Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve!

One more day and 2008 is behind us.

I love how bad 2008 was. It was so bad when I claim it was the worst year ever no one blames my disposition. I'll put it this way; I have frostbite on the fingers typing this.

This year was vicious. Even the news anchors are glowering. Our economy basically collapsed. I told you Bush would destroy this country. He waited until his last six months to do it but he didn't disappoint. The comedy scene was dead. The best new guy I saw this year went into a coma by fall.

Personally it wasn't too good. My dad's condition took center stage. Career wise I worked two weeks and got about five spots that weren't my own show. I worked my ass off and reached no goals. San Diego wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I gained five pounds. I didn't see my best friend once the entire year. And Ben entered the terrible twos seven months early.

What was good? Obama, that seems like a smart move. He won't take office until 2009 so I won't count him. And the summer movies were great. Even ones people hated (like X Files: I Want to Believe and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) were enjoyable enough. And any summer that has both Iron Man and The Dark Knight is a superhero fan's dream.

I'm hoping 2009 will bring a lot more goodness into all our lives. Maybe even goodness we can participate in.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Seymour Duncan Installs Pickups

Renee agrees the P-Rails are a good idea but won't let me install them in my Les Paul myself. So instead of another guitar the LP will go off to the guitar tech I met last year. And after watching Seymour Duncan replace pickups in a Les Paul, I know why.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Seymour Duncan P-Rails

If you thought my last guitar gear post was cryptic, take a look at this. Seymour Duncan came out with a pickup that has THREE pickups sounds in it. I'm dying to get these. I'm a little afraid to put them in my Les Paul and possibly screw it up. This is a great excuse to get that SG I've been thinking about.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Unnecessary Censorship

I'm off to Chicago (and 14 hours alone in the car)but here's something to keep you company.

At this time in my life, I watch a lot of "Sesame Street" and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood"> I don't watch a lot of Jimmy Kimmel. Which is why I was totally unprepared for this. Ben was a little bored but Renee and I had tears streaming down our faces.

Mister Rogers:

Sesame Street:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Here's the new Muppet special. It's only available until 12/31 so watch it now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Reservoir Dogs review

This is my last review for After two years, I'm moving on to Pop Culture Zoo where I'll be able to cover as many toys and add movies, dvds, tv, and music. Why wouldn't I?

Check it out.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Maximum Playlist

I drove to Baltimore alone. The day after Christmas, I'll be driving to Chicago alone. That's 35 hours in the car this month alone. So I needed a good playlist. I decided I was going to take the cheesy plunge. I would do my all time favorite songs.

I had two rules. The first was it would need to be a song that I'd want to play again as soon as I heard it. And I would limit myself to one song per band (I broke that rule five times).

Not all these songs are big hits. Not all are my favories now. But all of them got me through tough times. If any of these songs are a complete mystery to you, check them out. It's easy enough to do it for free nowadays.

I Am The Walrus Beatles
Sympathy For The Devil Rolling Stones
20% Amnesia Elvis Costello
Just Radiohead
Straight Outta Compton N.W.A
Heart Shaped Box Nirvana
I Don't Wanna Grow Up Tom Waits
A Quick One, While He´s Away The Who
Gigantic Pixies
Devil's Right Hand Johnny Cash
Mary Jane's Last Dance Tom Petty
Ballad of a Thin Man Bob Dylan
Whipping Post Allman Brothers Band
Backwater Meat Puppets
Ocean Size Jane's Addiction
Welcome Home (Sanitarium) Metallica
Sleep Now in the Fire Rage Against the Machine
The Raiders March John Williams
Mad About You Sting
Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd
For The Love Of God Steve Vai
Tropicalia Beck
Country Boy Albert Lee & Hogan's Heroes
Change It Stevie Ray Vaughan
Big Bang Baby Stone Temple Pilots
Panic In Detroit David Bowie
In My Darkest Hour Megadeth
God Only Knows Beach Boys
Black Hole Sun Soundgarden
Bullet With Butterfly Wings Smashing Pumpkins
Stratford-on-Guy Liz Phair
Ain't No Sunshine Bill Withers
Honesty Billy Joel
Truth Hits Everybody Police, The
Stranger Than Fiction Bad Religion
Sure Shot Beastie Boys
Swlabr Cream
Batman Theme Danny Elfman
Hand of Doom Black Sabbath
We Gotta Get Out of This Place Animals
Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) Neil Young
Hit The Road Jack Ray Charles
You Ought To Know Alanis Morissette
No One Knows Queens of the Stone Age
Screamager Therapy?
Otherside Red Hot Chili Peppers
Maybe I'm Amazed Paul McCartney
1941 Harry Nilsson
Bad U2
Space Lord Monster Magnet
It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) Bob Dylan
Mr. Brownstone Guns N' Roses
I Can't Get Next to You Temptations
The Road I Must Travel The Nightwatchman
Tears of a Clown Smokey Robinson
Talkin' All That Jazz Stetsasonic
In The Summertime Roger Miller
Hey Bulldog Beatles
Five to One Doors
The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) John Williams
Circle Sky Monkees
Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Jimi Hendrix
Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad Derek and The Dominos
Time After Time Cyndi Lauper
I Was Made To Love Her Stevie Wonder
Thunder Road Bruce Springsteen
Can't Change Me Chris Cornell
Shade Grove Mudcrutch
Unchained Van Halen
Ophelia The Band
Clambake Elvis Presley
Spiritual Johnny Cash
Jimmy Jazz The Clash
Ooh la La Faces
Would? Alice In Chains
MidLife Crisis Faith No More
Master Of Puppets Metallica
What's This? Nightmare Before Christmas
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams Green Day
The Chain Fleetwood Mac
Porch Pearl Jam
Ace of Spades Motörhead
Paint It Black Rolling Stones

That's 83 songs. Over 5 and a half hours of music. I should do fine.

What's your playlist?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dad Update

Wednesday they took the tube out. He looked deflated and back to his normal body size. He looked much better and was talking to visitors.

Overnight things got worse. They think the infection is seeping through the wound. He was fuzzy when I visited yesterday. When the nurses asked where he was, he said "Philadelphia". I'm not sure if he knew I was there. He kept trying to get out of bed but didn't have the physical strength to do it. At one point he asked me to shoot Woody Allen. We need to take things day by day.

When I got home, Ben was teething, coughing and throwing up. Some days you eat the bear...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Indy collection

I'm off to Baltimore to visit Dad. He's doing much better. They took the tube out yesterday so I'll get to hear what he has to say. Until I get back you can look at these.

My dad's one of the reasons I love Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade wasn't just a father and son story. It was the story of a son dealing with a bald, opinionated, intellectual father. It didn't hurt that the son was the coolest character ever.

So when the merchandise came around for the new movie, I bought everything. The 3 3/4" line was fun (if short lived) but I was really waiting for the 12" line. The character is made for this style of figure, with his rumpled clothing and small relics. They've finally started to ship within the last month (two months after Crystal Skull hit DVD) and they seemed to arrive at my door every day. Even after waiting 25 years for these, I customized just about all of them.

You've already seen this one. Henry Jones Sr. and Indiana Jones are from Medicom. The tie and 21st Century Toys motorcycle are from ebay and Henry Jones has a grail diary in pocket hand made and customized by a guy I found on a message board.

Here's Sideshow's 12 inch Raiders of the Lost Ark Indiana Jones. They developed a new body for this figure but I used the Japanese Hot Toys body instead. He has the headpiece to the staff of Ra in his pocket and the idol in his bag.

The new Sideshow body went to this guy. Indy comes with an extra hatless head so I made this Professor Jones custom. The suit is Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the glasses are Skinner from The X Files. The enevelope is part of that grail diary custom.

I bought a second Indy so I could make this. He's on a Hot Toys muscular body and the shirt is my 1982 Kenner doll. The machete is a G.I. Joe and the scars are Sharpie. He has all three Sankara Stones in his bag. It's my least favorite movie and my favorite figure.

These last two weren't customs but hard to get. The Indy in German outfit almost wasn't released as Hasbro cancelled the line on top of him. I had to pay through the nose to get one but there he is. The Ark was a mail away that took me six months and a couple of figures I didn't want before I could own it.

Sideshow is continuing the line even though no one else is. I have Belloq (with an idol pedestal) and Toht on order and a River Phoenix Indiana Jones from Medicom. Selling those cds paid for it all. Even though my dad doesn't love these films as much as I do, having these characters around help me think of him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Guitar Mod

I haven't done a guitar gear post in a long time. Then again, I haven't had a reason.

I've had my pewter 2006 American Standard for a year now. I've never had a guitar that fit as comfortably or played as easily as this one:

But it had one problem. It didn't sound so good with distortion. Add some gain and the guitar immediately got too loud and harsh. It was gorgeous clean so for the last year the strat was my clean guitar and I went to the Les Paul for heavy. Fine for the home studio.

But it always bugged me. So on Black Friday I went to GC with a gift card and a few coupons and picked up a JB Jr. It's a humbucker that fits in the space of a single coil. So I didn't need a whole new pickguard. I rarely pull out the soldering iron but I installed it in the bridge position pretty easily.

It sounded perfect but I still missed the cutting sound of that bridge single coil. So this weekend I got a push/pull 500K pot from ebay. Putting it in the volume slot was a DISASTER (I burned myself twice and ended up with no volume control) but an hour later it was in the tone position it worked perfectly.

I lost some "quack" (out of phase nasal tone) but I got both strong single coil and humbucker sounds in the bridge. Heavy it sounds like Van Halen but I can still get a piercing punk sound from it. While I was at it I gave it the locking tuners (which added sustain) and the tremsetter from my 91 Tele Plus. That guitar was my first real electric but weighs 14 pounds so it doesn't get as much action as it used to.

I can't believe I successfully rewired anything in my life. I used to take apart machines to see how they worked and ended up with broken machines. This guitar is actually better because I messed with it. Now I finally have a guitar versatile enough for any jam session. I just need to go find a jam session.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Iraqi Journalist Throws Shoes at Bush

This happened over the weekend but I can still watch it all day. It may be the only time Bush has ever has to face what he's done to the world.

Monday, December 15, 2008

X Files review

I'm very happy to be at Pop Culture Zoo. Especially when they disagree with my views ahd post my review anyway.

Read my thoughts on the new X Files movie.

BTW, Dad's doing much better. I went to visit him yesterday and even though he can't talk, he's in great spirits. He even asked for a book!

Dad's very touched by all the well wishers so thanks for letting me know. Rick Overton, you can stay at the house whenever you want.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Monica Update

My sister just posted this on her blog:

Dad's had no positive changes in the past 24 hours. He's going in this morning for an invasive procedure (Swan Ganz catheter) that will directly measure the pressure on his heart. He's getting so much fluid that they need to be better able to monitor his heart.

They're hoping for some positive change by this afternoon. As of now, things are very serious, and I believe he's in critical condition. All thoughts and prayers you can spare are much needed!


She just updated with something a little more positive:

Dad's on an upswing, but he's been on a rollercoaster so there could be more drama to follow. He's more alert and he actually.....wait for it...... DANCED (wiggled his head arms and feet) when asked how he was feeling! Yep! He's trying to communicate but has the ventilator in so he's getting frustrated. Where's the speech pathology dept when you need them?! :)

His heart rate is high but his blood pressure is improving. Once he's stable, they can give him medicine to reduce more swelling. He will probably be on the ventilator for another day or so. He's running a fever, which is to be expected with the sepsis. He's sleeping a lot but is quite alert when he IS awake. These are all good signs! He's definitely not out of the woods yet, but it's looking better.

We'll be heading down tomorrow afternoon. Siobhan is singing with her theater group at a breakfast with Santa that ends around 1:00. We'll check in to the hotel and I'll go see Dad for a quick visit. He's really not up for visitors at all but he gets that his kids NEED to see him so he'll tolerate my presence for a short while, i'm sure. Then we'll try to take mom out for a little R&R and maybe even a pint of something yummy.

I'm bringing the laptop and i do have my new iphone :p so I'll update the blog while we're in MD. Hopefully i'll have more positive news to post!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dad Update

There's an infection in his wound(where he was stitched together). So he's back in surgery. My plan to visit today has been postponed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Congratulations Jeannie and Aaron!

Every now and then you meet a couple that's so genuinely great you want them to have a better life than you do. I first met Jeannie five years ago when she interned at Wunderman. She was so sweet, funny and talented that I was sure her husband would be an ass. Fortunately, Aaron is just as cool as she is. Now that they have twins, that's two more people in the most awesome family ever.

