Thursday, December 30, 2004
Donna and I are currently planning on staying home tomorrow night, possibly having dinner with her mother and one of her cousins. Not sure what we’ll be watching come midnight, although it may just be the insides of our eyelids. :-)
Hey, it will be strange not to see Dick Clark this year, won’t it? I like Regis, but it will still seem odd.
On New Year’s Day we are having about a half dozen folks over for a late lunch/early dinner (or “dunch”, as Donna and I have dubbed this particular meal time). We expect our guests to come along pretty early so we can watch the Rose Parade together, than have enjoy a pork roast that Donna picked up the other day.
If you’re going to be out driving, either get one of those designated drivers or take a taxi/car-service home. You also might want to just spend the night at friends or stay at a nearby motel/hotel. Sadly, there are going to be way too many folks who won’t be taking this advice and will be behind the wheel after drinking way too much. If you must be out on the road be especially cautious, since I’d like to see you all back again next week.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
The Dvorkin's have done a great job of creating a frightening alternate history, which is even scarier than the one in which we live. Hey, if they can actually make you feel a little sympathy for the first President Bush, while still making him look like a manipulative wimp, they must be doing something right. They also do away with a member of the Bush cabinet whose initials are D.C., so there's another plus.
DAWN CRESCENT by David & Daniel Dvorkin
Published by Betancourt & Co (Author’s website lists: Wildside Press)
The father & son writing duo of David & Daniel Dvorkin have created an Alternate history, differing from ours beginning with the defeat of the coalition forces of Desert Storm in 1991. The set up for this turn of events actually is earlier and begins with assassination of Anwar Sadat in October 1981. As we soon learn, this was masterminded by a man who takes the name Rashid-al-Bin Sinan, known to his followers as the Grand Master. His plan, carried out with bin Laden like patience, involves planting his followers in the militaries of Arab nations where they will wait until a signal is given.
When Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait things seem to be going quite well for U.S. and allied forces until Sinan’s followers within the Saudi forces turn on and kill their American & British counterparts. What had begun as a sweeping victory quickly becomes a disaster and the allied troops find themselves in active retreat, often unable to tell friend from foe. Even as this is taking place a coup against Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev occurs with a much different result than that which took place in our world.
As a nationalistic Communist government reasserts itself over the Soviet Union and the Middle-East grows increasingly hostile to western influences, elements within the U.S. government decide to take matters into their own hands. One of the first things to change is the man to reside in the White House for the next four plus years. The first President Bush finds himself little more than a puppet and his place on the 1992 Republican ticket is taken by Dan Quayle. From this point all bets are off when it comes to trying to figure out what will become of the American idea of ‘free and democratic.’
The authors tell much of this story through the eyes of Air Force Master Sgt. Harry Elkin, a medical corpsman who suddenly finds he must lead a collection of soldiers and marines through the Iraqi desert, following the Battle of Khafji. We also meet two other characters; fellow Air Force medic Airman Rick Welton and Airman Sharon Alcazar, one of several female members of Elkin’s unit, whom we follow after their escape from the war. Although Rick and Sharon become lovers they find themselves separated as events spiral out of control.
Harry is quickly ‘recruited’ by certain elements in the government to act as the public face of the war, his efforts to rescue his fellow soldiers turned into a propaganda tool. Harry also learns that he and his friends could be expendable if they don’t play by a new set of rules. When they begin to tire of their new roles all three ex-solders end up working for an organization which may have goals of which they are not aware.
We are introduced to a number of characters from all sides of the unfolding events. Some of these people are introduced for brief chapters, while others we see develop into central actors in the drama. Not all of the characters we meet are sympathetic and not all of them will survive long enough for us to do more than get a superficial idea of what drives them. Still even those we see briefly we find that we care about and wonder how or if they will survive.
Personally, I found it hard to put the book down once I started it. The authors create believable characters and develop a scenario which is all too real. It would be easy to imagine that the events they create could have just as easily have actually occurred. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys the type of thrillers that Ludlum and Clancy crank out, since in my opinion this is easily as good as some of their bestsellers.
Anyway, I have been taken aback that the major story seems to be how some super-model was hurt and traumatized by the event. It seemed that almost every telecast I saw last night, and several newspaper articles focused on the model, actor Jet Li (who injured his foot, apparently while shielding his son from the rising water), several soccer players and others whose well-fare was certainly more important then the hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans involved.
I'm reminded of a skit I saw years ago, I believe it was on SCTV, but it might also have been on some other sketch comedy show. It featured a nightly news show from a small country covering the destruction of Seattle, WA by some natural event. The loss of life and economic impact was ignored and the fact that no one from this small country was involved was the primary focus. Several nationals who had visited Seattle at some point were 'interviewed' so that a "local" perspective could be sort. I remember it being a funny skit, but one you thought about after it was finished and realized how true it was.
My heart felt thoughts and wishes go out to the families of those effected by the event. We can only hope that many of the missing will be found and that the high loss of live will in the end turn out to be much lower than is believed.
Regarding the amount of U.S. aid being sent, as someone at the UN (I believe) said, the American government will spend a billion or more dollars for a single B1 bomber, but then will offer/promise (not necessarily actually come through with) about a tenth of that to help the millions of people effected by this tragedy.
Compassionate conservatism and Christian values at their finest!
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
We flew out of JFK last Thursday (12/23) and were picked at LAX by Donna's ex-husband (and Kristina's father) Michael. Michael acted as our host and chauffeur for the next few days, taking us around to some of the places where Donna used to live and to several restaurants. We were joined for most of the weekend by Kristina's friend, Devin.
I have to recommend both Mimis Café in Laguna Niguel for breakfast. The fresh baked muffins and raisin carrot-cake log are to die for. Also, the price is very reasonable. This used to be one of Donna's favorite places and I can understand why. Be prepared to wait a while depending on when you arrive. If you're curious: http://www.mimiscafe.com/
I have been hearing about In-n-out Burger for a while now. Kristina raves about it and when Donna's sister came back after a visit, her husband was also a fan. We had a chance on Sunday, before heading to the movies (where we saw MEET THE FOCKERS, which is a must for anybody who liked MEET THE PARENTS). The great thing about the place is the very limited menu. You'd think that would be a down side, but the choice of a burger or cheeseburger makes life very simple. The place was packed when we got there, which goes to show you that in spite of the hundreds of other restaurants and fast-food places around they must be doing something right! If you like hamburgers you have to give the place a try. I thought the fries were a bit salty, but not too bad and definitely a step above most fast-food fries. Oh, you might want to check out the "secret menu", which you can find over at their website: http://www.in-n-out.com/
By the way, there are other stories told about the place, but check out the bottom of the soda cups to understand where they may be coming from. :-)
Anyway, we had a nice day on Christmas, with Donna and the girls putting together a delicious meal, which included honey-glazed ham, sweet potatoes and Donna's homemade cheesecake. Yummy!
Every year my Christmas gifts run along a theme. We've gone through SOUTH PARK & THE SIMPSONS so that I'll end up with books, t-shirts or other related items. I have Simpson editions of both LIFE & CLUE, which we enjoy playing. This year I made mistake of sitting around with my wife's nieces & nephews watching SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS. I actually enjoy the show and now find myself with a SPONGEBOB t-shirt, 2005 15-month calendar, six-inch inflatable doll and a mini-lunch pail filled with SPONGEBOB sour candies. If you haven't really sat down and watched the program, you might be surprised to find yourself enjoying it. The recurring MERMAID MAN & BARNACLE BOY characters are wonderful examples of super-hero spoofs which are clever enough to appeal to comic fans of all ages.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
I'll be back next week after a quick visit to the Left Coast to visit my step-daughter. I'll give you all the details of our California adventure when we get back.
