April 30, 2004

New Photos Added

In case you missed it, I've added some new photos to my website today. Here's a teaser:

Me and Zoe


Check out all the new pictures.

Batsuit First Look

In May 7th's Entertainment Weekly, reader's will get a first look at Christian Bale wearing the Batman suit for Batman Begins.

The picture is nice and all, but much too dark to really give any idea of what the suit actually looks like. All you can infer is that it looks very little like the suits used in the previous four Batman flicks. Even then, most of that inference comes from the caption below the photo indicating that the current suit was modeled on Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli's Batman: Year One rather than any previous version.

Regardless, this hasn't prevented the Batman Fanboy nation to declare this photo proof that Christopher Nolan's take on the Dark Knight will be the finest comic book film to date and has restored their "faith in the Batman movie franchise."

What does the photo prove to me? One, that Warner Brothers (which is owned by AOL/Time-Warner, like Entertainment Weekly) is looking to generate buzz for a movie more than a year off by "leaking" a photo to a sister company. Two, that Christian Bale has got that angry, focused look I've always associated with Bruce Wayne. I've never bought into the foppish playboy image that Bruce has been thrown into by some comic creators and movie directors. For me, Bruce Wayne should be dark and brooding. It's how Frank Miller wrote the character. It's how Michael Keaton played the character. It's how Bale looks in this photo. We'll have to wait and see if that's how he plays the character.

Google To Go Public

Google logoThis is huge. Wow. Google is going to offer an IPO later this year that could raise the market value of the company to almost $50 billion dollars and make founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin multi-billionaires instantly. Amazing!

Because of the filing, Google has had to make a number of the business and accounting practices public and it shows a company that is extremely healthy and growing at an amazing rate. I've always admired founders Brin and Page for building a unique type of company and refusing to cave to Wall Street. The company I work for has done with business with the kids at Google, and they have always impressed my as being a very bright, hardworking group of people. While it will be great for them to raise all that capital through the IPO, I hope they have structured things that they still retain control of the company in the right way so that Google doesn't fall prey to the whims of outsider shareholders. Brin and Page have fostered a fantastic work culture at Google and I hate to see that compromised because of a bunch of ornery investment bankers in New York City.

I Know The Feeling

Woman Drove for Days with Dead Mother in Car

I know this actually happened, but I prefer to see it as a metaphor or allegory for life.

April 29, 2004

Weekend Movie Recommendations

TCM LogoI was just scanning through the May schedule for the Turner Classic Movie channel that I just received in my email. Plenty of good movies to try and catch. Two caught my eye that will be running this weekend.

May 2, 2004

1 am CST - Ed Wood (1994) The legendary B-movie director fights to realize his vision of how films should be made. Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Bill Murray. D: Tim Burton. C 126m. LBX CC

9 pm CST - The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) The bandit king of Sherwood Forest leads his Merry Men in a battle against the corrupt Prince John. Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone. D: William Keighley, Michael Curtiz. C 102m. CC DVS


Good flicks. How can you not like Johnny Depp in a Tim Burton film? Plus, Errol Flynn + Basil Rathbone + swords = pure cinematic fun. I've got to watch that one.

Comic With Crossover Appeal

USATODAY.com - It's...Superman! in all his complexity

I've seen this comic by Steven Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen advertised for the past few months leading up to its release and the book really looks interesting. The book is about Seagle's struggle with writing the original superhero - Superman.

I enjoy "behind the veil" stuff like this. Where an artist creates a piece of art that explores and reveals how he/she creates his work. Plus, I've always enjoyed Seagle's writing and Kristiansen's artwork. The only thing stopping me from buying the book was the $24.95 price tag. Sure, the comic is a hardback - not the usual paperback, and as hardback books go $24 is pretty reasonable. I'm working with a limited comic book budget. $24 would get me two trade paperbacks, which It's a Bird will probably be released as in 9 to 12 months.

In any event. Read the article. Check out the book if you want. Because of the main themes in It's a Bird, the comic really has crossover appeal to readers who might not be interested in comics - especially superhero comics.

Star Wars: Galactic Heroes

I bought Ian one of these sets back when it was being produced by Playskool. It featured characters from SW: Episode I: The Phantom Menace - Obi-Wan, Darth Maul, and a young Anakin with a Naboo Star Fighter. They're really neat toys - perfect little kids. He really enjoyed his set. In fact, even though he's gotten more interested in the regular Star Wars actions figures, he recently asked me to pull the Playskool set out of toy storage and has been playing with it a lot again. Emma loves the Naboo Star Fighter.

Hasbro is relaunching the line of toys under the new name, Galactic Heroes. The packaging looks more spiffy and it appears Hasbro is making a strong effort to market these toys than the Playskool division did two years ago. They're also including a lot more figures then the earlier set had. We'll be getting a full wave of characters from the original trilogy and later on all the bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back - wicked cool!

Star Wars: Galactic Heroes icon

Classic Trilogy figures

Episode II characters

Bounty Hunters

April 28, 2004

Good Comic Reading

Recently had the opportunity to read some more comics. I find that I'm reading in spurts. Things are too hectic and busy for me to be reading regularly. So when I find the time I'm trying to fit in as much as is possible without ruining the enjoyment of the read.

Superman/Batman #9I got to read Superman/Batman #9 this past week. It's part two in the current storyline of this new title. Writer Jeph Loeb is joined by artist Michael Turner on a story that re-introduces the character of Supergirl to the DC Universe. With the exception of a poor fill-in story in issue #7, I've really enjoyed this series. Superman/Batman is one of my guilty superhero pleasures every month. It's just a good old fashion action flick comic book. Not a whole lot of substance, by Loeb brings enough weight to his stories and his characters to at least elevate the book to above standard grade. So it's not mindless, but we're not talking high literary narrative either. Fun story, well written, with great looking art.

Before this series I'd never really seen much of Turner's art. I knew of him. I'd seen a number of his pin-ups and covers and knew he'd made a name for himself working at Image/Top Cow (which means something to my fellow comic book fans), but I'd never actually read a comic he worked on. I've been rather impressed with his art. Yes, his women all look the same - waify little model types with pouty lips and curvy hips - where only the hair color seems to change, and his interpretations of Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne are horrible. However, other than that I really like his work on this book. His Batman is dark and powerful, his Superman bright and powerful. There are enormous amounts of detail in his linework - more than even Jim Lee, who I thought was the king of comic detail work. In the end, his art is perfect for the book: blockbuster superhero action intended as pop-entertainment.


