Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Red Sox Roll on!

Welcome back!

Less than 2 weeks ago, I wrote about how bad the Sox were doing -- and now I'm posting about how well they're doing! How times have changed! We're in a 9 game win streak (winning today's game over the Phillies in 12 innings with a walk off single by David Ortiz!). We're up two games over the Yankees - things are going well.

The only problems -- the last 9 games were played against (poor) National League teams -- and we're heading into a 3 game series with the Mets - who are at the top of the National League. Will we continue our winning ways or revert to our mediocre selves?

This 3 game Met series is a two-pronged reunion:

1) this is the 20th anniversary of the 1986 World Series Red Sox vs Mets (Sox lost of course).

2) Pedro Martinez returns to Fenway Park for the first time since leaving as a free agent in 2005. Wonder what kind of reception he'll receive as he takes the mound at the bottom of the first inning on Wed (6/28)?

Will you be watching the nationally televised Red Sox vs. Mets game on Wed June 28th? If not, why not? If so, who are you rooting for? Let us know by leaving your comments below!

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Team USA Eliminated!

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Well, as you can see by this entry's title, Team USA lost (1-2) vs Ghana. We made a spectacular goal at the end of the first half only to be "equalized" by a phantom (as called by US announcers) penalty/free kick against the US.

It was fun while it lasted - now, it's time to point fingers, blame the officials and move ahead to 2010 World Cup play.

While the 2006 FIFA World Cup chances are over for Team USA, Tony Island Blog is here to stay!

Leave some thoughts about our 2006 World Cup play by clicking the comment link below!

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Halftime --- USA - 1 / Ghana - 2

Welcome back!

Well, we're at half time in the USA vs Ghana 2006 FIFA World Cup game. Ghana scored first when our captain went down trying to defend the ball. With less than one minute left in regulation play, the USA scored its first goal of the 2006 FIFA (the goal scored in the vs. Italy game was an "own goal" scored by an Italian player).

Now into stoppage time, the referree calls a foul against the USA giving Ghana a penalty shot. This is an unobstructed shot by one player against our goal and goalkeeper from 12 yards! Of course, the Ghana player makes the goal and the score finishes at 2-1 going into half-time.

It was a fairly good half, but the USA wasn't making the moves it needed to make until the very end (and it was a spectacular goal!). They need to turn up the pressure in the second half - they have nothing to lose. If I were the head coach, I'd pour it all on - getting fouled left and right. The hell with it all - we NEED to win!

BTW, Italy is ahead in their game (which is important to the USA if we are to advance).

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Soccer!! Soccer??

Welcome back!

Well, it's the BIG DAY for the United States team in the 2006 FIFA World Cup - they either win and move on  to the next round of competition or they lose and go home.

I'm not a huge fan of soccer, but enjoy the game to an extent (I follow the New England Revolution here at home). I will be watching today though to see if the US can advance to the "Round of 16".

I can't figure out why Americans (and, I guess, to an extent, our neighbors to the north, Canadians) don't like soccer on the scale that it's enjoyed in the rest of the world. We tend to think of soccer as a school age game for the most part (and, if I'm not mistaken, Europeans view baseball in the same way). There is Major League Soccer in the United States that has been going strong for 10 years, but it just doesn't seem to have gotten the toehold that baseball and football have. Why is that? The game is fairly interesting, but there doesn't seem to be much happening - it's sort of like hockey on grass - a lot of running around for little result. I'm particularly impressed by the endurance of the athletes though. There are no breaks in soccer, unlike football, so they must run around for 90 minutes. There are susbtitutions, but once you are out you don't go back in.

OK - the game is just about to begin! The anthems have been played, the coin tossed and we're off!

GO U.S.A.!!!

Any thoughts on soccer? Have you been watching FIFA? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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Friday, June 16, 2006

I'm still here!

Welcome back!

No, no I haven't disappeared (though I'm sure some of you wish I would!)

I've still been watching DVDs and stuff, but didn't want to continually post DVD reviews -- but then, I didn't know what else to post! I mean, I do have some nutty things rattling around in my mind, but I wasn't sure anyone wanted to read about them! :-)

I still have my Wizard of OZ trading card box to crack open along with some other boxes -- but of course I have yet to do it! I will soon though.

What do you think of the recently added counter over on the left? I think it's kinda neat! If you hover your mouse pointer over the flag of the visitor country  it will show you where in the world that ocuntry is! Very neat! Leave some comments about the counter using the comment links below.

Oh! I know what else I had to ask - does anyone out there use a standalone "blog editor" to create blog posts off line? I am currently using Qumana's Editor/blog manager (beta 3). It's fairly decent, but I was hoping there'd be one out there with some more polish and power. I don't need a ton of power, but something with a little more oomph would help. Post your suggestions using the comment link!

Thanks for reading my blog!

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

DVD Review: Tarzan, The Ape Man

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Believe it or not, I never saw the 1981 Bo Derek feature movie Tarzan, The Ape Man until just the other day! After checking out Disney's animated take on Tarzan a few weeks back, I decided to check out this live action "classic". I was expecting it to be terrible and perhaps because of that low, low expectation, I didn't find it that bad!

OK - it's not Shakespeare, but what is these days? Bo Derek is there simply for the eye candy value - which isn't a bad thing! She has a lovely body, which we're lucky to see fully naked several times! And, her acting isn't that bad either (again, low expectations at work here ;-). For those who don't know the story...basically, Jane (Bo Derek) goes to see her father, who is on an expedition in Africa. They head off with a group of natives to explore an area with a large mountain. At the mountain, they encounter the "Tarzan yell" - and from that point on, it's just a matter of time before Tarzan (a chiseled Miles O'Keeffe) meets Jane and vice versa. There isn't too much story at this point (Jane's father goes to hunt for her after she's kidnapped by Tarzan). It's not until the tail end of the movie, when Jane and her father are captured by a tribe of savages, that things begin to pick up. In one particularly erotic/disturbing scene, Jane's naked body is covered with mud, by the savage women, in preparation for the tribe leader's pleasures. In the end, Tarzan rescues everyone and Jane stays with Tarzan, in the jungle, to live happily ever after.

