Thursday, November 30, 2006

French fries or French kissing?

The joys of getting my news from reading the paper through the vending machine. Today's Chicago Sun-Times features a huge banner headline proclaiming "There is a God." Next to it was a large picture of disgraced former Illinois Governor George Ryan. Apparently, George Ryan is God. Looking a little closer, it says, "A Sneed exclusive, George Ryan says... There is a God." Ah, so George Ryan is the pre-eminent theologian and philosopher of the era...

In other Chicago news, Barak Obama and Ludacris held a joint summit at Northwestern University on AIDS. I'm not making this up.

This week's theme:
Oh the places I've been!

For a few years, my parents were really into picking a random state and going there. One year, we did Westmoreland, Virgina. It was a nice place, although a little... rustic. While we were there, we went to the birthplace of George Washington, which oddly enough is just down the street from the birthplace of Robert E. Lee. I suppose that since I'm reading Battle Cry of Freedom, I should appreciate the deep historical connection. Maybe the joke is too high-brow.

On to the news:

Kazahstani journalist makes a documentary about America

A spray-on condom?
(I have neither the time nor the energy to make this stuff up)

Blind 94-year-old woman bowls a 244 game
(This is only funny because when I bowl, I rarely break 100)

Bright, shiny objects:

Would you like fries with that?
(I took a similar picture of myself with Ronald a few years ago)

10 seasons of Friends in 90 seconds
(The one where it all makes sense)

Today's random "next blog":

A couple blogs about their trip around the world
(Why not, after all... they also are recently engaged)

Today's strange anniversary:

November 30, 1983 - Radio Shack announces Tandy Model 2000 computer (80186 chip). That's what we use here at FIF central.

Fun fact of the day:

Sheriff came from Shire Reeve. During early years of feudal rule in England, each shire had a reeve who was the law for that shire. When the term was brought to the United States it was shortned to Sheriff.

And finally:

They start so young!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Et cum spiri-220

It's time for our Tuesday look around the world to see what's going on. Problem is that it's Wednesday.
  1. Odd celebrity marriage doesn't stand the test of time. Or four months.
  2. Snoop Dogg arrested, yet again
  3. Al-Qaeda denounces the Pope's visit to Turkey. Because I was waiting p all night to see if they would be for it or against it. (Whoever runs Al-Qaeda's PR department should be fired.)
  4. International super-group may break up due to lead singer leaving the band.
In other words, nothing new is going on.

This week's theme:
Oh the places I've gone!

Today, I give you one of my favorite places in the world: Frankenmuth, Michigan. This was always the family vacation to look forward to in the summer. It's really just a little tourist trap town with a Bavarian theme. All that you really do is eat and shop. We would stay here, eat here (or here), and shop here.

My wife and I even went there for some of our honeymoon.

On to the news:

Twelve year old gets bartending license in England
(They're starting younger and younger)

Kim Jong-Il can't have an iPod
(This means he and I will be the only two people in the world without one. But he'll be so ronery...)

Bright, shiny objects:

Street Fighter, the later years
(ever wonder what happened to Ryu, Bison, Dalsim, and the rest of the crew?)

Part Deux
(Apparently, there's more to come. But, I'm still waiting for Chad 5.)

Today's random "next blog":

A book club in cyberspace... on a blog!
(Brilliant idea!)

Today's strange anniversary:

November 29, 1964 -- Roman Catholic Church in US replaces Latin with English. O tempus! O mores! Quid faciamus?

Fun fact of the day:

Why do they call it a "green room" if it's not green?

And finally:

Welcome to the world.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An odd dream

An odd dream I had:

It's Late November... but it's 65 degrees outside. For some reason, I'm in an open field at the top of a hill, but there's a gas station there. I recognize this as rural Georgia. Inside the little shop, it's filled with the usual, beer (which you can't drink before you drive home), cigarettes (which you can't smoke at a gas station), and a wine cellar? In one ear, I hear people babbling in Russian. In the other, I hear drawl. I gaze around the store and see hats emblazoned with the logo of of several Mexican soccer clubs.

