follow me on Twitter

    Tuesday, December 23, 2008

    From The Headlines Of The Iowa City Press Citizen!!!!!

    Man Arrested For Violating No Contact Order, Throwing Glass - Yes, nothing helps you get that deferred judgment quite like violating the restraining order. Idiot. 

    Winning Lottery Ticket Talk Of The Town In Swisher - It's not like theres a lot of other things to talk about in Swisher. Idiots.

    Ugly Sweaters In Vogue At Christmas - Yes, because the kids at Regina are such style mavens. Idiot kids. 

    Hawks Drop Badgers - What is this, National Geographic? Idiot Badgers.

    Saturday, December 13, 2008

    You Tube Fune: Hallelujah Edition

    John Cale


    Jeff Buckley


    Rufus Wainwright


    Leonard Cohen (I don't really care for this version, but it is what spawned all the others)

    Sunday, December 07, 2008

    Who Could It Be?

    Guess who was named kindergarten student of the month for November at St. Anthony of Padua. (Scroll down.) Go on, I'll wait while you guess. 

    In other E news, he and Andrew will be here for Christmas. In fact, by this time two weeks from now, we'll be back from Baltimore. It's only two weeks, but it's really the only thing I wanted for Christmas. 

    That and Lost Season Four. In case anyone was wondering what to get me. 

    Twitter - An Attempt At Explanation

    Okay, Kimmah asked for more info about Twitter. Happy to oblige, especially because I find myself more and more sucked in there. 

    Twitter is, well, great. It's a weird mix of blog, instant messenger, and message board. 

    Like a blog, you post (or tweet, as it's known in the world of Twitter) something and it can be out there for everyone to read. However, there is a 140 character - character, mind you, not word, and including spaces - limit on an individual post. To give you an idea of what that means, this post, right here, will have used 514 characters by the time we get to the end of this sentence. So it forces you to be brief, concise, and to the point. 

    Yes, I said can be out there. See, you can set your Twitter account so that only people you allow can read what you say. If you want everything you tweet to be private, you can set it up that way. Even if you allow everyone to read, you can still send direct messages to another person that only that person can read. You can also reply in a manner that allows everyone who follows you (follows?) can see you reply. 

    And that's how it starts to merge into an instant messenger. Because of the brevity, because of being able to respond, and because of following. Following is like having a friends' list on an instant messenger service, with a big difference. See, you can follow anyone, whether you know them or not, as long as they allow you to do so. Here are some people I follow:

    Greg Grunberg (who tweets, including posting pics, from the Heroes set)

    as well as some author by the name of Lisa McMann, whoever she might be, and Sasha, though she never seems to tweet. There's a few others I know personally, though I'll leave it to them to out themselves if they want outed. 

    In addition, almost all the big names currently working for Marvel comics are on Twitter, as well as many Marvel staffers, including the current editor-in-chief Joe Quesada. It's cool as a comics fan to watch them talk back and forth at each other. 

    It's those discussions that bring it into message board status. One person will tweet, and a bunch of others will respond, leading to even more tweets that either stay on-topic or roam wonderfully far afield. 

    If you do dive in, be sure to grab one of the available desktop applications. Twitter is browser-based, but with a desktop application you can use Twitter without being in a browser, kinda like having an instant messenger service application running. I use Twhirl, and love it. Here's a list of some others, some of which allow you to update Twitter via mobile, if you're so inclined. And if you do join, here is one columnist's list of the twelve people you should follow on Twitter. 

    So, come on, jump in, join the fun. Try it for a week and you'll be hooked. Hell, try it for a day and you'll be hooked. If you do, follow me at Dweeze

    Wednesday, December 03, 2008

    Prop 8 - The Musical

    From way too many people on Twitter to mention.

    See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

    Friday, November 28, 2008

    The Makings Of The Economic Crisis In One Sentence

    Of all the reading I've done on the issue, this is the most succinct explanation I've come across for how the economy went to hell:

    While the housing bubble was still inflating, lenders were making lots of money issuing mortgages to anyone who walked in the door; investment banks were making even more money repackaging those mortgages into shiny new securities; and money managers who booked big paper profits by buying those securities with borrowed funds looked like geniuses, and were paid accordingly.

    Read the whole thing here. Read some ideas about what to do about it here.

    You Tube Fun: Silliness Edition

    Barackrolled



    Hilary



    And because they never get old…




    Happy Birthday Magic!

    Happy birthday to one of the two best dogs in the world!

    Thursday, November 27, 2008

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    I'm Twittering

    I'm Dweeze, in case anyone wants to follow me or wants to share their Twitter ID. 

    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    My Favorite Punchlines

    And now, some of my favorite punchlines. In some cases, the jokes these come from are among my favorite jokes:

    "He had a hat, God."

    "No, I think Doctor broke it."

    "I can see your house from here, Peter."

    "Jesus is missing, and they think we have something to do with it."

    And my all-time favorite punchline, from my all-time favorite joke:

    Naw, I should tell the whole joke. 

    Woman gives birth to a son. He's the youngest, and her baby. He grows up completely healthy, a fine young lad except for one thing. He never says a word. 

    This concerns his mother. At first doctors say it's just that his speech is developing slowly. The boy is clearly intelligent, putting together blocks and puzzles and all the things a boy does as he gets older. He just doesn't speak. His mother takes him to a variety of specialists, but the conclusion is that he can speak, he just doesn't seem to want to do so. So she takes him to psychiatrists, but they can't figure out the boy either. Nothing works, except the boy, who continues to grow older, grow smarter, and grows abler. He plays sports. He gets good grades. He plays music. He does everything a young man should do. He just doesn't talk. 

    Finally, the boy graduates from high school (at the top of his class) and goes off to college. He's back for Thanksgiving, with all his siblings there. The family sits around the table for dinner, and his mother puts bowls of soup in front of every one. They say grace and begin to eat when suddenly the boy spits out his food and says "This soup is atrocious!"

    Everyone is shocked. They've never heard his voice before. His mother drops to her knees, thanking God, crying because she is so joyful. She thought she would never hear his voice, and now she has. 

    In the midst of the bedlam, his father asks "Why didn't you ever speak before now?"

    The boy pauses, then says "Well, up to now, everything's been more or less okay."


    Special Extra Punchline for the Locals:

    "They ate him."

    Deutsch?

    For some reason, the Blogger menu at the top of my screen is in German. Now, I speak ein bischen Deutsch - four years of high school German will do that for you - but aside from ordering kartofflen pfankuchen, I don't remember enough to do me any good. So what up, Blogger?

    Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    FUCK YEAH!!!!!!

    That is all. 

    Sunday, November 02, 2008

    A New Widget!

    A RSS feed from 538.Com has been added to the sidebar. Enjoy!

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    I Was Freaked Out Today

    If you're local, you know about this story. A quick recap for others - last December, a mother was driving down the road that runs along the Iowa River when she lost control of her car and went into the river. Thanks to the bravery of four individuals walking and biking along the river, people who dove in and rescued the woman and her two sons, no one died. The mother later said that she lost control because the boys were acting up in the backseat. 

    Jump forward to this past weekend. The woman and the two boys went missing. The vehicle she was driving was found in a wooded area. One boy, the youngest, was dead of multiple knife wounds. The older son and the mother were taken to the hospital, also with multiple knife wounds. This afternoon, to no one's surprise, murder and assault charges were filed against the mother. 

    That's sad and sick enough. Here's where it gets weird for me. 

    There was a picture of the mother online for the first time today. She looked very familiar to me. I thought I placed her, but wasn't sure. So I found the family address, looked at a picture of the house at the County Assessor's web site, and confirmed what I suspected. I did know her. 

    Not by name, no. 

    Back when we were a family, we lived for awhile on ValleyView Drive in Coralville, a short walk from where this family lives. This woman would come around, pushing a stroller. (Considering when we were there, it had to be the older son - the younger son would not have been born until after we moved from that spot.) One day she came by while I had the dogs outside. They saw her coming and started to walk toward her and the stroller. She freaked out, started screaming at me to take the dogs inside. 

    Now, neither of my dogs would ever harm a kid. Never. They've been around babies and toddlers and kids all their lives, and they are great with them. But I took them in anyway. No big deal. 

    A couple of days later, same thing was about to happen. But this time, she started screaming at me to take the dogs inside BEFORE they even saw her. Of course, her screaming got them to turn and see her, and they became interested in this yelling lady. Once again, I got them and took them inside. No big deal. 

    A few weeks later, same thing. She starts yelling BEFORE she gets to our place. This time, big deal. I got the dogs and started yelling back. Which caused her to yell more. Which caused the dogs to get excited. Which caused her to yell more. Which caused me to yell more. There may have been - scratch that, there was - profanity, and lots of it. Mostly from me. Lesa, having heard me, finally came and pulled me and the dogs inside. 

    She continued to walk by. It was always at the same time, so we got to making sure the dogs weren't outside at that time. I drive by their house a lot - hell, when E's here, I drive by it at least twice a day, because it's on the way to his daycare provider's house - and everytime I would drive by and see her outside, I would always curse her a little under my breath. 

    So anyway, that freaked me out today. It didn't necessarily surprise me - she was a fucking crazy lady five years ago, and she's apparently a fucking crazy lady today - but it did freak me out. 

    Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    This Election In A Nutshell

    "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is just an United States of America." B. Obama

    "It's good to be here in the pro-America part of the country." S. Palin

    Saturday, October 25, 2008

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    You Tube Fun - Spanish Sub-titled Queen Edition

    It's Late


    Bohemian Rhapsody


    Killer Queen

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    I Voted Today

    You know, civilized states have early voting. It's great to be able to cast a vote more or less at your leisure. I had to renew the registration on my car, so while I was at the courthouse I went ahead and voted. It was only the second time in 30 years of voting that I cast a straight party line ballot. The first time was two years ago. I didn't take the "Vote All Dem" option though. I wanted the pleasure, and the honor, of filling in that little oval for Obama. 

    It was, at least momentarily, a huge relief. This campaign has been going on for Iowans since February of 2007. That's when I saw my first presidential ad of this season. But when I got home, I was reminded that the campaign is still going on here. God knows why. There is no way McCain can possibly pick up the state. Sure, it's a relatively cheap ad buy, but it's totally wasted money. Oh well. I'm content to have him waste money here, particularly since it means it's money he can't spend someplace else where it might be effective. 

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    Happy Birthday E!

    Six years. Six. Hard to believe.

    I know you won't read this, but Daddy loves you kiddo. I love you so much, and I miss you so much, and I can't wait til I get to see you again. I hope you have a great birthday, hope you like your presents, and I hope Mommy gets you a cool cake.

    Love
    Daddy

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Saturday, October 11, 2008

    I'm Sorry

    There's something I need to apologize for. I wrote this on January 4th this year:

    We are going to have a bloody, vicious fight on our hands, and I don't know that Obama is up for it.

    Well, he is up for it. He's more than up for it. He's run a genius campaign so far. Absolutely genius. Neither Clinton nor McCain knew what they were up against. McCain still doesn't, but that's another post.

    But if I apologize for that, I get to take credit for this, a part of the same post:

    This coming election is going to be the ugliest Presidential election in my lifetime. This is the last gasp of the current Republican party, and they are going to do whatever they can, to whomever they have to, to hold onto the Presidency. The Republicans know they can't win on the merits, so they are going to attempt to absolutely destroy as a person whoever the Democratic nominee turns out to be.

    I think I nailed that one, don't you? 

    Linkage Update

    I've added a bunch of other links in addition to the economic ones. There's Pro Football Talk, the source of NFL news and rumors. There's IO9, a relatively new science fiction-oriented (in all it's glories - books, movies, tv, comics) blog from the Gawker group of blogs. 

    There's 538, a blog that uses all the polls - seriously, all of them - as the input to a predictive model. It's from the good folks behind Baseball Prospectus, and they bring that level of wonkery and that level of accuracy to the political realm. (Note - they are one of the very few who predicted, before the season began, that Tampa Bay would make the playoffs.) Mudflats, a progressive Alaska blog (wonder why that's there?) has been added. (In all seriousness, I would totally move to Alaska.) Finally, Balloon Juice, the blog of former Republican/still conservative/Obama supporter John Cole is back again. 

    Give em all a try!

    Money Money Money Money

    Here are links to a couple of great NPR pieces on the economic crisis. The first is The Giant Pool Of Money. The second is Another Frightening Show About The Economy. Both are absolutely essential to understanding where we are and how we got there. I've also tossed a group of Economics links out there, including Calculated Risk, Paul Krugman's blog, and Brad DeLong's blog. Calculated Risk has a long, long list of economics related links. 

    Saturday, August 16, 2008

    Great Ad

    This is a great ad - the best I've seen all season. The cool thing is, it's privately made by an Obama supporter and not by anyone associated with the campaign. (Hat tip to TPM.)

    Air Travel Thoughts

    Good Things

    Midway is a great airport. I've never been delayed at Midway, and indeed have almost always taken off and arrived early. The boarding pass check and security are set up perfectly to allow everyone to get through the process in a short amount of time. Parking - close parking - is plentiful and remarkably easy to navigate.

    Southwest is a great airline. I love, love, love Southwest. I love that every leg is priced separately - I can purchase two one-way tickets and a round-trip ticket on Southwest out of Midway for cheaper than one one-way ticket out of Cedar Rapids. I love that there are no baggage fees unless you are checking more than two bags or bringing something over 75 pounds. I love the new method of boarding that rewards you for checking in early. I love how they stress customer service while allowing their employees to bring their own individuality to their jobs. Case in point: The flight back from Philly had the roughest landing I've ever had. You know how you always bounce slightly when you first touch down? We bounced three times, throwing you out of your seat (thank God for seatbelts) then rushed down the runway far faster than you should. When we finally came to a stop, the attendant came on and went "Wheee! That was fun!" The guy next to me muttered "That wasn't fun", and I agreed, but I liked how the attendant handled it.

    Bad Things

    That guy next to me? Huge. HUGE. Took up his seat, half of mine, and half of the guy on the other side. Now, I know I'm not a small man. But still. I was pressed against the window for the entire two hours of the flight. Thank God for books.

    Carry-on people. You know, folks, if you have to stand there, pounding on your bag, moving it back and forth and to all different angles to try to get it into the overhead compartment, well maybe - maybe - YOU SHOULD JUST CHECK THE DAMN THING!!! As I was boarding for the flight back, there was a woman who had the whole line stopped because she was trying to get a bag that was literally - I'm not exaggerating, because she was right in front of me - six inches wider than overhead compartment. Don't get me wrong - it's not that the bag would normally be six inches wider, it's just that she had it so jammed filled with stuff that it got that way. Eventually she saw the line forming, pulled the bag down and ducked into the row so people could get past. She might have been the worst offender, but she wasn't the only offender.

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    You Might Want To Avoid This One

    It's late - almost 1:30, and I've been up for over 20 hours. I started the day in a hotel a few miles south of Midway airport, went to Philadelphia and back, and then returned to Iowa. My spiritual journey was much harder, much longer. I started the day once again a father with two sons (having picked up Andrew at Midway last night) and end the day as a father with no sons. That's not entirely true I guess; I have sons, they are just 1,000 miles away from me.

    That's why I'm not in bed yet, tired as I am. I know as soon as I shut the last lights off and lie down, it's all going to come crashing in on me. There were moments of tears throughout the afternoon after I left E, but I was able to fight them off. I know I won't now. I'll just have to accept them, accept that my life is no longer as bright as it was and won't be again for sometime, but I'm not ready for that yet.

    There is an unfairness about it to me. It's unfair that there are parents who don't love their children, who don't want their children, who would be happy to be in my position. It's unfair that, at least to me, the bulk of the responsibility for our family, my family, being in this position lies elsewhere, but the bulk of the pain lies with me.

    But the dogs are here, and though they sense my sadness, and though they know that E is not here, they will do what they can to keep me happy. I can devote my spare time more to myself, if not all to myself, and my expenses are cut drastically. These things don't add up to what I lost, but they will have to do.

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Why Yes

    I'm ec-fucking-static that the candidate I supported in the caucuses was carrying on an extra-marital affair (are there really any other kinds of affairs?) while campaigning for the Presidency.

    Idiot.

    So

    I wonder how many Obama supporters who thought McCain would be a viable option if Hilary won the nomination still feel that way? I also wonder if McCain will ever put forward a reason for voting for him that isn't, for all intents and purposes, "I'm not Obama"?

    It's Sad

    That my first reaction to the headline "Hawkeye Recruit Arrested" was "Whew - least it wasn't another football player.

