November 30, 2007

Today's bit of random

I am thoroughly infatuated with Bunny: The Book of Random. It's admittedly hit or miss as the comics are entirely and totally random in their content and jokes, but when they hit, they're high quality...do enjoy this brief teaser...




November 29, 2007

Early presidential thoughts

Ok, early thoughts on the impending presidential election...not necessarily in any order...
  • By March 4, 2008 - the date of Ohio's primary - things look like they'll be mostly wrapped up...I don't know whether I'm happy or sad about this because I certainly got racked off at the various leapfrog maneuvers of the other states...but I'd kind of like to get the chance to vote for a candidate at a time when he/she has a chance...
  • The more I see of Dennis Kucinich's policies, the more I like him...the more that I read about his open and honest wackiness (rabbit's foot, miniature constitution, UFOs), the less I like him...why can't the person whose policitcs I agree wtih stop being a kook?
  • for election info, Smart Voter (from the League of Women Voters folks) is the best site to get quick, fair summaries of every candidate
  • Hell, I voted for Nader in 2000, I may just vote for Kucinich
  • There are a number of online quizzes to tell you which candidate you most agree with...I like this one pretty well
  • In 1988 a Bush started running the country...he only lasted four years, but since then we've had eight years of Clinton, then back to eight of Bush (a differnet one, of course)...if we went from Bush to Clinton to Bush and back to Clinton, then we just might get twenty-six years of two families being on the throne...imagine if we went to Hillary and then followed her with Jeb...thirty years of trading power back and forth...it's like we have two ruling families who are amazingly similar to the Capulets and the Montegues
  • It's surprisngly hard to find the date of the primary election on the Ohio Sec of State's website
  • The unofficial primary season has alsted way too long, and lots of people have spent way too much money in trying to survive to the primaries themselves. I'm pretty close to election fatigue, and we've got four months until the Ohio primary.
  • Chuck Norris's endorsement shouldn't be influencing anybody's choice for president.
  • You would think that with all the debates we've already had, that I would know something about the candidates, but I wonder if the long season hasn't kept them with their cards even closer to the vest than they would play if things were shortened up.
  • At the current rate of campaign creep, it looks like we'll be starting the 2012 primary season sometime about a week after next November's elections.

November 28, 2007

Oh, golly, yum...


Yeesterday I went driving around the eastern half of the district looking for stores that will let us beg for money in the 2008 Pasta for Pennies campaign, and I was lucky enough to have my steadfast companion of NPR's Talk of the Nation throughout most of the journey.

Of particular interest was the interview with author James Lileks whose newest book is titled Gastroanomalies. Lileks's oveure seems to be snarky reflections on past practices that we would certainly now label as transgressions. In this book, he provides photos and commentary of horrific foods from the mid-twentieth century. He covers fish pie, heart, brains, party loaf, and other horrors of the post-WWII era.

Not only does the book sound/look entertaining, but the author's voice was built for radio - nice pear-shaped tones.

November 27, 2007

Dear old Wabash, this loyal son shall ever love thee


And Wabash College's football team marches on.

If you don't know much about Wabash, check out my first Wabash post from a while back.

November 26, 2007

Followers

I couldn't sleep Sunday morning, so at 3:30 in the frickin' morning, I was awake and in the basement surfing the web. My insomnia is your benefit, though, as you get to check out the coolest movie trailers I could find...
  • Jumper - caught this one at the front of American Gangster this weekend...looks a little goofy but intriguing, could be fun
  • The Mist - King's movies tend to be poor, but this short story scared the bejesus out of me
  • Mr. Untouchable - a documentary of intersecting events with American Gangster...supposedly not as good, so probably not for the theater, but it'd be interesting to see the non-fiction side
  • Step Up 2 the Streets - this would be horribly formulaic, predictable, and bland...but I've liked a lot of films of this style, so I'll probably end up hunting it down at PLCH someday
  • Wristcutters: a love story - thoroughly intriguing...looks like it could just be outstanding
  • Harold & Kumar 2 - the original was hilarious...I'll give the sequel the benefit of the doubt
  • Shine a Light - how can they have a rock doc directed by Scorsese without mentioning that he did The Last Waltz? And will these guys every frickin' die?
  • I Am Legend - the first trailer didn't do much for me, but the second trailer (on the screen before American Gangster) hooked me...Will Smith as the last man on Earth (though I imagine the film might show some hint that he's not alone - just a total guess based on reading other stories of the ilk) fighting for his life against what appear to be zombie-vampires...and he's got a dog for a sidekick...I'm in
  • Slipstream - a movie about a movie writier writing a movie about...the trailer doesn't make things all that clear, but it seems odd enough that it's intriguing
  • Be Kind Rewind - I think I might've pointed this out before, but it looks pretty funny, though it might stumble a bit into heart-warming - something I'm not in the mood for this morning
  • King Corn - another food documentary...sign me up...
That's all for today, folks. I'm not in the mood to sit through another "inspired by a true story" pile of crap. Sorry, but I'm looking for hilarious rather than moving today...

November 25, 2007

I'm on YouTube

If you're name's something common like Bob or Billy or John or Becky or something, then you're probably kind of used to people saying your name around. Me, as a Lonnie, I'm a little less used to it. So in perusing YouTube last week for the Scrubs-fest, I was surprised to find that they had a character named Lonnie on the show. Kinda cool, eh?

So, this week I present a tour of YouTube's various Lonnies...

Lonnie Donegan


Lonnie Frisbee - hippee preacher


My aforementioned Scrubs namesake


The Lonnie Plaxico Group


Lou Donaldson & Lonnie Smith


Lonnie Johnson


Lonnie & Jacqueline


Lonnie Wright


Dr. Lonnie Smith


Lonnie Mack


Pride goeth before my fall

November 24, 2007

The Title of the Blog - Part 6

There probably isn't an internal fight that means more to me than the battle that I describe in this week's column: desire vs. duty. I have accomplished less and enjoyed more because of the call of desire than of anything else in my life.

I don't think I'll ever figure out how to be happy with the balance between these two forces, but I am happy with the way that I wrote about that battle.
Twelve days ago, something screamed at me. That’s not too odd an occasion around the Lambda Chi house, as I have been known to pick rather inopportune times to visit my brothers. But this occasion was rather odd. I sat on a park bench, unable to see the path that lay at my feet because the moon was no where to be found and the nearest light was a mile away at the Turkey Run Inn. The only sounds that reached my ears were made by frogs and running water, dogs and swaying trees. The only things that I could actually see may not even exist anymore, though their light is just now reaching our eyes. Above me lay the heavens, bits of light hung tenuously on the firmament. Crystal spheres hung with stars shining down to me from a million miles away. At the center of the universe that night was me- hearing a voice that owned no mouth.

Late at night, in that moment after my mind goes clear and before sleep visits me, I hear again those voices. They compete, you know. I hear them too as I sit here at my computer terminal, pouring forth another week’s column, laying aside a lesson plant that I have been working on because I have again been able to draw the muse close to me and beg her to work her magic. They both speak to me from within. One telling me that I have something else due tomorrow, that I must remember to buy wire for my chemistry project, be in lab Tuesday afternoon, do my homework, finish this assignment type that letter, call that person…on and on it drones.

SHUT UP!!!!! The other voice takes over for a second, bursting its own tenor through the madness, across the unending litany of chores. But then it lowers its tone, ceases to scream and instead seduces. This voice owns the charm of John Lennon –“all you need is love”- as well as the beautiful body of an open field where I could lie all day long, thinking nothing but the most beautiful thoughts, caring not one iota about what I need to do, what I have to be doing, what I should get done. This is the voice that I ignore more than is healthy for me.

I should embrace these sweet tones, turning my back instead on the call I hate. The sweeter is the one that draws me to my lover’s bed, that convinces me to drive to Clifty Falls and let the water pour down over me. The harsher is the sound that makes me sit at a desk, type out a paper, worry about a test. Nearly all of my actions are begun with a command from one of these voices. Call them Duty and Desire if you will.

Duty intones me to finish this column before giving in to slumber. She can be a harsh mistress, using every weapon upon me – Responsibility, Fear, Shame. Duty punishes if she does not get her way; she meets out failing marks, broken bank accounts, and reproaches from your superiors. But she can be just as hard a lover as well, for when you give into her alone, you ignore Desire…

…who is beautiful. This is the voice that keeps you sane, that turns you attentions away from the daily responsibilities. Hers are the gifts that give you relaxation, love, freedom. Embrace her often, and you will have no cares. Ignore her wonderful touch, and you invite stress, ulcers, heart attacks, and breakdowns. Keep her only as a mistress, though, and you will find yourself outside society’s walls, unable to play their games and live by their rules. You will be behind and perhaps even unable to catch up. Take neither of these women to the full exclusion of the other. If either of them takes full hold of your affections, then she will cause you only problems – one doles out the punishments from within, the other from without. These are the two voices to which I often have to answer.

I fear that some of you have fallen too far into the clutches of Duty. You wander about the campus, head pointed down at your feet, trudging resolutely from lab to lecture to lunch and to lab again. Your evenings are spent catching up on yesterdays readings, finishing up tomorrow’s problem set, perhaps even working a day ahead so that tomorrow night won’t be quite so bad. When some tiny thing goes wrong for you, it often escalates into a major crisis because your schedule leaves you no leeway for mistakes – or for free time. When you do have a moment –an evening – to breather, you often spend it concentrating all of the fun into two hours, drinking yourself into a stupor, and passing out – praying that you wake in time to begin the cycle again.

You are killing yourselves. These are supposed to be the most carefree years of our lives. We have few responsibilities of the scope that many of us will in a few years, and yet we have as much legal freedom as out society offers anyone. And yet you spend this time bitching about your workload, swigging coffee so you can pull another all-nighter to catch up, and working yourself into the hospital.

Here’s a hint folks. It’s something that Desire whispered into my ear half a fortnight ago. Back off. Take time to do what you want to do. Eat a peach. Head outside tonight and watch the sun burn a crimson path into the sky as it leaves to lighten the world to the west. Drive to a par. Pet a dog. Fall in love.

I will admit that I sometimes find myself responding more to the whips and chains of Duty than to the loving caresses of Desire, but I know that I am occasionally able to hold off Duty while I embrace Desire. She is beautiful, you know. I just wish that each of us would take the time to look…

November 23, 2007

A review far shorter than the subject

On a surprise two-for-one movie deal (more on that later), The Girl and I spent a Saturday afternoon with American Gangster Ridley Scott's new bio-pic of Frank Lucas, a drug dealer from New York, circa 1970 or so.

It's not exactly the 100% truth of Frank's story, but the film tells the dual stories of Lucas and the Richie Roberts, the police officer who finally took Frank down. Instead of the absolute truth, we get the battle of the two men - one of whom has no idea that he's locked in a battle for his life.

The tale sets Frank up as a family man who keeps his nose to the grindstone and his profile as low as a multi-millionaire drug dealer in the 60's and 70's could be. Roberts is the epitome of an honest cop (turning in a found million dollars early in the film) whose home life is a disaster. Roberts puts together his own crew of honest cops who spend their every waking moment putting together a case against whoever is bringing in and distributing higher quality heroin cheaper than anybody else in town can manage. And in a shocking turn of events, it turns out to be a black man - not the mafia lifer that all of the other cops are expecting.

The film's dramatic tension is well-crafted, setting the black and white, good versus bad battle on its head as Frank is portrayed as a solid family man, keeping his nose clean in spite of dealing death on the streets. Frank works only with his family, takes care of his mother, and doesn't spend lavishly and foolishly, whereas Roberts can't save a buck, can't find time to take care of his son, can't separate his friends from the criminals.

The film takes too long, however, to allow the tale to come to a head, letting the case build and build until Frank is finally in too deep, unravelled by the one action that he takes the showing of any hubris, the wearing of a fur coat.

In the end, the final confrontation is satisfying, but the film continues along past that point to, instead, an unsatisfying conclusion.

Good...far from great...

Thanks to Katydid, I got to check out another film that's been on the list for a while now: Children of Men starring the ever-rising star Clive Owen - and for about thirty seconds, Julianne Moore.

The film's a true dystopia as we find ourselves in the somewhat near future, probably twenty years from now, as all the women in the world have beomce mysteriously infertile and no child has been born in the last eighteen years. The film opens with the youngest person on the planet passing away and Owens narrowly avoiding being blown to bits in the local bit of world-wide chaos and violence.

Owens finds himself quickly thrust into an underground movement lead by his ex-wife (Moore) whose group of rebels is trying to sneak the world's only pregnant woman out of Britain in spite of massive military resistance.

The film doesn't contain a lot of happy moments as the journey to the seaside rendesvous is pretty harrowing and violent, with nearly every character we meet along the way dying or being peeled off from Owen's shrinking band of helpers. People are shot, burned, knocked off of motorcycles, and bashed with concrete - all in the name of protecting the first child born into the world in nearly two decades.

In spite of the violence and tension, the film is a bit slow until the characters reach the refugee camp of Beckshill, home to hundreds if not thousands of non-British residents who have been rounded up and will soon be killed or deported. It is in that refugee camp that the film's final act becoems a story of redemption. In what I found easily the most moving scene of the well-reviewed tale, Owens and the mother are found out amidst a full scale military-refugee fire fight.

That one scene - the details of which I'll forgo to avoid spoilers - lifts the movie above the level of futuristic disaster pic set up by a horrible but mysterious accident in that future dystopia's past. For much of the film, Owens' reluctant hero saves his own skin while showing as little nobility as possible, an everyman thrust into a fight that he didn't seek, doing the best job that he can in spite of the world's insistance that he fail. The climactic scene, however, shows the reaction of soldiers and freedom fighters to the miraculous event and shifts Owens into the father figure in what could be an entirely restorative world event, and he performs admirably.

Following that cilmax, the film effectively faded to black, leaving me wanting more in the way of a resolution - something that was apparently common to today's two reviewed films.

Again, I'm gonna go with the high-mid rating of good but not great - with the caveat that there is one truly transcendent moment late in the film.

November 22, 2007

Pain, suffering, and a very crispy skin

Just in case you were thinking about deep-frying a turkey today, here's Alton Brown's step by step guide...

Part 1





Part 2








Part 3


November 21, 2007

Our Christmas gift

The Girl and I have decided on what our Christmas gift to each other is going to be.

We're getting a new laptop for ourselves.

The One Laptop Per Child association has been working for year to produce the mythical $100 laptop that would be cheap enough that less affluent nations to buy them in massive bulk and give them to their children to connect to each other and to the world wide web, opening their learning opportunities exponentially. At the same time, the laptop would have to be durable, waterproof, dustproof, drop-proof, and user friendly in any language.

The $100 barrier appears to have been impossible to cross, but they have managed the break the $200 barrier - if just barely - while offering people a chance to help the project along. For $399, you get a laptop and give one to a child in one of those less affluent nations.

The giving's nice and all, but we're kind of looking forward to using the laptop itself. It's far from the fancy schmancy computers that we're pretty used to, but it should be an awesome travel computer as it's got wifi capability and a battery with eight hours of life. Plus it's got pretty cool, already installed software and a lot more that is open source and available through their wiki.

Check 'em out, but be quick, because the initial rollout of the get one, give one program is only available through November 26th.

If you need to check a review of somebody who's already gotten one, head to their review section.

I particularly enjoyed the review from a twelve-year old.

November 20, 2007

Not silent, just not musical...


As is usually the case, from NPR comes this story about No Music Day.

I've no idea whether I'll be able to manage no music - it'll likely mean no television or radio at all, which is darn tough for a media whore like me, but I'm willing to try because the founder's got a phenomenal voice.

Anybody willing to try w'me?

November 19, 2007

A scary memory - or lack thereof

I taught at Mount Healthy High School before coming to PHS and became good friends with Terry Kiger, phys ed teacher there. A couple of years after I left Mt Healthy, Terry's family went through a pretty scary ordeal when their daughter got injured playing soccer on PHS's football/soccer field. She hit her head and lost her memory of everything from birth until that moment - everything.

She didn't know who her family were. Her first trip to a buffet - a few days later - was a revelation because she didn't know what any of the foods were. She had lost her memory of everything from algebra to the family trip to Disney World.

Her memories have never come back, but she is doing well now. As a freshman at Slippery Rock University, Dana is starting on their soccer team and was featured in the following video story from CSTV.



Sorry, by the way, for the auto play on the embed. No option to not autoplay this time.

It often amazes me how very little we really understand about the brain.

November 18, 2007

Scrubs musical numbers

"Overkill" by Colin Hay


"More Than a Feeling"


"99 Luftballons"


Ted's Band


"Light and Day" from the Polyphonic Spree


Turk dances to "Poison"


"Africa" by Toto


"I'm Dominican" (an original)


"Everything Comes Down to Poo" (an original)


"Guy Love" (an original)


"Waiting"


Lots of dancing clips


"Safety Dance"


"My Way or the Highway"


"American Girl"


"Hey Julie"


"Lollipop"

November 17, 2007

These are my kids...

I am childless, true, but I have hundreds of kids...

Every year, PHS's senior class has a week of revelry which involves five days of dressing up, a bonfire, and a Powder Puff football game. This year the bonfire and game got moved to the spring because our studnet council sponsor gets cold easily (according to one of the the students), but the dress up days were outstanding.

Achilles3 already mentioned my absolute favorite moment, but I'll save that for last as I count down the five (plus a bonus) best dress up days this year...

#6 Tacky Day - I'm honestly not a big fan of Tacky Day. It's just the old Nerd Day renamed, and I don't really dig it.


#5 Pajama Day - slightly better, but I'm not a pj kind of guy. I own a pair of pajama pants because I went to a pajama party one time to watch The Breakfast Club. Not many people actually sleep in pajamas anymore, do they?


#4 Class T-Shirt Day - I like a lot of the ideas, especially the student who dressed up as Waldo so he could find himself in the class picture, but I don't like the clique-ishness and weird priorities of who gets to the front of the class photo.


#3 70s/80s Day - only this low because many of the students have no idea what the eras are as we get everything from hippies (mid 60s) to punk (mid to late 70s) to Miami Vice (solid 80s) to early grunge (early 90s) and Bill & Ted (very, very late 80s). The costumes are good, but it's too themeless a theme for my tastes.


#2 (tough call regions now) Costume Day - Every year the students go above and beyond the call of duty, working hours on the costumes and coming up with the greatest themes. Last year, the X-Men were excellent. This year big kudos to the Girl Group who fought all day long, the Super Smash Bros characters, the trolls, the PowerPuff Girls, and lots more...


#1 (with a bullet) Dress Like a Teacher - not a real, official day, but a student-created improvement on Tacky Day. That's not me on the right, but a number of folks mistook him for me. The seniors involved earned themselves so much goodwill from the teachers and principals whom they flattered that they're good to do just about anything the rest of the year.


To those of you who took part and are reading this, thanks for a great week.

The Title of the Blog - Part 5

Don't know exactly what to say as an intro this week. Column number five dealt with collective memory and my views on the idea of a tradition at a place that changes its personnel every four years. Upon rereading this one, I'm struck by how scattered the ideas are.

I do want to warn you that there is a spicy word in the middle. I was in college, so I clearly had to curse from time to time - because that's the truest measure of mature writing, doncha know...
Let me drop a phrase on you just to see what your reactions are: collective memory. Just take those couple of words and mull them over a bit before you give me an answer; no pressure involved here; just a columnist wondering what a couple of words mean to you. Okay, guess time’s up. I might as well wander into my column now, hope you like, here it goes…

I came to Wabash, just over three years ago, as a fairly impressionable freshman. I wanted to fit in, to what everybody else does and has done for years now. I joined a fraternity – partially because most of the guys who came here do that too. I screamed my lungs out at chapel sing, a bit because all of my associate brothers were doing it too. And the next year, I encouraged the new freshmen to do things just like I had done them, because what I did was right for me. Not that I knew them at all, not that I had any idea of what they should do based on who they were, just because I did those things, and they should too. Seems pretty average, fairly easy to understand, doesn’t it?

Well, in these last few days, I’ve been wondering about why something that someone did in the past should have any influence on what you do today or tomorrow. More specifically, what I’ve been wondering is why anything that somebody calls a “tradition” should influence my behavior. Here at Wabash, we seem to pride ourselves on traditions, on things that we do or believe that tie us into some sort of cosmic past. It is these things that I have come to call into question this week.

There are actually three things that I’ve been pondering. First, I am not too sure that we should be followers. Then I’m having questions about the people who put those footsteps there in the first place. And last, my eyesight is a little bad, and I’m not sure I can see those footsteps all too clearly.

The world needs ditch-diggers and phone sanitizers and even ice cream scoop girls. If someone enjoys their job and performs it well, then they should hold no shame in what they do. Some people were born to lead, like the man who pointed the direction as the elephants marched across the Pyrenees, and some were born to shovel up behind them. That just is. I will not question that. What I am pondering is whether I should be a pointer or a shoveller. One of those men gave the orders, told everyone where to go, and made the rules - the traditions. The other did what he was told, got to play with manure, and followed those rules.

Each of us has a choice, a choice that we have been making for roughly twenty years each: are we to sit above the shit or are we to play in it? Here at Wabash, I would hope that we are becoming men who will lead our country, who will forge new paths where the old have become overgrown or obsolete. Some of us, I am sure, will find our calling by walking where others have walked before, but I would like to think that we can do better than that. I would claim that we should be leaders – not followers.

We, the Wabash students, are a community of men. I say that because somebody said that to me a few years ago when they wanted me to come here. We have one rule, and one rule only: to act as a gentleman at all times. Again, somebody told me that, but I’ve forgotten his name, so I’ll not be quoting my source this time. Heck, it’s a tradition that we say this to each new prospective when he tours our fraternity house. “One rule…treated as an adult…lots of studying…some partying…busloads of women every weekend.” Well folks, I was lied to in at least one of these areas, and I’ve been a little hacked off ever since.

But, I’m going to give that now-departed Wally the benefit of the doubt. I will assume that he was merely following a tradition that had lied to him before and to his liar before that. Does this mean that some of our past Wallies haven’t been totally honest, haven’t been fully truthful, haven’t followed the Gentleman’s Rule to the letter of the ‘law?’ Dare I question the choices made by those who have gone before my? Hell yes, I dare. I doubt whether that lie is worth getting another student next year. I doubt whether it makes any sense to dress a freshman p as a woman and parade him around the track. I doubt whether we should be all male. Do I dare to say every act gone before me was wrong? No I don’t. Quite a few of them were excellent deeps, done fore the right reasons and at the right time. Heck, I’m not even saying that those three doubts should fall either way for me. All I am saying, is that just because someone does something, it doesn’t mean that you should do it. It’s as simple as when my mom asked me “If Wayne jumped off a bridge, would you?” And it’s as simple as the tradition that I will likely continue by asking that of my children someday.

Now I return to the idea of collective memory. We, now we are ‘the seniors,’ have been around this place longer than any of the students, and we know what things should be like around here. We know that tradition says we’ve always had comps in January, that Wallies have always partied on Saturdays, and that the Phi Psi’s always win the IM crown. We know these things because they’ve been true since we came to Wabash…since three years ago. That’s it. Our only basis for claiming things as traditions is three years of Wabash’s hundred-thirty-four. Well, freshman, I’m here to tell you that we don’t know that much at all. If this senior class were to decide ‘tradition’ demands that every one of us come to commencement naked, then in it would be tradition on less than half a decade. Three classes have only us left to learn from, and we are the ones who are left to pass along the ‘traditions.’ Remember that.

The collective memory of this student body is something around four years. I can only tell you what Wabash was like three years ago. Heck, our president can’t do more that from his personal memory. The only people around here who can recount what Wally World was like longer ago than that are the professors and the custodians. They are the ones who know what the traditions of this place really are. They can tell of oral examinations twice weekly for every student, of Saturday classes, and of a day long in the past when the Lambda Chi’s won intramurals. Wabash’s memory lies with them, and often that fact is overlooked. We turn, instead, to the members of our fraternities for guidance, to tell us what we should do, how we should be. Is that right? I can only tell you the traditional answer.

Now comes the hardest part for me: telling you what I think you should do about all of this. Am I condoning mass over-throw of anything denoted ‘tradition?’ Do I want Chapel Sing, Homecoming, and the senior Bench demolished? Should you spit in the face of convention and take only the path un-traveled? No, that’s not quite it. Those well-trod paths were traveled by amazing people, and we ach need the opportunity to walk there ourselves. My charge for you is a more complicated one, a more difficult one, I think. I want you to think about your traditions and about ours. Take what is right for you and discard what is wrong for you. Adapt the trappings of the past to your todays, not to those of your processors. And, if need be, burn the bridges built by those who went before you. Be not scared to take a leap if faith and try something different, you never know when you can do something better than your idols could…

November 16, 2007

Reviews

I wasn't really high on the first Fantastic Four movie. I thought it better than most of the reviews suggested, but that was sort of faint praise.

The sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has gotten reviews that can be summarized as "better than the first but still not good", but I'd have to disagree. I though it was worse than the first one, splitting the story into four poorly blended parts:
  • FF fight Silver Surfer
  • FF fall apart as Reed & Sue try to get married
  • FF fight Doctor Doom
  • Silver Surfer fights Galactus
The first two take up the majority of the film as we have - again - a very typical second team-up movie. The group has a fair amount of success by the end of the first film, but now we have to create conflicts within the team and make us think the team might break up.

Luckily, along comes the third plotline - FF fights a revived Doc Doom - to bring everyone back together and realize how much they need each other. And then - in about thirty seconds - the final plotline is resolved. My biggest beef there was in the lack of threat from Galactus. He's like the biggest villian / force of nature / danger in all of the Marvel Universe, and this movie has nim appear as a shadow who seems to be a distant threat to Earth and then is defeated in about three seconds with a blink of light. They might as well not even have used his name, because it was stupid.

All in all, the flick was boring.

Nothing bad, nothing good, just very, very standard comic book crap.

This is the kind of stuff that turns folks off of superhero movies.

A smattering of reviews (collected from Metacritic) that agree with me...
  • ReelViews James Berardinelli - A tedious, incoherent bore.
  • Austin Chronicle Marc Savlov - Relentlessly dull and curiously bombastic.
  • Chicago Reader J.R. Jones - This sequel to "Fantastic Four" (2005) drags in the Silver Surfer, who looks like a gigantic hood ornament and, given voice by Laurence Fishburne, has about as much personality.
  • The New York Times Manohla Dargis - This existentially and aesthetically unnecessary sequel to the equally irrelevant if depressingly successful "Fantastic Four.
  • Rolling Stone Peter Travers - The perfect summer movie, that is if you're eight years old or under. For the rest of us, the sequel to the first "Fantastic Four" that miraculously amassed more than $150 million in 2005, is a plotless, brainless, witless bore.
  • Washington Post Stephen Hunter - Surely the dullest of Hollywood's many comic-book-derived summer movies, "Silver Surfer" is drearier than corn dying in the Iowa sun, slower than molasses in Antarctica.


Next up the far, far better Knocked Up.

The Girl stumbled upon a Blockbuster gift card buried deep in one of our drawers, and upon a bit of calling to the Blockbuster corporate offices (have you idgits heard of a website query?), I found out that it had $5 on it that were going to expire on December 1. So off to Blockbuster we went.

As an aside, I hate renting movies. I hate going to the Blockbuster / Hollywood video stores so very, very much. I'd be a total Netflix guy if I weren't such a cheapskate. Gimme my PLCH movies store anyway.

The options came down to Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, Children of Men, The Lives of Others, and Knocked Up. I wasn't particlarly in the mood for anything too heavy, so I went for the light-hearted, juvenile comedy of Judd Aptow.

Good god, but I didn't find this movie very funny at all.

It's very well written...very well made...and maybe a little too close to the truth.

I didn't enjoy the film, but I can certainly see the quality. I think I just might be at the wrong moment in my life to enjoy this. I've passed a point where The Girl and I have decided to not have a child. We've set ourselves down a different path, and if something like the major event of this movie happened, we'd end up handling it as best we can - as do the protagonists in this film - truly a duo act, not a single lead. It would be tough, but we'd manage as we could.

If I were younger - in high school maybe, and not sexually active - this might be funny because it'd be too far from possible. If I were older and past the age of child-rearing, it might be funny because I'd be looking back at other folks' possibilities gone astray.

As it is, though, I didn't find it funny in the least.

That same night, The Girl and I tried a new restaurant here in West Chester, Soho, a japanese restaurant with five different seating areas - a sushi bar, a regular bar, a hibachi area, and a couple of other dining areas.

We chose on the regular dining areas, sitting next to the waterfall that you see in the picture. The atmosphere was interesting - odd because of the very much broken up feel of the restaurant. It felt like a half dozen ideas, none of which were big enough to be fully realized. The place felt like an appetizer sampler platter of a restaurant.

Which would've been okay if the food would've been good - which it wasn't. Our appetizer of tempura shrimp were bland, and the waiter took the sauce and the empty plate away before either of us could finish out last shrimp - moved to our plates but without the sauce. The middle course was a miso soup that wasn't offensive but wasn't anything special at all. If anything, it tasted of seaweed, the major ingredient. The salads were well presented, in neat bowls with a tasty, tangy ginger dressing over a rather traditional, easy bagged salad with a slice of cucumber thrown in for variety.

The main dishes were nothing special either - mine a pair of five ounce strip steaks that were too thin to be very well made by my American tastes. The Girl went for chicken and steak shishkabobs. Neither meal came with anything more than a teaser of vegetables and a side of rice that was overly sticky and gummy for us.

We didn't wait around for dessert, and we won't be returning to Soho anytime soon.

A week or so ago I mentioned the Batter Blaster in the blog and to my neighbor at school. He went out that night and bought the can, bringing in pancakes the next day, singing the praises of the Blaster. So, on the night of Soho and Knocked Up, The Girl and I stopped in a Meijer - the only place locally that stocks the Blaster. At $4.50 it was a bit pricey for a lark, but worth a try.

The final details - six waffles and a pancake came out of the blaster before it was spent. The waffles browned nicely but were too thin and rose too quickly to have enough sturdiness to them to be quite right. The pancakes rose too much, too, and ended up fluffy, high, and most - the kinds of pancakes that most people enjoy but that I can't stand. I'm a thin pancake kind of guy because that's what my dad's dad always made for us when we were growing up - fried up in Crisco like he knew them to be.

By the time the blaster was spent, I'd had a half dozen solid, quick, and easy breakfasts. No effort involved other than turning the waffle iron on and turning the can upside down. And I still hadn't had a really good waffle.

The Blaster goes the way of Soho for me. Worth a try once but not twice.

I'm saddened to say that I like Eminem. I find a lot of his rhymes and wordplays amazing, and I love the sound of lots of his songs.

And I can't stand the man. He's offensive and mysogynistic and sexist and racist.

And I love his music.

Not all of the songs, but a lot of them. So I checked out Curtain Call, hoping to grab the songs I liked and not have to give the man any of my cash. Bit of thievery, admittedly.

About half the songs are entertaining and fun to listen to - "The Way I Am", "My Name Is", "Without Me", "The Real Slim Shady", and "Just Lose It". One isn't fun but was worth grabbing - "Stan". One is truly a great song, the only work on the entire album that sees Eminem write about anything other than himself, the one song that actually lets somebody else empathize with the word - "Lose Yourself".

And then there are the horribly offensive song - "Fack", "Shake That", "Like Toy Soldiers", "Mockingbird", "When I'm Gone", "Cleaning out my Closet". I skipped those when I was playing the cd in the car, and I certainly didn't grab for my iTunes.

I can't in any way endorse listening to Eminem. He's not to be praised, but damn he can be catchy.

I know Judith Owen because of her work with Richard Thompson on the 1000 Years of Popular Music performances. I heard her on a recent broadcast of Prairie Home Companion, and it turns out that she's got a new album out. PLCH didn't have that one, but they did have Happy This Way, so I gave it a try.

It's not excellent all the way through. It's gets too long toward the end, but the first half dozen songs are excellent songs in the style of old torch songs but with very odd modern sensibilities. Instead of writing about the great old guys, we get a song about Nick Drake (with Richard Thompson as backup). The best song is "Sympathy" which turns Owen's voice into a totally new instrument, something that can't be replicated by any musician's fiddle or guitar.

As I mentioned, the album gets to be a little much by the end. It's worth a listen to hear what a gorgeous voice can turn a song into.

Ok, quick hits from here...

Ok Go - Oh No...the videos are better...these songs are okay but are too polished...like rock with all of the heart and soul ripped out

The Animals - Retrospective...a forgotten Brit invasion band with two or three hits that have lived...I mostly enjoy those hits...and I absolutely love, love, love (my all-time favorite song, maybe) "House of the Rising Sun"...good greatest hits of a band whose greatest hits I don't need...

Original Cast Recording of Avenue Q...the Broadway musical isn't for kids...it's a pastiche of Sesame Street but with songs like "The Internet is for Porn" and "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist"...funny for a listen through...I doubt it'd have staying power in any playlist for me...maybe if I'd seen the musical itself...

U2 - U218...I've got nearly all these songs elsewhere...two new songs - the ok "Saints are Coming" (with Green Day) and the outstanding "Window in the Skies"...a good greatest hits for non-fans...leaves out way too much for a true U2 retrospective...wait for a big boxed set (or head to iTunes to get The Complete U2

November 15, 2007

Two things

Two very small things to mention today...

Number one is a blog for a small film that I haven't seen yet. It's called AreYouExpendable.com, and it tells the story of A.R.A.C.H.N.I.D., a SMERSH-like evil agency. They've got a few training videos posted and a couple of employee testimonials, but the awesomest part of the website (a blog, really) might just be the top banners...


And thing b is the trailer to the new Guy Ritchie flick Revolver. It looks like it's a harkening back to Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.

It's about time...

November 14, 2007

Get it together, boys and girls

I've got my Legos pretty well sorted - thanks to a few industrious student aides at school a few years ago.

But if I didn't, I'm thinking that the Box4Blox would be a possible solution.

Dig it, folks...

And start thinking about Christmas...in case you were thinking of getting a present for your favorite blogger...

just in case...

November 13, 2007

TMQ's radical theory

Just because that's how you've done it doesn't mean that's how you should be doing it.

ESPN Page 2's column Tuesday Morning Quarterback isn't spectacular. The writer goes off on way too many non-football-related rants (about the staus of Pluto as planet, about Congress, about whatever's apparently on his mind). Yet I read it every week, religiously, because from time to time, the guy comes up with ideas like this:
TREND 3: Now for some good news. There's a high school in Arkansas that has made the most significant football innovation we've seen since the veer option. This high school is tearing up its state and is on the verge of revolutionizing the way football is played. TMQ suspects that within a few years, the phrase "Pulaski theory" will be as widely known as the phrase "shotgun spread." In a copycat sport, Pulaski Academy of Little Rock has devised an offensive philosophy that is genuinely new, and it's winning games left and right.

Pulaski Academy does not punt.

I first heard about Pulaski from Peter Giovannini of Morrilton, Ark., a high school football official who wrote me to report in astonishment that he had just worked a conference championship game in which the winning team never punted, even going for a first down on fourth-and-6 from its own 5-yard line early in the game. "As a devotee of TMQ, I thought you might like to know at least one coach in the vast football universe has experienced the epiphany and refuses to punt the ball away," Giovannini wrote.

That team was Pulaski -- 9-1-1 after having just won its opening-round game in the Arkansas 5A playoffs. Coach Kevin Kelley reports that he stopped punting in 2005 -- after reading an academic study on the statistical consequences of going for the first down versus handing possession to the other team, plus reading Tuesday Morning Quarterback's relentless examples of when punting backfires but going for the first down works. In 2005, Pulaski reached the state quarterfinals by rarely punting. In 2006, Pulaski reached the state championship game, losing by one point -- and in the state championship game, Pulaski never punted, converting nine of 10 fourth-down attempts. Since the start of the 2006 season, Pulaski has had no punting unit and never practices punts. This year, Pulaski has punted just twice, both times when leading by a large margin and trying to hold down the final score. In its playoff victory Friday night, Pulaski did not punt, converting three of four fourth-down tries.

"They give you four downs, not three," Kelley told TMQ. "You should take advantage. Suppose we had punted from our own 5. The odds are the opposition will take over at about the 35, and from there the stats say they have an 80 percent chance of scoring. So even if you only have a 50 percent chance of converting the first down, isn't that better than giving the other side an 80 percent chance of scoring?" For fourth-and-short attempts, the odds of converting are a lot better than 50 percent.


As TMQ endlessly notes, NFL teams convert about 75 percent of fourth-and-1 tries. Yet highly paid professional coaches endlessly send in the punt unit on fourth-and-1, handing a scoring opportunity to the opposition. In the 2006 edition of my annual don't-punt column, I summarized the odds this way: "Nearly three-quarters of fourth-and-1 attempts succeed, while around one-third of possessions result in scores. Think about those fractions. Go for it four times on fourth-and-1: Odds are you will keep the ball three times, and three kept possessions each with a one-third chance of a score results in your team scoring once more than it otherwise would have. Punt the ball on all four fourth-and-1s, and you've given the opponents three additional possessions. (It would have gotten one possession anyway when you missed one of your fourth-and-1s.) Those three extra possessions, divided by the one-third chance to score, give the opponent an extra score."

