Sunday, February 27, 2005
I saw very few of the films this year so i won't comment too much. I think all the winners are pretty fair. I thought The Aviator was outstanding and VERY deserving of its many awards tonite. Beyonce, on the other hand, was just overkill. 3 of the 5 songs sung by her? i guess this is just such a low rent affair they couldn't find anyone else? She's OK, don't get me wrong, but i don't want to see ANYONE doing 3 of the 5 nominated songs. that just sucks. I think Beyonce is fine--in general--but she was a poor fit on a couple of songs.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
I got out my copy of "Batman in the 70s" TPB yesterday. DC has done a series of these with Superman and Batman. 50s, 60s, 70s. a kinda taste of each decade. the 50s stuff seems interesting to me as a novelty. DC in the 60s is very hit or miss and stands DEEP in the shadow of marvel. the 70s, however are a different story. Like Denny O'Neil or not (and i have mixed feelings), he did much to put DC on the path to 'interesting' and off the expressway to 'dated'.
For me, this is the era where i discovered super heroes. the super friends, mego toys, etc. all of this came from this era. also the drawings that were constantly used for merchandising were often Neal Adams or Dick Giordano. My Superman curtains were done by neal adams, NOT Dick Sprang. this is how i came to identify these characters. my mom likes to tell a story about how she made this awesome superman cape, but when i put it on, it was the wrong length and the only reason i knew this to be true was the work of these and similar artists which taught me what these characters looked like, and in my mind, that was gospel.
Anyway, this really created a tie for me...the root, in my early childhood. I find that these stories hold up remarkably well compared to many before and after, especially to my modern eye. By the 80s i was a Marvel fan. if you asked me who my favorite characters where, you'd get a list of DC characters, but if you looked at what i bought, it was marvel. Gorj. and i have talked about how in the Mid 80s Marvel and DC did a collection of comics outlining their characters and their various histories and abilities. this was a real education for me, and as i looked at both, i found the DC stuff to be remarkably more interesting and the marvel characters (except for the big guns) to be mostly clownish. While i read marvel almost exclusively, the history of comics to me seemed to be all about DC. when i thought back to the comics i remembered from Stuckey's grab bags, they were all 70s DC. they all seemed dark, ominous, and interesting. House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Detective Comics, Brave and the Bold, World's Finest. it was like someone had discovered dark ink. These are the comics i seem to covet most. Fortunately for my wife, there are nearly none of these at my local comic shop, so i rarely get to buy any, even just to read and give away.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Big Gray tipped me off to these. Writer Warren Ellis has posted a few gems on his site. bizarre comic panels that certainly tell a story. These are all, real, vintage comics from the 30s-60s. most are pretty damn funny.
I call this one "The Joker and his Problems":
Monday, February 21, 2005
Thompson claimed to know a thing or two about the president's partying past. In
an interview with The Independent in 2004, Thompson said he remembered meeting Bush at Thompson's Super Bowl party in Houston in 1974. He said that Bush was "with a guy who had come to sell . . . " but then cut himself off. "Look, I'm
not going to put this next sentence on the record. Let's just say that 'a friend of mine' was buying cocaine. I have friends in Houston from all walks of life. Lawyers. Professional men. Bush was hanging around with this crowd of what you might call gilded coke dilettantes."
Thompson's memory wasn't always the most reliable, and his story about his Houston encounter with Bush evolved over time. But in the 2004 telling of it, at least, Thompson said the future president had left an indelible impression on him. "He knew who I was, at that time, because I had a reputation as a writer," Thompson said. "I knew he was part of the Bush dynasty. But he was nothing, he offered nothing, and he promised nothing. He had no humor. He was insignificant in every way and consequently I didn't pay much attention to him. But when he passed out in my bathtub, then I noticed him. I'd been in another room, talking to the bright people. I had to have him taken away."
Sunday, February 20, 2005
There have been 2 occasions where I was upset with the death of someone I didn’t know. The first was Sinatra in May of 1998. I’d really become a big fan in short period of time...you know, the way art finds you, and not you it. The second occasion was yesterday when Hunter S. Thompson died.
Like most other people, I’d heard of him and of his work and never cared one way or the other. It wasn’t time. I started reading his first volume of letters in 2003 when I was spending more time in airports. I thought a book called "The Proud Highway" was remarkably appropriate. I was taken with the idea that there was something important out there for me to read I knew it was going to be by an American, and I knew it was probably going to be a Southerner. The final thing I needed was for it to be utterly modern and utterly relevant. How the hell do you go to the bookstore with THAT description and possibly get something you really want?
You don’t. The books pick you, my friend.
So I buy the book. As Hunter would say (about life), "Buy the ticket, take the ride". I knew I was onto something because of the way it FELT in my hand as I walked through the store. I was buying THIS book and some how it was a big damn deal. I better get two.
2003 fell into 2004 and I entered into perhaps one of the worst years of my life. At the same time, spirits were kept afloat by the Good Doctor. I couldn’t get my hands on enough HST books. Often reading them in and out of order. Often simultaneously, 3 at a time. For a man who’s writing is both fractured and inspired, I think I found this method indispensable. A HST book is rarely a story about "A" who does "B" and the resolution of that is the story. Its more like sitting for a spell in his head. I couldn’t decide if his work was reporting, editorial, or fiction. The answer is "Yes, it is". It’s being inside of someone’s head rummaging through the impulses, twists, and lies we all give ourselves. He just put his on paper, in a continual stream for his whole life. Books, articles, letters, thoughts...DAILY. He couldn’t get enough of it out of his head. I won’t tell you he’s influenced my writing. That’d be a lie. I know very well the difference between influence and ape.
I found something in his work because he wrote like I think. I’d never seen something show me myself so well. All the wonderful urgency and all the lurid wandering we allow ourselves when no one else can listen in on us. Sometimes the words seemed so remarkably honest that you’d be left thinking "no one would actually TELL you these things if they thought or DID them. Right?"
In 2004, HST was one of my lifelines to the world. It was my new discovery, and this was someone that still walked the earth. A tactile presence. I could meet him. I swear I could. I won’t.
One of Hunter’s favorite songs was "Ballad of a Thin Man" by Bob Dylan. I think of Hunter when I hear the words. They’re more his than Dylan’s to me.
"Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is...
Do you, Mr. Jones?"
I'm grateful Doc. Mahalo.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
I've added this site to my select list of frenquented sites that i both read and recommend. Very insightful commentary on some of the most important topics in the work...heh. well, at least to me.
I know some of you guys out there also deserve a link and i hope to add you on soon. in the meantime, i offer my apologies.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
President Carter is a veteran of the US Navy's Submarine fleet. He has, since leaving office, done more than nearly all other former Presidents in working to spread fair elections and democracy around the globe. A true Statesman.
I've been thinking about a re-do of the blog here. maybe even a name change. Mr. Mooch suggested the title above. you may see that around here soon enough...
Until then, I'll leave you with a few quotes:
**"The Sandwiches came and I ate three and drank a couple more martinis. I had never tasted anything so cool and clean. They made me feel civilized."
--Ernest Hemingway, A FAREWELL TO ARMS (1929).
**"We shall drink to our partnership. Do you like gin? Its my only weakness"
--Dr. Pretorius in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935).
**"I lived near the main street of the quarter which is named Royal. Down this street, running on the same tracks, are two streetcars, one named Desire and the other named Cemetery. The indiscorageable progress up and down Royal struck me as having some symbolic bearing of a broad nature on life in the Vieux Carre--and everywhere else, for that matter."
--Tennessee Williams (1940).
**Nora: Now how many drinks have you had?
Nick: This will make six Martinis.
Nora (to waiter): All right. Will you bring me five more martinis? line them right up here.
--Myrnal Loy & William Powell in (The BEST damn movie of all time) THE THIN MAN (1934).
**"I should have never switched from scotch to martinis."
--Humphrey Bogart's last words.
intangible experience, must be able to move effectively at top management level and unerstand "Big Business" problems. Should be able to handle twelve martinis
--Want Ad(!), NEW YORK TIMES (1956).
**"The Affliction that is cutting down the productive time in the office and destroying the benign temper of most of the bartenders is the thing called the very dry martini. It is a mass madness, a cult, a frenxy, a body of folklore, a mystique, an expertise of a sort that may well earn for this decade the Glazed Fifties...Along every stretch of polished mahogany in public places in countless living rooms, there is no talk of the world crisis...only of how to get a martini really dry."
--C.B. Palmer in the NEW YORK TIMES (1952).
Here, here my boy. here, here!
Monday, February 14, 2005
Bowing to pressure from the "moral values" constituencies which fueled Bush'sThese people can go straight to hell and you can tell them I said so.
narrow electoral victory last November, the Justice Department has issued guidelines on the handling and treatment of rape victims which do not include nformation on how to avoid being impregnated by rapists and being forced to either abort the fetus or carry it to term. Apparently it is now a "moral value" to conceal medical information from powerless victims.
More White House Sleaze:
The credentialed fake news reporter "Jeff Gannon" from fake news agency "Talon News" was recently outed as being a sham in the press. seems he was planted to toss softballs to the White House in press conferences. Well, it turns out that he was cited by the Washington Post as having the only access to an internal CIA memo which outed Joseph Wilson's wife (Valerie Plame) as a CIA spy (Doing his part for america!). Gannon, in questioning Wilson in an October 2003 interview, referred to the memo. The post reports that no other News outlet had access to this memo, soooo..... Gannon has been subsequently subpoenaed by the federal grand jury looking into the Plame outing. So now it comes out that a GOP plant in the press was being fed info that exposed a WORKING spy for the government. all to get back at her husband for publicly saying the President was lying...? again...just WHAT do you have to do around here to get impeached?
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Bush wants to break the bank and 'overhaul' social security. given his record for fiscal responsibility, i think we'd all be better if he kept his damn hands outta the pot. well, it looks like it may just work out that way.
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D) of New York on Meet the Press:
"There is no Democrat in the House of Representatives, on my committee, that this president has reached out for. I'm telling you now, Social Security reform by the president is dead, and he killed it."
Saturday, February 12, 2005
I've wanted to see this film for months and it was certainly worth the wait. I think it was done as well as anyone could have hoped to do in every possible way. I think Leonardo DiCaprio is long overdue for his oscar nomination here and (so far) has my vote. I will have to say that Hotel Rwanda might pull me away, as i'm a big Don Cheadle fan, but I tend to think pulling for those sorts of films can be somewhat of a cheap shot.
At any rate, Howard Hughes is someone i've always known bits and pieces about and most of what i knew, i didn't care for. I found the film's story sad, funny, scary, and sometimes triumphant. the film was outstanding down to EVERY last detail. I highly recommend it.
I've been pretty wowed by the Previews for Kingdom of Heaven. click the link and watch the trailer.
Friday, February 11, 2005
Thursday, February 10, 2005
This week there was a BIG Anti-Abortion rally right in front of the White House. The president was actually AT the White House at the time, but evidently couldn't be bothered to step outside, and PHONED the crowd to give his remarks.
You gave him the votes...but my dear...he doesn't respect you in the morning.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
I've been so struck with this new notion: having my computer work (well) all the time. that i'm seriously considering moving on to an Apple iMac for my next computer purchase. This will also help me to stop feeding the Microsoft beast. There's an interesting article above on this machine.
Some of these are too good to just snip. read it all and know what happened in the world in one week:
Approximately eight million people turned out to vote in Iraq. International monitors gave the election their seal of approval, though all 129 of them stayed
inside Baghdad's Green Zone. [The New York Times] Security measures included
sealing the country's borders, banning travel between provinces, prohibiting private vehicle traffic, and imposing curfews in cities. [Reuters] Fake polling stations were set up with snipers positioned to guard the real ones, which were revealed 24 hours before opening. Many of the candidates kept their identities secret until election day, though two had made it known they were direct descendants of the Prophet Mohammed. [The New York Times] Iraqi insurgents, who had been promising death to anyone who came within five hundred yards of a polling station, [The New York Times] succeeded in carrying out nine suicide bombings, one of which was performed by a handicapped child. [Associated Press] Prominent Sunni leaders who boycotted the election said they would be happy to help the elected National Assembly draft the new constitution. [The New York Times] "Two of the great ironies of history," said President George W. Bush, "is there will be a Palestinian state and a democratic Iraq." [New York Times] World leaders gathered in Poland to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, where Dick Cheney was criticized for wearing a green parka with fur trim instead of the more somber black coats everyone else had on. [The Chicago Sun Times] Vladimir Putin noted that "as there were no good and bad fascists, there cannot be good and bad terrorists. Any double standards here are absolutely unacceptable and deadly dangerous for civilization." [The Globe and Mail] A group of Russian legislators demanded that Jewish organizations be investigated, and possibly closed down, for carrying out ritual killings and hate crimes against themselves. [The New York Times] Commercial flights opened between China and Taiwan for the first time in 55 years, [Reuters] and the government of Nepal shut down the Dalai Lama's offices in Kathmandu. [BBC News] More than 250 people were trampled or burned to death during a Hindu festival in western India when a stampeding riot was triggered by pilgrims slipping on spilled coconut milk. [The New York Times] China overtook the United States as Japan's biggest trading partner, [The Washington Post] and scientists discovered that drinking green tea turns mice into better swimmers. [CBC News]
An international task force of scientists, politicians, and business leaders warned
that the world has about ten years before global warming becomes irreversible. By then, average global temperatures will have risen two degrees Celsius since the start of the Industrial Revolution, resulting in major droughts, increased disease, and the termination of the North Atlantic Gulf Stream. [New Zealand Herald] Meteorologists were forecasting record thinning of northern Europe's ozone layer in the coming weeks, [BBC News] and astronomers concluded that Saturn's largest moon had all the ingredients for life. [Associated Press] Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist declared that biological warfare is "the greatest existential threat we face today." [Reuters] The world's first mad goat was diagnosed in France. [United Press International] At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tony Blair and Bill Gates shared the stage with Bono and Bill Clinton and called for more aid to Africa. [The New York Times] Sharon Stone raised a million dollars for mosquito nets, [BBC News] and a
special dinner was organized to promote dialogue between the U.S. and Iran; the idea backfired when Senator Joseph Biden, the American representative, showed up
an hour and a half late, and wine was served to the Muslim guests. [CNN] Scientists solved the mystery of the Venus Flytrap. [The Boston Globe] Swaziland's King swati chose his thirteenth wife and sent her to South Africa for an AIDS test. [BBC News] Researchers found that fidgety people are less likely to be obese, [The New York Times] police in Rome were cracking down on unlicensed tour guides, [The New York Times] and Joseph Massino, the "Last Don" of New York, snitched on the mob. [The New York Times]
President Bush ordered his cabinet to stop paying off journalists after syndicated olumnist Maggie Gallagher admitted she had a $21,500 contract with the Health and Human Services Department to endorse the agency's marriage initiative. [The Washington Post] Two days later, another columnist admitted he'd been paid $10,000 for the same purpose. [The Globe and Mail] Scientists synthesized a pheromone produced by young women that helps post-menopausal ladies attract men. [The Globe and Mail] Social Security Administration workers testified that they had been ordered "to promote the idea that Social Security is in crisis and that Social Security privatization is the answer." [Reuters] Christian groups were threatening to withdraw their support from any privatization scheme whatsoever
unless Bush tries harder to ban gay marriage, [The New York Times] and chimpanzees were found to have a sense of fair play. [BBC News] Condoleezza Rice
was sworn in as secretary of state, despite Senator Mark Dayton's objection during her confirmation hearing that "I really don't like being lied to repeatedly, flagrantly, intentionally." [The New York Times] The Justice Department threw a going away party for John Ashcroft. His term in office, said one assistant, "served as a full employment program for cartoonists and pundits." [The New York Times] The Bush Administration requested an additional $80 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, [The New York Times] totaling 13 times the Environmental Protection Agency's allotment, [Swissinfo] and making the 2005 budget deficit the biggest in history. [The New York Times] The State Department offended Mexico by issuing a travel warning along the border; [CNN] U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza tried to ease tensions by clarifying that "the wave of border violence is a result of successful efforts by President Fox's administration in the fight against organized crime." [Reuters] The Sudanese government dropped bombs on women and children in Darfur, [Reuters] and the European Union reestablished diplomatic ties with Sudan for the first time since 1990. [The New york Times] Commercial airlines were told they should be worrying about shoulder-fired missile attacks, [The New York Times] Human Rights Watch declared meatpacking to be "the most dangerous factory job in America," [The New York Times] and Ringo Starr was planning to become a cartoon superhero.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Iran will never scrap its nuclear program, and talks with Europeans are intended to protect the country's nuclear achievements, not negotiate an end to them, an Iranian official said Wednesday.
So, does this mean we're going to attack Iran since they're terrorist sponsors and openly developing WMD? Of course not! this president doesn't deal with nations who actually HAVE WMD's. that's not as good an election year PR stunt as a Manufactured crisis out of IRAQ!
Next manufactured crisis? Social Security! According to Bush, its on its last legs, and...wait...can you guess? it's a crisis! Actually, members of this agency testified under oath last week that the White House has been pressuring them to call it a crisis...Oh, did i mention 3 more conservative pundits/columnists have come out as being PAID by the White House (tax dollar$!) to promote the Bush political agenda in the media?
Just don't ask Bush why he's been raiding the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for his debt exploding budgets. And of course, no one wants to call this 'conservative' on his having the largest US debt in history. He must be busy fretting over gay marriage...i mean, its hard to keep up with that AND the whole future of our country and economy at the same time!
As for the State of the Union...lets keep it brief, shall we? Yay for elections in Iraq. now lets just see if this is the Bush cue to say 'thanks for a lovely evening' and dart in the house before we have to stay any longer. The problem with the bush speech, as well as the policy is that it is incoherent. we get righteous arguments (justifications) for wildly irresponsible policies and the reverse action on situations that clearly fulfill their claimed policy rationale. Think about it. Iraq MUST be invaded b/c they have WMD's...only they don't. when countries, some truly dangerous, are developing such weapons, we stick our heads in the sand (North Korea, Iran). What does this mean? the rationale was a lie. we don't go into Iran and North Korea because there IS a real danger of our boys (and girls) or innocent people being killed by such attacks. we went into Iraq w/o that fear because the threat of those weapons was a lie. not bad intel, and not imperfect data. it was a goddamned lie.
This today from drudge. see how this fool sees the working poor:
BUSH: HOLDING THREE JOBS 'UNIQUELY AMERICAN'
Tues Feb 8 2005 9:27:01 ET
Last Friday when promoting social security reform with 'regular' citizens in Omaha, Nebraska, President Bush walked into an awkward unscripted moment in which he stated that carrying three jobs at a time is 'uniquely American.'
While talking with audience participants, the president met Mary Mornin, a woman in her late fifties who told the president she was a divorced mother of three, including a 'mentally challenged' son.
The President comforted Mornin on the security of social security stating that 'the
promises made will be kept by the government.'
But without prompting Mornin began to elaborate on her life circumstances.
MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.
THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?
MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)
Filed By Matt Drudge...
Monday, February 07, 2005
I'll say this. the game wasn't half bad, but the ads...the much talked about super bowl ads...well, they really weren't very impressive at all. admittedly i did not see 100% of them, but i was shocked at how boring many were. I'd go so far as to say that there were more innovative and interesting ads on The Simpsons following the game.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Iran said on Sunday it was impervious to remarks by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who accused Tehran's 'unelected mullahs' of a dismal human rights record and covering up efforts to build a nuclear bomb.OK, so does anyone want to tell me what our policy IS in Iran? Rice recently said diplomacy over invasion (this week) but now says we're not to be part of the diplomacy that's going on. so what's the plan now?
In remarks on Thursday, Rice made clear Washington was unwilling to become involved in European negotiations, which resume on Tuesday, to broker a deal that would offer economic incentives to Iran if it agreed to drop nuclear fuel production.
'Such threats will not have much effect on the Islamic Republic and we will continue our path of sovereignty, independence and saying no to hegemony,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a news conference.
OH CRAP! i forgot! we're talking about the BUSH White House here...They don't use plans.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
From Salon, snipped here:
The Wall Street Journal features a science column today that points out one of the dangers -- or, depending on your perspective, benefits -- of spreading false information: Even if you retract it, people sometimes believe it.
The Journal's Sharon Begley previews an about-to-be-released "international study" on perceptions about the Iraq war. Its conclusions: People believe what they want to believe. Researchers showed people a list of stories from Iraq. Some of them were true, but two of them -- stories saying that Iraqis had engaged in an uprising against Saddam Hussein's Baathist party in Basra and had executed Coalition prisoners of war -- were retracted as untrue shortly after they were first reported in the press. As Begley writes, the researchers found that people who were skeptical about the war discounted the false stories, while people who supported war didn't. "People who were not suspicious of the motives behind the war continued to rely on misinformation," one of the researchers said. Begley writes that people sometimes hold fast to false information when it "fits with their mental model," which people seek to retain "whatever it takes." She says it's a cautionary tale for journalists -- if you put out false information, people will continue to rely on it even if you later retract it.
We wonder if the Journal's editorial board is listening.
As the Columbia Journalism Review reported last year, the Journal's editorials in the run-up to the Iraq war were "hawkisk without a shade of doubt." The Journal said
that the war would be "above all about American self-defense," and that, if the United Nations wouldn't do it, the United States would have to act to "prevent the emergence of nuclear- and biological-armed chaos." When Colin Powell briefed the United Nations on the WMDs that turned out not to exist, the Journal declared the case airtight. "The Powell evidence will be persuasive to anyone who is still persuadable," the Journal wrote. "It proves that Saddam is defying the will of the U.N. one more time, hiding his weapons in the hope that the world will again lose its will to stop him. "
In her column today, Begley bemoans the fact that, "six months after the invasion, one-third of Americans believed WMDs had been found, even though every such tentative claim was disconfirmed." We wonder how they got that idea.