Monday, November 17, 2008

Book Review: The Collectors by David Baldacci

This is the second book in The Camel Club series by David Baldacci. There are two separate stories that merge into one. One is of a world class con who attempts to get revenge on the man who killed her mother. Also, the director of the Rare Books in the library of Congress is murdered. The Camel Club finds themselves involved in a huge conspiracy that only they can solve. The world class con also gets thrown into the mix to help and they must work together to survive.

This novel is a good continuation of the series that I have come to enjoy. I thought it was a nice mix of old and new characters. The addition of the con was entertaining. If you've read the first in the series The Camel Club you'll want to read this. There is also a third book Stone Coldand now a fourth in the series called Divine Justice. I will read all of these.

If you like conspiracies and spies you'll really like this series.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book Review: The Appeal by John Grisham

John Grisham delves into the legal system after a jury finds for a widow against a large company. She lost her husband and her son to their chemicals. The owner of the large company doesn't want to pay the damages so he comes up with a ingenious plan: to buy the appeals court by creating a new judge.

As a "constant reader" of John Grisham I was going to read this book no matter what. It is a little different than his other novels. The beginning makes you think of "The Rainmaker", but the rest of the book is new to Grisham readers. The dirty world of politics is on display, from campaigns to elections. Can someone create a new judge out of thin air? Will the company receive the justice they deserve?

I would say that this is an average Grisham novel. There are some twists and turns and an ending that I liked and that is surprising. If you are a Grisham fan or like novels on trials or politics this may be for you. "Politics has always been a dirty game. Now justice is, too."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Send Me Your Favorite Jack-o-Lantern Designs

I need your help. I'm having carver's block with my jack-o-lantern this year.

This is the first design that I did in '04 and '05. I was going for the big scary face. After two years I moved on.

In '06 I did this one. I turned the degree of difficulty up a little. The little kids seemed to really like the bat.

Last year I did the most difficult so far, "The Headless Horseman". I felt I had to throw in the bat again. It's all about the kids.

So, if there are any suggestions you could give me, I would greatly appreciate it. I am open to about anything, so bring it on. Maybe jack-o-lanterns you've done or others you have seen. You can send me pictures, patterns, or even your own description of great ideas. Thank you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Apologies to the Chinese Mafia

I was a little hungry this afternoon so I called for Chinese carry-out. Over the phone I gave the guy my usual order and he said his usual "Ten minute!" I wait a few minutes and then I'm off to get my sodium enriched goodies. Well, I wasn't at all prepared at what happened when I arrived at the Chinese restaurant. Note: I'm not mentioning the name of the Chinese restaurant to protect me and the others who could be harmed in any way [mostly kidding].

First when I pulled into the parking lot I knew things were going to be different. There were 5 Chinese gentleman in tuxedos standing and talking to each other outside of the Chinese restaurant. As I approached the restaurant one of the tuxedoed men slowly walked in my direction and stopped and proceeded to stare at me. I passed by him, but I didn't quit make it to the front door. A Chinese woman, who was wearing what looked like a prom dress, then bursts out of the restaurant door shouting at one of the dapper men outside. When she was done yelling I grabbed the door handle and was attempting to open the door to go inside. The man to which she was yelling, in the mean time, had jogged to the door and got in front of me and turned and said to me "This place is closed. We are having a private party." Man, this really burned me up! I mean no one gets between me and my shrimp fried rice and eggroll, especially a guy who weighed about a buck twenty. I held my composure, but I sternly said, "I have a carry-out order!" He then said, "Oh, I'll go see if it's ready, what is your name?" I told him and he closed the door in front of me. Unfriggin-believable.

So now I'm standing outside of this Chinese restaurant with 5 tuxedoed Chinese men looking at me as if I had delayed something very important to them. I avoided eye contact as much as possible because I think I watch too many movies and that is what they say to do. Anyway, I'm standing there for about a minute and finally the guy comes out of the restaurant and says, "It's ready". I thought that the weirdness was going to end. Boy, was I wrong!

