Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Wait of Our List Grows Waitier

Just when you thought it was safe to say all of my law school decisions had come in, we got word from W&M.

Chalk up another Virgina-based school (George Washington [yes, I know it's in D.C., but how VA-ish can you get?], Washington & Lee, and George Mason) for my protruding list. UCONN and Vanderbilt are both on there, but I would probably go to Cincinnati (where we now have a seat deposit) over UCONN and my chances at Vandy are pretty slim.

Yep, so I just have left to hear back from Harvard and Chicago . . . Hey, after applying to 27 law schools, two seems like an imaginary number.

I'll keep you posted. Harvard's going to email me it's rejection letter, err, I mean, it's decision any minute now. I'm not sure about Chicago, but it's probably the same deal . . .

Stay tuned!

OH, AND A VERY BIG SHOUT OUT TO RoW FOR HIS LATEST JOB OFFER!!

CONGRATS & SALAD!!!!

Last Sunday's (3/29) Spiritual Message: What's So fUnNY?

Yes, being a proud couple made up of a recent alum and year old alumna, my wife and I couldn't help but accept an invitation to hear Brad Wilcox (his Web page) talk about humor and why it's so important. In our day-to-day life.

If you've ever heard him speak before, you know what an impeccable speaker and talented orator he is.

If you've ever met me, you know what a sad excuse for a class clown and town idiot I am. So this lecture was right up my alley.

This post carries a spiritual heading because the purpose of the discourse (or whatever you want to call it) was to highlight how humor is beneficial for dealing with life and uplifting ourselves spiritually.

I can't remember who said it, but Brad quoted him as more or less saying, "There are some things which tears and sweat cannot resolve which can only be dissolved with humor." How true this is.

Among many stories, he shared one about a plane flight he was on where the plane suddenly dropped in a violent downfall and thud, thud, thudded on the runway. Everyone, wide-eyed and speechless, looked around the plane in disbelief. Out of nowhere, the stern voice of the captain broke the silence: "Take THAT, you bad, bad runway!" The mass of passengers erupted into laughter and each person thanked him graciously upon exiting the plane. What a turnaround.

(As a side note, this happened in our own home the other day when one of us dropped a ceramic cup and it broke. Instead of getting angry or frustrated, I exclaimed, "Take THAT, you bad, bad kitchen floor!" Good times.)

Similarly a young man was exiting a store, let's say Wal-Mart, with his father, feeling exuberant. Sadly, the youth underestimated his weight and overestimated his need for fun, put both feet on the end of the cart . . . and tipped it all over himself, eggs, flour, and other items splattering all over the pavement. Instead of berating his less than cautious teenager, the man just laughed.

When asked how he could possibly laugh at such a difficult moment, he responded, "Well, the eggs certainly aren't coming back!" Yea, verily.

Here's a great example of humor from the Book of Mormon (this is my personal insertion):
At length their provisions did arrive, and they were about to enter the city by night. And we, instead of being Lamanites, were Nephites; therefore, we did take them and their provisions.
This is a classic example of humorous understatement in the scriptures. To get the full context of the story, click here.

The long and short of everything is that finding humor (mind you, this is not to say having a sense of humor, but just looking for it) in all of our numerous trials, difficulties, and varied situations will give us the energy (as they say in Spanish, pilas [batteries]) and happiness to confront the storms of life and not be overcome.

Friday, March 27, 2009

You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

You know the absurd cliche which goes, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks"?

Well, tonight, I just proved it wrong, wrong, wrong.

That's right C.A. fans, Yours Truly has amazed even himself with a little golden nugget he panned out or rather, stumbled upon, tonight.

If you've kept your finger on the pulse of the C.A., you would know how infatuated this blogger is about the pristine, incomparable, and unsullied speed of the new Google Chrome browser.

What you might not expect, however, is that tonight, Chrome actually led me to discover a trick to unlock a little more speed in my still preferred Firefox (at least as far as scrolling in a page is concerned).

I know, I was baffled, bamboozled, and dumbfounded myself. But you heard it here first.

Here's the background: I'm often frustrated () by the slow scrolling speeds I experience in Firefox.

So, tonight, as I was scrolling up and down in Gmail, I had a stroke of pure revelation.

Maybe the slow scrolling speeds I've experienced in Firefox have all been because I've had that blasted "use smooth scrolling" option checked in the advanced browser settings.

Sure enough, I went into my FF settings, unchecked that puppy and voila! It's like I've released a caged cheetah who is now free to roam and devour its speedy prey at will.

It's Official

You always knew I was a blood sucking parasite who aspires to taking other people's hard-earned cash.

Well guess what.

I'm on track to become the next Bill Gates.

That's right. For those of you who have doubted me, my day of glory has come!

My vindication is complete.

I am destined to rule the world from a ruby-encrusted throne, while the rest of you suffer through underpaid, overworked, and boring careers.

High above the rest will I sit in my Death Star throne room, watching the TIE fighters fly by and Luke Skywalker duking it out with his pops, just for the chance to be my COO.

Don't believe me?

Have a look yourself: It's official.

Last Sunday's (3/22) Spiritual Message: More of the Temple

I know I've talked about the temple a lot, but my wife and I had a special experience last Saturday and I thought I'd tell you about it.

We were exactly three weeks from Maria's due date, so we figured we might want to attend the temple sooner than later, for obvious reasons.

We had the chance to help perform the sealing ordinance for a number of families who have since passed on. In other other words, we helped to make it possible so that these people could literally be together forever.

The second sealer (or a man who holds the authority to "seal" or unite families beyond the grave, as given him by the President of the Church or one of the Twelve Apostles) who relieved the first sealer was actually a former member of the temple presidency, President Lambert.

Why is this substantial? Because, among other things, when I first started to work (volunteer, really) at the Provo Temple, the man who set me apart (or who gave me the authority to work in the temple) was President Lambert.

He told me, among other things which are near and dear to my heart, that I would meet my wife, while I was working at the temple . . . I met my wife less than two weeks later!
video
So, it was a pretty special experience to have him be there and to perform the ordinances as we helped others receive the same blessing we have received: that of the potential for an eternal marriage, as provided through the sacred sealing ordinance. (Assuming we live worthy of it.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Blessings of the Temple

You Say BUSH was a Blundering . . .

To all of my Liberalites out there, you knew this post was coming.

Oh you know, my Grandma was just a "typical white person." Besides, all of those backwoods hicks are just "bitter." As a matter of fact:
They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations
Oh, well, I guess they're "likable enough."

But you know what's really funny, Jay? My latest excursion at the bowling alley. "It's like—it was like Special Olympics, or something."

Er, I mean . . . doh.

Yes, these were all said by the infallible man we now call President. (Click here to read more in an article from the home-town Tribune, those narrow-minded writers.)

The purpose of this post is in no way meant to lambaste President Obama. As our Commander-in-Chief, I honor and respect him.

The point here is the delicious irony that my pals on the left have been yelling, Fool! at a man I called President for eight years.

It just cracks me up to see them get a punch in the stomach from the intellectually impervious and moral Chicago law professor turned Celebrity-in-the-middle-of-a-crisis-on-the-Jay-Leno-Show President.

With that said, and now that Rome is burning in the midst of the camera lights popping . . . no hard feelings.

Oh wait, it was all Bush's fault anyway, right? (I forgot.)

Just When Gmail Couldn't Get Any Awesomer

Yes, F-Word, you knew this post was coming, and no, my boss at Qualtrics who also works at Google Asia isn't paying me for it (although I always welcome PayPal donations graciously).

We've all experienced it: you send a pretty important email to a high profile contact, only to remember at the last second that you left off a word or said something completely inane.

What was the previous remedy? To simply cross your fingers, fold your arms, and hope in the name of all that is good and decent that the recipient wouldn't notice the gaffe, wouldn't care, or would be mysteriously found at the bottom of a lake somewhere in Minnesota (not at your hands, though, of course). I hear they have a lot of those.

Some people are so meticulous and astute they've never been human enough to send a goofed up email in their life . . .

For the rest of us, there's Mastercard. Er, I mean, there's Gmail Labs' Undo Send.

Yep, it means exactly what it says; you can recall an email you just sent from being sent. If you have the wherewithal to notice the oversight within five seconds (which can seem like an eternity once you've kicked the pooch) that you sent that important law school an email with a link to your blog in it, you can now mend your ways!

Clicking the "Undo" button will take you safely home back to Kansas, er, to your compose window where all will be well in Taylorsville.

That's right, F-Word, even Hermoine Granger couldn't come up with a time turner this miraculous.

(Let me know if you need help on figuring it out and the CA will be more than happy to help.)

The Joys of Being Fair Weather

Yes, Cougar fans, I've rambled on this subject before, but with BYU's fresh disappointments in the Mountain West tourney and another disheartening (yet completely expected) first round NCAA loss still on our minds, I think it's only fitting.

To be perfectly honest, I couldn't care less.

I can't remember the last time I went to a basketball game (it was probably over two years ago) at the Marriott Center and I have no regrets whatsoever.

From a team who's fans yell "pass interference!" and have surprisingly little class (at least so I'm told), and from a team who is always hyped beyond the immediate orbit of the moon, my common reaction to BYU victories and losses has become a routine and disinterested, "meh."

I think growing older and more cynical has hardened me and washed away the innocent and hopeful dreams of my youth. I always believed BYU would advance to the championship game in basketball and somehow win the national championship in football . . .

I guess earning a college degree has helped to breathe a little common sense and healthy skepticism into my once big-eyed and "the sky's the limit" mentality. Considering BYU hasn't advanced past the first round for 16 years, this would same to be a natural process of maturation.

Perhaps more disgruntling than BYU's predictable first round flop is the fact that I picked the runnin their mouths Utes to advance to the second round in my office bracket. Oh, the shame of it all.

(That and I'm still bitter at Max Hall for blowing our football season this year.)

F-Word and fellow sports fans, please chime in.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Uhh . . .

Just when I thought "art" in general couldn't get any worse . . . the "community" had to go and do something like this.

Honestly, didn't people know that DIA had enough troubles already before condoning to display a monumental monstrosity such as this?

First of all (and I only have this on a rumor), I understand this abomination was paid for with tax dollars. Who in the wide wide world of sports ever had the gumption (or lack of brain cells) to consider this "thing" worthy of even one cent of legally mandated collection!

Next, and to be brutally honest, I first caught glimpse of this stallion in an email from my brother which I thought was nothing more than a Photo Shopped joke, a snowball email. This aught to say something about the quality of the "art."

The "horse" is oddly proportioned: it seems to be pretty sturdy near its hind legs and yet its front two legs are bony and has a neck and mane which appear a la Loch Ness.

For the sake of the children viewing this blog (F-Word), I opted not to display the graphic pictures which portray the maleness of this creature's "special" anatomy . . .

I'm told this fiery steed has protruding eyes which glow red at night. I've heard some people call this beast the first horse of the apocalypse and given the tale that it fell on and crushed its "creator," I'm beginning to wonder myself.

I don't know which is more of a deliberate punch in the stomach: this gibberish or the recent and "professional" performance of the football team which this animal represents . . .

Google Chrome: The Best & The Worst

For those of you who are internet savvy enough to know what a "browser" is, you're probably aware (or at least you should be) that Google released the first version of it's very own browser, Chrome, around October of last year.

What you might not be aware of, however, is that Chrome, while trounced by IE and FF in overall browser market share, is leaps and bounds faster and more streamlined than any other browser.

I have been seriously tempted to use Chrome for this reason alone.

However, I've been forced to put Chrome on the shelf in favor of FF, for the time being, for the following reasons:
  1. No AdBlock Plus
  2. No FAYT
  3. No other serious addons
  4. No SalesForce integration
If you don't know what AdBlock Plus is, you need to stop what you're doing (including using IE) and install it in FireFox right now. You know all of those obnoxious (and often filthy/sleazy) ads that infest your guarded Web page space? AdBlock Plus effectively eliminates all of the junk and leaves your pages clean (in more way than one) and unobstructed. Observe the difference. Can you guess which screen shot is from which browser (note that it's the same page).









I presume you can figure it out.

Next, other than RoW, you probably haven't heard of FAYT before. It's an addon in FF which stands for Find As You Type. The keyboard enthusiast seriously can't live without it and Google just doesn't seem to care (at least not yet). In FF, the default is for the generic (and very watered down) version of FAYT to be turned off. When I searched around for a good answer as to why Chrome doesn't have any kind of FAYT functionality, the answer was that some big shot at Google thinks it would confuse people to have it on by default and Google's aim is to make Chrome as widget free as possible (in other words, have the browser please the majority of users and ignore unique options).

Along with FAYT, I have a few other addons I love, including Cool Iris (for Google images) and Better Gmail 2. FAYT and AdBlock Plus are, admittedly, necessities, while the others are "nice."

Finally, I had the grand idea yesterday that since Chrome is so much snappier than FF and IE that I would use it for my daily work load in SalesForce (just think of it as Outlook for salesmen). To be short in writing, I live, eat, breathe, and die in SalesForce, so having it run a lot faster would be like going from a GoCart to a Ferrari. Sadly enough, SalesForce works fine with Chrome unless I want to send emails in our HTML templates which is, at least, 50-60% of my daily activity. Maybe one day, when Chrome captures more than just 1% of the overall market share and more than .005% of SalesForce users, it will be adopted and make my day that much faster.

As a final gee whiz, let me share a brief insight from one of our principal owners at Qualtrics, Jared Smith. Jared, along with helping to run Qualtrics, is a chief officer for Google Asia.

Admittedly, Google doesn't make a lot of money on things like its mobile phone operating system, Android or Chrome or even the famed Google Earth. Google makes these kinds of applications to make things like the Web better. MORE POWER TO 'EM.

I just hope they'll implement the four requests soon . . .

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why the Markets Crashed

If you don't understand what happened, here's a great, British explanation. ENJOY!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sneaking Into the top 15 (Maybe)


Well, we now have another contender from the east and technically my best wait list yet: Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt weighs in at a stout number #15 on the top law schools ranking list and lies in the heart of Tennessee, otherwise known as Nashville.

Unfortunately for the C.A., should he be accepted, Vanderbilt is far and away the most expensive option of any of the schools who have shown a moderate degree of interest in him.

The best news: we only have eight more schools to hear from!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Today's Spiritual Message: Families are Forever

I am well aware of how often I speak on this subject. However, this week marks 17 years since an unforeseeable and tragic scouting accident left my mother a widow and Yours Truly without a father.

For those of you who have lost a family member or any kind of a "loved one," you know what a heart wrenching and soul searching experience this can be.

However, from the earliest days of my recollection, my tears of sorrow were never declarations of defeat or despair, but rather they were the simple longings of a little boy who yearned to hold his father and gaze into his radiant eyes.

"Isn't that the same thing?" you may ask. I would instantly beg to differ. You see, I have never felt that my father is gone forever or that I will never be with him again. On quite the contrary, I have always thought of his absence as a temporary parting, something like a prolonged business trip.

How can I have such a hope? "How could you believe such a tired and foolish superstition?" others would scowl. Yet, my knowledge is pure and simple: I know that because Jesus Christ has risen from the grave, we all will triumph over death.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor. 15:22)
The resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ is what extinguishes the sting of death.

What is it, then, which gives me the hope of being reunited with my father in the bonds which only family relationships can provide?
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers . . . (Malachi 4: 5-6)
The Savior has sent Elijah to the earth in our day, to restore the "sealing power." Said He to Peter:
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matt. 16: 19)
The same power and authority which Jesus Christ bestowed upon Peter was also conferred upon Joseph Smith in these latter-days.

Thus, it is through the power of the "sealing" ordinance, performed in holy temples, by which I have a hope of being reunited with my father as well as being sealed to my wife and little daughter, Maria.

My wife and I had the privilege and blessing of going to the temple yesterday to feel of the Lord's Spirit and the eternal comfort and assurance that He is always there.
The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers, Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents . . . (D&C 138: 47-48)
For more on this subject, visit Mormon.org to read about LDS Temples and Family History.

Friday, March 13, 2009

And the West Coast is in the Ring

We have been officially accepted to the Oregon school of law. So far, Oregon is the only option for us on the west coast and, frankly, I would say the least likely of our choices.

Why did I apply, then?

For the same reason you wear a seat belt every day of your life (at least you should!).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is April 11 Really Just a Month from TODAY?

I don't have a whole lot to say on this one, either. To be short in writing, I'm quietly stunned that I will officially become a father in more or less four weeks.

Former teachers and mentors would probably gasp in shock to think that I, who was nary responsible enough to turn in a simple homework assignment, will now be given the blessing and responsibility to take care of another human life. EAT YOUR HEART OUT, PROFESSOR SNAPE!!

The man's befuddled gaze on the left doesn't even begin to describe my wonderment, anticipation, or good ole' fashioned butterflies!

Big Love

Well, I think you can imagine what this post will be about. But hold on, I'm not going to write a sermon or even give a speech.

That's right, all I have to say is that I'm saddened people feel the need to mingle "important storyline" with mockery and sacred belief.

The Church's well written response says much more than I could ever hope to write myself.

Click here to write a kind and respectful comment to our friends at HBO, asking them to show a little more discretion and good taste.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Today's Spiritual Message: Go and Do Thou Likewise

This is straight out of my journal:

Where to begin. I can’t really think of anything to remarkable yesterday other than the usual run of the mill.

However, when my wife and I went to the MTC, they had so many volunteers and, considering my wife’s pregnant condition, I decided we would simply head back home and give her some time to rest.

As we left, however, a gentleman approached us (from his dress and manner of speech, I could tell that he was obviously and employee of the MTC) and asked if we had any jumper cables. We had driven the Matrix (it’s easier to put CDs in its front seat area rather than the trunk of the Accord) but I was doubtful that we had any.

Feeling rather doubtful, I opened the back end, searched around and then rummaged around in the back (middle, really) seat but all to no avail. The result of the experience was a sort of, “Sorry, ole chap, but we haven’t got any.” Regrettably, we got in the car and started to drive off. I don’t know why, but I wish I had done more, wish I had searched harder, or maybe even alerted somebody from Wymount. Regardless of what I could have or should have done, it felt depressingly wrong to leave the young man there, with no more help from us than a wisp of clouds. I know it’s certainly not the end of the world, but I can’t help looking back on the experience and thinking of the scripture:
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Some would say my concern is unwarranted, but I can’t help wondering what I would feel like had the situation been the other way around. How easy it is for us to say, like the Levite, passing the beaten man on the highway, “I’m late and can do nothing for this man.” Yet, after explaining the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Savior exhorted the man who asked the question, “And who is my neighbor?” to go and do thou likewise.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Attack of the Keiths

Yes, this one goes out to my man, the Kspens, otherwise known as His Kness.

I must give him full, universal, and unabashed acclaim for having voted Attack of the Clones as the favorite SW movie of this site's percolating visitors.

Many of you out there may be wondering aloud,"But how could Kspens have done it? After all, he's only one man!"

Well, that's exactly what His Kness would want you to believe. However, he has his mysterious (and evil, I might add) and cunning Sith ways.

I'll just say this, the rogue Jedi Knight who swept Episode II to an undeserved and unmistakeably blasphemous victory is either a cookie monster or he knows how to visit the C.A. from more than one browser/IP address . . .

And in the Blue Corner


Let's add Washington & Lee to the mix. No, not an acceptance letter, at least not yet. Yes, friends and family, it's another wait list and we all know that those are fun, fun, fun!

W&L has one of the best teacher to student ratios in its class, is situated in the calm sticks of Lexington, VA, and is only a few hours away from Gettysburg.

Go to top-law-schools to read more about W&L.

It's hard to believe, but, not including Oregon, we only have 11 schools to hear back from.

Hey, after narrowing the field down from 27, I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunel!

Musings about Israel and Being "Chosen"

I wrote this in my scripture journal yesterday as I was pondering 2 Nephi 6 and thought I would share:

It’s intriguing how we usually think of (at least I do) the scattering of Israel as a dispersion of the people but purely in groups of Israelites. I don’t know where I got this idea. If the people were already apostate, what then was to stop them from intermarrying among all nations? Does it not make sense, then, that the Lord will bless all nations, seeing as He has scattered His people abroad? The mere fact that the “Gentile” nations are intermixed with the seed of Israel gives them blood lineage and even more reason to be part of the spiritual house of Israel. However, we need not misguide ourselves into the belief that only those who are the blood line of Israel can be made children of Israel. As the Savior said unto the wicked rulers, “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Here we might scratch our head and say, “Why on earth would the Lord want to turn stones into children?” Well, the answer is, of course, that the Savior was rebuking the rulers for their nepotistic arrogance. They thought they were the “chosen people,” simply by birth. The Savior teaches, as does Nephi that, “Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God.” God will accept any who come unto Him in “full purpose of heart.”

Monday, March 2, 2009

Yesterday's Spiritual Message: The Things that Matter the Most

At a young age, what matters the most in a boy's or man's life could very well be something akin to the image at the right. However, as I've grown older, I've gained an appreciation for the "finer things" in life.

As Paul says in 1 Cor. 13: 11:
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Now, lest my friends and family scoff and glower, I don't intend to say that they should through away their video games or abandon some of the pleasing luxuries of our day.

I am most certainly saying, however, that there are two things (if I can call them that) in my life which matter the most to me: my wife and my daughter.

John says, in his third epistle:
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Now I'll be the first to admit he was probably talking metaphorically here; however, I feel like the scripture paints a vivid picture of my strongest desires and greatest treasure.

Next to my sweet wife, my daughter holds a place of prominence in my heart which is untouchable by anything else (yes, even video games).

Allow me to give you a glimpse into what I mean. The other night, my wife told me how our daughter was bouncing around inside of her and so I put my hand on her baby carriage (stomach) and felt Maria shifting and poking.

However, what was the most touching and poignant experience was one that I'll never forget. As we were engaged in this special moment, I placed my mouth near my wife's tummy and spoke in my soft voice to our daughter, "Daughter, if you can hear me, kick." She kicked. Next, I said something along the lines of, "If you now who your father is, kick." Repeat.

It may seem like a small and simple thing, but is, after all, by small and simple things that great things are brought to pass.

So in short, my family is, of course, what matters to me the most.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What's in a Last Name?

Writing about HP and slapping together a Peanut Butter (that's what my wife and I call a peanut butter and honey sandwich), the catalyst for this post drifted into mind.

I mean, really, where do people come up with their last names? Are they born with them? Do they make them up? Are they knighted with or have them conferred upon them?

I have heard it rumored that last names originally had an occupational association tied to them. E.g. I have often been told (and read for that matter, if having "read" anything makes it fact) that Fletcher means a maker of arrows.

To me, this makes sense. Thus, a person named Smith is someone who makes stuff. But then carrying the deduction a step further, is a Potter someone who plants flowers or other plants into soil? And what about a Longbottom, for that matter? (On second thought, let's keep that question rhetorical.)

I'm sure that Scalois will be able to come up with some awesome archeological digs (or at least some interesting links). As for the rest of you (and as always on the C.A.), please share your thoughts and insights.

Hairless & The Sorcerer's Stone: Not Really a Review

Okay, I offered and the F-Word has clamored; I owe the man a "review" of Hairless and the SS.

However, while not wishing to displease the reviewing machine who must not be named (or to snatch some of his raving fan base), I must concede, there isn't much to cover in a quick synopsis that hasn't already been polished by Rita Skeeter and the like.

And so I give you: Rowling's Smorgasbord of Characters.

There isn't much I dislike about the series (you must confess, FW, it is rather difficult to treat them as separate entities), but one of my favorite aspects of these masterpieces is Rowling's uninterrupted symphony of characters.

Combined, most essentially I might add, with Jim Dale's unique and magical touch, each one of Rowling's characters makes us pause and wonder if our friend, family member, or even enemy hasn't weaseled his way into one of history's most popular and (IMHO) greatest series ever (yes, I know the Kalvin would vociferously disagree with me here; I ask you to momentarily forebear your immediate dismissal).

Who hasn't had a freckle-faced friend at one time or another? Who hasn't squinted, his eyes aflame at a greasy-haired and particularly unjust tyrant of a school teacher? Or who hasn't had a kind and soft spoken mentor, whether his hair be white or still vibrant with color? And finally, who hasn't trudged through adolescence, not really understanding it, but being ever so tickled when he realized it was officially and universally over?

Yes, one of my greatest lauds of praise for the famous J.K. Rowling is not that she knows how to enchant her readers with every word (which, of course, she does better than the greatest magician), but, rather, that she knows how to weave a tapestry full of non-Edwins (sorry, ye Twilighters). That is to say, she touches a common thread among humanity; each and every one of us feels as though he really were or at least that he really could be the famous Harry Potter.

False Alarms and Near Heartattacks: Preparing for Labor

I love a surprise just as much as the next bloke, but when my wife told me on Friday that she had been experiencing some unusual pains through much of the day and that she had taken counsel with her mother and the hospital . . . you can imagine that my reaction was somewhat akin to the chap on the left.

Yes, my wife is more than likely far enough along for Maria to be born at anytime, a healthy and robust (Qualtrics, eat your heart out) child.

But for you fathers out there, raise a hand and if you weren't freaking out mentally and emotionally when your wife experienced false alarms or, more to the point, when she actually went into labor.

Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Fry? Anyone, anyone?

Okay, that's what I thought.

So when I drove home early Friday afternoon (well, earlier than usual), you can imagine I felt like I had just had the Gatorade bath but without the warming sensation of victory.

In retrospect, I don't know if I was more panic-struck about my wife and our daughter's immediate safety or just bowled over by the fact that I will soon hold a child in my arms, responsible for her every sob, diaper change, and mortal existence for at least the next 18 years.

I now more or less understand why father's lose their hair or go gray so quickly . . .

The Death of a Newspaper

For those of you not from C-rad, it may come as a shock (or a "so what") to you that Colorado's oldest newspaper (nearly 150 this year), the Rocky Mountain News was shown to the door on Friday.

One columnist, Mike Littwin writes about the paper not just closing doors, but dying. He laments the downfall of the paper and pines for its days of glory.

Who is the culprit in this sad tale of job loss and despair? The economy? The Internet? Of course not. The suits. That's right, everyone, big bad business men are always the black-hearted criminals who have no qualms stamping out the hopes and dreams of their inferiors and then sprinkling the ashes over distant sees. The executives, those over-paid and under-worked tyrants; they are to blame! If they had half a heart they would see the folly of their ways . . .

This comment I found at the bottom of the column is a little harsh but I think that it's rather poignant:
Had he known how much pain and suffering it would cause the newspaper industry I’m sure former Vice-President Al Gore would never have invented the Internet. But hindsight is always 20/20 and since then he has gone on to a much, much bigger invention: Global Warming.

There’s never a good time to lose your job but this may be one of the better ones because President Obama has promised to redistribute wealth in America by taking from those who produce and giving to those who don’t. Under that guideline Mr. Littwin should make out very well, indeed.

Finally, as a champion of the common man it’s important to remember the common man’s reaction when hearing Mr. Littwin had lost his job: “Who?”.

Schadenfreude on steroids.

To conclude, I make an analogy: Should we resurrect the 8-track or the VHS so that the many plants and workers who so gallantly brought about their days of glory may resume their noble labors?

Yes, as Colonel Mustard would point out, "You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs; every good cook will tell you that."

I am saddened by the hardworking man's loss of employment just as much as the next guy. However, there are some things that have to go the way of the dodo for society as a whole to benefit.

We all clamor in our green sweats for the industrialists to "go paperless!" and yet we scratch, hiss, and boohoo whenever the axe inevitably falls upon those makers of paper.

Finally, as a the cliche goes:
YA CAN'T HAVE YER CAKE AN EAT IT TOO!

The Plot THICKENS

Well, the decision of where to go to law school is getting harder to make, which is, I suppose, a good thing.

I've been accepted full-time to Cincinnati and also just received an out-of-state scholarship to Kentucky (this just means that I only ever have to pay in-state tuition).

I think we would prefer to live in CT over KY or OH, but here's the rub: According to top-law-schools.com, Cincinnati graduates' first year median salary in the private sector of '06 was $90,000 compared to $70,000 for those from UCONN in '05. Are these numbers somewhat nebulous and perhaps not comparing apples to apples? I simply don't know.

Next, aside from starting salary and place of residence, factor in tuition. UCONN's overall cost of tuition full-time and part-time are $74,130 and $64,560, respectively. Cincinnati fills in at $71,066, but with a scholarship at Kentucky, I could sneak by with a substantially discounted $41,994.

I guess a lot of it will really come down to where we want to live and what job prospects I'll receive in the future.

From the information I've listed and assuming I don't get any other offers, where do you think I should go?