Friday, December 31, 2010

Books Read 2010

1. Trail of Blood by Lisa Black
2. Mortal Fear by Greg Iles
3. Columbine by Dave Cullen
4. Ancestor by Scott Sigler
5. Blue Eyed Devil by Robert B Parker
5. Dimiter by William Peter Blatty (sp?)
6. Split Image by Robert B Parker
7. God's Spy by Juan Gomez-Jurado
8. The Passage by J. Cronin
9. The Moses Expedition by Juan Gomez-Jurado
10. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
11. The Father Hunt by Rex Stout
12. Silent Speaker by Rex Stout
13. Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez
14. Emails from an Asshole by
John Lindsay
15. The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo by
16. The Girl who Played with Fire by
17. Blockade Billy by Stephen King
18. The Infinite by Douglas Clegg
19. Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
20. Savages by
Don Winslow
21. Final Target by Steve Gore
22. Silent Prey by John Sandford
23. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
24. The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell
25. The Burning Wire by Jeffrey Deaver
26. Gone for Good by Harlan Coben
27. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
28. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
29. The 1st Rule by Robert Crais
30. Horns by Joe Hill
31. The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
32. The Third Option by Vince Flynn
33. The Incredible Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson
34. The Ghosts of Cannae by Robert L. O'Connell
35. Star Island by Carl Hiassen
36. The Automatic Detective by A Lee Martinez
37. Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
38. Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
39. Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay
40. Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay
41. Dexter is Delicious by Jeff Lindsay
42. Bad Blood by John Sandford
43. Marathon
44. The Epic of Gilgamesh
45. Stalingrad by Anthony Beever
46. Painted Ladies by Robert B Parker
47. White House Diary by Jimmy Carter
48. Write it When I'm Gone by Thomas DeFrank
49. Flash Forward by Robert J Sawyer
50. The Searchers by Alan LeMay
51. Body Work by Sara Paretsky
52. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
53. Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist
54. The Manhattan Hunt Club by John Saul
55. Layover in Dubai by Dan Fesperman
56. Towers of Midnight by Brian Sanderson and Robert Jordan
57. Crazy by William Peter Blatty
58. Jaws by Peter Benchley (the last book, chronologically, that I read in '10)

More FB from mid November. I guess I had a lot of free time on the 16th. Sorry 'bout that.

Nov 15th

We finished Season 2 of Hell's Kitchen tonight. There's no way Virginia should have made it to the finals, but in the end the right choice (Heather) won. She was shafted re: the prize, but that's a tale for another day. Trivia: Heather,who I found quite yummy, was romantically involved w/ fellow contestant Rachel. Sadly, Rachel killed herself less than a year after the show aired.

I'm 50 or 60 pages into Stephen King's new story collection and yawn yawn yawn. Hopefully it picks up. BTW, I hate when King writes about sex, even in passing. I don't care how many kids he has or how long he's been married, the text always comes off crude, like it was written by the ugly kid in high school who has to pretend he knows what boobies look like.

[that posting led to Alex, an old grade-school classmate of mine, ribbing me that I didn't know much about women either. I replied as follows: Ah, to shake the persistent reputations of our youth. Alex, I can assure you I've seen plenty of boobs. I have a subscription to National Geographic.]

Nov 16th

the rare, funny Leno one-liner: "President Obama's overseas trip has been such a disaster that people in Kenya now claim that he has an American birth certificate."

Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton have announced their engagement. 'bout time you made her an honest woman William!

Word is everyone from the execs, to Tom Brockaw, to the grunts in the field despise Keith Olbermann. He's a knob. Case in point? The man allegedly demands that staff leave notes outside his door, rather than soil his presence by having to see the underlings.

Just tried and failed to win tickets to the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys [NKOTBSB] concert in June. Crap. Still, it's not like I won't buy tix eventually. At least the winner is a Joey fan, although I'm not keen on her bringing up Jon's sexuality on-air, and I sure as hell don't like Alley's anti-Jon bias. A woman cursed with kankles should have better manners - words to live by Alley, words to live by.

Ginger got off the school bus in a dark mood. We sat outside on the porch, enjoying this warm Nov day, but when I stopped Ms. Grump from writing on a fundraiser form she picked up a flowerpot LuLu had made over the summer & intentionally shattered it on the ground. She is now screaming at the injustice of my anger & her banishment to her room - oh, she just yelled that she hates me. I must be doing something right.

In an upset, former Milw. (current NYC) Archbishop Timothy Dolan has been elected Pres of the U.S. Conf. of Catholic Bishops! "It means the bishops have decided to opt for a confident Catholicism. They had a choice, & they chose the boldest, most outspoken bishop. U wouldn't choose him as ur leader unless u thought what he was doing in the capital of the world (NY) is what we want the church to represent." (quote of Princeton's Robert George)

btw, IMO this was a clear and bold rebuff of the passive, submissive wing of the American Church, the folks who try to get by with wringing their hands and saying "can't we all get along, even if it means we give up everything we believe in???"

Ground was broken today on the site of the George W Bush Presidential Center, set to open in 2013.

The body of 16th century Danish astonomer Tycho Brahe is being exhumed. I vividly recall reading about him in high school.

Reports on CNN indicate Iraqi Christians have reason to fear their Muslim neighbors and are more and more often staying out of sight. Ah, the religion of peace at work.