    Professor Offers A's for T's

    Film at eleven, story at the Iowa City Press Citizen.

    According to complaints from the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety, there were four incidents. On May 8, a female student said she and Miller met. The student said Miller told her she wasn’t doing well in regards to her overall grade. The student said Miller said she “would have to do something for him” and Miller grabbed and sucked on her breast.

    Miller later sent the student an e-mail congratulating her on getting an “A+” and offering to meet next week to discuss assistance for getting into law school.

    There were two complaints from May 12. One complaint by a female student said she and Miller met to address her grade, with the student asking Miller if her grade would be fine pending taking the final. The student said Miller told her that wouldn’t be good enough and asked her to take off her top. The student did not do so and left his office.

    The second complaint by a female student said she met with Miller to discuss grades. The student said Miller told her he would give her an “A” if she let him fondle her breasts. Miller did so and asked to lick them. Miller later sent the student an e-mail asking to meet with her again and that “A lasting memory of a lovely Monet cannot be formed in 20 seconds.”

    The final complaint from May 13 was from a female student who met with Miller in his office. The student said Miller repeatedly asked her to take off her shirt and tried to negotiate by giving her an “A” in the class. The student said Miller told her that “girls in New Orleans do it all the time just for beads and that her grade was on the line.”

    I don't want to downplay the severity of this story - it's a complete violation of the professor-student relationship, and, if true, should result in nothing less than a dismissal from the University. Further, I find it hard to believe that there have only been four incidents over time - I wonder if the investigation is getting in contact with all the females on his class lists for the past few years. They certainly should be, if they aren't. But the line "A lasting memory of a lovely Monet cannot be formed in 20 seconds" strides so wonderfully above the nexus of sleaze and cheese that I will not soon forget it.

    Saturday, August 09, 2008

    My Friend Flickr

    Added a virtual ton of photos to the Flickr account, most taken at our visit to the Iowa Children's Museum yesterday afternoon. E had a blast, though it was somewhat bittersweet for me; it's the last time I'll take him for awhile. We'll miss the Halloween party, which he has been to every year but one since he was born. My world changes on Wednesday, and not for the better. Oh well. You do what you do.


    Anyway, here is a taste of the photos. It took a lot of attempts to get a photo with the balls just leaving the track, and by the time I finally got the shot, E was a little miffed that I wouldn't let him go play on other exhibits. But it worked, and I think it looks cool.

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    You Tube Fun - 80s Female Edition

    Go-Gos



    Bangles



    Katrina and the Waves



    Toni Basil


    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    Paul Simon Was Wrong

    Not everything looks worse in black and white.



    (For those who don't get the reference, watch the video, listen to the video, and look at the new blog template.)

    So of course they switch up the song lyrics in that one. Here's the original song put to a bunch of images.



    And just because

    Saturday, July 12, 2008

    True Car Conversations Two and Three

    A little bit of background. Ethan takes a backpack with some toys in it whenever we get in the car. As much as he likes talking with me on our daily drives (30 miles to work, 30 miles home again), he also likes playing with his action figures. He talks as he plays, carrying on conversations between the toys.

    So we're driving along, and from the back seat I hear

    Ethan: You're trapped, Count Dooku. Drop your light saber!

    Me: Cool - you caught Count Dooku.

    Ethan: (Pause, then exasperatedly) I'm trying to play here.

    Me: Sorry.

    Some more background. The word hell has creeped into Ethan's vocabulary. I know that this is more than partly my fault as a parent. Not that I use the word around him, but I allow him to watch movies, play PS2 games, and watch tv shows that use the word. We've spoken about it, and I've tried to tell him how some words are good words, some words are bad words, some words are fine to use when you're older, and some words are fine to use when no one can hear you use them. He gets the basic concept - he's an incredibly smart boy - but sometimes things like the following happen.

    Ethan: (Playing in the back seat, while acting out a battle between action figures.) What the hell?

    Me: Dude!

    Ethan: ... Sorry.



    Side Note One: I use the word dude way too much for someone in his late 40s.

    Side Note Two: There is something incredibly inherently funny about a five-year old saying "What the hell?"

    Side Note Three: Side Note trademarked by Side Notes.

    Customer Service At Its Finest

    On the last full day Drew was here, Thursday June 12th, I went out to McDonald's at the outlet mall to get breakfast. Now, this isn't the best staffed McDonald's you can find - it's incredibly busy, and the local staffing options are the elderly and high schoolers. Still, it wasn't a busy morning, so I didn't double-check the sack after getting the food, opting instead to just drive home.

    Of course, this means I didn't get the complete order. Fortunately, the food for the boys was there, but mine wasn't. So I drove back out, went inside, and asked for the food I wasn't given. They had realized I hadn't gotten my food, so I didn't have to prove it. As the clerk was putting together my order, she asked the manager on duty if she could give me a complimentary meal card.

    The manager said no.

    The clerk stared at her, then asked again. "This guy had to come back to get food we didn't give him. Can't we get him a meal card?"

    The manager said no. "But I'll go get a coupon for a sandwich." And with that, she walked to the back.

    Now, I hadn't gone in there with the intention of getting something to recompense me for my troubles. I just wanted my breakfast. And if no one had said anything, I would have walked in and out without comment. But the fact that the manager vocally didn't want to give me anything, then had to be talked into giving me a sandwich, was, well, kind of insulting. I worked in restaurants for almost fifteen years, over five of those in management. If you feel your actions have negatively impacted the customer to the point you think you should comp the customer something, you comp them something at least of equal value to what they ordered.

    I waited for the manager to come back, ready to tell her that her offer of a sandwich was insulting, but before I could get that far she said "Here's a meal coupon." So I took it, glanced at it, thanked her, and went home.

    I took the coupon to work, thinking I would use it for lunch some time. I had seen a date on it, but didn't look closely enough to see what the expiration date. I figured it was good for at least a month, if not a year. I had looked closely enough to see it was good at any O'Brien's McDonald's, the franchisee in the Iowa City area.

    Jump forward a couple of weeks. McDonald's is sounding good for lunch, so I pick up the coupon and get ready to go. For the first time since I got it, I look at the date.

    06/12/08

    Remember the date I mentioned above, the date this happened? Thursday, June 12th? June 12th, 2008? In other words, 06/12/08?

    I checked the date on the coupon again, thinking that couldn't possibly be right.

    06/12/08

    They gave me a coupon that expired that day.

    I looked it over, thinking that had to be a mistake. Thinking there must be something on the coupon saying "Valid for 30/60/365 days after the date on this card."

    But no.

    The expiration date was that day. THAT DAY!

    Customer service at its finest.

    Tuesday, July 08, 2008

    An Eventful Week Part II

    The first sign that there might be trouble came Thursday afternoon, when reports started circulating that the Iowa Department of Transportation planned on closing I-80 at the Atalissa and Tipton exits Friday night at 7:00 pm. At that point I realized I would probably need to be moving out Friday afternoon instead of Saturday morning. Still, I could leave home as late as 5:00 in the afternoon and still clear those exits by 7:00 pm. My mother suggested that I take the boys right then and go down and stay with an aunt and uncle on the east side of the closure. I briefly considered it, but decided to wait.

    I woke up Friday morning to discover that the DOT had closed I-80 earlier than expected. Indeed, they jumped the closure from Friday evening to late Thursday. I started looking at maps, trying to figure out how to go east. It seemed pretty simple. Head up to Cedar Rapids, then take Highway 30 east to Tipton, then back south to I-80. I needed to make arrangements to board the dogs, and started making calls. By the time I found a place to board them, not only was Highway 30 closed, but pretty much every bridge and road north of I-80 that went east was closed. On top of that, I-380 in Cedar Rapids was one-lane only, and there was talk that both I-380 and Highway 965 were about to be closed between I-80 and Cedar Rapids. My only option to the north was heading west, then heading north to Highway 20, then east to Dubuque, then south to I-80, then on to Chicago. Not a very attractive path.

    So I started looking south. Highway 92 was already closed going east, but that still left Highway 6 and Highway 22. I got the boys dressed, then set off for Victor where I was boarding the dogs. By the time I got home, less than an hour later, Highway 6 was closed. Highway 22 was still open, though. If that closed, my only option would be driving down to Mt. Pleasant, taking Highway 34 across the river at Burlington and over to Galesburg, and then taking I-70 up to I-80.

