Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 in review

The following is an edited version of the Holiday Letter MLW and I sent out this past year, put into blog-code as necessary (which reminds me... I need to update the scorecard in a big way...)

2006 seemed to have a theme of Change. While many things stayed the same, we enjoyed many new things as well. The year began with JAM still unemployed (since Nov. 2005 – those of you who read the blog know this painfully). Curiously, this wasn’t quite as stressful to either of us as we’d thought it would have been.

In January, we headed south to North Carolina (the hurricane state!), where we witnessed the union of ToasterGirl (MLW’s former roommate) and GPSBoy(another Drewid of our acquaintance) in a moving Quaker ceremony in Durham, followed by a delightful reception at the oddly named Tobacco Warehouse. While in Durham we were able to take in some of the city’s sights and also visit with Ultimate Brian & Penultimate (?) Katie (still more Drewids… who knew the area was full of ’em?) And best of all, JAM didn’t use any days off…

February was very full (as it tends to be) for such a short month. We made our annual trip to DC’s Chinese New Year parade to celebrate the year of the Dog (woof!). Following that we had a small-scale birthday gathering for JAM, which was preceded by Birthday SNOW! (It is such a rarity in Virginia!!). Certainly not the worst way to greet 35. This, in turn, was followed by a visit from the GSM. Sadly, they were both pretty ill, thus we have declared a moratorium on birthday visits (or at least visits during Winter Olympic years, since the prior one in 2002, resulted in a broken hot water heater and a serious cold for JAM). Around the same time, Eva was in town for a church music conference, and we were able to visit with her and catch up.

March found MLW summoned for Jury service. Like a teeny-tiny minority of Americans (which JAM is happy to consider himself among), MLW is one of those rare few who was actually looking forward to jury service. Sadly, each day as she checked to see if she was called up the next day, the court was closed. She was very disappointed.

April found us in NJ (for our first visit of 2006) to help JAM’s Gram celebrate her 91st birthday and catch up with the folks. Before we left town, JAM’s high school friend thefirstNoel came to town for a conference, and we were able to have dinner together before she fled back to lands northwards. On the way home, we got to meet Son-of-a-JADO for the first time -- What a cute and drooly child.

In May we made our next visit northward to mark the first communion of MLW’s Godmother’s grandson Joey – who does a great (the late) John Denver (?! - he sang "Rocky Mountain High," but then you know how the lids today love their John Denver...) impression. We also got to see the in-law’s first apartment (which was effectively the first place that MLW ever lived). Oh, yeah, also in May, JAM got a job at a small IT consulting firm in DC. Before he started he spent the last weekend at Six Flags America with ODFA.

The (fortunately unseasonably cool) month of June found us celebrating the wedding of the Huge’s in beautiful outdoor setting in Centreville, VA (wow! A wedding we didn’t really didn’t have to travel for – we love those weddings most of all!) While the promised fireworks between certain participants never materialized, the weekend gave us an opportunity to catch up with various and sundry New Jerseyians of our past association. Later in the month, MLW celebrated her birthday with friends and the in-law’s came to visit. We visited the WWII Memorial, and enjoyed DC despite the summer heat.

In July, Drewids OragamiSlayer and Tina (who live out in Fairfax) invited us to join them at a performance of the RSC (the Reduced Shakespeare Company) in their still funny, no matter how many times we’ve seen it, The Complete History of America: Abridged. Dinner out with friends and an evening of laughs are a wonderful way to pass the time. JAM’s cousin A and (her husband)R announced they were pregnant, and JAM has been steeling himself to be a first cousin once removed.

In August, we had our first ever overnight visit by a family. Mr. Township Manager, HLWJ, and cute as a button Sabina came to visit on their way back to NJ from Williamsburg. While our house is certainly not childproof, we are happy report that everyone left intact. While it was a short visit, it was a fun one.

September went by without much event, while JAM decided he needed to get a(nother) new job, as the one at [company deleted for legal reasons] was just not working out. We tried to have many dinners with all our local friends, so had lots of good food and great conversations.

October was a month where a whole lotta stuff happened. First – on our 8th wedding anniversary – JAM decided to give notice to the company he’d been working for (for about five months). While he gave 2.5 weeks notice, they decided he could leave that day. By the time MLW arrived to drive JAM home he was waiting in the lobby chatting with the security guards. That night he addressed the membership of the Art Deco Society of Washington, giving the first “state of the society” address in several years. The next day he received a job offer from Plateau Systems, LTD. – one of two offers he would receive that same week – and after some thought decided to accept it. Also, in October we were able to finally catch up with the O’Ciommo Ninja clan and then met up with the JADO’s at the Philadelphia Zoo, where much fun was had by all and many photos were taken. The following weekend, we went off to Staunton, VA where we saw not one but three Shakespeare plays at the Blackfriar’s Playhouse. On the way back, we drove along the scenic Skyline Drive and enjoyed the fall foliage (also, many photos were taken). While this was the first year in a while that we did not have our annual Halloween Gala, we did have the annual neighborhood Trick Or Treat block candy give-away (yeah, the name really sings). It was also JAM’s first day at his (new) new job.

