Friday, October 31, 2003

Now that's a Jack-O-Lantern! Tom Nardone uses power tools like hole-saws, jig-saws, and routers to make Extreme Pumpkins. His pumpkins can be whimsical like the Mud Flap Lady pumpkin, creepy like the "Drowning" pumpkin, or even topical, as in the conjoined Twins Pumpkin. It's very cool to see what creative types can do. In his case, carving Jack-O-Lantern's has made Tom something of a local celebrity. Check out

Where's RED ELVISES? I stumbled across the Coca Cola - Germany site and found the RED ELVISES! Since I can't read German, I can't tell you why they are on the page, but I guess they must have done a commercial for them. You'll have to dig -- look under Make It Real, Mehr Guitarren.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Happy Halloween!

Just in case you need a dose of Halloween madness, here are pictures from last year's All Hallows Eve Fete! (Photos)

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

In 14 years, Gary Larson produced over 4,000 Far Side cartoons. Even though The Far Side has been in reruns since 1994, it is possible that you may have missed one. Now you can remedy the problem. The Complete Far Side Anthology contains all of the cartoons in just two oversized volumes. Listen to a Larson's dry wit on 'The Far Side' Anthologized (and discussed) on NPR.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Duck and Cover! The atomic bomb changed the world forever... I wish I understood why I have such nostalgia for the mayhem of the 1950's. The world was equal parts promise and fear. I think of sweet and smoky tiki lounges, hip swinging lounge music, and the bile of the atom bomb. The cult classic movie, The Atomic Cafe recounts the fear and love of the bomb using only the voice of its time.... There is no narration. Goverment propoganda films and US Army training videos, over 10,000 films in all were reviewed to create the montage that is The Atomic Cafe. The effect is stunning, funny, and sometimes horrifying. There is footage of a minister giving an interview saying that husbands should include guns as part of the protection of their bomb shelters in order to keep people out of the shelter. It was quite a time, and The Atomic Cafe tells the story nicely. For more information on the movie, check out the web page which recounts Jayne Loader's part in the production of the DocuRama.

There is a new feature at our family website,! We are adding birthday and anniversary announcements.

Finally, a conflict resolution technique where no one gets hurt! This past week saw 1000 competitors in the Rock, Scissors, Paper world championship in Toronto. Check Out Rock, Paper, Scissors in the news or at their website. There was also a rather entertaining interview on NPR with Douglas Walker, the managing director of the sport's governing body.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

DVD: Identity (2003) - John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet
Identity is a spectacular whodunnit with brains and a twist. Beautifully executed, Identity brings together ten people connected by a single surreal link. Nothing is as it seems, and everyone seems to have a hidden agenda. The performances are perfect and creepy. The plot is engaging; and the 90 running minutes seem to fly by. With an arabesque reminiscent of The Usual Suspects, Fight Club, or Memento, Identity is a perfect ten. You will be telling your friends about it.

Alfred Lubrano's new book is titled Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams. The book explores the crisis of identity suffered by the first generation of a family to enter college. The parents may push to get their children into college, but neither parents or children may be adequately prepared for the cultural rift that emerges. Alfred Lubrano talks about Limbo on NPR. The book is available from Powells.

Friday, October 24, 2003 DVD: The Office - The Complete First Series (2003)

The Office is fascinating viewing. The clever humor is so subtle and so British that it maintains a constant unease throughout the entire season. The writer and director clearly know that the pain of a joke gone bad is the long silent unease that follows. While any other show would cut away and ease the tension, this one wallows in it leaving the viewer wanting to run but afraid to turn away.

Ricky Gervais, the corpulent star of the show clearly wrote it for himself. He is the center of every scene. His character is so understandably despicable and so perfectly representative of smarmy business managers that you can't keep yourself from watching him and every episode even though you know that there will never be a happy ending.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

The Asia times reports that they are Dying for a McDonald's in Iraq. It seems that a London investors conference was agog with reports that McDonald's, among other corporations, may begin selling burgers and fries in Iraq by next year. There was no word, however, on when they might introduce the "McRib." While these early reports may be encouraging leading indicators, the economic reconstruction of Iraq can not be deemed a success until McDonald's is selling boneless pork sandwiches in Bagdad.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

On November 14th, Big Sandy and his FlyRite Boys are coming to the Handlebar. Big Sandy starts by borrowing their sounds from honky tonk, jump-blues, and Western swing and then infuse it with their own infectious brand of Rockabilly. Reviewer Geoffrey Himes says "the Fly-Rite Boys syncopate the beat with a no-fuss crispness..." He went on to say that their "albums jump and swing with a rhythmic sophistication few neo-rockabilly bands can match." When Big Sandy comes rolling into the Handlebar, we'll be there.