    We set off about 2:00. Before we leave I double-check to make sure Highway 22 is still open. It is. By the time we reach Highway 22, about 40 minutes later, it’s closed. We set off for Mt. Pleasant, hoping Highway 34 is still open. It is, and the rest of the trip is uneventful, except of course for hitting I-55 into Chicago right about 6:00 p.m., just when traffic starts to go back into the city. It took about an hour to travel the 30-some miles between I-80 and the Harlem exit, and then another 30 minutes or so to get to the hotel.

    The next day was busy – turn in the first rental car, get a new rental car, escort Drew to his flight, go to the BMW dealership and take care of things with the old car, then drive back home following the same route. We dropped the rental off at Budget, got a lift home from a friend (thanks Brian!), then settled in and watched flood coverage.

    So that was my week. It cost me a car, it cost me over a $1,000 out of pocket (rental car, hotel, gas, diagnosis of car problems, towing fee), and I still consider myself fortunate compared to the many, many people in the area who lost a lot more. A friend, someone I’ve worked with for close to a decade, owns a house in one of the worst-affected areas of Iowa City. I spent an afternoon helping him clean-up - tearing out carpet, tearing down drywall, hauling out trash. It was horrible to see the damage caused by the flood up close. And he was one of the lucky ones. He was about four rows of houses away from the river, and though he is looking at tens of thousands of dollars worth of damages, he could conceivably rebuild if he needs to do so. There are many others in far worse shape. I got to leave it behind at the end of the day, but those affected can never leave it behind. It’s always with them.

    Monday, July 07, 2008

    Someone Needs To Work On Their Sales Technique

    From the Gazette

    CORALVILLE — A Louisiana woman allegedly offered to perform a sex act on a man for $40 then struck him when he refused, according to police reports.

    Dinora Santa Maria Wilson, 41, of Kenner, La., was charged with prostitution, an aggravated misdemeanor. She was taken to the Johnson County Jail and is held on a $5,000 cash bond. She faces up to two years in prison.

    Wilson allegedly knocked on the man's door around 12:30 a.m. Saturday at the Motel 6, 810 First Ave., and offered to perform a sex act. When the man refused, Wilson allegedly said, "What are you, gay?" In the midst of an altercation, Wilson then struck the man in the face. Wilson appeared intoxicated, according to police reports.

    Call me crazy, but if a drunk stranger knocks on my motel door at 12:30 in the morning, I don't open the door. I'm funny like that.

    Thursday, July 03, 2008

    True Car Conversations

    Ethan: When I grow up, I want to be a doctor.

    Me: That's a good career. You have to work hard at it, and go to school, but you are smart enough that if you want to be a doctor you can do it.

    Ethan: I also want to be Spider-Man when I grow up.

    Me: (Pause) That one's a bit tougher.

    Wednesday, July 02, 2008

    Odds and Ends

    I've opened a Flickr account. I've set it to private, but I'm willing to invite anyone who visits here who wants an invite. Drop me an email if interested. In the meantime, enjoy this photo of my friend Ethan and me.


    An Eventful Week Part I

    All okay here on the flood front, in case anyone is wondering. I did have a rather eventful week the week the flooding hit the area, but it wasn't related to the weather. Let's just put it like this - I now have a new old car. A 2005, which is the closest I've been to the current model year since 1998, when the late, lamented Saturn was three years old.

    Andrew came out for a week starting June 6th. It was between the end of school in Delaware and going to his father's in Oregon. He flew into Midway in Chicago on Southwest. Flying in and out of Midway is cheaper, even with the money spent on travel, than flying out of Cedar Rapids. So I drove in to Midway that Friday morning. The trip started without incident, but I got a speeding ticket shortly after entering Illinois. But from there to Midway things went well.

    However, as I parked in the lowest level of the parking garage at Midway (that's where short-term parking is) it seemed like the engine was running hot. I popped the hood, and saw light coming out of the engine area. This is not how it is supposed to be.

    I got out of the car, opening the hood fully, and spied the fire. Yes, fire. It was small - maybe the size of two fists, and it didn't seem like anything was on fire; rather that something had hit the engine block and started on fire - but as any mechanic will tell you, any fire on the engine block is a bad fire. I leaned in, blowing, finally putting the fire out. And yes, I realize this was probably not the smartest thing I've ever done.

    I went to get Drew, and called my mechanic in Iowa while waiting for Drew's flight to arrive. My mechanic confirmed my impressions that a: I should not attempt to drive the car, and b: the cost of transporting the car to Iowa to get it looked at would be prohibitive. I got Drew, then called Lesa. She got the numbers for some car repair shops and dealerships in the Chicago area, finally settling on the BMW dealership in Orland Park. They recommended a towing service. I called both, making arrangements to have the car towed and subsequently diagnosed. I then went to secure a rental car.

    I got a car at Budget in Midway. This was not without complications; they told me there was no Budget drop off in Iowa City, which I knew for a fact wasn't true, because I've gotten vehicles from them before. In fact, it was my satisfaction with the service at Budget in Iowa City that made me go to the Budget counter in the first place. Nonetheless, for some reason, it was not in the system. My only choice was to get a car I could drop off in Des Moines or get a car to bring back to Midway. Since I would need to get back to Midway the following weekend so Drew could fly out to Oregon, I decided to go that route. Besides, at that point I was still hoping I would have a BMW to drive home on the return trip.

    Meanwhile, we needed to wait for the tow truck to arrive before we went to pick up the rental. When the tow truck finally got there, he couldn't get into the parking garage. As a result, I needed to drive my car out of the parking garage to where the tow truck was parked by the departure drop offs. I wasn't particularly thrilled to be driving a car that had previously been on fire, but it worked out. The driver got the car hooked up, I paid the $200 towing charge, and Drew and I went to get the rental car.

    We got to the Budget lot and found out they had given our car to someone else because we hadn't gotten there right away. This despite the fact that I had told the person at the rental counter that we wouldn't be going right over to get the car. We ended up waiting another hour there til they had a car for us. It was a Cadillac, though. A very nice car. I was assured that there wouldn't be any extra charge, and we were off. We got back home around 11:00, about five hours later than I had hoped to return when I set off that morning.

    I'll leave out the fun aspects of Drew being here. Suffice it to say, it was great that he was able to be here for a week.

    Even if Ethan was sick for three days of that week.

    Anyway, on Tuesday I get the call from BMW of Orland Park. There's $4,000 worth of repairs, and that's just fixing the stuff the fire damaged. Finding what exactly caused the fire, and how to repair that, would be more. And that doesn't even touch the $1,000 in repairs the car needed before I drove to Chicago. (Nothing that was urgent, but things that needed to be taken care of in the next year or so.)

    The car cost me $6,000.

    Needless to say, it didn't seem to make much sense to drop $4,000 plus into it. The repair agent I spoke to, after I said not to fix it, told me that if I had said to fix it, he was prepared to try to talk me out of it.

    But that left me needing a car. I went out to the local Ford dealer. As much as I loved the BMWs, I wasn't prepared to get another car that was more than a decade old, which was the only way I could get another BMW. I found a nice Mercury Sable wagon that had been traded in just the previous week. 2005, low mileage, decent miles per gallon. The price was okay too. I got a quote, then went to the bank. Fortunately, the bank was willing to write a new loan high enough to pay off the previous loan and get the new used car. So that was taken care of.

    I still needed to dispose of the old car. I got that taken care of by donating it to charity. They would go to the dealer, pick it up, tow it away, and auction it, all at no cost to me. That's two headaches down.

    The final headache was getting the rental car and Drew back to Midway, then getting a new rental that I could drop off in Iowa City. I stopped in the Budget location in Iowa City, and was assured that, no matter what I was told in Midway, I could drop off a car there. They said I might have to rent the car to be dropped off at Des Moines, but even if I did, I could drop it off in Iowa City.

    So that just left getting Drew back to Midway. Unfortunately, his father booked Drew's flight at 9:15 in the morning. That meant we would have to get up at 3:00 am to make sure we got to Midway on time. Inconvenient, but possible.

    Until Mother Nature intervened.

    Signs

    Sign posted on the outside of the Metrodome, spied on Saturday 06/28/08:

    The Minnesota Twins Baseball Club Bans Guns In These Premises

    I realize there is probably a legal reason they need to post this, but I really hope there aren't a lot of people walking up, seeing this, and then turning to their spouse to say

    "Damnit! Honey, give me the keys and my ticket. I've got to go back and put my assault rifle in the trunk. I'll catch up to you."

