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Sunday, February 29, 2004

The Passion of the Christ

When I was in College, particularly during Drs. Burke and Stphens' Mysticism Seminar, I recall spending a lot of time in the Hillsdale College Arboretum, hoping and praying that somehow I'd be given some mystical experience of The One (I was kind of into Plotinus, back in those days -- and yes, if any of my old classmates are reading this, that's what I was doing in the arb all that time). I knew that if I could just have some small transcendent or ineffable experience of God that would completely solidify my Faith for all times. Though I have had on repeated occasion the sorts assurances and experiences of Grace which quite often leave me in tears -- and which are more fitting to a man of my spiritual depth, (or lack thereof, if you will) I never got then, or anytime since then quite the beatific vision I wanted. Now, after watching Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, I hope I never do experience the sort of visions which afflicted St. John of the Cross and the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich.

I left the theater with a pounding headache, wanting nothing more than to lock myself in a room and sob for about six hours. I cry often at movies (Finding Nemo being the most recent example), but I've never sobbed at a movie before and, in fact I haven't sobbed like that (the kind of sobbing where your soul actually heaves) ever outside of a hospital and even then, it's been just over two years.

Watching this movie I (and my wife, Jackie, when we talked briefly afterwards -- this isn't really the sort of movie you can talk about right away... we saw the movie with my dad, two of my sisters, and my sister's boyfriend and I imagine my dad and I will be talking about parts of this movie for years to come: he already has marvelled at how Gibson was able to make Judas' death completely unsympathetic. I wondered at this statement until I realized that -- yeah -- deep down in our hearts we do have some sympathy for Judas. But really, he doesn't warrant any -- he's in the lowest pit of Hell, remember? Gibson recognized this and somehow was able to portray his death unsympathetically yet without being cruel. It's not overly meaningful, but I digress) could only think three things, the first two being: I'm sorry, Jesus, but thank you, but I'm sorry, so, so sorry -- but thank you, THANK YOU. Those were my visceral reactions. The third thing running through my mind, the more analytical part of my mind, was: I understand now that it was all absolutely necessary, every bit of it. Not just Christ's cross, but the crosses we all bear: anyone who is a parent, and especially those who have lost children, will find a new perspective on ... that (the second fall, which we both knew was coming, and were prepared for, got us both: it was that scene which broke my heart and reduced me to sobbing and which, thinking about it know, still may do for a long while to come).

Anway, I can't adequately describe the experience because there's never been anything like it. Sure, there are films which have tried to be "visionary" but none which have been an actual vision. This film has no players. It's not even a film. It is a mystic vision. You watch it and you become an Anne Catherine Emmerich perched on that hill outside of Jerusalem, watching Christ and Mary suffering. I watched it and I suffered, and I will never forget it.

Nor will I ever look at a crucifix or the Man on it, in the same way ever again. In a way, I hope The Passion of the Christ never leaves the theaters until the end of time. I would be comforted knowing that I could experience it again, whenever in life I needed to. More realistically, I hope some theaters bring it back at some point during Lent, when we, as individuals and as a Church, need it the most. Practically everything else now seems so appropriately superficial.

One last impression: my God! Has anyone stopped to think that, granted there were written sources for this, but that the actual vision, what actually got printed to film, existed in the mind of single man? Somebody had to "see" this, so that we all could. If it is so powerful, profound, and painful to watch (I can't say passively, because you can't watch this without reacting in some way), how must it have been to put it together? To craft it (I can't say "create" because, this was obviously, at the most fundamental level the work of the Creator)? As an artist, and as a human being, what could that have been like? If I got a migraine after just two hours of The Passion, what must Mel have endured to bring that to us (clue: he was deathly ill for 2/3 of the shoot)? Mel Gibson is a visionary in the truest sense of the word. Those who would sarcastically mutter about "Saint Mel" might not be so far off... I don't know what else, as an act of love, one man in his position could do...








Saturday, February 28, 2004

Shabbat Shalom!

It's officially the Sabbath (we've been to Mass) so it's officially not lent at the moment. Let the 'blogging commence!!! (Certain non-Catholics and converts to the Faith may reel in horror at the apparent legalism of that last comment, but to deny a certain affinity for "loopholes" is to deny the rich tapesty of the cultural Catholicism which my people, which is to say Continental Europeans, have enjoyed for over a millenium... anyway).

It's been really hard not-'blogging, considering how much stuff has happened this week: what with the opening of that movie which is virtually gauranteed to lead to anti-Semetic acts by a few of those who watch it (I am, of course, referring to "50 First Dates"... seriously, someone call Abe Foxman: while many people are probably mature enough to distinguish between Adam Sandler and the yarmulke he wears, I'm not sure everyone in the audience can or will make that distinction. In any case director Peter Segal should've done more to make the Adam Sandler character more sympathetic and less annoying -- particularly when one considers all the effort he went through to portray Rob Schneider in the best possible light, including whole scenes which clearly appear nowhere in the original texts). So it's been hard: while I've been out Mel Gibson has been blackballed by Dreamworks, Bush has done the right thing and cleaned house on his bio-ethics committee, and The Report was released which didn't have quite the impact everyone thought it would have.

Actually, that's about it. So maybe I haven't missed all that much. Some great new 'blogs have been discovered (Fuzz and Ping-Pong's 'blog in particular. Any 'blog which would hold a dirty limerick contest has got to be a 'blog worth visiting regularly), though, so keep checking the links on the right.

Okay, so they didn't come right out and say it was a DIRTY limerick contest but really, what other kind of limerick is worth the time anymore? Terry Mattingly's "GetReligion" is also going to become another frequent stop of mine.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRITAIN! Life begins at 30! And we had a blast seeing you and Abbey at the movies (thanks, Abbey!!!!!) regardless of what that big jerk up there said about it.

In other news....

My inner child is six years old today
Look what I can do! I can walk, I can run, I can read! I like to do stuff, and there's a whole big world out there to do it in. Just so long as I can take my blankie and my Mommy and my three best friends with me, of course.
How Old is Your Inner Child? brought to you by Quizilla


My three best friends, of course, being you: the readers of et cetera.








Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Well, here it is... the last post before we put the 'blog in hibernation mode for

LENT.


It was either give up 'blogging or give up coffee, and I'm ocassionally required to get vertical for my job, so...

I must admit: I've never taken a 40-day hiatus from 'blogging before, but I think this will be a good thing. And probably easier than I think: to put it in perspective, last year for Lent we involuntarily gave up a good-paying job and then a child. It's taken almost an entire year, but I'm starting to see these things, along with any present difficulties we may be experiencing, to be blessings. The first big step and lesson was letting go of the anger, which was easy in the case of the job but very, extremely difficult in the other case.... I mean, I haven't even seen The Film yet, but already given the discussion I've been thinking quite a bit about the passion, and that's helped me realize that there is no resurrection without the cross. At least I don't feel like punching random objects until they explode anymore.

Also on the upside (as far as the 'blog is concerned): Sundays aren't counted as days in Lent (how could they be?), so there's a possibility you'll see me again before April, particularly if I have a new song to post or anything like that.

BUT if you still can't bear the idea of there being no et cetera for 40 days (though I can't imagine there's anyone out there like that) you can go through my archives (see link on the right). We also have an excellent franchise opportunity for anyone who has been considering starting their own 'blog, but didn't consider it to be worth the effort unless they could be assured of receiving 4-700 visits a day right off the bat: email me and maybe the world will be reading YOUR posts here for the next 40 days or so. After that time you can start your own 'blog secure in the knowledge that your pre-established reader base will follow you.

All seriousness aside, see you in a bit!

