Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leslie Nielson

Leslie Nielson passed away this evening due to complications of pneumonia. He was 84. The man was in over 100 movies but for people in their 40s, my generation, probably knew him best as Dr. Rumack from “Airplane!” and as Lt. Frank Drebin from “The Naked Gun” trilogy. He was wonderful in “Creepshow” and as the Captain in “Forbidden Planet”.

Here are some articles that are more eloquent than this particular blog entry. I just wanted to mark his passing and, in some way, to say 'Thanks' for all the laughter.

The man made me laugh at times when I did not feel like doing so. Well done, Sir. Well done.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Comic Book Store

Here’s one for the True Believers out there…

I enjoy comics. I got into ‘em back in the late eighties. Found out that I couldn’t afford the luxury and took a long break. I have three daughters and as a cool way to get them into reading a few years ago I picked up another comic subscription. My youngest is a big fan of “Sonic the Hedgehog”, while my middle child is a HUGE Anime fan. My oldest likes “The Runaways” and as for yours truly I’m a sucker for “Ultimate Avengers”, “The Unwritten” and “The Invincible Iron Man”.

These days and for the last two years or so I have had the distinct pleasure of getting my comics from The Comic Book Store in Glassboro, New Jersey. Mr. Alex Willingly is the master of ceremonies and his Kung-Fu is strong. I am a comic book fan and his subscription service is second to none. I am not into gaming but I know people who are and The Comic Book Store has quite a following. Worlds of Warcraft (card game), Magic the Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer 40 K are played in tournament fashion all the time (check the calendar for exact times).

So, True Believers, the next time that you are in the Glassboro area check out The Comic Book Store. Alex is located at 30 North Main Street. 856-442-0402 is his number and is his website.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

"When Black Friday comes, I’m gonna dig myself a hole. Gonna lay down in it ‘til I satisfy my soul". – Steely Dan

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. The family and I were heading home from my wife’s aunt’s house. It was 10:00 PM. On our way back home we decided to see if there was anyone in line yet for Black Friday, the official ‘first shopping day of the holiday season’ when stores are supposed to go from being ‘in the red’ to being ‘in the black’. This is the BIG day for merchants & holiday shoppers, advertising agencies & stockholders. This is the day that the general public has been programmed to respond to the endless barrage of sales pitches & ‘door buster sales’. It’s like we have been personally invited to SHOP and come skipped heating bills or bankruptcy THAT’S just what we’re gonna do!

Folks have been know to erect single file tent cities with sleeping bags & cots or to sit on foldable stadium chairs sipping on thermoses full of coffee just waiting for that magic moment for the doors to open at 4, 5, or 6 AM and for the carnage, that the holiday season has become, to begin. Now don’t get me wrong here, Gentle Reader; I’m not throwing stones. I can remember being in such lines waiting to get a ticket that guarantees my purchase for one of the limited number of ________ (insert item here) that the store had. I stood in line for a Nintendo Wii when they first came out and I remember one year when my wife and I were in line for an unbelievable deal on laptop computers that we actually did camp out for. This year – not so much; this is due to two clear and present factors. Factor 1, there is nothing this year that we deemed worth camping out for. Factor 2, even if Factor 1 was valid we don’t have the extra cash sitting aside to blow.

Where was I?

Oh right! It’s 10:00, we are heading home and we wanted to see if the lines were forming. Were the shoppers there? Yes they were. At Target – yes (to the corner of the sidewalk), at Wal-Mart – yes (with a police presence & barricades), at Best Buy – yes (to the corner of their sidewalk as well) but what really knocked my socks off was the magnitude and scope of the line at Toys-R-Us.


In the generic shopping-scape of America there was a time when the ‘mall’ was the biggest fish in the ocean. Online shopping and the clustering of ‘shopping districts’ have taken a lot of the wind out of the sails of the malls across the country; still, however, they are large players. That being said, the Toys-R-Us that we past by is located in a mall and it happens to be, from the left of the hulk of the mall-complex, the second store in. From its position the line stretched to the left passed one, two department stores, the shopping mall entrance, around a corner and passed the J.C. Penny.

It was 10:30 PM.

By the time that I am posting this blog many of the ‘door buster’ sales will have come and gone leaving behind them a wake of chaos and destruction (you’ll have to trust me on this if you have never seen a crowd of angry holiday shoppers all competing for a ‘Tickle me Elmo’ or a laptop computer). It is scary out there. Our quest for material goods can compel little old ladies to become axe murderers. …Hey, if you play your cards right you could easily push down that group of orphans who have been pooling their money to buy that last X-box Kinect or trip that guy with the cane who wants a chance at buying his grand-daughter a netbook. They are not the uber-shopper that you are, stud.

Don’t be that guy. It’s just stuff. Really.

Please be careful out there, Gentle Reader – a holiday shopper is dangerous creature that, once provoked, can be treacherous. There are precious few souls I know who love a stampeding crowd.

So Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays. Grab your wallet & helmet and good luck soldier.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Danny MacAskill - "Way Back Home" - NEW street trials riding short film

This must be seen. Mr. Danny MacAskill is hypnotic in his movements and balance. Sit back, relax and prepare to be amazed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh The Things I Could be Writing About

Please let it be known, Gentle Reader, I have never meant to abuse this blog. Hey, I love Chicken Scratch! That being said there have been some pretty cool things that have come and gone without me even typing a peep of it. That's too bad really. What can I say? Life has a way of encroaching on the things that we would really like to be doing verses the things that must take priority as a means of getting things done.

Here is a brief list of stuff that I really should be writing about but, for one reason or another, have not...

1. The Christmas play, "Glorious Impossibilities" by Kathryn Ross is coming up at my church and I'm still trying to learn my lines. It is gonna be a blast this year - seriously. I get to unleash my inner Stooge. I am really excited about this one. If you can make it come on out!

2. Work. I make a clear effort to never discuss work here on Chicken Scratch. Let's just say there's been some interesting things afoot.

3. We, the EC-5 went to Washington DC for the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on 10/30/10. I have a thing for John Stewart and Steven Colbert. They did not disappoint. I will be blogging about this at some point but until such time know that we had a blast, had some interesting adventures in Social Studies and would do it all over again.

4. Netflix. Brick and mortar is quickly becoming obsolete. That being said, some of the people who work at MY local Blockbuster are simply wonderful individuals who love film and are doing their best to keep things together and going. I will continue to rent my Blu-ray discs and video games from my local Blockbuster BUT Netflix is just the shape of things to come. In an instant gratification world they deliver - instantly. No longer does one have to wait until their Blockbuster queue is depleted to see that samurai, gangster, ninja, zombie flick that they have had a hankering to see - no, that sometimes month long wait has been replaced by the press of the button on my remote, X-box, laptop, Nintendo Wii, smart TV, or even Blu-ray player. Bickety-Bam; instant gratification. I don't have time to wait on movies. Now I don't have to. My middle aged attention span is longer than some others but is not designed to handle the onslaught of all the other things screaming for my attention. This being said, I am not giving up on Blockbuster; there are some great people there and that is the only source of Blu-ray and video games in South Jersey. Netflix, however, cuts the price more than HALF ($8.99 a month VS. $20.00). That's a lot of cabbage.

5. The progress of our Turtles. We have two turtles; Van Goff and Sheldon/Bertha. I could be writing about their progress and how they came into our home but NO! I have not done so.

6. NANOWRIMO? I have no time for National Novel Writing Month this year. I'd write and tell you about it but I simply don't have the time.

7. Downed Trees. A cherry tree limb snapped off and hit a maple tree limb in my yard - both of which collapsed in my driveway. Thanks to my Ford I was able to pull them onto my front lawn. Thanks to a friend (Thanks Rich!) and his chainsaw the gravity challenged limbs are no longer an issue. I could have written about this but the time just did not materialize.

8. Weight loss. I don't want to but I must. I'm too fat but I have a taste for butter, egg yolks, red meat and salt. I would write about it but I'm just too busy. Let's just say that I'm gonna be eating a LOT of salad and veg in the future; I may even write about it.

9. The Christmas movie season. There are some decent offerings this holiday season. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I", "True Grit" and the one I'm really waiting for, "Tron Legacy" will all be hitting theaters in the next month and a half. Yeah, if I had time I'd be writing about those too.

10. Injustice and false representation. I don't like to wallow in this for too long since the stench sort of follows you around. Just like... Well ya know, Thumper's mother was right, if you don't have anything nice to say about someone it's best to not say anything at all.

Gentle Reader, please forgive me. Also let me just say that these days my life is NOT my own and I am actively looking forward the END of the holiday season when I can relax with my family, play some video games with the girls and do some geocaching with Mother Hen - oh yes, and spend some quality time right here at Chicken Scratch. I am happy to be busy and a part of things greater than myself this time of year but I'm looking forward to a time when the wheels are not spinning as fast as they are right now.

Stay tuned, Gentle Reader, the best is yet to come.