Monday, February 27, 2006

Sick, sick, sick, sick

Ugh. I am sick. I have a terrible cold with sinus pressure and ugh, ugh, ugh. I don't know what I'm doing at work. I am sure I'm not doing as good of a job as I am capable of. What I am most concerned about is being sick for Wednesday which I am taking off to spend some time with Rachel. If I'm sick, she's going to be so disappointed. So I going to drink lots of fluids, load up on the sinus medication, and rest, rest, rest.

Of course, there's also Dreamwell Reflections which I have to rehearse on Wednesday and Thursday and perform on Saturday. I am really looking forward to that event as it's basically going to be a big party where we look back at nine years of Dreamwell's work. Hopefully, a lot of the theater folk can make it. It'd be great to swap stories with those who have been in shows. It's also a way to kick off our year of fundraising as we work to find a new home. We have some interesting possibilities which I can't talk too much about yet, but I am pretty excited. So anyway, I have to get better! This is not a good week to be sick.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ah, children...

So, you know that big to-do about changing the spelling of Sami?

To heck with that. She informed us today that she doesn't like Sami or Soup. She wants to be 'Mantha TalDOOto.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Boys of AI

Okay, so much for my opinion that we should end the competition and declare Paris and the co-winners. A couple of the men were damn good too. My favorite is Chris Daughtry. He sang Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive and really rocked the house. My other favorite was Ace who sang Father Figure by George Michael. These two are the second comings of Bo and Constantine respectively.

There were also some truly awful performances. Like the guy who sang Copacabana and talked about how great Barry Manilow is. Um. This isn't American Idiot. Go home, um, Bobby, I think your name is.

And then there was the first guy who sang - Patrick Hall. He wasn't terrible but he's absolutely screwed because he went first and no one is going to remember him.

As for the others...

Bucky, who I think I saw on the Simpsons with his wife and 15 children, wasn't bad when he was singing. But when he smiled or talked, I cringed. Some people don't belong on TV and Bucky is one of them. Except when he sings. Then he's not bad.

Jose, who the judges really liked, was soooo boring. The whole thing was done in falsetto and well, maybe that was musically impressive and all, but I was falling asleep.

Taylor, the the grey haired guy, was decent, but not as good as I would have thought with his version of Levon. Sharon thought he failed to convey the irony in the song. Still, I am rooting for him as I feel follically connected to him.

So who will get booted tonight?

Patrick and Bobby. Or maybe cheeksqueezed Kevin Covais, who looks about 12. It could be one of the two cute kids - Will or David. They can't both get all the pre-teen girl votes. I am hoping Patrick and Bobby go home, but you just never know.

Oh and Ali, Rachel seemed to like everyone. She got up to dance when Chris sang so I think he is a favorite. She has good taste. And some pretty acrobatic dance moves...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Samantha's nickname

So I have been second thoughts about the way we currently spell Samantha's nickname: Sami. Knowing that all the answers are available on the internet, I have decided to solicit the opinions of you, my faithful readers. And I am having fun making polls.

Which spelling of Samantha's nickname do you like best?
Sami (the current choice)
Sammy (more traditional choice)
Sammie ('ie' gives it a more girl feel)
Sammee (what are we, hippies?)
Free polls from


Rachel and Sami are really playing together a lot these days. Sami loves to follow her sister around and do whatever she is doing. And Rachel has finally figured out that having a little sister who will do pretty much whatever you want can be a lot of fun. Today they were playing preschool with Rachel being the teacher, of course.

"Come on, Sami, time to lay down for your nap," Rachel sternly says. Sami lays down with the blanket for all of three seconds and then jumps up again.

"Okay, Sami, time to go on the field trip," Rachel will say going along with Sami ending her nap before she could close her eyes.

I find myself identifying with Sami, of course, as I am the youngest in my family and I remember getting my older brother John to play with me. I don't remember much give and take - we did pretty much whatever John wanted to do and that was fine with me. It's strange though because Rachel seems more like me in personality (so far anyway - Sami's only two) and yet she's the older sister, so I can relate to Sami's place in the family more.

