31 May 2007


Bo Jackson was one of the elite athletes of my youth. His exploits were not limited to one sport, or even the real world, as the king of Tecmo Bowl crushed all opposition. Read this story by the Kansas City Star's Joe Posnanski to get some perspective on Bo's accomplishments.

29 May 2007

Venuzuela's Downward Spiral

On Sunday Hugo Chavez continued his crackdown on those who oppose his rule. He refused to renew the license of Radio Caracas "accusing it of "subversive" activities and of backing a 2002 coup against him." Radio Caracas TV was the only opposition channel with nationwide reach, having been founded in 1953.

More on the protests that are now entering their 5th day can be found in this AFP story. Some telling excerpts:

On Monday several people were injured as police in Caracas fired rubber bullets and tear gas to put down a demonstration against the RCTV shutdown, following the fifth straight day of protests.
A policeman's leg was broken in the fracas, a police official said.
RCTV was replaced by TVes, a state-backed "socialist" station which opened with cultural shows. Chavez supporters held a huge, night-to-dawn public party outside the network studios to celebrate the birth of the new "socialist television" and the end of the bitterly anti-Chavez media outlet.
TVes president Lil Rodriguez said the move reflected "our sovereignty."
The government will now control two of the four nationwide broadcasters in Venezuela, one of them state-owned VTV.
In an interview with VTV, Interior Minister Pedro Carreno accused the opposition of mounting a plot against the government, devised by "the empire," a term often used to describe the United States.
He also accused demonstrators of trying "to develop a plan for violence in the country," and added: "The government also has its plan. And it is working."
However, the RCTV closure brought sweeping denunciations from inside Venezuela and out.
One of the country's leading dailies, El Nacional, denounced it as "end of pluralism in Venezuela," and slammed the government's growing "information monopoly."
The archbishop of the city of Merida, Baltasar Porras Cardoso, compared Chavez to Hitler, Mussolini and Cuban leader Fidel Castro
-- who is a close friend of the left-wing Venezuelan president.
"This is the first time in eight years (of Chavez as president) that the university students hold a massive protest," said Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader and neighborhood mayor.
The EU's German presidency said it worried Venezuela let the network's broadcast license expire "without holding an open competition" for a successor station.

Sounds like a real paradise. For a very personal take on the events in Venezuela (though not this recent protest) visit this blog, The End of Venezuela as I know it.

Happy Memorial Day

I know it is late, but I wanted to post something in recognition of the holiday and its significance. This is an excellent piece from Opinion Journal by Peter Collier. An excerpt:

We impoverish ourselves by shunting these heroes and their experiences to the back pages of our national consciousness. Their stories are not just boys' adventure tales writ large. They are a kind of moral instruction. They remind of something we've heard many times before but is worth repeating on a wartime Memorial Day when we're uncertain about what we celebrate. We're the land of the free for one reason only: We're also the home of the brave.

It's all about American Exceptionalism.

26 May 2007

Awesome Video Saturday II

Joe Miller (of Miller Monday fame) sent me this awesome video of mixed-media domino-laying, using CD's, boxes, soap, lighters, VHS tapes and more.

In keeping with the Domino theme, this an interesting video by Fujiya & Miyagi. It is reminiscent of The White Stripes video for Fell in Love with a Girl.

I like this video. This guy edited together 100 different movies, using each clip to count down from 100. I haven't actually watched the whole thing (too long), but I still like it.

25 May 2007

¡La Migra!

My views on immigration softened somewhat during the time that I served as a volunteer missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was assigned to San Diego in Southern California as a Spanish-speaking missionary, and I interacted on a daily basis with hardworking people who had made great sacrifices to get to this country. It is hard to follow a hard line when you see the faces of illegal immigration, but I also met individuals who lacked that work ethic, but who had also come here illegally.

In the years that have passed since I completed that service, I have had to temper my compassion with the reality of illegal immigration's impact. Although the economic benefit of cheap labor is significant, allowing large numbers of undocumented persons to enter our country poses a serious security risk, not to mention the fact that it is illegal. The illegality is enough for me to oppose illegal immigration, notwithstanding the empathy I feel for some of its perpetrators.

Congress and the White House have failed to do anything substantial to curb illegal inflows. There is a new bill that has received wide coverage in the press, and I was hoping to point you in the direction of some good information

It's a messy situation. My take? I don't like it when the government acts too quickly on legislation of this kind. We sometimes end up with deeply flawed legislation as a result. I think the top priority has to be the security of our borders. It is not inhumane in any way to secure the country from illegal entry. When those borders are secure, I advocate a welcome immigration policy. We have to disincentivise illegal entry in favor of legal measures. I am the son of an immigrant, and I think that our country, our position, and our freedom exist to bring those great blessings to others, but it must be done in wisdom and in order and in accordance with the rule of law.

I cringe at some advocates of curbing illegal immigration, as it becomes clear that racism and bigotry motivates a portion of that group. Notwithstanding such sentiments I think most Americans are concerned with upholding the law and keeping the country safe. We can do this the right way, just don't hold you breath for this Congress to be the ones to make it happen.

24 May 2007

Cooling on Warming

I've been collecting some interesting articles on one of my pet issues, climate change. I'll just run through them one at a time:

  • The National Post of Canada asks the following question: "How did An Inconvenient Truth become required classroom viewing?" It is being shown in many schools, which is only a bad thing if there is no discussion accompanying the movie's assertions. If you click the link above you'll find articles that the Post has compiled of Global Warming critics. Worth a look.
  • Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma has been a consistent critic of Gore's Global Warming crusade. His office compiled a list of scientists who have reveresed their position on Climate Change.
  • This article is a little older, but the gist is that we only have about 5 years left to save the planet. That is ridiculous. This is a quote from WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) UK head Keith Allot: "We can slash carbon emissions and meet global energy demand without resorting to the red herring of nuclear power." He thinks we can do that within five years. I think that's "allot" of basura.

History & American Exceptionalism

Republican administrations are not known for supporting the arts or humanities. That's not because they don't support them, but because the efforts they make receive very little notice. The current administration is the subject of even less goodwill than most, so it's no surprise that very few people are aware of the work being done by Bruce Cole, head of the National Endowment for the Humanities. This very interesting article from Opinion Journal discusses that work. What I wanted to highlight was one belief of Mr. Cole:

We have to look at the valleys and the peaks, but I do believe in American exceptionalism. This is the greatest country that has ever existed.

That is exactly the kind of person that I would like to have in his role, helping teach Americans about the history of their country. Cole is inspired by Ronald Reagan, as am I, and mentions a key idea from the late former President's farewell address. I wanted to quote a large portion of it. It is a little longer, but well worth reading. It sums up much of my feeling:

Finally, there is a great tradition of warnings in presidential farewells, and I've got one that's been on my mind for some time. But oddly enough it starts with one of the things I'm proudest of in the past eight years: the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism. This national feeling is good, but it won't count for much, and it won't last unless it's grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.
An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-'60s.
But now, we're about to enter the '90s, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren't sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven't reinstitutionalized it. We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It's fragile; it needs protection.
So, we've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion, but what's important: Why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, four years ago on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, I read a letter from a young woman writing of her late father, who'd fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, "We will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did." Well, let's help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit.
Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson No. 1 about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let 'em know and nail 'em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.
And that's about all I have to say tonight. Except for one thing. The past few days when I've been at that window upstairs, I've thought a bit of the "shining city upon a hill." The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.
I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it and see it still.

23 May 2007


Lost was incredible tonight. The season finale blew my mind. I don't even know where to begin, or where next season will take us. I won't release any spoilers for those who may not have watched it yet, but I would love to hear some theories about what is to come. This link is to a TV Guide story about why a major character died tonight. Don't read it unless you want to know.

I have a video for you. The backstory: My friends Justin & Kira host a weekly Lost viewing party. As we have small children, we rarely could attend. For the finale I decided that it would be fun to make a little video to get everyone in the mood, even though I wouldn't be there. That was the inspiration for the video. I delivered it by setting off my Justin's car alarm so he would see it on his car. Then they popped it in the DVD player and meanwhile I snuck in the back of the house to scare them at the video's conclusion. Only Justin knew fully what to expect, and I was able to get everyone going pretty well. Don't watch if the gallon challenge offends you. It was fun for us. Enjoy:

22 May 2007

Millie Update

We got a new digital camera and I am excited to now be able to easily post videos of the kids with sound without having to do much editing. I know, most cameras have had this capability for years, but we've had an old one that shot little videos without sound.

I took this video of Millie today:

She really is a great little baby.

20 May 2007

El Viente de Mayo

Although not as well known as Cinco de Mayo, Viente de Mayo is an important date- it is the anniversary of Cuba's independence from Spain. As you can see on my sidebar, I have a Cuban flag. My heritage on my mother's side is Cuban, and I have included the inscription, "Esperando la libertad," which means "Waiting for freedom."

El Diario de las Américas (a Spanish-language newspaper based in Miami) commemorated this day in an editorial. You can read it here (in Spanish) and I wanted to relay an excerpt:

Qué doloroso es para los cubanos llegar a otro 20 de mayo con su patria esclavizada, cuando normalmente debería celebrarse el ciento cinco aniversario de la proclamación de su independencia ejerciendo la libertad republicana. El primero de enero de 1959, se diera cuenta mucha gente o no de que se había hundido la libertad de Cuba en el mar de la tiranía comunista, esa patria dejó de ser república. En la actualidad, pues, ese pueblo que Martí soñó para la libertad, por cuya causa murió en el combate de Dos Ríos, recién iniciada la guerra, lleva ya casi cuarenta y ocho años de no tener libertad ni independencia. Lleva ya casi cuarenta y ocho años de no ser república, ni cosa por el estilo.

A quick synopsis for English-speakers: It is sorrowful for Cubans to come to another May 20th with their homeland enslaved. It should be celebrated as the 105th anniversary of her independence but in 1959 it stopped being a republic and fell under communist tyranny. Almost 48 years have passed with liberty or independence.

That is far too long, and the continued sorry state of the Cuban people is due in no small measure to the deference leftists have shown to Castro's communism. Hailed early on as a hero, to this day you find intellectuals that defend his sorry government, despite incontrovertible evidence that Cuba is not free.

Now we find ourselves facing a similar danger in the form of Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez. Again, leftists defend him, even treat him with respect. I received a comment on my blog the other day from someone named Julia_1984. She wrote:

I was impressed when I read the list about things cubans cannot do and find that some of them, are starting to happen (in a lower way, still) here in my country. And there's still some left intellectuals saying that the US media over reacts...

She has a blog where she talks about what is going on in her country today. I encourage you to visit it. We have been given a gift in this country. We are free. I have always believed it is our duty to bring that freedom to other people. This reminder is my small effort in that struggle. Don't allow the blessing of your birth to cause you to forget those who were not as fortunate.

19 May 2007

Awesome Video Saturday

If I see cool videos, I think I'll try to save them for a feature that gave its name to this post. Awesome Video Saturday (AweVidSat) would love to have your recommendations.

The first is from an Indian film. I have posted various Indian films over time, and this one seems to have the same actor from another one (found here). Check it out- it's short and the special effects are awesome!

The second one is allegedly some video from an open audition of people wanting to show off their fighting skills. I hope they had better talent than this show up. Definitely worth watching.

17 May 2007


There is a new trailer out for Transformers (see it here) and it really makes me look forward to it, especially because it is sure to be a Michael Bay effects extravaganza, and on a hot day in July, that's just what I am looking for. Plus when they show Optimus Prime transforming, there is that mechanical noise from the cartoon. Perfect.

In the preview we see some classic Bay archetypes:

  • Explosions
  • Exploding vehicles in motion
  • Soldiers/Patriotic Feelings
  • Asteroids hitting stuff
  • Explosions

And I'm not saying any of that is bad. On the contrary, for the July 4th opening it is perfect. I will be at the beach with the fam, reliving other pivotal July moments like Armageddon, Independence Day, and Men In Black. With Will Smith and/or Michael Bay around we have nothing to fear (but enormous human-hating robots).

16 May 2007

SPOTD E-mail #124

Life is hectic in my house, but I can't really complain. We are having fun with our new arrival. Besides what I've included on the blog, you can visit http://www.spotd.net/ to see more pictures and read more about the kids. I will update it soon.

The blog continues to be eclectic and updated frequently.

Today's phrase:
From an unknown author

El humor es el resplandor de la mente.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Ell oo-morr ess ell rays-plahn-dorr day lah main-tay.

Humor is the brilliance of the mind.

Blog Recap
Scroll down the blog for these recent entries:
-Standout BYU quarterback John Beck was drafted by the Miami Dolphins.
-Liberal law professors are helping change precedent on gun ownership.
-Gainesville may be the best place to live, IN THE WORLD!
-Al Sharpton makes a mistake. No surprise.
-More on Global Warming
-I recommended music from Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Killers.
-Mother's Day.
-Our close relationship with an improving Colombia may be in peril.
-Read an entertaining Disneyworld travelogue.

Spider-Man 3: Saw it. Enjoyed it quite a bit. It has received mixed reviews, but as a fan of the genre and the series, I was very pleased.
The Queen: A mesmerizing film. It covers the death of Princess Diana and it aftermath for the Royal Family and Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Monster-in-Law: Amusing, but not necessarily worth your time. Wanda Sykes is the only real reason to watch this movie.

Tough One
Ever heard of a "baby hatch?" This article introduced the concept to me. I don't like the idea of people anonymously leaving their unwanted babies in a hospital. It makes it wasy for people to abandon responsibility for their actions. BUT, if it leads to fewer abortions or completely abandoned babies I can't completely reject it. I just don't think people should be able to ignore the outcome of their decisions and the hatch seems too easy.

Major Coin
Canada has broken the record for the largest pure gold coin. They've minted one that weighs 224 lbs and is worth $1 million:
It takes about six weeks to make and has a face value of 1 million Canadian dollars ($903,628), though it sells for approximately $2.7 million depending on the market value of gold.The coins will give the mint a higher international profile.“We wanted to raise the bar so that we could say the government of Canada, or the Royal Canadian Mint, produced the purest gold coins in the world,” said David Madge, the mint’s director of bullion and refinery services.
Those crazy Canucks!

Funny Google Trick
1. go to http://www.google.com/
2. click on "maps"
3. click on "get directions"
4. type "New York" in the first box (the "from" box)
5. type "London" in the second box (the "to" box) (hit get directions)
6. scroll down to step #23

Link of the Day
Bruce Campbell is fairly well-known, though not many know him by name. He has starred in various B-movies, most notably the Evil Dead series, and has amusing cameos in each of the Spider-Man films. Both of those franchises have been directed by Sam Raimi. Now Campbell is in an Old Spice ad that I find very amusing. Enjoy.

15 May 2007

The Happiest Place

When I was a child there were two people that I wanted to meet the most- Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney. Perhaps it stems from being a very fortunate child, as we visited Disneyworld many times as I was growing up. I love the place, perhaps feeling a sense of ownership for it as a Floridian.

I really enjoyed this post by James Lileks, a writer and blogger, about his family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. It provoked equal parts nostalgia and anticipation, as I contemplate taking my children there (and hemorrhaging money).

14 May 2007

Site Enhancement

You can now preview web pages just by placing your pointer over the any links on the blog. See where you are going before you go.

I do it because I care.


I've always been interested in Latin American politics. One of my favorite political writers, Michael Barone, looks at a column by columnist Robert Novak on Colombia's President Uribe. Novak reports on the way Uribe was treated by Congressional Democrats:

This is remarkable U.S. treatment for a rare friend on the South American continent, where Venezuela's leftist dictator Hugo Chavez can only exult in Uribe's embarrassment as he builds an anti-American bloc of nations. A former congressional staffer, who in 1999 helped author Plan Colombia against narco-guerrillas, told me: "President Uribe may be the odd man out, and that's no way to treat our best ally in South America."

Barone agrees with Novak's assessment:

Uribe is a highly successful president, elected and re-elected by large margins, who has taken on the left-wing FARC narcoguerrillas and vastly reduced their power. He is a dedicated democrat--and has been attacked by the authoritarian, anti-American Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

Pretty strong reasons to like Mr. Uribe. If Congress drops their support for the Uribe Administration it will be to our detriment.

13 May 2007

Happy Mother's Day

This is a wonderful day to celebrate. I can tell you with certainty that motherhood is one tough job. Just getting those kids born is beyond anything I've experienced, so I have a lot of appreciation for the mothers in my life.

Obviously Lacy is tops on my list, and she is just the mother I would want for my children. I also have been blessed with my own wonderful mom, who has been a great example to me during my life. In married life I now have a fantastic mother-in-law, and in addition to these three ladies, there are many other mothers that make our lives so much better. So Happy Mother's day.

For the rest of you this is one of the funniest e-cards I've ever seen. You really need to follow the link. Really.

12 May 2007

Music Time

Over the years I have received various music recommendations as well as given them. Two of my friends have been particularly consistent recommenders, Scott Williams and Lisa Chau. I have never been steered wrong by them, and a few recent tips (actually not that recent, but that I recently acted upon) have been quite good.

Lisa recommended Death Cab for Cutie over two years ago, and I finally bought their 2005 release Plans. It's a great album, with a lot of melancholy tunes, but also some more upbeat choices. At the same time she had also recommended Snow Patrol, but it only took me about a year to buy it.

Scott, among other things, recommended The Killers' second album Sam's Town and Arcade Fire's Neon Bible. I enjoyed many of the tracks from The Killers first release and have really liked the second one, which has an arena rock feel. Their music incorporates many of the elements that made '80's music great.

Arcade Fire is a really cool band from Quebec. They have some pretty interesting instrumentals. I'm still getting a feel for their music, but it is different and what I've heard I really like. It also has more of a "live" feel to it. I also recommend both of these albums.

The SPOTD is always looking for good recommendations to pass along.

09 May 2007

Indulge Me

Time for a proud dad to show off the kids.

Ever wonder who you're really talking to on those customer service calls?

What a life!

Lacy's mom with her new granddaughter.

Anyone going for a walk?

The SPOTD kids, just chillin'.

08 May 2007

A Spiritual Crisis

In reference to "Global Warming," Al Gore has said:

It's in part a spiritual crisis. It's a crisis of our own self-definition — who we are. Are we creatures destined to destroy our own species? Clearly not.

Come on, Al, stop thinking small! We can do anything we set our minds to! In all seriousness, I feel compelled to spend some more time on Global Warming and the folks that have called it, among other things, "The Greatest Threat to Face Mankind!"

In this post (on RWP) I referenced a possible end to the Global Warming crusade:

Call me a crackpot or a paranoid, but I couldn't agree more. It may only be a matter of time before Global Warming idealogues move from mandating what kind of lightbulbs we buy to when we procreate. Wouldn't limiting population limit greenhouse gases? Is it so far for them to go? Once they assume control and we cede certain freedoms over how we live, for good or ill, we open the door to the permanent restriction on our freedoms.

I didn't have to wait long for the realization of this concern:

HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags, says a report to be published today by a green think tank.
The paper by the Optimum Population Trust will say that if couples had two children instead of three they could cut their family's carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York.

Yeah...I think this decision is between Lacy and I. Thanks for the input though. There are more extreme proponents of population control. I won't quote this guy, because he's an idiot.

Be on the watch. Government mandated efforts to combat "Global Warming" will mean less personal freedom and it will start with "minor" things.


From Hugh Hewitt, a blogger and author reporting at Townhall.com, this came out of the blue:

“As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don’t worry, that’s a temporary situation.”

The speaker? Al Sharpton. This greatly annoys me, and it demonstrates (unsurprisingly) Sharpton's idiocy. As Hewitt says, Sharpton will likely get a pass for this remark.

Update- 10:38

Sharpton denies attacking Romney's faith. Perhaps he misspoke. It happens, but he's still a race-baiting bigot.

Update- 10:47

Here's the video. I think his denial is pretty worthless, especially when you hear the statement.

06 May 2007

Gun Rights Evolve

There has long been criticism from the right about judicial activism. Wikipedia defines it as:

Judicial Activism is a term used by political scholars to describe a tendency by judges to consider outcomes, attitudinal preferences, and other public policy issues in interpreting applicable existing law. Formally, judicial activism is considered the opposite of judicial restraint, but it is also used pejoratively to denote judges who are perceived to endorse a particular agenda.

There is a change in the way that some legal scholars, and as a result, some judges see gun rights. Some say that this change in viewpoint is evidence of judicial activism, as it is evidence of change in legal precedent established over decades. I disagree with that interpretation (legal scholar that I am) on the grounds that the precedent was wrongly conceived to begin with. Overturning existing precedent based on what is deemed the intent of the Constitution's framers is an originalist viewpoint, and that is the camp that I often side with.

The point of this post is to examine an article in the New York Times that discussed the role of liberal law experts in recent gun cases:

In March, for the first time in the nation’s history, a federal appeals court struck down a gun control law on Second Amendment grounds. Only a few decades ago, the decision would have been unimaginable.
There used to be an almost complete scholarly and judicial consensus that the Second Amendment protects only a collective right of the states to maintain militias. That consensus no longer exists — thanks largely to the work over the last 20 years of several leading liberal law professors, who have come to embrace the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns.

Follow the link for more.

Finally, a note on the French Presidential elections: I'm glad to see that conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy won the election, defeating the socialist candidate Segolene Royal. Despite Sarkozy's adherence to the European obsession with climate change, this can only improve U.S.-Franco relations, and that is a good thing as we continue the difficult War on Terror.

Gainesville- #1

There is a new book that ranks 400 metropolitan areas in the U.S. & Canada. From the Gainesville Sun:

Sander and Sperling's ranking is based on a mixture of hard statistics, personal observations and "bonuses" designed to reward or punish cities for particular achievements or problems.
Cities are rated based on statistics in nine categories: economy; cost of living; climate; education; health; crime; transportation; leisure; and arts and culture.These are then modified by a subjective score gleaned from the way people feel about the city and other less tangible factors. Gainesville scored an 87 on this "quality of life" rating.

Their final summation placed Gainesville as the #1 city. It's not the first for our little town:

Gainesville is no stranger to "best of" lists. The last time it ranked No. 1 on such a prominent list, however, was in 1995 when Money Magazine declared the city to be the "Best Place to Live in America," an honor the city still touts.
More recently, the city has ranked eighth among the "Top Ten Value Towns for Those Considering Retirement in 2007," was No. 11 on an AARP list of "Best Places to Reinvent Your Life," and was ranked the "Most Technologically Advanced City" in Florida by Popular Science magazine.
And last month, Gainesville ranked 12th on a list in Forbes Magazine of the best places to do business and have a career.

I didn't move back here because of Gainesville's rankings in these mostly subjective lists, but it is nice to see. It's not too late to move here!

04 May 2007

Going Outside

A few things before the weekend:

  • Monday and Tuesday of this past week PBS showed a 2 part documentary called The Mormons. I thought it was well-made and fair. It is imperfect, but I liked this review from the New York Times.
  • This is a pretty good video of Mitt Romney from The Tonight Show. His strength should only improve in this campaign (From IRF).
  • These are two funny videos from Conan O'Brian on his visit to Lucasfilm headquarters. This is where Conan excels. Here is Part 1:

    And Part 2:

He's Amazing!

I did something tonight that I haven't done for a long time- I went and saw the midnight premiere of a movie, Spider-Man 3.

I love movies, but especially superhero films, and the Spider-Man franchise has been stellar. I found this to be a worthy addition, full of action and humor. If they never make another one it will be well (but #4 would work too, if they get all the principals back).
SPOTD-recommended, a good start to the movie season.

03 May 2007

Site Update

You may have noticed that I've updated the look of the blog. I wanted to make it more consistent with the look of the rest of the SPOTD website. Let me know if you hate/love it.

I wanted to post some more pictures of Joseph & Millie, and also mention that I will update their page on the website tomorrow afternoon.

Things are going great with the baby and her big brother is being very good to her as well. Here he is proclaiming the greatness of Brigham Young University:

What a life for this little gal:

My three favorite people:

I have a lot of great stuff for the blog tomorrow. Don't be shy.

01 May 2007

Muchas Cosas (Many Things)

Having been busy with my new lady (have you seen her?) I haven't had time to do some standard blogging, so here goes:

  • Some friends of mine started a blog, In Rare Form. I mentioned it in SPOTD #122, but wanted to recommend it again. I think it is very funny and it is also quite eclectic. I especially enjoy the Miller Monday feature, which has covered everything from hybrid cars to Lifetime Original movies to David Hasselhoff v. William Shatner.
  • The topic of hybrid cars provided renewed info on the Global Warming kerfuffle, and this helpful link from the U.K. Times (thanks to T. Russell Jacobson). It seems that Mars is experiencing a climate change similar to that of the earth. This may indicate that climate change is a natural phenomena (really?) and at the very least is the kind of information that you instill healthy skepticism for Goremania.
  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered the nationalization of several massive crude projects in his country. This is bad news for the companies operating the projects, but even worse for average venezolanos. This is because countries that respect and protect property rights tend to be more free and provide greater opportunity for their citizens. It's analogous to the woman who has an affair with a married man. She assumes he will be faithful to HER. The Venezuelan people do not realize that Chavez is not being faithful to THEM, as altruistic as he claims to be. Just look at Cuba.
  • This website is hard to describe, but I really think it's worth a visit. They have pictures of cats and other animals, and there are captions, but the way they write them is amusing. I like it (Courtesy of Eric Snider)
  • Possible Republican presidential aspirant, former senator, and current actor Fred Thompson provides commentary on occasion for ABC Radio. I like this one quite a bit. He looks at the unpopularity of the U.S. vis-a-vis the rest of the world, and why we shouldn't feel too bad about a lot of that criticism.

Finally, a few weird videos to make you laugh. The first is from a Starburst ad for Berries & Cream:

Fortunately, the little weirdo in the video has some background on his fascination for the B&C, which you can watch here. Just bizarre.


Friends of mine may know that there is a song I cherish, borne of my days as a child in Miami during the early heyday of Dan Marino's tenure as a Miami Dolphin. We were taught this song in our elementary school music class:

Miami Dolphins,
Miami Dolphins,
Miami Dolphins Number One,
Hey! Hey! Hey!


The years since Dan the Man retired have been tough on the team, but I see hope in the form of a Cougar- John Beck. His selection with the 9th pick in the second round was part of a Miami master plan calculated to get them the players they wanted most. From Dave Hyde in the Sun-Sentinel:

Only four people had an idea. That was part of the stealth plan. As it began to unveil with the pick of Ted Ginn Jr., coach Cam Cameron was famously booed, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., called the Dolphins, "in a word, ridiculous," and Mueller alternated between text-messaging the next target in quarterback John Beck, trying furiously to trade up to get Beck and receiving a text message from his teenage daughter."Dad, I love Ginn," it read. "But you're going to need a bulletproof vest to get home."
By Monday afternoon, as he sat at the Dolphins' facility in a team sweatshirt, chuckling about that message, Mueller still sat in the epicenter of a national football debate over this Dolphins draft."We expected that," he said. "Cam and I knew exactly what the reaction would be [to passing on Quinn]."The booing? The name-calling? The coast-to-coast furor?"All of it," he said. "But that's how it had to be. We wouldn't encourage, discourage, lead or mislead anyone leading up to the draft. We could just stay mum about our plans."I would cringe whenever I turned on a TV and saw Beck being mentioned. I didn't want anyone talking about him at all. I didn't want any team to know what we thought of him and another team maybe taking him."

The article provides more information about the logic behind their picks. As a BYU fan, my biases may outweigh my ability to analyze this more clearly, but I am nothing but optimistic. Beck can throw the long ball and Ginn can run. Seems like a good marrriage.