Sunday, October 30, 2005

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Even More Sly

Just last week we found out that Sylvester Stallone will reprise his role as the "Italian Stallion" in Rocky VI, Rocky Balboa. Filming is set to begin sometime in December. Today we learn that after that movie is completed, Sly will begin filming Rambo IV!!!!

Yes, you read right. In 2006 moviegoers will be blessed with a sixth Rocky film and a fourth Rambo film. Now we have to keep checking the newswires for word on a sequel to Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. C'mon! Estelle Getty needs the work.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Beautiful Songs

Ralphy lists his choices for the Ten Most Beautiful (Pop) Songs Ever.

Mmmmm.... Milk Duds...

Hershey is suing this clothing company for trademark infringement. They want to stop the clothing company from using the name "Milkdudz" for their line of apparel that makes breastfeeding easier.

Hershey's says: "The clothier is trying to capitalize on the name recognition of Milk Duds to avoid having to build up its own brand."

Milkdudz co-founder Kiersten Wall says that Hershey has a trademark only for candy, not clothing: "It's not like we'd be right next to them in the candy aisle. We're in boutiques. We're not anywhere close to competing with Hershey's."

What do you think? Is this a case of copyright infringement, or a situation where a big greedy company is stepping on the little guy?

My opinion is that the name "Milk Duds" makes a heck of a lot more sense for clothing ("duds") than candy anyway.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Right Side of Hypocrisy

Hypocrite Alert!!!

I can't believe Miers caved to pressure (from the right) to withdraw her nomination. Isn't it, as Republicans claimed during Roberts nomination, the President's right to nominate and appoint anyone he chooses?

I can't belive the blatant hypocrisy from the right throughout this whole process. As soon as Roberts was nominated, we heard complaints from conservatives that he was not conservative enough. Not that he wasn't fair enough, but rather that they weren't sure that his agenda wasn't what they wanted (i.e. Pro Life). This after all this grandstanding about how supposedly Democrats wanted an "activist" judge. Well isn't that what they were really upset about, that Roberts wasn't enough of a Pro-Life activist? Since abortion is legal, a judge who wants to overturn Roe V. Wade is an activist.

But the Conservatives stood by their man and voted him in, howling at the Democrats who had reservations.

Then Miers gets nominated, and the sh-t really hits the fan. Again, conservatives are mad that she's not hard-line enough. Then we start to hear that she's wholly unqualified. Bush tries to save her by saying her religion is the right religion (wink wink she's pro life). Didn't work.

As poll numbers start to show America is ready for a change in 2006, I think we'll finally start to see Conservatives distance themselves from Bush, like rats leaving a sinking ship.

First though, now we are hearing Republicans HOWLING about the possible indictments of Rove and Libby. They are saying that #1 this is all political and unjustified. Then they say that if there is an indictment, it better be for a "real" crime, not perjury. Because prejury isn't really a crime, right? It's not a crime to lie in court about a possible crime. Apparently perjury is only a really big deal when you lie about sex, but not about a crime.


By the way, kudos to my cousin John, usually a supporter of Republicans, for pointing out the hypocrisy on his blog. Together we can make a difference!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I'm Dreaming Of A White Pumpkin

The word on the scene is that white pumpkins, also known as ghost pumpkins, are all the rage this year. Apparently they've just about hit the tipping point, as farmers say they can't keep enough in stock to meet the demand. People say they make scarier jack-o-lanterns, because at night the candle-lit interior (still orange) against the albino white skin is as creepy as it gets.

Memories, Like Fingerprints Are Slowly Raising

Since their 2000 tour, fans of Pearl Jam have been able to buy official bootlegs of pretty much ever show they've performed since that time. The CD's are minimally packaged, but are direct-from-the-soundboard recordings of their shows. They make great souvenirs from shows you've attended, and there are plenty of people who will tell you which shows/recordings are especially good and "must-haves". I have about five or six performances in my CD collection. They really make excellent soundtracks for long drives. According to Pearl Jam's website, over three million of these official releases have been sold since they've been available.

Now the band has taken the program one step further. Often just a few hours after any particular show has ended, fans can now download high resolution digital files of the perfromance, complete with special downloadable artwork and a slideshow specific to each night's show, for just $9.99 per show. This is really an amazing deal, considering most shows could fill two or three CDs. A real nice thing about this offer is that the files have no DRM protection on them, so fans can dowload them into whatever format they like best, listen to them on whatever device they choose, and share them however they'd like.

