August 29, 2003

I don't know what to make of this website: Healthy Penis 2003
This game is strange, but fun.
Oh, this is fun and funny.

Can you tell its a Friday afternoon before a 3 day weekend?

ARE MOVIE SCREENS READY FOR BUCKY T. CATT?

ARE MOVIE SCREENS READY FOR BUCKY T. CATT?

Comic strip "Get Fuzzy" is currently in development as a movie. Almost wish they wouldn't - it has the potential of ruining the comic for people who see the movie first. But what are you gonna do. All I can do is continue to trumpet the comics horn and rally people to read it. So, read it.

Everybody in our house love the strip. Heather and I read everyday, and Ian always asks us to read the strip to him as well. He's just as big a fan as we are.

VH1: TAKING A GOOD IDEA AND RIDING IT TILL IT DROPS

VH1: TAKING A GOOD IDEA AND RIDING IT TILL IT DROPS

This October VH1 will air I Love the 80s Strikes Back, which will revisit the decade for more pop culture retrospecs.

I can't wait. Heather and I really enjoyed the first I Love the 80s show. Haven't really watched the I Love the 70s. The 80s were more of our decade. This will be fun.

Faith Healing Gone Wrong Claims Boy's Life

Faith Healing Gone Wrong Claims Boy's Life

I don't even know what to say. Ms. Corrrell actually believed her son was possed by demons? People actually think this way? Possed by demons? People's reliance on and blind following of religious figures will never cease to amaze me.
I didn't see much of last night's MTV Video Music Awards. I was doing dishes, taking the trash out, and cleaning up in general. Heather was watching her new favorite show: Without a Trace while folding laundry. However, she did flip over to the VMAs during commercials. What I did see was Duran Duran receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from MTV. I felt bad for them. Not only did the audio fail when MTV was suppose to be doing a retrospective of the band's videos, but the producers of the show picked Kelly Osborne and Avril Lavine (sp?) to present. Duran Duran, along with Madonna, Michael Jackson, and few others, made MTV as much as MTV made them. WIthout the creative and innovated videos that groups like Duran Duran produced, nobody would have watched MTV in the early days. Then how does the network repay the band - they can get the audio right and they pick over-exposed, spoiled brat, Kelly Osborne and nominal talent Avril to present them with a Lifetime Achievement. If I was Duran Duran, I'd be pissed. Where's the respect?

August 28, 2003

Mr. Manager has been noticing that lately I have a tendency to "rest my eyes" during some meetings - particularly late in the day meetings. I admit it - I'm tired. I've been up late doing lots of crap at home. Although, things are turning around this week. Heather is feeling better, so she's starting to get back into the swing of things when it comes to her household responsibilities, which has meant I don't have to do as much work at night. I've actually been in bed by 10:30pm 3 out of the last 4 nights. Today I've actually felt better than I have over the last 4 to 5 weeks. Its actually kinda funny that Mr. Manager would bring it up now.

Oh well.

CARTOON RESEARCH - DVD IMAGES

On October 28th, Warner Brothers is releasing a DVD collection of 56 classic Looney Tunes cartoons. All 56 cartoons have been remastered for the DVD. Take a looks at some before and after shots:DVD IMAGES

IS THAT NOT FRICKIN" AMAZING! This would be great to have. Not only are the Looney Tunes cartoons timeless in their appeal to the young and the old, now we can own them in near perfect quailty.

U.S. Suspects It Received False Iraq Arms Tips

U.S. Suspects It Received False Iraq Arms Tips

I can't tell if this is sign of an administration trying to cover its ass by making up stories of false information or evidence that people will believe what they want to believe.

What doesn't make any sense is why Saddam would send information about a weapons program that doesn't exist, if he knew that the U.N. and the United States would give him all sorts of grief if they believed those weapons existed. Was he that attention starved?

Yahoo! News - CIA Recruiting TV Spy Garner for Promo Video

CIA Recruiting TV Spy Garner for Promo Video

Ya' know. If the CIA had shown me a recruitment video starring Jennifer Garner as I was preparing to graduate college, I might have reconsidered my career path. Of course, about a year or two into it I would have realized that all the female agents don't look like Jennifer, and then I would have become all depressed and resentful. Probably would quit, move back in with my Dad, and start spending inordinate amounts of time on the Internet spewing anti-CIA rhetoric. The FBI would eventually hunt me down. Convict me of treason. I spend the rest of my natural life in a maximum-security prison in up-state New York.

I guess in the long run, not seeing the Jennifer CIA video is probably a good thing.

