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831-little-engineer.jpg

Will doesn't normally like to wear hats, we put them on and he knocks them off. Santa brought both Drew and Will train engineer hats, scarves and whistles. For whatever reason, Will does like to wear his train engineer hat. Will is taking a break from a tough morning of train engineering for some lunch and is also wearing his babysaurus bib.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

I can't say how I came about this video clip for obvious reasons, all I can say is that it is previously unreleased footage of a youngling dying after the attack by Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. No doubt it was left on the digital cutting room floor due to its graphic nature.

***WARNING *** The video contains spoilers and graphic violence.

(For the first time ever, I prefer the YouTube version over Vimeo. Each service appears to make a tradeoff between still image quality and motion quality. Vimeo generally provides better image quality at the sacrifice of motion quality, while YouTube is the other way around. In this one instance, the YouTube video quality is better, less jerky, than the Vimeo version so I recommend you watch the YouTube version below.)

Vimeo version after the jump.


Posted by Don | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0) |
Dec 25 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

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Pacem in Terris

Peace on Earth

Merry Christmas from Don, Mary, Drew and Will Danz.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Dec 24 2007

Christmas Eve 2007

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The tree this year just may be one of the best we've ever had; perfect size and shape with no gaps or other problems and the limbs are all strong for great ornament hanging. I'm pretty certain my family always had Scotch Pines every year growing up, but I think we're going to be a Fraser Fir family.

The tree is exactly ten feet tall. The star touches the ceiling and, in fact, that is my trick to keep the star from leaning. When Mary saw that she said, "So, that's why the tip of the star of bent." OK, so the "trick" is not without its flaws. The tree has 1100 lights, three triple strands of 100 on one extension cord and one double strand of 100 on another extension cord. We didn't count the ornaments, but we used up all of our hooks.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Dec 20 2007

Visiting Santa Clause

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Drew and Will visited Santa Clause today at the mall. Drew very quietly asked Santa for a purple lightsaber, Star Wars Transformers - Darth Vader that turns into the Death Star and Darth Vader that turns into his ship, and Qui-Gon Jinn. Last year, Drew asked Santa for, "Darth Maul and Cars movie" and two years ago when Drew was just two years and a month old he asked Santa for "car zoom."

Will, this year, was excited to see Santa Clause while we were waiting in line. He kept pointing to him and grunting letting everyone know that he recognized Saint Nicholas. But, come time to actually sit in Santa's lap, Will was a little apprehensive. Will stuck out his bottom lip and wasn't all too happy about getting up close and personal with Father Christmas.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

One morning, sometime in November, Will was carrying around the television's remote control. Moments later he was empty handed. When we went to turn on the TV, we couldn't find the remote...a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e! We looked under everything, we looked in everything, we even crawled around on our knees pretending to be a one-year old just to see if we were missing something that only the view of a toddler would reveal. Still, no remote. It wasn't too great a disaster since I had previously procured an extra remote control from Cox for just such an occasion. But, the mystery was annoying.

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When we'd ask Will, "Where's the remote?" He'd just giggle and make the hand gesture in the picture as if saying, "I don't know?"

We've been limiting Will's pacifier use during the daytime and, a week or so ago, we were in bed after a nap and asked Will, "Where's pacie?" Without hesitation he pointed to the space between the bed and the headboard. There was no pacie there but, way down deep, between the box spring and the headboard was the remote control. Yes, we'd already looked there and Mary had even changed the sheets, but it was so far down that it escaped notice. Nothing like little ones to keep life interesting.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

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Only one week left before Christmas! Is all your Christmas shopping done? Will and Drew are in their Best Buy shopping cart car enjoying some shopping at BB. Will says, "Honk, honk!"

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

We picked out our Christmas tree last weekend, but didn't get a chance to mention it here due to the recent power outage.

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Daddy, Drew and Will pause for moment while picking out this year's Christmas tree to have their picture taken by Momma. (Compare this year to two years ago.)

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The picture is a little distorted, but the tree, a Fraser Fir (abies fraseri), turned out to be just the right size. The very tip is just six inches away from the ten-foot ceiling! The base of the tree's trunk was unusually large even considering the size of the tree and would not fit in the tree stand. Thankfully, Great-Grandpa Spiv's hatchet made short work of narrowing it down.

Also, you can't tell but, immediately before this picture was taken there were two handsome young boys nicely standing together in their "I'm the Big Brother" and "I'm the Little Brother" t-shirts...and then Will got the sillies and insisted on rolling around on the floor laughing.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |
Dec 13 2007

Keeping Busy & Warm

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Drew played a record amount of handheld, battery operated, Leapster during the power outage. Will found a surprising amount of enjoyment just watching big brother exploring and setting new records.

