Thursday, November 30, 2006

Greg turns over keys to Big Red Car

If you have a kid under the age of 6 in your house, then you’re all-too-familiar with the Wiggles.

So the news today may come as a shock—Greg Page, aka “the yellow wiggle,” is leaving the group!

Greg, who is 34 years old, suffers from a chronic heart condition known as orthostatic intolerance. He’s quitting the kids group to focus on his health.

Although the condition is not life-threatening, it’s bad enough to keep him from being able to perform on stage.

A guy named Sam Moran, a longtime understudy for the group, will take over as the new yellow Wiggle. In a video on the group’s site Greg explains his condition, his decision to leave and officially hands his yellow shirt over to Sam.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

'X-Men' artist Dave Cockrum dies

Wow. I just read some very sad news. Dave Cockrum, one of the comic book artists who put “X-Men” on the map, passed away on Sunday.

Cockrum was 63 years old. He died at his home in South Carolina after a long battle with diabetes and related complications.

Cockrum worked on many books during his career at both Marvel and DC, but he’ll be best remembered for his stints penciling “X-Men” in the 1970s and early 80s.

“X-Men” had failed to find an audience when it was first published in the 1960s. It was on the verge of cancellation when Cockrum took over the book in 1975 with writer Len Wein and later Chris Claremont. The rest is comic book history as the book became one of the most popular titles in the industry.

I have very fond memories of Cockrum’s work from my comic book collecting youth. He created one of my favorite characters, Nightcrawler, and helped create or shape many of the other characters that would later be featured in the “X-Men” movies.

Cockrum, who served in the Navy during Vietnam, never saw a dime from the three X-Men movies.

"Dave saw the movie and he cried -- not because he was bitter," family friend Clifford Meth said. "He cried because his characters were on screen and they were living."
There is a nice tribute to Cockrum on the Marvel Comics site.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hero notes

Here are some thoughts on last night's episode of "Heroes"...

Does anyone else find it odd that Sylar (played by actor Zachary Quinto) looks like an evil Clark Kent? Coincidence?

Meanwhile, I finally picked up on the significance of Eden's name. At first I thought her power was simply that she could do the Jedi mind trick ("These aren't the droids you're looking for"). But so far we've only seen her use her power on men. So she can get men to do whatever she tells them--just like Eve told Adam to take the apple in (all together now) the Garden of Eden.

If this was obvious to everyone else already, then please forgive me.

Holiday fun & games

OfficeMax is spreading holiday cheer with two fun sites inspired by "A Christmas Story." Check out Stuck to a Pole and Don't Shoot Your Eye Out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

'It's a...nice day for a...White Christmas'

Something about seeing 80s bad boy Billy Idol doing his best Bing Crosby impression just doesn't feel right...

Friday, November 24, 2006

More Thanksgiving humor

Talking Turkey

Thursday, November 23, 2006

WKRP Turkey Drop

For your Thanksgiving viewing pleasure...a little something to enjoy for dessert...
"As God as my witness, I thought turkey's could fly."

Spotted on Lost Remote.


The Rooney family wishes all of you out there have a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your time with loved ones. Don’t eat too much…oh, who am I kidding? Go crazy! Stuff yourself!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

First Grade Feast

Yesterday was the “First Grade Feast” at Nolan's school. All of the first graders dressed as pilgrims and Indians and sat down in the hallway to have lunch together.

The menu included chicken nuggets, veggies and popcorn—just like the first Thanksgiving!

For entertainment, the music teacher led the kids in some songs and even the principal came down to perform a number for the kids on his guitar.

Fun was had by all.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Family hike

We had lunch early today and found ourselves with nothing to do. So we decided to hop in the car and go for a quick hike.

The trail we went to is not that far from our house. It runs between the GE R&D Center and KAPL. It starts on the side of River Road and takes you to the Mohawk River, right across from the Llenroc mansion.

It's actually quite a scenic hike when you consider that we're in the middle of town and a stone's throw from two industrial complexes.

A section of the area, I believe, used to be a commuter rail line that connected Schenectady to Troy a long time ago. The track is long gone and the area is all grassy now. But we did stumble across what looked like some old railroad ties--which thrilled a certain choo-choo fan in our party.

Oh my!

More great geek news...TrekToday reports George Takei (Mr. Sulu) will appear on "Heroes" as Hiro's father. He's set to make his first appearance in a cliffhanger episode on Jan. 29.

