Archive for May, 2004

The Church of Snoop Dogg?

Monday, May 31st, 2004

I kid you not: this is a real sign in front of a real church on the outskirts of Mesa:

And the Pope says America is “soulless.” Bah.

(Explanation here, for the uninitiated. More here.)

Serfass update

Monday, May 31st, 2004

NHS ’99 grad Joe Serfass and the Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors lost to George Fox 9-8 today — pitcher Serfass’s first loss of the season — but recovered in the nightcap to defeat hometown favorite Wisconsin-Whitewater 2-1 on a two-run, ninth-inning home run, to stay alive in the double-elimination NCAA Division III baseball tournament.

(Side note: a bunch of relatives on my mom’s side of the family are from Whitewater, or the Whitewater area. It’s quite something to have a kid from my high school playing the flagship college of my mom’s family’s hometown. Heh.)

ECSU must win two games tomorrow in order to capture the national championship. If I’ve got this right, they’ll first play the winner of the George Fox/Aurora game (which was scheduled to be played tonight, but no results have been reported yet). Then, if the Warriors win, they’ll play George Fox for the title.

Yes, that means they could end up playing George Fox twice in a row on the same day, needing to win both, a day after losing to them. Double-elimination tournaments are weird.

The first game is scheduled for 1:00 PM Central time, the second game (if necessary) for 4:30 PM.

If the Warriors win both games, they will capture their second straight national championship.

When Tropospheres Attack

Monday, May 31st, 2004

Having seen The Day After Tomorrow the day before yesterday (heh) and Shrek 2 yesterday, I saw Tomorrow again today (hehe… ah, the wordplay).

Taking into account matinee vs. evening prices, my contribution to the weekend box-office war is as follows:

Tomorrow: $15.00
Shrek 2: $6.50

Alas, despite my best efforts, it appears that Shrek 2 will take the day, finishing #1 at the box office from Friday to Monday, $92.2 million to $86.0 million over Tomorrow, according to studio estimates.

Of course, Shrek 2 is a better movie. But man, the special effects in Tomorrow are cool. :) Casey and I decided, though, that it would have been better if its title had been Attack of the Killer Troposphere.

On a side note, I really need to start a “TV & Movies” blog category so I can stop filing all these movie-related posts (not to mention American Idol updates) in my “News: Miscellaneous” category. Maybe I’ll do that during one of my lunch breaks this week…

UPDATE/CORRECTION: Originally, the title of this post read exactly as it does now — “When Tropospheres Attack” — and the above reference was exactly what it currently is, “Attack of the Killer Troposphere.” But then I looked up troposphere in the dictionary, just to check its spelling, and lo and behold, I was reminded that the troposphere is the lower atmosphere, not the cold upper atmosphere that would seem the most likely to cause flash-freezing. So, I changed it to “When Stratospheres Attack” and “Attack of the Killer Stratosphere.” But the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced they never mentioned the stratosphere in the movie — I think what they said was, the superstorms were sucking down super-cold air from the “upper troposphere.” Alas, “When Upper Tropospheres Attack” and “Attack of Killer Upper Troposhere” just don’t quite roll off the tongue. So I’m changing the references back to their original form, and the weather nerds will just have to deal. (Oh, wait… I’m the only weather nerd here. Never mind. :)

Repeat in sight for Serfass, ECSU

Sunday, May 30th, 2004

Eastern Connecticut State University is three wins away from winning its second straight NCAA Division III baseball championship, after Newington High School Class of 1999 grad Joe Serfass turned in a two-hit, seven-strikeout, 91-pitch performance to lead the Warriors to a 2-1 win Saturday over SUNY-Brockport. (Previously, ECSU had beaten Manchester 10-0.)

Up next, the Warriors face George Fox tomorrow. Eastern is one of two undefeated teams remaining in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament. They are three wins away from the title, and can afford one loss along the way. At least, I think that’s right. (Man, double-elimination brackets are confusing.)

Ogre-ific

Sunday, May 30th, 2004

I saw Shrek 2 again tonight (with Becky and her parents, brother, sister and brother-in-law) after seeing The Day After Tomorrow yesterday, so I guess that means I’m officially neutral in the weekend’s box-office war. :)

Best moment from Shrek 2 that I missed the first time: In the kingdom of Far, Far Away (which is a satire of L.A. and Hollywood), when the giant gingerbread man attacks a “Farbucks Coffee” shop, the patrons run away screaming — and flee to another “Farbucks” across the street. Hehehe.

Of course, the best part of the movie is still Antonio Banderas as Puss In Boots:

Heh. Aww.

I give it 4 1/2 out of 5 shillelaghs, by the way.

Cicadas galore!

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

BrendanLoy.com Maryland Correspondent Rick Boeckler (a.k.a. Becky’s Uncle Rick) noticed my post lamenting that I’m missing out on the cicada phenomenon, and he was kind enough to send along a bunch of cicada photos from near his house in Silver Spring, Maryland:

Uncle Rick (who was the 2003 Living Room Times women’s NCAA pool champion, by the way) also attached a copy of a letter he recently wrote to his sister about the cicada experience:

We are experiencing an absolute marvel of nature these days – the 17-year cicada invasion is upon us.  Cicadas are bugs – look like ugly grasshoppers – that can fly.  They live underground for 17 years, feeding on tree sap from the tree roots.  In the 17th year they come out of the ground to mate.  After that takes place, they die.  The larvae descend back down the trees and restart the cycle.  Cicadas are the ultimate prey.  They are slow, clumsy creatures; they are constantly flying into the side of our house.  They are not harmful to man nor beast.  Birds, squirrels, cat, dogs, and even humans can all eat them.  They survive by sheer numbers.  After all the predators have had their full, they still survive in overwhelming numbers.  I have only seen a couple of thousand so far, but as part of their mating ritual, they make noise.  A LOT of noise.  This morning I could hear them over the air-conditioning with the doors and windows closed.  I have a decibel level meter; their mating calls registered 69db Sunday morning on my front porch.  Normal human conversation is about 30db.  An enclosed sports auditorium can register in the 90db range.  Fortunately, they quiet down at night.  In 6 – 8 weeks, they will disappear for another 17 years.  The 17-year figure has a lot to do with their success.  Since it is a prime number, when this brood comes out, it has precious little competition from other cicada broods.  Darwin must have been onto something!

More cicada photos here!

Oh, and for those who may have missed it, be sure to check out yesterday’s Cicada Rage post. Funny stuff.

Lord have mercy, I’m the Frozen Man

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

Saw The Day After Tomorrow. Loved it.

I mean, the science was crap, and the plot had lots of holes; duh. But the special effects were awesome, as advertised — and, for me at least, the “survival melodrama” in the second half of the movie wasn’t nearly as bad as the Variety review suggested. There was enough humor and cool visuals to make the whole movie entertaining, from start to finish.

The shot of Americans illegally immigrating into Mexico by crossing the Rio Grande was especially dramatic, and I loved Ian Holm’s character (we’ll call him Professor Bilbo) and especially his final scene. The nerd romance was also cute, if formulaic.

But the highlights, of course, were the destruction scenes in Los Angeles and New York.

Interestingly, the New York Times cited one preview audience’s enthusiasic post-tidal wave cheers as evidence that “a kind of moment, minor but worth noting, had passed in the city’s post-9/11 history: New Yorkers were finally ready to watch Roland Emmerich destroy their city again on the big screen.”

The helicopter crash was also very cool, as were the shots of the flash-freeze “wave” moving down New York’s skyscrapers, and the final wide shot of the ice age-stricken Earth from space.

The only parts of the movie I really didn’t like were the few moments of overly didactic politicization, like when the Dick Cheney lookalike solemnly pronounced, “I was wrong.” I wanted to say the director, “Okay, okay, we get it.” (It was also interesting that they chose to kill off their version of President Bush. A Hollywood fantasy, perhaps?)

But for the most part, this was just a thoroughly fun flick. I give it four frozen shillelaghs.

Happy 27th, Mom & Dad!

Friday, May 28th, 2004

Although I neglected to mention it in my “eventful week” post on Monday, today is my Mom and Dad’s 27th wedding anniversary!

The above picture of them was taken on the Staten Island Ferry last summer. I rather like it. (The bunny at bottom right is named Knubbles.)

Anyway, Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

On a tangentially related note, two years ago, on my parents’ silver anniversary, an e-mail inviting friends and relatives to view an online photo tribute produced a “flood” of traffic and a new daily hits record for BrendanLoy.com: 80 visits in one day! That such a mark would be a record seems remarkable to the point of absurdity now, considering my current daily record is 3,326 hits, and I average around 300 to 400 per day. We’ve come a long way, baby.

Richard Nixon: a swell guy

Friday, May 28th, 2004

President Nixon’s greatest hits:

“You know what happened to the Greeks? Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo, we all know that, so was Socrates. … Do you know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags.”

“You see: homosexuality, dope, immorality in general–these are the enemies of strong societies. That’s why the communists and the left-wingers are pushing the stuff; they’re trying to destroy us.”

“I have the greatest affection for [blacks], but I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they’re dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don’t live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like.”

(To Kissinger) “You’re so G-ddamned concerned about the civilians, and I don’t give a damn. I don’t care.”

And finally, my personal favorite: “You know, it’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob? What is the matter with them? I suppose it is because most of them are psychiatrists.”

Pope: U.S. “soulless”

Friday, May 28th, 2004

Pope John Paul II: “[The American church] is called to respond to the profound religious needs and aspirations of a society increasingly in danger of forgetting its spiritual roots and yielding to a purely materialistic and soulless vision of the world.”

George W. Bush Quote of the Day

Friday, May 28th, 2004

From whitehouse.gov, via Wonkette:

I want to thank my friend, Senator Bill Frist, for joining us today. You’re doing a heck of a job. You cut your teeth here, right? That’s where you started practicing? That’s good. He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me.

President Bush: Steady leadership in times of change. (But what kind of change…?)

Lunch-break photo post

Friday, May 28th, 2004

“Thanks man. Thanks. Because, wow, no one can have too many pictures on their site of cats doing nothing. Seriously.” —Tim Stevens

Oh, this is just too easy. :)

On an unrelated note, here’s a picture of Becky’s foot in the wake of Monday’s toe incident.

No, that’s not blue nail polish — that’s the present natural color of her toenail.

Here’s a photo from Tuesday evening of a fiery sunset, as seen from the gas station where I ended up waiting for a cab for nearly an hour after missing the express bus home:

Last but not least (okay, maybe least), here’s a picture of my desk here at Intertec, with my work computer on the left and my PowerBook on the right, with a nice snowy picture of our house in Newington displayed as wallpaper. (My wallpaper rotates every 5 minutes, randomly choosing any one of 304 photos.) This is where it all happens… morning news summaries, lunch-break updates, end-of-the-day posts, etc.

Thrilling, I know. :) But I sort of like the picture because it shows “a little piece of home” on my desk at work.

Oh, I almost forgot! LoyCam is back up and running. You can watch me live!

Here’s a LoyCam capture from earlier today, showing me making a stupid face while on the phone with Becky:

Tomorrow: Special effects good, plot bad

Friday, May 28th, 2004

The critical consensus on The Day After Tomorrow, which opens today, seems to be pretty much what you’d expect: the visual effects are really, really cool; everything else sucks. Variety excerpt:

A loose remake of “Independence Day” with weather as the villain rather than aliens, “The Day After Tomorrow” is a disarmingly pulpy, eye-popping disaster movie during its first half, and an increasingly dull survival melodrama during its second. …

Although Tokyo gets popped by a torrent of giant hailstones, the first city to really take it on the chin is L.A. … as multiple tornadoes convincingly lay waste to such landmarks as the Hollywood sign and the Capitol Records building. …

[The New York] scenes, which begin with a tsunami all but engulfing the Statue of Liberty and then flooding Manhattan, are perhaps the most impressive in the picture. The frequent aerial views of water surging through the streets are eerie and dramatically convincing, and while some of the setups, with people running and cars and busses flipping, are virtually identical to those in “Independence Day,” there’s nothing in that film to match the shot that assumes the [point of view] of a surfer atop a tidal wave as it surges through midtown. …

Portrayal of the U.S. president (Perry King) is amusing; when confronted with the predicament, he immediately turns to the VP and asks, “What do you think we should do?” Better still is a subversive little plot twist that turns the historical immigration tables, with millions of Americans fleeing the unendurable weather by busting through the closed border with Mexico. [Heh. -ed.] And when the U.S. president finally goes on television at the end to report on the state of the nation, he does so on the Weather Channel.

“The Day After Tomorrow” goes beyond the far-fetched into the preposterous, but the first half delivers enough of what people want and expect from disaster pictures, and there are enough money-shot special effects, that audiences probably will be more satisfied than not.

I can’t wait to see it. :)

Cicada Rage

Friday, May 28th, 2004

An open letter to the cicadas, from a very annoyed D.C. resident. Funny stuff. Rated R for strong language, though. Asterisked excerpt:

To the little f***er who dive-bombed me on my way to lunch. You retarded, blind, little sh*t. You flew into the back of my ear while I was crossing the street! People laughed and pointed while I had what looked like an epileptic seizure. B*tch.

To the sneaky bastard who tried to smuggle himself into my office after lunch. My boss spotted you on my shoulder. I looked like a f***ing sailor with his bug-parrot. I hope you liked the smack down I gave you.

There’s more. Heh heh. (Hat tip: Wonkette.)

Duh

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Kerry-McCain would beat Bush-Cheney in a landslide, according to a new CBS News poll.

Meanwhile, here’s a site worth bookmarking: the Rasmussen Reports tracking poll, which gives daily updates on the race. It’s been consistently very close in this poll; Kerry’s current 47-44 edge is the largest lead anyone has enjoyed for three weeks!

P.S. InstaPundit noted on Tuesday, “This election is looking like a World Series between the Red Sox and the Cubs, as each side’s fans worry, with some reason, that their guy will blow it.” Heh.

Also: “It’s a bizarre race to the bottom. I’ve said for a while that this election will probably be decided by the 5% who haven’t paid any attention until the week before the election. Judging by these polls, they may be the only ones who show up to vote.”