Friday, July 31, 2009



I posted my thoughts about DC's Blackest Night series and Zombie-Aquaman previously, so no need to go over that again.

But today I got a look at the action figure they are releasing to tie-in to all this.

Zombie AquaCrap



Thanks to Newsarama for the heads up.

And if, for some reason I can't fathom, you want to see the entire Wave 3 of these figures, go on over to Entertainment Earth.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Escape from Rocky Mountains


Snake made his way down the litter-lined street, his eyes alert for trouble. Not that he was expecting any, but one never knows. He had made enemies of some very bad people. And they were the type to hang out in this part of town, and at this God-forsaken hour.

Yet, so far, nothing out of the ordinary concerned him. Bums, mostly, but no one he couldn't take with one hand tied behind his back. Their stench was worse than any physical threat they posed. He walked around the few who chose a piece of sidewalk for their bed.

A small grouping of young men lingered across the street, under one of the few working lamps. Snake smirked at the sight of them, all tough and angry. And so young. He thought of himself a few short years ago, just as clueless then as these kids were now.

As he rounded the corner, he was immediately plunged into blackness. A single street lamp was lit, creating a cone of light in a tunnel of dark.

Then his eyes caught sight of her.

Frankly, she was hard to miss. She was the only other person on the street. That he could see, anyway.

As if the light was meant for her alone, she stood in its center, one hand on her hip, the other holding a long cigarette. Her height was exaggerated by too-high heels and a skirt so short he didn't see a need for it.

As he grew closer, his attention was pulled from her legs to her chest. The top she wore was taut, to say the least. It was red and shiny, probably faux leather. Obviously, she needed help getting into it. And out of it.

He stopped short of the circle of light that surrounded her. The smile on his lips was practiced, but the lust in his eyes instinctive.

Red hair fell over her shoulders and down her back. She looked him up and down, taking a long drag from the lipstick stained cigarette.

All the warnings, all the advice to avoid women like her was quickly hushed by the rush of blood in his veins. His heart pounded. He reminded himself he wasn't a kid anymore and willed himself to act cool. He opened his mouth to say hello, and that's when he saw the small gun, as her hand moved from her hip.

His intense training took over and her wrist was in his hand before she could aim the weapon. He twisted it, enough to get her to loosen her grip, but not has hard as he wanted to. The gun was in his free hand before he pushed her into the brick wall. They were now partially hidden in the darkness.

"Who sent you?" he asked, his face inches from hers, their bodies pressed together. "Who are you?"

"Mountains." she said, her red lips barely parting.

He thought he misheard. "Mountains? Is that some sort of code?"

For the first time, she smiled. Red hair fell over one eye, and down onto her chest. She was beautiful, he had to admit. He felt the tension growing between them.

"My name." she answered, her breathe so hot on his neck. "Rocky Mountains."

He audibly gulped. Distracted, he wasn't quick enough to stop her as she pushed her cigarette into his neck.

"Damn!" he yelped, pushing away from her.

As he did, she stumbled and the heel broke off one of her stilettos. She grasped at the wall for stability, wobbling unsteadily. As she adjusted herself, the poor quality of her top became apparent. The buttons, loose from the strain of holding her femininity in tact, broke free and soared through the air.

And that is how Snake Plissken lost his eye.


Check out what the other Theme Thursday participants have sewn up for "button".

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Coffee Art

This popped up on the net today, and I had to share:

webdesigner depot has 50 Beautifully Delicious Coffee Designs.

Even though I think people should be drinking their coffee instead of fiddling with it, I have to appreciate the talent involved here.

My two favorites:

Coffee Art 1
Love the devilishly creepy grin!

Coffee Art 2
And this has a Dr. Seuss/Grinch-like quality to it.

Check out the rest, some are truly amazing!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Great Read Award

Great Read Award

Thank you to both Super Blogliness!
and Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness!


I read many awesome blogs, but I want to avoid giving this to those who have already received it.

So I am going to award it to:

Irreverent Irrelevance

Interesting Pile

Pick a Peck of Pixels


when is evil cool?

Igloo of the Uncanny

Just a few of the Great Reads out there, check them out!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Movie Monday - Yea, Nay, and What the Hey???


Miss Marple, Series IV: Murder is Easy (2008)

[Julia McKenzie, Shirley Henderson, Sylvia Syms, Benedict Cumberbatch]

Another episode of the BBC Marple series, this was better than the previous one, possibly because Miss Marple is much more involved in solving things here.

On a train, Marple meets a woman headed to Scotland Yard, intent on proving a friend was murdered. But she is soon murdered, as well, and Miss Marple takes it upon herself to investigate the woman's claims. She finds quite a hotbed of secrets and death before her trip is done.

An interesting story holds your interest, and the acting is just wonderful. Great fun!

Highly recommended.


Sabretooth (2002)

[David Keith, Vanessa Angel, John Rhys-Davies, Josh Holloway]

Yeah. Okay, so I watched this one even though I was warned by a friend not to. I think that made me want to watch it even more. Masochistic? Never said I wasn't, when it comes to horror films.

Sadly, this was another bad one that is just bad.

Plot: A scientist and the man who is financially backing her lose the cloned, rapidly aged sabretooth tiger they have bred. Tiger goes on a rampage through the forest, where some unlucky campers become meals.

Acting is blah, characters are worse, excitement is nil. Avoid it, even though I didn't.


Lady in the Water (2006)

[Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bob Balaban, Freddy Rodriguez]

Well, this was an odd film. I don't really know how to explain it or what to think of it.

Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, this is a story about an apartment superintendent (Giamatti) who finds a strange girl in the pool. Why she is here and how to get her back safely make up the plot of the movie.

The film isn't bad, but it also is a bit too "clever" for me. Like I said, I am not really sure what to make of it.

If you like fantasy or Shyamalan's work, this might appeal to you. Not sure otherwise.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Funny - Garfield Minus Garfield

This week's comic strip is "Garfield Minus Garfield", a funny take on the long-running classic "Garfield".

Dan Walsh takes original strips by Jim Davis and removes the title cat completely. The results are sometimes hilarious, often odd, and occasionally sad.

Here are three examples:

click to enlarge

As you can see, it can be absurd, and Jon Arbuckle can be very sad when not being mocked by his pet cat.

Davis himself is a bit of a fan, saying the idea is "inspired" and thanking Walsh for letting him see a different side to Garfield. Awesome that he is so cool about it!

At the main site, you can view the archive, read about Dan Walsh, purchase the book based on the strip or read a FAQ.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fallen - A Great Short Film

I wanted to share this short (less than four minutes) but wonderful animated film that was previously posted by Daniel Florien at his great site Unreasonable Faith.



Great message! Enjoy what time you have, no matter what obstacles you face or how short it may be. This life is all we've got.


The short is from Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Theme Thursday - Shoe

On a beach vacation this week!

These are pretty much the only "shoes" I have seen:

Flip Flops


Surf on over to Theme Thursday to see what the other participants have kicked up for SHOE.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


My daughter sent me the following cartoon:

Pearls Before Swine

click to enlarge

I love it!


And it made me think of this man and his wife, who made the news earlier this month:

A renowned British conductor and his wife have died in the assisted suicide clinic Dignitas, their family said.

Sir Edward Downes, 85, was almost blind when he and his 74-year-old wife Joan travelled to Switzerland to end their lives, a family statement released to the BBC said.


The statement, released by their son and daughter, Caractacus and Boudicca, said the couple died on July 10 "under circumstances of their own choosing" after a struggle with serious health problems.

It said: "After 54 happy years together they decided to end their own lives rather than continue to struggle with serious health problems.

"They died peacefully and under circumstances of their own choosing, with the help of the Swiss organisation Dignitas in Zurich."

Click here for story, via The Press Association.


I hope I have that freedom, when my time comes.

I want to make that choice for my own life and it's end. I want to be able to decide if I have had enough. And I hope that my family is as supportive as the children mentioned above.

I want to decide when my time is up. Not someone else who wants to push their views or beliefs onto everyone else.

In the future, I hope this becomes legal in the USA and that we would have this choice in my own country.

But, if need be, I will be more than happy to take a nice, final flight to Switzerland.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Old Haunts

Old Haunts

I quietly enter a home oft visited
My grandmother's small cottage
The rooms are all so vivid today
In this long-gone place of yesterday

I sit in the backseat at the drive-in
With cars lined up side-by-side
Now, that lot is empty and gray
The movie stars long gone away

I walk the aisles of an old store
A place I worked so long ago
I see shelves with the items they bore
However this space exists no more

I pace a floor, crying child in hand
Trying not to wake another
Yet that nursery is now a den
And those children grown men

Too many of our old buildings
Stand no longer in this world
Existing now not of brick or steel
Only in memory, no longer unreal

Looking about the spaces of my now
Longing for the rooms of my then
Without a pause, I jaunt
Into my head, an old beloved haunt

Joseph Mello

Monday, July 20, 2009

Movie Monday - Four Films, Two Yutes & a Short


Hancock (2008)

[Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Jae Head]

Well, this movie wasn't what I expected it to be. It turned out to be pretty cool.

Hancock is a man with superhuman abilities. But he does almost as much damage as good in his attempts to help humanity. Crossing paths with Ray, a public relations expert, is a changing point in his life. And in Ray's life, as well.

