June 30, 2009

Monkey Underwear Solves Everything!

I can't argue with Pig's reasoning.

Pearls Before Swine - 06.30.09

5 Things I Think

  • Want to make sure everybody marks their calendars: Nude Recreation Week (July 5-11, 2009)

  • I know this may seem a little pathetic, but one of the things I enjoy about the summer is that with school out and people vacationing, my drive to the train station in the morning can be 5 to 10 minutes shorter than between September and May.

    I can take a little more time in the morning. Sleep in a little more. Have a less annoying drive.

    It's the little things.

  • I think it’s about time that the astronauts in the International Space Station got themselves a proper window to look out through.

    The Cupola

    The Cupola will be part of the Tranquility node that will be installed in early 2010 and will provide astronauts a unique view outside of the space station.

  • I think I hear more about Mark DeRosa now that he’s not a Cub.

    Let’s get over it. I agree that in hindsight the trade is looking bad right now, but I grow tired of the fawning over DeRosa that still goes on in this town.

  • I watched Cecil B. DeMille’s 1952 film, The Greatest Show on Earth, last night. It won Oscars for Best Motion Picture and Best Screenplay, which I think qualifies The Greatest Show on Earth as one of the strangest Oscar winners of all time.

    The film was certainly big in a DeMille sort of way, and fun to watch – especially the parts where the film dealt with the real ins and outs of running a circus. But I can’t understand how the Academy handed the award to The Greatest Show with all its camp and non-existent plot when it had High Noon or The Quiet Man to also choose from that year.
  • June 29, 2009

    Yes, the Cubs Are Crappy Too

    I love this quote in today's Chicago Tribune.
    "White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was asked why attendance was so low at the Sox-Dodgers series, and said: 'Because our fans are not stupid like Cubs fans. They know we're (expletive).'"
    Ozzie went on to remark that the only reason people go to watch the Cubs at Wrigley Field is because "Wrigley Field is just a bar."

    It's a sentiment I've heard before and have always take exception to. I am a fan of the Cubs and enjoy watching their games because I was raised a Cubs fan and like watching baseball. Not because the Cubs' ballpark is essentially a beer garden or I'm stupid.

    And I think any Cubs / baseball fan could you tell you that this Cubs team is performing dramatically below expectations based on the team's talent. We don't need Ozzie to point that out.

    June 28, 2009

    Kid Quote of the Week

    Zoe: "Sometimes I think Uncle Kevin created the sun."

    Ian: "That's crazy. If Uncle Kevin created the sun, what do you think it was like when Grandpa was a kid? Dark all the time?"
    - Ian and Zoe in conversation

    June 26, 2009

    Just as Good as Saying "Bless You"

    Pearls Before Swine - 06.26.09

    Makes sense to me. In response to someone sneezing, why not invoke the name of the man who sneezes with his eyes open.

    June 25, 2009

    My Hot Car

    Weather.com has an interesting slide show that illustrates how quickly, and dangerously hot, the inside of a car can become during hot weather.

    temperature inside a car on a hot day

    In 90 minutes they have the inside of a vehicle reaching almost 140 degrees.

    Now I know that the rate of temperature increase isn't exponential, otherwise the temp inside my car that sits under the blazing sun all day in the train station parking lot would be topping out at something like 1,000 degrees, but it still makes me wonder what conditions I’m subjecting myself to when I jump in the car to drive home.

    My car bakes in the sun for over nine hours. When I open the door it is blistering hot inside, the driver-side window doesn’t roll down, which means I can’t air out the interior very quickly, and the air condition – bless its little heart – just doesn’t seem to have the umph anymore to really cool things down. The drive home in weather like we are experiencing now is always more of an endurance test than just a journey.

    Color Tricks

    The green spiral and the blue spiral are actually the same color.



    June 23, 2009

    Gordon Meets the New Batman

    preview art from Batman & Robin #2Commissioner James Gordon has always been my favorite supporting character in Batman's universe. Tough, principled, and the second smartest lawman in Gotham after Batman.

    Ever since they shook things up with Batman and put Richard Grayson in the cape and cowl with a new kid as Robin, I have been anxious to see how Commissioner Gordon would react.

