November 26, 2003

How Much of the 80s Can We Love?

For those of you not in the know, for approximately the last year and a half the comic book industry has enjoyed/suffered an explosion of comics based on televisions shows popular in the 1980s. G. I. Joe, Transformers, ThunderCats, G-Force, He-Man. The list goes on and on. I flipped through a few. They're okay. Nothing spectacular. Mainly it's about cashing in on the fact that the average age of the comic book buyer continues to inch higher and higher. I think it's up to something in the early to mid-20s now. This means that there are plenty of guys who grew up with these TV shows and can't help getting caught up in the nostalgia crack-high some of these comics provide them.

Things were starting to slow down. Some of the series haven't been big sellers and they seem to have tapped all the big, popular shows from the 80s. I thought things were done. Unless some one thought they really could bring back something like MASK as a comic.

Then I read this: 88MPH's NEW TAKE ON DISNEY'S TRON and this: CLAVET & DABB ON GHOSTBUSTERS.

88MPH Studios is going to begin publishing comics based on Tron and Ghostbusters. Popular Movies from the 80s (I know, Ghostbusters was also a popular cartoon from the 80s, but when you read the article you'll see that they really aren't paying any attention to the television series.)

So when you use up the TV shows, move on to the movies of the era. I guess that's the rule of thumb for the comic book industry.

The art looks all pretty, but does anyone want to read comics based on these film properties? What's always made these enjoyable movies for me are the actors and their performances. If it's not Bill Murray up there hamming it up as Peter Venkman, then I'm really not that interested.

Can't we just leave some things alone?

Michael Caine to play 'Batman's' Alfred?

Caine as Alfred would be interesting. Considering they already have Christian Bale signed up to portray Bruce Wayne/Batman and Christopher Nolan directing and co-writing with David Goyer; this Batman movie has the potenital to be a very good film. It could easily cleanse us of the Joel Shumacher (sp?) years.

Bad Santa

The more I read about Bad Santa, the more I want to see it. I have yet to read a bad review for the film, and outside of the Disney Co. (parent company to flick's distributor Dimension Films) trying to distance themselves from the movie, everyone seems to think it's a fantastic dark comedy. My cup of tea. Give me a a film or book that can find humor in the cruelty people inflict on each other and I'll be there.

I'll definetly be adding it to my "movie to see" list, which currently is so long that I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell of me actually seeing half the films on the list. Oh well.

Hmmm . . . Turkey Soda

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the Jones Soda Company brewed some special Turkey & Gravy flavored soda. They've sold out of their online stock, so you can only pick it up at their retail stores in Seattle.

Hey, Watch Out For the . . .

Nevermind

November 25, 2003

I'm an Actor, Dammit!

William Shatner to receive excellence award

Is anyone more deserving that Capt. Kirk to receive an excellence award from Canada for contributions to the film and television industry?

I don't think so.

All Christmas Music, All the Time

For most of the year, I don't pay any attention to WLIT 93.9 FM here in Chicago. They play insipid lite-rock and are over-managed by radio giant Clear Channel Communications (corporate motto: destroying local radio programming, one city at a time.)

However, starting the weekend before Thanksgiving, they start playing Christmas music 24-7. That's right. Christmas music all the time from roughly the middle of November until the end of December. Heather and I love it. We know at any time we can get some Christmas tunes on the radio regardless of where we are or what day it is. We just have to fight the urge not to turn the dial to 93.9 FM before Thanksgiving. (We try to keep the self imposed rule of no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving Day.)

What can I say. Heather and I are Christmas junkies. We love everything about celebrating the holiday - especially the music.

Cubs' ticket business upheld

Good news. The Tribune Company gets to keep legally scalping Cubs tickets.

The class-action suit guys say that by selling blocks of tickets through a Tribune owned ticket re-sale company, fans were subjected to higher prices and less tickets. The Trib claims that the only tickets sold through this re-sale company came from a pool of VIP tickets set aside for players, sponsors, etc. Really doesn't matter to me. Everyone is in it for money. And if the extra cash means the Trib might spend a little on improving an already good team, then I say, "Scalp away!"

Hamster Sausage Reigns Supreme

With a stunning 112 - 56 defeat of the lowly Steelers, and thanks to a one-point win by Imperial Escorts over uptike, Hamster Sausage finally claimed sole possession of first place in the Yahoo! Fantasy Football Public 477868 League.



uptike and Hamster Sausage have been tied for first most of the season, but we've finally made our move. The team has been playing very well. We finally have a WR core in place that can contribute. And our RB tandem continues to provide plenty of points every week.

Up next: the sliding D-Bus

I smell a championship.

November 24, 2003

More Crap on the Web

I swear there is more and more of this crap on the web every day. Instead of a place to freely share ideas and communicate, the Internet has come to be dominated by the lowest denominator in entertainment, ethics, and morals.

Michael Jackson (the Official Press Room)

What a Frickin' Week

It was almost a week ago that Heather went to the doctor to check out the pain in her back and everything unraveled at home. Our doctor didn't see to much trouble with Heathe's back - a little inflamation, but nothing to be worried about. Take some Tylenol and try to rest it more and things should work out. However, that night Heather was reading through some of the literature that the doctor had provided her concerning back pain and found some stretching exercises that were intended to help with pain.

She got down on the floor to do them - a hour later she was laying in bed - the pain was even worse. The next morning she could barely walk. Thus began a crazy week of revolving baby-sitters and days off of work as we tried to get Heather healed and take care of Ian and Emma at the same time. Oh, I forgot to mention that at almost the same time that Heather was severely injurying her back, Ian and Emma were coming down with nasty head colds. Plenty of snot, coughing, and restless nights. I think I sleep 6 hours the first 72 hours of this ordeal.

And It has been an ordeal. I've been trying to juggle caring for Ian and Emma, nursing Heather back to health, and my regular day job. Luckily I have a mother and sister in town who can come out to help at a moments notice, and a mother-in-law who was willing to fly in from Ohio Saturday morning and stay all this week and potentially longer so that we could have some consistent care for everyone at home.

By the end of last week Ian and Emma were starting to show the stress of having their Mom laid up in bed and a different person at home taking care of them each day. I tried to help Ian out by taking him out Saturday to have some fun. I also hope having Pat stay with us this week will bring some normalcy back to the house and give the kids a more secure feeling at home.

Heather's condition appears to be improving, but not nearly as quickly as I had hoped. I can't believe laying in bed this long is good for her body, let alone the developing baby inside her. Plus, I'd like to sleep in my own bed again soon. Gettin' tired of the floor. ;-)

Anyway, she'll be talking with her doctor again today and we'll see how things go from there. We've already talked about me handling a majority of the Christmas shopping. For which I had a one word answer: AMAZON.COM! I love the online shopping. We see though. I really think Heather's gonna be back up and moving again here really soon.

In other news: what about those Bears? Who'd of thunk that the Chicago Bears could march in Denver and beat the Broncos? I know I didn't. Wonders will never cease.

Note to Self: No Vacations in Geuda Springs, Kansas

Kansas Town Requires Homes to Have Guns

The City Council passed a measure 3-2 to require all residents of the 210-person town to own a gun and ammunition. Noncomplying resdients would be fined $10.

According to clinically insane Councilman John Brewer, the ordinance fulfills the duty to protect by allowing each individual householder to provide for their own protection.

This feels wrongs for a whole bunch of reasons. Like: did the council consider this a rational means to trim a local police department budget? Crazyman Brewer is actually quoted as saying, "This ordinance fulfills the duty to protect . . ." Which to me suggests that the local government in Geuda Springs doesn't want to pay for protecting its citizens. They believe that the locals can police themselves as long as everyone has a gun.

Never mind the insanity of every single person in a town own weapons and being told by their government that these weapons should be used to defend yourself.

It's like the old west. It's craziness.

Strange News for the Day

Doctors baffled as Indian man claims not to have eaten for 68 years

Prahlad Jani is 76-years old and claims to have not eaten, drank, or releaved himeself since he was 8. He recently went under 24-hour surveillance at a hospital in India for 10 days. During that time doctors did not observe him eat or use the bathroom. Interesting.

However, I believe that guy has to have eaten or drank something in 68 years. Even if you are some kind of medical mutant living off spiritual nurishment, wouldn't you at least want to see what all this talk about whiskey is for?

Now NASA wants him to teach their astronauts his secret. Beautiful

November 21, 2003

I'll Wait for the DVD Release

Apparently the Hollywood Entertainment Machine is hitting the bottom of the barrel when it comes to ideas. H2V Entertainment plans on producing 2 - count 'em 2 - animated films staring Slinky products, and follow those with an animated television show. Read more here

I don't know whether to laugh or go screaming from my computer.

Health News I Can Use

Hot Cocoa May Prevent Heart Disease - accoding to a recent study conducted by a PhD food science researcher with Seoul National University in South Korea, Hot Cocoa has more antioxidants than tea or red wine.

Considering that I never drink tea and have red wine maybe 4 or 5 times a year but drink Hot Cocoa 3 to 5 times a week during the colder months, I'm figuring it helps to heap on the Swiss Miss.

More Helpful Hints from this Blog

Click and learn what to do should you internet connection ever go down. . .


November 20, 2003

Another Reason to Hate PETA

PETA Gets Catty With Clay

Now, I really don't have any opinoin of Clay Aiken. I can take him or leave him. But all the guy did was publicly state that he doesn't like cats. That's fair. Lots of people don't like cats.

However, PETA takes him to task, demanding he publicly announce that cats are nice and cuddly. When he refuses, they create an ad that directly attacks Aiken.

These PETA people are just unstable.

November 19, 2003

Only 2 More To Go

There are only 2 more episodes of the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoons before we have to wait until the spring of 2004 to see how the series ends. The shows have been spectacular up to this point. Short (too short), but very entertaining. Top notch animation coupled with excellent compressed storytelling skills. I've loved it.

Everything in our house has been stopping at 6:58pm every weekday night for the last two weeks so Ian and I can flip on Cartoon Network and settle in on the couch. I'm going to miss not having that time every night with Ian. I've really enjoyed it. I think he has too. He's turning into quite the Star Wars fan. It warms his Daddy's heart.

OUCH!


Hossein Barkhah of Iran dislocates his elbow attempting to lift 157.5 kilograms at the World Weightlifting Championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, November 18, 2003. REUTERS/Lyle Stafford

At Least He Died Happy

Man Dies After Winning Vodka-Drinking Contest

The winner downed three half-liter bottles of vodka in under 40 minutes. He took a taxi home, but died later. Five other contestants ended up in intensive care.

Yahoo! News - Browns' Green Hospitalized With Knife Wound

Browns' Green Hospitalized With Knife Wound

Poor little Brownies - they just can't catch a break. At least the put a good ole fashioned whooping on the Arizona Cardnials last weekend or the faithfull would be howling for somebody's head.

November 18, 2003

Interesting Marketing Marriages

Is it really that difficult for Sting to sell CDs these days? Sting and sexy women's underwear. Luckily it's not Sting in sexy women's underwear.



click the image to see it full size.

Happy Birthday, Mickey

Disney Icon Mickey Mouse Turns 75

Star Wars: Epsiode III Spoiler

Because I don't have the time, patience, or traffic to care, this is your last warning if you don't want to know anything about the up-coming final installment in the Star Wars series of films. But truth be told, this isn't a huge spoiler. In the grand scheme, it's pretty small.

