Strange Brouhaha

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why did Gerald Ford hate America?

I ask that in both the tongue-in-cheek sense and the serious sense. In a 2004 interview with Bob Woodward, Ford said--not in so many words, of course--that The Decider is a boob. I can't wait for the Limbaughs and Malkins and Savages of the world to pick up on this and run with it, telling us how anti-American Ford was.

But, you know, even though Ford was not the most respected President in the history of the nation, and even though as an ex-President he was mostly just Gerry Ford and not a revered elder statesman, you'd think that his opinions would have carried some weight just by default--and he asked Woodward to hold off on publishing those opinions. Woodward, who is no longer the Bob Woodward of "All The President's Men," if he ever was, did.

I'm not naive enough to think that if everyone had known in 2004 that Ford thought that Iraq was a mistake, then His Monkiness wouldn't have been elected. But a fella can dream.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

He probably just wants to use them

The cynic in me says that W wants to preserve the internment camps from WWII because he wants the "research" done to include "how can we do this again and get away with it?"

Michelle Malkin will surely help; after all, she thinks the internment was the greatest thing American has ever done.

Monday, December 25, 2006

R.I.P. James Brown

James Brown died today. So, so many disrespectful leads suggest themselves...but I'm all about being classy, so there'll be none of that.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwanzaa. Happy Solstice. Whatever it is, have a nice one. And don't forget the true meaning of Christmas: eating too much. I certainly won't forget it.

Here's a lovely Christmas song. Please ignore the talking piece of poo.

What would a performance video be without rehearsal footage?

And, in the spirit of the holidays, Eric Cartman is an asshole to Jesus.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Eric Dolphy

I had this whole essay about music, but I erased it in favor of this: Eric Dolphy is one of my favorite musicians ever. He was a virtuoso avant-garde multi-instrumentalist who created stunning improvisations on the alto saxophone, bass clarinet and flute. He had one of those tragic early deaths that seem to plague jazz history--in his case, he collapsed in a diabetic coma and, because he was a jazz musician, doctors simply assumed it was drugs and left him untreated.

Here are a couple of videos of his work with another great, Charles Mingus. Mingus loved Dolphy.

First, an alto sax solo (and that drummer is no slouch!):

Second, bass clarinet:

Better than Coltrane. In fact, here's "Impressions". Trane loved Dolphy, too, and considered him a peer--but take a look at this video. I think Dolphy blows Trane away.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Questions

My sister forwarded me this questionnaire as part of an email chain. Rather than emailing it all over creation, I'll answer the questions here. That saves bits, don't you think?

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. It's cheaper. Plus, bags *can* be nice, but to make them nice you have to spend just as much time on them as you do on paper. Also, it seems kind of wasteful to spend four bucks on a bag that someone's just going to throw away. Not so with twenty-five cents' worth of wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or artificial? Real. I like the smell. Not so much the mess, of course, but hey, it's only once a year.

3. When do you put up the tree? A day or two before Christmas. This is when my in-laws prefer it, and since we do all of our Christmas stuff over there, that's whose rule we follow.

4. When do you take the tree down? January 2, or as soon as otherwise possible after January 1. More because of tree collection than out of any native desire to have it gone.

5. Do you like eggnog? I can't recall that I've ever even had it. It stands to reason that I'd like it, since I like custard, but I think I might be put off by the rum.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? To be honest, there are only a few Christmas gifts I got that I actually remember as being Christmas gifts. One of our cousins (almost certainly Kalei) gave me a Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide one year. I remember a couple of other books, but can't recall if they were birthday or Christmas gifts. I can't remember if the Commodore 64 was a birthday or Christmas gift, but that was pretty damn spectacular too.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? No.

8. Hardest person(s) to buy for? My sister and brother-in-law, and my mom and dad. I never know what to get. We just kind of blindly pick stuff and hope they like it!

9. Easiest person to buy for? Any kid, because they seriously like everything they get. At least, that's true in our case. Also, it's easy to buy for me :)

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? The year that I said "I don't want anything" and actually got nothing was pretty bad. But I'm not sure that that counts. I don't think I've ever gotten a bad Christmas gift. I'm easy to please.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Uh...Christmas cards?

