Half a Month There on Foot

You will find me at the corner of Speed and Power

Friday, September 30, 2005


Saw the Pixies last night. Holy monkey were they good. Just about all you could want out of a Pixies show.

I've seen them twice in about 9 months. Crazy. I didn't own a Pixies album till about four years after they split up, and now two shows in less than a year.

On another music note (bad pun inserted for Half a Month reader Irma Enrolatoni of San Diego CA who's 83 years-young today): the kids at the day care place across the street were jumping up and down in perfect step with a live version of The Replacements 'Hold My Life' from 11/20/87.

Funny. Kids love the self-destructive rockers!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Like a fish needs a bicycle...

Ryan had his appendix out. No blogging, only work. No sleep, must work. Sleepy... no blog.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Routine? Anything but?

Just watched video of that Jet Blue landing, Flight 292. Circling for three hours knowing you had bum landing gear in the front. That's just... wow. C'mon, you KNOW the plane is broken. And you have to circle to lighten your load. For three hours. That's like, the duration of 'Seven Samurai.' That's almost half a typical work day. And you'e just circling.

Obviously it's great the folks onboard were unharmed. Obviously no one wants to be in that situation, especially the crew. But they seem, by most accounts I've read, to have done it completely the right way: confindently, intelligently, and with the best plan.

... I really don't have anything here. I just like it when things that could go to crap work. Jet Blue is definitely a flight option for me. If something's going to go wrong, I want the guys who do it the best they can to be the guys flying. Talk about "customer appreciation."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Justice, not vengance

I was surprised by my oddly severe reaction to the death of Simon Wiesenthal. In my mind, I guess he was more of a footnote regarding the arrest of Adolph Eichmann, with acknowledgement to his cause and why it was just. But this morning the full impact of what he did set in: over 1000 war criminals to trial because of a tireless pursuit of the criminal. He made it his life to seek justice for the dead, and more importantly, the living.

There are many things more important that what font to use on a piece of video.


Simon Wiesenthal: Tireless pursuit of justice

Simon Wiesenthal survived the Nazi death camps, but was haunted for the rest of his life by the need to track down those responsible for them.

Born in Lviv, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, into a family of Orthodox Jews, Simon Wiesenthal survived the Soviet invasion of the area in the late 1930s, and suffered the arrival of the Nazis in 1941.

As a young architect, Wiesenthal watched his mother being transported away for execution. He believed his wife Cyla had died too. In fact, she had escaped persecution by pretending to be a Pole.

He spent four years in concentration camps, once spared by a firing squad that stopped before it reached him.

As the advancing Red Army pushed into Germany, Wiesenthal was forced to march westwards by his SS guards. The survivors of this arduous trek were liberated, finally, by American troops at the Mauthausen camp in Austria, in May 1945.

He cried from loneliness and then dictated a list of 91 names of camp officials. He later tracked down more than 70 of them.

In 1947, Wiesenthal helped establish a centre in Linz, Austria, devoted to collecting information for use in future war crimes trials.

Despite the successes of the Nuremberg trials, many of the Nazi regime's most notorious killers remained unaccounted for.

And while the Cold War brewed between East and West, Nazi hunting fell from the political agenda. Dispirited, Wiesenthal closed the Linz office in 1954.

But his enthusiasm was rekindled with the capture by Israeli agents of Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the so-called Final Solution.

Buoyed by the trial and execution of the Nazi technocrat, Wiesenthal opened the Jewish Documentation Centre in Vienna.

Collating sightings and tip-offs from a worldwide network of sympathisers, human rights activists and even former Nazis themselves, he pursued the 90,000 people named in the German war crimes files.

His biggest success was bringing Franz Stangl to justice in West Germany in 1967. Stangl was commandant at Treblinka where an estimated 800,000 Jews died.

In all, he was believed to have brought 1100 war criminals to trial. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, set up in the United States in 1977, has pressed for the extradition of numerous war crimes suspects, as well as campaigning for the rights of Holocaust survivors and an end to pensions for SS officers.

