Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tax and spend?

I just have to point you all to this pretty cool tool, which takes the specific details of Obama's tax policy and calculates whether you would see a tax cut or a tax increase under Obama's tax plan. It's from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, not some pro-Obama group. Some people will probably see a tax increase. (Most won't.) But rather than rely on rhetoric that assumes Democratic president=higher taxes, you should check out the reality of it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My brand-new cousin!

What a fantastic week it has been! I just spent seven full days with Jimmie and Steph, and we had such a great time! We spent half the week hanging around D.C. and the other half in Richmond/Montpelier/Louisa, Va. It's never long enough, but it was awesome to have them here for a full week this time. (Last fall, they came for just a few days.) Anyway, in the coming days you can expect a post full of photos and videos from the visit, but first, this post, which covers just one day of that trip. And what a day it was! That day – Aug. 20, 2008 – we welcomed the newest member of the Jackson clan to the world – Roxy Viola Gisselman, born at 10:58 a.m. (I love this quote that Proud Papa Sam posted on the Gisselman family blog: "1058am: Roxy is cut away and 1 person becomes 2. For a quick moment, she is the youngest of 7 billion people on this planet.") And what an honor – we were among the first people in the world to see her!

We arrived at the hospital, got to the maternity floor, but we weren't sure exactly where to go. We spent some time peeking into the nursery at the other babies, but no Roxy... So we started to wander down the hall to see if we could figure out where we needed to go, and we were passed by a nurse wheeling the most perfect little baby girl down the hall. "Maybe that's her!" said Aunt Julie. "Who are you looking for?" asked the nurse. We told her; "Here she is!" said the nurse. And sure enough! There was Big Brother Hank's chin. There was that famous Gisselman Family Charm, the smile, the personality!

Here we all are stealing every peek we could get during that first hour or two of Roxy's life:

Already, full of energy:

And yet, perfectly capable of sweet serenity:

I may have gotten a little carried away with the photos of the new big brother holding his pride and joy, but what's better than one little Gisselman? One little Gisselman, and one very big boy!

No question that Roxy is already a huge admirer of her big brother. You should have seen the way she stared at this sign that hung on the inside of her cradle:

And now, some other people introducing themselves to Roxy.

"Hi! I'm your mama!":

"It's me! Dad!":

"We flew all the way from Utah to meet you!":

"Get ready for all the hugs and kisses you could ever need! I'm your loving – and fun-loving – Aunt Julie!":

"Just ask Hank about me – he'll tell you that your cousin Matty-Mo is the coolest cousin you could ever ask for!":

"How old is old enough to learn to play Rock Band? When can I bring her on my motorcycle?" asks Uncle Robbie:

Get a load of the new and improved Gisselman crew:

With funny teeth, lots of giggles and a little whoopie cushion, hanging out in a hospital room is a blast:

Nice to meet you, Roxy! Thanks for joining our family – we're better than ever now that you're here! And thanks, Terri, Sam and Hank, for letting us be a part of your family's special day! We love you all!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The finger

Watch some of my coworkers give the finger to climate change. I didn't know how cool this was going to be; now I really regret that I didn't participate.

SYTYCD - some thoughts

When I think about it, it's amazing the percentage of my blog readers who watch So You Think You Can Dance, so I don't mind sharing a couple of thoughts about last night's finale.

First, watch this now, while you still can - it never takes long before So You Think You Can Dance YouTubes are pulled for copyright violation.

And now, some thoughts.

  • Hooray for Joshua! Definitely well-earned, and it couldn't have been a nicer guy. (I guess. I mean, of course, I don't know him, but he seems like a really nice guy.)
  • Bringing back so many people from previous seasons was a lot of fun, but where in the world were Sabra and Danny? Sabra's absence, especially, was weird, since she was the only previous winner not to appear on the finale. Strange that Jesus and Cedric, for example, and others who didn't make it all that far on their respective seasons, were there, but no Sabra and no Danny.
  • Wow. Was it just me, or does it look like Neil has been using heroine or something?
  • Was it just a coincidence that when the judges picked their favorite performances to recap, both the first and last ones of the night were Katee and Joshua (Bollywood first, and "No Air" at the end), and it just so happens that Katee was winner among the girls and Joshua was the overall winner? I'm not complaining – those were two of my favorite numbers from the season – but it's just another example of this show's sometimes-transparency.
  • I was kind of sad that none of the judges picked Mark and Chelsea's Mia Michaels weird-wedding dance as one of their favorites, but other than that, I think all of my favorites were represented.
  • It may have been cheesey, but I really liked seeing both Mary and Nigel dance.
  • I was annoyed with Twitch when, after Katee was named as the second non-winner of the top 4, and everyone was cheering for her, he turned around as he was leaving the stage and celebrated and acted like he thought the audience was cheering for him. He sort of made up for it with his seemingly sincere happiness for Joshua at the end of the show.
  • Strange, also, that several times Cat referred to the "top 20," saying, "Here are your top 20" and things like that, but Jessica wasn't there - and they really didn't mention her at all.