Welcome Graham and Lachan!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Darth Maul review at!

Robert Yee called me up and asked if I'd like to come down to the studio and preview Diamond's new Ultimate Quarter Scale figure line. Then two companies got involved and it wasn't like the old days at all.

Here's the review.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dad Update

We've been in Texas for Jack's christening but Dad had his surgery Friday.

Turns out the stricture was not caused by the radiation but by diverticulitis, which he's had in the past. The operation ended up more complicated than predicted. He was under the knife for six hours and recovered in the ICU.

But he's doing very well. Johnny says his labs look great and he'll be in Johns Hopkins for another week. I'll try to drive to Baltimore this week.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New NewsGroper article!

"Chinese Democracy" took longer than any album ever recorded. Arnold Schwarzennegar blames himself.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Axl Update

Dad had his exploratory yesterday. they drained some fluid so he's feeling better. Looks like the big operation will be Friday. But so far, he's ok.

Axl Rose however, is not okay. He's mad at Dr. Pepper.

Wonder if Tim Warner is also mad at Dr. Pepper?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Update Update

Dad is scheduled for surgery at 4:00 today. Everything looks fine.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dad Update

My Dad's in the hospital again.

You may recall he had a quintuple bypass last spring. It has nothing to do with this. You may also remember that he beat prostate cancer last year. The cancer's gone but the complications remain.

Dad had radioactive seeds planted in his prostate to destroy the cancer. he was told it would be the least invasive way to go. For four years he got worse and worse then completely better.

Well, it turns out having radioactive objects in your body doesn't do it much good. (sorry, Spider-Man). The seeds created a buildup of scar tissue in his colon and now nothing's coming through it. He's been on a liquid diet for a month btu this past weekend even that didn't help. He spent 12 hours in the ER and the last four days on an IV.

But the hospital can't do anything for him. They can't perform the surgery that will help him. That can only be done in Long Island. And they can't transfer him there. He has an appointment next Wednesday with the surgeon. Which is ten days from the time he went into the hospital.

So I called my cousin Johnny who not only is my best friend in the family and Ben godfather but a doctor in Johns Hopkins. He got my dad admitted in Baltimore before he even left New York. My mom drove him down today and now we're waiting. At least something is happening.

I'll keep you updated here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ben Thanksgiving

Renee and Ben decided a the last minute to go to the parade. Because when you live in New York, you can do that.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chinese Democracy on Pop Culture Zoo!

When I met the staff at Toy Fair, one of the best guys there was Dan Clark. He left soon after to create Pop Culture Zoo, which covers not only figures but movies, tv, comics and music. I loved what he was doing over there and I wanted to do it too. So I'll be writing a few pieces for him.

And here's the first; the long awaited Guns n' Roses "Chinese Democracy" album. I was planning to make fun of this. Then it blew me away.

Read my review.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Writer's Room Tonight!

Jon Clarke (McSweeney's)
DC Pierson (Derrick)
Donald Glover (30 Rock)
Colin Jost (SNL)

And a sketch by Drink At Work


The PIT154 W 29th St(Between 6th and 7th Aves)


Monday, November 24, 2008

Ben Month 17

FAO has a Muppet workshop. renee took him over the weekend. I should probably take him again. You know, in case he missed something.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ebert reviews Indy

Just because I like Roger Ebert and love "Raiders of the Lost Ark", here's why he thinks it's one of the greatest movies ever made.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Star Trek Trailer!

It's so good Renee almost called Star Trek "cool".

I had my doubts about recasting the original characters. Paramount has always created new characters to further the franchise. But J.J. Abrams seems to have done a "Batman Begins" on this; taking everything taht worked about the original concept and amping it up to 12. I think kids will love it and never want to watch the original series.

I can't embed it yet but I can link it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Forced Insomnia

I went to bed at 11:30. Ben woke up crying at 12:30. He didn't go back down until 3:30. Then he woke up at 7.

Welcome to useless.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ben Month 16

It's almost too cold for the playground. Ben doesn't realize that.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Plastic-Less Office

I just sold my last cd. After twenty years and close to 1000 albums, I now own no music on compact disc.

