Down the Ballot

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Merry Christmas...

'Shitter was full.'

Hope your next few nights are filled with family and friends. Don't get swindled by the big retailers into getting those credit cards to buy unneeded gifts. Shop local, second hand. DIY gifts and all that other stuff.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Philosophy of Photos

my great uncle and guy named Ted.
I have been in the process of scanning a vast family archive of personal photos since 2012. These photos date back to the late 1800s to as recently as 2002. It seems most people (in my family at least) made the jump to digital about 2004, as I have seen very few photos from 2004 to now. While out to lunch with a friend the topic came up as his parents are in their 70s and have a vast archive of their own that he has been trying to figure out how to one day make digital for easy sharing with family.

That was mostly my driving goal behind doing this project. There is a philosophical aspect to photos and photography, that as I open up photo albums full of people I have never met I start to drift away in thought about. Everything from the aesthetics to the practical nature of taking a photo is and can be debated.  (probably in some haphazardly managed Philosophy of Art class).

Why is it that we cling so close to that box of grandmas or grandpas photos? Memory is a great topic in epistemology and also cuts across several others. Probably one of my favorites. We rely so heavily on this thing called 'memory' that peoples lives are sometimes dependent on either a collective memory or an individuals memory. It has a great power over most cultures on Earth. When we talk about memory, we're not only talking about that box of photos but all sorts of things that we have experienced. There also seems to be great diversity in how much we remember. As well as something concerning intensity of the memory. I did a project on JFK in high school, where I went around to friends and family who were old enough to remember the JFK assassination.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sherman Christmas Price Index 2014

I have done it two years now, time to make it a third year. The Sherman Christmas Price Index, for those of you in the know is the price index for all the items mentioned in the Allan Sherman 12 Days of Christmas parody. I saw PNC Wealth Managment's break down of the classic version this year. It has gone up 1% based on the current CPI. The cost for just the 12 individual items is: $27,673.21

 Again to warn you the SCPI has very sloppy methodology, probably hit a wrong number on the calculator somewhere too but oh well. Here is the song!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Christmas Bonanza

I was listening to an online radio station for some holiday music and a song from this album came up. I was very amazed to discover they made a Christmas album, let alone got all the cast to participate. I haven't even found a Wikipedia page for it yet, but on Lorne Greene's wiki page it is listed under his discography from 1963 and was produced by RCA.

Amazing. My parents watched Bonanza growing up and they introduced it to me it many years ago. Not exactly my kinda show but it does have its moments.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Blackadder's Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens is regarded as one of the most well known writers to come from the Victorian era. His works are being read in classrooms across the world and his popular work A Christmas Carol was published in 1843. The book has NEVER been out of print since first publication. As with most creative endeavors it has spawned others to create and they have created many parodies of Christmas carol.

One of my favorites was written by Ben Elton and Richard Curtis of Blackadder fame. In Blackadder's Christmas Carol they tell the story of one Ebenezer Blackadder who was supposedly the nicest man in England. Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson run a Mustache Shop and are continually sent the cries of the 'unfortunate' and are forced to give up more and more of their Christmas cheer until a visit by one of the 'ghosts' played by Robbie Coltrane, shows Blackadder what his future would be like if he was as bad as his ancestors. This makes Blackadder change his mood and become evil to get back his Christmas.

All the regular Blackadder players make cameos as either future or past versions of themselves. What I think I like most about this re-telling of the Dickens classic is it flips the typical narrative of reforming Scrooge from a miser to a goodie-good. Scrooge becomes a Miser to match the terrible society around him and the people in his life.

You can find it on Netflix or most other pay to play services. It originally aired in 1988.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My first Business Adventure

So I decided this last year to start a small business. I mean very small. So small, I still need my current job and paycheck to help finance it. An incredible opportunity came my way to purchase a similar business from someone retiring for health issues. Another ending tied to a new beginning. It wasn't so much the entrepreneurial spirit that motivated me into this endeavor as it was freedom from student loans. What small profits I hope to see, and that will not be used to pay down my start up costs will be put directly into paying off my student loans.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Taking What a Fool Believes to the Streets

No wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing
There's nothing at all
But what a fool believes he sees

-What a Fool Believes, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins 1978

When dealing with the events that have been taking place for the last few months in places like Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere in the country it has hard to not and try and use our rational reasoning to explain such tragic events. Our reasons fails us. As your every day white person I can never fully appreciate what any minority experiences in every day struggles. We all will struggle differently in life and for different things.

What little compassion people have now for each other seems to be better than nothing. We could be doing so much more and doing much better.  Lyndon Johnson once famously said in the Daisy campaign ad 'we must either love each other or we must die'. We seem to be doing little loving of each other but still doing a fair amount of dying. Tragic.

Perhaps we are all fools believing that we will see a better world. I guess if you're going to be a fool, you might as well be a fool for a good reason. I have seen friends and strangers on facebook and other outlets try to rationalize and reason or search for greater meaning in these events. Some point to historical institutional discrimination in our power structures. Others point to the lack civic engagement in communities, and probably worse of the lot; those that don't see the problems at all. When we get too comfortable, too prideful we can become blinded to the problems of our brothers and sisters.

Most of us are not blind to the problems, we don't like what we are seeing and many are taking it to the streets to express our concern, outrage, despair, and hope. We are foolishly optimistic about the future, even if the present leaves us tired and distraught. We must be sure to take it to the streets not simply out of anger but for hope. We must be those agents of change we are demanding. It is more than simply voting, more than simply dishing up the same old rhetoric of change. Each of us must act with hope and love in our corner of humanity.

Take this message to my brother
You will find him everywhere
Wherever people live together
Tied in poverty's despair
You, telling me the things you're gonna do for me
I ain't blind and I don't like what I think I see
Takin' it to the streets
Takin' it to the streets
Takin' it to the streets

-Takin' it to the Streets, Micheal McDonald 1976

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Good Start to Merry Treksmas

For whatever reasons I have been buying up more of those Hallmark Star Trek ornaments this year than I have in the last five or six. I think it might possibly be that I let my Trek collection slip the last few years. I don't think I had purchased more than one or two of them in the last three years. It just hadn't been a priority for me. There are lots of better things I could be saving and spending my money on (rent, food, phone bill, healthcare...the list goes on). Still, I decided to double down. I have purchased about 12 of them (none of the new ones) all on ebay and second hand stores.

I was most thrilled to purchase this Q ornament.

It was issued in 2000 and had a Lt. Commander Worf counterpart. Hallmark never issued anymore glass blown ornaments. Perhaps they did not sell well? I was able to purchase this one for 5 dollars on ebay. The Worf one I got at a similar price of $8 dollars.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rest. Rebuild. Remember.

Today my family started to say good-bye to our Great Uncle. It was a nice service. It was outside, the sun broke through the clouds, taps played. Simple and short just the way he would have liked it. All his health problems developed in the last two years of his life. Not bad when you have lived for 95 years. He was a member of that 'Greatest Generation' as Tom Brokaw so coined and made famous. He would probably have been too modest to admit it himself, but there are many times when I think that his generation may really have been the greatest.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Why I Still Miss Paul Wellstone

I can still recall sitting in a rental van going through the streets of St. Paul and Minneapolis 8 months after the Wellstone plane crash. The green signs were still up in yards all over the place. I was there for a conference after graduation from high school. It was still unreal to many people, including myself, to live in a world without the Senator who had championed PEOPLE during his entire stay in the Senate.

He had a belief in putting politics back in peoples lives. For many today, I feel that politics is even more removed from people than it was during his time. Money, ads, mailers, uninspiring candidates, candidates that don't put in the time to make themselves available to voters and their opponents to have a discussion of ideas has soured many away from politics.

To fight that, people need to become their own leaders. When you become unsatisfied with the leadership being offered, the solutions being offered, and the state of the community, YOU have to step up. That's what Paul Wellstone taught us. He had that ability to both inspire you and make you think about how you can get involved.

If stepping up means going down to your local soup kitchen, heading over to the local campaign office, or putting your name on a ballot; we have to do it. Sure, we're going to lose some fights. Paul was no stranger to losing. Yet, he picked himself back up and went to work on the next fight. He may have lost sometimes, but he was never defeated.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Rest of My Top 10 Hosts for SNL 40

Back in July I wrote about my 10-5 and I sorta got distracted with looking for work and the new job so I finally have a few minutes here to write about the remaining picks.

I was very pleased to see Season 40 open with one of the folks I have really wanted to see host the show. This just seems to be Chris Pratt's moment. Hope he continues his success. The recent tribute to Jan Hooks was good. She was a member of the Hartman era cast. I'm not sure what exactly happened to her after SNL. I can recall her in 3rd Rock from the Sun and 30 Rock but not much else. Tina Fey commented that Hooks deserved a bigger post SNL career

My favorite skit of hers was one she did with Alec Baldwin. She played a waitress in some small hick town where the locals just sit around eating. Baldwin plays some slick country guy and they both lace their speech with very crude sexual innuendos. It is only like five or six minutes long but just a hilarious kind of dirty that you can only get away with in place like that. I found the transcript.

Cowboy: [ in control ] You got coffee?

Brenda: [ taps a cup on the counter ] Got a cup?

Cowboy: You think you can fill it?

Brenda: Think you can handle it?

Cowboy: I can handle a menu!

Brenda: [ gives him a menu ] First look is free.

Cowboy: I ain't paid for looking yet!

I agree with Fey that she should have had a bigger career.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

William Shatner in another Star Trek III?

The news for the last day in the Star Trek movie world has been a buzz with the idea of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy both being involved in the next Star Trek film. I have concerns, but also great hope that if both Bill and Leonard are involved in such a project they know it is a quality story. Historically, Nimoy has been a stickler when it comes to is involvement. He really has to like the project and it has to have a significant role for his character.

This partly explains why he turned down his role in Star Trek Generations. Not only did he probably feel his character made a great exit in the Undiscovered Country, he also wasn't too thrilled being involved in a project just as guest. This was over twenty years ago, and he had been offered the chance to direct Star Trek VII (supposedly) a film that wasn't his and that he hadn't been involved in the various stages of story development. So much of what makes Star Trek and other works great is the power of storytelling. If the story isn't there, no director and no actor is going to improve it with the addition of their presence.  It seems understandable why he wouldn't have wanted to direct or be involved in that project.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

DARRELL HAMMOND Replaces Don Pardo

The more things change, the more they stay the same at SNL. Good Luck Darrell Hamond. You have the voice to set the tone for every show now. Use it well.

Pardo left his mark on TV and radio. His voice caught your attention and when he found his way into comedy bits it was usually good. Hammond has a lot to offer as a voice and I hope he will get a chance to return to the center stage from time to time too. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Down the Ballot...again.

The Election is 52 days away. The third election this year for those of us in my area. I had agreed to do another exhibit of political memorabilia at my university, WOU, for the fall. 

Here is part of it in the process of being set up on the 2nd floor lobby area. The case has mostly 2012 and 2014 items. I enjoy collecting this stuff and it is sorta fun to share it with others. The election is coming and organizing for 2016 is already starting.

The main party of the display not pictured centers around candidates from Western Oregon University. There were some surprises in researching for this display. WOU has two U.S. Senators associated with it. Maurine Neuberger and George W. McBride. I thought it was cool to find out that George McBride was the first native Oregonian to serve in the U.S. Senate. A PM in the Canadian Parliament, and a former Alaskan State Senator also were uncovered.

There were many candidates for local office in Monmouth and Polk County too. If you get the chance to visit the WOU Library; go have yourself a look.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Keep on Trekkin Friends

48 years and Star Trek is still going strong. Keep enjoying the ride friends.

Friday, August 15, 2014

No Trek in the Park this year

No Trek in the Park this year in Portland. Last August a group of friends went out to St. Johns and watched Atomic Arts preform "The Trouble with Tribbles" originally written by writing legend David Gerrold. At the event, we gave out 3" Tribble Owners for Merkley button. Now a year later, I have a 2.25" version.

I have a few other Trek related pins. Always love putting Trek and politics in the same button.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bull Moose Party Time

Bully I say! One final Robin Williams appearance as Teddy Roosevelt is set to be shown this winter. I can't wait. Night at the Museum 3 is set to hit theaters December 19th.

Here's a TR button I made.

based off a real TR button

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams & Stephen Fry

Never thought I would find a video of Williams and Fry sitting side by side, but sure enough the internets provide.

Where there’s laughter, there’s hope.

That's the old Comic Relief motto. Today we learned that Robin Williams has probably taken his own life. He was 63. Growing up in the age of Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Jack and many other of his films from the 1990s, Williams films were a staple of a night out at the movies or a weekend rental. Putting in his older films like Good Morning Vietnam in the VCR and watching with my father and uncle were always a treat. Nick @ Nite showed Mork & Mindy. So much laughter. So much hope created. Share the laughter, spread the hope friends. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Coming Back Online

Just got back from a week at Timothy Lake in the Mt. Hood national forest. No phone, no computer; just the lake and summer weather. Now begins the long ease back into the world or email, twitter, facebook and email.

The first part of the week was very hazy due to wildfires in southern and eastern Oregon. The winds picked up about mid week and the haze cleared leaving these great views. I'm sure I could go longer than a week on social media accounts, but what fun would that be?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

GSY: Prelude to Axanar

U.S.S. Ares
If the History channel had these kind of documentaries, I would be a regular viewer. Perhaps someone ought to create a 'Future History' channel for such projects. It proves that there is plenty of material in Star Trek to find great new stories from just small starting points in the series. If you don't remember Garth of Izar at all, you need to go back to season 3 of the Original Series and watch Whom Gods Destroy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy Time

Tonight is gonna be great. I am going to see Guardians of the Galaxy at a special showing. Go Screen Yourself Review of Godzilla will have to wait yet again.

my tickets

Monday, July 28, 2014

Incumbent Actually Loses. Everyone Shocked.

