Monday, January 31, 2005

Englert Letter

State 29, Kris and Greenman all weigh in on the latest letter from Eric Kerchner, the Englert's executive director.

This is the letter I am considering sending to the PC.

I grew more and more frustrated as I read Eric Kerchner's recent letter to the editor, which was a response to David Pierce's criticism of the Englert Theatre. First, after admitting he hasn't been in town very long, Mr. Kerchner has the nerve to suggest that David Pierce, past president of ICCT, the man who completed the non-profit paperwork for the Englert Civic Theatre, and who has been involved in the project since we first elected the board at the Iowa City Public Library in 1999, is misinformed. Mr. Kerchner is new to the project. The rest of us have been following the Englert since the beginning. He would probably be better served to listen to what those people have to say. Mr. Kerchner goes on to say that the Englert is serving the local arts groups and uses the Englert Night Out event as an example. That event is a fundraiser for the Englert where local arts groups provide performances with all proceeds going to benefit the Englert. What's more, these events are all over town and not just at the Englert so most of the groups are not performing in the theater anyway. It's amazing to me that Mr. Kerchner would cite that event considering that the arts groups, including the Iowa City Community Theatre, gave their time and energy to assist the Englert despite the fact that Mr. Kerchner has not addressed their concerns. Let me just make it very clear. $800/night is too expensive for local theaters. What I would like to know is how the Englert can justify this behavior when the Vision Iowa funds are in part based on if the project "will stimulate the development of other recreational and cultural attractions" and "is strategically aligned with other existing regional or statewide cultural, recreational, entertainment, or educational activities in the community." (Section 212.8(3) of the Vision Iowa rules and bylaws.) Did the Englert use its association with other arts groups to receive that funding? If so, they have a responsibility to address those groups' concerns.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Are you a hottie?

How attractive are you? Take this test to find out. Credit goes to the Burnley Wallet for finding this.

Apparently, I am 57% attractive. Which, they say, is only 1% higher than the average. Which doesn't thrill me. On the other hand, the fact that the average is 56% fits with my theory that more people are attractive than aren't.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

More about Hobbits

Remember this post? Well, according to East of the Sun, West of the Moon (and I thought I had a long blog name!), some scientists are saying that the bones found weren't Hobbits at all. (Well, okay, none of the scientists actually uses the word "Hobbits".) It's turning into a big fight and one of the scientists is being accused of holding the bones hostage to prevent further study. Those wacky scientists. What's really creepy is the story one of the visitors relates in the comments section. Check it out.

Narrowminded Jerks

PBS will not be showing an episode of Postcards from Buster because it shows a family with two mommies. Apparently, PBS decided to censor itself concerning the issue, but the new Education Secretary Margaret Spellings stepped in anyway with a letter that said that the unique mission of the Ready to Learn TV program is ...
to use the television medium to help prepare preschool age children for school. The television programs that must fulfill this mission are to be specifically designed for this purpose, with the highest attention to production quality and validity of research-based educational objectives, content and materials."

She goes on to threaten PBS with this comment:
You should also know that two years ago the Senate Appropriations Committee raised questions about the accountability of funds appropriated for Ready-To-Learn programs.

This is my favorite quote:
We believe the 'Sugartime!' episode does not come within these purposes or within the intent of Congress and would undermine the overall objective of the Ready-To-Learn program -- to produce programming that reaches as many children and families as possible.

You want to produce programming that reaches as many children as possible, huh? Did you ever think of the kids who are in families with two mommies? How about reaching out to them, you bigoted idiot?

This is just so stupid. Do people really think these families are going to just go away? Or live quietly and never be noticed? These are real families, real people, and ignoring them isn't going to help anyone. Face facts, folks. Not everyone is like you. They are different people out there, and the key word in that sentence is people. They're people just like you and me and you better figure out a way to accept them.

Grow up, Secretary Spellings.

Smokers Need Not Apply

This article is really interesting. The upshot is a company is telling its employees to either quit smoking or they're fired. They do mandatory urine tests to check for nicotine. The argument is that smokers cost the company because of insurances claims and, I suppose, create higher insurance premiums because they're engaging in an activity that is detrimental to their health. The article goes on to say that the owner of the company is targeting overweight people next, by providing incentives to lose the pounds.

