Dead Pool 2009

Having completed all of the work I needed to get done by the end of the day, I entered the dead pool contest at TheDeadpool.com. Since there is still time to sign up, I am not going to reveal who my picks are at the moment. Now I am not personally hoping that any of these people die. In fact, there are people who I picked who I really hope do not pass this next year. I thought it would be something fun to do though. I did this a couple of years ago on a different website, but I don't think I did too well. Now, as long as none of my twenty picks die before midnight tonight, I'm ready to go.


Emma Says...

At twenty-one months of age, my daughter Emma now has several expressions and short sentences that she uses with great frequency. The first thing that she says quite a bit is "Mine." The meaning of this would seem to be quite obvious, but it can vary subtly depending on the context in which it is used. Obviously, if she is looking at something and says "mine," she wants whatever it is. However, sometimes she just starts saying "mine" with nothing around. In this case she usually wants her pacifier. We are planning on removing the pacifiers completely in a week or so. Hopefully that doesn't go too badly.

Another thing that Emma likes to say now is "I want..." What she wants can vary quite a bit. It can be "I want cracker," which she said repeatedly last Sunday morning. She did not stop until she got a graham cracker for a snack. She often fills in other foods in this sentence when she is hungry. She also says "I want Mommy" or "I want Daddy." Usually she wants the parent who is not currently holding her or with her.

A third expression that Emma says with some degree of frequency is "Oh no!" She says this when things fall on the floor, or when she drops food on the floor from the dinner table. She also likes to say "oh no" when she sees something covered with snow, such as the car when we go out to go to day care. She also hates having snow on her shoes, or anyone else's shoes. So she will say "oh no" if there is snow on my shows when I come inside. She will then try to brush the snow off. She did this while we were walking around the grocery store this evening, much to the amusement of others.

It has been really interesting seeing how Emma has begun to put words together into sentences. I just continue to be amazed at how much her vocabulary has grown in recent months.


A Bit Excited

We got ourselves a Nintento Wii for Christmas, but the reaction was nothing like that from this kid.


Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone who reads my blog has a safe and happy Christmas. And, in case you need some Christmas music to get you into the spirit of the holiday, here is Twisted Sister performing "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" from their 2006 album Twisted Christmas. I didn't realize that they were still performing, let alone that they had released a Christmas album. I may have to look into acquiring that for the next holiday season. They did a pretty good job performing the classic Christmas carol, although they did insert a few bars from "We're Not Gonna Take It" into their rendition. Actually the melody of "We're Not Gonna Take It" has many similarities with that of "O Come All Ye Faithful."


Christmas Videos of the Week: A Patrick Swayze Christmas and Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

For this year's final Christmas video of the week, I present to you "A Patrick Swayze Christmas" from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 third season episode Santa Claus Conquers The Martians.

And here is an additional bonus Christmas video, Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" from Bing Crosby's 1977 Christmas TV special.


A Bonus Christmas Video: Christmas in Hollis

Before I post tomorrow's final Christmas video of the week for this year, please enjoy this classic Christmas song by Run-D.M.C. From 1987, here's "Christmas in Hollis."

A Festivus for the Rest of Us

Here's to wishing you a happy Festivus. May your Festivus pole stand tall, and good luck with the feats of strength and the airing of grievances.


It's Working!

While speaking with her dad on the phone this weekend, Mel mentioned that our snow blower still was not working. Her dad gave some suggestions to get it working, noting that if they did not work, we could bring it with us for him to look at when we go to their house for Christmas. After two trips each to both the auto parts store and Menards to get the necessary tools and parts, I still could not get it working. I had decided that we would have to take it to have it looked at by someone else, most likely costing us more money. However, when Mel asked me if I had gotten it started, she reminded me of one step that I had not tried when replacing the spark plug and replacing the gas. I tried what she suggested and it worked! I had to let it run for a bit because it was running a bit rough at first. However, after clearing what little snow was on the driveway, it was running mush more smoothly.


