Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last Run

For 2010. I haven't posted much about running lately because I've hit a rut: run a few days, overdo it in some subtle way, rest, ice, start again. 2011 goals? Keep trying.

Tomorrow night continues a New Year's Eve tradition: Marx Bros. Marathon. They're running them roughly in order from early evening to early morning, though I'll be lucky to make it to the MGM pair—Night at the Opera and Day at the Races which straddle midnight. I'm always glad to see another year, just not so much of it that early.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Shouldn't Be Alive

Actually, I'm fine. But the above-named show is an Animal Channel favorite, featuring mediocre acting, reused scenes and stock footage blended together into a cheap pleasing time-waster.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Jay Maynard Link

Tron legend—and old school Animaniacs fan—Jay Maynard is back in the news.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Ha, ha! Ha! More writing today and more on the burner for tomorrow. Non-animated, but paying nonetheless. What a plump Christmas bonanza of TV last night. LOR-2 plus Christmas Story plus Wizard of Oz; the channel changer was on fire.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Very Zombie Holiday

As turkey smells permeate the house, don't forget the undead.

Christmas Eve

Well, here we are. Christmas looms. I'm pleased to be sitting in my sweat clothes blogging away on a sunny morning. If Santa brought me a new writing desk tomorrow—or the means to obtain one—I'd be delighted. My ideal desk would have vertical book shelves built in and an intricate Japanese device that would complete writing projects (in English) so I could devote more time to sloth and sloth-friendly activities.

My book has locked up near the finish line, legs turned to cement by lactic acid. It's shuffling forward slowly, knowing its bounce will return in time. I've had many wee writing projects since September, all paying little, some paying less, but all paying something. My day is quite occupied writing items humorous or not for different blogs and websites. Multiple deadlines make the time zip past. And while a few more bucks wouldn't hurt, I count myself fortunate to be writing as opposed to unloading mail trucks or monitoring burglar alarms or shooting mad dogs for the county—which had its moments.

A most Merry Christmas to all. My the Jolly One bring you all manner of jolly things.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And in the Heavens....

A sign. About five minutes after this, the rainbow split as another storm rolled in. Rain blew sideways like the Vietnam scene from Forrest Gump. But now its quiet.

Man, It's Raining Out

I was talking last night to friend who recently had to give up his house. He's living in an apartment in my neighborhood. We recalled past heavy rains when we were home-owners and how we worried about leaks and tarps and hillsides changing zip codes. Now I can watch the water fall in sheets and say, "Ah, well, that's certainly a crisp downpour." Then I go off to eat chili and wheat.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hearst Castle Neptune Pool

Today's sea is quite storm-tossed. However I only have photos of yesterday's sea, which was more or less Okay. Still, no poet ever won fame writing things such as "my thoughts tossed about like a fairly average sea."

To the left is the Neptune Pool, shot from under my umbrella at Hearst Castle. Quite a place, a bit roomy. But they've still got zebras running around the yard as well as assorted foreign deer. I especially enjoyed the Patty Hearst Room, where our tour was locked in closets, emerging as crazed revolutionary nut cases. Fortunately, the tour had a small bank set up for us to rob. Later, we hijacked the tour bus "for the people," rode it to the gift shop and bought tee-shirts and coffee mugs.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Photos From Cambria

Here in this small town in central California, my wife and I relax as we ponder our future as members of the work force and Californians. Beautiful scenery but strange merchandise in the stores. For instance, there are action figures of zombies, frightened people from B-movie horror films, and paparazzi. Imagine running home from school so you and your chums could dive in and play with papparazzi action figures. We decay as a nation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yuletide Thoughts

Christmas nears and we're rather broke. But we have our love and steel ball bearings that we fling at the back windshields of cars cruising our street with the bass cranked up to Stun. It's the little things that hold you together.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Paul Rugg Auctions Freakazoid Stuff

For the sake of charity, Paul Rugg will part with various Freakazoid! cells and memorabilia. Times are tough, but even tougher for some. Paul has even promised to sign each cell in the blood of a Taliban warrior, killed as part of a different charity auction. In any case, stop by his site for a merchandise preview. (Image: Joker.Net)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Tom Sheppard Brings Home the Bling

Scroll down and visit Tom Sheppard's name as a WGA award recipient in animation for an episode of Back at the Barnyard. With a 2010 Emmy for the same show, Tom's walking heavy this year—a man fat with awards.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Advice for New Writers

Teens write, read, meet and collaborate on fiction over at Figment. I'm pitching the site on a column where an older, experienced writer teaches a new generation how to complain, brood, and properly nurse resentments so they mature into depression. This is vital to the writing experience and a must for young scribes. (Picture:

Batman Sobs by Bruce Timm

Via Tom Ruegger @ Cartoonatics: Bruce Timm renders the agony of defeat.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Good On All Sides

I hate hearing that some star I like is a real butt-head off camera. Thankfully, that was not the case with the late Leslie Nielsen. As he once said in Police Squad:

"Life is risk. Getting up in the morning, crossing the street, putting your face in a fan." (Photo: Chris Malafronte)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Road Not Taken by E.T.

Many endings were contemplated for E.T. The one depicted here would have led the character of Elliot down a different path. But director Spielberg chose a less European direction. (Image: Yurock)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, a fine, noble Thanksgiving to all, filled with football and turkey and pleasing condiments that don't irritate either the palate or the conversation. (Image: nitro:licious!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Russian Flick Kills Cow

Saw a Netflix film last night called Come and See. Set in Russia during World War II, the movie follows a peasant teenager who volunteers for the Soviet partisans. Directed by Russian Elem Klimov, we observe the protagonist's journey over several weeks as he transforms from a smiling, eager-to-please young fellow into a hollowed out wreck whose actions often inadvertently lead to the death of others. Sound effects levels were uneven as if certain ones had been hastily added in post. The ending was lame and the director allowed actors to address the camera in such a way that you felt they were talking to a camera and not another character. But the movie had its moments.

