Monday, May 28, 2007

Vanderbilt University Wins SEC Tourney, Gets #1 NCAA Seed

Vanderbilt lost the first game in the SEC double-elimination format tournament, then rattled off six wins in a row to win the tournament, the first team in more than ten years to come out on top in the regular season and the SEC post season. Pretty heady stuff for a conference that has regularly features four or five of the top twenty teams in the nation!

Vanderbilt thus retains their top seed for the NCAA tournament, and will host Michigan, Memphis and Austin Peay this weekend in the regionals.


Camping in Etowah, Tennessee!

We had a great time camping at Gunkle Dow's place in Etowah (Ett-o-WAH), Tennessee. Since he is next to the Cherokee National Forest, it's pretty quiet. A great place to camp!

Pics on Flickr.

horse mtn dow

P.S.: "Gunkle Dow" = Uncle Dow in kiddie speak. That's the nickname for him since my son coined the phrase a few years ago. He's my wife's uncle.

Arghh, mateys! We be pirates aimin' t' take yr treasure!

According to the BBC and the international shipping community, pirates are real.
Big time.

As romantic as maritime pirating seems when you watch Pirates of the Caribbean, it's not. It's violent crime on the high seas.

Sad to see that this age-old version of organized crime still runs rampant.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Nostalgia Through New Technology

Filling my new iRiver Clix for the first time, I thought for a minute about what I would load onto it if I knew that I couldn't change the music on it for some time. That is, songs that I could actually listen to over and over. If you know me and my music tastes and habits, you know that this is the exact opposite of how I generally listen; I usually rotate material often, and I like to listen to entire albums rather than only the one or two true standouts on each.

I came up with the following list off the top of my head. It's not complete, and I tried to keep it to one song per artist, but two or three made the list twice (with good reason). They're in no particular order.

You may find all the information that you need at Listen for yourself!

Carolyn's Fingers - Cocteau Twins
Explode and Make Up - Sugar
Naomi - Neutral Milk Hotel
Uncertain Smile - TheThe
See a Little Light - Bob Mould
There She Goes - The La's
God Only Knows - the Beach Boys
Tilted - Sugar
Ma Solituda - Catherine Wheel
Talk - Coldplay
Hey Hey My My (Into the Black) - Neil Young & Crazy Horse
So. Central Rain - R.E.M.
I Was a Kaleidoscope - Death Cab for Cutie
The Sound of Settling - Death Cab for Cutie
This Boy Is Exhausted - The Wrens
Tell Me When It's Over - Dream Syndicate
Turn It On Again - Genesis
Someone to Pull the Trigger - Matthew Sweet
Distance Equals Rate Times Time - The Pixies
Quattro (World Drifts In) - Calexico
Save You - Pulsars
Let Down - Radiohead
Talk About the Passion - R.E.M.
Too Pure - Sebadoh
Starálfur - Sigur Rós
Love What You Do - The Divine Comedy
Dope Fiend Blues - Mike Ness
Hanging Blue Side - Son Volt
Gentle Moon - Sun Kil Moon
Off the Pedestal - Wheat
The Have Nots - X
My Favorite Green Hill - Mazarin
Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
Tennessee Fire - The Silos
Walked in Line - Joy Division
London Calling - The Clash
Carry the Zero - Built to Spill

Of course, this means that a list of songs that will NEVER make the Clix is boiling around in my brain despite my best effort to keep them out. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Apostrophe Use, Lesson Number 1

From the Chicago Manual of Style:

Possessives and Attributives
How does one make the following names possessive (and all first names that end in “s”)? James, Iris.
A. Chicago style adds an apostrophe and an s: James’s, Iris’s. But please see CMOS 7.17–23 for more examples and exceptions to the rule.

Read it, learn it, live it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

President Carter has no room to talk

For a man that lead the country into double-digit inflation, interest rates above 18%, couldn't resolve the Iran Hostage Crisis, and spent way too much time courting Menachem Begin and Anwar Al Sadat while ignoring more pressing issues, former president Jimmy Carter should really keep his mouth closed about presidential effectiveness.

His criticism of George W. Bush isn't exactly balanced, nor should it be given any press, in my opnion.

Food Fight!

I could go on and on about this one, but a picture's worth a thousand words, especially in this case.

These were taken at Zachary's birthday party in the neighborhood. Zach wanted to open his presents, eat a little cake and ice cream and then have a food fight. Odd, but that's what the boys did.

Photos on Flickr.

sam spaghetti


Belle Meade Plantation Trip

Because Saturday included free admission to the grounds of Belle Meade Plantation, we decided to go have a look. It turned out to be a beautiful day, about 80 degrees and very low humidity (for us, anyway).

Belle Meade, like any group of buildings of its age, has quite a story attached. In this case, the story is mostly centered around horse breeding in the pursuit of horse racing reknown. It worked, given that at least four Kentucky Derby winners can trace their blood lines directly back to the stock from Belle Meade.

I also find it interesting that good things come from bad -- the property is preserved primarily because the owning family was forced to sell the farm to the state of Tennessee in the early twentieth century due to financial hardship. The state has preserved the center of the farm and developed the remainder of the land into a very successful (and wealthy) suburb of Nashville.

Pics on Flickr.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pimped in Houston!

This yellow (very yellow) PT Cruiser was the only car left on the lot at the National Car Rental location at Houston's Hobby Airport today when I flew in.

I'm either lucky or I have the worst luck in the world.

You decide.

P.S.: The interior is, for the most part, the same color as the outside. Not an especially great thing on a bright day in South Texas.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Old-school Music Math

The Pixies, in typical sci-fi fashion, recorded "Distance Equals Rate times Time" on their last studio album, Trompe Le Monde.

d=r x t

True dat. And what a great song.

Origin of the word 'Dashboard'

It appears that the original dashboards were actual boards mounted directly in front of the horse-drawn wagon or carriage to protect the occupants from being 'dashed' by mud and water splashing up from the horse's hooves. Simple enough.

In my opinion, we show way too much restraint

Al Qaeda is ordering the US military to call off a search for three soldiers that it claims to have captured over the weekend. They claim that they will murder their prey if the search continues.

I say that we lay waste to the area in three days with advance warning. Give the good people time to leave and scorch the earth after they do.

Al Qaeda, you are criminally insane, the entire lot of you. You twist the truth into justification for your actions. In this case, you picked a random event that happened two years ago for justification. I say that it's no longer about revenge; now it's about your mental issues. About your bitterness and hatred. About your unwillingness to be civil. About your twisted view of morality -- a view that salvation comes from hatred, killing, kidnapping, oppression of women and children and racial prejudices.

Be gone. I hope that we have the stomach to do what we need to do.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Creepy towel thing in Doubletree Hotel, Dallas

creepy towel thing in hotel
creepy towel thing in hotel,
originally uploaded by eggsngrits.

Upon entering my hotel room in Dallas, Texas, I found this creepy little towel sculpture (arrangement?). A little disconcerting.

I know that it was intended as a nice and amusing gesture, but it really had the opposite effect on me -- I searched the room to make sure that someone hadn't left this along with another surprise or two. Nothing else out of order.

My daughter (8) asked me what I named it. I answered, "Terry."


My new Clix

mike clix
mike clix,
originally uploaded by eggsngrits.
I just bought in iRiver Clix! Sounds great and easy to use!

I wish that it had more than 2GB of storage. I don't like the sound of overly compressed MP3's, so I sample the songs that I rip at 192 kbps or better. This fills up the player retty quickly. I get about 12 - 15 full albums on the little guy and that's it.

I guess that I shouldn't complain. Previously, I would have carried all of those CDs and a MUCH bigger device with AWFUL battery life.

The Clix rox!

Nashville's (much) Lesser-known Version of the Kentucky Derby

In Nashville, we have the Iroquois (Ear-uh-COY) Steeplechase, an event that is annually run the week following the more famous Kentucky Derby. No wagering allowed in Tennessee, so that cuts out the riff-raff and about 90% (literally) of the crowd.

I didn't attend this year. In fact, I haven't been since 1986. With only 25,000 in attendence, I'm obviously not alone. This event rarely registers more than a blip on the radar screen of life, but everyone wants it to continue for some reason.

Pics are here.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Trump sent me a personal invitation!

I got this special invitation from Donald Trump to learn his 'family secrets' for building wealth. Donald Trump, JUNIOR, that is. I guess that his secret for building wealth is to schmooze his old man for an additional couple thousand a week in his allowance check. I think that I can skip this one....

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Ruing the day?

Andy, Andy. What have you done? Andy's sold his 1988 Saab 900 Turbo (with the SPG wheels). The hatch doppelganger to my convertible.

He wants a bigger vehicle for $2000+. With character. In Northeastern Ohio.