In 1986, he succeeded in having gypsy representatives included on the Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington DC.

His biggest disappointments were his failure to secure the capture of Gestapo chief, Heinrich Muller, and Auschwitz doctor, Josef Mengele, who died in Brazil in 1978.

Simon Wiesenthal's career was not without its controversial aspects. He was accused of egocentricity by those who claimed he took more than his fair share of credit for the arrest of Adolf Eichmann.

He was also involved in a personal spat with the former, and first Jewish, Chancellor of Austria, Bruno Kreisky.

Wiesenthal objected to Kreisky's overtures to a far-right Austrian party leader to save his coalition government. Kreisky, a socialist, falsely accused Wiesenthal of having collaborated with the Gestapo at the end of the war.

Wiesenthal also fell out with the World Jewish Congress when he refused to support their case for blacklisting the former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, who had sought to become Austrian chancellor.

He dismissed the WJC's allegations that Waldheim had assisted in the deportation of Jews during the war.

But his dogged perseverance in hunting down those who had colluded in the most barbarous of crimes made him a legend in his lifetime. He always claimed he sought justice not vengeance.

"I might forgive them for myself," he once said, "but I couldn't speak for the millions they killed."

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Writin' for real

Re-life writer John Rodgers is blogging about writing over at Kung Fu Monkey. Link is on the left, and it's interesting process stuff.

You-ew, cover me

I'm trying to figure out just how many bands have covers of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven." Here's what I got: Dinosaur Jr., Gatsby's American Hero, Goldfinger, and Taking Back Sunday. I've heard at least two more. Remember when every punk band had a version? Ah the 90's. Hit the "comments" if you know of any more, would you please?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I'm looking at the $4 million man in the mirror

I hate Neil Gaiman.

I hate him because he's a brilliant and innovative writer. I hate him because by all accounts he's a fantastically nice guy. I hate him because he's too damn smart and tosses out perfect gems on his blog talking about buying toothpaste and making homemade salsa. And now I hate him because he and Dave McKean (primarily McKean) made a $4 million movie that looks like it's got fifty times that budget.

They were approached by the Jim Henson company in hopes they could create a movie like the Henson classics 'Labrinyth' and 'The Dark Crystal.' The Henso Co. hasn't made a movie like this in years. And they picked Gaiman and McKean. The catch: do it for $4 million. What you get: freedom. No guy in a suit telling you that your 'Sandman' adaptation really needs to have a giant mechanical spider. Freedom.

So, for literally 1/30th of his standard rate, Gaiman wrote it, McKean shot it, then spent 18 months in post production. And, by all accounts, the movie just sings.

Granted, it's a Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean/Henson Co. movie, so that's not gonna be everybody's cup of Joe. But for the investment, $4 million plus, what, $4-8 million in marketing, this movie is going to be profitable (DVD sales, foreign markets: McKean and Gaiman have a built in audience overseas). I'll go see it. You might go see it. And it'll be, like all their other stuff, damn good. And then I'll want to send you a copy of the first 'Sandman' trade so you can be there nearer the start.

So that's what (among many other things) Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean did over the last two years: made a film in the basement with complete creative control. And now it'll come out. And you'll see it, hear about it, realize that these guys are doing more before tea time than is humanly possible, and you'll hate Neil Gaiman too.

I hate that guy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

No mayo (an aborted post gets re-worked because Susan demanded content)

I try to get out of the office at least once a day, for errands, for workstuff, for lunch. Friday I went to the second location of an Italian restaurant that I have a weird association with, an almost visceral. Because of the amount of work I was doing, I didn't feel like driving far, and I could place my order and walk a few paces and get groceries.

So I order the "Something Italian That Means Beef Sandwich," not normally a sandwich I'd eat. But, I'm trying here. Order the sandwich, go to the grocery store for some essentials.

Students are back in town, meaning I fight my way through a line, wait ten minutes, see the one next to me is moving faster, hop lines. As I'm going through with my 12 items or less, I notice the guy behind me wearing a polo shirt from the Italian restaurant. He's carrying two big bags of regular Grocery Store brand potato chips.

"Wow," I thought "great for the customers with the generico-brand chips buddy." I worked at a deli before college, and the owners insisted on using what they considered the best ingredients available to them to turn a profit and meet their overhead. I've always thought that's a pretty solid way of doing business. And I'm fine with food that's not "gourmet" or "healthy," it's how I was raised. Meat in brown sauce! More of a water than a sauce, actually! And more "blackened sort of meat thing!"

I beat the guy out of the grocery store and loaded my purchases into my truck. I started back to the restaurant and saw the guy beelining for the door. He went into the kitchen, and about forty-five seconds later, I got my bag o' food.

Not being a fan of these guys already, their third chance was well on the way of being "it' of "Alright, that's IT." Generic chips for one of their signature sandwiches.

The sandwich was outstanding. May have been hunger, may have been my arteries rejoicing in more red meat to clog them, but I really liked it. And the first chip, the sacrificial first bite of many subsequent bites of bitching and moaning, actually complimented the sandwich. Maybe not by intent or design, but it was okay.

Lesson: ... I'm sure there's a few. But I sure as hell stopped being so damn picky and finished the commercial I was cutting in record time.

This could have been better told, but 'Gilmore Girls' is on tonight. I bet there'll be fast talking...

Friday, September 09, 2005

Big ad


I'm in awe of the scope/funny of this. Simple, direct, funny.

Edited because I can't remeber which country begins "A-U."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

... but don't call me "Late for Dinner."

Phone conversation goes like this:

Me: Hello this is Joey.

Very Nice Motherly Voice: Hello, may I speak to a manager or owner?

Me: I'm one of the owners. What can I do for you?

VNMV: I'm calling on behalf of Spotswood High School and the high school event committee. We have some sponsorhips avaialble for our Homecoming Program and then events next year. A lot of people like the half page insert, and some like the full-page that they can use for a poster.

Me: Well, I'm happy to look over any materials you can send me, but I can't commit to anything at the moment.

VNMV: Okay, may I fax the information to you?

Me: Sure.

VNMV: And it was "Jerry?"

Me: No, it's "Joey."

VNMV: ...uh, Jerry?

Me: No: "Joey. J-O-E-Y."

VNMV: Ah! "J-U-O-I."

Me: ... yes. "Jewoy."

VNMV: Thanks so much!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Hip to be Hipp

In a field of swipes and photo reference, http://www.mrhipp.com/ makes me really really stoked about the possiblities. 'The Amazing Joy Buzzards' is such a fun read; it's exactly what comics could be: fun, rollicking, adventuress, romantic, goofy, and unexpected. I dig me some 'Joy Buzzards.'

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Less posting = more money

And I have been lax with the posting due to work. I think the shortest day any of us did this week was 11 hours.

... Matthew Broderick is now embarrassed by Ally Sheedy catching him with his pants down. And now he's showing her computer documentaries. Oh yeah, Ferris is gettin' some!

Computers did it. Globo Thermonuclear War

I love 'WarGames,' perhaps a little too much. I even don't mind Eddie Deezen that much.

I used to think it was 'Globo Thermonuclear War." Not sure exactly what "globo" does, but it sounds nasty, like a head cold side effect. That is all.

Oh, and John Badham used to make enjoyable entertainmnet. Then he went back to TV.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pet peeved

Okay, there's 50,000 other things more important right now, but I have to say: it's "eat their cake and have it too." I can very easily "have my cake and eat it too." There is my cake. This is me eating my cake.

Really, I should be concentrating on, oh, I don't know, loss of life in the country/world, rising fuel prices, but, for some damn reason I've targeted a minor quibble.

Consider yourself warned. Have the damn cake. Eat it.