Saturday, January 30, 2010


I was jetting through Apple's movie trailer page when I saw the poster above. What the …? I had to click. It just looked like fun. What I found was a fun teen comic fanboy movie. The title alone, KICK-ASS, is enough to make me want to see it, just like SNAKES ON A PLANE. The trailer sealed the deal. 

From the website:

A twisted, funny, high-octane adventure, director Matthew Vaughn brings KICK-ASS to the big screen. KICK-ASS tells the story of average teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a comic-book fanboy who decides to take his obsession as inspiration to become a real-life superhero. As any good superhero would, he chooses a new name — Kick-Ass — assembles a suit and mask to wear, and gets to work fighting crime. There’s only one problem standing in his way: Kick-Ass has absolutely no superpowers. His life is forever changed as he inspires a subculture of copy cats, meets up with a pair of crazed vigilantes — including an 11-year-old sword-wielding dynamo, Hit Girl (ChloĆ« Moretz) and her father, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) — and forges a friendship with another fledgling superhero, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But thanks to the scheming of a local mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), that new alliance will be put to the test.

I'm thinking this one requires a trip to the theaters with friends. You really must watch the trailers.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I sure wish the Congressional Democrats could have done more over the last year to make significant changes. Unfortunately, they used their super majority to do nothing more but bark and flutter about. They should have voted for significant health care change, IMHO. I hope the Dems get it together and make changes (even if it's it to issues other than health care).


I was baffled the other night when Obama stated if bank's can give big bonuses then they can repay taxpayer bailout money. Dems jumped to their feet and applauded while Republicans sat. If conservatives are so opposed to the stimulus, then shouldn't they want that money paid back?

I think they should pay the money back if and when they can. If they are in good enough shape to award bonuses then they can pay their money back so we can bring the deficit down. Doesn't that make good economic sense? 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I really don't care who calls me an Obamabot or a follower of Obama. I heard the president's speech tonight and was inspired by his vision. I agree with many (not all) of his policies. He was eloquent, humorous, specific and firm. A good leader must be firm and fair and I liked what he had to say.

That's all I'm going to say about that.


The new Apple tablet – iPad – was announced today and it is an amazing piece of technological innovation.

  • robust Internet
  • email
  • ebook reader (in color)
  • 144,000 apps redesigned just for the iPad
  • SDK for third party apps
  • Photo sharing
  • Video
  • high quality screen
  • iPod
  • 10-hour battery life (even running video)

The features go on and on and it is amazingly affordable. There is an onscreen keyboard (any orientation) which should make blogging and email and word processing (yep) easy. At 1.5 pounds and .5-inches wide, there is not much to dislike about the iPad.

I cannot imagine it would be long for comics to come to the iPad easily. If so, it will have the opportunity to change the industry. I would buy many of my comics on the iPad. Not all of them, mind you, but many of them. 

I've been waiting for this for months. The biggest appeal being the book reader, but I can see so many other uses for it. By the way, one can purchase a 3G data plan for it for constant connection although it has built-in Wi-Fi.

(Update: Did I mention the accessibility features and the eco-friendliness of the construction? Accessibility: Support for playback of closed-captioned content, VoiceOver screen reader, full-screen zoom, white on black (a big deal for persons with low vision), and mono audio. Green: Arsenic-free screen, BFR-free, Mercury-free LCD display, PVC-free, and a recyclable aluminum and glass enclosure.)

Monday, January 25, 2010


Today was a rough day, and that means a fight to keep from inhaling all the greasy goodness within reach. Imo's. I thought about Imo's all meat pizza all the way home and even tried to convince the wife that it would make life better. She wasn't buying and now that I've had my supper, I am glad for it. Although I'm still thinking about Imo's or I wouldn't have blogged about it.

I'm the cook, but because I was struggling so much tonight, the wife tied on her feminist apron and cooked Mediterranean tilapia with a vegetable-potato blend. It was great, really great and I'm feeling good for not eating Imo's. Although I do have to admit that if the pizza were in the house I would tear into it like a down-low Baptist minister on a cracked-out gay hooker.

Instead of eating 1,500 worth of calories in one meal, I had something like 300. I'm sure the fat doctor would be pleased. The day was still hard but I plan to treat it with an hour long spell of good, old fashioned television watching – Heroes. After that I may go straight to bed.

The truth is, I should be strong enough to resist that food myself and make healthy choices on my own. That is often the case, but there some days that I cannot do it. I do not expect my wife to police my food. That would place the responsibility with someone else when it should be mind. However, it's good to have someone around to help from time to time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


While the kid was outside playing, Skinny Kitty and I watched a film, a real film with acting, a strong story, and new ideas. MOON is the story of Sam who is the only workman on a lunar outpost. He oversees the harvesting of Helium 3, which is used as an alternative fuel on Earth.

The job requires a three-year stint and considering his only companion is a computer and his only connection is through videos swapped back and forth, the job is quite lonely. As Sam's contract draws nigh the long journey takes its toll. And things, well, they just get a bit nuts.

"I can't say much more," said my comic book guy who recommended the film to me. I pass that same advice on to you. I will say that they experience – if you enjoy great acting and a solid story – is worth every second.

This guy only gave the movie a B+, but I think he's off. He's off in more ways than one. I can say that because we've known one another for years. He could say the same of me. It's better than a B+. simply because of the acting let alone the script. Don't expect a laser gun fights, aliens, or big explosions. This is a low budget, high quality film that is suspenseful, slower paced, sad and unique.

I'd really like to see it nominated for an Oscar for acting and script. Not that it necessarily deserves to win best actor, but I think the performance is worth the nod.

Highly Recommended


They are just looking out for me, my plethora of fat doctors (general practicioner, exercise physiologist, nutritionist), but they have lost their ever-loving mind if they expect this fat feller to burn 400-500 calories a day.

Already, I get up at the crack-of-God (5:30 am) and work out on my birthday present (recumbent bicycle). It's work folks, I tell you what, for this rotund writer to turn the pedals for 25 minutes. I am huffing, puffing and sweating like a dancing mule by the time it's done and my heart rate is only 120-130. I aim for 80-88 rpms, use program 2, set the level at 4 and I average 6.5 miles.

It only burns 200 calories, but it's all I can manage. The other day the nutritionist told me to work out enough to burn 400-500 calories per day. I'll meet the sweet baby Jesus sooner rather than later if I try to meet that goal. Right now I am doing great to keep my heart rate up and still be able to walk afterwards. So I've decided to forgo his recommendation right now. I'll just do my best and work out – once – five days a week and take a leisurely bike ride on the weekends.

I'm already restricting my caloric consumption to 1,200-1,500 calories a day. Believe you me, that's work. (Truth is, I don't always hit that goal, but I try like the dickens and I am successful most days.) The good news is that my sweet tooth has all but disappeared. I have had only two cookies since September 21, 2009 and I've not had any cake, pie, cobbler, muffin or donut since that time. I've cut out most caffeine and am limiting fat.

I prefer the bicycle over the treadmill as the impact is less and I can watch TV or read (the latter being my preference as I get in my comic reading everyday during my workout).

Saturday, January 23, 2010


It is a travesty of monumental proportions when a recycled storyline (DANCES WITH WOLVES and FERN GULLY) is infused with CGI (righteous, incredible, eye-popping CGI though it was), then given the best picture of the year over more original scripts with rich acting. 

Make no mistake. I liked AVATAR. I thought it was cool and you can read my review here.  Best Special Effects I can see. Best Picture? Judas Priest! If that happens at the Oscars I'm going to eat my pinky toe.

I'm also a tad errped that Robert Downey Jr. won Best Performance in a Comedy or Musical for SHERLOCK HOLMES. The whole Holmes thing bugs me because of the pumped up, washboard stomach of Sherlock. That ain't the character, people. He ain't no kung fu stud. He's a brain.

Don't get me started on the fact that a romantic comedy won best screen play.

However ... GLEE absolutely should have won Best Television Series–Comedy or Musical. That is a clever show.


Our schools and communities need to do a better job and I think we just might find some consensus with that statement. Of course, where that consensus breaks down is in how we define "need to do a better job." As someone who supports social justice and equality for all persons (including gays and Muslims – the favorite victims for contemporary bullies) I got my hands on an equity and diversity quiz today. (Thanks to a Jack operative.) I thought I would share some of the stats. The quiz and the answers come from

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of U.S. schools with NO teachers of color on staff is 40%.

According to a study by the American Association of Physicians for Human Rights, 52% of physicians report witnessing a colleague giving reduced care or refusing care to lesbian, gay or bisexual patients.

Power cocain (largely used by wealthy people) and crack cocaine (largely used by economically disadvantaged people) contain roughly the same amount of drug per gram. Under federal law, an individual must possess 500 grams of powder or only 5 grams of crack to be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.

84.5% of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered high school students report that their teachers "never" or "rarel" respond to homophobic remarks made by other students, according to a national study by GLSEN.

Less than 1% of U.S. government budget goes to welfare while 20% goes to Social Security.

I do believe we need more teachers representing minority populations. We should not ever condone the bullying of a student, any student. We should never condone the compromise of health care based on someone's sexual orientation. When physicians report seeing this (not patients but physicians) then we have a real problem on our hands. Don't let anyone ever fool you. The rights of the people in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community are violated, usurped and stomped upon every day.

These individuals have a right to the same opportunities and advantages just like we straight, married, parentified, White, Christian folks do.

(Bold and uppercase emphasis is mine all mine.)

(In the interests of transparent reporting, the quiz states the stats were taken from the following entities: Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality; American Association of Physicians for Human Rights; American Civil Liberties Union; Economic Policy Institute; Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network; The Immigrtion Policy Center; National Center for Education Statistics; UNICEF; and U.S. Census Bureau.)


Skinny Kitty and I just finished watching OUTRAGE, the documentary about closeted gay politicians who actively and aggressively vote against the rights of homosexuals. Certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes, the documentarian delves into the reasons and causes behind the anti-gay movement and the closeting of gay politicans and the self-hatred that invariably comes with the territory ... until the politician comes out, that is.

I had no idea that Barney Frank was gay. I was glad to see one openly gay Republican. Who knew that so many Washington staffers (Republican and Democrat) were gay? It upsets me a great deal when Americans fight to impede the rights of others: gays, people of color, women, religious groups, nonreligious groups, persons with disabilities, etc. I especially despise it when we use God to prevent their equal access. I simply do not have the words to describe my indignation when persons in those minority groups are the perpetrators.

Highly Recommended

Sunday, January 10, 2010


  1. In extreme cold tires can lose their bead and run flat; check them often.
  2. The ice is a hard, hurty, and downright slippery substance.
  3. Tiny little scissor jacks don't do well on ice. (See number 2)
  4. Unused donut spare tires lose air over time.
  5. If all else fails, call AAA. (That's why you paid for it)
  6. Tennis shoes are not the same as snow boots.

I am a big feller – plenty of Thicksulate to keep me warm – and I am manly enough to change my own tire. I noticed our car was not working well on the ice this morning (after we headed to church) so I pulled over and checked things over. The front passenger tire was flat and the left driver was low. Like the dad in A Christmas Story, I popped out and thought myself a NASCAR pit crew of one. I pulled out the rinky-dink scissor jack, donut tire then assessed the situation. It went something like this:

  • Contemplated the slope (to the right) of the road
  • Considered the solid sheet of ice
  • Looked at the right passenger tire
  • Remembered the freezing temperatures and the fact my car sits outside
  • Daydreamed about bloody knuckles trying to pry loose frozen lugnuts, kicking the tire to get it off the mount, watching the scissor jack slip out and come crashing toward me.
  • Called AAA roadside assistance

It's a good thing. The guy tried his lug wrench then switched to the pneumatic. I was right; the lug nuts were frozen. He had to use a rubber mallet to knock the tire loose. I was right about that, too. He tried to air up my flat spare, but it was so cold that his air nipple fell plumb off. So he jumped in his rig and took the donut to Git-In-Go to air it up.

I called the shop where I bought my tires and they held a spot open for me. I drove in and they got right to it, remounting both front tires. I did noticed that my feet were a bit – shall we say – cold. I was wearing my sneakers rather than snow boots. While they worked on the car the wife brought me dry socks and shoes and we headed straight to Pro Bass for these boots. They are warm, warm, warm and easy to put on. There's just no sense going without proper footwear (hats or gloves) when it is this cold. Had it happened on my way to work or to Branson I might have had frostbite.


I am raising a good girl. She is a nice mix of girl and geek: girlygeekchic. She loves pink and blue and sports and The Lord of the Rings. That last one required a bit of coaxing, but once we sat down she was hooked.

It all started earlier this week as she and I were home because of the snow. We watched the Rankin/Bass classic, The Hobbit animated film – one of my childhood favorites. Then I convinced her to try The Fellowship of the Ring. It was a hard sell as her mother uses that film to tease me so the kid was skeptical. Once I turned it on, she got into it. She's a geek at heart and loves those fantasy stories. I paused often to make sure she understood (she did most of the time) and to fill in gaps.

I nearly hit the floor when she asked – repeatedly – to watch The Two Towers. They are long movies for an elementary aged student, but she kept in there. We watched the first half of the extended version then took a break. I can't wait to give her the rest as it really kicks into gear.

She is raised well and will go far in this world where geeks are taking over.

Friday, January 08, 2010


Walmart and a chain I've never head of, H&M, were caught by a university student destroying brand new, tagged clothing to make room for the new stock. The story hit the Times and The Huffington Post. The issue is that the clothing has been intentionally destroyed rather than donating to the homeless.

"'Gloves with the fingers cut off,' Ms. Magnus said, reciting the inventory of ruined items. 'Warm socks. Cute patent leather Mary Jane school shoes, maybe for fourth graders, with the instep cut up with a scissor. Men’s jackets, slashed across the body and the arms. The puffy fiber fill was coming out in big white cotton balls.' The jackets were tagged $59, $79 and $129." (Times)

H&M has vowed to stop the destruction and donate the items to charity. A Walmart spokesperson stated items are usually donated and planned to investigate. It seems the most responsible thing to do with unsold clothing would be to donate them rather than send them to a landfill. They do no one any good in the dirt.

Skinny Kitty and I are not a multi-national corporation but even we practice responsible citizenship by donating. We hold a garage sale every year; it is our attempt to recoup money for items we no longer need. The items that do not sell are given to The Salvation Army or Goodwill. The only thing thrown away is trash. To me, it seems the most responsible behavior. Sure, I have to take time out to stack the items in the car and drive them to the charitable location, but it is the right thing to do.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


I made a mad dash to the grocery store yesterday to pick up some items in order to make some warm dishes for the family. No, it was not a run for French Toast supplies (milk, bread, eggs). I came home and made chili and vegetable beef soup. It's the vegetable beef soup recipe that I will share.


1 small lean beef roast (I used eye of round roast)
1 large onion quartered
2 large potatoes peeled and chopped
2 packets Lipton onion soup mix
2 cups red wine
1 64 ounce jug V-8
1-2 packages of frozen veggies
3 garlic cloves chopped
1-2 cartons beef broth

Put the roast in a big crock pot. Add Lipton onion soup mix, onions and potatoes. Pour in red wine and then add some beef broth until 3/4 of the roast is submerged. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or high for 4 hours).

When done, take out the roast and shred and chop it. My girls like the beef pretty small. Take out the onions and potatoes and cut them into smaller pieces if necessary. Add it all back to the crock pot. If your crock pot isn't big enough, then transfer to a stock pot. Throw all items in the pot and bring to a boil. Then simmer for an hour or so.

I use V-8 instead of tomato juice because I want the veggies and it increases the flavor. I don't measure out the V-8 or the beef broth. I just add both until it looks right.

We are going to serve it with grilled cheese, but crackers or french bread would be good.


My issue of POLITICAL POWER: RONALD REAGAN came in yesterday (preview here). But ainchya a liberal? Yeah, but I love comics and think comic biographies are cool. I also bought the one about that Alaskan governor that up and quit. Bluewater Productions has put out all kinds of political comics including one about BO OBAMA, the president's dog.

I will not, however, come close to the LIMBAUGH one. First of all, if he really cared about his political views, he would quit the entertainment industry and run for office so he could practice what he preaches. That would be work. Enough of that.

I read a biography of Reagan once. It was for a history class and was required (reading and a paper). I actually found it quite interesting.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


I'm offering the following stories without much comment. Mostly because we have little information, not enough to make an educated and informed decision. Cases involving mental illness are very complicated. I know this first hand as I have been connected to three persons with bi-polar disorder. None of them were family members, but they were friends or family of friends.

First, the woman in question, Barbara Gingrich, was found incompetent by a judge and was appointed a legal guardian. According to the story, Gingrich was not taking her diabetes or other medications, lived in filth including mold and dog feces. She has also had involuntary holds in a mental health facility. Typically, that means someone was a danger to themselves or others, but I cannot speculate if that was the case here because there is not enough information.

Gingrich was thenmoved into a nursing home by her public administrator. The PA then denied Gingrich access to her home church. The PA stated the nursing home had a church.

There are three stories from the St. Joe News. It makes for interesting reading and subsequent discussion.

(By the way, it was an evil government agency that fought for this woman's rights and obtained hfor her the right to go back to church.)

Saturday, January 02, 2010


I've had my fix of sci-fi over the holidays. Skinny Kitty, on the other hand, has had her fill of the genre. She's quite pleased that our Netflix queue has no more aliens, robots, space ships, or electrical doohickeys.

I think she might have liked 9 (not the new musical, but the Tim Burton flick) a lot more if we had not already watched TERMINATOR: SALVATION, DISTRICT 9 and AVATAR. We also watched HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. You and I know POTTER isn't sci-fi, but Skinny Kitty lumps science fiction and fantasy into the same boat. She doesn't care for either one too much and she certainly does not like a marathon gizmos and gadgets.

In my defense, we have also watched a documentary (which I also enjoy), two kid-friendly romantic comedies (17 AGAIN and FOUR CHRISTMASES), and a kid's movie (HANNAH MONTANA). We have another comedy sitting on the shelf. I think it was a fair trade, thankee sai.


I highly recommend DISTRICT 9 if you 1) enjoy sci-fi, 2) like a documentary-style movie, 3) are looking for something different than the traditional alien fare. It has a 90% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoe. Perhaps the ending could have been better, as suggested by more than one critic, but for me DISTRICT 9 worked well and entertained. My wife found the ending sad, which I think says something when she connects to the outwardly disgusting child prawn.

We will see what happens when DISTRICT 10 hits screens, and I am assuming it will. One things for sure, oftentimes our humanitarian acts do nothing but make things worse. That was the point, right?

Friday, January 01, 2010


CNN offers a list of the best and worst in filmaking in 2009. How Ninja Assassin did not make the list astounds me (not really even though I loved it).

Movies on the list that I've either seen or were already on my Netflix queue are (in no particular order):

  • Inglorious Basterds
  • Ponyo
  • Coraline
  • The Headless Woman
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox

I agreed with the writer that the Star Trek reboot and Where The Wild Things Are were wicked-cool. I really don't care about the worst of 2009. If you do (and it's fine if you do) then you can click over to the story and read for yourself.


Judas Priest! If I read any more sappy, sentimental, well-wishing New Years blog posts I'm going to hurl. Somewhere Emmeline Grangerford is shoving her finger down her own throat.

I'm all for happy, jolly joy and plenty of introspection – although I think we should constantly evaluate ourselves and our beliefs – but do all these blog posts have to be Hallmark cards? It's like Strawberry Shortcake's funeral at the Precious Moments chapel with the Care Bears singing Amazing Grace.