    Thursday, June 05, 2008

    A Quote Only A Genre Geek Could Love

    From the Economist's review of McCain's Tuesday speech. (H/t Daily Kos)

    Addendum: OK, I lied, there's one surprise: The terrifying death rictus grin-and-snicker after every joke line. I don't know whether Americans are ready to vote for Mr McCain, but I am prepared to pay him one million dollars not to release deadly Smilex gas over the New Year's Eve crowd at midnight.

    For those wondering about the reference, go here.

    I'm Still Voting Obama, But

    I think this is a winning bumper sticker. (H/t to Pandagon)


    Monday, June 02, 2008

    The Dweeze Poetry Project: Sun and Moon

    I used to write a lot of poetry. I know, I know. Big surprise there. But I've seldom shared it with anyone.

    Anyway, tonight I was trying to explain to E why the sun could melt ice cream but the moon couldn't. As I was doing so, I realized "Hey! I wrote a poem that talked about this a long time ago. Too bad I have no place to ever publish that, and other poems." Then, after a long pause, I realized again "I could post it, and others, on the blog!" Now, I know Voltaire (I think it was Voltaire, and I'm too damned lazy to google it) once said "Beware a man who reads his poems in public, for he probably has other faults" but a: I'm not actually reading my poetry, and 2: It can't be more embarassing than some of the stuff I've put up here. So, here is the first post in the ongoing Dweeze Poetry Project. This is called "Sun and Moon," written in the mid-90s.

    The moon has no light of its own
    It can only reflect the light of the sun
    I can sympathize, for I
    I have no light of my own
    I can only reflect the light of you

    A Word Of Advice To Myself

    Dear Dweeze:

    Just because you bought a new blender, doesn't mean you have to have a double-sized chocolate malt every night.

    Love,
    Dweeze

    Dunkin Donuts, K-Mart, And The Appropriate Response

    Jolene briefly touches on the stupidest story from last week, the successful attempt by the right-wing fringe to save America by making Rachel Ray change her clothing accessories. For those that missed it, Dunkin Donuts (the clear favorite to win the 2008 Award for Corporate Cowardice) had a promotional photo with Rachel Ray wearing what some claimed was a keffiyeh (the traditional scarf worn in Middle-Eastern cultures). This was interpreted to be a shot across the bow of patriotic Amurricins everywhere, one of our biggest corporate shills wearing the Mooslim scarf of terror. Nevermind that it contained floral patterns and colors seldom found in true keffiyehs; nevermind you can see Lower Upper Class women wearing them almost anywhere you go in this country. It was a horrible thing for her to do at a time when we are at war with all of the Middle East, including those Israelis who don't agree with us, and the bold members of the lunatic fringe, led by wild-eyed howler monkey Michelle Malkin, stood up, screamed, and got Dunkin Donuts to pull the ad.

    (Jolene links to this story in the Boston Glode. A funnier version of the issue can be found, as per usual, at Sadly, No!, where you can find an even funnier post about the right-wing furry who commissions comic art of himself as a skunk fucking underage skunks who was among those leading the charge that Obama lied about his great-uncle's military service during WWII. No, really. I'm not making that up.)

    Last week also saw a very interesting article from Rick Perlstein, author of the new book Nixonland, a history of the conservative movement in the 70s. Perlstein talks about how many conservative commentators have asked him why he's the only liberal to treat the conservative movement seriously:

    First question: "It's my general sense that liberal or popular historians don't seem to be very interested in conservative history and ideology. Why are you?" In other words: why is the left--except for Perlstein!--so condescending that they refuse to take the right seriously.

    Perlstein then details how not only are many on the left taking the conservative movement seriously, but have actually used that movement as a model for today's liberal movement. He offers plenty of examples of liberals taking conservatives seriously. Others in the left blogosphere chime in, providing further examples.

    Why do I mention these two things together? Because, while it is important to respect elements of the conservative movement, it is hard, if not impossible, to take seriously people worried about Rachel Ray starting a jihad. That is, certain opinions not only call up condescension, they demand it.

    Here's an example closer to home. If you spend any time at all reading the Press-Citizen's online comment pages, you'll find a lot of barely disguised racism. Sure, it's covered in code words applicable only to Iowa City, words like "Broadway Apartments" and "Chicago transplants". Now, I've been in the area for over 30 years now, and while Iowa City isn't the "whiteville" it once was, it's a long, long way from being overrun by minorities like some at the Press-Citizen message boards claim. But when you see someone posting about how they feel unsafe going to K-Mart at any time of day because of the number of "those people" you see there, you don't know how to react. On the one hand, you want to take the concerns seriously, because this is obviously someone expressing fears they truly feel. On the other hand, it's such an idiotic fear that it's hard to take someone who would express it seriously. I go in that K-Mart every now and then on one of my area toy quests, and I've never felt the least bit threatened.

    There are no easy answers, at least none I see. It almost seems that making fun of a person who has that fear, or who fears a keffiyeh, might have a better chance of reaching them, or at least reaching someone who could possibly be swayed by them, then trying a reasoned argument. The reasoned argument is sure to fall on deaf ears. Maybe mockery won't.

    Sunday, June 01, 2008

    Best News Story Of The Week?

    Easily this one:

    North Liberty Police are investigating reports of a bear along Muddy Creek and the bike trail.

    Dispatchers with the North Liberty Police Department and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office reported they received 11 calls of a black bear lurking along the CRANDIC railroad tracks and bike trail along Muddy Creek south of Zeller Street in North Liberty. Most of the reports were on Wednesday, with the latest coming in around 10 p.m. Wednesday night, North Liberty Police Chief James Warkentin said.

    ...

    Police called in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa City Animal Control, who spent parts of Thursday searching for the bear. Tim Thompson, a biologist with the IDNR, said he investigated reports of bear tracks in North Liberty around 6 p.m. Wednesday, only to determine they came from a dog. However, he said it was likely that if a bear was loose, it was a smaller animal, about the size of a large dog, and possibly somebody’s pet. He said the publicity surrounding its sighting could bring its owner forward. He also said the bear likely would be fairly harmless unless it was provoked or cornered.

    “They’re primarily herbivores,” Thompson said. “They’ll scurry away like a raccoon. It’s probably running terrified.”

    Now, when people were first talking about this at work, I flashed back to where we used to live outside of North Liberty. It was a little development (maybe 12-15 houses total) built in a wooded area near the lake. And I do mean wooded area - in summer time, you could only see the houses right next to us and the house across the street. Everything else was surrounded by trees and hilly terrain, and a bear in that area didn't seem too unlikely. After all, I had seen deer and fox in the yard on several occasions.

    But no, the area where the "bear" was seen was not in the woods, but in a fairly open area. So the chances of it actually being a bear seem pretty remote. Unless it was one of those hobo bears that jumped a train and then jumped off there. Or a bigfoot. Bigfoot is my best guess.

    Anyway, we had a lot of fun with the idea at work, finding bear pictures online to put on our area maps. But trust me - if you Google Bear Pictures, read the results carefully before clicking on the link. You'll be glad you did.

    Not That I'm Complaining, But

    Can anyone explain to me why gas is $.10 a gallon cheaper in Williamsburg than it is in Iowa City? It's the same question that's always bothered me about Cedar Rapids, except now I can get the cheaper gas without driving someplace I wouldn't otherwise be driving. You would think that there wouldn't be any additional cost factor to delivering gas to Iowa City that doesn't also apply to delivering gas twenty miles away in Cedar Rapids or Williamsburg. So what is the difference? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    Saturday, May 31, 2008

    No, I Didn't

    Back date this post just so I could claim I had a post in May.

    Tuesday, April 29, 2008

    Posting

    I am constantly thinking of posts. In fact, I mentally write far more posts than I actually, you know, post. I’ll completely create a post in my head, then never bother to write it down and post it. Not sure why that is – perhaps I’m just bored with the post by the time I get to physically writing it. I think that’s why the short posts show up more often than the long ones. I’ve got about a third of a post on the recent Englert brouhaha written – hell, I actually spent time researching the effectiveness and justification of TIF districts – just sitting as a draft. There’s also a post that’s been brewing about why Obama, or more specifically, Obama supporters, scare the hell out of me. I hope to get some of these written and posted in the next few days. Til then – kid stories and innuendo (though not in the same posts)!

