Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Enquiring minds want to know

Since I was a wee lad, I've been a person that asked questions, tested ideas and questioned authority.

It must have been around 2nd grade. I got sent to the principles office for questioning a teachers understanding of the universe. I stood my ground because I knew that I was right and she was wrong. You see, the order of the planets is not fix. One planet, Pluto, has an elliptical orbit and is periodically closer to the sun the Uranus. Not more than a few months before this, this silly second grader had read that in the newspaper. Silly teach, how dare you question me! [evil laugh]

I cracked my first network in Junior High. Given myself super admin authority and creating a small gaming universe to keep my attention during free time.

In High School, I dabbled in Speech team. I found a category that suited me to a tee. Discussion. In this category, a group of 6-9 students are put in a group and given a task and as a group, solve the problem or develop a sound strategy for solving the problem. Here's where I excelled. I was very good at taking an idea and testing it. Kicking the tires and seeing if it had legs. Why is this useful? Because when someone in the group is trying to be in charge, the others tend to follow the guy that get you to the end.

In college, I first attending a Midwestern Lutheran private college. Why would someone like me do this, you ask? Well, the money was right. It was cheaper to go here then the U of M. And besides, on my campus visits, there were a lot of hot girls. Be honest. How much thinking do you think an 18 year old boy really does that isn't about girls. I said be honest.

While attending this school, I drifted between many subjects, never really finding my niche. I enjoy many things, but mostly, I've always enjoyed exercising my noodle. I came across a line of classes on J-term that really got me going. It was a class called, "Science and Religion" and was taught by the religion department. Me, in a religion class? Its true. I enjoyed it so much, I eventually decided I wanted to major in Religion. I know. Everyone that knew me was shocked.

I had discover that religion departments were just about turning out good Lutherans, but could be about something completely different...philosophy religion. We studied what made religious thought what it was and in particular what shaped religious thought. Whoa! That's not where this was going...but I felt I needed to let you know.

In that class I mentioned earlier, I found a couple of books that really spoke to me. It told things like I thought the should be. Not that book, these books, "The Consequences of Pragmatism", by Richard Rorty and "Structure of Scientific Revolution", by Thomas Kuhn. These books didn't change me as much as they helped me figure out who I was.

Pragmatism is a concept by which you evaluate an action by its outcomes. Some things are simple, if I whack my head on the keyboard, my head will hurt. Other things aren't so easy.

After all this explaining, I'm going to add to my repertoire some questions that hopefully someone out there can help answer for me. Since I like to test theories and really dive into subjects so that I might hope to someday understand others view points, I just need a little help sometimes with the details.

Groups like PeTA strongly encourage everyone to become a vegan. A vegan being someone that doesn't eat any animal products. I really want to know, if the entire world stops eating meat, whats going to happen to the cows? Seriously. If farmers no longer need to raise cows to produce milk and beef, the millions of cows on the planet will no longer be needed. What is the plan for dealing with them? Have you met a cow? They don't do well without a farmer. The have no natural defenses and are really quite dumb. Will we be letting the free to roam around until they are some animals lunch? What's gonna happen to all the cows? (Chickens too?)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

There is no place like Vegas. There is no place like Vegas

It is snowing. In April. Please, someone explain to me this concept of

Its the end of April and currently 32 degrees. I'm finding it
hilarious that the free movie play at the Chateau today is Ice Age.
How fitting.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Keep our democracy strong

I have never really written much about this here. Didn't know if anyone really cared, but its gotten to a point that even my little voice might touch another person and bring attention to the fact that the electronic voting systems being built are just another boondoggle being shoved down the tax payers throats.

I just spotted this post on Slashdot, it summarizes an article on the Huffington Post. This article was about an interview with a representative of the Premier Corporation, a spin-off of the Diebold company, that now manufactures some of the voting machines used today.

To some this up, more money and engineering goes into developing ATM machines then the voting machines. Yes, we the people of the United States of American invest more money in boxes to distribute cash then we do on boxes that count our ballets. Cash > Freedom.

I realize that there are many issues that people think are very important. Healthcare, the economy and terrorism seem to top a lot of lists, but nothing really matters if our underlying freedoms and democracy disappear.

I, personally, find this whole torrid affair of giving billions of dollars to a couple of huge corporations to be criminal and lacking any respect for the foundation of this nation or the people.