I took LuLu to get a haircut today, & while she was in the chair I went next door to do some shopping. When I returned a man approached me and asked if I'd be interested in having Lu model for him. I know - instant creep factor, & I brushed him off. But he left a business card behind & to my surprise he cks out, w/4 decades of legit art exhibitions (assuming he hasn't rigged a half dozen websites). Huh. Weird.

(he later rejected her as "too tall")

A 'Dancing With the Stars' upset - Bristol Palin sends Brandy packing. Wow. Good for her, but there's no way she was a better dancer than Brandy. Not that I care; IMO folks that spend more than half their workday dancing have an unfair advantage that skews the results (cough Nicole Scherzinger, cough). But again, congrats Bristol. Good luck next week in the finals.

Willow Smith is Wil Smith's 10 year old daughter and has a hit on her hands w/ "Whip my Hair". It's one of YaYa's current favorite tunes, and she adores the fact Willow is only a year older than her. The kids got a voice, that's for sure, but even to my pop-friendly ears the song has little more than a nice hook to recommend it.

A'ight, some of my Pop Culture training must be kicking in. When Elton John's 'Bennie and the Jets' came on the radio tonight YaYa correctly identified it, w/ no hesitation at all. She then asked me what the heck the song was about, and I didn't have a bleepin' clue. LOL

It predates my birth by a year. What, that means I can't come out and recommend it now? I've been listening to the album 'Band on the Run' a lot lately, and it is mighty fine. If you don't own a copy, pick one up. You won't regret it.

I finally saw the LOST epilogue, "The New Man in Charge". Eh. So-so. 12 minutes is too short a time to answer any question worth asking. I'd like to see Hurley's 'reign', and Walt and Ben's employment, explored further in other media as the years go by.

Nov 17th

I spent part of the morning surfing FB on the new NOOK color.

Lauren Conrad = Yum da YumYum. She looks like Marcia Brady, only not fifty and poor. Better yet, she's the super hot Marcia Brady as you *imagined* her to be when you were a kid.

Is anyone reading Stephen King's "Full Dark, No Stars"? I am, and right now it feels a lot like work. The first novella is so derivative of Poe it reads like student work from a creative writing course. The 2nd story is better, but naturally has a writer as the protagonist, just like, oh, Dark Half, The Shining, Bag of Bones, Misery, The Body, etc. Way to think outside the box Steve.

Former President GHW Bush will receive the Medal of Freedom. Congratualations, and well deserved sir.

WISN is reporting that Lawrencia Bembenek has been moved to a hospice & won't live to see 2011. I can remember my Grandparents looking at newspapers during her trial & saying they were sure she was framed; it'd be nice if some measure of justice took place while Bambi was around to see it. A request for a pardon is in the works, but the powers that be have kept her down for 30 yrs, so don't hold your breath.

Mid November on FB

Nov 13th

Just finished watching the new "Nightmare on Elm Street". It was pretty good, but I'm not a fan of the new Nancy, or the humorless Freddy. The worst part? The preschool picture, w/ all the kids in the ancient outfits? It was dated *1994*. I was wearing flannel and mourning Kurt when those buggers were being potty trained. Ugh.

"The Hairy Hands is a ghost story/legend that built up around a stretch of road in Dartmoor, United Kingdom, which was purported to have seen an unusually high number of motor vehicle accidents during the early 20th century." - Wikipedia (after researching a scary story I read in one of YaYa's books)

Wisconsin destroyed Indiana on the gridiron, scoring 83 points. Wow.

Nov 14th

I just finished Towers of Midnight, the 13th book in the Wheel of Time series. As expected, it's a well written, engaging storyline populated with characters you know better than you know yourself (and small wonder, unless you've written 13 autobiographies of 1000 pgs each). The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age; Tarmon Gai’don is near. May the Light preserve us all.

Today is my parent's 40th wedding anniversary. Congratulations to them, and may they enjoy 25 more together!

Today we celebrated Meadow's birthday (our friend Chris' daughter) Here's a pic of her younger sister (aka Smiley's bride) giving her beau a kiss, and of a cake we had here.

Later YaYa went to a sleepover party for Meadow, where she had her hair done.

Well, this means poop over diddly to anyone else, but I just discovered (via the magic of the wiki) that a series of books I read in my childhood were penned by a pseudonym of none other than Eisner winning writer Peter David. It's good to know I was drawn to the good schtuff even in my youth.

I can barely say this w/out cringing in embarrassment, but it was the Photon series, the 'backstory' to the Photon lazer tag game. The series ran for 5-6 young adult novels around the time I'd have been in middle school.

The bad? I didn't land (yet another) job I'd applied for, making me quite grumpy for a minute. Then, a small burst of good news. The Journal-Sentinel has asked me to do a holiday column, w/ the editor stating that "From previous columns of yours, I think you could do one with the right feel, be broad enough to appeal to all readers, and also steer clear of politics." So there's a coupla bucks in my pocket.
Here's a pic of LuLu and a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle she completed today:

And here's a picture of Ginger following her dance class (11-15)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

FB Nov 5th thru 12th

Nov 5th
I finished "The Dead Path" by Australian writer Stephen M. Irwin. It's a ghost/horror novel reminiscent of Straub's "Ghost Story", and it's quite good; intelligent, well written, and disturbing in all the right places. BTW, I first saw the book advertised here, on FB, on one of those sidebar ads. So I guess they do work sometimes :)

RIP baseball great Sparky Anderson

Nov 6th

According to, ‎31% of self-identifying gay voters cast ballots for Republicans in the midterm election.

