Saturday, May 03, 2003

Tony Pederson, executive editor and senior vice president of the Houston Chronicle, will leave to become the chair of the journalism department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas on June 1. Pederson replaces Chris Peck as the Belo Distinguished Chair in Journalism at SMU's Meadows School of the Arts. Peck left the post in October to become the editor of the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn. "I am deeply honored to accept this appointment," Pederson said.

Pederson joined the Chronicle in 1974, working as a sportswriter, copy editor and sports editor before becoming managing editor in 1983. He was named senior vice president and executive editor in 2000. Pederson created the Chronicle's national and state desks and expanded its Latin America staff to include two reporters in Mexico City and one in Colombia. He served as president of the Inter American Press Association in 1999-2000, chair of the International Committee of the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 2001-2002 and chair of the International Jury for the Pulitzer Prizes in 2002.

Margaret and I saw X2 yesterday after school with the Sillimans. Great movie! Margaret is so smart. She figured out the ending and predicted the sequel before the credits rolled. She amazed me.

Oliver North has a moving tribute to our military at He says "There has never been a brighter, better trained, better equipped group of men under arms than those who responded to our country's call in this war. " He affirms that the liberation of the Iraqi people was the right thing to do.

Nathaniel Hawthorne would be disappointed to hear about this catastrophe.

New Hampshire awoke today to find its stern granite symbol of independence and stubbornness, the Old Man of the Mountain, had collapsed into indistinguishable rubble. The fall ended nearly a century of efforts to protect the 40-foot-tall landmark from the same natural forces that created it. Only stabilizing cables and epoxy remained Saturday where the famous ledges had clung.

"There's only so much you can do," said Mike Pelchat, a state parks official who hiked up the mountain Saturday to make sure there were no signs of foul play. "With heavy rains and high winds and freezing temperatures, the combination was just right to loosen him up," he said. "We always thought it was the hand of God holding him up, and he let go."

It was unclear when the outcropping actually fell from Cannon Mountain because clouds had obscured the area Thursday and Friday. A state park trails crew reported Saturday morning that the Old Man of the Mountain was gone.

Heard this news on KPFT today and was concerned. Sounds like everything will work out, but recovering from a stroke is always challenging.

Steven Fromholz, a well-respected and popular singer-songwriter, had a mild stroke while visiting his sister, Angela Blair, in Bosque County northwest of Waco Saturday, April 19th. Angela reports that Steven is resting up and in good spirits and has already begun an occupational therapy program that promises to have him back in full swing in the months to come. Steven's medical team at Providence Hospital in Waco indicates that the incident affected an area of the brain that is particularly adept at redirecting neurological messages and they are encouraged by his strong initial response to treatment. Craig Hillis, Steven's long-time friend and associate, came away from a recent visit with a very positive impression. "I was both encouraged and relieved. The word 'stroke' has such dark connotations, but Steven was upbeat, he was completely cognizant, and when I asked him if there was anything I could bring him from Austin, he said, 'Gin!'"

The government is awakening to the blindingly obvious.

The volume of junk e-mail has reached a critical threshold that requires swift action to protect the Internet correspondence millions of people take for granted, regulators said Friday at the end of a three-day forum on "spam."

"Things are worse than we imagined," said Eileen Harrington, the Federal Trade Commission's director of marketing practices. "There is consensus that the problem has reached a tipping point. If there are not immediate improvements implemented across the board by technologists, service providers and perhaps lawmakers, e-mail is at risk of being run into the ground."

Harrington said that was the impression left by the dozens of technology experts, government officials, industry executives and lawyers who flocked to Washington to discuss the problem of unwanted commercial e-mail and what to do about it. In March, 45 percent of all e-mail sent was spam, according to Brightmail, the San Francisco-based anti-spam company. That's up from 16 percent in January 2002.

Friday, May 02, 2003

If you go to The War of the Ring, Dawn_Noell has posted Timothy McSweeney's parody of left-wing intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn giving an audio commentary for The Fellowship of the Ring dvd. If you read it here, please remember it is a parody! It is intended to be humorous!!

