Saturday, July 5, 2008
We went out to see the fireworks at our favorite place. My family always sits on the backside of the park. And my parents want to get in early so that we get our favorite spot. Right up against the fence. Most people sit on the other side of the lake to take advantage of the live bands that play and the music that’s coordinated with the fireworks display. So the other side is where all the action is. Of course, that depends on how you define action. We had sandwiches and chips. A little watermelon. What’s the Fourth without some watermelon. I made up some mint iced tea. And Mom made up some “semi-homemade” angel food cake. Yum.
Two friends came along that hadn’t been before. As it got dark, I looked over at the friend sitting next to me, and thought, “Hm. Maybe I should bring that up.” You see, the reason that my family likes that spot is that it’s close. Really, really close. So close that some of the fireworks are exploding almost on top of you. The thing that some people might see as a problem is that what goes up must come down. And in the case of fireworks, what comes down is flaming bits of shrapnel. Possibly “shrapnel” is a bit strong. It’s really just glowing embers that were once fireworks casings. But it does rain down. And if they hit you in the head, it will smart like a mother-trucker. So basically, you can’t become so absorbed in the pretty lights in the sky that you’re not able to duck should you see a bright red spark plummeting towards your favorite head.
Some people do not find that quite as awesome as my family does.
This lead to one friend looking at me and my family like we had lost all our collective marbles. She went and sat in the car until the display was over. The rest of us stayed to brave the slight chance of losing an eye in order to see one of the most kick ass displays in town. But aren’t those differences what Independence Day is all about?
Thursday, July 3, 2008
- Eat one food item artificially colored blue (artificial, people! Blueberries don't count you health freaks!) - 5 points
- Play frisbee - 7 points
- Wear red, white and blue - 5 points
- Use a water pistol - 5 points (10 bonus points if the person you spray isn't a kid. 20 bonus points if the person you spray is a cop - have fun trying to spend 'em in jail.)
- Use a sparkler - 12 points (if sparklers are banned, stand in the dark holding your hand in front of your body, saying "Oooooo!" Double points.)
- After at least one fireworks blast yell, "That's what I'm talking about!" - 5 points
- Eat a hot dog - All beef kosher dog - 5 points; tofu dog - 10 points; hot dog of undetermined provenance - 20 points, but it's your funeral
- Eat ice cream - 5 points (hand cranked, peach ice cream - 0 points, who the hell needs freaking points when you've got homemade ice cream?)
- Clap along when you hear The Stars & Stripes Forever - 10 points
- Watch fireworks with a kid - 100 points
I love this story. Partly, of course, because these people get to go home. I hope all their families are just loving on them and hugging them to bits right now.
I also just really love the way the caper went down. Just walked out with them. I have this image of the Colombian security forces pilot sticking his dead out the window as he flies away - "Suckhas!"
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Oh, please. Does this even count as political gamesmanship? Machiavellian it ain't. "Oooooo. Please don't pick Dick Gephart. We're awful, awful scared of the bad man." What's Obama supposed to do, "Oh, well, if they're super scared of him, I better get Dick on the phone right now." Reverse psychology? Please.
And by the way, don't give me Hugh Jackman's phone number. He scares me.
Why is there a Vern Troyer sex tape? I can't even get my brain around that one. Why can't people learn this one simple lesson - when it's naked time, turn off the camera. The homemade porn thing is just not a good idea in the age of YouTube. Somebody will get ahold of it. And if you are even remotely famous, some wingnut will pay to see it. I'm no porn fan, but I can almost understand people paying to see Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee. Let's face it. They are respected practitioners and innovators in the field. And practically deserve semi-professional status. But for the most part, I can't see what you'd get in a made-it-my-ownself porn tape that you couldn't see in your own home. Or in Vern's case, wouldn't want to see in your own home. (Though if the 50 minute running time is true, well, done you, Mini Me.)
But those homemade porn tape people always act shocked that their naughty bits are available on the internet. They say "We made it for our own enjoyment!" Why? Were you not there? See, there's this thing called "memory". And you can just close your little eyes and you can see the whole thing over again. As many times as you want. And you can even spontaneously edit the mental footage. That moment where you elbowed your partner in the head? Delete. And it's gone. Or you can change the heads on who you had sex with. And you don't even have to learn PhotoShop to do it. Add in special effects. Make things bigger. Put in a wallaby watching in the corner. Whatever floats your boat. Just go crazy. And it's all in your head. So no chance that it will end up as a $14.99 DVD. Or on YouTube.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Murder is wrong. And in general, killing people is bad. Killing people should be avoided if at all possible. But definitely, murder is never a good thing.
That said. Pufferfish toxin. Damn. You have to admit, that scores style points. Not that he should have been trying to use it on a human being. Because that would have been bad. But you have to admit, pufferfish toxin has a little flare.