So the big news out of the 2014 Oregon May Primary was the defeat of State Representative Jim Thompson, a Republican who represents the City of Dallas and other rural communities in Polk and Benton counties...well he'll represent these communities for a few more months. A lot of people were somewhat surprised by this outcome. He was defeated in the primary by Mike Nearman. The details of why incumbent Thompson was defeated and the issues that local Republicans weighed their decisions on is not as important as the misread of us in the political sphere and the 'shock' and surprise most people are having that an incumbent lost renomination.

I participated in a little game that deals with folks predicting and making educated guesses on various political races around the state. The person who gets the most races called correctly gets some bragging rights. This was probably the race that most people called incorrectly. So why did so many smart people pick Thompson to win, when in fact he lost 63-37?  We can toss in easy answers like 'Democrats don't pay enough attention to GOP politics or Thompson just lost 'touch' with party voters.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

GSY: Sex Tape

sorta my reaction to the film.
I'm not even trying to play catch up anymore. I still had two movies to write about and went and saw another one this last week. This Go Screen Yourself is about Sex Tape. I'll get to the point. I thought the acting was fine. The story was very poor. Not that I don't think the idea, in our day and age is a far fetched one at all. As one of the characters point out towards the end of the film, thousands upon thousands of sex tapes are filmed and uploaded every day. The story surrounding the fictional sex tape produced by the characters played by Segel and Diaz just wasn't that good.

***spoilers to follow***

Monday, July 21, 2014

GSY: 22 Jump Street

Summer is movie season and I'm probably going to have a few Go Screen Yourself reviews this summer to come still. A couple of weeks ago I went to see 22 Jump Street. After the first one I was a little curious to see where they went with the whole college plot line. Don't normally go to Jonah Hill or Channing Tatum films, but 21 Jump Street was good enough to get me to come back for another one.

For the most part, I thought the story made sense. It was a little burdened by the constant reminders that the audience was expecting the exact same thing and that they shouldn't deviate from the formula of the first one. The Hollywood mass movie machine has a pretty easy job at making movies. Make a movie. If it works; repeat as many times as needed. The film budget and the budget for the fictional 22 Jump Street department tended to match up in the movie. Characters would constantly refer to them as one and the same. Nick Offerman's character represented the Hollywood establishment. He kept reminding the leads to just do what they did in the last film and everything will be fine. Of course the main characters weren't really happy with that, so they went their own ways for much of the film.

Ice Cube had probably his best comedic performance to date. He not only played their department head well, but also had the chance to play the enraged father when he found out what was going on with his daughter and Schmidt. Even if there were only twenty people in the theater with me when I saw it, everyone was laughing. Jillian Bell also does a fantastic job playing the secret villain.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

James Garner Films in Oregon

James Garner (1928-2014)
With the passing of James Garner, I thought it might be cool to see if I could find any news about the actor filming in Oregon. I managed to find one about the filming of a Hallmark film in Dallas, Oregon in 1986. The film was called, The Promise. It is about a man who promises his dying mother that he will look after his schizophrenic brother. Garner said that Triangle Lake (located in rural Lane County) was a beautiful filming location.

Local Dallas resident Ed Matsler was even given a small part after he had done some work for the production. Speculation of future projects coming to Oregon were caused by the film getting some Emmy nominations.

Monday, July 7, 2014

GSY: X-Men Days of Future Past

So...this is sorta late of a movie review. I don't know what happened. I thought I had posted this. Was going through my drafts and it seems like I never hit 'post' so you get this review back to back with 22 Jump Street and Godzilla. Summer is movie season for me, expect a few more Go Screen Yourself reviews so I can catch up.

X-Men has always had an appealing main story element that seems to pull me in every time they put out a movie. Good people trying to do good for people who dislike them based on who they are. While I have generally been disappointed by most of the films after X2 (2003), a friend talked me into going to this. In all fairness, Patrick Stewart has tremendous appeal to me as a Trekkie, so I didn't need much arm twisting.

After Winter Soldier, I was at least optimistic about this film. My optimism paid off this time. It was a fantastic film, that is still making money for the studio. This film is still in theaters and it came out in May!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

SNL Top 10 Hosts for Season 40 (10-5)

40 years. SNL turns 40 next season. Folks my parents age have seen it all. Thanks to Netflix and Hulu so have I (well most of it anyway). I was just looking over my Top 10 hosts for Season 39 and wondering what the folks at Saturday Night Live have planned for Season 40. Will there be a big anniversary special? Will hosts and cast members of the past 40 years be making some big guest spots throughout the season? I sure hope so. In that hope, here is my list of my first 5 of  10 ideal hosts for Season 40.