Outsiders #11Outsiders #11 was an interesting read. Outsiders has been a title I've had a hard time getting my arms around. The series jumped out of the gates with a great three-issue story the effortlessly blended plot-driven story with character stuff. Writer Judd Winick was on top right from the start. The next three-issue story left me a little flat. I didn't find it nearly as entertaining and thought Winick was getting a little too soap opera-ish in his writing. Now, usually I give myself a 6 issue trial period for a new series I'm interested in. How things were going, I was considering dropping Outsiders. However, I didn't get to let the boys at Graham Cracker Comics know this until after issue 7 came out, so I was obliged to buy it. Issue 7 blew me away. It was a single-issue story focusing on just one member of the team and was fantastic. I decided to give the series a 6-issue extension. The next 3-issue arc again left me flat on the story. Then issue 11 comes along (another one issue story focusing on just one member of the team) and it's another homerun. Winick spends time with Roy Harper (Arsenal), getting inside his head and showing how he's trying to pick up the pieces of his life and career after taking 5 bullets to the chest back in issue 5. It is really good stuff, despite the sketchy art from fill-in artist Will Conrad.

So now what do I do? There's one issue to go on the extension. Do I keep going because I kinda enjoy the regular story arcs and absolutely love when Winick slows down and highlights one character? Or do I drop it for the same reasons? I guess I'm leaning towards dropping the series, though the next story arc sounds like it might be interesting. Argh!

Last night I also finished reading Top 10: Book One from comic legend Alan Moore, with art by Gene Ha. I remember picking up the first issue of this series when it debuted back in 1999 from America's Best Comics (and imprint DC Comics) and being mildly interested in it. Because of budget constraints, I didn't continue with the series, opting instead to read Moore's Tom Strong series, also an ABC offering. Out of the blue, my Mom gave me the Top 10 trade paperback collecting the first 7 issues of the series for my birthday last November. It has proven to be a very nice surprise.

Top 10 cover artTo make a comparison with something a little more well know, Top Ten is like the television show NYPD Blue. The comic focuses on precinct 10 of the Neopolis police department - nicknamed Top 10. Neopolis is a city where all of the residents, from the mayor down to the rodents in the sewers, have superpowers. The comic is strictly police procedural stuff, it just so happens that everyone in the book walks around in costume and would fit in with the Super Friends.

And I love the police procedural stuff. It's why I read Gotham Central, used to watch NYPD Blue before I felt it was losing itself creatively, and enjoy the first 30 minutes of Law & Order. For that reason, I think Top 10 is great. Blending the police story stuff with the superpower stuff, Moore gets to do some wacky things. The mind reading cop who is used for interrogations. The defense attorney who is actually a talking Great White shark. A bar where all the gods of ancient mythology hang out, forever repeating the same events over and over in accordance to ancient stories and legend. It gives regular cop stories just enough of a twist to make things really interesting and fun.

The cast is made up of fully formed, dimensional characters - not base stereotypes. Moore's script is well written with spot on dialogue, perfect timing/pacing, and a knack for entertaining storytelling. The art by Gene Ha and Zander Cannon is perfect for the series. They are able to convey the grandeur of these superpowered people, but still keep them grounded as regular people doing the regular things they do.

Now I'm thinking I want to pick up Top 10: Book Two and complete the 12-issue run of the series.

Something to Help the Kids Sleep Better at Night

FEMA for Kids

Hey, kids! Remember what Herman the Disaster Crab says, "Disasters aren't fun, but learning about them is!"

This is Gonna Make a Lot of Sweaters

Sheep with 6-years worth of fleece on its body
Shrek the 9-year-old merino wether is photographed before he has his fleece shorn at the Golden Gate Lodge in Cromwell, New Zealand, Wednesday, April 28, 2004. Shrek's fleece is believed to be 6 years old after the animal was found on the Bendigo Station hilltops during a muster on April 15. (AP Photo/FOTOPRESS, Ross Land)

April 27, 2004

What Died In That Bag?

Good lord, on the train ride home tonight some guy grabbed the seat right in front of me and proceeded to produce some of the most rancid smelling Chinese food I have ever smelled from his bag. I swear my olfactory glands have never been assaulted like this before. Even when I plugged my nose I could smell the putrid rank of the guy's eggroll through my mouth somehow.

Smell is the only thing I don't enjoy about traveling by train to and from work every day. I'm forced to deal with ill-smelling food, pungent body odor, and the over-powering fragrances of the cleaning supplies used to freshen up the train cars. Fortunately it's only really bad during the summer when all those smells get to cook in a good Midwestern heat wave. Otherwise the 30 minute train ride is a great time to read, sleep or listen to music. Smell rarely ruins the time in the train.

This guy tonight though needed to be thrown off the train. What he had was criminal.

It's Heaven

She's been screaming and crying for 25 minutes. None of the usual tricks are working. She doesn't want to be on your shoulder. No to the football hold. Not interested in a pacifier or the knuckle of your pinkie finger. Lying on her back while you "bicycle" her legs? Don't even think about it. So you just keep walking and bouncing, walking and bouncing, walking and bouncing. The whole time speaking soothingly and singing softly while she wails in your left ear. Oh yeah, it's 11:20 at night and you've been up since 5 am with no hope of getting to sleep before midnight.

You're down in the basement because you don't want to wake the kids who need their sleep and the wife who needs more sleep than you can help her get. The anger and frustration build to a point where you're convinced you could put your hand through the 12-inch thick concrete walls of the basement or at least bend steel with your fingers, Never mind the comments running through your head, "3 kids! What the fuck were we thinking? Argh!" You feel like you've found your own personal slice of Hell.

And then she falls asleep. And she is the prettiest little angel you have ever seen - ever. And you want to hold her, sing to her, and kiss her little chubby cheeks all night long. And you realize you've been in Heaven all along. It just gets noisy up there from time to time.

Ouch!

Almost as painful as the picture below was the Cubs loss last night to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bad enough that the North Siders 6-game win streak finally came to an end (though I know some were thinking the Cubbies would run the rest of the season without a loss), but they were thoroughly slapped around by Randy Johnson and the rest of the Diamondbacks.

