March 31, 2010

Everyone Else is Posting It, Why Not Me

This video seems to be everywhere, so I figured "why not here too."

Plus, I'm a sucker for stuff related to Star Wars

March 30, 2010

5 Things I Think

  1. Cartoonist Dean Trippe is having with the stock "President looking at something intently" photos that invariably come down the shoot and making his own "Barack Obama Looking at Awesome Things" photo series

    I particularly like the Green Lantern ring inspection scene.

  2. I really enjoyed the Frank Deford's story in this week's Sports Illustrated.

    Considering the timing of when Deford first entered the sports journalism field and his proliferation and skill as a writer, he brings unique and distinct perspective to how sports have changed and how the coverage of sports has changed with them in the last 45 plus years.

  3. Back at the beginning of March it was announced the director Christopher Nolan would not only take on directing a third Batman film, but would also shepherd a reinvention of the Superman movie franchise as well. Although in the case of Superman he will not be directing or writing, rather he is serving as producer or uber-consultant.

    Nolan is an excellent story crafter and teller. He understands how to boil down the larger than life characters in a way that feels right in a movie. I think only good things can come out of his involvement with a Superman film.

  4. Before the NHL put their season on hiatus so a number of their players could join their national teams and compete in the Olympics, the Chicago Blackhawks Blackhawks were playing fantastic hockey. They were absolutely tearing up the the league.

    At the time I expressed some concern with some fellow hockey fans at work that the Olympic layoff would harm the Blackhawks. That they would loose their momentum and struggle to mesh back together when the break was over. The guys at work thought I was off-base. They believed that this Blackhawks team was too good. They argued the team would bounce right back and pick up where things had left off before the Olympic break.

    But a month after the Olympics ended and the Blackhawks have lost 6 of their last 8 games and don't look much like the team that was dominating the ice in December and January.

    I hope that ultimately I am proved wrong - and that the Olympic break didn't spell disaster for the team - because right now I hate being right.

  5. Passages like these are what keep me coming back to The Shadow
    Sledging gun strokes were The Shadow's close-range tactics. Attackers sprawled beneath the flaying power of those metal cudgels. As the remainder dived, The Shadow sprayed fast fire before they had a chance to aim. Clipping bullets rolled their human marks to the ground beyond the porch edge.
    and this one
    A window splintered from the ground floor of the bungalow. Through the shivering glass came a long, cloaked shape in black. The Shadow had settled matters indoors. He was his own reserve squad, when it came to the outside crew.
    Both were taken from "Racket Town", originally published in The Shadow magazine December 15, 1937.

    Walter B. Gibson perfected the art of bombastic pulp prose. Every Shadow novel he wrote is fantastic romp of action.

Ain't It the Truth

Wondermark for 03-30-2010

March 29, 2010

Dick Giordano 1932 - 2010

Dick Giordano sketch of the Question - a Charlton Comics character
On March 27, 2010 Dick Giordano passed away at the age of 77.

As an editor and inker, Giordano helped usher in the Bronze Age of comics and has had a tremendous and lasting impression on the industry whether it was by creating a whole new stable of characters at Charlton Comics in the early 1960s, inking groundbreaking stories of Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow in the 1970s, or bringing new talent to in the 1980's to DC Comics to produce works like Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and Watchmen, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, or the universe shattering Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Since I became to know and be familiar with his work, I always looked forward to reading a book that had Giordano's name on the cover. His skill as an inker meant that a great penciler's work would look out of this world and a weak artist's work would be at least be serviceable to story again. Giordano's name on the cover meant good things were inside.

We Need to Dye This Week

This reminded me that we have to make some time to dye this week ourselves.

Pearls Before Swine for 3-29-2010

March 28, 2010

Kid Quote of the Week

"I'm gonna get drunk on beer bread"
- Ian, his plans were dashed when it was explained that all of the alcohol is burned off while the bread bakes

March 25, 2010

The Mysterious Cow Horse - Discovered!

