Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Animal Kingdom, Stupid Criminals, -and- The Fugitive

Animal Kingdom - dog survives 8 days trapped in rubble
Stupid Criminals - man steals T-shirts while girlfriend applies for job
The Fugitive - woman caught 32 years after prison escape

On this day in history: April 30, 1993 - During a quarterfinals match in Hamburg, deranged tennis fan Gunter Parche sneaks up on Monica Seles and stabs her in the back with a boning knife. Parche was just paving the way for Steffi Graf, whom he was actively stalking, to take the top ranking from Seles. His plan succeeds.

Born on this day in history: April 30, 1982 - Kirsten Dunst (1982-) Born in Point Pleasant, NJ, actress Kirsten Dunst began as a child actor and successfully transitioned into adult roles. She has already garnered over 40 film and TV credits, including films like "Interview with the Vampire," at age 11, and a string of Hollywood productions, including "Little Women" (1994) and "Spiderman" (2002), opposite Tobey Maguire.

Scripture of the Day: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. - Ephesians 4:30-31

Video of the Day: Python versus Alligator

There was a gala wedding reception in the gazebo at Corning Lake last
Saturday. Click to enlarge.

The best man takes the wedding limo on a beer run. Click to enlarge.

Hillary versus Obama - the Game: Play Hillary versus Obama!

It is cold this morning! Mr. Nitro's exterior temperature display indicated it was 43 degrees at 6:30 AM this morning, as I drove to my office. It is forecast to be 72 degrees this afternoon—up two degrees from yesterday. The weatherpeople predict warmer temperatures for the weekend. Good!

For dinner last evening, we had grilled pork loin chops and dirty rice. I cooked a package of Tony Chachere's Dirty Rice in the rice maker. Laura dry-rubbed two huge bone-in pork loin chops with Tony Chachere's More Spice and ground black pepper. She grilled them perfectly—charred slightly on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. While grilling, she sprayed them with a mixture of one part extra-virgin olive oil and three parts balsamic vinegar. It was a delightful meal.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Stay, Here Comes the Bride, -and- Book Him Dano

Stay - doomsday sect won't leave cave
Here Comes the Bride - wedding night brawl lands couple in jail
Book Him Dano - man tasered after noodle-tossing at Taco Bell

On this day in history: April 29, 1992 - Rioting erupts in Los Angeles after Rodney King's assailants are acquitted by a jury. The looting and destruction begins in South Central L.A. and quickly radiates outward. By the time things are under control, 51 are dead and the city has sustained $1.5 billion in property damage. Civil disorder manages to spread to other North American cities, through the influence of live TV coverage.

Born on this day in history: April 29, 1957 - Daniel Day-Lewis (1957– ) Film actor, born in London, UK, the son of C Day-Lewis. He trained at the Bristol Old Vic and, after several small roles on stage and television, became well known for "My Beautiful Launderette" (1985) and "Room With A View" (1985). He won awards for his portrayal of handicapped Irish writer Christy Brown in "My Left Foot" (1989, Oscar, BAFTA).

Scripture of the Day: But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. - Deuteronomy 4:29

Video of the Day: World Record Huge Catfish - submitted by Darin

The Great Escape! Click to enlarge.

Pop Some Bubblewrap! Relieve some stress. Pop some bubblewrap!

Yesterday, it was warm. Although cooler—at a high of 84 degrees—than Sunday—which saw a high of 93 degrees—yesterday was the first day this year that I found it necessary to turn on the air conditioning here at my office. Today is forecast to be ten degrees cooler. Yikes!

For dinner last evening, I made fettuccine with marinara sauce. I simmered ground pork sausage, minced garlic, sliced white onion, sliced white mushrooms, and diced Roma tomatoes in Cabernet Sauvignon—seasoned with Tony Chachere's More Spice, ground black pepper, ground Cayenne pepper, sea salt, and Italian seasoning. This simmered for two hours. Laura stirred in a bottle of Classico basil and tomato marinara sauce and cooked a package of Barilla fettuccine until al denté. I sliced half a loaf of garlic bread, arranged on a pizza pan, and placed in the oven. Laura watched it and removed it when ready. At the table, we added DiGiorno shredded Parmesan cheese and crushed red peppers. It was a delicious meal. A quantity followed Laura to Chico for lunch, and a goodly amount remains for another dinner Thursday.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Freedom of Speech, The Kids Are Alright, -and- Just the Fats

Freedom of Speech - last day to save Christian radio?
The Kids Are Alright - Guinness names teen youngest professor
Just the Fats - 300-pound inmate complains jail doesn't feed him well

On this day in history: April 28, 1789 - In the middle of the South Pacific, the crew of the HMS Bounty mutinies, setting Captain William Bligh and 18 other crewmen adrift in an open boat.

Born on this day in history: April 28, 1974 - Penelope Cruz (1974– ) Born in Madrid, Spain, actress Penelope Cruz trained in classical ballet in New York City, and parlayed her dancing into an acting career, landing a role in "All the Pretty Horses" (2000) and "Sahara" (2005). Cruz has been romantically linked with actors Matt Damon, Tom Cruise and, most recently, Matthew McConaughey.

Scripture of the Day: They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. - Acts 4:28

Video of the Day: Cooking with Christopher Walken - submitted by Danica

Hillary shows her masculine side! Click to enlarge.

HOT! Yesterday was HOT! At 2:45 PM, Mr. Nitro's exterior temperature probe displayed 93 degrees, as Laura and I journeyed to a meeting at Harvest Christian Center! Today is considerably cooler. It is forecast to be 81 degrees this afternoon. It is forecast to drop significantly—to the low 70s—Tuesday and Wednesday.

One of my brothers came to dinner Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, I grilled New York strip steaks (marinated for four hours in extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Cabernet Sauvignon, and minced garlic), giant shrimp (marinated for four hours in extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, grated ginger, rice wine vinegar, and lime juice), and asparagus (poached lightly then tossed onto the grill and spayed with a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was delicious.

Sunday, Laura grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I marinated them for four hours in extra-virgin olive oil, grated ginger, garlic powder, brown sugar, lime juice, and soy sauce) and Johnsonville hot Italian sausage. I sautéed cubed baby red potatoes (I pre-cooked in boiling water for 5 minutes), green beans, thinly sliced red bell pepper, thinly sliced white onion, and a head of peeled garlic (roughly chopped) in extra-virgin olive oil—seasoned with Tony Chachere's More Spice, ground black pepper, and sea salt. It was wonderful.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Crude, All in the Family, -and- Rent

Crude - Brazil oil find may end reliance on Middle East
All in the Family - Missouri sheriff's wife charged with identity theft
Rent - San Francisco landlords accused of tenant terror

On this day in history: April 25, 1994 - Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz (King Adrock) is sentenced to 200 hours of community service for battering a TV cameraman during the memorial service for actor River Phoenix.

Born on this day in history: April 25, 1969 - Renée Zellweger (1969-) Born in Katy, TX Renée Zellweger was first noticed in "Jerry Maguire" (1996), opposite Tom Cruise, and, in 2001, became an international star in the film adaptation of Helen Fielding's bestseller "Bridget Jones's Diary." In 2004, she won an Oscar for the Civil War drama "Cold Mountain." Zellweger married country music star Kenny Chesney in 2005, then filed for an annulment four months later, citing "fraud."

Scripture of the Day: He [Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. - Romans 4:25

Video of the Day: Spider Kills Bat - submitted by Amber

Michelin denies paternity suit!

The weather looks good for weekend grilling! The weatherpeople forecast temperatures in the mid-to-high 80s for this weekend. Today is sunny, the sky is blue and clear, and the birds are singing. It is forecast to be in the high 70s today and warming through the weekend. This will be great weather for outdoor activities! My brother is coming to dinner tomorrow. We shall grill New York strip steaks. Sunday, we intend to go for a journey in Mr. Nitro and perhaps a nature trek and photo expedition. If sufficient energy remains following this excursion, I intend to wash Mr. Nitro.

For dinner last evening, I removed the meat from the half rack of baby back ribs that remained from last Saturday's dinner. I added it to the leftover red beans and rice from that meal and allowed it to simmer for an hour. I warmed flour tortillas. It was a delightful meal.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fighting Back, Jaws of Death, -and- Meow!

Fighting Back - Houston pawn shop owner shoots man during holdup
Jaws of Death - woman finds 8-foot alligator in kitchen
Meow! - woman fights to keep nearly 150 cats at home

On this day in history: April 24, 1995 - The Unabomber strikes, killing a timber industry lobbyist. Gilbert Murray is killed in his Sacramento office, opening mail addressed to the man he replaced.

Born on this day in history: April 24, 1982 - Kelly Clarkson Biography (1982-) Singer, songwriter. Born Kelly Brianne Clarkson on April 24, 1982 in Burleson, Texas. Clarkson graduated from Burleson High School in 2000, where she sang in the school choir. After graduation, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career.

Scripture of the Day: "Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you -- and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him." - Mark 4:24-25

Video of the Day: Dodge Challenger - It's On!

Zeus stays abreast of the political scene—photographed by Laura. Click to enlarge.

The thunderstorm that was forecast for yesterday did not materialize. It was calm and sunny most of the day. There was a fierce wind in the early afternoon, but it abated quickly, and the evening was calm and relatively warm.

Today is sunny and beautiful. Forecasts are for mid-to-high 80-degree weather for the weekend. Let the grilling begin!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

To Serve and Protect, Waste Not, -and- I Robot

To Serve and Protect - citizen issues parking citations to cop
Waste Not - man fined for overfilling dumpster
I Robot - homemade "Bum Bot" patrols in Atlanta

On this day in history: April 23, 1985 - The Coca-Cola Bottling Company announces that it has irrevocably changed the formula for its flagship beverage, unveiling "New Coke." The company stands firm on its decision until public pressure finally forces them to reintroduce the original drink, exactly 79 days later.

Born on this day in history: April 23, 1936 - Roy Orbison (1936–88) Born in Vernon, TX, singer-songwriter Roy Orbison began playing at age 8 on radio stations, and had his first hit single, "Only The Lonely" (written for Elvis Presley), in 1960, followed by a succession of smash hits, including signature "Oh, Pretty Woman" (1964). Tributes to his music continue long after Orbison’s sudden death from a heart attack.

Scripture of the Day: Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. - John 4:23-24

Video of the Day: Funny Dogs - submitted by Darin

While driving to my office this morning, I spotted this enterprising
gentleman. Click to enlarge.

