Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blog of the Day

How to Write Badly Well.

By giving useful advice, such as "Use as many adjectives as you can" or "Always use a thesaurus", and providing detailed examples, this blog will take you step by step on how to improve your bad writing.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rating System

I've had some really decent traffic the past couple of weeks (10-20 unique visitors a week), but most people have not made comments.  So, I've decided to put a rating system at the bottom of each post.

If you would prefer not to comment (or the post was too dry/dull/boring/unstimulating to deserve a comment), I'd appreciate your honest feedback in the form of a "Star Rating".  As far as I know, it is completely anonymous, so feel free to vote early and vote often.

It is my hope to get a better feel for my audience so that I will know what stories/reviews/posts people enjoy and which ones are flops.  (And I'd appreciate feedback on past posts as well, if you have the time to backtrack through my archives).

Thanks for your assistance in this little blog experiment.

UPDATE:  Speaking of traffic, last night after publishing my "Live from Nowhere in Particular", I received a bump in traffic from visitors from across the globe.  I was surprised to see the following locations in my Sitemeter update:  Quebec, Canada; New Delhi, India; Tokyo, Japan; Seremban, Malaysia; Singapore; Auckland, New Zealand; and Egypt.  I was completely puzzeled as to how these people found my site, so I looked for the referral page and all of these visitors came from a site called Alpha Inventions.  After some research, I discovered that this site is a kind of blog-feed that gives readers a glimpse of recently updated blogs.  It is an interesting concept, and it gave me a nice jump in traffic, but it doubt any of these visitors will be back. 

Live From Nowhere in Particular

One of the reasons I enjoy listening to the Bob and Tom Show is that they do a great job of booking classic comedians/musicians/entertainers, as well as giving up-and-comers a platform to build an audience.  They also book established artists who have not hit the mainstream, but are extremely talented.  One such artist that they featured was Joe Bonamassa.

This is one of the songs he played while he was in studio with the gang:

While he is a bit tough to watch while singing, he is a master at the electric guitar.  While on the show, he and the band also played a couple of more uptempo blues songs, which I was totally grooving to in my cubicle.  In between songs, he also chatted with Bob and Tom about his relatively short career.  I was fascinated to learn that he had opened for B.B. King at the age of 12.  He has also played with the likes of Clapton, Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, and Gregg Allman.  And, most impressively, he accomplished all of these feats by the age of 32 (which is how old he is right now).

His impressive credentials and great live performance led me to search out his music when I got home from work and I decided to purchase the live album "Live From Nowhere in Particular".

After a couple of trips through the album, I'm confident that this is one of my favorite top 5 live albums in my iPod.  It is a great blues rock album from start to finish.  As every good live concert should, it has a nice mix of music.  From upbeat rock to slow and steady blues to eclectic/stylized pieces, Joe's guitar playing is second to none.  There are plenty of lengthy guitar solos, and he even mixes it up with some acoustic guitar on "Woke Up Dreaming" and "India".  While my favorite tracks are probably "Bridge to Nowhere", "Another Kind of Love",  and "One of These Days" because I prefer a more uptempo blues song, there is not a bad song to be found.

Another great aspect of this album is the fact that 10 of the 14 tracks are over five minutes long.  As a fan of the jam band, I love a lengthy song with plenty of riffs and solos.  And just like the Allman Brothers or Little Feat or, even, the Dave Matthews Band, Joe Bonamassa knows how to keep your attention the entire length of a song.  And as talented as Joe is, his band is equally capable, which is a deadly combination.  So, whether you enjoy a 3-minute power rock/blues song like "Bridge to Nowhere" or prefer the jam of the 17-minute marathon that is "Django/Just got Paid", I'm certain you'll enjoy this album.

It is also my understanding that his "Live from the Royal Albert Hall" DVD is pretty special as well.  As it is not yet available through Netflix, I have not been able to see for myself, but reliable sources say it is a great piece of concert video.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chick-boom-chick-boom, or How a Drummer Was Born

We had two elementary schools in our town.  Park Elem. housed grades K-3 and West Elem. was home to grades 4-6.  When a person "graduated" to West Elementary School, they entered an amazing new world.