Because I'm a Hyperspace memeber, I get access to a bunch of content on the Star Wars website that other people do not. Like larger versions and enhanced versions of the Clone War cartoons from Cartoon Network. They also provide members with a bunch of web cams and photography from the set. The most recent Before the Helmet production image is of Darth Sidious' (i.e. the eventual Emperor from the last three SW films) lightsaber. Which for a SW geek like myself means good things. You don't create a prop like that unless you're going to use it. Which means that more than likely, in Episode III, Darth Sidious is going to demonstrate his lightsaber handling abilities. Who will it be against? Yoda? Obi-Wan? Anakin? Could Mace Windu fall at the hands of Darth Sidious? Samuel L. Jackson said he wanted a glorious death. What better than to meet his end fighting the mightest Lord of the Sith.

From what I've read so far, Episdoe III is supposed to be the darkest film yet for the SW franchise. Even darker and more serious than Empire Strikes Back. 2005 can come soon enough.

Get Your Flu Shot

The Centers for Disease Control wants you to. The CDC is concerned that this could be a particularly bad year for the flu. The illness has already shown up extensively in Colorado and Texas - which is pretty early in the season. CDC thinks these early outbreaks could be indication of what is to come.

I got my flu shot a couple of weeks ago here at work. They were offering them for free. Heather is going to schedule herself to go get one herself, Emma and Ian.

November 17, 2003

Busy Day At Work

Didn't have much time to blog today. My morning was filled up with meetings. The afternoon with other work and another meeting. The day really has move rather quickly - except for this last hour.

I'm absolutely beat today. Even though I didn't really do a lot, this was a very tiring weekend. Seemed to fall behind in my sleep. Which confuses me, because I pretty much kept the same sleeping patterns.

I hope to get some new pictures up on the website tomorrow or Wednesday. I got some pix from our weekend in Racine, WI and I've got a week 23 pregnancy update for Heather.

Happy Life Day!

25 years ago today the one and only showing of the Star Wars Holiday Special occured.

It has never been seen again - ever - on any form of broadcast, cable, or pay-per-view television. It only exists in grainy, 1978 quality VHS copies. Besides the creation of Jar Jar Binks, it has to be one of the most embarassing moments in Star Wars history. It's just bad television. Besides guest apperances by Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamil as their respective SW characters, it stars the likes of Bea Arthur, the late Art Carney (wait, is Bea Arthur dead? never mind) and Chewbacca and his family. The only redeeming aspects of the show is a short Star Wars cartoon that is memorable for being the first appearance of Boba Fett.

Still - I'd love to see it again.

November 14, 2003

The Problem With Schools

On the surface the story is silly, a teacher (Cara Sajko) is allegedly lowering students grades at her whim. Things like improper stapling, names in the wrong section, or turning in homework 10 seconds late have led to 75 of her 150 students failing her course - according to her grading formula.

Of course parents are outraged and the Superintendent has intervened. Removing the teacher temporarily while he investigates.

This is what bothers me about the story:

Sajko was fired in 1995 for incompetence but won her job back after union arbitration cited a lack of credible evidence and an unfair evaluation, said Carolyn Meredith, district director of employee relations.

Union contracts, Meredith said, require that the district follow strict procedures before firing an educator, and the union can force any termination into outside arbitration.


The article also notes that there have been complaints concerning Sajko's teaching practices and behavior all the way back to the mid-1990s. She's a bad teacher, but the union keeps fighting to keep her on the job.

How do we expect to provide our children a quality education when a teacher's union prevents the school from getting rid of the employees that are standing in the way of this?

Santa Yoda?

Because I'm a Star Wars Hyperspace member, I can order a limited edition Holliday Yoda action figure. Apparently the figure's design is inspired by a 1980's Lucasfilm greeting card by Ralph McQuarrie, the concept artist responsible for much of the look of the original Star Wars trilogy.

Do I order it? It's $12.50, include the figure, display case, and a copy of the original greeting card. It's horribly cheesey, but could be a lot of fun too. Plus, it's not often that I'm part of a group that gets access to special edition stuff like this.

But, then again, what would Heather say? What would my sister say? Can I live with the ribbing that owning an action figure of Yoda dressed like Santa Claus would bring? I'm not sure.

Holy Crap, Is My Mom Reading This?

My sister thoughtfully brought this great article from the Onion to my attention: Mom Finds Out About Blog

Very funny. I know that when I started blogging, I fought against the urge to self-censor, knowing that I get a lot of family traffic to my website. It's a constant struggle. Even though I try to use my online journal as an outlet to vent and comment, I still hold back from talking about everything I might want to.

Pretty Girls

It's always nice to start the day off with a picture of pretty girls. . .


November 12, 2003

Happy Birthday, Dad!

You're in Georgia, drinking grasshopers and Shirley Temples with all the other judges, and pretending to learn about "evidence". Maybe next year you can convince the bosses you need to go to the "conference" in Puerto Rico. I hope it's a good birthday. I'll see you when you get back.

Art Carney - Christmas Leprechaun

As everyone is aware, entertainment legend Art Carney passed away last Sunday. All the stories and obituaries that I read talk about his wonderful work on The Honeymooners, the Emmy awards and Academy award he won, his many guest appearances (including an episode of the Batman television show of the late 60's).

In addition to all that, I'd like to also remember Mr. Carney for his work for the Rankin & Bass animation juggernaut. Carney voiced the lead character, acted as narrator, and sang songs in Rankin's & Bass' 1981 obscure Christmas classic, Leprechaun's Christmas Gold. Which I own, of course.

It's a fun Christmas tale, thick on the Irish brogue and cheesy dialogue. The songs are okay. Mostly the show works because of Carney's engaging performance. Plus, how can you not love that great Rankin & Bass stop-action animation. I think Ian was afraid of the show when he watched it the first time - the baddie is an ugly looking banshee who screams a lot - but subsequent viewing have warmed him to the video. It isn't the best Rankin & Bass has to offer when it comes to holiday entertainment, but it's still better than most.

I Work With Apes

And none of them know how to use a toilet. I go to the bathroom to take a crap this morning. If the stall wasn't taken, then it was backed up because apparently many of the boys who work here can figure out the proper crap/toliet paper to plumbing ratio for the company toilets. Good god!

We're all adults. Learn how to use a fuckin' toilet so that you skanky crap soup isn't filling up the bowl. I don't want to see or smell this. Why do I have to deal with this? This is so stupid.

Don't even get me started how no one at this company comprehends the idea of shelf life for food in a refrigerator. You'd think our company was full of 14-year old half-breeds, sitting around waiting for mommy to clean up after them. The refrigerators, the counters, the cupboards - over-packed and disgusting. Do these people live like this at home?

This Isn't Good

Do you ever have days when you just want to beat the living crap out of someone? I mean really fuck someone up. Just lay 'em out with a big ole' punch to the head and watch their skull bounce off the concrete when they hit the ground. I do. I'm having one today. I am in just one pissy mood.

It might not have been so bad yesterday, but today my manager is in and I have to co-chair this presentation this afternoon. So I've got to be all nicey-nicey and good-worker like. Yesterday my manager was out and the work load was light. I got to sit at my desk, plow through some things, and for the most part be left alone. Today I'm gonna have to interact with the dull, brain-dead, annoying, butt-licking, pissy little people who manage to get in my way on days like this. Like the rat-headed junkie who stood on the escalator this morning and stretched his needle-mark infested arms across the length of the moving staircase so that knowbody could get pass this brain-dead goat molestor until he got to the top.

Holy crap. This is going to be long day.

November 11, 2003

What a Rotten Day

The last two days have just dragged along. This is not fun at all. I get to 2pm and just slam into the wall. I'm not sure if it's the shrinking amount of daylight, the weather, or something else - but I am just finding it hard to get motivated for anything. My only reprieve so far seems to be the daily viewing of Star Wars: Clone Wars on Cartoon Network. But that's only 5 minutes long and there willl only be on 8 more showings. What happens after that?

Ugh

How Does She Get Through the Airport?


Elaine Davidson of Brazil, who holds the Guinness world record for being the woman with the greatest number of body piercings, 1,903

Mmmmm . . . Sushi

The Seattle Times: Sushi in the raw: Restaurant's displays get women's group steamed

It's naked sushi every Saturday night for this Seattle restaurant. A nearly naked woman lays on a table. A chef slices sushi behind her and places it on the plastic wrap and strategically placed flower petals that cover the model's body.

A women's group thinks it's exploitive. The owner of the restaurant and the model calls it performance art.

News from the Harper's Weekly Email

The usual same old - same old this week in the Harper's email. Bush Administration breaking promises, people killing each other in the Middle East, bizzare medical and scientific discoveries. However, two items rose above the clutter to catch my eye:

The Bush Administration was looking to fill vacancies on local draft boards, although Pentagon officials denied that the government plans to reinstate the draft. - This is definitely something to keep an eye on.

A new study found that beer does not cause beer bellies. - A-ha! More proof that I need to drink more beer.

Very Interesting

Op-Ed Columnist: Cynics Without a Cause

David Brooks makes the point in his New York Times Op-Ed piece that the possibility of some W stooge forcing a civil servant to steer business to a big donor is about as probable as Dick Jauron returning next year as the coach of the Chicago Bears.

November 10, 2003

Love and Marriage

Two great stories today:

Turkish woman locked husband naked in bathroom for three years
She says he was crazy because he took three showers a day. He says she was trying to make him sick so he would die and she would inherit his fortune. They've been married for 15 years.

123-Year-Old Woman Buried Next to Hated Husband
She was forced to marry him when she was 14 and he was in his early 60's. Even though he died shortly after World War II, she still hated the guy on her death bed.

Isn't love grand?

The Story of the Football Cheese

Our story starts a few weeks ago. Heather was flipping through the channels one lazy weekend afternoon while feeding Emma, when she stumbled upon a show on the Fox Sports Channel. The program was an educational infomercial, of sorts, that explained how Wisconsin cheese was made.

Ian, who can be found around most turned on television sets, was immediately transfixed by the sharp writing and vivid acting - not to mention that shot after shot of milk, cheese and other dairy products. Heather's curiosity was peaked as well, so the show remained on.

As we learned more and more about how milk from a cow becomes Wisconsin cheese, we also learned that there were essentially only 3 sponsors or advertisers for the show. Every commercial break consisted of the same three spots: one for the Wisconsin tourism board, one for some corn feed, and finally Sargento cheese.

It was the Sargento cheese spot that had the most impact on us. It their 60-seecond spot, the friendly announcer voice with the soothing Midwest accent told us about how wonderful Sargento cheese is. How the cheese Sargento markets comes from the finest local dairies in Wisconsin. And in order to remove all doubt that Sargento cheese is the finest cheese of Wisconsin - they would throw down this proclamation: Sargento cheese is the official cheese of Lambeau Field.

Accompanying this thundering revelation, the fine people of Sargento would show us special Sargento cheese packaging with commemorative "Official Cheese of Lambeau Field" labeling, including; shredded cheese, a crock of cheese, and finally, a cheese shaped like a football.

A legend was born.

Shortly after the program ended, we all decided that we had to acquire a football cheese. It was our quest.

However, we knew that nobody in Illinois, let alone Chicago, would be interested in the Official Cheese of Lambeau Field commemorative football cheeses. Not as long as Brett Favre and the hated Green Bay Packers still inhabited those football grounds. If we wanted a football cheese, we would need to go to Cheese Land.

Weeks went by and the memory of the cheese football and its promise of wonderful Wisconsin dairy goodness faded a bit from our memory. Little did we know that we still had a date with football cheese shaped destiny.

Heather and I decided that we needed a weekend away from the kids. It was our last chance for some peace, quiet, and sanity before the arrival of our third child in March '04. As fate would have it, we found a wonderful bed and breakfast in quiet Racine, Wisconsin that we wanted to visit. Approximately 30 miles south of Milwaukee, Racine would be right in the heart of Cheese Land.

The night before Heather and I left, Ian asked me where his Mom and I were going. I responded, "Wisconsin." His reply? "Are you going to get a cheese football?"

"Yes, son. We will get you a football cheese," I promised him sincerely. My mission was clear. If nothing else, I would return from Wisconsin with a football cheese for my son. Apparently he still pined for the cheddar-y goodness of cheese curd pressed and formed into the shape of a football.

Heather and I waited until the last day in Racine, as we were literally leaving the fine city, to hunt down the elusive football cheese. We spotted a Piggy-Wiggly and quickly pulled into the parking lot. Bursting through the doors, we pushed our way past lumpy Wisconsinites who were lingering around the kringles, donuts, and other pastries and raced to locate the dairy section. We had no time for danishes now! Arriving at the cheese section, I found shredded cheese, blocks of cheese, cups of cheese, but no football cheese. Would our quest go un-rewarded!

But then we both saw it at the same time. Stacked high, like a monument to football, cheese, and everything Wisconsin holds dear, there were about a dozen football cheeses. Glorious Day! And with coupons attached!

We snatched up 3 and made our way triumphantly to the counter. We paid for our purchases and returned to the safe confines of Illinois. Once home, and with football cheeses in tow, not only did we fulfill our son's wish to have a football cheese, but we also shared the magic of the football cheese with Heather's parents. It was a glorious time - and good tasting cheese.

Another Christmas Album

Heather and I have plenty of them, but I found this one today and think we may have room for one more.



From the What the Fuck? File

Illegal Immigrant Employees Sue Wal-Mart

Nine illegal immigrants are suing Walmart because they claim they were paid lower wages and offered fewer benefits than legal workers.

The immigrant's lawyer, Gilberto Garcia, told The New York Times. "If these people are going to work at Wal-Marts, then Wal-Mart and its contractors should abide by the labor laws."

What the hell is going on? "Abide by the labor laws?" If Walmart was going to abide by the labor laws, then they would have paid the illegals nothing, and sent them back to Mexico. As it is, those nine illegals got paid 100% more than they should have in this country.

I can't believe this is an actual lawsuit.

November 07, 2003

Boomtown Gets Busted

From Daily Variety

NBC, after weeks of silence, finally confirmed that critically hailed drama "Boomtown" has been canceled. Meanwhile, producer Jerry Bruckheimer scored a rare setback with Fox's decision to peel "Skin" from its lineup, effective immediately.

Peacock had shut down production on "Boomtown" in late summer, saying the skein was going on hiatus for two weeks to deal with some script issues (Daily Variety, Sept. 15.) But the skein never returned, and following a couple of disappointing perfs in its new Friday slot, NBC benched the show indefinitely before finally pulling the plug.

NBC Studios and DreamWorks had produced six episodes of the show for this season, but just two segs aired. While critics raved about the show's unique storytelling style, the skein proved a tougher sell to auds. NBC Entertainment prexy Jeff Zucker also seemed to lack the passion for the show that crix expressed, and requested producers make episodes of the skein more close-ended and less complex.


Those bastards! I know truly believe that there will never ever be any intelligent, entertaining television on network television. We are doomed to a future of Fear Factor, Friends, and Threat Matrix.

Another interesting tidbit from Daily Variety: NBC entertainment topper Jeff Zucker declared Tuesday that many of the new fall shows "just sucked," and that no one was happier than he about the decision to drop "Coupling" from the Peacock's Thursday night sked.

A-Ha!

Begins Today The Clone War Does

Now That's a Sword Fight!

The other night I caught the last 40 minutes of The Mark of Zorro, a 1939 version of the Zorro story staring Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone. Excellent film. Beautifully shot. Highly entertaining.

Towards the end of the film comes the final confrontation between Power's Zorro and Rathbone's evil Captain Esteban Pasquale. They stage an elaborate duel inside the office of Don Luis Quintero (J. Edward Bromberg), the power-hungry magistrate who Zorro is trying to free his people from.

I was completely mesmerized by the sword skills on display. Up until this point my only real exposure to sword fighting in movies was the Star Wars films. I've noticed that the light saber duels have become more elaborate and creative with each subsequent SW flick, but even the most recent filmed fights can't hold a flame to what I saw in Zorro from 1939. Watching Power and Rathbone, two experienced swashbucklers display their talent was fantastic. The speed and precision of the fight choreography was breath taking. I could tell that the director sped up the film in certain spots to heighten the impact of the fighting - but really it wasn't sped up too much. For the most part you got to see these two men just go in normal time as they dueled with their sabers.

Getting to watch things like the Powers / Rathbone duel make me appreciate even more the fact that we now have Turner Classic Movies on our cable system. There are so many great films from the 30s, 40s, and 50s out there to watch. I love TCM.

RocketMouse

RocketMouse : The ergonomic mouse that moves with you

This thing is wild. A computer mouse you hold in your hand and control with your thumb.

November 06, 2003

1 More Day!



You know, I've been hyping this here all week - hell, for the past few months. But when it debuts tomorrow night I'm going to miss it. Heather and I will be on the road, headed for Racine, WI sans children for a much needed weekend getaway.

