Saturday, February 25, 2006


Alright, I've been tagged by my Naturally Optimistic friend. Here we go...

Four jobs I've had in my life:

Bartender at the Mill Inn in Dexter (truckers and farmers and I loved it)
Pizza Hut manager (with crazy, crazy drivers)
Barnes and Noble (on many occasions, each one good)
Travel Agent (currently)

Movies I'd watch over and over

Four Weddings and a Funeral
LA Story
High Fidelity
Airplane (yup, all comedies)

Four Places I've lived

Austin, MN
Minneapolis, MN
Colorado Springs, CO
Little Canada, MN (filled with Little Canadians and all their bacon)

Four Favorite Vaction Places

Pacific Northwest (coast of Oregon, magic)
Ixtapa, Mexico

Four Websites I visit daily:

Protein Wisdom
South Side Sox
National Review Online

Four Favorite Foods

Condor Eggs

Four Places I'd rather be:

New Orleans
Low earth orbit

Four people I'd like to tag...divided by two

Confessions of a Data Queen

Friday, February 24, 2006

Obligatory Friday post

without much to say. More movie reviews are coming. Roxy is still with us. Getting tired of figure skating but having fun identifying the music for each skater. (My favorite so far was the short program music for the eventual gold medal winner. A nice piece by Joe Hisaishi, composer for Princess Mononoke, etc.) And that's about it.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Raging Bull - 1980

This is the story of Jake La Motta and it's an interesting one. La Motta was a champion boxer during the 50's who came from New York. He was profane, paranoid and could take an amazing amount of punishment. And when I say paranoid, I'm not kidding. He picks fights with can't win questions where he won't accept straight answers as straight answers.
Robert DeNiro plays him in one of his best performances. The film covers several decades and DeNiro undergoes an enormous transformation to act this out. Early in the movie he's cut and looks the part of a boxer. Many times during his career he has to worry about his fighting weight and you can see that he stops fighting after when he hangs up the gloves. The later part of the movie shows him very fat. DeNiro put on some 50 lbs to play this role.
This is a Scorsese film and it shows. It's gritty and obscene and very well done. It's shot in black and white and that makes it stand out. The only quibble I have with the movie is the mental transformation that La Motta makes later in life. The anger and paranoia fade and he does some work doing stand up for night clubs. The change seems to a little too extreme. Still a very good movie.

Roxy update

She's improving slowly. The drooling and the bleeding have slowed quite a bit. And her eyes have some awareness back in them. Mostly due to a bit of genius from the FP Gal. After giving her fluids last night, it was decided that we were going to wash her up a bit. Boy, did she need it. So we started dipping her paws in warm water. Much unhappiness, but the trauma seems to have snapped her out of the fog she was in. Someday they'll teach that technique in vet schools!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Elephant Man - 1980

This is a movie about a man with a truly horrifying problem. A problem of extreme disfigurement. Pictures (and the real life story) can be found here. As with all biographical movies, the facts are discarded for the sake of story but we'll deal with the story as given.
The story is about someone who is so seriously disfigured he can't live any kind of normal life. Taken in by a sideshow showman, he lives a horrible life of virtual slavery. He's discoved by a doctor (Anthony Hopkins) who shows him to a medical gathering. The doctor shows him kindness and gives him a home within his hospital. He also treats him as a real person and makes pains to give him dignity.
The hospital becomes a kind of high society showroom and actresses and royalty come to visit him. Unfortunatly, at night, a security guard sells tickets at a local pub to the lower society who come to jeer. On one of these visits, the showman steals him and heads to the continent. Severe treatment follows. And then escape.
Upon his arrival back in England, a mob chases him in a railway station. And that's where the movie's most famous line comes from: "I'm not an animal!". Powerful stuff.
The movie is about dignity and coping with unbelievably difficult circumstances. It's hard not to watch and think, there but for the grace of God go I. A good movie.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I promised pictures

and Rachel's got them here. She looks wonderful.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


And another turn for the bad. And this one is a bad one. We took her to the vet last week for a checkup and got a good report card. Quoth the vet: "We're doing the right thing and she's improving". They took a blood test and things were looking better. We're down to twice a week with fluids and once a week with Procrit. Over the weekend she seemed like her old kittenish self. And then Monday and she seemed weak again. And then Tuesday and a new symptom, constant drooling. And today, some blood around her mouth. And back to the vet again with much fear.
She's very dehydrated and she has sores in her mouth. We're uping the fluids, crossing our fingers and saying prayers. If she doesn't rebound in the next day or two then she probably won't and we'll have to put her down.
Needless to say, I'm pretty torn up. It puts a damper on the good news from earlier. She's been a wonderful cat and I hope she pulls through.

New Arrival

Would like to welcome to the world my new neice, Annika Eliese DeFor, born to my Hans and Rachel this morning. Pictures to follow (I'm sure). Mother and child are doing fine. No word on the father.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Shroud of 'Torino'?

The Olympics start up again on Friday and I'm looking forward to it. If you can get past the endless feel good stories of athletes with horrible lives there's a lot to enjoy. I'm always curious to see what a host nation will put together for the opening ceremony. The themes and engineering always interest me.
But I've had one nagging problem with the upcoming games. For centuries (literally centuries) the English speaking world has called the upcoming host city 'Turin'. The Shroud of Turin is probably the most widespread mention of the city. For some reason though, the Italian pronounciation 'Torino' has become the main useage. To my ear that sounds pretentious. If the games were further south we wouldn't call them the 'Roma' games would we?
Well, I've been a bit harsh on the STrib of late. Let me give them some praise today. It seems that they are going to stick with tradition and refer to this fine Italian city as 'Turin'. Good on you, STrib!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Bowl recap

Well, I said I would have put money on the Steelers, right? This game can't be sitting well in Seattle. The officiating was poor on some pretty critical plays and almost always in favor of Pittsburgh. It's not so much that it provided a 'stolen' victory or anything like that. If anything the teams look pretty even to me. With that said, hats off to the Steelers.
Commercials? Worst class of Super Bowl ads in my memory. The only one that stood out for me was the one for 'Posiden!'. Mostly because I can't believe they're remaking the movie. Especially after the amazingly bad made for TV effort a few months back. Maybe I'm being too hard on it. It does have Matthew Mcconaughy's acting to save it. (Cough.)
As I said last year, networks and advertisers learned the wrong lesson from Janet Jackson. The results have become bland and boring. It's ok to be sexy, just not pornish. This really isn't a tough thing to figure out. Girl in swimsuit, good. Girl in wet t-shirt contest, inappropriate for prime time TV. And bring back funny! Please!
Maybe next year will be better. (Eleven days until pitchers and catchers report.)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Go Seahawks!

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Super Bowl

One of the most interesting things about today's Super Bowl is how they did in the Championship games. It's unusual for both teams to blow out their opponents going into the big game. You've got to wonder how much of that carries over. Especially with this horrible horrible bye week killing any momentum. And not just for the teams. This week off is tough on fans too. Big football fans try to go into a coma to keep from burning out before the actual game. And let's just say that any week that can be termed as 'media week' is automatically awful.
That said, I'd like to put something in pixels that I can point to after the game. The Steelers are favored by four points. Most estimates of the crowd in Detroit give a decided homecrowd edge to Pittsburgh. The Steelers faced the much tougher run in the playoffs and played very well. If I was putting money on this game I'd put it on them.
But...the last few years have seen an amazing run of long suffering fans finally win their sports big games. My first trip to Seattle was back in 2000. The trip included the first week of football and I was stunned to see Seahawk fans. I'd just never thought of them before. But they do exist and they've waited a long time for this. They've also dominated their opponents in the playoffs. (And I love Washington state.)
I'll go with 35-17 Seahawks.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Political namecalling

Ran across this post over the weekend at Powerline. It involves a photoshopped picture on Coleen Rowley's website depciting her opponent John Kline as a Nazi. The reason for the comparison? Was he advocating genocide? Nope. Setting up a police state? Nope. He wants to change the image on the $50 bill from Grant to Reagan. I know, shocking.
She apologized in good time (and that's good of her). She thought people would see Kline in a Nazi uniform and think of Col. Klink the bumbling fool. Apparently the rougher elements of Naziism never came to mind. (And no I don't believe her, but I'll let you make up your own mind.)
The Star Tribune editorial board weighed in on political namecalling yesterday. Did they criticize someone from the left for crossing a clearly recognized line? Nope. They went after a much more important slur:

New House DFL Deputy Leader Margaret Anderson Kelliher ought not be the only Minnesotan to bristle at House Speaker Steve Sviggum's recent description of her and Minority Leader Matt Entenza.

Sviggum allowed that while both are "very nice people, " they are also "very, very liberal Twin Citians."

Yep, Twin Citians! I know, shocking. Sviggum had the gall to say that these "nice people" are from the Twin Cities and therefore might have different priorities and values than some outstate folks. Pretty awful stuff.
I've lived in small cities and in big ones. I've lived in the largest metro area of the state for most of the last ten years. I've also bartended for farmers. I can say without hesitation that they represent different types of people.
Even if you disagree, is this really a shocking argument to make? The STrib's argument might be one of the thinnest that I've ever seen from them. Really, does anyone take them seriously anymore?

Jonah Goldberg

Took advantage of living in the big city last night and went to hear one of my favorite columnists talk. His name is Jonah Goldberg and writes primarily for National Review and is syndicated in many newspapers. An archive of his work can be found here.
He opened by saying that there's a truism in speaking which is that you can give a new speech or a good speech. And he'd been asked to give a new one. He was asked to speak on Hurricane Katrina, and did in a scattershot way. The group that brought him to Minnesota, CFACT, openly admitted that they mostly just wanted to talk with him for an hour and any subject would do. He's extremely smart and very funny. He's open with critiscm about Bush. And bothered by the lack of good faith arguments from the left.
Afterward, a bunch of us went to Stub & Herbs to see the end of the SOTU and chat with Jonah. We got to hear some of the inside stuff about National Review and hear extensivly about his upcoming book. All very interesting. He asked that we not blog about this, so I won't go into specifics.
One thing I will mention is that I asked him if he had a favorite candidate for '08. He doesn't (and no one that I talked to last night had any strong feelings for anyone yet). He mentioned that he'd love to have Cheney, but no one expects that to be an option. In truth, that'd be my choice too.
A very enjoyable evening.