Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Some poor sod has shown up on my Sitemeter looking for nude pictures of Mary Hopkin. Somehow, I think his quest was in vain because the demure 60s Welsh chanteuse just didn't seem to be the type, at least to me. Aw, who knows, she may have been the most experienced dominatrix in all of Swingin' London for all I know, but I kinda doubt it. Anywho, out of curiosity I clicked on his Google search link and found this great site: SwinginChicks.com, a site devoted to, you guessed it, all the lovely birds of the 60s. Smashing, baby. All seriousness aside, it does look like some fun reading.

And just between you and me-Mary's "Earth Song/Ocean Song" is an excellent album.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Here's something interesting I found at GoodShit: The Weblogs Compendium. A listing of various tools which may be of some use to those of us who practice this blogging lifestyle. I'm always finding interesting stuff over at GoodShit. That site kicks booty.

Heh. I noticed that I had originally typed "interesting stiff". That, boys and girls, is what's known as a Freudian slip.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Back in 1983, DC released a comic series that was, quite frankly, unlike anything I'd ever read before and captivated me completely with its fascinating cast of characters and its experimental storytelling style. Its name was Thriller, and it lasted 12 issues before it died a year later. The first seven were done by its creators, Robert Loren Fleming and Trevor Von Eeden, but unfortunately they weren't able to sustain their collaboration and both were gone by issue nine. The reasons for the fiasco that the book became are numerous, and for years I wondered exactly what had happened. In those pre-internet days, access to the behind-the-scenes goings-on at the major comics companies was very limited. "Creative differences" was the only answer we were given, and for almost twenty years that had to suffice.

Years later, when I became aware of the Internet and all the various venues available to write, spotlight and discuss comics, I got the germ of an idea: since there was little or no mention of Thriller the comic series on the Web, then it would be up to me to create a site. And in 2001, I finally found a software program that I could use to do so, called Freeway. I didn't know how to write HTML code (still don't, even though I've learned a LOT from maintaining this blog page), but it worked a lot like QuarkXPress, which I am intimately familiar with. So I set to work, but I knew that if I was to do this right then I would have to try to speak to the creators themselves, Fleming and Von Eeden. Maybe then I would at least find out why they had stopped working on the book. I managed to track down Fleming through the comics store at which he shops, and he was gracious enough to phone me on several occassions and spend a lot of time discussing his brainchild with me. Von Eeden took a little more time, but through a couple of channels including Comic Book Artist magazine editor Jon B. Cooke I was finally able to send him a letter, telling him of my by-then published site and inviting him to check it out and comment. After a few months had gone by, I had pretty much resigned myself to never hearing from him; but then my patience was rewarded when he called me at home and informed me that not only had he received my letter, but he intended to write a critique of every issue he had worked on...and invited me to call him back and discuss it when I had read it! Of course, he's a busy man, and it has taken him a couple of more months to get it finished-he has even phoned me a few more times in the meantime to apologize for the delay! I finally received it today, and I'm utterly amazed and somewhat speechless...the man has taken the time from his busy schedule to not only write a 12 page, hand written (on both sides!) critique/commentary, but has sent me several pages of copies of his recent work. And in response to a joking suggestion of mine that he could do a couple of doodles in the margin, a blatant attempt to get some original art, he sent along what you see above- an 8 1/2 x 11 original pencilled and inked drawing of the main cast of characters. Like I said, I'm completely flabbergasted and feeling a bit like Wayne and Garth- "I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy!"

I haven't heard his response to what I've written on my site as of yet; I'm hoping that many of the statements I made, based on assumptions from the information I did have aren't so far off base that he takes offense. I don't think I crossed too many lines...guess we'll see. I also have a feeling I might have to go back and re-do a few commentaries, now that I have some more info. *Sigh*. Anyway, it's been an exciting last couple of hours as I've read the letter, and I wanted to pass along a little of it to all of you.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

JLA inker Tom Nguyen has been sending those of us who requested to be placed on a mailing list scans of some of his illustrations that he's been doing on the side. Featured above is a sweet Zatanna piece he sent a while back. At first, he launched a web page, but apparently he's been having trouble with it because now he has created a Yahoo! group, which he told all of us on the list about over the weekend. So if you're interested in his work, go here.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The Happy Bacardi Show B-day this morning goes out to sweet l'il ol' Bridget Fonda, who has a smile that makes me feel all weird inside.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

New Bill Nelson diary entry up on the Permanent Flame site. Seems Bill was lined up to have some of his music appear in a trailer for the upcoming Hulk film, but it fell through at the last minute. I'm surprised that there isn't more interest in having Nelson write music for films; one would think that idea would be a no brainer given the nature of his work.
Well, when I miss one, I miss one.

I thought Oakland's experience would offset Tampa's fierce defense somewhat, at least to where they would be able to keep their defense off the field, but it didn't work out that way. Oakland's soft D wasn't up to the task. And geez, whoever designed the Raiders' pass happy offensive scheme should be sat down and given a strong talking-to. Sure, they've been doing fine ignoring the run, but it was only a matter of time before they ran into someone that they couldn't pass on, and you can bet your ass that teams will prepare for the one-sided Oakland attack next year. There was also some bonehead clock management, and some really inopportune penalties...there's no one reason why Tampa laid the wood on them so convincingly.

But you know what? Sure I missed my prediction, but that's OK. I like Tampa just fine. Mike Alstott has always been a favorite player of mine. I even own an Alstott Tampa Bay jersey, which I guess I'll wear tomorrow because you have got to hand it to the Bucs. They came out and meant business from the beginning. Representin' the NFC South!

And on a side note, I think whoever designed Shania Twain's sci-fi boobie harness should get a vote or two for MVP. I bet it took power tools to get her out of it!

I also have a confession to make...after it became 34-3, I flipped over to Comedy Central and watched a pretty good chunk of High Fidelity, with John Cusack and Jack Black. Pretty damn good flick, if you ask me. And yes, I know about the book.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I got an unexpected cash birthday gift from the In-laws the other day, so I went out and bought the new DVD release of A Hard Day's Night.

The film has lost none of its manic energy and charm in this spiffed-up reissue. The Boys are there, in all their moptopped glory, little suspecting what lay ahead just a few short years later. The picture quality is crisp and clean, and looks nice. And the bonus features are manna from heaven for Beatles fans. Although the surviving Fabs didn't participate, they interview just about anybody else they could find that was part of the making of the movie, from the Beatles' tailor's son to Sir George Martin himself. I especially enjoyed the interviews with Klaus Voormann, longtime Beatle friend and John & Ringo's bassist on their best solo albums as well as an excellent illustrator and designer. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the actor that played the TV choreographer was none other than one Lionel Blair, who also played Harry Charms in Absolute Beginners!

But (like Pee-Wee Herman said in Big Adventure, "Everyone I know has a big but")...the sound is not so wonderful. Apparently someone decided it would be a good idea to lift the songs from the film's actual mono sound mix, remaster and punch them up, making them louder than the rest of the film's soundtrack. A minor quibble in the grander scheme of things, but it's very distracting. Between this and the atrocious remaster of John Lennon's solo album Mind Games, 2002 was just not a very good year for Beatles remixes.

Still, it's a very nice package, all things considered, and I'm happy happy happy to have it in my posession. I read somewhere where Let It Be will receive this treatment soon. While I have my concerns about the mix, and can't really say that I enjoyed the movie all that much, I'll still be looking forward to seeing it.
Johnny B's Fearless Football Predictions
current record: 7-3

Buccaneers vs. Raiders This is going to be a tough call. I like both teams, actually. When it comes right down to it, though, I don't think the Bucs have an answer for the WR trio of Rice, Brown and Porter, especially when the seasoned vet Rich Gannon is throwing to them. The Bucs defense is indeed awesome, but I feel that experience will make the difference. The Bucs will be able to move the ball on Oakland's soft defense, but I don't think they'll be able to outscore the Raiders' offense. My call: Raiders 20, Bucs 13.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Just finished watching Signs, the most recent effort from Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan. It concerns, as you may know, a recently widowed father of two (Mel Gibson) who lives on a Pennsylvania farm with his younger brother, and how they cope with their grief against the backdrop of what appears to be an alien invasion of Earth.

Shymalan works so hard at creating a feeling of unease and oppressive dread that it often makes his movie somewhat tedious...all the characters go around in a poker-faced daze, as if they were on Lithium. Even the infrequent humorous asides by an unusually restrained Gibson fall flat because of their deadpan delivery. The film is even shot in a dark and murky fashion, and not even in broad daylight is it truly bright. The whole alien invasion angle, in retrospect, is one which I wish he had gone in a different direction with...I think the movie would have been better off without it. There's a lot more suspense in the scene towards the end with an asthmatic child than in the earlier "alien in the pantry" episode. That being said, the film does create and sustain the mood Shyamalan desires, until the last 10 minutes or so which are straight out of a 1950s B-movie...Shyamalan obviously wishes to emulate Hitchcock, even to the point of making an effective cameo appearance, and that's a worthy ambition, but he should remember that the Master also had a sense of humor and a desire to entertain, and that's something Shyamalan lacks.

