Sunday, March 30, 2008

Yeah, it's that time of year again

I'm embarassed to admit this, but my Sunday itinerary originally centered around a lot of couch potato activities.
But, then I caught a segment of a show called "Messiest House in America," or something like that.
Made me feel more than a little self-conscious.
Whatever it takes, right?!
Anyway, I sprang into action and started putting ye old house in order. Didn't realize how much deferred maintenance had piled up around here.
Maybe, I need to get myself a "honey do" jar?!
No, that would just be wierd . . .


Saturday, March 29, 2008

The $35 couch

Actually, it's a sleeper sofa.

But, that price is right: just $35!

And, it is now proudly owned by Valda & Howard of Jenks Manor.

We picked it up at yet another of Cece's Estate Sales today. (This one was at the Escondido condos across SR 436 from The Altamonte Mall.)

And, when I say, "picked it up," I mean that. It was HEAVY!!

Did I mention the condo in question was on the 2nd floor?

Yeah, that had to be a sight, me struggling to hold up on end of a couch to keep from scuffing-up the upholstery as we negotiated our way down two flights of stairs.

But, the Jenkses assure me it was worth the effort.

And, I did find a little souvenir myself: a baseball program from the 1984 LA Olympics that features a photo of my cousin Pat Pacillo. (Not to mention his team mate Mark McGwire.)

If you're not checking out these estate sales, ye socks, you're missing out on a lot of neat stuff (and exercise)!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Feeling a little eclectic today

In the music department that is.

I got 2 new CD's in the mail today. (No, not certificates of deposit.) Some of us still haven't advanced enough to use mp3 downloads as our sole source of tunes.

Anyway, I was jamming to Finger Eleven on my lunch break. (Ye socks are probably familiar with their current hit "Paralyzer.")

And, I think I have now memorized all the lyrics to that catchy little number by Sarah Bareilles that's on all the commercials in between all the March madness.

But, the piece de resistance was the FREE . . . yep, FREE . . . CD of Mozart music I got in the mail when I got home. I think it was meant to entice me to purchase an entire collection of classical music. That's not going to happen, but I'm still unexpectedly enjoying old Amadeus this evening.

Pretty wide range of genres today, no?


Thursday, March 27, 2008

More bad news on the home building front

It was pretty sad to see some folks get excited over Lennar's quarterly figures yesterday, because they lost "only" $88,200,000.00.

Prognosticators on Wall Street had projected a much bigger loss of $168,525,000.00.

So, the story they took away from the homebuilder's reports was, "It's bad, but not as bad as we thought it was."

I beg to differ.

The lower-than-expected loss is more likely attributable to lack of interest in builders' "fire sales." They have slashed asking prices, willing to take the big losses that Wall Street was prepared to see in an effort to reduce inventory.

But, there are no takers.

In Lennar's case, sales dropped 57% with a whopping cancellation rate of 26%. So, hardly anybody is buying. And, those that are, either cannot find financing or have second thoughts and are backing out.

But, don't look at Lennar's numbers as the sole barometer of things. Check out the Commerce Department's dire report yesterday that new home sales have dropped to the lowest point in 13 years. And, of more concern, permit applications have dropped to the lowest point in 16 years, an indicator of an even worse set of numbers to come.


New ship's manifest discovery

I know some of ye socks (Darrell) don't care much for my genealogical musings, but when I stumble across new bits of the olde family history I cannot help but post them here.

Today's tidbit comes from the records of Castle Garden, the predecessor of the more famous Ellis Island. (Learn more about the place at .)

It was there I discovered a record of the arrival of my ancestors Thomas and Catherine Daley, who came from Ireland aboard the ship "Ellen" on 13 July 1850. They brought with them a 2-year-old daughter Mary and an infant son Patrick. (I know, how stereotypically Irish of them to give their kids those names, right?!)

Anyway, soon after disembarking, they settled inland a bit at Princeton, New Jersey. And, it was there they had their first American-born child, a daughter named Delia.

Delia eventually married John A. Jackson. Their eldest daughter Annie Jackson Gleeson was mentioned in a post earlier this week about their old house in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Ok, if I haven't bored some of ye to tears by now, I hope all have a good weekend!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Boom! Boom!

That's what I heard at 8:35pm.

At first, I thought it was the kids down the street shooting off fireworks over Lake Hammer.

Then, I realized the space shuttle Endeavor was due to land over at the cape.

For ye socks who live outside of this little corner of heaven, we get a window-shaking "heads-up" every time one of the shuttles comes in for a landing. The twin sonic booms happen when they break the sound barrier.

Pretty cool, huh?!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ye Olde Ancestral Home

If ye socks read my book Like the Cats of Kilkenny, you've seen a picture of the Morgan family's ancestral home in Virginia. It's an historically significant structure, which is probably why it is still standing.

Unfortunately, so many of the places our ancestors have called home do not survive the tests of time or the wrecking ball.

I'll never forget how disappointed I was back in 2004 when I visited Sandusky, Ohio, with address in hand only to find an urban wasteland where a thriving working class neighborhood once stood.

Nowadays, though, it is no longer necessary to go on such wild goose chases, as almost every local taxing authority has gone digital. My little corner of heaven has been searchable online for quite some time (at ).

More recently, I discovered Monmouth County, New Jersey, is online ( ). And, imagine my surprise to discover the home of my great-grandmother Ann Jackson Gleeson in Long Branch is not only still standing, the local officials had even posted a recent photograph!

This is 132 Rockwell Avenue as it appears today. It was built back in 1903, and appears to be holding up pretty well, don't ya think?!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

CBS?! Nuts!

I am so mad at the CBS television network right now, I could just spit nails.

It seems they have once again decided not to renew the greatest drama on American TV: Jericho.

Ye socks may be familiar with the Nuts Campaign launched against the network during the last go 'round. They were inundated by fans of the series. And, I hope it happens again.

The sad fact is that television has become even more of a wasteland than usual over the last few years. There is a serious lack of good programming. And, Jericho was one of only a handful of bright spots left for those of us who demand some intellectual stimulation when we turn on the boob-tube. Perhaps, that is just too high an expectation nowadays.

If ye must vent your frustration at CBS, yours truly will not discourage you. But, I am a proponent of taking positive action. That's why I'm calling on all fans of the show to write a letter of encouragement to:

Carol Barbee, Executive Producer of Jericho
c/o CBS/Paramount
4024 Radford Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604-2190
Let her know that we appreciate not only her efforts on the show, but also the entire cast and crew. And, encourage her to shop the series to a network that will appreciate its 6 million die-hard fans. I hear the USA Network (appropriately enough) is considering it . . . I'll become their number one viewer if they do!
Save Jericho!!

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Turmoil in Tampa

Condolences go out this morning to my brother-in-law Keith.

His beloved Clemson Tigers got their collective hats handed to them at the St. Pete Times Forum down in Tampa last night.

And, by #12 seed Villanova.


I actually tried to watch the game for his sake, but pooped out at half time. It seemed a safe thing to do. The Tigers' full court press really had Villanova on its heels. They had them down by 18 at one point, and by 12 at the half.

But, apparently, the Wildcats owned the second half. The final score in today's paper says they won 75-69.


I guess Keith is going to have to concentrate on that Zoo Poo we discussed yesterday instead of all the basketball he had planned on following during March madness . . .

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Typical white person?!

The fact Senator Barack Hussein Obama used that phrase to describe his own maternal grandmother should refute--once and for all--the liberal mantra that he transcends the racial divide in this country. If you listen to that sort of clap-trap, they would have you believe that he is the only person in America who "gets it."

But, this label he applied to his granny from Kansas tells me that he views white America as one big monolithic group, that thinks, acts, and shares the same attitudes on race.

What a buffoon.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I thought this guy was Harvard-educated?

Newsflash to the illustrious senator: There is no "typical white person," any more than there is a "typical black person," or a "typical Hispanic person."