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Most versions of "A Christmas Carol," but especially the Alistair Sim version and the Bill Murray version ("Scrooged"). Also "Miracle on 34th Street" with Maureen O'Hara and Natalie Wood.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? This year, I think we started stockpiling presents in August or September. We actually start pretty early; it's finishing and mailing things that get us in trouble.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Is this like regifting? No, I never have.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Roast beef. Ham and turkey are good too. I'm not picky. Oooh, mince pie! (I haven't had it in years, though.)

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored, although the only set of tree lights we ever bought were clear. But I think colored lights are just more festive and fun. We have these neat bubble lights at the in-laws' place; they're filled with colored liquid which bubbles when it's heated.

17. Favorite Christmas carol? Absolutely and without a doubt, "Sleigh Ride."

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home, where "home" is defined as "at the in-laws," which is a mile from our house.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes, but this is a dumb question to have on this kind of thing, because once one person puts the answer in an email, then everyone knows it. Anyway, yes.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Both. Although to be pedantic, I think we put the angel at the very top and the star near the top.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One present Christmas Eve, the rest in the morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Bill O'Reilly and his bullshit "War on Christmas" meme that he and his ilk try to push. Also, we live near a mall, and traffic gets really bad. This year, though, it hasn't been egregious (knock wood).

23. Is Santa Claus real? Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

24. Have you ever opened a gift under the tree and rewrapped it? Yes. I am incredibly ni'ele. If I had my way, I'd know what every single thing is before anybody opened anything.

Monday, December 18, 2006

R.I.P. Joe Barbera

Dave Cockrum died recently, as did Martin Nodell, who created the Golden Age Green Lantern. Now, animation great Joe Barbera, one half of Hanna-Barbera, has passed away.

I cannot imagine what my childhood would have been like without the vast stable of Hanna-Barbera cartoons--Superfriends, The Flintstones, and Scooby-Doo alone were hugely important parts of my life. (And I hated Scooby-Doo! But there it was, every afternoon. I liked "The New Scooby-Doo Movies" the best, especially the ones with the Harlem Globetrotters.) Any kid who watched TV in the late 70s and early 80s probably had their sense of humor informed in large part by H-B.

So long, Joe. And thanks.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Hotel

While in Chicago, we stayed at the Park Hyatt Chicago. It's a very nice hotel. So nice, that we felt like bumpkins (I told you you'd be seeing that word again) when we got there...and in fact, I'm sure that the staff could tell that we were the country cousins come to town.

When we arrived, I pulled our car into the valet spot. We got out, unloaded our luggage, and...I'm not quite sure how it happened, but they had whirlwinded us inside to the front desk, sans baggage, valet ticket in hand, car gone, answering the vital question, "And would you like the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune delivered to your room in the morning?"

This is the view from the hotel room the next morning. That bright mass in the middle as you look down Chicago Avenue is the sun rising over Lake Michigan. On the extreme left is Chicago's landmark Old Water Tower. (The in-laws' room had a much better view of it.)

This is the shower. Yes, I took a picture of the shower. It's bigger than our first apartment. It's easily big enough for three people, if you're into that sort of thing. The best part (better than being big enough for three!) is that that shower head is about seven and a half feet off the ground. I've been in hotels where the shower head is about chest-high on me. This was great.

I neglected to take a picture of the huge bathtub. How huge was it? I fit into it. All the way. Without, uh, "spilling over".

In contrast to the classy photos certain people posted the other day, I bring you this picture of the telephone in the bathroom. It's right next to the toilet (you can see its reflection). If only Elvis had had this, we might be watching another comeback special.

I was unaccountably fascinated by that telephone. Of all the places to put a phone, why there? Are there people who are really so important that even their time on the toilet isn't their own? And are those people really staying on the 8th floor of a Hyatt? You'd think they'd be a little higher up.

Here's a picture of the hotel minibar. Eat all of this stuff, take the camera and the CD, and you've spent a fair chunk of change. Each of those cans of soda would set you back $4.50. For that same $4.50, I walked down the street and got a loaded Chicago dog and fries.

