31 January 2005

More fun at the Vatican...

The Pope knows how to get down. I love the part that says he threw his hands in the air and clapped after each performer. Sounds like JP2 is a little raver!

Fly away, darn it!

This story about the Pope trying to get a couple doves to leave his Vatican apartment is pretty humerous. I bet the kids were just rolling!

28 January 2005

The Joy of Chess..

In reviewing my day today, I find that chess played a very unexpected and surprisingly prominant role. It started at the library where I checked out the new book "Bobby Fischer Goes to War." I had seen it in the bookstore and thought it looked interesting and good cerebral fodder, so when I saw it on the new arrival rack, I snapped it up. Later, while I was working at the YMCA, I played three games of chess against my after-school kids. I probably haven't played a game of chess in 10 or 12 years, so to play three games on the same day that I checked out a book about a world champion chess master, is quite coincidental. Or fateful, if you choose to view it that way. Anyways, I was victorious in all three matches, despite getting quite a close scare in the last match. While playing those matches, I remembered how much fun the game of chess is, and how much I enjoyed learning how to play from and against my older brother. Thanks for those memories. I am excited to get an "Educator" set like we used to have when I have children and share the fun with them.

27 January 2005

Remembering Auschwitz

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. I read an article in the Sun-Times today that talked about how today's society seems to be beginning to forget about the Holocaust and its importance on humanity. I saw the outfit (a desert German soldier complete with swastika armband) Prince Harry wore to a costume party a month or so ago and I was shocked and disgusted that someone of that 'importance' would be so ignorant and unfeeling.
Another article detailed the rememberance ceremony in the labor camp and comments by leaders of Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France and VP of the US. (I guess our Pres. couldn't make it.)

26 January 2005

High school business class...

This is just the sort of class that I have talked about wanting to teach. I think that that sort of real world financial knowledge, is so important, yet, a lot of times, left to be learned on thier own. And he won a teaching award for it and his district is considering making it a required class. Good for him! I will have to make my course a little better than his!

Cell conversations

This is from my favorite Chicago newsblog, Gapers Block. They have a column each day where they throw out a topic and then all the readers comment on it or whatever. This was for the best cell phone conversation you have overhead. I found some of it very entertaining and even laughed out loud a bit, so I thought I'd share the mirth. Enjoy & Watch what you talk about in public. It made me miss my days of taking the train to work everyday. LOTS of free entertainment.

25 January 2005

Train for peace

This short letter was forwarded to me by Mom and I thought it was simple, true and on-point and wanted to share it. (Mom, I can show you how to post it on here if you would like.)

Oscar Night

Mark your calendars now, folks! February 27th, the 77th annual Academy Awards. We had a very fun celebration at Dara's apartment last year, with everyone making movie-themed dishes and we also filled out our own ballots to try and pick the winners. On that note, this link is for a pdf of this years ballot sheet. Print it out and play along!!! I gave the sheet a quick once-over, and the items that caught my eye were that Jamie Foxx is up for Best Actor (Ray) and Best Supporting Actor (Collateral), and that The Passion of Christ is not up for Best Picture. I haven't seen it yet, but considering the stunning worldwide success it enjoyed, I was surprised to not see it there. I want to try to make it to a couple more of these nominated films before Oscar night; Ray, Million Dollar Baby, Maria Full of Grace, Hotel Rwanda and Sideways. I listened to an interview on NPR with the author of Million Dollar Baby. That guy is a lunatic! He's in his upper 70's, has worked as a cut man (ringside doctor) for A LONG time, STARTED working as a sparring partner when he was like 40, got in his only street fight when he was like 48 and had part of his ear bit off and "would've blinded the guy if his girlfriend hadn't pulled him off", worked as a bullfighter before boxing and was gored 3 times, losing part of one of his organs. He's written scripts and stories about boxing it sounded like all his life and this is his first big break. It was a very good interview to listen to.

21 January 2005

Burger Delights?

This is too funny. And this is the follow up article. I haven't patronized this new establishment, even though one of them is only a block or two from my Y, but I just laugh at the blatant BK'ness of it all. It instantly reminded me of the part in "Coming to America" with Eddie Murphy, where he goes to work at 'McDowell's', this owner's imitation of McDonald's. "They've got the Big Mac, we've got the Big Mick. They've got the golden arches, we've got the golden arcs." Too good! Plus I would feel wierd asking someone for 'Two delights for $3, please' or a 'double delight.' I wonder if they have an 'afternoon delight' special. LOL

20 January 2005

Barge blast

The bizarre events never stop in the big city, I guess..
I watched the live video footage last night for about a half an hour. It was pretty incredible to see the size of the fire and the dense black smoke.
This article has more about the environmental damage.

Thank you Mr. Caprioni...

I now have my car back after its week in the body shop. It looks very nice with its $2500 of work done. So 'Thank You, Mr. Caprioni for hitting my car and buying me a new bumper!"

19 January 2005

It's Cold outside!

As I was driving home from work last night, I was going over a bridge and I looked over and on the sidewalk were two teenage girls, walking backwards so the wind would be hitting theirs backs & hoods instead of their faces. That is a different way to walk home, but, if it keeps your faces warm, why not!

17 January 2005

MLK Jr.

No special logo on Google today, unfortunately. To celebrate, I started the day off by listening to the full 16 minutes of the "I Have a Dream Speech". I recommend downloading the audio, but if you can't find it, I linked to the text.
I found this site and poked around in it a little. I thought it was a good source of info. Lesson plans too! It was fun and surprising to hear the replies (or lack thereof) when my mom asked her kids what day it was today and who Martin Luther King was. I thought these quotes were pertinent...

"As June approaches, with its graduation ceremonies and speeches, a thought suggests itself... Whatever career you may choose for yourself—doctor, lawyer, teacher—let me propose an avocation to be pursued along with it. Become a dedicated fighter for civil rights. Make it a central part of your life. It will make you a better doctor, a better lawyer, a better teacher. It will enrich your spirit as nothing else possibly can. It will give you that rare sense of nobility that can only spring from love and selflessly helping your fellow man . Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in." -- Martin Luther King, Jr. , 18th April, 1959

"I said to my children, 'I'm going to work and do everything that I can do to see that you get a good education. I don't ever want you to forget that there are millions of God's children who will not and cannot get a good education, and I don't want you feeling that you are better than they are. For you will never be what you ought to be until they are what they ought to be." -- Martin Luther King, Jr. , 7th January, 1968

14 January 2005

$50,000 more for each 2"

This is hilarious. I can't recall ever having any speakers like this at FHS. Of course, since mom informed me that there is an 'exotic dance' establishment in Hamburg now, maybe they should be discussing this as a career option!

Gas explosion on the South Side...

25' x 100' now that is a crater! Flying cars! It is a blessing that no one was killed. It all sounded a bit suspicious, but maybe it was just a natural (as in naturally occuring) gas leak.

13 January 2005

Let's call the whole thing off...

From NPR:

U.S. Gives Up Hunt for WMD in Iraq

All Things Considered, January 12, 2005 · The United States' task force on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has called off its search. The White House cited the threat of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction in going to war against Saddam Hussein, but no stockpiles were found and the White House now says the physical hunt is over. NPR's Vicky O'Hara reports.

12 January 2005

Movie Review...

Spanglish - I went & saw this last night with the girls, at the $5 movie & popcorn night. I think everyone found it very entertaining and enjoyable. I especially liked a couple of the themes that underscored the story, namely, staying true to your heritage/upbringing.

Dodgeball - Got this on Netflix, watched it last Thursday, then again on Saturday. The first half or so held more laughs for me than the last half. I love Vince Vaughn and I liked the movie.

Ladykillers - Got this on Netflix, watched it last Friday. Not good. One of the weaker efforts of Tom Hanks' career. Would never consider watching it again and wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Unless I didn't like them.

Bus Stop - A 1956 Marily Monroe picture. Got it from Netflix, watched it last Sunday. The leading male actor was a freakin' lunatic in this one. This was another bomb.


10 January 2005

Read this today...

"I would say that, if we succeed in one thing in the four years that undergraduates are here, we've got to teach them what Catholic social doctrine is all about. We have to get them to the point where they either reject it and they reject the church, or they accept it. They have to see that they need to take a stand in life - whether to use their resources and talents only for themselves and their families, or whether they see them as gifts to be put at the service of others. That's the real test of Catholicity of Notre Dame. It's not a question of 'Shall I continue going to Mass on the holy days of obligation?' That's child's play. That isn't why they put Jesus on the cross."
a quote from Father Richard McBrien, Notre Dame professor in the book I'm reading "Domers" by Kevin Coyne. I liked it enough, I wanted to share it.

08 January 2005

Changes..

I made some small changes that I hope people like. I was able to change the color of the Link text. It is now a darker blue. Let me know if that helps or if we need a different color, like red or green. I learned a better way to put links in my posts, so when I link to a story now, you won't see a huge long http:// blah blah blah thing. You will just see a word or two in blue and that will be the link and the actual address will be hidden. I also got the Archive links to show as month names "December 2004", which I like much better than the 12/01/04-12-/31/04. I was able to get the Links section added to the sidebar, so let me know if there is a link or two you would like added there (where it currently, temporarily says EditME). The big fix that is still pending is getting the sidebar to come up to the top of the page instead of it sitting at the bottom, as it is now. I'm working on that one.
Also, I thought it would be fun if people would suggest sayings for us to use in our title box, and we could change it every few months.

Bowl game challenge...

And the winner is......KATE!!!! (for the second time in three years!)
Final standings:
Kate 20
Jake 18.5
Luke 18
Rose 17.5
Dara & Eron 14

Great job, Kate and thanks to everyone for playing. Only a couple months until March Madness!!!

Bad weather brings good times

The snow storm that hit Chicago on Tuesday night brought more air travel to a silent halt. Which is unfortunate for those trying to travel, but for me, it was great. Connie, Steve and Abba were connecting through O'Hare on thier way home from China and their flight to Cedar Rapids was one of many that were postponed. I was very happy that they called and I ventured downtown by train and bus to meet them at the Borders on Michigan Ave. We had a snack of some gelato and they told me all about their travel adventures and showed me a few pictures that were still on their digital camera. Since all their luggage was still on the plane at O'Hare, we then did a little shopping at the Water Tower Place complex, which was great because it is enclosed, sparing us from the snow & wind. After finding some items and changing into them, we took a cab over to eat at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill, only to find that it is closed from January 1-10. So, we began wandering in search of a suitable place to stop for food. Abba spotted an establishment called The Melting Pot, that she was familiar with from D.C. so we went in. It was a fun meal, complete with salads, two cheese fondues (a Cheddar and a Traditional Swiss with Emmentaler and Gruyere) and finished with two dessert fondues (a dark and a white chocolate). I enjoyed hearing all their different highlights and memorable experiences from their trip and we talked til 10 o'clock! So thank you Greenleafs for a great time and thank you Old Man Winter for keeping them here an extra day.

Two big things run aground...

Not much info with this article, like 'how in the hell did it happen?'

Say it ain't so!?! Man, the tabliods were relentless with their coverage of their problems. I actually felt sorry for them.

07 January 2005

Tsunami Aid Follow-up

Here's an article on US aid compared to world aid. I haven't read it all yet, but I will later tonight and comment on it then.

06 January 2005

Stop and Smell the Roses (or listen to the violin)

On my way home after a very fun night last night, I was transferring from the Red line to the Blue and missed the Blue line train by 10 seconds. It was pulling away as I hit the platform. My first reaction was disappointment and frustration, but this unremarkable gentlemen that had been walking next to me, sets down his bag, unzips his violin case and takes it out. He straps a piece of foam/sponge to the back of the instrument with a rubber band and pauses only seconds to test the strings, then begins to play. For the next 12 minutes or so, I am treated to a front row seat to this wonderful violin solo performance. Towards the end of the second piece, our train came rubbling down the tunnel, he collected his tips, hurridly packed and got on the train. I am SO happy I missed my connection. I was a $1 poorer, but SO much richer.

05 January 2005

Championship Game?

USC vs Oklahoma

It is funny that for the last month, everyone has been talking about how well these two powerhouses matched up. So even in all the categories. A dream contest. And now, it is a 'classic mismatch'. I think it is fair to say that no one could have or did predict the wood-shed beating USC administered last night. Pretty amazing. I wanted Auburn in there, but there is no arguing, USC is the best team in the land.

Shoveler's Rights...

http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-snow05.html

I love this idea! If you put in the work, you should get to keep your spot. It is funny how intensely people feel about this. I was talking to people here at the Y, and it is not unheard of for arguments to arise over this.
Bring on the snow!!!!!

04 January 2005

Eat the French Way...

http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2005-01-03-french-diet-cover_x.htm

I read this, ironically, over my lunch. Just reading it made me slow down and really enjoy each bite of my yummy Whole Food salad. I think that there is undeniably merit to this. Americans eat to eat, like those commercials, "This is my dad, he's "full". Here's to slowing down and enjoying our food.

Crime: Good news & Bad news

http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-rape04.html
Yeah!!!! Self-defense classes to the rescue!

http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-cta04.html
This is crazy. California is MY stop!

Cheap fares...

Just an FYI, Southwest has $39 one way flights to Midway through January 16 if anyone is interested.

Changes...

As you can see, I made a major change in the look of the blog. I decided to switch templates, mainly because I liked the clean look of this one much better. I hope you do too. But, in doing so, I have lost the 'Links' section on the sidebar. I am going to try and get that back. I also changed how the 'Archive' part is setup, it is now by month instead of week. They are many many more changes I want to do, it is just a matter of finding the time and learning how. I want to change the color and size of the 'Comment' link at the end of each post to make it easier to see. Any others that anyone can suggest would be great.

02 January 2005

New Year's Resolutions...

Does anyone have any that they would like to share?

Doing this blog thing was one of mine. Other than that, I didn't come up with any. I had a couple good ones last years, like, try 2 new recipes each month, go listen to live music once a month. I guess my goals for this year are to formalize my education plans, and get started taking classes. That may include moving and it may not, just have to wait and see. You all are getting use to hearing that, I'm sure. I have a good list of books that I want to get to and a long queue on Netflix so that will also keep me busy.


Iowa....."It's like Disneyland."

The finish to the CapitalOne Bowl against LSU is undoubtable the most exciting and amazing finish I have seen in all my time as a Hawkeye fan. It was incredible and unforgettable. Words can't do it justice. So I'll stop.

But, I did find this quote from coach Kirk Ferentz and I liked it.
The only reason to go for the NFL would be for the money," Ferentz said. "That's never been the number one factor. There are very few jobs that would interest me. People out here are unique. It's like Disneyland. Everybody smiles. What I saw in the '80s [as an Iowa assistant under Hayden Fry] convinced me that if you do things right here, you can win. I don't know if we can win the Big Ten two out of three years all the time. But we can be there in November. I can't ever envision getting fired for going 9-3. The guy in the next state [Frank Solich of Nebraska] did. I know it sounds corny. I really thought about it. To be in coaching and have a good job and allow your kids to know where home is, is ideal."