30 April 2006

Oh, well....

For the sake of those who follow this blog (especially those who actually know me), we did not get the house mentioned a few days ago. We are heartbroken. I want to believe that it is because there is a better house for us out there.... Spare the sympathy. I know it's sincere and well meant, but I don't want to talk (or even think) about it.

The people united....

Well, tomorrow is the much-anticipated protest of illegal aliens. The media is leading us to believe that this will be huge, that our nation will grind to a halt. However, some pundits are suggesting that turnout will be lower than expected because of rumors of INS sweeps.

I support the plight of immigrants, though I am of (at least) two minds about giving citizenship to people who broke the law in entering. I DO think that it should be much easier for honest folks to enter. It does not seem fair to those who have been waiting for years to come to the U.S. to grant amnesty to those who broke the law. There are no easy answers here....

I would, if I could get a message to those who will protest tomorrow, plead with the protesters to fly only the U.S. flag (or at least ALSO fly the U.S. flag). I fear that this entire protest will backfire....

For the record, I am not offended that there is a Spanish-language version of the National Anthem; I am glad that there is pride in America among the Hispanic community.

I am sure that I have said things here that will anger liberals AND conservatives. I kind of think that anytime I tick off both extremes, I'm probably on stable ground.

28 April 2006

New Orleans Jazz Fest

This weekend is beginning of the New Orleans Jazz Fest. It's good to see that the Crescent City is still rolling, and that the effort to carry on continues. Anyway, I want to put in a plug for my friend Philip Booth's journalistic blog covering the Jazz Fest for the Sarasota Herald Tribune. Philip is an accomplished and talented jazz musician himself (as well as being a fine journalist). Besides all that, he's a heck of a nice guy (and my former office mate). Anyway, to read Philip's Jazz Fest blog, click on the link below:

http://www.heraldtribune.com/twentyfour7

By the way, the picture is from a postcard that Brigheon received today from Tulane University (recruiting her for their MBA program).

Be vewy quiet.... We're hunting houses...

Just an update. As I said the the previous entry, we went to Wisconsin this last weekend to house hunt. It was a disappointing trip, in that we did not find a home. The two that we found turned out to already have buyers.

Anyway, the better house of those two had a buyer with a contract contingent upon the buyer selling his current home. He has not done so, and the sellers are getting worried. Their new home is ready, and they are afraid that they will be stuck with two homes.

We made an offer on the house (pictured above). It's a 1915 American four-square in great condition. The owners counter-offered (quibbling over wording, not price). We accepted their counter-offer today. Now the deal goes to the primary buyer. He has four business days to put up or shut up. The question is, can he get a bridge loan? Can he afford two mortgages? We are hoping not.... Sorry if that seems Machiavellian, but all's fair in love, war, and house-hunting!

We should know if we got the house by next Thursday or so. Yes, we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment, but we also feel like this is a great house and that we should go for it. If you are so inclined, say a prayer or two for us over the next few days.

23 April 2006

unhappy hunting....

Well, we just got back from house-hunting in Wisconsin. We did not find a house. :( Actually, we found two, but when we went to make offers, we found out that the sellers had just that week accepted an offer.... The listings, of course, had not been updated yet. It felt like losing a football game in the closing seconds because of a missed field goal. Oh, well. We get to go into overtime. The worst-case scenario is that we'd have to rent initially.... Still, we have a few months to continue looking. our realtor, Gaylord "Happy" Nelson, said that he now understands very well exactly what we are looking for, and he'll keep looking.

It was kind of surreal to be house hunting with Gaylord Nelson Jr. on Earth Day.... (Google "Gaylord Nelson" and you'll understand.)

We did get to learn very well what the best areas of town are. It truly is a beautiful and charming town.

We also had dinner with a future colleague and his wife. We had a great time with them. Though they are a bit older, we really connected with them. At the end of the evening, the wife exclaimed, "I don't want you to get out of the car! I'm not ready for the evening to end! I feel like we've known you two forever!" Good times....

15 April 2006

Grrr....

Brigheon and I were watching the Master's last week. I just have one thing to say-- ANYONE who yells "Get in the HOLE!" after a putt will, if there is any justice in the universe, spend eternity in a special ring of hell. The same is true for anyone who shouts after Tiger Woods (or anyone else) "You da man!" Just goes to show-- average I.Q.-- 100.... Sigh.

12 April 2006

marriage is like a lifeboat

Garrison Keillor had an interesting and amusing commentary in today's paper (available here). In it, he draws an astute simile: "The rules for marriage are the same as for a lifeboat. No sudden moves, don't crowd the other person, and keep all disastrous thoughts to yourself." I'd add that it's best if you are with someone with whom you are happy spooning....

