Thursday, December 29, 2011

Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are true architects of the imagination.  To say that they helped shape a generation does not really scratch the surface as to the sphere of their influence on culture; both ‘pop’ and otherwise.  People’s lives changed after viewing their work and it struck a chord.  These people now wanted to be a part of the magic of film, of mythmaking, of storytelling.  I was one of those people.  

But this is not about me; NO.  It’s about Mr. Frank Darabont and how his script was almost the fourth Indiana Jones movie.  Now if you are a movie-geek then you know the name.  He is the man responsible for films such as “the Shawshank Redemption”, “The Mist”, and TV shows like, “The Walking Dead”.  He is a writer, he knows what he is doing, and back when the script was being circulated it caused a lot of excitement in certain circles (geekdom).  For whatever reason in 2008, Lucas and Spielberg passed on Darabont’s script and instead went with David Koepp, who is a fine writer as well.  Now the way that Indy movies work is that George Lucas (and please stop me if I’m wrong here, Mr. Lucas) comes up with a story and then farms it out to writers to connect the dots.  It has been a brilliant strategy and has been more than a successful formula since, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981.

Now a lot of people snipe at the fourth movie.  I’m not going to do that here.  I had a good time at the movies when I saw Indy 4 and, at the end of the day or when the credits roll, that’s the experience I want to have.  There will never be another “Raiders” and that’s ok.  “Raiders” is pure, transcendent magic – lightning in a bottle.  The sequels are icing on the cake and if you approach them expecting to have a good time at the movies - that is exactly what you will have. 

Well, this morning I’m horsing around on Twitter (at OMG Facts to be precise) and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a link to the Frank Darabont script!  I threw on my trusty John Williams score, sat back with a few cups of coffee and read it.  I encourage you to do the same, Gentle Reader, if you are a fan of the craft that is.  Some of it will seem familiar and some of it will not.  It is the Indiana Jones movie that didn’t happen.  Here it is in its entirety:  It is interesting to see how Darabont approached Lucas's story verses how Koepp did.  The big plot points are there but there is no Mutt and Marion is married to some other archeologist who is not Indiana Jones.  I loved the explanation as to what happened to Willie Scott.  Read it.  It's the script that never was now available for consumption. 

THAT being said, Mr. Spielberg, Mr. Lucas, and Mr. Ford, adventure still has a name; that name is Indiana Jones and I would LOVE to see him on the big screen one more time.  From one member of the generation that you helped to shape to you three gentlemen, I’m ready for Indy 5!  I don’t think I’m alone. 


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, Gentle Reader!

I don't believe it is Christmas time once again.  I have reached that age where one's brain perceives the passage as time much differently than one may have in days of yore.  Translation: I'm old.




Very fast.

I appreciate that better now than I ever have.  I'll probably appreciated it better in the next ten years, Lord willing.  But that is a blog of another day; that is then and THIS is now.

These are the good old days, Gentle Reader.  May your holiday be blessed and joyous this season and may those blessings and joyfulness last the whole year through.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Level Up Entertainment & Farpoint Toys

In the very beginning of the film, “A Christmas Story” Ralphie and his family are looking into the intricate holiday display at the local department store in rapt wonder at the trains, the toys and, of course, that Red Rider BB Gun.  The film is set in the fifties and is really a love letter to that period in time. 

Retailers these days could take a page from that old ‘five and dime’ store window.  It seems that the farther our drive and desire for material things comes the less imagination retailers use in their window fronts.  Their corporate entities must just channel all that creativity from the stores to their ad campaigns.

I am happy to report that my cynicism towards storefronts was put completely and utterly on hold this past week.  Yes, it’s true; I had a Ralphie moment and it all happened at the Hamilton Mall at the shop window of Level Up Entertainment and Far Point Toys & Collectables.  If you are a card-carrying geek such as myself you owe it to yourself to make the pilgrimage.   

This is not merely a storefront; NO, it is an assemblage of art.  The skill and forethought that went into the execution of this piece shows the depth of love for the subject matter.  I love the care that went into this piece – it all interconnects and tells this epic tale of comic book glory.  It is simply brilliant.  The pictures I took have the glare of the storefront window so it really is best seeing it up close and personal.  Of course you could also check them out on Facebook by clicking right here: and here:

Level Up Entertainment and Farpoint Toys & Collectables, as you may have surmised, specializes in video games, comics, toys and collectables.  So if there is a piece missing from your collection, if you’re seeking a particular videogame or if you are looking for that last Avenger figure to complete the security for around your computer – then these are the people you need to see.  I went in to compliment the man who put the whole diorama together and, while in the process of geeking out, I let slip that I needed three stands for the Avengers figures that protect my laptop.  He was kind enough to give me some spares that he had lying around.  That was a kindness that I truly appreciated, Gentle Reader.  These guys get it.  They love what they do and they love sharing that love with the world.  That being said I wanted to share them with YOU. 

Level Up Entertainment / Farpoint Toys & Collectables is located in the Hamilton Mall, 4403 Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing, NJ 08330, Suite 1129.  Their number is 609-569-9200.  They are located on the first level via the main entrance – make a right before the escalators and prepare to have your jaw drop.  Show ‘em some love. 

When you visit just ask me to move over so we can both share a Ralphie moment at the storefront window together. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thin the Herd

"Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue..." - Billy Joel

I like social media.  Facebook & Twitter are convenient ways for me to communicate the way I prefer to (i.e. without using a phone).  That being said every once in a while I run into moments where it is obvious that I must thin the herd, so to speak.  If you have been involved with social media for a while then you know what I mean.  The “friend” from another country who contacts you, tells you nothing but lies and then asks for money or the cell phone updates that keep chirping and chirping and chirping but only for ONE single person that you happen to be following.  There are times when you must separate the wheat from the chaff.    

The thinning of the herd became much easier for me after I saw an article by WIRED Magazine’s Erin Biba, entitled, “Twitter’s Fame Machine: Confessions of a Celebrity Ghost Tweeter”.  You can read it for yourself here:  Ms. Annie Colbert is a Ghost Tweeter and her job is to find technology addled celebrities who cannot figure out how to use Twitter and make them look less stupid by tweeting for them.  She is good at what she does - brilliant, really.  She provides these celebrities easy access to self-promotion and twenty-first century communication without the celebrities actually having to dirty their hands in trying to figure out how to text. 