As I opened the second door, which opened into the small foyer, I couldn't believe was I was friggin' seeing. There were about a dozen people in this tiny area all dressed up and getting their pictures taken. It turned out it was a wedding reception and I was suddenly thrown in the middle of it, literally. In order to make my way to the counter to get my food, I would have to walk between the photographer and his well-dressed subjects. I was thinking "You have got to be kidding me", am I on Candid Camera or maybe getting Punk'd? I wish.

My knowledge of the Chinese language or their culture doesn't exist so I had no idea what to do. I mean, if I walked in front of the photographer would I have caused an international incident? So being diplomatic, I stood there for about 30 seconds waiting before anyone realized that I was even there. The woman working at the restaurant waved me over. As I walked over to her, which was only fifteen feet, I could feel the daggers the people in the room's eyes were throwing my way. The woman behind the counter seemed to be pretty fed up that this was going on in her restaurant. I paid, grabbed the paper bag with my grub and then turned around. I then had deja vu. I was once again trying to get to the other side of this room, which meant to have to walk in between these people again. And again about 30 seconds go by and a woman in a pink dress said "Oh, you can go". As soon as I heard that I made a bee line for that door. I kept my head down and got the heck out of there. I quickly passed the tuxedoed men for the last time and got to my car without incident.

The whole thing felt like a deleted scene in "The Godfather" where some schmo crashes the big wedding and "the boys" don't like it at all and they take care of the problem. I'm not so sure that if I had said something to any of the those men that they wouldn't have given me more than a fortune cookie. I hope that they weren't packing and that they don't have itchy trigger fingers because while I was getting my food I saw that there was another carry-out order waiting to be picked up. I'm hoping that I don't read something in the paper about an incident tomorrow.

I'll order pizza next time.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Video of Jeff Probst on "Backchat" in 1995 with My Drawing

Back in 1995 a pretty animated Jeff Probst, you know the host of the reality show Survivor, hosted a show on fX called Backchat. Well, one the segments of the show was "Visual of the Day". These were photos or drawings that had something to do with the network fX or Backchat which were sent in by viewers. Well, one fateful day, you guess it, they chose the one drawing I submitted. Anyway, watch the video.

I will start off by saying that yes I know my drawing I did was pretty bad. I did it as a goof and I never thought it would be on the show. I did it with colored pencils in about 30 minutes. I thought that it was funny that they picked it and that Jeff Probst is now a household name. Notice the his hair back then too. Yikes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My visit to Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky

Ah, Waverly Hills Sanatorium. The hospital that housed tens of thousands of tuberculosis patients for decades (1920s-1960s). Reportedly over 60,000 patients died here. I have always wanted to visit this place. I live less than an hour away. I was excited that I was finally going to go see the place in person. I do have to say that my flashlight went dead after only three minutes in the main building. I later checked the batteries and they were fine. It is the flashlight itself that no longer works. [enter scary music]

Outside Room 502 where a nurse hung herself or was hung back in the 1930s. Also another nurse jumped or was pushed from the window in Room 502 to her death. There are supposedly incidences of people now getting sick after being in this room. Definitely one of the most popular sites on the property.

There is a lot of graffiti on every floor. I wish these white spots on some of my photos were orbs, but alas they are not. They are just dust. Unfortunately, we didn't see anything paranormal.

The above photo is of "The Death Tunnel". This is right outside the main building where the corpses were taken from the building to the awaiting hearses at the bottom of the hill. A ramp on one side and stairs on the other. The stairs were for the employees and the ramp was for the deceased.

I was so glad to be able to go. it is a shame that no one saw or heard anything really unique. I would like to go again soon. Especially before it is turned into a hotel.

Below is the video of The Ghost Hunters when they traveled to Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky a few years ago when they found something strange.

For all of the pics, go to here

Friday, September 19, 2008

2008 Ryder Cup Practice Round at Valhalla

I was fortunate enough to go to the Thursday practice round day at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky. It's nice having the Ryder Cup a few miles from my house. I did take a lot of pictures. There isn't that much golf to see with only 24 players at most out on the course at a time. There is no Tiger Woods, but it is great for us to be able to root on two Kentuckians in Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes.

Go USA!!

the frisky little The Island green on the 13th hole and Phil Mickelson takes a little drink

the view from the top of the tee on the 18th hole and some showing their GO USA spirit

Hurricane Ike Takes Bite Out of Louisville, Kentucky

"I Don't Like Ike!!"
Even though Louisville, Kentucky is hundreds of miles away from Texas and where Hurricane Ike made landfall in the United States it took a huge hit. Kentucky has experienced tornadoes before and Ike ended up knocking out more power in Kentucky than ever before. Just after the storm there were over 500,000 households without power. I was one of them. I finally got power on the third day. As I'm typing this on the fifth day after Ike, there are still over 100,000 households in the Louisville area without power.

Luckily, I didn't have too much in the way of bad of trees in my yard, but I did see some powerlines down. In the photo above this tree snapped a powerline. They say that it may be another week before everyone in the Louisville area has their power back. I hope you weren't in Ike's path.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Obama-Biden-McCain-Palin Anagrams

Anagrams, of course, are when you take a word or phrase and scramble up the letters to make up another word or phrase. Let's look at some anagrams when you use the names of our 2008 Presidential tickets. Some are funny and some are down right weird.

Obama/Biden/McCain/Palin --> A damn abominable picnic

Barack Hussein Obama --> Bush, I can break Osama

Joe Biden --> I need job
Be joined

Senator McCain --> Narcotics amen
Manic ancestor

Palin --> I plan

Sarah Palin --> A sharp nail
Las piranha

Governor Palin --> A proving loner
Poor navel ring

Obama/McCain --> I am Mac Bacon

Obama/Biden --> Babe domain
I'm a bad bone
An idea bomb

McCain/Palin --> In calm panic

Friday, August 8, 2008

Waverly Hills Sanatorium into a Hotel?

Waverly Hills Sanatorium is the famous former tuberculosis hospital located in south Louisville, Kentucky where an estimated 60,000 people have died. For the past few years it has been mainly visited by ghost hunters, even The Ghost Hunters from the Sci-Fi channel made a visit last Halloween.
Now there is talk of creating a fancy hotel out of the mammoth building. Construction may begin soon and Charlie Mattingly, the owner, thinks construction could finish in 2010. It will indeed be a massive undertaking.
I have never been to the former sanatorium, but I sure would like to take one of their tours. It is such a creepy place due to its enormous size and the death tunnel. You can go the Waverly Hills Sanatorium website for its history and other information.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TV Review: Twin Peaks (1990-1992)

A show from the twisted mind of David Lynch about the murder of a high school girl (Laura Palmer) that turns the small town of Twin Peaks on its head. The FBI get involved because they may have a serial killer on their hands. Two burning questions throughout the show are who killed Laura and why are the residents of Twin Peaks so weird?

I have always wanted to see Twin Peaks. I didn't see it at all when it first came out in the early 90's. Now I wish I had. By the way, you need to watch the show in this order to really appreciate it.

  1. 1) Two hour pilot episode
  2. 2) Season 1 - contains 7 episodes
  3. 3) Season 2 - contains 22 episodes
  4. 4) Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me movie

Kyle MacLachlan plays FBI agent Dale Cooper and I think he is one of the most entertaining TV characters I've ever seen. I know this show may not be for everyone, but at least give the two hour pilot a try. If you like it you'll love the entire show. It is a show that is greater than the sum of its parts.

The video below is just one of the many reasons why you should give Twin Peaks a try. Look out for llamas.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The best knock-knock jokes in one place

Everybody needs a good laugh.

Go over to to see the best site for knock-knock jokes. It also has animations all over the page. A great site for kids. Fun stuff.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Book Review: This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes

A day-trader who has made a good living finds himself totally lost in his current state in the world. He feel so alone with no family, friends or companions of any kind. He feels he's just wasting away. Everything changes when he starts having major house problems and has to temporarily move out. He runs into all kinds of characters and odd happenings. Can he find peace with his new surroundings or will it be more of the same?

I only heard of this book from Stephen King. He wrote in an Entertainment Weekly column that he loved this book. So I gave it a try. I can't say that this book saved my life, but it can make you think of things differently. The book can be entertaining at times, but it also can be over-the-top. It had some moments as in the book Forrest Gump where the main character gets thrown into extraordinary sequences that can seem silly. Hey, Bob Dylan makes an appearance.

This book is for those who like or are interested in California living and self discovery.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Diet Mountain Dew Commercial: The Chainsaw Attacking Ferret

I don't know exactly why I think the Diet Mountain Dew commercial with the chainsaw wielding ferret is so funny, but I do. There needs to be more humor focused around the ferret, don't you think?

Play the commercial at your own leisure. That is one wild ferret!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Are You Tuned In To The Music Being Played Everywhere You Go?

Everywhere I go I can't help but hear and really pay attention to the music that is playing over the sound system in any and every store or restaurant. Not only that but I have an ability to remember the artist of practically every song I've ever heard. The bad part is that I have a bad habit of telling whoever I am with who the singer or group that is responsible for the music we are hearing. What makes it worse is that I seem to be the only one who pays any attention to the music. This goes for muzak too (you know the instrumental elevator music).

So like even today I'm throwing out "oh, that's Aerosmith" and then four minutes later "there's Elvis Costello, I don't like him". I forgot to mention that what adds to the curse is that I seem to even remember the artists that I don't even like. It doesn't matter the genre of music. If I've ever heard the singer perform anything before I'll always remember them forever.

I seem to really annoy my coworkers with this when we are out at lunch. I get a lot of "how do you remember this stuff?" I don't know. I think a relative was cursed by gypsies. This week there was songs by Billy Ocean, the Beatles, Bad Company, Modern English and countless others.

So if are out somewhere and happen to see a curious young man wincing it might just be me being the only one in the store hearing the Celine Dion wailing from the store speakers.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea has been a staple in China for centuries. They may no have known all of the specific health benefits of drinking it, but they must have known something was good about it. The western hemisphere is now finding out about it. Green tea is now being sold at grocery stores everywhere. There are also all different brands on the market. You can choose from Chinese brands to even Lipton or Kroger brands.

Green tea gets its color from its very short fermentation process of the Camellia sinensis leaves. Green tea is very high in flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that protect us from free radicals. These free radicals can damage cells and cause diseases including Diabetes and cancer.

Some health benefits of green tea:
• Raises metabolism levels
• Strengthens the immune system
• Lowers the risk of developing Diabetes, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and heart disease
• Helps regulate blood sugar levels
• Helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels

I believe I have benefited from drinking green tea. I only drink one cup of Lipton Decaffeinated Green Tea a day and I can definitely tell a difference. My metabolism has increased and my cholesterol levels have decreased. Here’s to discovering a simple way to be healthier in addition to a good diet and exercise.

It is recommended to drink up to 4 cups of green tea a day. It may seem to be a little more bitter than other teas so add a little sweetener if desired.
Drink to your health.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My 2008 NCAA Tournament Bracket

My Kentucky Wildcats are out, but my bracket is still alive.

This is my NCAA bracket at Yahoo! that is doing the best for me right now. It is 36 out of 48.
Not too shabby after all of the weird stuff going on in this tournament. Thanks to Duke for losing to West Virginia in the second round just as I predicted.

Come on Wisconsin, Tennessee, Stanford, Xavier and especially Villanova. Help me out one time! Good luck to everyone. This next 2 rounds ought to be interesting. We'll see who makes the Final 4.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Drat! Kentucky is out of the NCAA Tournament

I took a half day and went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the NCAA games after noon. The Xavier/Georgia game was good with Xavier winning that one.

The UK game was rough much of the time. Billy Gillispie let Crawford do whatever he wanted in the game. I think he took a shot on every possession. He ended up with 35 points, but we made too many bone head plays so we lost to Marquette 74-66.

Well, Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley are gone but hopefully Patrick Patterson will be back next season and we'll be OK. Let's cross our fingers for that. Until next season . . .

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Boom! Amanda is Finally Voted Off American Idol

The "rocker" who would finish fourth out of five in a high school talent contest is finally out of American Idol. Hoorah!! Even couldn't save the nurse/biker who somehow thinks that the term "karaoke" is Latin for "great singer/entertainer". She was terrible!! I thank all of the millions of people like me who didn't pick up the phone and dial her number. Thank you!

