Friday, February 28, 2003

Hi there. I've been off work all day! Since we had worked so much OT and such over the last month, we were given today off. So oddly enough, I haven't blogged a thing. Until now.

First, I bought a CD today. Who Do We Think We Are by Deep Purple, a remastered version with bonus tracks. This 1973 release, the last worthwhile album with the original Purp lineup, was the first DP album I ever bought (in 1975). While it's no classic, there are some good songs on it, especially if you're predisposed to like white-boy blooz with sexist lyrics by aging Englishmen. Fortunately, I suppose that I tend to be predisposed that way, despite the fact that I should know better. Deep Purple and all the ancillary people that orbited around them from that period from 1970 till 1976 is actually a fascinating story, to me anyway. I think I might write more one of these days on the subject...

I also stumbled upon this Indie Alt.Country music-for-sale site, called Miles of Music, while clicking on the website (see link at left) of my friend Ned Hill aka NedVanGo. I call him such, even though we haven't seen each other in three years and despite my repeated requests he refuses to even consider letting me design for him...Anyway, they've got some interesting stuffage there on Miles of Music, including a CD by the Minus 5, comprised of R.E.M.'s Pete Buck, former Posie Ken Stringfellow, and some Wilco members, including main Wilcodude Jeff Tweedy. It's called "Down With Wilco". Hm. Anyway, you can download song samples, and I can see me spending some minutes checking some otherwise unknown music out there.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

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While fiddling about on the Net this afternoon, I happened upon an article at Sequential Tart about "Girly Porn", that is, porn comics written and drawn by women. Of course, there were links, and I soon found myself at the web sites of two creators: Molly Kiely and Colleen Coover. I flat out love Kiely's work. Her stuff tends to lean towards desert scenarios and nude cowgirls, worthy subjects without a doubt, and she has a loose, attractive style. She's very good with color as well. Coover's site didn't offer much but a bio and a mail order page, but I was attracted to her Jaime Hernandez-ish art and appealing characters. Reminds me a lot of Jason Little, too. Click on the above pictures to go to their sites. I think I might be placing an order from Eros comics soon.

Music today: Eno-Here Come The Warm Jets (subject of a very good piece by Brendan recently), Miles Davis-Kind of Blue, Harry Nilsson-Pussy Cats, KC and the Sunshine Band-20th Anniversary Collection, John Hiatt-Walk On, Led Zeppelin-Physical Graffiti, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers-Echo.
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Well, by now the entire Blogosphere has taken the opportunity to eulogize Fred "Mister" Rogers, who died early today, and I shall be no exception. That being said, I gotta tell you straight up: I was not a fan as a kid. Never ever watched Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Thought it was boring. I was more of a Captain Kangaroo man myself. Still, when I grew up to be a man (can you hear that song now?) and had kids, my son Britt watched Mister Rogers regularly when he was very small, and liked it very much if I recall correctly. Anyone that gave my son happiness in his not-always-happy life is all right with me, so rest in peace, Fred Rogers. A multitude of kids big and small will mourn your passing.
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What I bought and what I thought, week of February 26

1. NEVERMEN: STREETS OF BLOOD 2 A very close call this week, but I just got a bigger charge out of the surreal weirdness of Amara and Davis' story than I did from the (somewhat) more grounded drama of Bendis and Carey. Amara's dialogue is odd, but somehow fits in just right with all the strange characters and situations, and Davis' work is sensational. He has completely reversed my opinion of his art based on his Sandman Mystery Theatre stint. If you're not buying the seperate books, you should at least consider the trade collection. A

2. DAREDEVIL 44 Bendis is superb as usual, especially in the opening scenes, and Alex Maleev steps up this time and delivers such outstanding stuff in the first half of the story that for once I don't mind his Owlverine. I find myself wondering what people who have only seen the movie think upon picking these comics up out of curiosity. A

3. JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER 181 Essentially John vs. demons in a game of cat-and-mouse, a scenario we've seen a few times, but Mike Carey's gift is such that he can fill it with enough twists and excellent dialogue/characterization that it seems fresh again. The art, by someone named Jock, is hit and miss– mostly hit, fortunately. A