It's not a perfect film, by far. A bit of overacting by Richard Harris as Jane's father grates a bit. The film is also too long - at just under 2 hours, it could have been cut by at least 30 minutes or so. I was impressed with the sets and scenery and especially the trained "jungle animals". They did some neat things! I thought it odd that Tarzan would be so chiseled - sure, I can see him being thin living in the jungle, but chiseled?

I'll give this one 2.5 vines out of 5! Rent it for fun - and a little peek at Bo in her prime!

What do you think of the Tarzan character? Like him, hate him or neutral? How about his portrayals in the movies and on TV? Share your thoughts by leaving some comments using the link below!

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Friday, June 09, 2006

LOVED it! / hated IT! / Loved it! (again)

Welcome back!

OK - have you ever watched a film, read a book, watched a TV series and thought "WOW! I loved that! Can't wait to see it again!"...then, when you finally do see it again, you think "What the hell is this crap?? What was I thinking?!?" But, thru some odd coincidence, you happen to catch a snippet of the movie/tv series, etc. sometime later and think "Wow...this is pretty good! I do like it!"??

This has happened to me several times over the years - for example, I have a love/hate relationship with Logan's Run. Saw it as a kid, remembered liking it...caught it a few years back as an adult and thought it was total dreck! Caught a snippet on TV and ended up watching the film thru to the end -- and thought "This wasn't so bad!" I even bought the film when I joined the Columbia House DVD club! Of course, I haven't watched my DVD - so maybe I'll hate it again! Who knows? I will let you know my latest opinion when I do watch it though!

Another obscure love/hate relationship film for me is Capricorn One starring OJ Simpson, of all people! (And for those who don't know, OJ is not related to Jessica Simpson! :-). For those unfamiliar with Capricorn One, it's about the first manned landing on Mars. The mission goes awry -- and has to be "faked" by NASA (on a soundstage!). Of course, the astronauts can't be allowed to live lest  they give away the secret to the world. So, NASA has the reentry vehicle crash with no survivors. Of course, since there was no real re-entry vehicle, the astronauts need to be killed...

Again, I liked it when I first saw it in the theater (as a kid!), hated it the next time around, liked it the next time...and, of course, I just had to have it when I joined the Columbia House DVD club!

This phenomena isn't limited just to movies for me - some of my favorite tv series are affected, too! From Seinfeld to Mary Tyler Moore to Space:1999, there are episodes that I see-saw on. I like it, I hate it, I like it. Or the vice-versa - hating then loving it (or at least not hating it!). I think with some series, such as Seinfeld, the expectation each week was so high, that any misfire resulted in a "hated it" (at the time). This was especially true after outstanding episodes like "The Contest" or "Soup Nazi" -- usually the next ones didn't appeal to me as much. Sometimes the phenomena strikes as a series gets older - I find that some of the latter seasons episodes are not up to par to the earlier. I found this especially true with Cheers - didn't care as much for the Kirstie Alley seasons when I first saw them. Years later, they're not too bad in TV Land re-runs - but the whole pregnancy arc is still stupid!!

Apparently , there are a lot of conflicts running in my head! :-)

Do you have love/hate relationships with inanimate objects such as TV shows, movies or books? If so, let the world know by leaving a comment below!

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Boston Red Sox ... suck???

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As I sit here typing this post, the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox are taking a pounding from the Evil Empire New York Yankees (3-13 bottom of the 5th). The Yankees made mincemeat of Boston Red Sox star pitcher Josh Beckett (he won the his first outing against the Yankees this season, but went seriously wrong in this outing. He also won against the Yankees during the 2003 World Series). They then took Boston Red Sox pitcher Van Buren to the woodshed, adding another 5 runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning. So far, the Yankee bats have been cooled down (as have the Red Sox bats unfortunately) in the 5th inning.

THIS JUST IN - Boston Red Sox score 2 runs in the 6th inning! Woo hoo!

Well, it's too early in the season (still!) to call it quits, but it doesn't seem to bode well for the Sox if they can't muster a few more wins against the Yankees this season. We still have another 3 games to play this week against the Yankees, so maybe things will turn around. They certainly did during the exciting ALCS games in 2004! My concern is if we can't beat the stronger teams in our division (the New York Yankees and surprisingly, the Toronto Blue Jays), we may have troubles getting into the post-season. Oh well, time will tell. Until this game is over tonight, Boston is still in first place in the American League East (by a .5 game!).

BTW, I got a chance to view another DVD - The Brothers Grimm (Matt Damon) -- and I won't even bother reviewing it here. I have no clue what it was about. Truthfully, I didn't want to rent this DVD - I had no interest in at all - but I had a free Blockbuster rental coupon and slim pickings (I've seen most everything I want to from my local Blockbuster!), so I chose Brothers Grimm. Anyway, it's not really my type of film, so I can't say if it's good or not. I won't rate it - just thought I'd rant some more! :-)

Well, back to the ball game -- maybe we'll pull something out of our hats and ....win??

Are you watching the Red Sox vs. the Yankees? What are your thoughts? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

DVD Review: (not so incredible) HULK

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Well, I just finished Ang Lee's HULK -- and I don't know where to begin! Do I start with the acting (fair)? The "comic book style" shots [picture in picture, split screens, multi-scene shots, etc] (ugh!)? The lame non-story that tries to be "deep" (ew)? Hmmmmm...maybe you get the picture or, in this case, maybe you shouldn't!

Ang Lee's HULK is just a plain mess - the film attempts to be some sort of serious drama with the HULK as the centerpiece in place of a menacing villain. Instead of radiation turning Bruce Banner into the Hulk, it's some hooey about nanobots, etc. It's all too silly. The CGI Hulk is not very convincing - how can human sized Bruce Banner become as large as a skyscraper when he becomes the HULK? And, then, to top things off, this HULK can "leap" 3-4 miles at a time! There's a scene in the desert where the HULK is leaping between moutains - practically flying - it's all too silly. The story line is sloooow.....really, this was a mess and it all runs OVER 2 hours!! Sorry, Ang, but this one is a dud.

The Hulk was never my favorite of the Marvel Comics characters, but I still would have enjoyed a quality, yet fun Hulk movie (which didn't  rely so much on CGI) in the spirt of the recent Spiderman/X-Men series. For now, I'll recommend checking out the TV series with Bill Bixby (Bruce Banner) and Lou Ferrigno (Hulk). Speaking of Lou, there's a deleted scene which featured a cameo of Ferrigno as a security officer. Too bad they didn't keep it in the film!

Another 2 of 5 stars movie!

Have you seen HULK or perhaps the original TV series "The Incredible Hulk"? Which did you prefer? Which is your favorite Marvel superhero? Leave us a comment and share your thoughts!

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

The wait is over - the Wizard has arrived!

Welcome back!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was waiting for my Breygent Wizard of OZ trading cards box to arrive - well, it finally has! The box is very colorful - with a die-cut box top. Remember, these are the same boxes you would see in your local trading card hobby shop. On the bottom, there's a bonus box bottom card - mine is Dorothy. I'm not sure if each box has a different bonus card. The card will stay there as I doubt I'll ever cut the display ("wax") box!

Now, the big question is.....when will I open this puppy? Open all the packs, sort thru the cards, find the special cards and put them away safely, make a "base" set and store it in a binder.....when? I dunno! You'd think I'd rip open the box the moment I got it, but that would be wrong! I have sealed boxes from 2003 that I haven't opened! I also have DVDs from a year ago or so that I haven't opened!

Why is that? I have no clue - I think part of it is the "let down" or the post-opening depression. You know - you get the new toy, play with it for a few days and toss it aside. By keeping the trading cards boxes sealed, I can continue to look forward to the day that I will open them and be surprised (or more likely, disappointed - which is another reason I think I don't open the boxes!)

I think some of this has to do with getting those cereal prizes as a kid - they looked super neat on TV or the back of the box photos, but when you opened the cereal (soley for the prize mind you!) you were almost always disappointed! Yea, I guess things that happen to you in your childhood define you as an adult.

Do you buy things only not to open them/use them? Perhaps CDs, DVDs or something similar? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

And be sure to always open your Tony Island Blog links as they appear in your RSS feeder!

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Surfing Fatigue

Welcome back!

OK, for those of you who are thinking this post is about ocean wave surfing, sorry to disappoint! I'm talking about Internet surfing or more properly Web surfing.....

I've been online for over 15 years - from local BBS accounts to AOL to the Internet, I've seen it all - well, almost all. It's fun for a time, but then it gets to be a drag, but luckily something new comes along to re-spark the fires. Now, of course, there's not too much new with the Web. Sure, there's a lot of flashy graphics and new fangled things like blogs and RSS (have you subscribed to the Tony Island Blog feed? ;-) But, other than that, there really isn't much - most of the newer stuff is a continued evolution of the older stuff.

When all is said and done, you get a bit of surfing fatigue - the lack of desire to turn on your PC and surf the Web (or post to your blog!). So, that's where I've been the past few days - just taking a break. Refueling the enthusiam tank and getting ready to surf the Web (and post post post) like crazy over the next few days!

Have you suffered surfing fatigue? What did you do to snap out of it? Share your ups and downs by leaving a comment below!

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

DVD Review: Mrs Henderson Presents

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Well, after the other day's fiasco with Mel Brooks' High Anxiety, I sat down to watch Mrs Henderson Presents (Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins) and I must say it was a total 180 in experience!

It's a wonderful little film, based on a true story, about an eccentric rich widow (Dench) who buys a run down theater, renovates it and then reopens it, with the help of hired manager Van Damm (Hoskins), as a British vaudeville theater. Soon after, the other local theaters begin to copy the success of the Windmill Theater, causing it to lose money. Dench decides that they'll introduce female nudity and the rest, as they say, is history.

The story take place just before and during World War II and as such the war makes an impact on the theater and vice versa. Dench does an Oscar nominated performance as Mrs Henderson. Though not nominated, Hoskins' Van Damm is just as good. Their chemistry together is truly wonderful. The supporting cast does a very good job as the Windmill Theater cast. There are lots of cute musical numbers throughout the film, along with some wonderful naked breasts!

The one thing I was surprised with was the MPAA rating - this film got an "R", restricted rating. I honestly can't understand why. There's no sex, very minor bawdy language (one appropriate use of the "F" word) and a smattering of naked breasts. If anyone kows why this lovely little film would get an "R" rating, please let us know! It makes no sense!

I really can't recommend this film enough - go out today and rent it! I enjoyed it so much I'm thinking of buying it!

I'll give it a hearty 4 of 5 stars!

Have you seen Mrs Henderson Presents? If so, what did you think? If not, do you think you'll watch it based on my review? Share your thoughts by leaving some comments using the link below.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

DVD Review: High Anxiety (but low tolerance!)

Welcome back!

So I decided that I wanted to try a comedy - I've been doing lots of dramas, etc and it was high time for a comedy in the mix. Mel Brooks box set was recently released and I hadn't seen all the films in the set, so I dutifully added them to my Blockbuster Online queue.

The first film from the box set, High Anxiety (Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn), arrived the other day. Now, normally, I don't rent films I've seen (if they're good, I buy them!) and I had seen this film as a kid (for some odd reason, I didn't delete it from my queue when it was added automatically with the other films from the box set). Anyway, I vaguely remember the film as being so-so and I totally forgot it was Brooks' homage to Alfred Hitchcock (an opening blurb mentioning that reminded me!)

Well, I wasn't in for my expected laugh fest - maybe in 1977 when I was 13 years old I found this funny.....but now, when I'm -- um, never mind-- I found it stupid. Madeline Kahn was a hoot (as usual) and her parts held up. The only Mel Brooks part I liked was his routine with Kahn as they tried to get past airport security by playing a bickering old Jewish couple.

The film also starred Cloris Leachman and Harvey Korman in supporting roles. Not very funny overall, but they did have one funny part - which I also thought was comically creative. They are having coffee on a couch with the scene being shot from under the glass coffee table looking up at the actors. As they place their cups and saucers down (along with sugar holder, teapot,etc), they constantly are covering the camera's lens -- it's quite cute - doesn't sound funny, but it was good for a smile and chuckle in an otherwise flat comedy.

Maybe if you're 13 years old you'll get more laughs, but if you're 3 times that age, you probably won't!

I was so ticked off at the end, I deleted the rest of his films from my queue! (Oddly, I still want to check out The Producers, which I saw on stage locally and enjoyed)

I'm giving this the dreaded 2 of 5 stars rating.

I do have a nice review to share with you next time!

Until then, leave a comment  about High Anxiety or Mel Brooks...or anything else you'd like, before you surf away!

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Happy Memorial Day!

Welcome back!

Well, it's a long weekend here in the United States - the unofficial beginning of the summer season (which will end unofficially Labor Day weekend in September).

Monday is Memorial Day - a national holiday we set aside to remember the dead, especially those who died in the armed forces serving our country, from major conflicts like World War II to anti-terrorist strikes in Afghanistan and peacekeeping in Iran.

There is a White House Commission on Remembrance which is tasked as follows:

"The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance was established by Congress as an independent government agency. The Commission encourages Americans to honor the sacrifices of America’s fallen and the families they left behind.  It promotes acts of remembrance throughout the year and asks Americans to pay our debt of gratitude in memory of our fallen by giving something back to the Nation.  The Commission is also tasked to unite the country in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day.

The Commission is dedicated to educating this and future generations of Americans to remember the sacrifices and costs in human life made to preserve our liberties, and to instill in them an understanding of what it means to be an American."

So, today, at 3 P.M. local time, please take a moment to remember all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives so we could live freely -- even to create silly blogs like this one!

Happy Memorial Day!


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Friday, May 26, 2006

Are you LOST?

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I have yet to watch a minute of the ABC hit series LOST, but I own the entire first season on DVD and am looking ahead to purchasing season 2! Is that crazy or what? The first season got such good overall reviews that I took the plunge and purchased the DVD set when it was on sale. I just read a strong positive review of last night's season 2 finale -- so, I'm thinking of picking up season 2 without having seen season 1! It's crazy, I tell ya!

You know what else is crazy? I have the first season of Desperate Housewives on DVD and, you guessed it, haven't seen a minute of it either! I did read that season 2 wasn't as strong, so now I'm in one of those conundrums - do I take it on faith that I will like Season 1 (when I finally view it) and thus take the plunge on season 2 while it's on sale? Or do I eBay season 1 and rent the whole damn thing instead?!? Life poses such hard choices!

Oddly, none of the above indecisions apply to Will & Grace, which had its series finale last Thursday night (with a repeat tonight). Am I the only one that found this final episode stupid? OK, I will admit, I have not sat thru the entire episode from start to finish -- only caught occasional scenes between innings of a baseball game. But, still, it was enough to turn me off to the whole thing. I will probably sit and (try to) watch it thru at some point - but I'm in no rush.

I had high hopes for Will & Grace when it debuted - I thought this would be a quality ensemble comedy (think Frasier) with a twist (main character is gay). Yet -- it sort of spun off into drivel. It was fairly funny, but not consistently. They brought characters (mainly extended guest star stints) in and out - for no good reason. Why did Jack have a 13 year old son in one season and not a mention of him since including the finale? What was up with that? Was Jack retarded (never could hold a job, etc) or just a comic foil without a brain? Yes, Jack is hilarious, but it all seemed to be a string of on-the-spot gags instead of anything consistent that came from within the character. For example, Lucy Ricardo  was wacky, but in a way very smart. You could believe anything she tried to pull off since it came from within her character. Whereas with Jack we just got (seemingly) impromptu outbursts that were strung together for a laugh. The same can be said of Karen. Again, very funny - but mostly done for the gags. Her character was fairly well defined - rich, drunk/drugged non-worker. Funny stuff - but will it hold up in 10 years? And if it does, will it be a "classic" comedy, defining the 90s/00s? Or will it just be a long running comedy?

Will & Grace were fairly well defined - but the writers never did much with them to make them grow over the series run. They were basically the same characters we saw in season 1. Grace gets married and divorced for no reason. Will sorta gets a love interest but it doesn't go anywhere for the most part. After sitting thru several seasons of non-starts, I tuned out more or less a season or two ago.

Anyway, I won't be buying any Will & Grace DVD sets anytime soon (disclaimer, I do own the first season, but it's still sealed :).

OK, I've ranted and raved long enough - now, it's your turn! Leave your own rant by using the coment links below!

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Summer Blockbusters - are you ready?

Welcome back!

Well, we have less than a week to go before Memorial Day, which is the traditional start of summer here in the United States. And, as always, Hollywood is ready to roll out its so called blockbusters -- are you interested in any of them?

Some early releases include the remake of Irwin Allen's The Poseidon Adventure, now known simply as Poseidon and this weekend's The DaVinci Code.