10 strikeouts and only 5 hits with 6 men stranded on base (2 in scoring positon) for the toothless wonders last night. Ouch! Hopefully they can pull things back together tonight when they go up against Brandon Webb, a right-hander with some pretty good stats so far this season (1-1, 2.74 ERA, 22 K)

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

guy with hands blown off after using fireworks
Reynaldo Galeano Sanchez, 25, is on the ground after he lost both of his hands when about four pounds of powder or fireworks he was handling went off in the stands in Esteli, Nicaragua Sunday, April 25, 2004. Two children were among 16 people injured in a fireworks explosion during celebrations for Real Esteli's national soccer championship, officials said on Monday April 26, 2004. (AP Photo/German Miranda, La Prensa)

April 26, 2004

Batman: The Animated Series on DVD

Batman Animated Series DVD packagingWarner Brothers recently announced a release date for the first Batman: The Animated Series DVD collection. It's coming out this July at the same time the complete first season of Challenge of the Super Friends also is released as a DVD boxed set.

I'm not too excited about the Super Friends collection. I already have one DVD with 4 episodes on it and don't really feel the need to own the whole season's worth of shows - those cartoons don't hold up too well. Sure they're good for a little kick of nostalgic fun, but in regards to artistic and entertainmnet value they really don't offer too much for me.

Batman: The Animated Series is a different story however. This cartoon series was unlike anything on television when it came out and has had an enormous influence on television animation. Quality writing, solid stories, and top notch art and animation make this animated series a cartoon show that stands the test of time. The series appeals to kids and adults. It's the complete package. Batman: The Animated Series on DVD is something on what on my shelf at home.

DVDToons! has got the full story on both DVD sets, plus screen shots of the menu art to be used on the Batman DVD set.

This is shaping up to be quite the DVD box set for me this year. Between the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD this September and Batman this July (plus the rumored Superman: The Animates Series DVD collection), I'm going to have all kinds of items on my Wish List come Birthday/Christmas.

April 23, 2004

DodgeBall

This looks funny

Ooooh . . .Gameday

MLB GamedayI've found something better than the Yahoo! GameChannel for "watching" Cubs games while at work. My new favorite web application for following baseball games is MLB's Gameday.

Tons more stats. Better real-time updating. Pitch placement. It's fantastic. And it's free! Not something I'm used to from Major League Baseball. They usually charge for everything.

The easiest way to explain how to get the MLB Gameday is to start by going to ChicagoCubs.com and look for the small Gameday button on the homepage right above the boxscore during a live game.

Chicago Cubs logoIncidentlly, as I was writing this Greg Maddux loaded the bases but managed to get out of the inning without giving up a run. Still, it's only the bottom of the 3rd and he's already given up 1 run (a homer) and 5 hits. The Cubs are winning, but barely. I know Maddux has been starting slow the last few seasons, but this is ridiculous.

Bottom of the 3rd
Mets 1
Cubs 3

Patterson just walked again and Sammy's up with only one out. We could be looking at some more runs here.

BD Loses His Helmet and Something Else

I have to admit that I haven't been reading Doonesbury regularly for some time now. I used to be a regular reader, but drifted away shortly before the invasion of Iraq occurred. I guess I was looking for straight escapism and entertainment in my comics, and didn't want to deal with Trudeau's politically charged stories.

Anyway, saw today that BD, one of the original "big three" Doonesbury characters, was injured while serving in Iraq. He lost his leg in fact - a major development in and of itself - but not the only reason the April 21st comic is unique. Trudeau hammers home the gravity of the situation - and depending on how you interpret the strip, fires a major shot at the Bush Administration - by showing BD with his helmet removed - something that has never happened in the history of the strip. That's a big deal.

You can read the comic and an interesting critique of the strip on the Comic World News site.

April 22, 2004

Imagine the Possibilities

Iowa Man Invents Lined Diaper for Dogs

Think of the possibilities if the diaper-for-dogs guy got together with TRON guy to combine their flair for new inovations.

Staggering.

"Stains the Name of TRON"

Following up on an exciting story we brought you yesterday. Apparently Jay, the inventive creator of his very own TRON costume, has angered the small but very vocal TRON contingent.

A quick quote: "This man has done little research, less exercise, and stains the name of TRON."

You can read the full rant on the Delphi forum - registration is required.

Warning: Brendan Gets His Comic Book Geekiness On In This Post

I missed this when it was originally announced, but caught it when DC Comics released preview images earlier this week. This coming May artist Jim Lee and Michael Turner will be creating alternative covers to be used on the comics the other guy is currently working on. Did I explain that clearly?

Simply put: Jim Lee is starting a yearlong stint on Superman and Michael Turner is in the middle of a story arc on Superman/Batman. They are both talented artists, though I much prefer Lee's artwork to Turner's pencils. In the month of May, certain copies of the Jim Lee illustrated Superman #205 will feature a cover drawn by Turner, while certain Michael Turner drawn Superman/Batman #10 will showcase cover artwork from Lee.

Now I don't read Superman, though I will be checking it out the story arc from Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee to see if it's interesting. However, if it looks good I'll be waiting for the trade paperback to collect Azzarello's and Lee's run on the title.

I do read Superman/Batman on a monthly basis and enjoy it a lot. It gives me a great superhero-junkie fix every 30 days starring two of my favorite superheroes. I've enjoyed Turner's work on S/B so far. But I have to say; if I got to choose between covers I'd go with the Jim Lee cover. Take a look.

Turner coverLee cover


Orders are being filled 50/50, so I don't know which one I'll end up with. I guess I could put a request in with the guys at Graham Cracker Comics, where I get all my comics, but cover art really isn't that important to me. I'm more keyed on the interior work. On the other hand, that Jim Lee cover is really nice. . .

Rant for the Day

Gettin' pretty tired of people asking me how Heather and I are doing all the time. It's a recent practice that seems to have become popular among family and friends since the birth of my third child, Zoe Josephine, back in March.

I understand their concern. Having an infant along with someone as young as Emma is quite a challenge. Throw in Ian and things can become rather stressful. Plus, there is always the looming concern over post-partum depression.

That being said, when every contact with certain people begins with a gravely delivered, "How's are you doing? And Heather?" it start to wears down on you. I always answer with a perfectly delivered "fine" - because; well, we are doing fine - all things considered. Like . . .

  • A 6-week old infant who enjoys crying more than sleeping
  • An 19-month old girl who is still having trouble dealing with going from #2 of 2 to #2 of 3.
  • A sleep-deprived mom who is trying to learn how to juggle three kids under the age of 5
  • An even more sleep-deprived dad who is struggling to balance helping his wife with a hectic house & family with increasing workload & stress at the office
  • Both cars need an oil change

    But really, this is just getting silly. People who know me know they're never gonna get more than the perfectly delivered "fine." I've had decades to perfect the delivery. I won't crack. Heather and I have it rough right now. You know it. I know it. Anyone who's had more than 2 kids knows it. But you not gonna get me to bitch and moan about our situation. I can handle it all. So in order to save time, lets move on to more pressing matters.

