July 31, 2007

Not dead yet...

In skimming through an article about the renovation of Graceland over on CNN's website, I noticed a small mention down toward the bottom of the article:
CKX, which also owns the rights to former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali's name and image, might have a better shot at other such deals as a private company, since celebrities are often reluctant to have their financial dealings made public, said Bear Stearns analyst Christopher Ensley.
Now this CKX of mention is said, earlier in the article to be...
the New York-based company that controls all things Elvis
...and they do have a website that has a small Ali logo over on the right-hand side.

Now I'm okay with the whole marketing Elivs thing. He's dead.

But - and I could be wrong about this as I don't see the guy on any regular basis - I'm pretty sure that Muhammad Ali is still alive. I mean, he did apparently just buy a house in Jefferson County (where Louisville is, donchaknow).

How can a company own the rights to a living person's name and image?

Does this mean that Ali has had to revert back to his old name because he doesn't own the rights anymore?

Has Ali had to stop signing autographs?

Can he no longer have his family take pictures of him when they get together at Thanksgiving?

What's the deal?

July 30, 2007

Frickin' finally!

Way back on this summer's big vacation (check it if you don't remember), we stumbled across a pretty rockin' radio station out of Chicago: 93.1 FM - WXRT. It was July 2nd as we were rolling into the Windy City, and we caught a repeat of the morning's Lin's Bin - where Lin Brehmer answers all your burning questions twice a week on the air and anytime you want on your MP3 player.

In particular, it was the July 2nd episode that caught my attention as Lin discoursed on our national anthem. But it wasn't until this past weekend that this particular episode showed up on their podcast page.

I'd also recommend the double entendre episode (coincidently right around my b'day)...guilty pleasures...cicadas...first amendment..and, honestly, most of the rest of them...

July 29, 2007


At 5:29 AM on 7/29/07, I completed HP7.

Feel free to discuss in the comments.

July 28, 2007

Continuing the survey

Another from the Seeqpod vault...

SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

Or if you're not into the whole embedding thing...click here...

No particular theme here, just stuff that's got five stars on my iTunes and that I'm thinking very few of you have heard...

July 27, 2007

The continuing taunts of Homer Laughlin

Damn you, Homer Laughlin!

Damn you and your continuing need to ensure that people like me keep buying your products.

No, you can't possibly be satisfied with putting out an outstanding product like Fiestaware. Instead, you have to keep introducing variations on the Fiestaware.
Oh, you have ten place settings in various colors because those because those are the ones that were available when you got married? But do you have the eight colors that have been introduced since then?
Why must you taunt those of us with completist mentalities? (Oh, that South Park figure has a slightly different expression? Then I must have both versions!)

So, I'm off to Macy's today to pick up the new evergreen and heather colors.

Oh, and by the way, the new Fiestaware that I'm buying doesn't have the uranium that was in the old glazes. But thanks for your concern.

July 26, 2007


SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

New stuff comin' atcha...

Today's find is Seeqpod.com, a nice bit of interweb searching and an emedable music player. I found it a few weeks ago in skimming through the various blogs I check daily and started a decent little digging on it. The site lets you login, create a bunch of playlists (by searching the web for playable mp3 files), and throw them out to your friends via stuff like...well...a blog. If that's your thing, ya know...

So, today I offer you a cd I call simply Lonnie's CD because it's the first one I burned when we got the new computers with burnable drives. It's a combo of the various music that was bouncing around in my head (mostly coming from the library) 'round that time, and it's still probably my favorite single cd that I've got around.

I'm one song short as of the posting of this, but I've got Seeqpod searching for it, and it should be added in the next lil bit.

Enjoy it...

...or don't...

And if the embed doesn't work for you, head on over here.

July 25, 2007

Wes's at it again

The next Wes Anderson joint (thanks, Spike, for that bit of the vernacular) is scheduled to show up in theaters at the end of September, and I'm thoroughly on board.

His last two films - Tenenbaums and Steve Zissou - were absolutely marvelous. I've got to get around to seeing Rushmore and Bottle Rocket at some point.

July 24, 2007

A journey through the thrilling world of my media

Ah, the thrilling life of a teacher in the summer...

Continuing my work through the excellent Ex Machina series, I took a deep breath of Smoke Smoke - volume five in the series. Ex Machina continues to be a fine piece of writing, exploring complex themes and issues - in this volume, the issues of mandatory minimums, marijuana legalization, continuing gay marriage themes, and safety from a killer posing as a fire fighter.

This volume, though, feels a lot more like a middle chapter - introducing and addressing the issues but never bringing any of them to a resolution. There are a number of interesting things introduced - a big splash page of Mister Mayor toking up, the infidelity of one member of the first male-male marriage in NYC, continuing plots against the mayor - but none are brought to anything near a resolution.

The series is excellent. I imagine that the issues will be dealt with in time, but as a contained mass, this trade left me wanting.

Astro City's third trade - Family Album - leaves nothing lacking or missing. The trade - running against the grain of most collections that simply grab a single span of issues - takes its tales from two runs of the second Astro City series: #1-3 and 10-13.

These chosen tales hold together marvelously well thematically if not entirely as one story. The first three are single-issue stories of the people in and around the heroes of Astro City (two of which won Eisner Awards). Each of these frame the City and invite us brilliantly into the amazingly rich, fictional world that Busiek has created. We see the heroes and the City through the eyes of a family new to town (issue #1), a second-rate villain who steps up his game (#2), and a fictional creations accidentally turned real who has to live with the consequences (#3). None of these could be remotely considered a "typical" cape and tight story, and therin lies Busiek's talents. His writing is so masterful that he can focus on the most minute of characters in a grand story (huge battles go on around the main characters in these issues - particularly the new family) and reveal the most human of foibles and successes, making what should be an absolutely fantastical world into one that we feel that we've known for years.

The second group of issues are broken into two stories - one telling of the youngest member of Busiek's pastiche of the Fantastic Four search for a "normal" life, and the other of a heroe's choice between becoming a hero (keeping to the increasingly risky life of a rooftop-hopping crime fighter) or to step away and raise a family, a choice made more tricky particularly after being confronted with three possible outcomes of those decisions.

If there is anyone out there who claims to not like superhero comics, these are the trades to hand to them.

Astro City is a gem of a read.

Another grower, dangit...

Apparently I'm coming into albums with too many expectations, because I'm finding myself more likely to dislike or dismiss an album the first few times through but to fall into...not always love, I guess, but at least a strong like.

Ryan Adams's first release in a year and a half (official release, anyway, as he's apparently been streaming music on his website for the past couple of years - who knew?) finds him seemingly answering a lot of the criticisms levied his way. He's been accused of throwing out any old thing that he records, desperately needing something in the way of a firmer editing hand to shape things into a cohesive, quality album rather than three throwaway albums that are each half filler.

On Easy Tiger, Adams lets that shaping take place, plunging hard into territory that everybody has been clamboring for him to plow for years now: folky, country rock. He's good at it. Hell, there have been some moments where he's been almost great at it. So why doesn't this album quite work?

Well, the first third of it has some excellent songs - stuff right up there with his his best from Cold Roses, but for some reason the rest of the album doesn't hold together. It's good stuff, solid work. But it doesn't grab me that way his best songs have.

We asked for a tight, together album, and Adams has clearly given it to us (thirteen songs in the same vein, all but one between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 minutes).

To quote AllMusic.com's review (not atypical among critics this time out):
As fine as some of the songs are, as welcoming as the overall feel of the record is, it seems a bit like Adams is giving his fans (and label) "Ryan Adams by numbers," hitting all the marks but without passion. This is when his craft learned from incessant writing kicks in — he can fashion these tunes into something sturdy and appealing — but it also highlights how he can turn out a tune as lazily as he relies on casual profanity to his detriment. Ultimately, these flaws are minor, since Easy Tiger delivers what it promises: the most Ryan Adamsy Ryan Adams record since his first. For some fans, it's exactly what they've been waiting for, for others it'll be entirely too tidy, but don't worry — if Adams has proven to be anything it's reliably messy, and he's sure to get ragged again somewhere down the road (and based on his past record, safe money is on October 2007).
If you'd like to give the album a try, here are alternate versions of 'bout half of the songs. They're not quite the same as what made the final cut, but they're close enough to give you and idea.

Man, the critics have been all over the place on the Beastie Boys' Mix-Up.

Some love the light-hearted nature of a good groove band just throwing down some solid tracks for a change.

Others throw it at the Beasties for putting out such pedestrian instrumental fare.

Again, I'll turn to the AllMusic.com review (seriously, if you're not checking that site out yet, you need to get started):
Even if the instrumental interplay is tighter, the overall atmosphere is alluringly warm and friendly: it's music that flows easily and it's a perfect soundtrack for a slow summer afternoon. Most of all, the Beasties sound relaxed and comfortable, enjoying the process of making this music, and if you're on the same wavelength, it's hard not to get sucked into it too. The Mix Up is not a major statement, but that's the nice thing about the record: it's as personal and idiosyncratic as any old funky soul-jazz LP that you'd find deep in the crates of a second-hand record store. It's easy to enjoy and it's indelibly stamped with the personality of the group, which is not only no small thing, it's also a good, rewarding path for the Beastie Boys as they approach middle age.
Me? I fall on the side of enjoying the hell out of the album. Oh, yeah, it's far from a great artistic statement or anything, but it's fun.

It's got a nice beat, and you can certainly dance to it.

Ok, I'm gonna take a break here and throw down reviews of the other media in my world of late some other time. Just so ya know, though, here's what'll be coming up later:
  • Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix (movie)
  • Breach
  • The Fountain
  • All-Star Superman
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four
  • Ultimate X-Men
  • Superman/Batman - Enemies Among Us
  • Superman/Batman - Aliens/Predator
  • Justice League of America
  • Civil War: X-Men Universe
  • Super Paper Mario
That's a whole lot of crap, eh?

July 23, 2007

I didn't ask any questions

I dig the concept of people asking questions of candidates, but I'm a bit behind because I didn't post a question or get to watch the debate (the whole "no cable thing").

I'll be reading the transcript and checking the recap, however.

Did anybody out there get to see the debate?

If so, any thoughts?

July 22, 2007

Because I'm a day behind...

You know how it is...ya promise to post every day...you get a few days behind...you need to catch up but don't have any posts banked...so to the old standby ya go...
  1. "Brahams' Lullaby" by Linda Rondstat & Aaron Neville - I made a couple of kids music cds a few years back for a friend's baby shower and was amazed at how many cool kids songs I could come up with without going all Raffi on her...I may post a list of the songs another time...this one was on the cd of sleepy-time songs rather than the freak-out dance songs
  2. "Side With Seeds" by Wilco - the new album from what is easily my favorite band is starting to grow on me...at first it was almost too straight forward, non-experimental for what I've come to expect from Jeff & the Boys, and there isn't a single song that I absolutely love on the cd, but there are a whole lot of songs that I really like...this one is one of my favorites from the disc and made for a heck of a performance in concert...
  3. "The Partisan" by Leonard Cohen - moody, intelligent, oddly voiced...Leonard Cohen's greatest hits is a classic disc from a genre that is pretty much enhabited exclusively by Leonard...this isn't my favorite on that album, but it's still a hell of a song...great job with the chorus singing in French behind him...
  4. "Crazy Love, Vol. II" by Paul Simon - Graceland is an absolute classic...from start to finish, there isn't a wrong note or a weak song...this one's as genius as the rest of them - well, maybe not as genius as "Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes", but still wonderful...
  5. "Nice Guys Finish Last" by Green Day - they're impressing me more and more with each release...this came from their first - Nimrod - and, I'd argue, second best disc...Hall of Famers?..I'm thinking not so much though their career could still have a lot of run in them...this song is okay (three of five stars on my list) so will probably get deleted for space soon...
  6. "Study War No More (Down by the Riverside)" by Pete Seeger - Pete's a legend in the folks genre and should be known by every fan of music in the second half of the twentieth century...between him and Alan Lomax, we owe huge, huge debts...
  7. "All My Little Words" by The Magnetic Fields - from one of my favorite albums of all time, a wedding present from my college roommate...wonderful, wonderful collection...horribly underfamous...love so much of the work from Stephen Merritt...
  8. "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" by Wham! - if you don't immediately think of the gas fight from Zoolander, then you've done something wrong in your life...one of my favorite moments from this past year was when this popped on the iTunes while the students were working, and half the class broke into spontaneous sing-a-long...wonderful piece of pop candy...nicely recreated in a recent Hugh "The Git" Grant film...
  9. "Red Mosquito" by Pearl Jam - I tend more toward the lyrical side of Pearl Jam's output and loved No Code more than any of their albums...love it...
  10. "Unchained" by Johnny Cash - with five cds of Johnny Cash (three from his late American Recording series) in my collection, I just realized that I had none of them on my iPod...corrected that this week...

July 21, 2007

Again I ask, why?

I've owned a couple of Swiss Army knives in my time (though I've moved on to a Leatherman now because I'm an adult), and I'm moderately impressed with most of the engineering on the Swiss Army knives.

But this one - which appears to my eyes to be a real item available from the company - seems...well...stupid.

July 19, 2007

The day of the end

This is it, folks.

This is the end.

Tonight, Harry officially dies.


Not like I've read it yet or even looked through the major spoilers posted on YesButNoButYes.com. I've avoided those like the plague - even clicking on the link and making sure not to scan downward.

Or maybe Harry goes mental and kills everybody.

Either way, some of you will know by morning how it all ends.

After tonight, there'll be nothing left but riding the rides.

No luck, by the way, with me starting the book tonight. I'll be a little busy.

My introduction

Hello, my name of PHSChemGuy (ok, not my real name, but such is what you get here), and I am a Tiger Woods PGA Tour '07 addict.

I have played six tournaments (four rounds a piece) since Friday, and this probably isn't the most productive way to spend my summer.

At least I'm not up to doing tricks yet...

July 18, 2007

Hey, I know that guy

An article in the Enquirer (soon to be the only game in town, it looks like) points out that there's some dispute in the number of signatures gathered by a group calling themselves We Demand A Vote looking to force the issue of a new tax for a new downtown Cincy jail onto the ballot this fall.

I'm not a Hamilton County voter any more, so the issue's kind of one I can't control, but I certainly think there's something a little shady when a ballot referendum is defeated and then county commissioners approve the same tax (in fact, a higher amount than asked for in the ballot initiative).

While the issue's an interesting one to me, the more interesting thing is the guy mentioned in the Enquirer article (emphasis added):
Dan Renegold, coordinator of the We Demand A Vote coalition, said the figures would be reconciled over the next two weeks to determine which figure is accurate.
I know that guy. Sure, his name is misspelled, but I know him.

He's a PHS parent, local business guy, supporter of Pasta for Pennies, and apparently the head of We Demand A Vote. Plus he's got a really cool bio over on his company's page:
As founder of both Posterservice and Frame USA, Dan Regenold has been here from the beginning, a self proclaimed “Jack of all trades”. He works hard to keep the companies working hard, constantly looking for new ways to improve what we do and how we do it. Now even as CEO, he is not above spending some time in the warehouse, or on the production line. As a strong family man he knows the importance of unity and strives to keep a value based, fun atmosphere to bring both companies and employees closer together. Even if that means throwing a “summer” lunch, wearing shorts and driving top down during one of the coldest winters on record. Also, this is one guy who is constant violation of the office music policy.
Always good to see a local guy in the news...especially when he's supporting something that I think deserves support.

July 17, 2007

Doing our civic duty

So we just went and dropped a whole bunch of money yesterday.

In all actuality, we didn't drop the money but did put it on a credit card that will be paid off this month (as it is pretty much every month, thanks for asking), but it's not as much fund to say that we went and had a piece of plastic with a magnetic stripe swiped yesterday.

And I'm thinking that yesterday's spending was a bit of a big step in the right direction, environmentally-speaking.

The Girl and I have been talking for a couple of years about getting ceiling fans for our dining/living room (it's a big combo room with a cethedral ceiling) and our bedroom (much lower, eight-foot ceilings). They're an easy way for everybody to save a few bucks in the long run because they're much more efficient than an air conditioner and typically let you raise the thermostat a couple of degrees while still feeling as comfortable in the summer. We'd made up our mind that this summer was the time for the fans, and we started the hunt.

