July 30, 2004

Justice League Unlimited

Don't forget to watch the new Justice League Unlimited show on Cartoon Network this weekend.

July 31 - 7:30 pm - Initiation

Each new episode premieres Saturday night, and are then rebroadcast on Sunday night and the following Saturday morning:

August 1 - 5:00 pm - Initiation
August 7 - 10:30 am - Initiation

It's going to be awesome. Trust me.

Heather's A Great Photographer

She keeps taking great photos of the kids. Take a look of these three she sent to me at work. I dare you tell me these aren't the best looking kids on the entire planet. I double-dog dare you.

Click on any of them to be taken over to the Photos section of the site where you can access larger version of the pictures.

The Phantom

Big fan of the Phantom. I've read his exploits for years. The character is much more popular overseas in Europe and Australia than he is here in the States. Thanks to The Deep Woods website, I can see some of the great comic work being done with the character around the world. What's grabbed my attention lately is the pencil work of artist Alex Saviuk, who will be working on a Phantom Year One project for Egmont, a Scandinavian media company that chronicles the adventures of the Phantom in Europe.


That's one bad-ass looking Phantom. Very nice.

The Hits Keep Coming

Fresh off a fantastic run in the lead for First Folio's production of Hamlet, my brother now turns to portraying the impish prankster Puck in the Bard's Midsummer Night's Dream for First Folio. Just one marquee role after another. My brother is the star now.

Kevin spitting fire
Kevin displays his fire eating skills while rehearsing as Puck.

kevin as puck
That's Kevin's Puck popping out of the floor to give Oberon a difficult time.

July 29, 2004

Batman Begins Teaser Trailer

Batman LogoWarner Brothers has added the Batman Begins teaser trailer to the movie website.

As teaser trailers go, I think it's pretty bad. Too many shots of Bruce Wayne climbing snow covered mountains and wandering through third world slums. I have a hard time understanding how this will build anticipation for Batman movie.

Sin City Movie Upate

Sin City coverAlso at this past weekend's San Diego Comic Con, director Robert Rodriguez and comic creator Frank Miller hosted a panel regarding the Sin City movie the two are working on together. I've talked about this film a number of times here in this space. Sin City is easily one of my all time favorite comic properties. I am absolutely in love with Miller's comic noir stories and his moody artwork. At first I was skeptical of any movie adaptation of the books, but as more and more information has come out, the more excited I'm becoming about seeing this film.

Besides have a stellar cast; Bruce Willis, Jamie King, Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, Bencio Del Toro, Clive Owen, Michael Clarke Duncan, Michael Madsen, Elijah Wood, Nick Stahl, Brittany Murphy, and Mickey Rourke, the movie will adapt three of Miller's books ( The Big Fat Kill, That Yellow Bastard, and the original self-titled Sin City book) and be shown in black-and-white with only spots of color - just like Miller's books. It's going to be the most literal comic-to-film adaptation ever done.

According to the report from the panel, Rodriguez is even already planning how to set things up for the DVD and what additional scenes to save for the DVD. Amazing!

At the panel, Rodriguez and Miller also unveiled some artwork to promote the film. Essentially more proof that Rodriguez is doing a bang-up job of bringing Miller's vision of the town without pity.

Sin City artSin City art
Sin City art

That's a Lot of Bacon

Picture of guy and 1,000 wild hog

Guy in Georgia claims he shot and killed a 1,000 pound wild hog on a plantation in Georgia. The only proof he has is this picture. Instead of slaughtering the animal for its meat, they simply buried it - apparently wild hog meat doesn't tast good.

So is his claim real or is it a simple foreground/background camera trick? I don't know. Don't really care. Makes for a great photo though, doesn't it?

July 28, 2004

Baby Toes

I love little baby feet and toes. They're probably the third cutest things on a baby - after their smile and those chubby little cheeks that you just want to kiss all day.

There is something just so damn cute about the chubby little digits at the end of these tiny little feet that I think is so wonderful. All post some pictures of Zoe's little feet so you can get the idea. I love those little feet!

It doesn't last forever though. When the kid starts walking the feet change and they're not so cute anymore. By the time the kids turns two-year old they're just plain old boring feet - with ugly nails, scratches, and dry patches. But it's fun while it lasts.


This is fun 3 minute flash animation with an Olympic theme from the creative mind of Bruno Bozzetto and starring Mr. Otto.

San Diego Fallout

Lots of interesting comic book projects were announced or fleshed out more at the recent San Diego Comic Con. I'm pouring over the reports and stories from the convention looking for what's in store for the industry over the next twelve to sixteen months - and what I might want to add to my buying list.

Grant MorrisonFirst up is some new projects from the fertile mind of Grant Morrison. In the near future, Morrison will be launching some new works through DC Comics. One called Seven Soldiers and the other will be the initial arc of the new JLA: Classified series. You can learn all the gritty detail in this interview he did with Newsarama.

Seven Soldiers looks impressive mainly because of the scope of what Morrison is trying to do. 30 issues divided into two bookends with the remaining 28 issues broken up into short miniseries - all with a common thread running through them. What gets me excited about the project is this quote from Morrison, "The fun really starts when you combine all the books like a 30 piece jigsaw to reveal the epic story behind it all, with a cast of hundreds, criss-crossing and affecting one another's lives. I think it adds up to the most intricate and ambitious single superhero story anyone's attempted."

It's that kind of big thinking and fresh approach to comics that have made Morrison a superstar with the industry. The guy is easily one the most creative writer working in comics today and I'd love to sample more of his works, especially Seven Soldiers.

Another interesting announcement was Warren Ellis on Iron Man and Ed Brubaker on Captain America. Iron Man and Capt are two of the Marvel heroes that I've found interesting, but never found the comics being produced very entertaining. Except for a short stint in 2000 when Kurt Busiek was on Iron Man and Mark Waid was scripting Captain America, I've never regularly read these titles.

