Friday, March 13, 2009

Raiders of the Lost PDF

The inimitable Will Carroll from Baseball has unearthed the following gem: A PDF of a transcript of a story conference between Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg about the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Fans of the creative process, or fans of the movie-you simply must click this link!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Memes From Miss!

From Miss (, another Monday Meme on Wednesday (Damn Daylight Savings Time!)

High School Memories

1. Did you date someone from your school? No

2. Did you marry someone from your high school? No.

3. Did you car pool to school? No.

4. What kind of car did you have? I drove my parents' Chevy station wagon

5. What kind of car do you have now? A Hyundai Santa Fe

6. It's Friday night...where were you? at home watching TV or listening to music.

7. It's Friday night...where are you? at work

8. What kind of job did you have in high school? I was a cashier at Littleton Apothecary (RIP)

9. What kind of job do you do now? Pharmacist

10. Were you a party animal? No.

11. Were you considered a flirt? I'm not the one to say, am I? I don't think so.

12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? Nope.

13. Were you a nerd? Yes.

14. Did you get suspended or expelled? Nope.

15. Can you sing the fight song? I don't think we had one. If we did, nope.

16. Who was/were your favorite teacher(s) in high school? Not sure. Mrs. Webster, probably. Mr. Spaulding, too.

17. Where did you sit during lunch? The Elite Crowd! Kind of a funny story. I remember distinctly, sitting at the end of a long cafeteria table, all alone except for 2 or 3 other dorky types. We were all conversing happily, but we were the only ones at the table. A teacher on lunch duty walked by and said, "Ah...the elite crowd!"

18. What was your school's full name? Littleton High School. Or maybe they had started calling it Junior-Senior High School by then. I don't remember.

19. When did you graduate? 1989

20.What was your school mascot? Tigers

21. If you could go back and do it again, would you? Not in a million years.

22. Did you have fun at Prom? Didn't go. Didn't see the point. Still don't.

23. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with? Not applicable (see above)

24. Are you planning on going to your next reunion? Not on your life.

25. Do you still talk to people from school? Other than within the last few months on Facebook? Nope.

Happy Birthday, Douglas Adams!

The late English author Douglas Adams would be celebrating his birthday today, if he were not, well, late.

He wrote, among other things, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, a semi-science fictional but 100% hysterical novel that gave rise to a sequel, and then a trilogy, and then a total of five books in what Adams called "The Increasingly Inaccurately Named" Hitchhiker's Trilogy. He also wrote a pair of novels in a similar vein about Dirk Gently, a "holistic" detective. His humor is very much in the Monty Python vein, biting and satirical but always loving at the same time.

Some choice quotes from

"He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife."

"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."

"It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes."

"It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'As pretty as an Airport' appear."

"Life... is like a grapefruit. It's orange and squishy, and has a few pips in it, and some folks have half a one for breakfast."

"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."

" 'Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word 'safe' that I wasn't previously aware of.' "

If you've never read Adams, I thoroughly recommend him. As long as you can at least tolerate science fiction, Hitchhiker's is a very funny, quick read.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Chuck Norris!

March 10 is Chuck Norris' birthday. While I don't agree with his politics, the "Facts about Chuck Norris" meme that has crossed the Internet from stem to stern has amused me. Here, then, are 10 Facts About Chuck Norris, available at

1. Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

2. Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.

3. Chuck Norris does not hunt because the word hunting infers the probability of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.

4.If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris you may be only seconds away from death.

5.Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

6.When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

7.Chuck Norris built a time machine and went back in time to stop the JFK assassination. As Oswald shot, Chuck Norris met all three bullets with his beard, deflecting them. JFK's head exploded out of sheer amazement.

8.Chuck Norris has already been to Mars; that's why there are no signs of life there.

9.A blind man once stepped on Chuck Norris' shoe. Chuck replied, "Don't you know who I am? I'm Chuck Norris!" The mere mention of his name cured this man blindness.
Sadly the first, last, and only thing this man ever saw, was a fatal roundhouse kick delivered by Chuck Norris.

10. The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

My cynicism was NOT rewarded!

