Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Important News re:Adoption

Amy and I are in the process of adopting a baby girl from China. We had a surprise in the mail today (not the baby). We received our I-171 aka I-797 the document giving us permission to bring a child into the United States. You can read all about our adoption journey here, just click on the title of this post.

Casting Crowns

I posted this video once before. Driving home tonight I heard the song on the radio and decided it was time to offer it again. Casting Crowns is awesome at writing songs that make you think about yourself and how YOU represent God to others.

Thursday 13 - A Tribute to Jimmy Buffett

Thirteen Things about Michael

Thirteen of my favorite songs by the greatest combined singer/songwriter/author/pilot/environmentalist/former drug-smuggler of all time.

Tampico Trauma

Death of an Unpopular Poet (based on Hemingway)

The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful

He Went to Paris

Pascagula Run

Frenchman For the Night

Mexico (remake of the James Taylor hit)

In The City

Ballad of Skip Wiley (based on Carl Hiassen's Tourist Season)

Little Miss Magic

Love in the Library

If the Phone Doesn't Ring, it's Me

Trip Around the Sun (with Martina McBride)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Natural Wonder Where I Grew Up

My family moved to Georgia from Pennsylvania whenI was 11 years old. We lived in the suburb of Stone Mountain which is named after a 500+ foot dome of granite that sticks out of the ground about 25 miles east of downtown Atlanta. In the early part of the 20th century the largest bass-relief sculpture in the world was carved into the flat face of the mountain featuring Confederate States of America Generals Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and CSA President Jefferson Davis.

The rock is now surrounded by a privately-owned park that includes a lake, golf courses, retreat center, historic displays, recreational areas, and it hosted the speed cycling events in a velodrome built specifically for the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Each summer a laser and light show is presented on the face of the mountain that includes fireworks and music. It's a definite place to see if you visit Atlanta.

Tuesday Ten - 10 Things I would do if I was younger

1. Take better care of myself physically.

2. Focus more on an educational path that would lead to a better career.

3. Travel as much as possible.

4. Spend more time with my grandparents, especially trying to get to know my maternal grandfather who I only remember meeting one time.

5. Learn Spanish instead of German.

6. Be better with money, especially through the college years.

7. Pursue dating earlier than I started (about 24-26).

8. Invest in Google at their IPO.

9. Stick with football more than one year in high school.

10. Enlist in the military, assuming I had taken better care of myself and could pass the physical requirements.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I got tagged.

My wife tagged me this morning, meaning in the blogging world that she wants me to write a post with 10 odd things about myself, and I should then tag 10 people to do the same, without retagging any of the ones she did. She later let me off from the tagging others as I honestly don't know that many others especially since she tagged a few of the ones I know, but here goes.....

1. When I was 10 or 11 years old I was waiting in the parking lot of a body shop while mom was inside and I started throwing rocks at some junk. I eventuallt put one through a window and it hit a car inside the garage causing damage we had to pay for.

2. I like the smell of whatever it is that accumulates in my navel.

3. I like to eat a pot of seashell pasta with margarine and parmesean cheese mixed with a can of corn.

4. At an all-you-can-eat wing night at Gators Dockside in Orlando I put down 66 wings once. it's 18 for the first order and then 8 piece refills.

5. I once planned to be a high school English teacher.

6. I once belonged to the Debbie Gibson International Fan Club. I still have a membership card. I have met her four times over the years, and one of my groomsmen was a guy I met through being a member of the club.

7. The youth minister who lead me back into a relationship with Christ was engaged to and has since married a Hooters girl who was featured in their calendar in 1990. She no longer works for Hooters.

8. I would love to be a NASCAR driver or professional wrestler.

9. I once emitted very loud flatulance during a prayer at a youth camp group assembly.

10. To release aggression I like to bowl. I have not bowledin about 2 years, so either I have mellowed or I have a lot of pent up aggression waiting to be vented.

Neighborhood Drama

So it's about 6:15pm here and we just came back in the house after watching some form of drama unfold at the house next door. We don't know the details, but it started with fire rescue and a fire engine appearing outside. Next came the police and an ambulance. Eventually a small toddler was carried out and placed on a stretcher and loaded into the ambulance as a helicopter circled and landed nearby to take the baby away.

This is all a little weird as the house next to ours has been vacant for just over two years as the owner was trying to sell it after his last renter died in the house. Also, we;re told that a few years before we moved in, a child fell into a pool at the house across the street and one more lot down from us.

We knew people were moving in next to us about a month ago, and we are a bit confused as there are often up to 4 cars and a mixture of kids and adults coming and going. We've seen a 10-12 year old looking Hispanic boy, an adult Hispanic woman, and an adult white male, none of whom have responded much to our attempts to be sociable. A neighbor thinks there may be as many as seven people living there.

I guess the strangest thing is that no one at the house seemed in any form of panic regarding the injured toddler. An EMT told me the child had fallen but said if we wanted any more details we needed to talk to the family.

On the plus side, we got to talk to our neighbors Dave and Holly and see their kids, Brett and Reagan (who at 16 months has awesome blue/gray eyes).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Friday Flashback - And now for the Weather.....

