Saturday, June 28, 2008

2008 Mid-Summer Movie Guide

It’s been a pretty good summer at the multiplex thus far. There have been some surprises and some real solid storytelling. For my money and as of today I’d have to say that “Iron Man” is the best summer movie I’ve seen this year. “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” would be number two and “The Incredible Hulk” would be number three. There’s a huge piece of nostalgia that comes along with an Indiana Jones movie. There was some negative spin but I believe the movie delivered – it furthered the story of who Indy is and who he is becoming. Mission accomplished. I can only hope that they (Spielberg and Lucas) will make another. “The Incredible Hulk” was infinitely better than the last film. The filmmakers’ chose to Ed Norton delivered as Bruce Banner too. Marvel is setting us up for a glorious geekfest with a major “Ultimate Avengers” movie. I will be apoplectic with joy. They will have to wheel me into the theater – I’ll be the one with the drool cup.

The summer has had its share of flops too. “Speed Racer” and “The Love Guru” got the smack down. I was surprised that “Speed Racer” didn’t perform better. I thought that kids would flock to it bringing their parents along for the popcorn buying ride. I was wrong. Now I have not seen “The Love Guru” but by all I’ve read, surmised, and seen in the titanic ad campaign it looks as though that same joke that Mike Meyers has been telling for the last 6 films or so has finally caught up to him. I’ll wait for the rental – maybe.

But enough of looking backwards; what’s done is done – lets move on, shall we? So what’s next? Will the top three (my three favorites thus far) be steadfast or will they tumble too? Here’s what’s on deck…

1. Wall-E. Opened 6/27/08. When I grow up I want to work for Pixar. All spin I’ve read says that they have done it again. This one is in our future – the kids are jazzed and so am I. Chicken Little says that she would like to “Huggle him.” I have a sneaky suspicion she’s not going to be alone in that sentiment. Pixar – if you’re out there, I can provide a resume at your request.

2. Wanted. Opened 6/27/08. I never read the comic but I have read other stuff by the man who created the property, Mr. Mark Millar. His Kung-Fu is good. I have always enjoyed Angelina Jolie’s body of work, as well. I don’t know if I’ll be seeing the movie in the theaters but it might be worth a look see. This film has the misfortune of sharing the same opening weekend with “Wall-E” and Wall-E is going to mop the floor with Jolie. Hey – that rhymes!

3. Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Opens 7/11/08. Guillermo del Toro is the man. This’ll be a fun night at the movies. I don’t think I’ll be taking the younger kids though – too many monsters. Hey, is it me or does the creepy leader of the Golden Army look like Tom Cruise? Del Toro’s next project is a little film called “The Hobbit”. I can’t wait.

4. The Dark Knight. Opens 7/18/08. This is the one to watch. If anything could face Iron Man for the Number One spot – this is it. The cast is impeccable. The filmmakers get it. This is THE BATMAN on the silver screen and opening night is a given.

5. The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Opens 7/24/08. Mulder & Scully together again? Yeah – I’m there. This is a golden opportunity for Chris Carter and fans to pretend that the last season of X-Files (TV) didn’t happen. Will this be the beginning of a film franchise? I hope so – I want to believe that will be the case.

6. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Opens 8/1/08. This looks like a good bookend to the summer movie season. It occupies an August opening and while that is not necessarily a harbinger of doom it shows that the studio strategically placed it here – the end of the summer, so that it didn’t have to compete with the big guns. It will do well and it will sell popcorn. The trailer looks better than I thought it would be and I just might have to check it out.

7. The Clone Wars. Opens 8/15/08. This too occupies an August opening but this one’s a little different; “The Clone Wars” almost wasn’t a movie at all; it was designed to be an animated TV show (and it will lead to an animation series that will kick off sometime in the fall). The story goes like this (thank you Wikipedia): upon seeing a few episodes on the big screen Lucas said, “"This is so beautiful, why don't we just go and use the crew and make a feature?" Hey – why not? It’s Star Wars on the big screen once more. I’m there.

So there you have it, the shape of things to come. Can the Christmas movie season be that far behind? Oh no, Gentle Reader… oh no. I sense visits from Bond and Potter in the future…

See you at the multiplex!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Zimbabwe “Elections”

Note: Reader beware, the subject matter is disturbing. You just might want to skip to the next blog entry.

I do not talk about work here. That being said this one is really not about work but it was at work that the tale unfolded. I was at a field visit and while I was there someone was watching the movie “Blood Diamond”. I know the gist of it but I still have not seen it.

“This movie is about where I come from.” The woman told me.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes.” She said. “It is so bad there.”

“I know that there are some real scary things happening in Zimbabwe right now.” I said.

“Yes, there are.” She said. “The movie is nothing.”


“It is nothing compared to the reality. There if you are among the opposition they will ask you a simple question.”

“Really, what’s that?” I asked.

“Long sleeves or short sleeves?”

"What does that mean?" I asked.

“That is what they ask you if you are only going to have your hands cut off or both of your arms.” She said.


We live so sheltered here in the good old U.S. of A. Oh we might hear about some random atrocity here or there but once it’s reported we go straight back to whatever Paris Hilton is wearing or how many times Lindsey Lowhan is in rehab.

Please see: Systematic rape and genocide are the norm here. Butchery is as random there as is finding a penny heads up here in America. Please do not kid yourself, this happens ALL the time. Man’s inhumanity to man and the depths that we will repeatedly go to in the name of power or control, never cease to amaze me. The president’s opposition during this election, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirani, had to seek sanctuary in the Dutch Embassy and, I believe, he is now out of the country. …Hey, it’s hard to loose when yours is the only name on the ballot.


What can be done? Unfortunately, I really don’t know. Cross your fingers and whisper a prayer for those who deserve to be remembered.

...And the GEEK Shall Inherit the Earth

I’m a firm believer in the truth of that statement. Today, 6/27/08, Mr. Bill Gates stepped down from being the chairman for Microsoft. He will take a part time position with the company and dedicate his full time to running the myriad charities that he and his wife, Melinda support (see: It’s good work but still Mr. Gates was, understandably, a little weepy at his last press conference as CEO this afternoon.

You know, love him or hate him you’ve got to recognize the fact that this man, literally, changed the world. He had a vision; a dream that spoke to him and told him that every home would eventually have a personal computer in it. He produced the operating system, by hook or by crook, and now Microsoft is a household staple. Windows has become the business standard (something that IBM should have recognized all those many years ago – that ship has sailed; the world has moved on). Oh sure Apple is alive and well, thank you very much but when the prevailing winds from the computer storms blow it fills the sails of Microsoft first.

If you get the chance, Gentle Reader, please track down a copy of the TV movie, “The Pirates of Silicon Valley” (, as is mentioned in the dialogue of the film, “this stuff should be taught in schools”. Very interesting viewing when one considers all that has happened since Jobs and Wazniack constructed a computer in the garage and Gates found a way for them all (computers, that is) to talk to each other and do whatever it is that we want them to do. Put it in your Blockbuster or Netflix cue; gather the kids and family together for a history lesson masked in the guise of entertainment. Yes it is recent history but, lest their be no doubt, it changed the world.

All the best in your semi-retirement Mr. Gates; I sincerely wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Great Expectations

“Say, I’ve got an idea!” the sophomore exclaimed. Her book bag slung over one shoulder as she stood next to the lockers of her high school. It was between classes and a group of about a half dozen girls was gathered listening to their leader.

“Really?” acknowledged one of her girlfriends.

“Yeah what?” asked another a smile spreading across her face.

“Ok… let’s all make a promise to each other to get pregnant and have our babies together!”

“YEAH! What a great idea!” one said. They began to giggle and bounce up and down at the announcement. Kind of like the excitement they felt when they got those tickets to the Jonas Brother’s concert last month.

“…I’m sure we’ll be friends forever…”

Yeah – me too. Behold: Truth is stranger – yadda, yadda, yadda.

These kids have no clue. I do not care how “well reasoned” they believe their pact to be all the possibilities – all the great expectations of their futures are now on serious hold or just gone. Someday these children are going to realize that babies are not puppies or kittens. Someday. Of course by that time their parents will be raising their own grandchildren while the girls in the pregnancy pact will be starting to wonder just where all their friends went. There will still be much to consider for the new moms, after all the junior mid-terms will be coming up, a prom might be in some of their futures and, of course, the Jonas Brothers just might be returning to a concert stage somewhere nearby.

