Sunday, December 31, 2006

More Xmas 2006 Pics (a)

A couple more Xmas pics to close out 2006. I'm not saying our three dogs are spoiled rotten, but they each have their own Christmas stocking. Alas, the concept of "each dog opens his own stocking" is lost upon them.

More Xmas 2006 Pics (b)

Jason, Whitney, and Preacher came over and opened presents with us on Christmas morning.

More Xmas 2006 Pics (c)

A nice photo of Jason and Preacher. Preacher is a huge pit/lab mix, but he's a lover, not a fighter. He wandered in to the towing company a year ago, bedraggled and cut up from apparently coming out on the losing end of a dogfight. He thinks his new life with Jason and Whitney is much better.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas at the Ludwigs -2006 (a)

2006 Christmas Day festivities at our house. 14 people and four dogs. The kids were extremely well-behaved the entire day. The dogs were reasonably well-behaved, except for Huxley and Jynx who got into a rip-roaring fight while opening their gifts, leaving a gash in Liz's arm.

Christmas at the Ludwigs -2006 (b)

Many thanks to everyone who came. Special kudos to all the cooks; the food was excellent! Lots more pics available. If I get ambitious, I'll post them on a stand-alone blog; but don't hold your breath. BTW, in the above pic, Bill is NOT poking his eyes out on the candles in the centerpiece. :-)

Monday, December 18, 2006

This week I read...

Rating : B- . A sequel in a prequel to Frank Herbert's "Dune" Trilogy. Written by his son Brian, and Kevin Anderson. Tell me, how do two authors write one story? Does one of them write the nouns, and the other one the verbs? Methinks Brian Herbert is here mostly so the family name is on the cover. As in any prequel, the main raison d'etre for this book is to line up everything for the original Dune episode. But the basic plot is the overused "humans versus machines" line. Gee, where have we seen that before? Terminator, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and so on. Is it now politically incorrect to slay any living beings? Can't anyone come up with a storyline that doesn't involve the evils of Artificial Intelligence? Literature-wise, this is "Dune Lite". Which is not necessarily a bad thing. "Dune" was an awesome book, but "Dune Messiah" and "Children Of Dune" were each a new level of tediousness and obscurity compared to their predecessors. Reading "CoD" was (for me at least) more of a labor than a pleasure. This decline in quality seems to be inherent in Trilogies. "Clan of the Cave Bear" is a masterpiece, interweaving a captivating storyline with a bunch of great archaeology. But its sequels go downhill quickly. "Valley of Horses" slowed to a crawl, and "The Mammoth Hunters" is nothing more than a 600-page Harlequin Romance set in caveman times. Pee-Yoo! And don't even get me started about Robert Jordan's "Dragon Reborn" series. We're on what, Book 11 now? And the plot hasn't progressed one bit since about Book 5. (But I will still buy and read the newest one - out just in time for Christmas). But back to Dune Battle of Corrin. Overall, it keeps one's interest despite the trite storyline. Papa Herbert's chapter-beginning quotes are better (and of course, more esoteric), but at least there's less mysticism and more action in DBoC. And none of the characters (including the Bots) are the essence of pure evil and/or pure good. So we'll give it a B-, and go dust-off and re-read Dune.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tribute To John Bolton

The promised song. Dedicated to that paragon of diplomacy and tact, and to be sung to the tune of "(The Wreck of) The Sloop John B", Beach Boys-style. "Oh I am the dupe John B, The preznit appointed me, Around UN Plaza I did roam; Spewing my spite, Prepared for a fight, (oh yeah) But I feel I screwed up, I wanna go home. So hoist up old John B's rear, See how the people all jeer, Call me a loser and more, let me go home; I wanna go home, Why don't you let me go home (oh yeah), I feel I screwed up, I wanna go home. All the UN, they hate my guts, They think I'm an ignorant putz, Cuz I wanna pack up their bags and send them all home; Dubya, I tried, Please don't cast me aside, (oh no) I feel I screwed up, I wanna go home. So hoist up old John B's rear, See how the people all jeer, Call me a butt-hole and more, let me go home; I wanna go home, Why don't you let me go home (oh yeah), I feel I screwed up, I wanna go home. Well the Congress got in a funk, They said the preznit's strategy stunk, Cuz he gave me the job after all of them had gone home; Senator Reid, He says I'll never succeed (oh no), I feel I screwed up, I wanna go home. So hoist up old John B's rear, See how the people all cheer, Call me a whack-job and more, let me go home; I wanna go home, Why don't you let me go home (oh yeah) This is the worst trip I've ever been on. (Repeat chorus)

UN Reaction

How the UN felt about my song to John Bolton...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Preparations (01)

Decorating for Christmas is divided 50:50 at our house. Liz spends 50 hours (literally) making sure that every square foot of the house (plus the back porch) has some sort of holiday decor. And I spend 50 minutes putting up a couple strands of lights outside on the front of the house, in "minimalist" fashion. The weeklong (for Liz) ritual ends with the putting up of the Christmas tree. Jason comes over and helps her decorate it. And Jynx stays out of the way (kinda) by staking out his territory under the tree.

Christmas Preparations (02)

And Honeybee and Huxley provide moral support by watching the tree-decorating from the nearby rocking chair.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bye Bye Bolton...

Another bozo leaves the Dubnutz regime. John Bolton stands out as a shining pile of sh*t even among all the other turd blossoms (Rove, Cheney, Wolfowicz, etc.). Dubnutz sent this idiot to the UN by means of some crafty maneuvering, knowing that even the Republican congress had serious misgivings about him. Now, with the Democrats coming to power in January, there's no chance at all that Bolton will ever get approved. We'll dedicate a song to this right-wing nut job. I'll post it shortly; I've still got a couple rhyming schemes to smooth out. The song I'm tweaking is... well, it should be obvious. Let's just say its a tune that both the Beach Boys and The Kingston Trio covered. Bye bye, Bolton. You won't be missed.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Culture Weekend

Most of the time, when I come into contact with culture, I treat it with penicillin until it goes away. But this past weekend, we actually (and willfully) went to see a play - a musical no less - at the Orpheum Theater. It was quite good. Of course, it helped that we had killer seats (Thanks, John & Jeri!) - 2nd Row, Center Stage. I could've spit into the orchestra pit, but Liz told me not to. No photography was allowed, so the above playbill cover will have to do. I won't rate it, because I'm prejudiced against musicals in general; to the point of where I sometimes embarrass Jason & Liz. This coming Friday, we're going to see André Rieu. More culture. Stay tuned.