Monday, September 27, 2004
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."
Bill is survived by his wife Mamie, his sons, Lee and Jerry, and his daughter Lisa Dinger. He is also survived by five grandchildren Tom Wetzel, Rebecca Wetzel, Katy (Wetzel) Underwood, Dana (Dinger) Rice, Samantha Dinger and countless friends.
[Funeral info omitted]
Sunday, September 26, 2004
New Poll: Wild Banshee already voiced her thoughts on the importance of presidential debates. Although I still wish there was going to be some sort of athletic competition, I do intend to watch all three debates between the two candidates. This week, Banshee Blog asks: How many of the presidential debates do you plan to watch?
Next week, the Chase for the Championship will roll through Talledega, Alabama. This will be the only true super-speedway race in the 10-race Chase.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Last week, the two candidates finally reached an agreement on the debate schedule for this campaign season.
The schedule is as follows:
Sept. 30 -- University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL)
Oct. 8 -- Washington University (St. Louis, MO)
Oct. 13 -- Arizona State (Tempe, AZ)
I think debates are overrated. If the public wants to know where the candidates stand on the issues, they can find that out by reading campaign materials on the Internet. I have a unique proposal.
Sept. 30: Go ahead and hold a standard debate at the University of Miami. It's okay to have the candidates answer some live questions in front of a live audience.
Oct. 8: Hold a decathalon at the Horseshoe in Columbus, OH. The winner of the decathalon at the Olympics is usually declared the world's greatest athlete. This event combines running, throwing, jumping. The whole works. This event would test the candidates' strategy, endurance and determination.
Oct. 15: Put the candidates in an octagon ring at the MGM Grand and let them go at it under the rules of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. After all, if you're not tough enough to put the beat-down on your middle aged opponent then you're not tough enough to win a showdown with the terrorists.
The season premier will air on NBC at 8 p.m. on Sunday night.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Thursday, September 23, 2004
In a small town nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1983, Alex Rogan is
about to discover the adventure of a lifetime. An 18-year-old with an uncertain
future, Alex becomes the master of a video game only to discover that Centauri,
a huckster trying to save his vulnerable galaxy and make a little money in the
process, put it on Earth as a testing ground. Centauri offers Alex membership in
an elite cadre of space pilots charged with protecting the universe. Alex must
find a way to reach his potential, while a great danger looms out in space,
waiting for him.
I'm curious to know how musical numbers will be worked into this story, but I'm all for a musical based on a movie about a video game.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Monday, September 20, 2004
But, don't expect Memogate to end just yet. CBS orignally claimed that the memos originated from an unimpeachable source. CBS now admits that the source of the documents was actually a known Democratic operative by the name of Bill Burkett. There are also rumors that members of the Kerry campaign may have been instrumental in getting the documents into the hands of Dan Rather.
Of course, the documents are not worthless merely because an active Democrat unearthed them and gave them to a network. However, if CBS was running anything resembling a serious newsroom, documents coming from a source like this would have been vetted to the highest degree. Instead, CBS didn't even do the research that amateur analysts were able to do within a few hours of the original 60 Minutes broadcast.
So, am I saying that CBS intentionally reported on forged documents? No, I am not saying that. However, I do believe that Dan Rather's undeniable preference for John Kerry tainted his judgment. I suspect that Rather was predisposed to believe the documents and therefore slipped up in his background checks. And for this, he deserves to pay a steep price.
But, there is an exception to every rule. Last night, the Bengals wore all black. I guess it was the football equivalent of formal wear. I gotta say it was a good look. The pretty unis helped the Bengals eek out an ugly win in Miami.
Old school is new again. All around the NFL, there is a return to black shoes. I'm a big fan of this. Supposedly, black shoes make you look slower. In college, this does seem to be the case. Almost no SEC team wears black shoes while most of the Big Ten wears black. But, the Atlanta Falcons wear black shoes, and Mike Vick certainly hasn't looked slow at all in the first two weeks. Of course, he probably wouldn't even look slow with cinder blocks for shoes.
The Eagles and the Colts have also gone to a bit of a throwback look. The shoes are really the only alteration for the Eagles. They're now wearing black, too. The Colts took things a bit farther. They not only donned the black shoes, but they stripped the paint off their facemasks. I think it's a good look for them.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Optimism was high in Red Sox nation. And, it got even higher after the Sox battled back against the Yankees' dominant closer, Mariano Rivera, to steal the first game away from the Yankees in the ninth inning on Friday night. Some even began to talk about the Yankee mystique being a thing of the past. But, as Friday night turned to Saturday morning, the world righted itself. On Saturday afternoon, the Yanks pounded the Sox by a score 14-4. Then came Sunday's rubber match. The Sox were sending their ace, Pedro Martinez, to the mound to face the injury plagued Mike Mussina. But, it was Mussina who pitched a masterpiece, allowing only 1 run in 7 innings. Pedro could not make it out of the 6th inning before giving up 8 runs. The final score was 11-1 in favor of the Yankees.
The Yankees lead in the division is now a substantial 4.5 games with only 13 games left to play. The Red Sox do get three more chances at the Yankees in Fenway Park before the year ends. But, Sox fans and Yankee haters need to be reminded of one of life's undeniable truths: The Red Sox do not sweep the Yankees in September to steal a pennant.
Most likely, these two teams will not play another meaningful game against each other until the ALCS in October.
Next week the Chase for the Championship moves to the Monster Mile in Dover, Deleware.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Big Kenny and John Rich have been writing songs together for years. They also helped with a few of the songs on Gretchen Wilson's new smash album. Horse of a Different Color is their first project as a duo, and they wrote all 13 tracks on this cd. Big and Rich immediately made a splash on the country scene with their hit single, "Save a Horse." Soon the album reached platinum status. I suppose that most people bought the record because of this single. I actually bought the cd because I saw them live last week when they opened for Tim McGraw on the "Out Loud" tour and thought they were just tremendous. Although I can't absolutely vouch for the morality of all of the content, the lyrics are interesting and highly entertaining. The harmony is also unusual and interesting.
Big and Rich provide a clip to almost every track at the Amazon site that I linked above. If you have any kind of decent speakers on your computer, take a listen.
Friday, September 17, 2004
In week 2, the task was to create a flavor of ice cream and then sell that flavor on the streets of NYC. The men created donut flavored ice cream that contained actual pieces of donuts. The men then decided to sell their ice cream in Times Square. The men believed that they were at a disadvantage in street marketing because they did not have the sex appeal that the women have. However, the men came up with a brilliant scheme. They decided to donate a portion of their proceeds to lukemia research.
Meanwhile, the women created a red velvet flavor but had no idea how to market their treat. They thought they had hit a gold mine when they discovered the fact that the men were heading to Times Square. They decided to move right next-door. Then the wheels came off for the women. First, an aggressive hot dog vendor chased the ladies from their chosen corner. Then team leader Ivana lost track of the location of her carts and didn't know where one of them was for nearly three hours. And, Stacie J. continued to be a lunatic. The men's excellence and the ladies ridiculousness combined to propel the men to a decisive victory.
Then came the board room. This is where things started to get weird. It seemed clear that either Ivana or Stacie J. was gonna get the boot. But then Bradford spoke up inexplicably and declared that he would stand on his record and forego his immunity. So, Ivana took Stacie J., Jenn C. and Bradford with her into the final board room. Ivana apparently believed that Jenn and Bradford would both condemn Stacie J. and convince the Donald to kick off Stacie J. and not Ivana. But, the Donald was having none of it. Trump seemed to think that the impetuous decision to forego immunity was not the kind of intelligent decisionmaking that he needs from his top assistants. Therefore, he fired Bradford.
I think think this was the second straight poor decision by the Donald. I admired Bradford's guts. Furthermore, he was the best member of Apex for the second week in a row, so he should not have had to rely on immunity to survive this second task. In contrast, Ivana was a horrendous leader that will never actually be the Apprentice. I don't have anything good to say about Jenn C. although she didn't do anything particularly bad this week. And, Stacie J. is just a lunatic.
This week, CBS News used 60 Minutes II to go even further into what has been termed Memogate. However, Dan Rather did not take the opportunity to retract his previous story or admit any errors. Rather also did not reveal the source which supplied CBS with the forgeries. Instead, Rather dragged out an 80 year-old woman whom he claimed was Col. Killian's secretary at the time the memos were supposedly written. This elderly woman, who would be better characterized as a member of the typing pool than as any sort of personal confidant of the Colonel, admitted that these particular documents are probably not authentic. But, she added, there probably were documents similar to this. She also added that some of the other guard members "snickered" at our future president.
And with that, Dan Rather and CBS decided to stand behind their story.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Tina heard a commentator on the radio speaking about the importance of Christians and voting. The man said that he has heard a lot of Christians saying that they don't vote because they feel like they are merely choosing the lesser of two evils. The man's response to those who have tried to use this line with him is that one of the responsibilities of being a Christian is to try to combat evil in this world and reduce the amount of evil found here. So by choosing the lesser of two evils reduces the amount of evil. Therefore, is a Christian's responsibility to vote.
