If you're reading this, it means that you're getting to the blog through Blogger. Well, stoppit. After today, we won't be posting at jackteddyandus.blogspot.com. Just type in www.jackteddyandus.com instead, ok?
The new version of the blog is so much prettier! And we'll be able to change our header graphic a lot.
You'll have direct access to all of our photos - which is good because we suck at sending you our latest pics.
Hope you enjoy! And, as always, email us if you have any problems and let us know what you think!
UPDATE: We know the video isn't working - there's something up with YouTube and we're trying to fix it. Check back!
So no one ever believes us when we tell them what good buddies Jack & Ted have become. So here's your proof. It's pretty dark, but there's some good action at the 1 minute, 2 minute, and 2:15-ish mark.
Have you ever heard of the Political Compass? In a nutshell, you take this test and it evaluates your answers and generates a number that can be plotted on a chart with axis including Authoritarian, Libertarian, Left, and Right. That is to say that the Compass itself is more than a linear measure of where you fall between left, right and moderate...After all, both Stalin and Gandhi were leftists, so obviously a linear model isn't all that helpful.
Here's a link to the test. It takes about 3 or 5 minutes to finish the whole thing and it's really interesting. At the end, you can see a chart of the 2008 presidential candidates and where they fall on the chart. You may be shocked. I sort of thought I knew where I was going to fall, but I was still surprised when I compared my placement to theirs!
Ok - go take the test right now and come back before you read any further. I don't want to spoil it for you!
Alright - so where did I land? I landed near Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel. Which is a little embarrassing because most people think they are crazyhorses. But, even in 2004, whenever I took a "find the candidate whose views match yours" quiz, good old [teeny] Kucinich was right at the top of my results. The thing is, I'm not embarrassed. I think most of my democrat friends would fall into the same general area. He and Gravel are the two candidates who acknowledge that gay marriage is an equality issue and that of course it should be legal. The only thing I really disagree with Kucinich about is Israel - which is a big enough deal to me to send my vote elsewhere. Other than that, he gets my whole Star Trek mentality - hell, he even has the ears.
What I am actually embarrassed about is where all of the other democratic candidates fall within the chart. Apparently, whether their answers depict their actual positions or their what-they-think-will-get-them-elected positions, all but the two supposed crazies are right of center. Which is weird to me. Not surprising, but weird. I really think that Hillary knows better. I doubt she believes in a god and I doubt she thinks gay marriage is wrong. I just think she - and Bill, too - are too intellectual and philosophical to believe otherwise. Not that people who do believe in a god and/or don't believe in gay marriage are dumb and shallow - you all know what I mean.
So??? Where did you fall on the chart?! Please tell us in the comments - I'm dying to know!
Check out this amazing presentation. They showed it today - Day 1 of DC Ad Week - on the giant screen at the AFI Theater. The info on globalization and technology is awesome, but overwhelming. It's very cool and worth watching - and, despite what the image below shows, it's not about MySpace!
We're home from Florida! L'shanah tovah to all. We just picked Ted up from Your Dog's Best Friends, which is the cageless kennel where he stays when we go out of town. They asked us if he'd been in training because he's so good now! No more crazy mouthiness from him! How nice was that to hear?! Now he's home - and exhausted - and is passed out and snoring at Adam's feet. It's good to be home.
So what are we supposed to make of 9/11 these days? Today is the sixth anniversary and the biggest thing that struck me is that nothing really struck me (at least until about five minutes ago -- more on that in a sec). I'm a big sap and tend to obsess and overwhelm myself with information when 'sad' things happen. Six years ago Sandy had to beg me to turn off the television in the days and weeks after the attacks because I just couldn't look away and was letting it all get to me. That continued even past the one year anniversary -- I'd hear "Amazing Grace" in a totally unrelated context and it would bring all the emotions back. All of this and I didn't even have a connection to the tragedies. I lived in Charlottesville at the time and didn't personally know anyone who was a victim or even anyone who was directly related to a victim (I seriously and wholeheartedly apologize to anyone I am overlooking or who I didn't realize had such a connection).
I remember at the time of the events, I was so sure that it would change the world and people would never be able to fully move on. I felt that 9/11 would always stay with us and change the everything. It hasn't. Not at all. Not for me or my friends or family. I think today confirmed just what kind of culture we have. It is the sixth anniversary of arguably the worst tragedy in our history ("our" referring to being an American) and no one seemed to acknowledge it. I drive past the Pentagon on my way to and from work and just a few years after having to go past armed Hummers on that drive I saw a lone police car giving someone a speeding ticket. The only non-internet media reference I heard all day was a moment of silence on Eliott in the Morning on my drive in at the moment that one of the planes took off. Nothing else on the radio. Even the internet was shockingly quiet about the anniversary. Sure cnn.com had a couple of stories and even deadspin did a post, but it really seemed to be a non-story everywhere I looked. Tonight on television there aren't any specials or retrospectives or memorials. Just reruns.
I was beginning to think that all of this is actually a good thing. Not to be cheesy, but it shows our resilience and that we are back to normal as a society. The past six years have been very good to me and fortunately not even 9/11 could put a roadblock in my way. Of course there are thousands of people being affected by by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and I certainly feel for them, but frankly this stuff doesn't touch me and I guess I'm grateful for that. I was thinking that it was good that we have returned to a state of complacency because we shouldn't let terrorists or fundamentalists or anyone else change the way we are. But I was struggling with that notion. It didn't feel right. It felt like 9/11 should still matter and should still affect me.
I guess by coincidence then, Sandy called me at the last minute and asked me to run an errand that she wasn't going to have time to do. So I got in the car, ran to the store and on my way back had NPR on. And finally they were discussing 9/11 in that reserved poignant way that only NPR can. The commentators were discussing a group of victims' families who were pushing peace. They were discussing a woman who testified on behalf of Moussoui and is credited with getting him a life sentence instead of the death penalty. She was proud despite her obviously mixed emotions. Next were the words of a woman who told of coming home to a message from her son who was in the World Trade Center and was leaving a message to say goodbye. That got to me and brought everything back. I'm not over 9/11 and I never want to be. I will continue to struggle with this as the tragedy is politicized and commercialized and ignored. I want to move on, but I don't.
And I guess that will be the legacy of 9/11 for me. The conflicts, both internal and external. Good versus evil, but so much more than that. The struggle between whether to be happy, sad or indifferent on 9/11/08. The conflict between wanting to be hit over the head with memorials and to want see that reruns mean that we can move on. The struggle between making a Debbie Downer joke in the middle of this post or being serious, because that is what a post like this supposed to be. The struggle between typing this post and keeping it all inside.
I won't ramble any more. I hope that everyone remembers and no one forgets each in their own way. But I also hope that everyone can move on when they are ready or linger with their thoughts if that is what feels right. Thanks for indulging me.
Eurich Griffin is a brilliant and crazy. Think Doc Brown meets Thurgood Marshall meets your crazy uncle. One day someone is going to write a very interesting book about this man. Born in D.C. in the late 1930s, Eurich went on to graduate from Harvard Law School. But I'm not here to write that book now. I'm here to share Eurich's glory.
Eurich has added me to his list of people who get his email forwards. I'm not complaining, but it is a bit strange since I know Eurich through Sandy's family, but neither Sandy or her mother get these emails. It appears to be me and 9 other people. I consider myself lucky.
So starting today, I'm going to post the emails that Eurich sends me. I'm going to copy and paste them and maybe put them in bold, but otherwise you get them how I get them (with names and email addresses deleted). They aren't all clean and they aren't all funny, but I'm merely the messenger. I actually got two (!) yesterday, so I will share them both.
Harry is getting along in years (50 or so) and finds that he is unable to perform sexually. He finally goes to his doctor, who tries a few things but nothing seems to work. So the doctor refers him to an American Indian medicine man.
The medicine man says, "I can cure this." That said, he throws a white powder in a flame, and there is a flash with billowing blue smoke.
Then he says, "This is powerful medicine. You can only use it once a year. All you have to do is say '123' and it shall rise for as long as you wish!"
Harry then asks, "What happens when it's over, and I don't want to continue?"
The medicine man replies: "All you or your partner has to say is 1234, and it will go down. But be warned -- it will not work again for another year!"
Harry rushes home, eager to try out his new powers and prowess. That night he is ready to surprise his wife. He showers, shaves, and puts on his most exotic shaving lotion. He gets into bed, and lying next to her says, "123."
He suddenly becomes more aroused than anytime in his life ... just as the medicine man had promised.
His wife, who had been facing away, turns over and asks, "What did you say 123 for?"
And that, my friends, is why you should not end a sentence with a preposition.
__________________________________________________________ ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: ---------- To: eurich griffin Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 06:51:20 -0700 (PDT) Subject: Re: Fwd: good advice, funny, read this LOL GOOD ADVICE !!!
Tonight I'd like to explain to you why I think Gene Roddenberry was smarter than George W. Bush. Arguably, Tom Arnold is also smarter than W. But, then again, I think we can all agree that if we made a list of people whose mental prowess exceeds that of our commander in chief, few people would fail to make the cut. I see that. But let's just focus on Gene for a second and how Star Trek is the answer to our foreign policy woes.
Don't stop reading. I realize that I'm probably the only person any of you know who is infatuated enough with the idea of space travel - and the future in general, really - to be way into Star Trek [specifically The Next Generation and, recently, Enterprise]. Wait - despite all evidence to the contrary, you still thought I was cool? Ha.
But I digress.
The point I'm trying to make doesn't actually require any knowledge of Star Trek. All you need is a quick overview. I'll keep it short since you're far less nerdy than me:
In the future that Star Trek paints for us, there exists an alliance of a bunch of different worlds called the United Federation of Planets. And Starfleet is sort of the Federation's military - only it is about more than just defense: it's mostly about exploration, research, diplomacy, and reaching out to hitherto undiscovered civilizations. As such, Starfleet, this fictional team of FAKE planets, has enough sense to prepare itself for this type of genuinely universe-changing work by thinking out what its intended purpose is - and what standards it ought to hold itself to. This is more than a mission statement - it supersedes and governs ALL missions. It's called the Prime Directive.
Think of it this way. There are all types of dilemmas associated with medical ethics, right? Well, "First, do no harm" doesn't necessarily solve these dilemmas, telling us whether or not we should clone organs, for example, but it provides doctors with a guiding principle - a north star by which they can find the way to what's right. The Prime Directive does the same thing. It's the Federation's guiding principle.
So, you ask, what does it say, this new-fangled Prime Directive? Well, it's simple. It mainly says that you can't interfere with the internal affairs of other cultures and civilizations. And more specifically, you can't expose "primitive" cultures to anything that makes them aware of technology they've never seen or even to the fact that life exists outside of their little world. To do so would mean altering the natural course of their development. You can't even help them when they're in trouble - even if their lives are in danger - if it means making contact before they are ready. Imagine Marty McFly leaving his iPhone at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance in 1955. Bad news.
I have decided that the United States [a member, by the way, of a little federation I like to call the United Nations] should adopt said Prime Directive as its foreign policy. I think the idea of live-and-let-live [hmmm...maybe that's oversimplifying] is pretty straight-forward. I also believe that, should The Decider happen across this post [not that he reads or visits websites other than "the google"], he may automatically decide, as history suggests, that if the definition of "primitive" determines whether or not our grubby little imperialist hands can spread democracy to a country, then we are the most un-primitive country there is, so everyone else qualifies for invasion.
So how do we decide who is "primitive" without being national supremacists? [Call Dennis Kucinich and tell him I coined a term he'll probably want to adopt.] I don't really know. Maybe the fact that we're interested in reaching out to, trading with, and visiting other countries makes us "advanced" [as opposed to primitive].
Of course, good old Gene has it all figured out in his fake universe. There, you're a primitive culture if you haven't yet thought to or figured out how to travel at warp speed, which is many times the speed of light. I guess it would take you and entire lifetime just to get all the way out into deep space if you were traveling slower than that - so you'd have to have warp drive to even get to a far away enough place to have a chance at bumping into a neighbor two.
So Gene says, basically, that a culture's technological advancement is the litmus test for determining whether or not it's appropriate to try to make friends. Get it? - If they are capable of getting in a starship and traveling toward us, then they have conceived of us. Therefore, we can introduce ourselves without blowing their minds.
Remember my Kucinich-ish term "national supremacy" - It would lead us to believe that democracy is our litmus test. Or maybe that's all wrong - maybe it's capitalism. Maybe that means that, if we're following Gene's rules, we can actively give and take resources with capitalists and we can swap war stories with fellow democracies [wait - we're a republic], but we shouldn't force our square pegs in dissimilar societies' round holes, if you know what I mean.
But what if they ask for it? There are lots of other questions like this. I mean, there are a lot of people on any given planet. Who do we talk to first? And how far do we take this Prime Directive? What if lives are at stake?
There are lots of good examples of how the Directive has been applied in tough situations. And even my favorite of the Enterprise captains, Jean-Luc Picard, violated it 9 times, each time for a different, but seemingly understandable reason. But I think the best example of a tough situation that required pretty strict adherence to the Prime Directive took place before the Directive itself even existed.
The last ST series produced, Enterprise, is like the prequel to the original Star Trek series and is set just as Earth begins to explore deep space - before they figure out they need a Prime Directive - before there's even a Federation of Planets. I'd call them the George W. Years, but I think it was more like an age of innocence than one of ignorance. Plus that'd be pretty insulting to Captain Archer - I mean Sam - I mean Scott Bakula.
Anyway, back in those days, the Enterprise found a planet that was populated by two different species. One was more advanced than the other - they had technology, although it wasn't as advanced as the Federation's. The second species was much less advanced and acted as laborers for the first. The stronger species gave the weaker ones food and other necessities while the weaker did all of the manual labor, etc. The more advanced of the two also had a serious genetic problem - they were all getting pretty ill and the symptoms and death rates were growing with each century. They were becoming extinct. The Enterprise crew could have made a cure that would save the species - one that the dying people themselves could never have come up with - but they didn't. It appeared that the secondary species was pretty intelligent when not dominated by the first - and their genetics would triumph over that of their stronger cousins. If the Enterprise had freely given away a cure, it would have completely changed the natural course of evolution on the planet. They did, compassionate earthlings that they were, create, replicate, and dispense a drug that would ease some of the dying people's pain. Aww.
Should the same type of logic be extended here on our planet? When the fledgling US went through its Civil War, did any one of the long established countries - if not empires - intercede? What would they have had to gain from picking a side and helping - or even arming them? What if someone had given the south phase pistols and tricorders? I'm just saying - how does our country decide who to make "first contact" with when we decide to get all imperialist and democracy-happy? How do we decide who is right? The Sunnis, or the Shiites? And how do we know if they are members of a federation that we don't know about? You know, like the Federation of the Entire Muslim World Which Is Huge that seemed like just a blip on the radar 6 years ago.
I guess the most important part of Star Trek-ish-ness that I would love for our country to internalize is self-awareness. Before the Prime Directive existed, Starfleet officers were guided by a gut feeling - and a little bit of welcomed Vulcan influence. They knew they needed to temper their potentially hasty actions, so they devised a plan, learned from their successes and failures, and optimized for good results. And by The Next Generation, they were best buddies with their old foes the Klingons and the Cardassians.
And what did we do? We lost track of history. About 100 years ago, this guy named McKinley got the itch that is greed [undoubtedly agitated by prime canal real estate and sugar crop envy], started the Spanish-American War, and took over a bunch of Spain's annexed territories. He had the choice: give these countries [and the people] their sovereignty and try to make friends, or take them over. You guessed it - we took them over - but "for their own good." And what made McKinley's decision? Yep, you guessed it again - God told him to. Sound familiar? And just like Al Gore's prescient rants on global warming and Louisiana levies weren't heard until it was either too late or fashionable, McKinley had his own alter ego in Mark Twain. I'm not sure if I'm more pissed at W for not learning from McKinley - or at Gore for not learning from Twain. Or at Twain and Gore for not breaking through the noise. 'Cause it's all happening again.
One hundred years is a lot more today than it will be by the time we meet the Vulcans. I'm just pretty frustrated that - not only do we not seem to understand our place in the universe - we can't look back to just 8 years before my grandma was born and decide that maybe we needed a guiding principle by which to judge our future foreign policy decisions - or even inclinations. I want a Prime Directive and I want it to be a good one - and I want it now since we couldn't manage to write or follow one 100 or even 6 years ago, really.
And with that, I nominate [the probably cryogenically frozen head of] Gene Roddenberry to be the 2008 Democratic candidate for President. Do I hear a second?
We've been pretty delinquent in our blogging lately - but we'll return to normal this week. We have lots to talk about - including some birthdays, fantasy football and Ted - and some pictures, both old and new.
Hopefully, we'll get our readers back - if we haven't lost you altogether.
mikegrodin (1:22:17 PM): The Golds and Mark Summers were tight
The title of this posting is provided courtesy of Mike Grodin and is in reference to the early 90s when various members of the Gold family were on Nickelodeon at least every two hours if not more frequently...
...and we are referencing the Golds' prior television experience as a part of an open challenge I am making to Tayler Gold to make his next television appearance...
Alright - admittedly, I'm lame. But! thanks to the advent of the DVR, I've been watching Dawson's Creek - from the beginning. This show was my guilty pleasure for years, but there was one tiny thing that was missing. I thought I'd seen every episode, but it looks like there were a few I missed in the post-Joey & Dawson pre-Joey & Pacey era. And today's rerun finally filled that little hole. It turns out that they actually did play Mrs. Potter's Lullaby [arguably one of my favorite songs] over a Joey-themed moment! Yay! Now shut up. I already admitted I was lame.
Mine's hilarious even though it doesn't actually apply...
Personality type: Pseudo-intellectual
You're liberal and consider yourself to be laid back and open minded. Everyone else just thinks you're clueless. Your friends hate you because you always email them virus warnings and chain letters "just in case it's true." All people who drink tall vanilla with whip chai are potheads.
Also drinks: Sparkling water Can also be found at: Designer grocery stores
Adam's is awesome...
Personality type: Clueless
You don't go to Starbucks much; when you do you just tag along with other people since you have nothing better to do. You would like to order a Tazo Chai Crème but don't know how to pronounce it. Most people who drink tall caramel apple cider are strippers.
Also drinks: Wine coolers Can also be found at: The mall
click on the image to see how scary it is to be a kid these days...don't just look at the image of the playground inferno either...take time to look at all the videos on cnn.com...and yes, Rove's video does belong there...
...not sure if the cnn ad on the right is an example of contextual advertising or not.
Ted and I went out for an innocent walk this evening and, just as we got down to one of the cute little parks near our house, I heard someone screaming "Teddy! Teddy" from about 1 block behind us. Turns out it was a rather overzealous neighbor yelling Ted's name at the top of her lungs with the hope that we'd turn around and go hang out with she and her dog in her yard. Sounds cute, right? It would be except that I really don't know this woman. She's really nice, though - she's a flight attendant - and her cool dog's name is Bear. When we pass each other on he street, she likes to point out that, together, our dogs make "Teddy Bear."
Whatever - the point of this back story is that Nice Flight Attendant Lady gave Ted lots of treats and yummy things to eat - so nice of her. Then she brings out this long beef-jerky-looking thing called a bully stick, which she says is Bear's favorite thing ever, and tosses it to Ted, letting me know that it's all beef, digestible, blah blah blah, etc. As Ted begins to chew the heck out of it, she laughs and says, "Can you believe our guys love bull penises so much?!" Gulp. "What?" I ask. "Stores actually package and sell bull penises?" Gulp again. To make a long-ish story short, my sweet puppy ate a penis today. And he loved it so much that he smiled for about an hour after he polished it off.
All I can say is: Teddy, if you ever learn English and read this, I am so sorry. You are a good good boy and you trust me to pick your food out for you. You did not deserve to eat a bull peep without being consulted first. In other words, sorry, dude. Sucks to be you. In the future, I'll try my best to keep strangers from inviting you in and giving you anatomical treats without my permission.
Adam and I disagree. I answer this question with a yes. Adam, however, thinks the more appropriate term is moneymaker.
And how, you ask, did the topic of anatomical terms on the blog come to be? Well, yesterday, I attended a spinning class. Worst. Idea. Ever. I wanted to quit about 10 seconds into it, but I was too proud to do so. Unimaginable, I know. Other than the obvious sweating and moving that was involved, the absolute worst part of it all was the bicycle seat. About two seconds into the class and I was a) trying to come up with a reason why a sane person would ever partake of this activity, b) mustering a ton of sympathy for Lance Armstrong, and c) wondering how men can go to spinning classes and still maintain a healthy enough sperm count to reproduce. By minute 3, I'm asking my fellow classmates how the seemingly granite bike seat was not affecting them - to which they responded by showing off their nifty padded shorts and padded seat covers...which leads me to the reason I now think cycling is idiotic: Forget the burn in the quads and the ache of one's back from leaning over the low handlebars - why on earth does Schwinn even make a bike seat so hard that you have to sit on two layers just to ride one for 45 minutes?
I know - who is this person who is attempting exercise and what have you done with Sandy? That's a whole topic in itself. I'm trying to exercise, and that's really about it. But cycling you ask? Well, that was an accident. I tried to go to a jump roping class at the YMCA, but the instructor dude bailed and spinning was getting ready to start next door...so I jumped on a bike and gave it a try. NEVER again. Biking's for suckers.
By - but usually at - 10 a.m. on weekends, Jack & Ted can no longer contain themselves.
When Adam and I feel ourselves waking up, our first conscious thought is "Stay very still." As soon as Ted sees either of us move in a way that leads him to believe we're not sleeping, that's it. He immediately stands up, wags his whole body furiously, and begins to make a noise that I can only describe as one made by a half-walrus-half-wookie. What's kind of cool is that you'd think we'd be pissed, but usually we just chuckle at him - it's pretty cute. His pièce de résistance is the chin on the bed, which kills me every time. As you know, he's a tall guy, so his head is right at mattress level - which means all he has to do is stand close to the bed and his chin automatically rests there, just looking at us. Sometimes, you can hug his head and tell him to go lay down and he will...then there are mornings like this one where Jack joins the party.
Jack Bauer, as you may or may not know, has a few neuroses. He has to "cover" anything he thinks smells funny, for one, which means that he scrapes at the ground to try to bury everything from his food, to Ted's food, to the place where a piece of ice hit the ground last week, to an open container of blueberry yogurt sitting next to me on the desk, to Ted. So, when he's decided any one of these things needs burying, he'll scrape at the bare floor, expecting to kick up dirt, we think, but more likely creating a pile of dust particles and dog hair around said items that were hitherto invisible. On fun days, he'll run upstairs and find a sock - or into the kitchen to find a napkin - with which to cover the offender. This morning, he indulged in his other hobby: slowly and dramatically pushing and/or swatting objects off of high places. It's gotten to the point where the noise made by the slightest nudge of last night's water glass toward the edge of the nightstand immediately opens my eyes. Then, just to aid in Teddy's effort to wake us, he started sliding a coin around on the floor.
At last resort, when they've reached their boiling point, Ted loses self-control and heaves his paws up on the bed. Jack jumps up on the bed and walks across my chest and Adam's ribs. We're awake.
So for those of you who still had a doubt, I am officially the nerdiest of all nerds. I have just rediscovered the coolest place ever on the planet - or at least in Alexandria - or at least on Duke Street: the public library. Last time I was there [a couple of years ago] is seemed all icky and cobwebby - not to mention way old fashioned. It may as well have been the east wing of the JCC circa 1987. But today, my friends - well, that has all changed. Granted, it's not as kick-ass as the new Shirlington library looks from the outside - but it now has a huge online catalog and downloadable mp3s available to me online! Joy! Even though I'm still working on Assassination Vacation, I checked out Steve Martin's Shopgirl for a light read. Next up is the Harry Potter series and The Golden Compass - for free! Woo hoo!
I went to the new Harris Teeter on Rte. 1 today and so got hit on by a big African American dude in a hair net.
Actually, it was more like a father-in-the-labor-room-at-the-hospital-type shower cap thing. Either way, the guy's name was Marcus and he was a super nice rep from some chicken company, there for the grand opening of the store. It was sort of amazing, too, 'cause I was dressed like I just rolled out of bed, was covered in Ted hair, and looked nasty. He introduced himself, tried to get me to buy chicken, talked to me a two or three times about random stuff, and then went away - returning only after removing the shower cappy thing. He followed me half way down the aisle and then tested the water by saying something like "Looks like you and your boyfriend will be eating well this weekend." I didn't know what to say, so I was just like "Yeah," and then [ran away] made a polite exit.
Whatever - everyone that worked at the store was being extra friendly since the store's only been open for like 2 days - they probably told the male employees and vendors to be extra complimentary to the crumpled-looking women with lots of food in their carts. Maybe Adam's right and I shouldn't talk to strangers.
I know this is random, but I just want to clear this up for people out there.
There are these things called shark attacks, but there is no such thing as a shark attack. I have never seen a real shark attack.
I know you’re making a weird face as you’re reading this. OK people, a shark attack is not what we see on TV and what people portray it as.
We’re humans. We live on land.
Sharks live in water.
So if you’re swimming in the water and a shark bites you, that’s called trespassing. That is called trespassing. That is not a shark attack.
A shark attack is if you’re chilling at home, sitting on your couch, and a shark comes in and bites you; now that’s a shark attack. Now, if you’re chilling in the water, that is called invasion of space. So I have never heard of a shark attack.
When I see on the news where it’s like, “There have been 10 shark attacks,” I’m like, “Hey, for real?! They’re just running around? Sharks are walking now, huh! We live on the land, we don’t live underwater.”
These are before and after pictures of the Orlando Magic "FanAttic" (get it?) store that opened in 1997 and then closed in 1999 and has sat basically empty ever since (apparently some company rented it for office space for a couple years). They are finally knocking it down to widen I-4 (or something like that).
Everyone had an opinion about it ranging from "it looks like a bomb shelter" to "it looks like the world's biggest time capsule" to "why would anyone drive downtown to buy the same overpriced stuff that they sell in their other 12 stores". But I always liked it. I liked seeing the giant logo window every time I drove past on the drive from the airport to my parents' house. Oh well. At least they are building a new arena. Let's hope it stays occupied longer than the FanAttic. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
First there was Sicko - which I highly recommend to everyone. Have all of you heard of it? I know we get a lot of movies here because we're a big city - and sometimes they don't filter out to places other that DC, San Fran, NYC, etc. for a few months. The gist of the movie is that health insurance is a big fat joke and that insurance companies are just giant corporations trying to make money, operating under the guise of our rescuers. It's definitely funny, but it's also pretty eye opening. Adam liked it, but thought it was really one-sided. I think it's time this one side is told. Michael Moore, whether you like him or not, does a great job exploring lots of parts of the story that I wouldn't have thought of...for example, he goes to France, England, Cuba, and Canada and tries to get medical care. It's amazing - people just walk into any hospital - even in CUBA - and are seen immediately and treated for free. In England, they have a program where people can call at any time of day or night with a problem and a doctor will immediately come tend to them. In France, the government provides someone to come to your home a few times a week after you have a baby to cook, clean, and care for the baby so you can get some sleep or personal time - AND you get like 6 months maternity leave. But, then again, I wonder if most Americans are probably willing to live without quality health care in exchange for a Wal-Mart consumption-type lifestyle. Go see this movie - the Canadians are hilarious.
We saw Harry Potter! Adam wasn't really into it, but I couldn't wait to check it out. It wasn't my favorite of the 5 movies they've released so far - but I still liked it. There wasn't enough fun character building stuff in it for me. I needed more Hermione and Ron and Hagrid. The Goblet of Fire was all about their intrapersonal relationships and left some good cliff hangers. Were Hermione and ron gonna hook up? Did Malfoy know that his dad is a really bad bad guy? I was hoping that this movie would bring some things to fruition, but it didn't. Whatever - more good info for the next movie! If you're a Harry Potter book reader - don't tell me what happens!
Tonight we're probably going to see either Evening or Introducing the Dwights at this little theater in Shirlington that shows movies you can't find anywhere else (except for at some tiny theaters in the city). I'll let you know how it goes.
This July 4th has been a good one. First crazy thing that happened today: Becca Piser happened to be in town, so we met her in Dupont for lunch - and brought Ted so she could ride him. Here's the pic we took for Deb.
We tried a new fireworks watching spot this year, too. We went down to Iwo Jima and it turns out that the vantage point is PERFECT. The skyline looks incredible - and a ton of people had the same idea, but it wasn't nearly as packed as the National Mall celebration, emceed by everyone's favorite manny, Tony Danza and headlined by Elliott Yamin (the dude from American Idol who is actually really good). Teddy was fantastic during the whole thing. He actually sat in my lap and watched the fireworks for a little bit! (As always, click to enlarge the pics.)
The second unexpected thing today - bats flying overhead during the fireworks display - a lot of them! And the third - I kept thinking the colorful lights from across the Potomac were lighting up the faces of all of the spectators. Then I realized that what I was seeing were the glowing lights of cell phones...hundreds of camera phones taking pictures of the celebration. Welcome to the 21st century.
I really like big community events in DC. It didn't hit me quite as hard as it did at the Kite Festival, but I always look around and notice all of the different kinds of people that come together for things like Capitol 4th, the Memorial Day Celebration, the Cherry Blossom Festival, etc. Everyone gets into it - partially because everyone can. Seems like every event here is free, and therefore is accessible to everyone. People start parking their cars in the shoulders of huge roads like 1-395, the GW Parkway, etc. really early in the day in order to get a quality view - and the police are cool with it. They even assist by shutting down enormous bridges and rerouting traffic patterns so we can all walk in the street. Even the airline pilots flying into National Airport were caught up in the excitement. We watched a few planes tip their wings so their passengers could ooh and aah at the pretty lights. Very cool. If anyone wants to visit next year, we'll show you.
T, J, & M - hope your BBQ was fantastic. Wish we could have been there!
He's been an angel for so many months now...we should have anticipated it. Sometime between when Adam left the house this morning and I woke up, Teddy must have had a breakdown - and a very quiet one, at that. When I opened the bedroom door, he was pretending to be asleep in the hallway. He does this when he doesn't want to move, but knows you're going to ask him to do just that. This alarmed me, so I got down and stroked his furry face and let him know that everything was ok. I love waking up to him.
As I made my way downstairs, I heard the very hurried click-click-click of his little nails carrying him into the guest bedroom - and another alarm sounded in my head. When I got to the bottom step, this is what I saw:
No, meanies, this is not the usual state of our living room. Teddy got into the trash can and lovingly dragged its contents all over the main floor of the house - an early morning olfactory treat for me. Looks like he left no surface untouched, either. My assumption was that we, in our infinite laziness, must have left a bag of garbage tied up next to the can - which is not the case, as indicated by Exhibit C, to the right.
At the site of all of this, I yelled "TEDDDDDDDY!" and heard an immediate thump upstairs...Teddy trying to hide by squeezing himself under the guest bed. Once I dragged him downstairs to his room, obviously ashamed, Ted took up residence under the desk, where he licked my toes in repentance. Damn dog.
Confronted with all of the above, Jack Bauer was no more interested than he was surprised.
Fellow dog people, please tell us we're not alone. Is this the worst "trash-strewn-about incident" you've seen?
Sign the guest book! We're always so curious to know who has been checking in on us and it's not always obvious from checking our site stats. For example, who out there is either in or on a network that runs through Alpharetta, Georgia?! Put yourself on our map - it'll be fun!
Once I figure out how to get it to look alright in Explorer, I'll put this in the sidebar. But, for now, since IE sucks, it'll have to live here!
The end of June is finally here, which has me thinking about all of the things I've wanted to tell you all lately. I have lots of pictures, etc. to share, so I'll just spend today and tomorrow recapping, in no particular order...
While recaulking our bathtub, I chuckled out loud thinking about a story Penny Gold tells about her son and our friend, Tayler. I did a great job and was completely proud of myself. I only had to call Jim once, and that was just to ask how to get the tube of caulk out of the gun - and that was just because I don't understand physics. It turns out that, while it looked pretty, I must have used the wrong kind, because now, 2 weeks later, it's really soft and eroding. Perfect, right? Well that's nothing compared to Tayler's first foray into the world of caulk:
Tayler has always been pretty handy. He had a full-on landscaping business up and running at age 15. So if he's not handy, he's definitely entrepreneurial. Anyway, Tayler - a way little kid at the time - somehow got his hands on a tube of caulking goop and decided to redo the bathtub. Needless to say, he did the worst job EVER and got the stuff all over the place in a really terrible catastrophic way. When his mom, the hilarious and quick-on-her-feet Penny Gold, saw the mess, she immediately knew that Tayler was the culprit. She called him into the bathroom and asked "Tayler, do you know who made this mess?" - to which Tayler replied, "It wasn't me!" After a few rounds of this, making no progress, Penny pulled out the big guns: "Well, then someone must have broken into the house and done this! We have to call the FBI!" She ran to the kitchen, grabbed a Ziploc, and began to collect "evidence" from the scene of the crime - with a pair of tweezers, no less. Knowing that he could dupe his mom pretty easily, but that the FBI would certainly bust him, a teary-eyed Tayler caved and confessed to the crime.
I don't know how or if Tayler was punished. I definitely don't know whether or not he learned his lesson. I do know one thing, though - and that is that, like Little Tayler probably believed, I thought I did an excellent - no BEAUTIFUL - job caulking our bathtub, only to find out later that I sucked. BUT! I can say with some degree of certainty that my mom will never prosecute me for it.
The Final Johnny Atomic/Shelley Jackson Collaborative Effort.
Shelly and John had their THiRD daughter almost two weeks ago. As I've said before - good luck with that, John. So, ladies and gentlemen, meet Chance Aria Jackson, weighing in at 6lbs 20oz and 20" long:
To wish the proud parents - and big sisters Gabriel & Julian - congrats, email Shelley! To wish Suzzanne luck with the 3 rugrats, email her, too - and I DARE you to call her Granny Suzanny.
Phyllis, meet Teddy. Teddy, meet Phyllis. Can you believe it?! She liked him and he LOVED her! She actually thought he would be even bigger than he is, so she was relieved - AND she thought he was WAY cuter than all of the "ugly" dogs at the park. The only real criticism was "I don't like all of this hair. He needs a haircut - he needs to have his hair shaped." We'll take it!
Everyone I've talked to about the DirecTV HD DVR has had problems with it. Some minor, some major. We've had problems since we got it late last year. Yesterday I was fed up with it and decided to try to do something.
Step 1: spend an hour on the phone with people who refused to admit that the DVR was a bad product. That call ended with me requesting to be connected to the cancellation department and having the call promptly disconnected.
Step 2: track down the email address for the DirecTV CEO/President and email him my concerns.
I knew that step 2 was a huge long shot, but to my shock, I received the following email:
"I apologize for your problems and will have someone follow up ASAP -------------------------- Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld"
A couple of hours later, Sandy called me to say that someone had called her and was very nice and offered to refund the purchase price of the DVR, send a replacement DVR, waive any termination fees if we still weren't happy and he provided his direct office line in case we ever had problems in the future. He also apologized for the continuing problems with the DVR and explained that they were working hard to fix everything.
It sure was nice to get someone to pay attention to our concerns, even if I had to go to the top to get it done.
This all reminded me of the time my mom asked to speak the manager at Straub's (and Pebbles; and the place that opened next to Max's Bakery; and about 12 other restaurants in the central Florida area) and complained about the meal and we left with coupons so that we could return to the restaurant and have another subpar meal, but with a free dessert or appetizer.
Guess who's going to start locking the front door? Yep, your friendly neighborhood victims of crime - us. Adam rushed out the door this morning to get to work, only to find that the Honda's passenger side window had been bashed in, and "stuff" had been removed. We assume this happened late last night - but, probably so enthralled with the Sopranos, we didn't hear a thing. Interestingly, neither did Teddy, who is startled by his own farts. The weird thing is, the alarm didn't sound - which is really odd because it has such a quick trigger, we often set it off by accident - much to our neighbors' dismay.
<-- Oh, the irony. A list of stuff stolen: Adam's iPod (the original huge one I got Adam right when they came out)
The $80 digital FM transmitter for the iPod
An adapter that lets you plug a million things into the lighter
$300 cash from the yard sale I had a few weeks ago. (We brought the cash on vacation with us and didn't wind up spending it. We'd forgotten it was buried in the bottom of the console.)
What wasn't taken or damaged? Our EZ Pass, Adam's FedEx Field credential (thank goodness it said "2006" on it - they probably thought it was expired), and, of course, our bodies. I'm glad this happened while sugarplums danced in our heads, instead of at a red light, you know? Better that it happened to the car and not to us.
The really sucky thing is that, while we lost about $1,000 when you consider the stolen stuff and the window repair, filing a claim doesn't make any sense. The car window is covered by our auto insurance, and the rest falls under home owner's insurance. So it's actually more expensive to pay 2 deductibles than it is to replace everything ourselves. See what I mean? Robbers are mean. They wanted an iPod so badly that WE lose $1,000.
Only upsides: Chuck & Becky's cars are fine, as is the Prius, which had a ton of stuff (like printers, etc.) in it left over from the yard sale - and it turns out Alexandria has an actual CSI unit, which dusted down the car. Awesome.
I don't care who you are or how high-brow your taste in TV is - you HAVE to begin watching So You Think You Can Dance IMMEDIATELY! Send your Pi love to Janet-Claire Bombard who is kicking arse on the dance TV show. I've always known that she's the best dancer I'VE ever met, but now that I can see her dancing alongside all of the other contestants, it's clear she's just the BEST DANCER EVER. Below is her audition performance - but you should have seen her tonight! SET YOUR DVRs RIGHT NOW!!! We'll find out if she makes the top 20 tomorrow night.
If you want to find this stuff on YouTube, search for "Janet Bombard."
So Hillary's having a huge block party/street festival at 11th & H on Wednesday from 5pm to 7 or 8 pm. There will be food, booths and games for kids, and live music. Babyface and Katharine McPhee from American Idol are performing! ...and Maya Angelou, Madeleine Albright, Billie Jean King, and a bunch of other awesome women will be there, too.
I'll be volunteering at the event - woo hoo! It's important to me for many reasons, but here are two somewhere at the top of my list:
1. This event is going to be the largest gathering of women in the area. Men are obviously welcomed, but it's a group of women putting it together and reaching out to other women. That's a big deal to me because only somewhere around 25% of political money is donated by women - which is horrifically low. Whether we like it or not, money earns power in the form of a seat at the table. And right now, men hold a lot more of it that we do. Having thousands of women buy tickets to this event means that women are buying themselves political capital - and that's a big deal to me.
2. Kids go for free. Many people - Dems, obviously, but also Republicans - are bringing their kids to this event. Not necessarily because they support Hillary (although many do), but because they want their kids to see first-hand what a strong female candidate for "the highest office ever" looks like. The idea that people can put aside ideology in order to make sure that their children know that girls can do anything really invigorates me. Plus, I think it's really incredible that the children at the event won't grow up in a time where the idea of a woman running for president is out of the ordinary.
The sucky part is that I told the Clinton campaign I'd sell 10 tickets and then I went out of town for a week, got side tracked with family stuff, and let my commitment to the campaign go to hell! I need to sell 10 more tickets to the block party! Any takers?! I'm freaking out. It costs $20 for adults and kids under 18 get in for free! It's metro accessible and there's a parking garage right at the site! You can call or email me for tickets or to make a donation instead of going.
You can try to get tix on the website, but it's screwy. Go to www.hillaryclinton.com/makinghistory. If you've never been to the site before, it might redirect you to a splash page asking you to sign up. If so, click "skip this" - and it will take you to the campaign homepage. Go back up to the address in the nav bar (which will say www.hillaryclinton.com) and add /makinghistory to the end of it. Whether you have to do that or not, be sure to choose my name from the drop down list on the online form!
Call me or email me if you want to go, know someone I can convince to buy a ticket from me, need a ride, are compelled to contribute, or just want to save my behind!