Friday, December 30, 2005

King Kong

I saw the new "King Kong" a few days ago, but haven't actually set down yet to write anything about it. Unlike most of my reviews of current popular movies, I am happy to say that I don't have to report my usual tirade about too many computer effects and bad storytelling and movie overlength. While not perfect, "King Kong" moves at a fairly brisk pace considering its 3 hour length and while there are computer effects, they are kept at a minimum and usually curtailed to the ape himself, which is necessary. Even the original "King Kong" was an effect, so I have no qualms about effects, I just hate it when computer effects substitute for real locations and real situations and make you think "computer effect" while watching. A good special effect should be seemless and NOT noticable. A good example of a movie using bad computer effects is "Hulk".

Anyway, back to "Kong". Well worth the price of admission. The story and all its components are far more interesting than the bland "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. This is not Peter Jackson's fault, just Tolkien's. Jack Black is his usual self which is a good thing, unless you don't like him, as are Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody. So definitely see, and in the theater.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Comic Book Saturation

A comic book friend of mine inquired about why Harvey would have expanded its "Casper" line if the series was flagging (see yesterday's blog), so I responded with the following (adjusted for blog purposes):

Having multiple titles of a character isn't as strange as it may seem. Especially now with multiple Superman, Batman, X-Men, etc titles, where there weren't so many in the Richie Rich expansion days. The "saturation principle" must work or realistically SEEM to work in order to pump up a flagging series or character or everyone wouldn't be doing it. You can have more titles out concurrently with the same character to give added exposure and the appearance that the character is successful. Then success breeds success.

Coca-Cola and beer companies do it all the time. I'm sure Coke would do just
fine with "Coke", but they have to hog shelf space with Diet Coke, Coke Zero,
caffeine free Coke, caffeine free Diet Coke, etc. It's the same principle.

I spoke with a local comic book store owner about this very thing and he feels that it is always a mistake to do it, because it distills what is pure with the original product no matter what it is. It happened with the a local newspaper where I worked until August of this year. They had a great little paper out with high circulation and they screwed it up by cutting the morning circulation and adding an afternoon edition with fewer pages. It pissed people off looking for the fat morning paper later in the day.

The comic book store owner thought about expanding his store base, but he doesn't want to distill what is good about his stores, so he has limited it to two locations. He says that if he did open a third, he might try one in another state, as opposed to a third in California. But since he now has a fairly successful mail order business, the need for a third store isn't as important.

Overall, companies do these things like saturation for marketing reasons, but
sometimes it backfires. In the case of Casper, it didn't work. In the case of
Richie Rich (at least from 1971-1982), it did work. New Kids on the Block
didn't, but Superman did. Archie did. And it goes on and on.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Saving Casper the Friendly Ghost (circa 1972)

There have been many "resurrections" of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Most notably recently with the book release of "The Ultimate Casper". There was a time before when Casper faced the chopping block circa 1972.

Alan Harvey informed me on a recent phone call that the reason that they created the "Casper and Richie Rich" title in the first place was that the "Casper" title had been floundering for years and it was a last-ditch attempt to "rescue" the character before facing the chopping block. If you notice the "Casper" title, it carried reprints for quite a number of years, and the only place you could find new Casper material was in "Richie Rich and Casper". The brief Casper line expansion of 1972-73 apparently did nothing to improve sales and all were canceled by the time "RR&C" debuted.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas

It's still a very slow Christmas in comparison to other years, which is great since I went to the post office today and had to get some packages out. In the past, I would have to stand in line for hours in order to get my last minute stuff done. Sometimes, it wasn't even last minute. Since I sell comic books online, there isn't any last minute, it's all the time, and I've had to stand in line to get it out regardless of what holidays there are. But today was interesting as there were no more people than normal... Is everyone shopping on line, or not shopping at all? Hmmmm......

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Little Dot

As many of you may or may not know, I publish a fanzine about Harvey Comics called, "The Harveyville Fun Times!" and have done so for the last 15 years (see http://thft.home.att.net). I recently stumbled across a website with the "Little Dot" promo that ABC did. I e-mailed the guy responsible named David Strandquest to find out more information, but I am also putting it out on my blog. Why were these promos created? Did they benefit anyone utilizing a character that is nowadays quite obscure, despite the fact that Richie Rich made his first appearance in "Little Dot" #1 back in 1953? The world may never know...

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Memories of a Geisha

I don't believe that I have commented on this film even though I saw it on a sneak preview last week. This is one of those films that definitely has "Oscar" written all over it, even though I hate that term. However, unlike most Oscar contenders, it actually is very watchable and entertaining. One may quibble about the use of Chinese and Mongolian actors to play Japanese roles, but it's better than Charlie Chan or the actors in Disney's "One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing". So anyway, to make a long review short, it is good. The plot is the basic girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy in the end variety. This is not giving away anything as that's not the impetus for seeing it. The real reason is the Geisha lifestyle that is shown throughout the movie. A good date flick, but good to see overall.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sudoku

Why is the Sudoku game so popular? Where did it come from? How many possible combinations can their be? Why is it so addicting? The world may never know.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Friday, December 16, 2005

Rolling Stones Rarities Volume 2?

So I got "Rolling Stones Rarities 1971-2003". It's a mixed bag but worth it only for the CD debuts of "Through the Lonely Nights" and "Let it Rock" among others. Of course, now with the age of downloads, waiting for a CD issue is a moot point. Should they do a volume 2 and using the same "rarity" qualifications of previously released, but not on a regular album, I would like to see the following:

1. Jump on Top of Me
2. Think I'm Going Mad
3. Cook Cook Blues
4. When the Whip Comes Down (Live "Sucking in the 70s" version)
5. Everything is Turning to Gold
6. The Storm
7. So Young
8. Honest I Do ("Hope Floats" Soundtrack)
9. Undercover (12" version)
10. Too Much Blood (12" version)
11. I'm Going to Drive
12. Long Black Veil (with The Chieftans)
13. Rocky Road to Dublin (with The Chieftans)
14. Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (with BB King)
15. Highwire
16. Sex Drive
17. Winning Ugly (12" Version)

There are obviously more alternate and live versions and truly unreleased stuff, but I tried to stick to around 16 tracks like the first set.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Captain Marvel Movies

Today's my birthday!! My dad got me a DVD of the old Republic serial of Captain Marvel and I was amazed at how different the series was to the old Fawcett comic books. I was hoping for an origin story similar to what appeared in "Whiz Comics" #2, but no such luck. The serial was entertaining nonetheless, considering its limitations, but not really true to the character. Even the Saturday morning series "Shazam!" from the 70s was not true to the character, but seemed closer to the mark.

I would like to see DC (the current owners of Fawcett's Captain Marvel) and Marvel (the current owners of their versions of Captain Marvel and the name) come to some sort of an agreement that a feature film be made similar to the Superman or Batman movies, but with a lot more humor (which was a Captain Marvel trademark) and an accurate origin (Billy Batson works for a newspaper, later a radio station, and follows a stranger into a subway, and meets Shazam, the old wizard who grants him special powers...), and appearances by Mr. Tawny, Mr. Mind, Dr. Sivana, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel, Jr., etc., etc.

I think it could be great. Get Peter Jackson to work on it...

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Jacques Tati

Can someone please explain to me the fascination with film director Jacques Tati? His marginally funny films (at best) are always revered by any of today's top critics as being the funniest thing ever with comparisons to Buster Keaton among others. I think he's more of a hack in the Ed Wood level who doesn't even understand comedy. Does that make me unable to be a movie critic? Possibly. I always have problems with any movie that requires repeat viewings before it gets good. Anything can get good with repeat viewings, because it becomes familiar to the viewer, that doesn't mean it is good.

So tell me what I'm missing. And yes, I have viewed "Mr. Hulot's Holiday", "My Uncle", "Playtime" and "Traffic" in their entirety with "Playtime" getting the nod as the best of the lot, but that's not saying much.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Monday, December 12, 2005

1001 Films You Must See Before You Die

There is a book out called "1001 Films You Must See Before You Die". While the title seems inviting, it's annoying to note that so many non-US (and therefore more difficult to find) movies are on the list. Also, the list has the typical "usual suspects". No where would you find movies like "Blazing Saddles" or "Willy Wonka" or "Song of the South", but you will ALWAYS find movies that I feel are tremendously overrated such as "Mr. Hulot's Holiday", "Citizen Kane" and foreign features like "Rome-Open City". I've seen them all, and tried hard to like them.

I feel that someone (maybe me) should issue a book of "1001 Films You Must See That Are Made In The USA And Are Not The Usual Film School Required Watching Features". That way, an occasional dopey Disney comedy or sub-par but watchable Don Knotts or Jerry Lewis movie could be included...I mean, I would rather watch Disney's "Million Dollar Duck" again than watch any Jacques Tati film.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Friday, December 09, 2005

Christmas Shopping and Target

I went into Target last night to do a little bit of shopping and discovered that not that many people are really shopping for Christmas gifts and in fact, are not shopping all that much at all. Really strange, especially since everyone is predicting record sales and a bustling economy. Well, sorry folks, I hate to tell you, but the economy, though improving a little bit, isn't going gangbusters here in the US as everyone seems to predict. It's just been plodding along since 2001, and this holiday season seems to be more of the same. Oh well.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Work, Work, Work

Sometimes I just get too busy to write, so I'll keep this short. I'm doing a cold call blitz and as such, don't have time to say anything else...

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

DVD Release at Movie Theaters

Now, they're thinkin'! I've proposed this idea for years! See article below...

