Friday, August 26, 2005

"Congratulations, Dad; Here's your daughter"

Jenna was born 13 years ago today and I remember it like it was yesterday.
For the first 4 months after Pam (Jenna's Mom) told me she was pregnant I walked around thinking "This is my son! The heir to the throne" blah blah blah. Then, after going to the doctors office for check ups and listening to her explain all the things that can go wrong I started walking around thinking "Let the baby be healthy! 10 fingers, 10 toes!" and to hell with gender preference.
Then the big day came and I was in the delivery room (but not TOO close to the action). While Pam was doing all the hard work I stood on the sidelines and I found myself crying. It was just too amazing to comprehend and yet I was extremely self-conscious about it. So I stood silent and in the middle of all the action a nurse came over to me and said "I've been doing this a long time and the one thing I've learned is that men are the only ones who really know how to cry".
I've always appreciated that - even if its a bold faced lie I've always appreciated her saying so.
Anyway, Jenna was born, the doctor announced "It's a girl" and the same nurse asked me if I wanted to cut the cord. I absolutely did so I cut the umbilical cord. Then the nurse took her away to get her cleaned up. Seconds later, the nurse reappeared with a tiny little bundle in her arms. She held her out to me and said "Congratulations, dad; here's your daughter."
My daughter.
I took her in my arms and looked down at my daughter and I knew right then that I wouldn't trade her for ten boys.
And I still wouldn't.
I have cherished every single moment that we have spent together. I am proud, lucky and honored to be her Dad. I always have been and I always will be.
I love you, Jenna!
Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

We have a new kitten

It's true.
We thought that adding a kitten (he's only 4 months old, after all) would be good company for our older cat, India; particularly when we go on vacations. The Sploo usually goes to the in-laws while we're gone which leaves India home all alone. So, long story short, our friend Janet found a mama cat and her litter beneath her porch. She needed to find them homes, asked around, yada yada yada we now have a kitten.
His name is Doyle. Any relation to the pub of the same name in Jamaica Plain is totally on purpose. He's sometype of shorthair, all black, and the devil himself resides inside his tiny, destructive 5 pound body.
This is also true.
Any pretense of love has gone out the window as Doyle keeps trying to assert his alpha male dominance on every pet in the house. He antagonizes India at every opportunity. His favorite tactic is to sneak up to her and smack her with a paw as if to see "HAHA! Gotcha!" This, in turn, leads India to make gutteral sounds that I haven't heard outside of an "Omen" movie and beat his @$$. Malcolm's wagging tail has become a constant source of amusement / combat. Finally, whenever India and Doyle go at it, Malcolm feels the need to literally stick his nose into the mix to find out what's going on. This invariably leads to a very scratched up nose. The poor dog...
Of course, half of this "playtime" takes place after 11PM. Our bed has become a battleground and I am armed only with a squirt bottle and a really cranky attitude towards the new cat.
Finally, after squirting, yelling and chasing pets around the house I usually collapse into a sobbing, quivering heap of a broken man, lamenting the fact that I ever said "yes" to getting a kitten in the first place. Just when I think that we're going to have to "do something" about the kitten the little @#$%!! curls up next to me on the bed, clutches my hand in a 10-claw deathgrip and licks my fingers while purring like an outboard motor.
The little cutie.
Maybe I'll wait to "do something" about him tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tell 'em Michael Bay sent ya.

I don't even care if this is true because its so damn funny:
I have to admit that I really do hope that Michael Bay wrote this, though...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Say It Isn't So

The famous swans in the Boston Public Garden are a same sex couple.
This intrepid Blogger, always eager to provide up to the minute insights into the daily news, caught up with Mitt Romney to discuss this matter:
I B: Mr. Romney? About the swans...?
M R: Yes, nameless blogger?
M R: (muttering to himself) God how I hate this Liberal leaning, equal rights spouting, gay- loving State.
Now if only I can find the cell phone number for Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Talk about lacking Intelligent design...

President George W. Bush weighed in on "Evolution vs. Intelligent Design" last week:
This has all the earmarks of someone saying "I'm not smart enough to figure out how this structure could evolve, therefore there must have been a designer" which to me means that Bush puts evolution in the same category as the plastic tip on the end of shoelaces. He doesn't know how it got there so it must be "gremlin's and spooky magic".
In response, I really enjoyed this article: Bush's Science Policy Lacks Intelligent Design
Which supports an article in last month's National Geographic magazine which was fascinating: China's Treasure Fleet I highly recommend it.
Who says reading blogs isn't informational? :-)

Friday, August 05, 2005

I love this line.

