Grant Season



5 Stages of Grant Rejection

Disturbance in the Force

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Laughter’s Good for Ya

I’ve been gone from WordPress this summer, but I’ve been collecting some pics and memes.  So, here they all are.  Enjoy.




Can’t wait to make these on the grill: 

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There’s Something about Harry

I recently finished reading the Harry Potter series again, and so I’ve had horcruxes, deathly hallows, Hogwarts, and magic on my mind for the past several days.  Even though I am a “grown, mature adult,” I still get as excited about the books as I did when I first started reading them (begrudgingly, I might add.  I thought they were “kiddy” books, and didn’t want anything to do with them).  And every time I read them, I catch something that I didn’t quite realize the previous times.  I think I only just this time fully understood what happened when Harry meets Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest at the end of the Deathly Hallows.

I am an unashamed Harry Potter nerd, and I can’t wait to read the books to my kids one day.  I just hope they inherit the ability to imagine wandering portraits, every-flavored beans, Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, and the protective power of love.

Here are some Harry Potter pictures that I’ve found lately:

I wonder how many of these Tom tried out before deciding that “I am Lord Voldermort” would inspire so much fear that people would simply refer to him as “He Who Must Not Be Named”


Because “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” was one of the best one-liners of the entire Harry Potter series.


I knew Professor McGonagall was a badass, but I didn’t see Umbridge as a BlackBerry user. Hmm. Who knew.


This is why the Harry Potter series is awesome.


Oh, so true!

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Epic Rap Battles of History

I had forgotten about this Youtube channel, but Gott sei Dank I stumbled across it again while I was having my coffee this morning.  These two guys match up famous people from the past, fiction, and from the present, and then pit them against each other in an epic rap battle.  Some are pretty freakin’ hilarious.  Here are some of my favorites.  (And if you’re easily offended, don’t like cussing, or can’t take jokes about death or dead people, then maybe you shouldn’t watch them.)

My all-time favorite:  A rap battle between the two most evil people to ever have existed (or to never have existed):  Darth Vader vs. Adolf Hitler:

This one is just freakin’ awesome:  Albert Einstein vs. Stephen Hawking.  “I’ll give you a brief history of pain with the back of my hand.”   :D

Steve Jobs is so amazingly cocky in this one.  I love it.  Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs.  But who really wins in the end?

I mean, is this one really even a contest?  Justin Bieber vs. Ludwig von Beethoven.

This one’s pretty fun!  Dr. Suess vs. Shakespeare.  Even though Shakespeare breaks it down super fast there for a while, I think Dr. Suess gets the best of him in the end.

And, while this one’s not the best written, I couldn’t leave it out.  I mean, it’s two of my favorite characters of all time:  Gandalf vs. Dumbledore.

Check out their Youtube channel for more:  here.

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The Most Romantic Songs Ever

Following are some songs that, when I hear the lyrics, I know have to be among the most romantic songs ever written…or at least among the most heart wrenching or moving songs ever.  Not all of the songs on my list are romantic in the “I love you so much” sense,  but they all have something to do with love, whether it’s a lost love, or simply expressing a bond.

The list is in no particular order (except #1 and 2, because I think they are the most romantic songs ever), and before each video, I’ve included some of the lyrics that I think make that song particularly special.   After you browse through them, feel free to leave a comment with any song that you find incredibly romantic!


“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel

I think this song could be for a lover, or even the closest and truest of friends.  Either way, it’s passionate. 

“When you’re weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down…

…I’ll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around…

I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water


“From Here to the Moon & Back” by Dolly Parton (& Kris Kirstofferson)

The mixture of Dolly & Kris’ voice in this one is fantastic.  In the movie, they’re dancing and looking into each other’s eyes in such a way that you know that their love for each other definitely goes beyond the moon…and back. 

How much and how far would I go to prove
The depth and the breadth of my love for you?

From here to the moon and back
Who else in this world will love you like that?
Love everlasting, I promise you that
From here to the moon and back…

I would blow you a kiss from the star where I sat
I would call out your name to echo through the vast
Thank heaven for you and to God, tip my hat
From here to the moon and back
And I’ll spend forever just proving that fact
From here to the moon and back


“A Little’s Enough” by Angels & Airwaves

Maybe this isn’t your typical love song, but the words are very sweet.  

I can do anything, If you want me here
And I can fix anything, If you’ll let me near
What are those secrets now
That you’re too scared to tell
I’ll whisper them all aloud
So you can hear yourself



“Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers

I don’t really find the lyrics to this one to be the most original or the particularly sweetest in the world, but the honest way he sings is why this one’s on the list! 

