Tuesday, October 28, 2008

John enjoying the last few weeks of the park

My Google Weather widget said it was 33 here this morning. BRRRRRRRRRR!

(This was a week or so ago.)

John uses a fork!

A big fork!


Special thanks to my buddy Austin for pointing this one out to me. If you haven't seen this film yet, see it immediately. It came out last year and somehow I missed it. It's definitely the best film I've seen this year, and probably the best music-related film I've ever seen. The whole thing was made even more touching by the backstory of the actors, who aren't actors and who fell in love and became romantically involved after making it. Just goes to show you that talent, authenticity, and emotion with a $160,000 budget can still trump a multi-million dollar piece of Hollywood mass-media crap any day.

See my favorite scene here:

Read about it here:

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Russell Lutz's new book, "The Department of Off World Affairs" I'm about halfway through and it's sharing my Favorite Book of 2008 spot with Cormack McCarthy's "The Road".


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Lego Brands

(From an email FW)

Dear Red States,

We've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the
Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and
especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave
states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood.
We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.
We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.
We get 85 percent of America 's venture capital and entrepreneurs.
You get Alabama .
We get two-thirds of the tax revenue; you get to make the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80%
of the country's fresh water, more than 90 % of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 % of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 %of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90% of all cheese, 90% of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal
Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with
88 % of all obese Americans (and their projected health care
costs), 92 % of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the
tornadoes, 90 % of the hurricanes, 99 % of all Southern
Baptists, virtually 100 % of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh,
Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite , thank you.

Additionally, 38 % of those in the Red states believe Jonah was
actually swallowed by a whale, 62 % believe life is sacred unless
we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that
evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11,
and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with
higher morals then we lefties.

By the way, we're taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.

Peace out,
Blue States

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Henry Rollins: "You give 'em money and that's what they'll do: they'll piss in a jar and drop a crucifix in it. So fuck 'em."

Don't Vote

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Brooke White sings Coldplay's "Yellow", Michael Johns sings "Dream On"

From the American Idol tour:

The American Idol Show

I had been meaning for a long time to write down my thoughts about the American Idol winners' tour that I saw about a month ago. We drove to Evansville, IN to see it, which was about six hours away. We had great seats, only about fifty feet or so from the stage, so that worked out well. We were on the floor as well, so that helped the visibility and sound quality. The show worked like this: each person who finished in the top 10 last year was there, including the winner David Cook. Each singer got to do three songs, David Archuleta the second-place contestant did four, and David Cook did four plus an encore. They also did two group numbers. So basically we're talking 37 numbers and something like three and a half hours of music. I had no gripes about getting our money's worth (the seats weren't terribly expensive because we bought them early), but overall I found the whole thing a little too commercialized. There were, however, some truly stand-out performances. Here's what I thought of them:

10th place: Chikezie
Sadly quite boring overall, owing mostly to his lackluster stage presence and awful song choices. So bad, in fact, that I've already forgotten what he even sang. I could look it up, but I don't care enough. Would much rather have traded him for Amanda Overmeyer, the growly Janis-Joplin-yowling nurse that got 11th place.

9th place: Ramiele Malubay
Not as cute in real life as on television, but sounded much better. She did a couple of throw-away pop tunes and then did a rather sweet version of Taylor Dayne's "Love Will Lead You Back" which I enjoyed.

8th place: Michael Johns
This dude really surprised me because I outright hated him on the show. Whatever it was about him that came off badly on television struck exactly the right chord in his live performance. He was energetic, light-hearted, and had a monster of a voice. He tackled "We Are the Champions" effortlessly, "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right" with more bluesy soul than I thought he could manage, and then he finished his set with a face-peeling rendition of Aerosmith's "Dream On" that was arguably the best single number of the night. Yowling falsetto and all. Yes, it was awesome. Not likely that I'll get to hear a full band/stadium version of that time by anyone anytime soon, and Johns really blasted it.