My resolution is to post more and to add some more links as I find them. If I can get around to it I'll also try to add some photos to liven up the joint.
Happy Holidays and Be Well!
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
I also read that there will be some anti-war protests come the Ignore-garation in January. You can expect extensive coverage as was the case with similar protests in New York during the convention. In other words, "Protests? What protests?" You'll not hear a word from FOX, unless Michael Moore or other 'celebrities' show up. The major networks and CNN will give you a snippet of chanting, unless there's violence, and that will be it.
I expect Air America & Pacifica, with NPR giving some coverage, to let us know what is going on, plus you know the Blog-o-verse will be putting their two cents in as well.
Me? I'm going to keep my head down and read something mindless.
Monday, December 20, 2004
That was certainly the case this past weekend, which was supposed to have consisted of going to my sister's house in Connecticut for her annual open house. Sadly, Donna wasn't feeling up to paar so we had to cancel out. We decided to make the best of things by doing a bit of last minute X-mas shopping and then sitting around on Saturday. That's when life happened....
Around midnight we got a call from one of my wife's sisters to inform us that one of her cousins had died unexpectedly. Donna and she had practically grown up together and their birthdays were only a few months apart. They both would have celebrated their fiftieth b-day next year.
We had an almost sleepless night and the next day was spent trying to contact other relatives, to make plans for the coming week. We are still scheduled to fly out to California to visit my step-daughter on Thursday night, so it's going to be a heck of a week.
Add to that the fact that the Queens Library has sent me to cover for a vacationing librarian in another branch (in which I've never worked and have only a vague idea where it is) and things are really crazed.
Friday, December 17, 2004
Is Howard Dean our savior? No, but we can only hope that he will turn around the slide into obsolescence in which the Democratic Party seems headed.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
On the other hand, of the National League teams I like the Mets so hope that they aren't making a serious mistake with this signing. It seems that part of the negotiation is that Pedro will not have to undergo an MRI on his shoulder during his physical. If I were the Mets I'd consider pushing for that, while not making it a deal breaker.
Isn't it nice to be able to remain pretty ignorant about political matters? I'm actually enjoying the change.
Monday, December 13, 2004
I don't believe in fate, but I do believe that we make choices in our lives which we can look back upon to discover how we got to where we are. The past twenty plus years can be directly attributed to buying a fanzine, called AFTA, in a comic shop while I was in college. It will be interesting to see what the coming year brings, won't it?
(Hey, Elayne! Where is Bill-Dale, anyway?)
Friday, December 10, 2004
I've also learned some things by switching from Air America Radio to WFAN & 1050-ESPN.
1) Basketball players and fans are getting beat up (by each other, in fact).
2) Baseball players are shooting up (steroids and human growth hormones).
3) Hockey players are not showing up (there's a shutout/strike, don't you know?).
Apparently, Sammy Sosa is or is not going to the Mets and the Marlins are talking about moving to Las Vegas.
How can anything going on in Congress or some foreign country be half as interesting as this?
Plus, if play a lot of Christmas music it will make you forget that the Bush administration still has no clue what to do in Iraq, or just about anyplace else.
Happy Holidays, sports fans!
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
We haven't begun decorating the apartment yet, since we're not sure how much effort to put into it. We'll be in California visiting Kristina for Christmas and get back a few days before New Years. Since we are leaving Babie in the apartment (with Donna's mom looking in on her) we don't want to tempt the little darlin'. Likely we will put up a few things this weekend, for when we have folks over for New Years Eve.
Friday, December 03, 2004
Personally, I don't think those professional bowlers would be able to bowl 280 or better except by using illegal substances. :-)
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Not that this is going to keep the rabid fans from filling the seats each and every game, but it does give the sports talk shows something to fill the time. I mean how much mileage can you get from Notre Dame dumping their football coach?
There is some conjecture on why it was Giambi's testimony which was leaked, rather than that of Barry Bonds. Perhaps Bonds denied he uses them and we'll have to see if there is some sort of legal action going on behind the scenes. That is of course, if Bonds did lie under oath. Frankly, it is Bonds which is the bigger story since he is on the verge of beating some long standing records in the up-coming season. Hate to see it done under a cloud, or to have an asterisk next to his stats in the records books. Granted I'm not the biggest Bonds fan, but still....
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Looks like he'll be getting a bit more than his fifteen minutes and I'm hoping his lasts a tad longer than the guy who got booted off of AMERICAN IDOL ("She bangs...she bangs...."). Jennings has at least one book he has signed to do and will assuredly be hitting all the talk shows over the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see which sponsors give him a shot and what he'll be willing to endorse.
Anybody else willing to bet that the woman who beat him (probably awarding her a shot at a Trivial Pursuit question of her own) won't last out the week?
Monday, November 29, 2004
On the other hand, I have a real problem with many of the re-workings of the story. You know the type where the screen writers have tried to place the story in a contemporary setting or had Scrooge played as a female. I’m not saying that neither could work (and will even admit to enjoying Bill Murray’s SCROOGED quite a bit), but for me it’s a harder sell. The book/story is a classic for a reason.
It will come no surprise then to say that I really enjoyed the new musical version starring Kelsey Grammer. It was broadcast last night on NBC and, while not among my Top Five adaptations, certainly was better than some past attempts I’ve sat through.
Grammer himself was okay in the role of Scrooge, easily showing the emotional turmoil that the old miser goes through under the guidance of the three holiday spirits. Of course, as it is a musical, there were some scenes stopped dead simply in order to get a song & dance routine in place. The trip to the ‘music hall’ during the visit of The Ghost of Christmas Present (Jesse L. Martin, who plays Det. Ed Green on LAW & ORDER) was a waste, since it really didn’t progress the story with what looked like a Rockettes routine. Perhaps a scene with nephew Fred and his family would have been better, and certainly more in keeping with how traditional adaptations have used the Christmas Present scenes.
The highpoint, for me, was Jason Alexander as Jacob Marley’s Ghost. Marley, accompanied by about a dozen other dead spirits performed a nicely spooky number called “Link by Link” (or so it seemed). Traces of Michael Jackson’s THRILLER not-with-standing, it set up Marley’s reason for appearing and explained his goal of redeeming Scrooge. For me the scenes which are most important are this first appearance and the final confrontation with the Ghost of Christmas Future/Yet to Come (Geraldine Chaplin in a thankless role as a blind beggar and the Ghost). In these two sections we see the two sides of the character, firstly Scrooge the miser and the latter Ebenezer seeking redemption.
Jane Krakowski, as the Ghost of Christmas Past, was simply okay, with a pleasant enough voice. Unfortunately, the initial appearance in Scrooge’s bedroom has her acting more like an exotic dancer performing with a pole, rather than as the embodiment of Dickensian era memory.
