Monday, February 28, 2005

Amazing Race

The next season of the Amazing Race starts tomorrow night. They've done a bit of stunt casting this time, by including Survivor All Star winner and runner-up, Rob and Amber.

They don't have a chance of winning. I don't think they'll be the first team out, but in the first third would not surprise me at all. One team, the mother-son team of Susan and Patrick, already have the millionaires in their sights.

They are the first mother-son team. The son is gay and the mom is very supportive of that. They expect to make friends with everyone, except Rob and Amber. They plan to align with the other teams to get of Rob and Amber quickly. They also plan to stab other teams in the back - whatever it takes to win, says Patrick. He's the more talkative of the two. I think they have a decent chance.

Ryan and Chuck are the good ol' boys. They've got the drawl, they're blue collar, and they are probably going to be very entertaining. "We're meat and tater guys." I really like 'em. Chuck talks about how he'll go anywhere and shows a real appreciation for all the cultures that out there. He also notes that no matter how different we are, we're all the same deep down. I think these guys are going to be a strong team. And definitely one we'll be rooting for.

Okay, at first I was thinking, I can't stand this team. Barbie Twins. However, I read their profile and I am confused. One is a stay at home mom. The other is a fashion designer. And here's the kicker - they're roommates. Um, how does the stay-at-home mom afford to stay at home? Unless... these two are more than roommates? That certainly makes them more interesting to me. However, Megan, the fashion designer, is afraid of flying. Um. Yeah. This whole show is about flying all over the world. She hopes this will help her get over her fear. It better, Megan, or you and your "roommate" are in serious trouble.

Other teams that might be interesting to watch:

He was a POW during the Iraq War. She's a former beauty queen. I hope they do well.

The gay couple. Alex hasn't told his father he's gay. Um, Dad's in for a big shock tomorrow night...

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Oscar Highlights from our home...

Four year old Rachel to Grandma on the phone:

"Mommy didn't think Shrek would be there, and I did, and I was right!"

Me, as the camera scans the crowd:

"Hey, that's Scott Bakula, what the hell is he doing there?"

And one more, in response to the question, "What's wrong, honey?", from the sad faced Rachel:

"I thought there were going to be dragons at the Oscars."

To which, I replied,

"I think it'd be better with dragons, too."

I got 11 out 24 predictions right. Not too shabby. Of course, I missed both the supporting actor and actress. That's what happens when you vote with you heart for Clive Owen and Natalie Portman from Closer. That was a great movie.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Who Would Win?

Who would win in a match up of the fake metal band Spinal Tap:

and Billy Joel's failed foray into heavy metal, the two man band known as Atilla:

This is a really easy choice, isn't it?

Frog and Toad

Last weekend, I saw A Year with Frog and Toad. My mom and sister were in town and we all took Rachel. I wanted her to have a good first theater experience and this show did not disappoint. It was an excellent kids' show. Tim Barnes was very good as Toad and I really liked the woman who played the Snail and the woman who played the Turtle. The only negative was the music sometimes drowned out the singers. But that was pretty rare and overall we could hear most of it. The show is at the Children's Museum in Coralville. I am glad someone is finally using that nice little theater space they have over there.

Rachel had a great time. I would say if you have a kid between the ages of 4 and 12, check it out. Details are here.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Two things...

One, so far I have raised $85 for Big Brothers/Big Sisters through bowling pledges, mostly thanks to my generous family. I would like to hit my goal of $100. So if just three of my readers could click on the link on the right and give $5 to a worthy cause, I'd make it. Whaddya say? All it takes is a credit card...

Two, check this out. It's a great read about creativity. Thanks, Sharon, for emailing me the link.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

AI Women

The AI women can be summed up in two words:

Ridiculous, ridiculous.

Really, there was maybe one or two that I liked. The rest were terrible. The men are definitely stronger this season. It's kind of a shame they did the six men and six women final 12 plan this season. I think there are probably more than six men who deserve to make the final 12 and there are definitely less than 6 women who deserve it. Mikalah Gordon has got to be one the most annoying reality TV show contestants to come along in a long time. Last night, Simon told her that 50% of the audience would like her and 50% would despise her. I think he got his percentages wrong. She sounds like Fran Drescher from the Nanny! When she sings and when she speaks. How is she talented? I don't get it. And there was Randy, telling her how great she was. Ugh. She made me wish we could vote against people. The one woman who stood out for me was Nadia Turner. She's got a style and stage presence that is arresting. And she can sing. She better not get eliminated.

Check it out. The Yin Blog agrees with me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I'm going to Hell...

...but I bet I have a lot of company....

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Low
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

(Thanks, Kris.)

Crazy morning

This morning the girls and I slept until 8:10 am. Rachel's preschool starts at 9 am. I immediately went into hurry mode. This does not work well with 4 year olds, especially sleepy 4 year olds who are like their Daddy and don't wake up quickly. Still, we moved quickly - breakfast for Rachel while I dress Sami, then I wash and throw some clothes on me, and then help Rachel dress herself. Things were going pretty well until it was time to brush Rachel's hair. I was humming along in speed mode, pushing her to keep things moving, and she decided at that moment that her babies needed to get dressed too. I told her No and that we didn't have time. She squirmed away from me. I yelled and grabbed her and held her on my lap while brushing her hair. She started crying. Seeing your kid cry for any reason is no fun at all. Still, at that moment I felt aggravation more than sympathy, but I willed the sympathy to the forefront and made a deal with her. If she brushed her teeth, I'd dress one of her babies for her. She took the deal and ran to the bathroom. I dressed the baby. We got out of the house without any more incidents.

As I was driving home, it occurred to me that I could have handled the whole thing a lot better. I was in a we-have-to-make-it-on-time mode. We all might have been off in a we-have-to-try-to-make-it-on-time-but-if-we-don't-it's-not-the -end-of-the-world mode. We got to preschool at 9:01 am. One minute late. If I had taken the four minutes it would have taken to dress the babies, we'd have been five minutes late and there wouldn't have been any tears. Four minutes is worth no tears.

Something to remember for next time.

Quick AI Followup

Anthony wasn't that great last night, but I hope he makes it through because I think he has real potential. The guy who really surprised me was Anwar. He took a song I don't even like - Moon River - and breathed life into it. Great job. I look forward to hearing him again.

Scott was good, but I worry that his appearance will hurt him. Constantine was okay and I think he'll make it. I hope he gets better as the competition goes on. Bo, the other rocker, was really good, which makes me think Constantine could be in trouble.

I was going to talk about the women (who perform tonight), but you know what? I can't remember which ones I liked from previous rounds and which I didn't. So I think I'll wait until tomorrow to comment on them.

Monday, February 21, 2005

American Idol

Now that the early rounds are out of the way, the show actually becomes interesting. I mean, really. How many bad singers do they think we want to hear? I wish they'd do just a single episode of the first round of auditions and then three episodes to pick the final 24. But they have to wring every last drop of advertising money out of the show. Anyway, onto the Final 24.

Tonight we see the top 12 men perform. I have a few favorites. One guy that I've followed the whole way is Anthony Federov.

He has an interesting story. He had a tracheotomy when he was a little kid. They weren't sure if he'd ever speak again, let alone sing. His voice is very pure. Reminds me of Dennis DeYoung, from Styx. Of course, he also reminds me of Clay Aiken...

I'm also a fan of Constantine Maroulis, who once starred in Rent.

(He's on the far right.)

He's a hard rocker who lists Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin as his favorite singers. I'd really like to see someone like him win the whole thing.

Finally, I like Scott Savoy. He doesn't look like an American Idol, but he does sound like one. He's got a great voice. And I like rooting for the underdog.

The women perform tomorrow night, so I'll wait til then to talk about them.

We're movin' out...

Sharon and I got tickets to Movin' Out! It's coming to the Des Moines Civic Center in March. I can't wait. For those that don't know, Movin' Out is a musical based built around Billy Joel's music. My understanding is the dancing is simply amazing.

Here are the songs:

Air (Dublinesque) - I don't recognize this song. I wonder if it was created for the musical.

Angry Young Man - Great, great song. I wonder if they'll do it in its entirety.

Big Man on Mulberry Street - This is actually one of my least favorite Billy Joel songs. Oh well.

Big Shot - Love this song. It has attitude and power.

Captain Jack - A true classic. Who hasn't needed someone or something like Captain Jack to get you through the night?

Elegy (The Great Peconic) - I have no idea what this is...

For the Longest Time/Uptown Girl - Well, the two songs will go well together. I love For the Longest Time, but am not thrilled with Uptown Girl at all. Damn that Christie Brinkley.

