Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ben 1 Year!

Today is Ben's first birthday! We had the family over for a barbecue and even though it rained most of the day, it was a good time. As we had cake, I showed this video of Ben growing up. Now you can see it. But you can't have cake.

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Play Cole Animation!

The videos are back on! With Hellboy II: the Golden Army premiering July 11, I thought it would be a good time to see more Hellboy. So I made this.

Here's "A Day in the Life of Hellboy":

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Roland Micro Cube

I've got a week in North Carolina with my family coming up. Renee suggested I bring my guitar for my own mental health. Last time we did this trip, I brought a Martin 12string and it didn't work out too well. So this year I'm taking my new strat and a Roland Micro Cube.

The Micro Cube has everything. It's about seven pounds and eight inches high with a 5" speaker. It's quiet enough for the bedroom and loud enough for the studio. It can even run on batteries so you can take it outside.

But what really makes it shine are the sounds. Thanks to expanding digital technology, this tiny amp can sound like ANYTHING. There are six settings; acoustic, JC 120, Fender Twin, VOX, Marshall and MESA/Boogie. Each are convincing and rich. Chorus, phaser, flanger, tremelo, reverb and digital delay are all on board. And with a headphone jack and an mp3 player input, you can sit right inside the song while shutting the world out.

I first saw one of these a few years ago in Guitar Center. I wanted to get one for the living room but Renee wouldn't let me. Now that I have a better reason (and $125), I picked one up.

When I was growing up there were two types of practice amps; plastic Marshall and Fenders, which sounded terrible and the Pignose which was too clean and too loud. Guitar technology has come a long way. Even though I'll never give up my 50 watt tube Marshall, the Micro Cube can get me close to that sound outside of my office. It might even keep me sane in North Carolina.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The 25 Worst Sitcoms Ever

Carlin personified great comedy. Even though his sitcom only ran 25 episodes, he'd never make this list.

Check it out.

Can't argue with any of it. Especially number 1.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin

George Carlin has passed away at the age of 71.

I'm stunned. I've seen Carlin once at the Museum of Television and Radio in a Q&A session but never saw him perform. Now I won't get the chance. He toured constantly (his last performance was only a week ago) and part of me just figured he'd live forever.

Saying Carlin is an influence on me is like saying the Beatles are an influence on a musician. My parents told me never to watch him but by the time I got to high school, I snuck in an HBO special and was hooked. From then on, I grabbed up every record I could find and was always there when a new special premiered. My first six months on stage, whenever I was stuck I would think, "What would Carlin do?"

I doubt we'll ever see a more consummate stand-up comedian. He was so good at it he was never successful at anything else. He did movies, tv, books but they never had the impact of his stage persona. I don't think a week goes by where we don't talk about him. Even though I've never met the man face to face, I feel like a friend is gone.

Leave a comment if you loved George Carlin.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Now that is a rock n' roll band.

In my late twenties, when I climbed out of poverty, I made a list of all the bands I'd always wanted to see. Last night, my list was complete. After much futzing to find a babysitter, Renee and I went to MSG to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Petty songs are so deceptively simple, humble and personal that you forget how big he is. But the stadium was full well before he went on. Steve Winwood opened and alternately thrilled the audience with hits and bored them with new stuff. Once Petty hit the stage, the crowd was jubilant. It was the warmest feeling I'd ever gotten at a rock show.

It's odd to see a solid band with a leader. Most solo artists have session guys behind them who never sound like a unit. And a great band has no clear frontman. The Heartbreakers have both. They may be billed behind Tom but he is in there, always ready to become just the rhythm guitarist in the combo. And they gave as good as they got. It seemed to be a good show even for the band. Petty thanked the crowd profusely for every applause break and called MSG "the best room in the world for rock".

And the set list! You love these songs. You love at least thirty of these songs. I haven't been to a show with that much singing since Springsteen. The songs were eclectic but centered on Petty's high-water mark, from 1989's Full Moon Fever to 1994's Wildflowers. Not many artists peak in their third decade but the broad ages of the crowd proved just how long Petty has been vital.

It took me 20 years but I finally saw all the bands I needed to see live. I guess I should start thinking about who I want to see twice. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers just made that list.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stan Winston

Stan Winston has passed away at the age of 62.

Stan's work with special effects has left an indelible mark on the history of film. From Terminator to Predator to Jurassic Park to Edward Scissorhands, most of what still rings in our imagination came from Winston. He will be missed.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm Back on NewsGroper!

You've read my thoughts on Frank Darabont's script. You've heard Frank's. But you haven't heard Mr. T's.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods

I admit "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is getting mixed reviews. And most of the criticism is leveled at David Koepp's script. If you'd been keeping up with the development of the film you know that Frank Darabont wrote a script that Speilberg called "the best since Raiders."

Steven loved it, Harrison loved it, George hated it. Which proves how good it is. Koepp's script feels like a comprimise and it shows in the final film. I was hoping to see Darabont's script someday, maybe adapted as a Dark Horse comic or synopsized in an article.

But now I don't have to. Because it's online as a pdf. I doubt it will be up for long so if you want to see what might have been, go here.

UPDATE: Just finished it. It reads like a first draft of Crystal Skull. Many of the big set pieces are there and one huge plane chase that didn't make it. The sci-fi angle is just as strong, if not stronger. References to the other movies, Casablanca and Hitchcock are rampant. And no Mutt.

It's a stronger story in terms of the Indy/ Marion relationship. There's a love triangle that helps push the story along and Marion really feels like she did in "Raiders". And the Yuri character is stronger than Mac. But it's missing the elderly Indy feeling, the son relationship, the traps and the bombast of Crystal Skull. Overall, it's smarter but not as much fun. I'm actually glad we got the movie we got.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bush Impeached?

Dennis Kucinich just introduced a resolution to impeach Bush. I'm surprised it took this long. I've often said that if we could impeach Clinton for getting a blow job, Bush should have been executed long ago.

Doesn't look like it will pass though. Bush only has six months left to serve and Nacy Pelosi said she won't support an impeachment. Besides, it's Kucinich. Not exactly a voice that inspires millions to follow.

By the way, Cheney has two resolutions to impeach him.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Superman V. Darkseid

I'm still sick and watching "Smallville". Superman's never been my favorite superhero but you have to respect him for coming first. Here's what I consider his shining moment; fighting Darkseid in the final episode of Justice League Unlimited. If you don't know who Darkseid is, just watch him beat up Batman in 15 seconds.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Ben Week 49

Ben and Renee went to Chicago last week. They came back sick and now I'm sick. So Ben and I are both in the house sick during a heat wave. We're both cranky. And not posting very much.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I'm On NewsGroper!

NewsGroper read my last piece on Yankee Pot Roast and asked if I would write something for them. I did. No byline on this but I can tell you it's me.

Read "Five Reasons Why William Shatner Is Better Than Sliced Bread".

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Obama Clinches It

I haven't talked much about politics lately, but I'm pretty happy Obama got the nomination. Hilary still hasn't given up but now she's saying she'll take a VP slot. And for once, I agree with Jimmy Carter.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Joke I Can Use For the Next 10 Days

Harvey Korman died this week. The cast of "The Carol Burnett Show" gathered to say a few words, but they just kept cracking each other up.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Star Wars review at!

While I was waiting for Indiana Jones to hit, I picked up some of the new Star Wars figures. This set is from Revenge of the Sith, the prequel that's almost good.

Read the review.