Ah well, the bottom line is Sharon and I get to spend time in the evenings together without the kids being in our faces every second. There are even minutes of time when we can feel what it was like before we had kids. This is good for a whole lot of reasons.

American Idol Ladies

...although with how young some of them are, I ought to title this AI Girls.

And suprisingly two of the younger girls were two of the best.

Paris, who is only seventeen years old, sang Midnight Train to Georgia. She's a helluva performer. She's got it all - charisma, dance moves, and a strong voice. The only problem: she reminded me of Tootie from Facts of Life!

Lisa is only sixteen and has the poise of a singer who's been doing this for a decade. She sang I Am Changing, a song I had never heard before, but one that was perfectly suited to the competition. Check out the lyrics:

I am changng, I'm gonna start right now, right here
I'm hoping to work it out, and I know that I can
But I need you, I need a hand

Watching this kid sing this with such heart, I know people are going to be rushing to the phone to give her a hand at winning this thing. And she ends with...

I'm gonna start again, I'm leaving my past behind
I'll change my life-I'll make a vow
And nothing's gonna stop me now.

Except maybe Paris...

Seriously, if I were a judge, I'd be tempted to end the competition right now and go with these two kids as the co-winners.

Bu that's not going to happen, so onto the other notable singers....

Katharine McPhee, Mandisa and Ayla Brown were all good. Mandisa may not get the votes because she was the first singer and that usually hurts them.

I think the two who will probably get booted are Heather Cox, who is not as good as Kellie Pickler (who I think is Carrie Underwood with emotion) and looks too much like her, and Stevie Scott, who I will miss because I think she has excellent potential. She was just too boring with her song choice of To Where You Are by Josh Grobin. Other girls at risk: Becky O'Donohue and Kinnik Skye (and no, she wasn't named after the stadium...)

Monday, February 20, 2006

So about the declassifying of information...

Update: Here's an interesting article from the Washington Post which talks about this issue.

Thanks to Don over at Tusk and Talon, I found an article by Byron York which explains the Executive Order Bush signed which gives the Vice President the authority to classify information. The article highlights the important parts, but I also found the whole thing here if you're interested.

What's interesting is how much detail they go into how things become automatically declassified (10 or 25 years later depending on the material) while there are practically zero words spent talking about how an individual could declassify something. I could not find any a specific mention of the criteria a President or Vice President should use when declassifying material. In fact, there's only this sentence which seems to indicate a VP could declassify information, but that depends on a liberal interpretation of the word "delegate".

(2) "Top Secret" original classification authority may be delegated only by the President; in the performance of executive duties, the Vice President; or an agency head or official designated pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of this section.'s definition of "delegate" doesn't seem to fit this sentence in any way.

tr.v. del·e·gat·ed, del·e·gat·ing, del·e·gates (-gt)

1) To authorize and send (another person) as one's representative.
2) To commit or entrust to another: delegate a task to a subordinate.
3) (Law.) To appoint (one's debtor) as a debtor to one's creditor in place of oneself.

I assume they mean "changed" or "determined", but it's far from clear.

Then there's also that vague phrase:

"in the performance of executive duties"

I tried my hardest to figure out what exactly the "executive duties" of the vice president are, but darn if I couldn't come up with anything. His legislative duty is to preside over the Senate, but there doesn't seem to be a description of his executive duties anywhere except to take over if the President is incapacitated or dies. The vague wording only adds to the problems with this Executive Order.

The biggest problem, however, is the lack of any checks to this authority. We need checks because otherwise the President or Vice President might use this power to advance a political agenda, which appears to be what happened in the case of Valerie Plame.

Poll results...

Well, Let's look at the results of the poll:

Political stuff -- 2 votes
More posts about kids! -- 5 votes
Gimme more Reality TV posts! -- 4 votes
Deep philosophical issues. -- 4 votes
Theater anecdotes. -- 6 votes
How about you hire a guest blogger who's actually funny? -- 2 votes

Looks like most people want me to write about the kids and theater. Which is interesting, since I probably write more about other things! I haven't written too many theater anecdotes and I think that's mostly because I am still so involved in theater. I think I need to have some distance before I can really write about it. But maybe I'll give it a try and see what happens. Sorry to see the political stuff didn't get that many votes because you're kind of stuck with that. I'm going to keep writing about it but feel free to glaze over it. As for the people who think I ought to hire a funnier blogger, well, I wouldn't mind having a guest blogger so any volunteers? Nelle, you don't have a blog, do you? Want to be a guest blogger here for a week?