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Tuesday night we got the fireplace roaring...real tough to do when it's a gas fireplace and you have starter logs, five-year old wood so dry it doesn't crackle and an electronic lighter...backwoodsmen we are not.

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Notice the warm clothing as we sat in front of the warm fire. Prior to the picture, Will had been wearing a full head, under the chin buttoning, stocking cap.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

Here are some photos we took of the ice storm while we were without power earlier this week.

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Our mailbox covered in ice. There is no ice near the door of the mailbox because, despite the ice accumulation on trees and most everything else, the roads never got too bad and so mail delivery was uninterrupted.

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One of our crape myrtles covered in ice and icicles dripping from the top of our pergola.

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One of our Autumn Blaze maples covered and dripping with ice. You can easily imagine larger trees covered in hundreds, even thousands of pounds of ice.

From the PSO (Public Service Company of Oklahoma) website, some additional photos taken of the ice storm:

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A not uncommon heavily tree-lined Tulsa street showing the extent of ice damage.

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And, when ice covered trees interact with power lines, the result is both downed trees and downed power lines.

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All emergency services worked overtime during the power outage. Thanks to everyone who left their own darkened homes to make repairs and to keep the city safe.

Posted by Don | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0) |

Just a quick post from the Danz Family underground bunker beneath the darkened city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. For those not aware, we are experiencing the worst ice storm/power outage in the history of Tulsa and possibly the state. Reported power outages in the Tulsa metro area peaked at 255,000 about 10:30 p.m. tonight and there are more than a half-million homes and businesses state wide without power. Phone lines are also down and cell phone service is spotty due to the power outages affecting the cell towers.

Tulsa International Airport was shutdown with power outages, three local hospitals were on backup generators and one of the city's two water treatment facilities is without power. Estimating a week to ten days to get everyone's power back on, although a majority of people should have power much sooner. A state of emergency has been declared for all of Oklahoma's 77 counties.

We lost power ourselves sometime shortly after midnight Sunday night/Monday morning and our phone went out later Monday morning. Not being ones to look to the government to take care of us, Mary was prepared with plenty of batteries, candles, non-perishable food and all other items we might need for an extended power outage. All the laundry was done and the kids were bathed in anticipation of the coming storm. Drew is keeping busy with battery operated handheld games. Additionally, he is keeping four glowsticks nearby at all times which we got last night in our drinks at my firm's annual Christmas dinner. Will is taking everything in stride and doesn't appear to be fazed in the least. The building I work in has power but no internet connection because the internet provider has no power.

Oh, and I’d just like to quickly thank those individuals with large trees who bitch and moan, and do everything in their power to thwart the power companies from trimming back their trees which have grown too close to power lines...thank you...from everyone in Tulsa and across the state...thank you for caring so much about your precious trees. We can all certainly agree that your precious aesthetic sensibilities are far more important than a reliable power grid.

Pictures will be posted when power is restored. That's all for now, we'll keep everyone advised.

[UPDATE - Tuesday, December 11, 2007:] Still no power and no land phone. More businesses are coming back on line but there are still over 200,000 homes/businesses without power in the Tulsa metro area. Today was the first day since Sunday that the total number affected has gone down. Had a nice roaring fire in the fireplace tonight. We do have hot water so we can shower and do dishes. The boys are bundled up as the temp hangs in the upper 50's in the house. Mary's parents, Ma and Pa, have power, so if it gets too bad, Mary and the boys can always go there. I'll stick around and house-sit though. What did people do a hundred years ago? We've grown so soft and lack both the skills and equipment to live without our modern conveniences.

[UPDATE - Wednesday, December 12, 2007:] Our power and phones were restored this morning making our outage about 55 hours...it seemed longer. Most of the people who lost power have not had theirs restored yet, so our thoughts and prayers are with them. The power company expects to make great strides tomorrow as crews from all over the region are in town and starting to make repairs. Uncle David came over this evening to watch some TV and enjoy some warmth. When he got home, he found his power was restored too.

Now we're restocking and preparing for the storm that's supposed to come this weekend.

Posted by Don | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (1) |

814-drew-age-four.jpg

Maybe it's Mary and me, but there is no way the child in the above photo is just a week past his fourth birthday. He looks 7 or 8 to us.

