September 30, 2003

Fun News From the Harper's Weekly Email

The recording industry let it be known that it was promoting a "stealing is bad" curriculum for the nation's schools that will include classes on the history of copyright and games such as Starving Artist, a role-playing game in which children pretend to be musicians who no longer receive royalties because their work has been copied on the Internet.

Oh, brother.

Charlton Heston was named as the first recipient of the Charlton Heston Prize.

Congratulations . . . er. . . I guess.

French researchers announced that the first cloned rats had been born.

Leave it to the French to clone a rat. That's great. Hundreds of species to pick from to try cloning, and they pick a rat.

At Least the Seats Look Nice

bears logoWell this is going to be a fantastic football season, don't ya think?

How the Bears are going I think they're only chance for a victory is November 2nd, when the go up against the hapless Chargers. Maybe Arizona on Nov. 30th, but I'm not holding my breath.

The only thing going for the Bears right now is the kicking game. Paul Edinger is a mad kicker. The guy is money. But who cares if the offense can't score a touchdown, let alone field goal range. The boys are just bad. Anthony Thomas showed flashes of 2001 when he cranked off a 67 yard TD run and ended up with over 100 yards rushing in total. But was that anomaly or a return to form? With the sorry state of the offense line, I'd have to say it was anomaly. I don't see many 100 yard games for the A-Train this year.

And what about Notre Dame? Things are fading fast. They've got a senior quarterback who doesn't fit the game plan, and a freshman quarterback who only has to shave once a week and gets carded getting into R-rated movies. The O-line isn't providing protection and the defense is stopping anything.

Oh boy. Its gonna be a long football season. At least I still have my Yahoo! Fantasy Football - Hamster Sausage. I'm 4 - 0, and tied for first in our league. I gonna be riding Priest Holmes and his mac'd out offense skills all the way into the playoffs. All I need are some reliable WRs.

It's a Picture of a Dead Rat

I could have come up with a number of different sarcastic comments. Stuff about politicians, the Chicago Bears, PETA, whatever. In the end though, I just thought it was funny enough to just show a picture of dead rat.

You all can make up your own joke.


A dead rat on a street. Officials at the US State Department are bracing for a massive infestation of rodents(AFP/ANSA/File)


September 29, 2003

A joke

Read this on Will Wheaton's (yes, that Will Wheaton) blog:

The leaders of the big beer companies meet for a drink. The president of Budweiser orders a Bud, the CEO of Miller gets a Miller, the head of Coors orders a Coors, and so on. Until it's Arthur Guinness's turn. He orders a soda.

"Why didn't you order a Guinness?" everyone asks.

Guinness replies, "if you guys aren't having beer, then neither will I."


I love Guinness.

Michael Powell and Me

Who would have thought I could find a friend in Michael Powell, Chairman of the FCC.

FCC Says It Will Enforce Do-Not-Call List

How can Colin Powell's little boy grasp the benefit of the Do-Not-Call Registry but still play dumb on turning over all media outlets to just a few voices?

Ian's Dental History

What a Sunday morning we had at the McKillip house. It was about 7am, Heather was still sleeping (her morning to sleep late), Ian and Emma had both had breakfast, I was sitting at the kitchen table, and Ian was running around the kitchen/dining/living room.

Suddenly there is a loud crash and I see Ian stretched out on the kitchen floor, crying - crying hard. I figure he's caught his arm on the basement door - we leave it partially open to let Bumper go down to the basement to use her liter box. I got the hitting the door part right, unfortunately, I quickly discovered, Ian hadn't hit his arm, but had hit his face squarely on the side of the door. His two front teeth look precariously set in his mouth and there is blood everywhere.

I get Heather out of bed and we quick assess and rally the troops. 7:15 we're in the van. 7:20 we're at the Emergency room of Rush Copley hospital. Its 7:20 on a Sunday morning, so nobody is there. We get shuffled right through and see a doctor quickly.

Ian is in good spirits now. The bleeding has slowed down and the initial shock of slamming into the door has worn off.

The doctor takes a look. Wiggles the teeth around a good bit and checks Ian for a concussion or any other damage. Everything checks out fine. Teeth are loose and badly bruised. Ian should eat soft foods. Tylenol or Motrin for pain. Follow up with your dentist in the next day or so.

The rest of the day goes well. We go to the OLGC Fall Festival and Ian gets to play some games, ride a train, and win some prizes. I make great strides on cleaning out the basement. Ian's doing a good job of taking care of his wiggly teeth. The bleeding has stopped, but the gums above the two teeth are black with bruising.

This morning Heather calls our dentist for a follow up. They get Ian in at 10am to take a look at the damage. Unfortunately the news from the dentist isn't as rosy as the ER doctor.

X-rays reveal that the roots for the two front teeth are dissolving. Because Ian's never had x-rays of his teeth before, the doctor doesn't know if this is a pre-existing condition or something brought on by the injury. Good news: Ian's permanent teeth are there and look perfect. The doctor's recommendation: wait a week and see how the teeth do. If they tighten up and x-rays show roots that are stable - then everything is fine. However, if the roots continue to deteriorate or if the teeth do not tighten back up - then they will pull Ian's two front teeth.

I'm gonna kill Bumper.

So now we play the waiting game for one week. Hopefully things work out well, but my gut tells me the Ian is going to loose his two front teeth. That means he will go without front teeth for about 2 years - most permanent teeth don't come in until a kid turns 6 years old. They might come in a bit earlier because the baby teeth aren't there, but it's still going to be a wait. I feel so bad for Ian. I don't want these things to happen to him. Hopefully Heather and I can spin positives out of this negative.

September 26, 2003

Ben Affleck Buys Truck in Ga.

Ben Affleck Buys Truck in Ga.

The news media will report a story like this one week - then condem Ben and Jennifer for being "over exposed" the next week.

Who's doing the over exposure, dip-wads?

