Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Hey, it's me, I'm still alive (if you call this livin'). Today has not been the best of days, to be sure. I've kinda had the rug yanked out from under me, so to speak, and I'm still sorting it all out in my mind SO I'll try to write more later but for tonight I'll probably let it slide. We were all provided with decent severance packages and the like, so that will help for a while. Just didn't see it coming, not at all...

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments on the previous posts. Means a lot.

And Chris: I won't forget– new Buffy tonight!
Boys and girls, I am quite saddened to inform you that I have lost my job today. It was swift and totally unexpected, and I, along with about seven others, am in the process of clearing out my office. So...I'll update when I can.
Time once again for that most magnificent of memes, This-or-That Tuesday!

April 15: The Money Edition

In the U.S., April 15 is the deadline for filing our income taxes. Even if the deadline is a different date in other countries, the fact still remains that we all have to pay taxes. And we can't survive without money!

In honor of this occasion, this week's theme is *Money*. A few questions about taxes, the rest about money in general. And a little bit of silliness, too!

1. File taxes as early as possible, or wait until the last possible minute?

Well, we don't wait till the last minute because we usually get money back; but it takes a while to get everything together so it's usually late February before we file.

2. File electronically, or mail paper forms?

Electronically.

3. Prepare your own taxes, or have someone do it for you?

I get Mrs. Bacardi to do it...she works for an H & R Block branch!

4. Are you a saver or a spender?

Sad to say, a spender. I wish I could save something.

5. Do you prefer to carry cash, or pay with plastic (credit/debit cards), or by check?

No preference. I write a lot of checks, keep a little cash on hand whenever possible, and use my credit/debit card all the time.

6. You're broke and desperately need a job, but the only places that are hiring are retail or fast food places. Which would you pick?

Talk about a rock and a hard place! Probably retail. I never really did fast food as a teen (pizza guy, mostly), but I knew people that did and they hated it.

7. Keeping track of your money: are you more meticulous or careless about it?

I'm not as metriculous as I should be but I do try to write everything down and keep everything balanced. I just don't make a crusade out of it.

8. What do you do if you find yourself with a lot of change weighing down your purse/pocket/wallet? Do you try to spend it to *get rid of it*, or do you put it in a jar or a piggy bank?

Of course, this rarely happens to me but I will often give change instead of a bill to reduce the "load". I have a jar at home as well which I contribute to occasionally (and withdraw from sometimes, too) but it doesn't fill up very fast.

9. Which form of fake money do you like better...Monopoly money or those chocolate coins covered with gold foil?

I love to play Monopoly, but the gold foil coins taste better than Monopoly money!

10. Thought-provoking question of the week: You find a wallet containing $5,000 in cash, as well as several credit cards and the owner's drivers' license. Your rent is due tomorrow and you're short $200. Do you take the money (some or all of it) and mail back the wallet anonymously...or do you return the wallet with all contents intact?

I'd like to think I'd return the wallet intact and hope for a reward...but it would be tempting to keep some and return it anonymously, no doubt...

Monday, April 14, 2003

Speaking of disparate people, here's Uncle Stan Lee and Pam Anderson in a short promotional clip for TNN's new Stripperella cartoon! Face Front indeed!

I like the character drawings for Stripperella, but it looks like overall it's going to be just another cheesy dumb comic book satire. Sigh.
Sometimes the most disparate people share birthdays. Today's BSBdG's go out to

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Ol' Mr. Smoke on the Water himself, Ritchie Blackmore. He's had a long and fruitful career, with both Deep Purple and his other group Rainbow. I always kinda liked the unpretentious and bluesy Deep Purple, and also rather enjoyed the first couple of Rainbow albums as well. Well, OK, the Purps were a little pretentious but Blackmore's straightforward riffing always kept things grounded for the most part. I think he's doing some sort of medieval-styled thing with his current wife, but I haven't heard any of it so it shall go without comment.

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Also, happy happy to Sarah Michelle Gellar, who shall go on to play, no doubt, countless roles in her future career but will always be Buffy the Vampire Slayer to me.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Whilst watching TV this morning I caught the beginning of an airing of the Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension on the Flix channel. That's cool, I love that movie, one of my fave films (top three, even) but since I got the DVD my jones for watching Buckaroo can be sated anytime and I don't get too worked up when it airs on TV. BUT. The version they're showing on Flix is different to any I've seen before...someone has added a voiceover narration over the opening credits (this is the letterboxed opening, and not the one with the added footage of Buckaroo's parents– if you're a BB fan you know what I'm talking about) which attempts to explain a few things about the characters and the situations they're in at the beginning. Maybe it's just because I'm so familiar now with the whys and wherefores of the Banzai world, but I found it unnecessary and annoying and I can't imagine it helping anybody who's not. It even goes on over the original tacked on text introduction, and while some of what it says jibes with the text, most of it doesn't! Are any of you out there Buckaroo fans and have some knowledge of this new opening sequence?

A great BB site is www.banzai-institute.com, which is a mother lode of information about this nutball, but very clever and imaginative, "docu-drama".

While I'm talking about movies and such, I've added a film discussion site called Milk Plus to the blogroll at right. It's kinda graphics heavy and takes a little while to load, but there's some interesting and in-depth articles there about movies of all stripes. They sent me an email the other day informing me that they had linked to me and would I care to do the same, so I did so and I'm damned flattered.
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I also just finished watching Tom Hanks' gangster flick the Road to Perdition. Can't say that I was all that blown away.

Road's not a terrible film; far from it- it's well acted and the photography is wonderful. But I could never completely believe Tom Hanks with his chipmunk cheeks as a dour mob hitman, no matter how solemn and glum he behaved. There was a certain predictablility to the whole thing- I never thought for a minute that there was any chance whatsoever for a happy resolution for anyone involved. Jude Law almost sparked the film a bit with his portrayal of a freelance hitman who supplements his income by photographing his victims, but it seemed like no one was allowed by the director to be even the least bit flamboyant, even Paul Newman, who in his dotage still was able to bring his character to life, and in a strange way was the most charismatic character in the whole thing. And despite the aforementioned excellent Oscar-winning photography, the constant drabness and ever-present rain just became oppressive after a while, making the film a slog in more ways than one.

I didn't care much for director Mendes' last film, American Beauty, either, but it was more of a problem with the characters and the way they behaved towards the world and each other than any problems with his directorial skills. I liked Road a bit more, but it's a hard film to really like and I wanted to connect with it, get caught up in it and really care about Hanks and his family's tribulation, but I just couldn't. Maybe you can...so I say see it, but don't expect to be on the edge of your seat.
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I don't think the members of R.E.M. enjoy making music all that much these days. After several listens to their most recent effort, Reveal, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that this dull album may be the most lackluster thing they've ever done.

It's an attempt to wed the jangly Byrd-isms of their early work with the icy experimentation and electronics of 1998's Up, which people either seemed to love or hate. Me, I suppose I was closest to the "love' camp...I thought it was often very good, with tuneful, evocative songs like Daysleeper, You're in the Air, and the gorgeous At My Most Beautiful. On Reveal they try to have their cake and eat it too, but unlike Up they apparently couldn't be bothered to craft any memorable melodies. There's absolutely nothing on this album which approaches their best as a group, let alone the Up album. When I first heard the single Imitation of Life I thought it sounded weak, but at least it had some sort of hook that stayed with me...so imagine my disappointment when it turns out to be the strongest cut! The songs plod along, usually based on a riff which recalls their IRS-era stuff with an occasional synth flourish here or disconnected guitar lick there to see if we're paying attention. Problem is, the riffs go nowhere and do not form melodies that grab the ear. Stipe's lyrics are as obscure as ever, and despite straining for a kind of grandiosity there's a certain banality about them that I'm not accustomed to seeing, and they often fall back on repetition when apparently he couldn't think of anything else to put in there. The whole thing sounds half-assed and compromised, like they were doing the album just to fulfill an obligation of some sort. This may not be the case, I can't say...but this is sure dull and ininspired music from a group which can be anything but.

Yeah, I'm disappointed. I'm one of the few that thought they got more interesting after Automatic For the People rather than less. I hope that someday they can rekindle the spark that they have apparently let go out.
So we've won, or just about. There is no quagmire. Saddam Hussein is dead, or as good as, along with his sons. It was all fairly painless -- at least for most Americans sitting at home watching it on television. Those who opposed the war look like fools. They are thoroughly discredited, and, if they happen to be Democratic presidential candidates (and who isn't these days?), they might as well withdraw and nurse their shame somewhere off the public stage. The debate over Gulf War II is as over as the war itself soon will be, and the antis were defeated as thoroughly as Saddam Hussein.

Right? No, not at all.


An interesting editorial I read this morning, by Michael Kinsley of the Washington Post. Go here to read the rest.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Multiple Bacardi Show Birthday greetings today!

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Our first BSBdG goes to Amy Ray, one half of the often enjoyable folk/rock duo the Indigo Girls. Didn't really warm to their latest, but maybe it will grow on me with time. Still, Rites of Passage, Swamp Ophelia, and Come On Now Social are all excellent records.

