Friday, January 30, 2009

Harbinger of the 2012 Zombie Uprising

I first saw this on the TODAY show – so it must be true… Please DO NOT believe the following article:!

Hackers create 'Zombies Ahead' highway signs
Associated Press

Jan. 29, 2009, 11:18AM
AUSTIN — Apparent slacker hackers with time to kill brought a raised eyebrow or two to the faces of motorists at a busy Austin intersection.
Electronic signs intended to warn motorists of construction near the intersection of Lamar and Martin Luther King boulevards were changed Wednesday to warn of “Zombies Ahead! Run for your lives!”
The two signs are about a half mile west of the University of Texas campus.
Austin Public Works spokeswoman Sara Hartley says the message was only displayed for a few hours. She said the hackers cut a padlock to get into the signs’ computers.
Hartley also tells KXAN-TV in Austin that the stunt is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine if the scamps are ever found.

The article is from the Associated Press / Houston Chronicle web site and I, for one, am frightened at just how far the powers that be have gone to interfere with the freedom of the press. Clearly this is a cover story. Make no mistake – there was a Zombie uprising in Austin Texas and the government wants you to remain unaware of the danger. You won’t hear the truth from the press; oh no… you’ll only hear it leaked from blogs such as this one and by those American Heroes who reprogrammed the sign!

Oh you can believe what you want to believe but remember – you heard the first warning right HERE! No matter what the Austin City fathers or the bought off press want you to think a Zombie breakout was quelled. This is only a harbinger of things to come 2012 is not that far away!

…Hackers, Slackers, Scamps?! Please. Don’t insult the American people’s intelligence. We see through your clever ruse. The days of being pandered to are over! Remember Austin City Council; you can only hide the TRUTH for so long.

I only hope that by that time it won’t be too late.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Newbery for Gaiman

“The Graveyard Book” just won a Newbery Medal. Check it out here: And WAY back here:, will give you some background on Neil Gaiman, “The Graveyard Book” and our adventures going to Philly to hear him read us chapter three of the exploits of young Nobody Owens.

Cheers, Mr. Gaiman. I can’t wait to read and see (hopefully) what he does with adapting his book, “Anansi Boys” into a screenplay. Warner’s has first crack at it. I hope they do it right. It’s a great story that will make you root for Spider and Fat Charlie Nancy.

Nicely done, Mr. Gaiman. Nicely done.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hello SAIGON & Happy New Year

This particular blog entry is about two things that I have a bit of experience with - food and celebrating.

First, let’s talk food. Mother Hen and I had the pleasure of dining at SAIGON a new Vietnamese restaurant that has sprung up in Millville at Union Lake Crossing Shopping Center (close to the Target and right next to the Philly Pretzel Factory) at 2180 North 2nd Street, Millville, NJ 08332. Unlike the American invented “Chinese” take out food that we are so accustom to the food at SAIGON is the real deal – true Vietnamese cooking. I did not have all that much experience with Vietnamese cooking but our meals were simply awesome. To give you some idea about just why you should try them out I am reprinting the back of their menu…

Vietnamese fragrant and exotic: a deliciously simple cuisine. Rich in history, Vietnamese cuisine is one of the jewels of South East Asia. The style of cooking, which has evolved over many centuries, is a wonderful blend of Chinese and South East Asian spices, flavors, and techniques, fused with ingredients and traditions of classic French food. Vietnamese food is lighter and more refreshing than Thai food, using crisp, uncooked vegetables, subtle seasonings, raw herbs, and unique flavor combinations. Often described as textural with fresh, sharp flavors, it is also more tropical and fragrant than Chinese food.

Saigon Restaurant will take you on a culinary tour of discovery, exploring the history, culture, and traditions of the Vietnamese people, the evolution of their cuisines, and the dishes that have become synonymous with the country itself.

The Saigon Restaurant menu has more than 80 dishes, from National Beef Noodle Soup, Saigon Spring Rolls, Shrimp on Sugar Cane, Chicken Wrap Salad and many more which will give you the opportunity to taste Vietnamese Cuisine from our own specialty kitchen.