West Elementary School held the destinction, until is decommision in the early 2000s, of being the oldest school being used west of the Mississippi (at least that was the rumor).  It was, until (I believe) the1970s, the town junior and senior high school.  It was the high school that my grandfather (and I believe) grandmother attended.  (My memory of the history is a bit rusty).  It was (and still is) a massive, brick,  two-story building, with a sub-basement that housed two classrooms, two locker rooms, and, even deeper in the earth, the gymnasium. 

This school shaped my life in numerous ways.  I learned how to play basketball in that gymnasium, with my dad as my coach.  I learned not to shot spitwads in class with a substitute teacher, and if you do, you'll have to stay behind and fill a cup with spitwads while the rest of the school goes to plant trees at the park for Arbor Day.  I learned not to write graffiti on the outside walls of the school, in broad daylight, and if you do, your dad will drive by and see you doing it, and your parents won't believe your lies about not doing it.  I learned how to country swing dance in 4th grade to Travis Tritt in the music room.  And, I learned the basics of playing percussion instruments in the auditorium in the 5th and 6th grade.

While all of these experiences (and many others I couldn't remember off the top of my head) molded who I am as a person, it was the last one, playing drums, that has stuck with me to this day.

As a 5th grader, each student had the option to play in the class band, and there was no way I was going to miss out on that opportunity.  When they had the first meeting, I with the idea of wanting to play a brass instrument (I believe the trombone), but I had just begun seeing an orthodontist about my overbite, and my parents couldn't afford to pay for a spendy brass instrument.  I also believe my extreme overbite also played a part in the decision, because the teacher didn't think I'd be able to produce the correct mouth position (or that's what my parents told me to help soften the blow).  But there was one instrument that did not require expensive monthly payments or correct jaw placement, the drums.

We went home that night with a brand new set of sticks and a practice pad, and I couldn't have been happier.  My parents would eventually be able to buy me my own personal snare drum.  As a fourth grader, the percussion section consisted of the snare and bass drum.  I was perfect for both.  I have great rythym and can keep time really well.  And my years of piano practice helped me to be able to read sheet music much better than my peers in the percussion section.  I loved being able to whack the drums, and I can remember how mad our teacher would get because I was unable to play quietly and would drown out the other students.

The one part of school band that I disliked was practicing at home on my own.  Unlike the trumpet, or flute, or saxophone, I was unable to play a musical song by myself.  While my friends could show off to their friends and family the new song they just learned to play, a person can only hear "rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat" so many times before it becomes tiresome.  And as we progressed through the song book, reading the percussion tableture became more and more difficult.  By junior high, I got to the point that I would bs my way through a song at band practice, which would lead my teacher to show me the correct drum strokes, which I would then mimic.  I became very good at playing by ear, which is how I play to this day.

When we moved into junior high school, we practiced in the same band room as the high school students, which lead me to the introduction of my new favorite instrument, the drum kit (also known as the trap set).  By the end of my 8th grade year, I was fairly proficient on the kit.  So much so that I bought my first drum set my freshman year of high school, and it is the kit I still beat on today.  I spent a couple of months shopping around, looking for just the right equipment.  I had enough money saved up for the set, and my parents and grandma pitched in for the cymbals and other gear.

Due to a personality conflict with the band leader, I decided to end my school band days when I became a freshman in high school.  But my interest in drumming continued.  I would sit in my bedroom, behind the kit, with my radio blaring, drumming along with my favorite rock bands.  I loved playing a straight 4/4 rock beat (think AC/DC or CCR), but eventually learned how to play along with more technically difficult songs.

My first garage band was formed my sophomore year in high school.  My friend Jonah had started playing the guitar and I began jamming with him in the basement of his house.  We recruited our friend Brad to play the bass guitar and "Feedback" was born.  We ended up only playing on concert, to our parents and my sisters, but in that short time, I fell in love with playing in a band.

I would eventually take my drums to the church when Brad invited me to join the church worship "band".  I got really good at playing with the brushes since I never outgrew my need to play loudly.  I played along side MaryBeth as she played the piano or organ, and Brad lead the singing.  I continued this weekly tradition for a couple of years, until I got married and moved away from Fowler.