Drew and Will recently had their physicals and Drew is in the 97th percentile for height and Will is in the 75th percentile.

Drew is always saying cute or surprising things, and we think, "Oh, there's no way we'll forget that one!" But, come the next day, we can't remember. Here are a few that we were smart enough to write down:

During a boys' night together Drew, Will and I played just about every game and toy in the house. Finally we worked our way down to playing with my old Fisher-Price Creative Block Wagon which I had when I was just a toddler. We made everything shown on the box, a steamboat, a racer, a barn & silo, an animal and finally a birthday cake. I told Drew to make a wish and blow out the candles. After he blew out the pretend candles, I asked:

Daddy: So, what did you wish for?

Drew: I wished everything would stay the same forever.

Daddy: Me too Drew, me too.

When driving from Oklahoma to Kansas to visit Aunt Michelle, Uncle Matt and cousin Gillian, we kept noting out progress by calling out the towns and landmarks we were passing:

Daddy: We just crossed the border, we're in Kansas now.

Drew: (with great enthusiasm) Woo-hoo!

(This doesn't read funny, but it was at the time.)

At the reception after cousin Gillian's baptism:

Cousin Josh: There are four Joshes.

Drew: There are two Drews...me and the football player.

At dinner at home:

Drew: Is ketchup called "catch-up" because you throw up a tomato and catch it and it squishes into ketchup?
Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

578-pearl-harbor-attack.jpg

(USS Shaw exploding during attack on Pearl Harbor.)

I wrote a pretty good post last year about Pearl Harbor Day. Good thing I checked, as I was about to write a similar piece again.

Let me just say, I can't tell you how thankful I am that we didn't have around back then the same liberal mainstream media, disgraceful Hollywood trash, appeasers, cowards, cut-and-run advocates, surrender monkeys and flat out traitors that we have to deal with now.

As the United States Supreme Court considers today various cases relating to the "War on Terror," consider how America dealt with German Nazi Saboteurs in 1942. On June 27, 1942, eight Germans were caught on American shores before they were able to commit any acts of sabotage as part of the Nazi Operation Pastorius.

Roosevelt realized that neither the death penalty nor secrecy could be guaranteed in a civilian trial, so he issued a proclamation that established a military tribunal...which was held in secret at the Justice Department.

World War II: German Saboteurs Invade America in 1942

Despite the would-be saboteurs pleading innocent, denouncing Hitler and insisting they had no intention of actually engaging in sabotage, they were all sentenced to death. Although, President Roosevelt commuted one sentence to life and another to 30 years for helping in the arrest and prosecution. On August 8, 1942, the remaining 6 of 8 German would-be saboteurs were electrocuted.

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Think about that timeline...caught June 27...tried during July...executed August 8. Further, none of them ever harmed anyone or anything. That's the attitude and actions it took to win World War II.

Oh, and to bring today's little history lesson full circle with the matters being considered by the United States Supreme Court today, the lawyers for the Germans attempted to have the case tried in a civilian court, but were rebuffed by the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1 (1942), which held:

[T]he law of war draws a distinction between the armed forces and the peaceful populations of belligerent nations and also between those who are lawful and unlawful combatants. Lawful combatants are subject to capture and detention as prisoners of war by opposing military forces. Unlawful combatants are likewise subject to capture and detention, but in addition they are subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals for acts which render their belligerency unlawful. The spy who secretly and without uniform passes the military lines of a belligerent in time of war, seeking to gather military information and communicate it to the enemy, or an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.

Look for a 5 to 4 decision coming down from our current Supreme Court...the 4 justices being ones that would have lost us WWII and would have us lose whatever it is we're fighting now if they and their ilk had their way.

Posted by Don | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) |

Continuing on from yesterday's post, each night after we brush teeth, we read stories before we go to bed.

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One of the boys' favorite books right now is Good Night Gorilla. Will will pick up the book all on his own and laugh as he turns the pages and he'll laugh when Drew reads the book. Of course though, Will didn't laugh when the camera was on. Drew flipped through the pages pretty quick due to a combination of being on camera and being very familiar with the book. Be sure to listen for Drew changing his voice in proportion to the size of the dialogue balloons representing the different animals.

YouTube version after the jump.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Dec 5 2007

Brushing Teeth

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Every evening after putting on jammies, we go upstairs to brush teeth. A while ago, without any encouraging, Will climbed up on the stool, pushed big brother aside, and looked around for his toothbrush. So, we got him one and, now, most evenings Will, on his tip-toes, joins Drew in brushing teeth.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |