Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Quicker than the Human Eye

I'm amazing! I'm astounding! I'm modest! Go on over to YouTube & check out my Magic Trick!


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Egotistical 2.0

Well, it's finally been done, my yearly updating of my homepage, Egotistical Productions. Most noticeably I've removed the frames, extended the gallery and the movies (with links to Youtube and Blogger) and updated the pictures of the kiddies. I've also added a page for False Idols! Check it out & let me know what you think.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Danger: Insomniac Blogging

I woke from a strange dream, which featured two people I haven't thought about in 15 years, nor were I ever that close to. I was in a corridor, and I moved pylons around, but had to wait for people to go by before I could go on myself. I know it sounds vague, but that's the way dreams are. Maybe my s.c. is telling me I'm too subservient.

I got up to make a neural noise mp3 for myself. Nothing major, just a 7.5 brainwave. It will drown out the wife's snoring and the kids' breathing. This apartment is too goddamn loud. And humid. I should just sleep on the couch, but it's lonely & uncomfortable. Unfortunately, so are my headphones, despite their high fidelity. So it goes.

Why are our brains so disjoined from our hearts? Why is it so easy to know something in our minds but not really understand it? Why can I be almost obsessed with a topic one day and completely disinterested the next? Does anyone know anything about anything? I keep searching for the truth behind the truth, which I suppose makes me an occultist in a way. Is this right, or is it just a distraction from living?

I had another dream where I deliberately left Mandy-Pandy on a subway by herself, thinking she'd get where she needed to go. A few hours later I realized this probably wasn't a good idea and started calling the MTA and the police, asking if anyone had reported a two-year-old alone on a train. After panicking, I woke up. I know there's an obvious lesson that she needs guidance, but hell, she's only two! Shouldn't I be having these dreams about my eight year old son? Or how about dreams where I do the right thing, for a change?

Or maybe I should just go back to bed.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Gimme a C! Gimmie an A! Gimmie a K!...

Don't think of it as an insipid IF word, think of it as a challenge to be creative.

Just for shits & giggles, I've been perusing blogs of the left and right wings. Though I freely admit that I lean towards the conservative side, I've always wished that I had a laser-narrow zealous fervor for one political flavor or the other. I'm sure I'd get much more hits that way. I guess I can just see too many perspectives or points of view at once. So many times people (on both wings) ask me, "just whose side are you on anyway??!" Why do people think there's something wrong with you if you don't choose a "side" in a pointless argument?

But not only do we want other people to be on our side, we want so badly to be on someone's side! We want to feel at home, we want to be amongst friends. We have this bizarre culture that celebrates originality- as long as it's not TOO original, demands freedom- but damns all those who fight for it, and praises individuality- as long as everyone's being an individual in exactly the same way.

I think that we're all just too lonely. That's why we have all these gadgets to communicate 24/7 and can't just get enough of chat rooms, blogs, IMs, TV, and every other bit of media. We're just starving for something to fill our loneliness, and we can't ever get enough.

Let me know what you think. I'm lonely.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Illustration Thursday

I checked on Illustration Friday about ten times this morning, to see what the new word of the week was. Finally, my sister Elena was kind enough to inform me that it's THURSDAY.

I need more sleep.

Not that I'm trying to invite criticism or controversy, (though I wouldn't run from them either,) but I was a bit surprised that no one took umbrage that my last IF post (scroll down) lampooned suicide. I've decided that if I ever killed myself, I would use this picture as a note. But I wouldn't hang myself. I would find a much much more interesting way to go. Not that I have any plans to do so, of course, but I just would never do it in a way so... plebian.

I knew a guy named Steve Ledzian in High School. As our last names are so close together, we had been lab partners since eighth grade. By Junior year, we were trying to think of ways to kill each other to prevent it happening again. He decided that when he did me, he was going to crazy-glue my nostrils shut, and inject a can's worth of whipped cream down my lungs. Before I'd ever consider doing myself in, I'd have to come up with something on par with that, just out of principle.

Of course, not being suicidal, I've decided that when I DO die, I'm going to go like Slim Pickens in Doctor Strangelove: riding a nuclear bomb down to ground zero, waving my cowboy hat and shouting "WA-HOOOOO!" It's all about presentation.


Friday, May 19, 2006

I'm Sorry... So Sorry...

At some point when you grow up, you realize that being sorry all the time is not a virtue.

I had a friend in high school- Mora Glynn- who used to say that instead of telling someone that you're sorry, you should ask for their forgiveness.

Someone should apologize for filling up the airwaves with nothing but "Law & Order" & "CSI."

I suppose somewhere there's a Tony's Girlfriends' Survivors' group, to which I would say that I'm sorry I dumped all my problems on them and expected them to make things better.

I'm sorry that this is so disjointed, but I'm high on cough syrup right now.

I suppose I could spend a year or two apologizing to myself for all the things I haven't done right.

I wish George Lucas would say he's sorry for Jar-Jar Binks.

Most of all, I'm sorry for all the times I didn't IF link to static pages ;)


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Angels & Devils (not to be confused with Angels & Demons. That's copyrighted.)

Here we are, Illustration Friday. Due to the new rules, we all have to post static pages. Therefore, you're stuck getting prose with this one, because if it wasn't for IF no one would look at this damn thing. So here is an Angel and a Devil. You choose which is which.

Poor Joe made the mistake the other day of asking me what Cinco de Mayo was. Like any good father, I explained that once upon a time, a ship set sail from Spain carrying a thousand jars of mayonnaise. There was a terrible storm, and the craft and all aboard were lost at sea. And to this day, the Spanish mourn "De Sinko De Mayo." After relating this story to his teachers (it turns out he was supposed to find out what it meant as part of his homework,) poor Joe came home with a big angry frown on his face, and said, "My teacher says you tell me JOKES, daddy!"

I've been reading about NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programing) and I came across something called "The Circle of Excellence." It's a confidence building exercise, in which you create an imaginary circle in front of yourself. You project what you want to be (behaviors, attitudes, etc.) into the circle. Step inside, and, sort of like method acting, take those attributes upon yourself. Another application I read is for people to use this exercise to take on the attributes of someone you want to be like. (An example in the book was that a father taught his son to imagine he was The Governator to build up his self-image so he wouldn't be afraid of bullies.) So, when you comment, tell me- who would you put in the circle? Who do you want to be? My personal choice would be the original Master (the great late Roger Delgado- not Eric Roberts.) I've always been into shrinking people and world domination.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Who are the People in Your Neighborhood?

As the doctor says it will be a month before I can go back to work, I've been trying to walk a little bit every day. Things I've noticed in my neighborhood (besides the usual delis, Laundromats, supermarkets, apartment buildings, and all the other things you'd expect to find in Queens) are:

1) A Bollywood theatre (Anyone want to see 36 Chinatown?)
2) A hospital with the 4' high 10' long EMERGENCY sign upside-down,
3) A Catholic church with an actual granite tombstone out front… with a fetus engraved on it.

You never know what you might find if you go looking. Anyone else find anything interesting in their own neck of the woods?


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Fat II, Son of Blubber

For your viewing pleasure, here's a short film I made years ago on the subject of fatness, Herman Takes a Dive. To see more stupendous animations like this, click HERE.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

"Because I'm Fat, I'm Fat, Come On..."

This week's Illustration Friday word is FAT, so I chose my two fave fatties.

Speaking of Jabba, Lucas is, "for a limited time" (the 3 months from September to December) releasing the original versions of the Star Wars movies on DVD. Yes, you can finally see Star Wars without Greedo shooting first, the Empire Strikes back without the new Darth Vader / Emperor dialog (which was changed horribly so it would coincide with the prequels) and Return of the Jedi without the abysmal inserting of Hayden Christian's ghost in place of Sebastian Shaw's. (This was changed on the DVD to fit in more with Lucas's light switch morality: He WAS Vader, NOW he's Anakin again.)

I'm calling in all the bets I made when the special-weshial edition DVDs came out, and Lucas swore on a stack of Ewoks that he would never ever put the originals out. I, and anyone else who understands the way DVDs are released, knew that as soon as it was economically feasible (as soon as all the Star Wars fans bought all the $60 box sets of the specail editions) that he would release the originals. What's more, they're ONLY being released for 3 months leading up to Christmas. (I guess someone's been paying attention to Disney's marketing schemes.) So save up your money and put more cash in George Lucas's pocket this Christmas- we all know he needs it. How greedy can you get?


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Because Keeping a Blog Topical Gets Me More Hits

For those of you offended by Stephen Colbert's Bush-bashing routine this past weekend… um… what did you expect? It's like when some idiot asked Rosanne Barr to sing the National Anthem at a Major League baseball game back in 1990. Maybe next time they'll invite Al Franken.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

How Can I Put This...

Did anyone else who grew up in the 70s ever realize that Josie & the Pussycats' space ship looked like a giant… um… personal massager?


Say Hello, Cookie. "Hello, Cookie!"

Uncle Dave (a friend of my father's) used to tell a joke about a guy who opened a fortune cookie to find the message, "Help, help, I'm a prisoner in a cookie factory!" After re-reading an old sci-fi story entitled The Misfortune Cookie by Charles E. Fritch, I got to wondering: has anyone ever received a REAL fortune in a fortune cookie? Not a printed-in-red bland and inoffensive, "The road to happiness is paved with wontons of perseverance," or some meaningless dribble like that- but a real fortune, like "You will win big in honorable Super-Bowl pool," or "This food will give you diarrhea in an hour." Maybe you have to go to China to get the real thing.


PS. A free kiss on the nose to whoever can tell me what cartoon this entry's title is from.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ranting, Ranting, & More Ranting

So much to kvetch about, so little time.

Let's narrow it down to the protest in Manhattan on Saturday against the war. Ok, it's everyone's right to protest, but IT DOESN"T DO ANYTHING EXCEPT PUT OUR SOLDIERS' LIVES IN DANGER.

Now, whoever's left after thinking to themselves "Oh God, he's one of THOSE right wing nuts," please read on and you might understand.

Yes, everyone wants peace- especially the soldiers who are over in Iraq. Many of the protestors have family in the military, or are the family of the wounded or killed, and I am sure that their intentions are to bring our troops home safely. But do you really think that President Bush & Co. are going to say "Oh no, another protest- let's pull out now!" All that is going to happen is these marches are going to show up on Aljazeera. Chalk another one up for the terrorist propaganda machine, provided for free by the citizens of the United States.

"Good, good that the people of Iraq see that we're not all war-like-"

No, BAD that they see that the U.S. is not behind its troops. (Ok, if you haven't clicked that little x in the upper right hand corner, I'm proud of you. Keep reading.) This whole mess started back in the 80s, when the Regan administration supported Saddam Hussein against Iran in the chess game of the Cold War. When Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990, President Bush (Sr.) sent our troops over to stop him. While the right thing to do, this sent the unfortunate message through the Middle East: "Don't trust the U.S. They'll be your friends one minute, then attack you the next."

But Saddam was clearly in the wrong, and many Middle Easterners (and Americans) believed that we would invade Iraq and take Saddam out of power. Many cheered us. When we pulled out after Saddam left Kuwait, those who cheered were the first to be executed. Again, the message was reinforced: Don't trust the U.S.!

This attitude of mistrust- which is our own fault- is the true enemy we're facing in Iraq. Many countries in the Middle East and citizens of Iraq are afraid to help us, because they don't trust us. They don't trust us to stay and finish the job. And they know that if we leave before the nation is stabilized, then all those who stood up to be free, all those who helped to rebuild their country, those who proudly held their purple stained thumbs up because they were able to vote for the first time, will be put to the sword. Much of the terrorist action in Iraq is NOT aimed at our troops- it's aimed at the Iraqi's who help us- those who join the police, those who are trying to rebuild the country, those who want to have a better life. This is because the terrorists know that the only way we can ever stabilize Iraq is to have the Iraqis stand up on their own, to build, govern and protect their own country.

"But the War is just for oil/ it was started for false pretenses/ My children will be paying their taxes to Haliburton for years to come/ The Bush administration is evil!..."


Many of these things are debatable. (Keep in mind the U.N. NEVER doubted that Saddam had weapon of mass destruction- the question was whether to do anything about it or to sit back and let France make Francs off the Oil for Food Program while the Iraqi citizens suffered, but I digress.) I personally feel that the Bush administration has made so many blunders at home and abroad- especially in the execution of this war- that he should be impeached for pure incompetence. HOWEVER this doesn't change the fact that if we pull out of Iraq before the nation is stabilized it will descend into terrorism and chaos- and I mean worse than it is now.

But again, all that is beside the point. The question remains: "Will marches of protest bring our troops home, or just put their lives in danger by demoralizing them and providing propaganda for the enemy?" That's what it boils down to, folks. You want the troops home- we all do, especially those of us with families over there. However, all the protesting in the world is not going to make it happen. Sorry. If you want to change the world, then instead of giving up a Saturday to pretend you're back in the 60s, go volunteer at an old age home, become a teacher, a police officer, a first responder, or do meals on wheels, or SOMETHING. Just don't put our soldiers' lives on the line while doing it.


Illustration Friday, "Under the Sea"

I hope I was the first one to pun...