10. The Not Ready for Prime Time Players
George Cole, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Dan Aykroyd, Garret Morris, Bill Murray, Laraine Newman, and Harry Shearer.

Give them all one episode during the season. Let do whatever they want.

GSY: Fairest of Them All

I finally blocked some time out to watch episode 3 from the Star Trek Continues team. I think it was by far the best episode yet. It takes place right after the events of the classic TOS episode 'Mirror, Mirror' (MM). Fairest of Them All feels like a natural conclusion to the events of MM.

Spock vs Kirk is always a great dynamic. It allowed for a lot of action and intrigue that had not been seen in the first two episodes. The chess discussion is by far the best exchange in the entire episode.

I particularly enjoy that this sets us up for yet another episode. Does the evil Captain Kirk ever get his revenge on Spock? Guess we'll have to kick some love and funds towards Star Trek Continues if we want to find out.

Check it out for yourself.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Iraq: Land of Confusion

Some lessons are hard to learn. Iraq will for sure be a lesson our country will take a long time to learn, much longer than the decade it has already been since the 2003 invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Don't get me wrong, I agree with everyone that Saddam Hussein was a bad dude. He really was. Most of us from the get go understood that 'getting rid of a bad dude' was not the primary motivation for entering that conflict. Even the flawed '9/11' connection or 'WMDs' arguments didn't hold the weight that having an ally with easy access to some of the world's richest oil wells would bring to our leaders in the Bush Administration and Congress.

We've come a long ways from Colin Powell's utterance of the 'Pottery Barn' rule. 'You break it. You buy it.' While this simple business motto might be good for a pot or cheaply made foreign product that so pervades modern shopping outlets, it was a poor reason to stay in Iraq. Now, the U.S. will be doing what most major retailers do: Write off the loss.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

George McGovern SNL Host

30 Years ago, former U.S. Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate George McGovern hosted Saturday Night Live.
April 14, 1984 George McGovern hosted SNL, just one month after ending his long shot campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. He finished third in the Iowa caucuses, but took fifth place in the New Hampshire primary. He put all his cards on the table for the Massachusetts primary. Vowing to withdraw if he did not finish first or second. Gary Hart, his former 1972 campaign manager and Walter Mondale beat him and he kept his word.

Friday, June 13, 2014

GSY: A Million Ways To Die In The West

Headed out to Regal 11 the other night to take in a film. Being a weeknight there were not too many people around. I bought a ticket for A Million Ways To Die In The West. This movie has been out for a few weeks and I had generally heard mixed to negative reviews. As I was going through many of the reviews I saw a lot of comparisons to Blazing Saddles. Which seems odd and unfair to compare current Western comedies to Mel Brooks classic Western satire-parody classic comedy. Not every comedy is intended to be a parody or satire, sometimes they are just meant to be a comedy film. A Million Ways is just a comedy film set in a Western.

When Blazing Saddles was made American culture had been buried in Western films, television shows and radio shows for decades. The stories of the frontier life still had incredible appeal. They were ripe for parody and satire. The moviegoers of this second decade of the 21st Century did not grow up in the 50s, 60s and early 70s when theaters were overflowing with Westerns. In the last decade, I think I went to only one Western. The remake of True Grit in 2010. In an age when the Western is mostly been relegated to 'B-Movie' status, it is a tough genre to make it in. I applaud Seth MacFarlane for giving it a go at the big screen.

***(spoilers from this point onward)***

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Jason Carter Running for Governor

I had no idea Jason Carter was running for governor...ok, well I had some idea. I was on facebook and saw some people post about it. Seems like it would be a pretty interesting campaign. I played around with some slogans. If you come up with a good one, I'll post it up.
Mel Brooks played a pretty good GUV so why not Jason too.
Regan doesn't have anything on Jason.
Come on...You think I could stop myself?
 I wish Jason the best of luck. Actors have done well in American politics in the past. There are a lot of shared aspects between his natural leanings and politicking. He likes going to parties, having drinks, meeting new people, telling stories. Well that's all a campaign is really. Telling your story...and then milking people for time and money :) If you win you gotta do a bunch of work, but at least if he's elected Governor he'll have a lot of help.

 He would not be the first Babylon 5 actor to pursue public office. Jerry Doyle ran for Congress and Bruce Boxleitner played a Governor of New York on tv.