U.S. Now Signals It Might Consider U.N. Force in Iraq

U.S. Now Signals It Might Consider U.N. Force in Iraq

This has continued to confuse me. Why has W and his administration been such tight-wads when it came to economic and political matters concerning Iraq. If the U.S. really was fighting to free a country from an opressive dictator, what is the harm in letting a multi-national force under direction of the U.N take over. For me, that seems like the logical next step. Unless, of course, W's intent all along was to invade, conqure and control the country for America's own economic needs. Essentially a U.S. colony.

August 27, 2003

I was just at the Chicago Tribune's website. Right on the homepage they have a survey that asks, "Do they (the Ten Commandments) belong on public property?" They only options for answer are "yes" or "no."

Right now its running 42% to 58% in favor of "no." But I think the question is loaded and skewed for a "no" answer.

Do the Ten Commandments belong on public property. No, I don't think they do. There's no strong reason they have to be on public property. Should the Ten Commandments be allowed on public property? Yes, they should. I don't understand the harm in displaying something like the Ten Commandments in a public space. I understand that Ten Commandments might not mean much to the atheists, Muslim, or Buddhists; but what I don't understand is how someone can claim display something like the Ten Commandments in a public space offends them. Is the display of 10 rules for living one's life - rules that for anyone outside of the Judeo-Christian culture amount to guidelines, not rules per say - truly offending you? Do you feel assaulted when you walk by them?

This is crazy shit.

We're facing down a $480 billion deficit. More soldiers have died after W said the war was over than before. Unemployment is still high. Costs for everything from college to health care to utilities are skyrocketing. And you fuck-faces are worried about the damned Ten Commandments sitting in a government building. Grow up.
Well, this is encouraging

New York Times Showcases a Comic Legend

Great little article about Jack Kirby, the King of Comics. It nice to see media coverage of comic books and their creators that do not include "bam" or "biff" or "holy comic books!" in the title.

Jack Kirby Heroes Thrive in Comic Books and Film
(free registration required)
This photo is just so bizarre. The juxtaposition of the different images, the poses, the location. I just had to link to it.

(Its currently the most email photo on Yahoo!)


A tourist watches the Greek Presidential guards (Evzones) on duty outside the Greek Parliament in central Athens. (AFP/Aris Messinis)

August 26, 2003

How I've shrunk it to fit on the page means you probably can't read it, so click on the comic and read a really funny Monty

Interesting notes from the Harper's Weekly email newsletter:

Icelandic whalers harpooned their first whale in 14 years. - Looks like business is picking up in Iceland.

A drunk construction worker in Mexico paid two 11-year-old boys to castrate him so that he could "live more calmly." - I wonder if that's covered by his HMO?

An internal EPA report revealed that the Bush Administration forced the agency to lie about the air quality in New York City just after 9/11. The agency, which was forced to filter all public statements through the president's National Security Council, had no basis for its claim that the air in New York was safe to breathe. - how can anyone believe anything the federal government is telling us with the Bush Administration in office?
Check this out my fellow Star Wars fantatics. The widescreen DVD of Star Wars: Episode I is on sale for 5.99 at The Outer Reaches, an online store that deals mostly in toys.

I know some think Episode I is a piece of crap, but I liked the movie. Its not my favorite SW flick, but I still enjoy it. I think once Lucas has finished the SW saga, Epsidoe I's role in the series will be appreciated more. Until then, love it for Darth Maul and the Jedi Knights in full glory.

I hadn't yet gotten the movie on DVD, unlike Episode II which I purchased when I bought a home theater system with last year's bonus, so when I found it on sale I just had to get it. (luckily, the director of finance at home agreed with me)

August 25, 2003

So it was a Wiggles weekend. Heather, Ian and I went to the Chicago Theater downtown for the noon show on Sunday. The Wiggles originally had six shows over three days: 2 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Demand was so high they added a seventh show Saturday night. Amazing.

The show was . . . well, it was an hour and fifteen minutes of the Wiggles. What can I say? Find 'em on the Disney Channel and watch 'em for a while. Now imagining sitting in a huge theater with a thousand screaming 3, 4, and 5 year olds. They're four Australian men, who write and perform their own children's music. They're joined by four friends, Captain Feathersword the Friendly Pirate, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, and Wags the Dog. To be honest, it was a lot of fun. You can tell the four men who are The Wiggles are having a lot of fun doing what they do. Captain Feathersword nearly steals the show. He's very funny and really showcases how really talented these guys all are. Ian had a wonderful time. He got up and danced in the aisle and in his seat. After every second or third song he'd lean over and give Heather a huge hug while screaming, "Thank you for bringing me to the Wiggles!!!!" That was fantastic.

Other than the Wiggles, it was a pretty tame weekend. Got some work done around the house Saturday. Had my sister over for dinner on Sunday (she also baby-sat Emma while we went to the Wiggle show). Got to read some comics.

