Tuesday, November 28, 2006


No Hands
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
If I didn't already know it's a toothbrush, I'd guess Sabrina was holding a conductor's baton. Which would make me wrong, for maybe the first time ever. Oh it's a lonely world always being right about everything. But I find a way to struggle through it anyway.

Sabrina is so adorable these days, walking and talking and generally being ultra-charming. Today she had been awake for a few minutes when Mommy left the baby's room to get breakfast started. Sabrina played with me and Fred for a while and then headed toward the top of the stairs. Rather than run past her so I could get downstairs from her and catch her if she fell, I decided to stay behind her so she'd have to make the decision herself, and if she went for it I could grab her legs and stop her.

Then Fred walked between her and the top step, turned to her, and growled. He was protecting our little angel from a fall down the steps! Even better, Sabrina seemed to understand and stayed away. And even better than that, when she's about to do something she knows we don't want her to do, she now points at the offending obstacle/activity before she touches it and babbles gibberish at us as if to say "Can I?"

Best of all, when we say no, she doesn't dwell on it. What an amazing little girl.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Can't Shake It

Ever since I read this, I can't get it out of my head.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Unintended Hilarity

Survivor (the reality show, not the band) was roundly criticized for segregating tribes based on ethnicity this season. For whatever reason, people didn't want to see the races pitted against each other in this kind of contest. Or at least they said they didn't.

I couldn't wait to see it, personally, because I remembered something about the way such shows work that apparently few others recalled: the producers hand pick the contestants. Therefore they could load the non-white teams with competent, hardworking team players, rendering any real or imagined disadvantages meaningless.

And by real disadvantages, I mean lack of camping skills. That's pretty much the only thing that really matters on Survivor. Building shelters and fires, finding food and water, and dealing with the necessity to do absolutely everything yourself is a lot easier if you've done it before. In my not terribly educated opinion, I'd expect whitey to do better than the rest because generally on Survivor, more of the whites have been camping. How anyone shows up for a show like this without being able to make a fire escapes me, anyone who watched a single episode understands you need some Boy and Girl Scout skills to get along on a desert island, but by God they do show up unprepared in droves, white or not. But there's always a few good outdoorsmen and -women, and they're almost always honkies.

Anyway, back to my point. I knew the producers would pick contestants carefully, and I suspected that during the segregated portion of the show, the honkies would place third or fourth of the four teams in challenges, and I was right. The Asian team rocked everything and so did the Latin team, and not just because they each had three men and two women while the black and white teams had two men and three women. They just worked harder and better together. I was worried for the black team early because none of the five had done much outdoor stuff, but they mixed up the teams after not too many episodes, and what happened next is pretty much exactly what I suspected: the white people teamed up, acted like jerks, and are now at a major disadvantage.

Fairly early on, the teams were racially mixed up in two tribes when, during one challenge, the chance to mutiny and change teams was offered. A white girl on one team jumped at the chance to get back together with three of her former honky teammates, and the remaining white guy on that team did the same at the last minute. This gave the now-tiny four-person rainbow coalition a serious competitive spark, with which they have won every challenge since, and something even more important: moral superiority. The kind the hero in old Western gets for doing the right thing for the right reason and shutting up about it. At the end of Survivor, the jury of former players votes on a winner, and while backstabbing and double dealing often wins the game, nothing beats being deserving, admired, respected.

None of the white players has anything like respect on the island, or frankly anywhere else. They are dirtbags who deserve beatings, nothing else. Even worse, they ignored the danger signs when it should have been obvious that they were about to have the whole game turned upside down on them. Idiots.

The hilarious part of all this is that the people who were mad about Survivor segregation at the beginning are getting a great holiday season present: the four white people left on Survivor are lazy, stupid, arrogant and dastardly, and they don't trust each other at all. With the exception of the most dastardly one of the four, none of them has even a remote chance at the big prize. How's that for TV racism?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Are You Ready for Some Baby

Daddy's Girl
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina has got pigskin fever like her daddy. Mommy should be worried but so far is not. Look at my little angel's form, both hands on the ball and carrying it up high like Tiki Barber in his post-fumblefingers era.

Daddy never was much good at throwing the ball, but if his daughter works hard she could be the first ambidextrous female starting Super Bowl QB in NFL history. I'd rather she weren't, but if she wants to, be my guest.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Pitiful Ollie
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
This is Ollie working the pitiful angle while snuggling up to baby things. Ollie has always been gentle with Sabrina although near misses have occurred when he gets wildly exuberant, which is several times a day. If I walk outside and water the plants for two minutes he's dashing and leaping and nipping at my fingers when I come back, but he's never scratched or knocked Sabrina over. Yet. And he'll bite the hell out of your hand when you give him food, but he won't take anything from Sabrina's hand, won't even lick it. I guess he's smarter than we thought, or maybe he just knows we'll give him to a passing gypsy if he hurts the baby.

Not Amused

Royal Sabrina
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina is a harsh judge of fashion. She took one look at Daddy's ensemble before he left for work and this is her reaction. Then I changed my belt and shirt and made it better, and she smashed pear all over herself by way of approval.

Mommy used to do that but she can barely pluck my monobrow any more, or keep an eye out for ear hairs. Plus she figures I should have been able to pick it up myself after seven years. No dice, baby. I'm fashion dyslexic.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Modern Heroes

Blackfive has found a fine GQ article about Marine First Lieutenant David Russell, a recent Silver Star winner in Iraq who found an interesting way to help his team:

Before the deployment, Russell was not exactly known for his heroic attitude. When he was accepted at Annapolis, some of his high school teachers in San Antonio started a pool: How long till they boot the smart-ass? At the Naval Academy, he instinctively cast every step in his career in Us-versus-Them terms: freshmen versus everybody, juniors versus seniors, seniors versus the staff. This rebellious instinct did him no favors in his class standing. But it sure helped when he looked out of the suicide bunker to size up the heavily armed hostiles. He knew that the insurgents were undisciplined. He remembers thinking, There’s no squad leader there directing fire, making sure their shooters don’t get drawn off by the first bright shiny thing that passes by. He made a decision. “Basically,” he says, “I became the bright shiny thing.”

He started pushing back into the vehicle-search area, drawing fire, discovering enemy positions. While Cyparski covered him from behind the bunker, Russell crept forward—a moving target—taking shrapnel in the arms and face and exposing enemy positions. When the volume of fire became, as he put it, “stupid,” he and Cyparski retreated to the bunker and got another idea. During his feint into the vehicle area, he’d located several insurgents. Hey, now’s as good a time as any to try to engage those positions, he thought. So he popped up to shoot and took an AK-47 round to the head. The bullet penetrated his helmet and ricocheted—up.

“It knocked me to my ass and gave me a pretty good concussion, I found out later,” he says. “Regardless, I went down, and at this point I think I’m dead, because the shrapnel that I’d taken to my face started bleeding with the impact. So I go down to a knee and tell Ski, ‘Hey, I’m hit.’ What do you do in that situation? ‘Well…tell my mom I love her’? I don’t know. Basically, you just kind of accept it and wait. But one count, two count, and things aren’t getting dark. I don’t see the great white light. So I’m like, Well, uh, it’s your brain, man. So try thinkin’ something. If you can think, you’re fine. So I tried thinking something, and nothing came. I figured that was fine, too. At least thinking that I wasn’t thinking anything was kind of thinking.” A few
beats later, he popped back up and resumed his command.

Interesting guy. I really like his philosophy:

“You know your Platonic ideals?” First Lieutenant Russell said hesitantly. “War is probably the Platonic ideal of sport—what all sports are trying to become. It’s physical, but it’s as much mental as physical. It’s definitely got its spiritual aspects, you know? And the prize at the end is the ultimate prize imaginable. And I’m not talking about democracy in the Middle East or the end ofthe Great War but your own life. And the lives of your team.”

