4 posts from March 2004

Oldies: Sunday, March 21 - Saturday, March 27, 2004...

Friday, 26 March 2004: Perhaps I'm missing something here and, if so, please feel free to set me straight, but when you are testifying (be it in a court of law or a governmental probe, et al), aren't you required to do so under oath so that you can be held to your word? Thus, if you lie, you can be held in contempt, found guilty of perjury, etc.?

This was the impression that I was always under anyway.

So why does Condoleeza Rice think she can suddenly, after refusing to do so the first go round, testify before the Senate's 9/11 probe and do it without being under oath? What would be the purpose of that?

Analysts say that Bush's administration took a big hit when Rice refused to testify at the inquiry. So now she's trying to make up for it by testifying, but doesn't want to be under oath while doing so. Doesn't that just make you wonder what she's trying to hide? Don't you think that she's obviously going to be bending the truth at least a little? Hell, my money's on her just outright lying to protect el Presidente. Me thinks that this is incriminating her and the Bush administration even more than her initial refusal to testify.

In the immortal words of Biff from Back to the Future, "Think, McFly. Think."

Thursday, 25 March 2004: During what is otherwise a pretty bleak movie season, it's nice to see that one movie that just stands out from the pack and commits itself to your psyche. For me, that film is The Passion of the Christ. I saw it last night solo because Katie had no desire to see it whatsoever. I loved it.

Was it completely horrific? Yes.

Did it bring audience members to tears? Yes.

Will it inspire you? Yes... immensely.

I was so thoroughly moved by James Caviezel's performance in this movie. He was as dead on as anyone could expect him to be considering how little we personally know about how Jesus acted during his own crucifixion. Pay careful attention to Caviezel's eyes, though, as they speak volumes. There was something so utterly calming about his eyes despite the physical pain that he is enduring. You feel safe just looking at him and I don't see how any other actor could have pulled this off.

Now for the big question...

Did it foster a hatred of Jews? No.

C'mon people. If you really think this is anti-Semitic, you need to get a life. Some Jews will view it this way and there is very little that can be done to change their stubborn minds. However, if I, as a non-Jew, have not developed any sort of anger towards Jews as a result of watching this film, isn't that all that matters? Isn't the real fear that those who don't already have anti-Semitic sentiments will suddenly develop them upon watching this movie? Fear not, this movie will not foster a sudden anti-Semitic fervor in the minds of those who have no pre-existing opinion one way or the other.

Wednesday, 24 March 2004: The Creeping Fear.

I would like to ask what that sounds like to all of you. Here are a few ideas to guide your imagination...

  • an episode of Scooby Doo?
  • a Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew novel?
  • one of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps novels?

Okay, so you get the point that it sounds like a rather childish name in nature, right?

Well, this has been confirmed by aintitcoolnews.com as one of the suggestions offered up by George Lucas as the subtitle for Star Wars Episode III. Of course, it can still change and I pray it does. But, after the tragic naming that was The Phantom Menace, I wouldn't put anything past the bearded flanneled one.


Monday, 22 March 2004: Has anyone else here been taking advantage of the free songs that iTunes and Pepsi have been giving out? Well, I sure as hell have been. I can't wait to twist off the cap and see those magic words... ONE FREE SONG. Just makes my day. And, currently, I am sitting at 15 free songs earned total. Plus, I have defeated the 1 in 3 odds that Pepsi announced. I am sitting at just under 2 in 3 right now. Sadly, I have six free songs that I have left to use and I can't think of what I want to download. I'm sure I'll figure it out.

If there is anyone else out there that has been finding winning caps and has no intention of using them, by all means, forward the codes to me. I'll make use of them, have no worries. 

Sunday, 21 March 2004: Today just blew my NCAA Brackets to hell and back. Damn you, Alabama-Birmingham! Burn! I can't believe you beat my UK Wildcats by one point. Burn! This makes me hate you almost as much as I hate Duke.

May your skies and locker room be blackened out by a swarm of locusts! 

Oldies: Sunday, March 14 - Saturday, March 20, 2004...