Memorial Day weekend will see the opening of the third (and probably last) X-Men sequel - X-MEN: The Last Stand.

The following weekend (June 2) sees Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn in The Break-Up. June 6th sees yet another remake release - The Omen. June 9th sees Disney's latest animated feature Cars.

June 16th sees the latest in the Fast and Furious series with The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift; the Lake House (which actually has an interesting premise) also releases that day.

At the end of June, we'll see the latest in the Superman saga with Superman Returns.

Whew - a busy first month of summer and I only touched a fraction of the films releasing in June! Personally, I'm looking forward to Superman Returns and the X-Men.

Are you looking forward to any of this summer's blockbusters? If so, which ones? How about all the remakes being released this year - are you for or against it? Let us know - leave a comment before you surf off!

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Waiting for the Wizard...

Welcome back!

Wizard of OZ promo (breygent)

I'm sitting here waiting for the Wizard....of OZ, that is. Well, more precisely, my Wizard of OZ trading cards box from Breygent Marketing. This set promises to have a TON of goodies - from sketch cards to "cut signature" cards (from Judy Garland and Jack Haley) to prop cards (including Yellow Brick!), this set has it all! How about a rare card containing either a piece of Dorothy's dress or the Wicked Witch's hat?!? This set has it!

I have an odd relationship with the Wizard of OZ - I don't conside myself any sort of OZ groupie, but yet I have a ton of OZ related stuff - from the movie on every major media format (VHS, DVD, DVD collector's set, laserdisc) plus a book about the Wizard! I think I might even have one of those Franklin Mint collector's plate (not sure on that one though)! Yet, like I said, I don't consider myself an OZ groupie (what do they call OZ fanatics?). I guess it goes back to my childhood - all these things OZ bring back a warm fuzzy feeling.

Do you have a childhood "warm fuzzy" that you seem to collect blindly? Let us know by posting a comment before you surf off! And don't forget to subscribe to our RSS/Atom feed (see links on the left) - with my erratic postings, an RSS feed is the best way to stay on top of Tony Island Blog!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Blogger's Block

Welcome back!

As you can tell from my entry title, I've hit a bit of a roadblock -- where do I go from here? Should I post yet another DVD review? Discuss some thoughts I've had about changing America for the better? Discuss Willie Harris' game ending "caught stealing" second base out? How about some football tidbits? I haven't posted anything about the New England Patriots - even after the NFL draft a few weekends ago. From everything I've read, they made some decent picks. I think the RB and WR they chose in the first two rounds look impressive. Now let's hope their college skills can be used professionally.

Do you think NFL football is America's version of ancient Rome's gladiator games? They don't have the deaths, though they do have the injuries. Your thoughts?

Do I keep posting even if I get no feedback? Do I ever stop complaining? Find out next time....on Tony Island blog!

Feel free to post some ideas for future blog entries -- tell me which current entries you like best and which I can do without.

See you soon!

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

DVD Review: Call Northside 777

Welcome back!

So far, most of my DVD reviews have been rather ho-hum...the movies themselves have been good for the most part, but nothing to get overly excited about either. I would definitely recommend renting them at the least.

Call Northside 777 (James Stewart) falls into the "wow - that was good!" category. Based on a true story, Call Northside 777 opens with a narrator explaining life in Chicago in 1932. Lots of underworld violence has resulted in many policemen being killed in the line of duty. We see one such murder of a policeman take place in a deli which was a front for a speakeasy.

Fast forward 11 years -- the editor of a Chicago newspaper sees a small personal ad that catches his attention. It's offering a $5000 reward for any information regarding the murdered policeman from the film's opening scene. The editor assigns one of his reporters (James Stewart) to check out the story behind the ad. The ad leads to a middle-aged scrub woman, Tillie Wiecek, at a Chicago building. There, Stewart finds out that Tillie has worked for the past 11 years to save for the $5000 reward. Her son was imprisoned for the policeman's murder and she believes her son is innocent. Stewart dashes her hopes that the money will lead to anything substantial.

Ready to kill the story,  Stewart returns to his editor, who has other ideas. Instead of killing the story, he encourages Stewart to follow it some more. Without spoiling too much, Stewart goes on to help the jailed man and possibly set him free -- I won't say if he succeeds, so that you will rent it yourself and find out!

I really enjoyed the film - it was interesting to follow the twists and turns to the final resolution. And since it's based on a  true story, it was even more interesting. It's probably slow by current day standards, but I didn't think so. Stewart gives a wonderful performance as do several of the other peformers - a few of which you may know if you watched a lot of '70s TV. :)

I'll give this 4 of 5 stars!

Have you seen Call Northside 777? Do you enjoy "based on a true story" films? Post your comments and let us know!

Till next time!

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Fiction: The Cycle

Welcome back!

I thought I'd share a little piece of fiction I wrote oh-so-many-years-ago for a high school assignment. It's still kind of fun to read.....let me know what you think! It's not Shakespeare, but what is these days? :)

I'll be back to my regular postings next time!

The Cycle

Edenville was a typical American town. As a matter of fact, towns like it were spread all across the globe...


The meat clever floated effortlessly through the air to its destination.

"No! Please, please, stop it!!" pleaded the officer. He moved backwards towards the wall, frantically waving his hands in front of him. "Nooooo......!!!!"

The cleaver plunged into his chest. The lifeless mass slumped to the floor as blood spurted wildly, staining the surrounding furniture.

Quint moved toward the body, laughing almost uncontrollably. He dipped his finger into the fresh blood and scrawled the words "devil’s domain" on the wall. He licked his finger clean and left.


"The third mysterious murder of a police officer within the past two days continues to puzzle police. A police spokesman says detectives are working on the assumption that these recent murders are in some way related to the mysterious murders of seven policemen three months ago.

In international news, the Falkland Islands war...."

Clyde clicked off the television and turned to the small congregation of black-robed businessmen seated on benches.

"Brothers," he began, "we are beginning to win our war. The Lord Devil himself shall rule the world, as was meant to be."

"Amen," came the response.

"Let’s be seated."

The men moved to a large, circular glass table and sat at their respective seats. Clyde brought forth a large black book and opened it to a section of chants.

"Almighty Devil, hear us. You have given us prosperity; we have sacrificed for you. Help us."

The group began to chant. From the middle of the table, a bright red light began to form. From the depths of the light, a face appeared and then a body. The men bowed their heads in respect.

"You have done well, my disciples. But, you are not alone in this conquest."

With a sweeping motion of his hand, the sacrificial altar on the far wall disappeared. In its place a viewport appeared. On it, pictures and news reports from around the world appeared in a massive collage. The reports told of murdered officials from the local level up to and including the national level. The viewport disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. The altar reappeared in its former place.

"Tomorrow, my disciples, the world shall be ruled by me. Tomorrow our work shall be over. The day of salvation is near!!"

The image disappeared.


 Mass-slaughter occurred on the day of salvation. The resistors were torched and killed. The world was in the Devil’s hands!

The Creator looked upon His world in dismay.

"The non-believers have won. I have tried; my Son has tried, but they refused to believe."

"Father, you must save them for they are one with us."

"You are right my Son."


"Devil, you have had your last laugh."

"No! You shall never destroy me! The people believe in me and through their strength, I live!"

With that, the Creator raised his hands and brought forth a force unknown in power. The Devil took the force and then delivered his own force.

This continued for forty days and forty nights.

And in the end, there was nothing.

The devil grew weak and fled to another dimension.

The Creator looked about.

He raised His hands and created a world in six days and on the seventh day, He rested. And on this world He created the animals and the plants. And then He created man.

"Perhaps this species will listen," He commented as He looked about.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

DVD Review: Oliver Twist!

Welcome back!

I recently viewed Roman Polsanski's Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens' story of an orphaned boy attempting to survive19th century London. I thought it was very well done - the acting was top-notch with the sets wonderfully re-creating 19th century London.The overall atmosphere was very Dickens-ian.. The story is condensed from the original source material - necessary since the original material is about 300 pages! So, some of the twists and turns of the original have been elminated or changed to fit the set of characters presented here (ie, they used the core set of characters from the book thus minor characters and their roles in the plot were eliminated or given to the characters used here).

I didn't realize that Fagin was played by the wonderful Ben Kingsley! That's how good he is and how good the makeup/atmosphere is. 9 year old Barney Clark did a fine job as Oliver while 14 year old Harry Eden makes a fine Artful Dodger.

The DVD has several special features - including behind the scenes featurettes with Polanski and a small piece on Barney Clark.

I'll give this one 3 of 5 stars.

I would also highly recommend Polanski's The Pianist. The story follows a Polish Jewish pianist as he attempts to survive the horrors of World War II. The film is fairly depressing, but it too is wonderfully presented with the ending providing inspiration. Another 3 of 5 stars!

Have you seen Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist or The Pianist? Then share your thoughts with others by leaving a comment using the link below.

Until next time -- be safe! And don't forget to subscribe to our RSS feed!

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Earn a $1.00!!

Welcome back!

OK - so this is a sign of desperation...but I really want to know if anyone is reading my blog! So, to promote my blog, I'm going to give away $1.00 to the FIRST (and only the first!) blog reader to leave a COMMENT! That's right, follow the simple rules below and earn $1.00!

1) Leave a coherent comment - full sentences, punctuation, etc - to any PREVIOUS entry (NOT THIS ONE!)
3) Have a PAYPAL account that accepts US dollars!
4) Leave a valid email address so I can contact you.

That's it! I'll contact the first person to leave a comment to any previous entry in my blog (as of today, there have been no comments at all!)

And get this -- you could earn another $1.00 by finding my OTHER Tony Island blog!! That's right - I have two Tony Island blogs on two different hosts - find the other one and earn another $1.00!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Itchy eyes!

Welcome back!

I'm sitting here scratching at my eyes - they're itchy due to all the pollen in the air. We've had some rain here today and I had hoped that would help reduce the pollen floating around. It did during the day - I wasn't scratching my eyes and my nose wasn't as stuffy...but tonight is slightly different. While the nose is fairly dry, the eyes are making up for it! Yikes! It seems that the night is almost as bad as the day - I wonder if pollen is being sprayed at night? I dunno.

According to Pollen.com and weather.com, the alergy alert for my immediate area is HIGH. Great! Itchy eyes galore. Pollen.com does say that Thursday - Saturday should be medium - whew!

Speaking of Pollen.com, I was going to direct you to my home page and let you check the alergy alert for your area - but they declined my request to add their Alergy Alert script to my Web site. Why, you ask? Well, it's quite simple - they claim I don't have a Web site....hmmmmm...click the link above and tell me if I have a Web site or not! :)

Of course, it is possible that there was a glitch when they went to verify my Web site's existence, but...I DO have a Web site (and a blog, too!).

I'm trying not to take any OTC medications right now - it's mostly at the "feels like a cold" stage - if the allergice reactions get any worse as the spring wears on, I'll check into something at my local CVS.

Do you have allergies? Are they servere or mild? Seasonal or other? Are you on prescription or over the counter medicine? Share your thoughts with us before you surf away!

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Still reading!

Welcome back!

As I mentioned in my last post, I picked up a copy of Blogging for Dummies -- and am still slogging thru it. It's a really good read and most likely I'll read the whole thing cover-to-cover!

Not to sound like a shill for the "Dummies" publisher, but I do enjoy their books - mind you, I haven't read a lot of them, but they are useful to get a good, quick grounding on a particular subject. I remember buying the HTML for Dummies book a few years ago - it was a good breezy read and got me up and running in no time. I do like the light hearted manner in which they are written - the interesting thing being that they are mostly written by different authors, so I assume maintaining that light-hearted approach takes some effort on the editor's part.

The only problem I find with them is that they don't make great reference books after you have the material down pat (ie, when you're ready for the next level). But for going from novice to beginner, they're good.

I'm thinking of checking the ones for baseball and football to increase my knowledge of those games (though you really get a good education watching over 100+ baseball games and 30+ football games per season!) And even though I'm Catholic, I am thinking of checking the one on Catholicism - never can know enough about your own religion (of course, if I find blogging is a sin, I may have to stop :).

OK - well, I'll continue to read - will report back soon. I have some other stuff to share, too!

Have you used the "Dummies" series or the competition's "Idiots" series? If so, which ones? Were they helpful? Would you consider using either  series again  for another learning session? Leave some comments - share your thoughts - we can all learn from each other!

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'm back!

Welcome back!

I'm back, too! Took a small breather from posting - a chance to recompose myself (no pun intended!) and figure out where Tony Island Blog is headed. I also picked up a copy of Blogging for Dummies (really, I did!) - so hopefully that will give me a better handle on this blogging thing!

I wasn't sitting around either - I watched a few DVDs, some of which I'll mention in more detail next time.

And....I indulged in my guilty pleasure by watching CBS' "Dynasty Reunion: Catfights & Caviar" on Tuesday night! Did you see it? If so, post your comments!

OK - this was just a quick post to let you know I'm alive.

Thanks again for stopping by - don't forget to leave a comment before you surf away - and add our RSS feed to your RSS reader!

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Small Break

Welcome back!

I'm going to take a small break from my semi-regular posting - I should be back on Wed May 3 -- can you believe it's May already?!?!

Take a look at some older posts - post some comments - let me know you're out there!

See you soon!

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

About Non-Sport Trading Cards

Welcome back!

Do you remember "Wacky Packages" from the 1970's? How about "Garbage Pail Kids" from the 1980's? Pokemon from the 1990's? Or Yu-Gi-Oh from the new millennium?? What do all these products have in common? They're all examples of popular non-sport trading cards (technically Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh are CCG trading cards).

Non-sport trading cards (aka bubblegum cards or entertainment cards) cover a wide range of subjects - from TV/movies  to art to CCGs (collectible card games). My personal interests cover TV/movies and art for the most part. I haven't gotten into CCGs (yet!).

I first started collecting trading cards as a kid (as most die hard collectors do). I had a small collection of various cards - some Space:1999 cards, a few Wacky Packages cards and some from the original Batman TV series. The only trading cards to survive that period of collecting are my Space:1999 cards - I lost the Batman cards (and with the unlikelihood of another set ever being released, I could kick myself!!) and probably stuck the Wacky Packages stickers all over my school books!

I had long put my non-sport trading card days behind me until 1997 when I happened upon a pushcart at my local shopping mall. There, I saw a pack of "Lost in Space" classic TV series from Inkworks -- I HAD to have them! There were two of my childhood loves in one product - trading cards and the tv series Lost in Space (I'm sure I'll be discussing LIS at some point here).  How could I resist? That one little purchase started off a chain reaction of collecting trading cards -- and this time, I'm not throwing them away or sticking them on my school books! :)

I hope to share my enjoyment of non-sport trading cards with you over the next few years - until then, please take a look at my Web site - Tony Island - it has a (slighty outdated) listing of my non-sport trading card collection plus links to other non-sport card collectors along with some Space:1999 odds-n-ends.

Well, this is the last of the topic overview posts - starting Friday, we'll tackle some serious blogging! :)

Thanks for stopping by - and don't forget to post a comment by clicking the link below before you surf away!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

About Gerry Anderson

Welcome back!

Today, I'm continuing the topic overviews, this time focusing on Gerry Anderson. Gerry Anderson is a prolific British television producer - I would compare him to American producer Irwin Allen - they both produced popular science fiction tv series that featured lots of explosions! But there the similarity ends as Gerry never got fully into the movies (he did make one live action film) and Irwin Allen never went back to TV series after moving to the silver screen.

Gerry's career started in the '50s and continues to this day - he has worked with puppets ("Supermarionation") and actors. Some of his works include:

Stingray (puppet series) - WASP patrols the seas to protect humanity from an underwater kingdom

Thunderbirds  (puppet series) - the Tracey boys and their father rescue people in peril worldwide and in outer space.

UFO (live action) - a secret organization protects Earth from an alien invasion.

Space:1999 (live action) - the continuing adventures of a moonbase crew thrust into uncharted space after the Moon is ripped from Earth orbit by a massive muclear explosion.

The above is only the tip of the iceberg of Gerry Anderson productions. Over the coming months, I'll have reviews of many of his series for you. I hope I've sparked your interest in this prolific producer and that you will search out and view some of his many works that are currently available on DVD.

Thanks again for stopping by - take a moment to leave a comment - tell us your favorite Gerry Anderson production!

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DVD Review: The Bostonians

Welcome back!

As you can see from the post title, this is yet another DVD review post! Most of the DVD review posts will be courtesy of my Blockbuster Online subscription  - I get unlimited (one at a time via mail) rentals PLUS one free rental per week at my local Blockbuster store! It's a good deal - they have other packages for more out at a time, etc.

"The Bostonians (Christopher Reeve, Vanessa Redgrave)" is a Merchant/Ivory period piece based on the Henry James novel. Vanessa Redgrave plays a suffragette who meets up with a young suffragette orator. On the scene arrives Christopher Reeve as Vanessa's cousin. They vie for the love of this young woman. The film is rather dull and the underlying semi-lesbian relationship between the two female leads is a bit uncomfortable to view -- can't pinpoint why it is, but it just didn't sit right - Vanessa's character seems to be manipulating this young woman using their common goal of women's equality as a way to control here (she even pays off the young woman's parents to leave them alone!). Toward the end of the film, I did like the quirky characters but it's not something I can recommend you run out and rent.

I'll give it 2 stars out of 5 (average rating is 3). There are better Merchant/Ivory productions - stay tuned to this space for future reviews of some of these period piece classics!

Do you enjoy period piece/costume dramas? Or contemporary films? Let us know - and if you've seen The Bostonians or any other Merchant/Ivory film, tell us about it!

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to subscribe to our RSS feed -- and, as always, leave a comment before you click away.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

About Space:1999

Space:1999 - starring Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Barry Morse

Welcome back!

In this first week of posting, I thought I'd introduce some of the topics I'll be discussing in my blog. Today, I've decided to introduce the epic 1970's British SF series Space:1999. As you can see from the photo above (a scan of the back cover of one of the novels), Space:1999 starred Martin Landau, Barbara Bain and Barry Morse (first season only). The series centered around the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha ("Alphans") who had been thrown into the deep reaches of space after the Moon was ripped from Earth orbit by a massive nuclear explosion! Unable to control the course of the Moon, the Alphans were at the mercy of the Universe as they encountered alien worlds, alien beings and other oddities.

The first season was a serious look at the castaways' predictment and as such the stories were rather moody and dark. There were some light moments, but most of it was serious - as one would expect if you were careening thru space on an uncontrollable moon! The second season  saw a sharp turn to a more action-oriented, lighter approach to storytelling. American producer Fred Frieberger was brought in to boost ratings -- his main contribution was to add an exotic resident alien known as Maya (Catherine Schell)  who was capable of shape-shifting into any living creature. Unfortunately, the stories tended to play out where Maya would use her abilities to either save the crew or provide key information to help them out of the current predcament and then end on a "light hearted" note. Many fans were put off by all the changes (we'll discuss them in future blog posts) and ratings declined. The series was cancelled in 1977. It played sporadically in syndication during the 1980s and made a brief appearance on the cable Sci-Fi Channel in the early 1990s. It was left for dead until A&E released the entire series on DVD in 2001.

In the coming weeks, I hope to chat more about Space:1999 and hope that you chat about it, too! Just click on the link below and leave your comments!

Thanks and see you soon.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

DVD Review: Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

Welcome back!

As promised, I viewed and will now review "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" (Bette Davis, Errol Flynn). Just to let you know, my DVD reviews will be short and sweet - I won't bore you with long winded reviews unless the film (or DVD features) really really impresses me!

Bette Davis stars as Queen Elizabeth (the virgin queen) and Errol Flynn is her love interest Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. When the film opens, the Earl is returning to England in triumph over the Spanish at Cadiz. There's only one problem - he never brought back the spoils of war (gold) that England so desperately needed. This sets off a battle royale between the two. Elizabeth sends Essex off to Ireland to defeat the rebellious natives there but comes home defeated himself. In the end, Essex is beheaded - and Elizabeth remains a virgin.

This film was originally released in 1939 - and only shows its age in terms of sets (fairly bland for a period piece) - the acting is still superb and the story engaging. Look for a very young Nanette Fabray along with a small role by Olivia de Havilland. The DVD transfer looked sharp - no noticeable problems here.

The DVD had an interesting extra - "Warner night at the movies". Introduced in a 4 minute segment by Leonard Maltin, the special feature "recreates" a night at the movies in 1939 - you would have seen a trailer for Dark Victory (another Bette Davis feature), a News Tone news update, a short patriotic animated cartoon, "Old Glory" starring Porky Pig, a musical short "Royal Rodeo" and finally, the feature film.

The DVD also had a 10 minute featurette about the off screen hostilities between Davis and Flynn while making the film - I won't spoil any of it here, but let's just say they didn't get along!

I'll rate this 2.5 stars out of 5 (my average rating is 3 stars). I'd recommend renting this for most movie lovers; purchasing it if you're a Davis or Flynn fan. I can almost recommend buying it for the extra features alone - I did find them fun and different!

Well, that's all for this time. Please be sure to leave some comments if you've seen this film or perhaps if you're a Bette Davis or Errol Flynn fan!

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Navigating Tony Island blog

Welcome back!

I thought I'd take a few minutes of your time to discuss the layout of Tony Island blog (hosted by blogspot.com). As you can see, there is a "control panel" on the left side of the blog. It has a rather simple layout - About Me, Links and archives. I'll be adding more links in the near future, but for now, I encourage you to check out my "complete profile" by clicking the link under the About Me section.

As I get better at blogging, I hope to make the control panel and layout more interesting - but, of course, you're here for the content, so I'll be concentrating on that foremost! :)

I'm off to watch "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" (Bette Davis, Errol Flynn). Check for a review soon!

As always, constructive feedback is appreciated and can be left by clicking the "comments" link below this posting. Don't forget to add Tony Island blog to your RSS reader!

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Welcome to Tony Island Blog!

Hello and welcome to my blog!

Over the course of the next several years, I hope to have an ongoing chat with you about some of my favorite things - dvds, Space:1999, non-sport trading cards and (occasionally) sports (especially if the Boston Red Sox or New England Patriots make the post season!).

I'll even share some thoughts about current events or something rattling around in my mind. While I continue to construct Tony Island Blog, take a look around - check some of the links including the one to my main web site Tony Island; just be careful not to hurt yourself - there could be some flying debris!

I hope to post every Monday (at the least) -- but, if you don't want to miss anything, why not subscribe using the RSS link? Use your favorite browser, RSS aggregator or Web site to catch up-to-the-minute posts!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my new blog. Please leave a comment (keep it constructive and family friendly :)

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