I can’t find a credit for the child actor who portrayed ‘Tiny Tim’ and didn’t recognize him. I have a feeling that if he was a regular on some network program they would have made a point of promoting him either before the show or during one of the commercial breaks (as they did with the up-coming scenes for several of the name actors). The best that can be send it that he wasn’t as annoying or whiney as some past Tims.
Overall it was a nice adaptation that I enjoyed almost as much as I had hoped. I’m sure the network will put it up again next season, just to get some more revenue bucks out of it.
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. Here at Chez Chaput we had about twenty folks (adults & kids) sitting down for a wonderful feast which Donna and her sisters put together. We'll be living on left-overs for a few days, but have decided to go out to a restaurant and celebrate our anniversary tonight. We were both way to beat to go out yesterday, which was our actual fifth.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Enjoy the holiday, whether you'll be celebrating with family or alone. I've done both over the years and family (with all the problems and emotional battering which can take place) is generally the way to go. I recall having the holiday feast with my fellow shipmates in Turkey (of all places) and at sea several times. I can also remember spending one fine T-day eating at a restaurant since I was unable to get home, having worked most of the day while managing a small retail store.
Whatever tomorrow may bring I hope that you find some time to think of those things for which you can give genuine thanks. No matter how bleak things can sometimes appear realize that there are those who are worse off than you and don't have the opportunity to make it better.
I hope to 'see' you all when we get back together again!
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Back in early 2000 I took an eight week online course on HTML from Kingsborough Community College. The idea was not only to pick up some basic information on HTML, but also to put together a website dedicated to the various interests and hobbies I had at the time. I eventually created the page, as part of my ‘final exam’, but never got around to doing anything beyond a few paragraphs as an introduction. Now, thanks to Blogger I can finally put together the site I wanted to from the start.
When I began PS I intended to just talk about comics, movies and such with only occasional comments on politics and such. However as things changed in the world around us I found myself writing more and more on current events and less about what I had originally wanted to do. I finally figured that it might be best to separate my postings into two different blogs entirely. Hence SS will be where I’ll be doing reviews and placing links to things like westerns, horror and comics in general, plus movie & television related material. If I do more ‘straight’ book reviews for the Joe Bob Briggs site they will be posted here. If I actually see any movies (either in the theatre or on DVD) I will probably post them here, unless they are some genre flick which might find itself double-blogged.
I don’t expect to be posting over at SS as frequently as I do here, at least not after the initial set up and reprinting of previous stuff from PS. Naturally, you are all welcome to read both blogs if you’re interested, but I’m going to try my best not to post anything political in SS. I wasn’t interested in all that stuff as a kid and it will be nice to simply have fun for a while.
See you in the funny pages!
Donna volunteered to cook the Thanksgiving feast this year. After four years in Connecticut it will be nice to just get up and not have to drive in to Brooklyn for the day. We'll also be celebrating our fifth anniversary this Friday (11/26). As I joked to someone earlier today, that's twice the length of my first marriage and half the length of my second. What sort of omen this is remains to be seen. :-)
Thursday, November 18, 2004
WEST WING continues to be a ‘must see’ program. Now that we know that Leo survived his heart attack the writers are allowing some humor to return to the script. The meeting of Josh with members of various alternative energy committees was nice, giving the pros and cons of each, and doing so in a light hearted manner. It was probably the first time that many in the audience had ever heard of Dr. M. King Hubbert and his oil production peak projection. You certainly aren’t getting much from the mainstream media and I don’t recall it coming up at all during the Presidential debates.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Mystic Seaport in Connecticut is one of my favorite year-round places. Whether seeing the town and museum ground done up for Christmas or spending a summer day wandering the recreated streets, I love the place.
I've been to Las Vegas four times and would gladly go back at any point. The place absolutely amazes me, even without dropping a few hundred bucks in the casinos. There is so much going on for free or at reasonable prices that you could spend a week there easily and never see half of them.
Highly paid jocks playing a game for kids, but then we all know that even when we start cheering. Some how when they are wearing the hometeam uniform they are forgiven past sins.
Oh, and of course with the horrendous situation continuing in Iraq and the murder of Margaret Hassan the thing that has everyone upset is Nicollette Sheridan jumping into the arms of Terrell Owens at the beginning of Monday Night Football. We shouldn't ask for a vote recount, but should begin requesting an IQ test before you cast a ballot.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Oh, and does anybody seriously believe that Cheney's hospital visit this past weekend, is really the first time since 2001 that there has been a health problem. I would lay money that when the facts finally come out and this administration is history that we'll find that Cheney probably suffered several minor heart attacks or had other health problems which were kept secret. Face is, it the White House under Reagan could keep a lid on the Commander and Chief slipping into senility it should be a shock that other health issues are kept under wraps by the most secret of administrations.
On a baseball note: I can't imagine the New York Mets without Mike Piazza. He has come to symbolize the team for the past few years. It would be a shame to see him heading west to the Dodgers, but the sports pages (and radio shows) seem to see it a pretty likely. The Mets do need to make some changes in the field, but it would still be a shame to see a guy who can still sell tickets catching a flight to LAX.
Friday, November 12, 2004
I have my doubts about the death penalty in most cases, and in this case I think that Scott should spend the rest of his life sitting in prison thinking about what he did. Whether in a 'fit of passion' and then covering up the crime, or premeditated, he took the life of his wife, then continued an affair even as both his family and hers believed her missing or abducted. It seems to be that behavior, almost more than the murder itself, which has caused him to be reviled.
Up next: Robert Blake, innocent or guilty. Damn, but I love Court TV. :-)
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
The Pacifica Foundation has about a half dozen stations around the country which air a number of local and national programs of information & news. The most well-known being "Democracy Now!" the program begun at WBAI (99.5 FM in NYC), hosted by Amy Goodman. I was first introduced to 'community supported radio' back in 1980, while working as the manager of a small retail store in Westport, CT. The reception wasn't all that good, depending on time of day and weather, but I became hooked on a number of the programs broadcast throughout the day and evenings.
I've placed a link to the main Pacifica page over at the Left, and it will enable you to further link to both the DEMOCRACY NOW and FREE SPEECH RADIO pages. More links are available to the various independent 'sister' stations which make up the Pacifica Network. Most allow you to hear either live feeds or archival broadcasts via your computer.
Much to my surprise (and amusement), Donna has actually signed up to be text messaged when the Scott Peterson jury comes in with a verdict. She and I are both in agreement that her being between jobs is beginning to get to her. She is actually reading the Court TV "Peterson trial blog", which I find funny since she usually doesn't read mine.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Book Reporter has reviews, interviews, trivia and even contests aimed at the general reader, even allowing regular folks to review and talk about what they are reading at the moment. It's not the New York Times Book Review or the New York Review of Books, so the reviewers tend not to talk over the heads of the folks simply interested in seeing what might be out there.
I've added a link over to the left and hope that it may be useful, or at least entertaining.
The latest reports out of California appear to indicate that the jury may be deadlocked. I'm assuming that it is between first and second-degree murder, rather than a 'not guilty' verdict. I don't see a hung jury doing either side any good at this point. Just prolonging the agony that both families are going through.
For those who care, Donna and I caught the episode of LAS VEGAS last night, which ended the cross-over with CROSSING JORDAN. I thought this was a better use of all the show's characters, and James Caan appeared more in character than he had in the previous night's program. Could have done without Snoop Dogg, but that jokes gotten stale and when viewed in years to come he'll be this season's Vanilla Ice. :-)
Monday, November 08, 2004
I have been on the verge of coming down with a cold for a few weeks now. Over the counter medications, plus my prescription to Flonaze seems to have kept the worst at bay. I really felt lousy yesterday, so Donna and I just remained in the house, after running around doing assorted errands on Saturday.
We took our cat, Babie, in for her annual physical and shots, then grabbed lunch at Wendy's. I've suffered from a gluten intolerance for about ten years, but in the past few months I seem to be over the worst. In fact, in my last checkup there were no signs of the problem. I have actually been able to have a couple of slices of pizza, which was something I thought I'd never be able to have again. (Trust me, the 'rice/soy' flour pizzas you can get in health stores, are okay, but can in no way compare to REAL Brooklyn pizza!)
Donna and I have made flight reservations to fly out to California at Christmas. We both miss her daughter Kristina, and look forward to spending a few days with her, her partner and Donna's ex-husband. We had considered going in January, but since we have moved up our plans we are now considering possibly going to San Diego next summer. I hear there's a comic convention out there. :-)
On the 'vast wasteland' front, Donna and I caught CROSSING JORDAN last night and are looking forward to the conclusion of an interesting cross-over with another favorite show VEGAS. Personally, I felt that James Caan's character, Big Ed, came across a bit too heavy handed in last night's show, but other than that it was kind of cool with two mysteries going on.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
I expect to start catching up on some of my backstock of books & magazines, plus some comics that I have stashed. I don't know if I'll be reviewing anything for Joe Bob in the next few weeks, since they haven't sent anything. I also want to add some links to non-political sites which might be a bit more fun.
Speaking of which, you might want to take a peek at www.papercutz.com a division of NBM (which publishes a wide variety of graphic novels and trade paperbacks). They are going to begin putting out a series of graphic novels utilizing the HARDY BOYS & NANCY DREW. You can get a look at the manga style art over there and tomorrow (11/5/04) they promise a one-day preview of the HB book.
To be honest, I was more a fan of TOM SWIFT, JR. when I was a kid, but the Hardy Boys were also a fun read. I hope that the books take off and that NBM picks up the licensing on some other 'teen favorites'.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
We can't even look forward to a balance in Congress to offset whatever mandate G.W. will surely feel he has to continue down the road to imperial dynasty. We are a one-party system with a barely competent 'opposition party' incapable of doing anything. The Democratic Party is useless as it now stands and it is now time for it to either totally remake itself into a progressive force for change or go the way of the Whigs and Bullmoose.
Maybe we can rebuild the Democratic Party at the local and state level, but as it is now it is obviously not in touch with enough of the national electorate to accomplish any of the goals we of the Left desire.
If the Constitution (as interpreted by the GOP) will still allow an election in four years it might be possible to put forward something other than a watered-down centrist.
The most frightening thing (and there are plenty to choose from) is that there will be no investigations into the wrong-doings of this Administration. Any that are currently underway will either be dropped or stone-walled until they are forgotten.
Hey, it was nice living in a democracy while it lasted, huh?
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
For those of you unfamiliar with the good Christian group, Jack Chick has been around for years. He pushes a born-again brand of Christianity, very anti-gay & anti-choice. Some folks have said he's anti-Semitic, as well as anti-Catholic, but I'm not going to go that far, having only had the chance to read a few of his publications.
Most are in the format known as mini-comics (or Tijuana Bible style, for those of you more familiar with that) and generally run from eight to sixteen pages. Usually in black & white, with occasionally another color added for effect in some panels. I've never seen any credits in the book, other than the indicia stating that it's from Jack C. Chick.
You can learn a bit more about the Chick "tracts" over on their site http://www.chick.com/
Warning: Not for the squeamish!
Personally, I doubt that we will know the winner of the Presidential election by this time tomorrow. I hope that it will not turn into the circus of 2000, but I think there will be enough dispute in several states to keep us all guessing. Still in the end I feel more confident that John Kerry will be the next President of the United States.
Get out there and vote!
Friday, October 29, 2004
Elayne and I, if memory serves, actually attended a party in NYC, following a performance by the Firesign Theatre, where Mr. Vaughn was in attendance.
My condolences and thoughts are with his family, friends and many fans.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Also, thanks to Mark Evanier for pointing out the article by Frank Rich which correctly states that some folks will vote for Kerry despite misgivings or disinterest. As I've stated before, if the election wasn't so close at this point I'd be tempted to vote third party, since I really can't get excited by Kerry. I really think we'd be better off with Edwards on the top of the ticket.
Frank Rich also brings up the point made by George Will (of all people!) that our current 'wars' have lasted longer than the U.S. involvement in WWI and almost as long as WWII (at least in Europe). Folks are just getting worn out by this thing and don't see an ending. Iraq has become Vietnam, at least in the minds of many Americans.
THE RED SOX ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
Of course, the NY Daily News felt it had to chime in with "See You Next Year!", plus a dig that the 'curse' was lifted just for this year. I mean can you really be such a sore loser? The Sox shoved the Yankees' face in the dirt, get over it. :-)
Let's see how much Steinbrenner will shell out next season for another group of overpaid stars who fold in the final stretch.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
It didn’t take me long to purchase my own subscription and even begin ordering some of the other ‘fanzines’ advertised in those teeny-tiny ads. (How zines came to change my life is a whole other story.) I had a subscription to TBG (later to be renamed “The Comic Buyer’s Guide” and going from monthly to weekly publication) on and off for about twenty years. The paper went through changes in editors, publishers and countless columnists over the past thirty years, but would still have been recognizable to those early readers. Then earlier this year Krause Publications, the current publisher, decided to radically change CBG. It’s now a monthly magazine, of close to three hundred pages. The new look features glossy pages, some color and is about the same size as your typical issue of COSMOPOLITAN.
Merlin Haas, a fellow member of the comics apa CAPA-ALPHA and its current Central Mailer, was kind enough to send me an extra copy of the September issue (#1596).
This cover features SPIDER-MAN 2, but also has some nice articles on the history of CATWOMAN on the screen, the decrease in words in comics (fewer balloons, captions and larger panels all contribute) and a nice overview of manga & anime in the U.S. by another fellow Capa-Alphan, Fred Patten. Along with these are reviews by Tony Isabella and others, a price guide (with additional mini-reviews and information on some titles), plus informative articles on trading cards, models and gaming. In addition Peter David, Craig Shutt, Heidi MacDonald and Allen Smith have articles, carrying over from the weekly publication.
Overall, I was really thrilled to see the changes, but even happier to see so many of the things I enjoyed about the old CBG continued and in some cases expanded. I think it’s time that I start subscribing again.
It will be interesting to see if a Red Sox win will be newsworthy enough to get the front page here in the home of the Yankees. I'm sure that at least the NY Times might give the Sox an 'above the fold' photo.
As I said yesterday the Cardinals are a very good team and I would be very surprised if they didn't come out tonight determined to use the home team advantage, if only for to keep the BoS0x from sweeping. Not that I wouldn't love to see it, of course!
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
When the property was turned into the animated series on the Cartoon Network, the cast became a combination of old and new members. It now consists of Robin, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg and Beast Boy (who was originally a member of the Doom Patrol). The show itself is styled on almost pure Japanese anime, with the characters displaying strong emotion by comical facial distortion. The comic uses this same cartooning style, capturing the fun of the television series.
