Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shameless Plea

So my dear friend put up a post about talk show hosts and their fame, and how they are famous for being tv hosts and how he wanted to have their job. (Run-on sentence complete)

He mentioned Pat Sajak.

Pat Sajak then commented on his blog. Or at least someone from Maryland who wanted him to believe that Pat Sajak commented on his blog.

This got me to thinking. Could I attract the famous people who are my "heroes" simply by writing about them? I don't know, but I know I must try. Famous ones reading this, I thank you in advance for your time.

Jessica Biel:

Ms. Biel, I have loved you for years. My friends mock me for my love, but I simply think you are great. I have seen your movies, even Summer Catch. When you auctioned a date with yourself, I seriously considered trying to raise the was for a good cause. However, I was only able to raise $10.73, and the winning bid was $30,000. I was close, oh, so close.

Bruce Willis:

I know that you are a busy man, so I won't waste your time with a list of things that make you more manly than any man on the planet, but it is long. It is my firm belief that any movie could be improved simply by having you in it. You are the man.

Salman Rushdie:

You are one of my favorite authors. Your book Midnight's Children is one I try to make all of my friends read. I would love to someday meet you and just listen to you tell stories. The way you weave history, fable, fantasy and fact make your creations stay alive in a reader's brain long after s/he has put down your book.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

As the first female Justice of the United States Supreme Court, I knew you had to be pretty cool. Then I saw you on The Daily Show. And you confirmed your coolness. Your intelligence and humor, as well as your drive to leave this country and world a better place than you found it was evident. I applaud your campaign to educate people about the government and judicial system which rules our country. I thank you for your service. I think you are a credit to Americans everywhere.

Norah Jones:

Ever since I first heard your album Come Away With Me I have scoured music stores for any and all music you have put out. I swear, you could read the phone book, and I would buy the album. Your smooth, wistful voice, which at times, like in the Little Willies album, can have a powerful edge to it, seems to invite the listener to sit down and relax, to partake in the joyous event that is your music. You are not just a singer or a performer, you are a musician. It seems to me that the music is a part of you.

Mike Rowe:

You know why you get the shout out. It isn't just Dirty Jobs. It isn't just Deadliest Catch. It is the fact that you are awesome. And cool. And that we all think that we know you just because we watch your shows. Way to be. Way to be.

And finally....

Frank White:

You have always been my favorite Royal. Growing up I always wanted to see you play when I came to the ball park. I am sadly too young to remember the 1985 World Series, but have seen highlights. Whenever people want to talk about that team, you are the first player that comes to my mind. I would love to someday shake your hand.

So that is all I have, my famous friends. Leave comments as you feel. C'mon, you know you want to. If Pat Sajak will do it, I know you will too.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gary Sinise, Words of Wisdom

This is an editorial written by Gary Sinise for CNN. I thought it held some great thoughts about our soldiers and our duty to them. I encourage you to read it.

(CNN) --
A while back, a friend of mine suggested that I take a look at a film that a buddy of his had made about his two brothers serving in Iraq.

Having spent some time there myself, I was eager to see it. Once I did, I wanted to do all I could to help the filmmakers find a distributor and get this wonderful film into the theaters.
I was honored to be asked to come on board as executive producer of the film, "Brothers at War," an honest and inside look at our military service members. It's told through the point of view of one brother who is in search of answers as to why his two younger brothers are serving in Iraq and what they and their families are doing during these long deployments.
I got involved with the film "Brothers at War" because I believe it shows a side of our military that is rarely seen. The call to duty that many of our military members share is depicted in the film through Isaac and Joe Rademacher.

They are the two brothers who Jake Rademacher, the filmmaker, travels to Iraq to see in order to experience for himself why they serve and what they are doing while deployed away from their families in this dangerous environment.

It makes me proud to know we have such men and women willing to give so much in defense of our nation.

I felt compelled to support this film because, on the many tours I have been on in support of our troops, I have met so many service members like the two Rademacher brothers in the film.
Isaac and Joe are military men. They are both called to serve their country and have endured great hardship. Yet they continue to serve and to serve honorably. And through them, Jake is introduced to other members of the service -- soldiers serving on the Syrian border and Marines training an Iraqi platoon.