That got me thinking about whom I follow on Twitter.  Who was real, who was phony, and who just showed up on Twitter one day at the request of a PR person, conglomerate, studio, or publishing house who told them that they “Need a Twitter account”?  So that’s what I did.  If their feed was sterile or generic – GONE.  If they didn’t care about their feed – GONE.  Oh, I still follow a bunch of people but now I am slightly more confidant that that is exactly what they are: people.  Social media provides new avenues for lying, falseness, and fakery, I see enough of that in my real life; I don’t need it when I’m kicking back trying to read my Twitter feed.  No, I crave the actual, genuine article.  I respect the truth; especially since these days I find myself relying on Twitter more and more for up to the moment news (not to mention keeping my finger on the pulse of all things GEEK).  

I’m not going to lie to you; some of the cuts hurt me.  Case in point, America’s weatherman, Mr. Al Roker.  For whatever reason he was the ONLY person on Twitter that my phone recognized; further he or whomever else Tweets for him really, really likes that Twitter account.  This really wasn’t Al’s fault.  I’m sure that it has something to do with my settings but we have come to far to turn back now.  My cell phone would alert me to one message, then another and another and one more and people would ask, “Who keeps texting you?”

“Al Roker,” I would tell them, “America’s weatherman.”

“No.  Really.  Who keeps texting you?”

Forgive me Al.  Know that it’s not you; it’s me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wear Star Wars Share Star Wars

A long time ago (well, last year, really) in a galaxy far, far away (actually somewhere close to Chicago) a first grade girl was bullied for wearing a Star Wars shirt.  Here is the harrowing tale of her adventures:

That was last year.  THIS year geeks are uniting to proudly display their Star Wars (and sci-fi) finest.  The saga continues… the young Jedi found that she was not alone and that thousands of others wanted to help her make a stand not simply for the love of Star Wars but also to put an end to tyranny (and bullying) from one side of this galaxy to the other.  Wear Star Wars Share Star Wars was born:

Tomorrow don’t grab your polo or button down shirt, no; grab your Star Wars (or other sci-fi) tee and wear it proudly.  Let your geek flag fly and let Katie know that she is not alone.

“The Force will be with you… always.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


NaNoWriMo 2011 is about to come to a close at 12:00 AM tonight.  To my fellow writers out there, whether you won or lost you still played the game and I, your humble peer, SALUTE YOU!

ROCK on wid jer bad self, writers.  Straight up.

Thanks to Chris Baty, Lindsey Grant and all the rest of the fine people from the Office of Letters and Light.  

I hope to see you again in April for Scriptfrenzy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For Vick

If you have ever clicked onto this blog then you know that I am pretty good at the trivial.  Useless information is usually what I pedal here on the electronic pages of Chicken Scratch.  It’s what I do. 

However, this blog, My 828:, is not trivial in the least.  It is written by a man I met a few times (once at their wedding), his family, and his wife Victoria whom I graduated with in 1987.  Vick and I were friends in high school and for those of you playing at home that was 24 years ago.  (...Ouch.) 

A year ago Vick suffered a traumatic brain injury and the world changed.  It has been a hard road that she, her husband, Stephen and their children have walked and the entire situation evokes that gossamer thin line that separates the world, as it should be verses how it is.  Vick is a woman of faith, she always has been; Stephen is a man of faith too and now, more than ever, their family has been leaning on it.

“Why does suffering like this occur?”  The simple answer is I don’t know.  I can show you what I wrote after reading Stephen’s blog. 

I can only imagine the path that Vick, you, and your family have been on.  I know that I am preaching to the choir, so to speak, but Romans 8:28 covers a lot of ground.  “All things for good” means all things for good.  I cannot begin to understand the ‘whys’; I am only a limited, broken, and mortal man who cannot grasp what the infinite sees.  His ways are not our ways.  The only thing I can say is that in good times and in bad times He is still on the throne.  Going right along with 828, I’m a fan of P16 (Philippians 1:6), “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” That’s not just a verse; that’s a promise and one you can stand on.  I know you have, that you are, and that you will continue to do so.

Ya know, St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times.  If you have to open your mouth.”  It is impossible to hide the lit city on the hill…  Thank you for your testimony.   

Please give Vick, my/our love,

George Scully, class of ‘87

This Thanksgiving make plans to tell those you love that you love them; we are, after all, only on loan to each other.  In that spirit, for the Moons – their children, for Stephen and for, of course, for Vick – I love you guys.  God bless you and may you keep moving forward on whatever path you may find yourselves.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


My oldest daughter and I were in line at Game Stop to pick up our copy of, “SKYRIM Elder Scrolls V” at 12:01 on 11-11-11.  Bethesda, the same company that made “Fallout 3” the jaw dropping experience that it is has developed this latest offering.  It is a massive – open experience game; in other words, within the world of SKYRIM you can go anywhere and do pretty much anything that you wish to do.  The mountains in the background of all the towns and villages are all climbable – all waiting to be explored.  As a matter of fact there are over 17 fully detailed miles of the world to discover.  That’s a lot of dragons and giants to slay or befriend.  The details are startling; from the veins in the individual leaves to the thatch on the roofs of the more cozy villages, if you are a gamer, a role-playing or Dungeons & Dragons fan then prepare to have your world rocked.  Chick 1.0, or Mal Loup, as she is known in the world of SKYRIM has been doing a lot of exploring and she has barely scratched the surface.  I’m looking forward to spending some quality time in SKYRIM myself in the near future. 

That being said when one looks at where the industry came from to where it is now it boggles the mind.  I remember playing on our Telstar system in 1976 and it was revolutionary.  I believe it was a gift from my Aunt.  It had not one, not two, but THREE versions of Pong on it!  Remarkable.  Our next game system was the Atari 2600 circa 1980.  It came packaged with two joysticks with a single red button in the upper left corner and two paddle controllers to play games like, “Breakout” or “Pong”.  The big advantage to the Atari 2600 was variety.  No longer were gamers stuck with whatever was hardwired onto the motherboard of the game console – cartridges were the big innovation here.  If you got tired or frustrated with one game you pulled it out and put another one in.  Back in the early eighties games were about $20.00 a piece and therefore, out of my price range.  I had to scrimp and save or see what was on sale in clearance (Some things never change).  The advent of Jobs & Woz and all that came in their wake had me playing on PCs instead of consoles for several years and it wasn’t until the SEGA Genesis (1991) that I started playing consoles again.  I remember my father-in-law after watching my mother-in-law playing, “Sonic the Hedgehog” on that SEGA Genesis saying that graphics probably could not get much better than that.  I wish he were here to see his granddaughter play SKYRIM.  From the Genesis we migrated to the SONY Playstation (1995); which was fast becoming a hit with my daughter (Chick 1.0).  She was only about 4 but it bit her and the infection spread.  From the Playstation we were given a Nintendo 64 by my mother-in-law who was tired of hers.  We then acquired a Playstation 2, a Nintendo Game Cube (2001), a Nintendo Wii (2006) and then an Xbox 360 (2008).  Each system strode forward by leaps and bounds.  Who knew that Ones and Zeros could do such AWESOME things?  I mention my family’s history with videogames so that I can show you where the state of the art was and then I can show you where it is at.

This is a screenshot of the Telstar, my first experience with videogames…

Here is a screenshot from Bethesda’s, Elder Scrolls V: SKYRIM, our latest experience with videogames…

Mind you this is not just an artist’s rendering – this is an actual screenshot.  I can tell you when you are in there the entire world is textured and simply beautiful.  I find myself just walking around staring at the scenery.  I am a tourist in SKYRIM.  I’m going to have to do more than that but for a gamer of a certain age it is hard not to stop and smell the finely pixilated & detailed flowers.  It is a feast for the eyes.  Seriously.  Another factor here with SKYRIM is the fact that the entire world is open.  I can tell you that it is certainly worth the trip.  The fine people at Bethesda truly know what they are doing.  Their last BIG game was Fallout 3, which is amazing.  From what this humble traveler has seen thus far, SKYRIM has already surpassed it.  I do not say that lightly.

Long days and pleasant nights, fellow adventurer.  Be mindful; though, here there be dragons.   

[Screenshot of the Telstar from]

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Ever After Literary Review

I ran into something accidentally this morning on Twitter.  Someone that I follow, Mr. Dule Hill, retweeted a little blurb from something called the Ever After Review.  It turns out that they are a non-profit bi-monthly literary publication that is now asking for short and very short story submissions.  Here’s their site:  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.  

As their homepage says, “Ever After Review is a literary journal that focuses on Fiction short stories and Flash Fiction. We accept stories from published and unpublished authors.”  That being said, Gentle Reader, I know for a fact that more than a few of you are Gentle Writers too.  I gently lifted the following from their About Us section; “Ever After Review is a new literary journal that focuses on works of short fiction (up to 5,000 words) and flash fiction (up to 1,000 words). Any genre will be considered for publication. We will accept published and unpublished authors, but we will NOT accept previously published works.

This is a non-profit journal that will be published bi-monthly. The first issue is set to release in January 2012. Each issue will vary in the quantity of stories.

The journal is free; therefore, we do not pay for stories. This is a chance to get your work known by many readers. Please use the submissions link to submit a story.”

The deadline for the January 2012 issue is December 31, 2011.  Now I ask you, how cool is that?  Very cool, indeed, says I

Happy Writing!

Another Reason to Remember the Fifth of November

Remember, remember the fifth of November; of gunpowder treason and plot.  I see on reason that gunpowder treason should ever be forgot...

The Fifth of November recently passed.  Guy Fawkes aside, in our household the Fifth of November will also mark the day that our oldest daughter got her driving permit.  Mother Hen took Chick 1.0 (henceforth known as, “Bad Wolf”) to the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles and the Big Bad Wolf passed!  It’s sort of a bittersweet situation; while it is great that she is moving forward it is still another punch in the whole “ADULT” card and another reminder that my little girl is really a woman.  She goes to college and has a part-time job.  Lord knows, Chicks 2.0 & 3.0 will be happy when she does get that license.  Chick 2.0 has plans and designs on having her sister drive her and Chick 3.0 all over the place.  Further, I believe that Chick 2.0 will want to be at DMV on the eve of her 16th birthday just to wait in line so when the doors open she can rush to the counter shouting, “I’m HERE! – I’M HERE!  For now, however, one extra driver in the family is enough.

We took her out driving and she did great.  

God bless you and keep you Amanda.  You ROCK out loud.     

Friday, October 28, 2011

Project Thanksgiving

I am a blessed man, Gentle Reader.  I’m no Warren Buffet or Donald Trump but in the battle between “wants” and “needs”, the Lord has provided.  I am not rolling in money and I have no gold ingots stashed away yet the lights are still on and my children are fed.  With the molehills in my life that I can turn into mountains I can still recognize – just by keeping my eyes open and looking around me that my “problems”, when seen in comparison to others are not as mountainous as they appear to be.

“May you live in interesting times…” is often quoted as being a curse more often than being a blessing.  It’s a double-edged statement; it cuts both ways.  These are most certainly, “interesting times.”  There is a lot of need out there and Thanksgiving, Christmas and the rest of the Holidays are on deck and waiting to pounce. 

Enter Project Thanksgiving.  This is the brainchild of a friend of mine, Mr. Alex Kaganzev and it is sponsored by the Salvation Army.  Project Thanksgiving is a local turkey drive that provides turkeys to families in the Cumberland County area.  This is a grassroots sort of movement and it is currently for people in the Cumberland County area (Millville, Bridgeton, & Vineland).  Just like an avalanche begins with one too many snowflakes Project Thanksgiving has been gaining momentum and growing too.  As you may have guessed, yes, they could use your help.

“What can I do?”

On Saturday, November 19th, bring a frozen turkey or a donation to ANY of the four local ShopRite supermarkets in Vineland, Millville, or Bridgeton between 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.  That’s it.  That’s pretty painless and it has the direct effect of helping someone out.  Not too shabby, I’d say. 

But wait – there’s more!  The Cosmopolitan Restaurant in Vineland has thrown their hat into the ring too.  If you bring a turkey or a $20.00 (or greater) donation between November 10th and the 19th you will be given a coupon for 15% off of your next meal at the Cosmo; again, not too shabby.

Chances are you’ve earned a frozen bird or two with your ‘super-saver’ card.  If you happen to have a spare turkey, please consider making room in your freezer and donating it to Project Thanksgiving this year.  These are interesting times – perhaps we can help making these times a little less complicated.


Evil Chicken

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

All Hallow's Read

Neil Gaiman, a yarn spinner of great renown (and one of my favorites, I might add), has devised a magnificent new tradition ~ All Hallow’s Read!  He describes it as, “It’s All Hallows Read, a tradition we just made up. You can fancy it up as much as you like. Just make sure you give someone a scary book this Hallowe’en…” That about sums it up.  Here are the gory details:  You can also follow all the twists and turns at #AllHallowsRead on Twitter.

I love it.  What a brilliant way to foster a love of reading!  What will you give and to whom?  Poe, Bradbury, Lovecraft, Gaiman?  The possibilities are endless and I am grateful for that.

