September 30, 2004

Mmmm. . . Chuckles

chucklesOne of my all time favorite candies is Chuckles. My Dad used to get them for us a lot when we were kids and it was given that Santa would leave us some in our stockings Christmas morning. The big jelly candies with five different flavors - I love 'em. I eat them the same way every time. Start with the green (my least favorite flavor), then bounce back and forth on either end eating each color, leaving black for last. I love the black Chuckle. Hmmm.

They seem to be hard to find in stores these days, but I recently found them (of all places) at Ace Hardware. In fact, on the Ace Hardware site you can buy an entire case of Chuckles for about $17. I think it's time for Santa to start leaving Chuckles in Ian's and Emma's Christmas stockings.

Can't Get Enough of that Texas Hold 'Em

According to Variety, Director Zak Penn will be doing a mockumentary about an international poker tournament. Set to star in the flick are Ben Affleck, David Schwimmer, William H. Macy, and Richard Kind.

I think it sounds fun. I'll have to watch for it.

Why Bother Watching

Take a look at some of the rules of engagement for tonight's debate. There is stuff like submitting pencils for review, room temperature, podium positioning, and no talking directly to the other candidate.

It's downright bizarre. That's not a debate. It's a duel press conference.

What?!

Apparently there are no more sane people at PETA. (If there were any to begin with) The latest push is to get everyone to turn in their fishing rods and equipment because "fish really are sensitive. They have personalities. They hurt when they're wounded."

Uh-Huh. Right.

Uncommongoods.com

Was sent this site by a friend and have decided it is where I'm going to do all my Christmas shopping this year: uncommongoods.com

They have got some of the coolest - and eclectic - stuff I've ever seen. Everything from a chair made out of New York City "Walk/Don't Walk" signs that actually lights up to Axis of Evil finger puppets.

Well, Duh!

The results of a recent survey reveal that most Americans are uninformed on the policies and positions that Bush and Kerry hold.

I don't think anyone should be surprised by this. With most politician advertising being spent on personal attacks and the news media mostly focusing on the race and not the candidates, it's no wonder people are clueless on the candidate's positions. And with a tightly coreographed debate tonight, I doubt anything will be made clearer to anyone.

September 29, 2004

Official 2004 Presidential Debate Drinking Game

Don't know how you'll be spending your time during the debates, but I'd like to try and get Heather to play the Official 2004 Presidential Debate Drinking Game, as created by David Martin.

Every time President Bush says the word "safer," take a drink. If he uses the word "democracy" in the same sentence, make it a double.

For every John Kerry reference to the UN, have a drink.

If Bush uses the phrase "compassionate conservative," you must chug your entire beverage.

Take one drink for every three times Kerry points with his left hand.

Any previously recorded Bushism, like "misunderestimate" or "subliminable," used by the president during the debate requires one drink.

If Kerry exceeds the time limit for any response, take a drink.

Back-to-back offenses require a double shot and a NoDoz.

A reference by your candidate to any of the following requires one drink:

1) Florida

2) North Korea

3) Axis of evil

4) Saddam Hussein

5) The American people

And for an exciting twist on the game, anytime anybody mentions the word "Vietnam," everybody has to take a drink.

Elizabeth's Car

I usually don't take request like this, but she is my sister and if I'm not nice to her than Dad will cut me out of the will, so . . .

Here's a picture of my sister's new car.

elizabeth car


She bought it all by herself with the money she's making as a newly minted lawyer. She's very proud of her accomplishment.

Heather Should Enjoy This

LOS ANGELES - Fox Broadcasting Co. has ordered a pilot for a variety show starring the Barenaked Ladies that will feature the playful rock group performing music and comedy skits along with guest actors.

The Canadian band, known for writing upbeat songs with quirky lyrics and engaging their audiences with onstage banter, will have plenty of leeway to ad-lib on the show, tentatively titled, "The Barenaked Ladies Variety Show."

All of the band members — Steven Page, Jim Creeggan, Ed Robertson, Kevin Hearn and Tyler Stewart — will perform.

"This is a natural expansion to their live experience," said co-executive producer John Ziffren. "We are trying to capture that energy and make it into a TV show."

September 28, 2004

Are You From Chicago?

You can tell if you answer "yes" to enough of these: You Know You're From Chicago When...

I know the two that irk Ohio-born Heather when dealing with us crazy Chicagoians are:
  • You measure distance in minutes (especially "from the city"). And you swear everything is pretty much 15 minutes away.

  • You say "Wanna go with?" when you mean "Do you want to come with me?"
  • Phil Noto

    I don't know how anyone could not like the classy retro feel to Phil Noto's artwork. Anything of Phil's would be suitable for framing.

    phil noto art

    Brad Fitzpatrick . . .

    . . . has got a nice site that showcases his wonderful cartooning skills. His sketchblog ia great to look at. There something inherently cool about seeing the orginal rough pencil sketches before they're all cleaned up with ink and color.

    Ummm, Yeah, Okaaaay . . .

    I'm still trying to figure this out: Fetopia

    This Is For You, Elizabeth

    A little something to help you in your first trial: The Chewbacca Defense

    Everyone Can Exhale

    The mascots for the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy have been revealed.

    winter olympics mascots

    September 27, 2004

    Villians Beware!

    Instead of slaving over a sewing machine to create a homemade Halloween costume, this year Heather turned to the Web to help create Ian's costume and ended up getting something cheap on eBay.

    I present Power Ranger Ian:

    Ian as a Power Ranger


    Needless to say Ian is very excited. He's talked about being a Power Ranger all year, but Heather was dreading how to create a Power Ranger costume because she refuses to buy a costume from a store. Luckily the rule doesn't apply to eBay, where she was able to find this never used Power Ranger costume for a steal. (Coincidentally, her success with the costume has turned Heather into an instant eBay junkie. She's already won auctions for scrap booking materials and a Handspring Visor, and she's been in the running for a bunch of other stuff. The girl's on fire.)

    Now Emma (who wants to be Batman - not Batgirl - for Halloween) seems a bit intimidated by her brother's transformation, but I'm confident she'll come around in the next few weeks. She's getting better at going toe-to-toe with her older brother. So she won't let the fact that he's now a mighty morphing power ranger get in her way of stealing his candy.

    Ian and Emma


    Of course Zoe doesn't care who her brother is dressed like, she's just happy to have all these crazy people around to make her smile.

    zoe

    The Bears Were Robbed and Notre Dame Romped

    bears logoNow, I know that games are rarely won or lost by the officiating, but in yesterday's game I think a blown call really cost the Bears a chance at winning against Minnesota.

    When the Bears scored in the 4th quarter to make it a 20-15 game, they went for the two-point conversion. A Minnesota player was clearly in the backfield when the ball was snapped, yet no official threw a flag. I mean it was so obvious that Fox had the little penalty flag graphic flashing shortly after the play started. Had the officials gotten it right, the Bears would have had another chance at two points, and with the offense clicking like it was, they had a good chance of making it.

    Now they could have still lost the game. They did plenty of other things wrong in the final minutes of the game. But I have to think the players might have been in a different mindset if they had been successful on the two-point conversion.

