Thursday, December 30, 2004
Reggie White had a glorious NFL career that included 13 straight selections to the Pro Bowl. White began his career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1985. He then joined the Packers in 1993 and helped lift that storied franchise back to greatness in the '90's. White ended his career with the Carolina Panthers. When he retired, White owned the record for career sacks.
As great as Reggie White was on the field, he was just as great off the field. "Reggie White was a gentle warrior who will be remembered as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history," NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said. "Equally as impressive as his achievements on the field was the positive impact he made off the field and the way he served as a positive influence on so many young people."
The Minister of Defense was a real life, ordained minister ever since he was a young man. He was instrumental in bringing about free agency for NFL players and was famous for his work with inner-city youths. Reverand White was also one of the founders of Christian Athletes United for Spiritual Empowerment.
Then on Sunday morning, December 26, Reggie White was pronounced dead at Presbyterian Hospital in North Carolina. He was only 43 years old. White apparently died in his sleep, but the cause of his death is somewhat mysterious. White has suffered recently from a respiratory ailment that affected his sleep but was otherwise in good health. Just the day before his unexpected death, White took his family to see Fat Albert on Christmas day. An autopsy was conducted this week, but the family has asked for privacy in this matter.
White is survived by his wife Sara, his daughter Jeremy, a freshman at Elon University, and his son Jecolia, a junior in high school.
Perhaps Mike Holmgren, White's coach as a Green Bay Packer, summed up most people's feelings best when he said, "He was just a wonderful player, first of all. Then, as a person, he was just the best. .... I'm a better person for having been around Reggie White."
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
On Sunday, an earthquake ocurred beneath the ocean's surface near the island of Sumatra. This quake which registered a 9.0 on the richter scale was the strongest quake in the last 40 years and unleashed a tsunami that hit Asia and Africa. The devestation from this tsunami is of absolutely epic proportion. Thus far, 77,000 deaths have been confirmed. Some officials fear that the toll will eventually reach 100,000. News reports have been absolutely horrific, although most TV channels have spared audiences from gruesome video footage of bloated and disfigured bodies. And the stench cannot be captured by either print or video media.
Most of the nations affected by the devestation are borderline third-world at best. This means that disease caused by the decaying bodies, the flooding and the lack of clean drinking water will cause serious problems for the people who survived the initial destruction.
The United States, Japan, India and Australia have come together to form a coalition that will coordinate the relief effort. In addition, the United States has already pledged $35 million in relief money. Despite the fact that the United States is currently waging a worldwide War on Terror, the US will also divert several naval vessels, including an aircraft carrier, to the effort. These ships will be able to produce 90,000 gallons of fresh water per day.
Japan, Australia, Great Britain, France and Germany are all contributing over $20 million each to the effort. Nonetheless, U.N. Undersecretary-General of Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland declared on Tuesday that the western nations of the world are being "stingy." Egeland declared that there would be more money available for relief if only these developed nations would raise taxes on their own populations.
I'm sure you call all imagine how the Banshee feels about this comment from a U.N. official. But, I will refrain at this time from bashing the U.N. because it seems inappropriate to detract from the tragedy of this tsunami with political sniping.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Monday, December 20, 2004
Sunday, December 19, 2004
One of the best aspects of both of these films is the cast which features, among others, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle. Julia Roberts is also in both movies. Katherine Zeta Jones joins the cast for Ocean's Twelve and plays a sexy and suave, European detective. There is also a notable cameo by one of the Banshee's favorite leading men, but I won't give that away.
Ocean's Twelve is well-written and unpredictable. The action moves along quickly and is bolstered by witty and sardonic dialogue. Overall, this is a highly entertaining film that is well worth the cost of admission.
I realized partway through the week that this poll was actually flawed since there was no choice for zero trees. Wild Banshee herself is actually treeless this Christmas. No, I'm not a Grinch, but apartment living makes trees tough. Natural tree are forbidden and the idea of storing an artificial tree is a little daunting.
New Poll: I'm going to be on the road next Sunday. This will make it hard to post a new poll. Therefore, this poll will be two weeks long. Christmas day will pass in the middle of this polling period, so Banshee Blog will ask a transitional question this week. This week, Banshee Blog wants to know: When should the Christmas decorations come down?
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Tina: Tina will be celebrating her second Christmas as a married woman. Her new family of two has adopted a lofty holiday goal. It is their hope to get a Christmas tree from every different state in the Union. Thus far, they have hit Maryland and Deleware. This will certainly be a tough goal to accomplish, but if anyone can do it, I think it is Tina and Chris. One thing is for certain, they will have fun traveling in search of the perfect tree each year.
David: David said that each year his large family gathers for a few days at home. At some point during that visit, they make time to sit down together. Each person shares their prayer requests for the new year. Throughout the year, the family then prays for these requests. David said that it is very encouraging at the end of each year to see how the Lord has worked through the prayers of the family.
David shared a second tradition. Nearly 30 years ago, David's maternal grandmother stocked up on 100,000 square feet of red and white, candy-striped, wrapping paper. Each year since then, Santa's gifts have arrived wrapped in that particular paper that his family now associates with Santa alone.
Sherrah: Sherrah said that in her family, her father cooks Christmas breakfast for her mother and the four girls out on the grill. Potatoes, skillet fried eggs and peppered bacon. I have known Sherrah's family my entire life, and I know that any time her father cooks, it is a time of flavor and of joy.
Mimi: Mimi comes from a large family. Growing up, almost all of the presents under the tree were for all the kids to share. But, Mimi remembers that each kid had their own stocking, and the presents inside were for that kid alone. Mimi particularly remembers getting an orange in the toe of her stocking. She said that even though it was the same each year, every time it was special to find that citrus treat.
