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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Today's ultra-scary BLONDIE comic strip

Out of the mouths of babes...

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Too dangerous to make a video out of it...

My Facebook status at 9:03 p.m. EST this evening:




A few years from now, Lord willing, Kristen and I will get to take our first child to see a new Star Wars movie. I will get to see all of our children see new Star Wars movies. If God is kind enough, I will get to see my grandchildren seeing new Star Wars movies.

And I will be right there with them, enjoying every moment of it.

What a time to be alive :-)

Star Wars fans building a full-sized Millennium Falcon

Because there simply is no such thing as too much Star Wars...

A dude named Chris Lee has assembled a crack team of volunteers to bring their collective hydrospanners together to build... a full-sized model of the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars movies.

From FullScaleFalcon.com, the official site of The Full Scale Millennium Falcon Project: "This is a quest to build the ultimate Star Wars prop: a 1:1 scale ESB/ANH hybrid Millennium Falcon with complete, correctly scaled interior. Yes, I have completely lost my mind, just like most of my friends and family say. Except for my close Star Wars fan friends, who say 'cool, can I help?'."

Yes, the interior as well! Does that mean they've figured out what a "fresher" is supposed to look like?! We've already gotten to see the bathrooms in the Star Trek and Babylon 5 franchises: surely they have water closets in a galaxy far, far away too.

Click on the link above for much more about this grand endeavor... which apparently, judging by the photos on the site, is already very well along!

Dear Disney:

Please hire this guy...

No Jedi mind trick: Disney buying Lucasfilm for $4 billion, STAR WARS EPISODE VII coming in 2015!

Call it "Walt Disney Galaxy".

What's not widely known among even die-hard fans of the saga is that around 1990, Michael Eisner was seriously putting a bug into George Lucas’ ear about Disney being the distributor of any future Star Wars movies.  Especially the prequels.  Which would have been an absolute perfect storm of FUBAR.  But then, that was when Eisner was running Disney...

Today?  I'm thinking... this might be the best thing that has happened to Star Wars in a long, long time.

The news busting the Intertubes wide open this afternoon is that Disney is purchasing Lucasfilm!  The deal is for $4 billion.

But that's NOT all.  Because along with the acqusition... 2015 will see the release of Star Wars Episode VII!

Feel free to pick your jaw from the floor after reading that.  When I was sent the news of it a short while ago, my immediate reaction was "Is this a joke?!?"

It's not.  A new Star Wars trilogy is seriously going to happen.  There really will be the nine movies that we were told for more than two decades would be made.  One new Star Wars movie a year beginning in 2015... and quite possibly many more to come down the line as well.

Look!  Official Press Release!
Burbank, CA and San Francisco, CA, October 30, 2012 – Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

"Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas," said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney's unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value."

"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney's reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products."

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and "evergreen" Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney's global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.

Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm's legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world's top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney's strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.

The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney's very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company's unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disney's portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company's ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world's highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.
Personally, I believe this to be a very wise and commendable decision by George Lucas.  It means that the universe he created will not be forever restricted to the six movies he produced, but will instead be nurtured and tended to and allowed to flourish for generations to come.  Sometimes, it takes a fresh approach to keep things going.  J.J. Abrams did that beautifully with 2009's Star Trek, and that certainly was faithful to the spirit and meaning of the original franchise.  I think the same potential is there for Star Wars as well.
There will be a new Star Wars trilogy.
Now, that's something I sure as heck never thought for a moment I would ever be writing on this blog! :-)

UPDATE 6:21 p.m. EST: It is HIGHLY suggested that y'all read Steve Sansweet's blog post about the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm. In it he reveals a bunch of intriguing stuff about what's been going on behind the scenes of Star Wars for these past several years: including how George Lucas has been quietly developing a third trilogy - set after Return of the Jedi - all along!

Looks like I'll be wearing my Jedi Knight costume for many, many more years to come. Incidentally, I discovered this past weekend that it's excellent for ballroom dancing in :-)

UPDATE 6:32 p.m. EST: A whole heap more was discussed during the Disney investors' conference call this afternoon. Among other things: an "extensive and detailed" treatment for the 7-9 trilogy was purchased and Disney is feeling "very good" about it. Indiana Jones is also part of the deal. George Lucas will serve as creative consultant for the new Star Wars movies. And there exists a great possibility that the Star Wars movies will eventually encompass the entire 20,000-years of the saga's mythology.

Dare we dream of a trilogy set during the Old Republic era?!?

"Hello, Mr. Iger? Where do I audition for the part of Darth Malgus?" :-P

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dear friends in the Northeast...

Good night, and good luck.

October 29 2012: Hurricane Sandy floods the site of the World Trade Center in New York City

The Governor! Review of this week's THE WALKING DEAD

Does this guy have the most gruesome man-cave ever, or what?

"Walk With Me", last night's episode of AMC's smash series The Walking Dead, at long last brought us the much-anticipated appearance of The Governor: a character voted a few years ago as one of the greatest villains in comic book history.

Okay, so David Morrisey doesn't resemble his graphic novel incarnation that much. But nonetheless Morrisey's Governor has finally brought this show something that's been a long time coming: a true breathing nemesis. For two seasons we've watched Rick and his group - unseen this week but presumably still holding their ground at the prison - fight off the walkers and not much else. But here comes The Governor. Mindless walkers and rogue survivors have been one thing. The head of a whole town and his very own well-munitioned army is gonna quite another.

"Walk With Me" picks up Andrea and Michonne's tale, with the ladies (and Michonne's ummm... "pets on a leash") coming across a crashed helicopter. The Governor and his boys arrive and in short order the girls are found... by a very much still-alive Merle (Michael Rooker), not seen since cutting off his right hand with a hacksaw in Season One. But no worries, 'cuz Merle has been fitted with a well-armed prosthetic.

And then we get to Woodbury: AKA "Mayberry Among the Living Dead". Complete with its very own town drunk. Maybe there's an Ernest T. Bass somewhere who'll throw rocks at the walkers.

Only two real action sequences in this episode. But even so, "Walk With Me" laid down a lot of new ground for no doubt quite a long time to come. The seemingly benign Governor hides the fact that he's a hard-boiled badass as well as he does his "living room". Given what last night's episode portends for his character, it wouldn't surprise me if Morrisey got an Emmy nomination.

Quite a solid episode. Quieter than the previous two episodes, but a hella appetizer for more.

This is the pastor of the church I'm going to

Meet "Hobo Joe"!

That's the pastor of the church I've been going to, in his clown/hobo getup at the beginning of yesterday's worship service. I forget what "H.O.B.O" is an acronym for but it's something to do with kicking off the annual general fund drive.

Joe is quite a cool fella! Incidentally, I offered him the use of my Jedi Knight costume if he ever wanted to use it. A sermon preached by "Jedi Joe"? I bet a wazoo of people would dig that :-)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

You know who you are!

I'm gonna say something here and I don't care who reads it or what the hell they're gonna think of me...

ANY man who throws away a beautiful wife and some of the most amazing children that I have ever seen God bless ANYONE with, who mistreats the woman that he had been married to for so long, is a TOTAL BASTARD.

I admit that my bout with bipolar made me make life a living hell for those closest to me, especially my former wife and I'll always regret that... but even in the darkest times of that abyss I was NOT the asshole that some men seem determined to be. Men who even seem PROUD to be such assholes!

Guys, if God has given you a wonderful wife and such beautiful and smart children and you not only throw that away but treat them THAT bad, well... you not only NEVER deserved to be so blessed to begin with, you SHOULD be made to spend the rest of your miserable pathetic excuse of a life ALONE and REJECTED... because you brought it upon yourself, you f-cking piece of maggot-ridden garbage!!!

(And that's honestly the nicest epithet that I can come up with for a certain someone who I know is a regular reader of this blog.)

Awright... "Beast Mode" off.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Two small musings on politics

Voting in America has devolved into middle-school immaturity: dominated by petty cliques, peer pressure and lots of masturbation (figuratively, thank goodness...).

Allow me to remark that I know lots of real middle-schoolers, mostly from community theater... and they ALL act more mature than the voting adults are right now!

Then I have to observe that the vast majority of political news, indeed news that passes for "top stories" among the television/print/major online media, are polls. Nothing but polls. Polls, polls, polls...

That's what American politics has become: a popularity contest. We aren't even pretending that it's not anymore.

We're supposed to be better than this.

North Korean army official executed... by mortar round

"Yup, he blowed up real good!!"
A vice-minister of the North Korean military has been put to death for "drinking and carousing" during the official mourning for that country's late despot Kim Jong-il.

And to emphasize the point, the poor dude was executed by mortar fire...

Kim Chol, vice minister of the army, was taken into custody earlier this year on the orders of Kim Jong-un, who assumed the leadership after the death of his father in December.

On the orders of Kim Jong-un to leave "no trace of him behind, down to his hair," according to South Korean media, Kim Chol was forced to stand on a spot that had been zeroed in for a mortar round and "obliterated."

The execution of Kim Chol is just one example of a purge of members of the North Korean military or party who threatened the fledgling regime of Kim Jong-un.

Sheeeesh... Talk about overkill.

Read the rest of this explosive story at The Telegraph here.

Brilliant essays by Chuck Baldwin: Christian warmongers and American comfort

Chuck Baldwin, Christian writer and thinker extraordinaire, is always a treat to read. But his two most recent columns, I found to be especially illuminating.

First there is this one from last week: "They Prefer Caviar, Even If It Comes With Chains", in which Baldwin articulates why too many Americans... including far too many American Christians... have given up the risks of liberty for the comfort of security and in doing so have ended up as slaves. To amplify the point he uses a story from the Book of Acts...

There is an Old Testament story that parallels with what is going on in America today. The story is found in Numbers chapter 11. God had delivered His people from great bondage. They witnessed His mighty hand of power and deliverance in defeating their oppressors and leading them toward a land of promise and liberty. He even dropped “angels’ food” (called manna) from Heaven to sustain them. But after being delivered from bondage, they began to yearn for a return to Egypt. In verse 5 of that chapter, the people are recorded as complaining, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick.” (KJV)

Can you believe it? After hundreds of years of floggings, imprisonments, beatings, chains, and slavery, they remember FISH? I don’t know if caviar was considered a delicacy back in those days. If it wasn’t, I suppose it’s possible that slaves ate fish eggs also. But can you believe it? After being delivered from the worst possible slavery, all they remembered was the fish? Holy Creepers, Batman!

Now, to understand what’s going on here, we have to read verse 4, “And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also.”

I have heard countless sermons on this passage, and in all honesty I cannot remember one that identified what they were lusting after. Lust here means “to covet greatly.” So, what were they coveting? Was it food? Was it the fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic? No! What they coveted, what they lusted after, was SECURITY!

In the wilderness, there was risk, uncertainty, and potential failure. They had to depend totally on divine Providence. They could not see what the morrow would hold. There were no guarantees, no entitlements, and no assurances. And even though God had delivered them with great power, sustained them daily with manna, and promised them a land of freedom of their very own, they lusted after security. To them, security was more important than liberty.