This film starts out one way and, about halfway through, becomes something even better. Won't say anymore, as I really hate to be the one to spoil things for others. But, my family and I liked it, a lot.

Recommended, for movie fans of all kinds. This is more than just a super-hero flick.


Miss Marple, Series IV: A Pocket Full of Rye (2008)

[Julia McKenzie, Rose Heiney, Laura Haddock, Matthew Macfadyen]

Haven't watched any of these Miss Marple episodes (really films) before, this was a first. And I liked it.

Miss Marple learns that an ex-maid has been killed at her new employer's home, so she sets off to investigate. Soon enough, she is sorting through the family drama to find the murderer.

Good enough, but I wasn't as pulled in as I have been with the Poirot stories. Still, better than most stuff out there.


Mammoth (2006)

[Vincent Ventresca, Summer Glau, Tom Skerritt, Cole Williams]

Well, this wasn't your run-of-the-mill SciFi Channel film. It does have the giant creature wreaking terror and death. But it also has a dose of aliens and a humorous streak.

Aliens revive a woolly mammoth, and it proceeds to suck the life out of people. I think. But a scientist and a federal agent are on the case, with the scientist's father and daughter, among others, in tow.

Not great, not even really good, it at least attempts to be something more than the usual straight-to-TV or -DVD film. That's got to count for something, right?

Recommended if you like cheesy scifi/monster flicks. Or if you are masochistic.


My Cousin Vinny (1992)

[Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Fred Gwynne, Lane Smith]

My son picked this when it was his turn in our Netflix queue, so it's good to know his taste is great already! We may have watched this several times before, but it's just a wonderful movie.

Pesci and Tomei are just great together here. And yeah, she did deserve her Oscar for playing Lisa. Fred Gwynne is so terrific, as well. Love it.

Always recommended.


Treevenge (2008)

[Mike Cleven, Glen Matthews, Kristin Slaney]

Well, this was different. This short (15 minute) film was all over the horror blogs this week. I heard about it from Freddy in Space.

It is a holiday-themed horror flick about Christmas trees fighting back. And it DOES NOT hold back on the gore. Interesting, and well made for a little film. It won an award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

NOT recommended for everyone. If you are a fan of hardcore horror, then you will dig it, but otherwise don't view it.

You have been warned.

Click to view TREEVENGE, at


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Funny - The Comics Curmudgeon

This week, a look at another blog that revolves around comic strips.

The Comics Curmudgeon run by Josh, is a daily look at the comics page with commentary on some of the more absurd things therein.

Josh pokes fun at the strips, but it is done with a love for the material, as well.

Head on over to his site for some laughs and to join in on the comments and the forum!


Thanks to Mooncity, at Autumn Lake Webcomic, for the above graphic.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Theme Thursday - Stage




Joe couldn't wait to get home.

At the bus station, he passed the time in thought. The sideshow circuit was done for the season, his friends scattered to their winter haunts. He would miss them, and the audience. Oblivious to the people staring at him, or rather at where his legs should have been, he jumped at the sound of the horn from the truck. His family was here.

He bounced around the back of his father's old pickup. The road was rough, the ride was long. But soon they would be at the family's old farm, the place he grew up. It promised to be a long summer.

In the dusty driveway, the cab of the truck emptied. His mother into the house, his father to the barn. His brother stood for a long moment, staring at him. He climbed out of the truck and onto the dirt. His brother walked away. No one said a word.

Inside, his mother tended to chores, and only spoke to inform him that his bed was now located in the attic, for his brother was now the sole occupant of their previously shared bedroom. She said no more, and never looked at him. He left the kitchen.

His bag secured around his shoulders, he made his way to the foot of the stairs. Step after step, hand over hand, he ascended. He wondered if his parents sought to punish him, in their way, by moving his bed to the highest point of the house.

He was different now, though. They didn't know him anymore. His climb up the stairs didn't take any more time for him than it would have for his brother. Soon enough, he was at the top, three flights up. He pushed open the door, saw the dusty, dark room ahead. A bed, a chair, a small lamp. Nothing more.

On his bed, he rifled through his bag. He found the sideshow card, given to those who paid to see him. "Jo-Jo, the Half-Boy" it screamed in bold, block letters. Below this, a picture of him, balanced on one hand, grinning ear-to-ear. The back of the card gave a small, not completely accurate, biography. Putting it aside, he fished out a picture taken during the summer. Everyone was smiling, including himself. All the freaks assembled on the sideshow stage.

Joe couldn't wait to get home.


Check out what the other Theme Thursday participants came up with this week for "Stage".