2003 Darwin Award Winners

According to the emails I've received, this is your winner this year:

(The late) John Pernicky and his friend, (the late) Sal Hawkins, of the great state of Washington, decided to attend a local Metallica concert at the George Washington amphitheater. Having no tickets (but having had 18 beers between them), they thought it would be easy to "hop" over the nine foot fence and sneak into the show. They pulled their pickup truck over to the fence and the plan was for Mr. Pernicky, (who was 100 pounds heavier than Mr. Hawkins) to hop the fence and then assist his friend over. Unfortunate for (the late) Mr. Pernicky, there was a 30-foot drop on the other side of the fence. Having heaved himself over, he found himself crashing through a tree. His fall was abruptly halted (and broken, along with his arm) by a large branch that snagged him by his shorts. Dangling from the tree with a broken arm, he looked down and saw some bushes below him. Possibly figuring the bushes would break his fall, he removed his pocket knife and proceeded to cut away his shorts to free himself from the tree. Finally free, Mr. Pernicky crashed into holly bushes. The sharp leaves scratched his ENTIRE body and now, without the protection of his shorts, a holly branch penetrated his rectum. To make matters worse, on landing his pocket knife penetrated his thigh. Hawkins, seeing his friend in considerable pain and agony, threw him a rope and tried to pull him to safety by tying the rope to the pickup truck and slowly driving away. However, in his drunken haste/state, he put the truck into reverse and crashed through the fence landing on his friend and killing him. Police arrived to find the crashed pickup with its driver thrown 100 feet from the truck and dead at the scene from massive internal injuries. Upon moving the truck, they found John under it half-naked, scratches on his body, holly stick in his rectum, a knife in his thigh, and his shorts dangling from a tree branch 25 feet in the air.

Comic Book Reviews: Batman #619 and JLA #87

Batman #619 signaled the end of Jeph Loeb's and Jim Lee's 12-part "Hush" storyline. It's been a visually stunning series to read, even if the plot/story was a little weak. Over 12 issues Batman has been struggling to discover what mysterious mastermind was causing so much trouble in his life. Villains were acting strangely. long-lost friends were showing up - only to be killed. Everything has been turned on its ear.

A couple of issues ago it looked like the person behind the conspiracy to ruin Batman was Jason Todd, former Robin, brought back to life through nefarious means. That was proven to be a ruse last issue, when it was discovered Jason Todd was actually Clayface configuring himself to resemble the murdered former Boy Wonder.

Loeb does reveal who the identity of our mystery person is - more or less - depending on your interpretation of events, and it's a bit shocking. As with any Loeb mystery, he reveals clues and plot developments that he has left hidden until the last moment - making almost impossible for the reader to solve the mystery before hand. And even when Loeb does put out all the cards he's going to show, there are usually two or three ways to interpret them. This can be frustrating or entertaining. I tend to find it entertaining. Although how Loeb disclosed some of these surprise clues did feel a bit cheap.

The final explanation of what was going on is complex, and did take two readings for me to get the full picture. Even then, the facts - as I am interpreting them - can point to either of two different people being the mastermind behind the event.

Jim Lee's art - fantastic as usual. Some people say that Lee's artwork tends to be too posed, too static. That his panel constructions don't convey any energy or movement. I disagree. Sometimes his characters are a bit stiff, but attention to detail, his scene composition, and his panel choreography make for beautiful artwork. I enjoy looking at Jim Lee drawn pages over and over. There is so much to see and it all looks so wonderful.

Ultimately I loved the entire run. We got 12 issues of beautiful artwork and entertaining stories. Loeb used a whole mess of Batman villains; Riddler to Clayface to Ra's Al Ghul. It was just a really fun, really entertaining superhero comic.

Also read the latest issue of JLA, issue #87. It's part 4 in the 6 part "The Burning" storyline, which also signals the swan song for writer Joe Kelly and artist Doug Mahnke on the title. I've enjoyed Kelly and Mahnke on JLA, they've been on the title for almost two years now, but I think with the end of this story I'll be dropping JLA from my reading list. I've been reading this title since it started with #1 back in 1995 and I think I've had my fill of the Justice League of America. I still love the characters and reading stories starring them, but I reached my saturation point for JLA stories long ago. What's keep me going for an additional 2 years has been Kelly and Mahnke. I've really enjoyed the plot-driven stories Kelly has turned out, and I think Mahnke has been the strongest artist on JLA since it bowed back in '95. The ending of this story, and their tenure on the title, is a perfect time for me to drop the book.

This final story is no exception. Kelly has pulled together a huge threat - definitely JLA worthy - worked in some interesting angles and sub-plots, and Mahnke is smoking with his artwork. It will be nice to go out on top.

A-Ha

I think I've figured out how to insert titles when using the w.bloggar application. I use w.bloggar to do most of my posting from the desktop here at work. The web based posting I can do through Blogger.com had a spot set asside for the Title for every post - so doing titles there is easy. But I prefer to use w.bloggar. Then my posting can be more immediate and natural.

I've had to figure out how to reconfigure the w.bloggar application so that I can do the same thing. Luckily, the w.bloggar website has an active user forum. I found the answer there.

Services him right

Judge Who Backed Telemarketers Is Deluged

The judge who order the first injunction has been bombarded with phone calls - at work and at home. This doesn't surprise me. In fact, I expected it and am glad to see it happening.

What really tickled me in this story is a comment from a company that uses telemarketing, U.S. Security, Inc. They are one of the plaintiffs suing to block the DNC list.

What did they say about the whole situation?

"U.S. Security does not sell anything over the phone. We simply ask for the opportunity to tell someone about the lifesaving benefits of our security and fire systems in a face-to-face meeting."

THAT'S FUCKING SELLING YOU ASSHOLE! You've pushed your way into my house via the phone, pushing some product. You may not be closing the sale on the phone - but its still a fuckin' sales pitch.

Free speech my ass!

Congress OKs, Judge Knocks Down Do-Not-Call List

This is starting to royally piss me off. A judge in Denver blocked the implementation of the Do-Not-Call list on free speech grounds.

This has to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I think Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota put it best when he said, "It's not an infringement on telemarketers' speech if I don't want to take their calls."

Amen brother!

50 million people can't be wrong. The Direct Marketing Association and the American Teleservices Association better just face the fact that American's do not want to be bothered at home with stupid phone calls. We are all tired of it.

Shut up, sit down, and get the fuck of my phone.

September 25, 2003

Looky - looky

If you haven't already noticed, I've decided to start adding goofy little titles to all my posts. I think it might make the journal easier to scan through and read. Don't think I'll go back and edit previous posts (though I probably edit a few), but they will be in from this point forward.

