Friday, May 30, 2008

Go Do That Voodoo That You Do So Well

Mr. Harvey Korman passed yesterday at the age of 81. Here are the details; Here is another excellent blog on Mr. Korman;

“Blazing Saddles”, “History of the World Part I”, and of course, “The Carol Burnett Show”, simply would not have been the same without him. I always loved the pairing of Tim Conway and Harvey Korman as well but the real joy was watching them improvise and fly by the seat of their pants during those skits; they turned mistakes, gaffs and bloopers into pure comedy gold.

My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family at this time. Mel Brooks said, “"A world without Harvey Korman — it's a more serious world…”

He was right.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

Bad Wolf and I were driving along yesterday and the topic of Memorial Day came up.

“Tell me about it – why is it a holiday?” she asked.

“Well, it is to honor people who have fought for our country.” I volunteered.

“Yeah, I know that but is it for other people too, you know non-military people?”

“Uh… yeah… well I suppose it could be – sure.”

“So how did it start?” she asked.


“How did it begin?”

“…” I said. “You know what – I think that we’re going to check the internet when we get home; we’ll both learn all about it.”

And that is almost exactly what we did. (We really got frustrated trying to get our cell phones to play MP3s through our headphones, grilled some steaks and had a bonfire with the family; BUT we still had it in the back of our minds… Really.) Enter this blog.

As with many things that I’m fuzzy on I consulted my favorite second brain, Wikipedia about all things Memorial Day. You can check it for yourself here: too. Here’s a snippet Gentle Reader, “Memorial Day is a United States Federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (in 2008 on May 26). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who perished while in military service to their country. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, after World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to include casualties of any war or military action.

Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. US Eastern time. Another tradition is to fly the U.S. Flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers usually place an American flag upon each grave site located in a National Cemetary.
In addition to remembrance, Memorial Day is also used as a time for picnics, barbecues, family gatherings, and sporting events. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. Some Americans also view Memorial Day as the unofficial beginning of summer and Labor Day as the unofficial end of the season. The national "Click It or Ticket" campaign ramps up beginning Memorial Day weekend, noting the beginning of the most dangerous season for auto accidents and other safety related incidents. The U.S. Air Force’s "101 Critical Days of Summer" begin on this day as well. Many Americans use Memorial Day to also honor any family members who have died, not just servicemen…”

So there you have it. Thank a Vet this weekend. These people put everything on the line to defend everything that we have a tendency to take for granted. End of sermon. Enjoy any and all BBQs that you visit and beware of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

Happy Memorial Day

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Sticky Buns

I love a good coffee shop. That’s no secret. From time to time (and when I find ‘em) I like to pass along the establishment’s name to you Gentle Reader, so that you can check them out for yourself. This past weekend I had the pleasure of being in the company of a fine group of friends as we geocached up and down the Camden River Line. In our travels we found just such a blogworthy establishment.

I’ve been slacking on the low-carb lifestyle recently. I’ll be back to being a low carb warrior soon enough but I’ve been enjoying my back slide – what it is doing to my backside is another matter all together.

That being said, you owe it to yourself to check out, “My Sticky Buns”. It’s a bakery and a coffee house and the free samples will have your mouth watering. Once you get a mouthful you won't be able to keep your hands off of, “My Sticky Buns”. They are open 7 days a week from 6:00 AM till whenever Monday – Friday and from 8:00 AM till whenever on weekends. They are located at the corner of 400 High St. and W. Broad St. in Burlington City, NJ.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and sink your teeth into “My Sticky Buns”. You won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pssst. Indy IV is Coming Soon!

I am very much so looking forward to opening day for another chance to keep up with the Jones'.

Please allow me to say that “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is one of my all time favorite films. In 1981, Spielberg and Lucas captured lightning in a bottle when they crafted Raiders. It is one of the most influential films of all time and a lean, mean, storytelling machine. People have said about Raiders that there is nothing wasted, nothing lost in that film. They are right. It’s one of my stranded on a deserted island movies – no exaggeration.

I couldn’t wait for the sequel. I was rabid. My expectations were high in 1984, when “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” came out. I remember seeing it at the old, art deco, Landis Theater in Vineland with my Dad. While I liked it I came away from the theater somewhat disappointed – it just wasn’t Raiders. My expectations were too high and the fart machine that my father and I smuggled into the packed theater ultimately proved to be more memorable. Still, it was Indiana Jones and, unlike a lot of movies I see, I can watch it and still enjoy it today. Even so, Temple of Doom is my least favorite entry of the series.

“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” opened in 1989 and, yours truly was there opening night. Sean Connery played Indiana Jones’ father – now what amazing casting is that? James Bond is Indy’s dad? Brilliant. I enjoyed the movie more than Temple of Doom largely due to the amazing chemistry between Ford and Connery. Great stuff. Sure there are amazing writer’s conveniences throughout the movie, some of the supporting actors were relegated to cartoon stooges and (MILD SPOILER – I’ll let you know when it’s safe to read again. BTW, why have you NOT seen it?) I think the ending would have had more impact if Indy’s dad chose to or had to stay there in the cavern and become the next knight protector of the Grail. (SPOILER OVER – come on in, the water’s fine) The Last Crusade is a better film than the Temple of Doom. It was great trying to keep up with the Jones’ and in the end when they rode off into the sunset a little part of my geek-boy heart went with them. I didn’t suspect that there would be another Indiana Jones adventure on the big screen.

As you know, Gentle Reader I was wrong. I thank God, that I was wrong. “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” opens everywhere on May 22nd. This one takes place in the 1950’s so Indy will be fighting Commies instead of Nazis. Time has passed even for Indiana Jones. Ford, Spielberg and Lucas are playing to the age of the character, which is a strength. With Indiana Jones what makes the character so appealing is his humanity; he’s flesh, bone and blood. Karen Allen is reprising her role as Marion Ravenwood, which is brilliant and Shia LaBeouf as “Mutt”. No official word on if he’s Indy’s son or not. I guess I’ll just have to be at the 12:01 showing to find that answer out.

Spielberg and Lucas bottled lightning all those years ago – I want to see them do it again. It won’t be Raiders but it doesn’t have to be – it’s Indiana Jones once more on the big screen and that’s all right with me.

See you at the multiplex.

Friday, May 09, 2008

“I’ve Been Everywhere, Man, I’ve Been Everywhere…”

48 States, 5 Days, 3 Men = the GREAT AMERICAN ROAD TRIP.

Gory Details:

I love these guys. 7,000 miles in less than 5 days! Check out their blog.

I stumbled across their story tonight while poking around Yahoo; here’re the goods:

Please let my go on record, Gentle Reader, this is something that I have always wanted to do. These days it just couldn’t be the breakneck speed that these guys, Joey, Josh, and Adam, did it in but rest assured given time and money (I hear that gas prices are up) I’d pack up the family in a heartbeat and start to rack up the miles.

So are the roadways of the lower 48 are calling you to release your inner Kerouac? You know my answer; what about you?

Oh yeah, they spent about $1,000.00 on gas during their trip.

Ouch. - The experience, however, was worth every penny.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Yes, I Am a Pirate… 200 Years Too Late…

Gentle Reader, I don’t know if you are a Jimmy Buffett fan or not but please allow me to go on the record – from now until the end of time; yours truly, Evil Chicken, is a Parrot Head.

Yes – the truth can finally be told.

I don’t know if you have discovered the joys of MP3’s of WMA files but if you were to look at my hard drive you would soon see that I have about 836 Megabytes, 302 files in about 19 folders of Jimmy Buffett music. I have close to 24 hours of Buffett music kicking around on my hard drive. You could say I’m a bit of a Phan. In the hallowed halls of the Chicken’s Nest – where I sit and type these diatribes at the pleasing of the four winds; if you were to look at my bookshelf (on the second tier, mind you) you would find titles such as, “Where in the World is Joe Merchant”, “A Pirate Looks at Fifty”, and “A Salty Piece of Land”, all by Mr. Jimmy Buffett; of course these tales are next to Herman Wouk’s, “Don’t Stop the Carnival”. Of course those tomes are located next to my editions (one of them signed) of “Weird NJ Volume One” and “Weird NJ Volume Two” – but THAT is for another blog.

Please… let’s stick to the topic.

My attraction to Mr. Buffett is the fact that he tells stories; he paints pictures, he invents realities; places that you just want to go to and stay for a while – maybe even a lifetime. Do you know what I mean – that one particular harbor, so far and yet so near? Well, that’s what Jimmy Buffett music does for yours truly. It transports me to that place; you know the one – where the children play on the shores each day and the mainland disappears?

Yeah. That’s where I would like to be.

