Tuesday, February 28, 2006

When I Say 'Jump'

I'm an easy going guy. Really. I don't get riled up about much.

Anxious, well yes. But angry, not so much. I like the idea of being angry, I like listening to angry music and getting that angry groove going. But being actually angry doesn't happen all that often.

One of the things that irritate me to no end is when folks quote things incorrectly.

I'm just as susceptible as the next guy to committing this crime but it still torques me off when I hear some phrase or word used incorrectly (especially by some big fat know it all or in print or on television where an editor should have caught the mistake).

Two favorite loves to hate are: irregardless and incredulous (when used in place of 'incredible.').

Today's hated phrase is: "When I say 'jump,' you say 'how high?'"

Okay so I did some surfing and found that this version is used in Full Metal Jacket; the full quote being:

"Listen up private!!
You will do what i say and when i say!!

When I say "Jump"!!
You say "How high?" got it!!

You're all worthless and weak!!
Now drop and give me 20!!"

Here's the thing: My grandfather used to use this expression and he said:

"When I say 'jump,' you jump before asking how high."

This makes sense to me. This means "you will do as you are told and you will not ask questions."

"When I say 'jump,' you say 'how high?'" is weaker.

And wrong.

What turns of phrase irritate you?



full metal jacket

Monday, February 27, 2006

Tenant of the Week: Miss Ann Thrope

Tenant of the Week: Miss Ann Thrope

Sassy template, witty writing. Need I say more?


Go to her site !!

Friday, February 24, 2006


There is nothing more punk rock than declining an invitation to being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On the other hand, apparently this is an example of Johnny not being able to write.

Good for him though!

Go find a copy of Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs.

It's a great read and, thankfully, written with the help of Keith & Kent Zimmerman.

Oh and here's John on, no kidding, Judge Judy.

I'm not so sure how punk rock THAT is.


Buy This Album

I think I've already done a Kinks appreciation post on this blog but it's nice to know that Ray Davies still has it. After all these years flying under the radar of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who (all legends and no members of which have written anything particularly interesting in the last ten years at least – prove me wrong on that, if you can), Ray has continued to write interesting character studies. This album is full of them.

Standout tracks are "Stand Up Comic," "Other People's Lives," and "Thanksgiving Day."

Buy it, you'll be glad you did.



Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Chicken Teeth

Oh yes.

Normal chick on the left, the talpid2 is on the right. The mutant jaw clearly shows teeth. Credit: John F. Fallon and Matthew P. Harris

Look behind you, monkeys might actually someday fly out of your butt.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Welcome This Week's Tenant

Dorene Lorenz

You might remember seeing comments by Dorene on my post "A Big Stick In The Mud."

She is a good writer, she is Alaskan, and her blog is well worth the time to go look around (the latest sets of photos/stories will make you laugh).

Go on now, check it out! Tell her I sentcha!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Audio Bookapalooza

Yes, I am a wannabe writer who seldom reads actual books (in fact I owe John Cowart a book review of The Lazarus Project, which I liked quite a bit).

But I listen to decent amount of unabridged audio. Here are the last couple months of listens and my opinions.


Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turow, read by Edward Herrmann

Publisher's notes: "Stewart Dubinsky knew his father had served in World War II. And he'd been told how David Dubin (as his father had Americanized the name that Stewart later reclaimed) had rescued Stewart's mother from the horror of the Balingen concentration camp. But when he discovers, after his father's death, a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancee, and learns of his father's court-martial and imprisonment, he is plunged into the mystery of his family's secret history and driven to uncover the truth about this enigmatic, distant man who'd always refused to talk about his war..."

Fantastic. Great character development, an engaging story, a fantastic narrator, and best of all for a freak like me: a bonus interview with the author at the end of the audiobook. An enthusiastic 5 stars!


Reversible Errors by Scott Turow, read by J.R. Horne

Publisher's notes: "Rommy "Squirrel" Gandolph is a Yellow Man, an inmate on death row for a 1991 triple murder in Kindle County. His slow progress toward certain execution is nearing completion when Arthur Raven, a corporate lawyer who is Rommy's reluctant court-appointed representative, receives word that another inmate may have new evidence that will exonerate Gandolph…"

A good legal "thriller" but not nearly as good as Ordinary Heroes. 4 stars


Cadillac Beach by Tim Dorsey, read by George Wilson.

Publisher's notes: "Serge A. Storms is back! The one-man crime spree hits no speed bumps as he swings through Tampa, Disney World, and parts south before settling down in Miami Beach to team up with a former sidekick and launch his long-overdue offbeat travel service…"

This is a great, fast paced book with an anti-hero who you cannot help but like. It's a little like Carl Hiaasen at his best and just as fun. 5 stars!