Rain! Just as the weatherpeople predicted, it rained yesterday. It did not rain much, and it did not rain for long, but it did rain. Everything is rain-washed and clean-looking this morning, the sun is shining brightly, the sky is blue and clear, and the birds are singing. The weatherpeople are predicting thunder showers and lightning today. It certainly does not look as if this forecast will materialize. Then again, only time will tell.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Heat of the Moment, Gun Control. -and- Gun Control 2

Heat of the Moment - blizzard forces Earth Day event inside
Gun Control - deputy accidentally shoots himself
Gun Control 2 - man shoots himself during road-rage incident

On this day in history: April 22, 1915 - The German Army opens 5,700 canisters of chlorine gas upwind of French soldiers at Ypres. It is the first use of poison gas for military purposes.

Born on this day in history: April 22, 1937 - Jack Nicholson (1937– ) Born in Neptune, NJ, actor Jack Nicholson first hit big in a supporting role in "Easy Rider" (1969). His charisma and acute sense of humor have illuminated a wide range of characters in films as diverse as "Chinatown"(1974), "The Shining" (1980) and "Batman" (1989). He has earned several Oscars, notably for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) and "Terms of Endearment" (1983). Nicholson has also written scripts and occasionally directs.

Scripture of the Day: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds... - Ephesians 4:22-23

Video of the Day: Funny Cats 2 - submitted by Cindy

Here are photographs from Saturday's red beans and rice and baby back ribs dinner. The first photograph is of the base for the red beans and rice, the second photograph is after the red beans and rice have been added to the base, and the third photograph is of the ribs—just prior to removal from the grill. Laura took these photographs. Click to enlarge.

For dinner last evening, I made a delicious salad: I tore a head of red leaf lettuce into a large stainless-steel bowl. I added thinly sliced red onion, yellow squash, and red bell pepper. I cut 15 strips of cooked bacon into 1-inch lengths and scattered over the salad. I sliced 4 hard-boiled eggs and arranged the slices over the salad. I sliced 4 Roma tomatoes and arranged the slices over the salad. It was a wonderful salad.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Armed and Dangerous, Crime and Punishment, -and- Victor-Victoria

Armed and Dangerous - taser shock triggers fire in man's pants
Crime and Punishment - China food-safety law to allow for life in prison
Victor-Victoria - children's hospital launches sex change for children program

On this day in history: April 21, 1992 - Convicted murderer Robert Alton Harris consumes two large pizzas, a bucket of fried chicken, and some ice cream on the eve of his execution.

Born on this day in history: April 21, 1958 - Andie MacDowell
Born in Gaffney, SC, actress Andie MacDowell began as a model and got her acting break in "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes" (1984), though Glenn Close re-recorded her lines. She had success in "Groundhog Day" (1993), opposite Bill Murray, and in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (1994), with Hugh Grant.

Scripture of the Day: And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. - 1 John 4:21

Video of the Day: Stuck in Vermont 75: Jr. Iron Chef - submitted by Danica

While driving to my office this morning, I decided to go for an excursion near the lake. I saw this floating gazebo. Click to enlarge.

Friday evening, we enjoyed a variety of sushi. One of my brothers joined us for dinner. I made 12 large California rolls with shrimp, avocado, and green onion. Laura picked up a large platter of various sushi morsels at Raley's on her way home. We had champagne to soothe the sting of the wasabi. It was wonderful I vow that we shall enjoy sushi more often.

After dinner, we watched "16 Blocks" in Blu-ray. [Tasked with escorting chatty prosecution witness Eddie Bunker (rapper and seasoned actor Mos Def) from police custody to a nearby courthouse, aging New York City cop Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) reluctantly gears up for the 16-block trek. But with powerful forces intent on keeping them from reaching their destination, they'll be lucky to make it there alive. David Morse co-stars in director Richard Donner's action thriller.] We all enjoyed this movie a good deal. Bruce Willis' performance was excellent, as was Mos Def's. The action scenes were well done, and the movie was exciting and thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

On Saturday, my brother joined us for dinner again. I made red beans and rice: I simmered a head of peeled garlic (sliced thickly), red bell pepper (diced), white onion (sliced thinly), celery (sliced thickly), Roma tomatoes (diced), in extra-virgin olive oil—seasoned with Tony Chachere's More Spice, brown sugar, molasses, sea salt, ground black pepper, and Gebhardt's chili powder. When the onions became translucent, I added a cup of cooked white rice and two cans of red beans—with juice. This simmered on low for two hours. Laura did a dry rub on two huge racks of baby back ribs (halved), using garlic powder, Tony Chachere's More Spice, sea salt, ground black pepper, cinnamon sugar, and brown sugar. She charred the ribs then moved away from the flame and cooked for two hours—spraying every 20 minutes with a mixture of one part extra-virgin olive oil and three parts balsamic vinegar. It was a delightful meal. Laura photographed the food during cooking, and I will share some of these images here tomorrow.

After dinner, we watched "Ultimate Avengers: The Movie" in Blu-ray. [Captain America and his dream team of superheroes fight to save the world from evil in this original animated feature. Sixty years after courageously diverting a missile aimed at the White House and plummeting into the North Atlantic, the star-spangled superhero emerges from the ocean depths to join Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Wasp and Giant Man in an all-out war against the sinister forces that threaten humanity.] This animated movie was well produced but grew tiresome relatively quickly. It was marginally enjoyable.

