Monthly Archives: November 2007

This post is like a bunch of words on a piece of paper, except it’s electronic

Taken from the Nov 30, 2007 edition of Mikey’s Funnies

Part 2

~ The brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.

~ I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don’t speak German. Anyway, it’s a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don’t know the name for those either.

~ He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

~ The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

~ The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.

~ He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

~ The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

~ From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and “Jeopardy” comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30.

~ Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

~ Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.

~ Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.”

~ Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

~ John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

The bowling ball one kills me. That sounds almost exactly like a line from a Douglas Adams book… that I can’t precisely remember at the moment.

I also like the movie analogy. That got the point across completely, I thought, and was humorous to boot.

The others just hurt. But still funny.

Personal Finance on 5 business cards

The Simple Dollar » Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance on the Back of Five Business Cards

Lately I’ve felt like Trent was recycling the same advice over and over again, and I was starting to lose interest, but this post pulled it all together nicely.

 During the lunch, out of the blue, he asked me to give a five minute nutshell version of what I would present to the group. I thought for a minute, pulled a pen out of my pocket, and asked him for five business cards. In those next five minutes, I summarized everything I know about personal finance in a pocket-friendly presentation.

Trent, if you’re interested, I think the graphics help a lot. They’re a big help when you’re trying to influence or teach someone.

Simple Dollar card5

“Journeyman” Will Get Its 12 Episodes – Slice of SciFi

“Journeyman” Will Get Its 12 Episodes – Slice of SciFi

Well, it sounds like saner heads have prevailed… for now. NBC has given the green light to the final two produced episodes of “Journeyman.” That’s great news. This is one show I have got to see. BUT READ ON:

However, fans may need to adjust their recording devices. The first half of this two-part episode airs on Monday, December 17th at 10 p.m. EST. The follow-up installment airs on Wednesday, December 19th at 10 p.m. EST.

Did you get that? Part two, the season finale, is on a Wednesday! Pay attention to this, Mike.

Also, in the linked article, the shows creator says the People’s Choice awards could actually influence whether or not they get a “back nine” for the show (i.e., a spring season). To that end, get out and vote… and then go back and vote again – this isn’t a political poll, it’s one we’re allowed to cheat on. Vote more than once! And vote for Journeyman every single time!

Good-ish news for “Journeyman”

“Journeyman” Creator Quells Cancellation Rumors – Slice of SciFiJourneyman promo button

A couple posts ago I mentioned that “Journeyman” may not air all of its produced episodes this year. Well, it turns out that’s still a question, but it’s not as bad as previously predicted.

while the show may not get a back nine (Season Two), NBC is ready to allow the entire first season to air – well, almost. Also, the final episode (if it sees the “light of day”), while not answering all fan’s questions, will bring sufficient closure, if the show isn’t picked up for a new season.

So basically, we’ll get the upcoming episodes 9, 10, and 11, but the season finale, episode 12, is still up in the air. There will apparently be a DVD set that will include the finale either way, but it currently looks doubtful that the episode will actually air.

Why, exactly, that is the case is still unclear.

[tags]Journeyman, NBC[/tags]

The Santa Smackdown!

Bryce Zabel’s FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: Santa’s 2007 Movie Smackdown!

Bryce has put together a fun poll on which Christmas/holiday movies make the cut for annual viewing. Which ones can you stand to watch year after year?

My pick that didn’t make his critics’ list: Ernest Saves Christmas. I never fail to laugh at that film, and quote it year-round. “Nobody moves; nobody dies…” heh… I’m cracking up just thinking about it. It has heart, too. Jim Varney really put his trademark character to good use in that flick.

Click through and take the poll (actually two polls).

That made me think about the TV Christmas specials I grew up on. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the first one that comes to mind (it’s a tradition to listen to the soundtrack in this house). “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” (the original, not the stupid movie version) “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Frosty the Snowman” are also on the tip of the tongue. If I can figure out the titles to all the others I’ll put up a poll on that so all three of you reading this can weigh in… so check back later!

(Oh… that one with the mice in the clock… I love that one… gotta find that title)

[tags]holiday movies, christmas, Jim Varney, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Vince Guaraldi[/tags]

NBC is sharpening its axe

Two incredible shows are currently on the edge of cancellation, if reports are to be believed, and NBC seems to be saying that they won’t even air episodes that were already produced. In the face of a dearth of available programming due to the writer’s strike, this just seems to me to be one of the most boneheaded things I’ve ever heard. Even if you’re not particularly in favor of the show, if you’ve got nothing else to show, why not let it play out?! 

Neither of these shows have technically been canceled yet, but read on (and through the links) for more on each.

NBC gives Journeyman two weeks notice – From Inside the Box – Zap2it

Were hearing that the next two weeks are crucial for NBCs Journeyman. While nothing official has been decided, the rumor is that if the Nielsen numbers dont rise for the Nov. 19 and 26 episodes, the network will yank the show, without airing all the episodes produced.

Things could be looking bad for future of BSG

…there’s a real possiblility NBC Universal would just opt out of the final episodes of “Galactica.” With a declining ratings and higher production costs, to re-start a show for ten episodes to please what is percieved as a niche audience might not make sense to the network brass. The long hiatus for “Galactica” haven’t helped things since the show has gone off the general public’s radar screen.

For Journeyman, one of the best new shows this year, if not the best, it seems that if you know anyone who is a Nielsen family, you’ll need to break into their house at 10pm on Monday and force them to watch this show at gunpoint – because unless I misunderstand the ratings system, if you don’t have a box, you don’t count. Journeyman seems to have been hurt by the sagging ratings of Heroes this season. Given the promise to up the ante on that show, the apology from Tim Kring, and the way it played out the last two weeks, I gotta think that’s on the upswing, so it would, again, be a bonehead move to not give that established show the chance to bring bigger ratings in to help Journeyman.

For Battlestar Galactica…. their biggest mistake was imposing a year long hiatus to begin with. It’s just plain cruelty to put together such a quality show with a full, intelligent storyline, and then drop it in its advertised final season without coming to conclusion. BONEHEAD!

[tags]BSG, Battlestar Galactica, Journeyman, Heroes, NBC, tv cancelation[/tags]

Corporate Learning conference: Day 3

I managed to get to David Snowden’s talk this morning about, essentially, the nature of learning. What does science say about how we learn? Is that different from the way we, as trainers, try to make people learn?

It seems that we are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. And what we’re ending up doing is, sometimes painfully, reshaping the hole (the trainees) to become square, rather than filing our peg (the training) to become round.

Snowden (and his data) suggests that there is a point at which fragmented information, couched in the right amount of ambiguity, provides the optimal learning opportunity. This is in contrast to “ordered” systems, which provide things like Best Practice documents, Six Sigma (for which he seems to have a special disdain), and other detailed efforts that treat humans as if they were computers or machinery.

There is much that Snowden brings to the table for discussion. It’s a fundamental shift in how we currently act in many companies. I agree with much of his thoughts, though how to actually implement his ideas elude me (though to be fair to myself, I haven’t had much time to think about it, either). At a minimum, selling them to the corporation would be a challenge.

I found the presentation to be very conceptual/theoretical, and not so much implementation strategies.  He mentioned he has a degree in philosophy, and it shows… but that’s not really a bad thing. We need someone to bring this stuff up and challenge the status quo – which is in many cases blindingly obviously broken.

You can access the recorded session (you may have to register first – not sure) at the conference’s wiki (once it’s posted). It’s deep in psychology and cognitive theory, and jargon filled, but worth it – especially the first 20 minutes, which lays the foundation of his theory. I’ll need to go back and listen to that part again. I wasn’t taking good enough notes during the live presentation.

[tags]David Snowden, learning theory, fragmentation, CLTI2007[/tags]

Links from Corporate Learning: Trends and Innovations Day 1

The free online conference for Corporate Learning started on Thursday (it continues next Monday and Tuesday). So far, I’ve only been able to attend two sessions, one presentation on Web/Learning 2.0, and one Q&A/Discussion session following up on that presentation, both led by Tony Karrer. Unfortunately, I missed everything on Friday. Good thing it’s all being recorded!

I thought it was really a good way to do things, though my schedule wasn’t cleared as well as I had planned, so I had a couple of interruptions. That’s the downside of attending a session at your desk – people can still find you.

I found it challenging to pay attention to the back-channel chat as well as the main presentation. My brain couldn’t keep up with the discussion in both modes simultaneously. That difficulty became a topic we discussed in the second session, and about which Tony subsequently blogged. I’m not sure what the solution is, because I think the chat, moderated correctly, adds a significant amount of content that can be reviewed, and extended, later.

Good points and discussion all around, though. Below are the links I pulled from the sessions. Thanks to all who shared! Hopefully I’ll get some time soon to really look at each site and post my thoughts.

Learning/Web 2.0 tools overviews:

Wiki Adoption:

Social Learning (and example of Ning):

Wiki for Corporate Learning: Trends and Innovations:

Discussion board for Corporate Learning Conference:

[tags]Tony Karrer, CLTI2007[/tags]

Review: The Second Chance

The Second Chance DVD

Steve Taylor is no stranger to controversy. His music in the ’80s was unabashedly pointed at issues of hypocrisy and general laziness within Christian communities and its leaders (and it’s important to realize that he recognized himself as part of that community). He was willing to hold up a mirror for those who would listen to see their behavior and how it frequently ran contrary to the faith they professed. In 2006 he released this movie, serving as writer, director, and one of the producers, that tackles the issues of racial and economic segregation as it plays out within a church.

When I first heard of this movie I was intrigued because Steve Taylor was deeply involved, so I had a pretty good idea it would have some real substance. When I found out that Michael W. Smith was playing one of the leads, I was nervous that it would turn out to be just another “Christian” movie with good intentions, but poor production. It felt like stunt casting to me.

Now that I’ve seen it, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Smith did a good job. He’s not going to win any awards as an actor (yet, anyway… it’s his first role), but there are only one or two spots that I thought he wasn’t quite up to the challenge. The rest of the movie he was fine, and he was surrounded, generally, by some pretty good talent.

Here is how the site describes the story:

Same faith. Same city. Different worlds.

The Second Chance is a film about two men – one from a white church in the well-to-do suburbs and one from a black church in the inner-city projects. Although founded by the same man, each church manifests its mission in a very different way. This film authentically tells the story of how a rebellious son and a street-smart pastor struggle to bridge the gap between their respective churches and cultures. More importantly, at its core, The Second Chance is about being willing to step outside your comfort zone and serve where you are called.

That’s a good synopsis of the plot, but what it doesn’t get across strongly enough is the word “authentically”. It’s really a film about bridging cultural gaps and reconciliation; it just so happens that the church is the background in which that is played out. To me, the best part about this movie was that it did approach its characters as real people. These are people who are also Christians, not some stereotyped preachers whose every scene depicts pious devotion to God with pithy little disconnected life lessons. (The inner city preacher, for example, struggles to keep himself from cursing.) This is not a preachy movie. Everyone is motivated by doing what they believe is right, even though they don’t see eye to eye with others.

In the end, while I recognize that there are flaws in the production (even the director says the first 20 minutes are slow), the movie worked for me. It made me consider my life and actions right along with the main characters – am I too comfortable? Should I be challenging myself more in supporting others in need? How might I be more open to that?

With two musicians prominently involved in the film, I expected some good music. There wasn’t as much of it as I would have liked, honestly, but there was some good stuff:

Movin’ on Up – Third Day

All in the Serve – Michael W. Smith (Steve Taylor was co-writer)

Hang On – Michael W. Smith

There is no doubt that The Second Chance is meant to make you think. They even created a study guide to help facilitate discussions on the issues of motives, compassion, and obedience brought up in the film. More “message” films should do that… I certainly could have used one for Crash.

3.5 stars.

[tags]Steve Taylor, Christianity in Movies, Michael W. Smith, cultural divides, racial issues[/tags]

Grab your Hardy Boys lunch box – here come the ’70s

15 Minute Lunch: Strap in, shut up and hold on. We’re going back.
It’s almost shocking anyone survived the 1970s. There should have been some kind of ritual suicide for looking like this.

JC Penney 1977

Sadly, I think I owned that entire outfit. And wore it. MOM, What was wrong with you?!

This next one… I couldn’t come up with anything better than the description on the original site…

JC Penney 1977 Hutch

This kid looks like he’s pretending to be David Soul, who is pretending to be a cop who is pretending to be a pimp that everyone knows is really an undercover cop. Who is pretending to be 15.

That’s priceless…. the Leprauchan version in the lower-left is somehow even more hideous.

For more, go visit the original site linked above. Well worth the time. Painful, to be sure, but worth it.

[tags]1977, the 70s, JC Penney, Starsky and Hutch[/tags]