April 30, 2003

Just for those of you keeping count at home . . .

Restaurant Serves Millionth Strangled Duck
Email report from Heather this morning:

How is your morning going? Ours is going fine. Thought you might like tyo see some photos of the kids "playing" this morning!

Also, Ian asked me to get his light saber out because, as he said, "I'm going to be Qui Gon Jin, Ducky is going to be Obi Wan Kenobi, and Pelican is going to be Darth Maul." He just cracks me up! :)

Anyways, love you!

Ian wanted to tell you he and Emma were playing with the pots and pans.

Love,
Heather




I love digital cameras!

April 29, 2003

Things were so innocent then . . .



"Yes, little Timmy, you're doing a fine job of holding my wood!"

More proof that our country is currently run by people with the maturity level of 4th graders:

Read recently that the White House is pondering ways to punish France for opposing its invasion of Iraq. The article noted that when President Bush attends an economic summit meeting in the French Alps in June, he plans to stay and sleep in Switzerland.

More news you can use: Apparently a Japanese businessman is selling gold-coated lumps of human excrement as lucky charms.
Ain't it the truth.

April 24, 2003

That Ted Rall, he's a wacky guy.
I think Ian and I will be eating even more cheese this summer.
A bunch of University of Illinois journalism students think they have figured out the identity of Deep Throat
OUCH!
Man To Wear Flag Sweater 'Til End Of War

Its sweet and all, but come on, this story reads like it came from The Onion

April 23, 2003

You know what's funny? Tthe same Democrates and left-wing groups who were screaming free speech when they were labeled "traitors" for being critical of W and his personal war with Iraq are now calling for Sen Santorum's resignation because he spoke his mind.

Can't have it both ways fellas. (Well, some of them can - but that's getting off topic.)

I get so tired of people being labeled a bigot the second they express an opinoin counter to the gay-lesbian equality movement. Just becasue they disagree with your position doesn't mean they hate you. Conversely, I am equally bored and tired of people with no tolerence for any of the so called alternative lifestyles. Are two gay men living together really that great a threat to your livelyhood?

Why are people so dumb and narrow minded?

April 22, 2003

The greatest time wasters I've seen in a long time.

Mini-Putt

Mini-Putt 2
Now THIS is political philosophy I could embrace.
So I make my last post proudly proclaiming that we need to let the Iraqis decide how they want to be govern, blah, blah, blah. Then I see this: a different world

And I can't decide is that is more proof that we just need to let these people figure things out for themselves - even if they destroy themselves, or if proves the counter-point to my argument - that the U.S. and the U.N. needs to get in to Iraq and essentially police the country.

Bullock Bastards.

Times like this Isolationism seems very inviting.
And let the U.S. Imperialistic chest thumping begin

So Rumy thinks that the new Iraq should be a democratic government where all the various ethinic and religious groups would have a voice. Its a nice setiment, very honorable - I agree with it completely.

The problem is that Iraq is not part of the U.S. - or at least not yet. If we were only there to liberate the country from an oppressive leader and destroy banned weapons, then that is all we should do. Liberate, stabilize, and move on and let the people of the country decide their government and run their country.

The core of any democratic republic is that the power to govern is granted by the people to those who they choose to govern them. If the Iraq people want to give that power to religious leaders - like Iran - who are we (the U.S.) to stop them. Its what the people of Iraq want. Maybe only the majority of people, but such is life. Where in America are all ethnic, religious, political, and economic groups heard? In America you only get heard if you've got the cash to buy a politician. Sometimes I'm surprised that our government building have gone the way of our sport stadiums: The Microsoft U.S. Senate, The Telecommunication Industry House of Representatives.

I digress.

If we start telling Iraq how they need to set up their government, dictating its structure, then we are essentially colonizing Iraq. Maybe that's what W wants. If he does, then this war has just begun.

April 21, 2003

I know its after Easter, but I think Peeps are popular anytime of the year. Check out The Lord of the Peeps
Hey, this is pretty neat World's Smallest Political Quiz
My recent sickness and watching my children enjoy Easter at their Grandparent's house in Ohio seems to have drained me of anything cynical to say. Just can't find the energy.

Ian was very excited to see that the Easter Bunny brought him his very own green lightsaber. "Just like Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn and Anakin and Luke Skywalker!!!" he proudly shouted. Because his Uncle Kevin (my brother) received a blu lightsaber for his birthday ("Like Obi-Wan!!!!" Ian will tell you), Ian has decided that I need to get a red lightsaber so Uncle Kevin and he can fight me.

"I'll be Qui-Gon and Uncle Kevin will be Obi-Wan and you can be Darth Maul and we will fight you!!!"

Ian is a lot of fun.

