Lazy Weekend – Books and Cartoons

Did some work around the house and generally lazed around this weekend.

Watched the animated Clone Wars series with my kids.

clones wars dvd clone wars dvd

If you’re a Star Wars fan, you probably want to check these out. The animation is sorta quirky, very much in line with a lot of what’s on Cartoon Network and such these days. Maybe Samurai Jack-ish, or something. Not really sure, as I don’t watch the stuff, but it’s definitely a particular style. Anyway, you will be surprised at the quality of the writing.

The stories take place between Episodes II and III, and lead directly into ‘Revenge of the Sith’. If you were wondering who the heck that robot general guy is at the beginning of Episode III and why is he coughing, your questions will be answered. Excellent, and those of you who have been disappointed since the end of The Empire Strikes back will probably say “Now THIS is what Star Wars should be!

I’d also be interested in hearing what other fans who’ve seen the cartoons think of them.

Last I heard, there are two Star Wars television series on the way, one animated (not sure if it’s along the lines of or tied to Clone Wars) and one live action.

making of star wars book

Speaking of Star Wars, I recently picked up The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film by J.W. Rinzler and just started reading it. The foundation of the book is a collection of “lost” interviews conducted during and just after the making of the original blockbuster. They had been collected for a book at the time but it was never completed. Using those interviews, given before the scope of the film’s success and impact on pop culture had become apparent, the Rinzler builds a great narrative complete with comparisons of early drafts of the script, conceptual artwork and storyboards, and a ton of behind-the-scenes production photos, many of which I’ve never seen before.

I also picked up a copy of Bernard Irleand’s The Illustrated Guide to Aircraft Carriers of the World. Now, looking this up I see that it’s due to be published next January. Which is odd, considering I bought it yesterday off the cheap racks at Barnes & Noble. It appears that the book will be republished soon. The copy I have is published by B&N. The new version may have a few updates, but Murdoc can heartily recommend either edition. Amazingly good for a consumer-type compendium.

f-14 tomcat book

While browsing at the bookstore (which is still a lot of fun despite online shopping) I happened across Grumman F-14 Tomcat: Bye – Bye Baby…!: Images & Reminiscences From 35 Years of Active Service by Dave Parsons, George Hall, and Bob Lawson. A gorgeous book with tons of photos and packed with info and quotes, this looks to be a great read and look for Tomcat fans. I didn’t buy it yesterday, but if the publisher wants to send me one for a full review I will be glad to oblige. (Heh.)

dangerous book for boys

On a different note, I finally picked up The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden. This book has been all over the blogosphere for a while, and I must admit that it lives up to the hype.

My son’s in Boy Scouts, so he has some exposure to some of the outdoors stuff and knots and such that I fear a lot of boys don’t ever see. And the idiosyncrasies of his father mean that he’s not unfamiliar with some of the more interesting points regarding military history and similar subjects. But if every boy had a bit more exposure to the contents of this book, I think the world would be a better place. No exaggeration. Oh, and girls can read it too. Most of it will appeal to most girls, though the recent interest in this book on the internet has pointed out several similar books targeted for those of the fairer sex.

Including sections on paper airplanes, making a bow and arrow, timers and tripwires, U.S. Naval flag codes, famous battles, pirates, navigation, how to play poker, the Ten Commandments, chess, and the wonders of the world (both modern and ancient), this is truly a book that no boy should be without.

Murdoc’s going to be reading the thing himself. For instance, he never learned to play marbles.


  1. If you work on a military base, just remember not to bring that stick of wood with notches on either end and a handle onto the base, or you could get fired like my friend did. I’m still so amazed at the stupidity. Decades of being rewarded for making stupid choices have taken this place down to the current level. It’s not like we don’t have real terrorists to worry about. Not that we want to talk about them for fear of being perceived as ‘not politically correct’ by head-in-the-sand liberals. Better that we should be defenseless and try to appease terrorists than that we should have the right to defend ourselves.

  2. Dfens: I think we all can agree that a certain level of security is required, and that in some cases zero-tolerance makes sense. As you describe it, the case of your former co-worker is obviously not one of those cases. Instead, it’s just another example of zero-tolerance run amuck, political correctness gone overboard, and the ongoing wussifying of America. The Dangerous Book for Boys is intended to help combat this trend, and if enough kids read it and learn some of what’s inside, it will help us fight off the barbarians for another generation or two. If I have anything to do with it, my son will be doing his part to hold the line. And I’m fairly certain my daughter will get in a few shots along the way, as well.

  3. Zero-tolerance by definition does not make sense. It purposely takes sense out of the equation. If there is no judgement to be made, there is no accountablility required. And thus is born our society.

  4. ‘Murdoc’s going to be reading the thing himself. For instance, he never learned to play marbles.’ Oh man Murdoc you really led a very deprived childhood. No steelies, cat’s eyes, aggies or glassies? Whip out the old sock full of your stash of marbles. Draw a circle in the sand about a yard in diameter. Salt the circle (put in an agreed number of marbles) Shoot for firsties knuckle down ready, aim, shoot Go for your opponent’s favorite marble (that pisses him off, ruins his aim when it’s his turn) The object of the game is: DON’T LOOSE YOUR MARBLES!

  5. Dfens: I agree. I meant zero-tolerance along the lines of ‘Cross this red line and you will be shot…no quesitons asked. If you’re carrying ID, we’ll contact your family so they know where to come and pick up your body.’ The sense would be at the level that determines where those red lines go. Hopefully. Instead, we have zero-tolerance for pictures of guns in schools and broken bows in pick-up trucks but the people we should really be afraid of get the benefit of the doubt all too often. Toejam: Deprived childhood? You don’t know the half of it. For instance, Murdoc’s entire family was Democrat…

  6. Interesting you should mention Samurai Jack, because the same guy who produced this for Cartoon Network, also helped create the Clone Wars toons. His name is Genndy Tartakovsky, and he also created the excellent Dexter’s Lab series. You are right, they are better than the recent Star Wars films, thanks mainly to Genndy’s creative talent, I think.

  7. Ahhh, Dexter’s Laboratory. That’s where I’ve seen this look. My kids watched DL for a while (and I thought it was particularly funny…) though they’ve never watched Samurai Jack. We’ve seen commercials for it, though.

  8. When it comes to the right to keep and bear arms, we’d all be much better off if they’d keep their hands off our weapons unless we’ve forfeited those rights by breaking the law. Did you see this episode of Mythbusters where they debunk the myth that a bullet would cause an airplane to experience explosive decompression (if you know how an airplane is designed, you won’t be surprised by the show)? So now can someone tell me why I can’t bring a gun onto an airplane? They take my rights away while they agonize over those of the terrorists. That’s insane. Then they try to turn our boys into girls and our girls into boys. The only thing they do consistently is fail.

  9. Both Dexter’s lab and Samurai Jack were created by Genndy Tartakovsky, his work was noticed by George Lucas who contacted him for Clone Wars. The new animated series will be based on the original Clone Wars series, it will be in CG and considerably longer; though Tartakovsky isn’t involved (his own decision), it will be Lucasfilm/ILM’s first purely in-house animated series. There’s a trailer at: