Tuesday, November 30, 2004


2004 has gone fast. I can’t believe that there is snow on the ground already and Christmas is right around the corner. Winter is by far my favorite time of year.

I do, however, try to keep a consistent schedule of how I celebrate this time of year. All while I was growing up, my family never set up our tree before Thanksgiving (a tradition I had to break this year because of the busyness of this particular season). The day after Turkey Day (or Leftover Turkey Day), we would drag the artificial pine out of storage and decorate it, signifying the beginning of the holiday season in our household.

Each year, it seems like people are celebrating Christmas earlier and earlier. This October, I was at Target picking something up (I don’t remember what, but it could have been ANYTHING…you can get EVERYTHING at Target) and I saw – right next to the Halloween stuff – Christmas stuff.

In October.
Before Halloween.
That’s a little ridiculous.

I know that these companies are trying to make a buck and all, but it seems like eventually, we’ll start celebrating only 2 holidays…Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Those are the two largest money-makers for retailers. Those will be the holidays that they force us to celebrate.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

What I'm Thankful For

What I’m Thankful For

My wife and her many talents.
My family
My friends.
The way my dog looks when he wakes up from a nap.
My job. (How many people can say THAT?)
Snow and cold weather (Seriously…I love the wintertime).
Freedom, as defended by the brave members of our military.
Wireless networking.
My iPod.
Pocket Kings.
Steak burritos with green-tomatillo and medium salsa, topped with cheese and guacamole.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I am blessed in so many ways, too numerous to mention here. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Tom Hanks? .... TOM HANKS??

I used to like Tom Hanks.

Apollo 13...great movie.
Forrest Gump...great movie.
Philadelphia...great movie.
Toy Story...fantastic movie.

Heck, I even liked all 25 of his romantic comedies with Meg Ryan (save Joe vs. the Volcano, of course).

I think it was around Cast Away that I started to get sick of him. It's not even his fault. The media destroyed Tom Hanks. All of the accolades showered upon him, all the Oscar talk for that movie and it ended up being a big disappointment.

One of the major appeals of Tom Hanks during the 1990's was his charm and his seeming ability to stay clear of the normal Hollywood garbage. He seemed...not ABOVE it, but just...not worried by it. Over the past several years, he has seemingly become more and more snarky...more snooty.

And then there's this.

One of the most successful books of the past couple years and he will be playing the main character in Ron Howard's movie adaptation. To be honest, I'm really disappointed. Robert Langdon is more of an Indiana Jones-type character, less sensitive, more rugged. While I read the book (after tearing through Angels & Demons), I certainly did not picture Forrest Gump as the protagonist.

Not only that, but it also creates the unlikeliness of us seeing Angels & Demons come to the silver screen, which (in my not-so-humble opinion) is a superior story. The Da Vinci Code is the sexier pick because of its implications, but story-wise A&D is better.

The box office draw of the book is going to be large enough that you don't really need the mega-star to draw the audience. I would much rather see them go out on a limb and pick someone who will portray the character. We have past examples to draw from: The Firm, The Pelican Brief...heck...just about ANY wildly popular John Grisham novel (except Runaway Jury...that was good). What I'm trying to say is that when you cast a large actor in a role that has been defined in the minds of the readers who read the book, oftentimes, their personality overshadows the characterization that the author attempted to develop in the book.

If they had to have a star, they at least could have selected one who fit the role a bit better. Take your pick:
George Clooney
Hugh Jackman
Russell Crowe
Viggo Mortensen

...and that's just to name a few...

Friday, November 12, 2004

Academy Awards of 2004 (Thus Far)

Since most studios save their best movies for the end of the year (so they can stay fresh in the minds of the Academy voters), oftentimes good movies from earlier in the year get forgotten. The following movies are my thoughts on the five major categories of movies that (as of November 12) had been in theaters thus far this year (and I have seen):

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Honorable Mention: The Notebook, The Incredibles

Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland
Honorable Mention: Brad Pitt, Troy; James Caviezel, The Passion of the Christ; Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Honorable Mention: Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ

Jared and Jerusha Hess, Napolean Dynamite
Honorable Mentions: Before Sunset, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Saved!