I encourage you, Gentle Reader, to enjoy All Hallow’s Read!  I know we will be here at Rancho del Evil Chicken.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

National Novel Writing Month 2011

Here is one for the writers out there or for those who out there who want to be.  National Novel Writing Month (i.e. NaNoWriMo) is almost upon us.  That means it just may be your time to shine.  I am seriously thinking of throwing my hat into the National Novel Writing Month ring once again (knowing that if I can do it anyone can) and possibly nudge YOU, Gentle Reader, into joining me on the quest.

“The quest?”  Yes, the quest.  The quest is to write a novel in the month of November – 30 days, 50,000 words.

“That’s not a novel.”

Says who?  Probably all the people who have never written one says I.  Do yourself a favor and push out all that negative energy – you have a novel to write!  To date I have participated in about 4 of them, NaNoWriMos that is.  Twice I crossed the finish line so I know for a fact it can be done.  In days of yore a geocaching friend of mine introduced me to NaNoWriMo and I have spread the love ever since, even in the years that I took off.  I talk to a lot of people; some of them have something to say or a story to tell.  Well, if you believe YOU are one of those people that I am talking about, November may just be the excuse you’ve been looking for.

Tell your story. 

November is coming.  NaNoWriMo draws near.  Make your plans & your provisions; let us Quest together!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Steve Jobs

A man who shaped the world has now left it behind.  Steve Jobs has passed.  He was a wizard who took technology and put it in the hands of the common man.  In 1976, he and Steve Wozniak built something called a personal computer in a garage in southern California and in doing so changed everything.  Here is an excellent piece on his life:

Wikipedia mentions towards the end of Job’s article – just before the reference section that, “After his resignation as Apple's CEO, Jobs was characterized as the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford of his time.”  Yeah, that’s not a bad description.  Full article here:  

The 1999 TV film, “The Pirates of Silicon Valley” ( is in serious need of a sequel.  There is so much more to the story then the pre-iPod time period where it ends.  I would humbly implore whoever makes it to please use the same cast and put it onto BIG screens this time.  Hey, it worked for, “The Social Network” and it would work here too.  Really, it is owed to history to do it right.   

I will leave the poetry and the ponderings to better writers than I; however I will leave you with this quote from Mr. Jobs.  "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life," he said. "Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important."

I never owned an Apple but I wouldn’t be typing this blog on my beat-up old laptop if it weren’t for the visionary that we have just now lost; a man who changed the world and shaped the future.  Some souls make their mark on history and he was a man who helped define our time.

Godspeed, Mr. Jobs

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Call to Dream Bigger

“Why would you read that?” a girl I went to school said to me when I was little more than youngling.  Even after all these years later I can still see the sneer on her face.  I had been reading a Star Trek book and for whatever reason she felt the compunction to belittle me for it. “It’s not real.  There is no benefit in the REAL world.”  I didn’t get the chance to ask her the circumstances for her lack of enthusiasm.  She simply saw no value in the story whatsoever.  This Fun Police foot soldier gave me the message and walked away.  About a month after she dispensed this sage-like advice to me she dropped out of school never to be seen or heard from again. 

However, in a startling change of pace, Gentle Reader, this blog isn’t about me – it’s about a genre that was once called “Science Fiction”.  Revelries have morphed into realities in recent days.  Long held scientific views are being questioned about the very fabric of the universe.  Basic tenants of the Science Fiction genre are falling into place in “the real world”.  This sort of surge has happened before.  Consider if you will, Mr. Jules Verne.  He was popular in his day (and to this day) for writing some pretty astonishing fiction.  I can almost here some of his readers – fans and otherwise, confronting him…  

“Pure fantasy!  Think about what you’re producing here; space travel, men on the moon, atomic energy an underwater ship that terrorizes shipping fleets, giant animals on some Mysterious Island?  Jules, you’ve got a great imagination but there is no benefit in the REAL world.” 

Verne was a visionary and he championed the cause of science fiction until it all became science fact.  Space travel, humans on the moon, atomic energy, submarine warfare, and genetics augmentations were all in the pages of Verne’s books before they were realities.  One could also point to H.G. Wells, or George Orwell, or a host of other writers for similar effect.  For whatever reason, we find ourselves in a similar state RIGHT NOW.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed but this past week or so there have been some pretty monumental stories that underline the fact that we are going to have to start dreaming bigger.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Spaceport is a GO.  That means the VSS Enterprise (Virgin Space Ship) will be in orbit in the near future -

Now I just need an extra $200,000 for a ticket!

The good people from CERN (who run the Large Hadron Collider) from Geneva announced that they believe that they have found neutrinos that exceed the speed of light.  Yeah, there is the possibility that the laws of physics are about to change.  That’s the news in layman’s terms now to read what the authors of the paper (who are definitely NOT laymen) have to say here is a copy of their paper -

USS Enterprise at Warp Speed. 

Scientists at The Gallant Lab at UC Berkley are using brain scans to reconstitute video images by using an fMRI machine.  Possible translation: You will no longer have to tell us what is on your mind, we’ll just look for ourselves.  Creepy mind-video reconstruction movie here -

And then there’s the man who wants to reconstruct a dinosaur by “de-evolving” a modern chicken.  It’s the cover story on this month’s WIRED Magazine but Michael Crichton was doing the same thing in his books since 1990.  Click on this link for the full story… as WIRED says, “What could possibly go wrong?” - 

I wonder what a Chickensaurus tastes like?

Now that there is no such thing as Science Fiction perhaps the moniker “Speculative Fiction” will make a comeback?  Who’s to say?  What I really want to know; however, is with all of these potential advances in science and technology WHERE is my FLYING CAR!?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Etiquette and Protocol in the Realm of Social Media

“Words mean things.” A wise person once said.  As the world shrinks (please see blog directly below this) it is important to realize this fact.  Words mean things.  When a verb rubs against a noun something happens.  This is why Bambi’s friend Thumper was told by his mother, “If you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all.”  Thumper’s mom subscribed to the concepts of etiquette and protocol.  Besides being programmed in over 6 million forms of communication, C-3PO was hard-wired for it, etiquette and protocol. 