    S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G

    Ethan does really well with numbers. He knows his street addresses in both Iowa and Delaware, he reads off the street addresses of every house as we drive down the street, he can count to 100, and he can do basic addition. But he hasn’t been that good on his letters, and he still doesn’t really know his ABCs.

    Kindergarten is just four months away, so we’ve started working on his letters. He can now spell his name, and it only took him two days to get there. We’ve spent a lot of time spelling names, and while he can’t spell them all, he knows that D is for Daddy, M is for Mommy, and A is for Andrew.

    Last night we went through a long period of spelling names, every name E could think of. We finished, and for some reason I spelled the word “clock” – probably because clocks are among his favorite things, because they are always showing (and changing) numbers. In response, he said “Clock isn’t a name.” I patiently explained that clock was a word, and that all words, not just names, were made up of letters, and that anything made up of letters could be spelled. You could see the connections being made in his mind as I spoke, a whole new world of information opening up to him, and we spent the next twenty minutes or so spelling every word he could think of.

    I couldn’t be prouder of him. I really couldn’t.

    Dweeze's Deep Thoughts

    Saw a Sports Center broadcast this morning on the Roger Clemens affair thing, and in the clip Clemens was shown climbing into his Humvee and driving off away from the media. This confirmed a long-time pet theory of mine, that there are only two reasons to buy a Humvee – 1. You’ve got a military, 2. You’re an asshole. I think we can safely assume Roger Clemens does not have a military.

    (Note: I don’t like using the word “Hummer” to describe the vehicle, because I don’t think a wonderful, beautiful thing like a hummer should be dragged through the mud that way. More importantly, writing “buy a Hummer” makes me giggle uncontrollably.)

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    Character Thought Processes at the End of Revenge of the Sith

    Ethan came back home with a serious Star Wars jones, and thanks to the TanMan, we started watching the first trilogy. In reverse chronological order. Anyway, here is my expert opinion on the thought processes of the various characters at the end of the movie.

    Obi Won Kenobi: "Sure, Anakin's got to be in an incredible amount of agony, and as they say, better safe than sorry, but rather than put him out of his misery/ensure that a tremendous threat is dead, I'm just going to walk away. I mean, it's not like Darth Sidius is going to show up, rescue him, and put what remains alive in a walking tin can, right?"

    Darth Vader: "Wow. An incredibly advanced society with tons of technological advances, and you can't even manage some decent skin grafts?"

    Yoda: "I am too old for this shit. Yes, it's the most obvious place to put him, but I really don't give a crap that everyone will be able to figure out that Anakin's kid has been placed with Anakin's only living relatives on Anakin's home planet. Let Darth Sidious kill him in his infancy. I just want to go back to the swamp."

    Darth Sidious: "Yeah, it would really cost nothing whatsoever to send a scout ship to Tatooine to see if Anakin's kid is still alive. But hey, if the Jedis say Padme died during childbirth and the kid died with her, that's good enough for me."

    Padme: "I need a new agent."

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Deep Thought For The Day

    The song says you can't hurry love. Well, it's also pretty tough to make a five-year old move faster than he wants to move.

    Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    My Boys


    Are growing up


    Sunday, March 30, 2008

    300

    No, not the movie. The thread count on the new sheets I bought. And yes, I know there are much higher thread counts. But this is the highest I've ever gotten for myself, and girllllllfriend, they feel goooood.

    Speaking of 300

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    Because Really, What This Story Needed Was More Bat-Shit Crazy People

    I haven't written about this because it really hit me hard. The fact that one of the kids was Andrew's age and named Ethan is what got to me. So those of you who aren't from here haven't heard about it. But this, about the fine Rev. Phelps and the plans for the WBC to come protest at the funeral, made me break my silence.

    See, you out-of-staters might not know it, but God apparently hates Iowa. First, there was the court that allowed gay couples to get married. Then, there was the state law prohibiting protests within 500 yards of a funeral. Finally, there is the fact that Iowa City is among the gay-friendliest cities in America.

    (Really, we are. City law states that if a gay person asks us to perform a sex act with them, we have to do it. That's how gay-friendly we are!)

    So God hates Iowa, and to demonstrate that hate, God - and I'm quoting here - "sent the shooter" as punishment for Iowa's sins. (Note: As anyone who can read could tell you, there was no shooter, no shots, and no shooting victims. Facts are funny things.)

    Now, I don't want to get into the strangeness of someone professing to be a Christian apparently never having heard of the New Testament God (aka the friendly God). Nor do I want to get into the strangeness of God sending a hitman to kill innocent children as young as three. I mean, if God really was trying to send a message, especially a message about the evils of homosexuality, you'd think he send a hitman to take out some gay people. And not take them out in the way that Iowa City city law requires us to take out gay people - no, in the killing way of taking out people.

    To me, if you want to use the logic that God targets the innocent to drive home how sinful we Iowans are to the ultimate extreme, you realize that God shouldn't just be targeting the innocent - God should be targeting those who actively protest against homosexuality. That would really drive home how angry God was at us. So, until someone takes out the entire Phelps family (again, not the good way of taking out), I'm going to assume that God isn't sending hitmen to kill Iowa's innocents.

    Of course, the notion that Steve Sueppel was a hitman for God makes as much sense as any other theory people have put forward for why he did what he did. Let me reiterate what I said about the Virginia Tech shootings - as much as we want to see a reason, we won't. To quote the Rats of Boomtown, we can see no reasons because there are no reasons. The silicon chip inside his head got switched to overload and Sueppel went totally bat-shit crazy. It wasn't because of his legal problems, it wasn't because he didn't want his family to deal with the shame, it wasn't because of the harshness of the legal system - it's because he went crazy. We'll never know why - he made sure of that himself - but it doesn't matter why. All that matters is that he went nuts, two adults and four children are dead, and the Desperate Attention Whores from Kansas are coming to town.

    In other words, no happy endings here.

    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    We'll Be Right Back After A Word From Our Sponsors

    I can't decide. Am I too damn old, or are there just an overabundance of absolutely unbefuckinglevieably idiotic commercials? Burger King seems to be the worst offender. I can't decide which is worse - the "We took the Whopper off the menu" series or the "Whopper Junior/Spicy Chicken visit other fast food places" series. The only people the latter series could appeal to would be the people who freak out when they're told they can't get a Whopper. The Coke Zero commercials with the Coke employees who want to sue Coke make my head spin as well. Who thinks these are funny?

    And let's not forget the Cuba Gooding Jr. Hanes commercials. I see those and feel so sorry for the dude. I mean, he's basically reduced to shucking and jiving for the benefit of Michael Jordan. Still, he doesn't seem too embarassed. I guess once you've starred in Snow Dogs, everything else is a step up.

    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Even More Things You Don't Expect Rachel Ray To Say

    "I have a tendency to over-whack my meat."

    Don't we all, Rachel Ray. Don't we all.

    Sunday, March 16, 2008

    Maintenance Issues

    Changed my profile name back to Dweeze - too many Davids, and I hated being one of many. I figure I now have the best of both worlds - y'all now know me as David (if you didn't before), but I can still post as Dweeze. I like Dweeze - he's become a major part of me.

    New Review

    I've got a new review up at the Iowa City Theatre Blog - an ICCT show that's well worth seeing. Well, you only have today (Sunday) left to see it, so chances are you won't. But it was really good.

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    You Tube Fun - Stay Classy Iowa City Edition

    Age of Aquarius - The 40-Year Old Virgin



    Afternoon Delight - Anchorman



    Let's Get It On - High Fidelity



    School of Rock - School of Rock

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    Thought For The Day

    You know those commercials for Horton Hears A Hoo where the Steve Carrell character says "Putting Hoo in front of everything doesn't make it hurt less"? Well, it doesn't make it any funnier, either...

    Saturday, March 01, 2008

    You Tube Fun: F**king Matt Damon and Ben Affleck Edition

    I don't think Sarah Silverman is as funny as she thinks she is, and I don't think Jimmy Kimmel is as funny as he thinks he is. But these? These are both hilarious.

    And incredibly not safe for work.



    Friday, February 29, 2008

    It's Been A Great News Week

    Remember how I said the story in the previous post would be tough to top? Well, that may still be the case, but it's not going to be because of a lack of trying. Thursday's PC brought us this gem:

    Police said officer Ryan Wood was writing a possession of alcohol under the legal age ticket for Michael Roy Schroeder outside of One-Eyed Jakes. While doing so, two friends of Schroeder ran up to the scene.

    Police say one of them, Michael Stanley Fabinski, 19, grabbed the ticket book from Wood, and the other man, identified as Michael Alexander Bakerdjis, 20, pushed the officer. Police say both men ran south on Clinton Street.

    Wood caught Fabinski after he fell at the corner of Clinton and Washington streets. As Wood tried to place him into custody, police say Bakerdjis grabbed the officer to try to get him off Fabinski. Police say Bakerdjis also tried to pull the ticket book away.

    Police say both men were then able to get away temporarily. According to police, Bakerdjis ran south on Clinton Street but Fabinski fell again while running across Clinton Street.

    Wood placed Fabinski into custody, and while he was filling out the paperwork, police say Bakerdjis walked by and was spotted by another officer. Bakerdjis attempted to hide behind some bushes but was arrested.

    Police say that while the officer was occupied with Fabinski and Bakerdjis, Schroeder fled the area. He was later found and arrested at Currier Hall, where he lives.

    ...

    Schroeder, who will be 20 next Thursday, was charged with PAULA, public intoxication and escape from custody, which is a serious misdemeanor. Kelsay said had Schroeder simply accepted the PAULA ticket and pleaded guilty to the charge, he would have only faced a $314 fine.

    ...

    Bakerdjis, of 302 S. Gilbert St., No. 1226, is charged with two counts of interference with official acts, assault on a peace officer, obstruct prosecution and second-degree robbery. Assault on a peace officer is a serious misdemeanor; obstruct prosecution is an aggravated misdemeanor; second-degree robbery is a class C felony.

    Fabinski, of 201 E. Burlington St., No. 1531, was charged with public intoxication, two counts of interference with official acts, obstruct prosecution and second-degree robbery. One of the interference with official acts charges is a serious misdemeanor.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Gives New Meaning To "Room Service"

    You don't expect to see the news story of the year in February, but it's going to be tough to top this:

    A judge has denied an Iowa man's claim that he shouldn't have been fired for repeatedly requesting help to procure a prostitute.

    Neil Jorgensen, 62, of Kalona, worked at Riverside Casino & Golf Resort and was given a gift certificate and free night's stay at the casino hotel to mark a year's employment.

    After eating and drinking at a casino restaurant, he returned to his hotel room about midnight and later called hotel managers about hiring a prostitute. When managers refused to help him, he made a call to the adjacent resort and made the same request.

    "The advertisement is that it's just like Las Vegas, so I thought I was in Las Vegas," Jorgensen testified at a hearing regarding his request for unemployment benefits.

    Hotel workers were sent to Jorgensen's room to ask him to stop demanding prostitutes. When they arrived at his room, Jorgensen answered the door in the nude, human resources director Tim Donovan said.

    Jorgensen was fired the next day.

    At the hearing, Jorgensen said his actions didn't hurt the casino, and he said he'd received strong performance reviews. He also blamed the restaurant for serving him too much alcohol.

    "I was absolutely plowed," he said.

    Administrative Law Judge Terence Nice turned down Jorgensen's claim for unemployment benefits.

    An Inspired Link

    Garfield without Garfield. Check it out.

    Monday, February 25, 2008

    So How'd I Do?

    Not too bad. I only missed one of the top 8 awards, though I missed it by a mile, saying, and I quote: "Cotillard won the Golden Globe, but that was the foreign press - she doesn't stand a chance here." Nice predicting, Dweeze!

    On the next tier, I missed Documentary Feature and Foreign Film, but got the other three categories - Animated Feature, Animated Short, and Documentary Short. That brings me to 10 of 15.

    I took a beating in the bottom tier, getting only Best Original Song and Best Art Direction. (Who knew Bourne Ultimatum would take home more Oscars than any film other than No Country? Well, I must have had an inkling, cause I did say with regards to Film Editing: "I wouldn't be surprised to see Bourne win this, though.") That's 2 of 10, bringing the over all total to 12 of 25.

    Anyway, on to next Oscar Season!

    Sunday, February 24, 2008

    Dweeze's Fearless Oscar Forecast: Put A Fork In It, We're Done

    Director:
    Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
    Ethan Coen and Joel Coen - No Country for Old Men
    Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
    Jason Reitman - Juno
    Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

    Without a best picture nomination for his movie, Schnabel doesn't stand a chance. Even with a best picture nomination, Reitman doesn't stand a chance. With two much better films out there, Gilroy doesn't stand a chance. Yes, once again, we come down to No Country vs. There Will. So let's hold off.

    Picture:
    Atonement
    Juno
    Michael Clayton
    No Country for Old Men
    There Will Be Blood

    Let's sweep through these - I enjoyed all five of these films, which is the first time in a long time I can say that about all the Best Picture nominees. But it really is a two-horse race. Atonement didn't get a director nod, Juno is a comedy, and Michael Clayton had the unfortunate problem of being released in a year with two much-better pictures.

    Here's the thing about these two films. No Country is a great film. There Will is a very good film with a great performance. Take Daniel Day-Lewis out of There Will, and it doesn't climb anywhere near as high as it does. On the other hand, as good as Bardem is in No Country, he could be replaced without affecting the film. Yes the ending is unsettling, providing us with no sense of closure; it's supposed to be. Violence is unsettling. Real violence, not the make-believe kind we usually see on screen. The effects of real world violence often give us no sense of closure. The funny thing is, I don't think it's any less detached or unemotional than most Coen brothers films. It's just that, here those qualities work to add to the disquieting sense of the movie. It is a powerful, beautiful film that deserves to be the Best Picture of 2007.

    Should Win Director and Picture: No Country for Old Men
    Will Win Director and Picture: No Country for Old Men

    Saturday, February 23, 2008

    Dweeze's Fearless Oscar Forecast: Return of the Fearless Oscar Forecast

    Getting near the end, so let's just dig in.

    Best Actor:
    George Clooney - Michael Clayton
    Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
    Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    Tommy Lee Jones - In The Valley of Elah
    Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises

    This might be the easiest category to call the whole night. In any other year Clooney would probably win, but Day-Lewis walks away with this one. It's impossible to imagine There Will Be Blood being anywhere near as good with anyone else, and equally tough to imagine any other actor who could have pulled off the part. Day-Lewis is onscreen for almost the entire film, and he holds the audience's attention from beginning to end.

    Should Win: Day-Lewis
    Will Win: Day-Lewis

    Best Actress:
    Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth: The Golden Age
    Julie Christie - Away From Her
    Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose
    Laura Linney - The Savages
    Ellen Page - Juno

    Blanchett already won for playing the character, so it'd be gaudy to give her a second statue. Linney racks up yet another nomination without a win. (Call me Laura!) Cotillard won the Golden Globe, but that was the foreign press - she doesn't stand a chance here. Which brings us to Christie and Page. Christie gets to play ill, which is usually an Oscar-shoe-in for a man, though not so much for a woman. Page is great, but young - voters might regard her as having many more chances for a win later in her career.

    Should Win: Page
    Will Win: Christine

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    Dweeze's Fearless Oscar Forecast: Episode Four A New Hope

    We all know the drill by now, right? Right? So let's get to it.

    Best Supporting Actor:
    Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
    Philip Seymour Hoffman - Charlie Wilson's War
    Hal Holbrook - Into The Wild
    Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton

    I've seen three of the five performances, and of the ones I've seen, Javier Bardem is the clear favorite. Indeed, it seems as though he's been the favorite since No Country came out. The only person who has a chance is Hal Holbrook. Two reasons why: First, it's the only major nomination for a film a lot of people loved. Second, as a lifetime acheivement award for Hal.

    Should Win: Bardem
    Will Win: Bardem

    Best Supporting Actress:
    Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
    Ruby Dee - American Gangster
    Saorise Ronan - Atonement
    Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
    Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

    Ruby Dee has the all the things in her favor that Hal Holbrook does in the previous category, but she's barely in the movie. I think Blanchett cancels herself out here and with Best Actress, plus she's already got a statue. Ronan, as good as she was, might as well not even be in the race. That leaves us with Ryan and Swinton. Both play unsympathetic characters. Ryan's character is an absolutely unapologetic druggie. Swinton's is a total mess pushed into horrific acts. Either would be a great choice. Swinton takes it though, solely because more people have seen the film and it's the best chance for an award for the film.