Alas, she just missed being on the American Idol Tour. That's a real shame (he types sarcastically). Even Simon doesn't like you anymore. See ya bye!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hooray! Kentucky Wildcats Get Into The NCAA Tournament

I was actually a little surprised that we (UK) got into the tournament this year. After losing in the first round of the SEC Tournament to Georgia I thought we were done. On top of that Georgia wins the SEC Tourney and then a few minutes into Selection Sunday I see that they let Arkansas in. I was saying to myself there is no way that they are going to have 6 SEC teams into the Tourney. But, thank goodness they did.

We are playing Marquette in this first round on Thursday in Anaheim, California. It is going to be a very tough game for UK. Cross your fingers that we make it the second round.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Book Review: Playing For Pizza by John Grisham

On my quest to read every John Grisham novel I picked up and read Playing For Pizza. Whether good or bad, it is not another one of his legal thrillers. It is the story of third-string Cleveland Browns quarterback Rick Dockery who after failing as an NFL quarterback has to settle on playing football in Parma, Italy.

He is thrust into the new culture and has to adjust to many new things, including a lot less pay. His new teammates and the game of football are pretty different from the NFL . They do have a SuperBowl in Italy, though. They also have great food and wine, which he definitely takes a liking for. He also finds out what he can still do for a team when depended on.

Playing For Pizza is a decent little yarn that is interesting if you are into Italy, like myself. If you like Grisham's style of writing, you'll recognize it here (e.g. his quaint little conversations, the fun characters and his flow of action). A short book that you could probably kick out in no time. A good read for when you are stressed and don't want to think too much. Happy reading.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snow of March '08 in Kentucky

WOW! 11 inches of snow. We are not used to this. This is the most snow in 10 years!

I wasn't looking forward to clearing off the driveway with my little trusty snow shovel. I tried to start slow, but in no time I was working too fast and I was already aching.

I was only 15 minutes into it when "the greatest neighbor in the world" came over and started to clear off my driveway with his snow blower. How great is that!? Snow blowers are fantastic. He did the same thing four years ago.
So barely an hour later he and I (well, I sort of helped) cleared the entire driveway front, side and back. Now that is a great neighbor. If everyone had neighbors like him. I see another gift card in his future. Here's to all of the friendly, responsible and considerate neighbors out there. You know being nice doesn't cost extra.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My YouTube Videos

I currently I have 2 videos on YouTube.

To see them, go to my YouTube website

One of them is this cartoon I made almost 10 years ago with a webcam I had. I just had to make an homage to Kilroy.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mr. Papa John's Calls Internet "Silly Stuff"

It takes a lot to ruffle my feathers, but I had to write this concerning a recent interview I saw of John Schnatter, Mr. Papa John himself. It aired on our local Fox affiliate WDRB here in Louisville.
Mr. Schnatter revealed that he has never seen or been on the internet. I would understand if his reasoning was that he is not a fan of technology or he would would rather use the phone as opposed to using emails.
However, his comments about the internet surprised me. “I’ve never been on the Internet,” he said. “No computers, No Noise. No Anything. I don’t like being bogged down with silly stuff.” But he did say that "the second wife" does get on the internet. That's a relief.
But seriously, why bash something that you have never seen or used? Also, why state on a TV interview that 90% of your customers partake in silly stuff? So I guess it wasn't his idea to be able to order Papa John pizza online.
Wow, I must really like the internet if I'm being so defensive. It just struck a chord in me. I just had to get it out. Sorry Mr. Papa John for being critical of you . . . Oh, that's right not to worry, you won't be reading this anyway.

You can see the TV interview here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Visit Me on Netflix

I watch a bunch of movies and I write a lot of movie reviews. I have over 200 safely tucked away on Netflix here These reviews are pretty short as to not have any spoilers of any kind. That's how I roll.

You can let me know here whether or not you agree or disagree with what I have written. Also, you can recommend movies for me. That would just be the coolest!

The First Post

We shall see what this blog will have in it. I guess that is up to me. Who knows what I'll be writing about? The rise in foreclosures? Politics? Probably not. More like movies, books and what it going on here in Kentucky.

The photos on the left are me as well as photos of trips to Fort Walton Beach/Destin, Florida and New York City.

My other blog is my movie review blog. Enjoy. Leave a comment if you agree or disagree.

Adios for now until I can come up with a morsel of information or nugget of insight.