There you have it. We started with Spring Rolls and Dumplings, which were the best I’ve ever tasted, and then it was onto the main course. Mother Hen had the Vietnamese Steak and I had the Shrimp Clay Pot. The flavors were simply amazing. We ended the meal by sharing a Green Tea Ice Cream, which really capped off the whole dining experience. I briefly jumped off of my Atkins Low Carb bandwagon and it was worth each and every extra carbohydrate that I consumed.

So if you have a taste for something exotic you should try SAIGON. Remember that it is light, fresh cooking and not your run of the mill Chinese place. The chef is an artisan and not a short order cook. I don’t think that you will be disappointed.

Secondly, let’s talk celebration – Happy New Year; it is the Year of the Ox today! Depending on which scholar you choose to believe it is the year 4707, 4706, or 4646. Here is what Wikipedia, my favoritie second brain, has to say on the subject:

So Gong hei fat choi (congratulations and be prosperous) in this New Year, Gentle Reader. Gong hei fat choi.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Welcome to Wal-Mart"

A new Super Wal-Mart, or rather, Hypermarket, has just opened in town (Vineland, NJ). Make no mistake this is big for the community here in South Jersey. The corporate behemoth is going to employ somewhere between 700 to 800 people. It will have the convenience of being open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the selection of things that one can buy is pretty much second to none. That is the good news. The bad news is (if you take the picket signs that the two dozen or so local union people standing next to the giant inflatable rat were holding said) that when a Super Wal-Mart comes to town wages go down unilaterally 5%. A Wal-Mart is designated as “Super” when it has the ability to put local supermarket chains out of business as well as all of those ‘Ma & Pa’ hardware and department stores that you may remember from days of yore. To soften these blows Wal-Mart has made several different donations to local charities, put in “green lighting” and has put down flooring made of recycled tires; and between you and I, that’s a LOT of flooring.

Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t completely buy into the notion that Wal-Mart is an evil corporate empire. Nor do I believe that all evil corporate empires are necessarily exceptionally evil. No. I enjoy the convenience, the ease, and multitude of choices that a Super Wal-Mart provides; not to mention how many sweat shops we support and boatloads of Yen we supply the Chinese economy with.

After a quick walk through just two corners of the massive structure; seeing the sports celebrities, robots shaped like toothpaste tubes, the people flocking to the dancing logo characters from several companies who sell their wares at the mega-store and the populous’ reaction to the experience and thrill of it all I realized that that there was more to the concept of the Super Wal-Mart than meets the eye. Super Wal-Mart is a place where the lines blur between the things we need and the things that we want. It is important to remember that there is a distinction between the two. Sam Walton built an empire on this blurry line. Something that he may have not planned on initially was the idea that such a large supplier of jobs, needs and desires under one roof would also begin to encompass the local culture. Make no mistake, the Super Wal-Mart that just opened is now a cultural hub for the community; a Wal-Mart community that is going to grow. We will never get a Borders or a Barnes and Noble since the illiteracy rate in the Cumberland County area is too low and those corporate entities don’t see the point in investing here. Unfortunately, the laws of supply and demand just don’t make that a wise business choice. Hey, but that’s ok; the book section at the Super Wal-Mart books can be found somewhere towards the north east section of the building and it’s only a 0.2 mile hike from the first of the three main entrances.

There are a number of festivities scheduled to celebrate the grand opening including visits from “Buck the Buckle Up Dog”, the “Pepsi Prize Wheel & Free Sampling”, the “AMP Car Fathead Drawing”, the “NASCAR Racing Simulator Competition”, an “Oreo Cookie Character”, “Live Radio Broadcasts”, the “Dale Earnhardt Jr. 88 Car Show”, “Kool-Aid Man”, “Swoop” the Eagles mascot (with cheerleaders), the “Phillie Phanatic”, an appearance by the “Oscar Meyer Weiner-Mobile”, and the ever popular “Much, Much, More”! Ultimately, I suppose, the desire for “More” it the emotion that we are all toasting, celebrating… worshiping.

