Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fran Tarkenton, hero

Link.

Up - 2009

I've been looking forward to this movie and, man it didn't disappoint. First some superlatives and then I'll go into a spoiler laden review. I laughed, I cried. Babysitting permitting, I'll see it again and again. Pixar is moviespeak for 'magic'. This one was even better than 'Wall-E', maybe last year's best movie. Seriously, go out and see this movie and you'll be very happy with it.
Spoilers to follow, ok? You've seen an image of a house connected to a large batch of balloons in all of the commercials. The story behind it is one of the most heartrending and touching that I've seen in a long time. Very well done.
There are very few characters, I think that the cast credits are only about ten names long. Each of the main ones are very well put together, each in their own right. Two of the main ones are old men, very unusual in this day and age. There is also a young kid who is slow but touching in his sincerity. A talking dog steals the show. 'Up' is an absolute must see for anyone who loves dogs. (Even us cat-lovers enjoyed it.)

End of spoilers. Like most Pixar movies, this one starts with a strong story and then adds good animation on top of it. This one doesn't follow any kind of predictable plot path. In fact, it's filled with unique images and situations.
It's a great, great movie.

Random Relia updates

No cute little anecdote here and no real story to tie things together. Just some updates on our little girl.
  • She's stringing more and more words together, surprising us often. The other night she threw a minor tantrum at bedtime and then afterword asked for a 'tissue'. She then said she was 'crying'. We blame/credit daycare.
  • With this wonderful warm weather we've taking Relia to the park on a daily basis. She still loves the tallest slides and uses the scariest ladders to get there. The swings have been a trial for her. She sees other kids using them and wants to join in the fun but the motion doesn't agree with her. Yesterday she was fine with just hanging there with small pushes. That's an improvement.
  • For awhile, she was confusing the words 'Mommy' and 'monkey'. Also 'Daddy' and 'potty'. I don't come off well in the comparison. She's starting to get the differences (thank God).
  • We think there is a growth spurt going on. When she dangles above the slide at the park, her feet now touch the ground. That wasn't true a couple of weeks ago.
  • More singing and she loves it when we sing together. Thinks it's the funniest thing ever.
  • Last year Jerry Girton met her and said that she really smiles with her eyes. I think that's about right. She has very expressive eyes and that adds to her charm. Of which she's got gobs.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Have a great Friday




Comet West, the Great Comet of 1976

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Movie lines

I enjoyed this.

Where in the World scoreboard (Updated)

Round seven answers:

31. Belem Castle, Lisbon Portugal
32. Terracotta Soldiers, Xian China
33. Arc de Triomphe, Paris France
34. Moai statues, Easter Island
35. Auckland skyline, Auckland New Zealand

No correct answer for 31 yet [now it has been answered], but four [five] more points for Michelle. That brings the total to...

Michelle 26
Hans 6
Jen 2
Carrie 1

For the record, 35 was the only one I got wrong at work. I was so certain it was the Toronto skyline, that I didn't bother to double check it. Whoops! The next (and last) round pops Monday at noon. There are a couple of easy ones, and some very hard ones.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Canticle for Leibowitz - Miller

'Canticle for Leibowitz' is often known as one of the most literary of the famous sci-fi novels. It was originally written in three parts, each one published in as a novella in a magazine. When it was put together for a single book, Miller kept the three stories distinct, though they are based on a common location and history.
The first part takes place some centuries after a full out nuclear war, then known as the Flame Deluge. One of the remaining splinters of civilization is a monastery in the southwest that is dedicated to preserving any scrap of writing that exists from the pre-war civilization. This part of the story centers on a young novitiate who chances upon a wanderer in the desert. This chance meeting leads to discovery of old materials and sets the young man on an unwanted path to noteriety. This one was my favorite.
The second part takes place some centuries later still, as the civilized world is rediscovering some modern sciences and inventions. The focus here is the sometime tension between science and religion and the way that politics can complicate both of them. Probably the weakest of the three.
The last story is centuries later again. This time the world is on the brink of nuclear war again. The church is working on sending missionaries offworld so that some part of the church will survive if the worst happens. The main focus is on a situation where the church is asked to bless euthanasia. It's heartrending.
I first read this book some twenty years ago. Back then, my Dad was teaching it in his Humanities class. 'Canticle' has interesting things to say about the role of organized religion in the world and interesting questions too. It's very well written and I'd recommend it to anyone that enjoys a good read. A great book.