    Oh well, at least there's next week against the Philadelphia Eagles for the Bears to . . . ah hell, who am I kidding. McNabb and the Eagles are going to shred the Bears injured secondary. It's going to be a slaughter.

    notre dame logoAt least we've still got the Irish. It was like watching an entirely different team on Saturday. They embarrassed the Washington Huskies 38-3. The Irish was clicking on all cylinders. The offense was hot and the defense was stifling. I always enjoy watching football, but it's particularly fun when you team is dominating like the Irish did over the Huskies. Sure the Irish had a weak second half, but after putting up the huge numbers that they did in the first half, it was probably hard to keep the intensity level up. Not to say they shouldn't. They should. And they'll definitely have to if they want to beat a very good Purdue team when it comes to South Bend this Saturday.

    If the Irish can keep up their winning ways, it would make the season closer against USC on November 27th a great game. Let's hope WIllingham can keep the boys focused and pull together an exciting season.

    September 24, 2004

    My Poor Sister

    She sent these photos to me thinking that they would be helpful in determining which of the two loser candidates I should vote to be the President of the United States. Apparently my sister has lapsed into the same malaise that afflicts much of the news media and the American public: focusing on trivial things like how well you photograph or what you were doing 35 years ago during the Vietnam War to determine if you are fit to lead the nation.





    Poor deluded girl. But what do you expecet - she's a lawyer.

    Nooooooooooooooo!

    jennifer garnerThe beautiful and talented Jennifer Garner is dating Ben Affleck. Ben's a nice enough guy, but come on - she can do better. Does she really want to hitch her wagon to a guy fighting to shake off about almost two years of bad press? I felt bad for the guy after the whole Jennifer Lopez thing. He's a good enough actor and seems like a nice guy. But let's face it, he's got a stigma attached to him right now that he hasn't been able to dispel.

    Don't date Ben Affleck, Jennifer. Date me! Heather won't mind. She loves Alias. I'm sure we can work something out.

    The Last Shot

    The Last Shot is another film I'll be adding to my "to watch" list. Starring Matthew Broderic, Alec Baldwin, Tony Shalhoub, and an uncredited Joan Cusack screaming "Bring me my back brace and my banjo!", how could I go wrong.

    Check out the movie website.

    Bear Insanity On the Web

    Bear, an insanely funny comic from the warped and disturbed mind of Jamie Smart, is one of my favorite comics being produced today. I talked about it here a number of times, but until recently I really couldn't give you - the fair reader - a good idea of how twisted the book was without spending all sorts of time scanning in pages or setting up some elaborate comic sharing program.

    That's all changed when I picked up Bear #6 last week at the comic shop. Inside this issue Jamie shares the URL for the new Bearfoo.com website. Jamie shows you how to draw bear, glimpses into Bear's illustrious military career, and has a story from an earlier issue of Bear. You have to check it out.

    Plus, from the Bearfoo site I discovered Smart's website for sixtyfootmonkey. Which, to be honest, I haven't quite figured out what it is - but I found all sort of entertaining things there as well.

    If you'd like to loosen your binds to reality and sanity, spend some times at either site.

    Todd, Why Didn't We Think Of This?

    Three students at Jacksonville University installed a stripper pole in their on-campus apartment and held a dance contest for women. The women danced fully clothed, but the boys - and the woman who won the $100 Victoria's Secret gift certificate - were punished by the university.

    The boys have since taken down the pole and converted the stage into a pingpong table.

    Damn!

    BMW H2R


    BMW unveiled the world's fastest hydrogen-powered car. Named the H2R, the car exceeds speeds of 185 miles per hour, runs on a modified 12-cylinder combustion engine, emits nothing but steam.

    That's amazing.

    September 23, 2004

    Bachelorman

    The other day I received my first request from someone to talk about their product/movie/whatever on my blog. Something I've only read about before. But apparently I'm starting to get a little more exposure with my little site. Now some bloggers dismiss these out of hand because they don't want to be considered sellouts. I, on the other hand, will take a look at what I was sent and evaluate from there.

    Now in this case I was sent an email from a guy named Paul, who has a connection to Rodney Lee Conover. Rodney is notable because he has a new movie premiering her in Chicago called Bachelorman, an independent comedy that is being released first here in Chicago this Friday. Paul was asking that I take a look at the Bachelorman trailer and possibly link to it from my blog. Interestingly enough, I had just heard a radio spot for Bachelorman on WXRT the night before, so the movie wasn't a complete unknown to me.

    I took a look at the trailer at lunch today. The movie seems really funny. The flick stars David Deluise as Ted (i.e. Bachelorman) who finally meets his match in the mysterious Heather who doesn't fall for any of Bachelorman's usual sure-fire techniques. Deluise oozes the charm of the ultimate ladies' man. Very likable and very funny, he's the perfect fit for the lead role. The supporting cast looks great too. I mean, how can your film not be funny with Blake Clark in it.

    So take a look at the trailer. The movie looks funny enough that I'd like to see it, though for as infrequently as Heather and I make it out to the theater I'll probably have to hope for a DVD release.

    This Is Sad

    The U.S. Census Bureau recently rated Cleveland the poorest big city in America. Cleveland has always had it rough when it came to employment and quality of life, but this is the first time they've ever been ranked #1.

    I went to college and then lived for 5 years in the Cleveland area. I really enjoyed living in Northeast Ohio and still have some very good friend who live in the area. I know that this dubious distinction only pretains to the actual city limits of Cleveland, and not to most of the surrounding suburbs, but stil I hate to see Cleveland hit hard times like this.

    Stop The Presses

    My fickle sister has changed her mind on the bridesmaid dress for her wedding.



    Personally, I like the choice. Much better than the first dress design she picked out. A little touch of color is exactly what the bridal party needs.

    Not Just In Chicago . . .

    Man dead for 20 years registers to vote in Cleveland

    September 22, 2004

    Goodbye Roseanne

    WGN channel 9 news anchor Roseanne Tellez has been hired away by rival news station WBBM-CBS channel 2. This is too bad. I liked Roseanne on the WGN morning news. She fit in nicely with the crazy and fun group that's on the morning new program for WGN. Heather and I really enjoy the show.

    Rants and Thoughts

    If you have kids, you owe it to yourself to do a Pop & Tots class, or something like that, with you child when they're still young - 2 or 3 years old. Especially if you have more than one kid. I took a Daddy and Me class through the park district with Ian when he was 3 and I'm currently taking a similar class called Little Learners with Emma. It's so much fun spending an hour with your child like that. Being able to give them your complete attention. Talk to them about whatever they want to talk about. The class settings also give you the opportunity to try new things with them, watch them learn new things, and see them interact with other children they own age.

