Sunday, November 30, 2008

Time for a Joke

There was a long, long line of spirits at the gate waiting to get into heaven. Not all these spirits could fit into heaven, so the ones who died the worst death would be allowed in.

The first man in line started telling his story, "Well, Peter, you see, I knew that my wife was cheating on me so I decided to come home early from work one day to catch them in action. I got home and searched all over but I couldn't find him. Then when I walked out onto the balcony, there he was dangling off the darn thing by his fingertips. So I ran and got a hammer then started beating his fingers with it and he fell. Well, the fall didn't kill him, because he landed in a bush so I picked up the refrigerator and threw it on him. Although that killed him, the strain gave me a heart attack, and here I am."

The next man came up and started his story. "St. Peter, I always work out on my balcony on the 14th floor of my apartment building. I was on my bike one day and I fell off when it flipped. I sailed over the rail and I thought "Please God spare my life" and he did. I caught on to a balcony below me. I was even happier when a man discovered me hanging there. But all of a sudden he started beating my hands with a hammer so I fell again. But the dear Lord saved me again when I landed in a bush. But I'm here now because the guy threw his refrigerator on top of me."

It was now the third guy's turn to start his story. "Well, Peter, just picture this. I'm hiding butt naked in this married chick's refrigerator....."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Z" and Wild Bill

I love getting mail from my buddy, Jim Ivey. He doesn't use a computer so it's snail mail only. The great thing is, that Jim always includes a doodle or two. His most recent letter contained caricatures of me and Bill Black. Jim used photos from his 83rd birthday bash for reference. You read that right, Jim's 83 and still full of "prunes and macaroons" as he often says.

I not only hope I have as much energy as Jim when I'm 83, I wish I had it now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that this is one the best Thanksgiving Days ever for each and everyone of us. Remember to count your blessings, eat too much turkey, ignore that family member who irritates you, make big plans, eat too much pie, doze in front of the tube, have a bit more turkey, and remember to watch a bit of the parade!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"The Shield" Final Thoughts

The series finale to "The Shield" was a fitting ending to one of the best crime/cop shows ever on television. Although it would have been impossible to live up to everyone's expectations, the series did manage to go out as it came in... with an episode to surpise, shock and keep you thinking long after the end credits rolled.

Let's end this post with an "interview" with "Shield" creator Shawn Ryan held after he watched the series finale with a half dozen critics. It's fun reading and provides a lot of insight into what made "The Shield" so great. [Hats off to Alan Sepinwall of The Star/Ledger for putting it together.]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

When Computers Go Hinky

I've spent the better part of the afternoon and evening dealing with computer problems. Ugh! I ended up having to shut down the computer and reboot it back to it's original settings. Of course that meant I then had to re-load drivers for my scanner, re-set up my e-mail, re-load programs, and deal with all of the other nonsense that must be dealt with when computers go hinky. Double ugh!!

At least I have "The Shield" to look forward to in less than 15 minutes. If it's good as it should be, my computer problems will be a faded memory.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hoping for Breathtaking!

We're just a little over 24 hours away from the final episode of "The Shield." Although a few critics have seen how the show wraps up, nobody is giving away anything. I'm glad. I can't wait to take it all in and see who lives and who dies.

Gillian Flynn, TV Critic for Entertainment Weekly, saw the finale and concluded her write-up for the November 28th issue by saying:
"When the end comes, it's breathtaking -- and what's even more stunning
is, after you've catalogued all of Mackey's unforgivable sins, you'll still find yourself rooting for him..."
If the finale is even half as good as the premiere episode, we're in for a great hour and a half of television... and if it turns out to be as Flynn says, "breathtaking," even better.

Bruce Lee Ping Pong

Because Bruce Lee is so dearly loved here at the ZONE, I give you, "If Bruce Lee Played Ping Pong."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beatty's Artist Proof

My buddy, John Beatty, has posted nine of his “Artist Proof” Marvel Masterpieces Sketch Cards on E-Bay. He's listed them at the extremely low and affordable $9.99 starting bid. If you've ever thought about getting something from Big Beatty, now could be the time!

