31 December 2007

Disney - The Parent Killing Continues Part II

It's been brought to my attention by a die-hard Disney fan, and you know who you are, that my allegation that Mulan's father died was incorrect. Duly noted - I'm big enough to admit it when I'm wrong. He was only gravely ill. That being said, I have also heard from some other readers of the Den who pointed out some other evidence of the parental killing machine that is Disney:
  • "Beauty and the Beast" - where's Belle's mother? Nary a mention.
  • "The Lion King" - the father, Mufasa, gets killed, and in a really sweet move by Disney, leaves Simba, his son, racked with some serious guilt.
  • "Finding Nemo" - this time it's the mother who gets whacked. She maybe earned two minutes of screen time.
  • "The Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy - no Mrs. Swann to be found. What happened to her?
All I'm saying is that maybe the execs at Disney who keep green-lighting these celebrations of parental slaughter need to spend some time with a good therapist. Let them work out there issues on a couch, paying $350 bucks an hour, rather than doing so on the big screen.

Have a great New Year's celebration tonight. Enjoy!

29 December 2007

Disney - The Parent Killing Continues

So yesterday afternoon, we decided to leave the "snow bunker" and go see a movie. Parker really wanted to see "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," so off we went. Quick review - formulaic at best, it was the first movie all over again, just a different treasure hunt, and that's exactly what the third installment will be. Helen Mirren must have bought something pretty that she needed to pay for, otherwise I don't quite know why she did the movie. All that aside, it was a fun way to spend a snowy afternoon with the family.

However, the Disney parent killing machine goes on in this film. What is it about Disney and killing off a parent? Evil corporation conspiracy theory aside, what agenda does Disney have? I mean "National Treasure" opens with a father being killed in front of his son and then said father gets to die in his son's arms. Nice touch, Disney. But this goes back decades. Think about it: "Bambi" - mom blown away. "Snow White" and "Cinderella" - both had major mother issues. "The Parent Trap(s)" - both of them, divorced parents and kids patching them up. "Mulan" - if I recall, the dad dies and she goes off to fight in his name. "The Little Mermaid" - where was the mom? "Toy Story" - where was Andy's dad? I suppose if I put my mind to it, I could reel off several more examples. There's something seriously wrong with this company and its fixation on taking out a parent. I don't get it.

I do get, though, why Disney had to buy Pixar in order to save its animation arm. The movie opened with about a five minute cartoon short. It was a Goofy short and it was the longest five minutes of my life. And based on the groans heard in the nearly packed theater, everyone else was pretty chapped as well. Simply put: it sucked. Putting an age-old character like Goofy, who should have been sent to the great dog pound in the sky a long, long time ago, into the modern world and having him buy a big screen TV was beyond lame. It hurt to watch. It was proudly touted as a Disney production. Oh Pixar, where art thou? Pixar, please don't let that happen again. Please. I'm begging you.

27 December 2007

Another Anniversary

December 27 - and today, Shari and I celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. I guess I could borrow every cliche out there to say how unbelievable it is that it's already been 19 years, etc. So I won't. I will say that it's been a great ride so far. I promised Shari more than 19 years ago that our life together would never be dull. I think this picture proves that:

If ONLY this could have been in our wedding announcement!

(Please note that I will probably be killed for posting this!)

Because we chose to get married right at Christmas, we've never done much for our anniversary. We decided awhile ago that we would celebrate at another time during the year. That's usually meant a cool trip - Japan, London, a European drive, Hong Kong have all been places that we've celebrated. This year, not doing much, since the big 20 looms next year. Australia is already calendared for our 20th celebration. That's going to be awesome!

Tonight we will head over to the Chicago Temple (I accepted an assignment up there on this date months ago, forgetting that it's our anniversary) and then we are going to dinner at a French place in Oak Brook afterwards. It will be a nice way to cap off the day. And we can get it done before we get pummeled with snow tomorrow. Apparently we're supposed to get smacked tomorrow. Fantastic.

25 December 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to one and all from the Den! It's been a great day. I, once again, woke up at 5AM. When did I turn into an 70-plus year old man? If I turn up at the nearest buffet restaurant at 430PM soon, please help me to end it all! However, getting up that early today did allow me to finish the Christmas breakfast that I like to make - it's a whole overnight production. It did taste delicious though. The sun came up here in Chicago and brought some Christmas warmth with it. The snow that was on the lawn is now gone. Nice little gift from Mother Nature!

Parker was raring to go by 7AM but we held him off until just after 8AM. Shari and I led the kids downstairs to tackle their stockings around the tree. Now that our three children are all essentially teen-agers, Christmas morning has a different pace. Everyone seemed pleased with what was awaiting them under the tree. Shari was clever to put "The Simpsons" movie in my stocking, making it the first thing I opened. I could not have been more pleased! It was a lot of fun to laugh with the kids this morning as we looked at everyone's new clothes and to watch reactions to gifts.

The rest of the day has been one of phone calls to relatives and doing puzzles, watching new DVD's, etc. Parker was gone a little after 9AM in order to get to a friend's to try out their new Wii. As a result, we have a new obsession at the Den. By mid-day, I had to head over to the only open market, the Super-H Mart, for some stuff. This is a Korean-owned supermarket and let's just say it knows its key demographic very well. It was hysterical to watch folks streaming in looking for that last-minute yam or box of stuffing, only to discover that unless they were prepared to use live eel as stuffing, recipe needs were going to have to change.

The day is still not done. We will be warming up the tamales and enchiladas de pronto. I can't wait to try these hand-made tamales that I found in Aurora over the weekend. We'll watch another movie or two, I'm sure. Tomorrow brings Courtney's birthday and another day of celebration. It's a fun time for our family.

