Sunday, November 30, 2008

To Boldly Go...

I've been revisiting Star Trek on DVD. It's been awhile...I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

Just a few observations from a new, old fan.

*The show was much funnier than I remembered. Even the heaviest episodes had a chuckle or three.

*James T. Kirk's 5-year mission was obviously to boldly go after every single female in the galaxy.

*Speaking of Kirk...there's an ongoing geek debate over who was the better Enterprise captain, Kirk or Picard. Even a casual observer knows the answer is obviously Kirk. For all the time Jean Luc spent pondering and debating ethics, Jim Kirk would be beaming down, phasers set to "awesome" and kicking butt & taking names. Kirk would've not only resisted the Borg, he probably would have scored with the Queen for good measure.

*Tribbles are awesome and Trek built an entire episode around the, well, "hormonal frustration" of Spock. Who says science fiction isn't groundbreaking?

Live long and prosper...'cause I'm a blogger, not a docter!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Say Thanks

A brief thought for troubled times.

Things are tough right now and by all indications, things are going to get tougher.

The economy's in the toilet, there are wars & rumors of war and the bad news just keeps on coming.

It makes it really difficult to see a silver lining in the funnel cloud of despair.

But, before climbing into bed & hiding under the covers with a bottle of vodka, take just a minute and think about are not alone.

If you have even one friend who cares about you, one family member you can talk to, one spouse or significant other who loves you no matter what the circumstances are, you are not alone.

Think about that one person (or group of people) who laugh with you & cry with you & miss you when you're not around. If you know without a doubt that no matter what happens, they'll still love you, then you are not alone.

So when things are looking grim & you're at the end of your rope turn off the TV, shut off the computer and call someone who's always been there for you and say "Thanks."

Because of are not alone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Election Fraud

It saddens me to have to report that in this season of change and upheaval that there has been a confirmed case of election fraud. I thought that an election was finally going to happen with a clear-cut winner...with no bitter feelings about the outcome...and with no accusations of voter intimidation or tampering. Sadly, once again, that is not the case.

I regret to inform you that, despite my overwhelming lead in the exit polls, People Magazine has failed once again to name me "Sexiest Man Alive."

I am just as shocked as all of you. I truly believed the voters wanted a change. That they would rally behind a pasty, slightly overweight state employee and part-time improviser from North Carolina rather than some Hollywood superhunk. But in a shocking turn of events, the voters went selected yet another international sex symbol, Hugh Jackman.

I'm at a loss to explain the errors in the polls...everyone I asked assured me they would vote for me. Granted, my sampling data was really small...pretty much me & Sainted Wife (although, come to think of it, I did hear her refer to Jackman as "hunky" right before going to the polls...hmm.)

I mean, come on...what does Hugh Jackman have that I don't? Sure, he's a multi-talented actor and singer with millions of dollars and a thriving career and been in many hit movies and appeared on Broadway and was Wolverine...but he was also in "Van Helsing" and that movie sucked with or without vampires in it. Look at his record people..."Van Helsing"!!!!

Fear not...I will have my team of legal experts in People's offices poring over the results just as soon as someone from James Scott Farrin calls me back (I hope they send Robert Vaughan...he's cool!) Until then, I urge calm and patience with the process. In your outrage, please don't resort to violence. Justice will be served.

Thank you for your continued support...I am also accepting donations for my legal fight (cash only...don't want to get the IRS involved.) Stay strong America...I will be sexy for all of you!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dying Is Easy

I speak today on one of the most difficult tasks that anyone can ever undertake onstage...being funny.

Legendary actor Edwin Booth is credited with the famous quote, "Dying is easy...comedy is hard.". Booth was right on many levels. Comedy is an incredibly difficult task to pull off.

Humor is such a subjective thing. What makes me laugh probably doesn't make you crack a smile. Add in the fact that in order to be convincingly funny, you have to make it look effortless and the skill it takes to do that increases the level of difficulty a thousandfold.

Nothing is more painful than watching someone try to be funny and failing miserably. Professional comedians don't say they had a bad night...they say they "died.". That's how hard it is.

The Academy Awards rarely, if ever, recognize comedic performances. I think because when they're done well, it barely seems like it took any effort at all. But I can name several very good dramatic actors who can't or couldn't pull off credible comedic performances: Jennifer Connelly, joaquin Phoenix, Angelina Jolie and Harrison Ford to name just a few. It's that difficult.

So, if you're a performer who has the skill to make audiences laugh, whether by performing Shakespeare or Simon or just making it up as you go, I salute you. The world is in dire need of laughter & the ability to provide it is a great gift indeed.

Be proud...because dying is easy and comedy is very, very hard.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


My friend Dan Lyons turns 40 on Friday.

I've known him for almost 25 years. Through that entire time, though we've disagreed on many topics (politics, music,Vanderbilt football, politics again) he has always been there for me.

He boldly defended me to his family (to whom, for a time, I was "That Chris") when I dragged him to movies on a Sunday. He stood up with me the day I got married (after throwing me what could easily be called the tamest bachelor party this side of Amish Country). He has spent many, many hours with me at the Waffle House discussing issues of absolutely no importance except to us. He has even forgiven me (I think) for accidentally getting him a date to his senior prom. He is, as you would suspect, a kind and generous man.

We've gone through years of girlfriends, weddings, New Year's Eve parties, Christmas Eve Eve movies of varying quality, funerals, Pensacola, Indiana, North Carolina, birthdays, double features, elections, and through it all he has always been there for me.

He has seen me at my best and at my very, very worst and every stage in-between...and any of you didn't have the pleasure of knowing me in my much more volatile 20's should be thankful that I've mellowed somewhat with age. Only he and my Sainted Wife could have put up with me through all that...and he had 4 extra years of it.

He has been an engineer and an educator and a Naval Aviator and the best friend I have ever had. And because I can't be there in person to celebrate with him, I wanted to make sure he was honored in my little corner of cyberspace.

Happy (Early) Birthday...and from the bottom of my heart, I wanted to say..."How 'Bout Them Packers!"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Snow Days

I know it's a bit early, but if the stores can have their halls decked already, I can write my first Christmas themed blog.

Note I said "Christmas" disrespect to anyone's individual beliefs, but I celebrate Christmas, decorate a Christmas tree, sing Christmas Carols and write this it's always gonna be Christmas here at Nerdvana World Headquarters.

We're on the cusp of the annual deluge of Christmas music & I feel I must clear up a common misconception...

"Let It Snow" is NOT a Christmas song. Never has been, never will be no matter how many Christmas CDs it winds up on. "Let It Snow" is about a guy trying to use bad weather as a reason to score.

There's nothing wrong with this in and of itself. It's the theme of about 90% of all pop songs ever written. HOWEVER...trying to pass it off as a Christmas song just because it features snow doesn't wash with me.

There are plenty of Christmas songs, both religous and secular, to choose from. "Let It Snow" isn't one of them.

"But it's about winter, like Winter Wonderland.", I hear you argue. Fine...find me a radio station that plays either song any other time but December and I'll concede the point.

Until then, both songs are off my Christmas playlist.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Post Mortem

This will be approximately the ten millionth blog about the election (and that's probably a conservative, no pun intended, estimate), but I felt compelled to throw my .02 into the fray.

*"He's a community organizer....what's that?"
Well Mr. Mayor, apparently a "community organizer" is someone who takes a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life, trains them, treats them with respect and values their service which inspires them to volunteer and work long hours for no pay in potentially hostile battleground states for a candidate they believe in and who winds up turning most of those traditionally Red states Blue.

*If you look at the musicians who were stumping for both Obama & McCain, it's no wonder the Senator from Illinois is the new Commander In Chief. Among the artists who campaigned for Obama were James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett, Joss Stone, Will I Am and Bruce Springsteen. Campaigning for McCain? Lee Greenwood, Hank Williams, Jr. and one of the dudes from Big and Rich. Let's face it...the Democratic ticket rocked in more ways than one.

*This is a great opportunity to heal some of the divisions of the past eight years, to conquer the fear that has gripped us since that awful day in September 2001. The world is a dangerous place and we do need to be cautious. But there's a difference between caution and fear. Caution is a measured response to a potential threat. Caution allows us to weigh our options and prepare a proportional response. Fear causes chaos and confusion...people who feel cornered and afraid are more likely to blindly lash out. I think one of the unspoken reasons the election turned out the way it did was that a large part of the American populace was sick and tired of being afraid all the time and said "Enough".

*John McCain showed great grace and dignity with his concession speech. His comment about Obama's grandmother being "proud of the good man she helped raise" was a particular highlight for me. If Senator McCain had campaigned the way he conceded, I suspect he might not have had to make that speech at all.

*President Elect Obama also reached out during his acceptance speech to those who didn't support him..."I may not have gotten your vote, but I am your President as well." I have no doubt he meant that and I hope he proves it to everyone who voted against him.

If the election turned out the way you wanted it to, it's an exciting time. If not, you're probably wondering what comes next. Here's a little secret-we're all wondering what comes next.

