Friday, February 29, 2008

Joke

I'm reading a book called 'The Autograph Man' by Zadie Smith, and I ran across a pretty good joke that I'd never heard before:

The Joke about the Pope and Chief Rabbi
Several centuries ago the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to leave Italy. There was, of course, a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal. He would have a religious debate with a leader of the Jewish community. If the Jewish leader won the debate, the Jews would be permitted to stay in Italy. If the Pope won, the Jews would have to leave.
The Jewish community met and picked an aged rabbi, Moishe, to represent them in the debate. Rabbi Moishe, however could not speak Latin and the Pope could not speak Yiddish. So it was decided it would be a 'silent' debate.
On the day of the great debate, the Pope and Rabbi Moishe sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Rabbi Moishe looked back and raised one finger.
Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head. Rabbi Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat. The Pope then brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine. Rabbi Moishe pulled out an apple. With that, the Pope stood up and said, "I concede the debate. This man has bested me. The Jews can stay."
Later the cardinals gathered around the Pope, asking what had happened. The Pope said, "First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was right here with us. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us of our sin. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?"
Meanwhile, the Jewish community crowded around Rabbi Moishe asking what happened. "Well," said Moishe, "first he said to me, 'You Jews have three days to get out of here.' So I said to him, 'Not one of us is going to leave.' Then he tells me the whole city would be cleard of Jews. So I said to him, 'Listen here, Mr Pope, the Jews...we stay right here!'"
"And then?" asked a woman.
"Who knows?" said Rabbi Moishe. "We broke for lunch."

Have a great Friday


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Neverland

Hey Heidi

Were you working when this happened?

Relia update

She's doing fine. Well, mostly. She has (probably) a low level ear infection which is making it hard for her to sleep. Last night was better, for me anyway. The FP Gal basically held her all night, which seemed to help. Tonight will be my night.
She's not running a fever or anything. She seems to do better if she can be elevated or upright so we might have to rig something. We'll get through it somehow.
One (possible) point of interest, the pediatrician prescribed amoxicillin for her. That's one of the few drugs that I'm allergic to. They told us to keep an eye on her after we gave it and there were no bad side-effects.
Anyhoo, she's screaming up a storm right now but it's typical nighttime stuff. Let's just hope I don't have to update this about four hours from now.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Air Raid Sirens

Apparently the Luftwaffe was pretty thick around the nursery last night. At least that was the impression Relia gave us. She was tough to put down last night. She didn't stay down for more than a couple of hours at a time. This morning she was up early. I don't know that either the FP Gal or I got more than a few hours sleep. And now we're on to Monday. Great.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Liveblog

I'll be watching and blogging the Oscars this year.