"Oh you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar." - Drew Carey.

Hee hee hee.

Happy Birthday to Sploo

Today is Malcolm's (also known as "The Sploo - long story) birthday. Malcolm is 8 years old. Malcolm is our chocolate Lab.
Katie loves to tell the story that the reason she married me is because the very first time we took Malcolm over the the Arboretum for a walk we sat down on a bench on a hill and the dog jumped up between us. He gave me a kiss, then he gave Katie a kiss and then he laid down between us. Katie says she knew right then that she would marry me.
So, on this special day, I just want to go on record as saying that for all the times I have to discipline him -
"Malcolm, stop barking at people 3 streets away!"
"Malcolm, stop chasing the kitty!"
"Malcolm, get off the @#$!! furniture!"
- that my life has been made even more wonderful by the inclusion of this big, 80 lb chocolate lab who wants nothing more than to make his Step-daddy happy. He has shown me unconditional love for over six years while sharing his life with Katie, Jenna and myself.
I love that Katie loves him so much and I love that Jenna will look back on her childhood and think of this dog. This big, slobbering dog who is just full of love.
He's the best dog in the world and we love him so.
Happy Birthday, Malcolm.

The right to keep and bear arms

Anyone who still needs proof (more proof than Columbine, anyway) that allowing any idiot who can sign his name on a gun permit (or just on the bill of sale) to own a gun is a really BAD idea needs to look no further than the news headlines this week:
I really don't need to say anything else here...

Take My Love, Take My Land...

Have you seen "Firefly" yet?

No? Why not?? Check this out: Firefly the complete series then come back here and we'll talk.

Okay, I'll write and you read.
Firefly was all about life on the frontier of space and the freedom of having a ship to call your own and only yourself to answer to. There were lots of parallels to the expansion of the west... including six shooters (the Alliance - the melding of the US and China into the last government on Earth - controls energy and more advance weapons) and characters including the preacher and town prostitute. There is a blend of action as well as snappy dialog and plot twists Joss Whedon is known for. What was even better was that no aliens are included in the series as humans can be alien enough when left on their own and away from most justice and organized systems. The crew and passengers of Firefly learn to work together finding their own strengths and more freedom then they’ve ever known. The world was well-drawn out, the characters were brilliantly crafted and acted (these actors were born for their roles) and it was so well-written that I bowed down in awe of Joss Whedon once again.
Heck, I even liked it more than "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and I loved Buffy. The show was so awesome that my wife even liked it and she is VERY fussy when it comes to sci-fi.
"Firefly" was lightning in a bottle and the executives at FOX were too stupid to realize what they had on their hands. They aired episodes out of order (the pilot was the last episode run) and they frequently pre-empted the show for Major League Baseball. After 12 aired episodes they cancelled it, leaving three episodes to be seen only on the DVD release of the series. A failed series, in FOX' eyes, that should only garner minimal attention from the DVD sales. It went on to sell 250,000 units.
You read that right; a quarter of a million DVD sets were sold for a TV series that FOX already cancelled.
Joss Whedon refused to let it die. FOX gave him the okay to shop the property around and he did so. Finally, someone at Universal decided (based on a rabid Internet fan base and nearly a million dollars in DVD sales) to greenlight a movie based on the series.
That movie is "Serenity" - premiering September 30th at a theatre near you. Please go see it.
For the most part I find television to be a wasteland. But, every once in a while, a show comes along that reminds me why I love well-written characters in colorful settings set among a well-thought out 'verse. In fact, for MY money, I think "Out of Gas" is one of the finest hours of episodic television ever. "Firefly" was an original concept in a glut of broadcast mediocrity and it deserves to be seen. If you don't want to buy a DVD series of a show you've never seen then you can watch it for free. Sci-fi Channel is rebroadcasting the episodes (in ORDER, God bless -em) on Friday nights at 7 PM.
Check it out and let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Let The Wookie Win

My daughter and I watched "Star Wars" last Saturday night. This was in direct response to her unabashed love of the "prequels" and my abject hatred of them.
I had taken her to see the "re-releases" in 1999, when Lucas (read: Arrogant, movie making hack) added scenes that he technologically couldn't have done in 1977. This bugged me. Since she didn't remember seeing them, and since I wanted her to see it as I saw it, I found VHS copies (thanks, Vic!) of the original versions of the original trilogy, popped a big-ass bowl of popcorn and watched the original "Star Wars" in all of its 1977 glory.
Jenna liked it well enough and even wants to see the sequels but, overall, she wasn't impressed.
Halfway through the movie she said "Wow, that Mark Hamill is a REALLY bad actor, isn't he?". I conceded this point. In watching the movie today he is really, REALLY bad. She then said "And the special effects are really cheesy, too - like those old "Star Trek" episodes." This one I had trouble with. I was still watching the movie with my 11 year-old eyes and, to THOSE eyes, it still looked great. However, I am also forced to admit that given today's technology the FX are hopelessly "quaint".
She did like Han Solo, and agrees that if Lucas "reimagined" it so that Greedo shoots first in the Cantina Bar then Lucas really "stinks" because, as she put it, "it makes Han less tough".
This re-watching of "Star Wars" has forced me to admit the following: the original "Star Wars", while AMAZING at the time, does not hold up well. Looking at it as an adult the writing is hopelessly simplistic, the acting is sophomoric, and there isn't and ounce of subtlety in ANY part of it.
And this description is also exactly the way I feel about "The Phantom Menace", "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith".
Don't get me wrong, I love "Star Wars". Watching the Death Star explode on that huge drive-in screen was the coolest thing my 11 year old self had EVER seen. Han's love of the millennium Falcon while Princess Leia refers to it as "A hunk of junk" is still very funny and "Let the Wookie win" is always a great line. I still LOVE this movie.
To my mind, the new films have NONE of this charm.
My 12 year-old daughter disagrees with me. She revels in Anakin's conflicted nature while I find it cliched. She loves the love story between Anakin and Padme while I cringe at the nausea inducing dialog. She thinks Obi-Wan is a great character while I groan at the complete waste of a talent like Ewan McGregor. Jar Jar Binks...well, we both hated Jar Jar Binks so that's okay... And we both think that Yoda's action scenes ROCK!
Looking at it now, these films were aimed at her age group, just as "Star Wars" was aimed at mine. She has her fond "Star Wars" memories and I have mine. By watching them together, we have shared memories of "Star Wars". We just disagree on which is better. And that is just fine with me.
Thank God we both like "Star Trek - The Original Series".

Monday, August 01, 2005

Situation: No Comedy?

So I'm watching "Situation: Comedy" on Bravo. Here's the background info about the show. The producers of Situation:Comedy (Sean Hayes from "Will & Grace" being one of them) scoured the country (read:set up a website and advertised) looking for the hottest new and undiscovered writing talent. Toni and I entered this contest (Check out for more info). Each candidate submitted an original sitcom script and over 10,000 scripts were submitted. After reading the submissions the producers and experienced show-runners narrowed the field to five semi-finalists. We weren't chosen... okay, I can accept that. They did receive over 10,000 scripts, after all. Maybe we wouldn't be the 5 funniest people in a room of 10,000 comedy scriptwriters.
Thankfully, Dan Kammer thought that the people at Bravo were nuts and decided that he wanted to direct our pilot and put it on film for submission to networks, film festivals, whatever so that we can get it "out there".
Back to the show, the lucky five writers selected then submitted their ideas to NBC network executives who green-lighted two of the scripts to go into production as 15-minute presentations. The writers will now have to cast their pilot and film this presentation that America will see and vote on as their favorite.
With me so far...? Good.
Toni and I had to cast our pilot, too. When we were casting the pilot episode (from which we finally cast a ridiculously talented group of people) we needed to provide "Sides" for the auditioning actors to read from when they came in. A Side is taken from your script and is meant to highlight the strong aspects of your show so that the actors who read them are actually interested in being a part of your project in the first place. So, basically, if you're producing a comedy then you should provide Sides with something FUNNY for people to read, right?
Okay, so here I am watching the 2nd episode last night (god bless my DVR) and I watched as the team involved with "My Sperm Donor" (don't ask) were called in to meet with the show runners who basically told them "Your script isn't reading well because we don't have any funny sides to work with. WE (the show runners) are going to have to take your script and punch up a few lines to make it palatable to actors to get them interested in reading for it."
And I sat there thinking to myself, "This is one of the TWO scripts that were picked from FIVE scripts that had been picked from a field of TEN-THOUSAND submitted scripts to make a new COMEDY show for NBC and you have NOTHING FUNNY to print in the sides that are given to potential actors?"
It may not mean much but I do know that when the actors read OUR Sides at the auditions for "The Six Fifty-Seven" that they were laughing.
Suddenly being in the Top 5 finalists for "Situation: Comedy" didn't seem like such a big freaking deal after all.