See you on the hustings! No rotten boroughs here.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Election Night Events 2014 Edition

Well friends it is that time of the Election again. When we will know the winners and/or losers by the end of the night. Regardless of the outcomes, go and enjoy victory or maybe help someone through a defeat with a drink and good cheer! As I learn of more events I'll post them. If you hear about one, put in a comment and I'll add it to the map. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Good Year for Portland

I rarely write about sports of any kind. As a bowler with 20+ years under my belt, I don't have anything that enlightening to say on the lanes. I just go do my thing. I know very little about basketball. I can recognize a foul here and there, but I keep up with the game as best I can. You pick up things as you watch. The year has been very good to Portland Trailblazers fans. Very good. We made it to round two of the playoffs. Who saw that one coming?

I was attending a game with a friend and he has some season tickets. We were invited to some function where the team management come in and give some free beer and talk to you about the upcoming year. Changes and whatnot. While some of the people around me were diving deep into all the cool sports statistics, I was asked what I thought about the team.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Community is Done.

Has anyone else been secretly wishing this show to end since Season 3? Seems like it got way more life than it should have naturally had. NBC finally did what had to be done. The sadness I feel is the type of sad you get when tossing your favorite t-shirt that has faded and thinned due to excessive washing. There will be other shirts and other shows. You know you can't get those stains out anymore.

I liked the first two season for the most part, and they had me tuning in to watch regularly, but after that long hiatus, something about the quality just took a dive. Can't place it to be honest with you. I still found about half the episodes funny in the remaining two seasons. It just wasn't consistent. I was no longer watching them the night of and instead waited several days or even weeks before I would watch them on demand.

I did think the addition of John Oliver was great, but the stories (if you can call them stories) just didn't hold up anymore.

The show at times in the most recent seasons was a shadow of itself. We will miss you and hopefully dvd prices will go down so we can then again find joy in our study group.

Friday, April 18, 2014

GSY: Captain America Winter Soldier

Just got back from Captain America Winter Solider. I have to admit; usually Marvel movies don't impress me. I'm not a traditional super hero fan to start with, so I don't have huge attachment to characters or long story arcs that have taken fifty years of story and condensed down into 2 hours.

If I'm going to invest in loads of canon I'll stick with Star Trek. Even with all that being said, it was a delightful film. The story held up. Seeing Robert Redford as a villain...priceless! I actually thought that Captain America Winter Solider did what Star Trek Into Darkness failed to do: Tell a story about our responsibility to be more vigilant about protecting our freedom.

Both stories involved organizations (Starfleet & SHIELD) that the general population of the planet have developed to rely on to ensure their collective freedom. Sure both worlds have issues, but in general there is an expectation that these organizations have citizens best interests at heart.

Both organizations fall under the influence of sinister elements that want to exploit the power the of the greater organization. For Starfleet, Section 31 wants to start a war to ensure more reliance on Section 31. For SHIELD, Hydra has slowly been taking over elements of SHIELD to use to its own ends. Both organizations suffer a disintegration. Starfleet recovers, it is unclear if SHIELD will ever. These organizations nearly cost us the freedom they were both set up to ensure.

CAWS is just more entertaining, with a story that is not nearly as convoluted as Star Trek Into Darkness.

Friday, April 11, 2014

X-Files Conspiracy IDW Crossovers (1-3)

Fun Scooby Doo spoof cover
First, I better start right off the bat and say that IDW did an amazing job at getting me back into buying monthly comics. I haven't been a monthly buyer for over a decade. Not even my beloved Star Trek got me to buy comics after high school. I would pick up older comics from second hand stores when I saw them if they were Star Trek, but nothing new. I'm not a traditional comic book lover. Like most, I love a good story. My problem with comics, and especially the more established comic franchises is it is incredibly hard to get into the story, when you're 50 issues behind. Let alone, when the company that is currently producing the comics loses the license to the franchise you like and it starts all over with a new company or a reboot of some kind in order to allow more people to break into the comics.

When I heard X-Files Season 10 was in development I kept my search engine warm looking for updates and waiting for the first issue to be released. I made the trek to my nearest seller of comics and bought the first two issues. I appreciated the fact that Chris Carter was involved and helping keep the scripts in line with the show and also making sure they don't delve too much into anything that might possibly be in the works for a third X-Files film. The comics pick up after the events of the second film. (From this point on, I start talking about story. You can't talk about stories without dropping some spoilers. Hey, if you haven't heard about Season 10 by now, go check out a few issues)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Professor Black & Taxes 101

Tax Day will soon be here friends. Here is a great lecture on Taxes from Professor of Bullshit Lewis Black. He was once a guest lecturer at St. Johns University....still perhaps my favorite of all Tax related humor.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cosmos Episode 4

I've got to admit, I was awfully tired last Sunday and didn't get the chance to watch the full episode of Cosmos...yes, you guessed it. I fell asleep on the couch. I posted one twitter comment, kept my eyes open for the first 15 minutes and when I woke up it was 1 am. Lame. I know. I'll write more about Episode 4 in the Episode 5 post.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is there a Doctor on the ballot?