Update: on a related note, I think I may have a clue as to who keeps downloading my "Barry White vs. The Chipmunks" song. It was downloaded 300 times last month and almost 600 already this month, which makes it my most downloaded song of all time. During this same period, the number of visits from .jp (Japan) domains has increased by about 400%. If my song was linked on some Japanese webpage, this might explain why my attempts to find whomever is linking to it would have failed (and no: my webhost doesn't have control panel software that would let me just go and find the linking URL).






V.I.C.T.O.R.: Vigilant Intelligent Construct Trained for Observation and Repair

See. I told you I wasn't a homicidal cyborg. Link via Honk!

And while we're on the Robot tip, That Other Victor (TOV) has a review up of the new indie film "Robot Stories". "All premise, no execution," Victor says, which almost certainly makes this a definite pass. The only point to doing an indie film on Robots is if you're going to take the genre further than it's ever been, philosophically, and it sounds like this movie doesn't do that.

Not to be confused with "Robot Carnival" from 1987, which I wouldn't mind seeing again (I saw it in '88 or '89 at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor) or Captured By Robots which is still probably as disturbing a premise for a band as it was two years ago when someone first showed it to me.

Happy Fat Tuesday, by the way! One more day of et cetera left, probably.








Monday, February 23, 2004

Silly Whappets!

The "2004 Victor Is Awesome" awards are just for Victors!






Catholic Ragemonkey ("In order to fight it, we had to understand it") apparently doesn't consider me Monkey enough to which to link. I, of course, am nothing but Monkey, but I digress. Can't wait for this CD, what ever it is (no, it's not my new CD).

Also on the new tip, James is working on some big, new project. From the photos provided it seems to be some sort of cautionary tale against spending too much time with your college roommates.






Try it now...

I removed the 'Blogs4God code completely and then downloaded FireFox and it looks pretty good in Firefox. Check it out. After living with it for a while, I'm enjoying the color scheme quite a bit. It's very comfortable.

Netscape users: let me know if you still have a problem. I'd download Netscape onto my PC except I'm not stupid. That came out wrong, but you know what I mean: I don't need (more) AIM and Yahoo! Internet entries cluttering up my registry (not until I can afford the jv16 Power Tools registration anyway).








Sunday, February 22, 2004

Yay!

Barbara Nicolosi grants me her Blogostolic Blessing. I also appreciate that she mentioned that I get Church Of The Masses. I mean, I'm no otaku COTM fanboy, but I appreciate with 110% of my heart what Ms. Nicolosi is doing and wish I was in a better position to help (someday!!!!!!!!! soon).

She also helps us prepare for "The Passion". I have a feeling this just might be (fans of Walker Percy will get this reference, everyone else will have to wait until next week, after I see the film and can tell if I'm right) the Last Film.






Yay! They published by review at Amazon.com!

I, An Amazon.com Customer, am now a published literary reviewer.






I guess my rampant use of CSS is causing some problems for Mozilla and Netscape users (i.e. luddites and hippies). I'll try and fix that over the next week or so. I'm probably going to shut the 'blog down for Lent (maybe I won't... haven't decided yet) so maybe we'll do some big relaunch around Easter. We'll see.






Decisions, decisions... We watched Malcolm and Bernie Mac tonight: very sweet and funny episodes of both. But it meant that we had to tape "The Making of the Passion of the Christ" which was on PAX at the same time (it'll be on again on Tuesday, I think). But we kept flipping over to it during commercials. Were some of the interview segments taped on EWTN sets? It certainly looked that way.

Anyway, from the little we saw you definitely want to catch that documentary. Whether or not it's before you see the film itself I can't say.






It's not pea soup and blood... here is more or less the inspiration for the page.

Not necessarily the Hornet itself, but that mid-1970s color scheme. The mid-1970s being when I was borned. It's also when my parents bought their green Plymouth Valiant, which I remember riding around in as a kid. I think theirs was a '70 or '71. That was a great car.

Now relax in the beige leather bucket seat which is my 'blog!






Ebert and Roeper praise "The Passion".

EBERT: ''It's a very great film. It's the only religious film I've seen with the exception of The Gospel According to Matthew, by Pasolini, that really seems to deal directly with what happened instead of with all kinds of sentimental eyes, cleaned up, post card versions of it.''

ROEPER: ''With 'The Passion of the Christ,' I know there'll be protest groups in front of the theater. I hope they at least go into the theater and see the movie first, and then decide if they want to protest the actual film.''

EBERT: ''I think the controversy was very premature and was based on people that hadn't seen the film, and who are going to be a little surprised at what's actually in the film.''


It's confirmed: if the creek don't rise and the wind don't fail, we'll be seeing "The Passion" next Sunday.






Brand new template!

Thanks to Jackie who came up with the whole "1975 Land Yacht" flavor. Imagine yourself reclining the plush and Detroit iron which were those behemoths. We'll be tweaking the various elements over the next few days, of course.

I have no idea how this looks on Netscape, and I know the URLs on the right there are woefully out of date, but, well, here it is.

Let me know what you think or if you'd like your weblog added there on the side (or the URL updated).






The Church where I was baptised, confirmed, and married has reserved a theater in Ann Arbor (hopefully separate from the theaters reserved by Ave Maria College, which are all pretty much sold out) for a screening of The Passion next Sunday, the 29th. If that's not sold out, and if nothing else changes, that'll be when we see The Passion.






I've tweaked and remixed this month's entry for the kvr-vst.com contest. It's unabashedly acid jazz.






New York Observer: "Too Much Positive Reinforcement (TMPR) has now officially reached epidemic proportions."

Having went through 13 years in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, I consider myself to be a victim -- to some degree -- of TMPR. Fortuately the charitable and discerning professors at Hillsdale College cured me of most of that.

A fine article; long overdue. Link via Zorak (how do you know?).








Saturday, February 21, 2004

Gus Fink's outsider art, available on eBay, continues to become less whimiscal and more (and more, and more) disturbing.






Some interesting discussion going on in the comment's boxes of this post at a Saintly Salmagundi regarding the morality of pot use.






Tim Sandefur on Bastiat's "The Law", pretty much essential reading for anyone who pays taxes.






Opsound: Open Sound Resource

Opsound is a record label using an open source, copyleft model, an experiment in practical gift economics, a laboratory for new ways of releasing music.

What a cool idea! I posted some of my weirder tracks. We'll see what becomes of it in a couple of weeks or so when my page is made.






I'm surprised my Dad didn't know about these when he was there. For all I know, he did.






Cool free VSTi plugins (made with SynthEdit). Lots of neat stuff there.

In five minutes, I had this.






Yeah, Aaron, but how does he feel about killing babies?






I stopped watching Conan O'Brien roughly seven years ago. Turns out he's cool again.






We enjoyed the "Telethon" episode of "Life With Bonnie" tonight but can ANYONE answer the question which has been plagueing us all this season: WHAT HAPPENED TO BONNIE'S DAUGHTER? Last season, Bonnie had a daughter and this season she's GONE. We missed the first few episode of this season where she may have been sent to camp in France or died in David's house fire, but....? What happened to her?






Legislative vs. Judicial... Round 3... Fight!








Friday, February 20, 2004

O, Victor! What hath thou wrought?






Cute.






This is funny. You know it's bad when even the Washington Times is using the phrase "social conservatives". What other sort of "conservative" could there be? "Economic conservative"? What could that even mean anymore?






I hate to keep stealing links from Meredith, but for anyone who's worked in a call-center this is doubly hilarious.






The Stinky Censer Press, LTD returns!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *** LOST CLASSICS OF C.S. LEWIS FOUND, PUBLISHED BY THE STINKY CENSER PRESS, LTD!!!