Ellis is an interesting fit for Iron Man. He definitely has a more sci-fi slant to his choices in writing assignments lately and he's always been big on international conspiracy / shadow governments elements in his stories that if brought to the world of Tony Stark and his robotic suit could make for an intriguing series. I've just soured on the guy recently - grown tired of his holier-than-thou attitude towards readers.

Brubaker is a huge favorite of mine. Sleeper and Gotham Central are two of my favorite books, and I loved his writing when he was on Batman and Detective Comics. If anyone can breathe life into the Captain America comic, it would be him.

Space GhostIs it enough to get me to pick up either of these books? Maybe. It always comes down to the economics of the situation. How can I spend my limited comic funds and get the biggest entertainment value. If these guys are delivering big, there is a possibility. Maybe it's waiting for trade paperback collections of their initial runs. We'll have to wait and see.

There was more talk about the Space Ghost mini series from Joe Kelly and Ariel Olivetti which I am looking forward to. It's not the campy Coast to Coast take on Space Ghost that has played well on Cartoon Network, but rather a serious re-visioning of the character as a pulp-style hero. The Space Ghost character has always appealed to me and I'm eager to see how he turns out in Joe Kelly's hands.

Though some of the news that I was most excited about was the announcement that Judd Winick (yes, the guy from Real World: San Francisco) would be taking over permanent chores as writer of Batman and will be joining by Doug Mahnke on art. This is great news. As much as I've enjoyed the stories from the revolving creative teams on Batman over the last two years, it will be nice to have one writer and artist settle down and spin fun tales of the Dark Knight on a monthly basis.

batman logoI have been enjoying the story arc Winick is currently writing for Batman, so I welcome his style on the title. Having one permanent writer will also benefit the book in re-establishing the mega-fiction aspect of an ongoing comic book title. "Mega-fiction" is a term the former writer, Batman group editor, and living comic book legend Denny O'Neil termed back in the 90's when he steered the entire Batman comic book franchise for DC Comics. Mega-fiction is kinda like the stories in soap operas - there might be beginnings and ends to smaller stories, but they all tie together to form a much larger story. One that can't be contained in a single show or book. It becomes a story the lives and breathes and is constantly changing. That's what I want from a Batman book. All the mini-series are fun, but I want them to fit together as part of the bigger picture. Not exist within a vacuum - not if their being published as part of the ongoing Batman monthly.

I just realized that I've been rambling on here for almost 45 minutes. Just writing and writing and writing about things my sister and my wife are just going to glaze over anyway. It's 1pm and I've got to get back to work and prepare for some meetings so I'll stop with my SDCC debriefing for now and set this post to the side for proofing later this afternoon when I get a break.

Hmmmmm, Sliders

slider girl

Random Thoughts and Rants

Heather reminded me Monday night that we should make a point of watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart during the weeks of the two national political conventions. We both find the show funny (though I think I find it funnier than she does) and agree that the show can be at its best when it has a bunch of politicians in one place making a lot of fluffy speeches to skewer.

While watching Monday night I caught the tail end of Lewis Black's rant on the upcoming conventions. It was very funny. What I found particularly enjoyable were his comments at the end. There he raises the question; if we already know who the candidates are going to be, why do we bother with conventions?

Before he was able to answer, I thought to myself: that's true. It's been years since a convention meant anything. I think I can remember some Democratic conventions back in the 80s where there were two or three candidates who had a chance at the nomination and the alignment of delegates meant something. (I think Jesse Jackson played a part somehow). It would definitely make things more interesting.

But I digress. Black's explanation for the existence of conventions today? "The balloon lobby has both parties by the balls - and they're not afraid to twist!"

That's good.

Speaking of giving balls a twist. What's the Indiana Department of Transportation's fucking problem with 80/94 between Gary, IN and the Illinois border? Between going to college, living in Cleveland, and marrying a woman from Ohio, I've been going back and forth through this area for the last 14 years. I think once - ONCE - in those last 14 years have these back country hicks not been working on this road. It's a given that when entering or leaving the Chicago area you bound to sit in some sort of construction delay - your car idling along as you stare at a million Krazy Karl Firework Emporium billboards.

But it's not like the 80/94-construction hellhole is the only fun to be found while traveling the toll roads of Indiana and Ohio. Both states have turnpikes, which means you get a little ticket when you enter the highway and pay when you get off. No tollbooths every 5 miles or so like in Illinois or Wisconsin.

In both states, whenever they have one of these turnpike gates for picking up a ticket or paying the toll, there is always a sign over at least one of the lanes that read, "Cars Only No Trailers."

You know what happens? Every fricking mind-numbed lemming in a car gets in that one lane. Even though there are four or five open lanes besides that one! You'll even see cars fighting to get over into the "Cars Only" lane. For all you OPRF dropouts out there fighting to get into a tollbooth lane 10 cars deep, I have a little hint for you.

If you're driving a car you can go in any lane. The "Cars Only" lane is for cars only - not trailers, not trucks, not horse and carriages. The sign doesn't say, "This is The Only Lane For Cars." It's the "Cars Only" lane.

I do believe America is becoming collectively dumber.

July 27, 2004

Batman Begins at My Building??

Batman LogoWe just got this email on my work account:

Dear Colleagues,

For those of you coming in to work on Sunday, August 1, the following street closings will be in effect beginning at 1: 00 p.m.. They will reopen at 4:00 a.m. on Monday, August 2.

LaSalle Street from Monroe to Jackson
Clark Street from Monroe to Congress
Wells Street from Monroe to Congress
Adams Street from Franklin to Dearborn
Jackson Blvd. from Franklin to Clark
Van Buren Street from Dearborn to Franklin

The building I work in (which takes up a full city block) is bordered by Jackson, Wells, Van Buren, and Financial. Financial is a small street between Wells and LaSalle that divides our building from the Chicago Board of Trade - rumored to be one of the building landmarks Batman Begins director Christopher Nolan wanted to use in the film.

The dates and timing fit with when movie shooting is to appear here in Chicago. I haven't been able to find any info saying that these street closing are associated with Batman Begins, but I'll keep checking.

It's Official

Star Wars logoI'm sure you were wondering where my reaction was - being a total Star Wars geek and all. I'd been out of town in Ohio, dropping Ian off at Grandma and Papa Camp (a week at the grandparent's house for all cousins 4 and over) and hadn't had an option to blog until today at lunch. Over the weekend at the San Diego Comic Con, LucasFilm announced what the name of the last Star Wars movie, Episode III, would be. As was widely speculated, the title is Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith

The name didn't surprise me, in fact I couldn't see how George Lucas could name it anything other than Revenge of the Sith. The name is just too perfect. It ties all the movies together nicely - giving Lucas the symmetry in Episodes I-III with Episodes IV-VI that he was looking for when he set out to make the prequels. In fact, there was a time Return of the Jedi was named Revenge of the Jedi. The logo design was similar to what is being used currently for Revenge of the Sith. Everything ties together nicely.

Take a look at how the completed Star Wars story will run:

Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Episode IV: A New Hope
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

They read like chapters from old pulp stories like The Shadow or Doc Savage. Which was always the feel Lucas was going for with these films - pulpy action flicks that conjure the excitement of the Saturday afternoon matinees.

I'm really quite excited.

Batman Begins Filiming in Chicago

batman logoThese dates and times were taken frm emails and memos circulated to people working in Chicago whose daily routine will be upset by the filming of Batman Begins

If you are a patron of the parking garage here at One South Wacker, please be aware that Lower Wacker Drive will be closed for a Warner Brothers movie filming on the following dates and times: Tuesday, July 27, 1:00am - 4:00am, Monday, August 2, 7:00pm - Tuesday, August 3, 5:00am, Tuesday, August 3, 7:00pm - Wednesday, August 4, 5:00am. The first date is for preparatory operations, while the last two dates are for the actual filming.'

Beginning July 31st at 5:00 am to 11:00 pm: "South side of Illinois from Wabash to Lower Wacker, Both sides of Rush Street from Chicago to Hubbard from Wabash to Lower Michigan Avenue, Both Sides Lower Michigan Avenue from Grand to Lower Wacker, Both sides of North Water Street from State to St. Clair, Both sides of Wabash from Chicago River to Hubbard Street."

Exiciting stuff. Some of the filming will be sort of close to where I work, but it's still mostly north of the Chicago River - meaning it's either a long walk or a cab ride away for me. Don't know yet if I'll make the trek up there. I really would like to.

July 23, 2004

Last of the Independents - A Review

Last of the IndependentsRunning out of time here today and I really wanted to write about this - so I'll keep it short and sweet. Finished reading Last of the Independents a couple of days ago and found it rather enjoyable. It's a unique original graphic novel from writer Matt Fraction and artist Kieron Dwyer.

No alien invaders. No superheroes in spandex. Just a guy named Cole, his girl Justine, their friend Billy, and a plan to rob a little money and get set up happily-ever-after. Unfortunately things don't go nearly as planned. Cole and the gang end up angering a sadistic mob boss named Vincenzo Francone, who sends his lackey Pascal to take care of things. But the situation goes from bad to worse before coming to a poignant conclusion.

Fraction scripts a fine caper story. A great premise. Memorable characters. Some fun twists in narrative structure. The guy's got writing chops.

Dwyer's artwork is sensational. I lingered over the art on ever page. His linework is wonderful. His action sequences pulse with activity. Plus, the book is printed in a landscape format on parchment-like paper with a sort of sepia coloring effect. It's very unique, is a perfect match for the type of story, and really makes the book a feast for the eyes.

It's the best action movie you'll never see in the theater. Read it. I might lend you my copy if you ask nicely.

I Love Futurama

Fry: "Hey, as long as you don't make me smell Uranus." *laughs*

Leela: "I don't get it."

Professor: "I'm sorry, Fry, but astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all."

Fry: "Oh. What's it called now?"

Professor: "Urectum. Here, let me locate it for you."

Fry: "Hehe, no, no, I think I'll just smell around a bit over here."

That was from the episode A Big Piece of Garbage which was on Cartoon Network last night.

I love Futurama. When it originally aired on FOX back in the day, I wrote it off as re-heated Simpsons episodes. Since I've been watching it on Cartoon Network as part of their Adult Swim block of late-night programming, I've come to appreaciate and really enjoy the show. It's really funny.

Number One in the Hood, G

Cause we are the Aqua Teens, make the homeys say ho and the girlies wanna scream!

July 22, 2004

Thank God for Maddux

Cubs logoOnly took half the season, but Greg Maddux is starting to deliver. After throwing a near perfect game in his last start, he's doing a fantastic job of shutting down the Red today in Wrigley. I've been loosely following things through MLB GameDay. The Reds only runs are from two Jose Valentin home runs. Other than that, Maddux is making every Red hitter ground out or pop out. Besides the homers, only two balls have been hit past the infield.

Bottom of the 6th. 2 outs. bases loaded with Ramirez up to bat.

Reds 2
Cubs 8

ooooooooh . . . GRAND SLAM!!!!!!!!!!

Red 2
Cubs 12


I Guess I'm Officially a Dad Now

I had my Chuck E. Cheese cherry popped last night.

I feel so dirty.

Instead of a birthday party for Ian this year, we let him invite a friend over to go do some fun activity. Ian chose a trip to Chuck E. Cheese's where a kid can be a kid and a parent can be driven out of their skull.

I'd never been to a Chuck E. Cheese's establishment before last night. The last time I was inside anything similar to it was either when I was nine-year old at a place called ShowBiz Pizza or that time I was looked in an elevator for 3 hours with five Russian midget wrestlers, a guy with Tourettes Syndrome, and donkey with intestinal problems.