Kasier Foundation Poll Results 2013
The 2014 elections are in full swing here in Oregon. Candidates and campaigns are setting their messages and starting to get feedback from voters and the electorate. Something the more astute political observers might have noticed was the large number Republican doctors coming out of the woodwork to run against Obamacare (ACA). Never before has there been an election in recent history that has attracted the response from health care industry workers as 2014 has this year.

There seem to be two generalized positions Republican candidates are taking for federal office: 1) Repeal Obamacare or 2) Modify Obamacare. My guess is the rhetoric required to win competitive Republican primaries will skew most candidates towards option 1 of repeal it all. Republicans that don't have tough primaries will probably not be quick to sound the alarm for a full repeal. Blue state Republicans will have to do a tricky dance of not overtly praising the most loved aspects of Obamacare and trying not to get lost in minutia of how they would make Obamacare better without ruining some of its signature aspects.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cosmos Episode 3

Halley & Newton meeting with Hooke
I thought I wasn't going to make it last night for episode 3, but I made it with a half hour to spare. Episode 3 wove several interesting threads together to tell the story of comets. This COSMOS series has been trying very hard to take several separate threads each episode and weave them into one story. This episode was about more than just comets or Edmund Halley. It was about taking our skeptical and mystical past and recognizing the moment we overcame the fear of what we didn't understand.

I especially loved the critique of modern society and how people like Jan Oort are largely ignored or unrecognized by the vast majority; yet, most of know details about mass murders, and other similar personalities that did not contribute any where near the level of accomplishments that of Oort.

The other fun note was the plug for cannabis smack dab in the middle of the episode! What a hoot.  Sagan would have been pleased.

De Historia piscium is a wonderful book. Please buy it to support COSMOS ;)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cosmos Episode 2

Cosmos aired the second episode of thirteen planned tonight and it was pretty solid. There were some common elements from the previous series. I can see Carl Sagan sitting around the campfire in good company. The stories of natural selection and artificial selection were well done and brought back the animation we saw from the first episode.The wolves at the campfire added a great dramatic flair that set it apart from the original series.

The artificial selection of the dogs wasn't as interesting as the Heike Crab example Sagan used, but still on point. The polar bear example was also well used for natural selection.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Cosmos off to a Good Start

The first episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premiered tonight and it was great. I was pleased to see Carl Sagan's work continue in the 21st century. This was the first of 13 episodes to air on 10 channels related to the FOX network. Neil deGrasse Tyson had a great on screen presence. The script was wonderfully updated and written by Ann Druyan and Steven Soter should be proud of their new work and new partners in Tyson and Seth MacFarlane.

I especially loved the infusion of the animated sequences into the mix of computer and live action shots. I think had the ability to do so with the class that was done tonight, it would have been done in the 1980s original.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fisher Postcard

In the last post I shared my reactions to getting a postcard advertising a upcoming television program on NBC. Here is the actual postcard. Like one person on the previous post had shared, I too believe that postcards can still be effectively used to communicate ideas, and generate hype for important causes. We use them all the time in political campaigns to direct your attention to candidates and events.

Monday, March 3, 2014


I've been waiting for some political buttons to arrive in the mail and went out to the mailbox today to see if they had arrived and found something rather odd instead. A postcard from The Fishers. It turns out a show is coming to NBC or has arrived on NBC called Growing Up Fisher. It is co-produced by some folks: including Jason Bateman, and David Schwimmer. The postcard reads "all of us Fishers have to stick together! Can't wait to see you Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on NBC." 

The photo on the front includes the family sitting at a table in a pool of water. Did the house flood or something? It got me curious enough to go look them up on Wikipedia. The premise of the series is listed... I kid you follows: A kid grows closer to his family after his parents divorce and his blind father gets a guide dog named Elvis. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

G'Kar Declares It.

 Perhaps some of the finest writing to come from Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski during the 5th season. This was the Declaration of Principles, set up for the new Interstellar Alliance. In our age where we constantly find reasons to divide each other, it leaves you kind of hopeful that maybe things will get better. 

Kudos to Bruce Boxleitner, and Andreas Katsulas for a great delivery of the lines.

The Universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice.

The language is not Narn, or Human, or Centauri, or Gaim or Minbari.

