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4 posts from April 2003

Oldies: Sunday, April 20 - Saturday, April 26, 2003...

Friday, 25 April 2003: For as advanced as our society is in terms of technology and whatnot, we are truly backasswards with regard to our thought processes. Katie and I were watching the Primetime special last night with the Dixie Chicks regarding the "comment heard round the world." You know what I'm talking about. When, at a concert in London a little over a month ago, Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines announced, "I want everyone to know I'm ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas" or something pretty close to that at least. As would be expected, there was a critical backlash here in the States despite the fact that everyone in London was cheering the statement.

But, hey, isn't that what makes the U.S. great? We get to say what we want to say about whomever we want to say it about and it's protected by the first amendment, right? Apparently, so many people don't agree with this that there were Dixie Chick CD destruction parties and boycotts on the radio among other things. The special even showed little kids smashing Chicks CDs with their feet.

This is the kind of ignorant bullshit that really makes me sick. The Chicks were right on the money when they said that this action is akin to Nazi book burning. Whether you agree or disagree with what Maines said, you've got to agree that destroying pieces of art (which is what music is defined as) in order to get back at someone for what they said, is, in fact similar to Nazi-like actions.

What was sad is that even the U.S. soldiers in the Middle East, those that they featured in the show at least, agree with Maines' right to say what she wants. They don't necessarily agree with her, but they respect her right to say what she said and they claim they would still listen to the Chicks' music and see them in concert. Funny, eh?

I was also listening to WXRT 93.1 FM (Chicago) this morning and they were giving a preview to their weekend XRT Flashback show that they do. This particular flashback revolves around the year 1971 and some of what they played on the air included clips from the TV show All in the Family (which went on the air in '71). The soundbyte they used featured Archie (Carroll O'Connor... RIP) spewing his regular U.S.-centric propaganda. He was saying how the Space Program separates us from "the Chinks and all the other races on Earth." This show was very revolutionary in its day. It's even revolutionary by today's overly PC standards and I honestly don't think this show would survive on TV in this day and age. We, as a country, are way too politically and culturally sensitive and believe that we need to be far more protective of other races and cultures than we really need to be or than they want us to be.

Yep, we are pretty damned backasswards. When are we going to grow up?

Soapbox dismounted.

Thursday, 24 April 2003: Throughout history, there have been many examples of things that just don't mix or don't mix all that well. Oil and water. Cats and dogs. Star Wars fans and Star Trek fans. North Koreans and nuclear technology. You get where I'm going?

Well, here's a new one to add to this list... McFarlane Toys and The Wizard of Oz. Yes, Todd McFarlane, noted for sculpting some of the best and most detailed figures in the history of the action figure industry (such as Spawn, Shrek, the movie monsters like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, and all the really good pro sports personalities), has decided to tackle the Wonderful World of Oz.

In August, he will be releasing sculpts of the most popular characters as only he and his visionaries could see them... The Twisted Land of Oz. Should you be afraid? Hell yes. Should you run very quickly in the other direction? If you're an Oz purist, yes. Let's just say they are definitely "enlightening" for lack of a better word. There are figures for Dorothy, the Lion, the Tinman, the Scarecrow, Toto, and the Wizard and they are like nothing you've ever seen before in your life. And they are definitely not for children under 17. You can use your imagination with that warning.

The following link will take you to the Twisted Land of Oz homepage and there is a description of the figure set underneath the picture of the Lion. To the right of his pic, you will see links to the six characters. Click on each of them and you will find an intro page for them and links to three finished sculpt photos. The first two photos are given some dramatic flash with creative close ups, lighting, and some smoke. The third picture in each series is just a clean, full shot of each figure.

My fave is, personally, the Lion as he ain't quite so cowardly anymore. The Tinman and the Scarecrow are weird while Toto is all shades of f'd up. The Wizard is pretty cool looking in an H.R. Giger sense of it all. While Dorothy is... not going home to her Auntie Em in Kansas looking like this.

Consider this fair warning... McFarlane's Twisted Land of Oz.

Monday, 21 April 2003: In an attempt to make the eventual facelift of this site (yes, I do have one in the works) that much easier, I have played around with some things here at kapgar.com.

1. The Fun With Dead Trees book review site no longer has book covers accompanying the reviews. I know it may not be nearly as pretty or colorful anymore, but you have no idea what a pain in the ass it was to maintain all those images. Yikes.

2. The Fun With Dead Trees site no longer has links to Amazon.com so you can purchase copies of the books I've reviewed. To be honest, I was an Amazon associate for three years and I didn't earn one red cent from sales off my site. So why bother?

3. Updates are no longer listed under the links in the left menu bar. I'm currently debating one of two possibilities regarding how to deal with informing you all of updates. One would be a box in the left bar that lists what has been updated. The second would be to just put a bar under each entry on this page listing the updates. I'm not sure what I'm going to stick with when I convert, but I think I'll try the box for now. 

4. I've deleted several entries on the Any Life Out There page (ed. note - link removed since page doesn't exist anymore) seeing as how I don't visit many of those sites much anymore and some shows have either been cancelled or we just don't watch them as much as we once did. I may entirely redo this list so that many of the links that I access pretty regularly will just be listed right here on the homepage. I'll have to figure out how I want to work that one, if at all.

5. I'm completely eliminating the Top 20 films list as well as the new on video list that I currently maintain in the Movie Critique section of this site. Those pages are a royal pain in the arse to maintain as well. And, currently, Katie and I have only seen one movie that is in the Top 20 anyway. That's pretty sad for us and the page looks truly barren, so why keep it there? Besides, if I include the most recent reviews in the update box, who needs the page listing what movies we've seen that are in the Top 20? Not me.

6. Oh, and a little tiny something that has only, thus far, been changed on this page... I have renamed the "Life in HTML Archives" link to Kapgarchives. Just a cutesy little thing that I dig on. Let it be said, let it be done.

Simply put, all these changes are just more of an excuse for me to be lazy with this site. Hells yeah.

Sunday, 20 April 2003: Sorry it's been so long. But, sometimes you just have to know when to prioritize things in your life, and updating this website wasn't exactly a priority of mine for the last week. So, to catch you all up...

Wednesday and Thursday were spent performing the normal visitation and funeral proceedings for Katie's Uncle Greg. It's truly amazing how many people showed up. The guest book alone had 33 pages filled with 11 names each. This doesn't take into account the fact that many people signed as families and there are likely to be those people who didn't bother to sign at all. That was one heckuva turnout and much greater a number than anyone expected. Amazing the impact a life can have. I could only hope to have half that number of people mourn when I go. And that may be pushing it.

Friday was a lazy day to catch up on sleep and do some cleaning of the apartment. So, nothing much to say there. That's also how much of Saturday was spent. We also took some time to catch up on the tapes we had piled up of shows from the last week and we rented a couple DVDs for the first time since November. We saw The Good Girl and Secretary. Well, I saw Secretary, that is. Both were interesting in their own right, but I was severely let down by the ending of Secretary while both of us were really impressed by Jennifer Aniston's acting range in The Good Girl. Yes, she will have a future after Friends, unlike some of her costars. Lastly, on Saturday, we also went out to dinner with my parents as an early Easter get-together since we would be spending pretty much all day with Katie's family on Sunday.

Okay, perhaps I should clarify... I spent most of Sunday with her family since Katie had to work and I was supposed to hide the eggs for the kids to go find in the yard. Of course, I didn't get there in time to hide them, so I just played photographer for the event. I do have about a dozen pix that I need to resize and then I will post them in the Photo Album. I'll let you know when they're up. Katie did come up after her shift at work ended, but, by that time, all her relatives had left. So we spent some time with her family and then made the drive home.

Long week. And we're both very glad it's over.


Oldies: Sunday, April 13 - Saturday, April 19, 2003...

Monday, 14 April 2003: Yet another instance of one of those days when I have a lot to say and then it all becomes far too trivial...

I got a call at work today from Katie's mom telling me that Greg (one of Katie's many uncles) died. He had been battling cancer for several years now and it was just a matter of time. Katie had been expecting it, but doctors had given him another 6-8 weeks more before they predicted anything would happen. Katie's mom just didn't want to call her while she was at work to tell her, so she asked me to. Not exactly the situation that I wanted to be put in, but I figured I would do it anyway. So I left work and drove straight up to where Katie works. And, go figure, on one of those days when you'd like everything to move a little slower to give you time to figure out what to say and how to say it, I make record time getting up there. My luck, huh?

Katie took it better than I thought she would, but I know it's just a matter of time before she really breaks down. It'll probably happen sometime during the visitation or funeral when she's around her dad (one of Greg's older brothers).