4. CATWOMAN 16 Frankly, I've been bored to tears by Brubaker's latest Big Life Changing Episode in Selina's imagine my surprise when I found myself totally engrossed in this, the big grand finale issue! That being said, I found it a tad far-fetched that she posessed the kind of physical strength that enabled her to escape the clutches of the Black Mask, but I can overlook it this time. I'll chalk it up to andrenaline, not writer contrivance. And a book that was on the verge of being dropped from my list survives! A-

5. LEGION 17 In which we catch up on R'as Al Ghul, and Abnett/Lanning begin to address a grievous mistake made by previous which essentially spit on an older Legion character and has enraged, divided and alienated (no pun intended) Legion fans for several years. About damn time. Overall, great characterization, wonky science, and hit-or-miss (mostly hit) art by a newcomer who is a complete unknown to me. Another strong issue. A-

6. JLA 78 I had originally panned this issue, but I have since found out I was mistaken. In my copy, page 17 was bound in between 6 & 7, and since I tend to be feeble-minded and easily confused, it threw me for a loop and I thought Joe Kelly was back to his old, haphazardly scripted tricks. When I allow for this mistake, this issue becomes a pretty well-written prelude to another story arc, with sharp dialogue and characterization, always Kelly strengths. As always, Mahnke and Nguyen shine. Hey, when I make a mistake, I admit it! A-

7. VERTIGO X PREVIEW A grab bag of stuff from creators past and present, with previews of upcoming titles...some of which (Zatanna, the Wintermen, Cliff Chiang's Beware the Creeper) look interesting and some (the aptly titled Losers, Blood and Water, and Barnum) that don't. Well worth the price, especially for those of us who were there at the beginning (MIlligan & Allred's Shade story is a nice look back) and like to reminisce. A-

8. GLOBAL FREQUENCY 5 Pretty much status quo again this time out...great idea, developed pretty well by Warren Ellis with his typically terse and clever dialogue. The artist this time is Jon J. Muth, doing a rare pen-and-ink job. Well done all around, but strangely uninvolving. B+

9. STRANGERS IN PARADISE V2 56 More of that ongoing will-they-or-won't-they soap opera. Most of the usual annoying Terry Moore pretensions are here; poetry, faux journal pages, etc., all of which stop the narrative dead in its tracks...but I guess he's wearing me down because I made it through without losing my temper. The things I put up with because I like his characters. B+

10. X-STATIX 8 Probably shouldn't have ranked this dead last, but I can't help it- I was bored by this issue. In fact, I've been bored by the last couple of issues, and at this rate I won't be buying much longer. Its not badly drawn or written per se; it's just that Allred's not the type of artist that can consistently breathe life into Milligan's bone-dry scripts. B-

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Thought I'd write a few lines whilst letting today's comics settle in my brain and foment opinionation.

On a personal note, we finally got that g-darned April (formerly "Master") catalog out the fricking door. That little publication, owing to everything from the "Everybody in the company gets to look at it and suggest changes" policy apparently in place, to procedural glitches, to mindless, constant re-pagination to acts of God in the form of inclimate weather, shutting down FedEx and preventing the initial shipment from going out on time to the printers, has become a soul killing burden that all of us have had a more or less equal share in. Tonight was the first night in over a week that I got to leave when I was supposed to, at five o'clock. And this is not a good thing, I'm on salary. Anyway, it's gone...but our little publications are like the zombies in Return of the Living Dead; they want to eat your brain and are damn near impossible to kill! Maybe now my life can get back to some semblance of normalcy. Until the next catalog. But you know what? In spite of all that, I do like my job and consider myself fortunate to have it. Really. I shit you not.

I found a neat Marx Brothers site the other day while clicking around; here it is. I am proud to say I've seen every Marx film at least once...Duck Soup is still my favorite.

I suppose now it's been officially stated for the record– this is the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh well, that's OK. All things must pass, as the saying goes. It's been a great run, a lot longer than some shows get (Firefly? American Gothic?), and while there have been some clunker episodes here and there it's been, for the most part, some of the most fun and imaginative TV ever. Last night's episode was enjoyable, not the greatest but still engrossing...Whedon seems to be really setting us up to like Andrew for some reason. Care to guess why? There's just so much going on that I can't even begin to speculate on how it's going to all be resolved. This is the last sweeps episode for a while, unfortunately, so I'll just have to keep on guessing. Also, the question remains about who or what will be the central character in the proposed spinoff series. Conventional wisdom for a while said Eliza Dushku's Faith, but apparently she's signed on to do another TV show so your guess is as good as mine. Hope it's not Kennedy, though– I don't completely trust her and she's really annoying most of the time.

Music the last two days: Zappa/Mothers-Uncle Meat (again, I know-I've been in a mood), The Essential Johnny Cash (big surprise there), George Harrison-All Things Must Pass, Elvis Costello-Mighty Like A Rose, Steve Earle-Jerusalem, Electric Light Orchestra-Out of the Blue.
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Today's Bacardi Show Birthday greeting goes out to the Man in Black himself. No, not the Shadow, Johnny Cash.

I have written previously about the effect hearing his "Ring of Fire" had on me at an early age. Who knows, if not for that song, I might not have gone on to be the music fan I am today...or at least a different kind of music fan. It's hard to believe now, but there was a time in the late 60s-early 70s that Cash was as big a star as there was, with his own groundbreaking TV show and more. I can't believe someone doesn't show reruns- I'd love to see the shows with Bob Dylan and Mike Nesmith again. Hell, he still has the goods- I caught the video the other night for his cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" and it's powerful stuff.

Happy Birthday to ya, Johnny C, from Johnny B.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Mike Cary sent this link to me and I just had to pass it on. Elvis. Marilyn Monroe. All in one. Can you stand it?
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What with all the Daredevil this and Daredevil that, thanks to the movie I still haven't seen, I thought it would be worthwhile to point you all to the website of the man that did more to shape DD in the comics than all the Quesadas and Smiths one can shake a stick at, Gene Colan. Click on the sweet commissioned Daredevil piece above to go there.

He did tons of exciting, adventurous work for Marvel in the 60s and 70s, including wonderful stints on Dr. Strange, the Sub-Mariner, the Avengers, Howard the Duck, and 70 plus amazing issues of the landmark Tomb of Dracula, which gave us the Blade character among other things.

I understand he didn't even get a mention in the movie. If not, what a shame.
Looking at the Diamond Shipping List for tomorrow, I spy with my little eye the following that I'll be picking up:

JLA #78

And a couple of special cases:

I'll most likely be having them put the Hellboy book in my folder just in case, but that comic is supposed to be my winnings in the football bet Michele and I made a month or two ago. If she remembers, then I'll be getting it from her and I won't buy it from my comics shop. Trevor Von Eeden, in our phone conversation yesterday, mentioned that he would be sending me an advance copy of the Mysterious Traveller book that he did art chores on, so I'll have to wait and see on that one too.

Otherwise, looks like another painful week for my wallet. I'm especially looking forward to the JLA book, which features the regular team of Kelly, Mahnke and Nguyen for the first time in what seems like ages. Obsidian ages, as a matter of fact, yuk yuk. I kill me. Also, the Legion looks good from previews and the Vertigo sampler might be worth a look, since it's supposed to feature advance looks at most of the new titles coming out from that imprint. Since Mike Carey took over, I always look forward to reading his Hellblazer as well. I might have to bust out the ol' $5 coupon I've been holding on to for a few weeks now.
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Even though it's difficult at best to convey birthday greetings to someone who has passed on, I still can't let today go by without extending a Bacardi Show Birthday rememberance to that master gardener George Harrison, who would have been the big 6-0 today. While he may have been a tad deficient in the charisma department, especially compared to his mates, he more than made up for it in musical skills. He was the glue which held those magnificent songs together, and here's hoping that he's found the peace and enlightenment that he spent most of his life looking for.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Aw, heck- sleep is overrated anyway.

Just wanted to mention a couple of things. I went to Barnes & Noble on my lunch break (or at least the last 30 minutes of it, anyway) and checked out some stuff, most notably the latest issue of Mojo magazine (or the latest one to come out in the US) and a brand new (to me) Neil Young book. I used to buy Mojo faithfully for a while, then it occurred to me to subscribe, figuring it was cheaper to sign up for a one-time gouge of 70 or so bucks that pay my eight dollars 12 times a year...I did that for a couple more years but when I was laid off in 2000 my sub ran out and I couldn't afford to re-up. I missed several issues before I found employment again, and let me tell you its easier to do almost anything than it is to find affordable back issues of I just pop in once in a while at B&N and sit and read 'em. If they mind, they don't act like it. Anyway, the issue I perused today had a cover feature about Carlos Santana and his namesake band, and covered the time leading up to when he recorded what is most certainly my favorite of his albums, Caravanserai. I found it very interesting, anyway. Also within were articles on Kate Bush, a fave of mine from back in the 80s, and my favorite period of the Kinks, 1968-1971.

The Neil Young book, which I've added to my Amazon wish list (hint hint), is named Journey Through The Past: The Stories Behind The Classic Songs of Neil Young. It's essentially a song-by-song, album-by -album commentary on Neil's music through the years. Each song gets a capsule review, at least a paragraph...some more than that. He likes On The Beach as much as I, although we disagree strongly on Landing On Water. But then again, I don't think anybody liked that one but me, not even Neil. I've got a couple of books (Beatles songs, John Lennon solo) like this already, and I find them irresistable. I wish somebody would do similar books on McCartney and Harrison. I won't hold my breath.

Music today: Tom Waits-Beautiful Maladies (I hate the song selection on this one. I need to get Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs.), Beatles-Abbey Road, Coldplay-A Rush of Blood to the Head (I thought they were quite good last night backed by that orchestra- a little ragged but that's OK), and Prince-The Gold Experience.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Morning update:

You may recall how I was bitching about all the rain, rain, rain we've had around here lately. Well, God in His or Her or Its infinite wisdom sure showed me. Now we have a 1-inch covering of snow all over everything. Joy.

Derek Kirk Kim has completed his magnum opus "Same Difference", and it's well worth your time to read. Just the thing for a Sunday afternoon when it's raining or snowing or whatever outside.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

"...The pain that drains like an endless day of rain."

I've had that line in my head all day today. It's a line from The Song of the Sea Goat, by Peter Sinfield on his 1973 solo album "Still".

It has done nothing but rain around here for what seems like days on end. This after several days of frigid, icy conditions...this has been the longest, dullest, most soul-killing stretch of winter that I can remember. Maybe it's because I've been working so much at the ol' day job, maybe it's dealing with the lingering effects of the cold I had earlier this week, I don't know. But I'm not alone, I don't think...I've heard many people talking about how tired they are and how depressing things have been lately, not just people I encounter personally but also people whose blogs I read as well. There's just a big malaise going on right now, in no small part because of the constant bad news regarding world events combined with the flat out shitty weather. All we can do is hope for the best, I suppose...but at least on my account, it makes it difficult for me to sit down and write interesting/entertaining stuff, that's for sure. Assuming of course that anybody ever finds it so in the first place...

Got a letter from Thriller artist Trevor Von Eeden this morning. He was writing to tell me about his conversation with writer Robert L. Fleming and some events that he had forgotten about at the time the two were collaborating on the Thriller comic...including one stunt which had me shaking my head in disbelief that it could ever happen. Without going into too much detail, it was a childish, "show-who's-boss" demonstration which took place in the DC offices back in 1984 and is difficult to associate with professional, grown men in a business environment-whether that business is comic book publishing or anything else. Just to clarify: it happened to Von Eeden, along with new editor Alan Gold. It didn't involve Fleming. It must be difficult for younger comics readers (if there are any these days) to believe that there was a time when information about the whys, wherefores, comings and goings of comic book creators was scarce and limited to what the Big Two wanted you to know about. Publications like the Comics Journal and Buyers' Guide went a long ways towards providing inside info eventually, but it was still nowhere near what we have now. With the advent of the internet and behind-the-scenes columns on a multiple of sites, along with publications like Comic Book Artist, those of us who care get a level of info unprecedented back in the day. With all this in mind, however, sometimes I wish I didn't know so much and this is one of those times, no doubt.

