Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Inkboy Might Take Note...

An interesting lawsuit has been settled today. It seems that Mattel Toys won 100 million dollars from MGA Entertainment Inc. and designer Carter Bryant for copyright infringement on the Bratz line of toys.

Now I hate Bratz. It troubles me that the line of toys are as popular as they are, especially the Baby Bratz line. Way too creepy. Someone else felt the same way, Mattel Toys. It seems that when Carter Bryant proposed the idea to his employer Mattel, they turned him down. He left Mattel soon after while working for MGA he presented the Bratz idea to them and they went with it.

Soon the Bratz line would explode in popularity and take on its main rival Mattel's Barbie dolls in toy sales. I guess that was too much for Mattel and they sued. They felt they were entitled to over a billion dollars and more because Carter Bryant came up with the concept while working at Mattel.

That's just pure greed. They didn't take a chance on Carter's idea. I get the feeling that if Bratz had been put out by Mattel, Carter Bryant would not be a billionaire, but somehow they think they should get a billion dollars.

I wonder when Carter came up with his idea? Did he come up with the sketches at work? Or was he at a club for underage teenagers? Maybe that club should get the money. Or maybe he got the idea from his daughter. Maybe she should get the money.

Anyway, the nerve. I wonder if he got fired from Mattel. I mean, he had a winning idea. Mattel rejected it. They should get no profits. They should only get compensated for the time he took to do the drawings on Mattel's time. It would not amount to more than a few thousand dollars.

This sets a dangerous precedence, for people who create works of art presented to employers. My friend works in animation. He has worked on his own projects. His employer is not distributing the work. What if he gets a contract with another animation company and it becomes a huge success? Could the other company take him to court?

This makes me nervous. It could happen in restaurants too. What if I was to open a restaurant and used my own recipes I tried out for specials at another restaurant? It's scary to think of the implications.

New Pipe Dreams Cartoon!!!

Rain, Rain Rain...I don't mind

Tuesday Karaoke Night. It's been sunny every day recently so what's the theme for this night?


The first song I did was "Rain" by the Beatles. The crowd was indifferent. It's a fun song to do because at the end of the song, the closing is sung backwards. The words on the screen reflects this. Anyway, check it out there's a Beatles video, how cool is that? And whatt happened to Paul's teeth?

The second song was "Rain Song" from the Led Zeppelin. I don't like this song too much but hey I gotta keep with the theme right? Anyway, I wasn't good, I got bored but hey, check out this clip for the Earl's Court concert from 1975. Pretty awesome because it's not available for sale. This song wasn't on the Led Zeppelin DVD.

Led Zeppelin - Rain Song - Earls Court 1975

The next one I did was the Who's "Love Reign On Me" Even though the reign is a different spelling, it counts because the song has a rain sound opening. Anyway, I did this well and had someone join me. I put up with it because my voice wasn't that good. Anyway the video is from the 1982 Who tour.

The Who - Love Reign O'er Me, Seattle 1982

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Commercial Stupitiy

I had been meaning to make a stream of blog entries looking into bad commercials on TV. Thee thing is, whenever I see a bad commercial, I look it up on YouTube and I don't find it. I found this one:
Yellowbook TV Ad, Say Yellow to the Future, Tattoo

It's a commercial for It takes place in the future when technology is so advanced that we don't need much furniture or colors other than white. It seems this woman is getting married, you know this, because you hear the FutureSounds TM version of the wedding march playing in the background in . It seems this woman has a problem, her wedding dress is so low-cut in the back that it reveals a tattoo that she thinks is embarrassing and would like it removed.

So, she goes to to look for a tattoo removal place. What? Google went out of business and the Yellow Pages somehow rose form the dead to become the dominate search engine of the future? Will Pan Am be the airline of the future? Will the Soviet Union be our enemy, oh wait...

Anyway, the future has a tattoo removal guy (or is it a robot) who just stands there and waits patiently until someone needs their services. Then this man, (or robot) asks what the problem is, and this being the future, she turns around to reveal her lower back tattoo with a guy's name on it. Then the man, (or robot) looks to see it and asks if she's marrying a guy named Mike. I guess the music tipped him off that she was getting married. She then says that she's marrying a guy named Tom. The man (or robot) reacts with a cringe. The woman reacts with an oopsy, my bad. She is good looking though.

Anyway, me being Scanman, I can't just let this commercial stand on its own.

So, here's a beautiful woman, who decides to scar her flawless body with your garden variety cliched lower back tattoo. Not only that she doesn't really try that hard to come up with an original idea, instead puts the name of her boyfriend, Mike. Now, this is the "punchline" of the commercial. Mike is not the man she's going to marry, she's marrying a guy named Tom.

Ha ha.

So, I can't help but this in realistic terms. She's been with a man named Tom long enough for her to get married to him and STILL hasn't removed a tattoo with another man's name on it? Does she have sex with this guy Tom? Or is Tom sooo rich, (That would explain the fab pad) and buying her love so quickly, she hasn't had time to remove it?

Where does Mike figure in this? How long had they been broken up? Are they really broken up? Anyone who had a real breakup would make it priority #1 to get that either removed or covered up. Shit, I get rid of all the photos immediately after a breakup and get rid of all the shared possessions and useless gifts. Granted a tattoo is a bit more involved but she had time to shop for a wedding dress and try it on. Trust me, this takes time.

If Tom had sex with this woman, would he not notice the tattoo has another man's name on it? Did she not allow him to ever see her backside? I guess Tom is not a backdoor man.

Anyway, I'm sick of these commercials embrace the Paris Hiltons or the Kardashian women of the world. When did shallowness become a virtue?

Oh, well, it's a commercial. They want us to be zombies. It moves more product.

RIP Pervis Jackson

You might not know the name Pervis Jackson but he was one of the singers for the great R&B group the Spinners. He just passed away at the age of 70. He was best known for the "12:45" line in the song "Games People Play"

The Spinners were a great group a favorite of mine from the 70's, and they are now down to only two of their original members enjoy the clip.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Karaoke Theme: Morbid Coincidences, or is it Irony?

I've mentioned that Karaoke Steve got some new Beatles karaoke CDs that have some of their more obscure songs. One of them was "Happiness Is A Warm Gun". So there's the theme.

Songs that point out something that would lead to the death of the singer of the song. "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" is an obvious choice since John Lennon would be gunned down twelve years later. The song is a play on the Peanuts book title "Happiness Is a Warm Puppy" and gun toting lunatics. It's a weird song with five distinctly different sections. I did okay with the song, my voice was strong. There was no video clip of the song. They never played it in concert, neither did Lennon in his solo career. So the clip is a series of photographs. Usually I find that lame but the photos are great. They were taken during a photo session from that same time period, so it works. The photos are outstanding.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun (Rare Version)

The second song was by Nirvana "Come As You Are". Another obvious choice with the refrain "No I Don't Have A Gun..." that every Nirvana fan would note when his body was found, a victim of a self inflicted gunshot wound. It's one of about three Nirvana songs I do. I do it well, the crowd is into it. yay. The clip I have is an excellent concert clip from the early 90's. He was in top form, and dude! is that the lead singer of the Foo Fighters on drums?


The third song was the T-Rex song, "Jeepster". "Jeepster" is about the joy of being with a woman who's just like a car. Double irony, there. You see Marc Bolan wrote a lot about the joy of driving cars. He never learned to drive. Even weirder, his girlfriend was the one behind the wheel when they crash a car into a tree killing Bolan. "Jeepster" is a fun song to sing, most T-Rex songs are fun to sing. I pleased the host by doing one of the songs no one else does. This got a good response. The video clip is T-Rex in concert at the top of their game. They look like they are having a blast. The fans sound like Beatle fans or maybe Jonas Brothers fans for any kid who accidentally stumbles on this blog.


I sang one more song not in theme. It was "Theme From Shaft" by the recently deceased Isaac Hayes. Not much singing but the grove was good, and that's what counts.

Right On.

Pipe Dreams Cartoon!!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What Makes Me Happy?

What makes me happy? Well, one thing is having all the things I need and want close by enough to walk to.

