Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Finally, It Feels Like Christmas

I received some gifts in the mail the other day from a special friend, and set them in front of the fireplace. After wiping a momentary tear from my eye, I decided I needed to put them under a tree. So, while I haven't put out all our decorations by any means, I have put up a tree this year, and put my gifts under it. Merry Christmas to all my readers, and to all that stumble across the site.

And to my Beloved Suzy, I miss you more than you can imagine. May God bless you wherever you are.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Wow, what a weekend. Friday night, I met my brother and his family for Japanese Ninja Hibachi, in the Benihana style. We had a grand time and caught up on a lot.

Then, I got up on Saturday morning and jetted to San Antonio for a friend's office Christmas Party. It was a Texas throwdown, and everyone had a great time, transitioning to Coyote Ugly at midnight and the Hard Rock Cafe at 1 AM. I haven't acted out like that in a long time.

Here's a snap from the Texas Par-Tay:

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Superman Lives as a Clone

Despite having little time these days, I managed to watch, but not hear over my four month old's bottle slurping and crying, all of Superman Returns.

It was a decent movie, but I didn't care for it very much.

In many ways it is a homage to the Superman Movies in the 1970s and 1980s that starred Christopher Reeves and Margot Kidder. In fact, the young actors playing Clark and Lois do their best impersonations of the interpretations of the characters as played by Christopher Reeves and Margot Kidder.

I've enjoyed some episodes of the earlier seasons of Smallville because it brought something different to the Superman character than the 1978 movie and sequels, but this movie does not.
Bryan Singer's movie is like one long tribute with some "tributes" more subtle than others. At one point there is even a scene in the movie that just about duplicates the cover of Action Comics 1, Superman's debut in 1938.

MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT!!!! Don't read any further is if you don't want to know the main plot point.

The other thing that bugged me was the writers used an old soap opera plot as the main story for their script.

In Superman Returns, Lois Lane has a child and is shacked up with another man, whom she keeps delaying marrying. Now everyone knows she's still in love with Superman, who is of course... Wait for it! Yes, the biological father of her child.

Whoa, that's original... At least Batman Begins was really good.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Holiday Eating Tips

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruit cake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have SOME standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,

"WOO HOO what a ride!"

Hat tip: Cousin Tracey

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Check out the name of the project Architect for this 1200 bed residence facility: (click on the image to enlarge)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Guess What

Guess what I did today, just for a change?


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dispatch From the Religion of Peace

The Muslims gave me a long post this morning. This one I will keep short, as the RoP keeps outdoing itself.
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Residents of a southern Somalia town who do not pray five times a day will be beheaded, an official said Wednesday, adding the edict will be implemented in three days.

Shops, tea houses and other public places in Bulo Burto, about 124 miles northeast of the capital, Mogadishu, should be closed during prayer time and no one should be on the streets, said Sheik Hussein Barre Rage, the chairman of the town's Islamic court. His court is part of a network backed by armed militiamen that has taken control of much of southern Somalia in recent months, bringing a strict interpretation of Islam that is alien to many Somalis.

Those who do not follow the prayer edict after three days have elapsed, "will definitely be beheaded according to Islamic law," Rage told The Associated Press by phone. "As Muslims we should practice Islam fully, not in part, and that is what our religion enjoins us to do."

I am really tiring of this nonsense

Debra Burlingame, sister of a 9/11 pilot, has penned a great piece for the Wall Street Journal editorial page, explaining why USAirways was right to pull those six imams out of the plane.
"Allahu Akbar" was just the opening act. After boarding, they did not take their assigned seats but dispersed to seats in the first row of first class, in the midcabin exit rows and in the rear--the exact configuration of the 9/11 execution teams. The head of the group, seated closest to the cockpit, and two others asked for a seatbelt extension, kept on board for obese people. A heavy metal buckle at the end of a long strap, it can easily be used as a lethal weapon. The three men rolled them up and placed them on the floor under their seats. And lest this entire incident be written off as simple cultural ignorance, a frightened Arabic-speaking passenger pulled aside a crew member and translated the imams' suspicious conversations, which included angry denunciations of Americans, furious grumblings about U.S. foreign policy, Osama Bin Laden and "killing Saddam."
Had I been on that plane and these men permitted to continue, I would have left and taken the next flight. Nobody, nobody has the right to behave in a manner threatening to others. And after 9/11, shouting Allahu Akbar and not sitting in one's assigned seat is threatening behavior. Typically, the lawyers are now involved and looking for money:
Today, MAS Executive Director Mahdi Bray says his organization wants more than an apology. He wants to "hit [US Airways] where it hurts, the pocketbook," and, joined by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), will seek compensation for the imams, civil and federal monetary sanctions, and new, sweeping legislation that will extract even bigger penalties for airlines that engage in "racial and religious profiling."
I, for one, am tired of Muslims playing games. I am tired of being told how peaceful they are, and if I say I don't believe it they will riot. I am tired of being told I must be "tolerant" in the face of provocative behavior. I am tired of the ongoing grievances of people that consider me an infidel. I am simply tired of it all. This is no game.
This is the doctrine of "captain's authority." It has a longstanding history and a statutory mandate, further strengthened after 9/11, which recognizes that flight crews are our last line of defense between the kernel of a terrorist plot and its lethal execution. The day we tell the captain of a commercial airliner that he cannot remove a problem passenger unless he divines beyond question what is in that passenger's head and heart is the day our commercial aviation system begins to crumble. When a passenger's conduct is so disturbing and disruptive that reasonable, ordinary people fear for their lives, the captain must have the discretionary authority to respond without having to consider equal protection or First Amendment standards about which even trained lawyers with the clarity of hindsight might strongly disagree.
I think these men should be thrown into jail for their provocative behavior. If they manage to extract one red cent from this episode, it will be a sad, disgusting shame.

Update: This is exactly what I am talking about:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned Western leaders to follow the path of God or "vanish from the face of the earth". [...]

"They are angry with our nation. But we tell them 'so be it and die from this anger'. Rest assured that if you do not respond to the divine call, you will die soon and vanish from the face of the earth," he said.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

More Geocaching

Today for my birthday, I went geocaching with my friend Mike. We went to Northwest River Park, an enormous, wooded park in southeren Chesapeake, VA, almost at the NC border. We must have hiked at least five miles deep through the woods, over the course of 6 hours. We ended up finding nine caches.

Northwest River Park is beautiful. We walked out along a boardwalk to enjoy this view.

Mike signs the cache logbook, to prove our success. We really were out in the middle of nowhere. Didn't see another soul for hours at a time.

The cachers take a break to rest their feet. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out the timer on this new camera.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


I know, I know. Things have been a little slow around here. But Cousin Don has a life, and I am trying to re-create one. This morning I am off the gym to resume some weight lifting, an activity I have let slide for last five years. So today, the forecast calls for pain. "Go heavy or go home."