Wednesday, November 29, 2006

If Christmas Offends You...

I had let this go for a while...but I need to bring it up now. I was locked out of my hotel room tonight, key wouldn't work. While I am in the hotel lobby waiting for assistance, the TV was on the Greg Beck show. Never seen it? Consider yourself lucky. It is the perfect piece of news-making muck throwing uninformed television that passes for "news" these days. Every channel has it from Fox to CNN, from conservative to liberal. So I am sitting there ringing the counter bell and the guest on the GB show says:

If Christmas offends you, just go join Al-Qaeda.

Nice. Now, to be clear, Christmas does not offend me. It's presence in Wal-Mart does not offend me. I celebrate Christmas. I am a religious person (albeit non-traditional in my beliefs). On the flip side though, if it offends you, I don't care. I certainly won't say that this qualifies you to be a terrorist though. Pretty big jump. Talk of Christmas being offensive is as offensive as penguins.

I first heard of Greg Beck because of the clip I pasted below. This is seriously funny yet disturbing at the same time. You have to watch this. It will blow your mind. It is the clip I let go of and decided to not go find and post. However, when you lock me out of my hotel room and subject me to ignorant drivel, I need to vent. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Think I Hate Penguins

Somewhere along the way in the last year, penguins became the new in thing. Multiple movies: documentary and cartoon. Dancing penguins singing annoying songs. As I was flying up to Virginia this week, penguins were on about 33% of the airport "billboards" that line the hallways and gates in the airports I traveled through. Maybe I am just tired and needed a week at home after Thanksgiving. Or maybe I hate penguins. Either way, it needs to stop.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mexican Pilgrims?

We were at a going away party for our friend last night and I asked a really dumb question. It was one of those moments that as soon as the words escape, you regret them. I was talking to a friend from Mexico about his Thanksgiving and asked:

So, do they celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico?

I had my first Turducken (a combination of turkey, duck, and chicken plus some stuffing) at that party. It did not inspire me to have it a second time. However, I had some of the best gumbo I have ever had. I asked what kind of gumbo it was and the response was:

It's 'what you got' gumbo.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Where The Streets Have No Names

We're headed out west for a few days to Arizona. I hear they don't have internet or phone lines out there. They also do something weird with their clocks and time zones. Anyway. I may be taking a few days off because I'll be too busy missing electricity. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Weslaco, TX

Weslaco, TX

There is that momentary pause when
a day hits with the repeating town you never heard of.

'The meaning of life is Weslaco,' she says,
sipping a Barq's
in an insulated glass.
If not the name, the repetition.

If not the coordinates, the speaker.

There is a momentary message in that silence,

that Jungian hint of madness, when she asks what
she wants,
a puppeteer
pulling love's arm strings and implicit ok's.

There is that float on current, it's too late acceptance.

You're here and it's half over in that

Texas town you never heard of.

It's just tide, message or pause.

'It's just Weslaco' you assure her.

An Inconvenient Truth

I watched An Inconvenient Truth the other day and found the movie fascinating. I definitely recommend it, even if you are not a fan of Al Gore. Of course, you will have to get past listening to Al for 90 minutes or so, but his message is compelling.

The film presents an excellent perspective on climate change and is a call to action for each of us to get involved in what is, at its core, an ethical issue. If you think climate change and global warming is a myth, you should watch this movie. Not because I think it will be a mechanism to change your mind, but just because it will probably introduce you to some perspectives and science that you will need if you are attempting to make an informed decision on the matter.

An immediate result of watching the film for me, was that I have become much more interested in becoming better informed about climate change. Thus, I am starting to try to identify reliable resources to facilitate that. One of the random items I found when doing some online research was NASA's satellite tracking utility for earth observing satellites (J-Track). A screen shot of this utility is below. I came across this item after checking out the Earth Observing System homepage of the Goddard Space Flight Center.

The EOS, "includes a series of satellites, a science component, and a data system supporting a coordinated series of polar-orbiting and low inclination satellites for long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, solid Earth, atmosphere, and oceans." Cool stuff.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Period of Consequences

"The era of procrastination, of half measures,
of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to a close.
In its place we are entering a period of consequences."

Drink Your Blood

I didn't intend this particular mix to really have too much of an October theme when I put it together. However, when I started to arrange the songs, I noticed that it really did have a Halloween vibe at points. That's why I picked the Edvard Munch painting "Vampire" for the cover. Drop a note in the comments, email me, or call if you want a copy.