To change subjects slightly, I'm sure most of you are aware of the terrible tragedy involving the fire at the Rhode Island nightclub the other night. Of course, there's nothing one can do or say to make this any better, but the one thing I'm left wondering is how pathetic is it that a has-been group like Great White can't let go of their arena days? I can't think of too many more asinine things to do than use pyrotechnics in a small club. Now people who were just out to have a good time have paid the price for the band's stupidity.

Just finished watching Arsenic and Old Lace again, and getting my Priscilla Lane fix. Sigh. I also watched a LONG jungle action film, directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne called Hatari!. While it was, like I said, extremely long and full of people who spoke clumsy English in thick dialects, it was entertaining despite the fact that really nothing of consequence happened. In the film, Wayne played a Irishman (shades of the Quiet Man) who ran a group which captured rhinos, giraffes, and other wild animals in Africa for transport to zoos. The entire movie is made up of animal hunts and various interpersonal goings-on with the members of the group which includes a young female French photographer, who of course falls for Wayne, who looks like her grandfather. They don't make em like this one anymore...or do they?

I watched Bill Maher's new show last night on HBO, and thought it was OK for the most part. The guest panel wasn't the best, although the always reliably obtuse Ann Coulter was there, and just like the old show sometimes Maher was such a jerk that he makes you feel sympathetic for the panelist he's sparring with...I mean geez, once he made Ted Nugent come across as the voice of reason! I think in the future he should curtail the standup comedy and celebrity cameos...Sarah Silverman's unfunny routine and Chris Rock's pointless appearance made the new show more of an endurance test than it should have been.

Don't know if I'll watch the Grammys tomorrow night. I'll probably watch a few minutes here and there. I don't really pay much attention to the awards themselves, since the music that they recognize has little to do with music and musicians that I'm interested in. That being said, I hope Coldplay and Norah Jones get some recognition. I've enjoyed their music a lot in the last year.

That's all I have for this evening. I had hoped I could get going once I got started and perhaps blow a few cobwebs out of the old attic, and I think I have for the most part. If I think of anything else to write about, I'll probably be back. I think it's about time for another installment of Albums Nobody Cares About Anymore But Me...

Friday, February 21, 2003

Just for shits and giggles, and to impress all of you with my eclecticism, here's my Music Today List. This includes Music Yesterday as well.

Beck-Odelay, Bjork-Vespertine, Jade Warrior-Elements: The Island Anthology, Warren Zevon-I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (An Anthology) disc 2, Donovan-Troubadour: The Definitive Collection, especially the nice track "Oh Gosh" which I swear I had never noticed before. Funny how that works sometimes...also, Terence Trent D'Arby-Neither Fish Nor Flesh, and Goldfrapp-Felt Mountain.

How did you ever get along without knowing this? At least a few of these came out after 1990...
A new Christgau Consumer Guide is up over at Village Go forth and viddy.
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Time now for
What I bought and what I thought, week of February 19

1. LUCIFER 35 It is such a joy to see the skill with which Mike Carey handles all the myriad plot threads that he's set up. This month's dalliance with Norse mythology (like last month's excellent Loki cameo) was the highlight of the book for me. Peter Gross and Ryan Kelly's art is servicable, often very good. This, kiddies, is the work of gifted professionals at the top of their game. A

2. JACK STAFF (IMAGE) 1 Speaking of gifted creators at the top of their game, here's Paul Grist with the big full-color first issue of his British super-hero Jack Staff. Longtime readers might be a bit surprised to see me rank this second, but I have my reasons...make no mistake, this is an excellent comic- but it's a getting acquainted type issue, which means that Grist felt the need to showcase almost all the principal players...and while it's cleverly done (when we first meet Becky Braddock- Vampire Reporter, for example, it's an almost scene-by-scene recreation of the first meeting of Jack and Becky from JS (Dancing Elephant) 1), it's not terribly exciting. Also, while the coloring is excellent I'm so accustomed to Grist's masterful B&W technique that it's going to take a while for me to get used to it. It's a bit episodic, true, but that's Grist's storytelling style. One doesn't get a lot of warning when he decides to change scenes. It may drive some up the wall, but I love it...keeps things from getting monotonous and sometimes the abrupt segues themselves are cleverly done. Finally, I'm more than a bit bugged that we saw Image issue #1 before we got Dancing Elephant issue #12, which means that there are all sorts of dangling plotlines that I'm dying to see resolved! Still, this is an overall outstanding book, and I'm hoping that those who are disinclined to try B&W comics will give this a chance now that it's in color. A