Well, I got a response from the Pakistani Spectator guy, and, strangely enough, it did not involve forking over thousands of dollars in order to help transfer funds. It appears that the gentleman actually wants to know answers to these questions. Why is still unclear to me, but without further ado, the Pakistani Spectator Guy Questions:

Would you please tell us something about you and your site?

There's not much to say. A lot of words, rivers and oceans of words, going back to 2003.

Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?

I wouldn't say grow so much as not fall behind. One of the reasons I blog is to keep my faculties sharp-keep in practice forming sentences and paragraphs.

I'm wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?

I'm wondering, too. I've "met" some swell folks, and exchanged opinions and views. I've enjoyed that.

What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?

Commenting. Once in a great while, we will email each other, but it's primarily commenting.

What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?

I am dramatically unqualified to answer this, but I would say twitter and microblogging and text messaging would be the most important technology advance in political life.

Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?

I guess so. Again, not my cup of tea, but yes, I think that's fair to say.

What do you think sets Your site apart from others?

Not a goshdarn thing.

If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?

Stubbornness. Plain and simple.

What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?

Gosh. The happiest part has to be when I got married, which I say both because it is true and because it will decrease the odds of my getting hit. Gloomiest? No comment.

If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for - what would your top 3 choices be?

1. London
2. Paris
3. San Francisco

What is your favorite book and why?

Hard one. Tends to change from time to time, but right at this moment it is probably F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. I love it because it is so crystalline and perfect and pure.

What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?

I think their attitude-whether or not they seem hostile.

Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn't write?

Not really, no. Perhaps through silence, but no one ever said I was no good at this. I decided I would start blogging to prove it.

How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?

Not a clue. If I knew, I would be doing it.

Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?

I think it depends. Some do, some don't.

What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?

Not much, I don't think. We can be a little less sarcastic, I guess. But what fun would that be?

Who are your top five favourite bloggers?


So many choices.

Phil Nugent has to be up there (, along with my pal and sometime foe DMarks (, Katie (, J-Money (, Scott Adams (

Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?

I can't think of one particularly. I usually get a few comments when I go heavily political, but sometimes not.

What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?

I can't say that I have one, honestly. I think, like a lot of Americans, we're so wrapped up in our own problems we don't think much about the world at large.

Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?

I think J-Money ( is brilliantly funny, making every post almost a humor column. But every blogger is special in their own way.

What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?

I couldn't say. I'm an ignorant American who can't be bothered to check out most of my own country, never mind others.

What is the future of blogging?

Darned if I know.

You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?

It hasn't. I think I would be a little embarassed if some people saw this, but I have tried to follow Joe Kennedy's advice-never write anything you'd rather not see on the front page of the New York Times.

What are your future plans?

Tomorrow I have to get new tires put on my car.

Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?

Good luck, I guess. It's pretty likely, if you are living in Pakistan, that your life is harder than mine is.

Lovin' you has got to be (take me to the other side)

My wife, after months of urging, has stuck a little toe into the blogging world. I would be pleased if you shot over to say hello at ( ). Thanks!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Lists! Lists! Lists!

Esquire's list of 75 albums everybody should own.

I own 8:

Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin I
Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique
Nirvana: MTV Unplugged In New York
The Beatles: Rubber Soul
Guns N Roses: Appetite For Destruction
Pearl Jam: Ten
Metallica: ...And Justice For All
The Who: Who's Next

Plus I get partial credit for owning some of the tracks on another record for the following:

Bruce Springsteen: Darkness on the Edge of Town
Rolling Stones: Aftermath
The Cars: The Cars
Traveling Wilburys: Volume One
Talking Heads: True Stories
Van Halen: Fair Warning
Rage Against The Machine: Rage Against The Machine
Johnny Cash: Folsom Prison
Neil Young: Harvest

Judge Not

Do not read this story if you are in a particularly emotional place right now. In fact, honestly, don't read it at all, frankly.

Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post's heartbreaking, emotional, gorgeous piece of journalism about parents who accidentally leave children behind in the car for long enough to cause the child's death.

And people, before you say, "I would never do that," just remember that everyone in the piece said that too. Before they did.

(h/t NPR's Peter Sagal (


Actual text of a comment I got on my last post.

"Interview Request

Hello Dear and Respected,
I hope you are fine and carrying on the great work you have been doing for the Internet surfers. I am Ghazala Khan from The Pakistani Spectator (TPS), We at TPS throw a candid look on everything happening in and for Pakistan in the world. We are trying to contribute our humble share in the webosphere. Our aim is to foster peace, progress and harmony with passion.

We at TPS are carrying out a new series of interviews with the notable passionate bloggers, writers, and webmasters. In that regard, we would like to interview you, if you don't mind. Please send us your approval for your interview at my email address "ghazala.khi at", so that I could send you the Interview questions. We would be extremely grateful.


Ghazala Khan
The Pakistani Spectator"

A few questions spring immediately to mind.

1. I've been doing "great work" for the "internet surfers"?

2. I'm all for peace, progress, and harmony, but I fail to see how my answering questions about Pakistan will do anything to improve that.

3. I'm a "notable passionate blogger"? Really? If my notability and passion, out of all bloggers everywhere, were to be ranked numerically, you would need a telescope to see my ranking if you were standing on #1.

4. The only thing I know about Pakistan is that it is probably where Osama is hiding out and it isn't Afghanistan.

5. The only other thing I know about Pakistan is a joke I made shortly after September 11. My boss was named Stan, and I told him, "Well, as soon as I heard that a 'Stan' was involved, I knew trouble wasn't far behind."

I emailed the person back. I am interested to see what sort of questions they have for me, or whether this is some sort of a ruse to get funds out of a Pakistani bank.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Finally! Someone else understands!

TTBOOK (Wisconsin Public Radio's To The Best Of Our Knowledge) released a program this week about "Life Lists"-those lists of things that keep cluttering Facebook. I have read a number of columns and snarky remarks about how lame they are, and that may be true-they're cliche and unhip now.

But they order our lives, and give people a little insight into how we live and think. I don't think they are all bad.

My Wife Is Funnier Than You, Part II

SON: What time is it? 2:30 or 3:30?

WIFE: 2:30

SON: 2:30?

WIFE: You have a toothache?

(Sound it out, will come to you.)

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Good old David Sirota, cheering everybody up again...

"That’s the term that popped into my mind as I baked in the Mexican sun—apocalypse: a phenomenon whose signs are everywhere these days.

Iraq bleeds from unending strife, while Israelis and Palestinians appear intent on annihilating each other. Pakistan just released A.Q. Khan, the scientist who delivered nuclear secrets to North Korea—the country that’s again threatening to conduct long-range missile tests. Colombia’s civil war rages, and “great news” in Mexico is President Felipe Calderon announcing that drug cartels haven’t totally taken over the country."

Can't say that he's wrong.

And, perhaps even MORE importantly...

Alex Rodriguez, controversy laden third baseman and cleanup hitter for the Evil Empire, is undergoing surgery after all for his bad hip. Doctors say he will only miss April and part of May, but as parents worldwide like to say, we will see.

But, more importantly...

It's Jim Rice's birthday today. Happy Birthday Jim Ed!

Thank goodness I only use my powers for good.

Upon further review, it turns out that there is a Pat Riley born today in 1972-a defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears during the 1995 season. However, the brainyquote people who make the widget are linking that Pat Riley to a page of quotes from the basketball Pat Riley. I emailed them about it.

Glad I sorted that out.

No, no, no, no, no! BAD Widget. No cookie.

Faithful readers will note that I recently added a little birthday widget, thus giving me yet another reason to come up with something to blog about. Because, goodness knows, there aren't enough bloggers out here, and the world simply cannot do without my opinion.

Actually, I think I do this mostly just to force myself to put words into sentences so I don't forget how.

Anyway, today's entry says "Pat Riley, 1972". I think, immediately, "that can't be the same Pat Riley." So I click the link, and it has a bunch of coaching and motivation related quotes. So I keep investigating, and clearly the people who make this widget think that this Pat Riley:

was born in 1972. This would make him 6 months YOUNGER than me.

In March of 1972, Pat Riley was finishing his fifth NBA season, playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. That would be a tremendous accomplishment for an infant.

Plus he wasn't even born on March says he was born on March 20.

Widget FAIL!