Oh my love, my darling
I’ve hungered,
Hungered for your touch
A long lonely time,
And time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much,
Are you still mine?
I need your love, I…
I need your love
God speed your love to me


“Shelter” by Ray Lamontagne 

This guy’s voice will rip your heart out.  You can’t sing like this unless you have really felt those emotions.  His whole album “Trouble” is amazing and heart-wrenching.  This particular video features a live version of both “Shelter” and “Trouble.”  Both are worth watching! 

I guess you don’t need it
I guess you don’t want me to repeat it
But everything I have to give, I’ll give to you
It’s not like we planned it
You tried to stay, but you could not stand it
To see me shut down slow
as though it was an easy thing to do
Listen when
All of this around us’ll fall over
I tell you what we’re gonna do
You will shelter me, my love
And I will shelter you


“Secret Crowds” by Angels & Airwaves 

Yes, another from Angels & Airwaves.  Again, it may not sound like a love song, but listen to some of the lyrics.  Angels & Airwaves are all about Love.

If I had my own world
I’d build you an empire
From here to the far lands
To spread love like violence…

Let me feel you, carry you higher
Watch our words spread hope like fire


“I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton

I know that Whitney Houston’s version of Dolly’s song is great, too.  But, Dolly’s voice is so pure and true, and I’ll take that over Houston’s power any day.  I love you too, Dolly! 

And I hope life will treat you kind
And I hope that you have all
That you ever dreamed of
Oh, I do wish you joy
And I wish you happiness
But above all this
I wish you love
I love you, I will always love you.


“It’s Your Love” by Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

This one’s made even better knowing that it’s sung by man and wife. 

Better than I was
More than I am
All of that happened
By taking your hand
Who I am now
Is who I’ve wanted to be
Now that we’re together
Stronger than ever, happy and free
Oh, it’s a beautiful thing
Don’t think I can keep it all in
And if you ask me why I’ll change
All I gotta do is say your sweet name

It’s your love.


“Something About the Way You Look Tonight” by Sir Elton John 

It was hard for me to pick which Elton John love song was my favorite.  It was either this one, or “Your Song.”  Ultimately, I think I chose “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” because the music is just awesome, too. 

I need to tell you
How you light up every second of the day
But in the moonlight
You just shine like a beacon on the bay

And I can’t explain
But it’s something about the way you look tonight
Takes my breath away
It’s that feeling I get about you, deep inside
And I can’t describe
But it’s something about the way you look tonight

Takes my breath away
The way you look tonight

With your smile
You pull the deepest secrets from my heart
In all honesty
I’m speechless and I don’t know where to start


“Stand by Me” by Tracy Chapman

I know that a lot of people have sung this song, but Tracy Chapman’s version is the best.  Hands down. 

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry, no I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me


“He Stopped Loving Her Today” – by George Jones

A sad song about a love that lasted until the end.  This one breaks my heart. 

Kept some letters by his bed dated nineteen sixty-two
He had underlined in red every single “I love you”

I went to see him just today
Oh but I didn’t see no tears
All dressed up to go away
First time I’d seen him smile in years

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today


“Honey Bee” by Blake Shelton

This one’s a nice change of  mood from number 11 – more upbeat and positive.  I’m not normally a fan of new country music, but I like Blake Shelton, and I definitely love this love song!

You’ll be my soft and sweet
I’ll be your strong and steady
You’ll be my glass of wine
I’ll be your shot of whiskey
You’ll be my sunny day
I’ll be your shade tree
You’ll be my honeysuckle
I’ll be your honey bee…

I coulda said “I love you”
Coulda wrote you a line or two
Baby, all I know to do is speak right from the heart…

If you’ll be my Louisiana
I’ll be your Mississippi
You’ll be my Little Loretta
I’ll be your Conway Twitty
You’ll be my sugar, baby
I’ll be your sweet iced tea
You’ll be my honeysuckle
I’ll be your honey bee


“True Love” by Angels & Airwaves

And a last one from my favorite band.  

You won’t be alone, I am beside you…

The stars in the sky illuminate below,
The light is the sign that love will guide you home.

True Love.

Okay, so tell me what your favorite romantic/love songs are! 

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New Movies to See

Besides catching up on older movies, I also have a long list of movies that I want to see when they come out in the theaters.

Here are the ones that I need to hurry up and see while they’re still playing (click on the picture for a trailer of the movie):

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
(Maggie Smith AND Judi Dench?!, Yes please!)

Think Like a Man
Not normally my type of movie, but it actually looks funny.


What to Expect When You’re Expecting

I can’t believe I haven’t seen this yet.

Dark Shadows
Finally Michelle Pfeiffer is back.

Snow White & the Huntsman
Charlize Theron as an evil witch queen! Hell yeah!

And, we have these to look forward to!

The Dark Knight Rises (7/20)Can’t get here soon enough!

The Hobbit (December 2012)
I. Can’t. Wait!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (October 2012)
Before he freed the slaves, he was busy ridding the US of another evil!

Prometheus (June 8)
REALLY can’t wait to see this one!

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (June 22)
I love me some Steve Carell

Hope Springs (August 10)
I’m not sure I’d see this movie except for the fact that it has Meryl Streep AND Tommy Lee Jones in it. Can’t go wrong with those two.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (July 13)
Normally I hate sequels for cartoons, but I just can’t get enough of Manny, Sid, and the gang.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (June 8)
Another bunch of cartoon animals that I love.

Red Lights (July 13)
Cillian Murphy is just awesome, and this movie looks awesome.


007: Skyfall (Nov. 9)


The Bourne Legacy (Aug. 3)
A Bourne movie without Matt Damon? A Bourne movie without Jason Bourne? Yeah, I know, but it’ll still be awesome. It’s got Edward Norton and Jeremy Renner in it, so it’s bound to be badass.


The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)
If it weren’t for Emma Stone and Sally Fields, I don’t think I’d spend money and time watching another Spiderman remake. But, I’ll go see it for them.


Safety Not Guaranteed (June 8)
Looks cute.


The Great Gatsby (Christmas 2012)
Wasn’t my favorite book in school, but the trailer actually looks really good. Plus, Leo’s in it, so yeah, I’ll see it.


This is 40 (Christmas 2012)
Could be a disappointment, but it looks hilarious.


The Magic of Belle Isle (July 6)
I just wanna be friends with Morgan Freeman. This movie looks fantastic!


Magic Mike (June 29)
I’m sure it’ll be cheesy, but at least the scenery will be nice.


Ruby Sparks (July 25)
Staring Paul Dano and from the makers of Little Miss Sunshine! Can’t wait!


Gangster Squad (Sept. 7)
Sean Penn + Ryan Gosling + Emma Stone + 1940s gangsters = epic.


The End of Watch (Sept. 28)
It’s been a while since I’ve watched a good cop movie. I hope this one doesn’t let me down.


Rise of the Guardians (Nov. 21)
I may be 25 years old, but I still love these kinds of stories!


And while I was looking around for good movies, I came across these 5 that I somehow missed:


American Gangster
Somehow I’ve gone the past 5 years without seeing this film. Gonna fix that this summer.


Doesn’t look Oscar-worthy by any means, but it’s got some potential, I think.


The South, Jack Black, and Shirley Maclaine. Can’t go wrong.


Could be an interesting documentary


Jesus Henry Christ
I love me some Toni Collette :)


Again, if you have any suggestions for good movies to watch this summer, let me know!

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My Movie List

I’m getting back to Buffalo in a week, and then the “sit and do nothing” part of my summer break begins.    In between reading for fun until my heart’s content, I’ll be catching up on plenty of movies that I’ve missed lately.  

So, here are the movies that I want to watch.  These in the first bunch have already left the theaters (and some on the list left several years ago!).  In no particular order (click on the picture for a trailer of the film):  

Too Big to Fail

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The Ides of March

Wall Street

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Good Will Hunting

Margin Call

A Few Good Men

Seven Pounds



the Debt

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

We Need to Talk about Kevin

We Bought a Zoo

the Sitter

Midnight in Paris

The Taking of Pelham 123

Iron Sky: Nazis on the Moon

500 Days of Summer

Larry Crowne

Lions for Lambs

Eat, Pray, Love

Captain America: The First Avenger

Indiana Jones: the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Iron Man

Iron Man 2

Grown Ups

And then three movies I want to watch again: 

The Wizard of Oz

Summer Storm (orginal in German: Sommersturm)

And my favorite movie of all time:  

Little Miss Sunshine

A list of movies that I want to see in theaters this summer will follow in the next day or two. 

I’m going to be busy, but let me know if you have any other suggestions for good movies to watch! 

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The South: A Photo Essay (the final part)

A Place Called Home

This is actually the picture that inspired this little project.  It was the beginning of May and I was driving along Highway 82, headed from Cuthbert to Shellman, when I looked over and saw a field that I had seen close to a million times before.  But there was just something about it on that day that made me pull over on the side of the road and snap a picture.

