Friday, December 29, 2006

15 Coffees and Newspapers

One of the trends of recent Christmases I've enjoyed is receiving gift cards. One reason is if you are stuck for Christmas gifts and it's Christmas eve and you haven't given anyone a gift yet. What to do? Shopping is a chore! Thank God for 24/7 places like 7-Eleven. You can get gift cards there! The variety of merchants available to buy gift cards of ranges from Home Depot, Bed, Bath and Beyond, I-Tunes and 7-Eleven itself. The people receiving the gifts don't know you didn't put much thought into the gifts unless they are utterly clueless on where you shop.

I got two gift cards from 7-Eleven as gifts because my daily routine starts with a large cup of coffee and a newspaper. Scangirl makes me out to be a simpleton when it comes to my interests. "He likes coffee and newspapers" Well, I have taken advantage of the card but I found out one thing you can't buy with a 7-Eleven gift card, another gift card. I sought out an I-Tunes card that I could easily afford with my 7-Eleven card only to find out it doesn't allow for that to happen I was bummed by this because I was in a music buying frenzy. I was also bummed out because I wanted to do a cartoon gag about that scenario.

Oh well, coffee and newspapers for the next two weeks I don't have to pay for!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gerald Ford? I Never Voted For Him

We will see flags at half staff for the next month in honor of former president Gerald Ford who died at the age of 93. Every president gets this honor even an accidental one like Gerald Ford. He of course is best known for pardoning Richard Nixon and for being president without one person in America exercising their right to vote him there. I remember when Nixon resigned in 1974. Of course I didn't understand why at the time. He lived to be the oldest president to ever live, taking that crown away from Ronald Reagan. He seemed like a decent guy, but in 1976, when I was 9, I did not vote for him.

Wait! 9? You can't vote at 9!

Well, back when I was in 4th grade the 1976 election was in full swing. So, our class decide to have a mock secret election on the presidential race between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. I had no grasp on politics at the time, I just wanted to vote who I thought was nicer and more charismatic and believe it or not, that man was Jimmy Carter.

I was a bit odd, and I did not want to be at the time. I wanted to conform but I thought I did not have to change much to do so. So, I thought when I dropped my paper ballot in the box I would have been in the majority voting for Jimmy Carter. Well the count came in and in a classroom of 24, Jimmy Carter got two votes.

Two Votes! I was devastated! This was like voting against Castro in Cuba. Only two people in the classroom felt the way I did? Who else was that weird? Well, it turned out no one. Class clown Gary thought it was a hoot to waste his vote on Jimmy Carter.
He got laughs from every one in the classroom for it. If anyone had noticed me in the back, they would see that I was not laughing. I really thought Jimmy Carter was the better man. Thank god for closed ballots!

A few weeks later Jimmy Carter won for real and I wish I can tell you I felt vindicated, but alas, I felt peer pressured into keeping it to myself.

I felt a similar loneliness in the coming years when as a Mets fan I had to endure taunts by my classmates when the Yankees were winning World Series in the late 70's. By the time the Mets won in 1986, I was in college and had to defend myself to charges I was a fly by night Mets fans to new friends, a few who actually thought Jimmy Carter was an all right guy.

So was Gerald Ford, certainly better than what we have now in the White House.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Post Christmas Bliss

It is the day after Christmas and I went out to check out the scene, man. The recent trends of giving away gift cards allows for the opportunity of getting Christmas gifts to continue for weeks on end. The double whammy is that with the post holiday sales it makes your money go further.

This reminds me of the best Christmas I had when I was a kid. After getting a cool Star Trek Enterprise toy with various action figures I was able to complete my collection of dolls the next day with my aunt. Not only was I ecstatic, but I would play with that set constantly for years to come....

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Enjoy The Holidays, whatever one you celebrate unless it's St. Patrick's Day, I'll get back to you in March.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Right Wing Duck Can Only Fly In Circles

I was watching one of my favorite shows The Colbert Report the other day when it was brought to my attention that Indiana native Bruce Tinsley was arrested for DWI. It was the second drunk related arrest in recent months for Mr. Tinsley. Who is Bruce Tinsley? Why, the creator of one of the lamest comic strips to ever come down the pike, Mallard Fillmore.

How lame is Mallard Fillmore? Let me count the ways...

1. He's a typical conservative who always uses strawmen to prove the evils of liberals

2. He's a physical rip off of Howard The Duck without being funny

3. The art is borderline awful especially when it comes to caricatures, witness Jon Stewart in the following strip.

4. He's incoherent at times in expressing his right wing views to the point where you wonder how did he get from point A to point B in this arguement.

5.This link has a list of characters that apparently appear in the strip but if you are reading through the archives you will go through hundreds of strips before you see more than two of the characters featured on the page.

6. The list of characters suggest that it is a narrative strip that has story lines but alas it is usually a picture of the duck looking at us lecturing about the evils of the NEA, Social Security, eggnog and of course Affirmative Action.

7. Speaking of Affirmative Action, the origin of the comic has Mallard Fillmore looking for work, we are to relate to him as a self starter because he just got fired from a newspaper and he will get a new job by persistence, pounding the pavement, he makes a judgement call saying he was lowering his standards by going into television as opposed to print media. So, the guy who would hire him thinks he's not qualified enough for the job but hires him because as a duck he's considered a minority and therefore is hired to fill that quota. Does Mallard refuse the job out of principles for his stance against Affirmative Action? Of course not!

8. He's spends most of his time sitting in front of his television without any pants on. He never seems to be doing his job as a journalist.

I have more reasons why Mallard Fillmore is lame but I'm taking too much time as it is, suffice to say I can't really call Bruce Tinsley a hypocrite for his drunkeness as this strip below shows. I can experience schadenfreude all I want but really I just wish the strip was funny and makes me challenged on my liberal views. hope you get help Bruce.

Dad? What's A CD?

I remember when the compact disk came out in the early 80's. I was fascinated by the fact that you can that you can just flip to the songs you want on an album without waiting and that you can shuffle the songs to get a new perspective on a familiar album. I couldn't imagine any significant advancement at the time that would displace CDs as the dominant form of music purchasing. That was before the advent of the Ipod and other MP3 players.

Ever since I bought my most recent computer, I have barely played my CD player. I am never in the forefront of technology. I believe in waiting out to see if or what will dominate the marketplace before I jump in. In 1984 the marketplace had determined VHS format of videotaping was the way to go in recording television shows and watching movies at home. 1990 was the year I finally got a CD player when prices for them were affordable to a cheap bastard as myself. 1 got my first DVD in 2003 when they got cheap and more so because the VHS format was all but extinct.

So, when I got my Mac I took advantage of the ITunes program and installed music from my favorite Cds. The sound from my computer is quite good so I used it as my primary source of listening. I have bought music from the ITunes web site on occasion and ahem! have gone to the library to "borrow" Cds that had songs I haven't had in my possession since my cassette days. I have taken advantage of other peoples collection of songs and installed it in my computer. Basically this means I have not bought a CD since 2004. Until the other day.

It's Christmas time and that means Scangirl likes to go shopping and I get to tag along. Scangirl has been influential in my going shopping for Christmas presents in her absence. That means going to stores that play Christmas music (Funny how the "War On Christmas" hasn't stopped that practice). My local K-Mart plays the pop standards. One dandy chestnut they play is "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You" by Billy Squier. It's a fun mid tempo rocker that features background vocals from the early MTV crew in the video. This reminded me how much I loved Billy Squier in the early 80's. After watching his videos on YouTube I got obsessed with him to the point of adding his music to my collection.

So I went to ITunes to purchase music only to find I needed to install an advanced version of ITunes to go further. I hate having to do that because half the time I install programs from the internet I can't figure out how to make it work on my computer. Well, I tried to do this only to find my computer wasn't advanced enough to install it.

What?!!!!!!? I bought the computer in 2005! It hasn't been 18 months yet! How can my Mac computer not be advanced enough to install songs from Mac's own ITunes yet I could install songs on a PC with Windows 2000! 2000! That's before Bush! How can they be so cruel to Mac users.

But I digress...

So my obsession continues with Billy Squier. I had to get his music. Only one thing to do, buy his CD.

I knew there was a collection out there, heck I've seen it in grocery stores. I finally decided to buy it at fye. I found a collection of ten of his songs in which I liked nine for $6.99. A better price then ITunes. It was weird buying a CD. It seemed so archaic. I looked at it like a person who still buys vinyl records, like I'm looking at an icon of a previous generation.

So, in keeping with my current tradition of listening to songs on my computer, I immediately installed the songs and played my "Party Shuffle" with the "Least Recently Played" as my source category.

To make a long story longer I grooved on Billy Squier classics like "The Stroke" My Kinda Lover" and "Everybody Wants You". Alas no "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You" and it just came to my attention as I'm writing this that the so called "Best of Billy Squier" doesn't have "Lonely Is The Night" Yikes! A quick look online at other various compilations over the years doesn't have "Lonely Is The Night" either. How did I miss this?

Sigh! It will be a while before I buy another bargain CD.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Only Two States...

Funny enough, the state I grew up in (New Jersey) and the state next to Washington where I lived for 14 years (Oregon) are the only states where you'll run into this situation

Saturday, November 25, 2006

How Many People Qualify As Disabled Anyway?

My main mode of transportation is a bicycle. I live in an apartment and when I first moved in, I brought my bike inside the apartment until I saw that many tenants had tied up their bikes in the "breezeway" under a set of stairs.

Our apartment door is right next to these set of stairs and seeing that many rules in the apartment are violated by many tenants, I decided that tying my bike outside my door wasn't in the way of anyone else. It was a perfect place. It was out of my apartment, wasn't in anyone else's way and was protected from the elements. Anyway, Someone else, who did not live in the immediate vicinity had their bike tied up under the same stairs.

Well, a month ago, we got a certified letter with a new emphasis on the rules of the apartment building. They mentioned bike was not allowed to be in the breezeway and about how most of the bikes were abandoned and any bike left outside would be removed.

So, I moved my bike indoors to avoid trouble but I saw that the other person whose bike is outside OUR door had theirs still out there. No big deal until I read a note I thought was from the apartment managers. It was from the tenant from apartment I-7, saying that the bike owner was disabled and to not remove it.


Give me a break! How disabled can you be if you can ride a bicycle? Oh, I might add that I-7 is on the SECOND floor. No alternative means of getting up there without walking up a set of stairs. I-7 is also a 2 bedroom apartment meaning that there almost has to be someone else up there who can bring the bike upstairs for the time being. The rider in question does not ride the bike much anyway. I've only seen it removed once in the four months I've lived there. It usually just sits there covered in a tarp like a sportscar.

I know I sound insensitive but most people cannot acccept the truth sometimes and they say they're disabled in any situation that would help get what they want. It's the same thing when people say they're allergic to some foods when really, they just don't like it.

Be true to yourself.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Enjoying the Strips?

Let me know by responding to the blog entries. Here's a new one...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Joe Girardi? Joe Girardi?

I'm pissed! Joe Girardi winning manager of the year? With a losing record? A record that was FIVE games worse than the year before? The first losing season for the Marlins since 2002? What the hell?

How do you deny Willie Randolph of the Mets? He improved the Mets by 14 games! He had to juggle 13 starters without a bonafide ace to get the best record in all of baseball! They were the only team to do well in the National league!

I know that Girardi had to juggle a bunch of rookies but they had three winning seasons before he came to the team, they had only one winning season previous in their whole history. How does he get Manager of the year when he got fired? Ahhhhhhh, life ain't fair!

This reminds me of 1988, when the Dodgers got all the awards I felt should have gone to the Mets. Look at David Cone's record compared to Orel Hersheiser's in the Cy Young Award race., Even though Orel had the consecutive shutout inning streak and more wins, Cone had a better winning pct. and much more strikeouts and ironically a better ERA and he wasn't even close in the voting. Third place no less! And look at Kirk Gibson's stats compared to Darryl Strawberry's in the MVP race. Much more home runs, and more RBIs. Ugh!

Anyway, No Mets manager has won Manager of the Year and this is at least the third time they deserved to.

No World Series either.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rudy's Run

Well, it looks like Rudolph Giuliani is running for president in 2008. Can he win? Well, before last Tuesday election results I would have said he could have easily won the general election but would have almost no chance winning the Republican nomination. Now, I think the opposite of both those scenarios is more likely. One thing for sure, I don't want him for president. He blew it for me in 2004.

I have never been a fan of Giuliani. I voted for David Dinkins in 1989 when he ran against Giuliani. I had never regretted a vote more. Dinkins was the biggest disappointment I've ever seen. So, when the the two of them ran against each other again in 1993, well, I was glad I had moved to Seattle at that point. Giuliani won handily, and made some dramatic changes in the makeup of the city with the approval of most of the citizens. I saw some of these changes each time I visited the city, I liked some of them and didn't like others. The city was cleaner but lost a lot of its character. It became bland and indistinguishable from any other area of the United States.

Anyway, Giuliani's second term started off well but he soon became tabloid fodder when his marriage was on the rocks. He had an affair and was something of a joke as his tenure as mayor was coming to an end. Then September 11th happened and his image got the biggest boost anyone could ever imagine. He earned it by being the image of calm in a truly confusing, chaotic day. He acted more presidential than George Bush did, granted he was in the city when the attacks happened, but he had guts and acted decisively. That was the day I thought he would make a great president. My views would soon change.

Granted, I much rather have Giuliani as president than the man who stole the White House from Al Gore. If Al Gore had been president when the events of 9-11 happened (Though I think they would NOT have happened with Gore as president) Giuliani would have easily beaten him for president in 2004 and I would have been okay with that. Instead, George Bush Jr. was in the White House and was running for re-election. The convention was in New York City, and Giuliani was to give a keynote speech. That's where he lost me.

On September 11th 2001, Giuliani saved the Bush administration. He was there when the city was burning. Bush was nowhere to be seen. Who knows what Bush was doing? We didn't see him that day and from all appearances, was hiding somewhere, we don't really know, we're not allowed to find out. So, Bush owed Giuliani big time. Heck, Giuliani should have ran against Bush in 2004 either in the primary or as a Democrat, his views are more moderate that Bush's. Instead he bowed done to Bush and made what I felt was a disgusting statement at the Convention.

He said "For me, when I arrived there and I stood below the north tower and I looked up, and seeing the flames of hell emanating from those buildings, and realizing that what I was actually seeing was a human being on the 101st, 102nd floor that was jumping out of the building, I stood there, it probably took five or six seconds, it seemed to me that it took 20 or 30 minutes, and I was stunned."

"At the time, we believed that we would be attacked many more times that day and in the days that followed. Without really thinking, based on just emotion, spontaneous, I grabbed the arm of then Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and I said to him, 'Bernie, thank God George Bush is our president.'"

I was livid. This election disgusted me enough when they smeared John Kerry's military record and mocking his medals by wearing purple heart band aids in the same audience. But thanking God that George Bush was president, when even at that time it appeared that if anyone else was president 9-11 could have been prevented. To see the second Republican kiss up to an unworthy human being like that (John McCain did it earlier that convention) made me more partisan than I had been in awhile. We got stuck with four more years of Bush and a war with no end in sight thanks to Giuliani and McCain. And they want my vote? I don't think so. They are not heroes.

The funny thing is that now, most people are angry with Bush, so much so that they may give McCain and Giuliani a chance in the Republican primaries. I think that the republicans will realize they need a moderate like Giuliani and a maverick like McCain to win over Democrat voters who don't want to put Hillary Clinton in the White House. I used to think that either McCain or Giuliani would be shoo-ins if they got past the primaries. But I think 2008 is not their time. I think both passed their opportunities.

McCain's best chance was in 2000. He would have been a welcome change for many people from Bill Clinton. He was a straight talker, An Arizona Republican in the Barry Goldwater vein. He would have made a great one term president. Guiliani's time was 2004. He was not going to take on an incumbent from his own party, and though he is a bit liberal on some issues. 2008 is a different story for both guys. John McCain is getting a bit too old, he'll be 72 in 2008. He also appeared weak in the 2000 primaries in defending his honor against attacks by Bush. He went full circle by supporting almost everything Bush wanted and lost any "maverick" points. As of now, it looks like that Hillary Clinton is a shoo-in to win and I couldn't be happier. I can't think of any Republican who can beat her. She has already been through the ringer enough to handle any attacks against her. This can change however, most likely it will be someone no one has mentioned yet.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Dirk hunt part 5

Someday I will gather these strips together and put out a booklet, for now, click on the picture and enjoy it in the meantime.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Okay, That's a Relief

As I stated in a previous blog entry, I wasn't registered to vote this year, the first time I didn't vote since 1994. That year I had just moved to Federal Way, Washington and the Republicans took control of congress. That year every Republican who ran won, and 50+ Democrats lost. This year every Democrat won re-election and the Republicans lost 30+ seats and control of both the House and the Senate.

I'm happy but I'm not gloating. Back in 1994, a tax increase and a little stronger gun control was all that was needed to get the bums out. This time it took a disasterous war that even Bush is saying is going to continue another two years plus. It took almost 3000 deaths of our soliders and perhaps hundreds of thousands of deaths of people whom we're trying to spread democracy to. If we threw Bush out in 2004 it would not be as bad. But somehow the American people thought he was worth keeping in.

I was thinking about how we got here. In 2003, Bush hoodwinked the American people in supporting a war in Iraq. People believed Saddam Hussain was connected to 9-11 and Bush did nothing to dissuade that line of thinking. We thought that Saddam was a threat, talking about building a huge weapon arsenal against his enemies, including the US. We didn't think it through though. Saddam was weak, he had almost no power. We kept him in check throughout the 90's. He tried some mischief but we would stop any action he would take in the "no-fly" zone. He was like a bear in a cage.

Bush wanted to be tough, wanted targets (buildings, palaces) that looked cool when we bombed, because Afganistan's bombing looked like an interstate highway project, hardly sexy.

2003 looked good from a military standpoint. We toppled Saddam statues, we had film footage of cheering Iraqis, we had a proud president standing abourd an aircraft carrier in front of a banner "Mission Accomplished" , the war went on. We got some of the infrastructure we destroyed back on line, we killed Saddam sons, the war went on. We captured Saddam himself in a humilating way, disheveled in a hole in the ground, the war went on. They had elections, democratic elections that even we didn't have in 2000, the war went on and on and on.

So, when Bill O'Reilly asked do you want the US to win the war, I ask haven't we already won it? I mean what else is there to do? Steal their oil to pay for the war? I mean, Bush had the audacity to make tax cuts in a time of war, so how is this 300 Billion dollar and counting war going to be paid for?

We won the first gulf war by merely taking Saddam Hussain out of Kuwait. Poppy bush's approval ratings were through the roof! But he lost his re-election bid a year and a half later. I can't help but feel that Boy George wanted to show up his dad by actually capturing Saddam. I can't help but feel he kept the war going beyond its natural conclusion to win re-election. After, he won that I got confused at why we're there still. I got my answer when he was leaving it up to his successor to figure it out. No matter who wins, if we're still there the next president is screwed. If a Democrat wins, Bush can spin it that it was their failure, not his. Whatever. Our presense there now means at the very least we lost not militarily but morally. Any comparisons people make to past wars in our history fails to point out that we are the agressors and the agressors had lost World War II, World War I, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War (Okay, maybe not the Civil War)

The only war to compare this to is Vietnam. I'm sorry. The casualty rate isn't there yet but the reasoning of why we're there is similar, the fact it will involve two presidential administrations is the same and it was started by two Texans.

I'll shut up now.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Christmas is Coming...Batten Down The Hatches!

Yes, Christmas is coming, that means we'll probably be treated to more of the "War On Christmas" crap we went through last year courtesy of Bill O'Reilly. I love the myth that it's an attack on Christmas when retailers call a Christmas tree a Holiday tree. Bill, aren't you a capitalist? Should not the retailers try to expand the market on trees to consumers who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwansaa, and other holidays?

One of his targets was funny enough, Target stores. He rightfully attacked them for eliminating the Salvation Army bell ringers, but to be honest with you they can be annoying, especially at the entrance at a stand alone Big Box retailer.

He then attacked them for "forcing" their associates to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Bill, I have news for you, unless it's December 25th (The errornious day of Christ's birth) it's not Christmas and Target isn't open. Jewish people shop too, and if you said "Merry Christmas" to a Jewish person, it could lead to an uncomfortable situation. I'm just saying.

He also said they had no "religious" cards available which was utterly false. I did a very unscientific research project, I closed my eyes and grabbed a card and lo and behold it was one that featured the Nativity. I did it once again and it featured the "Christmas" star. The third time I grabbed it it was a secular Peanuts card without Linus sermonizing.

Last year as, I was shopping, I heard some nasty exchanges of "Merry Christmas" between retailers and customers as though they were oppressed people trying desperately to save a a dying tradition. This is absurd if Christmas was eliminated, most retailers would go bankrupt lacking enough revenue to survive. No one is killing Christmas.

Of course, Bill O'Reilly attributes the "War On Christmas" to the "Politically Correct" (Whatever That Means) crowd. He's offended by "Happy Holidays" and even "Season Greetings" and thinks this is a recent phenomenon. Oh contrare. I am 40 years old and some of my earliest memories involve seeing Season Greetings banners hovering over Main Streets of towns across New Jersey, it was an annual ritual that had to have occurred before I was born. That's a long time Bill, for a war to be going on without your notice.

This routine of Bill O'Reilly is really about taking what is already a Christian dominated country and shoving it down the throats of those who don't celebrate the birth of carpenter from 2000 years ago. In recent years I have noticed a general progression towards Nativity scenes in public places. They are more readily available now than in anytime in my life. No one is stopping you from celebrating Christmas. No one is stopping you from spending thousands of dollars on electricity illuminating your joy at celebrating a carpenter/philosopher. I've seen the Nativity scene in more places than ever. Curiously, the one place I see it less is in front of churches. It used to be it was always in front of a church but for some reason I don't see it as much. I could be wrong, but if Bill has a complaint he should start in the churches.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Newark Museum

I had the pleasure of being at the Newark Museum today. They had an exhibit featuring the masters of the american comic strip. It featured Winsor McCay, George Herriman, Chester Gould, Charles Schulz and many others.

There was a sister show in New York about comic book artists, but with the New York City Marathon going on, I felt a trip to Newark was more prudent because I am more a fan of the Strip than the Book.

There is not much to do in downtown Newark on a Sunday, It STILL has yet to fully recover from the riots of 1967 but there are efforts to make Newark a destination stop. The museum is worth the trip and at seven bucks a bargin. The cartoon exhibit was excellent feature original artwork from McCay, Herriman, and E.G. Segar. What a delight to see how these masters worked their craft and how depressing it is as a wannabe cartoonist to realize how hard it is to be that great.

There was a healthy crowd to see the exhibit and the rest of the museum featured many works by American artists including Warhol. They have a bonafide Buddist Temple on the third floor.

So, the Newark Museum, come for the cartoons, stay for the Buddist Temple.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I thought I'd never see...

It was cold the other night as I was riding my bike home from work. Not that cold, mind you, but really cold in what I saw that night. People were playing softball under November lights! I know that baseball is America's past time along with apple pie and Chevrolet but this is an astounding to me. I also saw a father play catch with his son all decked out in late fall clothes today. In November! After the World Series!

Still, When I was growing up and I wanted to get together to play baseball, I would have a hard time encouraging my peers to play if it was after August. Once Football came upon the horizon, None were interested in playing America's pastime. So, I am encouraged at the prospect of playing pick up softball sometime next year in the area. I guess I'll try to find an "over 40" league now that I'll BE over 40 next year.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Stem Cells

The recent flap involving Michael J. Fox supporting a Democrat that wants to expand stem cell research to hopefully cure Parkinson brings up some interesting questions.

Now, I'm for any stem cell research that doesn't involve cloning. Most people against fetal stem cell research points out that adult stem cells are doing the job nicely. Well, that's because they had a head start in research, but the cells aren't complete enough or hold enough information to be fully useful.

I saw a commercial featuring TV's Patricia Heaton talking about how poor women are selling their eggs for research and that the procedure is harmful to them. Where's this happening? I mean if a woman wants to sell her undeveloped eggs it should be her right. Does Ms. Heaton condemn menstrual periods? How far does her anti-choice agenda go? "Every sperm is sacred!" Let these women make money if that option is open to them, they were never going to be babies.

Now, I don't understand why it's preferable to dispose of abortions and miscarried fetuses without trying to do research to help lives. It's just waste.

However, the one main source of stem cell research would involve In vitro fertilization. This is the procedure people use to get pregnant through artificial means. It involves the fertilization of eggs from the woman and the blastocysts being preserved for potential use. It can involve hundreds of blastocyst samples. Now when the couple decide to have the babies they have the blastocysts placed in the uterus. The rest of them go .....Where? No one is expected to have a hundred babies,
so what do we do with the rest of the blastocysts?

Okay, you can figure out where I stand on that, but my question is where was the outrage at all this potential "abortions" happening when people were lauding In vitro fertilization in the first place? Have you ever heard of bomb threat at In vitro fertilization clinics? There was some controversy over the first test tube baby but that was a "Frankenstein" thing. Do the opponents of fetal stem cell research think that all the blastocysts will find a womb to be placed?

I don't expect there to be a cure for Parkinson in Michael J. Fox's lifetime, science can be slow but I think we should make use of what is available to use. If someone who has a collection of blastocysts doesn't want the scientist to touch them that is their right. But don't prevent those who do want to donate the blastocysts to scientists

Hulk vs. Godzilla

I'm watching a commercial that talks about the virtues of a high quality picture screen for Philips electronics when I noticed that it featured the Incredible Hulk from the movie of a few years back. I thought it was strange, because the movie didn't do all that well and I haven't heard anything about a sequel being made. Were they talking about the picture quality being soooo great that you can easily spot the fakeness of the computer generated monster? I dunno, it just seemed weird to feature a character from a movie that really wasn't iconic enough to make people forget Lou Ferrigno.

The weird thing is that this is the second time in recent months that a commercial featured a computer generated representation of a character that is better remembered as a man in costume. A Doritos ad recently featured Godzilla. No, not the Japanese icon we all love but the "edgy" size matters 90's version that no one really cared for. That movie came out 8 years ago and no sequel is on the horizon. If he was an actor I would assume he needed the work but who is it now that needs the work? The CGI company?

I guess these commercials seem strange to me is because usually these type of commercials have a synergy aspect to it. They usually are there to hype an oncoming movie and the various tie ins. I got used to this schtick. I guess I should be glad that in both cases it is limited to one commercial but the cynic in me is wondering what is really being sold to the consumer.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dirk's Hunt Continues....

Baseball Factoids

The World Series winning St. Louis Cardinals were more games over .500 in the postseason (11-5) than they were in the whole of the regular season (83-78).

They have the worst record of any team that has won the World Series.

Their combined wins regular and postseason were less than the regular season win total of four teams.

They had the 13th best record in baseball.

Five teams who did not make the playoffs had a better record than the Cardinals.

Of the seven series played in the post season only one favorite won, the Mets over the Dodgers. All the others had the perceived underdogs win. Every team with the home field advantage lost except the Mets in the previous mentioned series.

How weird the game of baseball is.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why Are the Cops Outside Our Apartment Building?

I moved into Royal Court three months ago thinking I had found the ideal place to live, It's quiet, in a good neighborhood and has well groomed landscape. So, why is a visit from the cops a frequent event at the Royal Court?

I woke up around 9 O'clock this morning to get my coffee and newspaper. When I got back I noticed two cop cars hanging outside of the building next to the one I live in. I went to the recycling bin a few times and one of the cops was still there. I kept seeing him everything I went out to put yet more beer bottles in the recycling. I always get paranoid around cops. I wonder if he was scrutinizing my actions as I was putting stuff like garbage in the bin. I wasn't breaking the law but I still felt unnerved.

Anyway, I know it wasn't me that he was checking out, but I have been surprised at how my first impressions of apartments I move into gets squashed months later.

I worked with a neighbor at my previous job and she had mentioned how often cops came to her building to deal with domestic disturbances. She mentioned that the building across the way has many calls too. Now, mind you, this is an expensive town I live in, I felt fortunate to find this place where the price was right. I got scrutinized by the landlord on income and previous places I lived. So I get surprised knowing a possible criminal element lives here.

This reminds me of a previous place I lived at in Federal Way, Washington. I had a long relationship that went sour and was looking for a place to live I could afford in town. I wasn't making much money but I did not want to live in a scummy place. Actually I was kinda looking for a bachelor like pad to move on with my life.

I found an apartment complex that seemed to fit the bill. The apartments were all one bedrooms, two steps above the cheapest places available, and near easy transit to the city of Seattle. It seemed to fit the bill, it had a handball court and was near some pubs. Whoo boy did I misjudge. I think I was one of the few people who paid full rent with out any public assistance.

I was in the middle apartment of a three story building, whose upstairs neighbor was a sexually active grandmother on Social Security and my downstairs neighbor was a single mother with I dunno how many children in a ONE bedroom apartment.

I had a neighbor across the way who was a mentally challenged woman who was being exploited by her brother who wasn't all there himself. This was not the ideal place to start my life over as a single guy on the make. I moved out a year later to Seattle into a smaller, less nice apartment in a much better neighborhood.

So, I'm not sure how my life will be living here now. I am committed to be here until July of 2007. After that, who knows? If I finally get a good job in the city I will want to move closer than I am now. It's not too far from the city as the crow flies but unfortunately crows aren't public transportation. It takes at least an hour and a half.

So cops will you leave already, ya makin me nervous!

I Don't Know How To Enjoy Myself

I hate my job, despise it no less, so when I have a day off, I should make the most of it, right? Not me. I guess part of it is the fact I have a day off in the middle of the week. This could be a good thing because places are less crowded for fun during the week. I did enjoy myself last week when I went to Lambertville, New Jersey and by association New Hope, Pennsylvania. These towns are literally connected by an attractive bridge. It's an old town where many of the buildings were from the 18th and 19th century. They run along the Delaware River and they each have a canal that had to be source of income in its early heyday. It's attractive, especially in the fall. It's a tourist town filled with boutiques and trendy cafes. This is not a bad thing but it is a familiar thing these days.

I went there with Scangirl to seek out the Riverhorse Brewery. It's a converted factory that has tours and tastings. They had a great deal. One dollar got you a 4oz sampling of four of their beers. I enjoyed one and a half samples of their product. We then crossed into Pennsylvania where we stopped at some knick knack stores and I had yet more samples of beer at the Triumph Brewery brewpub. Very enjoyable for a fan of craft brewery. I love the area and would be happy to live there. It's artsy, reminds me of parts of Seattle and San Francisco, but alas may be too far away from New York to be practical.

I have only one day a week off, it seems to be a trend of New Jersey restaurants to work you less than 40 hours a week and six days a week. A legitimate reason to hate my job, second one in a row to pull that shit. I moved away form Seattle to get away form this and yet I come across worse situations. I guess that's the price you pay for living in an area whose economy is only strong for barely 3 months a year and now it's the other 9 months I have to get used to...

Yesterday was another day off, and I tried to get by on shopping. I bought needed shoes, unneeded pants, and a few other things. Scangirl joined me but it wasn't very fun. It was a nice day but I dunno, I bought my shoes at the Jackson Outlets but I find much of anything more depressing than an outlet mall. I don't know why. I dropped off some home made cards for my brothers son Sean at my Dad's place but did not see my parents at all.

I dunno. I guess I can make more visits to New York. It's a great time to go, but I get depressed knowing it ain't the same city I used to live in. I couldn't begin to imagine how I would ever live there again and if I want to.

I could go to the movies, but it is a weak time for movies and I live in a very weak area for movie venues. I got spoiled by my options living in Seattle. I always find it ironic that there are less options for movies in a 12plex than a 3plex in the city. Or maybe it's just a bad movie season.

I try to work on my cartooning but get stymied by my inability to draw basic things sometimes. Couches! eeesh. Pickup trucks! Don't get me started. Oh, well I could vent more, but I try to respect the privacy of those I want to write about. This is a blog not a diary.

Anyway, I'll try to figure things out the next time I write..

Or maybe I just can't have fun because the Mets are not in the World Series, maybe it bothers me more than I let on...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Who To Vote For...

As I stated in a previous post I am not registered to vote here in New Jersey. I have voted in every important election except one, 1994. That was the year the Republicans took over Congress after a long Democratic run. I am a liberal with who usually votes for Democrats (None of that 3rd, 4th, 5th party candidates for me).

A funny thing happened after 1994. Bill Clinton became a very effective president with the Republican congress keeping him honest as he kept Congress in check. Rudolph Giuliani was very popular mayor of liberal New York for 8 years. It's not always wrong to vote for the other guy every once in awhile.

So, what am I trying to say? I don't know, wait! I've been looking at the New Jersey senatorial race and I kinda want Tom Kean to win. I'm not a big fan of Robert Menendez and I think New Jersey needs a few Republicans to fix things in New Jersey. Does that make me a conservative? A little. Fiscally I am, but I am more for checks and balances. That's why I am iffy with Kean. He's a Republican, a moderate, but he's a person that can't be counted on to take on George Bush.

People say that the Democrats are only for being against Bush. Well, that's good enough for me. I have never despised any president in my life like I have Bush. He's reckless with our money and our soldiers lives. His words and actions have put Americans in grave danger around the world. He needs to be stopped. He ran in 2000 as a "uniter not a divider" and lost the popular vote. Yet, he ran his presidency as though he had a mandate from the majority of the American people. His actions and stubbornness to acknowledge any wrongdoing has divided this country in a way that hasn't been seen since the Vietnam War era.

I would be willing to vote for Kean if there was a certainty that the Democrats would be in charge. I doubt he would be an extreme partisan but I feel he would side with Bush too many times for the good of the country. Bush would get cocky if the Republicans gained seats and rightly so, me, I like to see at least one Democrat behind Bush when he has his State of the Union address, maybe he might even be a good the last two years of his presidency.

We'll see

Monday, October 23, 2006

Nice Fall!

So far, the fall weather has been ideal. Last year it was raining like a mother, but this year I'm enjoying watching the squirrels racing around leaping from tree to tree in beautiful crisp weather. I love walking in it. The wind makes it a little exciting.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

New Pipe Dream Cartoon

Dirk sets up to go hunting.

Baseball Factoid...

The winner of the 2006 World Series, no matter who it is will be led by a manager for only the second time in history who will have won for two differnt teams in both the American League and the National League. Jim Leyland led the Natinal League's Florida Marlins to a title in 1997 and Tony LaRussa won for the American League's Athletics in 1989.

Sparky Anderson was the first with the NL's Cincinatti Reds of 1975,1976 and the AL's Detroit Tigers of 1984.

If Jim Leyland wins with the Tigers, look for Detroit to hire Jack McKeon and Bob Brenly after Leyland leaves.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Back to Cartoons

I was going to do more baseball jokes but since the Mets aren't in the World Series, I'm gonna start a storyline with my character Dirk going hunting. Enjoy

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Oh Well, Maybe Next Year...

I am starting to write this as the bottom of the ninth gets going in game 7 of the NLCS. It appears the Mets will lose. The rain did not stop the game soon enough to prevent the Cardinals from scoring two runs in the top of the ninth. It was a tensely close game, a tie in fact, until the ninth. One of the Molina brothers hit a two run home run to put the Cards on top, and I now write this with Jose Valentin on first with Endy Chavez at bat.

Endy Chavez has not done squat at bat the whole series but man did he have a hell of a play in the sixth inning to rob Scott Rolen of a home run and made a double play of it.
Oh, wait Chavez got a hit and Cliff Floyd is at bat. I am not going to hope yet, I am not going to the TV I will merely listen until the proper moment. I will see the last out though.

Cliff Floyd is hanging in there, though it is a 2 and 2 count. Boy I hope he becomes the hero, NO! he struck out.

Reyes is up, not likely a double play. Ball 1. Strike 1. I saw THAT pitch. I want to see the final out. Strike 2 on Reyes. Crap! Fouled off, still 1 and 2. He flied out!

I watched LaDuca get a walk. Bases loaded two outs, Beltran at bat. HE Struck out!!!!

Shit! Time to watch Stephen Colbert. It was a good season and I AM looking forward to next season. The Mets unlike the Yankees have a good foundation for future titles. It's just the beginning Mets fans, we were short-handed in this series and it would have been great to see Orlando Hernandez pitch in the World Series, It's too bad that Endy Chavez's catch was all for naught. It was a hell of a play tough...

Sigh, HEAVY sigh.

Trying Out a New Logo

Monday, October 16, 2006

That's Better!

So the Mets win last night in a way that was typical of their season. It was a match-up of two unproven pitchers, Oliver Perez with his 3-13 record and 6.00+ ERA against Anthony Reyes with his 5.06 ERA and 5-8 record.

Oliver Perez is yet another pitcher that the Mets were forced to use with the injuries they had and after the disappointments of the last two games I wasn't expecting much. Perez did not pitch great but did two things that John Maine and Steve Trascel was not able to do, and that was to pitch enough innings to give the bullpen rest.

However, it was the Mets hitting that had been in a coma the previous 14 innings of play. I look for signs of how the game was going to go, and for the Mets it did not look good at first. They were able to get two men on base in the first two innings without being able to score. The Cardinals scored first, and I thought here we go again, but the Mets got a break when Ronnie Belliard got thrown out at third by Endy Chavez after Yadler Molina hit a line drive to left field to score Scott Rolen. This limited the damage and Perez had enough poise to get out of the inning.

The Mets took the lead by scoring twice the next inning on two solo home runs by Carlos Beltran and David Wright. The Cardinals came back to tie the game by taking advantage of Shawn Green's timid fielding.

The Mets went into the series sporting the best relief pitching Corp but have been out classed by the Cardinals who had only given up one hit in the previous three games. This time Tony LaRussa's gamble to take out Anthony Reyes after only four innings didn't pay off. An error by the Cardinals and a single by Beltran brought Carlos Delgado to the plate. This is Delgado's first playoff run in his career and he was taking full advantage of it by smashing the ball relentlessly. The fun part is seeing how many of his key hits have been hit to the opposite field. This was a guy who played most of the season facing an infield that had three men covering the right side of the infield. Anyway, Delgado hits the ball over the leftfield fence for a three run homer.

This meant that Oliver Perez had a three run lead and would get another turn at bat which he took the opportunity to appear very foolish. He struck out at the plate as many times as he struck out Cardinals.

Anyway, LaRussa brought in Hancock to keep them in the game but he was dreadful as he gave up 5 runs without getting anyone out. By the end of the sixth inning the Mets had a 12 to 3 lead and won it 12 to 5.

Anyway, I can publish this cartoon without it being dated...Yet.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It's Not Looking Good.....

So, the Mets are down to two games to one in the National League Championship. I was confident they would be up two to one, but alas here we are. When the Mets were rained out for their first game it basically would wreak havoc on its pitching rotation. Unfortunately, the Mets were not able to adjust their pitching staff to take in account that they may have to use 5 starters, or have Tom Glavine pitch with short rest.

However, this would be moot if the Mets would continue to play like they had all year. Tom Glavine did his job by pitching a shutout gem in game one. I conceded game two to the Cardinals because their ace Chris Carpenter was on the mound. It looked good at first when the Mets scored more runs in the first inning of game 2 than they did in the whole of the first game. John Maine could not hold the lead however. He's a rookie, pushed into this role because of the injuries to Orlando Hernandez and Pedro Martinez. All he had to do was pitch five innings and give up less than 4 runs. He couldn't do that. So the Mets continue to score some runs to have a 6 to 4 lead. All Mota had to do was hold them to one run. He couldn't do it.
so, the Mets were tied 6 to 6 going into the ninth, All Billy Wagner had to was hold it to that score. He couldn't do it. None of the pitchers did what they are capable of doing. So it was a tough loss.

So the third game comes and Steve Traschel needed to pitch a solid game to get a win. The Cardinals had their pitcher with a high ERA. Traschel pitched awful and Jeff Suppan pitched brilliant, so we are now down, two to one with an unproven pitcher starting game 4.

Hoo Boy.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

You Don't "Pass Away" In A Plane Crash

Well, yesterday was a weird day. I was looking forward to my day off, reading about the Mets finally taking the Yankees off the back pages of the New York tabloids. When I looked outside and saw that the weather wasn't looking good for a day of bike riding. I took a chance anyway and rode my bike around to the library when the rain started falling. I was debating whether to get beer to watch the Mets first game in the NLCS. I didn't thinking that the game may get called off due to the rain.

Anyway, I get home, a little wet, and turned on the TV to see if anything was happening. That's when I saw the news that a plane had crashed into a building on the upper east side. Since it was Fox News I first had on, there was talk of terrorism, the other stations were more sober with the coverage basically acknowledging it was a small plane, and that it wasn't an act of terrorism. I speculated it might have been a suicide crash but after seeing the same footage over and over again on TV I turned it off to listen to sports radio.

I has happy that they were not talking about the crash, after all it's not a sports story right? Mike and the Mad Dog were on, getting ready to talk about the Mets for a change and not the drama that is the Yankees. They were talking to Darryl Strawberry, bringing back memories of 1986, Darryl was charming, I like hearing him these days talk about the current Mets. He was to throw out the first pitch for the first game.

Then, Chris "Mad Dog" Russo interrupted with the news that the plane that crashed into the apartment building was registered to the Yankee pitcher, Cory Lidle. Within a minute he had been identified as one of the deceased in the crash. Holy Crap! What is going on with the Yankees? Wow, this makes all the other Yankee drama irrelevant. It brought back memories of Thurman Munson, who died in a plane crash in August of 1979.

The weird thing was that Cory Lidle had a contentious interview the other day on the Mike and The Mad Dog show about some quotes he made about the Yankees not being "prepared" for the Tigers. Since it's confrontational radio, the hosts took it as a slam of Joe Torre and Cory Lidle struggled to defend his words. Anyway, it was weird, the rain fell, the Mets game was postponed, and my day off turned out to be a drag.

One of the tributes to Cory Lidle had him on a plane flying around California and the ironic thing was I felt a little jealous of his joy at being able to be in the air enjoying one of his favorite past times. Another tribute had highlights of every team he played for, including the Mets. He was a pretty good pitcher with a 82-72 record. He was on 7 teams over the years so many people including his former teammates on the A's, were affected by the tragedy.

Anyway, today there will be a Mets game, I will enjoy it (on radio) while I'm working but it will be with a bit of a heavy heart.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oh Shit! I Can't Vote

It just dawned on me that I will not be able to vote in next month's mid term elections. I've been back in New Jersey for over a year and have yet to register to vote. I don't know why. I have been into all the races that are occurring in the US this year and am fascinated at the turn of events that may occur. Still, I made no effort to register, I don't know where to register, heck I don't even know who my Congressman is.

The last time I failed to vote was in 1994. That was the year the Republicans took over Congress for the first time in over 40 years, much to my chagrin. To add insult to injury I had just moved to Federal Way, WA and my congressman, a moderate Democrat named Mike Kriedler had lost to a right wing wacko, Randy Tate. It was a bummer that year so I wonder what kind of karma is gonna happen this year.