So like his Sophomore effort Unbreakable, Signs is a for the most part well done and often gripping film which I couldn't help but find fault with and wish it could have been better. I recommend it with reservations, and I think it will be interesting to see what he does next.

Now, if they had ended it with the Five Man Electrical Band singing their song which shares a title with this film, then that would have been something...!

Friday, January 24, 2003

Haven't taken one of those test type things for a while, so when I came upon the Wild Monk's Iraqi War Personality test while reading Gambling Gringo, I couldn't resist. Go see what you score.

For what it's worth, my overall score was 53, which placed me firmly in the center-Right category. I've never been one to be associated with the Right before, so I'm mildly surprised. On the rationality scale of 0 to 10, with totally irrational at 0, I scored a 9. That's nice to know.

what I bought and what I thought, January 22, 2003

1. MUTANT, TEXAS: THE ADVENTURES OF SHERIFF IDA RED 4 Satisfying conclusion to a mostly fun miniseries. Jason Bone and Paul Dini make a heck of a good team. Some enterprising studio animation head should option this ASAP. A

2. DAREDEVIL 42 I guess this really is coming out weekly! While Bendis gets the most attention for his work on Powers and Ultimate Spider-Man, to me here's where he is doing his best work. Despite his annoying Wolverine-ish rendition of the Owl, (Owl-verine. Hee.) Alex Maleev turns in another outstanding art job. Somebody pass him a few copies of some Owl appearances by Gene Colan! A-

3. Y: THE LAST MAN 7 How the heck did this make top three? Can't really say, guess it just grabbed me more than it usually does, or maybe the rest of the stack wasn't all that great. But here it is just the same. B+

4. SLEEPER 1 Given Brubaker's somnambulent Catwoman work, let's hope this title doesn't turn out to be prophetic. The main highlight of this, which presupposes familiarity with the rank-and-file Wildstorm line of comics, particularly Gen13 and W.I.L.D.Cats (books I haven't picked up regularly since, oh, 1997), is the always excellent Sean Phillips art. The script is OK, but I think it's gonna take a few issues to grow on me and my patience is pretty thin these days. B

5. CATWOMAN 15 Ed Brubaker and Cameron Stewart's approach is so low key and deliberate that they can present shenanigans not seen in mainstream comics since the EC days (eyeball eating! Ye Gods!) and make them pedestrian. Stewart's art, so impressive early, has become as dull as his predecessor Doug Rader's was. A nice online illustration portfolio does not a first rate storyteller make, apparently. Looks like when Darwyn Cooke left, he took the magic with him. B-
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

A happy Bacardi Show Birthday to that Great American Songwriter, Warren Zevon. And here's hoping for many more.

Coming later- new comics reviews, football predictions, and more stuff. Just have had absolutely no time to sit down and collect my thoughts lately. Plus, I'm getting ready to watch Signs.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Another great cartoonist has passed on: Bill Mauldin.
From that mighty playa Chris Tabor comes this amusing story from the Drudge Report.

He just sends me this stuff 'cause he knows I'll mention his name.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Last night's Buffy was a bit anticlimactic after the big UberVamp battle in the last episode. Still, it was watchable– just not all that exciting.

Except as a hook to hang an show on, I fail to see the need to introduce yet another new Slayer, especially one that's as annoying as the new girl last night. If Dawn's not gonna be the next Slayer, which kinda makes me wonder what the spinoff show's gonna be about if not that, then this makes an already pointless character even more pointless.

I did like Xander's little speech at the end. Kinda touching, and makes me wonder where the time has gone since the first BTVS episode aired. The scenes in the demon bar were fun, and Andrew was funny in his whiny way. So last night's show wasn't a disaster, but they better pick up the pace soon or they'll lose whatever momentum they had going for them towards this season's finale...
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I'm feeling a Frank Zappa mood coming on. I own several FZ albums, but I don't listen to them regularly, not like I do the Beatles or some other musicians. But when I get in the throes of Zappa fever, I listen to his stuff for days.

It's funny. There are times when I can listen to an album often over the course of the years, and without warning a track just jumps out at me, and I love it. Almost like I've never heard it before. That track is "The Orange County Lumber Truck" from FZ's Weasels Ripped My Flesh LP. It's a bluesy/rockish instrumental with a great Zappa solo and a clever arrangement, and it's pushing all the right buttons in my head right now. Readers with long memories may recall me writing about listening to the album the other day. OCLT has led me to dig out some of my other faves, like Hot Rats with the sublime "Peaches En Regalia" and most of disc one of Uncle Meat. Sadly, I can't listen to the majority of my Zappa albums like Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Apostrophe, Waka/Jawaka (I wish someone had set me down when I was a high school band trumpeter and made me listen to this one) and One Size Fits All since they're on vinyl and (as my longtime readers may once again recall) my turntable's still in the shop.

I love Peaches En Regalia. It's one of my all time favorite pieces of music by any composer. Can't say why exactly...it's just a wonderful, witty, mock-pompous little instrumental that makes me feel good when I hear it. I once suggested to my Senior classmates (as in High School classmates, not senior citizens, smart arse) that we use it as a graduation processional. The puzzled / disgusted looks I got were worth it. A while back I picked up a late Nineties compilation of some of Zappa's instrumental compositions, called Strictly Genteel, and I listen to it often. While it omits much (no Orange County, for example) it's still a very diverse collection.

Unfortunately, not a lot of post-1976 Zappa music interests me. After he left the auspices of the Bros. Warner, his music became slick and crass and without pretension, still well played and arranged but full of dumbass fratboy humor and Zappa's predilection to mock and ridicule those who he perceived as being less worthy somehow than he. Guess he did what he had to do to keep the money flowing. Lather had its moments, as did Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch (you remember, the one with "Valley Girl"), I suppose. Eventually, towards the end of his life, he abandoned guitar and rediscovered his muse a bit but the music he did, say post 1990 is still not all that interesting to me. That doesn't change, in my mind, the excellent stuff he did for about a ten year period, and I'll always regard him as one of the greats. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go put in Chunga's Revenge. Maybe something will jump out at me again. Look out!

Oh yeah-recommended reading in the Zappa vein- "The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play" by Ben Watson. It's a great dissertation of all of FZ's albums, in a scholarly but not dry manner.
We've had pretty mild winters here in South Central Kentucky the last couple of years, so I guess now the other shoe is dropping, so to speak, along with the temperatures. Not only is it snowing like crazy right now, but the forecasters are calling for single digit temps for the next couple of evenings, and highs in the teens. Now, I've never been a real winter hater; my chief gripe is having to drive long distances to my job. I don't like Interstate travel when the roads are iced over, and the two lane highways I can take as an alternative aren't much better, usually. There's just something about risking my life to earn an already spent buck that I just can't get into. I know, I know, cry me a river and be glad you don't live in Maine or Alaska. Funny thing is, a while back, I kinda wanted to travel to Alaska, just to see what it was like. I was in a bit of an anti-social mood, as I am wont to be, and the fact that there are less people per capita in our Northern neighbor was really appealing to me. I think this winter has brought me to my senses. I used to have a little Viking in me, or so I thought, but these days the cold just cuts me to the bone. Guess it's all part of getting older. Right now, the idea of opening a printing shop in Hawaii sounds good. How many can there be?

But enough about me. What do you think about me? (I think that's a Bette Midler line, but I'm not sure...)

I'm just in one of those moods, I guess. There are lots of things I should probably be writing about, but I can't get my head wrapped around any of them, so I'm reduced to grousing about the weather. At this rate I may have to hit the ol' Topics Blog. Yeah, JB, that's gonna make the old Sitemeter skyrocket. While I'm bitching, here's something else– I left the comics I bought today in my office at work. Except for Sleeper 1, which I went back for after I got off this evening. Apparently I hadn't added it to my holds, and there were no copies on the rack but the super sweet Megan found the rack copies and put one back for me. Thanks, Megan.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Just in case anyone cares, here's what it appears I'll be buying tomorrow at the ol' comics shop, at least according to Diamond's Online Shipping List:

Mutant, Texas: Tales Of Sheriff Ida Red #4
Catwoman #15
Daredevil #42
Y: The Last Man #7

That's it! Well, I might have signed up for WIldstorm's Sleeper, by Brubaker and Sean Phillips, but I forget. We'll see tomorrow. Looks like another thankfully light week...better enjoy it while I can. Next week looks like I'll be getting 10 books– but you can't ever go by Diamond's shipping list until Monday afternoon.
For more on the great Al Hirschfeld, go here. I think I ran across this site while I was looking for the Beatle pieces featured below, but forgot about it until I saw the link at the amazing GoodShit. Never let it be said I didn't give credit where credit was due.

