31 December 2005

Auld Lang Syne

All told, 2005 was a pretty shitty year for me. I won't bore you with the details. I hope that 2006 brings us all a more enjoyable 365 days.

25 December 2005

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Christmas, Christmas time is here. Time for joy and time for cheer. I still want a hula hoop.

Believe it or not, I do enjoy the holiday season, if only for the gifts, time off from work and oh yeah, the family bonding shit. Thankfully, frontline warriors like Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson were able to save Christmas 2005 from all those godless pinko commie faggot pro-choice ACLU feminazis out to destroy America. Every time you say "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas," an angel dies in heaven. It's true.

So, paraphrasing the great theological scholar Krusty the Clown, have a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a kwazy Kwanzaa, a tip-top Tet and a solemn, dignified Ramadan.

22 December 2005

Pretty Pictures

I never cared for Mike Allred's writing. I find it a little too self-consciously faux retro hipster smug and cute for its own good, like he's more concerned about letting the reader know how hip and cool he is as opposed to telling a coherent story. But the boy has a pleasing art style:

Better still, Allred isn't scripting this new book.

Also, the Marvel Mangaverse stuff doesn't interest me in the slightest, but check out the Black Cat's new and improved rack. Spidey's wasting his time with Mary Jane.

Too bad her face is drawn just like that little fucker from Elfquest (which -- surprise! -- I also loathe).

The War on Xmas

Slate redeems itself after the puppy-fucking cartoon earlier this week with the latest installment of Christopher Hitchens's "Fighting Words" column, wherein Hitchen's weighs in on the so-called "War on Christmas."

The following paragraph is especially incendiary:
"Our Christian enthusiasts are evidently too stupid, as well as too insecure, to appreciate this. A revealing mark of their insecurity is their rage when public places are not annually given over to religious symbolism, and now, their fresh rage when palaces of private consumption do not follow suit. The Fox News campaign against Wal-Mart and other outlets—whose observance of the official feast-day is otherwise fanatical and punctilious to a degree, but a degree that falls short of unswerving orthodoxy—is one of the most sinister as well as one of the most laughable campaigns on record. If these dolts knew anything about the real Protestant tradition, they would know that it was exactly this paganism and corruption that led Oliver Cromwell—my own favorite Protestant fundamentalist—to ban the celebration of Christmas altogether."

20 December 2005

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

This just in:

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- A federal judge has ruled "intelligent design" cannot be taught in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district.

19 December 2005

'Tis the Season

...for bestiality over at Slate. Couldn't the cartoonist have chosen a less, er, suggestive angle?

14 December 2005

Bush to Iraq: "Whoops. My bad."

This just in:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush on Wednesaday accepted responsibility for the decision to go to war against Iraq based on faulty intelligence.

“It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq,” the president told The Woodrow Wilson Center on the eve of elections to establish Iraq’s first permanent, democratically elected government. “And I’m also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we’re doing just that.”

11 December 2005

Easy on the Lip Gloss, Danni

Danni wins Survivor.

Danni and Stephanie were plenty cute and sexy when they were on the island -- sweaty, dirty and no access to cosmetics. On the big reunion special, they both looked like truck stop hookers, sad to say.

A good, solid season overall. Not the best ever, but far from the worst. Honestly, they're all starting to blur together for me. I should spend my time a little more wisely, but who am I kidding? I'll watch the next season.

08 December 2005

It Was 25 Years Ago Today

...that John Lennon was murdered, of course.

I remember seeing the front page of the Evansville Courier on Dec. 9. I wasn't a Beatles fan at that point, but I still understood the magnitude of his life and work. At the time, I obsessively listened to Casey Kasem's Top 40 countdown every Sunday morning and Lennon's "Starting Over" had peaked and was falling off the singles chart, but after his death, it went #1, sadly and literally with a bullet.

One wonders what might have happened had Lennon survived the shooting or even better, not been shot at all. Maybe Lennon was lucky, in a perverse way -- he never had to slide into middle aged mediocrity and irrelevance like all the other '60s artists.