    What can Heather and I get Elizabeth for graduation from Law School?
  • Now This Is More Like It

    The Cubs laid a smack down on the Pirates last night. The easily beat the Pirates 12 - 1 in Pittsburgh, after jumping out with an eight-run first inning. The game also marked the debut of Cubs rookie pitcher Sergio Mitre who obviously earned a victory in his first outing.

    I didn't get to watch the game, but checking out the box score reveals an impressive game for Corey Patterson. He went 5 - 6 with a single RBI. Moises Alou and Derrek Lee also both came through big, each driving in 3 runs a piece. Alou is tearing things up so far this season, hitting .377 with 6 home runs and 16 RBI - team leaders all.

    Sergio only gave up 4 hits across 4 innings, tallied 7 strike outs, walked three, and didn't give up a single run. A nice way to enter the majors.

    The victory also moved the Cubs into a tie for first in the Central Division thanks to the spanking the Cardinals delivered to the Houston Astros on Thursday. St. Louis won 12 - 6.

    This is getting fun.

    Another Reason to Hate Poetry

    Poets Die Young - U.S. Study

    It'll kill ya'.

    April 21, 2004

    The Three Sides of Zoe

    Over the past few weeks I've been able to determine that Zoe has three sides to her personality.

    1) Eating - Which she likes to do every 2.5 to 3 hours. Sometimes longer at night when she's sleeping.

    2) Sleeping - A personality trait she may be trying to shed. It's hard to tell. She's still sleeping, but it appears she prefers sleeping on top of Mom or Dad to her crib.

    3) Crying - Which she does with great gusto when she's not partaking in #1 or #2.

    I swear the girl cries more than Ian and Emma combined. In reality, she's really only a bad crier at night - but because that's when I see her the most, it influences my perception. Heather assures me Zoe doesn't cry all the time, but she will admit that Zoe is much more prolific a crier than our first two kids. Regardless, it's loud and frustrating. Cannot wait for her to outgrow this newborn stage.

    Because I take the late shifts so Heather can get some sleep and be rested for the next day and three kids, I've been going to bed really late. Over the last three weeks I've probably been averaging about 4 hours a sleep a night. I've been tired, but amazingly not as tired as I apparently was back when Emma was born. I'm still getting to read and feel like I'm remaining fairly patient with the other kids, unlike last time.

    Can't really explain the difference. Maybe its just experience. I'm a more seasoned Dad now. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I'm staying on top and in control at home. Now I just need to transfer that practice to the office.

    When Geeks Lose Touch with Reality . . .

    Something like this happens:

    grown man in homemade TRON outfitThe guy made his own TRON outfit. You can read the whole sordid tale on the guy's website, where he meticulously documented every step of the costume's creation.

    Jay shows that he's in it to win it when he recounts his motivations for creating the perfect TRON outfit.

    "I saw lots of TRON costumes on the net, and wasn't satisfied with any of them. The biggest deficiency was that none of them attempted to capture the green tint of the characters' outfits in the computer world. Yes, I know that was added in the digital animation process, but, still, a white costume just doesn't look right. Many of them also used black for the circuit patterns, one more step away from the costumes the viewer saw in the movie.

    I decided I could do better, at least to my own way of thinking. This is not a slam on those who have gone before by any means, just an observation that I could resolve what I saw as deficiencies."

    Way to go, Jay! That's the kinds "can do" American spirit that put a man on the moon and cheese in a can.

    As fantastic as this project was, I do have one word of advice for Jay: wear a cup. I know it takes balls to make a costume like this, but we don't need to see his.

    Ah-Ha!

    You Really May Be Addicted to That Chocolate Cake

    So it IS an addiction! Doesn't that mean I can get some kinda special treatment from the government or Medicare? Maybe I can get some mortgage subsidies.

    April 20, 2004

    Star Wars Trilogy DVD News

    Star Wars logoLucasfilm announced yesterday what the extra features on the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set coming out this fall will contain and they are some great ones - almost 10 hours worth of stuff. Most notably though, is Episode III Behind the Scenes Preview: The Return of Darth Vader.

    Star Wars DVD boxThis preview will provide a first look at the Vader costume Anakin Skywalker will don in next May's Star Wars: Episode III. Plus, this feature will give some glimpses into the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi that is sure to finish out the movie.

    This is exciting stuff.

    You can already pre-order the DVD set at StarWarsShop.com and at Amazon.com. I'm almost tempted to pre-order myself. I'm such a Stars Wars geek.

    April 19, 2004

    Weekend in Ohio

    I remember thinking last night that I had a funny little story to recount about our trip to Ohio this past weekend to visit Heather's family and celebrate a belated Easter - but now I can't recall what it might have been.

    We all had a nice time at her parent's house. Heather and I caught a glimpse of how family gatherings will be for us in about 3 more years - our children disappearing as soon as some of the cousins arrive, only to reappear around dinnertime. It's gonna be like a free break from kids! Ah, can't wait.

    On the other hand, we also realized that travel between Chicago and Findlay, OH is only going to get more painful before it gets better. Oy! Driving almost 300 miles in a van with a 4 and 1-year old, plus a 1- month old can push a man's nerves to the limit. That and 40 mile an hour winds pushing the van all over the highway.

    Who ordered that shit yesterday? I hate the wind. It's the one weather phenomenon that I cannot tolerate. Rain can be fun and/or tolerable - just bring an umbrella. Same with snow. Hail and sleet are only passing problems - and easy to clean up. Extreme heat and cold - simple to counteract. But wind? I hate wind. It's persistent and constant. Wind is pushy. Wind goes and goes and goes. It messes things up and doesn't give you a chance to recover. Wind is just a big bully. I hate bullies.

    (Tornados and hurricanes fall into the wind category - by the way)

    Chicago Cubs logoAny way, the wind is dying down today so that shouldn't be pissing me off for much longer. Now that privilege will belong solely to the Chicago Cubs.

    Do you think they can beat the Reds sometime this year? I swear they aren't. They drop both games over the weekend, but managed to save some face by beating Cincinnati 8 to 1 today.

    In 8 games against the Reds so far this season, the Cubs are 3 - 5. This trend has got to change if they want to win the division. They can't let other teams in the NL Central beat them up like that if they want to have a realistic chance at taking the Central crown or at least securing the wild card spot this fall. Oy!

    The Future of America?

    AP photo of young boy wearing t-shirt reading: Chrisitan American Heterosexual pro-gun conservative

    I Can't Tell You How Much I'm Looking Forward to This.

    Arguments with Teenage Daughters Can Be Good?

    . . . if you're the mom.

    Daughters often use arguments to update mothers about their lives and what they are doing and what is important to them. While daughters get frustrated with their fathers but tend to give them the cold shoulder and ignore them.

    Lovely.

    April 15, 2004

    Bring It On!

    The New York Times > Guy Decor: The Bachelor and the Dust Bunny

    Tom McNulty probably thinks he's all Mr. Clean and shit because he wrote a book telling men how to keep their bachelor pads clean.

    Let me tell you right now that I could clean and organize circles around Mr. Writer-boy. Proof? How about that I never even thought about putting liquid dishwashing detergent in the dishwasher. Even when I was wee lad of 10 or 11. Dishwashing liquid in the dishwasher. Please!

    YOU CAN'T CLEAN FOR SHIT! YA' HEAR ME, MCNULTY. I'LL MOP THE FLOOR WITH YOU IN HEAD-TO-HEAD COMPETITON! I'll even give you a two bathroom headstart - one of them with a shower/tub to boot.

    BRING IT ON, BITCH!

    Cubs Win, Cubs Win

    Chicago CubsThey started strong, scoring 9 runs in the first four innings. Then they let the Pirates back in it, so to speak, by giving up some homers in the 8th and 9th innings to score 4 runs and make the game look closer than it was.

    Barrett had a big day: 2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, and Zambrano pitched well (6.0 IP, gave up 6 hits with 6 strikouts)

    RHE
    Pirates5131
    Cubs10121

    Good Omens

    Good OmensFinished read Good Omens recently. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett wrote the novel. Gaiman I know from his comic book writing - most notably the Sandman series. Pratchett was an unknown to me. I just happen to stumble upon the book on Amazon last year at some point, thought it sounded like a fun story, and added it to my Wish List. Low and behold, someone got the novel for me at Christmas so I got to read it.

    Good Omens deals with the Apocalypse, though in a very strange and wacky way. As the book cover quote from Clive Baker says, "The Apocalypse has never been funnier." The book begins with the birth of the Anti-Christ in England. There is a mix-up though, and the baby goes home with the wrong family. Then the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley spend the next 11 years trying to temper the boy from realizing his true nature for purely selfish reasons - Aziraphale and Crowley don't want the world to end. They like the world just as it is.

    Now the story also involves the prophecies of Agnes Nutter, who has accurately predicted everything from the late 1600's to the end of the world. The decedents of Agnes have worked for centuries to decipher her prophecies and prepare for the end of the world.

    Pratchett and Gaiman are able to have a lot of fun with an angel and devil trying to fight the destiny of the world and the forces of Heaven and Hell. Plus, they throw in the sheer wackiness that is Agnes Nutter and her predictions. The story swings from the absurd to the clever, but is always entertaining. The writers keep things light and fun, with the tongue firmly set in cheek when dealing with the supernatural forces battling over the future of the world. My only gripe is the huge amount of minor characters the authors drop in. It becomes difficult to determine which minor characters to pay attention to and which ones to dismiss because they're never going to appear except in that one scene. It's a minor issue, but did become a bit bothersome at times. Ultimately I found that as long as I locked in on the major players of Aziraphale, Crowley, Adam Young (the Antichrist) and his gang of friends, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (they ride motorcycles), Anathema Device, and Newton Pulisfer, then everything worked out fine.

    It's a fun read, nothing too intense. Disposable pop-fiction. A good candy book - full of fun, but not much nutritional value. I really enjoyed it. If you have a nice twisted sense of humor and don't mind laughing at the Apocalypse, I'd recommend Good Omens for you as well.

    A quick postscript: The book did raise one fairly big question for me - how do two people write one prose novel? I can understand one guy plotting and the other supplying dialogue - like in comics or the movies. Or one person handling one aspect of the story (say, the night shift of a police station) while the other writer handles the other aspect (e.g. the day shift). How do you collaborate on a prose novel? Do you sit together at the computer? Send chapters back and forth? Talk out the plot and then assign different portions of the book to each other? I'm just curious. Good Omens maintains a single voice in its narrative. The book doesn't read like it came from the mind of two writers. It sounds like one. Is that the result of a superhuman effort from an editor or did Pratchett and Gaiman just find a way to merge their respective styles? Hmmmm.

    Something For the Ladies

    I thought that some female readers of my little blog might be offended (or at least bored) by the repeated ogling and posting of pictures of beautiful woman. So when I saw this picture on the Yahoo! News Most Emailed page, I thought it best to post it here and give some equal time to other sex.



    That's actor Henry Simmons as gladiator slave Draba from USA Network's Spartacus which will be airing soon. I know Simmons from his work on N.Y.P.D. Blue as Detective James Baldwin and from my wife's comments that he's a "scrumptious slice of man."

    Now, before anyone starts questioning my manhood, I'll post this picture (also found on the Yahoo! News Most Emailed page)



    That would be the ladies from the reality television show, The Apprentice. (L to R) Kristi Frank, Katrina Campins, Amy Henry and Ereka Vetrini who are featured in a seven-page portfolio in FHM magazine.

    I guess I should have watched more of The Apprentice. Did they usually show the women in their underwear?

    Oh, and for the record. My wife's right, Henry Simmons is a steaming hot slice of man.

    April 14, 2004

    Cats Are Silly

    Ha Ha

    I Like Michael Chabon

    The New York Times Op-Ed Contributor: Solitude and the Fortresses of Youth

    Another great Op-Ed piece from the Times. This one writen by writer Michael Chabon, who argues that it isn't the violent games and stories that cause teenagers to shoot everyone in their school; but rather the constant effort to censor or prevent the youth from venting or releasing by means of television, video games, and comics.

    "As if art caused the ugliness, when of course all it can ever do is reflect and, perhaps, attempt to explain it."

    It's Payback

    The Cubs are on fire today. Making the Pirates pay for the beating they gave them in the home opener.

    Ramirez and Alou have hit homers. Sosa has drove in some runs. Walker is 3-3 with 3 RBIs.

    End of the 3rd

    Pirates 0
    Cubs 7

    Cubs already have 10 hits.

