Monday, June 30, 2008
Earlier this month he got into a dugout shoving match with Kevin Youkilis, and now we hear that this weekend he shoved the 60-ish Sox traveling secretary to the ground and yelled at him for not being able to get enough tickets to a sold-out game in Houston.
Did Manny turn into Teen Wolf? Did someone spike his apple juice? Someone get that man a back rub!
1. Galaga - Nothing in video games beats the joy of getting two ships side-by-side just as it's time for the bonus round.
2. ??? - There was a game at the Pizza Hut on Austin Peay Hwy growing up in Memphis that had a game where you were a helicopter pilot rescuing hostages. The best part was getting all the way to the prison, and yet you could still land on and kill the hostages if you weren't careful. Or if you were out for an evil laugh.
3. Frogger - Why is the frog so determined to fight rush-hour traffic to reach the other side? Darned if I know, but he sure does go SPLAT a lot. The sound effects make this one so fun to play.
4. Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man - You and I have played this hundreds of times, and yet, none of us know what happens after the first five or six rounds. Those ghosts are quick!
5. Rampage - Your chance to be the Godzilla type monster tearing apart the town, smashing buildings and eating people. And you thought having fun causing mayhem with games started with Grand Theft Auto.
Honorable mention: 1942, Centipede, Donkey Kong, Pole Position
"After scare in first heat, Gay breaks U.S. record in 100"
"Hooker wins 100-meter qualifier in 10.76 seconds"
Meanwhile, proving that people who grew up and/or prospered in the 80s must stick together to rule the world, tennis legend Chris Evert and one of golf's most recognizable stars, Greg Norman, got hitched.
In the majors, the Sox dropped two-of-three in Houston, meaning the Rays are in first place in the AL East with one day left in June and half of the season played out. That's right. Dogs and cats, living together. Rivers boiling. Total anarchy!
Not that I'm too worried. It was a freaky week anyway, complete with Kevin Youkilis sitting out a couple of days after getting hit in the eye by a one-hop throw in practice. Things will sort themselves out.
UPDATE 11:30 a.m. - Another odd moment this weekend, the Dodgers beat the Angels on Saturday without a hit.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
- Headline of the day: "Man Attacked Bus, Tried to Rob 7-Eleven, Stripped, Fought Dog and Withstood Taser." I think he should get a reduced penalty if only for his resilience.
- The photographer who claimed to have found a "lost tribe" in the Amazon admits he's a big fat liar. He would also like you to know that he made up the pictures of Big Foot, Loch Ness Monster and UFOs.
- A heartwarming story out of Las Vegas: Anna Nicole Smith's former boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, spent nearly $3,000 at a celebrity auction Saturday scooping up lingerie once worn in a Playboy shoot by the late playmate. Birkhead said he is trying to make sure their 1-year-old daughter, Dannielynn, has something to remember her mother by. Will he also frame her autopsy report?
- Memphis is a paranoid city, and far too scared by its metro neighbors. Did you know that the city requires employees to live in the city limits? Not just officials or managers, but all employees. Even more astounding, since 2004 Memphis Light Gas & Water requires all employees to live in the city as well. MLGW doesn't just service Memphis residents, so why would you have to live in the city to work there? Heck, they have a station not far from us over in Bartlett. I pay MLGW money for their mediocre services, why couldn't I work there, too? And this is why the city fails.
As usual, this becomes a racial issue. Councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware, a staunch supporter of residency rules, said she didn't want police bringing their "Mississippi attitude" to Memphis. And if the resolution passes, the council is going to charge police officers who work outside Shelby County an annual fee of $1,200. Gosh, I can't imagine why they can't find enough candidates willing to work with such a rational city.
- When President Bush spoke at Furman University's graduation a few weeks ago, many faculty members didn't show up and about 15 others stood in protest during his speech. Funny, I thought the graduation was for the students, who overwhelmingly voted to invite the president. Not that this is surprising with left-wing academia nowadays. As non-profit research group Accuracy in Academia reports, liberal faculty members outnumber conservative ones by more than 20-1 on many campuses. The study's conclusion:
"Colleges like to characterize themselves as wide-open places where every thought can be thought, where any opinion can be held, where all ideals and principles may be pursued freely. The demonstrable reality, however, is that you will find a much wider and freer cross-section of human reasoning and conviction in the aisles of a grocery store or city bus."