7th place: Kristi Lee Cook
Sounded OK, but rather lifeless overall and sort of phoned it in emotively. "God Bless the USA" played on September 11th was unlikely to fall flat to an audience in Indiana, but I could have done without it.

6th place: Carly Smithson
There was a point during this season when I felt sure that this Irish girl would win the whole thing. It was probably right after she did a legendary sultry bar-band version of "Come Together" on the show. Seeing her in real life, it seemed more appropriate that she finished where she did, but she did have a terrific voice, a fun stage persona, and looked a thousand times better in real life than on television where the camera did not love her. She brought out the second pleasant surprise of the evening with Evanescense's "Bring me to Life" in addition to a decent if not as impressive "Crazy on You". She finished with "I Drove All Night" which was only memorable in my disappointment that she didn't do "Come Together".

5th place: Brooke White
Frankly, should have been in second place. She was much, much more talented than any of the other contestants in the top five except for David Cook himself, who I'll get to in a minute. She played "Let it Be" on the piano, which was gorgeous, and an irritating, forgettable Shania Twain tune. I was all set to be royally pissed off that she didn't do her amazing versions of "You're So Vain" or "Love is a Battlefield", but then she hauled out my second favorite tune of the night, and perhaps the most unexpected pleasant surprise. She did her version of Coldplay's "Yellow" with a full band and a huge star-themed light-show that I found really spellbinding. Her voice took all of the harshness of Chris Martin out of the song and really brought it to life. I'd pay to just see her, if she toured.

4th place: Jason Castro
Turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the evening, because he didn't do "Hallelujah", and instead opted for just "Somewhere over the Rainbow" with a pretty decent Ukelele accompaniment and "Daydream". Oh well. I suppose he's sick to death of singing Hallelujah, but still...

3rd place: Syesha Mercado
Did a cool, if slightly oversexed, version of Rhianna's "Umbrella" and two other forgettable tunes. Decent performer if all she has to do is vamp around to someone else's tunes. Wouldn't be a terrific act on her own.

2nd place: David Archuleta
Let loose a great version of "Angels" by Robbie Williams and a passable version of "Apologize", but then sunk it out with some unknown tune by some irrelevant band and a soggy rendition of "Stand By Me". Voice sounded more than a little crack-ey.

and of course, David Cook the winner of Amercian Idol last year went last.

Cook really proved, I think, that he was always a cut above the others. Brooke White had surprisingly good taste in arrangements and presence, and Michael Johns proved that he had a hundred times more vocal power than I thought he did, but David Cook delivered almost exactly what you would think he would: just a terrific, seasoned, nuanced, and talented set from someone who was, is, and will be a star. He did Aerosmith's "Don't Want To Miss A Thing", His own single "The Time of My Life", Lionel Richie's "Hello", The Foo Fighters' "My Hero", and finished with "Billie Jean" as his encore.

And if that wasn't enough, while he was pulling the walls down on the stadium with "Billie Jean" someone sitting right in front of me had her purse stolen while we were all waving our cell phones and screaming our heads off.

Stay classy, Indiana!

Fun recent stuff

Just a couple of pics from fun stuff we've done lately.

John enjoying the water on Labor Day weekend.

John and the other babies from Mommy's message board for babies born November-December 2006.

John and Lego R2-D2 at Legoland in Schaumburg, IL. Legos + Star Wars = I shall call him "Mini-Me."

We got John a wooden Thomas the Tank Engine table and he decided the best place to sit and play with it would be IN the drawer. Can't say I blame him really.

Kate's Wedding

Yes, I realize I'm posting this like a month and a half after it happened, but forgive me, I've been trying to workout on my lunch breaks and get to bed at a decent hour.

I spent much of the wedding trying to actually have conversations with people as much as possible and of course make sure people got to see John, so I didn't take a lot of pictures, but I did manage to get a few good ones.

Anyone else think my cousin Dan resembles Ray Lamontagne?