Monday, July 31, 2006

It. Is. Too. Hot.

We crossed 100 degrees today in Minneapolis. Was surprised to hear that it's the first time it's done so in eleven years. That's right, July 13th 1995. And I actually remember that stretch of weather. I'd just moved up here in late May. With Hans as a reference I got a job cooking at Pizza Hut. (That's where I met Jodi for those keeping score.) I didn't have a car, so I walked to and from Dinkytown every day. The air conditioner in our apartment was pitiful at best. There's an excellent chance that on that previous 100 degree day I walked back down to the Hut to do a crossword and have some 'za where it was cool.
BTW, I still had my beautiful ponytail (sob).

Movie reviews

From the incomparable Lileks. Just read and enjoy.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Movie reviews

Had some time this weekend and didn't want to go outside so I rented some movies. Picked up a couple from last year that I didn't get a chance to see in the theater.
Howl's Moving Castle
I've been a huge fan of Miyazaki's ever since I first saw 'Princess Mononoke'. He creates gorgeous animated landscapes and weaves interesting complex stories. His stories usually feature people with conflicting interests rather than the more conventional good vs evil of most Disney films.
This film centers around a young girl who has been put under a spell that's turned her into an old woman. She heads out into the wilderness and finds an scarecrow that hops around pogo style. They find shelter in Howl's mobile machine (castle). It's powered by a fire demon (Billy Crystal!). It turns out that most everyone is under some spell or other. And they must help each other to have them lifted. Loved this one.
Broken Flowers
This is a Bill Murray movie in the same tone as 'Lost in Translation'. Murray plays a tired man whose life is stuck in a rut. He gets a letter out of the blue telling him he's a father and that his son is on the road looking for him. The letter isn't signed and there's no return address. His next door neighbor makes him list the possible women. What follows is a series of meetings with his old flames. Clues and possibilities abound.
The pace on the film is slow. It worked for 'Translation' but doesn't really work here. It's interesting, but not great.

Parenting

The FP Gal and I sometimes compare our childhoods. My memories of growing up in Austin are pretty good. I remember biking all over the place. We played football in the streets. We made up elaborate make-believe stories. We played 'gun' games (not cowboys and indians but spies and other spies). When weather was bad we played board games, a love that I still have.
I was thinking about all of that while reading this. It's an article about how the parental urge to protect children is going too far. And how that's screwing up children by delaying their adulthood.

Adulthood no longer begins when adolescence ends, according to a recent report by University of Pennsylvania sociologist Frank F. Furstenberg and colleagues. There is, instead, a growing no-man's-land of postadolescence from 20 to 30, which they dub "early adulthood." Those in it look like adults but "haven't become fully adult yet—traditionally defined as finishing school, landing a job with benefits, marrying and parenting—because they are not ready or perhaps not permitted to do so."

Using the classic benchmarks of adulthood, 65 percent of males had reached adulthood by the age of 30 in 1960. By contrast, in 2000, only 31 percent had. Among women, 77 percent met the benchmarks of adulthood by age 30 in 1960. By 2000, the number had fallen to 46 percent.

When I turned 30 a couple of years ago, I finally felt like an adult. I hadn't lived with a parent in over ten years. I haven't even needed an emergency loan in a few years. But I was never serious about longterm plans in my 20's. I never thought in terms of 'career'. I'd have screwed up any marriage I could've gotten myself into.

To be clear, I'm not blaming my folks. I think they did a top notch job with us. It just makes me think about how to raise the next generation. How to balance the need for confidence while keeping them from killing themselves.

Good thing I don't have to start tomorrow!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Football pool

Every year I let this go too late, but not this year. I've already set up the Yahoo Pro Pick'em league for the upcoming season. Go to this page here to sign up. You'll be joining an existing group. The Group ID # is 5098. The password is: ozzieboy.
Same rules as last year. Spread the word, the more the merrier.

Who are you?