The faculty who didn't attend? They asked for, and were granted, "conscientious objector status" to do so. Seriously. For the right not to have to sit patiently during a speech by a guy they hate. As one commentor said, "Surely professors must see the precious irony in this. That's what students do every day."
Monday, June 23, 2008
- While shopping his book, former White House spokesman Scott McClellan – now the toast of D.C. for writing an anti-Bush screed - originally promised his work would be "supportive" and show how the liberal media slants coverage against the administration.
- Are liberals as honest as conservatives?. (On a related note ...)
- A British couple says that with their stolen bank card, a crook charged donations to Obama's campaign.
- The Obamessiah claims that he flip-flopped on a pledge to take public financing for the election partly to counter 527 committees that could attack him from right-wingers. Of course, Democratic 527s have raised three times as much as their Republican counterparts: $87 million to $24 million.
- Remember when Algore was proven as a greenhouse gassy fraud when it was discovered that his house used more energy than most smaller states? Embarrassed, he switched his home over to so called green-friendly solutions that have actually increased his home’s energy use, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.
- The Obamessiah’s campaign workers don’t like Muslims! To be more specific, they don’t want Muslims associated with him. In Detroit, two Muslim women were barred from sitting behind him during a rally to prevent them and their headscarves from appearing on photo or television.
- Of course, if the Obamessiah isn’t Muslim, he should probably let his half-brother know. Malik Obama tells the Jerusalem Post that if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people — despite his Muslim background. I guess Malik won’t be showing up in Muslim dress by Barack’s side.
- One of Barack’s national security advisors thinks Winnie the Pooh sets a good example for foreign policy. I’m guessing his domestic policy wonks think that SpongeBob SquarePants is an ideal illustration for global warming policies?
- The World Health Organization has made an addendum to their freaking out in the early 90s that heterosexuals were doomed by AIDS: Never mind. I guess it wasn't politically correct to point out that outside of Africa, pretty much the only ones affected by AIDS are gay or drug abusers.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Does that mean he won't allow any black Americans at his rallies? Because when one or two people wondered if having a Muslim father meant he was raised as one, his campaign prevented Muslim women from sitting behind him on stage to prevent the women's headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Team Valfrey is back online at home!
Not that I almost didn't make a fool of myself, of course.
I picked up the PC this afternoon, went home and plugged it in, and nothing was happening. No internet. Valfrey High-Speed was still gone. After several minutes of tinkering I gave up and took my afternoon nap.
This evening, with Val at work and unable to hear my inner cries for help, I couldn't get it to work again, so I unplugged everything and prepared to take the PC back to Best Buy.
I placed the PC on the island by our front door, and just happened to peruse the connections to see where they put the new board. Oh, wait, there's an extra cord port here, is that what was added?
So I take it back to the study, plug the Ethernet in that new port, and what do you know? The PC Link light on the modem starts flashing right away, and now I'm back online. Life may begin anew, and it's time to catch up with the rest of the Net!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
He said it wouldn't do to replace it right now, because the heating unit is so old and decrepit that we'll probably have to fix/replace the whole thing come winter time. Which, yeah, I figured anyway, and while under warranty it might as well be done now when much of the cost can be absorbed.
For now, the house is cool, the A/C works great, and we're satisfied. Heck, it even gets pretty doggone cold in here even just set at 72, which is a miracle for me!
Friday, June 13, 2008
Tim describes it as "a collection of stories about how God has acted providentially in the lives of students and others."
Val and I looked for it tonight but it's not in the LifeWay Christian store at Wolfchase yet, but we'll keep trying.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
It was a beautiful ceremony - as they all are, I downed many a delicious BBQ cocktail weenie at Cajun Cookers for the reception, and much thanks to Meredith and Chad for letting us crash at their pad.