Attention News Editors/Environmental Reporters:

Ancient Forests Fight Back: Giant 'Ents' and Greenpeace March On B.C. Legislature in a reenactment of the destruction of Isengard.
Oy. Find the full report here. (And on a side note, let's not turn this blog into a message board, please)

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Show about Queen Elizabeth II that followed Manor House was interesting, nothing new but I kept thinking I really liked the narrator's voice. It seemed familiar and I was trying to figure out who it was. As the credits rolled, I saw it was Art Malik. Remember Jewel in the Crown? Always liked his voice.

Margaret, why is the computer keyboard all drooly? What are you doing?

Finished The House of the Scorpion. Excellent book. Idea of drugs, clones, environmental pollution and the pollution of mind and spirit caused by the drug industry an interesting premise for a YA book. No bad words, no "magic" Just a very entertaining read. Now must start Crispin: the cross of lead by Avi.

Camp Read along has been tons of fun. Kids love spooky stories, even if they are not very spooky. We were reallly turning up our imaginations today. The campfire has been a great hit. Only downside is trying to work in the office with the lights turned off. Staff on verge of revolt. Must bake cookies.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

IT'S OVER!!!!!!!!!!!! THE T.A.K.S. TEST IS FINALLY OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *pant pant pant* Now I can finally go back to the lifestyle of reading fanfiction, drooling over pictures of the god Orlando Bloom, and ranting in this blog, as well as writing letters that the afore mentioned god will never receive.... In other news, I have marked my calender for the last day of school, as well as for, "Pirates of the Carribean" (I'm covering the keyboard with slobber just thinking about it, as it has the god Orlando Bloom as one of the 2 heros of the movie) which comes out on JULY 9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *slobber slobber* *DRRRRROOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLL* Later everybody, I have to go worship my Orlando Bloom shrine.

--" Nice going idiot." -- Everybody in the world at some point of their lives....

Sarah and the THS Band are leaving for New Orleans this weekend. Their itinerary lists lots of fun things and places.

Hilton New Orleans Airport Hotel
Haunted New Orleans Tour
Michaul's Live Cajun Music Restaurant
The Orpheum Theater
Mardi Gras World
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

There won't be much left, but this would be cool.

An underwater survey found what might be remnants of the Confederate ironclad warship Virginia, the former USS Merrimack that fought the Union's ironclad Monitor in the 1862 battle that redefined naval warfare. "It would be a stroke of incredible luck to discover it after all these years," said Dick Hoffeditz, curator of the Virginia War Museum in Newport News.

On May 11, 1862, the Virginia ran aground near Craney Island. After the crew was evacuated, the ship was set afire, detonating the 16,000 pounds of black powder in the ship's magazine. Documents show that salvage companies later removed two boilers and parts of the wooden hull. What was left of the ship was again blown up, and some sections were dragged to the Navy Yard in Portsmouth. Several parts of the Virginia survive in museums, including dented armor and the ship's wheel at the Mariners' Museum, and an anchor and part of a propeller shaft at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond.

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, 2002, is one of the most compelling books I have read in a long time. I think it will rank up there with Ender's Game as a "coming of age" story set in a hypothetical future. Matt knows he is treated differently. He finds out he is the young clone of an evil, all powerful drug lord. Why was he cloned? What does his "family" want of him? Can't stop reading it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Bernard Cornwell has written another Sharpe novel, Sharpe's Havoc (which would make a nice Father's Day gift...). Reuters has a nice profile of the prolific author.

Cornwell sits down to write at 6.30 a.m. every morning and works until noon. He allows himself an hour for lunch and then resumes his work until 5 p.m. At times, he uses a researcher in Britain, but much of his research he does alone, focusing on diaries and memoirs. He visits all the battlefields featured in his books to help him bring the battles to life. "I guess if you're going to write the sort of stuff I write, the most necessary thing is to have a sense of how to tell a story. And the second thing, of course is to get the details right because the detail makes the unbelievable believable," he said.

Much of the creation of Sharpe followed regular reading of books by Cecil Scott Forester, best known for his novels featuring the English naval officer Horatio Hornblower. "I loved Hornblower as a kid. When there were no more Hornblowers to read I went and started reading the history of the period. I discovered the army (history). Wow these are terrific stories why isn't somebody doing a Hornblower on dry land? And I haunted book shops for this series which nobody wrote and I thought why don't you write it?" Cornwell said.

It would be risky to speculate that Sean Astin is a conservative, but there's no doubt that he's a patriot. He is quoted in a recent article on Hollywood by 14-year old Kyle Williams, "America's youngest national columnist."

There is another side to the political spectrum in Hollywood, but definitely not enough to balance it out. Arnold Schwarzenegger has reportedly come out with a pro-war stance. James Woods has done the same and said in an interview last month, "Our business is notorious for being almost lunatic liberal."

"Lord of the Rings" star Sean Astin said in an interview before the Oscars, "Before the conflict started I was praying for peace. Every day on bended knee and now I'm praying for peace and victory, and I wish them all God-speed and a safe journey home. We're proud of you, we love you, we're grateful to you, and you're in our minds and hearts and spirits every second."

Manor House on PBS has been a hoot. The last segment is Wednesday night.

Camille is kinda grooving to What Not to Wear on TLC. It's witty/sarcastic without being too mean.

Margaret and Sarah both have TAKS this week.

Camille has built a campfire in the library for Read-Aloud Roundup. All the kids love it with the lights turned out.

Helm of the Witch King of Angmar (aka, head Nazgul). Nuf' said. Thanks Tolkien Online!

I know this from January, but I just thought to browse through the news section of Tolkien Online. If you don't want spoilers of anykind, stay away! If you don't mind a VERY VERY VERY small heads up, here are some scenes from the book that WILL be shown in "The Return of the King".

War of the Ring has also posted screen shots from Electronic Art's production of "The Return of the King" for all major gaming consoles (PS 2, X-box, Game Cube, Game Boy Advance, and PC). The shots are mostly of Gandalf and there aren't any spoilers so you won't need to worry about that.

War of the Ring has posted some pretty cool screen shots of "The Hobbit" video game by Vivendi Universal Games. The game is due to be released in September 2003 on all major gaming consoles (PS 2, X-box, Game Cube, Game Boy Advance, and PC). For those of you unfamilliar with "The Hobbit", here's the scoop. "The Hobbit" is the prequel to "The Lord of the Rings", and focuses on Bilbo Baggins, Frodo's COUSIN (Not uncle, cousin. They're first AND second cousins once removed on either side. If you don't believe me, it's stated in the first couple of paragraphs of "The Fellowship of the Ring"). I won't spoil the ending, but let's just say between the dwarves, trolls, goblins, wood elves, and Smaug the dragon, the story really keeps you guessing. Even if you don't like reading you'll like it.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Just to let everybody know, I am NOT cutting school to be doing this. I just happen to have finished my flash show in multimedia class. That is ALL. And with luck, will be blocked tomorrow . . . Oh well.

Good news for all you "Star Wars" fans! "Star Wars III: The Rise of the Empire" will have actors Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker returning as Chewbacca the Wookie, C-3PO, and R2-D2! To read more about it, go to the official "Star Wars" web site here.

"The Two Towers" has crossed the $900 million mark, grossing $910 million, becoming the 5th highest grossing film world wide! "The Fellowship of the Ring" now sits in the number 7 slot and the two films together have earned close to $1.8 billion worldwide! Bravo, Peter Jackson! "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is at the number 6 slot, with just over $850 million. The number one slot is held by "Titanic" at $1,835 million followed by "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" at $968 million. View the top 225 highest grossing films here.

Good news! For those of you who are withering in the post-two towers months, pre-ordering of "The Two Towers" dvd begins May 9th! The dvd will be released August 26th. The extended dvd will be released November 18th and will include 43 minutes of extra footage. Order your copy here.