06 December 2005

Sucking in the '70s

It's a great time to be a thirtysomething comics nerd with a little disposable income. Marvel Comics has been putting out their "Essential" series for several years now, and DC recently launched the "Showcase" series. What both lines do is cram 20-30 back issues of various characters into one massive volume. The stories are all printed in B&W on pretty cheap paper, but as mentioned, you get 20 to 30 back issues of comic titles that ceased publication during the Ford administration, all for around $17.

Marvel has released several volumes of their A-list properties (Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers) but they've also released books featuring characters that can charitably be described as "also-rans." And for some perverse reason, I often find these books to be the most intriguing and gratifying. These are the comics I remember from my early childhood; titles whose basic premises, and sometimes their names alone, were guaranteed to pique the interest of any red-blooded 6-year-old: Ghost Rider, Killraven, Werewolf by Night, the Defenders.

If you ask the 2005 me if the books hold up, the answer is an emphatic CHRIST, no -- beside the fact that these books are all fairly dated, these titles rarely attracted Marvel's top creative talents -- you'll find plenty of vile Sal Buscema and Vince Colletta hackwork scattered throughout various Essential titles -- and when name professionals or even solid craftsmen were involved with the art, a palpable sense of phoning it in pervades many of the stories. (Mike Ploog's work on Werewolf was pretty distinctive.)

Yet there's just some kind of indescribable crazy funnybook mojo at work in those very same pages and I just can't get enough. I freely admit that the nostalgia factor serves to tint these books in a pleasant rose-colored glow, but these books weren't self-consciously edgy and dark like so much of the shit that's published these days. There's a purity there that just can't be faked. I'm hoping that Marvel sees fit to release Essentials editions devoted to Jungle Action, Deathlok and Warlock on the near future. Master of King Fu would be super ultra mega kick-ass, but I beleive that the rights to Fu Manchu et al would preclude that.

On a related note, DC's Showcase line just published a Jonah Hex collection that's real purty, and the level of professionalism involved is at a higher level than in, say, The Essential Power Man. There's even some Doug Wildey art.

I know what I'm axing Santa for this year.

05 December 2005

Better Than Nothing

Comedy Central to Show Chappelle Sketches

Damn skippy. Chappelle's Show is/was the funniest sketch comedy series since The Kids in the Hall. Entirely different sensibilities between the shows, obviously, but both could be brilliant at times.

03 December 2005

Nice Package

Picked up the Criterion release of Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth. As always, the folks at Criterion have gone above and beyond the call of duty with the DVDs, but this version even contains the source novel by Walter Tevis. Impressive.

By the way, I love the design used on the cover of this Criterion release:

I may have to rent it from Wild & Woolly for shits and giggles.

02 December 2005

Auf Wiedersehen, Asshole

Even though I don’t post about it too much these days, I still watch Survivor. And last night’s episode was one of the most satisfying I’ve seen in a while. The loud-mouthed, bullying halfwit Judd was voted off the island.

There have been dozens of jackasses on Survivor and while I’m unsure if Judd was the "Biggest Survivor Jackass Ever," he’s definitely Top 5. Judd was one of those contestants who likes to climb up on his high horse and complain that other players are the lyingest liars who ever lied, while characterizing himself as constitutionally incapable of uttering a falsehood himself. Naturally, there were frequent instances shown on TV wherein Judd did in fact, fib his fat ass off. It’s as if he honestly (heh) believed that the cameras weren’t there or something.

During his graceful and classy exit, he called the remaining contestants “scumbags,” which was pretty much to be expected. But then, that’s why I watch reality TV: seeing people at their worst always makes for compelling viewing.

01 December 2005

Hey, I'm an Idiot

...but you knew that all ready.

I have the "moderate comments" tag selected on this thing and I haven't checked it for a week. Heh heh. I thought I was gonna have to start posting deliberately inflammatory stuff (e.g., AIDS is God's wrath upon the homosexuals, the Holocaust is a lie perpetuated by the Jew-run media, George W. Bush is a great president) just to get a rise out of you.

Carry on.

Best Band Name Ever

I haven't heard a single note of their music, but I all ready love the Test Icicles. Sound clips are available on their web site, but I'm afraid to listen, in case they stink.