I don't know where I stand on this. I would be happier in a smoke free world. My children would certainly be healthier if they didn't have to breath in the smoke of other people. (Sorry, smokers, but it's just the truth.) So on one hand, I am happy with anything that leads to less smoking in the world. However, I have to wonder if it's really legal to fire or even not hire someone because he or she smokes. The not hire part might be easier to get away with, but the firing someone for smoking in their off hours? I don't know. Someone is going to challenge this legally, I would think. But I wonder if they'll win. Right now, I think people are generally moving toward the idea that people have a right to smoke as long as it's not affecting other people. Toward this end, I think we'll see smoking banned in most public places in the next 20 to 30 years or so. You could apply that same argument in this case. People have a right to smoke, but businesses have a right to not hire a smoker. I don't think you can use a prejudice argument because smoking is a choice, not something a person cannot change about him or herself. Yes, I understand that smoking can become an addiction and I am well aware that it is really difficult for a lot of people to quit. Still, it is possible. One cannot change the color of one's skin or their gender. One can stop smoking.

So I don't know. Is it fair for a business to say "Sorry, smokers, work somewhere else"?

I think I want to say, "Yeah, it's fair." But something inside of me still has doubts.

New Iowa bloggers

Well, they're not really new at all, but just new to me. Check out Trainorphans. Great photos. And it lead me to this interesting piece of American history.

Also, thanks to greenman, I found fisherpriceman. Check out the tales of a teacher in Iowa.

And here's one more teacher in Iowa (does every teacher in Iowa have a blog?) courtesy of Kris.

I found this music oriented blog today as well. They have a very specific idea of what good music is and are celebrating that idea. I agree that what they like is good stuff, but I think there are probably a number of performers that I like that wouldn't be considered "vintage rock" to them. Still, it's an interesting read.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Go for the Gold!

The Oscar noms were announced yesterday. A list of the categories I am in interested in follows. I'll post some thoughts about the noms eventually.

Don Cheadle - HOTEL RWANDA
Leonardo DiCaprio - THE AVIATOR
Jamie Foxx - RAY

Thomas Haden Church - SIDEWAYS
Clive Owen - CLOSER

Annette Bening - BEING JULIA
Catalina Sandino Moreno - MARIA FULL OF GRACE
Imelda Staunton - VERA DRAKE

Cate Blanchett - THE AVIATOR
Laura Linney - KINSEY
Virginia Madsen - SIDEWAYS
Sophie Okonedo - HOTEL RWANDA
Natalie Portman - CLOSER


Martin Scorsese - THE AVIATOR
Taylor Hackford - RAY
Alexander Payne - SIDEWAYS
Mike Leigh - VERA DRAKE



Bowling for the kids!

I am bowling for the kids! Dreamwell has set up a bowl for kids team to benefit Big Brother/Big Sisters, which is an excellent organization. If I didn't have these two kids, I'd sign up as a big brother in a heartbeat. I still might once the girls get a little older. Anyway, I'll be putting on my bowling shoes February 27 and knocking down some pins. I am hoping some of my internet friends out there will be willing to make a donation to the cause. If you are, please go here.

You can either donate online or you can print out a pledge form and send it in.

And let me know if you donate so I can say thanks!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Who Would Win?

A friend's livejournal prompted this. Who would win a battle between


Vote in the comments and add your reasoning!

Englert Roundup

Dweeze's letter to the editor appeared in the paper today. There's been a lot of Englert blogging going on lately, with Kris, Dweeze and Greenman entering the fray. Even State 29 has a few words to say in the comments of other blogs.

Take a look at the Englert's own "About Us" statement taken directly from their website:

The mission of the Englert Civic Theatre, Inc. is to own, maintain and operate the Englert Theatre as a community arts center and performance space, enhancing the vitality of Iowa City's historic downtown by preserving its last historic theater.

The Englert Civic Theatre, Inc. will provide diverse programming, educational opportunities, and exposure to the performing and visual arts. Our focus will be to highlight the talents of local performers, artists, and ensembles.

If that is even remotely true, why price the facility out of the budgets of so many local arts groups?

Here's the list of the board of trustees.

Thomas Rosenberger, MD FAAP, President
- Pediatrics Associates of Iowa City and Coralville (retired)
Jerry Full, Vice President
- Liberty Growth Broadcast Engineering & Commercial Real Estate Development, Owner
Dave Parsons, Treasurer
- Frohwein Office Plus, Owner
Myrene Hoover, Secretary
- Secretary - Iowa City Community Theatre, Representative
Sandy Eskin
- Philanthropist
Jeremy Faden
- U of Iowa Physics Dept., Computer Scientist
- Friends of Historic Preservation, Board of Directors
Mary Gantz
- Community Volunteer
Bob Hamel
- Lutheran Pastor
- Univ. of Iowa, Master of Fine Arts Candidate in Theater
- Iowa City Community Theatre, Board of Directors
Matthew Hayek
- Hayek, Hayek, Brown, Moreland & Hayek, L.L.P., Attorney
Jo Jones
- University of Iowa Museum of Art, Administrative Associate
Barbra Kamer
- American Cancer Society, Communications Manager
Mike Partridge
- Software Engineer
Robert Payne
- Univ. of Iowa Business Office, Financial & Business Services Consultant
Mollie Schlue
– South-Western Publishing, Sales Representative
Alan Swanson
- Blank & McCune, The Real Estate Company
Ron Neems
- Wells Fargo Bank, Private Client Services

I don't know how up to date this is, as one of the people on this list, Bob Hamel, doesn't live in Iowa City anymore. In any case, if you know any of these people, talk to them.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Plugging my show...


If you enjoyed the drama of Glengarry Glen Ross and the humor of The Book of Liz, you will love Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, which has both drama and humor to spare.

Performances of Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me will be held February 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, and 19 at 8 PM in the Wesley Center, 120 North Dubuque Street in downtown Iowa City. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $8 for seniors, and $7 for students. There will be a discussion with the actors and director immediately following the February 11th performance. For more information or to reserve tickets, please call (319) 541-0140 or go to We recommend you reserve tickets in advance as many performances of our fall shows, The Book of Liz and Glengarry Glen Ross, were sold out.

For more about the show, read on...

A play that is perhaps more relevant today than when it was first produced, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me explores the daily crises of three hostages, an Englishman, an Irishman and an American, who are imprisoned in the Middle East. Chained to a wall, with only the Bible and the Koran to read, a bottle of water to drink, and gruel to eat, these men fight each other fiercely, believing that if they attack each other with psychological warfare, they might avoid giving in to their captors. As their isolation from the outside world increases and their hope of ever being released diminishes, they find caring for each other, even in the face of death, gives them the strength they need to survive.

The play is based in part upon the experiences of Brian Keenan, an Irishman who was kidnapped and held hostage for four years in Beirut by fundamentalist Shiite militiamen. Keenan, after seeing the play, wrote, “There were more than a few moments when I choked back intense realization as Someone Who'll Watch Over Me touched wellsprings that moved the drama out from its vague topicality and sang to Everyman. In these star-bright moments McGuinness hit on, with a playwright's subtlety, guilt, love, loneliness and all the gamut of emotions that make us, break us and remake us."

The original 1998 cast (Matthew Falduto, Thomas Williams, and Matthew Brewbaker) as well as original director Gerry Roe return to re-imagine this thought provoking show.

“We’re bringing this show back because we believe it will spark discussions about the hostage crisis we have right now in Iraq and other places,” said Matthew Falduto, who portrays Irishman Edward Sheridan. “It is also a tribute to hostages past, present and future.”

While the subject matter is dark, the play is surprisingly funny. “One of the tools these men use to survive is their sense of humor,” said Matthew Brewbaker, who portrays Englishman Michael Watters. “Consequently, there are many humorous aspects to the show.”

For more information or to reserve tickets, please call (319) 541-0140 or go to

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Goodbye, Johnny

Johnny Carson has died.

He was a class act. I remember watching some of his shows with my parents when I was in high school. He was funny, true, but what always struck me was how perfectly composed he was no matter what was going on. He knew how to handle anything. I watched his final show. It was sad to see him go, but like the class act that he was, he went out on top.

Rest in Peace, Johnny. And thanks.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

We lost Will

The littlest Iowa blogger passed away last night. Will fought so hard. He was so brave. I followed his story every day. I cheered for him when he was doing welll and I prayed for him when things were looking bad. I am going to miss him. I really thought he was going to beat it. I was so sure... Will Kenyon's life, while brief, touched me deeply. And probably a lot of other people, too. Isn't it strange how such a little person who we never met could have such an impact on us?

Thank you John and Mary for sharing him with all of us.

William Albert Kenyon
Oct. 26, 2004 - Jan. 22, 2005
May he rest peacefully.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hamburg Inn on TV

Apparently, tonight on the West Wing, Iowa City residents will see a familiar place - The Hamburg Inn. During the 2004 Iowa caucus, The Hamburg Inn had a coffee bean poll. Martin Sheen, a regular on The West Wing, visited the Hamburg during that time and was so enamored with the idea, he pitched the idea to the writers of the show as the current storyline involves a presidential election. So tonight, we'll see a coffee bean caucus on the show at the Hamburg. The scenes were not shot on location but on a recreated set. Hopefully, it'll look something like the restaurant we all know and love.

If you want to join in the fun, head down to the Hamburg tonight and watch the show.

Oh, and one other thing. This isn't the first time The West Wing has commented on our state. In an earlier episode, the characters were talking about pork projects and someone mentioned, "There's even building an indoor rain forest in Iowa."


Wednesday, January 19, 2005


If you pray at all, even a little bit, please pray for Will Kenyon.

Attention Iowa Bloggers!

The guys at Tusk and Talon have arranged an Iowa Blogger get together. Come one, come all. Here's the scoop:

Saturday, February 26, 2005.
6:00 P.M.
Des Moines, IA. Wellman's. On Ingersoll.
Iowa Bloggers, Devoted Readers, and Significant Others of Each, Respectively.

Note to self: put T&T on your Iowa blog list!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Okay, let's settle this once and for all. Please vote for your choice. Thank you.

Pirates or Ninjas?
Arg, I like the pirates!
Shhh. Ninjas, of course.


Free polls from

More about pirates

Pirates vs. Ninjas. The age old debate. My friend, Matt S., is a firm advocate for ninjas. I favor pirates.

Here are some links which showcase the debate:

Ninja vs. Pirates Livejournal

One More

So why do I side with the swasbucklers over the secretive assassins?

Two reasons:

Style and Freedom

I mean, come on, which would you rather wear - a wild pirate hat, eyepatch, and lots of gold earrings or just a boring-black-even-covers-your-face body suit? Pirates pride themselves on their individuality. Want a talking bird for your shoulder? You got it! How about a peg leg or a hook to replace the one you lost in the tavern brawl last night? Go for it! All ninjas look alike. Yawn. No sense of style at all.

Ninjas are constricted by codes of loyalty and what not. Pirates are just out to have a good time. Ninjas serve a master. Pirates are their own master. Ninjas are never known by their real names. Pirates often have colorful names like Cap'n Carl Fancypants and Pirate Burt the Off-White and Capt'n Oddball the Stumbling Drunk. (Names courtesy of the Pirate Name Generator and this other Pirate Name Generator.)

It's just totally clear that Pirates are the only choice.

Picture of pirate found here. Check 'em out!

Pirates, scurvy and otherwise

For the last two days, Rachel has been singing, "What does you do with a scurvy pirate?" It's very catchy and now I find myself singing about scurvy pirates at odd moments during the day. This is apparently the fault of the Backyardigans.

Now I like the Backyardigans. For one thing, the characters' names are Uniqua, Pablo, Tyrone, Tasha, and Austin. Clearly, they're trying to reach the minorities. And besides, isn't Uniqua just a cool name? Anyway, the Backyardigans have the most amazing adventures by using their imaginations. They traveled down the Nile, met up with a Yeti, and, as you may have guessed, sailed across the sea as pirates. Plus, they do all that while singing and dancing.

The only problem is the scurvy pirate song my daughter has been singing is, according to a good friend, probably based on this:

What'll we do with a drunken sailor,
What'll we do with a drunken sailor,
What'll we do with a drunken sailor,
Earl-aye in the morning?

Way hay and up she rises (x3)
Earl-aye in the morning

1. Put him in the long boat till he's sober,
2. Keep him there and make 'im bale 'er.
3. Shave his belly with a rusty razor.
4. Put him in bed with the captain's daughter.

And, well, that's a little disturbing.

Monday, January 17, 2005

You are not safe on the internet

Iowa Geek has a great post about computer security. Check it out.

A Mystic Pig

Pigs have a special place in my heart as some of you know. I found this:

The Mystic Pig

I asked the mystic pig: Will Dreamwell get a new home soon?
and the mystic pig said: Only if you meet fate halfway.