Hot on the heels of our previous offerings, The Stinky Censer Press, LTD is pleased to announce, for the first time anywhere in the world, the availability of four previously unpublished C. S. Lewis classics, previously thought lost to the world forever.

Clive Staples Lewis is regarded by many to be the preminent Christian author of the 20th century, much loved not only for his fictional classics "The Chronicles of Narnia" and his lucidy-written and accessible works on Christianity for teens and adults, but also lesser-known works such as his acclaimed Space Trilogy.

What many people do not know is that these and other fondly regarded classics almost never came to be. For while C. S. Lewis was a brilliant author with a solid grounding in philosophy and theology, when he first took up the pen he had a rather bizarre idea of what sort of story would appeal to an increasingly literate public. His writing style, in this earlier period, was erratic and jarringly unengaging.

Fortunately for the world, in 1933, while a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, Lewis had the great fortune to meet in the pub one evening a certain Mr. A. Pitney Bowes, a destitute and failed pamphlet editor who happened to be looking for someone of Lewis' literary talent upon whose coattails to ride back into the publishing world and good financial fortune. Bowes took Lewis under his wing and gave the talented young writer some pointers on what type of work sells to a demanding public.

The rest, as they say, is history. Lewis went on to become a successful writer and all of his earlier, erratic works were deposited into the dustbin of History.

Until now.

The Stinky Censer Press, LTD, is pleased to offer, for the first time ever in history, The Lost C. S. Lewis Classics: the treatises and stories the world was never meant to see, found quite by chance at a remaindered bookstore at a local outlet mall, and now made available to you for the first time ever.



Lost C. S. Lewis classics!








Thursday, February 19, 2004

I am a winner!!!

Award 1 Award 2

Award 3

Award 4 Award 5


The really cool thing is that Mark Shea only got 4 awards!!! Thanks to everyone who voted for me, in my mind.






One of my favorite things when I'm feeling the least bit discouraged is to fire up the They Might Be Giants Clock Radio flash application (find it free at tmbg.com) and listen to an hour or so of rare TMBG oddities (I especially like the recordings from the "People Are Wrong" soundtrack and the rare Mono Puff recordings. If they play something from Linnell's "State Songs" I know it's been a good idea).






TVGuide's Matt Roush bids a fond farewell to Angel (scroll down to February 17). It's not dead yet! 12 more episodes, still remain!!!






Can YOU escape from the Crimson Room?








Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Weekly Angel Post

Tonight's "Angel" was one of the most delightfully twisted hours of television I've ever seen. Or, I should say, about 15 minutes of it was. They spent too much Puppet Angel time with uncompelling stock-Canadian-actress werewolf chick. The parts where they had the puppet-controlled meat puppet (whatever happened to him? I had hoped they'd wrap that up somehow. Did he die like he wanted? Did they find some way to fix him? The old Angel never had plot holes this big) and when Fred shot Ratio Hornblower (probably my favorite single-episode Angel character since the giant, talking hamburger in Season 3) to bits were priceless. I also actually kind of really wanted to hear that puppet dog's edutainment song about the difference between metaphors and analogies. In brief: I do agree with Meredith: one of the best of the season.

Also (SPOILER WARNING!) the Fred/Wes scenes kind of came out of nowhere and was a little forced. They spent like two months setting up Fred and Gunn in Season 3 (or was it season 4?) and this season we've only had two real Fred/Wes scenes (the Halloween party where they were drunk and that episode with Wes' robot dad: both of which firmly established that Fred and Wes were not an item) and now they're together (just in time for Fred to get deathly ill). I'm actually glad, however, that I didn't have to see the Fred/Knox dates they alluded to in this episode. And it was funny to see Fred dis Knox.

Still, Puppet Angel (especially vampire Puppet Angel, which I should've seen coming but didn't) was very, very cute. It's hard for me to really give this one a letter grade. I'd say A+ for the puppet scenes, which all worked (loved the nose bit), and C- for those other scenes which didn't (pretty much all of the dumb werewolf scenes). With so few episodes of the show left (12, by my count -- and here is a site that will spoil them all for you... that and "Tru Calling" episodes... which are mostly just spoiled to begin with... though I do like that Davis fellow), I hope they never bring her back ever again. We get it: you're a werewolf. So was Oz, but he was actually cool. So, why are you on the show again? Oh yeah: you're often naked.

So, overall: another solid A. Could have been the most brilliant hour of television ever, as it was, it was just extremely good. I'll certainly watch it again when I'm not dead tired.






Yes, there are at least half-a-dozen truly funny captions for this story, but having been unemployed until fairly recently, well, I can appreciate what would lead someone to that kind of despair.

Still, that's pretty much got to top the list of MSN.com's top 10 interview blunders.






The last of your precious childhood memories, whored.

First off -- that's a very cool site (thanks to Meredith for finding it). Second -- I had long been under the impression that most of Henson, Inc. was already owned by EisnerCom, but I guess that had preivously only applied to distribution or something.

Anyway... expect to see The Muppets show up on even MORE merchandise than ever before as every last drop of credibility and nostalgia is squeezed from their lifeless, foam bodies in a desperate effort to stave off Disney's inevitable (now that they've -- excuse me -- pissed away their relationship with Pixar which was, in Disney's case, pretty much a license to print money) bankruptcy, aquistion, or reorganization.

Hopefully the Hensons will learn quickly the lessons the Milnes learned only after years of litigation: better count your money twice when those checks start coming in, Brian.

FORTUNATELY, the Sesame Street muppets were not included in the deal. If you ask me, those have been the coolest Muppets since Fraggle Rock went off the air (though "Muppets From Space" brought back some interest in the Muppets for me -- Pepe, The King Prawn is a really cool characater -- and Henson's touching "Jack and The Beanstalk" miniseries I enjoyed a great deal, VERY annoying squawking goose aside).



Anyway, here is, without a doubt, the awesomest thing I've seen since the Mel Gibson interview: The Sesame Street Trivia Game. Answer some pretty challenging Sesame Street trivia questions in a number of categories while Oscar the Grouch hurls (hilarious) verbal abuse at you. And, oh yeah, you're being timed.






Awwwwwwwwwwww.....

I am speechless!!! Thanks, Jeff -- you're a real swell guy!! Your tribute means far, far more than any stupid old 1st Annual Best Blog of the Year award which I didn't really want to win anyway.

Seriously, thanks to everyone who voted for me... your 'BlogTones are in the mail. For everyone else, go play some Yeti Sports. My best Orca Slap score (after three tries, and with a caffienated two-year-old -- don't ask -- hanging off of my clicking arm) was 621.






Changed back to the old template. The new one was mainly a tutorial for me, in some spare time I had yesterday evening. We'll be moving to a real new template in the soon future, though.








Tuesday, February 17, 2004

If you've raised any children in the last 57 years, you've probably already read H. A. Rey's 1947 children's classic "Curious George Takes a Job" and you already know how... questionable some of its content is. For those of you who don't have kids, I thought you might appreciate seeing for yourself what passed for literature appropriate for children in post-war America.

Okay, a quick disclaimer: I only scanned three pages (which I probably shouldn't even have done, but this is in the interest of serving my public and whatnot) but the book is filled with literally hundreds of examples similar to these.

Okay, let's check out page 17. Curious George has been found literally swimming in a vast vat of pasta. Instead of calling animal control and having him put down and tested for rabies, the cook who catches him in flagrante de pesto, instead puts him to work washing dishes -- with both the monkey's hands and his FEET. I sincerely hope no one actually ate off those dishes afterwards. Where is the heath department when you need them?

Anyway, the cook sends him to work with the Elevator Man, washing windows on the outside of a hi-rise building (without a safety-line!!!). Curious George sneaks into a room, paints it, and dashes down the fire escape. He falls and breaks his leg. I've spared you the picture of the crying monkey with the wobbly leg, bent in four or five places. If you really get off on that sort of thing, email me.

In the hospital, on page 36, George has recovered from his broken leg and is left alone for a few minutes. Okay, to keep it brief: he gets into the ether. This violates EVERYTHING I was taught in the '80s about drugs not being fun. And then, on the next page you can tell by Curious George's rapturous grin just how much he enjoyed the experience.

And I haven't even mentioned the use of tobacco on page 41 or the prevelence of extremely high-emissions fossil-fueled vehicles on pages 13 and 14. Anyway, fortunately Jackie and I saw this before 'Xander did and we were able to tape those pages shut, just in case he should find some way of getting the book out of the liquor cabinet on his own. Bottom line: this book is POISON. Protect your children from it at all costs.






That Mel Gibson interview was the best thing I've ever seen on PrimeTime Whatever. The Flakes were kept relatively mum and we got to see Mel be Mel. He's awesome.... TOTALLY awesome. I wasn't surprised by his great faith, because I'd seen him on EWTN, but it was great to see him represent on PrimeTime.

Turns out I'm not the only one who thinks so.

I've known in my heart since I saw the first interview on EWTN like almost a year ago that this is not a mere film -- that this moment will transform the culture in ways no one can forsee right now. We all have to be ready, Catholics in particular. The way most Catholic bishops are holding this movie out at arm's length rather than promoting it in every homily in every Church is a scandal and an outrage in itself.






Pay a visit to The Edge of the Precipice

Imagine if you will: two people. A man and a woman. Married. He's your basic Aristotelian/Ciceronian/Burkean Conservative Catholic. She defies description. Now imagine: they start a blog together . . .

Okay... me imagining 'blog... me see... an imaginary cookie... Mmm... with stripes... And... It looks... soo goood... and me... GOT TO EAT COOKIE!!! MMMARMM ARMAMRMA MAR AMR AMMRMMAR MAMRMMM..

smack, smack, smack...

Me even love IMAGINARY cookie!

Er, check out their 'blog. They appear to be quite funny and good people to boot!






One of the most inspiring things Barbara Nicolosi has ever written -- and that is really saying something.






I really don't like the new template, but I'm going to stay with it until tomorrow. It was mainly a ad hoc tutorial in using that crazy div tag stuff. If it makes your eyes hurt, too, let me know.






Playing around with a new temporary 'blog template. Fine tuning will have to wait until after dinner.






After the Mel Gibson interview (which Jackie taped, and I haven't seen yet) on a local Detroit television station, they interviewed Tom Monahan, the founder of Domino's Pizza (and local resident, who basically is giving the millions he owns (owned) away to found Ave Maria College, Ave Maria University, Ave Maria Academy, and the Ave Maria Institute). Anyway, the story was about how of the recent graduating class of Ave Maria Law School, 93% passed the Bar exam on the first try -- which is pretty much without prescedent for any Law School. What follows is an exchange between the interviewer and Tom Monahan, as Jackie recalls it (she taped this brief interview, too, but I haven't seen it).

Local News Interviewer: Now, how do you answer critics who state that, with your Ave Maria Law School, you're creating an army of anti-abortion, pro-life lawyers?

Tom Monahan: What's wrong with that?

And that was it. Ha. Gotta love him (even though many Ann Arborites hate him because he can actually afford to pay all the taxes they voted for).








Monday, February 16, 2004

Brother Pio Maria


Brother Pio Maria, a Franciscan friar, shows off his skateboarding prowess at Aquinas High School in La Crosse, Wisconsin, during an event designed to get Catholic students excited about their religion. (from CNN.com -- sorry, I don't have the link).

I think we could probably come up with a few captions on our own, though. Unless Fr. Bryce already posted this.

Thanks Ms. Flair for sending this along!






I've nearly been too busy to 'blog today what with an 11-hour work day, but it's all good. We're watching tape of Fox's Sunday night comedies which Jackie taped last night and so far they've all been very good. An awesome episode of Bernie Mac (whenever they play "That's the Way of the World" by the Elements, it's a good episode) and very funny episodes of The Simpsons and Malcolm (it's particularly gratifying to see 'Xander do his baby mosh-pit dance and sing along to "Boss of Me"). Hopefully Arrested Development was just as good. I'll know in about 30 minutes.

Update: Arrested Development was, in fact, very funny last night. It's so great to see a show where no character deserves your sympathy, the writers realize this, and yet somehow (due in large part to the excellent acting) you come off loving the characters, warts and all.








Sunday, February 15, 2004

I haven't really been following the split up of the chapter of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity at my alma mater, but this article has a pretty good synopsis of it. Sounds like this Will Farnham fellow is one of the guys who stayed with the "real" fraternity and is building it back up. Way to go!

I guess there is now a place on campus called "The Beat".






Something has been dawning on me over the past few weeks:

I'm getting old.

And I guess that's okay.






BBC News: Scientists Discover Lost World Filled With Living Dinosaurs!






I guess it's official.

If they had cancelled it after season 4, I wouldn't have missed it as much. But now that season 5 is turning out to be the best since season 2, it makes it all the more sad. At least we got this last fine year out of the show. Can't wait for the TV movies, if they come!

Tim Minear, one of the better Angel writers has a new show he's working on: "Wonderfalls". Wonder how that will be.








Saturday, February 14, 2004

New Tune!

This is a Dr. Apostrophe X piece, and I'm posting it here for him until he can be sure he's got the mix right. Since this is a kvr-vst.com entry, it's under 2 minutes (though this song could go on a lot longer and maybe someday it will, if the good Doctor decides to revisit it).

Dr. Apostrophe X - "Family" 128kbs .mp3 (right-click to save-as).






Whoa!

MLive.com: Clarence Thomas awes crowd

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas taught a special one-week course on the Constitution this week at Hillsdale College.

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Again, it makes me wish I was back at my alma mater. Would I have been one of the 22 lucky students chosen for this, if this had happened when I was there? I'd like to think I would've been. I mean, after they picked Alec, Meredith, Nicole, and Chad... I would've been next for sure.

Arnn approached Thomas, a friend since the early 1980s, two years ago about the idea for a special seminar. Time constraints restricted him until now.

"We kind of worked it out all of a sudden last December," Arnn said. "It took some time to work out the arrangements, and I didn't want to announce it until I knew it would happen."

Students were sent an invitation through e-mail in late January, and have spent the week in an intimate setting analyzing the Constitutional background of historic Supreme Court cases.


...

Most of the time Thursday was spent doling out personal anecdotes that left the audience in hysterics .

"I was visiting my friend Bobby Knight -- both he and I share a love for the media," Thomas said.

Other answers left the room silent. One such answer gave an in-depth view into one judge's personal nature.

"We're still back in the race business," he said, when asked about the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, a Supreme Court decision that ended school segregation. "We haven't solved the problem of educating people of my race or other minorities. We seem to be answering that by putting black men in prison. That's sad."






CatholicExchange.com: Doctors Help Italian Priests With Exorcisms

The "working group" would be charged with the effort to distinguish medical and psychological problems from cases of genuine exorcism, the cardinal said. "With the help of the human sciences, we ought to try to discern what is happening in each case, so that the exorcist becomes involved only in cases when the facts allow no human explanation and point to a possible possession," he said.

...

The number of Italian Catholics calling for the help of exorcists has risen rapidly in recent years. Cardinal Bertone suggested that the increase could be related to "the different forms of Satanism" being practiced in the country. "Possession is not a fiction," he emphasized.