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

"Disney CEO Robert Iger appears to be bracing himself for a war with theater owners over his determination to eliminate the delay between the time a film is released in theaters and the time it is released on DVD. In an interview with today's (Monday) Walt Street Journal, Iger said that he had hoped that other studio chiefs would side with him, but he said, "No movie studio really wants to be first because it's like going over the hill first in battle. They don't want to take the most bullets." He said that theater chains have threatened to reduce the number of screens his movies are shown in if he attempts to narrow the gap between their theatrical and DVD release. "We'll have a conversation with theater owners to see whether we can move them more peacefully," he told the Journal. "But I think in the end, it's going to have to be more by force than through negotiation or diplomacy." Iger indicated that he recently proposed to the theater owners that they sell Chicken Little DVDs in their lobbies and share the profits from the sales. "But there's so much fear now about change that no one wants to sit down and have a frank discussion."

Monday, December 05, 2005

Aeon Flux

Saw another movie, Aeon Flux. While there were some worthwhile scenes featuring the always-beautiful Charlize Theron, the movie dragged in spots as it seemed to take forever to get anywhere between many mini-battles. The story itself was simple but effective and was plainly laid out at the beginning and the end of the film. It is true to the animated series of year's back about being set in the future and being dreadfully serious and somewhat graphic on the battles. So, ultimately, as far as these things go, it was a pleasant surprise, but you might hit the fast-forward button a couple of times when the DVD comes out.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Friday, December 02, 2005

Team America and South Park

I used to be a big fan of "South Park". Then after I felt it ran its course after a couple seasons, it kept going and going and going, so eventually I stopped watching it (not having cable helps a lot). Anyway, "Team America" came out on DVD and I felt that since this was supposed to be a little more "sophisticated" than "South Park", I'd give it a shot.

Amazingly, except for their parody of "Rent", the entire film was way too serious and straight and the novelty of having marionettes wore off after a few minutes. I was bored. I sped through the end. Sorry.

Also, Trey Parker and Matt Stone should really work on some different character voices. All of their character voices sound like Terrance and Philip, and although those voices seem to work for those obnoxious characters from "South Park", they come off as extraordinarily irritating in "Team America".

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net
thft@att.net

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sin City

So I saw "Sin City"; another in a long line of films that look good, but aren't good. Yeah, I know there are sexy women and lots of nudity, but for these types of films a story would be nice. And while I respect Frank Miller as an artist, I am not really a fan of his work. Also, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino have done much better in the past. See "From Dusk Till Dawn" for what I mean.

I used to really respect Rodriguez as a director, but ever since he got caught up in the 3-D craze, he really hasn't made anything that has excited me since "Spy Kids 2". I'm referring to "Spy Kids 3" and "Sharkboy and Lavagirl". Even his standard films like "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" have suffered.

Rodriguez is currently working on a sequel to "Sin City". I can hardly wait (sarcasm).

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Emitt Rhodes and The Beatles

Through an e-mail from my friend Joe who lives in Prague, I was alerted to the existence of a musician named Emitt Rhodes. As much of a Beatlemaniac as I am, it's surprising that I have never heard of the man. Apparently, from what I've gathered from the Internet (greatest invention ever!) I have discovered that he put out a couple of albums with his group called The Merry-Go-Round, and then followed those up with a few solo albums before finally fading into obscurity. The first of those has been touted as a long lost Beatles album because of how it sounds. I downloaded a couple of tracks and although he does sound close to The Beatles, he really sounds closer to Badfinger, another group I happen to love.

Unfortunately, his LPs and later CD reissues are long out of print (and now very pricey), and since he has never sold very well, it is doubtful that they will reissue them again very soon. So downloading it is...sorry FBI.

Anyway, check him out. You may be surprised. I was.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

So I saw the new "Pride and Prejudice" movie last night. It's only been made about 50 times before and has the most pedestrian and predictable love story in literature. Maybe it wasn't at the time of being published, but it is now. So, why would I see it? Well, it was a date and more importantly that Keira Knightly is very pretty, so for us males, there's a lot of visual eye candy.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cds vs. DVDs

Why do CDs cost more than DVDs? I know there are exceptions to everything, but many new DVDs are coming out at approximately $15-$20 where as the list price for a new CD is $19! DVD contain more information usually 2-3x more and it is visual and there are more bonus features.

A good case in point is the new John Lennon reissues. "Walls and Bridges" from 1974 came out recently in a remastered version but the cost is $19 for a list price copy. The original album is about 40 minutes in length and with the extras it is probably no more than 50 minutes in length. The maximum time a CD can carry is 80 minutes.

I even saw "The Mad Show" (an obscure off-broadway show that premiered back in the 60s) CD soundtrack retail for the same $18. Who the hell cares about that?

Next is Disney's "Cinderella" (for lack of a better comparison) from 1950. The 2-DVD set retails at $30. Already a deal, but most stores sell it for around $20. I got mine for $15. Not only do you get the original movie which is aleady over an hour in length, but you get a bunch of bonus features since DVDs can carry between 2-6 hours of information, and you get to see it too.

I used to have "War of the Worlds" DVD. Then, Paramount reissued it with extras including the infamous radio broadcast from 1938. I used to have that on a separate CD. Now, they are together on the same piece of plastic.

My point is, the music industry continues to rip us off, while the movie industry is continually trying to get us more and more for the money. I tried to compare reissues of older material instead of the latest U2 album (which probably would retail for less than the reissued Lennon CD), but the result is just the same. DVDs are a much better bargain than a CD.

I would like to see the complete solo Lennon catalog issued on one or two DVDs and retail for $30 than these individual CDs for almost $20 a pop another time. I mean, how much money can you make on an old album. Most of the money for "Walls and Bridges" was made back in 1974, as it should have been, when Lennon was alive.

Or they could issue pre-programed IPODs with the complete Lennon catalog, Beatles material included.

No wonder people download things for free off of Napster-like websites.

--
Regards,

Mark Arnold
http://funideas.home.att.net

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Looney Tunes Set 4

"Looney Tunes Golden Collection" Volume 3 came out recently with more great stuff. I just wish these Looney Tunes sets came out twice a year instead of once, and I really would like to see some or all of the following on Volume 4 which will probably come out at the end of 2006.

1. The Village Smithy
2. Egghead Rides Again
3. The Case of the Stuttering Pig
4. Porky's Hero Agency
5. Porky's Poppa
6. Cinderella Meets Fella
7. Hamateur Night
8. Porky's Picnic
9. Porky the Giant Killer
10. A Wild Hare
11. The Timid Toreador
12. Porky's Preview
13. Porky's Cafe
14. Conrad the Sailor
15. Horton Hatches the Egg
16. Fresh Hare
17. The Impatient Patient
18. Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs
19. Tick Tock Tuckered
20. The Old Grey Hare
21. Wagon Heels
22. Daffy Doodles
23. Birth of a Notion
24. Buccaneer Bunny
25. You Were Never Duckier
26. Hot Cross Bunny
27. Daffy Dilly
28. A Lad in His Lamp
29. The Bee-Deviled Bruin
30. A Ham in a Role
31. Rabbit Hood
32. Mutiny on the Bunny
33. It's Hummer Time
34. Hare We Go
35. Rabbit Every Monday
36. Chow Hound
37. Ballot Box Bunny
38. Operation: Rabbit
39. 14 Carrot Rabbit
40. Thumb Fun
41. The Hasty Hare
42. Fool Coverage
43. Southern Fried Rabbit
44. Hare Trimmed
45. I Gopher You
46. No Parking Hare
47. Bewitched Bunny
48. Beanstalk Bunny
49. Sahara Hare
50. Hare Brush
51. This is a Life?
52. Dime to Retire
53. Roman Legion Hare
54. The High and the Flighty
55. Rabbitson Crusoe
56. Stupor Duck
57. Ali Baba Bunny
58. Bedevilled Rabbit
59. Piker's Peak
60. Ducking the Devil
61. Hareway to the Stars
62. Knighty-Knight Bugs
63. Bonanza Bunny
64. From Hare to Heir
65. Wet Hare
66. Bill of Hare
67. Mad as a Mars Hare
68. Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare

Yeah I know there aren't any Tweety and Sylvester, Pepe Le Pew, or Road Runner, but it's my list...

-Mark.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of those goofball holidays that lands on the last Thursday of November each year (unless you are in Canada where it is in October some time). It has definitely been eclipsed by Christmas in recent years where Holiday advertising and decorations start appearing the shops now as early as August each year, mainly due to our still lousy economy trying to get out of the doldrums.

Anyway, eat up and have a good day...

-Mark.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

John Lennon, Rolling Stones and King Kong

They released some frustrating things today. Remember a few blogs ago I said that "Walls and Bridges" will finally receive the remastered upgrade. This was all well and good, but I didn't know that they would change the cover artwork. Previously, it was one of John's drawings, now it is one of those photos where John is wearing about six pairs of glasses.

I also found out that "Some Time in New York City" was also reissued, meaning that now all of John Lennon's albums released in his lifetime (minus "Shaved Fish" which was a compilation anyway) have been remastered and reissued. However, some of the extra crappy "Live Jam" tracks have been taken off in order to make this a single CD release. I have mixed feelings about this.

The Rolling Stones newest album "A Bigger Bang" was already reissued with some new tracks. Grrr! I hate it when artists do this. I have already purchased the new CD. Had I known that this expanded version would have come out, I would have bought this one instead.

The 1933 "King Kong" is one of those films that I have always wanted in my DVD collection. Unfortunately, it has been issued in two frustrating formats. The regular edition is in a box set with "Son of Kong" and "Mighty Joe Young", where as the deluxe edition comes in this stupid tin box, just to drive the price up. I just want the standard DVD without the other two films. Grrr again!

-Mark.