Personally I plan on monitoring the playlists from the band's current world tour and buy a few recordings myself. Thanks Pearl Jam!

From One V to Another

Congratulations Bobby V!

Bobby Valentine (former manager of the Mets) led his Chiba Lotte Marines to a 3-2 win over the Hanshin Tigers, to win their first Japan Series title in 31 years. Valentine became the first foreign manager in the 70-year history of Japanese baseball to win a Japan Series (Japan's equivalent of the World Series).

"I feel wonderful," said Valentine. "We started in spring training with a dream to be here for the last game. We wanted to win the last game and we did,"

Bobby thinks it's long overdue for the winner of the Japan Series to play the winner of the World Series to decide the true World Champions.

"Maybe it's just time for our owner to make the challenge to the owner of the team that wins the World Series,"

Bobby V has been rumored to be a candidate for open MLB managerial positions with the Dodgers and Devil Rays but has dismissed the rumors, saying he is happy in Japan.

Bobby V is my favorite manager of all time and if he were ever going to manage in the MLB again, I'd only want him to be back at the helm of the Mets.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Is it getting better?

One of my favorite songs of all time is "One," by U2, from their Achtung Baby album (which happens to be my favorite U2 album.

Mary J. Blige is including a cover of "One" on her upcoming Greatest Hits album, featuring Bono on vocals. I usually am unsure about R&B covers of rock songs, but for some reason I am expecting this version to be pretty good. Blige is a real talent, and might have an interesting interpretation of the song. Let me know what you think once you've heard it.

Speaking of interpretations, Melissa Etheridge's cover of Tom Petty's "Refugee" on her Greatest Hits CD is outstanding.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Scary Pumpkins

For some reason, my wife won't let me re-create this masterpiece and display it on our front lawn this weekend:

We're having a pumpkin carving contest at my job this weekend. If I win, it's because of an idea I got from this site.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Review: Elizabethtown

Cameron Crowe is one of the great filmmakers of our time. His movies aren't just enjoyable experiences, but works of art that seem to stick with us long after we've seen them. Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, Singles... these films are captivating and enduring. And a big part of Crowe's gift has been to craft soundtracks to these films that elevate the movies into our consciousness many years later. Remember Tom Cruise shouting out the chorus to Free Fallin' as he raced along the highway, a busload of people singing Tiny Dancer, and John Cusack using In Your Eyes to profess his love? Vanilla Sky would have been something else entirely without the incredible soundtrack.

The music in Elizabethtown does not disappoint. However, whereas in his previous films Crowe used music as a device to help capture the emotion of the story, Elizabethtown's story and characters are underdeveloped (despite a two hour running time) and far too much reliance is placed on the soundtrack. Crowe seems to have spent too much time creating a wonderful mix tape and not enough on the screenplay. Perhaps because the film was based, in part, on his own healing following the death of his father, Crowe did not dig deep with his characters, and we are left without the personal introspection that usually follows seeing his movies.

The film does leave us with great new imagery to think of whenever we hear the highly mocked but honestly great "Freebird," and we do feel a renewed interest in creating mixtapes and taking roadtrips, so it was not a total waste of time. Also, Nancy Wilson's score is magnificient, and I've already added her CD's to my wishlist. Sadly though, I regret to report that so far, for me, the most enduring images of Elizabethtown weren't what Crowe was attempting. Unless he indeed wanted me to ponder Kirsten Dunst's odd smile.

Of course the true test of any film is time, and perhaps I'm rushing to judgement. The film's messages of appreciating life, love, music, and America may endure after all.

Grade: B-

Thursday, October 20, 2005

J. Crew or Cruel?

Okay, so some people think PETA is a group of freaks, but they produced this video which depicts practices that are pretty hard to defend. Unless, of course, you're a heartless prick. Then maybe it doesn't bother you.

WARNING!! The following video contains highly graphic and gruesome imagery. It depicts grossly inhumane treatment of dogs and cats. The animals are first shown during the transportation stage, packed in tiny cages of top of one another, and then dropped from thirty feet down on to the ground. Then the animals are de-skinned for the use of their furs in clothes. Allegedly the cat and dog fur is often deliberately mislabeled as fur from other species and is exported to the United States to be sold to unsuspecting customers in retail stores. PETA further alleges that if you buy fur from J.Crew you may be wearing the fur from abused dogs and cats.

