Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Internet is a wondrous thing at times. We are bombarded with the most useless information, yet at times it can allow us to make discoveries we could not have foreseen.

In 1975 I was divorced from my first wife. It turned messy and even though I was angry at the time I've since come to realize that the marriage was a mistake from the beginning. We were two people who had no reason to even be together except for a bizarre set of circumstances. It was doomed from the outset. After we split I only heard of her whereabouts second hand several years later. As far as I knew she simply fell off the face of the earth.

As I sometimes do when bored (and believe me New Year's Eve at the library is pretty slow) I was Googling around checking up on folks. I had not even been thinking about my ex, but decided for some reason to put both her name and that of her father into the search. Low and behold I turned something up. Sadly, it was an obit for her father who had passed away several months ago. However, it mentioned that he was survived by his daughter and son-in-law.

Sometime in the 1980s (after the last time I'd heard about her) she evidently returned to Colorado where we had lived, hooked up with one of my old co-workers and got hitched. Just as in my case it was Lucky #3 I guess as she seems still to be married.

Good luck, Betsy and Happy New Year!
This from the AP: The U.S. Justice Department is investigating who disclosed a secret domestic eavesdropping operation approved by President George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks, officials said on Friday.

Do we even want to go into the hypocracy of an administration which tried to cover up the naming of an undercover CIA operative, yet wants to lynch whatever "whistle blower" leaked this bit of information?

If I don't have a chance later today I just wanted to wish one and all a very, Happy New Year!

Stay safe and (sounding like one of those TV ads) don't drink & drive, okay.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Been lots of interesting posts in the Blogverse about whether or not His Smugness is impeachable. As much as I'd like nothing better, I don't foresee anything like that happening.

Face it, the GOP is happy the way things are and would gladly put a match to the entire Constitution if they could and still maintain power. The Dems (for the most part) are seat fillers with no courage whatsoever, so don't expect them to rock the boat (which keeps them as rich & dull as their friends across the aisle).

As I said weeks ago, if a Democrat was doing something like this the Republicans would be in the streets with torches, tar & feathers. GW thinks he's above the law, flaunts it and they'll happily put his face on Mount Rushmore.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Last weekend, Donna and I finally had the opportunity to catch the last two episodes of ANGELS IN AMERICA. Unfortunately, we didn't know the show was on until it was too late to catch earlier segments. We were impressed enough by what we saw to want to eventually see the entire mini-series.

It's obvious why the show received so many nominations and awards. Al Pacino and Meryl Streep were both outstanding and the rest of the cast can be proud of their performances.
You don't see enough of Emma Thompson in these segments to judge her performance, although she does make a pretty imposing angel. (Just an aside: I don't think the body double they used for the scene with Mary-Louise Parker really worked. You could have done the scene without a stunt tush, simply having Parker herself shown opening a robe from the back. To me is seemed a bit of cheap titilation.)

Playwright Tony Kushner adapted his Pulitzer winning play for the small screen and it is amazing. Kushner was one of the speakers at Kristina's college graduation and he is just as funny and political as you could guess.

I don't have anything to add to what others have said about the series, but can only add my own recommendation (again based solely on the final two installments). I don't doubt the first four are just as incredible.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hope that Santa was good to everyone. Mrs. Claus gave me a new Sony Walkman to replace the one that finally died on me. I get looks from folks and even a few comments as I seem to be the last person riding the subway listening to cassettes. I haven't moved up to a portable CD player, yet alone MP3. As Elayne will vouch I have dozens of tapes, both music and Old Time Radio that I can't part with.

We spent part of the holiday with Donna's family and I had way too much food. It's strange stuffing myself with pasta and fish dishes, having grown up in a family that kept to the traditional Christmas turkey. The idea was to have only recently finished off the frozen remains of the Thanksgiving feast and to make the X-mas bird last into the New Year. If you've ever seen A CHRISTMAS STORY (one of my Top Five favorite movies) you'll get some idea of how important that turkey was in the Chaput household.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Made it here safe & sound this morning, with hardly a ripple. Maybe it was the 'holiday spirit' or just folks happy to be riding again, but a couple of folks actually moved over to make room for me to sit down this morning!

Hat's off to the TWU members who are back to work and doing a great job, as far as I can tell.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Setting suns before they fall
Echo to you that’s all, that’s all
But you’ll see lonely sunsets after all
It’s over, it’s over, it’s over It’s over
Thanks to Mr. Roy Orbison for that!
Well, it seems that we can pack up our stuff here at BPL and head across the Williamsburg Bridge tomorrow morning. I have no clue what that first commute following the strike will be like, but I have a feeling that I'm not going to find a seat. On top of that, the "M" isn't the most reliable line to begin with and it's the only one running out to Ridgewood. I'll check in Friday morning and let you know how things went.
Good luck to all those who still have that nightmare commute this evening.
(Dons his dark glasses for one more chorus....)
"It's over, it's over...It's ooooooooooooooverrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!"
By the time I post this things may have already changed, but at 1:00pm today it looks like the TWU will request its members return to work and the strike is all but over. Tomorrow will still probably be a nightmare on buses and trains, but at least they'll be moving.

I place most of the blame on the MTA for pushing the union into this, but there is plenty blame to go around.

Fingers crossed things will return to normal and I can get back to Queens on Friday.
Day Three and the jokes getting old real fast! Hopefully, both sides will finally cool down long enough to stop the name calling and negotiate a deal. It would be nice to get back to my own branch, although the folks here at McKinley Park couldn't be nicer.

I'm going to say something negative about the Queens system, so if you work there look away.

I don't know how New York Public is handling the situation, but it seems to me that Brooklyn Public Library is going about this in the best manner. They are having all the branches open & close at the same time (10:00am - 5:00pm weekdays) enabling staff to be able to get home at a decent hour. Queens on the other hand is expecting to continue with regular service hours. This may be fine for patrons, but hardly fair to those staff (especially from other systems) who made it their priority to report. It's difficult enough getting around during the strike without having folks leaving at 8:00pm to walk back to wherever they live.

Just my two cents as usual!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Yow! Are we having fun yet?"

The second day of the transit strike is beginning much the same as yesterday. I'm still here at McKinley Park and have a strange feeling that tomorrow won't be much different. If this keeps up I may find myself driving into Queens on Saturday just to see if Ridgewood is still standing.

I actually feel rather guilty as I do have work that should be done and here I am pretty much goofing off. The library here is pretty quiet until the kids get out of school in the afternoon. Time for blogging and net surfing while being paid the Big Bucks we civil servants pull in. :-)

Hope that both sides will come to some sort of agreement so that things return to normal by Friday, if not sooner. My heart is with the TWU (local and not the International, which seems to be turning on the strikers for whatever short term goals it seeks for itself), but I don't know how much longer the average New Yorker will feel that way.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Well, we're at the beginning of a transit strike here in NYC today. The MTA and the Transit Worker's Union couldn't come to an agreement so early this morning the union leadership voted (not unanimously by the way) to go out. The union made concessions but apparently it wasn't enough for the suits put in place by Pataki. As you can imagine things are pretty messed up on the highways and especially in Manhattan.

I grew up in a family that was very strongly union. I had a couple of uncles who were shop stewards and one later a state legislator (Democrat, natch!). Years ago I was fired for attending a meeting of a group discussing the formation of a 'grievance committee', which further radicalized me. I have spent time protesting in front of management events and attended my share of union rallies since becoming a member of DC37/AFSCME, back in 1986. Sadly, we're seeing most of the mainstream media pushing a pro-MTA message and looking for the usual disgruntled drivers to say things against the strikers. Big surprise, huh?

I hope that this strike doesn't last more than a day or so, as I really would like to be working at my own library. As I've said we're in the middle of a major renovation and there's a lot to be done and organized before our reopening in February. Fingers crossed my brothers & sisters in the TWU get what they deserve!

Union forever!

Monday, December 19, 2005

I didn't listen to His Smugness last night, but the media has pretty much given me the high (or low) points, so I obviously didn't miss much.
The "Strategy for Victory" seems to be telling the American public over and over that we can't expect victory unless we stay in Iraq. If we leave now "the terrorists have won." The intelligence was bad, he accepts responsibility but he'd do it again. He's beginning to resemble the impersonation that Dana Carvey used to do of his father. "Stay the course!"

In other words, there's nothing new to report, except that our government has the 'Constitutional' right to listen in on domestic phone calls. Only if one person on the line is suspected of being a terrorist, supporting terrorism or being a member of an organization which supports terrorism. Is there a list of those organizations? Does it resemble the list of about a hundred groups that I had to claim not to be a member of back when I first joined the Navy? Those were groups suspected of advocating the violent overthrow of the American government.

I think I ended up joining or donating money to several of them during the the Vietnam era. My bad!

Not sure from where or if I'll be posting tomorrow, since if there's a transit strike I'm not going to be working here in Queens. I've signed up to work a few blocks from home in a Brooklyn library where I worked on & off about a decade ago.

To be honest, I'm not really sure whether I'd enjoy a strike for a day or two or not. :-)

Friday, December 16, 2005

This past week two radio shows, both of which I’m a fan, are going off the air. Both Air America’s MORNING SEDITION and Howard Stern’s radio show are leaving the airwaves. I don’t know what I’m going to listen during my morning commute now.

I began listening to Mark Riley and Marc Maron from their first broadcasts last year. Sadly, the Powers That Be at Air America feel that they must make some changes and this is one of them. Mark Riley, who has been around NY radio for years, will still be on but I’m going to miss the sketches, characters and general zaniness that he and Maron would get into. Sure, they were doing a progressive take on the “Morning Zoo” type of show, but they were really good at it.

Marc & Mark, along with Al Franken, actually made us believe that John Kerry would win last year. Now they were keeping the Bush Admin’s feet to the fire as things began going wrong for G.W. & Co. Even without MORNING SEDITION, Air America Radio is a comfort to my liberal heart and soul.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I'm always amused by the decisions that folks in administration make. (In this case we're talking about Queens Library admin, not those folks down in DC.) Neighborhood libraries, like banks belonging to larger mega-banks, are generally referred to as 'branches'. It has been decided that this has some type of negative stigma so from now on those neighborhood libraries will be called "community libraries", thus letting the patrons (who must be called customers now) that we're here to serve their needs. I'm sure there was some type of focus group and highly paid researchers involved along the way, but that's out of my league.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that my title is not Branch Library Manager, but rather Community Library Manager. You can now just call, CLM! I couldn't be happier!

Monday, December 12, 2005

I appear to have survived my first day as the new Community Library Manager. People keep asking me if I'm excited, but my only response is that I'm more overwhelmed than anything else.

Despite doing this type of thing for years now, this is the first time that I've been the head honcho at a branch. Did the 'acting' manager thing in Brooklyn, but the place was half this size and we weren't in the middle of renovations and other major changes.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Like a number of progressives who lived in Connecticut, the junior Senator was never a particular favorite. Joe Lieberman has always resembled a moderate Republican more than a 'real' Democrat in my book. As time's gone by I think more and more folks are beginning to agree. He and others like him (by which I mean Dems in name only) have pushed the Party more and more towards being a watered down GOP.

With this in mind you can imagine my delight when I heard that Former Gov. & Senator Lowell P. Weicker Jr. is considering a bid to unseat Lieberman. Then Senator Weicker was the commencement speaker when I received my Assoc. of Science degree from Three Rivers (then Mohegan Community) College. He is also the only Republican I have ever voted for for state-wide office in my thirty plus years of voting. Fingers crossed the people of Connecticut remember just how good he was and return him to D.C. where we can certainly use him.
Next week is going to be pretty crazy, so I don't know if I'll be posting much or at all.

Not only am I going to hit the 55 mark, but I'll be starting my new job as Branch Library Manager. The job worries me more than getting older, since the fact that I made it past the Big 5*0 amazes me.

Hell, when I was much younger I never expected to see twenty-five! Looking back at some of the stupid and dangerouss things I did I probably should haven't gotten this far.

Petty Officer Steve says, "Don't throw live ammunition into the campfire, shipmates! It can cause nasty physical harm or worse. Remember, being drunk on Jack Daniels & beer doesn't exuse poor camping skills."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The city was lucky to have dodged a major snow fall today, although I personally was up at 6:15am shoveling off the steps and front sidewalk. This is twice I have to do this in the past five days and it's not even the middle of December. I expect to finally get around to using the snow blower we got last year before all things are said and done.

Monday, December 05, 2005

It seems that the MTA is going to force us all to be nicer on the subways & buses, whether we want to or not. Personally, I'd love to have folks stop putting their feet up on the seats, or laying down across two or more. Then again, I'd love to have Storm Troopers smacking around anybody who feels I want to hear them singing or playing musical instruments on the N & R after I've been working all day. But that's just me....

At least they appear to have backed away from stopping us from drinking coffee. I think they feared a physical revolt from those of us addicted to caffeinated beverages in the AM.
I sometimes think that it's only the availability of coffee & tea that keeps some of us from jumping our fellow passengers. That's my reason anyway!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Before I forget I just want to wish Elayne Riggs a very happy b-day! Also, best wishes to all the other December Sagitarians like us with birthdays around the holidays.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It happened. Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are welcoming the arrival of their baby daughter. Born earlier tonight and named Violet.

Show of hands. How many of us were hoping for Elektra?

Also, I was saddened to hear of the death of actress Wendie Jo Sperber. Ms. Sperber is probably best known for playing Michael J. Fox's sister in theBACK TO THE FUTURE films and earlier for appearing in television program, BOSOM BUDDIES which starred a young Tom Hanks. Sperber fought a battle with breast cancer for the last eight years.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

So His Smugness is going to announce "Mission Accomplished" again, right? Then we'll begin withdrawing our forces over the next couple of years, so that the issue of Iraq won't adversely effect the Republicans in the mid-term elections. Am I correct here, or am I just being overly cynical?

Also, as a Progressive, how am I supposed to feel about this? I was against this war in the first place and certainly feel that we should not have invaded Iraq, especially with no plan once we got to Baghdad. Now, sadly, you have to wonder if just cutting the troops by a certain percentage is doing the right thing. What about those remaining behind? What about the destruction of the infrastructure of an entire nation?

Oh, and I see that Christopher Hitchens thinks we should remain as we have in Afghanistan. There's another reason to back an immediate withdrawal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Can a book feed your own mental tics or does it simply remind you of what is already going on? Generally, when I read fiction it doesn’t cause me to stop and consider whether or not I have similar traits.

I’ve been diagnosed with a mild form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which tends to get a bit more noticeable when I get tired or nervous. If you’ve ever seen the film AS GOOD AS IT GETS or the television show MONK, you’ll have an idea of what extreme OCD can be. Of course, in both the movie and program the OCD is played mostly for laughs and many sufferers don’t find their own symptoms particularly funny.

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem features a hero with Tourette’s syndrome.
Brilliantly written and capturing the spirit of working class Brooklyn, as seen through the eyes of one Lionel Essrog. An orphan, Lionel (known to his friends as the Free Human Freakshow, or simply Freakshow) grows up suffering from a disorder he cannot explain or understand. It’s only when he becomes involved with low-level wiseguys Frank & Gerard Mina, that he discovers that his symptoms have a name and he’s not the only individual who suffers from this disorder. Lionel, along with fellow orphans Tony, Danny & Gilbert become the “Minna Men”, the errand boys for the two brothers, especially Frank. When Frank is murdered Lionel decides it is his mission to solve the mystery and avenge Frank if he can.

Lionel, of course, has both OCD and Tourette’s to an extreme degree, making ordinary conversation and social interaction difficult enough. Toss in a mysterious Japanese organization, a giant Polish hitman and assorted mob wannabes and you can imagine what poor Freakshow has to deal with as he seeks redemption and a form of justice.

Winner of a National Book Critic’s Award when it was published in 1999, Lethem also had a New York Times bestseller with his FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE a couple of years ago. As in that book, Lethem tosses in comic book, television and movie references in odd moments. At one point he actually digresses during a tender and romantic scene to talk about MAD magazine artist Don Martin’s drawing style and humor.

Not to everyone’s taste, but I think that this book is something that might just interest those with seeking something a little different.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Just in case she's reading this today, I want to wish a very joyous Happy 6th Anniversary to my wife Donna Lee.

We've certainly gone through a lot during these last couple of years, haven't we?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Certainly hope that you all had a Happy & healthy Thanksgiving yesterday. We had about fifteen family members at the house yesterday, a decent sized crowd and 10 less than we had last year.

I generally don't talk about work much here, but I just received a promotion and feel pretty good about it. Of course, it means that I'll be transferred to another library shortly, and will miss the staff here at Forest Hills. Still, a few extra dollars and added responsiblity might not be such a bad thing.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I close my eyes and it’s 1972. I’m 21 years old and sitting with my friend Rick, who is a fellow crew member on the U.S.S. Shreveport. On an off-duty weekend we scored tickets to a concert by the band Chicago. The band was good though not visually exciting. The music was exactly as it sounded on their records, which is more than some bands at the time could claim. We are seated behind and above the band, sitting in the balcony of the coliseum for the show.

I open my eyes and I’m sitting across from my friend Pete. It’s 2005 and we’re watching the current incarnation of Chicago performing at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City. The band seems much more comfortable on stage, with the horn section now up front as they perform. The band now has thirty years of material from which to choose, easily switching from ‘classic’ stuff to new as the evening progresses.

In between the two events there have been another four years in the Navy, six years of college, three marriages and two divorces. There have also been a few other events along the line but that’s a pretty good summary of the changes.

I only mention this since that was what I was thinking about during the concert itself. Just how much my life has changed and where the paths have led me.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I'm going to mention them here once and promise never to do so in this Blog again.

Are the Hilton Sisters this generation's Gabor Sisters? I mean here are two people with no identifiable talent or skills who have become famous for being famous. Or am I missing something?

Just had to get that off my chest. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I've added my e-mail address to my profile, since I've had several people try and contact me via the reply posts. Apparently I never okayed Blogger showing my address when I set up my profile. Fingers crossed this doesn't open the floodgate to more spam.

Still too busy at home and at work to do much regular blogging, so I apologize to those folks who drop by here more than once a week or so. Don't expect to see me ranting on unless something major catches my attention.

Today's newspaper coverage of the Senate actually standing up to the Bush Administration on the failed policies in Iraq are certainly worth a mention, but we can expect the House to water anything down to almost worthless. Then again, it looks like some moderate Republicans are trying to put a bit of distance between themselves and His Smugness before next year's elections. This may change if something brings the Presidential ratings back up over 40%, but we can be hopeful.

Also noteworthy, is the discovery of tortured prisoners being held by our Iraqi allies in 'secret prisons'. Maybe that's covered somewhere in the new Constitution and is okay.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Unlike some folks, I generally don't speak about my job here at the blog. Generally, it's just boring samo-samo stuff, so wouldn't be of interest to anyone. Also, I know at least a couple of folks I work with who will occasionally peek in here, so it's best if I keep a lot of stuff to myself. :-)

Anyway, it looks as if I didn't get the promotion I interviewed for the other week, but I can't say I'm surprised. The position probably should have gone to someone with experience running a smaller agency before stepping up. I did a stint as 'acting' Branch Librarian back in Brooklyn years ago, but the way things are run here in Queens are different enough so that that might not have qualified me for the move up. If nothing else, submitting my name will make Human Resources aware of my interest in a jump.

At this point it's probably best to wait until after the New Year, since not only is Forest Hills being scheduled for a renovation but I have my Annual Leave set for January. Donna and I are taking another cruise together with friends, so I'd rather not have any problems with those particular dates.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Well, I can't say that I'm surprised Mayor Bloomberg won re-election, but I am disappointed. I guess Ferrer should be happy that his percentage of the vote was better than some earlier predictions. Sadly, his campaign never really picked up any sort of momentum and his laid back persona couldn't motivate enough Dems to actually vote.

I don't believe that people think that Bloomberg is that great, but rather he was there immediately after 9/11 and many folks feel comfortable with him. I think he gets credit for things which would have happened no matter who was NYC mayor over the past four years, but he's not the first politician to take credit for just being there.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A quick update here on the new babies. The girl is Megan Eleanor (5 lbs 12 oz/18 in.) and the boy is Daniel George (6 lbs 1 oz/19 in) As you can imagine everyone is very happy. Mom says that this is IT!! Hey, she got both the first time out, so who can complain?

Uncle Steve will have to practice his baby skills, which are a bit rusty at this point. :-)
A quick congratulations to Donna's younger sister, Marilyn & her husband, Douglas, on the birth of healthy twins, one boy & one girl. Don't have the names or other info yet as the proud parents didn't want to know the sex of the children before hand. Since they had to assume there might be twins of the same sex several names were in contention. I'll let you know later, if I can, which ones were chosen.

Mother and the twins (not identical) are doing fine and that's the most important thing.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It will be interesting to see if anything really comes of yesterday’s Senate action. We can assume that the GOP members will do their best to stone-wall any ‘real’ investigation and that the White House will claim Executive Privilege & national security to deny the members any access to reports or material. In other words, same s***, different day.

What might be surprising is to see if today’s Washington Post story on secret CIA prisons leads to anything. We would probably be better off checking out the European press on any follow up, since “senior U.S. officials.”

I haven't been posting recently more for reasons of laziness and being distracted by other things. Namely, the passing last week of our friend Bella and next week the due date of Donna's sister, Marilyn. Life does have a way of getting in the way of the important things like blogging.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Guess I'll belatedly join the chorus of folks who believe that Bush (or at least his advisors) was wise to reconnect with their base by announcing the nomination of Samuel Alito, Jr. This will sit well with the anti-abortion folks and religious conservatives who felt betrayed by the previous choice. Sadly, I really don't feel the Dems have the courage or the votes to block the Alito nomination. Unless something major comes out I think we are going to have a very conservative (if not reactionary) Supreme Court for the next decade.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

As I conjectured here last week, the death toll of American troops stationed in Iraq has surpassed two thousand.

Both today's New York Post and Daily News went with the story as front page news. At the Post, 2000 HEROES was the banner headline over a full page photo of empty helmets mounted on rifle barrels with an out of focus flag in the background. Nicely effective, but of course they use the event to push the "stay the course" message of Fightin' G.W. & His Howling Chicken Hawks. Meanwhile the Daily News used a black background and featured a photo of Staff Sgt. George Alexander, Jr. the soldier officially acknowledged as being the two thousandth. We can only hope that neither side of the debate will use this husband & father as a 'poster boy' in arguments on our continuing presence in that country.

On the other hand, the AP came out with an article which speaks about not only the U.S. soldiers, sailors & Marines who have been killed, but also an estimated 30,000 or more Iraqi casualties. According to the Brookings Institute an average of 60-70 American troops per month have been killed since the beginning of the war, while an approximate number of 1,500 to 2,000 civilians in the country have died each month. One military spokesman the AP quotes says that even he was not allowed to look at official U.S. military figures of how many Iraqi citizens may have perished.

As John Kerry said during his ill-fated campaign last year, echoing the Vietnam era slogan, "Who wants to be the last man to die for a mistake? ...."

We have brought little but more than suffering to the Iraqi people. Bring the troops back home!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Last night we were informed of the passing of one of our closest friends.

Bella had been hospitalized and was undergoing chemo for cancer. Sadly, she was also suffering from some other medical problems and recovering from serious infections following surgery. Apparently a blood clot traveled to her heart.

When Donna and I began dating in '99, Bella & her husband Pete were among the first of Donna's friends to take me into their circle. Since then we have enjoyed dinners, baseball games and trips down to Atlantic City. We are going to miss those times greatly.

Our heartfelt condolences and thoughts go to her husband Pete, two children and her new granddaughter, who shall not know how much Bella loved her. Also, to Bella's surviving sisters and other family & friends who mourn her.

Rest in peace, Bell. You will always be in our thoughts.

Monday, October 24, 2005

In all likelihood, either by tomorrow or the day after (or today, sadly) the total of American casualties in Iraq will surpass two thousand. It will be interesting to see who, besides the progressive media covers the matter. Although to be fair, today's DAILY NEWS has a cover showing G.W. headlined "Darkest Days." His Smugness is said to be 'frustrated' and angry.

Also, the GOP talking heads and loyalists appear to be circling the wagons should any type of indictments come along. Of course, much the same was done by many Dems during the Clinton trial, so it's not hard to understand. Still it's interesting to see many of the same folks who jumped on the bash Bill Clinton for anything bandwagon doing their damnedest to find excuses for the current administration.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I was saddened earlier today to read of the passing of veteran comic book and strip artist Tom Gill at the age of 92. If you go over to Mark Evanier’s site you’ll find a much better written and researched obit on Mr. Gill. What I have here was actually written for a recent mailing of the comics apa Capa-Alpha dealing with the western genre.

Tom Gill was one of the nicest gentlemen, in or out of the industry, that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and spend time with. He was genuinely happy to chat with fans, both old and young. When I met him he was already in his eighties, but was still capable of doing some very nice sketches of the Lone Ranger and associated characters. I’m lucky enough to own several and would never think of parting with them.

My deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and hundreds of fans.

Back when I was attending just about every NYC con (back in an other life) I often had the opportunity to chat with the Silver Age artist Tom Gill (best known as the artist on Dell’s LONE RANGER and other western titles, but also the artist for Gold Key’s short-lived attempt to bring back the super-hero THE OWL during the 1960s). Mr. Gill had retired from doing comics and was at the time teaching art at a New York college. He generally would set up his table at these conventions, doing sketches and signing prints of his Lone Ranger art for several dollars a piece. He’d also take requests for larger or personalized sketches which he would mail to you upon completion. As he became more comfortable around me, he would sometimes allow me to sit at his table while he took breaks or went to visit with other artists at the convention. The stories he had to tell about working for Dell/Gold Key and the different editors & writers with whom he worked were fascinating and I now regret not getting some of those tales on tape or video.

{Aside: I was able to buy copies of both issues of THE OWL to have Mr. Gill sign. He glanced through them and told me a theory he had about artists. He claimed that you could tell when an artist was getting too old to be interested in women by looking at how he would draw them during his career. When the heroine started to look matronly it was a clear sign that interest lagged. After noting how OWL GIRL looked, he remarked that he must have still been interested at the time he drew her.)

During one memorable convention Tom was able to share a table with the extremely prolific Paul S. Newman. Mr. Gill had drawn dozens of scripts written by Newman, but neither could remember ever actually meeting face to face until years later. Back then, as you all know, it was more typical of artists to come into the editorial office to drop off one assignment and pick up whatever was next scheduled. It was different from the collaboration that became standard at Marvel, or the way in which most creators work in today’s industry.

At the con, both men were selling & signing the item that I’ve reprinted here. I apologize for the faintness of the reproduction on the art, but I was trying to save a few bucks on copying. I’ve scanned the art (photocopies of the comic itself) and will send the individual pages as attachments to anybody interested. My goal was to show how Gill interpreted the script and to show the corrections and changes made to the script in Mr. Newman’s own hand.

Personally I think the script is a great example of the type of short tales that filled the back pages of hundreds of Silver Age westerns. There really isn’t anything extraordinary about the story, but you do get to see the Ranger & Tonto in action.

Gill and Newman did hundreds of pages of this type of thing for years, with both being the main artist & writer respectively on the main Lone Ranger feature and the various spin-off tales involving Silver or Tonto in solo adventures. I had to wonder if Newman would recycle his stories, changing the names of characters and placing them in similar situations months or years later, but didn’t feel I was comfortable asking him such a question. Given the thousands of scripts he must have cranked out it probably would not have been beyond the realm of possibility.

It’s unfortunate that the last few incarnations of the Ranger haven’t been what we fans would have liked. DC’s “Dark Ranger” was interesting, but I don’t consider it the real LR, rather an alternate reality version. The latest television film and doomed pilot took so many liberties with the legend that it too really wasn’t my idea of the real LR. Why, for instance was the family name changed from Reed? Surely this wouldn’t have anything to do another company having the rights to the Green Hornet, would it?
Maybe it's the stench of death beginning to emanate from the Bush Administration and the screech of vultures circling overhead. Whatever the reason I'm finding it more and more interesting to keep up with what is going on in the news. One of the best sites I have found is over at SLATE not only has some fine columnists on staff, but also cover the what is being said & reported in the major national newspapers. I personally recommend getting the daily e-mail newsletter which will link you to the major stories being reported in the NY TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, WALL STREET JOURNAL and other papers.