Saturday, 20 March 2004: This being the first anniversary of the war in Iraq, I wanted to share a little something with you my dear readers. I know I trash Bush here a lot. And I still do not support him. But that does not mean I do not support the troops and I certainly want to see them come home as soon as possible (exit plan, el Presidente?).

So please take this day to remember all our troops that we've lost in the last year and continue to lose and all those that are still over in the Middle East.

And I wanted to share this story that was e-mailed to me from MoveOn.org. It's written by Adele Kubein whose daughter is a member of the National Guard and was injured in Iraq.

When my daughter enlisted in the National Guard I was proud of her, for having the discipline to make it through basic training.  But I had friends who went to Vietnam, and I said: "Baby, are you sure you want to do this? And she said: "Oh, mom, I'm going to fight fires in Oregon, build roads, and there's never going to be another war."

When she called me after her unit went from Kuwait to Mosul in a convoy and told me that she had gone through roads with depleted uranium dust and tanks with dead bodies in them, I was afraid.  I knew that my daughter was facing mortal danger.  I cried for joy that she was alive when her helicopter was shot down because the one in front of her, everybody died on.  But when she called me up and told me, "mom, I had to kill someone today, and I looked in his eyes and I saw him die," I cried with her because I knew there was no going back then.

I want to know that there’s a good reason for what happened to my daughter, and to all the other kids that have been killed and injured in Iraq.  My daughter told me stories about the Iraqi people, their casualties are just as high as ours, and they love their families just as much as we love ours.  When my daughter was injured, I cried, I wept with joy to know that she was coming home, because I knew that so many other people were not going to come home.  My daughter accounted for herself; she did her duties regardless of her fears and feelings.  She thought she was going to Iraq to build houses and schools for people who needed them.  That’s what they told them in the Oregon National Guard.  Instead she ended up in an ever-escalating cycle of violence.

Our nation is based on accountability.  I want to know that what our loved ones are going through is for a good reason.  When I visit my daughter once more and hold her as she weeps about the things that she has seen and done, I will tell her that she did the right thing. But I want to know that the people who lead this country are doing the right thing also.

Friday, 19 March 2004: After several frustrating visits to Blockbuster to try to find whatever remnants I can of their new releases, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for Netflix.

For those of you not in the know (I use that phrase a lot, don't I?), Netflix is an online DVD rental service. You go in and set up an account with your credit card (during the trial period, the card is needed only in case you damage or lose the discs) and then set up a queue of movies. You receive the first three discs (multidisc sets are broken down so each disc counts as one in your queue - Band of Brothers represents six discs in my queue) from your queue in the mail and you keep them as long as you need to watch them. Then you return them in the provided, postage-paid envelope. When they receive the return shipment, they will send out the next films in your queue. They have pretty much every domestic DVD released and a pretty good amount of foreign flicks although I don't know if they carry all of them or not. If you stick with it beyond the trial period, it's only $20 per month.

Think about it, $20 only covers five rentals at Blockbuster at $3.99 each and that's if you return them on time. Netflix even pays the postage both ways. How can you go wrong? I just can't believe it took me this long to sign up. Guess it took the convincing of some online friends and my brother's girlfriend (thanks Dayv and Becca).

So be looking for several new reviews on this site in the near future as my queue is already sitting at nearly 20 movies.

Thursday, 18 March 2004: Being the fans of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" that Katie and I are (and we prefer "CSI: Miami" lately because the plots have been far superior and we really dig the cast - the student defeats the master), we are both pretty stoked about the next spinoff that will be starting next season... "CSI: New York."

Much like how "CSI:M" was introduced to the world, "CSI:NY" will be intro'd via an episode of "Miami" in which some of the crew, including David Caruso, travel across jurisdictions to New York City on a case.

Some of the cast for "New York" has been announced in recent weeks and I'm very excited about the most recent casting announcement... Gary Sinise as the head of the team. Sinise is a spectacular actor and he adds such an air of credibility to the show much like William Petersen does for the original and David Caruso in "Miami".

Other announced castings include Vanessa Ferlito who played Claudia opposite Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer on this season of "24" and Carmine Giovinazzo who played Sgt. Goodale in Black Hawk Down (not that I can honestly say I remember that particular character).

I can't wait to see who else is cast.

Wednesday, 17 March 2004: Happy St. Patty's Day to all of you. Have a green beer for me.

How many of my fellow Illinoisans got out and voted in the primaries yesterday? I can say, sadly, that I did not. Primarily (no pun intended) because Katie and I were home sick yesterday. Didn't want to infect the greater part of the Geneva populace.

As many predicted, Kerry overwhelmingly won the presidential primary as the Democratic candidate. And, now rumors are swirling that they may seek John McCain as Kerry's running mate. Now we're talking about one heckuvan interesting duo. Kerry the Democratic senator from Massachusetts running with McCain the Republican senator from Arizona. Talk about a way to solidify their chances against Bush. Having a Republican and a Democrat cross party lines would definitely steal some of the Republican and Independent votes. I dunno if this will actually happen, but if anyone would cross lines, it would be McCain. He's already very left leaning as it is. Heck, I voted for him in the 2000 primary.

Please may it happen... please may it happen...

Tuesday, 16 March 2004: Katie and I are both out sick today. She caught something from her boss at work and now I'm playing host to at least some small strain of it.

We are dealing with it the best way we know how... spread out some blankets and pillows in the living room and watch movies all day long. You gotta love it. Nothing like a little cinematic therapy to cure you of your ails.

Oldies: Sunday, March 7 - Saturday, March 13, 2004...

Saturday, 13 March 2004: Wine tastings can be so much fun and that's what Katie and I spent most of today doing. We went to the newly opened Galena Wine Cellars in downtown Geneva and did a tasting. For $3 a person, you can try six wines. Since both of us signed on and only drank half of each of our samples and shared the rest with the other, we actually had 12 samples. Then we went back later that night with my brother and his girlfriend and did it again. We're a bunch of winos. Well, not really, we just enjoy wine. Not like we drink it all the time. Honestly. I swear.

Friday, 12 March 2004: Well you won't be seeing my Best Network award in the Kapgar.com Primetime Awards going to ABC this year. As much as I like their Tuesday lineup (even sans John Ritter) and I like a couple of their Friday shows, I'm just too bitter knowing that "Karen Sisco" has officially been given the boot. Originally, the show was put on hiatus set for relaunch this month. That never happened as is obvious. And now Carla Gugino, Robert Forster, and Bill Duke get to languish in the TV drama has-been hell. God, that was a great show.

Thursday, 11 March 2004: Just got my final exam grade back for me macro/micro economics course. I wound up with a 92.6% overall for an A. I can handle that. Especially since I've never done anything economics related in my life save for reading an occasional article that would mention econ topics. I am definitely happy with it.

Wednesday, 10 March 2004: I was introduced today to two TV shows I had never seen before.

On Sunday, I taped the season premiere of "The Sopranos" and finally got around to watching it tonight with some background info fill in from my brother in law Scott who is a devoted Soprano legionnaire. I enjoyed it. I can see why the show is so hyped both popularly and critically.

The second show I was introduced to is "The Family Guy," a primetime cartoon from a few years back. I got to watch the episode where Peter discovers he has black ancestors and decides to embrace his black "heritage." This is some funny stuff. I know the show is no longer on the air except in reruns on Cartoon Network, but there are reports that it will definitely be returning due to the overwhelming popularity of the DVD season sets that have been on the market for several months now. I am now in possession of these sets courtesy of a loaner from Scott, so it's time to play catch up.

May also have to plan a Sopranos marathon to catch up on past seasons since this episode I just watched is the first one from the sixth season. Yikes. That's a lot of catch up.

Tuesday, 9 March 2004: Tonight was my final exam in my macro/micro economics course. Walking out, I can't say I felt too good about how I did. A couple of the questions completely stumped me. This particular exam wasn't cumulative, though. Our midterm was microeconomics and this final exam was macroeconomics. I understood the concepts that were being presented. I just don't think I spent enough time committing it to memory. C'est la vie, eh? So long as I get an 80% or better, I maintain the A that I've got going in the class. Here's hoping.

Monday, 8 March 2004: One movie I've been wanting to see desperately is Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. If you know me, then you know that I dig on controversial films. I love it when a movie gets people fired up enough to picket them. And usually for the most inane reasons.

Obviously, The Passion is one such flick. And I really want to see it. Heck, a movie that can gross $125 million in its first five days when it has the death of Jesus Christ as the central story has got to be something special. But, I decided long before the opening weekend that I wanted to see it.

This weekend, the total gross of the movie was bumped up to $212 million and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It is just a few days from becoming the top grossing independent flick of all time kicking My Big Fat Greek Wedding off its high horse (I did enjoy Greek Wedding the first couple of times, but I am so sick of that flick and all the subsequent hype that I could care less if I ever see it again). And, yes, iis considered "independent" based solely on the fact that no major studio would touch it with a ten-meter cattle prod. So, Gibson took his labor of love to Newmarket Films whose only other big releases have been the Oscar-nominated films Whale Rider and Monster.

And how do I know for sure that this movie isn't going anywhere (but up in the all-time high grossing flicks list) anytime soon? The lines that were at my local theater yesterday. Katie and I went to see Miracle and when we left, there was a line for The Passion that stretched out into the shopping area of the mall. No movie that was ever shown at that theater has elicited lines that long. And especially not in the second weekend of its release. This thing is gonna be one giant bonanza of a film, controversy or not.

Sunday, 7 March 2004: Who out there likes to talk sex every Sunday night? C'mon, you mean to tell me that all of you have not yet discovered the Sunday night, middle-of-the-FCC's-crosshairs wunderkind that is "Talk Sex"?

It's a great show on Oxygen (dunno what channel that would be for all of you if you even have access to it... check with your cable/satellite provider) starring Sue Johanson - a little old lady who could be anybody's grandmother fielding phone-in questions about sex. Nothing is taboo here. You can ask her anything. She does not get embarrassed... and I mean that. I find it absolutely hilarious when she uses those art school poseable maquettes to show sexual positions.

However, the best part of the show is the Hot Stuff bag in which Sue presents new toys and equipment to add a little spice to your love life. And she rates them using a five-briquette scale on the Hibachi of Love. Yes, you read that right. The Hibachi of Love.

If you have not seen the show, please check it out. It's great. You can visit the website at... www.talksexwithsue.com.

Oldies: Sunday, February 29 - Saturday, March 6, 2004...

Saturday, 6 March 2004: Yes, I know that I have harped on before about the SW trilogy coming out on DVD and how I have no desire to own it and all the changes that Lucas has made to the original films, etc., etc., ad infinitum. Well, I was recently introduced to a comic strip that pokes fun at Lucas and the changes he's made and changes the author could potentially see Lucas making (joke, of course). Check it out, it's pretty damned funny... Ninth Floor's "Star Wars: The Ultimate Editions".

Friday, 5 March 2004: As if it isn't hard enough to get sleep sometimes, those few nights when you finally have the "perfect" sleep, it's just gotta be interrupted by something, doesn't it? Last night, Katie and I are asleep and the local tornado siren starts wailing. I look at the clock and see that our power is out. I find my cellphone because it is the only other alarm clock we have that doesn't need to be plugged in to the wall, flip it open, and discover that it's 4 a.m. Ouch. Katie and I start looking through any window we can find only to discover that there's hardly a nasty cloud in the sky to warrant a tornado siren. So I call the police to see what's up and they don't even know.

45 minutes later, the tornado siren is finally shut off and power is restored. And, of course, I slept like hell the rest of the night. This morning, we both looked at each other wondering if what we thought happened really did or if it was just some horribly surreal dream. The look on each other's face confirmed it.

Damn siren.

Can't win for losing, can we?

Thursday, 4 March 2004: From what I've heard on the news this morning, some big announcement from Chicago mayor Richard Daley is expected today regarding gay marriage. He's already said that he supports the idea of gay people being able to get married and I think that a lot of couples are planning off that sentiment of his as many people are lining up outside of Chicago's City Hall. If Daley says yes, you can expect a mad dash for marriage licenses before a court can overturn his decision.