YaYa is up in Wasau at a two-day dance 'intensive', a seminar that includes a solid 6hrs of dance tomorrow. Pics of her departure were posted earlier. Here's an email from her to Lisa (I didn't warrant one apparently :) " hi mom we're at the motel, havin lots of fun.... syl !!!! love u i would write more but only got 20 mins!!! your daughter gracie/gracye"

Nov 7th

The best part about being predictable was that it allows u to do the unexpected (Brandon Sanderson)

Nov 8th

Al Harris was released by the Packers today. Unless he decides to wear purple [join the Vikings], I wish him well.

Nov 9th

A Carnival cruise ship w/ 3300 passengers aboard had a fire that knocked out their power. Their passengers are now stuck off the coast of Mexico w/ no electricity and precious little in the way of non-perishable food - not to mention hygiene concerns.

Scottish explorer Donald Mackenzie, who had gone in search of Noah's Ark, has been reported missing.

A mistake Google made on one of their maps gave Nicaraua an excuse to invade part of Costa Rica. This, my friends, is why I use Bing.

[3:39 PM] It's a beautiful, warm Nov day and Smiley and LuLu are outside w/ me in the backyard. They are playing a game called - can u believe this? - "Fartchicken"

Watching Dubya on Oprah. I adore that man, I truly do.

The kids were awful tonight. Ginger picked up her dinner plate & chucked it across the table; we put her to bed w/out supper. Meanwhile Smiley's had 7 or 8 crying fits (no exaggeration), YaYa was moody, and LuLu was a demon before she fell asleep before supper. All the kids are now in bed for the night. I don't care if it is 6pm, or if homework's done - enough.

The CMA's are advertising they'll feature "the country music debut of Oscar winner Gwenyth Paltrow" Really? C'mon now, that's a joke, right?

[re: official reports dismissing the contrail over LA as an 'illusion'] Yup. An illusion. Like a weather balloon. And swamp gas. Move along people, nothing to see, nothing to see . . .

Nov 10th
[following news that the Met was sending 19 objects back to Egypt]I've said it before, Zahi Hawass is a vile ass. The kingdoms and people who created these objects have more in common with me than they do to the Islamic state that rules the ground now. W/out Western exploration and insight, these artifacts would still be buried or treated like debris. And Hawass? The Rosetta Stone was just a hunk of rock before a Brit deciphered it.

Nov 11th
Remember boys and girls - if a recording artist has even the smallest bit of commercial success, it is your job to heap scorn and ridicule upon them. After all, how dare they succeed while you toil away at the low paying job you so richly deserve? The nerve!

Nov 12th

[news that a Bay View student was stabbed en route to school] He was a Bay View High student, and yet he was coming on a school bus from 36th and Burleigh!!! It'd be nice if Bay View would eventually educate, you know, *kids from Bay View*. Geesh.

RIP Hugh Hickey, a real life (local) inspiration for M*A*S*H

We watched "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore". It was fine, if you can stomach watching a fantasy world where dogs are remotely as smart as cats.

A trip to Discovery World (mid Nov 2010)

In mid-November my two oldest girls went on a Scouting field trip to Discovery World, a local hands-on science museum. While there they silk screened a canvas bag and created their own signature perfumes. They came away with a good deal of knowledge and a lot of fun. I remain impressed with their experiences in Scouting.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Election news, some random pics, and other malarkey

Nov 1st

Yest was a long day. I took Lu to church to sell candy w/ her Brownie troop (my rare contribution to her Scouting; Lisa's one of the leaders), then went off to work before returning at halftime of the Sunday Night Football game. Meanwhile Lis took the kids trick or treating again (Milwaukee has different times than Bay View) and ran the show at home. Another long one ahead of us today . .

I've finished "Worth Dying For" the latest Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child. 'twas a time, a few yrs ago, when I thought the series was going to hell, and quickly, but he's turned it around BIG time with the last 3 bks. Very enjoyable. Book geeks - who'd win a three way fight: Reacher, Joe Pike, or Spenser?

Some random phone pics:

Except in cases where the obvious exceptions apply (illness, travel, deployment, handicap) absentee voting is absolute BUNK. Getting off your butt & showing up at the polls is a sign to the world of how much you value YOUR voice being heard. It's also a great way to teach kids the same lesson. If you reduce the act to something akin to filling out a sweepstakes form or voting for A. Idol, all the more shame on you.

Nov 2nd - General Election Day

[re Disney star Demi Lovato dropping out of a tour to receive treatment for mental illness] Save the snark. I wish her well.

The Brewers have hired virtual unknown Ron Roenicke as their new manager. Roenicke was the bench coach of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. There are rumors that he got the job only after $ caused talks with Bobby Valentine to break off, but the club denies that they wanted anyone else. True or not, best of luck to him.

Drudge is calling the WI Senate race for Johnson, but I'm loathe to rely on exit polling with voting still open. We'll have to wait and see.

Family night in progress: pizza and garlic bread, followed by homework and a rental of Toy Story 3. YaYa and LuLu are even getting along, chit chatting, helping each other with chores and homework and standing up for one another. That last bit just isn't right. The world seems somehow . . . off.

Obama: Agenda 'all at risk' if GOP wins today. Let's hope so.