As much as it sucks that Greg is gone and it's going to be rough on the family for a while, at least he no longer has to fight it and is at peace. We'll miss you, Greg.

I just hope that I didn't make a mistake by telling Katie while she was still at work. I asked someone that I worked with and she felt that I should tell Katie as soon as possible. I know that I would want to know right away and I would be pissed if someone withheld that information from me just because I was at work. What are your opinions? Did I do okay by telling her right away or should I have waited?

Sunday, 13 April 2003: Well, it's been a few days since I've written and I've fallen a bit behind. Not so much on this page as on others. I've still got to write two book reviews, but I'm not sure I want to get to them just yet because I want to retool the Fun With Dead Trees pages. They need it desperately. I'm thinking of ditching the links to Amazon because I've never had anybody order anything through my affiliate program, so why bother taking the extra steps to go in and find the ISBN number so I can make the proper link? I also want to ditch the bookcover images. I was including those simply because it would make it easier for you guys to find the books when you look for them on the shelves. However, the trend is for publishers to reissue books every couple of years (especially with popular authors like James Patterson, Stephen King, and Michael Crichton) with new covers. I just don't want to take the time to find the new cover images and replace them, so I'm just gonna ditch them. Now, it's just a matter of finding the time to go in and do all this.

Oh, and the books I have to review are Jester by James Patterson and A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar.


Oldies: Sunday, April 6 - Saturday, April 12, 2003...

Thursday, 10 April 2003: Katie got to have a pretty interesting evening last night. She and all "the gals" from her Walgreen's drove into the city to see a performance art piece using... well... "pieces"... of the male anatomy variety. The show they saw was called Puppetry of the Penis and features men doing things with their "members" that should really not be permissible under the normal laws of nature.

Katie said it was interesting but incredibly weird and uncomfortable looking. I was just praying the entire night that she wouldn't bring home any tips or tricks. Oh no, I am no contortionist nor do I ever hope to be.

If you'd like to see more about the show, check out their official website. But, be warned, this site does contain adult content.

And you thought "girls night out" simply meant going to bars and picking up guys.

Tuesday, 8 April 2003: I found a pretty funny article listed on Fark.com today about a woman, I believe from Australia, whose answering machine would request that people leave a message "for Barnaby and Estelle."

The Office of Housing in her town heard the message and assumed that she was subletting her apartment illegally and not paying the appropriate taxes and fees and, otherwise, just cheating the system. So, they demanded that Estelle present bank statements, income receipts, and two forms of ID for "Barnaby." When she couldn't do so, they increased her rent by AUS$110 per week.

I hope you can see where this is going.

As it turns out, Barnaby is her teddy bear.

When she tried to explain this to the Office of Housing, they wouldn't listen to her and refused to be persuaded. So she got legal aid who finally got them to pay attention and reverse their demands. It makes me laugh that some people are that ignorant. I suppose I could nominate the Office of Housing staff for inclusion in my "Darwinism Missed Me" file. They would definitely deserve it.

Monday, 7 April 2003: I really have been a good little boy lately. It has been weeks since I've talked about the war at all. Not since before it started if I do recall. Well, my silence is broken.

No, I'm not gonna trash the president or anything else like that. What I'm commenting on is the issue of Time Magazine that I received in the mail today. On the cover was the big camo-clad picture of Private Jessica Lynch with her big, bright smile. The big headline on the cover was, appropriately enough, "Saving Private Lynch" - cute title if I do say so myself. The news has been going on about her rescue for the better part of a week now and for good reason... her rescue was pretty much a miracle. The SEALs and Rangers who rescued her deserve all kinds of recognition.

However, seeing this cover got me thinking. Mostly about the remaining POWs and MIAs from this war. I wonder how many of them are no longer alive now that Lynch has been rescued. I could easily see Iraqi brass being so pissed off at how we made them look like laughingstocks by breaching their defenses and rescuing one of our own, that they may have taken out their frustration on other POWs. Not a pleasant thought, indeed. But one that definitely must be considered.

I pray I'm wrong...

Sunday, 6 April 2003: Yes people, once again, it is that time of year for the Primetime Kapgar.com Awards.

Just as a refresher course for some of you that are not in the know... the Primetime Kapgar.com Awards are my answer to the Primetime Emmys. Except that the only opinion that truly matters here is... well... mine. Should it really be any other way? If you answered "yes," I respond with "tough." This is the second year that I have given these awards (okay, so it's really just recognition since I can't afford little statuettes). I have several different categories and there are some new ones this year and I may omit some from last year. Bear in mind, when I say "rookie," I refer only to the fact that a person is new to a show this season regardless of if they've acted on other shows or in films. "Veteran" means that a particular actor/actress was with the show prior to this season. And, yes, I reserve the right to declare a tie if the need should arise. Oh, and all the winners listed below are first-time winners unless otherwise noted.

So, let's get on with it, shall we?

  • Best Veteran Actor (Comedy) - (3-Way Tie) John C. McGinley - Dr. Perry Cox, Scrubs ; Zach Braff - Dr. John "J.D." Dorian, Scrubs ; and Donald Faison - Dr. Chris Turk - Scrubs (yes, I'm on a Scrubs kick this season)
  • Best Veteran Actress (Comedy) - Sarah Chalke - Dr. Elliot Reid, Scrubs
  • Best Veteran Actor (Drama) - Chi McBride - Steven Harper, Boston Public (2nd year in a row)
  • Best Veteran Actress (Drama) - Marg Helgenberger - Catherine Willows, C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation
  • Best Rookie Actor (Comedy) - John Ritter - Paul Hennessy, 8 Simple Rules...
  • Best Rookie Actress (Comedy) - Amy Davidson - Kerry Hennessy, 8 Simple Rules...
  • Best Rookie Actor (Drama) - Anthony LaPaglia - Jack Malone, Without A Trace
  • Best Rookie Actress (Drama) - Emily Procter - Calleigh Duquesne, CSI: Miami
  • Best Veteran Kiddie (Comedy or Drama) - Erik Per Sullivan - Dewey, Malcolm in the Middle (2nd year in a row)
  • Best Rookie Kiddie (Comedy or Drama) - Martin Spanjers - Rory Hennessy, 8 Simple Rules...
  • Best Cameo Appearance - Verne Troyer - Prentice (AKA "The Little Person"), Boston Public
  • Best Veteran Sitcom - Scrubs
  • Best Rookie Sitcom - 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter
  • Best Veteran Drama - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2nd year in a row)
  • Best Rookie Drama - Without a Trace
  • Best Game Show/Reality Show Host - Jeff Probst, Survivor: The Amazon
  • Best Damn Show on the Tube - Boston Public (2nd year in a row)
  • Best Overall Network - with CSI, CSI: Miami, Without a Trace, and Survivor: The Amazon in its rotation... CBS
  • Show Most Deserving of its Cancellation - (tie) girl's club and Firefly
  • Show Least Deserving of its Cancellation - MDs
  • Most Overhyped New Show - My Big Fat Greek Life
  • Best Show I Wish I Watched Last Year - (tie) George Lopez and 24
  • Best Show I Wish I Could Remember to Tune in to Each Week - 24

Well, there you have it. The 2002-03 edition of the Primetime Kapgar.com Awards. If you would like to make your own nominations for winners or have ideas for new categories, use the above address as well. If I feel so inclined, I may include your comments in a future update.


Oldies: Sunday, March 30 - Saturday, April 5, 2003...

Friday, 4 April 2003: One of the worst things about living out in the world in this modern age is bills. Rent, gas bill, electric bill, cable bill, cell phone bill, home phone bill... you name it. I realize that bills are a necessity and that I will have to deal with them or become a relative stone-age hermit. Doesn't mean I have to like them. Well, Katie and I have tried to cut down our bills as much as possible. We don't have long distance service (we use a calling card), we pay for a lesser-expensive dial-up connection that is offered by our phone company, we've cut down our cell phone plans and try to take advantage of whatever new deals they have. You know, that sort of thing.

Well, the one big thorn in our side has always been our local telephone bill. We can deal with what we are charged by just about any company out there except our SBC bill. It is ridiculously overpriced and the fact is that 85-90% of the incoming calls are either telemarketers or wrong numbers. So, I called up SBC today to start cutting some services. When we first signed up for the service, we ordered stuff like Caller ID, VoiceMail, Dial-Up Connectivity, Local Calling Packages, etc. Well, today I stripped us down to the basics... literally the basic local phone service, the line charge (which we can't get away from no matter what), our dial-up through SBC Yahoo, and Caller ID (we kept this to know when not to pick up the phone... if it says "blocked call," "unknown number," or anything else like that, we don't pick it up... that simple). Hopefully, this will be the beginning of the solution to our overpriced local phone service.

Thursday, 3 April 2003: It is finally here. One of those days that I look forward to for a while. The day that the NFL announces the schedules for the 2003-04 season. For those of you fellow Bears fans, here it is...

Preseason:

  • Week 1: Indianapolis Colts
  • Week 2: Denver Broncos
  • Week 3: at Arizona Cardinals
  • Week 4: at New England Patriots

Regular Season:

  • September 7: at San Francisco 49ers
  • September 14: at Minnesota Vikings
  • September 21: bye week (a little early if you ask me)
  • September 29: Green Bay Packers - Monday Night, Baby!
  • October 5: Oakland Raiders
  • October 12: at New Orleans Saints
  • October 19: at Seattle Seahawks
  • October 26: Detroit Lions
  • November 2: San Diego Chargers
  • November 9: at Detroit Lions
  • November 16: St. Louis Rams
  • November 23: at Denver Broncos
  • November 30: Arizona Cardinals
  • December 7: at Green Bay Packers
  • December 14: Minnesota Vikings
  • December 21: Washington Redskins
  • December 28: at Kansas City Chiefs

Postseason:

We'll just have to wait and see and hope that Kordell pulls through for us. Go Stew!

I have to say that the games I'm most looking forward to are both the Lions games (I really want to see how they do with their new coach Steve Mariucci) and the Raiders game. Kinda cool to see them play the Chiefs as well. And, of course, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dying to see them break the Monday night jinx... and against the Packers, no less.

Wednesday, 2 April 2003: Before you read any further, take note of the following disclaimer... my wife and I are happily married. We love each other very much and have no plans to separate whatsoever.

Now that I've said my piece...

Katie was listening to the radio this morning on the way to class and she called me to let me know that "my girl" was back on the market. I asked her what she meant. She said, "Scott Foley and Jennifer Garner are separating."

Hmmm...

Of course I feel bad for Foley. He had himself one helluva wife and was probably the envy of many a man (and some women, I'm sure). But now, the tables have turned. It may finally be time to check out that Hollywood singles scene. A month and a half ago, Kate Beckinsale and her nine-year live-in boyfriend (who cares what his name is) ended their relationship. Of course I'd be fighting with my good friend Mike over her. Now Garner is free. Oh, the possibilities.

And don't you all worry about Katie, she announced to me during our phone conversation this morning that she is going after Foley now. If you've been reading this site for a while, you know that Katie has always hated Garner because she's married to "her Noel" (Foley's character on Felicity). My Katie loves her Noel.

Yes, people, this entire entry is a joke, of course. Like I said earlier, we are happily married. We just like to josh around with each other and the idea of the two of us swooping in and breaking up Foley and Garner's marriage has been the source of many an in-joke for some time now.

Monday, 31 March 2003: Here's something that hasn't happened in a long time... I saw three movies this weekend. Okay, so two of them were repeat viewings, but I still saw them. And I only had to pay for one. That makes it even better. On Saturday night, I went with a couple of friends to see The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I had seen that back in December, but they hadn't seen it yet and wanted to do so before it was gone from the big screen. Katie was invited too, but she was pretty drained and still hadn't seen the first one either, so it really made no sense for her to see this one.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, I went, by myself, to see Spirited Away since it was rereleased in theaters after it won the Best Animated Movie Oscar. Strange and trippy, but well done. No, despite the fact that this is animated, I wouldn't necessarily consider this a kids' movie. They won't really understand what's going on. Yet 80% of the people in my theater were under the age of 5. Why don't parents get it? Not all cartoons are for kids anymore. Have you seen South Park or Beavis and Butthead? Would you argue that these are kiddie toons? God, I would hope not. I think parents see "cartoon" and "Oscar winning" and automatically assume Pixar or Disney. Not the case here folks. The kids were just chattering away throughout the whole movie not paying attention at all. Plus, this is a two hour flick. Not many kids have that kind of patience or attention span. Two hours is a long time for kids. C'est la vie.

The final flick I saw was actually with Katie on Sunday night when we went to see, for a second time,How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. She needed a good flick to see and we both liked this the first time around and we had free tickets because our punchcards for the local theater were full. Gotta love freebies.