It's hard to say.

I do know that Ian and his friend Parker had a blast. We went to McDonald's first because Ian doesn't particularly like pizza (i know, i know - we're working on it) and nothing says special day to Ian like a milkshake and Happy Meal from our friend Ronald. While I think Parker might have been confused by visits to two mecca's of children gluttony in one night, he took it all in stride.

Ian and Parker ran around and threw tokens at everything the blipped, blinked, moved, or played music.

Emma stuck to mainly to the miniature merry-go-round and simple duck game. She was mainly there to see Chuck E. Cheese. Every time a "show" would start up on stage, she would want to go running up there and stand right in front of the mechanical rat. It was particularly exciting for Emma when the real Chuck E. Cheese came out of the broom closet and waved at the throngs of children who threw themselves lemming-like at Chuck's legs and belly. Emma got to shake Chuck's hand - which she had been talking about doing for the last two days.

Zoe - yes, everyone went to Chuck E. Cheese's - pretty much just slept. It was the only thing she could do considering the sensory overload she was experiencing.

Overall the trip was pretty much what I expected - though the place seemed smaller than I thought it would be, with less actual video games than I figured would be there. Are less stand-alone video games created since the rise of Xbox and Playstation? I don't know.

I know it wasn't my last trip there, but I can't say I'm looking forward to return visits. But my parents suffered through similar types of things for my enjoyment as a kid; at the very least I can suffer the same for my children.

This Land Parody

It's been all over the news, but I want to link to it also because it is just too damn funny.

Love the cameo by Clinton towards the end.

Kerry Bush Parody

Calvin & Hobbes

More proof Bill Watterson was a genius.

This Is How It Starts

Next thing you know they'll be taking over the world, blowing up the Statue of Liberty, and fighting with Charlton Heston.

monkey walks exclusively on two legs like a human
This monkey began recently walking exclusively on her hind legs after a stomach ailment nearly killed her, zookeepers said.(AP Photo/Eli Dasa)

July 21, 2004

Pure Magic

Was looking at my Apple iTunes new releases email this morning and noticed an artist of note:

David Hasselhoff

In case you missed it, neatly tucked between Junior Wells (brilliant!) and Sun Kil Moon (who?) is the Artist of the Millennium: David Hasselhoff.

Yes, you can now purchase and download selections from David Hasselhoff Sings America (here is the iTunes link), where David crones classic hits like; Rhinestone Cowboy, You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin', Forever In Blue Jeans, These Boots Are Made For Walking, and my personal favorite - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.

Please, no pushing. The line forms on the right. There are plenty of copies to go around for everyone.

David Loves You

Is It Too Late to Enroll?

Duke Freshmen to Receive Free iPods

The 1,650 members of the incoming freshman class will each receive a 20-GB iPod at orientation on Aug. 19. The devices will come preloaded with Duke-related content, such as orientation information and the school's academic calendar.


Holy Cow! Cubs Just Lost the Post-Season

Cubs LogoThe Cubs lost in fantastic fashion yeasterday to the Cardinals, blowing a 6-run lead.

Mark my words: the Cubs won't make the playoffs.

They're 10 games out of first. Three games back in the Wild Card race, behind very good San Francisco and San Diego clubs. It's the end of July. And the Cardinals have been playing consistently good baseball all season.

I hope I'm proven wrong, but the Cubs need to go on a unholy terror through August and some other teams need to start losing if there is any hope of the Northsiders making into post season play.

Maybe it's time to pick up a Chicago White Sox jersey? They're only a half game out of first and are still seriously contending.

July 20, 2004

Lions, Tigers & Bears

lions, tigers and bears coverLearned about a fasinating new comic coming out from Runemaster Studios. Titled Lions, Tigers & Bears it stars a young boy named Joey and his discovery that the stuffed animals on his bed do much more than just provide him with something soft and fuzzy to hug while drifting off to sleep.

The comic was created by Mike Bullock with gorgeous artwork by Jack Lawrence. It is an all to rare all-ages comic that I am eager to share with Ian and Emma.

What I've read about the comic leads me to believe it's tapping into that same magical and mythical realm that made The Chronicles of Narina so enjoyable for me as a kid. As writer Bullock puts it in an interview, “Lions, Tigers & Bears focuses on nine-year-old Joey Price and his four favorite stuffed animals, Pallo, Ares, Venus and Minerva. The hidden truth is that these companions have been defending children since the dawn of time. Follow young Joey on the adventure of a lifetime as he travels through the Stuffed Animal Kingdom, a journey that puts the fate of all the world's children in his hands and brings him face to face with his destiny."

Ian and Emma are two young to read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but they might enjoy having me read this comic to them before bed. In a couple years we can graduate to "chapter books."

Take a look at some preview art of Lions, Tigers & Bears and learn more about the characters. And know that I will let you know when this comic is available for purchase.

That a Boy, Lance!

Lance Armstrong regained the yellow jersey after winning stage 15 of the Tour de France. Armstrong now has a one minute 25 second lead.

July 19, 2004

Do I Owe Someone an Apology?

My Dad invited Heather, all the kids and me over to his house for dinner Sunday night. Heather bought some fresh corn on the cob from a local farm stand and she made a peach pie with farm fresh peaches. We even got to see my brother for a while before he had to jet over and perform "Hamlet" under the stars.

Things were going splendidly until we tried to sit down for dinner.

As some of you can imagine (and maybe some of you have first hand experience), wrangling three kids 5-years and younger at dinner can have its challenges. Heather and I seem to be able to handle things fairly well. Keep the kids well behaved and maybe even get them to eat something most times.