Goodnight Saigon - Billy's take on the Vietnam War.

Innocent Man - One of my all time favorite songs. I can't wait to see what they do with this song.

Invention in C Minor - A Billy Joel classical piano song.

Its Still Rock and Roll to Me - Great, great song.

I’ve Loved These Days - Always loved this one, too.

James - This is a very interesting song that most people don't know about. It tells a good story.

Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song) - A classic.

Pressure - I can only imagine what kind of frenetic dance they'll do to this one...

Reverie (Villa d’Este)/Just the Way You Are - I am surprised Billy allowed them to use this song since he can't stand it.

River of Dreams/ Keeping the Faith/ Only the Good Die Young - Hmmm. Why are they putting all these great songs together?

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant - Much of the plot of the musical comes from this song.

Shameless - Billy's original version is much better than the Garth Brooks one.

She’s Got A Way - I once made a music video to this song. It was a love letter to Sharon basically. Ah, college.

Summer, Highland Falls - My other favorite Billy Joel song.

The Stranger - a truly classic song.

This Night - I am so glad this song is in here. It's a great story song.

We Didn’t Start the Fire - Hmmm. Interesting choice.

I guess we'll have to wait to see Wicked next time it comes around.

Friday, February 18, 2005

FOX TV is screwing up big time

Fox is cutting short Arrested Development's season and it might not be back next year. No! This is one of the funniest shows on TV. Why isn't everyone watching it? It's full of clever, inventive wit and the style of the show (faux documentary) is unique and engaging. The show won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series last year for crying out loud.

What's even worse, they are replacing it with American Dad. Ugh. That show is insipid.

In the same article, they mention that Jack and Bobby might not return next season. That would be a shame, too as it's a interesting show with a good premise. But I won't miss it as much as Arrested Development.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Someone's Review

We got a good review. So if you're in Iowa City this weekend, check it out. The critic liked it.

‘Someone’ will enrage, entertain
by Ruby Nancy, Quad City Times

Dreamwell Theatre’s revival of “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me,” by Frank McGuinness, is a dark and sometimes funny drama that showcases the quality of work it is possible to get from fine actors who get the chance to work with really great material.

The story of three hostages chained to a wall in Beirut, the action in this play is set back in a time when simply taking away a person’s everyday clothes and chaining them in perpetual isolation was considered cruel torture.

Director Gerry Roe and the cast of three from the original Dreamwell production in 1998 return to produce this fine work.

The performances are stunning in their simplicity — full of raw emotion and of struggles we can barely see. The characters bring their individual personalities and different ethnocentricities to their time of imprisonment, and their perspectives are at the heart of some of the most painful (and of the most hilarious) clashes that occur between these forced companions.

Thomas Williams is Adam, a compulsive American doctor who misses his parents and his jockey shorts. Williams does very nice work in this uptight, intensely personal role. His singing is one of the very rare moments in this show any music is heard, and the purity of his vocal work is ethereal.

Matthew Falduto is Edward, the feisty young Irish journalist whose love for his wife and children are matched in intensity only by his love for his country.

As Michael, a British professor, Matthew Brewbaker turns in a hauntingly fragile performance that is as uncomfortable as it is memorable.

The presentation is without intermission, and the lack of music between scenes are two devices that add to the spare intensity of this show, and there are many surprises and surprising hilarity to be found.

“Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me” is a first-rate, if difficult to watch, production. Long on genuinly crafted acting and very short on distracting “stuff,” this is a play that will enrage, entertain, enlighten and evoke strong emotion of all kinds. Not to be taken lightly or forgotten easily, it is also not to be missed.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Joe vs. the Volcano

"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement."

I truly believe this is the most underrated film of all time. I saw it for the first time many, many years ago because it was a favorite of one of my good friends. I loved it at the time, but I hadn't seen it for ten years. Sharon and I watched it last night. It was fantastic. For one thing, I had forgotten how wonderfully directed it is. Every shot is perfect and there are so many little hints and foreshadowing and repetitive imagery.

The problem is it's marketed as a comedy. It's not a comedy. Sure, there are funny parts. But it's not a comedy. It's not really a drama either because it's too absurd to be dramatic. Maybe that's what it is - an absurdist film? Whatever else you call it, it's a hero's story. Joe is our everyman hero who upon learning he has a six months to live embarks on an adventure to give his life meaning. He gets advice from a wise old man, meets the girl of his dreams, nearly dies, comes to realize how precious life is, and takes a literal leap of faith.