While SLATE itself seems to have a pretty "liberal' bent, the magazines & newspapers they'll link to often are not, so you can get a wide range of opinions. As Mark Evanier always reminds us, you really should know what those who don't agree with you are saying. It's great to hear what you want, but it isn't always what is correct.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I really don't expect much to come from Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's CIA-leak inquiry, which appears to be wrapping things up. I heard on the Al Franken show today that there are reports of a 'major figure' giving information to the Special Prosecutor on just what may have been going on behind White House doors.

If top officials are indicted, I don't believe that any of them will end up serving time. While Karl Rove may find himself out of a job, VP Dick Cheney is probably invulnerable and I can't see him resigning no matter what comes out of the grand jury. All types of 'executive privilege' or even pardons would possibly keep the Veep from doing hard time. You definitely won't see Congress looking into anything, at least not until after the '06 elections take place.

If either IS forced out they certainly both have enough influence & connections to simply walk away into the private sector for large paychecks. They will just be doing it a few years earlier then they had expected.

On the other hand, G.W. isn't quite as invincible as he was even a few months ago. The death toll in Iraq continues to approach the two thousand mark and the botched job after Hurricane Katrina hasn't helped matters. Some Republicans (at least in Congress, if not among the party loyalists according to some polls) appear to be trying to put a bit of distance between themselves and the Administration. Next year's Senate & House elections will be especially nasty from all accounts, but it will be interesting to see if His Smugness finds himself dis-invited from fund raisers as time goes by.

Friday, October 14, 2005

As tempting as it is to make jokes about needing an arc or the like, I'm not. Just wondering out loud how folks are dealing with all this. The subway (knock on wood!) hasn't been as bad as it could have been the past few days, but I'm not holding out much hope about tomorrow. The trains are generally messed up on Saturday to begin with and I'm certainly not expecting that to change.

The only problem we have had at the house is some leaks around the airconditioning unit in my mother-in-law's bedroom. When the wind is 'just right' water coming from the next door neighbor's drain sprays over and gets through the window guard. Towels seem to be keeping anything from being damaged.

Having lost one car myself due to stupidly trying to drive through three & a half feet of water, I have sympathy for those poor bastards you see on television in just that situation. Donna and the rest of the family always bring my 'accident' up whenever possible, so I've learned to find the humor in it after a few years. Just a word of warning to you drivers out there: "It really is deeper than you think!"

Friday, October 07, 2005

Okay, I'm not going to go so far as to say the word 'conspiracy' but it does strike one (well, at least me!) that the subway terror threat coincided with the 1st NYC Mayoral debate. The same debate in Harlem that Mayor Bloomberg refused to attend. Now, of course, the debate is shoved to the middle pages, while Mikey gets the headlines.

Also, I'd like to know exactly how many New Yorkers out there have seen these random bag searches after the first week or so they were announced. Personally, at my local stop in Brooklyn we have never had one and I have only seen one police officer in the past month at my stop.

Last night, returning home to Brooklyn I never saw a police officer on either the "R" or "N" trains I took. This included a train change at 34th St in Manhattan. What I did see was the first Guardian Angel I've seen on a subway train in over a year. Yeah, I feel safer already!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush rejected critics demanding a U.S. pullout from Iraq and warned on Thursday of more sacrifice ahead to stop Islamic militants from gaining a foothold for a sweeping radical empire.
When His Smugness says something like that you know damned well that he's not talking about any personal sacrifice in his part. Nor on the part of his cronies in industry, which is doing quite well thank you!

Sadly, the sacrifice is the life and future of the thousands of American men & women who are in uniform. As a click on link over on the Left will show you we all too rapidly coming up on the two thousandth American military death in Iraq. Counting those who have given their lives in Afghanistan it has already gone over that number.

Monday, October 03, 2005

According to what I've read this morning, President Bush has nominated White House counsel Harriet Miers for the position on the Supreme Court to be vacated by Justice Sandra O'Connor.

I'm sure that in the coming days and weeks we'll be hearing plenty of pro & con arguments about Ms. Miers. However, as I'm more then willing to pre-judge her (pardon the expression), I have a bad feeling about G.W. putting on the Court someone who at some point may have to hear a case involving him and his administration. As WH Counsel I think she knows where too many skeletons are buried for my taste.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Forgot to mention it the other day, but I have been interviewed by a writer for an upcoming article in LIBRARY JOURNAL. It deals with how reference work is changing for neighborhood libraries as we shift from print to electronic resources. I'm hoping that I don't come across as overly negative and I did have to change some of what I wrote in an e-mail follow up, since I may have gone out on a limb criticizing the administration here in Queens. I do need the paycheck!
Grabbed my copy of METRO this morning (one of the two morning free papers available here in NYC, the other being AM) and was pleasantly surprised. Under the headline "Hey, Mr. Fantasy" there was a picture of Neil Gaiman on the top of the front page. Inside was a short interview/article on Gaiman's latest project the fantasy film "MirrorMask". Done with his sometime artist/collaborator Dave McKean, this is a CGI filled movie from the Jim Henson Studio. Also was mentioned Gaiman's scripting chores for the recently announced adaptation of BEOWULF with Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins & John Malkovich. An interesting cast but since I love the original tale I have to wonder what Gaiman and director Robert Zemeckis have in mind.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My mother always told me that it was wrong to take delight in the misfortunes of others. However....

I can't help but be at least amused by the news that Rep. Tom Delay has already decided to step down as Majority Leader. You can never safely assume that guys like him won't find a way to get away with everything, but it is nice to see that he is not totally above the law.

The less said about the testimony of former FEMA head Brown yesterday the better. It just wasn't his fault, okay! Get off his back so he can investigate just who is to blame for embarrassing G.W.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Belated condolences to the family and friends of Don Adams, who passed away yesterday. I didn't hear about this until lunch time, while listening to the news on WCBS. Adams found his niche as Agent Maxwell Smart and will be remembered for that character for years to come. He also voiced Tennessee Tuxedo (a cartoon you can still see on occasion) as well as Inspector Gadget (which probably brought him almost as much money and fame as Max ever did).

Our heartfelt wishes go to all those who 'knew' Adams as whatever character, and to those lucky enough to know him in person.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

So far we c an be thankful that Hurricane Rita is weaker than feared. Still there are going to be a lot of folks left homeless, but some lessons (at least superfically) appear to have been learned from Hurricane Katrina. Sadly, New Orleans appears to be taking another hit, although not as bad and mostly from renewed flooding.

Amusing to see that the Bush folks decided that they would 'be in the way' since that is what they are good at, and little else. Maybe they should all just pack up and stay in Colorado Springs.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

From AP: Senate Judiciary Committee votes 13-to-5 to send nomination of John Roberts for chief justice to full Senate.

Well, I'm not shocked but I am appalled by the spineless seat-fillers called Democrats. At least a few have the balls to stand for some type of convictions. Might be time to look into getting 'real' progressives and not Republican wannabes in those Senate & Congressional seats.

It's never too early to consider remaking the Democratic Party into what it once was. Then again it might be time to let the party die a natural death and create something new from the ashes.
Sadly it took the fiasco that was the Hurricane Kitrina recovery to get FEMA, Homeland Security and other federal agenices to work together. We can only hope that they truly have learned something and those affected by Hurricane Rita will not be caught up in the same kind of in-fighting and 'politics as usual.'

Naturally, I'm seeing that the residents of Galvaston appear white and better off then the folks in New Orleans, and of course Texas (as was Florida, in 2004) has connections to the Bush administration which will help matters. I know I sound like a Left-wing conspiracy nut here, but I can't help it, since I HAVE been one one for 30+ years.

Also, it was good to see that a possible disaster was averted by a good pilot and careful planning last night. The safe landing of the Jet Blue flight at LAX was one of those events that television does seem to bring us all too seldom, as these things to often end in tragedy. Congrats to the pilot and his crew for bringing the passengers and themselves down safely.

Fingers crossed that landfall this coming Saturday (or late Friday evening) does not bring about the deaths of anyone which could have been prevented. There are still those folks who refuse to leave (one guy last night saying his neighbors were caught up in "Katrina Fever", as an explanation of his own decision to stay), but we wish them a safe outcome nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's a shame to hear that Cindy Sheehan was unwelcome in Union Square. Seems members of the New York Police Department moved into the crowd of about 150 people, who were there to hear her speak and yanked away the microphone. Mrs. Sheehan was 'jostled' a bit, but not arrested. No doubt Mayor Mike will find a reason to defend the cops for doing this in his usual whiney fashion.

Friday, September 16, 2005

According to Reuters: "President George W. Bush's advisers said on Friday billions of dollars needed to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast will be borrowed and will raise the deficit but Bush still wants to extend tax cuts."

Thank the gods! We just got a 1% raise here at the library and I was worried about how the hurricane recovery would effect me. Looks like my capital gains and stock dividends are still safe.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

It is an embarrassment to watch any of the Congressional hearing on John Roberts. Could the Democrats be more spineless or the Republicans less toady and suck up? What a worthless group of seat-fillers the American people have elected. Would the Founding Fathers even recognize this as what they had in mind, or would it remind them of the rubber stamp parliament which followed the lead of King George? I think I can hazard a guess.

I'm kind of glad to be working this evening, since I'll likely still be on the subway when His Smugness addresses the nation.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Look, the President said that mistakes were made on 'all levels'. He's taken responsibility, so all you progressives and liberals get off his back!!

Poor George! He finally has to admit to actually making a mistake after his mother showed just how out of touch the whole damn family is from the majority of Americans. I guess this is a step up, since during the campaign last year he couldn't name a single mistake he had ever made.

I mean it's working out okay for those poor folks who left New Orleans for Houston, right? That is what Barbara seems to feel anyway.

Let's all forgive and forget, okay? The President is trying and all this finger pointing sure as hell isn't helping. He's got a Supreme Court to stack with neo-Cons and you're all ruining a darned good time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Figured it was about time to weed out some of the links I've had over on The Left. Not that these are still valid, nor does my removing them an indication that I no longer agree with the sites. I simply found that I had way too many and in some cases haven't gone to check these sites since originally posting them. If I'm not that interested, why should any of you take the time?

On the political front, I'm going to vote this afternoon in the Democratic primary in New York City. I live in Brooklyn and there are a few folks who'll be getting my vote. I am most certainly NOT voting for the endorsed candidate of my (for lack of the better term) Union. Apparently somebody is looking for a position in the next Bloomberg administration so Those In Power have thrown DC 37 behind Mayor Mike.

Not that I've NEVER voted for a Republican but I'm certainly not going to vote for someone for whom I have not a bit of respect. I keep hearing how popular he is and frankly, among the folks I speak to, none of them seems happy with him. I'm not talking about fellow Liberal/Progressives here, but some conservative and independent voters as well. I some how get the feeling that many folks seem to feel that they owe Bloomberg their vote by the reason that he happened to be the mayor as we moved past 9/11. While we're on the subject, we should also remember that in all probability he would not have won that initial election if he did not stand in the shadow of Rudi at the time. Bloomberg likes to remind us about 9/11, although he isn't disgusting enough to show photos of the site as the Presidential candidate he endorsed last year felt obliged to.

Just my two cents, of course!

Friday, September 09, 2005

According to an article from Reuters this morning the President has signed an 'executive order' which would allow federal contractors to pay below standard wages to workers involved in the Katrina cleanup and recovery. Looks like some bad poll numbers and embarrasing revelations about the padded resume of the head of FEMA have NOT changed Standard Operating Procedure at the White House.

Sad that it has taken the deaths of hundreds (if not thousands) of Americans and the almost total destruction of several cities and towns to give the Democratic politicians some backbone.

On a personal note, someone very close to me may have to undergo an operation. I just want to take this moment to remind woman and men not to forego regular doctor's appointments and examinations. Also, don't forget that breast self-exams are an important step in discovering possible problems before they become more serious.

Originally, I was going to go on a rant about religion and the use of the term 'miracle' by lots of folks. Those of you who are familiar with my "beliefs" know that I have problems with all that. However, given the current situation and how faith does seem to help so many folks, I'm going to keep my big mouth shut for the time being.

Unless something major comes up later today, I just want to wish you all a safe weekend!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A co-worker's son is a member of the New York City Fire Department, and is one of those who went down to New Orleans about a week ago.

He has reported back that they have releaved some of the city's own so they can take a break. They have been working 17+ hour days and haven't had hot food for the past few. They were hoping to actually get some cooked food last night as a change from sandwiches. He has also said that television can not give you a true feeling for what it is like for the people remaining there. The number of fires and the smell is unbelievable.

We can only send our best wishes and hope that he and the men & women like him remain safe as they perform their jobs. They expect no reward and it is likely they will get little fan fare when they return. These are the same folks who put their lives on the line on 9/11, but they keep doing their jobs.

George Bush and his ilk don't deserve to be in the same room, let alone some photo op, with these folks and never will.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

At some point, probably in 2007 and well after the next round of Congressional elections, we will get some kind of report telling us that nobody is to blame for what happened following Hurricane Katrina. The state and local politicians will try to cover their own butts, but anyone in the current administration can count on their sympathizers to cover any tracks and forestall any investigation which would prove embarrassing. I'm also willing to bet that a few folks at FEMA and/or Homeland Security will be up for some medals for their brilliant planning.

You really didn't know if you wanted to laugh or cry this past weekend as all the news channels covered what is about the biggest demonstration of FUBAR that I have ever seen. It goes way beyond SNAFU, if you now what I mean and I'm sure you do. It would be nice to think that heads will role, but we know from past experience that is not going to happen.

Friday, September 02, 2005

This from AP: "The results are not acceptable," President Bush says of Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts.

Well, damn it! As a wealthy Republican and the son of a former President, surely Mr. Bush can call upon the current President and demand.... Oh..that's right. Never mind!
It's in times like this when I always hear from my old friend S. H. Otis. The scenes from New Orleans and reports from around that entire area have him spewing his usual right-wing nonsense. I'm not sure if turning New Orleans into the real life image of John Carpenter's ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is the correct thing to do, but it just might be what is happening whether we like it or not.

The U.S., considering the delayed response of just about every Federal and state agency, is not helping the situation and it's certainly angering a lot of decent folks around the country. Seems only the talking heads on the G.O.P./Fox News service are keeping their mouths shut about His Smugness. People like Paula Zahn, Anderson Cooper and a couple of other hosts on CNN are actually coming out and saying what it obvious. Where is everybody? Anderson and one of his reporters were correct in saying in effect, "We were able to get here. Why can't the government and rescue workers?"

Unless the White House does a really good job of sheltering G. W. I think he's going to hear a lot of things he isn't going to like. Not that he cares, of course, but it won't look good on television to see the Secret Service taking down old men and women as they bad mouth the Prez.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Rachel Maddow, over on Air America Radio, has been doing a nice job of bringing to light articles from the New Orleans Times-Picayune. This paper (which I doubt is part of the Liberal Media cabal) has been publishing a number of articles over the past few years on how the federal government has been cutting the budget of the Army Corps of Engineers. These are the funds which would have been used to plan and build improvements in the levee system in New Orleans. Maddow and others have also brought up a study from early 2001 (prior to 9/11) which said that a major hurricane and flooding such as we are now seeing would be one of the top three economic catastrophes which would effect the United States. (The other two would be a 'terrorist attack on New York City' *ahem* and a major earthquake in San Francisco.)

This Friday, His Smugness will come down from on high (or 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, if you prefer) and walk among the common folk bestowing his platitudes. He shall appear before them dressed in jeans and denim shirt, with his sleeves rolled up so that he may truly be seen as ‘one of them.’ He shall ask them to pause with him in prayer, and as he bows his head will probably wonder which one of his aides will be assigned to get all this “damn mud & sh*t’ off my boots.” Then he will pass among them (well protected by armed men) and hand out some water or other necessities which he, of course, has never done without.

As progressive folks have been saying over the past couple of days, while you can’t blame G.W. or his administration for the disaster, you can certainly hold them accountable for cutting the funding which might have prevented some of the destruction. You can also blame them for putting the majority of the National Guard & Reserve of the three states, who would normally be mobilized at this time, over in Iraq to fight in a war we can not win and which will suck the money needed for the reconstruction of three states.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

This is from the AP wire: "President Bush will cut short his vacation to return to Washington on Wednesday, two days earlier than planned, to help monitor federal efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina, the White House said Tuesday."

Whoa! This must be one of those sacrifices he spoke about the other week.

If I was President I don't know if I would consider the disruption of the lives of millions of Americans worth 48 hours of down time. It must suck to be him, huh?
While the devastation in New Orleans was not as bad as some predicted, still way too many folks were killed, hurt or left homeless. This thanks in part to the state and federal government ignoring scientific evidence that the levis around the city should have been built up. Also, as was the case in Florida, business folks will build anywhere safe or not and then leave the people in those structures to fend for themselves. We can but hope that some of the profiteering and outright theft which was reported in Florida after Hurricane Andrew will not be repeated.

Mississippi seems to have been the most severely hit, with a report earlier today saying that at least eighty people may have been killed in one small town. The count will sadly be going higher as we learn more and relief workers are able to get into rural areas.

My cousin, Maryrose was scheduled to attend a convention in New Orleans in a few weeks. She believes that it will be cancelled, unless the organizers can find another location. The whole family is happy that it wasn't scheduled for this past week.

Again, my hopes and wishes for a safe outcome for all those affected.

Monday, August 29, 2005

My sympathies and sincere hopes for a safe outcome for all those folks in the path of Hurricane Katrina. While not quite as powerful as at first feared, there is nothing predictable about a Category Four storm.

My family suffered damage to their home during several floods when I was a child, back in Norwich, Connecticut. Twice most of our furniture was a total loss. We were only a few hundred feet from the Shetucket River which had a tendency to flood every few years, especially where we were since it joined with the Quinnipiac River to become the Thames a few miles further south.

While serving in the U.S. Navy I had the opportunity to be stationed in several southern cities. I spent about half a year in Mobile, AL in 1985 –’86 and found the city was to be lovely and the people, for the most part, couldn’t have been nicer to this Yankee boy. The images I’ve seen of the storm so far have me hoping for the best.

I also spent a couple of months in Meridian, MS, so I’m also keeping my fingers crossed for those folks, as well as all those in New Orleans and the surrounding area. I had the chance to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras and had hoped to return one day. Let’s hope that the damage I’ve heard of isn’t as bad as the TV talking heads would have us believe.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I know this is going to get me labeled a sexist or something, but hasn't the day of the belly shirt come and gone? I thought I read somewhere where that this fashion had begun to be phased out, along with the low-riding jeans. I'm still seeing an awful lot of belly buttons and backside tattoos on the subway each day.

While we're on the subject, are these tummy revealing shirts also known as 'wife beaters?' I keep reading and hearing that term and find I'm a tad confused. Enquiring minds and all that.

Yeah, chalk it up to dirty old man syndrome, if you will.
I'm going to take a wild guess here, but I'm getting the feeling that the 'sacrifices' that G.W. is calling for Americans to make don't include corporations making money in Iraq or anyone in his administration. I am also going to go out on a limb and guess that one of those sacrifices is NOT cutting a month long vacation short. Am I off the mark here?

With the death toll of American forces approaching the two thousand mark (probably well before Thanksgiving, sadly) is it any wonder that Bush's approval ratings are starting to resemble Nixon's in his last days? Not that the spineless in Congress (and this includes those disguised as Democrats) will do anything about it.

Have a good weekend. G.W. will!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Let's see if I have this straight.

The Prez is on a 'working vacation' but takes time away from the ranch to vacation elsewhere. Meanwhile, dozens of U.S. service men & women are billing killed and wounded in Iraq. We may be secretly pulling some troops from that country in the spring, but will be sending around 1,500 more to help with possible elections there (just in case there is a constitution to vote on & under) in October. Plus, if the election is held the Shiites may boycott them.

Oh, and Pat Robinson really didn't say what they think he said, but was misinterpreted. Wait...he did say it, but really didn't mean it and wants to apologize if somebody (like the man whose assassination he called for) took offense. He was just carried away, you see! Ha, ha..pretty funny or at least the good Rev seems to find it so.

Meanwhile, that confused woman who lost her son is just making it difficult for us and would she please go away? We're trying to win a war against terrorists like those in Iraq who really were involved and planned 9/11; besides they were stockpiling Weapons of Mass Destruction, which we are going to find one of these days and then won't you be surprised and sorry!!

Does that just about cover it, or am I missing something?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

As I’ve mentioned before I’m a big fan of Court TV and will generally watch it when I have the morning off. One of the cases currently being televised is Montana vs. Beiber, in which a day care center employee is accused of causing the death of a child by giving him an over-the-counter cold medication. Apparently, at least according to the Prosecutor this was S.O.P. for this place in order to get the children to take naps if they weren’t inclined to do so on their own.

Anyway, the Defense has learned that someone involved in the case (possibly as a witness) may be blogging about the case. There has been a discussion by the various segment hosts and their guests on whether or not this borders on the illegal, coming under any type of ‘gag order’ the judge may have imposed. Generally, as I understand it (and Bob Ingersoll isn’t around to say different) a gag order would only cover the principles in the case anyway. I always find it interesting when the blogoverse comes under discussion out beyond our little world, which we seem to more and more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Boy, just when you think that the folks over at the 700 Club have gotten the good reverend back on medication he gets in front of the camera again. Pat Robertson's call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, probably goes up there with the other stupid things he's said although it crosses a new line.

According to reports I've heard & read the Venezuelan Vice President Vicente Rangel has called Robertson's comments 'criminal.' If nothing else it might make already strained U.S. Venezuelan relations a bit more so, since Robertson's known ties to the GOP and the administration are well known.

I know it's about Free speech and all, but can you imagine if someone like Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton called for the U.S. to assassinate a right-wing dictator? Whew! Fox News and the White House would be all over their ass!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Whoa! How could I have missed the news last Friday that they may have clue to the disappearance of Judge Crater? He might have been buried under the boardwalk at Coney Island and actually was dug up years ago. Seems that when they were building the Aquarium human bones were found but not identified. Now a woman has come forward to say her late husband, a police officer at the time of the Judge's disappearance may have done away with him in some kind of political murder. How cool is that?

Sad that nothing else has really caught my attention this weekend. There were somethings which came up which I can't talk about, but we'll deal with things as they arise.

On the political front, it looks as if even members of the GOP (those looking forward to 2006 and further down the line) may be trying to distance themselves from G.W.'s increasingly unpopular Iraq policy. Too little, too late in my book! Still it should make things interesting as the wagons have to be drawn in tighter at the White House.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Several years ago, back when I was working for the University of New Haven, I twice took part in a research project. Sadly, no super-powers developed and my hair still hasn’t grown back.

Seriously, the research had to do with memory or rather what triggered memories. Each of the volunteers was given a journal and for one month we would record those moments when we had memories of either the recent or distant the past. In the journals, using a series of shorthand notations, we would try to note what might have triggered the event (taste, sound, something we had read or seen, etc.). I have to admit that it was pretty fascinating and personally brought back even more memories as the journal writing itself would trigger further events.

Even though I no longer keep a journal, I do find that when certain memories spring to mind I try to decipher exactly what it was that led to that moment. Today on the subway, for instance, I was reading a review (a graphic novel in which trolls appear) which reminded me of an e-mail exchange I once had with Neil Gaiman (of all people) involving childhood fears (ask Elayne about “Three Billy Goats Gruff”). This in turn brought back a frightening reminder of a reoccurring nightmare I had for years as a teenager, involving an abandoned well, a girl living there and decay. Brrrr!!!

I realize this has nothing to do with Iraq, Israel or anything political which is triggering posts in the Blogoverse, but I just wanted to get that out there while it was fresh in my mind.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Well the heat here in New York has apparently broken, at least for the time being. It's still a tad too humid for my taste, but I can live with it. The hotter than normal days have been replaced with a forecast calling for showers & thunder showers for the rest of the week, with more 'seasonable' temps. Fingers crossed!

Donna and I didn't accomplish a whole heck of a lot this weekend, but did spend some time with friends. Visited our friend Bella in the hospital and then went out to dinner with Donna's best friend, Frances. Actually got out last evening, when the temps fell a bit, and threw some hotdogs on the barbecue. I think I'm really getting the hang of not burning everything.

It continues to amaze me how upset the right-wing is over the anger and grief of a mother who lost her son in Iraq. Heard that somebody actually fired off a shotgun and then laughed it off when confronted. "That's the way we are in Texas." or some such thing like that was his response. Just a good ol' boy, like G.W. down the road!

Friday, August 12, 2005

It's rather sad when you discover that Library Administration has lost track of where you are currently assigned. I received an e-mail earlier this morning requesting me to do something at a branch I haven't been at for close to six months. I suppose I should be happy that my check is automatically deposited and I'm not waiting for it here every other week.

Oh, and before I forget...."It's not the heat, it's the humidity!"
Good to hear that "Mr. Compassion" (aka President Bush) sympathized with Cindy Sheehan. I'm certain that that will make her and the thousands of other mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and children feel a whole lot better about the deaths of their loved ones. According to what I've heard (second & third hand of course, since I don't listen or watch Fox News nor various radio right-wing hosts) Mrs. Sheehan is doing little but disgracing her son Casey's actions in Iraq. How can she sleep at night?

Seriously, I don't think any of us should be surprised either at the callousness of the talking-heads or of El Presidente. For them to do anything otherwise they would have to admit mistakes, which of course they could never do.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Spent most of yesterday trying to get myself on a Jury here in Brooklyn. I'm guessing that I don't qualify to sit in judgement of the accused. Actually, I think it was because I was a victim of a crime years ago and had to identify the two men responsible. Seems that the 'accused' in this particular trial was also picked out in a lineup, so his Defense attorney probably didn't want someone who thought that type of thing works.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The fine folks over at Air America Radio (link over on the Left) would invited one & all to sign their petition to have Karl Rove fired. While it might be fun pretending that the White House cares about what citizens think I'm past the point of kidding myself.

I've been the kind of progressive who has been signing petitions, writing letters to the editor, donating time & money to various causes and groups since the late 1960s. After all this time I have come to the realization that I am way out of touch with my fellow Americans and am pretty much fed up with all of them. You do in fact get the type of government you deserve and we're living it now. We are not going to change it and it is going to get progressively (I can't help but smile when I use that expression in this case) worse.

Live the best life you can under the circumstances, but don't expect things to get any better.

Have a good weekend!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Granted, it may have had something to do with the Rum & Cokes I'd been drinking for the past few hours, or the beers i just had. However, I'd like to think that it had more to do with being surrounded with my family.

Saturday night found Donna and I attending a surprise 50th b-day bash for my brother-in-law Teddy back in Connecticut. I was up on the dance floor with three of my female cousins, a floor we shared a trio of ladies who were apparently sent over from Central Casting to appear as Dykes on Bikes in a drive-in flick. The club, which my sister rented for the night, certainly had its share of characters in the adjoining bar/pool hall. Around midnight some of those folks drifted in to the party and joined the festivities. I was having a great time!

The flash came when I realized how different my life might have been had I not joined the Navy after high school, or even if I had stayed in my hometown after my enlistment was up. I would probably have married one of the girls I dated back then (wherever Diane or Martha may be?) and could have easily ended up a member of something like the American-Polish Club or something along those lines.

Family is a wonderful thing and I really do believe that you can go home again. At least for a weekend and a few drinks.

Here's a toast (another Barcadi & coke over here, please) to my sisters Pam & Sue, both Teddys, Charlie, Sandy and the rest of the Papineau(my mom's relatives) side of the Chaput family!

Hey! Was there any woman there that Bob didn't put the moves on?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Looks like good ol' Gary Trudeau is in trouble again, at least with some newspapers. Apparently the term "Turd Blossom" isn't suitable for some tender readers to encounter in the funny pages. I think Bush using it as the new nickname for a certain White House staffe is pretty cute, myself.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I heard the news about the bombing incident in London before heading off to work today. Another unfortunate situation and I’m glad that only one person seems to have been injured. Apparently, according to early reports, the only one hurt was one of the bombers who was surprised by an early detonation. What a shame!

I find myself in agreement with some of the British journalists who believe this is probably the work of ‘copycats’ rather than the same group responsible for the 7/7 attacks. This group seems, fortunately for those involved, a bit more amateur than those who carried out the very deadly bombings of two weeks ago.

Fingers crossed that things have not gotten worse since I last heard the news. Also, I hope they capture those responsible for all the deaths and injuries in both incidents.

Also, since everybody else has chimed in on the topic. Who would have thought that the perfect Supreme Court candidate would be a conservative White man in his fifties? Obviously the President and his cronies searched far & wide for someone like John Roberts in order to fill the slot vacated by the first woman to sit on the court. Do you think the odds are good that he might be a Republican?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I'm not in San Diego this year, obviously, but we'll see about 2006. Donna had initially wanted me to plan my vacation to coincide with the convention, but I think we both needed the earlier time off.

Now that I'm not actively involved in fandom or a member of Friends of Lulu, I'm just one of the nameless fanboys who would drift around. I'm not even reading any comics regularly so I'd probably be hitting the various panels rather than haunting the dealer's room.

If anybody reading this is out in San Diego, I hope you enjoy yourselves and find whatever it is for which you're searching. Also, don't miss the costume contest if you can help it! If you happen to be a member of Capa-Alpha (the oldest continuing comics apa) toast all of those who couldn't make it this year.

If you aren't going, word is that New York City will finally get a major comics convention again in 2006. While Big Apple is fine it will be nice to see a really major event in the city which is still home for a good part of the industry.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I don't want to get myself in trouble, but I have to say that it ticks me off that the Queens Library (and apparently the other library systems in New York) are allowing Scholastic to set ridiculous rules regarding the new HARRY POTTER book.

We actually have to lock the books in the Branch Manager's office upon receipt. The book cannot be linked to the library until just prior to the opening on Saturday (or whatever the first day after 7/16 the library opens). A memo was sent out all but threatening staff should they do anything with the book before the branch actually opens to the public.

The library, like book stores, receive many new books prior to the publication date and we DO NOT release them until then. We have had to lock books away, sealed in plastic, until a set time.

I'm half way tempted to stand out front of the branch at 10:01 am (just after we open) and read the last chapter of the book to anyone interested.

Don't get me wrong! I really enjoy the Harry Potter series and have been looking forward to this latest installment. On the other hand, I think the publisher is being a bit high-handed about all this. We're talking about a children's fantasy book, people!!
Well, just to keep you updated I've been out sick and really haven't felt like posting. Heck, I've barely been keeping up with my e-mail.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

While I certainly don't want to make light of the tragic bombings this morning, it was certainly fortunate that those responsible didn't take advantage of the celebrations in Britain last evening. The throngs of folks out celebrating the awarding of the 2012 Olympics to London would have been a prime target for such a group. My guess is that they already had plans in place for today's action and could not change them suddenly.

Naturally the press had their reporters aiming cameras and microphones at New Yorkers trying to go about their daily transit. Again, the folks going in to the MTA stations said they could not and would not change their plans. Donna actually wanted to drive me to work today, I told her not to bother, but I did promise to call as soon as I got to the library.

Frankly, the MTA itself is the biggest threat to my daily commute! The daily trip to Forest Hills should usually take me about an hour & fifteen minutes, but has taken me over two hours the last few days. It always seems to be "signal problems". Maybe they should just have a few guys with red & green flags waving from each station.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown - I’m not going to do a complete review of this book, since it has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year. In all likelihood, if you haven’t read it as yet you probably haven’t much interest, or are waiting for the paperback edition due later this year. Plus, there have been television network specials on some of the theories and ideas expressed. On top of that, once the trailers for the film version of the book (starring Tom Hanks) begin to appear the morning talk-shows and other media outlets will be filled with even more information.

In Brown’s novel, Professor Robert Langdon (introduced in the earlier novel, ANGELS & DEMONS) is in Paris to lecture on religious symbolism. On leave from his teaching chores at Harvard, Langdon has been contacted by Jacques Sauneire the curator of the Louvre Museum. When Sauneire is murdered the French police bring Langdon in for questioning, since he had been scheduled to meet with the curator earlier in the evening. This is the beginning of a series of mysteries which involve Langdon and Sauneire’s granddaughter in a search for what just might be The Holy Grail. Brown does an excellent job of balancing actual historic facts with an exciting chase, as Langdon tries to discover why he has possibly framed for the murder. He also must try to keep ahead of both police and others who are searching for the Grail. Even without the theory which is getting so much publicity the novel itself is a very good thriller, and will keep the reader second guessing.

Brown has filled the book with so much information that it is impossible not to be drawn into the idea of a conspiracy. While he admits that some liberties were taken for effect, it is also evident that he has done an enormous amount of research. In fact, there are currently at least half dozen books which examine the facts which Brown uses as starting point. A quick Internet search will also spotlight a number of sites dedicated to either backing up or denouncing the ideas expressed by Langdon. Heck, you can even check out Brown’s own website at and find all sorts of interesting material.

As with all books of this type, how much you get out of it will depend on what you’re looking for. If nothing else it has interested me in picking up some of Brown’s other books, which I guess is all a writer can ask.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Good morning, patriots!

Just a quick wish for everyone to have a safe and joyous Fourth of July. Stay clear of the fireworks, but if you must fool around with loaded ordinance, try not to be drinking at the same time, huh?

Oh, and congrats to NASA for being able to hit a huge chunk of ice millions of miles away, while not being able to ensure the safety of the astronauts they strap into the shuttle. Way to spend the budget, guys!!

Be safe and kind to each other!

Friday, July 01, 2005

First the Supreme Court opinion allowing the display of the Ten Commandments and now today's announcement that Sandra Day O'Connor is resigning. Since we can also expect that the Chief Justice will do likewise (within the next few months, is my bet) those of us who believe in the seperation of church & state and other Constitutional issues should begin to worry. We should also start to organize and let our voices be heard by the spineless seat-fillers in Congress.

I'm placing a link to the organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State over on the Left. It was there, just a few minutes ago in fact, where I first read of O'Connor's announcement.

Both progressives and true Conservatives should be concerned about the tilt of the next Court.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Interesting that only one of the major networks felt inclined to cover the Presidential speech last evening. Everyone else went with the usual, including reruns over on CBS. Not sure what that means, if anything.

It appears that everything is going smoothly and the media just isn't telling us that, the liberal bastards that they are! Apparently those in the military (Generals can be very short-sighted)who seem to feel that there are problems are ignoring the good things going on there.

The Prez wants all Americans to show the flag next Monday to demonstrate support for 'our troops.' Of course, there are millions of citizens who put out the flag on national holidays anyway. This was something my own father used to do and I've taken up that habit here in Brooklyn. Now, sadly, the administration and it's supporters will broadcast pictures of this and twist it into a demonstration of support for G.W.'s policies. I'm almost tempted NOT to put out the flag this weekend.

On the local front the MTA, who can't seem to repair much or get what is running to do so on time, are going to begin cracking down on us slobs who are eating and drinking on the subway. Those of us with the nasty habit of not taking the limo in will have to forego our morning cup of coffee. Since I have no plans on doing that we'll have to see when I get that first summons.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Just wanted to express my condolences to the family, friends and many fans of Paul Winchell, among the last I certainly consider myself. I was catching up on my blog reading this morning and caught Mark Evanier's comments on his death.

I fondly recall sitting around as a kid watching Winchell and his wooden friends, Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. He really did make you forget what a great ventriloquist he was since Jerry & Knucklehead seemed almost alive and separate individuals. later you seemed to hear Winchell's voice on literally hundreds of cartoons (probably best known as the voice of Tigger in the Winnie the Pooh features & shorts) and commercials (he did the voice of the Scrubbing Bubbles for years, as I recall). I also remember seeing him on a handful of shows in the 1960s(Perry Mason, for instance) demonstrating that he was also a versatile actor.

Farewell to a truly gifted man!

Friday, June 24, 2005

"If you have a weak candidate and a weak platform, wrap yourself up in the American flag."-- Matt Quay, 1886

Well, as the blog-o-sphere seems to be taking this on I figured I'd toss in a few greenish pennies of my own.

I spent a little less than a decade in the U.S. Navy, most of that on active duty. This began while the Vietnam War was still quite active and protests were going on around the world. I don't think I'd ever considered that somebody might think that burning the flag would get so many folks all bent out of shape. Sure, growing up in the fifties I did my share of standing for the Pledge of allegiance, but I knew that it was the idea behind the symbol rather than the flag itself (a piece of cloth, after all) that was important.

Seems every few years this whole anti-flag burning thing comes up again and we all have to join ranks on one side or the other. Aren't there really more important matters which should have the attention of those buffoons in D.C.?

If somebody tried to take a sledge hammer to the Lincoln Memorial I'd be the first one to call for this guy to be handcuffed. But there is only ONE such memorial. Flags are manufactured in factories, generally in some third-world country by folks barely getting by on minimal pay. That should get folks upset and not some anarchist or other fringe type taking a match to a $10 red, white & blue table cloth.

That's just me, okay?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Okay, maybe it's just me, but is there something disquieting about your Urologist making Michael Jackson jokes during your prostate exam?

The two recent helicopter accidents here in have convinced me that my distrust of them is rational. To be honest, I'm nervous enough flying in a regular airplane, but helicopters have always scared me. I had to get ride one once, while I was in the Navy, and that once will do me for the rest of my life.

We were discussing the conviction yesterday of the former Tyco executives and the outcome of the Michael Jackson trial. Someone pointed out, and I think correctly, that since one involved money and the other child molestation the government feels the first is more important. Witness the conviction of Martha Stewart for trying to save a few bucks, compared to O.J. and Robert Blake killing their wives. And this was from someone who works in law enforcement!