‎{Fair Warning: Gonna be a lot of political posts tonight. If it isn't your thing, feel free to scroll on by.} "Tea Party Scores Multiple Victories, ABC News Projects Rand Paul Win in Ky. Senate Race"

‎*Fair Warning: Gonna be a lot of political posts tonight. If it isn't your thing, feel free to scroll on by.* Dan Coats won Evan Bayh's seat in Indiana, marking the first Senate gain for the GOP today; also, as reported below controversial Rand Paul (R) will win in Kentucky. is now reporting that the House is in GOP hands . . .

Nov 3rd

Ah, happy day, happy day! Here in WI we put Scott Walker in the Governor's chair & knocked Feingold on his keister. Nationally the GOP picks up at least *60* seats and control of the House, the largest gain since 1948. The only downer was the local defeat of two folks I know. November 2nd 2010 = a great bleepin' day.

In non election news, Toy Story 3 was great, if a wee dark for the younger kids. Kudos to Pixar for crafting a fine trilogy. Later Lis and I watched the Swedish film "The Girl Who Played With Fire". Bleh. It was so slow we didn't even watch it clean through. Weird - the bk was better than the over-hyped Dragon Tatoo, but the movie version of that blew this sequel away.

Your likely Speaker of the House, John Boehner of Ohio.

One last political blurb (for the time being). I notice, coming off a trouncing, Dems, including Harry Reid, are big on saying "we must work together". I'm not against the notion, but uh, where was that crap when your Prez was telling Republicans to "sit in the back of the bus" and to "shut up"? How hypocritical to ask for courtesy when you were willing to offer none when YOU had the power.

[failed Gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett states he'll run for re-election as Mayor of Milwaukee] This one doesn't count. It's local. :) Yeah, he's an allright Joe, but I think Barrett has done little more than tread water and raise my property taxes as mayor. I just don't know anyone (better) who is interested in running right now, so he may get a bunch of votes by default.

Nov 4th

I just finished 'Splice' , a horror film about a genetically engineered humanoid. It wasn't terrifying, but it was intelligent & raised some valid concerns about that line of research. It also featured the oddest sex scene I've ever seen in a mainstream film. BTW, I found the female researcher morally repugnant, start to finish. In another life she would have been sewing kids together in a concentration camp.

[a follow up to Lovato] Again, save the snark. She seems like a very nice, talented young woman and my kids like her. According to her parents, she suffers from both eating disorders and a history of cutting. My prayers are with her.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Some pics I took while waiting for YaYa's dance class to let out

FB - the end of October

Oct 22nd

Nothing happens until it happens to you.

I received notice today that I *didn't* get that job. A 90 min interview that went like buttah, passed the reasoning/honesty test, good references, the right experience & education . . . & nada. At this point I usually doubt my own worth, but in this instance, the last step (credit ck) had to be the nail in the coffin. Two yrs ago, w/ every bill pd promptly on time each month, this job would have been mine. Damn.

Oct 23rd

After work Lisa & I watched "Frozen", a movie about 3 skiers who are mistakenly stranded on a ski lift when the resort closes for the week. From the start you *know* it's going to get ugly - and it does - but it was a solid effort and enjoyable (for us, not them).

Lulu is a big fan of 'Bony Legs' by Joanna Cole

Nine years ago today, at 4:20 in the afternoon, our YaYa came into our lives. Happy Birthday kiddo!

Oct 24th

I'm not a fan of football coverage on CBS. How Phil Simms ever got a job speaking for a living boggles the mind.

We took YaYa to CC's Pizza yest. for her bday, and to preview it for her bday party there today. Great price, good salad/soup, no decor whatsoever, mediocre pizza, artificially pleasant staff. The cinnamon buns rocked, I'll give 'em that. I wouldn't choose to return on my own, but YaYa and Lisa walked away as fans.

New drinking game: take a shot whenever LuLu trips, bumps into a counter, pokes herself in the eye, or otherwise finds legitimate reason to yell "Owieee!". I guarantee even a lush would be drunk by noon. And here's the rub: she's a natural athlete and dancer. Seriously. It just . . . doesn't seem to carry over to everyday life. ;)

[note: this update spawned a witty reply from my friend Carlos. " So that's how you hide the abuse? Get all drunk and blame the kid?
"Oh officer, she fell, seriously" Sad Dan... Really really sad."]

Eat shit and die, you purple wearing hillbilly Judas. [Brett Favre]

Oct 25th (my anniversary)

Dork alert: as of this morning I've met my annual [minimum] reading goal, finishing my 52nd book of the year. My bucket list goal has always been to crack the century mark, but as an adult I've never read more than 84 in a year.

I finished the horror novel "Let the Right One In" by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist. It's the 2nd bk of his I've read, & looking over my list for the yr I think this might very well be THE best bk I've read in '10. He is a writer that can terrify you while never losing a deeply emotional connection to the characters & their world. I am in awe of his talent.

Obviously I dislike Favre. But independent of that, I've noticed for years that the minute he screws up - aka his classic INT's - he begins to limp, hold his elbow, grab his lower back, etc. Sure, he's banged up, but??? I'm not the only one to notice. Quote the article: "Of course, when he briefly believed he had hit . . . a game-winning touchdown . . . Favre was running around like he could do a 4.4-second 40-yard dash."

[from Lisa]: Happy 14th Anniversary!

Milwaukee is facing the worst windstorm since 1998 (a storm that killed four here).

