Trust the Gene Genie

Saturday, July 29, 2006


We are -- or I should say, Becky is -- in the final trimester of the pregnancy. You may remember, it's a girl. And three months out from the day of delivery, we still haven't picked a name. And it's not that we just haven't picked a name, it's that we're having a hard time finding one that we both like and we both feel fits our family. It's like it gets harder every time you have a kid.

I've got a couple favorites that Becky hates and Becky has a couple favorites that I hate. I really dig the name Harper, unfortunately the name reminds Becky of Nell Harper, you know, the mom on "Gimme a Break" played by Nell Carter. I also like Harely Jane. However, I really doubt I could convince any woman to name their daughter Harely Jane.

On the other side, Becky really likes Grace and Esther. Ironically enough, U2 has ruined Grace for me, so I can't name a child that. Not to mention children named for virtues has always been a minor pet peeve of mine. You know the type: Charity, Chastity, Individual Worth, Personal Growth, etc., etc. And Esther just sounds ugly to me.

So I'm opening the playing field. You think you've got a good name for a girl, post it below in the comments. What's your reward, you ask? Besides the boasting rights that you got to name a child that wasn't yours, if we pick your name, I'll mail you a case of Whatchamacallit candy bars.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Loblaw

Some random musings today -- mostly of the entertainment variety.

On the music front, buckle in. Apparently some fans were hanging out around the beach houses that U2 keeps in the south of France and overheard the band working on new material. You better believe they recorded it. has five surprisingly good clips on the stuff.

More web nuggets? Chew on this, (yes, I'm excited) all 53 episodes of "Arrested Development" will be streamed on MSN's Web site sometime in the near future. Really, if you've never bothered to check out the show, do yourself a favor, watch it. If you don't laugh you clearly have no sense of humor.

More on the TV front (and like anyone really cares about any of this) Becky and I have been watching the "Homicide: Life on the Street" DVDs. I never saw the show when it was on, but you know it's kind of held up as the gold standard of TV police dramas so I thought I'd check it out. Anyway, I was really kind of surprised at how good it really is. I mean, Becky even likes it. We've started with season one and we're six episodes into it. Don't worry, I'll keep you updated on what I think.

And as long as we're talking TV, watch "Veronica Mars." While you still can. Oh, it's not being cancelled or anything. It's moving to the CW, a new network that WON'T BE BROADCAST IN MY AREA. Unless I cough up 50 bucks a month for cable. I'm angry.

And finally, Becky and I saw "Superman Returns" on Monday and we both really liked it. I don't that it was good enough to make up for how badly Brett Ratner screwed up "X-Men 3" but it was entertaining enough. The action set pieces were solid, intense and looked really slick. I liked addressing the question of does the world need Superman. I think that was a smart way to jump start the franchise. Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel was great and Kevin Spacey as Lex Luther was brilliant. Kate Bosworth on the other hand was good, but she seems really really young to be Lois Lane. The theme of Superman as savior was laid on maybe a little thick for my liking but other than that, I think the film was really good.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Thursday, July 20, 2006

We are fighting terror, right?

I've tried to avoid it, but I'm afraid there's no longer any way around it. I have to post some politics.

It's occured to me that the Bush Administration never was fighting a war on terror. If you look at what's happened since Sept. 11, I think it's fairly obvious. Rather than go after terrorists and terror regimes, the Bush White House's no.1 priority became expanding presidential powers.

Stay with me, because I promise this will make sense. Think back to those days immediately following the terror attacks in New York and Washington. We were a nation united like it hasn't been since World War II. I mean, Democrats and Republicans alike. All of sudden, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda became national punching bags. I mean, bin Laden's face was put on toilet paper and sold at novelty stores. But in all seriousness, he's the man responsible for the deaths of 3,000 innocent American civilans. Civilans. People like you and me. And it seemed like everyone was united in bring this man and these poeple to justice and stopping terror once and for all.

So you'd think the thing to do, at the very least, is capture bin Laden and bring him to justice. But instead our president resolves to go to Iraq, pulls troops off the search for bin Laden and other terrorists in Afghanistan and devotes resources to a war that has no real, tenable connection to fighting terrorism. Earlier this year the CIA even dissolved it's bin Laden task force. We are officially no longer looking for bin Laden. And I'm not suggesting that capturing him ends terrorism -- I don't think anyone believes that. But he should at least be held responsible for the attacks on our country. We as Americans, and certainly those families, deserve it.

But somehow, Iraq became the national priority and we trumpet the capture of Saddam Hussien, a man who had nothing to do with 9/11 and nothing to do with terrorism. We give up the fight against terrorism and instead invaded Iraq, spending billions of dollars that could and, really, should be used to secure our ports, our railways, our border crossings and our national landmarks here at home. Those aren't the actions of an administration serious about fighting terror.

Probably the most glaring example of that is the fact that were in Iraq. Because you have to think about terror on a more basic level -- like why were we attacked in the first place and what needs to happen to improve our image with Muslims around the world. Going to Iraq has, in effect, played right into bin Laden's hands. Everything he ever preached about America to his followers is now essentially true. Look at the serious mistakes some of our soldiers have made (like Abu Ghraib), look at the unrest and flat-out security issues for the common people in Iraq. And all of sudden you have Muslims thinking maybe the crazy guys like bin Laden are right. Because before 9/11 bin Laden and al Qaeda were still extremists in the Middle East who enjoyed very little popular support. The Bush Administration's handling of the "War of Terror" since 9/11 has effectively reversed that. More and more Muslims sympathize with men like bin Laden, men who are preaching that America is dangerous and America wants to destroy Islam. And as a result, rather than "taking the fight to the terrorist" we're simply creating more terrorists every day. And Iraq has become the place where al Qaeda can very, very effectively train them. (Most of these conclusions were released a couple weeks ago in Foriegn Policy Magazine -- about as serious and reputable a publication on international afairs as there is). The point is, if the Bush Administration were set on fighting terror, they've done it in about as wrongheaded a way as you can do it.