I found this to be an interesting train of thought. But, I'm gonna go on the record as saying that I do not think that we have merely a choice between two evils this November. I firmly believe that George W. Bush is a force for good in this world.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Last night I watched Man on Fire starring Denzel Washington. This film would perhaps be more aptly named Man Unhinged. This movie is extremely violent. Denzel plays a Marine that is hired to protect a little girl in Mexico City. When bad things happen to that little girl, Denzel launches a brutal assault on the perpetrators.
At one point, Christopher Walken's character says, "Creasy's [Denzel] art is death, and he's about to paint his masterpiece." And, Denzel would not disagree. At one point, an old man tells Denzel that the Bible says to forgive. Denzel declares, "Forgiveness is between them and God. It's my job to arrange the meeting." I love lines like that.
Don't get me wrong, Denzel does not play the same type of anti-hero that he plays in Training Day. His character in this movie is truly a good guy. But, his methods are truly brutal and maybe more intense than many viewers would anticipate.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Monday, September 13, 2004
Sunday, September 12, 2004
From the song, "I like it, I love it" sung by Tim McGraw.
This applies well to my thoughts on the first weekend of the NFL football season and my thoughts on last night's Tim McGraw concert.
And then the blogosphere erupted. Thanks in large part to nerdy bloggers around the country, there is now mounting evidence that these documents are forgeries. That's right -- forgeries. Here's the basic gist. The documents that condemned Bush were supposedly written in the 1970's. They were supposedly typed on a typewriter. After all, there was no such thing as a PC or a word processor at that time. However, those who are more technically savvy than I have discovered that these documents were likely created on Microsoft Word -- a program that did not exist even at the time of Col. Killian's death in 1984.
There is an excellent article about this at Tech Central Station. The article is entitled "Bloggers v. 60 Minutes." I urge you all to read this article. It includes excerpts from Hugh Hewitt's blog, so it is well worth the quick read. I would have summarized this article, but I wouldn't do justice to the technical aspects.
The article ends by musing, "How could a rabble of bloggers, in one day, provide hard core proof of forgery when major news organizations took those documents at face value? Most fundamental of all, why did the New York Times, the Boston Globe and CBS allow themselves to be used for such a transparent attempt to slander President Bush? Out in the blogosphere there are a swarm of people rooting for the answers."
New Poll: We're going back to the political sphere for the new poll. As the season changes from summer to fall, it's time for the presidential candidates to narrow their focus. So, the question for Banshee readers is: What issue matters more to you this November?
No one scrambled better than Jeremy Mayfield on Saturday night. Mayfield won the race and vaulted 5 positions in the standings. This moved him from 14th to 9th, so Mayfield's dream of a championship will continue. Kasey Kahne's quest for the cup will not continue, thanks in large part to a nudge in the bumper from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Kahne wrecked and dropped out of the top ten in the standings. Junior finished second. Jeff Gordon, Mike Bliss and Mark Martin rounded out the top five in the race.
Chase for the Championship. Although everyone will continue to race for money and pride, only the top ten drivers will be able to continue in their quest for the championship. In addition, they have all been bunched together in terms of points spread. Here are the standings as the Chase for the Championship moves to New England next week:
1. Jeff Gordon
2. Jimmie Johnson -5
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -10
4. Tony Stewart -15
5. Matt Kenseth -20
6. Elliott Sadler -25
7. Kurt Busch -30
8. Mark Martin -35
9. Jeremy Mayfield -40
10. Ryan Newman -45
Saturday, September 11, 2004
While it is appropriate that our country has resumed it's normal way of life, it is important that we take a moment to remember the evil that descended on our nation that day. It is also important to spend a moment in prayer to thank our Heavenly Father that a man of God has occupied the White House during this momentous time in our nation's history.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Contributed by Katy Underwood.
Like last year, the group was originally divided into a men's team and a women's team. Unlike last year, the competition began by sending one man to the women's team and one woman to the men's team. The switched person had to be the team leader for the first task. A tough position, no doubt. Pamela, a nine-foot tall blonde, volunteered to take over the men. Bradford volunteered to switch to the ladies' team. The ladies named themselves Apex. The men chose Mosaic. The Donald was not impressed with that name for the men's team.
Task one sent the teams to Mattel where they were required to design a new toy. After the teams designed their toy, Mattel created a prototype overnight. Then the toy was tested by a focus group of nine year-old boys. Apex, the women's team, won with their RC car/boat/tank. Bradford, the leader of the women, was granted immunity from firing next week.
