Thursday, November 30, 2006

Holiday Movie Guide - Preview

Seeing as it's that time of year, I'm releasing my Holiday Movie Guide. Be sure to check out these classics (new and old) between now and Christmas Day. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Not Ranked
(in no particular order)
These movies haven't been ranked because I haven't watched them, don't own them, or haven't seen them in so long I don't remember them well enough. If you would like to see any of these added to the list, please feel free to contact me. I'd be more than happy to accept donations to purchase these titles.
The Grinch (2000)
Scrooged (1988)
ELF (2003)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
A Christmas Carol (all versions)
Home Alone 3 (1997)
Home Alone 4 (2002)

Honorable Mentions
(in chronological order)

Holiday Inn (1942)
This is supposedly the pre-cursor to White Christmas (seen below). I have yet to watch it, but I'm hoping it's decent. Bing can't be all that bad.

Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard 2 (1990)
I watched these movies so much I practically wore out my VHS tapes. Yippee ki ay.

Home Alone 2 (1992)
Not quite as good as the first one, but still a great laugh to watch. A bit too much of a moral in the story took away from the comedy.

Jingle All The Way (1996)
Never thought I'd include a Schwarzenegger movie in this list, but it's not a bad movie. And Sinbad and Phil Hartman do good at pumping up the audience. Plus Jake Lloyd would end up being the future Anakin Skywalker.

The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
A decent sequel to a good movie. The second movie in a trilogy usually falls flat, but this one does pretty good.

The Santa Clause 3 (2006)
Don't waste your money on a movie ticket. Wait for the DVD to land in the dollar bin on this one.

Stay tuned for the top ten coming soon!

Lost Seinfeld Episode

One of the funniest videos I've seen in a long time.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Religion and Semantics

What is the difference between the freedom OF religion and the freedom FROM religion?

Last night I caught part of an NPR broadcast about religion and the one guest made a comment similar to this. And it got me wondering. What is the difference?


Example: Does the CIA have detention centers or concentration camps?

Detention centers sounds like jails or prisons. Something law breaking citizens are sent to under judicial due process. Concentration camps are where innocent citizens go for fighting against their government.

Back to the NPR show .....

Being a non-religious but Bible reading person, I found the difference in semantics interesting. We (in America) founded our country to escape the religious persecution in Europe. So we fought for freedom OF religion. We wanted to practice whatever religion we believed in without any government interference. Thus we have a separation of church and state in the US.

But apparently there are now people fighting for freedom FROM religion. People wanting the freedom to believe in nothing. While I didn't catch the details of the story/issue, it sounded like people in Europe were being forced into a government driven religious arena. They were forced to practice a religion.

Added to the thoughts of semantic differences, I also began to analyze where I fit in between the two. And I think that's exactly where I stand, in the middle.

I don't believe in God, but I pray to him. I read the Bible, but I feel it is a work of historical fiction. Something written and re-written over time so that it has become more myth and legend than fact. I believe in a "supreme power" just as much as I believe in aliens. But I don't believe that either have visited Earth.

Feel free to flame away on the issue, you won't change my mind. I believe in what I believe. I also believe in freedom OF and FROM religion. Everyone should have the right to believe what they believe without being told or forced into something unwillingly.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Librarian Returns

And he's going to get those overdue books from you one way or the other.

I'm glad to see TNT is doing a sequel to the first movie. While it wasn't the best thing on TV, it was a decent show.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Part Four of Salvatore's Podcast

Here's the fourth installment of Bob's podcast via Mainly focuses on Drizzt and his 20th anniversary.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Who would you invite to your Thanksgiving Dinner?

So on my way home I tend to daydream. A lot. So yesterday I began to ponder who I would invite to my dinner table for Thanksgiving. While I didn't have time to think of a complete list, I did get a few people down on paper (so to speak, i actually used my phone as a voice-recorder, after all, it's hard to write and drive).

