Thursday, June 30, 2005

Nielsen Family

Yep, we are a Nielsen Family for the next week, today through next Thursday. Our diary is a little embarassing today, since there wasn't crap on TV....here it is:

7A- Fairly Oddparents
8A- Higgleytown Heroes
8:30A- Dragon Tales
9A- Seasame Street

1P- All Grown Up (Nickalodeon show)
1:30P- Lilo & Stich
2P- Kim Possible

3:30P- Kim Possible
4P- My Dad The Rock Star (no, this isn't home video of me)
4:30P- Designer Finals (HGTV)
5P- Crafters Coast to Coast (HGTV...wife must have actually been napping at this point)
6P- Friends
6:30P- Friends

10P- Fathers and Daughters (PBS special we had Tivo'd)
10:30P- Mission: Organization (HGTV show we Tivo'd, dealt with cleaning your garage...something we need to do desperately)
10:45P- Tucker Carlson (yeah, sucked me in for the last 15 mins.)
11P- Sports Center

Wife fell asleep at 10:45, which is why the TV turned suddenly male.

Subanalysis shows the following usage:

4.5 year old - About 2.75 hours
6.5 year old - About 4.5 hours
Wife - 3 hours
Dad - 2 hours

There were partial hours in the list of shows above, where only 15 minutes was watched.

Hey, you get $5 for being a Nielsen Family, they literally send you five $1 bills.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

From The Planet

Picked up the new Fountains of Wayne CD, "Out-of-State Plates", which is a 2-disc compilation of b-sides, live tracks and rarities, plus the obligatory two "new" songs. It's tremendous. This is the stuff they didn't deem worthy of putting on a regular release and it pretty much blows away most of the crap that is on the radio these day. The liner notes, too, are great, with comments from Adam Schlesinger and Chris Colingwood about what inspired the songs etc. The first release from it, "Maureen", is a power pop gem that equals their hit from two years ago, "Stacy's Mom". Catchy as hell, sing-along chorus, and the classic backing vocals they are known for. Trust me, you'll hear it this summer.

This just confirms that they are from the planet.

"From The Planet" is a code phrase my wife and I developed to described people or groups who are head and shoulders talent-wise above everyone else. The phrase comes from the idea that these kinds of people are really aliens who have come to earth. After a while, we shortened it to a simple "from the planet." I even purchased the website address www.FromThePlanet.com and hope to one day launch a site outlining the concept and posting comments on people who are "from the planet."

Besides Fountains of Wayne, here are some others that should help you better understand the idea:

-Tom Hanks. See, crap like Bosom Buddies and Bachelor Party is just to throw us off the trail so we don't figure out they are really aliens.

-Tiger Woods. I think he may have been the first one we ID'd as being From The Planet. Last year's semi-slump was, again, to throw us off the trail.

-Quentin Tarantino. What better cover than video store clerk turned director?

-Lance Armstrong. Beats cancer and comes back to win six, soon to be seven, Tour de France races in a row? Only someone from the planet could do that.

Note, too, that there are multiple planets, depending on what field one excels in. When I final launch the site, I'll set up a way for people to nominate others that they believe are From The Planet...who comes to mind for you?

Mighty Fine Haircut

We were pretty tired Sunday afternoon and evening upon returning from camping, so we put on Mulan for the girls to watch and zoned out. Near the end, Ms. 4.5 Year Old got up and left, went upstairs to play. This is actually pretty normal, she'll just go play by herself for a while, so we didn't worry about it.

A few minutes later, I heard her in the downstairs bathroom. Thinking she was playing in the sink, also pretty normal, I went to check it out. Before I could get there, she dashed upstairs. Shortly, she came back downstairs, and informed my wife that she'd cut her own hair.

Yep.

And this is a girl who had never had her hair cut. She decided to cut some of her bangs, so now she has odd looking 1" x 1" square of closely cropped hair, surrounded by long curly locks.

All scissors - whether kid's or not - are now out of reach.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Family Time

Camping was great, it went really well. The girls slept well in the tent, played nicely with others, and didn't fall in the fire. Ms. 6.5 year old did step inadvertantly in the creek, but that was my fault (I slipped behind her and bumped her into the river...) Overall, it definitely is something we would like to do again.

Might be a while until we really rough it - if we ever do, we are talking about girls here - but it was a good start.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Family Camping

Taking the girls camping this weekend for the first time ever. We'd planned on doing a family camping trip this year anyway, but my in-laws invited the whole clan to go this weekend. I think it's good that the whole in-law clan is going, because the other cousins will be there to help entertain each other. It should also be entertaining to watch the inter-family dynamics, always a good time.