After this, my drums sat unused for a couple of years.  Then I got together with two of my college golf teammates, Dave and Tyson.  Dave and Tyson had been in a band for a couple of years and even had one of their performances professionally recorded.  As with most bands, they eventually parted company with their drummer and rhythm guitarist.

When we started jamming at Tyson's house, I figured it was just a couple of guys goofing around.  Then Tyson got us a gig.  It was in a bar in Pueblo and I loved it.  Since we couldn't think of any other names, we decided to be known as TED (our first initials.)  It wasn't too original, but it worked.  My wife even had a shirt made up for me.  It was a mechanic's shirt with the name TED stitched on the breast of the shirt.

While the acoustics of our first venue made it tough for me to hear the other guys, we were able to compensate by playing really loud.  My ears rang for days, but I could not have been happier.  We would eventually play two other gigs around town before the band broke up when Tyson moved out of town.

While I doubt I'll ever become a touring artist, I still love the occasional drumming session with my favorite bands.  I recently played along with my cousin Luke when he was in town.  While my equipment is getting old and is collecting dust more and more, I couldn't imagine not being able to have the option of sitting down with a couple of beat up sticks in my hand and losing myself in the steady rythym of my drumming.

Movember (continued)

This is my clean shaven mug.  I've decided to start growing my Mo today, even though Movember doesn't officially start for a few days, due to my poor performance the last time I took part in the festivities.  So, for the next 34 days, a razor shall not touch my upper lip.  (If this were a beard growing charity event, I'd be hosed, because as bad as I am at growing a 'stache, my jaw is even worse at growing hair).

It is my goal to end up with something like this:

Or like this:

But the odds (and genetic deficiencies) demand that I end up more like this (texture wise, not color wise, mine will be more blond) (and actually, I was probably quite generous with the texture as well):

But, like my mom used to tell me, you can't win if you don't enter.  So, my peach fuzz and I shall enter this challenge, and, hopefully, along the way, help raise money and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer research.

If you'd like to join my team, "Morthern Colorado", in this Mo growing adventure, and become a MoBro, please feel free to do so.  Go to the registration page, fill out the appropriate information, and you'll be a bona fide Morthern Coloradoan.

If you'd care to donate toward the cause, please go to my donation page  Anything you can give will be much appreciated and will go toward a good and worthy cause. 

Monday, October 26, 2009


We are a week away from the begining of Movember, which is a moustache growing charity event held each November to help raise funds and awareness about men's health, especially prostate and testicular cancer.

For a visual rundown of the event, check out this video:

I took part in Movember for the first time 3 or 4 years ago and, suffice it to say, I did not end up with an award winning 'stache.  I have never been very "talented" in the facial hair growing category.  Thanks Mom and Dad.  But, my friend Brad is captaining a team this year, so I shall once again set aside the clippers, apply Rogaine to my upper lip (that's healthy, right?), and hope for the best.  

After I get signed up and have my information, I will post a picture of my clean shaven, baby face, and a link to the website if anyone would care to donate.  If the Mo comes in fairly decent, I may even track it's progress with a picture each week (but I wouldn't hold your breath).

The first year I did it, I was an independent MoBro, sans team, and was able to raise about $120 (if my memory is correct).  I hope to demolish that number this year.

UPDATE:  Many thanks to Friar Tuck for linking to me from his page.
If anyone would care to make a Movember donation, here is a link to the donation page.
And for all those adventurous souls who'd like to join in the fun and grow a Mo, here is a link to my team registration page.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Current Likes

Netflix Favorites

Big Bang Theory
Great, witty, smart, and consistantly funny.  We're working our way through Season 1 and we have not been disappointed.

Project Runway Season 5
I've always loved this show, and is one of my guilty pleasures.  This show, along with Top Chef, is consistantly entertaining and creative.  I love seeing what twists and wrenches the producers throw at the contestants.  And, as Tim Gunn says, "Make it work."