Something new for the website

How cool is this? Thanks to RSS data feeds, I can now post comic strips to my site and have them updated daily - automatically. Check it out: Comic Strips

I've added a page of comic strips to the comics section of my website. Nothing much. I'm posting Calvin & Hobbes, Get Fuzzy, Foxtrot, and For Better of For Worse right now. Of the comic strip feeds I found, these were the only one's worthy. It's pretty simple, but it's honest to goodness content, none the less.

Chasing the skunk away

Yahoo! News - House Votes to Reinstate 'Do Not Call' List:

Two things on this:

1) Glad to see the House move so quickly. Hopefully the Senate will follow suit.

2) Who were the 8 Representatives who voted against this bill? I guess they aren't interested in winning re-election.

Great quote from this article. "'Unwanted telemarketing calls are less popular than a skunk at a church picnic, and they are more persistent and obnoxious than athlete's foot,' said Rep. John Dingell (news, bio, voting record), the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee and a co-sponsor of the bill."

Flying cars be damned

Wired News: Catch a Flick on Flexible E-Paper

This is so frickin cool! Flexible electronic paper that can display static type and now high-definition, full-motion video. Like the article says, "With an e-paper screen sewn into a jacket, wearers could read e-mail or even watch the news on their sleeves while hot-footing it from one meeting to another."

This is way better than flying cars.
Congress Moves to Defend Do-Not-Call List

They better do this if they want any hope of re-election.
A apparently it's picture day here at the Soapbox:



Our Milky Way galaxy (center/blue) is gobbling up its galactic neighbor, Sagittarius, (red trail, from left to right) and on September 24, 2003, scientists offered documentary proof of this continuing cosmic cannibalism. On its way to oblivion, the dwarf Sagittarius -- which is about 10,000 times the mass of the Milky Way -- is getting stretched, torn apart and ultimately eaten, scientists at the University of Virginia and the University of Massachusetts reported.


Isn't this remarkable. I could stare at this photo all day. Besides considering the awesome event of one galaxy consuming another one, this photo (for me, at least) helps put into perspective that hugeness and vastness of the Universe. Earth is just a little dot in the swirling blue mass in the center of this picture. It would take someone hundreds of years to get from Earth to the edge of the galaxy - and that would just be the start of the trip. Look at all the space that extends beyone that.

Mind boggling.


That's corn on top of this truck in Somali. How do they even get all that corn on top of the truck, let alone drive it?

September 24, 2003

Hmmm. Heather's been baking again. Last night she treated all of us to Carmel Pecan Delight.

It a cheese cakey item with a cookie crust and caramel drizzled on top. Of course, she left the pecans off the top - but she still used pecan shortbread cookies for the crust - so the name is still valid. The filling is vanilla pudding with a little caramel mixed in. It quite good. We all liked it - even Emma. No pictures to share with you though. We were too busy eating it to stop and photograph it.

Finished reading McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales on Monday. Thrilling Tales was originally published as McSweeny's issue #10 - a literary magazine run by Dave Eggers, of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius fame. I bought the book reprint instead of the magazine because it was easier to find. McSweeny's Quarterly magazine is only sold in independent bookstores - a dying breed thanks to Borders, Wal-Mart and Amazon.com.

Anyway, the premise or unifying theme of the collection of stories is the plot-driven short story. Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay, Summerland) edits and contributes one story to the collection. In his introduction Chabon laments that modern writers, for the most part, have abandoned the plot-driven short story. Short stories have, for the most part, become the arena for character-driven, navel-gazing, moment of truth stories. Very little action actually takes place. So Eggers let Chabon have an issue of McSweeny's to pull together a number of writers and put them to the task of rediscovering the plot-driven short story.

There are 20 stories in total. Some by authors I knew, some I had never heard of. Michael Crichton, Dave Eggers, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Nick Hornby, Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, and Michael Moorcock were all the familiar names. Sherman Alexie, Aimee Bender, Dan Chaon, Carol Emshwiller, Glen David Gold, Laurie King, Kelly Link, Rick Moody, Chris Offutt, and Jim Shepard were all authors I had never encountered before. 50 / 50 split. Pretty strange, huh?

Some of the stories work, some didn't. Some authors succeed in keeping to the plot driven requirement. Others tried, but couldn't help but slip in navel-gazing. Eggers was the biggest violator of this rule. His "Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly" was painfully slow in plot and long on introspective character enlightenment, as was King's "Weaving the Dark." They broke up the rhythm that previous tales in the collection by Hornby, Chaon, Emshwiller, and Leonard had done a wonder job of setting.

One story that faltered on the plot driven aspect, but still spun a great tale, was Rick Moody's "The Albertine Notes." The story focuses on a post-apocolyptic New York where a new drug called Albertine has taken control of the population. The drug enhances memories - making them more real, more vibrant, but at the cost of eventually the ability to remember anything. It's highly addictive. The deeper we get into the tale the more bizarre things become. What is a real memory? What is a memory of a memory? Who created the drug and how does it fit into a larger conspiracy to control New York. It's mind-warping science fiction.

Moorcock's and Charbon's entries are fantastic. Tightly plotted, entertaining stories that harken back to a time when reading was still a main source of entertainment for people. A roll since filled by television and movies. Harlan Ellison's "Goodbye to All That" is a gloriously sarcastic look at the search for the meaning of life - the source of all existence. A lot of fun.

Overall the entire anthology was great. As with any short story collection, it was difficult for me to read. All the starting and stopping gets me out of a reading grove, but eventually some sort of rhythm is worked out. As long as the reading is entertaining, I don't mind working myself into shape for reading the collection, I know I'll benefit in the long run.
Toxic Flame Retardant Found in Breast Milk

I think a positive spin could be put on this. Like, there is less chance of your infant catching on fire when you smoke and breast feed at the same time.
Fucking bastards. . .

U.S. Court Blocks Anti-Telemarketing List

This better be over-turned. I don't give a rat's ass about the Direct Marketing Association or its employees. I don't want our phone ringing with stupid offers for refinancing, curtains, siding, or other stupid shit.

On a related note: About a month ago I had to sign up with AOL because we were having some trouble with our ISP (Access4cheap) and I needed to get in touch with them via the web. The AOL software comes pre-installed on our Mac so I just fired it up and used the 1000 free hours to take care of business. I promptly called and canceled the service about 20 days after I signed up - well within the 45 day / 1000 hour limit.

Told them point blank that the only reason I signed up for their sub-standard service was because I was having trouble with our own service. (Don't think I don't see the irony in this, cause I do. But I don't care. Access4cheap is only $9.95 a month for unlimited access - no pop-ups, no spam, no phone calls)

AOL has called me now three days in a row trying to get me sign up for AOL Broadband. The last two times the calls have ended with me yelling into the phone about how I would never voluntarily purchase their service - ever. And that they should put me on the do not call list. I think last night I made a lasting impression.

I hate these fuckers.
Funny Joke - courtesy of my Grandfather

A couple was dressed and ready to go out for the evening.

They turned on a night-light, turned the answering machine on the phone line, covered their pet parakeet and put the cat in the backyard.

They phoned the local cab company and requested a taxi. The taxi arrived and the couple opened the front door to leave their house. The cat they had put out into the yard scoots back into the house.

They don't want the cat shut in the house because "she" always tries to eat the bird. The wife goes out to the taxi while the husband goes inside to get the cat. The cat runs upstairs, the man in hot pursuit.

The wife doesn't want the driver to know the house will be empty. She explains to the taxi driver that her husband will be out soon. "He's just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother."

A few minutes later, the husband gets into the cab. "Sorry I took so long," he says, as they drive away. "Stupid bitch was hiding under the bed. Had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out! Then I had to wrap her in a blanket to keep her from scratching me. But it worked. I hauled her fat ass downstairs and threw her out into the back yard!"

The cabdriver hit a parked car...

September 23, 2003

Arr, matey. Find yar true Pirate name here: http://www.fidius.org/quiz/pirate.php
Ah, finally got some new photos up on the old website. Check out the new views in the photo section, which include pics from Ian's first day of Pre-School. There are also some fun little photos of the kids just being themselves around the house.

Speaking of pre-school, Ian got his first job this week. Every week different kids get a turn at doing some classroom job - line leader, napkin passer, general helper. Stuff like that. Ian hadn't been picked for a job yet, and it had him a bit bummed. Well it was a happy day yesterday afternoon when he jumped into the van after school and proudly proclaimed that he is the official flag holder for the class this week. It's his responsibility to hold the American flag every morning while the class says the Pledge of Allegiance. Ian's reaction to this new responsibility, "I've never had so many kids look at me before!"

It's good to be a kid.
Two thought provoking quotes from Theodore Roosevelt, especially in light of the events and expressed opinions of the past year.

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else."

September 22, 2003

I'm home sick today. I think the combination of giving blood on Friday and catching something from Ian/Emma/Heather has done me in. It hit me Saturday night, and Sunday and Monday morning were miserable. I'm starting to feel a little better now.

Even being sick, we got a number of things done this weekend. I got the ceiling painted in the bathroom, but still haven't touched up the blue. Hope to do that this week. Got some art to hang in the new bathroom, and found some towel and toilet paper hardware that we'll be using in the redecorated loo.

Football was a bit of a mixed bag. Notre Dame disappointed again, but Ohio State hung on to beat a tough Bowling Green team and the Browns came back to defeat the 49ers. This made Heather happy.

isn't much else to talk about. I'm just takin' it easy at home. However I did see this picture on Yahoo! and laughed when I saw the caption.



The caption:

Antoni & Alison : A model shows off a handbag during the Spring/Summer 2004 collection by Antoni & Alison at the Chelsea Town Hall during London Fashion Week. (AFP/Adrian Dennis)

Showing off a handbag!? I'd love to see this model show off a wallet or a coin purse.

September 19, 2003

Earlier this week my Grandfather email a list of funny sayings to a bunch of people. I thought some of them were pretty good and thought I would share here.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a frayed fan belt and a leaky tire.

It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.


We had a release last night and it is turning into a classic cluster-fuck. We're finding errors now, after everything has been released. The tech team didn't properly set all the server setting to handle the changes we made to the software the website runs on, so a number of features were initially fucked-up this morning. We sent out a notice to our customers alerting them that because of the release, they would have to make some changes to their ad settings to reflect some new features. We have a nice little online application for them to do this, but it looks like they are mis-reading part of the notification and are contacting our Customer Service department directly all hot and bothered.

To top it off, the two other people who could support me on the business side of this are out on vacation.

Work blows today. Can't wait for this to end.

September 18, 2003

Tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. How be you celebratin', matey?

ABC.com: Threat Matrix

Is anyone interested in this show? Or does everyone else see the show see it for what I see it as: propoganda to support W, Ashcroft, and the U.S. Patriot Act.

This show just looks so stupid.
I am a fugitive from the law.

Don't tell my Dad.

Every morning I take the train into Union Station in downtown Chicago. As you'd imagine, Union Station is huge. The portion of the train depot where the train I ride comes in has 7 or 8 different tracks. It's fairly big. The train I ride in the morning is also one of the express trains servicing the Naperville/Aurora area. Its 10 cars long - holding around 800 commuters.

The platforms the trains stop at inside Union Station are about 10 feet wide. Not really enough for 800-odd people to smoothly, quickly, and efficient de-train and get into the station building. To say it's a slow, agonizing process is an understatement.

Now, on every platform there are plenty of signs posted reading that to cross the tracks to get to another platform is against the law and subject to a fine. That doesn't stop 50 to 100 people every morning from crossing the tracks so that the whole de-training process can move a lone more smoothly. I'm always one of those 100 people. We always check for other trains. We're always careful.

Every 5 months or so, a few Metra Cops will position themselves at the adjacent open platform and give warnings to people who are crossing the tracks. I've been given many stern looks and threatening warnings from Metra cops over the last 2 years. The effect: people stop crossing for a while, but about 4 to 6 weeks later things are back to normal.

Which brings me to this morning.

I get off the train. Things are going slowly. I make the jump over the tracks. All of a sudden I see people all fleeing back to the other side of the tracks. What's up? I figure there must be Metra cops there again and they're scolding the track jumpers. I'm not interested in getting lectured this morning so I jump back across too.

