Friday, June 26, 2009

Passing (the unexpected addendum)

Talk about unexpected.
We got home last night and I heard Charlie Gibson say, "Next...remembering Michael Jackson."
What the...??
Can't believe Michael Jackson is gone.
Last night and all of today, the Internet and news and all has been buzzing about the entirety of the man's life. Some dwell on the negative--and there was a lot of it, especially in the last two decades--and some dwell on the positive.
I hope he'll be remembered as one of the world's great entertainers, whose influence shaped a generation of new performers and left a legacy of incredible music and unbelievable dance moves. He was one of a kind, love him or hate him, and the most important thing about his life was surely the body of work he's given to the ages.
RIP, Mr. Jackson, and thank you.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


We lost two celebrities this week: Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett. McMahon was 86, Fawcett was 62. (Oddly enough, she's the same age my dad was when he passed away, also from cancer.)

It's enough to make me reflect on their place in my growing-up years.

Sometimes when we traveled for summer vacation from Wisconsin to Mississippi (or back again), we would stay in a motel to get a break from the road. Dad liked to drive until late, so that "break" might not happen until after 10pm Central (which is 11pm Eastern--it sounds early but it was late for us). We'd trudge into the room, worn out and cranky, and turn on the TV to settle down for the night. We'd almost always watch THE TONIGHT SHOW with Johnny Carson. Carson's routine was funny even to us kids (most times), but it was Ed McMahon that told us when things were really funny. His big, booming laugh was a barometer for "okay this is funny" or "it wasn't funny but we're laughing anyway."

It was a nice part of my childhood, those motel room nights with the family, watching a little TV and sharing a laugh together.

As for Farrah, I never owned the infamous red swimsuit poster, but I know guys who did. Heck, there was one hanging in an office in my high school. She embodied the California girl ideal of the mid-70s, fluffy hair and sparkling smile and all. I was disappointed when she quit Charlie's Angels after one season (I thought even then it was a bad career move to trust in one season's work on TV--a lesson David Caruso didn't learn), but times moved on and there were other "It girls." Still, nobody was quite the same as Farrah. She had that kind of charisma that's impossible to define but unmistakable.

In saying farewell to both of these folks, I'm reminded that life moves on for all of us. The people I loved watching as a kid are aging (or, in many cases, gone), while the newest crop of celebrities are people I don't recognize. It's a generation gap thing.

But thanks, Ed and Farrah, and rest in peace.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Kat and I had visitors this weekend--Brielle's grandparents came to see the girl, and since they had her Friday night, Kat and I decided to go see a movie.

We saw Up, the new release from Disney/Pixar. It's the story of Carl Fredricksen, a blocky 78 year old balloon salesman with one great adventure left to be attempted. It's also the story of Russell, a pre-teen Wilderness Explorer; Doug the Dog; and Kevin, an improbable denizen of Paradise Falls in South America.

It's a really wonderful movie, with dazzling (and entirely appropriate) 3-D effects--by all means, see this in 3-D if you can!!--but what it has in spades is heart. Carl's story begins in great sadness; I dare anyone watching it not to cry at least four times, and that's possibly in the first fifteen minutes.

The way the story unfolds will not tax those who like to anticipate plot points... but it should delight and impress regardless, as the characters (and the actors behind them) make the story come alive. Doug, in particular, has a host of delightful and quotable lines.

Being a Pixar movie comes with very high expectations. Up, very happily, lives up to all of them.
Strongly recommended.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What's New

Wow, it's been almost two weeks since I last posted. Where did the time go?
Well, part of it was lost to being sick. Brielle and I both had colds that have lingered from the fifth through pretty much now. She and I were both out three days last week, so it took a little time to get back into the swing of work, baby management, etc.
Her grandparents are coming to visit soon and we can't wait-- they love seeing her so much, it's just a blast having them come to town. We're looking forward to other visitors as well, so if you see this, come on down!
Anyway, not a lot else to say right now. I need to catch up on some comic books-- for the first time in ages, there are books from two weeks ago that I haven't read yet-- as well as some fiction for SFRevu, so you could say my reading time is packed.
Still, I hope to get some words up here on the blog before too much longer. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

RIP David Carradine

Kwai Chang Caine's long journey is finally at an end. Bill has met his maker. And the fellow from the Yellow Pages ads is now gone far away.

David Carradine, the seventy-something star of "Kung Fu," Kill Bill and lots more besides, was found hanged in a hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand earlier today. A local newspaper asserts that he committed suicide but, as of now, I don't believe there's any official word one way or the other. (Carradine's agent has since claimed he believes the actor died of natural causes.)

He was filming a new movie, Stretch, at the time of his death.

This is sad news, folks. Carradine could play just about anything, with an impish sense of humor and a gravity in those eyes of a life fully lived. He'll be missed.

RIP, Mr. Carradine, and God bless you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why I'm Over "Jon and Kate Plus 8"

Used to be, I really enjoyed this little show about a family with eight kids, whose mom and dad were visibly struggling to raise their unwieldy brood as they bickered (usually lovingly) back and forth.

How times have changed.

Now the mom and dad are separated (and look to be headed for divorce), while the kids are doing so much insanely fun stuff, it's amazing they have time to sleep and eat. On last night's first new episode, the kids took mom Kate to Duff Goldman's Charm City Cakes--a real life Willy Wonka's factory, if you substitute cake for chocolate--to celebrate her birthday. Then Kate took older daughter Mady (one of their twins) to San Diego for a mother-daughter outing while Jon stayed home with the kids.


I'm sorry. I just don't relate to this family any more. Instead of the charming foibles and frustrations of oversized-family life, we see the Gosselins ensconced in an extremely spacious home on 24 acres; we see Kate on book tours and speaking engagements (here and there, anyway); and we see each parent alone on a couch, speaking to the camera in tones ever more glum and downcast.

Heck, I might not have liked how Kate treated Jon--she was pretty nasty to him several times on the show--but I'm liking both of them a lot less these days. That isn't really a judgment on either Jon or Kate... it's more that I am not enjoying the time I spend in their video presence.

Now that I have a daughter of my own, I can begin to appreciate how wearing it can be to parent a baby. All things considered, I would rather be part of my world than spend time being a part of the Gosselins' extended video family.