As November came around, we found ourselves starting the month with yet another trip to the zoo, this time the National Zoo and this time with friends OriginalWeb and CH. Later in the same month, we went up to NJ yet again, this time for MLW’s father’s “retirement party” (MLW’s dad has been retiring for the entire 15 years JAM has known her…) Since we were up anyway, we decided to join in-laws and the GSM for day before and Thanksgiving for much, much eating. We were able to catch up with Mr. Township Manager & family, and with college friend GWEK, and with high school friend Jeannine.

And so December found us in the midst of our usual holiday madness. We had MLW’s work holiday party (first time I’ve had my picture taken with Santa in about… um, I’m going to guess 25 years...), my work party where I ran into Chuck Schmoyer from West Milford Twp High School (Freebird!) and of course, our own annual holiday gala, that this year featured snow. Yes, snow. Even if we had to make it ourselves. The holidays themselves involved a short trip northwards to NJ, and while they involved the third annual Xmas Eve Morning Brunch (a chance for us West Milford ex-pat’s to catch up) it was somewhat muted due to a family sitch that I won’t get into here.

So the year was filled with new beginnings, and new opportunities, but also filled with old friends and the best traditions.

Happy Holidays!

Let there be peace on earth, but most especially let there be peace for each of you
(and perhaps a little left over for each of us).

-- J & J

So that's the letter. Back in a day or two with what's in store for 2007!

Friday, December 29, 2006

I'll be brief...

(hey, it can happen), and simply say, "Yeah, baby!"

Sunday, December 24, 2006

What's in Your Wallet?

No, wait. I meant, what's in your Xmas Stocking...?

Your Christmas Stocking Will Be Filled With Coal

You haven't been *that* naughty this year
Santa is just screwing with you

Well, I can't say I'm surprised...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Twas the Night Before...

...the Night Before Xmas and all through the hotel... Well, I dunno. Sometimes you start something and then it just turns out to be a sentence.

I wish I had more time to blog lately. So many things I have told y'all about yet. MLW's work party, my work party (and getting called up by the CEO, and running into Chuck Schmoyer from the one and only West Milford Twp High School). Then there's the new project I've been assigned at work and the ups and downs of that.

But I don't have the energy to go into all that right now. So instead, I'm just going to suggest you check out this entry at MG's Stripes and Plaids, which took some computer sleuthing through the archives to run down for her. (Pause for a moment and contemplate how much computer technology changed since 1992. I had to use two machines just to get it into a modern storage media...) Anyway, it was worth it, as it's still one of the funnier Xmas pieces I've ever read.

So, Happy Holidays, MG. And the rest of you folks. And to all... ah, you know the rest...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

So much, so little time

So, I've been meaning to blog. I really have. I dunno. Seems like there's too much going on to really have time. It doesn't help that a lot of the time I'm at customer sites, which sometimes don't have Internet access. And this week I started at another client site -- a customer with one of those three letter acronyms -- and I not only can't access the Internet, but I'm also not allowed my cellphone. (Yep, my own private, personal vision of hell -- no way to communicate...)

Anyway, a couple things happened that I wanted to mention. The first was the death of the man who created Green Lantern -- the original, GL, Alan Scott, for those that follow this stuff. OriginalWeb was kind enough to bring that to my attention. (Represents sort of a Halloween costume lost for me, 'mongst other things...) Anyway, yet another great passes. Might I also point out a charity that takes care of older cartoonists (those that started out in the days before they could make a fortune selling their art and whatnot...)

* * *

In other news, why is it 63 degrees in the middle of December? Yeah, Oil Companies, congratulations, your efforts to position the global warming issue as a debate have clearly been successful.


* * *

SQ sent in this little article about the 10 most deadly toys of all time. Funny stuff. I won't tell you how many of those I had/have...

I'll probably have more over the weekend. At least that's my intention. And we all know about intentions, don't we?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Why has it been so long...

...between posts, this time? I have no idea. Maybe the new job. Maybe I'm just lame. I really don't know anymore.

Two quick things, both semi-work related:

1) Beware the ever expanding eye of Big Brother.

2) Where are those TPS reports?