Wait, that was last Sunday.

This week's theme:
Oh the places I've gone!

This week, I'm dedicating the theme to strange, quirky, and neat places that I've actually been to. Speaking of this past Sunday, I give you Dahlonega, Georgia.

It's a gold rush town from the less-discussed Georgia Gold Rush of the 1830's. The discovery of gold in those parts, however, had a more (in)famous outcome. Settlers were suddenly clamoring to work the land, but unfortunately, the Cherokee Indians decided that since they had been staying there for a few hundred years or so, they saw need to move. Andrew Johnson saw differently.

Not that they really mention that part.

On to the news:

A man didn't think his excuse through too well
(But then again, I've heard worse)

Is that a guitar in your pants or are you just happy to see me?
(Can't it be both?)

Ever wonder what those chess club kids were doing?
(Aparently the IOC is too)

And now a story my wife will appreciate and scratch her head over
(If you don't know why, check out her blog)

Bright, shiny objects:

Ever wonder what happened to Nemo?
(Tip of the cap to friend Steve)

Time for our weekly gem from
(Usually a Monday thing...)

Today's random "next blog":

I think it's a swimming blog. Not sure.
(This is what happens when you push the "next blog" button. I'm sure someone thinks the same thing about me.)

Monday (kinda...) playlist feature:

Going back in history this week to Thanksgiving weekend of 2003, in which I got to watch my beloved high school alma mater be humiliated in the state championship football game.

Here's what America was listening to back then.

5) 3 Doors Down -- Here Without You

4) No Doubt -- It's My Life

3) Baby Bash f. Frankie J -- Suga Suga

2) Beyonce Knowles f. Sean Paul -- Baby Boy

1) Outkast -- Hey Ya!

Blah. I should really do older events in my life. It's just that I don't remember them. But, the music was so much better.

Today's strange anniversary:

November 28, 1895 -- America's 1st auto race starts; 6 cars, 55 miles, and the winner averages 7 MPH. If you'd like a replay, go to Florida tomorrow.

Fun fact of the day:

The Book of Esther in the Bible is the only book which does not mention the name of God.

And finally:

Bob Saget was on Law and Order?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

How do you say Thanksgiving in Russian?

I've been exiled to FIF's southern command headquarters in Atlanta, where I spent my first ever Thanksgiving away from my parents. I had dinner with my in-laws (my mother- and father-in-law, plus my brother-in-law and his wife, and the two cutest nieces in the world) and we had a fabulous time. That said, I still missed out on a few family traditions:

  1. Quasi-relative Carol. To trace exactly how she fits into the family tree would take a few moments. But, she comes to all of our functions, and why not.
  2. Watching the half-time show of the Dallas football game (hell, watching football, even though I don't really like football), where they do the annual kick off to the NFL's charity drive with my brother. We sit and laugh at the number of cliches present (NFL players serving food, playing around with kids, children in native costumes on stage, the Cowboy cheerleaders trying to pretend that they're interested... I watched it here, but it's not the same without my brother. This year they had Carrie Underwood singing something or other. Add another time that she appears on Fox is a subtle cross promotion for American Idol.
  3. Ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. Instead, I got baklava. I'm at a house with a bunch of Russians on an American holiday and I ate Greek pastry.
  4. My grandmother's cranberry mold. The most amazing food on the planet.
But on the happy side, I got to learn a few Russian words. It helps that my niece is one-year-old and my Russian vocabulary is that of a one-year-old. We get along famously. My in-laws are wonderful and my wife is always fun. Plus, I got to see my now 3-day-old niece. I can't imagine ever being that responsible for anything.

While I'm here...

On to the news:

Turkeys try to make a run for it in New Jersey

Somebody apparently thought Snakes on a Plane was real
(I'm tired of these... oh never mind)

Parents tell little lies to their children!
(This is dedicated to my mother who told me that the turkey was actually chicken. Thanks mom.)