    Heather already has Emma signed up for another Little Learners class in January - but I think Heather and I will be arm wrestling to see who gets to take Emma every week. I know Heather is looking for some focused Emma time. Meanwhile, because Ian's too old for the Pop & Tot type classes, he and I are doing something else this fall: we'll be going to a father-child activity through the park district where he and I get to build a bird feeder together. He and I are both looking forward to it.

    chicago cubs logoI really don't know if the Cubs are going to pull this off. 12 games to go and San Francisco is playing really well. So much was expected of this team going into the season, I think they have buckled under the pressure. If the Cubbies do pull it out and win the Wild Card spot, does that mean they have weathered the storm and are strong for the playoffs? Or will the be emotionally spent and in perfect position to get an early bounce from post-season play? I guess all we can do it wait and see.

    Read through Outsiders #15 yesterday and I am totally loving the new treatment to regular artist Tom Raney's artwork. Instead of having someone ink Raney's pencils, it looks like DC is shooting straight from Raney's pencil work before giving it to the colorist. The result is fantastic. Rich and highly textured, it really elevates the reading experience. I'm really digging this title right now.

    Also finished Mike Hawthorne's Hysteria this past week. It's a short digest-sized trade paperback collection of Mike's comic he self-published back in the late 90's. I think Hawthorne's art style is fantastic (looking forward to his work in Queen & Country: Opertaion Dandelion which I just picked up) - heavily lines that still retain plenty of energy. The writing and stories left me a little cold however. He starts out with some good ideas - but they don't quite mature fully or the execution leaves something to be desired. The strongest story in the collection is "Lessons," which might be auto-biographical. It's hard to tell.

    It was an average read. Enjoyable at times, but nothing profound.

    mike ditkaThere is a big hullabaloo here in Chicago over Mike Ditka being left off the Halas sculpture at Solider Field. The artwork pays tribute to Bears (and NFL) founder George "Papa Bear" Halas and include a number of football greats from the history of the Chicago Bears franchise. Bronko Nagurski, Red Grange, Sid Luckman, Bill George, Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Walter Payton and even Mike Singletary. But no Mike Ditka.

    Ditka, who redefined the tight-end position in NFl with his play with the Bears. Ditka, who lead the Bears to it's only NFL Superbowl championship. Ditka, a man who is the modern embodiment of what the Chicago Bears stand for. George Halas drafted Ditka. He personally picked Ditka to coach the team back in 1982. Halas's deathbed words to Ditka, "You know what, Mike? You're my gift to Chicago."

    So why isn't Ditka in the sculpture? Because Mike McCaskey, the Chicago Bears Chairman of the Board, doesn't like Ditka. Never has. Probably because the fans of Chicago always sided with Ditka. What Mike McCaskey can never get his head around is that the Bears aren't the McCaskey's team - they're Chicago's team. By choosing not to include Ditka in the sculpture honoring his great-uncle's memory, McCaskey has insulted not just Mike Ditka, but the city of Chicago as well.

    Write Your Own Joke

    Man Shoots Wife, Mistakes Her for Monkey

    KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysian man shot and killed his wife after he mistook her for a monkey picking fruit in a tree behind their house, the New Straits Times said on Wednesday.

    The man, 70, is being held by police for causing death through recklessness after he fired a shotgun at what he thought was a monkey in a mangosteen tree on Monday, the newspaper said.

    His wife, 68, had used a ladder to climb into the tree and was picking the tropical fruit when she was shot. She was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital, the paper said. The couple lived in central Malaysia and had raised 13 children.

    Firefox 1.0

    I'm slow to mention this here - but better late than never I guess.

    Mozilla.org released the first official preview release of Firefox 1.0. It is hands down the best web browser available. Don't mess around with that Microsoft crap, get Firefox today and browse faster and safer.

    Get Firefox!

    September 21, 2004

    Now I Feel Like An Ass

    A couple of days ago I posted a photo of a girl crying after her Bush/Cheney sign was ripped up while she and her dar attended a John Edwards appearance.

    Now my good friend Ed Stenger points out that this was actually a staged event. The little girl's dad is Phil Parlock and apparently he has an uncanny knack for getting roughed up by mysterious Democratic party supporters whenever he leaves his house. He has duped the local news media on a number of occasions into believing he was attacked pro-Democrat forces, and his photo with his crying daughter duped the national media as well. And I got duped as well because I, like the local media that picked this story up first, didn't bother to follow up and check facts.

    I still stand behind my comment that I hate politics because of the stupid things it makes people do - but now my anger is turned to Mr. Parlock and his stupid little activities.

    Grow up Parlock. Engage the political process like a man.

    Give Tess An Award

    I'd see this on the Emmy's.

    tess smith


    That's Tess Smith, a screenwriter who apparently was trying to out "JLo" Jennifer Lopez at Sunday's Emmy awards.

    September 20, 2004

    Great Football Weekend

    What a weekend for football at our house. All four of our favorite teams were on television in Chicago (even the Cleveland Browns) and we got 3 out 4 victories. And despite the fact that we were working on redecorating an upstairs bathroom, we both got to see fair amounts of the games.

    notre dame logoSaturday I didn't get to watch a whole lot, but I did catch pieces here and there. I was busy prepping and then painting white our upstairs bathroom. I was able to get two full coats on in one day - something I've never managed to do. Tired me out, but it set things up nicely so Heather could do her part on Sunday and I could sit back and watch football.

    What I did see of the Notre Dame game gave me reason to believe that the Irish could have a pretty good season this year. They had another good outing from freshman running back Darius Walker. Brady Quinn threw for over 200 yards, including a touchdown. But it was the Irish Defense that really ruled the day, forcing the Michigan State Spartans to turn the ball over 6 times, including one fumble that was returned 75 yards for a touchdown.

    Because I didn't get to watch the whole game, I really shouldn't comment on the play. But from what I did see, the team looked good. Definitely good enough that they should challenge and win against Washington and Purdue when these teams come to South Bend for the Irish's next two games.

    OSU logoOr course while I was slaving away painting the bathroom, Heather got to watch her beloved Ohio State Buckeyes survive their yearly scare from the Wolfpack of N.C. State. Like the Irish, the Buckeyes were able to secure a victory thanks to the play of their defense and special teams, forcing 5 turnovers and riding the foot of kicker Mike Nugent and his five field goals.

    It might not have been pretty, but it was a victory none the less. Keeping the 3-0 Buckeyes on top of the Big 10 conference.

    Chicago Bears logoSunday held even better football results for me, though not Heather. The Bears managed what could be considered a minor miracle and defeated the hated Green Bay Packers - at mighty Lambeau Field, no less - 21 -10.

    Because I had done all my painting on Saturday, I got to stay away from brushes and rollers while Heather worked the sponging magic on the pristine white walls. Her work made for an interesting effect - one we're both not sure whether we really like or not, but we are in agreement that it's better than what the previous owners had left us with.

    This free time allowed me to watch kids and do laundry, both I also got to watch most of the Bears game. And what a fantastic game it was. Like yesterday's college games, the defense played strong - forcing turnovers and capitalizing on them immediately. The offense game play was simple: lots of running the ball and basic and low-risk passes for Rex Grossman.

    Grossman played well. He looked prepared and poised running the offense, and made few mistakes. Thomas Jones showed why the Bears were eager to bring him to the team, rushing for 152 yards and a touchdown. Jones looked great out there slashing through the Green Bay defense.

