19 minutes left of my birthday. Best day ever!!! Hung with the family and had the BEST time. I hope everyone else has someone like my sister in their lives to help make wonderful things happen.

Love you Jess.

More for Matt...

The New York Times asks Al Jean, an executive producer from The Simpsons about the making of the Banksy-directed intro:

Q. How did you find Banksy to do this, and now that it’s done, how much trouble are you in?

A. Well, I haven’t been fired yet, so that’s a good sign. I saw the film Banksy directed, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” and I thought, oh, we should see if he would do a main title for the show, a couch gag. So I asked Bonnie Pietila, our casting director, if she could locate him, because she had previously located people like Thomas Pynchon. And she did it through the producers of that film. We didn’t have any agenda. We said, “We’d like to see if you would do a couch gag.” So he sent back boards for pretty much what you saw.

Q. Were you concerned that what he sent you could get the show into hot water?

A. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it for a little bit. Certainly, Fox has been very gracious about us biting the hand that feeds us, but I showed it to Matt Groening, and he said, no, we should go for it and try to do it pretty much as close as we can to his original intention. So we did. Like we always do, every show is submitted to broadcast standards, and they had a couple of [changes] which I agreed with, for taste. But 95 percent of it is just the way he wanted.

Q. One of the things Banksy is known for is disguising his identity. How can you be sure that you were dealing with the real him?

A. The original boards that we got from him were in his style and were certainly by an extremely proficient artist. We were dealing with the person that represented him making the movie. I haven’t met him, I don’t even know what he looks like, except what the Internet suggests. And he’s taken credit for it now so I’m pretty sure it’s him. We went through the people that made the movie so I assume they would know how to get to the real him.


You could have heard a pin drop...

JFK'S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible. Rusk responded:
"Does that include those who are buried here?"
DeGaulle did not respond.
You could have heard a pin drop.


A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S. , English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?'
Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied,
'Maybe it's because the Brit's, Canadians, Aussie's and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.'
You could have heard a pin drop.


Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.
"You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked sarcastically.
Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.
"Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."
The American said, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."
"Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!"
The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained,
''Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to."
You could have heard a pin drop.


There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?'
A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly:
'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?'
You could have heard a pin drop.

Thanks Ken

For Matt...

It's hard to believe that Fox approved this Banksy directed opening.

The Art of the Dinner Date...

Eating is instinctual. And like a lot of instinctual things (ahem… the bedroom) men often go on autopilot when there’s food in front of them. Now that’s all fine and good when you’re standing over the sink eating cereal by the handful and straight from the box, but if you’re out with a woman who got all dressed up for this… it’s time to change gears. The meal you’re about to share isn’t a necessary chore for survival. It should be an event. And your attention to a few key details will help make it one.

Mastering the art of the dinner date isn’t hard, and it’s not all about proper etiquette like which fork is for what (start at the outside, work your way in), or when you put your napkin on your lap (just do it when you sit down), although that certainly helps. Remember these simple rules before you head out to that fancy restaurant and she might even be excited to share a dessert with you.

1. She goes first. With everything.
And that goes from the moment you pick her up. She’s the first to get in the car because you’re holding the door for her. Same goes for walking into the restaurant. She’s also the first to take her coat off because you’re assisting there too, and the first to sit down at the table. She looks at the wine list first, and orders first (unless you’re sharing a number of agreed upon dishes- then it becomes your job to order for the both of you). She also gets to pick the first piece of bread or whatever appetizer shows up before the entrée. As men, we’re selfish. We’re used to fighting for that slice of pizza or the last beer amongst our equally selfish man friends. Show her that she is your priority. Not the wine, not your steak, not the crème brulee. She is.

2. Pace yourself.
In general, men eat at a faster clip than women. They’re on a stroll. We’re at a solid trot. Slow down. There’s no deadline for you to finish your meal. Plus, if all you’re doing is shoving food in your mouth, how are you going to be able to carry on a conversation? Which leads us to…

3. Listen to her.
A great way to slow your eating down is by listening to what your date has to say. She’s probably pretty interesting (or better yet, very interesting). Of course you don’t want to over do-it and make her feel like she’s delivering a lecture to a hall full of grad students, but pay attention to her, not the other guests in the restaurant, your oddball waiter, or any of the other distractions flying around the room.

4. Look the part. Wear a sports jacket or blazer.
As long as it’s not a total dump, you should be wearing a jacket. And get it tailored. Why? Because when you sit you take a major hit to your shape. Women like guys with shoulders. And when you’re in a chair (or worse yet, some kind of booth), it’s easy to look like you’re collapsing in on yourself. A tailored, natural shoulder jacket will help you maintain that athletic V-shape. It doesn’t have to be wool, and it shouldn’t have rigid shoulder pads. Even Old Navy sells casual cotton blazers for around fifty bucks that when tailored will do the job. Plus, the inside jacket pocket gives you an easily accessible place for a card case or the other supplies in your gentleman’s arsenal. So at the end of the meal, you’ll get to effortlessly remove your chosen form of payment from your jacket instead of from under your rear.

4.5 And when it comes to the payment…
You’re paying. All of it.

5. Two drinks. Max.
Chances are you’ll be having a nice glass of wine. So enjoy it. If you want another? Go right ahead. But having a third drink over dinner almost guarantees that she won’t be up for another cocktail once the check comes. And even if she is, you won’t be at your best by then.

See? Easy stuff. And unlike the specials and the orders the wait staff have to commit to memory, these shouldn’t be too much to remember. Get all of these right and you might even land a second dinner date. Even if you spent half the meal with a piece of spinach stuck in your teeth.

For Penny...

Thieves in France have broken into a vineyard and stolen an entire crop of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, say police. They struck in Villeneuve-les-Beziers on Sunday night, taking advantage of a full moon and using a harvesting machine to seize 30 tonnes of the crop.

Farmer Roland Cavaille said similar crimes had taken place before in the Languedoc-Roussillon, one of France's best-known wine growing regions. He said the theft amounted to a year's work and about 15,000 euro (£12,900). "They used a harvesting machine to gather grapes. This means there was no need to have lots of people, two people would have been enough," Mr Cavaille said.

"The area was quite isolated, it is a a few kilometres from the village and near a river. So the thieves were able to work safely." One witness reported hearing engine noises in the early hours of the morning and police have been examining footprints left at the scene, said the newspaper. But Mr Cavaille said the thieves were clearly professionals who could easily sell on the grapes.

He said there had been a similar grape theft had been reported in the area four years ago and that another complaint had also been filed this year. While his vineyard was insured, it did not cover the loss of the grapes themselves. Mr Cavaille said he had no idea who had taken the grapes but that he was angered and surprised by the theft, as he believed there was a "degree of solidarity" between winemakers.