Issue #2 - "The Beast Who Cried Wolf" - Writer J.Torres does a take on the classic tale, with Garth (Beast Boy) playing tricks on his team mates, only to have it backfire. When a group of alien collectors come to Earth in search of the Dodo bird they are unable to locate one, so they decide to earn some extra reward by taking Starfire instead. Artists Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker capture the look of the animated series, inserting the manga-like ‘mini-characters’ on some pages to add further gags and poke fun at the story.
Issue #3 - "Lame" Features Cyborg, who is feeling sorry for himself, but learns a lesson from a group of kids who have learned to deal with their own handicaps. A nice story, without the moral being too heavy-handed and showing that this series is perfect for younger readers and their parents.
I give both issues a solid three stars and toss in an extra half star for some of the cuter gags in #2. Recommended for all ages, this is one of those books fans can suggest to kids who might not already read comics.
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, over at the ROLLING STONE site.
Damn, you can't beat the good doctor when it comes to political insight. :-)
Monday, October 25, 2004
Curt Schilling was amazing once again and anyone who bad mouths the guy isn't a real baseball fan. He went out there when 95% of MLB players would have been sitting at home watching the game on TV.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
To coin a phrase: "WHY DON'T THEY TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES? WE'RE FIGHTING FOR OUR LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!"
While listening to Robin (the character and NOT the inker) detail what he knows about his mentor’s disappearance the JL learn the Dark Knight was looking into a robbery. Needless to say they are really surprised to discover that the perpetrator of the robbery may be their fellow League member, the Martian Manhunter. In short order, the team receives an alert stating that another member, Green Lantern, is also committing a robbery. It seems that both rogue heroes have stolen pieces of a talisman. This item is no ordinary artifact but may enable the person who assembles all three sections to command an ‘army of the undead’.
Before the story ends we discover that while Clayface may be the one impersonating the JL members, it’s yet another arch-criminal who is actually the one behind the scheme. We also find out what happened to Batman. A solid done-in-one story that will interest folks who enjoy the JL series, or for old timers like me who remember that comic creators used to be able to tell such stories in less than four issues. Three & a half stars.
Who would have believed this less then a week ago? The BoSox not ONLY come from behind to force a Game Six, but actually take four straight games from (even I have to admit) one of the best teams in the baseball. I was actually sitting at home last night until after midnight in my shorts Brooklyn Dodgers t-shirt & 'official' Boston Red Sox cap. Let me say it again....YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
While I'd dearly love to see the boys win the World Series, just making the Yankees look hopeless in the final game was joy enough for this Connecticut kid. :-)
Oh, and congrats to the Cardinals for coming from behind to force the NL series into Game Seven as well. I don't really care which team wins but it certainly builds hope that this is going to be one incredible World Series.
On a conspiratorial note, I'm in agreement with Randi Rhodes that the problems Air America had broadcasting yesterday were indeed strange. I thought it was my walkman's batteries going, or I was just in a bad reception area. Glad to have them back on the air today.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Back when I was serving in the mid-70s the Navy tried another uniform change, which proved totally unsuccessful. They ended up going back to the traditional work and dress uniforms after making sailors spend hundreds of dollars of their uniform allotments on the new style (which of course, they could no longer wear). This time around they'll 'test' the outfits on several ships and land stations before having everybody hand in their dungarees. Wisely, they are NOT replacing the traditional dress blue outfit, which it known through out the world.
Personally, I have a feeling that the whole thing comes down to a political kickback of some kind. Rumor had it that that was what brought about the uniform change of the '70s.
Scooby-Doo! #87 (DC) - I’d be lying if I didn’t admit at the outset that I’m a huge Scooby-Doo fan. I have been since I first caught the show back when it premiered in 1969. Of course, being the SD ‘purist’ that I am, it’s really only the original foursome and their adventures which I hold as gospel. Those lesser shows with Scrappy and the “cousins” (whose names escape me) really don’t count. I think that I’m not the only one who feels this way as the folks who put the first SD film together demonstrated brilliantly.
Anyway, this issue of the comic was given away as a freebie at New York Is Book Country and I couldn’t resist (first, because it was FREE and secondly because I was curious how SD & Co. translated to the comics’ page). I believe there have been a few SD series from various publishers, but I don’t recall ever picking up an issue prior to this.
The first story “The Monster of Shoogy Cove” finds Mystery, Inc. visiting Shaggy’s uncle at the beach. Uncle Shoogy owns a small food stand (naturally!) and is being pressured by the larger hotels in the area to sell off his prime piece of real estate. While the gang is getting ready for some ‘sun & fun’ a mysterious shark monster begins terrorizing the beach. It’s up to the foursome to discover just who is responsible. Like the best of the cartoons the gang is all perfectly portrayed with all their trademark quirks in place. Writer Ivan Velee, Jr. does a nice job keeping the action and gags coming. The art by Robert Pope & Dave Hunt captures the look of the characters as we have come to know them. There’s nothing special here, but it’s true to the creations.
“Multi-Monster Mania” is a four page change of pace, which allows the reader to guess the identity of the bad guy by clues shown in the first couple of pages. John Rozum keeps the story short, just giving enough so the reader can play along. It was nice to see Joe Staton doing the pencils on this and the next story aided on both by Scott McRae with the inks. Staton’s cast is not exactly ‘on model’ as they say, but everyone is recognizable. His slightly cartoony style is perfect for this type of thing, although I miss his E-Man & Michael Mauser stuff.
The final story, “Unfair at the Fair”, by writer Robbie Busch takes us back to the classic type of SD story with the gang helping out Velma’s Aunt Gretchen. It seems that Gretchen’s medieval fair is being ‘haunted’ by a phantom jester. Could it be the work of her former employees the Razz Brothers, who have opened their own competing high-tech version of the fair nearby? Only the Mystery, Inc. gang can figure it out, and you know they will.
This is a fun title for kids and older fans of the cartoon show. Nothing classic or completely original, but that wasn’t why we all watched the show to begin with. It was just to spend time with that dog and his friends to see what mischief they could get in to, and then out of. Three stars.
My naturally cynical nature will not allow me to get too upbeat about the BoSox chances of going four out of four with the Yankees, especially in the Stadium. However, it certainly does look like we have momentum going in. There have been a few late nights, but this has been classic baseball. Curt Schilling and the team will have no reason to feel bad, even if they do find themselves on the way back to Bean Town minus the pennant. What a great story for the book that Stephen King is currently writing!
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
I'm cynic enough not to believe that the Yankees are going to go down twice more, but it would be wonderful to see it go for the complete seven games.
Btw, are the Fox commentators (Tim McCarver, especially) looking for gigs at the YES Network? The might as well have set up in the booth with Yankee pinstripes on! I know the networks would probably prefer having the Yankees in the World Series, since the rating would be higher, but at least pretend NOT to favor one team over the other.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Dearreader.Com was started by Suzanne Beecher allowing folks to sign up for a 'five minute' section of a book to be e-mailed to them Monday to Friday. By the end of the week you've usually read one or two chapters and have a good idea if that book would be something you'd like to eith buy or check out at the library. Suzanne has eleven 'book clubs', covering various genres, even one on audio-books. I've signed up for the "Mystery" and "Pre-publication" sections.