Last night however, the three of them made quite an argument for birth control. Holy crap. I haven't stood up and sat down so many times in an hour since the last time I was at church. My legs got tired and my food got cold. It was unbelievable. Part of the problem was that we decided to eat outside. Sunday evening was too nice out not to dine outside, but it just gave the kids one more thing to react to and distract them. I mean Ian seems to flip out any time a bug enters his personal air space - which according to last night's performance, entails the entire state of Illinois.

Hectic doesn't even begin to describe what went on. At one point I looked over and my Dad was sitting all by himself at the table. How sad.

Things calmed down after dinner thankfully. We actually had a much nicer time sitting down to have dessert. We were inside and we all got to enjoy the interaction of sitting around the table together while eating.

In the end no damage was done, but for a control freak like myself, it's always a trying situation. I've always had a difficult time dealing with children - the proclivity for the irrational, the hyper-activity, th constant noise - though having my own has taught me how to temper myself and be more patient. Still, some situations get me all worked up. Luckily I have Heather there to keep me grounded and to keep things in perspective.

This Is Just Great

Now we are protesting the protesters

That's What I'm Talking About!

Apple LogoApple Computers just announced that they are dropping prices on their iPod digitial music players. Now a 20GB iPod will only set you back $299. The 40GB model will run you $399. Those are $100 drops.

In addtion to the cheaper price, Apple have improved the batteries in the players to now have up to 12 hours of playing time and made some improvements to the interface.

I gots to get me one of these!

Gimme a Break

Sorry John Stosel, but I'm lifting a phrase from you. Democrats are jumping all over Arnold Schwarzenegger because he called state legislators who he thinks are buckling to special interest groups as girlie men.

The California Dems say his comment was insensitive to women to degrades homosexual women.

If you're insulted when Arnold Schwarzenegger says "girlie man", than I think you have some self-esteem issues. Get over it. Gimme a break.

Politicians are dorks.

PLEASE - Win Today and Tomorrow

Cubs logoThe Cubs play St. Louis for the last time this season today and tomorrow. Chicago is 8 games behind the Cards with the second half of the season left. The Cubs have to win these two games. Put the Cards in their place. Show 'em you're the better team. Dusty Baker and the boys need to get into this race now. Despite a ton of injures the Cubs have held tight during the first half of the season. They'resecond in their division and tied for second in the Wild Card standings, but if they are going to make the playoffs they need to win, win, win.

Come on!

Great Calvin & Hobbes

It was because of comics like this that Bill Waterson is considered a comic strip genius and why anyone with any appreciate and love for comic strips misses him every time they open up to the comics section in a newspaper today.

New Superman Director

I find this encouraging. It has been announced that director Bryan Singer has been signed to helm the next Superman movie.

A new Superman movie has been languishing in development hell for years. The is apparently a script written by J.J. Abrams, the creator of Alias, but things haven't moved much beyond that. McG had been the most recent director tapped to bring the big blue boy scout back to the silver screen, by he and Warner Brothers split when the two couldn't agree on budget items.

I like the selection of Singer. I love The Usual Suspects, and though I haven't seen them yet, X-Men and X-Men are considered excellent films and superb comic book movies. I'm thinking the Superman film franchise is in better hands now that when it was with the director of Charlies Angels (McG).

July 16, 2004

2 Gallons

lifesource logo2 gallons - that's how much of my blood I have donated through LifeSource Blood Services over the last four years. Take a look at two gallons of milk sitting next to each other. Now imagine instead of milk, there's blood in those jugs. That's a lot of blood. Ewwww.

Back in the fall of 2000, the company I work for had a blood drive here at work and I decided to donate. Since then I have been going back every 8 to 12 weeks to donate another pint. I blew past the two gallon mark in May and donated again this morning - my first steps towards the three gallon mark.

I actually enjoy donating blood. It makes me feel like I'm giving something of value back to the community. I don't have time to donate my time. I don't have money to donate to charities. I work for a company that creates advertising opportunities for companies. At least I can donate some of my blood and hopefully help someone out. It's small, but at least it's something. Maybe in the future I'll be able to do more.


T' help build mah alley rep, I recent-like installed dis software t' help wit' mah scratchin'.


You don't need to actually read the article, the title says it all

Crazed surgeon amputates patient's penis, chops it up

Needless to say, the wife of the patient is planning on suing the doctor.

Why Some People Don't Belong in the Gene Pool

SALT LAKE CITY - Two men planning to throw lighted fireworks from a car were burned when they forgot to roll down the window.

"They lit a large mortar rocket firework" and were going to throw it out the window, Salt Lake County sheriff's Sgt. John Barker said. "The passenger threw it out the window, but he forgot to roll the window down. It bounced back in his lap."

Adam Weber, 24, was in fair condition Thursday at the Intermountain Burn Unit at University Hospital with second and third degree burns on his arms, legs and torso.

"He's going to be in a lot of pain. I don't think it's life-threatening, but he's going to have a hard time. It's going to be a long process to get him healed up," Barker said.

The driver, Jared Williams, only had minor burns to his back.

Good God!

Medicare Redefines Obesity As an Illness

WASHINGTON - Medicare now recognizes obesity as an illness, a change in policy that may allow millions of overweight Americans to make medical claims for treatments such as stomach surgery and diet programs.

My respnose: "We've gotten to the point where everybody's got a right and nobody's got a responsibility." - Newton Minow

Right Back At Ya, Asshole

picture of karl rove

July 15, 2004

A Groupie's Gonna Get His Ass-Kicked

Unfinished Copy of U2's New CD Disappears

Maybe the CD will show up on eBay for auction, with all proceeds going to help some third world country get out debt.

Hopefully This Means Less Bitching This Fall

BCS Simplifies Formula for Championship

Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher

Rex SteeleOooh. I want this DVD.

Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher is an animated short directer by Alex Woo. It won the Student Academy Award in the animation category and has been screened and honored at a number of film festivals around the world.

The story is simple, "It is 1941, and the United States is at war with Nazi Germany. The U.S. Government has just been informed that Eval Schnitzler, a high-ranking Nazi general, has occupied a legendary volcano on the coast of South America.