I thought briefly of trying to add everything up to see what it really would have cost, but I was afraid that we might get charged just for touching everything. You can never really tell with a minibar, at least according to everything I learned from television. Apparently, minibars can be the source of wacky hijinks, so we just left it alone.

Last picture...American Girl Place was right across the street from the hotel. As I mentioned, before, we were out walking and saw the line of people waiting to get in.

The actual door for the store is off to the left. They've got barricades set up to make an S-line, and the spillover is all the way to the corner and starting to turn the corner. Every single person you can see in this picture is on line.

I've only got one Chicago post left, and lucky you, it's all about how I didn't like the Field Museum's translation of Tutankhamun's cartouche. Huzzah!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sometimes the jokes just write themselves

Scores ill after eating at Olive Garden.

Well, duh.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Store

The primary reason we went to Chicago this weekend--and don't get me wrong, it was nice to see Wicked and to visit the museum--was to make the modern Hajj For Tweens.

Yes: American Girl Place. If you are the father of a girl, you may be making this pilgrimage sometime. It is sufficiently ubiquitous that, at least around here, if you put the words "daughter," "birthday" and "Chicago" together in certain combinations, people will say "Ah, American Girl Place!" (For example: "We just got back from Chicago. It's my daughter's birthday and..." "American Girl Place?")

For those of you who don't know, American Girl is a hugely successful doll-based enterprise. Each American Girl doll is representative of a particular era in American history--plucky 1850s pioneer girl Kirsten, for example, or plucky Depression girl Kit, or plucky 1764 Nez Perce girl Kaya. (Yeah, they're all plucky, no matter what problems they have to deal with.) Here's a picture of the whole lineup:

I don't want this to turn into an advertisement--they don't need my help--but Mattel (who bought The Pleasant Company and the American Girl brand from Pleasant Rowland in 1998; Wikipedia has a good summary of the history of American Girl) has done a great job with the line, despite the criticisms you'll see in the Wikipedia article.

The store itself is a huge hit. It was right across the street from our hotel, and when I went out on Saturday morning to hit the ATM, there was a line of people down the block waiting to get into the store, with more people joining every minute. (I have a picture, but I forgot to upload it.) This was before the store opened, I hasten to mention.

The wife and Birthday Girl and Nana had reservations for lunch at the American Girl Cafe, with birthday celebration. They did that while my father-in-law and I were at the Field Museum. Later, though, we all headed over to the store for a show.

Now, normally, a jam-packed store is my vision of hell, but somehow it wasn't all that bad. There were all these calm, well-behaved girls walking around with their dolls, looking at things like this horse and carriage...

...and these REALLY nice coats.

We thought we had five tickets, but it turned out that there were only three--so I got to enjoy the American Girl revue. And I'm not being sarcastic, either. I originally thought that I was going to have to endure it, but it turned out to be a quite a good show. It told the stories of all of the dolls through the framing device of a neighborhood meeting of an American Girl Club whose members have to Explain Things to The New Girl In Town.

The writing was on the level a person would expect from American Girl, which is to say that despite the pretty heavy moralizing, it was very effective. The music was good, too, and while the voice quality varied (but come on, the girls were what, twelve?) the performers were strong. In its way, it was just as engaging as Wicked was...and it had the same sound problem that Wicked did, to boot! Fortunately, the theater was a small space, and we were right up front, so we could hear everything regardless of whose mic was turned on and whose wasn't.

The highlight of the show was the Miss Victory dance, where the actress who was explaining the story of Molly (plucky WWII-era girl on The Home Front) did an amazing tap routine with the actress playing her sister. Wow.

When we all stood and sang the American Girl Anthem at the end of the show, I think I pissed off one of the adult actors. Like I said, we were up in the front row, so when all the actors came forward, we were right next to them. At the end of the song, there was a pretty obvious place where an enterprising guy with a deep-ish voice could take a nice low harmony line. So I did. Loud. Not on purpose or to be a jerk or anything, but it was me against a theater full of women and girls plus a dozen people with microphones. The actress in front of me started singing louder. Oops.