And finally:

It was suggested that we go see a movie tonight. It probably won't happen tonight, but I recommended that we go see Borat. This means that I'm going to go see Borat with a bunch of Russians. Someone call the irony police.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

If I wrote this blog, here's how I'd do it

It's time for our weekly Tuesday look around the world to see what's going on.

1) America has a toy shortage! We're apparently also worried about this. Mind you, we're not worried about the food and medicine shortage in other parts of the world. After all, that's not what Christmas is about.

2) Although I do hold out some hope for America. If O.J. did it, he at least won't make millions off of it.

3) Another chief executive officer makes a stop off in Hawaii for uh, business purposes... yeah, that's right... business purposes.

4) And, apparently now that reality has become TV, TV will now become reality. Or, put another way, now the TV really is raising your kids.

In other words, nothing new is happening.

This week's theme:
The Spice Girls

Well, what happened to them?

Posh Spice married David Beckham and attempted to sing. Now she's just a faded pop star with no talent. She did, however, score an interview with Borat himself, Sacha Baron Cohen. She's apparently studying Kabbalah. She's like a female Kevin Federline.

Scary Spice is having Eddie Murphy's baby. She too attempted to sing and it didn't work. Now she's just a faded pop star with no talent.

Baby Spice is still attempting to sing and it isn't working. Now she's just a faded pop star with no talent.

Ginger Spice, who looks worryingly like Lindsay Lohan, is now a mom, despite the fact that she won't tell who the father is. She is also a faded pop star with no talent.

Sporty Spice has actually launched a semi-decent solo career, including a guest appearance on a Bryan Adams single. Despite this, everyone still thinks she's a lesbian.

On to the news:

Man dresses up as cigarette, busted for having four wives
(WTF level: high)

Ah, the smell of Cleveland!
(I've been to Bedford, it doesn't smell like anything)

Today, my school hosted the world's largest rubber band ball
(It's a big day for "world's biggest" stories, I guess)

Man sleeps through tree falling on his house
(Sounds like me)

Bright, shiny objects:

Yeah, I could do that
(Actually, I don't think I could even move that fast)

This is something of an extension of the "Everclear Theory"
(The "Everclear Theory" is the fact that you can sing all of Everclear's songs to the tune of all of their other songs... try it sometime)

Today's random next blog:

Laika Life
(I'm not sure what this one's about, but it's strangely alluring.)

Today's strange anniversary:

November 21, 1837 -- Thomas Morris of Australia skips rope 22,806 times.

Fun fact of the day:

In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.
(No, I won't take a cheap shot at Kramer...)

And finally:

I'm an uncle again! All signs point to health for both mother and baby. I'll get to see my new niece tomorrow when my wife and I go to Atlanta for Thanksgiving. That means no blog until I get back, probably next Monday.

Stop the presses!

Big news from those of us here at FIF-land. DJ Chia Pet (my wife) and I are an aunt and uncle once again. I'll let you pick which one I am.

Welcome to the world my new niece (daughter of my wife's brother and his wife) born today at about 4:30 pm Eastern!

I do believe this calls for a celebration!

Bad blogger

So, finals week kicked my butt. It's finals week here, and I've been scurrying around with no time for this little daily excursion. This makes me a bad blogger, I know. In the meantime, I have had a few moments for diversion, including the coining of a new recurring feature (read: whenever I feel like it) for the blog, the four word movie review.

Four word movie review:

The four word movie review is just that. I review a movie that I saw in four words. That's it. I get four words. Try it sometime. For example, I saw Crash this weekend. I could write several paragraphs about the plot, the (underdeveloped) characters, the hackneyed storyline, the completely implausible plot, the state of racial relations in America, or I could wirte: "Racism Actually. Best picture?"

See how easy that was.

Or, Pirates of the Carribean 2: Dead Man's Chest (another of my viewing choices this weekend).

