Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Twice the pride, double the fall.

Once this sets sales records, I'm sure Lucas will be ready to crank out the 8 disc super-duper (re-edited) complete six movie set.
Darth Does DVD - Yahoo! News: "The much heralded final installment in George Lucas' epic Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith, will be released on DVD galaxy-wide Nov. 1, Lucasfilm and 20th century Fox Home Entertainment jointly announced Tuesday.
The release, timed for the holiday shopping onslaught, will likely be one of the year's top sellers. Not only is Revenge of the Sith the biggest moneymaker of 2005, setting box office records and generating $784 million and counting in worldwide ticket sales, it also means that all six Star Wars films will be available on DVD for the first time.
The DVD will be released as a two-disc set augmented by a feature-length making-of documentary, two new featurettes (one of exploring Anakin Skywalker as the prophesized 'Chosen One' and the other providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the movie's stunts) and the 15-part collection of Lucasfilm's Webisodes on the film.
'From the beginning of the production, George wanted to be sure we chronicled everything that went into the making of Episode III specifically to create an incredible DVD experience,' says Jim Ward, vice president of marketing and distribution for Lucasfilm. 'This DVD has literally been three years in the making and it's going to be a fantastic way to complete the Star Wars saga at home.' "

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

beam him up

'Star Trek's' Scotty, James Doohan, dead at 85 - Yahoo! News: "LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor James Doohan, best known as Scotty, the feisty, Scottish-accented chief engineer on television's original 'Star Trek' series, died on Wednesday at his home in Redmond, Washington, his manager said. He was 85.

Doohan, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease last summer, died of complications from that degenerative illness and pneumonia, Steve Stevens told Reuters.

A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Doohan was a prolific voice actor on Canadian radio before making his move into television in the 1950s.

But he will be remembered for playing Lt. Commander Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott, the can-do chief engineer aboard the starship USS Enterprise on the original 'Star Trek' series, which ran from 1966-69 on NBC. He reprised the role for several big-screen 'Star Trek' features."

somehow this seems vaguely familiar...

3 apples high

Oh boy...everything old is new again.
A Smurfin' Movie Deal - Yahoo! News: "A 3-D, CGI-animated Smurfs feature film will bow in theaters in 2008, Daily Variety reported Tuesday. The extravaganza from Paramount's Nickelodeon Movies will be the first in a planned trilogy, it said. According to Newsweek, the project has been trying to get off the ground since at least 2003.

Word of the done deal comes a week after DreamWorks and Paramount set a July 4, 2007, release date for The Transformers, another animated TV series due for a big-screen makeover. But while Transformers fandom has thrived, fueled by new series and product, the smaller legions of Smurf faithful have waited.

'Dude, a Smurf movie?' went a message-board post on TheMovieBlog.com last month after Newsweek noted a film was nigh. 'That's the smurfing best thing I've heard in smurfing forever.'

Like the Transformers, the Smurfs were a phenomenon of the 1980s, unless one lived in Europe, where the characters have been mainstays since 1958, when Belgian artist Pierre Culliford, better known as Peyo, introduced them in the comic pages. The new movie's planned release date supposedly is tied to Smurfdom's upcoming 50th birthday. "

Monday, July 18, 2005

time meant nothing, never would again

It's been awhile since my last post about "completely unnecessary but damn cool" toys...but here's a great one!

JS Online: Retro TVs, this time in color: "Dousman - It's back to the days of Sputnik and the Jetsons for a small company that makes retro televisions for people who could afford the latest in plasma-screen technology.
With their funky shapes and stained-wood finishes, Predicta televisions capture the spirit of the 1950s and 1960s but use modern electronics and have color screens.

'The spirituality of the TV is what's important,' said David Riedel, owner of Telstar Electronics, the producer of Predictas - a television that had a cult-like following in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
In the basement of his rural home, Riedel and about five employees custom-build televisions based on the original Predicta designs from Philco Co., which filed for bankruptcy protection in 1962. This month, Riedel is moving into bigger digs in the Dousman area, partly so that he has more room to work.
His company builds about eight models of the Predicta, including the Pedestal version that originally had a yellow painted top and a mahogany-finish cabinet. Everything on the retro televisions is meant to be functional, rather than window dressing, including the big knobs, dials and swivel screens.

