Monday, April 30, 2007

Oh My Stars and Garters

I wasn’t a fan of the first Fantastic Four movie BUT this…

looks amazing.

In other news… Script Frenzy ( should go live at midnight… Theoretically. Hey, if you’ve ever wanted to write a script or a play JUNE is the time. Get yer outlines together and join in on the insanity.

It’ll do you good.

Oh My Stars and Garters

I wasn’t a fan of the first Fantastic Four movie BUT this…

looks amazing.

In other news… Script Frenzy ( should go live at midnight… Theoretically. Hey, if you’ve ever wanted to write a script or a play JUNE is the time. Get yer outlines together and join in on the insanity.

It’ll do you good.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Fun with Political Franchises

Just playing devil’s advocate but how easy would it be to abuse this system?

(Double click the You Tube link for the commercial)

The answer to this question is pretty darn easy. I happen to live in a state where anonymous tips can be used from everything from road rage episodes to child welfare issues. One can claim anything and it will be investigated at taxpayer expense. Scary stuff, really. Just whatever happened to the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”? The issue really goes to the core of a lot of things that have been happening here in the land of the free and the home of the brave ever since 9/11. I understand that these are trying times and that there is a war on two fronts going on. What gnaws at me is that we happily give up freedoms and rights for the sake of what the government or lobbyists tell us is for our protection – tell us what is for our own good. Meanwhile, no one takes notice as these small freedoms disappear and it is only until the state comes knocking at ones own front door to bring us back in line that we realize that the freedoms that we have taken for granted for as long as we remember no longer exist.

That’s scary.

Now then… Let’s lighten things up a bit. Instead of me rambling about the inherent dangers within our own system of government or the evils of letting the state think for you, let’s exercise our right to free speech and play a game! It’ll be multiple choice. I’ll list some different types of governments and you guess which one it is. (Special thanks to my favorite second brain, “Wikipedia”.) Fun stuff, huh?

An Autocracy is…

a. Rule by Law
b. Rule by Minority
c. Rule by No One
d. Rule by One
e. Rule by Majority

An Oligarchy is…

a. Rule by Law
b. Rule by Minority
c. Rule by No One
d. Rule by One
e. Rule by Majority

Anarchy is…

a. Rule by Law
b. Rule by Minority
c. Rule by No One
d. Rule by One
e. Rule by Majority

A Democracy is…

a. Rule by Law
b. Rule by Minority
c. Rule by No One
d. Rule by One
e. Rule by Majority

A Republic is…

a. Rule by Law
b. Rule by Minority
c. Rule by No One
d. Rule by One
e. Rule by Majority


Autocracy = D
Oligarchy = B
Anarchy = C
Democracy = E
Republic = A

Now wasn’t that refreshing! It almost makes me forget how easily the lines that define these political franchises can shift and blur from time to time.

Thanks for playing along! We’ll see you next time here at Chicken Scratch!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Doctor Is IN

Doctor Who Season III will be seen on American shores this July. Here’s the article from Variety…

It’s a good time to be a geek.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Quick Little Updates

It is a beautiful day so I thought that before I hit the trails I’d touch base with the good ole’ blog – Chicken Scratch. Here are a couple of quick little updates…

Yesterday marked seventeen years of marriage between Mother Hen and I. Seventeen years. We’ve seen a lot happen in that time. I wrote her a hopelessly romantic letter (which I won’t go into the details of here gentle reader). Let’s just say that I love that woman very deeply – more so now than then and that I’m excited to see what the next seventeen years will bring.

I received a letter from Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. My short story “did not suit the needs of the magazine at this time.” Alas, such is life – especially the life of writer; one must understand the concept of rejection. It’s just part of the process. Hey, perhaps they’ll print the next thing I send them? One never knows. Isaac Asimov said, “You must keep sending your work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.”

Here’s to persistence!

“Hot Fuzz” opens in American theaters today. “What’s that?” Once more, gentle reader, you have asked precisely the right question. “Hot Fuzz” is the new movie from the Writers, Actors and Director from “Shaun of the Dead” (one of my take to a deserted island movies BTW). Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost bring the magic once again. Instead of zombies, Pegg and Frost are two cops investigating a bizarre set of “accidents” that happen to look like murders in a quaint little English town. Mayhem ensues.

Sign me up.

All right, it’s a little after mid-day and I’m here at the computer. That won’t do. It’s too nice. I’m gathering the family and hitting the trails. I’ll talk with you soon, Gentle Reader.