James Garner, The Notebook
Honorable Mention: Jamie Foxx, Collateral

Dakota Fanning, Man on Fire
Honorable Mention: Raquel Castro, Jersey Girl

The Incredibles

There are a bunch of movies that are either out now, or coming out that I really want to see and that I think can be really good. I'm really psyched to see Alexander. Ocean's Twelve looks good. I still really want to see Ray. I heard that Jamie Foxx's performance is spectacular.

Past that...I can't really think of anything...

Thursday, November 11, 2004

For Brett

I hate being sick.

I started feeling a little icky yesterday at work. By the end of the day, my neck was achy and my throat hurt. We rented a movie on the way home from work and crawled into bed for the night. Exciting, I know.

To make things worse, the movie we rented was absolute crap. I'm not even going to name it...it was THAT BAD. We turned it off about 15 minutes in and just watched Lost instead.

I woke up today feeling better, but certainly not tip-top.

I rarely get sick, usually about once per year, around this time. Usually, it's worse. I don't know what's up with me this time. Alli was sick last week, so that may have something to do with it, but my immune system is pretty good. The dog woke me up at 3:30 in the morning barking at nothing again.

Not only that, but I drank coffee today (OK...it wasn't really coffee, but Quik Trip French Vanilla cappuccino...hardly coffee...I hate coffee). Just wanted something warm since the temperature today compared to yesterday is about 20 degrees lower. I love cold weather, but it came as a bit of a shock to the system.

Monday, November 08, 2004


I, for one, am glad that the election is over. My guy won, so I am undeniably happy. Both parties ran good campaigns (the Republicans were obviously superior, but that's beside the point), and had John Kerry won, I would have accepted it and moved on. It's not like Kerry would have gotten anything done in a Senate and House where he was outnumbered in both.

I expect that the reaction across the board on the conservative side would have been the same as I just described.

However, as the aftermath of the election moves forward, it is painfully obvious that the liberals aren't happy. Michael Moore has already claimed he will be impeached and not only that, he has posted a map of North America that divides us into two areas - The United States of Canada (all of Canada and the states that voted for Kerry) and Jesus Land (the people who decided the election).

It's funny how liberals stand on the Constitution, but when they lose, they cry like babies and say "the Christians did it!!!" even though discrimination because of religious beliefs is outlawed in just about every place I know.

These so-called "intellectuals" are quick to blame believers for their loss, but guess what...of the 6 billion people on the planet...98% of them believe in a power greater than themselves.

The liberal blogosphere is up in arms following their devastating losses. Across the web, you'll find people who are claiming they are going to spend the next 4 years in Canada, and crying their little eyes out because John Kerry failed to EVER connect with the American public.

If you are a liberal who is looking for some shred of a reason as to why you lost, but don't have any faith in anyone providing logical explanations, check out this one, provided by your haven of liberalism and left-wing thought, the New York Times.

Not that it is any surprise. Kerry has the charisma of a wet blanket. John Edwards - his "charismatic" running mate too often came across as a whiny little baby, pleading with the seasoned politicians to "let him play too". This was blatantly evident in his debate with Dick Cheney. And I don't even like Dick Cheney.

Here's what I have to say to the liberal crybabies who don't think that they can handle another 4 years of Bush:


All of you claim that you're going to do it, just like a bunch of actors claimed that they would move to France if Bush won (*cough cough* Alec Baldwin *cough cough*) and have yet to do so. Just like the rest of the party, they don't have the spine to actually do what they say they are going to do. Liberals do not follow through...what a surprise!!!

My prediction is that out of the thousands of people who claimed they would "leave the country if Bush gets re-elected", maybe 2 will actually leave for 4 years.

I only wish the rest would quit complaining and do the same.


Saw the movie The Incredibles this weekend.