If this story does not parallel with what is happening in America right now, nothing does! God delivered the American people out of great bondage. He proved His power and might on our behalf. He gave us a land of liberty of our very own. And now all Americans seem to be able to think about are the fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic of bondage. They lust for, and greatly covet, SECURITY.

It seems that there is no usurpation of liberty so egregious that the American people, both churched and un-churched, will not gladly accept, as long as it is presented to them as a way to make them feel more secure. In truth, so many Americans–especially so many of those who call themselves Christians–are practicing idolaters. They are worshipping at the altar of safety and security. Big Government politicians and bureaucrats are the priests, the Department of Homeland Security is the temple, and the taxes, fees, and assessments are the tithes and offerings. Hallelujah!

There is much more that Baldwin writes, and It's all well worth the time to read it.

And this week, Baldwin is asking "How Did Christians Become Warmongers?"

And I realize that right now the vast majority of evangelicals eat, breathe, and sleep only one mantra: “Get rid of Obama!” They would vote for anybody to beat Obama. Well, anybody except Ron Paul, that is. Evangelicals might hate Ron Paul more than they do Barack Obama. And after Mitt Romney is elected on November 6, these same “Christians” will go into a state of extended hibernation, ignoring every unconstitutional big-government decision that Romney makes. Not only that, buckle your seat belts boys and girls, because Romney is going to expand America’s foreign wars (and the emerging police state at home) like nobody’s business. And when he does, guess what? Evangelicals will be the ones who clap and cheer the most.

Let me ask my Christian brethren some questions: does God give governmental leaders a pass on obeying His moral laws? If God will hold you and me accountable to His command to not murder, for example, will He not hold our civil magistrates accountable to His command to not murder? Or do you really believe that murder is justified on the word of a king? If so, had you been alive in Hitler’s Germany, you would have supported his atrocities, too, right? And is that whom you think occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: a king? Is murder justified simply because a magistrate orders it? And if that’s true, is it then justified that government forces pillage, plunder, and rape? If not, why not? After all, if it’s lawful for men to murder on the command of a magistrate, why can they not pillage, plunder, and rape? What’s the difference?

Accordingly, I personally believe that evangelicals owe Bill Clinton an apology. They excoriated him when it came to light that he had committed adultery. They then turned around and supported G.W. Bush’s unconstitutional, unprovoked, preemptive wars of aggression, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents. Pray tell, if a President is exempt from the moral law against shedding innocent blood (Genesis 9:6; Proverbs 6:17) why should he not be exempt from the moral law against adultery?

Believe it or not, a local pastor here in the Flathead Valley of Montana recently preached a message to his congregation on Romans 13 with the typical erroneous “obey-the-government-no-matter-what” claptrap. When a member of his congregation later asked him personally to explain himself, he told the parishioner, “If government agents or troops came to my house and laid my wife on the kitchen table and raped her, Romans 13 tells me I cannot resist.” That’s what he said, folks. I’m not making it up.

Ouch! That's gonna leave a mark!

Read the rest of this most fine article here.

NYPD cop arrested for plot to kidnap, cook, and eat women

Read all the unsavory details here.

I suppose they were all out of donuts at the local shop, huh?

TSA removing cancer machines? Really?

I haven't heard Mitt Romney say a single nary thing about eliminating the Department of Homeland Security and completely scrapping the Transportation Security Administration. That he hasn't and apparently approves of those governmental monstrosities is just one more reason why the Romney/Ryan ticket won't get my vote next month. Neither will Obama/Biden, but that's a post for next week.

But just in time for the election, The TSA is removing those cancer machines it euphemistically calls "body scanners" from major airports. The official line is that the cancer machines are being relocated to smaller airports in an effort to "speed things up" across the board.

But there are serious reasons to consider that rather than completely giving up on Nude-o-vision(tm), the TSA may in fact be gearing up to implement even WORSE technology: namely scanners with much finer resolution and stronger abilities at detecting small objects on a person (what objects those are is an exercise for the reader). In other words, the government-mandated radiation risk may not be going away at all and might be set to get worse.

(Many of us are still waiting for Janet Napolitano, the head of Homeland Security, to go through one of those machines herself. Alas! She adamantly refuses.)

In the meantime, the Transportation Security Administration thugs continue to sexually grope people with terminal cancer, strand U.S. citizens in Hawaii because of the nebulous and unconstitutional "no-fly list", steal iPads from passengers just for the hell of it, steal money from passengers because said passengers weren't "obedient" enough and complained about TSA abuse, refuse to allow passengers to board because of "bad attitude", and habitually grope and harass little children and elderly citizens.

Had enough of this crap, Mr. and Mrs. America? Is it gonna take getting tumors all over your body to say "enough"?

By Crom! Schwarzenegger making a new Conan movie!

(And just to be clear, Ah-nuldt is not playing Conan O'Brien.)

Personally, I think this is ten years too late. Wanna know why? Because sometime before 9/11 happened there was serious work afoot to make a true sequel to 1982's Conan the Barbarian: one that would forget that Conan the Destroyer ever happened. King Conan: Crown of Iron had a script written by John Milius and was going to be produced by the Wachowski Brothers (back when the Wachowskis were still brothers, that's all I'm gonna say).

I was able to read the King Conan: Crown of Iron script several years ago. It was spot-on perfect as a follow-up to Conan the Barbarian. It even had Conan saying another prayer to Conan. My favorite part though took place at the beginning of the story: a scene paralleling the one from the original of Conan's father speaking to Conan about the riddle of steel. This script had Conan talking to his son about steel, and how Junior would one day have to break Conan's sword, just as Conan broke his father's sword in the first movie.

Brilliant stuff. And it would have made a hella good movie... had Arnold Schwarzenegger not going off to be Governor of California.

I don't know if this is gonna atone for King Conan: Crown of Iron not getting produced. But it's something anyway: Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to return as Conan in the just-announced The Legend of Conan, set for release in 2014. This is meant to be the proper sequel to Conan the Barbarian, which ended with a lingering scene several years later of Conan sitting on a throne and Mako's voice promising us that "this story shall also be told."

(Hey, better thirty-two years late than never, huh?)

Slash here for more at GeekTyrant.com.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


...that was a crazy past 72 or so hours!!

Got a lot accomplished though. More than I've been able to do in a long long time.

So I remembered that I have a blog. Guess I should post some stuff and try to get caught up, huh?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Finally watched this week's THE WALKING DEAD...

...and it would be "Sick" even if that wasn't the episode title.

This week's episode focused solely on Rick's group at the prison, and picked right up from the end of last week: with Hershel's severed leg bleeding-out and the Rick's posse finding a small group of still-living inmates.

That was plenty enough to launch a solid hour of some of the most intense and gruesome television I've ever witnessed. We got a lot in "Sick": an idea of how long it's been since the outbreak began (almost an entire year), some notion of how fast the infection works (given what happened to Hershel), and most of all how far Rick will go to keep the group safe. Can't say that I blame him: my girlfriend remarked that Tomas is "Shane 2.0".

Two bits of highlighted action in this episode: obviously one is the prisoners forgetting everything that Rick and his team had told them about how to take down the walkers (I was screaming "YOU IDIOTS!" at my TV screen). Then there's Carl, come back nonchalant from the task he took upon himself to accomplish. The kid is growing up fast and hard in a world gone to hell... so for better or for worse we'll prolly be asking "Where is Carl?" for a long time to come.

Next week on The Walking Dead heralds the arrival of a character that fans of the comic book have eagerly waited two years for. The Governor is coming. And I have to wonder just how far AMC is willing to go with him...

Antoni Dobrowolski, the oldest survivor of Auschwitz, has passed away

During my lifetime, I have met six survivors of the Nazi concentration camps. Each of them Jewish. Some were at Treblinka. Some at Bergen-Belsen. Some at Auschwitz.

Hearing only them tell his or her story would remain as one of the most humbling and heartbreaking and in the end most inspirational tale of human hope that I have ever listened to. To hear the tales of six such people leaves a far greater impression upon one's mind of the sacredness of even one human life. These people and many more went through Hell on Earth... but not one of them came out of it with affirmation that in spite of the evil that mankind is capable of, there is also a far greater potential for good. Every single survivor of the camps is, has been and forever will be a victory against those who sought their extermination. For all that was done to them, they yet lived to see their children and their children's children be born.

Born in 1904 in Wolborz, Poland, Antoni Dobrowolski saw more of that unbridled evil and final triumph than most could ever claim. A teacher by trade, he was 38 when he was arrested by the Nazis for educating the children of Poland.

That's all that he had to do to be arrested and sent to a concentration camp. He taught children. The Nazis believed that the Poles were a sub-human race regardless of whether they were Jew or Gentile. For this "crime", Dobrowolski was sent to Auschwitz: the very worst of the German death camps.

Dobrowoloski was one of the lucky few: chosen to live and work and not to perish in "the showers". He held onto life in a place "worse than Dante's hell", until the Allies liberated the camp in 1945.

After the war, Dobrowolski returned to the career that was his passion: teaching young minds. He eventually became a principal at an elementary school and then a high school. Teaching about his experience in the Holocaust as much as about the Polish language to children.

I think it can be said that many, many generations were taught and encouraged and influenced for the better by this man, who courageously defied the edicts of his nation's conquerors and then defied them again in a place of ultimate darkness.

Antoni Dobrowolski, the oldest survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, passed away yesterday.

He was 108 years old.

Rest in peace, Mr. Dobrowolski. You taught well that most important lesson of the human condition: you taught hope.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Off doing filmmaking!

Come back Monday. I promise I won't be too inflammatory. Maybe.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's funny because it's true

I am NOT an uncommitted voter.
I've been committed 3 times...
and I'm still not crazy enough
to vote for Obama or Romney!

(I don't mind at all laughing at my own mental illness. Especially if I can use it to laugh at the stuff that really deserves it.)

Reida Drum, classy lady extraordinaire, has passed away

How does one begin to describe Reida Drum?

Nothing I could possibly write would ever come close to encapsulating her feisty nature, her high-minded priciples... and her personality resplendent with color and charm.

(Reida once told me that she liked how I described her as "resplendent" in a blog post. She said that was one of her favorite words.)

Reida was many things: an educator, an actress, an investigator, an administrator, and always ever a woman of raucous style and a spirit to match.

Reida was a woman of many hats... literally! To say nothing of the plethora of feather boas that she was often seen wearing. Many times over the years she would don hat and boa and come to the libraries of elementary schools throughout Rockingham County and read to the children, who knew her as "the Feather Lady".

She taught English at the old Bethany High School. How did she wind up with that job? The superintendent at the time, Allan "Doc" Lewis, knew her from professional acting. And he told her that he needed someone who "could scare the hell out of those students!" That's a true story: Doc told me and Reida confirmed it some years later. Maybe she did scare them at that. But I also know that it was only because she sincerely cared a lot about young people and encouraging them to apply their minds.

I first came to know Reida around 1997, across some e-mail correspondence regarding a very peculiar episode in local history (two of her students began a project for English class and it wound up nearly getting their community to secede from the United States: that's a true story too!). We finally met in person in 2002, at a meeting of the Rockingham County Board of Education. And then four years later both of us wound up as candidates for the five new at-large seats. Reida won handily, and once again served the county as a member of the Board of Education. In all, she was on the board for eight years.

Most of all though, I remember Reida as the very dear friend who I came to have in recent years. Someone who provided not only kind and wise advice, but was also a listening ear and practically a shoulder to cry on during an especially dark period of my life. For that, I will always be thankful.

It is with a sad heart that I must report that Reida Drum passed away yesterday, at the age of 75. She leaves behind many family and friends, along with a vibrant impression that will forever be etched into grateful memory.

I'll miss you Reida. But I've also no doubt that you're parading down the streets of gold this morning, wearing your finest hat and feather boa.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

io9 features sci-fi inspired political ads. Take a wild guess which one made the list...

Behold the 8 Weirdest Real-Life Science Fiction Political Ads as assembled by popular geeky/techy website io9.

And yes, that school board commercial of mine from 2006 is on the list.

But check out this ad - also inspired by Star Wars - that West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin aired when he successfully ran for re-election two years ago...

Hey, Manchin shot a TIE Fighter out of the sky with a rifle! That's a hella lot better shootin' than the Imperial Stormtroopers ever did.

But John Waite of Spokane, Washington blows away everybody with what he did when he ran for city council. The comic book store owner campaigned while wearing a full set of space marine armor from the StarCraft computer game series! Nevermind Spokane City Council: we should send Waite to Washington D.C.: that whole town is overrun with worse than the Zerg ever were.

Blast on over to io9 for more. And tip o' the hat to good friend Todd Williard for finding this!

New technology: 2TB optical storage, cardboard bicycles!

Two researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed an optical storage system that can hold 1 to 2 terabytes of data on a disc the same size as a standard Blu-ray or DVD! That's equal to 50 Blu-ray discs. Whereas Blu-ray and DVD discs have always had up to two layers holding the data and the laser refocusing to transition from one to another (the reason why your DVD often pauses for a split second before resuming play) the researchers piled dozens of much teenier layers on top of each other. Same basic technology, but a significant refinement of the materials being used. Potential investors are already looking into bringing the technology to market.

Meanwhile over in Israel, Izhar Gafni - an accomplished engineer and cycling enthusiast - has invented a bicycle made almost entirely out of cardboard. The cycle is very cheap to produce, can be manufactured in large quantities and is already about to hit the retail racks. Gafni expects, in fact designed his bike, to be especially useful in major congested urban areas such as are often found in India and southeast Asia, as well as remote villages in Africa.

And no, the bike will not come apart when it starts raining :-) To find out more, hit the link above!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Look at Keana Texeira's new music video "Another Little Piece of You" featuring jewelry made by a good friend of mine for a great cause!

Melissa Lew, a very dear friend and unbelievably talented artisan in the craft of custom jewelry, just sent along word that Keana Texeira's new video for her song "Another Little Piece of You" has just gone live! Not only that but Keana is wearing some of the work that Melissa created as part of jem.lew: the love project!

Here's the music video...

So what is jem.lew: the love project, you ask? Here's the statement from Melissa and Jennifer's website:

The love project is a collaborative, charitable line from DC designers Jennifer Elizabeth Miller (The JEM Collection) and Melissa Lew; it will be officially launched at the exclusive Secret Room’s MTV Movie Award’s Gifting Suite at the end of May 2012. A percentage of each piece sold will be donated to various charities, such as Becky’s Fund, DC Central Kitchen, and Miriam’s Kitchen.

The love project is a line of eco-friendly, socially conscious jewelry made from bamboo (sustainable plant) and stainless steel (100% recyclable) and features the project’s 4 heart logo, each hand painted with a splash of color. Each eye-catching necklace comes with a 24″ stainless steel ball chain that can easily be resized by cutting excess chain with pliers/cutter. An informational card is also included with each piece and is printed on FSC-Certified paper stock with soy ink.

Great work, ladies! And congrats on your work getting some high-profile notice :-)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Still got the right stuff...

How perfectly fitting, that on the same day that Felix Baumgartner took his 24-mile high skydive, becoming the first person to break the sound barrier in freefall with only a high-tech suit for protection...

...retired Air Force Brigadier General Charles "Chuck" Yeager celebrated the 65th anniversary of the very first supersonic flight - which Yeager accomplished in the X-1 - by flying faster than sound again at the age of 89.

There ain't enough accomplishments of daring these days, it sadly seems. Reading stuff like this, gives me great hope.

Just saw THE WALKING DEAD Season 3 premiere

It aired last night on AMC and due to some crazy circumstance Kristen and I are only now reeling from the shock of it.

And if "Seed", the season premiere episode of The Walking Dead is any indication, we are in for a hella scary ride rife with high-tension drama, and thankfully bereft of last season's lingering too much around Hershel's farm. The production values also seem much higher 'cuz this episode cost an arm and a leg.

(Did you see what I just did?! Did you see that?? Haaah that's all I got...)

Okay, so how long has it been since the events of Season 2? Because Lori's little bun in the oven is looking like a full-baked poundcake. I'm guessing that the producers are allowing much bigger spans of time to elapse so as to accommodate the imminent growth spurt of Chandler Riggs (the young actor playing Carl). Speaking of which, looks like Carl is gonna be turned loose a bunch more to break bad on the walkers this season. Hopefully that'll save Rick from screaming "CAAAAAAARL!" all the time (yah I'm looking at you Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse).

Loved the prison: this is gonna be a crazy good setting for the coming season. And Michonne was just onscreen enough to satisfy our wanting to get our first good look at her without unloading the full bore of her katana-wielding finesse.

A very, very strong opening for a new season of The Walking Dead. One that might well draw in a horde of new viewers. Looking forward to next week's episode... and the eventual introduction of the Governor into this already insane mix.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We'll all go a little mad for the HITCHCOCK trailer!

This. Looks. INCREDIBLE.

Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren should just go ahead and make more room on their respective mantles for all the awards they're no doubt gonna get from their work in this movie.

Hitchcock opens in limited release on November 23rd. Here's hoping and praying that it'll opened wide not long afterward!

And if you want this trailer in gloriously full HD Quicktime then slash here!

A question about "affirmative action"

The United States Supreme Court is hearing the case today brought before it by Abigail Fisher, who is asserting that because of race-preferential policies at the University of Texas at Austin, she was denied enrollment at because she is white.

I want to put a question out there, because I think it's more than valid:

If a member of a racial minority can easily become the President of the United States, then what use is there for academic admission or job-hiring practices that are based on racial preference?

Come to think of it, what use is there for the NAACP? I mean, seems like it's pretty hard to advance much further than the White House. For anybody regardless of ethnicity, for that matter...

For the children: "trashcan cameras" and location-tracking chips

In the wake of American schoolkids rebelling against the federal government's new school lunch rules, a school district in Florida is considering installing video cameras on its school cafeteria trashcans so it can monitor and determine if students are throwing away their vegetables.

Meanwhile the students of Northside Independent School District in Texas are being told to wear ID badges containing location-tracking radio chips on penalty of "suspension, fines, or being involuntary transferred".

Here's an idea: the students should go ahead and wear the badges, but only after putting them in their microwave ovens for a minute or two. THAT oughtta scramble the innards enough to make them useless!

Some good commentary by Fred Reed - the Internet's finest curmudgeon - about the growing "Eye of Sauron" over us, which you can read here.

Calvin as the Doctor

I'm trying to determine who came up with this 'cuz it deserves proper attribution.

But this is way too good not to share in the meantime. I found this on Facebook on the Doctor Who and the Tardis by Craig Hurle page...

It's definitely embiggenable so click and save away! No doubt to become wallpaper for your desktop or your iPad :-)

Here's the pic's link on Facebook. I like what one person commented: "Brings new meaning to the phrase 'Madman with a Box!'"

Monday, October 08, 2012

Man dies after roach-eating contest (but he won!)

Renfield had the right idea at least: if you're gonna eat bugs, give it some variety!

Edward Archbold, age 32, is dead after eating "dozens of roaches and worms" in a pet store's contest in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

From the article at The Smoking Gun...

Investigators reported that Archbold "wasn’t feeling well and began to regurgitate" shortly after the contest's conclusion. "He had consumed dozens of roaches and worms," a sheriff’s spokesman noted.

Archbold was pronounced dead after being transported to an area hospital. An autopsy was conducted, and the Broward County medical examiner is awaiting test results to determined Archbold's cause of death.

The roach eating contest was part of the reptile store's October 5 "Midnight Madness" sale. Contestants had four minutes to devour the most discoid roaches, which can grow up to three inches long. "Oh yeah, any vomiting is an automatic DQ," the store cautioned in a Facebook post prior to the revolting competition.The roach eating contest was part of the reptile store's October 5 "Midnight Madness" sale. Contestants had four minutes to devour the most discoid roaches, which can grow up to three inches long. "Oh yeah, any vomiting is an automatic DQ," the store cautioned in a Facebook post prior to the revolting competition.

However, Archbold did win the contest. The grand prize was a live python.

Wouldn't surprise me if this pet shop got hit with a lawsuit of some kind. And if it's not liable, well... I just can't see eating even one roach for anything, much less an exotic snake.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Maine Republicans make WORLD OF WARCRAFT a political scandal

The Republican Party has for decades struggled with a public image - an inaccurate and even slanderous one, I will note - that it is an organization bent against the rights of minorities, women, pretty much anyone not Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

And then the Maine Republican Party messes it all up by coming out as anti-Orc Assassins.

Maine state Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz is being accused by Maine Republicans in an official campaign release as leading a "bizarre double life" as Santiaga: a cutthroat with green skin, mohawk and fangs.

The thing is, "Santiaga" is Lachowicz's avatar in the crazy popular online game World of Warcraft.

Here is the mailing that the Maine GOP has sent out across the state:

So now attacking a candidate's hobbies is considered an acceptable political tactic? This is a whole new low, one that the Republican Party should not only be ashamed of but thoroughly ridiculed for.

Read more at Politico.com.

Friday, October 05, 2012

"Attention all personnel, INCOMING WOUNDED!"

Last night the Rockingham Community College Foundation held its annual fundraising dinner at Reidsville Country Club. Every year it's a different theme and this time it was the television series M*A*S*H. It also serves as an acronym for More Academic and Scholarship Help. Anyway, they went totally all-out in doing a M*A*S*H theme: right down to having a real jeep, the signpost, Klinger's female wardrobe, the Swamp (complete with still) and "Rosie's Bar" (serving real booze!)...

To add further atmosphere, several members of the Theatre Guild of Rockingham County volunteered to be in costume as various characters from the show. We had Mike Davis as Hawkeye and Eric Smith as Trapper (each carrying around a martini glass), Tyler Walker as Klinger (who went through three costume changes including a wedding dress), and Tanya Rimmer Willis as Hotlips.

And as Corporal "Radar" O'Reilly, it's Yours Truly!

And they even set up Radar's desk complete with period typewriter and radio gear!

We all had a lot of fun helping with a great cause. Although it's now twenty-four hours later and my throat is still a tad sore from all that running around screaming "INCOMING WOUNDED!" :-)

Lots of Christian music from my college days

In retrospect of the long and curious journey of my spiritual life, I can see now how my seeking after God has been a quest that has taken the majority of my years on this Earth. But it was only sixteen years ago when that seeking coalesced and crystallized into a choice to follow after Christ.

As with many things however, those first few years were, well... interesting, to put it mildly. Downright strange and bizarre in fact. Yeah bizarre even by my own standards...

But the Lord provides. And He sustains. Always. Sometimes in ways that we can't fully appreciate until a long time later, and that is certainly what I have found in recent years especially.

Something that was an encouragement for me during those first few years were the brothers and sisters at Elon College's InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Every Tuesday night was an evening of praise and worship and for some reason or another they even tolerated a fallen and frail guy like me. Helped me, even. A lot. Well, there was a bunch of singing those nights, and waaaay back in 1998 there was a whole night's "recording session" of those songs. Over the years the tapes were converted into MP3 files for digital dispersal among friends. I've been carrying them around on my iPod for more than six years now. When I went through an especially rough patch two years ago, these songs became one of the few things that helped me hold onto God's promise that the darkness would end. So, I can readily attest that there's some uplifting material here.

Geoff Gentry, not just a true brother in the Lord but an all-around kewl dude and techno-wunderkind, has made ALL of those recordings available on his website! There are two zipped-up files to download: one is the "main" body of 29 songs and then there's a "bonus" archive with 6 songs. My voice is somewhere in the larger collection but it's (thankfully) drowned out by those of much better singers. Anyhoo, these have been a blessing to me over the years and if you need something uplifting, maybe they can be a blessing to you too.

It's the first clip ever from STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS!

Last night during Conan O'Brien's show on TBS, J.J. Abrams was a guest and he brought along the very first bit of footage from Star Trek Into Darkness that Paramount allowed him to show the public!

Want to see? Here it is!

Star Trek Into Darkness, the sequel to 2009's Star Trek, warps into theaters on May 17th 2013. Until then, this clip will have to tide us over for the next seven months.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

This winter brings the wrath of Khan

Ever breaking the boundaries of meteorology, The Weather Channel has announced that just as organized tropical storm systems have names, major winter storms will now be named too!

Here is the list of storm names for Winter 2012-2013:

What the...?!?

"Draco"? "Gandolf"? "Khan"? "Q"? "Rocky"?


To the left you see Orko, the Trollan magician/court jester from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. That is what people mostly think of when they hear "Orko". But according to The Weather Channel the name "Orko" was chosen because it's "the thunder god in Basque mythology". Yes, The Weather Channel went to a region of Spain to look for an obscure deity to be on their winter storm list. And they expect us to buh-leeeve that?

Jason Samenow writes some thoughts about this on the Washington Post's website. And make sure to stock up on plenty of bread and milk before we get slammed by Yogi.

Popcorn Sutton: The Airplane!

That is the most awesome aircraft in history, and infinitely cooler than the Stealth Bomber.

(Okay, the SR-71 Blackbird will always be the greatest aircraft ever, but this is at least a very close second.)

I'm not sure if this is one person's private aircraft or something official with Popcorn Sutton's Tennessee White Whiskey, but it's got "93 Proof" printed on the fuselage and flies high and fast! 'Course it's been said that Popcorn's likker would make you fly high and fast without a plane, but anyhoo...

I wonder if we'll ever see a NASCAR driver sponsored by Popcorn Sutton's moonshine. Now that would be a beast of a hot-looking car!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

My girlfriend's performances at Spring Showcase 2012!

This is Kristen Bradford, the girl who I am more blessed than I possibly deserve to have in my life, along with her instructor Jay Henderson at this past weekend's Spring Showcase in Roanoke, Virginia...

(Photo credit goes to Ryan Kegel, who along with his wife Sarah were two of the many who came to cheer Kristen on :-)

Showcase is a twice-annual event hosted by the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Roanoke, Virginia. It's a formal/gala event at the Hotel Roanoke where the students perform before a large audience. This was the third one that I have been at since we've been dating and it was easily the most electrifying one yet!

Okay, 'nuff from me. Y'all want to see Kristen dance. And I'm gonna happily oblige ya!

First up was a "graduation ceremony" of sorts. Ballroom dancing has different levels of skill and competition. At this Showcase, Kristen is moving up from Bronze III to IV. Here are the routines that she performed...

Then followed a series of "mini-matches": four couples on the floor at the same time, with the crowd calling out the numbers pinned to the male partner's backs when that couple does something especially good. Here are the first three mini-matches Kristen did...

Kristen Bradford Mini-Match #1

Kristen Bradford Mini-Match #2

Kristen Bradford Mini-Match #3

Following the first half of Showcase there was a thirty-minute break. And during this time I had a little fun with the trusty iPad. Here is Kristen and Jay starring in "The Dancing Damsel!"

Following the break, Kristen returned to solo with a Samba...

Kristen had two more mini-matches for the evening...

Kristen Bradford Mini-Match #4

Kristen Bradford Mini-Match #5

And then, later on during Showcase, came a performance that I heard many say was perhaps the finest of the event. I certainly loved it!

Accompanying the song "Lady in Red", here is Kristen and Jay dancing Bolero...

Someday, I pray that I might be able to dance even half as good as Jay... because I would seriously love to be a serious enough a partner for Kristen :-)

After Showcase finished up, there was the fine dinner and night of dancing ahead of us. And yes, Yours Truly did hit the floor with mostly some Waltz and Rumba. I even did a fancy turn somewhere in there.

But I definitely gotta show y'all these guys. Nick Manzo and Laura Cotton came to Showcase all the way from the Arthur Murray studio in Arrowhead, Arizona! They are two of the top-ranked dance instructors anywhere in the world... and here you'll see why:

By this point the evening was getting long, and after all that dancing Kristen was feeling a bit exhausted.

And then Nick asked her for a dance! Here they are, having fun with a Hustle along with Sister Sledge's "We Are Family":

That was more than enough to put a few more times on the dance floor into her :-)

Everyone from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Roanoke did a remarkable job! I'm looking at taking classes there sometime in the near future. Hey, maybe there's hope yet for a guy with two left feet :-)

"The Angels Take Manhattan": Chris is increasingly conflicted about Amy and Rory's departure from DOCTOR WHO

"Spoilers"? I doubt it. By the night it aired everyone and their tin dog knew all too well that "The Angels Take Manhattan" would be the episode that saw wife-and-husband companions Amy and Rory (Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill) taking their bows from Doctor Who.

So what did this blogger think of the second Doctor Who story that the BBC has filmed in the United States?

I think that writer and showrunner Steven Moffat gave Amy and Rory a fine and fitting close to their part in the Doctor's epic mythology, with as much happiness as two people in love with each other could possibly have. At the same time, with more and more time passing since watching it I can't help but think that this story felt too fast-paced and blurring, especially toward an event which by every measure should be forever burned into the gestalt consciousness of the Whoniverse.

And then there is the point which will probably have people jumping flunky on me from all quarters: I honestly think that of the stories to date featuring the Weeping Angels, this was certainly the weakest.

Look folks, I am madly in love with the Weeping Angels so far as Doctor Who enemies are concerned! In a television show that has become as famous for its monsters as it has for its hero, the Weeping Angels stand as the most original and absolutely the most horrifying of the lot. Far more so than the Daleks and the Cybermen, even. In fact, I'd dare say that the Weeping Angels are the most frightening creatures in any modern fiction, period. They're such a terrifying and unique concept that I'm even attempting to write a fan-fiction story about them, so don't anybody say that I don't appreciate them!

But in "The Angels Take Manhattan", well... the Weeping Angels also came across as rushed, to the point of being - dare I say it - underwhelming.

Maybe it's a consequence of how this season is being structured. Moffat has stated a few times that Season 7 (or 33 depending on what you're incrementing from) would be a solid slate of one-episode stories. Based on the season so far, I'm beginning to suspect that wasn't a wise decision. "Asylum of the Daleks" and "A Town Called Mercy" definitely worked without having to span multiple chapters. But then there have been "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" and last week's "The Power of Three": stories that perhaps had potential but were shoehorned into less space than they deserved (okay, I don't know if anything could have helped "The Power of Three"). "The Angels Take Manhattan" is now the most glaring example of this problem, especially when one considers how last year's amazing "The Impossible Astronaut"/"The Day of the Moon" worked as the first Doctor Who story made on American soil. In retrospect it seems that selling-point was the biggest thing "The Angels Take Manhattan" had going for it... and gimmicks like that, however well intended, should never trump plot or pacing.

I'm not even going to begin to touch upon this episode's inordinately considerable amount of plotholes and inconsistencies. And just how does the Statue of Liberty go missing without anyone noticing it? Did illusionist David Copperfield have an uncredited cameo where his swimsuit-clad assistants hoisted a black curtain to hide the Statue from observation so it could go stomping off to Winter Quay? And how does a copper and steel colossus with hollow innards become a Weeping Angel, anyway?

River Song, with the ever-enjoyable Alex Kingston in the role, seems like a tacked-on addition to the episode. For someone who is the Doctor's wife and with such a major change-up at hand, River Song deserved better.

I'm gonna have to say that "The Angels Take Manhattan" fulfilled its mission of giving Amy and Rory a proper send-off. But the lead-up to that moment could have been immensely more memorable... and far less confusing.

"The Angels Take Manhattan" gets Three Sonic Screwdrivers from this blogger: not a bad episode, but not overwhelmingly "great" either.

And with that, Doctor Who returns with the now-traditional Christmas special airing December 25th!

Bad Moon Rising: British cop's call for backup leads to luna-tickling mistake

A police officer in Great Britain is weathering international ribbing after calling in for reinforcements to help with a potentially dangerous situation... that turned out to be nothing more than the light of the silvery moon!

From the story at The Inquisitr:
According to Independent Online News, the story was originally picked up by Police magazine, which brought the cop’s startling encounter with the moon to the masses. In the article, the officer in question didn’t realize his mistake until after he’d told his co-workers that he might require backup.

“While single-crewed on night duty in Worcestershire a PC called up his sergeant letting him know that he was going up into the Clent Hills to investigate a ‘suspicious bright light’ that he could see shining from the other side of the hills,” the magazine revealed. “The call was for safety reasons as he might need back-up once he found the source. Twenty minutes later the PC called his sergeant back to reassure him that everything was ok and that he had found the source of the light.”

Fortunately, the mysterious light was nothing more than the moon hanging out in the heavens. All kidding aside, at least the cop was doing his job. Had the light turned out to be some sort of threat to the fine residents of Worcestershire, the poor guy would have been a hero. Sadly, he’s just the butt of a joke.

Personally, I don't think this guy should be ridiculed at all. Astral phenomenon has a long, long history of playing tricks with light on human visual acuity. I mean, the planet Venus has been mistaken for everything from distant volcanic eruptions to flying saucers. It's not the first time that somebody has been fooled by natural lights in the sky, and it won't be the last.

This policeman wasn't wrong to call for help if he thought there was legitimate reason for it. But still, all in all... it is a rather funny story :-)