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Also, happy b-day to David Letterman! I don't watch his show as regularly as I used to, but I tune in on occasion and usually enjoy it when I do. And even at his worst he's a hundred times better than Jay Leno. That being said, I preferred his program when it was on NBC...

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And finally, happy happy to sweet l'il Claire Danes, of Spider-Man and Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet fame.

Friday, April 11, 2003

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BEST OF THE WEEK


Time now for
COMICS REVIEWS!
What I bought and what I thought, week of April 9


For me, it's getting harder every week to pick a clear cut 1 through 3. Maybe I need to start buying more crappy comics.

...nah.

1. JACK STAFF (Image) 2
Sure, Paul Grist is taking a little time developing his characters, and the abrupt time shifts he uses can be jarring, but nobody else can (or is willing to) take the chances he does, both script and art-wise. And maybe it's because my longtime comics-reading eyes have gotten jaded to the comics status quo these days, and unusual stuff stands out to me like a diamond in a trash heap, but I always get a charge out of the little things Grist does in the course of a story such as the two-page scene in which we join the adult Becky Braddock with the voice-over narration dominating the panels, or the neat idea of having Becky witness Jack's first battle with the Hurricane as a young girl twenty years earlier. I'm still adjusting to the color after two years of reading B&W Grist art, but that's not really a problem. Unless he completely sells out and becomes conventional (which I can't see him doing even if he tries), I'll always grade his work with an A.

2. BATGIRL YEAR ONE 5
Not as much about Barbara this time as about two of Batman's less stellar adversaries, this was still a fun and well written spotlight for Killer Moth (who must be a old favorite of Chuck Dixon- he used KM in the Robin: Year One mini as well) and the Firefly, for once as interesting as in his B:TAS appearances. The art is "cartoony", true, but it's also graceful and expressive and skillfully done and I think it's magnificent. The cover, especially, was beautiful. I almost ranked it first just so I could put it at the top of the column! A

3. ASTRO CITY: LOCAL HEROES 2
This one squeaks by for third place over Evil Eye 10 by virtue of its clever twist on all those old Lois Lane-tries-to-expose-Clark-as-Superman stories of yore . Even Brent Anderson, whose sloppy pseudo-Neal Adams stylings usually bore me, has some nice moments. I wish Busiek would try this hard when he writes other stuff; I'd buy more of his books if he did. A

4. EVIL EYE 10
It's been a while since the last issue of Richard Sala's outlet for his quirky imagination, and for the most part this is worth the wait. We get a more engaging than usual episode of the somewhat meandering lead feature, "Reflections in a Glass Scorpion", and the Peculia backup is, as usual, the funny highlight of the book. Somebody remarked that this comic comes across as Nancy Drew done by Charles Addams, and while I think Edward Gorey is more like it, I agree and wish I'd thought to say it first! A-

5. FABLES 12
Another clever installment of Willingham's fractured fairy tales. I thought the notion of the principles dealing with a mortal who thinks he's discovered their secret was a great idea, and I'm eager to see how it's resolved. The art was a little stiff, but I think that's just a by-product of Craig Hamilton's inking style...he tends to make pencillers' work look like it's been covered in lacquer. A-

6. GOTHAM CENTRAL 6
It's becoming apparent to me that this book will come to life only when Ed Brubaker's writing it. Still, this isn't too bad until we get to the eye-rolling "terrible secret" of Det. Montoya. Oh, the horror! Some may not like Michael Lark's art, but personally I think he's as good as it gets, new inking style notwithstanding. B+

Honorable mentions this week were H-E-R-O 1 and the second collection of Paul Grist's pre-Jack Staff police story KANE, titled RABBIT HUNT. I'll spare you the "Grist is a Genius" spiel this time, but it was a hell of a read and a razor-sharp Frank Miller satire for about half the duration of the five issues represented. I'm looking forward to getting the next two trades, when I can scare them up. H-E-R-O 1 cost me too damn much (had to get it on eBay, y'know) which tempered my enjoyment a bit, but it was still a fine first issue of what is looking like the best new book to come from DC in a while. If only I had picked it up two months ago...
Time once again for the Friday Five!

Ooh, music questions!

1. What was the first band you saw in concert?

Alice Cooper, with Suzi Quatro opening on the Welcome to My Nightmare tour in 1975. Alice's first solo tour; I've always regretted not seeing him with the A.C. Group.

2. Who is your favorite artist/band now?

Well, the Beatles will always be my favorites. There are many many others whom I revere from any decade you can name, but the Fabs I revere before all others.

3. What's your favorite song?

There's no way in hell I can choose just one. Sorry.

4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?

I can play guitar and trumpet, not very well mind you, but I always thought it would be cool to play violin, so violin it is.

5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why?

I always wanted to meet John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Sandy Denny or Frank Zappa. Kinda late for that now, I suppose. Why? Because I always admired their music and wanted to let them know somehow. Living, I suppose it would be Bill Nelson, Robert Fripp, or Neil Young, although he's supposed to be a bit of a jerk. I'd have to smack him on the back of the head for withholding CD release of Time Fades Away and On the Beach. Dave Cousins. I might get the opportunity next month!

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Early Bacardi Show Birthday greetings go out to the Bacardi Show Political Correspondent, who is also referred to around these parts as Chris Tabor. He's a hell of an artist and a good friend. And ladies, he's single! He's also one of the approximately two dozen or so people responsible for Family Guy inexplicably staying on the air when many funnier shows died. Got to blame somebody!

His actual birthday's tomorrow, but he says he won't be on the internet this weekend so there ya have it!

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Hello out there and welcome to those of you who may have come here from the link on the Bowling Green Daily News web page. He got that thing on there faster than I expected him to! And I'm all alone up there...must fight... stage fright coming on...

Anyway, this here is a blog page..."blog" being short for weblog, or an online personal journal, which is a curious little internet phenomenon that has sprung up out of nowhere over the last couple of years. A weblog can be about anything you want it to be, as long as you've got the bandwidth and something to say about something. Some blogs read like people's diaries, and some read like the op/ed section of any major newspaper. Many are about a variety of things, and many deal with one thing alone. Some are merely collections of links to this and that on the web, and some commentary on same. There's an wide and varied spectrum of writing out there, and I strongly encourage you to look at my "bloglist" at right, and click on the links...while by no means complete, I think it's a good sampling of what's out there. Many bloggers of like persuasions interact with each other by linking to each other's blog, as well as leaving comments on entries that interest them, which creates a community mentality of sorts. I've actually struck up several friendships with people I've never met, simply by commenting on items on their pages, and vice versa. Tell 'em Johnny B sent ya.

As for me, I've been doing this for a relatively short amount of time, since October of last year actually. The Johnny Bacardi thing comes from a list of names which I came up with back in the late 80s, when I worked at a small radio station in Munfordville, KY. I was trying to come up with an alias, as many DJs do, and out of many names Johnny Bacardi was the one I liked the most. Kinda has a lounge lizard feel to it, I suppose. I didn't use it, as it turned out, but the name stuck with me until I was deliberating what to call this thing and it just seemed like a no-brainer! I do not in any way represent the rum distillery from Puerto Rico of the same name, although I have been known to partake of its product from time to time.

A bit about me: My real name's Dave. 43 years old. 1978 graduate of Caverna High School, 2000 graduate if Western Kentucky University with a BA in art, graphic design emphasis. That's right, it took me 16 years to buckle down and go to college. Married (sorry, girls), two children ages 20 and 18. I live in Horse Cave, but I do everything else including work, it seems, in Bowling Green. I work for a homegrown RV supply and camping gear business which now has a national profile doing graphic design (on MACS! That's right.) and prepress for their marketing department. I also work part-time at a small AM radio station in Horse Cave, just to make some extra money. Never seem to have enough of that extra money stuff for some reason. My hobbies include collecting comics, playing, writing, and collecting music, along with sports, movies and perhaps one or two other things, which shall go nameless. This concludes the personal info section. Please follow your tour guide to the next section of the Show, which is...

What kind of stuff should you expect from reading my humble little corner of the web? Well, I try to focus on various aspects of pop culture, mostly comics and music with the occasional movie review or TV show piece thrown in for good measure. I think a good 50-60% of the blogs out there in the blogiverse are political in nature; you won't find much of that here. My own politics tend to be moderately liberal; but I've never been comfortable engaging in political debate so I pretty much leave it to those who have a passion for such things. You can find many of them in my blogroll at right, they're much better at it than I am, believe me. I try to stick to what I know, which is comics and music and film, which I've been following since I was old enough to string sentences together. I don't get personal, like some do, and on the rare occasions that I do I don't get too deep– frankly, it's nobody's business and I don't fancy airing my neuroses out there for the world to comment on. Sorry, but no.

One disclaimer: the links in the section below named "For mature audiences" are just that...weblogs and web pages about sex. Some of it is graphic and very adult in nature so if you want to check those links out, make sure the kiddies are in bed, OK? If you're of an open-minded persuasion, however, I recommend them highly, especially Fred Lapides' Good Sh*t, which is an amazing and unlikely combination of mostly tastefully done nude photography from a variety of sources and educational links to a multitude of obscure and off-the-wall topics. Erosblog's pretty good too. Anyway, you've been warned so I don't want to hear about it if you go there in error.