More later. Eventually.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

As Dinah Washington sings...

...What a Difference a Day Makes...

So it's looking like people listened and went out a voted. I was surprisingly impressed by the election results, and a seeming surge in Democrats (notwithstanding recounts, legal action, etc.) It seems that in spite of reported Conservative efforts to @#$% with the process and legal polling, people got out and voted (and as some people pointed out it was even raining here in Northern VA...)

I am totally disappointed in Virginia's response to Question 1. I was IMing with Mr. Huge about it yesterday and as I believe he said, it's disgraceful. I challenge anyone to say how passing this did anything other than set us backwards. I'm not a lawyer, but I hope this is being challenged somehow someway. (I take a very minor amount of solace in the fact that Northern VA -- and my town in particular -- was overwhelmingly - 2 to 1 or more - against passing the amendment. It doesn't change the feeling I have that I need to apologize for 57% of my adopted state).

All this and Britney filed for divorce AND Rumsfeld stepped down -- another example of Republicans living in their own little fantasy world... if you wanted a scapegoat and to take value from having a scapegoat, wouldn't it have been better if he resigned LAST week. But no, they just refuse to accept the premise of reality it seems (actually, that also applies to what I said above about VA...)

Meanwhile, in personal news, I'm still in training. You know how a sponge can soak up a certain amount of liquid and then anything else one tries to soak up doesn't go in -- I believe that's called saturation -- well, if you replace "sponge" with "brain" and "liquid" with "information" and you kinda have my status right now.

Anyway, I know there was other stuff I wanted to talk about -- probably even a main reason I thought, "Oh, I should blog during lunch break," but I'll be damned if I can remember what it was. So, more later...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Don't forget to vote...

I know I said this yesterday, but I once again wanted to emphasize the importance of voting -- preferrably to change the current course of the nation -- but voting in any event.

If you have questions about how to vote or where to vote the League of Women Voters has an excellent site that gives you all in the info you might need.

And again, if you feel the urge to help out, might I suggest (again):

Call For Change

* * *

In other news, the new job is going well (in so far as I can tell), although I am in training all week this on the Plateau software. (Have I mentioned the name of the company? I don't even remember... I'm working for Plateau Systems, Ltd.) And as I said, so far so good. Everyone has seemed very nice. There is some (organized) chaos since the company just moved to a new building, which when they told me they were doing that... well, let's just say, I didn't realize they meant, a NEW building. Like the building is still being built... as in the two floors the company occupies are not finished, and the whole place smells of new paint, wallpaper glue, carpet glue, etc., etc. And like I said, I'm enjoying it so far.

* * *
Well, all for now (and TV post coming soon!), in the meantime, VOTE early, VOTE often! Or something like that.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

More important than TV?

So I've been meaning to write an updated post on the Fall TV season... (which I believe I referred to before). Plus, I figure some people might be interested in knowing how the first week at the new job went (short answer: pretty well). But before I get to either of those things, I thought I should talk for a minute about Election Day, which is coming up next Tuesday (11/5).

Now I was raised to believe that voting is not just a right I possess as a citizen of the USA (and a right, I may add, that many men and women far braver than I gave their lives defending in years past), but also a responsibility. Which is to say, a right only matters if you exercise it every now and again. It's important that you get out there and vote.

Normally, I stop there. I just encourage people to engage in the electoral process and let them vote their conscience. And if you don't want to read anything political, stop here, and just make sure you vote on Tuesday.

Call For Change

This year, however, I feel it's a little too important not to at least mention my thoughts on the subject. The bottom line is many of us (and by us I mean nearly all of my family and friends) feel that we've been in an increasing bad situation vis-a-vis our government and its decisions and its decision-makers ("deciders," if you will). And the beauty of it is, in this country, we get a chance to tell people, "Yeah, this just isn't working for me, so we're going to try something else."

Ultimately, this year voter turnout (and, in particular, Democratic voter turnout) matters big-time. Many races will be decided by just hundreds of votes—and those races will determine the future of Congress.

MoveOn's Call for Change program allows people with busy lives to spend as little as 15 minutes mobilizing voters in key races from their home computer and phone.

There's been lots of attempts (and likely they'll continue) to energize the conservative "base" -- that's one thing the right is very good at. Let's not sit idly by and let another election go to the dogs (and by that I mean no disrespect to our canine friends out there....)

Thank you for reading, and I think I'll leave you with a quote from Teddy "Carry a Big Stick" Roosevelt that I came across recently at an island we have down here named for the former President:

"A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be great or a democracy." — Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Jack-o-lantern, geek 70s style...