Emma took some honest-to-goodness real steps last night. It was after we had gotten back home from Ohio. I was sitting on the love seat - Heather was on the couch - Emma let go of Heather and took 2 - maybe 3 - steps to get to me. Heather was very excited. Emma seemed pretty proud of herself as well.
From an inter-company email at my office regarding Bring Your Child to Work Day:

Because of the size and demographics of our workforce, prior attempts to host children and provide a meaningful experience for them have been less than successful. As a result, this year we will not host or sponsor Bring Your Child to Work Day. We trust you will understand our decision.

The company I work for continues to become more and more un-friendly to workers with families. The company sponsored events are designed and planned with the single, usually city-dwelling, employee (or married without children - essentially single) in mind. Corporate benefit policies and programs are structured to benefit that same single demographic as well.

April 17, 2003

Holy crap the Cubs are pounding the Reds. 5 runs scored with 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th inning - and they're not done yet. Alou just walked and Choi is already ahead 3-0.

Reds 1
Cubs 11
During my trip to Atlanta for business, I started reading a new comic: Oddjob

Its difficult to explain what that comic is or what its about. Its just odd. Obscure pop-culture references. Non-sequitors galore. Here's the description of the book from the website: "Oddjob chronicles the adventures of Moe, private dick specializing in all things bizarre. Are shifty-eyed invisible robots following you? Is your neighbor's lawn mower talking to you? Then you need to call Moe.

Together with his cohorts Moose "Wrong Way" Mulligan, and Robin the "Conceptual" Clown, Moe investigates the cases too strange for the police. It's a series with both humor and action! Double your pleasure for one low price!
"

Its the comic book I wish I would have written, if I ever got my shit together and actually worked at it.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! - been away on business the last few days. Went to a trade function called Brainstorming down in Atlanta, GA. Brainstorming is 3 day event for marketing, sales, and property managers to come together and try and brainstorm new ideas for running the business. I was there as a representative of my company - a vendor to the industry, and to try and learn more about our clients' needs on a whole.

I learned some interesting things and it allowed me keep my finger on the pulse of the industry. Noticed some trends, put some faces to names, etc. So overall it was a good thing, however . . . .

The key event around which the larger Brainstorm event is coordinated is the all day brainstorming sessions that run on the first day of the conference. Its 300 women (there were roughly 20 women to every 1 man) dressed in goofy costumes dancing on tables and singing YMCA - making more noise then a bus full of hyenas on speed. I learned interesting things in those sessions, just didn't care for all the "rah-rah." I'm not a rah-rah sort of guy.

Oh well, now its over and I'll probably never need to go again. Of course, if I do, I will be more prepared.

April 14, 2003

Now, can we call the war in Iraq over?
Leave it to Japan to take an American idea and get it right
The march to Damascus begins

Apparently W just wants to annex the Middle East.

April 11, 2003

Finished reading 2 books this week; one comic and one novel.

Sky Ape: All the Heroes is a supposed comedy staring Sky Ape, a talking gorilla with a jet pack, and his band of hero friends. When a genius bad guy releases all the villains in the world from prison, Sky Ape rounds up all the heroes (hence the title) to bring justice back to the world.

I picked this book up on the strength of the reviews I had read, especially the review of one Randy Lander over at the 4th Rail. I've read Randy's reviews for years and usually swear by them. Thanks to Randy I've gotten turned on to some great comics: The Copybook Tales, Halo & Sprocket, and Chiaroscuro. He had nothing but good things to say about this comic.

When I picked up Sky Ape, I realized that it was my second comic in as many months that starred a talking ape. (Trust me, when your buying comics with talking apes in them, you keep track of stuff like this). The other simian headlined comic being the very funny Rex Mantooth But I figured, like ice cream, you could never have too much of wisecracking super-talking apes saving the world. I guess I was wrong.

While Sky Ape has its funny moments, it never seems to pull itself together to be an actual story. Its as if the three (that's right, 3) writers sat around, smoked some pot, came up with a bunch of funny scenes staring ridiculously named and powered superheroes, and then tried to fit it all together as a story. Unfortunately, they failed to do this. There is no structure to the story. It's just a bunch of silly scenes. Not that I need complex plotting and character development in my monkey comics, but a definable beginning, middle and end would have been nice. I mean, compared to the Rex Mantooth, Manooth is Hamlet.

I also finished reading The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. This I enjoyed. My interest was first piqued in this novel when Franzen refused to play Oprah's book club game. Then it won the National Book Award for fiction, so my interest in reading it was only heightened. I found a copy of it in hardback in a recycling bin and took it home.

Franzen is funny and poignant. He demonstrates in this novel a real skill at creating believable, fully realized characters. I actually found whole section of this book painful to read because the characters and their relationships seemed to too closely mirror my own life - or at least I saw slivers of my relationships and myself in them. It really was quite remarkable. I think the book caused me to be depressed for a while because of this.

It wasn't all great friction though. Sometimes I think Franzen enjoyed seeing his writing on paper and goes on and on and on and on at times about really nothing. We get a page talking about curtains. It's rather boorish at times. However, despite this and the fact that I grew to hate some of the characters, I enjoyed the book. I would recommend it to others.
Apple May Buy Universal for $6B

Thought this was interesting considering the report that Apple is working on a service that allows people to buy and download digital music. What I don't understand is how a company with only $5 billion in sales can buy a company for $5 - $6 billion.

April 10, 2003

Hawks Set Sights on Iran, Syria as Baghdad Falls

Why stop there? Lets annex all of the Middle East. From there we can march up through the Mediterranean and take most of Europe. From there we can launch duel-front attacks on Russia and North Korea and work our way towards the middle of Asia.

THE WORLD IS OURS!
I just don't understand the French
The Cubs are getting clobbered by the Expos. 2 innings are over and the 'pos are up 5 - 0. Cubs have only managed 1 hit and have already commited 3 errors.

I'm not actually watching the game, so I can't be sure of this, but I think Estes needs to settle down and start delivering the ball consistently. 6 hits in 2 innings says erratic pitcher to me.
OUCH!

How come things like this never seem to happen on American television. All the good TV bloopers and commercials come from foreign television.
Martha Burke is an idiot

Doesn't she have anything better to champion? Personally i don't think she has made a very good case for why a private institution should do anything other than what they want to do. Yes, Augusta National hosts a "public" tournament, but at its core its a club. They can do what they want.

Interesting item in the article I linked to. People Against Ridiculous Protests will be protesting at Augusta National, along with Burke and her feminazis and the Ku Klux Klan. That outa be a party.

April 09, 2003

Cubs win! Cubs win!

Cubs 3, Expos 0

(Though the Cubs struck out 15 times!)
Hey, Hey! Mark Prior helps his own cause by knocking in a run in the bottom of the eighth! Cubs 3, Expos 0 as we head into the 9th.
Through 7 innings the Cubs have managed 2 runs on 5 hits, and have struck out 14 times. The end of the 7th went 1-2-3, all three batters going down swinging on third strikes.

Luckily, Mark Prior is putting together a good outing - striking out 10 through 7 innings. No walks and only 3 hits with no runs.

Cubs 2, Expos 0
work sucks. This is not what I was hoping for.
PVP is an online comic strip that I read daily. I think its a lot of fun. Its well drawn and very funny. The strip revolves around the employees at a magazine that covers the gaming industry (PVP stands for player versus player). Pop culture references are plentiful - hell most of the stories revolve around the sub-culture of comics/gaming/movies. If you grew up in the 70s or 80s and remember fondly anything from those eras, you'll enjoy this comic.

A couple of weeks ago PVP ran a comic that in one box perfectly described at least part of my fasination with Star Wars. Check it out.
Ah! Springtime in Germany
It's heartening to see the war in Iraq going so well. If the press is to be believed, the people of Baghdad really are meeting the U.S. soldiers with open arms and flowers. Now lets hope that W and Blair can work with the UN and rebuild Iraq in a fashion that doesn't stir up even more hatred for America.

I've mentioned it before; I've always feared that this invasion of Iraq could be the beginnings of a third World War. A war between Muslims and Judeo-Christians. The political maneuverings in the reconstruction of Iraq (and what the frickin' Israelis do) will determine if the war ends in Iraq, or if it continues elsewhere.

April 08, 2003

How did this guy not win the mayoral election?
CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN!

Cubs 6, Expos 1

April 07, 2003

For the past 6 months I've been reading and enjoying Jeph Loeb's and Jim Lee's story in Batman. They're putting together a 12-issue story that is about as big a blockbuster as you can have in comics. (Think a film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise) Its really been great - except for one thing. Someone at DC - and I really hope its some misguided assistant editor and not Loeb or group editor Bob Schreck - is putting the most god-awful titles on the cover each month.

Stupid stuff like "Ladies Night Out," "Welcome to the Jungle," or this month's "Poster Child for Crime." Not only does the title have nothing to do with the story inside, it ruins an otherwise fantastic Jim Lee cover. I wish they would stop.
U.S. May Have Found Iraqi WMD Storage Site

God, I hope so. I hate to see what kind of international blow-up occurs if after all of W's pulpit pounding and bully language it turns out that old Saddam was a prick and a bastard, but not a UN resolution violator.

April 04, 2003

Boomtown, one of only 2 television shows I watch consistently (the other being Alias), was awarded a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.