So, again, welcome to my little corner of the Web, and I hope you enjoy what you read here. Feel free to email me or leave a comment below (click on the link that says "serve 'em up"). And all the best from all of me to all of you!
Some norts spews for ya: It seems that my good ol' Alma Mater, Western Kentucky University, has once again lost its head men's basketball coach to the greener pastures of a major college program, further reinforcing the perception (at least in men's basketball coaching circles) of WKU as a small college "stepping stone" program. However, Dennis Felton (the coach in question) is moving into a particularly cow-pile laden pasture at the University of Georgia, so I hope he knows what he's getting himself into...especially knowing what little I do about the pressures of the SEC. Paging Ralph Willard...paging Ralph Willard...
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On to lighter subjects...above is another one of my all time favorite album covers. I have a weakness for puns, I suppose, and visual puns even more so. The 1973 album itself is simply titled "Foghat", although it's been referred to by many different names over the years by those who care to refer to it at all, like "Stone and Sandwich", "Bun and Boulder", and of course, "Rock and Roll". I wish I could tell you the album was as good as its cover, but alas, it's a kinda forgettable blues-rock effort. Foghat didn't really get going until their next album, Energized, and the next two or three follow-ups.

Websites of note that I've run across lately:

The great John Prine.

Woodwind player extraordinaire Jim Rothermel. Rothermel's wonderful playing has graced many of my favorite albums, including Van Morrison's Veedon Fleece and Prine's Bruised Orange.

Girlamatic.com, which features "L'il Mel", the newest work from the magnificent Vera Brosgol. It's a pay site, so while you get to read the most current strip for free you have to subscribe to read previous ones. Fortunately, there's only been one other so go NOW.

There's a veritable plethora, El Guapo, of Futurama sites. Here's another one. And another.

You may already be aware of this, but you can go here to see three of the four animated Matrix prequels. They're pretty amazing.

Checked my Blogshares page yesterday and was astounded to see the value of my stock has risen dramatically, helped, no doubt, by finally getting my links straightened out and actually suckering, I mean getting some actual buyers of shares in the Show. A million billion thanks to those who have done so.

Did anybody else out there get this email? Weird, but it seems to be on the level. I don't think I'm ready for TV yet...

OK, OK, more later.
Clip 'n' Save Dept.

"It's time to bring down the other terror masters," Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute wrote on Monday -- two days before U.S. troops swept into the heart of Baghdad -- in a piece entitled "Syria and Iran Must Get Their Turn."

Raise your hand if you saw this coming...

Courtesy of the Bacardi Show Political Correspondent, who also sends along this and this. Two more interesting and somewhat sobering articles you should read.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I suppose it didn't help that I was unable to see last week's episode of Angel, in which Cordy's evil "baby" was born, but for a long stretch of tonight's new eppy I felt like I hadn't seen an episode in months! I suppose it's just that I'm still mostly unfamiliar with the cast of a program that I've only been watching for a month. The most positive thing I can say about tonight's show is that it effectively captured that dream feeling of being all alone in a crowd, knowing a terrible secret and unable to find anyone that will help or believe you. Well, I've had dreams like that anyway. A little Invasion of the Body Snatchers-ish, I suppose, but still well done. The biggest negative was that the Jasmine character was excruciatingly annoying! I was on the edge of my seat not from tension, but from hope and anticipation that someone would make her stop spouting beatific platitudes!

Picked up an album today at the Great Escape along with my usual comics haul: John Martyn's Solid Air, for two and one half bucks. I've always been a little hot and cold about Martyn's jazzy folk (or folky jazz), but there's still a lot of his music that I haven't heard. Plus, the title cut's supposed to be about Nick Drake. Haven't listened to it yet. I'll let you know when I do...

I had something interesting happen to me today...Robert, the design group supervisor, told me that the website of the local Bowing Green newspaper, the Daily News, was advertising for bloggers, with the notion of linking or spotlighting local blogs. This intrigued me a bit, and after mulling it over I contacted the fellow over at the BGDN and gave him permission to include the JB Show in whatever he plans to do. I'm not sure whether it will involve just a list of links, or whether he'll post the current page for a week or so, or what. He may want to interview the writers, I dont know at this stage. All I can say is that I hope I can be interesting enough to make it worthwhile. I did find out through him that there were several other bloggers in this area that he had lined up, and that was interesting to me since I was unaware of anybody– although I was pretty sure that there were probably active bloggers at Western Kentucky U. I just hadn't encountered any of them, nor did I know anybody else who blogs personally. Oh well, I'll either regret this or find a whole new audience for my ramblings...or both.

Music this week so far: R.E.M.-Reveal, Masters of Reality, Rhett Miller-The Instigator, Paul McCartney-Driving Rain, Miles Davis-Tribute to Jack Johnson, Flaming Lips-Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, The Move-Shazam!, Future Perfect (a Gyroscope Records sampler which features Bill Nelson, Kate St. John, Channel Light Vessel, and others), and Neneh Cherry-Man. Plus at least two dozen vinyl LPs that I've been getting reacquanted with since Saturday, and I'll write a whole entry about them eventually.
Some quick links and stuff from hither and yon:

A preview of the animated Scary Godmother toon! Looks better than I expected. For more on creator Jill Thompson go here.

Firefly is coming out on DVD! Every filmed episode, even the ones that didn't air. I hope it sells like hotcakes and Fox realizes what idiots they were by not supporting the show. For the skinny go here.

DC's 90's revamp of their decades-old Starman character by James Robinson and Tony Harris (and later Peter Snejbjerg) was one of the best things the company has released in recent memory, in my own humble opinion. Seems like it might be returning for a series of one shots, with Robinson and Harris doing the honors. This was revealed in a recent interview with Harris over at Pulse.

I've recently been made aware of a new comics slash movies slash games slash all that other kinda stuff site...they solicited recently on the DC Message Boards for comics reviewers and I responded. I'm supposed to be writing a longer review for them, due tonight. They want to see longer reviews from me than the capsules I usually provide here and over at the DCMBs. I'm workin' on it, I'm workin' on it! Anywho, you should go check it out, it's called www.411mania.com. Beware of popups.

I picked up the most recent R.E.M. release yesterday, Reveal. Too soon to comment. However, I've been digging the hell out of the Flaming Lips cd I got over the weekend, and I checked out their site the other day. It's got some neat Flash animations you can download. Go here to have a look-see.

That's all I got for now, hopefully more later.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Always got time for This-or-That Tuesday!

Who is:

1. Sexier (female)...Pamela Anderson or Jennifer Garner?

No doubt, Jennifer Garner. Pamela's just too blowsy and plastic.

2. Sexier (male)...Ben Affleck or Matt Damon?

Uh...I suppose Affleck is the most traditionally "handsome". That's the best I can do, I'm afraid.

3. The better piano player...Billy Joel or Elton John?

They're both better than you'd think, but I go with Elton since he's played more diverse types of music.

4. Funnier...David Letterman or Craig Kilborn?

No contest-Dave. Kilborn should never have left ESPN. He's just annoying.

5. The dumber cartoon cat...Stimpy (of *Ren & Stimpy*) or Tom (of *Tom & Jerry*)?

Stimpy takes "dumb" to a level Tom couldn't imagine. Tom's not all that dumb.

6. A better news anchor...Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather?

Can't say...one taking head's about the same as another on Planet Dave.

7. A better TV chef...Emeril Lagasse or Jacques Pepin?

Wow...I was just watching the hyper Emeril last night with Mrs. Bacardi! I've never heard of Pepin, so BAM! I'll go with Lagasse.

8. The trashier talk show host...Maury Povich or Jerry Springer?

Well, I don't know how trashy these men are in their personal life...all I can judge them by is their shows and Springer's show has always maintained a high level of sleaze and knuckleheaded white trash antics that Povich can't even begin to approach.

9. The worse fast food burger joint...McDonald's or Burger King?

Judged strictly by food, I'll say Burger King. Never liked their stuff.

10. Thought-provoking question of the week: Only a handful of U.S. Presidents have been considered to be *great* Of the following two, which one do you consider to be greater...Franklin D. Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln? Why?

Both seemed to be great men, but freeing the slaves and navigating the worst internal conflict in the country's history was a hell of a thing, so I say Honest Abe. He's a Kentucky boy, y'know!
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BSBG's go out today to Patricia Arquette, who has appeared in a number of quirky movies over the years such as Bringing Out The Dead and True Romance along with the muddled and unwatchable Lost Highway and made a huge impression on me in the otherwise labored comedy Goodbye Lover, wearing clunky high heels, blonde wig and playing a murderous real estate agent that psyches herself up by listening to show tunes, specifically "My Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music. She takes a lot of hits for her perceived lack of acting ability, but as far as I can tell she's just fine and is always welcome on the JBS viewing screen. She also appears in the feature spot at above right...I liked both pictures and couldn't not use one of them.

