Zombies and cool comics …

Anyone who knows me knows I love zombie movies. I’m particularly fond of Romero’s work, especially because of the Pittsburgh ties. I’ve found a great, Pittsburgh-based zombie site that’s worth checking out — ZombieGirls.net. It has a lot of reviews. Still needs work in places, but overall it’s an impressive effort.

Another good, recent find in the living dead realm is ZombieKeeper. I particularly liked their “Best in Horror” section. There were several films there I’d never heard of. “Shatter Dead” sounded so interesting I went out and ordered a copy on their recommendations. They also have a positive review of Romero’s “Martin,” one of my favorites, even if it’s not about zombies. They might not be able to spell Pittsburgh, but they know their horror flicks.

And finally, my favorite comic strip these days is Boondocks. It’s definitely worth checking out. Aaron McGruder is one of the best artists doing comics, and the characters in the strip — Huey Freeman and his little brother Riley — are hilarious. Great social commentary. One of my recent favorites is the strip on Ann Kournikova.

Go West …

I went to the Knoxville Museum of Art today to check out their (relatively) new exhibit, “Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian’s Museum of American Art.” I was expecting the worst, propagandistic images of manifest destiny and odes to westward expansion. There was some of that. But there were also numerous paintings from the Taos School. Since I lived in New Mexico for several years, this was pretty cool and I liked it a lot. Some of the other parts of the exhibit also were very good, especially portraits of Indians.

I guess my one disappointment was the complete lack of Native American voices in the exhibit. I guess I understand why, but it felt somehow incomplete to see the west strictly through European eyes … But I guess that’s how we’ve been doing it for centuries.

The rest of the museum really is very good. Checked out an exhibit of abstract expressionist prints, and the permanent collection is interesting. They’ve chosen to focus on 20th century art, especially contemporary. It’s relatively small, but definitely worth checking out if you find yourself in KnoxVegas …

New toy …

I recently purchased a ProGear from SonicBlue. Very cool toy. It’s a web tablet, basically. A small, flat computer (see photo) that has a built in wireless card. Overall, I’m impresssed. A few observations:

— Mine didn’t come with a USB keyboard, which you have to have to set it up. I went out and bought one from Happy Hacking to do the job.

— The screen is incredible. Very bright, easy to read.

— The computer is slow overall. Some of the forums I’m reading suggest downloading a product called PC Lite that removes a lot of the overhead that Windows 98 puts on the computer. I’m going to try that to see if it works. The Linux version might have been a better bet, but I’ve never mucked around with Linux and went for the Windows 98 version instead.

— Setup was easy, once I got the keyboard. I did have to poke around a bit to get the ProGear onto my wireless home network, but now that it’s there, it’s a breeze to use.

— Why buy it? It’s not really a substitute for a good laptop. I like to keep it around when I want to look something up on the Web quickly or if I just want to surf around. It’s convenient to use, and the touchscreen is pretty cool. It has a virtual keyboard that you can use to type text in (kinda cumbersome, but good for URLs, etc., and if I want to do more intensive typing, I can always plug in the USB keyboard. It’s a neat device to keep near the TV. If you are watching a movie and want details, just pick up the ProGear and search the Web for information.

A few forums with more details:

Yahoo forums

ProGear Hacking

Take your political temperature …

Are you a Hitler waiting to happen? Maybe Gandhi is more your style. And I guess there’s a little Stalin in all of us.

This page claims to offer a “measure of attitudes and inevitable human contradictions to provide a more integrated definition of where people and parties are really at.” Not sure how accurate it is, but it’s definitely interesting. It features a series of questions that you answer, and it then tells you where you stand politically.

Where did I land?

Economic Left/Right: -2.50

Authoritarian/Libertarian: -3.64

You’ll have to answer the questions to understand what that means, but I think it essentially says I’m a left-leaning Libertarian.

If you take the analysis, post a comment here on your score …

BTW: I stumbled across the link to this on The Gus‘s site. Credit where credit is due …

An ambush in Pennsyltucky …

I became road kill during Joannie’s recent pickin’ party in Pennsyltucky. Several friends conspired to have an early surprise 40th birthday party for me. When they rang the bell to gather everyone, I came up out of the pond dripping wet, unsuspecting, only to be subjected to assorted and sundry humiliations. There was a Penguin Pinata, Pin the Penguin on the Telly and assorted silly hats. One of the coolest features was a birthday cake that had a picture of me on it from college (still can’t figure out why my eyes were so strangely dilated in that photo …)

The Penguin motif has its origins in my college days at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (an academic slum south of Erie, PA.). I was known to maraud around campus wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey and ranting about false class consciousness. In fact, during one ill-fated assignment for Gary’s film class, I screamed Ginsberg’s “America” at the camera while wearing full Penguin regalia. That was the infamous John Baker Show, which was censored by one of Gary’s right-wing classmates. He “accidentally” didn’t record the sound, resulting in a pretty funny silent movie. Glad that’s not still floating around.