Sunday morning—following the early service at Harvest Christian Center, I made potatoes O'Brien, bacon, and fried eggs. It was delicious. We watched several episodes of "King of the Hill" that had recorded throughout the week on DVR. We snacked and napped. At 5:30 PM, we returned to Harvest Christian Center for John Jacobs Next Generation Power Force - A Strength Team with a Message of Hope to Lift the World. It was an excellent event that featured acts of strength and testimony from an ex-NFL football player and a man who holds a record for bench-pressing over 1,000 pounds. I took over 500 photographs and will soon produce a slide show using some of these photographs. I shall post the URL here when the slide show is ready for viewing.

Following the Power Force presentation, we had a Red Baron pepperoni pizza and watched an episode of "Lockup."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Let's Make a Deal, She's Alive!, -and- To Serve and Protect

Let's Make a Deal - Santa Monica ferris wheel goes on eBay
She's Alive! - woman survives .44-caliber gunshot between eyes
To Serve and Protect - Oklahoma sheriff charged with using inmates for sex slaves

On this day in history: April 18, 1906 - A devastating earthquake strikes San Francisco at 5:13 a.m., followed by a major aftershock three hours later. More than 3,000 people are killed from either collapsing structures or any of the 59 separate fires which burn over the next three days. In the downtown area, the U.S. Army is forced to dynamite whole city blocks in order to contain the flames, due to the lack of water pressure.

Born on this day in history: April 18, 1963 - Conan O'Brien (1963-) Born in Brookline, MA, TV personality and comedy writer Conan O’Brien began writing for "Saturday Night Live" (1988-91), and "The Simpsons" (1992-93). In 1993, the unknown Conan O’Brien took over as host of NBC’s "Late Night" comedy show, initially struggling, but eventually winning a lucrative contract.

Scripture of the Day: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. - 1 John 4:18

Video of the Day: Gibson Robot Guitar

Cannot we all just get along? Click to enlarge.

Weather Forecast: Today, 77 degrees; Saturday, 63 degrees; Sunday, 61 degrees. Yikes! What is happening, Al?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Somebody's Watching You, Weapons of Choice, -and- Crime and Punishment

Somebody's Watching You - online storage of medical records not covered by privacy law
Weapons of Choice - bill forces states to accept concealed-weapon permits from other states
Crime and Punishment - top court may allow states to execute child rapists

On this day in history: April 17, 1965 - The FBI Laboratory in Washington reports their inability to make out the vocals on the hit single "Louie Louie." Thus, the Bureau is unable to determine whether the record constitutes obscene matter.

Born on this day in history: April 17, Jennifer Garner (1972-) Born in Houston, TX, raised in Charleston, WV, actress Jennifer Garner began with bit parts on TV shows like "Spin City" and "Law and Order." In 2000, her work on TV show "Felicity" led to the lead role on spy drama "Alias," which made her a star. Garner married for the second time to actor Ben Affleck in 2005. Their daughter, Violet, was born the following November.

Scripture of the Day: Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. - James 4:17

Video of the Day: Teen Sets Record inflating balloons with his nose - submitted by Philip

Apparently, birds of a feather do not necessarily flock together! Click to enlarge.

The wind continues! The wind that has been plaguing us for over a week now continues today. It is forecast to be in the 80s today, so at least the wind should not be cold. Yesterday, it was cold!

Last night—while preparing to leave for Bible class at Harvest Christian Center, we watched Dick Cheney's speech at the Annual Radio and TV Correspondents Dinner. He explained "global warming," saying he observed that it was, in fact, getting warmer. He said he had no doubt that we are " the midst of a global warming—or, as I prefer to call it, spring!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Stupid Criminals, Animal Kingdom, -and- I'll See You in Court

Stupid Criminals - bank robber gives teller her name, address
Animal Kingdom - dog's barking helps save drowning baby
I'll See You in Court! - Web site makes suing easy

On this day in history: April 16, 1943 - Chemist Albert Hofmann inadvertently experiences the world's first acid trip when a tiny quantity of lysergic acid diethylamide accidently seeps through the skin of his finger. After leaving work early, he went home and settled into "a not unpleasant intoxicated condition." Then he had solid two hours of visual hallucinations: "I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors." It will be another three days before Hofmann gets up the courage to swallow 250 micrograms and ride his bicycle home.

Born on this day in history: April 16, 1965 - Martin Lawrence (1965-) Actor/Comic born in Frankfurt, Germany. As a teen, Lawrence pursued a love of boxing, but was also a gifted comedian. A teacher encouraged Lawrence to attend an open mic night at a local comedy club, and his career as a comic was born.

Scripture of the Day: From him [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. - Ephesians 4:16

Video of the Day: Gun Collection at the Evergreen Air Museum

My gun collection is now safe. The gun room is complete, and the door is
secure. Click to enlarge.

Outstanding Web site: My friend, Chris, introduced me to an outstanding Web site—Hulu. This site offers FREE viewing of thousands of television shows, movies, and HD content, with very limited commercial interruption. I watched a couple of episodes of "King of the Hill" there yesterday. It is an amazing site!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Let's Make a Deal, Weapons of Choice, -and- He's Back!