You see, I was reading the Sunday New York Times and came across an article about the web site It's like Mapquest but it empathizes how walker friendly your neighborhood is.

Walkscore rates your neighborhood based on what is within a mile of your address and give it a score based on how many essential services are within that radius. As expected New York City and San Francisco rated high and most suburban towns rated poorly.

So, of course I looked at all the places I lived during my life so far and see how they were rated from 0-100 in walkability.

The first place I lived was in Staten Island. I lived there from birth til I was three years old. It was rated a 75, "Very Walkable". I think that's better than when I lived there but since I was too young, I can't judge it. However, when I lived there, my family only had one car. My mom had no problem walking to many of the places in the neighborhood to get what she needed.

The place I grew up, Flanders, New Jersey, was rated a lowly 25, "Car-Dependant" Shortly after moving in, we had to get a second car. It was worse back in the 70's, so the score would have been lower in my time. The neighborhood I grew up was a large development of about a thousand houses that had no town center. On the opposite side of my house was a small mall with a grocery store, pharmacy and what not. Even that was about a mile away. No movies, bars or libraries near by. The 7-Eleven was across a busy highway with no traffic light. This was terrible for a kid. I never went in there myself until I was 11 years old. A typical suburb, no wonder I was bummed growing up there.

The next place I lived was Sloane House, 34th street and 9th ave in NEW YORK CITY. It rated a 98! "A Walker's Paradise!" A great place to be when one's going to art school. Anything I needed was near by, including some things that are illicit. Too bad I had no money at the time. Still, even without money, there was soooo much to see, so much to do. No surprise. I wish I could afford to live there again.

The next place I lived was in the Hamilton Park area of Jersey City, New Jersey. It rated an 89. "Very Walkable". It's definitely more of a walking area now than when I lived there. Still, I lived near a good sized mall, Newport Center. It was about 10 blocks away. At the time I lived there, there wasn't much else in the other directions within that perimeter. These days I would love to live there. It's so great and so close to the great city itself.

After that I moved to Seattle. The first neighborhood I lived in was the "U" district. It's next to the University of Washington campus. This place was rated a 94, a "Walkers Paradise". It was. For me it's up there as the best neighborhood I lived in. I spent two years there. The apartment wasn't much, but man did I have fun in the neighborhood. Everything I loved was close by. A Safeway was the furthest service from me, and even that was only 7 blocks away. The best bike trail in the world, Burke-Gilman was five blocks away. I had the choice of four set of movie houses within short walking distance. Mainstream, foreign, alternative and classic movies galore! The popcorn was the best, the best, Jerry! Restaurants of all sorts were within three blocks.

I moved out when my friend invited me to live in the Greenlake/Greenwood section of Seattle. My neighborhood was rated an 82. "Very Walkable". This neighborhood was at one time considered the suburbs of Seattle. Things are a little stretched out but it was close to my favorite place to shop, Fred Meyer. Though this one didn't have a grocery section. A few good bars were close by and a place called Beth's provided the cure for hangovers. Good thing, I was drinking a lot back then.

Anyway, I met a woman who I got serious with. My roommates and I were being kicked out of the house so I moved to Federal Way, a town 20 miles south of Seattle. We lived on the west part of town and thus it was rated a 40, "Car-Dependant". It was a letdown. It was the suburbs again, and I was not too keen on where I lived. Still I had my girlfriend. I was close to a grocery store, a coffee shop and a few other things. Three miles away was a huge selection of stores. Still, this was a "bedroom community" where zoning laws prevented a good walking environment. I didn't have a car and that was never more pronounced than when I live here. I bummed from my girlfriend but still, I wished we lived elsewhere. 5 years later I got my wish. I went across town, She moved to Kirkland with her new husband.

Across town in the eastern Federal Way was better walking wise, a 75, "Very Walkable". But since my breakup was devastating, I couldn't appreciate it. In actuality, the area was a sea of asphalt near a busy highway. Any store was near by, all chains, except for a mini Korean mall. Lots of TGIF type bars, movies, and a shopping mall within short walking distance. However, you had to dodge cars in parking lots, avoid them on non sidewalk roads and basically endure stares from the car drivers. I couldn't wait to move.