All in all, I have to say that the store was a great experience. I'm a sucker for anything in miniature, and dolls are no exception. (On our honeymoon, we went, on purpose, to a doll museum.) I took a ton of pictures of all of the American Girl dolls--more than I took anywhere else. I was a little scared that I'd step on a girl or something, but I ended up not hurting anyone. There are worse things to do with your time.

I'll leave you with a cute picture from the display window outside the store. Sorry to be so precious, but when I saw this picture, I knew it had to be last. Say goodnight, Molly and Elizabeth.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Museum

The Field Museum in Chicago is hosting the massive new King Tut exhibit through January 1, and we ordered tickets. Here is how popular this show is: we couldn't get five tickets together. At all. So we split up, and my father-in-law and I hit the museum on Saturday morning.

The Field Museum, if you've never been to it, is a massive natural history museum. I was able to take a bunch of pictures. Unfortunately, none of them are of the Tutankhamun exhibit--photography was strictly verboten and I didn't want to get kicked out. I do have some pictures of a few of the things we looked at while we were waiting for our 11 a.m. entrance time.

If you go--and I recommend it--understand that the "enter between time x and time y" part of the ticket really means "get there half an hour early and get in line." We spent 45 minutes wandering around the museum and got in line at the exact time specified on our tickets. Here is what the line looked like:

I was not at the back of the line when I took this picture, which looks forward towards the entrance to the exhibit. Actually, that's not technically true: this is the line that we waited on to get in line to get into the exhibit. That's a lot of people, but we only spent about half an hour waiting. The line moved steadily along, and the Museum staff did a great job getting people in.

For more on the Tut exhibit, the Field Museum's exhibit website can tell you far more than I can, and in far better detail. I do have some random observations, though, on what amazed me.

  • Actual people used some of this stuff. Three thousand years ago, someone's ass was in that chair. Someone else was carrying that shield. Someone else was putting that ceremonial dagger onto Tutankhamun's mummy and hoping that Tutankhamun would put it to good use in the afterlife.

  • I have no idea why, but seeing the wood grain on the model boats was neat.

  • There were some photos of the tomb from Carter's rediscovery of it. As my father-in-law said, it looked like a yard sale. I don't know, I had this vision of items lovingly stacked, organized and arranged for a journey to the afterlife. It looked more like my basement.

  • Nobody was sketching. Photography was prohibited, but surely out of the thousands of people there, someone would want to sketch. I would have, but I didn't even think to bring my sketchbook--maybe everyone else was in the same boat.

  • I was able to pick out the hieroglyphics for Tutankhamun's names on many of the artifacts. I think that's so neat. However, I think the exhibit does a poor job of translating the hieroglyphics for Tutankhamun's cartouche. Yes, I am not an Egyptologist or a museum curator. I still think I'm right. But that's another post.

One last thing on Tutankhamun. Outside the gift shop (which was, conveniently, also the exit of the exhibit...funny how that works) was a bust of the recent reconstruction of Tut's face. Yes, this hot chick... actually King Tut. All I could think of was Jaye Davidson in Stargate.

Okay, a few more crappy photos and we'll call it done. First, here's Sue the T-Rex:

Some neat old bottles. We were standing next to someone else who was looking at them, and he suddenly said "Holy [cow], I have that one! And that one!"

Here's the Polar Bear display. Bauer, they don't look all that badass. I think you rigged that game. :)

I was thinking that George W. Bush would be behind the curtain; the sign asks "Who's the most unusual primate?" and The Monkey King would have been a good guess...

...but it was really just some doofus with a cellphone camera.

Pun Alert! Five dollars American* to the first person other than my wife to tell me why I had to get a picture of this animal, and why it had to be the last picture.

This is the story of our trip to the Field Museum in Chicago.

*Actual dollars not available.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Theater

Originally, we had intended to leave Madison after school was out and head out to Chicago, figuring that it would just take as long as it took and we'd hit rush-hour traffic on the way in and Just Deal. We had nowhere to be until lunchtime on Saturday, after all. Then a friend was able to very generously provide us with these difficult-to-get tickets as a Birthday Present...