So here's my invite list in no particular order. Feel free to add your own or come up with your own list.

Bertha Richard (pictured at left)

My grandmother on my Dad's side. She passed away in 1987 rather suddenly and, being a kid at the time, I never had the chance to ask a lot of questions. She was a great cook and, after she died, the family ended up eating a lot of pies from her freezer. So while I knew her, I didn't KNOW her. I've always wanted to know more about her. I would want her to cook the dinner.

Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart

These great actors would be our entertainment. I know there's a long list of female actors I could have included, but I had a difficult time narrowing it down. So I settled for these two. Maybe they could re-enact a scene from Harvey (with Grant being the rabbit of course).

Mr. Rogers (pictured at right)

I grew up with him on PBS and had the distinct opportunity to have him speak at my college graduation. It's hard to describe hundreds of students and their parents singing "Won't You Be My Neighbor" in a gym. But I'd really like to know if he was a sniper in Vietnam. And I'd like him to give the blessing.

Shakespeare and Socrates

These historical figures would be there simply for eye-candy. I've always wondered how they dressed.

Valentine Hollingsworth (signature is above)

This ancestor of mine helped William Penn settle America. From him I would like to get a perspective on what the trip was like and how hard it was to settle the land. I'd also like to know how life was (in Europe and over here) as a Quaker. He would put the "Thanks" in Thanksgiving.

Elaine Cunningham and Kurt R. A. Giambastiani

These two authors have struggled to "make it" despite their hard work and quality content. While they are published authors, they would "keep it real" at the table. Elaine has always been, in my eyes, a writer disguised as a mother. Kurt would provide a worldly point of view while being a typical PacNorWester (Pacific North Westerner).

George Phillips (far right, second row)

Another ancestor, this one my grandmother's (Bertha from above) father. He was a hard worker and homesteaded in Nebraska. But I'd really like to know if he killed his daughter Violet. If so, why and if not, who did? Quite a morbid discussion for the dinner table, but we all need a black sheep in the family, right?

Friends and Family

I'd of course invite all my friends and family. While that is quite a large number (all family, not many friends), it would be great to see everyone together, eating great food, and talking about everything.

Destiny's Way Review

Read my review here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dreams, Dresses, and Drills-edited-


Last night I had some bizarre dreams. I'm never sure if it's because of what I ate for dinner (left over pork chop, rice, and tuna salad with crackers) or things I saw during the day (car lift, people at work, phone calls, etc.).

Needless to say, last night was memorable. My brother-in-law had his foot crushed by his father. He dropped something on it (can't remember what now). Then there was the dream about the Phantom cars (as in Phantom was the type of car).



Here's Elizabeth sporting her new Christmas dress for the year. Took some doing to get her to pick one she liked, but when threatened that Mommy and Daddy will pick one if she doesn't, she's usually pretty fast.



Torn for the deaf-edited-

If I could only get away with this skit at -edited-.....

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Elaine talks religion

One of the blogs (Live Journal in this case) I follow is that of Elaine Cunningham. She's an author of fantasy, historical fiction, and essays, but I know her best as the writer-mom who speaks her mind.

And she displays this talent quite well in her recent post about religion. My favorite quote "Honey, at some point, it's ALL made up" sums it up quite nicely for me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Video Contest Anyone?

In a futile attempt to increase my blog traffic, I'll be holding a contest to see which video gets the highest page views [rules and limitations below]. To help things along (especially for those that haven't seen any of my videos), I've included a little data for you to digest.

  • Month-to-date [as of 11/14/06] results for my top five videos and largest number of downloads are below.

  • My Praying Mantis video did well last month (soundly thumping both METRA videos combined).
  • New videos could be added to the mix at any time.

Here are the rules and limitations.