    This is much better.

    Earn My Tax Dollar

    The New York Times Op-Ed Contributor: You Are What You Tax

    Fascinating Op-Ed in the New York Times today. The column proposes the question: Suppose you could choose which government entities your tax dollars support — and in what proportion. Where would your money go?

    Polling data and common sense indicate that most people would send their money to things that will benefit the public good: police, fire, highways, clean air, schools, etc.

    But what about those other little government agencies that people don't know about or care about? Well, they'd go outta business unless they could get the taxpayers to pay attention to them. They'd have to advertise to earn the taxpayer dollar - but the advertisements would have to meet the same standards of truthfulness as any other advertising. Genius!

    I love that idea, but know that it could never be implemented in the U.S. under current conditions. The IRS and all those government agencies are too ingrained in how they do business. All the systems would have to be scrapped and rebuilt, and the only way to accomplish something of that magnitude is to consider an overthrow and rebuild of the U.S. government. And I'm not talking about John Kerry winning in November. I'm talking about ripping up the Constitution. Sending all the politicians home and starting over.

    Might be worth it.

    This is Trippy

    FDA Approves Human Brain Implant Devices

    The device, implanted beneath the skulls of paralyzed patients, could allow patients to command a computer to act merely by thinking about the instructions they wish to send.

    April 13, 2004

    I Love the Show Me State

    Shandi Finnessey of Missouri was crowned Miss USA 2004 last night. I really don't care that much about the winner of the Miss USA pagent, except it gives me an excuse to post a picture of a pretty girl. And who doesn't like seeing a picture of pretty girl? Especially a girl from Missouri.

    This is Just Great

    ESPN.com: Page 2 - The MLB Misery Index

    The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox are #3 and #4 respectively, right after the Montreal Expos and the Cleveland Indians.

    Great Quotes

    Master Wordsmith: Donald Rumsfeld

    During a press conference about the situation in Iraq, specifically the uprising in Falluja:

    "We're trying to explain how things are going, and they are going as they are going and this is a moment in Iraq's path toward a democratic and a free system. And it is one moment, and there will be other moments. And there will be good moments and there will be less good moments."

    The Great Motivator: Arnold Schwarzenegger

    While talking about how he would prefer state legislators to work part-time.

    "I like them when they're scrambling and they really have to work hard."

    Pig Manure Can Become Crude Oil

    I want to know how these ideas get started. Are the little scientists just sitting around the lab talking science talk when someone says, "Hey, lets see if we can turn pig crap into beer?"

    (You know the first idea is never the right one. It takes a little refinment.)

    Eventually you end up with a bunch of research scientists and their grad-student assistants running around pig farms scooping up pig poop. How do these ideas get started?

    Research: Pig Manure Can Become Crude Oil

    April 12, 2004

    Aaaaaaaah.

    Maddux has got the bases loaded again!

    Top of the 3rd

    Pirates 5
    Cubs 2

    1 out

    My Brother's a Bastard

    Chicago CubsHe just called me from the Cubs home opener - laughing and cackling over his cell phone while the Wrigley faithful cheered the Cubs along. He's sitting on the third base line, about 11 rows up from the field.

    It's in the upper 40's today. Cold, but a beautiful sunny day. Not bad for an early spring day in Chicago. Bastard's sitting outside enjoy a baseball game while I'm in my little cubicle writing about the game.

    Middle of the 2nd

    Pirates 5
    Cub 0

    Cubs fell apart in the 2nd inning. It's time for Maddux to get it under control and for the Cub bats to come alive. They've got plenty of baseball to play, but they can't let the Pirates get away.

    Now, That's a First Pitch

    Chicago CubsBill Murray threw out the opening pitch at the Cubs home open this afternoon. It's the best pitch I've ever seen.

    Bill Murray's opening pitch

    But My Eye HURTS . . .

    As we drove home last night after spending an enjoyable time at my Mom's house for Easter, a phrase came to mind. I'm not sure if it's original or not, but if it isn't, than I'm claiming it here and now.

    "When you're in Hell, who cares if you're getting poked in the eye."

    Let me explain. It's a 20 to 25 minute car ride from my mother's to my house. We left right around 8pm after having a great time visiting with my mom, dad, step-father, grandma, aunt, brother, sister, and her fiancé. We had fun. Ate good food. It was nice. Up until we got in the van to come home.

    From the very start, the car ride home went something like this: Zoe, who usually does a great job in the car, was crying non-stop. Emma was alternating between complaining about something un-intelligible (courda, courda courda!) and being silly (choo-choo butt! choo-choo butt! choo-choo butt!). Ian sat in the back of the van balling because his two sisters would not stop making so much noise (Ian doesn't deal with other kids crying too well). And I had Heather's butt in my face while she tried to lean over from the front seat and pacify Zoe.

    Rising above the din was the chirping from a little toy chick that my aunt had given one of the kids for Easter. Unless the chick is held steady in an up-right position, it chirps like a Tourettes Syndrome - suffering bird being beaten with a baseball bat. The chick was all the way in the back of the van, chirping away inside a bag. Mocking all of us with its happy song of springtime on crack.

    I thought to myself, "Next red light I should jump out and grab that chick so I can hold it quiet while we finish the ride home."

    But then I thought, "When you're in Hell, who cares if you're getting poked in the eye?"

    So I just kept driving.

    Later, I realized that my eye really hurt. When we stopped at a red light I jumped out, grabbed the chick, and kept is silent under my right butt-check. Choo-choo Butt indeed.

    And you know what? Hell wasn't so bad for the rest of the ride home. Sure, Emma kept going all schizoid, Zoe and Ian kept crying - albeit for different reasons, and Heather switched from standing and sitting in the aisle of the van. But the ride wasn't so bad.

    Relatively speaking.

    Happy Spamiversary

    Spam email turns 10 years old today - more or less.

    CNET ran an article that is pretty exhaustive in its tracking of the history of spam email and its effect on the economy and society.

    Happy spamiversary

    April 09, 2004

    Uma

    Uma Thurman

    I swear. If Uma is six feet tall, then she's five feet six inches of leg. Fantastic.

    Jim Lee on Superman

    Superman artworkLast year the big buzz in comics was Jim Lee drawing Batman. The result was the 12-issue story "Hush" written by Jeph Loeb with art from Jim Lee. This year the buzz is surrounding Jim Lee taking on the other icon of DC Comics: Superman. However, this time the story is being written by Brian Azzarello - a writer best know for his crime noir series 100 Bullets - not superhero friendly writer Jeph Loeb. Azzarello did just finished a six-issue story in Batman with 100 Bullets co-creator Eduardo Risso. Even though it was a superhero story, the character of Batman plays to Azzarello's dark and gritty crime tendencies. Superman is another story.

    I love Jim Lee's comic work and I really wanted to pick up his run on Superman, I enjoy his art that much. But I was a bit reluctant because Azzarello is writing. Can a guy so steeped in writing about the dark side of the human nature make the switch to the brighter world of Superman? I've had my reservations until I read this article on Comic Book Resources: AZZARELLO SEEKS TO BRING INSPIRATION BACK TO "SUPERMAN".

    I like the approach Azzarello is taking. His comments lend me to believe that he might be able to pull something like this off. Now I'll probably pick up the first one or two issues, and if I like them, sit back and wait for the inevitable trade collection of the story and buy that outright.

    Comic Book Crossover

    Interesting article about how Michael Chabon is trying to blur the distinction between literary and popular fiction. He's done it already in the issue of McSweeny's he edited last year, which was re-released as McSweeney's Mammoth Treasure of Thrilling Tales - an excellent read by the way. Now's he's trying to do it with comics as well through his work in The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, the quarter anthology comic book series focusing on The Escapist, the superhero created by the fictional Josef Kavalier and Samuel Klayman from Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

    Read the article: AMAZING MIX

    Then you should pick up McSweeney's Mammoth Treasure of Thrilling Tales and The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist. Both quality works. It goes without saying you should read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

    SW: Clone Wars - Chapter 20

    The final chapter in the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series aired last night - and things went out with a bang. The episode was an extra long show - probably 6 to 7 minutes long. A scene between Obi-Wan and Anakin neatly ties up the series, and in what can best be called an epilogue, the evil General Grievous is introduced.

    Sha'a GiGrievous is going to be the major bad guy in next summer's Star Wars: Episode III. Half alien, half-robot, Grievous is billed as the ultimate Jedi killer. Last night's cartoon did an excellent job of making that point. We watch Grievous systematically take down 6 Jedi. Of course one of the Jedi is padawan Sha'a Gi - an obvious homage to Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. Right down to the frightened looks and scraggly beard. But Grievous' power is showcased nonetheless.

    General GrievousI must say that this animated series has been fantastic. A worthy addition to the Star Wars canon. The animation was spectacular. The stories were entertaining. The action was top notch. The Clone Wars was just great Star Wars entertainment - it was great animation period. Like Ian mentioned to me after Chapter 20 ended last night, "Maybe they'll make some more." I really wish they would make some more. I can always use more quality animation like the kind Genndy Tartakovsky can provide, but I haven't heard that this is in the cards. I know the Clone Wars has been a ratings buster for Cartoon Network, but I'm not sure on how much more time Lucasfilm wants to spend producing stuff directly tied to the Star Wars universe.

    In any event, release of the Clone Wars animated series is a given on DVD. A disk I'm certain to pick up. If for no other reason than it's the Star Wars action I feel comfortable sharing with Ian until he is a little older. But I don't even need that as an excuse. I'll pick it up because it's quality animation and it's Star Wars.

    Now we wait for May 19, 2005.

    April 08, 2004

    I Guess They Could Still Go 161-1

    Reds topple Cubs, Maddux

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- Greg Maddux returned to his roots. Ken Griffey Jr. returned to the lineup and got the better of him.

    Griffey hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat of the season Wednesday, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs that spoiled Maddux's reunion with his original team.

    Save the Date

    Lucasfilm has set the release date for Star Wars: Episode III, the final chapter in the Star Wars saga. The movie will release in the United States, and around the world, on Thursday, May 19, 2005.

    I'll promptly see it the weekend of May 27. I hate big opening weekend crowds.

    What Will They Do To Santa?

    Actors Whip Easter Bunny at Church Show

    A church trying to teach about the crucifixion of Jesus performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs.

    The program was developed by the church's youth minister who was quoted as saying, "The program was for all ages, not just the kids. We wanted to convey that Easter is not just about the Easter bunny, it is about Jesus Christ."

    So you whip a rabbit in front of 4-year old kids? Wow, how do you not have a kid's show on television somewhere?

    Faith may make people strong, but religion makes people stupid.

    Stop the Insanity

    Mom With 14 Kids, One on the Way, Honored

    Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of Arkansas (where else?) have 14 kids with a 15th on the way. Currently they live in a small house with only two bedrooms, but have been building - on their own - a 7,000 square foot house that will have 10 bathrooms, master and guest bedrooms, a laundry room with four washers and eight dryers and two dormitory-style bedrooms, one for the boys and one for the girls.

    They drive around in a bus.

    Oh, and Michelle is only 37 years old and has been having kids since she was 21.

    April 07, 2004

    Two Comics Great Comics in the Future

    Recently learned about two new comic books that are coming out this summer that look very interesting.

    John Law coverWill Eisner's John Law is a comic book trade paperback slated to come out this June and stars John Law, the lesser known fighting lawman from the comic genius of Will Eisner. Better known for creating The Spirit, In 1948 Eisner created a pipe-smoking, one-eyed cop who fights corruption in Crossroads, USA named John Law. I am a long time Spirit fan. I own a few Spirit comics and have coveted the superbly produced The Spirit Archive editions from DC Comics for a long time. Will Eisner is a comic legend who has pushed the boundaries of the craft, creating innovative comic works that stand the test of time. Reading his work is always a joy. Now, the John Law character has been used very little since his debut in the late 40's, but now Eisner has given writer/artist Gary Chaloner the opportunity to revive the character.

    Why am I excited about this character, even though Eisner won't actually be producing the story? One, I think Chaloner puts it best when describing the series when he says, "The new stories do have familiar elements: corrupt cops, gangsters, sexy femme fatales and movie stars, corrupt winners and desperate losers." This is beautiful - exactly the pulpy, crime stories I love to read. Two, the artwork looks fantastic. You can check out a sample on the Comic Book Resources website. Plus, besides new stories, Chaloner is also taking some of Eisner's original Law tales and re-toning (i.e. re-coloring them using gray tones instead of colors) them for inclusion in this book. That's a lot of great artwork with a moody noir feel. Pulpy crime fiction plus outstanding noir artwork adds up to a series I definitely want to check out.

