Friday, November 30, 2007

NaBloPoMo Finish Line

It hasn't been easy, but for the second year in a row, I've managed 30 posts in 30 days.

The fitting way to close out the special month would be to post a Lyle video, but the one I want to post isn't available for embedding, so please follow this link to YouTube to see:

South Texas Girl

I first heard the song in concert about a year and a half ago, and despite repeated listenings, it still can make me a little teary. The video is even more so — old home movies of the Lovett family, interspersed with close ups of the musicians in the studio and some current family video.

And the video also answers a question I had about the song. I wasn't sure if the "South Texas Girl" was his mother or his fiancee, or perhaps both. I think the video suggests the answer is both.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Spicy shopping

OK, I know it's lame, but I find these Spice Girls commercials for Tesco very funny.

[And really, I don't think Posh eats at all — not even lobster.]

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Go Fug Yourself

It's been a while since I last checked in with one of my favorite blogs — Go Fug Yourself.

I love their writing style . . . funny when critiquing a public figure's questionable fashion choices, but also able to salute those who make good ones. [I still remember their post praising the style choices of Kate Winslet.]

So I happened to check in today, and Trinny Woodall — one of the co-hosts of the original British version of "What Not to Wear" — was one of the featured targets.

But since she chose to wear this outfit, she deserves their critique:

You can read their review of this fashion choice in their post What Fug To Wear.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

After the Wedding, Part 2

If you did not immediately take yesterday's advice to go and see After the Wedding, then I'll make one more attempt.

Actually, part of the reason I started this blog was to serve as my own little repository for information I didn't want to forget, and the Head Butler's brief comments about After the Wedding are one of those things.

This is a special treat. I had to email the Head Butler himself to get the information, and then I had to dig through a virtual stack of old emails to find it again, but now that it is posted here, I'll know where to go to find it, and I can just send the link to this post when I want to recommend the movie to someone. How thoughtful am I??

So this is what the Head Butler wrote that drove me to the movie theatre that night:

After I saw The Lives of Others , I was convinced it deserved its Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. But over the weekend I saw the Danish nominee, After the Wedding , and I'm no longer so sure. I mean, two days later, I have only to think about this movie and the images come flooding back and I start shaking, so complete is my identification with the remarkable people Susanne Bier has created.

“We talk about 'reality' in American movies,” my wife said, breaking the silence afterward. “But you see a film like this, and you get that American movie 'reality' is fake reality, our 'emotion' is fake emotion.” Exactly right, my darling.

After the Wedding is just opening in this country, surely only in cities with “art” cinemas. Yes, you could wait until July for the DVD, but no at-home viewing can compare with what you'll experience during the last half-hour of this film in a crowded theater: total attention, rapt silence, muffled weeping. So don't read a word about it. Just go. Tonight, if you can --- even if it means a drive of a hundred miles. Not completely blown away? Write me and I'll pay for your ticket. [A safe offer: This film is that great.]

[Just a word of warning, I'm sure the money back offer has expired, but don't worry, I'm sure he didn't have to pay a dime to anyone.]

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Head Butler

I'm not sure where I read about Head Butler, but I'm so glad I did. Basically, his goal is to wade through all the new music, books, films, and products that are out there and recommend the best of what he finds. Just what you'd like your butler to do for you.

I revisited the site earlier this year, and happened read his short comments on the movie After the Wedding (the full review appeared later.) He urged readers to go that night to see it, even if they had to drive 100 miles.

We didn't have to go that far, but we did go that night, and he was right.

And I knew that I probably would have missed the film completely even I hadn't stumbled upon Head Butler's site that day. So, I signed up for his daily recommendations, and I haven't been disappointed.

In his message today — and your heart must be as small as the Grinch's if you don't find the story at least a bit moving — he recommends a number of charities for year-end giving.

I highly recommend his recommendations, and I hope you'll give them a try.

And don't forget — see this movie:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A little something for Christmas

Whenever I have the chance, I like to browse Maggie Mason's blog of great finds — Mighty Goods.

Today I was hoping to find a unique idea for a teacher's gift, but this is what caught my eye under her suggestions for women:

An Airstream trailer.

We've actually talked about buying one of these as sort of a guest room with wheels, but I hadn't even thought about putting it on my wish list.

Consider it done!

[And if you're actually planning on buying something for me, you are probably one of the people who will be staying in it, so consider that when making your purchase!]

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chain Factor

I found the link to this game — Chain Factor — on another blog yesterday, and I've become hooked. I'm not even sure exactly how it all works, but I like that it's a puzzle without the extra anxiety of pieces flying down at faster and faster rates of speed (a la Tetris.)

Play at your own risk. You have been warned.

Friday, November 23, 2007

America's Joyous Future

No, this photo wasn't actually taken outside a local church. It's the work of artist Erika Rothenberg, and it's displayed [apparently right next to the ladies' loo] at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

51 ways of thinking

I saw these cards — IDEO Method Cards — mentioned in an article in San Francisco Magazine, and I was intrigued.

They are a creation of IDEO — a firm that specializes in helping organizations "innovate through design". The cards depict 51 different ways the firm uses "to inspire great design and keep people at the center of our design process."

