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Monday, January 31, 2005

Blogs are the New Black

Beth sent this article to me earlier today. Apparently it's generating a bit of controversy, implying as it does that parental-themed blogs are really the product of attention starved former Gen X'ers who can't cope with the challenges and responsibilities that come with having kids.

Fair enough. And I agree, in part. There's a need, a healthy one if you axe me, to be seen as someone other than "Daddy" or "Mommy". My blog gives me the chance to rant and express some level of creativity. In a sense, it allows me to reinforce myself, to reaffirm the things that I'm passionate about, and to rail against the things that piss me off. I don't see it as "payback" (as one blogger interviewed in the articles asserts) for the things that accompany parenting (diapers, puke, 4:00 a.m. shrieking sessions - as my childhood hero Hunter S. Thompson says, you buy the ticket, you take the ride). I don't see parenthood as "dehumanizing and ugly" (the author) - and I've had a kid in the hospital suffering from a life-threatening disease.

Not surprisingly, Heather Armstrong's (she who is, the patron saint of blogging) comment hits the nail on the head - "The writing and voice I had let me hold onto part of the original and old Heather". (I noticed that the female bloggers interviewed for the article have a writing style that - how do I put this nicely? - "pays tribute" to Armstrong's. I've read her stuff a couple of times, but not on a regular basis as it's easy to fall into the Rip Off Pit, as most of the bloggers in that article have.)

My point? Don't know, maybe I don't even have one, and maybe that in itself is the point.

Yesterday was spent nursing the hangover, which kept me in it's grip (and in my pajamas) for most of the day. Contrary to my expectations, Iraq did not descend into anarachy - by all accounts, the election went well. And that's a good thing. Regardless of the lies that brought us the war, and the occupation/mess that it's morphed into, even a semi-successful election is a step in the right direction.

Speaking of morphing into a mess, we watched "Super Size Me" yesterday evening. Highly recommend the movie - comparisons between Morgan Spurlock (writer, director, star and guinea pig) and Michael Moore have been made, and IMHO this was a much better movie than "Fahrenheit 9/11". The movie takes jabs at the fast food industry, but also points the finger at the public for their appetite for crap food, and evens takes a swipe at the individuals (and their lawyers) who are suing McDonald's in an attempt to shift blame for their piss-poor eating habits and lack of exercise. Very funny and thought-provoking, and left me with one thought: Sweet Jesus, I'm never eating McDonald's again. (A thought which occurred to me while enjoying pizza and breadsticks from Papa John's. We had a spinach salad with the meal too. And it was thin crust pizza. With no meat.)

Sunday, January 30, 2005


4 pints of sangria and 2 vodka and Red Bulls later...ugh. Curse my inner alarm clock. I always wake up no later than 6:30 a.m., regardless of what I've ingested the night before. It is my gift. It is my curse. Lucas and Beth are still asleep. I'm half watching last night's "Star Trek: Enterprise". I feel like I've been eaten by a wolf and shit over a cliff.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Prodigal Son Posted by Hello

Saturday TV Funhouse

A rare Saturday a.m. post. Lucas and I are chillin'; me with my coffee, he with his Cheerios and formula. Usually he's up at 6:30, and together we watch the DVR'ed "Battlestar: Galactica" on Saturday morning and "Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex" (yes, I'll admit to watching a Japanese cartoon. I surf, therefore I cannot by definition be a nerd. Eat me.) on Sundays. But today he slept in, so I had some "me" time.

No Belgian/Flemish food for us tonight. Popular consensus has dictated that we are going for Spanish, tapas and sangria and aiolla oh my. Today is shaping up to be a nice day. If it doesn't rain I'm going surfing tomorrow.

Lucas is making fart noises and laughing. Irrefutable proof of his geneology.

Friday, January 28, 2005

yup... Posted by Hello

Why don't I write more about my kid? Because Beth is so much better at summing up the highs and lows of being a parent than me. If you're not reading her blog (linked in the Required Reading section) then I don't want to know you.