Let's Make a Deal - Bulgarian farmer swaps wife for goat
Weapons of Choice - Wal-Mart to film gun sales
He's Back! - "French Spiderman" scales Hong Kong hotel

On this day in history: April 15, 1955 - The first McDonald's franchise opens in Des Plains, a suburb of Chicago. Because it is the first one launched by Ray Kroc, he names it "McDonald's #1" despite the fact that the McDonald brothers had already opened eight of their chain restaurants before they began accepting licensees. Kroc's unfortunate numbering system guarantees perpetual confusion for amateur fast food historians the world over.

Born on this day in history: April 15, 1959 - Emma Thompson (1959– ) Born in London, actress Emma Thompson made her stage debut while still a student. In 1989, she appeared in "Henry V" directed by Kenneth Branagh, whom she married and later divorced (1996). With Branagh, Thompson made several films, including "Dead Again" (1991) and "Much Ado About Nothing" (1993). Other notable films include "Primary Colors" (1998), "Love Actually" (2003) and "Howard's End" (1992), for which she won an Oscar and a BAFTA.

Scripture of the Day: Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. - 1 Timothy 4:15-16

Video of the Day: "The Raven" - submitted by Amber

While driving home from the office yesterday, I decided to go for a drive in the country. I encountered this scene. Click to enlarge.

(Our Daily Bread, April 9, 2008)
The Oyster Man
In the days of John Wesley, lay preachers with limited education would sometimes conduct the church services. One man used Luke 19:21 as his text: "Lord, I feared Thee, because Thou art an austere man" (KJV). Not knowing the word "austere," he thought the text spoke of "an oyster man."

He explained how a diver must grope in the dark, freezing water to retrieve oysters. In his attempt, he cuts his hands on the sharp edges of the shells. After he obtains an oyster, he rises to the surface, clutching it "in his torn and bleeding hands." The preacher added, "Christ descended from the glory of heaven into...sinful human society, in order to retrieve humans and bring them back up with Him to the glory of heaven. His torn and bleeding hands are a sign of the value He has placed on the object of His quest."

Afterward, 12 men received Christ. Later that night, someone came to Wesley to complain about unschooled preachers who were too ignorant even to know the meaning of the texts they were preaching on. The Oxford-educated Wesley simply said, "Never mind. The Lord got a dozen oysters tonight."

Monday, April 14, 2008

To Serve and Protect, Trapped!, -and- Heat of the Moment

To Serve and Protect - officer accused of 2nd career: robbing banks
Trapped! - reality show held women against their will
Heat of the Moment - cold temperatures freeze gardening season

On this day in history: April 14, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln receives a cranial gunshot wound from the nation's most famous actor, John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln dies the following day.

Born on this day in history: April 14, 1977 - Sarah Michelle Gellar (1977-)
Born in New York City, actress Sarah Michelle made her first TV movie in 1983. In 1993, she joined the cast of soap "All My Children," earning an Emmy, and then moved into leading films roles. In 1997, Gellar landed her star-making role on TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." She is now pursuing a film career.

Scripture of the Day: We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. - 1 Thessalonians 4:14

Video of the Day: Max Neptune and the Manacing Squid trailer

While driving to my office this morning, I detoured through a rural area and spotted this abandoned clown train. I shall have nightmares now, certainly! Click to enlarge.

Friday evening, we viewed "The Prestige" in Blu-ray. [At the dawn of the 20th century, rival magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are desperate to reveal each other's secrets. Obsessed by the escalating competition, the two illusionists begin to perform increasingly risky tricks—which soon turn deadly. Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and David Bowie also star in this taut psychological thriller from director Christopher Nolan.]

"The Prestige" is masterful storytelling, with superb direction, powerful performances from an excellent cast, awesome set and production design, and impressive cinematography.

"The Prestige" is difficult to place into any specific genre, since it blurs the fine line between mystery, drama, suspense, and fantasy. The story becomes a never-ending stream of wonder for the mind, and it is impossible to tell exactly where the story is going to lead next.

The first half of "The Prestige" is exciting and captures the viewer's attention and holds it firmly. The second half of the film, unfortunately, becomes progressively convoluted, confusing, and tedious. By the end of the film, what was once excitement has descended into ennui. I do not recommend this movie.

Saturday evening, we watched "I Am Legend" on Blu-ray [A terrible virus has spread across the planet and turned the human race into bloodthirsty monsters. Mankind's only hope for survival is scientist Robert Neville (Will Smith), the one person left unaffected by the epidemic. When he's not fighting for his life against the hordes of the infected, Neville searches for a cure to reverse the virus's effects—all the while battling his own doubt and despair as he spends every day alone.]

"I Am Legend" is a truly scary movie, because of the incredible realism. The cinematography is excellent. The set design is awesome. The special effects are impressive. Smith's portrayal of despair and borderline insanity of three years of seclusion add to the overall effect. Suspense scenes climax unexpectedly—greatly enhancing the overall scare factor.

"I Am Legend" overall is an excellent movie, and I highly recommend it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fighting Back, Weapons of Choice, -and- We Got Us a Convoy

Fighting Back woman holds burglar at gunpoint
Weapons of Choice - CA Supremes shoot down S.F. handgun ban
We Got Us a Convoy - truckers descend on Capitol to protest fuel prices

On this day in history: April 11, 1979 - Kampala, the capital of Uganda, falls to the Tanzanians and dictator Idi Amin is overthrown. Amin, an occasional cannibal who killed perhaps 300,000 during his reign, had made the mistake of invading Tanzania.