Spitfire

That's the way they described Relia at daycare today.

(Isn't that a fun word?)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

U2 by month

The FP Gal and I had a discussion about lyrics from U2 songs. We're trying to figure out if they have a song whose lyrics connect with each month of the year. Here is what we came up with:

January: New Year's Day
February:
March:
April: Pride (In the Name of Love)
May:
June:
July: 4th of July
August:
September:
October: October
November:
December: Angel of Harlem

Any help?

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Light

Last night my Dad watched Relia for us so we could have a night to our own. I decided to take the FP Gal for a walk all over NW Austin. It was something of a nostalgia trip for me and if your house was somewhere in the NW, we either drove past or walked past and it was pointed out and celebrated appropriately.
I'm always struck by how quiet it is down there. I love how dark the houses are, with only the soft blue of a TV set showing on the living room curtains. The thick trees block out the street lights so you end up moving from lit bubble to lit bubble.
As we were walking I was keeping half an eye on the stars, much more visible there than up here. Suddenly I noticed a bright star where I hadn't noticed one before. And...was it moving? I stopped and pointed it out to the FP Gal and asked her if it could be a plane. She thought maybe a satellite but it seemed too bright. After a good twenty seconds (at least) it faded to nothing and was gone.
Just last week I'd been reading about a current meteor shower, the Scorpiids. The angle of this shower is such that it leads to long, slow meteors that often turn into sparking fireballs. I couldn't help but wonder if that's what we saw.
Only one problem, these meteors should have been close to the horizon and this was too high up. Talked with the FP Gal's father tonight and he had a different thought. The space shuttle landed early this morning. Maybe we saw it on a low orbit. How cool would that be?

Where in the World 7

Round seven, almost done.
31
32
33
34
35
See rules here before commenting.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Branded

Whenever Relia sees some Dr Pepper she says, "Momma!". For Coke Zero it's "Daddy!". Is that common?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Four New Gorillas

Today I called a Canadian airline named WestJet to change a reservation. The (very nice) lady who answered the phone gave me her name, said she was in Calgary and informed me that her city had just gotten four new gorillas.
This took me by surprise. Most airlines don't offer an inventory of their zoos. I'm guessing that most airline employees don't keep up on this type of info. More importantly, most airlines don't encourage their agents to talk about such things.
Not sure what to do with the gorilla news, I tried to push on but she then asked me if it wasn't exciting news. I agreed and tried to keep up my end of the conversation by asking her how many total gorillas they now had. She said she wasn't sure. She then told me that they got two boys and two girls. They came from New York and they would be quarantined for 90 days. Seeing my opening I asked if they did that for all New Yorkers or just for gorillas.
She was a pleasant woman and I'm happy to find people making their jobs (and mine) a little sunnier. A few thoughts though...
  • It turns out that the story is true. I almost wish it was just a unique greeting that she gave to people. In fact, I'm thinking of using that for lulls in conversation with people all over the world. "Cleveland? Didn't you just get four new gorillas?"
  • It pretty much has to be gorillas to make this interesting, doesn't it? If it was zebras it would be too little. If it was elephants it would be too much.
  • 'Four New Gorillas' would be a great band name, or in this age a great blog name. Steve B, you could go with 'Six New Gorillas'.

Fundraiser Math

Yesterday we went to a fundraiser at the FP Gal's school. They sold tickets at the door and the listed prices went like this:

$1 = 5 tickets
$5 = 20 tickets
$10 = 40 tickets
$20 = 80 tickets

As we looked at the sign I whispered to the FP Gal and asked her if it was really a better deal to keep buying one dollar worth of tickets rather than to buy in bulk. She quickly did the math and decided that I had it right.
We asked the ladies with the cash box and after some discussion they agreed. The lady who set up the whole shebang was nearby and a quick question to her suggested that she didn't see what we were getting at. I bit my tongue and didn't say anything about math skills and we paid for our tickets and wandered off.
As we left, we talked to the cash box ladies again and they said that it was done that way so that kids with only a dollar would still get a good deal. Kind of a loss leader, I guess. I can see the logic though it is the opposite of most marketing set-ups. And, to be brutally honest, I'm not all that convinced that it was done on purpose.
Still, it was a fundraiser for kids and I don't feel bad that we could have somehow squeezed out a few more tickets out of them. As it was, we ended up giving the bulk of our tickets away so we could take our tired daughter home.

Have a great Friday

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where in the World scoreboard

Three fourths of the way through and we have a winner! This week's answers:

26. The Louvre, Paris France
27. St Stephens Cathedral, Passau Germany
28. Salzburg, Austria (and the picture has a couple of different focuses, so I would have accepted anything that said Salzburg)
29. Stolzenfels Castle, Rhine River Germany
30. Bruges, Belguim

And the scoreboard is:

Michelle 21
Hans 6
Jen 2
Carrie 1

Michelle, drop me an email at LLStone27(at)gmail.com so I can get some info for your prize.

I'm kind of surprised that the Salzburg fans on this blog didn't get number 28. Must have been a different angle then you've seen before. Anyway, the next five have some easy ones so be ready Monday at noon to get those guesses in.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Movie suggestions?

We just expanded our Netflix set up and we need some more movies for the queue. Any suggestions? We're looking for recent movies, old forgotten favorites, TV series on DVD or even some quirky something that you think would tickle our interest.
Go ahead, give us some help!

97

After complaining about cold temps over the weekend, I should note that we had a high of 97 yesterday. That's too much, too quickly. Grrr. It's supposed to be hot again today and then back into the 70s (where we belong) the rest of the week.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Preakness 2009


Every year I make a big deal about the Derby and forget about the Preakness. This year was a pretty good race. (Btw, Relia loves watching these guys run. We may need to take her to the track this summer...)

Bald Presidents (and other notables)

Ran across this at Fresh Pics. It's a reimagined set of US Dollars, this time the Presidents are without hair. Interestingly (and I'm sure my wife would agree) almost all of them look better! Check out Grant especially.
Btw, I don't expect the 'bald ceiling' to be broken any time soon. Before then we will almost certainly have a woman president, an openly gay president and (possibly) an openly Mormon president before we have a more aerodynamic one.

2000th Post



This is the official 2000th post mile marker. Feel free to celebrate in the whatever manner suits you best.
(If I'd realized I was this close last night I would have planned out something with more oomph. Sorry.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where in the World 6

Round six, a few toughies in here.
26
27
28
29
30
See rules here before commenting.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bachelor weekend

My weekend alone is coming to a close. Even now the FP Gal is making her way back north from Iowa with Relia. It's been almost a year since I've had one of these and it's possible that this is the last one for many years to come.
I didn't do anything terribly crazy. I've been trying to buy the rest of the Hugo books with a heavy bias towards getting used books. To that end I went to four different used book stores this weekend. Picked up two Booker prize winners, a comet hunting memoir and 'Pillars of the Earth' but no Hugos.
Been hoping to get at least the pre-90's books used. I'm short three books from the 60's and two from the 70's. There is a pretty good chance that they just aren't available in any local used book store. And Powell's is too far away (darn it). To make it worse, Mt Hood is out (double darn it).
It was a quiet weekend. I did get some stuff done around the house. The hated lawn is mowed. The dishes are clean. The kitties are fed.
And best of all, I miss baby and wife and am anxious to see them again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Frost warning?

Yep, it's the 16th of May and we have a frost warning out for tonight. Am I wrong or is that insane? This whole day was unreasonably cold. When I woke up this morning, the temp was only 38. As a bonus, we've also had gale force winds all day to bring the windchill down another five or ten degrees.
Meanwhile, the temp in Honolulu is 82 with a gentle breeze...

Friday, May 15, 2009

101 Greatest Screenplays

It's been forever since I've talked about a movie list hasn't it? I just stumbled across a beauty of one. This is the 101 greatest screenplays as voted by the Writers Guild of America. The top ten (but do read through the whole thing):

1. Casablanca
2. The Godfather
3. Chinatown
4. Citizen Kane
5. All About Eve
6. Annie Hall
7. Sunset Blvd
8. Network
9. Some Like it Hot
10. Godfather II


Those are some pretty solid movies. The only obvious omission I see is 'Fight Club' but there might be others. Since this list focuses on writing rather than the overall movie it's a bit different than AFI's lists. I'd describe most of these movies as 'clever' and that's a pretty high compliment in my book.

Have a great Friday

Thursday, May 14, 2009

'Sound of Music' update

In an effort to encourage our daughter towards musical tastes, I sometimes play, uh, musicals. Sometimes at dinner the FP Gal and I sing the 'Fruma Sarah' song from 'Fiddler' which is fine now but I'm sure would cause nightmares if she had any idea what we were singing about. Today I popped in 'Sound of Music' in honor of my dear Mother's trip to Germany, Austria and the Alps in general (details here and more funnily here).
She wasn't riveted to the TV or anything but one song did catch her attention. The yodeling song, of course. I sang along with it, clumsily of course. My theory is that there is no official set of words for it, merely syllables that approximate the intent of the song. Near the end she was singing too, no doubt with as much accuracy as I was.
Bonus Musical Question: is there any famous musical in which the songs in the second half are as strong as the first half? (I sure can't think of any.)

Where in the World scoreboard

A clean sweep for Michelle this week and she's really pulling away. The answers:

21. Catherine's Palace (Peterhof) St Petersburg Russia
22. Blue Mosque, Istanbul Turkey
23. Tsarevets Hill, Bulgaria
24. Fisherman's Bastion (Castle Hill), Budapest Hungary
25. Rathaus, Bamberg Germany

That makes the score:

Michelle 17
Hans 6
Jen 2

and that means that Michelle can wrap this contest up as early as next Monday. Pictures pop at noon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

'Up'

Roger Ebert gave a kind of preview of the upcoming Pixar movie 'Up'. This is the movie I'm looking forward to seeing and it's lines like this that make me anticipate it:
They're cute in the human way of the animation master Hayao Miyazaki.


I love those kodamas!

Amazing Race Minneapolis?

The FP Gal and and I were talking about Amazing Race on Sunday, specifically what it must be like to scout the different cities and figure out what tasks you wanted the people to do. As a thought experiment we decided to think about what we would recommend if Minneapolis was a featured city. Here were different ideas we came up with:
  • Find the Mary Tyler Moore statue.
  • Inline skate around one of the lakes.
  • Eat some lutefisk (to show off regional heritage).
  • Detour: find certain selected shops in either the Skyway or at the MOA (Tubes or Rubes?).
  • Pitstop at the Spoonbridge.
And this would be a pretty dull episode. Would it be better in the winter?
  • Scrap the windshields of ten cars.
  • Create and stack ice bricks to help build the Winter Carnival castle.
  • Correctly put on the twenty-two items needed to go cross country skiing (to show off regional heritage).
  • Detour: shovel a block long section of sidewalk or put up Christmas lights in freezing rain (Scrape or Pray?).
  • Pitstop at the auto impound lot.
More interesting, I guess. Can anyone else do better?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Where in the World 5

Round five. Still keeping up?
21
22
23
24
25
See rules here before commenting.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

(Not quite) Terrible Twos

It looks like I've been complaining about Relia quite a bit lately. She's starting to enter the terrible stages with tantrums and pushback and meltdowns in public. Some of it is lack of communication, some of it is testing limits and all that. All of it is completely normal (from what I hear).
But I don't want it to sound all awful. She is still lots of fun and cute as could be. Now that it's warm out and she can play outside she is especially fun to be with. Her interaction with the cats is a blast too.
One of the most fun things is just watching her language map be created. She uses certain phrases as kind of catch-alls for certain things. For instance, when she says "All done", that means she wants something to stop or to end or to change in some way. That means that when she's stuck in the car seat and wants to be outside, she'll keep yelling "All done!" to try and get us to change the activity.
Tonight we were sitting on the couch watching some Tivo'd 'MASH' and it was decided that it was bedtime. The FP Gal paused the TV and Relia realized what was up. She gestured frantically at the TV and kept saying, "On! On! On!" to try and get us to keep watching TV so we wouldn't put her down.
This really is fun stuff.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Bedtime

The FP Gal has blogged about setting up the toddler bed in the nursery. It's adorable and Relia has taken well to it. One thing it has changed is the bedtime routine. Before the bed was there we would sit in a glider chair with her on our lap and read to her. Now with the bed we try and coax her to lay down next to us and then read a couple of books.
This isn't always easy. Relia is starting to fight bedtime. This mean that she has to run around the room crying before she'll finally submit and climb onto the bed. Tonight was one of the fighting nights.
It was my turn with her and I simply laid on the bed with the book I'm reading and let her yell. After five minutes or so she asked to come up (even though she can do it on her own, I helped her out). She didn't want me to read one of her books out loud. Nope. She was very firm that I should keep reading mine while she lay next to me and 'read' hers.
All very cute of course. After I'd read for ten minutes or so I decided that it was time to wrap things up. I firmly set my book down and picked up 'The Going to Bed Book'. She didn't want me to read it and tried very hard to close the book so I couldn't continue. After a minute I realized that I've read the durn thing about 200 times and didn't need to see it. I let her have the book and she gripped it tightly closed. I simply kept reciting. She looked at the book and closed it even harder. I think she thought if she could somehow close it hard enough she could stop me and delay bedtime.
Then I finished and she went into the crib. After some yelling, she was out.

The Ref Speaks

Very interesting interview with Ed Hochuli, prominent NFL ref. Football fans will find him easily recognizable, he's the one with weightlifting arms. And a sterling reputation as a ref. The article focuses on his journey to the NFL and how he balances his time. It also talks about his very public bad call that changed a Broncos/Chargers game last year.
Since my own dear Pop refs highschool games, I found this very interesting:

Like many red-blooded American males, he would have preferred being a football star. He was a scrappy linebacker at the University of Texas-El Paso in the early 1970s before size got in the way. So he started reffing Pop Warner games on Saturdays, making 50 bucks for four games. Sure, at first it was a way for a young father to help pay for law school, but ... "Any official would tell you the same story -- you get hooked," Hochuli says. "It's like having a main line of adrenaline running in your vein for three hours on Sunday night. It's like standing on a cliff."

Pee Wee led to preps, jucos and eventually the Pac-10 in 1985. Hochuli had to work the chains for two years before he got to officiate a college game, and his lawyer buddies would come along to affectionately tease him from the stands at Sun Devil Stadium: Go, Down-Marker Ed! They followed him to his NFL debut in 1990, when he broke into the league as a back judge. His first game was at Lambeau Field, preseason, and Hochuli was nervous. What if somebody figured out he didn't belong there? He threw his flag and felt his stomach sink because he knew immediately that he had gotten the call wrong. Hochuli quickly picked up the flag off the grass and stuffed it in his pocket, and the game went on.

Scratch a long time football fan and you'll find an amateur referee. The game is so fast and complicated that almost every play features some kind of rule question. After the FP Gal watched her first season of football with me, she was nearly an expert on the cluster of rules about whether a catch was legal or not.
Hochuli also did a live chat with ESPN. He was asked about the most difficult calls for refs to make:
That depends on your position. For the Referee, it's the "pass/fumble". Did the QB start forward with the bal in his hand, or did it come out before he started forward. For the deep officials, it's the sideline catches when the player is in mid stride (not the toe-tappers).
He also talks about the schedule for refs and stresses repeatedly how much they study the rulebooks and are tested on them. All very interesting.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Random 'Star Trek' thought

After seeing a bunch of lists ranking the previous Star Trek movies, it just occurred to me that the mother and father from '7th Heaven' starred in the first and fourth Star Trek movies, respectively. I wonder if Rev Camden still has a thing for bald women?

Have a great Friday

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Where in the World scoreboard

Ok, halfway through and these answers went up really quickly. I thought 18 was the most difficult of the whole set and, Michelle, I'm amazed at how quickly you got it.

The answers:
16. Temples of Bagan, Myanmar
17. Tanah Lot Temple, Bali Indonesia
18. Schonnbrunn Palace, Vienna Austria
19. Alexander III bridge in Paris (I would have accepted Eiffel Tower, too)
20. Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest Romania (though I'm going to accept Ceau┼čescu's Palace since he built it)

That brings the overall scoreboard to

Michelle 12
Hans 6
Jen 2

No pictures outstanding at this point. The next batch will pop on Monday at noon.

Morning update

The FP Gal tried to get breakfast ready for Relia but somehow Relia saw something else that she wanted (a bottle of prepopped popcorn?) and could not be satisfied with mere waffles. Loud crying and wailing and gnashing of teeth. There would have been tearing of sackcloth if she could have figured it out.
There was also a struggle over sitting in her high chair or not. This involved much crying and yelling. And a brief discussion of Gypsies. (Pat, if you'd like to experience Her Fierceness in all her glory, we can schedule some time next Thursday.)
Finally, Relia decided that some yogurt would be ok. But only if she could operate the spoon and feed herself. You know how Yoplait containers are designed, with a rim smaller than the base of the container? Years back it caused 'skunk-killing' accusations from Peta? Well, this design has caused her little hand to be stuck a few times. But...we've gotten through it somehow.

Could be a long day...

UPDATE: The FP Gal is home and after talking with her I have no idea what Relia became fixated on this morning. It may have been popcorn related. It might best be described as 'corn seeds'. It's the stuff that is in the jar before any popping has taken place. I hope this clears up any questions you might have had on this point.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Toddler question

When judging lightning, you're supposed to count the seconds between the flash and the sound to tell how far away the sound is. Can you find something similar if you count the seconds between the sound of the head bonk and the time before a toddler can scream?

Overheard at our house

Relia: (guiding me to the couch) Sit down!
Me: On the couch?
Relia: Yes.
Me: (trying to instill politeness) What do you say?
Relia: Yes!

The FP Gal sat on the other side of the couch and laughed and laughed. On the third try she finally said, "Please".

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Favre in Purple...?

It's going to happen and I'm trying to wrap my head around it. The timeline was something like:

April 27th - The Jets release Favre so he can 'retire'.
April 28th through May 4th - Favre insists that he isn't coming back. Vikes coach Brad Childress says team is looking at options.
May 5th - Reports are that Favre and Childress are meeting together later in the week.
May 11th? - Vikes call press conference to announce signing.

Ugh. I said last year that I didn't want him and nothing has changed my mind about that. I cheered against the man for almost two decades and now I'm supposed to cheer for him? Just because he can't make up his mind doesn't mean that a rational fan base has to change theirs.

Starship Troopers - Heinlein

As I've mentioned before, I'm a huge Heinlein fan. When I did the Great American Novel project I suggested that this book should probably be added in. I still feel that way. I hate to push books on this site but if you haven't read this before, please consider picking it up. It presents some very challenging ideas about the military and the role of a citizen within a nation. It's also entertaining as all get out!
In the late 50's, Heinlein set out to write down some of his thoughts on the nature of military service and it's role in a good society and this is the book that came out. His first step was to look at a common problem with democracies; the average voter comes to vote his/her interests above any kind of national ideal (commonly known as voting for 'bread and circuses). How then to get voters to care for the larger group?
Heinlein didn't think you can really train a patriotic urge into them. He says that you could no more give a blind man sight than to make a particular individual more responsible. Instead he opted for a system where people could voluntarily prove this ethic before they were given the right to vote. In this system a person could only become a voting citizen if they served a military term or (importantly) a non-violent but demanding and possibly dangerous equivilant. In other words, each voter had proved that they cared more about the larger body of people than they did about their own sole life.
To say that Starship Troopers is one of the most controversial Hugo winners ever is no understatement. Not because of the quality of the writing (up to par with Heinlein's usual high standard) but because the ideas he presented are not popular. The book is routinely denounced as fascist, by people who confuse the term with 'warlike'. It's an ironic note that the idea of tying citizenship to military service was partly inspired by the Swiss tradition where able bodied men serve at least two years in the army.
I don't find the book to be war-loving as much as it is war-understanding. Heinlein says that a strong military is all that protects a civilized people from the uncouth barbarians that will always gather at the gates. He suggests that any people that stops growing and pushing will be soon pushed aside by others with no moral qualms to stop them. For this, even the most civilized society needs 'rough and ready' men willing to fight for those at home.
But I don't want the entire book to sound like a dry ethics tome because it certainly isn't. 'Starship Troopers' covers the enlistment and military career of Juan Rico in a futuristic military. The whole shebang from signing up against his parents wishes to boot camp to his first combat experiences to the day when he leads his own troops. It's filled with action and regret and the things mentioned above are lessons learned along the way.
Also, please don't confuse this wonderful novel with the awful movie of the same name. 'Starship Troopers' is the book that 'Saving Private Ryan', the movie almost was.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Where in the World 4

Round four, halfway done.
16
17
18
19
20
See rules here before commenting.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Random Sunday Night Thoughts

  • I guess I've given up on the Amazing Race Updates. This season hasn't been as good as past ones. I don't really care for any of the teams this year, or more accurately, I'm rooting against most of them. Some of the tasks have been interesting but almost every episode has come down to who could find the best taxi driver. Well, knowing Mandarin has been helpful too.
  • One of the other shows that we watch, Survivor, is just now becoming good. Lots of backstabbing and scrambling around. And at least one good villain. And the scenery isn't bad either.
  • One more show? Without revealing any spoilers, let me just say that this season of 'Lost' has been outstanding. There are only twentysome episodes left of the series and each Wednesday I'm more and more excited.
  • Speaking of 'Lost', if they need a new 007 anytime soon I think they should think outside of the box and get Naveen Andrews. Or maybe he should get his own set of spy movies. In any case, he looks very natural with a gun and a mission.
  • Enough TV? Let me switch gears to movies. Am I the only self professed geek in the US who isn't excited about the new Star Trek movie? Not sure why it doesn't do anything for me. I think it's because I think 'rebooted' movie series are kind of a cop out.
I guess that's it!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Derby Day

Somehow this day always sneaks up on me. Now, I'm not a gambling man and I don't have any kind of sustained interest in horse racing. But the Kentucky Derby really is a special event. If you've never tuned in and picked a horse to cheer on then you've been missing something. Tune into NBC around 5p (central time) and watch those ponies go!
Here is a list of the horses as well as their odds for winning. Take a look and see if any of the names jump out at you. I'm picking 'Regal Ransom' so pick someone else.

And have fun!