"18th century. Space aliens." or alternately, "Pirates: Keira Knightley's Chest."

Shatner Award Presentation:

It's time for another episode of what will William Shatner do for five dollars? This seems to sum up all of Shatner's career. Well, it looks like he's taking a turn at hosting a game show. In it, he'll ask questions, and occasionally "boogie down" with 13 stage dancers. The man is a master. Today's Shatner Award goes to... William Shatner.

This week's theme:
The Spice Girls

You know you want to, you really really want to.

On to the news:

FIF update: We have a winner in the Rock Paper Scissors World Tournament!
(From London... he "practiced" two hours per day)

At least I know I'm not alone this finals' week
(And I don't feel so old)

Headline: couple marry at monster truck show
(That sound was my jaw hitting the floor)

Bright, shiny objects:

Maybe not the surfer dreams
(It's the Monday check of

What your professors really think of you
(Actually a blog started in response to

Today's random next blog:

A hip-hop blog
(Somewhere, one of my friends is snickering. However, today's entry is about the brand new Tupac album that's coming out. The man's been dead for ten years and he's still putting out records. I need to coin a Tupac Shakur award for individuals who manage to do amazing things... or anything... despite the minor handicap of being dead.)

The Monday playlist feature:

It's Thanksgiving this week (offer not valid in Canada). It's actually the first Thanksgiving that I'll have in the 26 years I've been alive that I won't spend with my parents. Thus is married life.

Today, we look back at Thanksgiving 1991. On that day, I actually got my first pair of glasses. Here's what we were listening to in 1991.

5) Roberta Flack f. Maxi Priest -- Set the Night to Music

4) Prince -- Cream (can't find it)

3) PM Dawn -- Set Adrift On Memory Bliss
(a rap song that samples Spandau Ballet?)

2) Boyz II Men -- It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday

1) Michael Bolton -- When a Man Loves a Woman
(I refuse to link this one out of good taste)

(I know... I was the one who picked the Spice Girls for the theme this week)

Today's strange anniversary:

November 20, 1862 -- Armies of Mississippi/Kentucky merge as Army of Tennessee. There's a redneck joke in there somewhere. I just can't find it.

Fun fact of the day:

The only "real" food that U.S. Astronauts are allowed to take into space is pecan nuts.

And finally:

Overheard today on my way to work: "Yeah, I've been considering going archery hunting for deer. It seems like the most sporting kind of hunting." Because, you know, they can shoot back.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Spybreak! (catch the reference?)

Nerdiness abounds here. I'm working on calculating the average distance to different parts of ballparks, normed for the dimensions of the outfield, using trigonometry. I had to dust off the old SOHCAHTOA mnemonic. Yeah, this is how I have fun.

On to the news:

Cabbage monument?
(Only is Bosnia)

Judge rules burrito not a sandwhich
(And we wonder why the government isn't working...)

And finally:

It's time for our weekly check of Is It Friday dot net. That's why it's so short.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Happy Chanuchrismakwanzaadan

Today, I saw a Christmas tree. No, not just a pine tree waiting to be cut down and displayed in someone's window, but a store with an honest Christmas tree in the window. I know, I know, stores have had their Christmas stuff out, in the back of the store but out, for a few months now. And yes, Thanksgiving is two weeks away (do you have your shopping done yet?), but...

In other news, Wal-Mart is deciding that they're going to say "Merry Christmas" this year after last year a group of people with nothing better to do boycott them due to the fact that they used "Happy Holidays" or the ever-popular "Season's Greetings." I always thought that the issue was stupid, because apparently my Christmas, Chanukah, Diwali, Ramadan, Boxing Day, and Kwanzaa celebrations depended on Wal-Mart reminding me that the holiday is near. But now that they're using "Merry Christmas", look for another group of people with nothing better to do to boycott them for being discriminatory.