I'd love to give the cards a try, but at $49 plus shipping, I'll just have to hope that Santa is reading this post.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Missing the Daily Show

I'm definitely missing "The Daily Show", and it looks like the writers are missing it a bit too.

In this video, the writers cover the strike in "Daily Show" fashion:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A few of my favorite things

I happened to see Oprah's "Favorite Things 2007" show today, and I'll admit to a bit of cognitive dissonance. I mean, last week, she devoted two whole shows to people with hoarding problems. I only saw the second of the two shows, but Peter Walsh's (of Clean Sweep fame) message was clear "choose people over things." And then, just three shows later, she's back to a celebration of things.

But still, I watched. And I think I showed admirable restraint in not immediately rushing to the store to buy this:

I love Ciao Bella sorbets, but I've never tried the blood orange flavor. And apparently you can have it shipped directly to your door (for a rather hefty shipping fee.)

Luckily, I can find the brand locally, although I expect the blood orange flavor will be sold out for weeks.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Four Agreements

I was surfing through some other blogs I read, and I came across Maggie Mason's excellent summary of this book — The Four Agreements. I'm sure I've heard about the book before, although I can't remember where, but the advice on handling conflicts really struck me this time. Like Maggie, I can't bear conflict, and I seem to try to worry myself through it. The advice in this book, however, would be far more helpful. As Maggie writes, the four agreements are:

1. Be impeccable with your word.

Words have immeasurable power, so use them with care. Say only what you mean, and remember your opinion isn’t fact. Silence is better than saying something you’ll regret.

2. Don’t take anything personally.

Here I’ll quote the book, “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” That guy honking at you just spilled scalding coffee all over his lap, the boss screaming at you is going through a divorce. Their stuff has nothing to do with your stuff, and assuming you’re the root cause of someone’s behavior is not only self-centered, it’s also a big waste of energy.

3. Don’t make assumptions.

You can spend hours generating theories about why someone did something, or you can just ask. When someone lashes or does something unexpected, save time by seeking clarification.

4. Do your best.

Do the best you can with the conflict in front of you, and you won’t need to waste brain power on self-judgements or regrets.

When I can keep these guidelines in mind, I’m almost always able to diffuse a situation. Other benefits:

* Resolution comes more quickly because you ask for clarification instead of jumping to conclusions.
* You reduce time lost to stress because you don’t feel personally responsible for the other person’s anxiety or anger.
* Initial conflict often turns into a productive conversation and leads to a deeper relationship, because you come from a more compassionate place.
* You ideally come away without regrets, having resolved the situation instead of escalating it.

You can read her full post here: Resolve Conflict Quickly with The Four Agreements.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

And now, the lyrics

A young listener and I watched the video of the Mom Song today, and I wanted to get the lyrics. Fortunately, I found this blog — Parenting Isn't For Pansies — where the author had taken the time to transcribe the lyrics. You can find her post with comments here: William Tell Momisms or the Mom Song

And if you want to sing along to the video, here are the lyrics:

William Tell Momisms
by Anita Renfroe

[sung to the William Tell Overture]

Get up now, get up now, get up out of bed,
Wash your face, brush your teeth, comb your sleepy head.
Here’s your clothes and your shoes, hear the words I said,
Get up now, get up and make your bed.

Are you hot, are you cold, are you wearing that?
Where’s your books and your lunch and your homework at?
Grab your coat and your gloves and your scarf and hat.
Don’t forget, you’ve gotta feed the cat.

Eat your breakfast, the experts tell us it’s the most important meal of all,
Take your vitamins so you will grow up one day to be big and tall.
Please remember the orthodontist will be seeing you at three today,
Don’t forget your piano lesson is this afternoon so you must play.

Don’t shovel, chew slowly, but hurry, the bus is here,
Be careful, come back here, did you wash behind your ears?
Play outside, don’t play rough, would you just play fair?
Be polite, make a friend, don’t forget to share,
Work it out, wait your turn, never take a dare,
Get along, don’t make me come down there.

Clean your room, fold your clothes, put your stuff away,
Make your bed, do it now, do we have all day?
Were you born in a barn? Would you like some hay?
Can you even hear a word I say?

Answer the phone, Get off the phone,
Don’t sit so close, turn it down, no texting at the table.
No more computer time tonight,
Your ipod’s my ipod if you don’t listen up.

Where you going and with whom and what time do you think you’re coming home?
Saying thank you, please, excuse me, makes you welcome everywhere you roam.
You’ll appreciate my wisdom someday when you’re older and you’re grown.
Can’t wait til you have a couple little children of your own.

You’ll thank me for the council I gave you so willingly,
But right now I thank you not to roll your eyes at me.
Close your mouth when you chew, we’d appreciate,
Take a bite, maybe two, of the stuff you hate.
Use your fork, do not burp or I’ll set you straight.
Eat the food I put upon your plate.

Get an A, get in the door, don’t be smart with me,
Get a grip, get in here or I’ll count to three,
Get a job, Get a life, get a PhD, get a dose of

I don’t care who started it,
You’re grounded until you’re 36,
Get your story straight and tell the truth for once for heaven sake.

And, if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?
If I’ve said once I’ve said it at least a thousand times before,
That you’re too old to act this way,
It must be your father’s DNA.

Look at me when I am talking, stand up straighter when you walk.
A place for everything, and everything must be in place.
Stop crying or I’ll give you something real to cry about.


Brush your teeth, wash your face, get your pj’s on.
Get in bed, get a hug, say a prayer with Mom.
Don’t forget I love you (kiss)

And tomorrow we will do this all again
because a Mom’s work never ends.

You don’t need the reason why,
Because, Because, Because, Because,
I said so, I said so, I said so, I said so.
I’m the Mom, the Mom, the Mom, the Mom, the Mom!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

In the running for a Darwin Award

I don't think these guys died in this stunt, so that may prevent them from actually winning a Darwin Award for it. But perhaps they are simply in training for a future attempt.

Friday, November 16, 2007

But tell me what you really thought . . .

I came across this review — Hopelessly Divo'ted — of a Ukrainian restaurant in London, and I've never read anything quite like it.

The whole review is very funny, and the last two paragraphs sum up the experience:

Apparently Divo is Ukrainian for 'amazing', a name I cannot argue with. It is amazing that anybody thought a restaurant like this would be a good idea, amazing that they invested a reputed £2 million in the conversion, amazing that the result is so staggeringly, comically, bowel-twistingly poor. As we left, I was overcome by a strong feeling of gratitude, and not merely because the meal was over, but to my great-grandfather, Josef Boruchowicz. He was the one who had the gumption to escape the region of Eastern Europe which has supplied Divo's inspiration.

He saved me from having to eat this stuff every day. Thank you Josef. I owe you.

I guess I can safely cross this place off my list for my next trip to London.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cool cash

Earlier this month, a lottery scratcher game was recalled in the UK because too many people were confused by the concept of negative numbers.

As Ciara Leeming explained in her article For the the Manchester Evening News"'Cool Cash' card confusion":

To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

But the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for some. Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Mom Song

A friend of mine posted a link to this song on her blog, and I had to post it here.

For any mom who feels like she says the same thing every day (or any kid who feels like mom always says the same thing!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Silhouette masterpiece theatre

The title says it all . . .

You can find more masterpieces at this website:

Silhouette Masterpiece Theatre

Monday, November 12, 2007

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Edamame

We happened to stop by Trader Joe's this weekend, and I remembered that a friend had mentioned that they had a new product — dark chocolate covered edamame.

She did warn me that they were habit forming, but we bought some anyway.

They were delicious — but trouble. Because you think — edamame, great source of soy protein, that's a good thing. And dark chocolate, that has chemicals that are supposed to be good for you. So it's all good, right?

Except, they are small and highly addictive. And maybe not so good if you and your family work through an entire 10 ounce container in a matter of days.

I was searching for a picture of them to post, and found out that someone was selling them on ebay:

Let that be a warning to you.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bacon bandages

I saw a picture of these on another site a month or so ago, and they still make me laugh every time I look at them

I don't feel the need to order them, however, the picture is more than enough!

I'm a little curious about the free toy, though.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Know Your As$*@#e Footprint

A few weeks ago, I saw a link to this article from Vanity Fair — "Know Your As$*@#e Footprint" — and I immediately thought of a couple of people who needed to purchase some As$*@#e offsets right away.

Helpfully, several possible offset options are provided at the end of the article.

Of course, you don't even need to be an as$*@#e to purchase offsets — think of it instead as a community service to mitigate the effects of global as$*@#e-ness!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Shopping with the Spice Girls

I love the idea of the Spice Girls shopping at Tesco!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

the endless immensity of the sea

I came across this quotation recently, and I wanted to post it in a place where I'd be reminded of it regularly. Hearts and minds, folks, hearts and minds . . .

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hot to go

Another Lyle classic . . . and such short hair!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tennessee Flat Top Box

In an effort to collect all the Lyle YouTube video in one location, here is one I've never seen him sing . . .

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cowboy Man

The video I thought I was going to post has had embedding diabled, so here's another clip of vintage Lyle, along with a portion of an interview that was apparently recorded for a British show.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Keep it in your pantry

I was disappointed that this song was not on the new album that was release in August, but someone managed to capture it at a concert this summer. Thank goodness! It could be another four years before his next album, and I just can't wait that long to have this song!

And if you enjoy it, remember to keep it in your pantry.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Stand by your man

I was barely aware of Lyle Lovett when this show aired, but it's amazing to get to see him sing with Tammy Wynette and then hear them both talk to Jay Leno afterwards.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Onion News Network

Sadly, they rightly identify the issue that seems to matter most for voters . . . BS.

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The most posty-est time of the year

It's November, and that means it's time again for NaBloPoMo -- or National Blog Posting Month. For the second year in a row, I've accepted the challenge of writing a post a day. I made it last year. We'll see how it goes this year.

On Monday night, I went to a reading by David Sedaris, and I haven't laughed so much in quite a while. When I got home, I wanted to find out a little more about him, and I stumbled upon his appearance on the Late Show with Davis Letterman.