  1. Relatives are not eligible.
  2. Winner must reside in the United States,thus making it cheaper for me to mail your prize [this may be waived if I don't get much participation].
  3. Winner will receive a free Ford Mustang t-shirt (black in color).
  4. All contestants must choose two videos. One for the Most Page Views category and one for the Most Downloaded category.
  5. In the result of a tie (more than one person picking the video with the most page views), the tie breaker will be the video with the most downloads.
  6. Data will be collected using Google Video Reports on December 1st to determine the winning videos.

If all goes well, I'll have another contest next month. You can check out my videos HERE.

Survivorman Returns!

That's right folks, Les Stroud [seen above in his Costa Rica episode] will be returning to the small screen for Season 2 of Survivorman (due to air in February 2007). Destinations will include Australian Outback, African desert and bushland, the Amazon, the Alaskan coast, and northern Labrador. For those that haven't seen the show, this guy is the real deal. Not some fancy special forces wanna-be, he actually survives in the wild for a week. Alone. With nothing but his camera gear and a few trinkets. Watch and be amazed.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Please, Mrs. Johnston

Make it happen already!

There's only so much suspense I can handle.......please, please make them a couple.

This Weekend's Winners and Losers

The weather on Friday and Saturday was wonderful. Sunny, warm, and nearly 80 degrees.
The weather Sunday was cold and wet with temps in the 50s.

Spending time with Elizabeth on Friday. Lots of shopping and playing.
The mini-golf wasn't as much fun as I expected. Too much water and she flat out said she didn't like it.

Buying a G.I. Joe Paratrooper Duke (very much like the G.I. Joe figure, HALO, I had as a kid).
Yvonne making me wait until Christmas to open it.

Having dinner with my Dad on his 62nd birthday. It was nice to buy him a meal for a change. And the crab and shrimp were decent.
Hearing the story of how he broke up a (physical) fight between his mother and father when he was about 9. He pointed a 22 rifle at them.

Steelers win a game (finally) coming off a long streak of loses.
Polamalu gets a concussion early and sits out the game.

Les Stroud for creating and particiapting in a very realiztic survival show.
Man vs. Wild for putting a very un-realistic former special forces guy in very un-realistic scenarios.

Cleaning the gutters on a nice warm day (it was a short trip up the ladder and the leaves weren't that wet).
Forgetting to move the grill to a good winter spot inside the shed on the afrorementioned nice day. And only remembering it when it's cold, wet, and windy outside.

Watching Home Alone (a classic holiday movie) for the first time in many years.
Not being able to watch movies in the Spotsylvania Mall anymore (where I first saw Home Alone).

My comment/rant/question making the local paper about a local traffic nightmare.
My comment/rant/question getting edited from 2 pages to 2 paragraphs and running about a month too late to make sense.
Seeing another episode of Heroes tonight.
Needing to wait a few more hours to watch it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Faith Hill had faith in the wrong person

I don't follow country music, so I don't know how big of an upset this was. But the reaction was hilarious.

Traitor Review

I feel a bit guilty posting this review before I've finished the one I volunteered for. Guess I'll prioritize and get that one finished next.

Read my Traitor review here.

Third podcast for Salvatore

Still not the best production quality. And the content on this one is pretty obvious for those that have followed Bob online and in the news. We know Devil's Due bought the rights for Demon Wars. We know he's working with Schilling on Green Monster Games. We know the next video podcast will be the same quality.

Please guys, put a little extra love into the show. Give us some more.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006



Be prepared for some rambling and spoilers from last night's Heroes.


So, I was right that Niki isn't dead. That's good. And I guessed right that Micah has a special power (kind of reminds me of Anakin Skywalker). And of course it makes sense being the kid of two "hero" parents. And I was also glad to see that he (Micah) went off on his dad (DL) about helping people.

And Hiro, my favorite, once again saves the day. And he's now met quite a few of the heroes too. But I'm starting to worry that his friend is going to die.

And what was up with the guy on fire? A bit odd. Could he be the source of the nuclear explosion in NYC?

I was also glad to see that the Petrelli brothers had some sort of discussion about flying. Not the one I wanted, but at least it was something.

And this week's comic got me to thinking about the Easter Eggs. Yes, that's right, each graphic novel online has a hidden Easter Egg. Anyway, it got me to "micro-analyze" this week's novel for, well, I don't know, but I started looking for hidden meanings in everything.

What did I find? The license plate. Each reference shows something different. I think I'm going to go back and look

Coaching and Voting-edited-




Today is election day (in case you didn't know already). So this morning I headed to the local school to cast my vote. I was politely accosted by the local NJROTC crowd to buy some donuts. I politely refused. Twice.

The Democrats and Republicans were nice. Just a polite "hello" and "good morning." As I walked in to cast my vote, I asked to use the electronic machine instead of the paper ballot. They were a bit shocked, and as I learned a few minutes later, I was the first to use it. Nobody even used it in the primaries in 2004. For all i know, I'm the first to use it in the county.

Anyway, one of my old high school teachers (Mrs. Ashton) was there to help run the polls, and she set things up for me. She required some extra assistance as their training seemed to be sparse. The other lady knew what the deal was and gave me directions on what to do. Essentially they activated a card (just like you'd find in a DirecTV receiver) for me. I put that card in the voting machine, cast my votes, and took the card out. Done. They gave me some direction on what to do with the machine (which was self explanatory if you read the screen) then gave me privacy to vote.

For those that care, I voted a Democratic ticket (Webb and O'Donnell). I voted NO for the marriage amendment and YES for the second and third amendments.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Microsoft taking on Google?-edited-

So I'm reading up on my RSS feeds and find a little blurb about Microsoft's Local.Live site on my cousin's blog.

Interesting that I noticed the same thing that day. I was a bit too pre-occupied with looking at Charlie Batch's haunts to think much of the countdown clock. Why did I care about Batch? I'm a Steeler fan and my wife is from neighboring West Mifflin.

Will Google remain the champ? I don't know. I love the close-up shots on Local.Live (-edited-), but the regular sat images are dated (like this one with the golf course that has been removed for some time). Google does have better click functionality (double left to zoom in and double right to zoom out) and more current images. Plus the ability to see the same thing only better in Google Earth is great. But Local.Live lets you draw on the map and add to a collection.

Anyway, I guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out more about this change.

Looks like I'm a bit ahead/behind the times. Microsoft has just rolled out their new mapping system. They have the hybrid (road and sat maps) option and 3D maps. -edited-

Walking in the footsteps of my father

This weekend I walked in the footsteps of my father. How, you might be ask?

Well, my parents divorced when I was about 2 years old. While many children (and their parents) have a difficult time with divorce, I was lucky enough to have two parents that cared more about me, than about their personal differences. To this day, they still talk to each other and remain friendly. I never knew what I had until heard stories of kids being dropped of at the local 7-Eleven to meet the other parent.

But I digress. My father raised me from the divorce through high school. I would spend summers (and sometimes a school year) with my mother. But my Dad was the one who get me ready for school everyday, took care of me, fed me, etc. Being a single, divorced, father of one couldn't have been easy.

But we survived. And I think we both came out stronger from the experience.

And this weekend I got a peek into what my father dealt with when I was a kid. Yvonne went off to a huge craft show in Richmond, so I got to spend the day with Elizabeth. While she normally goes to swim class Saturday mornings, I decided to take her into town instead. So we stopped for breakfast at our favorite place (Old Town Bar & Grill) where she devoured a pancake, a piece of toast, and some of my bacon. From there we went to the local Home Show at the Expo Center. She got a balloon and went potty, but that was about all the excitement we saw.

From there, we went shopping at the bookstore (where she picked up a Dora Christmas book), the toy store (where she picked out stuff for "Santa" to put on her "Christmas list"), and to the kitchen store (where we picked up an oven liner). Then we went to Best Buy (where she picked up a Ruby and Max DVD), lunch at McDonald's (we both got Happy Meals), and groceries at Wal-Mart. On the drive home, while she was napping, I got some gas and a chocolate shake from Carl's.

