Monthly Archives: February 2007

100 Years Ago

My mother’s father would have been 100 years old today. On February 28, 1907, my grandfather was born in a small town in Romania/Transylvania called Varalmas. (aka AlmaÅŸu Mare)

varalmas.jpg

Latitude: 46.950
Longitude: 23.133

(These numbers are taken from the website above. Add the digits together, and you get 36. Admittedly, some take longitude to a few more decimal places. But as long as you take it to 6 (or a multiple of 6) more decimal places, the sum is still a multiple of 18)

I have many fond memories of my grandfather.

* He taught me how to bowl. As some of you know, I don’t bowl extraordinarily well. That isn’t his fault. I recall him bowling over 200.

* He was always interested in new technology. In 1982 he bought me, my siblings, and my parents our first computer. A Commodore 64. Ironically (oh, yes, I’m pretty sure this is ironic) I was very loyal to the Commodore, and I swore at that time I would never own an Apple.

* He exercised by jogging around his basement, and always insisted on shoveling his own driveway during the winter — with a cast iron shovel. I have two ten-pound weights of his, which he used much more than I have.

* I remember eating waffles for dinner at my grandparents’ house, and he was the one who cooked them. I loved the idea of waffles for dinner. (He also had a Presto Sandwich maker, which I thought was cool. My mom made sandwiches in a toaster oven.)

* I’m told by my Mom, as a young man in Chicago, at Fort Sheridan, he served in the ‘Cavalry‘ in its final days. He had a cavalry sword engraved with a Star of David. After WWII he retired from the Air Force at the rank of Lt. Col.

update: For the numerologically inclined, you will note in the map above there is a highway (or whatever the Romanian term) near Varalmas. It happens to be numbered E60. You know how 64 becomes 40 when you crossover from Illinois to Missouri? Well if you follow E60 west over the Hungary (Magyarorszag) border and zoom in you will notice that E60 becomes 42. Cool? Yes, I know there are millions of numbers that I come into contact with every day, and I just make note of the numbers when they mean something to me.

Just statistics

I actually thought the Documentary on the Discovery Channel about the alleged coffin of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, their son, and a few other family members would be based on more than statistics. But According to the Discovery Channel website.

All leading epigraphers agree about the inscriptions. All archaeologists confirm the nature of the find. It comes down to a matter of statistics. A statistical study commissioned by the broadcasters (Discovery Channel/Vision Canada/C4 UK) concludes that the probability factor is 600 to 1 in favor of this tomb being the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and his family.

So, yes, the inscriptions are real, and the coffins may date to the right era. That they are Christianity’s “First Family” is entirely a matter of statistics.

I showed a few weeks ago that according to one site, statistically speaking, Drew Barrymore doesn’t exist.

I wouldn’t want to be involved in the production of this ‘documentary’. Without more than statistics to offer, there’s no good reason to air it.

On This Day…

1802 Author Victor Hugo was born in Besancon, France.

1815 Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from the island of Elba to begin his second conquest of France.

1846 Frontiersman-turned-showman William F. ”Buffalo Bill” Cody was born in Scott County, Iowa.

1848 The Second French Republic was proclaimed.

1929 President Calvin Coolidge signed a measure establishing Grand Teton National Park.

1932 Country musician Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, Ark.

1951 The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting a president to two terms of office, was ratified.

1952 Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed its own atomic bomb.

1987 The Tower Commission issued its report on the Iran-Contra affair, rebuking President Ronald Reagan for failing to control his national security staff.

1993 A bomb built by Islamic extremists exploded in the parking garage of New York City’s World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000.

And I know at least one or two people I know might be excited to learn that today is Marshall Faulk’s birthday.

On This Day…

1802 Author Victor Hugo was born in Besancon, France.

1815 Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from the island of Elba to begin his second conquest of France.

1846 Frontiersman-turned-showman William F. ”Buffalo Bill” Cody was born in Scott County, Iowa.

1848 The Second French Republic was proclaimed.

1929 President Calvin Coolidge signed a measure establishing Grand Teton National Park.

1932 Country musician Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, Ark.

1951 The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting a president to two terms of office, was ratified.

1952 Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed its own atomic bomb.

1987 The Tower Commission issued its report on the Iran-Contra affair, rebuking President Ronald Reagan for failing to control his national security staff.

1993 A bomb built by Islamic extremists exploded in the parking garage of New York City’s World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000.

And I know at least one or two people I know might be excited to learn that today is Marshall Faulk’s birthday.

Official Language

Got another email from the American Family Association. This time their crusade is to make English the “Official Language” of the US. I had a discussion with a friend the other weekend about this.

Let’s quote the AFA email:

A Zogby poll last year showed that 84% say English should be the official language of government operations. The poll also showed that 77% of Hispanics support English as our official language.

It is time for liberal members of Congress to quit playing politics with the future of all children –U.S. and Immigrant–and follow the lead of 28 states which have made English their official language. Failure for Congress to act will establish a major obstacle for immigrant children as they try to move up in our society.

Without a common language, citizens cannot communicate with each other. Any child growing up in America without knowing English is at a distinct disadvantage. At a time when our society is becoming more fragmented, we need an official, common language. Diverse cultures, different backgrounds and varied traditions enrich our culture. But for the nation to thrive, we must have a common language.

1) The Zogby poll didn’t find out how many of the 84% knew what making English our official language meant.

2) I agree that American children need to be taught English.

3) However, making English the official language of all government documents — which is what they want — affects adults as well as children. The US welcomes into our borders legal refugees every year. Adults. Refugees don’t have time to spend a few years learning our language before they arrive. By definition they are escaping something. Do we really want to force them to learn our language before they can sign any government document?

How quickly could you learn a new language?

4) We can require that New American children be taught English as a Second Language; we can provide every encouragement to the adults to learn our language. But until that point, not to provide documents in their native language they can understand is cruel.

Those who want this, in my mind, really would like the US to close our borders to refugees entirely, but don’t really want to say that. Because they know it goes against what America has stood for for centuries. (Give us your hungry, your poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.) Or they’re not thinking through what it means to accept refugees into our nation.

I should have thought of this sooner

All the nominated Short films (as well as a lot of other Short Films) are available for download off of ITunes. They are $1.99 each. Considering I purchased my copy of West Bank Story off of the website a year ago for $20, that’s a bargain. (Of course, I have a DVD and a DVD box.)

Other Academy Award Notes

I have some friends who tell me they hate Ellen Degeneres’s humor, but I actually stood up and applauded one of her jokes in the opening monologue. The one about Blacks, Gays, and Jews. And I was laughing at a few of the other ones as well. (Such as the one contrasting Hudson with Al Gore)

I like how the skit on how a comedian’s the saddest person on Oscar night was only a few minutes before West Bank Story won.

Just as an indication on how little I knew anything when making my predictions several days ago….I thought the Hudson who was nominated was the daughter of Goldie Hawn. I had no idea she was on American Idol three years ago. I did watch the Barbara Walters pre-special tho, and that’s where I found out my error.

What’s up with “Frodo?” Am I missing something? (I saw the word scroll across the bottom of the screen as a few nominations were presented. The only connection in my mind is with Lord of the Rings which of course has nothing to do with any nominee this year.)

Little Miss Sunshine wins Alan Arkin Best Supporting Actor.

Not having seen An Inconvenient Truth, I didn’t know it had a theme song.
Not a big Melissa Etheridge fan.

So will giving Gore 30 seconds to speak about Global Warming and how the Academy has gone Green be their compensation for giving the Documentary award to someone else?

The writing-montage was an accurate portrayal of the writing process.

I like how they showed the scenes over the scripts for the Adapted Screenplay. And how the last one showed clearly how directors sometimes ignore the screenplay. (The ‘slug’ described a character in a tight t-shirt, and the actress was not wearing a tight t-shirt.)

The Hudson-who-is-not-Goldie-Hawn’s daughter won Best Supporting Actress.
Is anyone keeping track of how well the losers of American Idol do in comparison to the winners?
I’m sure they are. I’m not, because I don’t watch it.
But I did buy William Hung’s CD. Should I admit that?

So…Gore did win. Or…should I say…Guggenheim.
“The will to act is a renewable resource. Let’s renew it.” He should run for President.
Oh, right.

Jerry Seinfeld wasn’t very funny. I suspect some people will comment on the elitism involved in his joke about it not being his job to throw the food he eats in theaters away. My parents raised me to clean up after myself. It’s the theater employee’s job to clean up the floor of any food that has been spilled…but you’re not supposed to leave your trash behind. The one saving grace of the joke is that I don’t think anyone will disagree that the prices for the food are outrageous. And yes, it’s a joke, so he’s not ‘serious’, but it’s predicated on the belief that it is someone else’s job to pick up your trash.

Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire walk on stage to Spider-man theme music. I don’t get it. 😉

Once again…a film doesn’t match the screenplay. The Queen has no cup to drop.

Little Miss Sunshine won Best Original Screenplay! The Academy is giving comedy it’s due!

With three out of the five original songs, the odds were in favor of Dreamgirls. I was rooting for Randy Newman’s Cars.
Neither the odds, nor I, were correct. Etheridge won.

The ‘clips’ from Little Miss Sunshine – in my opinion – were poorly chosen, and showed too much.

Well…since they’ve just awarded Best Picture…and I’m tired…I guess it’s time for me to depart (rimshot)