Evil Chicken signing off.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

H.P. Memorium

I’m still mourning the passing of my friend and companion, H.P. Laptop. She was a little over six years old and had a history of problems with her hard drive. She underwent a transplant, which staved off the inevitable for a good four years or so. After an autopsy the original cause of death (corrupted bios files) was thrown out and it was discovered that her hard drive had suffered a major cerebrovascular accident. Lost with her were 5 short stories that I was working on (a Bradbury Challenge setback), a few puppet ministry plays and one or two blogs. I look back at so many happy times and those moments I will always have with me. I completed two nanowrimo’s (see, listened to about 1,700 different MP3s, viewed albums of pictures and thousands of other documents while basking in H.P.’s LCD glow.

H.P. is survived by the backup disk I made a month before her passing. Hey, when it’s your time – it’s your time. Though there is emptiness there is also new life; found in the new Compaq laptop that I am typing this memoriam on. It is helping to fill the void. She’s lighter and has a wider screen than H.P. I like to think that H.P. would be happy.

H.P. Laptop – thank you for your faithful service.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Kilgore Trout at Last at Rest

Kurt Vonnegut Jr., the pessimistic genius is no more. He passed away on 4/11/07, due to head injuries sustained in a fall. He was 84 years old. If you haven’t read him – try him.

Here’s the link for his obituary from the N.Y. Times.

In “Welcome to the Monkey House” a collection of short stories that he wrote you will find one of my all time favorites, “Long Walk to Forever” – it’s a wonderful love story.

Mark Twain (someone whom Vonnegut will always be compared to) said this, “a writer ought to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” Vonnegut did just that.

Kilgore Trout… you will be missed.

Script Frenzy

New from the creators of NaNoWriMo (, National Novel Writing Month comes a new creative challenge SCRIPT FRENZY ( What’s the challenge? Good question, Gentle Reader. Here are the…


1. To be crowned an official Script Frenzy winner, you must write a script of at least 20,000 words and verify this word count on

2. You may write individually or in teams of two. Writer teams will have a 20,000 total word goal for their single co-written script.

3. Script writing may begin no earlier than 12:01 AM on June 1 and must cease no later than 11:59 PM on June 30, local time.

4. You may write either a screenplay or a stage play.

5. You must, at some point, have ridiculous amounts of fun.

And there you have it. Check out their teaser site for the FAQ.

So Gentle Reader who wants to write a Script or a Play? I know for a fact that there are some amazingly creative types who are reading this right now. You can do it. I kid you not. There is a pretty interesting group of writers out there too, believe it or not, right here in South Jersey. Who knows – we just may meet up one day at a Boarders, Barnes & Noble or coffee shop to discuss our progress on our latest projects. Stay tuned. I haven’t fully committed to this yet but I have signed up for updates. One way or another I guarantee it will be a boatload of fun.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Please Go Away

I posted the following at this morning. It appears that there is a biopic being made of Anna Nichole Smith’s life. I posted this long before hearing a similar view on a New Jersey talk radio station today. Here’s a link to the original story: And here is my cheerful response...

“There is not one redeemable facet of the human condition that has ever been a part of this tale. This biopic will appeal only to those who have the time to sit and watch “Morey” or “The Jerry Springer Show.” Unfortunately, that is a lot of people. Mike Judge was right with “Idiocracy.” The movie wasn’t the best but the sentiment is way too close to the mark. How about the crowds cheering for the successful semen guy? I weep for the future. I had high hopes that all of these non-issue issues would disappear from our headlines once the woman was laid to rest but no – these idiots are still grabbing headlines from a war in Iraq and Afghanistan. What is wrong with us and can it be changed – or is Mike Judge right after all? Wow.”

Please forgive me for sounding so negative, Gentle Reader. Yes, sure its tragic, yes it’s a train wreck – no doubt. My hope is that this will be the train wreck that we can (as a society) collectively look away from.

“…I’ve been asking the cops wherever I go, have you seen dignity?” – Bob Dylan

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Return of Indiana Jones

Click here for the details >

Production begins in June in Los Angeles, “before heading off to various ‘top secret’ locations” around the world. The fourth Indiana Jones movie remains unnamed at this time since Lucas wants to hold out for the trailer to premier. There have been rumors across the web…

Indiana Jones and the Truss of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Quest for Regularity

Indiana Jones and the Last Viagra

Indiana Jones Verses the Evil of the HMO

Indiana Jones and the Senior Buffet of Fortune

Indiana Jones and the AARP Card of Validation

Indiana Jones and the Leaky Bladder

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the 401K

… “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is on my list as one of the greatest movies ever made; seriously – near perfection. The storytelling is sharp, the acting is spot on and there are NO throw away scenes in the whole of the picture. Here at Evil Chicken HQ all I have to do it look over my right shoulder to see a framed original one-sheet from the film – it’s the only original I have in my collection. I love this movie. Love it. Spielberg and Lucas bottled lightning with its inception and premier. How it came to be is cool enough on its own. Two of our era’s great filmmakers sitting on a Hawaiian beach geeking out over what would be a cool movie series. One of them suggests something like James Bond and the other says No – even better. And so, Indiana Jones was born. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” came to be. The subsequent sequels, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” were passable but were nowhere near the synergy of Raiders.

I remember going to the old Landis Theater (now boarded up and awaiting renovation) in Vineland with my father to see Temple of Doom. I was so ready for it to be Raiders; so ready for the next step in development of the characters and so disappointed when I left the theater. TOD was a prequel to Raiders and theoretically all the events in the picture occurred before Indy and Marion retrieve the Lost Ark. So no reuniting Harrison Ford and Karen Allen on the big screen; no this time Indy is toting along an orphaned kid, “Short Round” played by Ke Huy Quan (who went on to become a Goonie) with him now and a new love interest, “Willie Scott” played by Kate Capshaw (who went on to become Mrs. Spielberg). This was a bit of a downer for me since “Marion Ravenwood” was more than a match for “Indy” and the chemistry between Allen and Ford was smoking. Another thing that snagged me along the way was believability. Yes, I know this is an action movie produced by Lucas and directed by Spielberg but please don’t throw away all reason. The heart removing stuff with “Mola Ram” played adeptly by Amrish Puri just lost me. Either you have to explain the heart extraction away as a trick that Mola Ram is doing or you have to spend more time explaining why he can do it and why people don’t immediately die once their hearts are out of their chests. The device is used at the end on the rope bridge too with similar results. “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” is watchable but it’s not a worthy successor to Raiders.

The third film is better than Temple of Doom. Gone are Willie Scott and Short Round (what happens to them hasn’t been explained yet); replacing them is none other than Sir Sean Connery. James Bond is Indiana Jones’s father. Now there’s a shinning geek moment for you. The interplay between Ford and Connery is great and fun to watch as the son searches for the father and, ultimately, the Holy Grail. River Phoenix (yes – he did have his whole life ahead of him) adeptly plays a young Indiana Jones for in the beginning of the picture where we see how Indy got the whip, the jacket, the fedora, his fear of snakes and his taste for fortune & glory. There are writer’s conveniences that take the viewer out of the film and some throw away characters but all in all The Last Crusade is a superb entertainment. It’s not Raiders but it ended things on a high note with our heroes even riding out of the canyon into the sunset to that great John William’s march.

Fast-forward 13 years or so; Spielberg, Ford and Lucas start talking about a possible fourth movie. Spielberg starts seeking screenwriters to take a whack at the next Indiana Jones. One of those screenwriters is Mr. Frank Darabont (the Oscar winning writer who did the adaptations of Stephen King’s, “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile). Rumor has it he wrote a script that reunited Karen Allen and Harrison Ford once again. The rumor goes farther and it has been said that Spielberg and Ford loved it. Lucas however wasn’t convinced and turned the script down opting instead for a film where Indy’s love interest will be the wonderful Cate Blanchett and his son Shia LaBeouf (the kid from Disney’s “Even Stevens”, “Holes” and or the soon to be released “Transformers” Movie). This is conjecture – gentle reader and only time will tell. Indy IV will begin filming in June of ’07. Personally, even with a 64 year-old Harrison Ford I’m still on board. While I’d have loved to have seen Darabont’s version on the big screen with the return of Karen Allen in a lead role, just seeing one of my all time favorite movie series on the big screen one more time sends gooseflesh a quiverin’ down my fan boy arms. …Still… just what will the new movie be called?

Indiana Jones and the Phantom Flatulence

Indiana Jones and Those Damned Kids Are on My Lawn AGAIN!

Indiana Jones and the Eternal Left Turn Signal

Indiana Jones and the Lost Dentures

Indiana Jones and the Marauders of the Prescription Program

Indiana Jones and the Bursting Undergarment

Indiana Jones and the Parking Lot of the Lost Car

Indiana Jones Verses the Waiter at Applebee’s

...Only time will tell.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter Gentle Reader

It was cold here in the Swamps of Jersey this Resurrection Day. The choir (yep – it includes this chicken) sang for all three services. Afterwards we went over Mother Hen’s Aunt’s house to hide eggs (36 of ‘em) for the three chicks to find. Good stuff.

The choir has really made a progression; as it turns out we are told to, “make a joyful noise to the Lord”; in my case it’s more like making a noise but the process had been a joy. It’s gonna be fun.

Performances will be at 7:00 PM, at Calvary Chapel Vineland on 4/13, 4/14 and 4/15. No pressure, Gentle Reader but if you’re in the area feel free to stop by. I’ll try not to trip while stepping along to the dance numbers.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Naked Hikers

We paid a visit to our friends in North Jersey this weekend. Here’s the write up of what I submitted for our log at / Big Green…

Listen… I’m not one to tell tales out of sort but something that happened to us, the EC-5 (well @ least two out of five of us – Mother Hen and yours truly) this weekend that just keeps playing out in my mind. Being from South Jersey it’s really easy to get back to nature in the woods and to get lost from the sights and sounds of a more heavily trafficked area such as where we were caching on Sunday, the first day of April. Mother Hen handles the lion’s share of our posts – wherever they may happen to appear; Big Green, SJG, SEPAG, NNJC – usually Mother Hen. Not for this one – no, not this time.

“Why is that?” you may ask; and that would be a fine question by the way. You North Jersey cachers are an astute lot; I love you guys so I’ll tell you. Before showing up at the “Pant’s on Fire” event at Ruby Tuesdays we happened to do a spot of caching. For the life of me I can’t remember what the name of the cache is (you’d have to ask MH) but it was a snatch and grab off of the parkway about ten or so miles before the Lincoln Tunnel. We pulled over at the suggested parking coordinates, I donned my cache bag and MH her hat (just in case of rain. It was a little overcast) and down the trail we went. Now if you’ll recall gentle reader, we are from the Swamps of South Jersey and not used to too much metropolitan caching. We were down the trail – oh, I’d say about a tenth of a mile and we could still hum of the tires of the vehicles on the parkway. No big - hey this is North East Jersey; it’s to be expected. Anyway, we’re walking along, MH with our trusty Garmin in hand and I ambling along next to her when we come over this hill and, to our surprise, there’s these two hikers one male and one female both wearing Tilley Hats, high end hiking boots and NOTHING ELSE. Gentle reader, when I say “NOTHING ELSE” I mean it in the truest and most accurate sense of the words. Nothing else.

“Whoa!” I said. With the utmost in tact and decorum, I might add. Mother Hen’s eyebrows raised as her jaw dropped.

“Hey, how’s it goin’?” Naked Guy asked.

“Pretty good…” I said. “…Say, I couldn’t help but notice the two of you are buck naked – is everything ok?”

The Naked Gal started to giggle and stepped forward. “Why I knew that there was something we forgot to pack.” This made Naked Guy chuckle. Mother Hen and I took a quick look at each other – just to make sure that we were on the same page. We were.

“XXXX and I” (note Gentle Reader, due to decorum I will not be naming names as to who the two hikers were – sorry) are on our daily Natural Hike.” Naked Guy nodded his head in agreement.

“Don’t you mean Nature Hike?” Mother Hen asked.

“No. Natural Hike.” Naked guy said. No sooner had these words escaped his mouth he began stretching as if he were warming up for the Boston Marathon.

“You see, a Natural Hike is where we free ourselves from the confines of unnatural materials and become one with nature.” Naked Gal said.

“Yeah.” Naked Guy responded looking up from touching his toes.

“It is so freeing…” Naked Gal said as she began her stretching exercises.

“I can see that.” I said. All of the sudden I felt this stinging on my bald spot. I heard the SMACK! a moment later. Mother Hen was not appreciating the benefits of stretching before one exercises.

“So what about thorns?” Mother Hen asked.

“What about them?” Naked Guy said standing from his hamstring stretch.

“Don’t they hit… sensitive areas?”

“It is always important to tread lightly whether you have clothes on or not.” Naked Gal said looking up from her toe touches.

“Yeah… I see what you mean…” I said.


So there you have it. We exchanged web addresses (it’s amazing what those Tilley Hats can hold), said our good byes and watched them hike past us on their way to parts unknown. Yet another wonderful adventure that Geocaching has brought into our lives. You just don’t know when you’re going to meet a kindred spirit out there on the trails. As it turns out the four of us are meeting in the same park next weekend for a four-mile Natural Hike.

Does anyone know what the extended forecast is for next Saturday? I sure hope it’s not gonna be too cold.