Monday, January 31, 2005

Monday Madness

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Otto offers up the questions at the Monday Madness Web site, so pick up a clean set for yourself and post a link to your answers over there as well as here so we can find you. The following questions are compliments of Elena......Thanks, Elena!! =) Hope everyone will have a wonderful week!


1. Are you more likely to rent or buy DVD's (VHS's)? Why?
We're more likely to borrow, actually. My brother is a connoisseur, aficionado or just plain loony for movies. He is a Netflix member, has access to a T1 connection at work and has "disposable income" available for entertainment. We do buy some DVD's we don't think he will get and we also pick up old VHS tapes at garage sales. We also rent a dozen or so a year, too.
2. If you rent DVD's, do you bother viewing the 'Behind the Scenes' or watching the entire movie again with commentary on?
I do. My wife is of the opinion that it ruins the movie for her. Then again, it's tough enough to get her to stay awake through an entire movie, so rewatching one is out of the question.
3. Do you think these features warrant the extra cost for DVD? (After all, we were able to buy new release VHS for $9.99 prior to DVD).
The additional cost is a money grab on the part of the manufacturers and distributors. It is in recognition of the fact that a DVD is far closer to an archival device than tape ever was. Deterioration rates are much slower, hence there are next to no replacement purchases. Sometimes, the sheer volume of additional information can justify the additional cost (LOTR comes to mind as an example) but most of the time its the Man ripping you off...
4. What's your favorite DVD (or VHS) in:
*Drama - Philadelphia (Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington)
*Comedy - Currently, it's Runaway Bride, but just about anything Robin Williams does will change that. Shrek 1 & 2 are right up there in the pantheon, too.
*Action - The Lord of The Rings trilogy.
*Suspense/Thriller - Not my favorite category. If it has Morgan Freeman in it, I'll watch it. Ditto for Denzel Washington.
*Horror - My life is horror enough. While I like Laurell K. Hamilton's "Anita Blake - Vampire Hunter" series for fluff reading, I have yet to see a Hollywood or Indies vampire movie worth watching more than once. The rest of the genre leaves me uninterested.

There you have it for another week. See you on the flip side...

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sunday Brunch - Bookish Thoughts

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"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." -Mark Twain

1) Do you use bookmarks?
Sometimes, other times not.
2) What is your favorite book?
That's a toughie. There are way too many books to choose just one.
3) Who is your favorite author? Today, at this moment, it's
Robert Heinlein is my favorite SF author, John Updike general fiction, T. Alan Braughton is another and Annie Proulx.
4) What is the movie you feel is the most authentic version of a book? The Horse Whisperer

5) Is there a book you wish they would make into a movie and why? I'd like to see the entire Callahan's Cross-time Saloon series by Spider Robinson made into good movies. Sadly, Hollywood would FUBAR it - look what they did to "I, Robot."

If you want a set of these questions for your own, just take a trip over to The Sunday Brunch web site -- they'll fix you right up. And don't forget to post a link here and there to your entries. Thanks and have a great week.

Saturday Six -- #42

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1. Who is the first celebrity you recall having a crush on?
I've answered this one before, it's Haley Mills ... although, Annette Funicello was also in the pantheon of screen goddesses occupying my dreams as a youngster.
2. What was your favorite amusement park ride when you were young?
Ferris Wheel.
3. If you could change your name (first or middle but the name you go by), would you, and if so, what would you change it to?

I did, at age 18, due to being one of 4 Williams or Wilburs in a training squad. There was already a "Bill" and he looked like the name. Wilbur wouldn't budge, so I became "Wil." Actually, I'd changed from "Billy" to "Bill" when I entered Lenape Jr. High School.

4. Go to and take the "First Name Analysis" test. Do you agree with what the site comes up with?
5. Other than Johnny Carson, which former talk show host's tape archives would you most like to visit, and why?
Dick Cavett - he was the most intelligent and erudite of anyone to try a late night talk show and his guests reflected his eclectic tastes. When he was on, I'd watch him over JC any day.
Jessie: If you were in good health, would you donate a kidney to a friend who's dying regardless of what your family's opinion are and if yes or no, why or why not?