I think I really starting to dig Outsiders, the new comic written by Judd Winnick. The books stars Nightwing and Arsenal as leaders of a new superhero team. A group that is suppose to be more pro-active when it comes to dealing with villains - hunters if you will. I had only read issue #2 and was kinda lukewarm, but this past weekend I got a look at issue #1 and #3 (my comic shop had forgotten to pull #1 for me, and it took em awhile to find a copy of this very popular title). After getting a few issues behind me, I think I like the direction the series is going. We'll see how the next few issues go - I usually give myself 6 issues to decide on a monthly, ongoing title. Sometimes it clicks immediately (like Superman / Batman), other times it takes a while to build (i.e. Powers) or I just abandon it (i.e. Azreal). I know I really like the art from Tom Raney, so the next story arc will really put the concept and the writing to test - its being guest-penciled by Chris Cross. He's an artist I've run hot and cold on. So, like I said, if it's a series I really want to spend some time with, I'll know by whether I enjoy the book regardless if Cross' art clicks with me or not.

Another title I got to read this weekend was the first issue in the new 4-issue Gun Fu: The Lost City mini-series. The Lost City is the follow up to last year's Gun Fu #1 one-shot. The best explanation of what Gun Fu is about is to steal straight from the back of the comic, "Gun Fu is an action-comedy that takes place in 1936. Cheng Bo Sen is a gun-shooting, kung fu-using Hong Kong cop. His life becomes even more dangerous when he is recruited by England to help fight the Nazis. Cheng also speaks hip-hop which no one seems to notice."

Last year's one shot was a lot of fun. Very funny story with goofy, kinetic artwork. I was expecting and, for the most part, got the same with the mini-series. Howard Shum's script is still very funny with lots of great jokes and cultural references. Cheng is the mac-daddiest of the mac daddies. Plus, Chen fights Nazis - how can you go wrong?

What disappointed me with the first part of this mini-series was the artwork. It's the same artist from last time, but Joey Mason is apparently trying some new things with page layout and panel construction and I just don't think its working. After going back to compare with last year's one shot, I was able to put my finger on what was bothering me. In the Gun Fu one shot, Mason usually only used a few panels per page. If he got over five, then they usually followed the standard block layout. However, in this first issue of The Lost City, he's got panels all over the page. Take a look at this and this to see what I mean. Not only is Mason squeezing a number of tiny little panels onto a page, he's laying them over elaborate background images. Visually it's making for a messy page. There are images all over the place - one top of each other, next to each other, around each other. It diminishes the storytelling. Personally, I thought things read much cleaner and the overall experience was much better when Mason kept the panel count per page down and left the panels on primarily white or solid color pages. Like this or this.

Is the art enough to drive me away from the story? No. It's still a really fun read - unlike anything else I'm reading currently. And I like that. I just see the potential for so much more in the comic.

August 22, 2003

The weather is beautiful here in Chicago today. So much so that I went out at lunch. Took my lunch, my copy of Sandman (Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes), and my sunglasses and headed over to the park across the street from the Sears Tower. Made for a very relaxing and enjoyable lunchtime. I sat, eat, and read in the fresh air and sunshine. I've did it a few times at the beginning of the summer, but then we had weeks of rain in July and then some really hot days here in August. Upper 70s and sunshine is ideal for lounging outside at lunch.

Another plus is people watching. Lots of people out on a day like today. Its fun to watch the tourists taking photos, walking slowly down the street in tight groups - presumably for protection. Watching groups of friends or co-workers interacting and behaving like goofs during the lunch break. There's also a lot of cute women here in the city. There's plenty to see for the observant eye.

The first week back after a week off wasn't too bad. Took a while to get back into a workin' type of mode - but I eventually got there 'round Thursday. Next week will be better.

This weekend: The Wiggles They're doing some shows this weekend at the Chicago Theater and Heather and I are taking Ian. He's very excited. Ian's never been to a concert or show like this before - I take that back - when he was 2 we took him to a Childrens' Christmas Concert and my Mom took him to some college production of the Little Engine That Could. But still, nothing on scale as The Wiggles. He watches them on the Disney Channel. It's going to be quite an experience.
Here's the reason for last week's blackout:

Man Reportedly Hits Golf Balls Into Substation
Bruce Campbell and cheese - how can you go wrong: Where'd The Cheese Go?
Note to self: Never visit an Albanian beach.


Sheep feed on uncollected garbage in the middle of one of Albania's biggest beaches and tourists resorts of Durres. (AFP/Gent Shkullalu)

August 21, 2003

The trailer for Paycheck looks pretty promising as well.