Oct 26th

[a Muslim truck driver is suing his employer after they terminated him for not delivering Miller Lite ]He failed to do his job, wrongly using Islam as an 'out', & now threatens to use it as a club over the head of his former employers. By all rights he should be LOL'd out of town - it is his JOB after all, one he sought out, and one that by definition requires him to also deliver swimsuit magazines, pork products & many other "objectionable" items. Did he refuse those too, and if didn't - why not? Does he pick & choose when to obey his God?

The 30ft tree in front of my house is swaying w/ the wind. Not just the branches, *the whole* tree. Gulp.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel endorses Scott Walker for Governor.

Taylor Swift's album "Speak Now" got a B+ from

Watching He-Man on Qubo.

Oct 27th

I stayed up late last night to finish 'The Twelfth Imam' by Joel C Rosenburg, only to have it conclude w/ a cliffhanger. Apparently it's the start of a series. Phooey. I doubt I'll pick up the 2nd bk. The story was good, even if the characters were shallow, but it wandered off into End Times schtuff near the end. C'mon now, this is a CIA thriller, not 'Left Behind'. C.

Oct 28th

Book 'em Danno. Hawail Five-O's James MacArthur passes away. RIP.

YaYa with some of her Taylor Swift posters:

Oct 29th

‎"Get Him to the Greek" was a fun movie, but awfully repetitive. Cut out 2 or 3 scenes - any scenes - and it would be a much better flick.

Oct 30th

Last night we watched the film version of "Let the Right One in", a Swedish film w/ English dubbing. Everyone in the room enjoyed it but I don't think it measured up to the book. Of course, that might just me being a book snob. Of note: the climactic scene was WICKED, and brought a 'Holy Bleep!" from everyone in the room. One of the best 30 seconds of horror *ever*.

[6:20 PM] I'm on the front porch w/ the kids, passing out Halloween candy.

[9:19 PM] Just left a Halloween party @ the invite of our friend Darlene. It featured a haunted house for the kids.

Oct 31st

We just finished watching season one of Hell's Kitchen. Great show. We used to watch the F Word and Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America, so we came into it w/ respect for Gordon, but of the three I think this one is our fave. Time to put season 2 on our Netflix queue.

I've finished "Layover in Dubai", a non-political thriller set in the Middle East. The plot was . . . well, there wasn't much of one, but the setting was rich and detailed and the two main characters were well developed. It held my interest. B.

RIP Theodore Sorensen, one of JFK's aides and speech writer.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fantasy football, some more RIP's, books, and Indian food

October 16th

RIP Mrs. Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley)

Oct 17th

The Badgers knocked off #1 Ohio State! Whoo-hoo! On Wisconsin baby!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel states that German multiculturalism has "absolutely failed." Huh. Between France and Germany, it looks like Europe is finally wising up. Wonder when it'll be our turn?

Neck to neck in my fantasy matchup this week. My gut says it'll come down to the numbers Peyton puts up tonight.

Despite a 3 digit score my fantasy team lost by under 5 pts. Take away Manning's fumble & Cooley's exit, and the game was mine. That makes *3* losses decided by 10 pts or less. An optimist would say that means I've done my homework & just had some bad luck. A pessimist would say that the scores mean I could've won, if only I'd put forth one extra bit of effort. A Dan would say, who cares? I'm 1-5 & dead in the water.

Oct 18th

I just returned from a 90 minute interview with two regional managers who came in from Chicago for the Q&A. Wish me luck - if I don't get it, it certainly isn't for lack of effort.

Oct 19th

Lisa's van had a flat tire this morning, a gash in the sidewall that meant a good chunk of change was spent before 9 a.m. OTOH, our local Pick 'n Save now carries sushi! About time. Whoo-hoo!

RIP Mr. Cunningham (Tom Bosley)

Howsabout that? My fantasy commish intervened in the outcome of last weekend's game, noting that Yahoo failed to properly post a lineup change that should have *cost* my opponent four points. The other owner concurred. The result? I won, changing my W/L to 2-4, which sounds a heck of a lot nicer than 1-5.

I finished Carter's "White House Diary" & will prob do a write-up on my blog. Meanwhile, I polished off Robert B Parker's "Painted Ladies" on the Nook today. It's (presumably) the late author's last Spenser novel, & while it was enjoyable I thought I caught a few instances were characters spoke or acted 'off' - perhaps the hand of a 2nd author polishing the text? Either way, RIP RBP, RIP.

I've been listening to Yankee radio out of an Albany station. So far Texeria pulled a hammy, the Yanks can't bring a run to the plate if you gave them an armed escort, and Josh Hamilton has homered twice tonight (4 for the series). We're going to lose this game, but hopefully we'll regroup and come back to win 3 in a row.

Oct 20th (Lisa's Bday!)

We received our first Christmas card of the year (!), from a blog reader in Great Britain. She wrote that she was sending it on what her post office claimed was the "last possible" date for overseas mail to arrive by Christmas, but acknowledged they were probably full of it. I guess mail service employees are the same the world over, eh?

Whatever your political leanings, the JSOnline "Choose your Candidate in the 2010 Governor's Race" quiz is woefully biased. Every ? is phrased to make one side the devil and the other sound like Christ himself. I would have been turned off by something that blatant on a partisan site, much less in an 'objective' major newspaper.