Do you know what $87 Billion Dollars looks like? On September 7th, 2003, President Bush announced on national television that he was asking the Congress to grant him an additional $87 billion dollars for the next fiscal year, beginning October 1, to continue the fight on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's a really big number, and the guys at crunchweb have a picture to help you understand just how big that is.

"A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon it starts to add up to some real money."

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The Red Elvises made a second appearance at the Handlebar last week. Of course, we were on hand to experience all of the fun. My friend Mike Brannaman took some fun pictures of the show.

What happens when Pranksters Take Revenge on Telemarketers? NPR reports on just how much fun the pranksters can have. This is the best idea ever for a bit of sweet revenge on those annoying evening callers.

NPR carried a story this morning from Kate Feiffer where she discusses her feelings about her recent Identity Theft. She explores her plight with good humour. Still, it's a cautionary tale.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Here is some great radio. Yesterday, Terry Gross interviewed Bill O'Reilly on her show, Fresh Air. Bill apparently didn't like the interview too much and eventually walked out of the interview. The whole event apparently embarassed him enough to make him mention it on his TV show the same evening. During the interview, Bill is incredibly self-possessed while completely blind to his use of the same bad-mouthing tactics he demonizes. Bill O'Reilly spins out on Fresh Air.

Peter Agre, a scientist at Johns Hopkins University medical school has, along with fellow American Roderick MacKinnon have been awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry. The nobel prize winner said that winning the nobel prize was sort of like winning the lottery.

Huh... Oddly enough, Cledus T. Simpson, winner of last week's Super Ball Lottery never once mentioned that winning the lottery was like winning the nobel prize.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

"God was showing off when he made you." You can get this and over 50 more Christian Pickup Lines like it at In Love With God - Christian pickup lines. It sort of makes me misty eyed for the good old days at BJU.

Lather Up Sinners! Jesus Shaves! The web is a wondrous thing. I was looking for something and instead I found Jesus! He was shaving! So I asked myself, "What would Jesus Do?" Answer? He'd Shave! I am going to go shave right now. All I need now is a Jesus Shaves Shaving Mug.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Ken's Haiku:

Gazes at the stars
Flies small sleek plane
Why no engine?

Here is one for my pal, Ken!

Mike's Haiku:

Paints little mens
famous screaming pose
says bad words

All of my friends will be immortalized in Haiku!

Linda's Haiku:

Honey sweet heart
She loves me lots
Nice rack, too.

Once I got started with this stupid Haiku thing, I couldn't stop.

Today's Haiku:

Three little lines.
They probl'y don't rhyme.
Most haikus suck.

This little rant was inspired by a collection on incomprehensible verse that I read today. The book claims to be an anthology of the best Haiku written in English. If true, I can see why the form is not any more popular than it is.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Woohoo! The Palm Tungsten T3 is here. 320x480 Color display, 64 MB of RAM, Built In Bluetooth. What is it missing?  Nothing but Wi-Fi. Even without Wi-Fi, the T3 is every Palm Junkies dream. [ - New Palm Models] [New Handhelds at PalmOne]

Palm Tungsten T3

A recent Zogby Poll indicates that 93% of Americans regard their country as a benevolent force. On the other hand, Americans also feel that their country is an imperialist power that acts on its own, regardless of world opinion. Nearly three in five (59%) say this statement is somewhat or very accurate, while two in five (40%) disagree, saying that is not accurate.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

The Go-Getter [UNABRIDGED] A great little book that is a sort of "pick me up." I borrowed the book from the library on audio CD. It is a short little book, so even an unabridged audio was not very long. The Go Getter is a fanciful parable about the payoff of being a hard worker and being determined to get things done. The story is simple, direct, and motivational. It raises the listener's spirits without preaching. The reader spoke clearly and with a feeling appropriate to the material. It was very comfortable listening. It was great fun and appropriate for any audience. It's a 5 star winner.