Also, what the hell does "Season's Greetings" mean? Hey everyone! It's winter! But that's discriminatory against the Southern Hemisphere. You could scream, "It's December!" But, there are some Old Calendarists from Russia who think it's still November. (This is why Russia lost the Cold War.)

My wife just suggested: "Believe whatever you want, just don't hurt me!" Sounds like what I'll put on my Chanuchrismakwanzaadan cards this year.

On to the news:

Yeah, this is my species.

Rock paper scissors tournament in Toronto
(This weekend, if you're interested)

National Council of Dull Men looking for members
(Don't say it...)

Addicted to funerals?
(Seen Wedding Crashers?)

Bright, shiny objects:

Don't feel too bad about the fact that you can't parallel park
(This guy was going forward!)

Chad Vader 5 update!
(It's coming... I can feel it.)

Today's random "next blog":

Steve Eck's blog
(A guy in Minnesota blogging about what we all blog about... whatever comes to his mind)

Today's strange anniversary:

November 9, 1997 -- Toray Japan Queens Cup takes place. I have no idea what that means.

Fun fact of the day:

Actually, ten of them.

And finally:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

There are some days when the column writes itself

Every morning, I walk from our humble little apartment to the El Station and I always pass a few newspaper vending machines. I was curious which would grab the headline today. Would it be, "Oh yeah, election yesterday, complete change in party control of Congress" or Britney Spears files for divorce.

Sure enough, America's dumbest paper (warning: huge file) had the election as the main splash, but the banner headline was the delightfully tacky, "Fed-Exed"

Speaking of the election last night and Kevin Federline, I believe a new Federline Award presentation is in order. Last night, during his acceptance speech following his re-election to the governorship of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich said the following: "Four years ago, I came here and found a state government that was more interested in serving itself, rather than the other way around." Salve stultus! Popozao!

That makes about as much sense as electing a movie star to be the governor of the largest state in the union. Again.

On to the news:

The dangers of dogs and alcohol
(There was a Far Side comic on the subject)

Best headline of the day
(Or most groan-worthy)

What to do with those pesky campaign signs
(Now this is a promotion!)

Bright, shiny objects:

Stolen from my brother's away message
(Flight of the Conchords, "Business Time")

The soccer kama sutra
(At least some of the photos haven't been taken down)

Today's random "next blog":

Cognition II
(Apparently, movie reviews and Florida sports, plus instead of "posted by" it says "fecit". I get it!)

Today's strange anniversary:

November 8, 1966 -- Movie actor Ronald Reagan elected governor of California. Yeah.

Fun fact of the day:

Many hamsters only blink one eye at a time.

And finally:

More from the "strange conversations that my wife and I have" category. Today, we discussed the following: If you knew you were going to be eaten for a meal by a cannibal, what meal would you want that to be. She went with dinner. I'd go with lunch.

What say you, viewing public?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

And the winner is...

It's time for our usual Tuesday look around the world to see what's going on.

1) America, the paragon of democracy over the world, still can't figure out how to vote.
2) So we take the sensible approach, inflict senseless violence on people and objects.
3) Prima donna star can't believe that she lost to... well, Carrie Underwood.
4) And apparently, K-Fed isn't a very good rapper.

In other words, nothing new is happening.

On to the news:

Jet lag can kill you.
(Or at least kill some mice.)

Woman injures herself in "Shake it like Shakira" contest
(And files a lawsuit)

Someone funded this study
(And they say duct tape fixes everything! Ha!)

Bright, shiny objects:

Well, that's direct
(What you really want to put on a "Do Not Disturb" sign)

The smiley intervention
(Do you use too many smileys? ;)

Today's Random "next blog":

(A blog my wife could appreciate)

Today's strange anniversary:

November 7, 1917 -- British capture Gaza Palestine from Turks. That one sure went well, now didn't it?

Fun fact of the day:

In the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

And finally:

Seen on the side of a bus: an advertisement for the Chicago Tribune's Red Eye paper. (a.k.a., the most dumbed down paper in America.)

"Who's smart. Who's dumb. Who's so hot it doesn't matter."


Monday, November 06, 2006

Where'd you go?

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I just wasn't quite counting on grading 30 papers from my intro class to take that much of my time. It wasn't just the papers, it was a combination of all the other stuff I had to do last week. But, in good news, on Saturday, my wife and I had a lovely day at the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. It was the first time in a while that we'd really had a nice day out.

I didn't get to see Borat on Friday because the theatre was all sold out and he was too busy being installed as president of Kazakhstan.

In other news, I'm probably gonna do a bit of a scale back on the blog. Baseball bits is gonna have to go by the wayside for the time being. I enjoyed doing it, but I just don't have the time to fully develop it. (That section usually takes 30-45 minutes... maybe I'll just do a weekly update or something.)

Finishing up last week's theme:
Because there's no theme this week

Yeah, no theme this week either, because this week looks busy again.

My top five favorite music videos of all time.

To recap, #5 was Gnarls Barkley's, "Crazy", #4 was R.E.M.'s. "Daysleeper".

Number 3 -- Smashing Pumpkins, "Tonight, Tonight"

I'm not sure if it's just the warm, happy associations that I have with SP and this album in general (which is phenomenal!) The video was basically the culmination of the Billy Corgan as an artist before he became an ARTIST.

Number 2 -- Nelly Furtado, "Turn off the Light"

If I ever make a music video, I will have Sophie Muller (who directed this one) direct mine. It's so colorful and bright in a medium that usually wallows in the dark and grey. Except for McG. Plus, it was Nelly Furtado before she too became a Tarted Up Shetland Pony. For more on that, see below.

Number 1 -- A-ha, "Take on Me"

I am fond of saying this, and I will say it here. I consider this the greatest music video ever made, and I don't even need the qualifier "Given the technology available in 1986." If this video were new today, it would be a classic all over again. The pen and ink drawings were brilliant. The blend of live action with the animation was amazing. Hell, they parodied it in Family Guy. Plus, it's a song that you can warble at the top of your lungs. The very top. And it's grammatically incorrect.

Things my wife says:
"Tarted up Shetland Pony"

While watching a second-season episode of Gilmore Girls (what else?), my wife turned to me (yes, I was watching too) and said, "You know, I really liked Alexis Bledel before they turned her into a tarted up Shetland Pony."

It... stunned... me.

She pointed out that Alexis Beldel used to be just honestly pretty and then they layered on the makeup, tarted up the outfits, and I think the bangs are what brought about the reference to Shetland ponies. And, when you think about it, they've done much the same to some other celebs.

For example, I give you Federline Award-winning(?) singer, actress, and mother Britney Spears. Another example is everyone who's been on the show Seventh Heaven. Even the dad.

I think I've just added a new term to my lexicon: tarted up Shetland Pony.

On to the news:

Officer accidentally shoots himself
(Somewhere in the background, Lewis Black is screaming, "Because he's carrying, A GUN!!!")

You can get anything delivered nowadays
(What will they think of next?)

Dead blind dog gets army call-up
(What will they think of next?)

Bright, shiny objects:

Our Monday check of
(Hey, me too!)

The Mormon Church meets Reservoir Dogs
(Yeah, I know, now you wanna click it.)

Today's Random "Next Blog":

The "Love Blog"
(not sure what this is... a bunch of links involving love...)

Today's strange anniversary:

November 6, 1850 -- Hawaii gets its first fire engine. True story.

Fun fact of the day:

There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.

And finally:

Don't vote tomorrow. Not because it's a bad thing to do. In fact, if you actually like one or more of the candidates better than their opponents, go and vote for that person/those persons. Just don't go getting your hopes up that this will bring peace on earth. Two or four years from now, you'll realize that it's all the same bull and the people we vote in are just as crooked as the people we replace. I don't vote because I have more important things that I need to be doing.

I swore I wouldn't get political. Maybe if I have time, I'll liveblog the election night coverage.