But as far as effectiveness. . . Any plan that could have been thought up by a Bond villain probably has a very low potential for success. "So, Mr. Bond. Are you familiar with the pufferfish . . .?"
One of "my" shows that she's started watching with me is AC360 over on CNN. I've cut back on my CNN while she's with me, and she's been good about what I do watch. And she's kind of started joining in when I start treating current events like a soap opera - "Mmm-hmm. Somebody better tell Cindy McCain she better check herself. Guuurrlll." She especially digs the science stuff.
But she's started asking me a lot of questions. First let me state that that is a good thing. Young people curious about the world we live in should always be encouraged. But my living room has turned into a quiz show. "Where's Zimbabwe? Who is James Dobson? What is a Libertarian? Are the oil companies bad? Why doesn't Anderson Cooper die his hair? What is up with Bill Clinton? Why do we still have levees? Why do we still use the Electoral College instead of the popular vote? Why isn't there a viable third party candidate?" Uhhhhhhhhhh. I . . .
You can't really have any illusions about how knowledgable you are when you've got a teenager going Tim Russert on your ass. They can sense your weeks spots, and they just start hammering on them. For instance, my understanding of African politics is pretty weak. I tense up when they mention Robert Mugabe. If she starts asking me about what's going on there I'll just fall apart under questioning. I'm going to have to go study up. The kid asks the tough questions. I wonder if that Meet the Press job is still open. I might have a good candidate.
So here's my new plan. Every month, I'm going to try out something to go green. Something small. Something even a goof like me can do. I can't say that they'll all work. Or that I'll be able to do all of them consistently. But I'm going to try.
And as this is the first day of the new month, I'm going to start my one small thing. I've decided that this month, I'm going to try to convert to black coffee at work. Okay, that doesn't sound like a big deal. But look at it this way: I use 3 of those little plastic creamer deals in a large cup of coffee. I drink at least 2 cups of coffee a day. I work 5 days a week, approximately 48 weeks a year (taking into account holidays, floating holidays and earned vacation). That works out to be, hold onto your hats, folks - 1,440 of those little plastic cups. Holy shit. (Sorry about the swear word. But that really is a "holy shit" realization.) Okay. They're small. But that's a lot of those things. A lot.
So, as of today, I'm going to try to drink black coffee at work. It's probably better for my health anyway. It looks like milk, but who knows what that stuff really is. I'll still put milk in when I'm at home, or at a restaurant that has a dispenser. But no more creamer cups. I'm not particularly wild about black coffee, but I'll try to think of it as being tough and hardcore. Cause, you know me. When you think of me, tough and hardcore are the first words to come to mind.
Anyway. It's tiny. But it's a manageable change. Saving the Earth. One tiny little cup at a time.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Oh, don't you just love this sort of article? We could all die screaming in eternal time-distorted agony in the tortured gravity of a black hole. Or maybe not. It could go either way.
Okaaay. Well. Good to know.
And I love the person who says, "Obviously, the world will not end when the LHC switches on". Well, you know what? That sounds exactly like what an evil/psychotic, genius, physicist super-villain would say. Just before the world ends. And if he's not a super-villain, and just a physicist who possibly should have calculated pi out a few more decimals, and ends up squishing the entire planet, what's he going to do afterward? Apologize? Sorry! My bad!
Wouldn't that make a great epitaph for the Earth - Whoops!
The Serious Review - WALL-E: Just go see it.
The movies had a lot of things in common. There was an overarching eco theme to both. Both had female characters that were more than the usual fluff & makeup portrayals of women characters. Both wrapped up with old-fashioned animation sequences that related to the story. And, of course, they were both kids movies.
But what I found most interesting was the way WALL-E and Nim's father were both non-traditional male leads, and in kind of similar ways. WALL-E isn't a gun-toting Terminator type robot out to blast anything that moves (actually that's the girl-bot he's got the loves for). He's just a regular guy robot, who goes to his job everyday. But he's kind, loyal, brave, a little goofy and a bit of a romantic. Nim's father, even though he's played by the very humunah Gerard Butler, is a science geek supreme and a little absent-minded, but he's also sweet, brave and will do anything he has to be there for his daughter. And the movies are no less exciting because of the fact that they aren't some over testosteroned he-men. In fact maybe more so, since you care a lot more when it is possible that characters who aren't invincible might fail.
It was refreshing to see these to fellas this weekend. Too often the summer movies are taken over by 2 types of male characters: the emotionally stunted action hero or the over-grown frat boy. And while ex-Navy Seals and BMOCs can be good fun, I think it's time to give the average guy who does good some attention too. Both Nim's Island and WALL-E show that the regular Joe is a lot of fun to root for.