Meanwhile, the same article also reports Christopher Eccleston (aka the Ninth Doctor Who) will also be joining the cast. No word on who he will play or when he'll make his first appearance. Although I can't help bu wonder if he's goingto turn outto be the mysterious super serial killer Sylar.

Friday, November 17, 2006

NBC swag

This little NBC promotional item was passed on to me today. It’s my very own set of official “Save the Cheerleader…Save the World” pom-poms.

I brought them home and gave them to Thomas, who had fun shaking them and trying to place them on my head.

I’m looking forward to Monday night’s big episode of “Heroes,” in which we’ll supposedly find out why Claire the cheerleader needs saving and how that will save the world. The promo makes it look pretty cool—and we all know how well promos can be trusted.

VHS, 30, dies of loneliness

After a long illness, the groundbreaking home-entertainment format VHS has died of natural causes in the United States. The format was 30 years old.

No services are planned.

The format had been expected to survive until January, but high-def formats and next-generation vidgame consoles hastened its final decline.

VHS is survived by a child, DVD, and by Tivo, VOD and DirecTV. It was preceded in death by Betamax, Divx, mini-discs and laserdiscs.

Read the rest of the "obit" that appeared in Variety this week.

The story goes on to say that many retailers have stopped stocking VHS tapes since they no longer have shelf space for them. Subsequently, most studios have stopped producing videotapes.

Our two VCRs still get a workout in our household. They may not be releasing mainstream movies on tape anymore, but you can still find plenty of kid videos. And we also still haven't joined the 21st century world of DVRs. So if we miss a show, we still tape it, not "TiVo it."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Play ball

Major League Baseball owners approved television contracts today. The bad news is, the World Series will remain exclusively on Fox through 2013.

The good news is Fox will no longer have exclusive rights to the ALCS and NLCS. They’ll start sharing those series with TBS under the same system they used to have with NBC. Fox will have the ALCS next year, TBS gets the NLCS. Then the following year they’ll switch.

I don’t know if TBS will be any good or not, but at least it will be nice to have an alternative to Fox.

The ESPN article doesn’t make any mention of the Divisional Series. Right now ESPN gets some of those. I believe that’s part of a separate deal that’s still continuing.


If you watch “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” you might be surprised to learn that the dusty little town of Pahrump, Nevada—where Nate Cordry’s character got arrested and hauled before a gruff judge played by John Goodman—is actually a real place. It’s a town of about 40,000 residents west of Las Vegas.

Pahrump is in the news today because the town council there is fed up with those pesky illegal immigrants. So they passed a (unconstitutional) law barring people from flying the flag of a foreign nation higher than the U.S. flag or by itself. Doing so gets you a $50 fine and 30 hours of community service.

The town council also pushed through measures to deny services to illegal immigrants and make English the official language in Pahrump.

Coming soon

I’m pretty excited to find out one of my favorite books is being made into a movie. The lengthy title of the book is “Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II.” I suspect they’ll shrink that title down for the movie.

Peter Weir is in talks to direct. His most recent movie was “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” He also directed “The Truman Show” and “Dead Poets Society.”

“Shadow Divers” tells the incredible story of two deep wreck divers who discovered a German U-boat about 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey back in the early 1990s. No one in the German or American governments had any idea how the submarine got there. These two guys spent the next six years obsessed with identifying the sub—risking their lives and their marriages in the process.

Although they survived, some other divers working with them were killed. This book portrays deep wreck diving as just about the most crazy, dangerous “hobby” anyone could ever take part in.

Although this is a non-fiction book, it reads like an adventure novel. It’s a real page-turner. I didn’t really know anything about diving or U-boats, but I got sucked into it and couldn’t put it down. It should be a great movie.

The story was also the subject of a documentary on “Nova” in 2000 called “Hitler's Lost Sub”. I’ve never seen it, but the companion website is still online.

The lost 'Spider-Man' footage

Well, Sony seems to have successfully exorcised that unfinished "Spider-Man 3" trailer from the Web. I can't find it anywhere. has an article about how the movie studio scrambled to plug the leak and how Google and YouTube find themselves caught in a tangled web (get it?) when it comes to uploading copyrighted material.

But here's a screen grab of the top secret footage they don't want you to see...

Monday, November 13, 2006


Kris took this picture back on Halloween. I just didn't get around to posting it until now...


Maybe I've been going a bit overboard with the movie trailers, but this one is worth while. Here's the latest trailer for "The Simpsons Movie"...

UPDATE: Well, it looks like the trailer got yanked from YouTube. So here it is on Google Video (why it's still available on one and not the other I'm not sure).

I don't really understand why studios don't want their trailers to go viral. Isn't it all about creating buzz for your product? I would think the more eyes that view a trailer, the more places it's available, the better.


I don't how long this will last before it gets yanked--but check out this alternate trailer for "Spider-Man 3."

The big nit-pick on the one that came out last Thursday was there was still no sign of Venom. Then this trailer leaked out over the weekend. It's longer and clearly unfinished. A lot of the shots are missing their effects or are animatics. But stick around for the very end and you won't be disappointed!

A link to this trailer went up on Ain't It Cool News over the weekend and then was quickly removed when Harry Knowles got a phone call from the Sony folks. I guess they wanted to keep Venom under wraps a little longer. But a quick search found it on YouTube. They'll probably get the cease and desist order too, so enjoy it while you can!

UPDATE: Well that didn't last long. About an hour after I published this post, I went to play the trailer for a co-worker and it was already gone. So I've replaced the YouTube version with one from Google Video. We'll see how long that lasts.

In the meantime, in case that gets yanked too, you can see a screen grab of Venom here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


This was a very big day for Nolan—one we’ve all been anticipating for quite some time: he lost his first tooth!

One of his bottom teeth in the front has been wiggly for quite some time. For what seems like a couple of weeks we’ve been expecting it to come out “any day now.”

Finally tonight, right before bed, Kris was wiggling it and got a hold of it. When he pulled away from her, the tooth just stayed between her fingers.

Needless to say, we were all pretty excited.

Incidentally, the Tooth Fairy’s going rate right now is $1 and a couple of baseball cards.

Toon Trek

The geek-ization of the boys continues…

On Friday I got a copy of “Star Trek: The Animated Series” on DVD. It has all 22 episodes of the cartoon version of “Star Trek” produced in 1973-74.

As I kid, I was vaguely aware that there had been a “Trek” cartoon, but I don’t remember ever actually seeing it. I finally caught one episode on cable TV somewhere when I was in middle school.

The animated “Trek” is actually quite good. It brings back most of the original cast (sorry, no Chekov) and members of the live action show’s writing staff. The writers turned in scripts that were every bit as intelligent as the original show (except they’re only 22 minutes long). They didn’t “kidify” the show for Saturday mornings at all. Better yet, in an animated form they were no longer constrained by what passed for special effects on TV at the time.

Despite that reputation, I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce Nolan to “Star Trek.”

When he was younger (possibly pre-Thomas) Kris used to sometimes watch reruns of “Star Trek: Voyager” with him. He used to call it “The Space Ship Show.” That routine didn’t last long and he hasn’t really been exposed to Trek since.

A couple of times I’ve caught one of the “enhanced” versions of The Original Series that started running this fall and I tried to get him to watch. But he didn’t show much interest.

So when I got my hands on these DVDs, I thought maybe he’d be more interested if it’s a cartoon.

We popped a disc in and sure enough it was pretty “adult” and “scientific-y.” I was thinking that it was over his head and that he must be getting bored. But he really dug it! In fact, he was clamoring for more. I couldn’t be more proud. It will only be a matter of time before we work our way up to “Wrath of Kahn” (“K H A A N N!!!”).

Thomas was around when we were watching the shows too. He wasn’t paying too much attention though. He was more interested in playing with his monster trucks. That’s ok. We’ve still got lots of time to work on him.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Heroes or villains?

Is “Heroes” helping or hurting the comic book biz? That’s the question Entertainment Weekly poses in an excellent article that looks at the relationship between Hollywood and the comic book industry.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My geek sense is tingling!

Speaking of "Spider-Man 3," here's the new trailer.

They're still not showing us Venom (although some concept art leaked out earlier this week), but Sandman looks great.

It looks like this is going to be a pretty dark Spidey film. It seems like the overall theme is going to be how thirst for revenge can consume a man's soul.

It looks like it's going to be great. I know what I'll be doing the weekend of May 4!

Energized Spider-Man!

While checking out iFilm in geeky anticipation of the new "Spider-Man 3" trailer, I found this commercial for Energized Spider-Man.

I got this toy for Christmas in 1978! He had a "web" you could pull out of his hand and hook onto a clamp that you'd attach to a table or bookshelf or whatever. Then watch him climb!