In the meantime, Amazon Pamela took Mosaic to the Board Room. In the end, it was Rob who heard the cursed, "You're fired!" Rob was chosen because he was not assertive enough during the design process. If I was the Donald, I would have fired Pamela. She is too abrasive and will never become the Apprentice. Rob, on the other hand, had a chance to come around as the competition progressed.
On a side note, the women were not as trashy as they were at the start of last year's competition. But, the casting directors of the Apprentice seem to have a fondness for crazy black women. Last year it was Omorrosa. This year it is Stacy J. that needs to watch out for the boys in the white coats.
The first episode will be rebroadcast on Saturday night.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
It wasn't long ago that many in the sports world thought that the NBA was the best managed and marketed professional sports league in the country. But now, the NFL is clearly king. Heck, preseason football trumped most of the Olympics on SportsCenter. I don't have a undying love for any particular NFL team, however, I had goosebumps on my arms during my morning commute just thinking about the start of the season.
I know that baseball has been known as "America's Pastime" for nearly a century. But, I would submit that football is truly America's game. Thank goodness it's finally back in season.
Like many of the readers of this blog, I have lived my entire life in the video game era. Some of my earliest memories are of my father holding me up in front of the Pac-Man and Centipede machines in the arcade at the mall. My family spent a lot of time together playing text-based adventures on the Commodore 64. Then came the Mario Brothers. Then Sonic the Hedgehog. Link has been a lifelong friend of mine. And, of course, a myriad of sports games have come and gone from my possession.
I realize that some people do not understand the allure of video games. But this program did a good job explaining why some games mean so much to some people. As this show explained, these games are in many ways like a novel. Granted, they are not the caliber of Dickens or Hugo, but they tell a story, nonetheless. But unlike a novel, the game player can actually interact with this story and influence its outcome. Certainly some people play video games in a mindless fashion. But not everyone does. For many people, video games stimulate the mind and spark the imagination.
I am not suggesting that video games should replace such things as church or friendship, but they do have a valid place in our society and are in some cases worthy of our praise.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
The first season of the Apprentice was a cultural phenomenon that endeared the hard-nosed Donald Trump to middle America and caused a nation to squirm at the mere mention of the name Omorossa.
Last spring, Banshee Blog actively tracked the progress of the Apprentice. I am eagerly awaiting the second season and the introduction of the 18 new candidates. This year promises to be even better than the first because several Fortune 500 companies have agreed to participate in the weekly tasks.
That's right, the Cue Ball and the Forehead. In case you were wondering, these guys have not been asked to give up their day jobs at CNN. CNN will still retain these men as political commentators.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Monday, September 06, 2004
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Next week is the final week of the "regular season." Only the top ten drivers in the standings after next week's Richmond night race will be able to continue their pursuit of the championship.
Saturday, September 04, 2004
Friday, September 03, 2004
Bush's speech got off to sort of a slow start. Much of the beginning played like a State of the Union address. It was filled with domestic policy topics. There weren't any specific proposals, but Bush did mention the importance of protecting the unborn. Then the speech turned to September 11 and the War on Terror. It was then that President Bush began to shine. The most touching part of the speech was when Bush talked about meeting the families of those who have given the last full measure for their coutnry. Bush teared up when he recalled how many times a widow or a mother who had just received a flag from her loved one's coffin told him that they were praying for him.
One thing was clear during the President's speech: This is not your father's George Bush. Unlike Bush 41, George W. loves the the campaign. He has a fire in his eyes when he talks about John Kerry and remaining race.
A very easy and common mistake for some to make is to equate conservative values with Christian values. That is a dangerous mixture of Luther’s “two kingdoms.” While there may be many similarities between the two types of values Christians can rightly disagree on many issues such as fiscal policy or the healthcare system. And fiscally conservative politicians can have very unchristian views on abortion and marriage.
When forming an opinion on any issue, a true conservative is different from a liberal in one primary area. Conservatives are “intergenerational.” Conservatives always consider what previous generations have done and what will be best for future generations. It's that simple. Conservatives have simply never been a part of the “Me” generation.
Very few people are able to keep a truly generational perspective on all issues but when we do we will rightly be able to defend our position as a “conservative value.”
Thursday, September 02, 2004
A funny moment came during Lynne Cheney's introduction of her husband. Mrs. Cheney said that one of their young grandchildren recently asked the Vice President if he knew anyone famous.
The most memorable speech thus far in the convention came from Zell Miller, a Democratic senator from Georgia. Miller's speech was a fiery tongue lashing to his own party -- a party which he perceives as having deserted him and others like him. Miller said, "Now, while young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrat's manic obsession to bring down our Commander in Chief."