In preparation, I got out our tent, which we haven't used in years - at least 7 since we haven't been camping since before the girls were born. (I have with others, always using their tents.) I'd forgotten how stinkin' big that dome tent is. It's like a 6-man tent that my sister got us for a wedding gift. A 6-foot man can stand up inside it without touching the top with his head.

We'll see how it goes, but I suspect it will be a good time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Free Katie

OK, this other item from Radaronline.com scared the crap outta me as well. I knew Scientology was wacked, but this item about Katie Holmes's "handler" is freaky:

"The starry-eyed chaperone who’s been accompanying Katie Holmes to Batman Begins press junkets is not only an agent of Scientology—she’s a powerful one. According to an article from the sect’s in-house magazine, Source, Holmes’ new Church-assigned handler, Jessica Rodriguez, ascended to the level of “New Operating Thetan IV” (Tom Cruise is rumored to be New OT VII) in January 2004. What the Beck does that mean?

According to sources close to the Church, it means she’s joined the elite group of Scientologists who’ve been enlightened with the six-figure secrets of Xenu, the evil intergalactic ruler who implanted “thetans,” or alien spirits, in earth’s volcanoes 75 million years ago, after which they escaped and invaded human bodies. As a “New OT IV,” Rodriguez has the power to, “control life, thought, matter, energy, space, and time,” according to Scientology’s official web site. Having completed the Church’s “False Purpose Rundown,” Katie’s spiritual escort also has the ability to spot any “suppressive persons” (read: enemies of Scientology, like skeptical journalists and concerned friends and family members) who interact with her celebrity charge. And you thought Pat Kingsley was tough!"

Cruise-in for Chicks

Radaronline.com semi-confirms my "Tom's cruise-in for young Scientology converts" hypothesis with this item about Scarlett Johanssen:

"Katie Holmes may have fallen for it, but Tom Cruise’s sci-fi seduction technique scared the bejeezus out of Scarlett Johansson, a source close to the actress says. Weeks before he began wooing his brainwashed bride-to-be, Cruise made repeated phone calls to the 19-year-old starlet—who was then set to co-star with him in Mission Impossible III—imploring her to meet him at the Scientology Celebrity Center in L.A. But when the actress finally agreed, the supposedly professional get-together took an oddly spiritual turn. “[Cruise] took me into this room, which was stifling hot, and was showing me all kinds of info about joining the church,” Johansson told our source. “The whole time he didn’t even offer me a cookie!” Instead, he offered her dinner—and a glimpse into the Twilight Zone.

After two hours of proselytizing, our source says Cruise opened a door to reveal a second room full of upper-level Scientologists who had been waiting to dine with the pair, at which point the cool-headed ingenue politely excused herself. Soon after the meeting, Johansson dropped out of Mission Impossible III, reportedly due to scheduling conflicts. Asked about the incident, Johansson’s momager, Melanie Johansson, referred Radar to a publicist, who did not return calls or emails seeking comment. After striking out with Johansson, Cruise reportedly turned his attentions to 24-year-old Jessica Alba, 22-year-old Kate Bosworth, and 18-year-old Lindsay Lohan, before settling on the 26-year-old Holmes. As far we know, Cruise’s War of the Worlds co-star, Dakota Fanning, was never under consideration."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bush and Africa

"America doesn't have a lack of empathy; they just don't know the issues as well. Actually, today I had to defend the Bush Administration in France again. They refuse to accept, because of their political ideology, that he has actually done more than any American President for Africa. But it's empirically so." Bob Geldof, organizer of Live Aid and Live 8. From the latest issue of Time Magazine

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Katie Holmes: Brainwashed

Before you think I've gone off my rocker, take a few days to review the recent statements (and non-statements) from her regarding her "alleged" engagment/relationship with Tom Cruise, and to follow anything she says during the next week or so. Seriously. She's been brainwashed.

My hypothesis is that the "Church" of Scientology looked at its list of celebs and realized they are getting old. Think Kirstie Alley, Jenna Elfman and Kelly Preston are appealing to the younger (under 30) set? So, they decided they needed some younger celeb blood in there to help rope the next generation into L. Ron Hubbard's army. Who better to convert a young, hot, celeb that Tom Cruise?

Now, Katie's been diligently taking her Scientology "classes"; she has a Scientology "assistant" named Jessica that shadows her; and she NEVER discusses how she and Tom met/"fell in love." Everytime she dodges that question. Actually, she dodges most questions these days and looks bewildered, like she's afraid of saying the wrong thing...she looks, in fact, like she's been...BRAINWASHED. And when the two are together Tom always answers her questions.

Watch, and listen.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Whatcha Listening To?

Since I don't ride mass transit at home regularly (no reason to), the main place I listen to my iPod is working out at the gym. Having taken a ton of mass transit this week in DC, I noticed a lot of people are wearing headphones, a good share of them the white Apple earbuds.

