Monday, October 31, 2005

Top of the world

Well, top of the division anyway. The Bears beat the Lions in overtime with a interception returned for a TD by Charles "Peanut" Tillman. (He's must be one tough football player to be successful with a nickname like "Peanut".)

The Bears are only 4-3, but that's enough for first place because, well, the NFC North is pretty awful. The Packers have won one game all year and the Vikings have won two. What's great about the Bears situation is that they own the tiebreaker with the Lions because they beat 'em twice this year. I think it's certain we'll see the Bears in the playoffs representing the NFC North. Not a bad first year for a rookie QB. I mentioned a while ago that I think Orton has future Pro Bowler written all over him. I stand by it. I know he's not doing a lot this year, but he's winning, he's not making mistakes, and every once in a while we see a flash of greatness like that amazing throw to Mushin Muhammad for the TD yesterday. Plus, he's got a Bears attitude. After getting knocked down out of bounds by ex-Bear R.W. McQuarters, he jumped up and got in his face. That's the kind of leader the Bears need. He may be young, but Orton going to be around for a long time. He's got IT.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Today I was reading a friend's blog and she was noting that the guest speakers at the University of Iowa always seemed to be either far left or far right. Her husband wished they'd have a moderate speaker once in a while. Which lead my friend to wonder:

"but are so many people really so very much to the Left or the Right, or is it just that we have a tendency - almost even a need - to categorize and pigeonhole people?"

Strangely enough shortly after reading this I was at the Iowa Geek blog and noticed that they link to me. Which is nice, however, I noted that I am labeled as "liberal". And I'm sorry, but that little label seems to me to almost be a warning to his readers. Go there if you want, but watch out, he's a liberal....insert eyeroll here.

Now, I am not going to claim to be a conservative. I don't want to be considered such. But I am also not a liberal. I have opinions that lean left, absolutely. I believe gays should have full rights, for instance. I believe that the government should support the arts. But I also happen to be a very fervent believer in the rights of unborn children. And in a dispute between management and unions, I'm more likely to come down on management's side. But more than anything else, I take each issue, each circumstance individually. I try to see both sides of the issue and make a reasonable decision. Being labled liberal irks me because there's an implication that there's no sense reading what I write if you aren't also "liberal".

I wonder if the Halsteds labeled me as such because of my posts against Bush and his terrible administration. If so, I would like to point out that the only reason I am even a registered Democrat is because I so despised Bush's administration that I wanted some say in who his opponent would be. You gotta be a Democrat to vote in the primaries here in Iowa. Until then I registered Independent because I have been so unimpressed with both parties. I couldn't stand Clinton's administration. It's only good when compared to the mess Bush has made. Just because a person thinks Bush is a terrible president doesn't make him a liberal.

And all of that doesn't even take into account the number of posts here that have absolutely nothing to do with politics. Did you see my liberal slant on the Amazing Race? How horrible!

I guess the bottom line is that I am not Michael Moore. I am reasonable person who examines both sides of the issues and comes to a reasonable conclusion. Don't label me. And if that's the only way you'll link to my site, then just remove the link.

The Sox bring back a memory or two

Last night, I am watching Comcast SportsNet on channel 44 which has a Bears show. You get to see Lovie Smith's Wednesday press conference and stuff like that. Right in the middle of the injury report, the screen changes to a special bulletin. Special bulletin on channel 44? This isn't a news station....

Oh. The White Sox just won the World Series. That's nice.

I am not a baseball fan. It's a boring game. I prefer fast paced sports like football and basketball. The only thing worse than watching baseball on TV is watching golf. Still, I switched over to Fox just in time to see them replay the final out of the game. Sox players were hugging and highfiving. It has been 88 years so I can understand the joy. In fact, as I sat there my thoughts drifted to one person who really should have been there.

My grandpa.

My two main memories of my grandpa are of him playing poker at his kitchen table and of him sitting in his recliner watching baseball and smoking a cigar, a scent I don't mind only because it always reminds me of my grandpa. When you first walked from the front hall into my grandparents' house, you immediately saw that recliner. It was Grandpa's chair. If you sat in it, you had to move when he returned. At some point during my life he got a new one that was heated and vibrated. He really enjoyed showing me how it worked. Of course, I thought it was the coolest chair ever. Directly in front of the chair, against the far wall, was the TV. It was one of those big floor TVs that no one has anymore. It was really a piece of furniture all by itself. Grandpa had a direct line of sight to the TV from his chair. I have no doubt that he arranged that.