The Ultimate Fighter Series
I've just finished season 8 (I think) and am currently working my way through Season 2.  While I'm more of a lover and not a fighter, I love seeing these men compete in the octagon.  I love the mixture of martial arts, wrestling, kick boxing, boxing, and jui jitsu.  Great show.

Network Television

Modern Family
I've thoroughly enjoyed this show.  It is a nice return of the situational comedy.  The characters are great, especially the "traditional" dad Phil.  I love how he fails at trying to be hip.  And the gay couple, Mitchell and Cameron, have such great banter back and forth.  Their trip to the Sams Club knockoff was hilarious.  This is a show I hope sticks around for a couple more seasons.

Shark Tank

The Denver Broncos
Who in the world would have thought that the Broncos would be 6-0?  Not me.  I had written them off after their preseason performance.  Josh McDaniels is a phenom.  The offense, led by Kyle Orton, has been consistant.  He has a plethora of weapons at his disposal including Marshall, Royal, Stokley, Scheffler, Graham, and Moreno.  And the defense has been amazing, considering they only have 3 returning starters.  Dumervil, Bailey, and Dawkins have been machines for the D.  While I'm not expecting them to go undefeated this season, as it is so difficult these days, I hope they can continue to improve and take this early success through the post season


I've gone through a 90s alt-rock revival in my music taste.  These are some of my favorite songs of the era.

Loser by Beck
Zombie by The Cranberries
One by Creed
Alive by Pearl Jam
Cumbersome by Seven Mary Three
Two Princes by Spin Doctors
She Talks to Angles by The Black Crows


President Obama's Justice Department's decision to not prosecute medical marijuana users and distributors when they follow state laws that allow its use.  I hope this nod toward federalism continues.

And that about covers this category.


Snapping Daily
My little sister started a blog where she has challenged herself to "take at least one new photograph every day" and share it at her blog.  She is my photography (and all around art) hero.  I love her blog and check it daily to see what great picture she has taken.  I also love how she gives a short photography lesson with each of her posts.  And the links she adds to each of her posts are always excellent.

Looking Forward

Saw VI
My wife and I have gone to see the latest Saw movie every year we've been married.  We enjoy a little scare during the Halloween season, and Saw is the best of the best in the horror genre.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Wizard of Westwood

Today is the 99th birthday of the greatest basketball coach of all time and, in my opinion, one of the greatest men to have lived during the 20th Century, John Wooden.

John Wooden was the coach of the UCLA Bruins from 1948 to 1975.  During his tenure at UCLA, Coach Wooden lead his team to 10 NCAA championships in an 11 year span.  The next closest coaches have each won 3 championships.  He had a career winning percentage of 80% (664 wins with 180 loses).  He was the first person to be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach, an honor that only two other people have accomplished.

The LA Times has an excellent article in celebration of his 99th birthday, where they inform of 99 things about John Wooden.

Yet all of these accomplishments pale in comparison to who he was as a man and the way he lived his life as a husband, coach, and teacher.

I first learned about Coach Wooden 30+ years after he retired from coaching.  I was in college and stumbled upon a television show on PBS entitled "Values, Victory, and Peace of Mind".  In this program, John presents his philosophy for success in life.  He gives a history of his childhood, his early teaching career, and his success as a basketball coach.  During this show, he walks the viewer through the genesis and development of what would eventually be called the Pyramid of Success. 

Following the program, I went to the bookstore and found a copy of the book "Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court".  This book would become my foundation for my brief, but successful, career as an elementary school teacher.  I learned more about pedagogy and classroom management from this book than I did in 5 years at a teacher college.

Because of my libertarian world view, I structured my classroom differently than most of my co-workers.  I didn't want to have to police my students or my classroom, so I did not have "rules" in the traditional sense.  Rules are made to be broken, the saying goes, and when a rule is broken, it is not a good thing.  So instead, I set up goals, with built in supports for reaching those goals, because when a goal is "broken", it is a good thing.  And when a goal isn't met, it is a teaching opportunity; it is a time for learning.