If your local election officials start talking about buying electronic voting systems, please do the research and then let the officials know that these machines aren't ready. Its a complete waste of money. Read the articles I've attached and the read the ones they are linked to. You should see soon enough...these machines are worthless.

At times, it seems only the geeks that read the tech sites know of this problem. When I've talked to people about this, many have no idea what I'm talking about. There is great disbelief that it could be as bad as the geeks are saying, but watch the videos. The machines can be hacked in seconds, yes, seconds. The used the standard key that ever office has to open the cheap file cabinets. Yes, that one.

With no audit trail, there is no way to verify that a machine had been tampered with. Want Obama/Clinton/McCain/Nader/O'Brien to win? Rig the machine. It ain't hard. You thought hanging chads were a problem, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's WKRP in Cincinnati

It is true. I'm getting old, atleast by TV standards. You see, I remember when Saturday Night Live was really funny, M*A*S*H was the show that really made you laugh and cry, Magnum P.I. was about the coolest guy ever and even more important Les Nesman showed the world how to believe in walls that weren't really there.

NapWarder over at "Chronicles of a SAHM" recently did her Thursday Thirteen about shows she wished would come back. Since OhCaptain is the clever type that just can't do an ordinary comment, I went and did some research into a show listed that I dearly miss and really think the youth of today should be forced to watch in retrospect. WKRP in Cincinnati.

If you are too young to remember the show, you really should put the episodes in your NetFlix cue and give them a watch. If you were bigger then a zygot back then and didn't watch it, its OK, you can start now. This show is that funny and for the most part, pretty timeless.

The story of WKRP chronicles the life and times of the 16th most popular radio station in Cincinnati. There are only 18 stations in the market. Here are the main characters:

  • Gary Sandy as Andy Travis, program director. You get the feeling that he is way too talented to be where he is.
  • Gordon Jump as Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson, general manager - yes, he later becomes the Maytag repair man. Rich and incredibly naive and clumsy but you find out that deep down he's a man of priniciples and has a heart of gold.
  • Loni Anderson as Jennifer Marlowe, receptionist. About the HOTTEST receptionist on the planet, well, before she had work done. She runs the show. Don't let anyone fool you.
  • Richard Sanders as Les Nessman, news director. Les is old school AM radio news. He's got the hog markets down pat. Too bad this is a Top 40/Rock station.
  • Tim Reid as Gordon "Venus Flytrap" Sims, nighttime disc jockey. Hip, cool and always lookin like, well, a pimp. I firmly believe that he is "The Lady's Man" from SNL.
  • Frank Bonner as Herbert R. "Herb" Tarlek Jr., sales manager. Bad suits, this used car sales man is always trying to have a affair. Too bad he's not much of a salesman.
  • Jan Smithers as Bailey Quarters, traffic and continuity director. Smart and beautiful, she just lacks confidence. It is true, I had a crush on her.
  • Howard Hesseman as Johnny "Dr. Johnny Fever" Caravella, morning disc jockey. When of the greatest characters in television history. He's right up there with the Reverend Jim Ignatowski. Anyone remember him too?

There is no single "Star" of the show. This is an ensamble cast. Each playing their part and playing it well. They struggle everyday to turn this two bit operation into something more. Luck is not on their side.

I'm a sucker for shows that can be both hilarious and moving in the same episode. Two episodes come to mind that demostrate this effectively. In one episode, a group of right wing religious zealots attempt to stifle the music selection on the radio station, this infuriates the DJ's and in the end the Big Guy puts his foot down and stands for his priniciples. The other episode that is really moving was based in a real life iniciden.

There was a time when big concerts at stadiums has "Festival Seating." When you bought your ticket, no seats were assigned, much like going to the park to see a concert. This works OK when no one is that excited to be in the front row. But when the who were touring in the late 70's, they were a big deal and EVERYONE wanted to be in the first row. 11 people died on 12/3/79 outside Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, OH trying to get into the concert. The mad rush for the front had caused a panic.

The best part of shows like this, isn't the gloom and doom of these things, but the never getting too stuck in a formula to mix it up once and while.

My second favorite episode and some dang funny stuff, is an episode called "Fish Story". The Big Guy decides to dress Herb up as the station mascot, a carp. Herb's not happy. But the funniest thing to watch is the other side of the day. To help the local law enforcement demonstrate the dangers of consuming alcohol, they decide to do an on air demonstration. A State Trooper comes in and the proceed to give alcohol to Johnny and Venus, on air. Little did anyone know that since Johnny was a chronic boozer, his reaction time just continues to IMPROVE throughout the entire demo. The more he drinks, the better he becomes. Funny stuff.

One of the funniest episodes in the history of all television is my last one for you. "Turkeys Away" is still one of the funniest bits I have ever seen, period, hands down. I don't think written words will do this justice. Just watch for yourself.

You got any memories of WKRP? Can you remember the Reverend Jim? Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Let me think - Best Baseball Movies

Robert over at "Thoughts of a Father" suggested that I write a post about my favorite baseball movies. I didn't forget about this, would you believe its been in the 70's here in the frozen north? All you southern readers out there may not know about this, but midwesterners lose their minds the first couple of days it hits 70 degrees. We leave our homes and go outside in the morning and we don't return until sunset. Its also the time we see our neighbors again. At least here in Minnesota, we don't see our neighbors for 4 months every year.

Oh, but I digress.

I think its important to understand something that I think makes for a truly great baseball movie. The actors need to actually be able to play baseball. I can't emphasize this enough. Some of the movies most commonly on the best baseball movies truly suck in my opinion because the baseball is just so unbelievable.

The movie Major League is a very good movie. Its actually a movie I quote quite often at a baseball game. My biggest complaint and the reason it will never be a great movie is some of the actors really suck at baseball. The bright spots in this movie were Corbin Bernsen, and sometimes Charlie Sheen. Much of the rest of the cast just wasn't believable.

But I will never stop saying "Give him the heater." and "Its too high."

Rookie of the Year, Angels in the Outfield and Little Big League are movies that are close to my heart. I loved the stories. Each has a magic quality that has allowed me to watch them time and again. Little Big League will always find its way into the top 5 baseball movies because...wait for it...wait for it...it features the greatest baseball team, my beloved Minnesota Twins.

An actor that comes to mind that really looks he knows how to play the game is Tom Selleck, unfortunately, his movies about baseball haven't been very good. I don't know of any other actor that looked he could jack one out of the park.

Of all the actors that have ever played in a movie featuring baseball, no other actor compares to Kevin Costner. I really don't believe he is the greatest actor of all time, but as far as baseball movies go, 3 of my all time favorite baseball movies he was in.

These are my 3 favorite baseball movies of all time and look, each one starts Kevin Costner. One of the qualities that made these movies so good was the fact that actors in these movies actually looked like they could play baseball.

My favorite movie of the 3 is For Love of the Game. If you love baseball and a great story, this movie is for you. Kevin Costner plays major league pitcher whose had a Hall of Fame career and is looking at the end of his days in the bigs. Costner's performance on the mound is fantastic. His mechanics were solid and the productions understanding of the nuances of the game were spot on.

I really appreciated the way this movie respected the game of baseball. The game itself was an integral part of the story. I won't go into any spoilers here, but many of the traditions of a game of this importance were not forgotten. The little details were not missed.

So there you have it, my favorite baseball movie of all time is For Love of the Game.

You have one you think is better? Let me know. You think Kevin Costner sucks as an actor? I'll agree that he doesn't seem to be able to play a different character, but when his character is a baseball player...it works great! What are your favorite baseball movies?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The rear view mirror

Somedays I just love the view in the mirror.

Ain't it beautiful?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

If I could save time in a bottle...

I'm back to missing writing. I've had so many really cool ideas for post lately. The big problem - these ideas strike me when I'm walking to my car, or driving to the school or sitting on the shuttle at work. Not really blogging time. Any of these ideas sound fun?

  1. Posts about cool things I figured out to do with my phone
  2. Posts about why certain baseball movies are good and other are bad
  3. How-to tech questions answer
  4. What is the difference between [insert topic]?
  5. Why I prefer a toasted bologna sandwich to an untoasted one

OhCountess is getting increasingly more busy with her grad school stuff. This week she was teaching classes in the area English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms. Its sounded like great stuff. It doesn't always dawn on a caveman like myself that someone that doesn't know how to speak much English wouldn't know how to tell a doctor what is wrong.

The kids continue to amaze me, every single day.