And congrats to Nicole for having her theme chosen!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blackest Night? No Thanks...

DC Comics' "Blackest Night #1" is in stores today, kicking of their major summer event.

In a nutshell, "Blackest Night" has the villain Black Hand resurrected and recruited by the Guardian Scar to head the Black Lanterns. The Black Lanterns will be made up of deceased heroes from the DCU, including Firestorm, Earth-2 Superman, Martian Manhunter and, among others, Aquaman. (Read more about the storyline here.)

I won't whine about the story itself. I haven't read it, and I don't plan on reading it. But, a note to DC, this is not Aquaman:

Blackest Night Aquaman

Aquaman is a water-breathing, super-strong, telepathic Atlantean. NOT an undead space zombie with a magic ring. And garters, apparently.

The only redeeming thing I can take from all this is that maybe it will end with Aquaman being restored to the DCU in his proper form. But there are so many other ways this could have been accomplished.

I will leave the dissection and debate of the comics themselves to those who read them. Just wanted to have my say about my favorite character and the place he is in now. In my opinion, it's not a good place to be.

Check out The Aquaman Shrine or The Unofficial Aquaman Website for more in depth Aqua-info.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back and Forth, Back and Forth

She sits, her sewing in hand
Studiously working the pattern
Pondering problems with every stitch
The needle goes
Back and Forth
Back and Forth

She swings, outside on the porch
Turning over worries and fears
Sifting through the day
As her body sways
Back and Forth
Back and Forth

She stops, the sewing in her lap
And looks up at the trees
Remembering lost people and places
As wind weaves through the leaves
Back and Forth
Back and Forth

She sees, a noiseless bird soar by
Smiling at this gentle creature
Her mind slows, her nerves relax
The bird returns to the tree
Back and Forth
Back and Forth

She sits, slowly swinging
Enjoying the breeze, the bird singing
Her mind at peace, for now, at least
She picks up her needle
Back and Forth
Back and Forth

Joseph Mello

Monday, July 13, 2009

Movie Monday - With a Bonus Film to Watch Now!


Carver (2008)

[Natasha Malinsky, Erik Fones, Matt Carmody, Neil Kubath]

Well, I did it again. I saw the write-up for this movie on the cable guide and set the DVR immediately. Mistake.

This film, about some young friends who wander too close to some homicidal maniac, is just not good. The acting is so-so, the story is just a retread we have seen done better before, and the directing and editing is even worse. Some of the scenes are just disgusting, and not in a good horror way, just in a repulsive way. Ugh.

Avoid it. You won't be missing anything. In fact, you'll be better off.


Ghost Town (2008)

[Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Tea Leoni]

A fun comedy with a heart, this movie was just great.

Gervais plays a dentist who is a jerk, keeping everyone in his life at arm's length. A routine medical procedure ends up giving him the ability to see and hear the dead, and they want his help to finish things with the living.

Soon, he finds himself caught up with one certain ghost, a man who was cheating on his wife and is determined to stop her from marrying the wrong man.

Gervais makes this film great, bringing depth to his character and making him more than just the lonely loser, instead showing us a real man who has just lost his way with life. Great actor.

Highly recommended!


Agatha Christie: Poirot "Mrs. McGinty's Dead" (2008)

[David Suchet, Zoe Wanamaker, Paul Rhys]

Another great outing with Suchet as Poirot, this episode find him agreeing to look into the murder of a char-woman, even though a man has already been found guilty of the crime and sentenced to hang for it.

When Poirot goes to the small town where the murder occurred, he finds plenty of suspects. But clues from the past both muddy and clear the waters for his keen mind.

Just wonderful, as usual. The mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver is featured here, and it is great fun to listen to her complain about her annoying, yet popular, character Sven Hjerson. Christie used Oliver as a way to deal with her own frustrations with the difficult charter of Poirot.

Definitely recommended!


Tower of Evil (aka Beyond the Fog) (1972)

[Bryant Haliday, Jill Haworth, Mark Edwards, Anna Palk]

The summary for this film on the cable guide was something like "cadavers, an old lighthouse and archaeologists searching for a Phoenician treasure". So, I was expecting some kind of eerie murder-mystery.

What it was is a sort of pre-slasher horror film, with ample doses of blood (too shiny and fake, though), death, sex and nudity. And this was on Turner Classic Movies! Although, to be fair, it aired in their TCM Underground slot, which is post-midnight on Friday nights.

After some Americans are murdered while hanging out on the creepy Snape Island, British detectives uses hypnosis to try and get the full story from the sole survivor. Soon, the archaeologists are going to the island to figure things out, and look for the lost treasure. What they find is weirder and more deadly than they are prepared for.

Not a great film, it is chock full of some horror cliches and some pretty horrible dialogue. But if you watch it remembering the time it was made, it can be more palatable.

Recommended if you are a fan of older horror, otherwise not so much.


Prey Alone (2004)

[Ger Carey, Andy Moore, Kurt Savage]

I had never heard of this short film before. According to what I have read, except for the actual actors and the sets they are in, the rest of the 15-minute film was made using computer graphics. Pretty cool.

The plot at first seems just run-of-the-mill action. But watch it to the end. Good, I think.

Recommended, and hey, it's only 15 minutes long!

Prey Alone

Click for a pop out version of the film. And here for the official site.

Thanks to Neatorama for the heads up on this one.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Funny - Leroy Lockhorn Appreciation Society

Thought I would do something a little different today. Instead of showcasing a comic strip, I am going to mention a blog that focus on a comic strip.

The Leroy Lockhorn Appreciation Society

An example, click to enlarge.

This feature was started by Mr. Beautiful on his Mister Beautiful blog. He has recently moved the premise to a blog of it's own.

He showcases each day's "The Lockhorns" comic panel and offers some theories as to what is going on in the minds of Leroy, his wife Loretta and their "friends" and neighbors.

Leroy and Loretta have a uniquely passive-aggressive relationship. And they seemed trapped together in their weird world, which sometimes verges on a total void. The strip needs someone like Mr. Beautiful to ponder the insane depths of the characters and their motives.

Since this is a new blog, there aren't many followers. And that needs to change, so click on over and check it out. Leroy needs the support!

The Leroy Lockhorn Appreciation Society

Friday, July 10, 2009

Change??? Ah, Beans...

So I wake up today and find my wife has placed a napkin at the base of my coffee maker, to absorb the slowly, yet increasingly frequent, dripping brew.

Not good. Not good at all.

I had known my faithful friend was declining, but I was in denial. Who ever wants to admit when something so important and loved is reaching it's end? Not I.

My wife had mentioned buying a new one several times, but I was always sure I could make it last. Cleaning it, fiddling with it, trying to keep the aging process at bay.

However, the dripping and sad loss of valuable, delicious, life-affirming coffee increased in frequency and was now, in fact, continuous.

Alas, the end was inevitable.

Old Coffee Pot

Good-bye, my friend.

It's been a good ride.

Of course, the only way I would truly let this vital appliance leave our home is if there was a rookie waiting in the wings.

New Coffee Pot


I'm sure this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

Your first shift starts at 0600 hours. Let's see what you've got.


And since I am doing a coffee-themed post,
I will include a list sent to me by my daughter:


-You've built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.

-People get dizzy just watching you.

-Instant coffee takes too long.

-You channel surf faster without a remote.

-You have a picture of your coffee mug on your coffee mug.
(my favorite)

-You can outlast the Energizer bunny.

-You short out motion detectors.

-You don't even wait for the water to boil anymore.

-Your nervous twitch registers on the Richter scale.

-You help your dog chase its tail.

-You soak your dentures in coffee overnight.

-Your first-aid kit contains two pints of coffee with an I.V. hookup.

-You ski uphill.

-You get a speeding ticket even when you're parked.

-You answer the door before people knock.

-You haven't blinked since the last lunar eclipse.


And how cool is this?

Single Cup Maker

The WMF1 Coffee Pad is a single-serve coffee maker that uses a ceramic mug in place of the carafe. Great for cubicles or whatever small space you need a coffee-maker in. Which is anywhere. Right?

This item is from Europe and won it's creators an award in 2007.

Thanks to technabob.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Theme Thursday - Ghost

Theme Thursday this week delves into the supernatural with 'Ghost'

Ghosts are not something I believe in personally, but I love horror movies and there are plenty of ghosts to be found in them!


Poltergeist (1982)


"They're here..."

Who can forget that line from the early 80s blockbuster horror flick? Directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), this was a supremely creepy film about a normal American family caught up in paranormal circumstances.

Scared the ever-lovin' crap outta me as an 11-year-old! The possessed clown doll was bad enough, but then there were scenes like this:

Poltergeist ghost



The Haunting (1963)

The Haunting

Based on a novel by Shirley Jackson (which I still want to read), this is one of those old movies I ignored as a kid. What a mistake. It would have scared me silly then.

Even now the film retains the eerie sense of the unknown, of being watched by something so sinister and evil, that one can get goosebumps. Julie Harris is so great as Nell, the lonely woman who thinks she has finally found a place, a home, where she is special. Eeek!

(The remake from 1999 is good, but the original is better.)


The Fog (1980)

The Fog

John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, Hal Holbrook... What an awesome creative pool. The movie? Less than it could have been.

A film about the vengeful ghosts of pirates who were wronged and died at the hands of a greedy few. The film is creepy and eerie and has so much going for it that it has always been hard for me to knock it. But there has always been a bit of confusion or a lack of clarity that just irked me.

That said, it is still LOADS better than the remake from 2005.


The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense

"I see dead people."

M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed this film, and was lauded as a 'new Hitchcock' at the time. While that proved to be an overstatement, this film still holds up as a great, and sometimes very creepy, ghost movie.

It is funny, the film can be watched for the first time twice. By this, I mean that the first viewing is great, but once you know "the secret" and re-watch the film, you are viewing it all with a new eye. Interesting, at least.


The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

the ghost and mrs. muir

A classic, this film is one I really enjoy. Not scary, it is more of a romantic ghost story. A lonely widow (the beautiful Gene Tierney) with a small daughter moves into a wonderful seaside cottage, which just happens to be haunted by the previous owner, the late Captain Gregg (the great Rex Harrison).

Can the two proceed to co-exist, when one of them no longer exists? I love the mood here, and the scenery. Just wonderful, a great film that spawned a late-60s television series of the same name.


Beetlejuice (1988)


This is Tim Burton's great 80s comedy, a quirky ghost story that is full of weird and wonderful characters.

Michael Keaton is great as the title ghost, but Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are also great as the confused Maitlands. Winona Ryder is perfect as the morose Lydia. And Catherine O'Hara is just great, as usual.

Say his name three times! "Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!"


The Others (2001)

The Others

This film is another with a twist, like "The Sixth Sense". Once you know it, the next viewing is a different experience.

This film deals with ghosts in a different way and it is interesting to watch. I feel like I shouldn't say too much, even though the film is 8 years old, there may be some out there who haven't seen it. And I don't want to spoil it.

A great acting turn by Nicole Kidman, it's a film to watch at least twice.


Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Sleepy Hollow

Based on the great short story by Washington Irving, this film is another wonderful collaboration by director Tim Burton and star Johnny Depp.

Creepy and scary, the film is fun in a horrible way, with Depp perfect as the awkwardly uncomfortable Ichabod Crane, Christina Ricci wonderful as Katrina and Christopher Walken creepy as the pre-headless Horseman.

Rent this around Halloween - a great way to get into the spirit of the season!


Ghost Town (2008)

Ghost Town

This is a newer film, but great fun!

Ricky Gervais plays a lonely, jerk of a dentist, who goes in for a routine medical procedure winds up with a strange side effect - he can see and hear the dead! And the dead want his help, since they have no power to interact with the living.

The film is simple, but funny and well acted by Gervais, Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni. Gervais is the stand-out, however, making his character more than just a jerk, he is a real man who has just lost his way in the world. Very good.


Ghost (1990)


Didn't think I would leave this one off the list, did you? Truth is, I almost did. Sheesh, I am getting old!

This film was a big hit when it was released, the pairing of Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, all in their prime, was box office success.

Swayze plays the title ghost here, an honorable man killed by a thug working for a dishonorable man he thought was a friend. Whoopi plays the fake psychic who suddenly finds her power working for real.

Great scenes, with a good mix of comedy and romance, this film is the one with the much-parodied scene of Moore and Swayze and the pottery wheel. Heh.


Hope you enjoyed this ghostly jaunt through Hollywood. Check out what the other Theme Thursday participants are conjuring up this week.

And here is a bonus ghost for you:

Myers Ghost

Michael Myers playing a little prank. Does he get your ghost? ;)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Michael Jackson ...

(Image by Nate Beeler)

I debated doing a post on Michael Jackson's death, since it has been massively covered everywhere, to say the least.

But it has been on my mind, and when I started this blog I said it would be for me, mainly, to get the 'flotsam and jetsam out of my head'. So, this may get sappy, but now you've been warned.


I have been listening to his old music, watching old videos. Essentially, I guess I am dealing with the loss of the Michael Jackson from my childhood.

This quote from John Mayer in Time Magazine sums it up pretty well:

"There's just one Michael Jackson now. We don't have to reconcile the Michael Jackson we love with another Michael Jackson. In a way, he has returned to pristine condition in death. We can be free now for the rest of our lives to love the Michael Jackson we used to love."

Very well put, I think. (Read the rest here.)

I was saying something similar to my wife. I think, for many of us, we are grieving the Michael Jackson that was lost to us about 15 or 16 years ago. And we hadn't been able to do that until he died, since, obviously, it wasn't possible to mourn a man who was still alive. He was still out there, with the ever-present cloud of doubt. And wondering what would come next.

It wasn't possible to say good-bye to someone who wasn't gone.

But he is gone now. And I guess a part of me is sad for the Michael Jackson of the past. I am sad for his children, his family, his friends and even his fans. But I am also sad for the Michael Jackson who could have been.

In listening, really listening, to his music, I have a deeper respect for the musician he was. Some truly great songs in his catalog. He was an artist.

And his videos remind me of the time from my childhood when videos were a big deal! Not only did they showcase his dancing skills, but they also were innovative for the time. Mini-movies, sometimes.

Ah well, I don't really know where I am going with all of this. Like I said, just trying to reconcile it all in my head. Pop culture has always been a part of my life, and in the 80s, when I was a teenager, music was a big part of it. Michael Jackson wasn't my favorite, but he was heard a lot thanks to my brother and a cousin who were big fans. And really, was there any celebrity bigger than MJ in the 80s?

It helps me understand the media hoopla now a little better. Even if the King of Pop being mourned has been gone for a long time, he was called the King of Pop for a reason.

I hope his legacy is more than suspicion and doubt and bad jokes (of which I am just as guilty of). I hope it is his music, his charity and, most of all, his children. I truly hope they have the amazing life he would surely have wanted for them.

L.I.M. Michael


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Man with the Golden Helmet - FINALLY!

For years as a kid, my siblings and I were creeped out by a painting my parents had. We never received a real explanation as to who the man in the painting was or the artist who painted it.

He was just there, always watching.

Imagine our shock when we found an identical painting in my aunt's basement! We were convinced he was following us!

Here is the man who has lingered in memory for years:

I had posted about this painting when I stumbled across it on the wall in a horror movie I watched called "Blood Freak". My interest was piqued anew, and I added a sidebar gadget to this blog asking for help with the painting's history. No one ever responded, however.

Yesterday, while messing with my blog layout, I decided to eliminate some stuff, that painting being one of them. I was talking with my buddy Jeff and he asked why I was curious about it. He started looking online, and I did again, as well.

At the same moment he sent me a link to the actual painting, I found it as well, by doing a less detailed search (old man in a helmet painting). After all these years, I had my answer.

The original painting is called "The Man with the Golden Helmet" and, up until recently, was believed to be a classic work by none other than Rembrandt. All those years of nightmares and refusals to walk by the "scary man" at night were thanks to Rembrandt!

Of course, now there is some debate as to whether it is by Rembrandt or not. I am not an art critic/follower/anything, so I have no clue. But it is cool to know the painting is considered a classic and was not, as I long believed, the product of some weird dude churning out creepy paintings in his basement!

I guess knock-offs were mass-produced in the 60s or 70s, and this would explain why my mother and her sister both had copies. Maybe they got them after filling a few of the old S&H Green Stamp booklets.

Thanks to Jeff for helping me solve this little puzzle of childhood.


Some links to read more about this painting: - The Man with the Golden Helmet

Web Gallery of Art - The Man with the Golden Helmet

The New York Times - In Search of the Real Thing

Monday, July 6, 2009

Movie Monday - Four Takes On Justice


Agatha Christie: Poirot "Cat Among the Pigeons" (2008)

[David Suchet, Harriet Walter, Susan Wooldridge]

A great version of one of Christie's Poirot stories, about an all-girls school in England that is suddenly awash in international mystery and murder. Who among the teachers and staff is a killer?

Poirot helps a friend, the headmistress of an elite girls' school, by staying on to help her decide who is best to run the place when she retires. Soon, a murder is committed and Poirot has to put his great mind and awesome observational skills to use to bring the killer to justice.

Suchet is so wonderful as Poirot, bringing the character to life perfectly for twenty years now!

Highly recommended!


The Bride Wore Black [La mariée était en noir] (1968)

[Jeanne Moreau, Claude Rich, Charles Denner]

Directed by Francois Truffaut, this is a film which many consider to be Truffaut's homage to Alfred Hitchcock and his style of film making.

A mysterious woman is visiting men and murdering them. We soon learn her reason for the mission she is on, and the reason she has chosen these certain men.

A great movie about revenge and the lengths some people will go to when they feel they have nothing to lose.

Wonderful film with an engaging plot, you are eager to see how it will all end. This is a French film with English subtitles. If that is no problem for you, this is highly recommended!


Lakeview Terrace (2008)

[Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington]

My wife chose this film, as she isn't a fan of horror but she does like a good thriller now and then.

Unfortunately, and my wife agrees, this wasn't really that thrilling. More like boring.

A young couple moves into a new house in a cul-de-sac and immediately end up on the wrong side of their next-door neighbor's friendship.

What could have been a tense, nail-biting thriller was just drawn out, boring and blah.

If you are looking for a good thriller, look elsewhere.


Public Enemies (2009)

[Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Jason Clarke, Billy Crudup]

My daughter (a big Depp fan) was super-excited to see this movie (read her review here), so I saw it with her this past weekend, and my wife and younger son saw "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs".

The movie was good, with great acting from the leads and the supporting players. The period costumes, sets and scenes were great, too.

Depp is good playing John Dillinger, and Bale is great as Melvin Purvis. I also really liked Crudup as J. Edgar Hoover. Jason Clarke is really good as Dillinger's best bud, Red, and Cotillard is sweet as the innocent girl turned mobster's moll.

However, I feel the film was too long and that made it drag too much. Some stuff could have been cut for a shorter run time. Heck, even 2 hours would have been better than the 2 hours and 20 minutes it runs.

And there is one other issue I have with the film, in a scene towards the end. Won't say more about it, but if you have seen it, I would like to know your take on it.

Recommended, if you have time to spare.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday Funny - Baby Blues

This week's Sunday Funny is one that is quite popular:

Baby Blues by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman.

click to enlarge

My kids insist I am wrong, but this could be a snapshot of a moment at our house. In fact, many times over the years, we have seen our family experiences mirrored in the antics of the MacPherson family! Great to be able to laugh at the characters, and in turn, ourselves.

Baby Blues, a strip about two parents, their three kids and assorted family and friends, has been around since early 1990, and is now internationally syndicated. There have been over 20 books published collecting the comic strips, and there was even an animated cartoon for a brief time in 2000.

At the official site, you can read bios of the creators Scott and Kirkman; view the archives; check out a family tree; view a scrapbook; purchase related items and sift through the "junk drawer".

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Theme Thursday - Funky

The folks over at Theme Thursday have a doozy this week: Funky.


When you're a kid, weddings mean long mornings of staying clean, of dressing up in funky clothes you hate and funky shoes that are torture devices cutting into your skin.

Weddings mean endless reprimands to behave and be quiet. Of being told to smile, to shake his hand or kiss her cheek or fix your funky hair or stop fidgeting.

Weddings entail listening to drunk adults tell funky jokes and give awkward advice you are either way too old or way too young for. They involve too many people, too much time and too little fun of the kid variety.

And weddings involve being forced onto the dance floor and into funky moves with people who can't dance and with whom you don't want to be dancing.

Your grandmother is up there, 80-something years old, having a blast because this is what she has been waiting for. She is smiling, not just because she remembers all the moves, but because she is part of the crowd. Everyone is included, and for an all-too-brief moment in an otherwise boring day, you have some fun.

Now, so many years removed from being a kid, you think back on those days with a forgiving memory.

The day didn't last as long as you thought it did. The clothes, even if the styles are bad in hindsight, weren't that uncomfortable. And it really wasn't asking too much to behave and be quiet for one day, now and then.

You realize why some of the adults drank a little too much, and told the jokes you thought were so lame. You shake your head and smile as you catch yourself telling these same jokes, even staler now, to the kids around you.

And you think back on those long ago people, the adults of your childhood. So many are gone now, their time past. Their bad jokes and weird advice left to memory. Yet remembered still. Maybe not so lame after all.

When the DJ starts playing those old dances, you remember the one truly fun memory from so long ago. And you remember your grandmother and her joy at dancing, at living in the moment.

You get up on the dance floor, pulling some reluctant kid or embarrassed teenager with you. As a group, you share the bizarre moves of some old dances, and you realize funky wasn't so bad after all.


Thanks to my buddy Jeff for some late night editing help!

Check out what the other participants came up with!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Well, don't I feel adored?

FOUR great bloggers have nominated me for the "Uber Amazing Blog" Award:
Cal (Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness)
Nicole (Super Blogliness!)
Dave (My Power Is Beyond Your Understanding)
Dr. Monkey (Monkey Muck)

Thank you all very much!


Here is the criteria:

It is the Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award -
a blog award given to sites who:

Inspire you
Make you smile and laugh, or maybe give amazing information
A great read
Has an amazing design
Any other reasons you can think of that make them Uber amazing!

The rules are:

Put the logo on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 6 blogs
Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.


I want to award those who awarded me, as I love their blogs, as well. But since they have already received it, I am going to choose six different blogs:

Jon Knutson @ Random Acts of Geekery

rob! @ The Aquaman Shrine

Plaidstallion @ Plaid Stallions

Johnny @ Freddy In Space

JeffScape @ Irreverent Irrelevance

Sleestak @ Lady, That's My Skull


wiec? @ When Is Evil Cool?


Much thanks again to those who nominated me, and I hope those I have nominated gain some new readers. They deserve it!