Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Star Wars Election Humor

Even though the election is now over, this is still some pretty funny stuff here! Political junkies who happen to be Star Wars fans (or for that matter Star Wars fans who are political junkies) will especially get a kick out it.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hallelujah

One of my friends on Facebook posted this song a few days ago; I highly recommend viewing it as it is truly awesome! Here’s the link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=T2NEU6Xf7lM (sorry, YouTube disabled the embed feature for this video, so I can’t just embed it to this blog as I would have liked.) The fourth guy to sing, Kurt Nilsen (the one in the jean jacket, kinda weird looking too) has a truly amazing voice!!!

I wrote a blog on this song in the past, Rufus Wainwright - Hallelujah (should you care to read.) I wouldn’t say this is my most favorite song as I don’t think I could ever narrow any of my favorites to just one above all; they each have some special meaning to me, but this one certainly is very special to me!

There’s something about this song that touches me like no other. The song elicits my darkest moments and fears, yet also draws on my most optimistic and hopeful sentiments. An excerpt from my original post on this song:
“It’s seems as if this song has played at each of the darkest times in my life, either simply in my mind or I’d actually heard it that day. So when I listen to it now, it serves as a vivid reminder as to the darkest places my heart has resided, while at the same time serving as a constant reminder that the while I may get lost there at times, the Lord always resides there too within me and in those who love me, ready to help me face whatever turmoil lies ahead.”

It still amazes me how much this song truly means to me, both in reminding me of dark times past and inspiring me of wonderful possibilities.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Keith Olbermann Rocks!

I got these wonderful clips from Ron. Enjoy!!!



Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day (or is it?)

Irish bishops move St. Patrick's Day 2008 over conflict with Holy Week

Dublin, Jul 19, 2007 / 10:42 am (CNA).- Religions celebrations for St. Patrick's Day will come two days early in Ireland next year to avoid a conflict with Holy Week.

St. Patrick's Day is usually celebrated March 17, but Ireland's bishops have shifted the feast day, in honor of the national saint, to Saturday, March 15, reported The Associated Press.

Church authorities reportedly spent weeks debating where to move the feast day because March 17, 2008, falls on the second day of Holy Week next year.

The liturgical norms would require the feast day to be moved to the earliest available date after Easter, which would be April 1. But church officials said the Vatican approved the March 15 date in order to minimize conflict with the scheduled civic events.

While religious celebrations honoring St. Patrick are affected, religious and secular authorities stressed this would not change secular festivities. The St. Patrick's Festival Committee in Dublin confirmed that next year's parade would be March 17 as usual. In addition, Monday, March 17, will remain an official day off of work in Ireland.

This marks the first time the date has been changed since 1940. The next conflict with Holy Week is not expected until 2160.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Beati Pauperes Spiritu

“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” – Matthew 5:3

I’ve pondered the meaning of this Beatitude and what it means for my life for quite some time. To be poor in spirit is to recognize that all we have is God’s gift: our very existence, our families, our health, our talents, our situations in life, even our successes. I often find that I give myself way too much credit for my accomplishments and successes, rather than humbly thank God for giving them to me.

Lent is coming to end; Easter is just two weeks away. I’m planning on receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation sometime before this next Sunday, Palm Sunday… the beginning of Holy Week. Typically when I examine my conscience prior to Confession, I use the Ten Commandments as a guide; however this time, I plan to use the Beatitudes enumerated by Christ as my guide. After all, the Beatitudes are at the heart of Christ's preaching and are His guidelines for one to receive the Kingdom.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ohio – Bowling For Soup


She said she needed a break
A little time to think
But then she went to Cleveland
With some guy named Leland
That she met at the bank.
There’s nothing wrong with Ohio
Except the snow and the rain.
I really like Drew Carey
And I'd love to see
The Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame.

So when you’re done
Doing whatever
And when you're through
Doing whoever
You know Denton county
Will be right here waiting for you.

Come back to Texas
It's just not the same
Since you went away
Before you lose your accent
And forget all about
The Lonestar state
There's a seat for you at the rodeo
And I've got every slow dance saved
Besides the Mexican food sucks
North of here anyway.

I think I made a mistake
It's not that easy to take
She went to make a deposit
Then she cleaned out her closet
Guess I'll sit here and wait
For her to come back home
(I wish she'd come back home)
It shouldn’t take very long
(So long, so long)
I bet she misses the sunrise
and Mrs. Baird's fruit pies
(but I could be wrong)

So when you’re done
Doing whatever
And when you're through
Doing whoever
You know Denton county
Will be right here waiting for you.