Back to Seattle I went to lick my wounds after the breakup. It helped that I moved to the Queen Anne section. It rated an 85, "Very Walkable". I think it was a little better than that. The site doesn't figure in the steep hills, that's why San Fransisco was rated so high. But I was close to
everything. Also the access to public transportation was phenomenal. I was within four blocks from access to any part of Seattle and its surroundings. It turned out I was within walking distance to all the jobs I had when I lived there. My favorite coffee shop, Caffe Ladro was just down the hill. The library just up the hill. Seattle spoiled me on libraries.

I moved back to New Jersey to be with yet another girlfriend. She didn't get a place for us as promised, so I had to crash at my parents place while I got my shit together. Their place rates a 2.

A 2!!!

Car-Dependant?! Hell Yeah!!

Holy crap! That's terrible, but not surprising. Nothing is near by, It's two miles to the nearest place to get coffee and a newspaper! It's a huge complex of a thousand plus houses in a gated community of cul-de-sacs with one gate. Ugh, it's a nightmare for someone like me. One of the things that gives a place good stores is a neighborhood that is close to parks. Walkscore bases distance by how the crow flies. Well, the park was behind a fence and I would have to trespass in someone's yard in order to get there by the distance noted. So the score would even be lower than two. People do walk there alright but they walk aimlessly, merely for exercise with not a goal to reach. Ewwww. I definitely would not chose to live there. Heck, I'd get a divorce if my wife insisted on living there.

When I got the place that my girlfriend and I moved in Spring Lake Heights New Jersey, it was a vast improvement. 22 times better because it scored a 44. "Car-Dependent". I dunno, I was satisfied living there without a car. The fact no renowned businesses was there as far as getting a decent job may be the reason the score was low. Or the fact the Jersey Shore shuts down in the winter. I was close to a library, which was a plus. I was near the beach, very cool and an excellent ice cream store was down the street. The apartment was great, probably the best one I lived in but I had to move out when my girlfriend left.

In Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. My neighborhood rates a 52, "Somewhat Walkable". I agree. It's great for some of the things I enjoy. I'm close to a library, a weak one but one nonetheless. I'm a skip and a jump from the 5 plex movie theater. I'm not close to a good coffee place or even a 7-Eleven. I am close to my bank, close to the post office and close to a decent bike path. I'm near a Foodtown, a decent liquor store but not near a good karaoke bar.

Now I live in Union, New Jersey. It rates a 75% rating. "Very Walkable" yeah, I guess. It's not great but truth to tell, I am close to most of what I need. The Union library is quite good, The Stop & Shop is really close.

So that's it. Check out how all the places you lived rated. I doubt my fellow PIC members would find a better place than where we lived together in NYC. Especially, the easy access to good friends. But prove me wrong, fellows.

Don't Harsh My Buzz, Man!

So, it's Tuesday. A beautiful day to boot!

Beach Time! Time to go to Gunnison Beach! Better get the bike and ride down to Sandy Hook. That means taking the shortcut down a road that is closed to car traffic.

CAR traffic. The road was for all traffic until a recent storm made it "necessary" to close Bayside Drive for only "local" traffic. The road itself is intact, a little rough and at times it's a one lane road. the only thing preventing a car from going through all the way to the town of Highlands is a road guard that says "road closed".

Bayside Drive features many houses on valuable property but with houses in various conditions. Many are in the process of being massively renovated with heavy machinery all over the place. I like to ride this road because it is safer than rt 36 and much more scenic. The hot days are enjoyable because the trees provide very good shade. I ride my bike to the "Road Closed" barrier, lift the chain and I'm on my way to Sandy Hook.

Well, today an old man decided that I needed to be informed that I can't go any farther, that the road is closed up ahead. Um, here's the thing, there was a sign on my way down that said the road was closed to all but local traffic, I'M local traffic. I also have the ability to get through the barrier without interfering with their lifestyle.

I'm sorry, does it offend you that I use this public road as a safe short cut?

