Wednesday, April 30, 2003

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Since I am of the opinion that pictures of pretty girls make a blog at least more pleasant to look at, if not necessarily more interesting to read, I'll take this opportunity to send out BSBdG's to Kirsten Dunst, who was very good in The Cat's Meow and of course Spider-Man.
Did Bush mislead us? Was the American public duped into supporting a war that killed 128 Americans, 31 Britons and thousands of Iraqis, damaged U.S. prestige around the world and may have worsened, rather than improved, U.S. security?

From the Political Correspondent (now cleverly sending me emails from an address named "bacardipoliticaldesk") comes an article which poses these questions and many more. The answers, I suppose, are up to you. I suggest you state them at the polls next year.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

It has been said that governments will only continue to make new laws, partly as a way to stay with the times, and partly as a way to stay in power. The true problems begin when the greedy bureaucracy that makes new laws for the sake of staying in power starts to encroach on individual rights.

I think we know where this is here for the rest of this article sent to me by the Political Desk.
Time once again to check out the Diamond Shipping List, where I see I'll have the following waiting for me:

JLA #80

I'm also contemplating picking up SUPERMAN: RED SON 1 because it's illustrated by 100 Bullets and Detective cover artist Dave Johnson and Andrew Robinson, a fine cover artist in his own right. Judging by the previews, their interiors look really nice. Also, it's written by Ultimates/Authority scribe Mark Millar, whose work I usually enjoy. And there's also KILLER PRINCESSES 3, which is something like nine months overdue, and actually I had decided to drop but it's only a 3 issue series despite the fact that I found the story cutesy and muddled and the art somewhat lacking as well I'm thinking I'll get it just to complete the set and so I'll know how it turned out.

Out of the books I'm signed up for, I suppose the Catwoman, better than ever with Javier Pulido's art and the Legion, also with a new art team and embarking on a big epic storyline, are the ones I'm looking forward to the most. I'm sure Grrl Scouts will be enjoyable, as the previous two issues have been, and Hellblazer will be its usual high quality...but the new JLA sports yet another fill-in art job, this time by the fellow who drew the ill-fated Suicide Squad revival and didn't impress me much.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

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Made another impulse purchase tonight: the new CD's by two of my favorite artists slash bands, Maria McKee and the Jayhawks.

Maria's is her first since the brilliant and nervy Life is Sweet, one of the best albums of the 90's in my humble opinion, seven years ago. The 'Hawks' new one is the follow-up to 2000's Smile, an agreeable but too-slick effort which was nowhere near as ballsy or as memorable as their 1997 masterpiece Sound of Lies. Anyhoo, I haven't had a chance to listen to them yet but I am hopeful of commenting on them soon, and I sincerely hope that Maria McKee tours on this CD and plays Louisville or Nashville.

And yes, I Photoshopped the picture, in case you were wondering.
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Dear God, the Falcons have got new uniforms. I knew this was gonna happen eventually (they have had the same logo since their inception in 1966), but I'm still a bit surprised that they went ahead and did it...

Do I like them? Well, yes and no. They're not the trainwreck that a lot of the newer NFL unis have been, but they're still loaded with the blocks of color on the sleeves, and stripes going in every which direction, and crescent-shaped (or is that a Nike swoosh?) swatches of color under the arms and sleeves that get on my nerves but make marketing people salivate. On these, though, they're not too obvious, understated even, and that's OK. There are simply too many uniforms these days being designed by design firms, staffed by artsy types that have no clue, nor want to have a clue about sports traditions and uniforms, and we wind up with kaliedoscopic monstrosities with annoying cartoon mascots instead of logos. And I say this as a designer myself.

Still, at least they retained the old colors, even though I wish they'd gone back to the red helmets of 1967-1989, and the new logo is at least similar enough to the old one that it doesn't bug me. It could have been worse.
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I've written before about how Creem magazine was, as I put it, my "teenage bible". Other influences on me during my formative years were magazines devoted to horror, science fiction and fantasy films...magazines such as the legendary Famous Monsters of Filmland, Castle of Frankenstein, and the publication represented above-The Monster Times. the central conceit behind TMT was that it was supposed to be a newspaper of information and review about films of those genres, so it was published on newpaper stock in a tabloid format. As a result, mint condition copies of TMT are very rare and most are yellowed and somewhat beat up. Mine are a bit yellowed but are in pretty good shape, and I have a run of all but two or three. While it may have been printed on less than first-rate material, the writing within was all that and then some...humorous, insightful, intelligent. And most issues sported art by many of the up-and-coming artists of the early 70s like Kaluta, Wrightson, Jeff Jones, and others. One highlight of the entire run was the all-worst issue, issue 30, which spotlighted terrible comics and films to date and was very entertaining, helping foster my love of low budget crappy films which persists to this day. Anyway, if you're curious about the Monster Times and monster magzines of the 50s-60s and 70s, here are links to sites which feature cover galleries of just about every monster mag that counts. To go straight to the Monster Times gallery, click on the cover above, the first issue of TMT I ever bought, #24. I ordered most of the ones I didn't have not long after...
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BSBdG's to the lovely Joan Chen, star of The Last Emperor and Twin Peaks, among many other fine films/TV series, and co-starring with Christopher Walken and Anne Heche in the recommended nutball "erotic thriller" Wild Side.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Taking a cue from Theresa at the aforementioned Dandelion WIne, I have now created a top 20 movie list and a 20 worst movie list at a site called I had to leave dozens of films I like very much off the "best" list since I was limited to 20, but it's still a pretty accurate list, at least where I'm at right now. Check back in a year or two and I'm sure it will look very different.

