I have been in a classroom setting at work all week, training for my new job as an activations supervisor for Nextel. It is a new-ish department undergoing a tremendous amount of change virtually every function of the job is changing, so I am coming into it at the right time, with lots of opportunity. However, there is always spring sitting on the horizon. . .

So, as I sit in class with limited interne access, I will leave you with this: 5500 US troops have deserted the service since the Iraq war. A quiet reminder that despite Bush’s reelection, all is not well in the world and the 1960s are becoming a real familiarity to these times.

Friday Fives to follow. Please be patient as I have to run to my desk to post them during a break sometime in the day . . .

Friday Fives

1. Do you have a top five list of the actors that you would love to see die in a movie? (via Kevin via ESPN.)
Kevin Costner
Sandra Bernhard
Farrah Fawcett(teenage yearning years notwithstanding.
David Caruso
Steven Seagal
Honorable mention: Morgan Fairchild, most soap opera actors and Tom Arnold.

2. “How much money would it take for you to kill a puppy with your bare hands?” (via Monkeyfilter)
What the F**K! I “heart” puppies. I heart kittens and puppies. There is not enough dough in the world that would enable me to get past the sick feeling I would feel after deliberately killing puppies. There was an episode of Little House On The Prairie that I remember as a kid. On the episode, some mean old man tossed a burlap sack full of puppies into a pond to kill them so that his kids wouldn’t have pets. To this day I think of that tear jerking episode and my heart melts when I see stranded or unwanted puppies.

3. If you collected posters to hang on your wall, and all of the posters had a similar theme, what would that theme be? Swimsuit models? Famous athletes? Great movies? (via Monkeyfilter)
I guess the obvious and expected answer would be Springsteen, baby! Nothing but walls and walls of Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band posters. Well, either that or puppies. I must rededicate my life to embracing the warmth and charm of puppies after the pitty shower that the last question forced upon me. I feel dirty.

4. What is the “coolest tool” or tip you use that makes your life so much better that you need to shout it to the hills in order for everyone to know about?(via Kevin Kelly (Wired Magazine founder) and Cool Tools)
Roasting your own coffee. Roasting my own coffee and then enjoying a well crafted cup of the best coffee on Earth is my greatest tip to any and all. Get on board and see what a real cup is supposed to taste like. Starbucks can kiss my ass.

5. Have you ever run for public office? (student council, local stuff?) Will you in the future? What would your platform be?
I don’t think I will ever run for public office. But if I did, I think I would run on a platform of love. Love and honesty. Really, folks. Can’t we all just get along? It would be a huge hippie-rific love generation platform of putting aside petty differences on all fronts and taking mandatory time to just stop and love. Stop, love and hug a puppy. Either that or mandatory jail for minor traffic violations. It should be a capital offense to put make up on while driving an SUV at high speed on the interstate. If I catch that lady that was in front of me this morning, she is off to jail when I take office!

Good Work, GW

I angrily shouted down the White House in their efforts towards disaster relief for the Asian Tsnami victims. But President Bush has upped the bid and is doing as much as he can and perhaps more and I congratulate him and take back my earlier criticisms.

He appointed his father, George HW Bush, and Bill Clinton to manage the fundraising efforts – good job. Two men I admire and respect and able to reach across party and idealogic lines to get the money needed to help the millions of people effected by the disaster.

He has sent $350 million towards the effort. He sent the US Navy to provide immediate food, water, water treatment, medicine, medical aid and Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals. Good Job.

He sent Collin Powell to the area to assess the damage, account for the missing and report back the American people and make a case for more to be done.

Thank you, GW. You are doing the right thing.

Ramsay Rules!

Gordon Ramsay has become my latest Television Obsession. You have to see this show. It is probably only available on expanded or digital cable and perhaps satellite television, but worth the effort it takes to seek it out.

Ramsay is some sort of reknowned British chef (his three restaurants all have Michelin stars – a huge European gastronmic honor) and he goes around the UK finding really, really horrible restaurants and then, in the course of a week, turns them around with a new menu, new service and some desparately needed training of chefs, line cooks, waiters and owners -hoping to help an ailing operation on its last legs make one more valiant effort and either sink or save them.

It is truly great television.

Most of the reality based stuff has either become cliche’ (Survivor knock offs; Trading Spaces knock offs (both stolen from the BBC, by the way.) or they involve things I could care less about (monster choppers and monster trucks and welders. Yawn. Sorry Tory.)

But Food! Restaurants! Chefs! Now I am interested. This show would translate to American television easily. Replace Gordon Ramsay with Anthony Bourdain (or keep Ramsey – he is one charming foul mouthed Brit.) And invade America. The many, many, many truly horrible restaurateurs and would-be restaurateurs need something like this to raise the bar of good food expectations.

