Monday, December 29, 2003

Since I don't know if I'll have a chance to post later today, and I'll not be online until next Monday, I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very Happy & Safe New Year. Despite what the folks at Homeland Security and Fox News are telling everyone, I think we have more to fear from drunk drivers and unruly bar patrons then from Al Queda. Still take care and we'll be seeing you over on the other side of the calendar! Best wishes!
Not a whole lot to report from the Christmas break, so far. Had a nice time with a from my step-daughter and her father for a few days last week. I think it's great that Donna and I are able to get along so great with Michael, since it certainly makes things easier for Kristina.

They got in late Christmas Eve, so we couldn't do much visiting that night. Christmas morning found us opening gifts and then enjoying a great dinner which Donna had been getting together for the past several days. The rest of the day we simply relaxed and vegged out in front of the television.

Friday we all went to the movies and caught SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE, with Diane Keaton & Jack Nicholson. Nicholson is great, playing himself basically, with Keaton absolutely wonderful as playwright Erika Barry. Both actors certainly deserve the Golden Globe nominations and I'd love to see Keaton take it, as this is one the best performances she'd given in years.

Everybody left on Saturday, so Donna and I were able to relax. After some shopping and lunch, we stopped by Tommy K's and picked up CHICAGO, which we'd been hoping to see since it was released. Both of us enjoyed it and can certainly see why it was nominated for so many awards. Gere was surprisingly good in the role of Billy Flynn, with both Zellweger and Zeta-Jones doing nice jobs as the female leads. Personally, I think the best performance in the film was that of John C. Reilly as the unfortunate Amos Hart, who is betrayed several times by Zellweger (as his wife Roxie), but still loves her inspite of everything. His single number 'Mister Cellophane' stands out after many other numbers fade.

A few months ago, Mark Evanier mentioned over on his site (link over on the left) a Game Show Network special "Big Bucks: the Press Your Luck Scandal about the infamous game show incidentl, involving Michael Larsen. The special was rerun last night and we had a chance to finally catch it. It is fascinating both showing how Larsen deciphered the 'random' system used in the games board and what happened to Larsen both before and after his big win. There are no real villains in the piece although Larsen comes closest, but more for his treatment of his family than for 'ripping off' a television network.

GSN did a good job putting this together, combining interviews with Larsen's family, members of the shows production staff and Larsen's fellow contestants that day. Larsen himself passed away a few years ago, but part of his last television interview is included so we get to hear 'his side' of the event. The actual programs are included, with special inserts letting us know what was going on behind the scenes and what the other contestants were thinking as the show went on.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Just want to once again wish a very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, fine Winter Solstace and joyous Kwanzaa to one and all. Did I miss anybody?

I'll be back next Monday, since they have to have at least one Librarian on duty each day. Drive safely and be careful, if you are out celebrating. I don't think many folks actually tune in here, but I'd hate to lose any of you that do!
If you check some of the headlines over at World Press Review, you'll get different takes on the current Mad Cow Disease controversy. One thing I hadn't known before, but mentioned in the British paper The Guardian was that our Sect. of Agriculture was formerly employed by the cattle/beef industry as a lobbyist. Now isn't that an interesting tidbit?

Somebody on a network news show was saying that humans do not catch Mad Cow, which is technically correct, but they can become infected with a related illness which has caused over 130 deaths, most of them in Britain during their last crisis.

Already talked to one co-worker who has said she will not be serving beef over the holidays. The stockmarket seems to have the jitters with both Wendy's and McDonald stocks taking a hit just since the news yesterday. It will be interesting to see how things filter down.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The fine folks over at the Center for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) have a page where you can get rid of those unwanted 'chain letters', if you feel uneasy about simply deleting them. Called "Chain Letters Anonymous" this site allows you to forward the chain letter to "ten of your friends" with a simple click & drag. :-)

Even though I hate the things, and don't believe a word in them, I have to admit that there's sometimes a little voice in the back of my mind that says I should be careful and besides sending it along won't hurt anybody.

While there check out the page on Internet Hoaxes and the general CSICOP pages. While I'm not currently a member of the organization I still like to keep up on what their doing. I really want to recommend an article on how Larry King books a number of psychics and UFO-ologists on his show, all but promoting their unscientific programs. It's all for ratings, naturally, but still sad that CNN allows this type of thing on a show supposedly part of their 'news' department.

If I have a chance later, I'll post my latest Joe Bob Briggs review. Frankly, that particular book (The Jesus Thief) inspired me to get back into the habit of checking out the CSICOP site on a regular basis.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Wonder if Al-Queda is responsible for the California earthquake? Better get Tom Ridge into body armor and onsite to check things out.

Honestly, does anybody but Mayor Bloomberg and several governors (looking towards re-election, or in the case of Connecticut's Governor Rowland possible investigation) really pay attention to those things anymore? I have a feeling that a check of Google's archives would find that the Dept. of Homeland Fear and Trepidation put out a similar alert the same time last year.

Spent the past weekend finishing up our Christmas shopping and preparations. Donna had a bit of last minute shopping for her mom and cooked up a huge pot of sauce for Christmas dinner. We're having lasagna this time, along with antipasto and salad. Seems weird for me, since I grew up having turkey for almost every holiday, save Easter, but then I wasn't Italian. :-)

Meanwhile, here at UNH, the IT folks have been busy since last week updating our computer system. Naturally, as always happens, I've now lost a number of files and several programs that I requested never seem to have been saved. It's going to take me several days (at least) to get everything back up, so I'm not sure if I'll have a chance to post again. If not I hope that everybody out there has a joyous holiday!

Maybe Santa will bring you all enough duct tape and plastic wrap to survive into the New Year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I'm sure I'm the last guy to post this, but you really should see "The Lord of the Right Wing". Brilliant animation spoof on both LotR and G.W.

Monday, December 15, 2003

While the rest of the world was transfixed by FOX News, CNN and MSNBC I was actually watching E!. Sad that I found "Celebrities 101 Biggest Oops!" more interesting then the discovery of the Ace of Spades, but that's just me. :-)

Later we watched the "The Osbourne Family Christmas Special" repeat on MTV. Now that's serious entertainment, in my book! Topping off the night watching MEET THE PARENTS (Robert DeNiro & Ben Stiller), which we'd seen in the theatre and enjoyed just as much this time around.

Nice, non-stressful weekend and I wish I had more like that.
Like other folks over here on the Left, I suppose I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. First off, I'm surprised that the troops didn't blast Saddam to Kingdom Come (not copyrighted by DC comics), but took him alive. It will be fascinating to see where/how he is finally tried and what the CIA (among others) will be squirming about should SH's testimony become public.

If this allows the coalition forces to pack up and come early, then I'm in favor of it. If it saves the lives of any of the troops then I'm also happy to have it come to such an end. If showing the examination and humiliation of the former leader of Iraq on television increases the danger, than the administration has only itself to blame. No matter what we may think of him, or what he might/or might not have done he was the head of a nation and should be shown some respect for that fact alone. If any American soldier was shown being given a physical exam, and appearing in such a state the American media would be up-in-arms decrying his humiliation before a world wide audience.

Anyway, I really don't think that this will effect the coming elections greatly. Those already predisposed to G.W. will use this as more justification for their belief. Those, like myself, who wouldn't vote for the man if he was the only one on the ballot in all fifty states, believe that there was still no justification for sending troops to begin with and the GOP is bringing this country way too far to the right.

To be honest, I didn't even know about Saddam's capture until hours after it apparently happened. Donna and I were wrapping X-mas gifts and playing with our new cell phones. For my b-day (53rd on Saturday) she got me my own phone and switched hers so we have matching ones. I actually spent more time playing Blackjack on the thing, than inputting phone numbers. :-)

Thursday, December 11, 2003

The fine folks over at Whitehouse For Sale post on the Supreme Court decision regarding the McCain-Feingold bill. Also, they have a nice piece about an Arab-American waiter in Baltimore, who didn't quite meet Secret Service criteria for keeping the President safe & sound, or at least that's what the SS says now. This site primarily covers those folks who donate (and otherwise influence) the White House and like-minded Republican politicians. Always fascinating, if you're at all interested in who is behind the GOP's large warchest.
Things were dead at the Reference Desk earlier, so I had a chance to write up the following review. As per usual, I'll be reprinting this in my Capa-Alpha zine, but since only one or two folks in that apa have mentioned reading the blog I don't think I'll spoil anything.

I've tried not to give anything away, just in case folks might be interested in catching it over the weekend.
THE LAST SAMURAI Well, if you've ever seen SHOGUN, the mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain years ago, you'll have an idea of what you're in for with film. As a fan of that particular made-for-TV epic, I'm not slighting this new feature at all. I'm simply warning you that if you were expecting anything different or new then you would probably be better off saving your money.

Tom Cruise plays former Army captain Nathan Algren, a bitter veteran of the western campaign, including a number of massacres of innocent Native Americans. Algren suffers from nightmares about his past exploits and tries to keep them under control by drinking heavily. After violently ending his career as spokesmen for a firearms manufacturer, Algren is approached by his former Sergeant (portrayed by Billy Connolly) who has found a possible way for both of them to make some money. The Japanese emperor faces a rebellion by former allies and desires both arms and training for his fledgling army. Algren's military record seems to make him the ideal candidate. Hoping to escapes his current situation, and possibly his haunting memories, Algren agrees to travel to Japan and take up his position as advisor.

Of course, if everything ran smoothly you wouldn't have much of a movie here, so incidents occur which brings Algren face to face with the emperor's former teacher, the rebellious samurai, Katsumoto (with Ken Watanbe, the best thing about this movie, in the title role). Captured after a disastrous military misadventure, created by Algren's former superior officer (played by Tony Goldwyn) Colonel Bagley, Algren is the prisoner of Katsumoto and finds that he will be a generally unwelcome guest for the next several months. The two leads eventually learn to respect each other and, as was the case with Richard Chamberlain's John Blackstone in SHOGUN, Algren comes to embrace the samurai code and joins Katsumoto in his ill-destined quest.

If I were the type to give "star" ratings I'd probably give this film a solid three out of four. Sadly, both Cruise's low key acting style (except in a few notable scenes) doesn't really bring to the movie the sort of emotional impact that it needs. Also (and I'm not going to give away anything here), the ending is a bit too "Hollywood" for me and I have to wonder if there was another ending which will be made available on the inevitable DVD release. For what it's worth, the battle scenes and individual fights were nicely handled by everyone involved, including Cruise, who has already proven himself to be a decent action star.

Two final things before I end this review. Sadly, Billy Connolly doesn't have nearly as much screen time as I'd have liked. It would have been very interesting to see why there was such a bond between his character and Cruise's. Again, something that might have ended up on the editing room floor, but we'll see in the DVD edition. Lastly, I was surprised and actually pleased that a romantic sub-plot in the film was handled so nicely

Caught the trailer for RETURN OF THE KING again, which I'm really looking forward to seeing in the first week of release. Donna bought me the 4-DVD edition of TWO TOWERS for our anniversary and I've been slowing going through all the documentaries and assorted goodies. My plan it to try and re-watch both FELLOWSHIP (which I have in the 2-DVD set) and TWO TOWERS prior to seeing the new film. Yeah, I know that I'm not going to be surprised by anything in the third film, but I do expect to be as amazed by Peter Jackson's vision as I was the first two times.

They had the trailer for TROY, which I'd already seen on ET, but it's pretty cool up on the big screen. The image of the Trojan fleet is pretty nice and Brad Pitt is damn buff in his Achilles armor. :-)

Also, saw a promo for MIRACLE, which features Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks, who coached the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Based on the actual events, it looks to be one of those 'feel good' movies that might bring in some boxoffice, depending on what premieres the same weekend. I remember vividly sitting in a bar with my college roommate, Brian, cheering along with everybody else watching the game. Drape me in a flag and call me sentimental, but I might actually be tempted to check this out with it comes to the local cineplex.

Just a quick post to let folks know that I'm still around and survived the Blizzard of 2003 (or whatever your local news anchors dubbed this last snow storm). Wasn't quite as bad here in southwestern CT as it could have been, but still caused a number of changes in plans.

Donna and I were actually enjoying ourselves at the Mohegan Sun casino, last Friday when it hit. Her company was having their annual holiday get-together (last year it was at Foxwoods, the other casino here in Connecticut), when around 4:00pm we took a break from the slots to say goodbye to those folks who had taken the charter bus. Lo and behold, we discovered that the storm had begun about 15 to 20 minutes earlier and everything was already covered in white.

It generally takes us from less than an hour to reach either casino, but we spent over three and a half hours slowly working our way back to West Haven. We passed at least a half dozen abandoned/stalled cars and three actual accidents, plus some poor souls who actually found themselves completely turned around and facing on-coming traffic on the highway (while their rearend was lodged in the drifts created by the snowplows). We spend about fifteen minutes 'parked' because part of Rt. 95 was closed. Needless to say we were very happy to finally get home and couldn't have been happier with the way the new car handled. :-)

We're in the midst of final exams here at UNH, so you can imagine that things have been pretty hectic. Haven't had much time to catch up on my e-mail, let alone posting a blog. I'm hoping that, since I'm working the next couple of nights, to post a bit more frequently, including a review of THE LAST SAMURAI, which I caught yesterday.

That's it for now, unless something catches my attention later.

Monday, December 01, 2003

I don't know why I bother talking about what my plans are, since something always happens to change them. It looked as though Donna and I were going to be spending Thanksgiving alone, since she wasn't feeling well, but by Thursday morning she was feeling much better so we went into Brooklyn, as we had initially planned. Had a nice time with her family and went way beyond Wieght Watcher limits. We plan on rejoining after the holidays, but hope not to have gained too much since we'd been doing really well for the twenty weeks we'd been members.

Commercials fascinate me and (as others have said) can often be the most enjoyable part of some programs. Last night saw a fascinating cross-over, with the guy from Sprint appearing with the Pillsbury Doughboy. Loved when he asked to poke the little guy and the Doughboy, sort of with resignation in his voice, says something like, "Go ahead, everybody wants to." Not as bizarre as the STAR WARS tie-in with Burger King, Taco Bell and KFC, but it was certainly unexpected.

Oh, caught another one of those made-for-TV Christmas movies last night. Donna and I had seen "The Town That Cancelled Christmas" last year, so were surprised to find Peter Falk reprising his role as 'Max' in this years "Finding John Chrismas." This time out it's Valerie Bertinelli (looking a bit bloated) as a nurse searching for her long-lost brother (William Russ). Last time out Max aided Patricia Heaton (of EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND) to 'discover the true meaing of Christmas'. I admit that I'm a sucker for this type of thing and can sit through some real drivel. Falk is the real reason to watch this, of course, and I expect (if his health remains good) that we'll see him pop up again in this role next holiday season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Wanted to post my latest book review, which I've already sent along to the Joe Bob Briggs folks.

I really didn't know if I'd care for this book, but ended up really enjoying it. Reads like a great novelization of an action movie, which it could easily be adapted into. Even keeping the terrorists as Iranians, would work right into the possible future plans of this administration and their neo-con advisors.

Oh, I've already conceded the next election to Bush. I can't see any of the current Democratic candidates being able to equal either financial clout of the Repubs, nor able to counter the hours of negative campaigning by both Bush himself and fan club over on Fox, etc. The next five years will be even uglier than the past three, but unfortunately I can't see any light at the end of the tunnel. By 2008 I wouldn't be surprised if elections are simply cancelled (for our own good, of course) and the whole sham of democracy completely done away with.

Yeah, I'm not in a good mood, why do you ask?

Hate something or someone for the religion of your choice and get back to me next week.
It's been one of those weeks where between work and family events I just haven't had time to post. Earlier this week I had planned on talking about getting a new car (a 2003 Saturn Vue), comments on the Republican Medicare plan (now pushed through and still not able to do anything for anybody for several years, even then not doing much for those who really need it, but doing great things for insurance and drug companies) and the continuing Michael Jackson hoopla. It seems his defense team is doing it's best to make things ugly, both for the family of the alleged victim and for anyone who might think about coming forward with further accusations. Not that MJ is necessarily innocent, but by God we'll ruin anybody who says otherwise. Hard to believe there weren't more candle-light vigils for Jacko.

Poor Donna has been diagnosed with shingles and is not a happy camper. I remember my mother suffering from the same things years ago and so I can sympathize with my wife. Unfortunately, not only does it put a damper on our plans for the Thanksgiving weekend, but I really hate to see her in such pain.

Don't know if I'll have a chance to post later, even though I just completed a new review for Joe Bob's site. If not I want to wish everyone a very, Happy Thanksgiving (however you celebrate or don't) and an enjoyable weekend. The University if closed down as of this afternoon, so I'll be back next Monday to give you a rundown on what's been going on. Be well!

Friday, November 21, 2003

I suppose it's not a great surprise that with everything going on in the world today that the major news story on last night's new shows (and this morning, as well) was the arrest of Michael Jackson on child molestation charges. So far, I've seen Robert Shapiro and Johnny Cochrane from OJ's 'Dream Team' way in, naturally on Jocko's side. Brother Jermane appears to be the family's spokeperson, as he has been in just about every incident in which his younger brother is involved. I expect the usual suspects (lead by Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Ross) to look for their minute in the spotlight on one or more of the entertainment 'magazine shows', talking about how much Jackson has done for sick and needy children.

Look, I don't know if MJ is guilty of anything but bad judgement, but if you are someone in the spotlight who has been accused of this type of thing before (whether charges were brought or not) you'd think that you would have sense enough not to place yourself in a position (and no, I'm not even going there with that) where any hint of wrong doing could be brought against you. This is a man in major need of an 'intervention'! His friends (real friends and not hangers on) and family have to sit him down and say, "Michael, a 45 year old man can't have sleepovers with young children! And what the Hell do you need a "secret room" with a trapdoor entrance for?"

Finally, is this creepy or what? (WARNING: Be prepared to be startled!) I mean, are they really sure about the that the sections on RACE and SEX are properly filled in?

Have a good weekend if I don't feel an urge to post again later.
I've just added a link to the Center for American Progress over on the side. They have been doing a great job of covering the current debate on Medicare and presription drugs in Congress, and how AARP (of which I'm a member) is trying to convince their membership to blindly accept the GOP bill. The organization's (AARP, that is) argument is basically that even if this bill isn't 'perfect' we should urge our Senators and Representatives to pass it and we can fix it later. B***S***, as far as I'm concerned.

The Center also has a daily newletter that covers other "progressive" causes and issues which may be on interest to folks who read this blog. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Just finished reading an interview with Gore Vidal (which Mark Evanier linked to a week or so ago) and was intrigued enough to check out his comments re: Benjamin Franklin. I think both Vidal and Franklin are correct in feeling that despotism is what we have at the current time. Franklin predicted it over 200 years ago and Vidal points to it today.

Jefferson was probably right that we should hold a Constitutional Convention ever few years and start from scratch. The rich have already taken just about everything they can, so we might as well hand them everything else, sit back and wait to be taken away.

Here's a link to Franklin's speech. If nothing else, it demonstrates once again that the old guy knew his fellow Americans all too well.
It's too easy to make jokes, even on about a subject like child molestation, when Michael Jackson is involved. The folks over at Court TV have been on top of this thing, which I suppose isn't a surprise. If nothing else it will be interesting to see how CBS reacts this time (as in the Reagan TV-movie situation), since Jackson has a special scheduled on the network next week.