Convinced that his motives are more than leisurely, the United States sends Rex Steele, Nazi smasher extraordinaire, to uncover and foil the Nazi's evil plans.

Rex flies into the Amazon with his sidekick, Penny Thimble, and the two embark on a journey full of action, adventure, thrills, chills - and of course, Nazi smashing galore!"

The animation looks wonderful. Richly detailed with some really fun character designs. Take a look at two screenshots i pulled from the website.

The DVD is available for sale from Monkeysuit.com - just follow the Store link. You'll find a trailer for the film and some additional info on the film there as well. $15.00 gets you a 2-disc set including the animated short, a bunch of behind the scenes stuff, plus the full soundtrack. Sounds like a great deal to me and a great way to support up-incoming animation talent.

Valentine's Day Gift Idea

Heather, here's something to consider for a Valentine's Day gift for me next year (I picked that holiday because this item is set to be in stores Feb 16, 2005).

Batman Black and White Statue

Designed by Eduardo Risso
Sculpted by Tony Cipriano

This first-in-a-series statue is designed by Eduardo Risso, best known for his work on 100 BULLETS and BATMAN! The true essence of a complex hero is captured in this black-and-white sculpture inspired by BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE the miniseries of short stories by some of the top award-winning talent in the industry, showcasing noir-flavored tales of the Dark Knight.

This limited-edition miniature statue measures approximately 6.75" tall, painted in a monochromatic black-and-white style just like the comic, and features a logo base. This statue is packaged in a black-and-white box featuring spot color.

Advance-solicited; on sale Feb 16 :: Mini-Statue :: $45.00 US

You be able to order it through the boys over at Graham Cracker Comics. Just tell 'em Brendan sent you.

This is Pretty Trippy

This summer in Japan Pepsi is releasing limited edition Star Wars bottle cap figures. Essentially they are bottle cap covers - the tops are slightly larger than a regular bottle cap and have no threading inside of them. I guess you just slip them over a regular bottle cap for decorative purposes.

star wars bottle caps

You can buy 'em from Action-HQ.com, a website that sells all sorts of toys - many before they hit the retail market in Europe or the United States.

We Can All Get Along - Sort Of

AOL, MSN, and Yahoo! will announce today that they are link up their different instant messaging systems for use in the workspace.

Of course the hitch is that the any company that wants to use this new system will have to license software from Microsoft that will serve as a hub for connecting the different services.

Ah, Guys, This Doesn't Make Sense

So I go to My Yahoo! this morning and this is what I see in the Front Page Headlines section:

My Yahoo headhlines

Reuters says, "HBO's 'The Sopranos' Leads Emmy Series Nominations" while the AP says, "'Angels in America' Leads Emmy Nominations."

I wasn't until reading through both articles that you realize that The Sopranos had the most nominations for a television series, with 20 nods. Angels in America, a miniseries from HBO, earned 21 nominations. The most for any show this year.

It makes sense after you read the articles, but just seeing the headlines make you think something fishy is going on.

July 14, 2004

I'm Gonna Need a Bigger DVD Shelf

There a whole bunch of great cartoon releases on DVD later this year:

  • Looney Tunes: Golden Collection V.2 - 11/02/2004 - I just got the first one and WB is already launching another one. WB hasn't officially released what cartoons will be in the collection, but I have seen some leaked titles on this site. Still no Robin Hood parody starring Daffy Duck but that could changes. They are rumored titles after all. Let's wait and see what WB actually announces in a few months.

  • Top Cat: The Complete Series - 12/07/2004 - I loved this show. Kevin and I used to watch it every Sunday morning whenever we stayed at my Dad's house for the weekend. Some lowly UHF station would run Top Cat, George of the Jungle, and some other goofy old cartoons on Sunday morning. We loved it.

  • Superman Animated SeriesSuperman Animated Series: A Little Piece of Home - 10/19/2004 - It's the first release of any of the Superman Animated Series cartoons on DVD. This show was horribly under-rated and over-shadowed by Batman: The Animated Series. I absolutely loved the Superman show and look forward to owning it on DVD. This release only has four episodes on it. Not sure if I want to get this or if I want to wait for the full season release like WB recently did for Batman: The Animated Series. I'll probably opt for the full season collection (I liked Superman that much), but will be tempted to pick up the teaser DVD. (btw: WB also will be releasing Batman and Justice League DVD collections on this date as well. Not full season stuff, just collections of 4 or 5 episodes. Batman I want full season. JL I'm still on the fence about, though I leaning towards a few of these smaller DVD collections of 4 or 5 episodes. Not really interested in owning the entire JL animated run)

  • Wacky Races: The Complete Series - 10/19/04 - I remember watching this series as a kid during the afternoon before kindergarten - or was it Saturday mornings? I associate it with The Great Space Coaster a kids show from the late 70's that Kevin and I would watch around lunchtime during the week. So it must have been on then, along with Underdog and re-runs of the Batman TV show starring Adam West. Not sure if I'll add this to my Wish List, but I can't deny that it would be a fun collection to own. Actually, when I think about it, the better Hanna-Barbera collection have on DVD would be the Laff-a-lympics - where characters from all the different HB cartoons came together to compete against each other. It was very "Battle of the Network Stars."

    I love cartoons and I'm starting to really love cartoons on DVD. It's great that studios are starting to open things up and releasing whole seasons of a cartoon on DVD. These collections and boxed sets are a great way for me to continue to the cartoons I loved watching on TV as a kid (or an adult) and the perfect way for me to share one of my passions (and in some cases my history) with my children.
  • Taking the Kids to San Diego

    I've always wanted to go to the San Diego Comic Con. It's easily the biggest comic book and pop culture convention in the world. Now that I'm a dad with a number of kids, the chances of me going along are pretty slim for the next 20 years or so. My best chance of getting there sooner than that would be to take the kids along with me. I know Ian would enjoy it, maybe Emma and Zoe will too when they get older. (Emma already knows many of the more popular superheros and can be found singing the theme song from the 1967 Spiderman cartoon show)

    If and when I do take the kids, I'll make sure to review this article that provides tips for taking kids to the San Diego Comic Con.