I am always tempted to ask what they are listening to...wondering if it's a weird mix like me this week:

Tommy Stinson
Perfect
The Clash
Jack Johnson
Paul Westerberg
Beatles
Tim McGraw (yes, you read that right)
Ben Folds
Curt Buthe (my pastor, I downloaded a sermon I missed from April to listen to on the plane)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Urban Fly Fishing

Went fly fishing today on the Potomac. I'd written a loger piece on it, but my internet access at the hotel froze up and I lost it! DRAT! Bottom line: 3 buses, 2-3 miles walking, 3 smallmouth bass in 45 minutes, outfished the bait casters around me. I'll re-write the longer post some when I get back.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Live From The Nation's Capitol

Cold kickin' it in the nation's capitol today with my cousin...well, OK, not cold, it's actually like 95 degrees and 95 percent humidity. But we're hitting the pool shortly, which will be nice. Went to see the WW II Memorial, which is new since I was here two years ago, the I introduced him to the lesser known Albert Einstein statute, which is a cool spot that is relatively unknown.

He has to head back to work tomorrow (airline pilot), so I'll be visiting some other friends and then hope to spend the late afternoon and evening fly fishing on the Potomac for some kind of bass (smallmouth, largemouth, striper...)

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: You can put your telescope in this overhead bin.

ME: It's a fly rod.

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Whatever.

Good news for cheese lovers: The strike is over! Whew, life can return to normal.


Tillamook cheese strike settled
11:33 AM PDT on Monday, June 13, 2005

By kgw.com and AP Staff


TILLAMOOK, Ore. -- Striking workers at Tillamook County Creamery Association voted to return to work after resolving their contract dispute with the dairy cooperative over health insurance premiums, officials said Sunday evening.

"Both sides made compromises to reach the agreed upon settlement to produce a fair contract for the employees," said Tillamook spokeswoman Christie Lincoln.


The dairy cooperative has now agreed to cover about 13 percent more of workers' increasing health-benefit premiums.


In return, Teamsters Local 58, which represents nearly half of Tillamook's 560 employees, agreed to a smaller pay increase over the three-year life of the new contract. Instead of 9 percent in raises initially offered by 2008, they will receive 7.8 percent.


On average, workers at the cooperative's cheese plant in Tillamook currently make nearly $15 an hour.


Both sides said they were relieved to have the strike — the cooperative's first since 1959 — behind them.


Roughly 260 production, packaging, cold storage, transportation and other workers had walked off the job 12 days ago after rejecting the prior contract offer, which shifted some health care costs to the workers.


Employees said the old proposal left them offered little or no gain, with the 9 percent wage hike being offset by increased insurance co-payments. But on Sunday, the union members voted 150-48 to accept the new deal and return to work.


The company has said its health care costs have doubled since 2000, amounting to about $850 a worker each month.


Tillamook officials said the strike did not interrupt cheese deliveries because they shifted some production to a non-union plant in Boardman and also had millions of pounds of cheese in storage.


The cooperative is the nation's second largest cheese-maker, selling more than 100 million pounds of cheese a year nationally as well as milk and other dairy products. Its dairy sales in 2003, the latest year for which figures are available, were $262 million.


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Online at: http://www.kgw.com/business/stories/kgw_061205_biz_tillamook_cheese_strike_over.34ae637.html

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

From the Boston Globe:

Transcript shows Kerry's Yale grades similar to Bush
June 7, 2005

BOSTON --Sen. John F. Kerry's academic performance at Yale University was virtually identical to President George W. Bush's academic record, despite repeated portrayals of Kerry as being more intellectual than his Republican rival, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

The Globe, which obtained Kerry's transcript from his U.S. Navy officer training school application after Kerry gave permission for its release, said Kerry had a cumulative grade average of 76 for his four years at Yale and received four Ds his freshman year.

In 1999, The New Yorker published a transcript showing Bush had a cumulative grade average of 77 his first three years at Yale, and a similar average under a non-numerical rating system his senior year.

Kerry, D-Mass., had previously declined to release the transcript, which was included in his Navy records. He had refused to waive privacy restrictions for the full file during the presidential campaign, but gave the Navy permission to release the documents last month, the newspaper reported.

His freshman year, Kerry had an average of 71. He earned a 61 in geology, a 63 and a 68 in two history courses, and a 69 in political science. His top scores of 79 and 77 were in political science and French, respectively. At the time, Yale considered grades between 70 and 79 a C and 60 and 69 a D.

"I always told my Dad that D stood for distinction," Kerry said in a written response to reporters' questions. He said he has previously acknowledged focusing more on learning to fly than studying. In his Navy application, Kerry said he had spent much of his college career in extracurricular activities, including the Yale Political Union, the Debating Association and the Skull and Bones Society.

