Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Oh, and while I'm at it:

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Best of 2002.

I suppose, now that 2003 is almost here, that it is incumbent upon me to try to cobble together some sort of list of the best of 2002. I'm at a little disadvantage, I suppose, becaue there's not a lot of disposable income here at the Bacardi household, and seemingly most of that goes for comics...which means my movie viewing and music purchasing has been somewhat slack this year. Now please bear in mind that this is the best of 2002 that managed to come into my orbit. I'm sure there were many, many superior films and albums that came out this year, but if I didn't see em or hear 'em, then I didn't list 'em. Here goes nothing:


Here's a short list of films I saw (rental or theatre) with a release date of 2002: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Spider-Man, Lilo and Stitch, Mr. Deeds, Scooby-Doo, Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones, Resident Evil, Ice Age, and Brotherhood of the Wolf. Boy do I feel like a geek. Usually I watch more substantial fare, I swear. Anyway, since this list is only 9 movies long, I'll just rank the top 5, and they are:

1. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers- A marvelous acheivement, if you ask me. Epic in scale, but also full of heart. The Return of the King should be a doozy.

2. Spider-Man- Although I could nitpick, this was the best adaptation of a super-hero comic book to the big screen, so far. Sam Raimi is one of my favorite directors, and he did not disappoint.

3. Brotherhood of the Wolf- Imaginative and somewhat over-the-top, but also a wee bit disappointing. Maybe I had too-high expectations. I'd still recommend it highly to anyone who is looking for something different.

4. Lilo and Stitch- Beautifully drawn and animated, and fun in spite of itself.

5. Resident Evil- This one surprised me. While not a landmark in cinema by any stretch, it was a diverting couple of hours, and it had Milla Jovovich, who's always diverting to me in many ways.


1. Wilco-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Wonderfully eclectic, often sounding like someone locked Hank Sr., Brian Wilson, Neil Young and Harry Nilsson in a room and forced them to collaborate. While not as tuneful as its predecessor Summerteeth, it was still one of the strongest releases of 2002.

2. Coldplay-A Rush of Blood to the Head Most reviewers compare them to U2 and Radiohead, and I suppose that's valid, but to me they sound more like Supertramp produced by Brian Eno. Which means that these stately songs are extremely strong melodically, and sonically experimental. These guys are contendahs.

3.Norah Jones-Come Away With Me Relaxed, lovely, sexy jazz-ish lounge music, in the best sense of the term. She's another artist to pay attention to.

4. Los Lobos-Good Morning Aztlan I was a bit surprised to not find this on any year-end best-of lists. It's a solid, rockish, bluesy effort with strong songwriting and playing and enough sonic experimentation to keep it all interesting. Gambling Gringo, you should get this.

5. Warren Zevon-My Ride's Here While this didn't grab me as hard as his previous album, Life'll Kill Ya, did, it's still a solid effort with a lot of great tunes.


I've never been one to watch a lot of network series TV. Usually when I latch on to a series, it either gets cancelled before the year's over (Action, Strange Luck, and several others) or it airs on cable, like the superlative Larry Sanders Show. So with that in mind, here's the short list of TV shows I liked in 2002, and don't be surprised that a coupe of them are cartoons...

1. Firefly If you've been reading me at all, this should be no surprise, since I haven't shut up about it since I started blogging. Great ensemble cast, imaginative premise and stories, and dismal ratings. Sounds right up my alley. Hopefully we'll see it again someday, somewhere.

2. Kim Possible While most of the programming on the Disney Channel is strictly for pre-teens, this is a clever, fun cartoon about a young lady who's also a world-saving super agent. Great character design and very well animated.

3. Adult Swim The troika of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021 and the Brak Show is some of the most hilarious, surreal, insane stuff I've ever seen. I especially love the Aqua Teens. My god, what kind of drugs do these guys do to come up with this stuff. Home Movies is also often very funny. Except for the Eltingville one-shot, I haven't been too impressed with the other Sunday night programs they've aired. I've never been much of an Anime fan, so I don't watch Saturday nights very much...but I will catch the occasional Cowboy Bebop.

4. John Doe This amalgam of the Prisoner, the Fugitive and the X-Files is often diverting and clever. Deserves a bigger audience than it's getting.

5. Mucha Lucha! I'm not a Mexican wrestling fan by any means, but this silly Saturday morning cartoon about a school for Luchadores-masked wrestlers to us gringos-is often very funny and has a colorful cast of characters.


These are the titles I've enjoyed the most this past year:

1. Jack Staff I've written at length about this great book previously, so I'll spare you. Great art, writing, and soon to be getting more widespread distribution in '03 courtesy of Image.

2. 100% The latest from Paul Pope has gripped me like no other comic has in many years. Cinematic in scope, Pope sets up a diverse and interesting cast of characters, pairs them off, and lets us experience the ups and downs of each. Maybe the best romance comic since the 1950s, and certainly one of the best things ever to come out under the DC imprint.

3. Elektra: Glimpse and Echo I was a bit let down by the resolution, but otherwise this was imaginatively illustrated by Scott Morse in what almost seemed to be a Cubist style. I'm lookng forward to his next project.

4. Lucifer Always one of the best reads in the week it comes out, this Sandman spinoff is the only one of its kind that has come close to surpassing its source. Mike Carey has become one of my favorite writers.

5. Hellboy: The Third Wish Another great Hellboy adventure, clever and even poetic at the end. Mike Mignola can do no wrong.

Well, there it is, for what it's worth! Let me know what you think.
All season long, I've enjoyed reading Tuesday Morning Quarterback by Gregg Easterbrook on ESPN.com. In the spirit of better late than never, I now give you linkage. TMQ is the kind of sports column I wish I could write. The curious are encouraged to click on the TMQ archives and read previous columns.
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A happy Bacardi Show birthday to Mr. Paul Westerberg, formerly of the Impediments. From one Grandpaboy to another.

As soon as I can get a chance, I'll spout off about his latest album, Stereo/Mono.

Monday, December 30, 2002

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I love this picture. Face Front, True Believer!

Rich Johnston chimes in over at CBR with his year-end Lying in the Gutters column. Always a fun read and there's lots of interesting innuendo therein...and a few nuggets of truth scattered liberally throughout. I stole the picture of Uncle Stan from there, as you will see. I hadn't figured out how to post pictures on this page when this shot made the rounds originally. Better late than never.
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Woohoo! Looking at the Diamond Shipping List, I see where there's a new Jack Staff coming out Thursday! Still no 100%, though, so there is a down side.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

The Atlanta Falcons lost the battle but won the war today, losing to the Cleveland Browns 26-14 but still qualifying for the playoffs since the New Orleans Saints lost as well.

I have been known to be wrong before, but I don't like their chances against the always tough Green Bay Packers in the opening round of the playoffs, especially considering their inconsistent offense with its coaches' boneheaded play-calling, and their softer than ice cream defense. Backing into the playoffs was the worst way for them to go in, too. It is worth mentioning that in week one, before anybody dreamed what this Falcons team would acheive, that the Pack only beat them by the slimmest of margins, at home, and if not for a questionable call would have been beaten. At this point I send a shout out to Michele.

Still, it's been a pretty good season overall. I never thought they'd make it this far. I thought they'd be 7-9, at best 8-8 when the season started. Maybe they'll prove me wrong and go deep into the playoffs. I sure hope so! I'm not betting the house, though.
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I first read the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was 15. Read it again a few years later. Never read the Hobbit, though...just felt like it wasn't necessary, and besides it was recapped often in the books of the Trilogy. Like everybody else, I had my own ideas in my head about what Aragorn aka Strider, Gandalf, and company should look like. I always thought that it would be next to impossible to film the entire trilogy intact, if nothing else than due to the sheer enormity of it all. Thought it a Quixotic task at best.

Then along came Peter Jackson, and aided by today's special effects magicians he has proven himself to be the one man with enough of a poetic vision coexisting side-by-side with pragmatic realism to pull it off and pull it off with panache. The first movie was amazing, and I think that the sequel, The Two Towers, is even better. Whereas the first film (like the book) bogged down a bit with its endless journeys here and there (although I really didn't mind all that much), this film pretty much stays in three or four central locales and lets its stories unfold. The rendition of the Gollum character using a blend of actor and computer effects was nothing short of amazing. Of course, I could nitpick- and most of my complaints would be with the tinkering around Jackson and his scriptwriters did to beef up the love triangle and (out of necessity) condense some events and it is true that the film as a whole has no real beginning or end- but given the sheer overall excellence in acting, direction, and effects, and successful realization of most people's vision of the books, my quibbling is pointless. Can't wait till December 2003 and the Return of the King.