He is the only grandpa I remember as my mom's dad died when I was just a little kid. What I remember about my grandpa was his affection. At a time when men didn't really show much affection - my father didn't, for instance - grandpa didn't mind giving a hug or kiss. I remember his big honest smile. And boy did he love watching baseball. Unfortunately, more often than not, they played badly and he was muttering choice words about various players or umpires. And that's why I wish he could have been around to see the Sox win it all. I can picture the joy that would have been on his face when they won.

I was trying to figure out if Grandpa would have been around for the last time the Sox won the Series. I know my grandma was born in 1909 and I think Grandpa was 8 years younger than she was. (She claimed she didn't want to marry such a young guy but her parents forced her.) Therefore, he would have been born in 1917.

Hey, that's the same year the Sox won the World Series last time.

I miss you, Grandpa.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Possible Amazing Race Spoiler

I know there's a betting spoiler out there that almost certainly indicates the winner, but you won't see that information here. Bah to winner spoilers. (And if you post it in the comments, it will be deleted.)

However, here's a more interesting and fun spoiler. Check out this page on the CBS Amazing Race website. Starting on the top row far right, and working your way backward, you find that the teams are in order of elimination: Black, Rogers, Aiello, Schroeder. According to this little spoiler (which reminds me of the background spoiler from last season), the Gaghan family is out next. Yesterday's episode was a non-elimination leg, so we'll have to wait til next Tuesday to see if the spoiler holds up. I hope it doesn't work as I like the Gaghan family and would like to see them win.

Adding some Iowa bloggers

I updated my links on the right and added the following Iowa Bloggers:

  • Diary of a Political Madman
  • The Madman apparently ranks Iowa political blogs. Poor Kris got pushed down the list. I, on the other hand, will probably never even make the list.

  • Iowa True Blue
  • This politically charged guy has part of his face sticking out of the top of blog. It's a little freaky, frankly.

  • Named Pipe
  • I want to apologize for not linking to him sooner. I meant to and apparently never got around to it. Bad, bad Matt.

  • Patron Saint of Mediocrity
  • Otherwise known as Salieri.

  • Bob
  • It's nice to have Bob back again and her new format is interesting. I hope she changes that background though...

    I also removed a couple blogs that appear to be defunct. You have to post once a month to stay on the list, folks!

    A soldier silenced

    Over at Operation Truth, there is a short article from Daniel Goetz, a soldier in Iraq. Go there and check it out. I'll quote some of it here, but really, read the whole thing.

    My dismay [with the army] melted away in the patriotic euphoria that enveloped the country in the run-up to our invasion of Iraq. Like the rest of the America, I clung fervently to the justifications for it. The underlying righteousness was my source of motivation when we crossed the Kuwait-Iraq border in March of 2003. In the months that were to follow, those justifications collapsed - and with them, my confidence in a nation. In those days, my colleagues and I would often patrol the streets of Baghdad with the infantry in a bid to quell boredom. We were also looking for hope among the Iraqi people; we could live vicariously through their optimism, and perhaps therein find meaning for our occupation. But hope betrayed us as the insurgency swelled....

    Today, I find the greatest challenge of the army is to find honor in service. I don't ever regret having joined because I've learned so much about myself and about America. I have faith in both, but yearn for hope to become reality. I want to go home as badly as I want to be proud of my country again.

    So a soldier is unhappy with what is happening in Iraq. He had a blog which went into even more detail about what is wrong with the war in Iraq. That's not really the suprising or scary part of this. On October 22nd, Daniel was silenced. Here is the last post on his blog. (Thanks to The Tattered Coat.)

    I thank all of you who have been so supportive recently. I have never before received so much positive feedback, and it was very heart-warming to know that so many people out there care. Having said that, it breaks my heart to say that this will be my last post on this blog. I wish I could just stop there, but I can not. The following also needs to be said:

    For the record, I am officially a supporter of the administration and of her policies. I am a proponent for the war against terror and I believe in the mission in Iraq. I understand my role in that mission, and I accept it. I understand that I signed the contract which makes stop loss legal, and I retract any statements I made in the past that contradict this one. Furthermore, I have the utmost confidence in the leadership of my chain of command, including (but not limited to) the president George Bush and the honorable secretary of defense Rumsfeld. If I have ever written anything on this site or on others that lead the reader to believe otherwise, please consider this a full and complete retraction.