Before we began too much looking, however, we made a list of the things we wanted in a fan:
  • Energy Star rating - because they're even better for the environment
  • Compact fluorescent capacity - again, good for the environment...we had problems with this in the past as our old house had new ceiling fans that couldn't accept CFB...when the fan was on, the bulbs produced a strobe effect that was a little nauseating
  • Nice color scheme - no silver or golden colors...just wouldn't go in the house
  • Big wingspan - bigger fans move more air, and the two rooms we'll be fanning are pretty big (bedroom's something like 14'x28', living room's a huge L-shape)
  • Remote controls - we're lazy, and it's nice to turn the fan on/off/up/down from the comfort of the bed or couch
Our first turn was to the Hunter Grand Lodge that we had in the old house. They weren't too pricey; we liked the look; and they were in stock at the local Lowe's. Ah, but they aren't Energy Star rated, and we had that whole flickering problem.

After a bit of online searching and finally coming to the Energy Star site's list of ceiling fans with light kits and the Energy Star rating, we headed out to the local stores to look at the fans in person. Lucky for us, the first store we found had the fans that we ended up choosing. We went with the Craftmade Civic in Brownstone finish with the ring fluorescent light kit.

The Hunter fans would've cost somewhere around $149 each. The Civics cost nearly $1200 for the three that we bought.

But we're being environmentally friendly, right?

That's what it takes, isn't it?

Spend a few more bucks to tell manufacturers that we want them to make energy-efficient products, that we want them to stop using plastics that we can't recycle, that we want them to be good environmental citizens.

It's the same reason that The Girl and I combined our various errands from yesterday into one big trip, that I walked the five blocks to the Sharonville library from our parking spot over by the quilting store, that we've bought rechargable batteries for the Wii remotes, and that The Girl was painting the bedroom with low VOC paint today (for a fourth coat on the walls, but her issues are for another post entirely).

And it's what each of us needs to start doing.

Damn the pocketbook.

Ignore the cheap and disposable if you can afford to go with the more durable.

Spend the extra few bucks to get all compact fluorescent bulbs when you replace your old incandescents - or wait until the LEDs are available to be even better.

Walk or bike when you could've driven those half dozen blocks.

Build green.

Buy locally.

Think globally.

July 16, 2007



Is there anybody out there who is still interested in another X-Files movie at this point?

I'll admit to having been a fan, even going so far as to schedule a semi-regular date night with The Girl (then my girlfriend) in college to watch X-Files when it was first coming out, but then the thing went so drastically off the rails - bad movie, promises of revelations never delivered, promises of relationships never consumated, general stinkyness - that I can't imagine there are more than a few dozen people out there who are just clamoring for more Mulder and Scully.

And those people are dorks.
Seriously, is there anyone left in Hollywood who has an original thought, or is it all rehashed doggerel?

July 15, 2007

Clearing the bilges

Just about every time I see something interesting on the internet.com, I bookmark it to be blogged at a later date. Lots of these links build up at the bottom of my favorites and never quite make their way back up to full blog post status. Every now and then I take a post and throw all the links out so I can clear my Favorites back down to a managable size. Today is such a post...Ok, that feels a whole lot lighter, and I'm thinking that without all that flotsam, My Favorites will be running a little higher in the water. Hope you found something useful in all that detritus.

July 14, 2007

Get out of the house

There are some areas 'round Cincinnati that do some pretty cool things. These past couple of Saturdays, The Girl and I have headed down into Glendale to see a couple of nights of their summer concert series.

Turns out that there's some pretty cool free music going down in the tiny Village of Glendale. The groups set up in the side lot of the HWB Community Center and play from 'bout 6 'til 9pm every Saturday evening from June through August. We've seen Three Reasons Why (last week's rock) and the Ron Jones Quartet (jazz from the hometown of N'Albany - complete with piano from Glendalian Rob Allgeyer). Madison's bring out the portable gelato stand - mostly just a cooler. And a decent number of folks from 'round Glendale come out with their camp chairs (though the community center provides a number of wooden folders of their own.)

There's a bunch of people throwing picnics, tilting back a few cold ones (apparently endorsed as the flyer even suggests bringing a bottle of wine), and enjoying an evening of good music. Luckily these past couple of weeks have seen near-perfect Saturday evening weather. If you get a chance (I won't as I've got other plans), head down to Glendale this coming Saturday to see a band of PHS boys (and Glendalians in their own right) take their turn...and I'd also highly recommend the August 25th performances.

July 13, 2007

And Then I Came to the End

With four flights in three days ('bout six flight hours total), I was able to dive back into the world of reading books without pictures. It's not something that I get to do a lot of during the school year as I always have things to do other than flop down and scan the black and white pages for the half dozen hours needed to read a good novel, but it's something that I dig doing. Luckily this time I got around to reading an excellent bulk of text in Joshua Ferris's And Then We Came to the End.

Ferris's debut novel tells the tale of a Chicago advertising firm in the years bridging the turn of the century. Ferris apparently comes at the topic from first-hand experience and even writes that...
Every agency has its frustrated copywriter whose real life was being a failed novelist working on a small, angry book about work.
...which suggests to me that he may just have been such a copywriter in his former career. The insight that Ferris provides into the corporate advertising world certainly makes me think that he had been writing this novel - in his head or in stages - for years while finding ways to draw us into what seems like it could be a very dry topic.

Instead, Ferris does a masterful job allowing us to see the balance between the distance that the coworkers keep between each other - constantly regailing each other with superficial tales of home and gossip of other office mates - and the real, honest caring for each other that develops through the years of shared experiences, a sort of foxhole friendship forged in what he calls fire drills - all night sessions where everybody pitches in to polish and finalize. The creatives and copywriters spend their time mostly spreading office rumors, wandering the office looking for donuts and coffee, and struggling with the power of the blank page.

The events that happen - the office manager hunting missing chairs, people being walked Spanish down the hall (their slang for the increasing layoffs), the office second remaining distant from their gossip, and their agency's partner struggling with breast cancer - aren't the real story. The tale rather centers around the day to day ways in which people pass their time, justify their jobs, and try to get a little work done on the side.

The book, which I stumbled onto - of course - via an NPR interview, has been described in a number of reviews as humorous and funny, but any portrayal of the book as simply a light-hearted laugher would miss the mark entirely. This outstanding novel is a wonderful exploration of human relationships - even going so far as to include the typically-trite-but-not-this-time final chapter of bringing the characters back together for a reunion five years after the bulk of the book fades away.

If you've got the time, this would be a great way to spend a few hours, folks.

Plus it's got some really cool first-person plural narration throughout...something that's pretty rare to pull off successfully but that works perfectly here as a means of communicating the office's democratizing and unifying power.

July 12, 2007

Baby tomato

In order to catch up from the recent vacation times, I offer you a couple of quick hitter posts...

First, the essence of Rachel Ray...

July 11, 2007

The Greene-ing of Kettering

I'm heading through a backlog of some topics from before vacation, so stick with me.

The girl and I headed up to Dayton just before the break (mostly picking up rental car #1) and headed down to the new upscale outdoor mall in Kettering, The Greene. We stopped into Potbelly for a bit of lunch before wandering the complex in search of commerce on a hot summer day.

The complex has a whole bunch of mixed-use space - restaurants, shops, central park space, movie theater, offices, and apartments - that makes for an interesting little stroll. It's a stepford sort of planned community with a balance of commercial and non-commercial space that could, in theory, make for an interesting and easy enough place to live and work.

They've got all sorts of things going for them:
  • loads of free parking (things that people in real cities lack)
  • beautiful, scenic views (of I-675)
  • nearby entertainment (the movies, the comedy club - both on site)
  • loads of available food (not like that crappy downtown Cincinnati without any sort of grocery)
  • a decent enough library
  • good schools nearby
  • a nearby rec center and disc golf course
  • safety-ensuring police force (we saw one cop on a bicycle and one on a Segway - both seemed real nice and friendly)
Oh, sure, there's the fact that everything in the place requires you to drop cash and actually produces nothing whatsoever - as they have no industry and produce pretty much nothing of their own. But other than that it's like the perfect community.

In all honesty, walking around The Greene made me wonder what's in store for our cities in the future. If we continue to sprawl outward, building ever fancier and fancier mallspaces, drawing commerce from the city centers and leaving behind just empty buildings devoid of tennants, what are we going to have in a few decades? Are we going to end up with dozens of cities just like Detroit where the city is a hollow shell, empty of all but the heartiest downtown residents and nearly devoid of tourism in that formerly glorious heart?