And it's full of beautiful images like that moment when Joe is on the raft and the moon rises over the horizon.

Or when he takes Dede's hand in the beginning of the film and her hand is clenched. Conveying so much with so little. Or how about the very first shot of the mud puddle that sets the perfect mood for the beginning of the movie.

The dialogue is also crisp and real. And there area so many good quotes.

"I have no response to that."
"You don't feel good? Nobody feels good. After childhood it's a fact of life."
"Dear God, whose name I do not know, thank you for my life. I forgot how big . . . thank you . . thank you for my life."

And of course, the one I quoted at the beginning which bears repeating:

"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement."

So if you haven't seen the movie, rent it. If you haven't seen it in many years, rent it. It's just really, really good.

Oh, and this is a great Joe vs. the Volcano site.

Happy Valentines Day... my three favorite girls: Sharon, Rachel and Samantha.

Love ya.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Yeah, I love the 80s

Everyone else is doing it, so I did too.

I missed a lot of what they thought were easy ones, but got a lot of the 3 and 4 pointers.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The High School Years

Since few people who read this blog knew when I was in high school, I thought this little Q&A (which I found on a friend of a friend's blog) might be interesting. Feel free to steal it and post your answers. I'd love to know if the our favorite monkey was flinging crap in high school, too, for instance...

What were you like in your last year of High School?

1. And the year was....1988/89.

2. Your three favorite bands were...The Who, Foreigner, The Police. (I didn't really get into Billy Joel until my first year of college although I have loved the 52nd Street album since I was 10. )

3. Your favorite outfit was...I pretty much wore jeans and a t-shirt all the time. Sometimes a button down shirt. I do remember buying a pair of black mocassins the summer before senior year and I wore them (without socks) all the time. My friend Carter also had a pair, although his were slightly different.

4. And the hair? I had long hair in high school, but not that long. It got much longer, ponytail long, in college.

5. Best friends? Paycjeck, Carter, Devo, Mark, Melissa. Paycjeck and Mark are still my closest friends although I rarely see them. Devo and I didn't stay friends after that last year of high school, although I've seen him since and exchanged hellos. Melissa has faded out of my life. I wish she'd google me sometime and find this blog and say Hi. I've googled her, but have had no luck. Carter was killed a few years after he graduated high school.

6. And after school, you did, what, exactly? Geek Alert! We played Dungeons and Dragons and other roleplaying games. Of course, we also had access to a car so we would just drive all over the suburbs, just enjoying being young and free. And what's really geeky about that is we actually thought about that idea when we driving around being young and free. Carter, Payecjeck and I would also spend hours at this restaurant called Beef and Brandy's. They were open 24 hours. We ordered chocolate shakes and talked and talked and talked. I learned about myself through those talks.

7. Bus or? I walked to school, rode my bike around town, or borrowed the parents' car whenever possible.

8. So who floated your boat?
I had a few girlfriends in high school. (Yes, even roleplaying geeks can get girlfriends. We just don't tell them about the roleplaying...) I briefly dated a girl named a Meagan and we were a huge disappointment to each other. I was relieved when that ended. I also dated a girl named Carrie for a few months. She was tough, she smoked, and she wanted to be a fighter pilot. I have no idea why she liked me, but she did. I can't remember why we broke up, but I don't think I was that upset about it. And, of course, there was Kathleen, my first love. We were on and off through the beginning of college. It ended finally and badly. I hope she's doing well. I did write a play very loosely based on that experience. I should also mention that all through high school, I had a million crushes on girls I never spoke to. Are you a female who went to Lyons Township High School from 1985-1989? I probably had a crush on you.

9. And did you fight the parents?
Yeah, a lot. I wasn't the best kid in the world. But I still think they could have done some things differently that would have made things a lot better for all of us.

10. Did you smoke?
Not in high school. I despised smoking. I hid my brother's cigarettes. I was a pain in the neck about the subject.

11. Did you lug all of your books around in your backpack all day because you were too nervous to find your locker? No, I knew where my locker was. I did have a heavy backpack, but there was a lot more than school books in there.