    I apologize for any misunderstandings that might understandably arise from this. Should you continue to have questions, please feel free to contact me through e-mail. I promise to respond personally to each, but it may take some time; my internet access has become restricted.

    posted by Daniel at Saturday, October 22, 2005

    Anyone else feel a cold wind blowing as you read those last two paragraphs? And his blog is now gone. You can still find some of it by Googling its name, All The King's Horses, and clicking on the cached response.

    My blog is worth a lot more than you'd think...

    My blog is worth $15,807.12.
    How much is your blog worth?

    Hat tip to Kris and Dweeze.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    Da Bears

    Over the weekend, I found a Bears outfit that Rachel has since outgrown. It should fit Sami just fine and there's no doubt what she'll be wearing on Sunday.

    This week's Bears game, which had better be televised on the loca Fox affiliate, is against the Lions and whoever wins will cement their place at the top of the division and actually have won more games than they lost. Can we beat those pesky Lions?

    Damn straight.

    We have Thomas Jones, who is fifth in the NFL in rushing. The four guys ahead of him have all played an extra game. I can't wait for their bye weeks to come so we can see who is really the best running back in the NFL. We have Kyle Orton, who is getting better each week and excepting his one bad game, has played well enough to let the running game and Defense win it. And then there's that Defense. Ah, Defense. That's what the Bears are all about. According to the league, the Bears are the 3rd best Defense. However, a more complete rating system devised by Troy Aikman puts the Bears at the top of the pile. Naturally, I like Aikman's system. But seriously, the Bears have not allowed a rushing touchdown all season and have the best efficiency in the league when their opponent hits the red zone. In other words, just cause you're inside the 20 doesn't mean you're going to score on the Bears.

    We have a good team. The offense is not great, sometimes it's not even good, but the Defense is the best around. Will we win the Super Bowl. Well, no, almost certainly not. But the playoffs are in reach. And that's the first step to getting to the big game again.

    Go Bears!

    There's this new show on Mondays, see...

    Are you familiar with the term appointment television? Sharon introduced me to the idea. I believe it's a term used in the TV industry. Basically, appointment television is a show that you consistently watch each week. Becoming appointment television for a huge segment of the population is, of course, the goal of every TV producer out there. For me, appointment television almost always consists of various dramatic shows - Lost, Battlestar Galactica, 24 - and a couple reality TV shows - Survivor and Amazing Race. Sitcoms almost never make the list. In fact, until Arrested Development came along a couple years ago, there were zero sitcoms on my appointment television list.

    Well, now there's two. The aforementioned Arrested Development is one and now I have added How I Met Your Mother. It's extremely convenient for me that one follows the other on Mondays nights, albeit on separate networks. (Incidentally, Two and a Half Men, which follows HIMYM is one I usually watch too, mostly because I don't want to get off the couch. This is why some timeslots are better than others. Get paired with a good show and your ratings go way up even if you don't deserve it.)

    So why is HIMYM so good? It doesn't break as many comedy boundaries as Arrested Development and cetainly isn't as laugh out loud funny, but it is damn funny combined with something AD doesn't really have - heart. I, of course, am a sucker for heart. It also has a great narrative trick. The story is told in flashback by a dad explaining to his two kids how he met their mother. The most recent episode was a homage to the Charlie Brown Halloween episode. Ted, the main character, met a woman at an annual rooftop Halloween party four years ago. She was dressed in a provocative pumpkin costume, and in the telling of the story is called the Slutty Pumpkin. They hit it off and Ted got her number, but then lost it so he couldn't follow up with her. The Slutty Pumpkin became "the one" for Ted. So every year, he goes back to the annual rooftop party in hopes that the Slutty Pumpkin will be there. Of course, just like Linus who waits for the Great Pumpkin each year, Ted is disappointed. But, and this is where the heart comes in, at the end of the episode Robin, one of Ted's friends, shows up questioning herself and why she doesn't seem to want that fulfilling relationship that Ted so desperately wants. "I want to want it," she says. Ted explains that he has faith that someday his Slutty Pumpkin will come. And so will hers. And so, like Lucy joining Linus in the pumpkin patch, Robin joins Ted on the rooftop as they wait for their slutty pumpkins.