    From the preview art from Batman & Robin #2 over at IGN, Grant Morrison is giving us that first scene and it's obvious Gordon is immediately clued in that things are different - yet the same. I can't wait to see how Morrison handles this relationship between Gordon and the new Batman.

    5 Things I Think

  • There probably was a guy responsible for rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, and it was probably pretty important to him that it get done.

    Wasn’t his fault the ship was doomed to sink.

    I think we should all stop using that poor guy's job description as a put down for futile tasks

  • If it's already 90 degrees in June, what’s it going to be like in August?

    I'm not sure I want to find out.

  • Do you think she had to work at looking both seductively sexy and playfully innocent at the same, or did it come naturally?

    marilyn monroe picture I stumbled across recently

    I think Marilyn was a once in a century type of beauty. She could do it all because that's what she was born to do.

  • Two Ph.D. candidates in political science at Columbia University investigate the possibility of a fraudulent Iranian Presidential election in an interesting way – focusing on people's inability to come up with good random numbers.

    I think the study is fascinating.

  • Even though Heather was the one who had been requesting it, out of the two of us I think I am enjoying Wii Fit more – and that totally surprises me. I am making efforts to use Wii Fit regularly and I am even putting together my own workout plans to maximize my 30 minutes in the morning.

    I think it's the graphical tracking of progress that has hooked me. Every day I can see how things are improving (or sliding back).
  • June 22, 2009

    The Great Nerd vs. Jock Debate

    While plenty of people are fawning over the President's speech/jokes at the 2009 Radio and TV Correspondents' Dinner, I preferred John Hodgman's performance.

    June 21, 2009

    Kid Quote of the Week

    "They should make this into a game"
    - Ian, while reading the booklet from Dungeons & Dragons - the Complete Animated Series DVD collection

    June 20, 2009

    When Entertainers Entertained

    Sure would be nice if we had entertainers like this today.

    Thanks to my Aunt Kathy for sending me a link to this clip.

    The scene is from The Seven Little Foys where Bob Hope portrays Eddie Foy and James Cagney reprising his role as George M. Cohan, and it has moved up to the top of my list of classic movies I want to see next. Hopefully TCM will help me out.

    June 19, 2009

    Rumors of Indy 5 Begin to Swirl

    Indiana JonesWhile I know that a lot of people were disappointed in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I found the movie to be a lot of fun. I enjoyed seeing Harrison Ford back in the fedora and I was pleasantly surprised by Shia LaBeouf’s turn as Mutt.

    So I think it’s great that there is talk about everyone coming back to film a fifth Indiana Jones movie. Empire Magazine reports that according to Indy Producer Frank Marshall, Spielberg, Lucas, and Harrison are all on board for an Indiana Jones 5 and want to get it done sooner than later.

    However, Marshall also states that the next movie won’t become a done deal until a concrete script idea is decided upon - which was the main reason why there was a 20 year delay between The Last Crusade and Crystal Skull.

    Its fun to think that there might be another Indy film, but I’m not going to be holding my breath.

    June 18, 2009

    Quantum of Solace - Review

    Ever since I saw Casino Royale three years ago I have been anxious to see how future James Bond stories starring Daniel Craig would play out. I love that first Craig as Bond movie. I consider it one of my favorite James Bond movies of all time.

    I didn’t see Quantum of Solace, Craig’s second turn as 007, when it was in theaters last fall, but when I found the DVD laying on my Dad’s coffee table a few weeks back I knew that a viewing was imminent.

    dvd cover artwork for quantum of solaceHeather gave me some grief about how I can hem and haw over watching movies she brings back from the library, but when I borrow a James Bond film from my Dad I’m dropping it into the DVD player as soon as I can.

    My defense – because it’s James Bond.

    I knew from reviews that Quantum of Solace was the first true sequel to a Bond film – the story in Quantum actually builds on the story started in Casino Royale – but I was surprised at how many details the filmmakers expected us to remember from the first film in order to understand the second. I’ve watched Casino Royale a number of times and consider myself pretty knowledgeable on the story, yet I was struggling to connect the dots on a number of the two films’ plot points.