From the "Nobody Really Gives a Flying F*ck Except Marvel's Accountants" desk comes this little piece of legal shenanigans.

That's all I can do for now. Hopefully more later.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us
Yesterday...and Today.

Whilst looking nervously over my shoulder, reading Yahoo news, I just saw where the great cartoonist Al Hirschfeld has died. I always loved seeing his work in a multitude of places, and it's sad there will be no more. He was the master of the pen and brush line, and a witty caricacturist.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Man, I love Renee Zellweger. What a great picture. I really want to see this movie! Problem is, it's not playing within 100 miles of where I live. Patience, patience...did I mention that I absolutely love Renee Zellweger?
Bad news on the Firefly front. Seems just about every major TV network has passed on giving the show a new home, citing the cost of filming the series, the timing, and many other unfortunately valid reasons. Me, I wish that HBO or Showtime would pick it up. But it ain't looking good, boys and girls. Article here.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Here's another neato-keeno old Bob Hope cover featuring Super-Hip. Number one hundred. I actually used to have this issue, but I don't remember much about it. I seem to recall Bob's dog Harvard-Harvard talking to then-President Lyndon Johnson, but I'm not sure.

Stole this scan from an eBay auction. I passed because it just looked a *little* more beat up than I'd like. Beggars shouldn't be choosers, though, should they?
Johnny B's Fearless Football Predictions
current record: 5-3

Buccaneers at Eagles In this battle of fierce defenses, don't expect much in the way of scoring. That being said, I like Tampa's chances of scoring on Philly more than I like Philly's chances of scoring on Tampa. Two key players for both teams: of course, Donovan McNabb (and perhaps the inconsistent James Thrash) and for the Bucs: Mike Alstott. Alstott must be able to help the Bucs control the clock and keep the ball out of McNabb's hands, 'cause he's too versatile and resourceful to stifle for long. I know all about Tampa's cold weather history, and I remember that Philly dispatched the Bucs earlier this season. I'm just going on instinct, and it tells me that Tampa won't go 0-4 in playoff championship games. Buccaneers, 16-13. Sorry, Theresa.

Titans and Raiders. I have come to respect the Titans a bit more this year, because of their impressive turnaround on defense and despite their propensity for flukey wins. McNair is a formidable foe, healthy or not– but I like the experience of the Raiders and the triumverate of Gannon, Rice and Brown. Raiders, 27-20.
There's a great discussion about the nature of autobiographical comics vs. comics that tell biographical stories with fictional characters over at DC Comics Message Boards' normally moribund 100% message board, involving Paul Pope as well as a couple of well-spoken 100% m.b. regulars. Tell 'em Stately Wayne sent ya if you choose to comment!
In observance of the spirit, if not the letter, of the anti-war protesting going on today here's a link to an amusing site named Masturbate For Peace. Give Peace a Chance, indeed.
Whilst looking at the ol' Sitetracker this morning, I saw where someone had done a Google search for Johnny Bacardi! My fame is spreading far and wide. I'm really a little nonplussed by that...it makes me proud in a weird sort of way. Welcome, O Google searcher. Hope you found what you were looking for, and hope you found enough to want to return!

One of the things I like to do, when I can, is surf around on the pay cable channels late at night in hope of catching some obscure gem of a movie that blows me away. In the past, films like Freeway, Hijacking Hollywood, Orgazmo, and several others have made my late nights a bit more enjoyable. Last night, I started out watching A Beautiful Mind, but then noticed where a movie named Comic Book Villians was coming on about an hour later. Mind comes on a few more times this month, so I decided to check out CBV. How could I resist with a title like that? It seems like I remember hearing about it before, but I had forgotten about it by last night...

The basic storyline is about two competing comics shops, one a dingy dump operated by a greasy, stereotypical Comic Book Guy named Raymond and another, across town, that's clean and nice and operated by a husband-and-wife team that knows nothing about comics. They even sell, in their shop, horror of horrors...stickers and Magic cards. The "fun" begins when this fellow who shops at both stores comes in and tells them both about a old lady in town whose son just died...and left behind a mother lode of a comics collection from the Golden Age to today. The husband and wife team see this as a way that they could make a fortune, afford to have a baby, buy a new house, and all that, while Raymond wants it for the glory owning it would bring (not to mention the cash from a few good books he'd sell). Problem is, the lady doesn't want to sell them under any circumstances. Their attempts to coerce her to give up the book make up the bulk of the movie, until things turn ugly at the end. Kinda reminded me of a particularly nasty episode of the Eltingville Club, it did.

Villians is quite a schizo movie. Not so much about comics as it is about dysfunctional people, it begins as a lightweight, humorous film populated by the requisite number of freaks and geeks that comes to mind when thinking about comics and comic collectors. Then about three-quarters of the way through it goes all Heathers on us and becomes a violent black comedy before it's done. The shift in tones is jarring, and while I did chuckle in places, I wish that it hadn't gone that way. There is a satisfying subplot going on about a young, nerdy fellow who is loyal to Raymond but is having second thoughts about continuing in the collecting lifestyle. He eventually befriends the old woman, and without giving too much away, gets a great reward at the end for doing the right thing.

After all is said and done, I enjoyed CBV, but I had a lot of reservations about it.It's well acted, and has a quirky cast that includes Donal Logue as Raymond (you may remember him as MTV's Jimmy the Cab Driver), American Pie's Natasha Lyonne, and Cary Elwes, in a role that's unusual for him. It goes without saying that it perpetuates most of the stereotypes about comic collectors. I don't know, these may be true. I don't shop at comics stores in large cities; I can't afford to travel to the major conventions. In my insular collecting experience, most of the people I have known that collect are pretty much well adjusted human beings (as well adjusted as one can be these days), with "real" jobs, mortgages, wives, girlfriends, families and so on. This certainly applies to me. I know it's easy visual shorthand to visualize comic book collectors as skinny/fat, sweaty, nerdy misfits, living in their Mother's basement, but it still bugs me to see this presented as the norm. In the film CBV, only two characters escape the stereotype; one's a bit of a snake in the grass and the other is a homicidal maniac. So, like the watchable but disappointing Unbreakable, don't expect to see the comics world portrayed in a real positive light. But unlike Unbreakable, it actually goes to the trouble to use real comics in its shops and real comic panels in its opening credits. It doesn't try to pass off some unknown hack for real comic art.

One reason for its authenticity, I suppose is that the whole thing was written and directed by James Robinson, most notably writer of the remarkable DC book Starman. Of course, the movie's dialogue doesn't sound like Robinson's often odd comic book dialogue, and that's a little surprising, but then again, who knows how many hands it went through before filming. Still, it's a not bad directorial debut for the guy, and I hope he gets to make more eventually. Just with a more consistent tone, fer Chrissakes.

Friday, January 17, 2003

I don't know if any of you watched that somewhat overblown and cheesy but still entertaining Disco Ball TV special last night, but I do know one thing: even after all these years, KC and the Sunshine Band rocks the house. I kid you not. I just wanted to say.
Added a new, more snazzy looking weather button at bottom right, which I found at Easy Bake Coven. I was also proud and honored to be added to her blogroll, even though the only comment I've left so far was one calling her on a nitpicky Captain Beefheart mistake . Go and check out her site! Now!

We had about 3 inches of snow around here yesterday, by the way. The state road crews were actually on the ball for once, so I didn't have too much trouble getting to and from work. They're calling for more next week. Can life get any better? :(
It's a Lot Less Johnny Bacardi Than a Hover.
Bring out the Johnny Bacardi!
Dude, You're Getting a Johnny Bacardi!
Pure Johnny Bacardi.
Life Should Taste As Good As Johnny Bacardi.
Doing It Right Before Your Johnny Bacardi.

My favorite: You've Got Questions. We've Got Johnny Bacardi.

Just a few of the side-splitting results I got when I entered my nom de plume at the Advertising Slogan Generator, which I found links to on several blogs of note. Now I get to join in the Slogan madness.

What's a "Hover"?
Hey there hi there ho there.

Thanks again to everyone for all the nice birthday wishes. Kinda gets an old man...choked...up...*deep breath* I don't usually make a big deal about my birthday, especially the older I get, but everyone, in "real life" as well as the Blogosphere has been wonderful. One of the nicest gifts I got was a big wind chime. I kinda like wind chimes, and we haven't had any for a long time.

Ever get in one of those ruts where you have a hard time thinking about stuff to write? That's what I've been going through lately. Plus, they're clamping down on our internet usage a bit at work so that reduces the opportunity for spur-of-the-moment rambling. We're just in a really busy period right now, hopefully things will become more relaxed later on. Hopefully. So if I'm not exactly being prolific around here, please bear with me and check back from time to time...