The movie is based on a Philip K. Dick short story that I really enjoyed. I saw the potential for the short story as a movie, and obviously a lot of other people did as well. Dick's story didn't have half the action that is shown in this trailer - let alone what I expect to be in the movie - but that wasn't his style. He focused more on ideas of identity and reality - which don't necessarily lend themselves to big John Woo action flicks.

As with other Philip K. Dick adaptations, I'm sure the producers took the central concept, the major plot points, and spun their own story. The movie will have little resemblance to the short story, but that's okay. Paycheck is a fantastic concept with a great basic plot. If anyone could make it big and exciting, it would be John Woo.
Just watched the trailer and read up on Bubba Ho-Tep, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis.

Concept: Elivis switched places with an Elvis impersonator back in the 70s, missed his chance to switch back, and now sits in a nursing home in Texas. Joined by fellow nursing home resident Jack - who believes he's actually JFK despite the fact he's black ("They DYED me this color") - the two battle an Egyptian soul-sicking mummy who is terrorizing the nursing home.

Holy shit! What a concept. What a cast. It looks absolutely fantastic.

Check it out
Now this is just silly: George W. Bush 12" Action Figure

When did Presidents become action figures?

August 20, 2003

Recently got to read two really great comics. One a stellar superhero romp. The other a deeply personal small press independent comic. As different as night and day. What unites them is the quality of the product. They both excel in the universe in which they inhabit.

Superman / Batman #1 is essentially DC Comics' modern day version of the old World's Finest comic that ran in the 40's, 50's, and 60's(?). It's a new monthly that will star Superman and Batman working together. It's being written by Jeff Loeb - a writer whose work I always seem to enjoy. He's written a number of big Batman projects, The Long Halloween, Dark Victory, and the recent 12-issue story finishing up in the main Batman monthly. He's also written for the Superman monthly books, and created a 4-part series called Superman for All Seasons that is fantastic. Loeb knows these characters and excels when writing them in big blockbuster stories.

A different artist will join Loeb on each story arc. Ed McGuiness is the debut artist. McGuiness' art has been described as American Manga, and I guess it fits. He has a smooth, puffy style that isn't quite the tight line style of traditional American Superhero comics epitomized by Jim Lee, nor is it the overly cartoony look of much Japanese Manga. It's a mix. I tend to run hot and cold on the American Manga type artists in American comics, but McGuiness' particular style has always appealed to me. His Superman and Batman come off as larger than life icons - which in essence they are. The splash pages are great, as are the action sequences. He doesn't just draw the story; he brings characterization to the artwork. He lends definition to the characters by how he portrays them - how they hold themselves, their facial reactions. Its great.

Loeb's script has a great intro that quickly compares the origins of these two titans. It doesn't take long, but it goes a long way towards showing what Loeb's take on these two characters are. How he thinks they see the world and their role in it. The story then gives a credible reason for these two heroes to be working together, with a villain that is up to the challenge. He then finishes off the first comic with what amounts to two cliffhangers.

I really loved the book. Great story. Great Script. Great Art. I highly recommend it for those looking for an action comic. I plan on making room on my pull list for this item by dropping JLA. I've been reading JLA for almost 85 issues now and I think its time to move on. Superman / Batman is a more than worthy replacement for my monthly superhero blockbuster action escapist fix.

My Uncle Jeff is the complete other end of the comic book spectrum from Superman / Batman content-wise. Written by Damond Hurd, with exceptional artwork from Pedro Camello.

The comic is a love letter from Hurd to his favorite uncle. Hurd presents his family - good and bad - and explains his love for all of them despite some of their problems. The comic explores the fact that you don't choose your family - you're born with them, and that despite all this you still end up loving them. It's just that you love some more than others. You'd think with all the autobiographical material Hurd uses in his story that the book would be impenetrable to outsiders. It's not the case here. Hurd still creates an entertaining and approachable story for people not intimately associated with Hurd and his extended clan. It's really an exceptional book.

I was very surprised with Camello's artwork. This isn't meant to be mean or disrespectful, but usually with small press works it's the art that drags the book down. In a number of small press books I've read or flipped through, the art lacks maturity or professional polish. Not so in the case of Pedro Camello. I've never heard the name before, but the guy draws like a seasoned veteran. He's obviously earned his chops somewhere when it comes to comic illustration. A true talent.

My Uncle Jeff is a comic I can recommend to anyone and everyone. In fact, I'm considering it as a birthday or Christmas gift idea when the time comes. It's a perfect example of the power of comics as a storytelling medium and proof that comics are not just for kids.

August 19, 2003

Every time I read the caption under this image I laugh out loud . . .

Years from now, here's a great story to tell the grandkids . . . or at least for the parol officer.