12. Did you have a 'clique'? Not really. I hung out with some friends. During school, I was able to drift from one social group to another pretty easily. I mean, there was some groups that shunned me, but I was able to hang out with a number of different groups. I think being in plays helped me a lot in that area.

13. Admit it, were you popular? Nope. But by senior year, I wasn't thought of as a total geek either. (That was freshman year...)

14. Who did you want to be just like? Oh God. I have no idea. Probably my older brother John.

15. So what did you want to be when you grew up? A writer. Or an actor.

16. And where did you think you'd be at the age you are now? I don't think I ever really thought about being 33 when I was 16. I did think I'd have published a novel by the time I was 30, but that hasn't happened. I did think I'd be married with kids. Got that one right.

17. And your favorite story was? As a senior in high school? I have no idea. Maybe Hamlet. Or Alan Moore's The Watchmen. How's that for two very different works of art?

Arthur Miller

We lost a great playwright. Arthur Miller has died.

It's too late at night for me to form intelligent thoughts, so I'll just say I feel that we all lost someone special. And we are fortunate that his plays live on.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Friday theater thoughts...

Someone Who'll Watch Over Me continues tonight and tomorrow. Check it out.


I had a good time talking about Dreamwell at a Chamber of Commerce event this morning. I was worried about it ahead of time and I didn't really prepare anything, but as soon as I started talking, the passion for the subject carried me through. It's kind of like talking about one of my kids. I could go on and on and on....


In other theater news, City Circle opens A Year with Frog and Toad tonight. It's at the Iowa Children's Museum. Great show for kids, I hear. I am going to try and get to see it with Rachel, I think.


The Young Footliters, Iowa City's resident children's theater, has a website! I talked about the Footliters show I directed way back here. I had a great time directing that show and would love to do another one sometime. But not until next year at the earliest. And I have to find a good show to do. Rachel will be in kindergarten in two years, and I plan to enroll her in the Footliters program at that time. I think she'll get into it. She's already making up plays for us. She seems to like being on stage. I have no idea where she gets that from...


This has nothing to do with theater but.... I've been playing Texas Hold 'Em online at Full Tilt Poker. I am up $12,000. Ah, if only that were real life...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Sexist woman

Sharon and I are taking a parenting class. It's free and we figure the more information, the better. Parenting is easily the most challenging thing I've ever done because frankly, you're making it up as you go along. When you go to a 9-5 job, you have certain duties to attend to. You do the work and you're good to go. With parenting, you never know what the kids have planned and you never know what new experience you're going to face that day. Sure, there is a routine that I follow to a certain extent. But much of the time I feel like I'm making it up as I go. Although so far, so good, I think.

Anyway, I've gotten way off the point of this story. So Sharon and I are at this parenting class, which has a very colorful cast of characters. Sharon might blog about all of them, but I want to focus on the sexist woman from... Boston, I think it is. The first night of the class, she mentioned that she bought fifteen million books about parenting, but she says, and she apologizes to the men in the room ahead of time, she doesn't trust the ones written by men because how could they really know anything about parenting. And then she laughs as if she just told a funny joke. My jaw just dropped. Unfortunately, there were a number of women in the room who chuckled along with this sexist woman. Maybe they were the chuckles of the uncomfortable; I don't know. I was too pissed off to be thinking it through. I should have immediately brought up Armin Brott who is easily one of the smartest people when it comes to children and parenting. I read his books The Expectant Father, The New Father, and A Dad's Guide to the Toddler Years. All three were just wonderful. Check 'em out, Dads. You won't regret it.

I missed the second parenting class because it was tech week and Sharon reported that sexist woman didn't say anything obnoxious. Two days ago, I attended class number three and wouldn't you know it, she did it again. This time she told the story about how her husband was proud of discovering "propping a bottle" so he didn't have to hold the baby and feed him. For the non-parents who are unaware, you should never prop a bottle as it can lead to choking and besides you're depriving your child of physical contact with you which is extremely important for his or her emotional and mental development. Sexist woman said it was a guy thing and implied that men just don't know what to do when it comes to babies. I wanted to say, "Maybe it's just your husband who doesn't know what to do, you sexist ass."

In talking to Sharon about this, she suggested that women get the men they deserve. This woman obviously has pretty low expectations of her husband when it comes to childrearing. She got exactly the husband she deserves.