‎'finished "Write it When I'm Gone" by Thomas DeFrank. It's a collection of Gerald Ford interviews done over a 30yr period, all w/ the understanding they were off the record until his death. No surprises, other than that he was quite an astute predictor of future political events. The text is often circuitous & repeats the same anecdotes chapters apart, but it's an interesting read. B-

Oct 21st

We watched LESLIE, MY NAME IS EVIL (alt title Manson, My Name is Evil). It's either a poorly written attempt to rationalize the Manson murders as a by product of Vietnam, -or- a platonic love story btwn a fictional juror and Leslie Van Houton. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't good either. Ample sex scenes with beautiful women; unfortunately they were covered in blood much of the time. Yuck. C.

A taxpayer funded entity [NPR] fires a man [Juan Williams] for expressing the right to free speech. If his comments were about Christianity and not Islam, NPR would no doubt give him a raise.

The paper today has an article on 'dirt rain' that blanketed Milwaukee recently. As a victim of it myself, it was quite a pain to wash off the car.

Most people are mostly good, most of the time - Gerald Ford

We had white chili and cheese quesadillas for dinner, & the kids gobbled it up without complaint. As a matter of fact there were no leftovers. Bully for them - when I was a kid I wouldn't have tried so much as a bite of it. We've more or less agreed that since the kids are so willing to try new food, we'll cook up Indian soon. Quote Lu: "Indian? Like, Indian corn and stuff?"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!


It isn't the best picture in the world, but as usual Lisa's done a grand job of decorating our tree. This is our first year with this a 7ft artificial tree that we got for free (yes, free) courtesy of a Craigslist poster who upgraded his own model.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday with the ones you love as you celebrate our Saviour's birth.

‎"Every mother, when she picks up the young life that has been born to her, looks up to the heavens to thank God for the gift which made the world young again. But here was a mother, a madonna, who did not look up. She looked down to Heaven, for this was Heaven in her arms." Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Loss of Franklin the Turtle and other news

Oct 9th

Not the greatest day in the world. A headache, a dinner out w/ grouchy kids, and some other schtuff that wasn't the greatest. But I did get a a call back from Chicago re: a potential job, thank God. In other news, I've decided to ditch the TV version of 'Dexter'. It is a good show, well acted/written, but I prefer the books. So why waste X amount of hours watching it when I could watch something I'll love?

Oct 10th

Tonight, near midnight, I pocket texted my supervisor endlessly for nearly 15 minutes, prompting her to write me a pleading yet snarking message to stop. Bet that'll go over well on my next review.

Congrats to my Yankees for advancing to the ALCS!!!! WOO HOO!!!! Only 8 more wins 'til #28! (they lost the ALCS)

I came home from work to find that the kids had taken Franklin, our pet turtle, out in the yard to play. They *also* went to bed w/out taking him back inside. With the possum prowling around, I'm not sure he was even around to be found by the time I was done w/ work, but I scoured the yard w/ a work light and an extension cord. No luck. He's still MIA. He's been part of the family since Feb '05, predating Smiley. Damn.

It is wise to remember that you are one of those who can be fooled some of the time - Lawrence Peter

Good - the Vatican aims to strengthen Christian communities in the Middle East

Oct 11th

I cleaned the toys off the lawn & raked it all. I moved their playhouse & everything in it. I went through the compost pile. I trimmed the weeds by the trampoline. i moved the trampoline itself and searched underneath. No Franklin. Maybe he skedaddled 'neath the shed, but if he did he's SOL. Lisa wants to think he's quote "truckin'" endquote on down to the pond at the park, & I guess we'll let that myth stand.

In other, happier news: Saturday Lis & watched "Kinky Boots", a Brit film about a man who inherits his father's failing shoe factory & tries to save it by making custom made boots for drag queens. Surprisingly non-camp, the film is predictable but sweet and entertaining. We also picked up LaRoux's album; other than the techno 'Bulletproof', the CD is very mellow, not at all what we expected.

‎"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." - Carl Sagan

Oct 12th

We just cleaned Gingers's room. She really is 1/2 of the 'bookends' - like YaYa, she's a hoarder. Unlike YaYa, however, she also destroys. One drawer had 1/4" of rice crispies; another was coated with orange kool-aid powder she rubbed into the wood. Spilled nail polish & paint. Broken toys. Rotten apples. Broken CHINA. It took two 13 gal. garbage bags + 2 laundry baskets and 2 LAWN & GARDEN bags to clean up the mess. Ok, to be fair 1/2 of the garden bags were devoted to toys I jettisoned, so I guess *that* doesn't count.

For Family Night this week I rented the live action "Marmaduke" and made cajun style salmon cakes with rice and broccoli. Cue the standard kid reactions to unknown food, but they all tried it. Heck, LuLu even liked it. But the best, most honest reaction to my meal? Smiley took a big bite, swallowed, and said "It taste yuck. Me feel like I 'ave to 'uke"

The first of the 33 men trapped in a Chilean mine since August 5 has arrived at the surface in a rescue capsule, greeted by hugs and cheers. - CNN

Oct 13th

I caught Ginger having a tea party in her room. Her drink of choice (which she was chugging liberally)? The pail of water we'd used to mop her floor.

The last of the Chilean miners has reached the surface, and I'm so genuinely happy for all of them it's nuts. What a great, honest, moving story of heroism and determination. Kudos to the government of Chile for fixing the problem, not the blame, and doing everything they could to rescue their people. I wish nothing but the best for the miners and their families. God Bless them all!

Oct 14th

A few days ago I finished "Star Island" by Carl Hiassen, an entertaining but forgettable novel about a spoiled pop star. I'm now ~ 150 pg's into Jimmy Carter's "White House Diary", which would mark the 4th bk on his Presidency I've read in the last 12 months. It's fascinating stuff, and at some point I'll devote a blog post or FB 'note' to some talking points about the text.

