Friday, January 28, 2005

If you need further convincing of Tim Bete's wit, check out his Baby Pirate page. Very funny stuff. And now I really can't wait to read his book.
That awesome Polo Ad is a hoax. Does this make it any less awesome? Discuss.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

No, I'm not dead. I have, though, been spending a lot of time (when I'm not working or shoveling snow) playing Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal on the PS2 (I got Grand Theft Auto burnout; it was becoming too much like work: drive here, attend a meeting, kill this person, drive over to another place, blow it up, etc.).

It's really cool because not only does it (R&C:UYA) allow you to blow up robots with lots of insane weapons and has a great sense of humor (the dialog is very funny and just today I witnessed the Courtney Gears -- think robotic Britney Spears, but not too hard -- music video... very funny) it also has this awesome online multiplayer mode (I got the wireless bridge, refurbished so it was cheaper, and set it up. With the right gear, it took less than five minutes to configure, filter the MAC address, etc.). Anyway, if you're ever playing Ratchet and Clank online and you get wasted by Dr. Jiggle then you must really suck because I'm not that good.

I also got in the mail today my review copy of Tim Bete's "In the Beginning... There Were No Diapers: LAughing and Learning in the First Years of Fatherhood". This will be a book I actually read as I read some excerpts that the publisher sent earlier and they were really funny and honest. And not corny funny or rip-off-Dave-Barry funny, but actually honest-to-gosh original humor funny.

A wise man, perhaps Hank Hill, once said of his own parental failures "all my books on parenting were written by comedians and I can't tell when they're being funny and when they're being serious". Well, from what little I've read Bete is both funny and serious, and that's the best combination.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Let the smackdown commence.

Seriously, you'd assume a Bishop would realize that the Church's teaching on contraception in particular or sexual ethics in toto is not something which is mutable -- so I would assume the A(hole)P just got the facts of the story wrong (quelle surprise).

Unless of course the Spanish Bishops were suggesting those infected with HIV and who want to spread it by engaging in immoral behavior wear the latex condoms over their nose and mouth for a period of not less than 20 or 30 minutes. That would be probably more effective at stopping the spread of HIV than wearing them on your ding-dong, and potentially no less morally serious an offense.
"The Pope himself asked us to set you free."

Monday, January 17, 2005

Pac Attack!

Pac Attack!
This is awful, AWFUL. And why is no one calling this a "hate crime". Mark Shea always said, no matter how brutal the offense, it's never a hate crime when it's against Catholics. He seems to have been correct.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

On the other hand, for anyone with small children, the new TMBG DVD "Here Come The ABCs" will be a required purchase. I've seen a few video clips on the Disney Channel (they've been showing "QU" and "Go for G"). This one is going to be seriously cool. I don't know what the exclusive Amazon content will be... and I admit that I am curious... but for under $10 there is no way you could go wrong on this one.
This would be an excellent children's album had the lyricist for the project not made the awful, fatal, terrible mistake and decided that he would be the lead vocalist. This can seriously ruin even the best project -- taking a Grammy-nominated recording (which I guess this is) down to the level of "demo tape" in terms of listenability.

The lyrics are funny and clever and it's a really cool (albeit somewhat obvious) idea but Richard Perlmutter has to have the worst singing voice I've ever heard recorded on a CD that people are supposed to pay money for. Seriously. It's even worse than my own voice -- and I don't invoke that particular qualification lightly. He sounds like someone who is not a singer that I might have (accidentally) hit with my car, who is bleeding in the street, but is still trying to sing anyway: you just want to say "Stop it! Please just die peacefully!" but he keeps right on singing.
If you haven't yet, check out Big Idea's "VeggieTales: Sumo of the Opera", which was produced during the period where they moved from Chicago to Nashville under less than ideal circumstances (appropriately enough the three stories teach lessons in perseverance). It's definitely their most adventurous, daring, musically interesting, and funny episode yet. It's also their most "Catholic" episode (love that humorous and faithful -- rather, fanciful -- flannelgraph of St. Patrick's story -- apparently, and we learn this from the "making of" featurette, which is just one of about a dozen special features on the disc, Mike Nawrocki has been reading his Church history).

The DVD did not play very well in one of our DVD players (the first frames of each chapter were jittery, until I stopped and started it again -- as feature-packed as their DVDs are at this price point, ten dollars, with at least three different audio tracks, and so on, something like this was bound to happen sooner or later), so I emailed Big Idea tech support at 5:30pm on the Sunday before Christmas. I had a reply less than two hours later telling me they were working on the problem and since it may be a few weeks before they had a fixed version of the DVD ready to ship they could send me free of charge a VHS tape of the episode to watch. Since the DVD was working fine in our other DVD players, I declined, but none the less told them just how impressed I was by their fast response and willingness to put themselves out to make sure our family could enjoy the stories on the DVD in some form or another.

Anyway, I strongly recommend "Sumo of the Opera" for no other reason that you'll probably never laugh so hard at a parody of "Rocky" that's been blended with the "Mikado" and then acted out by vegetables. "Eye of the Tiger" meshes eerily well with Gilbert and Sullivan....

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Unsurprisingly, this interview with Sister Helen Prejean on NPR only reinforces the sad observation that the concept "proportionality" exists nowhere in Sister Helen's world.

Notice how in the first sentence of the intro, Melissa Block explains that Prejean believes the death sentence to be morally wrong (which is debateable, though not given the straw man of a "pro-death penalty" argument Prejean erects later in the interview) and unconstitutional. Whuzzah-huh? I'd love to know her opinion on abortion, but I doubt she's given the subject much reflection, which only makes the title of her new book all the more offensive (morally offensive).

I do, however, find revealing (at least of her own personal motivations), her quaint, minstrel-show-inspired, Baez-esque impression of the (now late) southern (and retarded, by Prejean's description) African-American man (and convicted murderer) she counseled (three minutes and 10 seconds into the interview): "Sistuh Helen, I don't think I gonna eat dat, dat meal with dat Warden ... They gon' kill me!"

I don't know if it's JUSTICE that motivates Sister Helen as much as it is her own white-liberal sense of guilt which is, at its very heart, a form of racism. And it's only every so often, as we saw in the case with Joan Baez, that evidence of that underlying racism leaks out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Schnappi das Kleine Krokodil

I bet this song would be even more fun on crocodile schnapps.

AltaVista's BabelFish translates the lyrics thusly:

"I am Schnappi the small crocodile come from Egypt, am located directly at the Nile first lay I in an egg then schni schna snatched myself I freely

schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch

I am Schnappi the small crocodile have sharp teeth and of it completely beautifully much I snatch myself which I snatch can snatch too because I so well can

I am Schnappi the small crocodile I snatch gladly that am my favourite play I creep to the mummy ran and show it as I to snatch can

I am Schnappi the small crocodile and of snatch war I not too much I bite the Papi briefly there in the leg and then then I sleep simply a."

(I guess in Germany you can get away with playing all that bad language in verse 2 on the radio).

Excellent synopsis of the Schnappi phenomenon over at POF. Unsurprisingly (and to which the various Schnappi remixes will attest), this is the most original piece of music Germany has produced in ... when did Wagner die again?

Sunday, January 09, 2005

"He's smiling because he likes apples!"

He likes apples.

(The previous picture featured a person frowning angrily because "he didn't like apples.")
Snow Fun!

Snow Fun!
For my money, Fred Armisen is the most talented player in the current SNL cast. I guess he's in "Anchorman", too, which makes me just want to see that movie all the more.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Poems by Louis Jenkins.
Create your own conspiracy theory!

Is Starbucks Black Apron just one of many masonic aprons -- perhaps George Washington's apron? Note the similarities between the round emblem at the top of Washington's apron and at the top of this apron.

Just a little food for thought.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Whee! I guess now you can download the "Robot Love" album from MSN in Windoze Media Player format (160kbps).

MSN Music

While I was there, checking out my page (click button above), I found the list of similar artists (similar to me, I presume). The samples from the collection of guitar- and Casio-driven pop songs by Nobukazu Takemura is particularly priceless.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Everybody welcome superfriend Britain back to the airwaves. Welcome back!

I can't wait until I unlock this (it'll be a while, though, as I'm still putting around Los Santos in my pimp suit and WWI-era German helmut). It'll be like Christmas all over again.

Monday, January 03, 2005

If anyone needs a brand new Belkin 802.11g Wireless Router and wants to help me out, cruise over to this eBay auction o' mine. I just had it out of the box overnight while I tried to make it work like a wLAN bridge with my Netgear wireless router (turns out is can only be a wLAN bridge with another Belkin router, but it works just fine as a primary wireless 802.11g 54m router, which is what it was really designed to do). I can't get the Netgear wireless bridge until I sell this thing, which means I can't take my PS2 online until I get rid of this (sad, I know). So if you are in the market for one of these, check it out. If you check the auction and it's over and didn't sell, drop me an email. It'll probably still be available and I'll probably be very willing to part with it.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

As a working parent, you kind of get gypped when it comes to experiencing all the cute and wonderful and smart things your kids do. So here, for my own sake, I'm writing down a few of the things from this past week before I forget them:

On Friday he arranged the magnetic letters on his chalkboard in alphabetical order, and put the numbers in descending numerical order.

He started drawing glasses on his cartoon faces, this morning in Church.

He told me today that I should read the "silly book over there" and learn how to make the silly face (making face scrunched with tongue sticking out). I had no idea what he meant until he showed me the book.

He's memorized all the words to "Birdhouse in Your Soul", "Doctor Worm," "Don't Let's Start," "The Statute Got Me High," to name just a few of the TMBG songs he knows, and he has memorized the track order on Disc 1 of their collection, "Dial-A-Song".

His love for all things Pac-Man deepened.

He knows what letter many, many words start with. Even words you wouldn't think to ask about.

And that's only one small sampling of the things from this week I hope never to forget. Memory is cruel, though. I always seem to forget the things I want to remember until that worst possible moment when they're brought back for some awful ironic juxtaposition. Regardless, I love the little guy more than anything I can think of. Meanwhile, the search for the library's "If you give a Moose a Muffin" book continues. Only now we're looking for our other Nintendo Wavebird as well. He's got to have a stash someplace, but I'm not even sure he knows where it is.
Back from the Break

Okay, so I never really left. I spent the past week indoors, mostly, playing Playstation 2 and recovering from the holidays. You wouldn't think that just preparing for Christmas and spending time with the families would tire you out, but it does (and somewhat paradoxically, renews you at the same time). We got a new dishwasher unexpectedly, too. 'Xander's favorite toy from Christmas, apart from his new red wagon is one of those plug n' play Ms. Pac Man games. I though it was broken when it stopped working last Monday, but I just plugged it in with new batteries (which I tried on Monday) and now it works. Go figure.

"Katamari Damacy" for the PS2 is a thoroughly enjoyable game. It showed up on a lot of "best of" lists for 2004, and deservedly so. Check that out. My sister Maria got me "Taiko Drum Master", too, and 'Xander and I have been having a lot of fun with that as well.

I've also really been enjoying that murder simulator (which I didn't ask for, but my sister Monica got for me). In addition to being a murder simulator, it's also a paramedic simulator, a fire-fighter simulator, a bike-riding simulator, a dancing simulator, and many other kinds of simulator. It's really remarkable how much detail Rockstar Games put into making a parallel version of the state of California. My favorite, of course, is the nearly one dozen different radio stations you can choose from as you drive around: most playing music I was listening to in 1993 (when the game takes place). Seriously: every song featured on the "Master Sounds" station (mostly JBs and Maceo and the Macks) I bought on CD compilations in the early 1990s. And nothing takes me back to the days of riding in Karyl's 1989 Honda Civic like driving around the game universe listening to "Been Caught Stealing" by Jane's Addiction. Anyway, it's definitely not one for the kids and all of the things you do in the game that are so much fun (I thought I was having fun when I found the chainsaw, but THEN I found the flamethrower) sound thoroughly awful when you try to explain them to someone else (though I would be grateful if someone could tell me what the bouqet of flowers or the blind man's cane are for).

Anyway, that was my break. I didn't really do anything productive (except spend the whole week with my family, for which I'm very, very gateful), and I'm actually pretty okay with that.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

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Diary of a Faux Journalist