As much as I'll hate missing the first episode, I know I'll be able to watch it Monday on the Star Wars website. I'm a Hyperspace member and that's one of the perks. I'll see the remaining 9 episodes, plus the 10 next spring, and will probably pick up the DVD release of the cartoons next year after all 20 air.

Getting away for the weekend greatly out-weighs seeing a 5-minute cartoon. Heather and I are going to have a great time.

Justice League Holiday Special

The Cartoon Network will televise a holiday special of the popular Justice League animated show on Saturday, December 13th at 9pm (cst). The description from the press release describes the show like this:

The Justice League, comprised of the world’s finest superheroes, rushes to complete one last mission to save two planets from colliding before each embarks on a week’s vacation to enjoy the Christmas holidays. Flash pays his traditional visit to the Central City Orphanage as “that jolly man in the red suit” to bring a special present to the resident kids. Green Lantern decides to show Hawkgirl his favorite childhood games and activities that involve snow, which results in a spectacular snowball fight. Superman, heading home to spend Christmas with his Earthly parents, the Kents, and await Santa’s arrival, decides to bring along a depressed Martian Manhunter, who doesn’t understand why everyone finds the season so magical. (Batman and Wonder Woman volunteer to serve “world monitor duty” at the League’s Watchtower headquarters.)

Little does each hero suspect that major surprises await them all. When Flash is asked to produce the hottest toy of the season, a “DJ Rubber Ducky,” he is forced to search the world for it. With the doll at last in Flash’s possession, arch-villain Ultra-Humanite appears and nearly destroys it. Through an amazing act of goodwill and compromise, Flash and Ultra-Humanite actually join forces to repair the toy and deliver it the anxious kids before resuming their adversarial relationship. Hawkgirl reciprocates Green Lantern’s holiday “gift” by showing him the place and unique way she prefers to celebrate—resulting in mayhem. One last surprise awaits them both: a secret romance. And Superman’s family embraces Martian Manhunter warmly, leaving him the freedom to explore the peace and joy of Christmas Eve on his own. His unexpected experiences that night lead him to compose his own song of joy which he shares with the Kent family.

Sounds good to me. Ian and I'll will be watching.

Online Ads: Information Providers

"Online ads may not always lead to online purchases, but they are increasingly influential in shaping brand perceptions, providing information and generating offline sales."

As somebody who works for a company whose bread-n-butter is selling online advertising to companies, I say, "Amen brother! Now pony up some more cash and buy our ad products."

Online Ads: Information Providers

No Death Penalty?

Washington State Man Admits to 48 Murders

It absolutely boggles my mind that Gary Ridgway, the Green Rivers Killer who has confessed to killing 48 women since 1982, will not be getting the death penalty. He struck a deal with prosecutors in Seattle to spare his life if he pleaded guilty to the murder chargers.

If any person deserves to be put to death, it's this guy. I've never believed that the death penalty works as a deterent to murder. If you're going to kill someone, you're going to kill someone. Regardless of what the law says. Making the decision to end another person's life means you have stepped outside the bounds of civilized rational thought - you're no longer thinking of the future consequences of your actions.

From my standpoint, the death penalty has always been the ultimate punishment. By willfully taking another person's life, you have shown you have no regard or respect for the lives of the people in your community. Therefore, there is no reason the community should respect your life. It's basic Biblical eye-for-an-eye mentality, but in the case of murder I think the Bible got it right.

This guy deserves to fry.

Oh-La-La

Underwear Shoppers Get Striptease Lessons

Want to learn how to strip?

A Paris department store is offering women free "lessons in seduction" this week as it opens what it calls the world's largest underwear store.

I'm 31 Today

Let's get this out of the way, so we can move on to the rest of the day

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me, myself, and I,
Happy birthday to me.


There. I'm 31 today. Which, to my surprise, is feeling really old. 30 was no big deal. It was an event, like turning 16, or 18, or 21. But now I'm 31 and I'm feeling old. There's only 3 years between me and the guy in the office who's 34 - and he's all balding, and paunchy, and geezer-like. Wow.

Ian's excited for my birthday, but mostly because he knows it means cake and ice cream. Though, he does seem honestly excited about giving me a present. So there is some genuine excitement there outside of cake eating. Heather, of course, tries to make a big deal about it - which I always try to deflect. Making a big deal about my birthday isn't my style. Anyway, tonight Heather will make something special for me for dinner, and there will be cake and ice cream afterward.

What happened on November 6th in history? Let's take a look:

  • On Nov. 6, 1888, Benjamin Harrison won the presidential election, defeating incumbent Grover Cleveland with enough electoral votes, even though Cleveland led in the popular vote. I bet Cleveland and Gore could find lots of things to talk about. And if I remember my US history correctly, I think Harrison died of pneumonia three months after being sworn in as President. Interesting trivia bit.

  • In 1860, former Illinois congressman Abraham Lincoln defeated three other candidates for the presidency.

  • In 1993, Heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield defeated Riddick Bowe in a 12-round fight in Las Vegas; the match was interrupted in the seventh round when an intruder, using a paraglider, tried to fly into the ring.

Nothing else that is interesting. November 6th quite often turns out to be an election day, so all I can find is that this guy or that guy was elected President, or senator, or what have you. Let's move on.

Other people who share my birthday:

  • Model-actress Rebecca Romijn Stamos is 31.
  • Actor Ethan Hawke is 33.
  • Newscaster and First Lady of California-elect Maria Shriver is 48.
  • Pop singer-musician Glenn Frey (The Eagles) is 55.
  • Actress Sally Field is 57.
  • Director Mike Nichols is 72.

So there you are. The birthday blog entry is now over. Please move on to the rest of your day.

Thank you.

November 05, 2003

DC MiniMates

Word on the street is that Art Asylum will be producing a series of MiniMates based on DC Comic's characters. Specifically The Justice League members and Batman and supporting cast.

What are MiniMates? They're tiny little action figures. About 3 inches tall but with a whole mess of articulation points. They're like little LEGO men but with a lot more articulation. You can take a look at the series created for Marvel Comics and get the idea of what I'm trying to explain.

I think the figures are really quite cool. I haven't picked up any of the figures that have come out yet, mostly because they haven't produced any characters that I'm that interested in. But if the rumors are true, and they might make DC heroes . . .



Then there's a good chance I might try and purchase a few MiniMates.

2 More Days!

Duck Dogers in the 24th and a Half Century!

I've been meaning to write about this for some time, but haven't had the chance. Duck Dodgers (check out the website) premiered on the Cartoon Network back at the end of September and it has quickly become one of Ian's favorite shows (mine, too). Ian already was a huge Loony Tunes fan and Cartoon Network's marketing team effectively converted him into a Duck Dodgers fan. I can't blame him though; it really is a fun show.

First off, it has one of the best opening credits I've seen for a weekly cartoon show in a long time. Tom Jones sings the theme song over art and graphics that mimic styles familiar to 50's and 60's space and spy thrillers. It's really neat.

The show is funny too. While not every toon is a winner, the writing is still captures the over-the-top goofiness of the Loony Tunes cartoons of old. They mix comedy for kids with comedy for adults with varying degrees of effectiveness, but always manage to entertain. It's Daffy Duck and Porky Pig - how could you go wrong?

One of my favorite episodes was just shown about two weeks ago. Due to a mix up at the dry cleaners, Duck Dodgers gets a Green Lantern outfit and power ring. He ends up helping the Green Lantern Corps defend the planet of OA from Sinestro. Of course, Hal Jordan shows up at the end demanding his costume and ring back. Ian and I liked the episode because of how it mixed superhero comics with the off-center world of Loony Tunes. It was a fun crossover for the two comic book geeks in our house.

Good show. Check it out. Saturdays at 10:30am cst on Cartoon Network. They rebroadcast it at other times.

12 Hour Days?

Report Cites Danger in Long Nurses

Nobody should work 12 hour days - and especially not nurses and doctors. I wouldn't think it would take a study to identify that fatigue is the major cause of mistakes and errors in hospitals and nursing homes.

I know setting minimum staffing levels and capping hours per week for nurses and doctors will generate billions of dollars in costs for hospitals, Medicare, and Medicaid. But we're talking about the health and well-being of people. Additional costs may be necessary. Tired nurses translates into dead patients.



Awful Plastic Surgery

Awful Plastic Surgery

Great website. A lot of fun.

Bruce Jenner is one screwed-up plastic surgery junkie.

Congratulations, Dave and Regina

Letterman, Girlfriend Have Baby Boy

Harry Letterman was born late Monday night. He weighed in at 9 pounds, 11 inches and is 21 inches long. He was named after Dave's father.

November 04, 2003

Crime Beat: Ardmore, OK

Fake quarter roll scam passed at Ardmore fast food restaurant

An employee at the Interstate 35 store told police a white female offered the roll of quarters to purchase a large Dr. Pepper and small Sprite, asking the clerk to swap the roll for $10 to pay for the drinks. Advised the purchase could be deducted from the quarters, the customer became fidgety and agreed saying she had to hurry because her car was running out of gas.

She took the $7.63 change and hurriedly left.

When unwrapped, the clerk found Toyota tokens instead of quarters. The store declined to release the evidence to police, electing to keep them.


The suspect remains at large.

Not Only Do They Not Get It in Pittsburgh, They Also Don't Get It.

Wrathful Pittsburghers fail to see humor in comic

Last Thursday's installment of "Get Fuzzy" had Rob, Bucky and Satchel at a travel agent looking to book a vacation. Bucky asks the agent if they have any trips based primarily on smell.

The agent responds, "Have a look at this pamphlet from the tourism department of Pittsburgh."

Now, no paper in Pittsburgh carries the "Get Fuzzy" strip (they don't get it - the physical strip), but that didn't stop 400 people from Pittsburgh from sending angry emails to Darby Conley (they don't get it - the joke). Some people even sent death threats.

3 More Days!

News From The Harper's Weekly Email

American scientists deliberately engineered a new extra-deadly form of mousepox; much the same thing has been done with cowpox and rabbitpox. - Mousepox?! How many pox's are there? And why are we making them more deadly?

Historians were upset that the Smithsonian Institution's new exhibit of the Enola Gay bomber fails to mention that the B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. - And upset they should be.This is ridiculous. What does the exhibit say about the Enola Gay, if it doesn't mention the atomic bomb? I mean, that's the whole reason the plane is famous.

A new study from the Center for Public Integrity revealed that the 70 companies that have benefited the most from $8 billion in government contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan collectively contributed more than $500,000 to President Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. - Does this surprise anyone?

And finally: Researchers from the University of Chicago reported that male Guinea baboons fiddle with one another's genitals when they perform a complex greeting ritual; the fiddling follows face pulling and rump presentation. White-faced capuchin monkeys, in contrast, stick their fingers up one another's noses.

EU Poll Labels Israel World's Biggest Threat

EU embarrassed as poll labels Israel world's biggest threat

A recent poll of Europeans requested by the European Commission indicates that EU citizens think Israel is the biggest threat to world peace. Second was three-way tie: United States, Iran, and North Korea. Of course Israel is outraged.

My thoughts?

I think it's Europe calling it like it is: Israel behaves like a spoiled brat who believes they are entitled to some sort of "favored-son" treatment from the rest of the world. A dangerous way to handle international relations

As for the rest of the list. As long as W continues to operate like he's John Wayne and the rest of the world is the Wild Old West, the US is a threat to global peace. Certified crazy people run Iran and North Korea.