720pm: The FP Gal and I are talking about seat-fillers. I always thought they were hired to make the theater look more full. She thinks they just fill in while the seats are empty. She also wants to know if there is any kind of intermission there and/or if they show the commercials in the theater. Color me ignorant.
725pm: Predictions? Haven't seen many of the movies but I may as well throw something out there. I'll go with 'Blood' for Best Picture and the Best Actor award to Daniel Day Lewis. Best Original Screenplay to Diablo Cody for 'Juno'. Also, all of the dance numbers will suck.
734pm: The opening montage featured a UPS truck and random (and I do mean random) cutouts from old movies. The effort looked incredibly cheesy. Turns out that Ahnold was driving the truck. Very underwhelming.
739pm: Year two of the Jon Stewart experiment. Not that impressed. He seems both starstruck and unprepared. Honestly, bring back Billy Crystal. Steve Martin would also be acceptable.
742pm: And now the political stuff. Seriously, even the audience looks pained. (Good joke about asteroids and the Statue of Liberty, though.)
746pm: Thought they opened with Best Actress. Either I'm wrong or they mixed it up this year. Jennifer Garner looks pretty good. And the first Oscar...goes to an Elizabethan period piece. Do you think 400 years from now they'll make period pieces about our times?
Yikes, it's a movie moment with Streisand. They should warn us before her closeups.
753pm: Montage of old Oscar moments. Very nicely done. The FP Gal and I were both amazed by Charlie Chaplin not as the the Tramp.
757pm: 'Ratatouille' (or however it's spelled) wins for Best Animated. Didn't see any of these so I don't have a strong opinion. 'Rat' got (easily) the best reviews, maybe the best reviewed movie of the year. 'Surfs Up' looked absolutely dreadful and I'm surprised it was nominated.
759pm: I like that the make-up award is for 'Achievement in Make-Up'. That just might be a bit of title inflation.
802pm: First song nominee aka bathroom break time.
824pm: Had to hold the baby. Couple of montage jokes from Jon Stewart. He just doesn't know how to sell these jokes.
I heard nothing but amazing stuff about Javier Bardem in 'Country' so that award really wasn't a surprise.
831pm: Jerry Seinfeld from Bee Movie and we have our 12th montage in just over an hour. For those scoring at home, about three of them were worthwhile. And I like well done montage.
841pm: The FP Gal thinks Tilda Swinton looked deathly. I thought she looked pretty nice. We have different tastes in women I guess. This Oscar production is incredibly unpolished and I'm prepared to blame all of that on the writer's strike. I think the winners are trying to make up for that by making their acceptance speeches memorable (the acting ones at least).
846pm: Every year I ask this, why don't they add the make up and special effect awards into the Technical Award Oscar show?
854pm: Lengthy bit about how the voting process is done. Apparently it's done in secret. Who knew? One request from data freaks like myself? Publish the voting results afterwards. I can't be the only one who is curious about which movies just missed the cutoff.
922pm: (Baby again.) I've liked exactly one Oscar telecast song in the years I've been watching. Enjoy.
925pm: Man, Jack looks old. And then the Best Picture montage (forty-third of the show if you're scoring at home). Very good montage (if bare). About sixty wonderful movies and it made me want to plug it into my Netflix list.
942pm: Penelope Cruz? Seriously? Where is Selma Hayek? Are they saving her for later? Did she have a conflict? Do we know the answer???
1016pm: Ok, Relia is going for Best Depiction of an Air Raid Siren tonight. Lots of fast forwarding through songs and commercials. And the occasional acceptance speech.
1021pm: Nice to have soldiers in Baghdad announce for a category.
1025pm: And then a follow up reminding us that documentaries are meant to show us how bad those soldiers and America at large are. Thanks Hollywood! (More on that here.)
1040pm: (I'm in DVR time so your mileage may vary.) Daniel Day Lewis wins for best actor so I'm two for two in predictions with one left to go.
1049pm: And 'Country' wins Best Picture. I heard tremendous things about this so it certainly sounds worthy. Actually, it sounded like a strong group of movies this year all around.

Yes, the telecast wasn't very good but they have a pretty obvious excuse for that. Jon Stewart has had two swings at this and it just isn't his element. He got better through the night but that just got him up to 'ok'. Let's try someone else next year, please.
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Physics note

If a small bowl of infant cereal is dropped from table height onto a wooden floor, the splash will travel roughly four feet. It will cover various objects in it's path with a gluey oatmeal type substance that will cover roughly 1/4 of the DVD's that are in the DVD cupboard at the end of the splashway.
Paper towels are useful in going through each DVD and wiping it clean. Cats may or may not be helpful depending on their tastes. Your baby won't care one way or the other.

Best Picture Nominees

If I was single and carefree, I'd be all over this:
If you have a free Saturday and a cast-iron posterior, you can see (or re-see) all five Oscar best-picture nominees at area AMC theaters (Arbor Lakes, Rosedale and Southdale).

For $30 (including unlimited popcorn refills), you can spend 12 hours and 25 minutes in the theater -- or come and go as you please.

Alas, the FP Gal says I'm not single enough. Oh well! I haven't seen any of the five. Tried to see 'There Will Be Blood' but just couldn't fit it in. The FP Gal wants to see 'Juno' (well, so do I) but we haven't figured that out either. Babies do take up time.

Who saw what and what did you think?


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Night sights


Taking care of satellite.

Lunar eclipse (not last night's but, well, it's the same moon).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sri Lanka

Doesn't that pool look nice?

Random Wednesday thoughts

  • There is a lunar eclipse tonight, happening as I type this. It's particularly beautiful because it's being framed by Saturn and the star Regulus. It has a reddish look and that's entirely normal. The tint doesn't come from pollution, it comes from refraction. It's the same reaction that colors sunrises and sunsets.
  • Stayed home with Relia today. Work was nice enough to let me have a day off without dipping into my sick pay. We didn't do much. She's pretty low energy and very wet. Nothing traumatic or scary, though.
  • One of my New Year's resolutions was to either start or join a reading group based on the Man Booker Prize. I looked around and didn't find anything so I really thought I'd be stuck creating the darn thing. Well, lookie what I found. The only problem is that the group has been around for a few years and has already read 85 books (out of around 200 total). I'll see how it goes.
  • The other resolutions are going well. I thought of blogging them but decided on maintaining a little privacy. I'll mention another of them in a few weeks. (Hint: Sono agente touristica.)
  • That's it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sick baby

It seems that Relia has something of a cold. Coughing, more coughing and a stuffed nose. Also very tired and having trouble finding a comfortable position for sleeping. Nothing serious, but a little heartrending. The FP Gal wishes she could have the cold instead but of course it doesn't work that way.
Wish us luck!
(BTW, thanks to Pop for some short notice babysitting. You really helped us out!)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cabaret - 1972

I think I've mentioned before that I'm a Netflix user. Most of the movies in this project have been watched through their good services. It's nearly impossible to find twenty or thirty year old movies at rental stores anymore. And the convenience factor is quite high. One thing that Netflix does is let you rate movies so that it can suggest related movies that you might like.
My Netflix account must think that I'm gay. Seriously, take a look at the last few decades of movies and treat them as a psychological profile. It's a good thing they don't know my occupation or there would be no doubt. Let me tell you, putting a Liza Minnelli film on your list doesn't help things.
How was the movie? I only watched the first half and was bored out of my mind. Minnelli is the showcased girl in a German cabaret. An Englishman moves into her boarding house and something happens. They meet another man and something else blah blah blah. I didn't care about the characters and the music left me cold.
AFI rated this as the 6th best musical. I've seven of the movies that it beat and I'd watch six of them again before this one, including 'Grease'. (The seventh is 'Chicago', which is part of this same family of musicals.)

Movie reviews

Holy cats, I'm behind on the movie reviews. Almost a month behind. I know that you folks are understanding, but I feel bad. I'll try to do better.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Stuck in her head


After a previous Elvis event today, we learned that his music works pretty well for singing/dancing with Relia. Since this is the Elvis song I know best, it's the one I used. The FP Gal said I'd got it stuck in her head. Thought I'd share it with the rest of you!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Anniversary weekend

As the FP Gal mentioned, Friday was our anniversary. Not our wedding anniversary or anything like that. It was four years ago yesterday that we had our first date. A glorious date it was and it worked out (obviously). She still didn't remember the joke so I got to tell it for a fourth year.
We did a poor job of planning this time around so we had to decide things on the fly. This isn't easy with a six month old, believe me. We have managed to leave the house, though.
Last night we went to the MOA to go visit Underwater World. The FP Gal mentioned that I would be facing my greatest enemy in his own lair. I calmly told her that if he gave me any trouble I'd punch him in the snout which is the approved method.
This was my first time at Underwater World and I highly recommend it. The aquarium is seen through a tunnel, from underneath. They've helpfully supplied a moving walkway so you can stand still and let it all flow by. It's very cool. We double backed and watched the sharks twice.
We also petted rays. What do they feel like? First fill your sink with water. Then soak a bit of leather in it for a couple of days. Finally, pet away. Yes, fully that disgusting.
After that it was out to Fridays where we had our first 'eating out' date. This was notable because we weren't sure of the timing for poor Relia. Seriously, it was like eating next to a time bomb. Fortunately, our waitress had one at home (15 months) and another in the oven (3 months) and she gave us excellent service. Actually, our little explosive was very good. She smiled at everyone walking past and made a half dozen new friends. She's shy like that.
This morning we went out to the Como Park Conservatory and looked at the plants. Relia seemed to like the towering ones, probably because she could see them. The tropical plant room feels sooooo nice during the winter. If we could afford it, we'd build a giant greenhouse and grow fig trees or something. I think the cats would love this.
We did the zoo as quickly as we could, just short of a run. Stopped at the big cat house because the lady tiger was out pacing. She's beautiful and promises danger at every turn. According to the zookeeper, she's something of a fraidy cat. Also, there are sometimes squirrels that go in her yard and she never catches them.
(I've just been informed that my lovely wife is also blogging about this and she has the advantage of pictures. Head over there for visual confirmation.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dear Purdie

(Link) Headline:

Strangers are badgering me to breast-feed. How can I get them to stop?

Um, try wearing looser fitting shirts?

Afternoon update

Everything went fine at the MOA. I didn't take a swing at Sharky, wasn't even tempted. In fact, the trip was pretty normal, nothing out of the ordinary. (Well, I did walk past the spiritual brethren of Jay and Silent Bob but nothing other than that.)
Follow up note to the earlier post, the lack of bottles was my own fault. I had scads of time last night and should have checked on the supply. Next Wednesday I'll know better.
I should also say that Relia has been in a fine mood all day. All of the earlier stuff was just circumstances building up. Now that it's sorted out, things are much better.

Thursdays with Relia

The day started out with a bang, or really just a lot of whimpering. Usually Relia gets fed around 6a. This means on a typical Thursday (my day off) she'll sleep until close to 8a. That means I can sleep until then too. This morning as the FP Gal was slipping out the door she told me that she'd fed around 430a. The baby calls the shots and we roll with the punches.
Lots of commotion from Aurelia around 7a and it was clear that there would be no sleeping in. I laid in bed and tried to gauge her level of activity. Could I take a shower without her screaming? I risked it. The answer was 'no' I couldn't get through a shower without screaming.
Got dressed and went to change her for the day. Yesterday we put her in her Cuddly Bunny outfit and hoped for the best. No such luck. Blowout! Quickly changed her out and cleaned her up. Looked at the clean outfits. Nothing simple, only the complicated ones were left. Did my best and got her dressed in something without feet.
Have you ever tried to put socks on an infant? How about that time frame where they realize that they can reach their toes and play with them? There really is no point. Estimated maximum time of sock stayage, 3.4 seconds.
Downstairs and it's now past 8a. Time for us to eat. Put her in the jumper so I could grab some breakfast but she obviously wasn't going to go for that. Ok, her bottle first and then I'd manage for myself. Only one problem, no clean bottles.
Ok, run some hot water and gather all of the bottles into the sink. I'll wash one quickly and then come back and get the rest. No worries. Well, one worry. In the bouncer, Relia has passed Defcon 3 and she's heading towards full out crisis.
Quickly got one washed and some milk into her. Much better. A little burping that turned into a nap session (almost for both of us). About an hour later she started stirring. Put her back in the bouncer and washed the rest of the bottles.
Now it's time to head off to the MOA. Get all ready and dressed. Wallet and other pocket essentials all set. Pick her up. Whoops, another blowout. Upstairs and clean her up again. Another outfit? While washing my hands in the bathroom I notice that one of her (simpler) outfits from earlier in the week is nearby. Clean enough? A quick inspection says 'yes'.
So. She is currently clean and dry. She has fed (I still haven't). We're about ready to go out to the Mall. Sharky, one word of advice, stay clear of us today. Daddy is not in the mood.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A new kitten?

Our dear kitten Ozzie (the Terrible) has been an absolute whirlwind of destruction this week. On the counters, in the cupboards, knocking stuff over and breaking things from our mantle. I feel like I spend most evenings running into the kitchen to correct him.
The FP Gal thinks he is so much naughtier than any of our other cats because he is a boy. There might be something to this but I'm sure I don't know. She wants to emphasize that she's not opposed to boys of other species, she just thinks that boy kitties might be more rambunctious than girl ones.
What to do about it? I honestly don't know. We can't really fence off the kitchen (the source of most temptations) without seriously rearranging our lives. Electrifying the counter tops is too expensive (apparently). Same with Invisible Fencing. Squirt guns work to some extent but we don't want to be armed all the time. And one of us would have to be stationed in the kitchen.
What else? I've thought about putting weights on his feet to keep him from jumping up on things but that would only make him stronger. Hobbling him would work but it would cruel.
So tonight I hit upon the solution: get another kitten to keep him busy. I mentioned that to the FP Gal and she just said "Ok, but it has to be a girl." Now she might be kidding (in fact she probably was) but just to be safe I should probably run right out and get one.
Updates to follow...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Random Tuesday night thoughts