Inspired by Jodi's heartfelt post, I thought I'd put up a couple of interesting psych games. For this you'll need a pencil and paper. Or a pen. Well, some kind of writing utensil. Ok?
Think of your favorite animal. Choose a type of animal, like a chipmunk, rather than a specific animal, like Ozzie. Write down three adjectives that describe that animal.
Next think of your favorite color. Write down three adjectives that describe that color. Got it? I'll explain what these mean in the comments.
I'd leave my own examples, but knowing what the test measures kind of screws that up. For the record my favorite animal is a tiger and my favorite color is royal blue.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Baseball woes

Well, the last three weeks have really sucked. For the sake of marital bliss, I'm toying with a baseball blackout for the next week or so. But...I'm not giving up hope yet. After all, I've got this to keep me sane.
(If you ever watched 80's videos, click the link.)

Kitties!




Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The ugliest state

The FP Gal and I are starting to plan us a little road trip. Well, not sure how little it'll end up being. We're both hoping to add a state or two to our personal travel history. Anyway, it made me think of a curious discussion item I ran across a few years back. What's the ugliest state you've been to?
Mine is a two way tie between Kansas and North Dakota. Therefore I'm taking them out of contention. Pick a different one Jodi.

UPDATE: I must have gotten it from here. Note the times, mine was posted first today!

Online dating

As I mentioned, the FP Gal and I met online. We both feel it's a good method when it works well. Seems it didn't work out well for this guy (h/t Corner). Wow, I can only feel pity for any girl that he finally does end up with.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Threat?

The FP Gal left a nice newsy post on her blog today. Most of it's about our finances and whatnot. But buried within is this little nugget,
I made an appointment to get my first ever professional massage (gift from Rachel W.) I'm told it will become an addiction.
The FP Gal and I met online back in 2004. My tag was 'Sweetest Guy You'll Ever Meet'. Don't laugh, it worked. Anyway, inside of my bio I added that I was a 'champion backrubber'. This was a bit of fib. I give good backrubs, but they've never been recognized by any kind of judging body. (Er, by 'judging body' I mean a group of people who make judgments.)
Well, the backrubs were used more often in the early part of the relationship, I'm sad to say. They don't happen often enough anymore. In fact, she's now looking for outside help with them. I take this as a direct challenge to my skills. Next, she'll find someone else to hog the TV watching baseball and old movies. I can only hope that some of my other redeeming qualities will keep her around.
(BTW, the secret to a goood backrub? Mix in a good back scratch.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Grandma update

Just talked to my Grandma. After months (five?) of being in hospitals and rest homes she's finally back home. She's in excellent spirits.

Welcome to the Jungle

So Sana was spending a long time in the litter box. (No, let me back up. About six months ago we found a really good deal on a automatic litter box. It's a little larger than a regular box. There is a sensor inside of it so ten minutes after a cat leaves it activates a scoop for the cleaning. And the important part for our story is that a privacy tent covers the entire thing.) So, Sana was spending a long time in the litter box. Ozzie was taking notice, hanging out by the entrance. As Sana was finishing up, she started patting the flap on the tent. Ozzie became very alert. Started acting like he was stalking. Finally, Sana popped out. The little bitey one immediately jumped on her.
The moral? Don't take too long in the bathroom or the paw of judgment will descend.

Witness - 1985

So a young Amish mother (Kelly McGillis) and her son (Lukas Haas) are traveling through Philidelphia when the son witnesses a murder. The killing is sudden and brutal. The Amish are pulled into the police system in hopes of indentifying the killer. They are placed under the protection of detective John Book (Harrison Ford).
The boy identifies a fellow policeman and everything falls into place. Book must get them out of there. As tries to get the mother and son away he gets into a shootout and becomes wounded. Where to take them? Back to their home and hope that they can get lost within their community. Once he arrives, his wound overcomes him and he's taken in to heal.
What follows is a race. Can he heal quickly enough to get away before they find him? Can the crooked police find him in such an alien community? Will love blossom in the meantime?
This is a great movie. One of my favorite moments is a barn raising scene with very very good music by Maurice Jarre. Also of note, one of the Amish men is played by Viggo Mortensen, aka Aragorn.