All I know is if she says one more sexist thing in that class, I will call her on it. I am sick to death of her.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


I have decided to do something called picture of the week. The first picture is to your left. Each week, I'll find an interesting picture either among my archives or on the internet and use it as a jumping off point for a post. We'll see how it goes...

The picture you see to your left is my grandmother. She was born in 1909. She grew up in the Chicago area and raised a family of five there. Back then, what we now call suburbs was the country. When I was a kid, my grandma scared me. She was never that affectionate to me. Not like my other grandma, who did everything grandmas are supposed to do, like hide candy where you can find it, tell you stories about your dad, and teach you to play poker. What? Your grandma didn't teach you to bluff? Well, mine did. But my other grandma was very different. She lived alone in a high rise apartment as my grandpa had died when I was very little. There weren't many games in the apartment and there was nowhere to really go and get away from the grownups. The one special food my grandma made was nutbread, which I refused to try. (My other grandma, in contrast, made every wonderful Italian dish you could possibly imagine.) So I never really wanted to go to grandma's apartment. After all, looking out the 19th story windows with binoculars got old pretty quickly.

As I got older, however, my opinion changed. One time, I asked my grandma about her life when she was a kid. The floodgates opened. She told me story after story about her brother Harvey and herself. Motorcyles, fast cars, and swimming competitions... She really enjoyed telling the stories and I enjoyed listening to them. I had never realized how interesting my grandma could be. What's surprising to me is that I had to ask the hear the stories. I was just trying to cover an awkward moment in the conversation. I guess it just goes to show, anyone can be shy, even your grandma.

Grandma is still a pretty amazing woman. Her body is beginning to give out on her, but her mind is as sharp as it ever was. My mother and her siblings are taking care of her and, while I hope she lives many more years, I think the end may be approaching. I know my grandma is surprised she's still around. Ninety-five years is a long time.

I love my grandma. I wish I lived closer so I could see her more often. I'd like to hear more stories. Oh, and you know what? At 33 years old, I finally tried Grandma's nut bread. It was pretty good.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Goodbye, Brent

Brent at Coptalk has decided to pack it in. It's a loss to the Iowa blogging community, no doubt about it. We'll miss you, Brent. Don't be a stranger.

Copying greenman

Greenman posted images associated with his name. While I don't use the handle that much anymore, I decided to search for some images based on my long time online name: Corvis. Here's what I found.


Sami updates

A couple of days ago, Sami was getting into the books as she is wont to do. She was holding The Odyssey by Homer. I looked at her and said, "Sami, you're too young to read the Odyssey."

She looked at for a moment. Then her face crumpled and she started bawling!

Clearly, I need to start reading the classics to her immediately.

Oh, and yesterday we exchanged a duplicate birthday toy Sami had received for a different one in the same genre (i.e. Little People). We got her this:

So far, Rachel loves it. (And so do I for that matter...) I am sure Sami will too once she has the chance to play with it. She's been grumpy today. Anyway, thanks Aunt Jane, Uncle Daryl, Chris and Em for the new gift!

Sami still isn't eating as much as we'd like, but she's so close to walking (6 steps!) and seems to be hitting all the milestones, so I am not extremely concerned. We'll just keep trying to get that food into her.

Here's a picture of my littlest one:

Monday, February 07, 2005

Musical Tag!

Greenman tagged me so I get to answer a few questions about my musical tastes.

1) Last CD you bought

I haven't bought a CD in literally years. I have no idea what it was. The last CD that was purchased for me was John Mayer's second album, whose voice and lyrics I like.

2) Last song listened to before this message

That would Hotel California by the Eagles. One of the best songs ever recorded in my opinion. It's almost an epic song (see below).

3) 5 songs you listen to a lot or mean something to you.

Summer Highland Falls by Billy Joel

I am a huge fan of Billy Joel's music. This song is one his lesser known gems. To me it talks about choice - pick sadness or euphoria in life - it's up to you. Choice is most the important aspect of our lives. Take away a person's freedom to choose and you take away everything.

Innocent Man by Billy Joel

I think this will be the only other Billy song on the list, although I could list about 10 - 15 more easily. This song describes my goal in life - to be a man with all the responsibilities that come with that, and still to maintain my innocence, that highly prized aspect of childhood. The truth is one cannot be innocent and still be a man - it's like Don Quixote tilting at windmills - but I try to find pockets of innocence in my life.