    What I found further disappointing was how thin the story was. Bond films aren’t know for the densely plotted scripts, but something more than 007 running around and killing people in a fit of revenge-fueled rage would have been nice for Quantum. I can’t recall any lines of dialogue Daniel Craig had in the film. Did he have any? The film was almost entirely scenes of Craig running, driving, shooting, and fighting. When there was any talking, it was short and cryptic – barely enough to give an outline at the story that was being told.

    And I think it is those two things together that make Quantum of Solace so disappointing for me. The filmmakers set out to make a sequel to - a continuation of - Casino Royale, but then made a movie with very little time dedicated to building on that story or spending time with the characters Casino Royale had so nicely re-introduced us all to. Ironically, in a film series historically known for stunts and action sequences, Quantum needed more talking.

    Casino Royale delivered on the action, but also took us inside the head of a young James Bond. It’s what made the movie unique and fresh in the Bond franchise. Quantum of Solace, while packed to the brim with action, didn’t deliver with character. Instead of taking us back inside 007’s head, all we got were head-butts. That might have been fine before, but that approach won’t cut it now that the bar has been set higher for a Bond flick. Hopefully Daniel Craig will return and the story and filmmakers can rise to that level again.

    Ozzie Tempting Fate

    See what happens when you mess with Cubs fans before the game . . .

    White Sox skipper goofs around with Cubs fans before game
    You get beat

    June 17, 2009

    Why I Avoid the Comments Section on Newspaper Stories

    A Chicago Tribune editorial dealing with President Obama’s plans for Health Care reform – which was published the morning of 6/16 – currently has 247 comments

    A Chicago Tribune story about President Obama killing a fly in the middle of television interview – which was published at 6:45am on 6/17 – currently has 271 comments

    The editorial is critical and questioning of Obama and the Democrats plans. The fly-killer story is a short fluff piece. Yet the fly-killer piece has gotten more comments in 6 hours than the editorial has gotten in 24 hours.

    June 16, 2009

    Movin' Through Kashmir


    It's the animation created for the song Kashmir that was used as a performance backdrop by Led Zeppelin during their reunion concert

    Loose Teeth Update

    A quick update to yesterday's post: "Emma Has Two Loose Teeth"

    She now has two missing teeth.

    She made short work of those teeth

    Heather has all the details.

    5 Things I Think

  • I think I’ve grown sufficiently tired of Brett Favre's inability to stay retired.

    I know sports figures and celebrities will proudly declare that they don't read any of the press written about them, but I think in this case Favre should pay attention to what people are writing/saying about him. He's becoming a punchline to a joke you don't even have to mention. Favre had a Hall of Fame career in Green Bay and should leave it at that.

  • I can't tell you how many perfectly happy days have turned sour simply because I had to get my car out of the Route 59 train station parking lot.

    What is it about after-work driving in a parking lot that turns so many people into idiots?

    Any commute-related stress I experience during the day can usually be traced back to the 5 – 10 minutes it takes to navigate through that circus of the insane.

  • I'm as much a meat-lover as the next red-blooded American male, but even I shuddered a bit when I looked into a bag Heather brought home from grocery shopping and saw this:

    That's a lot of burger
    That's a lot of burger.

  • If you gathered every nervous tic, quirky habit, and personality trait that absolutely rubs me the wrong way and wrapped them together in one person you would have a guy who works in our office.

    I've never met anyone who could so consistently get under my skin by just being who they are.

    Gah! I hope he's sick tomorrow.

  • I don't know where I stumbled upon this image using some scraggly imitation Peanuts characters to illustrate some of the ruminations on happiness by philosopher John Stuart Mill, but I think it’s a good way to balance out a '5 Things I Think' that seemed to possess an undercurrent of negativity.

    John Stuart Mills explained

    Here's to happiness.
  • June 15, 2009

    My Mom is Sixteen

    Now my mother is actually sixty years old, but I am beginning to believe that she might actually only be 16 - more specifically, a 16 year-old babysitter.

    Case in point.

    My mother came over Friday night to watch our kids while Heather and I went out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary.

    My mom did the typical grandma/mom/mother-in-law things:
    • Let the kids stay up late
    • Gave the kids more snacks than Heather and I would have allowed
    • Cleaned things Heather and I didn’t think needed cleaning
    • Messed with the plants in the house
    But then these things happened as well:
    • Invited her boyfriend (and his dog) at the last minute
    • Drank the last of our good beer
    • Ate the last of the good snacks in the house (i.e. Milano cookies, homemade brownie meltaways)
    • The boyfriend broke one of our kitchen chairs
    And when Heather and I got home the two of them were curled up on the coach with all the lights off watching a movie. The only thing missing was the lingering aroma of cannabis in the air.

    Sounds like a teenaged babysitter to me.

    But maybe that’s the price we pay for getting free babysitting. If Heather and I had employed a real teenager to watch the kids we probably would have dealt with the same and also had to give them money at the end of the night.

    Pure Evil

    It's been a while since we took a swing at the legal profession.

    Here's a nice one from today's Last Kiss.

    06.15.09 Last Kiss - Pure Evil

    June 14, 2009

    Emma Has Two Loose Teeth

    And she can make one of them really wiggle.

    This video was produced with special love for her Grandpa McKillip - who always enjoys seeing crazy stuff like this.

    Kid Quote of the Week

    "I love work. Work is my hobby"
    - Zoe, while helping stuff envelopes for Grandpa's campaign

    Hopefully You Stop the Car First

    Usually I would leave the job of mocking horrible comics to The Comics Curmudgeon, but this one was too good to pass up.

    Dick Tracy from 06.14.09As a grown man, if your idea of taunting is to stick you thumbs behind your head and smile big, then you deserve whatever is coming to you.

    June 13, 2009

    Old Jews Telling Jokes

    Funny, funny stuff.

    This Isn't a Joke

    I wonder how many of these things have been sold?

    "Being a big guy has it's advantages, and it's disadvantages - I can't reach around my massive ass cheeks to wipe my own butt. So I bought this stick to help me out"

    June 11, 2009

    Dumb People Get Wet

    rainWhen I woke up this morning at 5:45 am I noticed that it was raining.

    When I was downstairs at 6:15 am making my lunch and eating breakfast I noticed that it was raining.

    When I was in my car driving to the train station at 6:40 am I noticed that it was raining.

    When I parked my car at the train station at 7:00 am I noticed that it was raining.

    It was painfully clear to me that it was raining this morning and that if I didn’t take the necessary precautions I would end up very wet walking from my car to the train station. That’s why I was wearing a jacket and carrying my umbrella when I got out of the car.

    So I wonder what the dude walking through the parking lot with no jacket and no umbrella and an increasing water-soaked shirt was noticing all morning while he was preparing to leave for the train station?

    I would have asked him, but he was wearing headphones and was preoccupied with trying to figure out how he could keep his Walkman radio and his newspaper dry.

    June 10, 2009

    Anniversaries Never Were What They Used to Be

    Today is Heather's and my fourteenth wedding anniversary.

    My opinion has always been that a wedding anniversary is really only for the two people who got hitched. It isn't a date or an event I expect anyone else to celebrate, let alone remember. However, as our children grow older and become more aware of Heather and my relationship with each other, it is amusing to see how they respond to things like our wedding anniversary.

    For instance, yesterday night at dinner our approaching anniversary had been mentioned or referenced in some context. So it was part of the conversation.

    ZoeAt one point Zoe throws up her arms and declares, "I'm excited that tomorrow is Mom's and Dad's anniversary! It's going to be great!" in as sweet and honest a way as only a 5-year-old girl can pull off.

    When she didn’t see her brother and sister follow with like enthusiastic remarks, a slightly embarrassed expression spread across her face. With her head slightly lowered, she sheepishly asked Heather, “What do you do on anniversaries.”

    I thought it was great that Zoe was so excited for our anniversary. I imagine she thought it was going to be a big occasion like a birthday or some other celebration - possibly there would be cake or presents. I felt a little bad for her when he idea of what her Mom’s and Dad’s wedding anniversary was so quickly dispelled at dinner last night, but I guess it was better to manage her expectations then instead of disappointing her today when there isn't a table full of food or presents and all sorts of revelry.

