Five More (Random) Things I’m Grateful For

In no particular order:
* Yogurt muffins – I have a strong wheat allergy, so I can’t eat most breads or cereals, including waffles, bagels and pancakes. Instead I mostly eat yogurt-based muffins for breakfast, which go down just fine. And they’re tasty as heck. So thanks yogurt muffins.
* Baseball – Although a Yankees fan through and through, I can pretty much watch any two teams play baseball. I just love the game. It evokes summer and sun and outdoors and easy Saturday afternoons and all things relaxed and fun. I’ll take it every time.
* Liz’s Pregnant Belly – We’ve only got a few months to go before the babies come, and unless we get a real surprise, this is it for us. This will likely be Liz’s only pregnancy. There’s just something truly amazing at watching her belly grow, and feeling the babies kick now and again. I always thought it would be cool, but until you actually experience it, there’s no way to really prepare for it. I’m thrilled for the kids to come, but I’m enjoying the pregnant belly while it’s here.
* Timing the Subway – It doesn’t happen nearly as often I’d like, but there’s something awesome about walking down the stairs, to the subway platform, and having the train arrive just when you do — and you can get a seat. I’d unofficially estimate it all comes together like that about 7 percent of the time, but when it does, it’s sweet. Life is complicated enough, so when you get that smooth transition from place to place, without hassle or waiting, it just brings a smile to my face. And reminds me that maybe I’ve been living in the city too long!
* Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad – I’m still only in the early stages of Breaking Bad season 2, but it’s one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. And Bryan Cranston (otherwise known as the dad from Malcolm in the Middle) delivers one of the most intense, nuanced performances ever. I never would have suspected he had such talent, but he does. His portrayal of Walter White will go down in TV history. It’s simply incredible to watch. 

House Season 6 – Review

After six seasons, HOUSE is essentially what it’s always been, and yet so much more. Episode to episode the format is the same. Patient has some bizarre symptoms, House and his team guess and treat, guess and treat, and as the patient speeds toward death, House berates his team for being morons (at least compared to him), until he finally has an a-ha moment in the nick of time, and saves the day.
And yet the most compelling reason to watch is the characters themselves, House in particular.
The self destructive House has legitimately tried to change his curmudgeonly ways. He doesn’t always do so well, but at least, in his own half-assed attempts, he’s making the effort.
House loves Cuddy, but won’t come out and say so. Cuddy loves House, but won’t come out and say so. House cherishes Wilson’s friendship, but won’t come out and say so. Wilson actually says so, but gets rebuffed by House regularly for doing so. And for reasons that are always entirely clear, they all try to help House be well, less House-like.
As for his team of docs, well … they’re kind of interesting, I suppose. Chase is a little too mopey, even with his doc wife, Cameron, divorcing him. Foreman is just an outright bummer, Taub, for his part, has at least tried to battle his infidelity demons, to varying degrees of success, and, of course, Thirteen is certainly easy on the eyes and for me, at least, the most compelling doc on House’s team. But in the end, you watch House for House himself.
In what was essentially a two-part season finale, House gets the ultimate House confrontation — House on House. I won’t give away any spoilers, but after trying to save a young woman’s life as she’s trapped in a collapsed parking garage, we finally see House move toward something–or someone–he’s wanted all along. But given House’s past, given his drug addiction and hallucinations … is it, as he asks, even real?
All in all House is House is House. I’d still like to see the show evolve more than it has, perhaps having cases stretch across multiple episodes, rather than the “case of the week” format, but if you’re looking for medical mysteries, black humor and the peeling away of personalities, House still delivers.
House Season 6 Finale
Grade: A-
House Season 6
Grade: B

Corey Haim Cause of Death — Pneunomia? Really?

The official autopsy report regarding Corey Haim’s death last month says that he died of natural causes — i.e. pneumonia. It isn’t often that a 38-year-old man in Western culture dies of this, but OK. If you say so.
The reporter also says the following:
“These medications are present in low levels and are non-contributory to death:”
* An antidepressant (Prozac)
* An antipsychotic (Olanzapine)
* Diazepam (Valium)
* A muscle relaxer (Carisoprodol)
* A tranquilizer (meprobamate)
* THC (a chemical in marijuana)
* A cough suppressant
* An antihistamine
* Ibuprofen
Ummm … I know I’m not a doctor, but all those drugs really had nothing to do with his death?
I’ve got nothing against the guy, but methinks this report sounds a wee bit suspicious …

Russ’ Newsletter: Vol. 4, Issue 3 – And Babies Make … Five?

It’s that time again, with lots of news to share. So with Spring in the air, and Simon’s chew toys every, every, everywhere, I’ll jump right in:
* So what’s the latest on Finders Keepers? Oooh. So glad you asked. As you read this very newsletter I’ve got some KILLER new artwork underway from partner-in-crime and totally awesome comic book dude Rich Koslowski (, who is brewing up a Finders Keepers masterpiece. Once the artwork is complete  … should be very soon … I’ll send word of the official unveiling. Gonna be sa-weet.
* Speaking of Rich Koslowski, his own new comic book project … BB Wolf and the Three LPs … is out this month, with Rich doing the artwork (which is amazing, by the way). BB Wolf is a retelling of the classic Three Little Pigs, with a new twist, putting our hero … Mr. Wolf … as a blues singer from the 1920s, who pretty much gets the shaft. Look for BB Wolf and the Three LPs on Rich’s Web site ( or at your local comic book shop.
* In other Finders Keepers news, a few weeks back I hung out at the 2010 Boston Comic-Con with partner-in-crime Rich Henn (, talking up Finders Keepers, making contacts, buying comics, and taking pics. To read about the show, check out my blogs from early April, and look for pics in the Photos section of my web site.
* And for yet even more Finders Keepers news, most of you know I recently launched my new Web site (, which I updated to be more streamlined and user-friendly. So if you haven’t already, check it out, click around, and let me know what you think. Also, a big shout out goes to Webmaster Ron Benchetrit, who was the technical brains (and brawn) behind the new site. Thanks Ron!
* As for my other big project, I just got my first batch of feedback on my second novel, Crossline, and it looks I’ve got to start the darn thing all over again. … Just kidding! The early word on Crossline is extremely positive, and now that I’ve got some helpful eyes on the page, I can start redrafting a few scenes, making tweaks where necessary, and get the manuscript in publisher shape as soon as possible. It’s gonna rock!
* And, last but certainly not least  … for some big personal news … for those who don’t know yet … I’m gonna be a dad. Twice. Yep. Twins on the way. Due in August. Liz is in full preggers mode, with mommy and the babies all doing well. We are spending loads of time prepping our apartment, purging closets, registering for baby gear and pretty much planning to have our lives taken over!
And for those of you who are wondering … noooooooo, we don’t know the sex of the babies …. and noooooooo, we’re not going to find out until they show up. But for those of you who think it’s outrageous, egregious and downright batty that we won’t find out in advance, if it’s any consolation … the babies will either be two boys, two girls or one of each.

Simon doesn’t even know about the new arrivals yet, but I’m starting to think he suspects something’s up. Our little family is getting bigger … and fast!
So … as I prepare for impending fatherhood (and even less sleep than I get now), that’s all the news that’s fit to print for this edition. I suspect I’ll have even more (and very cool) news to report quite soon, so stay tuned for updates as the summer sun finds its way here.
To fatherhood … and beyond!
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Simon: Year One

I can’t believe it’s been a year already, but one year ago today Liz and I drove
into New Jersey and adopted Simon.
My entire life I’ve been a cat person, and now I’m a dog person too!
Happy Anniversary Simon! It’s been a great year. And we’ve got many more
ahead …
And for a little history … what Simon’s got there is a souvenir from my
bachelor party. The guys thought it would be just heeee-larious to get my this
devil-horned hat to wear as we went bar-hopping.

So I did.

Mayhem ensued. And now it’s Simon’s newest chew toy.

Yep. That’s my Simon for ya …

There’s No Puking in Baseball

Okay … this has to rank up there as one of the more bizarre–and disgusting–baseball stories I’ve heard in a long, long time (as reported by the Associated Press):

Boston Comic-Con 2010 – Beer, Chinese Food and Horse Called Henn

Saturday night at the 2010 Boston Comic-Con was, how should I say
… glutinous.
First Rich and I hooked up with old friends Al and Barb, and headed
into Boston’s Chinatown. There we met up with some of Rich’s
comic-bookgrading buddies from the CGC, and ordered us up
some grub! To get an idea of the table of food we had in front of
us, check out this feast:
After eating enough General Tsao’s Chicken that it was seeping out
of my eye sockets — and a few beers to wash it down — we headed
over to Jacob Worth, where they have 100 beers to choose from.
You can see the list yourself:
Now, I’d love to say that we went all beer sampling gonzo, but,
the fact is, I crashed. Hard. Not a half a beer down and I was pretty
much out of it. Try as I might, I just couldn’t force down another
gulp. So after about an hour, we headed back to the hotel. But not
before Henn himself found himself some action with a horse,
but I’ll have to keep those pics for another day.
So, yeah … it was kinda like that.
We hit the hotel afterwords, crashed out, and then hit the show on
Sunday. I was only there a few hours before heading home.
All in all it was a great weekend, but, dude … I’m beat!
This comics and beer thing is hard work!
Until next time …

Boston Comic-Con 2010 – Ghostbusters, Black Widow and … Cornbeef?

The first bit of good news is that I made back from the 2010 Boston Comic-Con in one piece.
That alone warrants it an awesome trip!
I rolled into Boston late Friday night — my train was delayed an hour — so I didn’t hit Bean Town until about 11 pm. There I met partner-in-crime Rich Henn, whereupon he immediately fed me beer and a cold (but still pretty good) half a corn beef sandwich. And more beer.
Saturday was a full day at the convention, which turned out quite well, because it was bitterly cold that day! MAN that Boston wind really gets you.
Rich spent his day on the convention floor getting books signed by authors and artists (I joined him for some of it), and otherwise I did some bin diving, and took home some Captain America trade paperbacks from the Brubaker run. And of, course, I took as many pics as I could of the various attendees.
It wasn’t a big show, but overall it was a pretty fun. Large enough to have variety, but not so big and loud that it makes your ears bleed. At one point I hooked up with the Ghostbusters (see below)
And then I managed to get a little one-on-one time with Black Widow.
I also talked and networked some FINDERS KEEPERS (but of course), and laid the groundwork for future projects.
Saturday night was it’s own adventure, so I’ll post that in the next blog …

My Passover Smackdown

For Passover this year Liz and I headed out to New Jersey, to have an early Seder at her parent’s place. Since we were going out there, we loaded up the car with some stuff we wanted to put into storage, including a few boxes of books, and our bicycles. It took a few trips, but I got everything into the garage in our building … only to find out that both bicycles won’t fit in the trunk. Bummer. So that meant unloading the trunk, re-arranging the space, and bringing one of the bicycles back up to the apartment (they didn’t fit in the back seat).
Once we got off and running, I quickly saw that the trunk–which I fastened with bungee cords–wasn’t securely fastened. So I had to pull over on a side street and lay down the ground to unhinge the bungee cord. But as I did, I got a huge exhaust blast in the face from the exhaust pipe, on the driver’s side of the car. I immediately turned the other way … only to get blasted by the other exhaust pipe, on the passenger’s side.
This clearly wasn’t working, so I went back into the car, to turn off the engine. Liz then called my attention to Simon, who was struggling in the back seat. See … once I got out of the car the first time, he took that to mean that he was getting out too, and managed to get tangled up in his harness. As I tried to untangle him, he bucked forward … and bam! He headbutted me right in the face, smashing his forehead into the bridge of my glasses and my face.
And I still need to deal with the trunk.
So I go back outside, lay back down on the street … and blam! The bungee cord came unhinged and snap-cracked me right in the face.
Exhaust. Headbutt. Bungee cord.
I have to admit, that wasn’t exactly how I wanted my holiday to start. Then again, it wasn’t quite as bad as, say, the Passover plagues sent down to smite the Pharoh, so all things considered, I guess I got off easy.
Plus I got to eat brisket, turkey and matzoh ball soup.
Yep. Way better than getting smote.

Dexter Season 4 – It’s a Killer!

I know I’ve been keeping you up to speed through my newsletters–which you can also see right here on this brand new snazzy site–but for those of you who are just catching up, here’s a snapshot:
* On the FINDERS KEEPERS front, I’ve got some new cover artwork coming your way, and I can say it’s going to be awesome! I don’t want to give away any details right now, including the theme and the artist–but it’s safe to say that the finished color artwork will knock your socks off!
* As for CROSSLINE, after two years I finally … finally … finished a first draft and am passing it along to my writer’s inner sanctum.
And onto other important issues–like, my favorite TV shows–Liz and I finally finished watching season 4 of Dexter, and all I can say is … AWESOME! We are absolutely hooked. It’s like if Batman didn’t wear a mask, but instead was a serial killer and walked around in plain sight.
Every season is great, and this was no exception. John Lithgow guest starred as the Trinity Killer, and I can say his Emmy for it was well-deserved. I tend to think of him as a ham, but he was so creepy and believable as this very bizarre serial killer. And, as always, Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan, totally nailed it (and won his own Emmy). I do want to give a shout out to Hall’s wife and fellow star Jennifer Carpenter, who plays Detective Debra Morgan, Dexter’s sister, who doesn’t know he’s a, well, serial killer. She has this nervous, twitchy quality that makes her so real and sympathetically addicting, that she more than deserves her own Emmy.
Other than that, I spent six hours on Saturday getting my oil changed and car inspected at PEPBOYS–so not happy about it–but sometimes you just gotta get it done. And Simon’s been digging this great weather, soaking up the sun like the fun-loving doggie that he is.
I’m off to do a little more tinkering with the site, so until next time …

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