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Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel Knievel has passed away

Time keeps on slipping into the future...

Now it's motorcycle daredevil legend and 1970s icon Evel Knievel, who has passed away at the age of 69.

Evel Knievel: the only man who could literally "jump the shark" and have it still be awesome.

I've heard quite a bit that in the past year he had an intense spiritual awakening and came to have a profound Christian faith.

Don't know what else to say, except that he was quite a character who will be greatly missed.

Those danged Nazi lizards from outer space are coming back!

Look at what's being published on January 8th, 2008!

From the creator of V himself Kenneth Johnson, and weighing-in at 448 pages, it's V: The Second Generation.

So in case you are one of the "younger" generation (i.e. my friends younger than 20) and are wondering what V is: almost a quarter-century later it still ranks among the scariest and most disturbing things ever put on American television. And had it been better managed, it had the potential to be one of the greatest sci-fi franchises of all time.

In the spring of 1983, NBC broadcast the two-part original miniseries V. They came from a distant star: a fleet of fifty gigantic "motherships" - five miles in diameter - one for each of the largest cities on Earth. These "Visitors" - who looked human in every way - came begging for Earth's help, claiming that their home planet was dying and that only certain chemicals manufactured on Earth could stave off disaster. In return for our aid, the Visitors promised new technology and medicine and that when done, they would leave us in peace.

What happened after that made V into one of the most brilliant fables about tyranny and resistance of modern times. It was Nazism on a global scale. And there are moments from this miniseries that have haunted many people to this day: I've no doubt that the scene where Diana "has dinner" is going to be burned into my gray matter until the day I die.

The original miniseries was amazing, and ended on a terrific cliffhanger. And had creator Kenneth Johnson had his way, V would have become a series of television movies that would further chronicle mankind's worldwide fight against the Visitors. Unfortunately the NBC suits wanted another full-blown miniseries and then a weekly series. Johnson worked on the 1984 sequel V: The Final Battle for a bit and then left the project, and based on what I've heard over the years Johnson had a much different (and better) idea of where to take the story than what NBC did with the franchise. The ending of V: The Final Battle has too much mystical hokum (I hate the whole "star child" thing) and the ensuing regular weekly series quickly devolved into not much more than "Dallas in Space". It was canceled after one season.

I've thought for a long time now that V was a great concept, that is perhaps more fitting to the world we live in today than it did twenty-odd years ago. There was an attempt in the early-1990s to revive it (courtesy of Babylon 5-helmer J. Michael Straczynski) that would have been set in the years following Earth's final surrender to the Visitors, before the arrival of the Visitors' "enemy" that Juliet had sent the signal to at the end of the first miniseries. That didn't get past the script stage, but from what I've read of it Straczynski had bold ideas in mind for maturely progressing the story past the mistakes of the second miniseries and the regular show.

It looks like V: The Second Generation is going to build on at least the original miniseries. But perhaps a thorough rebooting is more appropriate. I mean, V - the original four-hour miniseries anyway - was a magnificent achievement of compelling story, wonderful characters, and early-Eighties special effects. But by today's standards, it's woefully out-dated. Seeing the Maxwell kids playing an Atari 2600 made sense in 1983, but it's too era-specific today. And no doubt that if the Visitors first came to a world circa-2007, they would take active measures to clamp down on the Internet. Heck, they would probably have their own website set up with all of that cool Visitor propaganda.

But the biggest impetus to entirely relaunch V is this: can you imagine how that same premise could be executed today, with the same technology that makes shows like the current Battlestar Galactica possible? V would finally stand to be a true depiction of global war, instead of just seeing it through the eyes of folks in Los Angeles (yah that did get tiring after awhile).

Anyhoo, problems that eventually plagued the franchise aside, I'll eagerly be watching for V: The Second Generation when it hits shelves in another month or so :-)

Something I never, EVER thought that I would find myself writing

Okay so... what would be a good Mac to buy?

Specifically, one for high-def video editing.

(This is why you should be careful about what you say, folks. All those years of calling them "Macincraps" might finally be coming back to haunt me.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

TRANSFORMERS: THE SCORE continues to do well!

I just checked the Amazon page for Transformers: The Score. Almost two months since it came out and it's continuing to rack-up impressive sales: right now the overall Amazon music rank is #257, which isn't bad given all the other releases that have come out since then. In the category of Orchestral Pop it's at #6 and its #10 in both Classical and Movie Scores!

Where it's really shining though is the Amazon customer reviews: Transformers: The Score has been given a consistent average of 4 and 1/2 stars. And out of 52 ratings so far, 41 of them have given the CD the full 5 stars!

Okay, I'll share a lil' story about the CD. A few weeks ago, Lisa and I went down to Georgia for her cousin's wedding and then we stayed on through Thanksgiving (that's where we did the deep-fried turkey at). After the wedding, a whole bunch of Lisa's extended family came by her parents' house and we were hanging out for a bit and Lisa told her cousin the story about the whole thing to get Steve Jablonsky's Transformers score released: the petition, how we auctioned off on eBay the copy that Steve signed to help buy some music instruments for the schools here, etc. Lisa's cousin's girlfriend said that she didn't know the CD of that was out and she liked the score too when they saw the movie in the theater. Soooo long story short: I had the copy in our car that we found at Best Buy a week or so earlier (I haven't had my signed copy framed yet but I will soon :-) and I wound up giving it to her. So now that's another happy owner of Transformers: The Score.

The thing that I didn't realize though is that I had brought that copy to Georgia to be the accompanying soundtrack for this Thanksgiving's turkey-frying!

Well, it's like this: either I have the right music to fry to, or I don't fry at all. It's that important to The Ritual. It's part of what gives each turkey its own distinct history and personality. So a few days later, while Lisa was out shopping with her mom and her dad was off on an errand, I drove our rental car (yah still looking for a permanent one after the Corolla was totaled) to Marietta, got a few things (including more marinade for the turkey) and at the Border's there I bought another copy of Transformers: The Score. So now that's five copies of this one CD that have been in our possession since the beginning of October!

But at least it's pretty easy to find now :-P

Truck adorned with pics of aborted babies lands man in jail

This Associated Press story comes from Buford, Georgia, where the Mall of Georgia is located (one of the best-designed shopping malls that I've ever been too)...
Man arrested for truck showing images of aborted fetuses near Atlanta area mall

The Associated Press

BUFORD, Ga. -- Police have arrested a Missouri man for driving near the Mall of Georgia with a truck that showed large, graphic photos of aborted fetuses.

Gwinnett County police arrested Robert Roethlisberger Jr., 44, for disorderly conduct Friday. He was released from jail Monday on $1,200 bond.

Police went to the area after a caller reported seeing a panel truck displaying "bloody" and "gory" images. The truck had two large banners on each side and a banner on the rear of the truck, police said.

The images on the banners included the headless and bloody torso of an aborted fetus and the partially crushed head of an aborted fetus being held in forceps, police said.

An officer told Roethlisberger the banners were being displayed in an area full of shoppers and children. He was arrested after refusing to display less graphic banners instead, police said.

Police also impounded the truck and removed the banners from it. The truck was released from impound Monday, but the banners are being kept as evidence, Gwinnett County police Cpl. Illana Spellman said.

Roethlisberger is a driver for Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group.

The group called Roethlisberger's arrest "an egregious abuse of power."

Operation Rescue's president, Troy Newman, said the arrest was unconstitutional because the truck's display was protected under the First Amendment.

"We intend to vigorously fight these unjust charges and will seek a remedy for our property loss," Newman said. "We cannot allow the illegal use of police authority to bully us into silence."

I believe abortion is wrong... but this is not the right way to fight it. In fact, a stunt like this is perhaps more likely to galvanize indifference toward abortion as it is to impassion people to be against it.

And after watching the Operation Rescue people in action over the years, I have to wonder if they are doing things like this out of sincere concern for abortion. It could be just as likely that they do stunts like this because they want to be arrested. Because that gives them grounds to claim persecution. If they can project the notion that they are persecuted, then that - in their minds anyway - bestows upon them the status of being "legitimate". Legitimacy brings with it the quality of purpose. Take away the supposed rationale for persecution, and the assumed purpose likewise vanishes.

You see, I also have to wonder if people like the Operation Rescue folks are not secretly grateful that there is abortion: because it gives them something that they can use to assume importance and affluence.

All too often in affairs of human nature, there comes a point when the fight is no longer about a real cause, and it becomes a fight for sake of the fight itself. That's the surest sign of purpose gone astray. And there are also plenty of unscrupulous people out there who don't think twice about exploiting others' misplaced passion. It already happened a long time ago with the civil rights movement. It's also happened with the anti-abortion and "pro-family" movements, too.

In any case, the police were right to stop this guy. Mall of Georgia, especially at this time of year, is packed with families and small children. This sort of display is completely inappropriate for that kind of public venue.

EDIT 7:41 a.m. EST: If you can stomach it, here's a picture of Operation Rescue's "Truth Truck". This is something much larger than I had imagined it would be... and I'm downright horrified that something like that was driving around the Mall of Georgia on the day after Thanksgiving! Click if you must, but be warned: it's rather gruesome.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Nature Trail to Hell" live on stage!

Right now I'm averaging just one blog post a day. Which means that behind the scenes, I'm up to something.

But whenever I'm not on sabbatical from blogging (boy did that one go SNAFU or what?) I like to keep a little activity going so that the site doesn't stagnate.

Here's something that I found tonight that's well worth sharing: from a 1994 variety show at a New York high school, it's a live-action on-stage performance of "Weird Al" Yankovic's classic song "Nature Trail to Hell"!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Look at what Phillip Arthur has found: three sweet new pics from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! They all feature Harrison Ford as Indy and one of them has Shia LaBeouf as Indy's sidekick. Look closely at LaBeouf's leather jacket and it seems like the word "Mutt" is inscribed on the left side. Is that his character's name? Are the rumors true that LaBeouf is playing Indy's son? If so, "Mutt" would be kinda fitting, since Indy took his nickname after the family dog anyway :-P

Monday, November 26, 2007

WATCHMEN official set photos!

Hey hey! Taking a bit of a break from getting my U.S. House campaign website up and running. Okay, at this point it's an "exploratory committee" and the website is going to reflect that. But it's still looking pretty good.

Anyhoo, I wouldn't normally break in from doing something serious like that (and it is a serious endeavor) unless it was pretty massively major and/or immensely cool. If you've been following this project for the 20 years that it's been attempted, then you'll understand that this certainly qualifies as both.

It's about Watchmen. Namely, the first officially released photos from the set.

I don't know what else to say but... "HOLY COW!!"

Zack Snyder and his crew have nailed it. So help me, they have actually nailed it. This is really going to happen.

Let's take a look, courtesy of this blog post on the official Watchmen site.

This first photo alone is enough to make me believe that this is finally going to work. If you've read Watchmen then you already know why this picture is a big deal...

A seemingly more innocuous pic but close inspection will reveal some more Watchmen eye candy...

Here's the Gunga Diner itself. See the taxi going past it? I'm assuming that this is being driven by the same female cabbie that we see a lot in the graphic novel. Look really close and you can see that she's even wearing the same hat!

And finally there is this one: a big re-election poster for President Nixon (this is taking place in the 1985 of an alternate-history Earth). And that's none other than Rorschach himself walking past it! Looks like he's headed toward the bar on the left. That can't possibly be a good thing...

So there ya have it: our first official glimpses of Rorschach, Bernie the newsstand vendor, the comic book kid, the Gunga Diner, the cabbie, the Nixon poster, "Who Watches The Watchmen?" graffiti, the Tales of the Black Freighter comic...

This could be to comic book movies what Gone With The Wind was to Civil War epics.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The 50 greatest fictional weapons ever

ToyFare and Wizard Universe have compiled their list of the 50 greatest weapons throughout all of fiction. Lightsabers make the list twice (the standard design and Darth Maul's two-bladed terror) and I was glad to see that the BFG9000 from the videogame Doom also made the cut. There are also some things mentioned here that I'd never heard of before, like Hitler's Handgun (exactly what it sounds like, from Marvel Comics' Doctor Strange: The Oath miniseries) and some that are surprisingly obscure in this day and age (like the Target Seeking Bullet Gun from the movie Runaway). And the Tall Man's homicidal Christmas tree balls from Phantasm (left) came in at #24. A great fun read and I'm particularly glad to see what came in at #1 :-)

Friday, November 23, 2007

My decision on running for U.S. House

I'll do it.

Meaning: I am going to run for the United States House of Representatives from North Carolina's 13th District. As a lot of people have been suggesting over the past year. And it will be as a Republican.

I am absolutely serious about this.

But I'm not entirely happy with what I'm going to have to do in order for this to be a legitimate thing. You see, per the twisted myriad of Catch-22s that is federal election law, it's not feasible to have that amount of signatures on a petition just to see if you "should" run. Because in order to seriously consider running at all, you have to say that you are running... even though you don't count as a real candidate until you've raised enough money.

I need to make that clear: I'm going to run but at the present time I am not a candidate. I only become a candidate if my exploratory committee raises $5000. Then I become a candidate. In the meantime I'm "just running". Even though in my mind I'm still just "exploring" the possibility of running. But according to the rules I have to say that I am running, so I am running. And the only way to really gauge whether or not there is the support for this is to start raising money. And I don't know for sure if there really is enough support of that kind out there for this.

So basically we have a guy who's ran for school board, and didn't win that, and has since had a lot of people telling him that he should "set your sights higher", is already having to capitulate on an earlier statement, and is now declaring that he will run for United States Congress. My assets include 1 blog, 2 computers, 2 video cameras, a YouTube account, a few friends and family members (including 1 wife who is shaking her head in disbelief but has told me that if there is enough support that I should go for it), and not much else. And with this I am soon going to be asking people to contribute money - and hopefully lots of it - to my campaign.

Oh yeah and I will be running as a Republican who is against the Iraq war, does not believe that America should become an empire, has long thought that too many "Christian leaders" care more about having political power than earnestly seeking Christ and so I won't be seeking their endorsement, believes that the current presidential administration is the worst in American history because of things like the PATRIOT Act and No Child Left Behind and its refusal to do anything serious about illegal immigration, and will be running my own campaign without any "handlers" or "image consultants".

Are there any details that we are missing here?

So why am I doing this? Well, there are two reasons that have occupied my mind, for motivating me to take a shot at this...

First, I want to write. I want to make my movies. I want to get my masters degree. I want to be creative and productive. I want to have a full life of growing into whatever person it is that God wants me to grow into.

Most of all I want to be a father.

And it scares me, to think of what this country is becoming. What it has become already in a very short period of time. It scares me to think about what my children will be growing up in and what they will eventually inherit.

In the Boy Scouts we learned to always leave a campsite better than how it is that you found it. I've always thought that's a great philosophy for living your life. And as much as I want to do some things for myself personally right now, I would also like to know someday that I had done my best to leave this world not just a little better for my own children, but for everyone else.

So that's why, if people will have me, I'll sacrifice a few years of my time and do my best to serve others toward that end.

And the second reason why I've decided to run (and be a real candidate if the support is there): I'm just an ordinary citizen. But you know: why shouldn't regular Americans run for high office?

The beautiful thing about the Constitution is that the Founders wrote it so that anyone could understand it and the government it establishes. They never intended for it to be the sole province of a group of "professionals" or "elites". Quite frankly, I think Washington, Jefferson and Franklin would have been horrified to see what modern American government has turned into: politicians picked by party bosses, young men and women wasting the best years of their lives being little more than cogs in a merciless machine obsessed with power. And these so-called "experts", who have conned us into believing that they are somehow our "betters", have done nothing but waste our freedoms, our money, and even innocent lives while they continue to play their games.

People like that don't really see how the rest of us have to live with their mistakes. They don't know what it's like to make ends meet out here in the real world. It's cost them understanding, it's costing us our liberty and livelihood, and it's costing America whatever vitality she has left to her.

It's time for the "professional politicians" to go. And it's time for regular Americans to take hold of the destiny that the Founders intended for them to have for themselves.

That's the other reason why I'm going to run for United States House of Representatives: because I want a lot more people to see this guy running, against all odds, and think "hey, I could do that. I can do that. Maybe I will do that!" If I don't get in this time, then next time maybe there will be dozens more people out there who will try this too. I'll do my darndest to help them along the way. And I've no doubt that some of them will go all the way to the House, wherever they live.

I'm doing this because I want to see that entire House of Representatives filled with regular Americans, who are loyal to something other than political power or the fastest buck. And I'll do whatever it takes to see that happen.

I do not want to be a career politician. My earlier stipulation is still in effect: if in spite of everything set against me I were to wind up winning this seat, I would be there for no more than three terms. And I don't know if I would even want to be there that long. Lord only knows: I might get there and serve out one full term and then decide that I'm sick and tired of the corruption and that I want out. Besides, I don't believe that this is something that the Founders wanted to be a "lifetime career" anyway: I'd go and serve a few years and then get out and let the next guy start serving.

And by the way: there are a lot of things going against me, since I'm doing this.

I won't lie to anyone about my chances, because I understand them all too well.

I'm 33, plenty enough old to run but still very young compared to most people already there. Again, I have to emphasize that I am not "well off": I'm just now getting a business started - after trying to do that for a year - and although I'm very optimistic about it in light of how well some things are lining up for it, that's a far thing from saying that I'm "successful" with it yet.

I am not a perfect human being by any stretch. There are a lot of flaws that I've got to admit that I have. I like to think that I've overcome and grown past a lot of those. That's only come about because of the grace of God and a lot of patience. But all the same: there are lesser angels of my own nature that I still struggle with, and will continue to struggle with for the rest of my life. I won't shy away from admitting that.

Last week I changed my voter registration to Republican. That doesn't really mean anything to me though. I only did it because the way the election laws have been written over the years, you only stand a real chance at all of getting elected if you are a member of one of the two major parties.

Truth be known, I don't care much for political parties anymore. They are one of the bigger problems that are destroying this country.

So I'll be a Republican on the ballot, if it comes to that. But I'm not "running as a Republican". I'm running as Chris Knight. Stand or fall, I can't compromise on that. I do realize that because I've got "Republican" next to my name, that alone will disqualify me in many people's minds. And that I'm not a life-long, lock-step committed member of the GOP (and don't want to be either) will have some calling me a "Republican In Name Only".

Fine, I'm a RINO. As if "Republican" even means anything anymore. I believe in the values that the Republican party used to hold to: limited government, personal responsibility, individual freedom. I believe that abortion is wrong and that we have the right to self defense per the Second Amendment (and I don't believe elected officials should be playing games with things like that just to keep persuading the voters).

But I do not believe that the Republican party as a whole can claim to have the market cornered on those virtues any longer. If I run as a Republican and if anyone demands that I be labeled, I guess you could say that I'm going to be a "paleo-conservative"... and that is not a popular thing these days with the current Republican leadership. I'm not counting on any support from that quarter. But I wasn't hoping for it from them either.

I'll be listed on the ballot as a Republican, if things get that far. But I'll be running as I live my life: as an individual. Because that's how I see the world: as individual people, not groups of people to "trick" and manipulate and lie to.

That first commercial from my school board campaign? Better get ready for more like that, if TV commercials start getting made. Because if there's one thing that I will absolutely try not to do, it's insult your intelligence as a voter. Heck, you and I both know that you can think on your own. I'm not gonna be the candidate who tries to fool you. I may entertain you some but I'll also do my best to tell it like it is. Because I know that you can handle it.

My original declaration has not changed at all: there will be no negative advertising coming out of my campaign. If I run a single negative commercial, I won't run for office again, anywhere, for as long as I live.

I don't even want it to be said that I'm "running against" anyone. I'm simply running for a seat. That means I'll be presenting myself and my beliefs to the voters and will offer to serve them. If they don't want to take me up on that offer, there'll be no hard feelings and I go on and will still get to have that productive life (Lord willing with lots of kiddies) and I'll be happy.

I also want to reiterate something else that I said earlier: that I will not accept political action committee (PAC) money in my campaign. This has to be something that individuals must contribute to.

And I'm still not going to refer to anyone else running in this race as either a "liberal" or a "conservative". Other people need more respect than to have some silly label slapped on them for sake of our own convenience.

If you're thinking this is a joke, put that notion aside. Within the limits that I've set and have been established by circumstance, I am bound and determined to give this the best effort that I can. And if people really want me to do this, I'm going to serve them to the utmost of my ability.

This will be a very hard thing to attempt.

The odds are against me.

But it's worth taking a shot at.

And it has the added incentive of quite possibly being a lot of fun.

I'll say it again: if you thought my school board commercials were great, you ain't seen nuthin' yet!

Much more coming next week, including the launch of the exploratory committee website. And possibly a video or two as well.

Not much else to say right now except...

"Here we go, fast and furious!"

Women who won't have babies "for the good of the planet"

This may be one of the most screwball things that I've ever read. And I've read plenty of screwball in my short time in this world...

There's a story at the Daily Mail website about women who refuse to get pregnant. Who have gone so far as to choose to be sterilized. Because to them, babies are "not eco friendly". They have rendered themselves incapable of having babies to "protect the planet".

So in order to preserve the beauty of the Earth, it now becomes morally righteous to wipe out people who can enjoy and appreciate that beauty. Ooh-kaaaaaay...

I long ago came to distrust Radical Environmentalism (which I capitalize because it really has become a religion as much as Christianity or Buddhism or what have you). Radical Environmentalism is the "observer effect" taken to an ecclesiastical extreme and turned into a weird cult of neo-flagellants. I have never understood why some people believe that the possession of conscious thought is grounds for ecological segregation. Man is not a thing apart from the environment: man is an active component of the environment.

And the idea that man must be diminished or even banished entirely from that environment in order to "preserve" it is absolutely insane. Even on a strictly "environmentalist" level it makes no sense, because for radical environmentalism of this sort to be valid, it must be true that Earth's environment exists in a pristine, static state without flux or change. We know that this is not true at all: Earth's environment is constantly changing, caused by factors well beyond our control and influence. Those include solar radiation, magma displacement far underground, genetic mutation (such as the periodic shifting of the flu virus), many other things. So the rabid environmentalist mindset is already something wildly illogical.

Here is where Radical Environmentalism differs from conservation, which is a good thing. Conservation does embrace the fact that man is part of the environment, and maintains that we are to be stewards of the land as best we can. Conservation has us as participants in the world, while extreme Environmentalism makes us a disease to be cut out.

But let's cut to the real problem with Radical Environmentalism: as happens all too often with religion, it's purpose has become that of power and control over other people. And apparently, it is a religion much like that of Molech in the time of the Old Testament, where the highest sign of devotion was to sacrifice your own child. Now we have women sacrificing their own wombs to demonstrate fealty to their idol. Would these women have done such a thing, had they not wanted a sense of empowerment and decided that it was worth sacrificing their identities and their flesh for that measure of power? Probably not. But such is the allure of the collective mind.

Sad. Just very, very sad...

Kinda makes you wonder if watching Children of Men should be required in high school biology classrooms. Hey if An Inconvenient Truth can be mandatory viewing , why not a movie about what happens when there are no more babies being born?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What I am thankful for in 2007

Last year for Thanksgiving, I posted here a list of things for which I am thankful. It seemed then that this might be a great thing to turn into an annual tradition.

So as Thanksgiving 2007 is winding down, I have to say that I am thankful for...

...my dear wife Lisa, who more times than I can possibly count over this past year has shown again that she is the most remarkable woman that I have ever met, in addition to being the most beautiful. I absolutely do not deserve to have her in my life, and I thank God every day that for whatever reason, He put the two of us together. And Lord willing, we will have children someday soon who will come to know how wonderful she is, too :-)

...for my family.

...for the many, many new friendships that were made over this past year. That was the most consistent thing that happened throughout all of "these crazy situations" (as Chad Austin put it).

...and I'm especially thankful for my brothers and sisters in POTSMOD and how that brought us together to not only stand up against a bad thing and put a stop to it, but also to have a lot of fun along the way :-)

...for the hardships. Yes, I am thankful for the adversities that have come up seemingly nonstop since this year began. Because each of those things caused me to grow, even when they sometimes almost broke me down completely. And I sincerely believe that this is the biggest testimony that I can offer about how God has been working in my life. The Chris Knight from a decade ago could not have stood up to all of these crises and situations. That Chris Knight would have tried to face them on his own and he would have fallen and been utterly crushed by them. Heck, he was crushed by them. The Chris Knight of 2007 has finally (or I like to think so anyway) learned to yield his life to God and let Him shoulder the burden instead. The Chris Knight of today has become a person who doesn't try to do it on his own... because he finally realizes that attempting it can only hurt and destroy a person, and comes in the way of what God would have for us.

...for the weddings of so many loved ones.

...for the arrival into this world of so many beautiful new little ones.

...for acing the Praxis II exam and doing so well on the GRE!

...for the start of what I hope will be a successful business, which will be the first time that I've really set out to make my own living. Whether I succeed or fail is not only in my hands but more importantly it's in God's hands... which is where it belongs to begin with.

...that I was able to make another short film (which was also an opportunity to meet some terrific new people).

...for Transformers: The Score, which to me became not only a beautiful piece of music but symbolic of something much more profound and wonderful. What I mean by that is something that would take too long to go into here.

...for Lost, which is the kind of television storytelling that I wish I could have grown up watching my entire life.

...for the Rockingham County Board of Education, which has been one of the most entertaining things that I have ever borne witness to.

...for finally getting to eat at Mama Dip's restaurant.

...for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which was one of the most amazing and profoundly Christian novels that I have ever read.

...for Facebook, which has led to me getting back in touch with a lot of people that I've lost contact with over the years.

...for WGSR Star 39, which never ceases to entertain and enlighten with its oddball quirkiness (but please guys, no solid month's run of Cujo anymore, 'kay?).

...and speaking of WGSR, I'm thankful that I got to co-host an entire hour of Monday Night Live earlier this year.

...for Marvel Ultimate Alliance, one of the greatest video games ever (and I hope that we get a sequel someday soon)!

...that I will be finally attending Butt-Numb-A-Thon two weeks from now, after trying hard for so many years to be there.

...for a wonderful trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway around Boone last month, which ended up being very much the swan song trip for my trusty Toyota Corolla. I am sorry that it was totaled less than a week later, but I couldn't have asked for a better "going away" for it.

...for finally, after years and years of trying to comprehend and accept this, realizing that God's grace is sufficient.

...for so many other things that I'm trying hard to think of right now but am failing horribly at recalling, mostly 'cuz this has been such a long day.

...and as last year, I am just thankful for being able to say that I am thankful.

Pics and report on Thanksgiving 2007's deep-fried turkey

I awoke at dawn, had breakfast but didn't bother to shower. When you know that you'll be working with searing-hot oil and will get blasted with steam rich in the aroma of garlic butter, getting cleaned-up for Thanksgiving dinner is kind of a moot thing.

Deep-frying a turkey is the only form of cooking that I know of that demands wearing extra layers of clothing and such demanding attention to detail. It's like being a combination firefighter, M*A*S*H surgeon and gourmet chef. This is masculine cooking to the max. In fact, I've only seen one woman deep-fry a turkey: the indomitable Paula Dean. But then, Paula Dean can do anything in the kitchen. That she is the only woman I have witnessed frying a turkey makes her all the more magnificent. Behold her awesome culinary skills and tremble, mere mortals!

Anyhoo, we had breakfast - just a little bacon and toast 'cuz I didn't want to eat too much and feel slowed-down by digestion. I decided to start the operation a little earlier than usual because the forecast called for increased winds and dropping temperatures later in the day.

Here's the turkey, after more than a day of preparation with lots of garlic butter marinade and Cajun rub...

Here's the setup for today's frying. When this photo was taken the peanut oil was already about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and steadily rising. That's Lisa's dad sitting in the background, oggling the flames and glory...

Closeup of the peanut oil as it was heating up...

Every time I figure out how long to deep-fry a turkey, I'm reminded of the official U.S. Army manual Procedure for Military Executions, which is the how-to guide that was used to dispatch the Nuremberg war criminals (among others). Just like the Army personnel had to figure in the weight and height of each condemned man so that they'd know how much rope to use on the gallows, so too do you have to take the bird's weight and then determine how long to cook it. It's a fairly delicate dance: the turkey must be fried at 350 degrees, but you want to heat the oil up slightly more than that (say, an extra 10-20 degrees) because the oil temperature is going to drop once the bird is fully submerged. Then figure that for each pound of the turkey that it must be fried for 3.5 minutes. Then tack on an extra 2-5 minutes just to be sure that it's thoroughly cooked. In the case of this turkey, I figured that 40 minutes exactly would be sufficient.

So here it went into the pot...

Lisa's dad took this shot of me still lowering it in. If you want to be safe (which you should) it ought to take you at least 30 seconds, maybe even a full minute to completely put the turkey in. Also make sure that the inside and outside of the bird is as dry as possible...

Putting the turkey in is the most absolutely scary point of the whole operation. When it's safely in, and you have unhooked the spit and can let the hot oil run its course... only then can you really relax (but not too much). But every time that it's finally in the pot, it's a moment of triumph and I couldn't help but let out a big huge rebel yell of "Yeee-haw!!!"

And there's the mad fryer himself!

Like a scene from Dante's Inferno. Ladies and gentlemen, behold the mouth of Hell...

After it was in the pot and I felt comfortable enough about it, I walked a short distance to my car (the one that we've rented 'cuz I'm still without one of my own after the Corolla got totaled) and started Transformers: The Score going almost full-blast out of the speakers. Because part of my turkey-frying tradition is to have good music for the event.

Finally, 40 minutes later, at 11:30 a.m. exactly and just as "Arrival to Earth" was reaching its crescendo, it was time to remove the turkey. Here now, be awed at how beautiful it turned out!

And here it is a short while later when we started serving it for dinner and had begun to carve it. Notice how well cooked it is... and after only 40 minutes of frying time! It also came out very moist and tender, not like traditional basting at all.

Along with the deep-fried turkey we had corn, snap beans, hash-brown casserole and biscuits. It was quite a good meal, and everyone said that they enjoyed the turkey. I certainly did, since it had been almost two years since I had tasted any!

And that was Thanksgiving Dinner 2007 for us. And there's plenty of turkey still left over and I'll no doubt be bloated to the max by the time this weekend is over :-)

New poster for CLOVERFIELD

About to get in a bit of a nap ('cuz you also gotta be wide-awake when you fry a turkey) but before doing that, courtesy of ComingSoon.net here is the new poster for Cloverfield:

And in case you've been following this movie and haven't heard already (like I did from Phillip Arthur), there is a slow-motion close-up of the brief glimpse of the monster that we see in the new trailer (the full version of which you can watch in Quicktime here... and is that a lot of linkage to put together or what? :-).

Thanksgiving 2007: Gonna fry now

So it's now early Thanksgiving morning and in case anyone is wondering: yes, this year I am deep-frying a turkey! It'll be the first I've done in two years. I didn't fry one for Thanksgiving last year because I had to work all day at the TV station. Here's a pic of the 2005 Thanksgiving fried turkey and the one I did the previous Christmas and Thanksgiving 2004. You've no idea how much I missed doing one and how much I've been looking forward to this Thanksgiving. I started prepping the bird yesterday and just gave it a checkup and even pre-cooked, it smells delightful!

It must be borne in mind however that deep-frying (or Cajun-frying) a turkey is an EXTREMELY dangerous procedure! Every year, there are dozens (hundreds?) of accidents involving turkey frying that result in damaged homes, some even thoroughly destroyed and worse: severe injury including second and third-degree burns. I don't want to discourage anyone from trying fried turkey (in my opinion the only way to cook so noble a bird) but you really must be exceedingly cautious and maybe even a little crazy if you want to even begin contemplating doing such a thing.

So if you ever decide that you can't resist "going in deep", remember: do the "water trick" before preparing the bird so that you'll know how much oil to use (because the vast majority of turkey-frying accidents stem from putting way too much oil in the pot), don't use a bird that's too big for your pot, wear plenty of protection (especially hands and face), make sure the bird is completely dry on both the outside and inside, never leave the fryer unattended, never do this alone, keep children and animals a safe distance away, do not operate while intoxicated (a good rule for anything), move all vehicles a safe distance away, do not operate the fryer indoors or under a shelter (you wouldn't believe the stories I've heard of people attempting this in their living rooms and I've never heard of it turning out in any way other than the whole house burning down), and perhaps most important of all be patient and do not try to rush things. Cooking at only 3 1/2 - 4 minutes per pound at 350 degrees, it will be ready to eat very soon anyway (this is one of the reasons why I prefer deep-fried turkey, compared to basting which is too slow and leaves the meat too dry for my tastes: Cajun-fried turkey is exceptionally moist and tender).

In addition to all of these rules, I would also say that as a personal preference, I do not use the tripod-stand fryers. My turkeys have always been fried on a four-legged fryer because this maximizes stability for the pot (i.e. far less likely to tip over). It may cost a little extra but the added safety and peace of mind are well worth it.

So with all that said, here are the pre-game stats for Chris Knight's Thanksgiving Deep-Fried Turkey 2007:

Bird: Butterball(tm) brand 11.5 pound turkey (one of these days I'm going to find and prepare a wild turkey)

Marinade: Cajun Injector(tm) Creole Butter

Rub: Cajun Injector(tm) Cajun Shake, used generously on the inside and outside of the bird

Type of oil to be used: Peanut (would like to try cottonseed oil sometime if I can ever find any)

Music: A very important part of my personal turkey-frying ritual is to have a CD playing to mark the occasion, and for entertainment while the bird is cooking. The last time I did this for Thanksgiving, in 2005, it was the soundtrack for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which given all the seared flesh that I was working with seemed quite appropriate :-) This year, for reasons which should be obvious for anyone who's followed this blog over the past few months, the turkey-frying music will be Transformers: The Score by Steve Jablonsky.

After dinner today I'll post some pics of the turkey and show y'all how it turned out (and maybe even some of it frying :-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The official poster for Butt-Numb-A-Thon 9!

Tonight Harry Knowles unveiled the official poster for Butt-Numb-A-Thon 9 and it looks frickin' awesome!! Check it out...

Still can't believe that I'm finally getting to go to Butt-Numb-A-Thon this year. After everything that has happened going as far back as the summer of 2006, and especially the past several months... I can't help but feel like maybe this is a sign that things are looking up. You just gotta have faith, folks. As a highly respected philosopher once put it: "faith manages" (and props to whoever can spot where that came from :-P).

I had a crazy thought the other night: might one of the big movies that we'll see premiered at Butt-Numb-A-Thon 9 possibly be... Cloverfield?!? Dunno. I'm still hoping that we'll get to see Mother, Jugs & Speed 'cuz that's the absolutely perfect movie for a Butt-Numb-A-Thon crowd. Even more than those two though, I'm praying that the good Mr. Knowles might possibly pull off the coup of the millennium and have The Day the Clown Cried on the program (sometime soon I'm gonna make a blog post about that) 'cuz that's prolly the only way that I'll ever get to see that movie.

Anyhoo, props to D. Campbell MacKinlay (aka CARTUNA) for the awesome poster!

Deputy attempts to murder family dog (family should have murdered the deputy if you ask me)

A family in Idaho says that a sheriff's deputy tried to murder their dog.

Apparently the deputy came to their door, demanded to see the dog and claimed that he was there to kill it after a complaint had been filed. When the dog's owner asked to see proof the deputy is alleged to have replied "I don't need any proof". He was then led to the dog and he shot it multiple times with a rifle.

What I can't figure out is why the dog's family just let the deputy go ahead and shoot it. The dog survived, by the way.

It would have been a far better thing for the family to have disobeyed and called the deputy's superiors before this goon was allowed to go any further. And if worse came to worst, they should have shot the deputy dead.

No, I'm not kidding either.

I don't care what kind of trouble it gets me in for saying this, because it needs to be said: "law enforcement officers" who act without restraint like this are nothing more than criminal thugs. The fact that they wear a badge is irrelevant. And by acting this way they give the decent officers who do care about serving others and the rule of law a very, very bad name.

Am I making my point clear here? We do not need to obey someone just because they have a badge and a uniform and a gun. Being an agent of the government does not make someone "anointed" or "morally superior". That kind of respect must be earned, it cannot be endowed. And sometimes the moral thing to do is to disobey such people. With all due force if need be.

The whole thing about being a civilized society? That's for the people to enforce even more than it is for the government to do so.

This is why the Founding Fathers had the wisdom to include the Second Amendment: so that we could shoot back when "they" start shooting first.

WREV reunion video

Matt Smith at WGSR posted this on YouTube yesterday: it's the video of the reunion of the WREV vets. WREV - the original one anyway - was Reidsville, North Carolina's radio station for many years, operating from sunrise to sunset. The classic WREV was replaced a little over ten years ago by "salsa"-style 24-hour all-Spanish broadcasting. So if you're a current or former resident of Rockingham County, here's a nice lil' trip down memory lane...

Star Wars Force FX Lightsaber Construction Set by Master Replicas

I saw this on sale yesterday at Radio Shack. If you've ever lusted after one of those awesome Force FX lightsabers that Master Replicas makes but have somehow never got one, this may finally make you yield to the Dark Side enough to shell out $99 for it...

With a variety of grips, switches, pommels and whatnot (to say nothing of how you can select from three different colors for the blade) to choose from, the Lightsaber Construction Set boasts that you can create thousands of different combinations of this most elegant of weapons.

Bunch more photos of the thing over at Simply Toys. And no, I did not buy this. But I soon might :-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Weird Al" Yankovic's video for "Fat"

Here is a dire warning for all of those tempted to pig out this Thanksgiving. From his 1988 album Even Worse, here is the video for "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Fat" (which is a parody of Michael Jackson's "Bad", right down to the same subway set!)...

Message on a church sign

Something I love to do whenever I'm driving around is look at the signs outside of churches. Because whenever they're not advertising potluck dinners and Cub Scout meetings, they will usually have some wise and often witty messages.

There is one on north Church Street in Greensboro (I forget which church exactly but it's one of the Baptist ones on the left-hand side as you're driving north) that has really stuck in my head since seeing it the other day...

Thanksgiving is good.
Thanks-living is even better.

Or something like that. Anyhoo, I thought it was a good thought that deserved a post here :-)

Monday, November 19, 2007

New CLOVERFIELD trailer!

No screencap 'cuz I wouldn't know what the heck to use for one. This movie is 2 months away and we still barely know anything about Cloverfield, the monster flick produced by J.J. Abrams. It's even an open question as to whether Cloverfield will be the final title or not! Anyhoo, if you (like me) have been salivating for the least bit of morsel about this movie ever since that strange-as-heck teaser that ran with Transformers back in July...

Mash down here for the Cloverfield trailer in lots of Quicktime including high-definition!

A hearty welcome to the world for Avery Lillian James!

Brien James passes along the word that as of a few days ago he is a proud father! Avery Lillian James was born on the afternoon of November 14th. If you go to Brien's above-linked Myspace page you'll find a bunch of good pics of baby Avery.

Congratulations Brien and Mandy! God has certainly blessed you guys with one beautiful bundle of joy :-)

Vintage SESAME STREET is now adults-only

The very first episodes of Sesame Street are out on DVD. But they carry a warning label: "These early 'Sesame Street' episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today's preschool child." And this is not intended to be a joke either, according to this New York Times article. Seems that a lot of things have changed since Sesame Street's first broadcast 38 years ago this month. Among the items listed as unacceptable for today's children: Cookie Monster smoking a pipe during "Monsterpiece Theater", Oscar the Grouch is now seen as having untreated depression, and how there are too many "rural — agrarian, even — sequences" in the early episodes.

I have a question: how many of the "child experts", who sit around all day finding stuff like this to nit-pick about, actually have children?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Civil Merits Panel: A proposal for tort reform regarding frivolous lawsuits

I wouldn't mind saying out loud, even though I've now given on-the-record testimony during deposition, that Ron Price's lawsuit against Richard and Debbie Moore is a steaming pile of horse manure. Except that doing so would be a dire insult to horses everywhere.

(Here is my own report about being deposed and here is Richard's account, which includes not only my own time on the "witness stand" but his own and that of Debbie and Ron Price... who I especially heard did not do so well.)

In my admittedly non-legally trained estimation, this case is going to be laughed out of court. But that won't be before Price and his attorney Doug Hux will have (a) wasted a lot of our valuable time and money, (b) wasted a lot of the public's valuable time and money, and (c) continued to set a horrible example to this county's young people who Price swore to serve when he became a member of the Rockingham County Board of Education. In fact, what Price and Hux are doing is nothing less than gross abuse of the Constitution.

In a sane world, this should not have been allowed to happen at all. There is no reason why Ron Price should have been able to proceed with this kind of ridiculous litigation against the Moores (and he will probably be coming after me too in time, since word on the street is that he really doesn't like how I've lampooned him with my Adobe Photoshop handiwork over the past year).

After reading for years about frivolous litigation, this is my first time personally experiencing it. And it's downright damned honked me off. Especially when I think about how this sort of crap happens all the time throughout the United States.

So over the past few days I've been thinking about what can be done to remedy this problem. And I think that I might have hit on something...

One of the best things about American law - even though it's not our original idea but rather something old enough to have been codified in the Magna Carta - is the concept of the grand jury, which most countries do not have. In matters of criminal law in the United States, before a defendant can be brought to trial he or she must be indicted: meaning that evidence must be presented before a grand jury first. It is the grand jury members who decide whether or not there are sufficient grounds to prosecute a full courtroom case against the defendant. Obviously this keeps the courts from being overwhelmed with full-fledged trials that would otherwise bog down the system. But it also demands that the prosecutors realize fully-well what they are attempting to do in bringing a case against an individual. The grand jury is a check against abuse of power that is as detrimental to the public which must pay for the courts as much as it is to the individual who possibly finds him-or-herself on trial.

If we have grand juries deciding the legitimacy of criminal proceedings, then why not have something like that for civil matters also... such as lawsuits?

Here's my idea:

Establish a three-judge panel, which is randomly drawn from a small pool of judges who are publicly elected for the position every two years and are not appointed for this panel. Call it the "civil merits panel". There will be one for each judicial district. This panel will be charged with "weeding-out" the frivolous lawsuits from those which have serious grounds for proceeding with the serving of lawsuits and issuance of summons.

So before a lawsuit can even begin to be served, the plaintiff's attorney must bring it before the civil merits panel. Much like the courts of appeals, the judges on the civil merits panel vote on whether the lawsuit should or should not proceed. If at least two of the judges agree, then the lawsuit is allowed to go forth as it does now. If the panel does not agree that the lawsuit has merit, it gets tossed out.

In the event that the panel decides not to let the lawsuit proceed, the plaintiff will have the right to appeal the panel's decision, and have the merits of the lawsuit heard by a panel of three different judges drawn from the same elected pool. This panel will also decide if there is basis for a full lawsuit to proceed. If they agree, then the lawsuit goes forth. If not, it all ends right there and the plaintiff will have no more opportunity for appealing this lawsuit before the civil merits panel.

(The angels of my lesser nature would also like to recommend that in the event of a lawsuit's merits being turned down after a second hearing by the panel, that the plaintiff and all of his or her attorneys will be forcefully seized and pistol-whipped hard across the bare buttocks in the town square for not less than one-quarter of an hour, including not less than five minutes by the would-be defendant. However as this is Sunday morning I am trying hard to maintain a Christ-like manner in putting forth this proposal.)

So there's my idea: instead of outright obligating a defendant to hire an attorney and make allowances for the plaintiff's possibly preposterous petition for proceedings, let a panel of judges (who being publicly elected would be held accountable for their rulings and could be periodically removed if need be) decide whether the lawsuit has weight enough to become a nuisance for all involved.

There at least needs to be some kind of oversight at work here. Otherwise, civil litigation will continue to be a right that is abused and a drain on public resources.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Richard Moore's account of the Ron Price lawsuit deposition

Here's Richard Moore's write-up about what happened during deposition in the Ron Price lawsuit against Richard and his wife Debbie. There are two big reasons why I'm posting it here too: one, because Richard gives his perspective on what happened when Doug Hux interrogated me. And two, because Richard Moore, although he's not the lousy blogger like Ron Price is, is a man who just can't leave stuff consistent on his Political Soup website. Richard, haven't you heard of archiving stuff?! Anyhoo here it is for permanent record (and with proper citation, which I always do anyway)...


D-DAY NOVEMBER 15, 2007. It wasn't exactly the allies storming the beach at Normandy, but it was a bloody, painful assault on one witness. I am talking about Deposition Day in the Ron Price defamation lawsuit against my wife Debbie and me.

For my readers who have been living under a rock without internet access for the past year, Rockingham County School Board member Ron Price is suing Debbie and me for libel and slander because I said Price stole Congressman Brad Miller's campaign signs from the roadside.

Reidsville Police Department officers found Miller signs in Price's car trunk just minutes after two independent witnesses saw Price pulling them up along Highway 14 between Reidsville and Eden.

Price is also suing Debbie and me because Debbie went to a magistrate with a copy of the Reidsville Police Department report that said Price had committed larceny by stealing Brad Miller's signs. The magistrate read the Police Department report and the law and then issued a warrant charging Price with removing or vandalizing public notices (NCGS 14-384).

Price subsequently confessed to taking Miller's signs on his own web site, in several newspaper articles, and on live television.

Price has convinced himself he has been defamed and charged with a crime because I was attempting to take his seat on the Rockingham County School Board.

According to Price, because I received the highest number of votes of the eleven losing candidates, I would have been automatically appointed to fill the seat to which Price had been elected if he abandoned it or was removed from it.

Price believes my accusing him of stealing has nothing to do with Price actually stealing Brad Miller's campaign signs. And, Debbie asking a magistrate about charging Price with removing public notices has nothing to do with Ron Price actually stealing Brad Miller's campaign signs.

I didn't report Wendy Hoover for embezzling money from the school system because I thought I would get her nice paying job. I reported her because it was the right thing to do when the School Board tried to cover up the crime. Debbie felt the same way when she went to a magistrate about Price's "sign incident".

Click here to watch Debbie talk about the charges against Ron Price. The video was recorded in late January, 2007.

Unfortunately the facts do not support Mr. Price's view of our motivations for accusing him of stealing.

There is nothing automatic about selecting a replacement for a vacancy on the Rockingham County School Board. The law says the School Board can make recommendations to the County Commissioners, but the Commissioners decide who fills the vacancy. It doesn't matter why or when the vacancy occurs.

Debbie and I have never for a moment believed the Commissioners would ever select me to fill a seat on the School Board, and we're damned sure the School Board would not recommend me. Would I accept an appointment if hell freezes over? Of course I would. I ran for School Board, why wouldn't I?

Anyways, on November 15, Debbie and I were summoned to the office of Doug Hux in Eden. Hux represented Ron Price during his brief legal problems with the "sign incident." Hux is also representing Price in his lawsuit against my wife and me.

Price was summoned to the deposition by our attorney, Seth "THE SAW" Cohen.

We were all called to give testimony relating to Price's lawsuit.

For those who don't know what the purpose of a deposition is, as best as I can understand it, it's a pre-trial mini-trial. The "witnesses" are under oath and the lawyers ask them a lot of questions. There ain't no judge or jury. The lawyers just size up the potential witnesses. One might call it scouting.

There is a court reporter present who records everything said, puts numbered stickers on documents, and changes tapes in what looked like two oversized cassette tape players. Our court reporter wore a high-altitude fighter pilot mask on her face during the entire deposition. I'm not sure what the mask was about - maybe she has emphysema, a germ phobia, or she was afraid somebody was going to fart in the small conference room in Hux's office.

The deposition questions, at least in this lawsuit, seemed to be as much, or maybe even more, about motivation than the simple facts - otherwise known as the truth. I'm told lawyers ask questions during depositions and then ask the same questions during the actual trial to see if they can catch you giving two different answers. If your answers differ, the lawyer puts you on the spot at the trial.

The beginning questions are fluff designed to put you at ease with the nice man who is about to strap you down on a rack and attach electrified barbwire to your nuts. At first you are asked things like when you were born, where you went to school, your job history, why your web site server is located in Germany.

I felt pretty good with my answers about my birth date, schooling, employment history, etc., but then Hux threw me a real curve ball. The question definitely rattled me for a few seconds, and I'm sure it was obvious to everyone in the room that I was not at ease with my answer.

Hux asked, "Mr. Moore, can you tell me why your web site is located on a server in Germany?"

Damn! Hux is a clever devil! From out of nowhere, Hux nailed me with a question that I couldn't answer. I was never expecting this. I thought I knew the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the "sign incident." I had no fear of the truth. I had no reason to hide from the truth. In fact I wanted the truth about the "sign incident" plastered all over Doug Hux's office.

Prior to Doug Hux asking me why my web site server is located in Germany, I never knew my web server is located in Germany. I don't know how Mr. Hux knows where my web site server is located. He seemed very computer/internet savvy for someone who said he doesn't even have an email address.

Anyways, Doug, wanted to know why my web site is located on a server in Germany. I didn't know the answer, but I thanked Mr. Hux for providing me with a tidbit of useless information that I didn't previously have.

By the way, Doug has a very nice office. Hux said it used to be an old post office. The original brickwork is visible on the interior, there's a high ceiling, an original hardwood floor, a couple of pretty plants line a hallway leading to offices and a conference room. Doug's receptionist was very nice. She told me she really enjoyed my Political Soup program on WGSR-TV. She also likes our My Home Kitchen cooking show, but it comes on too late for her to see it very often. Her sister loves My Home Kitchen.

I should mention Doug was very cordial to Debbie and me, but he didn't indicate whether he ever watched Political Soup for any reason other than to sue me and my wife.

Mr. Hux let me use his toilet a couple of times and he gave me some bottled water to help lubricate my answers. Mr. Hux seems to be a nice man, but so does Ron Price when you first meet him.

Hux let me have a blank writing pad that appeared to have been lifted from a Clarion Hotel. When I showed my lawyer the Clarion logo on the pad, Hux immediately explained the pad was lawfully obtained. Yeah, sure Doug, whatever you say.

There's a bigger story behind the Clarion pad and Hux's reaction to me showing it to Seth Cohen, but I can't say any more right now. If you read Chris Knight's comments on the deposition, you might figure it out.

By the way, my lawyer has a real nice office too. It looks like something you see on a TV legal drama. I have to admit Doug's plants are nicer than Seth's, and Seth has never offered Debbie and me any refreshing beverages. I think Doug Hux may be my new best buddy. I hope Ron doesn't mind.

Chris Knight was also summoned to give a deposition, but nobody could ever understand why.

Chris didn't understand. My wife and I didn't understand. Our lawyer didn't understand. And by the end of Chris' 15-minute deposition, I'm guessing Doug Hux and Ron Price weren't sure why they deposed Chris either.

Seth Cohen didn't have any questions for Chris because Seth had no idea why Chris was even there. Chris was summoned by Price and Hux, not by Debbie and me or our lawyer.

We (Debbie, Seth, and myself) didn't understand why Chris was summoned before the deposition, and we understood even less after the deposition.

One thing we did understand after Chris' deposition was Chris worked for and supported Ron Price's school board candidacy. According to Chris, he even offered to make a campaign TV commercial for Ron for free.

Chris' said he did an abrupt about-face after Price was caught stealing Brad Miller's campaign signs. During the deposition, Chris made it very clear in a very dramatic style that he now considers Price to be a scoundrel who sacrificed integrity and honesty on the altar of political gain when Price took Miller's signs and replaced them with signs for Miller's opponent Vernon Robinson.

Chris was considered a "witness" for the Plaintiff (Ron Price) because the Plaintiff summoned him to the deposition. If Chris Knight was deposed as a witness to support the Plaintiff's claims against Debbie and me, it probably didn't work out quite the way Ron and Doug hoped.

I had planned to give you all the juicy details about the deposition, including posting the actual verbatim transcripts. My lawyer asked me not to do that right now. I don't exactly know why because I think the depositions are public records, but I am paying Mr. Cohen for his advice, so I'll follow it.

I think I can tell you a few things without disregarding Mr. Cohen's advice.

I was the first "witness". Hux spent about an hour interrogating me. Except for the Germany question, I was pretty comfortable with everything.

Several times Hux asked questions that I didn't quite understand what he was getting at. A queerly phrased question can be a bit unsettling because you have to struggle to figure out which answer goes with the question.

There is only one truth in the "sign incident", but that truth is composed of many facts. It was sometimes puzzling as to which particular fact Mr. Hux was seeking. Although I'm not entirely sure I answered the questions that were being asked, I tried my best to answer everything as honestly as I possibly could.

There were a lot of theoretical questions, a lot of "what-ifs". I was very puzzled about those kinds of questions.

There were questions about what I thought Mr. Price's intentions were. Hell, I don't know for sure what Price's intentions were with the signs or are with the lawsuit. I just know Price stole the signs because he admitted he took them, and the police found them in his possession, and the police said the signs were stolen, and the police took them away from him.

My wife tells me I did too much answering, but my lawyer said my unnecessarily lengthy answers weren't detrimental. If my answers were excessive, it was because I was trying to figure out what the hell the question was. I got a little confused by some of the questions, but none of them made me angry or anxious.

Debbie was much more concise in her answers, although she too was somewhat buffaloed by some of the questions. Maybe it was just the way Hux phrased things. Debbie was on the "witness stand" (a nice leather-covered chair in Hux's conference room) for about 30 minutes.

Debbie and I were very composed. I think we were good witnesses. Debbie is always composed, and I took a 10mg Allakhazam before the deposition.

Everybody went to lunch after Debbie's deposition. Did you know lawyers take 90 minutes for lunch? Debbie and I ate a tasty breakfast at Chaneys. You can really linger over your pancakes when you have 90 minutes to eat. Seth went somewhere by himself. Ron and Doug went somewhere on what Doug called a "business lunch". I guess "business lunch" means tax deductible.

After lunch, Chris Knight was called in for a brief, unproductive, and pointless interrogation. Much of the time was spent on Chris' employment history. In addition to being brief, unproductive, and pointless, Chris' deposition was also weird. I got the feeling if Chris had worn his Jedi light saber to the deposition, he would have gone over to the Dark Side of the Force on Hux.

Hux seemed really interested in whether Chris and I were friends. Hux asked the question of both Chris and me. My answer was Chris and I are casual friends. We know each other, but I've never been to Chris' home or met his wife. Chris has never been to my home. We are cordial when we meet, but we've never gone fishing together.

When Chris was asked the friend question, his answer was much, much, much longer than mine, but the bottom line was the same.

Chris and I have no more idea what the friends question was about than why Chris was deposed. It was just another mystery in this whole bizarre "sign incident".

Next up was the star of the deposition - Mr. Ronald Filer Price. As I have said, I have been asked not to go into details, but in summary I don't think it went well for Mr. Price.

My lawyer, Seth Cohen, grilled Price for almost two hours. For most of that time, it did not seem Mr. Price was comfortable with the questions, his answers, or the circumstances of the deposition. Price did a lot of hand-wringing, twitching, grimacing, squirming, stammering and hesitating. There were a lot of contradictions and back-peddling that were driving Price's dramatic body language.

A couple of times I noticed Mr. Hux snickering. I could be wrong, but I got the impression Mr. Hux was snickering at Mr. Price's answers to Seth's question. I have to admit I snickered a time or two myself. I even noticed the court reporter's eyes twinkling a bit. I couldn't tell if she was in a full-out snicker because that damn pilot's oxygen mask was covering most of her face.

In summary, at the end of two hours Seth Cohen had Price tied up in so many knots I don't know if he'll ever get himself untangled. Seth Cohen's nickname is "THE SAW", but "THE SHEEP SHANKER" (a type of knot) might be more appropriate.

Speaking of knots, at one point Chris and Hux got into a verbal scuffle about who was the best Boy Scout. Chris easily won because Chris achieved the top rank of Eagle Scout and Hux didn't. I told you it was weird.

At the conclusion of the deposition, Seth Cohen indicated he might depose Ron Price's wife because she was riding around in the car with Price when the "sign incident" occurred. Apparently, Seth thinks Ms. Price might have been yet another eyewitness to Ron stealing Congressman Miller's signs.

Hux said he might want to depose Chris Knight again. Hux may have been joking, but I couldn't tell for sure. I know if Hux drags Chris into his office one more time, it'll be a lot worse than weird. Remember the bar brawl in the first Star Wars movie?

THINGS WE LEARNED. 1) Debbie and I learned for the first time exactly how much Mr. Price wants from us for his suffering over the "sign incident". Hold on to your hats, here it comes - $250,000. Yes, folks, Ronald Filer Price wants Debbie and I to pay him a cool quarter of a million dollars for accusing him of stealing and tattling on him to a magistrate. For the record, if Debbie and I sold everything we own, including our home, our cars, our business, our clothes, our furniture and appliances, including a big screen TV and a DVD player, and tossed in all the cash we have, we couldn't begin to come up with $250,000. Price might as well have asked for $100 gazillion dollars.

2) Although Ron Price has been promising for months to give everyone a "complete and factual account of the sign incident" once his litigation against us has been settled, if Price's testimony during the deposition was the real "complete and factual account of the sign incident", and we have to assume it was because he was under oath, then nothing has changed. The "complete and factual account" is the same account as what you've read here and in other newspapers, and heard on WGSR-TV. Price's account given during the deposition is more detailed, but no different. I won't say more about the details at this time.

3) According to Price's deposition testimony, I am the real thief rather than him. Price accused me of being a thief because after the election someone gave me a Ron Price for School Board sign which I displayed in last year's Christmas parade. I posted on my web site a request for people to bring me Ron Price and Brad Miller campaign signs which they had come by honestly. Only one person responded to my request and he brought me a Price sign and a Miller sign. I think I still have them somewhere.

Although Ron has never asked me to return his sign, Ron is sure I am a thief because I have not returned his sign. Indeed, even as he was accusing me of being a thief for keeping his sign, he still never asked me to return it.

Ron did say if he runs for School Board again, he will need his sign back. I think if Ron has any sense at all, he won't run for School Board or anything else ever again. Even in Rockingham County, I am confident Ron Price is a one-term School Board member.

Price suggested it was OK for him to take Congressman Miller's signs before the election because he was going to take them to the DOT storage yard because they were illegally planted on the highway right-of-way, and he wanted to make it hard for Miller's supporters to find their signs to replant them before the election, but someone giving me a Ron Price sign two weeks after the election was theft. It was just one of many logic knots in which Price found himself ensnared.

Seth Cohen told me Doug Hux had told him to expect some major fireworks (startling revelations) during the depositions. Neither Seth nor I could imagine what Hux was talking about. Again I'm guessing here, but I think Hux thought tossing out a photo of me holding a Ron Price for School Board sign was going to be the smoking gun that proves Ron Price didn't steal Congressman Miller's signs.

If there was any kind of startling revelation during the deposition, it was Ron Price's dismal performance on the witness stand. In defense of Price, no one would have an easy time getting out of the corner into which Ron Price has painted himself. Performing miracles is not simple work, even for Ron Price.

I told Debbie that Ron should go to a magistrate and take out a warrant if he believes I stole one of his campaign signs a year ago. I can handle it. Defending myself against a charge of vandalizing or removing a public notice will be a helluva lot cheaper than defending myself against a frivolous lawsuit.

Whether Price charges me with sign theft or not doesn't change the fact that Price stole Congressman Miller's signs, and then filed a quarter-million dollar lawsuit against the people who complained about what he did.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT. The deposition is over. Everyone is packing up to leave while doing some friendly chatting. I have just returned from Doug's toilet to hear Ron in the process of telling Seth Cohen that he went to the Berger law firm to find someone to help him with his problems. The Berger firm turned him down. Ron asked if they had a recommendation for another lawyer. The Berger people told Ron to call Seth Cohen. Ron told Seth that he just never got around to calling him and then finally decided to hire Doug Hux.

During the entire four hours of testimony, I made only two comments to Ron Price. The second and final one was, "Ron, I think you made the right decision hiring Mr. Hux rather than Mr. Cohen." I looked at Hux, who was standing right beside me, when I paid Mr. Hux the compliment. I hope the remark didn't hurt Seth's feelings.

My first comment to Ron Price was "Good morning, Ron" when I arrived. Much to my surprise, Ron politely returned my greeting.

STANDBY FOR LAUNCH. Be patient. As soon as it's possible, I will report the "complete and factual account of the sign incident", including the sworn testimonies of Ronald Filer Price and myself. You've already heard mine, but I think it's important for you to hear Mr. Price's side of the story too.

School board member Price says "public education is not a right" (plus: Price talks to himself?!)

Since I've commented on what happened at the deposition yesterday, I might as well throw in my two cents on something else regarding disgraced Rockingham County Board of Education member Ron Price. It has to do with something that he wrote on his own blog last week...
"It should be acknowledged that public education is not a right but a privilege given to the youth of today to secure the future. Over 75% of the public paying for public education do not have students in the public schools but all pay for public education to provide a means of securing the blessings of liberty and prosperity for ourselves and our posterity."
So now Ron Price, school board member, is telling us that our children have no right to public education.

Funny that he didn't mind telling us that during last year's school board race.

Ron Price has obviously never examined the Northwest Ordinance, which not only established that there is a right to public education but also that government had a high responsibility in funding it. We can debate the extent of government's involvement in education (including whether or not the federal government should play the role that it has now with it) but as the Northwest Ordinance was written, education was certainly a right that local government was called upon to make allowances for.

I don't mind saying this either, after following his blog from the beginning: Ron Price is a terrible bore and a far worse blogger. He speaks of concepts that he has the least grasp of and makes as if he were some statesman at the Continental Congress. And then there is the peculiar manner in which Price manages his blog: this post of his from August was originally something by, I think it was Franklin Roosevelt. Price wiped that one and replaced it with a quote by Ronald Reagan, while keeping the original date. You can still see evidence for the initial post in its permanent link: "Pillar of our Republic", which was about the Bible. I'll hold off on commenting as to whether Price has read his.

Ahhh what the heck, I might as well go three for three...

Word has reached The Knight Shift blog that in the words of one very credible source, Ron Price "talks to himself".

Apparently, Price has a "very strange" habit of writing e-mails to people and then responding back to his own e-mails. The effect is in the words of one source "as if he's talking to a whole different person".

I have not seen these e-mails myself, but there are now multiple sources - all very reliable - who are telling me this.

I suppose it's possible that Price is attempting something along the lines of "Socratic dialogue": the style of philosophical discussion that Socrates and his pupil Plato (and Plato's student Aristotle) were known for. But in light of how he bungles his blog, color me skeptical.

(Maybe we should start calling him "Socrates Price" ...?)