So open up those new credit lines! Tell the kids to smash their piggy banks! Raid their college funds (if you can afford to have such a thing)! It’s all there at the hypermarket!

…Wal-Mart has come to town and it will never be the same again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Quite a Historic Day

Barack Obama became our 44th President when he took the oath of office today. I don’t know if you saw the news or not. {SPECIAL NOTE: if you are not aware of this little factoid please check your pulse}. Here’s a decent article on the festivities: No matter how you voted or what your “politics” are, President Obama is the leader of our country and, after watching a LOT of news today with the Three Chicks, it’s hard to not feel a sense of optimism for whatever the future may hold. “Hope Over Fear” was the theme of President Obama’s inaugural speech. Judging by the, what appeared to be millions of, people there on the National Mall it looks like America is ready for some hope. I have said it before but please allow me to say it again; I don’t like either of the main parties and I didn’t vote for Obama or McCain for that matter (I’m a Libertarian). However, I recognize certain moments that make us who we are as a people as a nation – today was just such a moment. You see, I remember my mother calling me into the room to watch our 13 inch TV and to see Gerald Ford take the oath of office. She and I watched Nixon get onto that helicopter and leave Washington D.C. for parts unknown.

“This is history.” She said. “You should try to remember this.”

I suppose she too had a fondness for such moments. So it was in this spirit that today I sat down with my three daughters and watched the Inauguration and the throngs of people (1 million plus attendees), and listened to the “Hope over Fear” speech. This little blog is not specifically about who is right or wrong, politics or even civics for that matter, no; it’s more about marking a moment in our collective history. Today, Gentle Reader was one for the history books. Today history unfolded right before our very eyes. An African American man took the oath of office for the Presidency of the United States of America swearing on the same Bible that Abraham Lincoln swore on during his inauguration. That is pretty remarkable considering how young our country really is, how slaves were used to build the Capitol Building where President Obama took the Oath of Office, and how not all that long ago people, based on the pigment of their skin, couldn’t use the same bathrooms as those of us who are pigment challenged. The fact of the matter is we are not talking all that long ago that this segregation was openly taking place and being enforced as law.

Lady Liberty, you’ve come a long way baby.

I know a handful of hearty souls who were there today on the mall when the President was sworn in. I was sorely tempted to drive down to Washington with the rest of my family just to be able to say that we were on the Mall when the President was sworn in too. I’ve been in large crowds in Washington D.C. before (Promise Keepers – Stand in the Gap) and it can be a bit overwhelming. Lump that in with there being only one bathroom at the Lincoln Memorial, Mother Hen’s recent sickness, and the fact that the Inauguration probably had more safety and security protocols than the city has ever seen and my living room began looking like a much more preferable and viable option. So, at the appointed time I made sure that my girls were there to watch the event happen live; the peaceful transfer of power that is one of the cornerstones of our republic for which it stands.

“This is history.” I said glancing at their faces as they watched the moments unfold. “You should try to remember this.”

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Calling All Shutter Bugs

While poking around at things on the internet with a sharp stick I came across this:, a Winter Photo Contest sponsored by the Millville Recreation Department.

Here is what you need to know as per the article:

Millville Recreation Department will accept entries for its annual winter photo contest through Feb. 22. Photographers, of all ages and skill levels, are asked to show the best depiction of winter in the Holly City. Millville residency is not required to enter.

Photos can range from 4 by 6 inches to 8 by 12 inches. Black and white or color is acceptable. Finished photographs may be mailed to Millville Recreation, P.O. Box 609, Millville, NJ 08332 or dropped off at the recreation office, 416 S. 15th St., Millville.

The rules are as follows:

- Photos must be a person, place or object in Millville.

- The name of photographer, age category, address, phone and place of photo must be on the back of the photo.