We come from different ethnic backgrounds and religious traditions. Does he think an Irish Catholic white person really has the same perspectives as a Russian Orthodox white person? Or, a Southern Baptist white person? Etc. Etc. Etc.

The thing is, we have plenty of labels we can thrust on one another. Liberals like this joke of a Democratic candidate would love to break us all down into these categories, furthering the "hyphenization of America." It plays into their hands to have white-Americans, black-Americans, latino-Americans, Asian-Americans, ad infinitum.

We don't need any more of that sort of divisiveness. Our public servants should be looking at us all as simply Americans.

So much for being a uniter, Senator Obama.

You blew it!

Incidentally, for ye socks interested in such tangential studies, Barack Hussein Obama actually comes from a much more diverse background than the "typical Senator." Check out the details of his pedigree (including his maligned grandma) at:

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Talk about trying to collect on an old debt . . .

I've gone thru some pretty odd wranglings trying to collect on some accounts receivable in my day, but this one takes the cake!

It seems way back on 21 June 1861, the City of Tampa was scrambling to prepare its Civil War defenses. So, acting mayor John Jackson agreed to pay the firm of Kennedy & Darling the sum of $299.58 plus 8% annual interest to repair a cannon and provide some ammunition.

The thing is, they never paid the bill.

So, now Kennedy descendant Joan Biddle (age 77) is suing the city for principal plus interest (and, perhaps, nearly a century-and-a-half of mental anguish) totalling $22,700,000.00!!

But, something tells me the modern City of Tampa has some fat cat lawyers who will be able to shoot down her claim.

For one thing, Mrs. Biddle seems to have lost sight of the fact that the City of Tampa incorporated in 1855 but was abolished for insolvency in 1869. It is most likely that any legitimate claim for collection would have died at that time. The modern City of Tampa was not incorporated until 1887, so realistically cannot be held to account for the expense of what was technically another entity.

For another thing, Biddle's ancestor Thomas Pugh Kennedy was only one-half of the Kennedy & Darling enterprise. Presumably, the descendants of his partner John Darling would be entitled to half of any claim.

But, really, can't we all just agree this is one of the most frivolous lawsuits to come down the pike? Talk about a classic case for tort reform . . .

Ah, well, if you want to check out a REAL account of the Civil War, try reading my book: Like the Cats of Kilkenny.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5 years in Iraq

Yesterday marked the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war.

The dominant media used the occasion as might be expected, following their mantra of "hide the heroes, hype the heinous." We got a reminder of the casualty figures (3,987 US troops, 170 Brits, 33 Italians, 21 Poles, 18 Ukrainians, 13 Bulgarians, 11 Spaniards, 7 Danes, 5 Salvadorans, 4 Slovaks, 4 Fijians, 3 Latvians, 2 Australians, and the list went on). We were also reminded of the cost, which now varies between 2 and 4 trillion dollars depending on which pessimist you believe.

What you didn't get was any detailed list of the successes in Iraq since 2003. Sure, you may have gotten some vague concession about the troop surge cutting the level of violence. But, certainly no specifics. And, I for one NEVER saw any media types go thru a list of the very good things that have happened since the war started.

So, to make up for the gross oversight, here's a list of some good things that have happened as a result of this war:

1. Saddam Hussein and his key henchmen are dead or out of power. His sons were also killed, extinguishing any fears of them potentially continuing his reign of terror.

2. Democracy has been established with the adoption of a new constitution in 2005. Some TWELVE MILLION Iraqis came out to vote in the first free election ever held in their lifetimes in December of that year.

3. Coalition forces now control the flow of oil. Not only is it no longer subject to the whims of a maniacal dictator, it did not fall into the hands of terrorists or their state sponsors in the neighborhood.

4. A vital toe-hold has been established in the Middle East that allows the US to more effectively wage the overall War on Terror. Coalition forces have captured hundred of extremists including key al-Qaeda leaders and operatives.

5. The fear of potential weapons of mass destruction being launched out of Iraq has been removed. Whether or not they existed at all is still a bone of contention, but at least the threat isn't there any more.

These are just one man's general observations. The real experts, the boots on the ground, have compiled more lengthy and more detailed lists in their posts back to CentCom--including the reconstruction projects that are delivering water and electricity, repairing/adding infrastructure, reviving commerce, and building schools and hospitals.

But, isn't it pathetic that you don't see any of this good news on your tv news programs or in the liberal print media?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Your Florida Dream Home for only $100?!?

Well, that's how the "Sons of Toil" are advertising the 4,700 square foot, 5 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom chalet they built southwest of Little Lake Harris in the tiny Lake County town of Howie-in-the-Hills.

They are raffling it for $100 per chance. And, if you buy 5 tickets, they'll give you 5 more at no additional charge. Tickets may be purchased from now thru September 30th, with the drawing scheduled for October 14th at 2pm.

Ye socks may check out complete details at this website:

Sounds like a great opportunity, and the house is pretty awesome. But, the cynic in me always makes me look a gift horse in the mouth. Here's why:

If the house is legitimately worth $1,000,000, then the IRS is going to come knocking on the winner's door looking for up to $350,000 in income tax.

And, if you can swing that hefty sum, you will also owe about $17,000 per year to the friendly government of Lake County for property taxes.

I shudder to think about homeowner insurance (thank, Governor Crist).

So, it might be better for those who buy these raffle tickets to hope to win the second or third prizes: a '08 Dodge Ram Truck and $10,000 in cash.

But, don't let my cynicism get in the way of your dreams if you've got $100 to burn . . .

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Monday, March 17, 2008

What it means to be Irish

1) You will never play professional basketball.
2) You swear very well.
3) At least one of your cousins holds political office.
4) You think you sing very well, especially after a few drinks.
5) You have no idea how to make a long story short.
6) You are very good at playing a lot of very bad golf.
7) There isn't a huge difference between losing your temper and killing someone.
8) Much of your food is boiled.
9) You have hit your head on the ceiling.
10) You're strangely poetic after a few beers.
11) You're, therefore, poetic a lot.
13) You will be punched for no good reason...a lot.
14) Some punches directed at you are legacies from past generations.
15) Your sister will punch you because someone punched her.
16) Your female relatives are all named Catherine, Elizabeth or Mary....and one is Mary Catherine Elizabeth.
17) Someone in your family is incredibly cheap. It is more than likely you. And, you prefer the term "frugal."
18) You may not know the words, but that doesn't stop you from singing.
19) You can't wait for the other guy to stop talking so you can start talking.
20) You know "Mulligan Stew" is the polite term for "boiled leftovers from the fridge."
21) You're not nearly as funny as you think you are, but what you lack in talent, you make up for in frequency.
22) There won't be a huge difference between your wake and a keg party.
23) You are, or know someone, named "Murph".
24) If you don't know Murph, then you know Mac, if you don't know Murph or Mac, then you know Sully, and you'll probably also know Sully McMurphy
25) You are genetically incapable of keeping a secret.
26) Your parents were on a first name basis with everyone at the local emergency room or police precinct.
27) And last but not least, being Irish means... you were too drunk to notice there was no #12, and will be compelled to scroll up to verify that fact now that it's been pointed out to you!

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The estate sale was a bust

That's right, our friend Cece was holding another estate sale this weekend. This time it was in one of those fancy homes in previously-unexplored Avalon Park--a corner of our little piece of heaven that yours truly would otherwise have no reason to visit.

Anyway, by the time we made it over there, most of the "good stuff" had already been picked-over.

That was the bad news.

The good news was Cece had slashed everything that was left over by 50%.

That included this awesome table and chair set, which she was "sacrificing" for $500 (which, she claimed, was less than the owner had paid for two of the chairs alone).

But, nobody I know needs a dining room table.

And, somebody I know needs to be saving up for a trip to Kansas City, anway.

Oh, well. Cece assures me there will be more bargains at her next estate sale, slated for Altamonte Springs in the next two weeks.

I'll keep ye socks posted.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Ides of March

In memorium.

Lt. Col. W.S. "Skip" Morgan, USAF
(16 Oct 1948 - 15 March 2007)

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival

For ye socks privileged enough to reside in this little corner of heaven, a reminder:

The annual Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival kicks off today, and runs thru Sunday.

We're supposed to have some awesome weather this weekend.

So, get out there and enjoy it!

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Buzz Around the Barber Shop

Well, yours truly finally made a trip to ye old barber shop. You know the one around the corner from my office that my Uncle Richard used to own.

Anyway, when I got there the new owner (Terry) was telling all about some recent excitement.

It turns out that Coors has come out with a new line of beer with a label on it that changes color when it reaches the optimum temperature. Who knew?

Well, guess where they filmed their commercial for this new product?

That's right, ye old Conway Barber Shop.

Check it out for yourselves, and you can see where we high falutin' folks get their tresses trimmed.

(But, note, we do not allow the barbers to consume any beer until AFTER they've put down their scissors . . .)

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Apopka Election Results

I post this for my fellow Apopkans as we are all woefully underserved by the local media outlets.

If you watched any of the news channels last night, you got more than enough coverage of the primaries up in Mississippi and the Spitzer prostitution scandal up in New York. But, NOTHING was mentioned on the city council elections in the fastest growing municipality in Orange County. (Incidentally, for ye media buffoons, we are second only to Orlando in population around here. That's a lot of viewers/listeners/readers you're ignoring!)

Anyway, the polls were busier than I had ever seen yesterday. And, the Supervisor of Elections confirmed that this morning. We typically have only a pathetic 5% turn-out for municipal elections in our fair town. But, this go-round we had a "whopping" 12.5%!! Wow, huh?

The bottom line is this: both incumbents retained their seats on the city council.

Bill Arrowsmith handily defeated retired schoolteacher Millie McBee, 60% to 40%. The senior councilman probably would have run unopposed if he hadn't voted against the proposed development of a new town center near the intersection of 436 & 441 back in December. Fortunately for him, McBee's campaign failed to focus on this weakness. She was all over the place, proposing committees to study race relations, traffic congestion, code enforcement, and new businesses. Too many mixed messages distracted voters from the one issue on which she really could have hammered her opponent. And, nobody likes bureaucratic committees around here. We want leadership.

Kathy Till did even better against former city employee Sammy Ruth, 66% to 34%. Her victory may be in part to her support of the new town center project. But, more likely, I believe most of my fellow Apopkans were turned-off by Ruth's ongoing feud with the city's chief administrative officer Richard Anderson.

Anyway, that's the spin from Apopka this morning. Thought I'd let you know since the Orlando media likes to ignore us, and The Apopka Chief won't be in print til Friday.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 . . . iginition . . . BLAST OFF!

To commemorate my niece Morgan's 5th birthday today, I had my friends over at NASA arrange an early morning shuttle launch.

If ye socks have never experienced a night-time launch, it's pretty spectacular.

From my humble abode in Apopka, we generally only get to see something like the picture posted here.

But, the closer you get to the coast, the greater the glow from the rocket boosters.

In fact, at Jetty Park, it gets as bright as high noon!

This morning, though, it was so cloudy in Apopka that I couldn't see anything.

Oh, well, back to bed til a more decent hour . . .

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Eliot Spitzer

self-right'-eous (adj) - piously sure of one's own righteousness; moralistic.
phi-lan'-der-ing (adj) - carrying on a sexual affair, especially an extramarital affair, with a woman one cannot or does not intend to marry.
hyp'-o-crite (n) - a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he does not actually possess.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

The end of a Sunday tradition?!

Ye socks who know me well know my Sunday routine generally consists of brewing up a pot of coffee, perusing the newspaper, and paying half attention to Charles Osgood on CBS.

And, so it was today that a story on Osgood's show actually got me to put down the paper.

It was about America's increasingly poor sleeping habits. Do you realize the average sleep time back in the 1960s was 8.5 hours per night? Today it is only 6 hours and 40 minutes.

One of the results of this lack of sleep has been an increasing dependance on caffeine as a stimulant.

But, here's the scary part. Some doctor came on to tell Osgood that caffeine will only give you the jolt you're looking for if you use it sparingly, no more than every 3 days or so.

Otherwise, it's just like any other "drug," in that your body builds up a tolerance.

So, those of you/us who depend on that cup o' Joe to get going in the morning, aren't getting anything out of it. You/we should, instead, be targeting the days when we particularly need that extra jolt.

In my case, that's nearly ALWAYS Monday. So, I guess that means I need to switch to decaf on Sundays, now?!?

Perish the thought!


Saturday, March 08, 2008

A blustery day!

Well, I had a laundry list of things I was going to accomplish today.

Despite the email warning from my classmate Lisa up in Indiana, I ventured forth from the safety of the Lake Hammer chalet. I mean, I didn't care what she'd seen on the Weather Channel. It looked beautiful outside the window in my living room.

But, I didn't account for the wind.

Remember that old Pooh story from your childhood, "A Blustery Day?" Well, I definitely had one!

Getting out of the trusty Blazer at my first stop, I nearly had my arm dislocated as a gust came roaring out of nowhere, seemingly intent upon ripping the car door off its hinges.

Still, I pushed on, only to be attacked by a herd of raging shopping carts flying at me from every direction.

Hold on to your hats, folks! Literally!

Anyway, I decided to tuck tail and throw out the rest of my to-do list.

40 mph winds may be par for the course in some places (Lubbock comes to mind). But, yours truly is just going to "hunker down" til this front blows thru!

And, next time, I'll listen to Lisa!


Friday, March 07, 2008

McCain is NOT Irish!

Let me just disabuse folks of that notion.

I got several emails today from the McCain camp, the RNC, "Irish for McCain," and others trying to appeal to my ethnic pride in an effort to win my support for his presidential campaign in the time left between now and St. Patrick's Day.

This sort of thing really bothers me, because I don't think a candidate's ethnicity should play any role in determining their worthiness to hold elective office of any kind. (That goes for you, too, Barack Hussein Obama!)

But, what bothers me more in this instance is the assumption that McCain must be ethnically Irish because he has an "Mc" in front of his surname.


If you don't believe me, check out William Addams Reitweisner's very detailed research on McCain's roots at:

The facts speak for themselves. McCAIN IS SCOTTISH! His emigrant ancestor was a Joseph McCain, who was born in SCOTLAND (NOT IRELAND) way back in 1773.

Kinda makes you feel stupid for printing up all those green t-shirts with the senator's mug on them, doesn't it? And, I'm not even going to mention the little buttons with shamrocks and kitschy little slogans in Gaelic script, or the green elephant beanie baby you dubbed with the politically incorrect name "Paddy."


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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Beowulf for a new generation

All I can say is WOW!

OK, ye socks know me too well. That really isn't ALL I can say. But, that was my initial reaction to "Beowulf."

No, not the Olde English saga from the Dark Ages that we all had to study in high school.

I'm talking about the 2007 film directed by Robert Zemeckis with all the amazing CGI effects.

And, I like how the animators made a lot of the characters resemble the star-studded cast members who provided their voices. Most notable were Anthony Hopkins (who plays the old king Hrothgar), John Malkovich (who plays the king's sneaky little yes-man Unferth), my kinsman Brendan Gleeson (who plays Beowulf's buddy Wiglaf), and Ray Winstone (who plays the title character). But, the piece-de-resistance was Angelina Jolie (who plays Grendel's demonic mother, pictured above).

Besides the visual WOW, a lot of credit has to be given to the writers Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary. They took the centuries old manuscript and filled in all the gaps that so vexed us when we had to study it in school. As they said in their DVD commentary, the story doubtlessly predates its first written version. For centuries, it was told and re-told as oral tradition, with all the embellishments that entails. What we have is just what one medieval Christian monk felt was sanitized enough to write down for posterity. Or, at least, that's what we USED to have until this outstanding pair of writers re-spun the tale for a modern audience.

The bottom line: Beowulf has survived as such an epic tale because its themes are so timeless. And, the 2007 version is my personal favorite. Check it out for yourself!


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Huckabee had a good run

I have never concealed my ardent support of Mike Huckabee's campaign for the presidency, either in the blogosphere or beyond.

But, his race came to an end last night, when John McCain finally won enough convention delegates to ensure he will be the next Republican presidential nominee.

I am still convinced that he is destined to bigger and better things.
I believe the next big thing for him will be a US Senate race in his native Arkansas. Then, in four years, who knows what the cards may hold.
In the mean time, the GOP is stuck with McCain and needs to spend the next few months mending fences while Hillary and Obama fight it out across the aisle.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. McCain's military service was heroic. But, what he has done in the halls of Congress, are worthy of a lot of scorn.
He is not so much a true rock-ribbed Republican as he is every Democrat's favorite Republican. His candidacy was foisted upon the GOP by a lot of media hype and crossover votes from Independents and liberals intent upon thwarting the conservative agenda. Sour grapes? Maybe.

All that being said, my main problem with McCain is that he is a flip-flopper on too many issues that are important to me. He wants to be everything to everybody. Here are a few of the most glaring examples:

1. TAXES - He didn't just vote against the Bush tax cuts once, he voted against them TWICE! (First in May 2001, and again in 2003.) as late as 26 Nov 2005, he told the Wall Street Journal the reason he opposed the tax cuts: "I just thought it was too tilted to the wealthy, and I still do." Now, he's running around the campaign trail saying he wants to make them permanent?!
2. IMMIGRATION - I will never forget 2005, when McCain partnered with Teddy Kennedy to craft the worst piece of legislative piffle in recent memory. It would have granted amnesty to some 12 million illegal aliens. But, this year at the Reagan Library debate, he said he would not vote for it himself if it was brought to the Senate floor?!
3. ABORTION - In an effort to pander to his buddies in the San Francisco media back in 1999, McCain told a Chronicle reporter, and I quote, "I would not support repeal of Roe v Wade." But, when speaking before South Carolina primary voters last year, he said, and again I quote, "I do not support Roe v Wade, it should be overturned."
4. TORTURE - This has been McCain's sacred cow, given his status as a former POW. But, when given the opportunity to require the CIA to abide my the Army Field Manual interrogation tactics, he voted AGAINST the bill last month.
5. IRAQ - McCain would also like to take credit for the successful change of course in Iraq, claiming at the aforementioned Reagan Library debate, "I'm the only one that said Rumsfeld had to go." Poppycock! In December 2004, when his friends in the media were trying to goad him into trashing Rumsfeld, he told them the president "can have the team around him that he wants around him."
Look, I am always willing to accept a true heart-felt conversion. We all evolve as we grow older, at least we should. And, McCain has been on this planet for a very long time. Now that Huckabee has cleared the way for him, the presumptive nominee needs to spend the next few months convincing folks like yours truly that his new positions on issues like listed above were taken from conviction and not just pandering for votes.
And, he needs a good running mate . . .

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Texans: March forth this March fourth!

Yesterday's endorsement in the Dallas Morning News says it better than I could:

Editorial: We recommend Mike Huckabee
06:44 AM CST on Monday, March 3, 2008

Whatever Texas Republican primary voters do Tuesday, John McCain is all but guaranteed to be the party's presidential nominee. It is mathematically impossible for Mike Huckabee, the last remaining major GOP contender, to capture the nomination. The former Arkansas governor even turned up on Saturday Night Live recently to poke fun at himself for not going away.

Let's be clear: Mr. Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, remains our choice for the GOP nomination. But Mr. McCain has racked up by far the most delegates and leads among Texas Republicans by a wide margin in recent opinion polls. Though he can't clinch the nomination Tuesday, victory is undeniably close.

Aside from his long experience and personal courage, he has a solid record of fiscal responsibility and has been on the right side of campaign finance reform and environmental issues. And he was correct and principled to lead the fight for comprehensive immigration reform last summer. Still, his age – 71 – and his choleric temperament gave us pause, particularly when contrasted to Mr. Huckabee's sunny-side-up brand of conservatism.

Win or lose in November, the GOP is destined to spend the next few years redefining itself. For many reasons, Reaganism, which made the GOP the dominant political party of the last generation, no longer resonates as it once did with the American public. The world has changed since Ronald Reagan's election nearly 30 years ago, and the great man's political heirs will have to adjust the GOP's strategy and tactics to new realities.

To that end, Mr. Huckabee, 52, should be a top leader in tomorrow's Republican Party. His good-natured approach to politics – "I'm a conservative; I'm just not mad about it," as he likes to say – is quite appealing after years of scorched-earth tactics from both parties. He's a pragmatist more concerned with effective government than with bowing to ideological litmus tests. For example, he has proven himself willing to violate anti-tax dogma to undertake investment in infrastructure for the sake of long-term prosperity.

Mr. Huckabee also is good on the environment, contending that the future of the conservative movement depends on embracing conservation and stewardship of the natural world. And he's a compassionate conservative especially in tune with middle-class anxieties in a globalizing economy.

Though his social and religious conservatism puts him on the wrong side of abortion, gay rights and other key issues, that same deep-faith commitment inspires his dedication to helping the poor and to racial healing. He truly is representative of the next wave of evangelical chieftains and, if nothing else, will emerge from this primary season the leader of one of the most influential factions in the GOP coalition.

We look forward to having him around to help shape and lead the Republican Party beyond November. That's why we encourage Texas Republicans to mark their ballots for Mr. Huckabee in the GOP primary: to demonstrate to the party's elite that Mr. Huckabee and his vision have a solid constituency.

True, a Huckabee vote today won't do much to determine the 2008 GOP presidential candidate. But it's a good investment in the Republican Party's future.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Can someone please explain this to me?!

I consider myself a fairly well-educated person, but the prices we are all paying at the pump really have me befuddled.

I mean, I studied economics in college and thought that at least gave me a decent handle on the dynamics of supply and demand.

But, the info at hand (thanks be to today's issue of the illustrious Wall Street Journal) just doesn't seem to fit the models my illustrious professors at Texas Tech University tried to drill into my thick skull.

Fact #1: Consumer DEMAND for fuel has DROPPED over the last 6 weeks. In fact, we've experienced the biggest drop in demand in 16 years.

Fact #2: Domestic SUPPLY is HIGHER than any time since February 1994.

Fact #3: The price per gallon of gas is over $1 higher than it was this time last year!


Demand is down. Supply is up. And, yet the price continues to rise?!

I tell ye socks, there's something rotten in Denmark . . .

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Happy Texas Independence Day!

That's right. For ye socks who are not privileged enough to know your Texas history as well as those of us who were indoctrinated during our formative years, it was on this day way back in 1836 that the Lone Star State declared its independence from Mexico.
So, if you need some special license to eat some spicy food and drink a Margarita, now you have it.
Hopefully, later this week, we will be able to celebrate Texas INDEPENDENTS Day. (Notice the subtle spelling change, did you?) On Tuesday, our beloved friends and relatives out there will have the opportunity once again to demonstrate their independence by bucking the talking heads in the national media.
They can send a big message to the rest of the country (and keep John McCain's feet to the fire) by voting for Mike Huckabee!
Let's hope they do so, and in large numbers befitting the size of their great state.
Remember Goliad! Remember the Alamo! Remember San Jacinto!

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

That's not cinnamon!

Have ye socks ever had one of those mornings when you're not 100% awake, just going thru the motions until the coffee kicks-in?

Well, I had one of those today.

There I was innocently making a bowl of oatmeal, when I reached for the little shaker of cinnamon sugar from the cabinet to spice things up a bit.

But, after a couple of shakes, something struck me as odd.

What should have been a light brown addition to my bowl of morning goodness actually looked black, and it made me want to sneeze!

You guessed it. I grabbed the pepper shaker by accident.

So, what to do, what to do? Should I throw everything down the disposal and start over again?

Heck no!

Chalk it up to a new experience.

And, you know, it wasn't half bad, either.

Well, maybe a quarter bad. But, as I said, I wasn't really awake anyway . . .