While I always had this classroom "management" philosophy in the back of my mind, it wasn't until I read the "Wooden" book that I was able to figure out how to implement it into my classroom.  The first two years of teaching, I read out of the book to my class, but it never seemed to quite work out like I'd envisioned it.  The concepts were too abstract for them.  The pyramid was built with words that they couldn't understand.  So, I was pleased to discover, before my third year, that John Wooden had taken his previous books and had developed them into a children's book, "Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success".

The first two weeks of my third year in teaching were structured around the reading and discussing of this book.  Each day we read about and discussed each of the blocks of the Pyramid of Success, and then added each block to a bulletin board on our back wall, which we would refer back to often throughout the rest of the year.

Using Coach Wooden's simplified definition of success, trying their hardest to be the best they could possibly be, I hoped to help them develop a self-awareness and the ability to reflect on their effort, to determine on their own whether or not they were successful.  I didn't want them to rely on other people to determine their success.  I wanted them to know in their hearts and minds whether or not they were successful.

Coach Wooden is a man filled with wisdom.  His books and speeches give us a glimpse of the mind of one of the greatest motivators of our time.  

So, happy birthday Coach Wooden.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Have a take. Don't suck.

I love talk radio. I've loved it for years. While at work or while driving, I prefer to listen to talk radio instead of music because I've heard most music already. But talk radio is never old (unless it is a "Best of" show, but those are few and far between). The newness of talk radio stimulates my brain. Even if I'm passively listening, at least the back ground noise is something different, which rarely happens while listening to music on the radio or my iPod.

Over the years, I've listened to numerous radio talk shows. Here are some of my favorites:


Rush Limbaugh: Rush introduced me to the core principles of the conservative movement. While I'm a Ditto-head 90% of the time, his shtick grows tiresome, especially when he focuses more on the personalities of Washington and less on the consequences of policies. Currently, I only get to hear the first hour of his show, but when Rush is on, his is the best at what he does. He is the Godfather of talk radio.

Mike Rosen: I currently listen to 1-2 hours of Rosen's radio show, while at work, via podcasts. Mike is my favorite political talk show host. I love his reasoned, rational, and pragmatic approach to politics. He consistently features interesting guests and he actually debates callers who disagree with him, without falling into any of the fallacies other hosts find themselves using.

Jon Caldera: I love Jon's on air personality, as well as his libertarian philosophy. I would often listen to him on 850 KOA late at night, when I was driving home from Pueblo after spending an evening with my wife (before she was my wife). Luckily, Jon occasionally fills in for Mike Rosen, which is a treat for me, since I've not yet been able to subscribe to his podcasts.

Tom Becka: One of the few local personalities I've grown to enjoy in my time in Omaha, Tom, too, is a small L libertarian, whose wacky personality is a nice change to hear on my drive home from work each day. While I only usually spend a half hour listening to his show, it is his opening monologue that I get to hear, and it is usually spot on.


Dan Patrick: I thoroughly enjoy Dan's sense of humor about the sports world that he covers. He never seems to full of himself. I also enjoy his interactions with the rest of his crew, his "Danettes". I subscribe to his podcasts, so I get to hear his entire three hour show at work, without commercials.

Jim Rome: In addition to being a Ditto-head, I'm also a Clone. I probably enjoy Jim's style of broadcasting more than his insights into the sporting world. Jim opens his show with this demand of his callers (and, in a small way, his listeners in general)-- "Have a take. Don't suck." He takes very few callers, and when he does take a caller, he will boot them off the show if their opinion, or "take", sucks. By setting the bar so high, he keeps the riff-raff on the sidelines where they belong. I also enjoy the emails and texts that Jim receives from his listeners, especially the ones that are "signed" by someone else and make a call back to previous episodes or sound bites. The guy is innovative and unique.

The Fusion (Myers & Hartman's 4th hour of broadcast fused with Petros & Money's 1st hour)
I love the interaction between these four broadcasters. I especially love Petros and Money. Their young, in-your-face attitude balances nicely with Myers and Hartman's old school style of sports talk radio. If I'm not listening to Becka on my drive home, I'm listening to these guys.