I, of course would like the Democrats to win back Congress and yes, it's mainly because I can't stand George Bush and I want the Bush agenda to be stopped. That should be reason enough. He lost the popular vote in 2000, and yet he took over the White House as though he had a Reagan84 like mandate to do whatever he wanted. In the first months of office he smeared the Clinton administration with lies like supposed vandalism on Air Force 1 and the White House. He ignored the Clinton administration's warnings about terrorism, Instead he wanted to revive the failed Star Wars missile programs from the 80's years after the Cold War ended. He eliminated history's largest surplus and replaced it with history's largest deficit. He caved in to the Chinese when they captured one of our spy planes. He allowed his campaign supporters to have a joy ride on a nuclear submarine that killed 9 Japanese tourists. All this was BEFORE September 11th...

After September 11th 2001, Bush had the opportunity to define himself but he squandered the goodwill of most Americans by trying to dismantle every social program that most Americans have relied on, just to appease the right wing neo-con artists whose whim George Bush seemed to obey. So yeah, I want the Democrats in control of Congress just to at the very least force Bush to use his veto pen.

I can't vote this time so I'll have to accept the consequences regardless of the outcome. I can't complain because I will not vote or can I?

A New Cartoon

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mets Win! Yanks Lose! It's A Good Day.

Baseball is the only sport I follow with any enthusiasm. On Saturdays in October most people turn their TVs on to College football. Not me, it's always baseball, especially when the Mets and/or Mariners are in it. I'm also a dedicated Yankee hater. So, I'm happy today.

First, let's talk about the Yankees. The Yankees lose the division series to the upstart Tigers, who everyone felt had no chance to even win a game against the mighty lineup of the Yankees. The Tigers were probably the weakest of the potential opponents the Yankees had to face. Even though everyone knew the Yankees had shaky pitching, surely it would be enough to allow their awesome lineup to take care of business. The problem was the Tigers pitching was deep but who da thunk that the Yankee bats would go so quiet, even against Kenny Rogers who never won a post season game and had a 8.85 in 20+ innings in post season play.

So what went wrong? Too many superstars and their egos. No one in the lineup other than Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon played situational baseball. They took their swings, hoping for the big hits that did not come by after Johnny Damon's home run in game two that gave the Yankees the last lead they would have. They also lacked in pitching between the time their starters were done and when Mario Rivera would come in to save the day. Rivera has to be used if the Yankees want to win. He was used in their only winning game but not in a save situation.

The Mets on the other hand took care of business and they did what they had to do, which was sweep the Dodgers. They didn't need to sweep them to prove they were the real deal but they had to sweep the Dodgers to hide the fact they were vulnerable with their starting pitching. The three starers averaged less than 5 innings per outing, with Glavine the only one to qualify for a win. This would be disastrous if it were the Yankees but the Mets have an incredible bullpen mix, and Willie Randolph was not afraid to take out his starters early. The bullpen performed well with two minor exceptions but hey there was always someone else in the bullpen, they carried 11 pitchers or was it twelve?

The Mets egos were more humble too, players who didn't get a chance to start a game came through when they did start. They played situational baseball, took advantage of Dodger mistakes and came back to score runs when they went behind or when the Dodgers tied things up.

So, now the Mets go to the next round and the Yankees go home. This is the first time the Yankees get to watch the Mets play after their season's over since 1988, the year the Dodgers beat the Mets in League Championships.

It's good to be a Mets fan, now bring on whoever wins the Divisional series between the Cardinals and the Padres.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Oh, Comma On!

We know George W Bush is not know for his ability for wordsmanship but a recent speech where he referred to our war in Iraq as a comma in historic sense. I was confused at what this meant. I read somewhere that the comma comment was a "shout out " to the Christian Right. It refers to a quote that is often repeated in modern Christian circles "Don't put a period where God puts a comma"

I really don't know what that means, so I'll interpret the "comma" comment my own way. when the war started no one was talking commas, even though I was against the war from the beginning I wasn't thinking commas. Why? Because in my mind the worst case scenario at the time I did not think the war would go on for three plus years, I didn't think terrorism would find a new home in Iraq, I did not think Bush would allow our military would be exposed to as much danger and I did not think we would lose more than a thousand soldiers in this war thus making a comma necessary when tallying up the death total in Iraq, 2,700+ and counting. George Bush, I don't think it would be possible to loathe you more...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

So Far, so good...

I watched most of the Mets game yesterday and the good news is that they won, and in a way that was similar to many games they had won during the regular season. However, I missed the play of the game because of a habit I developed nearly twenty years ago when I exploded at a family gathering as I watched the Mets blow a game against the Phillies. Since I embarrassed myself that day, I have watch Mets games with apprehension sometimes.

So, during the second inning the Dodgers had two base runners on with no one out. I saw Russell Martin hit a ball against the wall, since I knew it was a hit I flipped the channels so I could calm down. I turned back a few minutes later to see that the Dodgers had only scored one run, whew! but I was confused at how it was only one run. The wrong man was on base, Where was Russell Martin? Surely, he must have been on base. He got the hit. And if Martin got out at second surely J.D Drew would have been at third. And how did Marlon Anderson get on base? I found out later what happened. Both base runners (Drew and Kent) were out at the plate on a bang bang double play. It was one of the weirdest plays in baseball history. If memory serves it only happened twice before, both involving the Yankees. One was done in 1985 involving Bobby Meachum and Dale Berra being tagged out by Carlton Fisk of the White Sox. Sure enough by the time the game was over, that play was aired over and over. The other time happened in the 30's involving Lou Gehrig of disease fame.

So I missed the play, I saw most of the rest of the game. I saw a move by Willie Randolph that didn't work out and I was wondering if the Dodgers were going to be the team of destiny this year like in 1988.

Anyway, it all worked out in the end. Billy Wagner had a one run save, and we play game 2 tonight.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I have not much to say today soooo.....

I'll just publish another strip one at a time. Enjoy!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Some more strips

Here's some more strips I have done recently featuring my characters of Pipe Dreams

Boycott Citgo?

Sometimes I think the world is topsy turvy. Case in point: Hugo Chavez. He's the leader of Venezuela who famously attacked George Bush a few weeks ago in what can be described as rather inelegant speech at the U.N. He referred to Bush as the devil and theatrically waved his hand in front of his face to wave the "stench" away. The New York tabloids had a field day with it and expressed their outrage. Politicians were livid! Me, I thought it was great theater.

The problem is i have more respect for what he says than what George Bush does. I wish I didn't feel that way but I do. All the stated reasons in going to Iraq in 2003 has been proven false. The continuous statements by the Bush Adminstration on how they always said the war would take a long time rings false. If Bush had said in 2003 the war would last more than three years no one would have supported it.

Hugo Chavez was also democratically elected, something George Bush could not claim in 2000. When a coup erupted in 2002 and the military installed the new government t George Bush quickly recognized that government that took over Venezuela rather than the democratic elected Chavez. Our reasons for being in Iraq may have been muddled over time, but one constant has been the call for a democratic government. If we don't support a democracy just because it's socialist, what happens if Iraq elects a terrorist-friendly government?

I know Hugo Chavez is a Socialist perhaps even a Communist. However, if that's how they want to run their country, that's their business, we can't really interfere if their actions don't extend beyond their borders.

Anyhow, there has been a call to boycott Citgo because they are a Venezuelan state run oil company that has committed atrocities like providing cheap heating oil to the citizens of Maine last winter when oil prices were high. Of course that's a typical commie tactic to help the poor, so I guess it makes sense to boycott Citgo. But when you compare Venezuela to every other country we buy oil from, Venezuela looks better in comparison. Remember, we still get oil from the countries that bred the terrorists that gave us 9-11.

Still, he is a thug, a clown. The country would be better without him. He was democratically elected and we should support that over military coups and dictatorships. We need to have the moral upper hand. Bush makes it hard with his actions.

Boycott Citgo?

Sometimes I think the world is topsy turvy. Case in point: Hugo Chavez. He's the leader of Venezuela who famously attacked George Bush a few weeks ago in what can be described as rather inelegant speech at the U.N. He referred to Bush as the devil and theatrically waved his hand in front of his face to wave the "stench" away. The New York tabloids had a field day with it and expressed their outrage. Politicians were livid! Me, I thought it was great theater.

The problem is i have more respect for what he says than what George Bush does. I wish I didn't feel that way but I do. All the stated reasons in going to Iraq in 2003 has been proven false. Hugo Chavez was democratically elected, something George Bush could not claim in 2000. When a coup erupted in 2002 and took over the country briefly, George Bush quickly recognized military leaders that took over Venezuela rather than the democratic elected Chavez.
Our role in Iraq has been muddled but one constant has been the call for a democratic government. If we don't support a democratic government that is socialist what happens if Iraq elects a terrorist-friendly government?

I know Hugo Chavez is a Socialist perhaps even a Communist. However, if that's how they want to run their country, that's their business, we really don't have a right to interfere if their problems don't extend beyond their borders.

Anyhow, there has been a call to boycott Citgo because they are a Venezuelan state run oil company that has committed atrocities like providing cheap heating oil to the citizens of Maine last winter when oil prices were high. Of course that's a typical commie tactic to help the poor, so I guess it makes sense to boycott Citgo. But when you compare Venezuela to every other country we buy oil from, Venezuela looks better in comparison. Remember, we still get oil from the countries that bred the terrorists that gave us 9-11.

Still, he is a thug, a clown. The country would be better without him. He was democratically elected and we should support that over military coups and dictatorships.

Heck the USA would be better without George Bush, I accept his election in 2004 was legitamate as apposed to 2000 and we have to wait until 2009 before we are rid of him. I am worried however that he may try to change the Constitution and put himself in as an emergency war leader after 2009.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


My time spent being unemployed lasted less than a week. That's the good news, I am working in a restaraunt again, that's the bad news. Well, not really bad news because that is what I need to do for the time being if I am going to catch up on my immediate financial situation and set up to improve my portfolio and try to get work in graphic design, examples of my work can be seen at

Anyway, I can breathe easy for now, and that is good.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Trying to get back into my art.

I am a cartoonist who is closer to expiring than aspiring. I find myself out of work again so I get ideas of doing a new set of strips. I finished a set in May but I was unsatisfied with the results. I did not give to friends nor did I mail it out to syndicates. I wonder if I should pack it all in. However, I haven't found myself fortunate enough to find something different that pays well so the dream continues...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Blast From the Past

March 27, 2000

The big event in Seattle on March 26th was not the Academy Awards but the implosion of the massive concrete structure known as the Kingdome. It was a structure designed to stand for a thousand years. However, the whims of a billionaire and the vote of the people made the 24 year old structure turn to dust in 18 seconds.

I wanted to witness this event live. I felt cheated when I wasn’t able to convince my friends to celebrate the new millennium at Times Square and the city of Seattle was cheated out of their own celebration on New Years. So, this Sunday I was fortunate to have the day off to scout out a location and get a good view of history. It took place at 8:30 in the morning, which meant that I would stay out all night dancing and stay in Seattle to witness history. I chose a grassy knoll location near Harborview Hospital which overlooks the Pioneer Square area of Seattle which contains the Kingdome. I made a good choice for several reasons.

I arrived by bicycle at 4:30 in the morning. There were about 8 people there. I sat near a group of people who were sitting on a bench that had a view blocked by some tall evergreens. The three women were good friends who befriended the guy who was there. They were friendly and about my age, so I felt comfortable hanging out enjoying their company. The guy was by himself. We all had one thing in common. We wanted to see this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Twenty four years ago this would have been unthinkable. When the Kingdome was built, it was part of the trend of building multi-purpose stadiums. The Kingdome was unique from Three Rivers and Riverfront in that it was topped off by the world largest self supporting concrete roof. It was the ninth wonder of the world.(The Astrodome in Houston was the 8th) The Kingdome was the symbol of civic pride. It enabled the city to acquire two professional teams, the NFL Seahawks and baseball’s Mariners. The Kingdome was built with efficiency in mind. It housed at times 4 professional teams (Mariners, Sonics, Seahawks, Sounders) and had many other events like Monster Trucks, rock concerts, home shows, and boat shows that were too big for conventional arenas. At first the Kingdome was considered a great venue for events but soon after a few rock concerts by Wings and Led Zeppelin, it developed a reputation for having lousy acoustics. This lousy acoustics was a key factor in the Seahawks early success. It allowed the fans to make so much noise that it proved to be a distraction to the opponents. A NFL rule about excessive crowd noise was created due to the Kingdome’s acoustics. The Mariners on the other hand were not well served by the Kingdome. The capacity of baseball was large, about 55,000. The Mariners were sub par team for the first 15 years of their history. The size of the Kingdome emphasized the lack of fans attending the games and it seemed like a tomb at times.

I had been in the Kingdome for about 8 games of baseball, 2 games of football and one rock concert. I went to a Mariners game the day after I arrived in Seattle in 1991. I was spellbound by what I first saw upon entering the seating area. I had never been in a bigger indoor building in my life. I had not seen Astroturf before and was pleasantly surprised at the temperature inside. The crowd was pretty good in size, about 24,000. The fans were quiet though. I had been used to going to Mets or Yankees games were the crowd was raucous and obnoxiously loud. After the game got slow I started to figure out the shortcomings of the Kingdome. At Shea Stadium, you get a gorgeous view of Flushing Bay, which makes up for the ugliness of Shea Stadium itself. Yankee Stadium is a grand structure with a good view of buildings of one of the most dangerous areas in NYC. The Kingdome on the other hand allows your eyes to wander to the gray ceiling covered by the infamous ceiling tiles that fell in 1994. This quote by Mariners announcer, Dave Niehaus says it all. "And Randy Johnson points to the sky…that is covered by the roof!!" The fact that Randy Johnson’s signature gesture to his dead father seemed obstructed by the roof made me vote for the construction of a new baseball stadium that would become known as Safeco field. This would mark the beginning of the end of the Kingdome.

The Mariners were making noise that they could not survive as a franchise if they continued to play in the Kingdome. They always had a hard time convincing people it was a good idea to go indoors in August to watch a team who was not in the playoff hunt. The team needed to be really good in order to get people to sacrifice warm sunny evenings to attend indoor baseball. A close losing initiative vote convinced the government to fund a new baseball only stadium. They came up with the idea of a retractable roof stadium located just south of the Kingdome. It opened in 1999.

The Seahawks was threatening to move because the lack of luxury boxes would not allow them to "compete" in the NFL. Paul Allen-billionaire, bought the team on the condition that the Seahawks would get a new stadium in exchange for his purchasing the team. An initiative passed and after debating where it would be built, it was decided to be built on the grounds of the Kingdome itself. This set the motion for the Kingdome’s demise. The last event in the Kingdome was when the Seahawks lost to the Miami Dolphins in the playoffs was in the Kingdome. Soon, after the game the procedure began for the final show, the implosion of the Kingdome.

So, we decided that the view we had could have been better if we moved to a grassy knoll that was next to a former homeless haven. The grass was wet from the night dew but the women had the foresight to bring sleeping bags and a plastic tarp. The tarp was large enough to accommodate the five of us comfortably. The women even brought donuts! I was planning on making this an endurance test and these kind women made it so I would have comfort food and a dry spot to sit. (They were cute to boot!)

The sun started to rise and the Kingdome in all its concrete gray glory faced its last dawn. The columns and the roof were all that remained. It looked like the Roman Coliseum without its outer shell. The sun was warm and touched places inside a building built to shelter patrons from Seattle’s inclement weather in the first place.. It looked eerily beautiful with black tarp covering the columns and the stripped down roof with its black look. We can see boats of all sizes arriving in increasing numbers into Elliot Bay. People were gathering on the rooftops of the buildings that were in close range to the Kingdome. It was 7 AM and I took a catnap. I awoke to see the crowd around us double in size. Ken, the man who met the women before I arrived tuned in his radio. The atmosphere was getting festive with children being dragged out of bed to witness something that may thrill or terrify them.

The excitement was brewing when 8 o clock passed. Only thirty minutes to go. People who brought cameras were getting ready. The highway below us was now closed to traffic. The people were gathering at the wall screaming. An impromptu wave started. It was 8:25 and the excitement was reaching a fever pitch. Everyone in our little group were rubbing our hands in anticipation. "4 minutes!" Ken shouted. "Two minutes!" Ken shouted again. "ONE MINUTE!!" All eyes were focused on the doomed Kingdome, I don’t think anyone blinked, that will wait til later. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1…………….nothing….It turned out the radio got a precautionary countdown but the feed from the demolition crew was now counting down for real. 10, 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, …..OH MY GOD…..first came the streaks of red light flowing up and down the ribs of the rooftop, it looked a little like the fireworks display that Seattle should have had on New Years. It was followed by some small puffs of smoke. The loud booms followed and the columns started to buckle, finally the roof collapsed inward. It was an awesome sight! It was so quick, a building built to withstand earthquakes collapsed like a house of cards. I was sad. The show wasn’t over though. The smoke created by the implosion rose high into the air and moved north towards the downtown area. The King Street Station clock tower was quickly erased by the dust. The men who were standing on top of a large crane soon was covered with dust. The historic Smith Tower would be next. It was gone. The cloud of dust continued to cover everything in its path. People were grabbing gas masks. Others were running away filming the event with their camcorders.

Meanwhile on the hill, the people started to walk away because, although we were not directly in the path of the cloud of dust some bits of it was raining down on us, covering our jackets and shoes. The cloud still covered the area where the Kingdome once stood. Some of the buildings close to it were starting to appear through the fog. Finally, we can bear witness to what effect the blast did. It was like a Polaroid picture developing before your eyes.

