29 November 2009

A "Big" Deal

Saturday a.m. we were watching the news -- it was CNN. They were just coming back from a commercial break and anchor T.J. Holmes looked seriously into the camera and intoned that, all night, they had been following "a big story that has everybody asking questions." What could that be, I wondered: A terrorist attack? The financial meltdown in Dubai? Perhaps a major plane crash? No, according to Holmes, the big story was that golfer Tiger Woods had been in a car accident -- and, it turns out, a fairly minor one, at that.

Okeh, having been in the business of news for over 30 years, I know there are slow news days, and that ratings are important, and commercial revenue is down. But, seriously, when is it a "big story" that someone -- anyone -- is in a minor car accident?

The phrase "big story" should be saved for something that is actually big: a hurricane, a senseless war where America's young are being slaughtered for cheap oil, health care reform.

But, a minor car accident? Involving a sports personality? Really?

Perhaps this is yet one more reason why Americans are turning away from network television news and getting their information via the internet -- where a story is judged "big" more by the audience than the news provider.

26 November 2009

It's True!

FlashForward is true! Here is a picture of me during my flashforward moment.

25 November 2009

It Was a Big Bang, Indeed

Long story short, we had been trying since, like, May, to get free audience tickets to a taping of "The Big Bang Theory" (pictured) at the Warner Brothers' studio in Burbank.

We love that show -- for many reasons: the writing, the character mix, the fact that the show makes "smart" look good. I love it for my own reason: that there are finally characters on television who are a lot like me. Yes, I mean smart and geeky. I am proud to be smart. I stopped apologizing years ago for being smarter than people around me. (For many years I actually played dumb to fit in. Then, I finally got fed up pretending to be stupid.)

Anyway, we had been trying to get these tickets online -- yet they literally disappear within minutes of becoming available. So I checked and checked and kept checking -- we even asked some friends in the industry to help out. Nothing.

But then, we finally got them and they were for the taping last night.

And it was good.

And life continues to be good.

Yes, being in the audience to see the taping of "The Big Bang Theory" is, like, one of the greatest things that could ever possibly happen.

It was the xmas episode. It features Leonard's mom (the totally awesome Christine Baranski). It is funny. (Like, duh!) We had a blast. We got pizza. We got chocolate. Could it have been any better?

Oh, wait: yes it could. We lingered after the taping and were able to meet and get autographs from nearly everyone in the cast (I am talking to you, Jim Parsons) including Chuck Lorre, the show's executive producer. And, yes, I even got a brief moment with Kaley Cuoco, the show's real star. She autographed our trip journal and added a little "heart" shape above her name. Wow!

After, we walked from the studio to the original Bob's Big Boy on Riverside in Toluca Lake and shared an original Bob's Big Boy hamburger, fries and a shake, then walked back to our hotel.

Yes, it is all true.

23 November 2009

It's Not Kanga and Roo

Yes, they are cute and might even be cuddly, but kangaroos can also be very dangerous. People are always amazed when I explain to them that kangaroos use their hind claws to attack and can eviscerate a human very easily. Well, here's a story of that very thing nearly happening -- with a near dog drowning thrown in for good measure. Lesson? Kangaroos are cute, but keep your distance.

22 November 2009

How It Happened....

Illustration by Matt.

Happy 15th!

It always amazes me when people (you know who you are) try to insist gay or lesbian relationships don't last -- I mean, like hetero relationships are great examples of longevity....

Well, to all you doubters and sayers of nay, allow me to proclaim that today marks the end of 15 years with my same-sex spouse and the beginning of year 16. So, until you doubting heteros have been together longer than we, do us all a favor and shut the fuck up.

Thank you.

:-* HBSP

20 November 2009

But the Dog Still Died

I wasn't planning on writing a blog entry today until I read this article about the asshole apartment owners in Huntington Beach, California, who evicted a woman because her companion dog weighed more than their new limit for pets. The apartment owners refused to follow the law (companion animals have to be accommodated). They were sued and lost, but the poor dog had to be euthanized because the owner could not find accommodations that allowed her.

How stupid are people? Not only are companion animals necessary to their owners, they are some of the best trained animals around. If I owned an apartment complex I would put wording in the advert encouraging people with companion animals to come live here.

Seriously. $300,000 is not enough. They should have been sued for much more.

17 November 2009

The Other Side of Downtown

You know we recently returned from a super week in Los Angeles touring the great historic downtown. Today's Los Angeles Times has an article about another, less nice, aspect of downtown LA. You can read the article here.

14 November 2009

Social Networking = Danger

Sometime in the very near future something very bad is going to happen (probably to the computer infrastructure or internet or something) that will be directly related to either Facebook or Twitter.

13 November 2009

Seal of Approval

NPR today had a fascinating interview with wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen which was interesting just on the face of it, but became really intriguing when he began detailing his encounter with a leopard seal who was trying to teach him how to catch penguins! It's so sweet.

Here is this giant, lumbering seal who thinks Nicklen needs help catching dinner, so she keeps bringing him penguins (pictured) and wondering why he doesn't eat! The photograph is cool, but hearing him tell about the encounter is even cooler.

You can hear the interview, and see more of his photographs here.

05 November 2009

The Case of the Incredible Shrinking Toilet Tissue

Let's talk toilet tissue.

We've been using Quilted Northern for a number of years (that's not necessarily an endorsement, FTC) and today opened up a new package. Much to my surprise, out came a roll with sheets that are narrower than they used to be (see photograph). In fact, they are exactly .25" narrower. (The cardboard roll in the picture is from our last roll of the old toilet tissue.) What's up with that?

I could take the fact that ice cream containers are no longer half gallon sized, or that certain potato chip makers (you know who you are) are now putting fewer chips in each bag, but I put my foot down when the toilet paper makers try to short sheet me. I mean, really. There are limits to product down sizing.

03 November 2009

The Pieces of Others

Do you know what the Stasi was? It was the East German secret police who, in the tradition of all communist / fascist regimes, tormented its populace.

Now, nearly 20 years after the two Germanys were rejoined, a group of people are trying to piece together the shredded, burned and otherwise damaged files of people persecuted, tortured and killed by the Stasi.

You can read more about the effort here.

If you want to see a movie about the persecution in East Germany, I suggest the excellent "The Lives of Others" which won a much-deserved Oscar and a butt-load of other awards because it is, like, one of the best movies of the millennium.

01 November 2009

When is Bird Poo Not Bird Poo?

Growing up in Phoenix in the 1960s, I would see hundreds and hundreds of butterflies in our backyard. Fast-forward to the new millennium and we see very few butterflies in Phoenix. I still see them, but they number in the dozens, not hundreds.

Today, for the first time in many years, I saw on our tangelo tree the same kind of caterpillar (pictured) I used to see on the citrus trees in our backyard when I was a kid. I think it is the caterpillar of the giant swallowtail. Isn't it neat? Looks just like a strip of bird poo. Evolution has afforded this little bugger a safe haven by disguising it as poo. Who would want to eat poo?

You can read more about the giant swallowtail butterfly here.