Mimi also remembers experiencing her first candlelight Christmas Eve service as a teenager. At that time, she was struck by the beauty of a congregation singing with only candles lighting the sanctuary. Mimi has been to a candlelight Christmas Eve service nearly every year since that time.
Wild Banshee: In my family, we bought a new Christmas ornament for the family each year. We also got ornaments for me and my sister. We tried to get ornaments that commemorated something important that happened in that year. New houses. Trips to Disney. Starting school. Driver's licenses. Then when it came time to decorate the tree, Daddy would pull the ornaments out one at a time, and we would all remember the event commemorated by the ornament. Now my sister and I each have a box of ornaments to take with us as we start our own holiday traditions in our own households.
Another tradition in the Banshee's family is the decorating Santa. I am not entirely sure when this tradition started, but I am sure that I don't remember the Christmases that preceeded it. Each year while my sister and I slept, Santa would do something to redecorate the tree and the presents beneath it. One year it was animal balloons. Another year there was a bird theme. And, this tradition has continued into adulthood. I believe it was just a year or two ago that there was a snow theme, complete with fluffly white puffs starting at my bedroom door and leading downstairs to the tree.
Friday, December 17, 2004
In the final task, the competitors were joined by formerly fired comrades. Kelly was joined by Elizabeth, Raj and John. Their task was to organize a charity polo match. Jenn was joined by Pamela, Chris and Stacy R. Their task was to run a charity basketball tournament. Each team experienced the usual ups and downs. In the end, both events were fairly successful.
The boardroom for this three-hour finale was quite extensive. It was held live at the Lincoln Center and was hosted by Regis Philbin. Cast member from the first Apprentice, audience members, members of Trump's empire and former bosses of the candidates all got to voice their opinion as to who the Donald should hire. The popular support went almost unamimously to Kelly.
And, in the end, the Donald agreed with popular opinion and told Kelly, "You're hired." Kelly chose to oversee Trump's gigantic building project on Manhattan's west side.
Editorial Comment: The Banshee totally agrees with the Donald's decision. By the end of last season's Apprentice, I was emotionally attached to both Bill and Kwame. This year, I was never really drawn to Kelly. I didn't particularly like him. That being said, I don't think I would have a hard time working for him.
Most importantly, Kelly has real life experience that he can bring to the job. The Donald needs someone who can actually run a business -- not just someone who learned about it in an Ivy League classroom. Jenn really hung her hat on the fact that she has law degree from Harvard. But, I am here to tell you that a law degree alone is not much of a qualification for running a business. And as a 29 year-old member of a gigantic law firm, my guess would be that Jenn has yet to even meet a single one of her corporate clients. Writing memos about the legal intracacies of a proposed merger is not exactly stellar preparation for leading real people in the business world.
Preview: Apprentice 3 will start in January. Instead of dividing the teams by the sexes, next season's show will pit candidates with book smarts against candidates with street smarts. An interesting premise. It's my feeling that there is no reason to choose between those two types of knowledge. After all, Kelly clearly possessed both.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Although I am glad to learn that cell phones may not actually be all that dangerous, I have to say that I am not eager to see phone calls become a regular part of air travel. Let's face it -- flying alone can be boring. It would be nice to chat a little with a friend as long as you had nothing else to do. But, can you imagine what a flight would be like if your neighbor was laughing and yelling as only cell phone users can do? And only a foot from your head? I shudder to think.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
The big feature of the night is the three-hour finale of The Apprentice. This will air on NBC at 8 p.m. Opposite that, ABC will air the Christmas classic, "It's Christmas, Charlie Brown." We've all seen this Peanuts special many times, but it never loses it's magic. This show is timeless because, unlike any other primetime special, "It's Christmas, Charlie Brown" features the real Christmas story -- complete with Scripture readings from Luke.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
But, Jenn and Kelly won't be alone as they go for the gold. Both were given three ex-competitors to join their teams. Jenn's task is to organize some sort of charity basketball game. Kelly's task is to run a polo event.
It will all come to an end on Thursday night. The 3-hour (yeah, you read that right) finale will air on NBC this Thursday. The marathon show will begin at 8 this week rather than at the usual 9 o'clock timeslot.
Ever since the Chiefs drafted running back Larry Johnson out of Penn State, Vermeil has been mishandling the former Nittany Lion. Vermeil has publicly bashed Johnson in the press and has denied the promising youngster the playing time that his salary and skills deserve. This has angered me for two years, but last night was the final straw. Last night Vermeil's grudge against my beloved Nittany Lion put an end to my fantasy football season.
All season long my team has relied on Chiefs' starter Priest Holmes to lead the way. But, as the fantasy football playoffs began, Holmes was sidelined for the season with a knee injury. So, I turned to my old friend Larry Johnson. Heading into Monday night's game, I needed 27 points (a pretty healthy amount) from Johnson in order to advance. But, thanks to Vermeil's stubbornness, Johnson was only on the field for about 3 plays in the entire first half. He finally got the playing time he deserved in the second half, totaling over 100 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns. In the end, he tallied 24 fantasy points, but it was not enough. My fate was sealed, and my season was over.
So, here's to you Larry Johnson. I have loved you since we were both teenagers. And to you, Dick ... well, the last time you did anything Larry Johnson and I were both just learning how to walk. Yeah, it's been that long. Consider yourself permanently added to my bad list.
Monday, December 13, 2004
Although I believe that Scott Peterson deserves to die, I am surprised that the California jury opted for the ultimate punishment in light of the sparse direct evidence in this case. After all, Cali ain't no Virginia.