Ask the Mystic Pig another question
created by ixwin

I'd say we've more than met fate halfway, so hopefully we'll get some good news this week.

No more war

"Hey, the Iraq war is going so well, let's attack Iran next."


No, the word "morons" doesn't begin to cover the megalomaniacal insanity that is the heart of this administration. Pre-emptive strike is the method Hitler used. It's not American. Do you understand that, Mr. Bush? It's not American. It's not who we are. You were wrong to invade Iraq. Hell, I was wrong. I admit it. You don't. And that's what I have zero respect for you.

You do not have any mandate, Mr. President. And especially not one that allows you to attack other countries.

What a weekend!

So much to blog about. First of all, we had a great weekend when my family descended upon our house for Samantha's first birthday party. My parents and every one of my siblings and their families were there, as well Sharon's sister and brother in law and her mom. We had 24 people in my little house. It was packed, but a fun time was had by all. I made stuffed shells and got so many compliments I am on a cooking high two days later. The angel food cake I made was well received too. Sami liked her presents and Rachel liked them even more. The next day, Rachel woke us up with "Sami told me she wanted to take her Little People Ark out of the box."

(A quick side story about the Noah's Ark toy. My brother David got that for Sami. Now, I am not a religious person. David, who very much is, knows this. I give him a sidelong long after it's opened and he winks at me. Heh. Very funny, bro. The next day, I told Rachel the story of Noah's Ark without once mentioning God.)

Rachel and I got to swim yesterday at the hotel my family stayed at. That was a lot of fun. She's getting so big! She can hold her breath underwater now. And she's working on her kicking. I'd love to see her swimming by the time she turns five. I think if she's interested, she'll pull it off. Of course, if she decides she doesn't want to, nothing I can say will make a difference. My big girl is stubborn. Sunday, the day after the birthday, we had a nice albeit late Christmas with Sharon's family. Her Dad joined us for that event. I received a University of Iowa alumni sweatshirt, the Return of the King extended edition, and two very interesting books. It was a very busy weekend, but a very nice one. I feel lucky to have such a big family that is so close. And what's great is both Sharon and I are lucky in that regard.

More to blog later!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Crossfire canceled!

Jon Stewart wins. Crossfire, the obnoxious political "debate" show, that Stewart declared was "hurting America" has been canceled. The new president of CNN made it clear that Stewart's criticism was part of the decision.

"I agree wholeheartedly with Jon Stewart's overall premise," Jonathan Klein said.

Damn, for a comedy newswriter, that boy wields some power, doesn't he? Not that I mind since I pretty much agree with everything he says on his show.

Here comes the rain

One does not expect one's basement to flood in January.


I was away from the basement for all of 40 minutes and when I returned, water flowed freely everywhere. Apparently my sump pump, which still seems to be working, was not strong enough to hold back the waves of water. I think it must have been a combination of the massive amounts of rain and the melting snow that did me in. The worst part is I am having my entire family over this weekend for Samantha's first birthday and the place stinks.


And, no my theater compatriots, there is no word yet.

At least Lost is on tonight.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Help the theater kids

There's a new theater group at West High in Iowa City. It's called Students Producing Innovative Theater. Yes, their acronym is SPIT. Remember when you were in high school? You'd have thought SPIT was a cool name, too. Anyway, they're going to put up two one act plays, Case of the Crushed Petunias by Tennessee Williams, and Gary Grinkle's Battle with Wrinkles by Stefan Graves Lanfer. Show dates are January 27th and 28th. And to get right to the point, they need money. So I am asking on their behalf. Naturally, I have a soft spot in my heart for a bunch of kids trying to create theater on their own. So if you can spare some cash, email Andrew at and he'll give you an address to send the money. Thanks.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Donating to Dreamwell made easy!

As I've hinted at in this blog, things are really moving with Dreamwell. Hopefully, I'll have a big announcement to make by this time next week. As any non profit group will tell you, donations are crucial to our survival. To make it easy to donate to us, we have set up a paypal account on our website to accept donations. Go to and click on the button on the right. All donations made to Dreamwell are tax deductible.

What's the catch?

Shouldn't this be illegal?