Just a quick post today, as I'm fatigued from the preparations that went into the monthly poker night...

So I leave you with this tidbit, sent in by alert reader SQ. I would go ahead and try it if not for the lack of pumpkin... and electronics skills...

More later.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Hey there, I believe I promised y'all a tale of jobs lost and found and work and pain and stupid people? Wait? I didn't? You have no idea what I'm babbling about? (What else is new...?) Well, please, pull up a chair....

Once Upon a Time...
No, wait. That hardly seems the way to begin this sort of tale. No.

It was a dark and stormy night in the city, when...
No, that doesn't seem quite right either.

So there's this guy... let's call him KBN (once you think back, it will make sense...), and he had been out of work for almost six months (which is a long time to be out of work, what with mortgages and car payments and the like...) and then after a series of "near-misses" and "almost happened" job opportunities he got called for a phone interview on an add he saw in the newspaper, for a company we'll called Outdarkened & Co. The phone interview went well, so he was asked in for an in-person interview. Then a second one, after which he met with a number of people who would be his coworkers. Then there was another phone interview. After five to six weeks of this, he was offered a position.

Now his instinct told him that there were some yellow if not red flags. Lots and lots of talk had come up about overtime. And working late. And on weekends. But he needed the job and decided he was just nervous -- he'd been at his former company a really long time (by modern standards) and he was just nervous at the prospect of a new thing no doubt.

So he started the new job. And within the first week it was crystal clear that beneath the surface (and not that far beneath at that) there was a nigh boiling sea of discontent amongst his teammates. A lot of that seemed to stem from the team leader, but it was nothing KBN didn't feel he couldn't fix. After all, fixing problems was what he did best. Besides, he figured, it was probably just nerves... it was a different than what he'd been used to -- he could make it work.

The weeks wore on and things got worse. Then they got briefly better... it seemed that the powers that be knew that there were issues with the team leader and things were said and some issues were changed for the better. Things were looking up. "See," KBN thought, "you were just imagining things... intuition, schmintuition..."

And then slowly things started downhill again. And it started to become clear that children learn what they are taught. While it was still tempting (and possibly valid) to point to the team leader as the source of all problems, KBN (who it should be pointed out, was not fresh off the turnip truck and had a fair command of reading people) realized that it wasn't that easy. The team leader, he was simply emulating what he had learned from the powers that be -- the higher ups in the company. It was starting to become clear that this was one of those situations that KBN couldn't fix.

He had trouble accepting those types of situations, he always did, but he started to not actively but more than passively look for a new gig. His plan was that he would stay there until he found something new, or absolutely could not stand it anymore (a point which seemed to come startlingly close every few days -- and if not for him than for a coworker). In fact, in the five months he was there, he saw eleven of his coworkers depart. The powers that be seemed to be aware that something was amiss, but did not seem to consider that they or their protege, KBN's team leader could in any way be contributing to the problem.

So a couple opportunities almost happened, and then one day KBN happened to attend a job fair near his old job. As events unfolded he got called in for an interview based on one of those meetings. That same week he was called by a tech placement firm who wanted him to run a government contract up in MD. So yes, he had two opportunities the same week. Taking a calculated gamble, since things got progressively worse each day, he opted to tender his resignation. Being the mature, business people he thought they were, in spite of accepting the two and a half weeks notice KBN offered them, the powers that be asked him to leave that day (which, incidentally was fine with him, because it meant he could go home and get in a nap before his evening's public speaking commitments...)

The next day he received a job offer from the first (the job fair) company. By the end of the week he had a second offer from the MD gig. He opted to take the one from the job fair, both because it was closer to home, and because it wasn't exactly the same as what he'd done before. But either way it would put him back in a management role for which he is most cut out.

The moral of our story: Listen to your instincts; don't rationalize them away. There's a very good reason you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach.

The preceding story was a work of fiction. Any similarities between persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
So that was our story. I hope you enjoyed it.

In completely unrelated news, I wanted to mention that I will be starting a new job on Halloween (oooooh, scaaaaaary). And for the record, I have a really good feeling about this one.

Much more to talk about, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A small update

Actually, there's been nothing small about it, as I've been at it all day. I'm trying to reintroduce some of the added things to the site (including the ads, yes, it's true), but do it in a debugging fashion -- so one item at a time, checking on each one, so I don't get that weird space between the main column and the sidebar. (Yes, I realize this is as exciting as watching paint dry...)

At the same time I'm trying to update the links and also clean some stuff up.

More actual content tomorrow, including the much promised job update.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I was going to write...

...about everything that's happened recently in my life, because there's been a lot. But then I read this, and I got annoyed at the close-mindedness and ignorance of many people, and so before I post about my life, I felt instead, I would very briefly get political and post the following essay. The friend that wrote it asked that their name not be attached if it was forwarded, so I'm going to assume the same applies here.

OK, here'’s the thing. As a journalist, I think it'’s pretty important to stay objective, and to not publicly express my political opinions. Also, as a person, I think it is important not to hammer anyone I want to keep as a friend over the head with my deeply-held beliefs, whether religious or political.

But Question 1 is so scary to me, I'’m sending this out --— only to the friends I would normally feel pretty comfortable talking politics with, specifically, those who can vote in Virginia or who are likely to know others who can. I suspect many people who would be scared, too, just don't know that it's coming up. If you decide to pass any of this along, thank you, thank you, but please take my name off it.

Proponents of Question 1 say it is about gay marriage. Gay marriage has been explicitly illegal in Virginia for 30 years, and same-sex civil unions have been illegal since 2004. If you are unsure of how to feel about gay marriage, I understand, and it is not happening in Virginia any time soon. Whether this passes or not, there is no danger (or hope) of that.

Here'’s the text of Question 1:
Question: Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state:
"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions. This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."?

And here are the implications:
It means that agreements between unmarried couples (gay and straight) that "“approximate"” marriage are unenforceable, including:
  • end of life decisions
  • medical decisions
  • guardianship of children
  • ownership and transfer of property
  • It means public employers would not be able to offer any health or life insurance benefits to unmarried partners (gay or straight).
  • It means unmarried partners would be unprotected from domestic violence.
OK, I think that'’s probably enough. I should probably come down off my soap box. There'’s a lot more really good information at, and you can seekout that info if you choose to. There's more at, including an excellent checklist of reasons to vote "no" if you click on the "Why Does This Matter" tab.

Really, I just want people to know what that question represents. And, you know, if you talk about it with the people you feel comfortable with, and they talk about it with people they feel comfortable with, yadda yadda yadda.
I think my friend summed it up pretty well. I was reminded by another column I read a few years back on the broader national debate. It makes the points eloquentlyloquently than I ever could, but essentially, you can't grant a right to some of your citizens and not others.

I'm not under the delusion that this blog is read by enough people for this entry to make a difference, but on the other hand, I know a lot of my readers come from Northern VA (the stat's tell me that much). So, who knows, maybe I can help people make us a little less backwards thinking. Can't hurt to try...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ack! Why did no one tell me?

I should point out that I use Firefox, a wonderful little browser from the fine folks at Mozilla. I only use IE for a few things at work or if I encounter a problem with the site using Firefox or if the site insists I use IE.

As such, it never occurred to me to check the blog with IE, until today, in reference to some comments Mr. Huge made over dinner last night.

OMG! It looks HORRIBLE. Why did no one mention this before now?!

So effective immediately, I'll be re-generating the template. So expect things to be somewhat dull over the remainder of the week, until I find the time to get everything fixed (which I should have done back in June or whenever it was that I tried to change the template's color...)

Yes, yes, I know... you could care less. But there should be a modicum of pride in what one does.

More later.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The New Fall TV Season... upon us. Well, at least according to the networks, who decreed that it should begin last Monday, and it was so.

As if to demonstrate what you knew already in your heart of hearts, I watch way to much TV. Herewith is the primetime schedule I'm looking at....





8:30 - How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

Heroes (NBC)

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC)
What About Brian (ABC)


Gilmore Girls (CW)
House (Fox)

Eureka (Sci Fi)
Veronica Mars (CW)
Justice (Fox)

Smith (CBS)


Bones (Fox)

Lost (ABC)

The Nine (ABC)


Smallville (CW)
8:30 – The Office (NBC)

Shark (CBS)


Dr. Who (Sci Fi)

Battlestar Galactica (Sci Fi)


Fantastic Four (Cartoon 8-8:30)


Desperate Housewives (ABC)

Key: Blue is must see, Red is if there’s a chance, but not necessary to tape.

As you can see not as many timeslots where I need to have four recording devices going simultaneously (which is tough, since I only have two.) I'll no doubt be adding to this post or creating subsequent posts as I hit specific shows. But since this has already been sitting around unposted for almost a week now, I figured I'd get the grid out (that way you know what to watch... or perhaps what shows NOT to get attached to, because if I'm a fan, their days are numbered...)

Man, I need a DVR/TiVo...

More later.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

SOOOO sleepy....

...I can't even tell ya...

Figured I ought to post before anyone else sends more ephemera my way. So right to the pointless info...

First, in today's odd news: Man Bites Panda... (never trusted those Pandas...)