I'd also like to note that the jury wrapped things up just in time. Now America can turn its full attention to the Robert Blake murder trial.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
New Poll: Continuing with the Christmas theme, this week's poll asks: How many Christmas trees do you have in your home?
This year, for the first time ever, there were two sets of teammates on the stage. Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush of the USC Trojans were both finalists. In addition, last year's winner, Jason White, was joined by his Oklahoma Sooner teammate Adrian Peterson. White did exercise his right to vote as a past champion. He said he voted for Peterson first and Leinart second.
The fifth finalist was Alex Smith, quarterback for the Utah Utes. Smith did not have any college teamates with him on the stage, but he played on the same high school team in San Diego as Reggie Bush. None of the finalists have suffered a loss during the 2004 football season.
When the votes were tallied, it was Matt Leinart, the left-handed quarterback from the University of Southern California, who was declared the ---th winner of the Heisman trophy.
Leinart has been the toast of LA for two seasons now. Last season he led the Men of Troy to a share of the national title, and he now has a chance to make the Trojans a wire-to-wire champion this season. He has certainly come a long way from the days when he was teased in elementary school for being a fat and cross-eyed kid.
Saturday, December 11, 2004
But I think that's a lie.
'Cause when it comes to you
I'd rather have you by my side."
Lyrics from Keith Urban's "Better Half." Urban wrote this song about his parents' marriage.
Sometime last week, actress Kirstie Alley was walking her dogs in a Los Angeles park. Ms. Alley is still quite recognizeable, but she has gained a substantial amount of weight since she achieved celebrity status on the sitcom Cheers. While she was minding her own business in the park, some 20-something year-olds decided that Ms. Alley needed to have her weight gain pointed out to her. The bullies were quoted as saying, "Hey, you're the chick from 'Cheers' . . . Man, you really packed on the pounds since then!" and other such fat comments. Poor Kirstie was embarrassed by the taunting and tried to hurry her dogs back to her SUV. But, the punks wouldn't leave her alone and continued to harrass Alley until a muscular man stepped up and asked, "You boys have a problem?" That man ... Vin Diesel.
Diesel told the wanna be tough-guys, "I think you boys owe this lady an apology." Of course, they obeyed. No one defies Richard B. Riddick.
Friday, December 10, 2004
Another reason that I wanted to write about this movie is that I don't have to add any warnings or caveats to this recommendation. There is no sex. There is very little violence and virtually no language. This movie is so clean that it actually came out with a PG rating and under the Walt Disney banner, rather than under the Touchstone label as originally planned.
So, if you're looking for a couple hours of light entertainment, definitely give National Treasure a try.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
My latest quiz experience: What Christmas figure are you?
Hey there, Frosty! You are the nice, happy snowman.
You know how to have a good time. You are most
likely invited to almost all the Christmas
parties, if any are scheduled. You will
probably really enjoy this Christmas, which is
great for you. People love to be around you.
Have a Merry Christmas =)
What Christmas Figure Are You?
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
The NBA acted quickly and handed out serious suspensions to the players involved. But the repercussions do not end there. Today, Oakland County prosecutors announced that criminal charges will be filed against both players and fans. Five Indiana Pacers, including all-stars Ron Artest and Jermaine O'Neal, are now facing misdemeanor assault charges. Several fans were also charged with assault, including Detroit Piston Ben Wallace's brother. One fan named Bryant Jackson was also charged with a felony for throwing a chair into the melee.
(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Overall, I am quite pleased with the way this incident has been handled by both the NBA and prosecutors. I am not a big proponent of bringing the judicial system onto fields of play. I do not think that the occasional cheap shot between players should be treated as a criminal event even though that same action would rise to the level of an assault if it occurred a sidewalk. However, this incident involved fans. That is whole different matter. In this situation, you are no longer dealing with individuals who have all chosen to engage in an activity with a foreseeable level of violence.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
This year, there are four undefeated and untied teams in major college football. The BCS has chosen Oklahoma to play USC in the Orange Bowl to determine the national champion. Meanwhile, the undefeated Auburn Tigers will play Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. The remaining undefeated team will play the Pitt Panthers in the Fiesta Bowl. Quite possibly, there will be three undefeated teams remaining when the dust settles, and the winner of the Orange Bowl will be arbitrarily declared the champ.
But, as the great Teddy Roosevelt said, "It is not the critic that counts." I am a firm believer in the idea that if you are going to criticize something then you had better have a proposal of your own. Well, I layed out my proposal in detail in a post from last January. Here is an excerpt from that post:
So here's the idea: All the non-BCS bowls would remain unchanged. They will
remain just as insignificant and yet just as fascinating as they currently are.
For the current BCS bowls, we'll have a little bit of throwback. Restore the old
conference ties. Let the PAC 10 champ play the Big 10 champ in the Rose Bowl.
The Sugar Bowl would get the SEC champ and the Big East champ (or a an at-large
if the Big East loses its legitimacy). The Orange Bowl would get the Big 12
champ and the ACC champ .... The Fiesta Bowl would go back to its roots and get two at-large teams (see Jan 2, 1987 when the Fiesta secured its position on the national stage). The at-large berths would be given to the teams with the highest BCS ratings.
These BCS games should all be played on New Years weekend as they are now. The next week would have two neutral site games pitting the bowl game winners against each other. The week after that a College Super Bowl. What could be better than that?
For a more detailed explanation of the pros and cons of this system, please see my post from last January.