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Also, sharing Patricia's birthday is the eldest Beatleson Julian Lennon. Jules ended years of speculation about whether or not he would follow in his father's footsteps by releasing the slight and forgettable "Valotte" in 1984. However, the album yielded a couple of surprise hits, and he released an even more slight and forgettable follow-up in '86. Then he decided to get serious and put out the markedly better Mr. Jordan in 1989. That album stiffed and the record company seemed to lose interest in him, so he responded by recording the 1991 album Help Yourself, which in my humble opinion was a minor pop masterpiece and one of the best albums of the 90's. He then walked away from the biz until 1998 when he released the (again, in my opinion) hugely disappointing Photograph Smile, whch struck me as weepy, whining and bloated. Oh well...happy b-day to you anyway, Julian.

Apologies for seemingly turning this into a birthday blog; it's been so busy at work and I've had few opportunities to sit down and write when I get home as well. These birthday things are about all I can wrap my head around right now! Hopefully it will get better soon...and hopefully I'll have more substantial fare down the road.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Casting an eye towards the Diamond Shipping List, I see that I'll be picking up the following:

ASTRO CITY LOCAL HEROES #2
BATGIRL YEAR ONE #5
FABLES #12
GOTHAM CENTRAL #6
JACK STAFF #2
EVIL EYE #10


And that's it! Looking forward to reading all of these, and it's nice to see Evil Eye by the always clever Richard Sala coming out. Seems like it's been forever since #9 graced the racks...

While I have your attention, here's the NCAA championship edition of Johnny B.'s Fearless Forecast! It's five minutes till game time...and I say KANSAS, 87-79. I think that Carmelo Anthony will have an impact, but I like Kansas's experience.
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Another insanely busy day today, so no time to gather my thoughts enough to write anything right now.

But, I did see over at Journalista! that today is the birthday of none other than Captain Atom, or Tezuka Osamu's Astro Boy as I knew him. When I was a wee lad they showed the anime on our local channel 13, and I loved them. Then, they stopped, no one else picked up the slack, and as a result it's been years since I've seen any. Still, I have fond memories, so happy happy tanjobe to ya, Astro Boy!

Also, while I'm thinking about it, go over to Pop Culture Gadabout and read his excellent overview of Lou Reed's Transformer album, a favorite of mine as well...

More later, hopefully...

Sunday, April 06, 2003

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Somewhat belated BSB greetings go out to the lovely Jane Asher, a former Beatle girlfriend (McCartney) and co-star of such fine 60s films as Alfie and Masque of the Red Death, a personal fave. She celebrated her 57th yesterday. She even married a cartoonist, the great Gerald Scarfe. Click on the picture above to go to her website, which is mostly devoted to her confectioner's business!

Go here for an interesting site devoted to Beatle wives and girlfriends.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Some random stuff, mostly personal in nature. Warning, boredom hazard.

My little winning streak on eBay continues! I did indeed bid on, and win, the Mary Travers Circles LP as well as the second collected Kane trade paperback by Paul Grist, "Rabbit Hunt". That's four straight auctions I've bid on and won! I have got to stop for a while.

Tomorrow is new turntable day! It came in on Thursday but tomorrow's the only chance I'll have to go and pick it up.

Went to the optometrist today...first time since, I think, 1991. I am pleased to report, much to my surprise, that I have 20/20 vision. She said I might need reading glasses eventually, but not for a while. Whew! Note: it's a bitch driving after you've had your pupils dilated.

I went to see Spirited Away again last night with the Bacardi Show Political Correspondent and mutual friend/nice guy/excellent artist/all around swell person Brandon. It was as good the second time as it was the first. I don't usually go see films more than once during their theatrical run...the only other time I can recall was when I took my son to see the Mask a week after seeing it on a business trip to Dayton, Ohio. Just remembered that today, Chris.

Speaking of the ol' Sonny boy, he just came in and left the new White Stripes CD for me to listen to, which I am doing even as I type. It's not bad so far...I gave a cursory listen to their first when it came out, and liked it OK but not enough to pick it up for myself. This is grabbing me more than that one did. Just what I need...more new music to buy. I placed an order from Columbia House a while back and received it today: the latest from the Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller- the Instigator; the Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and a copy of T.Rex's Electric Warrior which I was led to believe from the CH website was the recent reissue but is instead the decade-plus old Warner/Reprise version, OK in itself, I suppose, but I wanted the reissue. The WBR release is a bare-bones package, and I already have that landmark record on vinyl. I'm thinking about sending it back, but then I think "Hm..it would be nice to have it on CD one way or the other" so I don't know what I'll do. Getting back to that Flaming Lips album, I'm VERY impressed with it so far. How can you NOT like songs with titles like "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell" and "In the Morning of the Magicians"? I remember the Lips from back about '94, and they didn't make much of an impression on me except for "She Don't Use Jelly" which was catchy but totally unlike the rest of the album from whence it came. Of course, bearing in mind that I've only given it one brief listen, I hear some brilliant moments on Yoshimi...and I especially love the gorgeous, soaring track "Do You Realize??"

A link or two found hither and yon:

Send someone a voodoo curse online! (Please, not me! I'll send it back, you know)
The H.P. Lovecraft Library
Meanings of gemstones.

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Brief comics note of interest and accompanying illustration:

Apparently Top Cow, a company whose comics I've persistently failed to read on a regular basis, is putting out a line of toys based on its Witchblade Animated series. Problem is, there is no Witchblade Animated series. Now, I have no problem with this, since it would probably be as lame as its live action TNT series of a year or so ago was. But it's interesting to me solely because of the top-flight talent used to design the characters: Darwyn (Catwoman, X-Statix) Cooke and Jason (Jingle Belle, Alison Dare, Mutant:Texas) Bone. Plus, the Newsarama article which I'm linking to has some very nice Batman-animated style spot illos by one Ken Lilly, who is the head designer at Palisades Toys, manufacturer of the WItchblade Animated line. Is it just me, or can everybody do that Timm-style stuff but me? Maybe if I actually practiced...oh well. The character above is named Magdalene, I understand...click on the picture to go to the Newsarama article.

All right, all right, I'll wind it up now. Much to do tomorrow. Oyasumi nasai.

You know, that White Stripes is pretty darn good...
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BEST OF THE WEEK


Time now for
COMICS REVIEWS!
What I bought and what I thought, week of April 2


1. 100 BULLETS 43
It was very difficult to pick a clear cut #1 this week, but this one edges Daredevil 45 by virtue of catching me up with a character that I liked from a previous story arc (and thought got a bad deal), and then surprising the hell out of me at the end with a character that I thought dead. If possible, this consistently excellent month-in and month-out book has just gotten more interesting. A

2. DAREDEVIL 45
I enjoyed this as much as I did 100 Bullets, so perhaps I could rank them 1a and 1b... mostly satisfying conclusion to the "Lowlife" storyline with, like 100B, a surprising return at the end. Marred slightly by an awkwardly paced and drawn climactic scrap between DD and the Owl, necessary but just not very well done. I have been a huge fan of Alex Maleev's art here, and he's been flat out brilliant over the course of his tenure, but his rendition of the Owl blows chunks and he struggles with fight scenes– which I find perversely refreshing in today's comic book artist climate. A

3. SPIDEY AND THE MINI MARVELS 1
It speaks well for current-day Marvel that they let Chris Giarrusso have such a prominent platform for his cutesy and amusing cartoons. There are a lot of hardcore Spandex fans out there that will turn up their nose at this, but I think it's clever and fun and I hope this is an ongoing. A

4. LOVE AND ROCKETS V2 7
As always, love the Jaime Hernandez art and story– this issue sports, I believe, the best art I've seen in quite a while from him. Some odd religious symbolism and lotsa girl-on-girl making out this time around...a plus for me, I suppose, but not everybody would think so. And, as always, I fail to be engaged by Gilbert's story even though I recognize the strong craft that goes into it. So the grade is low, but the quality is high. B+

5. STRANGERS IN PARADISE 57
Speaking of girl-on-girl action, here's a book which could have used some...instead, we get silly, heavy-handed, forced dream sequence humor for all but the last two pages. I wonder if there's a twelve step program somewhere to wean me off this comic...every month I piss and moan and say that THIS is the month I drop this book; and every month I buy in the event that SOMETHING significant will happen. Sad. C-

Since my haul was so light, I picked up issue #1 of THE CLOCK MAKER, from Image– an oversize book which reminded me a bit of Terminal City here and Hellboy there (mostly in the art style). The tabloid size format is a bit awkward, and it was all getting acquainted-type exposition, but the story was interesting enough and well drawn by Mignola imitators Matt (Day of Judgement (DC)) Smith, Zach Howard and Michael Halblieb. Not sure who did what, although I recognize Smith's style in the opening scene. I added this to my holds folder, and I hope I can scare up a copy of #2 before #3 comes out. If I had reviewed it when it came out, it would have gotten an A-.