Senator Miller, a retired Marine, reminded the audience and the nation of the importance of the American soldier. Miller declared:
It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the
press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of
speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom
to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the
flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom
to abuse and burn that flag. No one should dare to even think about being
the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his heart
that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home.
Miller also spoke about President Bush's toughness. He said:
No matter what spider hole they may hide in or what rock they crawl under,
George Bush wants to grab terrorists by the throat and not let them go to get a
better grip. .... He is not a slick talker but he is a straight
shooter and, where I come from, deeds mean a lot more than words. I have
knocked on the door of this man's soul and found someone home, a God-fearing man
with a good heart and a spine of tempered steel.
Miller went on to express his admiration and support for George W. Bush. He said:
I first got to know George Bush when we served as governors together.
I admire this man. I am moved by the respect he shows the first lady, his
unabashed love for his parents and his daughters, and the fact that he is
unashamed of his belief that God is not indifferent to America. I can
identify with someone who has lived that line in "Amazing Grace," "Was blind,
but now I see," and I like the fact that he's the same man on Saturday night
that he is on Sunday morning.
Senator Miller concluded his speech by saying:
In this hour of danger our President has had the courage to stand up. And
this Democrat is proud to stand up with him. Thank you. God Bless
this great country and God Bless George W. Bush.
These excerpts are by no means the only highlights from Senator Miller's speech. Click here to read the entire transcript. It is not too long, and it is extremely entertaining.
After only a handful of questions, the following exchange occurred:
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you, when Democrats come out, as they often do, liberal Democrats, and attack conservatives, and say they want to starve little kids, they want to get rid of education, they want to kill the old people...
MILLER: I am not saying that. Wait a minute.
MATTHEWS: That kind of rhetoric is not educational, is it?
MILLER: Wait a minute. Now, this is your program. And I am a guest on your program.
MATTHEWS: Yes, sir.
MILLER: And so I want to try to be as nice as I possibly can to you. I wish I was over there, where I could get a little closer up into your face.
MILLER: But I don‘t have to stand here and listen to that kind of stuff. I didn‘t say anything about not feeding poor kids. What are you doing?
Then came this exchange:
MATTHEWS: OK. Do you believe now—do you believe, Senator, truthfully, that John Kerry wants to defend the country with spitballs? Do you believe that?
MILLER: That was a metaphor, wasn‘t it? Do you know what a metaphor is?
Soon after that, Matthews expressed offense at the fact that Miller pointed out that soldiers and not reporters are responsible for the freedom of the press. There were a few barbs exchanged over that topic. Then came the most spirited barrage from both parties. It went as follows:
MILLER: If you‘re going to ask a question...
MATTHEWS: Well, it‘s a tough question. It takes a few words.
MILLER: Get out of my face. If you are going to ask me a question, step back and let me answer.
MATTHEWS: Senator, please.
MILLER: You know, I wish we ... I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel. Now, that would be pretty good. Don‘t ask me—don‘t pull that ....
MATTHEWS: Can you can come over? I need you, Senator. Please come over.
MILLER: Wait a minute. Don‘t pull that kind of stuff on me, like you did that young lady when you had her there, browbeating her to death. I am not her. I am not her.
MATTHEWS: Let me tell you, she was suggesting that John Kerry purposely shot himself to win a medal. And I was trying to correct the record.
MILLER: You get in my face, I am going to get back in your face.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
But, the star of the night was California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Governator was hilarious and inspiring. He spent a great deal of time talking about his time growing up under Communist rule and how he chose to be a Republican because the GOP did not stand for socialist economic policies. My favorite part of the speech was when the Governator said, "To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: 'Don't be economic girlie men!'"
"This is like winning an Oscar … as if I’d know."
"I was in a movie called True Lies. That’s what they should have called the Democratic Convention."
"There are those who say that freedom is nothing but a dream. They are right. It’s the American Dream."
1) How about asking the (w) or the (cheney) about the efforts they pursued
to *avoid* going to Vietnam?
2) Referring to yourself in the third person by way of the "anonymous
online personality" is trite, by the way.
3) If you're going to politically opine on your blog, maybe reconsider
publishing the VMA and NASCAR posts so people don't think you're a
Yeah, I know, I'm a ****. Always have been. Hit me back (email and website
at your disposal) with a valid argument, 'kay?
Good thing Gary visited when he did. If he thinks NASCAR and the VMAs are for dullards, I wonder what he would have thought of my Man vs. Beast or hot dog eating contest posts.
This is a shot of Darla out on the campaign trail along with Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania (pictured to Darla's right).