If the Banshee Playoff was in place, this year's New Year's Day match-ups would be as follows:
Fiesta: Texas (10-1) vs. Utah (11-0)
Sugar: Pitt (8-3) vs. Auburn (12-0)
Orange: Virginia Tech (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (12-0)
Rose: Michigan (9-2) vs. USC (12-0)
This would allow all four undefeated team to advance into Week 2 and settle this championship on the field. One can only dream of a day when such things are possible.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Be proud fellow citizens as you see how our country has come to the aid of the suffering victims of the tsunami. Not only are we sending money but we are also sending manpower. And we expect nothing in return. The world wanted us to help in a big way and we have.
But also be proud fellow citizens when you see how our country has come to the aid of the suffering people in Iraq. Almost twice as many people died as a result of the violence of Saddam as did from the violence of the tsunami. We sent not only money but also manpower. And we expect nothing in return. But the world ridicules and reviles us.
This show has the usual odd decorators and carpenters but it also has an unusual purpose. It highlights a deserving family who needs better housing. The families have been chosen for a variety of reasons. Some have children with disabilities, some are recently widowed, some have shown exceptional kindness to other people. Now I’ll admit this show has its sappy moments and it does seem unbelievable that an entire house can be built in one week. But what makes this show worth watching is that it highlights giving rather than getting. Not only that, but it exposes the audience to people who are living truly real lives – lives filled with hard work, joy, commitment and many other attributes that are rarely seen on TV.
If you’d like to know more about the show or the families that have received new homes check out http://abc.go.com/primetime/xtremehome/show.html
A young officer back from Iraq has started a program through his university that allows people to “adopt” a soldier and become their pen pal. When anyone signs up for the program a red bracelet is sent to be worn by those supporting the soldiers in this way.
It is hard to imagine what a letter of support from someone “back home” means to those deployed overseas but this is a great way to find out. Learn more about how you can be involved at http://www.mville.edu/news/NEWS_nov04_mysoldier.HTML.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
So far, Wild Banshee has received only one submission. So, I am renewing my call for contributions. If you or your family has a special activity or food or anything that you look forward to each year, please consider passing it along to Wild Banshee. Same thing goes for holiday traditions from your childhood that are no more. There are not narrow guidelines for this activity.
I look forward to checking my inbox in the days to come.
This poll asked: What is your favorite holiday movie?
Miracle on 34th Street and Christmas Vacation each received 8% of the vote. A Christmas Story received 16% of the vote. The runaway winner was It's a Wonderful Life. This timeless classic received 66% of the vote.
New Poll: We'll try to stick with the holiday theme from now until Christmas. This week's poll asks: Which type of lights do you prefer for your tree?
Saturday, December 04, 2004
When the week began, there were only five players remaining. Apex had 3 members: Ivana, Kevin and Kelly. Kelly was exempt from firing due to leading his team to victory last week. Apex made Ivana their project manager. Mosaic had only two members: Sandy and Jennifer -- two women who had screeched at each other in the previous week's boardroom.
The task this week was two-fold. It involved the production and sale of Mars' new candy bar, the M-azing bar. It is a candy bar with some sort of M&M's in it. On the first day, the teams had to operate an assembly line with only their members and produce as many bars as they could that would pass Mars' quality inspection. On day two, the teams had to sell the bars they produced on the streets of New York. Whichever team brought in the most money would win.
Despite having an extra team member, Apex produced only marginally more bars than Mosaic. Therefore, the competition really came down to who could sell their bars for the most money. Mosaic decided to capitalize on their good looks and dawn the persona of the M&M sisters. So, the two comely blondes took to the streets in slinky tank tops, mini skirts and heels. They really did look almost like twins. Their good looks and their cute demeanor allowed the women to sell their bars for an average price of nearly $5 a bar. And they did all this while being very mindful of not crossing over into a slutty presentation.
Meanwhile, Apex staked out a spot near the top of a subway escalator on Wall Street. They used a pretty standard carnival barker approach. And it worked to moderate success. However, they were only selling their bars for $2 at the start. Kevin was having no success at that price and dropped his price to only $1 without getting approval from Ivana. Aside from this, it was a pretty uneventful outing for Apex until Ivana was told by a pedestrian that two attractive women were selling the same thing for $5 just a few blocks away.
At this point Ivana, who has been exhibiting extreme and irrational jealousy of Jennifer's good looks for weeks, lost all perspective on the situation. After strolling down to check out Mosaic's outfits, Ivana decided to take desperate measures. She started approaching men and telling them she'd drop her skirt if they'd pay $20 for a chocolate bar. She had two takers and dropped her skirt twice. Granted, Ivana's panties were of the boys shorts variety, but you could see the handwriting on the wall as Caroline observed these antics.
Despite this desparate display of exhibitionism by Apex, Mosaic came out way ahead. Kevin took a little heat in the boardroom for dropping the price without approval. But, as usual, the finger was pointed at the project manager. It certainly didn't help that Ivana had used a strip-tease as part of her marketing plan. In the end, Ivana's only defense was her claims that both Jen and Sandy were superficial and worse players than her. But as Trump astutely pointed out, those girls won and were not in the boardroom to be fired. Then the Donald said the words I've been longing to hear. He slapped the table and said, "Ivana, you're fired."