It speaks in the language of hope;
It speaks in the language of trust;
It speaks in the language of strength,
and the language of compassion.

It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul.

But always, it is the same voice.

It is the voice of our ancestors, speaking through us,
And the voice of our inheritors, waiting to be born.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lester Maddox & Religious Freedom

I made this image to help remind folks that this discussion we are having right now across the country is very similar to the 'property rights' discussion that took place after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It wasn't very popular because it forced business owners to go against certain strongly held cultural beliefs. Lester Maddox, a pro-segregationist owner of the Pickrick was the poster child of the property rights backlash movement. The general argument was, as a private property owner, the government had no say in who he allowed to patron his business. Sound familiar?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Happy Birthday Ted Kennedy (1932-2009)

Today would have been Senator Ted Kennedy's 82nd birthday. I spent a lot of my high school years following his career, even before I started collecting political items. So when I decided to start collecting, my history teacher told me to pick a political figure I admired. I picked Ted Kennedy and off I went to building a collection of items approaching near 400 Ted Kennedy items.

Here are some of the typical EMK pins you can find from 1980. The only 6" pin is featured in the middle, and one of my favorites; the Kennedy '80 California pin. In the upper right hand corner is the pin from the Kennedy announcement in 1979.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Power Pop & slapstick 1979 meets 2014

slapstick 1979
Was over at my friend Glen's house last weekend for a party. Great party for Marriage Equality, but that's not really what this about (Great cause by the way). Towards the end of the party as some folks were leaving and others were really just sitting down to start in on some good conversation, someone (either his wife or him) pulls out this nice vinyl EP with two songs on it. Apparently, Glen was in a band back in the late 70s and early 80s. I know from having some musical members of my family that you're pretty legit,  if back then you managed to record an EP, have a nice cover photo and actually get people to buy it.

Here is the first track called Back on the Streets...Again

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I swear these are the last ones...

Lots of great comments over on facebook from fellow fans. There is an element of corny that you have to capture in these. That was the whole idea in school was to pick out ones that were fun so you wouldn't be seen as being sappy.

I think this one is my favorite.

Sinclair knows the meaning of Feb 14.
Mr. Morden
And some more...

And then there were more B5 V-Day cards!

Oh Garibaldi


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Vorlon Valentines 2014

Was having a little fun in photoshop. Made some Vorlon Valentines. I'm sure someone must have made some at some point.
I'll post them up this week. While your here; go show the folks at #FreeBabylon5 some love.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Star Trek Contiunes Episode 2 Lolani Review

When I chat with people about Star Trek, I often compare it to Portland's microbrew industry. Star Trek has become so popular that the fans can now produce their own high quality Star Trek productions. Just like fans of good beer in Portland can pretty much open their own little breweries here in the Rose City. The technology has never been more accessible and loads of folks have the talents and skills to make these fan production really good. It mostly comes down to being able to fundraise and organize effectively to do your best. 

Lolani is the second episode from the folks at Star Trek Continues. I reviewed the first episode here. Go watch Pilgrim of Eternity if you haven't seen it yet and then you dive right into Lolani. I have tried not to include anything I would consider 'spoliers'. Mostly I just mention where the cast is used and the quality of the story. Don't read anymore if you really just want to experience the episode before you start to want to talk about it.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Go Screen Yourself: Bob's Burgers (Seasons 1 & 2)

The first Go Screen Yourself of 2014 is Bob's Burgers! My sister introduced me to this show back in 2011. I must say, at first I wasn't sure about this show and then I watched the episode Sheesh! Cab, Bob? and fell in love. The first season was only 13 episodes and the second season was 9 so the show took a little bit to find its footing with the audience. Season 3 and 4 both have over twenty episodes.

The basic plot of the show centers around Bob Belcher and his lower middle class family that run a burger joint. The family features the classic rule of three when it comes to kids. Oldest (Tina), Middle Child (Gene) and youngest (Louise). They play well off each other and the various adults and other kids in the show. Linda the wife rounds out the eccentric family.

Bob's Burgers takes place in some fictional coastal town on the east coast. It has all sorts cool secondary characters popping in all the time. Kevin Kline lends his voice to the wealthy local businessman who has his hands in every financial pot (including owning the building the Belchers live and work in). Many times Bob comes to Mr. Fischoeder asking for ways to make extra money and extensions on the rent. Gary Cole, Ken Jeong, Andy Kindler, and Samantha Bee have all voiced characters that have made one or more appearances.

The main cast are voiced by H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, John Roberts, and Kristen Schaal.  They've taken part in live script readings in front of audiences. They look like they have a lot of fun doing this show and you can see it in the finished product.