Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday meme

Here's an easy meme I picked up from Tracy.

Bold movies you have watched and liked or loved.
Italicize movies you saw and didn’t like.
Leave as is movies you haven’t seen.

The Godfather (1972)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Schindler’s List (1993)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Casablanca (1942)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Star Wars (1977)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Rear Window (1954)

No Country for Old Men (2007)
Goodfellas (1990)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

City of God (2002)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Psycho (1960)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Citizen Kane (1941)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

North by Northwest (1959)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
Fight Club (1999)
Memento (2000)

Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
The Matrix (1999)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Se7en (1995)
Apocalypse Now (1979)

American Beauty (1999) Ah, my first italics. I just can't stand this movie. Something about it's smarmy commentary on suburbia really gets to me. It was a nothing movie that tried to make a statement based entirely on stereotypes. Which can work sometimes (a la Crash).
Vertigo (1958)
Amélie (2001)
The Departed (2006)
Paths of Glory (1957)
American History X (1998)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Chinatown (1974)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Anything Charlie Kaufman does, I like.
The Third Man (1949)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Alien (1979)

The Pianist (2002)
The Shining (1980)
Double Indemnity (1944)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Leben der Anderen, Das [The Lives of Others] (2006)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Boot, Das (1981)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Metropolis (1927)
Aliens (1986)
Raging Bull (1980)
Rashômon (1950)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Rebecca (1940)
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Sin City (2005)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
All About Eve (1950)
Modern Times (1936)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
The Great Escape (1963)
Amadeus (1984)
On the Waterfront (1954)

Touch of Evil (1958)
The Elephant Man (1980)
The Prestige (2006)
Vita è bella, La [Life Is Beautiful] (1997)
Jaws (1975)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
The Sting (1973)

Strangers on a Train (1951)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
The Apartment (1960)
City Lights (1931)
Braveheart (1995)
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Batman Begins (2005)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Blade Runner (1982)
The Great Dictator (1940)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Notorious (1946)
Salaire de la peur, Le [The Wages of Fear](1953)
High Noon (1952)
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
Fargo (1996)
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Unforgiven (1992)
Back to the Future (1985)

Ran (1985)
Oldboy (2003)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Donnie Darko (2001)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
The Green Mile (1999)

Annie Hall (1977)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Gladiator (2000)
The Sixth Sense (1999)

Diaboliques, Les [The Devils] (1955)
Ben-Hur (1959)
It Happened One Night (1934)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Life of Brian (1979)
Die Hard (1988)

The General (1927)
American Gangster (2007)
Platoon (1986)
V for Vendetta (2005)
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
The Graduate (1967)
The Princess Bride (1987)
Crash (2004/I)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
Heat (1995)
Gandhi (1982)
Harvey (1950)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
The African Queen (1951)
Stand by Me (1986)
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Conversation (1974)
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Wo hu cang long [Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ] (2000)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Gone with the Wind (1939) Just too boring for me. Sue me.
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Cabinet des Dr. Caligari., Das [The Cabinet of Dr Caligari] (1920)
The Thing (1982)
Groundhog Day (1993)

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Sleuth (1972)
Patton (1970)
Toy Story (1995)
Glory (1989)

Out of the Past (1947)
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Ed Wood (1994)
Spartacus (1960)
The Terminator (1984)

In the Heat of the Night (1967)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
The Exorcist (1973)
Frankenstein (1931)

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
The Hustler (1961)
Toy Story 2 (1999)
The Lion King (1994)
Big Fish (2003)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Young Frankenstein (1974)

Magnolia (1999) I wanted to like it, but it was just too disjointed, and it had Chimpy McCouchjump in it.
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
In Cold Blood (1967)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Roman Holiday (1953)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Casino (1995)

Manhattan (1979)
Ying xiong [Hero] (2002)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Rope (1948)
Cinderella Man (2005)
The Searchers (1956)
Finding Neverland (2004)
Inherit the Wind (1960)
His Girl Friday (1940)
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Well, that went pretty much as I expected. I don't ask too much of a movie other than it entertain me and not piss me off. Howsabout you?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Idle thoughts 2/26&27: The week that wasn't really much better than the last

The guys were OK. I mean, they were much better than last week. Chikezie was really the best of the bunch, I think.

The girls were no where near as good as I expected them to be. Carly Smithson opened the show on a strong note and Asia'h Epperson closed the show pretty well. In between there wasn't much to talk about.

Going home: Jason Yaeger, Luke Menard; Kristy Lee Cook, and Amanda Overmyer (what a one-trick pony she turned out to be).

So, those are my thoughts. Hit my usual linkdom for full rundowns: American Midol, Snark Raving Mad.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Belief is a funny thing

Politically anyway. Well, not just politically, but that's where I'm going with this.

I have been thinking lately about the relative honesty of some of our candidates -- their perceived beliefs in the things they're talking about, anyway. I get the impression from McCain and Clinton that they will say pretty much anything to get voters to sway their way. You see Clinton go from center to left depending on her audience. You see McCain do much the same. Obama, on the other hand, really seems to stick to message (lacking substance though it may) and I get the impression that he really believes the things he's saying and espousing. This, I think, is where you get the "hope" that so many seem to be tacking to his campaign.

Scares me to death. And that's odd because with a candidate I agree with, I want him to truly believe the things he's saying. But this guy, who seems sincere, and who has, honestly, a likeable TV presence, scares me so because I completely disagree with most of what he's saying and what his campaign has put out about his stances.

Weird that. In the best of times, I can get a candidate who I like, who says things I like and who I think truly believes what he says. In the worst of times, my ideological opposition gets that. In the middle, I would rather have a honest-to-goodness politician because at least I know when I'm being lied to -- every time they open their mouth.

Screw you, Michael Keaton

Any thoughts I ever had about wanting to be a house dad were seconded, thirded and ultimately dashed over the course of this weekend.

My dearest had surgery Thursday to remove a marble-sized growth from the span between the thumb and index finger on her right hand. Everything went well, but not only is she effectively down one hand, she was also wonky from the surgery and from the pain medication. So, I was house dad for a long weekend, which is usually fun in short bursts, but is quite trying for extended periods of time. Add to this that we're also in the middle of painting a room and it was a bit hectic.

By Saturday about every half hour I was thinking, "My wife does all this and homeschools? Is she freakin' crazy?"

I have always supported her choice and respected what she does in sort of a tacit manner. Now that I've experienced a little taste of that life, my respect has grown into full-blown admiration.

All that AND she puts up with a grump like me. I'm a pretty lucky dude.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Idol thoughts 2-19

Yes, I watched last night's show. No, I really don't have any critique of this pack of overly effeminate dudes, except to say that this year's pack is full of guys that look like other famous people.

We've got a dude that claims to look like Ellen DeGeneres, but for my money, looks a lot more like Alex Winter.

Then we have this cat, who, not so much in this picture, but during his performance, reminded me of Billy Madison. Not Adam Sandler, mind you, Billy Madison.

And then this guy -- a Matthew Fox wannabe.

This kid came right out and said people always compared him to Leif Garrett and Peter Frampton.

Lastly, there's this Bruce. He reminds me a lot of Paul Gilbert.

See in this what you will.

For actual recaps, go see the girls at American Midol, or Sarahk at Snark Raving Mad.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Apparently, I'm not smart enough to understand MENSA

Pulled from the pages of FARK: MENSA Announces 10 Smartest Shows.

There is only one show on that list I agree with and that is number 10.

Where is Mythbusters? And M*A*S*H? CSI? Give me a break.

Check the TV Squad link on the page for some other suggestions, especially in the comment section. I was happy to see someone mention Win Ben Stein's Money.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Quick post just to have something new up here today

So, put yourself in a fantasy world where there is no spork. On what side of the cutlery drawers do you fall, fork or spoon?

Honestly, I want to say, SPOOOOON! But due to typical use, I have to say fork.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another office anecdote

So, the other day I talked about how my office deals in information. Well, another thing we do is facilitate the civilian media's access to that information.

Most of the time, like 75 to 80 percent, we have the information the media wants at hand or can produce it with a little research. There are other times that the media wants to talk to a subject matter expert, or that we want the media to do so. Sometimes they need to speak with the person directly involved in whatever they are trying to write about. We also facilitate these interviews.

Since we are the go between agency for this kind of stuff, if something goes wrong, perceived or real, on either side of the operation, we're the ones who hear about it.

If it's a big deal, it's usually because it's a big deal. The reporter may misspell a name, get a phone number wrong, mischaracterize a fact ... etc. The interviewee, may not show up, not give a good interview, become belligerent ... etc. So on the backside of facilitating, we sometimes have to assuage feelings or fix problems.

I'm pretty cynical when I hear a military person compain about being mischaracterized in a news story. Unless it was a hatchet job. But 9 times out of 10, its a positive story where the soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman gets wrapped around the axle about something minor.

Case in point: A senior officer came in our office today and compained about a story done about him. He had been awarded a relatively high level award for his duty while deployed to a war zone. Here, Stateside, his job is administrative. The writer made an allegory to the officer's movement from administrative to warrior by comparing that tranisition to Clark Kent becoming Superman. It's a bit of stretch, but come one, it's a local paper and it's a personality feat.

The guy was less bugged by the fact that he used that allegory than he was by a term used to describe his job here. The reporter referred to him as ... a paper pusher.

Blah, blah, blah, I took offense to that, blah, blah, blah, no one in the military can really be considered a paper pusher, blah, blah, blah, mock outrage ...

Dude. Get over it. It was a positive story.

Another little moment

During our trip to DC, our kids shared a bed. Our 6 and 2-year-old slept with heads at the headboard. Our 8-year-old slept with feet in our other kids' faces.

After a couple of days in the hotel room it was getting more difficult to still the kids' nervous energy, and one night it was nearly impossible to get them to go to sleep. But the finally began passing out.

As the wife and I lay in bed watching TV and being relatively quiet, we noticed our little two-year-old boy stirring a bit. Barely conscious, he moved his arm slightly out to his side. And began tickling his sleeping sister's feet.

Sleepwalker? No. Sleep eater? No. I've got a sleep tickler.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nothing profound to be found here

Sometimes there are little things that make you happy.

Nonsense TV in the background was overshadowed by my exuberant 2-year-old in front of me. I held a small canoe with Diego at the helm. He held a destructive excavator with a jackhammer attachment. The machine marched toward the tiny canoe with murderous intent.

I am sad to report that Diego goes no more.

Monday, February 11, 2008

No, I don't think I'll be going to the theater, thank you

I guess. I think the quiz is skewed toward Lincoln a bit. H/t to Alan.

Which Great US President Are You Most Like?
created with
You scored as Abraham Lincoln

16th President, in office from 1861-1865
Born: 1809 Died: 1865 (assassainated)

Abraham Lincoln


Ronald Reagan


John Kennedy


Dwight Eisenhower


Theodore Roosevelt


George Washington


Franklin Roosevelt


Lyndon Johnson


Thomas Jefferson


Harry Truman


Woodrow Wilson


South of Heaven

Well, Slayer won a grammy.

And Bruce Springsteen topped Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Rush and Metallica for best instrumental.

Guess they're skiing in Hades today.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Want to hear something crazy?

One of the things we do in my job is manage/store/market information pertaining to the recruitment and retention of Sailors in the Navy. Today I came across a bit of info I found quite disturbing.

I'm not sure of the source of this information, but we use it in official literature and we are the "subject matter experts" so I guess it came from us at some point in time.

Anyway, the information states that 72 percent of all 17-24 year olds in the US are ineligible for military service. Of that, 58 percent are ineligible due to height/weight issues, moral or religious reasons, disinlination for military service, etc.; and 14 percent are ineligible because they scored too low on the ASVAB.

So, out of all the 17-24 year olds in the US, 72 percent are ineligible right off the top. Of the remaining 28 percent, the Navy has to compete against the other military services and corporate America.

Crazy, huh?

Taking care of our own?

This is sickening.

Army officials in upstate New York instructed representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs not to help disabled soldiers at Fort Drum Army base with their military disability paperwork last year. That paperwork can be crucial because it helps determine whether soldiers will get annual disability payments and health care after they're discharged.

I'm not sure of the veracity of this story, but the perception is there among the troops so something there is Charlie Foxtrot. At a time when we need to be pouring everything we have into helping disabled soldiers, we don't need stuff like this happening. I sincerely hope that if someone really did say this to VA administrators at Fort Drum they are fired. Not just fired -- publically embarassed.

Also, the Army doesn't have bases. It has posts.

Where's your FEMA now?

Listening to NPR on the way to work, they had a piece about the recent tornadoes that tore through the Mid-South and Southeast the past couple of days. One thing they said caught my attention though. They said that the federal government has dispatched FEMA representatives to the affected areas.

Wait a minute. You mean FEMA wasn't there? They didn't predict it? You mean to tell me that FEMA is a reactive agency?

Well, in light of Katrina I say: How dare the federal government not have some kind of branch of prognostication? How dare FEMA not have their protective domes ready for just such an emergency? How dare the Bush administration not use their weather machines (the same that steered Katrina into New Orleans, apparently) to stop this diabolic storm?

Hyperbole aside, I am surprised that there has been no outrage yet among the disaffected communities about the "lack of response." I further found it funny that in more rationale times, now I guess, the fact that FEMA is responding to an emergency makes perfect sense. Sure couldn't convince New Orleanians (Orleanites? Orleansites?) of that fact though.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

We have not gone to Oz

Last night, the Memphis area, and much of the mid-South was besieged by strong thunderstorms and tornadoes. We are well, but there were several areas 10-to-30 miles away that got hit pretty hard. Hickory Springs Mall in downtown Memphis was hit especially hard.

We heeded the warnings and went to our "safe spot" in the house. Well ... the firs time. There was a second storm front that came through about 9:30 p.m. and for that we did bring the kids downstairs, but crashed on the couch and waited for the Tornado Warning to pass.

Throughout the storm every local channel had full coverage going on. It preempted everything and was a great source of info for people to keep themselves safe. What's sad though is that throughout the evening on Fox, the newscasters had to repeatedly say something like the following: We apologize for those of you who are missing American Idol. We promise to air the show in its entirety once the storm front has passed. They went on to say they'd received several complaints that they had preempted the broadcast.

What kind of a world is it when cheap entertainment overrides basic safety. How oblivious must a person be not to see the value in having that newscaster up there actually performing some good as opposed to telling us about the recent exploits of Britney's hoo-hah?

I am first and most sad for those who lost life, limb and business. I am further saddened by what I lost last night. A little bit more of my faith in humanity.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Hoodah thunkit?

The Giants. Wow. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the Pats were going to seal the deal on this one. I am so happy for Eli Manning and the Giants. They did fantastic. And more than Manning, the Giants' defense. Just amazing.

Cupla pics

Here we are in DC after hitting the Natural History and Air and Space Museums. My back is to the Capital and the Smithsonian "castle;" you can see the Washington monument behind the wife.

If you zoom in on the pics you can see how tired the kids were. I really wanted to press on and see the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln, Vietnam, Korea and WWII memorials. Well, it just wasn't in us. We crossed to the Washington Monument but didn't get any further than that. It was back to the Metro and to the hotel from there.

We HAD spent seven or eight hours in the two museums, so I can't blame the kids. They were worn out. It had been a full day. I just don't feel right unless I get to see Lincoln and the Vietnam Memorial when I'm there.

So, after we left DC we stopped at the cavern I mention below and this is the cavern's claim to fame -- anthodite. It's almost coral looking. Really cool stuff.

Of course they had the normal cavern stuff and reflecting pools are always neat looking.

Made it home

We made it home last night.

Originally, the plan was to drive about half way and finish the drive today. But, since it's only about a 13-hour drive from DC to home, we decided to go ahead and drive straight through. It was still a pleasant drive. Both my wife and I used to drive like this in our youth. Before we met and after we were married. We'd make 20-hour drives straight just swapping out driving duties. What a difference a decade can make!

I no longer feel like I can make a drive much longer than 8 hours without feeling it in my back and legs. Just weird how that happens, you know?

We did make a couple of stops. Our first stop was at Skyline Caverns, which is only about an hour-and-a-half to two hours west of DC off I-66. If you know the area at all, you know there are tons of caverns all clustered along I-81 against Shenandoah National Park. This particular cavern is pretty small, the tour only takes about an hour, but it was perfect for that fact. Skyline Caverns has the largest deposit of anthodites in the world. My girls were really keen on the Hope Diamond/Mineral display area in the Museum of Natural History. The wife and I really wanted them to see some of this stuff in its naturally occurring state. It was cool.

So, good trip but very glad to be home.