Steve Czaban: I spend my weekday mornings getting ready for work listening to Steve and his crew layout the sports happenings that I may have missed the night before. I enjoy his different segments, especially the "90s Rejoin" where his producer plays a musical hit from the 90s and Steve tries to guess the title and artist. Because he does a morning show, he also gives a rundown of what will be on tv that night, which is a handy reminder of what is to come that day.


The Bob and Tom Show: these guys are my favorite "morning zoo" style of talk radio. As callers often tell the crew, these guys ROCK! I currently subscribe to their podcasts, which is nice, compared to only being able to catch an hour or two of their show when I listened on the radio when they were on 98.1 KKFM in Southern Colorado. I love the groups personalities, especially Chick McGee. He is my hero. I also love the constant stream of comedian guests they have on the show. I was introduced to most of my favorite comedians through them (Daniel Tosh, Brian Regan, Greg Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Birbiglia, the list goes on and on). I don't believe I've ever made it through their show without laughing. Whether the group is riffing on news of the day, or interveiwing a notable figure, or letting a comedian tell a few jokes, my side is usually left in stiches. Their four hour show keeps me laughing/snickering/snorking though my afternoon at work, for which I am thankful.

Tom Martino: The Troubleshooter, as he refers to himself, is a consumer advocate, and I love how he helps people who are having troubles with the law, with businesses, or with their government. He has taught me many things, especially the importance of good customer service when running a business. Great guy who does great work.

CarTalk: This hour long call-in show deals with car troubles, and, not being much of a mechanical person, I enjoy their wit and wisdom regarding automobiles. The only downside to the show is that it is only an hour long show, once a week, so it doesn't fill much time at work. But, they are a nice change of pace when I do give them a listen.

Just like my musical interests, variety is the spice of my talk radio listening life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


This is our dog Brodie. And just like many of the choices/decisions/purchases/arrangements my wife and I have made over the years, we adopted him without putting much thought into what an important, life-changing decision it would be. And, as with most of the others, adopting Brodie was one of the most rewarding decisions we've ever made.

For a little background, here are some of the other "snap" decisions my wife and I have made:

We started dating one week after meeting. Engaged after 6 months. Married 10 months later (and 1.5 years of knowing each other). Bought a house after viewing it one time each (and before either of our parents could check it out). Bought our first car the first night we started looking at the first car lot we went to. Rented the first house we viewed the first day we got to Omaha. Etc., etc., etc.

And of course, the third member of our family came into our lives in a similar fashion.

During my second year of teaching elementary school, I wore a Cabella's logo shirt to school on a casual Friday. My principal asked me if I hunted. I told her I had in my youth, but hadn't done much in recent years. She then asked me if I needed a hunting dog. I kind of stood there, so she proceeded to tell me that her daughter was trying to find a new home for their 2 year old black lab, as they had two young daughters, with another on the way, and he was too much work for their busy lives. She emailed me the flier her daughter had put together, which had his stats and a picture. I emailed it to my wife and she said it was up to me. So, of course, after about 3 nanosecond I said yes.

My principal was happy, but she was smart enough to know a hasty decision when she saw one, so she suggested we meet Brodie first. I agreed and we scheduled a time for her daughter to bring Brodie to our house.

When that day arrived, and when we opened our door upon seeing my principal's daughter K.'s family pull up to our house we were greeted by a hip-high, 80 pound bundle of energy. Brodie gave us the obligatory crotch-sniff greeting. We took him to our backyard so that we could get to know Brodie a little better (and so K. and her family could decide if we were suitable parents for her pup). After an hour of playing fetch, we all knew Brodie would not be leaving our house. So, K. and her family gave us Brodie's Kong, food dish, and his favorite blanket, and, with tears in their eyes, headed back to Denver. And, as they say, the rest is history.

At the time, my wife and I had a cat named Tom. We would later discover that his name suited him well, because he was the classic tomcat. He was an indoor/outdoor cat. When he was inside, he ran the joint. He was constantly pouncing on our legs, or, when we were in our bed, any appendage that was not under the covers. When he was outside, he would constantly brawl with the neighborhood wildlife. He was covered with scars from these adventures.