The Color Purple - 1985

This movie is set around the turn of the century in the South. It opens with two sisters playing in a field, obviously very much loving each other. As the leave the field we see that one (Celie) of them is pregnant. Soon we learn that her daddy knocked her up. This is her second child by him, both of them were then given to a seperate family.
The story shifts and we find that one of the other men in the community has taken a liking to her younger sister. He approaches to ask for her in marriage but her father says no, take the older one. And so the sisters are seperated. But only briefly, as the younger girl quickly joins her to get away from their father's plans. Well, out of the pot, into the fire as they say, Celie's new husband wants his hands on her too. And on and on. The life of black women in the south at that time was far from easy. This movie jumps from injustice to injustice; beatings, adultery, incest and of course, racism.
This is a Speilberg film and it has his usual polish. The story is well told. The staging is well presented. The acting is sharp. But...it never really engaged me. In some ways, this is the most 'chick-flick' of all the movies I've reviewed so far. It felt like a story exclusivly told for women. Some very powerful moments though. This was an Oprah driven project and she's very good in it. I'd say it's good but not great.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Random stuff (again)

Slow week from me huh? Just haven't felt like blogging. Three reasons. First it's been hot, humid and still for most of the last two weeks. That combo takes it out of me. Give me some clouds and drizzle. (Actually we had a nice thunderstorm Wednesday morning but I need more.) Second, I've had to fight traffic while coming home from work. 55 minutes to go 11 miles is just wrong. Must be the smalltown boy in me. And thirdly, my White Sox have not been playing well the last couple of weeks. Ugh.
But I'm still around and finding stuff I find interesting:
  • I'm jealous of this guy. What an amazing adventure that must have been. (Make certain to watch the video.)
  • When planning a wedding, please be careful of the sports fans. Here's an article that will make that planning go a little easier. (I don't agree with all of it. I'll miss any college football game you want me to. But at the same time, keep your eyes off of the first few Saturdays in October. That's when playoff baseball is on!)
  • The ref is blind? Well, you're half right. Seems a Big Ten football official became blind in one eye after an accident in 2000. Six years later, the Big Ten has found and isn't very happy. My perspective? I don't think he'd be that limited. He wouldn't be able to see things off to whichever side he's blinded on, but you can't really focus that way anyway. I don't really want penalties coming from things you only see out of the corner of your eye anyway.
  • What do you do with a drunken sailor? Especially earl-eye in the morning? (I once helped one buy some red panties but that was late at night.)
  • And speaking of bachelor parties, what is the ring on Jodi's finger? To be honest, I don't know either. If she's actually engaged, she hasn't told us. My theory? She's using it to decode important dietary messages.
  • The long proposed family (and friends) reunion cruise has officialy been moved from 2007 to 2008. If you haven't heard of this before, I'm very sorry. And you're invited. It'll be Alaska, August of '08. Anyway, I ran across this related article and found it useful in a clip and save kind of way.
I kind of expect the blogging to pick back up now. I'm within shouting distance of my 500th post and I'm going to use that to motivate myself.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Random Tuesday stuff

  • Last week I mentioned the FP Gal's habit of cooling pop in the freezer. After several mishaps we've put a bit of tuperware in there to protect the rest of the food. Well...we had our first casualty this weekend. The tuperware came through fine but the pop can is ruined. Good news, she got to have a few spoonfuls of Dr Pepper slushie.
  • She'd like to add that it didn't explode after just an hour. It took about eight hours. My question is simple, if you're checking on the pop to time when it explodes why not just take it out? Maybe some kind of science project.
  • Speaking of kitchen happenings, my onion bagels didn't make it through the day. The crime scene was analayzed by the resident wife and it was determined that a team of feline roughians got them. We think Ozzie knocked them down from the counter and then Sana finished them off on the floor. Poor things. Now I have to use the Garlic & Herb cream cheese on something else.
  • I mentioned that I'm working at another site for a few weeks. How's it going? Well, I'm getting up to early. The traffic stinks. And I don't have Outlook, Excel or Word, all of which I need at times. I don't even have a phone. (And I'm loads of fun when I get home at night. Sorry hon.)
  • What else about the site? Of the 100+ male employees at this office, all but 5 or 6 are over 6 feet tall. No idea why. It makes me feel like I should steal a map of time from God and go on a robbing spree.
  • If that isn't the most obscure movie reference I've ever made on this blog, I don't know what is.
  • That's all!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fly the Friendly Skies

