March 16, 2004


Well, the link for the latest taters from Spud has been changed. Please direct your link for Spudlets to:


Posted by MarcV, 8:08 AM link

March 15, 2004


For those of you who thought that they would see a link for a new blog, soon I hope. I reviewed some options and started building a page this weekend, but hit some snags. I have found something where I will be able to post a picture with an entry, as well as comments built in (for free!). There is one thing in the layout that I'm trying to fix. I may just post it "as is", though once you are used to having things a certain way you want that for the future. Hopefully this cryptic spouting will make more sense if and when the new site is open for business.

Posted by MarcV, 11:38 AM link

Passion II

Took my sister and brother-in-law to see TPoTC yesterday, but did a poor job of talking about it afterwards. They are not saved, and if you do not discuss the movie just after seeing it, the effect as well as the opportunity can be lost. It's bad salesmanship when you don't close the deal ...

Seeing it the second time was much better for me. As a student of the Bible and a stickler for details, my first viewing was "marred" by my nitpicking over details and trying to determine how well the story agreed with the Gospel. I was also caught up with the scourging the first time to the point of "numbness" (if that makes any sense). For the second viewing I let the story unfold, caught some things that I missed the first time and was not worried about one man's interpretation taking away the impact of the story as a whole.

I am still in awe of how Mary, Jesus' mother, was portrayed and how someone watching the movie can take her place in the story. Particularly as a parent, she goes places and experiences things that you pray will never happen to you. As a dad I could identify with her when she says "Flesh of my flesh, heart of my heart" to Jesus on the cross. You also find yourself wanting these same actors to play out the rest of the Gospel in a sequel.

I came to a better understanding of my frustration after the first viewing, that I needed to sing praises to Jesus after going through that experience. Instead you just shuffle out of the theater, not wanting to make eye contact because you have been crying, then out into the bright sun trying to figure out the usual things (what will I eat, where will I go, etc.). I hope that for my third viewing I will be able to arrange a praise and worship service afterwards. There's nothing we can do or say to adequately thank Jesus for the sacrifice He made for us, but I want to do something!

Posted by MarcV, 11:37 AM link

March 12, 2004

Oh My Achin' Blog

Changes may be afoot, and if I'm BRAVE enough, you may see something new next week. Going without comments has been rough. Unlike other more popular sites, I did not get many comments. When I did get them, it was like getting e-mails: you click on it not knowing what to expect, with an air of anticipation as if it was a gift. Comments on posts are like a gift when you don't get many of them. Before I go any further, I would like to thank the folks who dropped me an e-mail for help with comments and the blog.

Anywhoozitz, the loss of comments here in the TaterBed has made checking my blog rather mundane, and I fear that it may be the same for the few brave souls who wade into the site known as Spudlets. I write because I like to, and it hasn't bothered me that my hit counter is relatively low. I do appreciate the few times someone is kind enough to comment. I can remember other blog buddies who held out putting comments on their site. Once they got comments capability, they seem to enjoy them (for the most part) and would not want to go back.

Besides the desire for improving the comments section, there are other things that could be improved. I'm not happy with the "readability" of the font/background color, and think it could be a little sharper. I also would like to be able to post images, since they can add some "zing" to a post. Not too many, though, or the load time would be excessive. It has to be cheap too, since the great thing about the Internet is the lack of investment for the average user.

To sum it up: change needed, comments good, cheap better, God bless.

Posted by MarcV, 3:23 PM link

I can't believe it's already ACC Tournament and Selection Sunday! Where has the year gone? I don't see any sure bets for someone winning the whole thing, so this may truly be March Madness.

Posted by MarcV, 3:22 PM link


The complete first season of Johnny Quest scheduled for release on May 11 for $45. Now we can enjoy uncut Jonny in DVD quality. I'll be curious to see what kind of extras they throw in. The music for the show was great, so hopefully they can have some type of soundtrack CD included. Here is a link for the cover - cool!

Posted by MarcV, 3:20 PM link

Just As I Thought

On Wednesday the airwaves (and web-lines) were abuzz over the report from the CDC on how the nation was doomed because of the rise in obesity. FoxNews has an interesting counterpoint today, on how some social scientists are playing fast and loose with the statistics:

The CDC produced its estimates with a statistical ruse called “attributable risk” - the fearmongers’ method of choice for alarming the public with large body counts. Attributable risk could be the poster child for the saying, “garbage in, garbage out.”

Without getting lost in the depths of statistical formulas, the key components of attributable risk calculations are statistical correlations between potential causes and effects, like overweight/obesity and premature death. But just because overweight/obesity and premature death might have been statistically correlated in some studies doesn’t mean that overweight/obesity has been proven to cause premature death.
But you don’t need to take my word about the folly of the CDC’s methodology.

As the New England Journal of Medicine editorialized in 1998, “Although some claim that every year 300,000 deaths in the United States are caused by obesity, that figure is by no means well established. Not only is it derived from weak or incomplete data, but it is also called into question by the methodologic difficulties of determining which of many factors contribute to premature death.” “Calculations of attributable risk are fraught with problems … [and can produce] a nonsensical result,” noted the Journal.

Now why would the CDC and other "concerned" folks in the government be twisting the numbers to scare people? Hmmmm? One possible reason could be “a tendency to medicalize behavior we do not approve of”. (sarcasm)It's not politically correct to be fat, and as a healthy trim person I'm going to tell you how to live so you can be just like me and happy. Put down the donut and just step away from the table. Forget about that ice cream after supper and have a nice crisp apple.(/sarcasm)

Of course we get the handwaving argument about costs to society (i.e. medical, lost work time, having to make theater seats bigger, etc.). For now let's just chalk up the costs to freedom and the pursuit of (eating) happiness and work to change hearts and stomachs one at a time, rather than by federal edict. One other interesting factor could be behind the fat police's call to arms.

Next, the public health establishment is simply running out of things to do. Preventing and controlling the spread of infectious disease, the traditional and primary mission of public health professionals, has largely been achieved. The relatively small number of infectious disease deaths that still occur annually, excluding AIDS-related deaths, decreased by 25 percent from 1990 to 2000, according to the CDC.

In former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous 1961 speech warning us of a looming military-industrial complex, he also said, “The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

He said that over 40 years ago. How true is it today? This is classic federal bureaucrat CYA, where the fear is if the work is not there, or the budget money has not been spent, it will be taken away. These people are looking ahead and planting seed for future harvest. While it makes sense to continue the encouragement of good health and fitness, we should not be influenced by questionable statistics and scare tactics. Let's assign some of these CDC people to where they can really make a difference. I know of a few African countries that are dying for medical help.

Posted by MarcV, 3:20 PM link

March 11, 2004

He's Back!

[Got this link from NRO's Corner] An article from the New York Observer had an interesting blurb about the TPoTC movie:

In Hollywood, the real question of the age isn’t "Why does a movie do $200 million at the box office?", but rather "Why do so few of them do $200 million?" From The Passion of the Christ to My Big Fat Greek Wedding to Something’s Gotta Give, how many audiences—how many groups of people—does Hollywood overlook, or miss completely?
... it can’t be too long before the rest of the biblical canon starts appearing on development lists, from the Cain and Abel story to Martin Luther, to Holy Moses, the Jewel of the Nile.
Until then, I’m waiting for Mel’s sequel: "He’s back. Christ Almighty! The Resurrection. This time, it’s personal."

It is the most personal thing you can do, a relationship with Jesus, our Risen Lord and Savior, the King of Glory. That has to be my favorite so far for potential sequels.

Posted by MarcV, 4:01 PM link

Morning Headlines

Kerry: GOP is Crooked Bunch - Nyah, takes one to know one!

'Cheeseburger Bill' Passes House - that was the bill, not the cheeseburger, although some guy named Cheeseburger Bill could have been visiting. It could also mean that the House decided not to pay for their cheeseburgers and is trying to get someone else to pick up the tab (like the taxpayers?). Actually this legislation should be a "good thing", but the Senate, home of FTL (Friends of Trial Lawyers), may try to hold it up.

Franken to Lead Liberal Talk Lineup - After a few weeks the only ones listening will be the conservative talk radio shows, getting some material to spoof. How long until Franken turns part of his slot over to the "Stuart Smalley Feel Good Time" show?

'I Had No Intention of Hurting You' - That was hockey cheap shot artist Bertuzzi. I saw the replay and the teary apology. It was a cheap shot, hitting someone from behind. Typically something like that will not result in a serious injury like a broken neck, so I can understand his remorse. He did intend to hurt Steve Moore, and he will have to pay the penalty for maiming him.

Madrid Train Bomb Kills 170 - Desperate people do desperate things. Lord please help the victims of this senseless tragedy, and bring to justice those responsible for this terrorism.

Posted by MarcV, 8:55 AM link

American Idol Wildcards Wrap-Up

I picked 2 out of the 4 (George and Leah). I was tempted to include funky-outfit gal, but I really wanted Suzie to make it past her. Of course the big surprise was John Peter, husky-voiced dance master. With the 5 remaining people up there, I thought for sure it would be Matt, but it turned out that John Peter got more votes. Go figure. I'm guessing that teenage girls submit the bulk of the votes, and were attracted to John Peter in a "Peter Tork" kind of way.

Out of the 12 I can't see any of the males making the top 6, although George might squeak by. Otherwise this will be another interesting season to see how a couple of the contestants can separate themselves from the pack and stand out enough to win it all.

Posted by MarcV, 8:54 AM link

March 10, 2004

American Idol Wildcards

I wasn't sure that I was going to post on this. Last night's show started out on a bummer and kept going downhill from there. Lovely redheaded lady Lisa and my other pick (muscular black guy from week 1) to make it to the finals were sent off before even singing a note. The leftovers were all pretty good but each had their own weaknesses. There were no great performances, even that last gal with the questionable dress. Since I've made predictions every week, I'll go with these picks: George, Suzie, Matt and 17 year old gal.

Posted by MarcV, 9:32 AM link

Too D*** Fat

Here comes another push from the socialistic fat police, concerned about the "widening" of Americans. All of this reminds me of the semi-immortal words of former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders: "Well, we're all going to die of something, someday."

A poor diet and physical inactivity caused 400,000 deaths in 2000, a 33 percent jump over 1990, said a study released Tuesday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (results appear in today's Journal of the American Medical Association).

Tobacco-related deaths in the same period climbed by less than 9 percent to 435,000 as the gap between the two narrowed substantially. At this rate, obesity will claim the top spot, the report said. "Our worst fears were confirmed," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, the CDC's director and an author of the study.
"We're just too darn fat, ladies and gentlemen, and we're going to do something about it," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said at a news conference. Thompson, a fierce anti-smoking advocate who has trimmed his own waistline since coming to Washington, drew parallels between the drives to stop smoking and to get Americans to eat less and exercise more. "We're so busy with our lives we use fast foods more often as not. We don't cook as a family any more. We don't exercise," Thompson said Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show. "As a result of that, we're getting too darn fat."

At the same time, Congress is debating a bill that will "shield restaurants and fast food franchises from lawsuits seeking to blame them for obesity and health problems related to it." It's a shame that something like that has to be enacted by Congress, rather than judges consistently recognizing people's responsibility for opening their big yaps and shoveling in the food to begin with. While some see McDonalds ending of "super-sizing" as a victory, it's actually win-win for the Golden Arches. They get good publicity for looking civic-minded, and now people who want more fries will have to buy two bags (more profitable for McD's).

For now the government will be taking a "get out and exercise" campaign, rather than try to charge a surtax on donuts.

The new public service announcements debuted by Thompson use humor to tell people they can slowly trim their waistlines. In one ad, someone turns in a pair of love handles found near the stairs in a shopping mall. "Lots of people lose them taking the stairs instead of the escalator," says a clerk at the lost and found.

In another ad, a shopping cart gets stuck on a double chin that someone lost near a supermarket's fruit and vegetable display.

I'm waiting to see someone pick up the double chin and use it for soupstock. I wonder if those ads may be sending the wrong message, that people can get rid of excess "body" by lopping stuff off (plastic surgery?). In this land of freedom, people will choose to be fat in spite of the risks. Instead of "get off my back", you'll hear more of "get off my belly".

Maybe the Islamofascists are right about the decadent Westerners, and we'll end up killing ourselves by suffocation from our own fat. I'm optimistic for the future generations coming up. They will hopefully learn from the mistakes of the selfish baby-boomers, even if the youngsters have a large chunk taken out of their paychecks for Medicare. I can't blame the 20-somethings for being a little ticked-off, though. Good thing they think voting is for old people!

Posted by MarcV, 9:31 AM link

March 09, 2004

In other late breaking (or broken) news, my supplier of comments service, Squawkbox, has decided that I have been a freeloader long enough, and that it's high time for me to start paying the piper. His tune is 15 pounds sterling (or $27.50 using a helpful currency conversion site). That's a little steep for my blood, so I will cut off the comments for now and re-evaluate this whole blog thing and what I want to do, such as buying a domain name and setting up another blog service (no MT!!). Currently my currency is being converted way too quickly and we in the TaterBed have been ending up with more days than paycheck lately, so finding extra "mad" money for blogging will be difficult.

Posted by MarcV, 2:35 PM link

Lotsa Hits

Andrew Caraega over at Bloggedy Blog put his music cap on and put forth an effort to not only name his top 100 pop/rock albums, but solicit entries from others. He was kind enough to post my feeble effort at a top 10. I submitted my top 25, but he's posting everyone's top 10 individually, as well as the overall top 100. It has been a long time since I've given any thought to much of that music from my past, but it was fun anywho. What a long strange trip it's been.

Posted by MarcV, 2:34 PM link

March 08, 2004

No Man Pan

On Saturday Lady Spud was busy with an all-day "wimmens" meeting at church, so the males got a whole day of bonding and adventure. We found ourselves at a mall, and wouldn't you know it, an arcade!?! It's funny that after all the tokens my 5 year old goes through, he still thinks you have lots of money left for more or that you're hiding tokens, so you end up with the pouty lip as he is torn away from the flashing lights and ringing bells (no wonder Vegas makes a killing at the slots). Getting him to leave was a little easier when he found out that we were going to see Peter Pan at the $2 theater.

It turned out to be much better than I expected. Supposedly they spent $100M on it and did not use any "name" actors. The sets they use and the computer graphics are excellent. From some of the reviews at IMDb, the story follows the book (that I have not read) much better than the Disney version or most of the plays. This retelling seems to focus more on the relationship between Peter and Wendy (first love), as well as the choice each had to make on whether they would grow up or not.

The movie brought back junior high memories for me, of those first formal dances, my right hand pressing against the layers of formal-gown fabric on a girl's back as I held her left hand in mine. Remembering the furtive glances and having your breath taken away when a special girl smiled back at you, as well as the nervousness at trying to say something and ending up with "uh, uh uh" and a red face.

While I probably will not have to go though this myself, I also thought of a certain marsupial blogger with a teenage daughter, and the things he is going through when a girl wants to be a woman but she's not quite ready. That is an awkward age (12-13) where girls can still act like 5 year olds and then a minute later get into adult trouble if they're not careful. Mother Nature may have given them the physical ability to make babies, but they are nowhere close to being emotionally and mentally mature (though they make think they are).

Anyhow, it was a very well made movie, entertaining for both me and the youngster. There's only an innocent kiss, plenty of swashbuckling action, and an ending that will warm a parent's heart (you may need to dab the corner of your eye with a napkin). Dad's can take their pre-teen or just teen daughter to this movie and hopefully have some opportunities to discuss "growing up" issues. While Wendy chooses to keep growing Peter does not, giving Dad's a good example of the kind of boy for their daughters to avoid (even if he is cute and can fly).

Peter talks about his ambition for "adventures", and I wanted to talk about that with my youngster. In particular, I wanted him to know that adventures are a part of life, and that the greatest "adventure" is love. Even though he's almost six, he's not quite ready for big "life" issues. Maybe later.

Posted by MarcV, 11:53 AM link

March 05, 2004

It may be a little later than other reviews, but Tony Woodlief over at Sand in the Gears posts a great one on the movie that has taken the world by storm. Three posts in one week has really spoiled me - I hope he can keep the pace at about 2 a week, if I may greedily ask.

Posted by MarcV, 4:11 PM link

Congratulations to a really great great-grandma, Indigo (at Indigo Insights). She's so young at heart that it's hard to believe she earned a great in front of her grandma title. I can't imagine how much your heart bursts with joy seeing your baby having babies (or grand-babies), but then to be blessed with seeing great-grandchildren would be awesome.

Posted by MarcV, 3:06 PM link


As a tie-in for the SNACKED-KINS diet (see post below), this article carries a little more heft on the subject of gluttonous Christians. That should be an oxymoron, but watch how much the pews bend on Sunday mornings when the congregation sits down! I say this as a guilty pew bender myself. But what to do?

As part of a "Body for God" sermon series that he preached, Lisa Young cooked on stage and demonstrated how changing a few ingredients in a meal could reduce the fat grams.

"We're not like purists," Ed Young said. "It's not bean curd and tree bark and carrot juice every day. But I would say about 95 percent of the meals that we eat at home are healthy. She uses lean meats, fresh vegetables, not a lot of butter."

Still, the Youngs' congregation -- like churches in general -- has a long way to go. That's evident to anyone who stops by a restaurant chain near the church after Sunday morning worship.

"You'll see a group of people who have obviously been to church," Ed Young said. "And you'll see them order all this fat-laden food, and then they'll say, 'Let's pray together. God, bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies.'

"The deal is they should have prayed before they ordered, 'God, help me order stuff that will glorify you.' "

Maybe we need to keep moderation in mind to begin with. (Link from Christdot.)

Posted by MarcV, 3:05 PM link


It's been over two months since that New Year's resolution, and look at you now - pants just as tight, those "love" handles getting bigger, and your toes are still out of sight when you stand. Maybe you have tried that new-fangled protein diet, shoving chicken and beef in your mouth yet staying away from the pasta and potatoes. It does get wearisome to see those fast-food restaurants come out with new offerings for the "protein-packing" people, when all you want is a decent bun, a juicy patty and some fries on the side.

If you have been through this, or crushing grapefruits in your hand, eating cabbage soup until you turn green, or just counting calories, then get ready for a new diet plan:

The SNACKED-KINS (patent not pending) Diet

Forget about counting calories or carbohydrate grams. Start enjoying donuts, potato chips and big plates of pasta. Eat when you're hungry, eat until you're full, then go about your life. If you're hungry and it's not meal-time, why wait? No use of letting good food go to waste (or is that waist?).

Oh, you may be thinking, "That's easy for you to say, but who's going to pay for my new clothes as I keep expanding?" This is where phase 2 of The SNACKED-KINS (pnp) Diet goes into high gear. You simply burn more calories than you take in (and eliminate out). It's easy if you fall into one of these categories:

1. Parents - as much as you run after those young'uns, step it up a notch. Pick them up more, wrestle them and run races. For those with wee ones, use them as you would free weights, i.e. arm curls, overhead lifts, etc. For parents of older kids, just keep picking up after them. They might not thank you for it now, but they'll be so appreciative of you when they finally move out.
2. Type A workers - if you're overweight then you're not working hard/long enough. What's wrong with you, are you a slacker!?!
3. Students - keep walking up and down stairs before, in-between, and after classes, repeating the mantra "I love the stairs". Shun the bus, and hop on that bike.
4. Misc. adults - get rid of all of those powered gadgets, like a washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, powered vacuum, and do stuff by hand the good ol' fashioned "hard" way. Try not to sweat into the dough as you knead it.
5. Kids - Step away from the TV ... you can do it ... now go do something.

Results will not be instantaneous, but hopefully you will be so tired that you won't even notice. Try The SNACKED-KINS (pnp) Diet today, and leave behind all of those silly counting rules. God gave you an appetite for a reason, and He filled this world with wonderful things to eat, so enjoy all of your blessings.

[NOTE: Not to be confused with the See-Food diet. Results will vary from person to person. The management of The SNACKED-KINS (pnp) Diet takes no responsibility for any deleterious effects. Consult a physician or dentist before embarking on anything.]

Posted by MarcV, 10:10 AM link

March 04, 2004

This has to be one of the more depressing headlines of the week: Kerry, Bush Open 8-Month White House Fight.
If they could just put on some boxing gloves and get it over with, then we would not have to endure the media trying to keep things interesting over 3/4 of a year. But then again, who would want someone like Mike Tyson as President? Loodakwis.

Kerry, who promised he would be "a fighter" in challenging Bush, toned down the rhetoric but said Bush should share responsibility in Iraq with the international community and win help in reconstruction. "I don't think there's a person in this room who believes this president went to war as a last resort," he told a town hall meeting in Orlando. "Those are broken promises, those are broken promises."

Sounds like a broken record, broken record. Of course there won't be anyone in that room who believes in Bush, when you pack it full of rabid "Anybody-But-Bush" libs! And this crap about last resort is already aggravating. The President enumerated a doctrine of pre-emption and Congress (probably including Kerry) supported it. Now, well after the fact, we get Lurch complaining and sounding like he's saying "I told you so." Maybe I'll not look at political stuff for awhile and not have to worry about being upset over the Kerry cacophony.

Posted by MarcV, 8:42 AM link

American Idol Week 4 Wrap-up

There's one more week before the final 4 of the 12 total contestants are chosen. My prediction of Hawaiian gal was true, but red-headed crooner John being the top vote getter was a surprise. To go further in the competition, he will need to break out of the Rat-Pack image yet go back to it occasionally since that is his strength. To break from it I would suggest a James Brown number, like "Living in America", to bring out the funk (cape or sequins is optional). He can then follow it up later with a Dean Martin classic "That's Amore" wearing the lucky black suit. Having the background screen show New York city in the spring time would be a nice touch.

For next week's show they apparently picked three leftovers from each of the last 4 weeks and will have them compete for the four remaining spots. Redheaded lovely lady Lisa will be back, so the other 11 can fight it out for the remaining three spots as far as I'm concerned. I think the three "wise" judges will pick the final four. It will be interesting to see if they explain their criteria or simply say so-and-so was the best of the lot.

Posted by MarcV, 8:41 AM link

March 03, 2004

Foster Care

GOYL (Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady) responded to a somewhat innocent request on my part to consider foster care. To tell the truth, it's something that I should be reminding myself. Lady Spud just turned down another round of babysitting (actually afterschool watching) for kids that she has watched before. I won't get into the reasons, but we will be missing the few $$ that she has been bringing in to augment our house budget.

She brought up the possibility foster care about a year ago, and I feigned exhaustion with not having enough energy to keep up with Li'l Tater. Actually my main concern is how he would interact with another child in the house, and if he was mature enough to help us deal with kids who may have some problems. I would want to foster care someone younger than he is as well, so our opportunities may be limited until he is a few years older.

We did participate in foster care in the late '90s, and it can be both very rewarding and very frustrating. I think it will be an option in the future. As in other decisions in life, this will need prayer and some direction from the Lord. In His Word he emphasizes in several places to take care of widows and orphans. It is difficult to let them go after they have been in your house and heart. You just hope that you can somehow make a small difference in their lives.

Posted by MarcV, 4:41 PM link

Is it just me or does the thought of the catsup queen, Teresa Heinz Kerry, assuming the title of First Lady give you the creeps? She has the potential to be worse than Hillary, if such a thing were possible.

Posted by MarcV, 9:11 AM link

American Idol Week 4

Not too much to say. I only saw one contestant that was worth voting for, the 17 year old Hawaiian. She definitely wins top prize for cutest family member. That little girl in the audience was adorable. Otherwise, once again none of the males seemed to have a strong enough performance to move on. The first and last females were OK, and I would give the edge to the first.

My theory on curvy model from Georgia getting a pass into the round of 32 seems to be more plausible after last night's show. She shouted more than she sang, yet the judges did not come down as hard as they could have. While Simon was out of line for calling her "ugly", I understood what he was trying to say: she contorted her face during the song for emotional effect, yet it did not work. She changed her makeup and hair style to help people forget about her previous tryouts, but she could not change her lack of vocal talent.

I think we saw the beginning of the end for the current cast of American Idol. Seacrest was out of line for calling out Simon Cowell. Simon has helped to make the show what it is today, and it would be a far different and less successful show without him. They would also have a difficult time finding someone who criticizes (and has a thick skin) as effectively as he does. Seacrest is just another pretty face with wild hair. They may end up finding a new host if that would help keep Simon on for next season. Simon gets enough grief from the public, but to endure that junk from Seacrest during the show could be too much. Let's see how repentant Seacrest is on the show tonight.

Posted by MarcV, 9:09 AM link

March 02, 2004

Seuss Century

That inventor of silly words, colored meat and weird phrases would turn 100 years old today if he was still breathing.
He breathes no more, or so I've been told, he's pushing up daisies, through a crust of mold.
I was never a big fan and thought he was slightly over-hyped. Li'l Tater is just about out of the Seuss phase, thank God, though the effects on me will still linger for some time. A mom, who also happens to be a very good writer, has something up over at NRO where she does not wax longingly for Seuss:

I realize this puts me in limited company. I can hold my Mothers Against Seuss annual meeting in Colin Farrell's bullet-riddled phone booth, along with another membership-challenged group, Republicans for Kucinich.

It's just not a popular stance. But really, you should join us, if you love the English language, read a thesaurus for fun, and believe the King James Version is beautiful as is and shouldn't be dumbed down in special editions for children.
... I always thought the point of reading to children was to teach them about language. How does Dr. Seuss help? Heck, he knew so few words that he had to make most of his up.

And so I sit on the couch, surrounded by trusting children whose brains (I fervently pray) are still developing, and try to be cheerful about the latest Seuss book that came home from the library. My audience of four — only three of whom can speak — has a question about every page.

"Mommy, what's a wocket?"

"What's a ziff?" "What's a zuff?" "What's a nerkle?"

I maintain a pleasant demeanor for a few pages, but when someone asks if we have a truffula tree, I lose it.

"I DON'T KNOW WHAT A TRUFFULA TREE IS!" I shriek. "I don't know what any of this stuff is! Just let me finish the stinkin' book!" A few years into motherhood, I became increasingly suspicious about this Seuss fellow. A quick search of the Internet proved my dark hunch to be true: This exalted man, this icon of American childhood, had no children of his own!

Guess he was too busy with writing to procreate. The author of this article, Jennifer Graham, also has her own web site. You can find some of her previous articles, a bio, and a contact section. The latter section is interesting, in that when you are typing out a message she displays a smiling picture of herself, something that I can't recall someone else doing on another website. It made it more personal, yet it was a little unnerving, as if I was waiting for her mouth to move and respond to my message.

Posted by MarcV, 9:53 AM link

It was a bittersweet ending to "American Idol" last night. The first 45 minutes were fairly entertaining, especially that one guy who auditioned and then both Randy and Simon said nothing, with Randy just raising his hands. That had to hurt. After that they showed a commercial that was funnier than anything shown during the Superbowl. A mom tells her daughter that with the excessive cell phone bill she had to rent out her room. The daughter finds out who her "roommate" is when he comes walking by, fanning the air with a newspaper and saying, "That wing of the house is closed". [Yeah, it's potty humor, but it appeals to my base funny bone.]

The extended time with William Hung/Hong was a let down. It was sad to see him think that he has a chance to be more than a one-shot novelty item. From the spotaneity and charm of his audition, his "performance" last night was controlled and lifeless yet still showed an appalling lack of singing/dancing talent. I hope he can make as much money as he can for a future nest egg, and then keep his grades up to get a degree. I don't know if anyone would hire him as an engineer, though.

Posted by MarcV, 8:43 AM link

Extended Ring

Just saw this mentioned over at WorldMag blog, where an extended version of "The Return of the King" will be available at the end of the year (it's not too early to start making those Christmas lists!). As for me and my house, we'll probably wait until they release all three extended-version movies in one package. It may take a second mortgage, but that's the price you pay for entertainment.

He said that it would include a whopping extra hour of material (making the movie last four and a half hours) and that it would include the Saruman subplot, including presumably the cleansing of the Shire. (In the novel, when the hobbits come back home after their adventures, they find that Saruman has taken over and corrupted their homeland, whereupon they use their newfound prowess to put things right again.)

One item the post did not mention: included in the DVD "book" will be a Lord of the Inflatable Sitting Ring, to make the hours fly by as you watch the Hobbits takin' care of business. The platinum edition will include a special panel that displays a different message in Elvish each time you sit on the ring. Supplies are limited to the first 20 million lucky buyers.

Posted by MarcV, 8:16 AM link

March 01, 2004

Blog Blabber

Looks like someone did a survey, and lo and behold, blogging ain't as big as the media makes it out to be (gawrsh)! Does it feel like we are finally getting away from "new and trendy" to an established presence on the 'Net?

But it's clearly a minority who are taking advantage of the blog and its potential to steer the online discourse with personal musings about news events and daily life. The Pew Internet and American Life Project, in a study released Sunday, found that somewhere between 2 percent and 7 percent of adult Internet users in the United States actually keep their own blogs.

Of those, only about 10 percent update them daily, the majority doing so only once a week or less often. "The impression out there is that a lot of the blog activity is very feverish," said Lee Rainie, the Pew project's director. "That's not the case. For most bloggers, it's not an all-consuming, all-the-time kind of experience."

Oh yeah, I can stop anytime I want, just watch ...

[Must get away from keyboard, mind strong - body weak]

Ahhhh, now where was I? If we take a round number estimate of 5% Internet users having blogs, and 10% updating daily, then assume 10 million Internet users (guess on my part) you would have 50,000 daily blogs. After reading over the qualifier for 10% (10 percent update them daily, the majority doing so only once a week or less often), the "more than once a week" blogger would be 20,000 or so, and then figure over half (at least) of those are school kids with free accounts and plenty of time to complain about how unfair school is (the good old days).

After all of these rough assumptions, a best guess would be 8000 adult (as in over the age of 22) daily bloggers. Doesn't seem like much, especially considering all of the hype the media place on blogging. Once it gets under your skin and you have the time for it, finding friends and posting your "brain squeezins" is a great experience. This survey was taken based on the responses of 1555 Internet users from nearly a year ago, so there is no telling how much things have changed since then.

About 11 percent of Internet users report visiting blogs written by others. Most often, they were for blogs written by friends. But blog readers are more likely to go to journals kept by strangers rather than by family members. [Yep, but I wouldn't call them "strangers", more like e-buddies.]

Among other findings: 21 percent of Internet users have posted photos on Web sites, and 20 percent say they have allowed others to download video or music files from their computers. Seven percent have webcams that let others see live pictures of them over the Net.

No report on how many of those 7% with webcams are charging to view their "live" content. As more people get familiar with digital cameras, I think you will see that 21% posting photos increase.

Posted by MarcV, 10:00 AM link

Well, the Oscars were on and once again I missed it (aw shucks). I did see a list of the winners, and Sean Penn (formerly Mr. Madonna) finally nabbed a statue. I did hear it mentioned on the Fox Sunday morning show with Chris Wallace that Mr. Penn hosted a fundraiser party for the candidate of his choice, Dennis Kucinich. Only Wallace pronounced it Ku-Kucinich. Ha ha ha ha ha. I don't know if this was an old joke mispronunciation or he did it subconsciously, but it was the first time I heard it - extry funny!

Speaking of Fox, don't forget the extra "American Idol" tonight, with AI's phenomenon William Hung/Hong. There was an AP article on him in the Sunday paper that covered a third of a page. I had thought that he had accepted a record deal, but according to the article he has not signed with anybody. This is the kind of story that only the Internet can maintain, and I'm humbled to make my small contribution.

Posted by MarcV, 9:58 AM link

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