Monday, June 13, 2005

As hard as it is to believe, Michael Jackson has been acquited on all charges. This sucker is going to be debated endlessly.

You have to wonder how these jurors will feel when this type of thing happens again (and you know it will, since the King of Pop will see this as a free pass to continue) in a few years.
For the past few weeks, beginning before our California adventure, I've been re-listening to some old audiotapes I have.

Taking a break from the usual Old Time Radio or Books on Tape, I have been going through tapes on political conspiracy produced by Dave Emory. Emory has been doing this type of thing for over twenty years beginning with shows broadcast from several non-commercial & college stations in California and then picked up by others. By the mid-late '80s his show, HARD RAIN was available on several Pacifica stations including WBAI, here in NYC. That's where I began taping and then purchasing some of his programs.

Emory dealt with the widely known stuff on the JFK, RFK & MLK assassinations, but really his his stride with covering the little known history of the early support (financial & political) of Hitler and the Nazi Party by American industry. A quick search of the 'net will bring you to several sites which offer his programs and include transcripts of some material. Since he doesn't appear to have his own site I'm not going to link to anyone of them. Just a heads up to those, like myself, who are fascinated by this material.

I am, on the other hand, going to put up a link to Conspiracy Planet where you won't find Dave Emory, but you will find plenty of other things which will give you pause.

Since this stuff really fascinates me I'm probably going to add some similar sites over the next week or so.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Sadly, after enjoying a very nice week in California we returned to Brooklyn and found ourselves dealing with 'real life.'

One of Donna's very close friends Bella was diagnosed with cancer and this past Monday had to undergo a hysterectomy. They were unable to remove all of the cancer and she will soon begin a six-week chemotherapy treatment. Donna and I have both spent time with her in the hospital, visiting and also trying to cheer up her husband,Pete.

Having lost both of my parents to cancer it is one of those diseases which I have come to dread in my own life. When someone like Bella, only a year in age different from me, contracts such a serious form it once again reminds me of my own mortality. Also, the fact that I may indeed by genetically predisposed to it.

I have only yesterday made an appointment with my doctor for a regular check up and prostate exam. Men over forty years of age and women, as well should not take their health for granted. You only get one chance here on Mother Earth, so try and stick around as long as you can!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I meant to mention this last time out, but it slipped my mind.

The theatre in which we caught both REVENGE OF THE SITH & MADAGASCAR was the Edwards Stadium Cinema in Aliso Viejo. We had been there during our Christmas trip and found the place just as clean and friendly as we did then. It's one of those places with dozens of screens and multiple showings of the major releases.

They are really gearing up for the up-coming FANTASTIC FOUR feature in July. For the four days leading up to the film and they are running what they have dubbed MARVEL MANIA WEEK. Each night at 9:00pm they will be showing a movie based on a Marvel comic. Starting with the two SPIDER-MAN films, followed by DAREDEVIL, then X-MEN. Finally, on the last night the 9:00pm showing of X-MEN II will be followed by the midnight premiere of FF. Pretty cool, huh?

I don't know if they'll be doing anything else to tie-in with the event, but if you're in the Orange County area you might see if other Edwards Cinemas are having something like that.

Oh, and they had trailers for both BATMAN BEGINS & FANTASTIC FOUR at the screening of REVENGE OF THE SITH, so this fanboy really was in a good mood.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Well, except for a bit of turbulance both ways our trip to California was pretty good. To be honest, we discovered that it was actually a bit warmer here in NYC than out west. We hit what is known (at least out there) as the June Gloom, so every morning started out overcast, but would generally burn off by around 1:00pm.

Donna had a chance to spend time with her daughter, Kristina and we all had a good time the first Saturday night at a party that Michael (Kristina's dad) and she threw. Must have been around thirty people at Michael's place coming and going until almost 2:00am. I think he was smart to just get take out from several places instead of trying to put it together himself.

During our stay we had a chance to catch both REVENGE OF THE SITH & MADAGASCAR, (I'll have brief comments on both over at Shot's Shack in a day or two) plus Donna & I went to San Juan Capistrano, which I'd never seen before.

We did get some anxious phone calls during the week when Donna's mother thought we might have been in Laguna Beach, where a number of homes were destroyed in a landslide. Fortunately, nobody we knew was involved, although Michael's sister and several friends do live in that area.

Whenever we visit California we find it hard to get back on the returning flight. Both of us love southern California and hope to eventually settle there, when family responsibilities allow. It does rain there, by the way!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Historically, as everyone knows, when a blogger or other site owner plans on going on hiatus she or he usually posts a photo of a can of Campbell's Mushroom Soup. Sadly, this blogger hasn't figured out how to post pics yet so you will have to make do with a link to my destination.

If you click over here you can at least see how the weather & traffic is out in the Laguna Niguel vicinity. We plan on hitting the beach, trying to do the tourist thing in Capistrano and swing by El Polo Loco or In & Out Burger a few times for lunch. If we have a free weekend we also want to help out poor George Lucas by donating twenty bucks or so to catch the "last" STAR WARS movie. May the Schwartz be with you!!

Actually, Donna and I are heading out to spend some time with The Child (as she is known here at Chez Chaput). Kristina, and her father Michael, have a party planned for our arrival so if you happen to catch an episode of COPS in the near future, you may just see us enjoying ourselves. The consumption of mass quantities is in order!

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend and a Happy Fleet Week to my fellow New Yorkers!

I don't know if I'll have a chance to post out there so I'll probably catch you in a week or so.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

May 25, 1787, The Constitutional Convention opened in Philadelphia with George Washington presiding. Just a reminder that not everyone with the initials G.W. is necessarily evil.

Also, the current G.W. would probably gladly oversee another Constitutional Convention which would probably gut or narrow the focus of several of those pesky amendments. Who needs something like Freedom of Speech & Assembly when Fox News will give us the "fair & balanced" views of those in power?

Hey, if Bush II didn't know what was good for us he wouldn't be President, right?
Creatures of the Night (Dark Horse Books; Hardcover) - I just want to quickly recommend this book for any fans of Neil Gaiman out there (and I know there are a few), or of artist Michael Zulli. The book is available at your local Barnes & Noble, some comic shops and possibly (at least here in Queens) at your neighborhood library.

Gaiman, know for his work on SANDMAN, AMERICAN GODS and the cult favorite NEVERWHERE, is good form. In the first story, THE PRICE, we learn of a writer and his family who have adopted a number of cats. One in particular, the black cat, mysteriously appears one day and turns out to be something much more than what he appears. The story is touching and any cat fancier will absolutely love it. Zulli, whose work I first encountered back in the 1980s with PUMA BLUES (recommended for fans of fantasy, human interest and works dealing with the environment & nature in a spiritual way), does some wonderful painted work, giving the writer and the cats their own personalities.

The second tale, THE DAUGHTER OF OWLS, reads as if it was an adaptation of a traditional fairy tale or myth. The young baby is found abandoned, holding in her hand the droppings of an owl. Seen as an omen by the women of the village, they demand the infant be killed. Cooler heads prevail and the child is left in the care of an old nun. Years later, the child has become a beautiful woman and the men of the town have become very interested in her. A haunting tale and certainly in keeping with Gaiman's own interest in such legends and stories. Either is certainly worthwhile and more than reason to check out the book if you get the chance.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I'm in agreement with Jerry Springer today (as appalling as that once would have been for me to admit), as I don't see any benefit to what the Democrats did yesterday. Senator Joe Lieberman, founding member of H.A.D. (Hardly A Democrat), states that the political center has held. With three ultra-conservative judges approved and the 'nuclear option' still available the first time the Dems show any backbone, what did "we" win?

The Administration and its allies will use this to move the judiciary further to the Right and you can bet that Roe v. Wade (amongst other issues) will be turned back, if not immediately within the year once a new Chief Justice steps over the body of the current one.

On an lighter note, why does it seem that every time I'm preparing for a flight anywhere there seems to be at least one airplane crash. The past few days we have witnessed two such events, and although they involved small craft it still makes me nervous. I think as I grow older my belief that man should fly becomes less sure. Back in my Navy days I didn't think twice about flying and actually enjoyed it. Perhaps it's that sense of my own mortality (or mistrust of the aviation industry) that has me giving second thoughts to the whole thing.

By the way, are fellow CSI:Miami fans as curious about last night's season finale as I am. We've seen the death of one cast member and the possible resignation of Calleigh. Is Emily Proctor returning next season? Hate to see the NRA's fave cover girl out of the picture, since she was really one of the more intriguing characters on the show. Along the same lines, I'm wondering which character will be written out of NAVY NCIS in tonight's that season ender. Sadly, my money is on Sean Murray (Agent Timothy McGee) as the team member likely to buy it. I'd hate to see it, but I think fan outrage would negate the other choices. Of course, the actor/actress could want out, so who really knows?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Frank Gorshin earlier. Of course, in my mind he'll always be remembered for his brilliant portrayal of the Riddler in the old BATMAN television series. As he played the character Gorshin made him far scarier then the Joker, even though in the comics it was the Clown Prince of Crime who was far more off the deep end. I think it was the way that Gorshin really put himself into the character, leaping about the set with that maniacal laugh.

Gorshin was also good in straight dramatic roles, as well as being one of the best in the original STAR TREK episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" with Gorshin as the half white/half black Commissioner Bele pursuing his prey even beyond the death of their planet. He also appeared in any number of other televisions shows, often as the heavy. You can get some idea of how varied the man's career was over at the Internet Movie Database site.

It would be easy to end with the over used "Goodnight, funny man" phrase, but Gorshin was more than that. Condolences to his family and many friends.