- One entry per person.

- The title of picture must be displayed on front of photo.

Age groups are: 7 to 12, 13 to 17, 18 to 61 and 62 and older.

First-, second- and third-place ribbons will be given awarded in each category. Also, one grand prize winner will be awarded. Winners will be announced at the City Commission meeting in March.

For more information, call (856) 825-7000, ext. 7392.

So there you have it. The next time you bundle up and head on down to the Arts District in Millville bring your camera.

Happy 200th Edgar

On January 19th, Edgar Allen Poe’s 200th birthday will be observed. He is the man who invented the detective story (Poe’s creation of C. Auguste Dupin predates Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes). He worked his craft in short fiction, poetry and being a literary critic. He died when he was 40 under unknown circumstances. Wikipedia, my favorite second brain, has much to say on Mr. Poe and his life and it can all be found here: It seems an utter disservice to Poe that “Ludwig” (R.W. Griswold) spun so many lies about him after his death. History continues to remember Poe but has forgotten Griswold all together. The Hop Frog in me likes to believe that this omission is the universe healing itself from poison of such a man. “Hop Frog”, by the by, remains for this reader one of the best tales of revenge and madness ever written. When one considers Poe, you really have many options to choose from – there are many “favorites” when it comes to his body of work. “The Mask of the Red Death”, “The Cask of Amontillado”, “The Tell Tale Heart”, “The Black Cat”, and “The Fall of the House of Usher” are all prime examples of Poe at his best.

It is easy to automatically think of Baltimore when you consider Poe, his work and his life (and his death for that matter) but some of his best and most prolific work took place right across the Delaware River in Philadelphia. Again from Wikipedia, “While living in Philadelphia, Poe published some of his most well-known works, including "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and "The Gold-Bug". It has been called his most prolific period. In all, Poe published 31 stories during his time in Philadelphia as well as several literary criticism pieces, including his February 1841 review of Charles Dickens's novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty. In reviewing the novel, which later inspired Poe's poem "The Raven", he correctly predicted the novel's resolution before its final serialized installment was published. Dickens is said to have remarked, "The man must be the devil". Poe's five years in the city have been described as the happiest of his life.” The Edgar Allen Poe National Historical Site in Philly is just about to reopen to celebrate Poe’s 200th Birthday (those gory details can be found here: I’m looking forward to taking the girls. We have already shared the reading of some of his tales.

So, Gentle Reader, the dreary midnight hour draws close at hand. I am weak and weary and I have been pondering over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore… It is with a spirit of kinsmanship that I join the Poe Toaster ( from right here in South Jersey in raising a glass and laying down one more rose at his grave.

Happy 200th Edgar.

Battlestar Galactica – The Beginning of the End

On 1/16/09, at 10:00 PM EST, the first of the last 10 episodes of Battlestar Galactica was broadcast. This reimagined rag tag fleet’s journey is coming to an end. The new BSG was the series that I did not want to like (see this: You see I grew up in the seventies and had the old Glen A. Larson production cemented in my mind as to the way things should be. Back in 2005, Ronald Moore took a sledgehammer to the mold and in doing so helped make one of the finest shows on television. The story is sound, the writing is top shelf, and the characters are viscerally real and skillfully brought to life so that the viewer actually cares about what happens to them and the last remnants of humanity.

BSG is not for everyone; it is certainly not for children but if you have the imagination to look past the spaceships and battles then you’ll be able to enjoy an intense human drama of life, death, and the hope of survival in the face of a genocidal of war. If you can appreciate a good story then BSG is for you. Here’s a 13 minute video to bring you up to speed on the last 4.5 seasons: And now you’re ready for the beginning of the end.