The Mighty Midols: Battling the forces of Monsteruation.

Which Mighty Midol are you? Marissa the Cramp Killer, Mimi the Water Retention Warrior or Maya, PMS Predator?






Really Rosie

Carole King's "Really Rosie" album arrived yesterday. You may recall that this is the soundtrack for the Maurice Sendak/WestonWoods animated kids special from 1974 (the soundtrack was re-released on CD in 1999). I remember, in elementary school watching this (on the old film projectors -- none of the schools had TVs or videoplayers back then) at least once a year (along with "Free To Be, You And Me" and the movie about the witch who made happy pancakes -- but those are different posts entirely). Jackie doesn't remember any of the songs on this album, so maybe it was just an Ann Arbor thing.

Anyway, now I know why I turned out so weird. This is a great album, full of songs I remember nearly word for word, melodies intact (a tribute to great songwriting): "Pierre" (the moral of "Pierre" is "care") and "Alligators All Around" (V, very vain), and "Chicken Soup with Rice". There's also some really dark songs on there. I remember "Ballad of Chicken Soup" (in which Chicken Soup chokes on a bone and screams and dies on "such an ordinary day, like today") and "The Awful Truth" (I remember the animation being appropriately dark as well. But it's like Grimms' fairy tales... all about the cautionary tales with morals). It's weird in a way that most childrens' entertainment really doesn't approach today (Klasky/Csupo animation doesn't count: it's not delightfully weird, just ugly -- not unlike Gabor Csupo's music It's hard to imagine any children being inspired by that).

But in the case of "Really Rosie", in addition to weird Sendakian stories, we've got Carole King on piano and vocals. I must confess that I've never really given Carole King a good listen before. I'll have to dig a little deeper and check out some of her other stuff now. Regardless, I now know where a lot of the more lyrical phrases I've used all my life came from.






HAPPY ST. VALENTINES'S DAY!

Now go out and eat some turkey! And have fun with this perennial favorite. I remember having fun with that last year. And, as always, looking at those recently generated is always a humorous and just a little frightening look into the hearts (get it?) of the net-using community.








Friday, February 13, 2004

It was a very sweet and very serious (or as serious as the show gets) episode of "Monk" tonight ("Mr. Monk and the Captain's Wife") dealing with themes of vengeance, marriage, and so on and yet had probably some of the funniest Tony Shaloub bits yet. Ted Levine (Captain Stottlemeyer) may be forever typecast, but he showed some real acting chops tonight. If "Angel" is our favorite show, "Monk" is probably our second favorite. One of the funniest episodes this season (it looks like they're only making 15 episodes this season -- and we missed the first two somehow; USA has such weird season schedules) involved the star of a CSI-type show and an obsessive fan, one of the running gags being that she was outraged that they'd changed the themesong of the fictional show between season one and season two -- the joke being that "Monk" itself changed themesongs between its first and second seasons (the new theme being the Randy Newman song, which is probably more appropriate than the orginal song). That episode ended with the original Monk themesong, which I thought was a nice touch.

Definitely, the show is worth watching (though one word of warning: the episode they're showing next week, "Mr. Monk and the Paperboy" is one of the weaker episodes).






8Legged.com: Deep Fried Live! Hosted by Tako the Octopus

Flash-animated cooking show hosted by an octopus -- think Alton Brown meets VeggieTales. But the "ClickToon" format is pretty cool: at points during the cartoon you have the option of clicking on icons on the left for recipes and more information. Pretty neat. I enjoyed the cookie episode.






BBC News: Goldfish revived after car crash

Officers cleaning up the scene then found the fish lying 15 feet from the car, thrown clear by the force of the collision.

Bercy was quickly taken to the paramedics who provided the cardboard tray and some water.

At first, officers thought he had lost a fin in the accident but Miss Underhill later confirmed this was an old injury and that apart from some small marks on one side he was unscathed.






I defy anyone, gay or straight, to tell me this is a beautiful union. Whoa. It just shows to go ya that lesbian couples in real life are never, NEVER, as attractive as they appear in movies. If they ever made a movie about these two... yikes.

More pictures of the happy couples (fun game: see if you can tell, in each picture, who is the "man" in the relationship and who is the "woman") can be found here. With the exception of the withered brides mentioned above, note one thing: ALL BOOMERS.






DrudgeReport always finds the best pictures for news stories, like this one of Army Spc. Ryan Anderson, the guy who allegedly was trying to start to help out Al Qaeda.

"Gosh, Beav. Dad would be really sore if he knew you were trying to help out a terrorist cell. I still think you should tell mom, because she'll understand, but I'll ask Eddie what we can do to keep this quiet for now."






Smile Time

Meredith posted it first (I should just have a keyboard-shortcut for that phrase), but I'm posting it here because the Angel puppet is just so awesome. He may just be a better actor than Boreanaz, himself!

Puppet Angel!


Watch it next Wednesday at 9pm EST on The WB.








Thursday, February 12, 2004

Raped and Murdered

...though not necessarily in that order. I expected better from the South Koreans, I really did.

I'm not going to say any more on this because this touches on the themes of my first (well, okay, only) novel, "To Newcomers, Just Arrived" and if you want to know how I really feel about the subject (or at least as it stood two years ago), you can read that. It's partly about this sort of bioethical abuse (can't say more without ruining the big secret twist thingy!) but mostly it's about our reaction to it, what we choose to do or not do about it, and ... well, you'll have to read it. I'd say it's a pretty good novel, but I've never read it. My friend Rachel read it, though, and she loved it. She said she really enjoyed the characters. I enjoyed writing them, so maybe that comes across when you read it. I would classify it as a work of Christian Existentialism, only with a car chase.






FoxNews.com: Lesbian Couple Married in San Francisco

Wow! I guess since we're legitimizing and sacramentalizing mutual masutrbation these days, we should probably say that this man has entered into a beautiful and holy union with his stuffed animals (or "plushies"). I would assume his furry partners are now entitled to full spousal medical benefits which, in their case, would probably include Medicare funding of their dry-cleaning bills.

And yes, that site will make you vomit if you happen to stray too far from the main page -- but that is only further evidence of your own bigotry and hatred towards those who would live the alternative "furry" lifestyle.






100,065!!! Whee! I could probably go back over the actual server logs and find out that this 'blog has had well over twice that number of views since it launched (I only installed the counter in 2002, and it doesn't record everyone who views the 'blog). But still, it's a milestone of sorts. Thanks for making it happen!!!








Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Weekly Angel Post

Real quick because I'm pretty tired (got up for work at 1:30am this morning, it's now 10pm), but I was actually pleasantly surprised with this week's U-Boat episode of Angel (lately it seems the best episodes are the ones which ignore Fred, Gunn, and Wes entirely -- or have them held hostage, facing imminent doom). They managed to bring in a guest character (played by Eyal Podell -- who is actually three months younger than me... and now I feel old) for a single episode and make me care about him, what happened to him, and what Angel did -- had to do -- to him. It was cool to see the beginnings of the Initiative, too (was that Blossom's older brother, Michael Stoyanov, as the man from the Initiative? He looked a little too old to be him). Overall, a nice self-contained episode. B+.

Now... let's talk about next week's episode... where, it seems, Angel becomes a puppet... on a demon-posessed kid's show?! I had to not acknowledge that I'd actually seen the preview for next week's episode or my brain would've exploded. Still, it could be... cool... I guess. I mean, I love Angel and I love puppets, so I guess I should enjoy it. Tune in next week, I suppose.