"These televisions are meant to be used," Riedel said. "It's not like the antique deep-fryer that someone puts in their recreation room just because they think it looks cool."

Telstar has built about 500 televisions in eight years. The Predictas have been used as background props in movies such as "Inspector Gadget," and they've been bought by Hollywood celebrities and film producers.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Shake and bake life with the quake, the secret's in the crust

Hmmm...ya think? ...and imagine, it only took 37 years. What genius proclamations will ooze forth next?
RNC Chief to Say It Was 'Wrong' to Exploit Racial Conflict for Votes: "It was called 'the southern strategy,' started under Richard M. Nixon in 1968, and described Republican efforts to use race as a wedge issue -- on matters such as desegregation and busing -- to appeal to white southern voters.
Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, this morning will tell the NAACP national convention in Milwaukee that it was 'wrong.'

'By the '70s and into the '80s and '90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out,' Mehlman says in his prepared text. 'Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.'"

Oh, life could be a dream (sh-boom)

NBC15 | Dreamy Mad-Town: "Madison is officially a dream town according to the recent edition of Outside Magazine.
The magazine picked 18 dream towns across the U.S. and described Madison as Berkeley with a bratwurst. According to the magazine some of the things that make Madison so dreamy are its 30 miles of paved trails and urban pleasures like thriving co-ops and ethnic restaurants. It also notes the 120 Bio Tech firms the city has launched in the past decade, largely because of the UW's influence.

The magazine tells its readers they'll love Madison if they like mom and apple pie, and a cheesehead Midwestern vibe served with a shot of costal hipness."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Striving to beat the average!

Hell...in the next 2 days, my personal goal is to beat Missouri's average!
Average worker wasting 2 hours a day - U.S. Business - MSNBC.com: "ST. LOUIS - If you're on the job, and you're reading this story, you should probably get back to work.
The average worker wastes more than two hours a day, and that's not including lunch, according to a new Web survey by America Online and Salary.com. That means companies spend as much as $759 billion on salaries annually for which they receive no apparent benefit, the research found.
The No. 1 state for wasting time was Missouri, where workers who responded to the survey reported slacking off 3 hours and 12 minutes a day."

T-minus 2. Looks like I'm gonna hit 0 before the shuttle does.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


T-minus 3

that is all.

thank you for your attention.

...tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit...

Not that this is really new, but with the start of the fall semester rapidly approaching, I think it's timely. But isn't the foreign TA a right of passage for undergrads? That's what we always thought at Marquette.
Unclear on American Campus: What the Foreign Teacher Said - New York Times: "Valerie Serrin still remembers vividly her anger and the feeling of helplessness. After getting a C on a lab report in an introductory chemistry course, she went to her teaching assistant to ask what she should have done for a better grade.
Valerie Serrin could not understand her Berkeley teaching assistant. The teaching assistant, a graduate student from China, possessed a finely honed mind. But he also had a heavy accent and a limited grasp of spoken English, so he could not explain to Ms. Serrin, a freshman at the time, what her report had lacked.
"He would just say, 'It's easy, it's easy," said Ms. Serrin, who recently completed her junior year at the University of California, Berkeley. "But it wasn't easy. He was brilliant, absolutely brilliant, but he couldn't communicate in English."
Ms. Serrin's experience is hardly unique. With a steep rise in the number of foreign graduate students in the last two decades, undergraduates at large research universities often find themselves in classes and laboratories run by graduate teaching assistants whose mastery of English is less than complete.
The issue is particularly acute in subjects like engineering, where 50 percent of graduate students are foreign born, and math and the physical sciences, where 41 percent of graduate students are, according to a survey by the Council of Graduate Schools, an association of 450 schools."

T-minus 4 (for anyone keeping track)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

...but that was all he missed, he ain't comin' back...

I think this guy is the one who is out of touch with Obey's district. Apparently he hasn't spent much (if any) time back in north central Wisconsin since he left for college 7 years ago. After all, Obey's district has several new hospitals bringing a significant number of high paying jobs (doctors, administrators, nurses, medical technologists, etc). At least half a dozen airports in his district have seen or are currently undergoing expansion projects due to economic demands of their areas. There are two major federal highway expansion projects ($100M+ each) going on in the district as well (I-39/USH 10 & I-39/USH 51/STH 29).

None of these are a secret to those of us who actually live and work in Obey's district. We just look around on a daily basis and see it happening.

FYI: A major portion of the costs for the airport projects and the highway projects are come from the feds, and as the senior Democrat in Appropriations, Obey has the pull and clout to make these happen...not a 25-year-old who wants to be another Dubya bootlicker.

Rep. David Obey may have 25-year-old competitor in next election: "Nick Reid is only 25 years old, but the Wisconsin native who is press secretary to Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., said Tuesday he is thinking of returning home to launch his own bid for Congress.
Reid, a Republican, wants to challenge incumbent Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., an 18-term veteran of the House and the senior member of Wisconsin's congressional delegation.
'I'm just starting to test the waters here,'' Reid said. 'I'm doing this on my own time during lunches and after hours, calling people to try and build support.''
Reid took the official step Tuesday of forming an exploratory committee, which allows him to raise money for a potential bid.
He has served as Ryun's press secretary for two years and worked at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington for three years before that. Reid was born and raised in Douglas County, near Superior, Wis., and graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2001.
Reid acknowledges it will be tough to defeat Obey. The Democrat has been a member of Congress 11 years longer than Reid has lived and won his last race with 86 percent of the vote.
'Having been in there for 36 years, it's time for a new face,'' Reid said. 'It's time for fresh representation.
Reid calls Obey 'out of touch'' with his district. He says the congressman has failed to bring high paying jobs to the region and has voted against tax relief for working families. "

JS Online: Marquette's Big East schedule released

JS Online: Marquette's Big East schedule released: "Marquette University's 16-game Big East schedule will feature home games against Connecticut and Cincinnati, road games at Louisville, Villanova and West Virginia, and home-and-home series with DePaul, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, the conference announced today.
Rounding out the Golden Eagles' home slate will be Georgetown, Providence and St. John's. They will also travel to face Rutgers and Seton Hall.
MU will not play Syracuse or South Florida this year or next due to the repeat games. Dates and times aren't expected to be announced until sometime in late August."

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

a really quick update

T minus 8.

...am I the only one who hears the screams, and the strangled cries...

Summerfest v.38...a Milwaukee tradition goes corporate...

So I went to Summerfest on Sunday to see Carlos Santana in concert. An excellent show with phenomenal musicianship on the part of all performers, regardless of what the Journal-Sentinel reporter wrote in the attached review (see way down). I would be chagrin if I did not point out that there was a trumpet player in addition to the trombonist mentioned.

Overall, Summerfest is going the way of the corporate sponsor. Unfortunately this year seemed to be the tipping point on the sell-out scale. Gone are the days of the people's music festival with buying a $3 pin that got you in to the festival anytime on a weekday and during daytime hours on the weekends. Instead we're left with a $5 card that is only good during certain hours during weekdays, and then for only 1 admission per day.

Summerfest instead is going for the brass ring, with their "Big Wig" program.
Tired of walking blocks and blocks to get to a Summerfest concert? Sick of long lines for the latrine? Ticked about getting stuck in the nether reaches of the Marcus Amphitheater when your favorite act takes the stage?

If you answered yes to all those questions - and you have a fat bank account - Summerfest's "Big Wig Experience" may be just the thing for you. For a cool $3,000, you get first shot at buying two primo tickets to every hot concert in the amphitheater all season.

Founded as a people's music festival in 1968, Summerfest is aggressively marketing its elite seating program this season, making an upfront status-laden appeal to the well-heeled.

What you'll get for shelling out your three grand: Right of first refusal to buy two tickets to every concert in some of the best seats in the house; "snazzy name plaques affixed to your reserved seats;" "swanky parking" privileges in a special lot adjacent to the amphitheater; access to the private Summerfest Clubhouse with free drinks available; and entree to special air-conditioned potties.

The 150 Big Wig seats are all in the center section closest to the stage in the Marcus Amphitheater, except the first 10 rows. Those generally must be open to the general public or are used for special promotions, under terms of contracts with the music groups that are booked, Draeger said.