Friday, February 17, 2006

What should I write about?

You can pick more than one! How's that for an exciting poll?

What should I blog about? (You can choose more than one.)
Political stuff - your insight is, um, insightful
More posts about kids! They're so cute with their kid-like antics!
Gimme more Reality TV posts!
Deep philosophical issues. My man doesn't get any deeper than the cornchip dip.
Theater anecdotes. Those are always fun.
How about you hire a guest blogger who's actually funny?
Free polls from

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A day off

Snow day! Well, actually sleet-thunder-lightning day. It's nice to work for an educational institution that closes for inclement weather. Sharon also didn't make it in to work since the weather people said "If you do not absolutely have to drive anywhere today, don't." She really wanted to go in to work, but I pointed out that I'd rather she live through the day than leave me alone with the two ragamuffins.

Anyway, we spent the day enjoying being home today.

Right now, Sharon is playing with Rachel and Sami and the dollhouse. Rachel loves American Idol and has decided that the dollhouse is apparently the American Idol set. They have lined up three judges and each doll sings and then is told whether they made it to Hollywood or not. Sharon's doll went first and as soon as she started singing, Sami shouted "No! No!"

She's a tough critic.

Rachel's song:

Rainbows are so great
Rainbows never stop talking
Even though they don't talk

Deep, huh?

Now the Granpa doll is singing "New York, New York". I thought he was too old for American Idol.

And here's Wags the Dog. His song:

Ruff, ruff
Ruff, ruff.

Amazingly, Wags made it to Hollywood.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Well, that's interesting

Cheney says he has the authority to declassify information. Where would one go to find out what statute or whatever he is referring to? If the vice president is truly allowed to declassify information, I think the next questions have to be 1) under what circumstances? 2) if he did declassify the Valerie Plame information, why did he do it? He had better have a better reason than he wanted to get back at her husband, who was publicly criticizing the administration at the time.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Every year, Dreamwell participates in Bowl for Kids Sake. Our team of bowlers asks friends and family to sponsor them by donating to the cause. All proceeds go to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, one of the best organizations out there. They do great work helping kids. So I am asking you, my faithful readers, for help. Please go to this website and donate something for the kids. Consider it your good deed for the week. Thanks so much.

PS: It's tax deductible!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The real Cheney news story

Last night poor Sharon innocently noted that our vice-president shot a fellow hunter in Texas. I say poor Sharon because I then unloaded with all the aggravation I've been feeling since Sunday. Want to know what was aggravating me? The stupid media is focusing on what is essentially a minor story when compared to the bigger vice-presidential story. The guy Cheney shot didn't die. It was an accident. So what if they didn't tell the media about it for 22 hours. Who cares? I swear listening to the reporters grill Scott McClellan about not notifying them made me crazy. Get over yourselves, guys.

And the part of this whole thing that really made me mad is that they were ignoring the real story - Scooter Libby told the special counsel that his superiors instructed him to release classified information. When you're VP's chief of staff, you only have one superior - the VP. This means Cheney may very well have broken the law. That's news, people. That's what should be covered 24-7. The good news is we do have some politicians talking about it. Howard Dean, of course, is calling for Cheney to step down if the allegation is true. More importantly, however,is Republican Senator George Allen saying this should be investigated. Hopefully, we'll see more Republicans stepping forward and putting pressure on Cheney to answer the charges.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

It's a matter of trust

I have been following the NSA wiretap scandal - Wiretapgate doesn't really fall trippingly off the tongue, does it? - because I truly believed we finally had something we could use to impeach George Bush. And while I still think that he did break the law because I do not believe his position as chief executive and commander in chief give him the legal authority to do what he did, the fact is I don't have a problem with what was actually done. Of course, that is assuming that what we've been told is true, i.e. that the wiretapping was only done when an American citizen was contacting an overseas Al-Queda terrorist or an overseas terrorist affiliated with Al-Queda. If that is true, well, I think that's a reasonable use of wiretapping despite the fact that we are sacrificing some of our freedom. The only legitimate reason I can think of for an American citizen to knowingly discuss anything with an Al-Queda terrorist is for journalistic reasons. And even then, what is point of interviewing someone whose stated purpose is the destruction of your country and its citizens?