I actually saw Expose in concert in the winter of 1990 when Georgia State University booked them with Tone Loc for a homecoming concert. (Without a football program they did homecoming based on basketball) It wasn't great, but it was free or cheap. Anyway, in honor of the coming Spring and the daily fluctuations of highs in the 40's to highs in the 70's here in Atlanta, I give you Expose with "Seasons Change."

Cool News for fans of Disney Cruises!

Disney Cruise Line plans big expansion
The small but successful Disney Cruise Line today ordered two massive new ships in a move that will more than double its passenger capacity.

Disney CEO Bob Iger says the company has contracted with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, to build the 2,500-passenger vessels, scheduled to launch in 2011 and 2012. At 122,000 tons, the ships will be nearly 50% larger than the line's two existing 1,750-passenger ships, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.

"Disney Cruise Line has been a huge success for our guests and for our shareholders alike," Iger said in a statement that accompanied the annoucement. "It has brought our unparalleled family vacation experience to the high seas, and has also generated high margins and double digit returns on invested capital. We’re excited to announce the expansion of our fleet, which is a logical next step in what is a real growth business for us."

Disney played a critical role in creating the family market within the cruise industry when it debuted its first two ships in 1998 and 1999, but it never followed up with additional vessels. Those early ships were purpose built for families and boasted such innovative features as an entire deck dedicated to children's activities and an adults-only entertainment area for parents who wanted some alone time.

Disney says that like its current ships, the as-yet-unnamed newcomers will be a modern interpretation of classic ocean liners of the 1930s. But the company is mum on specifics for the design and itineraries.

The nine-year-old line has primarily offered trips in the Caribbean until now but has recently begun branching out. This summer it'll offer its first cruises in Europe aboard the Disney Magic. Disney has said the European trips have sold faster and at higher prices than its Caribbean offerings, a sign that there is strong demand for additional itineraries.

Cruise Loggers, tell us what you think about Disney's announcement HERE. Have you sailed on a Disney ship? What did you like about it and what should the line do differently?

Computer rendering of new Disney ships courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Friday Flashback -Overdramatic Videos

Well boys and girls, the video posting is fixed as I realized that YouTube needed to be updated since I switched to Blogger-Beta. So, a day late, we have the Friday Flashback of two great songs, cool videos, and overdramatic performances, granted, Ozzy couldn't help it as he was obviously stoned!

Lita Ford featuring Ozzy Osbourne - "Close my Eyes Forever"

Chris Deburgh (yes the guy who sang Lady in Red) - "Don't Pay the Ferryman"

Friday, February 16, 2007

Just wanna mention

I dod not neglect to do a Friday Flashback today, it's just YouTube taking their sweet time with my video posts. They say it will appear shortly, that was about 19 hours ago.

I went to the gym today and I am down 5 and a half pounds since two weeks ago!

I watched disc 3 of season 4 of 24 tonight, yep 3 hours running time with the commercials taken out on the DVD, and dang, Miss Dressler. Sec Def says "Do you know her?" I just died laughing.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Thursday 13 - Female Country Stars

Thirteen Things about Michael - Lover of Amy

My Thirteen Favorite Female Country Singers (in no order)

Sara Evans

Shania Twain

Trisha Yearwood

Gretchen Wilson

Martie Maguire of The Dixie Chicks

Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland

Martina McBride

LeAnn Rimes

Sherrie Austin

Carrie Underwood

Deanna Carter

Dolly Parton

Faith Hill

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What the... ?!?!?!

So it's about 5:25 am and I decide to get online, check email and see what the news/weather is for the day. I am not a big supporter of the "global warming" crisis that many environmentally passionate people seem to be, but I will say this.

Something is wrong when on February 13, in Atlanta, the high is expected to be 68 degrees. We have rain (thunderstorms) soming this afternoon and that system will facilitate the correction in temp as tomorrow it is supposed to be a high of 42. That's more appropriate for this time of the year, but a 30 degree swing in one day is gonna make me feel like I'm on the Texas Hold-em tournament roller coaster!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Okay, so one is a twit

Okay now, since everyone has an opinion, here are my thoughts.

I am really surprised that the NARAS voters decided to shower the Dixie Chicks with so many high honors at last night's Grammy Awards.

It became obvious that radio play and commercial success was not a major determinating factor for the voters with the very first award given - pop/rock collaboration with vocals that was given to Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett, haven't heard that one on ANY radio station, and I surf the radio dial faster than I surf the cable offerings. I really expected that award to go to Shakira and Wyclef.

So let's talk about the Dixie Chicks.

As most of you know, back in 1993, on the eve of the United States invasion of Iraq, the Dixie Chicks were performing in England, and lead-singer Natalie Maines made a comment from the stage that as a Texan, she was ashamed because President Bush is also from Texas. This lead to about a year of media focus marked highest by the virtual banishment of Dixie Chicks airplay on country stations in the USA and a public exchange of barbs with country music's most polittically incorrect patriot, Toby Keith.