I'll also be surprised if Jackson is actually arrested, despite the warrent. It would certainly be easy for him to cut and run, doing a Roman Polanski, but I don't think he chance it, since he still believes that he's fine and it's the rest of us who have a problem.
Didn't want to appear totally negative about DC comics so I wanted to briefly note the latest issue of JSA (#54) which not only features a nice "Norman Rockwell" inspired cover by Carlos Pacheco and Jésus Meriño, but a very nice Thanksgiving themed story as well. The JLA drops by JSA headquarters to celebrate the holidays and loosen up a bit.

Written by Geoff Johns the story is a twist on those typical tales where super-hero events (weddings, funerals, reunions) are rudely interrupted by the 'surprise' appearance of some villain. The art by Don Kramer and Keith Champagne isn't outstanding, but the team is able to make each of the dozen or more characters into individuals. They also are able to convey the differing emotions of the heroes, not restricting them to grinding their teeth or screaming in rage.

Johns brings us up to date on some continuing plot lines, and still allows time for some bits of humor along the way. I really liked how he used Batman in this issue, since it was a nice change of pace from how the Dark Knight is being portrayed over in his own books. The last page, featuring Batman and Mr. Terrific is perfect. Hey, you actually get to glimpse the man behind the mask, if you know what I mean.

This time I mean it when I say, "Thanks, DC!"
Cartman would probably call me a "tree-hugging hippie", but I was a little bothered by the storyline in last night's NAVY:NCIS. Don't want to give any major plot points away, but I was disturbed by the way that environmental protestors were portrayed. Not only was the villain in the piece revealed to be a enviro-terrorist, but the show seemed to smear those folks who have serious questions about the use of certain type of radar, which may interfere with the communication and lives of whales.

At one point the show's lead, Mark Harmon, suggests to a guard at the camp gate that he shoot a group of protestors outside the base. Boy, I certainly got a chuckle out of that!

I've mentioned that I generally like this show, and personally have always liked Harmon as an actor, but it does bother me and I think sends a bad message. Then again the show is produced by Donald P. Bellisario, whose FIRST TUESDAY, was supposed to be CBS' answer to the 'leftist' WEST WING.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Believe it or not, I’m actually going to talk about comics today! Yeah, I know it says fanboy up there at the top of the blog and everything, but I have to admit that they aren’t the main focus of my life at this point. I still read and enjoy them, but I find it difficult to work up enthusiasm enough to actually review much of what I’m reading.

There are several books, which I love and look forward to each month (or each issue, in some cases since they aren’t monthly titles), but I don’t think you want to hear me raving about the same ones all the time.

Mark Crilley’s AKIKO is among the Top Five books for an ‘all ages’ audience, currently being produced. Only the most jaded of comic book geeks would not find themselves enjoying this title and it is one of those books that I’d always feel safe recommending to non-comics fans. The current issue (#51) may not be the perfect place to start, since so much of it requires some knowledge of past events and stories, however there are enough jokes and surprises even for those only minimally familiar with the series. If you’re not already reading AKIKO you really should at least give it a chance when you spot it at the comics shop.

Ditto Stan Sakai’s USAGI YOJIMBO, although the swordplay may deter some parents from handing this to the youngest child. Still considering what most kids are subjected to on any given day on the WB or FOX Kids, I don’t think that the battles and almost bloodless fighting will traumatize anyone. Depending on how any particular issue strikes me AKIKO and UY move up and down in my Top Five, though usually one of them is my #1 book for that week.

The Batman Family of books have been, IMHO, been going downhill the last few months. Seems as though some of the writers are treading water until the next Big Event or crossover. I’ve already dropped BATGIRL, NIGHTWING, GOTHAM KNIGHTS & BIRDS OF PREY from my shopping list. To be honest, only ROBIN continues to interest me with its current storyline involving a possible ‘traitor’ within the Bat family. The current issue of BATMAN (#620) is the first part of an arc written by Brian Azzarello with art by Eduardo Risso, best known for the collaboration on 100 BULLETS. Frankly, what works so well in that book doesn’t work equally well (again IMHO) in a Batman title, especially in the character’s main book. Maybe I’m getting old and stodgy, but I don’t think that a parent would really be thrilled to open this book and find Bat’s trading innuendo with a nearly naked woman. I also don’t like MY Batman using a tied up bad guy as a punching bag. I don’t know if I’m even willing to give the next issue a try, since it’s a six-issue arc and I don’t see the mood of the book changing. Time to save another few bucks per month. Thanks, DC!

I’m a bit unhappy with the end of the “Water bearer” arc over in AQUAMAN. With issue #12, Rick Veitch finishes up a year of mostly solid issues, but quickly wraps up (with death in one case, possibly two but it's really unclear) some threads, which had begun in the first few issues. Basically it ends with Arthur saying, in effect, “Hey, I’m all better now and later for you bitch.”

I had actually come to like the characters of Sweeney and McCaffrey and feel badly that Veitch treats them in such a cavalier fashion. I suppose he felt that he had to allow the new creative team a free hand in continuing the story, but allowing one to die and blowing off the other in such a fashion really makes Arthur look pretty bad in my book. I really don’t know at this point if I’m going to bother picking up later issues. Frankly, I can’t say that I care all that much about the fate of Atlantis. Thanks again, DC!

Monday, November 17, 2003

Not much to report about this past weekend, so I'll just mention a couple of TV shows that have caught my interest lately.

I know I’ve mentioned this show before, but after seeing another episode last night, involving a case of ‘gay bashing,’ I wanted to plug it again. While CSI and CSI: Miami remain my personal faves, COLD CASE is really beginning to click with me. I enjoy the idea of Detective Lilly Rush (played by Kathryn Morris) being given the job of looking at murder cases, which have never been solved or where new evidence appears which may change the original conclusion. Rush is the only woman in the Philadelphia homicide bureau, which brings its own problems, naturally. (Hey, it is network television, so you have to have your typical “old boys” who resent Rush, plus the younger guys all hitting on her. Despite this Morris brings some intelligence to the character, but also a sensitivity that other female detectives on the small screen seem to lack.)

One of the nice little touches on the show, as I think I mentioned weeks ago when the show premiered, is that we see the characters as they are today as well as how they were at the time of the original crime. While a little short on the usual car chases and action that most ‘cop shows’ use to fill the time, COLD CASE actually allows characters to drive the plot, allowing the viewer to sympathize with both the victim and occasionally the murderer as well.

If you get ANIMAL PLANET on your cable system, Donna and I both recommend KING OF THE JUNGLE. Despite not being a fan of 'reality shows' like SURVIVOR and the like, we've really taken to this twist on the concept. Twelve individuals, all with backgrounds in working with animals (veterinarians, zoo keepers, animal handlers, etc.) compete in a series of challengers. They range from the physical (climbing trees, navigating rope bridges) to actually working with animals of different sorts. Some just involve identifying a creature and then having a minute of air time to explain the animal to viewers, while others force the contestants to 'capture' specimens. Just like all the other shows of this type each week one contestant is judged 'off' the show and has to leave the encampment. Eventually the finalist will be given their own show on ANIMAL PLANET. Certainly not original, but lots of fun for folks who enjoy Wild Kingdom, Croc Hunter and other things like that.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

I'd been debating it for the last week or so, but decided that since I had the day off yesterday I'd take in a movie. While there are several out there that I have an interest in catching I settled on MATRIX: REVOLUTIONS. Despite the mixed reviews of fans and critics, and my own disappointment in the second film I still had enough interest in actually seeing the final installment up on the big screen. Besides it was only a $6.00 matinee, so I wasn't going to be out all that much.

Anyway, my initial reaction even halfway through the movie was that this was way better than the second film, which really took itself way too seriously. It dragged endlessly at points with long, dull scenes,where characters took turns talking about the meaning of life and the differences between men & machines. While there were a few such scenes in REVOLUTIONS they were few and certainly offset by the most incredible action sequences I've ever seen.

As at least one reviewer I've read has correctly said, if/when the next Superman movie is made the filmmakers will be hard pressed to create a scene anywhere near as exciting at the ultimate battle between Agent Smith and Neo. Hugo Weaving, as the all but indestructible former agent of the machines, steal each and every scene in which he appears. His Smith is one of the scariest screen villians that you've ever seen. Weaving doesn't neet makeup to convey the evil within, just his looks and mannerism send chills up your spine. Smith is such a classic screen villian, that it makes you forget that Weaving also brought to life Elrond in the three LORD OF THE RINGS films. THe two characters could not be further apart in terms of compassion and heroism, but both are equally vivid roles for this actor.

Keanu Reeves is THERE, if you know what I mean. At this point I can't think of another actor who would have been right in the role of the hacker turned savior, but unlike Weaving the only reason Reeves stands out is when the camera focuses on him. Only in a few scenes, and this thanks to camera angles and lighting, does Reeves have a presense beyond the characters around him.

Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss are good in solid supporting roles. Frankly, it is Fishburne's Morpheus who gives the triology any real passion, except in those scenes where Weaving totally dominates. Moss, on the other hand, is only good in the action scenes where Trinity takes over, sadly the actress almost disappears into the background when she's not dressed in leather and kicking ass.

While I haven't seen the third TERMINATOR film, the scenes of the machine dominated future never had the feel of total subjugation that you see when Neo and Trinity finally come upon the 'machine city'. It is completely alien and inhuman in the way it looks, the complete domination of anything human or natural is marvelously portrayed in those scenes.

Sadly, the film ends (and the Wachowski's say it IS the end) leaving as many questions unanswered as there were in the beginning. What did happen to Morpheus? What became of the Merovingian and the Trainman, among others? Are they still 'out there', or did they suffer the fate of Agent Smith?