Come back to Texas
It's just not the same
Since you went away
I bet you missed your exit
And drove right on through the Lonestar state
There's a seat for you at the rodeo
And I've got every slow dance saved
Besides the Mexican food sucks north of here anyway

Troy Aikmen wants you back
Willie Nelson wants you back
NASA wants you back
And the Bush twins want you back
Pantera wants you back
And Bluebell wants you back

I got a premonition
I'm taking a petition
And the whole state's gonna sign

Come back to Texas
It's just not the same
Since you went away
Before you lose your accent
And forget all about
The Lonestar state
There's a seat for you at the rodeo
And I’ve got every slow dance saved

Come back to Texas
It's just not the same
Since you went away
Before you lose your accent
And forget all about
The Lonestar state
There's a seat for you at the rodeo
And I've got every slow dance saved
Besides the Mexican food sucks
North of here anyway.
Besides the Mexican food sucks
North of here anyway
Besides the Mexican food sucks
North of here anyway, yeah.

I’ve wanted to do a posting on this song for a really long time now, and I feel it appropriate now to do so due to the overwhelming attention that Texas has received during this presidential campaign. (Ohio too, but as this song suggests, Texas is better! Haha!)

Before I get to the great significance of Texas in this year’s presidential primary and general election, I’d like to talk a bit about Texas, my home. I was born a Texan, I grew up in Texas, and despite its numerous issues, I dearly love Texas. I would never move anywhere else. This is where I was born; this is where I’ll die.

Because of the large size of Texas and its unique history, the regional affiliation of Texas is often debated. Historically and culturally, it has very close ties to the South; however, due to Texas's history as a Spanish colony, its border with Mexico, and its large Latino population, Texas can also be considered a Southwestern state. All the same, while most residents recognize these categories, many claim an independent identity superseding regional labels. Texas is like its own country onto itself.

Anyway, now back to the elections and Texas… During almost every presidential primary (the election to nominate a candidate for a particular party), Texas is so far down the list on the election calendar that we don’t get to make a decisive impact on the primary elections. By the time we vote, the candidates are already chosen… but not this year. This year, everything is different.

So I just got home from my precinct’s Democratic Party Caucus Convention to caucus for Barack Obama. Just to give you a little history on state precinct caucuses in Texas… Typically a precinct caucus only consists on average of about 5-15 voters. Most people don’t participate in them because it can be time consuming. Our Democratic Party Caucus for my precinct had 600-800 voters tonight!!! This is completely unheard of and utterly unprecedented!!! The Republican Party Caucus only had about 10 people. Haha!!!

Tonight's Unprecedentedly Large Caucus at Precinct 350



(I wish I could have taken more pics, but there were just too many people bumping into me and every time my camera phone slightly moved, the pictures taken would be blurred.)

What I saw tonight at the caucus (and at the early voting polls in the primary) was the systematic destruction of the corrupt Republican rule in Texas. I think the Republicans have a great deal to be concerned about during the general election this November. Texas has been a stronghold for Republicans for quite awhile, but it may actually vote Democrat in this up-coming presidential election for the first time in several decades, crushing any hope that Republicans have at winning the White House.

This election is clearly a referendum on President George W. Bush. People are absolutely disgusted at the state of the Union and rightfully hold him responsible for it. He may have single handedly set back the Republican Party for the next several decades. Not only is the Republican Party poised to lose the White House, but I anticipate they will suffer massive losses nation-wide in other elections.

Seeing how Texas will truly be a competitive state in the upcoming general election, candidates will actually have to campaign here for a change. So my message to Barack Obama, who will most likely be the Democratic Party nominee… “Come Back To Texas!”

Monday, March 03, 2008

Heeeeere's Johnny!

Jack Nicholson rocks! Even though I truly love this endorsement video, but I’m still supporting Barack Obama. If you haven’t seen it already, take a gander… it’s great!

Late Nite Political Laughs

Who would have thought that Letterman, Leno, & SNL would be leading in some of the best interviews and appearances with presidential candidates? The times have definitely changed. It appears that issues and policy aren’t nearly as important to Americans as personality and humor. Honestly, I don’t know if that’s good or bad. At least Americans are engaged (though in an odd manner) in the politics of the country.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Always On My Mind – Michael Bublé


Maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as good as I should have
Maybe I didn't love you
Quite as often as I could have
Little things I should have said & done
I just never took the time

But you were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Maybe I didn't hold you
All those lonely, lonely times
And I guess I never told you
I'm so happy that you're mine
If I made you feel second best
Girl, I'm sorry I was blind

You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Tell me, tell me that your
Sweet love hasn't died
Give me, give me one more chance
To keep you satisfied
Satisfied

Little things I should have said & done
I just never took the time

You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
This last Thursday evening, Jimmy took me to a Michael Bublé concert at the Frank Erwin Center. This show was absolutely amazing! Michael Bublé has a phenomenal voice, he’s extremely funny, and he’s quite attractive. If you’ve never been to one, I highly recommend going! It was awesome!