Shut Your Eyes ×× Snow Patrol
Oh My ×× Office
Diggin a Grave ×× Micah P Hinson
Sailboat Mind ×× Tom Langford
The Crane Wife 3 ×× The Decemberists
New Shoes ×× Paolo Nutini
Blah Blah Blah ×× Say Hi To Your Mom
Le Disko ×× Shiny Toy Guns
Collarbone ×× Fujiya & Miyagi
Did I Step On Your Trumpet ×× Danielson
You Are Free ×× Joseph Arthur
I Am Not Alive ×× Danny Malone
Deportee ×× Ox
Somerville ×× Pernice Brothers
Winterlight ×× Roman Candle
Open Your Eyes ×× Snow Patrol
Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory ××...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Sing, Theresa Says ×× Greg Laswell
The Orchids ×× Califone
How We Operate ×× Gomez

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I Know Famous People

Another update on the Festival of Trees event. Here is a movie published on our local newspaper's site where Carlee is interviewed.

Hey "Retired": Two of your children make guests appearances!

Festival of Trees Recap

The gala night for Festival of Trees was an overwhelming success. Tons of people, intimate atmosphere, excellent food, and fun live/silent bidding on auction items. The big item of the night was a painting by local artist Carl Groh, whose work can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery as well as the Smithsonian. He is also featured in the private collections of both Georgetown and Fordham Universities. The painting was really impressive in person and the image below does not do it justice. The painting sold for $20,000. I was out bid after $6K and knew I had no chance. However, making that one bid was pretty fun. I had my < 1 minute of fame as the mystery bidder dressed in all black in the back of the room.

Update: Here is a short on-line article about the event in our local newspaper.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Kicking off the Christmas Season

Normally, this would be a sarcastic posting about something trite, like say, the appearance of Christmas paraphernalia in stores already. However, this is actually a more serious post. Today is the kick-off for the Christmas season in Lafayette with Acadiana Youth's Festival of Trees event. This event consumes my wife's time for about 50% of the year (or more) - she fills up the rest of her time with Weboggle. It is the biggest and most complex fund raiser for the agency.

Acadiana Youth is a non-profit that provides a safe haven for abused and troubled children. They have separate shelters targeting specific needs for these children in our area. The Festival of Trees is a really special event - one of the central concepts is the donation of a lot of Christmas Trees by local artists and business that decorate the trees with special themes. For example, there is a LSU Tigers tree and a UL Rajun Cajun tree. There are trees specific to pets, colors, cartoon characters (Charlie Brown), and of course, my possible favorite, the tree decorated by a kindergarten class. There is something about homemade children ornaments that I really like. It must remind me of my youth.

The event has two famility nights where kids get to participate in all sorts of fun activities, including getting your picture with Santa. Tonight is the gala event, which includes free food from the best local restaurants and a silent and live auction. I love the silent auction. I get to bid on all sorts of wacky stuff that probably becomes your Christmas present. Last year I got a gift certificate to a local biker shop. Going there to find something to buy was a very interesting experience to say the least.

Go to this website to learn more about the event and Acadiana Youth.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Let me count the ways...

Why I love the show:

1. Barking at a bathroom scale
2. Talking to your boxer briefs
3. "Moving clock hands in real time" competition
4. World record time for touching every part of your body
5. Phone Dancing
6. Seeing (1-5) in about 3 minutes or less.

"...the word poetry certainly comes to mind..."

US vs Denmark

US vs. Denmark is scheduled for Jan 20th in Carson, CA. Hmm...Who can I visit out there?

Along with this game announcement in my inbox, the email stated that this game will be "the Debut of New Head Coach of the MNT." I wonder who it will be? Over at the Washington Post, they believe it is Klinsmann:

"For all my soccer-luvin' peeps out there. Some well connected people tell me Klinsi has essentially agreed to the US job financially, but it's being held up 'cause he does not want to take over full-time until Jan. 2008. On the surface, no big deal, since WC qualifying will not really be underway yet, but the USSF is making a bold step by going to the Copa America this summer - as well as the Gold Cup - so would want Klinsi to start sooner. Klinsi would be around, but Sigi Schmidt would coach the team full-time in 2007. Anyway, that's just what I've heard ..."

The text above is quoted from the end of the post found at this link. It is brought to via du Nord - a quality soccer blog.

The Tell-Tale Heart

Even though this topic just makes my stomach turn, I need to express my disbelief in public. OJ Simpson defies my understanding. In a recent interview, he discussed how he would have killed his wife if indeed he was the one who did it. This just has to be the sign of someone who wants to come out and confess.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

In a Fortune Cookie

I drove my wife to Baton Rouge for class today. We ended up having dinner at P.F. Chang's which is always a guaranteed meal in my book. Normally, the drivel in the fortune cookie is something you throw out..but for some reason this stuck with me. A nugget of wisdom from a mass produced artifact?