Yet again we are tasked with taking something from the stories that we hold dear; stories which are told and retold time and time again.  Some of the seeds are planted in good soil and some are not.  This lesson is not an easy one.  Words, once spilled, are very hard to put back into the bottle, so to speak.  It does not matter if it is spoken, written in long hand or posted on Facebook or Twitter.  If you don’t believe me the next time you are on South Street in Philadelphia and have a hankering for a cheese-steak casually mention how much better a football team the Dallas Cowboys are when compared to the Eagles while you are placing your order.  You will quickly discover that words mean things.  You will also see that while you have the right to freedom of speech here that you will also be held accountable for what you say.  There is a certain responsibility that inherently comes from opening ones mouth – it’s basic cause and effect.  

We are blessed to live in a country where freedom of speech is a right.  There are places where people disappear for their words.  Places not all that far from here.  Last week there were a couple of Twitter users found suspended from a bridge, disemboweled in Mexico because a certain group of people did not like what they were saying.  This is only a recent example.  Tyranny, governmental or otherwise, will always try to silence a populous because revolutions begin with words such as; “justice”, “liberty”, and “freedom”.  Those in power, or those who wish to be, want to keep that power by maintaining a silent population.  It is easier to control a group of people who have no voice.  This is the importance of a free press and the importance of the freedom of speech.  I may not agree with you but you have the right to say what you feel.  This is one of the major reasons why people still want to come here; the freedoms that we so easily take for granted. 

But I digress.  Concerning social media.  I can’t speak for the whole of the internet but I can tell you how I operate or at least what I aspire to, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  It’s simple, it’s elegant, and it works most of the time.  Now, with the anonymous nature of social media and the internet slipping into extinction, more than ever it is important to realize that we need to take ownership of the words we say or type or post.  Social media is a tool for communication.  That’s it.  It is not your diary nor should it be.  Don’t post something that you don’t want the world to see or know.  Just what part of “world wide web” do you not understand?  When you send something; pictures, texts, emails… that data is routed on servers across the globe.  It’s more akin to sending a postcard that can be read by whoever wants to pick it up than it is a wax-sealed document.  Those pictures that you sent?  Yeah, THOSE pictures, they are out there… somewhere.  The main point that I’m underlining here is words mean things but that should immediately be followed with don’t be stupid.  Remember what you put out there is out there; the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Just like being at the supermarket or on an elevator, or in a library etiquette and protocol go a long way. 

The internet is akin to a living organism.  Here is a “map of the internet”:

It looks like neural pathways, doesn’t it; information electrically traveling via the axons of neurons firing within their own myelin-coated superhighways?  Yes, it resembles a working brain.  Or, perhaps it resembles a universe full of galaxies and solar systems?  You are right with whichever poetic description suits your appetite.  Either way, the graphic representation of internet appears to be… alive.  That’s a mite creepy when thought of in that context but accurate.  What we choose to put “out there” whether it is the electronic or the physical world, defines and identifies us for who we are – not so much the people we package ourselves to be.  Form follows function.

“Don’t be evil” – Google’s motto

“Don’t feed the trolls” – Evil Chicken

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Incredible Shrinking World

Gentle reader, I am a hack.  I am a guy with a keyboard, word processor and a blog and I’m not afraid to use them.  That being said, here is a revelation that has been on my mind for a while now; not to alarm you but the world is shrinking.  That’s right, you heard me; the world is shrinking

Case in point, a couple of years ago I published a blog about some atrocities that were being committed in certain country in Africa.  I mentioned some of the torture and genocide that is endured by the people there on a daily basis as one regime painfully transitions into another.  Well, it turns out I actually had some readers from Africa (yes, from that certain country) check out my blog. 

Pause for a moment and consider that.  I am no one special.  I’m just a blogger from South Jersey who wrote a blog about an injustice all the way on the other side of the earth.

“So yeah, but did it change anything?”

No, probably not; but the meat of the matter is that THEY now know that I know and, further, if I know than other people must as well. 

That is the power of a shrinking world.

We see it everywhere, really.  There have always been technological leaps forward that changed society and culture that make us more global in mind, body and spirit.  The telephone, the car, the television, the computer, the internet, our 3G & 4G connections, and now our social media.  I literally have “friends” all over the world.  I have connected with family and school mates from days of yore and I have only used my mouse, keyboard and trusty internet connection to do so.  In a few pressed keys and clicks of my mouse I can notify the world of just about anything I put my mind to – good, bad or ugly.  I try to keep things light here at Chicken Scratch but I can’t vouch for the next blog over.  Just like in the physical world.

Blogging, Facebook, and Twitter are on the front lines of where things happen these days and, by the looks of things, will be on those front lines (in one incarnation or another) far into the future.  The basic premise, however, remains the same – someone expresses an idea and shares it.  It is therefore not truly a revolutionary problem but an evolutionary one.  People have been getting into trouble for ideas since Eve took that bite from the fruit from that tree.  They are dangerous things.  People begin to think with ideas.  Then people make plans on how to make things better or how to make things worse.  They begin to question.  They begin to seek answers.  People in power and authority often do not like what ideas can inspire – things such as hope, independence, freedom – when you get right down to it an educated and actively thinking populous can be a very dangerous thing.  People will go to war for ideas.  They will be tortured, subjugated, oppressed, endure hardships, and persevere for an idea.  During the most recent revolutions in Egypt and Libya social media and internet access were the first things to go.  Google continues to have problems in places where facts or information or ideas are subject to official state sanction.  Even here, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we have those who want to purge ideas and crush them so they never have a chance to blossom and grow.  I am pleased to say that currently, to the best of my limited knowledge, the United States is still a place where one can reap the benefits of having a free press and the freedom of speech.    

“May the wings of liberty never lose a feather.” – Kurt Russell’s, ‘Jack Burton’ said from Big Trouble in Little China.  

These days a free press also means a free internet.  People will say, “Print is dead”.  I just don’t buy that.  Yes, the vehicle of delivery of the written word may change but there has never been a better time for a self-publishing blogger to take up their keyboard and put one word in front of the next.  The big boys – the newspapers and magazine companies are still in the process of adapting to the new world order.  They will; it’s only a matter of time. 

“What is that supposed to mean, Evil Chicken?”

It means that when I want up to the moment scoops on news, weather, or anything that may catch my fancy, I’ll do a quick Twitter search to see what the people on the ground have to say during an event – as it happens instead of waiting until the next morning to read all about it in the newspaper.  Social media is instantaneous electronic journalism from primary sources right there – on the ground. 

The instantaneous nature of the new media, blogging and/or electronic journalism scares a lot of people but at the end of the day it’s just another tool in your toolbox for filtering and disseminating information.  As with any tool there are those who know how to use them, those who don’t and those who have some sort of vague nebulous idea of what it could do but instead of reading the instruction manual immediately brand the tool as dangerous.  These are the same people who attend book burnings and complain about how everything that does not unfold as they know it should.  Xenophobes that pine for an idealistic past that they themselves never really lived in but want to make the rest of the known world adhere too. 

“You know… morons.” Gene Wilder’s, ‘Jim’ said in Blazing Saddles.  

And this is the breakdown; those who use the tools, those who don’t and those who are too scared to use them.  Whether you like it or not social media is here to stay.  You can try to take a communication tool away but putting that genie back in the bottle is proving to be more tricky than many governments would like it to be (i.e. the former regimes of Egypt & Libya).  Social media helps give people a voice.  What people do with that voice has always proven to be user driven.  Here’s to vocal harmony.  The world has changed; it has shrunk, incredibly so.  There really is no going back and, as for this hack with a keyboard, a word processor and a blog, I wouldn’t want to.

I don’t believe I’m alone.   

ADDITIONAL NOTE: This morning (the morning after the above monstrosity) I woke up and read a great blog from "Alt Text" at WIRED.  This is a brilliant little blog about Facebook, Google and Twitter called, "Facebook, Google Battle for Hearts and Minds of Jerks" by Lore Sjöberg. Check it out for yourself here:

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Media Delivery Wars

Good morning, Gentle Reader.  I hope this communiqué finds you well.  If you have poked around here at Chicken Scratch for a few clicks of your mouse then you know that I am a bit of a movie fan – in fact, you could say cinema is one of my favorite varieties of a story delivery vehicle.  I am a BIG fan of Blu-ray but the future of media delivery is going to be streaming in HD.  Different companies have experimented with this to varying degrees of success including Comcast, Verizon, Blockbuster, and Netflix. 

Here is an excellent blog from cnet’s, Media Maverick, Mr. Greg Sandoval that addresses the multiple reasons that Neflix is feeling the sting of an ostracized public who would prefer to use Redbox than pay more for a “skimpy selection” of films.

I found it interesting that STARZ holds the rights to Sony’s and Disney’s content for internet streaming.  I also thought this was worth noting, “Starz is reportedly asking for a $300 million deal, or 10 times the $30 million agreement it penned in 2008 and Netflix doesn't want to pay.”  Is that a crazy amount of money?  Well, I suppose, by my standards but to have Netflix walk away means that content will suffer.  Now that Netflix, in a move of sage-like wisdom, has doubled their price (DVD delivery is $8.00 and streaming is $8.00 as well – 16 Bucks a month) for even less product customers have been revolting and canceling their subscriptions.  I was going to make the jump but have decided against it; choosing instead to wait until all the corporate greed gives way to a decent product in glorious 1080p.  I may have a long wait since most companies stream movies in 720p. 

What’s a boy to do?

See you at the Redbox.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Marking a Moment

Ten years ago the world changed. Almost three thousand people lost their lives in a war that we didn’t even know we were fighting. They were people just going about their business who became casualties in a conflict that sprung from the mind of a mad man. That mad man is gone (thanks to Seal Team Six) but this will never bring back those close to three thousand souls who were lost that horrible day, September 11, 2001. The people at Pop Photo have an excellent four-page article of that day ten years ago. Parts of it are hard to see and to read; however, this is important to keep in mind – September 11th, 2001 can never really be marginalized to a footnote, at least in our time; too much has happened and continues to happen. The world has changed. That being said here is their article:

Ten years have passed since the world changed. Is the world safer now? There is no way I can answer that; however, I would say that we are much more wary these days. There have been the attempts of terror that we are aware of and, no doubt, there are those that we are not aware of. I am thankful that those who are on the wall, both seen and unseen, who are protecting us are good at what they do. We owe them a lot of respect and a debt of gratitude that I really do not know how to repay. As a nation we have given up some of our rights for increased security and, I have no doubt, this concept will continue to be debated by people far more informed than yours truly here in the electronic pages of this blog.

“Is that good – giving up personal rights and freedoms for safety?” I can’t answer that either but I can say that the world has changed and I do not believe things will ever be as they were again. Perhaps they shouldn’t be. One could argue that we should return to simpler times but the fact of the matter is the world is not what it used to be. I heard someone say recently that, “On September 12th, we were Americans, not black, not white, not Latinos but Americans.” There is something important to be taken from these words. 9/11 polarized us as a people and as a nation. Back in 2007, I wrote this about our shared experience: and asked the question, "Where were you when the Towers fell?"

My sincere wish is that we could return to simpler times but we know that this will never be the case. The world remains changed. Please join me in remembrance of those lost and of all those who came to their aid on that unforgettable and terrible day 10 years hence.

Photo by Stephen Nessen

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Virginia is for Tourists

We have just recently returned from a great little trip to Virginia. We were going to go to Newport, Rhoad Island to check out the mansions but hurricane Irene had other plans. Virginia was our Plan-B and it was simply wonderful. It was the whole family including our dog, Kenji. We stayed for two nights in Winchester, VA.

Before we checked in we hit Luray Caverns; which are, by the way, some of the largest known caverns in the world. It was simply spectacular. This was my third time there but it ranked right up at number one for the simple fact that my family had the chance to discover it together. The formations are breathtaking and the “Dream Lake” section I could stare at for hours.

After Luray we took the ride to Natural Bridge, which turned out to be a tourist trap. There are 5 members in my family and $28.00 for the caverns and to walk down to see the bridge was just too steep. Fortunately, a local artist has a creation that must be seen to truly appreciate – Foamhenge! Foamhenge is an exact replica of Stonehenge except it’s made out of foam and there’s a cool statue of Merlin the wizard amongst the stones that is a load of fun to pose with. Foamhenge is free but with the family it’s priceless.

The next day we toured the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley; which consists of “the house, the gardens, [and] the museum”. The grounds were beautiful. The Chinese and water sections of the gardens were my personal favorite. The house was nice enough and the museum was ok. Perhaps I am jaded after being to the Princeton Art Museum, which has an marvelous collection of works from around the globe. In comparison, the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley was nice but it didn’t have all that many pieces. Still it is worth the visit for the gardens alone.

After the trip to the museum we paid a visit to the theater – not just any theater, mind you; we went to the Alamo Drafthouse. The good folks at the Alamo get it. They understand what it means to be a movie fan. We saw, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (which was GREAT, by the way), and instead of the commercials that are shown at movie theaters these days before the preview trailers start they have a series of shorts that have some pertinence to the film that you are going to be seeing. We walked in and placed our order for dinner to a Kinks video from the early 70’s “Apeman”, after that they showed some other footage of monkeys, chimps and apes in various scientific shorts edited together interspersed with snippets from the old “Planet of the Apes” cartoon from the 70s. For dinner I had a “Royale with Cheese”. This made me smile. If you get the reference then you’ll be happy to order one for yourself one of these days. When you do I highly recommend an order of ‘Fried Pickles’ too.

The next day we hit “Dinosaur Land”. If you have an affinity for anythin that pertains to ‘roadside America’ then Dinosaur Land NEEDS to be on your radar. As their sign says, “An Educational Prehistoric Forrest Featuring Over 40 Replicas from the Past”! Our family had a blast here. We took all sorts of crazy pictures and had two tons of crazy fun. Some of my favorite poses had to be my youngest child lamenting the death of a huge dinosaur at the teeth of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, my middle daughter hugging a vicious creature around the middle, my oldest sticking her head into a Velociraptor’s jaws and the three of them attacking a giant-mutant praying mantis. Oh yeah, we had a good time. If you start to feel guilty thinking that you may be enjoying the experience too much remember it’s “educational”. The whole experience got me looking for other people’s crazy vacation pictures and that is when I found Tacky Tourist Photos I loved what I saw and knew that I had to share it with you, Gentle Reader. I think you’ll like their site too.

All told we traveled about 714 miles from the flatlands of New Jersey to the mountains of Virginia. I picked up a ticket in Maryland for not wearing a seatbelt. It’s true, I wasn’t. I am thankful to the Good Lord that we made it there and back again. Although, I must admit the more of these trips we take exploring what’s out there and just around the bend, the harder it is for me to come back.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

An Open Letter…

Dearest, Gentle Reader

I have missed you. I have not been around recently. I have been an “absente blogger” and that does not resonate well in my ear. With the masters program I have only had briefest of moments to touch base here at my electronic Fortress of Solitude. I look at my last post (just scroll down) and I notice two things: 1. it’s short and too the point. 2. The point is pretty negative. I blame time – a commodity I simply do not have these days. I did not mean to imply that the current slump which we find ourselves is insurmountable – no, quite the contrary. We are the country that built and used the space shuttle. Are our priorities out of whack? Yes, but that’s cyclical too. This is the United States of America and we will get our collective act together. The debt ceiling and the S & P credit downgrade notwithstanding it all really is a season. There are good times and bad times no matter what area of the globe one inhabits. It’s part of being human.

My first class in my masters program has ended. I really loved it. It got me excited and motivated to move forward which is exactly what the plan is. I am also about half way through my second course. In my second class there have been several miscommunications and snags. That, however, is immaterial and transient. I know that it is cyclical, that everything will come together, and that it is only a season. Conflicts arise, but that’s life. How we face those conflicts defines us.

Well it has been wonderful catching up with you! I really do miss you and I look forward to a time in the future when I am back here on the virtual pages of Chicken Scratch discussing adventures and visits to the multiplex. [“Captain America – the First Avenger” was GREAT, by the way! Bring on “The Avengers.”] I hope to see you soon.

Until next time, Gentle Reader, adieu,


Evil Chicken

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

That's All Folks!

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” With the mothballing of the space shuttle it occurs to me that the future now belongs to someone else.

Our “can-do spirit” has eroded into, “can’t-do”.

I hope that Sir Richard Branson from Virgin Galactic is hiring.

What else is there to say?

Thank you to NASA and the final team aboard the Atlantis. Please return safely and take your place in history; after all, you are living proof that we once dreamed.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

In 1986, the great, Alan Moore wrote a “final” Superman story, entitled, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.” In the story Clark Kent’s identity is discovered, the Fortress of Solitude is destroyed, arch-villains make their exits and Superman… well, Superman is no more. {NOTE: That’s as far as I’m going with the spoilers; if you are so inclined hunt down the reprint.} Superman does not walk away from this final fight. As it turns out an attorney, Marc Toberoff, just may succeed where Doomsday, Brainiac and Lex Luther have failed. Marc Toberoff may be the man who really kills Superman as we know him. Eriq Gardner’s article from the Hollywood Reporter explains what’s going on in more depth here; On behalf of the Siegels and Shusters, the descendants of the two men who created the Man of Steel, Marc Toberoff may succeed.

Remember that “Bombshell” from DC Comics? I blogged; NAY, hemorrhaged GEEK protoplasm as to what that might mean for Kal-El, the Last Son of Krypton here: [NOTE BEFORE YOU CLICK THE LINK – you really don’t have to read it. It turns out my ramblings were completely wrong.] I suspected that Superman was going to be turned into the biggest, baddest, super-villain in the entire DC universe. Hey, it’s what I would have done if I was writing for DC Comics – heck I would have had citizens worshiping him; both sincere and forced! Well all of that speculation doesn’t matter. Actually it REALLY doesn’t matter.

“How so?”

The “Bombshell” is that DC Comics will be revamping their entire pantheon of characters. That’s about 52 different comics ALL being reset to issue # 1. Here’s a good little article on the subject:

“Why?” one might ask, “Isn’t this just a trick to sell more funny-books?” Yeah, that’s a good assumption on the surface and, in fact ultimately, this probably will sell a lot of funny-books; but Warner Bros. and therefore DC Comics is launching what appears to be a preemptive move that is designed to protect their assets just in case Toberoff wins the case for the descendants of Siegels and Shusters. Let’s face facts; Superman is the basis for everything that the juggernaut of DC Comics has become. It is not possible to separate the last 60 years of comic book history from that publishing house from Superman. In other words you can take the Kryptonian out of DC but you can’t take the DC out of the Kryptonian.

DC knows this. If Toberoff wins his lawsuit will they be able to move on towards the next phase in the saga that Superman has become? They have a talented creative team at DC and I believe that they will make it work. The only losers in this scenario are anyone and everyone who has some loose sense, idea or affiliation as to whomever the character of Superman was. I’m not talking your garden variety geek here – I’m talking about the every-person, the common denominator, the person on the street. Pop-culture consumers who are not necessarily comic book fans but STILL have memories of “playing Superman” as a kid. Toberoff and whatever’s left of the Siegels & Shusters are about to rob all future generations of that simple joy. Honestly, it is this that saddens me the most.

Now if Toberoff loses then DC will stir the pot for about 12 issues and make sure everything goes back to exactly the way it was before all this silliness transpired. It is the way of the funny-book. The path of the comic book universes no matter from what publishing company they hail. Whoever ‘wins’ this lawsuit DC Comics is at an interesting crossroads.