Elmo-watch continues: eXtreme Elmo revealed to the masses, plus a commentary on

Stumbled across this tidbit in Cinematical that explains the latest notion from the "House of Ideas."

Speaking of movies, check out the new Casino Royale trailer (as well as a bunch of behind-the-scenes bits) here.

SQ sent in this "precious" article about the Remember Ring, that's hard to forget.

And finally, today's update on where the hell are the flying cars?

That's all for now, kids. Gotta wobble so I don't fall down. The TV post coming soon -- as soon as I have a few minutes all at once....

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ahoy, Mateys!

What is Talk Like a Pirate Day? Learn the answer from the very fellows who created the day. Or from the esteemed Dave Barry.

So in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day (TLaPD), please let me share some of these exciting links with ya...

First, How do you go about it? Arrrr! (It's just that simple).

Next, perhaps you need to know your pirate name -- seems like a good place to start... for instance...

My pirate name is:

Captain John Rackham

Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Okay, so now ye've gotten yer Pirate Name, now what? Well, obviously, ye be needin' some pirate merchandise! I mean, what be pirates without thar booty [insert yer own joke here, ye bilge rats, ye]. And speakin' of Pirate Booty, it's a tasty snack, ye know.

Now that ye be properly outfitted, I think I should let Capt'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket explain the key to TLaPD.

Those two scoundrels also explain the 5 A's, in a slightly longer video. If ye still haven't gotten the hang of it, they be havin' this nifty translatin' utility.

If ye be wantin' to learn about actual (and fictional) pirates, please check out Davy's Jones' Library... And of course, you need to get the Pirate Guys tome:

And finally, OriginalWebb suggested this happy pirate song.

I be hopin' I made this clear to ye Land Lubbers. Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day.

-- Captain John Rackham

[Ed. Note: The regularly scheduled post on the new Fall TV season will be postponed to tomorrow as a result of this momentous and venerable occasion.]

Friday, September 08, 2006

Brought to you by the letter Q and the number 7

Hey Kids,

I'm sure there is something more important to be talking about (global warming, the destruction of the environment, the increasing mix of church and state, the war in Iraq, the arguable growth of fascism in America, etc.) but since it doesn't really affect the mainstream media why should it affect me...? So today I wanted to share two articles on Sesame Street.

I may have already shared this article from LA Times columnist Joel Stein, explaining what I've always suspected, that Elmo is evil -- brought to my attention by MDFA of all people...

Then yesterday, my office neighbor EB, shared with me this bit from McSweeney's on Cookie Monster (one of the more maligned muppets, IMO). (Clearly he's got a lot more depth to his personality than just cookies -- here he analyzes Shakespeare...)

Well, that's it for now, folks. Anyone know whatever happened to Electric Company? Or where I can get a cookie...?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

There's such a thing as too much...

Howdy Kids (or should that be "Kidz"?),

Much -- well, okay, not "much," but something -- to tell about this weekend, but that will have to wait for a moment. I had to bring this to your immediate attention...

Now many of you may know that MLW and I are stockholders in Marvel Entertainment, part of that whole "invest in what you buy or use" philosophy that has many me the hundredaire I am today... But even I must say this is going too far.

And no, these guys are not to be confused with the Spiderman & Friends line of deformed (no, that's really the technical term for the art style) action figures for pre-schoolers (I think my favorite has to be Wolverine... he's cute with his skewer-you claws and everything... although "Hug-n-Roar Hulk" is a close second...) Don't get me wrong, I'm sure if I had pre-school boys I'd be buying these toys for them, but Marvel Babies? (For you geekasauruses in the audience, make sure you read down to the comments -- they're kinda funny.)

In fairness, as this article points out, this is merely one of the latest in a line of this disturbing baby-ifying of characters... (Actually, wasn't there an episode of Justice League where they got turned into kids?)

My thanks to EB, the man who sits next to me (at least for the next couple of weeks) for bringing this to my attention...

More later, True Believers!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I don't care what else is going on... I'm blogging today, damn it!

Geez, I don't even know where to start... which I suppose is one of the reasons it's taken me this long to type this thing... I keep thinking to myself, "Gee, I only have 10 minutes... that's not going to be long enough to post anything of value." (We'll leave out of the discussion the notion of whether anything I post is of value...)

So I think I left off in late June, right? Let's see if I can quickly summarize what happened since then...

Superman Returns -- I'm withholding judgment until I see it a second time, but I think I liked it, but ultimately was hoping for more.

July found us celebrating MDFA's b-day, with our traditional (?) mini-golf game. I was, of course, absolutely terrible... The fourth was its usual, uneventful self MLW, MDFA, and I watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (you know, so we'd be caught up on valuable backstory for the second one) and also managed to set off fireworks for the second time in my life (I am happy to report no injuries this time). The following weekend we went to the Pirates sequel (which I liked, but everyone else found a tad lacking) and on Saturday, Alexandria's (and the USA's) Birthday Celebration in Oronoco Bay Park in Alexandria. This has also become something of a tradition. I think if you're really interested, MLW has pictures of me at the aforementioned event eating ice cream.

I recollect that later in the month we saw The Devil Wears Prada, and thought it was cute. By far the most disturbing thing that we saw in July -- if not all year, or several years -- was Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth. I mean, we already own the J-Pod (MLW's Prius), but to be honest, I feel like that's not nearly enough after seeing this movie. And if you haven't seen this movie, go see it -- quite possibly the scariest thing you'll see in a long time...

Near the end of the month, our good pal Origami Slayer and HLW contacted us as they had extra tickets to see The Reduced Shakespeare Company in "The Complete History of America, Abridged" at the Kennedy Center and while we'd seen the show before, I never turn down free tickets to the RSC, and find the shows really funny no matter how many times I've seen them... And they even autographed a copy of their new book for me.

Which I think more or less brings us around to August. Now it seems I have very little that was accomplished in August... or at least I can't recall much of it. I seem to remember a lot of sitting around. I know that we were kinda disappointed with the selection of many movies, and I think I invited MDFA over to watch some DVD's with MLW and me. I was going to do a whole superhero themed night with a cartoon or two, a TV show episode and a movie. But we never got to the Fantastic Four (the intended movie), since after a few of the Fleischer Animation Studio Superman cartoons, we started watching episodes of the first season of Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter. And my god are we having fun doing that. We've done the same thing for several Saturdays in August now, and wow-oh-wow is that show a lot more fun than I remember it... Admittedly, we're laughing at it, but hey, as long as we enjoy it, right...? Plus, we have a longstanding tradition of making fun of superhero shows. (I'm sure some of you must remember The Flash...)

Then of course, the long-awaited Snakes on a Plane arrived. That was a full weekend. The movie was exactly what we (the viewers) were promised, and I think if you went into it with your mind in the right place, you were fine. Samuel L. Jackson really does what he promises... The next day (last Saturday) we once again headed over to Six Flags America (hey, gotta get some use out of that season pass...) and while it became apparent that none of us (it was again the gruesome threesome -- MDFA, MLW, and me) really were in the mood for the amusement park, we were there because it was the "retro weekend" -- which meant they had a free concert with... wait for it... Eddie Money and then Loverboy. Yep, an amazing collection of "what did they play again?" 80s rockers, admittedly some of them seeming like they needed walkers...

But generally speaking we had fun. This past weekend (the one that draws to a close as I type), we had a visit by my old hometown's Manager, and his lovely wife and their ridiculously cute 5 year old daughter. Spent a lot of time around the homestead here, and then wandered around Olde Towne in too hot weather with Code Purple air quality. After they left, I went back to sleep. And then we repeated another evening of food, folks, and Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman as described above.

Is this all that there is to tell? Probably not, but I've been at this for a while and I'll still need to go back and add some links later on. So I'll leave you with this interesting bit, and promise to not disappear for nigh-two months again. Argh.

More soon.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Look! Up in the sky!

As promised in yesterday's entry, in honor of the premiere of Superman Returns, an all-Superman addendum to yesterday's comic section...

So where to start...? The Blue Tights Network seems (to me) to be the same sort of "grass-roots" (in the sense that it's totally not), fan-based marketing device -- similar to the Browncoats for Serenity, last fall. Not that this is a bad model to imitate... But it does seem an imitation (from what I've seen).

Then (in case you've been under a rock) there's the various trailers for the movie, courtesy of the fine folks at Quicktime.

A wonderful cross-section of reviews (though if ever a movie was in the "review-proof" category...) as always at Rotten Tomatoes. (73% positive when I was there.)

And then lest you think I'm only talking about the movie, I felt I should share this article, courtesy of SQ, which was amusing. But not as amusing as this site, which questions (through use of old comic covers) exactly whether Superman's nice reputation is deserved...

So enjoy. Chuckle. Go see the movie (I'm sure it will need support, what with it being a small indie, with no marketing...)

And I'll be back at some point to talk about something else...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My life is a Steve Gutenberg film...

"Film?" Did Steve Gutenberg make "films?" Maybe "movie" is more accurate.

That's certainly what it felt like last week when I found myself at the Institute for Police Sciences... a.k.a. the DC Police Academy as part of my new job. For those of you who I haven't explained it to yet, I'm working on a contract that deals with an IT system for the DC Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Specifically, I'm dealing with the Metropolitan Police Dept (MPD). I know, you're thrilled. And no, I can't do anything about your parking tickets...

I'm likewise quite certain there was other stuff that happened last week that merited comment, but it all drains away so quickly. Lack of sleep'll do that...

Now I know I promised a posting about comics, but I have a couple other things that came up in the meantime (don't they always...) My new officemate shared this article with me on a new machine that cures migraines. I must admit I'm interested even if it resembles the Flowbee.

This is an interesting part of the CBS news site, where they have someone else scanning the blogosphere for interesting tidbits...

Okay, and now on with at least part one of our promised comic book section...

First a couple of very cool blogs on the topic, including Comics 101, League of Melbotis, and Comic Critique, which provides some excellent reviews.

I don't know if MLW's pictures came out, but last Thursday we went to a lecture (with the Huge's) that the Smithsonian Associates gave entitled, Superman on the Couch (yes, based on a book of the same name). Quite interesting and I got to hear from some creators I'd grown up reading.

And I think that's about all the time I have tonight. Tune in next time (hopefully tomorrow) for our all Superman edition (in honor of the movie's premiere).

Monday, June 26, 2006

He's almost back...

Finally, a trailer that gives a minor amount of info on the plot... (Watch or not as your choose).

I have a lot to post, but spent most of my blogging time this weekend trying to fix the template (to no avail). More soon.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

More bears, the small Huge Wedding, and the Non-free-thinking

So... as promised, various things to update y'all about...

But first, right after I made the post about the cat scaring the bear in West Milford, CNN posted a video interview which they appropriated from NJ News Channel 12 (who incorrectly stated they were broadcasting from "Milford" -- shame on you NJ News Channel 12...). Then, as if that wasn't enough, I came across this story thru, that shows that bears are using hammocks up in Highland Lakes, which is a town or two North-Northwest of West Milford, where my good pal, Mr. Township Manager & his lovely family live. (If I were you, I'd get a cat, Rich...)

Now then, it seems that the wording in my aforementioned earlier post got a number of readers (two, anyway) confused. When I said I'd have word on "the Huge wedding," I did not mean that the wedding I had attended was huge. (Far from it, there were probably 70-80 people there.) No, I meant (and clearly did not articulate well) that this was the wedding of the Insidious Mr. Huge and Bride of Huge, semi-frequent commenters to this very blog...

So, the wedding was outdoors, the weather was beautiful (imagine if it had been THIS weekend, ick...), and it was nice to see many an old friend. Even my former invisible, "not dead yet" best man put in an appearance, much to the (pleasant) shock of most of us West Milford ex-pats... I was a tiny bit disappointed that the forecasted emotional scenes/fisticuffs/pie fights did not materialize (if only because of my strong tendency for schadenfreude), simply because we'd been hearing about the likelihood of this happening for a year or so. So in that regard, anticlimatic, but I'm sure in the end, that was for the best. And the cigars seemed to be a surprise hit. So, that's the (small) Huge wedding, in a nutshell.

A lot of people (both at the wedding, and just in passing), have been inquiring about how the new job is going. That's a tricky one to answer. My reaction is usually...
Spidey Sense Tingling!
Which may have you asking why. (Or may not. You might not care a wit. I really have no idea. This a computer screen I'm typing at here...) It could be a lot of things. Could be that I'd been out of work for so long. Could be that I'm lazy. Could be that I got spoiled at CPI by the way things were (or sometimes were not) done there. Or it just might be that there are some management/morale/respect issues that are starting to become clear. We'll see...

I'll have been here a full month by the end of this week (four week already, so do your own math), and I plan to sit down with at least one of the powers that be and see what they think of my progress and maybe give them some feedback. So I'm sure I'll update you on that next time.

Okay, I think that's about it from these parts for now. Next time: Comics!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Minor changes abound

Some alert and/or frequent visitors should notice I changed some stuff around. Modified the color-scheme (long-hand, there had to be a better way to do that), added some links to the fine folks at, and ordered up the link section a bit (which I'll likely be adding to shortly).

Nothing super important, but since the blog is entering a new phase, I figured I change things up a bit. Feel free to let me know which look you prefer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

West Milford...

...where the men are real men, the women are real women, and the cats can scare a bear up a tree...

I'm sure many of y'all have seen this one already, since it was picked up by major media outlets, but I figured I'd share. (That's my hometown, don'tcha know...) Detailed account from the Star Ledger.

(An actual post with you know, update info, and the scoop on the Huge Wedding, coming soon...)