You heard it here first – this is the next big hit.

Flickr This!

A recent obsession of late is tooling around on Flickr, a cool fancy web tool to post photos and sort photos and generally see what others are seeing, saying and doing. It’s quite cool. Combining Flickr and Picasa’s Hello makes the world of blogging so much more fun.
I think, once the features of this free service take off, I will challenge some friends and coworkers to a scavenger hunt – sending us out on adventures and point and shoot a few objects along the way to record them. It could be great fun.
Lemme know who is in.

 Posted by Hello

Friday Fives

1. When you hear the word “Dandelion” what comes to mind? Yellow weedish flower in a lawn or the grey, snowlike puffball, perched to explode into the air?
I think of the puffy one – and see a field full of them. I guess it is the influence of Bloom County.

2. Any New Year’s resolutions? Do you keep resolutions or routinely break them like a child’s Christmas toy the day after the holiday?
Same as every year, exercise more, eat less, get in shape. And focus on the guitar, a resolution from a few years back that I broke and am trying to put back together (the resolution, not the guitar.)

3. Do you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. How do you cope with all the darkness and cabin fever?
This year I have really noticed all the darkness. It is so dark when I go to work (6:30 a.m.) and is starting to get dark when I am driving home – it is unsettling.

4. Merle Haggard asks the question: “Are the good times really over for good?”
I am a pretty Pollyanna. Ed tells me that my favorite book should be Candide. I can’t really believe the good times are really over for good.

5. You’ve rented a sky-writer to propose to your significant other, but it’s completely overcast. What will you do? (thank you, Blogger.)
I would probably realize that using a sky writer to propose is lame and would instead do something quiet and intimate and hopefully tie it all together as a reminder of our first date.

Disaster Relief Links

We talked about where to send some vitally needed cash to help with the Asian Tsunami efforts. See some of the links below. And let’s give it up to Denver’s own corporate behemouth First Data/Western Union. Their charitible fund has pledged to donate over $1 million in matching funds from funds provided for by their employess.
Here are some links:

American Red Cross International Response Fund

AmeriCares South Asia Earthquake Relief Fund

Direct Relief International International Assistance Fund

M�decins Sans Fronti�res International Tsunami Emergency Appeal

Oxfam Asian Earthquake & Tsunami Fund

Sarvodaya Relief Fund for Tsunami Tragedy

UNICEF South Asia Tsunami Relief Efforts

The International Red Cross is now reporting that over 100,000 (!?!) people are dead. Malaria and diarhea and a growing pandemic of water borne diseases is already beginning to take hold in the area and the deaths will continue to mount.

(Meanwhile the President is on vacation. ho hum.)

Hmm, Aid For Tsunami Ravaged Nations Or Throw A Big Party?

President Bush has repeatedly said that the paltry $35 million in aid that the US is sending to the absolutely decimated Indonesian Sea region, still digging out from one of the worst earthquakes in history, is not a sign that the US is stingy.

In other news The 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee has raised $40 million in donations for the big Bush inaugural ball and has already spent $30 million of it.

Is it just me or is $30 million for a party a pretty dumb thing right now when entire nations’ coastlines have been leveled and buried and over 80,000 people are dead (!) ?

It stinks.

Why not dial down the big celebration a bit, perhaps throw a good old fashioned Texas BBQ tailgate party at the Redskins stadium, and funnel the money instead towards the earthquake victims relief efforts.

But then again, that would indicate that the original money was paltry and stingy wouldn’t it?

Seems as though the GOP would rather the world saw us as stingy and crass, not just stingy.

While we are on the subject, take a moment and send some dough to Oxfam – a great, great developing nations assistance charity that is in dire need of funds. I just sent them $20.00 and I am one poor dude. If you can afford to read this post, you can too.

Best of 2004

The end of the year is near and several tasks are on hand. I need to craft my final draft for my annual celebrity dead pool and take some time to enjoy the many end-of-year retrospectives and best-of lists.

Here are a few places to start:

List of Bests – a collection of best of lists
Year in review – a collection of best of lists.
Best Nonfiction 2004
Best Web links
The Best 20 Food Books of 2004 as Chosen by Leite’s Culinaria Books / Best of 2004
Art Forum’s best films of the year.
Art Forum’s best music of the year.
The Onion’s best albums of the year.
Best Photojournalism of the year.
The Nation’s Top Outrages’ of the year.
Games Magazine’s Top 100 Games for 2005. (as well as all the others.)
Reuters best photos, plus links through Metafilter of many other sources

This should keep you busy for the rest of the week.