The other big gifts that Christmas: my spiffy "Star Wars" jammies, a Kenner X-Wing fighter and an Oscar Goldman doll (he was the Six Million Dollar Man's boss--he came with an exploding briefcase).

Bank of America: The Musical

Oh my God. Do things like this actually happen where people work? I swear, this is like a scene right out of "The Office." This might as well be Michael and Dwight on stage (or David and Gareth if you prefer the British version).

This video appears to have been taken at some sort of Bank of America conference, where an emlpoyee gets up and sings about their merger with MBNA to the tune of U2's "One."

A glimpse of the future

Here's a great quote from Stephen Colbert, by way of Couric & Co.:

"Tomorrow, you're all going to wake up in a brave new world, a world where the Constitution gets trampled by an army of terrorist clones, created in a stem cell research lab run by homosexual doctors who sterilize their instruments over burning American flags. Where tax and spend Democrats take all your hard earned money and use it to buy electric cars for National Public Radio and teach evolution to illegal immigrants. Oh, and everybody's high!" -- Stephen Colbert, a national treasure, on last night's Colbert Report.

The Sky's the Limit

Hey, "Heroes" fans...I spotted this T-shirt for sale on Television Without Pity.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The times, they are a changin'

George W. Bush has really let down so many people who were once on board with him.

I was convinced invading Iraq was the right thing to do at the time. I was pleased he was re-elected in 2004 (although I still don't think Kerry would've been good). But now we all know better and it's clear his "stay the course" (non) policy has cost his party control of Congress (Katrina sure didn't help either).

Nice job, George.

Let's look at the Sweeney-Gillibrand race (which is not my district). Sweeney didn't lose because of allegations of domestic abuse. That may have been the final nail in his coffin, but Gillibrand never should have been in striking distance in the first place. And she wouldn't have been if it weren't for the war.

The war is a mess and it motivated the Democrats like never before. They saw an opportunity and poured money into races that otherwise would have been no contest (like New York's 20th district). George Bush cost Sweeney his seat (although Sweeney certainly didn't help matters). And that was the case all over the country.

Now the Democrats have the House and could still wind up with the Senate. How will things change? Here's an excerpt from today's editorial in The Daily News...
The people's sentiment is crystal-clear on the war. They simply want out of the conflict - if there is a way to get out. But there isn't...

...But the bring-the-troops-home-now bunch has largely been marginalized; reasonable souls understand full well that this war, however disagreeable it is - and it sure is - cannot just be walked away from. For now, the anti-war fervor of this newly reconstituted Congress runs smack into the ugly reality that giving up the fight in Iraq will leave behind only catastrophe.

Which means soldiering on with a President, now decidedly lacking in political capital, while hoping for the best.

I'm sure there will be much flaming in comments. So let 'em rip, you guys...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Don't vote for Billy

Those "out of hand" political ads I mentioned? They've spread to our nation's schools!

Short term memory

There has been much talk about the nastiness of this year’s political ads. A lot of people keep remarking about how they’ve never seen it this bad before.

But here’s the thing—this is exactly how it has been for the last 230 years. Mudslinging is as old as our nation.

And yet, somehow every two years the nastiest campaign ads ever are produced. It’s kind of like how every year our Christmas tree is “the best tree we’ve ever had” and how every holiday is “the busiest travel day of the year.”

Granted, the Sweeney-Gillibrand race has been pretty dirty. We’ve had our share of political fist fights in the past, but not many get as “personal” as this one has.

Nonetheless, you watch—two years from now there will be a new crop of nasty campaign ads and I guarantee people will be scratching their heads asking, “Wow, when did it get this bad?”

Anyway, don’t let any of this keep you from the polls. Voting is one of the most important things we get to do! I was still undecided on a few races down to the wire, but in the end I made my decisions. Tonight we’ll see how things turn out.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Nolan and his friend Chris attended a Cub Scout campout today. We weren't able to spend the night since the boys also had their last soccer game of the year this morning. So we just went for the day.

The big activity for the scouts was launching some Estes Rockets.

We were very fortunate--only one rocket got stuck in a tree. All the rest were recovered intact. That inludes Nolan's rocket, which shot high in the sky and then sailed down into the woods. But the "recovery team" went charging into the woods and quickly found it on the ground.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John Kerry's poor simpleton soldiers

The "uneducated" fighting men and women of America are reaching out their hero from Massachusetts...