Go make your own list and let me know so's I can see it!
Friday Five time.

1. What was the last TV show you watched? Futurama, last night on the Cartoon Network.

2. What was the last thing you complained about? Can't think of anything. I've been pretty much a doormat lately. I did a lot of complaining to people who couldn't help when I got laid off, I guess...

3. Who was the last person you complimented and what did you say? My daughter...I told her that the shorts she was wearing looked good on her. Of course, she changed into something else not long after.

4. What was the last thing you threw away? The envelope of a bill I received in the mail today.

5. What was the last website (besides this one) that you visited? Theresa's Dandelion Wine.
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What I bought and what I thought, week of April 23!

Month in and month out, this has become a consistent #1 book on the strength of Brian Bendis' sharp, insightful scripting, always consistent in tone and always able to find room for little human touches like Matt & Foggy's humorous exchange on pages 17-19. Alex Maleev, fast becoming one of the best in the biz in my opinion, is able to amplify and highlight every nuance and little touches like the Kingpin's expression on page 6 add volumes to Bendis' words. I'm not sure what's been done with Typhoid Mary since her first 80s appearance and the 4 issue mini series from the 90s, so I'm a little uncertain what she brings to the table...the last page threw me for a minute. I'll tell you this, though, I'm looking forward to finding out. A

I wanted to list this #1, really I did, but Daredevil was so damn good again that I just couldn't. Not to take away from this, the delayed but worth the wait finale to the first of what I hope are many more published adventures of 50's Hawaiian private eye Byrd and his friends (and enemies). The resolution was a bit out of left field, but worked within the context of the story so that's fine. I hope we see more of creepy, but flamboyant druglord Bishop Masaki. Gotta give kudos to the excellent art of Steven Griffen, often very expressionistic in places and highly reminiscent, at least to me and especially on the first page, of some of the old Warren/EC artists like Angelo Torres, Johnny Craig and (again, on the first page) Jerry Grandenetti. A

High quality throughout, with humorous stories by Joe Casey, British comics stalwart Steve Parkhouse and previously unknown to me Eric Powell standing out. I would have liked the "Haunted Doily" story a lot more if it had had a more satisfying payoff. So far, so good! A-

All the usual ingedients– Carey script, art by Ormston, Kelly and Gross (with Ormston being prevalent, all the better as far as I'm concerned), high adventure, mythology, theology, and fantasy– are intact but do not explain why this issue is a bit of a letdown. It's been noted by other reviewers that this has the feel of a "in between significant events" story, and I agree. So while this may mean that it will read better as part of a collection, I can't be bothered with that since I still deal with these things issue by issue, and the only conclusion I can come to is that while this may be a weak issue, this book by these creators at less than their best is still superior to over three quarters of what else is out there. It'll be just fine, wait and see. A-

More urban paranoia from Warren Ellis this time around, with a somewhat less-than-fresh story being redeemed by strong characters and a welcome infusion of humor, which leavened the grisly turn it took. Fine art job by Blighty's answer to Bill Sienkiewicz, Simon Bisley, who really brings that humor out in his exaggerated, scratchy style. He especially shines in the last few pages, featuring the Mexican standoff between Chinese intelligence operative Lau Jia and the terrorist, which becomes more abstract and more intense as the events progress. Heck of a step up from the last issue, for sure. B+

I'll give Alan Moore credit: I began this not knowing, or wanting to know, who the heck Tom Stone was and getting very bored and impatient, not to mention annoyed because let's face it– I buy this book because I like the Tom STRONG character, and am a little weary of the endless variations on the central cast of this book that Moore seems to delight in constantly re-imagining in the process...but before it was over, I slowly became drawn in and fascinated at yet another alternate universe-type story, so I guess I can give this one a pass. The prissy art of Jerry Ordway helped enhance the epic feel of this opening chapter...but he's an artist whose work just doesn't excite me. He's obviously very good, a true craftsman, but most of the time I need more than just craft and chops. B+

It's always great to see new Peter Bagge work, but there's just a second-hand, stale feel to this, and while there's a funny line here and there it just didn't really work for me. It was fun, however, to see the excellent-in-his-own-way Stephen DeStefano ape Bagge's style in the second story. So while I'm less than impressed, I'll give it time to get better. B-
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Happy Bacardi Show Birthday Greetings to (sigh) Renee Zellweger. She had me at hello.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

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Snicker snicker...
Oh yeah, one other thing before I go wash the dishes: the redoubtable Mike Cary, the surviving Stupid Llama himself, sent me a link today to a funny Observer article called 300 Reasons Why We Love the Simpsons. Go forth and viddy it, O my brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

You're probably aware by now of my admiration for the writing of the Dean himself, Robert Christgau. However, I was totally unaware that he had a website till yesterday, and here it is. Lots of interesting reviews and columns are to be found.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

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A little culture for you today. This is a lithograph by one Neli Ouzounova, a young Bulgarian artist with whom I attended a class or two a couple of years ago at Western Ky. She's an outstanding painter whose work is, unfortunately, nowhere to be found on the web or I would have linked everybody's asses to her so fast it would have made your computers spin. This is actually a litho print that she rejected, the final product was vastly different to this but I liked this one so much that I asked her for it. By far the best thing that I got out of that !@#$#@! lithography class...she also has painted many colorful, beautiful icons (you know, the religious artifact type things, not computer ones) that I wish I could show you, but can't, alas.

Haven't seen her since I graduated college, but the Bacardi Show Political Correspondent gets an occasional email from her, so Chris, you can tell her she's on the Web now!

Monday, April 21, 2003

Looking at the Diamond Shipping List, posted today, looks like I'll have

HAWAIIAN DICK #3 (woo hoo!)

waiting for me. I might also pick up MUCHA LUCHA #1; it's just a three-issue series and the preview didn't look too bad. It's all buena.
Peter Bagge's got a brand new bag, I mean comic coming out this week from DC, called Sweatshop. There's a good interview with the Hate-ful one over at Pulse; go here to read it. It looks like it will be fun, but I'm also reminded a lot of Neat Stuff's Studs Kirby. Aaah, who's old enough to remember that anyway. I will say this- if, twenty years ago, you had told me that Pete would be doing his thing in the thrall of the House of Superman, I would have had you fitted for one of those nice white jackets with sleeves that buckle in the back.

Also, in case you don't check out Franklin's Findings, and I can't believe you don't, here's Bagge's latest strip at
Having made it through the first four chapters of the Beatles Anthology DVD set, I have come to understand at least two things: Ringo Starr, especially in the early days, was one fierce motherfucker on drums...there are several 1963-64 clips where he's hunched over, playing like his life depended on it, and conceding absolutely nothing to Keith Moon in the intensity department. Also, it's no wonder that things fell apart for them like it the beginning they had clear-cut goals- to get on this show or play that club or gig; England, then America, then the world. After they had acheived everything there was to acheive for aspiring rock 'n' rollers, toppermost of the poppermost and all that, what else was there to do but get bored and want to go their own way? I used to speculate that if the Beatles had come along and had had the same kind of success in today's music environment (a dodgy proposition, I know), they might not have split because bands take so long between releases these days, and the Fabs would have been no exception. Perhaps if they had not maintained the yearly album grind even after they stopped touring, things that excacerbated the differences between them might have been smoothed over and worked out and the Beatles as an entity could have continued, like the Stones and others. Who the hell knows. But now I doubt it because they had nothing to prove except longevity, and they wanted none of that.

It's quite touching to see the survivors reunion feature on disc 5; they all seem to be getting along very well and the calm, beatific George in particular shines, making it even more poignant. Can't help but wish that John could have been represented better; oh, there are plenty of sound and video clips from previous interviews, but one wishes to hear his voice reflecting on the events with the perspective of 20 years' hindsight, like the other three. It just creates an odd disconnect of sorts to hear John opine in, say, 1971 when the other three's comments are more recent. Oh well, thanks to the evil bastard who shall go unnamed that's impossible, but it's just something that kinda jumped out at me.

Maybe I'll have more brainstorms when I watch the other three discs in their entirety...
Good ol' Robert Christgau takes a number of shots at a number of turkeys (or in this case, bunnies) in his new Consumer Guide, posted today, such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sir Paul McCartney, Weezer, Tom Petty, one or two singing hats and country divas, Foo Fighters, and assorted rappers. And if anybody understands the Sigur Ros review drop me a line...
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Better late than never, here's
What I bought and what I thought, week of April 16

1. H-E-R-O 3
It's true, this does have a bit of a two-issues-stretched-to-four feel, but overlooking that I am fascinated by the characters Will Pfiefer has presented to us in this initial story arc...and while I have a feeling that I know how it's going to turn out, I'm willing to let him tell his story at his own pace. Especially since I found this issue more gripping than the other two so far. Maybe it's because that Molly is so darn cute, I don't know. Maybe it's because that Kano fellow has one of the most interesting art styles to come down the pike lately, and he brings these events to life. Whatever- I for one am hooked. A

2. POWERS 30
Unlike H-E-R-O, I kinda wished that this story arc had been extended a bit longer...the resolution seemed rushed and a bit pat. Even so, it was still powerful and even a bit moving when you look past the superhero aspects and focus on what is always the heart and soul of this book- the relationship between Pilgrim and Walker. Oeming's art is outstanding, but that's stating the obvious. A

I don't know why I'm enjoying this, the umpteenth attempt to do X-Files (or maybe 100 Bullets) with superheroes, as much as I am, except perhaps that Brubaker's typically low-key style grounds the story and keeps it believeable. And Sean Phillips' typically excellent art reinforces that impression. Heck, the coloring was even a little better this time out...A

4. JSA 47
Well, if you've got to have hypermuscled people in skintight suits beating the shit out of each other for 20-odd pages, then I suppose this is the way to do it. I'll give Johns and Goyer credit for doing their homework when it comes to Eclipso...they understand that there is no redeeming quality whatsoever to him, just as he was in his own book of a few years ago, of which I was a fan. I am a bit surprised that he respects Obsidian and Mordru enough to team up with them, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he tried to turn the tables on his erstwhile partners before all is said and done. As one of the two or three people who enjoyed the mid 90s Fate book (Kaminski/Abnett/Lanning, not the heinous Giffen/Wagner Book of version), there was a nice surprise for me at the end as well. Heck, even the Power Girl/Mordru throwdown was pretty good. And I've said many nasty things about the Kirk/Champagne art, but I will say that they've improved a lot, grown into the characters and lost the stiffness, and have acheived competence. I'm still dropping the book when this is all over, but more issues like this and I won't feel so bad for finishing up the arc. B+

The Creeper, at least the DCU Creeper as created by Steve Ditko, perfected by Bob Haney and Neal Adams, and complicated by Keith Giffen, is a character that everyone seems to like but nobody seems to know what to do with. The most recent version by Len Kaminski and Shawn Martinbrough was probably the best attempt yet, but nobody bought the book but a number of hard core Creeperheads like me, and it died a quick death about the same time many other great DC books did, like Chase, Chronos, and Major Bummer. The Vertigo folks seem to have come up with the ideal solution: Ignore all the convoluted Jack Ryder Creeper junk and re-invent the character in 1920's Paris as a female, one of two sisters who are, in typical cliched fashion, total opposites personality wise. Kinda like the Patty Duke Show, I suppose. And that's my problem with this admittedly getting-acquainted story: way too much expository dialogue and cliche after cliche, odd for a story that's supposed to be putting such a radical twist on the concept. The art by current critics' darling Cliff Chiang is competent but unremarkable, lacking any real pizazz. And maybe it's because I've seen Moulin Rouge! several times, but every time he draws the Paris skyline I expect to see that singing man in the moon floating there! Zut alors-I give eet a B- and hope for better in subsequent issues.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

OK, I know I said I'd get back to blogging this weekend...problem is, now I'm having computer problems at home. Got a new printer yesterday, and when I installed the software it excacerbated some other long-simmering'm doing a clean install and it's going to take a while for me to be able to sit down and finish. Sigh. If it's not one thing its the other.

While I was out spending spending money that I'll probably wish I still had say come August, I also bought the new Beatles Anthology DVD set. I figure I'll have time to watch it in the next few days...! Of course I'll write about it, plus I've got some comic reviews coming so do not give up on me just yet!

Friday, April 18, 2003

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Bacardi Show Birthday greetings go out to my son, Britt, who turns 21 today. Lock up your daughters!

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Good morning. Thanks for coming by. I apologize for the lack of content lately, but I'm just not up to writing much right now. I think I'll take another day or two off and try to resume this weekend.

Again, thanks to everyone who's left comments on the last couple of days.

I'll say one thing for losing your job, it makes your sitemeter counts go up! On Tuesday I received almost 70 "visits", just about double of what I usually get. However, all things being equal, I don't recommend this method of increasing your traffic.

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?


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, 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 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 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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Time now for
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.


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.

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

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-

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., 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 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 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:


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 " 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 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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Time now for
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

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

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

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+

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?


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 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 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
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.