Jake takes his camera into the middle of a firefight where the Iraqi troops are ambushed and fight back. This footage is unlike anything we have ever seen -- an Iraqi unit fighting back and standing up to a terrorist attack and the pride that their Marine mentors have in them. It is quite moving, and Jake Rademacher captures it all.

Several members of my family have served our country. My father, Robert, served in the Navy in the early 1950s. My Uncle Jack was a navigator on a B17 Flying Fortress during WWII. My Uncle Jerry served in the Pacific during WWII and my grandfather Daniel Sinise was in the Army in WWI.

My wife's two brothers served in Vietnam and my wife's sister served for 10 years in the Army. Her husband, Jack, served as a medic in Vietnam. While serving there he wore his dog tags on a rosary with a St. Christopher medal. I wore that same rosary and dog tags as my character, "Lt. Dan," in the movie "Forrest Gump."

I remember all too well what it was like for our returning military members during the Vietnam conflict. They were caught in the middle of a very divided nation and not only did they have to endure the scars of battle, but upon their return they also were spit on and shamed and ridiculed for their service.

Some decided to take off their uniforms in the airport bathrooms when they arrived home so as not to be identified with serving in Vietnam. We can never let that happen again to these men and women who serve this country. They should be able to wear their uniforms proudly. They fight and sacrifice in ways that very few of us can imagine.

Many years ago I got involved with Vietnam veteran support groups in the Chicago, Illinois, area. After September 11, 2001, once we started deploying our troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, I began a mission to let them know that they are supported and that there are people out there who are grateful for their service.

For over 35 years, we have had an all-volunteer military. This is a good thing. We want people to serve this country who want to be there and who do it of their own free will -- not because they are drafted and forced into it.

We are lucky we have such people. What would we do if no one wanted to serve to defend the freedoms we all enjoy? And so, I feel the need to do what I can to thank them for that service in order to help keep them strong in tough times. You would be amazed at what a simple thank you will do.

I have been to Iraq four times now, Afghanistan once, and many many other places as well, all to show support of our troops. My goal is always to cover as many miles as possible and to take pictures, sign autographs and shake hands with as many troops as I can in the time I have. Trips have included bases in Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain and in Iraq -- Al Asad, Al Qaim, Ramadi , Habbaniyah, TQ airbase, Mosul, Balad, Tikrit and Baghdad.

Over the last six years, I have traveled around the world and all over the United States with the USO to visit and perform with my band, The Lt. Dan band, for our troops. I have supported many grassroots troop support efforts as well, and visited our wounded in the hospitals several times. I could not be more honored to play a small part in helping our troops and their families. We can never do enough for our veterans who have sacrificed so much to keep this nation free.

But we can always try to do more.

It is my goal to continue to visit our troops, wherever they may serve. It is the least I can do for the men and women who continue to do so much for our country.

God bless America.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Damn Fridays

For a long time Fridays have been terrible days for me. It is horrible to say that, I know, but it is true. Fridays inevitably hold the most difficult tasks at work, the strangest bad luck falls my way, personal issues seem to come into play, and I am always just wanting the day to be over.

Usually I combat this day with two very awesome events. Friday lunch and Lotto Friday. Friday lunch is fairly easy to figure out....I go to lunch with every Friday. Usually with Ranger. Lotto Friday is held every Friday when either Ranger or myself, on alternate weeks, purchase anywhere from one to three scratch off lotto tickets. We then split any winnings. The largest we have won so far was $50. That was $25 a piece, and was spent wisely on movies (me) and a nerf gun (Ranger).

That is what I usually do. But today, Ranger was gone. Took the day off. I was alone. Here are some highlights of the day:

Boss sick.....move-in on me
Grandmother in hospital
Drunk resident kicks in his own door....then lies...we fought...only verbal
Sink broken,....two hours to fix because of age
Hurt hand....never punch a tree

Overall, not good. The drunk resident was a doosy. Had it not been for a fellow co-worker, I really might have punched him. But I was saved from my own temper by a very good man, who called later to make sure I was calmed and was not going to let this ruin my weekend.

I should have gone to lunch today, but was too busy with ridiculousness. And no Lotto Friday because Ranger was gone. I could have been $10,000 richer, and money solves all problems....right?

Anyway, Whine Fest Friday is over. Weekend, I love ya, lets have a ball.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

St. Patty's Day Quiz Results

The answers were:

1. New York City on March 17, 1762.
2. Church
3. Chicago, although Savannah claims to have been the first, in 1961
4. 1759
5. James Joyce, Thomas Moore, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde...there are more
6. No Irish need Apply
7. Ireland Forever
8. Blarney, County Cork
9. Green, White, Orange
10. Used by monks to hide gold from plundering Vikings

Bonus: There are 4 places in the United States named Shamrock. Mount Gay-Shamrock, W.Va., and Shamrock, TX, Shamrock Lakes, Ind., and Shamrock, OK.

The winner is.....Kristen! She answered 2.5 questions correctly, but recieved an extra point for flattery on the Irish Authors question. Grand total: 3.5

Second place goes to Karlie, who correctly answered 2 questions, but had actually kissed the Blarney stone, giving her a full bonus point. Grand total: 3

And last, but certainly not least: Miss Tiffany. She actually only answered one question correctly, but the combination of a sweet story for the monk tower, having actually seen Chicago's green waters, and complimenting the post gave her an extra point and a half. Grand total: 2.5

Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Top o' the mornin to ya!

This day, this fine Spring day is one of my favorites. Not because of the excuse to drink Guinness....who needs an excuse? Not because you get to pinch people not wearing green....but I will pinch you. No, St. Patrick's Day is a favorite of mine because it is a day when everyone you meet is could life get better than that?

And now, some St. Patty's history:

Saint Patrick was not Irish by birth. He was in fact from Britain. As a teenager (16 I believe) he was kidnapped by Irish slave traders who took him back to Ireland. There we was enslaved for 6 years before he escaped and made his way back to Britain. In his writings he wrote about God speaking to him and telling him it was time to leave Ireland. He traveled 200 miles to the Irish coast and hopped a ship back home.

No sooner had he returned to his homeland than God began to call him back to Ireland, but this time to spread God's love. He spent at least fifteen years becoming a priest, and then back to Ireland he went. There he began to introduce a mostly pagan people to Christianity. He was a very smart and capable teacher, and he used the belief system already in place in Ireland to explain the wonder of God. He used bonfires at Easter, because they were already a large part of the Spring Equinox celebration. He is credited with the "invention" of the Celtic Cross, imposing the sun, a pagan symbol, onto the cross.

The man's life was fantastic. He left a legacy of love and God's power that still holds much of Ireland today. Even the stories that are most likely not absolutely true show the power of God he portrayed. There is a legend that he, using God's power, ordered all of the snakes in Ireland to cast themselves into the sea. And, there are no snakes in Ireland to this day. While he gets the credit for coming up with running the snakes out, it is God who receives the glory for having the power to do so. There is also a legend that St. Patrick used the Shamrock to describe the trinity (3 leaves connected as one). Historians can show no evidence of this, but it highlights his ability to use the land and customs that the Irish people were used to to explain the wonder of God to them.

So this St. Patrick's day, while you are toasting the Luck of the Irish, reflect a bit on the actual man, and what we can truly learn from him. He was a man who was abused, but rather than hold a grudge against the people who entrapped him, he used the experience to better serve God. He was a man who listened to God's voice. Hearing God say to leave Ireland could not have been that difficult to stomach, but then being called back? And away he went. But it took fifteen years to reach that goal. I am struggling with the thought that I may have to go to school for three years to go where God wants me. From St. Patrick we can learn that in serving the Lord we are on His time, not ours, and it may be better to be prepared to serve fully than to just rush into a situation "In the name of the Lord".

So go, drink you Guinness- I know I will-, but remember today who we are actually celebrating, and send up a toast to him, and a thanks to God.

And now, a St. Patty's day quiz. No Cheating by looking up answers or looking at others' responses!:

1. Where and what year was the first St. Patrick's Day Parade held?

2. Up until the 1970s, where could you find most Irish on St. Patrick's Day?

3. Which American city is famous for dying its river green every year on St. Patrick's Day?

4. What year was Guinness first brewed?

5. Name three famous Irish authors

6. Today, we love the Irish, but what famous sign might an Irishman looking for work have found hanging in windows on the east coast in the mid 1800s?

7. What does the phrase "Erin Go Bragh" mean?

8. Where is the Blarney Stone found?

9. Name the three colors on the Irish Flag

10. What was the tower in the picture below used for?

Bonus: Name the four states in the United States with towns that have Shamrock in their name.

Alrighty my friends, enjoy the day!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

LSAT Practice Test 1

I am now officially practicing for the LSAT. I have been studying for a short while, now I am practicing. The difference? I took a test. It was long. My brain hurts. Concentrating for that long a period of time makes me want to smack my head into a wall.


75 out of 100 questions answered correctly. 25 misses. Raw score: 160

Median score is 152.

I am in the approximate 82 percentile rating.

If I can answer ten more correctly, I will be in the 93rd percentile.

10 more people. Let's do this.

This time around I did not time myself "officially". Unofficially I only went over on one section.

The next practice test will be timed. Anybody want to come watch a movie on my 40'' flat screen blu-ray set up and administer a timed test? Offers on the table.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009


My brother was hurt that he had no featured pictures in the photo post, so here are some of him. Enjoy Sam.
Sam went through a phase where he had to have the world's longest belt.
Family defender

Happy baby
Happy grade schooler

Happy inventor

Purple Pride from early on
He loves me
So that is Sam.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fake Patty's Day

I love being an Irish-American. I feel closer to my Irish heritage than any of the other "origins" in my bloodlines. Ireland is a land of rich culture, fantastic people, compelling stories, and mystical mythology. It has born some of the world's greatest authors, artists, engineers, pastors, innovators and inventors. The Irish have mixed music and passion to create some of the world's most beautiful music.

I am also proud of my alma mater, Kansas State University. I believe that Kansas State students are some of the hardest working and most brilliant minds available. I believe that the faculty and administration at Kansas State University works hard to maintain a valued, safe, and inspiring community for its students to grow. It is with pride that I announce I am a Kansas State University Graduate.

Lastly, I love Manhattan, KS. It is a beautiful place to live. It provides the excitement of a college town, and the feel of a small town community. It is at the edge of the Flint Hills and home to the Konza Prairie, a special piece of God's beauty. It is a town I could live in for the rest of my life...if such a thing is possible for me.


When my town Manhattan mixes my Irish heritage and my Kansas State University students, mixes it up with cheap, skeezy beer and a day or drunken revelry and has the gall to call it Fake Patty's Day.....grrrr.

Fake Patty's Day, when the town smells of beer and vomit by sundown. Where idiots who have been drinking from 8am on decide around 3pm the best way to spend their time is to play chicken with oncoming traffic. When thousands of supposedly academic collegiates leave their homes to trash their bodies and the streets of this fair city.

Tomorrow morning there will be so many headaches in this town that stock in Tylenol will be worth 2 points more on Monday. Aggieville will look like the trash removal services in town got lazy and dumped their trucks in the streets. People will be waking up in houses they have never seen before, and many will be waking up in a cell, trying to remember which antic got them there.

I am all for drinking. I am all for celebrating Saint Patrick's day with a fine Irish beverage.

But creating a day that excuses people from acting with any sort of self control or decency in order to make a buck (because as we all know, on Saint Patrick's Day our student body will mostly be out in the world breaking in Spring), that is not working for me.

Using this day as an excuse to drink oneself into a stupor and yell obsenities to all passers-by....also not cool.

Fake Patty's Day, how I loathe thee.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Photo Fun

The Zorn Barber Shop in Texas

I am working on a project for my family. I am scanning in all of the pictures that I could find from my grandmother's vast photo collection, so that we will have them preserved. Here are a few that I have scanned that I find humorous or cool. Enjoy.

My dad knows how to party.

So does his friend Richard.
Grandpa Payne had a wicked cool beard
On the left, my grandma and grandpa
Whose idea was this picture?
And the scariest ancestor award goes to....
The 'rents in high school

Dad and parents' first dog

A Royals fam from the start.

And to finish, a very suprised baby John.
Well, hope you enjoyed. Now go look through your families old pictures. I can almost guarantee you will find some treasures.