Somewhere a poor fishing community got a little poorer.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stan Winston

You know, I’m getting pretty sick and tired writing about people who have passed on. I would like to take a break from said work but I would most certainly be remiss if I did not mention Mr. Stan Winston – a modern day wizard and artisan has fallen.

As a movie geek this hits me very close to where I live. Stan Winston was one of the men that I used to read about in Starlog Magazine back in the seventies and eighties. He was a magician and his medium was the fantastic – it was film. If you are not familiar with his body of work please see this write up from Aint It Cool News: or click here:, to see his credits from IMDB or here:, for another overview of his career.

Can you see the Terminator Endoskeleton in your mind’s eye? That was Stan Winston. The Aliens from Aliens? Mr. Winston. Those dinosaurs from Jurassic Parks I, II and III? All Stan. The man was a wizard. Iron Man? Yeah, that was him too. During the course of his career he earned four Oscars and was nominated for nine. He was a film pioneer who loved what he did and influenced generations of filmmakers and dazzled millions of moviegoers everywhere.

Some holes just don’t get filled easily. Mr. Winston has left a big one. My prayers are with his family and friends at this time.

Thanks Mr. Winston. Godspeed.

Update: Please see this ever growing piece by contributors Cameron, Favreau, Darabont, Dante, Baker and others. The article is hosted by Harry from Ain’t It Cool News; check it out here:

Update II (6/22/08): Once more;

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tim Russert

I was camping this weekend and learned second hand that Tim Russert has passed away. I was not near my computer so please forgive the lateness of this particular entry. Here is MSNBC’s coverage:

And now a small word about popular morning news programs namely ABC’s, “Good Morning America” and NBC’s, “Today Show”. For all intents and purposes that’s it for the big three networks – CBS has a morning show too but historically (or at least for the last 40 years) the program, in whatever incarnation it reinvents itself to be, trails far behind the others. Yes, for pop news shows in the morning it boils down to ABC and NBC. Both of them have headline and entertainment news and boatloads of fluff. While getting ready for work in the mornings for my Monday through Friday grind I watch for the weather forecast, to see which parts of the world are on fire, and to become, at least for a little bit, a little better informed.

But there is so much fluff to shovel. I do not blame the media completely for this – they are just giving the people what they want; which is capitalistic journalism. We, collectively, want to be entertained, in some cases, more so than we want to become informed. That’s why you see “Muffy the Water-Skiing Dog” or “What’s Brittany Doing Now?” right next to the economy, the obscene price of gas or the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. There’s a lot to sift through in the free American news media today – the morning rush most of all. Because of this fluff cutting (and no, that is not a euphemism for passing gas) over the years I have switched allegiances from “Good Morning America” to the “Today Show”. Oh sure there is fluff to sort through but the hosts do not appear as fake and as plastic as ABC’s do. I have a hard time watching phony people deliver phony news. It is irritating.

Enter the “Today Show”. This is where I first became aware of Mr. Tim Russert. Russet had a passion for politics that was not faked or phony – he loved what he did and that passion spilled over into the segments that he appeared. I’ve never watched “Meet the Press”, the show that he has hosted for the last “16 plus years” (thank you Wikipedia), but, as a casual viewer who was doing other things on Sunday mornings I always missed it. On the “Today Show”, however, I had the opportunity to see him come to life during the Democratic nomination bid between Obama and Clinton and it was a joy to behold. He and Matt Lauer would have discussions and you could feel the radiant excitement that Russert was exuding. It was fun to watch and it was informative. Russert’s passion was contagious.

My prayers go out to his family and friends at this time. Some people you just don’t replace as easily as others. Tim Russert was one of those people.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

While Mowing the Lawn

I don’t know if you have a lawn or not Gentle Reader but I happen to have one. I don’t like it. Oh sure, it’s nice once it’s mowed but as sure as the tides, it just keeps growing; which means I just keep mowing. It is an endless cycle.

I think that I’d prefer ivy. You don’t have to mow ivy. I haven’t told Mother Hen this yet but a friend of mine from work has scored me a bucket full. She tells me that all I have to do is pick it up, plant it and water it.

“Water it?” I asked.

“Yeah, water it. It’s a plant – it needs water at least when it’s starting out.”

“…Right.” It’s gardening tips such as this that continue to elude me. Well, until I pick up the stuff I’m mowing. Tonight I had several things swishing around my neuro-passageways and, for your reading pleasure (and so I can put my wacky thoughts down somewhere) I’m putting them right here in this blog. …Well, not all of them, my mind can go to some pretty strange and (at least for yours truly) wonderful places. What can I say; some things are better left unsaid – it’ll let you still maintain the idea that I have a modicum of sanity and it will let me preserve a modicum of decorum.

Since that is the case, here are my censored thoughts that I had while mowing the lawn.

1. I hate grass. There really seems to be no reason for the stuff. I began to make plans (once again) to take (since ‘steal’ is such a bad word) one of those signs on Route 55 (a “major” road way here in the Swamps of Jersey) that reads, “Weeping Love Grass: Do Not Mow”. Now I don’t know what that person was paid for coming up with such a statement – such an inspired thought, but clearly, they are not being paid enough. In one fell swoop it is now OK to let the grass grow, the taxpayers are happy (since they don’t have to shell out the salary, equipment fees and gas cost for cutting the grass), and it pleases the environmentalists. Pure genius.

2. Mother Hen – for amazing reasons that I will not go into here.

3. My brood, Bad Wolf, Chicken Beta and Chicken Little. I began thinking of their futures and how much I would like to be around to be the COOL Grandfather and/or Pop Pop. Not to sound boastful or not humble or proud – trust me, I will be the COOL Grandfather and/or Pop Pop; come to think of it Mother Hen will be the COOL Grandmother and/or Mom Mom. What can I say? It’s what we do. This line of thinking made me consider the future. Bad Wolf if now 15. She’s a great kid and I’m wicked proud of her. For some reason I started comparing our ages. I was 21 when I got married. That is 6 years from now. Gentle Reader let me just say this made me stop pushing the dreaded lawn mower and look towards my house. Six years difference. Using my x-ray vision I could see that my children were all safe and happy and poking around on the internet and playing the Nintendo Wii but still… SIX YEARS until she (my oldest) is 21 – the same age I was when I got married to Mother Hen. Wow. Who are in my mind prospective suitors? Hmm… There was one boy who offered to donate blood to her a few years ago for her spinal surgery. Yeah, he’s a keeper. Then there was that one boy who she has a mutual love of videogames with… I don’t know. I do know what I tell my daughters when it comes to seeking and/or identifying your partner in life; I tell them, “One, they’ve got to love the Lord; and Two, they’ve got to love YOU”. That’s it. Nothing more. I don’t care about any of the other trappings. I also follow it up with saying to them, “Enjoy each other's company for a couple of years after you are married. But, when the time is right, give us many grandbabies.” Thank you very much.

4. Man, I hate grass.

5. I was at a funeral for a girl that I would have graduated with but she moved away in our junior year and was hit by a drunk driver while waiting at an intersection. I think of her from time to time. I remember her father saying to me at her funeral, “You were special to her… you were special.” Dear God, I can only imagine that pain – that loss. She was special too. I don’t know why she slipped into my thoughts but she did.

6. Samurai swords. Perhaps a Samurai sword would aid me with yard work? There are a couple of limbs and stickers that could use a mighty flash of cold steel. The rebellious hedges need to be brought back into line and walking the path of the Samurai while working on my lawn may just be what the doctor ordered.

7. I’m going to have to invest in some more gas soon. Five bucks just doesn’t buy the same amount of juice as it used to.

8. “The Incredible Hulk”. The film comes out tomorrow and I’m more jazzed then I thought I would be. Ang Lee’s “The Hulk” was hideous. There is more chemistry in a glass of lemon aid then there was between the lead actors; the story was choppy and Lee had absolutely no idea who the character was or any respect for the forty plus years of comic history that, as a steward, was placed into his hands. There is no excuse for that. So why am I interested? This is the second film that MARVEL is in complete control of the project. The first was “Iron Man” and that has become one of the finest superhero movies ever made. Add the idea that Robert Downey Jr. has a cameo as Tony Stark and Marvel has made me make me want to hand over the money in my wallet once more. I have a sneaky feeling that they are girding up for an absolutely amazing “Ultimates” (Avengers movie). Take it from me, True Believers – this is one geek who will be there opening night. Make Mine Marvel!

9. The ivy will be an improvement in the front. I’m going to start at the mailbox and see what happens from there. It will still be green AND it should kill the grass! Yeah BAY BEE!

10. Man, for a small lawn this thing takes a long time to mow.

And that was it; I was done for another week. So there you have it, a peek into my psyche while I mow. Still all that remains is the grass; I have no illusions though… I know that it will be back. For as much as I love spring and summer I really don’t like cutting the grass. Oh well, what’s a boy to do?

Plant some ivy I guess.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Moment of Truth

So have you seen the TV show on FOX? You know the one with the people who are willing to sell their souls to the network for the possibility of earning some amount of money and / or a moment of national attention – the one with the mental patients who want to be exploited for fun and profit?

Man, it’s wonderful to see what passes for entertainment these days. Perhaps a better question, or topic, would have been, “Have You Ever Seen the Movie Idiocracy”? IMDB has listed the film’s plot as, “Private Joe Bauers, the definition of "average American", is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes 500 years in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed-down that he's easily the most intelligent person alive.” The film is not the greatest movie ever made but it does bring up some very interesting (and by ‘interesting’ I mean scary) implications for the future and, dare I say, even for right NOW. The film is by Mike Judge, the same guy who was responsible for “Beavis and Butt-Head”, “King of the Hill”, and the cult hit, “Office Space”. During the movie one of the game shows in the future is a program called, “Oww, My Balls!” which is a show where the host is repeatedly and via more and more strange and odd circumstances hit in his groin. Barbaric? It’s the number one show in the future.

Let’s fast forward to the reality of now. “The Moment of Truth” is one of the highest rated shows on FOX. Barbaric? You bet, but you know, I don’t think that Mr. Mike Judge was really that far off with his theory of the future.

Gentle Reader, the future is now.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

We’re Back and Extra Crispy

Please allow me to preface this by saying; we (the EC-5) love camping down on Assateague Island with the wild ponies. We do it every year and if you haven’t yet done so, you should. We have camped up and down the eastern seaboard and it’s a great (and relatively cheap) way to see the countryside with the family. Seeing what’s going on at Assateague Island is no different.

Every year around Father’s Day, we and several other like minded individuals make the trip down to Maryland for a big bonfire on the beach. It’s a blast – and this year was no different save for the fact that 3 out of 5 of the EC-5 (my family) are sick and we are all (to one extent or another) now sunburned. Unfortunately the baby, Chicken Little got the worst of the sun. For the life of me I don’t know how since I kept lubing her and the rest of the kids up all the while their mother (Mother Hen) was Geocaching in Chincoteague. The poor kid is now sleeping in air conditioning and she’s glowing. Come to think of it, 4 out of 5 of us are – only Mother Hen does not share our fate; she escaped it by caching and not going to the beach. Such is life; you see, we love the ocean. We love the waves. I grew up outside of Wildwood, New Jersey and I can easily go on record and say that the waves on Assateague are much nicer (and by nicer I mean bigger, more successive and, in some cases, more violent). I’m a big guy and some of those waves will roll me easily – big time. Please don’t let me give you the wrong impression, I’m no surfer but I can tell you what it’s like to be pushed to the bottom of an eight foot wave.


Pryor to the scalding from our home sun, we took a canoe trip in the back bay with about 20 other friends. It was a blast and a half. If you’re down that way pay the $15.00 entrance fee (it’s good for 7 days) into the federal side of the island and rent yourself a kayak or a canoe. We were in two canoes, got real close to a couple of herds of wild ponies. The water in the bay isn’t as deep as one would expect and if one were to capsize all you would have to do is stand up and drain you boat; too much fun. They also rent clamming rakes so you can collect your own appetizer for your evening meal. Nice – hey, everything’s better with Old Bay and butter.

We made everyone as comfortable as possible and enjoyed the bonfire to the best of our ability. A friend of ours by the name of Silent Dave had procured a cross section of a hollowed out tree which burned all night long; simply amazing.

There was a group heading into Ocean City, Maryland today (to escape the heat) but we bailed. Three out of five of us were in no condition to continue. Chicken Beta was throwing up, as were Mother Hen and Chicken Little, as previously stated, was/is extra crispy and could not effectively move. That’s three members down. The math didn’t add up so we came home early. I had the three sick ones sitting in our Ford Explorer in the air conditioning while Bad Wolf and I broke camp.

God Bless my first child. She rocks out loud. The process would have been much longer without her.

Of our friends, most stayed; we and a few others bailed on account of sickness, the sun, or because of the Dreaded Monday Morning. I thank them all – each and every one, for another unforgettable time on Assateague Island. Yes we were bested by the fates this time but next time? Well, that’ll be a different story all together.

…We shall return…

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

So, Is This Legal?

Happy Election Day – sort of. If you are living in New Jersey I hope you voted. I don’t care how you voted I just hope that you did so since I don’t believe you have much room to complain about the “powers that be” if you don’t participate in the process of "democracy". I am neither a republican nor a democrat and to yours truly, both of the grand old parties are all just a part of the same machine. Well, today I had the unusual and unique opportunity to see the machine in action. I thought that I would pass along the tale to YOU Gentle Reader so that I could ask and gage to see if what I saw and heard was / is legal or not.

Here is what happened. Two co-workers and myself stop into a deli before accomplishing a work related task that was set before us (I’d go into greater detail but I make a point to not discuss work here at Evil Chicken Scratch. You’ll have to wait for the novel). It’s about 11:40 AM and I notice that there seems to be a lot of people hanging around the place, to be more precise there was a large amount of Latino patrons hanging around the place. One guy had a great Spiderman club shirt that I was going to compliment him on but the sandwich that I ordered was calling my name. A politician came through the crowd and entered into (I kid you not) the back room where everyone was congregating. From my seat I could see the whole thing. He was polished in a nice shirt and tie and wearing fine tailored pants. There was quite a nice spread too; sandwiches of all shapes and sizes and buckets of coleslaw, potato & macaroni salad took up the whole area where the stage is located. There were bumper stickers and buttons for the candidate in question and thick manila envelopes were being passed out to the crowd of about 30 people.

“Ok, today the person who gets the most amount of people out to vote wins $500.00! The person that gets the second largest amount gets $250.00!” he announced. The crowd reacted with a quick but heartfelt smattering of applause.

“Is that legal?” I asked my coworkers.

“Politics? Unfortunately, yes.”

“No really, can he do that?” I asked again.

“I’m not sure.”

“Me neither.” I said grabbing my large cup of Black Satin coffee. I needed to hit the cream and sweetener station. I ran into one of the owners of the place there and smiled as I asked, “Hey, is this legal?”

He looked at me and smiled nervously; “…Yes it is good coffee.” And he shuffled away from where I stood. I looked over at the politician and our eyes met. He quickly turned back to his audience as I grabbed my three Splendas and my shot of half and half and headed back to our table.

“Enjoy the food.” The politician said. Some did and some didn’t. Those that did not were apparently hoping to grab a piece of that $500.00 prize. Hey, the early bird gets the worm. The politician put on a designer pair of dark glasses.

“He’s leaving.” I said. “Now whether it’s through the back door or the front door is still up for grabs.”

One of my co-workers glanced over her shoulder. That’s XXX.” She said.

“Really?” I said.

“Yep.” She said. I will not go into detail on the where’s and why’s she would know but, let’s just take it as a given, she knows. He walked passed our table as workers replenished the food that was eaten from the buffet.

“It looks like they are going to have another round of people come through here.” One of my co-workers said.

“Yeah, no doubt.” My other co-worker said.

I started humming the “Mission Impossible” theme. “I’ll be right back.”

“Where are you going?”

“To the bathroom. It’s not my fault that the bathroom happens to be past the back room.” I said.

“We’ll meet you in the van.”

I passed my coffee to one of my friends and thanked her for holding onto it. Off to the bathroom I went. On my way there I couldn’t help but notice the bumper stickers, buttons and manila envelopes scattered throughout the room. I made a mental note of where the buttons were, where the only two people in the room were and of the buffet.

…What can I say I love a buffet.

After using the facilities I decided to abscond with (not steal because stealing would be bad) a button. I needed to know who was selling whom. I smiled at the couple enjoying their sandwiches (they were engrossed in a deep political conversation), went to the table with the propaganda and took a button. I quickly stuck it into my right front pocket and exited the establishment giving my compliments to the fine hands that had crafted our sandwiches.

As I approached our van I flashed the button. My co-workers began to giggle, as did I. NOW I am pondering was what we, three humble servants during a half-lunch break, saw legal or not.

After getting home I relayed the experience to a paralegal I am well acquainted with. I will hold what she suggested in strict confidence until I hear from YOU Gentle Reader.

So… was it legal?

Monday, June 02, 2008

"May You Live In Interesting Times…"

That famed “Chinese Curse” that the Chinese never really said. Even if the authenticity of its origins is questionable the weight of the “curse” is undeniable; may you live in interesting times. Gentle Reader, lest there be no doubt, these are interesting times.

“How so?”

Once more, that is a very good question, Gentle Reader and, dare I say, something that I would ask myself if posed such a question. What do you say we check out some of the headlines for the last 24 hours or so, hmmmm? …Now lets see here… ignoring the wars and elections…

Bo Diddley passed away at the age of 79 (see: “Who?” You may not know him but you know the sound that he created. With a homemade rectangular guitar he introduced a new rhythm, a new music to the world – it was called “Rock and Roll”. He died surrounded by his family at his home in Florida.

Ted Kennedy was operated on for a malignant brain tumor. Putting politics aside I know exactly where he and his family are right now. I pray that all goes well with his recovery and that the doctors are able to “get it all”. Cancer is a hell of a disease that simply does not care who you are or whatever it is you do or have done or haven’t done with your time here; it just grows and spreads. I truly wish him and his the best with the radiation and chemotherapy treatments that will follow. What more can I say? God bless.

Universal Studios was on fire. Two city blocks worth of movie sets including the New York and New England street sets are gone. To put that in perspective Ralphie’s town from “A Christmas Story”, Marty McFly’s town from “Back to the Future” and Spiderman’s New York have all just turned to ash. I realize that it will be built again and I am pleased that there has been no one hurt and no loss of life but the film history that just went up in smoke is somewhat – for lack of a better word; sad. These sets have appeared in countless films and television programs. From what I understand the television archive was burning too. This particular archive was where they stored copies of the original master prints and those prints are safe. Universal needs a better plan for times such as this. I hear that this is the seventh fire since 1916 (?).

In what can only be seen as a sign of the End Times, “Sex and the City” beat out “Indiana Jones” at the multiplex this past weekend. What kind of a world are we living in?

Then there is the tale of my almost accident. I was almost in a head on collision after church on Sunday. A gentleman in a blue pickup truck decided that he was tired of driving on the right side of the road and decided to head directly for me while I was waiting at a stop sign. He missed me by about a foot and a half, put his truck in reverse and began blaming me for our near collision.

“You know they have these octagonal things that you are supposed to stop at.” He said. The fact that he was speeding, had passed a solid line, and was clearly in my lane escaped him in his mission to assign blame anywhere else than where it needed to be placed.

“Really? You know, they’ve also got these things…” as I began to reply my eyes caught the Ixthis fish carabineer that I have hanging from my rear view mirror and the words of the Sunday morning message began to resonate in my ears “You are the only church some people ever see”. It’s somewhat of a shame too since I really had some pretty good material to choose from – I could have gone with the speeding or the crossing on a solid line thing, but what I really had my sights on was the whole wrong lane thing. I could hear myself mentioning the fact that while choosing the left lane is perfectly acceptable in the Bahamas or Jolly Ole’ England it is frowned upon here stateside. But I did not.

“Yeah?” he asked.

“…Stay safe.” I said. That was it, nothing more, nothing less. He drove off one way and I the other; just another tiny blip in a sting of interesting events.

Here’s hoping that things get a little less interesting in the next 24 hours.