Why don't we surprise those who say we'll never be one America again and find out together.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Simply Amazing

No matter what happens tonight, when we get up in the morning we will be living in a whole new world.

Millions of people-conservatives, liberals, Christians, Jews, Atheists, veterans, college students, grandmothers, plumbers, mayors, community organizers, teachers, preachers, self-employed, unemployed and countless more besides-got up this morning and decided that they were going to change the world, one vote at a time.

Think for a minute just how amazing that is...that we have the right and privilege to decide who will be the leader of the free world. For two years, we've been listening to every expert on both sides of the aisle, pundits and pastors, our friends and even our enemies tell us who they think we should vote for. But in the end, it all comes down to one citizen, one vote.

I'm as partisan as the next guy and I passionately want my candidate to win...but just for a minute, I want to marvel at the spectacle of so many Americans who don't agree coming together on one day with one make their voice heard by voting.

We live in cynical times and any number of folks are more than happy to tell you why your vote doesn't count, that you're just wasting your time and effort and that no matter who wins it's going to be the same old same old.

Don't believe it. People vote for one simple reason...they hope things will be better than they currently are. Hope is a good thing. Without hope, we die.

So, in the few short hours before the returns start coming in and we get focused on winners and losers and what it all means...take a second to be amazed and grateful to live in a country where anyone, from any walk of life, can cast their ballot and make their voice heard.

Good Night, Good Luck and God Bless America

Monday, November 3, 2008

An Etiquitte Guide To Winning & Losing

No matter what happens tomorrow, somebody's candidate is going to win and somebody's candidate is going to lose. In an effort to (once again) salvage the upcoming Thanksgiving/Christmas season, Notes From Nerdvana humbly offers this handy guide to post-election etiquitte.


Among fellow supporters, you have until the end of the week to gloat, crow and chortle to your hearts content. Write heartfelt & obnoxious blogs, high five each other, send smug emails...whatever. Until Friday midnight, feel free to go nuts!

Among a mixed crowd, public gloating should end by midnight Wednesday. No matter the outcome, there's going to be any number of your friends and/or family who are not happy. Resist the urge to rub it in. Win with style and grace. To quote the former (and fictional) White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry..."We don't strut. Ever!"

If you made a bet on the outcome of the election and off quickly and without comment. If the wager was for cash, do not pay in a Hefty bag of unrolled pennies and Canadian quarters. If you made a wager involving personal services to the winner, fulfill the obligation as quickly and with as much dignity as you can muster. If the outcome of your wager winds up on You Tube for the entire world to see, you deserve what you get for not clearly setting the parameters of said wager.

If you win a bet...accept your winnings with a simple knowing smile. Resist the urge to say "I told you so" or anything similar unless you are also prepared to take a kick in the junk from a disgruntled loser.

In the event of a Democratic victory, be as gentle as possible with our Republican bretheren and sisteren. Losing elections is a new thing for them....especially if it's a landslide. They are going to be disoriented and cranky. If they resist any kind words or encouragement and seem to have lost the power of speech, back away slowly. This should pass in a few days. Simply put them to bed with a cookie, a bottle of Boone's Farm wine and Bill O'Reilly's latest book. If symptoms persist after the inauguration, then continue administering Boone's Farm liberally (no pun intended) until 2016.

One final bit of pre-election advice for the more radical wings of both parties....

If your guy loses, it's not because the other side is a bunch of socialist, Marxist, America hating, left wing/right wing character assasins who are racist/intolerant redneck conserviliberal war hating war loving surrender monkeys who want to bomb the whole world.

It's simply because a majority of voters decided that the other candidate was who they wanted to be in office. No less.

Good Night and Good Luck and God Bless America!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Conundrum

Had an interesting conversation today, the gist of which boiled down to "If you aren't 100% against something, that means you're automatically 100% for it."

This theory works if you are discussing trivial issues. Issues are big, broad concepts that fit neatly into "either/or" brackets. You either like country music or you don't. You either like crunchy peanut butter or creamy. Elvis or The Beatles...pick one or the other. Essentially, it's a fun way to engage in meaningless debate with your friends and waste time.

But when you start applying that logic to issues that effect real people every day it can be dangerous. People are more than the sum of their particular political leaning. People are a complicated mass of contradictions that are made up of all the moments of their lives, both good and bad.

Don't try and tell me because I'm not 100% against whatever is your pet issue...abortion, immigration, the death penalty, whatever...that I'm automatically in favor of it either.

And don't dare question the depth of my faith in relation to those issue. I will ultimately answer to only one person about that...and it's not gonna be you.