Bride in Conn. Rages at Reception, Jailed

Make sure to play "count the tattoos" on the bride's mug shot.
Last Friday I was watching the Green Bay / Cleveland pre-season football game. Coverage had just started and Greg Gumbel and Phil Simms were doing their pre-game chit-chat. They got on the topic of the recent blackout that affected the east coast, including Cleveland, when the following exchange occurred:

Greg Gumbel: "I haven't seen that many candles since I was an alter boy."

Phil Simms: "Yeah. It was romantic, wasn't it."

awkward pause follows

Phil Simms: "Er. I mean . . . "

Music comes up and a hasty cut to commercial is executed.


One of the funnier, unscripted moments I've seen on live television. It could only have been better if we got to see Gumbel and Simms when the lines were delivered. At the time Simm's was making his unintended joke, we were simply seeing a shot of Cleveland Stadium.
From the Harper's Weekly email:

Vaginal-enhancement surgery was all the rage in Britain; women in New York City, who are fond of narrow shoes, were said to be having their toes shortened. Chinese scientists developed hybrid human-rabbit embryos.

Its a mad mad mad mad world, I tell you.
Martin Lindstrom is a sick, sick man. In his article What's Your Brand Up To After Hours?, he encourages the marketing V.P.'s of the world to get all employees to be little 24/7 walking representatives of the company they work for. Little robots chanting company philosophies and party lines.

Isn't it enough that American employeers have found a way to keep you tied to your job 24/7 through cell phones, pagers, email, and the Internet - now we have to speak and carry ourselves like little model employees every hour of the day because some slob on the street will recognize you as an employee of Company XYZ and associate your behavior with that brand? This is madness.

Lindstrom actually states in his article that after hearing a off-duty Disney Store employee talking and using the word "fuck" alot in his/her speech, it caused Disney to lose some of its value in his mind. Because he heard ONE off-duty worker saying fuck, he doesn't like the Disney Co. as much anymore! Think about the ridiculousness of that statement. They weren't even in the fucking Disney store and this boob is penalizing the entire company because of one lowly grunt worker.

Madness - madness I tell you. I work so I can live. I don't live to work. Mr. Lindstrom, take you head out of your ass. There is more to life than creating the perfect marketing brand. This kind of thinking makes me sick.
It's only on for 15 minutes once a week, but I think it's the funniest show on television currently: Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law

The kids at Cartoon Network took an old Hanna/Barbera cartoon from the late 60s and turned him into a cheesy lawyer. Every episode involves other cartoon characters and their trouble with the law: a custody battle between Dr. Quest and Race Bannon over little Johnny, Josie and the Pussy Cats stealing a Japanese pop band's song, Booboo killing Yogi ala Basic Instinct. The judges are old Birdman villians, as are the opposing attorneys.

Really funny stuff. Only 15 minutes long on Sunday nights at 10:30pm on Cartoon Network.

August 18, 2003

I got a week off from one job - which was nice. But now I'm back stuck in my little cube, making money for The Man.

During the week off we got out to do some fun stuff. A trip to the Brookfield Zoo was a great trip for Ian and Emma. They both had a great time seeing the animals, running around, and having some ice cream. Heather and I enjoyed a quiet ride home as they both slept silently in their seats. We got to spend some time in downtown Naperville, enjoying the sites and the shops. Ian also got to go miniature golfing for the first time at Smuggler's Cove. Emma caddied mostly. It’s a pirate themed golf spot about a mile from our house. The course is pretty neat - lots of hills and water. They even have a working volcano that spurts a huge fireball about once every 20 minutes - damn hot too, if you're standing too close. Ian's got to work on his golf swing a bit, but he had a lot of fun. It’s going to be a lot more fun when he and Emma get a little older.

We kept things close to home so Emma could get her naps in and because Heather is struggling through the morning sickness with this latest pregnancy. I call it morning sickness, but really it’s at any moment sickness. She never know when its going to strike exactly, though five minutes after finishing dinner seems to be a given. Net: I’ve been doing a lot more work at home to keep things together.

Anyway, her doctor appointment on Friday indicated that everything is going splendidly. Baby appears healthy and on term. We're just hoping all the sickness stops soon. I can only take 19-hour workdays (at the office and at home) for so long, and I think I'm starting to wear out.

Of course, you'd think staying home would mean we'd save money, right. Not so my simple-minded friend. The Neon conks out and we have to fork over $1,100 to cover repairs (both new and ones I’ve been putting off). The big-ticket item: busted alternator.

The week off did give me some time to do some work around the house, lay the ground work for some of the projects and organization that's needed to fit a third baby into our three bedroom house, and get some good comic book reading in. More on that later.

All in all, not a horrible week off.
In the news today:

OSLO (Reuters) - A Norwegian accidentally shot and wounded six of his friends at a surprise party to celebrate his 40th birthday, police said on Sunday.

