Tuesday, March 31, 2009


We had a little bit of excitement on our street.

Kris had noticed that one of the large maple trees in front of our neighbors’ house across the street looked like it was starting to come up out of the ground.

For those keeping score, these are the same neighbors who had a limb from a different tree crush the roof of their car during the ice storm.

Anyway, Kris has been taking note of this tree for the last week or so. I never bothered to go over and take a closer look at it.

Finally, one of our neighbors came over to the house last night to tell us she was now aware of it and wanted to bring it our attention since the tree was angling across the street and toward our house (although I don’t think it would reach that far). She told us she had been calling the police and highway departments all day and was still awaiting a response.

Eventually she got one. Nolan and I went out to a Cub Scout meeting and came home to find police had blocked the road off. They allowed us through to our house. I talked to one of the officers, who told me that in fact the tree did look pretty dangerous and that the road would remain closed until this morning.

Sure enough, bright and early this morning a crew arrived and began taking down uprooting tree as well as the one that dropped the limb on their car in December. Subsequently, it is now a little brighter in our front yard.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My new job

I enjoyed seeing this headline on St. Patrick's Day...

Actually, the job went to Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

St. Patrick's Day ice cream

Yeah, I know I griped about the "outrage" that Stewart's was going to charge 50 cents for an ice cream cone for those wearing green on St. Patrick's Day, instead of giving them out for free as they have in the past.

But I never said I wasn't going to still get one anyway. Almost as enticing as the lure of free ice cream is the lure of cheap ice cream.

I probably should have kept with the green theme and got a mint chocolate chip cone. But I couldn't pass up the chocolate peanut butter cup -- my favorite Stewart's flavor.

Now with the ice cream out of the way, I'm salivating at the thought of corned beef and cabbage for dinner tonight!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Derby Day

Another Pinewood Derby has come and gone.

I'm super proud of Nolan's performance this year. For starters, this was his most detailed design so far. Also, each year he does more and more of the work himself. He did a lot of the cutting and sanding on his own this year -- and I think it came out great.

The maximum weight for a Pinewood Derby car is 5 oz. With some tinkering -- and bit of luck -- we were abble to get it to be exactly 5 oz. That, combined with some other design tricks we had up our sleeve, had us hoping for a strong finish.

He won three of the six heats his car raced in. But in the end he placed eighth overall (out of 25 cars). He was hoping to be closer to the top, but still I was very impressed he made it into the top 10.

The scouts also get to vote on which cars they like in various categories. He had his heart set on winning the "Most Scout-Like" award. Unfortunately, he placed a close second in the voting.

So he was pretty disappointed in not coming home with a big trophy for speed or design. But Kris and I were still very proud. He seems to be over it today and is already talking about next year's race!

Friday, March 06, 2009


Is it May 8 yet? If "Star Trek" is half as good as this trailer, then I will bow down and worship J.J. Abrams.

See it in glorious HD Quicktime here.


The new "Wolverine" trailer is here. What do you think? Will it rate with last year's "Iron Man" and "Incredible Hulk" or will it be another "Ghost Rider?"

Is the scientist lady in the beginning supposed to be Heather Hudson of "Alpha Flight?" If so, that's kind of cool (even though she first met Wolvie after he got his adamantium skeleton).

But tossing Gambit and a young Cyclops into a Wolverine origin story is not.

Also, why is MTV running an Herbal Essence ad before the trailer? Is that really going after the movie's target audience?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Close encounter

Just 48,000 miles to the left, and we would have needed Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck to save the world...

Change we can believe in

Thomas has the uncanny ability to find loose change wherever he goes. I swear, every time I take him somewhere he winds up finding money.

So maybe there's a future for him working with the government. Could he be the key to solving the economic meltdown?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Taking on Twitter

I enjoy Twitter. However, I find that when I try to explain to someone who has no idea what it is, it does sound kind of silly.

Apparently, Jon Stewart thinks so too...

Night of the Living Patrolmen

I had to pass this along after spotting it on All Over Albany. It's funny after reading this story.

I watched the Watchmen

There are certain parallels between comic books and film. It can be a lot of fun to see a story or a character make the move from one medium to another.

But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Case in point – “Watchmen.”

Along with “The Dark Knight Returns,” “Watchmen” was considered groundbreaking when it was first published by DC Comics in 1986. With its dark mood and adult themes, it helped show the mainstream world that comics weren’t just kid stuff.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it’s set in alternate 1985 where Richard Nixon is still the president, the United States is on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union and superheroes have been outlawed. It begins with the murder of an ex-crime fighter called the Comedian who was once part of a superhero team called the Watchmen. His death is investigated by a former teammate – Rorschach, a violent, masked vigilante. Of course, the Comedian’s death is just the first piece of a much bigger puzzle that eventually brings the surviving Watchmen back together.

It’s been a long time since I read “Watchmen.” So my memory of it was a little fuzzy going in. But near as I can tell the film was pretty faithful to the book.

Perhaps a little too faithful. Although “Watchmen” is often branded as a “graphic novel,” in truth it was first published as a 12-issue miniseries – separate storylines strung together to make up an overall plot. As a result, the movie seems a little too segmented. That makes the film’s 161-minute running time feel like it’s dragging at times. In this case, I think the movie would have benefited from a less literal adaptation. They could have mixed the story up a little and tightened it up some. Or maybe a movie isn’t the right medium. Maybe it would have worked better as a cable miniseries.

Also, I think the story carried more weight 20-some years ago. We were still in the midst of the Cold War and still concerned about nukes from Russia. But now that we’re a couple of decades removed from that particular threat it doesn’t seem to have the same level of oomph in the story. It almost seems quaint.

That said, I wouldn’t say the movie was a total bust. It’s a visual feast, with great effects and it is fun to see the characters and certain scenes brought to life (Well, maybe fun isn't right word. It's not exactly a "fun" movie). I also really liked the use of the music in the movie. The “deconstruction of the superhero” (as original writer Alan Moore described it) still makes for a good story. I’m just not sure how well it works in this format.

By the way, “Watchmen” earns every bit of its “R” rating.

If you’re a comic book geek – especially if you’ve already read the book – then “Watchmen” is worth watching, even though you might not be wowed by it. But I think the average moviegoer will want to look elsewhere.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss would have turned 105 years old today. Check the revised Google logo posted on their home page in his honor.

BTW, my favorite was "Green Eggs and Ham." What was yours?

The not quite free stuff files

I get grumpy when the slumping economy hits me where it hurts -- ice cream! Especially free ice cream!

For years, Stewart's Shops had a tradition of giving away free ice cream cones on St. Patrick's Day to anyone wearing green.

Not any more. This year the cone will cost you 50 cents.

Stewart's boasts that they scooped out 200,000 cones on St. Patrick's Day last year. Yeah, because THEY WERE FREE. How many do you figure they'll scoop this year?