Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three Minutes to February!

Three... NO ~ TWO minutes 'till February!

See you next month, Gentle Reader.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Middle Ages

“Hey, what do you say we spend a whole bunch of money on two Bruce Springsteen tickets?” I asked my wife as she was brushing her teeth.  “He’s coming to Philly and tickets go on sale this weekend.

Springsteen? – I didn’t think you were a such a big fan.” She said as she rinsed off her toothbrush.

“Look at all the things you’re learning about me!” I said.

“What’s going on with you?” Sardonic. 

“What do you mean?” I replied

“Are you going through that whole middle aged, second childhood thing?” my wife asked. “You should stop.”

Stop?  ...Well, it’s not that easy.  Further, “second childhood” implies (generously) that I made it out of my first.  She has noticed other subtle changes in my behavior as well.  She's concerned.  She should be ~ I know I am.  Oh sure, I’ll get around it and it really hasn’t been bothering me too much but, let’s face it, I am a middle aged man.  The renowned psychologist, Erik Erikson, spelled it out in his 8 (+1) Stages of Psychosocial Development.  I would be at Stage Seven, or the, “Generativity verses Stagnation” stage that begins in the early forties and lasts to the mid-sixties.  This is historically the start of the “Mid-Life Crisis” where, to paraphrase Erikson, a man measures his accomplishments when compared to his failures.  He asks if he is satisfied or not with his lot in life.  Successful completion of this stage provides caring for the next generation and a willingness to assist them in transitioning to the future.  Unsuccessful navigation of this stage can lead to feelings of stagnation and spiral into self-loathing and feelings of being a complete and utter failure. 

My wife first became concerned when I started considering (lusting after) certain vehicles ~ classic muscle cars, to be more precise; topless convertible cars, cars with large engines that were born in the late sixties; just like me.  I put such desires away years ago to focus on the pressing issues of family, school, and career but recently the objects of my desire have drifted back to a big ole’, thirsty, V8 vehicles with a vintages similar to mine, circa (give or take) 1968ish.  I wouldn’t trade my life for anything and I am thankful and count my blessings on a daily basis but that displaced passion has seeped back into my conscience mind. 

“You don’t like cars.” She said.

“Look at all the things you’re learning about me.” I said.  I do.  I always have.  I am not a ‘race car’ fan, street racing or otherwise and NASCAR has never held any allure for me.  What I like about some of the classic cars that I’ve been looking up on the net is the fact that they are escape vehicles.  These days ‘escape’ has a seductive edge to it.  Some would take such a vehicle to shows or to display in competitions.  Not me; I would drive it.  I need an escape vehicle.  In such a vehicle one is not so much concerned about what is in the rear view mirror – the roads chosen or the roads not taken; no, one is more concerned with where it will go NOW and discovering just what is down the highway.  Perhaps Doc Brown from “Back to the Future” was right and a sports car really is a time machine that can erase the past, set things as they should be, and rewrite the future?

Perhaps in a sense this is true and I believe that this is the major reason why people of a certain age seek out such chariots.  We know that the road ahead is uncertain, sections of it are missing & it is purely, “Travel at Your Own Risk”, but that’s really nothing new.  It has always been that way; however, it is only now – at this age that we can truly appreciate that Sweet Ride that is only made sweeter by the unknown length of the highway. 

“You’ve had your Jeep.  You’ve had your Fiero.” My wife said.

Both true and, I might add, I miss the Jeep horribly.  The Fiero was a LOT of problems but when it was running it was fun to drive for a pseudo-sports car but it pales in any & every type of comparison to a big block 442 or 455.  In this vein, Gentle Reader, please allow me to share my short list of Sweet Rides & Time Machines with you.

1968 Pontiac GTO

1966 Ford Galaxie


1968 Pontiac Firebird

1968 Chevy Impala

1968 Chevy Camaro RS/SS

1968 Oldsmobile 442

1968 Chevy Chevelle SS 

Each of these vehicles has at least 350 horsepower and is a convertible.  Now I ask you, how else would you want to explore the lost highways, canyons, and wide-open spaces of America?  Riding in a convertible from sea to shining sea has a nice ring to it.  Route 66, the PCH, and Highway A1A practically BEG for topless, horsepower laden exploration.  Who am I to deny such a request?  Each of these are, for the most part, larger vehicles for the simple fact that I have a family of five and it’s nice to have room to spread out and enjoy the ride.