As much as I would like to discuss tonight’s episode in a spoilerrific fashion, I will resist. Ask me in person and I might tell you but for now that’s one down and nine to go. My only two complaints are that I detest commercials on regular television and that the questions that were answered only left larger questions – I guess I miss the option of just slipping in the next DVD. The journey’s almost over and the Cylon menace is still lurking somewhere in the cosmos. The only way to find the story’s resolution is to (shock and awe) tune in next week; which is exactly what I’m gonna do.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Trail Maintenance

I have been away from the blog due to the fact that we had a bit of a scare here at Rancho Del Chicken. Mother Hen spent some time in the hospital. The long story short is that we went to the emergency room for an Achilles tendon issue and she began to present with the symptoms of a heart attack. One of her heart values was elevated. It turns out that it was a false positive and that she did not have a heart attack – which is a good thing. While she was there she also had some water drawn off of her knee. It’s one stop shopping at the hospital these days.

What can I say? God is good. We have much to be thankful for. She is now home and recovering from her stay. We have appointments to follow up on and some changes to make (i.e. diet and exercise), which is something that we need to work on and something that we’ll be able to do together. It looks like we will be recommitting ourselves to low carb diets and getting out more for Geocaching (& hiking).

That being said, this got my wheels turning concerning our next series of adventures. Just where is next on the hit list of places to visit? I thought to myself. Where is good territory to explore and cache in these days? A quick look over at showed me that we (the EC-5) haven’t been doing too much caching recently. There are now a lot of holes in our 10-mile radius. That wasn’t always the case. Not that we are numbers junkies; no, it’s not a question of that, it’s more like discovering what’s in our own backyard; the thrill of unearthing local history and legend, the appreciation of the journey. Yadda, yadda, yadda… Well, we’ve been on sabbatical. Oh we still love the game it’s just that we haven’t been playing it recently. Sure, a lot of that has to do with the weather but we hit a bit of the doldrums. We stopped going out and we started getting larger; that’s simple cause and effect. It will be good for us to get back in the game – in a lot of ways. There is still much to see, still much to do. It’s time to make the time to see and do it.

See you on the trails.

This Truly is One of the Best Jobs in the World

Times are tough. It’s hard to find good work that you can really throw yourself into. That’s why I’m thinking about applying for this:

Yeah… let’s see here… Six months of adventuring on the Great Barrier Reef and blogging about it for about a hundred grand American? The question begs to be answered, “Where would one apply for such a position?” The answer can be found at the end of this reprinted article from Yahoo.

Australia offers ‘Best Job in World’ on paradise island.

SYDNEY (AFP) – An Australian state has launched a global search for candidates for "the best job in the world" -- earning a top salary for lazing around a beautiful tropical island for six months.
The job pays 150,000 Australian dollars (105,000 US dollars) and includes free airfares from the successful applicant's home country to Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland's state government announced on Tuesday.

In return, the "island caretaker" will be expected to stroll the white sands, soak up the sun, snorkel the reef, "maybe clean the pool" -- and report to a global audience via weekly blogs, photo diaries and video updates.

The winner, who will stay rent-free in a multi-million dollar three-bedroom beach home complete with plunge pool and golf buggy, must be an excellent communicator and be able to speak and write English.

"They'll also have to talk to media from time to time about what they're doing so they can't be too shy and they'll have to love the sea, the sun, the outdoors," said acting state Premier Paul Lucas.
"The fact that they will be paid to explore the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, swim, snorkel and generally live the Queensland lifestyle makes this undoubtedly the best job in the world."
Lucas said the campaign was part of a drive to protect the state's 18 billion Australian dollar a year tourism industry during the tough economic climate caused by the global financial meltdown.
While the campaign has elements of some reality television shows, a candidate's looks will not be a prime requirement, Tourism Queensland chief executive Anthony Hayes told AFP.
"No, I don't think beautiful is what we want, I think charismatic is what we want," he said. "The reality is we are looking for a fantastic communicator.
"What we want this person to do is travel throughout the Great Barrier Reef and just try every experience, every adventure they can find and report back via blogs and video to tell the world why Queensland is a great place to come for a holiday."
Tourism Minister Desley Boyle said some people might question whether it was risky to let an unknown person become an unofficial tourism spokesperson for the state.
"I think the biggest risk will be that the successful candidate won't want to go home at the end of the six months," she said.
"This is a legitimate job which is open to anyone and everyone."
Applications are open until February 22. Eleven shortlisted candidates will be flown to Hamilton Island in early May for the final selection process and the six month contract will commence on July 1.