"It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end."

If you are a betting man or woman and want to play the lottery. Try these.

4 16 26 32 35 Powerball # = 2

Monday, November 13, 2006


I just upgraded to the new blogger so you may see some small (or big) changes in the all depends on how much free time and insomnia mix and mingle. This is just fair warning. Feedback or suggestions for improvement are of course, always welcome.

Barista Banter

Barista: Hey, what are you guys up to tonight?
Me: Well, I am trying to figure out how to make that caramel flavor in your hot apple cider drink last longer.
Barista: We could put more on top.
Me: That's the problem, it is only on top.
Barista: Let's put it on the bottom. Next time you order it, ask for an "grande upside down on top hot apple cider."

It worked pretty good. The caramel lasted longer. New drink invented.

Treating the Symptoms

Even when CNN tries to tell a news story, I think the fail. Is it news worthy any more when the latest al Qaeda leader is captured somewhere? And this was one that was previously captured, escaped, and was now recaptured. Is it a sign that I have a short attention span that I feel that this just isn't important anymore? Or is it simply that the capture and detainment of these figures really seems to have no impact on any matters that I am ever made aware of? I wonder when I will read the news story about public opinion in the Arab world shifting in our favor? I would be willing to bet that CNN would not put it on one of their breaking news headlines despite the fact that it would probably be the first step to a real solution.

Bluerunners and The Blue Moon Saloon

Since I'm talking local music and wedding memories, here is a great video for you of a band from Lafayette called The Bluerunners. I've caught these guys at the Blue Moon Saloon multiple times and it's always a blast. The Blue Moon happens to the bar that Carlee and I headed out to after we got married and after the wedding reception closed shop. That was a great night.

This video is courtesy of Almena Films, which has a bunch of cool videos online - and a couple more from the Blue Moon.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Blackpot Festival

Well, the birthday weekend is over and it had its peaks and valleys. I had two awesome dinners. One at a friend's house (wild pig with a balsamic glaze) and one at a great area restaurant courtesy of Carlee's mom. Thanks to both hosts! Another highlight was the couple of hours I spent at the Blackpot Festival. This was the first year of the festival which celebrated roots music in Louisiana as well as traditional black pot cooking. I had some kick ass Gumbo aux herbes and and my first ever (and probably last ever) taste of cracklin.

The band line up included Feufollet, Corey Ledet & Cedric Watson, Racines (Steve Riley, Kevin Wimmer & Mitch Reed), Pine Leaf Boys, The Figs, Drew Landry, Louisiana Purchase Bluegrass Band, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, Ann Savoy & Her Sleepless Knights, Bonsoir Catin (I missed them...which is too bad because this is our friend's new band. You first read about her here.), and the Red Stick Ramblers (highly recommended). Check out information on all of these great bands here.

I ended up just catching Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, who happen to be the musicians who wrote the first song I ever danced to with my wife, The Lover's Waltz. It was really special to see it played by the original musicians. If you have ever seen the Ken Burn's Civil War series, you may have heard their song Ashokan Farewell - another song that was played at our wedding.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I ended up missing the MLS final though...our DVR mysteriously deleted the recording when we paused it and made dinner this evening. Cox is going to get an earful tomorrow from this grumpy old man.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thirty One

"Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men."
- Kin Hubbard

Thirty One
  • The atomic number of gallium
  • The code for international direct-dial phone calls to the Netherlands
  • A type of card game
  • The number of flavors of Baskin Robbins ice cream
  • Turkish slang for masturbation
  • My age as of today.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Selective Energy

I'm thinking of starting to sell my crap on eBay. Hmmm... I wonder if I'll have enough time or energy to really do that? I have a tough time making the bed.

USA vs Mexico - February 2007,

Mark your calendars for February. It appears that USA v Mexico is going to be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ . The US Soccer website hasn't posted this information so it may not be 100% yet.

I'm ready for 2010 South Africa myself...but I'll settle for Arizona at the moment.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cure For Pain

Find yourself with a little angst over election results? This is guaranteed to make you laugh.

Best quote:

"The Democrats have only been in power for a few minutes and they've already got us stuck in this un-winnable war."

Rutgers Wins!

That was a great ending to a game.

In the "Wish I Was There" Category

Due to the recent pressure I have been receiving to acknowledge my Jersey roots, I am watching the Rutgers v Louisville game. The stadium is rocking and it is 25-22 Louisville in the 4th quarter. Wish I was there. Go Knights.