Monday, November 21, 2005

In God We Trust

You know that idiot out there that wanted to get "Under God" removed from the pledge of allegiance, now wants "In God We Trust" removed from the money. All I have to say to him or anyone who doesn't like that sentence on their bills and coinage, please send it all to me, as I will be happy to dispose all of that offending currency into my bank receptacle and keep it out of circulation. I am serious! Put your "In God We Trust" into my Trust, and we will both lives happier lives.

Thanks for reading.

-Mark.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Batman Begins

Am I living on the wrong planet? Am I missing something? I just saw "Batman Begins" last night for the first time on DVD and was bored silly! Give me the Tim Burton or even the Adam West Batman anyday (and even THOSE movies are stupid).

For months, friends have been clamoring for me to see this "Batman" because it was very WELL-WRITTEN and EXCITING! I was intrigued by these comments because I usually find most Superhero-based movies (or action movies, in general) of recent vintage awful, with poor writing, poor acting, and an overabundance of computer effects. (Before you go writing me tons of hate mail, I am a fan of the two "X-Men" movies, and of the two "Spider-Man" movies among others, and felt that the Tim Burton "Batman" movies had their moments, so even though I am not a huge superhero fan, I can appreciate the genre and be entertained by them.)

Some may say that I should have seen it in the theater. Perhaps. But if you have to depend upon a movie to be in the theater to be good, there's something wrong. I saw the 2nd "Spider-Man" and "X-Men" on TV first, and I already claimed that I liked them, so phooey! The movie experience is one of imagination, so I can easily imagine that I am in a huge googolplex when I watch a DVD. I just crank up the speakers, sit close to the set, and throw a $10 bill into the toilet!

The only positive thing I can say about it is that the whole "Batman" thing was treated seriously, which is probably what true fans have always asked for, instead of just silly like in the Adam West days. It's still no "Batman Adventures" cartoon series, which is what I feel was the best representation of Batman on screen ever. And who said serious has to mean DULL?!

-Mark.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Best of the Beatles

Here is a CD I made of my favorite Beatles tunes. I'll pass it on to you if you
want to do the same:

1. She's a Woman
2. Leave My Kitten Alone
3. I'm Down
4. If I Needed Someone
5. You Won't See Me
6. Think For Yourself
7. Taxman
8. Good Day Sunshine
9. I Want to Tell You
10. Got To Get You Into My Life
11. Good Morning, Good Morning
12. A Day in the Life
13. Magical Mystery Tour
14. I Am The Walrus
15. Lady Madonna
16. Hey Bulldog
17. Back in the USSR
18. Birthday
19. Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
20. Savoy Truffle
21. I Dig a Pony
22. One After 909
23. Old Brown Shoe
24. Octopus's Garden
25. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)

-Mark.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Starbucks and Lewis Black

Lewis Black is a very funny topical comedian who rants and raves about
everything. One of his comedy albums is about "The End of the Universe" in which
he explains that the end of the universe must be in Houston, Texas, where they
have a Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks.

This overpopulation of certain franchises is not uncommon. For instance, about
40 miles away from my house in Northern California is a McDonald's next to a McDonald's.

Not only are there better fast foods than McDonald's, there are better coffee houses than Starbucks, so it's strange that there is apparently no saturation point for either chain.

-Mark.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mad Kids

"Mad Kids" #1 came out today. Does this mean that the original "Mad" was designed for adults? Hmmmm. Anyway, some of the humor is actually pretty good basically because it is more gentler than regular "Mad". Regular "Mad" has kind of veered into "National Lampoon" territory, while "Mad Kids" seems to be more like the classic "Mad" of yore (60s and 70s) where the humor was somewhat juvenile at times, but no so sophisticated that even some adults couldn't get it. It may be a hit.

Since there is no more "Cracked", I'll take anything...

-Mark.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ultimate Casper Comics Collection

The "Ultimate Casper Comics Collection" is here! The "Ultimate Casper Comics Collection" is here! After a false start availability date of September 1, 2005, I finally received the collection in the mail yesterday and it is beautiful. The original black and white artwork was scanned and newly colored, giving the stories a better look than they did when they appeared originally. The era of the reprints are from "Friendly Ghost Casper" #11 through #48 or roughly 1959-1962, which is when the transition from the "It's a g-g-g-ghost!" Casper to the Enchanted Forest and his friends Casper was complete. It's a very good collection and kudos go to Sid Jacobson for actually choosing some worthy tales instead of the same over-reprinted stories from 1972-1973. Not that those later tales are bad, it's just that they have been printed over and over and over, while these earlier tales have virtually been ignored.

Looking forward to the "Ultimate Hot Stuff" and possible "Richie Rich" collections.

-Mark.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Upcoming McCartney, Lennon and Stones Releases

Some interesting releases are on the horizon if you are a Beatles and or Stones fan. First up is "Jenny Wren", the second single from the boring "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" album. This song is one of the better ones on the album along with "Fine Line" and "English Tea". Is it worth buying, only for being a McCartney completist as the CD single will have three previously unreleased tracks: "I Want You to Fly", "This Loving Game" and "Summer of 59".

For John Lennon, there is the 37th Lennon greatest hits compilation "Working Class Hero" (out now) for those who haven't bought these same tracks at least 12 times previously and the welcome reissue of "Walls and Bridges", leaving "Some Time in New York City" as the final unremastered studio LP to be given the upgrade, but you can buy "Working Class Hero" to get the better tracks from that LP upgraded already.

The Rolling Stones surprised me by releasing "Rarities '71-'03" in the same year they have an album of new material. You would think they would have release this in an "off" year, but hey, this is better than never. Most of the tracks were CD single bonus tracks and it is nice to finally have them on one CD. "Through the Lonely Nights", the long-missing b-side from "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" and "Let it Rock" the import only b-side from "Brown Sugar" are the true not-on-CD-at-all rarities. Too bad it isn't a double as many more hard-to-find and unreleased tracks are out there.

-Mark.

Friday, November 11, 2005

War of the Worlds

Paramount updated the original 1953 George Pal "War of the Worlds" DVD by adding more bonus features. This was very welcome as the previous edition only had the original trailer as an extra. Now, there were a couple of new documentaries and a couple of commentaries, as well as the infamous Orson Welles "Mercury Theatre of the Air" radio broadcast from October 1938. What's amusing is the commentary by Anne Robinson and Gene Barry. Anne just can't stop talking and Gene seems like he sporadically speaks before nodding off for a nap. I guess this is Anne's shining hour as it will probably be the only DVD commentary she'll ever record (unless they decided to do one for the 1954 "Dragnet" movie).

-Mark.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

History of Violence

I saw a movie last night that I would highly recommend that I honestly knew nothing about called "The History of Violence". It has Ed Harris and William Hurt in it, but they are not the main characters. Unfortunately, if I say too much about it, it gives away most of the plot, but I'll just say that it is about this man who kills these killers in his diner, is hailed a hero, but may have a secret past life that he has kept from everyone including his wife. Very intriguing and very graphic.

-Mark.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ringo's Greatest Hits

This one is a little trickier. I did a George Harrison career-spanning greatest hits yesterday. Problem is, for poor old Ringo, he has had a lot of good tunes, but many people haven't heard any of them since 1974 since his career took a late 70s slump and has never fully recovered as far as new recordings go. His latest album "Choose Love" released earlier this year, came and went without a trace. Liking Ringo albums is akin to liking Yoko albums in most Beatlefan's respect. Too bad. So, to remedy this, I incorporated a lot of Ringo's best-known Beatles tunes too to round out the package. Granted, every track after #15 was a "should have been" hit. Again, this all fits nicely on an 80-minute CD.

1. Boys
2. I Wanna Be Your Man
3. Act Naturally
4. Yellow Submarine
5. With a Little Help From My Friends
6. Octopus's Garden
7. It Don't Come Easy
8. Back Off Boogaloo
9. Photograph
10. You're Sixteen
11. Oh My My
12. I'm the Greatest
13. Only You
14. No No Song
15. Goodnight Vienna
16. Private Property
17. Wrack My Brain
18. Weight of the World
19. Vertical Man
20. Christmas Dance
21. Eye to Eye
22. Instant Amnesia
23. Elizabeth Reigns
24. Don't Hang Up

-Mark.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Voting

Today is Election Day here in California. Governor Schwarzenegger created a special election to get some of his initiatives passed. Since it cost a huge amount of money to get these initiatives on the ballot in the first place, I am going to vote no on everything just on principle. I feel that this is totally irresponsible handling of funds, so regardless if each proposition promised free chocolate and comic books for life for every resident of California, I still would vote no.

-Mark.

Monday, November 07, 2005

George Harrison's Greatest Hits

Olivia Harrison (George's widow) is really missing the boat. By this time, I fully expected a career-spanning greatest hits collection for George Harrison. Especially since all of George's stuff is now on Capitol Records. Anyway, I don't know the reasoning, so if you want to give yourself a Christmas gift, download the following tracks and make your own collection. This collection fits nicely onto a single 80-minute disc:

1. My Sweet Lord
2. What is Life?
3. Bangla Desh
4. Give Me Love
5. Dark Horse
6. You
7. This Song
8. Crackerbox Palace
9. Blow Away
10. All Those Years Ago
11. Wake Up My Love
12. I Don't Want to Do it
13. Got My Mind Set on You
14. When We Was Fab
15. Handle With Care
16. Cheer Down
17. My Sweet Lord (2000)
18. Horse to the Water
19. Any Road

Friday, November 04, 2005

Disney's "Chicken Little" and Good Writing

Glenn Whipp of "New York Times News Service" had this to say about the new Disney "Chicken Little":

"Following the commercial and critical disappointments of 'Treasure Planet', 'Brother Bear' and 'Home on the Range', Disney Animation announced that it would no longer make movies in the traditional, hand-drawn way. The way of the future was computer-generated animation.

But with its first film in the new format, the shockingly mediocre 'Chicken Little', Disney has just again proved what animators have been saying all along -- it's not the format, it's the story, stupid."