10 April 2006

Crime seekers


I see that there was a visitor to this site from someone searching for the words: mystery, readers, blog. Sadly, the posting this person read was about an unknown visitor to this site, not recommendations for would be readers of mysteries. Since the URL for this site is a reference to detective fiction, I suppose I should have a post about my preferences.

I've not read much in the way of recent mystery authors. I started with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tales of Sherlock Holmes. Good fun. I went on to read Agatha Christie.

My life was changed (literally) when I was introduced to Raymond Chandler (who wrote seven novels about his hero, Philip Marlowe). I went to grad school (for my M.A.) in England, where they consider Chandler to be an important American author (on par with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Steinbeck, etc.). I think that The Big Sleep is the best place to start, though I consider The Long Goodbye to be Chandler's best. I also recommend The Lady in the Lake and Farewell, My Lovely.

After Chandler, I read the works of Dashiell Hammett. I recommend The Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest, and The Glass Key. The Thin Man is also good fun.

Next, I completed the hard-boiled triumvirate by reading James M. Cain. Read Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. Cain differs from Chandler and Hammett by writing from the perspective of the criminal (rather than the detective). Good fun, though it makes me feel . . . dirty. It is said that Albert Camus based his great novel L'√Čtranger upon Postman.

If one feels the need to read more roman noir, then read Ross Macdonald.

09 April 2006

I'm too old for this....

Yesterday, we spent the day volunteering with the local Notre Dame alumni group, cleaning and painting at the Kimberly Home Pregnancy Center in Clearwater. This seems like the kind of charity that everyone can support. I mean, even if one is vociferously pro-choice, what's wrong with helping scared young girls who don't want to have an abortion? Anyway, I commandeered the pressure washer and spent three hours cleaning every exterior surface I could find. Oy, I hurt today. Still, I feel good for what we accomplished. I wish that we had taken some before-and-after pictures. It was a world of difference.

06 April 2006

Who'd a thunk?

I remember last year seeing advertisements for NBC's My Name Is Earl. I turned to my lovely wife and said, "We won't be watching that show!" She agreed. It reeked of redneck, like a narrative Blue Collar TV.

Well, we did watch an episode. And another. And you know what? It's the best new sit-com on television. It has great characters. It has good writing. It has heart. And Nadine Velazquez (Catalina) is damn cute (but nothing, of course, compared to my lovely wife). Jaime Pressly (Joy) is over-rated....

05 April 2006

Insulting....

By this point, I assume that everyone knows the story of Cynthia McKinney's scuffle with Capitol police last week. Hardly a capital crime (pun acknowledged but not intended), but still embarrassing. What bothers me is the way she is defending herself since. Did anyone see her press conference, complete with appearances by Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover? Her interview with Wolf Blitzer? She is making her punching (or "stabbing with a cell phone") into an issue of racial discrimination! She says that Capitol police should have known her (despite her radically different new hair style). Cynthia, there are 435 representatives!

What really bothers me is that her charge of racism trivializes the racism that still exists in the United States. There are still black people pulled over for no traffic violation (other than DWB). There are plenty of clueless white people who honestly believe that racial discrimination is a thing of the past. McKinney's silly playing of the race card further convinces these clueless people that they are indeed correct. Sigh.

03 April 2006

Blog tramp?

My lovely wife read yesterday's blog entry, and exclaimed, "You're just trying to get hits on your blog for anyone searching for 'Dr. Who'!" Actually, I almost didn't even write about the show for that very reason.

Don't get me wrong, hits are indeed a bit addictive. Those who stumble across this site just blog-tripping are nice, but those who find it via a real search make me feel . . . useful. This is especially true if they are searching for advice about the academic job search or single malt Scotch whisky (namely because I actually have something meaningful to SAY).

02 April 2006

Dr. Who Redux

The Doctor. Blue Box.

When I was in the ninth or tenth grade, I watched the old BBC Dr. Who program on PBS. I thought it was great, which made me a huge nerd. That's okay. I had a Dr. Who screensaver on my Apple II Plus clone (a Franklin Ace 1000) with a TARDIS that materialized as the Dr. Who theme played. I thought that was pretty cool.

Now the SciFi channel is running the new Dr. Who series (run last year on BBC). The special effects are greatly improved. I like the new Doctor (though I see the season running in the UK right now has yet ANOTHER Doctor. Anyway, I give the series a big, nerdy thumbs up!