Pixar has done it again. I don't know what it is that they put in the water out at Pixar, but their atmosphere for creativity must be spectacular. I can only imagine that with Steve Jobs as one of the owners, the working environment is pretty cool.

I read that Kevin Smith (a huge superhero fan in his own right) is calling it the best superhero movie ever. While I don't know if I would go that far, it was...well...INCREDIBLE. The voices for the characters were perfect, particularly personified by Smith's buddy Jason Lee as Syndrome, the bad guy in this 1st Incredibles movie (I'm saying first because there is no doubt they'll make another one).

It's not just the voices and dialogue that make this movie genius. It's the concepts and ideas behind the characters and their situations. Some of the things that happen are so out there (in that normal people wouldn't think of them), but they seem so natural, woven into the fabric of the movie so seamlessly that you can't but admire John Lasseter and the folks out there in California for the brilliance they have brought to the field of animated movies.

5 out of 5 stars!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Wrapped and Moving On...

There were a lot of people who thought that it was unlikely that we would be sitting here on Wednesday, knowing exactly who would be President of the United States for the next 4 years.

I'm going to do something that I didn't think I would do.

I'm going to applaud John Kerry.

Kerry did something I NEVER would have expected him to do and that was to concede Ohio without all the provisional ballots counted. It certainly seemed that way conisdering John Edwards spoke earlier ("we will fight for every vote"). What that makes me believe is that the Kerry camp did not want to risk more embarrassment because it is possible that the gap could have widened even more. I'm just speculating, though.

The economy is going to continue to improve (see the stock market reaction to Bush's win) and, hopefully we'll see Bush's promise to reform the tax code.

I'm relieved. I was nervous as to what might happen with Kerry as President. At least now, we know what to expect...

New Orleans: Cesspool of the South

I have to admit, I’m kind of a homer.

I love where I live, Kansas City. I think it is a terrific town with terrific people, great food, strong sports teams, and lots to do. The Country Club Plaza is one of the premier shopping attractions in the country. Kauffman Stadium (where the Royals play) and Arrowhead Stadium (where the Chiefs play) still are amazing facilities, despite being built together in the [late ‘60s – early ‘70s] …whenever. If Question 1 (Bi-State II Tax) passes, we will cement their place in the city for 25 years to come.

I’ve spent the last few days in this toilet called New Orleans, or as many like to call it “The Big Easy”. I like to call it “The Big Smelly” because that it is exactly what it is – a giant cesspool of trash and nastiness. Part of this is due to the fact that it sits well below sea level, protected mostly by levees from the Gulf and the Mississippi River. That’s why the city was so threatened by the hurricanes that pounded the South this summer – once the water would have come over the levees, it would have had nowhere to go, but straight into the city. That’s why all of the cemeteries in the city are above ground…they can’t dig. Same reason that there are not basements in Florida.

What's worse...it's been raining here since Monday, so the humidity and garbage have festered and combined together to coat everything with a thin layer of stank.

Good food, though. Excellent meal at 201. Steak something on lobster/potato somethings with wilted spinach something (much better than it sounds).

Up in the air?

I went to bed last night before the precincts on the west coast had been reported. It was becoming increasingly evident to me as I watched the Fox News Channel last night that there were several states that would not have it together by morning, so I felt confident in my decision to go to bed.

I was right.

However, this morning, we seem much closer to a decision than we did 4 years ago at this time. With Ohio called for the President, he only needs one of 4 outstanding states to get over the 270 electoral college votes. Not only that, but the President has won the first complete majority of the vote since 1988. Up almost 4 million votes nationwide, I predict that we'll see this thing over by the end of the day.

Kerry will likely concede today around 10am. The Bush campaign is declaring victory. One thing is for sure. Over 117 million people in the US voted this year, more than any other election. That is a good thing. I applaud all of the voter registration drives that have gone on this election.

And I have to say, I am breathing easier this morning than I was yesterday. Exit polls (which are crap, by the way) indicated a big win for Kerry. My opinion on that? Another way the liberal media was attempting to take over this election.

But this is America. Anything can happen. We'll watch and see.