His grades improved later, however, as he averaged an 81 his senior year and earned an 89 -- his highest grade -- in a political science class as a senior. He was also chosen to deliver the senior class oration, in which he questioned the wisdom of the Vietnam War.

According to The New Yorker article, Bush's highest grade at Yale was an 88 in anthropology, history and philosophy. He received one D in his four years, a 69 in astronomy, and like Kerry, improved his grades after his freshman year. 

(Original: http://www.boston.com/news/politics/primaries/massachusetts/articles/2005/06/07/transcript_shows_kerrys_yale_grades_similar_to_bush?mode=PF)

Comments:

1. No wonder he didn't release his Navy records/transcripts, would have ruined the "Kerry is an intellectual" illusion;
2. Preempting liberal response: "Oh, I'm sure he took harder courses." Spin away.

CrimeFighter

Normally, the crazy names given by celebs to their children irks me to no end. One word: Apple.

But when I read the middle name that Penn Jillette - the big, talking member of the comedy/magic duo Penn & Teller - gave to his newly born daughter I had to laugh outloud. It was priceless. It was inspired.

Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette.

Here's his explanation: "We chose her middle name because when she's pulled over for speeding she can say, `But officer, we're on the same side,'" Jillette explained. "`My middle name is CrimeFighter.'"

I think my wife is happy that we aren't having anymore kids.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Let's Not Use That Word

INT. DINNER TABLE. DAY.

The family sits at dinner, eating and talking about the day's activities.

MS. 6-YEAR-OLD
Daddy, show me your gigilo dance!

DADDY
Um, my what?

6-YEAR-OLD
Your gigilo dance.

MOMMY
You mean his jiggle dance?

6-YEAR-OLD
No, gigilo.

DADDY
You mean my wiggle-o dance?

6-YEAR-OLD
(emphatically)
No, gigilo. Like this.

MS. 6-YEAR-OLD gets up from the table and starts doing a wiggly dance.

MOMMY
Right, the wiggle-o dance.

6-YEAR-OLD
No, gigilo.

MOMMY turns her head away from MS. 6-YEAR-OLD and represses a smile and laugh.

DADDY
Um, let's not use that word. It means something else. Let's call it the wiggle-o dance.

6-YEAR-OLD
OK!

FADE TO BLACK

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hide Your Weed

The US Supreme Court has ruled that state medical marijuana laws don't exempt users from being prosecuted under federal anti-drug laws. So while Oregon (and California) for example says "toke away your pain, it's OK by us", the feds might be knockin' on your door. Better hide your weed.

Funny quote from this article in the San Diego Union Times:

"I'm way disappointed. There are so many people that need cannabis," Monson said.

Dude. We're way bummed, too. Hat tip to Chief Running Miles for the article and quote.

Medical pot doesn't really bug me much. I just wish the proponents would be more upfront about it. Of course it relieves pain, YOU'RE STONED. Of course it helps you with your appetite, YOU'RE STONED. I'm cool with that, just be honest about it!

And if cheese is a major part of your medical pot induced diet you'd better stock up...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Deep Throat Con't

Now that the fallout has begun, here is one of the better pieces I've read online recently.

John Dean, of Watergate fame himself, talks about how Felt must have been working with others, AND how much of the info he apparently gave Woodward was inaccurate or flat wrong. Interesting read. Note that just minutes after Woodward confirmed that Felt was Throat I speculated that perhaps Felt was getting info from Fred Fielding in the White House...Dean speculates that Felt had a source in the WH as well.

Oh, and don't forget to stock up on cheese, the strike is still on!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Kids Say the Funniest Things

Took the munchkins to see Madagascar on Monday afternoon. Good movie for kids, OK for adults. Plot was a little thin. Let's just say it's no Incredibles or Shrek.

Funny comment from our 4.5 year old during the movie. There is a scene where the lion is on the beach and he's made a huge sign out of palm tree logs standing up that says "HELP". He's lamenting his situation when the P partially falls, turning it into an L...

Our 6.5 year old asks, "What's that say?" now that the word has changed. And without missing a beat, Ms. 4.5 year old says, "It says hell."

CHEESE STRIKE UPDATE

Yep, they're still on strike. Funny, the cheese workers are members of the Teamsters. When I think Teamster I think big dock or warehouse workers who could kick your butt with both hands tied behind their back. Guess this is the "softer" side of the Teamsters.

DEEP THROAT UPDATE

Bob Woodward has a piece in today's Washington Post , "How Mark Felt Became Deep Throat, detailing his relationship with Mark Felt, how they met, how they worked together on Watergate etc. Very interesting.(Free membership required to view stories at the Post site).

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Great NW Cheese Strike

Workers at the Tillamook Cheese factory have voted to go on strike. Fortunately, corporate officials have promised to bring in replacement workers to keep makin' the cheese.

Just in case, however, you may want to stock up.