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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Far be it for me to get all conspiratorial, but this current brouhaha over the NEWSWEEK article certainly couldn't come at a better time for the Administration. Things are going badly in Iraq, but the demonstrations and deaths caused by the anti-American riots are what is getting coverage.

Of course, over on Fox and in certain circles, all blame is because of reporters and the 'Liberal media'. The actions of this administration and the bad feelings that many in Islamic countries have for us are apparaently the fault of a single article in an American newsweekly that most of those involved in the riots have never heard of. They will ignore the fact that there have been similar reports about the treatment (or rather mistreatment) of Muslims held in confinement since those have generally appeared in the alternative press, in foreign papers or in blogs. If not for irresponsible journalists everything would be just peachy and we'd be beloved as is our right as the One & Only Superpower.

I think we can pretty much lay bets that Republicans in Congress will be holding hearings and trying to pass legislation to curtail the press. For our and their own good, of course!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Donna and I attended a wedding for one of her cousins this past weekend. It got me to thinking about the receptions usually held after the ceremony.

Having gone through three ceremonies myself, I don't think the proceedings tell as much about family dynamics and such as the reception. Even the casual observer at such events can usually tell by just the seating arrangements how things are in the family. Also, it's really interesting to check out the wedding party and notice how the various brides maids & ushers relate. It is easy to tell who genuinely likes each other and who was put together by the whim of the couple.

I think when it comes down to it the wedding reception always appears to be a compromise between what the couple wants and what they feel their family would enjoy. That's not necessarily wrong, but you have to wonder if it bodes well for what is in store down the road.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Just another post since this caught my attention.

From what I've been reading today Pope Benedict XVI has announced or at least indicated that he will be placing the late Pope John Paul II on the 'fast track' to sainthood. Who knew that you could do something like that? Apparently when you have a direct pipeline to the Almighty as the Pope does it doesn't take years of miracles to make the big time (religion wise, that is!).

Seriously, if I remember my childhood catechism correctly you have to have so many miracles performed in your name to get moved up the sacred ladder. Wasn't it three? Somebody would be healed or something after praying to you, then after it was 'officially' investigated and proclaimed valid by the Vatican you'd move one step closer to sainthood. Am I off base here?

Call me cynical, but should popularity be the criteria for this?

Since we're on the subject of cynicism I'm going to add yet another link over on the Left. This is for which is the official website for The Skeptics Society and their magazine, appropriately called SKEPTIC. Along with essays by James Randi (you'll find his official site via another link over on the side), you can read articles, book reviews and find information on events in your area. If you're really into it you can join the Skeptic Ring!
Unless something of major import happens later today I only have a few quick comments.

With the infrastructure of New York seeming to self-destruct of late (i.e. the crumbling of a restraining wall on the Westside Highway stopping traffic yesterday) I think the city should worry about other things besides the Olympics and a new stadium for a second-rate football team. Okay, the last comment was a cheap shot from a Patriots fan. Sorry about that!

Also, this being an election year we should remember that apparently none of this is Mayor Mike's fault. Of course, it also wasn't Rudy's fault, because you don't want to criticize "America's Mayor." It must be Dave Dinkens...yeah, that's the ticket!

People keep reminding me that today is Friday the 13th. Besides being a fan of the movie series I can't say that the whole bad luck thing bothers me. Perhaps having been born on Dec. 13th (on a Wednesday, however) I've never found my luck changing for the worst just because of the calendar date.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Even though I have been running my comics reviews over on SHOT'S SHACK recently, I decided that I'd post one here. Since Parting Shots was created to allow me to post this type of thing to begin with I figured I'd go back and forth. Annoying, huh?

RED SONJA #0 published by Dynamite Entertainment was a twenty-five cent promotion for the up-coming regular series from that company. According to online sources, this particular item garnered sales of around 200,000 copies which were higher than many Marvel & DC titles solicited at the same time. Personally, I think the price tag and the possible future collectable status of the book pushed up the figures beyond what you’d normally see. While there is a core fan base for the character I don’t know that all of that audience will be able to locate this item in some stores. I’m sure we’ll be seeing it showing up (if not already) on eBay.

If it wasn’t for the metal bikini/stripper outfit for which she has become famous, I think I’d have an easier time accepting this character. I just find it impossible to believe that a woman-warrior (preceding a certain warrior-princess by a couple of decades or so) would purposely run around in such an outfit. First off, it offers no protection from the weapons of her opponents, and secondly, all but begs for the leers and low opinions of the type of men she generally encounters. I don’t see it screaming “Hey, barbarian, respect me!”

As far as I know it was only in her initial appearances in the pages of Marvel’s CONAN title, as written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith, that she wore anything remotely comfortable or suitable for her profession (which was more thief than warrior back then). I believe it was artist Frank Thorne who first put the lady in the metal coin peekaboo, which led to her becoming the highlight of many a comic book convention costume contest. (I remember seeing the pre-Elfquest Wendi Pini winning one such contest in San Diego back in the mid-1970s.)