Job-seekers can apply on

So there you have it Gentle Reader, a decent job opportunity. When I first went to the provided link the site was down. My guess is that potential employees are swamping their servers. Check back to throw your hat in the ring. I know that I would if the yoke of employment and the responsibilities thereof didn’t already encumber me. If you are chosen I promise to read your blog while I throw a shrimp on the bar-be and to voraciously live vicariously through you.

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Who Review

Next Christmas David Tennant will regenerate leaving the roll of the Doctor behind. When the dust settles Matt Smith (26) will be the youngest Timelord ever to play the role. Here’s the story from BBC:

Tom Baker is my Doctor. There were three Doctors before him (William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, & Jon Pertwee) but it was Baker’s regeneration that I first discovered the series. I started watching Doctor Who back in the seventies with him in the role. I watched him regenerate into Peter Davidson but then the show disappeared. BBC or PBS pulled the plug on American audiences so I missed Collin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. I saw the TV movie where Paul McGann became the commander of the TARDIS and had high hopes that there would be more but for the next 9 years there was nothing. The series was revived in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston in the role and it was like manna from Heaven. Gone were the cheesy special effects and production values and in there place was rock solid acting and storytelling. It was with a heavy heart that I watched Eccleston regenerate into David Tennant after only one season. But then Tennant made the role his own. He became a pleasure to watch with his humor and eccentricities. There are some truly great moments that have happened during the last four years. Tennant will be at the helm of the TARDIS for the next four BBC specials and it will be with a heavy heart that I will watch him regenerate into Matt Smith next Christmas.

All the best Mr. Smith; I am looking forward to seeing how you make the Doctor yours.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Great American Think-Off

Just after defeating the Empire by founding the Rebel Alliance on the X-box 360 (The Force Unleashed just plain ROCKS BTW) and enjoying each and every last carb in my Wawa Turkey Bowl I decided to tickle the ivories and do a little web surfing (Hey, 2009’s been a good year so far). It was on Yahoo that I found this:; The Great American Think-Off. I clicked it and read the following article; “NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. – A tricky question of morality is this year's brainteaser in the annual philosophy competition called the Great American Think-Off.
"Is it ever wrong to do the right thing?" is the theme of the 2009 Think-Off.
The event is organized by Minnesota's New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the cultural and creative opportunities of rural Americans.
Anyone can enter by submitting an essay of 750 words or less. Four finalists will be chosen to debate the question on June 13 before a live audience.
Last year's question was whether immigration strengthens or threatens the United States. The audience decided Craig Allen, of West Linn, Ore., was most convincing with his argument that the system of immigration and immigration policy is broken, that it encourages illegal immigration and poses a threat to the country.
New York Mills is a farming town of some 1,200 people in central Minnesota, about 170 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

From there I went to the, the official site for the event. Interesting stuff is to be found here at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center’s website including the some of the winning essays and questions from years past. Up in the top left corner is the easy on-line registration procedure. It’s just a click away.

So there we have it, 2009’s first crazy activity; a short philosophy essay on “Is it ever wrong to do the right thing?” It sounds like an interesting exercise but one that I don’t want to do alone so I’m taking YOU, Gentle Reader, with me.

What do you say – are you in?

I think I’ll throw my hat in the ring. I am not going to answer the question here… yet. I will after I ponder upon it, write it, and upload it; hey, I might even post it here at Chicken Scratch when it is finally fit for human consumption. But that’s just still a gleam in my eye.

I’m glad I tripped over this. It gives me something to do between defeating the Empire and concurring HALO.

