Jan 262008

Whew…six and a half months since Lea and I had a “real date.” That’s too long. Insert standard lament and assertion of need to do better here.

Thai food at Surin in Madison was up first tonight. Both my nam tok beef and Lea’s red snapper were delicious. We also bookended the meal with martinis, for which Surin is quickly building a positive reputation. To start, I had a classic dry and she an island martini, and we both had dark chocolate martinis for dessert. Our before-dinner drinks were nice, but those dessert drinks were unbelievable. (And I don’t even usually like sweet drinks.)

Then it was off to the cinema. We almost left because the line looked painful, but I’m glad we stayed. Both of us adored Juno. I would have thought it impossible for a movie to be so uproariously sassy and still fundamentally sweet. And the casting and acting are uniformly outstanding. Ellen Page‘s performance is the obvious kudo, but I also particularly enjoyed J.K. Simmons as her father.

I don’t know Diablo Cody, who wrote Juno, but I do have a bit of a special fanhood for her. Jeremy of afterglide, with whom I formerly battled PepsiCo, introduced me to her blog right about the time her fame was beginning to move beyond the “regional” (Minneapolis-St. Paul) level. Lea and I both guffawed through Candy Girl, and I read about the comings-along of Juno with interest.

Now, “all of a sudden,” she lives in L.A., she’s a lock for having written the highest-grossing independent film of all time, and she is the “Oscar-nominated” Diablo Cody. Wow. It’s neat to feel like I watched her get famous, even though I was pretty late to the show.

She’s wickedly funny, and based on her blog, book, and now film, I’ll say that anything with her name attached to it is worth burning your pop culture oil for (as long as the NC-17 range on your “taste” meter is well short of the red).

We made excellent use of five hours tonight.

 Posted by at 10:45 pm
Jan 252008
  • The happiest nation in the world is Denmark.
  • Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli and Howard Cunningham are the only two characters to appear in every single episode of Happy Days.
  • The “Spruce Goose” is made of birch.
  • The longest non-coined and nontechnical word in the English language remains that grade-school chestnut, antidisestablishmentarianism. The longest technical term is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
  • All of the gold mined in human history would fit in a single cube, 66 feet on a side.
  • Elephants, dolphins, chimpanzees, and orangutans know they are looking at themselves in a mirror.
  • The Indian chili Naga Jolokia is the hottest pepper in the world, measuring 1,040,000 Scoville heat units. That’s 130 times hotter than the hottest jalapeño.
  • William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States, held the office for only one month. He caught a cold at his inauguration that developed into pneumonia and pleurisy, which killed him.
  • As of this writing, 271 planets outside our solar system have been detected. Almost all are gas giants like Jupiter.
  • Barbie‘s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
 Posted by at 8:00 pm
Jan 242008

When Six Feet Under ended, we dropped HBO (literally ten minutes after the final episode).  The main reason was that I never wanted to be so involved with a television show again.  It was a calendar-clearing institution.  If it’s not bleeding or burning, it can wait until the show’s over.

I didn’t realize it until this week, but I said goodbye to serial television then too.  The evidence resides on my digital video recorder:  the first two episodes of Terminator:  The Sarah Connor Chronicles, unviewed and almost two weeks old.  It was heavily advertised on a couple of web sites I frequent, and I loved the Terminator movies, so I set it up to record.

Despite good reviews and word-of-mouth from someone whose assessment of such things I trust, apparently I can’t be bothered.  I think it’s been on two more times since then, and I didn’t record those, so what’s the point?

 Posted by at 10:55 pm
Jan 242008

“A President can no more stimulate the economy in the short run than you can make a child grow a foot in a week.” – Russell Roberts

We’ve been here before. Seven summers ago, was it? Got some “rebates” then, we did. Hey, it’s a check with our names on it. Not like we’re going to throw it in the shredder.

But it did nothing to “stimulate the economy.” It was taking a bucket of water from the deep end of a swimming pool and pouring it in the shallow end, to borrow another marvelous analogy from the above column.

They shouldn’t have it to “give back” to us in the first place. Private citizens drive (or “stimulate,” if you wish) the economy, and the more money they have, the more ability they have to do so, and…ah, the hell with it.

You know, I started to write an impassioned plea for meaningful budget and tax reform, but what is the point? No one with a good plan can win the presidency. No congressional contingent with a good plan can possibly pass it. Too many voters are too accustomed to sucking that tit. Do it for me, mama. I can’t do it for myself. I hurt. Move to help me, government.

Remember that scene near the end of A Clockwork Orange in which Alex is fed his “eggiwegs”? He came by his state rather differently, of course, but it’s still what I think of every time I read/hear of a new government program.

How much longer can we feed this monster?