The Swing by INXS

It was one my friend's Carter's favorite songs and I think of him when I hear it. Carter was killed by a train many years ago.

Dream Come True by Frozen Ghost

It's Sharon's and my song. When I hear it, I think of her and our love for each other. We danced to this song at our wedding.

American Pie by Don McLean

The reason I like American Pie is because it's epic. I love epics. I like series of books. I like series of movies. I like my stories to continue. I don't want them to ever end. American Pie is probably the closest a song could ever come to being an epic. It's huge. It's filled with symbolism that we are compelled to decipher. It is absolutely American, and to beat it all it has an extremely singable melody. And the final verse is so touching and beautiful that it caused me to cry the first time I heard it. Can you name another epic song? I'd love to hear some other ideas.

4.) Who am I going to pass this stick to?

Dweeze. It occurs to me that I don't know much about his musical tastes and you think I would by now.

Sara at Midwestern Position because I am curious.

Mathman because I like choosing people I don't know very well. Heh.

OK, Okay, Oll Korrect?

There's a bit in Someone Who'll Watch Over Me about the etymology of "OK". The character in the play says that no one has ever figured out the etymology of the common expression. I had planned today to search the internet and see what I could find. Imagine my surprise when I checked Kris' blog to find she has linked to an online etymology dictionary! Woo hoo!

Naturally, I looked up OK immediatey:

1839, only survivor of a slang fad in Boston and New York c.1838-9 for abbreviations of common phrases with deliberate, jocular misspellings (cf. K.G. for "no go," as if spelled "know go"); in this case, "oll korrect." Further popularized by use as an election slogan by the O.K. Club, New York boosters of Democratic president Martin Van Buren's 1840 re-election bid, in allusion to his nickname Old Kinderhook, from his birth in the N.Y. village of Kinderhook. Van Buren lost, the word stuck, in part because it filled a need for a quick way to write an approval on a document, bill, etc. The noun is first attested 1841; the verb 1888. Spelled out as okeh, 1919, by Woodrow Wilson, on assumption that it represented Choctaw okeh "it is so" (a theory which lacks historical documentation); this was ousted quickly by okay after the appearance of that form in 1929. Okey-doke is student slang first attested 1932.

Let's see what else I can find by doing searches... wow. There's a lot out there on this!

Here's a few explanations.

I like this one:
-The previous explanation is connected with my favorite one, that says that during the Civil War, when batallions returned from the front, the first man in line carried a sign with the number of soldiers killed in action in that group. So the signs stated "9 Killed", "5 killed" and so on. If the number was zero, they stated "O K", a perfect mark.

Here's another discussion about the origin of OK.

What's very interesting to me is that I can't find the explanation given in Someone Who'll Watch Over Me anywhere! Did Frank McGuinness make it up? He claims that Stonewall Jackson created the word because he couldn't read or write and spelled all with an "O" and correct with a "K".

Iraq blog

Here's a blog from two guys working in Iraq. There's an interview with one of the Iraqis involved in making the election happen. Reading blogs like this one is just another step in my attempt to really understand what the heck is actually going on over there. It's so hard to know what's true and what's spin.

Give to local theater!

Ellen Stevenson wrote a letter to editor about the Englert issue:

Donors can give to theater groups

This letter does not come from any board of any theater. This is just a suggestion from a long time performer, worker, actor, director and benefactor of Iowa City Community The-atre ("Donors dislike theater direction," Jan. 31).

I do not wish to cause the Englert Theatre to close, but if donors are disappointed with the direction the performance space is taking, I have a suggestion for them: Take the money you planned to donate to the Englert so you could see local theater and performance groups in that space, and give it to one of them.

Iowa City Community Theater would be thrilled to receive such a gift, as would Dreamwell Theatre or City Circle Acting Company.

Iowa City Community Theater has two more shows after "Guys and Dolls" -- "Hedda Gabler" and "The Secret Garden." Next season is our 50th anniversary, and the theater group has a great lineup of shows: "Fiddler on the Roof," "On Golden Pond," "The Odd Couple," "The Seven Year Itch" and "My Fair Lady."