Very good post here from Varifrank (h/t Instapundit). It's concerning flight delays and the safety crews that sometime cause them. One of his flights was delayed for eight hours causing him to be four hours late for a meeting. His reaction? Calm.
But here's the real reason I am taking a position of peaceful zen like quietness. I want a flight crew who takes the time and effort to look at information and make clear headed decisions about whether we should fly or not. I do not want to help create conditions where the flight crew or the company feel pressure to fly when they probably shouldnt be.
I'd love to forward this to every corporate traveler we book for. It's too easy to lose perspective when faced with a flight delay. The safety of the flight must take priority over anyone's meeting.
Some things to keep in mind:
  • Delays happen. They happen unexpectedly. They happen because of leaking fluids. They happen because of weather. They happen because the airline screwed something up. The more often you travel the more likely a delay will happen to you.
  • Delays happen to everyone. The people you're meeting with have almost certainly been delayed themselves at some point. Turn it into a good story and have a laugh over it.
  • Pad your schedule. If this is the most important meeting on your calendar, go in the night before. Or at least a few hours early. Just as important, give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. Some airports want you to be there two hours prior to flight time. If you're flying during rush hour times you must be there at least an hour early.
  • Screaming at someone will do you no good. Try smiling and getting them on your side. People will work harder to help you when they like you. Time and time again I've seen agents slow down if they think a traveler is being unreasonable. This is human nature. Even if they don't actively sabotage you, they might become rattled and flustered.
  • Most people in the service industry really enjoy helping people (no really!). If you're stuck, look for the desk agent with the nicest smile. Lay out your case and ask for help. If they can't help you, give them the sincerest thank you possible and drop it. It's very very possible that they'll keep working on the problem and track you down with the solution.
  • If there's nothing that can be done to help, then wait patiently. Keep perspective. Eight hours of waiting at the airport is better than going to your own funeral.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Our little kitten, all grows up




The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner

This is the second novel in the great American novel list that I've tackled. I'd write a review of it but I gave up after about 100 pages. The book is written in stream of conciousness which I find maddening. It's not that it's too dense to be read. The problem is the opposite. There's nothing there to hang onto. Page after page after page is just too much for me. And to make it worse, the first section is also written in southern dialect. Ick. Hope the next one is better.

Youtube for Heidi

Here you go, Sis. Happy Birthday!

  • Here's your favorite player. Got to love him.
  • This has got to bring back memories of Saturday mornings.
  • And I bet you're glad you moved from here to here. So you could see this.
  • This may bring back memories of a young Brian.
  • Hope your day at work isn't quite like this.
  • Concert clip? I miss Michael Hutchins.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nothing to sneeze at

Or from? God, I hope this is true. (h/t Instapundit)

Actors and Longevity

Interesting question from the sister-in-law about Oscar worthy actors and whether or not they stick around. My guess is that they do. Where to find out? I went to the Oscar Award database. (What, you don't have it bookmarked? I probably use this more than any straight man in America what with the movie project and all.) I used the database to look at Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor since 1980. Go ahead and look if you'd like. The list is filled with recognizable names. My sense is that Oscar level actors can always find work.
Now try the same thing with the ladies. Search the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress lists. Lots of 'who 'dat' names. Or at least lots of ladies who you haven't seen for awhile. My theory is that in looks driven Hollywood, men age much better than women. Many women still find Harrison Ford sexy. Can you think of a woman in her 60's who is a sex symbol?
My other thought is that an Oscar performance relies on so much more than acting ability. Bill Murray was Oscar worthy in 'Lost in Translation' but you wouldn't think of him as an incredible actor. (Not running him down, but in the acting Hall of Fame voting, I don't think Denzel Washington or Anthony Hopkins have much to worry about.) The camerawork, music and above all the script are incredibly important from movie to movie.
Carrie, you're involved in this industry, what do you think?