I also acquired a set of SANDMAN PRESENTS: LUCIFER 1-3 on eBay, and got them yesterday, FINALLY enabling me to read #3 and finish the story (I already had 1 & 2). It was well worth the wait. Mike Carey was still kinda feeling the character out– you can tell in a uncharacteristic line here or odd plot twist there– but his skills were already strong enough to get this across in smashing form, and he sewed the seeds for many of the storylines that are blooming now, four years later. I hope the Native American girl comes back someday, and knowing Carey I bet she does. Altogether, a strong A.
Got some temporary down time, it seems, so it's FRIDAY FIVE time!

1. How many houses/apartments have you lived in throughout your life?

Five

2. Which was your favorite and why?

Don't really have a particular favorite...I suppose the old ancestral seat, the house in which I was born and where my Mother lives still.

3. Do you find moving house more exciting or stressful? Why?

Stressful. Lots of work and expense. Haven't done it in 15 years, although I'd love to move to the town in which I work...

4. What's more important, location or price?

Aesthetically, location. Realistically, price. So unfortunately I say price.

5. What features does your dream house have (pool, spa bath, big yard, etc.)?

A big enough room for my collections would be nice, as would a pool and a big garage. A good sized yard, too, but not too big...got to mow it, ya know. An upstairs and basement/downstairs is a must, too. And a large driveway. That's all I can think of right now...
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Still pretty busy here at the salt mine, so to paraphrase Indiana Jones' little friend Short Round: "No time for blog, Doctor Jones!"

I did want to note that today is the eighth anniversary of Priscilla Lane's death. Good an excuse as any to post another picture...

Thursday, April 03, 2003

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Bacardi Show Birthday greetings to Mr. Richard Thompson, a damned fine guitarist and songwriter, founding member of Fairport Convention and a seminal figure in folk-rock music. My favorite albums by Richard include his most recent (in the US, anyway), Mock Tudor, as well as Hand of Kindness, Amnesia, You? Me? Us? (well, about half of it), and a couple of albums with his ex Linda: First Light and Shoot Out The Lights. I tend to think the latter is overrated and the former is underrated, but that's just me.

For Thompson's official website, go here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Busy busy busy at work today, and was out most of the night tonight, so no blogging for me. Didn't have much to report anyway, not that I've had time to look around for anything. Hopefully better days tomorrow.

Since I only had four comics in my holds today, did I save some money? Nooo...! I bought two more books, Spidey and the Mini Marvels and The Clock Maker #1. Buying comics is an addiction, I tell you, an addiction!

Oyasumi Nasai.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

From recently added WTF Is It Now, who found it somewhere else, methinks:

Top reasons to support celebrities in opposition to war.
* Two weeks of basic training before filming "Saving Private Ryan" is more military experience than Condoleeza Rice, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney (5 deferments), Tom Delay & Dennis Hastert had combined.
* Don Rumsfeld went to Iraq while Hussein used our chemical weapons on Iranian soldiers (and civilians along the border) and secured the additional shipments to the Iraqi dictator. Sean Penn visited Iraq, but has only used chemicals on himself.
* Martin Sheen has been arrested 70 times in his pursuit of peace and social justice. George W. Bush's three documented arrests: drunk driving, stealing a Christmas wreath & football hooliganism.
* Brit Hume, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are celebrities, not elected officials or diplomats (incidentally, all avoided service in Vietnam) who make their livelihood shilling for war. Garofalo, Damon et al. risk their livelihoods by opposing it.
* "Apocalypse Now" took 5 years to complete and Martin Sheen saw it all the way through, disease, monsoons and all. George W. Bush skipped the last 17 months of his National Guard service in Texas.
* It's their First Amendment right!

You know, I'm as jealous and resentful of celebrities as the next guy, but this is straight up true. Word.





Tee hee..I said "word"...
"Jambi, look into the Diamond Shipping Crystal Ball and tell me what I'll be buying tomorrow!"

"OK, Johnny B, repeat after me: Mekka Lekka Hi, Mekka Hiney Ho! Mekka Lekka Hi, Mekka Chonny Ho! Reveal my haul to me!"

Sorry, Jambi, it's a light one, it seems: 100 BULLETS #43, DAREDEVIL #45, LOVE & ROCKETS VOL 2 #7, and STRANGERS IN PARADISE VOL III #57. After last week, I needed a break. However, any week with a new DD, 100 B, and new art from Jaime Hernandez is a good one in MY book.
Just some random stuff before I retire, mostly sports related: You've been warned.

I haven't commented on the University of Kentucky's disappointing exit in the NCAA tournament, mostly because I don't know what to say, really. Hearts were broken all over the Commonwealth, and brackets destroyed nationwide. It was a combination of horrible shooting in the first half and the inability to shut down Wade and Jackson that did 'em in. It was inevitable that they run out of gas, I suppose, but it had gotten to the point where I thought they were charmed or something. And they can use Keith Bogans' sprained ankle as an excuse all they want, but there were games in the regular season when Bogans wasn't on and they won anyway; the sad truth is that no one else stepped up (sorry, I know that's a horrible cliche) to pick up his slack. Estill, Hayes and Fitch in particular should be hanging their heads. Still, it was a great season, a hell of a run, and hopefully this will spur them on to get the job done next year.

Emmitt Smith is now an Arizona Cardinal. Geez. It's like he's doing penance or something. It's gonna be weird as hell seeing him on what is arguably the worst franchise in professional sports. I was never a Cowboy fan, but I always had respect for Emmitt, especially after the playoff game against the Giants in which he played with a seperated shoulder and still ran for 100 yards and a couple of scores, including a dive (!) into the end zone! You'd think he deserves better, but he made the decision...can't help but think of Willie Mays on the Mets, Earl Campbell on the Saints, or OJ with the 49ers. We'll see what he has left, I think he has more than those fellows did...but good God, the Cardinals have a mediocre quarterback and no receivers– Emmitt's gonna get sick of seeing eight men in the box all the time, of that I have no doubt.

Baseball season has, as I'm sure most of you know, started. My White Sox started the season on the wrong foot yesterday, as they tend to do, getting shut out by a rookie pitcher on the Kansas City Royals, another woebegone franchise. Oh well, that's OK. They can go 161-1 and it will be all right. Both my fantasy teams are off to so-so starts, but as I'm so fond of saying, baseball is a marathon, not a sprint, and it's silly to be concerned right now.

Blogger's been a pain in the ass all day...I wasn't able to post all morning, and as of right now my page isn't loading right on my browser. I'm tellin ya, sometimes I get Blog envy– I see lots of nice sites, with interesting templates and all kinds of bells and whistles and I think "Boy, I'd like to redesign..." but the more I think about it the more trouble it sounds like. Sigh. Then there's that frigging Blogshares thing...since they changed sites, my button down there (the blue blob-shaped one) doesn't work anymore so I only have one incoming link and no outgoing links and my values have plummeted as a result...apparently the only way that I can get one of those snazzy new rectangular buttons with the correct code is to reclaim my blog, which I have done and now I'll bet I have two different profile pages, which really fucks with my anal nature. And no, that is NOT a Freudian slip.

I got a new fitted White Sox hat today. Highlight of my week so far. My old one had had it, and this one fit better. I have a big melon head, and it's difficult for me to find caps which fit me well...so I thought I'd better buy.

Am I getting trivial enough yet?

I'm absolutely loving the Futurama reruns I'm watching on Cartoon Network. We got an extra bonus this past Sunday when they showed that rarest of rare things- a new episode on Fox! Tonight's episode was the second of the first season, where they introduce most of the supporting cast like Amy Wong and Doc Zoidberg, and Leela, Fry, Bender and Amy deliver a crate to the Moon, and Leela & Fry get lost on the surface when they bust out of the big amusement park on the lunar surface. Bender was especially funny in this one, singing over the end credits "I'll be shooting 'em with a ray gun when she comes..." It's funny. Trust me. Have I ever lied to you before?

And now the grande fee-nahl-ay: MUSIC THIS WEEK (so far)!
the Monkees-Listen to the Band discs 1,2, and 3 (I don't care what anyone says- this was great pop music); Ron Sexsmith-Other Songs (this is fast becoming one of my favorite albums- "So Young", "While You're Waiting" and "Strawberry Blonde" are works of genius); Coldplay-Parachutes (track that's stuck in my head-"Sparks"); Beach Boys-Today!/Summer Days and Summer Nights (can't get enough of "You're So Good To Me", among others); Joe Henry-Trampoline (killer cover of Sly's "Let Me Have It All", along with several songs that are startling in their beauty and sadness. He got kinda carried away with the low-key jazziness after this, not in a good way); Linda Thompson-Fashionably Late (yeah, I know I said I was gonna write about this one...still might. I love, so far, Dear Mary, Paint and Powder Beauty and especially Evona Darling); and the Drive-By Truckers-Decoration Day. I didn't get finished with that one– Mike Cary took his copy back. I'll get it back, 'cause it wasn't too bad.
Oh what the hell, how about another This-or-That Tuesday session!

