Monday, May 30, 2011
"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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day.
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
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?
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: http://www.newportmansions.org/page7016.cfm.
Sleepy Hollow, New York: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g48622-Sleepy_Hollow_New_York-Vacations.html.
New York, NY: http://www.nycgo.com/.
Chincoteague Island, VA: http:http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif//www.chincoteague.com/.
Gettysburg, PA: http://www.gettysburg.travel/.
Baltimore, MD: http://baltimore.org/attractions/.
Point Lookout State Park, MD: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/pointlookout.asp.
New York, Finger Lakes Region: http://www.fingerlakes.org/.
Thousand Islands: http://www.visit1000islands.com/visitorinfo/.
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
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: http://gilscottheron.net/about/ - “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’”: http://www.boingboing.net/2011/05/27/gil-scott-heron-rip.html?dlvrit=36761.
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”: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/09/100809fa_fact_wilkinson?currentPage=all
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
Monday, May 23, 2011
[NOTE: I am diving into the GEEK deep end here so if that is not your thing – move along; there’s nothing for you to see here. You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.]
Gentle Reader, are you still here? GOOD!
So, remember that weekend when that prince and princess got married, Superman renounced his American Citizenship and Osama bin Laden was put down? Yeah? Good times… good times. I didn’t write about the royal wedding. It’s just not my bag, Baby. I didn’t write about OBL’s demise; after all, what more needs to be said? I did, however, write about Superman (which happened a day before SEAL Team 6’s raid). Let’s review, shall we?
Here’s the link: http://evilchickenscratch.blogspot.com/2011/04/american-way.html.
So there’s that. Well, this morning while catching up on some Twitter activity I saw that Jim Lee (DC Comics Guru and Comic Book LEGEND) had retweeted something about a “Bombshell” that he, Geoff Johns and the rest of DC Comics is about to unveil. Here’s the link: http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2011/05/23/geoff-johns-and-jim-lee-plan-to-drop-dc-bombshells-at-hero-festival/?dlvrit=63378. The bombshell is set to go off on 6/11/11, at the Chinese 6 Theater at the Los Angeles Times HERO COMPLEX Film Festival. I think my faith in Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and DC Comics is about to pay off in spades; they’re going to show their hand concerning Kal-El and his future and what a BIG HAND it will be. Now then, with that being said, you should know that I have absolutely no insider information but I just wanted to voice my prediction for what I believe is in store for The Man of Tomorrow before the big day happens.
The Last Son of Krypton has been far too good for far too long. I bet Superman is about to ultimately become what he hates the most – the complete opposite of everything he once stood for. The Boy Scout is about to become the absolute ruler of Earth. He will claim the power grab is for all the right reasons but soon, very soon, Earth will become a complete totalitarian state. There will be those who compare him to the dreaded, Darkseid and not without cause. Sure, it’ll start small with renouncing his American citizenship; soon he’ll be toppling governments that do not fit into his ‘new world order’ and when the UN and the United States finally realize what his endgame is it will be far too late. He’ll take care of Bruce (since Bruce has already planed for such a contingency). Supes will probably set him adrift in the Phantom Zone out of some twisted sense of guilt or for some further use he might have for the Batman. Come to think of it he’ll have to do the same thing with Diana. Wonder Woman has to go as well. Heroes will fight and heroes will lose. My guess is that “Parallax” will ultimately be the cause of Kal-El’s corruption. In the end Hal Jordan and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps free Batman & Wonder Woman from the Phantom Zone and the battle royal commences. Hal was corrupted by Parallax before so he’s carrying that baggage with him into battle but it doesn’t matter; Hal and company win the day. Kal-El assists with getting Parallax into the Phantom Zone and everything goes back to the way it was before Superman renounced his American citizenship – except, now that the world has seen what Superman is truly capable of and now wonders should he ever be trusted again?
So there’s that. I sincerely thank you for making it this far, Gentle Reader. I anticipate one of three responses to this blog; especially that last paragraph.
1. “I really should have skipped this particular Blog entry here at Chicken Scratch.
2. “That would be so cool!”
3. “You know, we ought to hire this, Evil Chicken guy.
If your answer was:
1. Sorry. I will try to do better next time. I’ve gotta ask; didn’t you read the note at the beginning?
2. I know, RIGHT!
3. You can contact me right here on Chicken Scratch or via my Twitter account at the right. I look forward to working with you in the future.
The writers & artists at DC Comics are about to have a very good time unleashing the Armageddon that Superman is about to become onto an unsuspecting comic book world. Mr. Johns, Mr. Lee and the rest of the creative team at DC Comics, I can’t wait to see it happen.
On the other hand perhaps it is only my ravings. We shall see... we shall see.