I have wrestled with this one a long time, Jessie, as it appeared my middle brother would need a kidney transplant. I'd finally reconciled myself to the notion that I would donate a kidney when he up and died suddenly in his sleep. So who knows? Another missed opportunity for growth... Bottom line, though, I would donate a kidney under the circumstances you describe. It is the gift of life and I have damn little to show for my occupation of space on the mortal coil. My karma needs the boost or I'll be back as an amoebae, for sure.

Be sure to leave a link over at Patrick's Place to your answers so he can see what kind of havoc he raised this week. (It's always good to know which demon you have to kill, after all.)

Unconcious Mutterings -- Week 104

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I say ... and you think ... ?

Don’t feel like retyping the words? Just copy and paste the following into your blog:

1. Coroner:: Medical Examiner; incompetent
2. Mystify:: Magic
3. Corroborate:: Co-author
4. Misinterpret:: Oops
5. Humorless:: coworkers
6. Calculus:: mathematics
7. Eye for an eye:: revenge
8. CPR:: dead
9. Stitched:: up
10. Facility:: Emergency Room

Please leave a comment here and over at the home of Unconcious Mutterings,
LunaNiñ In honor of the beginning of the third year of U.M. Patricia is offering a $14 Amazon Gift Certificate, so be sure to leave a link to your entry at the mothership.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Weekend Assignment #45: Karaoke Time

John Scalzi puts you to the test once more, so limber up your windpipes, boys and girls, because this week's Weekend Assignment is getting musical:

Weekend Assignment #45: It's karaoke time. Pick a song to sing and explain why you chose it.
Note that not everyone sings the song you expect them to sing: I remember being at a karaoke bar one time and watching a six-foot bald guy with a gravely voice and a tattoo on his neck sing Olivia Newton John's "Have You Never Been Mellow?" And it was brilliant. So by all means, reach for the stars here. This isn't American Idol.

Extra Credit:
Recall the worst karaoke performance you ever heard (or, if you're brave, ever performed). You can change the names to protect the guilty if you like.

Dear John,

I've never been one for singing in public. I just haven't got the voice for it. Sadly, I have perfect pitch (hearing) but can't carry a tune or stay on key -- listening to myself sing is sheer agony these days.

Oddly enough, it wasn't always this way. Back when I was entering puberty it was the height of the folk music revival and I was a "Gut Bucket Bass" player in a jug band -- sort of a bluegrass band on moonshine. We sang covers of many of the traditional songs of the day. "Weary Traveler," "Where have all the flowers gone," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Other side of the mountain," "Mariah" -- they've all tumbled from my lips at one time or another, on stage, in front of live audiences. Such naiveté!

Flash forward about 30 years. No longer singing in public, I find myself at an AOL members party at a Karaoke bar. It'd been at least 7 years since I stopped drinking, so I can't blame the Devil and Jack Daniels. My turn came up and I regaled the crowd with "Mariah" ... flat. Off-key. Absolutely, excruciating for all listeners. I was booed from the stage in disgrace, it was so bad.

I've never been to another AOL party nor taken a turn at the microphone of a karaoke machine. Never again. Although, there's this tune by the Holy Modal Rounders named "Spring of '65" I might be tempted to try if I ever take up booze again...

Take good care of Kristin and Athena and behave yourself.  I'm loving "Old Man's War" and recommend it often to acquaintances. Here's hoping that produces a few sales, or forces the library to pick up a copy.

See you later, 'gator.


Friday, January 28, 2005

Cold Toesies and other matters...

I recently had an email from a long-time personal friend in Vermont, relating how her eldest son, nearly an adult, had developed significant frostbite in all 10 toes as aresult of being a teenager, ie. wearing sneakers outdoors to wait for the school bus in the dead of winter.  In so much as this morning's temperature when I drove my sneaker-clad wife to work was -19ºF, I just had to twist my friend's tailfeathers. And what do you know, I don't need to make up a blog entry today. Enjoy...

Sorry to hear "it" has developed frostbite.  My sincere sympathies to him as the pain will be excruciating. And sympathies to you, too.  We've all known you were a horrible mother, more interested in herself than her children! How else can one explain allowing your first-born to stand for hours by the roadside, chatting up the other kids while wearing just a cotton t-shirt and jean jacket, jeans and, yes, sneakers, while all the other kids hang warm and dry in their Northface parkas, Mountain Pants and Sherpa boots? Shameful!! I can hear the biddies up at the store now...
Just kidding. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt AND bought the farm. No need to protest that I have it all wrong, I know you aren't to blame... it's your EX-HUSBAND's FAULT! Yep, that's the ticket. He's to blame and you oughta make him pay! LMAO... as if.
My wife recovered enough from her knee surgery to return to work on Wednesday. She is in a tremendous amount of pain with it, more than before the operation, but the orthopod says nothing much else can be done at this point save some pretty lethal injections, which she will try to get approval for from the Workman's Comp insurance company. Sadly, they may argue it is all because of a deteriorating joint from Osteoarthritis and refuse further coverage. We will see. Meanwhile, my brother starts a round of chemo next week to try to bring his bladder cancer into remission. Rather than describing it myself, here he is, in his own words:


Hi there,


I figured you'd want to know that I'm starting a 6 week course of immunotherapy: BCG or Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin, is an attenuated, live culture preparation of Mycobacterium bovis. It is approved for intravesical or percutaneous use. It is commonly used for bladder cancer patients and has the best results of all the intravesical chemotherapeutics. The freeze-dried BCG prep is delivered to the bladder by instillation through a foley catheter.


Translation: they fill up the bladder with a live Tuberculosis culture and have you lie on stomach, back, and sides app. 15 min each and then hold it for another hour.  Consider yourself a biohazard for 6+ hours afterwards.  After urinating, pour an equal amount of undiluted bleach in toilet and let it sit for 30 minutes, as well as disinfecting self.  The process is done in the doctor's office 1 a week for 6 weeks.


Side effects, in order of decreasing frequency: dysuria(burning with urination), urinary frequency, hematuria (blood in urine), cystitis(bladder infection), urgency, nocturia, cramps/pain, urinary incontinence, urinary debris, genital inflammation, UTI, urethritis, and several other all less than 1% of patients.  Other systemic symptoms include; flu-like symptoms, fever, malaise/fatigue, shaking chills and nausea vomiting.

Oh, what fun!

That's all the news. I'm hanging in there, but I have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, I can see Hell from here and it is populated by a bunch of folks I just as soon not spend eternity with, or a weekend in Philadelphia, for that matter. Keep the greasy side down and watch your step - them banana peels is everywhere!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Caged Saddam To Be Highlight Of Inaugural Ball

According to the News In Briefs in today's The Onion:

WASHINGTON, DC—Attendees at the Independence Ball, one of nine officially sanctioned galas celebrating President George W. Bush's second inauguration Thursday, will be treated to a viewing of a caged Saddam Hussein, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Monday. "What better way to honor the president than with a physical symbol of his many first-term triumphs?" McClellan said as Hussein rattled the bars of a cage already suspended above the ballroom where the event will be held. "And I must compliment the planning committee. Outfitting Gitmo detainees with iron collars and forcing them to serve appetizers was an inspired stroke." Ball attendees will also be awarded door prizes, including a basket of nuts, 20 yards of cloth, and a barrel of crude oil.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Monday Madness - Favorites

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Somehow, the constant snow, PT appointments and other domestic concerns put me in the position of letting the Monday Madness slip right by me. Oh well, just another sign of getting older, I guess.

It's now so cold that Willow the Wunderhund stops at the door and gives me this "Aw shucks, do we have to go out?" scowl before mincing onto the subzero porch, hopping off the steps and plopping her fanny in the snow - no wasting 10 minutes searching out her caches of cat poop and other "goodies." It's down to business and back in to lie beside the kerosene stove. She's definitely a heat-seeking missle when indoors.

Otto has chosen a trip to the land of our favorites this week. You can get your own copy of this week's questions at the Monday Madness web site. Here's my faves, what are yours?

Name your favorite...

1. Family Game - Monopoly
2. Piece of Jewelry - Wedding Band (also the only jewelry I wear)
3. Winter Activity - Couch Potatoing, Plowing Snow
4. Hot Beverage - Coffee
5. Quote - I may not always be Right, but I'm never wrong.
6. Color on You - Navy Blue
7. Summer Activity - Sea Kayaking
8. Topping on Pancakes - Maple Syrup, preferably Vermont or Quebec in origin.
9. Musician - Yo Yo Ma
10. Author - Robert J. Heinlein

Have a great week. Look out for the crazies - they seem to all be out driving lately.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Unconcious Mutterings #102

Week 102

  1. Yoda:: Star Wars
  2. Mensa:: Mentat
  3. Pink:: Polka Dots
  4. Text message:: Western Union
  5. Galactic:: Milky Way
  6. Chicks:: Bobby Sox
  7. Quesadilla:: y Chorizo
  8. Backpack:: hike
  9. Socked:: in
  10. Compromise:: defeat

Get your own list of words by stopping by La LunaNina's place.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Weekend Assignment #43

Weekend Assignment #43: Congratulations, you've become your own soverign state! Design a flag for the United States of You, using no more than three colors and one symbol (the symbol can be of any color). Explain your design choices. Don't worry about actually making the flag -- you can just tell us about it.

Extra credit: make a picture of the flag. Because, let's face it, that's time-intensive.

Dear John,

Long time, no write. Writer's Block on a colossal scale - not worth discussing. Back now, worse for wear but once again able to assume my place in harness to this madness we call life.

A big Hello! to Kris and Athena. I do hope they've kept you in line. I'll let you in on a little known fact - when depressed I not only can't write, I can't read, either. Imagine, I received a copy of Old Man's War for the holidays and only cracked it open yesterday!

Anyway, the flag of the US of Me would be equilateral vertical bars of Blue, Green and Red. The significance of the colors reflects the blue of the waters that sustain life, the verdant green of the hills and dales, and the red of the blood shed to sustain this land. An image of a Bald Eagle, arrows grasped in one talon, a spear in the other, faces outward as fair warning to all while an olive branch is held in its beak. Below is the logo "Don't Tread On Me."

Of course, I did toy with the idea of one porcupine mounting another with the logo "Proceed With Caution"...

Keep the greasy side down and look both ways before crossing the road.

Best Regards,


I'll be seeing you, in all the familiar places...

Plow truck hits, kills Glenburn man in road
Friday, January 14, 2005 - Bangor Daily News

You'd think that after seventy years it would have sunk in..."look both ways before crossing the road." I'm sure his mother drilled it into him as a child. I'm sure he drilled the same lesson into his children and grandchildren.

Yet, yesterday a neighbor of mine, fixated on doing a good deed for the widow woman whose dooryard he'd just finished plowing out, crossed the road to a mailbox, gathered the mail, turned and stepped into the path of a 3/4 ton pickup truck with a snowplow mounted. The truck was doing less than the posted speed limit owing to poor road conditions. And Frank Leighton, 70, father and grandfather, became the new hood ornament for a GMC circa 6:30 Thursday morning. It's a hell of an ignominious end to an exemplary life. You'll be missed.

Saturday Six - Episode 40

It's that time again... after two months of an all-consuming purple funk, like a bad check, I'm back... not any better for the hiatus, but ready to shoulder the burden again and continue trudging towards the elusive goal. Without further ado, here's this week's Saturday Six. Blame the questions on Patrick - the sicko answers are my own.

1. You achieve a high level of fame in your chosen career. Calls begin coming in for interviews...if you could only appear on one of the following shows, which would you select?
A) Today
B) Live! with Regis and Kelly
C) The Daily Show
D) Oprah
E) David Letterman
F) Jay Leno
G) Jerry Springer

Not much in the way of choice up there, Patrick. Make mine "A" - it is the most well respected of those listed.

2. You have the opportunity to briefly become another person in another body, then spend 48 hours alone with the real you. Would you do it?

Sure, although I imagine it'd be pretty boring.

3. You have the opportunity to briefly become another person in another body and live a normal life for 48 hours. Would you dare to spend two days as a member of the opposite gender?

Oh yeah, I've always wanted to know what it feels like to have multiple orgasms...

4. Compared to previous years, did you spend more or less money on Christmas gifts? How soon do you think you'll have all of the bills for Christmas paid off?

Already all paid as we spent cash or used debit cards, it was about the same as last year.

5. What is the first toy you remember playing with?

Wooden Blocks. Colored cubes with numbers and letters on the sides.

6. Have you ever downloaded a song or theme song for your cell phone? If so, which one amuses you most? If you haven't, but had to pick one, what would it be?

Nope, our cell doesn't accept downloads. I suppose something stupid would end up being the ring tones ... like "Who let the dogs out?"

Get your own copy of the questions by going to Patrick's Place each Saturday. And don't forget to post a link to your answers in his comments section.