Friday, October 08, 2010

Dragon Dictation

One of my colleagues at work just recently purchased an iPad for her birthday. She brought it to work and she was so excited about it.

While showing it to me, she brought up the fact that she loves to write and she wished that there was some kind of application to where she could just speak and have the application dictate for her. Then I remembered this application that I downloaded several months ago but haven't really used called Dragon Dictation which is what I'm currently using right now for this blog post.


This application is a voice recognition software that dictates what you say and is speech to text technology. I'm also, I guess, testing it as I don't know its limitations. How long can it record? Does it parse sentences into paragraphs? Does it use punctuation?

And I can only imagine how looks how it looks, just like Capt. Kirk on Star Trek! Captain's Log, star date whatever - and that's where technology is right now.

I am just amazed what one can do with technology today - things that were simply science fiction just 30 to 40 years ago!

-- Posted from Frank's iPhone

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Doggie Heaven


"If I have any beliefs about immortality it is that certain dogs I know will go to heaven, and very very few people." ~ James Thurber

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Thought Of The Day

“Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others...for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” - Albert Einstein


-- Posted from Frank's iPhone

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Al Franken's Address To The American Constitution Society

Recently, Al Franken addressed the American Constitution Society about the Supreme Court. The reason I post his address is because I don't think most people truly understand how radically conservative the Supreme Court has become.

This is a much larger issue than who controls the White House or Congress. The decisions that the Supreme Court can not be as easily changed as some policy or executive order by a president or a law enacted by Congress. For the most part, Supreme Court rulings only have two paths to being changed... 1) the Supreme Court could overrule a past court's ruling; 2) a Constitutional Amendment has to be passed - which would require 2/3 vote from each house in Congress AND 3/4 ratification from the states.

Anyway, here is Al Franken's address (it's long, but well worth the read...)
Thank you, Judy, for that introduction, and for your work on behalf of working Americans.

Thank you to Caroline Fredrickson for your leadership and for inviting me to speak here tonight.

Thank you all for being here tonight, and for the good work you do to defend the Constitution and the American values it represents.

It is an honor to address this convention.

Speakers at past ACS gatherings have included Supreme Court Justices, Attorneys General, other cabinet secretaries, federal judges, and distinguished legal scholars.

So tonight I guess we'll finally get an answer to the question: "What do Stephen Breyer, Laurence Tribe, and Al Franken have in common?"

Other than: "They were all in the front row when the Dead played the Garden back in '71."

Tonight, we celebrate the rise of a new generation of progressive legal scholars and jurists.

Look to your left. Look to your right.

Odds are, at least one of the three of you will someday be filibustered by Senate Republicans.

Speaking of which, I'd like to give a special shout-out to all the filibustered nominees we have here with us tonight.

The Republican obstruction that is standing between you and the work you've agreed to do for your country is unacceptable. And we will continue to fight it.

In particular, I want to recognize Dawn Johnsen, who should be the head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. What Republicans have done to keep you from doing that important job is flat out wrong.

And I want to recognize Goodwin Liu, who should be sitting on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals right now, and who deserves an up-or-down vote.

When I joined the Senate, I was thrown right into the fire as a member of the Judiciary Committee, where, by the way, I enthusiastically voted for Goodwin.

On my fifth day in office, I found myself taking part in the confirmation hearings for now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Just like I am tonight, I was one of the few non-lawyers in the room, but I didn't mind.

You see, I did some research, and it turns out that most Minnesotans aren't lawyers, either.

But that doesn't mean they aren't directly affected every day by what happens on the Supreme Court, and in our legal system.

I don't think you need to be a lawyer to recognize that the Roberts Court has, consistently and intentionally, protected and promoted the interests of the powerful over those of individual Americans.

And you certainly don't need to be a lawyer to understand what that means for the working people who are losing their rights, one 5-4 decision at a time.

Tonight, I'd like to talk about how we got to this sad moment in American legal history - because it didn't happen by accident.

Conservative activists - led by the Federalist Society - have waged a remarkably successful battle to re-shape our legal discourse, and thus our legal system.

And they're not done yet.

I should acknowledge up front that this story is kind of a downer.

But there's good news: the ending has not yet been written. And I really believe that, if we pay attention to how things got so bad, we'll learn how to make them better.
---

Federalist Society members have long believed that, if you change the way you talk about the law, you can change the law.

They are right.

If you listen to the U.S. Senate talk about judicial nominees, you'd be forgiven for thinking that originalism was a time-honored American value, one of the things we fought the British to protect.

But ironically enough, originalism - like the designated hitter - only dates back a few decades.

Indeed, as Cass Sunstein has pointed out, it was Robert Bork who first popularized the notion that the Constitution should be interpreted according to what we believe was the "original understanding" of its authors.

Just to clarify: That's not Robert Bork the Founding Father. That's Robert Bork the 20th century conservative legal activist.

Originalism isn't a pillar of our Constitutional history. It's a talking point.

During his confirmation hearing, John Roberts broke out another conservative talking point. He said: "Judges are like umpires. Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them." And he promised: "I will remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat."

How ridiculous. Judges are nothing like umpires.

You know who agrees that judges are nothing like umpires? The guy who came up with the umpire analogy in the first place.

In 1886, in State v. Crittenden, a Louisiana Supreme Court Justice ruled that "a trial is not a mere lutte" - lutte is a French term for a wrestling match, as this analogy dates back to when baseball was a just a cult phenomenon - "a trial is not a mere lutte between counsel, in which the judge sits merely as an umpire to decide disputes which may arise between them."

So, when it comes to this analogy, I guess I'm an originalist.

But this kind of bamboozlement is effective. You hear Senators of both parties rush to condemn judges who might "legislate from the bench."

The end result is that people like Goodwin Liu - a brilliant, thoughtful, passionate young legal mind with a terrific life story and character references from the likes of Ken Starr - get tagged as dangerous radicals.

Look, say what you will about Ken Starr, but he's not the sort of guy who pals around with dangerous radicals.

Well. Not left-wing radicals.
---

The Federalist Society has changed the way we talk about judges - and the way we talk about justice.

Justice Souter once said: "The first lesson, simple as it is, is that whatever court we're in, whatever we are doing, at the end of our task some human being is going to be affected."

Conservatives would like us to forget this lesson.

They've distorted our constitutional discourse to make it sound like the Court's rulings don't matter to ordinary people, but only to the undeserving riff-raff at the margins of society.

So unless you want to get a late-term abortion, burn a flag in the town square, or get federal funding for your pornographic artwork, you really don't need to worry about what the Supreme Court is up to.

The ACLU has a long and proud history of defending the First Amendment, and while I haven't seen polling on this, I'd bet that most Americans are fairly pro-First Amendment. But, thanks to a generation of conservative activism, the ACLU is now best known as "those guys who hate Christmas."

By defining the terms of constitutional debate such that it doesn't involve the lives of ordinary people, conservatives have disconnected Americans from their legal system. And that leaves room for lots of shenanigans.
---

By controlling the conversation, the Federalist Society has moved the Supreme Court sharply to the right.

"Including myself," Justice Stevens said in an interview with the New York Times, "every judge who's been appointed to the court since Lewis Powell has been more conservative than his or her predecessor. Except maybe Justice Ginsburg. That's bound to have an effect on the court."

And, indeed, the Roberts Court has overturned two principles I believe are deeply ingrained in our Constitution, in our legal tradition, and in our American values.

First: Judicial restraint.

As I have noted repeatedly - and in an increasingly exasperated tone of voice - over the last few years, Justice Thomas has voted to overturn federal laws more often than Justice Stevens and Justice Breyer combined.

They haven't just been activists in their decisions, but also in their process.

In both Citizens United and Gross, the Court answered questions it wasn't asked, reaching beyond the scope of what they accepted for appeal to overturn federal laws the conservative wing didn't like.

I mean, I don't speak Latin. But unless stare decisis means "overturn stuff," then maybe it's time for conservatives to stop calling other people "dangerous radicals."

Second, and more importantly: They've overturned the principle that the law should be a place where ordinary people can turn for relief when wronged by the powerful.

At the front entrance to the Supreme Court building here in Washington, beneath the words "EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW," there's a set of 1,300-pound bronze doors.

Countless Americans have flowed through those doors to see the place where that principle is protected.

Now those doors have been locked to the public. Things have changed.
---

Supreme Court jurisprudence involves weighing competing interests.

Most Americans are familiar with cases in which the Court has had to balance individual rights against some compelling state interest.

It's easy to feel disconnected from these cases. Even though the government has awesome power - enough to take away your freedom, or even your life - the degree to which that power is deemed to supersede your individual rights doesn't really enter into the daily lives of most Americans.

But there's more than one kind of power.

If you have a credit card, if you watch TV, if you file insurance claims, if you work - in other words, if you participate in American daily life at all - then you interact with corporations that are more powerful than you are.

The degree to which those corporations' rights are protected over yours, well, that's extremely relevant to your life.

And in case after case after case, the Roberts Court has put not just a thumb, but a fist, on the scale in favor of those corporations.

A fist with brass knuckles. Which weigh a lot. Because they're brass.

It's important to recognize that, for some conservative legal activists, this is the whole point. Do they want to undercut abortion and immigration and Miranda rights? Sure. But those are just cherries on the sundae.

What conservative legal activists are really interested in is this question: What individual rights are so basic and so important that they should be protected above a corporation's right to profit?

And their preferred answer is: None of them. Zero.

More than a century ago, in Lochner, the Court held that a state cannot intervene to protect the interests of an individual entering into a work relationship with an employer.

In other words, the Court held that employees should have to fend for themselves against the same powerful corporations they rely on for a paycheck.

Last month, Rand Paul, the Republican Senate candidate down in Kentucky, got into some hot water for suggesting that we really shouldn't have used the law to force private businesses to stop discriminating against African-Americans, that the market would have eventually handled it.

My question was: In what year would the market have gotten around to doing that? 1965? 1967? 1987? 1997?

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act deals with the workplace, because your rights at work are civil rights.

And without legal protection, workers would have no leverage to secure those basic rights: the right to organize and bargain for better wages, the right to a safe work environment, the right not to get fired because of who you are.

It's a nightmare for progressives, but a dream for powerful economic elites and their legal activist allies: a return to Lochner, to a system of corporate authoritarianism where business giants hold all the cards and workers have to hope that the market will someday provide them with basic rights.
---

Those elites are well on their way.

The Roberts Court has systematically dismantled the legal protections that help ordinary people find justice when wronged by the economically powerful.

In Stoneridge, it stripped shareholders of their ability to get their money back from the firms that helped defraud them.

In Conkright, it gave employers more leeway to deny workers their pension benefits.

In Leegin, it made it harder for small business owners to stop price fixing under the Sherman Act. Now, the burden is on them--small business owners--to show that price fixing will hurt competition.

In Iqbal, it made it harder for everybody to get their day in court.

In Exxon, it capped punitive damages resulting from the Exxon Valdez oil spill because, get this, having to own up to your mistakes creates "unpredictability" for corporations. Which, by the way, means that BP's liability may be capped because the Court doesn't want to cause an unpredictable impact on its future profitability.

In Rapanos, it cut huge swaths of wetlands out of the Clean Water Act. Wetlands that had been covered for 30 years.

You know what has a lot of wetlands? Minnesota. No, really. You know what else has a lot of wetlands? The Gulf Coast.

I could spend a long time talking about how these cases were wrongly decided. But I'm not an academic - and these aren't academic issues.

These decisions affect real people. They hurt real people.

Jamie Leigh Jones is a real person who went to work for KBR, then a Halliburton subsidiary. When she arrived in Iraq in July of 2005, she immediately complained to her supervisors about sexual harassment in her barracks, which housed over 400 men and only a handful of women.

KBR just mocked her. Then, four days after she got to Iraq, she was drugged and gang-raped by several of her co-workers. When she woke up, she struggled to the infirmary and had a doctor administer a rape kit, which KBR promptly lost.

Then, Jamie was locked in a shipping container under armed guard and prohibited from any contact with the outside world.

Because of the Court's decision in Circuit City, KBR had been able to force new employees like Jamie to sign a contract requiring that any future disputes be arbitrated in secret and not in open court.

So Jamie Leigh Jones spent four years fighting for her right just to get her day in court after her employer put her in a dangerous situation, ignored her concerns, and kept her hostage in a shipping container after she was gang-raped.

Lilly Ledbetter is a real person who worked as a manager at a Goodyear tire plant in Gadsden, Alabama. Towards the end of 20 years of service there, she noticed that her male co-workers had gotten more and better raises. By 1998, when she took early retirement, she was earning several hundred dollars less per month than her male counterparts. So she sued.

But the Court decided to give Goodyear maximum leeway to avoid responsibility for pay discrimination, thanks to the most unbelievable loophole you can imagine. The law requires that discrimination claims be brought within 180 days. The Court decided that this meant within 180 days - from the time Goodyear started discriminating against Lilly, not the most recent discriminatory check.

And Lilly lost out on a chance to recoup years of wage increases that were illegally withheld just because she's a woman.
---

Now, the judiciary is just one branch of our system. I was proud to pass legislation giving victims like Jamie Leigh Jones their day in court. And I was thrilled to see that the very first bill President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

But even as it has closed the door on ordinary Americans looking for justice in the legal system, this Court has made it harder for the political system to address these injustices.


In Citizens United, the Roberts Court overstepped its procedural bounds so that it could graciously provide corporations with First Amendment rights and, by the way, open the door to foreign entities deciding our elections.

But, again, as bad a piece of jurisprudence as that decision was, even worse could be the ramifications it will have on the lives of real people.

Well into the 1960s, oil companies didn't want to stop putting lead in gasoline despite the fact that they knew how dangerous it was.

But Congress passed the Clean Air Act anyway. And the percentage of children with elevated levels of lead in their blood dropped 84 per cent over the next quarter century.

And around that same time, our car companies still didn't want to put seat belts in cars, even though they knew it would save lives.

But Congress passed the Motor Vehicle Safety Act anyway. And by the year 2000, the fatality rate from car accidents had dropped 71 per cent.

Both laws passed just a couple of months before midterm elections.

Does anybody think either would have stood a chance if Standard Oil and GM had been able to spend millions of dollars in those campaigns?

In Citizens United, the Court didn't just abdicate its duty to subject efforts to impair our political process to strict scrutiny. It served as an accomplice to such an effort.

Not satisfied with giving corporations a leg up on individuals under the law, the Roberts Court is trying to prevent the American people from fighting back.
---

Bummed out yet? Well, we're finally in a good position to fight back.

It took the conservative legal movement decades to produce this activist Supreme Court. We're still in our first decade. But already the American Constitution Society has established itself as a major force in our legal system.

And while we often continue to struggle to get our nominees confirmed and our message heard, we have a President who understands that our legal system is broken when it favors the powerful over the powerless, and I know for a fact that I'm not the only Senator ready to take action.

So let's talk about what we can do.

Right now, I'm co-sponsoring legislation called the DISCLOSE Act that would force the heads of corporate-sponsored advocacy groups to appear in their ads, require corporations to tell their shareholders what they're spending political dollars on, prohibit corporations from who receive taxpayer dollars from telling taxpayers how to vote, and keep foreign-controlled corporations out of our elections.

It's a start.

But it's important to recognize that Citizens United is really the first major shot fired in a coming battle over information, a battle that extends beyond paid political advertising.

For instance, I'm very concerned about media consolidation. If we care about public debate, then it matters who runs our media companies.

The trend is towards vertical integration of the companies who produce the programs Americans rely on for information, and the companies who run the pipes through which Americans receive those programs.

Executives at both Comcast and NBC Universal swear that they're not interested in corporate control of programming. I used to work at NBC; I know better. And I'm very worried about this merger.

We should also be very worried about efforts to undermine the free flow of information on the Internet.

Right now, a blog loads just as quickly as a corporate webpage. An email from your mother comes through just as smoothly as a bill notification from your bank. An independent bookstore can process your order as quickly as Barnes and Noble.

But top telecommunications companies have declared their interest in offering "prioritized" Internet service for companies who can pay for it. This could lead to the creation of a high-speed lane for wealthy corporations and transform the Internet from an open playing field into yet another place where powerful economic elites have a bigger megaphone than the rest of us.

Some of the same people who were instrumental in the Federalist Society's effort to change our legal system are now working to help corporations increase their control over the flow of information.

If you control the flow of information, you can control the conversation around important issues. If you can control the conversation, you can change this country.
---

But we can't be satisfied with stopping conservatives and their corporate clients from controlling the narrative when it comes to our legal system.

We have to fight back with our own.

In our narrative, the legal system doesn't exist to help the powerful grow more powerful - it exists to guarantee that every American is entitled to justice.

In our narrative, we defend our individual rights and liberties against corporate encroachment just as fiercely as we defend them against government overreach.

In our narrative, judicial restraint actually means something - for starters, how about ruling only on the case you're presented?

In our narrative, even if those big bronze doors have to remain closed for security reasons, the door to our legal system should be open to everyone, because what happens in our legal system matters to everyone.

If you followed my career before I got to the Senate, you know that I'm a big believer in speaking truth to power, and in the power of telling the truth.

To legal scholars and lovers of our constitution, the truth about what's happened over the last 30 years is at the heart of our struggle to restore balance to our courts and wisdom to our laws.

But I gotta be honest with you: That's not why I'm here tonight. And I think you know that, or you would have invited a lawyer.

I'm here tonight because, for the people I represent in Minnesota and for regular working people all over the country, that truth is at the heart of their struggle, too.

Their struggle to earn a fair wage at a job that treats them well. Their struggle to live their lives free of corporate intrusions into their privacy. Their struggle to breathe clean air and drink clean water. Their struggle to find justice when they're wronged.

I know how important it is that our legal system support individuals in that struggle. And so do you. But most people don't. And we have to change that.

The American Constitution Society has a role to play in the national conversation around our Constitution and our laws. And not just within the walls of a debating society.

Ordinary Americans have to understand what's at stake for them in all this. And that means someone has to bring them into the debate.

It is my hope that you will. And it is my great honor to stand with you in that fight.

Thank you.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Someone Blows Their Nose & You Want To Keep It?


This morning when I went out to the backyard to water our newly planted bushes, I came upon a strange, yellow substance in the mulch. There were two, half-dollar sized patches of this odd, yellow, cotton-like substance. It turns out that these patches were colonies of “slime mold.” Actually, slime mold is not a mold at all, it’s not even a fungus – rather it is made up of colonies of microorganisms belonging to the Kingdom of Protista. Luckily, it turns out that this substance is not harmful to plants and will typically go away when environmental conditions are dryer (which wouldn’t typically be an issue if I weren’t watering the new bushes daily.) Needless to say, I went ahead and shoveled this goo up and tossed it in the trash. Hopefully, that will be the last I see of that disgusting stuff.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

iPhone Inbox

It's simply amazing how many emails I receive each and every day... luckily I have my iPhone to help me keep up with them throughout the day!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Badass Dog Takes On A Cop Car

So apparently I have had nothing better to do with my spare time today but surf the web for strange and amusing videos to watch. I must say that this one had me laughing out loud. I couldn’t even begin to imagine either one of my dogs attempting such a feat. Reminds me of Cujo!

Elementary Students Performing Scarface (Yes, that Scarface)

Don’t get me wrong, I love Scarface! Al Pacino is great in it - he just goes completely over the top! On the other hand, I do find it pretty disturbing and alarming (albeit humorous in an abnormal way too) that very young children would be performing Scarface at an elementary school.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Squirrel - Mission Impossible

This video is just too cute! I don't know who would go to all the trouble to make this obstacle court for a squirrel... nonetheless, I am entertained!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

TV Theme Medley

This is so entertaining! I think I’ve watched this video and re-watched it seven times in row! This musician, Fredrik (quite a cutie), is absolutely remarkable and exceptionally talented to create and perform such an amusing and impressive video of so many great TV themes! This is such a enjoyable video; hope you enjoy it too!


The full list of all 22 TV themes performed:
  • Two and a Half Men
  • The Simpsons
  • O.C
  • Naruto
  • Family Guy
  • Married with Children
  • Cheers
  • That 70's Show
  • Big Love
  • Freaks and Geeks
  • Malcolm in the Middle
  • X-Files
  • Firefly
  • The Office
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • Scrubs
  • True Blood
  • Charles in Charge
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Mission Impossible
  • Friends

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hovercraft Plane Thingy... I Want!

WOW! This is absolutely incredible! If this only goes for $13,000, I'm gonna trade my car in for TWO of them! So, if anyone cares to know what I want for my birthday, Christmas, whatever - this is it!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Phantom Menace In Review

Near this end of this literally painful day (migraine, hospital, etc,) I came upon a Star Wars: Episode I review by Mr. Plinkett via Ain't It Cool News. While this guy has an unusual sense of humor (acting as a crazed psychopath,) his review is actually pretty entertaining. If you are a life-long Star Wars fan who was frustrated or disenchanted with the Star Wars prequels, you’ll definitely enjoy this review of the Phantom Menace.















Thursday, March 11, 2010

X Marks The Spot

I discovered this YouTube video of another underwear commercial from suggested links that YouTube recommended from the Banana Underwear video. Ok, I guess I understand that underwear advertising is supposed to have some inherent sexual insinuations – I get that. But damn… this Calvin Klein underwear commercial is downright raunchy! I can’t believe that something like this can be advertised so openly. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great commercial – very enjoyable; I’m merely astounded at what advertisers can get away with in this day and age!

When I Grow Up...

I discovered this funny picture/story by way of my mom who forwarded it to me earlier this week. I found it to be pretty funny!

A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assignment...


After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:


Dear Ms. Davis,
I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This drawing is of me selling a shovel.

Mrs. Harrington

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Banana Anyone?

This video caught my interest for a variety of reasons… anyway; the latest in men's underwear is coming out of Australia. AussieBum's new line of eco-friendly briefs and boxers is not only green, but is the world's first undies made from bananas. No kidding – this is true! How is this true? Well, the underwear is made from the weave of the bark from the banana tree, organic cotton, and lycra.


Is it just me, or does anyone else have an odd craving for a banana after enjoying that video?!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Handsome Men's Club


If you stuck around to watch Kimmel's post-Oscar special, you were in for a treat. If not, well, you're still in for a treat... Here's the silly clip of Jimmy Kimmel's Handsome Men's Club.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Defying Gravity


[Glinda:]
Don't be afraid.

[Elphaba:]
I'm not...
It's the Wizard who should be afraid...
Of me!

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down...

Quick get on!

[Glinda:]
What?

[Elphaba:]
Come with me. Think of what we could do - together.

I'm Limited
Together we're unlimited
Together we'll be the greatest team
There's ever been, Glinda,
Dreams the way we planned 'em

[Glinda:]
If we work in tandem

[Both:]
There's no fight we cannot win
Just you and I
Defying gravity
With you and I
Defying gravity

[Elphaba:]
They'll never bring us down...
Well? Are you coming?

[Glinda:]
Elfie, you're trembling!
I hope you're happy
Now that you're choosing this...

[Elphaba:]
You too - I hope it brings you bliss

[Both:]
I really hope you get it
And you don't live to regret it
I hope you're happy in the end
I hope you're happy, my friend...

[Elphaba:]
So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky
As someone told me lately -
Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me -

Tell them how I
Am defying gravity!
I'm flying high
Defying gravity!
And soon I'll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!

[Citizens of Oz:]
Look at her, shes wicked!
Get her!

[Elphaba:]
...bring me down!
This is truly an exceptional show (for those who are not familiar with it!) Jimmy and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to see this musical last year. It was amazing! The story is based on the Wizard of Oz from the perspective of the witches, Elphaba (better known to people who are familiar with the Wizard of Oz as the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda. Wicked is the back-story of the relationship between Elphaba and Glinda… their rough beginning and rivalry (especially around a common love-interest) that develops into a strong friendship. The story comes to a major climax near the end of the first act (during this song, "Defying Gravity") when Elphaba realizes that the Wizard of Oz and his government are corrupt and she will have nothing to do with it! (It is at this point that the Wizard tarnishes her publicly as “wicked” and an evil witch, even though it is really the other way around in this story.)

This song has been exceptionally encouraging for me lately with regards to work, or as I like to call it, hell. I try my best to focus having things perfect and right, and when others suffer from mediocrity (at best) or just unadorned apathy, it really brings me down! When things need to be addressed and corrected immediately, it seems that there is a remarkable lack of urgency and will from others to comply.

This song helps me recognize that I must to do my best, even though others may not follow suit. I need to stop playing by their rules. I need to trust myself and my instincts and do what I know is right despite the fact that others simply do not care. I need to stop allowing the indifference of others to influence my outlook, and I must only focus on me and what I can do. That is all I can ask of myself… that is all that I truly require. Perhaps there is hope that I will one day free myself from my shackles of anguish and the place I know as hell, my job.

Friday, March 05, 2010

It's Just Chick-Fil-A

I took this picture on the way home from work two days ago. A new Chick-Fil-A was about to grand open, and people were camping outside days before! Don't get me wrong - I enjoy some Chick-Fil-A from time to time (that is before I became a vegetarian few weeks ago) - but this is absolutely insane! This isn't the opening of a new Star Wars movie, it's just Chick-Fil-A!

-- Posted from Frank's iPhone

Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter


I don't even know how I came upon this ridiculous YouTube video, but after watching it, my interest was peaked. And sure enough, I found the book, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter online. Being a pervasive history buff and a huge vampire fan (for the exception of all of that Twilight crap), I am obligated to read this now! Thanks weird YouTube video for playing on my unusual fascination with the bizarre. I guess I need to make my way to Borders sometime today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Weird Science News

I read some pretty crazy science related stuff today on my lunch break at work...

So apparently, one of the most common weed-killers in the world, atrazine, causes chemical castration in frogs and could be killing off amphibian populations worldwide. Even more so, 10 percent of adult, male, atrazine-exposed frogs developed into females that copulated with other males and produced eggs. WTF! How the hell is that even possible!?

Also, that huge earthquake that just recently hit Chile… well, it shortened days on Earth… by about 1.26 milliseconds! Perhaps even more impressive, it moved the Earth’s axis of rotation by about 3 inches too… one earthquake did this!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Bill Murray Talks "Ghostbusters III" With David Letterman

I've been hearing for years now that there is supposedly going to be a "Ghostbusters III" movie... for years now! Recently, as in this year, the chatter on the internet about this possible trilogy has been been getting much louder and appearing to be much more of a realistic. Hell, it's even already on the IMDB website for release in 2011. And then just last night on David Letterman, we hear from Bill Murray...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Celtic Thunder - Hallelujah


I just recently downloaded Celtic Thunder’s new album, “It’s Entertainment!” To my amazement, one of the songs they perform on this new album is, “Hallelujah!” (And Keith Harkin is still a hottie!) This is my 3rd post that the song “Hallelujah” has been featured on (the first post from 10/10/06 and the second post from 5/23/08.) This song has always had a special place in my heart. Certainly it speaks to the darkness, the sorrow, and the tragedy that reside there and the hope and faith of overcoming it, but it’s more than just that. It speaks to all that I have been blessed with as well.

One of the things that has always fascinated me about the story of King David was how tragically flawed his character and thus many of his actions were. David was God’s anointed - God’s favored one – yet David commits horrible sins against God in sleeping with another man’s wife, and then essentially having that other man killed. Although David suffers greatly for his sins, God doesn’t lose favor with David – he remains king, and his bloodline will eventually include the Christ. I find it very comforting that no matter how much of a disappointment we may be, God still loves us for who we are – imperfect beings.
Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. A second likewise is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40)
Though I certainly don’t deserve it, and I am fully aware that I’m not as grateful as I should be for it, but God has truly blessed me with a very rewarding life, more so than most in this world. My greatest, reoccurring sin and flaw is that I don’t place God above all things in my life – I’m too concerned and caught up in my own affairs. And though I do try to change this each morning as I start the day, the monotony of daily life brings me back to being too focused on me, and only in hindsight as I reflect on my day before I go to bed do I realize that I’ve failed miserably once again. Nonetheless, God continues to bless me each and every day.

I certainly have trouble with the second part of Christ’s commandment too, much for the same reason – I’m too focused on my own life. I don’t let the people I love the most know how I feel nearly as much as I should because I don’t think to do it – I’m too busy – too busy with me.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
I try to remember this prayer each day, but it somehow manages to get lost through day – and again only in hindsight at the end of the day to I realize that it escaped me. And still even though I definitely am not worthy of it, God continues to bless me each and every day.

So yes, there is one word I always have when I feel scared, feel despondent, feel fantastic, feel wonderful, feel things are too good to be true, feel things can’t get any worse, feel ashamed, feel like a failure, or feel broken – “Hallelujah!”

Thursday, February 25, 2010

WorldMeters

Roger Ebert posted an interesting link via Twitter just a few minutes ago. He posted a link to WorldMeters, which is essentially a site that has real time statics of all kinds of things world-wide. This is so fascinating. I’m completely mesmerized. All of the statics are mind-blowing, but my attention is principally focused on the population statics at the moment. I find it absolutely incredible that there have already been nearly 22 million births world-wide year-to-date (and it’s still only February!) That’s nearly the population of the state of Texas! I can’t stop staring at this! Mind-boggling!

One Of The Reasons I Love Comics

So I just read that Marvel Comics is searching for a young, hot actor to play the classic hero, Captain America. Marvel released their “wish list” to the press on the “young, hot” actors they are considering for the role.


Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl)



John Krasinski (The Office)



Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights)



Mike Vogel (Cloverfield)



Michael Cassidy (Smallville)



Patrick Flueger (The 4400)



Garrett Hedlund (Tron Legacy)

Monday, February 22, 2010

President Obama Orders A Command Performance From The Cast Of Glee

Here's an interesting Glee story by way of Cory Monteith on Twitter... an excerpt from an article today by writer Michael Ausiello...
Being the president’s wife apparently has its perks.

Sources confirm to me exclusively that First Lady Michelle Obama has invited the cast of "Glee" to perform at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, April 5 — and, barring any last-minute glitches, they’re gonna do it!

Rumor has it Mrs. O and her daughters are big fans of the show. And since a White House gig is an offer that’s pretty darn hard to refuse, Glee’s producers did some lickety-split schedule rejiggering in order to honor the request.

All in all, not a bad stretch for the Glee club: Glee The Music Volume 1 just debuted at No. 1 on the UK album charts.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Birthday...

Very exciting! I just noted (tweeted) via Twitter about 15 minutes ago that Levar Burton and I share the same birthday, Feb 16... just minutes later, Levar Burton sent me a direct message wishing me a Happy Birthday! I'm totally star-struck right now!!!



Happy Birthday Levar!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Glee Has Made Me A Gleek

Several weeks ago, Jimmy discovered a new tv series… “Glee.” He watched it on hulu.com, as we don’t have cable or satellite tv, and he was hooked instantly. He insisted that I needed to watch it, but I pushed back and absolutely refused. I didn’t want to start watching another new tv show just to become addicted to it too. Not having cable already makes it hard enough to keep up with the shows I’m already hooked on (i.e. Dexter, House, Heroes, 30 Rock, Family Guy, Real Time with Bill Maher, Smallville, Lost, etc…) So I certainly didn’t want to add yet one more show that would be difficult to keep up with regularly. It’s really hard to wait for an entire season to end and finally get on DVD before watching a single episode for that season.


While Jimmy was away this week at his Texas Music Educators Association meeting in San Antonio, I was bored and finally relented. I was instantly captivated just after the first episode. This show is amazing! Each episode is written so well – while each episode has quite a bit of comedy, they’re each extremely moving too. The music is fantastic – so incredibly diverse. Each character is absolutely brilliant!

It’s hard to say which my favorite character is, because I love them all so much… but if I had to pick just one, I’d think I’d go with Jane Lynch’s character of Sue Sylvester! She’s just sooooo bad and over-the top… constantly has me cracking up! She continuously has me laughing out loud over her quick-witted comments, her sincere disgust with decency, and her ruthless nature!

My next favorite character would probably by Cory Monteith’s character of Finn Hudson. In addition to be a bona fide cutie, he’s an awesome singer who’s into classic rock (my favorite.) While his character isn’t very intelligent, he makes up for it being truly genuine and sweet! Some of my favorite songs that he performs include: REO Speedwagon’s “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” ; Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” ; Queen’s “Somebody to Love” ; The Pretender’s “I’ll Stand By You” ; The Rolling Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

Chris Colfer’s character of Kurt Hummel is very endearing to me. Both Kurt and his father have known that Kurt was gay since he was very young, and although he and his father don't have much in common, they have a close relationship and each is willing to sacrifice for the other. He does an amazing job singing my favorite song Wicked which is really high, especially for a guy to sing – “Defying Gravity.”

Mark Salling’s bad-boy character of Noah “Puck” Puckerman is fun to watch. Yes, he is very sexy – especially when he has his shirt off! Though he doesn’t have very many solos in the show, he does an awesome job singing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”

One of the most amazing voices in the show comes from Lea Michele’s character of Rachel Berry. Although she is very awkward, self centered, and a total outcast, she is incredibly talented, and she knows it too! Some of my favorite songs that she performs includes: Celine Dion’s “Taking Chances” & Diana Ross’s “Endless Love”

Another remarkable voice comes from Amber Riley’s Mercedes Jones. She has such a fun character – such a diva! She has a hot temper and a voice to match! She belt’s out Dreamgirls’ “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” so unbelievably well that you’ll find yourself saying “Jennifer Hudson who?”

Sure I could go on and on about the rest of the cast because they are amazing too, but I’ll save that for another time. If you haven’t seen this show, I can assure you that it is awesome and I highly recommend it! I’m sure it’ll become one of your favorites (if it’s not already!)