Gondorian Armour (as reported by Ringer Spy Frodo's Girl on has appeared in the Dymock bookstore window in Wellington, replacing the Elvish armour that had stood there. Very fine detail work here!

Sunday, April 27, 2003 ringer (aka, SPY) Fan Peter has done a bit of math based on Howard Shore's latest comments and has extrapolated a length for "The Return of the King". It can be 4 hours or 1.8-2.8. See the full text here.

Welcom to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson. The June 2003 edition of Empire magazine is another multi-cover edition. And one cover is that of Lord Elrond Half-elven, still out to get the "weak" humans.

Margaret's sixth-grade band got "1's" at their judging last week - fun for them and good recognition. Excursion to Splashtown is coming in two weeks.

New Line has announced the special features to be included with The Two Towers DVD - to be released on August 26. Extended edition will follow in November.

2 in-depth programs that reveal the secrets behind the production of this epic adventure, including:

- “On the set – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”
- “Return to Middle-earth”

8 featurettes originally created for

- Forces of Darkness
- Sounds of Middle-earth
- Edoras & Rohan Culture
- Creatures
- Gandalf the White
- Arms & Armor
- Helm’s Deep
- Gollum: Andy Serkis, Bay Raitt

Exclusive 10-minute behind-the-scenes preview of The Lord of the Rings:The Return of the King
Emiliana Torrini “Gollum Song” music video
Short film by Sean Astin “The Long and Short of It” + behind-the-scenes “making of”
Preview of Electronic Arts’ video game, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
An inside look at the Special Extended DVD Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

More good news about The Two Towers.

New Line Cinema's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers has become the fifth highest grossing worldwide film of all time with a cumulative box office to date of $910m. Making the announcement today (Apr 24) Rolf Mittweg, the company's president and chief operating officer of worldwide distribution and marketing, hailed the achievement as a "landmark moment for both our studio and this trilogy." The second instalment in Peter Jacksonís trilogy adaptation of J R R Tolkien's fantasy classic recently overtook its predecessor, The Fellowship Of The Ring, which is seventh in the all-time list on a worldwide gross of $861m.

Well ladies and gentlemen, the screen name hopefully hasn't scared anybody at the blogger registration to death. *glares at Yu-Gi-Oh! protesters* What is it about protesters anyway? Do they just like to complain? Most likely they feel insecure about their childhood because they weren't very assertive. There. Question answered.

Margaret is going to post some things too.

John and Paula are headed to Australia and, as a side-trip, to New Zealand.

New Zealand tourism has a cool web site about Lord of the Rings-related travel. Doesn't look like Rotorua is one, but maybe our friends will find other LOTR areas.

Mother's Day is May 11.

Looking forward to "Eloise" tonight.

The late "Eloise" author Kay Thompson jealously guarded her creation against adaptations she thought might dilute it. But Hilary Knight - the artist who drew Eloise, a 6-year-old possessed of an undisciplined mop of hair, spirit to match and an enviable suite at The Plaza hotel - disagreed with his collaborator. So he was delighted, Knight said, to see his and Thompson's work serve as the basis for a new ABC movie, "Eloise at the Plaza." He pronounces himself equally pleased with the outcome. "It doesn't look like a television movie. It has a real style to it," Knight said of the bouncy production that turns Manhattan into an isle of joy for adventurous Eloise.

Visit with John & Paula was fun, and the key lime pie delicious. Sarah made chocolate brownies that won praise. No desserts for me on Sunday - sadness.

Patrick Stewart describes a memorable experience with obsessive Star Trek fans.

It happened only once, but Patrick Stewart's worst encounter with a "Star Trek" groupie - think William Shatner's "Get a life!" speech on "Saturday Night Live" - was a doozy. "I went on stage at the Broadhurst Theater as Prospero in 'The Tempest,' only to find two people sitting in the front row in Starfleet uniforms, and I wanted to hurt them."