The man found out about the party in a forest cabin in south Norway beforehand and hid behind trees nearby with a shotgun as about 30 guests turned up on Saturday night, hoping to turn the surprise on his friends,

He blasted off one round in the air, meaning it as a joke to shock the partygoers. But when he came out from his hiding place, he tripped and the gun went off again, badly hurting one woman in the legs and slightly injuring five others.

"Seven people were taken to hospital in Fredrikstad including the man who shot. He wasn't physically hurt but in deep shock," a police spokesman said.

The party was canceled.


What! They canceled the party? Damn wussy Norwegians.

What was going through this guy's head. "Hmmm. They're throwing a surprise party for me - how can I turn the tables on them? Oh! I know, I'll hide at night in the woods with my loaded shot gun and fire it off when they start up towards the cabin." Dumb-ass.
Come on kids! Chew on the oiled melon!

August 08, 2003

Hmmm . . . super computer chair
Gonna be on vacation all next week. We're not going anywhere, but we do plan on doing a number of day trips: the zoo, Children's Museum, minature golf, stuff like that. Considering that I do most of my blogging for work, don't expect to see much next week.

I need time away from work. This place and the people here are driving me crazy.
Ian went to his first baseball game last night. He and I attended a Kane County Cougars game, a minor league team that plays out in Geneva, IL, as guests of my dad. The DuPage County Court House does an annual outing there, so Dad got some extra tickets. Heather and Emma weren't up for going, so Ian and I ran up to Geneva to enjoy some baseball.

Ian was very excited to be going to his first baseball game. At first I think he was expecting to actually play in the game, but I cleared things up for him before we got to the stadium. Still, he couldn't stop talking about the "exciting adventure" we were going on. The kid was absolutely beside himself. We found our seats, got a free hot dog and pop, and sat down to watch the game.

That last about an inning and a half. Then Ian wanted to get up and check the place out. I can't blame him; he's only 4 and it is a minor league team - there is crap going on all over the place. Its hard to focus on a slow baseball game.

We spent some time in the family section behind center field. There they had some big ole inflated play equipment. He really had fun on the giant inflatable slide. It was really high - a good 20 feet - that he had to use a rope to climb up one side of. What a blast watching his little head appear over the top of the slide and then watch him come sliding down. The kid was having a great time.

We ran all around the rest of the stadium. Got a little ice cream. Pretended to be Scooby-Doo (Ian) and Shaggy (me). A think a fun time was had by all.

Of course I saw very little of the baseball game - though I did see all of the Cougars' scoring. Ian and I left at the end of the 7th inning - with the Cougars up 3-0. Learned this morning that the Courgars ended up losing in 13 innings - 4-3. Oh well.
Fun quotes:

"Life sucks, Brendon. That's your lesson. Go enjoy it. "- Home Movies

"I've got a fever and the perscription is more COWBELL!!!"
Algebra Points the Way to a Happy Marriage

This is wild. 94% accuracy on predicting a marriage's staying power based on pumping data into two different algebraic equations - one for the man, one for the woman.
Researchers Compile 'Atlas' of the Brain

How much longer before they build a functioning artifical brain based onthis atlas I wonder. Could Asimov's concept of a positronic brain might be coming up sooner than we think? Fasinating.
New Theory of Time Rattles Halls of Science

I think I understand the theory Peter Lynds is presenting - but its hard to tell. Time and Space - as conepts - can be difficult to wrap your head around.

Regardless, it was interesting reading about what Lynds has to say.

August 07, 2003

Coleman Among Stars in Calif. Recall Race

Wanted to do my part to make sure Arnold didn't get all the press for entering the race for the governor's chair in California.

If Buddy Hackett was still alive I'd suggest he throw his hat into the ring as well, and then we could turn the whole election into a remake of Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

August 06, 2003

Dueling Banjos, Burt Reynolds, a squirrel,a penguin, and the Duke of Hazard - Who could ask for anything more
Had a great geek moment at lunch today. Graham Cracker Comics had artist extraordinaire Jim Lee in for a signing today from 12 to 2pm. GCC has nine locations in Chicago - I usually pick my stuff up at the Naperville store, its nice and close to my house in Aurora. However, they have a store downtown near the Art Institute of Chicago that's about a five-block walk from where I work. That's where the signing was today. So, at 11:45 I gather up my stuff and walked on over.

Got to the store just before noon. Line was about half a block long. At 12:20 they started letting people in, and by about 12:40 it was my turn to step up to the table.

I don't know what I was expecting, but he seemed a lot more normal than I expected. He came off as this normal, unassuming guy sitting behind a table, talking comics and video games, and signing stuff. Really nice guy. I geek-ed up and didn't say all the things I wanted to. But at least I thanked him for creating such great comics. I really do love his art.

