Archive for September, 2009

Just returned from the 2nd day of the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival.  For those who say there is nothing to do in Birmingham, this event serves as Exhibit A showing that those folks are just plain wrong!  This was a ton of fun!  I thought this seemed like it would be a pretty good time, but it actually exceeded all of my expectations.  The festival is well organized and operated.  It was also fun to be handed an “official ballot” at each screening and get to pretend to be a snooty movie reviewer!   But of course what will make or break a movie festival is the quality of the movie lineup.  And in this case, the movie lineup was just outstanding!

On the ballot, movies were to be rated as being either excellent, good, fair, or poor.  I thought I would go through the movies that I saw, tell you what I thought about them, and the rating I gave each.



Yeah, I know, three posts in one day.  What can I say, I am in a blogging mood.  The winner (loser?) is you!

With unemployment inching toward double-digits, I feel very fortunate to be employed right now.  And (knocking on wood!) I do think my position is very secure.  That said, you just never know.  I know many of you have either just lost a job or know somebody who has just lost a job.  I’ve been there.  It was early in 2001 when I got that bad news.  I want to share that tale with you now.

I was working as an industrial engineer at a manufacturing plant.  Sales had slowed to the point that it was clearly beyond the traditional seasonal patterns.  We had laid off some floor workers, but for some reason (I think mostly because I was very naive) I wasn’t really worried…yet.  I arrive at work on a Monday morning, and walk into the plant with my boss.  We have a conversation, nothing out of the ordinary.  I go to my desk in the office we had out on the plant floor.  All of the sudden, the head of the tooling department starts moving his stuff into our office.  When I ask him what’s up, he informs me that he is no longer the head of the tooling department.  He was now just another manufacturing engineer in our department, but he was just happy that he still had a job.  I knew we didn’t need any more engineers.  So I went from not worried to scared shi…..well, let’s just say that I was really scared!;)


So I am reading this morning’s The Birmingham News (that’s right, kickin’ it old school, reading an actual physical black and white newspaper, turning the pages by hand and all!) and see an article regarding the city of Birmingham’s financial status.  Here’s a link, for those who are not old school like myself:

Birmingham, Alabama’s Financial Picture Is Unclear

So the city installs a fancy computer accounting system over the course of 3 years.  Now that it goes live, it is spitting out that the city operated at a $28 million deficit over the past year.  But now according the mayor Larry Langford and his staff, this new fancy computer accounting system cannot be believed because the numbers generated are “incomplete” and “misleading”.  Rather, we should just take his word for it, there’s plenty of money (plenty for his dome project, Fair Park renovation, etc.).  We should just trust him.  Personally, I don’t see why we shouldn’t trust somebody with outstanding integrity and character such as Langford.  After all, a man who has been indicted on 101 federal counts for mail fraud, bribery, money laundering, and conspiracy is a man I would stake my life on as being honest!

I love this quote from the article.  In regards to the supposed inaccuracy of the numbers from the accounting system, Samford University professor Cynthia Lohrke said “What bothers me — well crud, if you can’t trust the budget numbers, what can you trust?”  Yes, crud!  A word that is not used enough!  I think I will make it my goal to use the word crud more!  In fact, I think crud is a good word to describe our city and county governments!  They are the cruddiest!


It’s a brand new day and the sun is high, all the birds are singing that your gonna die! Oh, and Neil Patrick Harris is going to reprise his Dr. Horrible character from the great Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog in a production number during tonight’s Emmy Awards!  In case you don’t know what Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is, during the 2007-2008 writer’s strike, Joss Whedon, along with his brothers Jed and Zack, wrote and produced this musical comedy starring Neil Patrick Harris along with Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion (hopefully they both appear tonight as well) and posted it online for free.  It’s a tale about a supervillian (Dr. Horrible – Harris), his nemisis (Captain Hammer – Fillion), and their mutual love interest (Penny – Day).   It quickly developed a cult following because it is awesome!  As it turns out, what Joss Whedon makes just messing around is better than most stuff on TV!

Of course, that means watching the Emmy Awards, and I can’t stand award shows (though having Harris as the host will probably make this one more bearable than most).  That’s why I am very glad to have a Tivo, so that I can FF through the boring parts and just get to the part that I want to watch!

If you haven’t seen Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, just click the embedded video below for a clip. I promise you that it is great!


Despite predictions of a total Gator beatdown (from myself included), the Vols managed to keep the game with the Gators respectful, losing 23-13.  You know, Tennessee actually looks close to being a good team.  It’s kind of frustrating, because I really think they may be just one competent QB away.  But apparently right now, they just don’t have one.  Let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of today’s contest:


So I wake up this morning, and I decide to check my e-mail. I get a message informing me that an article was posted for the 100 Best Blogs For Real World Advice And Education and that this blog had been included in the list. Wait, really?

100 Best Blogs For Real World Advice And Education


Rallies were held yesterday for the so-called “912 Project”.  The underlying theme behind this movement is that we are to remember how we felt the day after the 9/11 terror attacks and strive to bring the nation toward feeling that way again.  I can understand some appeal to that.  The nation was ready to rally together.  There was a sense a commitment to helping our fellow men and women get through the tragedy anyway that we could.  Political bickering was put aside.  That kind of stuff just wasn’t important.