(Picture from, Game Banana)
Friday, May 20, 2011
Perhaps it has something to do with undiagnosed OCD or perhaps I have a touch of “hoarding behavior” but I collect Fortune Cookie Fortunes; not other peoples but my own. Over the years I have amassed a pretty decent collection. Some I like and some, I believe, were a little off center with the whole ‘forecasting’ thing. I find that the Cookie chooses the owner. A cookie passed to you by someone else at the table may have tarnished the message originally meant for YOU! After all, they touched it first - perhaps it's THEIR fortune? Then there is the consumption question, “Does the Fortune count if you don’t eat the cookie?” Who’s to say? I won’t even go into the additional; “In Bed” alternate Fortune Cookie ending. Clearly, the Fortune Cookie holds more mysteries than a slip of paper predicting the future.
You may ask, “So where did the Fortune Cookie come from?” and, I might add, Gentle Reader, that would be an excellent question. Wikipedia, my favorite second brain, says this, “A fortune cookie is a crisp cookie usually made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and oil with a "fortune" wrapped inside. A "fortune" is a piece of paper with words of faux wisdom or a vague prophesy. The message inside may also include a Chinese phrase with translation or a list of lucky numbers used by some as lottery numbers, some of which have become actual winner numbers. Fortune cookies are often served as a dessert in Chinese restaurants in the United States and some other countries, but are absent in China. The exact provenance of fortune cookies is unclear, though various immigrant groups in California claim to have popularized them in the early 20th century, basing their recipe on a traditional Japanese cracker. Fortune cookies have been summarized as being "introduced by the Japanese, popularized by the Chinese, but ultimately they are consumed by Americans.”
So what we have here is a distinctly American phenomenon that dates back to the early 1900s. Still there is evidence to suggest that not all of the Fortunes are “faux wisdom or vague prophesy.” There are those moments when the Fortune Cookie transcends its original intent and, in the twinkling of an eye, a forecast is given – a Fortune revealed! I suppose, statistically speaking with, “approximately 3 billion fortune cookies made each year around the world, the vast majority of them used for consumption in the United States”; that a few of them would hit pretty close to the mark. It is in that vein that I share a few of my favorite Fortune Cookies. Perhaps you too save Fortunes for a rainy day?
- “A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he gives up.”
- “A real patriot is the fellow who gets a parking ticket and rejoices that the system works.”
- “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings while the dawn is still dark.”
- “Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians.”
- “You will soon be receiving sound spoken advice. Listen!”
- “It is better to have a hen tomorrow than an egg today.”
- “Sometimes the wisest person is dressed in the rudest clothing.”
- “The only thing we know for sure about future developments is that they will develop.”
- “Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.”
- “Be prepared to modify you plan. It’ll be good for you!”
Now I ask you, Gentle Reader; are these vacant Fortunes chocked full of empty wisdom? I think not. Although these days I order the steamed vegetables & rice instead of the egg foo young & pork fried rice – I still save room for the Fortune Cookie.
“One can never be too sure.”
...Picture from 'Tumbler'.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
I'm messing with the status quo - messing with the order of things here at Chicken Scratch. You may notice some of the changes. What can I say, it's house cleanin' time again.
Thanks for your continued patronage, Gentle Reader. Hold Fast, we'll get through this together. Confidence is high.
Thanks for your continued patronage, Gentle Reader. Hold Fast, we'll get through this together. Confidence is high.
You know, one usually writes about a restaurant after one eats there. I’m making an exception in this case. I live close to the city of Vineland, NJ; which is in the pangs of resurgence, so to speak. The Landis Theater is up and running in all of its art deco glory, there has been a distinct effort to “clean up” the downtown area to get people interested in going back to Landis Avenue again, and then there’s the Landis Marketplace with the Amish Market at the old Newberry’s building. Good things are happening.
One of those good things that is about to happen is the advent of the New Orleans Seafood Kitchen. On our way out of the Amish Market today I noticed a chalkboard menu that caught my eye. There was an alligator perched on one of the corners of the board where colorful chalk announced a menu of Creole Gumbo, catfish and Andouille sausage. They had me at Gumbo. My youngest daughter, Chicken Little, and I made our way to the table where we met a woman in chef’s togs. She is a chef who is originally from Vineland and she has spent the last 10 years in New Orleans. She said that her restaurant is going to be opening after the final inspections are completed and estimates that will be in about a weeks time. She gave us a couple of packages of Creole seasoning. Now, Gentle Reader let me just say to you that which you may have already surmised… I love Creole cooking. I love the flavor and the spice. There is something real – something alive (well, formally) in the preparation and the fare.
“God bless you.” I said.
“Wow, this is the first time someone has had a religious experience concerning my food.” She said.