A Life Stranger Than Star Wars

I'm not a huge Star Wars or Carrie Fisher fan, but after reading about her today at Victor Gishler's site and then again at Bill Crider's joint, I decided to follow Bill's link to Carrie Fisher's piece. Even if you're not a Star Wars / Carrie Fisher fan, the article is worth a read and if you are a fan, you'll like it that much more.

Pop-Up Help Needed!

I've been plagued by the pop-up pictured above. I can not get rid of it. I've tried Ad-Aware, Spybot, CA Security, but nothing works. I've done research and can't find anything out there that will get rid of it. Any ZONErs who can pass along something that will work would be greatly appreciated!

Ledger for Your Consideration

Warner Bros. has started their push to get Heath Ledger a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. Who can argue with that?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"We've Got To Go Back, Kate!"

We've seen the new poster advertising the return of "Lost." Now we can see the new trailer.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"The Wrestler"

Advance word on "The Wrestler" has been so good, it's scary. After seeing this trailer, I'd have to say that the hype is well deserved.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lost: Destiny Calls

ABC created the poster above to promote the fifth season of "Lost" which premieres in January. You can see a Milky Way-sized version of it here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Shield: Predictions Please!

Next Tuesday, FX will air the final episode of "The Shield." I'm proud to say that I've been a fan of the show since episode one of the first season. I'm equally proud to say that I've turned on several friends and family members it as well. If you're a fan of the show, I'd love to hear how you think it will end. There's been a lot of speculation among devotees of the show. Some of the more interesting predictions include:
  • Mackey will get away clean. [I really don't see this happening.]

  • Mackey will die. [I tend to think not.] He will be killed by Ronnie. [Wouldn't that be a twist? Mackey killed Terry Crawley because he was going to "rat out" the Strike Team and that's exactly what Mackey did to Ronnie.] He will be killed by Dutch. [I'm not convinced Dutch will live -- see below.] He will be killed by Shane. [Nah.] He will be killed by Mora. [Nah.] He will be killed by Corrine or Cassidy. [I just don't see it.] He will be killed by Armenians. [That could happen if they discover that Mackey sold them out to the Feds.]

  • Dutch will be killed by the serial killer kid. [Boy, they sure are foreshadowing it. It would be shocking to see Dutch as he lays dying come to the realization that the kid had outsmarted him. I like Dutch though and hope that he doesn't kick the bucket.]

  • Shane will be killed by Mackey. [Possible and at one point I really wanted to see that... not so much now though.] He will be killed by Ronnie. [Very possible.] He will turn himself in for a deal to spare Mara. [Another possibility.]

  • Claudette will die. [If watching Mackey get immunity didn't kill her, I don't think that she'll just drop dead now -- but you never know.] Claudette will lose it and kill Mackey. [Boy, that would go against everything she has stood for since the show started... so I don't think so.]

  • Ronnie will go to jail because of Mackey's confession. [Possible.] Ronnie will run. [More likely -- and then he may be caught and go to jail or be killed.]

  • Cassidy will be captured and raped/tortured or killed when the Aremenians find out that Mackey double-crossed them. [Boy, wouldn't that be a twist? Mackey becomes the cause of his daughter's ruined life. THAT would be worse than prison.]

  • Corrine will be killed by Mackey when he learns that she ratted him out and in turn he ratted out Ronnie to save her from a non-existent charge. [I don't see Mackey killing any of his family members.]
I think that Mackey will survive but be forced to live with the fact that the events that he put into motion caused him to lose his job and his family. There's an outside shot that Mackey will die, but I hope that he goes out with some dignity if it happens. I think things look grim for Shane and his family. Mora may survive, but I think Shane is going to die. Ronnie will have to run to survive and I'm not convinced he'll make it. Dutch may be in a serial killer's crosshairs and it would be shocking for him to become a victim. I hope he is smarter than that. Claudette has been the moral compass of the show, but I've got a bad feeling in regard to her character. I think we may discover that Shane killed the female cop in order to get away. Dani should end up alright. Same for Billings and Julian. I'm not so sure about Aceveda.