November 03, 2003

Wireframe

This is too cool

Found it on my friend's Ed Stenger's website.

Reviews: The Return of the King and Human Target

Over the weekend I finished the two books I've been reading: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Human Target: Final Cut.

human target coverHuman Target: Final Cut is a graphic novel written by Peter Milligan with art from Javier Pulido. Published back in 2002, it was a follow-up to Peter Milligan's 4-issue Human Target mini-series published in 2000 with art from the incomparable Edvin Biukovic. That mini-series introduced us to the new Christopher Chance - the Human Target - a man who, for a price, would completely assume the role of his client in order to help them, protect them, whatever. The Human Target was an old DC superhero, but Milligan's vision of him in 2000 was completely new. A man who was so good at assuming the life of his client that he had difficultly coming back to his own.

The original mini-series from 2000 was magnum-force of psychological suspense, action, and more plot twists than you can shake a stick at. It was glorious mystery that you could read over and over again and still be caught off guard by how the scenes played out. Of course, writing alone doesn't create this reading experience in comics - half of the credit went to Ed Biukovic's stunning artwork. Unfortunately Ed passed away shortly after the series was published and any plans on a follow-up were put on hold.

Final Cut picks up where the initial mini-series left off. Chance has started to rebuild his identity and is learning what it's like to be Christopher Chance again. However, while impersonating the intended third victim of an extortionist, Chance becomes entangled in mystery that sends him spiraling downwards deep into new personalities that he might not be able to pull himself out of before it's too late.

Again, Milligan delivers with a tight psychological drama that explores issues of identity. The pacing is superb, slowly winding the characters tighter and tighter until they almost break - only to spring apart in a violent conclusion. It's the kinda stuff that would make Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler proud. This is killer crime / mystery fiction.

Javier Pulido takes over the art chores - and he's good. Totally different from Biukovic's style, but impressive still. Pulido's artwork is a sort of retro-minimalist style. Similar to Cameron Stewart. Pulido's artwork helps conjure the spirit of Hammett or Chandler visually, while Milligan's story and dialogue channels those spirits. Together they make for an exciting and enjoyable read.

This morning on the train I finished reading the final book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Return of the King I wasn't as excited with this book as Final Cut, but I think that was because the Lord of the Rings trilogy is a lot of book to get through and The Return of the King comes at the end. The trilogy is a monument of fantasy writing. When you start out you are dazzled with the complex and fully realized world Tolkien has created. Then you become captivated with the characters and they're stories. Next you start to grasp and marvel at the epic nature of the plot. By the end of the third book you are ready for things to end - but in a good way. Not that you have tired of the characters or the story, because you haven't. It's that so much has gone on - so many events, so many battles, so many speeches, and so many deaths - that you know it's time for the story to draw to a close. When you're done and you look back, you see the work for the entertaining masterpiece that it is, but on page 987 of 1000 all you can think of is closure.

The trilogy was exceptional. I think I appreciated it and enjoyed it more now that I am older and have read more extensively. I had last read the trilogy back in high school and found it a daunting and tiring task. I didn't even remember much of the story years later when I decided to start re-reading the books in advance of the movie adaptations. My reading skills and experience have matured since then, allowing me to comprehend more of Tolkein's epic fantasy tale and by extension - enjoy the story more. I'm even considering reading The Silmarillion, Tolkien's tale of the First Age of Middle Earth (The Lord of the Rings takes place in the Third Age) that provides the history and basics for Tolkien's Middle-Earth fantasy realm.

All this being said, there are some critiques I'd lay on The Return of the King. First, the final act of Frodo and Sam in the land of Modor trying to destroy the ring became horribly belabored. In fact, it almost appeared to me that Tolkien even said to himself, "Get up the mountain already! I'm getting tired of all this wandering about!" After which Tolkien seems to move quickly to start wrapping the story up. Everything is moving along rather nicely and then he drags the book out by giving Frodo and the rest of the Hobbits one more challenge back in the Shire. The whole series of events in the Shire feels tacked on and awkward, and I have to imagine that it will be cut completely from the movie. After finally destroying the ring and fulfilling the quest of the Fellowship of the Ring, I can't imagine asking the regular movie-going folks to sit through the series of events Tolkien forces Frodo and Sam through at the end of this book. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

After reading two great books, I feel a bit winded. Not sure if I want to jump into anything immediately and might take a little time off with smaller reading on the train - Sports Illustrated, the newspaper, etc. until I'm reading to get back into another novel. Cleanse the palate if you will. However, I do have Black Dahlia by James Ellroy sitting in my closet, another un-read Sandman collection, and my birthday is this Thursday. The potential for exciting new reading material is high.

4 More Days!

Monkeys, Monkeys, Monkeys!

Monkeys Terrorize India Workers, Tourists

The tech development team where I work uses a India-based team of programmers. It's the hot trend in software development - offshore programmers, usually through companies based in India.

Over all, our development team (both in India and State's side) has had some difficulties hitting deadlines. If they pull out a monkey excuse, someone's head will roll.

Ah, Another Happy Holiday with Dad

Dad Arrested After Pumpkin Attack

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A 43-year-old man faces charges after he smashed a bird-feeder and threw a pumpkin through the window of a house where his young son said he didn't get any Halloween candy.

The son cried that he didn't get any candy from a woman passing out candy. The father confronts the woman. She says she gave the kid candy. Father proceeds to throw pumpkins through windows. Fucking brilliant.

This is just so stupid on so many levels I don't even know what to say. At least the kid who didn't like the Butterfinger I gave him Friday night just left it in the middle of our yard.