One scene had our protagonist and another partisan steal a cow. Leading the placid beast across a field at dusk, they are suddenly caught in the light of a flare. A German machine gun opens fire, tracers zipping through the fading light. Our protagonist hits the dirt, but his friend is killed while the cow goes on munching grass, oblivious to rounds whizzing past.

With night approaching, the cow wanders back toward the barn from which it was stolen. Our teen partisan stops the animal and leads it back across the field. The movement draws another flare and a second, more prolonged machine gun burst. This time the cow is hit. It falls, drags itself on front legs, topples on its side and lows in agony as it tries to rise. Hiding behind the riddled animal, the terrified teen watches the cow's eye rolling in pain, too stupid to know its been shot; too dumb to know its almost finished.

Somehow the slaying of a harmless animal effectively captured the ugliness of war in a way that horrid deaths to characters good and bad failed to do.

Though made in 1985, Come and See presents the cow's last words as "Eat Mor Chikin."

I think someone tampered with the film.
(Photo: Wickipedia)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

'94 Emmy Photo

Mirth in Beverly Hills as we chuckle our way through disappointment at the spring 1994 Emmy Awards. The wrong Animaniacs' episode was submitted to the judges. We lost for Best Show, but Tom and Richard Stone won for the theme song. Another gem from the Hastings Archives. From l. to r.: Tom Ruegger, Peter Hastings, Rogerio Nogueira, Andrea Romano, Randy Rogel, me, Paul Rugg and Nick Hollander.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Board With Life

Acme Comedy Theatre doesn't rate a peep, but former carpenter Adam Carolla manages to nail down the laconic wisdom while lost in Boston. (Photo: Huffington Post)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blog Anniversary

Five years writing this and that. Since 2005, I've stacked up:

Visits: 28,871

Page Views: 48,359

There are Whales of the Web that log numbers like those in a hour, but I prefer a more pastoral pace in cyberspace.

Thank you all for stopping by.

Ape an Artist

Can't think of anything to write? Draw a monkey.(Bearing in mind that if it were a real monkey it would be plotting your death. Extreme? Well, that's how they roll.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kurt and 'Nam

Some veterans die in battle while others return home to perish on the installment plan. My friend Kurt passed away in 2003 from liver cancer, partially brought about by PTSD-inspired drinking coupled with hepatitis from a bad blood transfusion he underwent in Vietnam. Kurt could have skated on that particular war, but extended his enlistment in order to fight. Serving in Marine Recon, he won a Navy Commendation medal for helping his unit fight clear of an ambush.

Several Purple Hearts later, Kurt served in an ultra-secret outfit that probed the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Hacked out of the jungle, the Trail was a highway for the North Vietnamese to funnel men and supplies into South Vietnam and Cambodia. Because of political silliness, Laos was officially off-limits to U.S. ground forces. That meant Kurt and his unofficial team were forced to ditch the bodies of their dead who would be listed as "Missing in Action in South Vietnam." It always bothered him that families of fallen comrades would be denied the closure of burial—or the recognition of bravery from a seemingly indifferent government.

A good portion of Kurt's post-war years were spent in rage and self-destruction. In time, he made peace with his past and, little by-little, cut a trail over to serenity from which he rarely strayed. His last ten years were good ones.

I was a pallbearer at Kurt's funeral. He received a Marine Corps color guard, taps, and a view of the 2 Freeway stretching below in the distance, flowing past Forest Lawn Cemetery on its way to Eagle Rock. (Transportation arteries played a big role in his life.) I think of Kurt when I drive past and often wish he could call down artillery on erratic delivery vans.

This Veteran's Day Kurt came to mind. And while he's at peace, I send prayers and best wishes to those still struggling with the silent baggage of war. And to the many other servicemen and women who worked and trained hard, giving up years in service to America.

Happy Veteran's Day to all.
(Map: The Adventures of Chester)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Link to Tall TV Star Death

Show biz mourns the death of a big celebrity.

Happy B-Day, USMC!

Here's a short article commemorating the Marine Corps on their 235th birthday. Best wishes to all Leathernecks past and present. (Photo: Acclaim Images)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Nate Ruegger Report

Another Life slides into the Big Easy Film Festival. Keep stacking 'em up, Nate.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Troubled Youth and Parachutes

What the article doesn't mention is that the youngsters will then fight the paratroopers' Market-Garden foes: troubled German teens trained as members of the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions. Simon Cowell hosts the TV version. (British and German Insignia: Wickipedia)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Peabody Award Photo

Photo: Peter Hastings

My first limo ride in NYC back during Peabody Fest '94. Peter Hastings captures me excitedly pointing to a street mugging—smaller than the one I'm doing in the photo— while Tom Minton keeps his cool. Darn Tourists

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Back in the Day

For more old school Warner animation photos, scroll down Tom Ruegger's site.

21 Again

Another from the Hastings Archive via Paul Rugg. More from the 1994 Peabody trip as we stand outside NYC's swank 21 Club, an old speakeasy seen in countless films including Sweet Smell of Success. Myself, Tom Ruegger, Tom Minton, Jean MacCurdy (hailing our limos or small men to carry us—I forget which), Paul Rugg and Nick Hollander. Peter Hastings mans the camera as we look fairly exhausted from a long day of spending the company's money on tourism and fancy dinners.

Sunday, October 31, 2010