    After the Pack opened up with a field goal, the Bears closed the first half up 14 - 3. In the second half I kept waiting for the other show to drop - or for Favre to throw a TD pass - even after the Bears marched on the opening drive to go up 21 - 3. Sure, Favre did follow that up with a TD pass - but I expected a lot more from Green Bay. I mean, this was Green Bay - they always beat the Bears. I really didn't think the Bears would win this one, especially considering that they'd lost to Detroit last weekend. So it was a great surprise to see the Bears hold the Pack down.

    Unfortunately Heather's Browns couldn't come through for her Sunday afternoon. They lost to the Dallas Cowboys and lost their #1 draft choice, TE Kellen Winslow Jr., to a broken leg. That isn't good.

    Lots of football and a redecorated bathroom - not a bad weekend.

    (This is post #1,400 to my blog - Wow!)

    September 17, 2004

    Women. Can't Live With 'Em, . . . Pass the Beer Nuts

    To maintain domestic bliss, I'll refrain from commenting on this short article:

    MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish man tried to have his wife charged with domestic abuse because she refused to have sex with him on five consecutive days, Spanish newspaper El Sur reported on Friday.

    The middle-aged man from Seville -- the city of Don Juan and Carmen -- said her refusals amounted to "degrading treatment" and domestic abuse, a term used more often to describe wife-battering.

    The judge shelved the case.

    More Movies for the "To Watch" List

    Sometimes I think that my movies to watch list is getting so long that there is no way I'll ever get to them all - especially considering that I only add new movies to the list as they are released and catch my interest. My "to watch" list doesn't take into consideration all the films from the 40's, 50's, 60's, and 70's that I have yet to watch (or may even know about). Evey month I learn through the Turner Classic Movies about more classic films I'd love to see, but i don't add them to the list. Things would just get too unwieldly.

    That being said, some films being released this weekend have caught my eye and will be (for better or for worse) added to the list.

    Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - month ago I raved about this film when I saw the trailer, but now that reviews (2) (3) are coming out I;m even more eager to see this film. Looks like first time director Kerry Conran has hit a home run his first time up. What I find interesting is how different reviews have mentioned Raiders of the Lost Arc when talking about Sky Captain - and it's always fabvorably. The reviews all mention the breath-taking visuals, but also emphasis how strong the story and characters are. It really looks like Sky Captain is a solid sci-fi action flick.

    Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence - this is the sequel to the 1995 Ghost in the Shell, a watershed in Japanese Anime written and directed by Mamoru Oshii. I've never been a big fan of Anime, but can't deny it's growing popularity or some of the fasinating animation work taking place within the style. Really I'd like to watch both films - they grab me (and some reviewers/commentors mention as much) as having a style and vision of the future taken very much from Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (which I'd love to own on DVD - wink, wink) with just as much philosophical and psychological musings as Scott's sci-fi tour de force. Also like Blade Runner, I probably won't be able to get Heather interested in screening these with me. So if I do get to watch them, I'll be doing it alone.

    The End of Music As We Know It

    Thanks to a Sam Belden for sharing this wonderful little nugget with me. Sam's father, an avid eBay seller, recently put a rare CD up for auction. The product description is one of the finest one's I've read in a long time.

    An excerpt:
    "The Teacher" crackles with unsavory sexual tension. It uses the metaphoric language of elementary education, but is actually about a predatory Mary Kay LeTourneau figure who is also bi-sexual, trying to lure an innocent into her world of sweaty sheets and boiler room assignations. The entire song takes place within her mind as she imagines the entangled naïf thanking her later in life for "teaching me."

    Now don't pre-judge based on what you've read. It's really not what you think. You have to read the whole thing. The genius and humor of the product description can only be realized when juxtaposed against the images of the CD case.

    Why I Hate Politics

    It makes people do stupid things like this:

    girl crying after getting her sign ripped up


    Some asshole thought it was necessary to rip up the sign 3-year old Sophia Parlock was holding with her father.

    Are you happy? You made a 3-year old girl cry. Democracy is safe!

    September 16, 2004

    This Isn't Any Fun

    Superman the animated seriesWas reading over at DVDToons! this afternoon that because of the glut of DVD releases at the beginning of December (live action and animation), Warner Brothers has decided to push the release of Batman: The Animated Series volume 2 and Superman: The Animated Series volume 1 from December 7th to to January 25, 2005.

    That really bummed me out.

    I had planned on picking up one, and maybe both, of these collections this December. The release of the Superman DVD colection had me particularlly excited. I've always loved that show and was looking forward to watching the shows in this first collection.

    Now instead of watching the DVD while I take some vacation time around Christmas / New Year's, I'll just have to get "sick" at the end of January so I can stay home and spin the dics.

    Avast, Me Hearties!

    It's that time of the year again. International Talk Like a Pirate Day is upon us. The official day is September 19th - but because that falls on a Sunday this year, the organizers, John Baur and Mark Summers, have deciced that it should be celebrated all weekend - starting on Friday, 9/17.

    So make sure you pull out your best pirate slang and pirate pickup lines tomorrow and live the life of a pirate.

    September 15, 2004

    My Tech Toy Frustrations

    Technology frustrates me. Not because it confuses me, but because I don't get to play with all the wicked cool stuff that's out there. I'm an early adopter without the early adopter disposable income or connections. Take for example the new smartphone RIM Blackberry recently put out, the Blackberry 7100t. There isn't much this thing can't do. Voice, email, web, attachment viewing - it's like having a tiny little laptop computer and phone all bundled together.

    blackberry 700t


    I'd love to get my hands on this to play with - almost as much as I'd like to have a Treo 600. I feel a constant urge to be connected to the internet for news, info, email, whatever. And these next generations of smartphone like the 700t and the Treo 600 are perfect for that. But there just isn't any money in the budget for me to be playing with these gadgets. So I get to continue to be the guy who knows about all the new tech toys, but doesn't actually get to play with any of them.

    Wow!

    If I lived in New Orleans, I'd be getting as far away as possible right now. The worst case scenario that the LSU hurrican center has developed shows a direct strike by a full-strength Hurricane Ivan could submerge much of the city treetop-deep in a stew of sewage, industrial chemicals and fire ants, and the inundation could last for weeks.

    I was in New Orleans for a trade show last year and I saw what a hard rain could do to it. Water was pouring into the hotels despite the workers efforts with sandbags. It was amazing. A hard steady rain for about 30 minutes shut things down almost completely in the historic French Quarter area. If Ivan hits that place hard it will be devastating.

    Good Morning!

    Lets start the morning off with a pretty girl. They just make everything seem nicer.

    jennifer dupont

    Miss Louisiana Jennifer Dupont appears during the preliminary swimsuit competition in the Miss America pageant. Dupont, 23, of Plaquemine, La., who wants to be a teacher, won $2,000 for her victory in swimsuit. (AP Photo/Donna Connor)

    September 14, 2004

    Something To Think About

    Paul Krugman of the New York Times can get a little too flighty-leftist for my tastes some times, but I usually agree with his critiques of President Bush and his war on terror.

    U.S. news organizations are under constant pressure to report good news from Iraq. In fact, as a Newsweek headline puts it, "It's worse than you think." Attacks on coalition forces are intensifying and getting more effective; no-go zones, which the military prefers to call "insurgent enclaves," are spreading - even in Baghdad. We're losing ground.

    And the losses aren't only in Iraq. Al Qaeda has regrouped. The invasion of Iraq, intended to demonstrate American power, has done just the opposite: nasty regimes around the world feel empowered now that our forces are bogged down. When a Times reporter asked Mr. Bush about North Korea's ongoing nuclear program, "he opened his palms and shrugged."

    Yet many voters still believe that Mr. Bush is doing a good job protecting America.

    If Senator John Kerry really has advisers telling him not to attack Mr. Bush on national security, he should dump them. When Dick Cheney is saying vote Bush or die, responding with speeches about jobs and health care doesn't cut it.

    Mr. Kerry should counterattack by saying that Mr. Bush is endangering the nation by subordinating national security to politics.


    Paul then goes on to give some excellent points for Kerry to challenge Bush on when it comes to the situation in Iraq and the war on terror in general.

    Did I Already Write About This?

    Scientists are starting to study what causes déjà vu. Sounds like fasinating research.

    . . . psychologists who study memory say, is that people take in a rich banquet of information without noticing it, or noticing and simply forgetting where it came from. It is entirely possible to read an Anne Rice novel and years later, after having forgotten the book, find that a first visit to New Orleans seems like a glimpse into a former life. Or to see one of the bar scenes from the movie "L.A. Confidential" and later walk into the Formosa Cafe for the first time and catch your breath.

    The familiarity can come from a variety of sources, some real and some not, said Dr. Kathleen McDermott, a colleague of Dr. Jacoby's at Washington University who studies memory.

    "It's well known that even if you imagine something now that may not have happened in the past, it can create a feeling of familiarity if it does happen later on," she said, adding, "You don't need objective outside information to create these situations; you can do so internally, on your own."

    Who'd a Thunk It?

    The key to healthy living may be in gambling.

    80's Flashback Arrest

    This past week, Tracey Gold, star of 80's hit TV show "Growing Pains", was arrested on investigation of felony drunken driving charges after she flipped the SUV she was driving. Her husband and two of her children were hurt. Her infant child escaped without injury.

    She was arrested by the California Highway Patrol - CHiPs. The basis for another 80's TV hit.

    Human Target: Strike Zones - Review

    Human Target Strike ZonesI really enjoyed the first two Human Target books that writer Peter Milligan had penned. So much so that I even gave one of them as a gift to my father last Christmas. Milligan has created a great crime/thriller series with strong focus on the psychological. A little over a year ago, based on the success of the first two books, DC started a Human Target ongoing monthly also written by Milligan. Now, I didn't have room in my monthly comic buying budget to fit this in, even though I knew I would enjoy it. So I decided to wait for the first trade paperback collection to come out - correctly assuming that DC would release a collection of the first few stories from the monthly series - and pay for it out of my yearly tpb budget. Human Target: Strikes Zones is the first three stories (6 issues) of the monthly Human Target series.

    The book picks up where Final Cut left off as Christopher Chance, the Human Target, comes out of his total immersion in his last case. He then heads to New York where he finds more opportunities to use his skills as the man of a million faces.

    Milligan has got a great thing in the character of Chance. Because of the character's chameleon-like abilities, Milligan is free to tell any story he feels. There's no constraint to genres or spandex. Milligan's free to explore America through Chance in any fashion he wants - all he needs to do is re-invent Christopher Chance.

    What I particularly enjoy about Milligan's writing is that regardless of what the story is about, he always has one theme that plays through everywhere. Identity. What is fact and what is fiction? Are we who we really think we are? That is the line that strings all the different stories together. Chance's struggle to understand who he really is. Something that becomes increasingly more difficult as he throws himself into impersonating more and more people.

    The Human Target books, as envisioned by Peter Milligan, are another example of comics that I'll proudly hold up as an example of the comic industry at it's best. Intelligent entertainment. I highly recommend any of the Human Target books you can get a hold of. Just make sure they've got Milligan's name on them.

    September 13, 2004

    Panda Golf

    Found a great new time waster today: Panda Golf

    A lot of fun and highly addictive.

    panda gold button

    This Was Not Me

    'Batman' Protester Scales Royal Residence

    I've never even been to Great Britian.

    But I like his style.

    Hail, Hail Notre Dame

    cubs logoAt least the Fighting Irish didn't disappoint this weekend.

    In really a "must-win" series, the Cubs split the four games against the Marlins this weekend. The Cubs looked good at times, handedly winning the second game of Friday's double-header and coming from behind to win on Saturday. But they looked horrible in the other games. Bad base running. Errors. Dropped balls. They certainly didn't look like a team that belonged in the playoffs. The schedule continues to favor the Cubs, with games against the Pirates and the Reds. So there's still a chance that the Cubs can take the Wild Card spot. But if you can't beat playoff caliber teams consistently during the regular season (which the Marlins are playing like right now), what makes you think you can beat 'em in the post-season?

    bears logoThe Bears? Not sure if I want to talk about that. The defense played consistently. The offense was sporadic. Grossman and the boys looked good at times and looked over their heads at others - and this against the Lions. The Lovie Era is off to a rocky start. Looking at the Bears' schedule, it might not be until October 31st before the Bears have a real shot at winning a game. That's when the San Francisco 49ers come to town. Between then and now the Bears will face: Green Bay, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Washington, and Tampa Bay. Oh boy. This could get ugly.

    notre dame logoAt least Notre Dame rose to the occasion and gave me something to cheer about. Even though they were a 12.5-point underdog at home against the hated Michigan Wolverines, Tyrone Willingham rallied the boys and handed Michigan it's first defeat of the season, 28-20. Unfortunately, I missed it. I watched the first half and was impressed with Notre Dame's defense. But for all their defense power, they were still trailing in the point's column. I got to see Brady Quinn throw a touchdown pass and bring the Irish within 2, but then we had to head out for Family Fun Night at Blackberry Farm.

    We've been going to Family Fun Night for the last few years; it's almost a tradition. Emma and Ian love it. Hay rides, songs, a big bonfire, and Smores. It really can't be beat. So there was no questioning turning the game off, but I was anxious to see how things turned out. So you can imagine my surprised when he got home later that night and after the kids all got to bed when I turned on the TV and saw the Michigan - Notre Dame score. Couldn't believe it. Honestly didn't think it was possible, especially after the way Notre Dame had played at BYU the week before. But now after this showing, and the play of young Darius Walker, there is hope that the Irish can put together a respectable season.

    Don't know if I can say the same for the Cubs and the Bears at this point.

    (Okay, the Cubs crack was a little harsh. They've put together a "respectable" season. But when your goal is the World Series, and you have a legitimate chance at it, to fall apart in a Wild Card race is a big disappointment.)

    How Dumb is President Bush?

    He still doesn't know where his heart is . . .