1. The Bogey-Man or Henry Kissinger?
2. Whips 'n chains or soft ropes with furbound cuffs?
3. Fish sticks or Amazon.com?
4. Whitewall tires or color TV?
5. Leather or lace?
6. Abraham Lincoln or leftover turkey?
7. Movable Type or Star Trek?
8. Happy Happy Joy Joy or Bounce Bounce Bounce like Tigger?
9. The Michelin Man or the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man?
10. Thought-Provoking Question of the Week: If you HAD to marry one of the talking M&M's in the TV commercials, would it be the red one or the yellow one? Why?

What the f-? Oh. These are the April Fool questions. As Fred Flintstone used to say, "How duh-roll".

Here's the real ones:

1. Tag or hide & go seek? Hide & Go Seek. I always had more fun when I played that, it was easy to get lost. Or, when girls played with us, I was always told to get lost.
2. Hopscotch or wiffle-ball? No doubt about it- Wiffle Ball. Great game.
3. Chutes & Ladders or Candyland? No preference, but I used to play Candy Land more when I was small.
4. Chess or checkers? Chess. But I'm no good at it.
5. Parcheesi or backgammon? Never cared for either. Maybe I should have answered the April Fool questions after all...
6. Twister or Yahtzee? Twister has its charms, but I LOVE Yahtzee.
7. Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble? I like 'em both, but I like Scrabble more. Nobody will play me in Trivial Pursuit.
8. Monopoly or The Game of Life? No contest-Monopoly. I love that game.
9. Go Fish or Gin Rummy? Rummy.
10. Thought-Provoking Question of the Week: You have a young child (or just babysit one), who is about 6-7 years old, and you like to play various games with him/her. Do you: let the child win sometimes to help improve his/her self-esteem, or play normally, in order to teach the child that we can't always win in life?
I think letting the child win is not a good idea, especially in the long run. But I think you can maybe flub a move here or there, let him or her have little victories, and if they manage to win because of it, what the hey!" Just don't be as competitive as you would with an adult– the important thing is for the kid to have fun. Don't rub it in when you win. And that's Johnny B's child care tip for today.
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Today we begin with a tip of the cap to the late Mr. Ronnie Lane, bass player and singer for the Small Faces pop group, who would have been 55 today.

Lane wrote some amazing songs, not only with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood in the Faces, but on his own with his band Slim Chance and in collaboration with Pete Townshend. Stone. Tell Everyone. Ooh La La, Debris, Annie, and many more. If you've never heard any of these, start with the best of Faces, then pick up one of the Slim Chance-era compilation, then look for Rough Mix, the album he did with Townshend and on which the sublime "Annie" appears. I'm tellin ya, if that song doesn't break your heart there's no hope for you.

One of my biggest regrets in life is that I was too young to knock back a few and see the Faces in their 1971-'72 prime.

Monday, March 31, 2003

Just wanted to point you in the direction of Rich Johnston's Lying in the Gutters column, in which he reveals Alan Moore's plans to shut down the ABC line and retire from writing comics. I hate to hear this because I really wanted to see Top Ten continued, along with fave Promethea...but I can understand. I don't see how he's maintained the schedule he's been on for the last what– four years now?

"Two bytes in a chip...two birds in a nest!"

Reading the recent news about Marvel's relaunch of its Epic imprint put me in mind of one of my favorite comics series, which came out as part of that line in the 80s...Timespirits.

Timespirits was co-created by scripter Stephen Perry (no, not the Journey singer) and illustrated by Tom Yeates, fresh from his stint on Swamp Thing pre-Alan Moore. It was perhaps the best and most sympathetic treatment of Native American characters in comics ever. Difficult to sum up in a nutshell, it was an imaginative, quirky, warm and winning blend of religion, Native American legend, science fiction and high fantasy which never took itself too seriously and is sorely missed, at least by me.

At its basic level, it's about the time-traveling adventures of Cusick of the Tuscarora, an aged Native American "Time Spirit", sporting a fedora, backpack, hiking boots and Sgt. Pepper jacket who functions like an extradimensional Monty Hall– he trades strange and powerful items for souls, which he collects in a turtle shell until he can release them into the afterlife. It is in one of these transactions, in issue #1 above, that he meets teenage Doot of the Wawenoc tribe in the early days of the pre-Revolutionary War American colonies. Doot's brother, Three Birds, wishes revenge on the white man for the slaughter of his village. Cusick, hearing this wish expressed aloud, appears to him and offers him a strange creature called a Bloodless Ghebe, which will enable the Chief to rout the white man from his land forever. The Ghebe, which resembles a walking stick insect with a big eyeball in place of a head, enter's Three Birds' brain, gives him incredible strength, and enables him to fire a destructive beam from his right eye, which has been replaced by the Ghebe. It also drives him quite insane. Three Birds goes on a murder spree, uniting the tribes against the white man. In the meantime, Cusick strikes up an acquaintance with Three Birds' younger brother and recognizes him as a potential Timespirit of great power. Doot, who loved his brother and did not understand what had caused his formerly pacifistic sibling to change so, wishes to stop the rampage and kill the Ghebe, which eventually sheds Three Birds' skin like a snake. It's too late to save Three Birds' physical self, but Doot is able to save his spirit and destroy the Ghebe using his nascent abilities, and takes his brothers' soul into himself. Cusick offers to take the young brave under his wing and teach him to utilize his potential as a shaman. It's a fine adventure yarn, in a time period that isn't depicted all that often, especially in comics, with a very touching ending.

Issues 2 & 3, arguably the zenith of the entire run, has a plot which is almost too gnarly to describe succinctly. Titled "The Blacksack of King Ogam", it involves dying magicians, unrequited love, spoiled princesses, bands of Norsemen, a spiteful talking fish which came closest to being an arch-enemy of the 'Spirits, a massive octopus-like creature called the Spurtyn Duyvel which is summoned up by a rejected, hate-filled amateur prince/magician with the aid of the fish, a magic bag which is literally bottomless, Stonehenge, Noah from the Bible, and much more. It works on a number of different levels– as heroic, pulp-type fantasy, as a romance, and as a cautionary fable. If you never read any other issues of TS, get these two.

Issue four was a Christmas-themed one, with Cusick facing an uber-vamp named Varnae and eventually delivering an object called the Crystal Skull to the Christ child. It also featured fill-in art by Al Williamson, Steve Bissette (Yeates inks), John Totleben (inking Yeates), and Rick Veitch. #'s 5 and 6 was another continued story, this one mixing a dystopian future and some commentary on the state of music vs. big business with the ghost of Jimi Hendrix and in #6 taking it up a notch, mixing in some anti-US government's involvement in Nicaragua (this was 1985, you know) statements, with Yeates taking the opportunity to let his feelings be known in the matter. Mildly controversial at the time, as I recall, and both Yeates and Marvel took some shots, but these two issues were the weakest in the series because the message kinda got watered down and the whole storyline became a bit incoherent as a result. The final two issues, 7 & 8, got back to the original idea of what the 'Spirits were and what they did, with Cusick taking Doot to Tibet to meet the High Lama and to release the souls they have accumulated over the course of their recent adventuring. Problem is, the talking fish again has made a jealous and hate-filled Yeti on the mountain aware of what he needs to do to inhabit the body of the High Lama and become all-powerful. The enlightened yeti chops off his hand, which becomes a totem that facilitates the body switch and transforms the former beast into a malevolent, spirit-eating monster, laying in wait for our pair as they climb the mountain to the Lama's home. The storyline ends with surprising and somewhat tragic results, and the final page of #8 is a literal curtain call of all the characters that have appeared in the previous issues, and they all come out with one puzzling exception. It was a charming and clever way to end the series.

If Perry has done any comics series since Timespirits, I'm unaware of them. I do think he's made a name for himself as a writer of Star Wars novels; at least I think it's him because he's left it off his online resume. Yeates mostly went on to illustrate a few issues of Zorro for Topps with Don McGregor, does a lot of ERB-related work, and still does the occasional job for DC and Marvel. The Tomahawk one-shot Vertigo Visions he did in the mid-90s was especially nice, and reminded me a little of Timespirits. I did email Yeates a while ago and ask him if he had any 'Spirits pages for sale, but he said he didn't want to let any of them go...obviously this book meant a lot to him.

Somehow, from the look of what they're soliciting so far for the new Epic line, I don't think there will be room for a series as unassuming, yet intricate, as Timespirits. Too bad...I think there were a lot more stories yet to tell about Doot and Cusick.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe coveted Bacardi Show Birthday greeting goes out today to actor par excellence Christopher Walken, who turns the big six-oh today.










Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAlso, BSB best wishes go out to that rarest of things, a celebrity of sorts that I'm personally acquainted with: guitarist extraordinaire Greg Martin, most notably of the Kentucky Headhunters, a group that managed to grab the brass ring for a little while back in the early Nineties, and took some of us along on the ride.