The field had just been plowed, so the red Georgia clay was fresh on the surface.  The pecan trees had sprouted vibrant green leaves, which any Southerner knows, is the final sign that winter is over and spring has arrived.  The dainty wildflowers along the highway were also doing their best to welcome the warmth and sunshine of spring.  And it goes without saying that the Georgia pines were still standing tall and green.  But what I think makes this scene so wonderfully Southern is the old wooden barn.  Who knows what it used to store, or who used to work inside its wooden walls.  Today it sits there, weathered by the sun, wind, and rain, slowly rusting and deteriorating while larger and newer barns house larger and newer machines.  It’s just like a grandfather passing along his place to his son or grandson.

Scenes like this one are the South.  The South is a region with large cities such as Atlanta, Charleston, and New Orleans and it is slowly modernizing, though perhaps reluctant to urbanize.  Rural culture and agriculture have been the heart of Southern culture from the beginning and remain so to this day.  That’s why if you couldn’t ride around and see farmland for as far as the eye could see, scattered with old barns and houses, you wouldn’t be in the South any more.


            I will be the first to admit that the South that I have portrayed in this photo essay is a rather idealized and romanticized version of the actual South that we live in from day to day.  Because I am well aware that the real South also entails racism, homophobia, extreme literalist religious sects, far right wing conservatism, along with the lowest education scores in the nation.  I know all of this, and for these reasons, it sometimes seems that the South doesn’t love me back as much as I love it.

But the South that was shown in the last sixteen pictures – the South of porches, warm smiles, and Family, the South of iron-clad friendships and love that transcends boundaries – also exists, and this is the South that I grew up in.  In all my travels, this is the South that I reminisce about and tell people of.  This is the South that I call Home.

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The South: A Photo Essay by W. J. Newsome is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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The South: A Photo Essay (pt. 10)

Room to Roam

Perhaps this aspect is more rural than Southern, but one thing I love about home is having nearly unlimited space to do what you want.  I’ve almost always lived on or near a farm, so there was at least a hundred acres to walk around on or explore.  You can ride four-wheelers, have a bonfire, or even plant a garden if you want to.  One of the things I miss – and maybe it’s a little crude – is being able to pee in my yard without having to worry about getting in some kind of trouble.  Talk about freedom!

I know that having wide-open spaces is Maggie’s favorite part of living in the South!  She has reluctantly adjusted to living within the city limits, but she knows that she gets to ride in the back of the truck whenever possible.  And just look at her face: smiling, wind blowing in her hair; it’s unbridled joy!

I love visiting big cities like Atlanta, or Boston, or Frankfurt – and especially the larger ones like New York City – but after a while, I’m craving the countryside.  Even if it’s only a park, I feel like I can recharge as long as there is some grass underneath me and hopefully a tree or two around.

I’m now living in a city, but at least I do have a miniature backyard and I’ve already scouted out the parks that are near me.  And going to the park may hold me over, but I know that I’ll be glad to visit home for the holidays and be able to drive out into the country where I don’t hear any sirens or cars and don’t see any people.  Then, at least for a few days, I’ll have room to roam and a place to sit and stare off ou’chyonda.

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The South: A Photo Essay by W. J. Newsome is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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the South: A Photo Essay (pt. 9)

The Magic of Fire

Picture this:  sitting outside under the night sky with a group of friends.  Besides the silvery luminescence of the universe overhead, there is no light to compete with the dancing fire in front of you.  Maybe you’re laughing your ass off, or maybe you’re all just staring into the fire, listening to the wail of Southern Blues coming from the stereo.  Either way, you probably have to fall into a quick and tense silence in order to hear the coyotes crying nearby.

Sitting around a campfire is one of my favorite things to do in the world.  It’s a perfect place to have a drink and trade tall tales, or as we like to say, “tell stories and listen to lies.”  Time holds no authority around a campfire, and if you’re lucky, you may even get to witness one of Papa’s magic fires that hold you spellbound with all of the colors of the rainbow.  And one of the best parts: you wake up the next morning and you still smell like campfire smoke.

Campfires are by no means a solely Southern thing; they light up the darkness and draw people together in the countryside all throughout this nation and the world.  There’s something about staring into the liquid flames, something about knowing that our most distant ancestors ended their days by staring into the same flames.  Fire to them was life; it provided both light and warmth; it gave them a place to congregate at night, to mingle and trade ideas, to grow.

Fire is a powerful force, both devastating and beautiful.  It gives life and it destroys.  It was here before humans walked the earth and it will be here long after we are gone.  Fire is nature’s magic.

(Part 9 of 11)

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The South: A Photo Essay by W. J. Newsome is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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