I could look at this through the “Stagnation” side of things and quote the English poet, Edward Young, when he said, “Like our shadows, our wishes lengthen as our sun declines” – quite the well-adjusted and happy guy.  Or I could “Generativity” side of Erikson and quote the anthropologist, Ashley Montagu when he said, “The idea is to die young as late as possible.”  Or perhaps the author John Mortimer when he said, “There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward.”

Mr. Mortimer, you’ve got shotgun, Doc Montagu - is it OK to call you, "Monty"?  You too, Young.  Hop in the back; the Pacific Coast Highway is calling and we have miles to go before we sleep.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Son of the Blu-ray Dossier

There has been a lot of talk about piracy as of late with SOPA & PIPA.  I don’t stream movies or check into the pirated versions of films still in the theater for the simple reason that I absolutely love the clear, crisp picture and sound reproduction that Blu-Ray provides.  When delivered in a proper 1080p format with surround sound a lover of film is in for a treat.  The format, while stunning and wonderful is woefully underutilized in that motion picture companies and film studios could pack some great things into their releases but most of the time they don’t so that they can reap the most return on their dollar from the public which starts with the theatrical release and moves to the DVD / Blu-Ray release, the steaming release (cable & Netflix), the cable television release and the hotel & airplane versions of the film.  Hey, that’s showbiz.  Still it is a pet peeve of mine that some movies hardly get a Blu-Ray release worthy of the format. 

Speaking of pet peeves I’ve got two more things that I find highly annoying.  First, when companies disable the ‘fast forward’ through the trailers.  Look, I love a good trailer as much as the next movie-geek but one of the advantages to seeing a movie at home is to be able to plow through any unwanted commercials.  Many companies these days are opting to take that ability away from the consumer – the person who rented or bought their product.  Annoying?  Yes, very much so.  Secondly, and I sincerely hope this is not a new trend, the disabling special features on Blu-Ray rentals.  I recently rented, “Cowboys and Aliens” (reviewed below) and after watching the movie I scrolled to the ‘Special Features’ section of the menu where I got a message that told me that if I wanted to see the special features then I should go and buy the special edition Blu-ray package and not be a shmuck and just rent this movie.  All right, I made up the part about the “shmuck” thing but still the intent is apparent.  Really?  You want to restrict this content because I rented your movie instead of buying it?  There is precious little that would make me desire to purchase ANY Blu-ray set if the very company who produced it pulls the rug out from under the viewer.  You see you’ve restricted me thus far why on earth would I enable you to continue to do so?  This should be filed in the “Dumb Idea” drawer and the motion picture industry would be wise to steer far and away from such practice in the future.  Just how long do you think you can treat the public like pirates before they take you at your accusing word and start acting like them?

I don’t know.  I’m not a pirate.  I am; however, a lover of the Blu-ray format and of film so, without further ado here is the latest edition of The Blu-ray Dossier!  I rate film on a two tier scale; first for story and secondly for the Jaw-Dropping Blu-ray effect.  5 is good, 1 not so much.  Here’s what I’ve been watching…

THOR – 3.8 / 4.  This past summer THOR and Captain America paved the way for this summer’s Avengers movie.  I am a Marvel Zombie so it was a pretty good summer for yours truly.  THOR delivered.  I don’t exactly remember where I read it but I heard it said that the wonderful thing about THOR is that none of the actors were told that they were in a “comic book movie”.  The performances are wonderful.  Epic Norse god, superhero stuff aplenty.  The Blu-ray is nice with the Destroyer and with the World Tree at the end.  If you are not familiar with the Destroyer or the World Tree then you should probably rent THOR before the Avengers hits. 