Note that last statement: IT'S THE STORY, STUPID! This is true for EVERY MEDIUM, be it comic books, novels, movies, TV shows, etc. As a writer, it disappoints me highly that people are always putting out crap that may LOOK good, but isn't written well. So, if this is the case, I'd like to volunteer my services (not for free, of course) to write for Disney Animation. Using Brad Bird (writer and director for "The Incredibles") as a quality gauge, I would like to elevate the standards of quality at Disney Animation to the golden age of Disney.

I'll be standing by my e-mail awaiting your response: thft@att.net

-Mark.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Peanuts 1957-1958

I just purchased Fantagraphic Books' "Peanuts 1957-1958" and am as usual very impressed. If you haven't started reading this series, then what are you waiting for? The entire series of 25 books is supposed to take 12 1/2 years to issue and this is the fourth one.

I just want to say here that I would like to write the introduction to the upcoming "1967-1968" book which is due to come out in about four years. Hopefully, Gary Groth will get this message and invite me to do so. This is my favorite two year period of the strip with my favorite "Peanuts" strip of all time: the one that has the punchline "Never cry over sludged milk!"

-Mark.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Paul McCartney (Again!) Return to Pepperland

I've been downloading a lot of unreleased McCartney tunes lately and had a realization about them. Admittedly, a lot of unreleased McCartney was unreleased for a reason, but there are more than a handful of good tunes that exist in finished form that are as good or better than most or all of the tracks on McCartney's latest "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard".

One of these is a tune called "Return to Pepperland" which was originally recorded around 1987. I find myself humming and singing this tune to myself over and over and wondered why doesn't he release this now? McCartney is always concerned about having yet another hit album and this one would be an obvious choice.

Who cares if it was recorded almost 20 years ago? No one would no the difference if it wasn't told to them. Besides, McCartney could start playing it now in concerts and act like it was a new tune.

McCartney once toyed with the idea of releasing an album of unreleased songs called "Hot Hits and Cold Cuts", but even that was never released. Perhaps McCartney has forgotten about these recordings or more likely doesn't care. He seems to be more interested in getting down any sort of noodling on his guitar before he runs out of steam, but if the "Chaos" tunes are any indication, he might be better off reevaluating and releasing the wealth of his unreleased tunes.

Another great unreleased tune is "Cage" and still another is "Waterspout". I would pay real money for an official release, but since there isn't one, I resort to illegal downloads. So Mr. McCartney if you want more billions, how about a box set of the best of the rest???

-Mark.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Sad Sack #292

Alan Harvey (of Harvey Comics fame) has gone to great lengths to return "Sad Sack" to comic book shelves. This time he appears in an oversize edition that features a previously unpublished cover by "Sad Sack's" creator George Baker, and many previously unpublished stories by longtime "Sad Sack" artist and writer Fred Rhoads. This is especially great as both of these artists have since passed away. Hopefully, Alan will publish a little more frequently than in the past, but this is a great start! Be warned that this is in black and white, but that means you can appreciate the artwork a little better. Also, this item is currently in stock despite Amazon's claims otherwise. For more information contact Alan Harvey at www.sadsack.net or Mark Arnold at http://thft.home.att.net

-Mark.

Money

Why is it that some people are totally unethical and immoral and have tons of money to play with and seem to be rewarded for their evil deeds or at the very least rewarded for doing some mindless sport or acting, while people that try to play by the rules and be a more positive influence on the planet are usually severely underpaid? If this sounds autobiographical, of course it is.

I am not saying celebrities and sport figures and politicians and CEO-types are all unethical or immoral, but they certainly are paid quite a lot sometimes for doing very little. I know, I know, they had to pay their dues to get where they are, but so have I. I have always been severely underpaid for what I do (I have never made six figures, just FYI).

I would love to come into a few hundred thousand dollars at one fell swoop in a windfall before the end of 2005. Not because I want to hoard it, but because I can use the money to help others and pay off my outstanding debts. And, I don't want it as a loan, I want it free and clear with no obligation to anyone.

When Hurricane Katrina happened, all I could do was sit back and pray, as I had no real tangible amount to contribute. In fact, there have been times during 2005 where I had no physical money amount to my name, no savings, no coinage, as it was all going towards paying previous debts and bills which have been piling up. Of course, I could sell my possessions, but I did get a paycheck eventually, for which I am grateful.

I pray to God daily and am thankful for the blessings I do receive and know that at some point I will finally be paid what I am worth for all that I do, be it sales, video, film, cartooning, writing, art, comic books, publishing, etc.

I hope that I am not sounding like a baby as much as sounding realistic. I am not asking for a handout (however if you want to send me something with no obligation, I won't object)...just your prayers. You will be blessed, too.

-Mark.

Friday, October 28, 2005

World Series Stuff and the Jolly Green Giant

So the White Sox won. Last year the Red Sox won. Next year? Anyway, I was told that three teams have not won the World Series in like 300 years. In no particular order, they are the Chicago Cubs, the Cleveland Indians and the San Francisco Giants topping the list. It would be fun for these teams to win, just so all of these stupid baseball curses can be put in the past, especially that goat one.

In other news, completely unrelated, the Jolly Green Giant died! Well, actually his voice. Elmer "Len" Dresslar, Jr., the voice of the Jolly Green Giant, was 80 years old. Dresslar was a jazz singer in the group Singers Unlimited but became best known for vocalizing "Ho, ho, Ho" on more than four decades of TV commercials.

See you next blog...

-Mark.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bangla Desh

"The Concert for Bangla Desh" came out on a US DVD (it came out a few years ago in Brazil), as well as a remastered CD in regular and deluxe packaging. For those who don't know (or don't care?), The Concert for Bangla Desh was the first charity rock concert orchestrated by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar way back in 1971, long before Live Aid or Farm Aid, etc. The concert itself has some interesting moments, particularly the long set by Bob Dylan who apparently hadn't set foot on stage in a number of years, and a solo by Ringo who messes up the words to his own "It Don't Come Easy". Too many drugs or nerves or both. Apparently John and Paul were invited to this as well. Paul said no on principal and John wouldn't do it unless Yoko was allowed to sing too. George said no, so John said no. So much for Beatles reunions. What's really interesting now is to watch this and then watch "Concert for George" right after and see a lot of the same players a little older making great music together as kind of bookends to George's solo career.

A funny aside if you can find it, "The Concert IN Bangla Desh" is a parody done at the time, which features two comics telling bad jokes with a hindu accent. The rimshots are done with a sitar and finger cymbal. It's on National Lampoon's "Radio Dinner" which really should be released on CD.

Good stuff all around.

-Mark.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Allan Sherman

I received an e-mail from Rhino Handmade saying that they are finally releasing all of Allan Sherman's recordings onto CD. However, the six disc limited edition box set costs $120! I have been clamoring for this for years, but this is ridiculous! Oh well. I guess the demand isn't there. I would wait for a used copy, but since it is a limited edition, there probably aren't going to be any.

I'll just sit back and salivate...

-Mark.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Lee's Comics

Lee's Comics had a 25c comic book sale last Saturday. Sorry you missed it. I was asked to help out for some trade and gladly accepted since I didn't have anything particularly scheduled to do. It's amazing to me that when I was a kid comic books were worth something if published before 1970. With a few exceptions, that is still the case even though more time has passed since 1970, than the amount of time between 1938 (the arguable start date of comic books) to 1970, but books from 1970 aren't worth nearly as much as books from 1938 were worth in 1970.

It is a sign of changing times, where people are spending far more on homes, gas and utilities than on frivolous items such as comic books which hit their peak of collecting around 1993.

-Mark.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Legend of Zorro

I saw "The Legend of Zorro" last night on a sneak preview ticket. The movie itself doesn't open until October 28. The security at the theater was so tight that it was worse than going through the airport. A terrorist couldn't get into the movie!

As for the movie itself, it's pretty silly, but it is all mindless fun. A couple of friends who went with me didn't like it that much, but I said, "What were you expecting? It's Zorro!" It's like trying to get meaninful messages from Batman or Spider-Man.

Admittedly, some of the stunts didn't make logical sense, but that's not the point. It was all like a James Bond film with handsome Antonio Banderas and beautiful Catherine Zeta-Jones reprising their roles from the first film. I liked it better than the first one (with Anthony Hopkins), and as far as Zorro films go, it rivals the Tyrone Power version for action and fun.

Highly recommended.

-Mark.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite Part 2

So I went to the Mac Filmmakers meeting last night and the producer of "Napoleon Dynamite" was there talking about that and previewing his new film "Think Tank". This movie proves to be funnier than "Napoleon" judging from the preview scene that was shown. Both movies were shot on a shoestring budget (approximately $400,000). The reason why "Think Tank" was done so cheaply is that it was conceived before "Napoleon" and they started principle photography while "Napoleon" was still in the editing stages. To the general public, it looks like "Think Tank" was done with the success of "Napoleon", but that really isn't the case.

-Mark.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Evil Roy Slade

Didn't have much to write about today, so I decided to talk about "Evil Roy Slade". This made-for-TV movie was done in 1972 at a time when made-for-TV movies sometimes were as good or better than theatrical movies and before they became a "disease or disaster of the week" type affair. The movie stars John Astin of "Addams Family" fame as the cowboy that means to go straight, but can't. There are some off-color jokes compared to today's climate, and it's actually as daring in some respects as "Blazing Saddles", but doesn't have nearly the same cult following. Universal home video issued it on VHS a few years ago, but it is long out of print. You can order bootleg DVD on Ebay, but I'd rather have a commercial edition. Oh well. Come on Universal. How hard would it be to issue this on DVD. It is very funny and also stars Milton Berle, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Dom DeLuise, and many others, so it kind of plays like "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" meets Mel Brooks.

-Mark.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite

"Napoleon Dynamite" is one of those little cult films that has a huge following that somewhat escapes me. I mean, it's funny, in places, but it is overall incoherent. Just a series of vignettes. My favorite is the time machine portion. Anyway, as you can see below, the producer of the film will be on hand at the next Mac Filmmakers meeting at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA, on Wednesday. So if you can go...go!

-Mark.

Our next meeting is this Wednesday, October 19 at 7:00 pm in Apple's Town Hall. Featured speakers include:

Chris Wyatt, local filmmaker and the Producer of the recent hit "Napoleon Dynamite", along with members of his team, will present clips from and talk about their newest feature film "Think Tank", showing in theaters nationwide this Fall.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Richie Rich News

My friend Mike Curtis (of Shanda Fantasy Arts fame) informed me of this:

"Issue 1216 of COMIC BUYER'S GUIDE (Jan cover date, with Batman and Horror
Comics on the cover) has a 5 page article by John Jackson Miller entitled
EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT COMICS AND MORE I LEARNED FROM RICHIE
RICH. It's lavishly illustrated and has a new ilo by Chuck Fiala. I got my
subscription copy today."

If you want to hear more about Richie Rich, click onto the Richie Rich's Vault Yahoo! group to the left of this message.

-Mark.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Louis Nye Dies at 92

Another one bites the dust...

Veteran TV "second banana" Louis Nye, one of the regulars on Steve Allen's original The Tonight Show in the 1950's ("Hi, ho, Steverino!") died Sunday at age 92 of lung cancer, the Associated Press reported Monday. He had continued to work in television until 2002, when he appeared regularly on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. Still, the role he was always identified with was that of Gordon Hathaway on Allen's 50s' show. "He was the suave, pretentious, smug country club braggart, that, in spite of the pretentiousness, you had to like because democratic nations like America need people like that to make fun of," Robert J. Thompson, professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University, told the New York Times. "Gordon Hathaway was to Steve Allen as Frasier was to Frasier's dad. Frasier was always this guy we liked to dislike for looking down his nose at us."

-Mark.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lake Tahoe

Going to Lake Tahoe this weekend to wish my friend Dane a happy birthday. I haven't been there in about seven years so I am kind of curious if things have changed in the Tahoe area. Probably not. Dane bought a house up there about two years ago and has been inviting me over and over for quite some time, but I haven't had the time or the money or both to go up there, but it is his birthday, so I finally agreed to go. I'll post a report as soon as I get back...

-Mark.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Some Good BBC Shows You May Not Know About

With no particular reason, I am going to list some good TV shows that you may not know about that are currently airing on TV or are on DVD:

Posh Nosh - Little 10 minute cooking show parody featuring the guy that's in "Withnail and I" and "How to Get Ahead in Advertising.

My Hero - Lamebrain superhero domestic sitcom, but very funny. Stars Ardal O'Hanlon who also was in...

Father Ted - Strange comedy about a group of priests that have been sent to Craggy Island.

I'm sure there's more, but that's enough for now.

-Mark.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Downloading Music and McCartney

I am one that has no problem paying an artist his due, but what really annoys me is when an artist has no real control over his back catalog or puts out a rare track that's only available in another country.

I'll use my old buddy Paul McCartney as an example. In the old vinyl days, he'd issue an album every so often and then between times a single featuring either a brand new track on at least the "B" side and sometimes both sides of the record.

In those analog days, you would just tape a compilation on a cassette. When CD's became the rage, everyone wanted all of those elusive tracks in that same CD quality. McCartney did pretty good about capturing all of his pre-1982 tracks, but he missed a few like "I'll Give You a Ring" and "Ode to a Koala Bear". Now, granted these aren't necessarily McCartney's best known tunes, but they were originally b-sides of big hits like "Take it Away" and "Say, Say, Say".

McCartney is really sloppy about handling this so I have no problem downloading these tunes. If he put out a legal comprehensive box set of this material, I'd pay the money in a minute. So Paul, how's about it?

-Mark.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Blow Job

Blow Job
Blow Job is a comedy-drama movie we made in 2003 that depicts the lengths people might go through to get a job. This is my first video post. As we create more videos and convert others to a format compatible with a vblog you will see more.

Protecto and Mark Arnold Plug

It's time for another plug for my weekly on-line comic strip "Protecto, the Little Robot". You can access it at http://protecto.blogspot.com. I work on quite a few things and if you are reading this, you probably have at least a passing interest at what I do. You can read more about me at http://funideas.home.att.net or if you like Harvey Comics (Casper, Richie Rich), you can go to http://thft.home.att.net. If you like comic books in general, try http://rarecomics.home.att.net. Lots of stuff going on, so check it out...

-Mark.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cinderelly...I mean Cinderella is on DVD!

It only took six years but the final Disney animated feature is out on DVD. I don't know what took them so long, but I can breathe a sigh of relief that now I have all of the animated films out on a single format! When DVD's started coming out, Disney had yet to release all of their animated features to VHS. To this day, there still are a couple that were never released to VHS. I am glad to finally have them in a consistent way. When I was a child, one thing I always wanted was to own all of the Disney animated films. Of course at the time I was thinking 16mm film and not tape or disc, so now here we are...

-Mark.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Monterey

My job today took me to Monterey. Monterey, CA is a very lovely place that's nice to get away to. Sometimes it is overcast, but today it is nice and sunny. There is a nice breeze, but overall it is very pleasant and very laid back. I could spend a longer time writing this blog to talk to you about it, or I could just enjoy it, so see ya...

-Mark.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Star Wars Holiday Special

Does anyone remember this? George Lucas doesn't want you to. For those of you who don't remember, it was a holiday special that aired during Christmas 1978 and is as atrocious as you might think it is. It does have all of the main characters from "Star Wars" including Harrison Ford! But it ALSO has Harvey Korman, Bea Arthur, and the Jefferson Starship!! It is available on bootleg DVD, but Lucas would be wise to release this mess and cash in. It can't be worse than Episode 1!

-Mark.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Don Adams

Don Adams passed away. Of course, most obits talk about his years on "Get Smart", but a show that I used to like that nobody seems to remember was "The Don Adams Screen Test". It was a game show with Adams as host where people would reenact a scene from a famous movie of the past like "Gone With The Wind" or something. The reenactment would be in full costume and setting. The winner was chosen by audience poll of who did the best "acting" job. Of course, it was really the best mimicking job, but that wasn't the point. It was all in fun but it only lasted for a few months in 1975.

Also, "Tennessee Tuxedo" and "Inspector Gadget" are fondly remembered, and I also possess all of Adams' comedy albums (I believe he had five), which were actually pretty funny despite the fact that a lot of his jokes weren't exactly original. It was Adams' delivery and his voice that sold the jokes.

Another of my childhood heroes gone...

-Mark.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Who Beatles

Though this will probably never happen, I always fantasize about if Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr would join forces with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey to form an interesting and potentially viable "supergroup". I'm sure that Paul would be the least keen at this prospect, but it is fun to think about as The Beatles have lost their lead and rhythm guitarist, and The Who have lost their drummer and bassist, so they would complement each other nicely, egos aside. The likelihood of this happening right now is pretty remote, but as these guys age (and survive) into their 70s, 80s, and beyond, they may consider the possibility as an interesting novelty. Perhaps me mentioning it here might spur some interest and talk about it.

-Mark.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Rolling Stones (again!)

I know that I'm not supposed to do it, but I am burning CD's of the earliest Rolling Stones songs (roughly 1963-1967) as the songs originally appear on a hodgepodge of albums. It's really interesting that such a beloved group still has such a disorganized catalog. A decent box set boasting all unique individual tracks is what's needed, but amazingly in 2002, ABKCO rereleased remastered versions of all of their Stones albums in the exact same configurations! Only "More Hot Rocks" included a couple of extra tracks, but you still have to get a lot of repeats to get those few "new" ones.

What's a fan to do?

-Mark.

Monday, September 26, 2005

My Vlog

I will be having a vlog site soon. Actually, I have it now, but I don't want to promote it until I have a couple of my films uploaded. So stay tuned, folks...

If you don't know what a vlog is, it's basically the same as a blog but with video information.

-Mark.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The World's Greatest Athlete

I bought this DVD knowing that "The World's Greatest Athlete" wasn't one of the best of the "Dopey" Disney Comedies (For those who don't know, the "Dopey" Disney Comedies were the ones the studio made from 1959 ("Shaggy Dog") to 1984 (when Eisner took over). Admittedly there are stupider Disney comedies to come out since, but they don't have the charm and home-grown look and feel of these 59-84 ones.)

Anyway, blah blah blah, "Athlete" was issued in 1973 and is the first Disney feature to have an African-American star (John Amos) since "Song of the South"! The writing for this film is inconsistent. There are some genuine laughs, particularly from Tim Conway in his first Disney movie, and even some from announcer Howard Cosell!

As far as this DVD goes, I have had no luck finding it in US stores, so the version I received from Amazon is a Canadian copy. I don't mind as long as it works in my player, which it does. The film itself is a widescreen transfer, which is a good thing, as Disney has sometimes not released their films to DVD in this format. The print quality is excellent and there are even some extras! Although, apart from the original trailer appear to be some random cutting room outtakes that don't have synchonized sound so you don't really know what's going on, and they're not particularly funny, either.

Overall, if you are a "Dopey" Disney Comedy fan, a Tim Conway fan, or wonder where the hell John Amos went after "Roots", check this one out. Otherwise, I direct you to "The Apple Dumpling Gang" for a better time and many more extras on the DVD.

-Mark.