Slowly, the fog lifted, and it became clear that the demolition team did their job well. I nearly cried when the sight of mangled steel and broken concrete started to appear. The crowd started to thin out, it was time to leave. We parted company thankful that we had good people to enjoy probably the most famous implosion in history. I’m thankful I was not alone but sad that I will probably never see them again. However I will remember Ken, Julie, Katie, and Shari whenever I think of the Kingdome, because for all its minor faults, the Kingdome was a fine place to take the family to see fun events and I will miss it, although the men’s room with its trough like urinal deserves the fate of the Kingdome itself.

2006 Update: Like many cities at the time, multi-purpose stadiums were replaced by individual stadiums for football and baseball. Seattle has Safeco Field for the Mariners and the Seahawks play in what is now called Qwest Field. Safeco is splendid, one of the best venues for baseball. It's clean, has great views, and the seats are comfortable. Qwest Filed is an improvement but not much better than what a renovated Kingdome would be like. I like though, that the Seahawks continue to play in a very noisy venue and the Hawks nest is cool. I'm now3 looking forward to what the Mets will bring to the table cuz Shea is getting to be a dump.

Me, Nervous? Of course! I'm a Mets fan.

This was a great season to be a Mets fan, so far.... It started off good and when they lost their nos. 4 and 5 pitcher they got better! They lost their starting left fielder and right fielder and still they ran away with the division. So when Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine went down with nagging injuries, I didn't panic because they were so far ahead it didn't really matter. Then I realized that although it was a foregone conclusion they were playing post season baseball, I was unsure they had the starting pitching to do the job.

I think Glavine would be an okay no. 2 starter but he doesn't make he feel confident. I like Orlando Hernandez though, he's a gamer. Steve Traschel is a .500 pitcher but the team scores runs for him. John Maine I like but he's new and unchallenged. I was hoping that Pedro Martinez was gonna come back strong. I thought he was playing possum with his injuries. Resting because he wasn't needed but alas he was really hurt, and now he's gone.

For awhile the team looked like the 1986 Mets but the longer the season went it wasn't the 1986 Mets but the 1996 team, actually the 96 Yankees. I feel this year is just the beginning of a potential great run by the Mets. They have most of their starters set for the next few years. However, their pitching needs to get younger and it looks like if Rick Peterson is the real deal we'll see some really decent pitching the next 5 years.

hopefully, we won't see a let down like the 80's Mets that only had one World Series crown. Hopefully we'll avoid bad trades (Len Dykstra and Roger McDowell for Juan Samuel), The sudden performance fallout of regulars before their time, (Sid Fernandez, Howard Johnson and Ron Darling) and personal problems taken to the field (Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry)

We can hope!

Let's go Mets!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm Walkin' Here!!!!

I am not a big fan of driving. Walking and Biking are my preferred ways of commuting. When you live in a city, especially New York, you can walk freely without incident. However, if you are in the suburbs and you are walking the sidewalks without the required jogging suit it seems to be cause for alarm.

I just moved to a small town close to the Jersey shore. A mere eight blocks from the beach. My apartment complex is three blocks from a 7-Eleven and two blocks from the Post Office. So, I walk to these places to get a little exercise. However, several times, friends who live there have offered rides, on sunny days no less! Today, however took the cake. A stranger, a woman in her fifties, offered me a ride. Maybe because I was wearing a button down shirt, or maybe she thought the puffy clouds in the sky looked threatening, I don't know, but what compels someone to do that? Am I that pathetic looking? Did I look like A male prostitute? I think I look like a serial killer sometimes, so again, what was she thinking?

I am a bit heavy, and I don't make much money, so I like to get my exercise without going through a workout ritual. Hence, I walk to places that are within a mile of where I live. I don't pollute the air, I don't add to traffic, and I get my exercise. So why is this weird? Am I not Mexican enough? We're a fat nation and every community outside of cities built in the last 50 years discourages walking. I just like to walk. Let me walk and stop looking at me like I'm a charity case!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Bill Clinton, Chris Wallace Fallout

I loved watching how Bill Clinton on Fox News Sunday handled himself. However, as usual the Right Wing Foxmeisters spun it so that Bill Clinton went volcanic when Chris Wallace asked the "legitimate" journalist question:

Chris Wallace: "When we announced that you were going to be on "Fox News Sunday," I got a lot of e-mail from viewers. And I've got to say, I was surprised. Most of them wanted me to ask you this question: Why didn't you do more to put bin Laden and Al Qaida out of business when you were president?"

there are many things wrong with the question and the way it was presented.

1. The agreement with the interview was that it would be 15 minutes and that half (7.5 minutes) of the interview would be about the Clinton Global Initiative and the second half would be about anything else. Wallace asked that particular question a mere 4 minutes into the interview. Was he thinking that Clinton would be more long winded on the previous questions?

2. The question was not based on Chris Wallace's journalist skills but were e-mail from viewers, some journalist. He was merely doing the bidding of right wing Fox devotees who are currently spreading the trendy Republican talking Points of recent weeks trying to implicate Clinton for 9-11, i.e. the ABC "docudrama" "Path To 9-11" which admits it made up the scenarios that occurred on Clinton watch, (probably so they can be fair and balanced instead of presenting facts that would have Bush look a lot worse than Clinton by comparison.)

3. The question itself says that Clinton didn't do enough based on no facts and forgets that Clinton had no authority to kill bin Laden and had no support from the same clown crowd that says he screwed up. The Bush administration is trying to make you forget the U.S.S Cole bombing happened mere weeks before the 2000 election and that the identity of the bombers wasn't made clear until January of 2001. So what was Bush doing then? Bashing the Clinton administration on "vandalizing" Air Force One and allowing some campaign contributors to have a joy ride on a nuclear submarine that killed Japanese tourists.

Fox News has spent the last few days defending Wallace and calling him a non partisan journalist but Fox News thinks Britt Hume is non partisan despite the puff piece with Dick Cheney after he shot his friend in the face. They also have consulted their thesaurus to come up with every negative personality trait on Clinton as possible.

anyway I'm loving this because Clinton fights back and understands that you don't need to be polite to your enemies. If only Al Gore or John Kerry had taken some lessons.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

FIRED! Again.

My first real post will deal with my inability to get a good job and an inability to sometimes keep a lousy job. Let me explain...

I had lived in Seattle for 14 years, I moved back to my home state to be with Scangirl who I met in Seattle. I had originally moved to Seattle to seek my fortune, ha ha but really lived much of my time as a slacker. Seattle was a great place to live. It's clean, mellow and ideal for me when I moved there in August of 1991. It was cheap at the time so I never had to give up my dream of being a cartoonist I only had to work part time. I always had trouble finding jobs in the art field when I moved there so I applied to a restaurant as a cook. I really thought it would be temporary, but ultimately it became my career because when the going got tough I always fell back to it.

As I said I met Scangirl in Seattle. After we dated briefly we went our separate ways until we met up again a month or so before she had decided to move back to our home state. We fell in love in that time so when she was gone, I missed her enough to want to move back too. My home state is a better market for graphic artists and my gang from art school PIC is here so I thought it was time to move back.

I pondered the idea for awhile but decided it was a good idea. I planned it out well, so I thought. I had three friends who designed t-shirts in the city and I would work with them. It would be fun, I would make money, and Scangirl and I would move in together and we would live happily for the foreseeable future.

Shortly after traveling cross country in a rented mini-van with my cat I arrived in my home state. I crashed with my parents in their new house in an "active" adults community. I went to the city to visit my friend pro, del and korn at their place of employment. Pro was the boss and he would hire me and I would make lots of money. But Pro had just moved himself to Madison, Wisconsin. I missed him by hours. Del was helpful, though, helpful in pointing out the fact that I had a way to go before I could hope to get employment in the graphic arts field. Months of applying to jobs online proved him right. Soooooooooo, I caved in finally and took a job in a restaurant in a shore town and endured a summer in a place whose business varied extremely depending on the weather. Since the summer ended it was a matter of time before my employment fate was determined. Since I wasn't "Cheap Labor" today was the day. The timing could have been better as Scangirl quit her job a mere two months after moving into a new apartment with a year long lease. It was not a good job by any measure but it paid the bills... And now.... Who knows.... We'll see.

At least I will have time to write the blog in the meantime.

Enjoy your day.


My name is Scan and this is my corner. Basically it is the typical personal blog that will analyze my various obsessions and my interests. I am a Mets fan, so there WILL be talk this October about them. I will talk about my dumb jobs in my past which will be a focus on a book I want to write about. I can be political I lean to the left and I am not religious. I love comic strips and hope to make something of myself involving my ideas for a comic strip. Anyway, this a first entry with many more to follow since I have high speed internet now, strap in your seat belts cuz here we go!