Took Smiley to visit his old school & sign him up for speech. The outporing of love for him there was great - everyone from office staff to teachers came to hug him, comment on his growth spurt, & tell him they miss him. His old teach even let him spend 1/2 hr in her class w/ his old friends. Best line? She sd his summer school teach emailed her to say Park liked being Heidi's student 'cuz she "blond and pretty" :)

Ironic license plate of the day: SUBTL T

Oct 15th

I've finished "Bad Blood", a Virgil Flowers mystery by John Sandford I read entirely on a Nook. It was great start to finish, and those last fifty pages - whoa.

‎"30 Days of Night: Dark Days"? I didn't even pay for the rental, and I *still* want a refund.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 15 Directors Quiz

15 Directors in 15 Minutes

The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen Directors who've influenced you and that will ALWAYS STICK WITH YOU. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes..

Steven Spielberg

Francis Ford Coppola

James Cameron

Roman Polanski

Alfred Hitchcock

John Ford

Victor Fleming

Ashley Altodonna


Oliver Stone

Frank Capra

Clint Eastwood

Billy Wilder

John Landis

Martin Scorsese

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dance Class 2010-11

After a one year hiatus caused by financial hardship, the kids are now back in dance class, thanks to a generous payment option.

Actually, this is the first year *all* of the kids are dancing, which is a heck of a blow to our schedule. Monday's YaYa, Smiley and Ginger dance, which means we have to keep the two little one's busy for nearly two hours while YaYa dances. (it's too far to drive home and back). Saturday morning's are devoted to Lu's class.

These are some camera phone pics Lisa took on the sly, as parents aren't even supposed to be in the studio during a class.

Movies, Farmville, and Baseball - FB the 1st week of October

Oct 3rd

Watched the first two episodes of Carnivale; I liked it, & will add the rest to my Netflix list. Still loving the hell out of the BBC "Life on Mars". The kids liked "The Last Song" but I didn't see more than 5 minutes of it. Wish i could say the same for "MacGruber", which was piss-fing-poor even by SNL movie standards. We could only stomach 15 minutes before throwing the DVD out the window.

Oct 4th

4X this school year my oldest three have been late for school because Lauren's bus can't make up its mind if it wants to be 10 min early or 20 min late for the scheduled pickup. %$%#

After work, w/ the other kids off at dance or Girl Scouts, I took LuL to Tenuta's for a kiddie cocktail and an order of garlic bread (1/2 price before six folks). As usual she was a chatterbox as we sat at the bar, and it was a good time. She's a good kid, she really is. Short, but good ;)

Oct 5th

Last night a nightmare woke me up at 3 in the morning. I was absolutely convinced that Whoopi Goldberg had died, and woke Lisa up to tell her. Why my subconscious would give a sh** about her passing is still under investigation.

Oct 6th

Every problem has a solution, except for those that do not.

Rule #1 for the thriller/action/horror filmmaker: in the first act you must either explain why the protagonist's cell phone isn't working, or conspire to destroy/lose it before the action starts. If you don't, four minutes into the flick the audience is wondering why the dummy doesn't just call 911.

Oct 7th

Today is the 25th anniversary of the cartoon She-Ra.

Financially troubled Grand Avenue Mall is up for sale.

Yesterday the Phillies' Halladay pitched a no-hitter in the NLDS. Wow. Great job.

Here's some more Farmville pics.

I've finished "Handling the Undead" by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindvist. Yes, superficially it's a zombie novel, as the dead do rise, but that label does it a disservice. The dead are not violent, active, or even aware; the story is not about them, but about how their appearance affects the relationships and emotions of their loved ones. It's a damn good novel, and well written.

We watched "The Time Traveler's Wife" tonight. I don't regret the 90 minutes we spent watching it, but I'd rate it slightly less than average. Still, an OK 'pass the time' - no pun intended - flick.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A whole heapin' helping of quick TV reviews

Sept 27th

"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare." --Japanese Proverb

Buncha quick TV thoughts to follow in my updates - why? Why not? If you had something better to do than read my posts, you wouldn't have time to be on FB in the first place.

We just started Season 4 of Big Love. No spoilers please, but I can't help thinking Bill is ignoring his true calling. He is destined to be the One True Prophet of Juniper Creek. Also - I'm a new fan of 'Big Bang Theory' (~1/2 way into season 1). I love Sheldon, but Lisa doesn't seem as adoring of the show. Mayhaps a past as a dork helps breed empathy.

I've begun watching the original BBC series "Life on Mars." LOVE it. Also nearly done with Season 1 of "How I met your Mother". While I love Barney (NPH rocks!) I think the actor playing Ned dragggggggs the show down. I dig it, but overall I have to grade it a B-

RIP Titanic star Gloria Stuart, age 100.

How fitting. On this day in 1939 the free and just people of Warsaw fell to the Nazis. 71 years later the Bears triumph over the Packers. No good can come of September 27th.

Sept 28th

Not the appropriate response to your wifes complaint: Tonight the brunette Danny-girl from across the street knocked on my door, introduced herself, and asked to borrow our blender. I obliged. "Don't you think that's ballsy," Lisa said. "Knocking on a stranger's door and asking for their blender?" To which I replied: "Did you *see* her??? If she'd asked to borrow our car I'd have signed over the title."

