29 March 2005

Ireland headlines...

I read this article in the paper this morning and thought it was interesting. While Luke, Mom and I were touring over there on vacation that part (the 'Gaeltachts') of the country was SO beautiful and strong in its Irish-ness, I am glad to see that they scored this law. I look forward to going back and navigating my way to An Daingean via some new road signs.
While trying to few the online version on the above article, I ran across two other interesting Ireland news tidbits. This one which tells about the juiced-up horse that has cost Ireland its only medal from the Athens olympics. And this one, which revisits Ireland on its one year anniversary of passing its ban on smoking in pubs. I agree that the decrease in pint sales is due more to the steep exchange rate with the Euro, so pints cost more to tourists. I thought then that it was a monumental step and I'm very glad that it has been mimiced by other European nations. I will continue to hope that it will become a nationwide action here in the States, instead of having to pass it city by city.

24 March 2005

Free Bobby Fischer!

This is a great current follow-up to the book I read recently, "Bobby Fischer goes to War". He is such an enigma, head-case, genius, fruitcake. His behavior repeatedly made me laugh in the book and it did again when I read this article about his conduct while departing Japan. I HIGHLY recommend the book, it is going to be at least in my top 3 reads for the year (and its only March!).

Other media I've been enjoying lately...'In Between Dreams' by Jack Johnson - The music is just sunny & makes me smile, and who doesn't like that?! The 'Garden State' soundtrack - it has some GREAT tracks, including stuff by The Shins and Frou Frou, both of whom, I love. I watched 'City of God' this week and, despite the violence and blood, I did enjoy it. It's based on a true story which, for me, makes any movie experience better. It follows the interwoven lives of a handful of characters through their short lives in the slummy ghettos of Buenos Aires as told by a young friend of theirs who aspires to be a photographer. I also viewed 'The Passion of Christ' on Thursday. The blood, violence and inhumanity of it was almost sickening, but I think it was beneficial to watch as a precusor to this Holy weekend.

23 March 2005

Celebrating Dara's National Board Certificate at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building. Posted by Hello

The chocolate layer cake and the pineapple-upside down cake I made for Dara's birthday. Posted by Hello

"rather be British than be fair"


His hatred of Catholics and Catholicism is flown like a flag. The first time I was in Ireland, I learned about him for the first time and it is a little scary that someone can have such harsh, close-minded, intolerant beliefs and still have such a devout, sizable following. After seeing his name again while reading some articles about the IRA & its recent newsworthy exploits, I read a little more on him and thought I'd share. This is his website, prepare for propoganda assault.

One year with Netflix

Here's what I spent the past 12 months watching courtesy of Netflix. I will analyze and come up with a Top 5 Best and Worst...

Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)
City of God (2002)
Out of Ireland: The Hit Songs and Artists of Irish Music (2003)
Garden State (2004)
Beaches (1988)
The Girl Next Door (2004)
Meet the Parents (2000)
Steel Magnolias (1989)
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
The Girl Next Door (2004)
Eurotrip (2004)
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
The Ladykillers (2004)
Bus Stop (1956)
Tron (1982)
Evita (1996)
Lost in Translation (2003)
Go (1999)
The Terminal (2004)
Man on Fire (2004)
The Pianist (2002)
Love Actually (2003)
Matchstick Men (2003)
Pieces of April (2003)
Antwone Fisher (2002)
Hair (1979)
Gandhi (1982)
Something Within Me (1993)
Intermission (2004)
Super Size Me (2004)
Go Tigers! (2001)
13 Going on 30 (2004)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Dancing at Lughnasa (1998)
Starsky & Hutch (2004)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Run Lola Run (1998)
War Games (1983)
Windtalkers (2002)
Mystic River (2003)
The Fog of War (2003)
Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
The Last Samurai (2003)
Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991)
Cold Mountain (2003)
The Piano (1993)
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)
Monster (2003)
Cirque du Soleil: Varekai (2003)
World Cup Soccer Highlights: Disc 3 (2003)
In the Name of the Father (1993)
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
The Lover (1992)
Victory (1981)
The Glenn Miller Story (1953)
Oliver! (1968)
In America (2002)
Angela's Ashes (1999)
Ben-Hur (1959)
Rushmore (1998)
Seabiscuit (2003)
Oliver! (1968)
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
My Boss's Daughter (2003)
Blue Crush (2002)
Serendipity (2001)
The Crying Game (1992)
The Commitments (1991)
Winged Migration (2001)
Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Whale Rider (2003)
Frida (2002)
Funny Face (1957)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Memento (2000)

No News is Good News

Its been a while since I've commented on any news articles. And I really don't have any desire to comment on the Schiavo feeding tube media frenzy or on the horrible Minnesota school shooting or the Jackson case proceedings.
But, I did find this article pretty interesting. Double murderer, in prison for 25 years, busts out and lives a free new life for 20, then gets found out (in Chicago, no less).

21 March 2005

One Shining Moment IV

Down to the sweet 16 already and, man, there have been some spectacular moments. Here are our family standings...

Rank Team Name Score Possible Champion
1 eron 33 42 Illinois
1 jake 33 44 Illinois
3 Lucas 29 36 Syracuse
3 rose 29 39 Illinois
5 dara 23 31 Illinois
6 noah 20 21 Montana

Dara & Noah, while at the bottom, had the most interesting brackets of highs & lows. They both picked the Wisconsin-Milwaukee upset and the Bucknell shocker against Kansas, but she missed on her pick of the play-in winner (Oakland) over North Carolina and she joined Noah in backing Montana. Noah had 3 #16's over #1's. Noah knew a good thing when he saw Wisconsin-Milwaukee, picking them into the final 8. Noah also rightly called the UAB upset over LSU and Vermont over Syracuse. Unfortunately, 3 of his final 4 lost in the first round. That hurts. Gonna have to wait at least one more year for that first ever 16 seed to win a game, guys. I like Luke's picking Utah into the final 8, but under-achieving Syracuse, Wake, and UConn have his final four looking grim. Gonzaga confounded Eron again, but he is still tied for tops in our pool. Bring on the next round!!!

And here are my top 5 'Shining Moments' so far...
1. The double overtime finish to the West Virginia upset of Wake Forest
2. Vermont's three-pointer from way out with time running down to seal their upset of Syracuse.
3. Utah - I don't know why but I really enjoyed watching Bogut & mates.
4. Cincinatti block an Iowa Hawkeye shot off the backboard & it ricocheted out to start a fast break that quickly finished with a solid dunk.
5. Seeing Nich Lachey in the crowd at both of Cincinatti's games.
What were your favorites?


I just finished my workout/reading time and really liked an article about the reexamination & greater significance of Mary's role in various religions today. It is the cover story in this March 21 issue of TIME magazine. Unfortunately you can't read it online, so if you are interested, go check it out at your local library.

15 March 2005

Produce on the Cheap!!

For whatever reason, (I think it had something to do with the 'Guess the price' game I used to play with my mom growing up on the way home from the grocery store) I was looking at my receipt from my latest excursion to the grocery store and was amazed at how cheap the produce was. I document my purchases here:
Four bananas = $0.98
Four apples = $1.66
Two jalapeno peppers = $0.06 (they're GIVING them away)
1.25 pounds of grapes = $0.84
One bunch of cilantro = $0.25

Gotta love Tony's Finer Foods! Compared to meat, cereal, cheese, etc, produce is the way to go!

Be happy!!!

So I was reading the April issue of Elle while I was on the eliptical machine getting my workout in and enjoying this fun article/interview with Keira Knightley. I've been a fan of hers since "Bend It Like Beckham", and this article just solidified my appreciation of her. This quote stood out and I had just been discussing this sort of thought a while back, that it is so easy to get caught up in your own problems, you forgot that there are literally thousands/millions of people who would love to be in your shoes. I liked it so much I wanted to pass it on. (Also, her new hair so GREAT!)

"There's no point in behaving like shit when you are up, because you are going to come down. There are so many people in the world desperate to be doing what I'm doing, I would feel like an absolute cow if I took the piss out of it."

Movie-icon boss?

This is from an MSN article, which are usually dumb, poorly written and meaningless, but I thought I'd pass it on since I found it a little bit funny. I thought it would be even MORE fun to come up with movie characters that are not on the list that our current or past bosses remind us of. For example, one boss I had while at Allied was very reminiscent of Eric, from Billy Madison, complete with evil laugh.

Which Movie Boss Do You Have?
By Laura Morsch, CareerBuilder.com

We go see movies to be entertained and get a temporary break from reality. Sometimes, though, the characters and situations on screen seem eerily familiar. Maybe this is because we feel Oscar-worthy ourselves sometimes. According to a recent CareerBuilder.com survey, 26 percent of workers feel like they are "acting" at work. No wonder "Office Space" and "Weekend at Bernie's" became cult classics. Office Drama
Sometimes the 9-to-5 grind can seem pretty dramatic. A CareerBuilder.com study of 1,333 workers found that almost 36 percent say if their workplace were a movie, it would be a drama – full of ups, downs and intricate storylines. Interestingly, women find their workplaces more dramatic than men do – 43 percent of women characterized their jobs this way, compared with just 28 percent of men! Some workers are able to find the lighter side of the workday. Twenty-seven percent of workers say their office's movie would be a comedy, and 19 percent categorized theirs as a heart-pumping action/adventure flick. A less fortunate 7 percent say their job is like a horror movie, and about 6 percent called theirs a mystery. (The case of the missing stapler, perhaps?)

Every star needs a supporting actor – in this case, your boss. Of all the movie bosses out there, these 10 reminded workers most of their own head honchos:

1. Andrew Shepherd, "The American President."
Friendly, popular but can sometimes make things difficult.
2. Obi-Wan Kenobi, "Star Wars."
Wise, loyal and always there for guidance.
3. Bill Lumbergh, "Office Space."
Evil boss who loves tormenting employees and making them work weekends.
4. Coach Norman Dale, "Hoosiers."
Uses brash, unconventional tactics to motivate to success.
5. Franklin Hart, "9 to 5."
"Sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot."
6. Katherine Parker, "Working Girl."
Back-stabbing boss who steals your ideas and passes them off as her own.
7. Bernie Lomax, "Weekend at Bernie's."
A crook who's out to get rid of you.
8. Dr. Evil, "Austin Powers"
Has two obsessions: himself and total world domination.
9. Cruella De Vil, "101 Dalmatians"
Rich, powerful and so mean she'd kill puppies.
10. Gordon Gekko, "Wall Street"
Unfriendly workaholic who expects the same from you.

If you have a boss like these last few, you're not alone. Thirty-seven percent of workers plan to award themselves a new job before the 2006 Oscars!

14 March 2005

Southside St. Patrick's Day Parade

We did make it down to the special mass at St. Cajetan's on the Southside. The mass was AWESOME. They had a great choir and a incredible tenor soloist from Cork City, named Paddy Homan would sang a capella. He also sang the Our Father in Gaelic. Very cool. The mass opened with the Chicago Police and the Gaelic Fire Brigade color guard bringing in the flags, escorted by 7 bagpipers and a bass drummer and 2 drummers. They had some power and volume, waking the congregation up at 9am! There were half a dozen priests on the altar to celebrate. It was so neat because everyone in the church was in green.
After that we went to a get together at the home of one of Dara's friends. Then to the parade which was really only average. Not enough marching bands for my liking and not enough candy either. The more entertaining thing to watch was just everyone that came out to celebrate. Estimated 300,000 people, and the people-watching was great.

13 March 2005

The (early) wearing o' the green

Dara & I are going to the Southside Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday. 300,000 people are expected! Check out the website, I love the poster, but $25 is a bit much. I really want to go to the festival mass. I think it would be very interesting. More details to follow...

11 March 2005

One Shining Moment III

I found a couple of articles on this topic of lost productivity during the March Madness tournament. It has a BIG impact. So, based on this evidence and personal experience, employers should just give everyone those first couple days off. If not, there is the option to get live streaming audio AND video through CBS Sportline of the tournament games at your computer for only $9.95. Definitely worth it, in my opinion, but it may be hard to hide that motley group of co-workers hunkered around your cubicle, excitedly fist-pumping and high-fiving and then trying to shush each other.

10 March 2005

One Shining Moment II

65 Things We Want to See During March Madness

Sexless cartoon figures...

My beloved IKEA is getting accused of sexual discrimination because there are no women depicted in their assembly instruction manuals, only men and sexless cartoon figures. I love those sexless cartoon figures! Is this really the best used of the Prime Minister of Norway's time? "I myself have great problems with screwing together such furniture." - Nice quote.

09 March 2005

Marine pilot honored

I enjoyed this story about a Marine combat pilot and thought I'd pass it on. I think she'd have an interesting biography!

IRA Says It Offered to Shoot N.Irish Bar Killers

Well, let's see, isn't there something wrong with this picture, like violence begetting violence. Really crazy they even admit to all this.

08 March 2005

One Shining Moment

These teams are already in. Go Creighton! And Oakland, in the tournament with a 12-18 record!?!?

More info to come...

Choke attack...

Man, I could not believe it when I heard Illinois had lost. Their perfect undefeated season was all that was on the sports pages here. And then their LAST game before the Big 10 tournament. They have held on to their #1 ranking, but how does everyone think this will affect their momentum? Will they lose their next game too, still in a funk and leave the tournament in the first round or is it just what the team needed to get rid of all the pressure and media hype of a perfect run to the national title, now they can just get back to business?

On my TEC High

Had a great weekend at the St. Thomas More Center. God smiled on us with some incredible weather. It was great to be outside in the sunny warmth playing catch with the football. Which made it even sadder when there were snowflakes in the air when I got back into Chicago at 10pm last night.
Met some fun, cool new people, and got to see lots of people from past TECs. Heard some great new music, did a lot of dishes, played some ping-pong, sang some, ate a lot, prayed a lot, laughed a lot. TEC is totally the highlight of my spiritual year. I am SO thankful that I made the decision to get back involved with it.

02 March 2005

I got a lot done this afternoon...

I realized this afternoon that it really only takes achieving or successing completely a couple small things to feel like I have truely had an effective and worthwhile afternoon, in particular, a haircut and an oil change. I really felt like, 'man, i got a lot done today' even though it had only taken an hour total. I think it has something to do with the peace of mind that comes with the new oil sticker on your windshield and with the feeling of less hair in the shower and a new look in the mirror.
I stopped in to the "Big Hair" hair salon and there was a lady waiting inside the door to tell me, "I can cut it right now if you're ready." So, (after they kindly traded my two dimes and a nickel for a quarter for the meter outside) I was led to my chair and the scissors came out. I left happy with the cut and the price ($15 including tip). Then I went to the Oil Express for an oil change. The sign in front that states "10 minute Guarantee" was not a gimmick. There were three bays and I pulled into #1. When I exited my vehicle, they decended upon it like a pack of wolves. Inside, outside and underneath it was an orchestrated attack, calling out instructions and results. I got an oil change, brake fluid checked, transmission fluid checked and filled, and all tire pressures checked and adjusted and they hit their 10 minute mark and wisked me out the door.
And I still had the evening left to fit in a couple loads of laundry.

Credit Card Rewards!

I just received my first statement since switching my credit card to a 'Rewards' type program where you earn 1 point for each $1 you charge and then you can eventually redeem those points for free loot, airline tickets, vacations, etc. It looks like 12,000 points = $100 of gift certificates or 8,000 points = $100 in airline tickets. I accrued 11 points last month. At that rate it would take me 1091 months (or 90 years) to get the $100 gift card. Sadly, the points life span is only 5 years. At my current rate of activity, I will have 660 points five years from now. I think I can redeem those for a toothbrush or a roll of paper towels.

01 March 2005

March 1

It's March already?!? Wow. Someone forgot to remind Mother Nature as there was an inch or two of snow waiting for me on my car this morning. snow, snoW, snOW, SNOW!

Oscar goodies

During the awards ceremony I mentioned that I was interested to see what kind of loot the celebs would be scoring in the winners' goodie bags. So I poked around a little bit and came up with these two articles. The goodies definitely seem heavy with resorts and vacations, I guess because the millionaires probably already have all the physical material items they need. Anyways, I thought the business side of it was interesting. All these companies fighting like dogs to not only get their product in the bag but also to ensure that a celeb is receiving, using and seen toting it home!
Where's mine!?!