The idea came to me a couple of years ago. Ed's friend Barton (who used to run an amazing music blog) decided once he had all his music on mp3, he no longer needed the discs. So he sold them in lots on ebay and did fairly well. The idea stuck in my brain until Ben started crawling. Every day, he'd go to the cd bookcase and grab handfuls of records, scattering them all over the floor. The fiftieth time I put my original copy of 3rd Bass' "Derelects of Dialect" back on the shelf, I wondered what the point was.

I'm an archivist. I'm not proud of that side of myself, but it's there. The house is full of stuff that I just HAD to own three years ago. If I'm into an artists' work, I want EVERYTHING by that artist. Season 9 of the X Files. Beatle anthologies. I own Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four run twice in hardcover. I just want to know I have a good copy at my fingertips.

But with music, I always do. I own a 160 GB ipod that's not full. I have 700 GBs of hard drive space for my files. They're backed up on a 500 GB hard drive that resides in Connecticut and a new 1.5 TB drive on the shelf. Why do I need fifth copies of everything on 700 MB cds?

I don't. So off they went. took almost everything at decent (for this economy) prices. It took three months but now the cd bookcase has actual books in it. Throw in a digitized comic book library (I miss those GIT Marvel DVD ROMs) and my obsession becomes virtual and my space becomes liveable.

Now if I could only figure out a way to digitize action figures.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

If today's a holiday and only the post office gets it off, shouldn't they stop telling us about it?

UPDATE: Apparantly everyone else is off while Renee and I work another 12 hour day. Today just got a lot longer.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Siskel and Ebert and the Worst Movie Ever Made

I'm getting excited for the Blu-Ray release of "The Dark Knight" which will drop in a month (and is already breaking Blu-Ray records). I've watched "Batman Begins" on Blu-Ray and am salivating over some high priced Japanese imported figures.

Thinking about how good this movie is reminds me how bad the George Clooney version was. I will never forgive Schumacher for making such a turd. And it's good to see in 1997 Siskel and Ebert agreed with me.

Nice to see Ebert healthy and Siskel alive, isn't it?

And just for fun, here's their review of the Burton 1989 film. I particularly like where they say it's not for kids and argue if it's better than "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

They Showed Up!

All the way from Japan. Months in the waiting. Too much in the paying. Lots of ebay in the customizing. But I can finally make this:


Monday, October 27, 2008

Shtick or Treat

If you weren't there, you missed the most fun comedy show this year. 35 comics and everyone did well. Since we were performing as other people, no one's ego got crushed by a joke that fell flat. No one got big headed when they killed with someone else's material. Everyone enjoyed themselves.

I performed as Bob Newhart. This is what I did.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Special Halloween Show Tomorrow!

I've been performing only when it's fun. Tomorrow night should be hilarious. Mark Normand invited me to his Halloween show at the Creek. 30 comedians do 3 minutes each, but as their favorite comic. Their material, their style. Guess who I'm doing?

Shtick or Treat
The Creek
10-93 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY
10/25 8 p.m.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Temple of Doom review at!

The Indiana Jones action figure line is dead. In four months it went from being the next Star Wars to the last Narnia. The boards are alive with blame. Wal-Mart ordered too much. Hasbro used bad factories. Lucas wanted too much Mutt. Kids hate old guys.

I don't know what went wrong and as sad as I am I can't continue to get Indy characters for years to come, I'm grateful for what I got. And I'm really grateful I managed to snag the line from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Not only does it complete all four films in the franchise, it's also has the best figures ever done for it.

Take a look!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


The new Rambo is the most violent film I've ever seen without a zombie in it. Still not as stupid as 2 or 3.

Want to see people explode into pieces? Rent this mother.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Zakk Wylde

Zakk Wylde is a phenomenal guitarist. Ozzy hired him when he was only 20 and he's managed to improve from there. You are not going to see any of that skill here. Zakk plays deliberately badly in this Guitar World lesson that's more charming than hilarious.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ben Month 15.1

Last week we went to Virginia for my cousin Emily's wedding. Ben wore a bow tie.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Neal Hefti

Walker let me know that Neal Hefti passed away this week. Hefti was a great jazz composer who wrote tons of hits for Count Basie. He also wrote the music for "The Odd Couple" and the theme to "Batman". Yes, that theme. Music so memorable and simple that Ben sings it today. He will be missed.