    George Bush crossing his heart by putting his hand on his stomach
    President Bush and first lady Laura Bush, right, take part in a moment of silence, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2004, on the South Lawn of the White House to mark the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

    September 10, 2004

    Ooh. Funny

    Last Wednesday's PVP is pretty good.

    Rants and Thoughts

    Just read a article that Forrester Research did a study of DVR users and found that 92% of commericals are skipped over.

    Duh! That's one of the main selling points of a DVR. "Pause live television. Skip commericals." Forrester was paid to find this out.

    Everyone is getting sick again - me included. Ian started the sniffles on Tuesday (he skipped school that day with a small fever too). Emma had it hit Wednesday night / Thursday morning - I can't remember exactly when, it was very dark and I was tired. Yesterday poor little Zoe's sinuses started clogging up. This morning I woke up with the scratchy throat and the running nose. To make matters worse, the cold medication I popped this morning practically had me doubled over on the train ride in this morning. I thought I was going to pass out. All lightheaded and shit. As I use to tell my mom when I was sick as a little kid, I felt "white."

    (I was confusing there term "white" for "looking pale". She's never let me live that one down.)

    What's so horrible about Ian and Emma getting a cold is that they still haven't really learned how to blow their nose. So any nasal conjestion invariably leads to a horrible cough cause all that snot just runs right down into their chest. Ugh. Then they're coughing constantly and can't sleep. Less sleep makes them cranky, which in turns makes Heather and I cranky. Ugh. This is not going to be a good next few days.

    Saw in the news that the Tribune Co. accidently paid a newspaper delivery man some of the salary of a former Cubs relief pitcher. They both had the same name. Because of clerical error, Mark Guthrie the Hartford Courant delivery man received $301,000 of Mark Guthrie the pitcher's salary. Now the Tribune is trying to get it back and having problems. Why can't I have these problems. I (kinda) work for a Tribune company. Why can't the Cubs sign a baseball player named Brendan McKillip. Doesn't have to be anything big. Just a utility player. I'm not looking for much.

    There are some days I just want to sit in a dark room and listen to the radio. Let the disc jockeys of XRT take me on a musical journey while I just sit and stare - alone with whatever thoughts tumble into my head. Today is one of those days.

    September 09, 2004

    Hot Damn!

    My brother, Kevin McKillip, scored himself a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination. Kevin earned an Actor in a Supporting Role: Play nomination for his portray of "Puck" in First Folio Shakespeare Festival's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

    The Jeff Awards are given annually by The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee to honor excellence in professional theatre produced in the immediate Chicago area. You can see all the nominated performances and productions here.

    This is fantastic news. I could not be prouder of what my brother has accomplished by receiving this nomination. He has worked extremely hard for many years at his craft and it wonderful to see his talent being recognized by the artist community in this fashion.

    Way to go Kevin! You deserve it!

    I'm Ready For Some Football

    The 2005-2006 NFL season kicks off tonight - and it can't happen soon enough. With the Cubs fading fast in the Wild Card race I'm ready for my first spectator sport love - pro football - to get started. Football is why I subscribe to Sports Illustrated and watch ESPN Sportscenter. I think the sport is fantastic. I'm partial to the NFL, but I enjoy college football as well - especially Notre Dame and the Big 10 conference. What I really enjoy about football is how concentrated it is. 16 games over a slightly longer number of weeks - mostly played on Sunday, though a few are thrown in on Monday nights. It makes for a great weekend event and also means that I have the perfect opportunity to watch the games I want. I'm not dealing with 1:20pm games on a Tuesday. Everything takes place when I'm not at work.

    Bears logoAnyway, I'm ready for football, but I'm not sure my beloved Chicago Bears are. Grossman has looked less than stellar in running the offense during the pre-season. They'll open the season with some players already injured, including R.W. McQuarters, Anthony Thomas and Desmond Clark. Plus, Brian Urlacher has sat out the entire pre-season with an injury. He's suppose to start this Sunday, but who knows how that will go. Even though we've got a new coach in Lovie Smith, I can't say that I have high hopes for the Bears chances this year. The rest of the NFC North divison is going to be tough and the Bears have some rough games against Indy, Philly, Tennessee and Jacksonville - who could be very good this year.

    Win or lose, I'll still have fun watching the Bears this season. One, I just love watching football. Two, I'm still playing Fantasy Football.

    I'm in two leagues this year - both at Yahoo! I'm in a regular public league; and because I won the public league I was in last year, I get to be in a Yahoo Winners league this year as well. Both my teams are look good so far.



    GOTHAM KNIGHTSHAMSTER SAUSAGE
    Yahoo Public 592372Yahoo Winners 624399
    Gotham Knights rosterHamster Sausage Roster


    I'm expecting big things from these teams. I love the QBs I've got. I'm mac'd out on RBs. I've got at least one killer WR per team and my defenses are pretty strong. I mean come on! Favre and Hasselbeck, how great is that!

    Oh yeah, I am so ready for some football.

    Puppy Power!

    Scrappy-Doo would be so proud

    PENSACOLA, Fla. - A man who tried to shoot seven puppies was shot himself when one of the dogs put its paw on the revolver's trigger.

    Jerry Allen Bradford, 37, was charged with felony animal cruelty, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday. He was being treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to his wrist.

    Bradford said he decided to shoot the 3-month-old shepherd-mix dogs in the head because he couldn't find them a home, according to the sheriff's office.

    On Monday, Bradford was holding two puppies — one in his arms and another in his left hand — when the dog in his hand wiggled and put its paw on the trigger of the .38-caliber revolver. The gun then discharged, the sheriff's report said.

    Deputies found three of the puppies in a shallow grave outside Bradford's home, said sheriff's Sgt. Ted Roy.

    The other four appeared to be in good health and were taken by Escambia County Animal Control, which planned to make them available for adoption.

    It's Not Looking Good

    Cubs logoThings aren't looking good for the Cubs. The bump they got from Nomar seems to have worn off and a number of teams are surging at the end of the season to overtake the Cubs precarious hold on the top of the Wild Card berth. In fact, after another humilating loss to the lowly Expos last night, I don't think the Cubs even have a hold on the Wild Card top spot. Let's check. . .


    wild card standing 09/09/04


    Nope. They trail the Astros and the Giants by a half game. This makes this weekend's cluster of games against the Marlins hugely important. If the Cubs don't win the 3 of 4 from the Marlins this weekend, I see them sinking too far behind the blazing hot Astros. The Cubs can still make the playoffs, but they've got to find a spark here quick. They certainly haven't had one the last few weeks. Maybe the Marlins series can provide it.

    September 08, 2004

    Nothing Says "I Love You" Like a Stone Wall

    President Bush the First sat in office when the Berlin Wall came down. Maybe President Bush the Second will be sitting in office when they decide to put it back up. A recent poll in Germany showed that 25% of Germans would like to see the wall separating East and West Berlin put back in place.

    Whoops, Missed It!

    A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that NASA had hired to stunt men to fly helicopters and snatch a return space probe as it parachuted to Earth.