So when we adopted Brodie, one of our chief concerns was how/if he and Tom would get along. The first few nights he kept them isolated from each other. At one point, we got the bright idea to bring Tom into the room that Brodie was in. To say it didn't work would be an understatement. So, we eventually let nature take its course, and Brodie and Tom became accustomed to each other and before long they were laying with each other in the same room. After a while they even became buddies.

Brodie is an amazing creature. He is the epitome of unconditional love. He is always happy to see us when we get home. He is literally "man's best friend".

He gets me off my butt when I'm feeling lazy. He nudges me outside when I'm too wrapped up in my computer and should be enjoying whatever weather awaits me outside. He loves playing fetch, going on walks, and, especially, retrieving his buoy in any body of water that we can find.

He is kind and gentle and affectionate. He loves cuddling on the couch or bed. He loves wrestling with my wife on the floor.

He is my wife's protector and bed mate if I'm ever out of town. And his bark is the best home security system money can buy.

He has taught me a level of responsibility that, short of having kids, I have avoided most of my adult life. I am his caretaker. I am his friend. I am his parent.

While his nose and stomach often gets him into trouble (he has consumed 2-3 pans of brownies, one bag of chocolate chips, one chicken carcass, countless loaves of bread, and bags of bagels), it is impossible to stay angry with him for long when he puts his head down in shame and refuses to look me in the eyes until the tone of my voice returns to a more neutral state.

His puppy eyes, wagging tail, and slobbery tongue melt my heart like nothing else. The joy he feels from a pat on the head or a rub of the tummy is priceless.

He'll never know how much he has changed our lives, and I hope that we provide him 1/100th of the love he gives us. For these reasons, and those that I'm unaware of or am unable to express, I dread the day that he is no longer in our lives. I have no idea the emotions that K. and her family experienced when they gave Brodie up for adoption, but I will be eternally grateful to her and her husband for raising such an amazing boy and for allowing us to become his parents.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Music, Podcasts, and Television



The Office: As usual, the first few episodes have been in the B-B+ range as they set up the plot lines for the season, but I'm certain they'll be in A+ territory, so long as they don't go crazy with Jim and Pam's wedding.

It's Always Sunny: The first epsiode (I'm usually a few weeks behind since I watch it online) was and A- and it looks like The Gang is as wacky as usual.

Psych: Sean and Gus continue to slay me with their witty bantering as they continue to fool the SBPD and solve crimes with their heightened sense of observation.

Other must sees: Parks and Rec, Family Guy, and House


Glee: The wife and I are very much enjoying this show. While the plot is fairly weak, the musical numbers are excellent, as evidenced by the downloading of the MP3s of their musical numbers each week.

Flashforward: While only one episode has aired, the concept is phenomenal. I just hope the melodramatic acting and the possibility of the wacky plot lines doesn't derail this up and comer.

Community: This show should be a nice closer to an SNL/Office/Parks and Rec lineup on Thursday nights. While it is not nearly as funny as 30 Rock, it should keep me on NBC (even though I'm pissed about the cancelation of LIFE and the addition of the Jay Leno talk show at 9:00)

Shark Tank: I love, love, LOVE this show. The concept is brilliant. Each episode a handful of entrepreneurs present their product to a group of 5 venture capitalists, with the hope that one or more of the venture capitalists, aka The Sharks, will make an investment in their company. I love seeing the different products and services these start-up entrepreneurs have created. I especially love when a few of the Sharks start throwing around counter-offers. This show is the prefect primer course for young entrepreneurs. If a person wants their business to grow, they must be able to convince their investors that their service or product is worth the risk of an investment. I highly recommend this show.


"Hope for the Hopeless" by Brett Dennen: my sister and I saw Brett when he opened for OAR this summer. If you've never experienced Brett sing, picture Conan O'Brian singing Bob Marley and you'll get the idea. Great album.

"9-25-2009 Principal Park Concert" by the Dave Matthews Band: this taping of the concert that my cousins and I attended is of solid quality. They played an amazing set list. They played the classics Crush and Rapunzel (my favorites), as well as, Ants, Too Much, Crash, and So Much To Say. They also played the best of their new album, including Seven, Funny, Why I Am, Aligator Pie, and Shake Me. They also covered Burning Down the House, which sealed the deal for me, as I've decided a concert isn't successful without a cover.

"Permanent Waves" by Rush: Why I'm so late to the Rush bandwagon is beyond me, but I'd blame it on my ignorance that The Spirit of Radio and Freewill were Rush songs. The rest of the album is interesting and good back ground music while I'm at work.


I'm still enjoying The Dan Patrick Show and the Bob and Tom show, with some Mike Rosen and Tom Martino sprinkled in throughout the day.

Friday, October 2, 2009


The wife and I just completed Season 2 of the television show LIFE. We loved the show so much that we decided to see when Season 3 would be starting, as many of our favorite shows have begun their season. And then we discovered that last May, NBC decided to not have another season.

I blame Jay Leno.

While I understand the decision from a short sighted business stand point, I feel that this is a poor decision long term. I understand that shows like Jay Leno's, or Who Wants to be a Millionaire, or Dancing with the Stars, or American Idol, etc.. are much, much cheaper to produce than hour long dramas like LIFE. But shows like Jay Leno are firecrackers compared to the atomic bombs that are shows like LIFE. Sure, you might save some money up front producing a variety/reality/talk show, but you lose back end profit from DVD sales and syndication for smart, edgy, original programing like Life.

LIFE was not the typical crime show. It had a solid story line (Det. Crews spent 12 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, and now that he has been reinstated with the police department, he is on a mission to discover who set him up) as the backbone to the weekly crime mysteries they solved along the way. The interweaving of the serial crime stories with the who-done-it conspiracy puzzle made for riveting television. The characters were complex, the story was intreguing, and the plot twists were interesting without being cliche (at least until the last few episodes of the second season, when it appeared the writters and producers could see that the end may be near and decided to tie up some loose ends should a third season not occur).

So thank you NBC for deciding to commit 5 hours a week to a rarely amusing or entertaining "comidian" instead of commiting to original and unique programming like LIFE. I shall take my television viewing to CBS, FOX, and ABC during primetime (except for a half hour each week when I tune in for THE OFFICE) so long as they continue to churn out decent televion, such as Flashforward, House, Bones, Modern Family and Family Guy.

I hope that you continue to be shut out of the top 25 most viewed shows during primetime. Heck, your only show in the Top 25 in total viewers last week was a Sunday Night Football game. Keep it up NBC, and pretty soon, even Nickelodeon will have more viewers (if they don't already).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Honest to Blog

What problems can't (and won't) our President attempt to solve?
  • "Low" test scores in school? Longer school year and school days. How did no one think of this earlier? And who cares that such a massive change will handicap, if not destroy, numerous portions of our economy, including the travel, leisure, and hotel industries.

  • People are "distracted" while driving? Ban federal workers from texting while driving. Who cares if driving a car is an inherently dangerous activity and that there are thousands of distractions available to a driver (including the radio, the sun, wildlife, other drivers, passengers, food and drink, etc.). If it will only save one person, it has to be worth it, right?

  • An increased percent of Americans polled think that the threat of global warming (or is it climate change? I'm always a few years behind on the slang the kids are using these days) is exaggerated? And congress has yet to pass a "climate bill"? Just give the EPA the authority to regulate green-house gasses. No matter that this will raise energy costs and dampen job growth during a recession, won't anyone think of the trees? And the polar bears, and the tree frogs, and the dolphins?
  • Unemployment is the highest it has been in over 20 years? Just grin and bear it and claim that "because of the bold and coordinated action that we took, millions of jobs have been saved or created; the decline in output has been stopped; financial markets have come back to life; and we stopped the crisis from spreading further to the developing world." Who would dare question you about it?
  • Have any other great "progressive" policy changes you'd like to make, but have no way to pay for them? (especially with fancy things like statistics and graphs like these from the TaxProf Blog)
(or this one from my favorite blogger, the Instapundit)

Something tells me that someone is going to have to break one of his promises, that "if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime."

And people wonder why my wife and I are in no hurry to have children.