I've mentioned it here before. Boomtown is probably one of the best shows on television that not nearly enough people are watching. Every week the show is remarkable. A stellar ensemble cast, superb writing, and an inventive approach to storytelling make Boomtown compelling, intelligent entertainment.

Check it out. Its on Sunday nights at 9pm central time on NBC.
Bush Mix of God and War Grates on Many Europeans

. . . . and a few Americans.

This is one of my reservations about this war with Iraq. It could quickly degenerate into a Holy World War - East vs. West, Islam vs. Judeo-Christian. Having Congress declare a national day for fasting and prayer, and W's overly religious messaging in his speeches only fan the fire for something like that.
Dave Bullock has quickly become one of my favorite comic book cover artists. He's doing the covers for DC's Action Comics and I think the're gorgeous. He's got a definite cartoony-retro style to his art that I think looks fantastic. Very much in the same vein as Darwyn Cooke. I think the style appeals to me so much because it retains the simplisty of design that comes from animation, but without losing the sophistication of composition that you experience in other comic art styles.

You can see two of Bullock's covers in the comics section of my website.
And my daughter could knock it down in 2 minutes . . . . click here
Here's a great way to start the morning: click here

April 03, 2003

This is the reality show I've been waiting for: Who Wants to Be A Superhero

From Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spider-Man, and the producer of Meet My Folks, the show will be looking for people who can dream up characters to star in a comic book.
Oregon Law Would Jail War Protesters as Terrorists

You take a law like this and couple it with the Patriot Act 1 and 2, and living in this country starts to get very scary. The bill dentifies a terrorist as a person who "plans or participates in an act that is intended, by at least one of its participants, to disrupt" business, transportation, schools, government, or free assembly. That scares me.

The bill is still in the oregon Senate, and a large debate is expected on the definition of terrorism and the value of free speech before a vote by the state senate judiciary committee. Later on in the article there's quote from Lars Larson, a conservative radio talk show host, who says that we can trust the police and the court system to see the difference between free speech and infringing or hindering others to go about their lives.

I thought that was why we created laws - so that decisions like that would not be made by a single person. A standard law can be administered evenly and unbiasedly. You leave it up to Joe Cop on the street to decide whether the Granola beating his drum and screeming for the ousting of George W is terrorist or not, and I think you not always going to see a even and unbiased application.

Maybe there are those in our government that would feel safer (or at least would feel that their closely held political and social ideals are safe) if this country was a police state. Again, this scares me.
Mr. IsIs is a tool. Maybe if he shared his grand scheme with everyone, then we would all understand what he's working towards. Considering that the position he holds with the company means that he doesn't run the show here, I'm curious to understand why he acts like he does.

Its just all so silly and stupid. I've said t before, and I'm sure I'll say it again: We're selling ad space for apartment communities, not curing cancer. Can we keep it in perspective, please?

April 02, 2003

Good news! The Smurf will be back this fall; though with a slightly edgier, more adult tone. check it out
and science marches forward
Apparently for those of us who will forever join food and policial ideology, someone created this
Jennifer Garner and husband Scott Foley split

This is almost as good as the news a few months ago that Heidi Klum is now single and eligable.

Don't get me wrong, I love my wife. But its Heidi Klum and Jennifer Garner - COME ON! What red-blooded hetero-male wouldn't take a shot at the title.

April 01, 2003

Hmmm. I love Snickers bars. Used to think Milky Way was my favorite candy bar, but Snickers might have taken the crown. At least for the full-size, eating at work title. Still prefer the "fun size" Milky Way bars over the "fun size" Snickers. Hmmm. Candy.
Daley rips up Meigs runways in surprise raid

While everyone in Chicago was sleeping, Mayor Richie Daley had the runway at regional airport Meigs Field made un-usable. Meigs is a tiny little airport on the lakeshore, right in the heart of the city. He actually had X's carved into the runways.

Richie, still stewing that Disneyland and Disney World had permanent no-fly zones errected around them while Chicago got only a temporary one, took it upon himself to do what he thought was right to keep Chicago safe from rogue air pilots.

This is what I love about Chicago politics. You've got a Mayor who thinks he's the king, (Which he might very well be, considering his 5 terms, the most recent re-election gaining him 79% of the vote.) and who doesn't understand why people question the decisions he makes. Its a recipe for hysterical news conferences and fantastic sound-bytes.
Ran a pretty convincing prank this morning at work. Had a number of people believing that we had lost the apartments.com domain and that it was now up for sale. Apparently my work was so convincing that I came this close to having it brought to the attention of both the CEO and our Chief Legal Counsel as a LEGITIMATE PROBLEM. Luckily, the joke was revealed before that could happen.