We came home and while she slept some more, I watched a movie and did the dishes. Then we headed out to dinner at Pizza Hut where "Bizzy have ssghettis and Daddy have pizza." On the way home we called Mommy, who was just about home herself.

So it was a busy day. And Sunday we went to see Santa Clause 3 (the three of us plus Dad). The movie was okay, but the previews for Deck The Halls made me laugh more. And Elizabeth sat still for about half the movie (better than expected) and went potty twice.

All in all, a great weekend. The only cloud we saw was the Steelers loosing Sunday and the fact that I need to clean the gutters out on the shed yet again.

Friday, November 03, 2006

-edited- and Home




Walking back from getting the paper this morning, I rather enjoyed the breeze (despite it being freezing cold). The sky was clear and the trees were waving around. The leaves were alive with color while in the last moments of their death. Quite moving.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Emmy Nominations

Revver (the host for some of my videos) has been nominated for an Emmy.

Hopefully this will drive more pageviews for them and more money for me.

Dorks, -edited-, and Other News


Well, it appears Mommy is NOT a dork. And seeing as how it was implied I might be sleeping on the couch, I'll attempt to refrain from making more videos that make fun of my wife.



Other News

Not much to report. Trying to work on getting some info together for the next family newsletter. Also dropped off some clothes and shoes at Goodwill yesterday. My closet is running out of room with my new additions, so it's time to get organized. I also stopped at the new shopping center in Massaponnax (South Point). Target wasn't open when I was there (and I didn't feel like waiting 15 minutes), but I did see a new Best Buy being built. All they need now is a Kohl's and we might start shopping there instead of Central Park.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

These shoes were made for sitting

I recently purchased a pair of Nunn Bush dress shoes with fancy gel insoles. Well, they broke. I know I'm a big guy, but I'm not that big. And they shouldn't break after a few wearings. So in an effort to rectify the issue, I sent them (the insoles) back to Nunn Bush. Below is my letter to them. We'll see what happens.

Weyco Group, Inc.
333 W. Eastbrook Blvd.
Glendale, WI

Dear Florsheim/Nunn-Bush,

I recently purchased a paid of Nunn-Bush shoes (model 81477, size 10 medium) from my local Kohl’s department store. I feel obligated to inform you that while I enjoy the fit and style of the shoe, the gel insoles are defective. I’m returning them to you so you can research the cause behind their break-down.

Here are some data points to help with your research:

- The shoes were worn to work on 3 or 4 occasions for a total of 30 to 40 hours.
- I work in an office environment with limited amounts of walking.
- I am 6 feet tall and weigh 225 pounds.
- The gel pads began to break-down after the second wearing.
- The following information was inside the shoe:

o 81477 01 10 M
o Leather Upper
o Balance Man Made Materials
o Made In India
o 1110302

Again, I enjoy my shoes and have shopped for another pair of Nunn-Bush in a different color to compliment my wardrobe. I do not intend to return or dispose of this pair since I enjoy them, they fit, and I’ve already replaced the gel insoles with a pair of Dr. Scholl’s. My intent with this letter was to simply return the defective part of the shoe so you could make improvements in the future.



Is Mommy A Dork?

I'm sure I'll hear about this when Mommy finds out about it. Until then, enjoy!


Praying Mantis vs. METRA Train

So, I recently pondered which video would win, the Praying Mantis or the METRA Train.

And now, the results are in.

The Winner is.......................................The Praying Mantis!

Even combining the two METRA videos I have, the Praying Mantis video won in both categories (views and downloads). But now, the biggest question of all remains to be answered. Why the hell are people watching these videos?

Here are the stats from last month:

Praying Mantis Video

METRA Train Video (full)

METRA Train Video (preview)