Sept 29th

I've finished 'Dexter is Delicious', the newest of the series (#5) that inspired the hit show. Well written w/ an interesting plot, & very enjoyable.

For family nt yest. We suprised our oldest 3 by taking them to see 'Ramona & Beezuz' @ the budget showhouse. It was a great family movie, w/ a contemporary urgency to the plot, great acting and best of all true to Bev Cleary's characters. A+

I'm loving Hells Kitchen! They HAVE to keep Raj - that nut is a pip! [Lisa's response: yeah, highly enjoyable last night....esp. watching it w/ you. xoxo]

Arod hit his 30th homer of the year tonight - to go along with 122 RBI's! That's the 13th season in a row he's reached the 30 dinger plateau. Well done sir. You are the best of the best, and I bow to you.

A day late, but what the hell: I didn't love the Glee Brittany episode. There were some laughs, sure. Yet overall I thought it was poorly written and oddly constructed, w/ the music forced into place as an afterthought. Yawn. Plus, what's with the wheelchair kid joining the football team? Must this show ALWAYS push political correctness to the point of absurdity? It's wearing thin.

Ooooo, Big Love season 4 is getting juicy!!

I've finished Flashforward, the Robert J Sawyer novel that was supposedly the inspiration for the short lived series. El boringo, w/ a thin plot, little action, and enough science jargon to fill a txtbk. Blech. C-

Sept 30th

We just finished watching Season 4 of Big Love . . whoa Nelly! That is a Damn Good Show.

Oct 1st

Watched the pilot for Psych. I enjoyed it but found the characters too flippant; I think I can safely cross this show off my netflix list.

Rumor is Glee is planning a NSYNC episode, which I think is bull---t. I like NSYNC, but if they pass up NKOTB in favor of mere pretenders to the throne, count me as an ex-Gleek.

I had high hopes for this [Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin] album. The 'genius' of Brian Wilson reinterpreting Gershwin sounded good on paper. The reality? Blech. Wilson's 'signature' sound is just the same dated Beach Boy vibe trotted out again and again, and he does no justice to the Gershwin catalog. I suppose if you are a huge Beach Boy fan it's palatable, but otherwise D-

Oct 2nd

I forgot just how much I miss David Tennant until I saw him walk on screen.

According to a Bay View Compass article YaYa brought home, Bellas Fat Cat 's food license expired JUNE 30th, & they were ordered closed to the public on July 14th - yet they were seen serving customers as LATE AS SEPT 1ST. Any chance of them reopening is kaput now that the truth is out, &I just drove by and saw a "for lease" sign in the window.

RIP TV Producer Steven J. Cannell.

To my (happy) surprise, my oldest girls not only asked to watch the vid clips i posted earlier, but declared themselves big fans of 'Lauren Cooper' and her tagline "Am I bovvered?". As late as a few minutes ago Liv recited the line, which inspired my own Lauren to walk up to me and say "You not bovvered Daddy, you not bovvered

A busy, productive day. Lu had dance in the AM, whileSmileyr went to Home Depot's kid class w/ grandma before heading to her house for a sleepover; then some grocery shopping and a trip to pay the Cricket bill. We spent 3-4 hrs this PM cleaning the office (I discarded ~50 bks - ouch!), the pantry, & washing dishes; then visited w/ our friend Chris before watching "The Last Song" w/ the girls & making milkshakes.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On to the end of September . . .

Sept 25th

Why I am not employed by the UN: Smiley & I were raking leaves when he told me a boy in his class was 'mean' and hitting other kids.
"He ever hit you?" I asked.
He shook his head. "Naw, not 'et".
"Huh," I said. "Well, if he does, beat his ass. Then tell your teacher."

Some camera phone pics of the kids:

70-3 at Camp Randall??? For a second I didn't realize it was a football score. I just assumed someone had tallied my lifetime record w/ redheads.

I just read an online review of the 1982 version of 'Annie', a movie my ma took her Brownie troop to see back in the day. The reviewer was appalled by the "foul" language and called it far too adult and "risque" for her (presumably obnoxious) children. WTH?! When you have whackjobs like that for a parent, you're sure to wound up in therapy. Get a freakin' life.

At this point I think our culture is programmed to find fault in everything and everyone; humans would do well to relearn the art of shutting up and just living their own life.
On Stephen Colbert, a comedian, being called to testify in front of Congress (in character!) . I know our country actually went to shit long long ago, but we should really stop trying to advertise that fact at every opportunity. Why the hell was he invited to testify in character?

Sept 26th

Let me be honest to the pt of vulgarity: if she was not a celebrity, by virtue of her face Leann Rimes would be considered a two-bagger - on a good day.

I don't understand why step 2 of the job application process was to upload my resume, while step 3 and 4 is to replicate it by typing in endless fill in the blanks. What was the point of asking for the resume in the first place??????

Sept 27th

I'm torn. I've been a very nice person (well, by my standards) for a few years now and my life has gone to shit. So, I'm thinking . . . maybe it's time to resurrect the douche. I enjoyed life quite a bit more when I was making people enjoy theirs less, and the bills were certainly paid quicker. So what do you think? Y/N?

Even with a WR set to play tonight, I've already notched a win in my fantasy league. I am now (wait for it!) 1-2 on the year! Whoo-hoo! ;)
I should have won last week too, when I posted a score well above the century mark, but of course I was playing the lucky yahoo who got 20 pts from everyone from the kicker to the waterboy.

LuLu & friend at roller rink yest: