Thursday, May 31, 2007

Adam & Eve and the T-Rex

(That'd make a fun bedtime story, wouldn't it?)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the latest assault on reason: The Creation Museum, in Petersburg, Ky. Cost: $27M. [I will not link to it directly... you can go find it on your own.]

Salon.com has a great article about the museum, which was built by a non-profit organization called Answers in Genesis -- to "undo the damage done 82 years ago when Clarence Darrow put William Jennings Bryan on the stand in the famous Scopes trial in Dayton, Tenn." (Inherit the Wind is one of my favorite books! My brother is named after one of the protagonists...) Undo the damage? These are the same people that want to teach about the Bible in public (state-funded) schools -- that would certainly "undo the damage," if it weren't for this little thing called the CONSTITUTION!! Separation of church and state? Hello?

Ahem. And apparently, until Adam took a bite of the forbidden fruit, all of the animals were vegetarians! One exhibit depicts "grizzly bears, wildcats, zebras, kangaroos, an iguanodon and several other dinosaurs [in] the same little chunk of primeval Eden." So, dinosaurs and man walked the earth at the same time, not 60 million years apart... Oh, right, since G-d created everything in the same week, he had to make the dinosaurs and man on the same day - it says so in the Bible! Hunh. I don't know about you, but I don't remember the word "dinosaur" in any version of the Old or New Testament I ever read.

As the WaPo notes, "For the biblical account to be accurate and the world to be so young, several hundred years of research in geology, physics, biology, paleontology, and astronomy would need to be very, very wrong." I believe that people are entitled to their opinions and their religious beliefs ... just so long as my tax dollars aren't paying for this museum, and I never have to go there!

I leave you with a quote from a high school student visiting the museum:

"I don't care how long it took to make the Grand Canyon," .... "It's not how old it is that matters to me. What matters is being right with God. Darwin's theory has no God. It can't be right. I don't know if this story is truer than Darwin's theory, but I do know it's better."



Oy vey.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A good sign

Miniature ceramic pot with dirt and basil seeds from Target: $0.99

Larger ceramic pot and nutrient-filled potting soil: $5.98

Proving that you don't really have a black thumb: Priceless. :)



"A man taking basil from a woman will love her always."-- Sir Thomas Moore

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bouncing around...


Melyssa --

adjective:

Like in nature to a kangaroo



'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Dani seems to think hers is appropriate (I disagree) - but mine is just sort of goofy. (unless y'all think I'm sort of kangaroo-like?)

Friday, May 25, 2007

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Modified Star Wars clips have been spreading mercilessly across YouTube almost since the site started. Now (finally), George Lucas & Co. have decided that instead of trying to sue every creative teenager who made a mash-up (and particularly those who tried to eliminate Jar-Jar Binks), they want in on the action.


Starting today, the Star Wars website is offering "Make-It-Yourself" clips and images. You can download the various offerings, and then there's a gallery where you can upload your creation to share. Here's my favorite image so far. :)

On one hand, I'm sure lots of great new images and clips are going to come of this. On the other hand, anybody who wanted to mash-up Star Wars has probably done it already, whether it was legal or not!

Of course, they have to make money somehow, so

Eventually, the mash-ups will run with brief video advertising before them, with Lucasfilm and Eyespot splitting the proceeds. The efforts should bring refocused attention on all the "Star Wars" movies, helping to boost DVD and merchandise sales. -- WSJ


May the Force Be With You.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Here's Lookin' at You, Kid

I need to get out more. There's always so much going on in Austin, and I spend far too much time sitting on my sofa, knitting.

The Paramount Theater to the rescue! They have a classic film series every summer. [Bonus: "getting out" doesn't have to include "being outside" when it's 104-degrees.] This year's films include:
  • 2 Thin Man (Nick & Nora Charles) films
    2 Sean-Connery-as-Bond films (From Russia with Love and Dr. No - two of my favorites!)
  • Monty Python & The Holy Grail
  • 2 (early) Star Trek films
  • Films by Scorsese and Robert Altman
  • 2 films each from Newman & Redford (Butch Cassidy, and the Sting), Audrey Hepburn, Peter O'Toole, Orson Welles, Cary Grant...
  • and of course, to end the season, Gone with the Wind.
They're also having a classic film poster auction/sale this weekend, which I might have to go check out. (Not that I have any wall space left, but maybe for my office, if we're ever allowed to hang anything on the walls...) :)

Anybody want to go to the movies?

Update: Rebeka and I went to see Casablanca on Saturday night. I'm ashamed to admit that I had never seen the whole movie all the way through -- although I certainly recognized those famous quotes every time they cropped up. We also saw Episode 1 of The Shadow serial, which will be showing ahead of all of the classic films throughout the summer.

"Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." :)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Punny Business

Yesterday was the 30th Annual O.Henry Pun-Off World Championships. Being an aspiring punster and a huge O.Henry fan (I read the Gift of the Magi at a very young age), I decided to go check it out. I made it just in time to hear the first of 32 2-minute punny presentations. The winning contestant was far and away the best - he did a riff that included most (if not all) of the names of the Presidents of the United States. I couldn't af-Ford to miss it, even if I had to stand over in the Bushes. (ok, I'll stop now) I think they said they were going to transcribe the speeches and post them on the website.