Evil Dead 2 – 25th Anniversary Edition – 4 / 3.5.  I am a HUGE fan of Sam Rami’s Evil Dead series.  Evil Dead 2 is unique in that it is a remake and a sequel all in one movie.  There are some horror staples here but there is also something almost unheard of – the horror movie hero.  Bruce Campbell makes this horror / comedy movie his own.  I just can’t believe it’s been 25 years since I first was introduced to Ash and the rest of the Deadites in a darkened movie theater in Pleasantville, New Jersey.  I’m really looking forward to the special edition Blu-ray release of “Army of Darkness” the sequel to Evil Dead 2.  If you are a fan than you know the simple joys of a good ‘Boomstick’.

Hangover – 3.5 / 4.  Not for those who are easily offended.  This is a ‘men behaving badly’ movie that fires on all cylinders.  You will laugh and when you begin to realize how WRONG this movie is you will laugh harder.  There are some wonderful, crisp, Blu-ray moments surrounding the city that is Las Vegas.  The disc is full of extras; which is a refreshing change of pace.  It made bank at the box office so I suppose it was a good idea for the studio to stack the deck.  You will laugh – you’ll cringe too, but you will laugh.

Bridesmaids – 4 / 3.  Not for those who are easily offended.  This is a ‘women behaving badly’ movie that fires on all cylinders.  Ready for more déjà vu?  You will laugh and when you begin to realize how WRONG this movie is you will laugh harder.  Bridesmaids is a movie that is for both women and men.  Do not be bamboozled into thinking otherwise.  The wonderful surprise about this film is the amount of heart that it brings to the table.  You really feel for the woman that Kristen Wiig portrays.  It is tragic to watch her character do the things she does.  You know what they say about tragedy?  Yeah, ‘they’ are right.

Serenity – 4 / 4.  I came to the whole “Firefly” party late.  Joss Whedon and company had lightning in a bottle and were just getting their running shoes tightened when FOX pulled the curtain on the show.  Enter, “Serenity”, the movie.  Not to give anything away but Whedon took that old writing quote, “Kill your darlings” to heart on this one.  The Verse is a dangerous place and Captain Reynolds and his more than motley crew are wonderful to watch.  I can only hope that the future smiles on this property once again.  Very shiny.

The Frighteners – 4 / 4.  This is a fun movie from the man who would go on to sweep the Oscars a few years later.  “The Frighteners” was the film that Peter Jackson made just before, “The Lord of the Rings – the Fellowship of the Ring”.  The storytelling is taught and Michael J. Fox really delivers as a man who can communicate with the dead.  I do not know why this film didn’t launch as it should have.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.  You’ll have a good time at the movies.  Some of the shots of New Zealand are worth the Blu-ray look-see.

The Walking Dead: Season One – 5 / 4.  Hands down, Frank Darabont’s, “The Walking Dead” is the best thing on television.  It is based on the graphic novel series of the same name.  The story is riveting.  It puts a human face onto the zombie apocalypse.  You will care for these characters.  The storytelling is fierce and the acting is second to none.  There are only six episodes in the first season.  After the first 5 minutes the hook is set and you will have to know what happens next.  Simply amazing.

Cowboys and Aliens – 3.5 / 4.  John Favreau took a lot of grief for this film but I gotta tell ya, I enjoyed it for what it was.  He got James Bond and Indiana Jones to work for him in a western that happens to involve aliens.  Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford chew up the screen together.  It’s a shame that this didn’t perform at the box office because it works.  I like movies to throw me a curve or to mix things up ~ this does so in spades.  Rent it.  You’ll like it.  You won’t be able to see any of the special features that would endure the film to an audience that it has not truly discovered yet but you’ll see the movie.  I hope such decisions don’t alienate potential cult-movie status fans.  That would be a shame.  Oh well, rent it.  It was fun storytelling and I had a good time.  Perhaps you will too.

Keep on, keepin’ on my fellow internet users and Blu-ray fans.  These are interesting times, Gentle Reader.  I’ll see you in line at the Redbox machine. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

George Lucas is Retiring

Mr. George Lucas, one of the architects of my imagination, announced that he is retiring from blockbuster filmmaking.  Here is the article by Bryan Curtis from New York Times Magazine, entitled, “George Lucas is Ready to Roll the Credits": http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/magazine/george-lucas-red-tails.html?_r=2&smid=tw-nytmag&seid=auto

It looks like he has created a loophole for Indiana Jones 5 but from this point forward he is going to be making art-house movies that are designed to fire his imagination.  He’s going to do what he wants to do and that happens to be a wonderful possition to be in.

I wonder how much of this decision was due to the fanboy backlash that happened with the release of the “Special Editions” of his opus, “Star Wars” and the release of “Episode I, II, & III” of the Star Wars series.  As a child of the seventies and as someone who was deeply influenced by “Star Wars” my generation has not been kind concerning “the prequels”.  We grew up and were given new tools to discuss & digest our passions (an internet connection) and the rest was history.  We are, as consumers, a selfish lot ~ but, I ask you, can you blame us?  “Star Wars” changed people’s lives – mine included.  Such devotion is not easily manifested.  In a strange sense Mr. Lucas is the father to a generation of geeks who grew up to be writers, artists, directors, filmmakers, model builders, animators, and innovators.  “Star Wars” made people from my generation of geekdom think differently and for that, Mr. Lucas, we thank you. 

I thank you.

I am looking forward to seeing; “Red Tails” and am eager to see how you express yourself via film in the future.  I wish all the best to you; Sir on this chosen path but part of me is still wishing that Episodes VII, VIII, and IX were a go.  ...As I may have mentioned we are a selfish lot.

Please forgive my fanboy wishes, Mr. Lucas, all the best.

Senator Wyden

Senator Wyden

I few minutes ago I saw this on Twitter: http://wyden.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/letter-to-internet.pdf.  I had to post it here on the electronic pages of Chicken Scratch.

Thank you, Sir.  I sincerely hope that yours is the dominant opinion in this matter.  All the best. 

End Piracy - Not Liberty

Gentle Readers, both old and new.  Please consider the implications of an internet where SOPA & PIPA are law and sign the Google petition, which can be found right here: https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/.  These bills must be stopped. 

End Piracy – Not Liberty.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


All morning I have been stewing.  I read a Tweet from Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame concerning stopping SOPA.  He included a link that sums up some of the most important points of the whole issue: http://www.craigslist.org/about/SOPA.  Much of this particular entry is derived from this Craigslist Online Community page.  This blog is a bit of a departure for me.  I do not get involved with politics knowing in my heart that, “life goes on no matter who is wrong or right.”

NUTS!  Did you see that?  I just quoted from a Billy Joel song; no, more than that, it was a quote from a copyrighted Billy Joel song.  That’s the type of thing that will shut Chicken Scratch down but more of that in my letter to Congressman LoBiondo.  Sorry.  I’ll try to do better.     

After doing some research, reading some articles, and after years of writing here on the electronic pages of my blog, I thought it important to say that I oppose H.R. 3621 "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) and S. 968 "Protect IP Act" (PIPA).  I like the concept of a free internet.  I like being able to say what I want without the fear of corporate or governmental censorship.  I know that ‘piracy is a problem’ but accepting these two bills and turning them into the law of the land in Cyber-America you change fundamental liberties on a molecular level.  It’s akin to being adrift and thirsty in the middle of the ocean – sure you can drink the saltwater to quench your thirst but that comes at a high price: your cells will implode and you will die.  That is what happens to civil liberties on the internet if this passes.

Techdirt has a wonderful article by, Mike Masnick entitled, “Definitive Post Why SOPA and Protect IP Are Bad, Bad, Ideas”.  Please give it a read and let it digest.  Mr. Masnick’s article explains what is at stake much more succinctly than the scope of this humble blogger (yours truly): http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111122/04254316872/definitive-post-why-sopa-protect-ip-are-bad-bad-ideas.shtml.

The quotes at the end of the article are priceless; frightening, but priceless…
"It's theft...Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming." Turner Broadcasting CEO Jaime Kellner in 2002

‘So take THAT you thieves (formally known as subscribers)!  How DARE you use that DVR!?  Philistines!  Heathens! PIRATES!’  Yep, these are the people that want to control you and dictate public policy that will usher in the future of a place that used to be deemed ‘free’.  “Welcome to the machine.” – Pink Floyd

GACK!  I just quoted a song that is copyrighted.  I’m really going to have to get the hang of this new world order thing.

Here is a great little tool: https://action.eff.org/o/9042/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8173.  I used it this morning to sign the petition.  Not for nuthin’ but I encourage you to do the same.

Here are some other concerned folks brought to you be the Center for Democracy & Technology: http://cdt.org/report/growing-chorus-opposition-stop-online-piracy-act.  

Here is a site to identify you congressman: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml.  I used it to send the following ‘letter’ to my Congressman, Frank LoBiondo from New Jersey… 

Congressman LoBiondo 

I am a blogger in the South Jersey area.  I write about distractions, humor, and trivial entertainments; simple stuff, in all actuality.  One of the things that I routinely write about is film and I am, therefore, deeply concerned about the scope and reach of SOPA & PIPA.  It is not hard to envision a time in the future where my blog is deemed and considered “Censured Material.”  Seriously.  What happens to my blog / me if I post something that that the corporations or government does not like?  SOPA & PIPA are steep, well lubricated slopes.  Once we as a county start sliding down it is our very liberty that will die in the sudden stop. 

Freedom of speech should not be dictated to the American people by corporate entities, lobbyists or PACs.  I do not know where you stand on H.R. 3621 "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) and S. 968 "Protect IP Act" (PIPA) but I hope you oppose them as much as I do.  If you support SOPA & PIPA I hope you reconsider and make a stand to not legislate the citizenry’s liberty away to corporations.

I thank you for your time, Sir.

So there you have it, Gentle Reader.  It’s funny how the simple stuff seems to reflect so much more of the heart of man.  Perhaps the simple is not really all that simple after all.  There may come a day when the simple act of surfing the net is a blocked & censored crime – an offence that the corporations or government can shut you down.  Not for knocking over a liquor store, cow tipping, or for plotting to become a James Bond villain bent on world domination but for writing about or posting about copyrighted material.

REALLY?! “James Bond” in a sentence!  I hope that MGM in the future can find it in their heart to forgive such a lowly blogger as I, your humble servant, Evil Chicken.

Only time will tell.

[NOTE: If you feel the call to action proofread you letter before you send it.  I just found a stupid, hack mistake that I changed for this blog and that I hope does not undermine the overall message.  What can I say, I’m a shmoe.  I do, however, believe the intent is intact.]  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ever After Review First Issue

The very first electronic issue of the Ever After Review is up and running.  I haven't had a chance to sit down and check it out yet but when I do this: http://www.everafterreview.com/Issues.html is where I'll look.

The Ever After Review is a great concept for short stories, flash fiction and photography.  Short fiction has taken a hit over the years with what has happened to print and the craft has suffered.  The Ever After Review is the marriage of the medium with the ever emerging world of technology.  I don't know if there is an iPhone or Android App yet but it there's not then that development is only a matter of time. 

The story will find a way to be told.  Stories have a way of doing that.  The Ever After Review is a new 'story delivery vehicle' and that's a good thing.  It is a wonderful concept and I hope this is the first of a million and two issues.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Out With the Old, In With the New

According to my watch the time is now, the past is dead and gone.  Don’t try to shake it just nod your head, breathe in breathe out, move on.” – Jimmy Buffett

First and foremost, Happy New Year!  2011 left us last night at 11:59 PM.  2012 is a GO.  The time is NOW.  Congratulations, Gentle Reader, we are now living in the last year according to the Mayan calendar.  Not to worry, though, there’s just under a year left before it all comes to an end.  That being said there is much to look forward to before it all comes crashing down.  But before we explore the future let’s dig up a bit of the past and consider some lists!

2011 – here are some of the most bizarre stories of the past year.  Tread lightly, Gentle Reader, there are some things you simply cannot un-see.  You have been warned: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/30/weird-news-2011-oddest-news-stories_n_1152035.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000023#s547986&title=Air_Force_Nixes.

2011 – There was a lot going on and there just may have been some coolness that you may have missed.  I, therefore, gladly pass this blog from the right, honorable, Cyber Trout; friend, fellow traveler, and proud Über –Geek (NOTE Über has only one umlaut): http://cybertrout.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/11-things-you-may-have-missed-in-2011/.  Thanks to this list I am going to be downloading a copy of, “The Buntline Special” via my Android Kindle App.  I already downloaded a copy of Paul Cicchini’s, “Godsmacked” – which was a blast and a half, I might add.  Now I’m beginning to lust after a Wampa Rug.    

2011 – It was not a good year for dictators.  Some heavy hitters made took their final bows this year.  Here is a list of “Famous People Who Died in 2011” – missing from the list are Osama Bin Laden and Cheetah from the Tarzan movies.  Even with these glaring omissions I thought I’d pass this along: http://www.biography.com/people/groups/died-2011/all

“But that was THEN.  What about 2012?” 

I thought you’d never ask.  Let’s talk movies.  Here is a list of what to expect in the coming year: http://www.movieinsider.com/movies/-/2012/.  Feel free to click around at what you may find interesting; there is bound to be a sleeper or two in there somewhere.  That being said, here is the list of what yours truly, Evil Chicken, is looking forward to.  Will I see all of these in the theater?  No.  Will I rent ‘em on Blu-ray?  Yes.  That being said, here is what I’m looking forward to looking at in 2012:

1/20, “Red Tails”.  The Tuskegee Pilots meet George Lucas.  I hope they fare better than Han Solo did against Greedo. 

2/17, “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”.  I’m crossing my fingers on this one; but still, it’s Ghost Rider on the big screen.  I remember buying the first issue back in the seventies.  That makes me an Old Skool Geek, yo; and one who is interested in what’s new in the life of one Johnny Blaze. 

3/9, “John Carter”.  There is a doctoral thesis that could be written concerning Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars Books.  The story is monumental and was the basis for SO MANY science fiction books that came after.  My main concern here is James Cameron.  You see he made this little movie called, “Avatar” and it was EVERYTHING that Barsoom, Mars, and John Carter should be.  John Carter has a LOT to live up to.  I sincerely hope that Disney has brought their A-Game.  If they didn’t then they have squandered a golden opportunity to rewrite modern filmmaking and storytelling and THAT… that’s just sad.

3/9, “The Raven”.  Edgar Allen Poe trying to solve a mystery before his death in Baltimore?  John Cusack is Poe?  Yeah?  Sign me up.

4/13, “The Three Stooges”.  Three reasons why I will see this movie: Larry, Moe, & Curly Joe.  Further, Will Sasso is the LIVING ENBODIMENT of Curly.  I hope the Farley brothers don’t try to paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa with this.  The Three Stooges are hallowed ground and deserve all the respect they get; nyuck, nyuck, nyuck, indeed. 

4/13, “The Cabin in the Woods”.  This is a ‘new twist’ on a tried and true formula.  Some guy named Joss Weadon is producing.  I’m in.

5/4, “The Avengers”.  For me this is not just ‘opening night’, no, this is OPENING NIGHT in IMAX.  Final answer.  Marvel has had a wonderful slow build to this and with Joss Weadon at the helm I’m expecting my jaw to D R O P.

5/11, “Dark Shadows”.  A spooky soap opera from the sixties and the vampire, Barnabus Collins is being played by Johnny Depp?  Ok, I’m in.   

6/8, “Prometheus”.  This is Sir Ridley Scott’s prequel to his film, “Alien”.  Can you understand the GEEK magnitude of that sentence that I just typed?  If you do then I will see you at the theater opening night too.

6/15, “Jack the Giant Killer”.  Jack and the Beanstalk on the big screen will it be the Golden Goose or will it be a Fe, Fi, Fo, Flop – only time will tell.  BTW, remember you heard that last sentence here at Chicken Scratch first!  ; )

6/22, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”.  At long last a historically accurate version of one of our greatest presidents.  It is a film whose time has come.  Sounds like a fun time at the movies.

6/22, “Brave”.  Simply put, I love Pixar.  This one is about a conquering redhead.  I plan to take my redheads and to conquer at the very least a large bucket of buttered popcorn.