Another thought I had while watching the film was that the Happiest Man Alive right now is probably Brad Dourif, who was impressive as Grima Wormtongue in Towers. It looked like he would be relegated to B movies and straight to cable/video schlock for the rest of his career. But here he is, in one of the biggest films of recent memory, and he gave a great performance. I'd think his career might be looking up!

Also took a few minutes last night and watched Ice Age, which was a pleasant enough time-filler. Occasionally amusing, but nothing that really blew me away and I found myself getting restless before it was over.

There are several movies out right now I'd love to see. It's been quite some time since I've said that! Gangs of New York, Catch Me If You Can and Chicago are looking mighty interesting...
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Well, at an obscenely early hour this morning, they tore down Cinergy Field.

My first Major League baseball game was in the newly opened Riverfront Stadium, which is what it was called in the beginning. I went with my dad, my best friend at the time Kevin, Kevin's dad Buddy (who is a subject worthy of a whole column) and his little brother Chris. The Reds were playing the Philadelphia Phillies, and it was ball day. There was another thing to look forward to- we were going to meet Cave City, KY (a town just five miles away from Horse Cave) native and Caverna High School (my alma mater, you may remember) product Dennis Doyle, who was a rookie second baseman for the Phils at the time and knew my friend's Dad, who was a Little League coach for many years. You may remember that he went on to play in a World Series, against the Reds, in 1975 and his younger brother Brian starred for the Yankees in the Series in 1978. Anyway, we met him, got to talk to several players and got a couple of autographs...including one of a reserve outfielder named Ron Stone. Reds pitcher Tony Cloninger hit a grand slam in that game, and the Reds won. I'll always remember many things about my first Major League ballgame, none more than Phillies outfielder Oscar Gamble's immense 'Fro.

We went back the next year, to a dismally wet and cold game in May in which they took on the San Fransisco Giants. Got to see Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Bobby Bonds (Barry's dad, of course), in addition to the great Reds stars like Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, and others. The Giants won in extra innings on a McCovey homer.

We tried every year for several years to go see at least one game, making a 300 mile, 3 1/2 hour drive. In 1975, My friend Dwayne Gardner and I went up with Dwayne's brother to see the Reds play the Cubs. We were watching batting practice, and I was looking in another direction when someone shouted "heads up!"...I looked up to see a ball coming right at me! I stuck up my hand in self defense more than anything, and it deflected off my hand, landing in the aisle behind my friend, who scooped it up. We looked to see who the player was. It was none other than Ron Stone, then with the Cubbies! I've looked up Stone's career on the internet, though, and all the sources say that he ended it in 1972 with the Phillies. I don't believe it for a minute, though. I'm absolutely certain it was him! Maybe he never batted for them. This will make me insane if I think about it much more.

I've got these and many, many more memories of seeing both baseball and football games in Riverfront (I will never intentionally refer to it as Cinergy Field) Stadium, including the last game I ever got to see with my father, who died in 1990...we brought my then 6 year old son to a 1988 game with (here's a coincidence) the Phillies, the only time the three of us ever went to see a ballgame together. There were many drunken games when my friends and I turned 21 (No, we didn't drive home. We took a shuttle to our hotel), some intensely hot Summertime games in which we couldn't sit in our seats because the sun was so bad (and we were so hung over!)...and I also remember well a 1988 Prince concert at adjacent Riverfront Colisseum, when I got there too early and occupied myself wandering around outside the stadium, reminiscing about games and such.

Yeah, I know it was another of those cookie cutter, donut-like, flying-saucer shaped, Astroturf field multi-purpose mostrosities that were built back in the Seventies. But even though it wasn't as aesthetically pleasing as Wrigley or Fenway it was where I got to see baseball. I've been to several other stadiums, in the course of my life since, but Riverfront will always occupy a special place in my heart. There may have been better looking ladies out there, but I had the most fun with her. So here's to you, Riverfront Stadium nee Cinergy Field. At least one person will miss ya.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

I've been out spending the cash I mentioned that I got for Christmas. Instead of buying practical things (and because the DVD of A Hard Day's Night was sold out) I just went on a CD buying frenzy the likes of which I haven't done in ages. And while I'm a little ashamed that I didn't buy anything I needed, like clothes, I still had fun so I regret nothing.

The haul:
Los Lobos-Good Morning Aztlan
Paul Westerberg-Stereo/Mono
Former Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson's New Earth Mud
Steve Earle-Jerusalem
John Lennon-Mind Games (remastered)
Coldplay-Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head

Of course, you know I will write a little about each of them in due time.

The University of Kentucky lost the big in-state rivalry basketball game today with the University of Louisville, giving the U of L a measure of revenge for the football loss a few months ago. Obviously, the Cats will only go as far as their shooting will allow...when they shoot for shit like they did today, they will lose. I've always suspected that this game is more important to the Cards than it is for the 'Cats, since Uof L fans seem to carry this perpetual fifty pound chip on their shoulders all the time when it comes to UK. Now I have no hard facts to back me up, but I'd bet the house if you went around the state and polled UL fans, at least half would say they were Card fans because they hate UK. Kinda sad, because the feeling I also have is that most UK fans still root for Louisville, at least when they don't play UK. I know that's the case for me. Oh well, like I keep saying, let's see what happens in March.

Staying in a sports mode, my beloved Falcons take on the Cleveland Browns tomorrow in the last game of the regular season, and it's very important because a win guarantees the Birds of a playoff spot. If they lose, they need a loss by the Saints. Anywho, I'm sure Dan Reeves would prefer they win it outright rather than rely on help. The Browns are a tough team, with just enough offense and defense to be problematic plus they're playing at home. I think the Falcons can win but they need to get ahead early and run up a large margin because Cleveland has been one of those freaky teams which has had a number of last-minute heroics and overtime games.

In about 30 minutes, I'm going to go see the Two Towers. Of course I'll do my obligatory review later, just like everybody else seems to have...

Also went back to my comics shop and bought the new Comic Book Artist magazine, to give me something to read while I'm babysitting evangelists tomorrow morning. It's got two awesome interviews with Hellboy's Mike Mignola and Jill Thompson of Sandman and Scary Godmother fame, and I'm looking forward to reading them in-depth. I've provided links at right to both of their sites, in case you're not familiar with either and would like to see of what I speaketh.

Friday, December 27, 2002

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I know, I know. Christmas is over. But I found this really cool picture of Marta Kristen, Lost In Space's Judy Robinson, over at Retrocrush, and I thought I'd share.
Comics Reviews

week of 12/26/02

Christmas came twice, with my second straight week of 10+ comics. I can't keep buying like this. Something's got to give, besides me, that is. BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

1. LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN v2 4 Alan Moore's synergy with Kevin O'Neill is beautiful to behold, even when the events they depict aren't so beautiful– like the floating bodies in the Thames or Mina and Quartermain's semi-watchable love scene. Lots of screen time for Captain Nemo, still my favorite League member. A

2. PROMETHEA 24 Despite seeming like only a prelude for next issue's big trial, this was still an involving read, if nothing else than because one feels bad seeing old friends (to each other, and us as well) Sophie and Stacia fighting like that. The symmetry of the tale of the ancient Prometheas and its contrast with our dueling Proms was also well done, owing in no small part to Williams and Gray, artists extraordinaire. A

3. JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER 179 Arcane machinations as only Mike Carey can do. Red Sepulchre is coming nicely to a head. I'm also loving Marcelo Frusin's art, even though it gets a little sloppy (compared to past efforts) in places this time out. A-

4. SPIDER-MAN'S TANGLED WEB 21 Only the inexplicable decison by a couple of my favorite artists, Jason Bone and Darwyn Cooke, to draw Spidey with a head as big as a weather balloon kept this from an A and a top three ranking. Otherwise, a very enjoyable holiday romp straight outta 1964, with beaucoups cameos. Cooke & Bone's Medusa almost made up for their weird Spidey. Rrrow! A-

5.LEGION 15 Not a lot happening storywise, but we get lots and lots of excellent character interaction, always the backbone of any incarnation of the Legion, and the return of the Fatal Five. Nice art by Kev Walker and a couple of inkers, including Andy Lanning. Wouldn't bother me to see him take over full time art duties, but I'll bet there are a lot of Legion fans who wouldn't agree. There are always Legion fans that don't agree. A-

6.GLOBAL FREQUENCY 4 Typically terse, dialogue-driven Warren Ellis story, built on a great idea that in its execution reminded me of John Carpenter in his heyday or some such. Steve Dillon's art is as it always is– solid. Not flashy or particularly remarkable, but solid just the same. A-

7.GOTHAM CENTRAL 2 No fireworks here, but still engrossing and readable. I love Michael Lark's art, but it looks like it's been inked with a mop. I don't really understand the cop's antipathy towards Batman at the end. A-

8.CATWOMAN 14 Like Gotham Central, this is solid if unexceptional and well drawn. Hm. I see Ed Brubaker's name in the byline of both. It's an indication of how strong, quality-wise, this week is that I rank this issue, which I enjoyed more than the last couple, so low. A-

9. JLA 76 For once with this book is better written than illustrated! The fill-in art is pretty much wretched, but a lot of interesting stuff happens, so I can't dismiss it. I'm beginning to see Al Milgrom's name pop up a lot in DC books lately...good to see he's getting work, I guess. He's a normally reliable inker, guess he's rusty...I'll miss Plastic Man, the one character that Joe Kelly seemed to have a real affinity for. B+

10. X-STATIX 6 Hate to say it, but I'm getting a real sense of Peter Milligan spinning his wheels. I dropped this once and regretted it, but I'm getting that restless feeling once again... B

11. MERIDIAN 31 I still have no idea what's going on, except at the most basic of levels. I'm gonna have to make the commitment to getting some back issues or trades, or spend my three bucks somewhere else. I liked the previous art team better than the Brigman/Carani duo we get in this issue. B

12. THE FILTH 7 My tolerance for Morrison's weirdness is almost infinite, but this is testing my patience. I hope that he's got a destination in mind for this incoherent– and in this issue's case, unpleasant– story. I had thought early on that this series would be Chris Weston's shining moment, but even his stuff looks tired this time out. C+

I also got the new COMIC BOOK ARTIST 23, but because my haul was so big I had to put it back. I'll pick it up later. I also set back a copy of HAWAIIAN DICK 1, which has piqued my interest.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Christmas post-mortem:

Unlike many people (my Mother, for instance), I am ridiculously simple to buy for when it comes to Christmas gifts. I always print out a small (well, medium-sized, all right?) list of CDs, books or movies I'd like to have, and leave it up to whomever to just pick something out. If it's on the list, then it's OK. Anal? Maybe. But at least people know where to begin with me. I wish everybody in my family were as easy to buy for as I am. Sometimes I list obscure stuff, but I think I list enough stuff that can be found at Target or Walmart that it balances out.

So keeping in mind I got some cash which I fully intend to buy some more music with later (cash is always better than anything on my list), here's what I scored the last couple of days.


Beatles-A Hard Day's Night I'm slowly but surely completing my Fabs on CD collection. Of course it goes without saying that this one's wonderful, and features one of my fave Fab tunes, "I Should Have Known Better". I'm thinking I need to pick up the DVD of this as well, it's out in a spiffy new package.

Pearl Jam-Riot Act Out of all the post-Seattle bands, I always felt that Pearl Jam managed the tricky task of evolving musically and staying interesting. Of course, that was before the twenty-seven skadillion live CDs they released, and somehow I managed to miss the previous studio CD Binaural (I still mean to get this one, 'cause it's produced by Mitchell Froom) so it's been a while since I've listened to them. I'm not impressed. Everything on this one has the same tempo and the same instrumentation and just sounds monotonous. Maybe it will grow on me with repeated listens, can't say. I've only played it a couple of times...stay tuned.

Rolling Stones-Black and Blue You see, right now my turntable is dead. Has been for a couple of years, and I just haven't had the pesos to buy a new one, even if I could find one. I've looked online and on eBay, but haven't had much luck. Anyway, because my turntable is dead, I haven't been able to listen to a lot of albums that I own on vinyl, and the Stones' Black and Blue is one of them. Underrated upon its 1976 release, and often mistakenly accused of being "soft" and "disco-ish" by morons who bought into that "World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band" misonomer, it's often referred to as the "Guitarist Audition Album" because it was recorded when Mick and Keef were looking for a replacement for Mick Taylor. It boasts fretwork by Ron Wood, Harvey Mandel and others. This is the most overtly reggae-influenced record they ever did, and given my distaste for most reggae you'd think that would be a drawback but I really like "Hot Stuff", "Hey Negrita", and "Cherry Oh Baby". Plus it's got the great R&B of "Memory Motel", "Fool To Cry" and "Melody". It's nice to be able to get reacquainted.

Ron Sexsmith-Cobblestone Runway I became a fan of Sexsmith's through his brilliant 1997 album "Other Songs", and while subsequent releases have been slightly disappointing (although I did like 2001's "Blue Boy" a lot), I still admire his pithy writing style and his willingness to experiment a little with his sound while remaining true to his folkish roots. This new one has some synthy sounds squiggling away in the background, and some other nods to electronica, and while you'd think that this would create a real trainwreck it's tastefully done and quite enjoyable. Sexsmith also gets a little sloppy with his often mannered vocals, slurring his boyish croon on many of these songs. I'm not familiar with the producer this time out, but he's done a nice job of staying in the background and letting Sexsmith's charms shine through. I think this one will grow on me some more before it's all said and done.

Chicago II Boy. Is my cred gonna take a hit now. After my less than ringing endorsement of the Clash (a band that everyone who "knows" music is supposed to like) in my writings on Joe Strummer's death the other day, and now this, where I'm about to sing the praises of an album by one of the most uncool bands on the face of the Earth...well, boys and girls, I'm feeling a little unhip and damned defensive about it. Lemme tell ya– twarn't always so. When the Chicago Transit Authority released their first album waaaaay back in 1970, they were following in the footsteps of bands like the Beatles, Sly and the Family Stone, the Rolling Stones, even Miles Davis and most notably Blood Sweat and Tears, and were trying to mix a lot of different influences into their stuff, like jazz, blues, pop, and rock. And for a few years, they experimented, played gig after gig, got tight as a band and as songwriters, and put out albums that have some great music on them. I shit you not. Chicago II is one of them. Despite the lyrics, standard issue for 1970 but kinda cringe inducing in their simplistic earnestness when read now, this is really a tuneful and engaging album. Listened to it a lot when I was an early teenager. I get a lot of pleasure from all of their pre-1976 LPs, after which they lost the corporate battle for their soul, guitarist Terry Kath (probably the most down-to-Earth member) died, and we had to endure their godawful MOR/AOR hits in the late 70s and early 80s which were some of the most smarmy and heinous sounds ever committed to tape. Then there was bassist Peter Cetera's solo career, which was awful enough to induce epleptic seizures and topple regimes in several small countries. So believe me when I tell you I understand why most people scorn the Chicago Transit Authority, but also believe me when I tell you that there are many pleasures to be had on any pre-1976 album...mostly forgotten now because of the sheer awfulness of what followed.


The Fifth Element This is one wacked-out film. Full of humor and imagination, I can't seem to stop watching it when I run across it on HBO or whatever. I'm a little surprised that this didn't do better at the boxoffice, but it did well enough, I suppose. I'm sure that a lot of folks, expecting Stargate or Star Wars or some such were caught a little off guard. This was more like a good issue of Heavy Metal than the lame animated films that bore the name. Probably Milla Jovovich's finest hour to date. The sequence where Bruce Willis and Milla board a ship and take of for a resort planet, "Flosten Paradise", is incredible in its pacing.

Return To Oz Speaking of people and expectations and box office flops, this wonderful and imaginative, if somewhat more sober and downbeat film, was far more faithful to Baum's stories than the showbizzy, Hollywoodized Judy Garland classic and audiences who were expecting more song and dance were totally confused and dismayed. They also stayed away in droves. Guess there's just something about Dorothy being taken for shock therapy that didn't sit well with some folks. It didn't play around where I live, so I had to rent it a year later before I could see it and I was completely blown away. This came out on DVD a couple of years ago, and I've been wanting to see it in this format ever since. It's really great to be able to see it in widescreen, and there's an amusing interview with Fairuza Balk, who played Dorothy in her first film role, at the end.

Oh, I also got another pair of gloves and some after shave.

Back tomorrow with comics reviews!

Music today: all of the above.
New comics out today! Like another Christmas, only expensive (at least for me it was). Second straight 10+ book week! Here's what I picked up:

Catwoman 14
the Filth 7
Global Frequency 3
Gotham Central 2
Hellblazer 179
JLA 76
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen v2 4
Legion 15
Promethea 24
X-Statix 6
Meridian 31
Spider-Man's Tangled Web 21

I also had the new Comic Book Artist, featuring Mike Mignola and Jill Thompson (sweet), in my holds but there's no way I could buy that on top of all the rest. I'll get it next week.

How was my Christmas? Just fine. Spent the last two days visiting different sides of the family, eating, and getting gifts. Had the grandson over last night, and he had a ball playing with the stuff we got him. I'll publish a swag list later; I'm at work and am really too busy to be typing this!

One thing to pass on: back in the late 70s–early 80s, I was a regular buyer of Heavy Metal magazine. One of my favorite series that appeared in its pages was Tex Arcana, by John Findlay, whom I had not heard from before and haven't heard from since...but I sure loved his Tex Arcana. Basically a supernatural-flavored Western spoof, it featured witty dialogue and beautifully rendered pencil art, and is, in my opinion, one of the best Western series ever. I had given up being able to read it again (I let go of my HMs when I sold 3/4 of my original collection back in '87) without tracking down hard-to-find and often pricey back issues, until I recently found where, through the courtesy of the folks at Unbound Comics, you can download the entire strip for a nominal charge. I intend to do so ASAP. Go here to check it out.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

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Here's your humble scribe, approximately age 4, on Christmas morning with his Big Loo robot and Supercar toy. Isn't he adorable? Wonder what the hell happened. Again, all of me here at the Show wishes all of you the best on Christmas.

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Santa of the undead here is one of the cards featured at Capn' Wacky's Gallery of Unfortunate Christmas Cards. Just the thing to add to your holiday cheer.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Good news. Apparently I'm 71% comic pure, according to the Comic Book Geek Test. From the vague commentary, I assume that's a good thing– the higher you score, as I understand it, the less of a geek you are.. See how you rate. Found this on Franklin's site.

Just when you think we've plumbed new depths of ignorance and stupidity, along comes the news (courtesy of Silflay Hraka) that apparently there are people who wish to change the name of the new Lord of the Rings film, which is (if you've just returned from Mars) The Two Towers, out of what they perceive to be potential offense to those who have suffered through the 9/11 tragedy. Get it? Two Towers, Twin Towers. Oh, my aching head. If you are a sane, rational, thinking person, and I think you are– you can sign a counter petition (actually, there are several– I signed the one at the top). I don't think there's much of a chance that any change will actually be made, but it's an opportunity to count yourself upon the non-morons.

Got another phone message from Trevor Von Eeden about the humongous letter of comment he's writing me about my Thriller website. Of course, you may remember that Von Eeden was the artist of said comics series, the subject of my little tribute site. He also wished to let me know he's going to do an illustration of some sort to accompany this!! Upon hearing this, I did a little Pee-Wee Herman dance of glee. I'm really looking forward to reading his comments, but on the negative side I'll have to redo my site, I'm sure of it. Sigh.

Christmas present number one-the new Pearl Jam CD, Riot Act, from my cousin Stacey.

Guess this is all the bloggery I'll be up to today...today, it's Grandmother's at noon, and my Mother's in the evening, then a gift-opening frenzy back here at the Bacardi residence tonight. Also, a viewing of the 1950 Christmas Carol at 8. Doesn't look like I'll get back to the iMac today, so from all of me to all of you, a very merry Christmas, and happy holidays!

Monday, December 23, 2002

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Just watched Lilo & Stitch, and the name "Stitch" was appropriate because many stitches were needed to hold its flimsy and improbable story together. I just couldn't buy the central conflict, that of the social services people wanting to take recently orphaned Lilo away from her sister, who was employed and was trying to provide a stable home for her, and only a string of Lucy show-ish preposterous coincidences gave any evidence at all that this would be a problem. But all nitpicking aside (and what's the point with this kind of movie?), I found L & S quite enjoyable in spite of itself, because when it wasn't bending over backwards to make little kids giggle and frantically pushing buttons to make adults tear up, it was likeable and clever and extremely well drawn/animated, with an abundance of lovely backgrounds, rendered in watercolors (or what appears to be, anyway). I gotta go to Hawaii someday. And did I mention that Lilo's sister Nani was drawn to be a white hot nuclear smokin' hottie? Down, Johnny.

Wonder how you say good night in Hawaiian? Surely not "aloha". Perhaps I should just remember what Warren Zevon, God be with him, wrote: "Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana".
Some random stuff:

New Robert Christgau Consumer Guide posted at the Village Voice. Let there be revelry, drunkenness, and fornication everywhere. I was gratified to see that he saw fit to mention the only Avril Levigne song that I wanted to hear more than once (choice cut) and was as unimpressed with Beck's latest as I was.

Gee whiz. Give me a day off and I blog like a crazy man. And just the other day I was thinking that I had run out of anything to say (and not saying anything worth reading) and was wasting my time. Maybe this here blog stuff is therapeutical in some way, who knows?

Guess I'll refresh my drink and go watch the football game. Since Drew Bledsoe singlehandedly killed my fantasy season with his five-week long stink-fest, my interest is flagging. That being said, I was happy to see where my beloved Falcons had taken another step towards making the playoffs since the magical 1998 season by beating the eminently beatable Detroit Lions yesterday. Those are the kind of games you have to win. Of course, they still have to win next week or hope that both the Saints and Giants lose, none of which are a sure thing, especially since they have to beat the tough Cleveland Browns, with UK product Tim Couch at QB. Another UK grad stepped up big time for the Birds yesterday, the previously invisible Quentin McCord. Where the hell did he come from? Hope he sticks around!

And you may have noticed that in only one short day, not only have I figured out the secret to posting images side by side, but I have now acheived BOLD TYPE and ITALICS! Gaze upon my works, o ye mighty, and tremble!
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By now I'm sure that most of you are aware that Joe Strummer, formerly of the Clash, has died. Don't know if they've established a cause yet.

Kinda got mixed feelings about this news. Oh, don't get me wrong, it's a sad thing. But unlike many of my fellow bloggers and other friends, I was never a Clash fan. Again, don't get me wrong- I recognize their importance and acknowledge their place in pop music history. And to make it worse, I was the right age- 17 in 1977- that I should have totally embraced not just the Clash, but Punk in general. But I was slow to be won over by Punk, even though I was a devoted reader of Creem magazine, in which the praises of the Ramones, Talking Heads, Television, the Pistols, the Clash, and many others were regularly sung. But to long-haired 17 year old me, living in a small Kentucky town, Punk as a way of life was simply alien to me. Maybe it would have been different if I'd been a resident of NYC or London, but I wasn't. While I did eventually come to like (especially) the Ramones and Television, I had nothing to embrace about it-there was no class system for me to rebel against, and frankly, I liked music just the way it was. Punk was out to tear down the prevailing music scene, deeming it flaccid, bloated and pointless. Not to give the impression that I was a Journey or Foreigner or Boston or Bob Seger or Lynyrd Skynyrd or Styx or...geek. I did know better than that. But there was still a lot of worthy music being made by talented (and not necessarily mainstream) artists who suddenly became irrelevant when Punk and New Wave came along, and when those movements muddied up the pool and pressure was applied to be more aggressive and hard-edged, "punky" if you will, then a lot of artists lost what made them interesting and special in the first place. Some got better, true, but some became pathetic and many others just disappeared. And the Clash was one of those groups that was supposed to be held up as a shining example of what rock 'n roll should be. But they just didn't grab my ear. I wasn't all that receptive to reggae either-a little went a long way with me back then, and I'm still not all that crazy about it- and it seemed like every other Clash song had a reggae beat to it. And all that social consciousness stuff kinda seemed in conflict with the very existence of "Clash records" to sell to a buying public. It just seemed to me that they were no better than any other group out there hawking product, they just talked a lot of shit. Eventually, "Rock the Casbah" and "Should I Stay or Should I Go" kinda broke down my resistance, and my hardcore Clash fan friend Mike Cary has loaned me a couple of compilations, so I've listened with older ears to much of the stuff I rejected in my youth, and it's OK.

So while I just don't feel any real sense of loss here, I do recognize Mr. Strummer for what he has done and his (and his mates') place in music history, like I said. So here's to ye, Joe Strummer. I'll knock back a shot for you tonight.

Oh yeah- I liked him in Mystery Train, too.
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Above are pictures of my kids, Abby (as Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge's housekeeper) and Britt (as Jacob Marley's ghost) as they appeared in Horse Cave Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol. We went to see it Saturday, which was probably the most notable thing I did in my weekend.

While this paradoxical little town I live in would seem to be interested in only a few things like tobacco farming, country and gospel music, NASCAR, and professional wrestling, it has sported a successful professional repertory theatre in its midst since 1977, and for the last six or seven years my children have been involved with it in various capacities, both onstage and off. They both hope to pursue a career in theatre, Abby in production (and musical theatre) and Britt in acting and technical work (he also did a month this time last year at Syracuse Stage in upstate New York as a light technician). While I know it's a hard row to hoe, I wish them the best and I think they can do it if they are willing to work at it...

Only watched one film this weekend, Enemy at the Gates. While its period recreation was outstanding (I suppose, I'm not that old and I'm hardly an expert), the script was dull and the love story seemed jammed in with a crowbar. It was one of those films where everyone, Russian or German alike, spoke with a British accent which becomes very annoying. While there were some tense moments here and there, it is ultimately another film which squanders the great Ed Harris.

Good news: Vera Brosgol's back from school and has not only updated her fun Return To Sender webcomic but has also posted several new illustrations in her art gallery, many of them drawing class assignments. Check 'em out!

Odd, downbeat but nice Jingle Belle strip in yesterday's Sunday comics section over at Onipress.com. Go forth and viddy it, o my brothers and sisters.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Hie thee to the sites of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and Pop Culture Gadabout for more on this Christmas song stuff. Thanks, fellas, for the linkage.

And as sort of a last word on the subject, let me state for the record that songs by the likes of U2, The Ramones, Tom Petty, Springsteen and The Pogues are all fine songs but they just didn't grab me for some reason. My favorite Pogues song from that album is Thousands are Sailing, anyway. "Fairytale of New York" is a nice song with amusing lyrics, but no connection, no listing.

Hope you all got to see the first and last episode of Firefly last night. It was outstanding, even though it lost something by being shown after several other episodes had already aired. Another idiotic decison by TPTB at Fox. I agree with Bill over at PCG that they just must not have had a lot of enthusiasm for the series. Hopefully Joss Whedon will find a more hospitable dock for the Serenity soon...maybe Sci-Fi or UPN. UPN might not be as interested due to the lackluster showings by Enterprise and Buffy. We'll see, I guess. If nothing else, I've got my fingers crossed for a DVD release. It's on my short list for Xmas 2003.

Gotta mention that my alma mater, Western Kentucky University, won the division 1-AA football championship last night. National champions! Go, Tops!

Friday, December 20, 2002

Longtime readers may recall (well, as longtime as readers can be of a blog that's only been alive since late October) that several days ago I thought it would be neat to post a list of my favorite Christmas (and Christmas related) songs. Problem is, I have had very little time to take on such a task, that would surely involve lots of looking for links and other exhaustive researching. However, I kinda have a break at this very minute so I think I'll give it a shot. I may have to stop, post, then resume later.

First, some ground rules.

These are songs that I like to listen to and associate with the Christmas season. Many are non-traditional pop songs. Some actually have nothing to do with the holiday in and out of itself, but are simply songs that I listened to a lot during the Christmas season in my formative years and as a result have permanently etched themselves into my brain, causing automatic refelexive association.

These songs are in no particular order. I do not necessarily favor #1 over #12. There will be a lot of tunes here that will leave you scratching your head, and many times you will wonder "Why the hell didn't he name _____? I can't believe he didn't name _______!" Well, you know, different strokes and all that. It's my list and I'll cry if I want to. I will link, I promise, but it will be a retroactive process.

So here goes (and I really wish I knew how to create bold type, it would really come in handy)...

1. Emerson, Lake & Palmer (with Peter Sinfield, lyrics): I Believe In Father Christmas. This one boasts a gorgeous melody and some of the most acid, cynical lyrics ever wedded to a presumed holiday song. It cracks me up to hear this on the radio, played with Jingle Bell Rock and Springsteen holiday songs. Avoid the overblown, echo-laden symphonically orchestrated single version, often credited to Greg Lake solo. The one to hear is on ELP's Works Volume 2. It's much less cluttered and overbearing.

2. Chuck Berry-Run Rudolph Run: Berry is God, and this is a great, funny song. There have been other good versions but Chuck's is the best.

3. Jethro Tull-Christmas Song: Back in the dim distant days of 1970, when Tull was interesting, Ian Anderson wrote this caustic little ditty about mankind's hypocrisy at the holiday season. Heavy-handed lyrically, but gorgeous melodically-full of pennywhistles and mandolins. This one's found on the 1972 odds-and-sods collection Living In The Past.

4. Beach Boys-Little Saint Nick: Christmas is about, in a lot of ways, dumb goofy fun and nobody did dumb goofy fun better than the Boys. Catchy, well sung as always, and it always cracks me up when they come in with that lunkheaded "Christmas comes this time each year" chorus. Well, Duh!

5. Roy Wood's Wizzard-I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day: Done at a time when Wood was interested in recreating the 50s a la Phil Spector and Del Shannon, this is really catchy and fun. Recorded in 1973, I understand that this is a jukebox staple over in Britain, but of course it was never released over here in the colonies so I didnt get to hear it until 1999. This one's found, on CD, on the Wizzard Singles A's & B's compilation.

6. Billy Squier-Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You: Yeah, yeah, I know. 90% of what this preening 80s hair metal guitar guy did was crap (although I will admit to liking a lot of the "Stroke" album), but this is lots of things his normal music wasn't: fun, clever, and catchy. I turn it up whenever I hear it on the radio, and a lot of my friends (who wouldn't touch a Squier album with a ten foot pole) do too. How can you not like a lyric like "From rooftop to chimney, from Harlem to Bimini"?

7. Run-DMC-Christmas in Hollis: This is the choice many put on these lists to look hip. Maybe I'm doing that too, but this is sure a lot of fun and I remember looking forward to seeing the video on TV.

8. Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors-It's Christmas Time: Out of many contenders on that Horny Holidays album I seem to write about so much, I think this is the best. Sounds like Rufus Thomas or Sam & Dave after three bottles of tequila.

9. Alvin & The Chipmunks-The Christmas Song: I don't know, maybe it's because I latched on to this at the ripe old age of four (when the cartoon show was actually current), but this evokes early 60s to me as much as any Rat Pack movie or Beatles song. It's got such a drop-dead gorgeous melody that it's easy to ignore that it's being sung by people on speeded up tape. That part where they sing "...we can hardly stand the wait" gives me shivers.

10. Dean Martin-Baby It's Cold Outside: Speaking of the Rat Pack, here's ol' Dino. I love many of his smooth seasonal songs like Let It Snow and Winter Wonderland, but this duet's the most fun track on his Making Spirits Bright compilation. I also saw Red Skelton sing this to Esther Williams in a 40s movie on TCM. Here, Dean pitches woo to a reluctant, but ultimately convinced young lady.

11. Emmylou Harris-Silent Night: One of the best tracks from her elegant, stately Light of the Stable album. It has a lovely acoustic guitar solo. I hate to go this time of year without hearing it at least once. Know that the "Stable" album has been rereleased with a dull looking new cover.

12. Cyndi Lauper-Feels Like Christmas: Not a Christmas song per se, although it appears on her outstanding 1998 holiday album Merry Christmas...Have A Nice Life as well as its predecessor, 1996's Hat Full of Stars. Rocking and catchy, there's a feeling of true love and joy in its lyrics and addictive melody. And its got that Hooterphone (you know, that small accordian device the Hooters used in their heyday. Don't know what its proper name is.), in it, too.

13. John Lennon & Yoko Ono-Happy Xmas (War Is Over): Well, first of all it's a Beatle song, OK? And it has a great melody, and nice choir vocals (always a plus with me). And the 45 was on green vinyl! I really hate the terrible cover versions that have come in its wake, especially the overwrought Melissa Etheridge rendition.

14. Wild Man Fischer (with Dr. Demento)-I'm a Christmas Tree: Heard this one on a Rhino compilation once, and giggled like a idiot the rest of the evening. It's just basically Fischer and the Doctor chanting "I'm a christmas tree, I'm a christmas tree, people like to hang...ornaments on me" and so on, accompanied by sleigh bells. Fischer is, if I recall correctly, a LA eccentric who once got Frank Zappa to record his man-on-the-street rantings, like Tom Green and many others afterwards. You may hear this and wonder why I think it's so damn funny, but like I said before it's my list. So there.

15. George Harrison-Be Here Now: This droning trancelike hymn from the Living In The Material World album tests some people's patience, but as a result of getting the Living album around Christmas 1973, I associate this song with the season and specifically putting up the tree at my folks' house, back when I actually liked to do that sort of thing.

Well, there ya go. This is all I can think of for now. I will eventually attach links to most of these so you can check them out if you've got nothing better to do.

Secular music today: Victoria Williams-Loose, David Bowie-Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), Lloyd Cole-Love Story.

Finally finished my humongous haul from Wednesday. And so, without further ado-age, "What I bought and what I thought".

Ranked in order of preference, with letter grades at the end a la good ol' Bob Christgau.

1. LUCIFER 33: Wonderful mix of Lovecraft and O. Henry, ably illustrated by Dean Ormston. Mike Carey is in such a groove now, both here and on John Constantine, and it's a pleasure to behold. A

2. BATGIRL YEAR ONE 1: I've never been what you could call a fan of Batgirl; she's always seemed second-hand, redundant and unnecessary in the 30 plus years she's existed as a character. It took the Joker busting a cap in her and her subsequent rebirth as Oracle to make the Barbara Gordon character interesting to me. But here, the script approach by Chuck DIxon and Scott Beatty, focusing on Barbara the person, is a winner and the art by newcomers (to me, anyway, I've never heard of 'em) Marcos Martin & Alvaro Lopez is fluid and expressive, channeling both Robin Year One artist Javier Pulido and the more conservative tendencies of Tim Sale. Me like. A

3. FABLES 8: While it's a little talky, and the tendency of artists Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha to resemble Tom Grummet trying to imitate Jack Kirby is a little annoying, this is such a clever idea, and it's executed in such a winning fashion, that I like it in spite of myself. Nice cover. A-

4. SHANG-CHI, MASTER OF KUNG FU 4: Gulacy's best art job yet, and if the overly-deriviative-of-Bond plot is offering nothing new, at least it seems to be building to a grand finale, and it would be churlish of me to ask for more. A-

5. JSA 43: God help me, I actually liked this issue. Everything worked. I don't know who really drew this issue, but that's not the vanilla Leonard Kirk & Keith Champagne art I've seen previously...it's actually pretty good. Don't know what happened, but I hope they can keep it up. I'm still more interested in the Dr. Fate/Gemworld subplot (and I've got my fingers crossed that we won't get evil Amy) than I am the ancient Egypt storyline, but at least this time out both were compelling. A-

6. REID FLEMING, WORLD'S TOUGHEST MILKMAN/FLAMING CARROT CROSSOVER 1: This one snuck up on me. I totally overlooked whatever sparse hype it was given and if it hadn't been for the lovely Erica at my comics shop, I would have missed it completely. I've never paid any attention to the Reid Fleming character before and probably won't again, although I'm sure he has its admirers...I'm a Carrot man all the way, haven't missed any of his apearances yet, and I wasn't about to pass this up. Wish I could say I was richly rewarded for my devotion, but while it's cleverly written by Bob Burden and is often hilarious, the art by Fleming's creator (with inking assists from Burden) is amateurish and crude. But hey-it's impossible to dislike a comic with not only the Carrot but Christopher Walken, the Girl From Ipanema, Fabio, and a vampire collie on a skateboard. Well, maybe you can dislike it but I can't. B+

7. LOVE & ROCKETS V2 6: As always, Jaime is excellent and Gilbert (who gets 3/4 of the book this time out) is hit and miss. I'm not so sure that reuniting the Bros. Hernandez in the same book and killing their individual titles was such a good idea. B+

8. SPIDER-MAN BLUE 5: it had been so long between this and #4 that I thought it had been cancelled. While I still consider this a huge disappointment, given the track record of the Loeb/Sale team, this one was better than the first four. Sale channels Ditko a lot more sucessfully than he does Romita Sr., and there are several blatant and clever Ditko swipes herein. B+

9. AUTHORITY: SCORCHED EARTH: It's great to see the Authority back again. So great, that I can overlook the often sloppy and ininspired art that accompanies this overpriced one-shot. I think that DC's black sheep of its comics family is in good hands with Robbie Morrison. B+

10. Y: THE LAST MAN 6: Overpraised and underwhelming, this continues on in its not-bad but not-outstanding way. I'm still interested in where it's all going, so I still buy and shall continue to do so for the time being. B

11. THE TRUTH 2: All of Robert Morales' good intentions are being completely undone by Kyle Baker's slapdash, convention-doodle level art. Hope he buys himself something nice for Christmas with the paycheck he obviously didn't earn. C+

12. HELLBLAZER SPECIAL-LADY CONSTANTINE 1: Can't say which is worse- the cliche-ridden, horribly dialogued script or the bland, grubby looking, uninspired art. I liked the clever idea of throwing the puzzle box from Hellraiser in the mix, but it's a shame when one begins to think that the best thing that could happen in this miniseries is that Pinhead shows up at the end. C-

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Took these two quizzes on my lunch break. Courtesy of Joanie Da Goddess.

Which Edward Gorey Book Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Which A Christmas Story Character Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Music today so far: Eels-Daisies of the Galaxy, Todd Rundgren-Runt, Gomez-Liquid Skin, David Bowie-Aladdin Sane.
One other quickie post-

Here's an interesting take on the Trent Lott affair from David Hawpe, one of the longest-tenured columnists at the Louisville-Courier Journal, and (judging from the letter columns) a writer that manages to piss off more people, especially those of the conservative persuasion, than anybody save perhaps Bill Clinton.
It seems my life has kicked into overdrive, which is leaving me no time or energy to write a lot of stuff. Or read comics, for that matter- I wound up buying about twice as many books yesterday as I normally do and as a result I was only able to read four or five of them before I crashed. Here's the list:

Lucifer 33
Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman/ Flaming Carrot Crossover 1
Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu 4
Batgirl Year One 1
Y: The Last Man 6
Hellblazer Special: Lady Constantine 1
Authority: Scorched Earth 1
Love & Rockets v2 6
Spider Man: Blue 5
Fables 8
the Truth 2
JSA 43
12 comics! 12! And next week promises to be almost as bad!!

I fully intend to review them here in this very space, but first I gotta read the darn things!

Wednesday, December 18, 2002


Insanely busy today at the ol' day job. Thought about taking a loooooong lunch to go see The Two Towers, but that got me a dirty look from my group coordinator so I guess I'll wait.

From MisterPants, this link. Tissue-san just may be a hero for a new generation, or something like that. I wanna see some stories, dammit!

Hopefully more later, but you never know.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Some more stuff before I retire.

Bill Nelson has a new diary entry. Who's Bill Nelson? Go here. And here. Then go here to read the entry, well written as always in his colorful style. This one deals with, among other things, his perception of that upcoming holiday, one which I share to a great extent.

Finally got around to examining the blog named Silflay Hraka, which I have summarily linked to at right. One of the things I found through SH was this, the Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus, which you gotta see to believe. It's very cool. Didn't help much with the ongoing "comment" substitute search, though.

New DC Comics solicitations for March have been released. Go here for a list, with covers. A cursory glance reveals a lot of fill-in artists on several titles and a lot of sweet Bruce Timm work (covers, reprints) coming up. I'll bet Laura's counting the days until the Aquaman Secret Files comes out. Looks like a lot of cancellations coming up too, but amazingly not any books that I buy. I'm surprised that it took 'em as long as it did to kill that lame Spectre book, beautiful Russell covers notwithstanding.

Speaking of which, another glance at the Diamond shipping list for tomorrow promises me that there will be ten, count 'em, ten books in my stack tomorrow. Oh, my aching wallet. And that's not counting Love & Rockets v2 6, which was scheduled to come out last week but didn't, at least at my comics shop.


You may remember that I work part-time at a small AM radio station here in the town where I live. One of the things we broadcast is local high school sports, and that's what I'm doing right now- minding the board and playing commercials during timeouts. Not real exciting. The game's a blowout too. So with one ear on the game, I sit and type to help pass the time.

Great, great, great Buffy episode tonight. I was able to half-ass watch it, again with one ear on the game. While I'm not one that thought last year's BTVS was as lame as many would have you believe, it can't compare to the tight scripts this year. One of the nice things about the storyline running through this season is the overwhelming sense of insecurity that the shape shifting First engenders; he could be anyone, anywhere. No one can be trusted, not even (SPOILER HERE) Giles. And I don't trust "Giles", if for no other reason that we never saw what happened a few weeks ago when it looked like he was gonna get his head lopped off. Hats off to Joss Whedon; he's helped make my TV viewing experience a lot better over the last few years.

A big hello right back to Czelticgirl, see link at right, who's blog was recommended by Brendan (he who is known as...Leptard! Again, see link at right) as a result of my open call for interesting pages. I've added several and all of them, even the ones that were recommended but have not been linked to so far, are excellent.

I do indeed have a favorite Christmas songs list prepared, but I don't have time to type it yet. Soon.

Music today: John Lennon-Walls and Bridges, Maria McKee-Life Is Sweet, Masters of Reality, Geri Haliwell-Schizophonic, Los Lobos-Colossal Head.
Good morning.

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My very first Bacardi Show Birthday Greeting goes out to the lovely Milla Jovovich!

Monday, December 16, 2002

OK, Al Gore.
Yeah, I was surprised. I thought he'd give it another shot, but apparently somebody must have tapped him on the shoulder and said "Now hold on a minute there, Al...". Just when I was beginning to like the cut of his jibberish. Oh well-I've never really liked him all that much anyway and I was especially concerned about his wife being First Lady. I haven't forgotten the PMRC. Still, I voted for him in '00 despite a brief flirtation with Nader and the Green Party. Couldn't do it when the chips were down, though-mostly I was concerned about being among those who took votes away from Gore, giving Bushie Boy the victory. We all know how that turned out. This leaves the field wide open for a pretty undistinguished looking bunch...Lieberman? Please. He has second banana written all over him. Kerry just looks creepy, like a horror movie host or something. The rest I couldn't pick out of a police lineup, although I have a feeling that I will see plenty of 'em in the forthcoming weeks.

My beloved Falcons snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against those fellows in the Certs unis, the Seattle Seahawks. They let their offense hibernate in the 3rd quarter and the defense just wasn't strong enough to carry it. Still, if Jay Feely hadn't missed a bunny field goal in OT, everything would be fine for another week and the schedule is still a winnable one, so all is not lost yet. But this team to my eyes has some glaring weaknesses, from coaching staff playcalling to inconsistent receiving, so nothing is a given. Next week, the Detroit Lions, whose sorry season so far was brightened by their near-upset of one of the best teams in the NFL, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers...the same Bucs who humiliated my Birds last weekend. Oh, boy.

OK. Movies. I watched several, of varying quality. One of the most memorable, for all the wrong reasons, was the wretched 1968 Bonnie and Clyde ripoff Killers Three, most notable for its producer, co-scripter and co-star, none other than Dick Clark- slugging whiskey, wearing wire-rims, and playing a nancy-boy demolitions expert. Also on hand was a young(er) Merle Haggard as a state trooper, and a couple of his songs including the immortal "Mama Tried" could be heard on the soundtrack. You'd think that in 1968 Clark would have had enough clout to get a decent movie made for his money, but apparently that's not the case. Also on the BacardiVision screen this weekend were Weird Al's masterpiece of strangeness UHF, co starring (sigh) Victoria Jackson; The Hughes Brothers' flashy movie version of Alan Moore's From Hell (which I actually liked despite Heather Graham's incongruously scrubbed-down Victorian-era prostitute), and a snazzy looking but terribly scripted version of A Christmas Carol, starring Patrick Stewart. I watched Kevin Smith's clever and funny (and sometimes wise) Dogma late Friday night. For once, Snatch wasn't on, so I wasn't locked on it like a moth to a flame-swear to God I can't pass that flick up when I run across it on TV..Heaven help me if I ever get it on DVD. Seems like there were a couple more, but I forget. The ol' gray matter ain't what it used to be.

Adding to my dimming enthusiasm for posting over on the DC Comics message boards was the revelation in Rich Johnston's Lying In The Gutters column at CBR that Darwyn Cooke has been asked not to write critical posts about other versions of Catwoman on the Catwoman board. Along with a lot of the other personality conflict-type stuff I've been reading lately (the little hoo-ha with Mike Miller, and other stuff), it makes me kinda long for the days when we didn't know so much about these fellows who write and draw those funnybooks.

There was a very intersting article (to me, anyway) in Sunday's Forum section, about the era of former president Grover Cleveland and its similarity to the current state of the Democratic Party, special to the Louisville Courier-Journal by one John David Dyche. The CJ did not see fit to reproduce it on their website, though, so unless you live in Kentucky or Southern Indiana, you probably won't get a chance to read it. If they ever do post it, I'll link to it. Since I was a kid, I've always been a little fascinated with the life stories of the Presidents. Used to check this big book out of the library all the time on that very subject, and developed a curious fascination with William Henry Harrison, the ninth US Pres and the first to die in office. The things that get your attention when you're eight.

I feel a "favorite Christmas songs" list coming on. Just not tonight, it's late.

I wonder of there's a Turkish version of A Christmas Carol...?

Oyasumi nagai, y'all.
You gotta check out these Turkish versions of E.T. Star Trek, and others. Your mind won't believe what your eyes are showing it. Ed Wood is alive and well and living in Turkey, apparently. Courtesy of Mike Cary, God knows where he found it...

Music today: KISS-Hotter Than Hell, Pink-M!stundaztood, and Elton John-Caribou. Guess you could tell it was blind CD grab day, huh!
Since I couldn't possibly go a week without mentioning Firefly, here's a hopeful note from series creator Joss Whedon. from Long Story, Short Pier via Alas,A Blog. I was wondering if Whedon would attempt this.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

After the blog orgy of last night, I'm gonna try to make this one short n' sweet.

Thanks to everybody who's responded to my request for links to other blogs for me to add; I've added several already and fully intend to add more later. Joanie, Devra, Brendan, youse guys rahk. Anybody else want to step up and represent for your bloggin' homies?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usFound, over on the Pulse message boards, a link to a preview of the upcoming first color issue of Jack Staff #1. I think Paul Grist's Jack Staff is one of the best (and most overlooked) comics being published today. Scriptwise, it avoids cliches and predictability and is excellently dialogued, with memorable, clever characters and Grist's art (while not fanboy-friendly in the least) is always fresh and expressive, he is a master of innovative compostion, and in rendering shadows and light spaces deserves mention in the same breath as the acknowledged masters Mignola and Toth. Guess you can say I'm looking forward to JS getting more mainstream recognition; it's been previously published in B&W by Grist himself through his Dancing Elephant Press. Heck, DEP issues #'s 11 and 12 have yet to come out and I'm looking forward to them even more. Check out the links above and see if you agree.

In sports, my beloved Atlanta Falcons will try to pick up the pieces of their Tampa Bay debacle last week and continue the push to clinch a playoff berth by taking on the Blue Man Group, aka the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle's improved a lot on offense, but their defense is still pretty weak and I'm hoping my Birds can outscore 'em. Noon tomorrow, we'll see.

In college basketball,University of Kentucky was defeated by Michigan State today, but hey, it's only December. UK schedules games like this to get 'em ready for March; if they're struggling in February then I'll be concerned. Still a tough loss to a team they should have beaten.

Music today-Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors' Horny Holidays. I play this one a lot this time of year.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us

Above are the latest entries in the by now gargantuan "My Favorite Albums Difficult to Find or Not Available on CD List": Jill Jones' eponymous 1986 release, and Graham Central Station's 1976 "Mirror".

To read about Ms. Jones, go here. You may remember her as the girl with the police hat, corset, and fishnets in Prince's 1999 video. Well, I do anyway. I was quite impressed. This is a remarkable effort, actually pretty much a Prince album recorded during his most creatively fecund period, when he was channeling Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Sly Stone, and the Beatles. He played most of the instruments, wrote most of the songs, produced, and probably designed the cover although I don't think so. All Jill had to do was show up and sing. He was nothing short of amazing back then. It was available on CD when it was initially released, but it sold jack and was deleted quickly, so the CDs are damned hard to find. I've got a copy on vinyl, and now that my turntable is dead, I can't listen to it anymore. I've got three songs from it on a mix tape I once made, and that's what got me all nostalgic and shit.

Larry Graham, the G of CS, was Sly's bass player until he got fed up with Sly's BS and started his own group. This was their 3rd or 4th release, I forget how many exactly. Frankly, except for about 2 or 3 songs per album, most of the Graham Central Station records are boring affairs, but this one boasts four stellar tracks out of eight and has garnered itself a place in the Johnny Bacardi Hall of Fame for Great Tuneage. The lead track (cleverly titled "Entrow") features marching band percussion, which would have caused a lot of high school band drum sections to wet themselves if they'd actually bought the frigging record. Love (Covers A Multitude of Sins) is a smooth, soulful track with great vocals. I Got A Reason swipes the actual melody of the old Folger's coffee commercials (if you've heard them you know what I mean, it was set to a coffee pot percolating) but isn't stupid. Graham must have hurt himself hitting the high note at the end; it's an amazing thing to hear. Finally, the last cut, an elegy for his father called Forever is a bit overlong but has a gorgeous group vocal melody which is mirrored (if you'll excuse the expression) by a squiggling synth line, at least 4 years before they became annoying. It's a wonderful record, probably the best thing by a Family Stone member (including Sly) since the Fresh album, and I'll be damned if I can figure out why it's not available in its entirity on compact disc. You can get a couple of cuts from it on one of the Graham anthologies available. The above scan looks like it does because that big black square in the middle is actually a reflective sheet of mylar, to simulate a- get ready for this- mirror! There is a strong strain of fundamentalist religion running through all the lyrics, though, and if that sort of thing bothers you then you should just get over it. No, seriously- just thought I'd mention it.

Music today-Girl Bros., Jade Warrior-Elements: The Island Anthology, Golden Smog-Weird Tales, Whiskeytown-Strangers Almanac, Semisonic-Feeling Strangely Fine.

Well, OK. Guess that'll do it for tonight. Y'know, it's funny- I go and click on other blogs and am constantly impressed and intimidated by the amount of great and interesting writing on them, and I look at my efforts and find myself, quite frankly, lacking. I begin to think I should just give it up; nobody cares. Most people want to read and write about their far more interesting lives (and I say that in all honesty and without a hint of sarcasm) or sex or politics or in-depth explorations into the multiple facets of the comics world or what have you, and I just can't compete. I think I should maybe be silent for a while, then fade away gracefully before I embarrass myself further. Then, I up and write two humongous entries. Sometimes I worry about me.
Hello again. Gonna be all over the map tonight, so hang on.

Tonight's ramblings are brought to you by Jim Beam. I know, I know. I may owe alliegance to the House of the Bat, but that doesn't mean I cant go visiting once in a while.

Kinda wondering if Kissinger realized what amateurs he was joining up with and had second thoughts. That old so and so is a past master of evil and you gotta think he would have run out of patience real fast with Dubya and company. Then again, maybe he had some kind of scheme in mind which would have resulted in a total screwover of the Generalissimo and company, which would have been kinda fun to see. Oh well, ces't la vie and all that.

Speaking of confidence men, it's long been my opinion that if it's proven that Pete Rose did not bet AGAINST the Reds, and he extends some sort of apology, then get his ass in the Hall of Fame right now. Don't wait until the official voting period rolls around; do it immediately. Geez, he was only one of the absolute best players in the game for a long time, and sure he was an asshole but there are plenty of assholes in the HoF already, what's one more. Put Shoeless Joe Jackson's dead ass in there too. If Pete did not bet against the Reds, then there's no way that he could have compromised the integrity of the outcome of the game. Now if he was in some gambler's pocket and coerced to do stuff that could CHANGE the outcome of the game and impact it in a negative fashion, now that's a bad thing and he doesn't deserve to be in there.

I don't give two shits about the Osbournes show. Didn't like it from day one. I was a Sabbath fan back in the day, they were one of my favorite bands and a definite influence in my musical tastes during my formative years. 1970-1978, in case you were wondering. It just makes me sad, however, to see pathetic old Ozzy shuffling around like Tim Conway on thorazine, mumbling and cursing. I derive no satisfaction or pleasure in seeing one of the heroes of my youth, no matter what a clod he was, living life in this fashion. So if that show went away tomorrow I would not shed a single tear. And people that get perverse glee from watching it are a little sad themselves. Of course I realize that a significant amount of my friends and family (and readers, too) are fans, and that's OK. Different strokes and all that. Just don't expect me to join in. I notice that the ratings this year aren't as good, so perhaps the show will shuffle off quietly, just like the Ozzman.

Speaking of ratings that aren't so good, tonight's Firefly was kick ass excellent. However, appropriately enough for Friday the 13th, the official word came down that there won't be any new episodes filmed, in other words, it is dead. Too bad. Another great show that people just couldn't wrap their heads around. Looks like I'll have more free time on Friday now. Great. At least I have the 2 hour series pilot to look forward to next week. Gee. Ya think one reason why it underperformed for Neilsen is because they showed the episodes out of order, adding confusion to a already complicated narrative? What dumb asses network execs are sometimes.

That Dreadnought of Chicanery himself, Chris Tabor, sent me this link today to the graphics-heavy webpage of a singer slash performance artist named High Priestess Regan. Cursory examination of her site shows a beautiful young lady with some unorthodox links. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself. That Chris. He seems like such a nice, normal, fine upstanding young man but oh, can appearances be deceiving.

Speaking of performance artists, click on the link at right and immerse yourself in the quaint and whimsical world of Dame Darcy. It's definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but I love it. Don't ask me to explain why.

I'm not done yet. Gotta scan something, then I'll be back.
Some holiday cheer for you, at this festive time of year, from PhilPrice.net.

Drove to work this morning listening to Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors' Horny Holidays, which has gotta be one of the all time greatest holiday recordings ever.

More later when I get the chance...

Thursday, December 12, 2002

I really, really should be in bed, but before I retire I've been adding some links (my request has already paid off!) and stuff. Some creators, like Dame Darcy and Richard Sala, and a couple of weblogs- BlogAnon, which is a wee bit naughty, hence its inclusion in my M-rated section, and Moxie, which is great fun and came highly recommended by Da Goddess. When Da Goddess speaks, her humble servant obeys!

What? You don't remember the M rating? I'm such a geezer.

Also, you might want to check out this interview with artist extraordinaire Darwyn Cooke, over at Comic Book Resources. I love Cooke's art, and most of this deals with his upcoming "New Frontier" project plus it has some killer illos, including a great Wonder Woman piece.
I just thought of a way to make my blogroll at right even more impressive, and maybe get an idea who, if anybody's, reading.

Recommend a blog to me that I don't already list. If you're just clicking on this because you did a google search for Bacardi recipes or whatever, be a sport. Give me a URL. I don't care what it's about, as long as it's not morally repugnant, and even then I'll reserve the right to check it out.

So c'mon, help a brother out, wontcha?

I also added the neato-keen weather update function at lower right, so if you're planning to come to Horse Cave and beat the shit out of me you can dress accordingly.

More music today: Mel C-Northern Star, Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey-Mavericks, and Joe Henry-Trampoline.
Disturbing news (for me, anyway) over at USA Today, which in an article on the fate of new TV shows lists Firefly in its "cancelled" section. Or "gone", if you want to be precise. I haven't read any official word anywhere else on this presumed cancellation, so I'm hoping that McPaper's just jumping the gun a little. In the meantime, sign the frigging petition, if you haven't already! Just do it for me, I'll owe ya one. And watch tomorrow night's new episode, it looks pretty good.
As promised, "what I bought and what I thought" of comics I bought on the week of December 11!

1. HATE ANNUAL 3: In which we check in with Buddy Bradley and family again, along with some strips Pete Bagge did for various venues. Absolutely hilarious throughout, with several of the Leeway stories and especially the Murry Wilson strips as highlights. Hell, I'd pay 5 bucks for a full issue of Wilson Family Adventures! Worth noting that not only are Murry, Brian and Dennis (along with the rest of the Beach Boys in cameos) featured, but we also get Bagge's hysterical rendition of Charlie Manson! A

2. POWERS 26: Great art, great (if somewhat overly familiar after previous arcs) script. Deena Pilgrim is getting one great wisecrack per issue, and is fast becoming one of my favorite characters. It remains to be seen whether Bendis can go anywhere with this book besides creating dysfunctional superhero groups to propel his plots forward. A

3. FABLES TPB: While I was a bit annoyed at how clumsily the actual plot of writer Willingham's mystery was executed, and how underwhelming the final revelation turned out to be (of course, it didn't help that I had already read #'s 6 & 7), I was still won over by how cleverly he put a twist on all the old fairy tale conventions. The often Bollandesque art wasn't too bad, either, although it was a little stiff and awkward looking in places. So am I sorry I didn't pick up on this book sooner? No. Am I glad I'm on board now? Yes. B+.

4. HAWKMAN 10: Pretty standard superheroics, following the established Hawkman series template: Hawkman traveling the globe to battle weird menaces. I've always had a soft spot for stories that take place in Tibet (comes from growing up reading Doc Savage and Howard novels, y'know), so I kinda liked. Kinda. Problem is, previous attempts to follow the gardner Fox Hawkman template always result in cancellation. Rags Morales is on his way to becoming the Frazetta of his generation, and as always is the MVP of this book. B+

5. KILLRAVEN 3: This well drawn and indifferently scripted Mad Max knockoff is alternately silly and engaging, if you're in a good mood. You know, this book kinda reminds me of this series that Marvel published back in the 70s, in the Amazing Adventures comic, titled War of the Worlds. Except it's nowhere near as good. Only three more issues to go. C+

Music today so far: Suzanne Vega-Nine Objects of Desire, Uriah Heep (stop snickering)-Classic Heep: An Anthology (oh, go ahead, snicker), and Sparklehorse-Good Morning Spider.
Good morning! A little political type stuff to kick things off today...

First up, a little op/ed, sent to me by the Mighty Mighty Chris Tabor.

Also, whilst perusing the editorial section of today's Courier Journal, I was amazed to see that apparently some conservative Republican leaders are racist assholes! Will wonders never cease! You know that when conservative bootlick Cal Thomas crawls your ass, then you've really screwed up. Cry me a river, Trent! Couldn't have happened to a better guy. Can't wait to see Mona Charon try and put a positive spin on this.You're probably all aware of and have read about and commented on this story ad nauseum already, but hey-politics isn't my forte or my focus here at the Show. But that has never stopped me from spouting off anyway...

Later, I hope, reviews of the comics I bought yesterday. Depends on how busy I get here at work...they're really cracking the whip right now.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

From Newsarama (and other places) comes this little heads-up: apparently the "Sunday Comics" section of Oni Press' website will feature new Jingle Belle comic strips, beginning this Sunday. I've been a big fan of Paul Dini's character in the past, and while I've been less than thrilled with recent JB books, this is still worth checking out, in my opinion anyway.
In my never ending quest to make spirits bright, I've posted this lovely seasonal illustration by the incredible Ellen Forney at right. If you ever get a copy of DC's Bizarro Comics, look for her ass kicking Wonder Woman story.

Also, in my equally relentless and probably quite hopeless quest to entertain you as much as is humanly possible, here is a link to The Rocklopedia Fakebandia, a online reference source to every fake band that has ever appeared in any movie or TV show you can think of. Countless minutes of pleasure can be had clicking on its many pages and entries. You can thank me later, if I ever get around to adding PayPal. A thousand and one thanks to young mahster Mike Cary for the link.