Thursday, December 29, 2005

Belated Merry Christmas

I hope everyone found a tasty meal, or received a thoughtful present, or just spent a bit of time relaxing over the Christmas weekend. Can't beat the simplest pleasures in Life.

And I pray that you all took a step closer to God. Being blessed with His peace in your heart is a gift beyond measure.
Here is the Way to this peace.

The Rose Bowl

I was invited by to make a Rose Bowl prediction. I went with: Texas 41, USC 34. My explanation here.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Never Been To Spain Re-Mix

A few weeks back I posted a re-mix of The Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice."

I thought everyone might enjoy another re-mix that
John Summers and I put together this year. It combines a live performance by Elvis with a relatively recent recording from Three Dog Night. It's been so popular with our radio station's audience that it's been put into normal rotation on our play list.

Enjoy: "
Never Been To Spain."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Ridiculous Toy

Just humor me for a moment and follow along:

Three kids are looking for something fun to do one afternoon. The first suggests they play hide-and-seek. The second thinks a game of tag would be fun.

The third says, "Let's play
Patriot Act!"

Old Christmas Card

This from a story seen on a local newscast here in Dallas. Timely and interesting. The Bridwell Library at SMU holds one of the first (maybe the first) mass-produced Christmas cards.

The card caused a bit of a stir at the time, because it portrayed a child drinking from a wine glass. The Bridwell
press release...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Harry Potter Theory

Okay, fair warning. Spoilers follow. If you've never read Half-Blood Prince, but you intend to... then stop here.

Otherwise, here we go.

Many of you have come across the site, If you're clinging to the hope that J.K. Rowling hasn't really killed off one of her most endearing non-Harry characters, then you'll find hope at

Some background: Long before the release of Half-Blood Prince I had come across a post on J.K Rowling's official web site that led me to believe Dumbledore was destined to die (or appear to die) and later return. In an answer to an "
F.A.Q. Poll" Rowling writes:

" many of you have deduced, Dumbledore's Patronus is indeed a phoenix."

At that point, I decided Dumbledore's character, his very identity, was so entangled with the phoenix symbol that Rowling must intend to kill him off and then bring him back. (Also consider the title, Order of the Phoenix: Just as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince can be read as Harry Potter and Snape, I think you can read the former as the Order of Dumbledore. It's his order, he's the "Phoenix.")

So from the moment in Book 6 when Dumbledore began throwing down helpings of potion, I began preparing for an Albus death scene. Sure enough, in reasonably short order (no pun intended) Rowling took care of that sad business.

So... to my theory. includes a section titled, "The Flying Avada Kedavra." Dave Haber, the author of that site, notes that, in other instances in which Avada Kedavra is used in the HP canon, the victim immediately slumps or falls to the ground--and is dead before hitting the turf. In Dumbledore's case, however, Snape's spell blasts him into the air and back over the castle's battlements. Haber finds this suspicious, and so do I. As Haber points out, either Snape did not "mean" his unforgiveable curse (check Bellatrix's explanation of unforgiveable curses at the end of Order of the Phoenix), or he was thinking a different spell than he seemed to be verbally casting.

The purpose of my post today is to add to Haber's theory. I've found a precedent for Snape saying one spell while casting another. In fact, this precedent is so perfect, I actually think I'm on to something.

In Chamber of Secrets, Snape and Lockhart put on a duel for the students. When Snape casts the Expelliarmus spell at Lockhart--a spell that should only cause the victim's wand to fly out of his hand--Lockhart is shot up and backwards. Sound familiar?

From the context of this scene, we know that Snape appears to be furious with Lockhart. Seeing the look on Snape's face before the mock duel, Harry thinks that, if he were in Lockhart's shoes, he'd run. I think Harry's Spidey senses were on target. Snape was pissed. And so I'm guessing that Snape ostensibly used Expelliarmus, but nonverbally cast something with a bit more power to rough up Lockhart.

And thus, I think, we have an important precedent for Dave Haber's theory that Snape was thinking something other than Avada Kedavra when he sent Dumbledore flying off the castle.

On the other hand, maybe Rowling simply thought Dumbledore's death deserved more drama than did the average bear's. And who could blame her?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Republican Stereotype

When I think of the worst of Republican stereotypes, this is the sort of story that comes to mind--brought to us by Idaho's Republican Senator Larry Craig. A stooge of Big Business who treats Nature like something to be scraped off of the bottom of his shoe.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Christmas Tune-age

Top 5 Christmas song recommendations, as this season's CD burning gets underway:

1. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (Pine Cones & Holly Berries), The Osmonds.
2. It Must Have Been The Mistletoe, Barbara Mandrell.
3. Christmas in Hollis, RUN-DMC.
4. The Man With All The Toys, The Beach Boys.
5. All I Want For Christmas Is You, Vince Vance And The Valiants (featuring Lisa Layne).

Honorable Mentions:
-- Happy XMas (War Is Over), John Lennon.
-- Christmas Time Is Here (Vocal), Vince Guaraldi Trio (A Charlie Brown Christmas).

Album Pick:
-- Sing We Christmas, Chanticleer.