The Santana review:
JS Online: Santana elegant in simplicity: "How to describe the two hour-plus set played by Santana's 11-piece band? Start with Africa, since the sound is built on drums and percussions. Next, travel to the Iberian peninsula, which gave the world the guitarra, or guitar, which Santana has helped define. Stop in Cuba for a lesson in arrangements, head to Haight-Ashbury, where Santana first made a splash in the U.S., and come to rest in Mexico, whose unique culture gives us Spanglish.
Each player in the Santana juggernaut acquitted himself with fire and balance: the main counterweight to Santana's crushing hooks were vocalist Andy Vargas, bassist Benny Rietveld and trombonist Jeff Cressman.
Not to pick apart the indefinable - Santana's style - but two traits are often overlooked by fans and critics. Santana utilizes a right-hand picking technique that reflects his early violin playing and owes a debt to mandolinists' smooth flutter-picking. And by varying the speed of his vibrato, the way his fingers caress the strings, Santana can hang on a single (ear-splitting) note for what seems like hours. Yet a listener aches for more.
Amid sonic thunder and lightning, self-empowerment was the message.
'Be yourself, you're someone special,' Santana said. He paid homage to women who have illuminated him. 'I have a mother, four sisters, a wife and two daughters,' he said. Quoting Maya Angelou, invoking saints and spirits from across the globe, Santana speechified on spirituality and compassion. At one point he even read the names of about 40 sound and lighting support technicians."

JS Online: No cash for beer? No problem

Nothing like a little monopoly to help a festival run more smoothly. Besides, at $5 a beer, the credit card is a necessity, not a luxury.

JS Online: No cash for beer? No problem: "Your last dollar won't mean your last call at Summerfest, as patrons will discover when the fest opens on Thursday.

For the first time, cash registers at the 43 beer stands at Maier Festival Park will have swipe-and-go credit card capability. The next round for you and your friends is only a simple electronic transaction away.
Summerfest managers say they made the change to make it more convenient for Big Gig patrons.
A comment in the festival budget for this year adds another possible motivation: 'Beverage sales will be reorganized in 2005. The change will result in an increase in profits.'
Along with installation of credit card systems at 350 cash registers, Summerfest has contracted out nearly all of its beer vending to one business: Major Goolsby's."

Friday, July 01, 2005

I am sick again, just plain sick to death

I don't always agree with Dave Obey, and I do have issues with people who make politics a career...but this editorial is right on point. This kind of rhetoric also makes me proud of Wisconsin's political traditions.

The Capital Times: By Dave Zweifel
July 1, 2005

As you may have read in E.J. Dionne's column on this page earlier this week, Wisconsin Congressman Dave Obey doesn't kowtow to despots, no matter what their political stripe.
And in today's political climate, where you are called un-American if you take a stand against George Bush or anti-Christian if you speak out against government forcing religion on people, that takes more than a little courage. More than one political career has been ruined because someone took a principled stand. That's how bad it is these days.
But for those of us who have known Obey over his long and illustrious political career, he has always stood up for what he believes. It probably explains why Wisconsin's 7th District has re-elected him 15 consecutive times. Wisconsin voters, after all, like leaders who show some intestinal fortitude.
Bush's senior adviser, the notorious Karl Rove, got the liberal Obey's blood boiling last week when he told the audience at a Republican fundraiser: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for out attackers."

Obey went to the House floor the next day and delivered the following speech:

"Mr. Speaker, in light of Karl Rove's savage attack on the patriotism of liberals in this country, I have a couple of questions.

"Two days after 9/11, the gentleman from Florida (C.W. Young, a Republican congressman) and I, on a bipartisan basis, pushed a $20 billion package through this House in response to the attack. We had to sit in the speaker's office and defend the president's request against people like Phil Gramm and Don Nichols (two senators) of the president's own party. Are those the liberals that Karl Rove was talking about?

"One month after 9/11, the gentleman from Florida (Young) and I went to the White House and urged the president to support a greatly increased homeland security budget. The president, without even looking at what we were proposing, said, 'If you add one dime to our budget for homeland security, I will veto the bill.' Mr. Rove was sitting over his shoulder when President Bush made the remark. Is President Bush one of those out-of-line liberals that Mr. Rove is talking about?

"I come from the state of Wisconsin," Obey added. "I know a third-rate Joe McCarthy when I see one and I saw one in Mr. Rove's comments yesterday."

Indeed, Karl Rove, like Joe McCarthy, has no decency. Obey hit the nail on the head once again.

Dave Zweifel is editor of The Capital Times.