One guy did a candy bar riff that was hilarious -- and very naughty -- although I knew I'd heard a lot of it before (scroll down to The Birth of a Candybar). The judges didn't rate him terribly highly, but at the end of the day he won the mmMVP award by vote of his peers.


I also bought a couple of books while I was there (funds benefit the O.Henry museum, so that's not a bad thing). First is the Graphic Classics: O.Henry Illustrated. It's a comic-book style telling of the O.Henry stories by a bunch of different artists. I also bought The Best Short Stories of O. Henry. (I probably didn't need to buy both, but the comic book was just too cool to pass up!)


I know a few people who would do very well in this contest... Dad, Bry, MZ, Jeff... I wonder if any of them would like to make a special trip down to Austin to be in the game next May? :)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ocho

Dani tagged me with this (I guess knew it was coming...), so here goes:

The Rules:

1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

8 Random Facts/Habits:

1. I have to wash my hands one last time before I go to bed at night. I don't know why, I just do.

2. I'll watch The Princess Bride, the Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Star Wars any time they're on, with or without commercials. And because of Dani, I have to watch the Bond movies too. (Can't wait to see Daniel Craig on Spike!)

3. I wish I were able to turn off my brain to go to sleep easily, and stay asleep. The room has to be quiet (except for the fan noise) and close to pitch black! Little bumps in the night make me crazy.

4. I don't think I could live without crunchy peanut butter.

5. I have never watched a single episode of Survivor, American Idol or Lost, and I plan to keep it that way.

6. I love almost everything on the Food Network, with the exception of Emeril (and increasingly, Rachael Ray). My new favorite is "Dinner: Impossible."

7. I have a "black thumb." I can't grow plants at all.

8. I like tomato sauce and ketchup and cooked stewed tomatoes, but I can't stand raw tomatoes on anything. It's a consistency thing - they're too squishy.


Tag, you're it: Well, Dani and Stick have already done this, so ... let's just say if you want to do this, go ahead, and if you want to only email it to me (you know who you are), that's fine too. ;)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Classical Mystery Tour!

Saturday night, E and I went to see the Austin Symphony's tribute to the Beatles. The website said the layout was picnic tables - I was sure we were going to be sitting outside, like Wolf Trap. But I was wrong! It was inside the Palmer Center's cavernous music hall. We picked up dinner at Central Market beforehand. A lot of the other patrons had box dinners from Jason's, or amazingly elaborate dinners and setups including little shelves to put stuff on!



The orchestra came out right on time, and played a lovely medley of Beatles hits: Hard Day's Night, She Loves Me, Michelle, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Hey Jude, and others. At this point I thought, "Ok, now what?"




Wouldn't you know it, The Beatles came on stage! It was excellent. Apparently the "Classical Mystery Tour" is the combination of a Beatles tribute band and a great orchestra playing backup. The Fab Four are from the Broadway show "Beatlemania," so the singing voices are spot on. They did typical 60's costumes for the start, and then changed into the Sergeant Pepper costumes in the middle, and into the 70's stuff later.

We were the youngest people in our section by at least 20 years, and this was clearly an "event" for the older Austin social set. We must have been sitting in front of the most popular table in the place - everybody had to come say hi at intermission. It was a blast! We sang along to almost everything.


Song list:
  • Every Single Day
  • Hard Day's Night
  • When I Saw Her Standing There
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • Yesterday
  • (costume change!)
  • All You Need is Love
  • Penny Lane
  • Here Comes the Sun
  • Sergeant Pepper
  • I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends
  • She's Leaving Home
  • A Day in the Life
  • **intermission**
  • Magical Mystery Tour
  • I am the Walrus
  • Obladi - Oblada
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Come Together
  • My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • Baby I'm Amazed
  • ("McCartney Montage")
  • Long & Winding Road
  • Live & Let Die
  • Imagine
  • Golden Slumbers
  • **encores**
  • Hey Jude
  • Twist & Shout
It was tons of fun! They were selling t-shirts and CDs after the show, but we didn't hang around. (I thought, mistakenly, that I'd be able to get the CD from their website. Oops.) Next time, I think a) I'll get a whole group together, b) we'll get a closer table and c) we'll bring a better picnic. :)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Oh, if only...

For 12 seconds today, banners on CNN International flashed "Bush Resigns"



courtesy mediabistro.com/tvnewser

Boston Legal

I love this speech -- just dripping with sarcasm. No real candidate (or lawyer in court, for that matter) could say these things, but that's why I love the creativity of TV writers like David Kelley and Aaron Sorkin.

So many of my friends watch Boston Legal -- after watching this James Spader rant, I might have to add it to my weekly DVR schedule!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Forgot to schedule time for sleep!

