'd picked the other shirt, but be disarmed by the compliment!)

    I am also learning (or, I should say, being taught without my consent, mostly by other men) that wives don't nag. After all, she asked me to clean the guest room and take out all the boxes to the trash. I agreed to do so. Nay, I volunteered to do so. If I haven't done so and she mentions my lack of finishing the task, she's merely reminding me of my obligation. Now, on the other hand, if I mention that we haven't finished writing thank you cards from the wedding, she knows she needs to but doesn't need me to remind her, and thus I am nagging and hey hon, do you need a foot rub?

    I also discovered that spending time with other couples is fun and you begin to see single friends so little. Now I see why as a desperate single man I felt so left out around perfect pairs. They didn’t want to exclude me, but didn’t have anything to talk about with me and got tired of my constant "woe is me and why do potato chip crumbs stick to your shirt all day long" whining. Now I’m part of the club, and Team Valfrey has been welcomed as a valued, if amateur, member by friends and family.

    Being married also has its perks, namely the power behind the rings when trying to get respect and attention. For instance, in public, referring to “my friend" doesn't sound so cool. "My wife" sounds dramatic and important. If you're at a restaurant and try to call for the waiter, saying, "My friend needs a drink," the server doesn't care, ignores you and wishes you hadn't eaten the garlic appetizer. But if they try that with, "My wife requires more water," then they know you mean business and don't screw with me and oh yeah, bring some extra frakin’ sauce for our chipotle chicken o'tenders, too.

    All joking aside, most significantly, I’m learning that I really, really, enjoy being married to my darling Valerie, and taking on the job of husband and head of household has been extraordinarily fun and fulfilling.

    February 28 will mark one year since we were reunited after nine years away from each other. The way a casual friendship turned into a great love story is far more than I ever imagined could happen, and it’s amazing to know that my newfound luck in love will never run out.

    Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart!





    (Hope you like this as your gift!)




    (I kid!)




    (Crap. Now I need to get a bigger card. Probably one that sings, too. If you find one that has "Happy Together," I'll pay you back in triplicate!)

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Don't trust a Molina

    It turns out, not only did St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina personally sabotage my chance to win Tim's NL-only fantasy baseball league last season, he's kind of a prick:
    During the celebration of the Cardinals' World Series victory, rookie pitcher Adam Wainwright bargained with catcher Yadier Molina for a title memento.

    Wainwright believed they had a deal.

    Molina, however, likes the baseball he caught for the final out of the Cardinals' 10th championship right where it is. Even as he arrives at spring training, the baseball remains at his home office in Puerto Rico, displayed with the other spoils of a young baseball career and nestled with photos from the title run. ...

    "He told me, 'You deserve it, you deserve it,'" Wainwright said. "But he told me to wait. He was there with his brother (Giants catcher Bengie Molina), and it's hard to argue with two of them."

    Molina said Monday he remembers talking to Wainwright.

    He remembers the deal.

    Will he follow through? "I don't think so," he said.

    24 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    This is why I quite in the middle of season two, and probably next season have to start leaving "24" after hour six and catch back up around hour 16, because the producers have no idea how to stretch a great idea over a full day.

    Wow, another presidential coup attempt by nefarious white guys in the government? How original. (/rolls eyes)

    Sure, Jack's sister-in-law wouldn't tell him what his father just threatened, since Jack's the only person in the world who could fix the problem. (/exhale)

    A nuclear bomb went off a few hours ago, yet traffic in L.A. looks like a Sunday afternoon. (/tapping fingers on desk)

    Sure, CTU had Fayed's place surrounded, but why would they place an agent in the basement in case the terrorist mastermind tried to give them the slip? Oh, and the helicopter that landed a few blocks away to cart him away? Probably not even noticed. (/wiping tears from eyes)

    Can't have the Islamofascists be behind all of this. Nope, we have to have an ex-commie from Russia fund the whole shebang. (/slamming head on desk)

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    What were they thinking?

    One from the left, one from the right:

    At the Democrats' annual winter meeting, they invited Imam Husham Al-Husainy of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center in Dearborn, Mich., to lead the group in prayer. Problem: Al-Husainy has an affinity for Hezbollah, and oh yeah, he might have sort of, kind of, you know, in the prayer asserted Muslim dominance over Christianity and Judaism while slamming the U.S. and Israel for "oppression and occupation."