23 December 2007

Man, it's cold.....

It's a quiet Sunday afternoon here in the Den. It is, however, FREEZING. According to the all knowing www.weather.com, it's 16 degrees here today but with the wind chill, it feels like -2 degrees. I will testify to the fact that it is cold. Wicked cold. The wind is just howling causing the snow to blow horizontally. I'm glad I'm in the basement bunker right now. Blowing snow and freezing temperatures does not, I repeat, does NOT make it feel more like Christmas.

Good morning at Church. Only one more week of the 9AM block and then we move to the 11AM block in January. At least it's not a late "Outer Darkness" block like 3PM. Our speakers today honed in on the importance of focusing on the real meaning of this season - posing the question what is the gift you offer the Savior? I have yet to answer that appropriately. I don't want it to be a pat, Sunday School answer - I know that I need to offer Him something better as this year ends and as I contemplate the blessings I have as a result of Him. I'll answer that question - I know I will.

Wound up teaching the 11 year old Primary class today - that's what you get when your wife is in the Primary presidency and you're standing around in the hall, yapping with a buddy. These kids are so funny - they've turned 12 and are so done with Primary. Only had twenty minutes with them and we talked about the signs of Christ's coming and what that means today. It was a cool discussion.

Need to call my mom and dad soon. It's their 49th wedding anniversary today. 49 years! That's something else. I would do well to emulate them here. Shari and I celebrate 19 years in four days, so we continue to work to follow their example. Am also looking forward to dinner with friends this early evening (another set of western US refugees - they moved here about two months before we did from Utah) and then hunkering down for "The Amazing Race." Then I can call it a day.

20 December 2007

I Can't NOT Say Something

As I mentioned in this post's title, I can't NOT comment on the media's salivation over the news of Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy. Let's face it - this is tragic for this unborn child, but if any one is the least bit surprised about this, I have some beachfront property in Phoenix that might be of interest to you. How could you not have seen this coming?! I'm sure that Lynne Spears is bursting with pride. More media coverage!

Congratulations, Lynne!

Well, let's move on to more savory thoughts - politics. Ken Jennings (yep, the same guy who won $2.5 million on "Jeopardy" and then wrote a funny book called "Brainiac") wrote an op-ed about the media's treatment of Mormons and Mormonism since Mitt Romney entered the presidential fray. It's a great opinion piece, one I can totally get behind. Ken is dead on. Check it out:


Then click on the one titled "Politicians and Pundits"

That's it for today's view from the Den. Have a good one.

18 December 2007

Dante's Inferno = Suburban Chicago Mall

When Dante wrote "The Inferno," he articulated a wretched vision of the afterlife for those destined for rougher climes. I honestly think he saw the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg at Christmas. It's the Seventh Ring of Hell - I'm sure of it. I was forced back there tonight in my quest for one of Shari's Christmas gifts. Oh..it was ugly. The perimeter of the Mall is manned by rent-a-cops with lighted batons acting as parking marshals and it goes from there. Congratulations to the SUV drivers who feel compelled to take two parking spots in order to protect their Land Yachts from the dings of us lesser types. And that takes a good 30 minutes to find a parking spot. And then you plunge into the scrum - into the Mall. Woodfield is an homage to late 60's/early 70's concrete and the use of levels. Someone thought it would be fun throw like half floors in this Mall. I suspect Mike Brady may have had a role in this design. After all, he designed a house for eight, plus Alice, with no visible toilets.

Thanks, Mike!

And after plowing through the Mall and its denizens, I still walked away without the gift I'm really wanting to get Shari. Even Nordstrom, that bastion of service, was a let-down.

So I was just glad to get home tonight and I'll finish shopping online. The online retailers are a lot more excited about taking my money than the brick-and-mortars!

16 December 2007

Sunday Thoughts

Awoke to the sounds to snow blowers at about 630AM. I hit the driveway (man, was it cold this morning!) about 645AM to join the chorus; however, it was a chorus of grunts coming from me since I have a snow shovel instead of a snow blower. Shari called me in at about 815AM just as I tossed the last mound of snow of the sidewalk. Left me about 20 minutes to get ready for church. Shari, PTL, and I were there about ten minutes before church started, but the girls were late. Good thing Sarah has a car.

Sunday School was enlightening today. Gospel Doctrine class focused on the last few chapters of the Book of Revelations. It's sobering to consider the destruction foretold applies to our time. Sister Castleton made a good point about the comfort found in the fact that those that are prepared will be saved.

Not much rest for the weary today since I had two Home Teaching appointments after church and then our Home Teachers came over. It was 400PM before I had a chance to take off my tie. Finally!

Should be a quiet night. "The Amazing Race" isn't on as it is being preempted by the finale of "Survivor." Didn't that show jump the shark a long time ago? (umm....yes) Like after the "Survivor Celebrity" edition? At least there's a new episode of "The Simpsons." Mark your calendars - Dec. 18 is a mere two days away - "The Simpsons Movie" DVD is out on the 18th. Get to the store early!

15 December 2007

Snowing Again

It seems appropriate that my first entry should be one lamenting the snow that is coming down right now. The crack team of Chicago weathermen aimed a little low on the snow predictions - a mere one to four inches. Suddenly that's turned into five to eight inches. Excellent. I've given up on shoveling the driveway and sidewalks until it stops. At least it's not a heavy, wet snow. Seems to minimize the heart attack factor. The snow made the run to Costco that Shari and I did this morning seem more like a slog. Can someone please tell me why Costco shoppers feel compelled to block the aisles with their carts at all times? Is it some way to get an insiders' discount that we're not aware of?

So I'm sure that tomorrow morning will dawn with a pile of snow that will require significant shoveling - love it!