I Am Not a Soap Opera Star

First, to be perfectly clear, I do not watch Soap Operas. My wife does. She Tivos Days of Our Lives and watches it at night. Well, last night they introduced a new character that had her exclaim: "This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen!" Here is the description of the character.
  • Tall and skinny
  • Wears glasses
  • Went to RPI
  • Was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at RPI
  • Kind of a geek
  • Dances by himself on a regular basis
  • Has a blog
Yea. I am not kidding. In case you don't know the details, I was a Pike at RPI as well. While there (I am ok with admitting this), I danced by myself at some fraternity parties. I wasn't sober, but I did it.

So yes. Someone I know could be on the writing staff at Days of Our Lives.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"Next Blog" Finds?

Do I have time for this? Not sure. But I tried tonight and clicked through 5 or so "Next Blogs" on the Blogger bar you see at the top of this site. I thought this one spoke for itself. It is from Macau.

Am I the only one who has ever clicked that Next Blog button?

Reflecting on Voting

I was reading a news article online about the political shake up that is going on and it was the first time I read the phrase: "a lame-duck president." Interesting.

I don't often speak about my political views in this forum but I do have a personal observation about the last day or so. I pride myself on being an independent and I think that people who vote strictly on party lines are usually not providing democracy with the respect it deserves.

However, I also pride myself on being honest. I spent yesterday morning researching the candidates (as well as all of the other issues on the ballot) in my election. In addition to my research, there was another factor that weighed on my choice before I went out to vote. I really did feel that my vote was one way to send a message to the Republican party. That emotion was one I could not stop myself from having. It weighed into my choice. It was a "party line" way of thinking but I am not ashamed of it in this particular case.

Michael Oher & The Blind Side (part 2)

Ok. So I finished The Blind Side this morning with my cup of coffee. The book just gets better after I last touched base with you on it. Let me reiterate, this book is much more than a book about football. For anyone who enjoys reading true stories about success and inspiration, you will enjoy this. If you enjoy thinking about things like nature vs. nurture, this is a great case study. And of course, if you have an interest in football, you won't be let down. So...what happens to Michael? Don't worry, I won't ruin the ending for you. But if you like, you can find out for yourself by following the links below:
The blurry picture in this post is Michael in high school. I would not want to be that quarterback.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Can't Spell

So I consider myself a bad speller. I actually may not be all that bad. Maybe I just have expectations that are a little too high. I definitely have my problem words though. Some are more "usage" than spelling. The top 3 that come to mind are:

1. definitely
2. succeed
3. then or than?

In fact, every time I post here, I paste the text into MS Word and check my spelling. Not anymore though. This past weekend, in between games of weboggle, I upgraded to Firefox 2.0. It has a built in web form spell checker. Sweet. Too bad it can't fix my grammar then/than I would be all set.

Get Out the Vote

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

I've read a couple books by Michael Lewis (The New New Thing and Moneyball) and they were both really interesting. I picked up his latest book The Blind Side recently and it is one that I will recommend to anyone (football fan or not). The Blind Side tells the story of Michael Oher, a boy in Memphis who is adopted by a wealthy white family. Michael is no ordinary kid. He turns into a 300 lb high school football player with the agility of a ballerina. His grade school aptitude tests show him scoring in the lowest percentile of skill sets for all things except one: "Protective Instinct." Naturally, he becomes the best left tackle in the country within one year of being discovered. Michael takes his high school team to a state championship and goes on to be recruited by the top college teams in the country...

...that's as far as I have gotten. Sorry. So I have no idea if this kid become a college football star, a NFL rookie of the year, or fades into oblivion. It is a true story and you better not ruin the ending for me.

I never thought I would be interested in a football book. However, this book combines a unique human interest story about different worlds colliding, with some incredible sports writing. The writing is smooth and Lewis builds suspense and plot like a great fiction writer. He introduces each character in Michael's life and paints them really well. At the same time, he blends in great football anecdotes and teaches you a little bit about the game. So far, this is a great book all around. Highly recommended.

Has Anyone Seen My Wife?

Oh. Wait. Never mind. I found her. She has been playing Weboggle for the last two days straight, that's all.

If you happen to be a fan of Boggle, this web version of the game is pretty damn cool and just slightly addicting. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Job Isn't Worth Doing

"A job isn't worth doing if you are not going to do it right."
- My Dad

So my dad used to tell me this every time I slacked off on a job or chore around the house. This saying has always stuck with me. Recently, the show had an entry from Ze that describes his own father teaching him the same adage. I thought it was well done and you might as well - especially if your dad or mom ever told you the same thing.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Guard Your Honor

"Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards. "
- Lois McMaster Bujold, "A Civil Campaign", 1999