    Now I haven't even mentioned the funniest character on the show yet: Barney played by Neil Patrick Harris. Yes, Doogie Howser. You know, it's kind of funny that a whole generation will know Harris as the guy from HIMYM mother and my generation will forever remember him as Doogie. I imagine it's kind of like those people for whom Michael Landon will always be remembered as Little Joe from Bonanza and not the dad on Little House on the Prairie, which is how I remember him.

    Barney is constantly funny. He's the Kramer character, the wacky friend who does the most outrageous things. If there is a laugh out loud moment in the show, it's almost certainly a Barney joke. Barney even has his own blog.

    Finally, there's another character on the show named Lilly played by Alyson Hannigan, who apparently was on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and in the American Pie movies, neither of which I followed. (Side note: Why are actors "on" TV shows and "in" movies?) Anyway, there's a debate raging in Sharon's office about whether or not Alyson Hannigan is hot. (And when I say raging, I mean there's three people quietly arguing about it.) My feeling is she's not hot. She's cute, sure, but hot? I don't think so. Now I don't mean this as a put down on Alyson. I prefer cute to hot frankly. And I am sure she can be hot from time to time if she'd like to be. Here's a picture. Feel free to make your own judgment.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    What to do about the sex offenders

    This post has been percolating in the back of my brain for awhile. Right now, it's very popular among some circles to say, "I am not defending sex offenders, but the new law isn't fair because they can't live anywhere." And it's probably true. The law isn't very fair. But it has a lot of support. Why is that exactly?

    Because we're all scared to death of a sex offender hurting someone we love. Obviously.

    Let's face it - short of killing a person or horrible physical torture, there's really no worse crime than being violated sexually. The effects linger forever, especially in children. There's no way to quantify the damage done, but I don't think it's exaggerating to say that damage is life changing. And when we're talking about children, for me at least, it's a hundred times more despicable.

    So people came up with the sex offender registry. And now the "can't live near children" laws. Here's my problem with them: they are not attacking the root of the problem. We don't want people who commit these crimes living among us. We want them behind bars. So the real problem is the length of sentences. I've been trying to find the punishment for these crimes in Iowa through Google searches and have had zero luck . (Kris, can you help me out?) But there's plenty of sex offenders out there, so clearly the punishments need to be more severe.

    First offense: minimum 25 years, no parole. And let's go up from there depending on the severity of the crime and the effect on the victim. Life in prison for a serial sex offender sounds right to me. (Here's a campaign slogan for a tough on crime candidate: Life in prison: it's not just for murderers anymore.)

    Some might say that's harsh.

    That's right. I think we need to start talking about just how serious these crime are. While sex crimes do not take away someone's life, they greatly affect the quality of the rest of that person's life. That needs to be taken into account. And if we do the right thing in the first place, we won't have to worry about where sex offenders are living because they'll be living in jail.

    (And let me just say I am not advocating this sort of thing for the 18-year-old kid who has consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend. I'm talking about the sicko who has sex with an 8-year-old, for instance.)

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    One more quiz

    A livejournal friend pointed out this one:

    You fit in with:

    Your ideals are mostly spiritual, but in an individualistic way. While spirituality is very important in your life, organized religion itself may not be for you. It is best for you to seek these things on your own terms.

    60% spiritual.
    100% reason-oriented.

    Take this quiz at

    Another goofy quiz

    Like Kris, I am a ....

    59% Combativeness, 26% Sneakiness, 76% Intellect, 33% Spirituality
    Aggressive, but with the brains to back it up: You are a Spellsword!

    Score! You have a prestige class. A prestige class can only be taken after you've fulfilled certain requirements. This may mean that you're an exceptionally talented person, but it probably doesn't.

    Spellswords combine arcane might with combat know-how. They're much tougher than mages, like to wear armor, and can cast spells through their weapons. They're very, very, good at doing lots of damage to a single target very quickly, and while not quite as tough as most fighters, are still pretty hard to kill.

