Dec 26, 2006


I am sure you all remember the hugely popular experiment my friend Greg Ramer and I ran last year with our blogs. We swapped entries on our review of the Year That Was. So, back to raging demand by our readers, we decided to do it all again. Check out my entry, and then (when Greg gets back from huntin') check out his here. I am going to hold off on movies until later - since I may be seeing a few more this week. Without further ado, here is my look back at the year that was in TELEVISION.

Actually, here is some further ado. I am approaching my review a little different this year. I am not going to try to do some comprehensive list of anything. I am going to do three categories: MOST ENJOYED, MOST DISAPPOINTING, and OTHER NEWS OF NOTE. Now, not further ado.

24: This became our most obsessively followed show this past year. The writing is slick, the action is incredible, the acting is super, and the twists and turns keep you involved every week. The think that sets 24 part is that it has payoff and surprises each episode. Some serial shows have major problems with their distribution of interesting revelations. 24 never fails to deliver - all 24 episodes are top notch. Good stuff.
Heroes: Sure, it could be labelled as X-Men: The Discovery. But it just a great show. Some of the acting lacks the oomph of other shows, but I am never bored with it. And I am very excited to see where it is going to go as the season goes on.
Jericho: I hate to admit it, but Heather's show won me over. I should hate this show: it deals with nuclear war, lots of tense family stuff, Skeet Ulrich is in it. But, it is very well written. (You will sense a trend here - writing makes the difference.)
American Idol: It gets better each year, it seems. Well, until the very end when Americans make stupid votes and get rid of the best contestants two weeks early - and then give Michael McDonald Lite the title. But the show is great from start to finish - from the high comedy of the tryouts, to the tension of the vicious of the weeks paring down to 24 and then 12 contestants, to the drama and music of the final 12 contests. Plus Simon Cowell is brilliant, mean-spirited, and almost always right.
The Office: This has become one of my favorite shows. It is dead-on and hillarious - but in such a low-key way. You really have to pay attention to get everything going on -- but anyone who has worked in a office situation should get a hefty dose of laughs.
HONORABLE MENTION: How I Met Your Mother, ESPN Monday Night Football, Scrubs, Little People Big World, PTI

Lost: I know, I know. I am one of the biggest Lost fans out there. But over the last 12 months, it has been more disappointing than exciting. Yes, there were some huge episodes, like last year's finale, and this fall's finale. But the majority of episodes felt like sapce filler. This is only emphasized by how little time has taken place during the series (2 months) and by how successfully other shows are pulling off this format. I hope the team behind this show gets its act together soon.
The 2006 Fall TV Season: So far, they have cancelled or banished four shows we were watching. No show is given time to develop. This about the fact that 24 was in its fifth season before it had its breakout. Most of the shows that have been canned went for style over substance. There have been few breakouts - only a couple we even care about. Get some writers, Hollywood.
The CBS Evening News: For all the buildup, it sure hasn't been the groundbreaking show it was supposed to be. I still don't watch it, and I still get my news from the internet.
NFL Network: So the NFL finally decides to broadcast games on Thursday nights and Saturday nights. And they do it on their own network - which over 40% of all Americans cannot receive. So we miss all that football. And the NFL's official position to those people who can't see it? "Get a dish." Not even kidding - actual quote.
DISHONORABLE MENTION: Emmy Voters, Rosie O'Donnell and the View, 'Til Death, Super Bowl Commercials

- I hate local news. They tried to terrify you into watching by playing up all the junk going on, instead of just worrying about communicating the news. Is there anyone who likes this? Does anyone need to be cajoled into watching news? Either you are a news watcher or not.
- I hate it when they advertise violent or adult shows on shows that kids may be watching. Like you are watching sports, and then they show some murder show like CSI's preview. Or you are watching some comedy and have to watch previews for Criminal Minds. If I wanted to watch that crud, I would watch it.

Dec 21, 2006

My Girls

Every so often I use this space to become a sappy twit and gush all over something. Hopefully it isn't too sweet for you. Don't want anyone to get a cavity. :)

For me, it is a very full schedule around Christmas. On the 19th, it is my wife Heather's birthday. The 22nd is my daughter's birthday. And then the 25th is Christmas. (If you didn't know that last one - I'm just a big ole helper elf.) This year, you also got to throw in Heather's college graduation on the 12th and that made for an extra-special heap of cheer.

All of this just makes me think about the people in my life. I have literally always wanted to be a father and husband. Even when I was little - uh - young - I dreamed of having a family. And I have always wanted to have a little girl. I also wanted a boy. (What better way to have a football buddy?) But I really looked forward to being a father to a girl. I know how hard it is for girls in today's world. They fight such incredible battles with body image, and what guys expect of them. And I wanted to be able to help a little lady grow up with confidence and love.

When my little girl came along, she was all I imagined and more. She was incredible. She was brilliant - just like her brother. And she was flat out loony - just like her dad. She has this sense of humor that is just nuts. Even at the age of 3 this year, she already has an amazing comedic timing and great silly outlook on life. I laugh at and with her all the time. She has brought such joy to everyone. And she carries herself so well - far beyond her years. I am so proud of what she is becoming. And I cannot wait to see her as she grows and begins to have an influence on people. (And, lest you think I don't gush over my boy - just scan the archives of this blog in Septembers past.)

I hope that I have had some part of this wonderful young lady. But I know for sure that it is because of Heather. They have such a special bond. And Heather has time and again put herself out to help meet our little girl's needs - and to love on her. Our baby girl is a very cuddly girl, and loves to snuggle. Sometimes, when you have gone through a long day at school, the last thing you want is someone hanging on you for hours. But Heather is there for all of us.

And since it was her birthday the other day, I thought about Heather as I went through this sap-fest. I knew Heather would be a great wife. She is a loving person, who is fiercely loyal to those special to her. And her sweet spirit helps to make me always feel at home. What surprised me about the kind of wife she is, is how much she challenges me. I don't mean arguing with me. But Heather is the one person in my world who can always cut through my junk and get right to my heart. She knows when I am pulling stuff on her or others and she calls me on it. She also encourages me and pushes me to be better than I am. Which is what I need. She believes in me too, which is so awesome. When you have worked places where you were constantly belittled and pushed down, it is amazing to have someone who thinks so highly of you --- even when she has seen you at your smoothie-throwing worst.

What has been the biggest surprise is what an absolutely amazing mother Heather is. That is not to say I didn't think she would be - I knew she was going to be great. But I am completely in awe at just how incredible she is. And, mind you, this has been for the past few years, coupled with being a full-time student. (Which she also aced.) When I observe our kids, they are so well adjusted and well behaved - and they are confident and secure. I think a big reason is because of Heather. She brings the best out in them as well. She pushes them and encourages them and picks up on their quirks and hurts. She reigns me in when I am frustrated. And she can diffuse most situations with a few words. And the kids adore her. Sometimes I just like to sit in the chair and watch her be with the kids - it gives me a warm feeling to see our kids getting such love and support.

I guess I just wanted to share some of my thoughts about my girls. In the Christmas season, it is a need reminder to me of how much God has already given me. I have an amazing wife, daughter, and son. And for that I am so blessed. Heather, I love you so much and am so proud of you. And Nat, I love you and think you are just the coolest little girl ever. Happy Birthday to you both.

Dec 16, 2006


Well, here it begins. It is the end of the year, and so it is time for all the "Year in Review" things. I am going to try to post a few of these - for the 50 of you who read this (aiming high - it IS the season of hope). So check back often while you are sitting around over the holidays and chugging egg nog. But today, I am going to post one of my famous (huh?) ponderings column. This will give you a truly frightening look into the mind of David Staples.

1. If you were to eat a Centaur or a Faun - or even a Satyr - would you be considered a cannibal? I have had this discussion with several people, and we have not come up with an answer. Mostly I get blank, frightened stares followed by the stranger on the street creeping away quietly. But I think this is an important question. If you ate one of they hybrids, would you be okay if you stayed away from the human sections? Like if you just ate Mr. Timnus' legs. I just want to be prepared in case I get lost in Narnia.

2. What do the VeggieTales eat? Vigo sticks? Miracle-gro? I know they eat chocolate, and pie, and cheese puffs, and popcorn balls - to name a few. But, technically, don't those come from vegetables? So, we're back to the cannibalism issue.

3. Why is it that as soon as I really started to get excited about the NBA and the Orlando Magic again, they started to stink again? It is like they know I'm coming and do this to irritate me. I now remember why I don't allow myself to get too interested in the Orland0 Magic. I'll always follow them, but then they will start doing really well, and that will get me really excited, so I'll start following them more, and then they'll honk it and lose. Like this year. They start the season unbelievably - with the best record in the NBA. Then they got on a losing ramapage - getting beat by ALL the cellar dwellers. It is absolutely maddening. I am getting tickets to four Magic games for Christmas - so I thoroughly to expect them to lose all of those. But they'll win all the ones in between. Because that is the history I have with the men in blue. This isn't new either - it goes back to 1992. Grrrr.

4. Did anyone really honestly think that Taylor Hicks could sell more than Chris Daughtry? Allow me to make a current comparison: Michael McDonald vs. Nickelback. Are they close? Neither will the Idol guys.

5. Why can't Hollywood make more movies like The Holiday? It was really good and really sweet. It made the actors act instead of relying on special effects and stupidity. I was really impressed. Check out the review here. It even made me adjust my Christmas movie listing.

6. Why does my fantasy football team ALWAYS decide to stink it up the last two games, ensuring me to make the playoffs and lose in the first round? I don't get it. Every stinking year.

7. Are you impressed with any of the Presidential candidates for 2008? Me neither.

8. Wow, that last one was uncharacteristically serious for me. I'll make it up to you. Are you as excited as me about the new Spring TV Season? 24 comes back. American Idol comes back. Lost, Heroes, Studio 60, Jericho all return from break. Knights of Prosperity is introduced and will be cancelled after a few episodes. I can't wait to waste my evenings in front of a tv again. Christmas is so tiring - making me talk to people instead of watching fake people.

9. Anyone out there see those BP/Wild Bean commercials? The advertising guys are trying to find a new mascot/ad icon for the Wild Bean cafe inside BP (which is a nice little place). So they go with this animated bean. And then they start showing him in his commercials. I hate that bean guy so bad. I haven't hated an advertising icon this bad since Spuds McKenzie. They should do a follow up with those same advertising guys getting fired by the chairman of BP. "Were you kiding? A talking bean? he looks like he needs to wipe his mouth. He's scary. Kids won't go in the store. ICEE sales have dropped 14%." Plus, I hate talking food as a mascot. Because if it came down to it, and I was hungry enough, I would eat the Talking Bean. And there are those ethical issues that would raise (see #1 and #2).

10. Is there better person to do an interview with out there than Bono from U2. I could watch a feature-length interview with him. Throw in the Edge and it is even better. The new show on HBO - the one where Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics interviews people - is cool. His interview with Edge and Bono was awesome. I have the entire interview by Rolling Stone with Bono on my iTunes - as well as a Dateline NBC with him and Brian Williams. At U2's Hall of Fame induction, I actually was fine with showing less music so I could hear that band talk. (Which is saying a LOT.) They are all so deep and intelligent - especially Bono and Edge. Great musicians and good speakers. They don't make many musicians like that any more. I seriously doubt that an interview with Nickelback would have the same attraction to me.

11. This one is to make up for number 7. It is almost 80 degrees outside today. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. You can tell how pathetic Floridians are. We were looking at the 10 Day Weather Forecast and getting happy it may be 66 on Christmas. Most of the country would be wearing shorts for that kind of weather. We, naturally, will be all bundled up and trying to brave the cold.

Well, enough of that. I'll be back soon with some lists. Have a lovely day.

Dec 4, 2006

New Movie List

In honor of Christmas, I have ranked my favorite Christmas movies over at my Movie Reviews page. Before I start getting rude comments, I have never seen "Miracle on 34th Street" or "It's a Wonderful Life." Sooooo, this is MY list. This link will take you right to the list. I hope.