So my conclusions:

1) I would like to see George Bush impeached for breaking the law by authorizing illegal wiretapping, but the truth is I want that for a plethora of reasons that are not related to wiretapping.

2) I would like to see this wiretapping program made legal through Congress under the assumption that they'll put safeguards in to prevent misuse. I feel this absolutely necessary because we cannot allow George Bush's interpretation of executive power to stand. It fundamentally changes the position of president in wartime and moves us closer to facism.

3) I don't trust that this is the end of this story. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez would not respond to questions about the existence of other secret programs that may or may not be legal. If Bush is willing to disregard the law to wiretap, what else has he authorized?

Like the Piano Man said, it's a matter of trust. If you trust Bush and his administration, you're probably not that concerned. If, like me, you believe we've been dealt five plus years of lies and inept leadership, it's hard to trust that this wiretap program is operating in an appropriate manner.

I have to say that I really appreciate the Republican senators who have stepped forward to say they have a problem with how this was done. It's good to see principle win over party loyalty. I think the biggest problem in politics today is party loyalty. On both sides.

Johari Window

A number of my friends are doing this Johari Window thing. I admit to some trepidation. Do I really want to know what everyone thinks of me?

Ah well, go here and tell me what you think.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Waiting for Godot!

Godot opens tonight! It's going to be great - don't miss it! Reserve tickets here.

Godot is in the news here and here.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I heard an interesting, if unsurprising statistic on the radio this morning. 77% of households in Iowa have both parents or the only parent working full time. Iowa is fourth on the list of states with the highest percentage of working parents. Only 23% of households in Iowa have a stay-at-home parent raising the children. So don't tell me the economy is great. When a family can't survive on one income, that's a major societal problem. It's been like that for far too long. I would like to see a shift in our labor ideology. Let's make it feasible for both parents to work twenty hours a week, share childraising duties, and still make enough money to survive. Right now, that's not even close to possible.

Friday, February 03, 2006


SideNotes tagged me so here goes...

Four jobs I've had:

1. Arbys Night Manager

2. Associate Jeweler at Hands in downtown Iowa City

3. Speed and Comprehension Reading Teacher

4. Test scorer for NCS Pearson

Four movies I can watch over and over:

1. Stand By Me

2. Aliens

3. Empire Strikes Back

4. Aladdin

Four places I've lived:

1. Glendale Heights, IL

2. Dekalb, IL

3. Coralville

4. Iowa City

Four TV shows I love:

1. Survivor

2. How I Met Your Mother

3. 24

4. Battlestar Galactica

(How I Met Your Mother is the best situation comedy since the early seasons of Friends. In fact, it's better.)

Four highly-touted TV shows I detest:

1. Dr. Phil is the only one I can come up with. I don't detest easily.




Four books I'd recommend to anyone, anytime:

1. Where the Red Fern Grows

2. The Stand

3. Ulssyses even though I know 95% of the people wouldn't try it.

4. Harry Potter books

Four places I've vacationed:

1. San Francisco Bay area

2. Appalachian Trail (using the word vacation somewhat liberally...)

3. Family cottage in Michigan

4. New Orleans... before

Four of my favorite dishes:

1. Lasagna

2. Stuffed shells

3. Rare steak

4. Any kind of meat with KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce on it

Four sites I visit daily:

1. Bloglines (like SideNotes, that's where I read everybody's blogs and read the news)

2. Survivor websites like SurvivorBlows and my supersecret messageboard



Four places I would rather be right now:

1. On a cruise with my wife, kids and a nanny

2. Playing poker

3. On the stage in Dreamwell's new space

4. Hiking the Appalachian Trail assuming it was warmer than it is right now

Four bloggers I am tagging:

1. CrapFlingingMonkey

2. Sharon

3. State 29 just to see if I can get him (them) to do this sort of post

4. Purple Fish Guts

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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