Sunday, April 30, 2006

My Garden

 Posted by Picasa

My Happy Nephew

During one of his modeling gigs. It's tough to be ridiculously good looking. Posted by Picasa

Draft Day One Results

Well, after one day of drafting we know exactly one thing: I don't know what I'm talking about. Now that that's out of the way, what did we do? The best wrapup I've seen is here at, analysis and video of some of the players. Who'd we get?

Chad Greenway LB
Cedric Griffin CB
Ryan Cook C
Tarvaris Jackson QB

The first two picks are about where they were expected to go. The second two are both projects who were picked well ahead of when they were expected to go. I'm not going to pretend that I know enough about college football players to analyize their worth but this doesn't really make me feel more comfortable. These picks scream 'Let me prove I'm the smartest guy in the league!' and that's the route to real trouble.
Curious to see how the second day goes. And of course won't make any serious judgements until seeing the team play this fall. Go Vikes!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

NFL Draft

One of my favorite days of the sports calendar. I'm fascinated by the nuts and bolts of sports leagues and that's kind of what this day is about. Add in the months of analysis and the outright lying from various team personnel about what they're doing and it's all kinds of fun!
The Houston Texans have been on the clock ever since the season ended and speculation (almost certainty) has been that they would take RB Reggie Bush. Bush is often described as a once in a generation type player (you know, they come around every few years). Virtually every mock draft has had Houston taking him. So of course they signed a deal with a different player, DE Mario Williams, last night.
This is one of the more interesting drafts in years. The biggest reason for that is that several of the teams in the top ten are probably looking to trade down. That's made it almost impossible to tell who will really be drafting where. The top ten is important because this draft has some very impressive talent at the top.
I've got a gut feeling that the Vikes new ownership/coaching staff will want to make a splash and be one of those teams that trade up. The #6 spot (currently SF) looks especially promising. Who would they take there (of the likely available)?

Leinert, QB
Hawk, LB
Huff, S
Davis, TE

If they stay in the 17th spot?

Cutler, QB
Greenway, LB
some other LB

I'll update throughout the day in case one of my reader/loyal Viking fans is far away.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Brangelina and Ayn?

Frankly, this surprises me. I'd never have taken them for Ayn Rand fans. Maybe Objectivism will become the new kabalah (and that would be a good thing).
An 'Atlas Shrugged' movie, though? Not terribly optimistic about one. It's more suited to a mini-series or even a season long show on HBO. And the track record for this type of movie is dismal. Remember when Travolta did 'Battlefield Earth'?
Still...I can't help but find this as a good thing.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


The Vikings unveiled their new uniforms today. Yep, those classic uniforms that they've only made minor changes to since day one. Here's some pictures. They could look worse. At least the color scheme isn't all crazy. But...there was no need for this. Let's hope this is a short time thing. I've already cheered for some awful uniforms, I don't want to do it again.

Take Your Child to Work Day

was today. This always takes me by surprise. I show up at work and two dozen little kids run past me. And I get grumpy. Why?

1) Productivity suffers. Parents who have kids in the office can't concentrate because they're keeping one eye on the little ones. Other adults shrug off their work so they can play. While I'm not much of a bottom line guy, it's not fun to pick up someone else's slack.
2) The basis for this day is evolving, but the one used today is so that kids have a better understanding of what real adult work is. If that's the case, let's put some guidlines in place. How about limiting the experience to 10 year olds and up? Young children want to be astronauts and sports stars. Sitting in an office won't help them. How about eliminating the Playskool atmosphere. Taking your kid out of school so she can sit and color in your office is a horrible use of time.
3) Missing school isn't a good thing. Why isn't this day during the summer when most kids are out of school? The FP Gal tells me that it's tough to build a lesson plan for half of her class. That makes sense to me. I've heard one defense that being let out of school makes this more special and therefore better for kids. But is that 'specialness' important enough to justify it? Not to me.

It's time to rethink this whole thing.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sarah's Video Business

I'd like to invite you to visit my lovely wife's new website for her company. If you look in the Gallery you'll see clips from our wedding video. None of them have me singing on them.
Anyway, she's looking for some business so she can get some videos under her belt. If you know anyone who is getting married who hasn't gotten a videographer, please tell them about her. She's cheap! I mean, affordable!

Amazing Race Update

You can find some other pictures here. And Jodi's description of the whole thing is here.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


 Posted by Picasa

Amazing Race Party

A couple of weeks ago we got an invitation to an Amazing Race Party. The concept is simple, we'd be playing an Amazing Race style game. We accepted (of course) and on Saturday we proceeded to play. The FP Gal and I got teamed up with my longtime friend Jodi. This is pretty much the team I would have picked so it worked out well.
We started in Bloomington at one of the racer's house. They divided us into seven teams and gave us two bottles of water. They told us our first task was to drink all of the water. This was to encourage potty breaks along the way. Then we searched a park across the street for our first clue. We all found it and we were on our way to the State Capitol to meet a woman in a duck hat.
After quick discussion we took 494 to 35E and got off on Shepard Rd. Up through downtown and to the Capitol building. We got lucky and found the lady (and her hat) right away. She told us were the second team there and were on our way again.
The second clue had a math puzzle that sent us to Edina. To Centennial Lake. 35E to 494 and we were there. First team this time! Got a good parking spot and found the right place. This stop was a Detour with a choice of tasks, Mental or Physical. We choose Mental and regretted it immeadiatly. We were asked to recite the first 20 books of the Bible in alphabetical order, without using pen or paper. Instead we took a 15 minute penalty and tried the Physical task. The penalty provided a much needed potty break so it worked out well. The Physical task involved a long field and some legos. We had a model of a random lego pattern at one end and our legos at the other. We had to run back and forth recreating it. We left in first place (or so we thought!).
The next clue sent us to the Mall of America (MOA to cool people). We would get our next clue at Caribou Coffee. Problem is that there are three of them at the MOA. And the clue wasn't clear about what to do once we got there. We went to the third floor one first. We waited in line and asked the counter guy for a clue. He had no idea what we were talking about. Down to the first floor to try again. Pay dirt!
This clue kept us at the MOA. We were to find 10 out of state license plates and take our picture with them. Imagine three crazy people kneeling and laying down next to random cars while hopeful mall-goers drove past. That was us. Our prize find was one from Hawaii. Thank you Dr. Maki! We also had to buy Lightrail tickets and 'make our way' to Gameworks in downtown Minneapolis.
Bought the tickets, made another bathroom stop and took the train. A brief 35 minute ride later and we got off at Henepin Avenue. We spent the first part of the ride congratulating ourselves for (probably) still being in first place. Unless, we realized, someone had driven instead of taking the train. But that would be cheating, right? Anyway, off to Gameworks where we had to earn 50 tickets from one of the games. How about Skee-ball? This was the FP Gal's chance to shine. She quickly got our tickets and we were on our way.
On our way in third place. Someone (maybe two someones) had driven! Back on the Lightrail to Minnehaha falls park. Jodi made a call from the train to lodge a complaint about the driving and was told that no one had arrived yet. Was there still hope?
No there wasn't. We searched the park and found two other teams. They had already finished. So we went to the end. Almost limping near the end as we were all exhausted. Third place. (Well, maybe second as one of the teams did drive and may have been disqualified.) Anyway, we loved it and would do it again as soon as we rested up.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Pretty girls

 Posted by Picasa

Job stuff

Had an interview this week for a training position within my company. I've been doing some training for them for the past six months and this would be an oppurtunity to jump in and do it full time. The format for the interview was to train a small group of people in a 'soft skill or technique'. Having no idea what else to train on, I chose 'Calculating the Value of a Partially Flown Ticket'. Soon to be coming to a theater near you.
I brought home the materials the night before so I could test train the FP Gal. She has lots of wonderful advice and used her photoshop skills to great advantage. She picked up the process quickly and is now qualified to figure refunds at my office! (Not that I'd let her do that.)
So the interview was Wednesday. I made good eye contact, used the participants names and kept the nudity tasteful and relavent to the plot. In short, it went very well. Word on the street is that they'll make a decision early next month.
I'm kinda excited.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Serenity - 2005

A coworker has raved about this movie for months and she loaned it to us over the weekend. It's simply the best sci-fi movie that I've seen in years. It involves a group of bandits in a lone starship who are being chased all over the galaxy by the central government (the Alliance or something). The storyline is interesting, but not anything worldshaking. But the cuts from scene to scene are very good. The situations and their depictions are quite good. And what makes the movie is the dialouge. It's fresh and witty and sharp. (Seriously, someone should send this to George Lucas. Is it too late to remake Star Wars Episodes I, II and III?) A very good movie.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Best song lyric

is from U2's 'One' according to a VH1 poll (h/t Althouse). They picked “One Life, with Each Other Sisters, Brothers”. That's a pretty defensible choice.
My listening habits tend more towards the music than the lyric so I have a hard time picking out better lines. One that sticks with me is from Suzanne Vega's 'Language':

I'd like to meet you
In a timeless, placeless place
Somewhere out of context
And beyond all consequences

It's always struck a chord with me.

(No idea why the fonts are all crazy here. Sorry!)

The Verdict - 1982

Never had heard of this movie before. And now it can go back to the mists of time. Utterly forgettable. It stars Paul Newman (who does a fine acting job) as a lawyer who has crawled into the bottle and become an ambulance chaser. Almost literally. The movie opens with him crashing funerals to try and get clients.
Then a friend of his flips a good case in his lap. Can he overcome his alcholism and win? Can he redeem himself? Will this unfold in an entertaining manner?
The answers are yes, maybe and no.
Just about any episode of Law and Order is better than this. The case isn't interesting. The pacing is slow. There's only one twist of interest. And at the end, you don't feel like you've learned anything or been affected in any real way. It's not even a bad movie, just really O.K. Better movies than this from 1982 are 'Das Boot', 'Blade Runner' and probably dozens of others.

China and Russia

Just noticed this, too (h/t Instapundit).

China and Russia last night thwarted a year-long diplomatic drive by Britain to impose United Nations sanctions on the perpetrators in of the violence in the Darfur province of Sudan.

They see the world through a different lens than we do. Such basic goods as 'human rights' and 'avoiding genocide' just aren't very high on their priority lists. And I don't know what to do about it either.

A big ad

And very enjoyable. See it here.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Spring flowers

 Posted by Picasa

Iran (and hid my head in the sand)

Interesting editorial in the Strib yesterday. It's titled 'U.S-Iran talk must de-escalate' and it talks primarily about military options for dealing with Iran. Actually, it flat out states that there is no reasonable military option available. Instead it argues that diplomacy is the only way to deal with the situation.
For those not paying attention, here's the deal with Iran. Their president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has stated repeatedly that if Iran has nukes, they'll use them to wipe out Israel. Last week, Iran announced that they've enriched Uranium. This is a critical step towards making nuclear weapons. The Strib poo-poos this as 'political-theater'. They suggest that this is nothing more than posturing and that Iran probably isn't very close to having usable nukes. There are two big problems with this and each one highlights a major problem the left has with national security.
The first problem is an almost religious reliance on diplomacy. Numerous letters to the editor have been in line with this editorial. If only the U.S. would talk to Iran we could normalize the situation with them. Here, they argue that a war gaming exercise from two years ago showed that there was no good military option. Well, two years is a long time for planning. But more importantly, taking the stick out of the equation is stupid. Iran can sit back and talk with the knowledge that they only have to stay at the table and no attack would be forthcoming. The Strib lists a development time of three years for a nuke. That's a pretty short period to wait out the clock. This editorial makes no mention of what to do if talks don't work. There's been talk in other places of sanctions against Iran We've had sanctions against them for almost 30 years. What else can we take away?
The second problem is reliance on projections. Three years is what the Strib mentions. I've seen two years in other places. But we don't know. And that's kind of an important thing, no? Can Israel risk that timeline? It's a small nation and it wouldn't take much to make it uninhabitable. Remember when we said "Never again"? Now it's "Call us in three years". Embarassing. BTW, what's the certainty of that three year projection? 90%? The past few years have shown us that intelligence information can be embarrasingly wrong. Can we risk a 10% chance that Iran will have nukes before we think they will?
Like many issues, I don't have all of the answers here. But I'm underwhelmed by the obvious weaknesses in this editorial. Thank God that these people aren't in charge of actual serious national security.

Easter stuff

Went to Rochester today to see my Grandma. She's at St. Mary's hospital after some congestive heart difficulties and general muscle weakness. It's also her 81st birthday, which makes her two years older than the pope! She's in good spirits but not happy with the prospect of returning to a nursing home.
For the first time ever, I gave up something for Lent this year. Not being Catholic, it's never been a priority.'s good to strech some spiritual muscles. My sacrifice was french fries. I've only had a few strong urges, nothing too difficult. And I did cheat once, last Sunday after Roxy died. So I didn't run right out and have them today. Probably tomorrow. Will I do this again next year? Don't know.
Drove through tremendous rain on the way down today. Back when I was bartending for farmers, they told me that 'if it rains on Easter, it'll rain the next seven Sundays'. I'd never heard this before then. I've found it to be largely true. It probably has something to do with regular weather cycles or some such.
Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Beautiful weather

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the weather this past week has been nothing short of beautiful. If this is what global warming will bring, I'm all for it. I'm sure it'll get cold again (and wouldn't bet against snow) but I'll take this.

Friday, April 14, 2006

New addition

to our household. Sarah was waiting for delivery all yesterday. She's now the proud mother of a new computer for her business. There is great happiness.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Don't usually put political things on this blog, but I just had to say some things in response to the level of discourse on this issue. To begin with, I don't have a broad solution and I'm not sure where I'll finally land but some of the arguments put forth in support of illegal immigration are beyond absurd.

Opposition is anti-immigrant - Not at all! This debate is more about the number of immigrants that should be allowed in. No one (with the possible exception of Pat Buchanan) is suggesting closing the borders completly.
Our ancestors were allowed in - Yep, and we're glad for that. But the circumstances in 1900 were different than they are today. Just because the U.S. has had more open policies in the past doesn't mean they always have to be open.
No person is illegal - Um, what do you say to this. If laws have been passed and those laws are broken, illegality has occured. What's difficult to understand about this?

I don't know what the number should be or even where that number should be allowed to come from but I think both parts of that should be open to debate. I think that nations should be allowed to determine their own border policies and than police them as they see fit. Who has problems with this?

Tootsie - 1982

This is a fun movie. Dustin Hoffman is a serious actor in New York whose seriousness has made him unworkable. His life consists of acting classes, failed auditions and trying to raise money for his roomate's (Bill Murray) play. (Murray's best line, 'I'd like to open a theater that's only open when it rains.')

In desperation, he dresses as a woman for a role on a soap opera and gets the part. The only thing to do is to plunge into this new life and see how long he can get away with it. He ends up having to lie to just about everyone for various reasons. The highpoint is on one night when he is mistaken for a lesbian, proposed to, attacked by an amourous drunken actor and finally raked over the coals by Teri Garr for loving a different woman.

I think this movie wants to make a serious point about how women should be more assertive. It succeeds to some extent but undercuts it's own message by showing Hoffman's failures when he's too pushy. As a screwball comedy it works though. It's a very good movie.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Missing - 1982

This movie centers on the Chilean revolution that brought Pinochet to power. It focuses on a young idealistic couple that are living there when the revolution occurs. The husband, Charles Horman (John Shea) is a journalist for a left wing magazine. He's in Vina del Mar when the revolution occurs. While there he meets various U.S. officers who are advising the coup. He starts taking notes on everything that's going on.

When he returns to Santiago, he makes arrangements to leave the country. And then he disappears. His wife (Sissy Spacek) tries in vain to find him but gets nowhere. His father (Jack Lemmon) heads down to Chile to try and find some answers of his own. While there he's treated to the general run around by the U.S. consulate. Mostly he's given false hope about his son. Eventually he discovers his whereabouts.