Speaking of 'Plogging, going through your 'blog archives for the past year (or three) can be pretty revealing. Is this what optimism was like? :)






The last acceptable form of bigotry.

"If you can't take the joke, don't take the trip" runs the voice-over for the primetime trailer for Dreamworks' new "EuroTrip" movie. In the ad, the teenaged horndog heroes (apparently -- it's hard to get much from a 30-second preview: a two-second clip could be a 15-minute sequence in the movie, for all we know) break into the Papal apartments and set fire to the Pope's mitres (and who knows what else is in the actual movie). Why do I get the feeling that we'll never see a movie from Spielberg's Dreamworks studio in which characters break into the Jerusalem Temple and accidentally damage or destroy the Western Wall? I mean, if anyone objected to seeing such a thing portrayed onscreen they just wouldn't have to "take the trip", right?






DaVinci's Notebook presents a dramatical presentation: Bob Dylan Falling Down A Well






One aspect of The Passion about which few are speaking... yet.

Jackie was listening to Theresa Tomeo's "Catholic Connection" program this morning on the radio (I had to work, of course) and they interviewed John Debney, who contributed the score for Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ". Aside from being deeply envious of anyone who gets to score a motion picture (or as envious as I get, anyway), I got very excited when Jackie told me that he told some very interesting anecdotes which really illustrate at just how many points things would happen -- we would say supernatural things -- to ensure that this film would not be made. I think that in 20 or 30 years, when a film is made about the making of The Passion, it will definitely be a film I'll want to see (provided I'm still around, of course).

In addition to all of the times Jim Caviezel almost died on the set, the soundtrack itself had it's moments where The Enemy (as Debney referred to him) seemed to be doing his best to lead the project astray; repeatedly, and at the same precise moment each time -- the part of the film where Satan appears in human form -- various mechanical failures would hit Debney's studio, preventing him from scoring those scenes. Once it was a building (but not block)-wide power failure, another time a bizarre computer error, and so on, all of which kept him from scoring the scene: so much so that at one point he ran out into the hall, yelling, calling Satan out to the carpet (literally, the parking lot). Not that Debney was completely unprepared: Gibson's assistant director who got him the gig had warned him that if he took the project, he should be prepared for some weird happenings.

So it seems that, personal piety aside, Gibson may've had good practical reasons for having Mass celebrated daily on the set of The Passion.






So does anyone know when Blessed John Ruysbroeck is going to be canonized? Sometime soon, I hope.






One of the cooler moments in videogames comes at the end of the otherwise medicore "Scooby Doo: The Night of 1000 Frights" when you're facing off against the final boss, who is voiced by Tim Curry. As the music, which is this cool retro Scooby Doo music (provided by Tommy Tallarico), plays Tim Curry's character starts taunting you in time to the music, and it's pretty cool.






Grow!

My best score so far is 5,000.






99,900 views so far! Who will be number 100,000? If it's you (consult the counter at the bottom of the page), let me know!






Ghostbusters!


Fr. Bryce is always posting B&W movie captures, so I thought I'd do the same and remind everyone that "Ghostbusters!" turns 20 this year. Now, don't you feel old (but probably not as old as Dan Ackroyd).

Image from MAME.net's "Arcade at the Movies" page. Er, I would've used that image, I mean, if they hadn't blocked my stealing it. The image above is from some Italian site.






I wrote her 'Blogtone!






Parasite Pals Super Fun Site

Link via Fr. Bryce. I love the characters at this site. My favorite is Zzeezz, the bedbug. Brought to you by the folks at Accoutrements, home of the Wind-up Hopping Lederhosen (scroll down).








Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Here comes the Thnikkaman.

New Strong Bad email.






French MPs Vote to Ban Islamic School Scarves

Yeah.... I guess the French would have to vote that way, against public expression of religion, in order to be consistent with guillotining all of those nuns a few years back.






How I shall win my (first) Grammy®

I forgot to post about the Grammy® Awards yesterday, but I must say I was happy to hear that Richard Marx's "Dance With My Father" (okay, Luther helped with that) won a bunch of Grammies® for best song and whatever. I remember hearing that on the radio a bunch over the past year and my eyes misting up every time so -- mission accomplished, I guess.

It was also cool that Christopher Guest et al won for best Motion Picture/TV song "A Mighty Wind" (this is the category TMBG won a couple of years back for their "Malcom" theme). And...

I have figured out a sure-fire way to win my first Grammy®! Go to the winners' list and scroll down to field 17, category 72: Best Polka Album. I don't know Jimmy Sturr from Adam, but judging from his (Grammy® award winning) album cover, he's probably getting on in years. This means that the polka industry could be in need of new blood. I, myself, have driven through Roslyn, S.D., birthplace of Myron Floren, more times than I can count. If this doesn't make me singularly qualified (along with the fact that I am 1/4 Polish... and work just a few miles from Wyandotte, Michigan, the place with the highest concentration of Poles outside of the Middle East -- Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Wyandotte actually still has a weekly Polish Mass) to craft a polka album, nothing does.

(Some may ask at this point, "Hey, Victor! What makes you think you can write even just one polka, much less a whole Grammy® Award winning album of polkas?" And to that I reply: "Can you count to two? Then you can write a polka").

So once I do record my polka album (tentatively titled "Polka-fied!") and win my Grammy®, I will forever be known as "The Grammy® Award Winning Victor Lams" and can use that title on anything else I ever record. The Neptunes had better watch their backs!!!






More bad news for fans of Courier.

From Britain.






Yes, Meredith: this is in poor taste (but very funny).








Monday, February 09, 2004

Legislator's bill urges two-child limit

Who the hell does she think is going to pay her Social Security? Seriously, I'll support her two blue-eyed, blond-haired, white babies per couple policy when she starts supporting my "At age 60, long past the age of any usefulness to society, State Representatives get ground up into food" policy.

Laughably -- literally, laughably! -- Rep. Chase believes this will "promote population sustainability" when -- OF COURSE -- the opposite is true: NO population can sustain itself when two people -- a couple -- limit themselves to only two offspring. Disease and "alternative lifestyles" see to that.

Rep. Chase is a fascist and an idiot. You can read my words to the great state of Washington here.

I've always believed, ever since I was like eight, that the time when you know for sure that it's time to start shooting the bastards is when the State tries to limit the number of kids you can have.






Sounds like "Joan of Arcadia" is starting to show its true "I'm an hour-long drama on CBS" colors.

I've never seen a single episode of "Joan of Arcadia" (the title is even a little too cutesy and 12-year-old girlie for me -- if you're making a show about a mystic in middle-America why not call it "Therese D'Uluth"? Or maybe not). Anyway, to their credit, when contrasted with 1/2 season of Joan of Arcadia, in seven seasons of Buffy and five seasons of Angel and half-a-season of Firefly, Mutant Enemy never did a homophobic Christian episode (though they did an episode where Tara's hill-folk family convinced her she was a demon... and they did have a guy in a priest outfit who was very misogynistic for several episodes... and the schoolteacher who repressed all of the kids' sexual energy -- what was THAT about? -- but those really never really fit the Hollywood archetype of "bigoted red-necked Christian").






(Not to be confused with the Russian Drum & Bass Community...).

Check this out, seriously, if you've ever wanted more time one-on-one with Greg and Lisa Popcak, Al Kresta, Mary Beth Bonaci, Amy Welborn, Chris West, and more. Put another way, if you don't at least just check the website out (upon which design Jackie consulted -- shhhhhh!), I'll make your head a splode.

HMSU Changes the Face of Catholic Adult Faith Formation.

