Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Top Ten Cliches

This site skewers "stock photography" by listing the Top 10 cliches.... Excellent.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Thespian trapped inside a man's body

A random, whimsical appreciation of films... These aren't written in stone!

The one movie, when it comes on TV, that I just can't turn off: Saving Private Ryan

Best double-bill and best dialogue movies: Before Sunrise and Before Sunset

Best actor: Edward Norton

Best actress: Cate Blanchett

Funniest movie I've seen in recent memory: Wedding Crashers

Worst actor that I enjoy: Owen Wilson

Worst actress that I enjoy: Liz Hurley

Worst movie that I enjoy: Smokey and the Bandit

Favorite line: woman, in despair: "I'm so stupid; I thought U2 was a boat". man: "Well their music does have a certain naval quality". -- Four Weddings and a Funeral

and yours?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


" The blockbuster film, The Da Vinci Code, raked in a staggering $77 million over the weekend, for a strong 2nd-place. The winner was a gas station in Queens." -- David Letterman

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Our hero is on the Proving Grounds with the new steed, Blackbird...

Zounds! Traffic ahead: a mix of pedestrians and roller-bladers, cluttered like bovines. Our hero sits upright and brakes quickly. Slowly gliding, winding his way through the mob, he sees broad daylight ahead: the flat, open path.

It is finally time to see what this thing can do. After selecting a good gear, he assumes the aero position and starts to work the pedals. The crank moves slowly at first but the bike is responsive. The fusion begins, with tendons and titanium joining together in an inorganic, Newtonian union. Before long, man and machine are one: the bike actually surges ahead with every downforce. Seconds later, the trees are a blur; startled birds flee; the murmuring, admiring voices of the mob fade as the wind roars.

At about 85% of max exertion, our hero glances down to check the speedo: 25 mph.

Easing back in the saddle, he coasts. "Not bad," he thinks, "not bad at all."

Monday, May 22, 2006

Raccoon Redemption

The sternly-worded letter worked. No raccoon noises for 2 weeks now and I've received both a bona fide apology and $200 off of next month's rent. If I had a coon-skin cap to place on a pike on my deck, life would be perfect.

The letter wasn't blistering: but it used a vocabulary, structure, and tone that suggested things were about to get serious. Kudos to English teachers everywhere!

All is well... Esp. with recent weather which has been "neither heat nor AC" for a few days now.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Take a left just past the math equation

Many readers have heard of my dear friends Fred and Stacey. Fred's father (Fred Sr) passed away this week. He was brilliant, honest, and helped raise a wonderful family. He also had a wacky sense of humour. Wacky, I say! Which of course I have always enjoyed.

The main house of the family is 1414 Livi Lane (street name has been changed: you Internet people can't be trusted). The pic shows an equation that has been prominent on the garage door forever. This is quintessential Fred Sr.

In case you aren't familiar with the notation the "L"-like symbols form the "floor" function, which means "round down". e.g. [ 3.14 ] = 3.

No doubt, the house must be a landmark in the community. This is not unlike my grandparents' house, which had a porcelain cat on its steeply-pitched roof for years and years.

Fred Sr is survived by his wife Betty, and their 3 children, all of whom have their own kids, and live within an 8 mile radius.


The last 7 days or so were "tough": lousy weather, kinda sick, tired, haven't worked out in ages, _may_ have a problem with my Achilles tendon, the piano/keyboard is dusty from lack of use. Yada yada....

Then I attended a funeral and had everything put into perspective.

I once read quote by a WW2 veteran that said something like "I learned the difference between a problem and an inconvenience". This week, I learned the difference between what matters and what doesn't.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Spirituality of St Louis

I haven't mentioned it but every Monday night since January has been my class in World Religions. Though not very challenging, the class is informative, entertaining, and worth the $. We covered religions that I hadn't even heard of before (e.g. Jainism, an offshoot of Hinduism and a formative religion for The Buddha).

The primary assignment in the class was to visit a place of worship and write a report. I was amazed to hear the prof's list of places: there are dozens of little places in St Louis (and any urban area) that are below our radar. For example, there is a Zen center in Kirkwood, and a church in St Louis City where they channel spirits! We were not allowed to visit a site that pertained to our religion.

I chose the Vedanta Society, located near Wash U on Skinker. The Vedanta Society is derived from Hinduism (the "Vedanta" are the concluding portion of the Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures), but is very inclusive: they recognize eternal truth in all of the major religions. In fact, as shown on their website, they celebrate the symbols and rituals of all the major faiths. There are a dozen or so "Societies" in North America; they form a federation of monasteries that are headquarted in India. In the StL monastery, there are 2 swami's who give sermons and teach their students, who live in a nearby building. It was definitely a new experience...

Coyotes in Kirkwood

My friends Stacey and Fred had a coyote attack their cat near their home in Kirkwood! For those outside of St Louis, Kirkwood is a charming small town nestled in the quilt of towns that make up St Louis County; it's small, yet miles and miles from a rural area. For those on the Island, it is like having a coyote in Sherwood; for those in Gainesville, it is like having a coyote in, well, Gainesville.

Thankfully the feline is ok...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sternly Worded Letter to Follow

This weekend was the breaking point on the raccoon front. The racket at 4:30 am on Saturday was unprecedented -- it actually sounded like they were hammering. (Bio-mutant DIY uber-raccoons building an addition to their condo?)

Well over a week ago, I requested (a) a trap adjustment on my deck and (b) having a trap placed on the deck above me (where the problem truly lies). This request was not completed. Then, I heard again, on my ceiling, a scurrying, pause, and "splash" that sure sounded like a 10-lb mammal urinating. We have hit for the cycle.

I visited the office yesterday morning. By the end of the day, 3 new traps were placed in various and sundry locations. Bravo! However, I'm still writing a letter. My primary concern is that the staff are fixated on catching the raccoons (using 18th-century technology) and seem nonchalant about the chance of nastiness (fecal matter, bacteria, larvae) getting into the ventilation system. From what I've read, raccoon schisse is unhealthy stuff.

Being a pseudo-hypochondriac, though, I'm not sure if I have a legit concern on the health front....

ps. An update: they did in fact catch raccoon #4 last night (on the roof). The office manager told me, in essence, that she didn't believe there would be fecal matter up there and implicitly stated that she didn't think I heard a raccoon urinating.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Gators in Gainesville

Last weekend Bry-Guy and I journeyed to Gainesville, Florida, to see Miss Gila, Phdus Candidatus in her natural habitat. A jolly jaunt indeed... G-ville is home to the massive University of Florida, recent winners of the March Madness basketball tourney and perennial football contender. And, UF is the alma mater for Lydia, a Hall-of-Fame member of the venerable Book Club.

G-ville is definitely a college town that lives and breathes UF, and has that "university spirit", which is very cool by me.

A highlight was The Yearling, a sprawling, folksy restaurant in nearby Cross Creek. The restaurant is near the house of Majorie Rawlings, author of (surprise!) The Yearling, a novel set in rural Florida. The restaurant has crawdads, gator, catfish, hushpuppies, and more southern fare. An old blues man played geetar and harp for the patrons.

Another highlight was a gator! We spotted a couple in a lake near another restaurant. Being a Maritimer, I thought it was driftwood at first. Ha... The bandages and stitches are due to be removed circa May 20.