This time, I was in DC for more than 40 hours. I managed to fit in time to see my former colleagues at the Council on Competitiveness, as well as Amy, Kelly & Jeff & Hannah, Dani (and Spiderman 3), Lisa, Jen, and some MBA folks. [Oh, and I went to a CASC meeting and some meetings on the Hill, of course.] And, I got a cute haircut! Phew!

Random news:

  • Amy & Rob and Amy's friend Mary are going to Australia later this month. They're hitting Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne in the space of a week! I gave her a list of things to do, but I think it might be too chilly to climb the Sydney Bridge by the time they get there. I can't believe it's been three years since we went!



  • Hannah has chosen the names she'd prefer for her soon-to-be-sibling, but I don't think Kelly is going to use them (there are too many Michaels already) so she has some others in mind. We won't know what sex the baby is until a few weeks from now, though. Not patient enough to be surprised in October, I guess. ;)


  • My friends have adorable kids. I only took four pictures the whole weekend. The one (above) of Hannah, and three pics of Nate's kids (Wilson (5) and Mamie (3)) and Dan's son Ian (13 mos). Too cute! Meanwhile, we're still waiting to hear about Amee's impending youngin' (5 weeks to go!) and Wilson and Mamie are getting a younger sibling later this year. Is there something in the water up there? sheesh! I see more duckies on the horizon. Or maybe I should find a different animal to make.
    (L to R: Dan with Ian, Mamie, Wilson and Nate)

  • I have decided that Bryan has to be my (other) older brother now, since he bought an apartment. ;) It's a very nice place. The wall colors were a little scary, but he's in the process of fixing that this week. He has about as much square footage as I do, but his kitchen is smaller and bedroom is larger. It's going to be fantastic when he gets it all set up. Party central! He has some very nice neighbors, too. Yes, he's two blocks from Mom & Dad, but he's also only two blocks from Adams Morgan and four blocks from Dupont Circle. Nice spot!

  • Between the meeting, the appointments on the Hill and the time I spent with my friends, I somehow managed to do very little sleeping. (I have trouble sleeping in other beds anyway, and I've been suffering from either allergies or a cold or both...) Unfortunately, when I woke up on Sunday morning, I wasn't feeling up to doing the Race for Hope 5k for the Brain Tumor Society. :( As it turns out, the newest Peabody decided he didn't want to wait until Monday, and came screaming into the world on Sunday. Welcome, Benjamin! See you next year at the Race for Hope!

  • Spiderman 3 was ok, but it was more fun just hanging out with Dani and going to Hard Times for chili. We missed the running of the Kentucky Derby in the short time between when I picked her up and when we sat down to eat dinner, but we watched the replay over and over. I think we laughed during one of the sappiest parts of the movie, but it was worth it!

  • Jen is a great partner for shoe-shopping. We giggled our way through DSW and both managed to find cute shoes. Just so you know, the shoe selection is different up north.

Thanks again to my friends and family for taking time to hang out with me and remind me of how important "home" is. But I'm glad to be back in Austin. Y'all get down here and visit soon!

Speaking of accident-prone:

... Dear (Old) Dad managed somehow to sprain his ankle/break something on Thursday night (well, ok, Friday morning at 1:30am) when he was taking out the trash. We're just lucky he didn't hit his head when he fell -- Mom and I wouldn't have found him until 7am when we were rushing off to a meeting!

Having skipped medical treatment until Monday (unless you count Nurse Ratchett bandaging his ankle for him while I was there over the weekend), the doctor has decreed that he will be at home for a few days. He will be walking with crutches for two weeks, and have one of those big black boots for six weeks. He's learning to go up and down the stairs on his tush. Poor "gimpy".

He'll accept any sympathy you want to send his way.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I know I'm accident-prone, but...

THIS is ridiculous!

Dutch researchers are reporting that "women who are left-handed have a higher risk of dying."
Specifically,

...lefties had a 40 percent higher risk of dying from any cause, a 70 percent higher risk of dying from cancer, and a 30 percent higher risk of dying from diseases of the circulatory system. Left-handed women also had a 2-fold increased risk of dying from breast cancer, close to a 5-fold increased risk of dying from colorectal cancer, and more than a 3-fold higher risk of cerebrovascular mortality.



So on top of my familial history and pre-dispositions to things, now I'm in trouble because I'm left-handed? Yikes.

Here's some fun trivia: It seems lefties perform well in the arts and sciences. There are plenty of well-known lefties in Sports (Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe, Bobby Orr, Dorothy Hamill, Mark Spitz); Politics (Bill Clinton, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson); Entertainment (Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Dan Aykroyd, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt); Music (Phil Collins, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Seal, Sting); Business (Bill Gates, Henry Ford); Law (Clarence Darrow); and Science (Marie Curie, Albert Einstein).

For more goofy lefty tidbits, see the "Left-Handed Myths section of the British Anything Left-handed website. [Before you ask, yes, I am a member of the "Left-Handers Club!" :) ] There must be something wrong with us - after all, the Latin word for left is SINISTER. heh heh

Now, off I go to contemplate my mortality and prepare my last will and testament, since apparently I won't be here for much longer! Gasp! Sob! ;) [and thanks to E for pointing this article out... ]