Another thing that draws me to this guy is his appreciation for great authors. “Barometer Soup”, which BTW, is one of my favorite albums, is based on several short stories from other writers. Including Mr. Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain). The song, “Remittance Man” is based on one of his books – it makes me misty every time I hear it.

Jimmy Buffett music usually elicits thoughts of living in ¾ time – island time and, quite frankly, that’s what it should do. It is an escape. It needs to take you out of that box that you are living in and put you somewhere else. I can’t tell you my all time favorite Buffett song but I can give you my top bakers dozen of cuts for your listening pleasure – hey, why not?

1. “A Pirate Looks at 40”
2. “Nautical Wheelers”
3. “Love in a Library” – (it reminds me of Mother Hen)
4. “Boats to Build”
5. “One Particular Harbor”
6. “Coast of Carolina” – (it reminds me of Mother Hen)
7. “Remittance Man”
8. “Tree Top Flyer”
9. “Window on the World”
10. “The Weather is Here, I Wish You Were Beautiful”
11. “Semi-True Story”
12. “Trying to Reason with the Hurricane Season”
13. “Mexico” – (What a great cover of a James Taylor song)

What can I tell you? Check the man out for yourself. I hope you enjoy him as much as yours truly does.

Phins Up!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Basking in the After Glow of Pure Geek Joy

Gentle Reader the summer movie season is upon us. This is my super bowl, my world series, my world cup. I love the eye candy that graces the multiplexes from sea to shining sea during May, June, July and August. And Ladies and Gentlemen, IRON MAN has set the bar for all other movies that will be released this summer.

I’ve been reading the spin on Iron Man for the last year or so. I follow this sort of thing – it’s what I do. This project marks the first time that Marvel has made a film on its own without having some studio executive throw in his two cents or product placement deal (see Macy Grey in Sony’s Spiderman or Prince doing the “Bat Dance” from Warner’s Batman). Marvel handled these duties and in the process has made probably the finest transfer from a comic book to a movie that has EVER been produced. Oh there have been some great comic book films (Superman – the Movie, Spiderman, X-Men, and Hellboy, but for each of these there are also the ugly side of the business. For every great Batman Begins you have to put up with a shoddy Hulk or a flimsy Fantastic Four. As a geek from WAY BACK let me just tell you those two films (three if you count Fantastic Four II) were complete and udder rubbish. Why? Because the people who made them had NO LOVE for and NO KNOWLEDGE of the characters, stories and heritage that was placed into their hands. Oh they may have had a decent opening weekend but if you are completely ignorant of the source material you have no business playing in that sandbox. They are forgetable films. All this leads me to why I absolutely love Iron Man. The people who made the film know, love, and respect the characters and their 45 plus years of heritage. They get it – and better still, they share the love with a world that just may not know who Tony Stark is.

The casting is inspired. Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark. Hindsight being what it is, I cannot think of another actor who is more perfect for this role. Seriously. Jeff Bridges pulls off a wonderfully evil bad guy. And the rest of the cast is spot on too; Terence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow deliver. There are geek moments aplenty but they are not overdone; those in the know will truly appreciate seeing what’s going on there on the silver screen those that don’t will be pleasantly surprised. Iron Man is not your typical brainless explosion fest; nope, Iron Man has been and always should be about Tony Stark – a changed man and watching his character develop and grow into something more than what he once was. The suit is secondary to what’s going on inside old Shell Head.

Go early, the final trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is attached and is very cool indeed. You can fully believe the Iron Man hype – it is so worth the price of admission. For my money it’s about the best comic book movie I have ever seen; not to toot my own horn, but that’s saying something.

Oh yes, and STAY for the end credits.

…That is all I can say on that matter… Let’s just say I’ve still got geek chills up and down my spine.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Frenzy is Over

As I type this Script Frenzy 2008 is rapidly coming to a close. Bad Wolf and I crossed the finish line (100 pages in 30 days) in the nick of time.

It took us longer than expected due to unforeseen commitments that arose during the month of April but it is finished. The majority of the script I’m very proud of. The stuff that I’m not so fond of we'll fix next month.

Hold on a tick… It’s 11:59.

Wait for it… Wait for it…

BAM! It’s midnight. It’s May first.

Bad Wolf and I will make our fixes this month. It has been a joy and honor writing with my daughter. I’m looking forward to “Tales of the Astounding – Volume TWO”.

Rock on kid.

For further information please see: Thanks once more to the Office of Letters and Light the non-profit that sponsors this as well as NaNoWriMo. It’s been way too much fun!