Friday, December 03, 2004
The excitement kicks off on ABC at 1 p.m. when Virginia Tech heads to south Florida to take on Miami for the ACC Championship. Then at 2:30 on CBS, one of the most historic rivalries in all of sports is renewed for the 115th time when Army battles Navy. After the Army-Navy game ends, you'll have time to run out and pick up some wings for dinner. But don't dilly-dally because possibly the best game of the day will be starting in just a few minutes. At 6 p.m. CBS will broadcast the SEC Championship game from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The SEC Championship features the Tennessee Volunteers and the undefeated, untied Auburn Tigers. When that game ends you'll still have a chance to catch most of the Big XII Championship game. The Big XII Championship begins at 8 p.m. This year's game pits the powerful Oklahoma Sooners against the Colorado Buffaloes. The Sooners will be a heavy favorite, but the Big XII Championship has a history of stunning upsets -- including last year's upset of the Sooners by the Kansas State Wildcats.
So, if you're a college football fan, write all this down so that you don't miss a moment. And if you're someone who really just can't understand what gets people like me so excited about all of this, please tune into any one of these games. It'll be almost impossible for you to avoid being swept up in the emotion of these games.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Fox and Friends discussed these new numbers during their 6 o'clock hour this morning. The unmarried beauty queen/reporter, Lauren Green, noted that sexually transmitted disease has also risen by similar margins over this time period. An interesting observation. The married Brian Kilmeade also made an interesting observation. He stated, "People in their 20's have more to do now -- like play video games."
So true Brian, so true. And as the title of Kilmeade's NY Times best-seller points out, the games do count.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
A Million Thanks: This website gathers letters, cards and emails and distributes them to those who have served our country both in the past and in the present.
Operation Uplink: This website operates in conjunction with the VFW. This site collects donations that are used to buy phone cards for the troops. This allows many who are in harm's way to call their loved ones back at home. This is a perfect gift for the Christmas season.
(Thanks to Mimi for providing these websites)
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Zerg's reply was posted first. Zerg correctly wrote, "What is H&R block?" Then Jennings' answer was posted. He incorrectly answered, "What is Fed Ex?" An audible gasp went up from the audience and from Ms. Zerg herself. It was a stunning moment.
So, tomorrow will start the beginning of the Zerg era on Jeopardy. No doubt it will be a lot shorter that Mr. Jennings' reign. Jennings' run of 74 straight wins was a game show record as was his $2.5 million dollars in winnings.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Poll results: Last week's poll asked what was the proper time to begin decorating for Christmas. The choices were (1) after Halloween (2) after Thanksgiving (3) Christmas Eve. 12% of voters said that after Halloween was the proper time. 12% also said that Christmas Eve was the best time. An overwhelming 75% said that after Thanksgiving was the appropriate time to begin decorating for Christmas.
New Poll: As frequent readers of Banshee Blog know, the Banshee loves movies. Now that the holidays are officially upon us, Banshee Blog wants to know: What is your favorite holiday movie?
Friday, November 26, 2004
Since Christmas is a perfect time for sharing, Wild Banshee is calling on each of you to share some of your family's Christmas traditions. It can be special foods. Decorations. Activities. It can also be things you remember from doing on Christmases from your past.
Please send these contributions to Wild Banshee. On Saturday, December 18, I will put together a compilation of the stories and notes that I have recieved and post them on this blog. And don't worry. I will be reminding you all periodically about this project.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
The tasks of our everyday life we will face.
Our faith ever sharing, in love ever caring,
Embracing his children of each tribe and race.
With your feast you feed us,
With your light now lead us;
Unite us as one in this life that we share.
Then may all the living with praise and Thanksgiving
Give honor to Christ and His name that we bear.
-- Verse 2 of "Sent Forth by God's Blessing" as taken from the Lutheran Worship hymnal
1. The re-election of President George W. Bush.
2. That the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners saw fit to admit me to the Virginia State Bar.
3. That I got to know my grandfather for 25 years.
5. The support and encouragement that I have received from Banshee Blog readers.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Here is the text of President George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation from 1789:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of
Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to
implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by
their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United
States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging
with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by
affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for
their safety and happiness."
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of
November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of
that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that
was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him
our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of
this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold
mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and
conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and
plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in
which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our
safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted'
for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we
have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the
great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and
supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon
our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or
private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and
punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by
constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly
and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and
nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with
good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of
true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and,
generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He
alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d dy of October, A.D.
(signed) G. Washington
The following proclamation was written in the fall of 1863. This is at the height of the Civil War -- just months after the Confederate invasion of the North at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. As you read, please note President Lincoln's recognition of the Lord's providence in allowing the Civil War as a punishment for our national sin of slavery. And furhter note that President Lincoln is able to see the blessings that the Lord bestowed on our nation even in the midst of this punishment.
President Lincoln wrote:
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the
blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are
so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they
come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they
cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually
insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a
civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to
foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been
preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been
respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre
of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the
advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of
strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not
arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders
of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious
metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has
steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp,
the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness
of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years
with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any
mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the
Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath
nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they
should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and
one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens
in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who
are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of
November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who
dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the
ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they
do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience,
commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners
or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged,
and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds
of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine
purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United
States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence
of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
The major suspensions were as follows:
Ron Artest: remainder of the season (73 games)
Stephen Jackson (Pacers): 30 games
Jermaine O'Neill (Pacers): 25 games
Ben Wallace (Pistons): 5 games
But, the story isn't gonna end there. On Tuesday, the NBA Players Association (aka the union) filed an appeal on behalf of the three worst offending Pacers. I understand that it is the duty of the Players Association to represent the interests of the players. But, that begs the question -- Which players?
I would submit that it may not be in the interest of the players overall for the union to align itself with these violent rule-breakers. The league has been suffering for several years from the growing thug image of many of its players. Popularity has been waning. If I were a member of the players union, I would seriously question the wisdom of backing those players who attacked fans. After all, the existence of the NBA depends on fan support.
Monday, November 22, 2004
Trend 1: Men in women's pants. I mean this in the literal sense. Last week, the local paper published a two page spread about a weird new fashion trend. According to this paper, it is now very fashion forward for men to wear women's jeans. The story is that men's jeans are simply cut too baggy for many people's taste. Men who want a more snug fit are forced to buy from women's stores.
The three DJ's on the morning show the next day were really shaken up by this newspaper story. They asked local listeners to call in with their opinions. Most of the grown-ups that called in thought this was bizarre and disturbing. However, one young teen told the radio audience that most of her male friends wear women's jeans. Rumor has it that there has even been an outbreak of this in the Banshee's own family -- not from a direct relative but from a boyfriend of a relative.
Trend 2: Partially opening cards. Today I was in the Hallmark store to scout out Christmas cards before the pickings got slim. I don't think that I am alone in finding joy in using the cards I receive as a key element of decorating. However, that might be a problem this year. There are quite a few cards this year that only partially open. Only a small cut-out opens or there is a large size difference between the front and the back. They are sort of half-opening cards. The main point here is that they will not be able to stand up on mantles or TV tops. If you ask me, this is not a positive step forward in the field of Christmas correspondence.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
The Ford 400 was a caution-plagued race despite the fact that there were very few cars gathered up in wrecks. However, the final caution of the day was brought out when race-leader Ryan Newman ran into the wall. This late caution set up a green-white-checkers situation. It was a dramatic finish.
When all was said and done, Kurt Busch's teammate, Greg Biffle held off the charging Jimmie Johnson to take the victory. Jeff Gordon finished 3rd. Kurt Busch miraculously salvaged a 5th place finish, and that was good enough to give him the Nextel Cup Championship by a margin of 8 points.
As in the race, Johnson finished the season in 2nd place and Gordon in 3rd. Mark Martin, in his final full season, finished in 4th place. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had a poor showing in the finale and dropped to 5th place.
New Poll: As soon as Halloween ended, I began to see Christmas decorations popping up in different places. Last week, the Christmas decorations went up in the town where I work. This week, Christmas decorations will get in full swing all over the place when Thanksgiving ends. So, the poll question for this week is: When should Christmas decorating begin?
Leading the way with college basketball news and commentary is the College Basketball weblog. This blog is maintained by a recent commenter here at Banshee Blog. This basketball weblog is truly an outstanding site. It's far more technically savvy than Banshee Blog and is updated many times a day. This blog is so terrific that it has earned a permanent link here on Banshee Blog. Please check it out.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Okay, not a huge deal yet. A timeout was called. Then for some reason, Ron Artest felt the need to lie down on the scorer's table. A hometown Pistons' fan apparently felt this was a disrespectful thing to do and let his feelings be known by lobbing a water bottle down onto Artest's face. Then Artest follows Detroit native Eminem's advice and just loses it. Artest sprang to his feet, climbed several rows into the stands and attacked a fan.
(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Upon video review, it turns out that Artest didn't even attack the fan who actually threw the bottle. After Artest entered the stands, things just got totally out of control. Several other Pacers went into the seats. Several fans went onto the floor. Players threw haymakers at paying customers and paying customers threw sucker punches at players. The final lowlight of the fight came when a fan threw a folding chair into the scrum near the Pacers' bench. The fight eventually ended when the referees called the game and cleared the floor.
The NBA did not take long to react to this incident. NBA commissioner David Stern announced on Saturday afternoon that the Pistons' star Ben Wallace has been suspended indefinitely pending further investigation. Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O'Neill and Ron Artest of the Pacers have all been suspended indefinitely as well.
Has anyone noticed? The answer is mostly, "No." But after watching the bizarre brawl at the Pistons' game last night, I'm beginning to think that the American sports world might actually need the return of the NHL.
As the Pater Familias pointed out, this kind of thuggish brawling is the sort of thing we expect at a hockey game. Hmmm. Perhaps this fight between players and fans really had nothing to do with the hard foul on Ben Wallace. Perhaps this was a case of frustrated Wings fans being forced to bring their WWE antics over to the Palace at Auburn Hills since the doors are locked over at the Joe.
So, in the wake of last night's ugliness, I'm making a heartfelt plea to Gary Bettman. Please get your league back on the ice so that this criminal behavior can go back to the sport where it belongs.
Friday, November 19, 2004
I recommend that all the ladies out there find out which Disney princess is most like you. Wild Banshee is most like Princess Jasmine. Interesting. Jasmine is pretty fun and gets to hang out with Genie. On the other hand, I'm a little too afraid of heights for all that magic carpet riding.
After you're done with that quiz, find out which Disney princess would make the best friend for you. The Disney friend finder determined that Ariel would make the perfect friend for Wild Banshee. She does seem like fun. Plus, if I ever needed a thing-a-mabob, she's got twenty.
(Thanks to Erin Violette for providing these links)
Thursday, November 18, 2004
In the boardroom, Wes exercised his right to bring all three of his teammates in for the final showdown. Jenn M. and Andy never seemed to be in danger. Maria continued to have a meltdown, and Wes was unable to explain away his inability to control Maria during the task. The Donald fired Maria. Then, in an unexpected turn of events, the Donald also fired Wes. Clearly a re-shuffle will be needed again this week to balance out the numbers.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
This day in history: 135 years ago today, the Suez canal opened.
Song of the decade: CMT replayed its 100 Greatest Songs countdown tonight. I learned an interesting bit of trivia during my brief, 10-minute stop on CMT. I learned that Toby Keith's "Should Have Been a Cowboy" was the most played song of the 1990's. Perhaps the commentator should have said that it was the most played country song. Nonetheless, that is an impressive feat -- especially considering the fact that that record label later ditched Mr. Keith because they thought his lyrics were too brash to sell.
Well, last night there was a Robert Sean Leonard sighting in prime time. Leonard has now featured in a recurring role in FOX's brand new, highly acclaimed, medical drama, House.
By the way, ladies, Robert Sean Leonard is now 35 years old -- that's 2 years younger than Tim McGraw.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
That being said, I couldn't resist a quick update. So much has occurred since my laptop went down on Sunday the 7th of November. For one thing, Dale Jr. won the Phoenix race and the overall standings have been shuffled and tightened.
The President's cabinet has also been shuffled. Most noteably, John Ashcroft has resigned as Attorney General and Colin Powell has resigned as Secretary of State. This afternoon, President Bush announced that he has chosen Dr. Condoleezza Rice to replace Powell as head of the State Department. For the reasons discussed above, I do not want to get too political from this computer. But I will say that I wholeheartedly approve of this choice. Any woman whose real dream in life is to be the commissioner of the NFL is okay in my book. Even the President noted this ambition in his comments to the press this afternoon.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Seven presidents were born in Ohio as well as Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, and Jesse Owens. Volcunized rubber, chewing gum, the hot dog, cash registers, the airplane, Teflon, Formica and the traffic light were all invented in Ohio. The first labor union and interracial coeducational college were established in Ohio. And 50% of the population of the United States lives within a 500 mile radius of Columbus!
If you'd like to know more, check out www.50states.com/facts/ohio.htm or better yet . . . come by and visit Mimi!
Worry no more. I am happy to report that the Banshee is well, but her computer is sick . . . very sick. Fortunately she will be able to use another computer soon. So check back and get caught up with all the latest.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
New Poll: This week Banshee Blog wants to know if you live in a red state (Bush) or a blue state (Kerry).
This is something that many on the Left simply cannot understand (and by "the Left" I don't mean all Democrats. I mean those who read Roe v. Wade like a fifth Gospel and equate the gay marriage issue to the abolitionist movement). But, those individuals are not just baffled. They are enraged and terrified. And they are beginning to lose touch with reality. There is no better example of this than New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
The day after the election, Maureen Dowd wrote the following in her Times column:
The president got re-elected by dividing the country along fault lines of
fear, intolerance, ignorance and religious rule. He doesn't want to heal rifts;
he wants to bring any riffraff who disagree to heel.
W. ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq - drawing a devoted
flock of evangelicals, or "values voters," as they call themselves, to the polls
by opposing abortion, suffocating stem cell research and supporting a
constitutional amendment against gay marriage.
This anger borders on the delusional. Using the word "jihad" to describe any democratic election goes far beyond all resonable discourse. But, I remind myself of the tantrums I have thrown following the defeat of sports teams I have loved and would be willing to dismiss this venom. However, Dowd refused to back off from this statement when she appeared on Meet the Press this morning. In addition, in today's column Dowd stepped up the attacks on the Christians and conservatives that she disdains and despises.
Dowd's column from today's New York Times, entitled "Rove's Revenge," says the following:
W.'s presidency rushes backward, stifling possibilities, stirring
intolerance, confusing church with state, blowing off the world, replacing
science with religion, and facts with faith. We're entering another dark age,
more creationist than cutting edge, more premodern than postmodern. Instead of
leading America to an exciting new reality, the Bushies cocoon in a scary,
paranoid, regressive reality. Their new health care plan will probably be a
return to leeches.
America has always had strains of isolationism, nativism, chauvinism,
puritanism and religious fanaticism. But most of our leaders, even our devout
presidents, have tried to keep these impulses under control. Not this crew. They
don't call to our better angels; they summon our nasty devils.
This is truly outrageous. Not only does this column display Dowd's hatred, but it displays her bigotry and fear. Like many others in the elite press, Dowd is simply unfamiliar with evangelicals and conservatives. She doesn't know any. She doesn't socialize with any. Therefore, she doesn't understand them. And like many whites in the old days of segregation, Dowd chooses to hate and fear what she does not understand.
Saturday, November 06, 2004
Friday, November 05, 2004
However, I can say that the acting in this film is quite excellent. The only big name actor in the movie is Billy Bob Thornton. Thornton gives a compelling and believable performance as head coach and role model, Gary Gaines. Derek Luke (of Antwone Fisher fame) gives an emotional performance as star running back Boobie Miles. Tim McGraw (yeah, that Tim McGraw) makes his big screen debut in Friday Night Lights. It's an interesting role that required real acting. Tim doesn't look good in any scene in this movie as he ably plays an angry, abusive drunk.
In conclusion, if you've played team sports, you will like this movie and should see it (note: this is a fairly gritty film that may not be appropriate for young boys who will be drawn to the subject matter). And, if you have a hard time understanding why Wild Banshee is so consumed with sports then you should definitely see this movie.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Today is another day. Today is a day of analysis ... and a little gloating.
Historic victory. George W. Bush did not win by an enormous margin in either the popular vote or in the electoral college. However, there is no room for the whining about an illegitimate President that the liberals have been subjecting the nation to for the last four years. George Bush garnered more votes than any candidate in our nation's history. More votes even than the beloved Gipper. Bush also became the first President to get a majority of the popular vote since the first George Bush did it back in 1988. This is a feat that Bill Clinton could never achieve.
Conservative mandate. The Presidency was not the only thing Americans were voting on this past Tuesday. Americans were also electing governors, representatives and senators. And the American people spoke out in a loud and clear voice. The party of Reagan and Bush dismantled the Democrats. The GOP expanded their edge in the Senate. The tally in the Senate is now 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats and 1 Independent. The Republican party also expanded their lead in the House. The GOP picked up 11 House seats and now enjoys a 234 to 200 majority with 1 Independent. So, not only did our nation re-elect our conservative President, but the electorate also swept out a series of congressional Democrats and replaced them with Republicans.
Job Search. Let the job search begin for Senator Edwards and Senator Daschle. Edwards gave up his North Carolina seat -- partly because of his campaigning and partly because he was likely to lose. Puff Daschle, on the other hand, just took it on the chin from the challenger John Thune in the South Dakota race. So, the Dems in the Senate that managed to hold onto their seats this time around will have to choose a new leader come January.
Take that liberals. I have to admit that I took great enjoyment in watching my liberal friend suffer through George Bush's victory speech yesterday afternoon. She muttered some of the typical anti-Bush nonesense. And I just smiled. I no longer felt like I was some rebel outcast with my conservative views. I felt a great sense of community with the 59,373,619 other Americans who also voted for George W. Bush and helped advance the Republican agenda in Congress. And, it was nice to know that my friend and those who think like her are virtually powerless right now in American and will likely remain so for quite some time.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Prior to this election, both parties had gathered teams of lawyers all throughout the Midwest and Florida. Pundits warned about the possibility of protracted lawsuits challenging votes and judges deciding the election.
In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, it became clear to most of the nation that George W. Bush had won the state of Ohio and therefore the election. Still, the networks were hesitant to call the election. And when morning dawned and America went back to work, John Kerry had still not conceded the election. Apparently, Kerry's staffers were urging the Senator to mobilize the legal teams and go to battle in the court rooms of Ohio.
But, John Kerry stood up and admitted defeat like a man. For the good of the country, Senator John F. Kerry accepted defeat and urged the nation to come back together. For this, the nation owes the Senator a debt of gratitude.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Monday, November 01, 2004
George Bush: 305 EC votes
John Kerry: 224 EC votes
The GOP will pick up at least 3 Senate seats. Most notably, the Senate Minority Leader, Tom "Puff" Daschle will lose to the Republican challenger, John Thune.
The GOP will pick up a couple of seats in the House, as well.
So, that's my prediction. I feel good about tomorrow. However, I have a fairly bad record in predictions -- see last year's NFL playoffs and NCAA basketball tourney.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
The championship race tightened up considerably this week due to leader Kurt Busch's engine blowout on lap 35. Busch finished in 42nd place. Jeff Gordon also had problems and finished in 35th place. With 15 laps to go, it looked like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was poised to take over the points lead. Junior was cruising in 3rd place when he got together with Carl Edwards. This dropped Junior all the way to a 33rd place finish.
Now that the dust has settled, there is a whole new look to the championship race. Kurt Busch is still in the top spot. Jimmie Johnson is now in 2nd place and only trails Busch by 56 points. Jeff Gordon dropped to 3rd and is 72 points out of the lead. The perennial bridesmaid, Mark Martin, moved up to 3rd place and is only 81 points away from capturing the Cup. Dale, Jr. rounds out the top five and trails by 98 points.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
George and Laura.
A Penn Stater in the heartland.
Once again, this graphic updates daily. It is not locked in for 10/30/04.
Friday, October 29, 2004
Another California company is offering cloned cats. The company claims that it has already successfully cloned kittens. They say they will clone anyone's pet for a mere $50,000. This is all reported at CNN.com.
This is certainly an interesting development, but I'm not sure that genetically engineered pets will be as popular as the designers hope. If pets turn into manufactured items, I think that we may lose some of our emotional connection with them.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
In 1918, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. Following that season, the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000. That is when The Curse began. For the next 86 years, the Boston Red Sox broke the hearts of their fans as they came close to victory but never actually tasted it. Along the way, a series of bizarre and improbable events came between the Sox and a championship. Meanwhile, the hated New York Yankees won 26 world titles.
But, last night the sports world was turned upside-down. The Curse has ended. A new era has begun. And many sports fans are left looking for a new self-image. Yankees fans can no longer view themselves as the invincible Sox killers. And Sox fans can no longer wallow in self-pity. They are now saddled with the expectations of a champion. It will be interesting to see how this affects one of the greatest rivalries in sports.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
People ask why I so ardently support the President. I’ve given it some thought and must admit that I don’t always agree with some of his policies (increased spending on education and the expansion of Medicare benefits). But I want him to be my president for one big reason. Character.
But how can you really judge a man’s character? I have a very simple test. Look at his relationship with his wife. A man who respects and keeps his wedding vows is a man who can be trusted. A man who is protective towards his wife is a man who will not hesitate to protect the country. A man who has chosen wisely when selecting a life-long partner is a man who will know how to choose alliances that will be helpful to the life of the nation. And a man who looks at his wife like she is the most wonderful person in the world is a man who doesn’t think that HE is the most wonderful person in the world.
To see President Bush was a thrill. To see President Bush with his wife Laura was inspiring. Let’s hope we see them for FOUR MORE YEARS!
Here are Wild Banshee's results:
You preferred Bush's statements 78% of the time
You preferred Kerry's statements 22% of the time
Voting purely on the issues you should vote Bush
Who would you vote for if you voted on the issues?
Find out now!
(Thanks to Erin Violette for pointing me to this poll.)
If you're wondering how Wild Banshee could possibly have chosen the Kerry response on 22% of the issues, the answer is simple. John Kerry has said pretty much everything that can be said about both sides of every issue. So, it's no wonder that he matched my steady views 22% of the time.