...and we gladly adjusted.

I'm an Oz fan from way back. When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time in libraries, and they had reprints of all of the Baum books with the John Neill illustrations. I absolutely loved these books, and I still do--they were some of the first books that I read to Herself when she was old enough. I'm happy to say that it seemed that she liked them as much as I did.

I ignored Gregory Maguire's novel, Wicked, when it first came out. It sounded interesting, and I'm all for reimaginations, but it mostly just sort of passed under my radar. (I did end up reading it.) The news that there was going to be a musical made me go "eh," especially when I found out that Kristin Chenoweth was in it. I'm sorry...I find her annoying.

Then came the 2004 Tony Awards. That's Joel Grey, introducing Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth doing an abbreviated version of the Act I closer, "Defying Gravity."

(At the Tonys, "Wicked" got jobbed. There's just no way that "Avenue Q" had a better score than "Wicked". I've listened to them both. No, that's not true: I listened to half of "Avenue Q" and it was dull-with-a-capital-duh.)

The music alone is fantastic; the score was written by Stephen Schwartz (an award-winning composer and lyricist whose credits include "Godspell," "Pippin," and a few of the modern Disney animated films among many others). The "Wicked" soundtrack--one purchase later--became a regular fixture in our house. Certain Persons would listen to it every night at bedtime, and quickly became enamored with Elphaba, the green girl who would become the Wicked Witch of the West.

We went into the show, therefore, having heard the soundtrack a lot and knowing that, at the very least, we would hear some incredible music. I've seen some reviews of the score that claimed that the songs did nothing to move the story or the characters ahead, and I have to say that either I or those reviewers are on crack, and it's not me.

As you can see from the ticket scan, "Wicked" is playing in Chicago at the Oriental Theatre. It's a beautiful space--I wish I had photos to share. I did take a few of the crowd waiting to get in, and of the lobby, but there was no photography in the house itself (as is usually the case, for a lot of reasons). I was going to chance it, because my phone doesn't have a flash on it, but the prohibition was being strictly enforced: I saw an usher get right in someone's face.

Our seats were quite literally the best seats in the house, and I cannot thank the person who got these tickets for us enough. We were amazed when we entered and the usher told us where our seats were (is a person an usher when no actual ushing is involved? he just said "Row J" and pointed, like we couldn't read our tickets for ourselves), and we just kept walking forward...and forward...and forward. We were ten rows back and smack in the middle. There is no way that anyone had better seats than we did, and as a bonus, the seat in front of Herself was fortuitously empty, so she could see.

The current stars in Chicago are Kristy Cates as Elphaba and Erin Mackey as Glinda. These women are phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal. My jaw dropped open several times, including when Cates hit the low note (sorry, I don't have the pitch sense to say "low F#" or whatever it was) at the end of "I'm Not That Girl" and held it rock-steady, and when Mackey's voice soared up into the stratosphere. Really, all of the performers were incredibly strong, both vocally and...uh...acting-ally.

And they had a lot to do...acting-ally. (I'm sorry, it's late, and I can't think of a better word.) Winnie Holtzman's book is packed. Almost nothing is wasted, although there were a few spots where I would have left out a line or two. This is one of those great adaptations that manages to be both faithful to its source and utterly different at the same time. (It is similar to the novel only in very broad strokes.)

Do I have complaints? This wouldn't be Strange Brouhaha without them, but about the only real one is that the sound crew was having an off night. There were a lot of mic problems, including some really bad clipping and static on Erin Mackey. But I feel almost churlish complaining about that, because the honest truth is that the show was fantastic. I highly recommend it. It was everything we could have hoped for and more. Shows like this are the reason that I love going to the theater, and as an added bonus, the Birthday Girl loved it, too.

If youre interested in seeing what the production looked like, check out this HUGE page of pictures. And it is huge, and takes forever to load, and if you are a lonely soul still on dial-up, don't bother.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

You went WHERE?

Some of you may recall our semi-disastrous trip to Chicago in March to see the American Ballet Theatre. We, gluttons for punishment that we are, returned to Chicago this weekend for another round. It was Someone's Birthday, and we had quite an extravaganza.