We got a letter from OhPrincess' (8) school that at her age, its acceptable for her to be home alone for short stretches. Neither the Mrs or I could remember how old we were when Mom and Dad left us there unattended. She's really maturing into a fine young lady. We are seriously considering making this a privilege for her. She can get in the house just fine by herself, so that's no problem. We just worry that with no one to say 'homework time'...will it ever get done. Again. when did my little girl get this big?

OhPrincess2 (4) is getting this alphabet/reading thing down pat. She has such a hunger for it. And her verbal skills just make our jaws drop. Tonight, after we got back from Targe`t Boutique, OhCountess has gotten the girls in bed. OhPrincess2 gets out of bed and comes in the kitchen where I'm putting away our newly acquired booty and says

"Dad, when you are done putting away all the stuff we got at the store, do you
think it would be possible for you to come up stairs and tuck me in?"
What have you done with my baby girl? She starts kindergarten this fall and can compose an interrogative sentence like this? I'm befuddled!

I'm beginning to hit my stride at my new job. The walk to the car is not nearly as gruesome as it was before, but this rain/snow crap stuff has got to go! I've discovered I really don't mind the shuttle to the park and ride. Its actually not bad at all. Less than 10 minutes in all.

The worst thing about this past week - I was actually sick again. I've barely been sick in the last 15 years and now - I'm sick twice in a month. The Mrs figures its because I'm actually working around other humans and again, my office is at a major hospital. Seems to be a lot of sick people there.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a comment from Jim over at the BusyDad blog. He talked about how he was a sucker for anything with a good Dad theme. I'm pretty much the same way. If you've got a story about a Dad that loves his kids...I'm there! This comment also made me want to mention what I think is the ALL-TIME GREATEST Good Dad song. I'm not a rap music fan at all and for the most part, most pop music makes me nauseous, but Will Smith's "Just the Two of Us" says it likes it is. The thing I liked about it was he held nothing back. It wasn't "macho" but he's telling his son that no matter what happens, he's all that matters. Ain't that why we are here?

Is that?

Yes. It is snowing.

Welcome to global warming. The earth has never been warmer then it is
right now. Except in Minnesota or where prohibited by law.

If this had been an actual scientific fact it would be provable beyond
a doubt. I officially doubt.

Monday, April 07, 2008

This isn't funny any more

We woke up today to find snow on the ground. I'm no longer impressed.
Its April!!!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Last night, I got to watch my one and only guaranteed Twins game on TV. OhCountess and I wait with anticipation for this most sacred of events...The MN Twins opening day.

This was about the oddest day I can remember to start the Twins season.

Minnesota was enduring a winter storm. Nothing major. The ground was warm enough to do a lot melting, but everything is white again and everything is covered, once again, in ice.

Another interesting twist to the first day was the Twins opponent. The team with the longest name, The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The new home team for a long time Twin, Torii Hunter.

Now, I don't blame him for leaving. If you double my salary (and I was already making millions), I'd play football for the Packers. But it was still sad seeing him in another uniform.

Opening day for the Twins was strange in other ways. Johan Santana was in a Mets uniform and not in Minnesota. Losing the best pitcher in baseball was pretty hard to take, until yesterday. In the trade for Santana, we got a prospect named Carlos Gomez. Remember that name!

OhPrincess2 had a tough time last night. She wanted to watch something else on the TV or at least play the Wii. Absolutely not. Tonight is Dad's night. Sorry for being selfish, but I only get the TV guarantee on opening day, or every single playoff game the Twins are in. How many nights a year is that?

The other weird thing about yesterdays game. I could have gone. Remember, I have tickets to EVERY Twins home game. Sometimes living here sucks. My brother used the tickets. At least they went to someone that can enjoy them. If you get tickets from me, no going home early. I expect my seat to be occupied for the duration of the game. Plan for the traffic at the end. Its not worth leaving early to get out early to hear John Gordon screaming about a comeback win. I'd rather be screaming in my seat.

Gomez had a great game. Hernandez looked like a seasoned veteran and had an excellent start. Neshek was back in form pitching that amazing junk to set up Nathan striking out Hunter in the 9th. The Twins bats did what they did best, lots of small ball, stealing bases, advancing the runner and putting the team in a position to win. Gawd!!! I love this team!!!

Final Score Twins 3, Angels 2

Twins Win! Twins Win! Twins Win!

Life is beautiful.