More stuff later, hopefully, including a look back at an old forgotten Epic comics series that I've been struggling with for weeks now.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

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I did indeed get to go see Spirited Away yesterday, and I'll say this: everything that people are saying about this one is true. It's not only one of the best animated films I've ever seen, it's possibly one of the best films I've ever seen, period. A story that doesn't insult the intelligence (although I thought perhaps the parents were just a wee bit too cloddish at the beginning) and breathtaking visuals that put the recent efforts of Western animators, especially Disney (who shrewdly released this over here) to shame. I'll spare you the repetitious raving and encourage you to click on the link above to read other reviews that say it much better than I. Click on the picture (not computer animated or photographed flowers, by the way) above to go to the official site. If you get the opportunity to go see this wonderful film, then I strongly encourage you to do so, even if you have to go to a little trouble.

Picture above stolen at a new movie review site (new to me, anyway) with the amusing name of Hollywood Jesus.com. Go there and check his stuff out...don't want Hollywood Jesus pissed at me!

Saturday, March 29, 2003

I found this Blogshares.com thing over at Theresa's place. It looked fun, so I thought I'd play. Not being much of a playa in the Market, I don't have the slightest idea about how the damn site works...so my low numbers reflect that. My values so far:

Value: $37.44
Outgoing link value $5.29

Maybe I'll figure out what to do one of these days...
Good morning one and all.

Wonder of wonders, I see where Spirited Away is playing at the best theatre in Bowling Green. I absolutely have to go see it this afternoon, and of course I will write a paragraph or two about it.

Also, I've suddenly had a small streak of luck on eBay. I've won a copy or H-E-R-O #1, paid too damned much for it of course, but I wanted to make sure I had a complete run. I didn't have any interest in getting the upcoming reprint either. I also won a set of Snadman Presents: Lucifer, the miniseries which preceded the excellent ongoing series out now. I already have issues 1 and 2, but I haven't been successful finding #3 until now. I'll be getting two comics I don't need, but I'm only spending five bucks for the set so it's all good. And suddenly, my ongoing searches have turned up a copy of Mary Travers' Circles, which, you may recall, I got outbid on earlier this month. It's a little pricey at ten bucks, so I may not pursue it. Also I've found a trade collection of Kane stories by Paul Grist, the second in the series, Rabbit Hunt. I came to Grist's excellent work through Jack Staff, and am finally getting around to picking up on its police drama predecessor. I've got the first Kane collection, titled Greetings From New Eden.

Picked up a new CD last night, the latest from Linda Thompson, Fashionably Late. This is the first album in several years from Richard's ex, and features a who's who of British folk music along with Van Dyke Parks and Rufus Wainwright. I heard a cut on Live365 the other day and thought I'd give it a listen if I ever got the chance...then last night, I was in Wal-Mart and much to my amazement, nestled in along with the Nellys and the Avril Levignes was not one but two copies of this CD! I took this as an omen and bought one. I've yet to hear the whole thing, so hopefully I'll get a little blogfodder out of it soon, and perhaps take the chance to ramble a bit about some of the other Britfolk people I like.

My comments are acting a bit funny...the count is gone. The "serve 'em up" is still there, and the window still works, but I have no way to tell if someone's left a comment or how many I have right now. So please continue to comment, I'll just have to click on each button, I guess, and see if anyone's there. It's always something.

Friday, March 28, 2003

There's a preview of the next issue of Jack Staff from Image up at their website. Check it out. Still no word about Jack Staff 12 from Dancing Elephant, damn it.

Also, here's a preview of Hawaiian Dick 3.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I give you...Carhenge!

Heard about it this morning on the Bob and Sheri radio show. I have to listen to it on the way to work, because the Bowling Green ESPN affiliate airs a local sports program during my drive time. I couldn't care less about local sports. I want to hear Greenberg and Golic!

Thursday, March 27, 2003

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Couldn't let the week go by without noting the 30th anniversary of that melancholy masterpiece, Pink Floyd's 1973 effort Dark Side of the Moon, which was, according to both Rolling Stone and Susan over at Easy Bake Coven, this Tuesday past. Rolling Stone even has an online section which features links to articles about the album. You can go here for most of an excellent article reprinted from Mojo magazine.

I'll never forget the first time I heard DSotM. It was sometime late in 1973, and I was in the audio equipment department at Sears, where a salesman was demonstrating a then brand new Quadrophonic sound system to a customer. I was standing there just looking around while my Mom shopped. He put on a copy of a record with an interesting cover, solid black except for a whitish blue (or bluish white) prism in the middle which refracted a narrow, solid white beam of light into a rainbow of color that extended to the edge of the black field. I was intrigued, and listened to what appeared to be airport noise and a clock ticking in the distance. Suddenly- alarm clocks loudly went off all around me, startling me at first but when I realized what was going on I relaxed and fell in love with the song, which was named (appropriately enough) Time. And the guitar solo. Oh man. It absolutely blew me away, and still gives me chills to this day. I asked the salesman to leave it on after he had finished with the customers and so I was able to hear the side closer The Great Gig in the Sky as well. Again, this was something unlike anything I had ever heard before...a single female voice wailing soulfully over a echoey, solitary piano and intermittent band accompaniment for about 6 minutes. I was transfixed by this as well, and flat out begged my parents to get me this album before we went home!

And I listened to it a lot over the next few months, really liking other tracks such as Breathe, the elegant Us and Them, and of course the smash hit Money. I was gratified to know that I had heard that song before it started getting heavy airplay. Eventually, though, I kinda tired of the album's melancholy, languid feel and moved on to other music. And honestly, at first I wasn't all that impressed with the successor Wish You Were Here, which came out two years later (an eternity to wait, back then, for an album), so my nascent Floyd fanaticism was nipped in the bud. Later on, I came to appreciate Wish, and actually consider it their best album now. I also eventually heard Moon predecessor Meddle and liked it a lot as well. But by the time they got around to releasing the dull (in my opinion anyway) Animals and the overblown, self-pitying Wall, I really didn't care for the Floyd (by then pretty much just Roger Waters) at all. I did later discover Syd Barrett and that whole sad story, but that's another column. "Bike" is a cool tune, I will say that much...

These days, they're all old, out of ideas, irrelevant and barely worth paying attention to, except as a concert attraction where knuckleheaded stoner Floyd fans will always queue up and shell out big bucks to see the pig fly overhead and see that huge ring of lights. The feud, which has led to Waters dismissing the other three (who then carried on gamely but uninspiredly under the Floyd name) and going solo, just seems silly and childish 20 plus years later.

But Dark Side remains a remarkable acheivement and an album that I still listen to on occasion, and I think it's kinda cool that it still inspires discussion after all these years. Many of its glum observations about life and love, greed and paranoia, still ring true today.

"Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be"
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BEST OF THE WEEK


Time now for
COMICS REVIEWS!
What I bought and what I thought, week of March 26


1. CATWOMAN 17
Javier Pulido works wonders with Ed Brubaker's emotionally heavy script as the title character deals (or fails to deal, in some cases) with the aftermath of the previous issue. Simple on the surface, Pulido uses a number of different styles to illustrate a number of different scenarios, from the crime noir scenes with Slam Bradley and Selina to the open and airy dream sequences. He gets a lot of help from the colorist, too. It's rare to see an illustrator do his scripter such justice. And lucky us, there's more to come. A

2. GRRL SCOUTS: WORK SUCKS 2
In which our anti-heroines go out and get jobs in the real world (instead of dealing dope), and charm as well as entertain as they do so. Sure fire formula for success, at least with me: engaging characters plus clever, distinctive artwork=Dave likes. A

3. JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER 182
While I still prefer Marcelo Frusin's version of Johnny-boy, guest artist Lee Bermejo has some genuinely creepy moments in what's shaping up to be yet another excellent story by Mike Carey. A

4. JLA 79
Joe Kelly continues his somewhat heavy handed anti-war allegory, but it's still cleverly done and I, for one, like these new JLA members, especially Major Disaster, who's shaping up to be kinda likeable in a pugnacious kind of way. It goes without saying that the Mahnke/Nguyen art is excellent. A-

5. ZATANNA: EVERYDAY MAGIC
Joe Mays' cutesy anime style, all round heads and missing noses and wannabe Adam Warren stylings, damn near sinks this otherwise enjoyable (and long overdue) tale of everybody's favorite fishnetted sorceress. The rendition of John Constantine is especially grating, after being accustomed to the likes of Sean Phillips & Marcelo Frusin. Dini is more than welcome to write as many Zee stories as he wants, and the DC editorial braintrust is more than welcome to find him a more suitable art partner next time. B+

6. PARLIAMENT OF JUSTICE 1
Message to Mike Avon Oeming: don't quit your day job. I didn't hate this- it's actually well done, for the most part. The art by one Neil Vokes (I've heard the name but have somehow managed to avoid picking up anything with his art in it before) is a little derivative of Mignola, Kevin O'Neill and Oeming himself but is overall high quality. My biggest problems came with a story that took a long time to present us with the old bromide that "Pride goeth before a fall", quite literally, and had at its center a mystery that was challenging if one is five years old and a little slow. For $5.95, I want more. B

7. LEGION 18
Hate to rank this one so low...actually, I liked several things about this issue. Problems were Abnett & Lanning's tendency to ignore or overlook little things like internal consistency and common sense in order to make the story flow smoothly, a half-assed solution to the Princess Projectra/Sensor mess which was literally Draconian, and some sloppy, indifferent art by a guest illustrator that I hope they don't use again. Other than that, I liked it. B-