- The production value was dreadful. Only one of the 12 acts (which included groups as well as individuals) sounded somewhat decent. So either they picked terrible singers or the acoustics of the theater need to be changed. The show better hope it's just the audio, or else they are being shown up every week by "Can You Duet" on CMT, where the groups sound a million times better.
- The first season of "Star" on USA Network, we got to see the auditions around the country. By season two they stopped doing it, and that's when I lost interest. You can't just plop 12 acts in front of me from week one and expect me to find people to root for. It'd be like starting The Breakfast Club in the middle when Judd Nelson is looking up Molly's skirt and crazy chick is shaking her dandruff on her sandwich.
- Jewel is a judge? For a country competition? What, Amy Winehouse wasn't available?
- Hannah Montana's dad is a bore. For the time it took him to read off the phone numbers I can see how he could wander away and not notice his daughter taking nude photos for a magazine. Achy Breaky was so long ago. And take that microphone away from your mouth. The show can't afford lapel mics?
- Suffice to say, we will not be following this show this summer. There's plenty of other reality shows where contestants are beat up, humiliated and make fools of themselves. And that's just MSNBC's fawning coverage of Barack Obama.
Checking the inside unit, the connections were icing over. Here we go again.
So it would appear we have a serious Freon leak. First thing this morning, I'll call the warranty company and get a Freon refill to get us another few days of cold air and set in motion the next set of fixes, though at least for today I'll feel better that Reeve's should be out of the picture.
What I don't get is, obviously this has been going on for a while, so how did the previous homeowners' daughter make it through the summers while living there alone?
UPDATE 7:05 p.m. - Not as bad as last time. Need a coil, it will cost us some money, but for now we're able to use the air to keep it from getting hot (but not like 65 degrees or it will freeze up again), so that's okay.
Monday, June 09, 2008
I'm finding that I'm not very good at mowing in straight lines. After a few passes my path looks like a boomerang. I think it's because I use both a mask over my mouth and glasses.
Before I switched to safety glasses I was using my sunglasses, and every time I breathed out the glasses would get foggy, when I breathed in it cleared up, so half the time I didn't even know if I'm re-mowed a spot or missed an entire line.
I still haven't gotten around to killing all the weeds, which pretty means our entire yard. My theory is, the first summer I'll be happy if the yard is green and flat, and then I'll worry about re-seeding and making it all purdy and fancy.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Critics almost universally praise them, but I was either disappointed, confused, or angered by my list:
1. "2001: A Space Odyssey" - Critic Roger Ebert likes to tell a story about the screening of this Kubrick snoozer, that a well-known Hollywood legend (Rock Hudson?) walked out in the middle, wondering out-loud, "What the (expletive) was that about?!" When I caught up with the movie 30 years later, I completely agreed. This just in: The monkeys are still throwing bones around in a six-hour meaningless movie opening.
2. "Raging Bull" - There's nothing likable about anyone or anything in this boxing flick.
3. "Apocalypse Now" - Too trippy.
4. "Vertigo" - Another snoozefest, which was surprising coming from an Alfred Hitchcock film. Or, I just wish Grace Kelly could be in every Hitchcock movie.
5. "Dr. Strangelove" - I was born three decades too late to get the satire.
Honorable Mention - "Brazil," "Blazing Saddles," "The Thin Man," "Young Frankenstein," "Stripes," "True Romance"
Friday, June 06, 2008
Yes, we have air again! But not without drama. At 10 a.m. I was about to post a blog that began this way:
"Oh. My. Frackin'. Frickin'. AAAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!"
So about that scheduled appointment from 9-11 this morning to replace our A/C unit? I get a call at 9:30 from Reeve's telling me that they don't have an expansion valve to go with the unit that was sent by the warranty group, and she "called all over" and can't find one. So she expected me to say okey-dokey and wait at least two business days (that's Tuesday) to get one and then re-schedule (likely another week away).
Oh heck no. I contacted the warranty group, told them that this was unacceptable in every way, that they would be providing me with another contractor and putting us up in a hotel until the situation was resolved, threatening legal action all the way.
