Mmmm... gyros

Mark your calendars, gyro fans. This Tuesday, August 31st, is Kronos Free Gyros Day. Simply print a coupon from the Kronos website, enjoy a free gyro at one of dozens of Chicagoland restaurants, and help out some veterans by making a donation to Fisher House. Sounds like a great deal to me.

Though I don't watch PBS much now, I sometimes think back about how much of my early viewing was made up of content from PBS. The big things like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and Sesame Street for sure, but even the little things like "Star Hustler" are a part of my early nerd DNA.

I don't know exactly when WILL-TV aired "Jack Horkheimer: Star Hustler," but my recollection is that he came on before or after Saturday afternoon/evening episodes of Doctor Who.

I'm not much into star gazing. I think it would be neat to be able to look up and identify things, but honestly, following up the fantastical adventures of the time traveling Time Lord with five minutes of astronomy technobabble wasn't WILL's best move for inspiring this particular youth. When I looked up, I'd imagine space battles or wonder about alien civilizations. Reality was never quite as interesting.

That said, it didn't really matter. I still loved to watch Jack Horkheimer because he was passionate about this topic and it exuded into his five minute segments. He could have talked about accounting and I still probably would have listened to him if he had that enthusiasm. He made me want to care about astronomy.

At some point in the last few years, the segment was renamed to "Star Gazer." That never seemed quite as cool. Despite the change in name, the TV graphics (and their website) never evolved much past mid 90s technology. That only adds to the charm in my opinion.

Thanks to YouTube, us GenXer's get to revisit our youth with a few keystrokes. Here's a Star Hustler segment from 1985, the way I'll always remember it:

Okay Jack, I'll keep looking up and I'll be looking for you on that big light bridge in the sky.

sherlock-holmes-dvd-image-498x600 Finally, a review title that sounds like a 1970s blaxploitation character. Maybe this gimmick will work out after all.

Last weekend my wife brought home Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes on DVD for evening viewing. I had no desire to see this film in the theater or on DVD, but Saturday nights are about watching DVDs and marriage is about compromise.


I had heard that the story was nonsensical and the whodunit reveal at the end came completely out of left field, so I was pleasantly surprised by how well the story held together. It was an adequate mystery that felt enough like a Holmes story to cut the mustard. I liked that they started the franchise off with an established Holmes-Watson relationship and that Moriarty was involved but not as the main villain.


I completely understand the need to do something fresh when adapting something as worn as Sherlock Holmes or Robin Hood, but many of choices didn’t work for me. In trying to emphasize the rough and crazy side of Holmes, Downey’s portrayal got off track. Indeed Holmes was a neurotic badass, but he also took himself extremely seriously and rarely lost control of a situation. With those personality traits altered, Downey’s character just didn’t feel like Holmes.

The Irene Adler character was so completely wrong I don’t even know where to start. Ultimately she adds up to a boring character that shouldn’t have any appeal to a man like Holmes.

The cinematography felt like every other Guy Ritchie movie, for better or worse. For me it’s definitely worse, but Ritchie fans should be pleased.

On the plus side, Jude Law did a good take on Watson and Mark Strong, the soon to be Sinestro, made a solid villain. The CGI was OK, but not top notch.







No thanks. If I need a Sherlock Holmes fix, I’ll revisit the 80s and 90s British TV series starring Jeremy Brett. That version of Holmes showed some of the edginess played up in this movie without losing any of the essence of the character.

If I could pick one movie to live inside, it might be "Enter the Dragon." The life of a professional international tournament fighter probably has its drawbacks, but doesn't every career?

Michael Jai White, as those who have seen "Black Dynamite" already know, should be a much bigger star. Jason Statham big, anyway. He's a decent "serious" actor, built like Arnold, tons of charisma, and has some serious martial arts chops. And this is his first flat-out martial arts movie.

MJW stars as the mysterious mystery man of mystery, Bone, an ex-convict who quickly climbs the ranks of an illegal streetfighting league, pursuing an agenda that he keeps to himself and attracting the attention of a local crimelord named James.

James has an agenda, too --- he's trying to climb the ranks from local crimelord (with vaguely defined, fairly lucrative, but obviously small-time activities) to international super-villain. He wears awesome suits, quotes Ghengis Khan, hates profanity, and does kendo . . . all great stuff for an aspiring super-villain --- but he just hasn't gotten his shot at the big time, in part because the cabal of evil Eurotrash he's trying to break into is sort of racist (as cabalist Julian Sands explains in a wonderfully acted scene). You can't help but like James --- he's trying to play the part, and he admits that he still has a long way to go to become the man he's trying to be. And when he gets outmaneuvered by Bone, he starts to fall apart.

And the fights . . . no wire work, no CG, and some outstanding camera work and choreography. A martial arts movie should be shot like a Gene Kelly movie --- lots of long full-body shots where we can see the flow of the movement and the skill of the participants. "Blood and Bone" delivers --- none of this short, choppy, shaky-cam stuff. A good mixture of fighting styles are displayed, from brutal prison bumrushes to MMA to some more upscale kickboxing, and it's all done with a bit more realism than has become typical in this sort of movie.
When Hasbro started the G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary line a few years ago, I thought they were awesome, but I hesitated getting into it until I saw that the line really took off. At this point, I have a pretty decent sized collection. More than I planned to get. Probably more than I should have gotten. But, that's not to say I don't want more. As I peruse lists of classic figures or look at my own vintage figures, I think about how a Lifeline, Crazylegs, or Airtight would be great to have. Or decent versions of Cover Girl, Footloose, and Law & Order rather than the movie-style figures we got.

Two figures I never dreamed we would get were the figures based on real people. While there was a rumor that The Fridge might be a mail-in, Doc won out instead. And with wrestling licenses including Sgt. Slaughter, there seemed to be little hope that Sarge would ever get made by Hasbro for this line.

Somehow, that changed and as an exclusive for the 2010 San Diego Comic Con (unfortunately, the NLCC couldn't swing this deal), Hasbro sold two different Sgt. Slaughter action figures. Upon hearing the news, I knew that I had to get one. Sarge was one of my favorite figures growing up.

There was no guarantee that Hasbro would sell these separate from the convention and I wasn't really looking forward to battling other crazy folk like me on eBay. So I put the call out on Twitter to see if any of my followers weren't annoyed by me enough to swing by the Hasbro booth and pick one up for me.

And the third nicest guy in the world, @CapSteveRogers, answered the call and did just that.

There were two versions and I specifically requested the version that matched my vintage version rather than the one dubbed "Triple T" that went with the Triple T Tank.

This figure came carded on the 25th Anniversary style cards and was in a G.I. Joe clamshell case. I planned on opening him all along, but upon seeing it in the package, I briefly considered leaving him in his prison. But what prison can hold Sgt. Slaughter?! None, I say. So, free him I did.

As for accessories, he comes with a removable whistle, his baton, a mic, a G.I. Joe wrestling championship belt, and a stand. The variant came with a gun.

All in all, a great figure. While I'm not a big fan of exclusives in general, under the special circumstances with rights and licenses, I appreciate the effort Hasbro made to make this happen. Very well done. Now, let's see The Fridge for 2011.

More pics...
I have stumbled upon one of the best lunch deals ever. I am no huge fan of Walmart as a whole, but certainly appreciate the ability to save some money even at the expense of losing out on some decent service or quality.

That said, I have found the Walmart deli to be more hit than miss, particularly the Walmart closest to where I work.

They have in these Walmart delis various flavors of boneless chicken wings or "nugglers" as we call them at the office. Usually I find that they have at most two flavors out, but typically just one at a time. I've tried the General Tso's, BBQ, and a couple others. They're all decent, but Tso's is probably my favorite.

I had been ordering boneless chicken wings by the pound which meant I could get a decent amount for $4 or so. On a recent trip, the guy working at the deli (referred to at the office as "beard net guy") informed me of a $3 meal that contains a meat, a side and a roll. With this, I can get a pile of nugglers, potato wedges, and a roll. I can't promise that you'll get the same helping I got, but this deli worker packed my tray full of food. It was so much food that I didn't eat again until the next day at lunch.

On subsequent trips, I've gotten a little bit less food, but still more than enough for a decent-sized lunch.

I highly recommend exploring this option as an alternative to typical fast food fare.