    This ticks me off much more, because at least I expect liberals to make idiotic decisions based on political correctness. I don't expect the Bush administration to abandon two Border Patrol agents who have been railroaded into prison for doing their jobs.

    Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alsonso Compean were sentenced to 11 years and 12 years, respectively, for shooting at a fleeing drug smuggler in 2005, covering up the shooting and denying the smuggler his rights, even as the Homeland Security inspector admitted staffers lied about the case, and the government actually sought out and brought the known drug smuggler to the U.S. to testify against American officers. Even Democrats are asking the president to pardon the agents, and yet the administration refuses to look in their direction, even as they were beaten in prison last week. Disgusting.

    UPDATE 8:40 - Now this is just nonsense on stilts, courtesy the federal government, and a good case for becoming a libertarian. Apparently new Red Sox import Daisuke Matsuzaka is being threatened by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for drinking beer in a commercial that doesn't even air in the United States. Even dang Yankee fans have to roll their eyes at that one.

    Love and marriage

    In the spirit of Valentine's Day week, courtesy Grif.net:

    DEFINITIONS IN MARRIAGE BY GENDER

    THINGY (thing-ee) n.
    female: Any part under a car’s hood.
    male: The fastener at the top of the back of a woman’s dress above the zipper.

    VULNERABLE (vul-ne-ra-bel) adj.
    female: Fully opening up one’s self emotionally to another.
    male: Playing football without a helmet.

    COMMUNICATION (ko-myoo-ni-kay-shon) n.
    female: The open sharing of thoughts and feelings with one’s partner.
    male: Scratching out a note before taking off for a weekend with the
    boys.

    BUTT (but) n
    female: The part that every item of clothing manufactured makes “look bigger.”
    male: What you slap when someone’s scored a touchdown, home run, or goal.

    COMMITMENT (ko-mit-ment) n
    female: A desire to get married and raise a family.
    male: Not spending all night staring at other women or automobiles.

    ENTERTAINMENT (en-ter-tayn-ment) n.
    female: A good movie, concert, play or book.
    male: Anything that can be done with the boys or a ball.

    REMOTE CONTROL (ri-moht kon-trohl) n
    female: A device for changing from one TV channel to another.
    male: A device for scanning through all 75 channels every 2&1/2 minutes

    Around the news

    - Contrary to what every network is trying to tell you, the Dixie Chicks weren't "redeemed" at the Grammys. A hive mind thinking alike and giving each other awards is the height of superficiality. It's easy. If the music industry had given, say, Toby Keith an award, then that would be brave.

    - Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley said women who sniffed a chemical found in male sweat experienced elevated levels of an important hormone, along with higher sexual arousal, faster heart rate and other effects. In comparison, researchers found out that it didn't matter what men smelled of women, they still got hot and bothered.

    - I just lost a lot of Man Respect for Russell Crowe:
    Actor Russell Crowe has eliminated cheerleaders from the Rugby Club he owns (South Sydney). He reasoned that it makes among other factors that the dancing on the sidelines made the men uncomfortable.
    What Russell fails to notice is that in Gladiator the games would have been fifty times more entertaining with hot chicks in togas dancing between death matches.

    - Thank goodness the authorities are out to find the real criminals out there, and not those misunderstood people like robbers or terrorists. Acting on an anonymous tip, armed agents raided the Lake Elsinore, Calif., Elks Lodge and found an envelope containing $50.00, which was to be paid to the winner of an impromptu Monday Night Football pool. Margaret Hamblin, a 73 year-old great-grandmother, and 39 year-old volunteer waitress Cari Gardner both pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of operating an illegal gambling operation. The two ring leaders of the nefarious undertaking are each facing up to one year in jail, and a $5,000 fine. Later, Hamblin said to the judge, "I bet you have put five bucks on the Raiders before," she was handcuffed, sent to the dudgeon and told the judge is a Chargers fan.

    - A gang of girls attacked a woman at a Target store, hitting and kicking her and tearing off her clothes, said police, who arrested a 10-year-old girl accused of being involved. Police added, "Thank goodness none of the colorful polka dot pillows were harmed."

    Sunday, February 11, 2007

    Pee-Wee for president?

    In response to Australia Prime Minister John Howard's comment today that a Barack Obama victory would be a boon for terrorists, the Democrat hopeful said Howard should send another 20,000 Australians to the war if he's so "ginned up" to fight.

    Obama added: "I'm rubber, he's glue, whatever he says bounces of me and sticks to him."

    UPDATE Monday 9:15 p.m. - So who do you think Obama's wife was talking about on 60 Minutes last night when she said this:
    When asked by interviewer Steve Kroft whether she fears for her husband's life as a black candidate, Michelle Obama said: "I don't lose sleep over it because the realities are that ... as a black man, Barack can get shot going to the gas station."

    Saturday, February 10, 2007

    Valfrey update

    On the Valfrey news front, Val is changing jobs. She applied for this one about the same time as the old one, and the decision wasn't difficult to leave the previous post even after just two weeks. The new job, at the Atlanta Asthma & Allergy Clinic, pays a lot more, is only 4 1/2 days a week (meaning she'll have 5 out of 6 Friday's off early), better benefits, more days off and oh yeah, she'll be less than a mile from home. That, and practically right next door to a Chick-fil-A. Hey, it's the little things that count.

    Still, we're committed to looking west to Memphis for an eventual move. There's one position I'm looking at this month that would go a long way to fulfilling that goal sooner than later. Fingers crossed!

    We've enjoyed a relaxing couple of days, since she went ahead and quit on Thursday, giving us all day Friday to ourselves. We woke up in time to watch The Price is Right, had lunch at O'Charley's, went shopping, curled up on the couch with a Netflix movie (review soon), suppered at Outback, more shopping at the mall and then wrapped it all up watching Playmania after midnight. A great day, reminiscent of our first few months of marriage. Of course, with this new gig, every Friday could be as nice!

    Indeed

    The latest quotable Vents posted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

    - “American Idol” needs to include on its application for the audition: “Have you or anyone in your family ever suffered from delusions of talent?”

    - Why are rioters always shown beating up on some defenseless automobile?

    - I am not a religious person but the story about the guy vandalizing a cemetery getting stuck under a headstone with a broken leg makes me think there is a God after all.

    - I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

    - We need a law requiring that all private citizens interviewed during bad weather must have an IQ of at least 100.

    - News Q&A Item: 5,976 teen drivers and passengers killed in 2004. In Iraq, 848 soldiers killed in 2004. I guess it is safer to be a soldier in Iraq than a teen driver in America.

    - Enough news about Barbaro already! Must you beat a dead horse?

    - Where did “cute as a button” come from? What is so cute about a button?

    - Why don’t we seal the border with Mexico with that stuff they wrap new DVDs and CDs in?

    - About 2,500 Californians are murdered every year. It’s time to pull out.

    - You cellphone addicts who can’t even stop yapping when you’re sitting on the toilet in a public restroom need some serious help.

    - Ah, February. Time for the auto dealerships to prove their intelligence by issuing temporary tags that expire on Feb. 30.

    - San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom had an affair with a staffer’s wife? I’m shocked! Who would have guessed there were any heterosexuals there?

    - When the Clintons move back into the White House, are they going to bring back the stuff they stole when they left?

    - I finally figured it out: Non-denominational means the church gladly takes fives, tens and twenties.

    - The FCC should make a rule that no commercial shall run more than 100 times on a network.

    - Hey, CBS, how about windshield wipers for your Super Bowl cameras?

    - Hey weatherman, the next time you predict snow and ice and school closings, and it doesn’t happen, you can explain it to my kids. (Jeff note: And MY Wife!)

    - I recorded the big game commercials so I can watch them later without all of those football interruptions.

    - The best place to be at all times is someplace someone told you you’re not supposed to be.

    - Shouldn’t the astronaut charged with attempted murder be considered a serious flight risk?

    - I told my church that drinking a beer doesn’t make me unworthy of being a Sunday school teacher. But then they said it wasn’t even allowed on the premises.

    - On the way home from work today, I called my wife and told her to go ahead and get the fight started, I’d be there in a minute.

    - You may want to look at your drinking and eating habits when a friend looks in your grocery cart and asks you if you are having a party — and you are not.

    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    I guess all the other problems have been solved

    A state senator from New York said on Tuesday he plans to introduce legislation that would ban people from using an MP3 player, cell phone, Blackberry or any other electronic device while crossing the street in New York City and Buffalo.

    What else can they legislate to ban at crosswalks to avoid distractions?

    - Trading obsceneties with taxi drivers

    - Looking up at the tall pretty buildings (for tourists)

    - Operating a flamethrower

    - Walking your pets

    - Eating

    - Drinking

    - Voting Democrat

    - Talking to whomever you are with, even if last night's "Heroes" was super cool and you have to discuss the ending

    - Talking to people around you with whom you have no relationship, unless directing them to the best way across the intersection (hint: straight line)

    - Reading

    - Wearing revealing clothing (distracting to other pedestrians)

    - Wearing a Red Sox cap (ditto, plus, you might need the flamethrower)

    - Singing out loud

    - Singing in your head

    - Thinking about anything other than walking one foot in front of the other

    Dear Lord, I apologize for this post

    A theater changed their marquee in Atlantic Beach, Florida, for a well-known play about a certain part of a female's body to The Hoohah Monologues after a driver complained.

    The follow-up production aimed at men has also been re-titled, to "The Tallywacker Conversations."

    Pictures now up!

    Sorry for the extended wait the last nine days; pictures from Gabriel's birthday weekend are now posted!

    Jeff's Briefs

    - Can we put a quick end to this growing trend of memoralizing dead friends and family on the back windshield of your car? No offense, but it is capital T, tacky.

    - The Dalai Lama has been named a presidential distinguished professor at Emory University here in Atlanta. Not to be outdone, Georgia State University brought in actual llamas.

    - About 985,000 Easy-Bake Ovens sold since last May have been recalled because children can get their hands or fingers caught in the oven's opening, which poses an entrapment or burn hazard. And yet, My First Mini-Grenade Launcher remains on the market.

    - On the level of annual things I avoid in the newspaper, No. 3 would be the two weeks of Kwanzaa strips in the Curtis comic. No. 2, the inevitable budget released by a Republican president followed by the immediate liberal/media reaction that the GOP is trying to starve children and kill the old. No. 1, by a large margin, is "signing day." Like anyone knows how a high school star who exploited players half his size in AA will perform on the big stage in an SEC stadium.

    - A commercial for Snickers candy bars launched in the Super Bowl broadcast was benched after its maker got complaints that it was homophobic. Can we pull that Salesgenie.com ad, too? I'm suckyadaphobic.

    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Star Trek and the Holy Grail

    Netflix reviews: The Devil Wears Prada & The Illusionist

    If I could rate the Netflix movie rating system, I'd give it two stars. The problem? There's no rating for "eh." If one star means you wish you could destroy every print ever made, two stars merely says you didn't like it, and then three stars says you liked a movie. Four: Really liked it, and five means you want to name your kids and pets after the characters. Thus, if you're lukewarm, you can't put two stars since you didn't not like it, but you feel awkward putting three stars 'cause you're not exactly recommending it, though you found a few redeeming qualities.

    Why do I bring this up? Because of our recent Netflix picks, The Devil Wears Prada and The Illusionist. Val didn't see the latter, while we both curled up on the couch to see the former.

    Prada wasn't as comedic as hoped, nor Illusionist as thrilling, and both suffered from being slow and it was difficult to figure out where the plot was supposed to be headed.

    In Prada, Streep's acclaimed performance is one-note and goes nowhere. What started out promising with a spunky Meryl attituding all over Anne Hathaway ended up the same ol' same ol' for the next 90 minutes.

    In Illusionist, the sex appeal flirted the audience in two ways to start, but once Jessica Biel drops off the screen the magic disappears. The cool magic tricks in the first half give way to a sad Ed Norton barely blinking as Paul Giamatti investigates what happened to Biel. And by the way, can we limit the number of movies using the trick of starting near the end? Tell us the story straightforward and we'll catch up, I promise.

    That's not to say that I didn't find favor with bits of both movies. Anne Hathaway’s so darn likeable, and the way Prada immerses us in the fashion industry provides a viewpoint seen beyond the catwalk, trying to make the mysteriously addictive business interesting. Apparently two belts which look identical except for the buckle makes a difference. Who knew?

    Likewise, The Illusionist has some solid acting, if far too serious and melodramatic at times with strangely affected accents that I’m guessing were supposed to be Eastern Europeanish. I’m much more interested in renting The Prestige later this winter. Less romantic, more thrilling, is what I’m hoping.

    The verdict:

    The Devil Wears Prada - 3 stars (but not “like” liked)
    The Illusionist - 2 stars (but not disliked)

    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Super Bowl ad review

    The ads for this year's Super Bowl were about as uninspiring and clumsy as the game itself.

    Loved it:

  • Bud Light - "He has a Bud Light. Yeah, and an ax! But he has a Bud Light."

  • So within five minutes there were two commercials, different companies, featuring animals talking to one another, one smart, one dumb. Bud Light had apes, Taco Bell had lions. I'm sensing either a loss of creativity, or someone's been stealing papers from the other advertising agency's trash bin. But hey, who doesn't like funny animals? What are you, a Commie? Bonus points to the Bell for using Ricardo Montalban as the narrator.

  • Bud Light - The fist bump is out, slapping is in!

  • Sprint - Connectile Dysfunction is pretty good. Too bad it didn't list side effects, like, "Taking too much of this product for business may cause you to lose your family, be one of those weirdos talking in the bathroom, and has been known to cause cancer in lab rats."

  • Toyota Tundra - I want to buy one, race it to 70 mph in five seconds while towing 10,000 pounds, then hit the brakes and stop before going off a bridge.

  • E*Trade - The one with "one finger," worth it just for the "Save Holland" bit. That made me giggle like someone farting in church.

    A Waste of 30 Seconds: Pretty much everything. This was a bad Super Bowl for ads.

  • Pride - This is what it's come to with movies depicting racist whites and put-upon blacks, a movie about swimming? I think this means that race relations are going pretty darn well in this country.

  • Salesgenie.com - Was that an informercial in the Super Bowl? What's next, Ask Lesko using $2.5 million in federal money on an ad?

  • Doritos - If that's the best amateur ad they could come up with, how about letting the pros take of it next year? I wanted to stuff that horny checkout clerk into a Doritos bag.

  • Whatever that was with the guy who played Jimmy in the original Superman dressed in a heart costume.

  • Sierra Mist - All of them. Just awful, and I like comedians Michael Ian Black and Jim Gaffigan. I bet their ads would be funnier for a product I've actually seen in stores. Seriously, have you ever even noticed Sierra Mist on the shelf? Would you even consider reaching for it among the dozens of other sodas?

    Whatever:

  • The Frito-Lay ad where all the African-Americans sit around eating chips watching the game: So Colin Powell or Condi Rice taking care of national security isn't inspiring, but two black head coaches in the Super Bowl, that makes all the difference in the world.

  • Revlon - So Sheryl Crow colors her hair and goes on tour, and we're supposed to care if her stylist throws a hissy?
  • Sunday, February 04, 2007

    Demotivated



    Hat tip: Steve

    Super Bowl XLI

    The hip pick seems to be the Bears, even though the Colts are favored and are in the much more competitive AFC.

    Let's just say that I was hip before being hip was cool. Before the final whistle of the conference championships I was going with Chicago, and since it's customary for Super Bowls to end up in routs rather than close games most of the time, I say the Bears win 34-17.

    That's not to say that I'm rooting against Indy. I would rather see Peyton get his title, but the Bears defense is so good they will stop him and fluster him and end this by the fourth quarter.

    UPDATE 6:30 p.m. - Ye gads. Hester looked like he was Legolas walking on snow on top of the mountain and the Colts were hobbits trapped in the snow on that opening run back for a TD. And that's the only Lord of the Rings reference you'll ever see in Super Bowl coverage.

    UPDATE 6:37 p.m. - Ouch. I really hoped I wouldn't be right, but so far the Colts really need to wake up. It's like Peyton was throwing up a balloon for grabs with that interception.

    UPDATE 6:50 p.m. - Wow. Indy gets a gift TD, then the Bears cough it up on the kickoff return. If you'd told me that the first fumble by a Chicago player wasn't Rex Grossman, I wouldn't have believed it. .... Oops, Bears ball again. Peyton's handoff to Addai went very poorly. And Thomas Jones just jogged to the Colts five-yard-line. Wish he'd done that when it counted for my fantasy team. I'm not bitter. At all.

    UPDATE 8:50 p.m. - Ick. Ugly game. The Bears have been nonexistent the last hour, blowing chances at capitalizing on turnovers, and the Colts are moving at will downfield. All week, the Sports Guy on ESPN.com has vehemently demanded that the Super Bowl play in only three cities: Miami, San Diego and New Orleans, all the while ripping the league for other less-party spots. Do you think he's a little drenched right now, wishing the game was played in a dome this year?

    UPDATE 9:15 p.m. - Phil Simms keeps talking about tired the Bears defense must be, and now he said it about Peyton, too. Um, what? IT'S THE SUPER BOWL, THERE'S NO TIME TO BE TIRED. There's no such thing as tired. This is IT. I refuse to believe that players are slacking off due to being "tired."

    UPDATE 9:18 p.m. - When my co-worker Shaun said that it doesn't look like my prediction was going to come true, I said that my flimsy excuse will be the weather, and I'm sticking to it. He proceeded to sing "Blame It On The Rain." This is also the only Milli Vanilli reference you'll see in any Super Bowl write-up.

    UPDATE 9:21 p.m. - See, what I meant was, like, see, the Colts defense would be the one to score a touchdown, and Indy would win, about 34-17 or so. Yeah, that's the ticket.

    UPDATE 9:34 p.m. - I hope I'm not jinxing the Colts, since there are still nine minutes to go and they're up 29-17, but congrats. I'm very happy to be wrong. And if they end up losing, whoops. My bad.

    UPDATE 10:19 p.m. - The Colts won, one of the black head coaches won so we don't have to hear about the racial aspect of the game ever again, Peyton was named MVP and we don't have to ever hear about how he "can't win the big game" again. I think we're all winners here.

    UPDATE 10:28 p.m. - "Criminal Minds" started with a guy murdering people after a Super Bowl XLI party. I'm guessing this will make a few people just now leaving their own real parties look around closely when walking to their cars, "Jaws"-like. The first prime suspect? Lovie Smith.

    UPDATE 10:35 p.m. - Holy crap, the killer is Dawson! Does Joey know about this?

    UPDATE 10:42 p.m. - This afternoon Val and I watched Puppy Bowl III on Animal Planet. She'd never heard of it. I watched it last year, too. I swear I'm still a man. I have proof and everything.

    UPDATE 10:44 p.m. - By the way, I'm now at work, not watching the game with my wife. That now makes the Super Bowl, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, all big days I haven't been able to spend with my wife due to work. We'll also surely miss watching the Oscars together. If anyone knows any decent jobs in Memphis right now that would allow me to not miss the entire first year with my darling Valerie, let me know. (I say Memphis since if I'm not at CNN, what's the point in being so far away from everyone?)

    UPDATE Monday 1:54 p.m. - I should also mention that we won't be spending Valentine's Day together, either. URGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

    Saturday, February 03, 2007

    Top 5 Podcasts

    Since my commute is between 20 and 45 minutes, we travel a lot and I am driving the 20 minutes to meet Val for lunch every afternoon, I could listen to music (that's so 20th century) or listen to people talking about anything and everything. These are the five that I download and enjoy the most:

    1. Filmspotting - A movie review podcast done by two guys in Chicago. Adam and Sam have a typical format, usually 15 minutes off the top for a review of a new movie, then either interviews with directors or actors, feedback from listeners, and a top five every week, with categories ranging from best movies of the year to the top five movies about prostitutes. Regular features include "massacre theater," where they read a script from a scene and listeners guess the movie for a prize. I've enjoyed this one so much that I got Val interested. It's our favorite for long trips, since most episodes are over an hour and take up a big chunk of drive time.

    2. Battlestar Galactica - This is actually a commentary done by producer Ronald D. Moore for every episode, but you can follow along without watching at the same time, provided you've seen it already. He's very good about discussing the hows and whys of the script, letting us know what was cut, and what to look for in coming weeks.

    3. The Diner - A half-hour bit by one of my favorite bloggers, James Lileks, whose Daily Bleat is a staple of my Internet reading. It's a bit odd, and many may not get his sense of humor, but if you do then you'll be entertained. I've yet to pop one of his on while Val's in the car with me, since I'm 99 percent sure she'll look at me with that look of "Yeah, I married you, and yeah, you have a great sense of humor, but you sure do have weird taste."

    4. Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me - I recently discovered this gem on NPR (I know, I know, but surprisingly my conservative ears didn't catch fire listening to it). The show is billed as a weekly news quiz, taped in front of an audience each week and with a few sort-of well-known figures participating, from Mo Rocca to P.J. O'Rourke to Tom Bodett. The host is quick-witted and the format provides for some unexpected laughs on all kinds of topics and news, from the political to the odd.

    5. The Onion Radio News - Short, less than a minute and daily, The Onion hits sometimes, misses others, but there's most always a smile.


    Honorable Mention - Project Runway. It would be No. 5 except that the show is off the air right now, so listening to Tim Gunn's show reviews will have to wait until the new season.