Bravo, Daley. I truly applaud you. I still don't understand why people are against it and I can't comprehend how our President can say that judges and other public officials do not have the right to define the word "marriage." Yet somehow Dubya feels he has been imbued with the right to do the very same thing via a Constitutional amendment.

Further proof of the raging level of hypocrisy in our government.

Wednesday, 3 March 2004: Usually, when you get a new coaching staff, you would expect a bit of Spring Cleaning of your team. However, what Lovie Smith and his staff have done with the Bears has gone well beyond what I ever expected.

Bye bye Kordell Stewart, Dez White, and Warrick Holdman. Chris Villarrial, even though Smith wanted him back, has signed with the Bills.

I can't say I'm upset about it. I will miss Holdman and Villarrial. However, Smith seems to know what he's doing. And he's signed some free agents pretty much the moment after free agency opened up. We now have a new backup quarterback in Jonathan Quinn from the K.C. Chiefs and a new running back in Thomas Jones from the Buccaneers. I don't know much about Quinn other than he was a star in the NFL Europe and MVP of one of their championship games. Jones, however, is going to be a big addition to the team. Him and Anthony Thomas together will be a nice 1-2 punch.

This coming season looks better and better every day.

Tuesday, 2 March 2004: Quick update on a post from last week... negotiations with Dennis Quaid on the role of Officer Jim Gordon in the new Batman movie have fallen through. Gary Oldman (Leon, The Contender) has taken the role in his stead.

Oh, and the title looks to be Batman Begins.

Monday, 1 March 2004: Ohmideargod. Was that the most sinfully boring Academy Awards show you've ever seen in your life? No originality. No life. No upsets whatsoever. And, despite being a fan of Lord of the Rings, I was truly ready to commit hara kiri if I heard that movie's name announced one more time for another award or heard another "thank you" tossed out to Peter Jackson and/or the people of New Zealand.

Academy members just don't get it when it comes to voting. You're supposed to vote based on the nominated movie and only the nominated movie. They were awarding all these Oscars to LOTR based on the entire series of movies. IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY, PEOPLE. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was the nominated movie and it was the worst of the three flicks. Yet you didn't award jack for Fellowship of the Ring or The Two Towers. In a season in which we also had such films as Lost in Translation and Mystic River (the former of which should have won) and directors like Clint Eastwood and Sofia Coppola (I would've been happy with either of them winning), they go and award Best Picture and Best Director because of the cumulative effort that Peter Jackson and his crew put in on all three movies.

I think it should somehow be a requirement for there to be one major upset each year in one of the acting award categories or the directing or best picture categories. We need upsets for these awards to mean anything or be memorable or cause controversy. I don't know how they'd pull it off, but I'd love for it to happen. My money was that the upset would have occurred in the Best Actress category. I really wanted to see either Keisha Castle Hughes (Whale Rider) or Diane Keaton (Something's Gotta Give) win the award.

Well, at least we had Adrien Brody's Binaca spritzing before giving out the award. Aside from Billy Crystal's intro segment and monologue, Brody's bit was the best thing to happen that night.

And wasn't it weird when you realized that the commercials during the Oscars were actually better than the commercials during the Super Bowl? Weird and a bit sad, I might add.

Sunday, 29 February 2004: Allow me to recap my alcohol intake this weekend...

  • 2 shots of Sambuca
  • a glass of Glenfidditch scotch
  • 2 Killians Reds
  • 3 Guinness
  • An Irish Car Bomb (don't ask)
  • And many trips to the bathroom after I broke the seal.

Yes, this weekend, my friends Brian and Frank and I went on a guy's weekend to St. Cloud, Minnesota, to check out the St. Cloud Huskies hockey team as they took on Colorado College. For a team ranked fifth in the nation, they played pretty poorly. They lost both games (7-1 and 4-2). But, it's hockey, so it's fun anyway.

And, God knows, we had fun at the bars with our pal Travis who lives in St. Cloud and his (maybe) girlfriend Jill as well as an array of other people that hung out with us. I only mention Trav and Jill as they were the only other people who hung out with us regularly.