Kelley says that when he began to shun the punt, people thought he was crazy: "It's like brainwashing, people believe you are required to punt." Players and the home crowd needed to get acclimated to it. "When we first started going on every fourth down," he says, "our home crowd would boo and the players would be distressed. You need to become accustomed to the philosophy and buy into the idea. Now our crowd and our players expect us to go for it, and get excited when no punting team comes onto the field. When my 10-year-old son sees NFL teams punting on short yardage on television, he gets upset because he's grown up with the idea that punting is usually bad."

Preparing the players for the no-punting future of football is a practical concern. If a coach unexpectedly kept his offense in on fourth down in his own territory, and failed to convert, the crowd would boo and the defensive players become demoralized. If the defensive players understood that a no-punting philosophy occasionally would hand great field position to the other side but overall would keep the other side off the field, they would buy into the idea. Imagine, in turn, the demoralizing effect on the opposition if its defense stops its opponent after three downs, only to realize that no punt will follow. For the 2007 edition of my anti-punting column, the stats service AccuScore did thousands of computer simulations based on 2006 NFL games and found that, on average, rarely punting added one point per game to the score of the teams that didn't punt, while not adding any points to their opponents' final scores. Computer simulations showed that rarely punting amounted to roughly one additional victory per season at the NFL level. At the college and high school levels, the bonus might be even higher.

Why do coaches punt on fourth-and-short -- and worse, when trailing or in opposition territory? "Most punting is so the coach can avoid criticism," says Kelley, who has coached Pulaski for five years and got his start in high school coaching in football-crazed Texas. "If you go for it and fail, the first question in the postgame press conference will be, 'Aren't you to blame for losing the game because you didn't punt?' If the coach orders a punt, the media will blame the defense." TMQ has always speculated that the desire to shift blame explains why big-college and NFL coaches send in the punting team. But take note, these days, the media and the postgame news conference are factors even at the high school level.

Pulaski Academy is providing real-world evidence of the future of football. The most important innovation in years is being field-tested by the Pulaski Bruins, and the test is going quite well. But don't just take Kelley's word for it. The decisive snap of Illinois' upset of No. 1 Ohio State on Saturday came when the Illini, leading 28-21 with six minutes remaining, went for it on fourth-and-1 in their own territory. Sports radio generally called this a huge gamble. Actually, it was playing the percentages; Illinois converted and held the ball for the remainder of the game. Had Illinois boomed a punt, the Buckeyes would have been in business. On Sunday, while trailing at Washington, Philadelphia went for it on fourth-and-1 in its own territory in the second half -- Fox television announcer Daryl Johnston called this "a huge gamble!" It was playing the percentages; the Eagles converted, and they scored a touchdown on the possession, igniting a comeback. Trailing 10-2, Buffalo went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Dolphins' 24 in the fourth quarter: a conversion, followed by a touchdown on the possession, keyed the Bills' comeback. Leading defending champion Indianapolis 16-0, San Diego went for it on fourth-and-2 at the Indianapolis 37, converted and scored a touchdown on the possession, going on to win by two points. Three times Jacksonville went for it on fourth-and-short in Tennessee territory, all three times converting and going on to score touchdowns; the Titans went for it on fourth-and-short twice in return, once failing and once scoring a touchdown. As noted by reader Rene Derken of Leuth, the Netherlands, Green Bay went for it twice on fourth-and-short in Minnesota territory, both times scoring on the possession -- but Minnesota punted from the Green Bay 42. Carolina went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Atlanta 20, and the play reached the Falcons' 2 before the Panthers' runner fumbled. Yes, New Orleans failed on a fourth-and-1 attempt in its own territory and went on to lose, and San Francisco failed on a fourth-and-1 on the Seattle 2-yard line when trailing big. But of the high-profile fourth-down tries in the NFL and in the Illinois-Ohio State game this past weekend, 10 were a total success, one a qualified success and three a failure. Not too shabby, compared with passively punting the ball.

And consider the punts that boomed when a play should have been run. Trailing 10-0, San Francisco (2-6) punted on fourth-and-1 from their 48-yard line and several minutes later was trailing 17-0. When the game was still tied, the Giants punted on fourth-and-2 from the Dallas 45. Not coincidentally, by game's end they were desperate for points.
I'm all down with innovation in sports, especially if it's backed up with stats.

Geek love!

A new project

A couple of years ago I posted a comment on another blog - don't ask which one, I honestly don't remember. I noticed that another commenter had listed his word verification choice in his comment and turned the word verification into some sort of actual word, a slang, bastardized version of a word anyway.

I brought the habit back to my blog, occasionally chucking the word verification into my comment if I happened to hear the word in my head and attach it to some sort of meaning that wasn't expected.

In the past couple of week, a couple of my regular commenters - achilles3 and calencoriel started doing that a little more frequently, posting comments back and forth with more of the same.

Finally, achilles3 put together a little side project that we've been working on since then and that we're just about ready to throw open to the world. Check out the Word Verification Dictionary.

From here on, we'll be putting the word verifications in all the comments in case any of them catch our eyes. Feel free to join in...

Oh, and when I say we, I pretty much am just speaking for myself. The others have no idea I was saying any of this, so I could be entirely incorrect.

November 12, 2007

Google analytics


Since November 6th, when I signed up for Google Analytics for this here blog, I've gotten 454 visits - with a single-day high this Sunday of 106 visits.

Those 454 visits have come from 313 unique visitors (though I know I count for a couple of those as I've checked in from home and school.)
The average visit has takenone minute, twenty-eight seconds.

Of those visits, 339 came from folks using US English, and 55 from general English. Twelve visits from Korea (hmmmmm.....) Weirdly, 6 using a language that Google lists as nl and appears to be Dutch standard. Then there's five more from German standard. Things get less frequent from there until we're down to solo visits in Turkish, Swedish, Japanese, Hungarian, Spanish, and something listed as gl.

Fifteen visits have come from Canada, twenty-nine from the UK, one each from Malaysia, Iran, the Phillipines, Ireland, Brunei, Hungary, Latvia, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Lebanon, Turkey, the UAE, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Austria. Seriously...

203 visits used Firefox. 189 on IE. 44 Safari. 16 Opera. 1 AvantGo (?). 1 Mozilla.

Of people who came via search engines, 114 came using Google, 3 using Yahoo, 2 AOL, 2 search (?), and 1 MSN. Rock, folks.

The most common search term that lead people to me was Joey Eger with twenty-one visits to the blog. One search for Brazilian men in speedos - though I have no idea why - blog lin brehmer, how many watts should my system be? dj, and loads of other weird search terms have brought people here. I really don't understand some of the choices.

I could throw out hundreds more cool facts that I now know about my blog because of Google Analytics. I wonder whether this is gonna turn out to be more useful than Google Webmaster Tools. Both seem pretty frickin' cool, but Analytics is much more pictorially presented. Better presentation of info = better, more useful info in the long run.

November 11, 2007

Friggin' DePauw


Looks like Wabash's football team won't be ending the season undefeated. They headed into the final regular season game - the traditional Monon Bell game without a loss, but the hated Tigers kicked a last-second field goal to cap a ten-point final quarter comeback.

Bastages...

If you want to check out a recap of the game, click here.

If you want to see photos of the game and the festivities, click here.

If you want to hear the "Ballad of the Monon Bell", click here.

There's always next year...

Ashley MacIsaac

Pretty much just for Allie...

...and because Ashley MacIsaac isn't well enough known around these American parts...check his oeuvre out on Allmusic.com or Wikipedia.org...

"Sleepy Maggie"


"Devil in the Kitchen"


Blocked from embedding, but worth watching - beautiful, traditional fiddle music here.

Nearly breaking his ankles in front of the Chieftans - gorgeous


With Buddy McMaster opening for the White Stripes


Twenty years back and already dancin' like a fiend


Showing off his great sartorial skills


At the same concert playing "MacDougall's Pride"


A ten-minute interview with Ashley suggesting that he may have settled down a bit


"Fish Tunes"??


Rather early Ashley with a selection of tunes

Checking out the world wide interweb

Single words today...

November 10, 2007

The Title of the Blog - part 4

Four weeks in and the Brad Pitt-Morgan Freeman-Kevin Spacey film Seven had just come out. Went to see the film with a couple of frat bros, and I wanted to walk out of the theater. I was totally icked out.
Pride. Wrath. Lust. Envy. Glutton. Greed. Sloth. The seven deadly sins. Today, for each one of these some script writer is reaping a million dollars simply because he could incorporate them all into a movie that a few thousand people will see. He fully has that right, as do the people who directed, produced, and starred in that same film. These people are some of the finest in the world at their craft, and they should be rewarded in that they can convince us to come see their movie. I was convinced last week, and I spent a dollar an hour to be horrified and repulsed.

In no other fully-fictitious movie have I ever seen so violent, so torturous, so repulsive a series of murders as those in this movie. During the file I thought more than once of leaving the theater and had I not driven my fraternity brothers there, I probably would have. Instead, I sat through seven murders and a week of brown rain and surrendered my money to do it.

Since then I’ve spent a few more hours asking myself why I did that. A few years ago I paid for two people to see LA Story, a romantic comedy. Before that, for me to watch Hoosiers, a triumph for the little men of the world. And I’ve seen The Muppet Movie a dozen times. These I understand, because each of them gave me a time to escape from the real world in which I am forced to reside for my other hours. Seven I still don’t understand. In it I got a bit of boiled-down, concentrated evil, something that would disturb me far more than it entertained me.

Every morning I sit down to the Indianapolis Star and work my way through the comics and the sports page. Both of these give me a bit of joy, a few minutes of fun. I usually avoid the front page except to skim the headlines. Day in and day out I find stores of murder and robbery, of rape and terrorism. Those things are real; we have no escape from the facts of our world. I honestly sincerely wish that they were different, but they are not. Our world has an awful lot of beauty in it, but is also has its full measure of horror.

Do we then need people to make up their own fictions even worse that what is already? I know that I don’t. Actually, what I know is that I don’t need to see or hear or read those stories. Every person on the earth has full rights and privileges to their ideas, be they dreams or nightmares. If that person wants to even put their image on canvas or celluloid, their story or tape or script, they should be allowed to do that. Ideas alone can do us no harm.

But I reserve full right, as well, to not read that person’s words, to close my ears tot their stories. And you do as well. I chose to see Seven and to read Grapes of Wrath; any problems that these may have caused me are fully of my own choosing. What I do not have full rights and privileges to do is to tell you what you cannot watch and may not hear. Your mind is your own whether you choose to pour into is beautiful tales or horrible pictures.

Lately the debate had come to us on whether our new televisions should have a new microchip to block violent programs from ever reaching us. These V-chips would keeps Cops and GI Jo, old Chuck Norris movies, and undoubtedly Seven from ever showing on the small screen. But already we have a few things that can do this more effectively and less in the fashion of Big Brother. We have remote controls, on-off cottons, and our minds. If I want to see blood and guts, then I should be fully allowed to, and if someday my children want to, then I should be the one to convince them not to. GE shouldn’t; Bob Bole shouldn’t; my neighbors shouldn’t; and neither should you.

But personally I would much rather kick back, pop some popcorn, and see the Roadrunner give Wil E. Coyote a good whack across the head; or maybe pop in a tape and ice the beer when it’s time for some good ole’ butt-kickin’ football. Anything as long as I don’t have to see Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman again…ooh, nightmares…
I've seen the flick once since then, and it's still a very well-made film that reulses me thoroughly. I think I would've liked this ending better.

November 9, 2007

Sit back and watch today's PowerPoint

From Really Bad PowerPoint (and how to avoid it)
PowerPoint could be the most powerful tool on your computer. But it’s not.

It’s actually a dismal failure. Almost every PowerPoint presentation sucks rotten
eggs. And much of the fault lies with Microsoft.
If you didn't click on that last link - on the ebook above - go back and click on it. It's like five or six pages worth of reading, and it's impressively succinct.

Nearly every PowerPoint presentation you've seen sucks.

Just about all of them suck.

And there is some research that suggests presenting information visually and verbally at the same time overloads listeners so that they're actually less likely to learn anything.

There are ways to fix PowerPoint presentations, and most advice centers around the idea of using more pictures - good, professional pictures - and less text. Some advice suggests that a slide should have no more than six words - no bullets, no subpoints, no nothing. Tell the story verbally, and don't read any part of the slide show. Make sure that your presentation needs you to present it. Otherwise, there's no reason for you to be there; you can just send it out as an attachment.

Even the people who say that the death of PowerPoint is overreported agree that there's a fair bit of work to be done to make PowerPoint good, so I'm challenging you with this question...

What's the last PowerPoint presentation you saw that you would say was a good presentation, one that really informed you or convinced you to think differently?