Once I'm safely back inside the herd of commuters, I glance over to see how the Metra cops are doing. To my surprise it isn't Metra cops - it's fully uniform, fully macked-out Chicago cops, and they're lining people up for ticketing. In fact, they're stopping people from crossing back. It's a full-scale bust. And I escaped.

September 17, 2003

Because I believe everybody likes to see a pretty girl . . .



Miss California Nicole Lamarche during the 2003 Miss America preliminary swimsuit competition - which she won.
World's Oldest Genitals Found in Scotland

As a scientist, is that something you look forward to? Searching for the world's oldest genitals? I mean, they found them on a fossilized daddy-long-legs insect. A bunch of college-educated ladies and gents standing around looking at a 400 million year old penis, and its really, really tiny. Wierd stuff.
The book reviewer over at CNN.com predicts that Neil Gaiman is about to break it big - and I hope he's right. Neil Gaiman is one of the most creative, provocotive, intelligent, eclectic writers of our times. I adore his Sandman work, and desperately want to get my hands on his prose work. Specifically American Gods which I have read excerpts from.

CNN.com - Review: Two new Gaiman-ic works - Sep. 17, 2003
Our tax dollars at work: Lawmaker Wants 'French' Back in Fries

Why are they wasting their time with stupid things like this. It was dumb six months ago when the switch to Freedom Fries was made, its dumb now that someone is wasting time suggesting that a switch be made back to French Fries.
Study: Sleeping Position Reveals Personality Traits

I read through this and can't figure out Heather or myself. A lot of the time she is on her side, in a fetal position. Which according to the article is used by 51% of all women and indicates a shy, sensitive person. But what about sprawled out on you belly, covering 80% of the sleepable bed space? Heather does that, too. Professor Chris Idzikowski didn't mention that position in the article.

I can't figure myself out either. I'm a side sleeper, but like to fall asleep flat on my back - the solider position Prof. Idzikowski calls it. Putting all these together means that I am a quiet, reserved, easy-going, but suspicious person. At least that what I think. I sleep in different positions - or at least I think so. I only know the position I was last in before falling asleep and after waking up. Who knows, maybe in between that time I'm sleeping in the freefall position.

Superheroes are real! They're REAL!

Angle-Grinder Man

September 16, 2003

Senate Defies Bush, Reverses FCC Rules

its a nice little article and I'm glad to see that Congress understands how stupid the FCC regulations that were passed are, but what the article fails to mention is why it is a forgone conclusion that President Bush will veto the bill. That's what I'd like to know.
Middle class barely treads water

When I read the title to this story, I was all ready to rip it apart. Heather and I do fine with just my one salary, why can't these people make do on two?

Then I read through the article and it started to scare me. I started asking myself questions. If we got hit with something big, would we be able to pull through? Are we going to be able to pay for the kids' college? Especially with a third child coming?

We've college plans started for Ian and Emma and we have a lot of savings, but I really don't know if its enough. With the costs of insurance and other essential services increasing, plus the additional costs like tutition (even grade school tutition) looming - are we financially safe? I don't know. That scares the shit outta me.
The Gender Genie

The site analysis text and tells you whether it was written by a man or a woman. It's a lot of fun.
Apparently there are limits to patriotism . . .

Comic Unveils Star-Spangled Penis

Cross-Country Runner Chokes on Rock

This is wild. A girl running a cross-country race has a rock kicked up into her mouth, which promptly lodges in the back of her throat - choking her. Luckily, Mark McClure, a coach from my alma mater - JOHN CARROLL UNIVERSITY, was there to perform the Heimlich and save the girl's life.

GO BLUE STREAKS!

September 15, 2003

What a weekend. Painting - Painting - Painting. With a little football, Steve McQueen, and grilling thrown in.

I essentially spent the weekend putting a second coat of paint on in the downstairs bathroom, re-painting a wall in our kitchen, and painting the hallway and foyer from our front door to our kitchen. Two days of: up ladder - down ladder - move ladder - repeat Now every time I try to stand up to get out of my chair at work, it takes me about three minutes and I groan the whole time. My legs are sooooo fricking tired. The painting looks great though. The hallway turned out fantastic. Paint went on easy and the tape came off easy. This wasn't the case in the bathroom, where we used a different brand of paint. In the bathroom the paint had a tendency to grab onto the tape. When I was pulling it off wood trim or the mirror, it was pulling chunks of paint off the wall. Not very nice at all. I had to start scoring the paint where the tape ended so that I could get clean separation. Now I have to go back and do a bunch of touch-up in the bathroom.

I'm not too upset though. What we've got now is ten times better than what was there before, which was what the previous owners had done. Bland neutral colors - flat paint - only one coat, so white was showing through. Things are looking much better now.

My painting got off to a slow start Saturday because of all the football on Saturday. I kept running around the corner to get an update on the OSU overtime extravaganza or the Notre Dame debacle. What I found interesting with football this weekend was that I expected both of my teams to lose, but was surprised at how they did it. I know Michigan is a much better team than the Irish, but I didn't expect them to spank Notre Dame quite so harshly. I expected Minnesota to beat the Bears, but I was surprised that Chicago hung in there like they did. Is it clich?d to blame both on the respective quarterbacks? I don't think so. Both teams are using gifted athletes at quarterback who I don't think can play quarterback in their offense systems.

Saturday night, after working all day painting, you would have thought I would go right to bed - early. Especially considering that Sunday morning is Heather's morning for sleeping in. Which means Daddy gets up with the children, usually around 6 am. What did I do? Stayed up to 12:10am watching The Great Escape on TCM. It's a movie about an attempted prison break during World War II from a German POW camp. Starring a whole bunch of fun actors like, Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and David McCallum. It's a loooooong movie, but interesting and fun. I glad I stayed up to watch it (and enjoy it in widescreen - thank you TCM), even if I'm paying for it today because I haven't given my body proper time to rest from all that painting.

September 12, 2003

Barry Column Turns Table on Telemarketers

This is great. Dave Barry publishes the phone number for the American Teleservices Association in one of his columns and the ALA off their phones because they are receiving so many phone calls.
David Letterman to Become a Father at 56

Can you imagine having David Letterman as your dad? Wierd. . .
Hey! It's the The Phobia List. Interesting stuff.
Yahoo! News - Apple sued by The Beatles over iPod, ITMS

This doesn't look good for Apple Computer. Apparently when Steve Jobs started Apple, Apple Corps - the parent company for the Beatles - sued them for use of the corporate name. In the settlement, Apple Computer agreed to only use the corporate name to sell computer products and not enter the music marketplace.