While reading Pulse (see link at right), I found a story about the latest from Andi Watson, a collection of his previously published Geisha stories. I already have them, so I won't be buying, but if you haven't read them, this is an outstanding opportunity to do so. I really like Watson's clean, expressionistic art style and I envy his brush line very much. If you've ever tried inking your pencils with a brush then you know exactly what I mean.

Read the column by Steven Grant over at Comic Book Resources (again, link at right) a while ago. I haven't been checking it out faithfully, especially lately, but it's always a good read when I do and if you care about comics/TV/misc then you should give it a look when you're in the mood to read something new.

I've been reading a real book lately, too–I'm about halfway through Stan Cornyn's Exploding-The Highs, Hits, Hype...etc" (It's a long title). Cornyn, a former exec from the beginning of the Warner Bros. Records label, writes a wry history of not only the Warner Records company, but also its satellites Atlantic, Elektra, Asylum, and Reprise...much of the details of the mergers, acquisitions, sales records, and so on can be pretty dull, but Cornyn has a dry, witty style which makes it much easier. And many of the characters involved, both executives and artists alike, are brought to life in often humorous fashion. I've always had a fascination for the Warner/Reprise product, especially from the late 60s–early 70s, and there was a lot of behind the scenes stuff thatI was completely unaware of till now. And maybe that wasn't such a bad thing, but Cornyn's book is very entertaining.

On a related note, back in the early 70s, Warners/Reprise put out a trade publication called "Circular", which never came out on newstands but was distributed to record stores, rock magazine publishers, and others of that ilk...man, I'd love to get my hands on some of those. I can't find them on eBay, and web searches turn up nothing. I know they exist out there somewhere...! Anybody ever seen one?

Music today: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention-Weasels Ripped My Flesh(one of my all time fave album covers, the music within less so), Adrian Belew-Young Lions, Wilco-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Nick Drake-Five Leaves Left.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

While munching on birthday cake, here are


what I bought and what I thought January 15,2003

1. LUCIFER 34: I can imagine Mike Carey's plot outlines looking like family trees; it seems that for every character he's inherited or created, he's formulated a half dozen possible stories for them. This, boys and girls, is the hallmark of a great writer...and I honestly don't think anyone's doing it better anywhere right now, and that includes Alan Moore. Gross and Kelly also turn in an outstanding art job this time around. One thing I'm a little puzzled by is the alias that the new Solomon character took for himself: Douid. I don't get it. Anybody? A

2. ULTIMATES 8: Half Matrix inspired action story, half "let's hold up and see where we are character-wise" story. Superbly drawn as always. Here, as in Hawkman, I have my difficulties accepting a character shooting another with an arrow that accurately at very close range. But I'm not a bowman, so what do I know? A

3. STRANGERS IN PARADISE 55: Moore continues to dangle that decade-old carrot of "will they or won't they" in front of my nose, and despite my misgivings and my irritation at his pretensions (thankfully kept to a minimum this time out) I continue to trot along. However, just like with X-Files, I'm beginning to cease to care...and I'm really getting that restless feeling. B+
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

And now for that Very Special Bacardi Show birthday greeting that you've all been waiting for. Happy Birthday...Sade!

Aw, OK. Some of you have guessed it anyway, thanks to that I Wish, You Wish thing. It's my birthday. I'm 43 going on 80 today. Happy Birthday to me. Wooo! Now I gotta get back to work.

And thanks very much to those who have wished me a happy b-day so far!

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

I'm still a bit new to this adding banners with links stuff. I've added the Cavort button at right, which I found over at da Goddess' site, and I've also joined up with BookCrossing, which I found over at Gambling Gringo's place. Whether or not I add a ton of books to my page is still up in the air, but you could go, join, and participate to your heart's content. Hope they work correctly.

Weather forecast for tomorrow is anywhere from 2 to 8 inches of snow, depending on where you get your info. Joy. I like snow OK, but I don't like to drive 35 miles on the Interstate to my job in it. People go fucking berserk around here when there's snow in the forecast. Guess you can't blame them– it really doesn't snow around here all that often.

Big, big Bacardi Show Birthday announcement tomorrow. I see you tremble with...

...anticipation! Wow. Two Rocky Horror references in one day.

Thumbed through the latest Comics Journal today at the old comics shop. The Great Escape, Bowling Green, KY in case you were wondering. Anyway, I read the always interesting Funnybook Roulette column in which R. Fiore makes a case for Frank Miller's Dark Knight Strikes Again, a book that I considered a contemptable work by a creator who has nothing but contempt for mainstream comics. I think I gave it my only F when I reviewed #3 several months ago on the DCMBs. It just came across to me as a charming little "fuck you" to anyone who still likes mainstream DC books and characters, and a poorly illustrated and garishly colored one to boot. I resented coughing up the ten bucks in the hopes that it would get better with every issue. Anyway, now this Fiore fellow comes along and while he doesn't praise it extravagantly, he brings up a very valid perspective which I hadn't really considered, that of Miller using these characters to make a statement about art vs. commerce and its place in society. This is probably not an accurate interpretation of his article, please, please go read it for yourself. I only spent a couple of minutes reading it. Anyway, that's what I always liked about the Journal; while I often was at odds with the viewpoints expressed I was also often challenged to consider something from another, more well-considered point of view. And that, boys and girls, is how we learn things. Do I like DK2 any better? Nah. It was still too expensive to be so slovenly in its execution. But I think I understand it a bit more now. I'd give it a C+ if I was inclined towards do-overs.

Music today: Drivin 'n' Cryin-Wrapped in Sky, Meshell Ndegeocello-Bitter, Indigo Girls-Become You, Lou Reed-Berlin.
A little norts spews: my White Sox made a big trade today, obtaining 20 game winner Bartolo Colon from the Montreal Expos in a deal that also involved the Yankees. This gives the Sox a proven starting pitcher, something that's been in short supply on the South Side the last couple of years. They gave up Jeff Liefer and Rocky Biddle, among others, and that might have been a little premature...but you have to give up to get.
Another link to an interesting article by John LeCarre in the Times. London Daily, I assume. Sent by Groovalicious Chris Tabor. Whatta guy. Makes you cry. Und I did.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

A happy Bacardi Show Birthday to Dada Delta Blues man, poet and painter Don Van Vliet, AKA Captain Beefheart. Photo stolen from Dave Lang's tribute page.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Over at Ain't Too Proud to Blog (another cool name), Robyn has declared today to be Bloggin' Lovefest day. Better late than never, I'll play and send out mad love to my bloggin' homies. Yo.

I've only been doing this since October, but I've already met several splendiferously shibby people out there. I don't think I could narrow it down to just one, so I'll list a few favorites and sincerely hope I don't leave out anybody deserving of mention or offend anyone.

Laura over at Bloggety-Blog-Blog-Blog, who's been super nice, devoted to Aquaman and is still nice to me even though I'm not that big a fan of the Sea King; she was the first to bloglist me, validating my existence in the blogosphere;

Joanie "da Goddess", who exhibits all the ascribed traits of her namesake, was one of the first to link to me, and is just plain old sweet;

Devra over at Blue Streak, who has dropped by occasionally to leave a nice comment or two;

Bill Sherman, the Pop Culture Gadabout, always on hand to provide cogent commentary on many of the tangents I go off on;

Brendan of Letting Loose with the Leptard, always reliable for excellent musical commentary;

Michele of A Small Victory, who's a good sport and writes a very, very good blog, despite her jihad towards Ted Rall. Which is OK, this being America and all.

Also there's Anne, AKA Czelticgirl, who stops by these parts upon occasion and is welcome always. Sorry I got your name wrong before!

and Theresa of Dandelion Wine, who's relatively new to the Show but can always be counted on for some great feedback. Another really nice personage, and she's a football fan to boot. It's all good.

These are the bloggers I've had the most give-and-take with since I've started. I hope to have same with many more before I'm done. That's my contribution to the Bloggin' Lovefest! Woooo!
Brushes With Greatness, part one

When I was 18 or so, I saw an ad in (I think) the Comics Journal. It advertised the opportunity to join a new club that was started by none other than the legendary artist Wally Wood. For $15, a mere pittance, you could receive copies of his newest, self-published works, a membership card, a newsletter updating you on upcoming projects, and the coup de grace, an original Wood sketch of your choice. I couldn't resist; I signed up immediately and sent my check for fifteen bucks. Being an aspiring comic book artist, I couldn't resist the opportunity to write one of my art heroes...I told him of my ambitions and asked if he would be willing to review some samples of my stuff. Oh the chutzpah of 18. Anyway, below you can read his reply, as well as see the envelope, membership card, and cancelled check.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us

Needless to say, Woody was a far better artist than he was a prognosticator. What I eventually received was the latest collections of Sally Forth, the Wizard King, and Cannon, all B&W and gorgeously drawn. What I didn't receive was my frigging original sketch. Oh well, sobered by the tone of his response, I never got around to sending him any of my art...too bad, I understand he was in failing health by then and probably could have used the laugh. A couple of years later, he was dead, but I have still held on to all the swag I got as a member of the Friends of Odkin and wouldn't trade it for all the tea in China.
For all of you who like to think you're hardcore Simpsons fans: I give you the Simpsons Quiz. If you can answer them all in less than a week, you're a better man than I, Gunga Din.
For those of us to whom writing just does not come naturally, here's the Topics Blog. You just had to know somebody would do it sooner or later.

Found at Tequila Mockingbird, who chooses to ignore me (like many of the blogs I've chosen to list lately) but has such a cool name that I just gotta list her anyway.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

This incredibly sweet poster was designed by the talented Mr. Mik Cary. Wish I could have gone to the show...
Some interesting reading from Our Man Tabor.
Paging Professor X or the DEO...

Here's an interesting little news item from the English version of Pravda. Wonder how close this fellow lives to Chernobyl?

Thanks to Mike Cary for passing this on.

Monday, January 13, 2003

Looks like a thankfully light week for me, comics wise, according to the latest Diamond shipping list. On Wednesday, I'll be picking up:

Lucifer 34
Ultimates 8
Strangers in Paradise v3 55

That's it! Of course I will review them when I get the chance. You have a Johnny Bacardi Show guarantee on that.

Just added, although I've been aware of it for a few weeks now: author William Gibson's blog page. You'd think that if anyone could write a good one, he could. See link at right.

I've also added a great many new blogs by other, not so well-known but no less interesting individuals. Look at right and investigate. And if any of you are reading this, feel free to add me. Just because I'm not on that high-falutin blogroller thingamabob doesn't mean I don't need some lovin'.
Sad news: Mickey Finn, Marc Bolan's percussionist during the glory days of T.Rex, is dead. Maybe I should hunt up Dewayne Gardner and have another wake like we did at age 17 when Bolan died.

Between today and yesterday is like a million years.

Link via Warren Ellis.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

While staying up late the other night watching TV, I caught another one of my "eye magnet" movies. You know, when you're flipping and you run across one, no matter how many times you've seen them before you watch. And watch. Films like (for me) Snatch, the Fifth Element, Pollock, The Hudsucker Proxy. A couple of nights ago, another: Absolute Beginners.

You may be familiar with it; it's a 1986 big screen musical adaptation of the Colin McInnes book about teenage lifestyles and race riots in late 50's & 60s Britain. I've never read the book, and I understand that those who have and loved it were alternately outraged and disappointed in the film. Being unfamiliar with McInnes' novel, all I can do is take the film at face value, and I flat out love three quarters of it.

Directed by then-hot music video director Julien Temple, it's just one visually amazing set piece after another, with a great, eccentric cast, led by Patsy Kensit and some inspired stunt casting like those stalwarts of RCA's glitter years, David Bowie and the Kinks' Ray Davies. Early on, at least, it's about a young photographer named Colin, played by one Eddie O'Connell (who somehow managed to avoid doing much of anything else filmwise of note after AB). Colin wants to maintain his integrity as an artist as well as avoid exploiting the teenage scene from which he's been making a meager living taking snapshots of, but he is also deeply in love with beautiful blonde "Crepe" Suzette (Kensit), who has aspirations for wealth and fame that don't extend to staying in Colin's world. Eventually Suzette, through her job as a fashion designer assistant, manages to attract the interest of Henley, the unctuous gallery owner, and they become engaged. Henley, however, is an aging homosexual who doesn't love her– he wishes to marry Suzette as a front. He's even open to Colin and Suzette seeing each other on the sly after a while; of course, Colin wants no part of it. Feeling dumped by Suzette, Colin is determined to win her back and eventually winds up involved with some of the more corrupt characters in London society including one Vendice Partners (Bowie), a real estate developer who is behind the effort to forcibly eject the minorities living in the London slums where Colin lives so he can build new apartments. Eventually, racial tensions reach the boiling point and a riot breaks out, and all gets sorted out before it's over.

The description doesn't really do it justice...one of the highlights of the movie is the scene in which Colin goes to a party at Partners' on the invitation of Partners' wife, gossip columnist Dido Lament (played by the ubersexy Anita Morris). Of course, Colin sees Suzette there with Henley, gets very drunk, and has this great drunken conversation with himself, in a mirrored cul-de-sac, while some pumping jump-jive music (the great "Sellin' Out) by Slim Gaillard plays in the background and Dido mixes a martini by wedging the shaker between the heel and sole of her seven inch stilettos! Colin takes a swing at Henley, misses, and lands on the spinning floor humiliated. After he picks himself up he encounters Bowie, who wishes to hire him to be his photographer. They have a huge production number, dancing on a immense typewriter...it's one of the most intoxicating 15-20 minutes of film I've ever seen. And believe me, much more happens before and during this particular sequence.

Another highlight is the song by Ray Davies, who plays Colin's father. Colin hates to come home, because his shrewish mother has turned their home into a boarding house and he pities his father who almost seems to be a tenant in his own home. Ray gets to do an Arthur-ish ditty called "Quiet Life", while chaos breaks out in the house all around him as he does his household chores. Most of the song is performed on a set which is a cutaway view of the house itself, where we can see everything that goes on in all the rooms at once. It's an amazing scene.

Unfortunately, the movie grinds to a halt with the climactic race riots. It's probably very much in keeping with the spirit of the book, I can't say, but it's so different in tone to the rest of the film that it's extremely jarring and after you've watched it once you won't care to see it again. It's as stolid and forthright as the other three-quarters of the film is imaginative and exciting.

Heck, if nothing else it's worth seeing to watch Anita Morris mix that martini. I searched high and low on the internet to find a picture of it. If you haven't seen AB, I recommend it highly–it's one of the most underrated musicals ever. It's inexplicably unavailable on DVD, but well worth checking out on Showtime, if you get it, or on VHS.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

For the first time in ages, I placed an order with Columbia House, which I received yesterday. What I got was the latest from the Indigo Girls, titled Become You, This Is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies and the Kinks, and Lou Reed's Berlin.

I've been an admirer of the Girls' music for many years now, beginning with their great Rites of Passage album, where they learned to garnish their earnest folk with Irish instruments, electric guitar, strings, and so on. Added a few more colors to their palette, if you will, and each subsequent release has been outstanding.

The Kinks tribute features many muscians I like, such as Ron Sexsmith, Fountains of Wayne, and Matthew Sweet, along with a couple of friends of mine, Nashville musicians Tommy Womack and Bill Lloyd, who chip in with a great collaborative effort on one of my favorite Kinks tunes, "Picture Book". Name dropper? Me? Plus, it has humorous liner notes written by Mr. Davies himself.

Lou's Berlin album, about drugs, dysfunctional relationships, S & M and dementia in that fabled city, is one that I came to love (as much as you can love it) back in the 70s. It's not a happy fun record by any means, but it's gripping and often lovely in places, and I recommend it to anyone not on lithium. Since album cover design and packaging are a passion of mine, I must note that the CD release has replaced the original, distinctive and quite beautiful in its own way handwritten script that was used on the LP for all the type including lyrics, credits, and so on with a script-looking font that is intended to simulate handwriting, for better readability, I assume. Problem is, the font is still too small and is very hard to read, especially in the case of the inside booklet notes. So what was the point? The artificial font is nowhere nearly as good looking as the original handwriting, and is no more readable.

Oh well, that's me in a nutshell. ("How did I get in this nutshell? It's so cramped and small here in this nutshell!") There's just no pleasing me sometimes.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

As you can probably infer from the wedding picture below, I was not really into the Disco lifestyle. I was more of the stoner-in-an-army-jacket type who wouldn't dance unless I was held at gunpoint or so drunk I didn't know what I was doing. So you probably deduced that I wasn't much of a Bee Gees fan back in the day. I just couldn't relate to most Disco music. Hate is a strong word, especially since I was receptive to dance music- Sly and Parliament were faves of mine in my teenage years. But most disco just got on my nerves. One reason was because of my job at the time, in the prepress of a large printing factory where they broadcast the local top 20 FM radio station all day and all night over the ceiling speakers. We had to listen to it, you couldn't turn it completely down...I got fed up once and cut the wires, but then I got nervous about getting in trouble so I spliced them back together. This was at the height of the Disco era, and the Bee Gees got constant airplay. I also think it was just that awful Robin Gibb falsetto, with his fricking hand constantly over his ear, being played over and over and over on the radio that I couldn't stand. "Tragedy" was the worst by far, with Robin squealing "loving you, loving you, luuuu-vvviiiing yooooouuu" a dozen times in eight hours for months on end. I often fantasized about taking pencils and jamming them in my ears just to make it stop. But really, when it came down to it I was never one of those "Disco Sucks" clods, and eventually I came to appreciate the music of Chic and KC, among others, but it took me a long time. And I never looked good in a tapered silk shirt, either. Amusing aside-the first movie my wife and I saw on a date was Saturday Night Fever. Oh dear.

However, the passage of time and the (presumed) subsequent maturity have caused me to re-evaluate the music of the Bros. Gibb over the years. The older, pre-disco stuff is somewhat interesting, and when you get right down to it (and they're not being played on a radio at work that you have to listen to all day long) "Jive Talkin'", "Night Fever", "More Than a Woman", and others are damned catchy and pretty darn good R&B slash Disco slash Pop. I've even got mp3s of "Jive" and "Woman" on this very computer. So it is with a little sadness that I read about the death of Maurice Gibb today. You know, the bearded one who wore hats to cover up his shiny head. Now whether or not this means no more Bee Gees I cannot say, and I can't say it will affect my life one way or another if it does...but it's always a tragedy to lose one of the giants from back in the day, and make no mistake, the Bros. Gibb qualify. So requiescat in pace, Mr. Gibb.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Mr. and Mrs. Bacardi, 24 years ago today. Get a load of those sideburns.
For those who believe in omens, my turntable is malfunctioning again. Went bad right before the Falcons-Eagles game. It worked for about 5 hours after I got it back from the shop, and now it's playing at the wrong speed and is inconsistent about when it will come on when I lift the tonearm.


Now I gotta take it back to the shop and see if the guy thinks he can do anything with it. If he can't, or wants to charge me again, then I'm going to take it and toss it in the path of an 18-wheeler.
Here's a late suggestion for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar: Joe Nedney.

This game reminded me of one reason why I dislike the Titans. They never seem to beat anybody conclusively; their games are always decided by controversy. I know I'm generalizing here, but if the game ends in a flukey play of some sort, it's always a good bet that the Titans are involved. But don't get me wrong...I realize that the Steelers lost yesterday because of their inability to contain Steve McNair. He was, and I think will continue to be, a difference-maker for the Flaming Thumbtacks. I'm sure all the good old boys in Tennessee are thrilled to death with that.

And while I'm not happy with the outcome, I gotta say I'm pretty proud of my Falcons. They went in and hung tough with the Eagles last night, despite losing half of their starting defensive backfield ...and if they could have just eliminated many of the stupid penalties they committed in the first half, the outcome might have been very different. Mike Vick has GOT to work on learning how and when to throw the ball away. If they brought their A game to Green Bay, they brought their B minus game to Philly. Typical for the Jekyll-Hyde team Atlanta's always been. If we can just get a couple of players on both sides of the line in the off-season, who knows– the Falcons might just acheive back-to-back winning seasons for the first time.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

New Christgau Consumer Guide up over at the Villiage Voice.

Spent most of my day today looking for a couple of used vehicles. The fellow I work for at the radio station also owns a car lot, and I'd like to think he will give me a decent deal on something. My truck is in the shop more often as not these days, as is my daughter's; my son's car was rearended a month or two ago and got totalled, leaving him carless, and Mrs. Bacardi's car has a lot of problems, like oil leaking into the coolant for starters. I'm looking at giving my son my Rodeo to drive until he can get steady employment and theoretically get his own transportation, getting two newer vehicles for me and Mrs. B, and getting Abby's fixed until she can pay on something for herself. Motor vehicles are the bane of our existence, it's sad to say. Can't afford to pay on a new one or keep an old one on the road. Guess if I'd stop buying comics I could afford a Porsche or something. Maybe if I put one of those keen Amazon.com honor system buttons somewhere on my site, all of you out there would help me buy new cars!

Other than that, I've been spending most of the afternoon catching up on all the vinyl I haven't been able to listen to for over a year now, including two or three I won on eBay but haven't been able to play like Frank Sinatra's Watertown, Curved Air's Phantasmagoria (check out that cool cover above), and Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention's The Grand Wazoo. Am I eclectic or what? I've also given spins to Graham Central Station's Mirror, Maria Muldaur's Sweet Harmony, Roger Glover's soundtrack to the Butterfly Ball and Grasshopper's Feast, Sparks' Propaganda, Mary Hopkin's Earth Song/Ocean Song, and Godley & Creme's Ismism.

Hope you're telling the truth, Pete.

Damn. Wycheck just scored, shooting my score prediction down. The Steelers are coming up small on defense, and McNair is gutting it out as usual.

That's all for now, more later maybe.

Friday, January 10, 2003

Johnny B's Fearless Football Picks

Continuing a grand tradition I began last weekend, here's what I see for the upcoming games:

Steelers vs. Titans For various reasons, I've never been much of a Titans fan, despite the fact that they play only an hour and a half away. This year, I've kinda come to respect them since they opened up their offense and have groomed a hungry young defense. I see this being a low scoring contest, and I like the Steelers' ability to score on the Flaming Thumbtacks a lot more than vice versa...I'll take Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress every time over Derrick Mason and an anonymous cast of hundreds of WRs. Steelers, 17-13.

Falcons vs. Eagles Well, I picked against my boys last weekend, and they rewarded me with a victory that will go down in franchise history. I'm tempted to take Philly for that reason alone. For Atlanta to pull off another upset, it's essential that they are able to run the ball with Dunn, Vick and Duckett against a Eagles D that is every bit as strong and quick as Tampa Bay...and we all know how well Atlanta ran against Tampa Bay. So while I fervently hope they prove me wrong again, I gotta go with the Iggles 24-17. Damn.

49ers vs. Buccaneers Speaking of the Bucs, if they can get any QB play at all they should be equal to the task of shutting down the Niners. They can hurry-up all they want, but Jeff Garcia and Terrell "Jackass" Owens will find the speedy Bucs D a lot tougher to solve than the poise-less Giants. And bet your ass the officiating will be better, too. Bucs 27-17.

Jets vs. Raiders Boy, everybody's jumping on that J-E-T-S bandwagon, aren't they? They do kinda have that team of destiny look about 'em, no doubt, but Rich Gannon, Jerry Rice and Tim Brown will be the difference-makers, methinks, and the Men in Black have just enough D to stifle if not shut down Pennington and the young Jets receivers. I see a shootout. Raiders 35-28.

There you have it! So far, I'm 2-2, and I should have been 3-1 if not for boneheaded officiating and dumbass Giant defensive backs. Remember, these prognostications are for entertainment purposes only. Bet this way at your own risk.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Oh happy day! My turntable is fixed! With any luck, I'll go get it tomorrow.
My enthusiasm for DC's Legion book has dimmed slightly, but it's still one of my favorite reads and it looks like it's going in an interesting direction with a spiffy new art team. Read more about it over at Pulse.
Here's some interesting Beatles news.

Glad it's from the Let It Be sessions; I was afraid maybe some lost Gone Troppo or WIngs at the Speed of Sound-period tapes had been recovered.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Week of January 8, 2003- what I bought and what I thought!

1. DAREDEVIL 41 The old axiom that you get what you pay for doesn't hold true this time around. I paid almost two and a half dollars more last week for a comic that wasn't half as good as this one. Fun story, nicely dialogued as usual by Bendis, and very well drawn by Alex Maleev, except, curiously enough, for his terrible rendition of the Owl which makes him look like Wolverine after Jenny Craig and a three day bender. I've always had a soft spot for the Stilt Man character...one of the first comics I ever owned was Daredevil 8, above, which sported great Wally Wood art, especially the cover. He's used very well here. The Stilt Man, not Wood. A

2. 100 BULLETS 41 The usual outstanding Azz/Risso story and art, giving us more Trust/Minutemen puzzle pieces on the one hand, while giving us a clever counterstory on the other. A

3. FABLES 9 More Fractured Fairy Tales, this time out wrapping up the second story arc in a somewhat rushed fashion and with a surprising cliffhanger at the end. I've never been much of a fan of Mark Buckingham's pencils; as a penciller, I've always thought he made a good inker. But he serves the story well, and Steve Leialoha's inks give him a Kirbyish flavor. A-

4. POWERS 27 Another consistently excellent book. The pottymouthed super-hero satire at the beginning was amusing, but I'm sick to death of super hero parodies- nothing makes an easier target. As for the rest of the story, so low key that it seems like almost nothing of consequence happens, it gets by on characterization, which is Bendis' saving grace. A-

5. VERTIGO POP: LONDON 3 Milligan & Bond's little morality play takes some interesting twists and turns, and not in directions that I thought it would go. Good on them. A-

6. JSA 44 This seems to be a week for rushed finales. The gimmicky resolution to the whole Egypt thing was kind of a letdown, but now that it's out of the way we can get into what I want to see, the Doc Fate meets Gemworld meets...a surprising return character at the end. B

7. HAWKMAN 11 I've really tried to like this book, really I have. But the scripts, while they try hard, never really rise above standard superheroics. Whatever the reason, you can't fault Rags Morales, who draws these turgid events with energy and style. B-

8. KILLRAVEN 4 If I didn't love the McGregor/Russell 70s version of this character so much, I might think more of this well-intentioned but feckless revival attempt, and actually, if one looks at it objectively, this is the best issue yet. But as a series it's an aesthetic failure, for reasons that are intangible, like heart and soul and emotional investment which I usually always seemed to get from McGregor & Russell but are beside the point for Davis. For him, this is a vehicle to demonstrate the he can write as well as he can draw, and nothing more. Problem is, he can't. C+

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Stolen shamelessly from the incredible GoodShit: The Top Ten Nude Scenes of Year 2002. Enjoy.

Me, I'm thinking I gotta rent Human Nature with Patricia Arquette. I still haven't gotten over her in those clunky high heels in Goodbye Lover.
Coldplay's "The Scientist" from their latest album "A Rush of Blood to the Head" is one of the most flat-out lovely songs I've heard in what seems like forever. Even if he does channel Bono singing "Stay (Faraway, So Close)" a bit at the end.

Also wanted to pass this on: You may recall that thanks to the nice folks at Blogarama, I won a $50 online gift certificate. After giving it some thought, here's what I bought: The Essential Johnny Cash and Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes and Hustlers of the Warners Music Group.

When I was a wee lad (refer to my Christmas Day picture in the archive), my Dad was a league bowler. I went with him often and while he bowled, I would beg him for dimes so I could play records on the huge jukebox they had at the alley. One song which grabbed me and wouldn't let go was "Ring of Fire" by the Man In Black (no, not the Shadow, Johnny Cash!). My Dad got tired of giving me dimes, I think, and went out and bought me the 45, which I played almost as much as Meet The Beatles on my little blue record player. Johnny Cash and the Beatles pointed me towards the road to ruin. Unfortunately, I don't have any Cash records, not even the fine Rubin-produced ones of the last few years, and this is my first step towards rectifying this situation.

Also, I have always had a lifelong (well, since 1970 or so anyway) fascination for the artists, look (graphics), and feel of Warner Bros./Reprise Records product, especially from the period 1967-1975. This book is a history of sorts about those days, and I'm really looking forward to reading it.

And that's how I spent my unexpected windfall. I'm sure you would have done differently. Unfortunately, fifty bucks doesn't go a long way, especially when you're trying to qualify for free shipping, necessitating that you pay Amazon prices for everything.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

While I have my reservations about the Grammys as a reliable form of recognition for music, it's still gratifying to see Norah Jones ring up four nominations. As the old saying goes, "even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while". Here's an article in today's USA Today, in case you haven't read it. She's Ravi frigging Shankar's daughter. That blows my mind.
In case you're wondering where the heck I've been today, well, it's none of your gosh darn business.

Aww, c'mon, I'm only joshin' around. I took off work today to help my daughter through the complicated process of Freshman orientation and registering for classes. Today was her OAR day at Western Ky. University. We also helped her move into her dorm room, met her roommate's parents and just generally did the parental thing. They've been busy on the Hill since I was enrolled there a scant two years ago. I spent a great deal of time looking around at where they had done construction here and there. We are now faced with the dreaded "empty nest" syndrome; we're coping so far. It's been three hours.

Comics reviews tomorrow. I'm tired.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I had forgotten all about this before I noticed it over at A Small Victory.

Sorry about the picture quality, it's a scan of a booklet page that I did for a Elvis mix CD I made a while back. I slapped a Photoshop filter on it. Best I could do on short notice.

Happy Bacardi Show Birthday to ya, King, wherever you are.
People send me stuff. I go check it out. If it's interesting, I pass it on, that's how it works. The redoubtable Mistah Tabor sent me this. I have done no research into its validity, I leave that up to you, gentle reader. Another one of those things that, as the cliche goes, make you go "hmm". I have no trouble believing its claims, but then again I'm predisposed towards disdain for the Bushes.
I'm first and foremost a Mac guy. I've used them both at my job(s) and at home since 1991. Don't understand why more people aren't, herd mentality notwithstanding. I'd be super excited about this if I could afford to buy any of it.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Looks like it's gonna be another one of those nights where I think I'm done writing, then I go and sit down to watch TV, and it occurs to me to look for something online, and when I go wherever then I wind up going somewhere else, and...I'm sure you know what I mean. Then I pass it on to you lucky boys and girls out there. Then I wind up going to bed about 1 AM and feeling like death warmed over all day the next day. Well, the cycle ends now. After this.

Found a link to Modern Drunkard Magazine's site over at Erosblog. Modern Drunkard Magazine. Is that cool or what? Great article there about Absinthe. The Hemingway quote in that piece is a hoot.

Music today, besides the Christmas haul which I'm still getting to know: Four Seasons-Genuine Imitation Life Gazette.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

This is one of my all time favorite comics covers. Spectre #8, by Nick Cardy, from app.1968. Maybe it's those force lines, or that dramatic finger pointing at YOU, or the modified logo. Whatever it is, it's a kick ass cover, if you ask me. Maybe I should do a weekly feature- covers I love. One a week. Anyhoo, this is, of course, © DC Comics Inc.
Is it that time already? The new Diamond Shipping List is out, and I'll be getting:

100 Bullets 41
Fables 9
Hawkman 11
JSA 44
Vertigo Pop: London 3
Powers 27
Daredevil 41 (so this is weekly now?)
Killraven 4

Looks like another 20 dollar week. I have got to cut back.

Kinda chalky.

Excellent Buffy episode tonight. I'm trusting Giles a bit more...it would indeed be the most obvious thing to have him be a manifestation of the First Evil, which leads me to think that they won't go that way. I'd still like to know how he managed to avoid decapitation... As always, lotsa yuks to go along with the "who's really who" uneasiness.

I wonder where the hell Faith is during all this? Besides off making movies, that is.

I just wish I could watch an episode of BTVS without wondering why her jaw doesn't get broken when a monster that just powderized a concrete block with one punch hits her, and how she never seems to break any bones when she hits them, or why, when you become a vampire you automatically become the second coming of Bruce Lee, or why nobody ever drives around in Sunnydale in the early evening when eyeless zombie monks go walking all over the place, and where the hell everybody's (well, we know about Buff and Dawny's) parents are and why they never call their kids, and why the hell people want to live in Sunnydale anyway, with its presumably astronomical death rate...and why this silly show so convincingly coerces us to suspend our disbelief and accept these unbelieveable goings-on.

I know, I know. It's only a TV show. Shut up, Johnny, and enjoy it for what it is. And I do.

"God will not suffer man to have the knowledge of things to come; for if he had prescience
of his prosperity he would be careless; and understanding of his adversity he would be senseless."

You are Augustine!

You love to study tough issues and don't mind it if you lose sleep over them.
Everyone loves you and wants to talk to you and hear your views, you even get things like "nice debating
with you." Yep, you are super smart, even if you are still trying to figure it all out. You're also
very honest, something people admire, even when you do stupid things.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

Found this over at the Leptard's joint. I know less than nothing about Christian theology. Heck, I'm not even all that much of a Christian. It just looked interesting.
While I'm flattered that Neilalien has chosen to link to me, and quote me, if you've come here after clicking the aforementioned link, know that my quote was taken out of context. It makes me sound a lot more anti-Journal than I really am. My decison to stop buying TCJ regularly had less to do with its overall editorial slant and more to do with simple economics. The perceived negativity and cynicism was indeed a factor, but not the only one. I still buy the occasional issue, like I said in the full quote, when it features an creator I want to read about and I have a light spending week.

Scroll down ten posts to read the actual piece in question, and please check out the comments where Bill Sherman, the Pop Culture Gadabout (and former Journal contributor), and I discuss it further.

Just wanted to set the record straight. Neilalien has no comment function on his site for me to argue my case over there.

Monday, January 06, 2003

Sleep? Who needs sleep?

My friend and coworker Mike Cary sent me this link, but it's been so goddamned insanely busy lately around the ol' salt mine that I never got around to checking it out. I promptly forgot about it until I saw where CzelticGirl also mentioned it.

Ever of the philanthropist bent, I will now pass this wonder link on to you. This is for Epitonic, a really nice looking site for free MP3s. They've got a Soft Boys track I'm going to download very soon. Go!

What? Still here? Whilst restlessly clicking around on OPB (you know, Other People's Blogs) I also found the cute I Wish,You Wish, a listing of other bloggers' birthdays and Amazon.com wishlists, with all the appropriate linkage. Although I use my wishlist mostly as a reminder system, it might be neat to place mine proudly with others'. Anyway, while I decide, you might want to check it out. Go! Go!

I will retire now. 6 AM comes quickly, you know.
I just figured out how to strum most of the chords to the Beatles' Good Night. I have been walking around singing this to Mrs. Bacardi and my daughter. I don't think they like it. I'm having a little difficulty with the "Dream sweet dreams..." part. Oh well. Tomorrow, as they say, is another day.

Just wanted to share.
One more thing, then I'm done for the evening. As reported over at Pulse, it looks like the excellent Comic Book Artist magazine will get a new publisher in June. Jon B. Cooke will still be on board, but the emphasis will now be on individual creators rather than a mix of creator pieces and overviews of various publishers over the years, and the cover price will go up from the already high $6.95 to $7.50.

This is not good news to me. I have enjoyed the previous issues a lot, and many of the best ones dealt with lesser-known comic lines like the Tower or Harvey books. Changing this to featuring the "sexy" artist of the day, a la recent spotlights on Adam Hughes, Mike Mignola and Jill Thompson, might make sense from a business standpoint, and for all I know will usher in a new, golden age for CBA, but it's a leap farther away from what I loved about the magazine in the first place. And they also may have effectively priced themselves out of my range.

Music today: The usual CDs from my Christmas haul, Robyn Hitchcock's Globe of Frogs (wanted to listen to this after checking out Globe of Blogs), and one of the all-time great 70s cheeseball AM radio hits, "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) by Edison Lighthouse. Man, I love that song.


Oyasumi Nasai, y'all.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Picture swiped from the Unoffical Paul Westerberg Home Page, taken by Bob Hyland.

Well, that's nice, JB, but when are you going to spout off about Paul Westerberg's albums like you promised?

Wait no more. Paul's latest, released as a twofer with its immediate predecessor, which initially saw print under his secret-to-nobody nom de guerre "Grandpaboy" is titled Stereo/Mono. Or it's called simply, "Stereo", with a bonus disc enclosed which just happens to be the Grandpaboy album "Mono". Or whatever. Of course, Westerberg came to notoriety, if not necessarily fame, with his previous band, the raucous, too-punky-to-be-Rock and too-rockish-to-be-Punk Replacements. At first, the 'Mats specialized in arrogant, goofy, snotty, who-gives-a-fuck rock n' roll, but then Paul realized he had a knack for writing aching, lovely ballads, often with a slight countryish twang, which made all the critics sit up and pay attention. After that, the 'Mats and Paul's rep grew, often considered by many to be the Stones to R.E.M.'s Alternative Beatles, and they released three classic LPs (Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased To Meet Me) followed by two vaguely disappointing ones (Don't Tell A Soul, the almost-Paul-solo All Shook Down). Eventually, the band seemed to tire of courting fame one minute and running away from it the next and the loud, sloppy rollercoaster ride eventually ground to a halt in 1991. He went solo, like everybody thought he would years before, and released two overproduced, compromised-sounding albums for Warners which absolutely no one liked and fewer heard, let alone bought. His biggest problem, it seems, is that it was no longer 1985 and people expected something more from someone with his obvious gifts, but nobody knew what. Paul himself, to me, sounded confused, like he didn't know how to do anything else but what he did and couldn't make people like it. He was let go by Warners/Sire, and signed to Capitol records a while later. I thought his next album, 1996's Suicane Gratifaction was a remarkable effort, all things considered...full of more great lyrics and melodies that the last two albums combined. It even survived the heavy hand of Uberproducer Don Was. Most disagreed with me, and the album was a flop, but I for one was very encouraged. Westerberg was let go by Capitol shortly thereafter, and emerged not long after with a sloppy indie record, the first under the pseudonym Grandpaboy. While it wasn't bad, and certainly rawer than his previous solo stuff, it was still lacking that certain something.

Now, this past year, he's resurfaced with the aforementioned double CD set. Strangely enough, the Mono half is the most developed, features a full band, and rocks the hardest. Stereo basically sounds like a set of demo recordings, with minimal accompaniment. I found myself wanting to take the two discs and shuffle them together like cards, to get a mix of styles. I might still do this with the ol' CD burner. There are great songs on both discs, and Paul sounds more confident than he has in ages, if still a bit petulant and glum. I especially love "Silent Film Star" and the opener "High Time". Stereo has its share of nice songs, but they're so underdeveloped that it becomes a bit annoying. I liked the cover of "Mr. Rabbit", and a couple of others like "No Place For You" stand out as well. If you're curious, and you are predisposed to like the Replacements, then by all means check this one out. I seriously doubt that it will sell any better than its predecessors, or will even win him many new fans. I like it, but I'm one of the converted. Typically, one wishes for a lot more but I for one am glad Westerberg still cares enough to make the effort. We may never get another Tim, but those only come along every so often anyway.
Some love for Leo Sayer

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I remember reading somewhere, in somebody's blog, where 70s icon and Aughts has-been Leo Sayer was getting some badmouthing. Now, I can understand this, and have in fact badmouthed him myself on many occasions after hearing his lame mid-to-late 70s (i.e., anything from or after "Endless Flight") music.

But there was a time, boys and girls, there was a time...when our Leo had pretensions. And was partnered with songwriters like Adam Faith and Dave Courtney that helped him realize those pretensions. Mr. Sayer released three albums, Silverbird, Just A Boy, and Another Year, that were on a par with almost anybody that was trying to write and record serious music. Oh yeah, and there was another album custom written for Roger Daltrey in 1973 which many feel was the best thing old Goldilocks ever did without Townshend. All were done with that classic drum/bass/piano/guitar sound, somewhat folkish and garnished heavily with strings, that many, many other pop musicians of the day like Randy Newman, Elton John, Alan Price, and others used. Swear to God, some of these songs are almost Nick Drake-ian. These songs, on these albums, had substance. They were clever and witty, and often ("Giving it All Away", from Just A Boy via "Daltrey", an excellent example) very moving. Just A Boy is his best, in my opinion, almost a tour de force for the diminutive singer and his cohorts– a far cry from the disco piffle he was to turn to after the commercial failure of Another Year. After that, he hooked up with Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr's best producer, Richard Perry, and threw all of his serious ideas out of the window, like so many of his peers- say, Elton, Rod Stewart, and so on. The rest was, as they say, history...at least until he wore out his welcome in the early 80s. Ironically, that most vapid of musical decades had no use for this now most vapid of musicians.

It's a common musical perception failure among many otherwise fine and knowledgable people; they tend to remember only the most immediate memory of a particular artist or a general impression cultivated over time. Anyone that cares to remember Sayer remembers "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing", but no one seems to remember what may have come before. Hell, apparently most have never even heard what came before, even the huge hit "Long Tall Glasses". Selective memories are easy. People like easy. Just like Sunday morning.

Sigh. I know, I know, who really cares, Johnny? Who really gives a flying fuck about Leo fricking Sayer anyway? Does it really matter, in the scheme of things and in this post 9/11 world we live in? I suppose not. But it still think that no matter how inconsequential these things may be, if I can add a little clarification and set the record straight then I'm a little more sane. And sanity is a worthy goal, I feel, that I continually strive for.
Shamelessly pilfered from Sharpeworld: The Trouser Press Cover Gallery. I never read it myself, limiting myself to Creem, Rolling Stone and Crawdaddy, but I enjoyed looking at the covers and reading the comments.

Sat up way too late last night watching reruns of the Gong Show on Game Show Network. For a good part of the Seventies, I would come home from school, make a sandwich, and watch the Three Stooges, Match Game and Chuckie Barris' infamous talent show. Warped me, I'll tell you. Then there was the Big Show at 4 PM on Nashville channel 5, which showed, more often as not, monster movies from the 30s, 40s, 50s and early 60s along with Elvis flicks and other great stuff. Those were the days.

Also watched the Chuck Barris True Hollywood Story on E! TV. What a life that guy has had. All this attention is, of course, because of the new George Clooney film based on Chuckie's bio, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind". I haven't read the book or seen "Confessions" yet, but I hope to at least see the film soon.

I sure did love the Gong Show, though...just a full 30 minutes of absurd insanity, especially in the mid-to-later years, in which Chuckie just went nuts, wearing strange hats, shirt unbuttoned to his waist, and mumbling constantly while clapping and pointing. I loved Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, the Unknown Comic ("Hey Chuckie! Have you ever had sex with your wife in the shower?" "No." "Well you should! She loves it!"), Jaye P. Morgoan (who got fired for flashing audience members. Twice.) and all the strange acts, some of them actually pretty good, that they had. Hell, I even liked the Gong Show Movie, a disaster of biblical proportions. It was lowbrow humor, trash tv perhaps, but it wasn't as cynical and mean-spirited as much of what goes by the name of "reality TV" these days. We'll never see its like again, that's for sure!