 Posted by at 9:14 pm
Jan 232008

So many of these things float around. I try not to use them too much, but it’s a good night for it. I’m tired, and plus I particularly liked this one.

Boosted from Mrs. Chili, who boosted from Tense Teacher:

1. Are you taller than your best friend?
I am taller than Lea. My best male friend Charles is slightly taller than I am.

2. Do you have a favorite type of pen?
I carry a Cross Century II in royal blue. Black ink; fine ballpoint.

3. Look at your planner; what are were your plans for January 15th?
I had a status meeting at 1:30.

4. What color are your toenails usually?
Toenail color.

5. What was the last thing you highlighted?
Couldn’t tell you. I’m not much of a highlighter.

6. What color are the curtains in your bedroom?
There are no curtains in my bedroom. The treatments at the top are purplish.

7. What color are the seats in your car?

8. Have you ever had a black and white cat?
Sort of. While in college, I worked at a bookstore that had store cats, and one of those was black and white.

9. What is the last thing you put a stamp on?
The electric bill payment.

10. Do you know anyone who lives in Japan?
I don’t think so.

11. Why did you withdraw cash from the ATM the last time?
A week or so ago.

12. Last baby you held?
Alex and Melissa’s youngest, Rachel.

13. Can you spell well?

14. Do you like cinnamon toothpaste?
No. I like actual cinnamon, but I don’t much care for cinnamon-flavored anything.

15. How fast have you driven in a car before?
147 mph. Second-stupidest single act of my entire life.

16. Pick one: Miami Hurricanes or Florida Gators?
Gators. The Hurricanes are a bunch of thugs.

17. Last time you went to Six Flags?
Long time. 1989 or 1990.

18. Do you have any wallpaper in your house?
Nope. Total absence of such was high on the priority list when we planned this house eight years ago.

19. Closest thing to you that is yellow?
A weather radio.

20. Last person who gave you a business card?
A Ford salesperson.

21. Who was the last person you wrote a check or money order to?

22. Closest framed picture to you?
A picture of the boys in the recliner together, laughing and about to clasp hands.

23. Last time you had someone cook for you?
Lea is cooking for me right now.

24. Have you ever felt you weren’t good enough?
Certainly. The trick is distinguishing between what I should continue to improve upon, and what I should pursue serenity with.

25. How many emails do you get in your inbox daily (excluding spam)?
Home and work? 60 or 70.

26. Last time you received flowers?
Does the flower on my tuxedo at my wedding count?

27. What’s one thing you live for?
Doing what I say I will do.

28. Do you play air guitar?

29. Has anyone ever proposed to you?
No. Eh, kind of. Lea and I discussed the logistics of marriage before I proposed to her.

30. Do you take anything in your coffee?
Once in a great while I’ll have milk and sugar, but I usually drink it black. I only drink coffee four months or so out of the year.

31. Do you have any Willow Tree figurines?
I don’t know what that is, so almost certainly not.

32. How many books have you read in the last year?
20, maybe?

33. Last person you spoke to from high school?

34. Last time you used hand sanitizer?
Probably just before the last time I ate in the car. A month ago?

35. Would you like to learn to play the drums?
Yeah, I guess. Lots ahead of that on my list, though.

36. What color are the blinds in your living room?

37. Have you ever developed your own film?

38. Last thing you read in the newspaper?
I last held a newspaper on Christmas Day, and I don’t remember anything I read.

39. What was the last pageant or play you attended?
Nathan’s Christmas program at school.

40. What is the last place you bought pizza from?
Domino’s. It’s hardly manna, but the boys enjoy it, and it’s a mindless trigger for Daddy to pull on girls’ night out.

41. Have you ever worn a crown?
Sure, at Burger King.

42. What is the last thing you stapled?
Something for Nathan, probably.

43. Did you ever drink clear Pepsi?
Crystal Pepsi. I tasted it. I didn’t like it.

44. Are you ticklish?
Yes, but my ticklishness has waned somewhat.

45. Last time you saw fireworks?
New Year’s Eve.

46. Last time you had a Krispy Kreme doughnut?
Three months ago, maybe.

47. Who is the last person that left you a message, and you actually returned it?
Lea left me voice mail at work today, but it did not require a response.

48. Last time you parked under a carport?
Probably at Dad’s old house, so several years ago.

49. Do you have a black dog?
I have one black dog, and one black and white dog.

50. Can you give one reason why David Caruso is allowed to keep acting?
I don’t know who that is, so I have no opinion.

51. Are you an aunt or uncle?
Yes, but I don’t make anybody call me “Uncle.”

52. Who has the most gorgeous eyes that you know of?
Lea. Her eyes always smile.

53. Last time you saw a semi truck?
Three hours ago, on the way home from work.

54. Do you remember Ugly Kid Joe?

55. Do you have a little black dress?

 Posted by at 7:33 pm