Anyway, one of the songs Michael Bublé performed was this one. So fellow Texans, please don’t crucify me as if I committed some cardinal sin by not putting up Willie Nelson’s version of this song!

Every time I hear this song, it reminds me quite a bit about myself. Even though I’m pretty vocal about numerous things (and very articulate at that), I’ve always struggled considerably in affirming the way I feel about others, especially those who
I care about the most. I certainly don’t tell my family and friends enough that I care and love them. I do, very much so. I just don’t profess it to them the way they truly deserve.

As much as I do this to others, I know I give a good dose of this to Jimmy as well. I don’t tell him how much he means to me nearly enough. I don’t tell him enough how he’s the person who has been the most significant, positive influence in my life. I don’t tell him enough how he brightens my life. I don’t express to him sufficiently that I’m always excited to be in his presence and am grieved when I’m not. I don’t tell him enough how truly and deeply in love I am with him. I certainly don’t tell him adequately that he’s the best part of my life. I don’t tell him enough that he’s always on my mind!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Drink

The Irish Car Bomb is one of the most popular drinks in the world, and it also happens to be my alcoholic beverage of choice. The ingredients are quite simple and widely available. Oddly enough, beer lovers and haters will almost certainly enjoy it alike! It has a very bitter-sweet taste that I absolutely LOVE!

3/4 pint Guinness stout



1/2 shot Bailey's Irish cream



1/2 shot Jameson Irish whiskey


Add the Bailey's and Jameson to a shot glass, layering the Bailey's on the bottom. Pour the Guinness into a pint glass or beer mug 3/4 of the way full and let settle. Drop the shot glass into the Guinness and chug. If you don't drink it fast enough it will curdle and increasingly taste worse.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Return Of The Crazy Quizzes







Which Lord of the Rings character and personality problem are you?




Congratulations! You're Haldir!
Take this quiz!



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Inigo Montoya

Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You!

Marvel Comics has a nice assortment of comic book movies coming to the big screen in the near future. Here are some of them that I’m particularly excited about!

Iron Man (2008)


The Incredible Hulk (2008)


Punisher: War Zone (2008)


X-Men Origins: Magneto (2009)


Thor (2009)


Spider-Man 4 (2009)


Silver Surfer (2009)


The Avengers (2009)


X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)


Captain America (2009)

Friday, February 22, 2008

What Hurts The Most - Rascal Flatts


I can take the rain on the roof of this empty house
That don’t bother me
I can take a few tears now and then and just let them out
I’m not afraid to cry every once in a while
Even though going on with you gone still upsets me
There are days every now and again I pretend I’m ok
But that’s not what gets me

[Chorus:]
What hurts the most
Was being so close
And having so much to say
And watching you walk away
And never knowing
What could have been
And not seeing that loving you
Is what I was tryin’ to do

It’s hard to deal with the pain of losing you everywhere I go
But I’m doin’ It
It’s hard to force that smile when I see our old friends and I’m alone
Still Harder
Getting up, getting dressed, livin’ with this regret
But I know if I could do it over
I would trade give away all the words that I saved in my heart
That I left unspoken

[Chorus x2]

Not seeing that loving you
That’s what I was trying to do
So I’m nearing the end of my annual post-inventory vacation. I don’t ever really do anything particularly interesting on these vacations as they’re really not planned far in advance. The purpose of these vacations is simply some down time to recuperate from the very labor-intensive physical inventories that my managerial position oversees immediately following the holiday season.

Now all that being said, on these vacations I typically just sleep in late, sit around the apartment, and watch dvd’s or tv. One of my favorite channels is the History Channel. So many wonderful programs on that channel (yes I’m a nerd!)

While I was watching the History Channel today, an episode of Mysteries of the Bible came on featuring the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis. Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob, whose older brothers sold into slavery… as a slave, he was sent to Egypt and eventually became one of the top advisors to Pharaoh. Before being an advisor to Pharaoh, Joseph spent several years in prison on false accusations of sleeping with his master’s wife.

Anyway, to the point... one of the historians on the show talked about how Joseph was completely broken while in prison. He quoted a teaching from Chasidic Rabbi Menachem Mendel who taught, “The only whole heart is a broken one.”

“The only whole heart is a broken one.” What a profound statement! This song by Rascal Flatts, "What Hurts the Most," certainly reminds me quite vividly of a time in my life when I felt broken beyond repair. I think at that time, had someone told me that “the only whole heart is a broken one,” I would have definitely thought them be on some kind of hallucinogenic drug. Grief is love not wanting to let go. How could painful grief make one’s heart whole?

Author David Wolpe offers an interesting answer to this question: “No awake spirit can move through this world without enduring a broken heart. There is nothing real that makes life painless. Accepting the pain of living, knowing one's heart will - and should - be broken, is the beginning of wisdom.” This reminds me of the book, Gospel Days by Sister Joan Chittister where she states, “Grief is a sign that we loved something more than ourselves. . . . Grief makes us worthy to suffer with the rest of the world.”

In retrospect, I can affirm the truth of the statement, “the only whole heart is a broken one.” I certainly would not want to experience that broken pain and grief again, but I do feel like a more complete and better person because of it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Great Debate

What a great debate tonight at the University of Texas at Austin! Overall, this was a great night for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Although we had the opportunity to actually hear a debate on policy and issues which is very rare in a debate, I think it was pretty clear that both candidates are essentially in agreement with 95% of the issues. Their primary difference is the manner in which they plan to implement their similar ideas.

I am still a very adamant Obama supporter, but as a long time supporter of the Democratic Party, I am still a very big fan of the Clintons. I have no malice or harsh feelings towards Hillary Clinton; I think she’s a wonderful candidate and very deserving of the Office of the President. I simply feel that Barack Obama is our best choice.

I think that all of the bitter hatred that most Republicans and conservatives have for Hillary Clinton are completely baseless and without merit. Their hatred of her began with her “standing by her man” and forgiving her husband’s marital mistakes… acting as a true “Christian.” They slammed her in unison in the early nineties when she attacked one of their major lobbies, the healthcare lobby.

All that said, the fact of the matter is… Republicans hate her, whether it’s fair or unfair. If she were president, she’d have even more divisive partisanship working against her than Bill Clinton did… and that’s hard to imagine. How can she get all of these wonderful ideas passed through Congress when Republicans will be united against her every minute of every day? How can she pass universal healthcare? How can she end the war in Iraq? How can she help fix the economy? The sad answer is that Republicans will do everything in their power to obstruct everything she tries to implement. She may possess the experience in fighting Republicans, but that’s not what we need. We don’t need more division, we need national unity.

Not only does Barack Obama preach and promote hope, he has the ability to overcome this divisive partisanship. He not only appeals to Democrats and independents, but also to many Republicans. The Republican Party is not united right now. This gives him the unique ability to bring a lot of them over to his side on critical issues. It gives him the ability to end the last few decades of a divided country. When Democrats and Republicans can finally put aside this vicious, divisive partisanship, I think that we truly have a hope of actually solving the major issues facing our nation and world. This is a hope that has been absent entirely too long.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Support Barack Obama

Why I support Barack Obama: The divisive partisanship that I’ve been witness to my entire life has made me very cynical to genuineness of our republic. Barack Obama is the first and only candidate in my life time that appears to have risen above the partisan fray and can actually bring the country together in a manner that has been lost for decades. Above all, he gives me hope for the future of this country and this world.

I'm trying to raise about $100 for the Barack Obama for President campaign. If you wish to help, please visit my fundraising site at:


http://my.barackobama.com/page/outreach/view/main/lordvalek

Any contribution of any size would be greatly appreciated.


The Early Vote

I’d like to consider myself a pretty active voter. Being such, I always try to participate in early voting when it is offered. The reason I like early voting is the speed at which I can get in and out… there are typically no lines. This was certainly not the case today!

Today marks the 2nd day of early primary voting in the state of Texas. As I stood in line, I was first off quite amazed that I was in a line to begin with, but even more surprised that nearly 75% of the people in line were 1st time voters. I was just completely astounded!!!

Not only that, but out of the 45+ people in line, only one of them voted in the Republican primary. Yes, Austin is a liberal oasis in the big red state of Texas, but even that is pretty sad for the Republican Party.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rock Star Politician

As many people are well aware, I am a pretty enthusiastic Barack Obama supporter. Anyway, I got a huge kick out of this yesterday when I saw this on Hardball with Chris Matthews!

The Worst

What makes a president great? This is the question of many historians and political scholars. To me, presidential greatness is clear and decisive moral leadership in the face of national crisis and an open-mindedness and willingness to question traditional values and try new ways of doing things. A great president must be progressive! No great leader in the history of the world was great because they took their people backwards; rather it’s their willingness to evolve and progress!

At a time of national crisis, Pierce and Buchanan, who served in the eight years preceding the Civil War, and Johnson, who followed it, were simply not up to the job. Stubborn, narrow-minded, unwilling to listen to criticism or to consider alternatives to disastrous mistakes, they surrounded themselves with yes-men and shaped their policies to appeal to retrogressive and conservative political forces. Even after being repudiated in the midterm elections of 1854, 1858 and 1866, respectively, they ignored major currents of public opinion and clung to flawed conservative policies. Whose presidency does this bring to mind?

Harding and Coolidge are best remembered for the corruption of their years in office and for channeling money and favors to big business. They slashed income and corporate taxes and supported employers' campaigns to eliminate unions. Members of their administrations received kickbacks and bribes from lobbyists and businessmen. "Never before, here or anywhere else," declared the Wall Street Journal, "has a government been so completely fused with business." Again, whose presidency does this bring to mind?

Nixon is mostly associated today with disdain for the Constitution and abuse of presidential power. Obsessed with secrecy and media leaks, he viewed every critic as a threat to national security and illegally spied on U.S. citizens. Nixon considered himself above the law. Whose presidency does this bring to mind?

George W. Bush embodies the failures, corruption, and unlawful natures of the entire sum of the worst presidents in American history. I don’t know how it could be possible for history to look at Bush as anything but the worst and most disastrous president.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Star Trek Quiz

Your results:
You are Jean-Luc Picard
































Jean-Luc Picard
80%
Will Riker
70%
Data
66%
Spock
62%
Geordi LaForge
60%
Mr. Scott
60%
Uhura
55%
Chekov
50%
Mr. Sulu
50%
James T. Kirk (Captain)
50%
Worf
45%
Beverly Crusher
45%
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
45%
Deanna Troi
40%
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
35%
A lover of Shakespeare and other
fine literature. You have a decisive mind
and a firm hand in dealing with others.


Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Test

Monday, February 04, 2008

New For 2008

I realize that it is now February, so I’m a bit late for the common “New Year’s” resolutions. Speaking of which, I hope that anyone who has made any “New Year’s” resolutions are still holding steadfast on their personal commitments! I have a lot of respect for those who want something better for themselves, and then put for the commitment and sacrifice to make it actually happen! It’s certainly not easy. So I commend those still working on it, and I hope those who have stumbled a bit over the last month with their resolutions don’t lose hope and keep trying!

I do have a few resolutions myself, however I apparently won’t be starting them at the beginning of the year. Rather, I plan on starting them at the beginning of Lent which starts this Wednesday, February 6th. Here are a couple of my top personal resolutions in no particular order:
  • Get back in shape: I used to be pretty damn physically fit. That’s not the case anymore. I’ve been just plain lazy for about a year and half, and it shows… not to mention I can certainly feel it too! I don’t have nearly the amount of energy I used to. The good thing about this resolution is that I know with just a little discipline, this shouldn’t take too long to accomplish.
  • Stop Wasteful Spending: Sounds like Republican rhetoric (even though Bush has wasted more than any ruler in the history of the world), but it’s something I need to do. I am quite impulsive, and sometimes it hurts me in the long run financially. I waste money on a wide array of things from eating-out a lot, buying crap I really don’t need, etc. I foresee this being the toughest resolution for me to maintain.

Off the topic of resolutions and into other news, Jimmy and I are in the process of having a new house built. Currently it is scheduled for completion in late May or early June. We’re extremely excited about it! I can hardly wait!!! These next few months are going to be excruciating as I want to get the hell out of this little apartment!


This is essentially what our house will look like.



It's a pretty large house, at least by my terms it is. It's about 2515 square feet.
Here is a floor plan of the first and second floors of the house. (You may need to right-click the following two pictures and select "View Image" to get a better view of the text descriptions of each of the rooms on the floor plans.)



This website has more info on the house (virtual tour / interactive floor plan): http://centexhomes.com/Austin/355136_Plan.html

To go with the new house, we've selected some new furniture for some of the rooms.
This is the Breakfast Area furniture.



This is the Formal Dining furniture.



And this is the furntire for the Upstairs Living Area.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Very Interesting

One of my friends posted this on myspace yesterday, and I thought it was absolutely brilliant!

Shift happens .... are you ready?

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