Born on this day in history: April 11, 1987 - Joss Stone (1987-) Born Joscelyn Eve Stoker in Dover, England, singer Joss Stone is known for throaty vocals, soulful renditions and barefoot performances. At age 16, she released debut album "The Soul Sessions," which hit both U.K. and U.S. charts. Stone’s follow-up album was an even bigger success.

Scripture of the Day: If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. - 1 Peter 4:11

Video of the Day: GOOD Magazine: John McCain - submitted by Cap'n Jack

I spotted this beastie on the lawn this morning while leaving for the office. I do not recall seeing such a creature previously. Click to enlarge.

Warm weather! It is forecast to be 83 degrees today, 85 degrees tomorrow, and 87 degrees on Sunday. This is wonderful, of course. Unfortunately, the wind is fierce. Hopefully, the wind will soon abate, so that we may fully enjoy this excellent weather. I departed for my office this morning in shorts, sandals, and island shirt, sans jacket. Despite the loathsome wind, it was sufficiently warm at 6:30 AM that no jacket was needed.
8:36 AM Update: The forecasts have been updated. Today is forecast to be 85 degrees, tomorrow is forecast to be 87 degrees, and Sunday is forecast to be 88 degrees!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Armed Citizen, Tax Dollars at Work, -and- Honesty

The Armed Citizen - Florida passes "take your gun to work" law
Tax Dollars at Work - federal credit cards misused
Honesty - man finds $140,000, turns in to police

On this day in history: April 10, 2003 - FBI agents raid the Noonday, Texas home of avowed white supremacist William Joseph Krar. Upon searching the domicile and some rented storage units, the agents turn up an arsenal including briefcase bombs with remote-controlled detonators, full-auto machine guns, silencers, nearly 500,000 rounds of ammunition, a 1953 military land mine, more than 800 grams of sodium cyanide, and a copy of The Turner Diaries. Krar later receives 11 years for possession of a dangerous chemical weapon.

Born on this day in history: April 10, 1984 - Mandy Moore (1984-) Born Amanda Leigh Moore in Nashua, NH, raised in Orlando, FL, singer and actor Mandy Moore had a big hit in 1999, "Candy," followed by album "I Wanna Be With You" (2002). Moore has parlayed music success into an acting career.

Scripture of the Day: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. - 1 John 4:10/

Video of the Day: How to Make a Water Gun Alarm Clock - submitted by Amber

"I Am Legend" [A terrible virus has spread across the planet and turned the human race into bloodthirsty monsters. Mankind's only hope for survival is scientist Robert Neville (Will Smith), the one person left unaffected by the epidemic. When he's not fighting for his life against the hordes of the infected, Neville searches for a cure to reverse the virus's effects—all the while battling his own doubt and despair as he spends every day alone.] will arrive in Blu-ray format from Netflix today. We shall view it with one of my brothers, following dinner on Saturday. We are all eager to see this movie. The preview (viewed via Netflix) looks very good. The special effects are supposed to be excellent. For dinner, I shall make shrimp and fettuccine with Alfredo sauce and garlic bread.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

To Serve and Protect, The Kids Are Alright, -and- Ranch of Dark Shadows

To Serve and Protect - drunk cop asleep at wheel of patrol car
The Kids Are Alright - 11-year-old boy steered bus to avoid semi
Ranch of Dark Shadows - Texas cult accused of marrying pubescent girls

On this day in history: April 9, 1992 - Former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega convicted of drug trafficking, money laundering, and racketeering by a federal court in Miami.

Born on this day in history: April 9, 1933 - Jean-Paul Belmondo (1933– ) Actor, born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, NC France. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, took part in provincial tours, and appeared in several films, but it was the film "A Bout de Souffle" (1959, "Breathless") which made him famous. Later films include "Le Voleur" (1967, "The Thief"), "Hold Up" (1985), "Peut-Être" (1999, "Perhaps"), and "Amazone" (2000).

Scripture of the Day: Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. - Philippians 4:9

Video of the Day: McCain Girls: Raining McCain - submitted by Amber

I took the long way to my office this morning and encountered this scene!
Click to enlarge.

Warm weather is coming! Today is forecast to be 72 degrees; Thursday is forecast to be 81 degrees; Friday is forecast to be 83 degrees; and Saturday and Sunday are forecast to be in the high 80s! YES!

For dinner last evening, I employed the remains of a large beef roast and the attendant juices from Sunday's dinner. I shredded the roast and simmered for two hours with two heads of peeled garlic cloves, a large sliced white onion, two large sliced Jalapeño peppers, three stalks of sliced celery, four large sliced white mushrooms, three cups of baby spinach leaves, a can of beef consommé, a half cup of Almaden Cabernet Sauvignon, two cups of brown rice, Tony Chachere's More Spice, ground black pepper, sea salt, and ground cumin. It was delicious, and a great quantity remains for a future meal.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

To Serve and Protect, I Spy, -and- Heat of the Moment

To Serve and Protect - guard watches TV while inmate beaten to death
I Spy - nearly quarter of married couples snoop on each other
Heat of the Moment - Los Angeles considering global-warming tax

On this day in history: April 8, 1994 - Kurt Cobain's body is found 3 days after committing suicide with a shotgun.

Born on this day in history: April 8, 1968 - Patricia Arquette (1968-) Born in Chicago, IL, daughter of actor Lewis Arquette, actress Patricia Arquette grew up on a Virginia commune, alongside siblings Rosanna, Richmond, Alexis and David. At age 15, she ran away to pursue acting. In 2004, Arquette landed the role of psychic Allison DuBois on hit TV show "Medium," which earned her an Emmy.

Scripture of the Day: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. - James 4:7-8/

Video of the Day: Elephant Paints Self Portrait - submitted by Laura

In defiance of statistical improbability of election, Hillary orders presidential jet. Click to enlarge.

Warm Weather! The weather forecasts for this week are excellent. The weather has been warm and dry, and this is predicted to continue. Today is forecast to be 70 degrees, and it is expected that temperatures will reach 78 degrees on Thursday. I am wearing shorts for the first time this year in celebration of the weather.

Yesterday was a fast day on our food calendar. The 24-hour fast ended at 7 PM. For dinner, we had a salad of baby spinach leaves, sliced (previously grilled) chicken breast, sliced red onion, asparagus (previously grilled), sliced avocado, sliced celery, sliced white mushrooms, and cubed Roma tomatoes. I made a dressing using extra-virgin olive oil, rice wine vinegar, Tony Chachere's More Spice, lime juice, and wasabi paste. It was a delicious meal.

We watched "Disturbia" again and thoroughly enjoyed it. "Disturbia" and "Cars" begin their journey back to Netflix today. New Blu-ray DVDs shall arrive in time for weekend viewing.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Brave New Schools, Jaws of Death, -and- Short People

Brave New Schools - Maine middle school considering birth-control patches for 11-year-old girls
Jaws of Death - man saves wife from crocodile
Short People - world's smallest girl proud of her tiny size

On this day in history: April 7, 1989 - Soviet nuclear submarine Komsomolets sinks in the Norwegian sea, with two nuclear reactors and two nuclear torpedoes aboard. 41 crew members die, and the submarine remains one mile below the surface of the ocean, with its nuclear weapons intact.

Born on this day in history: April 7, 1964 - Russell Crowe (1964-) Born in Wellington, New Zealand, actor Russell Crowe began as a child actor, teen rock singer and in the Australian theater. Breakthrough film roles included 1992’s "Proof" and the controversial "Romper Stomper" (1993). He hit big in the U.S. in "L.A. Confidential" (1997), followed by starring roles in increasingly A-list Hollywood properties, notably "The Gladiator" (2000). Widespread rumors about Crowe’s brash personality have increased with his fame.

Scripture of the Day: For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. - 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8

Video of the Day: Jedi Baseball - submitted by Amber

Will Condi Rice be the next Vice President of the U.S.? Click to enlarge.

The blog is late this morning! We had an issue with an electrical outlet in our kitchen, and I met with an electrician this morning at 7:30 AM. He quickly corrected the problem, and all is now well. This delayed the blog, however. For those who eagerly await it each weekday morning, I apologize.

We watched "Cars" in Blu-ray on our new home theatre equipment. This is easily the best movie with which to demonstrate the awesomeness of Blu-ray. We had seen the movie previously and enjoyed it a good deal, but viewing it in Blu-ray was an incredibly more exciting experience.

One of my brothers came to dinner on Saturday. We had grilled pork tenderloins and potato salad. I made the potato salad Friday afternoon, using baby red potatoes, celery, red bell pepper, red onion, white onion, peas, hard-boiled eggs, and dill pickles. For the dressing, I mixed mayonnaise, lime juice, Dijon mustard, wasabi paste, ground black pepper, Tony Chachere's More Spice, and celery salt. Laura dry-rubbed the pork tenderloins with Tony Chachere's More Spice, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and sea salt. She tossed them onto the grill and nicely charred the exterior. I completed the grilling process, while Laura prepared the table. It was a delightful meal. Following dinner, we watched "Disturbia" in Blu-ray. It was a very suspenseful movie. I recommend it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Woman Bites Dog, Brave New Schools, -and- Fruit of the Vine

Woman Bites Dog - attacks pit bull to save pet
Brave New Schools - 6-year-old suspended for sexual harassment
Fruit of the Vine - Italian wine under investigation for adulteration

On this day in history: April 4, 1988 - Arizona Governor Evan Mecham becomes the first U.S. governor to be impeached and removed from office in nearly 60 years. He was convicted for obstructing justice by discouraging a state official from investigating a death threat, and also misusing $80,000 in public money.

Born on this day in history: April 4, 1965 - Robert Downey Jr. (1965-) Born in New York City, son of avant-garde filmmaker Robert Downey Sr., actor Robert Downey first appeared in films like "Weird Science" (1985), and gained profile as the flamboyant cocaine addict in "Less Than Zero" (1987). He went on to Charlie Chaplin biopic (1992) and other success. Downey has suffered serious drug and legal problems, serving jail time, but recently re-married and his career is back on track.

Scripture of the Day: But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. - Galatians 4:4

Video of the Day: Expelled Preview of "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." This is a controversial documentary film which claims that educators and scientists are being persecuted for their belief that there is evidence of design in nature. Hosted by Ben Stein, it claims that what the film calls "Big Science" allows no dissent from the scientific theory of evolution, and blames the theory for a range of modern movements from Nazism to Planned Parenthood. It is due to be released on April 18, 2008. Submitted by Laura

Here is the limited-edition Bruce Lee Model Nikon D3! Click to enlarge.