A few weeks ago Emma and Zoe organized a museum in our basement. Heather and I paid our $0.25 and got the executive tour. It is there that I first learned of the the mysterious Cow Horse.

Apparently the Cow Horse was discovered by Lurvy McKillip in 1945 and, well, just read the plaque.

March 23, 2010

5 Things I Think

  1. I still don't understand how the new Health Care Reform legislation will help lower or slow down the upward spiraling cost of health care.

    All I see coming out of this law is a requirement that every U.S. resident who is alive must purchase health insurance.

    Great for insurance companies, but I don't see how this reform helps me at all.

  2. I think I am becoming a fan of Aquaman without reading any of his comics.

    For months I have been following The Aquaman Shrine and enjoying all of the writing done there. The passion and exuberance for Aquaman shines through in every post, and I can't help but start liking the character more and more.

  3. I think the concept of teacher tenure is one of the dumbest ideas ever.

    A school district near us recently announced that they will be laying off 155 teachers because of budget constraints. The 155 will come from the non-tenured ranks.

    Where else does something like this happen? You get fired from your job not because your performance is bad or your position is no longer needed, but because you haven't worked as long as someone else.

  4. There are cows in Russia with a better TV than I have at home.

    That just doesn't seem fair.

  5. Regardless of when it is made and served, a turkey dinner with all the trimmings is a wonderful thing to partake in.

    Earlier this week Heather cooked the 12 pound turkey that she had frozen from last November and prepared all the usual Thanksgiving Day side dishes.

    It was March, but it was still fantastic.

    After I finished eating my fill the only thing that could have made the meal better would have been a football game on TV.

March 22, 2010

To and Fro

This past Saturday Heather and I hosted Zoe's first "friend" birthday party. She invited 6 friends from her kindergarten class and 2 neighborhood friends over to celebrate her 6th birthday.

The party went off without a hitch. Heather had the perfect mix of games and activities planned for a gaggle of 5 and 6 year-old girls, and wowed them with a fun cake. I mostly provided organization and clean-up support. Think of me as the stagehand for the theater of Zoe's party.

When it was all done Heather quipped, "I can't wait to hear what you have to write about this!"

"This", of course, being the experience of having just short of a dozen girls (8 friends + Zoe + Emma) running around in my house for a party. Over the years I have developed the reputation of tolerating the company of children - as long as they are my own children. All those other kids are annoying little whelps who need to be locked up in a dark cage somewhere.

However, when I got to thinking about the party and the frantic little girls running to and fro in our basement, it really didn't bother me. The whole party was exactly what I was expecting and probably what I subconsciously prepared myself for: a pack of frantic little girls running to and fro in our basement.

The expectation met reality, so overall the party was a non-life changing event for me. Sorry Heather.

There was something from the party, however, that did have a lasting impression on me.

Emma joined in the party from start to finish. Emma is at least two years older then any of the girls Zoe invited, and is second grade while all the other girls are in in kindergarten.

You wouldn't think that wouldn't make for too much of difference, but I was mildly shocked at how much older Emma seemed to Zoe and her friends.

Emma and Zoe play together at home all the time, and I've never anything special about their age difference. But when I saw Emma with half a dozen girls the same age as Zoe, Emma suddenly appeared to be the wizened elder amongst a unruly tribe of children.
Of course, then Emma didn't something goofy and I remembered that she's still only a second grader. But for a brief time I was considering how quickly my girls will morph from little girls into older girls.

The change will happen slowly but without warning, so I need to begin preparing myself now. Otherwise before I know it I will turn around and instead of a gaggle of 6 year-old girls running to and fro in our basement it will be a pack of 16 year-old girls - and I know I'm not ready for that yet.

March 21, 2010

Funny, But True

Yes, the iPad is considered by many to be the device that will finally take comics into widespread digital distribution. And yes, the iPad will not support Flash technology just like the iPhone/iPod Touch doesn't.

Makes for a funny comic.

Kid Quote of the Week

"There really isn't anything too special about St. Patrick's Day."
- Emma, realizing that if you're not into getting stinking drunk and soiling your own pants, there isn't a whole lot to March 17th.