Apparently, this guy is selling a bunch of comic books on CD. Doesn't that break copyright laws? Isn't it just like me selling a videotaped copy of Dreamwell's production of Glengarry Glen Ross, for example?

Anyone know how they can get away with this?

Thanks to Brian for telling me about this.

More about the Englert

From the Englert's About Us page:
The Englert Civic Theatre, Inc. will provide diverse programming, educational opportunities, and exposure to the performing and visual arts. Our focus will be to highlight the talents of local performers, artists, and ensembles.
The bolding is mine. They claim their focus is to highlight local performers. Let's look at their upcoming schedule:

Leo Kottke Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Second City Touring Company Friday, February 18, 2005

Big Bad Wolf, a presentation of The Second City's Children's Theatre
Friday, February 18, 2005 at 10AM

1964 The Tribute Thursday, February 24, 2005

Are these great events? Probably. Are they local performers? Not a single one.

Han is an anti-hero, Mr. Lucas

Any true Star Wars fan is aware of the Greedo shoots first change in A New Hope. It an attempt to make Han Solo more hero-like, Lucas makes it appear that Han fires in self defense. It was the stupidest change ever. Thanks to Tung Yin at the Yin Blog, I found this humorous People's Court like comic which addresses this change. It's pretty funny. Enjoy.

Hours 1 and 2

You ever watch a TV show standing up, hopping from one foot to the other in nervous excitement, and shouting at the screen things like "Run away! RUN AWAAAAAYYY!"?

That's what watching 24 is like for me.

The fourth season premiered last night. They've created an extremely scary terrorist family living in the United States. The father (Navi) is a somewhat typical terrorist, but he may just seem that way because terrorists are almost always portrayed as men. Navi's wife, played by Osca nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo, is a more chilling character. And rumor has it she gets even more chilling in tonight's episodes. Finally, their 15 year old son Behrooz is clearly going to be the character with the most interesting story arc. He's part of their terrorist plans, but his interest in an American girl named Debbie is creating tension with his parents. At the end of last night's episode, Navi orders Behrooz to call Debbie and invite her to their house. Because she saw Behrooz outside the secret terrorist compound, Navi sees her as a danger to their plans. Behrooz is clearly torn because he is afraid of what his father with do to Debbie.

Prediction: Behrooz flees with Debbie and eventually ends up helping Jack and company take down the terrorists. Although, knowing 24, it won't be that simple.

So far Jack's character is still interesting as despite his protestations he's torn between his old life (CTU field work) and his new life (his girlfriend and much less dangerous job working for the Secretary of Defense). When the Secretary of Defense and the girlfriend (who is also the Secretary of Defense's daughter) are kidnapped. Jack's forced back to the life that you pretty much think he wants anyway - field work. Tracking down the bad guys. The turning point of the season, in my opinion, will come at the point when the Secretary of Defense and the girlfriend are rescued. That won't be the end of the threat (on 24, the first crisis is just the beginning) and Jack will have to decide to continue to fight the bad guys or retreat with the girlfriend to the sideline.

Jack Bauer doesn't retreat.

Quick Thoughts:

So far the girlfriend character isn't that interesting, but William Devane's Secretary of Defense is worth watching.

I don't like the new head of CTU. She's not only a bitch, but she's pretty boring.

I am glad Chloe is back. She's a great character.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Damn vertigo

So I woke up this morning feeling a little dizzy. The last time I felt a little dizzy, it lead to me being completely out of commission for half the day. My doctor gave me valium to take if I felt the vertigo coming on, so for the first time, I took one. I feel a little sleepy. The vertigo disappeared before it got bad.

I don't like taking valium. For one thing, the nurse told me I shouldn't drive for eight hours. That stinks. I had somewhere I wanted to go today and that plan is shot to hell. But even more than that, I have this ... prejudice against valium. When I was a kid, I had a good friend whose mother was on valium. She was out of it much of the time and her son got away with a lot. That contributed to a number of his problems later on, I think. And so valium became this evil drug in my mind and I don't like the idea of putting anything in my body that could have that sort of effect on me.

This picture I found isn't helping:

edited out the picture of a flying brain.

I don't want my brain to start flying.

Okay, I just did some googling on Valium.

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Valium (diazepam) will cause drowsiness and may cause dizziness. If you experience drowsiness or dizziness, avoid these activities.

It says it may cause dizziness. I am taking it to prevent dizziness! I am confused. I think I have to call my doctor.