The Chicks went back to the studio in 2005 and released their first post-controversy album late in 2005 or early 2006. This is the album that won them so many awards last night. The albums lyrics are thought-provoking and semi-biographical revealing a bit of the life they have had since the statement in England. They have received death threats and most people expected their careers were over.

Here's the Problem

The women in this band are very talented. They had experienced tremendous success before the incident in England because they had talent, musically and vocally and they were very marketable. The comments made by Natlie that night only changed one thing, their marketability due to the closed-minded response from the radio industry in the United States. What remains true is that these ladies sing very well and have a great support system of writers and producers to help them. The end result is an evening likr last night. They were recognized by their peers for the work that they do, even more notable considering the adversity they have faced since 2003.

The One Negative

Natalie Maines is a bit of a twit. She felt some need to try to make light of their situation every time they were on the stage instead of simply thanking the people who made her award possible. She was not funny, and even commented on that herself. She made herself look much more dub last night than any ultra-conservative could have pinned her for back in '03.

And Finally the Fashion Thing

Their outfits when they performed were pretty bad, Natalie looked great from the neck up, but the white dress with the double row of ruffles was kinda atrocious, and the one sister who plays banjo and guitar looked like she was cut from Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love video tryouts. Their seated dresses were much better.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Questions from my workplace

In the spirit of Bill Engvall's "Here's Your Sign" routines, I feel I should tell you all about some of the questions I have faced while working in the food and retail industries.

From my days at Family Christian Stores:

Do you have the 1609AD King James on tape? (Thou shouldst looketh elsewhereth).

Do you have a copy of the Quran? (at the CHRISTIAN bookstore)

From working at Chick-fil-a:

Where are your Market Fresh Sandwiches? (they would be at Arby's, at the next intersection north of us)

What's the difference between a 3 piece and 4 piece order of chick-n-minis? (she was refering to the price, but the question as asked had us thinking, um, one?)

How big is your buritto? (asked of a guy with a dirty mind, the actual answer was "Ma'am, it's about 6 inches long, an inch and a half in diameter and is filled with your choice of meat).

Can I get a diet tea?

and it's relative

Can I get an unsweetened tea with no sugar in it?

Can I get a sausage ina biscuit?
(apparently a southern thing where they want to say they want a sausage biscuit, but have to add the word ina)

Can I get a 6-piece order of McNuggets? (sure, at McDonald's)

Can I get a number 5 combo? (our response, would you like the 8-piece or 12-piece order of nuggets?) Their response - 10.

Do you have some kind of chicken sandwich?
- (I honestly thought he was putting me on. I asked him if that was the case and we eventually determined he had intended to include the word "salad" between chicken and sandwich.)

The other day we had this one...

I'd like a number 1 combo with a coke and a slice of key lime pie. (the important thing here is we do not now and never have sold key lime pie, I mean, I'd like a slice of key lime pie too, but I know I have to go to Publix for that).

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Friday Flashback - MONSTER Jams

Okay boys and girls, get ready to cover your eyes! It's a look back at videos from the 80's that featured monsters, visits coming from Frankenstein, Dracula, Bride of Frankenstein, Huey Lewistein, some zombie wedding partiers, and a celeb cameo montage with Ray Parker, Jr.'s smash from Ghostbusters!

Huey Lewis & The News - Doin' It (All For My Baby)

Greg Kihn ~ Jeopardy

Ray Parker Ghostbusters

Shenna Easton Telephone

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Thirteen Things about Michael

My Favorite Professional Wrestlers

1…. Sean Michaels

2. Bret "Hitman" Hart

3. The Undertaker

4. "The Game" HHH - Hunter Hearst Helmsley

5/6. The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy)

7. John Cena

8/9. The APA (Acolyltes Protection Agency) Farooq and Bradshaw

10. The Ultimate Warrior

11. Mick Foley (Mankind, Dude Love, Cactus Jack)

12. Chris Jericho

13. Hulk Hogan

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wordless Wednesday #4 - The Shades Make the Man

Okay, it's NOT about vanity, just a lack of ideas involving photos we had uploaded to the PC!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Coming Apocalypse

There have been signs over the years. When I worked for Family Christian Stores it was the release and inventory stock of CDs by gay American Idol reject RJ Helton and Kathie Lee Gifford. Today it is this news...

Van Halen will be touring in 40 cities for the Summer of 2007. It is not bad enough that Michael Anthony will NOT be touring as bass player - replaced by Eddie Van Halen and VAlerie Bertinelli's offspring Wolfgang Van Halen. The true sign of the coming end of the world is this...

David Lee Roth will be back with the band as the lead singer.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Friday Flashback - The Common Bond

It's not a popular opinion, but I have liked Roger Moore better than Sean Connery as 007. Of course more movies have been made with other Bonds since I started watching the films. I know I need to go back and watch them all sometime, and with the new DVD sets available, that might just happen. In the meantime, main themes from Bond movies of the 80's make this week's Friday Flashback.

Sheena Easton ~ For Your Eyes Only *80s RETRO*

Rita Coolidge - All Time High (Octopussy)

A-Ha - The Living Daylights

Duran Duran - View To A Kill