    Harry Johnson coverThe other series I'm looking forward to I just happened to stumble upon the other day. Harry Johnson from Fulp Fiction is a spoof on the action movie serials of the 1940's and 50's. According to the website, Harry Johnson is a detective who investigations take him all around the world and bizarre situations. Charles Fulp is not a writer I've heard about, but the artist on the series - Craig Rousseau - is a talent whose work I've always enjoyed. In particular the work he did on DC Comics' Batman: Gotham Adventures series.

    You should really check out FulpFiction.com. It has a great preview of the Harry Johnson comic with lots of artwork and sketches. Poking around the website gives me a fairly good idea of the kind of series to expect. A goofy, womanizing detective. Lots of beautiful women. Cannibals. Samurai. Nazis. All set in the 1940s. Yep, this looks to be right up my alley. Plus it's a three-issue mini-series, so no big commitment. Again, we've got a great concept accompanied with knockout artwork. Harry Johnson will definitely make it on my pre-order list at my comic shop.

    OH MY GOD!

    OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!

    Mexican Woman Performs Own Caesarean to Save Baby

    Best quote: "She took three small glasses of hard liquor and, using a kitchen knife, sliced her abdomen in three attempts...and delivered a male infant that breathed immediately and cried," said Dr R.F. Valle, of the Dr Manuel Velasco Suarez Hospital in San Pablo, Mexico.

    Fight the Power!

    Voters in Inglewood Turn Away Wal-Mart

    A bid by the world's largest corporation to bypass uncooperative elected officials and take its aggressive expansion plans to voters failed Tuesday, as Inglewood residents overwhelmingly rejected Wal-Mart's proposal to build a colossal retail and grocery center without an environmental review or public hearings.

    April 06, 2004

    I LOVE This video

    I remember first seeing this on the web about 5, maybe 6, years ago. Never forgot it, but hadn't seen it in a long time. Don't know what this is a commerical for (it's been edited out of this version), but it's a classic. You have to watch it.

    Blind Date (avi file, 1.38 MB)

    You Think It's a Joke, But It Isn't

    My Pet Fat

    New Pictures Added

    Don't forget to check out the new pictures on the website. Here's a sample:

    ZoeIanEmma and Bumper

    Huh?

    Not sure if I should be impressed or distrubed by this. Is the guy obsessed or really creative? Probably a mix of both. His Marvel hero creations are a fun diversion, but I can't understand what anyone would do with all of these images?

    Captain AmericaDaredevilSpiderman

    To Help You Set Your Reading List

    2004 Pulitzer Prize Winners in Letters, Drama, and Music

    The Known World by Edward P. Jones won for fiction and Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum won for General Nonfiction. Follow the link above to see all the other winners.

    Man-Boob Alert

    Man-Boob


    Hey, buddy. Wherever you can get it, go for it. Who am I to judge?

    April 05, 2004

    Bastards!

    CUBS.COM DUGOUT SEAT TICKETS OPPORTUNITY

    April 5, 2004

    Dear Cubs Fan,

    Thank you for registering for a chance to purchase tickets
    for the new Dugout Seats. Over 130,000 fans entered their
    e-mail address for this opportunity.

    Unfortunately, your entry was not selected for our initial
    sale tomorrow. However, should Dugout Seats tickets remain
    after tomorrow's sale, we would offer a second purchase period
    and you would be notified by e-mail on Wednesday morning, April 7,
    if you are selected for the second phase.

    Thank you again for your participation.

    The Chicago Cubs

    This is Just Too Strange

    Bob Dylan Appearing in Victoria's Secret Ads

    Hey! Hey!

    Alou doubles, driving in Grudzielanek, Patterson and Sosa.

    Cubs 4
    Reds 0

    2 outs - Top of the 3rd

    Oh, Boy. Here We Go!

    Cubs 1
    Red 0

    It's the top of the 3rd - bases loaded - and Moises Alou is up at the plate.

    Of course, he just took a strike looking.

    Swing the bat, Moises!

    Opening Day

    The 2004 Baseball season starts today, with the Cubs taking on the Reds down in Cincinatti.

    I'm all set at work with my Yahoo! GameChannel where I'll be able to follow every pitch and hit as it happens all from the comfort of my desk at work. It's the next best thing to having the game on the radio.

    A number of people supposedly in the know, have picked the Cubs to win the World Series - most notably Sports Illustrated and ESPN's Peter Gammons. I don't know if I can live with that kinda pressure as a Cubs fan. 182 games is a long time just to get to the playoffs. I think I might have been better off if I didn't know that the people are seriously considering the Cubs contenders. One game at a time, I guess.

    What You Won't See in the TV Coverage of This Story

    Toddler TV Habits Tied to Attention Deficit

    It's a guarantee that the local and national news shows will run a story about this recently released study that ties television viewing between the ages of 1 and 3 with attention problems at age 7. The study suggests that the more TV children watch between the ages of 1 and 3, the greater the risk of attention problems later on. Pretty damaging stuff.

    However, you have to dig down deeper into the story to discover this:

    "The television viewing data came from the parents and may not be completely accurate. Also, there is no way to know whether the children already had attention problems early on that attracted them to TV viewing, though symptoms don't appear that early, it said.

    It was also possible the parents who allowed excessive TV viewing were themselves distracted and neglectful, creating a household that fostered attention problems in the children. Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder has a high heritability level, the study said.

    And the study did not look at what kinds of programs the children watched."

    Those are some fairly important caveats. The kids might have already had an attention problem or they were going to develop one regardless of how much TV they watched. And the study didn't even consider the programming the kids watched or the types of household they grew up in. Both of which could have a dramatic effect on their development. This means the findings of this study should not be considered conclusive.

    But you won't hear about any of this on the television news tonight. You'll just hear, "kids who watch a lot of television end up with attention problems."

    So dumb.

    April 02, 2004

    Hellboy

    HellboyThe movie comes out today and it seems to be receiving a lot of favorable reviews. I originally wasn't too interested in the film - not being too much of a Hellboy fan myself - but the more I read and see about the film, the more intrigued I become. I'm even thinking about picking up one of the Hellboy trade paperbacks. Sounds like Hellboy might be something I really like. A mix of action, horror and superhero pulp - with truly unique art from Mike Mignola.

    If you want to learn more about Hellboy before seeing the film or reading the comic, check out Comics 101. Scott Tipton does a great job of summing up what Hellboy is all about. And according to what I've read, writer and director Guillermo del Toro has done an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the comic in the Hellboy film. So however you approach the property, the Comics 101 article would be a great place to start.