Did I enjoy the movie? Yes, I did. Very much so, but I wasn't satisfied and left the theatre wondering just what had happened and if I'd ultimately been suckered into spending more $20 and close to eight hours over the past few years watching a lot of flash with no substance.

Among the half dozen trailers I sat through I saw three that caught my interest. The new, longer trailer for RETURN OF THE KING gets me even more psyched for the final installment in Peter Jackson's brilliant realization of THE LORD OF THE RINGS triology. We all know how this film is going to end, at least I assume that everyone watching the movies has read the books by this point (or at least had somebody tell them the story), so the surprises will be in how the filmmakers and actors bring to life the world we have come to know. Again, it is amazing to see Gollum and realize that this poor, sad creation is nothing more then pixels in a computer. I'm really looking forward to this film and the only drawback is that on the day it opens I'll have to be here at the university since we'll be updating out entire computer system. Believe me, my original intention was to call in sick that day. :-(

THE PUNISHER actually looks like it might be a good film and will certainly make the original Dolph Lundgren feature fade from memory, even more than it has. I doubt that most folks will even know that there was a previous incarnation. No doubt, prioir to the premier of this new version the Lundgren film will start reappearing on cable. John Travolta once again plays the bad guy in a movie, with Thomas Jane in the lead.

Caught the trailer for TROY on ET the other night, and felt it works even better on the large screen. While not a huge Brad Pitt fan, I'm looking forward to seeing the classic (in all senses of the word) story of Hellen, Achielles and Paris brought to life. Sadly, Ray Harryhausen doesn't appear involved so I don't know if the Greek gods will be making an appearance.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Interesting article in yesterday's Washington Post (with apologies for having to sign in) about billionaire George Soros donating millions of his own wealth to various anti-Bush organizations. Far be it for me to say anything nice about wealthy folks, but it is nice to see somebody with money not tossing it into the Republican trough.

Had a few medical procedures performed on me yesterday and seem to have come through okay. I'm awaiting the results of a biopsy on some polyps discovered, but the doctor tells me she doesn't believe them to be cancerous. They did discover that I may be developing an ulcer and diverticulitis, so I'll add that to my gluten alleges and see what's left to eat. :-(

Friday, November 07, 2003

Found it interesting to read in an article yesterday (which unfortunately I didn't note at the time, so can't link to it) which mentioned something that I had not noticed. Ever since the Prez announced that 'major conflict' in Iraq was over, G.W. has not attended a single funeral or memorial service for the men and women being killed while overseas. Now I'd naturally, be among the first to say he was playing politics if he was attending each and every one, and frankly I wouldn't expect him to. However, it is almost as if the Administration is trying to distance itself from the actual hardships our troops are undergoing, while trying to take credit for any successes (limited as they may be).

I'm sure we'll see Bush going to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, come Veteran's Day and no doubt he'll have to make some mention of those who have lost their lives in HIS 'war on terror.' If he had any backbone he would stand up and read off a list of every single soldier, sailor and marine who has been killed in action since the invasion first took place. Maybe he and Dick "I was busy doing other things and that's why I didn't go to Vietnam" Cheney could take turns reading the names and publically expressing their sadness to the families of those in uniform who will not return.

Later this morning I will be taking part in a ceremony here at UNH, honoring those members of the faculty, staff and student body who have served in the Armed Forces. I realize that these types of events will be taking place around the nation in the next several days, but I think that here and in those (unlike the one in Washington) people will be sincere in what they say.
Just a quick heads up for any librarians or information specialists who may be reading. The current issue of Computers in Libraries has several articles on Blogging. The link will bring you to their main article, which tells why libraries may want to consider setting up a blog both for internal and patron use.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Today's issue of the Slate, has an interesting article by Timothy Noah on The Reagans the mini-series which CBS cravenly pulled because of Republican protests. I had to laugh when I read of that the network was placing it on Showtime, because some execs felt that 'upon viewing' the program they felt it wasn't 'balanced.' Man, you have to love that! Since when have bio-pics, especially those done by the major networks ever had any glimmer of balance?

Also, just read earlier today Mark Evanier's column (link over to the left) on the death penalty and Gary Leon Ridgway, in particular. Seems that this serial killer of at least 48 women was able to cut a deal with prosecutors, preventing him from getting the death penalty for his crimes.

Personally, if you had asked me, even ten years ago how I felt about capital punishment I would have automatically said that it was wrong in all cases. I must admit that in recent years I've begun to wonder if this really is a position I can stand behind. Mark's column, and his comments, pretty closely reflect my own at this point. The use of the ultimate penalty in this country is horribly unfair, both racist and classist in the extreme. Compare the stats in any stats on the number of poor, black men and rich, white men serving on 'death row.' Pretty damn sobering.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Found an interesting article over in the online edition of the Washington Post (sorry, but you have to register for this)about a Canadian citizen who was picked up by American authorities. Apparently he was deported to Syria, where he had been born, then held and tortured for months before he was finally released.

Anybody else like me, find that just about everyone they voted for yesterday ended up on the losing end? Hell, I even voted Republican in some cases, simply because the Democratic Mayor here is pretty shady and his fellow Dems seem fine with that. I look forward to the possible investigation that state Attorney General is rumored to be considering, as I'm sure if/when Hiz Honor gets indicted my fellow West Haveners will all deny voting for the guy to begin with. :-(

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I guess like most folks (at least on this side of the Atlantic) I "discovered" Alan Moore back when he began doing SWAMP THING for DC and basically created a new type of comic, which would develop into what is now known as the Vertigo style. Other writers have followed him, mostly British, Irish, etc. and now a few American writers seem to be able to do truly 'adult' comics (in all senses of the word). Over the years we have followed Moore as he went from one amazing project to another, seemingly able to work his magic in just about any comic genre.

It's funny perhaps that in his work for his ABC comics, Moore has created characters that capture a style that Moore would seem ill-suited to work with. TOM STRONG would seem the very anti-thesis of an Alan Moore character, yet he has created this wholesome throwback and has made him one of the most interesting characters in comics. Moore's PROMETHIA has taken the Wonder Woman idea and made it into something never before seen in 'mainstream' comics. With TOP TEN Moore brought us a NYPD BLUE, with super-heroes and made us care about an odd group of very different characters.

In the current SMAX mini-series, Moore takes the title character (one of the officers from TOP TEN) and his partner, Robyn (known as Toy Box in TT, for her use of an array of tiny robots she carries with her) back to his homeworld. Moore uses theses two to poke some serious fun at just about every 'fairytale' cliche you could ask for. Just about every panel has been filled by Moore (very ably assisted by penciller Zander Cannon and inker Andrew Currie) with jabs at almost every fantasy creation you could name. Even as familiar as I am with some of the characters and references, I'm sure that I'm also missing dozens of others. Moore did the same thing in TOP TEN, where hundreds of well-known comics characters made cameos in panel after panel.

Amazingly, even with all this Moore is able to make both Smax and Robyn, people who we actually like. We discover that behind Smax' rough exterior there really is a very, sensitive and caring guy who can't seem to shake his destiny despite his best efforts.

Monday, November 03, 2003

I really wonder I ever try to plan anything in advance. This past weekend is proof of nothing else, than that you should remain flexible.

We received a phone message Friday afternoon, telling us that the last piece of our livingroom set (namely the coffee table) would be delivered between "11:27am and 2:27pm" on Saturday. Putting aside the odd timespan, it meant that even if they delivered the item early on we couldn't be on the road to Brooklyn until around noon at the earliest. Since we planned on leaving early Sunday, to avoid the some of the problems caused by the marathon it really didn't pay to travel. We'll try again, next week.

Things do not look good for the ground forces in Iraq, despite the spin on things given by the Administration. Sadly, we are stuck in a horrible situation, which was created by poor planning and ego, but it is the average soldier and marine who must face the consequences.

I know, nothing deep or earth-shattering, but it is only Monday after all.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Well, Happy Halloween to everyone out there in Blog land. Hope that you stay safe and survive whatever you have planned. Remember to check those goodies for hidden dangers and illegal substances before indulging. As the Sarge used to say on HILL STREET BLUES, "Let's be careful out there." :-)

Personally, the only thing I'll miss is not being able either attend in person, or view on TV the annual Village Halloween Parade. Next to Brooklyn's own Mermaid Parade and the Gay Pride March, the Halloween Parade is probably one of the most entertaining events you can attend free of charge in the city. Trust me, the Macy's Parade can be fun in small doses, but you have to experience the Village parade at least once to be a 'real' New Yorker. :-)

I think I saw my first costume here on campus earlier today. Then again, having never gone to a single sporting event here at UNH, the young lady might very well have been a cheerleader in uniform. Do they often were knee-high black boots and mesh stockings? Didn't back when I went to high school, but then I'm not much on today's fashions.

Donna and I are seriously considering going into Brooklyn for the weekend, if only to get together with some friends we haven't seen for a while. Unfortunately, this will mean having to deal with the tailend of the marathon on our return trip this coming Sunday.

In the close to fifteen years I lived in Brooklyn I can only remember twice actually viewing any part of the event in person. Once when trying to get to class, while attending Pratt Institute, and the other when I had to get to work one Sunday, only to find that I had to detour several blocks and then sneak past a police barricade. Please, don't get me started on my anti-marathon rant!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Believe it or not, there was actually a reference question here at the library and I accidentally ended my HERETIC review mid-rant. I know that nobody really cares, but just for my own amusement I’m going to finish it off.