    You're both smart and aggressive, which means that you're probably pretty dangerous when pissed off. You also tend to be somewhat straightforward, which is nice, and don't have much use for spirituality or mysticism.

    My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 52% on Combativeness
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 25% on Sneakiness
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 59% on Intellect
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 31% on Spirituality

    Go here to take the test.

    According to that picture, I also have breasts. This is not good.

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    DI article about Eve-Olution

    Here's a DI article about the show. Tonight at 8 pm and tomorrow at 5 pm and 8 pm. It's running about an hour and 15 minutes, so plenty of time to make an On Golden Pond call... jes' saying. :-)

    By the way, the original title of this play was: Venus deMinivan. I think they should have stuck with that...

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005


    So I'm co-directing this play about two women who are trying to juggle careers and families. It goes up this weekend and this weekend only. October 14 at 8 pm and October 15 at 5 pm and 8 pm. You can reserve tickets here.

    (So while I strongly encourage you to see On Golden Pond at ICCT, they have two weekends of performances... so see Eve-Olution this weekend! And if you're in On Golden Pond, get this. We have a 5 pm show on Saturday and our running time is at most an hour and a half. Plenty of time to make a 7 pm call for your show. We'll even do a special On Golden Pond discount...)

    I have had an incredible time exploring this show and meeting the challenges of staging what is, for the most part, two one-woman shows side by side. I have been lucky to have a very smart co-director who seemed to catch everything I missed and two excellent actresses who turn in amazing performances. We added this show to the season about a month and a half ago so it's been tough to pull it all together so quickly. The only reason we've been successful is the willingness of the actresses to work an unconventional rehearsal schedule as well as spend so much time on their own working the lines. If you need a dedicated and talented actress for a show, look no further than Madonna Smith or Annette Rohlk.

    Here's my director's note:

    As Brian [my co-director] wrote, it probably seems strange for two men to direct this show. But for me, there's a lot about Eve-Olution that is very familiar. A couple of years ago, I began a new career: stay-at-home dad. It's easily been the most rewarding and most challenging experience of my life. The irony for our production is that it's Brian and I who have children and our two wonderful actresses who have not had that experience yet. So as I was reading this play, I found myself nodding along as Liza or Allison was describing playdates or demanding children. And during the rehearsal process, it fell to me to explain the proper way to hold the babies during breastfeeding. This play covers a lot of familiar territory for me. It became important for me to do this show because I think what these women are going through - juggling everything in their lives that they need to be happy - is something we can all relate to, no matter if we're men or women.The old stereotype is men work and women take care of the kids. We all know those stereotypes don't apply in our modern world. Men want to have a greater hand in raising their children. And women want to have the fulfilling career. We want it all. And we're trying to figure out how to pull that off. That's the struggle these two women are going through. It's a struggle we can all understand. We don't have the answers, but I think at least we are starting to ask the questions.

    Branching off from that... It seems to me our country has been redefining families in the last 30 or 40 years. Roles are not set in stone anymore. Dads are not willing to remain on the sidelines of child rearing. And women are not willing to give up a career to raise a family. What I wonder is if we're heading toward a time when moms and dads are both working part time jobs, allowing both of them some child rearing time and career time. Of course, something has to change in our economy so we can survive on one salary again. In most families, both parents have to work just to make ends meet. Maybe we'll see switching of roles: Mom has the career for five years and Dad stays home with the kids. And then they switch. I don't know what the answer is and there's almost certainly no one right answer for everyone, but we are definitely in the midst of a huge change in the family dynamic.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Not too geeky...

    The Simple Geek
    You answered 70% of the questions as a geek truly would.
    You don't seem to sway in either direction, however you still seem to have some latent geek attributes within you. Maybe you're interested in computers but not a gamer? Maybe you've got geek hobbies but none of the awkward social tendencies. You may be slightly geekier than you thought and in denial!

    The simple geek usually has various quirks that friends may make fun of, but in general can be considered a fairly normal person. Your geek attributes make you less likely to conform to society. The popular kids don't hate you but the geeks don't either, so it's a respectabledemographic.

    In a nutshell, you answered enough questions with geek tendencies and enough questions without geek tendencies that it's difficult to pinpoint your exact alignment.

    My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 37% on geekness
    Link: The True Geek Test written by ambientred on Ok Cupid

    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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