With the warranty group's Memphis backup contractor's number, I called Air Pro, who it turns out was literally just five minutes away. They looked at the unit, declared that it wasn't broken, that it only needed Freon, and in 15 minutes it was finished, the warranty group paid Air Pro so we didn't have to, and our air was blowing cold again in the house.
Yes, after 2 1/2 weeks of waiting for Reeve's to fix it, Air Pro fixed it in 15 minutes. I don't know what kind of scam Reeve's is pulling, but Val and I will contact any and every group possible to try and single-handedly make sure that they don't do this to another unsuspecting homeowner again.
But hey, it's cool in here again, and none too soon. Mom, Aunt Lynn, Granddad, cousin Karla and her brood, Evie and Gavin, were by this afternoon on their way to Little Rock, so we got to show everyone around the new house without having to supply hand fans. Good times.
"I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless.
"This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth."
A couple of weeks ago Obama decided that he does knows what's best for us, and that's whatever other countries say so:
"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK."Really? So how much are other countries telling Obama that they can tolerate, that he'll try to force us to comply with their wishes?
I don't know why Obama claims to be so sad about leaving Trinity Church in Chicago. After all, he says he was not present for the most controversial sermons, and said he did not know about them until he began running for president. Considering how much material is out there of Wright, either Obama never went to church or he doodles in the bulletin instead of paying attention.
Obama's "potatoe" moments go ignored:
Imagine that John McCain named a young running mate to campaign with him, and this national rookie suggested America had 58 states, repeatedly used the wrong names for the cities he was visiting, and honored a Memorial Day crowd by acknowledging the "fallen heroes" who were present, somehow alive and standing in the audience. How long would it take for the national media to see another Dan Quayle caricature? Let's raise the stakes. What if it was the GOP presidential candidate making these thoroughly ridiculous comments? This scenario is very real, except it isn't McCain. It's the other fellow.Read it all.
Speaking of media double standards, can you believe if McCain had pulled a fast one on his own press corps?
More media fawning: Barack and Michelle Obama do a "fist bump" on stage at an event, and Time treats it like an unexplored craze.
Responding to the verdict by a federal jury Wednesday convicting developer and Obama fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko of corruption charges, Obama said, "This isn't the Tony Rezko I knew." Wow, between Rezko, Wright and Pflegler, Obama sure doesn't know much about the real thoughts and actions of his friends and advisers. This is the guy we want in the White House?
Thursday, June 05, 2008
UPDATE - FRIDAY 8 A.M. - Yep, called it. Coco was beaned on the hip and stupidly charged the mound to start a brawl. You should have just brushed it off, accepted your shot and walked to first base.
Uh-oh. Big Papi's on the disabled list with what's being called a "partial tear of the sheath that holds the tendon in place" in his wrist. Ouchy.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Two anticipated sequels, two entertaining movies but still a few things to grouse about.
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
I yield to few when it comes to my adoration of all things Indy. Growing up "playing Indy," I was treasure hunter and adventure seeker Arizona West, and when I would have the house to myself as a teen I'd watch "The Last Crusade" over and over and over and over, like a two-year-old hooked on Dora.
I was never, however, the biggest fan of "Temple of Doom," what with the bugs and the beating-heart removal, not to mention Kate Capshaw. Unfortunately, "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is closer to "Temple of Doom" than it is to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or "The Last Crusade," both of which are imminently quotable and in the pantheon of great movies above criticism.
Still, to say that an Indiana Jones movie is disappointing is still to put it above hundreds of movies I'd consider to be artful or stimulating. Let's see, "Gods and Monsters" again, or "Crystal Skull?" That's a no-brainer. Give me more of that witty banter and death-defying stunts in the Amazon! So when I list negatives, remember that I did enjoy myself.
My problem? The basis of the movie, even taking into account that the Indy franchise deals with a lot of supernatural elements, will forever disappoint as preposterous.
What, George Lucas couldn't find a script about the Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot and/or the success of "The Hills?"
At least the plots of the first three revolved around fantastical tales rooted somewhat in human stories and elements that were at least a teeny bit believable, if farfetched. This one? Ridiculous. I know there are drawings on ancient walls of creatures that may or may not be of this world, but we're talking about an ancient peoples who also believed that ripping the beating heart out of a sacrifice would ensure a successful harvest, and believed in all sorts of gods that could look like dogs, aliens, Rosie O'Donnell, all sorts of ugly creatures. I've seen "Stargate," I've seen the theories of "outside" assistance on ancient cultures, I disregarded them all.
In another first, I have to say that I didn't enjoy Cate Blanchett's performance. It was like a cartoon. Her Ukrainian accent was bordering on awful and insulting.
I understand that the Indy stunts are usually incredible and that thousands of bullets never hit the good guys, but really, we're surviving not one but three massive waterfall drops?
I wish the film had used a bit more of its past for fun. For instance, what if Indy runs through a cabaret briefly, and sees Kate Capshaw on stage, does a double-take, and continues on with a dozen commies on his tail? Why is Henry Jones Sr. (i.e. Sean Connery) killed off and out of the movie? He doesn't have to take part, just have him in a cameo at the end, like "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves?" How much more would I have smiled by the end with Connery there? Really, John Rhys-Davies couldn't show up for a teeny bit? And where's all the travel? We're in the U.S., we're in Peru, and that's it. Way to scout worldwide locales there, George.
Am I focusing too much on what I wanted the film to be, instead of what it is? Yeah, but that's my right as a fan. So let me pout a little.
But not for long. All in all, I'll still buy the DVD, watch the extras, and see the flick on TNT, because Harrison Ford continues to delight, Shia LaBeouf actually contributes to the story instead of being the annoying hip "it" guy of the year, and Karen Allen is always welcome back. Sit back and try not to think too much, and you may avoid the pitfalls I fell into with the plot. My father and Nana didn't seem to mind much, so why should I?
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN
I hold no shame that I saw "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" five times in the theater, and listened to the score/soundtrack constantly for two months on my iPod and CD player. The entire movie was magic, and made the outside world a perfect blend of rainbows, puppies and candy corn.
The sequel? Eh, it's well made, has many of the elements that make the first so lovable, and yet there's not much magic here. The film comes across far darker in tone, and there many more deaths that feel more real and painful than "Wardrobe." What was really missing was Aslan, absent until near the end. Not just Peter, who denied Aslan so much we might as well have heard a cock crow, but our moral compass was off-kilter without him.
There are only a quick few minutes to set up the sequel. The Pevensie kids are back in the London area during WWII, finding it difficult to adjust to the real world again as kids after spending at least a decade as kings and queens of Narnia.
The kids find that this isn't the same happy-go-lucky land they enjoyed. It's over a millennium later, and they find Narnia "a more savage place than they remembered." So says a dwarf played by Peter Dinklage, whom they saved from a watery death but whom remains grouchy.
The first third of the film is about political machinations of the Tal-whatevers, far too much political intrigue that you've seen a hundred times in Roman epics like Gladiator that just washes over you as you wonder where the magic and talking animals are. The second third is a pissing match between Peter and Prince Caspian, both in their late teens and both trying to be far too macho and leaders. The last third, we finally get engrossed in the fortunes of life and death and the ultimate battle.
In support, Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy, who has since moved on to other award-winning pictures) and the beavers are long gone, and in their place we get a wise badger, a few brave warrior mice, good dwarf vs. bad dwarf (surprisingly played by the Willow midget) and all of the fantastical creatures who once fought against each other in the first Narnia, now allies against the evildoers trying to exterminate Narnians. Even the Ents, er, trees, go to war and, stop me if you've heard this one, nature has to fight back against mankind's intrusions.
It's those pesky humans that keep the film from being sparkly and lovable. Humans are bad, bad, big bad - except for our hero kids - and there's nary a redeemable one. The villain, Miraz, is a Jean Reno clone with a Napoleon complex, and Prince Caspian himself, even with his own Professor Dumbledore, is a yawner of a character, not given much to do on the sidelines as the Pevensies control the story.
The ending feels rushed, though there is plenty of feel-goodness and chills as the kids once again bid a fond farewell to Narnia and Aslan. Here's hoping that the next "Chronicles" brings back some of the magic that kept me coming back for the first.