Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Three TV Shows of 2008

We watch a lot of television during the day, mostly because our parents love to abandon us to our own devices and they think that a tv set is as good as human company. And they're mostly right, except for the fact that the tv doesn't scratch behind our ears or apply Neosporin to our armpits when we lick them raw from anxiety. Heh, but we would never do that... As a result, we have a lot of good candidates for this year's Top 3 TV shows, but here are the winners!

3. This American Life. (Original Review) We are dedicated listeners of NPR's weekly radio program, This American Life, so when we heard that Showtime was turning it into a television show, we were excited to see the results. Sometimes when you love something a little vintage or outdated you are often disappointed by the modern version (see Planet of the Apes), but nothing of this sort happened with TAL. The brilliant Ira Glass kept the same format, an hour of stories or interviews based on a theme, but it's more vivid and fascinating in 2D. We'll continue to listen to the radio show, which we'll always adore, but we enjoy the tv show immensly, and can't wait to watch Season 2.

2. Dexter. (Original Review) Interestingly enough, this show also plays on the Showtime network, we never realized how great their programming was. This is the show about a Robin Hood-style serial killer, a man who has some psychological need to kill based on his traumatic childhood that he resolves through vigilante justice in the Miami area. We like the show and the questions of morality it brings up. Is it right that we want Dexter to escape from the cops? Should we be cheering that his no-good victims on, or rejoice in their death? But the show can get quite gruesome, and is not for the faint of heart. This is a good one, though we preferred the first season to the second.

1. Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip. (Original Review) This show was cancelled a couple of years ago to make way for 30 Rock, which we think is a shame. Though they are both about television networks and SNL-style shows on those networks, they are fundamentally different, and we wish there could have been a place for both of them. We love 30 Rock and think it is hilarious, but it doesn't hold a candle to Studio 60. This show is smart, funny, and fast-paced; it reminds us a lot of the West Wing and the intelligent writing that made that show famous. We mourn this show like we mourn Arrested Development, and it makes us like 30 Rock a little bit less for pushing this smart gem out of the way. If you've never seen it, you can check it out on Hulu.

That's it for smart and sassy tv shows of 2008. Everyone stay safe tonight, don't sniff anyone's butt unless you really want to get to know them, if you know what we mean! Enjoy your new year, and we'll see you tomorrow for the Top Three Movies of 2008!

Honorable Mentions: Flight of the Conchords, Gossip Girl, and House MD (our daddy's pick).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top Three Albums of 2008

We're back today to evaluate the top three albums we reviewed in 2008!

3. Flight of the Conchords Soundtrack. (Original Review) This album is awesome. The songs are taken straight from the tv show, so they're hilarious if you've seen the show, but they're still quite funny even if you haven't. We especially love the song about robots, and we frequently switch the words so that the song talks about how canine beings rule the world. We think that Aunt Annie, our doggie overlord, would be pleased. (Our daddy's pick!)

2. Be Ok by Ingrid Michaelson. (Original Review) Having listened to Ingrid Michaelson's previous album, Girls and Boys, we were excited to hear Be Ok, but nothing prepared us for what we got. This album blew us away with its depth and clarity. We listened to it for about a month straight, and it's been in our elite playlist ever since. The songs are such a rich mix and so different from one another, that we never get bored with them. We love her voice, her interesting lyrics, and her simple back-up that brings out the quality of the singing. Hurrah for this album!

1. We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse. (Original Review) We've been listening to Modest Mouse for some time now, and we were blown away by this newest album. The band has seamlessly incorporated a more "rock-and-roll" sort of sound while still maintaining the raw passion found in Isaac Brock's voice and lyrics. We love this album, and find ourselves gravitating back to it continually, a rare thing for us. Holy cow, what is that amazing thing wagging at the end of my butt?! I have never chased that before!

Well those are our favorite albums for 2008, we hoped that you enjoyed all of the music from this year. We wish that your 2009 will be filled with puppies and great music and rawhide treats.

Honorable Mentions: The Hotel Cafe Presents.... Winter Songs by Various, Under the Blacklight by Rilo Kiley, and the Spamalot Soundtrack.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Top Three Books of 2008

Alright, so we've been negligent over this holiday season, forgive us! Our parents went to Florida and we spent a week at Grandma and Grandpa's house terrorizing Aunt Annie. What a Merry Christmas it was cuddling with Grandpa Chris, eating Aunt Annie's fancy food, and barking at every living thing to walk by the house, which Aunt Heady espeically loved!

In this last week of 2008, we thought we'd join in the tradition and make a 'Best of' list for each of our traditional categories. Today, the top 3 books we read in 2008:

3. The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston & Mario Spezi (Original Review) This book is a true crime story about a serial killer roaming through the hills outside Florence, Italy and the reporter who became so wrapped up in the police investigation that he was charged for the murders himself at one point. This book is not intended for quesy readers as it gets a tad graphic at parts, but anyone who enjoys a good Law & Order will enjoy reading about the 'Monster of Florence,' the Italian Ted Bundy you didn't know that you didn't know!

2. Marley and Me by Josh Grogan. (Original Review) This book is best summarized by it's subtitle: life and love with the world's worst dog. It wouldn't be a good book list without a classic book about a dog, and this is one of the best that we've read. We imagine that this is what a book about Aunt Annie or Aunt Kenya would sound like, but not us. We're perfect angels who have never chewed on anything inappropriate, licked anywhere we shouldn't have, or been disobedient in any way... But back to the book, it's awesome and if you haven't read it yet, you really should!

1. A Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs. (Original Review) We read this book fairly recently, so maybe it would be further down in the list had we read it back in April, but we loved it. A man takes on religion wholeheartedly with one goal, to attempt to live the Bible literally, and we get to see what became of him and his religious beliefs because of it. This was an interesting book about family, religion, and ritual and we really really liked it. Read it!

We're looking forward to 2009, with hopefully more great books like these! Remember, if you have any recommendations for books or any other media, feel free to leave them in the comments or email them to our mother at cassandra dot fawson at gmail dot com, she doesn't trust us to have our own email address, not since we used her credit card to help out that deposed Nigerian Prince!!!

Honorable Mentions: Haunted by Dorah L. Williams, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (our Daddy's pick), and White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Music: The Twilight Soundtrack

After enjoying the Twilight Movie, we decided to pick up the soundtrack.  We were impressed by the list of artists that we enjoy, such as Iron & Wine and Collective Soul.  We liked the soundtrack, but we didn't love it.  The music is a bit hard for us, but it's pretty fun.

"Thought I was a fool for no one.
Oh baby, I'm a fool for you.
You're the queen of the superficial,
And how long before you tell the truth.

You set my soul alight.
Glaciers melting in the dead of night,
And the superstars sucked into the supermassive."
-- Supermassive Black Hole by Muse

"I was a quick wet boy, diving too deep for coins,
All of your street light eyes wide on my plastic toys.
Then when the cops closed the fair, I cut my long baby hair;
Stole me a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere."
-- Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron & Wine

Quick vote:  This is a pretty fun cd, but it's not incredible.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Books: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

We've been hearing a lot about The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, winner of the Man Booker Prize, and for once we agree with what we've heard about it.  This book has exceeded our expectations, and we devoured it nearly as quickly as we devour Dingos.  

Balram, an Indian chauffeur, writes a letter over the course of seven days to a Chinese minister who is searching information about entrepreneurs.  So Balram sends him the story of how he became a driver in the first place for a rich Indian from America. Balram got his own break when he murdered his master, stole a large sum of money, and finally started his own taxi business in Bangalore.

Quick vote: This book was lyric and beautiful, an Indian Crime and Punishment. We highly recommend it!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Blogs: The Big Picture

We've been following the blog The Big Picture for a while now, and we really like what we see.  The blog is an offshoot of the Boston Globe website and it shows big news stories through pictures.  The pictures are often thought-provoking and interesting.

This specific picture comes from Venice where there has been great flooding recently.  It's incredible to think of home being waist deep in water, or for us, head deep!

Quick vote:  This blog is a lot of fun.  We recommend it for your news and photography interests.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Movies: The Ten Commandments

Our father recently owned that he had never seen the Charleston Heston classic, The Ten Commandments. So we picked it up and sat through the nearly four hours of incredible cinema from 1956.

This classic film follows the Biblical story of Moses and his quest to free his people from Egyptian slavery and the cruel hand of the Pharaoh. We love this film, though the special effects look extremely dated, the acting and the screenplay is impressive, even 52 years later.

Quick vote: If you haven't seen this (like our father!), do. It's a classic, and worth watching again if it's been awhile.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Music: The Hotel Cafe Presents... Winter Songs

Now that Thanksgiving has past, it's time to roll out the Christmas music. This year, our favorite Christmas album is The Hotel Cafe Presents... Winter Songs, which is a compilation from some of our favorite indie women artists (e.g. Brandi Carlile, Kate Havnevik, Fiona Apple) singing some classic Christmas carols (e.g. Sleigh Ride, I'll Be Home for Christmas) in combination with some new music as well (e.g. Winter Song, The Heartache Can Wait).

Quick vote: This is the best Christmas cd of the year, we love it!

Aunt Annie's 2 Cents: Santa?! Are you my mommy?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Books: A Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs

We have been hearing about this book from NPR, our beloved readers, and Amazon recommendations for months, and we finally got around to reading it over the Thanksgiving break. The book is a nonfiction documentary following A. J. Jacobs for a year while he attempts to follow every rule found in the Bible including the simple clear cut ones (give 10% of your income away in tithing) to the obscure ones (don't wear different types of fabric at the same time).

A. J. Jacobs is a secular Jew living in New York who undertook a large project to find more religion in his life through living all the rules in the Bible, no matter how arbitrary they may seem. The writing and content is hilarious, and we very much enjoyed this search for God in one of the most-read books of all time.

Quick vote: This book was hilarious and definitely worth picking up this Christmas season!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!  We're taking the rest of the week off to enjoy our lovely family and beg turkey off everyone.  Just don't drink too much or else you'll end up looking like this...

Yeah, we know.  Terrifying.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blogs: Room 101

Have you ever heard of Lil' Whizzy? My parents coined the term as a nickname one road trip after learning that Urban Dictionary defines a whizzy as: a gay fool who no-one likes; e.g. 'Whizzy, get off me.' Also found in the Mims song, This is Why I'm Hot.. But it's become a term of endearment as well. We were very excited to see one of our fav peeps get a blog, especially a blog so determined to focus on the real issues, like when are the ski lifts going to open? Room 101 is an interesting insight into the world of the young human male, and we're not going to divulge Lil Whizzy's true identity, because would Snoop Dogg want that? Look into his eyes. We don't think that he would.

"the second place worst thing thing that could have happened would be if i would have farted on my date, because for some reason i get so much gas when girls are around go figure. that was a close second."
--backyard rock stunts

"Room 101 is the worst thing imaginable for you, so for example the main character of the book, winston, is taken to the room and they put his face in a big mask deal and then they let these baby eating rats loose to bore through his face."
--room 101

Quick vote: If that's not enough to get you reading, we don't know what else we could possibly do. The blog is nascent, to be sure, but we're very excited to see what it will blossom into.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Movie: Twilight

Along with thousands of other bitches this weekend, we snuck into a movie theater to view the much-anticipated film, Twilight. If you recall, we adored the books, and were excited and nervous for the movie adaptation. Movies from books, especially beloved books, are often a disappointment, and we knew that the budget for Twilight was very small and that Robert Pattinson's hair was out of control...

What did we think? We liked the movie. The special effects were at times quite dreadful, and some of the acting was sad; but overall we really enjoyed it. The roles were very difficult to act, and the expectations hard to live up to, but we think that the main characters, and especially the secondary characters, did an excellent job.

Quick vote: If you go into this movie expecting a masterpiece, you will be disappointed. However, if your expectations are lower, we think you will be as pleased as we were at Stephanie Meyer's creation in Catherine Hardwicke's hands.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blogs: Lala

We're always up for the latest in internet technology, and so were excited when we first heard about Lala. It's a Pandora/Rhapsody-esque idea, where you can play any song through once, listen to it forever online for 10 cents, and for 89 cents you can buy the high quality mp3 to download where you will. An interesting idea, especially if you do most of your listening next to a computer, or you use your computer as a stereo and have a good internet connection.

We think the product works well. We never had any problems with buffering or playback. The main problem we found with Lala, is that there is not a great selection of music. We think it could really take off if it were to work on smart phones (Like our mother's iPhone!), and with 3G speeds, loading wouldn't be an issue, and neither would storage. But we're not onboard for this iteration, and we won't be using Lala much.

Quick vote: Another interesting internet music product, but not one we're inclined to recommend.

For a fun Friday treat, try this!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Movie: Quantum of Solace

We were fortunate enough this past Saturday to sneak into a showing of Quantum of Solace, the newest in the long-running sequence of James Bond films. We have traditionally loved the 007 movies; they are an excellent mixture of enticing plot, intriguing gadgets, and exploding foes. We were unsure about the newest actor playing Bond, Daniel Craig. Piers Brosnan, Sean Connery, and Roger Moore all did excellent jobs, but Craig has been said to be 'lacking suave.' After Casino Royale, and now Quantum of Solace, we would agree with that judgment, but also add that Craig has added new depth to the character, which we like to see.

At the end of Casino Royale, Bond has been betrayed by his love Vesper, and begins soon thereafter, with Bond in full revenge mode. He spends the whole movie acting irrationally and wildly because of his desire for revenge, we like this aspect of the movie. What we don't like is a longer list. The action is too fast in this film, we could hardly keep track of who was in the fight, let alone who is winning or who is tied to the ceiling. The villian was far from villianous, and the plot's grand scheme lacked some serious scheming and deviltry.

Quick vote: This movie was meh. We enjoyed the old popcorn crusted to the floor more than the film, but that's actually a higher bar than you may think. We'd recommend you see it once, but no more than that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TV: West Wing

We used to watch this show occasionally, but we just picked up the first couple of seasons on DVD, and we're very pleased. The show follows a hypothetical US President and his staff through his duration in office.

This show is well-written and very smart. We enjoy the back-and-forth witticisms, the discussion of the most current political issues, and the quirky intelligent characters. The show has been criticized as being smart to the point of pretension, but we like it, probably because we're smarter than the average human...

Quick vote: We really like this show, we give it two paws up!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Music: See Dee by Moose Butter

We were perusing our mother's music library when we came across the album See Dee by Moose Butter. The humorous a capella group is surely a throwback to her choir days, and the album is quite the gem if you're looking for something ridiculous, but not if you're looking for something with actual quality.

"I'm Captain Organic Vegetable Man.
I fight against the evilness of pesticides and added colors.
If you're organic, then you can proudly stand,
And shout for Organic Veggie Man."
--Captain Organic Vegetable Man

"Kiss a wookie, kick a droid,
Fly the falcon through an asteroid
Till the princess is annoyed.
This is spaceships, it's monsters, it's Star Wars, we love it!

Come and help me, Obi Wan,
X-wing fighter, and a blaster gun,
Dance with Ewoks, oh what fun!
This is spaceships, it's monsters, it's Star Wars, we love it!"

--Star Wars

Quick vote: This cd is ridiculous, but actually kind of fun.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Books: Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres

We picked up this book, Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres, at the urging of our father. He is very into the latest and greatest in econometrics, statistics, and being smart by utilizing numbers; making this book right up his alley. (The book is subtitled: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way to be Smart.)

Super Crunchers follows the lead of Freakonomics and The Armchair Economist, taking an anecdotal leap into the way the world works without your knowledge. Ayres discusses all the many ways that corporations, foundations, and even individuals manipulate large sets of data to predict the future and adapt current practices according to that future. A simple idea with radical outcomes, and one that is currently embraced in many fields, and adamently fought against in others.

Quick vote: This book was really good, and it made us think about the way we do things. We highly reccommend it!

Aunt Kenya's Philosophy: I do so enjoy reading about applied mathematics, but this book left something to be desired. The anecdotal evidence was not enough for me, I wanted more description of the regression models and techniques used to manipulate the large datasets. Boring! Pick up a good textbook instead.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blogs: Brokers With Hands on Their Faces

In this time of economic turmoil, this blog, Brokers With Hands on Their Faces, is particularly apt. It's a photo blog showing brokers stressing out with their hands on their faces. The idea is simple, but it makes you think twice before wanting to invest in the stock market again!

Quick vote: We love this idea, it makes for a fun and scary look.

Thanks to our daddy (Bob) and Sarah who both sent us links to this blog!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Movie: Best in Show

Sammi is a purebread doggie, so she understands the social pressures among papered dogs to be perfect and to succeed, which is why we find the movie, Best in Show so clever. We especially like the Weimaraner.

The movie is a classic Christopher Guest mock-u-mentary about show dogs and their owners. It is sarcastic, and incredibly hilarious. We love it!

Quick vote: We love this movie and all the others like it. If you know anything about show dogs, you'll love Best in Show!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Politics: The First Dog

Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States, and now it's essential to get down to what really matters in the White House, the first dog! Obama promised his daughters Malia and Natasha, that when he got elected president (There goes that positive thinking! That must be why he won.) he would let them get a puppy. Here is where we step in to give our recommendations. We know that Malia has dog allergies, so the puppy must be hypoallergenic. The girls expressed some interest in a Goldendoodle (like our Aunt Izzie), but we have some better recommendations...

Sammi: For a young, intelligent family there can be no better choice than the Airedale terrier. These dogs are intelligent, strong-willed, and have a great sense of humor. They are loyal to their masters, and independent thinkers. If the Obamas adopted an Airedale puppy, they would be assured of a loyal companion for life, but one that could decide for herself on the political decisions of the moment. For a young smart family, an Airedale is a perfect choice for a defender and companion. These dogs are fearless and are used in big game hunting, including bears and cougars, because they won't back down. There are even stories of Airedales standing up to bears to protect their masters, and the Obamas could really use this fearlessness in a harshly bipartisian climate. An Airedale would protect those girls from Christian right-wingers protesting in front of the White House.

Maggie: For a family living in the White House and traveling all the time, they need a small dog to accompany the girls on long trips. I recommend the Chinese Crested dogs, which never break ten pounds. These dogs are small, affectionate, and playful. The young girls will enjoy babying this eternal puppy, especially dressing her in clothes in the cold D.C. climate as she has very little fur. Additionally, these dogs are known as champions in the annual 'Ugly Dog Competition,' and I know how much this family loves winning things they have no background in! Finally, with hardly any hair, this is one of the most hypoallergenic breeds possible.

Quick vote: Regardless of what kind of dog the Obamas adopt, it needs to be a bitch, and they need to get it soon so it will be potty-trained by the time they move into the White House. How embarrassing would that be for a puppy to soil the Presidential suite?!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Music: Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson

We loved the previous Ingrid Michaelson album, Girls & Boys, so we were pleased when our Aunt Didi sent us a copy of Be Ok. We love this album just as much as the previous one, and perhaps even more. The songs are melodic, lyrical, and catching. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds are going to the 'Stand Up 2 Cancer' campaign, which we think is pretty awesome. Also it includes remakes of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and the Elvis classic, "Can't Help Falling in Love."

"Oh what a night is tonight.
I think I'm ready to fight.
Now that my broken bones all have been healed,
I think I'm starting to feel...

Something good,
Something good.
Now that you're gone, I can roll on to something good."
--Oh, What a Day

"Well you might be a bit confused,
And you might be a little bit bruised,
But baby how we spoon like no one else.
So, I will help you read those books
If you will soothe my worried looks,
And we will put the lonesome on the shelf.

Lets get rich and buy our parents homes in the south of France.
Lets get rich and give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance.
Lets get rich and build a house on a mountain making everybody look like ants,
From way up there, you and I, you and I."
--You & I

Quick vote: We're huge fans of this album, it's one of our new favorites. There's not a song on it that we don't like.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Books: The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar

For book club this month, we are reading The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar, which is a graphic novel. We have never read any graphic novels before, and didn't know quite what to expect, but what we have here is a 150-page-long comic strip about a curious cat.  This book is intended for adults and contains some adult content, but reads like a Peanuts strip, a very different experience from our usual literature.

The rabbi lives in North Africa.  He has a beautiful daughter, a noisy parrot, and a silent cat.  One day, the cat eats the parrot and gains the ability to talk.  At this point, nothing can shut him up and he tells the rabbi and his daughter exactly what he thinks about philosophy, God, and his feline existence. 

Quick vote: Graphic novels are not for everyone and not for all the time, but we really enjoyed this one and would recommend it to anyone curious with the genre.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Blogs: What's In My Head

Our Uncle Chichi has just started his own blog titled, What's In My Head. Chet is an aspiring writer, and it's always a pleasure to hear what the coolest 11-year-old we know is thinking about! And as it turns out, he's mostly thinking about football.

"Im sooo bored.... this is just some random post thing or whatever cuz im bored. REAALLLLYYYYY BOREDDDDD. But the good thing is that tomorrow is friday so its the last day of the week AND its halloween and we might have a bonfire at this tight dude named Kinkade's house after we trick-or-treat and spazz out totally.WOOP WOOP!!!!"

"Four different times the Warriors were near the endzone but only twice actually scored. The Aggie offense did pretty well, but their defence was outstanding against the big bad Hawaiin offensive line. . They definately didn't want what happened to them against the Fresno State guys, with that 58-yarder.The game ended with the Aggies leading 30-14 over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors."
--USU vs Hawaii

Quick vote: Uncle Chichi is awesome, and so is his blog.

Aunt Izzie's Wiz-ord: Uncle Chichi?! He's my brother Chichi, and he's the shizzzzzz!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Movies: Pride & Prejudice

Once again our father has gone out of town (currently he's in Chicago), and left us alone with our desperate-for-romance mother. So we were stuck last night watching Pride & Prejudice, the one with Keira Knightley. If you're in the mood for a great romance, Jane Austen can never go wrong, and this movie is a great rendition of her greatest novel.

Mr. Bingley moves into the shire bringing along with him his evil sister and his proud friend, Mr. Darcy. Immediately, he catches the eye of the oldest of the Bennett girls, Jane. Her younger sister Elizabeth is slighted by Mr. Darcy, until he begins to fall in love with her. The soundtrack and scenery are remarkable, and very well done.

Quick vote: This is perhaps the greatest love story of all time, and this movie surely does it justice.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Results

Well the results are in.  Obama won, gay marriage in California lost, and in Salt Lake City, Hogle Zoo is getting 33 million dollars to build better habitats for the polar bears and African animals.  Oh, and sadly enough, Super Dell lost!

We won some and we lost some, so supposedly, we'll have to put our stamp of approval on the whole thing.  After all, that's what elections are all about!

Quick vote: Thanks everyone that voted.  We'll see you next year!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Politics: Election 2008

The election is finally, nearly, almost over, thank goodness! (Cue 'Hail to the Chief') We are here to make one last effort to convince you who to vote for, and to get all of our readers to the polls!

Sammi: How many times do I have to tell you that Obama is the candidate for all good canines and dog-lovers out there?! Obama wants to create a health care plan that would cover all uninsured peoples, and I'm sure that includes doggies. He wants to get the troops out of Iraq and home to their family and pets. And finally, how can you not vote for a candidate that dances like this?!

Maggie: Obama-Shmobama, John McCain is the only candidate for the intelligent canine. He's planning on eliminating wasteful government spending (whatever that means), and giving tax-breaks for middle-class, rather than hosing the upper-class like Obama plans on. We're not in the upper-class yet, but we plan on making the transition after our memoir gets a movie deal... And let's be honest, don't we all want this traipsing about the white house instead of this???

Quick vote: Everybody go out and vote so we can finally get this thing over with!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Politics: Utah Governor

I'm sure that you all remember 'Totally Awesome Computers' and it's follower, 'Totally Awesome Guns & Ammo.' If you recall, the annoying owner's name was Super Dell, and he is now running for governor in the state of Utah. And if elected, he promises to change the state name to 'Totally Awesome Snow & Polygamists!' Not really, but some things almost as ridiculous. Here's a candidate we could really sink our teeth into!

He's running under the libertarian party, but he seems to share none of their political opinions and merely needed to be affiliated with a specific party. You can learn more about his principles and platforms by visiting his website. We've found a few morsels for you to enjoy:

"Obama and Huntsman will brutally murder children. Do you think they follow God? Are you completely insane??? 16,000 abortions were performed during Huntsman’s term. You think he is against abortion???? Email this to everyone you know because the TV stations refused to run my ads. That’s right the totally socialist media doesn’t want you to know I am running. I was not allowed in the debate either. Your freedoms are being destroyed by a socialist system."

"“As ye keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land”. God told me personally that if we end abortion we will be able to discover and use the unlimited supply of oil right here in Utah....First keep the commandments, and then we will indeed prosper in the land. It is both a promise from God and a promise from SUPERDELL."
--The 3 Top Issues and Who SUPERDELL Really Is

Quick vote: It's a relief for us to be able to agree on something politically, but I think we are both in agreement that SUPERDELL is awesome. Hopefully, he will keep running over and over again, because we have gotten a lot of laughs from his blog!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Blogs: My Super Hopeless Romance

We tried to find a good Halloween blog to share with you today, but nothing was really catching our eye, and we have recently become obsessed with another blog; it seems unfair to write about anything else.

My Super Hopeless Romance is a story about Cordy, a 23-year-old Mormon girl who is in love with her best friend, Seth, but he doesn't know it. It's fictional, but incredibly romantic and it gets our tails wagging during the interesting parts. We're so girly, but whatever.

Quick vote: If you like Jane Austen and Mormon chick flicks, you're going to love perusing Cordy's blog. Trust us!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Movie: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

We have recently picked up the book The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, and were instantly sucked into the teen dramas of the four friends. Accordingly, we made sure to rent the movie when our father was out of town (In Dublin, Ireland; if you can believe it!) and have a girls' night with our mother!

This movie is cheesy. It's ridiculous. And yet part of our girly hearts love it. It's perfect for a lonely night when your dad is out of town and your mother is feeling like she needs a romance fix!

Quick vote: This movie will not win any awards, but it's pretty nice to be able to watch a cheesy romance and expect everything to work out perfectly in the end.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Politics: Go Vote!

Our father, worldwide traveler that he is, is going to be out of town on Election Day, so he and our mother went out and voted early. We hear it's the in thing to do this year!

Whether you're voting early, the day of, or in just vocally because stupid laws prevent canines from casting official ballots..... Vote this year! It's your civic duty, and you can look down on those around you for not loving freedom as much as you do!

Quick vote: Support freedom! Vote today!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Music: Our Endless Numbered Days by Iron & Wine

We've had this album, Endless Numbered Days, in our library for a long time, but we hadn't listened to it until recently. Iron & Wine has a nice sound to it with the classic acoustic/folksy sound that we love most. We can't believe that we never listened to it before now!

"There are things that drift away,
Like our endless, numbered days.
Autumn blew the quilt right off
The perfect bed she made.
And she's chosen to believe,
In the hymns her mother sings.
Sunday pulls its children from
Their piles of fallen leave."
--Passing Afternoon

"Love and some verses you hear
Say what you can't say.
Love to say this in your ear,
'I'll love you that way.'
From your changing contentments,
What will you choose for to share?
Someday drawing you different,
May I be weaved in your hair?"
--Love & Some Verses

Quick vote: This is great music to listen to on a rainy afternoon when you want to mope around. We love it, but it's definitely not going to cheer you up.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Books: Haunted by Dorah L. Williams

This month's book club selection was a scary, Halloween-y book in keeping with the October theme. Haunted: The Incredible True Story of a Canadian Family's Experience Living in a Haunted House by Dorah Williams in a nonfiction story of a chilling haunting.

This story started slowly. A family is eerily drawn to an old Victorian house and moves in despite poor timing. Then strange things start happening; they smell food cooking when nothing's in the oven, they hear footsteps when no one else is in the house. The hauntings escalate until the family decides to do something about it and they poke into the past searching for the answer to their mystery.

Quick vote: This book was fantastic. If you're in the mood for a creepy book for the spooky season, check out this "true" book!

Aunt Annie's 2 Cents: We don't like scary books. But we do like hairy books!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blogs: Upside Down Dogs

This is a great blog. Several times a day, they post right-side-up pictures of dogs upside-down. That is it. It's a great blog.

Quick vote: This blog is awesome. It will cheer up your Friday, take a look!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Movies: WALL-E

When our father was traveling in the Philippines, he had the opportunity to bring us back a special gift; pirated dvds! One of these movies was the new Disney/Pixar project, WALL-E. We had heard a lot about the movie, specifically that it was a propaganda campaign against capitalism (A concept which we love, by the way. Yea, buying stuff!). So we were a tad wary of it, but excited for newest Pixar film, which are always quite good.

WALL-E is a robot assigned the task of compacting and organizing all of the trash on earth after humans have abandoned it. He goes through his life leisurely working, hanging out with his pet cockroach, and collecting interesting things he finds in the trash heaps. Suddenly, a spaceship lands nearby and everything changes...

Quick vote: We were worried that Al Gore would come screaming out at us through this movie, but the propaganda wasn't nearly as bad as we had suspected. Also, the movie was fun, cute, and amusing. We definitely recommend it!

Aunt Kenya's Philosopy: Humans are destroying this earth at an alarming rate. Movies like WALL-E and An Inconvenient Truth are so apt that they are being ignored. If humans were to put an intelligent dog, say me, in charge of running things, the world would be restored to its previous glory and doggies would rule the WORLD!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Politics: Proposition 8

We have heard a lot of uproar lately over the legislation on the vote in California, Proposition 8. If passed, this proposition would prevent same-sex couples from marrying in the state of California, and only marriage between people of the opposite sex would be valid in California. We have heard many people discussing this from various sides of the stage, and we feel the need to add our opinion, as we are oft prone to do.

If you are living in California and can vote on this issue, we encourage you to think about the issue yourself and vote as you deem best, not according to any political pundits or intelligent, informed canines. But if you are wondering how we would vote, if we were 18, human, lived in California, and were registered to vote; we would vote no on Proposition 8. It seems cruel to vote any other way. Sexual orientation is a personal matter, and the government ought have no role in deciding the morality of the issue. Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples. We understand the religious tenor surrounding the issue, but it seems like the fervor has gone too far. Even if you consider it an egregious sin, no one is preventing murderers or child molesters from marrying.

Quick vote: Let's think about the issues this election. Decide for yourself, without being swayed by those manipulative politicians!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Music: Flight of the Conchords Soundtrack

Recently we reviewed the HBO show, Flight of the Conchords. Afterward, we were able to get our paws on a copy of the soundtrack, and we love it. Our favorite part of the show is when the main characters burst into a hilarious song, so we were ecstatic to be able to listen to those songs and eventually to howl along with them.

"The humans are dead.
(I'm glad they are dead.)
The humans are dead.
(I noticed, they're dead.)
We used poisonous gases,
(With traces of lead)
And we poisoned their asses.
(Actually, Their lungs.)

Binary solo!
Oh, oh, oh, one.
(binary solo continues)"

"I see you standing all alone by the stereo.
I dim the lights down to very low, here we go
You're so beautiful.
You could be a waitress.
You're so beautiful.
You could be a air hostess in the 60s.
You're so beautiful.
You could be a part-time model.
But then I seal the deal, I do my moves.
I do my dance moves."
--The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room

Quick vote: This is a great album. If you enjoy hilarious indie-pop music, then this is the album for you!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Books: The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano

We have been working on this book, The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano for several months now. We found it quite long, apparently plotless, and lacking a central voice. After finishing, we feel lost and not quite sure whether or not we enjoyed the read.

The book chronicles a group of Latin American poets known as the 'Visceral Realists' in and around Mexico City through the 1920's and 30's. The group is lead by Alberto Belano and Ulises Lima, both strong and very different personalities that attempt to publish great poets, keep the group in order, and journey deep into Mexico to find the mother of Visceral Realism. This book was an interesting read and we enjoyed it, but it was too long and disjointed to be the classic we have heard it proclaimed to be.

Quick vote: Though this book was interesting and thought provoking, we found it lacking. We won't attempt to dissuade you from reading it, but we won't reccomend it to you either.

Aunt Annie's Two Cents: I once went to school to be a detective; I failed the psych exam. Also, I am renown for my savagery in the game of 'Pulley.' Ask anyone.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blogs: Criggo

We live in a digital age where paper seems to be dwindling into anachronism, especially newspaper. This blog takes funny newspapers errors and posts them for all to enjoy as the black and white medium slowly dies out. Some favorites:

"Police receive a report of a newborn infant found in a trash can. Upon investigation, officers discover it was only a burrito."
--Rice, Beans, and Baby

"Pregnancy Information. Free Pregnancy tests. Confidential. On Subway."
--Free Pregnancy Tests?

"Correction: A headline on an item in the Feb. 5 edition of the Enquirer-Bulletin incorrectly stated 'Stolen Groceries.' It should have read 'Homicide.'"

Quick vote: This blog makes us laugh so hard we choke a little bit on our own collars. Seriously, why do we have to wear these things around?!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Movies: Legends of the Fall

We ran across one our favorite movies lately, Legends of the Fall.  This movie is a cinematic masterpiece with a moving story, and we highly recommend it to any that haven't yet seen it.

Alfred, Tristan, and Samuel are three very different brothers living in the Montanan wilderness around the turn of the 20th century.  Alfred is practical and true, Tristan has the spirit of a bear and is as wild as the wind, and Samuel is delicate and genuine, the true baby of the family.  Samuel meets a woman, Susanna, and the family is changed forever.

Quick vote: This movie is incredible, beautiful, and an A+ event.  We give it two dewclaws up!

Aunt Annie's 2 Cents: I have two brothers.  Is that a basted rawhide stick, or are you just glad to see me?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TV: Dead Like Me

On a recommendation from our mother's cousin Jared, we watched the first season of the tv show, Dead Like Me. We had heard about the show before, on Fresh Air and on recommendation from a few people, but we had never watched it until now.

The show follows a group of grim reapers who are undead, but live among humans trying to make a living so they can eat and afford their rent. The show is quirky, funny, and unique. Sometimes the subject matter is rather dark, but we really like its original take on life and the afterlife.

Quick vote: We like this show, it's really original and interesting, and is generally very fun and sarcastic; though it can get a bit heavy at times.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Music: TAL on the Economy

Even though our father is an economist, this whole economic crisis mumbo jumbo is beyond us. There are a lot of terms being thrown around, but thanks to this lovely man (Ira Glass) and his lovely radio program (This American Life), we've gotten a hold of this situation and its litany of vernacular. We recommend these shows for your knowledge and learning about this crisis.

The Global Pool of Money Show -- All about the housing market and the mortgaged backed securities crisis.

The Enforcers Show -- The second half is about naked short selling (Yeah, we didn't know what this was before listening to this show either.) and the role of the SEC in the current crisis. And the first half was pretty fun as well, but not about the financial crisis.

Another Frightening Show About the Economy Show -- A breakdown of what has happened in the past month or so and a breakdown of the congressional bail-out. Is it good or is it bad for us?

A Better Mousetrap 2008 Show -- The second of three parts of this show is about the how inventors created incredible financial mousetraps, a pretty interesting segment.

Quick vote: If you've been wandering, lost in a sea of economic terminology and confusing financial hash, we've got the solution for you. Check these out!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Book: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

We've heard a lot about this book lately, and finally picked it up at the urging of others. The World Without Us is a nonfiction thought book about what would happen to the world if the humans in it suddenly disappeared (not through nuclear war but perhaps a rapture or some sort of disease that destroys all humans and no one else). What would happen to our cities, our puppies, and our world? Alan Weisman has talked to geologists, biologists, archeologists, and other scientists to paint the picture for our future.

This book started out incredibly, we loved the descriptions of cities collapsing and the homes that all of us had built crumbling around the world. And then the book diverged into more historical descriptions and became less fascinating. It ended with a ridiculous admonition to bring down our birthrate to one child per family.

Quick vote: This book was interesting, but less compelling and more preachy than we had hoped.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blog: Ryan Studio

The creator of Ryan Studio paints a picture every day and then posts it on her blog for everyone to enjoy, appreciate, and later bid on so she can make a whole butt-load of money. We have no problem with this, go capitalism! Regardless, her paintings are simple portraits of every day items (e.g. Plums, Goldfish Crackers, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich) and we really like them.

Quick vote: We really enjoy this blog. Check it out!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

When we saw the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie we were in love with it. Johnny Depp was incredible and it exceeded all of our expectations. But when we saw the second movie, we couldn't have been more disappointed. It was poorly written, poorly acted, and far too long. So when we heard about the third movie, we didn't rush out to watch it. Needless to say, we had quite low expectations.

Captain Jack Sparrow is dead and his friends travel to the end of the world to Davey Jone's locker to save him. There is a lot of Pirate lore and legends. We were surprised, this movie was a lot of fun! We wouldn't have liked it as much if we hadn't have had such low expectations for the movie. If that makes sense. We thought we would hate that, but because of that, we liked it!

Quick vote: Surprisingly, this wasn't too bad! Check it out if you have three hours to kill.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

TV: House

Recently, we've been watching the Fox television show, House. We're big fans of medical dramas, but after a time they can get stale. This show has elements that keep the ball rolling as well as incorporating fun and interesting science into the mix, which we love! If you need a qualified doggy doctor, (Not a veterinarian, a doctor that is a dog.) we've got two dogs that would love the opportunity!

Dr. House is an eccentric doctor who is also a brilliant diagnostician. He works with a smart and sassy team to diagnose difficult illnesses. He's rude. Really really rude and sexist. Sometimes that bothers us, but usually we find it pretty fun.

Quick vote: We like this show, it's smart and fun. But we wouldn't stay home from the dog park to watch it. The dog park is awesome.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Music: Amazon MP3 Store

Today we talk about our new favorite way to acquire music, the Amazon MP3 store. The Amazon store is a lot like the iTunes store, but better. The iTunes store's music comes with a secret that the Amazon store does not, DRM. So the MP3's from Amazon are of higher quality, transferable to others like music from a cd is, and is the same price! Why would anyone shop at the iTunes store now?

Quick vote: We go here for all our musical needs, and you should too! Unless you prefer to pay more for less. Or you like outdated technology like cassette tapes or records.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Books: Dark Enough to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky

This weekend we were fortunate enough to take a bite out of Uncle Chichi's book! (Literally. We accidentally got a little bit excited and gnawed on it a teensy bit! But don't worry, it's still readable!) After that, we went back to finishing our book club book, Dark Enough to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky by Connie Lapallo. We were excited about this historical fiction book based on the original Jamestown settlers, with factual evidence taken from historical accounts, but we were disappointed a little bit on the delivery. The story was great, but her writing lacked conviction and we found ourselves hungry (during the starvation chapters) and unenthused.

This book follows the true life story of Joan Pierce, an ancestor of the book's author, her difficulties in England, and eventually her sojourn to Jamestown, Virginia. Joan was no stranger to hardship as in the space of a few short years she lost her parents, a husband, and a child when her second husband suggested that they try their hand at a pilgrimage to the New World. Joan agreed and they set off, leaving one of their children behind. The book is a testament to human strength and courage, and was an informative and interesting read.

Quick vote: This book had loads of potential and we loved the story, but the writing was not enough to make us stop biting our own tails.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blogs: Fantasy Congress

To juxtapose last week's Fantasy Football entry, this Friday we're describing an equally thrilling fantasy league we're members of, Fantasy Congress. Instead of quarterbacks and tight ends, you choose upper senators and rookie congressmen to fill your teams. You get points for writing legislation, good attendance scores, and making the news. It's pretty fun, and it makes legislation much more exciting. We find ourselves watching CSPAN, howling in pain when one of Aunt Didi's players proposes a bill.

Quick vote: This is quality, light-hearted, nerd fun. Check it out, if you dare...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Movie: Singles 2nd Ward

You read that title right. Our dad goes out of town, and our mom insists on renting all the chick flicks and cheesy mormon shows available (and preferably a combination of both). So we sat down to mock the Singles 2nd Ward while she laughed, but we found ourselves chuckling along too! Don't get us wrong, it was one of the cheesiest pieces of cinematography ever created in the history of man; and yet we still really enjoyed it. It was pretty funny.

I think that you can probably get the plot of the film. Boy is single, girl is single, both go to a single's ward. They date, get engaged, live happily ever after, blah, blah, blah. The plot is not very convoluted, but the one-liners can be pretty funny. Though we didn't really get the references to the other mormon movies...

Quick vote: This movie is cheesy. But it wasn't too bad. If you're bored one night, and you enjoy mormon movies, check it out.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

TV: Fringe

We love fall. The air is crisp, we feel more alive, school starts, and the new fall programing is on! We were excited to hear about the newest J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost) science-fiction program running on Fox, Fringe. We're big fans of the sci-fi genre, so we tuned in for the first few episodes of what was reported as 'a cross between the X-Files and House.'

Fringe is about the FBI agent, Olivia Dunham who works in conjunction with mad scientist (Literally, he's straight from a mental institution.) Walter Bishop and his son Peter, to solve bizarre and ridiculous cases. Mostly they have to do with 'Fringe Science,' such as telepathy, levitation, invisibility, reanimation, and synthetic goop that melts people's skin off, such as appears in episode 1. Additionally, this show is part of Fox's new initiative known as "Remote-Free TV," meaning that episodes will air with half as many commercials, lengthening the show by approximately six minutes.

Quick vote: Though the acting is less than exceptional, the science fiction aspect is pretty awesome, so we're going to keep watching, and we recommend that you do too!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Music: AML I by Cassandra Fawson

For the past couple of weeks, our mother, Cassandra Fawson has been compiling a playlist of the best musical sing-a-long songs, and she has finally finished the first volume of it. The songs are fresh, memorable, and most of all; sing-a-long-able. We love popping it into our parents' car cd player, rolling down the windows, and drooling outside while singing along with some of the best. We look forward to her future editions.

If you're interested in a copy, send an email to our mother at cassandra (dot) fawson (at) gmail (dot) com with your address included, and she will send you a cd.

Quick vote: Singing, musicals, we love it!