Got him to sign my copy of Batman #615, the one with Batman and Nightwing running on the cover. I'm not a big getting comics signed type of guy, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get his John Hancock on something. It will be a nice souvenir from meeting him. Something to remember the day I met an artist I really admire.
Jack Mabley is the fartiest old fart that ever farted an old fart.
Heard about this yesterday, downloaded it, and watched it this morning.

Sandy Collora has directed some commericials (Volkswagen, "Got Milk"). He did a short 8 minute film to showcase his talents out side of product huckster. He chose to do a Batman flick called Batman: Dead End.

Its a pretty wild little film. Essentially a 4 minute fight scene, where Batman first captures the Joker, is then tackled by the alien from the Alien films, and then has to go toe-to-toe with the intergaltic head hunter from the Predator films. The little bit of dialogue between Batman and the Joker is stilted, cliched, and a bit painful to listen to and some of the scenes are so dark its hard to figure out what's going on, but overall the film has got style and action to spare. The man has got serious talent and know how to package it up professionally.

Some fanboys have been calling this film the greatest live action Batman ever produced. That Sandy Collora should be tapped to helm the next movie in the Batman franchise. To that I say, "Whoa there Johnny! All the guy did was shoot a big fight scene that because of whose in it, appeals to the fanyboys and the sci-fi geeks. He hasn't shown that he can handle a full-length film starring a superhero and make it relevant and interesting for the masses. Lets all calm down."

Take a look at it if you are so interested. It a well done, professional quailty, short film. There are two versions for downloading, plus a making-of featurette. Check it out

August 05, 2003

Last Saturday was the big birthday party. Lots of people came over. We ate. We talked. We played. Opened a few gifts and had some cake. All in all, it was a successful party.

Once again I saw how many people love our children. They gave Ian and Emma way more gifts than I thought necessary. Either I'm out of touch of what's considered appropriate gift giving - or the people at our party really like Ian and Emma and want to show it by giving them some really nice things. (I know they're not doing it because of me.) I can't thank everyone enough for the generosity.

For Ian it was a Rescue Hero birthday. His Rescue Hero collection doubled. We now have a lot of figures and vehicles - its almost time to build a garage for all of them. Also, apparently Disney Princess stuff is the hot item now for little girls. Emma walked away with quite a number of items from Disney. We also learned that Emma likes to wear hats. She wore an adorable Care Bears "My First Birthday" Dr. Seuss-like hat that Mom bought for her for hours. Then she switched to another hat that she received as a birthday gift. 1-year old and the girls a fashion plate.

As usual, Heather out-did herself with the cakes. Emma's was a strawberry double-layer cake with vanilla frosting and pink polka-dots. Ian got a birthday cake in the shape and design of Buzz Lightyear. I'll be uploading pixs of both when I get some extra time.

Ultimately the party wiped me out. Did help that Friday night I stayed up til 11:30 watching The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence - but hey, great movie. John Wayne - Jimmy Stewart - you gotta stay up and watch that. Then Sunday morning Emma got up at 4:45 am, played for an hour or so, then went back to sleep at 6am for about 45 minutes. I was up with her the whole time. Got up. Cleaned up the house a bit. Then took off to help my Dad pick up furniture and move it to his new house. Back home mid-afternoon. More cleaning until late at night. I was so tired I thought I was going to die. Took of work on Monday to sleep in late. Its a was a half-hearted attempt to try and pay back the huge amounts of sleep debt I've been getting myself into the last few weeks. Really been working it hard at the office and at home - for reasons I really not talking about yet. I need to find some balance soon, however, or I'm afraid of where I will end up. Even after sleeping in on Monday, when I got up I felt physically ill for awhile from lack of sleep.

But lets not dwell on the negative. Lets talk about the HOLY CRAP! moment I experienced over the weekend. Friday evening - before Liberty Valence I had to read the latest Batman comic I had just picked up. #617 to be exact. The 12-part Hush story line is rushing to its conclusion in #619, so I was pretty excited. Last page of the comic, the ultimate cliff hanger - Hush, the character who has been making Batman's life a living hell the last 12 months reveals himself, and its none other than JASON TODD.

Now for those of you unfamiliar with Batman back-story, this means nothing. For those of you who know a thing or two about the history of the comic book Batman will recognize Jason Todd as the name of the very unpopular second Robin (the first Robin, Dick Grayson, became Nightwing - one of my favorite heroes. The third, and current Robin, is Tim Drake), who was famously murdered by the DC Comic reading public back in the late 80s. Jason Todd was trapped in an explosion set by the Joker. The readers of the comic had the option to call one of two 1-900 numbers to vote whether Todd lived or died. The public voted death.