Over the next few days, you can "look forward" to some field reports on the major events of the weekend: a hotel, a show, a store, and a museum. Fortunately, this time there were no breakdowns and no disasters. The drive to Chicago was, as always, a fairly enjoyable experience, we knew right where we were going (thanks in no small part to Google Maps), and we survived.

Here's a small taste of the photography you'll get. I took a bunch of pictures with my cell phone camera--and you can blame the Indian, not the arrow, for the quality--and we got quite a few shots on film as well.

(Yeah, this is the kind of quality you get from me. I'm no photographer. You're lucky that it's mostly straight. Actually, I couldn't get any further back; I was up against a wall when I took this picture.)

This absolutely gorgeous Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II was parked outside our hotel Saturday night. I felt like a bumpkin (this word, you will see it again) just walking past it with my Chicago hot dog. It was getting very little attention, and there were a lot of people passing by--I'm really lucky that there are no people in this shot. Why was it getting no attention? There was a new, generic-looking Maserati about a car-length away from it, and everybody was running to look at that instead.

This Rolls-Royce...THIS is a car!

Trip reports follow over the next few days.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Let's have a frontman crazy-off!

Okay, Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies--you know, the last video in my last post--put me in mind of super-scary twelve-foot-tall-Indian Chuck Billy of Testament.

And then, for some reason, I thought of Messiah Marcolin. He's just scary. He doesn't even need to be twelve feet tall. Here's Candlemass, doing "Solitude" live. (No, Messiah doesn't do the high note on the last "ashes to ashes".) As a bonus, you get to see him without his shirt several times. It's not to be missed.

So anyway, let's have a frontman crazy-off between Chuck Billy, Messiah Marcolin and Mike Muir. What's the plural of "crazy frontman emeritus"? Emeritus crazy frontmen (I think that's correct) Axl Rose and Glenn Danzig can judge the new inductee.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

More videos...but not Rush

I found some videos. I love YouTube. You probably don't want to crank these at work. Especially the last one. Although if you work in a place where you can crank them, you've probably got a cool job. Also don't play them for small children.

First, two videos from thrash greats Death Angel. Here's "Bored"...

...and "A Room With A View" (yes, it's not thrashy).

And just for variety, here's "You Can't Bring Me Down" from Suicidal Tendencies. TELL 'EM WHAT'S UP, ROCKY!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Okay, one more group of Rush videos

"I hope they play 'Bangkok'. Nah, they never play 'Bangkok'." It's the opening to the R30 show. Excellent medley.

Then, some of 2112, also from R30. The pirate stuff interesting choice.

Finally, a while back, I mentioned that I had seen something about the Wonka 2112 project, where you can sync up 2112 to Gene Wilder's Wonka movie. Someone posted the results on YouTube, but they messed up and didn't kill the original audio. It really doesn't work for me--I don't see how it goes with what's happening onscreen. But here it is anyway, in the interest of science. (I only made it about halfway through before I gave up, so buyer beware.)

I don't think this should be allowed

No, no, not Mary Cheney's pregnancy--that's great. Good for her and her partner.

No, what shouldn't be allowed is this: "The vice president's office declined to elaborate on the circumstances of Mary Cheney's pregnancy." I don't think the vice president's office should be allowed to decline to elaborate, and furthermore I don't think the vice president should be allowed to use a spokesperson.

I would like to hear the vice president himself explain why mentioning that his daughter is a lesbian is personal, political attack. Buncha lousy hypocrites.

What Tarot Card Are You?

You are The Hermit

Prudence, Caution, Deliberation.

The Hermit points to all things hidden, such as knowledge and inspiration,hidden enemies. The illumination is from within, and retirement from participation in current events.

The Hermit is a card of introspection, analysis and, well, virginity. You do not desire to socialize; the card indicates, instead, a desire for peace and solitude. You prefer to take the time to think, organize, ruminate, take stock. There may be feelings of frustration and discontent but these feelings eventually lead to enlightenment, illumination, clarity.

The Hermit represents a wise, inspirational person, friend, teacher, therapist. This a person who can shine a light on things that were previously mysterious and confusing.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Another cool video

Yeah, you're going to have to sit through "Closer to the Heart," but it's totally worth it. (It's not that I don't like the's just that if you hear a Rush song on the radio, it's most likely to be "Closer" or "The Spirit of Radio".) This video combines clips of Rush performing this song in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and at an R30 concert.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Briefly Noted

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Saturday Six

If it's Sunday, it must be time for the Saturday Six. This week's Sunday Seven is about the Jones Soda holiday flavors, and what weird flavors you'd like to see (but not necessarily drink; I'd pick Manapua, Pork Hash, Crispy Gau Gee, and Shrimp Canton). But the Six...

1. What is the last fruit or vegetable juice you drank? How long ago did you drink it?

2. Which are more likely to have on hand: fresh fruit and vegetables or fresh juice?

3. Does a negative movie review make you less likely to see the movie? Does a positive review make you more likely to see it?

4. Take the quiz: What gender is your brain?

5. Which line of description in the results best describes you?

6. The U.S. Mint has announced a plan to reintroduce one-dollar coins, this time with former presidents. Would you use one-dollar coins, or is paper still the way to go?

1. Cran-Apple, just a couple of minutes ago. And I don't mind letting you know that it was pretty darn good.

2. Fruit. I love fruit.

3. Depends on the movie. More than that, it depends on whether I was planning to see it anyway. A negative review wouldn't push me away from, say, the next Harry Potter movie, just as one example, and a positive review would not make me buy a seat at any theater showing a movie with the horrifyingly unfunny Will Ferrell.

4. Okay, I'm not buying this one.

Your Brain is 73% Female, 27% Male

Your brain leans female

You think with your heart, not your head

Sweet and considerate, you are a giver

But you're tough enough not to let anyone take advantage of you!

5. I don't really think any of them describe me.

6. The only way I would use a dollar coin is if there were no more dollar bills. Since our currency is based solely on fiat (it's only worth something because we think it is), there's really no reason to have a dollar coin--if a dollar coin were made out of a dollar's worth of material, it'd be a different story. The only reason that the government continues to push a dollar coin is that coins are more durable than bills. Screw 'em: a bill is easier to carry. I don't need a pocketful of coins. (Caveat emptor: I don't carry cash, so the point is really moot with me. I just know that I'm agin it.)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thursday Threesome for Friday

I don't usually do the Thursday Threesome, but today's is about food and I can actually answer it. The way it works is that they come up with a phrase and then break it down into three parts. You'll see.

::Sweet Baby James::

Onesome: Sweet--
or sour? What type of sauces do you like on your dishes when you 'do Chinese'?

Twosome: Baby--
back ribs? ...or steak? Tofu? Chicken? It's your choice; what would you like for your next meal "out"?

Threesome: James--
town flood? What do flood your mashed potatoes with, gravy or butter? ...or do you like them plain?

Onesome: For me, eating Chinese food is not primarily about sauces. It's about the entire dish. In general, I prefer savory sauces over sweet ones, but my favorite thing growing up was Shrimp Canton, which is basically sweet-and-sour shrimp. I definitely miss the food from home, though; you can't get Crispy Gau Gee here.

Twosome: Well, if I could have absolutely anything, I'd go to Lam's Garden or somewhere else that's good in Honolulu. There was this place I used to go to when I worked for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands that served a great five-spice chicken, plate-lunch style. Lines were always out the door. I went there enough that I was a "regular"--I'd go there again. Caspian Cafe, here in town, used to make a good Persian meatball; I wonder if they still do. Anyway, getting serious for a moment, for my next meal out, I would actually like to have breakfast. There are a couple of good breakfast places around here. I would have something simple, bacon and eggs and hash browns. There's nothing like breakfast.

Threesome: I like to eat mashed potatoes plain--however, the way I make 'em, with cream and butter mixed in, along with a crapload of roasted garlic, they've got enough flavor without needing to add anything. You put gravy on mashed potatoes I make, I kick your ass. It's like paying $30 for a steak and then putting ketchup on it.