Snowy Day

It snowed all day yesterday. We did manage to get out of the house to do a little shopping in the morning. We decided that we had better stock up on groceries in the event that we would be stuck in our house for the next week. Just kidding. We actually bought a lot fewer groceries than we usually do.

I also managed to get a couple of packages sent. One of them was a Christmas present for one of Mel's friends in Cedar Rapids. The other was a birthday present for Mel's friend who lives in Ohio. Her birthday is on New Year's Eve. We haven't sent her Christmas present yet, but plan on sending it tomorrow. If she doesn't get it by Christmas, she should at least get it by Friday.

From the weather reports I heard yesterday, we got around six inches of light, fluffy snow. I would have used the snow blower to clear off the driveway, but it is not working. So I ended up shoveling. Emma came out to help. We thought she would enjoy playing in the snow, but when I stood her up in the snow in the yard, she fell back onto her behind and started whining. Apparently playing in the snow is not Emma's idea of a good time. At least it wasn't today.

Today I got a new spark plug for the snow blower. Hopefully that will help it to start. I was working on getting the cover off so I could install it, but the screws are a little tight and it's just too cold to spend much time working on it right now.


Will the Real Lizard People Please Stand Up

The Great Minnesota Senate Recount seems to have had its moments of levity. In this video, the canvasing board is debating whether to count the write in "Lizard People" as a legitimate vote, making the ballot an over vote. The Flying Spaghetti Monster also got a vote. One woman on the committee apparently has never heard of Flying Spaghetti Monster, although I am sure she is not alone. Finally, the person who added the letters "STIN" to the end of "AL FRANKEN" to create a vote for "AL FRANKENSTIN (sic)." In the end, after much debate, the vote ended up going to Al Franken, although it was not a unanimous decision.


The Recounting Continues

Things are looking up for Al Franken in the Minnesota senate race recount. According to the Star Tribune's website as I write this, Norm Coleman's lead in the recount has dropped to just five votes. While Coleman still has the lead, I believe the contested ballots the canvasing board is currently contemplating are the ones that the Coleman campaign challenged. I would guess that a lot of the challenges were to keep Franken from getting a vote. Of course there are other reasons, but I think Franken will gain more votes from these ballots than Coleman will, although I could be wrong.

And in another bit of good news for the Franken campaign, the state Supreme Court ruled that improperly rejected absentee ballots should be counted as part of the recount. That seems like a nobrainer to me. If the absentee ballots were rejected without a legally valid reason to disqualify them, why shouldn't they be counted? Of course Norm Coleman saw it differently, indicating that these people's votes should not count, through absolutely no fault of their own, unless a lawsuit after the recount is completed says that they should. I would expect this from him. He had a modest lead and these ballots, while they could help him, could also hurt him. With the status quo, he knows where he stands, but these ballots could change everything.

I am all but certain that whatever the results of the recount are now, this race will still not be decided. Whoever loses, especially if it is Norm Coleman, will be taking this to court. Hopefully any legal challenges can be resolved quickly before the governor can just appoint someone to the seat because it would be vacant if not filled by the beginning of the next legislative session.

Oh, and apparently when you vote for Al Franken and write in Lizard People for the same race, that is considered an overvote.

Majel Barrett Roddenberry

Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry has died from leukemia at the age of 76. From reading some articles about her death, I learned that she did some voice work for the upcoming Star Trek movie which is due to be released next spring, and apparently her lines had all been recorded already. I gather that she is going to be the voice of the computer, a role she had on every incarnation of Star Trek, making her the only actress to appear on each of the different Star Trek series. Of course she also played Number One in the Star Trek pilot episode, Nurse Christine Chapel in Star Trek, M'Ress in the animated series, and Lwaxana Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

A Bonus Christmas Video: Feliz Navidad

I would like to begin this entry by thanking my sister for sending me a link to this video. I was going to wait to make this my final Christmas video of the week next week, but I decided I would add it as a bonus video to give all my readers time to enjoy it before Christmas. I bring to you the song "Feliz Navidad" sung by Charo on Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special from 1988. Wow, I can not believe it has been twenty years since this program aired!