  • Last night I came home to find a trail of flour leading from the kitchen to the living room. Ozzie of course. This cat has the weirdest taste in human food. We can not leave bread out or he will tear it apart. He also likes the FP Gal's oats. Very strange.
  • On a related note, I found him licking beaters with cookie dough this evening. In his defense, someone had left them by her computer.
  • Holy cats, I'm tired of this weather. I've come to the point that I'm admitting jealousy if any of my travelers are going somewhere tropical. I think I need some time in the sun. On a beach. Nearby bikinis would be nice but aren't necessary.
  • Someplace like here.
  • Pitchers and catchers report on Saturday with the White Sox first spring training game on 27 Feb. Yes, I'm ready. It feels like I'm readier than most years and I think I've figured it out. For the last ten years or so they've been in contention until sometime in September. Last year the killed all of my hope in May. That means my personal off season has been four months longer than usual.
  • Not that I'm ready to put football away quite yet. Very interesting article here showing how improbable the Giants recent Super Bowl victory was. They figure that if you use the regular season performance as a guide to how good a team actually is, then New York just had the most amazing playoff run in football history. They figure it at 0.7%. If you played it out on a simulation 1000 times, they would win the big game only seven times. This probably says more about the limitations of statistics than anything else but I found it interesting.
  • That's all!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Settle?

Read an interesting article in Atlantic Monthly today. The whole thing is worth reading.
My friend and I, who, in fits of self-empowerment, had conceived our babies with donor sperm because we hadn’t met Mr. Right yet, surveyed the idyllic scene...
But it was also decidedly not the dream. The dream, like that of our mothers and their mothers from time immemorial, was to fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after. Of course, we’d be loath to admit it in this day and age, but ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single heterosexual woman what she most longs for in life, and she probably won’t tell you it’s a better career or a smaller waistline or a bigger apartment. Most likely, she’ll say that what she really wants is a husband (and, by extension, a child).
The author continues and argues that women shouldn't hold out for that perfect love, but should be willing to settle for less.
She puts forth a solid case and I'm sure she'll get a metric ton of hate mail. I'm just not sure how much of it will be from her target audience, women around the 40 year mark. There really is (for most women) a biological clock.
I don't know that she's advocating 'settling' (though I'm sure that many people would see it that way) so much as reordering priorities. The things that look good to a girl in her twenties (excitement, danger and a cutting wit) don't translate well for fatherhood. Virtues like gentleness and a sense of humor do even if they don't pack the same thrill. In some important ways, I think our society fails to suggest to young men and women what kind of elements last and which ones wear out.
For the record, I don't think either the FP Gal or I settled for each other. If we'd met ten years earlier we probably wouldn't have really connected and we'd have been poorer for it. It took some bad experiences to get some of the nonsense knocked out of us so we'd be ready to recognize the important things in a partner. That's the tricky thing about experience. You can really only gain it through time and pain.

In praise of Flannel

We ran some errands yesterday and ended up at Target (big surprise). While we scooted past the bedding section we stopped to look for a little gift to ourselves. You see, a few years back I bought a big flannel sheet. A king size for our full size bed but that means we don't have to fight over it.
The flannel sheet is wonderful and all, but any advantage it gives is negated by the cotton fitted sheet. That thing is like ice. Seriously, you don't dare move at night because you'll have to warm a new section of it.
The solution? A flannel fitted sheet. Which was not sold separately. So we bought a full kit of flannel and refitted the bed last night. The difference? It's wonderful! In fact, I wish I could go back to bed right now...

AP

I didn't watch a second of the Pro-Bowl yesterday. Looks like I missed some nice plays.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Answers to the National Animal quiz

Full answer in the comments.

National Animal Quiz (Europe)

The national animal of the U.S. is the bald eagle. Many other countries have their own animals. See how well you can match the European countries. (Note, I've split some various UK constituents because they have different and interesting answers. Wikipedia played a big part in this, so it's open to dispute.)
1.Armenia
2.Belarus
3.Bulgaria
4.Denmark
5.England
6.Estonia
7.Finland
8.France
9.Germany
10.Gibraltar
11.Greenland
12.Iceland
13.Ireland
14.Moldova
15.Norway
16.Poland
17.Romania
18.Russia
19.Scotland
20.Spain
21.Turkey
22.Wales

a.Auroch (similar to Oxen)
b.Barbary Macaque (monkey)
c.Barn Swallow
d.Bear
e.Brown Bear
f.Bull
g.Bulldog
h.Dragon
i.Eagle
j.Elk
k.Falcon
l.Gallic Rooster
m.Grey Wolf
n.Lion
o.Lynx
p.Mute Swan
q.Polar Bear
r.Red Dragon
s.Stag
t.Unicorn
u.White-tailed Eagle
v.Wisent (similar to Buffalo)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Saturday at home

It was very cold today (or so they tell us), not that we know since we spent all day here in the house. Let me check...it says that it's -6 right now, high of 13 earlier. And that's not counting windchill.
Yes, it's been a cold cold winter. The cliche is that we should be grateful for these times when it's July and outrageously hot. Or vice versa. It doesn't help of course, but what can you do?
So what did we do today? Watched a lot of movies. Last month I read my first Philip Marlowe novel 'The Long Goodbye'. I also read a second one, 'The Big Sleep'. Both of these have had movies made after them and (thanks Netflix), this morning I watched the later's movie. It's a Bogart/Bacall movie and plenty of fun. There's something about the dialogue from a good hard boiled film noir. It's cutting and clever. (Relia slept through most of it.)
This afternoon we watched 'Double Jeopardy' with Ashley Judd. Far-fetched, but enjoyable and Ashley is very easy on the eyes. The FP Gal hadn't seen it before.
Next was the Gopher basketball game. They won 63-50 and looked good doing it. Well...they missed far too many open layups but what can you do?
Continuing the LA detective theme from earlier, we also watched 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'. A very clever movie, very enjoyable. (Relia slept through most of this one too.)
Don't get the idea that the entire day was spent on the couch. A fair amount of it was spent in front of the computer, too. Not the most productive Saturday...but relaxing enough.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Pics

One of the sites that I get a lot of my pictures from is this one. It features new pictures daily, ranging from beautiful to funny to idiotic.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Random Thursday night thoughts

  • A new 'Survivor' has started. Each season we do a pool at work, everyone kicks in a few bucks, you pick a name out of a hat and if your player wins, you get the kitty. My luck at this has been brutal. The best I've done is five weeks in. This season I drew Amanda and I hereby apologize to her and her family.
  • Last week saw the beginning of the fourth season of 'Lost'. I'm loving it! The show is not very good about giving straight answers and that drives the FP Gal crazy. Which is understandable. I'm fully confident that the writers have an idea of what they're doing so I'm not as bothered.
  • Newest guilty pleasure TV show? BBC America shows episodes of 'Coupling'. I'd describe it as a cross between 'Friends' and 'Sex in the City' with a good dose of dry British humor. Lots of fun.
  • I guess this is turning into a TV themed post.
  • We're now heading into the worst part of the television year. That time between football and before the basketball tournament. Not even some spring training to watch. Wasteland. I might even have to resort to (shudder) hockey.
  • Lots of movies to watch, though. Remember, February is Oscar month on TCM.
  • That's all!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Movie lists? Why not?!?

(Via Althouse.) Here are a set of lists of all time greatest (and worst) Best Actors.