Okay, did some more Googling. My doctor knows what he's talking about according to this website.


Use of medications such as Antivert (Meclizine) is usually of no benefit in true Meniere's Disease, even if it helps in other balance disorders. However, Valium (Diazepam) and other Benzodiazepines have a direct effect on the nerve controlling balance and its central connections to the brain. When Valium is given at the onset of a vertigo attack, it can prevent the attack from continuing. (N.B. Valium and similar medications should not be taken daily, because they may be habit forming.)

I am sure there are people out there who feel my prejudice against valium is wrong, but the fact is I just don't like taking drugs of any kind.* I don't even like taking advil. Just ask Sharon. This is a typical conversation:

Me: "My head hurts."

Sharon: "Did you take some advil?"

Me: "No. medicine makes me feel ookey."

Sharon: "You never use words like ookey."

Me: "I know, but this conversation was going to be more boring than I expected when I started typing it, so I decided to spice it up a little."

Sharon: "Ookey is not a spice."

Me: "Actually, ookey is a little known Scandanavian spice used by the Vikings to give their foods a spicier taste which in turn made them feel warm on those long longboat excursions to the New World."

Sharon: "You totally made that up."

Me: "I did not!"

Sharon: "This is just like the origin of neckties story."

Me: "That one is true!"

Sharon: "AH HAH! You admit the ookey spice story is false!"

Hmm, yeah, I got off the subject there, didn't I?

Anyway. I am currently on Valium. And unhappy about it.

* There is a disclaimer to this statement, but my mom might read this, so we'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Thanks, Jessica

I talked about this a while ago. There are a lot of people upset with the Englert and the way it has treated the Iowa City Community Theatre and the rest of the local arts community. And those people are starting to make some noise.

Acknowledge local theater

As a member of this community and a supporter of community programs, I find disturbing how we've allowed the Englert Theatre board to brush aside the very people who have supported it. For almost a year now, it has been a struggle for the Iowa City Commun-ity Theater to get recognition for the large donation it made to the Englert and for the words of promise that were given to them. Many people in this community donated to the Englert be-cause we were foolishly led to think the community theater was to be the resident theater company of the Englert.

I only vent because I have seen how hard it is for the theater to make ends meet. They are troopers through all of this, have really had their hopes up for the last few years and have worked hard to raise money for the Englert.

Yet, if they describe themselves as possessing "selflessness" and "thankful"-ness, where is Iowa City Community Theater's rec-ognition?

I suppose that unless someone who has invested in this Englert steps up and says how he feels and demand his money back, the Iowa City Community Theater's struggle has all been in vain.

Jessica Aimone

Iowa City

Edited to add that I see Kris has also blogged about this. Nice.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I like that old time...

Rachel is eating lunch today and she's in a much more chipper mood than she was this morning. I mention to her that preschool must have agreed with her since she's in such a good mood now. She replies, "I'm learning!"

Well, that's what I want to hear. So I ask what she's learning.

"Rock and roll!"

I think I want to go to preschool.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Here they are...

My Dead Pool Picks (number in parentheses is the number of people who picked that person):

Rosa Parks - February 4, 1913 (24)
Kirk Douglas - December 9, 1916 (21)
Pope John Paul II - May 18, 1920 (89)
Charlton Heston - October 4, 1923 (14)
Ariel Sharon - February 27, 1928 (9)
Dick Clark - November 30, 1929 (36)
Elizabeth Taylor - February 27, 1932 (24)
Richard Pryor - December 1, 1940 (18)
Liza Minelli - March 12, 1946 (13)
George W. Bush - July 6, 1946 (6)
George Wendt - October 17, 1948 (1)
John Goodman - June 20, 1952 (6)
Barry Williams - September 30, 1954
Michael Moore - April 23, 1954 (1)
Courtney Love - February 20, 1967 (19)

Most Beautiful Woman?