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Best New Show on TV

Dexter, a new Showtime show about a serial killer who also happens to be a blood expert for the moral equivalent of CSI: Miami. He kills people who deserve it at night and helps catch others like him during the day because he's good at it and has a professional interest in the work of his peers. It's deliciously wrong and speaks to a part of us that craves the sight of someone smiting the wicked righteously, just for once.

One one hand it's the ultimate masturbatory revenge fantasy show: a protagonist unconstrained by anything resembling conventional morality, who acts soft and pushovery and invariably runs afoul of bullies and other monsters, who sometimes need to die. On the other it's a tender story of the emotional reconstruction of a man whose brutal past has rendered him unable to feel. His current girlfriend is so emotionally screwed up herself that he starts to care about her, cracking his own shell in the process.

The cast is excellent. Dexter's played by Michael C. Hall, who did such a great job with David Fisher in Six Feet Under. He's naturally dark and unsettling. I think he has to work overtime to come across as warm and human. I've seen him as a regular cop in Paycheck and it just doesn't work. I don't know any of the rest of them by name although I do recognize some of them vaguely from somewhere, but Dexter's sister is played excellently by Jennifer Carpenter, the girl who played the title character in The Exorcism of Emily Rose, in which she was amazing as well. I can't stand scary movies, but once I started watching it I couldn't look away from this girl. I was amazed that anyone that young, shoot, any actress I could think of, would be willing to make themselves so ugly for the camera, the way she contorted her body and face when acting possessed. It was the perfect way to do it but I've never seen anything like it in my life and it left an impression. I can say the same about her role in Dexter, the most vulnerable, exposed character I've seen in years. Good stuff.

And I should also say that I love 30 Rock, the SNL parody by SNL people and Alec Baldwin. Tina Fey, who I liked on SNL even though Weekend Update usually sucked, is very funny, but Baldwin is friggin' Superman on this show. He kills every second he's onscreen. Five thumbs up.

Thoughtful Baby

Drinky Think
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina's thoughts:

La de da de doo. It's cold. This water is good. That dog over there looks familiar. I just peed.

You're Damn Right He Does

Why shouldn't he? They're disgusting little underwater insects.

Warm Baby

Fuzzy Bunny
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina loves her new coat, a gift from my lovely wife's great-Aunt Mary Alice. She has been so kind to us and our little girl and we love her for sending the warmest, cuddliest things Sabrina has ever had, this coat and a wonderful blanket when she was born. It was a wonderfully cold day when we took this picture and you can tell how much she loves the cold, just like Daddy. Soak it up while you can, honeybuns, you live in Texas.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One Bite, Comin' Up

Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Fred likes Sabrina. She plays catch with him a little, he gets to eat a lot of dropped food, and she doesn't generally bash or grab him hatefully. That said, he has to work pretty hard to avoid being cornered or otherwise harrassed by her, and in this picture you can see him trying to decide if it would be better to run away now or can he wait a few more seconds without getting trapped in his house.

The nice thing about Fred is that he's a perfect judge of where your fingers are and how hard he's allowed to bite them. I'd much rather Sabrina learns about biting dogs from getting bitten gently by Fred than have it be a complete surprise when she does get bitten by a dog, which will invariably happen. I got bitten on the eyebrow by a family dachshund when I was small, and I very much deserved it. But the next time a dog snapped at me I was ready for it and got away clean.

Good old Fred. He may be the best dog I've ever known. And I'm glad Sabrina gets to know him too.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Into the Distance
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
This is Sabrina's version of the spinning color wheel (for Mac users) or the spinning hourglass (for the unfortunate Windows people, of which I am one). She's processing and kind of goes blank while she does it. Or maybe it's gas. Either way, I like it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


By oldest brother David sent me a link to some of the most amazing pictures I've ever seen. A fellow named Frederik has been tooling around the South Pacific in a yacht and came upon a once-in-a-lifetime sight, the birth of an island. It's an amazing sight and an even better story:

Yesterday we saw the birth of an island, most likely we were the first humans to see the new creation. We have some pictures, but they will have to wait until we have a chance to upload them. So you might have heard about the sailor superstition that you should "never leave on a Friday". Well, we did and the sea turned to stone, it is hard to get a stronger sign than that. It sounds like a bad joke, but just wait until you see the pictures. Floating stones none the less. When you pick them up, it is easy to see that they are really just volcanic ash that compressed into pumice stone. This experience mixed with a close encounter of three whales makes you understand that the ocean is full of surprises.
Truly amazing. My favorite pics of the bunch are the ones where it looks like they've run aground because of all the pumice floating on the sea surface, as described in the excerpt above. Looks a lot like being parked on a beach. Good catch, David!

Friday, November 10, 2006

I'm Not Sure I Like the Look of That

If that's not Sauron's Eye, I don't know what is. And no, knowing that doesn't make me a nerd. No, you are.

I linked the top 100 Hubble Telescope images page last week or so, and have bookmarked it and visited it many times. I hadn't seen this one before, and now that I have I feel an irresistible craving for hobbit meat.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


In three months, the mainstream media will notice how well the economy's been going for years. Guess who will be given credit?

The Attack of Sabrina

Giggle Monster
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina's walking now! Not much, she'll take a few steps and then sort of crouch down or go to her hands and knees smoothly. So far she's like a little Godzilla, but clumsier. Godzuki, wasn't it? The dogs are horrified, we're exhausted, and to top it all off she's gotten unbelievably loud when she yodels and yells in the morning. She's an air raid siren, at least. There's no sleeping in past 6:15, so slackers better find a different crash pad, maaaan.

A lovely moment, the other night:

I was sitting on the floor in the living room, playing a made-up song on a ukelele in front of the coffee table, and Sabrina was standing in front of me holding on to my right knee with her left hand and to the top side of the ukelele body with her right. She was singing gibberish in time with me pretty softly, watching my fingers and not, as she often does, muting any of the strings with her hands, and as I started playing a solo part she stopped singing for a half a minute, just watching, and then as I started playing faster and moving up the neck she started singing again. And as she sang, still softly, she leaned in to the right side of my face and put her lips on my right cheek, singing and slobbering on me. I was looking down at the neck, really focusing and, if I may say so, shredding (yes, I'm that old - I still call it shredding), so my face didn't move and I didn't look at her, I was pretty glazed over. But she just kept singing and slobbering, rubbing her face right against the right side of my mouth. It literally melted my heart and after a while I stopped and hugged her for as long as she would stand it. Which was a long time, because she's a little angel.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


This is a lot of fun. Click through and get your art on.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Magic Fingers

Found a guy on Music Thing who rocks the hell out of a drum machine.

That's Because You're an Idiot

Humorless twit Maureen Dowd fails to get the jokes, any of them, in her painful-to-read interview with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Nor does she see the irony in her sad little piece, especially in this quote:

I read about ten newspapers a day and three newsmagazines a week, and I have my TV tuned to cable news all day, and I still find myself taking notes from The Daily Show.

I'm guessing Dowd's completely oblivious to how dumb and unprofessional that makes her seem. My response to that quote is above, in the title.

Friday, November 03, 2006


The top 100 Hubble Space Telescope pictures. There's nothing I can think to write that would adequately accompany these, so just click over and enjoy. Just shockingly beautiful, and thoroughly humbling.

Link from LGF.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What a Ripoff

No Treat, All Trick
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina gathered a lovely bag of candy Halloween night only to have it taken away by her cruel parents. What a terrible world we live in.

Actually, she had a wonderful time until the moment we tried to take pictures with her cousins Camille and Amber, whereupon she got a little sad about it being past her bedtime. And we hugged her and kissed her and gave her a ride on Daddy's shoulders and then everything was OK.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The King of All Gun Porn Clips

This is some British dude shooting cars with increasingly deadly weapons as they're thrown off a cliff above him until he ends up nailing a Ford Scorpio with an anti-tank round. Great fun.