Watch this video if you have the stomach for it, but definitely visit and tell your freinds about it.

Some people think PETA is a bunch of freaks, but they were successful in getting PETCO to stop selling large birds such as parrots in unsafe conditions, and helped convince Mary Kay and Revlon to stop testing their products on animals. They also got McDonalds to require improvements in the treatment of the animals raised and slaughtered by its suppliers. This in turn makes the meat safer for us to eat.

Again, you don't have to be a freak to think there's something inhumane about the treatment of the animals in this video:

Leaving New York

I am coming up on the one year anniversary of my relocation from Long Island, NY to Greensboro, NC. It's amazing to think how quickly the last year has gone by. People ask me how the transition has been, and really it's been mostly good. My wife and I are feeling really good about our move. There are things I miss, of course. Besides my friends and family, and The Mets, it is hard to get good pizza and down right impossible to get a decent bagel. Although spare ribs are A LOT better down here!

The last time I was up visiting New York I discovered two things that so far I've been unable to find down here in The South. My message to the manufacturers: PLEASE try and secure distribution down here! The items:

Velamints Vanilla Mints
Velamints Chocolate mints have been around for awhile, and are readily available here, but these vanilla flavored mints are awesome. They taste kind of like cream soda. They're sugar free and fat free, and work great as a breath freshener. So far I haven't found them anywhere but at Trader Joe's on Long Island though...

Thomas Corn Toasting Bread
No, not corn bread, which is very much available in The South. This is sliced bread, with a look and texture just like the bread you make sandwiches with all the time, except it tastes remarkably like a corn muffin! If you toast a couple slices with butter, it makes an amazing snack! Delicious!

So, please, To The Powers That Be at George Weston Bakers and The Wrigley Company: Bring me these awesome snacks!

And if only I could find some decent pizza...

Lost Video

So I got a few complaints that my summary of Lost was missing a few key details. You may have a point... so check out this music video that attempts to summarize the first season.

Fans of Weird Al Yankovic and Queen will either love it or be outraged.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Lost Spoiler

One of my favorite shows on television is Lost. It's a great show, and it's wildly popular now, but still every so often I'll try to talk to someone about it, and they tell me they don't feel like they can watch the show because they didn't see it from the beginning and wouldn't be able to pick it up mid-stream. I understand. It's a serial, so potential viewers may feel like they will have too many storylines to try and figure out if they were to start watching the show mid-season.

Well, as a public service, I will now summarize all of the show's major plotlines so that the uninitiated will feel comfortable tuning in every Wednesday night at 9 PM (ET) on ABC:

A plane en route from Australia to Los Angeles has crashed, leaving 40 survivors to try and find a way off the island. Think "Gilligans Island," but each episode is an hour long.

You're Welcome.

The new season of Drawn Together on Comedy Central is a parody of Lost.

Everyone's a Comedian... even Bob Dylan

A page of jokes told by Bob Dylan on stage during various concerts
June 27, Phoenix, "Thanks everybody, you're too kind...You know, I was talking to Neil Young yesterday (audience cheers at the mention of Young) and he said to me, he said 'Bob, you just can't hear cool music on the radio anymore...' and I says to Neil, I says 'sure you just... (a decent pause) you just need to stick your radio in the refrigerator."

Okay, so he's not the best comedian out there, but he is still the most influential and prolific songwriter of our time. Do yourself a favor and catch Martin Scorcese's documentary No Direction Home, airing on PBS.

I missed it the first time it was on so I set my TiVo to record anything with Bob Dylan in it so I would catch the documentary whenever it aired again. What I got was a nice surprise. Besides recording the two part documentary, TiVo also found an episode of Dharma & Greg (I know, I know) guesting Mr. Dylan. He isn't really in the plot, but the last five minutes of the show is Jenna Elfman (Dharma) playing the drums, jamming with Bob! They banter a bit back and forth. It almost seemed improvised, the way they were cracking each other up.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Poster Children...

Poster Children For...

...Not Taking Steroids
It was announced today that reliever Felix Heredia (6.28 ERA in 2004; missed almost all of 2005 due to a shoulder aneurysm) will be suspended for the first 10 days of next season for violating baseball's steroids policy. He could get the award for Worst Ever Results From Steroids.

...Keeping Prostitution Illegal

This woman, Camille Cabral, showed up in Brussels to represent French prostitutes at a rally to end the criminalization of prostitution in Europe. I'm trying to avoid saying something really mean here, but I'll just let the photo speak for itself and see if you don't draw the same conclusion, okay?

...For Moving Inland

Hurricane Wilma (and yes, a hurricane can be a poster 'child.' It has a name after all), as the 20th tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin and 12th hurricane in the same region this year, sets 2005 as the worst year on record for storms. As if the devastation from Katrina weren't enough, just the idea of twelve threats to my home in a single year ensures that I'll never have my primary residence on these shores. I'm just glad I am in a position to make that kind of choice. Not all of us get to pick where we live and have the luxury of moving if we don't like it.

Land Of The Dead

I had no idea I lived so close by (the next town over!) to the Land Of The Dead! Zombies? This is gonna kill my property value.


I made these sauteed mushrooms last week. They came out delicious!

Unicef is using a shock tactic to get attention for its anti-war ad campaign. The poor Smurfs' mushroom village gets bombed and look what happened to little Smurfette!

Want to grow your own mushrooms at home? Click here.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Daylight Fading

A great photo collection from Jason Kottke reflecting on the end of Summer. I could look at photographs all day long.

That new Nickelback song is still lame, though.

Fright Night

Lately the fear of having my home burglarized has been on my mind. The star of one of my favorite shows, Lost, and his wife woke up at 4 A.M. to find an intruder with a handgun, standing over them, demanding money. Early this morning my wife and I heard an odd beep emitting from our house alarm. It wasn't alerting us to an open door or anything, but apparently just noticed we'd moved the living room motion detector when we re-painted 3 months ago. That was unnerving. And in today's Newsday, there is an article about a rise in home-invasion robberies on Long Island, where I used to live.

The thing is that we don't even own anything worth stealing, and we don't have a safe full of cash or even much jewelry to speak about. So now I worry about pissing off a would-be burglar!Ugh. What to do? Living in fear isn't how I want to live, but I am not sure how to feel safe. Can we count on Mookie?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Cool Photographs

I love photography as much as anyone can without knowing anything about it. All those numbers on the side of a 35mm camera are just jibberish to me. I know this must be really shocking for fans of my "Mookie Of The Month" series, but it's true! I'd like to take a photography class, but the cost of a nice SLR just isn't something I can swing right now. Right now, I do all my photography on a 4.0meg Fuji FinePix camera. If anyone has some advice, post a comment!

Here are some cool photography sites:

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Okay, so I have wanted an iPod for a little while now, and now they just introduced a new version that makes me REALLY REALLY want one. They are hyping the new feature that allows it to play video, but I could give a crap about that. What's really cool about the new iPod is that you get 50% more space, but it's thinner, and comes in black. Oh, and for the same price of $299. Beat that. I dare you.

Why would anyone buy a Nano?

ipod-------Nano ---- 4th gen. iPod ---- NEW iPod Video
capacity --- 4g ---------20g ---------------30g
price ------$249 -------$299 ------------- $299

Somebody please buy me one.
Apple Introduces New Video IPod

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Yankees Break Tom Hanks' First Rule Of Baseball

...when Torre and Giambi passed each other on the Fenway Park mound after the Yankees clinched, Giambi says Torre hugged him one more time and told him, "Words can't even describe how I feel about you, and how your year went."

Asked what he said back, Giambi replied, "Not a lot. I got choked up a little bit."

Then Giambi looked at Torre and saw "he was crying, too.",0,3628727.column?coll=ny-sports-print

Touching. Just touching, really.

Monday, October 03, 2005

List of Lists

Do you like lists? I know it's a strange thing to be a fan of, but I really dig lists. To Do lists are the only organizational tools I truly embrace, and I also love Top Ten lists and lists like 101 Things Removed From The Human Body. Sick show by the way! Timothy McSweeny also apparently shares my enthusiasm for lists, as he regularly posts them on his blog. Check out lists like Things Koala Bears Would Say, Poorly Selling T-Shirts, Elements Waiting Patiently for Inclusion on the Periodic Table, and Obscenities Uttered by Jesus Christ (such as "Dad damn you," and "Holy Mom, mother of me,"). See them all here.