Christmas Video of the Week: Santa Baby

This week's Christmas video is from 2006. It features Eartha Kitt singing her song "Santa Baby."

Don't Eat the Yellow Snow

The city of Ankeny, Iowa, is using garlic salt donated by the Tone's spice company, which is based in Ankeny, to treat their roads this winter. Now, they aren't using just the garlic salt, but are diluting the normal rock salt they use for the roads with tons of garlic salt donated by the company. This report from CNN indicates that the people working with the salt are getting a bit hungry smelling the garlicky smell. And apparently the dogs of one of the salt truck drivers tries to lick the garlic off of him when he arrives home from work.

That Crazy Shatner

In the latest video posting to his YouTube site, William Shatner is seen communing with whales during a 2007 excursion he took with his family. It seems his experience from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has come in handy. At least he didn't jump into the ocean to mind meld with them.


Keep Your Shoes On

The recent shoe attack on President Bush shows just how dangerous footwear can be. My goodness, he could have suffered a black eye. Fortunately, unlike the subject of the shoe attack in the video below, George Bush showed some pretty good reaction as he was able to dodge the shoe.

Here's one more video. This time it shows the actual attack on the president, although it is spliced together with some other video.

Merry Christmas from Barney and Friends

Barney, the First Dog, has come out with the final Christmas video of his tenure in the White House. After viewing this, I can only say that I hope that no one in the Bush family has any aspirations on ever becoming an actor. I take that back. I do have one other comment. I just hope no one tells Bill O'Reilly about this, or he may go ballistic on Laura Bush for wishing everyone "a very happy holiday" instead of Christmas.

Stuff You Should Know

I found a free podcast today on iTunes that I am really enjoying. It is called "Stuff You Should Know" from HowStuffWorks. The two hosts of the podcast discuss some, often bizarre, topic over a period of about fifteen minutes. Their discussion includes a lot of useful information on the topic, as well as a good bit of humor. The topic of the first of the podcasts that I listened to this morning was on where in the body is the best place to be shot by a gun. The second was on whether extended warranties are worth purchasing. I haven't counted how many podcasts they have available at the moment, but so far I have downloaded twenty-five of them to listen to when I get the chance.


Damn, it is cold outside! Yesterday the temperatures did not even make it up to 0°F. I believe the high temperature today is supposed to be around 5°F, but that is still bitterly cold. Fortunately, yesterday I didn't really have anywhere to go. Oh, I did end up going to the post office to get stamps for Christmas cards and to the grocery store to get some Pedialyte for a certain little girl who needed some fluids replaced, but that was it. I, as well as my sick wife and daughter, stayed home the rest of the day.


A Visit With Saint Nick

We went to Valley Creek Mall in Woodbury yesterday so Emma could visit with Santa Claus. However, when we got in line to see him, she started clinging to her mommy. Mel asked Emma if she wanted to see Santa, but she did not want to. I did manage to get a picture of Emma with Santa Claus, but her mommy had to hold her, and she seemed a little frightened of him. Once we left the area, Emma kept saying "Bye bye Santa." She kept saying that, even as we left the mall for the car. Maybe she will want to sit on his lap next year.


The Unstoppable Epic Surge

The Cedar Rapids Gazette has put together more than 300 of its photos from this past summer's flooding on Eastern Iowa into an eleven-minute video. I remember seeing many of these photos at the time, but there are many I hadn't seen before.

the unstoppable epic surge from GazetteOnline.com on Vimeo.

Shatner in Seattle

In looking at the most viewed channels on YouTube this week, I saw William Shatner's channel listed at number 19. This is his latest video. In it, you will get to see him sign someone's nut sack. That comes at the end, so watch the whole thing.



Emma had a better day at daycare yesterday than she had the day before. She did not get in trouble. One of the things they did yesterday was to make snowmen out of paint and construction paper. Sometime with the crafts they do at daycare, I wonder what parts of the project Emma actually does and which parts are done by the staff. I think it is pretty obvious with this art that Emma was the one who placed the construction paper hat, arms, and nose on the snowman. It does make for a really cute snowman though.