I've put a link to the book club site over on the left, but you can also check out Suzanne's new blog at http://dearreader.typepad.com/dear/ which includes her personal observations.
Don't see the mainstream press talking about the resignation of two major RNC functionaries for election fraud. I guess that won't be a 'story' until Nov. 3rd when lawyers for both parties begin filing suits & counter-suits. Anybody think the Supreme Court WON'T end up involved in this one?
Thursday, October 14, 2004
1) ABC's new series LOST, continues to add twists and great back stories to the large group of characters. Donna and I both enjoy the show, which surprised me a bit, since Donna isn't really big on that type of thing (I mean the SF elements).
2) Once again, neither candidate really knocked down the other. Bob Scheiffer was pitching nothing but softballs at both candidates, not really allowing anything new to come forth. As an Agnostic I am a bit disturbed by all the talk of faith and G** we heard, but I'm probably in the minority. Best thing was Kerry getting Bush to deny he ever said he 'wasn't concerned' about Bin Laden. Let's go to the videotape! Also, it's creepy watching G.W. trying to make lame jokes when he doesn't have a filtered audience.
3) *sigh* I got a bad feeling, even with the series going to Boston for the next few games. It will be difficult for the Sox to comeback, especially given that thier two best pictures already beaten. It doesn't look like Curt will even be able to get back on the mound.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
This issue starts out with Supes looking down at the body (we have to assume from comments made by several characters) of Replikon. I gather that this is a reoccurring villain in the current DCU, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of him before. Then again, both DC and Marvel have a habit of bring back old villains (and heroes) under new names, so it’s possible that I would have been familiar with this particular character. Anyway, it is assumed by the SCU (the Metropolis police S.W.A.T. team which deals with super-powered menaces) that Superman killed Replikon during their battle. The SCU seems willing to let that go, but Superman, being the hero we know him to be (unless written by John Byrne in some cases) does NOT take life. Superman feels that Replikon had been ‘modified’ to some extent and that this change could have brought about his death. We learn later in the book that somebody is indeed behind this. (I get the feeling that regular readers may know or suspect who the behind-the-scene villain may be, because of the last page of the story. Folks like me haven’t a clue.)
We get the impression (and if Tony hadn’t mentioned this in passing I’d still be unsure) that Clark is not the top reporter for the Daily Planet that he once was. Again, thanks to no explanation by writer Gregg Rucka (who I generally happen to like) we have to guess at certain things by off-hand comments by other characters. Meanwhile, Lois Lane is being sent off to Umac (which, again from hints in the dialogue, seems to be the DCU stand-in for either Iraq or Afghanistan, or perhaps both) to cover the up-coming election. Clark (he’s actually Superman, but the reader probably knows at least that much) isn’t really happy about that, but Lois tells him that she’ll be careful. Clark/Supes tells Lois that he cannot get involved should something happen, because as the Man of Steel he must not seem to be involved.
The cover of the issue says that the book will ‘guest star’ Green Lantern and Wonder Woman, or rather that their chest insignia will appear somewhere in the issue, since that is what appears on the cover and not the actual names of the characters. Why does DC take it for granted that a new reader (totally unfamiliar with anything, except perhaps Superman’s Big Red “S”) would recognize the stylized “WW” or lantern design?
To be fair both characters do appear for short sequences. Green Lantern (the John Stewart version familiar to TV viewers at this point) shows up in an outer space scene, which I will assume takes place after the death of Replikon, but it isn’t made clear. Would it have ruined the page layout to have placed a small “Later that day….” caption somewhere, just to give the reader some sense of time? It’s possible that, given the ‘artistic’ cut between the last time we saw Superman to the next time we see Clark that the journey to Replikon’s planet is a flashback. Wonder Woman makes an appearance (even her butt gets a one panel close up, for no story purpose) to toss in some double-entendres (or perhaps I’m reading too much into what is said) and promises Lois that she’ll keep an eye on Clark during her assignment.
Rucka gives enough hints for the reader to see where the writer may be going in future installments. In my case, none of them are reason enough to pick up another issue. Many writers, probably with editorial urging, seem to be writing everything as if you are reading a trade paperback collection and not simply trying a single issue, which just happens to be part of a multi-issue story arc. As THE Tony Isabella has repeatedly reminded us, any issue can be somebody’s first. The old-timers kept this in mind.
Penciller Matthew Clark and inker (No first name given, or is this his first) Nelson do a good job on the art, even though the female characters do seem to pose quite a bit. They also don’t create enough facial differences between the women in the story, so it’s only the skin shades and hairdos which set them apart. If WW hadn’t been wearing her costume you would have been hard pressed to tell her from Lois during their scene together. George Perez, for one, is an artist who has enough skill and range so that you could almost always tell who was who, in costume or not. Sadly, too many artists have a half dozen or so faces which they use for every character.
Overall I’ll give the issue two and a half stars. If I’d been able to follow what was going on a bit better I might have given it three.
CMX Manga Preview – 2004 (DC Comics): A digest sized sampler of the first few stories to be serialized in this manga (Japanese comics) line from the publisher. It’s been said before, but one of the most fascinating things is the wide-range of material that the Japanese comics industry is willing to put out. Unlike their American counterparts, who seem to believe that anything outside the super-hero/action genre is risky, the Japanese creators give free range to their imaginations. Everything from sports to gambling to dance and hobbies has their own comics devoted to them. CMX brings to the U.S. English translations of books which, in many cases, have not been available at all in this country.
Among the series are: SWAN tells the story of a young girl who dreams of being a great ballerina and how she goes about trying to bring her goal to realization; MUSASHI NUMBER NINE is about a secret organization fighting international terrorism, and features a member of the team passing herself off as a high-school student.; PHANTOM THIEF JEANNE features another high school girl, this one a reincarnation of Joan of Arc(kind of a cross between JOAN OF ARCADIA & BUFFY) who uses her supernatural abilities to steal paintings which house demons; and the adult-themed FROM EROICA WITH LOVE which features three operatives with super-natural abilities trying to capture the art thief Eroica, who is in actuality a member of British royalty, Dorian Red Gloria. Dorian is gay, as is at least one of the operatives. An odd mixture of romance & comedy, it will be interesting to see how a title featuring an openly gay protagonist sells in the States.
Manga seems to be selling pretty well in bookstores and in comic shops. Working in a public library, I get a lot of requests from kids and teenage patrons for just about anything in manga form. The American comics industry would be wise to not only republish the original Japanese titles, but to try and utilize the format for their own creations.
Friday, October 08, 2004
"This is the sound of an AK-47...this is the sound of a car bomb going off a block away...." followed by rapid clips of various Fox and pro-GOP talking heads. With the tag being these are folks advocating something they know nothing about.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Apparently, Cheney didn't fall about like his boss and both sides are claiming victory. It will be interesting to see if G.W. comes off better in the second debate. We'll have to wait and see.
Monday, October 04, 2004
The high point was the New York is Book Country fair, this year held in Washington Square Park. I have been trying to attend on an annual basis, since I first discovered the event while living in Westport, CT. This had to have been either 1980 or '81. The festival used to be held on the last Sunday in September (depending on the Jewish holidays), along Fifth Ave. Personally, I prefer the new location, which is more spread out and really has the feeling of a festival.
Had the opportunity, like last year, to get together with my ex (Elayne Riggs) and her friend & fellow blogger Roxanne. Elayne actually took a picture, showing my goofy self, with Roxanne wisely choosing to remain anonymous. We grabbed lunch at Japonica, which was a favorite place back when Elayne and I were married. The old location, now an Italian place I believe, was where I had my one and only fugu experience. Remind me to tell you all that one of these days.
I picked up a few books and magazines, plus some free comics (which DC was handing out). I'll review some of the goodies in the next week or so.
Sadly, the weekend also witnessed the death of a family member. One of Donna's cousins lost her husband of fifty three years. He had gone in for a heart by-pass operation and it was discovered that his heart was much worse than at first suspected. He leaves behind not only his wife, but also three children and several grandchildren. Mario was a nice guy and we'll miss him at family events. Rest in peace.
Friday, October 01, 2004
I wasn't able to catch the whole event, since I was on the subway during most of it. I did catch the last half or so and thought Kerry did an outstanding job. He was decisive and looked at ease, while G.W. looked like he wasn't sure why he had to be there with somebody who disagreed with him. If Kerry is able to maintain that manner in the next two debates, as well as in public appearances I think he may have a shot at actually swinging those undecided (which I really think is a much smaller group than some pollsters would have you believe, at this point).
Got to hear the line about 'leashing' his daughters, which is one of those jokes parents will say to one another, but seems odd coming from Mr. Family Values. As they pointed out on Morning Sedition, it also is borderline bad taste given what went on at Abu Ghraib.
It will be interesting to see how the Bush supporters spin this one (and you know they will), trying to convince us all that G.W. actually won the thing.
Now there all those stories about how the 'debate agreement' called for NO reaction shots. I figured with the folks at Fox working the cameras they would do exactly that. Guess they couldn't resist the split screen shots, but it may have backfired. You can bet there were phone calls from Rove to the Fox control room shortly after the handshake took place. :-)
This really should have been Bush's best shot, since he has shaped his campaign on his leadership in the War on Terror and as Commander-in-Chief. The upcoming debates on the economy, ecology and social issues are going to be more difficult. To use the phrase that you hear on Air America, "They got nothing!"
Thursday, September 30, 2004
I doubt that anything which occurs during them will change the mind of anyone already leaning towards one candidate or the other. Unless George II begins foaming at the mouth or speaking in tongues, his supporters will say that he was brilliant. I think we can also count on one of the journalists wording their questions to Kerry in such a way to make him look bad, while allowing Bush to get away with not answering or lying. (My guess would be Charles Gibson, but that's my personal prejudice against ABC showing.)
The newspapers will headline tomorrow how well G.W. did, even if he merely is able to string a sentence together without stumbling. I'd lay odds that the New York Post will have a banner along the lines of "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" or "Home Run", showing a smiling (well, sneering actually) Bush.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
AN INNOCENT AMONG THEM by Jack Allen; Reviewed by Steve Chaput
Burping Frog Publishing. ISBN: 0-9703053-1-1
This is the second novel featuring Allen’s Josh McGowan, as main protagonist. McGowan is an operative for U.S. Naval Intelligence and a former Navy officer. McGowan is not your average NI field agent, but rather a killer sent into situations where his skills come in handy.
In this book McGowan is close to being let go, since Congress has decided to cut the budget of his particular section of NI. In order to justify his paycheck, Josh is sent to protect the spoiled daughter of an American ambassador in Paris. When an attempted assassination attempt goes wrong, McGowan (wounded while saving his ill-tempered charge) finds himself back in D.C. where he is given the seemingly simple assignment of investigating a new employee. Naturally, things are never simple in these types of stories, and McGowan soon finds himself traveling from the U.S. to Europe and finally Egypt in pursuit of a deadly terrorist.
Apparently, from hints given in the book, a number of the characters central to this novel were introduced in Allen’s first novel, CHANGE OF HEART. Fortunately, he fills us in enough so that a reader new to the series is not completely lost. Allen does a good job of bringing depth to most of the characters, both those on the side of good and their opposites. Sadly, the one character we can never really get a handle on (or learn to empathize with) is Jennifer, the girlfriend of the new agent, Josh is investigating. Since she turns out to be the trigger for many of the events which take place it hurts the novel to some extent. Frankly, there are more than a few times when we wish that Allen would let one of the bad guys put an end to her.
McGowan finds himself teamed with an Israeli Mossad agent, Caroline Haffenberg. She and Josh have crossed paths before, gaining a mutual admiration for the other’s skills. When she is introduced we find that she is much more interesting than Jennifer and an obvious love interest for McGowan.
Allen’s choice of title is interesting, since as different characters are introduced it is easy to see that many of them (including Josh, to some degree) all fit the characterization. Whether through naiveté, or through some code of honor, they are indeed caught in a situation where innocence can be deadly. Three stars.
I'm linking to the site of one of those groups, Military Families Speak Out. They are have created a pro-John Kerry campaign ad which will begin airing in certain markets prior to the election. I think these are folks deserve to be heard.
Monday, September 27, 2004
The Red Sox took two from the Yankees, both of them real smackdowns, which always make me feel good. The Yanks will probably get the needed games for the AL East this week, with the Sox having to battle it out once again in the 'wild card' race. Still the BoSox have come back a couple of times this season already, so anything is possible. :-)
A few Prime Time predictions: L.A.X. & DR. VEGAS probably won't survive into the New Year. I also doubt that FATHER OF THE PRIDE (even though Donna and I love it) will be around for more than however many shows are already in the can. Haven't seen John Goodman's new show yet, but have a bad feeling that it will meet the same fate as his last. We did see Jason Alexander's new program which will probably not be around for long, though it really wasn't all that bad. Just nothing that we haven't seen before.
Our current favorites are all returning shows. The dramas include: CSI, CSI: MIAMI, COLD CASE FILES, THIRD WATCH & NAVY:NCIS. Comedies: EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (which seems to be going out strong); TWO & A HALF MEN (how could you beat a season opener with Sean Penn, Elvis Costello & Harry Dean Stanton?); and SCRUBS.
Oh, and just to show we aren't elitists, we actually watch a few 'reality' shows: THE APPRENTICE (yeah, guilty pleasure for sure); Animal Planet's KING OF THE JUNGLE II (where folks compete in stunts related to animals and knowledge of same, for the chance to host their own one-shot show on the network); QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY (both the U.S. & U.K versions); plus several of the poker & blackjack shows featuring celebrities, as well as the World Series of Poker.
In between we switch around from ANIMAL PLANET, THE TRAVEL CHANNEL, FOOD NETWORK and just about any medical show on TLC or Discovery that catches Donna's interest.
Having Direct TV can be dangerous!
Friday, September 24, 2004
In this case, CLAN APIS by Jay Hosler, is something very different. Believe it or not the book collects a the series which appeared originally in 1999 - 2000. Hosler tells the life story of Nyuki, a honey bee from her days as a larva to her final 'gift' to her hive. I'd read reviews of the book by Tony Isabella and others, so was intrigued when I saw that the Rego Park branch (where I'm currently working) had a copy. It really is a sweet story, appropriate for all-ages, although a parent might have to explain some things to a very young child.
Hosler won a Xeric Award, which allowed him to complete his work. Not for everyone, but a book which you might want to give to non-comics readers to show them that the medium can do more than super-heroes.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
He also helmed the notorious BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, which was scripted (at least partially) by Roger Ebert.