    Let's Get It On

    John Kerry and John Edwards really like each other a lot.

    Now You Can Talk to Me

    Just in case you didn't notice it, I decided to add a comments feature to my blog. I've debated whether to include this or not for months now. I was afraid of having a comment (0) under every blog post. Traffic to the site indicates more people are wandering over to my site and I know more people are linking to my blog directly. So I'll give it a try and see how things work out.

    You'll find the link at the bottom of each post. Just click on it to leave a message about my post or comment on what other's may have said about my post.

    July 13, 2004

    Very Depressing

    I read two depressing little articles in the current Newsweek last night. One dealt with the fact that because of the ever cost-conscious attitude of the newspapers and their parent companies, comic strips are in danger of going the way of the dodo.

    The other was a story on a recent study that showed people are reading fiction less. It's bad enough that the research shows that fiction reading is down 10 percent from where it was in 1982, but it also suggests that the people who aren't reading anymore are becoming passive electronic entertainment consumers - disconnected from society.

    I'm 31-years old and I feel like a dinosaur.

    It's Too Soon

    I seem to have missed this, but apparently VH1 has already launched with their I Love the '90s series to follow up to the I Love the '80s and I Love the '90s.

    As I was telling Heather last night. It's just too soon to look back on the '90s. History hasn't had a chance to dictate how that decade will be perceived. In my opinoin you have to wait at least 10 years to understand the historical - both cultural and political - impact of the events of any given year. Maybe VH1 could look at 1990 or 1991, but to go much beyond that seem to be pushing things too fast. There has to be some breathing room. Most of the '90s are still fresh in people's minds. It's recent history. What makes something like I Love the 80's work is that we're 15 to 24 years away from any of those events, fads, music, or movies. To bring them up now is fun because you've forgotten many of the details. Stuff from 1995 or 1997 is still fresh. It's not as much fun to rehash something only 6 years old.

    July 12, 2004

    Way To Go, Bubble-Boy!

    Thanks to advances in technology, Bubble-Boy is finally able to leave the confines of his New England home and hold down a steady job serving fru-fru drinks to haggled business men.

    picture of waiter wearing a condom on his head while serving drink

    It'll Be Miracle If We All Make It To 2005 Alive

    So the latest ailment to hit the McKillip household is Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease, an illness that sounds a deadly - but isn't. Emma managed to pick up the virus somewhere and came down with it last week. We noticed it Wednesday night while giving her a bath. She had little red spots on her feet and palms, and when Heather looked in Emma's mouth she saw a bunch of blisters on her tongue and cheeks.

    The only threat the disease really presents is dehydration. The sores in the mouth make eating very difficult. Even drinking can be a chore. So we had a very hungry little girl on Thursday - which turned into a very hungry and tired little girl on Friday. Emma was only sleeping about an hour and a half at a time, and then would need either Heather or I to come in and help her fall back to sleep. It was a combination of the pain in her mouth and the hunger in her belly.

    So we kept hitting Emma up with Motrin and Tylenol and pushing Popsicles. There were a lot of frustrating days, but eventually things got better yesterday. The sores were all but gone in her mouth and she could eat again.

    It just feels like someone is always sick in our house this year. If someone doesn't have a cough, then someone has a fever. Or a pulled back muscle. Or only 4 hours of sleep. Gaaaaaah.


    Cubs logoCubs 8, Cardinals 4.

    The Cubs were able to stop a 6-game slide and go into the All-Star break on a high note. Didn't get to watch the game, but it was a relief to see the score this morning when I was checking the news online.

    Now lets hope the Cubs can pull together a spectacular second half and get a lot of help from other teams in beating up the Cards. I think the Cubs only have one more series against St. Louis, so if the Cubs want to overtake them for the division lead they need to hope that the Cardinals fall into their own losing streak.

    July 09, 2004

    Disco Still Sucks

    I was too young to remember it the first time around, but when Steve Dahl celebrates the 25th anniversary of Disco Demolition I plan to pay attention. I first heard Steve Dahl on the radio back in the mid-80s when he was part of the powerhouse lineup on the Loop-AM 1000. Jonathan Brandmeier in the morning, Kevin Matthews mid-day, and Steve Dahl and Garry Meier in drive-time/evenings. I loved Johnny B and Kevin Matthews, but never really got Steve and Garry.

    When I returned to Chicago in 2000, Brandmeier was no longer in radio, Kevin was on some cheesy classic rock station, and Steve and Garry had gone through a very nasty break-up. About two years after that Kevin came over to WCKG to take the mid-day slot between Howard Stern and Steve Dahl. I started to listen to Kevin again, and almost by accident, started listening to Steve Dahl - who was now running solo but had the incomparable Buzz Kilman and the sexy-voiced Wendy Rice backing him up in the studio. What I learned was that I no longer found Kevin Matthews very entertaining. He's only on for 3 hours, plays lots of commercials, and has swung way right in his political views.

    On the other hand, Dahl, backed up by Kilman and Rice, is very entertaining; they're funny, have great guest, and truly seem concerned about putting on a good show every day.

    Where is all this going?

    disco demo25 years ago, on July 12, 1979, Steve Dahl and Garry Meier hosted a promotion at Comiskey Park in Chicago. If you brought a disco record you got into the White Sox - Tigers day/night double-header for only $.98. Best part was that between the two games Steve would blow-up a pile of disco records. The response was huge. After the records were exploded, fans stormed the field, started a massive bonfire, and eventually forced the White Sox to forfeit the second game.