Cell by Stephen King, read by Campbell Scott

Publisher's notes: "The cause of the devastation is a phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse, and the delivery method is a cell phone. Everyone's cell phone. Clay Riddell and the few desperate survivors who join him suddenly find themselves in the pitch-black night of civilization's darkest age, surrounded by chaos, carnage, and a human horde that has been reduced to its basest nature...and then begins to evolve…"

I loved that fact that I could download and start listening to this book the night before it hit the shelves in Anchorage. I also liked the plot quite a bit. It won't spoil anything to tell you that it doesn’t have the deus ex machina ending which Steve-o sometimes throws at you. It also doesn’t have quite the character development that I love about most Stephen King stories. Heck, he's still the King. 4 stars.


From a Buick 8 by Stephen King, read by James Rebhorn, Bruce Davison, Becky Ann Baker, and more

Publisher's notes: "The state police of Troop D in rural Pennsylvania have kept a secret in Shed B out back of the barracks ever since 1979, when Troopers Ennis Rafferty and Curtis Wilcox answered a call from a gas station just down the road and came back with an abandoned Buick Roadmaster. Curt Wilcox knew old cars, and he knew immediately that this one was...wrong, just wrong. A few hours later, when Rafferty vanished, Wilcox and his fellow troopers knew the car was worse than dangerous…"

This is an example of King's more traditional work. Some folks hated this book but I liked it; it has excellent character development and the police bits are amazingly well researched. The cast is also very good. I'm giving it 5 stars.


Hot Plastic by Peter Craig, read by Stephen Hoye

Publisher's notes: "Kevin's dad, Jerry, is a crook. And he taught his son every trick in the book. Masters of identity theft, Kevin and Jerry move from one seedy motel to another, always trying for the big score. Colette is a runaway who dreams of conning her way into the upper echelons of high society. Just a teenager, she's already a tough and talented grifter, and soon becomes Jerry's girlfriend and accomplice. When Jerry is arrested, Colette makes Kevin her willing shill, dragging him along in her endless pursuit of sophistication…"

A fun crime thriller from the point of view of the criminals. It doesn’t really compare to Turow or King but it's a good ride. 4 stars


Nothing's Sacred by Lewis Black, read by the author

Publisher's notes: "You've seen him on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart offering up his trademark angry observational humor on everything from politics to pop culture. You've seen his energetic stand-up performances on HBO, Comedy Central, and in venues across the globe. Now Lewis Black's volcanic eruptions can be found in Nothing's Sacred, a collection of rants against stupidity and authority, which oftentimes go hand in hand…"

Thank you Lewis Black for writing a book about your life and not just a list of rants. Remember when Dennis Miller was funny? Now Miller is just a grumpy old well-read man. Black tells his story in the way I envision The Smussyolay telling hers. 4 stars.


The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, read by Alyssa Bresnahan

Publisher's notes: "When we first meet 14-year-old Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. In the first chapter she recounts her brutal rape and murder at the hands of a neighbor. The rest of the novel, spanning nearly 20 years, is narrated by Susie from heaven. Susie describes heaven for us as she watches her family struggle to come to grips with her death. She keeps a watchful eye on her younger brother and sister, her friends, and even her murderer and his fate..."

One of the best books out there. The writing is good and the plot development is outstanding. Definitely one of the best audiobooks I've listened to – ever, and that's saying a lot. 5 stars plus!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thirty Seconds to Live

This post will contain real advice that you will probably never need.

I have no fear of flying in large commercial aircraft. I do, however, give up all sense of personal responsibility for my own death in a crash. Consciously give this up. "Hey, nuthin' I can do, might as well enjoy the flight."

I love Alaska Airlines.

Their seats are slightly bigger (anything is helpful when you are wider than both Olsen twins sitting side by side). And they have an excellent safety record.

And air travel is very safe.

I'm not worried about terrorists because after September 11th if a swarthy guy like would raise his hand quickly and give a quick informal salutation to my cousin aboard a plane ("Hi Jack!") I know that the following would happen:

1. The flight attendants would unleash their various forms of Ninja fighting skills on my pudgy ass (I hear that if you twist those lemon scented moist towels given to first class passengers, you could put someone's eye out with a quick snap!)

2. The pilot and the first officer will whip out their Glocks or Sig Sauers or spearguns or whatever and start blasting away with one hand while using the other to steer the plane into a barrel-roll to knock me off balance.

3. The passengers would split into two groups. The first would step all over themselves in an attempt to step on my head. The second would remember Pennsylvania and rush the cabin to force the plane to crash into a field so I couldn’t crash into a big building.

For this reason I usually give my cousin a "guy nod," or maybe a "how ya doin'?" Can't be too careful.

But back to the point of this post:

In the unlikely event that the airliner you are on actually crashes you must resign yourself to not surviving it. Augering into the ground at however many miles an hour encased in a big aluminum tube which is also at least partially filled with fuel is inherently dangerous.

But here's where your not so creepy Uncle Eric wants to give you some real advice. If you are aboard a plane which crashes but is essentially intact: GET OFF THE PLANE IMMEDIATELY!

By immediately I mean 30 seconds. No time to grab your laptop bag, your purse, your souvenir black velvet paintings, etc. Instead, grab your spouse and your children and get out. If you have more children than parents then you need to assign a bigger one to keep track of a littler one. Preferably figure out ahead of time which of you will be able to physically drag each other easiest. There will not be time for a lot of negotiation. If you can dress the kids in clothing which includes a climbing harness with a place on the front and back which can be used as a handle, that's better.

I guess I should mention that you should not follow Uncle Eric's advice if you land safely after some scary turbulence and are just taxiing up to the jetway like usual. These are instructions for when the sierra hits the foxtrot.

Indicators: the plane has stopped moving and either b) there is smoke in the cabin or c) you find yourself upside down still buckled into your seat.

It will probably never happen to you but if it does, remember: When the plane comes to a complete stop you have 30 seconds. If someone in front of you is trying to pick up a piece of luggage or is obstructing your way, move them bodily out of your way.

If you plan it right you will not be behind very many people because you've followed two simple rules ahead of time:

1. No matter how boring the "emergency landing procedures" lecture is, it's a great time to find your nearest exits, both in front of you and behind you. COUNT SEATS to each. REMEMBER that number for the duration of your flight. If the cabin is filled with smoke and upset people, you'll want to be able to quickly count each seat-rest and then you'll be in the exit row.

2. Pay attention to how to open the emergency doors. I'm not saying you need to get up and try handles, folks, or you'll get a nasty lemon scented smack in the eye. I'm saying to read the little pamphlet and look at the door to see if the instructions match. There should not be a big list of instructions (after all they are meant to be able to be opened quickly) but knowing ahead of time the difference between PUSH and PULL or CLOCKWISE and COUNTER CLOCKWISE will be helpful.

So there you go. If you survive the initial impact and follow these two rules then you and your family will be among the first off of the plane and therefore much more likely to be able to send me an email thanking me.

(See those little people running away from the plane, farthest from the wings - where the fuel is - that'll be me and mine, thank you very much. Those folks still on the slides are the folks I pushed out of my way.)

Happy Flying!




Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love Is Where You Find It

This photo is not Photoshopped; it's the actual spot where water leaks below a urinal in our headquarters building. I don't know why the drip pools into a heart but when I first noticed it last week I knew it was going to be my Valentine's Day picture.

Some day facility maintenance will fix the leak but for now it remains, a tiny pool of heart-shaped toilet water.

Isn't life grand?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

This Week's Tenant: Ribbiticus

Kermit and Jim

Go check out her blog! The posts are intelligent, the sidebar is a bit busy with frogephenalia, but it's well worth taking a look at. Leave a comment, tell her I sent ya!

Welcome aboard, Ribbiticus!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

My People

Yesterday, the last day of my weekend, was spent mostly sleeping or lounging around with my eyes covered due to a sinus headache. I took some Sudafed (feeling like a total junkie because it appears it would be less hassle to get a permit for medical marijuana these days than it is to buy any decongestant worth taking) and searched for a new audiobook to listen to. I wanted something funny but not overly taxing. I had the need for humor but the fear of a 10 hour commitment.

Jay Mohr Boook

I chose “Gasping for Airtime” by Jay Mohr about his two years as a writer and feature performer on Saturday Night Live. It’s hilarious and very enlightening. I have heard before about what a totally negative work environment SNL is, but Mohr names names while being funny and self deprecating. I definitely recommend it.

So there I am, a third of the way through the book, reclining on the couch with a blanket over my eyes, the headphones from my Creative Nano in my ears, and Sugar Baby laying next to me watching Ellen (Sugar, like most dogs and humans, enjoys watching Ellen) when Jay starts talking about having his first major panic attack.

Jay Mohr

Jay Mohr is a fellow member of the Church of Anxietology!! Woohoo! And the only way he got officially diagnosed is that Sarah Silverman, when told of his symptoms, told him “go see my doctor, she saved my life!” I love Sarah Silverman and she’s a sister! Double woohoo!

Sarah Silverman
And screw you Tom Cruise!

Tom Cruise

I know that it sounds like “misery loves company” and it is a little bit of that but it’s also validation. Other folks have had anxiety disorders. Famous people, even. And they describe how crippling it is and how much help they have had through the same types of meds/therapies that I have used.

Saying I am mentally ill seems a little bit of a stretch. I have “mental illness lite” compared to friends and clients who are Bipolar (manic-depressive), Obsessive-Compulsive, Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenic, and/or Schizo-effective.

Yet validation is important. It’s nice to know you are not alone.

Bipolar folks can have Beethoven, Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, and Patty Duke- my people are Mohr and Silverman. That’s good company indeed.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Wonder If She Stored It In The Overhead Compartment

Human skull found at Lauderdale airport was to be used in Voodoo rite

sun-sentinel.com staff & wires
Posted February 10 2006, 3:20 PM EST

FORT LAUDERDALE -- A woman was charged with smuggling after federal security screeners found a human skull in her luggage at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport late Thursday.

The woman had flown into Fort Lauderdale on Lynx Air International Flight 210 from Cap Haitien, Haiti. Her bag was being searched at the U.S. Customs counter when the grisly discovery was made. Agents said she did not disclose the skull -- complete with teeth and hair -- was in the luggage.
Myrlene Severe, a Haitian-born permanent U.S. resident, said the skull -- a male's -- was to be used in rites as part of her Voodoo beliefs. She also said she bought the skull from an unknown man in Haiti in the belief the head would ward off evil spirits.

The 30-year-old Severe was charged Friday afternoon with smuggling "a human head with organic matter inside," according to a criminal complaint.

``It still had teeth, hair and bits of skin and lots of dirt,'' said Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Miami.

In addition to the smuggling count, she was charged with failure to declare the head and transporting hazardous material in air commerce.

She faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted on all charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida.

Severe remained held Friday on a $100,000 bond. She is due back in federal court March 2.

The discovery alarmed some passengers, and some came up with their own conclusions about the object.

"Religious beliefs, freedom -- people get strange things in their heads. So, people bring in what they want," passenger Ben Knowlton told news partner NBC 6.

Yes, he said "people get strange things in their heads."

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Except for The Constant Gardener, which I liked a great deal, the last dozen or so movies I watched have been documentaries.
I love documentaries.

And I think I could live a very long rest of my life without seeing another "summer blockbuster" type of movie.

Here are a couple (okay a lot) of reviews, in order of my preference:

Enron: The Smartest Guys In the Room

Outstanding. Slickly produced with great music and presenting the sometimes complex corruption schemes in an easy to understand form. These guys are the worst kind of corporate greedheads and criminals. The outcomes of their trials will make for interesting 2006 news.

Enron: 5 stars

Ghosts of Rwanda

This Frontline documentary is powerful and fantastic. The filmmakers interview, among others: Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Madeleine Albright, General Romeo Dallaire (head of the U.N. peace-keeping force in Rwanda). If you've seen "Hotel Rwanda," which I highly recommend you do, you need to see this too.

Ghosts of Rwanda: 5 stars

Grizzly Man

The joke goes "Timothy Treadwell tried to be #1 with the bears but he ended up being #2."

I loved this movie because Werner Herzog definitely has an opinion about Treadwell that Tim wouldn’t have necessarily shared. Herzog also had tons of "fuzzy wuzzy bears frolicking" footage available that he did not show. Bravo! This is a story of a man in need of serious psychological help but he found his salvation in living with bears. And eventually one ate him. That's what bears do.

Grizzly Man: 5 stars

The Iceman Interviews

This is a series of interviews of Richard Kuklinski, a cold blooded mafia hitman. This guy is absolutely workmanlike about his ugly profession. That itself makes for an interesting experience but the whole thing was surreal (at least in my head) by the fact that this guy IS Tony Soprano. If James Gandolfini did not pattern his voice or mannerisms around this guy, he channeled the guy.

Iceman Interviews: 5 Stars. (the Sopranos gets 5, of course).

Death in Gaza

This started out being a documentary about Palestinian children growing up on the Gaza strip and how the ongoing battles between Palestinians and Israelis have affected them. It was to be one of two stories, the second being a story about Israeli children in the same area. Unfortunately the cameraman, James Miller, was killed by Israeli troops during the filming (his death is filmed although in very poor light). It is very poignant.

Death in Gaza: 5 stars

A & E: Serial Killers: Profiles of the Criminal Mind

I love Bill Kurtis's voice. There, I've said it. Twenty minutes into disc 1 one of my all-time favorite supervisors appears in a two second shot of my dispatch center (the old configuration) during a segment about Robert Hansen (Butcher, Baker). All in all, a comprehensive and well done series of shows on the profiles of several serial killers.

Profiles of the Criminal Mind: 4 stars

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills
Paradise Lost: Revelations

The first is a documentary about the trial of three scumbag teenagers who may or may not have killed three 8 year olds in West Memphis, Arkansas. The three teens are punks, and I don't mean they like the Sex Pistols. The murders were gruesome. The three are quite possibly not guilty of the murders. A thought provoking first movie. The second is a less-so good movie about the appeal of Damien Echols, the one of the three sentenced to death. If you watch the first movie you should also watch the second. These guys may not be murderers (and I'll leave that for you to decide) but they are no heroes either. At absolute best, they are also victims. Damien Echols had over 700 items on his Amazon.com wish list. Oh yeah, that list is currently empty because his supporters have bought him all this stuff. Let's just say I'm not contributing to his commissary fund.

Paradise Lost I: 4 stars, Paradise Lost II: 3 stars.

Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State

Also a very well produced documentary. There are a lot of computer generated graphics and schematics of the camps and a lot of "dramatic recreations" of discussions between the heads of the German governing units. This is both good and bad. The whole story is presented thoughtfully, though, and it's a great reminder that, while I don't happen to like our current president or his political party's main goals, W is not a Nazi. We use that word too freely.

Auschwitz: 4 stars

Guerilla: The Taking Of Patty Hearst

This is pretty much self explanatory and well done with very news coverage of the last standoff between the SLA and the LAPD.

Guerilla: 4 stars.

Bus 174

This is a documentary about a cracked-out street guy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, who held 12 hostages aboard a city bus in June 2000. The whole thing was covered on television by numerous cameras. It would be a great "training by bad example" movie for SWAT teams. A very sad story. Oh and it's in Portuguese so expect to read subtitles unless you are well versed in lyrics to "The Girl from Ipanema."

Bus 174: 4 stars


This documentary traces the path of two girls in the Baltimore juvenile justice system. One makes good, the other doesn’t. It's interesting but quite depressing in that it points out that without a good family support system these kids have no chance.

Girlhood: 3 stars

Burden of Dreams

As described on Netflix: "This feature-length documentary from filmmaker Les Blank paints a riveting portrait of megalomaniacal German director Werner Herzog as he worked against almost insurmountable odds in the Amazon jungle to craft his epic movie Fitzcarraldo. Besides capturing the seemingly hexed production's myriad adversities, Blank's camera exposes Herzog as a man obsessed with his art and pressed to the brink of insanity to see his cinematic vision fulfilled."

Great documentary but it exposes less of Herzog as an obsessed man than it shows Klaus Kinski as a raging asshole.

Burden of Dreams: 3 stars.

H.H. Holmes, America's First Serial Killer

Great subject, so-so show. Nearly a one-man production but better than Murders of Hollywood. Read "The Devil in the White City" instead.

H.H. Holmes: 2 stars

Murders of Hollywood

Bad production (the pictures are all pixilated since they were obviously blown up on a computer screen with crappy digital video editing equipment). This is a one-man production that is so cursory in its portrayal of the murders, all of which could earn a full documentary devoted to them (and most have) that it's a total waste of time. Plus the narrator calls Sharon Tate's husband "Norman Polanski" when first introducing the murders.

Murders of Hollywood: 0 stars.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Welcome Kentucky Gurl !

Thanks to all who bid for this week. There were some great blogs but I picked this one because it's both similar and vastly different from mine.

Check it out!

And the Chatty bunch would LOVE her template…

C'mon, click on her link. You know you want to click.

Friday, February 03, 2006

If I Did Not Care What People Thought I Would Not Write This Stuff Down

and I would not have asked Ms. Chatty and her gang for a review of my blog.

But I do and I did and here it is:

I knew the template would cost me: plenty of folks hate white type on black background.

I've tinkered with other ideas but I like the theme I have going now. I'll probably continue to thinker until I can make something totally different. Maybe black type on gray or something. We'll see.

As for the moon phase and the Weather Pixie:

Moon phase is gone as of now. No more moon phase.

The Weather Pixie is handy because it gives the current temperature at my local airport, which is the official temperature for my city, which is necessary to know for work, which is our only real defense for reading my blog at work. It's a reach, yes, but it may come in handy later. If I come across a weather thing with no pixie attached, then great.

Oh and the BlogRoll Me! is now up, so feel free!

I want to thank Charred for his opinion and Ms. Chatty for her blog.

I'll continue to 'strive for five' but consider four smacks a good starting place.