How can we continue to build shopping centers that do nothing but give us more hours to kill and places to spend our money? Will we all end up in the service industry, selling imported goods simply so that in our off hours we can visit malls other than the one where we work to spend those earned dollars?

It was kind of a disconcerting way to spend an afternoon, honestly, when it should have all been about bumbling across the Gem City

July 10, 2007

A wonderful update

A while back, I mentioned that there was an online poll going on to find name the new Seven Wonders of the World, and I thought I'd go ahead and point out that the voting is done with the following seven creations as the new seven wonders:
  • Chichen Itza, Mexico
  • Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
  • Great Wall, China
  • Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Petra, Jordan
  • Colloseum, Rome
  • Taj Mahal, India
In a minorly cool move, I can now say that I've seen one of the seven wonders of the world (the Colloseum).

Now, we all get a chance to vote for the Seven Wonders of Nature.

July 9, 2007

Today's proposition...

Today's proposition is probably an awful one...

Stevie Wonder is a weenie.

Arguments for the afirmative:Arguments for the negative:Arguments that I'm not sure are positive or negative:The Girl argues that "He's blind" should give him a pass, but I'm not so sure.

Your thoughts?

July 8, 2007


At long last the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal grand slam final lived up to its spectacular possibilities...

If you missed the Wimbledon final this morning, you missed a lot...

NBC ran an updated version of this commercial after Roger won the title this morning.

Caught Stealing Insights

There's a new obsession 'round the household: CSI.

We got hooked a while back and were really thankful that NBC moved the office to 8:30 instead of 9:00 because The Girl somehow wrangled the remote away starting at 9:00 every Thursday night so she (and me since we've only got one tv in the household) could watch CSI. After getting thoroughly engrossed in season whatever we're up to now (I think it's seven), we've headed back into the archives via PLCH and are up to season 2, episode 15.

I have been amazingly impressed with the writing on the show as they allow characterization of the leads to dribble out so achingly slowly over time while keeping each week's focus firmly on the case at hand. This makes for a show that can be very much self-contained, allowing anyone to drop in for an eopisode or two without feeling as though they're coming in on the middle of something (the polar opposite of the feeling I get that has kept me from seeing Lost, Jericho, or Heroes, for example). The drips and drabs, however, make for a much richer tapestry when the series if viewd as a whole - something we've been able to do thanks to the amazing DVD collection at PLCH.

I know that at least one of my regular readers has an issue with the science portrayed on the show, and I agree that things certainly move along at the speed of plot rather than at a realistic rate for most of the tests. That doesn't bother me, however, as the science is (to the best of my understanding) pretty good - it just wouldn't happen that quickly most of the time. I also understand that seeing main characters poop, pee, and stop by to pick up dry cleaning wouldn't be interesting but would certainly make things a little more realistic. Such is the nature of fiction.

It's also in the nature that the characters are perhaps more successful than they might be in real life and do a little more (in terms of polic work rather than CSI work) than their real-life counterparts would), but again, it doesn't bother me.

In the end, though, it's not a show about science or police procedures; it's a show about the main characters, and those characters are written well enough to carry the show. The actors also make sure that the characterizations hold true as they do a lot of off-camera acting, letting those who are paying attention see little things in the background and in minor moments - things that really add to the whole picture of the series.

One of my favorite episodes was this past season's "Lab Rats" as the minor character lab techs got center stage for nearly a full episode with the main characters dropping in and out of the labs to get tests run and make entertaining, non-important case revelations. The little guys got a shot at the big time, and the season's ongoing storyline of the miniature killer (warning: link contains spoliers).

I'd certainly recommend anybody hop on with the CSI train whenever they can and head back into the old episode DVDs at their leisure. For me, CSI ranks right there with The Office and Earl to make Thursday the only night of television to which I pay regular attention.

And don't go for the substitute of CSI: Miami as that's pretty much a one-note show.

July 7, 2007

Visual proof of the vacation...

In chronological order and with absolutely no captions whatsoever...feel free to ask if you feel the need...