Linda Blair is joined this time out by Richard Burton, who seems to be only partially there for much of the film. The man does have some acting chops left at this point in his career, but it is pretty obvious that he’s just paying some bills. Anyway, Burton goes around looking grim and then will explode, chewing up the set and anything that gets in his way. You can almost feel the spittle hitting you from the small screen. I’d love to know what the seventeen-year-old Blair must have thought, being jumped by the aging Burton in the final scenes. Since poor Regan actually becomes two separate beings (one the innocent Regan, the other the demon who killed Merrin and continues to exist in Regan), Burton gets to nuzzle the neck of the ‘evil’ Regan and then leap up to strangle the ‘good’ one.

Easy to see why the preview audiences laughed at this fiasco, which isn’t saved by the last minute editing of director John Boorman. Sydow and Blair seem to be the only ones who are taking this halfway seriously, and I really can’t blame either of them for the results. You’ve got to pity poor James Earl Jones, who portrays Kokum, an African priest/witchdoctor, who survived a possession by the same demon who now lives within Regan.

The special FX are about the only enjoyable things here and I’m almost (but not quite) interested in seeing what this film is like without the editing for television. One odd thing (so okay, there were a lot of odd things going on in this film, but this one was too blatant to ignore) was that in one scene where young Regan is sleepwalking, she is wearing a long, white nightgown. Apparently, someone at SCI-FI or elsewhere, felt that Blair’s outfit was a bit too revealing, since she spends half the scene with her bosoms obscured by a very, obvious white haze.

Not the most productive way to spend the morning, I’ll grant you, but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy myself.
So, anyway....

While Frankenstein's grandson was creating chaos among various buxom co-eds, the SCIC-FI network was filling space with a very forgettable WES CRAVEN PRESENTS MIND RIPPER (1995). Unfortunately, this looks like something Wes became attached to in order to get his son Jonathan's script actually filmed. The senior Craven doesn't seem to have had anything to do with this film, which was also released as THE OUTPOST. The only saving factor here is Lance Henriksen, doing his usual professional best but with little to actually do, except get tossed around by the 'monster' he created.

I don't think I'm giving anything away when I tell you that this has one of those all too common 'horror movie' cliche endings where you just know that the folks involved (at least the director and possibly the screen writer) are trying to set up a sequel.
This is actually kind of funny if you happen to know that the working title for this film was THE HILLS HAVE EYES 3, a sequel to films which the elder Craven both directed and wrote.

You'd think that by around noon, I'd have been tired of this type of thing, but then you don't know me very well. I love this stuff and could watch (and have to be honest) hour after hour of bad movies, especially bad horror/sf/slasher movies. To be honest, there is not much, save movies on Lifetime that I can't sit through.

Low and behold, SCI-FI decided to screen THE EXOCIST 2: THE HERETIC(1977). This sequel was both critically bashed and a box-office bomb. Surprisingly, considering how much I loved the first film I have never actually seen the sequel. On the other hand, I do have to admit that I actually paid to see THE EXORCIST III in the theatre. There at least we get some nice scenery chewing by George C. Scott and discover that Father Karras (Jason Miller, reprising his role) may NOT have died after all. To be honest, I actually enjoyed that film, but can certainly see how fans of the first would be pretty ticked off.

THE HERETIC brings back Linda Blair (she of the headturning and green pea vomiting first film) as Regan MacNeil. Not seen is her mother, played in the original by Ellen Burstyn, but we do get Kitty Winn (as Regan's nanny, Sharon Spencer) and Max von Sydow (in flashbacks, as Father Merrin), both from the first film. Here Regan is being treated by Louise Fletcher, who seems to be only slightly more caring than Nurse Ratched (whom she portrayed, marvelously in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST the previous year).
The week or so before Halloween, many of the cable networks drag out scores of horror/slasher flicks. Most are forgettable and deserve obscurity, but occasionally they'll put on some film which the audience might actually enjoy.

Sadly, early on a Thursday, when most folks are at work or watching the soaps (I guess) the networks figure they can cram in just about anything to fill the airtime. Since the Hallmark Channel appears to have dropped the reruns of Perry Mason (replacing them with The Waltons (a show I never watched when it initially ran) there wasn't much to do except surf the channels and try to find something remotely (pardon the expression) interesting.

AMC, in the midst of Monster Fest, had FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER (1959), which is not to be confused with the more well-known (at least in the strange circles I run with) JESSE JAMES VS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER (1966). FD is one of those grade-Z films cranked out to fill the second bill of drive-in theatres and low-budget movie houses. Actually, the title is misleading, since the villain is actually Victor Frankenstein's grandson, now going by the name Prof. Frank and continuing the experiments of his father and grandfather. In JJvsFD, on the other hand, the evil work is done by Maria, the granddaughter of the good Baron. Neither film is memorable, except that JJvsFD was released as part of the "great" double-bill with BILLY THE KID MEETS DRACULA, both of which were directed by William Beaudine, who went on to direct a number of Disney TV shows, as well as episodes of THE GREEN HORNET. At least BTKMD, had John Carradine doing an over the top performance as the Count, a role he had first taken up back in 1944 in HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

More bad horror stuff in a few.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Just a few things that have crossed my mind since yesterday.

Don't want to say where I heard this, but at one point earlier today I heard guy say something to the effect that he'd "like to pull a 'Kobe' " on some female. Is Bryant's name going to become a common expression for a certain sexual act?

I'm certain that everybody has heard the news that long-time PRICE IS RIGHT announcer Rod Roddy has passed away. If anybody has a chance to go to just about any Las Vegas or Atlantic City casino they are going to continue to hear Roddy's voice, as he did several announcements for the PRICE IS RIGHT video slot machine. There is even an animated Roddy head that appears at some points during the game.

Monday, October 27, 2003

So, okay nothing major happening here, but a few quick items while I'm thinking of them.

First off, my best wishes for a safe outcome for anyone readng this who either lives in the effected areas of California or who may have family out there. I spent a couple of years in the San Diego/Long Beach area during the mid-1970s, while in the Navy, and really grew to love the area. My fondest wish is to one day live out there on a permanent basis. Keeping my fingers crossed for those folks that Donna and I know out there.

We spent the weekend rearranging the furniture and replacing our old entertainment unit with a smaller one, which goes better with the new livingroom set. My step-daughter, Kristina and her partner Devin were around to lend a hand, which made things easier. The motto I came away with is "Two lesbians and a Librarian can do anything, as long as they have a straight woman to supervise." :-)

Finally, the original item I was going to post, before other things took place.


Thanks. I feel much better now. :-)

Friday, October 24, 2003

Apparently, if I go to sleep before the game ends the Yankees lose. I blame myself now for actually watching the BoSox/Yankees series and jinxing my boys. Anyway, coincidence or not, it does do my heart good to see that at least the Marlins aren't making it easy for the Bums.

I was actually surprised last evening to see a report on the ABC evening news investigating the sweetheart deals that Haliburton has gotten in Iraq. While it certainly isn't a surprise to anyone halfway paying attention, it is nice to see the mainstream broadcast media actually speaking up. I doubt that this will have any effect come the actual election, since nothing else the Bushies have done seem to have removed the blinders from the majority of Americans. Still let's hope that this stuff does cause a moment or two of discomfort for G.W. come the campaign next year.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Mark Evanier, over at his site (link to the left), has a link to a transcript of CROSSFIRE where Jerry Falwell backs up the remarks of General Boykin. Since the good Reverend knows God much better than I ever will, I guess the Big Guy is not only a Republican, but also has a pretty wicked sense of humor since he installed Bill Clinton in the White House just to get our attention.

If I'm following this God must have come up with this back before G.W. was even governor of Texas, so it proves that he does have some plan for all of us.

Hell, the old bastard must be a New York Yankees fan as well.
I expect that anyone who reads this blog is a fan of Doonesbury (or at least familiar with the strip). If you've missed the past few days you'll what to check to see how Trudeau is handling (pardon the expression) the Guber-nator situation.

While I was never a fan of the show "What's Happening!" it was still sad to hear of the death of Fred "Rerun" Berry. Whenever someone younger than me passes away it does make you think about your own mortality. Rest in peace!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I had to add a link to this item at It has to do with the recent lawsuit filed by David Gest against ex-wife Liza Minnelli. If this is all true than I'm even more disappointed that the 'reality show' dealing with their marriage didn't come about.

Also, sorry to hear that Jack Elam passed away the other day. This obit from New York Newsday covers the main points. Elam could either be the most comical or scariest guy on screen, depending on his role. He didn't even have to say anything, as his facial features allowed him to convey exactly the right emotions for the part. Happy trails, Mr. Elam!

Monday, October 20, 2003

Usagi Yojimbo continues to be among my Top Five comics. While other titles come and go on my list of favorites, Stan Sakai’s rabbit samurai remains one of those books that I immediately grab from my latest pile. I really think that if some folks could get over the fact that Sakai uses 'funny animals' as his main characters the sales on this book would rival many of the lesser titles from the Big Two.

The current story line involves the “Lone Goat & Kid” characters created by Sakai in homage to the manga classic “Lone Wolf and Cub”. As in the original book, Yagi (the Lone Goat) is a samurai hunted by a corrupt lord and his men. Traveling with son, Gorogoro, Yagi seeks to remain free and to raise his son as best he can in the Way of the Warrior. For the first time, this pair meets Jotaro, Usagi’s son (although Jotaro himself is unaware of this fact, thinking that Usagi is his uncle). At the end of the previous storyline, Jotaro had become separated from his father and was in fact, feared killed. Discovering that his son remains alive, Usagi attempts to trail the lad, unaware that Jotaro is in mortal danger.

If you're hesitating picking up a book that already has a long history and such a large cast you might want to check out the Usagi Yojimbo website. I don't think that you'll be disappointed.
Got the first advance e-mail regarding the Great International Beer Festival in Providence. This is the tenth annual event and I've attended the past two.

If you happen to be a fan of beer than you might want to consider checking out the site and see if it interests you at all.

I don't know if my pal Gerry and I will be going again this year, since I submerged my car a few months ago. Still it is a lot of fun and you'll probably never have a chance to sample so many different brands and kinds of beers in one place.

My personal recommendation is to attend the event (either afternoon or evening session) and then hit one of the restaurants that Providence has to offer. I happen to like Fire & Ice a fun 'all you can eat' place, where you choose your ingredients and watch the chefs cook it in front of you. This allows you to sober up so you're not hitting the road under the influence.

Another recommendation is to head to Border Books and spend a few hours browsing. Have some coffee or tea in the cafe and then hit the road.

Don't let anyone say that we don't look out for you here.
Nothing of import to report today here on the homefront. I do want to get back in the habit of blogging on a more regular (if not daily) basis, so be prepared for short posts that do little but allow me to vent on one thing or the other. Hell, that seems to be what most bloggers are doing anyway. :-)

We spent the weekend getting used to our new furniture. Frankly, the stuff didn't look quite this big in the showroom, so we've found ourselves a bit crammeded. One thing we'll probably do is to either remove the side shelves from our entertainment unit, or to replace it with a much smaller one that I had back when I was just seperated from Elayne. We're using it as a printer stand now, but actually have another printer stand that we use simply for storage. Doing one or the other will give us several extra feet of space.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Well, let’s get the worst out of the way, shall we? The BoSox blew it and while I personally blame the manager for stupidly keeping Pedro in the game, there’s not much to do but ‘wait until next year.’

Hopefully, with a new manager the Sox can keep up the momentum they had during the last month of the regular season.

As for the World Series, even though I hate the Yankees I can’t work up any enthusiasm for the Marlins. I’m just sitting this puppy out and will once again be able to turn off the nightly news before the sports segment.

Donna and I watched the USA Network movie “D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear”. It was actually better than your average telefilm, but probably nothing that will pull any nominations come Emmy time.

Since Chief Moose was the focus of the script it wasn’t a surprise to see the work of the FBI and other investigative organizations being diminished. It was amusing to see the FBI ‘profilers’ (usually held up as brilliant by Court TV and other network programmers) shown to be guessing at best and misinterpreting just about everything.

The news media also came in for some bashing, but considering how they act in most situations it certainly felt ‘right’ that they did. The one scene that didn’t make sense, given how the news reporters had been portrayed up to that point, was when a reporter (who had been one who accepted and used leaked information previously, and shown to really have no scruples) was shown on the phone telling his wife to keep his own children inside. The reporter was nameless and it made no sense to suddenly try to make him sympathetic, if in fact that was the point. If it was to show his hypocrisy, it was still unnecessary since it was evident already.

Last night, I also saw my first episode of the TREMORS series on SCI-FI. Since my knowledge comes from the three films the characters really didn’t mean much to me, but it was nice to see that the creators have maintained the same tongue-in-cheek style that made the movies such cult hits. Sadly, Michael Gross wasn’t in this particular segment, but his character was frequently mentioned, so it’s evident that he probably appears often. Depending on what else is on Friday nights TREMORS may become regular viewing at Chez Chaput.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Okay, it's time for "More Than You Need To Know", which was a common household phrase that I used to hear all the time, to paraphrase Groucho.

Being a life-long fan of comics, both strips and books, it probably isn't strange that at a certain point in my life I ran across Tijuana Bibles. There have been several books written on these 8-page precursors to mini-comics and undergrounds. I have the Bob Adelman book home on my shelf, next to books on MAD magazine, manga and other comics related material.

My first exposure (pardon the expression) to the TBs were several that a cousin had discovered. When you are a couple of thirteen year olds finding out that Popeye and Olive were doing more than kissing was quite a revelation, believe me.

Anyway, I discovered this site on Tijuana Bibles and wanted to point it out to anyone else remotely interested. Be warned that some of the art is pretty graphic and even pretty offensive in some cases. You probably shouldn't even go there if you don't like that sort of thing.

I'll try to go back to being PG-13 from now on, but I couldn't resist pointing this site out.
Unfortunately, I'm working this evening so I'll have to resort to sneaking into the back and listening to portions of the Red Sox/Yankee game on my radio. Sigh

It really has been an interesting series so far, to say the least, but I can't help but feel that the outcome is going to be the usual. My BoSox really do have a hard time when it comes down to getting the job done. My poor father never lived to see the Sox win a World Series ring and I have to wonder if I'll be around long enough to do so.
Here we go again with another Western movie review. For those of you who really couldn’t care less, just move along. J

Song of Texas (1943) Dale Evans is nowhere in sight, so Roy finds himself attracted to Sue Bennett (played by Sheila Ryan), the daughter of Roy’s one time idol Sam Bennett (Harry Shannon). Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers are working for crooked rodeo owner Jim Calvert (Barton MacLane, who would go on to play Gen. Peterson in I DREAM OF JEANNIE), until they discover he has fixed a race that leads to Sam being injured. When Roy and the boys quit, trying to start their own rodeo, Calvert does all he can to sabotage their efforts. As usual Roy and the Sons drop everything to sing a few songs, including “Mexicali Rose” and “Rainbow Over the Range”. Typical Rogers film with the only surprise the appearance of Arlene Judge. Ms. Judge, a delightful comedian, who starred in the ‘classic’ exploitation film “Girls in Chains”, the granddaddy (or grandmother) of all women-in-prison flicks.
That wasn't so bad, was it?

Monday, October 13, 2003

Spent a good part of the past weekend shopping for furniture. Both Donna and my recliners have seen better days so we made the decision that since we had some money set aside (thanks to the insurance settlement following my automobile accident) we'd use it to improve our living space. Why can't things ever be simple?

We hit several stores on Saturday and Sunday, but ended up going back to Bob's Furniture. For those in the New England area you're probably familiar with Bob and his wife popping up seemingly several times an hour on just about every station. One of the benefit of cable advertising, I guess. Anyway, the place is close by and the prices are certainly comparable to the other stores, being cheaper than most.

Anyway, unless we change our minds again (and by that I mean Donna deciding we've spent way too much) we're going to go tonight and pay for the merchandise in full. Somehow the recliners turned into an entire living room set (recliner, sofa/recliners, coffetable, two end tables w/lamps) but I suppose it is a good investment.

Stay tuned and I'll let you know if we go through with it, or not. :-)

Friday, October 10, 2003

Some more western movie reviews, which you are welcome to enjoy or ignore.

Riders of the Western Pines (1949) – Gene Autry plays a forest ranger who has recently retired. While on his way to take over a campground he has purchased he shoots at a mountain lion, only to apparently shoot a fellow ranger. Even though it is ruled a ‘hunting accident’ many of the town’s residents, including the man’s daughter Helen (played by Patricia White, who continued working in television & film into the early 19990s). Naturally we all know that the ranger was actually killed by Bill a henchman for the local logging company. It seems that the ranger has discovered that many of the trees were infested with a destructive moth and logging had to be stopped. Once cleared of the crime Gene is put in charge of the spraying the forest, which puts him at odds with the loggers. Of course in the end, Gene wins the day and the girl. Plenty of singing by Gene and others along the way, plus Clayton Moore (known for his long-time role as The Lone Ranger) does a nice turn as another logging company henchman. He actually displays a comedic side in a scene involving a ringing phone. Typical Autry fare, but fun and actually touching in some scenes with a young, Jimmy Lloyd as a fellow pilot who mourns his late wife.

King of the Cowboys (1943) – A wartime flick that actually was filmed with two versions. The DVD has the version shown in general release, followed by the additional scenes filmed for the Armed Forces. In the general release film the head saboteur (Lloyd Corrigan) is the governor’s secretary, while in the ‘government’ version he is an unnamed industrialist. Why they change the occupation of his character doesn’t make any sense to me, since he meets the same fate in both films. Anyway, Roy and sidekick Smiley Burnette are asked by the governor to bring in a group of saboteurs, who have been blowing up warehouses and otherwise disrupting the war effort. The gang is never said to be working for the Nazis, nor is there more than a few mentions of the ongoing war (mostly shown in newspaper headlines or in posters on walls talking about buying bonds, etc.). Roy finds himself in enough life threatening circumstances to fill your typical Republic serial, but he’s able to take down the gang, plus sing a number of songs all in a single feature. No wonder the guy was so popular!

My Pal Trigger (1946) – Roy & Dale Evans had already appeared in close to a dozen films together at this point. Here joined, as usual, by Gabby Hayes this time playing rancher ‘Gabby’ Kendrick, the father of Susan (with Dale in this role) and owner of Golden Sovereign. Roy seeks to mate the Sovereign with his own mare in hopes of raising the offspring, but Gabby refuses the request and insults Rogers while doing so. When Sovereign is killed later by the rancher who first rustles the horse from the Kendrick ranch, Roy is found at the scene and arrested. We then follow Roy as he first escapes and later turns himself in, along with Trigger who had been born during his travels. A convoluted tale for sure, but entertaining and it gives Roy a chance to sing, ride and get into several fights (all of them with multiple antagonists) which he doesn’t always win. A very fictionalized tale of how Roy got Trigger and I doubt that anyone, even the kids in the audience, took it for the truth. A solid Rogers/Evans effort and you can never have too much of that.
I've been sick the past few days so haven't been at work. As I've said before my home computer is ancient and we rarely go on line at home, unless it is to check up on somethings we need to know immediately. Generally cruise and hotel information. :-)

Donna and I had a great time in Atlantic City last weekend. We stayed at the Showboat which has certainly changed since I last was there with my ex in-laws (The Wechslers). They've removed the bowling alley and added some smaller slot areas beyond the main casino. If you have chance to check it out you'll find their buffet one of the best on the boardwalk. Amazing selection and it's great that they actually have bar inside the buffet for those who'd like something alcoholic with their lunch or dinner.

Have some movie reviews I'll try to post a bit later, after I catch up on e-mail and other things.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Hate to tell you folks, but it's that time again! I've just started watching the DVD collections of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers films, so you'll have to suffer my reviews over the next few weeks.
Boots and Saddles (1937) Gene Autry managers a ranch for its owner, a British nobleman. When his Lordship passes away the land is bequeathed to his only son, Edward (played by Ronald Sinclair, who gave up acting to become a film editor), who is only about 12 or 13 yrs old. Arriving in America the young lord is ready to sell his father’s ranch, until Gene convinces him that it would be better to preserve his father’s estate by selling horses to the Army, thereby paying off any debts. Not one of Autry’s best films, but he certainly did lesser fare in his long career in the saddle.

As a kid I usually preferred non-singing cowboys, but Autry (like Roy Rogers) always seemed to be on the air, so I grew fond of both. Personally, Autry always struck me as a singer who learned how to ride a horse, but never seemed a ‘real’ cowboy and he never really convinced me that he was even comfortable out on the range. Still I find that I enjoy his films when I get a chance to view them. With their action and humor it’s easy to see how kids, and even adults, would warm to the star and his films.

Of note here is Bill Elliot (listed as “Gordon Elliot” in the credits) in a small role. Elliot went on to play first “Wild Bill Saunders”, then “Wild Bill Hickok” and eventually “Wild Bill Elliot” in several western series during the 1940s into the mid-1950s. Gene’s sidekick in this film (as in dozens of others) is Smiley Burnette, who teamed up first with Gene and later Charles Starrett in the ‘Durango Kid’ series.

I've already started watching the first of four Roy Roger's films, but don't want to cover that until finish.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Boy, things have been so busy here at UNH that I've had barely enough time to go through my e-mail let alone post anything here. I have a few spare moments tonight so I'll try to get in a few comments.

Rush said something offensive? I'm shocked! Do you hear me? Shocked! Non-story, move along.

Nothing will apparently prevent Arnold from becoming governor of California. It really doesn't matter what he said more than a decade ago in a magazine, or who he gropped in some elevator. His fans and admirers still feel that he is going to make some radical changes in the way the state is run. They have become so disenchanted with mainstream politicians that they will try anything different. It's all but a done deal, unless a felony pops up in the guy's past, but I doubt anything major will be revealed this weekend. The man has it in the bag.

The Bush White House has a leak, and G.W. really doesn't care since it can't comeback to him, so it is another non-story. The Republicans will block any sort of independent investigation and we all know that the Justice Dept. will drag this out until another story grabs the headlines. Then the thing will be dropped and nobody in the media (the corporate media, anyway) will remember anything ever happened.

More people have lost their jobs, more people are living in poverty and more children are going hungry. There's nothing new and nothing to report, so let's focus on whether or not Ben & Jen are secretly married. The news programs give us all they feel we need to know in ten minutes and then fill the rest of the show with feel-good stories. If something happened anywhere in the U.S. or the world that was caught on video it is more important to show that than to do a serious report on anything.

I have access to news and information 24/7 and feel that I was better off when I was doped up with Wifey #1 and didn't have a TV. No news is good news, especially if you don't know you're ignorant.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

It's been a few weeks since the first installment of my cruise diary, but I finally had a chance to finish it and wanted to post it as soon as I could.


I’ve talked about the Zuiderdam in the first part of this review, so I want to talk about the various ports we hit and how the rest of the week went.

We flew down to Ft. Lauderdale on Friday morning (9/5), after days of worrying about how we might be affected by Hurricane Fabian. We had an uneventful, if pleasant flight on Song (formerly Delta Express) out of JFK. We picked up our luggage, rather quickly and called the Embassy Suites, where we were staying overnight. The hotel sent a shuttle and along with several other cruise bound guests took us to the hotel. We had already checked in and were relaxing in our room when a short, heavy rain hit.

One of the nice things about the Embassy Suites (and I believe this is common in all of them) is that not only do you have a nice ‘all-you-can-eat’ breakfast, but also each hotel has a ‘manager’s reception’ in the evening. Basically, this is a two-hour open bar where drinks (some places limit the types available) and snacks are free of charge. It’s a great way to meet fellow guests and to unwind before heading out to dinner, either at a nearby restaurant or in the Embassy’s own rather nice eatery. We went down at 5:30pm, just when the reception began, had some drinks and snacks, meeting a few of our fellow passengers. Feeling very relaxed, we had a late dinner and went back to our room to put together a smaller, travel bag for the next day.

(Hint to first time cruisers: While every cruise ship I have been on has been very good about getting out bags delivered within a few hours of arrival, there are plenty of stories we’ve heard of others who have found too late, that their bags were sent to another part of the ship and had to spend the rest of the day wearing whatever they happened to bring with them. While on this topic, be sure to carry some items (toiletries, night clothes and your cruise ship tickets, etc.) with you as carry-on items for the plane (whether or not you are flying in a day early). You’d be in pretty bad shape arriving at your ship and not having what you needed to get aboard.)

Jumping ahead a day….

Our first port of call was Key West, FL on Sunday. We were only going to be there for about eight hours (arriving at 8:00am; departing 4:00pm, but we had to be back onboard an hour before), so after a leisurely breakfast we debarked and waited for a tour we had already requested, which left at 9:30am. If you’ve never been to Key West, I’d really like to recommend that you take the Conch Train or Trolley tours that leave from the piers. They only take about an hour and you really do get to see many of the major highlights of the island, since you could walk across Key West in 30-45 minutes. The driver/tour-guide Brandon was very funny and pointed out just about everything of interest along our route. Besides the various residents of Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, we also saw the ‘Little White House’ which Harry Truman used during his Presidency, hotels where famous writers, musicians and actors had stayed and Key West’s “Dog Beach”, where owners are allowed to let their best friends cavort and play at will. Brandon also disclosed a number of fascinating facts about the islands history and the people who have made it their home since before Columbus ‘disturbed’ the local natives relative peace.

We grabbed lunch at Sloppy Joe’s, a very popular bar/restaurant off Duval Street. When you go inside you’ll see dozens of photos of Ernest Hemingway, plus an ‘honor wall’ for Hemingway look-alikes. The original Sloppy Joe’s was actually a few blocks away and is now called Capt. Tony’s, which is where Hemingway actually did visit daily back when he resided on the island. The new place didn’t even exist, despite the name when the writer was enjoying the Florida weather. Despite this, the place is recommended, with decent food at surprisingly reasonable prices and amazing drinks. (I personally recommend the Rum Runner.) You can check out the bar over on their website , which lets you see several shots of the bar and Duval St., just outside.

We spent an other hour or so walking about and then decided to head back to the ship early, since we wanted to hit the Crow’s Nest bar for bingo. We ended up making the right decision, since the skies opened up a little before 3:00pm, soaking many folks as they tried to get back before departure. We’ve decided that we’d really like to head back down to the Keys for a few days, probably early in the year before hot weather and the majority of the tourist trade settle in.

After a relaxing day at sea, spent going from poolside to bar or restaurants, we hit our next port, Cozumel, Mexico. Donna had been there before, so we passed on the tours (also the ship was only going to be in port for about six hours) and hit some of the shops downtown. Unless you hit the beaches or take some of the various tours outside the town, there really isn’t much to do or see in Cozumel besides the dozens of shops. Everything from local crafts to jewelry is available, along with liquor and cigars (for those looking to get some real tequila or Cuban cigars). We picked up some silver jewelry for Kristina and her partner Devin, and then moved on to get some gifts for others. Again we headed back a little early, so we could grab a late lunch.

Next morning we arrived early at Grand Cayman Island. After breakfast we took a tender (HAL uses their lifeboats) to shore. Unlike in Cozumel, where you needed to take a taxi into town, unless you just wanted to visit the Duty Free shops at the pier, the tenders brought you right into the heart of the shopping district. The Caymans have a very relaxed atmosphere and it’s easy to see why it has become so popular with cruise ship passengers and those who fly in. The people are friendly and the numerous shops are generally low pressure, allowing you time to browse and still possible to find a salesperson should you need one. Again, the beaches are quite nice and the water inviting. The big drawback, for anyone considering a vacation there, is that food is pretty steep, at least in the tourist sections. Donna and I had lunch, comprised of an appetizer, iced tea and fried fish w/sides. Total for the two of us was over $50, not including tip. L

Anyway, we did some shopping, picking up some more birthday and holiday gifts for friends and family, before once again heading back early. When we had arrived there was only one other ship in the harbor, but by the time we finished shopping three other cruise ships, besides our own were anchored and sending thousands of eager shoppers ashore. The place was crowded and we both felt it was wise to go back early, hit the pool again and enjoy a nap before the evening’s usual festivities.
Once again we enjoyed a day at sea, playing bingo using the pool and probably spending more in the casino and bars than we should have. It was also the second ‘formal’ dress night of the cruise so we spent an hour or so making ourselves glamorous.

Friday was the last day of the cruise and the ship arrived around 8:00am off the shore of HAL’s own bit of paradise, Half Moon Cay. Leased (or purchased) from the Bahamas Half Moon Cay is actually within sight of the island of Nassau. As with the other ‘private islands’ belonging to several of the major cruise lines, Half Moon Cay has little actual construction, other than a few shops and garages for their maintenance equipment. The majority of the island has been kept natural, with a few trails winding along the beach and into the interior where guides will take you for tours. They have also wisely divided the beaches into sections, depending on age group; so older folks won’t have children and teenagers around if they desire a bit more relaxation. To be honest I can’t recall seeing more than a handful of kids during the entire cruise, once we had boarded. Of course, HAL is noted at being geared towards older adults, so it should not have come as a surprise.

Donna and I got off early and were situated in lounge chairs on the beach before 9:00am. The water in the Bahamas is absolutely beautiful, being as clear as you could imagine. It was also warm, with an amazing amount of small fish darting between your legs even standing only waist deep in the surf. As someone once said, “It’s always five o’clock somewhere,” so Donna and I took advantage of the wandering waiters. There is nothing quite like floating on a foam pad in the sea while drinking a frozen rum drink.

Except for the brief shower we had leaving Key West, the cruise had great weather for the entire time. Sadly, it was now our turn to be hit by some of the residual rainstorms that followed in the wake of Hurricane Fabian. Around 10:30 there was a brief shower, but not bad enough to even get it out of the ocean. As the sky grew darker we decided not to take a chance and were able to find shelter in one of the small half-tents along the beach. WE were certainly lucky because within a few minutes, with a crash of thunder and flash of lightening the skies pretty much opened up and we found ourselves caught in one the heaviest downpours I’ve seen in quite a while. For a brief time I fully expected the winds to rip the tent from the beach and go flying off behind us. Fortunately, the entire thing lasted less then fifteen minutes and then ended as abruptly as it had begun.

The ship had a barbecue planned for around noon, but as everything we had was now soaked and the skies were still a bit threatening we decided to take the next tender back and simply have lunch onboard. Later we talked to folks who had stayed and found that we really hadn’t missed much, except your standard cookout fare and swarms of mosquitoes. Still it was enough of a taste of the Bahamas to get Donna and I thinking of returning there in the future for more than a single day.

If I have conveyed just some of the fun that the two of us had than this has been worthwhile. Cruising may not be for everyone, but for Donna and I it remains our perfect way to relax and getaway from everything.


Whew! Longer than I had originally planned, but I tried to get in just about everything.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Thursday nights have been our evenings for watching NBC for a while now. FRIENDS & WILL AND GRACE are among our favorite sitcoms, while ER is a must see for Donna. She hooked me on the series when we began dating.

Despite finding the networks decision to play with the length and starting time for all of their shows last night, we decided that we’d toss in a tape to catch the season premiere of CSI (my personal favorite late-night drama series, followed closely by CSI: MIAMI).

FRIENDS began with Chandler, Monica and Phoebe discovering that not only was Ross in his room with Joey’s current girl, but that Joey and Rachel were finally together in her room. Naturally, zany high jinks ensued. The show is just plain fun and you really can’t think things through seriously, but rather go with the flow. As with ER, I never watched FRIENDS until Donna and I started dating, but I quickly discovered that it is very enjoyable and a no-brainer. What more can you really expect or want from network fare?

WILL & GRACE starts off within a few hours of the last season closer, with Jack & Will discovering that they have just spent the night together. Since neither has any memory of what happened they assume the worst. Poor Grace, meanwhile discovers a letter meant for her husband and also assumes the worst. This show really does push the limit and doesn’t expect the audience to take anything seriously. Even edited it’s not hard to spot some scenes where the cast members themselves appear ready to start laughing. Wonderful writing and a great cast of natural comedians.

Since NBC was playing games with the starting time of ER (reportedly starting it at least a minute earlier than its advertised 10:00pm), we decided to just keep the TV on NBC and watch COUPLING. The show has got tremendous PR and the recent announcement that several mid-western stations refused to carry the program, certainly pushed the curiosity button for me. I mean, I knew going in that the show was basically a clone of the British hit, which in turn was a copy of FRIENDS with even more innuendo. What I quickly found was that it was not funny, plus saddled with a laugh track which began during the opening when characters (we did not even know) were making comments (we didn’t understand the meaning of) only to discover that we had been mislead as to whom the references were directed anyway. Boy, tears were just streaming down my face as I clutched my sides in laughter!

You certainly can’t go wrong with condom jokes, lesbian references and couples making out in public restrooms. The Emmy judges will have no problem voting next year!

Needless to say, after about ten minutes of this I switched over to the Game Show Network and caught the genuinely amusing MATCH GAME PM. In my book, the best bet for 9:30pm viewing when nothing of note is on the other networks. Just watching Charles Nelson Reilly and Richard Dawson cutting it up compensates for the sometimes lame contestants and other ‘network personalities’ that fill the remaining seats each night.

Finally, I switched back a minute or two early and we were able to catch the opening of ER. Of course, the promos had been a bit misleading; hinting as they did that someone from the cast was involved in a rather graphic automobile accident at the shows beginning. On the other hand, we learned the news that one of our favorite cast members had been killed off-camera. Most of the cast returned this time around and a new member added (Parminder Nagra as Neela Rasgotra). This episode is proof that the show has not lost its edge and why it continues to be a strong ratings grabber for the network. Even though the show is not getting the Emmy nominations it once did it is still one of the better dramas on the air. Carter (Noah Wyle) continues to be the main reason to tune in each week; his performance is always worth watching and is sometimes surprising in showing how good an actor he is. Sadly, I have never warmed to Abby (Maura Tierney) who has to be THE most annoying and whiny character ever created for a non-sitcom. As much as you are supposed to hate Dr. Romano, at least you can sometimes see and understand why he is the way he is, certainly the loss of his arm has only increased his anger. However, even with all that it’s Abby whom I’d love to see fall victim to a fatal accident. I can’t understand how both Luka and Carter could have any feelings whatsoever for such an ungrateful and self-absorbed little bitch.

Next week should prove very interesting as Carter goes back to Africa to discover Luka’s fate. Looks to be another great season for a great show.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

The only thing that caught our interest last night (9/24) was the season premiere of WEST WING. Picking up on a few hours after the end of last season's closing, Pres. Bartlett finds himself helpless as he has turned over the reigns of government to the Republican Speaker of the House (played nicely by John Goodman). The acting Prez is far different in temperment and manner from the ultra-liberal Bartlett, so the White House staff isn't very comfortable.

Things do look pretty grim for First Daughter Zoey, now in the hands of kidnappers. The Bartlett approved assassination of a foreign head-of-state and known terrorist has become public knowledge and events are happening fast.

A bit heavy handed this time around, but not really the place for anything other than that considering the plot. Everyone is good, even in the smallest roles, but that's what fans have come to expect. Not really sure how this will turn out, but have my fingers crossed that Zoey will be rescued at the last minute. Plans for later in the season seem to be the introduction of a new VP for the Bartlet administration, and I expect worsening health for the Prez.

ER is the show of choice for tonight, but we may have time to check out some other shows.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Donna and I were never big fans of 8 SIMPLE RULES... over on ABC. It was one of those shows we'd catch if nothing else caught our interest. Neither a great show, nor really bad.

Naturally, like millions of others we were curious and saw found ourselves watching what would be the first of the last three episodes of the show in which John Ritter would appear. Ritter was a delight and we actually found ourselves laughing, forgetting for a few minutes that this man was no longer with us. It will be a much different show without Ritter, and I don't know how much humor will be in the first episode which deals with his passing. For the next couple of weeks, we will put that aside and watch the man once again display the talent that brought him fame, if not fortune, on the small screen.

I'm not familiar with either Teri Polo or David Sutcliffe, so I had no preconceptions about I'M WITH HER. It's an old plot, most recently brought to life in the Julia Roberts/Hugh Grant film, NOTTING HILL. Sutcliffe is Patrick a highschool teacher, who is bitten by a dog owned by Alex (played by Polo) an internationally known actress. While both seem immediately smitten, Patrick realizes that Alex is way out of his league, but Alex decides that she'd like to take a chance with someone outside show biz. Zany antics ensue, as someone once said. It's a harmless enough show and certainly worth another watch to see where things go from here.

It seems to be the last season for FRAZIER, but Donna and I still enjoy this show and it's one of our 'must see' programs each week. The season premiere appears to bring things back to status quo, with Ross back as Frazier's producer and poor Fraz, once again without a romantic interest. The twist this season is that Daphne is pregnant so we'll probably spend the rest of the season watching the entire cast going through the usual pre-birth antics we've seen on hundreds of shows before. Still we love the characters and will stick around until the final show.

Tonight....WEST WING!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Years ago, when Elayne and I were married we would try and review just about every new prime time show the networks put on each season. Of course, not having cable back then it was far easier and generally speaking it was either one of the three major networks or syndication. I'm not going to try and do anything remotely like that this year, but do want to share a few comments on any new or returning shows that Donna and I happen to catch.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed TWO AND A HALF MEN, which debuted last night on CBS. I thought that Charlie Sheen was out of his depth doing situation comedy, but thinking back it was probably because he had the impossible task of 'replacing' Michael J. Fox on SPIN CITY. This time around he is starting from scratch and his laid-back style if perfect in the lead of this harmless comedy. Sheen, is able to use his bad-boy background to good effect in his role of Charlie Harper, a commercial jingle writer. Standout is Angus T. Jones as Sheen's nephew Jake, a wise-cracking (but not overly so) kid who finds himself trapped between his disfunctional parents and now living in Charlie's home. It was also a nice surprise to find Holland Taylor as Charlie & brother Alan's (played by Jon Cryer)
very controlling mother. Taylor is a delight in just about every role I've seen her in, rather theatrical or on the small screen. Not an outstanding show, but certainly head & shoulders over many of the other shows I've read of and miles beyond CBS' returning yawner, YES, DEAR. (Anybody actually enjoy this show? It really does strike me as a program that lucked out by getting scheduled on Monday night when CBS is strong. I loved it when one of the comedians on the Emmy's made the joke that CBS might not know that YES, DEAR was even still on the air. :-)

It was also great to see the season premieres of two Chez Chaput favorites, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and CSI: MIAMI.

I'll have more to add as the days (and new shows) go by.