Saturday, May 10, 2008

Comet the Super (creepy) Horse and DC Comics Movies

Comet the Skeevy Superhorse

Randy suggested I blog on this topic: Cracked Online has identified the creepiest characters in comics. And, yeah, they knock it out of the park.

Of all Superman lore, Comet the Superhorse is probably the number one concept I just can't get behind. In case you don't click over, here's the rundown:
In order to make Supergirl appeal even more to the little girl audience of the 50's and 60's, they gave Supergirl a pony. Just as she had a cute little kitty with superpowers (Streaky the Supercat, who was actually hilarious on the recent Krypto cartoon), and Superman had Krypto and Beppo*, it seemed a pony was a good idea. What could go wrong?

Really, Comet is a study in "sometimes the simple ideas are the best", and you really don't need to muck about with the winning super-pet formula. But, this is comics, and in the world of comics, why have a lovely idea when you can have a really convoluted and bizarre idea?

Somewhere along the lines, Mort Weisinger fell asleep at the editorial wheel and Comet the Superhorse went from being a cute horse with powers to having a secret origin which revealed that he was once Centaur who had been transmorgified into a horse. And lusted for Supergirl. And would occasionally transform into a cowboy of some sort.

I dunno. It was the Silver Age.

No. Just... No.

I'm all into star-crossed lovers, but there's just something a bit creepy about a horse having romantic notions about a 16 year old girl. Or a 3000 year old Centaur who was lusting for Superman's young cousin. And, really, any way you slice it, I think Superman should have been going after Superhorse with a Super shotgun.

Also, they mention Terry Long, who even when I first saw him in the first Teen Titans story I ever read, I found a little skeevy, and I never understood the Donna Troy/ Terry Long romance and what the hell the editors were thinking.

*According to trusted site Wikipedia, Beppo was also a name for monstrous Nazi evil-bastard doctor guy Josef Mengele. I am... without words. Here. And here.

DC can't get a movie out, but Iron Man made $100 million its first weekend

Ah, DC Comics. It's not enough that DC Comics are the wallflower comics in the comic shops. For the past ten years, Marvel has been putting out profitable movie after profitable movie, all while Warner Bros. has been sitting on their sub-divison, DC Comics, unable to figure out how to bring anyone but Superman and Batman to the big screen.

Randy sent along this article, which takes a quick look at DC's stalled efforts while Marvel has another bonafide hit on their hands.

As a greater fan of DC Comics than Marvel Comics, it can be frustrating watching Marvel's characters make it to the big screen. After all, in theory, DC has had all the advantages for years. They're not licensing characters to get the movies made. In theory, they should be doing it in house. Marvel, meanwhile, should be struggling with bad deals.

According to the article, Marvel is simply decimating DC. And in a lot of ways, that's true. Especially if you go by volume of movies coming out.

And with Iron Man hitting theaters with a solid win, its tough to see DC having much success. That is, if you forget Dark Knight is coming out in a little while. And if you forget Marvel's recent efforts which may have made money, but also landed with a thud. FF2: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider, and even Spidey 3 didn't do much to get audiences terribly excited. X-Men 3 made more money than X-Men 1, but ask anyone which of the X-Movies is their favorite...

This isn't counting movies such as Daredevil, Elektra and the Hulk, all of which made some money, but which were mostly disliked. And a quick show of hands for anyone who is particularly jazzed by the trailers for the new Hulk movie?

So I'm not sure what to make of all of this, honestly.

DC should be out there trying to compete. But of their two feature film releases, Superman Returns received fairly decent critical reviews, but forgot it was supposed to be an action movie when it opened just a few days before the steamroller of Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Batman Begins continues to be a favorite. And the trailers for The Dark Knight look promising.

Attempts at a Justice League movie, which should incorporate Batman, Superman and 5 other super hero mainstays (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman and Flash) was scuttled after the writer's strike, ostensibly for cost reasons, but rumor control still leaked dissatisfaction with the script, and the cast listings for these iconic figures boiled down to a lot of talent which seemed more appropriate for a CW TV show than a superheroic epic.  This, of course, was getting negative web press from the comic dorks.  And I wouldn't be surprised if the studios didn't take notice (hey, we seem to be irritating our built in market...).

Speaking of the CW, the 7 seasons of Smallville will roll into an 8th season in the fall, as Smallville continues on as the highest rated show on the CW network. I wouldn't recommend the show at this point, but 8 seasons? That's got to say something fairly positive.

With Marvel Studios recent establishment and the success of Iron Man at the box office, the relationship DC has with Warner Bros., unfortunately, is seeming to become more of an albatross than a bonus. Rather than Marvel having the freedom to find the right package to get a movie off the ground with talent associated who they can guide in staying true to the concepts they're bringing to the big screen, DC is still fighting off directors and writers who are seemingly being gifted with superhero films with minimal input from DC.

The article states:

• Aquaman: "According to Comic Book Resources, the producers want to make a screwball comedy of it." • The Flash: Wedding Crashers' David Dobkin was signed to direct last year. • Green Lantern: Greg Berlanti (Brothers & Sisters, Eli Stone) is writing a script; Jack Black won't star—at least he promised as much back in 2006. • Justice League of America: "Tabled." • Superman: The Man of Steel: Director Bryan Singer's on board. Superman Returns star Brandon Routh's on board. Filming might begin "early next year," per Routh, who admittedly doesn't have the power to schedule such things. • Wonder Woman: "Sitting uncomfortably on the backburner."

-A wacky Aquaman? Any particular reason? Not enough to work with there with the Lord of the Seas, his super strength and various other powers and a largely unused environment full of all kinds of potential? I assume this is because stand up comics have been taking pokes at Aquaman for the past few years.

-A screwball comedy director for The Flash? Because that worked so well for the FF movies. I can only assume they think The Flash is a barrel of yuks, or I can't imagine what drove that decision. And while I agree that the Flash should be a huge amount of fun, letting Owen Wilson and Co. mug for the camera doesn't seem like much of a qualification. But I'd be curious to hear what the story is, first...

-Am I seeing a trend here? About four years ago it was rumored Jack Black would star in a Green Lantern movie. Once again, it seems that the now 45 year old Batman TV series seems to dictate how writers are thinking of superheroes. Its particularly disappointing when Geoff Johns is doing so much to make Green Lantern such an engaging read. And could probably hammer out an outline for a movie in about three days at this point.

-And I'm going to go out on a limb here about Whedon's Wonder Woman, but... Whedon's financial track record isn't that great. He has a small, core audience that will follow him anywhere he goes, but remember the shakiness regarding the final seasons of Buffy? The quick cancellation of Firefly? The non-existent box office for Serenity? I'm glad the man got a shot, but perhaps whatever script he handed in just wasn't looking like much to the producers but "Serenity Deux".

That said, there's a lot of room for Wonder Woman to be very, very bad. I'm not interested in seeing this movie until there's a solid script and talent behind it.

How, after 3 Spider-Man movies, Iron Man, and whatever success you want to assign to the various other Marvel movies at this point, Warner Bros. still can't help but see their potentially profitable action franchises as anything but silliness to be milked and discarded is a mystery beyond my ability to solve.

Add in what they seem interested in doing when they do get a well-written property, and you wind up with "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" (wtf?) or "V for Vendetta" (let's all be non-conformists, together!). Or the ability for things to go off the rails when the money guys get too involved (see: Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. Actually, don't.). Or they rush out a movie that's just not a good idea ("Steel". Starring Shaq. Oh, yes.).

So it doesn't do much to make me think that DC's woes as far as not meeting Marvel's output are as much of a problem as the article suggests. I would rather have fewer, better movies (and I still think Superman Returns was much better than folks gave it credit for) than a machine just dumping the DCU out onto a populace with minimal regard to quality. There's no guarantee that every Marvel flick to come will be Iron Man. There's a lot of room to go off the rails with Thor, Cap and the rest.

And if DC wants to test the waters... there's no rule that says you need to roll out the big seven. I don't think most people have a solid idea of who the heck Iron Man is/ was before the movie. So are people really going to not show up for a Blue Beetle movie if it looks fun and cool? And isn't there a great movie somewhere in there with Shazam!? Green Arrow and Black Canary? Heck, I think people would turn up for Plastic Man.

Understand, too, that WB has felt burned in the past. After the Catwoman debacle, it seems that they're aware of the potential for things to go poorly, and will do what they can to manage their properties. So while there may be a wacky Aquaman script out there, I think they're genuinely ting to do right by these characters.

Sometimes, less is more.

Now, if DC could get their comics straightened out...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Loss of Faith in Humanity/ Getting out of Town

Part of why I do not understand the world

I saw on TV the other day that Kim Kardashian, who has no skills and is famous only because of a 6th degree separation to the OJ Simpson trial (it's insanely complicated, but a quick check of Wikipedia whould clear it up) is making $25,000 a night "hosting" parties in LA.

If there were ever any time I would think God would be within his rights to smite a place from the Earth...

Gas is going to $3.60 a gallon, it costs $80,000 to get a graduate degree, the NSF is struggling for funding, schools are underfunded, and we're having food riots across the world... But somehow there's an economy in LA that says its reasonable and profitable to pay this person with a horrible "reality" show on basic cable $25K to show up and have a drink at a party. Which means, and this is the scary part, that people actually want to be at a party hosted by this person of no talent and no influence enough that the $25K will turn a profit.

The fact that the poor of LA haven't put the heads of the Kardashians and their ilk on spikes and redustributed their wealth tells me only that the American dream is mutated from work hard and it will pay off to instant wealth for becoming a personality.

Ladies and gentlemen... I ask of you... What kind of a world do we live in where Screech has to appear on Celebrity Fit Club to make ends meet and this person is making a dime?

Somebody give me my reality show, already. I'm ready to be rich. And I think America is ready to fall in love with Melbotis and his wise-cracking side-kick, Jeff the Cat.

Radiohead - Next week we're going to see Radiohead in Houston and do a bit of late Mother's Day celebrating. I'm excited.

Costa Rica - At the end of the month, The League and Jason are taking a two-man trip to lovely Costa Rica.

I'm a bit nervous. I've only ever been on one non-family oriented trip, and that was our honeymoon which was at Disneyworld. (Look, its tough coming up with stuff to do and still have access to dialysis, so shut up).

Jason and I are going to the rain forest for two days to see a large volcano and fight monkeys. The next day we're headed to the coast for a few days of drinking cheap whiskey by the shore and fighting beach monkeys.

As I mentioned, I haven't traveled much in my life and I haven't seen much of the world, so this will be very new to me. I've never even had need for a passport until this trip as I never made the college trip to Europe or went anywhere on spring break, and our "alternative lifestyle" doesn't lend itself easily to travel.

One thing that's always turned me off about vacations is that the second you mention you're even thinking of vacation, everybody comes out of the woodwork to tell you where to go, what to do, how to do it, and that no matter what you're thinking of, you're doing it wrong. And I get that. People have a good time on vacation. They want to relive their vacation by sending you on a duplicate of their vacation so they can verify that you had the same fun they had on their trip and feel that they're time away was well spent.

At least I'm now past the age where people went to Europe and came back (a) declaring how much better everything is in Europe from food to transportation to whatever, and (b) declaring how they were moving to Europe and leaving loser Americans (ie: you) behind for the greener grass of The Continent.

I confess, one of the big upsides of my trip to Disneyworld was countering this discussion with how much more ideal things are in the Magic Kingdom. The public transportation of Monorails and huge paddle boats and submarines where you can see mermaids. There's so many varieties of foods, time periods, and alternate realities. If America were more like Disneyland, things would be so much better here.

Anyway, my travel experience is extremely limited. The League has never been anywhere or done anything, and, we confess, it really gets us down sometimes, so the trip to Costa Rica is very welcome. And I am pretty sure my check from Uncle Sam intended to stimulate the American economy is going to be going to fruity, girly drinks in some cabana on a beach.

And that, Leaguers, is as close as you're going to see me sticking it to the man.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Your daily recommended allowance of awesome

Isabella Rossellini, who is certainly a DITMTLOD, has created a series of short films describing the mating rituals of various insects.

Leaguers, I link you to: Green Porno

I forewarn you, the language is a little crass, and Isabella is at the peak of her powers as she portrays each insect going about their, ahem, business. All while wearing outfits that look like they came from the drama department of a state university putting on some sort of buggy summer stock production.

Isabella wants you to "bee" yourself.

Items for Wednesday

ITEM! Randy finds a strip that is all too accurate.

ITEM! It's only taken, like, two years, but they're finally wrapping up the "Last Son" storyline in Action Comics Annual #11 coming out this week. Great googledy-moogledy. I'd heard the Kubert Brother working on this had "health" problems that kept him from working on this comic and getting it in on time. He also helps run the Joe Kubert School of Cartooning or whatever in NYC. I understand health issues can be private, so I'm not looking for an explanation. But I wish DC had hired another artist and wrapped this up a while back. Hopefully DC has their scheduling straightened out for the foreseeable future on the Superman titles.

ITEM! Hi, Denise! How are you? How are the kids?

ITEM! Entertainment Weekly has preview pages of Final Crisis #1

ITEM! Jason, Jamie, Julia... sorry about the whole Speed Racer thing last night. I had passes to a sneak peek, but I thought they were for the nearby Westgate Theater. When I grabbed them to get ready to go, I realized they were for the Gateway Theater on the other end of town. So... we didn't end up going due to the time.

ITEM! The Met has a show right now called "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy", featuring superhero costumes right alongside some of the more extreme fashion ideas. Especially from the 80's, I think.

Click here for The Beat's report and to see an amazing statue of DC's Trinity. They also had one of Lynda Carter's costumes. Whoo!

ITEM! I don't remember where I read it, but there's a rumor that Matthew McConaughey may have landed the role of Captain America. Which... Really? I always thought he was more of a young Michael Biehn.

Of all superheroes, Cap is really the American Superhero ideal. He's the barrel-chested, baritone voiced, two-fisted slugger fighting against fascism. Is that McConaughey? I've never seen his more action oriented flicks. And I don't want a Vin Diesel or some pro-wrestler putting on the feather-headed cowl, so...

And I don't know how many of you have seen the circa 1980 Cap movies made for TV, or the 1990 movie which never made it to theaters (starring no less than the son of JD Salinger), but the costume sorta doesn't work in real life. But I think if they took a look at Hitch's designs for Cap in The Ultimates, then, maybe it won't make him look like a member of the cast of a Superbowl Halftime Show.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

TTSNB: Balrog Wall Mount

Hey, Jamie. You know how we've been trying to figure out what to do with that one wall in the bedroom...? Well, have I got something for YOU.

Fresh from the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, it's The Balrog Wallmount.

That's right, a "to scale" Balrog head. You, too, can enjoy the basilisk stare of the hellish beast from the time-before-time cast upon you while you're putting on your socks, folding laundry, and saying your vespers.

You can sleep tight knowing the unfathomable face of rage and destruction is gazing upon you

It's 48" long, 40" high, and 26" deep. And only $1800 before S&H. And it features the to-scale likeness of the only movie monster since I saw John Carpenter's The Thing in college to genuinely give me the heebie-jeebies. So why WOULDN'T I want this in my house?

I make fun, but if I owned a club, this would totally hang right over the bar. Also, it would give me an opportunity to shout "You shall not pass!" whenever I felt like it.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Movies for Boys of Summer?

Occasional Superheroine had an article up today about the lack of movies which come out in the summer which are "geared towards women". I found Valerie's questions legitimate, to an extent. But I think it oversimplifies the business of the Blockbuster movie and how and why it is made.

Valerie's post actually was spawned by an article in The Times entitled "Come Summer, Is There a Real Woman in the Multiplex?", which reminded me entirely too much of the sort of stuff you would read in RTF's Narrative Strategies class.

What becomes clear after a quick read of the article isn't that there's a lack of movies with a female audience in mind (and I would argue, the huge blockbusters try to be a big tent and include women as well). Rather, it seems that author Manohla Dargis basically doesn't care for the mainstream faire that comes out in the summertime. And has blacked out many movies and arguments which she might find inconvenient to her thesis.

Because the article reminds me so of RTF course quibbling, it relies on the same mish-mash of Gender Studies 101 to condemn the Apatow movies for showing non-He-Men, who discuss their emotions and should therefore be identified as women. An odd condemnation when she's simultaneously condemning summer movies for their machismo. What perfect balance of yin and yang Dargis is seeking in her male stars is as elusive as what she seeks in her female stars and stories.

With the other hand, Dargis complains that the women of "Sex in the City" are also not "real" women. Especially interesting as the debut of "Sex in the City" on HBO was, according to critics and fans alike, heralding a realistic depiction of the urban sophisticate. She has no praise for the Travelling Pants, Momma Mia!, or any other movie she has yet to see, and damnation for those she has seen.

So what, exactly, is Dargis looking for? It's easy to roll your eyes at movie's coming out, and its okay to criticize if you have a point. But her premise of "not enough movies for REAL women" seems a bit... well, if I was a lady, I'd be a bit offended. What movie is Dargis prescribing? If you enjoy the adventures of Indiana Jones, are you a traitor to your sex? What is this perfect movie of complicated female characters that would make he same $200 million opening weekend as Iron Man? Because it seems Dargis is completely dismissive of action movies in general, so I wouldn't bring up the recent spate of B-movies featuring tough-guy ladies fighting zombies, werewolves, vampires... what have you.

Val asks some questions.

1. Has Hollywood decided that women are not a viable audience?
No. But female-centric movies don't open to $200 million. Just as male-centric movies featuring martial arts, etc... don't open at $200 million.

There's a difference between there being no movies for women and the marketing push the Tentpole pictures receive. The sheer number of ads for Speed Racer and Iron man may give a feeling of some disproportionate balance, which may or may not actually exist. But the actual movie is not the point of a big summer pre-packaged blockbuster. "Sex in the City" won't sell millions in action figures at Target. Nor will "Made of Honor". You won't see Patrick Dempsey's face on a Coke cup at Burger King. Or Sarah Jessica Parker dolls in the BK Kids' Club meal. If "Made of Honor" loses money, the machine of the Hollywood Blockbuster won't make sure everyone gets paid. Whether Iron Man makes or loses money at the box office, the license rights alone may make up the deficit.

2. What movies DO women watch? In what format? Theater, DVD, what?
You know, back when I asked What Do Women Want in Superhero Comics, I got slammed pretty hard for asking what women want, as if I was asking a herd of people who all behaved alike. I think the question shouldn't be "women". It should be: how do mothers of 5-10 years olds enjoy entertainment? Do they take their children to see Iron Man? Do they make time for themselves to see movies of their choice? What about bad mothers who don't know they shouldn't take their kid to see "Saw"? What about Grandmothers? And professionals? Are they watching Lost on DVD instead of going to movies? Do they have time to go to the theater? Are they more aware of who the stars are than what movies they're actually in?

But, mostly, its a goofy question. What do guys watch? They don't all watch the same things. Now, comic book nerdy guys... we kind of do all watch the same things. We just enjoy them to varying degrees.

3. Does Hollywood assume that women either do not watch movies in theaters or will go to wherever their significant others will take them to see or that they are so busy mopping floors that they haven't even given the topic much thought?

Well, that's a loaded question. And I won't speak for Hollywood. Or women. But with movies costing $200 million dollars, I'm pretty sure the studios do some research to figure out what is going to be profitable.

But if the last five movies "for women" came out and all made between 50-75 million, how much are you going to spend on the next one you make to ensure a profit? Probably less than $50 million, I'd assume. From that point, I assume people who know more about marketing a movie than I would know how to narrowcast advertising to the presumd audience.

Anecdotally, I do believe women are more likely to see a movie of their partner's choosing than their male partner will really, really want to see "27 Dresses". Other than that, I refuse to comment on this, because it seems like talking about this would lead me into trouble with Jamie. Who went with Jason and me to see "Doomsday", even though we all agreed she would not like it.

4. Is a movie like "Indiana Jones," as mentioned in the article, not a movie of female interest because Indy and his sidekick themselves are not females? Or is this sort of reductionist?

I think its kind of reductionist.

As I mentioned, some movies are just going to overwhelm those niche categories. As an example: Titanic didn't make a billion dollars because of squeeing 13 year old girls who found Leo non-threatening. A lot of people saw that movie. It seems that a franchise like Indiana Jones can also have that cross-over appeal, once its ingrained in popular culture.

5. According to the article, the amount of female movie directors is something like 6%. Is this the movie studios fault for not hiring these women? Are these women not applying for the director track? Are they not applying to the director track because they are not interested, or because they are discouraged from doing so in school?

Uh... the Director track? In school? I went to film school, so I think I have a little bit of experience with this one (and there was no "director's track" at UT RTF. You're all doing everything from camera to feeding your actors). Honestly, my years in film school were sort of the opposite of discouraging women. They seemed a lot more focused on the opposite ideal, to look at narratives from non-traditional points of view and encourage everyone who wanted to participate.

And the hard numbers: our production track was about 40% women, 60% guys. But I would also question whether that has a direct effect on the number of directors as much as I would ask (1) if that figure 6% is accurate, (2) how many women went out to try to get features made, (3) are you counting television, documentary and directors of non-main-stream films, and (4) perhaps a bit of a rough point, but as in any industry... Life often complicates things. There are female CEO's and some female directors, producers and studio execs. But how many women decide to have a family and are unable to keep up the break-neck pace of working in the film industry to get to a point where they are given the opportunity to direct? Let alone decide to pursue something else requiring less time once the kids need parenting?

Looking for some sort of male-dominated conspiracy from film school to the directors chair is giving Hollywood entirely too much credit. There's a lot of money at play here, and decisions are made about how to be profitable. Its not a conspiracy as much as too much caution about unknown commodities.

My point being, in order to try to make a good investment, Hollywood mostly goes with what it knows. If "March of the Penguins" makes money, we get two animated penguin movies and a Bob Saget Penguin spoof within a year or so. If Iron Man made $200 million in an opening weekend, you make Iron Man 2. If Catwoman and Elektra failed to make any money (and, in fact, lost money) you put the brakes on hoping sexiness in a costume is enough to drag folks in. Then you take a long, hard look at your script for Wonder Woman and don't assume its going to rush into theaters because of T&A and a magic lasso. And if you think they're taking too long between pictures... How long between Superman IV and Superman Returns?

And, by the way, a woman is directing the next Punisher movie. So it seems Marvel doesn't believe women are off-limits when it comes to their movies.

One of the greater challenges for comic-to-movie adaptations has to be that most of the time-tested characters and ideas came from a time and place where diversity wasn't as valued as it is today, and where women held a different place in society. Keep in mind, Action Comics #1 premiered about 19 years after the 19th amendment passed. Finding female characters who starred in their own titles in a genre that typically featured male heroic archetypes for decades is going to be a bit slimmer pickings. And with the failure of two high profile characters like Elektra and Catwoman on the big screen (with terrible scripts to blame, really. Yes, I've watched most of Catwoman), its difficult to pick out who could be the female Iron Man.

Not that I think that's what Dargis is looking for. Really, I think what she'd like is to see the Oscar-season movies open in the summer and do 200 million in their first weekend. That's my guess, anyway. I'm not sure which "real" women she wants at the cinema. Are there not silly, ridiculous women in real life? Or are those silly women who will appear in comedies this summer, or the women of Sex in the City just not her cup of tea, in movies about topics which she holds in contempt, or are they just not the kind of person she personally likes to pal around with? "Real" women.

All this said, at last check, I'm not a lady. But I do know a few. And they like all kinds of movies, just how guys like all kinds of movies. CB likes Scorcese, horror, John Waters, and all kinds of stuff. Jamie likes fantasy movies and smart comedies. Nicole watches stuff that's a bit more art-house, and she likes Ocean's 11.

So if you want to know what I think at least Jamie's thinking this summer? I think she'd echo Marion Ravenhood from the first reel of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Indiana Jones. Always knew someday you'd come walking back through my door.

But, again, I'm not going to speak for her.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Toys That Should Not Be: Rocket Fishing Rod

I'm mostly linking to this toy because the ad which plays when you click over (and it starts without a warning, so be prepared if you click on the link to get some loud audio) reminds me of an SNL ad for a horrible kids' toy. The commercial just never makes that sharp left turn to show you any particular ways in which you can injure yourself or others with the Rocket Fishing Rod, but I can think of about three.

You know what I like about fishing? Sure, the time with family on a boat without much but to worry about but how much sunblock you're wearing is great. But its also quiet, peaceful and relaxing to just sort of sit there casting and reeling in.

It seems like today's kids, fed on a steady diet of hyper-active animation and video games that allow them to do everything from blow up 40' aliens to cruise for hookers may not feel (how do I say it?) fulfilled by dropping a lure and hook in the water and hoping something will eventually catch on the line. No matter how snazzy the rod.

Well, the makers of the Rocket Fishing Rod, apparently, believed that fishing should be more X-TREME. Now, don't get me wrong, I find the Rocket Fishing Rod a great idea. Pull a trigger, and... POW! You're fishing, suckah!

And, really, that's what they're selling. A fish gun. Alas, fishing is not a sport of instant gratification.

Really, if you're trying to teach Junior and Sally that fishing is Daddy's quiet beer-drinking time, this toy seems like the one to kill any interest they might ever have in again tagging along on another fishing expedition.

Now, I'm not really sure what the shooting device (if it works) means as per teaching a kid how to actually cast, and I don't know how loud this thing is as it launches the bait through the air. My suspicion is that even if its not loud enough to scare the fish, the repeated launch sequence of the thing would be enough to make you want to chuck little Sally or Junior from the boat. Or, heck, just push them into the drink from the end of the dock.

I suspect the dirty little secret of the Rocket Fishing Rod is that its more actual work than a regular old Zebco. After all, it seems like you have to reset this thing every time you reel it in, and if the line gets tangled... hoo-boy.

As I mentioned above, fishing is about patience. Guns and whatnot are sort of the opposite of patience. So while the Rocket Fishing Rod might hurl that bobber out there... Junior, you have a wait on your hands. I don't care what sort of futuristic weaponry your little toy fishing rod looks like in your mind's eye. The fish will come when the fish darned well feel like it.

But, hey, again... I may not want to pay $40 plus S&H to find out if this thing is fun, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to monkey around with this doo-hickey before Jamie's dad tossed me off the side of the boat.

FCBD and DC Universe #0

This is the first year that I think I did not insist on dragging Jamie and/ or Jason along with me to check out Free Comic Book Day (if you didn't go today, you sort of missed it. But you might be able to get free comics over the next week or so as the shops clear out their stock of free comics. There's an economics lesson in there about keeping inventory that, by definition, cannot draw any profit.).

This year I hit two of Austin's remaining comic shops. At this point, I'm not sure how many are left in town. Three of the four shops that were owned by the same person have shut down since I arrived, and the remaining one (Funny Papers) has recently been sold to some enterprising youths. I did visit Funny Papers to check out their sale items and pick up my weekly comics. And I visited Austin Books to check out their back issue offerings, see what was going on in-store, and pick up the second Kirby retrospective released in the past two months.

I am actually taking a bold step. I've decided that I'm going to start ordering all of my comics online. Its cheaper, and saves me the hassle of trying to park at my current comic shop, which is located in a great place for pedestrian student traffic to access from campus, but its a mess trying to get there just for comics (andone else remember the parking at Dobie Mall?). I'm not moving my pull list to Austin Books because I'm afraid of what I'd start spending if I had to go there every week.

The idea is to save money. And it will make the trips to the comic shop, when I do go, a bit more fun. Hitting the shop every week shouldn't be a chore, and I think a monthly or bi-monthly trip to Austin Books should keep it fun.

The offerings this year seemed, how do I put this...? A bit more sensible. Austin Books had a wide variety of selections, even as late in the day as I arrived. They had courteous staff on hand helping families that had come in. But, unlike past years, I didn't just grab whatever was free. I mostly took copies of stuff I was genuinely curious about and left the kiddy faire for the actual children who were running around.

It seems like FCBD is having some positive effects, or I don't think the industry would continue to support the initiative. Smaller publishers are still going to face trouble reaching those new readers if the shops order the FCBD offering but don't offer any issues on the shelf. New readers shouldn't have to guess at the byzantine ordering practices of comic shops (and it is unnecessarily complicated, i assure you), so I often wonder what step 2 is after giving them the first one for free.

Fortunately, visitors reaching Austin Books will probably be able to get exactly what they need, but at many other shops I've been to... I f I could make a suggestion to Austin Books (aside from suggesting they make all Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen back-issues 75% off on FCBD, or just for me), it would be to see what theyc an do to get a signing arranged. Atomic Comics, a place I frequented in Phoenix, landed the entire starting line-up for Image. Jim Lee, all those guys. In one room.

And this isn't to bag on Atomic Comics, because they were the best game in town, by far, in the Valley of the Sun, but Austin Books is just a better experience on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps the thinking is: FCBD is for new readers. We don't need to gum it up with a line of nerds waiting for Ed McGuinness to sign Superman back-issues. But they also had a guy in a Spidey suit at Atomic Comics. And I know there's a dude in Austin with a GREAT Spider-Man suit. Where was he?

I dunno. It was fun, don't get me wrong. But... it was also the first time in a while I've wished I could be in frikkin' Mesa, Arizona (and, Leaguers, that thought does not often cross my mind).

DC released DC Universe 0, which was billed as an "entryway into the DC Universe". And it was not. Fortunately, the comic was $0.50, and actually intended to get folks to see what's going on in some of DC's mainline books, such as Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. And reminded this reader that, right now, Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison are keeping DC alive and somewhat healthy, almost on their own (although Gail's Wonder Woman is refreshing, Rogers' Blue Beetle is a book i would recommend to anyone and everyone, and Rucka/ Trautmann's Checkmate is the most under-appreciated comic coming from DC).

There was a huge amount of sniping on the internet about the content of DC Universe #0, and some of that might have been residual negative energy from the epic screw-up of Countdown. Honestly, I didn't really see what had gotten so many folks' dander up. I thought it was a nice sampling of what was going on in the DCU. Badly marketed by Didio himself? Possibly. But for fifty cents? jeez. I can't tell you how many full-price comics I've closed and went through a beat of buyer's remorse. At least this had me jazzed for all of the stuff they showed coming up.

Were I a savvy shopkeep, I would have taken the gamble that DCU #0 was going to get folks interested in DC Comics on FCBD, and would have made it half-price or free, hoping that the upfront cost to myself would pay dividends later.

Also, yeah... looks like the news is out on a certain super-hero of the Silver-Age coming back. But I certainly didn't think it was so awkward and painful as the interwebs had led me to believe.

Ah, well.

I'm going to bed.

Friday, May 02, 2008

I am (a guy who saw) IRON MAN

I caught Iron Man today, and I have to give it the League of Melbotis rating of: 4.5 thumbs.

My expectations for the movie were somewhat tempered by a review or two from sources such as Variety and, so I wasn't too surprised by the fact that I enjoyed the movie a great deal. That's sort of been the consensus.

Iron Man is a movie with one foot in fantasy, from the science-fiction of the armor and Tony Stark's household futuristic technology to the idealistic method in which Stark is able to redress his moral failings. The other (much smaller) foot is placed in the reality of the sort of combat our soldiers are facing overseas, and the responsibilities of folks buying yachts off the proceeds from the sale of scud missles.

The effects in Iron Man benefit from the fact that the armor is non-organic and there's no fear of the Uncanny Valley. Seeing the trailer for The Incredible Hulk, just minutes before Iron Man rolled, reminded me that despite the fact that I have no idea what an 8-foot green giant looks like, I can still look at CG-Ferrigno and know that I'm watching a nicely animated cartoon. Not so much here.

There's a lot of good stuff in Iron Man, and more than being a movie about two mad scientists duking it out, or a mad scientist and Afghani boogey-men, its much more about discovery of self and super-science development. And, kids, those scenes are a lot of fun to watch.

The talent in Iron Man is actually very impressive. Paltrow's Pepper Potts refuses to be another Mary Jane in distress. Jeff Bridges is more than a cackling villain, though the script does point him in some mad-sciencey, hand-wringing directions. Terrence Howard is a good James Rhodes, but you sort of hope he gets to suit up in Iron Man II.

And Robert Downey Jr.? For all the cliches of the movie, Downey makes you forget you've seen this movie before in bits and pieces. His Stark is not the boring guy with the mustache who kept me from reading Iron Man in middle school (alcohol problems or no). He's a guy who has already found his place in the world, he's succeeded in the ways of the American Dream, through hard work and brilliance, and he's enjoying the hell out of it. Unlike movies like Spider-Man, which show us a character in the transition of youth, we get a fully formed character with whom we get to see the exact why's and how's of their change of heart. And, maybe, being a few years out of high school, I'm relating a bit better to Tony Stark these days than Spidey. Although, you know, without the billions and genius.

Many will find Stark's moral awakening to be a contrivance, and somewhat childish. After all, blowing people up should be considered patriotic. But I found the reasons for the awakening to be plausible beyond just the confines of the story, and possibly asking some questions that Americans assume are usually taken care of, but... you know...

Anyhow, this is seriously one of the most fun superhero movies Marvel has managed to put out in a long time. Where Spidey 3 disappointed last summer, Ghost Rider utterly failed, and Fantastic Four went to the negative zone, Iron Man was a great ride.

I'm finding I'm enjoying superhero movies MORE when I don't know too much about the characters (or, like Superman Returns, its such a departure, I have nothing to compare it to). So I get the cool superhero action (and the action in this movie is pretty good), but I also don't spend the movie figuring out how this is different from the comic.

I'm looking forward to any potential sequels. And I may give this one another round before it leaves the theaters. Kids will want their Iron Man suit this Halloween. Adults will wish they could find a way to test drive the suit and have Stark's home management system.

Oh, and nerds will want to wait through the credits for the final scene of the movie. Oh, yes. You will want to stay.

Everyone in their right place

Yesterday, Jamie and I went to see the new Tina Fey/ Amy Poehler movie: Baby Mama

I'm a fan of 30 Rock, and I've liked Poehler on SNL. Plus it was better than cleaning my office, which is what I was doing.

When your criteria for seeing a movie includes: zombies, robots, gorillas, superheroes, spaceships or no small amount of kung-foolery, you don't always get a peek at what else is out there. And as the trailer for "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2" rolled up onto the screen, I came to the conclusion that "Baby Mama" was not aimed at the sci-fi/ kung-fu audience, and I might have a very long two hours ahead of me.

The good I can report: Baby Mama was, at least, a bit funny. It's a renter, or maybe something to watch on cable. Maybe a matinee, if you're really dead-set against Iron Man.

But one of the trailers they showed was the trailer for American Teen.

This documentary is about four white, suburban kids in middle-America who are in high school. So I'm trying to figure out what the movie is actually about.

The trailer uses the Breakfast Club stereotypes for each of the subjects, and, I would assume, is going to break down those stereotypes over the course of a year/ two hours as we learn about what makes these kids tic.

Perhaps fifteen year ago, this might have been a bit novel. The trailer suggests its about the heartache and romance of being young and just beginning your life, but after TV expanded to 200 channels of reality-based programming and the WB's five nights a week of teen-angst soap operas, and MTV went all-high-schooler inc ontent as well as audience... Add in teh fact that every single person over the age of 18 went through high school, so been there, done that... I'm trying to figure out what's there to draw me in.

Two things I find peculiar:

1) The trailer's insistence on framing this in a "Breakfast Club" sort of manner. Really, the only time "Breakfast Club" seemed like an accurate depiction of high school was when I saw it in middle school and had not yet been to high school (but was trying to figure out what it was going to be like). Somehow, we didn't all wind up in Saturday suspension, all surprising ourselves by learning a little more about ourselves and a lot about each other.

I don't recall people in high school actually believing in much in the way of the classic high school breakdowns of nerds, jocks, what-have-you. And its not just because I was completely unobservant.

2) Why do these kids in the trailer speak in seemingly scripted language? Has 10 years of reality TV really blurred the line so much that kids know how to alter their language into concise statements to accurately describe their yearnings and inner monologue? I have a lot of hours of of footage of high school on VHS. It's mostly people smiling politely and asking me to turn off the camera.

At best, I'd watch this movie if it showed up on cable pretty late and nothing else was on. Having already done high school, I'm not in a rush to relive the experience. It wasn't that great when I was there the first time around. And I assume that's the point.

We've all been to high school. We all experienced the awkwardness, the unrequited crush, had hopes and dreams and no idea what it means to show up in the same cube every day with a soul-crushing mortgage hanging over your head. Its the last time in your life when the whole world is before you as a blank slate. But its also the time when you're too dumb to appreciate where you're at in life. Youth is wasted on the young.

The interstitial text in the trailer makes it pretty clear that they're counting on the nostalgia of the viewer to get them in the theater. And I assume the marketing is inline with the intention of the movie, so... I guess they're counting on the audience really missing those halcyon days.

Do the kids see themselves as the jock? The rebel? Aren't those tags a little embarrassing, even as a starting point? Or have decades of teen movies, TV shows and whatnot just placed an artificial expectation and self-fulfilling prophecy for kids before they ever hit the high school. Moreover, what are we really getting when we're getting the kids who volunteered to have a camera follow them around for a year. I know I'd have been mortified. I assume most of the kids I knew wouldn't have leaped at a chance to have a camera there at prom, running around town, etc...

Moreover, how well do these roles translate to non-whitebread students in areas and schools that aren't just a bunch of middle-class kids filling their seemingly pre-destined roles? I have no idea. But that's a movie I might find a bit more interesting.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Voting in Austin

I'm getting geared up to vote for 3 city council seats here in Austin. As skeptical as I might feel about my ability to influence the November elections for President (the Republicans could put up a pelican for Prez, and Texas would still vote GOP), I DO think my vote counts when it comes to local politics.

But local politics are just as complicated as national, in some ways. I have some things I firmly believe will and will not work for Austin today and looking 10, 20, 30, 100 years in the future. So I'm looking for candidates who share my ideals.

And given the nature of the issues, there's a lot of splitting hairs. We all agree that Austin's traffic is a mess, but how do you solve that? We all know Austin will continue to grow, so how do you manage that? We need to protect the environment in Austin, but how do you enforce that or get industry and individuals to play along because they feel its the right thing to do?

Here's one of my challenges: Jennifer Kim made a pretty big PR flub trying to bypass airport security last year, flashing her City Council credentials, and I haven't always loved interviews I've seen on News 8. But I also think, from reading her site, that she's learned a lot. But I also think Randi Shade seems like a right-on kind of candidate. But I'm not sure, exactly how she'll vote, partly because her website seems a bit unclear other than "I think Austin should have a great future".

And then there's a third candidate for place 3, Ken Weiss. And, seriously, I have no idea what this fellow is up to.

For a bit of compare and contrast.

Jennifer Kim's informative, well-managed site. Here.

Randi Shade's well-designed, but somewhat ambiguous site. Here.

Ken Weiss's website based around begging for money. Here.

He sort of makes me wonder how far I could get raising money for a campaign I couldn't possibly win. What are the rules for how you spend that money once the campaign is over with? Can you keep it? Because if you get to keep it...

I'm just sayin'...

Anyhow, I'm not going to run for city council this year. Maybe one day. It seems better than working.

But, really, if any of them would agree to refuse to allow anymore damn skyscraper condos from going up, they'd get my vote. I don't really how crazy the rest of their policies are.

Now, off to read up on the candidates for the other two seats.

Oh, if you have a good reason why I should vote for Jennifer Kim or Randi Shade, let me know.

Saturday = Free Comic Book Day

Hey, Leaguers.

I don't think anyone has ever actually followed my suggestion to go to Free Comic Book Day, so I'm not going to dink around with trying to talk you into going and, you know, enjoying yourself at no cost, supporting the comic industry, learning more about the medium... blah, blah, blah.

But I thought I'd let you know it was occurring, anyway.

Not free, but costing you a low, low $0.50 will be DC Universe #0. From what I hear, its supposed to be pretty good. But, you know, I don't know. Because when I showed up at Ye Olde Comick Shoppe today, they hadn't received the weekly shipment. Which sort of freaked me out. And means I have to go back to the comic shop again this weekend.

Anyhow, DC Universe #0 is supposed to be a good starting point for anyone wanting to find out not just who Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman actually are as comic characters, but what sort of world they live in (bonus: that world contains AQUAMAN). And even if you don't know and don't care, its about the price of a pack fo gum, so you aren't going to lose much, and you'll get a bit more of a clue as to what the @#$% I'm talking about when I go on one of those rants.

Here's some information on FCBD.

Here are some comics who I think you might be interested in grabbing:

All-Star Superman #1
Tiny Titans #1
Project Superpowers
Graphic Classics - Special Edition
Disney's Gyro Gearloose
EC Comics Sampler
Marvel Adventures - Iron Man
The Moth - Greatest Hits
Kids Love Comics! Comic Book Diner

The Billy Letters

To try to explain this does it an injustice, but I know that you won't click over unless I give it a sentence or two.

Ap[parently this guy from Radar magazine has been sending letters to notorious criminals and political figures, posing as a 10 year old boy seeking advice.

Asde from Charles Manson, people seem mostly helpful.

To read the letters, go here.

Willie Nelson at 75

What can one write or say about Texas legend, Willie Nelson, that hasn't been written or said before? As much as folks down our way like to listen to Willie, it seems like the man graces the cover of Texas Monthly once every 18 months or so, with article attached.

On the radio this weekend, they were focusing on an all-day Willie retrospective. Tomorrow night, KGSR is dedicating the evening to a Willie celebration. And News 8 Austin is dedicating a good chunk of their day tomorrow to celebrating Willie.

Willie crosses all lines around here. Everyone from the hippies to the old, tarnished Texans loves the guy. Few self-respecting Texans do not know the words to, at least, "On the Road Again".

And if you don't own a copy of something along the lines of Willie Nelson: Super Hits, well, hang your head in shame, sir/ ma'am. But, mostly, pick it up and give it a listen.

I regret that I've never seen the man perform. Perhaps one day.

So, today and tomorrow I salute you, Willie. And I promise to listen to an album or two of your tomorrow in your honor.

Willie's very nice website.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Iron Man?

Anyone up for going to see Iron Man this weekend at the Alamo South? Maybe 2:45 on Saturday? Or maybe in the evening?

It'll be fun. Like seeing Steven in a jet-powered rocket suit.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Heppy Annuhversri to us

Hey. So, today was, apparently, our 8th wedding anniversary.

Congrats to us, I guess.

Our wedding day, 8 years ago, was a lovely spring day. We were married about five or six miles from where we live today (still safely south of the river, here in Austin), and we were surrounded by friends and family. It was quite a day.

A lot of what you hear about weddings is true: you're not going to remember much, despite all the planning, so hope you have a good photographer. In fact, have a great photographer who will make it looks even better than it probably really was. You're going to supposedly meet some people, but you will not remember meeting them.

Anyhow, the wedding and the whole weekend were really pretty amazing. Honestly, I have no recollection of what we did the day or two after the wedding. I do remember that the In-Laws snuck into our apartment and cleaned it before we got home the day after the wedding (we'd stayed the night at the famed Driskill Hotel). I walked in and immediately believed we'd been robbed. Also, we'd had a driver to the hotel, and so woke up, with no money on us, trying to figure out how to get home. We had to wake Doug and have him come downtown to fetch us. God bless 'im.

There was also a dinner at the OG. Which must have been Saturday night (we ended up getting married on a Friday). I recall it was some of the only time I had to talk to my uncle and aunt all weekend.

Anyhow, 8 years is a lot of time and a lot of water under the bridge. Were we to get married today, why think of the Leaguers who would be asked to show. And I would make JimD do a lyrical dance with a long piece of pink ribbon.

The wedding anniversary is, indeed, very special to Jamie and myself. We'd been dating for a while before we got married, and co-habitated for a while before getting married. So while our wedding wasn't a shock to anyone, including us, it was significant to stand up there before God, the peacocks and a whole bunch of people who'd bought us ring-dings and whatnot off our Dillard's registry and say "Yup, only way out of this deal is feet first and in a bag."

I don't think it's a big secret how I feel about Jamie. But today, that's going to be between me and she.

So, Happy Anniversary to us.

I know who I'm voting for...

The League announces which candidate we're supporting.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What's Up

Hey all.

Friday Jamie went to a fashion show of some sort at UT. Jason and I went and grabbed dinner, and then saw "The Forbidden Kingdom", the Jet Li/ Jackie Chan team-up. It's basically a kids' movie, and as such, it doesn't do much to bring anything new to the "quest" movie (which in this case, the quest is to bring a magical staff to the Monkey King). There's hints of "NeverEnding Story" to the thing, but its not necessarily for very small kids. But if I had a 9 year-old at my disposal, this would be a good entry-point for Kung-Fu movies.

Saturday I hit the Barton Springs spill-over with Lucy, Cassidy and Jason. It was a great Austin springtime sort of Saturday, and I got a little sun. Last night we went to dinner with Matt and Nicole at Hyde Park.

This morning and Friday night, typically horrendous spring weather blew through. This morning, in particular, looked pretty nasty out the window when all three pets came to the bedroom around 6:50 looking for moral support. So we finally got some rain. And, these fronts tend to leave the sky clear and blue, with the the swimming holes pretty well filled. So... maybe another day of unemployment tomorrow would be welcome... Many a day I've stepped outside for lunch into beautiful weather and bemoaned the fact I was working on such a day. Hopefully I can make something of the lovely weather.

Today we headed to the far north of Austin to see a screening of Superman: The Movie at the Lake Creek Alamo Drafthouse. Jason came along, and we met up with Tania and JAL. Before the screening, they had a trivia contest, and the League is embarrassed to report that he was asked to refrain from answering questions when, after two questions, it became clear I was ready to sweep (I had correctly identified Clark Kent's middle name as "Joseph" when the hammer came down, and the guy who played Darth Vader as Reeve's trainer during filming of Superman).

Look, I have one skill. I should be able to flex it occasionally.

I did win passes.

They also had a costume contest, and there were several elementary-aged Supermans, Batmans and some guy (not a kid) in a phenomenal Spider-Man costume (and he looked pretty buff under the suit, too). The kids were darn excited about Spidey, as were we.

It was actually really cool to see so many kids come out for the movie with their parents, and not to a cartoon full of fart jokes, which is where I usually see the wee ones. The Admiral and KareBear used to take us to adventure movies all the time when Jason and I were kids. The Admiral was always much more into the movies than KareBear (as evidenced by KareBear's tendency to fall asleep), but we all dug a good family adventure movie back in the day. I am aware that I'm not going to the movies targeted at that demographic (the Spiderwick Chronicles, etc...), so I don't know what parents take their kids to see these days, but its a thrill to see Superman still drawing folks in 30 years on.

Good-bye to Headline News

Has anyone been watching Headline News lately? They seem to have handed the keys over to talking head Mike Galanos, who has decided that every minute of the Headline News broadcast day would be better served if he behaved like an abrasive ass.

Let me back up a moment. What they appear to be doing is suggesting that every story has at least two sides (correct) with the following formula:
1) Report very briefly on the story, fitting "who, what, where, when, why" into about, literally, twenty seconds.
2) Have anchor Galanos ask some loaded question about the story
3) Have one or two "experts" discuss the topic while Galanos tells them why they are wrong, usually because he's scripted out the knee jerk reaction one would have using emotional arguments and a complete lack of knowledge about the subtleties and nuances of the topic.

What the @$%#?

I am aware that when Turner sold CNN to Time-Warner, Time-Warner began to muck with the formula, leading to shows like "Nancy Grace" and "Glenn Beck", both of whom seem to be making money by acting like braying donkeys. Apparently a lot of people are watching this stuff, so a lot of people find this form of news a lot more palatable. I find it grating and unwatchable. And apparently, if what I just watched for the last thirty minutes is any indication, the other Headline News reporters are finding the new format a little hard to work in. They all sort of look like they just want their segments over with.

A lot of hay is made over how many ways there are now to get your news, but I guess this is the downside. In competing for marketshare, the people who seem to be winning are (as is so often in life) the one willing to make the most noise.

I've mostly already given up on Headline News, but this is the last nail in the coffin. For the last several years I've screened various news sources to look at the news, and I find it sort of amazing that I'm moving further and further away from TV news and back to print (if that's what you want to call the internet). As per the web: Unfortunately, the CNN internet brand hasn't really been an option for a while thanks to their insistence on "video" for every story (I can read fine, thanks). And then forcing me to watch some 30 second ad, a house ad, and throw in a good twenty seconds for buffering before seeing the actual story. Thanks, CNN, but I was good with the text story.

This is the fate of the news, I suppose. The day of journalistic objectivity will be talked about in classrooms as a quaint and provincial notion that missed the bigger picture of using the news as a sounding board for hacks and carnival barkers to get airtime. All of this, of course, to drive up ad revenue. Mentions of objectivity will be met with the kind of derision one saves for the over-idealistic, when the smart and cynical know how to make a buck.

I'm mostly disappointed that Headline News' insistence on the format change means it must be working. What can it mean but that people want to digest their news in an all-debate, all-jack-ass formula? Is this the spirit of true discourse? One step ahead of a Geraldo Rivera chair toss? Somehow, people MUST feel like Glenn Beck has something to offer. But what I find really creepy is when I hear "Oh, well, he's funny".

The news isn't really supposed to be funny, per se. Debate and discussion over the fate of the Middle East shouldn't really be there to amuse the viewer because Glenn beck just called someone a pink-o as part of his argument. This line of thinking and wanting your news pre-processed to match your pre-defined political/ emotional spectrum is the narrow-casting of the world. Join the Glenn Beck/ Mike Galanos team and feel superior to those the news is actually happening to.

Now, that's not to say that there's not room for comedians. But the comedians are not journalists. The role of the comedian has often been to point out the absurdity of any situation. But that doesn't mean that the comedian has the same place in the media matrix as the politician, the journalist of the partisan hack with airtime.

As mentioned by Jon Stewart:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Anyone up for Radiohead?

Hey Leaguers,

It seems I have two tickets to Radiohead in Houston on May 17th. If anyone wants to go, let me know. You'll have the pleasure of not just my company, but that of Jamie.

Now, this isn't a give-away. You're gonna have to give me some cash.

We do have seats under the pavilion dealy at the Cynthia Wood Mitchell Pavilion, so we're not on the grass, for what that's worth (which in Houston in May, might be a good thing).

So if you want the tickets, let me know.

Apparently, people think I'm a moron

Technically, the "Compare People" application embedded in Facebook isn't officially part of Facebook.

But I signed up for it in the early days of getting on Facebook, and once in a blue moon, it sends me an e-mail.

Today, this is what it sent me:

Your friends have voted on your strengths and weaknesses:


most outgoing
person with the best hair


most adventurous

So, apparently folks find me neither particularly adventurous, nor very smart.

That's what I needed in an e-mail today. I needed to know I have good hair (which I get from a Flobie-like device at Great Clips for $12.00). I'm somehow tough. And outgoing (where did that come from)?

But apparently, people don't find me very smart. At least compared to other people on Facebook.

Which, you know, does wonders for my self esteem.

Anyhow, I'm going to go stick my head in an oven. I will now be clicking on the link that says "disable e-mails here".