Having said all that, I can certainly say that Red Sonja, as she appears in this preview, seems suited for those fanboys who like to ogle. The story is written by Michael Oeming and Mike Carey, who present a done-in-one tale of Sonja seemingly falling into a pretty obvious trap and then turning the tables on her attackers. There's nothing new here and not one of Oeming’s better efforts (since he is given joint credit I really don’t know how much to blame him), but it is not something to be ashamed of either.

The art is by Mel Rubi, with coloring by Ceasar Rodriguez and Richard Isanove. Rubi does a nice John Buscema riff, solid work but nothing we haven’t seen in hundreds of other barbarian titles. I will give Rubi credit for not filling each panel with a lot of T&A, even though he doesn’t shy away from showing Red Sonja’s physical attritutes to their fullest. Fans of this type of thing won’t be disappointed. By the way, the cover of this preview is by Greg Land.

Obviously, I’m not the intended audience for this type of thing. However, it you are you’ll probably already be picking up the regular series. Two stars out of four for effort.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Does there really seem to be an unusual number of horrible stories hitting the news of late? It appears that a day doesn't go by without at least one more news report of a crime against children making headlines. I guess it's easy to get viewers attention with such things and I don't put it past the folks responsible for the 27/7 news networks to go in search of such stories. It allows them to bury political and economic events which are more difficult to explain in a sound bite and don't offer dramatic video of distraught family members.

I think the news worthiness of the Jackson trial is starting to drag and the nightly news shows need something. Besides, we're all growing bored with Iraq and the mid-east anyway.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Since I was able to hit Jim Hanley's Universe this past Saturday, I picked up a few freebies as part of the Free Comics Day promotion. I'll be reviewing them over at Shot's Shack for the next week or so, along with some stuff for which I actually paid. These include some promotional issues which went for $.25-$.50 and caught my eye.

Today I start with the SF tale, RUNNERS, which should appeal to the STAR WARS fans and others. It has a bit of the humor and adventure of the original SW film. I haven't wasn't disappointed at all and will be looking for the TPB which collects the first six issues of the series.

Hope folks enjoyed their weekend and had a chance to call or visit with their moms or mom-in-laws. Sadly, my own mom passed away just about three years ago and I miss her very much. Be sure to show your mom's that you appreciate what they have done for you. Even if you didn't get along with them or feel you've drifted apart over the years, you can never go back for one more hug once they have gone.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Well, it seems that the British people are a forgiving lot, or else the opposition is so bad that Blair & Co. still look pretty good. Not a mandate, but then that hasn't stopped G.W. from pushing his own agenda. Apparently there are enough folks on both sides of the pond who seem to believe that things are going along just peachy keen.

Now far be it from me to criticize the security in place in at the British consulate in New York.

But since it was the day of the elections over there and there are a number of folks less than happy with Britain's place in the Coalition of the Senseless, wouldn't you think that the NYPD, the FBI and even Homeland Security might have put at least a couple of extra folks around the site to keep an eye out. Fingers crossed for apparently hap-hazard security camera film isn't something to make the rest of us feel safe.

Of course, the major story in the U.S. remains the possibility that AMERICAN IDOLATRY might be rigged to some degree. Shameful!!

Have a nice weekend and Happy Mother's Day to Kristina's mom!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I'm behind in just about everything lately, so haven't had a chance to post much. Anyway, the big thing this past weekend was America's love affair with Laura Bush. Apparently she's everything that Hillary wasn't and the entire nation can be glad that she is there beside her husband (or rather a step or two behind, unlike that B* Hillary, who doesn't know her place!!).

Wow, the woman can read a script, including getting up at a planned (and no doubt rehearsed moment) to interrupt G.W. during his attempt to make a joke. What a swell gal! The ladies here at work were all gushing over her, which is amusing since they haven't said a single positive thing about her husband since I got here. *shrug*

Caught one of our favorite shows on Sunday night, namely CBS' COLD CASE. I've raved about the show before and continue to find it one of the better offerings from the networks. This time it was a nice tribute (or inside joke, for those who weren't in on it) to the ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.

For those unfamiliar with COLD CASE, the show deals with a squad of detectives who deal in unsolved murder cases (Cold Cases) from the past. They use new information (informants, old witnesses, etc.) and new DNA/forensic techniques to solve the killings. This time the murder of a young man who may have been the first victim of a serial killer, about to be released from prison. The murder takes place after the performance of ROCKY HORROR and the serial killer is portrayed by Barry Bostwick (who played Brad Majors in the cult classic). COLD CASE always uses music from the era to help with the mood, and this time all the music is from the cast recording (at least it sounds it to me). They also have plenty of clips from the film, as some scenes take place during the midnight showings.

I was actually surprised to discover that Donna has never seen ROCKY HORROR, even on video. It's something we'll have to get around to one of these days. As usual, in those situations where my past comes back to haunt me, Donna gives me the strangest looks. Maybe singing along with the soundtrack wasn't very subtle though.

Oh, and as my ex will attest, I never attended a showing myself, but was introduced to RHPC on VHS when we were dating.