The Future Poltergeist of Paradise

Just ran across this and produced the above slogan. Wouldn't that look good on a t-shirt?
From time to time (well, twice) people ask me what the name of this blog means. The story behind the name begins with me at work. And some of my workplace habits. (Don't laugh, my company is putting more and more trust into my judgment, abilities and talent to mold people. Ok, now you can laugh.) You see, when I'm at work I like to move stuff around on people's desks. Not maliciously. Small objects, small distance. It stems from a desire to counter the order that most people desire in their surroundings. When someone asked me why I do it, I once replied "someday in the future I'll be a poltergeist". Et voila!
Rejected slogans (or the next ten reloads):
Poppin' Fresh Future Poltergeist
We're Serious About Future Poltergeist
We're Always Low Future Poltergeist
A Taste For Future Poltergeist
Wouldn't You Like to be a Future Poltergeist Too?
Get the Future Poltergeist Habit
There's More Than One Way to Eat a Future Poltergeist
The Lion Goes from Future Poltergeist to Future Poltergeist
Bring out the Future Poltergeist
Let the Future Poltergeist Take the Strain

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

1984 in review

A Passage to India
Places in the Heart
A Soldier's Story
The Killing Fields
Amadeus

I called the 2006 crop of Best Picture nominees dreary. One interesting observation was that they had the worst combined box office of any set of movies since...1984. The comparison is interesting. At least three (maybe four) of these movies were probably seen as message movies with the fifth one being dismissed as being about classical music. Don't mean to suggest that high box office = great movie as that's obviously not true. But people really didn't want to run right out and see these movies. Should they have?
'Places' didn't do much for me. 'India' and 'Story' were both much better than I expected. 'Killing Fields' is powerful in much the same way that 'Shindler's List' is. And 'Amadeus' is a great movie. Easily deserved the Best Picture it won.
The best music from this set came from 'A Soldier's Story'. The music from 'Amadeus' is of course historically great music, but Mozart leaves me cold.

Amadeus - 1984

This movie begins with the attempted suicide of Antonio Salieri. He's overcome with guilt about the death of Mozart. The movie is told from the viewpoint of his flashbacks as he recounts the awfulness of being second best. The effect is quite brilliant.
Consider a scene from the first half of the movie. Salieri is the court composer of Emperor Joseph II, one of the most powerful men in Europe. He wants to honor Mozart's entrance to the court with a march that he's written. The Emperor insists on playing it himself on the spot, playing badly. Mozart enters and is given the piece. He declines saying that he knows it from one hearing. He sits down and plays it. Then he picks out a piece and improves it. Salieri's efforts have been made to seem small and pitiful.
His anguish is primal and only grows with time. F. Murray Abraham's protrayal is very very good. He won an Oscar for it and it's entirely deserved.
This is a great movie.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Blanket monster

So the FP Gal and I were watching a movie last night. Crazy Ozzie was running around (crazily of course) throughout the night. Eventually, he climbed up on the couch. He'd allow a little bit of petting but wouldn't let us hold him. After a bit he poked around at the blanket on top of the couch.
The movie ended (not to ruin it for you, but the younger sister returned from Africa) and we started getting ready for bed. One part of our nightime activities is tracking down Calypso and giving her a pill. Cats really don't like this. After we got it down (and felt certain she'd swallowed it) we let her go. She jumped up on the top of the couch and looked unhappy.
Three seconds later, the blanket jumped at her. Ozzie had burrowed under the blanket so he was completly covered. Sensing his prey was near he attacked. Did she react? Nope. Completly unfazed. He kept jumping against her and she kept not caring. We laughed and laughed and laughed.
You see, I've long played the blanket monster game with the cats. You put your hand under the blanket and you get them to fight you. So when Ozzie ambushed her, she didn't care. Attacking blankets are a normal part of her life.
Cats, you can't make them up.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Note to parents

Who may have an overdeveloped sense of protection. Not naming names. The 'out of office' message on my work email address is because I'm doing some temporary work at a different office. No actual emergency is occuring.
UPDATE: I should add that my work hours have changed a bit. I'm now getting up at some obscene cow-milking hour. Posting will be light until my body adjusts. Or I get bored at night.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Killing Fields - 1984

This is kind of a brutal movie. It takes place in Cambodia just before the U.S. pulls out. It's based on the memoirs of a journalist, Dith Pran. He'd been working with a New York Times reporter, Sydney Shanberg. Pran turned down the oppurtunity to leave Cambodia in order to cover the fall of Phonm Penh. He ended up forced into the French embassy. Despite the best efforts of the other reporters, he was put into a reeducation camp.
The movie details the destruction of Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge took over. Details vary but somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million people were killed. They took the most educated and killed them. They took everyone with contacts with foreigners and killed them.
The movie's good but brutal. Sam Waterston plays Shanberg. It's strange to see him looking young and not prosecuting people. It also features John Malkovich as a photographer. Not exactly a happy movie but well deserving of the nomination.