“Good Creole cooking should be a religious experience.” I said as she smiled and gave me some coupons. I glanced at the print and saw displayed there in black ink Chicory Coffee.
“Are you going to serve Café Au Lait like they do at Café Du Monde?” I asked, wiping the drool from the corner of my mouth.
“Why yes we are.” She said, “In fact, we will be giving out free cups of Chicory coffee in the mornings.”
“There is NOTHING like this in the area.” I said.
She smiled and said, “I know.”
“Brilliant.” I said. She was kind enough to give me a 4 cup sample of some Chicory coffee, “Since you’re in the know.” She said.
I liked her and the promise of great Creole food and Café Au Lait coffee served in Vineland – of all places. I will be there when the doors open. I wanted to pass along this little tidbit to you too. Great food lends itself to company and Creole is great food. With Father’s Day rearing its head once again; lest there be no doubt, you now know where I’m campaigning to go.
Here is the New Orleans Seafood Kitchen and Luciano’s Fresh Market’s website: http://www.lucianosfreshmarket.com/default.html. They will be open soon. Stop in and check ‘em out – when they open within the next week or so. I have a very good feeling that it will be worth the visit.
Laissez le bon temps rouler, Vineland!
Monday, May 09, 2011
THOR had his hammer, Mjolnir.
007 had his Walther PPK.
Indiana Jones had his bullwhip.
Bilbo Baggins had Sting.
Lorena Bobbitt had her Ginsu.
Me? I’ve got my trusty Pilot G-2 07.
“What?” you may ask.
Oh yeah, make no mistake, that pen is my weapon of choice. Other writing instruments have come and gone but it is the G-2 that keeps finding its way into my pocket. In fact, at any given time I carry at least 3 (one for each of my kids) and one on my lanyard (for those quick draw – must have a pen NOW moments).
Perhaps, Gentle Reader; however, I have found no other vessel (save for my trusty computer and internet connection) as a means of idea delivery that comes close to my trusty G-2. When the Evil Chicken action figure is mass-produced (check in the toy section of your favorite department store this Christmas) it/I will come packaged with a scaled down plastic 16 or 20 oz. cup of coffee, my black messenger bag (which holds notebooks, my e-reader, the latest issue of “WIRED Magazine” & possibly a laptop) and a PILOT G-2 07 PEN! Some don’t like the boldness of the ink but the simple fact is your ink should be as bold as your thoughts are. Once you accept this fact then you can never go back. I have dabbled with the .38, the 05 and even the 10 but it is the 07 that I return to again and again. It is that good. So, you see, it was with a heavy heart that I read an article written by Mr. Mark McClusky entitled, “Mightier Than the Sword: 5 Perfect Pens” in the most recent issue of WIRED where my beloved G-2 was not counted among the pantheon of “perfect” writing instruments. Don’t believe me? Check it for yourself here: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/04/pl_filter_pens/.
I can see the BIC, I can see the LAMY Safari (the gateway fountain pen) but I just can’t get my head around the Uni-ball 207. Really – the Uni-ball? Others may moan about Fisher (the Space Pen people) not getting a shout out; I’m not one of them (it’s just too kitschy). I grieve for the omission of my weapon of choice the Pilot G-2 07; especially if the Uni-ball was its replacement for the article.
Mr. McClusky, say it ain’t so.
Well, at least you now know where I stand on the issue. Now if you will excuse me I am going to console myself by doodling with the finest writing instrument known to man, the Pilot G-2 07.
Until next time, keep on writing!
“Half my life’s is books, written pages. Live and learn from fools and from sages.” – S. Tyler
Strange things are afoot, wouldn’t you say? Floods, earthquakes, lost & found terrorists; it’s hard not to say that we live in interesting times. That being said, the times here at Rancho del Evil Chicken are getting stranger too. 3 out of 5 of us will be in college this year; Mother Hen, one of the Three Chicks and, yours truly. We will be working on Bachelors, an Associates and a Masters, respectively. Translation: all of the “free time” (which is really non-existent round these parts) that we have enjoyed is about to… well, let’s just say, get more complicated. That whole “can’t have an omelet without cracking some eggs” thing comes to mind.
I mention this for the simple reason that I may not be touching base here at Chicken Scratch as much as I have in the past – as much as I would like. Of course, the opposite may be true as well. We’ll have to wait and see on that one. So, as much as I would like to discuss “THOR”, the newest episode of “Doctor Who” or mention the idea that Meredith Vieira is leaving the TODAY Show; chances are I will have to pick and choose what is blog worthy and what is not. I already dance that dance; however, the absence of time may place more constraints on the issue than I hope.
So, there’s that.
We shall see…
We shall soon talk once more, Gentle Reader, until then, Adieu.