Did it ruin your plans to stop people from having an alternate route?

Do you think I need to pay a toll to use this public road with my bicycle?

Sigh, anyway that was annoying. I think he thought he was giving me advice, hoping I would listen and not figure out the shortcut. Too late I accidentally discovered it in the winter on a long walk.

While I was pondering his intentions I get to Highlands where I did my usual routine of cutting through a parking lot. Sometimes I make a left turn but the road kind of goes through this condominium parking lot from one entrance to the other one that enters the main road of Highlands. Anyway I'm breezing by when a car comes darting in quickly into the parking lot. I spotted him so it was not biggie.

However, The man behind the wheel, a guy who looked like a balding Ralph Lauren felt the need to tell me that I should not cut through there because it was private property.

Private property? This was a small condo complex with about twenty units. The apartments are out there for all to see from the public streets. No fences, no gates. You lose the privilege of private property grievances if I can see you naked at your back door from the main road. I constantly see fat old men trying to get a sunburn without my looking for it.

There is a "No trespassing" sign but it's really intended for those who take the ferry into the city not to take any of their parking spaces. A problem in the town, I imagine. Still, can you blame someone who thinks he can park in a lot that says "Ferry Landing" A parking lot is not private property! I understand the need to prevent cars from cutting through but bicycles? Does he do this to people who walk through. Maybe if he wasn't barrelling through at 30 mph, he wouldn't care about what I was doing.

The funny thing is he said I wasn't breaking the law. Well, I said "That's right I'm not breaking the law!" and went about my merry way.

What an asshole. I'm not interfering with your life, stop violating my freedom, man.

Oh, well. Speaking of freedom, it was time to exercise my naked freedom on Gunnison Beach. It was quite a nice day, with some fine scenery.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

RIP Shaft, I mean Chef

Another bummer in the news today. Famed soul singer Issac Hayes, best known for the song "Theme From:Shaft" died. He was only 65. He was the man, about as cool as a man can be except for the Scientology. He was able to make a late career move, providing the voice of Chef on the show South Park.

Here's a great clip from the movie Wattsstax at the height of his power, that's Jesse Jackson taking off his hat, can you dig it?

videoChefLoveHow much for one rib

Saturday, August 09, 2008

RIP Bernie Mac

Bernie Mac, famed comedian and comic actor died today at the age of 50. He was a working man until he started hid comedy career when he was in his 30s. He first achieved minor success appearing in some movies before he hit it big, first in "The Original Kings Of Comedy" then in "The Bernie Mac Show" and The "Ocean's" movies.

He was definitely in his prime and it's a real shame he has died. He was very funny, his show was witty, he always added humor to any appearance he makes in films. He was pretty multi-dimensional He will be missed.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Good Vibe-Bration

Karaoke night at Jack's had a silly theme. It was all about the vibes, that is songs that have a xylophone or marimba prominently in it.

The xylophone or the marimba gets used frequently in Jazz but rare in rock/pop music. I love the sound of it, and when I hear it I almost always love the song from day one. Some obscure Beach Boys songs used it but I had to settle for the few mainstream songs available for karaoke.

First up: Starbuck's "Moonlight Feels Right" It came out when I was a kid, simple enough for a seven year old to appreciate. It's very mellow, perhaps too mellow for the young Jack's crowd. Still, it's a great pop song with a cool marimba solo in the middle. I felt like an old fart singing it. Anyway, Whatever Starbuck is, they didn't do a video. So, this one with sunset scenes is the best I can come up with.


the second song I performed was the Rolling Stones "Under My Thumb" It has a marimba intro performed my multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones. It's a classic mysoginist song about overcoming a "Taming Of The Shrew" like woman. I'm strong on Rolling Stones songs and this was no exception. I got a good reaction. The video is a classic British clip with the original members looking very young and in Brian Jone's case, alive.


The third song I sang was "Gone Baby Gone" originally done by the Violent Femmes. Karaoke Steve didn't have that version, he did however have the Gnarls Barkley version, which is quite faithful to the original, including the use of a xylophone. It went over well. I sang it Violent Femmes style. Here's both videos of the song.