Jack Lemmon gives a masterful performance. He was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for this role. John Shea is very good in a briefer appearance. The score is by Vangelis (same guy as Chariots of Fire). It works a bit better here.

This movie is part of the 'Blame America for everything' school of films and it's hard for me to get past that. Putting that aside, it's a good film. It creates tension and has some very good acting. It's largely forgotten and that's too bad.

Random Tuesday morning thoughts

-Sudoku is an incredibly satisfying game. The one I play is found here. On the medium level, my average time is eight minutes and change. My best time is just over five minutes.
-'Lost' is not a good guide for survivalists. And the characters do things that make me want to yell at them. (For instance, if a guy in the jungle claims he's from Minnesota, ask him things about Minnesota. Easy, no?) But it's still the most compelling show we watch.
-Also in a TV vein, 'Amazing Race' is our favorite reality show. One of the teams this year, BJ and Tyler, are the most fun we've ever seen. If I can ever convince the FP Gal to go there with me, we'll be like them.
-Is googling 'cat seances' a form of bargaining? The FP Gal thinks so. And it's a silly idea anyway, she couldn't talk English before and my Cat is limited to 'do something' and 'feed me'.
-Got my first order from Amazon last week. Picked up the Go-Go's Greatest Hits, the movie 'Addicted to Love' and...three bags of Smartfood. The last was a surprise and my bride was very pleased.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

E.T. - 1982

I have very fond memories of seeing this movie a dozen or so times when I was young. I'm sure I could have quoted the movie verbatim. Even though it's been years since I last saw E.T., it brought back a warm fog of nostalgia. For the record, it's a great movie. On the assumption that everyone reading this has seen the movie, a few observations:

-The genius of Speilberg is the details. Every seen looks great. The shadows and silhouettes are just right. The dialogue snaps and you fall in love with the correct things.

-Drew Barrymore makes this movie. She adds just the right note of humor. As E.T. leaves he tells her to 'Be good'. It's a shame he didn't tell her to stay away from drugs and cross her legs.

-There's a Halloween part where kids in costume have absolutely run amok. It looks like the Piston's just won a championship. Things are in flames and human sacrifices are just around the corner. The adults don't care. Very strange.

-The 'phone' that E.T. makes is very clever. As a kid I never realized that it's powered by a branch being blown by the wind.

-Another thing I didn't realize is that E.T. was dying on Earth because he needed a more humid climate. The heartbreaking scene where his dying body is found in a river (with racoon!) is proof of this. He was trying to submerge himself. If only they'd explored Seattle instead of SoCal he'd have been fine.

Again, this is a great movie.

One more picture

I love this one because you can see her hundreds and hundreds of toes. Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 10, 2006

Moving forward

Yesterday was tough but it really was for the best. She was obviously suffering the past few days. We'd planned on calling for euthanasia this morning. The FP Gal believes that she was waiting for us to come home to let go. I can buy that.
We're planting a tree next month in the backyard. She'll be buried as we plant it. We've got some toys (and her cards) with her. We'll also put a picture in and I'll write something to go with her. Thousands of years from now they'll discover her remains and see that cats were worshipped (or some such thing).
Thanks for all of your warm wishes and condolences.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Resting happily

 Posted by Picasa

Roxane RIP

She finally passed this morning. She started to crash about midweek. We did what we could for her as far as making her comfortable. She hid this morning (with her favorites, the shoes). We found her and let her be. When we returned this morning from breakfast she called to us. We brought her out and laid her on the couch. She faded quickly and was gone.
I don't know if cats have souls or if they continue on in another life. I can only hope that she's happy somewhere. I loved her very much and she loved me back. She was special and she gave me great joy.
Rest in peace, little grey tiger. Rest in peace.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Check out this shizzle

My blog translated into gangsta speak. Pretty darn fuzzizle.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

1981 in review

Atlantic City
On Golden Pond
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Chariots of Fire

Kind of a mixed bag for this year. Some really, really great movies and some forgettable ones too. 'Atlantic City' has fallen off any relavancy radar. 'Reds' is mostly forgotten too. 'Raiders' is fondly remembered, even by non-adventure fans. 'On Golden Pond' is also well remembered. 'Chariots' is remembered for the music but not the story. 'Chariots' won for Best Picture and it's a fine choice. I'd have gone with 'On Golden Pond'.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Videography help

The FP Gal has run into a problem and she's asked that I post for help. She's starting a wedding videography business and had decided on Serendipity Video as a name. Some research uncovered another company with a similar name. So she needs something else. I've suggested 'Shotgun Videos' and 'Brides Gone Wild'. She's asked me to stop suggesting titles.
So we need your help. Please leave any good suggestions in the comments. Thanks!

Reds - 1981

This is a movie about idealistic fools. It starts in the mid 1910's and follows the lives of John Reed, a communist journalist and his wife Louise Bryant. They were a part of a radical social circle in New York that included Eugene O'Neil. Reed was a passionate spokesman for the 'revolutionary' union elements.
Happiness abounds when the Russian Revolution breaks out. Reed becomes a delegate from the Communist Party. He went to Moscow to gain recoginition from the Comintern. While there he discovered that he couldn't communicate with his wife. He then discovered that he couldn't get out. His final straw is when he discovered that his party superior rewrote some of his copy. He dies shortly after. The film tells us that he's the only American buried in Red Square.
This movie was kinetic and interesting. That's about the only good thing I can say about it. Warren Beatty decided to make this movie at the height of the Cold War. He made a valentine to Communism after he should have known of the accompanying horrors. Karma did bite back, though. According to Wikipedia:
During filming, Beatty lectured his Russian extras on the capitalist exploitation of labour, attempting to inspire them. According to the magazine Total Film in 2004, this was the 4th "dumbest decision in movie history": the extras duly went on strike, demanding higher wages.

I can't really recommend this movie. It was good but I felt like I needed a shower after watching it.

King Kong? Nope?

And this review explains why. Never found the King Kong story all that interesting. Getting pickier about which movies I spend money on. It's over three hours long. And...Peter Jackson. Enjoyed 'The Fellowship of the Ring'. Loved 'The Two Towers'. And was disappointed by 'Return of the King'. Lileks sums it up for me:

I still like the LOTR movies, except for the last 16 hours of the third one; for heaven’s sake, I was ready to kick Frodo into the fire and stick the ring on Gollum’s slimy finger just to be done with it, and if I’d know there would be hobbits jumping-and-hugging-in-bed afterwards, and that the movie still wouldn’t be over for another fortnight, I would have ordered up a jeraboam of Visine for Sauron, the better for his baleful eye to find the hairy-footed little imps and turn them into cinders.

It was a movie that wouldn't end. Some movies are desperate for an editor and this was one of them. Which movies? Here's a hint, new directors usually don't make overly long movies. Someone is willing to tell them it's too long. Shame it doesn't happen more often.
Don't get me wrong, long movies can still be ok. You just have to have lots of story to tell. Gone With The Wind is almost four hours long, but it works. It also had an intermission. Maybe not a bad tradition to bring back, no?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Happy in paradise

 Posted by Picasa

Big day

One year ago today I proposed to the FP Gal. There was surf in the background and she may have been a bit drunk on the Mexican atmosphere. But she said yes anyway. Well, actually she didn't believe I was serious, but when I convinced her I was she said yes.
Well, technically it happened one year from tomorrow. But I'm arguing that since it was the first day of the baseball season and so is today, that today is the anniversary. She's given into my impeccable logic. So this morning it was out for pastry and then out to the Como Park conservatory. Very nice.
Oh yeah, there's a baseball game too. Yep, I'm excited for that too. Never cheered for a defending champ before. Not sure how to feel. Bill Simmons (ESPN's Sports Guy) says that a winning team should have a five year honeymoon period when their fans don't criticize them too heavily. Don't know if I agree with that, but I understand where the sentiment comes from. Go Sox!