So let's hear your predictions! Then we'll come back next week and see who came closest to getting it right.

24 and More has posted up a bunch of new posters for "24," "24: Redemption," "The Spirit" and a bunch of other tv shows and movies. You can see a bigger version of the poster above and many others by clicking here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Choice for "The Prince"

Over at there's a post about a movie that John ["Escape from New York"] Carpenter is trying to put together. It's called "The Prince" and is a crime drama written by Jeremy Passmore. Here's how Passmore describes it:

"It's a bit of a departure. It's definitely more of a very character based crime movie. I don't know what's going on with it right now, but the premise is that this guy was the most [badass] gangster of all time in Las Vegas, and he's left the life and created this whole new world. His wife died but he's raising his kid. He's living in the middle of nowhere and he's this very religious, trying to live a straight life guy. His daughter is now going to school at UCLA and she disappears, and he goes looking for her. The trail leads to Vegas and he has to go get her, and the entire city kind of comes down on top of him."

I don't know about you, but I know who I'd suggest for the title role.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Greatest?

One of the greatest fights of all-time was the third match between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Dubbed the "Thrilla in Manila" it was the rubber match between two of the best fighters to ever step into the ring. Ali won the battle, but at a great cost. The fight took such a toil on them that both Frazier and Ali never wanted to watch it again.

Now, thirty plus years later, film maker John Dower uses that epic battle as the framework for his documentary "Thriller in Manila." Not only does Dower take a close look at the fight, he takes the controversial stance that Ali's dark side has been glossed over by time and that Joe Frazier was slighted due to the charisma of Ali. Dower uses new interviews with Frazier [who watches the Manila fight for the first time] interspliced with old newsreel footage and interviews to paint a picture of Ali that isn't pretty.

You can read more about the documentary here.

Lesnar Wins Title

I just got home from watching UFC 91. It was a fun night with most fights turning out as predicted. Kenny Florian won by rear naked choke in the first round over Joe Stevenson. The fight that everyone was waiting for was, of course, Brock Lesnar vs Randy Couture for the Heavyweight title. Couture was the fan favorite although Vegas odds preferred Lesnar.

I expected Lesnar to bum rush Couture from the opening bell. I was wrong. Lesnar displayed great respect for Couture and tried to stand with him. When Lesnar did take Couture down, he wasn't able to hold him there. The round ended with Lesnar ahead, but Couture seemed to be gaining momentum. The second round saw more of the same when suddenly Couture went down from a short shot to the temple. Lesnar followed him to the ground and began raining hammerfists. Although Couture wasn't out, he clearly wasn't able to stop the barrage and the ref stepped in to stop it. Lesnar showed more class in this victory than his last. He thanked the fans, Randy Couture and the man upstairs. It'll be interesting to see what lies in the future for both of these fighters.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Can't Wait

Less than twelve hours to the start of UFC 91 and I can't wait. Predictions?

Killshot scored a look at two posters for "Killshot" which stars Diane Lane, Mickey Rourke and is based on Elmore Leonard's best selling novel. The posters are okay -- but I'm expecting the movie to be a lot better.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Daytona Con!

This Sunday [November 16th] from 10am to 5pm at the Holiday Inn & Suites my buddy Steve Meyers is putting on a small comic book convention. Admission and parking are free. John Beatty will be there sketching. That alone is worth the price of admission. There will be other guests and several vendors on hand. Heck, I might even get to swing by for a bit. If you're in the area, you should too! Click here for full details.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gischler Speaks!

If you took my advice and picked up a copy of Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse, then you'll probably enjoy this interview with its author, Victor Gischler. If you haven't read the book yet, then check out the interview and maybe you'll want to.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Night Gallery

Say the name Rod Serling and most folks will come back with "The Twilight Zone." And rightly so. "The Twilight Zone" was a classic sci-fi series that still holds up fifty years later. Although not as well known, Rod Serling's "The Night Gallery" was his follow-up series which premiered on NBC five years after the cancellation of "The Twilight Zone."

The conceit of "The Night Gallery" was that Serling would come out and talk about a painting on display in the "Night Gallery" and the teleplay, either an original story [many by Serling himself] or an adaptation of HP Lovecraft, Richard Matheson or another sci-fi or horror writer would follow. The paintings always related to the story that followed. It was a cool idea and I loved the show when it originally aired. [Keep in mind this was the early 70's and I would have been 11 or 12.]

I've been watching episodes on RTN lately and I hate to say it, but many don't hold up near as well as older episodes of "The Twilight Zone." Part of the problem could be that "The Night Gallery" episodes in syndication are often cut or expanded to meet the half hour time slot.

I recently discovered this site dedicated to "Rod Serling's Night Gallery." It's chock full of information about the series with everything from episode guides, to misconceptions about the series to a gallery of paintings used in each episode. If you have any interest in Rod Serling or "The Night Gallery" you should check out the site. It's even more fun than some of the episodes it covers!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One of Six

Warner Bros., in a very smart marketing ploy, has posted six new character posters for "Watchmen" on six different sites. has smaller versions and links to each right here.

Couture vs Lesnar

This Saturday at 10pm UFC 91 will air on pay-per-view with one of the most highly anticipated mixed martial arts fights of all time. Randy Couture puts his heavyweight title on the line against Brock Lesnar. Both men are accomplished athletes with extensive wrestling skills. Couture is the more experienced octagon fighter, but he will give away over a decade and about 50 pounds. Lesnar is younger, faster, bigger and stronger, but doesn't have anywhere near the experience of Couture.

This is a tough one to call. I'd love to see Couture pull out a win -- it would be the capper to a great career. Although, if Couture beats Lesnar, he'd probably come back for at least another fight or two. Couture has a nearly perfect win streak every time he has gone into a fight as an underdog -- and he is the dog in this fight. Most folks just don't see how Couture can overcome Lesnar's size, strength and punches from fists the size of cinder blocks. Of course if everyone could see how Couture was going to win, he wouldn't be the underdog.

I look forward to reading Raf's predictions for the fight. As for me, I'm going to pull for Couture.

Veterans Day

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kirk and Spock is on a roll. They have posted much larger versions of the "Star Trek" character posters above here.

"The Wrestler" scored the first look at the new poster for "The Wrestler." I am really looking forward to this movie and hope that it lives up to the hype. You can see a bigger version of the poster here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Cool Watchman Character Poster

Yahoo! Movies scored the first look at this very cool Watchman character poster of Rorschach. You can see an even bigger version of it there. Thanks to for the tip!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Tales of the Starlight Drive-In

It's no secret that I love drive-in theaters... and comic books. So does Mike San Giacomo. Mike is a writer who took his passion for drive-ins and comics and created a pretty cool concept for a graphic novel. Mike wrote "26 illustrated stories and six text stories set in a drive-in theater." The stories take place over a 53-year period. Each story had to accomplish three things:
  1. It had to be able to stand alone, make perfect sense even if nothing else was read.
  2. Each stand-alone story must still advance the overarching storyline of the graphic novel as a whole.
  3. Each story had to somehow relate to the movie that is playing at the drive-in at the time.
How cool an idea is that? Very cool, I say!

Here's a link to the website for Tales of the Starlight Drive-In. Here are links to Newsarama's three part series [Part One; Part Two; Part III] covering Mike's trips to historic drive-ins to promote his graphic novel. And here's a link in case you want to order a copy of Tales of the Starlight Drive-In for yourself!

Friday, November 07, 2008

"Expendables" Teaser scored a first look at "The Expendables" teaser poster currently on display at the American Film Market convention. You can see a Godzilla-sized version here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sly is Expendable

Great news! Sly Stallone is set to write, direct and star along side Jason Statham in "The Expendables" for Nu Image/Millennium Films [the same company that released the latest Rambo movie].

Jet Li is in final negotiations to join the cast. "The Expendables" begins filming in February and follows a team of mercenaries hired to overthrow a South American dictator. You can read the full report here.

"...Of the Dead" scored the first look at the poster for George Romero's latest zombie-fest titled "... of the Dead." I kind of like the title considering that we've had "Night of the Living Dead," "Dawn of the Dead," "Day of the Dead," "Land of the Dead," "Diary of the Dead" and even a return to some of the earlier titles. Yeah, "... Of the Dead" works just fine.

You can see a King Kong sized version of the poster and a synopsis of the movie by clicking here.

More Days of Night

A sequel to 30 Days of Night is gearing up with Ghost House Pictures. While this is good news, the really good news is that Steve Niles, who co-created the graphic novel [with artist Ben Templesmith] and co-wrote the first film is back on board. You can read more about the project here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Cooke Talks Parker

Darwyn Cooke recently talked with about his work on the upcoming comic adaptations of Richard Stark's Parker novels. It's great to hear how closely Stark and Cooke are working and how much Cooke loves the project. You can see and hear the interview here.

RIP - Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton died yesterday at the age of 66 from cancer. I was totally shocked to read the news since I had no idea that Mr. Crichton had been ill.

Most folks know Michael Crichton as the author of the best selling novel, Jurassic Park, which became the blockbuster movie of the same name. Many of Mr. Crichton's novels were turned into movies: "The Andromeda Strain," "The Great Train Robbery," "Congo," "The 13th Warrior," and many others made the transition from the written page to the silver screen.

Mr. Crichton wrote the screenplay and directed "Westworld" and was the creator of the long-running and award-winning TV series E.R.?
Michael Crichton was a man of many talents, but his greatest was his ability to create impossible stories and fuse in just enough science to make them seem possible. I've read almost all of the books written under his own name and have enjoyed every one. I still have a couple sitting in my "To Be Read" Bookcase. I think, perhaps, when it is time to start a new novel, I'll pull one down.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Michael Crichton's family, friends and fans.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Worth a Look

Most ZONErs will want to check out the current issue [11.07.08] of Entertainment Weekly [which is on newstands now]. Not only does it cover 54 films that will be coming out this fall, but there is also extended coverage of Daniel Craig in "Quantum of Solace" as well as an eight page profile of Mickey Rourke. Any of these features is worth the price of admission, but all three together is a bargain.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Dead Goombas

Here at the ZONE we love a good zombie tale. We are also partial to excellent crime stories. So... you just know we're going to have to check out Dead Goombas by J. Torres and Andy B. [even if it is a comedy]. You can get a preview by clicking here.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Vote Smart

I got up early today and headed down with the family to take part in early voting. Although it was the longest line I've ever stood in for anything, the time went by amazingly fast since we were regularly moving forward. I'm always surprised at the number of people on hand to pass out flyers and information about candidates and positions. If you haven't made up your mind by the time you're in line to vote, you probably should have done a bit more homework. Still, these last minute efforts must pay off since there are always folks on hand to make them. I ended up voting for three Democrats and two Republicans. I guess that fits my Independent profile.

I'm glad that I voted early. Now I can sit back and enjoy watching how the election plays out. Like John Beatty, I seldom post about politics or religion on the ZONE. There are enough political sites on the net and I'd rather spend my time at discussing movies, novels, tv, comics, and art. But before I close out this political post, let me encourage each of you who can vote in this election to do so. Vote for the candidates that you think will do the best job -- and don't be afraid to cross party lines. Do your research and then vote smart.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.