Life is good.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Coming to a Theater Near YOU in 2009

As a little tradition here at Chicken Scratch I usually compile a list of the movies that are coming out that I believe will be entertaining. I was going to compile said list until I discovered an article by Hugh Hart from Wired Magazine’s site. It sums things up quite succinctly and, if you happen to be a movie fan, more than worth your time. It can be found here: They even include links to the trailers. Nice.

Of what the studios have planned for us viewers in the coming year of our Lord 2009, here’re what I think will be the cream of the crop (or at least the movies I wouldn’t mind buying a ticket for). If the film makes my list then I’ll let you know if it is an Opening Nighter, a I’ll Buy a Ticket, or a I’ll Wait to Rent It.

So, let’s get down to business…

1. Coraline. Let’s see here… written by Neil Gaiman? Check. Directed by Henry Selik – the same man who did “A Nightmare Before Christmas”? Check. This one’s an Opening Nighter. Now I’ve got to track down where they’ll be showing it in 3D.

2. Watchmen. I wonder if Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons had any idea that they were going to be rocking the world when they told their story, “The Watchmen”. Get ready to be rocked. Opening Nighter – no doubt (whether Fox Studios wants me to or not).

3. Wolverine. Logan, Gambit, Emma Frost – on the big screen post the X-Men movies? Count me in. If not Opening Night then I’m Buyin’ a Ticket for that weekend (even if Fox Studios are actively suing for a piece of the Watchmen pie and looking to block the films release – I hope they don’t get dime one).

4. Star Trek. Opening Night. In fact, feel free to stop by and bring me a cup of coffee since I’ll be camping out for this one.

5. Terminator Salvation. Christian Bale as John Connor? No James Cameron for a second time? Hmmm… This looks like a good Rental.

6. Land of the Lost. My inner child is grinning from ear to ear for this one. I’m definitely buying a ticket for this one and bringing the girls too – I love to embarrass them by singing the theme song. We’re there.

7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I’m a huge fan of the books and there is some pretty deep stuff that happens in this one. If you’ve read the book then you know how iconic some of the images from the trailer are… If not opening night then we’re buying tickets for opening weekend.

8. The Wolfman. Benicio Del Toro stepping into Lon Chaney Jr.’s paws prints? The wolves’ bane is blooming in 2009 and I’ll be buying at least two tickets for this one. Bad Wolf is a bit of a werewolf fan. This was one of the last films that Stan Winston worked on as well. Hopefully Opening Night.

9. Sherlock Holmes. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson? Directed by Guy Ritchie? I just might have to buy a ticket for this one. I’m still waiting to read the spin before I'm sold. We shall see.

10. Avatar. James Cameron has been inventing the technology to tell this science fiction tale – no, really. Expect amazing things. I expect that I’ll see ‘em in 3D hopefully opening night.

11. District 9. Alien invaders from the guy that Peter Jackson wanted to make the HALO movie? This kid’s Kung-Fu must be good. I just might have to buy a ticket.

12. Inglorious Basterds. (With an E). Quinton Tarantino takes on the Nazis. Do you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Germany? Me neither, but I think I’d like to find out. I’d buy a ticket for this one depending on my spending money when it’s released.

13. A Christmas Carol. Robert Zemeckis’s third motion capture picture in a row. Jim Carey will be Ebenezer and I have high hopes that this just might become a new Holiday classic. The jury is still out if I’ll be buying a ticket or not. We shall see what we shall see. I’m rootin’ for you Bob (even though “Beowulf” didn’t do it for me).

14. Public Enemies. Johnny Depp is John Dillinger and Christian Bale is the fed that is chasing him? Much mobster mayhem. I might have to buy a ticket. We shall see.

So there you have it; my picks from Mr. Hart's list. These are the movies that I’ve got my eye on. Who will tell the best story out of the bunch? I don’t know. Are there dark horses that I’m not aware of? You bet; and that’s part of what makes this particular obsession a joy – the surprise of discovery, the shear unadulterated magic of the movies.

2009 is here so butter my popcorn – see you at the multiplex!