27 February 2007

SPOTD E-mail on the Web (#118)

All is well in Lowryland. We are looking forward to moving into a new house in a short while. Son of SPOTD is doing well. SPOTDaughter is moving like crazy, preparing for her April arrival. The name is a secret until the birth. If anyone happens to guess the name (and you get one try and only for the first name) I will reward you with a healthy dose of respect and a bubble gum cigar.

Lots of good stuff to read. Check out Right Wing Pundit for more and check the SPOTD blog every few days for more cool stuff.

Today's phrase:
From Aristóteles (Aristotle)

El castigo del embustero es no ser creído aún cuando diga la verdad.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Ell cass-tee-go dale aim-boo-stair-oh ess no sare cray-eeh-doe ah-oon cwan-do dee-gah lah vair-dahd.

The punishment of the liar is to not be believed even when telling the truth.

Thanks to Justino Palmer for the link. Former BYU quarterback John Beck made a strong showing at the NFL combine. Hopefully he will have a good draft and have a chance to show his stuff in the pros.

I thought this was interesting. It is 12 minute clip of the opening monologue of late-night talkshow host Craig Ferguson. He takes a really honest look at celebrity. I thought it was very well said and funny as well.

Mystery Guitarist
My friend Lisa Chau sent me this story. It talks about a young man whose guitar rendition of Pachabel's Canon is supposed to be quite impressive. You can review the story.
The video in question can be found here:
Would any of this be possible without the Internet? Without sites like YouTube? I don't think so. The kid would have wowed his family and friends, but now millions have seen this. It just seems to be a small part of the larger trend toward user-directed entertainment. If I want to see a laughing baby, I enter a search. You can find almost anything. This is the way of the future. My videos of Joseph have been seen hundreds of times.

Circumcision may drasticly reduce the risk of AIDS transmission. When I first heard about these studies, conducted in Africa, I assumed that circumcision had an impact for cultural or social reasons, but there is an actual biological reason. Read the story for more details.

Glamour of Flight
Recent troubles in the Airline industry can make you nostalgic for the old days. Some of us never saw days like the ones in these photos.

Link of the Day
Ever seen an exploding whale? Tried to blow one up? It isn't as easy as it seems. Thanks to Joey Miller for the link.

26 February 2007

Will it blend?

I don't mean for this to become a video blog, but I like watching cool videos and this one is a real winner. There is a company called Blendtec that makes powerful blenders. They have a whole series of videos on YouTube. Muy entertaining.

If you go to YouTube you can see more in the series.

24 February 2007

Vintage Crayons

Ever wondered how Crayons are made? Here is how, courtesy of Sesame Street and the fine people at Crayola.

An oldie but a goodie.

The Hardy Men

Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise have agreed to appear in a film called The Hardy Men. They will play the grown-up Hardy Boys. The film will be directed by the same person who directed the current Stiller hit Night at the Museum.

The director, Shawn Levy, was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly. The movie looks promising. Cruise and Stiller had a memorable meeting for an MTV Movie Awards sketch a few years ago.

23 February 2007

Self Defense

I thought this story was fantastic. It was sent to me by my friend Jake Merrell. A group of senior citizens was on a cruise excursion in Costa Rica when they were attacked by some muggers. Normally this is where the story takes a tragic turn, but not this time.

One of the tourists, a 70-plus year old veteran, subdued one of the attackers. The attacker died as a result of injuries. The police declined to hold any of the tourists:

The tourists left on their Carnival cruise after the incident, and [local police chief] Hernandez said authorities do not plan to press any charges against them, saying they acted in self defense.
"They were in their right to defend themselves after being held up," Hernandez said.

I find the quick decision of authorities in this case to be very refreshing. The perp got what he deserved.

22 February 2007

Speed Talking

It is what it is.

20 February 2007

SPOTD E-mail on the Web (#117)

Scroll down here at the SPOTD blog to hear and see the stylings of burgeoning pop star J-III. At 18 months he plays the piano and sings! It's a cute video and already a huge hit in the under-2 demographic. Trust me.

There is new political commentary at Right Wing Pundit and some new pictures on the SPOTD website also. Remember that the website and blog are in two separate places.

Today's phrase:
From Eric Portlock and his wife Sariah, who supplied me with a list of helpful Spanish idioms. Sariah es peruana (from Peru)

Nunca diga "De esta agua no beberé."

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Noon-kah dee-ga "Day ace-stah ah-gwah no bay-bay-ray.

Don't say "I will never drink of this water."

The point is that we know not what the future holds.

Movie Update
Casino Royale: Finally saw this one. Fantastic revitalization of the Bond franchise. I was not a fan of the last film. This one was just right, but it is quite intense. I love how it doesn't rely on computer fakery to make you gasp. Good, old-fashioned action.
The Guardian: A good film, perfect for a rental, with enough laughs and emotion to please male and female.
Stranger than Fiction: A pretty amusing story. Just go along for the ride. Good performances by Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhall.
Sense and Sensibility: An oldie, but a goodie. A smart man will suggest this one for date night. Follows the Pride and Prejudice rulebook (written by the same author) and it works for me.

There is a new documentary that is coming to PBS. It explores the culture of Hip-Hop in a highly critical way. It contains a lot of offensive content, which seems unavoidable given the topic, but provides an insightful examination of the inconsistencies and contradictions of the genre.

The Godfather: A brutal novel. Extremely well-written, not for the faint of heart, but it fleshes out the Godfather mythology and provides insight into that dark society. The film would not have been as good were it not for the stellar source material.
Zorro: Written by Isabel Allende (the niece of the assassinated Chilean socialist) it reimagines the origins of Zorro in a historically accurate and interesting way. She is a very good author and I have always loved the Zorro character.
Clive Cussler: His books are perfect for trips. They are quick reads, totally devoid of objectionable content, and ideal for relaxing on the beach or a rainy day. They won't change your life, but they'll help pass the time.
Lacy enjoyed Twilight and is reading its sequel New Moon. Both are about vampires, and follow the Harry Potter young-adult-fiction-with-broad-appeal pattern. I'll probably check them out as well.

Fantastic Invention
Fans of The Office will recall a foot injury that occurred due to careless early morning bacon-frying. Such incidents are now a thing of the past.

Football Reversal
The worst decisions in NCAA football derive from commercial motives. One example was the recent rules change that affected the clock. Fortunately, and due to strong pressure from coaches, the generosity and delicious bread and cheese of the Swedes for his blazing fastball.

Link of the Day
Inspector Gadget & Beverly Hills Cop on Jazz Flute, accented with beat boxing.

Not too shabby. Actually awesome. I think I had an asthma attack just watching it.

17 February 2007

Joseph Sings the Hits

I have a new video of Joseph, in which he showcases his new musical talents. It's pretty fun. The reason he is shirtless is that the video was taken shortly after dinner and he usually gets pretty dirty while he eats. Enjoy.

15 February 2007

La Policía

I'm a fan of The Police, and Sting in particular, so I was glad to hear that they were reuniting and playing at The Grammy's. I missed the performance, chilling as I was in St. Thomas.

So I found the video on YouTube. It's a solid performance and I bet the tour will be a huge smash.

Comedy the Right Way

I'm pleased by this news. The co-creator of 24, Joel Surnow, is teaming with Fox News Channel to create a conservative-leaning political satire show. It will debut this Sunday at 10 pm.

In one of the articles they mentioned a prospective sketch in which will target the trend of college students wearing Che Guevara t-shirts. I'd love to see that. Most of the idiots who wear those shirts have no idea what Che was really like. He was a true communist and revolutionary, as well as a ruthless killer. In the sketch they would sell his shirts next to shirts of Mao and Hitler. Sounds about right.

I hope the show is a success. It's on my DVR list.

13 February 2007

¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

Today is the cumpleaños of my sweet wife Lacy. I am a lucky man to have her, and I just wanted to say how special she is. We had a wonderful time in the Virgin Islands:

We were lucky that my parents were able to watch Joseph while we were gone. We missed him a lot, but the time together was spent well, eating some great food, relaxing on the beach, and seeing sights like this:

It was made all the better because we were together. Happy Birthday Lacy!

07 February 2007

See you in a few days

Lacy and I are taking a trip to the sunny Virgin Islands, sans Joseph III. Although we will surely miss him, we haven't taken a trip like this in some time.

In the meantime, amuse yourself with this post about my brother Chris. He is an intern at a radio station and participated in a sledding contest (the snow they received in Charlotte last week was very exciting for them.

Go to Chris and Rachelle's weblog for the video and more info. Tonight is the return of Lost. Enjoy.

06 February 2007

Black History Month

I am just linking to this video because there is a part at the end that most of you would find offensive, so watch the first 2 minutes and 55 seconds of the video and you will see all that you need. The first minute is my favorite. It's from the Daily Show.

Remember- it's satire.

05 February 2007

Something Fun

I love stuff like this. This is a really entertaining little cartoon. Sometimes your creations can find a life of their own.

You can see a sequel to the cartoon here. It is at least as good.

04 February 2007

Just the facts? Yeah right.

This is was of the most absurd articles I've read in some time. Guess where it's from? The New York Times. Some key excerpts:

No commercial that appeared last night during Super Bowl XLI directly addressed Iraq, unlike a patriotic spot for Budweiser beer that ran during the game two years ago. But the ongoing war seemed to linger just below the surface of many of this year’s commercials.
More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.
For instance, in a commercial for Bud Light beer, sold by
Anheuser-Busch, one man beat the other at a game of rock, paper, scissors by throwing a rock at his opponent’s head.
In another Bud Light spot, face-slapping replaced fist-bumping as the cool way for people to show affection for one another. In a
FedEx commercial, set on the moon, an astronaut was wiped out by a meteor. In a spot for Snickers candy, sold by Mars, two co-workers sought to prove their masculinity by tearing off patches of chest hair...
It was as if Madison Avenue were channeling Doc in “West Side Story,” the gentle owner of the candy store in the neighborhood that the two street gangs,
the Jets and Sharks, fight over. “Why do you kids live like there’s a war on?” Doc asks plaintively. (Well, Doc, this time, there is.)
Those who wish the last four years of history had never happened could find solace in several commercials that used the device of ending an awful tale by revealing it was only a dream.
The best of the batch was a commercial for
General Motors by Deutsch, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, in which a factory robot “obsessed about quality” imagined the dire outcome of making a mistake...
Then, too, there was the unfortunate homonym at the heart of a commercial from
Prudential Financial, titled “What Can a Rock Do?”
The problem with the spot, created internally at Prudential, was that whenever the announcer said, “a rock” — invoking the Prudential logo, the rock of Gibraltar — it sounded as if he were saying, yes, “Iraq.”

That last bit is a bit of incredulity unlike any I've read in some time. Please.

El Esuper Bol

¡Bienvenido a Miami!

The Super Bowl is a wild party that begins long before the game. SI.com writer Arash Markazi's job is to cover the various entertainment and fiestas surrounding the game. It is an interesting exploration of celebrity and excess, and it yielded this gem. It's a telling of an exchange between Florida state senator Dave Aronberg and former UM quarterback Ken Dorsey:

While Senator Dave went to Harvard, he grew up as a Miami fan and couldn't help but go up to Ken Dorsey during the party and tell him how much that 2002 Fiesta Bowl still hurts. While Dorsey agreed that the 'Canes got robbed that night, he smiled and said the felt a guilty pleasure in seeing Ohio State get blown out by Florida in the national championship game five years later. "I play in Cleveland now and I'm supposed to root against Florida, but I was so happy to see Ohio State lose that game," he said. "I can't stand them."

Sounds about right to me.

As for predicting the outcome of the big game, there is a clear favorite- the Indianapolis Colts. SI.com experts are united in their selection of Peyton Manning's team, and an Indy win would be seen as a just reward for Manning and his Coach, Tony Dungy. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Colts win out. In seasons past they have peaked too early, but this year the team has emerged very strongly in the post-season. That's a key difference.

Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com picks the Bears. His prediction is based more on some key things falling into place, such as Rex Grossman finding a confident streak and the Chicago running game busting out early and often. No one expects a blow-out, and neither do I, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Media storylines fail to pan out.

Here is my pick: Indianapolis over Chicago, 31-27.

03 February 2007

SPOTD E-mail on the Web (#116)

Another exciting edition of the SPOTD has come your way. We'll cover the Super Bowl, movies, 24, and some other intersting stuff.

I hope you'll check out Right Wing Pundit as well. I have two posts that reference the work of Michael Yon, an embedded journalist in Iraq. It is important information that you can only get from people like him.

Today's phrase:
Challenges can make you stronger, if you stand up to them.

El viento endereza el árbol después de haberlo inclinado.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Ell vyen-toe en-day-ray-sah ell ar-bowl dace-pwace day ah-bare-low een-clee-nah-doe.

The wind strengthens the tree after bending it.

Super Bowl
Dave Barry has a great column on how Miamians should welcome folks to town for the big game.

We saw The Guardian last night. It was a good one. I recommend it. It is especially positive in that it reminds us the work that the Coast Guard has done. Behind all the moaning about governmental failures in the wake of Katrina, no one can dispute the superb work done by the Coast Guard and the Navy.
Lacy rented Tristan & Isolde last week. I was very unenthusiastic about it, but it turned out far better than I expected. It had its frustrating moments, but that's where the drama comes from.
Catch Me if You Can was on the other day. Its a great film that is very rewatchable and convinced me that DiCaprio actually is a good actor. It took a while to forget about Titanic.

Dave Barry also has a funny blog about 24. If you like the show you will enjoy it.

High-Priced Real Estate
How would you like to live in a high-class apartment that goes for $335,000? Just one catch- its only 77 square feet. That's over $4,000 per square foot, with no heat and no electricity. Its the price of high-living.

I thought this was a very interesting look at Airparks, where people have the ability to land their plane and drive it right up to their house. Travolta lives in one just south of here, in Ocala. There is a growing trend towards this kind of thing.

Link of the Day
This was a great Super Bowl ad, done by Reebok some years ago.