But what makes me mad is how this administration has dragged America's image through the mud. Think of what we did in WWII and how afterwards we truly were the world's shining beacon of freedom. I don't think anyone outside the Republican party thinks of the country that anymore. Inside or outside the United States. Our human rights abuses in Iraq and at Guantanamo on an international stage, the disolve of personal privacy and other civil liberties here at home, we're not the great country we used to be. Because the current admisnitration is more interested in expanding its powers than keeping its people safe and being an example of freedom and tolerance to the rest of the world. What was it Bruce Wayne told Ducard? It's important we hold onto our compassion because that's what makes us different from our enemies? Something like that.

Anyway, I could go on. And on and on, probably. So I'll stop now. And it'll be back to fun, frivolity and lists next week at the Rob Report. I swear.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Yes, he wants you to jump in his car

Yes, it's been over a week. And so I can only make up for my abscence by offering goodies. In fact, we'll call today, Goody Monday.

First, for those of you, who, like me, just can't get enough Spoon, try this link. It's the band's label and they let you listen to all sorts of Spoon tracks for free. And you even get to see the strange, yet somehow pleasing, video for "Sister Jack."

Another goody to pass along: I've been trying to convince Becky for a couple weeks now that a Transformers movie is a good idea. She's having none of it. But somehow Blogger is onto me. They sent me here one day and now I know where to go when I'm wondering how production for the movie is going. I learned Bumblebee will be the new Chevy Camaro and Optimus Prime as a semi will look different too. Producers wanted to give him more mass.

For those of you curious about what an amateur Shawn Colvin may have sounded like and/or what Kristy Tew is doing these days, you can go here. It's actually pretty good stuff. Certainly better than social guitar. And absolutely better than Colors. Why won't they go away?

See it's not all about U2 here. Click on the video and get taken to a wonderful, psuedo-Europop dreamland where David Hasselhoff is your guide and you can ride in his car. Yes, KITT. If you don't live too far away. 'Cause if you do, you'll have to get out and walk. Really, it's the Hoff's own descent into his heart of darkness. We're powerless to stop him. It's astonishing.

Want more? Of course you do. He's on iTunes Australia. And if you really can't get enough of a depressing aging C-list celebrating trying to milk every last ounce of fame from sub-par accomplishments acheived 15 or 20 yers ago, just let me know. There's plenty more where that came from.

Oh, here's a plug for Apple.

Friday, July 07, 2006

No soy pedoro

We'll start out today with an addendum to my family reunion write-up. We've learned through Claire that Laney -- her 6-year-old cousin -- can burp the alphabet but cannot fart the alphabet. I just thought you all should know.

Second note, Becky and I have finished watching the entire series of "Firefly." A little late to the game, maybe, but I'll tell you what -- the show is pretty dang good. Yeah, it suffers a bit from cheap production values and some of the characters never really got off the ground, but overall the show is surprisingly entertaining. The dialague -- as you'd expect from a Joss Whedon creation -- is witty, smart and believable. The idea of meshing western and sci-fi genres works really, really well, mostly because anytime you do sci-fi with less sci-fi, you're on pretty solid narrative ground. And for "Law and Order" fans, Richard "Paul Robinette" Brooks shows up in the last, and one of the best, episode. There are only 11 episodes in all, so it's not a huge time commitment. If you do Netflix, throw a few discs in your queue. You got nothing to loose.

And lastly, it's Friday. So here's an iPod update -- it's kind of the strange covers version (it's been a while). Some of the earlier entries are here, here, here, here and here.

Gigabytes used: 11 GB

Number of Songs: 2,759

Number of Podcasts: 3

Most random recording: "The Lonely Goatherd." A few year's ago, Harry Connick Jr. put out an album called "Songs I Heard" which was basically a disc of Harry and his band covering children's songs from famous musicals. Some of it's funny, some of it's bad and some of it's just strange. Like his cover of "Goatherd" from "The Sound of Music." The original, if I remember right, is a polka. Harry takes the song and makes it all New Orleans swanky. It's ... interesting. Other strange tracks include "Oompa Loompa," "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" and "A Spoonful of Sugar."

Most eclectic recording: "Comfortably Numb." The Scissor Sisters made kind of splash when they released this cover of the mighty Pink Floyd standard a couple years ago. It's this kind of disco-fied, euro-club take on the song that almost feels like it was beamed from a different planet. It's a bizarre little track and has maybe only gotten weirder since its initial release.

Favorite recording currently (as always, this is subject to sudden change): Spoon's "Sister Jack." It seems like I've been on this six month Spoon binge. But the more I listen to these guys, the more I dig 'em. "Sister Jack" is probably the most accessible track off of the band's latest, "Gimme Fiction" but I've just recently really gotten into it. So much so that I almost can't get enough.

Most embarrassing recording: Abba's "Dancing Queen." Really, no man should have "Dancing Queen" on his iPod. And yet here it is. But I do have a disclaimer. One, I have a hard time listending to the song and 2, it's part of the playlist I keep for my 3- and 5-year-old daughters.

Number of U2 songs: 437

Number of Book of Mormon chapters: 248 -- that's right, I downloaded the Book of Mormon to my iPod. It's actually really cool to think I've got the whole thing right there. And I can listen to it on shuffle.

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