8. GLOBAL FREQUENCY 6
Like sports teams that tend to rise up to the level of their competition, Warren Ellis seems to be a writer that impresses when paired with an outstanding illustrator and not so hot when teamed with a lackluster one. Guess which one is true this time out. Artist David Lloyd is not a name I'm unfamilar with– I understand that he's done some excellent work before, mostly in British comics (I think he did V For Vendetta, a book that many people seemed to like a lot in the 80s...didn't care for it myself), so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on that account. Very little of that ability is evident here, though, and his sloppy, badly proportioned art makes an uninspired, cliched Ellis script (that left me wondering whether it might have been a leftover Authority plot idea- the lead character is very similar to Jack Hawksmoor) even more unbearable. If the rest of the limited series is going to be like this, I'm hanging up on the Global Frequency early. C+

9. DANGER GIRL: HAWAIIAN PUNCH
For those who thought Codename:Knockout was highbrow spy spoofery. Phil Noto is a fine cover illustrator that would have been a busy, busy man in the 60s doing movie posters. Problem is, he's just not very good at sequential art...everything looks sketchy, awkward and underdrawn. And he's not helped by a lame, cliched, leering, monotonous script that makes me sorry I decided to go ahead and pick this overpriced, overlong trainwreck of a comic book up in the first place. D+

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Much to my amazement, The Johnny Bacardi Show is now multi-lingual! Through my site referrer, I discovered that I've been linked to by a Spanish-language comics web site named La Carcel de Papel. Of course, I speak very little Spanish (I know "papel" is paper) but it's a cool looking site nonetheless and (especially) if you speak the language go check it out!

And muchos gracias for the link!
I wrote a while back about my Match Game obsession, and here's a nice page devoted to host Gene Rayburn. Don't be afraid, click on the link!

Found at Retrocrush, by the way...
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My comic collecting friend from waaay back, Dave Puckett (I wish I had some of his art to link to...he's really a unique illustrator), sent me this groovy pic of Yvonne Craig aka Batgirl holding the copy of Detective Comics (I forget the issue #) in which the character first appeared. Ms. Craig was a nuclear hottie, and you can click on the pic above to go to her official site.

The main reason Dave sent this to me is that the book she's holding is one of the comics involved in a book trade we made when we first met...I forget the year, but it must have been in the late 60s or early 70s. I traded him that comic for a couple of MLJ Mighty Crusaders comics, if I recall correctly. I'll leave it up to you to tell me who got the best of that deal! We didn't see each other again for several years after that (he's a bit older than me and moved away some time after our trade), until we met again in 1976 by chance, when I got a job at a local pizzeria, Carmen's. (Hi, Linda A!) After it finally dawned on us that we had met before, we started hanging out and yes, trading comics some more, and he's been as good a friend as I could ask for ever since.
Good morning, one and all.

Some good news, courtesy of Franklin's Findings. Now maybe I'll get an opportunity to see the Oscar® winner for best animated feature. Nah, wait, who am I kidding. I live in South Central Kentucky. They wouldn't get a film like that in a million years here in Bowling Green, a college town, no less. Hope they prove me wrong.

I was mostly pleased with last night's Buffy, if nothing else because of the return (for good this time, I hope) of badass Spike. This episode concentrated on Buffy, Giles, Spike, and Wood at the expense of the other cast members (Anya and Andrew only got one line each, and if Xander said anything I don't remember), but that's OK because the cast is too darn big and unweildy right now anyway. Even though I like Principal Wood, I was kinda hoping Spike would do him in, if nothing else than to decrease the cast a little. Always nice to see Drusilla again, even though the business with Spike and his Mom was straight outta Anne Rice...I'd even be willing to bet that it was copied direct, but it's been so long since I read those Vampire Chronicles books that my memory fails. If you, like me, are a fan of the Giles character then you'll be disappointed in his actions and apprehensive about how he's going to fit in now. Now we can look forward to more reruns for a while; I'm still mulling over whether or not I want to keep watching Angel. I got a little more interested after viewing the big Willow/Faith crossover.

Stayed up way past my bedtime last night and watched Conan O'Brien, who had as his guests Ringo Starr and Eddie Izzard. Mildly disappointing, though...the Ringo interview went nowhere, and Izzard wasn't given much of an opportunity to be funny. Conan even trotted out the ancient "are you a straight or gay transvestite-explain yourself" question that I thought interviewers stopped asking him 5 years ago! Ringo came back out at the end and played his latest single, an earnest tribute to George Harrison that is well meaning but unremarkable musically. I'll reserve further judgement until I hear the studio version. It kinda sounded like just about everything else he's done since 1981...competently played, mildly tuneful, but otherwise as exciting as watching paint dry.

As an example of how slowly the wheels in my head grind, I have decided to change the "comment" button below to the more genial "serve 'em up!". It was only what– November? That I asked my two or three readers at the time for suggestions about what word or phrase I could use instead of the machinelike and cold "comment". Better late than never, I suppose. I think it was Joanie, who never comes over anymore, that suggested "serve 'em", so here's credit where credit is due, no matter how tardy it is.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

From the Political Desk comes this. I don't necessarily believe, or want to believe, what the writer states although I will admit it crossed my mind in the aftermath of 9/11. I just present it for your perusal, any conclusion you may draw is up to you.
In case you're inclined to care, a new Christgau Consumer Guide is up.

Time for a little of the old This or That Tuesday Q's and A's!

1. Poetry or prose? Both are worthy of respect, but I tend to gravitate toward prose. I've not been too successful at writing either.
2. Funky modern art or the older, "classic" variety? I wasn't aware of any funky older classic art. Oh, I get it. For me it depends– I like examples of both. If I have to choose one I'll go with older "classic" variety. I'm kind of the older classic variety myself.
3. Sculptures or paintings? Paintings. I'm just not much for appreciating or creating sculpture, as anyone who suffered through my college sculpture class with me will attest.
4. Theatre: exuberant musical or serious drama? Again, it depends. I suppose I'd prefer an exhuberant musical...makes it easier to stay awake.
5. Ballet or modern dance? Not very fond of either, thank you. No offense to the dancers out there.
6. Movies: major studio or indie? I have enjoyed movies by both, so again this is a choice that's no choice at all. Both have strengths and both have liabilities. I suppose Indie, it's less compromised.
7. Authors: Shakespeare or Dr. Seuss? Nothing against Billy boy, but Ted Geisel was the MAN.
8. TV: PBS or A&E? PBS. No contest. A & E is gradually morphing into E!
9. Music: Beethoven or Beatles? Again, nothing against lovely lovely Ludwig Van, but the Beatles got my soul a long time ago.
10. Thought-provoking question of the week: You are a contributing member of your favorite art museum, and visit on a regular basis. They announce a new, temporary special exhibit by an artist surrounded by controversy...this person's work and/or political views offend you. Do you stop supporting the museum, or just stay away during the time the exhibit is there? Stay away. First, I'm very difficult to offend, and second, I realized long ago that the Earth revolves around the Sun, not me, and other people might be interested in viewing this work.
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Today's Bacardi Show Birthday greeting goes out to Reginald Kenneth Dwight, aka Sir Elton John.

These days, most of us know Sir Elton as a disgusting old troll queen with the worst hairpiece in popular music history, singing smarmy bombastic overblown ballads for soccer moms everywhere. But there was a time, children...oh yes, there was a time. There was a time when new Elton John records were cause for celebration. You knew that you would be getting well played, often clever and witty rock & roll and pop music in a variety of styles. John and his main band had an uncanny ability to do a ponderous ballad one track, a balls-out rocker the next, then a Beach Boys pastiche, then a reggae tune often on the same album (sometimes on the same side, even). For a period of about seven years, 1970-1977, Elton John's music meant the world to this young music loving Kentucky boy. Then something happened. John stopped working with his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin and began a long, slow slide into slickness and irrelevance, punctuated with personal excess and the resulting personal problems, only peeking out from the mire on rare occasions, like 1984's surprisingly good Breaking Hearts album. Mostly though, the last 25 years have been a waste for anyone looking for the outstanding work of his "classic" period. John has been too busy being a professional celebrity and schmoozer to concentrate on his music. Like with his "mate" Rod Stewart, another performer who seemed to completely lose the plot all together after 1976, I gave up on Elton a long time ago.

But in all fairness, I understand that his 2001 effort Songs From The West Coast is a surprising and heartening return to form, and based on the two songs I've heard (I Need Love, This Train Don't Stop Here Anymore), I can't dispute that. For once, Sir Elton was saying all the right things, apparently energized by listening to Ryan Adams among others...now there's an odd couple for ya! Guess I'll reserve total judgement until I actually own a copy of the album. And also in the interest of fairness John has done a lot of charity work, using his hard-won schmoozablitly for good causes like the battle against AIDS.

So happy birthday to ya anyways, Sir Elton. I owe you one for Empty Sky, Elton John, Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across The Water, Honky Chateau, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Caribou, Rock of the Westies, and Blue Moves.