7/3, “The Amazing Spider-Man”.  The more time goes on the more excited about this film I become.  It’s being shot in 3D and it will mark the first time that SONY makes you buy the 3D glasses for a 3D movie that they are already overcharging you for.  Word to the wise, Gentle Reader; save those 3D glasses now and smuggle them into Spidey or any other 3D movie that comes down the pike.  You have already paid for them and you will have already purchased a ticket.  Enough politics.  It’s Spider-Man!  I’m there.

7/20, “The Dark Knight Rises”.  I could gush about my theories but it would only be the sound and the fury ultimately signifying nothing.  I should say that this will be another OPENING NIGHT IMAX for yours truly.  I will say that I desperately want the cast to reunite in 10 years time to make, “The Dark Knight Returns”.  I’ve said it before about other times but 2012? – Oh yes, it is a GOOD time to be a GEEK.

9/21, “Dredd”.  Judge Dredd, that is.  He is Judge, jury, and executioner in Megacity One and this time out I’m hoping they got him right. 

11/9, “Skyfall”.  This will be Daniel Craig’s third effort as James Bond, the 00 agent with a license to kill.  Craig is the best Bond since Sean Connery.  Final answer.

11/21, “47 Ronin”.  Based on a true story from feudal Japan.  Keanu Reeves is one of the swordsmen, “Whoa, that’s sharp.”  May be something to see.

12/7, “Les Miserables”.  I never saw it on Broadway or in the traveling company version.  Plus this has Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) in the leads.  They’ve got the chops and the singing range to pull it off.  I’m gonna have to coax the girls to the theater but they will be glad that I did.

12/12, “World War Z”.  Based on the wonderful Max Brooks book of the same name, WWZ will be in theaters before the end of the Mayan calendar (12/21/12).  I have been reading that Brad Pitt’s company, “Plan B”, has been making some changes to the plot.  I hope that doesn’t blow up in our faces.  The simple fact is that the story was not broken so I don’t know if it needed to be fixed.  We shall see.  I live with Zombie Freaks so chances are I’m gonna see it on the big screen.

12/14, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”.  Talk about gushing; the moment I heard the music in the trailer for, “The Hobbit” the goosebumps started.  Then the Dwarves started singing at Bagend in the Shire.  Then the Golem uttered the words, “My precious…”.  Peter Jackson, Sir, I love you.  I am so there and I hope to be seeing it with a group of like-minded Hobbits from my own neck of the Shire.  The only downside is that we have to wait until 2013 for Part II.  It is my hope that the Mayans are wrong ONLY for this reason.  …Well, maybe not only THAT reason, but you get the idea.

12/25, “Django Unchained”.  Quentin Tarantino has a Christmas present for fans of spaghetti westerns and it is Django Unchained.  Jamie Foxx is Django a former slave who has become a trained bounty hunter who goes to free his wife from the clutches of an evil plantation owner, Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.  I am a fan of Mr. Tarantino and, in lieu of fireworks for next years New Years Eve; I just might stop at the multiplex instead. 

So there are my picks for 2012 at the movies.  I am not a huge TV guy but even I will be watching for the next half of season II of, “The Walking Dead”, as well as a visit from my favorite doctor, courtesy of BBC America, “Doctor Who”.  

Trivial stuff, really – yet, on the other hand, not so trivial after all.  Some say it is the orbit of molecules that holds the universe together.  Some say it is gravity.  The truth of the matter is the Word holds everything together.  Stories are the glue that the universe clings to.  Trivial?  Perhaps.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes… 

2012 – What of the shiny, new, and undiscovered future?  What is next for us both globally and locally?  Well, I can tell you this in no uncertain terms, I just don’t know.  My Magic Eight Ball’s little window has been scratched and fuzzy for years.  All I can say it that my prayer and hope for the future is that we are a blessing to others more than a curse, that laughter outweighs our tears ten fold, and that the Good Lord above holds you in the palm of His hand.  Yes, that sounds vaguely Irish in nature.  Come to think of it, “Vaguely Irish” would make a good name for a band.  Although I have made no New Years resolutions I just may see someone concerning Attention Deficit Disorder… unless I get distracted.

Happy New Year, Gentle Reader!  Let’s see what kind of trouble we can get into together!