Ellen Stevenson

Sounds good to me! Give to local theater! Especially Dreamwell.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Goodbye Star Trek

In May, when Enterprise ends its run, there will be no Star Trek series on television since 1987. For my entire adult life, there's been Star Trek. I watched the reruns of the original series and enjoyed it. Even had some Star Trek action figures. Or maybe they were my brothers and passed down to me. The Klingon was mine; I am sure of that. When the Next Generation debuted, I wasn't a huge fan, but then got hooked in the second season. The third season of TNG was one of the best seasons of any TV show ever. All in all, in my opinion TNG was probably the best sci-fi television show of all time. Some episodes were the simply the best hours of TV, no matter what genre.

Here is a list of my favorites:

  • Measure of a Man from season two. Data must prove that is more than just a machine. This is the pivotal episode that sets Data on his journey toward a soul.
  • Sins of the Father from season three. We are introduced to the culture of the Klingons, where honor is the air they breathe. In this episode, Worf shows himself to be a true Klingon by accepting dishonor for the sake of his people.
  • From season four, we have Half a Life, which asked questions about devaluing the lives of the elderly as the Enterprise encounters a planet that has the custom of suicide at age 60.
  • Two from season five: Inner Light, where Picard lives an entire lifetime in a few hours and realizes what he gave up to be a Starship Captain, and The First Duty, where Wesley Crusher learns that no matter what, our first duty is to the truth - be it scientific truth, historical truth, or personal truth.
  • Chain of Command, Parts 1 and 2 from season six, where Picard is captured and totured by Cardassians. Patrick Stewart's performance was more than Emmy worthy.
  • And finally, All Good Things from the final season, one of the best series enders of all time as it tied every loose end and that final shot at the poker table was simply perfect.

    This show consistently asked difficult questions and made me think about the world we live in. While I never got into Deep Space Nine to the same extent, and watched maybe four episodes total of Voyager, I was glad the spirit of the show lived on. In that sense, I am sorry Enterprise is going off the air. I hope that within ten years, we see another rebirth of this classic show.

  • Thursday, February 03, 2005

    Gloopy jelly

    I was spreading peanut butter on a piece of bread today and I realized the impact we parents have on our kids reaches far deeper than I had previously imagined. Everyone knows that we teach our kids about right and wrong, shape their ideas about politics, love, relationships, truth, and basically impart ideas about all of the big stuff. But we imprint upon our children our ideas about the small stuff as well.

    For instance, I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a very specific way. I toast the bed slightly so that it's crunchy but not browned at all. I spread the jelly evenly and do not GLOP ever. I shudder at the thought of gloppy jelly. I also spread the peanut butter evenly, and usually add a little more peanut butter than jelly. That's the way I like 'em. So when I started making sandwiches for Rachel, I just naturally made them that way. But who knows? Maybe she would like gloppy jelly on her sandwich! I took that choice away from her.

    And then I started wondering: in what other ways do I subtly influence her likes and dislikes? For instance, I don't like bathroom humor. Just ain't funny to me. I am sure at some point my kids will go through that bathroom humor phase, but when they reach the other side of it, will they throw aside all bathroom humor because Daddy doesn't like it?

    Okay, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bathroom humor are somewhat silly examples. But still I wonder. How am I subtly impacting my kids? Will they miss out on something they might have really liked because I don't like it and didn't expose them to it? I suppose this is where I find comfort in the fact that Sharon and I have many separate interests and she has just as much influence as I do.

    Still. I wonder.

    Six and half years later...


    And now:

    You know, I don't think we look much different. Except the facial hair.

    Someone in the news

    There's an article in the Daily Iowan and one in the Press Citizen about Someone Who'll Watch Over Me.

    Check it out.

    Go here to reserve tickets.

    Wednesday, February 02, 2005

    New way to comment

    I added Haloscan commenting and trackback. Make a comment; it's fun!

    Who Would Win? (Part Two)

    For this week's installment of Who Would Win? we havetwo mighty challengers!

    In this corner....


    Versus the one, the only....

    Jack Skellington!

    (Note: Jack's cronies may not assist him, but only shout encouragement.)

    It's going to be a close one, folks. Vote in the comments.

    More Iowa Blogs

    I added a bunch of blogs to my list at the right, including a poker blog about the weekly game I attend. Here's the list of new ones:

    Are you going to let him push you around like that? (The Poker Blog.)
    Gradual Dazzle
    Jason Wellnitz
    Planet of the Aprilles
    Vintage Rock (Which is down for maintenance right now. Check back later.)

    If you know of any other Iowa blogs, drop me a line.

    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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