The standing ovation which both welcomed G.W. to the UN and followed his speech, surely warmed the hearts of all those who were transfixed by the vision and insight he demonstrated. Oh...that isn't what happened, is it?
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Monday, September 20, 2004
It has become so grim that I cannot for the life of me understand how folks are not demanding that we begin seriously considering a full pull-out of our troops.
As an old acquaintance of mine, S.H. Otis, has said,"Why don't we just leave and let the bastards kill each other? It seems to be what they want to do anyway!"
Be honest: haven't you heard at least one of your friends or family members say exactly the same thing?
As I've said before, I'm continually amazed that G.W. remains so popular, at least according to some polls. However, I read a recent article which pointed out that the various polling companies may be falling behind the times. At this point there are many folks who do not have 'regular' phones in their homes. They use only their cell phones or are hooking up with the new internet phone services. This fact immediately eliminates all these fine folks from being contacted by pollsters. You probably have more and more folks who are using their answering machines to screen any & all calls, thereby cutting down on the number of households available for polling. Just an interesting item I thought I'd pass along.
Donna and I didn't do much this past weekend. The horrible weather on Saturday kept us inside. Also, STARZ had one of the 'free weekends' so we took advantage and caught a half dozen films we missed in the theatres.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
This is the type of thing the mainstream media should be discussing and not who did what thirty years ago. The current adminstration did not protect us and doesn't like us reminded of that fact.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
To be honest, I don't know that I can actually bring myself to vote for the Democratic nominee at this point. His defeat is such a forgone conclusion that I might as well vote for a Third Party candidate. Just have to decide which long-shot is least annoying. What's the Socialist Labor Party up to these days?
If Steverino were around I'd love to tell him about some of the patrons we have here at the Library. Here in Queens folks have to have a 'PIN' number in order to log into their library account. You are allowed to choose any four numbers for that purpose. Would you like to know how many each day choose "1,2,3,4,"? I'm constantly reminded of the scene in Mel Brook's SPACEBALLS.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
The above is a direct quote from Josh Micah Marshall's blog. (Linked over on the Left).
On the other hand, I was a 'military man', serving over eight years in the U.S. Navy. Trust me, you did not want to disobey an order; either 'direct' or 'lawful' there would be trouble. I accidentally missed the sailing of one of the ships on which I served and ended up restricted for thirty days, plus forfeiture of some pay. I also knew a few guys who disobeyed one order or another and ended up in the same situation as I did. I can't imagine what would have happened to any of us if we had just taken off for the last few months of our hitch.
Like millions of others, I watched the Dan Rather piece on 60 Minutes last night. On top of that the release of dozens of heretofore unknown pages of G.W.'s military training records. "Oops, we must have misplaced them." :-)
I also found it interesting that G.W. was given permission to transfer so he could work on a political campaign. Reservist or not, I can't imagine the DOD handing out permission like that for your average flyboy.
No, Mr. Bush, you were not treated like every other member of the military, officer or not. Just my personal opinion, of course.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
The acting and use of color along make this film stand out from the usual samurai action film. A fictional depiction of the Qin Kingdom and how it's leader came to conquer and unite the peoples of China. Li is a warrior who has apparently killed three famous assassins who had plotted the death of the Qin emporer, taken to the imperial palace Li tells of how he defeated the three.
As the story unfolds it becomes apparent that there is more than one version of events. It does get a bit confusing towards the end as we come to see that even things we have witnessed might not have taken place as first shown. It's easy to see why this film was such a major box-office hit in Asia. Highly recommended for those who enjoyed CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.
Also have been finding time to check out TRIO, where I finally had a chance to see the documentary on the Golden Globes, which Mark Evanier talked about a few months ago. Fascinating stuff. TRIO also ran some of the old Ernie Kovacs shows, back to back. Dated, of course, but still a lot of fun to see Kovacs & Co. playing in the relatively new medium. As other folks have said, it is often funnier to see the bits begin to bomb or not work out as planned. Kovacs and Steve Allen were the geniuses who helped shape what Letterman & O'Brien(and to a lesser extent Leno) are doing now.
The Travel Channel has something called A Day of Doing Nothing (or something like that), in which they point a camera down the beach of some resort, or vacation spot, allowing whatever happens over a half hour period. The effect is like sitting in a beach chair and spacing out. Quite relaxing.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Anyway, it hit me this morning as I was taking the subway to work and glancing at headlines of New York's various papers that G.W. is going to be re-elected (or elected for the first time, depending on how you feel about the 2000 results). For a short time after the Democratic convention I was beginning to have some hope, but now it seems that Kerry/Edwards have disappeared from the radar completely. Except of course for knowing that Kerry didn't really serve in Vietnam, while the President was running bombing missions over Hanoi (or something like that!). I get confused.
Unless there is a real turnaround, and I can't see much chance of that, since everything so far (bad economy, the jobless figures, increases in poverty, the death of over to a thousand service people in Iraq & Afghanistan) seems not to have dimmed the luster on G.W.
Maybe I'll feel better when election day is closer, but I visualize myself going into the voting booth (if we are still allowed to vote come Nov.) and pulling the lever on a machine which may or may not work. Then going home, not watching television or listening to radio. The headlines will reveal it all the next day.
Hunker down for four more years and get ready to pack a bag for those camps, brothers & sisters!
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Apparently last night ex-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani indicated that we owe G.W. our vote. I don't see it that way and it seems that most 9/11 families feel the same way.
On a non-political (or perhaps not) matter: I don't know if folks outside the New York area have been bombarded with the Steve Maddon clothing line ads. It appears that just about every other bus shelter has one of the posters displayed. For those of you not familiar with them they show one or two waifish females, generally in tight jeans. It wouldn't be that different from the usual, except that these figures are photographically altered. The bodies seem like those of twelve year olds, while the poses are obviously sexual. The faces of the 'models' (I've only seen blondes, with remarkable likeness to the Olsen Twins.) have been changed so that they have these haunting Margaret Keane eyes (the big eyed kittens and orphan black-velvet painting type). They creep me out, both for the Keane effect and the knowledge that these waifs are supposed to be appealing in a sexual way. Can we say pedophilia, boys and girls? They make the Sailor Moon/manga gals looks positively matronly.
Monday, August 30, 2004
I love having BOOMERANG, since it's been years since I've seen some of these shows. I think I enjoy THUNDARR & BIRDMAN more now than I did back when I first saw them. On the other hand, I still have problems with BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, and see even more how horribly edited and "Americanized" it is compared to the actual Japanese series "Science Ninja Team Gatchaman."
It seems that Sunday, at least this past Sunday, the network has hours of various 'super-hero/SF' related shows. I never get tired of Space Ghost, of course, but I swear I do not remember Kid Comet. He appears to be a recurring character from the way he was used in the one episode I happened to catch. It also made me wonder how good a guardian SG was if he was allowing Jan to head of to a 'resort planet' with the Kid, unchaperoned. Wasn't she supposed to be about 15 yrs old or something?
Oh, and is it just me or did the females in these shows all spend time in bondage at some point. There was a episode of the GALAXY TRIO where Gravity Girl has 'slave anklets' placed on her and goes around calling the villain "master". Is it my Dirty Old Man coming out, or did I just miss this stuff that the writers & artists (not to mention Network Standards & Practices) allowed to creep in?