June 30, 2003

I still think Dennis Miller is a top-notch comedian and has one of the sharpest wits in the business, but where did this come from?
Every so often I find myself swimming underwater when suddenly I realize I need to mail a letter. Until now, I had no where to go . . . .

first underwater post office
Finished The Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick this morning on the train. I mentioned this book way back at the beginning of June in this space when I started reading it. I commented about how much I was enjoying the collections of stories because it was allowing me to observe the maturing of an artist. That and Dick had got some whacked out visions of what the future would hold.

Those reactions held through all 470 plus pages. Besides the polishing of the structural and mechanical side of his writing, the later stories reflect a growing maturation in content. Few writers have exploited the sci-fi genre to explore ideas in such a way as Dick did. Personal identity, the subjective nature of reality, and the growing suburban population (Dick was writing in the 50s and 60s mostly) dominate many of his stories. When things get really trippy are when he deals with concepts of the afterlife and god. "Rautavaara's Case" and "Faith of Our Fathers" both play with the concepts of god and the afterlife with disturbing results.

"A Little Something for Our Tempunauts" completely flips you mind when Dick plays with linear time.

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive before reading. I came to Philip Dick's writing without ever reading anything he had created. All I knew was that he is considered a gifted writer and that a number of his stories have been adapted for the silver screen. It was a wonderful surprise. I recommend Dick's works to anyone interested in thought-provoking fiction.
Those of you who remember, will understand the appeal of this link . . .

You Can't Do That On Television
Got Milk?

Even though it really shouldn't, I was surprised to learn that the Got Milk? people have their own website. There's a lot of stuff there too.
Katharine Hepburn passed away last night. She was 96, and according to her family, simply died of old age.

Hepburn will always be one of my favorite actresses, she always has been. I remember in high school I was on a bit of a old movie kick and had just seen Bringing Up Baby and Women of the Year, among other films. Hepburn had won me over with her on screen presence and extreme likeability. I was an editor on the year book staff and we had decided to do a big section recapping each month. For filler in this section, we conducted a number of surveys for content. Cheesey stuff like; favorite band, favorite movie, favorite actress, and so forth. I was in the office helping tallying the results. Rob Polston was counting 'em up while I wrote down the numbers. Julie Roberts, Michelle Piefer, Julie Roberts, Julie Roberts, blah, blah, blah. Then he says, "Katharine Hepburn? Who the hell put down Katharine Hepburn." Polston had come across my survey result. I'm ashamed to say I didn't speak up. At the time I wasn't sure how to defend my choice of ageless talent over, what at the time seemed, choices simply made on beauty to a room full of 17-year old boys. (I attended an all boys high school)

I've never seen a Hepburn movie I didn't like and should I stumble across one playing on TV, then I can't turn it off til the film is done. Which, coincidentally, happened Saturday night on the eve of her death. Channel 11, Chicago's PBS station, was airing Adam's Rib - a classic Tracy / Hepburn film. I stayed up late to watch it.

June 27, 2003

comic coverThe first issue of Trinity, Matt Wagner's new 3-issue comic mini-series starring DC's holy trinity of heroes; Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, came out this past week. The premise behind the story is the first time Batman and Superman met and worked with Wonder Woman. I don''t care to much for such goofy continuity concerns - I just look for good stories told with skill in the writing and the art.

Originally I wasn't going to pick the series up. I figured I've already got plenty of DC hero stories on a monthly basis and in the personal library. Matt Wagner was definitely a strong draw. He is writing and drawning the series and I am a huge fan of his work. Grendal, Mage, and his DC work has always been entertaining. Smooth and strong line work in his art and inventive storytelling. I think he's an exceptional talent. Regardless, I kept telling myself I wasn't going to pick it up. Don't need another superhero story.