Apparently, the world has picked the most beautiful woman. Aishwarya Rai is beautiful; there's no doubt about that. Here's a picture of her:

But the most beautiful in the world? How does one get such a title? Beauty is such a nebulous quality because it so often involves emotions. When you love someone, that person is beautiful to you. If we separate out all feelings and just judge people on physical beauty... that seems hollow. When I was a teenage, my friends and I came up with two methods of, um, judging women's beauty. (This is embarrassing, but I'm going to forge ahead and hope that all of my readers have similarly embarrassing memories from their hormone filled teenagerhoods.) Anyway, my friend believed wholeheartedly in the Body-Face method because he believed it was objective. You rate a girl (we were in high school, remember) 1-9 on her body and 1-9 on her face. So a girl of truly staggering beauty got a 99. I was an advocate of the Cute-Hot method. It's basically the same thing, but you rate someone based on her "cuteness" and her "hotness". 99 is still the high score. My friend and I had long discussions about which method was better. I argued that the cute-hot scale was better because it allowed you to rate a girl who wasn't necessarily beautiful by "normal" standards higher if she was really cute. And I tended to like the cute girls, so this made sense to me. My friend believed that cuteness could not be objectively rated because it involved emotions. It was too subjective. Back and forth we argued and never stopped to wonder why we didn't have that many dates. Anyway, my point is I believe that beauty is too subjective a quality to be graded. I think we only need one person to think we're beautiful for it to be true. And here's the shocker - that person can be yourself.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Boy's best friend

In every tragedy, there are stories of heroism. We cope with tragedy by finding these little bright spots, shining through the pain. The passengers of Flight 93 who fought back on September 11 were one such bright spot on a day of unthinkable tragedy. As the tsunami death toll rises to 155,000, we cast about for the heroes in hopes of making this easier to process. I found one today. His name is Selvakumar and he is a dog.

Click here.

Some Football Thoughts

The Bears ended their season today with a loss to Green Bay at home. It was a sad game that showed how terrible the Bears offensive line is as the QB was sacked something like nine times. Priorities for the offseason:

1)They need a good left tackle. Is Marc Columbo the guy? Who knows? We haven't seen enough to know for sure, so draft one or trade for one - I don't care. Just get someone good protecting the QB's blind side.

2) We still don't know whether we have a good quarterback. Jonathon Quinn should be out of football next year. Krenzel could develop eventually, but clearly he's not the answer next year. And neither is Chad Hutchinson. Hutch might be a decent backup, but I would still rather have a veteran backing up Grossman because we don't even know if Grossman is the real deal. Grossman-Hutchinson as 1-2 next year means we get another 2004 is Grossman goes down again. Try for Kurt Warner even if you have to promise him a chance to start.

3) No killer training camp. We lost so many starters because the training camp was too intense. The biggest loss was undoubtably Urlacher. Lighten up, Lovie.

4) New offensive coordinator. Shea brought in Quinn because he knew Shea's system. Quinn turned out to be the worst QB since Henry Burris. Hell, maybe he was worse than Burris. When it gets that bad, who cares? In any case, that mistake alone should cost the ex-KC coordinator his job. Find someone new, Lovie. Quick.

There are good things about this team.

1) Defense is strong. Almost every win this season can be attributed to the Defense. If they hadn't had the injuries, that might have managed enough wins for a .500 season.

2) Kicking is good. When one of the stars on your team is the punter, you gotta worry. Still, Maynard deserved a Pro Bowl nod.

3) They're young and talented. This is a team that can grow and get better. We haven't seen their best games yet. If they had had a QB this year, they might have been playing for a playoff spot today. They have some talent.

4) Thomas Jones is a good RB. I think we'd have been just as good with the A-Train, but at least the guy they got to replace him is good.

I think the Bears have a chance in 2005 if they have a decent QB and a better O-Line. I don't even think we need a great QB. Just a decent one.

Final football thought....

Randy Moss plays for the Vikings. He's one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. But he also shows his character is lacking over and over again. At the end of the game today, the Vikings are down by two scores. They drive for a TD and pull within two with a two-point conversion. The problem is there are only two seconds left on the clock. They need some sort of miracle play on the on-side kick. As they're lining up for the kick, Randy Moss is shown walking off the field to the locker room. What an ass. He can't even stick around to see the last play of the game. I don't care how good he is; I don't ever want to see Randy Moss in a Bears uniform. Character counts, Randy. And you don't have it.

My Survivor blog has the latest news and speculation as well as some spoiling about the show.
About Me

Name: Matt
Location: Coralville, IA
I am a Dad and a Husband. An Actor. An Administrator. A Hiker. A Writer. Probably a bunch of other things too. Read my blog and you'll find out more.
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

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