Heart Mind & Strength University for Living (www.HMSU.com), the first, online, adult faith formation program for Catholics, gives the laity convenient access to faith development workshops and marriage and family enrichment programs anytime, anywhere. Developed by the prominent marriage and family ministry, The Pastoral Solutions Institute, in cooperation with Catholic web-development firm The Ridgefield Group, Heart Mind & Strength University for Living is currently accepting registration for the first series of dynamic, six-week, online workshops/retreats that will begin in March, 2004.

Part retreat, part seminar, part small faith group, HMSU’s online, not-for-credit workshops enable participants to discover how to practically apply faith concepts to their lives in an interactive, online workshop environment. Small class size will ensure the opportunity for frequent interaction between the learners themselves and the Instructor/Mentor.

An impressive line-up of Instructor/Mentors will lead the first wave of workshops. Catholic radio personality, Al Kresta, will direct a workshop on bringing a spouse or adult child back into the Church. Theology of the Body expert, Christopher West, will lead, Living the Theology of the Body. Apologist, Patrick Madrid, will unpack charitable, effective ways to explain and defend the faith in Apologetics without Apologies: Defending the Faith with Charity and Patience. Chastity educator, MaryBeth Bonacci will lead a workshop for single adults called, Flying Solo in a Noah’s Ark World. Lay evangelist, Mark Shea will present, There’s Power in the Blood: The Life Changing Power of the Eucharist, demonstrating the significance of a eucharistic worldview. Catechist, Amy Welborn, will lead a workshop on discovering how Jesus’ parables can transform lives today. And Catholic Marriage and Family experts/radio personalities, Gregory and Lisa Popcak will lead both For Better… FOREVER! an exciting marriage enrichment workshop for couples, and Parenting with Grace, a practical workshop for effective Catholic parenting. Other workshops will be added regularly and additional learning formats—such as shorter seminars and professional training--are currently under development.

Those interested in learning more about Heart Mind and Strength University for Living should visit their website at www.hmsu.com

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For more press information about HMSU, or to schedule an interview, please contact HMSU President, Gregory K. Popcak, via email at gpopcak@exceptionalmarriages.com or by calling 740-266-6461.









Sunday, February 08, 2004

Incidentally, today is the one-year anniversary of Fr. Bryce's re-inblogment. Happy GotYerBlogBack Day, Father Bryce!






THE FIFTY COOLEST APES OF ALL TIME!

Glad to see that the Super Monkey Ball monkeys made the cut, even if the Ape Escape apes did not. Link via Pieces of Flair.






'Xander and I were watching is Harold and the Purple Crayon DVD (I remember being a HUGE fan of the books and subsequent film adaptations when I was in kindergarten) and I figured I'd check online and see what Weston Woods Studios, the animation studio which made the film adaptations of all of the classic children's books that most of us probably remember growing up with.

They're now part of the Scholastic family and just celebrated their 50th year. Another fine history of the studio is here. Looking back over a list of their cartoons, I had no idea it was Carole King who did the music for Pierre, one of my favorites from third grade (though it's been easily 20 years since I've heard it, I can still remember the lyric and melody for "Chicken Soup With Rice").

I wonder if that's available online anywhere. Checking... AWESOME! All of these songs are on Carole King's Really Rosie LP/CD (that page has some audio samples, it's also available on Amazon). I am going to pick that up for sure. It's no wonder that so many young songwriters are "rediscovering" the 1970s. That was really the last decade in which popular music featured consistently strong and melodic songwriting.








Saturday, February 07, 2004

Who will be et ceteras 100,000th viewer (since January, 2002. But, I think had probably only about 10 viewers from May, 2001, until January, 2002, though, so....)? Will it be YOU?






So this weekend we checked out X2 and The Matrix: Reloaded from our public library ($1/day for DVDs beats $4.29 at the videostore, provided you can watch them that night and return them the next day). We enjoyed X2 even if it was a little too long and Jean Grey seemed to die needlessly (between Jackie and myself we easily thought up another dozen ways they could've gotten that plane up in the air: ice boy could've made a frozen ramp and then Jean Grey could boost the plane up the ramp, for example), but we definitely appreciated the scenes with Nightcrawler. I think Nightcrawler is possibly my new favorite Alan Cumming role, better than Boris in "Goldeneye", certainly. Oh, wait: I still like him as Fegan Floop better. Anyway...

Matrix: Reloaded blew moldy chunks. I had pretty much heard from everyone but the most deluded fans that watching it pretty much ruins the first Matrix for you forever, but we saw it anyway. I like Agent Smith and that was the whole reason I watched it. I hope he wins in the third movie, but somehow I doubt he does. That was a cool fight scene, but there wasn't much other reason to watch the movie. You know it's bad when you're rooting for the machines to win until you find out they're just as big talky bla, bla, bla jerks as the humans. Loads of really stupid dialogue. I mean, really incomprehensibly stupid dialogue. I was trying to parody some of it just now, the bits about how there is no choice because we already know what we've chosen and how there's cause and effect but it doesn't matter, but nothing I could come up with sounded sillier than what they actually put in the movie. And don't get me started on the whole bit where all the people turn green and liney like they're in Terry Gilliam's animation for Eric Idle's "Galaxy Song" from The Meaning of Liff and the camera flies into the woman's exploding crotch after she's had the orgasm cake and then Neo gives Trinity what I guess the kids are now calling a "heart job"... ergh.

Q: What's the difference between a Viewmaster and the Wachowski brothers?
A: You can get more than one decent picture out of the Viewmaster.






Celebrity 'Blogtones!

Here's the latest. See if you can guess which 'blog it's for...

BlogTones

If you currently have a 'Blogtone and like this new button style better (it's going to go with the 1968-styled 'Blogtone page Jackie is putting together for me -- yay!), email me and I'll shoot you out the new code for your 'Blogtone.






Can anyone figure something out for me? For some reason, somewhere, someone linked to my song "Barry White Vs. The Chipmunk" and last month it was download 400 times and this month, already, 130 times. It's not one of my better songs (mainly, I did it back in January of 1999, just to see how I could manipulate my voice using the formant-shifting capabilities of my Roland VS-880EX hard-disk recorder -- as it turns out, it did a pretty good job, better than anything I have currently in terms of software), so it can't be that people like it, but I'm just wondering who linked to it, and why.






Ken Suguro records some good music in a wide variety of styles (everything from algorhythmic compositions to EWF-influenced funk numbers to full-on orchestral productions). Check it out. The kids Christmas number he did with his nieces and nephews is pretty cute.






Awesome homage to the glory days of Nintendo's Game&Watches from the Homestarrunner folks.






Would You Survive A Horror Movie?


Would you survive a horror movie? Find out @ She's Crafty






Congratulations Melissa & Sean (and Ares) Squires!






No sooner did the tummy bug clear than the entire family came down with awful headcolds. Will 'blog more when I feel a little better.








Thursday, February 05, 2004

Speaking of bizarre websites and music, I had some correspondence with RED, the genius behind the Swiss avante garde folk duo, Diledadafish, at Yucca Tree Records, when Robot Love was first released. He said his kids dug my music and put me on his links page. Proud to be there. I don't believe I've ever mentioned them here in this space, so here is their nod.






I respect the whole synthpop genre immensely, and I always appreciate hearing the masters at work. These Freezepop kids from Boston have got it down. And they have a new EP out. I haven't heard that one yet (what's up with the like 14 different remixes of one track on it?) but their "fashion impression function" EP comes recommended for fans of the genre. You can download one of my favorite tracks from that ep "Lazy" for free off of their music page. If you like that, you'll probably like the rest of that EP, too (I'm also a big fan of "Shark Attack").






Vote For Meeeeeeeeeee!