Then I was in the store and picked the book up off the rack. Leafed through the pages. Took a look at the art. Oh shit! This looks gorgeous. Wagner's on top of his game. I can't pass this up. Look at Superman - wow! The scenes of Metropolis - inspiring! Everything looks top notch.

I ended up taking it home.

Got to read it today at work (don't ask) - and the story keeps up with the art. Wagner has set up an interesting story with some primo baddies for our heroes to rally against. The plot might be Silver Age in nature, but the execution is pure modern comics as Wagner employes sharp dialogue and clever narration.

Now I'm sucked in. I'll be picking up the next two issues, knowing that I'll get my money's worth. Wagner never fails.
I thought this was interesting. As you probably know, Spike Lee is suing the cable network TNN because they are trying to rename themselves Spike TV. Lee claims that the network is trying to cash in on his fame as a movie writer/director/producer.

Whatever, Mr. Ego.

Anyway, today I read this story where I learn that Spike Jones Jr. released an affidavit on Monday expressing his concerns over Spike Lee's claims. Jones' father, Spike Jones, Sr. was a famous bandleader and comic whose hits include "Yes, We Have No Bananas." Jones Jr. quote from the affidavit, "I find it frightening that a court would allow Spike Lee to appropriate and acquire an exclusive (and free) ownership interest in the name 'Spike' in the television and entertainment field. Jones Jr. claims that to give in to Spike Lee's claims would make it impossible for Jones Jr. and his family to promote and market his father's work.

Spike Jones Jr.'s statements boil down to this: Someone publicly calling Spike Lee on his huge ego.

Oh, happy day. I'm signing up now

U.S. Launches National Do-Not-Call List

Phone solicitors can kiss my ass. Though I see in looking at the FAQ that a bunch of people will still be able to call, even if I am on this list: long-distance phone companies, airlines, banks, charities, telephone surveyors, and those who I have an existing business relationship (i.e. Sports Illustrated). So I'm still going to have to suffer through all the calls from MCI, CitiBank, and SI. Oh well, I'm signing up anyway.

June 26, 2003

He's official
More Toy News:

Always was a The Blue Falcon and Dynomutt fan.
Hey, take a look at the Sega games that McDonald's will giving away June 27th thru July 24 in their Happy Meals. Apparently they have been designed for little hands and little kid motor skills. I wonder if Ian would like them?

Sega Toys at McDonald's
Unsolicited Mail, Telemarketing and Email: Where to Go To "Just Say No"

Just found this site. It looks great. Plan to send out some letters. I hate telemarketers.
Think I have the bloggar setting sorted out. Which is a good thing. It will make posting a lot easier again.

Plus, noticed that the archives were getting pretty large. I've been at this journal thing for over 9 months. Switched the archiving setting from weekly to monthly. Makes things a little more manageable.
Still checking my settings for using bloggar to post to my journal - there still seems to be a few bugs.
Kevin, rally the troups. The Bard is in need.

Shakespeare's church is falling down
Apparently I can. Happy day!
Can I use Bloggar yet?
Proof of the decline of Western Civilization or harmless fun for red-blooded, heterosexual males? You decide

June 25, 2003

Legislators are running amok in Arkansas Apparently they want to make sure they keep copies of Of Mice and Men and Spiderman out of the hands of 13-year olds.
I always said it wouln't happen to me. That I was tougher, more cold-hearted. That I had seen how had it reduced a grown man to a blob of groveling goo. Little did I know how powerful the force really was . . .






SHE IS A PRINCESS! She's got me firmly wrapped around her little finger. I can't resist the power. I'll buy her dolls, dresses, candy, ponies - whatever she wants! Just as long as she keeps smiling like that.
To follow up with the disturbing photo I linked to earlier in the week, I have another addition today.

Another freakish image of triplets
This article from the Onion is a classic based on the pictures alone, but the story is plenty funny as well.

Half-Naked Kissinger Thrown Our of U.S. News & World Report Mansion

June 24, 2003

Google Technology

The mystery of Google's superior search and indexing engine is revealed. And its not what you'd think.
Here's another reason not to live in a trailer park (in case you still needed one)

Kansas City Star | 06/23/2003 | Angry bees finally on their way home

25 million angry bees were on the loose when the truck transporting them tipped over and released the bees near the Northgate Mobile Estates mobil home park in Kansas City, MO.
Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage

I'm not in the market for a new computer, nor would I need a 63-bit, 2.0 Ghz processor for anything even if I was in the market. I just mention this here because I like to give Steve Jobs a little space in the old journal. I think the guy is amazing. A real visionary of the 21st century.
Yahoo! News - Too Much Soda May Cause Caffeine Headaches in Kids

Wished they had determined this when I was a kid. Then I might have gotten out of having that nasty spinal tap in fourth grade.
The sarcasam just drips off this one. Taken from the Harper's Magazine weekly email newsletter:

The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians continued to move forward: Israel assassinated a Hamas leader; Palestinian snipers killed a seven-year-old Israeli girl and wounded her five-year-old sister and her father; a suicide bomber blew up a grocery store in a small farming town in northern Israel, killing the owner.
It was a rough night last night. I had to discipline Ian rather harshly and I didn't like it. Made me feel really bad. When it comes to discipline, Heather and I employ a method of counting that works pretty effectively. If we get to three, it’s a timeout, or time in his room, or some privilege taken away. We let him know what he's in danger of losing before we start counting, so he knows what's at stake.

99% of the time, it just takes counting to 2 to get Ian to behave. However, last night he kept pushing. Usually where I might be internally saying "two and a half, two and three quarters, . . . " in response to his antics, last night I laid down the dreaded 3 and took away a very big privilege: his nightly story time. The kid was crushed.

I felt just as bad as he did, but it had to be done. Later Heather pointed out that she agreed with me pulling the trigger like I did, but she felt that his crime probably didn't warrant loss of all three stories. I could have gotten away with taking away one or two books and Ian still would have felt a strong enough sting.

Hopefully we all learned something last night, and we won't have a repeat any time soon.
With all respect to Darby Conley, whose comic strip excerpt I'm posting here without permission, I think Buck Katt gives us a very compelling reason to keep eating meat.



Read Get Fuzzy - Its one of the funniest comics being produced today.

June 23, 2003

JS Online: Playground neighbors protest primary colors

Here's a great quote, "It does not fit the Cedarburg type of landscape," she said. "Maybe the children do like (the bright colors). I think they would be just as happy with brown, beige and green."

Through out the article the old-foggeys who complained admitted that their own children or grand-children enjoyed the colors. In fact, the children from the elementary school picked the colors.

So silly that a bunch of kill-joys can get all bent about the colors of playground equipment.
"Twilight" will air on Saturday, July 5 as part of the three-hour "Justice for All" event. The Justice League episode will be preceded by four Superman episodes, the two-part "Apokolips Now" and "Legacy" episodes.

And we just got the Cartoon Network.

Oh, I'm a happy boy.
Here's a fun little press release from the boys and girls over at DC Comics. Not only are there some kids at my house who would enjoy these new digest size comics, I can think of some nieces who would like them, too. Hmm. . . . maybe Uncle Brendan will be getting the nieces and nephews comics for Christmas.

Starting in September, the world-famous characters from Warner Bros. Entertainment and the Cartoon Network, will star in a new series of digest-sized (5 1/8" x 7 9/16") trade paperbacks. The line kicks off that month with two 112-page volumes spotlighting The Powerpuff Girls.

"One of the key things we learned when we conducted our saturation test last year is that there's more interest in all-ages material than anyone knew," says Bob Wayne, DC's VP - Sales & Marketing. "By collecting stories starring the most popular animated characters in the world in this attractive format, we continue to reach out to new readers."

THE POWERPUFF GIRLS VOLUME 1: TITANS OF TOWNSVILLE (collecting THE POWERPUFF GIRLS #1-5), written by Jennifer Moore, Sean Carolan, and Abby Denson with art by Phil Moy, Dan Fraga, Stephanie Gladden and Mike DeCarlo and a cover by Craig McCracken and Mike DeCarlo, includes the stories "Squirrelly Burly," "Buttercup's Boyfriend," "Power Play," "Video Main," and "Holy Molar!"

THE POWERPUFF GIRLS VOLUME 2: GO, GIRLS, GO! (collecting issues #6-10), written by John Rozum, Chuck Kim, Chris Savino, Abby Denson, Moore and Carolan with art by Ricardo Garcia Fuentes, Mike Manley, Cynthia Morrow, Moy and DeCarlo with a cover by Moy, includes the stories "Dial 'M' for Mojo!", "Remote Controlled," "Mayor, May I?", "Creature at Large," and "Rogue Clowns."

Upcoming months will draw from such perennial favorite series as SCOOBY-DOO, JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES, CARTOON NETWORK PRESENTS, and others.

THE POWERPUFF GIRLS VOLUME 1: TITANS OF TOWNSVILLE and THE POWERPUFF GIRLS VOLUME 2: GO, GIRLS, GO! is solicited in the July issue of Previews (Volume XIII #7) and are scheduled to arrive in stores on September 10 with a cover price of $6.95 U.S.
Blogger, the company I use to host my journal, is smack in the middle of a massive upgrade of their systems. They are slowly moving all current journals (blogs), from the old to the new. The software I usually use to update my journal, Bloggar, can only support one platform at a time - old or new. Their set up to use the new platform. Because my journal hasn't migrated to the new platform yet, I haven't been able to use bloggar for about a week now. This just means I have to put more thought and planning into my journal updates and do it through the blogger website - I can't post stuff as the spirit moves me through out the day like when I'm using bloggar. Its frustrating.
Hate to start things out like this on a Monday, but this picture is so disturbing - yet fasinating - that I had to share.

Triplets born in Argentina

June 20, 2003

New favorite time waster: snake
Tried to add a link to this site a few weeks ago, but the site didn't seem to be working. It is today, and hopefully it will be when you click on this link: Talk Like Pirate Day

I know Ian and I will be celebrating.
Found this while reading Dave Barry's very funny blog:

Pagan bands fornication plea

A pagan band has demanded a "quiet area for fornication" during a Birmingham summer solstice celebration attended by Druids and billed as a family fun day out.

Its all really quite funny. A bunch of horny Brits pancing about on the longest day of the year coming up with a bunch of reasons to have sex. My favorite part of the article is the following:

Daytime events start at 3pm on Saturday and include stalls selling Druid and pagan craft, music and rhythm from harp and drums, incantations, invocations and a bouncy castle.
Got the letter in the mail from Comcast the other day - they're finally adding the Cartoon Network to our channel offering.

FINALLY!

I've been waiting a long time for this. I love the Cartoon Network and have hated not having it while here in Aurora. Also think Ian would enjoy it, which is another reason I've eagerly awaited its inclusion.

Of course the price of the cable service is going up - about $5 - but that's not too bad. We're getting a number of other channels as well: FX, E!, Food Channel, a full day of Bravo, plus some others. I don't mind the additional $5 to get what I consider respectable cable.

It's all suppose to start June 24th.
I'm back in Chicago after spending a few days in New Orleans for an industry conference. Not too impressed with New Orleans. It was hot, muggy, smelly, dirty, and unless you were a shapely female in short-shorts and a tube top with two test tube shots nestled within your amble cleavage - the people are all rude. The people in the stores, at the hotel, on the street, at the airport. It was like everyone person living in New Orleans is suffering from some sort of intenstinal blockage and they're all slowly growing septic as the days pass. Not really interested in going back.

The conference was okay. But I hate shit like that. Having to smooze and mingle with customers/clients. I'm not good at small talk and have little interest in expanding that skill. An anti-social stance, I know, but I'm happy. It works for me - I'm still social - just on my own terms.

June 16, 2003

This past Father's Day was probably the best one I've had so far. Heather, Ian and Emma surprised me in the morning with donuts in bed - chocolate frosted cake and glazed - my favorite. They also had to fantastic presents for me. The first gift was one of the worst kept secrets in our house. Ian had been talking about it for weeks without actually mentioning it – a toy purple lightsaber. I will give him credit for that, he did find more ways not to say, “purple lightsaber” that I could have imagined.





Back at Easter, the Easter Bunny brought Ian a green lightsaber, and we gave my brother a blue lightsaber for his birthday. So naturally, I needed to have a one of my own. We ended up getting a blue lightsaber for my father as well – so all the McKillip men could be armed for battle. I had hoped to find my Dad a red saber, but that proved too difficult. So we all end up being Jedi Knights, instead of four Jedi Knights fighting the tyranny of Brian McKillip, Dark Lord of the Sith.

The other gift I received from Ian and Emma was more serious in nature. Heather took some great photos of Ian and Emma and some memory book paper, threw in some painted handprints of both the kids, worked here scrapbooking magic, and ended up with a beautifully framed keepsake of Father’s Day 2003. It’s absolutely wonderful. If I had an office, I’d hang it up there. Instead I’ll look for somewhere nice to hand it at home where I can look at a lot.

My sister and Dad came over for dinner (brother Kevin is up in the Great White North running around in tights pretending to be Shakespeare) and we had a great time outside enjoying the wonderful weather. Heather and I bought one of the portable gazebo/sun shade thingys at Target for $20. It makes hanging out on our south-facing deck all lot more fun.

Grilled some steak, had a great dessert, enjoyed visiting with some of my family, got my very own lightsaber. It was a good day.
Okay, this transcends gross . . . Boy breeds beetles in his body

A 13-year-old Indian boy has begun producing winged beetles in his urine after hatching the eggs in his body, a senior medical official says.
Microsoft to Stop Making Browser for Mac

Microsoft Corp. says it will no longer develop versions of its popular Web-browsing software for Apple Computer's Macintosh system, saying Apple's own browsing software is a logical choice for Mac users.

Damn straight. For all I care, Microsoft can curl up and cease to exist. I've been using Camino for months now and it runs nearly flawlessly. Much faster than Netscape 7 or Microsoft 5.

June 13, 2003

A good reason that I got out of Cleveland when I did. High schoolers there consider putting their finger in someone's ass 'hazing'.
listening to an old Stone Temple Pilots album at work today - Purple. Forgotten how much I like to listen to STP. Scott Weiland has one of those rock voices that I really enjoying listening to. Because I'm on the subject and have the time, my other favorite rock voices include:

Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audio Slave fame
Michael Hutchence of INXS
Elvis Presley
Roy Orbison
Bono of U2
Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones
Robert Plant of Led Zepplin - probably the second most versatile singer in rock, Freddie's the first.
Freddie Mercury of Queen

I could pick up any song that they're singing and enjoy it - no questions asked.

June 12, 2003

Again, another day with no urge to write. I guess I'm now officially in a slump. Maybe I should cork my keyboard. That might get me movin' again.

June 11, 2003

Quote from a comic book column that I thought was funny:

'Also, if I write more of these stupid obvious questions and keep pretending I'm a real comic columnist like one of those 9th Art guys, will you fall asleep? Will you fall into a deep slumber? Will you dream of vampire horses? Girls like the vampire Anne Rice shit, and girls like horses like My Little Pony or whatever, so do you think a vampire horse comic would be like crack for girls? If I had a successful vampire horse comic, do you think my fans would mind if I called them My Little Rock Hos? Can you hear the theme song in your head-- "My Little Rock Hos and Me?" Does anyone smell an EPIC pitch? What does it smell like? Why wouldn't you wait to smell it in trade form?'

You can read the whole article here, but unless you're deep into comics, the article really won't appeal to you. Hell, the quote I just posted won't appeal to you. But its my journal and I can put whatever the hell I want here. You don't like, start your own damn online journal.
There just doesn't seem to be anything to talk about today. The news is the same old, same old. Nothing new or interesting that compels me to respond to. Its just another Wednesday.

Its too damn cold for June - high around mid-60s here in downtown Chicago. I imagine its warmer out in Aurora where Heather and the kids are.

Hmmmm. Just waiting for something to happen.
Pussies: New ReplayTV Drops Ad Skipping

June 10, 2003

For about 6 months I suffered through weekly (or almost weekly) survey's for a new local newspaper called the Red Eye. The paper is put out by the Chicago Tribune and is designed and marketed for the 18 to 40-year old demo, who, according to market research, do not regularly read newspapers. The Trib is trying to get these people to read papers, any kind of papers, to preserve their sales base. IMO - the Red Eye sucks. The Chicago Sun-Times came out with competing version, the Red Streak, which is superior in content and design. The Red Streak seems to understand the demographic better. The Red Eye feels like it was created by old men trying to be hip.

Anyway. For reading the inferior Red Eye and filling out their surveys I was rewarded with Tower Records gift certificates. I managed to earn $30. Yesterday I received what I purchased with that $30.

Mary Star of the Sea, ZWAN's debut album and Challenge of the Super Friends - Attack of the Legion of Doom, a DVD collecting 4 episodes of the Challenge of the Super Friends, the 1970's cartoon show.

The album is great. Been listening to it all day at work. Definitely glad I picked it up. Ian and I watched one of the Super Friend episodes last night. It was trip. The whole intro to the show took me back to Saturday mornings over two decades ago. I got to watch another episode after Ian went to bed and I'm sure I'll get to see the other two shortly. These Super Friend shows are right up Ian's alley. Lots of colorful superheroes and villains running around - but not a lot of conflict that still seems to make Ian uneasy.

Its right up my alley too. I love taking a little trip down nostalgia lane once and a while - and this DVD is perfect for one of these trips. Don't know if I'd need any more Super Friend DVDs - the animation is pretty poor, the writing childish, and the stories lack any punch - but having this one is certainly a lot of fun.

Children Upset By Spam E-Mail

I know in a few years Ian will want to start using email on his own. He's already a habitual web user - 4 or 5 times a week he spends some time at Cartoonnetwork.com or VeggieTales.com playing the games there or looking at pictures of trains at Thomasthetankengine.com.

I know all the crap I get in my email inbox and I want to protect him from that until he's old enough to handle that crap on his own. I'm just not sure how to do it yet.
The Adventures of Indiana Jones DVD boxed set is available for pre-order at Amazon.com

Please think of me this November.

June 09, 2003

Even though our 8th anniversary is tomorrow (June 10th), Heather and I went out the past Saturday to celebrate. We ate 302 West, a wonderful restaurant in the heart of downtown Geneva. 302 West used to be the State Bank of Geneva before being renovated for the restaurant about 13 years ago. Though I was disappointed in my meal (I ordered something and then realized I really didn't have a taste for it. The food tasted good - it just wasn't what I really wanted.) , overall the service and the food was excellent. Heather was extremely impressed with her dinner. We both enjoyed the wine and our desserts were extraordinary.

Having the old state bank architecture setting the basis for the dining room made eating at 302 West a lot of fun. Its elegant and grandiose at that same time. The staff was friendly and the pacing of their service was on the mark. Heather and I felt neither rushed nor bored waiting for each part of our meal to be delivered. I really can't recommend the restaurant enough.

One of the perk of going out is having my Mom babysit. Besides the high level of confidence Heather and I have in my mother's ability to care for Ian and Emma, she cleans our house too! Not a single babysitting episode has gone by without some larger cleaning events occurring while Heather and I were out. Most notably, and a bit ceremonial, the cleaning of the tea kettle. Keeping the outside of our tea kettle free of water stains and light tarnish is pretty low on the housekeeping list of things to do. However, Mom never fails to give it a good scrubbing should Heather and I leave for more than 2 hours. Thanks Mom!

On another note: Ian called me a "pinko" on Sunday while we were playing. I blame it on Heather's side of the family.

June 06, 2003

What follows is a conversation (if it can be called that) that I over-heard last night in our home.

The setup: In a rare occurance, Ian chose to have Heather accompany him to the bathroom to brush his teeth (he still needs a little help). Emma went with of course - she can't be more than 3 feet away from Heather after 8pm. I remained on the couch in the family room, flipping through a magazine, with a rare 5 minutes to myself.

What I heard:

Emma screeching in delight

Heather No Emma! Ucky!

Emma gives out a short cry. Sound of plastic on linoleum

Heather Ian, did you fart?

Ian Nope.

Heather Then who smells?

Heather NO Emma! Ucky!

Emma gives out a short cry. Sound of plastic on linoleum

Heather Ian, are you brushing your teeth? It doesn't sound like the brush is touching your teeth.

Ian makes garbled noises

Heather Ian, hurry up, please. NO EMMA! Ucky!

More Emma screeching in delight. Water starts running

Heather Make sure you spit before you drink any water.

Large spitting noises from Ian

Heather Good job! Go pick out some books to read.

I just sat on the couch. Figured if she needed my help she would have yelled.
I haven't seen Finding Nemo yet, but I'm sure I'll like it. Pixar hasn't failed to entertain me so far. However, as much as I might like Nemo, I think it might be safe to say I'll have more fun with the next Disney/Pixar release, which comes out November 5, 2004. . .

The Incredibles

June 05, 2003

No Cork in Sosa's 76 Bats Tested by MLB

Looks like baseball will continue to be 'berry, berry good' to Sammy. A number of dyed-in-the-wool Cubs haters (read: Sox fans) have jumped all over Sammy after this corking issue. Particularly his statements that he only uses the corked bats for exhibitions and batting practice where he wants to put on a show for the fans. The Sox fans I've talked to have latched onto that statement as proof that Sosa is nothing more than a showman. He's only playing to entertain and draw attention to himself.

My response: "So what?"

Baseball is entertainment, and the sport is more entertaining by having Sosa in it. Would you rather have a bunch of Barry Bonds running about - great hitters, but no flair for entertainment. I'll take Sosa and his showboating any day. Makes the game more fun to watch.
Bush Vows U.S. Will Reveal Truth About Iraqi WMD

Remember kids, if W and his Crusade against the infidels has taught us nothing else - it's shown us there is some validity to an axiom I hold dear: Truth is Subjective

Just ask the administration's gopher, Colin Powell, and the CIA.

June 04, 2003

I'm only halfway through, but reading Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick has been fantastic for two main reasons. First, the obvious reason. Dick had some wild and trippy visions of the future. They're usually a desolated future, but each one has its own unique quirks. The man had an enormous imagination. Every story is a whole new world, different from the last. Some stories don't envision a future, but a re-envisioned present with quirky fantasy elements thrown in. What makes all of these stories work are the themes Dick tackles in his writing. Personal identity - personal isolation - the definition of reality. Its great stuff. Dick takes the standard trappings of SF and spins them around to explore some really surreal and existential material. I love it.

The other reason I've been enjoying reading this collection of short stories is being able to observe the transformation and maturation of a writer. The stories are presented in chronological order of when they were written. The first stories are a little difficult to read. The ideas and themes that Dick is so fond of are there, but the prose is a clunky at times, the plot ham-fisted, and the dialogue is down right unbearable. Dick makes improvements in his writing quickly, though the improvements in dialogue are a little slower to realize then others. Now that I'm in the middle of the collection I can feel Dick hitting his stride. The stories have a rhythm to them and dialogue flows much more naturally. The polished writing is allowing me to enjoy the stories more. I can probe more deeply into the themes and sub-texts of the writing. It's a wonderful reading experience.

I can't remember ever being able to watch a writier transform in front of me like this. In the past I've read new works by a writer and then searched out their earlier material. Essentially standing at a point in the future and looking back at where they had started. But with Philip Dick it different. I'm starting at the beginning and working towards the end. I'm working through the work of the writer and seeing the transformation occur right before my eyes. Like I said, its a wonderful reading experience.

June 03, 2003

Much to Heather's chagrin - or at least she would have been chagrined if she had stayed awake; she went to sleep so she probably doesn't even know - I stayed up last night to read the latest issue of Batman.

We're a good deal into the Hush storyline now and things are really starting to get interesting. Loeb and Lee grabbed my attention when this 12 issue story arc began last fall, but then we had a few slow months where the story really seemed to drag along. The last two issue have really kicked things into gear however. Loeb is shaking things up within the Batman universe. It looks like the DC editorial has given him free reign to make substantial changes to the character and he's taking his opportunity. The result is a story with some bite - not the same old, same old.

This issue give us a nice recap of what's happened so far in a believable and natural manner for the benefit of the casual reader. He then moves the story along briskly to set up what I think is the third act of our story. During that time we get another appearance from a major Batman villain (The Riddler) and the foreshadowing of a villain to follow - one of my personal favorites, Ra's Al Ghul. Plus, big revelations behind the mysterious antagonist of the story. One of my beefs with the story is the funeral scene at the beginning. The death of Tommy Elliot seemed rushed. Loeb never gave us an opportunity to connect with the character. He tried to do this in past issues (plus draw the emotional connection between Tommy and Bruce), but in the end Tommy Elliot is coming off as nothing more than a plot device to provide character motivation for Bruce Wayne/Batman. I think it is because Loeb failed to make Tommy seem real that I can't help feeling that Tommy will be back - that his death was staged and not everything is as it seems. However, that will have to be seen as the story plays out over the next few months.

Jim Lee has some moments where his artwork really shines. Particularly scenes involving Batman doing a little detective work in the Cave and when Batman and the guest-starring Nightwing share screen time together. There is one page that I would go to great lengths to obtain for my own if the original artwork was ever made available. (don't have the issue handy, or I'd tell you which one it is.) There is also a gorgeous scene of the Batmobile racing in towards Gotham City.

Between what Loeb and Lee are doing on Batman and Ed Brubaker's excellent writing on Detective Comics, I can't think of a better time in recent history to be reading Batman comics. It really is a treat and definitely worth losing some sleep to read.

June 02, 2003

Some days I wish I could just sit at home and read comics. I'd like that.
Oh, this is rich

Do you think that the guy's decision to blame the world's problems on women in pants is at all linked to how he has chosen a girl to be his 11th wife.
Had a real nice weekend. Felt like I got a lot of things done that I wanted to do, but didn't feel rushed in doing it. Still felt like I had some time to relax. It was a pleasant surprise.
FCC Set to Vote on Easing Media Ownership Rules

Looks like Michael "I swear I din't get this job because my dad is Colin" Powell is going to get the approval of elimination of media ownership rules. He says its one of the hardest decisions he's ever made - which is probably true, but I can't help but think he's making the wrong decision.

I think Michael Copps summed up my stance on this issue nicely when he said, "I think we are damaging localism, diversity and competition, making it harder for alternative viewpoints and information to see the light of day."

I really believe this will result in more power going to the major media giants - further erroding any diversity in programing. In 15 years we'll have one restaurant to choose from (McDonald's), one store to shop at (WalMart), and one media network to rely on for news. George Orwell, he we come.