Now Apple Corps is coming after Apple Computer because of the iPod and the iTunes Music Store. We'll see what happens.
Looks like they finally have a "Batman" for director Christopher Nolan. Christian Bale has been picked to don the cape and cowl.

Christian Bale is the Next Batman

When Warner Brothers annoucenced back in January that Nolan had signed on to direct the next Bat-flick, I was pleased. Nolan's known for his inventive film Memento and the excellent Insomnia - I know he won't be bringing any of the cheesy camp that Joel Shumacker did in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Selection of Nolan and now Bale indicates that WB understands that a superhero flick doesn't have to be campy - they're learning from how Marvel characters are being adapted to the big screen. It will be interesting to see what shows up in the theaters in 2005, when the next Batman movie is set to premiere (Also the summer of the next, and final, Star Wars flick. Ian and I are going to be busy!).
This was a surprise:

John Ritter dead at age 54

John Ritter died suddenly yesterday from a tear in the aorta, the result of an unrecognized flaw in his heart. When I saw the headline I thought it was some other John Ritter. I was confused for a moment, because I didn't think there was any way that John Ritter - the guy from "Three's Company" could have died. He's not that old. Really shocking and sad.

This one we all saw coming:

Country Legend Johnny Cash dies

Johnny was old and fighting diabetes. He was one of the great legends in music and true American Icon.

September 11, 2003

Movie Poop Shoot, a section of writer/director Kevin Smith's ViewAskew website, deals with movies, comics, music, television - pop culture really. Every week they have a Porn Start Quote of the Week. I thought this week's quote was particularly funny.

In America they urge us to eat more fiber-rich foods. More vegetables. In the Far East, things are different:

Eat more dogs, Cambodians urged

September 10, 2003

You've read about him in the papers, you've heard about him on the news, now meet the guy who shipped himself from New York to Dallas in a crate.

Crate Guy
Hey. When you gotta clear out the merchandise, sometimes you have to get creative.

Tires-for-sex scheme falls flat
250 lb Woman accuses one-legged 116 lb boyfriend of assault

It gets even stranger when you read the details. They're both married to other people, and she's cheating on the one-legged guy with a third guy. She claims the boyfriend tried to choke here with a dog lease, but unfortunately the dog ate the evidence.

But then again, what can you expect from the city that gave us Jerry Springer and the Bengals football team?
So now I'm pissed. I've been trying to take at least one lunch a week down at the park about a block away from the office. I pack my lunch so its portable - no leftovers, grab the graphic novel I'm reading - in this case Sandman, and spend about 40-45 minutes sittin' in the sun eating lunch and reading. It's very relaxing.

I had planned on doing it today. However, I'm totally swamped at work helping get things together for the 2004 budget. Had to have something wrapped up by late morning so I could talk about it with my manager this afternoon. It ran late - I didn't finish with stuff until about 12:15. By the time I got my lunch from the fridge, answered some other questions, and what not - it was 12:40. This is I know I going to have to meet about more of this budget stuff shortly after 1pm - not enough time for me to get down to the park, eat, read, and unwind. So now I'm at my desk eating my lunch and bitching in my journal.

The weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow - maybe I'll still be able to squeeze a nice lunch in this week.

Here's something fun - Heather got a call yesterday from Quick Cooking, one of two cooking magazines she subscribes to (the other being Taste of Home). Turns out the kids at Quick Cooking have awarded one the desert recipes she sent in the 4th Place prize for the November/December issue. The recipe is for a chocolate chip cookie ice cream cake - it's really good. She's awarded a $100 check, a copy of the magazine in which her recipe will be featured, and at the end of the year the publisher bundles together all the winning recipes from the past year into a nice little leather bound cookbook - she'll get one of those as well. Exciting stuff. Heather is very excited - and she should be, it's quite an honor. She's been working hard at finding the right recipe that would get her considered by the magazine. She hit upon one that the judges took a fancy to and she even walked away with a place finish. No honorable mention for her, she's going home with 4th place and the cash. Look for the magazine at the end of October or visit the site in November and you'll see her winning desert.

Another good thing is the Rolling Stones "Forty Licks" album I've been listening to. I got it about 2 weeks ago and have been listening to the two-disc set a lot over that time. I'm not really sure why I wanted to buy it - I've never considered myself a big Stones fan. Their music is played so much and is in so many different places, I kinda became indifferent to it. When it came down to it, I think I was on a greatest hit collection kick - along the vein of the Smashing Pumpkins and Elvis albums that I had gotten over the last 2 years. Outside of all the INXS albums I listen to, the Pumpkins and Elvis retrospectives have gotten a lot of time in my Walkman on the train. "Forty Licks' gave me another nice big collection of classic rock tunes that I thought I would enjoy. Plus, it would give a copy of Gimme Shelter - quite possibly the greatest rock n' roll song of all time.

So its been a great surprise to rediscover the Stones and learn how much I love their music. I'm really enjoying all the music in this collection, which goes from their start in 1963 to stuff from 2002. Granted, it's technically a greatest hits album - so they're not putting any duds in there. But for my money I think I've found another band that I can say I'll listen to their music for the rest of my life. Adding them to the Smashing Pumpkins, INXS, Elvis, U2, The Police, and Roy Orbison (that might be a few others, but I can't think of them right now.).

Some of the later Stones songs aren't as strong lyrically as the earlier 60s and 70s tunes, and some of the 80s stuff sounds a bit over produced, but overall I'm not complaining. Even when Mick's mumbling and murdering the lyrics, his voice just blends so nicely with the rest of the band that I don't mind. I just sit back and consider the song an instrumental, with Mick on instrumental vocals. LOL. Plus, I got my copy of Gimme Shelter - so it can't be that bad.
J. Lo, Affleck to Wed in Calif. on Sunday

Still waiting for my invite . . . bastards.
Ooooh. I want the new Mercedes McLaren

Disposable DVDs

Its an intersting idea, but . . . $7 for movie that I only get to watch a few times and then lose? I don't think so. I rather pay the $4 for a few days rental or buy it $10 - $15.
Yahoo! News - Astronomers detect sound waves from black hole

Don't necessarily understand it all or see any impact on this to my everyday life - but isn't it frickin' fasinating? Studying blackholes - finding they produce sound. It just seems so remarkable.