A Soldier's Story - 1984

This movie takes place in the south during WWII. The opening scene is in a roadhouse blues club. A black Sergeant (Adolph Caesar) walks drunkenly walks back to the base but never makes it there. His body is found beaten and shot twice.
The movie takes the form of a whodunit. Was it the klan? Or some of the white soldiers? Or was it one of his own unit, another black soldier?
A black Captain (Howard E Rollins Jr) is sent down from Washington to investigate. Almost everyone assumes (or is afraid) that he'll accuse some of the white folks in town. Obstacles are thrown in his way. The powers-that-be want the whole thing to go away.
The story is told through a series of interviews and flashbacks. It's adapted from a stage play and it shows in the setup. It's extremely well done. I didn't have high hopes for this movie going in and I came out very impressed. The acting is superb. The story is much better than I'd expected.
There are a few scenes with music from Patti LaBelle that are top notch blues. But the score is pretty bad. Herbie Hancock wrote the music. It sounds like occasional music from a mid 80's tv action/drama.
A very good movie.

Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest

Went to see this yesterday with the FP Gal. We greatly enjoyed the first one back in 2003. Found it be a tremendous mixture of action, effects and just plain fun. Johnny Depp in particular was tremendous as Jack Sparrow, er Captain Jack Sparrow. So with great anticipation we went to the sequel. And greatly enjoyed it too.
The plot is incredibly complex. (I won't go into it for fear of spoiling it.) The new villian is compelling. The effects aren't quite as good as the original but that's mainly because of how high that bar has been set. And once again, the characters are just lots of fun. The third of the series comes out next summer and we're excited for that too.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Random Friday morning stuff

  • It's been a long time since I've had a kitten in my life and I've forgotten some of the joys of a smaller cat. The simplest is that you can pick them up with one hand. Ozzie has a habit of walking on to the computer desk and rubbing the top of his head on my chin. Could not be more endearing.
  • Hon, you know that old sewing machine on the porch? Some Jehovah's Witnesses expressed interest in it this morning. I couldn't figure out a good way of putting you in touch with them that didn't involve listening to their speil. Sorry.
  • The FP Gal fell asleep fairly early last night. On the couch while watching 'The Office'. (Which gave me the chance to turn it to baseball!) Later I woke her and urged her to go up to the bedroom. She yelled to me as she went upstairs, 'Take the cod out of the freezer'. Cod? Seriously? I yelled back, 'Put it in the fridge to thaw?' but she didn't hear me. Where did we get Cod from? Who would give us Cod? I went to the freezer. Oh! Take the 'pop' out of the freezer. Done.
  • The whole pop in the freezer thing is sometimes a bone of contention. I've got an irrational sense that it will explode about three seconds after the door is closed. Apparently, this is something she grew up doing. She thinks that my habit of pulling toast out of the toaster with a knife is strange. Different upbringings, I guess. Anyway, we've quieted my exploding Dr Pepper fears with a plastic container to shield the rest of the frozen goods.
  • Guess that's it.

Cat pictures



Thursday, July 06, 2006

Allergies

You know that Simpson episode where they have the bit with the guy who's been hiccuping for years on end? In between each hiccough he says 'kill me, kill me'. Replace with sneezes and you've got my morning. I'm starting to wonder how far over the drug limits I can reasonably go. And keeping in mind that I still have to drive to work.
Today's metric: 15. Number of sneezes while drafting this post. (Make it sixteen.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

More Ozzie pictures




Yes they're all of him sleeping. He's much harder to photograph while awake.

Fireworks


We broke one of the FP Gal's traditions last night. For years she's been watching fireworks down at Powderhorn park. This string has only been broken three times. Once for eating all of the bing cherries and being punished. Once because family was out of town. And the third for some sinister reason that I can't print.
But...I've got my own favorite place to see them too! I love to watch them down at the Stone Arch Bridge. If you get a spot near the middle of the bridge you get a clear view of the launching. We tried it my way this year.
So downtown we went. Got to see the Guthrie close up (not any better). Got a good spot on the bridge. And waited about twenty minutes for the action to start. And it was very good. From where we were we could see the guys setting off the fireworks. To our surprise, it was these guys!

Near the end they created a steady stream of fire that only went 100 feet up or so and exploded in gold glitters. Very impressive. The whole show was very nice but next year we bring chairs!

The case of the stolen license plate (or look both ways!)

So an interesting thing happened on Sunday night. My father was in town and came by to meet Ozzie. After meeting him (and falling for his reticulated cuteness) we decided to go out to dinner. We'd each drive our own cars with me leading and him following. His last words to me before I got into my car, 'Don't drive too fast!'. Mine in return, 'Don't drive too slow!'. So a few blocks later we got to the intersection that forms the purpose of this story. I was looking to make a right turn on a red light and was trying to make sure there was time for both of us to get through by looking left. Clear enough and I moved forward. And immeadiatly stopped just as a I hit a kid on his bike (10, 12 years old). Didn't hit him hard, didn't knock him over.
Quickly rolled down the window, 'I'm so sorry! Are you ok?!?'. He was. 'Is your bike ok'? He looked down and back and something was fouling his back spokes. He pulled it out. My liscense plate. He handed it to me and we were on our way.
Needless to say I felt terrible. Glad that he wasn't hurt but aware of how bad it could have been. I should have been more careful. Last night I got to see the corner again and I don't feel as bad. There's a fence blocking the view around the corner. I'd have had almost no chance to see him before he drove off of the sidewalk and in front of the car even if I'd been looking for him. Of course I'll be more careful there from now on.
But I hope there's a lesson for him too. If I was biking (or walking) in that situation I'd never assume that the driver knew I was there. I'd stop and make eye contact before moving in front of the car. I'd try to be predictable in my actions. I hope that he learned those lessons.
Now...how do I put the plate back on?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

All Star Format

Every year when the All Star game rolls around, we end up with the same problem. The balance of having a representative of each team and the limitation of 32 players per team means that otherwise deserving players have to stay home. What to do? Changing the 'at least one player' rule would leave many if not most fans out in the cold. Especially small market fan. Having cheered for that one player too many years, I'd hate to see it dropped.
The big problem is that the number of teams has increased too much for this format. The NL has as many teams now as the entire majors did for the majority of their existence. Even the increase in the All Star roster only helps a little. Trying to get 32 players into a single game (as most managers try to do) is often difficult, especially for pitchers.
Another problem is the selection of the All Star site. Teams and cities understandably want to showcase their stadiums. The current rotation means they'd have to wait about 30 years for each turn to come up.
The solution? Expand the games and sites. Picture a four day All Star break, Monday-Thursday. For simplicity, we'll keep the big game in Pittsburgh. On Monday, the AL All-Stars play in Cleveland. On Tuesday, the NL All-Stars play in Cincinnati. Wednesday brings the home run derby in Pittsburgh. The winners of the previous games play the MLB All-Star game in Detroit on Thursday night.
The AL and NL would be split east and west for their games. Whether by geography or old divisions the split should be easy enough. 24 man rosters should be enough for each team. Reasonable limitations on pitcher use would still be in place.
How to pick managers? Don't know but many different methods could be used. The Championship managers from the previous year could be used. Or the managers with the two best records a week before the break could be used (like in the NBA).
Also not sure what to use for encouragement for the players. Not a big fan of using home field advantage, but you could. Maybe just bragging rights. Or how about a million dollars per player? Think that $24 mil. couldn't be dug up from sponsers wanting their names on the 3 games?
Anyway, I'm just kicking some thoughts around on how to improve the thing. What do you guys think?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies

Tonight we saw a bit of Bravo's Funniest 100 Movies. The full list can be found here. This list has some of the usual problems with movie lists. Many of these movies are too recent to have any kind of feel for how they'll stand up. There are some obvious misses. And my sense is that most people find movies of their teen through college years to be the funniest of their lives. Having said that, I thought I'd take a crack at a top twenty funniest film list (in no particular order):

  • Better Off Dead
  • Airplane
  • Vacation
  • Fish Called Wanda
  • Roxanne
  • Naked Gun
  • Shrek (and Shrek 2)
  • Pee Wee's Big Adventure
  • Blues Brothers
  • Caddyshack
  • Parenthood
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • Young Frankenstein
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Three Amigos
  • Mrs Doubtfire
  • Time Bandits
  • Princess Bride
  • Elf
  • The Man with Two Brains
Bravo missed four of these. What else did I miss?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

FP Gal hijacks Blog...

Sorry to butt in. For those who care, my blog is now here .

-Sarah

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Youtube for Hans

though the rest of you can look if you want to.

  • What does MNF '98 in Green Bay mean to you? (Chad, you may not want to watch this.)
  • How about Shatner's tribute to George Lucas?
  • Or some Terry Tate, Office Linebacker?
  • Here's the Simpson's take on soccer. I love the spanish speaking announcer.
  • U2 in Santiago playing 'City of Blinding Lights' (my favorite from their latest album)
  • And one of your favorite car chase scenes
Hope you're doing well. Take care.

Lack of posts

Well, I was trying to post everyday. Guess that got away from me this week. So let's do a random notes post!

  • The weather here is very very hot. And muggy. My grandma would call it 'sultry'. As a bonus, it's been extra hazy because of soot from Canadian grass fires. It's made for nice sunsets. I understand that the sunrises have been very nice too, but I haven't really seen those.
  • Maybe Ozzie has seen some sunrises. He tries to get us up at 5a most days. Don't know if it's hunger or boredom. I remember this with both Roxane and Calypso. It'll fade. Speaking of Calypso, she's doing fine. Just wish I could get her to fight back when Ozzie jumps on her.
  • Just finished reading (well, rereading) 'Tunnel in the Sky' by Robert Heinlein. It's a book he wrote for a young teen audience back in the 50's. The premise is that a future society trains explorers by sending them on a survival course to an unknown planet. Once there, they must survive for a week to ten days at which time they can return. But something goes wrong and a hundred or so young adults are stranded. Think of this book as 'Lord of the Flies' with optimism.
  • Got to watch some baseball in a beautiful park this week as the Sox went to Pittsburgh. The All-Star game is there in a couple of weeks so you can see it then. Baseball has really gone through a renaissance of ballparks in the last fifteen years. I hope that the Twins are paying close attention as they plan their new one.
  • Some doings are afoot at work. There is some shuffling going on with accounts and I'm not sure how that will shake out for yours truly, but I'm not worried about it. In fact, I'm kind of glad. My method at work has been to play it safe and look for the easy options. It occurs to me that that may not be the best way to find the job I truly love.
  • Hope everyone has a good 4th. I'm trying to convince the FP Gal that we should watch fireworks down by the stone-arch bridge. We'll see what happens. Take care!

Places in the Heart - 1984

This movie takes place in Texas during the depression. The movie opens with Edna Spalding (Sally Field) as the young wife of a town sheriff. He's called out to calm a drunken black boy who's shooting bottles. The boy thinks his gun is empty and fires at the sheriff, killing him. The boy is then dragged to his death behind a truck.
Edna finds herself a lone widow with little prospects. The bank informs her that the house is in danger of being repossesed. Times are bad. About this time, a black man named Moze (Danny Glover) comes around asking for work. He's rebuffed and steals some silverware. When the police bring him back to the house, Edna covers for him. She then puts him to work around the house. As a means of helping out, the bank manager gets Edna to take in his blind brother-in-law (John Malkovich).
So we've got a cast of misfits with a money problem. What to do? How about setting them an impossible task that will get them the money. In this case it's picking cotton. (Throw in John Candy and you've got the qunitessential 80's movie plot.)
Not a bad movie, but nothing special.