    This Monday, July 12, 2004, on the 25th anniversary of Disco Demolition night, WTTW will be airing a special: Disco Demolition 25th Anniversary: The Real Story.

    Four years ago I wouldn't have given this much thought. But now, actually thanks to Kevin Matthews, I'm a big Steve Dahl fan and look forward to catching the show Monday night.

    I Don't Even Know Where To Begin On This One

    Town kills 500 pigs for mating with dogs

    NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Kenyan mayor has ordered more than 500 pigs to be shot dead because they were mating with stray dogs, the East African Standard has reported.

    A squad of town council guards moved from estate to estate shooting pigs roaming free in Nyahururu town, 95 miles north of the capital Nairobi.

    Town mayor Muritu Karumba said he ordered Thursday's cull to avoid an outbreak of disease caused by the pigs and dogs mating, which he said broke the laws of nature and "caused unnecessary commotion".

    But the unfortunate pigs' owners immediately cried foul, claiming collusion between Nyahururu's authorities and the town's bacon traders to cut competition in pork supplies.

    How Conveeeeeeeeeeeenient . . .

    Pentagon: Bush Military Records Destroyed

    July 08, 2004

    No, No, No - That Was All Wrong

    Cubs LogoThe Cubs just got swept by the Milwaukee Brewers. Even though the Cubs pitching limited the Brewers to 9 runs, the Cub offense only managed to squeak out 2 runs in the three games. The Cubs and Brewers had 16 and 17 hits across those 27 innings.

    Heading into this weekend's series against the division leading Cardinals, the series in Cheeseland was crucial to keep the moment going after sweeping the White Sox at home. The Cubs play a lot of division teams in July, and like I've said before, if they don't have a bunch of 2 of 3 series, they will not be positioned to contend for the Wild Card spot - let alone the Division crown.

    I've got a feeling this is going to be rough three weeks to be a Cubs fan.

    The End of the World

    In case you were wondering, this is how the world will end.

    My Sister's Wedding Dress

    I know it's suppose to be bad luck and all, but as long as Patrick doesn't read the blog today I think we're in the clear.

    Got a snapshot of my sister's wedding dress. I must say I'm a bit surprised. I always knew Elizabeth was a little fashion forward in here styles, but I expected her to go a bit more traditional in her selection of a wedding dress.

    elizabeth's wedding dress

    It was designed by French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier as part of his Autumn/Winter 2004/2005 haute couture collection.

    I'm not sure how we're going to explain this one to Grandma. . .

    Cough Medicine for Kids is No Good

    A recent study showed that over-the-counter cough medications were no more effective than sugar syrup in treating a cough. Not only that, but that cough medicine can have potentially dangerous side effects for children; irritability, restlessness, lethargy, hallucination, and hypertension.

    I know Emma suffers from restlessness whenever we give her some Robitussin. She'll be up for hours in the middle of the night.

    So I'm figuring that we can save some money by not buying these treatments anymore, and just go with a little nip of the hooch whenever the kids get a cough.

    Finally Some Logic

    A recent study found that 83% of American believe that eating responsibly is up to the individual, not the food marketers or the government.

    At some point a person has to take responsibility for their actions. McDonald's does not push the Big Mac into your mouth and force you to chew and shallow. Why is that so hard for some people to understand?


    'Police Academy' Set for Eighth Edition

    They're gonna make another Police Academy movie!

    July 07, 2004

    At Least He's Still Got GeorgeBush.com

    According to a recent poll of 34,000 Hungarian school children (I know - the pulse of the world), President George Bush is liked less than Saddam, Bin Laden and Stalin.


    Struggles of Campaigning in 2004

    A bunch of people have bought all the John Kerry / John Edwards website name combinations already. Some had bought the combos as far back as the Iowa caucuses.

    So now the poor Kerry/Edwards campaign doesn't have a unified website to put up. Poor guys.

    That's Tiny

    GE has developed a device that is only 10 atoms wide. It's called a nanotube and the hope is that it will be able to replace the standard silicon microchip. The benefits will be smaller and faster electronics and computers.

    July 06, 2004

    My Brother the TV Star

    Well, not exactly. Not yet, anyway.

    Kevin in HamletThe Stage Channel website showcases and highlights stage shows in and around the Chicagoland area. You can even watch short video previews of the show online.

    This week they are featuring First Folio's Hamlet, starring my brother - Kevin McKillip - as the Hamlet. Get the details of First Folio's production of Hamlet or watch the video preview of the show.

    New Photos

    I've added some new photos - all of them taken over the Fourth of July weekend. Take a look.

    We had a nice Fourth of July weekend. On Saturday my Dad took Ian and Emma to the zoo. Besides a great time for Ian and Emma, it gave Heather and I a whole morning to ourselves, more or less. How did we spend it? Heather napped and then went shopping. I steam cleaned the family room carpeting and watched baseball. Trust me, it was all good for Heather and I.

    Sunday was a low-key fourth. No parade because Ian and Emma were both pretty tired from the zoo the previous day and the Aurora parade was scheduled right in the middle of nap time. Instead we had fun around the house and grilled out for dinner. Heather even bought red, white, and blue vanilla ice cream from Edy's. It was a big hit. Especially with the apple pie.

    I toyed with taking Ian and Emma to a fireworks display that night, but still thought they might be too tired. Instead, I launched some stuff off the front of the driveway. Emma was okay with the sparklers and the snakes, but as soon as the first fountain started spraying and exploding, she wanted to go inside. She was scared. In hindsight, it was a really good idea I didn't take Emma to any big fireworks display. She would have wanted to leave five minutes into the show - much to the disappoint of her brother. Ian loved everything that I had bought and spent the time outside with me running back and forth as each item exploded and sent all sorts of colored sparks and pop into the air.

    Monday was a day playing at the park, playing outside, and taking it easy in general. Not a bad weekend.

    hmmmm. . . . Patriotic desserts . . .