Friday, September 23, 2005

ZZ Top and Other "Oldies" Acts

I am planning to see ZZ Top tonight at a performance in Montalvo in Saratoga, CA. I saw ZZ Top a few years ago and discovered a really amazing thing. It seems that any music artist, no matter who they are eventually gets to that point in their career where whatever they are producing currently doesn't matter anymore. It doesn't matter if the artist puts out his best album of his career, people just like the "oldies". For example, when I saw ZZ Top before, they played a string of their well-known hits ("Legs", "Sharped-Dressed Man", "Tush", etc.) before settling in a mid-section of new songs from their then latest album "XXX". No one seemed to care about these new songs and took it as an opportunity to go for a beer run. Later, ZZ Top said, "We're going to play a few more classic tunes!" which resulted in a huge cheer from the audience. (Admittedly "XXX" wasn't one of their better albums.)

What's interesting is the total opposite happens when it comes to a comedy act. I saw George Carlin once and he did a lot of new material. He closed for the evening by doing his classic "Baseball/Football" analogy. Because many of George's fans were already familiar with this sketch, they started squirming in their seats. Had he been a music act, he would have been cheered for doing his big hits! Weird!

-Mark.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

WiFi and Mac vs. PC

I went to the Mac Filmmakers meeting (as I usually do) at Apple headquarters last night and brought my PC. After being chewed out for having a PC on Apple property, I attempted to use their WiFi in order to check my companies' e-mail access. Explorer worked and I was able to log onto the companies' website but was not able to get into their exchange server. Later in the evening, I hooked up to my dial up at home and was able to log into my companies' e-mail exchange server. Was the reason I was not able to log in have to do with WiFi or Mac or none of the above? Please let me know. I will also try the WiFi sometime soon at a coffee house to see if it is just an Mac issue and not WiFi.

-Mark.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Spam Question

Can someone please tell me if spamming EVERYONE about Cialis, Viagra, Rolex watches, anything to do with Nigeria, lotto winnings, etc. is effective marketing? I get these all the time and regularly erase them. Does anyone respond to them? Please let me know. I would think the amount of time and energy expended to send these things out could be put to better use. I guess it is cheaper than direct mail. Let me know your thoughts.

-Mark.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Moon Cakes

My dad sent me this article about Moon Cakes. As a causasian of American and European ancestry, I find the cakes somewhat heavy and flavorless, compared the more tasty desserts that have come out of Europe and the US. I don't know why Asian and Middle Eastern countries are not producers of good desserts. Is it the lack of available sugar in the region, or is it because the taste buds of those inhabitants are significantly different from mine? Whatever the case, here's the article...

-Mark.

BEIJING (Reuters) -- The people of Beijing munched through 15,000 tonnes of mooncakes -- more than 1 kg (2.2 lb) per person -- and bought one tenth of all the round cakes sold nationwide for Sunday's Mid-Autumn Festival, Xinhua news agency said Monday.

The traditional, heavy pastries, symbols of the moon and common gifts for family, friends and business associates, have become a huge business in China with elaborate, lavishly packaged sets of just a few cakes commanding sky-high prices.

Around this year's moon festival, when families get together for dinner and to observe the largest full moon of the year, mooncake sales in the Chinese capital alone hit nearly 1 billion yuan, Xinhua said.

For all their popularity, mooncakes are subjects of annual controversy over their climbing prices, the waste generated by their excessive packaging and unsavory makers grinding up the previous year's cakes for use in new batches.

Earlier this year, the central government launched a crackdown on over-the-top mooncake packages containing such lavish gifts as solid gold Buddha statues and sometimes offered as bribes to government officials.

But the controversies have not left a bad taste in China's mouth about the pastries, which come filled with salted duck egg yolk, lotus seed paste and even chocolate or ice cream.

China's 10,000 mooncake makers baked off 200,000 tonnes of mooncakes last year, Zhu Nianlin from the Chinese Association of Bakery and Confectionery Industry was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Mooncakes were served as a special treat to hungry delegates at the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear ambitions over the weekend.

The cakes symbolize the overthrow of the Mongols at the end of the Yuan dynasty in the 14th century when, according to legend, secret notes baked into sweets helped spark an uprising.

Monday, September 19, 2005

City Functions

It used to be a rarity for cities to have "Art & Wine" festivals and the like, but since they are so money generating, there are more and more events, that one cannot possibly attend them all. Example: over the weekend I went to the "Saratoga Street Dance" and "A Taste of Los Altos", two different events that were going at the same time as events in Campbell, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and probably more. I'm not knocking it (like I usually do), it's just that there just seems to be a lot more than before and that's actually probably a good thing.

-Mark.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Learning New Things

Some people are afraid of learning or trying new things. At my new job I am learning about the blueprint industry as well as digital scanning and archiving of paper and microfiche documents. The head reels at how much information I know and do not know about this, but I will master it. I'm just surprised at how much there is. Anyway, you have to change with the times. I don't mind the older formats, but in technology, you have to embrace new things. Same thing with your job, or otherwise you become obsolete. I think that is a contributor to Alzheimer's and other diseases of the brain. So keep excercising your brain as much as your other parts of your body.

-Mark.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ultimate Casper Book

Has anyone seen the "Ultimate Casper" book that was supposed to come out on September 1? Amazon originally listed that as the on sale date and now has removed that reference with no update. If you know anything, please e-mail me.

-Mark.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

More Paul McCartney

I don't know if fans of other artists have this problem, but I hate it that Paul McCartney always puts out scattered bonus tracks. His new album has 13 tracks on it. There are at least 3 other elusive tracks that could have just been placed on the CD. Two of them are from the "Fine Line" CD single, and there's a third that's only available as a bonus track on the Japanese version of the album. Everything has big FBI labels plastered all over them to not do illegal downloads, but what's a poor boy to do? In the days before Napster, I used to buy the US album, then the UK album and then the Japanese album and assorted singles just to get everything. And sometimes things were hard to come by. Now with downloading and Ebay one can get everything. Sorry Paul I have to download. You don't deserve me to pay $100 or more just so I can get all the configurations. I bought the basic album (with the CD) for $17.99 and that's it. I'm downloading the rest for free. If Paul wants to come after me for this, I would tell him that those three elusive tracks could have been placed on the same album on either the CD or the DVD disc.

Another thing, the entire album and video material could have just been made into a DVD. Why make CDs anymore? Gripe, gripe, gripe. Paul should be glad I didn't download the entire album for free. The billionaire wouldn't miss my money and he has plenty of money from me in the past.

-Mark.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Casper's Spookiest Tales DVD

Here's the list of cartoons on "Casper's Spookiest Tales" DVD. Turns out there's two repeats, but otherwise this is an essential fourth disc for anyone trying to collect all of the theatrical and "New Casper Cartoon Show" Casper cartoons:

1. A Visit From Mars
2. The Absent Minded Robot
3. Bedtime Trouble
4. Boos and Saddles (also on "By the Old Mill Scream" DVD)
5. Doing What's Fright (also on "Peek a Boo" DVD)
6. The Enchanted Horse
7. Little Lost Ghost
8. Small Spooks
9. Super Spooks
10. True Boo
11. Twin Trouble
12. Zero the Hero
13. Growing Up

-Mark.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Paul McCartney

I was writing about The Rolling Stones the other day, but another geezer rock artist is releasing a new album (Eric Clapton has too, but I don't know his output as well) and that's Paul McCartney. McCartney hasn't put out a new album in four years and he hasn't put out a good album since "Flaming Pie" in 1998. For Paul, any old noodling on his guitar seems to be ok to release. He's gotten to be more like Frank Zappa in recent years considering his eclectic output of traditional rock and roll, classical and techno music among others. Paul finally got a producer for his new album called "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" that has basically told Paul that his material sucks. I hope that this pays off. If not, at least Paulie has a lot of older, better material to rely on (witness his Superbowl performance) and at least he's still alive to hopefully surprise us again. I'll update you with my opinion when I get his CD.

-Mark.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

4 Years Ago

Like it or not, the events that happened four years ago have their direct or indirect repercussions today. The fact that we are STILL at war and the fact that we handled the recent hurricane so badly is a direct result of the stupidity of our government's misguided reactions to the terrorists attacks. Oh, for us to have only gone a different course, Osama would have been captured, airline security would be tighter, Saddam may or may not be in power, but we wouldn't be handling an Iraqi civil war while our own country is being destroyed by natural disasters, and it is entirely possible that both Iraq and Afghanistan would be more powerful countries in a good way, instead of an even greater security threat than they were before. And we wouldn't have more bureaucracy of "homeland security" by a government who claims to be downsizing big government.

-Mark.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

More About The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones really need to do an "Anthology" type video and audio collection similar to what The Beatles did in the last few years. I guess they feel that they are a "current" act, which they are, and that releasing even more material about their past would label them as an "oldies" act, which they are that, too! Personally, I don't think the Stones have anything to worry about and they should release both old and new material concurrently. I guess it's all the Abkco connection that keeps them from doing anything more. Who knows?

-Mark.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Sick Magazine

I had someone recently order my duplicate copies of the old "Sick" magazine. I'm surprised anyone remembers this. It was a "Mad" like humor magazine started by Joe Simon in 1960 and ran through 1980. During the 60s, it was quite well done, but during the 70s and especially after 1976, "Sick" took a total nosedive. This is primarily due to Charlton purchasing it, who has got to be one of the worst comic book publishing companies ever. It doesn't even exist anymore, but then neither does "Sick". "Sick" is the third longest surviving black and white humor magazine, behind "Mad" and "Cracked" and slightly ahead of "Crazy". Anyone else was never in the same league.

-Mark.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hooray! A New Rolling Stones Album!

A Bigger Bang is The Rolling Stones 45th official American LP!

The Rolling Stones
12X5
The Rolling Stones, Now!
Out of Our Heads
December's Children (and Everybody's)
Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)
Aftermath
Got Live if you Want it!
Between the Buttons
Flowers
Their Satanic Majesties Request
Beggars Banquet
Let it Bleed
Through the Past Darkly (Big Hits Volume 2)
Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out
Sticky Fingers
Hot Rocks 1964-1971
Exile on Main Street
More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies)
Goats Head Soup
It's Only Rock n' Roll
Made in the Shade
Metamorphosis
Black and Blue
Love You Live
Some Girls
Emotional Rescue
Sucking in the 70s
Tattoo You
Still Life American Tour 1981
Undercover
Rewind 1971-1984
Dirty Work
Steel Wheels
Singles Collection
Flashpoint
Jump Back 1971-1993
Voodoo Lounge
Stripped
Rock n' Roll Circus
Bridges to Babylon
No Security
Forty Licks
Live Licks
A Bigger Bang

-Mark.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Are you Prepared?

A lot of coverage lately related to the hurricane asks: "Are you prepared for the next disaster?" Well, if I don't have to rely on others for assistance, sure I'm prepared, but after this recent debacle, I don't know how ready I am. I would be ready if I wasn't trapped and needed to be airlifted out of the house. And, just because you're ready at home doesn't necessarily mean you will be at home when disaster strikes. The best plan of attack is to always be prepared that you could die at any time and be prepared for any type of emergency, no matter how bizarre.

-Mark.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Gas Prices

I sent out an e-mail about buying merchandise off of my websites instead of going to the store because gas has gone up to $3.00 a gallon in the US. Of course, I didn't realize that I send e-mails worldwide so that a UK recipient said that he pays roughly $8.30 a gallon there.

What do other people pay? Let me know.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Mac Filmmakers

About once a month, I attend a Mac Filmmakers Meeting at Apple in
Cupertino. Kevin Johnson puts them on and there is no admission charge and
also free food (usually pizza). The latest one was on Wednesday, August 17
at 6:30pm. They are usually on a Wednesday and at 6:30pm at the Apple Town
Hall theatre.

You can contact me if you want to know more about when the next one will
be, or log onto www.macfilmmakers.com/meetings.html

-Mark.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Blogged Down

Starting a new job is always stressful and time consuming. As a result, I haven't had the time or the energy to write a new blog in a while. Well, here's my first one for a bit. Nothing to write about because I can't think of anything except that terrible New Orleans tragedy. I hope that the government gets their act together. What a novel idea it would be if we pulled comepletely out of Iraq and focused entirely on domestic issues for a bit.

-Mark.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Dennis the Menace and Disney

Fantagraphics has issued volume one of "The Complete Dennis the Menace", a great companion series to complement "The Complete Peanuts". I will be buying these volumes as they are issued.

Also, the fifth wave of Disney Treasures DVD's are due to be issued on December 6. A couple of them ("Spin and Marty" and "Elfego Baca/Swamp Fox") aren't necessarily in high demand for my tastes. But the other two ("Donald Duck, volume 2" and "Disney Rarities") are. The "Rarities" issues many of those one-shot cartoons that Disney produced over the years that really have no place elsewhere, like "Ferdinand the Bull" and "Ben and Me", etc. I hope there's a volume 2 someday as they still left a few out.

I am anticipating "Donald Duck, volume 2" also, but there are quite a bit of repeats from the "Disney War Years" collection. I guess that's to be expected. I can't wait for volumes 3 and 4.

"Spin and Marty" has always bored me. Maybe, because I haven't seen it in 20 years, it might seem better. And I've never seen "Elfego Baca" or "Swamp Fox", but I'll give them a chance. I would rather see "Zorro" issued, but time will tell.

Always highly recommended.

-Mark.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I Quit My Job!

For security reasons I won't reveal where I was working, but I will say it was a local newspaper and the management style and everything else left a lot to be desired, so much so that it affected my abilities to sell effectively. If you e-mail me at thft@att.net, I'll let you know where I was working and what happened. It's a relief to finally be starting a new job in a week.

-Mark.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

HAYWARD COMIC CON October 1st

I just received this notification from Steve Wyatt about his next Hayward Comic Con. I will be attending (probably wearing my "Harveyville Fun Times!/Mark's Rare Comics" shirt. So stop me and say, "Hi!"

Information below...

-Mark.

Hey Everyone

Hayward-Con is ON! October 1st, 2005, at Centennial Hall in Hayward, CA

Come join our special guests:

MARSHALL ROGERS
ALEX SUVIAK
DAN BRERETON,
TONY DeZUNIGA
NATE WATSON and
TIM VIGIL
(Receive a special print done for Hayward-con by Tim for the 1st 200 people thru the door) AND MORE!

Join us at the show for Hourly Door Prizes, Lots of great Comics and Toys and Much MORE!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Pixar Death

My dad sent me this obit...

In a blow to Pixar Animation, whose success has been attributed to its story-telling skill as much as its computer creativity, Joe Ranft, head of Pixar's story department, was killed in an auto accident on Tuesday. The driver of the car also died when it plunged off Highway 1 in Mendocino County into the ocean. A third man escaped through the car's sun roof. Before joining Pixar, Ranft, 45, worked at Disney, co-writing
Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

-Mark.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Free Video Storage

I probably shouldn't say it here, so you would have to ask me if you want more information. I went to the monthly Mac Filmmakers Meeting at Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, CA, and they had a guy who mentioned where you can do storage of videos for FREE on the Internet. This may not last long, but for now the Internet is still expanding, so anything's possible and the sky's the limit.

E-mail me at thft@att.net if you are interested to learn more.

-Mark.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Horoscopes

I get my horoscope e-mailed to me daily. Here's mine for today: "You could feel overextended today, MARK. You always want to help everybody. This puts pressure on you when there is a deadline coming up. Everyone runs to you with their problems! Today you should try to empower people to come up with their own solutions. Tell people that you will help them if they get completely stuck, but that they need to take more initiative right now. They can build more self-esteem by handling things on their own." Now tell me the truth, could this honestly apply to anyone reading this right now. I take horoscopes with a grain of salt. I do have my own superstitions, but can anyone honestly live their life completely by what a horoscope says? Any thoughts?

-Mark.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Gas

I'm not as worried about the gas prices going up as much as the residual effects it will have about everything else going up. Since virtually every business is dependent on gasoline in some way, be it the trucks they use or their own personal transportation, the prices of everything will have to go up to justify this mess. It's kind of like when real estate prices started going way out of whack here in California. It's made the prices of food in restaurants go sky high as what you are now paying for is not only the food, but the rent. Now you will have to pay for the gas to get your food to the restaurant, so a burger will be soon $20. Sucks. I'm staying home.

-Mark.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

TV Shows on DVD

I'm really enjoying the many TV shows that they are now putting on DVD. Complete seasons of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", "All in the Family" and "Green Acres" can be had for only $20-40 each. That's a great deal for over 10 hours of programming on each. And, the writing on some of these classic shows is better than anything you could see on TV today. I hope that this will cause a renaissance in good TV writing again (probably won't), and I hope that it will help the powers-that-be to dig further into their vaults and release some really weird stuff ("My Mother the Car", anyone?)

Anyway, there are still a lot of good shows that have yet to see a DVD release at this time. I hope that this changes soon. Examples being "I Dream of Jeannie", "Maude", "Get Smart", "Batman", etc. Well, we'll see. Stranger things have happened.

-Mark.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mark Schultz

I just went to a signing on Saturday with Mark Schultz at Lee's Comics in Mountain View, CA. For those unfamiliar with Schultz's work, he is the creator, writer and artist behind "Xenozoic Tales" and his style closely resembles Wally Wood at his prime. "Xenozoic" was on TV as "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs" about a decade ago. I am hoping to put up a couple of pictures in the next couple of days.

Also, Peter Jennings R.I.P.

-Mark.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Mary Tyler Moore

I'm really happy with my purchase of season two of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". Strangely enough, I had never seen these episodes before. I started watching "MTM" around the 5th season and never went back to these older episodes much as they always looked so washed out. Well, that's been corrected and they finally look brand new once again just like I remembered them looking. I encourage you to purchase (unless you hate the show) as it's better written than anything currently on TV today (except maybe "The Simpsons"). Comedy writers should watch this and learn. This is also a bargain at around $20 unlike season one which had a much higher list price (that has since come down.) Let's hope that they release all seven seasons.

-Mark.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Harveyville Fun Times! #60

"The Harveyville Fun Times!" #60 is printed and ready to mail. This issue is slightly late because I was sick for most of July and I am currently having a money crunch. Printing it was even difficult monetary-wise. But it is ready to go and has a lengthy interview with Mike Kazaleh ("Ren and Stimpy" comic book) and a look at 1990 by Chris Barat and a tribute to many fallen cartoon creators by Joe Torcivia. You can subscribe by logging on to http://thft.home.att.net.

-Mark.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Mad Magazine

Whatever happened to the self-depracating "Mad" magazine that I knew and loved? When "Mad" decided to reprint their material in the past, it came out under names such as "The Worst From Mad", "More Trash From Mad", "A Golden Trashery of Mad", etc. Later, they cancelled all of these editions and replaced it with the "Mad Special" (or "Mad Super Special" if you prefer). Even more recently they cancelled that title and replaced it with "Mad XL" (a horrible title) and "Mad Color Classics". Now, they have cancelled those and replaced them with "Mad Classics". Bland and boring! Whatever happened to "Mad's" edge? Someone once said that "Mad" was good up until the issue that came out before you started reading it. I believe it! I first read "Mad" with #172 in January 1975 right after "Mad" had just hit its peak circulation with #161. It's been all downhill ever since. Sad.

-Mark.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sad Sack

Alan Harvey has informed that there will be a new issue of Sad Sack coming out. It is issue #292. This is the first issue in a number of years. You should check out www.sadsack.net for more details on this and other Sad Sack information. Tell him you read about it in Mark Arnold's blog.

-Mark.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Selling

Selling is the only job I know of that you can get away without paying someone. The exception would be an internship, but since that's training, it is sort of excusable. I feel that everyone should get paid for every job that they do regardless of what it is. With sales, they usually say commission only figuring the incentive is enough to get you to do the job. What they don't realize is that it takes money to GET to a job, not just do it. And selling isn't magic. If I could sell every time I walked into a place or telephoned someone, I wouldn't need to work as I would have so much money I could retire. So for all organizations who utilize sales people, pay them a decent wage like everyone else. If they don't perform that's one thing, but don't penalize them for effort.

-Mark.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

James Doohan

Well Scotty has died and so has "Bones" and Sarek (Spock's father) and of course, Gene Roddenberry. I met everyone of them during the 80s when all of those Star Trek feature films were being made. It was fun waiting for the next one, mainly because the Trek films had what the later Star Wars films didn't, and that was heart. Whereas the Star Wars films became very sterile, the Star Trek ones always had the human element, even when the film sucked, like "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier".

Yes, I stood in line and saw all 10 Star Trek films and kind of bemoan the fact that there are no plans to make any more in the foreseeable future. I am also saddened that as the original cast continues to pass away, there are no further opportunities for appearances by them in the future.

A lot of heroes from my childhood have died in the last couple of months. It's really sad. Life goes on. Time for new heroes...and I still hold candles to the old.

-Mark.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Harry Potter

Can someone please tell me why the need to secure a copy of any new "Harry Potter" book at the stroke of midnight? I mean, how many of these people will read this thing as soon as they get home? Would it matter if you bought it in the morning so that you could have all day to read it? Let me know the secret so I can publish something that people will stand in line for at midnight to buy!

-Mark.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Protecto

A lot of you have been clamoring for more Protecto! Well, when I get well I'll give you not one, but TWO new strips at the end of this week to bring things back up to date. I'm also working on "The Harveyville Fun Times!" #60, and finishing my latest set of comic book reviews for Comicbase. Being sick is a pain in the butt. I procrastinate a lot anyway, but this just makes it worse. Forcing yourself to do something when your sick is far worse than forcing yourself to do something when you're well...

-Mark.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

San Diego Comic Convention

The San Diego Comic Convention (a.k.a. Comic Con International) is being held at the usual place in San Diego again this Thursday-Sunday. Although I would love to go, my recent illness and short finances have prevented me from seriously considering it. I hope everyone else has fun. It has really gotten huge over the last few years. It almost seems like they should split it up or run it longer or something. Who knows? Anyway, if you have anything to report about it, please let me know.

-Mark.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Being Sick

Being sick is a drag, especially because your mind thinks it can achieve all the things that you physically cannot do, and when you can't, you get upset and feel useless. At least I do. I'm managing today and kind of forcing myself to do this blog, but it is hard. I just want to go home and sleep. I had a minor bout of food poisoning last night. Although I didn't throw up, I came very close to it, and feel extremely drained today. I should feel better tomorrow, but I had all of these plans for Friday, that now I have to postpone until Saturday or later. What a drag!

Anyway, when I feel better, I'll do another blog...

-Mark.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Frustration

I hate being frustrated, because it deters progress. I am trying to stay in a positive mood, but many factors of my day-to-day career life outside of my creative pursuits are really getting to me today. I know this happens to most people. I have many things to be thankful for and I feel really blessed; I just feel that I am not living up to my full potential. I'd like some of the more creative pursuits to really take off financially and fame-wise (is that a word?). I know that I have the skills and drive necessary to succeed greater than most other people and will not give up, but sometimes the setbacks get to me. I subscribe to the adage: "With every delay, there's a blessing on the way".

Don't give up on your dreams...I'm not...

-Mark.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

ABC of Hand Tools Story Coming Soon...

This weekend I am working on a story for "Hogan's Alley" called "The ABC of Hand Tools". This was a Disney film made for General Motors back in 1946. I don't want to give you too many details as I want you to read it when it comes out, but just to let you know that it is a very interesting story featuring a very rare Disney character named Primitive Pete.

If you haven't read "Hogan's Alley", what are you waiting for?

-Mark.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Disneyland 50th Photos

Ok let's talk about something lighter. In about 2 weeks (July 17 to be exact) Disneyland will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Supposedly, Fess Parker and Art Linkletter (among others) will attend. If anyone reading this is attending, please let me know and send me photos as I would like to upload them here. Send to: thft@att.net

-Mark.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

FW: 6,200 Unreported Military Deaths in Iraq

More stuff sent to me on Iraq...

-Mark.

VA Faces $2.6 Billion Shortfall in Medical Care - The Bush administration
disclosed yesterday that it had vastly underestimated the number of service
personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking medical treatment.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/28/AR2005062800545.html

US suspected of keeping secret prisoners on warships: UN official
The UN has learned of "very, very serious" allegations that the United
States is secretly detaining terrorism suspects in various locations around
the world, notably aboard prison ships, the UN's special rapporteur on
terrorism said
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/unrightsusattacks

6,200 Unreported Military Deaths in Iraq
U.S. Military Personnel who died in German hospitals or en route to German
hospitals have not previously been counted. They total about 6,210 as of
January, 2005. The ongoing, underreporting of the dead in Iraq, is not
accurate. The DoD is deliberately reducing the figures. A review of many
foreign news sites show that actual deaths are far higher than the newly
reduced ones. Iraqi civilian casualties are never reported but International
Red Cross, Red Crescent and UN figures indicate that as of 1 January 2005,
the numbers are just under 100,000.
http://www.tbrnews.org/Archives/a1669.htm

Republican candidate calls Bush Admin 'Nazis,' quits party
http://www.lincolntribune.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1452

2005 is already the deadliest year in Afghanistan (just one more "Mission
Accomplished")
http://icasualties.org/oef/

Remember the Taliban? They're Back!
http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2005
-06-22T150206Z_01_SPI241661_RTRUKOC_0_AFGHAN.xml

Bogus analysis led to terror alert in Dec. 2003
CIA experts saw a secret code on Al-Jazeera that wasn't there
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8380365

The War President
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/opinion/24krugman.html?

U.S. Plans Expansion of Crowded Iraq Prisons
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-abughraib26jun26,0,5822774,full.story

War is Very Ugly - picture from Iraq
http://poetry.rotten.com/failed-mission/

Bush's Stunning, Surprising, Full-of-News Speech on Iraq 06.28.2005 David Corn
Hey, how about that Bush speech on Iraq? Lots of new stuff. I was stunned
when he told us he thought Cheney was "off his rocker" (was that an age-ist
crack?) for saying that insurgency was in its "last throes." And that bit
about Rumsfeld and the Pentagon exaggerating--he didn't even say
"overexaggerate"--the numbers of Iraqi troops that have been trained and
equipped--damn powerful. He cautioned that Iraq might devolve into sectarian
violence and that there "ain't much we can do about that." He said he would
be happy to sit down with those Democrats and Republicans who have asked to
set a timetable for withdrawal and hear them out. "It's not as if Condi has
any new bright ideas," he remarked. He said he was going to impose a tax
hike on the rich to pay for "all the armor our troops in Iraq need." He also
announced that his daughters, with his encouragement, were enlisting in the
Army and volunteering for duty in Iraq. "They're not asking for any special
treatment," he said. "Laura and I are so proud of them." He asked all other
members of Congress who supported the war to encourage their children to
sign up. "We've got to do something about this recruitment crisis," he
explained. Bush then said he was sorry he had misled the world about "those
WMDs" and "also that business about Saddam being in cahoots with al Qaeda."
Quoting Billy Graham, he asked for forgiveness and for other countries to
pitch in and help make Iraq "the best it can be." To demonstrate he was
sincere, he announced he had suspended all contracts with Halliburton.
"Sorry, Dick," he quipped. Bush then removed his suit jacket and revealed a
medical device that he wears on his back. "Just thought you should know," he
said.
Not. For a more reality-based look at Bush's no-news speech, click here.
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=4059

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What? No death? Yes.

Nobody famous that I know has died today. That doesn't mean there are a ton more casualties out there in reference to this ridiculous Iraq War we're in that has NOTHING to do with the events of 9-11. And, even if it did, 9-11 caused the death of some 3000 individuals. Surely, we have avenged ourselves mightily by killing over 1700 of our own soldiers and 100,000 arabs since that time.

I voted for Bush in 2000, voted for Kerry in 2004, and will vote for anything not Republican (despite still being a registered Republican) in 2008. Bush has a totally cockeyed view of his Vietnam, and why people haven't gotten up in arms yet about it is that stupid 9-11 fear. See what happens in 2008 when the casualties will be topping 3000 or more...

Normally, I don't get this political but the red states should be ashamed for believing Bush, ever. I tried in 2000, but never again. It's enough to make me change political parties, except that I still believe in the Republican values. I just wish Bush did.

-Mark.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Big Boy

I don't know if you remember Bob's Big Boy. They had a long history starting in Glendale, CA in the 50s and by the late 80s had fallen on hard times. Apparently, they didn't go comepletely away as I recently got issue #513 of "The Adventures of the Big Boy". Also, I purchased some choice issues from the late 60s and early 70s and realized that I have about 125 issues of the series, most of them numbering between #135 and #310. The earliest issue I have is #60, in a copy that must be an east coast variant as Big Boy is wearing a cap and there are numerous references to Frisch's restaurant. Not much more to talk about but it is just fun to know that Big Boy is still there publishing away. Where other comics go by the wayside, Big Boy is one of the few that has survived past the 500 mark despite the odds. Only a handful of comic books can make that claim.

-Mark.