    June 09, 2009

    5 Things I Think

  • I think this may be one of the greatest baseball promotions ever:
    Bellies and BaseballsFor generations, it has been said that Brooklynites have been "born into baseball." This summer, that term may be more literal than ever before. On Sunday, July 19th at 5pm, the Brooklyn Cyclones are hosting Bellies & Baseball: A Salute to Pregnancy, -- presented by Palmer's -- and inviting expectant parents to participate in a variety of themed activities…including a special prize for anyone who gives birth at the game!
    Make sure to take a look at the activities they have planned. Hysterical.

    And I love that they end their press release with this quote from Cyclones General Manager, "If you want to be involved in Bellies & Baseball but you’re not pregnant yet, there’s still time!"

  • I have never been part of more agonizing and frustrating launch of website redesign as the one I am currently embroiled in.

    It's been over a week and we are still trying to chase down problems that appear to only exist in production. We cannot replicate the problems we see on the live website in our QA environment, so we have to hunt down and diagnosis the problem on a live, active website.

  • As much as I hated the Red Wings ending the Blackhawks quest for the Stanley Cup, I think I still would rather see Detroit win over Pittsburgh.

    On a related note: The NHL may be experiencing a bit of a fan re-awakening over the last two seasons, but that’s going to stall out if the NHL can’t find themselves a better national TV deal.

  • I think there are some breath-taking photographs in the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2008.

    There are also some really stupid ones.

  • Do you think how the woman is modeling this chair is how the designer intended people to sit in it?
    The Chair
    If so, what happens when I buy a bunch of these chairs to replace the dining room chairs at our house?
  • June 08, 2009

    Chicago is a Model Town

    One day this summer I plan to walk over on my lunch hour to take a look at this:
    photo of Chicago scale model taken from Chicago Tribune website

    It’s a 25 x 35-foot scale model of the Chicago Loop area - basically downtown Chicago, with every building from the Sears Tower down to small mom & pop shops represented.

    The model, which is on display at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, was created using a 3D printing process called stereolithography which uses lasers and a vat of acrylic resin.

    It is not clear to me why the model was built, other than Mayor Richie Daley thought it would be kewl. Regardless, I think it would be fascinating to see a model built to scale with as much detail as has gone into that project.

    June 07, 2009

    Not Sure If I Should Be Concerned About This

    Ian has discovered Wikipedia, which means he has begun to mine the depths of . . . err. . . information available at this colossal online encyclopedia.

    What has he learned so far?

    That there are pages upon pages of entries in Wikipedia dedicated to video games. So now he is not only able to dazzle Heather and I with his collection of arcane trivia related to the video games that he owns and actually plays, but he can also educate us on the obscure bits of trivia surrounding the video games of the 80s and early 90s that he's never even seen.

    The boy's ability to absorb, retain, and recall information never ends to amaze me.

    Sometimes I hate the Internet.

    June 06, 2009

    We Have a Death Star!

    The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
    We Have a Death Star!
    Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorKeyboard Cat

    Getting Pulled Back In

    Don’t tell Heather, but I am being strongly tempted to end my moratorium on buying monthly comics.

    In January 2008 I stopped purchasing comics on a monthly basis cold turkey. The decision was driven almost entirely on concerns over budget. I’ve continued buying graphic novel or trade paperback collections, but mostly I’ve been digging into my collection of old single issues for my comic book reading fix each month. Since the switch in buying habits I haven’t felt like I was missing anything by not stopping in a comic shop each month.

    Until now.

    Cover art for Batman & Robin #1Three days ago Batman & Robin #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely hit the stands. Morrison is a comic writing phenom. Quitely is an extraordinary artist. Together they have made some of the best comics of the last ten years.

    A lot has been going on with Batman over the last year, and although I haven’t been reading the books I have been able to follow along with events more or less thanks to a splattering of blogs. In short: as a result of his actions to save the universe, Bruce Wayne has been thrown back in time – literary – but is believed to be dead by the general public (long story). Dick Grayson (aka Nightwing, aka the first Robin) has taken up the Mantel of the Bat and is now operating as Gotham City’s new nocturnal protector in Bruce’s absence. Joining him as the newest Robin is Damien, Bruce Wayne’s and Talia al Ghul’s love-child (an even longer story). Batman & Robin marks the beginning of this new Dynamic Duo.

    My anticipation over this new book – the concept, the characters, the creators – was so great I had run out to pick up a copy. The experience of reading it met my every expectation. Batman & Robin #1 is fresh, exciting, big-idea filled, and dynamic – everything that I want from a superhero comic. Best yet, Morrison and Quitely left me pumped up to read the next chapter. They perfectly launched a new series.

    And if a stellar comic was enough, then they teased me with this:

    12 month story teaser for Batman & Robin
    Sure I could wait for these individual issues to be collected into trade paperbacks, but who wants to wait for DC to collect what looks like will be all sorts of fantastically trippy Batman and Robin stories? Not I.

    Plus, there are two more books headed to shops this June that have me almost as excited as Batman & Robin.

    cover art for Red Robin #1There is Red Robin, which will feature Tim Drake, the last Robin before Damian, on his quest to try and bring Bruce Wayne back from . . . wherever the hell he is. That book looks great.

    Plus, Greg Rucka takes over the writing chores for Detective Comics, but now the book will star Batwoman. Rucka is a favorite writer of mine who excels at writing strong, interesting female characters. This new Batwoman is completely his creation, and along with the gorgeous artwork of JH Williams, should make ‘Tec a fantastic read. Something I definitely wanted to check out.

    Again, I’m sure I could wait for those two books to be collected and queue them up in my graphic novel budget. But if I’m already making my way to the comic shop to pick up Batman & Robin each month, I could just as easily start picking up Red Robin and ‘Tec. Hmmm. . . .

    June 05, 2009

    Han Solo, P.I.

    If you think that is great, take a look at the side-by-side comparison and be blown away by how the creators of this spoof video matched the Magnum P.I. intro shot for shot.

    Love it.

    June 04, 2009

    This Could Be Fun

    Freeze Mentos in ice cubes. Serve up with Diet Coke. Hilarity ensues.

    showing how it works
    Now I just need to find a Diet Coke drinker . . .

    June 02, 2009

    5 Things I Think

  • Ceilings would be the easiest part of a room to paint if you didn't have to do the whole job with your arms above you head and your neck all craned back.

  • I think this pretty much sums up the reaction I receive when completing any home repair.

    06.02.09 Wondermark

  • For a team that still seems to be struggling to get on track for what is supposed to be another Central Division winning season, I don't think the Cubs can afford to have Reed Johnson sitting on the bench. He doesn't just make the Cubs better at the plate, but he supplies great defense in the field.

    I'd sit Milton Bradley and see how far Reed can go.

  • I know that I am under a self-imposed moratorium on adding to my collection of Dickens' Village Christmas houses until we have more space to display them properly, but I sure would love to be able to find a spot for "Jones & Co. Brush & Basket Shop" somewhere.

    Jones & Co. Brush & Basket Shop
    Though, "48 Doughty St, Home to Charles Dickens" would be fun to have also.

  • I haven't had an opportunity to read the article yet, but from this pull-quote I saw while flipping through this week's Newsweek I think I will enjoy reading their look at the Cult of O.
    Some of the many experts who cross her (Orpah Winfrey) stage offer interesting and useful information (props to you, Dr. Oz). Others gush nonsense. Oprah, who holds up her guests as prophets, can't seem to tell the difference
    If there is anyone who I think is too big for their britches, it would be Oprah.
  • Comics Making Fun of Comics

    I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure Stephan Pastis is taking a jab at Frazz creator, Jeff Mallet, in today’s Pearl Before Swine.

    Pearls Before Swine 06-02-09

    Over the last eighteen months Frazz has become one of my favorite newspaper comic strips. I feel that Mallet has found his voice in the strip and is now consistently turning out a funny, thoughtful, and at times insightful and challenging, comic strip.