Anyway, the party was great and it’s nice to know I’m loved. Or at least that my friend are willing to bring me forth to make sport of me …

For more photos of this august event, click here …

Fun with Fondue

This story is too strange. Apparently, a couple of NFL players and their wives where have a nice, happy fondue when tragedy struck. I guess I shouldn’t make fun of it since it sounds as if a few of them were hurt pretty badly, but fondue? “It happened so fast,” one of the players told the Florida Times-Union. According to the Sporting News, the player “said they were moving the fondue pot when it slipped onto the tile floor in his house.” Wow. Another reason to just say no to fondue …

A few more shots of turkey …

But these turkeys aren’t wild. The party at Joanne’s was to include a turkey roast. Ryck ordered three 25-pounders a while ago, but the birds were no where to be found the day before the party. The store was offering a few paltry 12-pounders, which definitely wouldn’t work for what we had in mind.

So after calling all over the place to find three big birds, we finally turned to Judy, who tracked them down in no time, thawed them in her bathtub overnight and had them ready to cook on Saturday morning. She and husband Tim roasted the turkeys to perfection, then served them up to the hungry crowd.

For photos, check out this page.

Fun and thrills with road kill …

Always enjoy reading the Perry County Times when I travel to those parts. It’s a small weekly paper with all the news that’s fit to print, straight from the heartland of Pennsyltucky.

In addition to a great police blotter, a recent edition sported a story about a bunch of kids at Perry County High School who decided it would be pretty cool to cover the football field with road kill. I guess things are pretty slow in Perry County, and thrills are tough to come by, no matter how cheap they are. Unfortunately, the Canada geese they decided to hang from the goal posts were not road kill. Game officials suspect the geese were poached, and one of the students is now facing charges.

The suspect wants to be a Marine when he grows up. Hmmm.

At least in Tennessee, we just eat our road kill. Never thought about using it for decorative purposes …

The Fellini Road Trip …

Lara and I drove up to Pennsyltucky for Joannie’s annual pickin’ party. The trip up was almost as much fun as the destination. Along the way, we saw …

— A truck in East Tennessee with a “Bland Ministries” logo on the site. Nuff said.

— A one-legged man hopping around beside broken-down bus

— A dreaded Rastafarian and his woman fixing a car on the side of the road while Hank Hill was pulling his pickup truck over to lend a hand.

— A plane crash in Maryland (well, we didn’t actually see it crash; a Cessna-type plane apparently crashed on takeoff, and we drove by shortly after it happend).

— A sign at the beginning of a Pennsylvania construction site that read: “Slow down. My Daddy Works here.” The “s” in works was a Z, and the sign was done in a child’s handwriting. (On the way back, the sign on the southbound side of the interstate said, “Slow Down, My Mommy Works Here.” Those Pennsyltuckians sure ain’t sexist.

— A semi in Tennessee with “Student Truck Driver” plastered all over the side of it. Needless to say, we gave that one plety of room.

— On ramps with long stripes in Virginia (this is a Lara note; she was pretty upset that the dotted lines on on ramps didn’t get closer together, signalling the lane was about to end. Hey, we all have our peeves.)

— The Great Wall of Bristol. In the five years or so that I’ve been going up I-81, the fine city of Bristol has been hard at work building a massive wall along the interstate. I assume it’s to reduce noise. I hope it’s effective. It’s gummed up traffic for a long time.

— Our soundtrack during the drive:

10,000 Maniacs, In My Tribe

The Be Good Tanyas, Blue Horse

Dave Alvin, Public Domain

Whiskeytown, Faithless Street

Son Volt, Trace

But wait! There’s more!

NPR had a great feature this a.m. on Ron Popeil, the infamous TV pitchman. Great spots from those bizarre commercials (including the Veg-O-Matic). My all time favorite had to be spray on hair. I also was amazed to realize the Popeil went bankrupt after getting rich, and returned to county fairs and small venues selling his products to amass another fortune. You have to give the guy credit. The NPR site includes some cool video and other materials, including a shot of Dan Aykroyd running a bass through the Bass-O-Matic. Way cool. And refreshing, too.

If NPR has pulled this down by the time you read this, you can always order the book, “But Wait! There’s More!