September 09, 2003

Oh god . . .

One 5-year-old's allergy leads to classroom peanut ban

Yahoo! News - New $20 Bills to Become Available in October

Isn't this exciting! It's like getting a room in your house redecorated for free. Which leads me to an idea. The U.S. and some other country (say Britian) should play Trading Spaces but with each other's currency. Wouldn't that be exciting! I think it would be fantastic.
Air Travelers May Be Assigned Color Codes

What is it with the U.S. Government and color codes? It's just so silly.

September 08, 2003

What a weekend. Got a lot of work done around the house - including the first coat of new paint in out downstairs bathroom. Watched some football. Grilled out. Wasn't half bad.

With a third baby on the way, Heather and I are gung-ho to finish off some of the decorating projects we've been putting off. It started this weekend when I took on repainting the downstairs bathroom. The previous owners had painted every room, but they did a pretty poor job of it. There are little spots of color paint on the ceiling. It looks like they only did one coat of color paint. So besides the fact that Heather and I just want to customize the place for ourselves, I've wanted to undo all the poorly-executed designing the previous owners had done. The painting actually went fairly fast - would have gone faster (and I might have been able to squeeze in 2 coats) if I didn't let Ian help me. But I couldn't resist. He's so eager to help and it can be so much fun letting him help in jobs like this. Plus, it offers me the opportunity to instruct him on the right way to do things.

The football front was not as gratifying. The Irish and Buckeyes barely won, and the Bears were down-right embarrassing. I feel a little better about the Irish. They at least have the talent and the leadership to keep things on track. I'm not sure Jauron and Shoop can figure out how to coach Kordell Stewart into being anything other than the accident prone Quarterback he is. It's like we've got Mike Tomczak all over again. Tczk always demonstrated moments of brilliance. He was a capable QB. But when the pressure was turned up or things were going badly for the team, you'd see him start trying harder and forcing passes. Inevitably things would go badly. My fear is that's what we got with Stewart.

Oh well, I'll just have to make more of an effort to watch the other football games to see how good teams are run by competent management.
The President's Speech

This is an editorial from the New York Times. I know that the Times is considered a left-wing paper - but this editorial seems pretty even and fair in its critique of what the President is saying and how he is handling Iraq.

free registration required

September 05, 2003

The 2003 NFL season started last night with the Redskins taking on the Jets. With the start of pro football, that means its time for me to turn over my Friday lunch hours to setting my fantasy football team. This year I'm only in one league. A Yahoo! public league - my team is called Hamster Sausage. Had a few offers to join other leagues, but entry fees were all around $100 - too pricey for my blood. So I instead I'm in the free league on Yahoo.

I think my team built pretty well. Strong in the running backs and I've got a lot of WRs. I'm a bit afraid at Quarterback. Jeff Garcia has been nursing a painful back all summer and things still look a little dicey as to how strong he actually is. Plus, with a QB and back injury you never know when he's going to get hit funny and be out for 4 weeks. My other QB is Matt Hasselbeck. I've only read good things about him, and I hoping they all prove out to be true, but ultimately he hasn't been an all-season performer - yet. I guess I'll just play the games and have some fun.

College football kicks it into gear again this year. Notre Dame takes on Washing State this Saturday. Really hoping last year's Irish performance wasn't a fluke - I really want a team to pull for during the season - college or pro. The Bears have me worried and I can't just full get behind the Ohio State Buckeyes - despite Heather's passion for the team.

In the end though, how can I complain. Its football season!

September 04, 2003

Words swirl as Clarett may sit all season

My opinoin - Clarett is doing a fantastic job of sqaundering his talent and opportunties. I think its becoming apparent that the only reason Clarett is in college at all, is so he can quickly get into the NFL. (Which I know is no surprise to anyone)

What does surprise me is the reaction of his family and former NFL running back Jim Brown - they're coming off shocked and upset that their boy Clarett is being held to academic and ethical standards that every other student at OSU are asked to follow.

Do you really think Geiger and Tressel want a talent like Clarett sitting out? There are rules and people are expected to follow them. If you can't do that, then you're going to get into trouble. Geiger and Tressel are simply enforcing the rules that govern the school and NCAA football.
Yesterday was a busy day.

It was Ian's first day of pre-school. He was very excited. Got to wear his new Thomas the Tank Engine shows and his Spider-Man backpack. We took some pictures of him on the front step before we left (got some pictures with his sister in her backpack also).

We waited outside for the teacher to open the door. When she did open things up and asked the kids to line up, Ian stepped right up, turned around to wave, "good-bye" to us, and didn't look back. We were so proud.

The teacher then invited the parent to come in to the classroom for a few quick photos. It was so wild to watch little Ian in amongst all the kids, pulling their folders out of their giant backpacks, and handing them to the teachers. I just felt so proud for him.

Afterwards he told us all about the first day. The snacks, the coloring, lining up like a train, using the bathroom at school all by himself - we heard it all. He had a great time.

We've entered a whole other phase of parenting. I hope we can handle it.

That same night Heather and I had tickets to go see the Lion King stage musical. The tickets were a Christmas gift from my father and he gave a set to my sister for her and her boyfriend to attend the show with us. Well, my mom couldn't baby-sit, and our back up to my mom for sitting is my sister. But she's going to Lion King with us. That left us with - dumm-dummm-dummmmm - my father as the last option before we way outside of Ian's and Emma's (and to a large extent, my own) comfort zone.

Now, before last night, the last time my dad had babysat any child by himself was . . . er. . . . well, never I guess. This was going to be a big event. He faced three major challenges: 1) would Emma warm up enough so that she wouldn't be crying all night? 2) Could he feed them? 3) Could he get them to bed within a reasonable hour?

Its safe to report that he handled it all with flying colors. He didn't clean our oven and re-organize our kitchen cabinets, like my mom does when she baby-sits - but not everyone is as neurotic as my mother.