    Should Win: Ryan
    Will Win: Swinton

    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    500

    Welcome to my 500th post. It's incredibly special, isn't it?

    You Tube Fun: The Gourds Gin and Juice

    A very nice mash-up of the original Snoop Dogg Gin and Juice video with the Gourds cover of the song. This may be the best cover version of a song in the entire history of cover versions.

    Return of the Prodigal Bloggers

    Both Greenman and Side Notes have returned to the blogosphere (and to my links), Side Notes with her quick comments and insightful analysis, Greenman with a very funny, very obscene You Tube clip. We all play to our strengths...

    Dweeze's Fearless Oscar Forecast Episode Three: Attack of the Oscar Forecast

    Change in format for the rest of the posts. I'll list all the nominees, with an attempt at commentary on most.

    Original Screenplay:
    Juno: Diablo Cody (An almost universally-loved film with almost no chance of winning any other award.)
    Lars and the Real Girl: Nancy Oliver (Welcome to the ranks of it's an honor just to be nominated.)
    Michael Clayton: Tony Gilroy (Same analysis as Juno - everyone loves the film, but it might get shut out the rest of the night.)
    Ratatouille: Brad Bird, story by Jim Capobianco and Jan Pinkava (A great film, but by this point it's already won all the awards it's going to get.)
    The Savages: Tamara Jenkins (Have a seat with Ms. Oliver.)

    Should Win: Diablo Cody
    Will Win: Diablo Cody

    Adapted Screenplay:
    Atonement: Christopher Hampton (Welcome to shutoutsville, Atonement!!)
    Away From Her: Sarah Polley (Welcome to Anhonortobenominatedville, Sarah Polley!)
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: Ronald Harwood (Have a seat over there by Ms. Polley, Mr. Harwood!)
    No Country for Old Men: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
    There Will Be Blood: Paul Thomas Anderson

    Okay, the first big battle of the night between the two front-runners for Best Picture and Best Director. I'll leave my thoughts on the merits of the two films until later. If I can. I mean, if I have a clear opinion as to which of these two films is the better film, and I don't know if I can separate that opinion from my opinion on the screenplay.

    You know, I can't. I've made several attempts to do so, but can't seem to manage it. So let's just go with the prediction.

    Should Win: No Country for Old Men
    Will Win: No Country for Old Men

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Tonight? Total Lunar Eclipse - Tomorrow?

    Give them the answer, won't you Bonnie?

    Dweeze's Fearless Oscar Predictions Part the Second

    Hi! It's me again, back with more Oscar predictions. Today we'll cover the awards too major to be considered minor, but too minor to be considered major. Once again, just the winners with light commentary.

    Documentary Feature:
    Sicko (Because it's Hollywood, and they're all liberals, dontcha know?)

    Documentary Short:
    Freeheld (Because I have no idea.)

    Animated Feature:
    Ratatouille (Although don't be surprised if Persepolis wins this solely because it wasn't nominated for Foreign Language Film.)

    Animated Short:
    Peter and the Wolf (Everyone loves Peter and the Wolf!)

    Foreign Language Film:
    12 (Again, no idea.)

    Okay, we've got the prelimaries out of the way. Tomorrow, the writing awards.

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Dweeze's Fearless Oscar Forecast Part I

    Why is it a fearless Oscar forecast you ask? Because even if I miss every pick, nothing bad happens. I won't get mocked more by my friends; the good folks at Blogger won't yank my blog away from me. It's recriminations free predicting, baby!

    In this first installment, we'll get a bunch of the smaller categories out of the way. For these, I'm not going to list all the nominees, just the winners. I'm also going light on the witty commentary. (Curses to all of you who say I'm always light on the witty commentary.)

    Make-Up
    Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (It's really this or Norbit, and you know that ain't happening.)

    Original Song:
    "Falling Slowly" Once (The three Enchanted songs cross each other out and no one liked August Rush. That leaves this song, from a film almost everyone loved.)

    Original Score:
    Ratatouille (Course, if No Country is going to dominate the evening, it will begin to happen here.)

    Sound Editing:
    Ratatouille

    Sound Mixing:
    Ratatouille (Everyone loved the film, but there are no awards to give it after Animated Feature - so it will sweep these.)

    Film Editing:
    Into The Wild (One of the few chances to give an award to a film a ton of people thought would be up for the major awards - I wouldn't be surprised to see Bourne win this, though.)

    Costume Design:
    Across the Universe (Because it's the best damned film of the year, and because it didn't get any other nominations, this is my sentimental pick, though we all know Sweeney Todd will take the statuette.)

    Art Direction:
    Sweeney Todd

    Visual Effects:
    Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

    Cinematography:
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (I actually saw the three major contenders here, and the film with the awkward title should win this hands down.)

    That's it for now. Tune in tomorrow for more fearless predictions!

    Sunday, February 03, 2008

    Snow Madness

    In case my earlier post did not make it clear, this shoveling snow every other day thing? So uncool. SO UNCOOL!

    Saturday, January 26, 2008

    You Are Now Free To Roam About The Country Between Chicago And Baltimore

    The thing I like best about Southwest Airlines isn't the frequent flights, or the low fares - it's the apparently radical notion that a one-way fare should be half the price of a round-trip fare. Too bad I need to go into Midway to catch a flight, but that little half-price one-way fare thing makes it cheaper to fly Southwest, even with the overnight trip to Chicago and back, then to fly any airline out of Cedar Rapids.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    Some Programming Notes

    I've got a review of Rage Theatrics' Hero Stories up at the Iowa City Theatre Blog. You can read it here.

    By the way, the byline on that review is my real name. I've never really kept it hidden here, though I haven't really broadcast it either. So anyway, I'm David. Not Dave. Certainly not Davey. Just David.

    Pleased to meet you all.

    Rudy!

    More campaign commercial fun from the King of Soul, Rudy Guiliani

    (The jokes below will only be funny if you listen to the background music for the commercial.)



    Only Rudy will push for a catastrophe fund! Only Rudy will stand up to the insurance companies! Only Rudy will make sweet, sweet love to you like you deserve, baby!

    Monday, January 21, 2008

    I Give! I Surrender!

    Okay snow, you won. I concede. You can stop now.

    Oh, I think I've fought a good fight. We were at a draw for a long time, but I have to admit that this latest snowfall is it. Good job. Nicely played.

    What? You're not going to stop? Another 3-5 inches today, snow this coming Friday as well as next Sunday and Monday? You bastard!

    *sobs*

    You bastard...

    Saturday, January 19, 2008

    RIP Bobby Fischer

    No, I didn't know the man. In fact, I only bring it up as an excuse to run a clip from one of my favorite films, Searching For Bobby Fischer.

    I first discovered the film when I was working at That's Rentertainment. (A local video store chain for the non-resident readers, though they have since closed up shop.) One of the things you find as a video store clerk is that you very seldom get to watch a movie all the way through. There are always distractions. People come in, shelves need to be restocked, windows need washed. That sort of thing.

    So you develop a library of movies, movies you know so well that you can walk away at any point and come back later and know exactly where you are and what is going on. (Concert films were also perfect for this purpose.) I had such films as Strictly Ballroom (I need to post on that some day), Joe Vs. The Volcano (ditto), and Searching For Bobby Fischer.

    Searching For Bobby Fischer is an incredible film. It's perfectly cast and beautifully acted. In many ways it's a sports film, but it's also a film about fathers and sons, about teaching and learning, about growing older and growing up. Here's the final scene, where our hero Josh (you'll quickly figure out which character that is) is facing the top player in his age group for the national title of his age group. Look for Joe Mantegna and Nancy Allen as Josh's parents and Lawrence Fishburne and Ben Kingsley as his two chess teachers with drastically different styles.

    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    You Tube Fun - Ryan Adams on Letterman Edition

    You know, I'm sorry I didn't get to the Costello/Dylan concert last fall. But I deeply, deeply regret not going to see Ryan Adams at the Union. That was the show I really wanted to see, and I skipped it. The man is a genius.

    Two



    Everybody Knows



    New York, New York



    (and the original New York, New York video, shot September 7, 2001- they thought about scraping the video because the towers played such a prominent role in the staging of the video, but decided to go with it anyway as a tribute to the city)