I remember thinking that Brando was overrated in 'On the Waterfront' (so was the overall movie). DeNiro was truly impressive in 'Raging Bull', very possibly the best acting job in Oscar history. Actually, the top ten is very strong with some all time greats. On second thought, Brando was overrated in 'The Godfather' too.
I've got lots of disagreement with the worst list. I liked Benigni quite a bit in 'Life is Beautiful'. I thought Hanks was wonderful in 'Forrest Gump'. Washington was also very powerful in 'Training Day'. On the other hand, I can't agree more that Nicholson's performance for 'As Good as it Gets' was overrated.
My sense is that the acting awards have been well nominated and awarded this decade but I haven't seen a lot of the movies. In fact, my sense is that (almost paradoxically) the acting has been top notch while the movies themselves have been forgettable (in a historical sense).
And Bill Murray was robbed for not winning for 'Lost in Translation'!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Home sick

Yes, for the third time this bug has gotten me. It must like my taste as it left the FP Gal and Aurelia alone after the first time. Seriously, I may need to build a clean room for the next one of them gets sick.

UPDATE: I think the FP Gal is poisoning me to get her hands on my insurance.

Hey, Austin

Look which city made the New York Times today. I love the opening line:
If you have to come down with a strange disease, this town of 23,000 on the wide-open prairie in southeastern Minnesota is a pretty good place to be.
Yeah, so it's got that going for it. Seriously, good luck to the people covered in this article.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Man's Home is His Castle


(Via Hit & Run.)
A man in England wanted to build a castle in one of his fields but he didn't think the local council would let him.
Over the course of two years, he managed to secretly – and unlawfully – build the imposing mock Tudor structure in one of his fields, shielded behind a 40ft stack of hay bales covered by a huge tarpaulins.

Once it was finished, he and his family moved in and lived there for four years before finally revealing the development – complete with battlements and cannons – in August 2006. Mr Fidler claims that because the building has been there for four years with no objections, it is no longer illegal.

Of course the council doesn't agree. Since he skirted the rules, they want to tear it down. Now that building may not be to your taste (though I like it) but it's not an eyesore. The constructions looks sound enough and there's no mention of a safety risk. He built it in a field so it's not overshadowing his neighbors or anything like that. Why in the world would they not let him build it?

Charge the man a fine if you want to but don't tear it down! Honestly, isn't there a limit to how much authority we should let local boards have on what we'll do with our property? Doesn't ownership mean anything?
And maybe most importantly...how cheaply can I buy hay bales?

Morning smiles

Three of the last four nights have been loud and angry. Relia has not wanted to go to sleep. Or maybe she wanted to sleep so badly that she couldn't. Either way, that's meant lots of yelling and tears and very little peace of mind.
Last night was the worst of them. She spent about an hour yelling in my ear while I tried to jigger her pacifier or her legs (or anything) to get her to just calm down. Finally, I made her a bottle and glutted her to sleep.
Wake her this morning and she's all smiles.

That makes up for a lot.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Giants win!

Not what I predicted, but lots of fun to watch.

A Great Halftime Show

Super Bowl Halftime update

  • Despite appearances, Tom Petty is only 57 years old. There is no truth to the rumors that he fought in the Spanish-American war.
  • Best commercial so far? Probably the one where the ad walks out of the TV and searches for 'Ted'.
  • Well, the game is still close and Giants have an excellent chance of covering. This one just might come down to whoever gets the breaks.
  • Here at casa DeFor we're getting ready to have chicken lasagna. You may all be jealous.

Super Bowl prep

To recap, I think that the Patriots will win but not cover. The line is 12 points and I think the Giants can keep it closer than that. That seems reasonable to me (either that or I'm just taking the cowards route and splitting the baby).
Who do I want to win? That's a tough call. The Patriots cheated and any kind of ultimate justice should ask them to lose. (This story, about the Pats/Rams game after the 2001 season reinforces that.)
But root for the Giants? I still can't get over 41-0. Nor can I really wish good fortune on another New York team. Of course that last point also holds true for the Boston area (five championships this decade and the top NBA team this season). Frankly these are probably my second and third least favorite teams. Maybe I should cheer for widespread power outages. New York and Boston fans are some of the smuggest unlikeables in major sports. None of that will change after tonight. Let's just hope for a good, exciting game.
So what's left? The commercials of course. I'll try to come back later tonight and mention the best ads of the game (with YouTube links if possible). Feel free to leave nominations in the comment section if you'd like.
Enjoy!