The show? It was fine. I wasn't expecting a whole lot. Never was that interested in the Lion King. I know it won a mess of Tony awards and everyone talks about how wonderful it was - but those praises always seem to deal with the costumes and the visual design. In which case I whole-heartedly agree. The costumes and sets were remarkable. The show was a feast for the eyes. The music and the book however - eh.

I enjoyed the movie. Thought it was well-done and nicely balanced adult and child content. The stage musical seemed to fail at this. At times it seemed to aspire to serious art, while other times it came off as a cheesy Saturday-afternoon community theater for children. They couldn't keep the balance. Also, the musical seemed more ham-fisted in presenting the message or moral of the play. Overall, I think its one of those events that has become popular because people think their suppose to like it. It's peer-pressure on the biggest of scales.

Here's something that irks me that I was reminded of last night. I think the standing ovation has lost its meaning in today's theater. Every concert or show I go to the audience always ends up standing up. I wasn't impressed enough with last night's show to stand up and clap, but the only way I could see the actors making their curtain call was to stand up. That's because as soon as the first ensemble member trotted out on stage and number of audience members stood up to clap wildly.

I thought you only gave a standing O for something truly outstanding - something that moved you so much that you have to stand up. The Wednesday evening performance of the Lion King in Chicago? I don't think so.

Do get me wrong. The actors all turned in solid, professional performances - even the numerous understudies we had that night. It just wasn't outstanding, "I've gotta stand up" type of performances.
Found at The Pulse, an online comics news site:

LAPHAM AND SIENKIEWICZ ON BATMAN: Speaking of Batman, after Loeb/Lee and Azzarello/Risso wind up their runs, David Lapham and Bill Sienkiewicz will take over for a year, Sienkiewicz revealed during a panel at the Atlanta Fantasy Fair, according to a post at Comic Book Conventions.Com. Lapham is best known as the writer/artist of the acclaimed STRAY BULLETS and has eschewed all mainstream work for years.

This is fantastic! I haven't ever read Lapham's work, but have wanted to check out his Stray Bullets for years. Its suppose to be superb crime fiction. Sienkiewicz is just a master artist. I love everything he does. This is going to be great. Kudos to Bob Schreck over at DC for lining up great talent for Batman.
Man Charged for Wearing Skimpy Swimsuit

At a Taco Bell in Arkansas of all places.

Insert your own burrito joke here.

September 02, 2003

Brazilian Women Vainest in World -Study

According to the article, 86 percent of women said they tried extremely hard to improve their looks. I'd say they're succeeding.
Batman #618 came out last Wednesday and I got to read it over the weekend. Last month's cliffhanger led us to believe that the second Robin, Jason Todd, had returned from the dead and that he was the secret identity behind the mysterious Hush character who has been making Batman's life hell over the course of 12-month story arc. Not so. Turns out it was Clayface, made up to look like what Jason Todd might look like if he was alive today. Great battle scene between the two of them though. And I must admit, Clayface was not what I was expecting.

Then Jeph Loeb pulls out an obscure and forgotten supporting character from the mid-90s, uses him as a Hush-red herring (though very briefly) before setting the stage for the final showdown (we assume) between Hush and Batman. The climax occurs next month, in Batman #619, which is going to have two special triple-gatefold covers. One showing Batman and his allies. The other showing the Batman villains. Both, of course, drawn beautifully by artist Jim Lee.

Take a look:





I have really enjoyed this 12-part series. Easily one of my favorite Batman stories. Hate to see it end, but at least I can always go back and enjoy it over and over.
For being a crappy weekend weather-wise, the past Labor Day weekend was actually pretty productive for me.

On Saturday went downtown early in the morning to help Elizabeth move the last of her things into her new apartment. She's got a real nice place. Much roomier and brighter than her last apartment. Hope she likes living there. She only needed my help to move her bed (a queen size) and her dresser. Because I'd never done it, and because the steps out of the apartment building were so narrow, I suggested we use ropes and lower the bed frame and mattress over the edge of her back balcony. It was fun - though I think I strained a muscle in my right arm lowering the frame down.

On the way back from helping her move, I stopped at Blockbuster to rent The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I've always been a fan of the books and Heather and I really enjoyed the first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring. I wanted to rent the movie of the Labor Day weekend because I knew we'd need two nights to watch it. Heather can't stay up late - it's almost physically impossible for her (I think it's the Barhorst in her). Considering that the earliest she and I can pop in a movie for just the two of us is about 9:30 pm (9 pm if no one does dishes or cleans up after the kids are in bed), the only way to get in a 3-hour movie is to break it up over two nights.

I was as impressed with the second installment as I was with the first. Director Peter Jackson has crafted a classic film series. It's remarkable how good these films are. What I find so spectacular about the movies is how well Jackson has been able to capture and recreate on screen the atmosphere and aura of the world of the Lord of the Rings. I've read the books, so I have notions of how the different characters would look and sound - sometimes the movie fits with my imagination, sometimes not. However, I also imagine what the world of Middle Earth would look like, feel like, and sound like. That they have nailed perfectly in the movies. The character portrays might not ring true - but the settings and the mood on scene always does. I think it's one of the reasons the films have been such a big hit for me, I'm seeing a fairly accurate recreation of a place that I have only ever known in my imagination.

Besides this, the performances are top-notch, the sets, art direction and cinematography are extraordinary, and the special effects are amazing. It is an extraordinary achievement in filmmaking. I want to own the entire series.


Fun from this week's Harper's Weekly Email Newsletter:

In Nigeria, the young mother who was sentenced to death by stoning for having a child out of wedlock begged for mercy as she nursed her baby in court; her lawyers argued that the child was conceived while the mother was married and that under Islamic Law a baby can gestate in its mother's womb for five years. - more proof religion will screw your mind up.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers revealed that Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney's old company, has received more than $1.7 billion in military contracts in Iraq, far more than was previously known. It was noted that the practice of outsourcing logistical operations to private contractors was pioneered by Cheney during the first Gulf War when he was secretary of defense. Brown and Root won the first such contract, and Cheney was hired as CEO of Halliburton soon afterward. - more proof that our government is corrupt to the core, run by special interest groups and those with the most money.
Holy Crap!

Man's Head Is Impaled By Drill Bit and he lives.