I've been nominated for, as near as I can figure it, two cateorgies in the St. 'Blogs weblog awards thingie. Somehow I've been nominated for most humorous (which humor, they don't say) and most bizarre. I can't say as my 'blog is the funniest out there (it's actually meant to be sad. You mean people actually laught at some of the stuff I say? That's probably the most depressing thing of all), but I wouldn't mind being the most bizarre.

So you all better vote for me in that category. Why? Well, because Fr. Bryce and I have formed a 1st Annual St. Blog's Awards suicide pact (we each need to win one category -- at least -- to nullify the pact) and you wouldn't want to see this immensely bright and profoundly holy man have to die, would you?

(And, of course, it'd be a shame to lose Fr. Bryce, as well).








Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Weekly Angel Post

A truly beautiful episode of Angel tonight. They finished off Cordelia's arc wonderfully (and permanently), more than making up for what they did to her last season. She's gone for good this time, and this time, it just feels so right (as opposed to her assumption into heaven in season 3 and her descent into post-birth Comaville in season 4). Looking back, it's really amazing how much she developed, as a character, over the past 8 years. And, of course, there was a cool sword fight, some classic Lindsey moments (I really hope he comes back -- and something tells me we haven't seen the last of whatever was in that giant tank), and a bunch of funny bits as well (writer/director David Fury's episodes don't always hit the mark, but tonight he was in rare form -- he really does have a soft spot in his heart for Harmony, and it shows). Even Doyle showed up -- posthumously, of course.

Anyway, tonight's episode was one of those which makes you wish a lot more people were watching the show and that it could go on forever. I've said it numerous times here over the past three years -- it's the best show on television.

Next week: "Das Spike" (or "U-Gottabekiddingme").






Is it just me or has Mark Shea been a little more petulant as of late? I mean, yeah, for sure, the RadTrads and Reactionaries can be a little bull-headed and, well, reactionary sometimes, but I think a lot of that comes from having the things about their faith they cherished a great deal (like the Latin Mass, and a sense of reverence for, well, anything) pooped-upon by the clergy and elite in this country for the past forty years or so. So I'm willing to cut them some slack. Give the grouches their Latin Mass back, if that'll make them happy. It might just edify the rest of us, too.

Still, even when he's petulant, he's still usually spot on.






Since last Saturday, so for five days now, 'Xander has been inseparable from the liner notes to They Might Be Giants' "No!" album. We got back into watching the Flash animations (which come on the CD) and since the same characters are in the liner notes, he's been carrying that around everywhere he goes and even going to sleep with it clutched in his tiny hands (so tightly, in fact, that we can't release it from his grasp). He's also listened to the "No!" CD nonstop for the past few days ("Giants! On! Dance!") so much that I think Jackie, who never was the greatest TMBG fan, has started writing her own versions of many of the songs.

Even after thousands of repeated listenings, I can still wholeheartedly recommend the CD to anyone with kids or anyone without kids. The animations are very cute (or in the words of 'Xander: "Watch Balloons! Watch Broom! Clap your hands!").






Thanks for all of the well-wishes (Meredith and RC). I'm feeling much better this evening. It was an interesting night and I wasn't sure I'd make it into work and yet somehow I managed to peel myself off the floor (finding yourself lying on the floor -- always a bad sign when you know you have to leave for work in fifteen minutes) and did. And now I'm home and I'm very sick of clear liquids. But the clear-liquid diet works, in terms of not making things worse when eating just even dry toast makes you want to die.








Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Due to a stomach flu, the only 'blogging I'll be doing tonight will be... ugh... I can't even think of a way to finish that sentence. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll be in constant discomfort.








Monday, February 02, 2004

The song which haunts my every waking moment.






We spent part of last week playing Yeti Baseball, but then the URL we had stopped working. Now, Sirman has found a link that works. Thank you, Sirman!

My best is 323.4, incidentally. Top that. If you DARE!






Update: be sure to check out Sarah Hempel's latest photos of her virgin Mary sculpture.






I download a LOT of free VSTi synths (usually around 3 to 5 per week) and most are pretty hit and miss but these from Contralogic are definitely worth keeping.






So all anyone has been talking about today is America's great (warning: boobies) sag into moral decay and how this is the most outrageous thing they've ever seen and how kids were watching and how it used to be the sight of stocking was looked upon as something shocking now head to toes, yadda yadda yadda.

It's ludicrous. For one thing, I can't believe our country (especially the Catholic folks!!!) is really that prudish. It's a BOOB. Unless you were bottle-fed for your entire infancy and have never looked in the mirror, you've seen one. "But my children! We just wanted to watch the game!" For one thing, as a parent, I'm far more concerned about the cumultive effect of thousands of commercials (some of which aired during the SuperBowl) which promote cohabitation and mean behavior than I am with a momentary nano-second flash of breast (not that I saw it until DrudgeReport so prominently featured it on their main page today -- we were busy trying to figure out an all new and ponderous episode of Andromeda, the once-fine show which has become some dumb and obvious that it makes no sense at all. And besides, we only let our son watch our Harold and the Purple Crayon DVD, Spongebob, Buffy, 24, and Lord of the Rings). Plus, what sort of 64" HD plasma television would you needed to have had in order to have made anything out, anyway? I can almost gaurantee you that even with such a fantastic television set, no one would've been titilated by it -- and if you were, you probably have serious problems.

Anyway, I'm very disappointed in the Moral Fibre of our country (especially the Catholics, who should know better) if this is what it takes to get them mobilised. Instead of trying to prove the Abortion/Breast Cancer link maybe pro-lifers should set about proving the Abortion/Bared Breasts in Broadcasting link.

Anyway, I guess I'm too young to remember an America where life was just one long slow march to the grave joyously interrupted on the rare occasion by spontaneous and unexpected nudity.






NYTimes: A Well-Imagined Star

How to make your own record -- even if you're not a musician or engineer. Some days I feel like Mingering Mike.

Link via Jane.








Sunday, February 01, 2004

70,000 protesters form human chain in Taiwan in protest against missiles in China being aimed at the island.

What?! They object to missles being pointed at their island?! HOW DARE THEY! Don't they know their place in the new world order? Imagine! Objecting to our greatest trade partner's pointing of missles at them. Why, President Bush should do something about such Anti-Freedom Loving behavior! Again, I mean.






"Caution isn't stronger than fate," said Saudi Hajj Minister Iyad Madani. "All precautions were taken to prevent such an incident, but this is God's will."

One of the nice things about when The West is inevitably overrun by Islam is that all of the trial lawyers will be out of a job.






Back to the old title graphic for now. Jackie is going to do a complete redesign of my 'blog in the near future, so be sure to stick around for that. If you're dying to see the most recentl abortive attempt to update my weblog, you can see the failed new title graphic here.






We watched the non-extended version of "The Two Towers" last night and really enjoyed it (well, I did: Jackie was under the blanket for most of the Helm's Deep scenes). I liked it a lot better than "Fellowship", but I could definitely tell there were parts chopped out (it remains to be seen -- by me anyway -- if those bits are in the extended version or not). Can't wait for the third movie to come out!

Anyway, so we put 'Xander up in his room around 11pm because it was time for him to go to bed. We heard him running around up there for a while, but eventually he quieted down. When we went up to check on him, we found him asleep in bed and all of his magnetic wood letters (he'd just gotten a magnetic easel from his aunt earlier in the day, with hand-cut magnetic letters and numbers which go in ordered, designated spots around the frame of the easel) which had been scattered all around his room were put back in order, each in their proper place.

We don't know how we wound up with such a neat and smart kid, but we're certainly very proud of him!





Currently,

©2004 Victor Lams