It is considerably warmer this morning than it has been for the last several days. I inadvertently left my jacket in the cargo area of Mr. Nitro yesterday afternoon and found it sufficiently warm this morning that I eschewed it. I walked from the rear parking area to the front of my office and was not particularly troubled by the temperature. The temperature display on the heating/cooling control showed the interior temperature to be 65 degrees. This is 4 degrees warmer than yesterday. The forecast for tomorrow and Sunday are now several degrees warmer than they were yesterday. This is encouraging!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Fighting Back, Daddy Dearest, -and- That Sucks!

Fighting Back - Pizza Hut driver suspended for shooting robber
Daddy Dearest - drunken driver flees crash, abandons injured daughter
That Sucks! - fans willing to donate blood to keep "Moonlight" on air

On this day in history: April 3, 1882 - Notorious outlaw Jesse James is shot and killed in his own home for a $5,000 reward. The assailants are Charles and Robert Ford, both members of the James gang.

Born on this day in history: April 3, 1924 - Marlon Brando (1924-2004) Born in Omaha, NE, actor Marlon Brando played his greatest stage role as Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams's "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947), also playing the screen version (1951), which earned four Oscars. Other award-winning films followed, including "The Wild One" and "On the Waterfront" (both 1954). Brando went on to a half-century of intense highs, self-indulgent lows and a tempestuous personal life. He is remembered as a consummate actor.

Scripture of the Day: It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality... - 1 Thessalonians 4:3

Video of the Day: Berkeley Protests Marine Recruiting Center - submitted by Laura

A change in the weather this morning brought unexpected snow. In order to reach my office, it was necessary to employ alternative transportation. Click to enlarge.

The caption for the above story is a lie! It is sunny, warm, there is no wind, the sky is blue and clear, and birds are singing! It is forecast to be in the low 70s today and in the high 70s by Saturday!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fighting Back, Free Falling, -and- Get in Line

Fighting Back - 12-year-old boy kills man attacking mother
Free Falling - pilot falls out of plane, plane keeps going
Get in Line - man goes berserk at car wash

On this day in history: April 2, - World-famous aviator Charles Lindbergh and Dr. John F. Condon turn over $50,000 in ransom money to an unidentified man in a Bronx cemetery. Lindbergh's kidnapped infant, however, is never returned -- his corpse is discovered the following month.

Born on this day in history: April 2, 1939 - Marvin Gaye (1939–84) Born in Washington DC, singer and composer Marvin Gaye wrote hit "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (1968) and other soul classics. In 1961, he married Anna Gordy, Motown president Berry Gordy's sister, and then released a series of Motown hits. The album "What's Going On" (1971) marked his new, socially conscious style. In later years, Gaye was beset by problems, which culminated in being shot to death by his father.

Scripture of the Day: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. - Ephesians 4:2-3

Video of the Day: Bill Clinton Library - submitted by Frank

"And brinig me back a burger!" Click to enlarge.

Beautiful weather! The weather is beautiful today: It is sunny, the skies are blue, and birds are singing loudly. The wind remains absent, and the temperature is forecast to be in the low 70s today and the high 70s by the weekend!

For dinner last evening, I made a salad with Romaine lettuce, English cucumber, red onion, white mushrooms, raw asparagus, hard-boiled eggs, grape tomatoes, bacon, and wasabi sesame seeds. At the table, we added crumbled blue cheese. Laura used a raspberry vinaigrette, and I used ranch dressing. It was wonderful.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Cash or Charge?, Crime and Punishment, -and- I Spy

Cash or Charge? - doomsday cult says credit cards satanic
Crime and Punishment - hoax caller jailed for four years
I Spy - CIA enlists Google's help

On this day in history: April 1, 1996 - Wilson Pickett arrested for possession of cocaine, after a screaming, bloodied woman is seen running from his house.

Born on this day in history: April 1, 1932 - Debbie Reynolds (1932-) Born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, TX, actress Debbie Reynolds gained notice in musical "The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady" (1950), and is best known for "Singin' in the Rain" (1952), opposite Gene Kelly. In 1964, she won an Oscar for "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." In later years, Reynolds has split her time among stage, screen and TV appearances.

Scripture of the Day: Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. - Psalm 4:1

Video of the Day: A Bad Cat Day - submitted by Laura

What a difference the wind makes! My first thought when exiting our home this morning was that it was significantly warmer than yesterday morning. I quickly realized that it merely appeared to be warmer, because there was no wind! The strong wind that has plagued us for many days has abated—hopefully, for a long while! The weather forecasts have changed: Rain had been predicted for Wednesday. Now, the forecast is for sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s. This sounds considerably better!

For dinner last evening, we had penne with Johnsonville hot Italian sausage. I cooked a box of Barilla penne until al dente, drained, and set aside. I sliced white onion, red bell pepper, eight white mushrooms, a head of peeled garlic, and grilled Johnsonville hot Italian sausage. Laura seasoned this with Tony Chachere's More Spice and ground black pepper and sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil. When this was cooked, she added the penne, turned the burner to medium-low, and stirred several times. At the table, we added crushed red peppers and DiGiorno Parmesan cheese. It was delightful. We enjoyed a nice bottle of Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon.