Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day!

Here are my predictions for the 2011 Baseball Season.

American League

East: Red Sox
Central: Tigers
West: Angels
Wild Card: Yankees

Pennant: Red Sox

National League

East: Phillies
Central: Reds
West: Giants
Wild Card: Braves

Pennant: Braves


World Series Champs: Red Sox



Being an unabashedly biased Sox fan, I am sure my predictions might seem self serving.  But I believe, on paper, they have by far the best all around team in the Bigs this year.  Some may have stronger starting rotations (and despite my cousin and teaching partner's fondness for the Phils, I think that is their ONLY strength right now) but in overall performance, it is the Sox this year.

And being the Yankee hater that I am, I will not be surprised to see some Yankee names when it comes time to start discussing individual award winners this year.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Letter from Joanne Siegel to Warner Bros

(Found HERE)


Deadline has posted a letter from the late Joanne Siegel to Jeffrey Bewkes, Chairman of Warner Bros, which she composed shortly before her death last month.
The letter in full:

December 10, 2010
Jeffrey L. Bewkes
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Time Warner Inc.
Dear Jeff,
I am Joanne Siegel widow of Jerry Siegel, creator of Superboy and co-creator of Superman with Joe Shuster. It has always been my policy to be in touch with the Chairmen of the Board of your company going back to when Steve Ross formed Warner Communications.
Steve Ross knew how to take care of large vexing problems. He paid the price, whatever it was, then went on, and the company prospered. He was gracious and friendly when my late husband Jerry and I met him at a stockholders meeting after he sent Jerry, Joe, my daughter Laura and me company stock. He also phoned me to say if we needed anything I should just pick up the phone and call him. He said if he could not be reached for some reason, one of the top officers in the company, Deane Johnson, would handle things personally. Laura and I believe if Steve were alive our copyright ownership matter would have been successfully resolved long ago.
Jerry Levin was also reachable and thoughtful. He sent my husband and later me, cases of grapefruit at the holiday season. He remembered Jerry’s birthday with a Superman sculpture. When my Jerry passed away, Jerry Levin told Laura and me that we are part of the Time Warner family, part of its history. Unfortunately he retired before our rights issues were resolved. He had given his attorneys too much power so that negotiations were unsatisfactory and a settlement was impossible. Dick Parsons, on the other hand, was not friendly and, under him, the attorneys hired by the company were arrogant and pro-litigation.
Now you are Chairman and CEO. Because we are in litigation I held off writing to you. I now believe had we had contact early on, things might not have gone so far off track.
My daughter Laura and I, as well as the Shuster estate, have done nothing more than exercise our rights under the Copyright Act. Yet, your company has chosen to sue us and our long-time attorney for protecting our rights.
On December 1st I turned 93. I am old enough to be your mother. I have grown grandchildren. Unfortunately I am not in the best of health. My cardiologist provided a letter to your attorneys informing them that I suffer from a serious heart condition and that forcing me to go through yet another stressful deposition could put me in danger of a heart attack or stroke. I am also on medications that have side effects which force me to stay close to home and restrooms. Nonetheless your attorneys are forcing me to endure a second deposition even though I have already undergone a deposition for a full day in this matter. As clearly they would be covering the same ground, their intention is to harass me.
My dear daughter Laura too has painful medical conditions including multiple sclerosis, arthritis, glaucoma, spine disorders, and fibromyalgia. She has already had her deposition taken twice by your attorneys while in pain. Her doctors have given written statements saying she should not be subjected to a third deposition, yet your attorneys are insisting on re-taking her deposition in an effort to harass her as well.
So I ask you to please consider – do these mean spirited tactics meet with your approval? Do you really think the families of Superman’s creators should be treated this way?
As you know, DC and Warner Bros. have profited enormously from 72 years of exploiting Jerry and Joe’s wonderful creation. Superman is now a billion dollar franchise and has been DC’s flagship property for all this time.
As for this letter, the purpose is three-fold:
To protest harassment of us that will gain you nothing but bad blood and a continued fight.
To protest harassment of our attorney by falsely accusing him of improper conduct in an attempt to deprive us of legal counsel.
To make you aware that in reality this is a business matter and that continuing with litigation for many more years will only benefit your attorneys.
This is not just another case. The public and press are interested in Superman and us and are aware of our and your litigations.
The solution to saving time, trouble, and expense is a change of viewpoint. Laura and I are legally owed our share of Superman profits since 1999. By paying the owed bill in full, as you pay other business bills, it would be handled as a business matter, instead of a lawsuit going into its 5th year.
Even though you will no doubt pass this letter on to your attorneys, the final decision is yours. Your image as well as the company’s reputation rests on a respectable and acceptable outcome, and I hope you will get personally involved to insure this matter is handled properly.
The courtesy of a friendly and meaningful reply from you will be most appreciated.
Sincerely,
Joanne Siegel

Rich continues:
While I’m in two minds on the issue of who owns what as regards to Superman, Superboy, et al, I agree with Mrs Siegel’s point: if Warner Bros had simply paid to resolve this issue years ago, they would have saved themselves a lot of lawyers fees and – more importantly – have retained the goodwill of the creative community.
With the release of this letter, and the points made regarding Mrs Siegel’s (and her daughter’s) health, and the multiple depositions that she made as Warner Bros’ lawyers’ requests – in spite of letter advising against this from her cardiologist – I think that any remaining public opinion in favor of Warner Bros is rapidly in danger of vanishing.
It’s time to cut your losses, Warner Bros. Pay the estates of Siegel and Shuster enough money to make the lawsuit go away. Yes, it opens the door to other lawsuits, and yes, it will be costly – but how much more costly will continuing to protest be?
In the best case, you win, pay millions, and have proved yourselves a company of jackals. In worst case, you lose, pay millions, and have proved yourselves a company of jackals, and have lost the rights to one of your premiere properties.
Time to put up and shut up, I think.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Opening Day Starter: Jon Lester


via Joy of Sox

Terry Francona said on Wednesday that Jon Lester would start on Opening Day, Friday, April 1, on the road against the AL Champion Texas Rangers.

It's the first Opening Day start of Lester's career. Boston's Opening Day starters from the previous ten years:
2001 - Pedro Martinez
2002 - Pedro Martinez
2003 - Pedro Martinez
2004 - Pedro Martinez
2005 - David Wells
2006 - Curt Schilling
2007 - Curt Schilling
2008 - Daisuke Matsuzaka
2009 - Josh Beckett
2010 - Josh Beckett

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Enola Gay

Take a virtual tour of the cockpit of the Enola Gay....HERE

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Last Night's Dinner with a Side of Babble

Quite a rough week for us MOCKs this week....except for the boy, maybe. He is always in good spirits. So we decided to head out to dinner last night and I was determined to throw the calorie count to the wind!


Nothing highfalutin', but we tried to get into a few places (some were too busy and we discovered The Ground Round was CLOSED!) and eventually ended up at Friendly's.  I had the "Soft Pretzel Bacon Burger":  A Big Beef burger, melted Vermont White Cheddar cheese, maple pepper bacon, and spicy mustard on a soft pretzel roll with lettuce, tomato, and pickles.  DELICIOUS!!!



Though on the menu it looked like this:


We got home late and the kids played very nicely, with the boy tolerating his sister wonderfully, playing Barbies with her until nearly 10:00 and then asking to sleep in her room.  


Today has started out much better and we have a fun day ahead of us, so maybe we have turned a corner...

Monday, March 7, 2011

SNOW DAY!

This is the LAST Snow Day we can afford to have without our summer vacation plans being impacted.  It was also the least productive Snow Day I have had in that I only shoveled and cleared snow....no goofing off!


The back deck at 7:00 AM when we FINALLY got out of bed....

The cars from the bathroom window.  A fierce wind always blows up the street to us but this time it made the drifts creep out and take over half of the driveway...

The back deck at 4:00 PM.  The marks in the front are where Logan kept grabbing handfuls of the stuff to eat.


This storm really kicked my ass.  I am wiped out.  Going to head upstairs and have some of the fried pickles Nan and the kids are making....and probably a handful of ibuprofen, too!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Last Day Of Vacation



The school district we live in started back today, so the wife and kids were back to reality.  The district I work in set aside today as a Conference Day or a "freebie" if you make up the time later.  Easy choice for me to make!

I am not a very deep thinker nor a very clever man.  When I have time like this I go straight for the movies that no one else in the house will watch with me.  I recently told The Armchair Squid that my movie tastes generally fit in the 6 to 7 on a 10 point scale.  Luckily, our local video store has a 5 movies 5 nights 7 buck special!

I started last night with "The Island".  I am a big fan of MST3K's savaging of "parts: the clonus horror", a movie from which the "creators" of "The Island" stole 90 key points.  I will admit that the movie did not have my full attention as I was busy getting information off of our "old" computer and re-installing it on our "new" one, as well as fiddling with my comic book database software.  That being said, I give what I saw and paid attention to a solid 7 on the action/cheese scale.  A quick check of imdb.com indicates the movie currrently holds a 6.9 out of 10 rating based on 88,460 votes.


This morning, after a quick breakfast at McDonalds and then dropping the kids of at school, I went with the 2010 remake of "Clash of The Titans".  I really enjoyed the original but have not watched in in around 25 years.  I am quite certain that it would not stand up to the memory I have of it.  I was a little wary of the remake, given the bad press I remember it receiving when it came out.  As far as a "sword and sandal" type of movie, this one wasn't that bad.  I freely admit that I watched this just for The Kraken.  I have found that those big "monsters" that populate movies like this these days invoke a certain visceral reaction in me akin to fear.  I felt the same thing watching the monster in "Cloverfield" (another on-my-own-movie that I enjoyed) and like the reaction.  The Kraken had a very short amount of time on screen, but the rest of the movie wasn't too bad.  I gave it 8 stars on imdb, but 58,025 other voters have it at 5.9.

Next was the comedy "Zombieland". I already knew about the big surprise cameo but still wanted to give this one a shot.  I did find it very funny at times.  It suffered from attempts at fleshing out the characters from time to time rather than just getting with the funny, but overall I enjoyed the narrative structure and storytelling devices it employed.  And while I am not usually squeamish about movie gore, I must admit some of the zombie-centric feeding type stuff was a bit too much.  I gave it a 7, while it is sitting at 7.8 on imbd based on 97,412 votes.

After "Zombieland" I indulged in my solo-day lunch: Stouffers French Bread Pizza! Unfortunately, the only "yucky" in the next movie was right at the beginning while I ate!


"300" had not been on my list when I went to the video store yesterday, but I grabbed it none-the-less.  I like some of Frank Miller's work and enjoyed Zack Snyder's "Watchmen".  The gore here did not bother me as much as the "priests" in the beginning.  I was amused by the CGI or make-up enhanced Spartan Six Packs but the 2 hours went by pretty quick.  I might seek out the source material.  I gave it an 8, nearly matching the aggregate score of 7.8 that 249,470 imdb users have given it.

The final rental of the day was "The Prestige" but Nan says she will watch this one with me, so it will have to wait until Friday night for us to see it.  I am very excited about that one.  Christopher Nolan. Christian Bale. Hugh Jackman.  It should be good.

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