March 18, 2010

Notre Dame Disappoints Again

When am I gonna stop picking the Irish in the NCAA tournament?

They take an early leave once again.

Perils of the Census

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
United States Census 2010
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care reform

March 16, 2010

5 Things I Think

  • I know I shouldn't let them, but I have a hard time stopping Emma and Zoe from jumping on their beds.

    They look like they are having so much fun together. Hopping up and down. Usually holding hands. I just can't bring myself to say "stop".

    Their beds will be for crap in a few more years, but frankly I don't care.

  • Another scientist taking all the fun out of everything.

    Physicist Says Warp Speed Will Kill You

  • I hadn't really thought about it until I saw this article, but it's pretty amazing how a bomb-proof suit works.

  • You would think that a dude who keeps clearing his throat every 3 minutes would start to become aware of the fact that he is clearing his throat every 3 minutes and try to do something to fix that problem.

    Drink a class of water. Find a lozenge.

    The dude on the train the other day didn't think that.

  • I didn't realize how big of a figure Wyatt Earp was in American storytelling until I read this article over at

    Books, movies, and even a TV show that ran for six seasons. The entertainment industry used Earp everywhere.

    TCM is running 4 films to honor the legend of Wyatt Earp on his birthday, March 18. I'm interested in Hour of the Gun, starring James Garner as Wyatt Earp.

March 15, 2010

When to Stop Reading a Book

Last week the literary critic/writer for the Chicago Tribune wrote a column on when it was okay to quit reading a book.

Some readers who wrote in on the topic provided rules they they use to determine when it's okay to put a book down and walk away, while other expressed their struggles to complete certain works of literature. The column had special significance for me because I am fighting my way through Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow and for the first time considering putting the book down before I've actually reached the last page.

This all started when I asked for a Pynchon book for Christmas and received two: Gravity's Rainbow and V. I decided to go big, and jumped right into what many consider Pynchon's greatest - and most dense - novel, Gravity's Rainbow.

The book has been a challenge since I started reading it in January. After nearly eight weeks of reading I am a little over 250 pages in. (The novel is over 750 pages long) After I had read the first 30 pages I had to go online and consult a bunch of reading guides for Gravity's Rainbow. I wasn't sure if I was understanding what was going on. Turns out I was comprehending everything - but I was working so hard to understand it all that I didn't trust what I was taking away from the book.

That pattern has continued as I have delved deeper into the novel. I re-read passages and pages. I stop after reading sections to reflect on what I had just read to see if I can make sense of it. And while I understand what is going on, I don't know if I understand what Pynchon is trying to say or convey. And the process is starting to wear me down so much that I am considering taking a sabbatical from Gravity's Rainbow.

I've always considered it unfair to the writer to quite on a book without finishing it. They have taken the time to craft their writing and if you decide to pick it up to read you are responsible for reading it to the end. Stopping at any point because you don't like it or are confused fails to give the artist the opportunity to present his/her full vision to you (despite what you might think of it).

There have been plenty of books that I have read, but didn't like. And I knew that I didn't like them well before I finished the last sentence on the last page. But I read the entire book anyway. It is the only way I can honestly say I didn't like the book. I had read all the pages and the writer had failed to capture my imagination or interest.

I know that laying Gravity's Rainbow down for a few weeks (or months) doesn't necessarily mean I am quiting the book because that isn't my intention. What I fear is that the struggles I have experienced over the last two months will work against me when I try to dive back into the novel. If I stop now I might not start back up for a long time. But if I don't stop will I spend the next five months reading the same book?

March 14, 2010

Some Jim Lee art

This is what Jim Lee posted recently on his TwitPic page.

Reminded me how much I would enjoy a JLA story illustrated by Jim Lee.

Kid Quote of the Week

I want to meet my birth parents.
Zoe said this one night. Not sure I want to know what prompted this inquiry.

March 12, 2010

Nothing Stops a Canadian From Watching Hockey

Saw this graphic comparing water usage in Edmonton during the U.S.-Canada gold medal hockey game versus a the previous day's consumption.



Why You Shouldn't Shower in the Garage

This might be my favorite PBS stripe to date.

Pearls Before Swine 03.12.2010

March 11, 2010

Darwin Award Nominees

Natural selection either isn't working or isn't working fast enough to remove these turds from the gene pool.

When police pulled over the car they found a 33-year-old man bleeding from the head and telling an unusual story.
The victim said a couple of weeks ago he bought several hundred dollars of crack-cocaine with Monopoly money and now the dealer was ready for pay back.
Who is the bigger idiot here? The dude who tried to pay for his crack with play money. Or the dude who took a couple weeks to figure out that brightly colored slips of paper were not actually U.S. legal tender


My Kids Have No Idea What a Walkman Is

Last week Gizmodo ran a series on the rise and (perceived) fall of Sony, and offered some recommendations how the company might find its way back the dominance it enjoyed in the 1980s.

What I have read I have found interesting. What I found particularly fun was this time-line of Sony innovation.

Not sure if Gizmodo is entirely correct on why Sony has struggled of late, but one thing is clear. Sony is no longer the force it once was.

March 10, 2010

Tron Legacy

I know what film I'll want to take Ian to go see over Christmas break this year.

Look for the computer de-aged Jeff Bridges at the 1:37 mark. Amazing.

Those Were The Days

Comics Should Be Good looks back at first major Ra's Al Ghul storyline, and boils down why this early 1970's version of the Batman by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams (mostly) remains one of my favorite incarnations of the character.
"This is a different era of Batman comics, one that Grant Morrison recently evoked - when Batman would spar with bad guys bare chested and then, of course, make out with their hot daughters."

I think I'm going to pull those comics out and re-read them.

Book Cover Design Time-Lapse

I always love these behind-the-curtain looks at how creative the process works.

This video shows 6 hours of work condensed down into 2 minutes, but it still provides an fascinating look into how a something transforms from concept to final artwork through the eyes and hands of an artist.


March 09, 2010

5 Things I Think

  • Wheezer's Raditude is the best album I have listened to in a long, long time.

  • Comic book artist Cameron Stewart revealed on his blog recently that he finished the pencils for Batman & Robin #9 in 2 weeks.

    Not only does his artwork look amazing, but from a storytelling perspective it is also top notch.

    Why is it that Stewart can complete an entire quality issue in 2 weeks but other artists of Stewart's caliber take 3 to 4 times as long to produce similar work?

  • Can't quite put my finger on it, but there was something un-nerving about hearing a gym full of kindergarten through 8th grade girls all sing along to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" at the Daddy-Daughter Dance I attended with Emma and Zoe last Saturday.

  • Few things feel rejuvenate me like a 20 minute nap on the train coming home at night.

    I will pass out for 20 solid minutes and wake up feeling like a new man.

    Wish I could do it earlier in the day. I think it would make the afternoon at the office more bearable.

  • I'm all in with the Blackhawks right now and have the NCAA tournament to watch later this month, so the return of baseball really isn't on my radar.

    None the less, I stumbled into the Cubs - White Sox spring training game from Arizona on Saturday afternoon and found myself hooked.

    It's amazing how just the sound of Len Kasper's and Bob Brenley makes it feel like it should be summer, even though it the thermostat was barely touching 40 degrees.

March 08, 2010

Iron Man 2 - New Trailer

This just keeps getting better.

I can't wait for May.

Bears Free Agents Leave Me Less Than Thrilled

Still not sure what to make of Friday's free agent spend-fest by the Chicago Bears.

I was disappointed that the Bears didn't land any new talent for the offensive line. Of all the areas I think the Bears need to improve, it's on the offensive line. I thought that was the case after the 2008 season. And it's what I still think after the 2009 season.

I don't know if it's general manager Jerry Angelo's plan to build the o-line through the draft (which hasn't really worked out well so far) or if he still has some money left to spend on free agents using the gift card the McCaskey's apparently gave him this spring, but the lack of any movement to improve the offensive line keeps me from getting too excited about defensive end Julius Peppers, tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, and running back Chester Taylor

One bright spot is that Manumaleuna is known as a blocking tight end - essentially another lineman for the offense. So maybe that's Lovie's and offensive coordinator Mike Martz's strategy. We can't get anymore work out of the talent we have on the o-line, so lets just add more guys to it.

That also goes for Chester Taylor, who I've heard a number of football analysts praise for his tough and consistent blocking.

Anyway, I'm sure Peppers will make an impact on defense, which is what a Bears team always hangs its hat on. Not sure if that will be a consistent impact or not, but I'm sure that when Peppers is on, than the Bears defense line will provide a power push and contribute to controlling the opposition.

Of course, there is still plenty of time before the 2010 season starts. A lot could still happen. There is a draft in a month or so. Time for more free agents and trades. But overall, I'm not feeling a lot of excitement here. Hopefully that changes before September.

March 07, 2010

Might Be On The Mend

I think I tracked the problem down to a typo in a .htaccess file

Didn't find this problem until after I changed the blog template in attempt to root out the issue.

Thought about switching the template back to my old one, but I kinda like this blogger stock template which I have started to customize. Might stick with it.

Kid Quote of the Week

Ian: In a few years I will be as tall as you.

Heather: I don't know about that . . .

Ian: Well, I'll at least be as tall as dad
- Ian, reminding me that I could very well end up being the shortest person in my family

Problems With the Blog

I know this blog looks all messed up. Comments have been missing for weeks, and now many of the images aren't showing up anymore.

Two weeks ago the service I used for hosting comments just stopped working.

This weekend I tried migrating the blog back to Blogger in preparation of Google shutting down FTP access for Blogger blogs (which I used). The result is all the images being gone.

I'm trying to sort through it all. Hopefully I can make sense of it soon.

Mallett Trying to Keep Up

Nice try Mallett, but you have miles to go before you get to Pastis levels.

Frazz for 3/7/2010

March 04, 2010

DC Icons

It's the cover artwork for Jim Lee's new book, ICONS: The DC Comics & WildStorm Art of Jim Lee.

I always enjoy Lee's artwork; especially his pencils, which I find have more depth and texture then when his work has been inked and colored.

But when did Batman become the focal point of the DC Big Three?

When an artist is representing the DC Trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, Superman always - always - gets the choice position.

Is it a reflection of Batman's raised marketing value post The Dark Knight movie?


But as a Batman fan I don't care. I like seeing him out front and center.

March 03, 2010

The Possibilities

If it wasn't for Heather to keep me in check, I imagine there would be a room in our house like this:

What I find interesting about this guy who sent in these photos showcasing his comic book and comic-related collection is that he got back into comics in 1989 after reading The Dark Knight Returns - which was the same book (and year read) that brought me back to comics.

March 02, 2010

5 Things I Think

  • I think this dude is taking superhero movies even more seriously than comic book fans take superhero movies.

  • Do you think NBC screened Jay Leno's studio audience for his first night back to the Tonight Show to make sure there weren't any Conan sympathizers planning on causing a disruption?

    I do.

    And I expect NBC will continue to do it for a few weeks.

  • Someone recently said that I remind them of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. I guess I should embrace the comparison and start dressing like him too.

  • Even though my interest waned a bit during the second week (expect for the hockey), I still miss not having the Olympics on every night after dinner.

  • Seems like Chuck E. Cheese has turned into the Mos Eisley cantina of the real world.

    Hardly seems like a week doesn't go by where that "establishment" isn't in the news for one bizarre reason or another. Be it the drunken brawls or abandoned kids, I can't imagine ever going back there.

March 01, 2010

Gyro Bowl

Any parent will immediately understand the genius of this product.

It's a cereal bowl mounted on gimbals so you can swing and twist it any way you want and the stuff inside won't spill out.

I'm almost tempted to buy a bunch for our house. 

The Good Old Days

When doctors endorsed cigarettes