    Well the space probe came to Earth today, and wouldn't you know, the boys in the copters missed it. Now it wasn't their fault. The parachute failed to open, so there was no way for them to snag the probe as it plummeted to Earth.

    Still, I thought it was funny.

    Blogger's Been Pissing Me Off

    I've been posting but they haven't been publishing immediately. I can't figure things out. I know you get what you pay for (In this case, Blogger's services are free), but usually they don't seem to have as many problems as they have been having over the last two days. Yesterday I didn't post a lot, but today I strung together a number of posts during lunch and I still can't get them to publish. It's frustrating.

    That's How You Sell a Home

    Chuck and Loretta Aydelotte have figured out what sells more homes in California - subliminal sex

    hint: study the 3rd photo down from the top

    Who Will Fill That Coveted 4am Spot on TBS?

    FTC Pulls Plug on Infomercial Giant Kevin Trudeau

    You've seen his infomercials: staged like an interview show, him all aw-shucks. Apparently the FTC got tired of his many underhanded tactics and practically banned him from ever appearing on television.

    Pretty funny.

    Star Wars DVD News

    star wars logoI knew that the Star Wars trilogy being released this fall is the version Lucas revamped for the 1997 theatrical re-releases of the movies (including such new scenes like Jabba and Han Solo talking in Episode IV: A New Hope) and that didn't bother me at all. I like everything Lucas did with the re-releases with the exception of the infamous changes he made to Han Solo / Greedo standup in the cantina (I'm sorry, there's nothing wrong with having Han shoot first!), but I can live with that. Of course, there are some hardcore purists who think anything but the original movies are sacrilege. My take: Hey, it's George Lucas' story and universe. He's free to present it / change it how he wants. If you like it, great. If you don't, make your own damn movie.

    Today I learned that the rumor is George is making a slight change to one of the films on the upcoming DVD. In Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, he has inserted an image of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker into the finale of the film where originally actor Sebastian Shaw stood along with the ghosts of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Kinda odd, I know, but it makes sense also. Episodes II and III will have firmly established Hayden as the face of Anakin Skywalker, not Shaw; who's face only appears onscreen for all of 5 minutes in Reutrn of the Jedi.

    I'm sure the kids over at OriginalTrilogy.com will have another cow when they read this, but I don't care (and I don't think Lucas does either). Like I said before, it's Lucas' story. He can do with it what he wants. Plus, it's a rumor. About a year ago the rumor was that Lucas was shooting some scenes with Natalie Portman to insert into Return of the Jedi as a flashback sequence for Luke and Leia as they try to remember their mom. I say let's just wait and see what the finished product is.

    Beep! Beep!

    This is why i'm happy with taking the train: Chicagoland drivers see jam session grow worse

    Chicago is the third most congested region in the U.S. for the second year in a row with a 56-hour average per driver per year. Plus, Chicago's never been out of the top ten since the Texas Transportation Institute started doing their studies back in 1982. What's also alarming about the report is that there really isn't any way for Chicago to "pave" the problem away. There is no way to really make enough roadway to handle the increasing traffic. The solution has to be in better mass transit and people working closer to their jobs.

    So the train saves me the traffic jam headache, but ultimately I would like to work closer to home. I have an hour commute right now - but that's with a 40-minute express train ride. If I have to get back home during the middle of the day I face a one hour and fifteen minute "milk-run" train ride. I don't like that. I prefer the flexibility of getting home at a moments notice. I'm always looking for new job opportunities, but haven't seen anything that lands me closer to the Aurora.

    This Is Disturbing

    Night Light Suspected in Rise in Child Leukemia

    Fucking Brilliant

    While speaking in Des Moines yesterday, Vice President Dick Cheney said, ""It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again."

    Cheney essentially threatened the American people yesterday in a bold new approach to increasing voter turnout. He told us that if we put Kerry in the White House then Americans will die because of terrorist attacks. Fucking brilliant. No better way to rally the voting public than to threaten their sense of safety and well being. Why didn't anyone think of this earlier? Sure he seems to be trying to skew this potential positive voter turnout in favor of the Bush/Cheney ticket by implying that a vote for Kerry/Edwards is the wrong choice, but you can't slight him for not trying to give the voting public a compelling reason to go to the polls this November.

    Social Graces?

    Where are social graces these days? I sat next to a guy on the train this morning who ate - I kid you not - and entire box of granola bars like a cow chewing cud. When he got to bar number four I was finding it increasing difficult not to turn and clock the guy in the head and yell, "Shut your damn mouth when you chew!" How hard is it to close your mouth when your eating. Our people that oblivious to the noises they make? Even if they are, have they no sense of what makes good manners? I mean the guy was smacking and crunching like cartoon character. Disgusting.

    Plus, he didn't even bother to throw the wrappers away. He just left them on the bag shelf in the chair. Rude.

    Oh, and he wore white socks with dress shoes. More proof the guy is a social reject.

    September 07, 2004

    The Sole Reason

    I found the sole reason I would vote to keep George W. in office as the Commander and Chief - four more years of great quotes like this:

    POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (Reuters) - President Bush offered an unexpected reason on Monday for cracking down on frivolous medical lawsuits: "Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

    The Republican president, long known for verbal and grammatical lapses, included the anecdote about obstetrician gynecologists in his stump speech attacking Democratic presidential rival Sen. John Kerry and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards, a former trial lawyer.

    At a rally of cheering supporters in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Bush made his usual pitch for limiting "frivolous lawsuits" that he said drive up the cost of health care and run doctors out of business.

    But then he added, "We've got an issue in America. Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

    Unfazed, Bush went on to deride his rivals as "pro-trial lawyer," and concluded, "I think you've got to make a choice. My opponent made his choice, and he put him on the ticket. I made my choice. I'm for medical liability reform now."


    On side note: I'm all for limiting lawsuits against members in the medical profession. W is right on that account. The countless number of medical malpractice lawsuits drive health care cost up, insurance rates (for doctors and patients) up, and run doctors out of business. It needs to be capped somehow.

    Another side note: Does W and his crack campaign team think he can win votes by painting Kerry-Edwards as "pro-trial lawyer." Does the average American know or care what this means? Tort reform really doesn't get the masses all worked into a lather.

    September 03, 2004

    Bubba Needs A Bypass

    The news broke earlier today the former President Bill Clinton was hospitalized with chest pains and while he did not suffer a heart attach, he was advised to receive a heart bypass surgery.

    The only reason I mention this here is so I can make this joke:

    "This news was probably most shocking for my Mother-in-Law. She knew he didn't have a soul, but who would have guessed Clinton didn't have a heart either?"

    Oh, Jennifer!

    It's been a long time since we checked in on Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins. Last time I was lamenting that she had beat out the lovely Miss USA Shandi Finnessey for the title of Miss Universe.

    So how does the Aussie beauty handle herself as Miss Universe? Apparently she likes taking her clothes off during fashion shows.

    jennifer hawkins backside


    While participating in a fashion show back in Australia, the bottom half of her dress snagged on her high heels and fell to the catwalk.

    Shandi never would have let that happen.

    September 02, 2004

    Zen of Laundry

    The quickest and easiest way to fold a t-shirt. I'm sure perfecting the form and movement leads to some transcendental state.

    I'll have to try this the next time I'm folding laundry. As Heather will attest, I'm all about the Zen of Laundry.

    Thanks to Petezilla for bringing it to my attention.

    Hoo-Haw!

    guy with snake going up nose and coming out his mouth
    C. Manoharan Snake Manu practices with a garden snake by running it through his nose and out his mouth in an attempt to create a Guinness Record in Madras, India. Manu plans to set the record by using a live cobra. (AP Photo/M.Lakshman)

    The Batman Video Clip

    batman logoSuperherohype.com has a two-minute clip from the upcoming The Batman animated show debuting September 11th on KidsWB. In the clip, Batman takes on Bane for the first time. The clip makes the show look like it will be a lot of fun. I'm eager to see this new show.

    Superherohype.com has got Real Player, Windows Media Player, and Quicktime formats of the clip in multiple resolutions - so you shouldn't have any problem viewing the clip regardless of your software or Internet connection.

    Making Friends

    No sooner do I bring up the bunny who's been hanging around our backyard (along with questions as to how tame it is), then Heather shares with me some photos she snapped yesterday that provide a fairly definitive answer to the tame vs. wild question.

    bunny

    bunny

    bunny


    The bunny was actually playing with Ian and Emma yesterday afternoon. It would chase them, then turn and run away so they could chase it. Heather went inside and got out a carrot to offer the bunny. It took the carrot right from Heather's hand. Pretty funny. Apparently we have acquired a de facto pet.

    (Yes, I know the grass needs to be cut. Give me a break. Lots of rain and cool temps here in Aurora are making our yard grow fast)

    iPods for Video?

    video playerYou knew it was coming. Products are starting to hit the market that allow users to store and watch video in much the same way they already do with MP3 players like Apple's iPod. However there is all sorts of debate on whether these new video devices will really take off. Analysts claim that two of the big obstacles for widespread acceptance is that video files still cannot be copied and there are few files available for the devices. I can think of another one: people can't ride their bike (or go for a run, or garden in the backyard) and watch an episode of Seinfeld or The Bridge On the River Kwai. That's what will hinder widespread acceptance - in my opinoin.

    Today's Monty

    I challenge you to read today's Monty and not laugh.

    Hell, go back and read this week's series of strips from the beginning. Funny, funny stuff.

    His Mother Must Be So Proud

    Turkish Man Squirts Milk From Eye 9.2 Feet

    How To Tell It's An Important Election

    Journalists bother to write articles like this: Baldwin Brothers Split Politically.

    September 01, 2004

    What A Mess

    I think John McCain gets it right when he said, "I think it's clear we lose Illinois" while talking about Alan Keyes recent behavior.

    What were the Republicans thinking when they chose this guy. Like I said back on 8/6, the Illinois GOP handed Barack the election when they selected Keyes. He's hardline right-wing, something that isn't really going to fly with moderates or undecideds when they got a popular and charismatic guy like Barack as the other choice.

    Be Very, Very Qwuiet . . .

    We have bunny living (or spending a considerable amount of time) under our deck. He (or she) has been there for a while. We think it's a tame bunny that either escaped from its owners or is allowed to run free. You don't see many white rabbits with black spots running around in your backyard.

    the bunny


    That's the bunny eating a pancake Heather threw out for it to eat (probably one of the reasons the bunny likes hanging out under our deck.)

    Obviously, the kids love it. Whenever he appears in the backyard it's an event (Now that I think about it, we don't see many of the wild brown rabbits anymore. Did Whitey chase them off?) In fact, last night Emma was up in the swingset when the bunny came to be sitting right underneath her. Emma thought it was fantastic. She quickly climbed down and then chased the bunny around the yard for about 5 minutes. It was hysterical. I wished I had my video camera handy. I got some action photos, but they're a bit blurry. Eventually the bunny hid under the deck and playtime was over.

    I'm curious to see what happens over the next few months as the days grow colder. Will the bunny take up permanent residence under the deck? Will we be feeding it all through the winter? Will it get brave enough to come up on the deck? If Whitey does, will Bumper totally flip out?

    Watch this space for answers to these questions and more.

    Do I Wanna Live In Philly?

    For the first time ever, I am considering Philadelphia, PA might be a nice place to live: Philly Considers Wireless Internet for All.

    Amazing. Philly is considering dropping $10 million in coin to hook up the entire city. And they're considering offering access to the new wireless service for free. (Just considering mind you. Don't get too excited.)

    I also learned in this article that Cleveland, OH has added a number of wireless transmitters around the metro area and provides access to the service for free. And New York is considering wireless transmitters on 18,000 lampposts around the city.

    As ideas like this take hold it's going to radically change our lives. To be able to carry a device with you and at any given momemt be connected to the web to buy a book, or transfer money, or make restaurant. Amazing. Next week I anticipate an announcement regarding flying cars.

    New iMacs and High-speed Internet Frustrations

    new iMacApple unveiled the new iMac machines yesterday. There are 17-inch and 20-inch widescreen models available, with 1.6 to 1.8 Gig G5 processors all wrapped up in a slim design the puts the whole computer within the flat-panel display.

    The design does really do anything for me. It's not the kick in the pants the first iMac was - and frankly I think I prefer the elegance of the iMac we have now with the screen attached via the long silver arm. I know the adjustable screen makes it easier for Ian to put the monitor where he needs it when he's on the computer.

    What gets me all geeked up about the new iMac is what's under the hood. 80 and 160 GB hard drives. Blazing fast G5 processors. Huge graphic processors. That's what I like.

    But the computer we have right now is still doing us fine. Really I only would like two things: high-speed Internet access and an OS upgrade. The OS upgrade is easy enough - just takes the money. So we'll get around to it eventually. The high-speed is proving to be more difficult. SBC/Yahoo! brought DSL service to our neck of Aurora last year. They let us know by calling us every month offering the service. At the time, even though we really wanted to buy the service, the higher cost didn't fit into the budget. We were doing fine with our $9.95 56K dial-up service.

    However, the cheap dial-up provider went under - so we switched to another (more reliable) service, but now pay about $15.00 a month for dial-up. Plus, we've finally shed my student loan and I'm making a little more money. Combine all that with the increasing reliance on the web for Heather and I in doing a lot of our work at home, high-speed is becoming more of a need - not just a luxury. We thought we could fit it into the budget.

    I went to the SBC/Yahoo! DSL sign-up page and entered our phone number. I was surprised to have the site come back and say that DSL was not yet available for our phone number. The SBC guys were hounding us a year ago. Our friends across the street have SBC/Yahoo! DSL. I know DSL is available here. So I called the toll-free number. According to the Customer Service guy, all the DSL nodes in our area are full (?), so SBC can't sign anyone else up in our area. Either someone has to cancel or SBC has to expand out the network. So apparently SBC is no longer an option.

    Comcast offers cable modem access here in Aurora, but it's nearly $40 a month. Which is out of our budget right now. So as much as Heather and I would like to have (and almost need to have) high-speed, we stuck right now. And that pisses me off.