A search of reveals these options:

- 1984 American Motors Eagle Limited. This is a 4WD wagon, perhaps the only decent vehicle built by AMC during their last ten years of existence. Decent almost completely due to Jeep's 4WD know-how. (Jeep was a part of AMC at the time.) I'd avoid this thing like the plague, but it is interesting.

- 1990 Audi 100. The ad says that it's purple, and if that doesn't scare you away, the inline 5-cylinder should.

- 1995 Cadillac SLS. Not a bad car, really, if you lean toward the luxe cruiser. Lots of comfy room for the kids in that car.

- 1993 Chevy Lumina Euro. Bright orange trim. Uhh, no. Plus, it's a Lumina. Ugh.

- 1995 Chevy Camaro. If you like a car that's been mistreated by people that regularly listen to Van Halen and Kid Rock, this one's for you. I'll give you 3 to 1 odds that the windows were tinted and are bubbling so badly that backing out of a parking space is a real challenge. Additionally, the front fascia on this cars are always cracked and misshapen from drunken nights and curbs running together, and not in a good way. No room for the kiddos puts this one on the back burner anyway.

- 1995, 1996 and 1997 Chrysler LHS. Sweet highway machine. Tons and tons (and I do mean tons) of room in this bad boy. Not bad in a straight line, either. Very, very (and I do mean very) wallowy in the turns, however. Worth a look. Great leather in these cars. Seriously, your family would be very comfortable in one of these. Spotty service history.

- 1997 Eagle Vision TSi. Same platform as the LHS above, but the cache of a defunct marque. Uniqueness strikes again! Plus that cool Eagle badge that forms the middle opening of the grille.

- 1993 Ford Taurus SHO. Wow. You've got to drive this car! What an engine Yamaha made for these things! A delight -- plus a manual tranny in some. Definitely near the top of the list. The interior on these doesn't usually age well, but you can fix that stuff with a few dollars and a few trips to the junk yard. PLENTY of parts cars around when you buy a Taurus!

- 2000 Lincoln LS. A lot of car for the money. Plus a lot of room for the kids.

- 1992-1998 Pontiac Bonneville. The SSEi has decent performance (24-valve engine, IIRC) and TONS of buttons (the seat adjustments are amazing!). I had A 1998 Bonneville SE and it was a good car. Nothing fancy. Again, TONS of room.

- 1995 Subaru Legacy L Wagon. Practical, like a pair of galoshes in winter. About as fast, too.

- 1996 Volkswagen Passat GLS. If it weren't red, I'd like it a heck of a lot better. Manual tranny -- very good. Maybe too small for the Andy clan.

- 1994 Volvo 850 II. Whatever II means. Again, color hurts this car -- I don't know that I've ever really liked any white Volvos, P1800 excluded. On the other hand, safety is unquestioned, it's got leather, manual tranny and sunroof. Lots of room and it doesn't say that the A/C is broken! Bonus!

And, in my opinion, the winner is....the Taurus SHO. By a nose over the Volvo. Go drive it! You'll see what I'm talking about! The Volvo is a great fall back.

I'm curious to see what you come up with. Please keep us informed. However, please note that you've got only 30 days left during which you may refer to your blog as "My Saab Story". Unless you buy another Saab and renew your membership, that is.

Sobering thoughts about media and our culture

We got a short presentation from Steve of Ultimate Escape this morning in Sunday school -- and I can't say that it was a really happy experience.

Our culture is now so saturated with 'adult' images and 'explicit' content is readily available from virtually any PC, phone or PDA connected to the internet. This is really affecting our younger generation because they are able to secretly access video and pictures that were previously available only if you could present identification to prove that you were an adult. People, young and old, male and female, are being ruined by internet content that isn't wholesome.

I'm no prude. And I'm certainly no stranger to the internet. However, I was shocked to learn that major purveyors of adult content regularly post free material in order to hook the unwitting into experiementing with their brand of sexual content at an early age. This is reminiscent of tobacco marketing in previous years and pushing drugs at any point in history: use the addictive qualities to your advantage while they are still young. Some (including me) call this 'predatory'. Preying on the naive for your worldly gain. You flesh peddlers must be so proud.

I'm beginning to believe that 'free speech' isn't free at all. It comes with a heavy burden and an even heavier price.

PS: Steve's website includes an introduction by Jeff Walling, our minister when we were attending the Providence Road church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He's also a friend, and an extremely bright and caring man. One of the rare few like him anywhere. (Jeff, you've got to upgrade that website. Very 1998.)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Music Math - Beirut

= + /Snarling Bitterness