Attention, gals at

The guy rarely fails to live up to his nickname. I truly believe that if this ceremony had been held last month, Cheney would have shown up sporting a red Santa hat.

Ah, Friday. Your tax dollars at work, folks. Or not. Fridays are slower than a "short bus" that's run over a CHP spike strip.

Still, I am grateful. Things could be much, much worse. Following is an actual bit of correspondance between a friend of mine (we'll call him "Kurt") and one of his colleagues (we'll call her "Professor X", because it sounds sinister) regarding one of "Professor X's" students. As always, I Am Not Making This Up:

Hi, "Professor X".
I was recently contacted by a student of yours, ****, who is interested in doing a postdoc in my lab. My understanding from our brief conversation is that he failed his preliminary exam largely for "not knowing any biology". I'm a biochemically-minded cell biologist working on cytoskeletal problems in eukaryotes and prokaryotes. I'd appreciate any information you could spare about ****. There seem to be significant red flags. Please let me know if I'd be missing out on a great opportunity by not considering him. Thanks, Kurt

Kurt: I like **** so it was very disappointing to see him fail this week. He has a lot of energy and occasionally is quite creative in his research. He works hard at his research. That said, I think his committee felt very strongly that someone who has taken off weeks and weeks to prepare for his preliminary exams should come to them knowing a solid amount about the subject areas touched upon. I don't know why he does not seem able to remember any details but his mind was blank on multiple subjects, including technical aspects of preparing cDNA, the tools we have against malaria, aspects of mosquito anatomy and basic entomology and so on. **** has also had significant issues in the lab. He is very sloppy physically, taking up his own bench and desk space but also every other nook and cranny in the lab he can comandeer or spill onto. It is difficult sometimes to go back in his notebook and decipher exactly what he did, although I believe this is improving. He has destroyed computers by downloading material with viruses from Chinese sites. I've had to bar him from animal use and we had one incident in which he did not follow my explicit instructions and then tried to talk other lab members into covering for him. I would never allow him to use radioactivity. Others in the building tell me that they find him difficult socially and that he makes them uncomfortable. It's not that he's unpleasant or rude, just that his social skills are sometimes very rough. This is not cultural because I have a research associate who is from China and he does not resemble **** in any way. I know he is struggling with his future. He is amazingly resilient-he told me today he thought he could get a postdoc here on campus because he already has an M.D. I just do not think he will ever make a good scientist-he might be able to become a good technician if a PI had time to monitor him very closely for awhile and the tasks were fairly repetitive.

Yikes. The scary part - HE HAS AN M.D.

On tap for this weekend: dinner with friends tonight, then a Date Night with Beth tomorrow (which will probably be a group thing; Kelly and Ian are planning on going with us and dropping off their kid, Gavin, at our place to hang with Melissa and Lucas).

Of course it started raining about an hour ago. Looks like it's shaping up to be another Xbox Weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Thursday, 11:10 a.m., random thoughts:

There's a brank-spankin'-new 2005 (2006?) Mustang parked in the lot below. It's yellow, but apart from that, man, that's a sweet car. I'm not big on cars, sports cars in particular, and Mustangs in particular in particular, but if I were a rich man I'd buy one.

I'm spending WAY too much time surfing the forums at I've gone from the "Just Tuned In" classification to "Channel Surfer" in a manner of days, thanks to my postings (primarily in the "24" forums, which are pretty funny. The forums, that is. I think my postings are also pretty funny, but I don't like to brag).

Other than that, not a whole hell of a lot going on.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Today in God

One question. Why?

So things on the spiritual/cultural front are about to get interesting for me. As the product of a mixed marriage (Dad= Catholic, Mom = non-practicing Jew), I've never given much thought to subscribing to any one particular religion. Christianity seems to have more than its fair share of hypocrisy (the whole Crusades thing, the Inquisition, and NAMBLA card-carrying priests), as does Judaism (politically speaking, anyway - being persecuted does not mean that it's OK for you to persecute others). Beth has the same issue (Dad=non-practing Jew, Mom=non-practicing Chrisitian), but she's always been interested in learning more about our Jewish heritage. I'd classify myself as an agnostic; if there's a Supreme Being, He/She is probably more concerned about how I live my life than how many times I say "Goddammit".

So at Eli's wedding a couple of weeks ago, we had a chat with the rabbi, a gal in her late twenties/early 30's who was pretty hip. She's part of the Reform movement, which sees the Jewish faith as more of an evolving culture and philosophy, and embraces cultural and intellectual diversity. Which struck me as interesting - spiritual, but not religious. I have real issues with "religion" as I define it - blindly follow a set of laws and rituals handed down over hundreds of years, with no thought given to their meaning or relevance in today's world. (Catholicism strikes me as the most telling example of this.) Beth and I are going to pay a visit to the local Reform synagogue and check it out. Not to worry - I have no intention of becoming a Bible-thumper. I'll keep you posted on this. Should be interesting fodder for the blog. (I've been thinking of compiling my notes on my brief foray into rugby for an article of some sort. This little adventure might also be good. I'd like your comments on the matter. Please. It gets lonely without comments.)

And I'm steering clear of Asia. He/She must have a beef with those folks.

It's Wednesday. Halfway to the weekend. Oh - new, I mean FRESH, "Smallville" tonight! Ah, glorious TV Oasis returns in all it's...glory.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Gray Tuesday

The clouds are rolling back in; we're supposed to get more rain tonight and tomorrow. I am down in the Valley, working from the junky Windows 2000 machine. Our IT guy has promised to upgrade it, but it's low on his priority list, and so I suffer through outdated OS Hell.

I'm not too excited about the Oscar noms, as I haven't seen any of the Best Picture contenders. In fact, the only Oscar-nominated movies from last year that I did see are "Eternal Sunshine", "Collateral" (Jamie Foxx, Supporting Actor), "The Incredibles" (screenplay and best animated - it should have been nominated for Best Picture, IMHO) and "Shrek 2" (best animated). I'm outraged at the exclusion of perhaps the most controversial film of the year, a film that I finally got to see last night - "Dodgeball" starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. Seriously, though - "Dodgeball" was easily one of the most awful movies I've ever seen. Ben Stiller needs to go away, far away, where he cannot harm anyone.

I have finished my project of the day; my goal was to purge my desk of yellow stickies, most of them with cryptic messages. (Examples: "Nadjem - cancelled", "Don - movers delayed two days!!!!", and my personal favorite "Thurs. F. 75k."). Yes, welcome to the whirlwind of excitement that is my job. Tomorrow, perhaps, I will sharpen some pencils. And reload my stapler! Yesssssss!

Sunday, January 23, 2005


Sad coincidence. The minute I logged on, a special report came on, John Seigenthaler announcing that Johnny Carson had just died. 79 years old, apparently from emphysema. That's too bad. He slipped a bit during his last few years as the "Tonight Show" host, but was always funnier than Leno.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Spongebob will Roast in the Fires of Hell

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea, and is apparently a God-cursed sodomite?
Spongebob Squarepants! At least that's what a few loud-mouthed nutjobs who make up a group called the American Family Association would have us believe.

The New York Times did a similar story on this; the America Fascist Association cites the fact that Spongebob occasionally holds hands with his MALE starfish friend Patrick as proof that the show promotes homosexuality and "the gay agenda". In a related story, the KKK has condemned the show for promoting inter-racial relations. "Them starfish should be put on a boat and shipped back to the Great Barrier Reef where their kind belong", said a KKK spokesman. "We don't need them soiling our sponge women. It's un-Godly." Meanwhile, the American Nazi Party has offered mixed praise for the show; while they don't approve of the rampant homosexual and Jungle Fever themes, they applaud the character of Squidward as being an accurate depiction of the typical evil Jewish overseer. Yikes. Guess I'll have to make Lucas watch more wholesome TV, like the quality, family-oriented shows on the Fox network.

Well, it's Friday, and I'm needing to get my lunch on. After that, four hours to freedom. I leave you with this, courtesy of Kurt, who really needs to do his own blog:

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hail to the Chief

Freedom is the new black. So Dubya would have us believe. I read a transcript of his inaugural address, and the word "freedom" was used 45,938 times. That's right. 45,938 times. Here is the closing passage from his address, taken directly from the transcripts:

"It's all about freedom. We love it. We need it. We shall spread it amongst the ass-backward heathen. We need them to love it and need it too. They need to love it like a crack mama loves the rock. When freedom spreads its sequined gossamer lovesexy wings around the globe all of our problems will be solved. We will cure cancer. We will figure out the Rubik's Cube. We will walk on the planet Pluto. We will all run naked under the Blazing Sun of Liberty, holding hands - well, the boys will hold the girls' hands, can't have two people of the same sex holding hands, can we - and signing "God Bless America" at the top of our ever-loving lungs. As the famous philosopher Sting so eloquently put it, If you LOOOOOVE somebody, set them free. Everyone say it with me now. Freedom. Freedom. You there in the front. I didn't hear you. Maybe you don't speak English. Guard, have that man shot. Now, my fellow Americans, I invite you to join me in taking a collective hit from the bong of liberty, and we'll venture forth to find some freedom fries to satiate our munchies."

Kind of an interesting speech, no? I think he's back on the sauce and the Columbian Marching Powder. (And if you think I'm kidding about the tone and wording of Bush's address, feel free to zip on over to and read the transcript. As is so often the case, he says a lot without saying much of anything.)

Needless to say, I'm a bit depressed over the whole thing. But although we tend to do stupid things like re-elect Bush, we humans do have our moments. (You may have to copy and paste this link, as my computer du jour is a piece de mierd.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

"Smell The Glove is here!"

Why I'm doing a mid-day entry when I'm up to my frakking (foreshadowing!) ears in work is anyone's guess. I can justify it by saying it's technically my lunch break (having forgotten to bring my lunch, I wandered down to the Caf and purchased a bowl of white bean and chorizo soup for a mere $2.95. To my surprise, it tastes almost, but not quite, entirely unlike chorizo.) and for a few glorious minutes I am free, unfettered by the constant demands of hiring managers and candidates. I was tempted to wander across the street to the Torrey Pines Golf Course and sneak in to watch the Buick Invitational. Yes, I work in a fantastic location. I'd like it even more if my office had windows.

TV Paradise is this evening - I believe we may even have a new (or as the hipster ad people at the WB say, a "fresh") "Smallville". "The West Wing" appears to be recovering from it's tailspin; Bartlet is a lame duck and is being pushed aside (a cruel thing to do to a guy with cerebral palsy, or whatever the hell disease the writers inflicted upon him - and us.) in favor of President Pimp Daddy J Smits and First Lady Focker. I fear for "Alias", especially as "24" ratcheted up the suspense a notch on Monday. "Lost" I'm not worried about.

Now if the execs at the SciFi Channel put "Battlestar Galactica" on Weds., I'm going to have serious issues.

I'd put it in my top three, behind "Deadwood" and "Lost". And it bears comparison to both. Like "Deadwood", it's a pretty grim twist on a cliched genre. Like "Lost", it has really interesting, well-rounded characters and enough surprises to keep you guessing. Even if you don't like sci-fi shows (and apart from this one, the rest of 'em are crap written for teenagers and adults who still live with their parents), it's great TV. Highly, highly recommend it.

Meanwhile, our girl Condi is now the Secretary of State. "The time for diplomacy is now", she brilliantly observed during her confirmation hearings. Actually, the time for diplomacy was "then", i.e., when Condi and her crew were lying to her fellow citizens and the rest of the world about Iraq. The time for APOLOGY is now. Watching Kerry, Biden and Boxer rake her over the coals was great, even if it was futile. Not much left to do now except watch the train go off the rails; the chaos that will be unleashed during the Iraqi "elections" is going to be fearful.

All righty then. back to work.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

New Link! Brilliant!

I've added Beth's blog to the Required Reading section. Check it out. I'm sure you're wondering who in their right mind would bear my child. Also there is a picture of me in all my nascent glory. And no, we did not give Lucas a Mohawk.

Back at work after a long weekend. Eli's wedding was nice; hung out with the husband of one of the bridesmaids while Beth did her matron of honor duties. Had the day off yesterday. Spent the morning hanging out with Lucas; he is a bundle of energy, a non-stop crawler and talker (now moving into the "yeller" phase, as he is learning that he can up the volume of his voice, which makes Mick the dog even more jumpy around him. Babies, apparently, are like American tourists abroad: they assume that if you don't understand the words that are coming out of their mouths, saying those words LOUDER will result in comprehension). Beth left work early and we went to UTC mall to do some much-needed shopping; for me, a new Ben Sherman shirt, black Rusty pants, and "ESPN NFL 2K5" for the Xbox. The weather is stunning, brilliantly sunny and warm (downside - my Mission Valley office, where I spend my Tuesdays and Thursdays, has a huge window that faces the sun, heating things up nicely. Note to self: short sleeves on those days, moving forward). By 9:00 last night I was done, too tired even to watch "24" (thank you, DVR). I'll classify that weekend as the Official End of The Holiday Season.

I'm feeling like a lethargic slug. Activity levels have dropped sharply over the past month (and damn you, creative team behind the new "Battlestar Galactica", for adding to my woes. For you have unleashed, behind "Lost", the best new show of the year, and I will be devoting space on tomorrow's entry to sing your praises and to convince those non-geeks that your show is definitely not geekfodder, but an intelligent, suspenseful, character-driven drama that deserves a wide audience. Jesus, I sound like Roger Ebert.) I'm going to hit the gym starting tomorrow.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Three hours and my four day weekend begins! I have MLK Day off, and took tomorrow off as we are heading up to L.A. for a wedding. Our friends Eli and Mark are getting hitched. Eli was Beth's maid of honor, and now Beth is reciprocating. (Eli is short for Elizabeth, by the way.)

"Lost" was excellent, back to form and providing a major WTF??? moment. I wasn't surprised when it was revealed that Boone and Shannon were actually step-siblings. Boone's subsequent hallucination opened up a whole new box of questions. The show seems to be back on headache-inducing course. "Alis" is still a concern (no mention of Rambaldi - looks like he's been put to rest - and Jack put the kabosh on Nadia's desire to whack Irina's killer - which means that Jack won't have to kill Nadia). Ah, Wednesday TV Night.

It's clouding up again, which does not bode well for surfing. I'm REALLY hoping to get back in the water on Monday morning. Found an excellent blog whose author relates:

And I'm officially sick of the zero-carb life. I daydreamed today of Texas Toast, that slab of toasted stale cheese-covered bread that is the jewel in Sizzler's crown. Texas Toast and my beloved Starbuck's grande vanilla mocha.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Jack Bauer for Homeland Security Director

Bush has nominated/appointed some guy by the name of Michael Chertoff to run, the Department of Homeland Security. Apparently his claim to fame is that he wasted a whole lot of taxplayer money as the GOP counsel on Whitewater. He has absolutely no experience running large organizations, nor does he have a background in intelligence. He does, however, sport the Arvin Sloane pseudo-beard, and is rather sinister looking. Bush should make him wear a black hooded robe to work.

I'd nominate my boy Jack Bauer. Despite the fact that he is a fictional character (a fact that did not dissuade people from electing Ronald Reagan, or George W. Bush), I believe he'd do a fine job. He's saved the U.S. from terrorist attacks 3 separate times, and each time it only took him 24 hours - very cost effective, especially if you pay him an hourly wage.

Miracle of miracles, it stopped raining. My satelite office, where I spend my Tuesdays and Thursday, was rife with ants when I arrived this morning. "It's because of the rain", the admin told me, and gave me a can of Raid. So I killed the ants that were swarming all over my keyboard and desk, and spent the better part of the morning getting high on Raid fumes.

I have this Friday off, and the following Monday to boot. My week is almost half over. Huzzah.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Notes from the Deluge

First, I need to flex the creative muscles a bit more. My disillusionment over the election has taken root. I wouldn't use the "spreading like a cancer" analogy, but I would liken it to finding a new "skin tag". So. I've trended towards a more holistic approach to the blog, less punditry, more personal, and hopefully more creativity. Hence an Actual Title for this entry, and the start of a new trend.

It's been pissing rain for the past four days. Unusual for San Diego. Everything is green, except the paved areas, and there's an inch of water covering everything including said paved areas. We are not used to this.

Certainly the Chargers were not used to it on Saturday, when they bowed out of the playoffs in an opening round loss to the Jets. Rookie kicker Nate Kaeding missed a 40 yard field goal in OT that would've won the game. The rain was a factor.

Beth and I were on a date that night, so we missed the end. We ate sushi and drank a lot of sake, then went to see "The Life Aquatic". (Lucas, meanwhile, remained at home with Melissa our nanny. I assume he did not watch the game.) I think I liked it more than Beth. It's a comedy, and just like Wes Anderson's other movies it's a bit sad as well. Plus there's a subtle tribute to one of the all-time great cult films, "Buckaroo Banzai". You'll know it when you see it.

Sunday was spent in pajamas. We watched "Troy" on DVD. It was not good. Homer's 10 year siege turns into a three week jaunt; literally, the Greeks land on the beaches of Troy, fight the Trojans over the course of three days, Achilles (spoiler, for those of you who slept through your freshman literature course in high school) kills Hector, gives the Trojans 12 days to mourn, during which the Greeks seemingly bail and leave behind the big wooden horse, at which point Beth turns to me and says "Didn't these guys (the Trojans) think to check INSIDE the big horse before dragging it into the middle of their city?" to which I think I replied "These are the people who invented the mullet." (Which, if you know your Greek history, is true.)

Friday, January 07, 2005

An hour till quittin' time. I'm in my office listening to Phish and coasting to the finish line. Massive amounts of paper-shuffling occurred this morning, and now my work is done.

There's no time to slack off for Richard Gere, though:

As with so many of you out there, I signed my waiver giving Richard Gere full authority to speak on my behalf, and I'm glad he's putting that power to good use.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

First off, as is tradition, much respect to reader Avalest, who dropped by with a comment yesterday. Check his trip at

Beth and I are riding the couch tonight. Must See TV is a pale shadow of its former self. Lucy Liu is on "Joey", fer crissake. Even Wednesday Kick Ass TV Orgy was a letdown. "Lost" was weak. Weak I say! Even with the gratuitous shot of Kate running around in her underwear. And "Alias" - I fear for "Alias". We're supposed to believe that the CIA has put Arvin Fucking Sloane in charge of a secret black ops unit? And Sydney, Vaughn, Jack, and Dixon (who killed Sloane's wife, and vice versa!) are working for him? We all know that "The West Wing" is shite these days. My world is collapsing around me.

Question: I'm on the laptop, and I have a Blackberry. Would the wireless Blackberry network interfere with the laptop's wireless connection? I was doing an entry earlier, and lost my connection at the same my Blackberry received an email. Zog not understand. Ugh. Ugh.

We are on day 2 of our return to the South Beach Diet. Every fiber of my being is shrieking for a Coke. A real Coke. A Vanilla Coke. With whipped creme on top. And add some maple syrup to that motherfucker while you're at it. Beth has harshly reminded me that we are, in fact, on day 4.5. We started on Tuesday. That makes it day 3.5. Our minds are slipping. We are sugar junkies looking for a fix, in the stupifying depths of withdrawal.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

ABC News (or so the good folks at would have us believe) gives much love to the bloggers, calling us the People of The Year. After all, We brought down that sodden lout Dan Rather, We stirred the cauldron of vitriol that was the Presidential election, and in recent days We have helped unite the world by providing pictures and info on the ghastly (I've run out of adjectives to describe the tsunami - in light of recent revelations that orphaned children who survived are being snatched up and sold into slavery, "nauseating" might be a good one) tsunami disaster and subsequent relief efforts.

So if bloggers are truly the People of The Year, we must crown our King. Allow me to introduce him:

"Dark Moti" sounds like a Star Wars villain, no? And who knew that Iceland was the hotbed of male models? See what you learn from the Blog-O-Sphere?

All that is insignificant compared to the Greatest. TV. Night. Ever. "Lost" and "Alias" back to back. "Smallville" and "The West Wing" cued up on the DVR (TiVo without the branding). It was not so long ago that I took up valuable bandwidth ranting about "important" things, like the election, the Iraq War, the future of our very civilization, blah blah blah. Who gives a rat's ass? What is the terrible secret Jack Bristow has kept hidden from Sydney?

Ok, lunch break is over. Back to work.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Addendum: Your comments are welcome, desired, longed for, and occasionally rewarded. Hence I offer a link to another good blog, penned by reader Jason who had good things to say about me.

Well, the awkward forced social encounter between The Families did occur on New Year's Day, and did not, as feared, result in me screaming and throwing kitchen knives at people. Apart from Larry (father-in-law) refusing to drink good wine from our "inferior" wine glasses (they are - gasp - tinted blue, and not clear, like a proper wine glass, and so Larry drank his vino out of a $2.00 Crate and Barrel milk glass that had a cow embossed on it but was, thankfully, see-through, the moral of this story being that you should not allow your in-laws to see the movie "Sideways") , there was no controversy. In the spirit of the holidays, everyone got along well. It was actually kind of nice. And in no way did it deter me from my intention of taking Beth and Lucas to Hawaii for the holidays next year. Mele Kalikimaka!

One more bit o'holiday fun, and we'll move on:

My distinction of being the only rabid Bush-hater in America who hasn't seen "Fahrenheit 9/11" ended yesterday. What better way to cap off a stressful holiday week than with a nice, relaxing movie about terrorist attacks, our twisted relationship with the Saudis, and the tragic war in Iraq.

I was surprisingly - and completely - underwhelmed. As a documentary, it's shoddy work, with half-truths and conjecture, all flash and no substance. As anti-Bush propaganda, it's only partially successful - Moore professes to empathize with a key subject of the movie, a grieving mother who's lost her son in the Iraq war, and yet one of the more shocking segments in the movie are the scenes of young soldiers talking about the "rush" of battle, going to war listening to heavy metal and gangsta rap piped through the speakers of their tanks and helicopters. Moore's intentions here are murky, but hint at painting these kids in the same "baby killer" vein as was the fashion during the Vietnam War. And vilifying Marine recruiters making their rounds through Moore's hometown of Flint, Michigan fails to take into account that in many cases, the military DOES offer a lot to kids who'd otherwise be jobless and homeless. Moore seems content to make Bush look like a bumbling spoiled rich idiot, hardly an original position even when the film was first released, and again points the finger at Big Corporations who are apparently the root of all evil on the planet. And, as is so often the case, too much of it is about Michael Moore. His funny narrations. His stunts, like driving around the Capitol while reading the Patriot Act over a loudspeaker. His ham-handed attempts to comfort the aforementioned grieving mother and her family. It's an amazingly shallow film.

My friend Ian has a theory about Whoppi Goldberg: everyone SAYS she's funny, but no one really believes it. Well, fellow left-leaners, it seems we have a new Emperor, and he's not wearing any clothes, and his initials are M.M.