Christmas Video of the Week: Christmas At Ground Zero

In 1986, long before the words "ground zero" would immediately cause people to think about the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, "Weird Al" Yankovic sang this jolly song about a nuclear attack on Christmas.

Embedding of the video on YouTube has been disabled, but you can view it if you follow this link.

Bad Emma

Emma had a bit of a rough day yesterday, or rather, her parents had a bit of a rough day because of her. It all began when she decided to wake up at 4:00 in the morning! We could not get her to go back to sleep, so we ended up sitting with her in the living room, with Mel lying down on the couch and Emma sitting on my lap. Mel and I both dozed off a bit, but we think Emma stayed awake until around 5:00, a mere fifteen minutes before Mel had to get up to get ready for work. I tried to put Emma back in her bed then, but she woke back up. I did get her to go back to sleep, but she woke up again when I tried to put her back in bed when I was ready to go shower. She was up from that point on.

Emma's day didn't seem to go better at daycare. When Mel picked her up, she learned that Emma had gotten in trouble during the day. Apparently she and another child were fighting over a toy or something and Emma shoved the other kid, leaving a scratch mark on him or her. She got a talking to at daycare, and then again when she got home. I hope she is better behaved today.

How Did This End Up On TV?

I am not sure how this video with Andy Samberg made it on TV, although it was on toward the end of Saturday Night Live last weekend. I thought it was really funny though, and I did like the music. This is definitely not safe for work, so wait until you get home to check it out. Oh, and see if you can spot Justin Timberlake as the janitor.


Today's Pointless Blog Posting

Because I haven't posted anything in a few days, and I have nothing to say, I thought I would post this one of many Star Trek inspirational posters.


Barbie Kicks Slutz (oops, I mean Bratz) Dolls Collective Asses

A U.S. district judge ordered the maker of Bratz dolls to stop production of the slutty-looking playthings. Although, he did allow them to wait until after Christmas to yank them from store shelves. Barbie-manufacturer Mattel had sued MGA Entertainment over the dolls claiming that the person who designed the dolls was working for Mattel when he developed the ides for them, and therefore they rightfully belonged to Mattel. Apparently a jury agreed with Mattel. Or maybe the jury just thought this would be a good way to get the over-made-up dolls off of store shelves and into the back alleys where they would fit in much better.


Christmas Video of the Week: Do They Know It's Christmas?

Here's my first posting in a series of blog postings that I will be calling the "Christmas Video of the Week." This week's featured video is 1984's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid. This song came out when I was twelve years old, and it is still one of my favorite Christmas songs. It is kind of fun to look back at this twenty-four-year-old video. The hairstyles sure bring back memories.


Whee, Wii!

During my lunch break today, I stopped by our local Target store to pick up some pop since they have Pepsi products on sale this week, five for $15, and when you buy five twelve-packs, you get a $5 gift card. But I digress, since we decided that we were going to buy ourselves a Nintendo Wii for Christmas, I stopped by the electronics department to see if they had any in stock. They had one. So I decided I had better get it now since they can be hard to come by. Since we are buying it as a Christmas present, I am not sure if we will open it now, or wait until Christmas. Of course, it's not like we'd be ruining a surprise if we opened it now since Emma is too young to know anything about it or to even care. I guess Mel and I will have to discuss that tonight.


More Christmas Shopping

We started our Christmas shopping a couple of weeks ago when we found a good sale at the Disney Store at the Mall of America. We hadn't planned on doing any Christmas shopping that night, but we couldn't pass up the deals. Well tonight the Christmas shopping moved into high gear with the ordering of plenty of presents online. We took care of presents for four and a half people tonight. Now we have to finish the shopping for one person (the half person mentioned in the last sentence) as well as doing all the shopping for four others, not including ourselves. For Mel and me, we are going to pass on getting each other presents and instead buy one present for us as a family, a Nintento Wii. We have seen them in stores quite a bit lately. I just hope we can find one now that we decided to go ahead and buy one.