If you click on the cover of Justice League # 1 by Jim Lee (the picture for this blog) you will see the new Justice League. At first glance you might say not all that much has changed. The “S” on Superman’s chest is different (it has to be since the rights to the “S” have gone back to Toberoff, the Siegels & Shusters), the collar & cape have differences too and he is no longer wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants. What you don’t see is that he is not really flying anymore – he’s “jumping” or rather leaping tall buildings in a single bound. You won’t see Lois Lane anymore either. She will be the property of Toberoff, the Siegels & Shusters. I’m not sure whomever or whatever else is going to be missing. There are rumors that Superman (I think he can still be called that) and Wonder Woman are now romantically involved. We will have to wait and see what other changes are in store, Gentle Reader.

So a lawyer and the distant descendants of the creators of the Man of Steel just may deal the deathblow that even Doomsday couldn’t deliver. The second death of Superman.

Lex Luthor would be proud.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

"All gave some, some gave all." - Winston Churchill

As per my favorite second brain, Wikipedia, "Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. Service Members who died while in the military service. First enacted by an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War. It was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars."

Here is the article:

Slogans have a way of becoming cliché and wrote when repeated too often. That does not negate the truth behind their meaning or their message merely because they are well known. That being said, "Freedom is never free, it comes at a high price." Please join me in remembering those who paid that price for us to enjoy all the benefits and freedoms that are so easily taken for granted.

Have a peaceful Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Covert Ops Vacationing

Here at Rancho del Evil Chicken things are getting crazy busy.

No, that’s not the right phrasing; please allow me to begin again…

Here at Rancho del Evil Chicken things are getting CRAZY BUSY!!!

Yeah, that’s a little better.

We are busy. Mother Hen is taking classes for her Bachelors. I’m about to start my Masters and Bad Wolf, the oldest of the Three Chicks is going to be starting to work for her Associates. Throw on top of that all of our jobs and all of our other commitments and it does not take a great leap in logic to realize that, as Kahn said in Star Trek II, “Time is a luxury you [Kirk – or WE in this case] do not have.”

Look, I/we love all of the craziness that I/we are involved in but there has got to be a release valve somewhere. A time when we can get away as a family, let our hair down; so to speak. Get some R & R. The trick is that with our schedules the big “Family Vacation” is just not in the cards for the foreseeable future.

What to do?


I’ll tell you what you do. You get smarter about how you use your time. Weekends with an extra day, Monday or Friday make for an excellent escape plan. You get away from the keyboards & LCDs for a little while. You explore what is around you and then some. I figure anything within 6 hours driving distance from South Jersey is fair game. Now then, let’s see here; let’s explore some possible options, shall we?

The Newport Mansions of Road Island:


Sleepy Hollow, New York:

New York, NY:

Chincoteague Island, VA: http:

Gettysburg, PA:

Baltimore, MD:

Point Lookout State Park, MD:

New York, Finger Lakes Region:

Thousand Islands:

So there we have it; ten possibilities for long weekends, an exercise in covert ops vacationing. Do YOU have any suggestions for a relatively nearby getaway? I’m open to suggestions.

Thanks in advance, Gentle Reader and fellow Traveler.

Sincerely, Evil Chicken

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron has Passed

A voice that had something to say went silent yesterday. Gil Scott-Heron voiced emotions & ideas that went above and beyond the times that he spoke them. Listen to his work and it is evident that it remains on point & relevant even though the names (Nixon, Agnew & Regan) have slipped into history. There is timelessness found in his work. Did his work make people comfortable? No. Did it make people think? Always. Mark Twain / Samuel Clemons once said about writing, “A writer’s job is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.” Gil Scott-Heron did just that. You may not have agreed with what he had to say but words he spoke had an edge and an honesty that refused to be ignored.

Here is what Gil Scott-Heron’s website tells you about him: - “Gil Scott-Heron (born April 1, 1949) is an American poet, musician, and author known primarily for his late 1960s and early 1970s work as a spoken word soul performer and his collaborative work with musician Brian Jackson. His collaborative efforts with Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues and soul music, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. The music of these albums, most notably Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. Scott-Heron’s recording work is often associated with black militant activism and has received much critical acclaim for one of his most well-known compositions “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. On his influence, Allmusic wrote “Scott-Heron’s unique proto-rap style influenced a generation of hip-hop artists”.”

Here are some examples of his work from Boing Boing, “In Memoriam: Gil Scott-Heron, ‘The People’s Poet’”:

Once I read the Twitter feed this AM that Scott-Heron had passed I, admittedly, had to tap into the deep recesses of my memory banks. I first became aware of his work with, “Whitey on the Moon.” I was a little too young for, “The Revolution will Not be Televised”, and I was just a kid with the poignant, “B-Movie” was birthed. Gil Scott-Heron most recent album, “I’m New Here,” was his first album in 16 years and was released in February of 2010.

Here is a great article by Alan Wilkinson from the New Yorker entitled, “New York is Killing Me”:

Dependency can blind. Classically someone who is addicted does not see it. They believe, whole heartedly, that the next high will achieve some new level of consciousness (for artistic or spiritual awareness), relieve the pain that they feel (real or conjured) or they simply have the taste for oblivion. The worst part is that while they perceive it to be a victimless crime the people who pay the cost are those closest to them; their closest family members, their children, their significant other. The individual can not see this price paid in full by their loved ones. It just does not register. Monique de Latour (his ex-girlfriend at the time from the New Yorker piece); when she says, “There is a very gentle person inside Gil,” she said, “but very remote. It’s the little boy who lived with his grandmother in Jackson. He used to say to me, ‘I wish you knew me before I was like this.’ ” By “this” he meant before his addiction to crack cocaine.

In the Wikipedia, my favorite second brain has a great quote from Fairfax New Zealand (February 2010) that reads, “Gil Scott-Heron released poems as songs, recorded songs that were based on his earliest poems and writings, wrote novels and became a hero to many for his music, activism and his anger. There is always the anger - an often beautiful, passionate anger. An often awkward anger. A very soulful anger. And often it is a very sad anger. But it is the pervasive mood, theme and feeling within his work - and around his work, hovering, piercing, occasionally weighing down; often lifting the work up, helping to place it in your face. And for all the preaching and warning signs in his work, the last two decades of Gil Scott-Heron's life to date have seen him succumb to the pressures and demons he has so often warned others about.”

My prayers go out to his family & loved ones at this time.

…Picture of Ms. Scott-Heron from Wikipedia