To have Jason Todd be uncovered as the identity of Hush was quite a kick to the gut. I didn't see that coming at all. Even though superhero comics, like television soap operas, are notorious for bring back characters who have died. Its just that over the years there always seemed to be a few deaths that would remain constant in the world of comics - because they helped define who the main character is. Captain America's sidekick Bucky's death. Spider-man/Peter Parker's Uncle Ben's death. The death of Jason Todd. To un-do this death would seem like a cheap move for those who oversee Batman at DC, and an un-needed stunt for a 12-part story line that had been entertaining without any stunts or gimics. Todd's murder, coupled with Bruce Wayne's own parents' murder, have fueled Batman's fight against crime and served as the basis for his character construction.

On the other hand, having Jason Todd, a hero trained by Batman, back from the dead and pissed off at his former mentor, would make for a fascinating villain in the Batman's gallery. I guess I could live with that as well.

Ultimately, I'm holding some reservations that it really is Jason Todd. Right before Batman sees Jason, there are some interesting scenes involving the Scarecrow that seem to indicate that Batman might be under the influence of some reality bending drugs. I guess I wait and see. Its going to be an exciting final two issues from Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee.
ChicagoSports.com - Ditka discusses his impotency

Apparently Da Coach has a difficult time . . . getting the first down . . . getting it through the up-rights . . . hittin' the hole . . . making the completion . . . going long.

I know I shouldn't make fun. But I had to try. It was more challenging than I thought to come up with football analogies for erectile dysfunction.

Ditka is such the huckster, that it wouldn't surprise me if we found out that he didn't suffer from ED. Like he says in this article, being the spokesman: "it's good pay"

August 04, 2003

Yahoo! News - The Force Is with Cartoon Network

Some more news about the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated show on the Cartoon Network. Apparently CN is going to show it nightly at the same time - so that people will know when to look for it. Which is great news - cause I was worried that I would running all around trying to figure out when its on. Now all I have to do is wait until this fall for when they premiere.

August 01, 2003

Friday afternoon - 4:30. I am so ready to leave. The tendinitis in my wrist has been killing me this week, so having two days away from the computer is going to be great.

I'm outta here.
Matchstick Men, starring Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman, and directed by Ridley Scott, also looks like an entertaining movie.

Check out the trailer
Just ran across the trailer for Once Upon a Time in Mexico the third movie in the EL MARIACHI/DESPERADO series. It stars Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, and Willem Dafoe. I've never seen the first two films, though I do know that they are also great little flicks and made a name for Banderas and writer/director Robert Rodriguez.

Like Pirates of the Caribbean, the trailer makes the movie out to be a lot of fun and its got Johnny Depp in it - how could I go wrong? I want to check this film out.

Check out the trailer
Just ran across the trailer for Once Upon a Time in Mexico the third movie in the EL MARIACHI/DESPERADO series. It stars Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, and Willem Dafoe. I've never seen the first two films, though I do know that they are also great little flicks and made a name for Banderas and writer/director Robert Rodriguez.

Like Pirates of the Caribbean, the trailer makes the movie out to be a lot of fun and its got Johnny Depp in it - how could I go wrong? I want to check this film out.

Check out the trailer
Found on the Movie Poop Shoot website:

It looks as if the old General Lee will be getting a tuneup. The script for Warner Bros. Pictures' big-screen version of "The Dukes of Hazzard" is still being wrestled into shape. But that's not stopping Ashton Kutcher and Paul Walker from expressing their interest in starring as the fast-drivin' cousins, with Anthony Anderson as Boss Hog, in the remake of the good-ol'-boys TV series that ran on CBS from 1979-85. Kutcher is so into the role that he even dressed up as Luke Duke last year on Halloween. And what about Daisy Duke? Rumors are already buzzing that Britney Spears, who worked with Kutcher on an episode of MTV's "Punk'd," is one possibility. (Item courtesy of THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER)

Heaven protect us!

Bill Amend smacks the newspapers for the trend of ever shrinking comic strip sizes. Comics used to be large and easily read. Now they've shrunk to a point where it can be difficult for some people to read. The newspapers destroy art.

This is good news . . .

Jennifer Garner Keeping 'Alias' Until '08

Hopefully Garner's rising star power will bring more viewers to the critically acclaimed show that not nearly enough people are watching. Heather and I love the show - we tape it and watch it religiously.
Here's a HOLY CRAP! moment for ya . . .

Woman Gives Birth to 12-Pound Baby

A 37-year-old woman gave birth to a baby boy weighing 12 pounds 5 ounces by Caesarean section Tuesday in New York state. The first child was 10 pounds 6 ounces at birth. They don't plan on having any other children.