3. GRRL SCOUTS: WORK SUCKS 1 They're back, Jim Mahfood's drug dealing mercenary alternachicks and this reminiscent-of-old-underground-comics book is fun and well drawn in his pointy style. The Grrls are trying to adjust to life in the aftermath of the last miniseries, and it will be interesting to see what happens. A

4. THE TRUTH: RED, WHITE AND BLACK 4 Some may disagree, but I'm thinking that this is hitting its stride and is often gripping, despite the mostly indifferent Kyle Baker art. And heck, in this issue I get the distinct impression that he was actually trying on a couple of pages. A-

5. SLEEPER 2 Again, as in #1, it would help if I had a better knowledge of the Wildstorm mainstream universe...but taken at face value, this low-key exploration of the seamier side of said universe hits more often than it misses and this issue read a heck of a lot better than #1. The colorist in this issue doesn't do the otherwise excellent (as always) Sean Phillips any favors this time out...all the colors are muted, dingy, ugly mauves and greens and browns, and while I suppose it's intended to further illustrate the ugly goings-on depicted, it makes this story more of a slog than it should be. B+

6. SHANG-CHI, MASTER OF KUNG FU 6 This is the big grand finale of this retro spectacular, and it doesn't disappoint. It doesn't shock, surprise, or amaze, either...and it doesn't make me want to read it again anytime soon. B+

7. TOM STRONG 19 For a few minutes I thought I was reading mediocre sister book Terrific Tales again, since this issue had almost the same format. It's wonderful to see new Howard Chaykin interior art again, his first in ages, but it's saddled to a dumb story that didn't make a lot of sense on a lot of levels. There's also a not-bad, not-great second story which doesn't really amount to much one way or the other...this issue is redeemed at the end, though, by a clever, amusing third story excellently drawn by regular artist Chris Sprouse and inker Karl Story. B

8. Y: THE LAST MAN 8 No better or no worse than previous issues, this title has sort of settled into a bland complacency. It's not poorly done, and it's readable, but I'm losing interest fast, and I'm thinking that this will be my last issue. I really didn't buy Yorick's reaction at the end, either, especially considering the circumstances. B

9. HAWKMAN #12 I'm just not getting much of a pulse out of this increasingly dull superhero saga...even the normally reliable Rags Morales seems off this time out.This is where I get off. C

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Gotta love the Onion. Go here and check out this hilarious story. I think I've seen that fella with the shotgun and whiskey bottle somewhere before...

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Almost forgot!
Music today: XTC-Nonsuch, Nick Drake-Bryter Layter, The Mothers of Invention-Uncle Meat, Tommy Bolin-Teaser, the Beach Boys-Good Vibrations:Thirty Years of the Beach Boys disc 2. Boy I really do listen to a lot of old stuff, don't I.
Hello and good evening. I've still got that cold, I'm trying to work while I have it, and consequently less energy than usual to think (which takes an incredible amount of my energy, believe me), so I think I'll just post some stuff at random and hope that someone will think it's worth their time. I'm gonna be all over the place, so hold on...

My homeboy Chris Tabor keeps sending me all these links to political editorials and whatnot, and I try to read them all and usually find more than a few interesting. Here's one from the Toronto Star. I think Chris shall be the official anchor for the Bacardi Show Weekend Update section. He also sent me this news item which appears on E! Online's news in brief section that cites the New York Post as saying that video footage exists of a supposed reunion of the three surviving Beatles, and it will be released on DVD next month. I'm a bit skeptical; knowing the vast network of rabid Beatle fans out there, you'd think that this would have leaked out a long time ago. Hell, I'd watch it, though. That's how bad I am when it comes to the Fabs. If I could sit and watch McCartney play with an ourangutan, then I'll have no problem with this.

Mrs. Bacardi's watching the Bachelorette finale as I type. To me, all these shows like this are just sordid and crass, like somewhat more genteel versions of the Springer show. Maybe it's just my notorious anti-social streak displaying itself, I don't know. I don't like or care about any of these people, the Joe Millionaires and Trista whatevers, and have less than no interest in these artificially staged quote unquote reality shows featuring pretty people and their vapid lives. Hmpf. Guess I should learn to lighten up a bit. They would probably think my life's pretty vapid too, and nowhere nearly as interesting.

I've been checking out a film or three here and there. Haven't seen Daredevil yet, probably won't for a while. There used to be a second time around buck-fifty theatre in Bowling Green, where I do everything but live, and it strikes me that DD would have been perfect for that. Bill Sherman, that Pop Culture Gadabout, writes a very well done critique of the film over at his site. Go on, check it out, but come back as soon as you can, I'm not finished yet. Bill has been writing a lot of great stuff over at his place lately, and I always value his occasional notes over here.

He also links to something here on my site that I meant to write about when I first posted it: the Bloginality test. It's a modified version of those personality tests that employers often give prospective employees. In fact, I took one for real when I was hired for the last job I held before my current one, AKA the job from Hell. I'd discuss that place, but that's a whole 'nother blogpiece. These tests are interesting to me as sort of a barometer to see how you measure up to the results that your responses generate. As you can see at right, I am an ISFJ personality type, which says that

As an ISFJ, you are Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging.
This makes your primary focus on Introverted Sensing with Extraverted Feeling.

In blogging, your journal will always be immaculate and have a touch of style. You may also feel overwhelmed because you want to be a part of everything going on. Because of your wonderful memory, other bloggers may come to you to ask about things you posted months before.

Okay, sure, I'll go along with that. It's the still faint, flickering ember of my creativity that manifests itself that way, I suppose. If I was more skilled in writing html code, this little bloggiepoo would look a lot different. I'm still mulling over doing a total redesign anyway using freeway, paying for a domain name, and going that route. If I do, you'll all be the first to know. Those interested in taking the test for themselves are directed to the link at right.

OK, where was I....movies. Right. I watched The Gift recently, the Sam Raimi-directed flick that starred Cate Blanchett, who was very good, as a small town soothsayer who has real psychic flashes of a murder. It was pretty gripping most of the way through, even though they kinda telegraphed the ending. The stunt casting of Keanu Reeves, the Bela Lugosi of the modern screen era, as a trailer-trash wife beating redneck fortunately works very well. Bet Sam & Co. were very relieved. I also caught the Bogart and Bacall version of the Big Sleep Monday, while I was burning up with fever and lying in bed. Kept my attention,'s just one of those wonderful old classic films, full of stylisation and archetyping and plain old good scripting. I really love those old James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart films. I also watched Made, a less succesful re-teaming of Swingers Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau which is watchable, but having done so I have no inclination to do so again. It's often funny, often annoying (especially Vaughn's character). I was hoping I could stay up late enough last night to see Dust Be My Destiny, one of the Priscilla Lane films I haven't seen, but I couldn't do it. I fell asleep in the recliner, and woke up well after it was over. Oh well. There's still Arsenic and Old Lace, which I've seen a dozen times but what the heck, on TCM Saturday night at 6 eastern. Speaking of TCM, they're showing one of my all time favorite films on the 25th, the Karloff/Lugosi epic the Black Cat. It's got Karloff the Uncanny, pointy of hair and ear, skinny as a rail, all dressed in black, living in an art deco mansion in which he leads a cult of Satanic worshippers, and the great Bela Lugosi in a rare sympathetic role as a man on a mission of retribution. If you love old, stylish B&W films, and God knows I do, and you haven't seen this yet, then do yourself a favor and check it out. Even if you don't get Turner Classic, rent or buy it. It's that good.

I picked up the below listed comics today on my lunch break; in addition to the ones named below I also picked up Grrl Scouts: Work Sucks by Jim Mahfood, which I was supposed to get last week but my shop got short-shipped on, and The Truth 5, which I just plain old overlooked on the Diamond list. And Image's Jack Staff 1 also came out! This is great news, but unfortunately, like I said before, #12 in the previous run from Dancing Elephant hasn't come out yet! There are all sorts of dangling plot threads that have yet to be resolved! Image's JS 1 is kind of a getting acquainted issue, cleverly done (a given with Paul Grist) with deliberate reenactments of events in the early issues of the Elephant run. I hope that everyone who has been passing on this wonderful book because it's previously been in B&W will give it a chance now that it's in full color. Strangely, I think the color's going to take some getting used to because Grist has such great command of the B&W format. Anyway, I think I'll email Grist (or at least the email address he gives in each issue) and ask him what the heck happened to #12!

Another great Buffy episode last night. The only negatives were yet another troop rallying type speech (and the odd reaction of the Scoobies to it, which struck me as a bit inconsiderate on their part) and another disappearing act by Giles. It was good to see Spike acting like his old self again, although I'm sure this won't bode well for the Buffster. I don't know how many more original episodes are left, but I have no idea where this is all going and I like that very much. While we're on the subject of TV, I've been enjoying watching Futurama reruns on Cartoon Network as well. There are a lot of Futurama episodes I have never seen, owing to the fact that Fox always pre-empted it for football games, and my work schedule, and other stuff. I'm catching up now.

I see the Bachelorette is almost ready to make her choice. If you'll excuse me...

Aw, I was almost done anyway. Whaddaya want from me? Thanks for making it this far though. Oyasumi Nasai.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

I should have known this would happen. Checking out the old sitemeter, I see where I got two Google hits from people looking for information on that Saturday Night Live/Blue Oyster Cult cowbell skit that I went to pains to describe my hatred for. Oh well, guess it beats the usual searches for nude pictures of Nani from Lilo & Stitch (or worse. You wouldn't believe...).

And yes, I realize that this will cause more hits.
You want politics, you got politics...

Here's an interesting editorial at EtherZone pertaining to the upcoming conflict. Sent to me by Count T'Abor aka Foggy Nelson. Many valid points are made.
The Diamond Shipping list is finally up, after being delayed all day yesterday and a cursory glance shows I'll be picking up:


I'm a little surprised at seeing the first Image issue of Jack Staff listed there; #12 from Dancing Elephant still, to the best of my knowledge, hasn't come out yet! Guess we shall see...! I'm also noticing that there are at least two books listed that I'll probably stop buying after this week.
Feeling a bit better today, thanks for asking.

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Today's Bacardi Show Birthday greeting goes to that most misunderstood of artists, Mrs. Yoko Ono Lennon, who turns 70 today. For the record: she did not break up the Beatles. The factors that led to that calamatous occurrence were varied and numerous, and she may have unintentionally exacerbated tensions, no doubt, but it would have happened regardless. All the Beatles agreed upon that.

And she's been quite an interesting artist in her own right for many years, from her early performance art to her collaborations with Lennon to more current endeavors with the likes of Cibo Matto. I especially admire her mid 70s albums Approximately Infinite Universe and Feeling The Space, more conventionally structured than her first two, which were more experimental. Most people remember her trademark howling and screeching and think that's all there is (the human tendency to simplify and streamline for easier recollection, I suppose), but that's hardly the case. There are some excellent songs on all of her albums, like "Midsummer New York" and the lovely "Mrs. Lennon" from her Fly album, which does have some unlistenable stretches, in all fairness, and one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, "I Have a Woman Inside My Soul" from Approximately Infinite Universe. I've not been such a big fan of her later music, but I still give her credit for perservering and continuing to create.

So happy birthday Yoko. Long may you run.

Monday, February 17, 2003

I'm writing this from home; and it's a work day. That's right, you guessed it: I'm a sick as the proverbial dog. I finally succumbed to the bug that's been going around. Cough, head & chest congestion, fever, the works. I guess if you're in contact with enough sneezing, coughing people it's inevitable.

So no hockey for me, and it's too late to give my tickets away. Feh. I'm going to the doctor in a few hours, then I will attempt to sleep the rest of the day, so I doubt I'll post anything else for a while. At least we didn't get all the snow that those of you to the north and east of us got...don't know what's worse–to be snowed in and healthy, or free to get out but sick!

Anyway, best to everyone, and now I'm gonna go back to bed.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

On the Matter of Guitar Solos.

Image Hosted by A few posts ago, I thought it might be a good idea if I made a list of my favorite guitar solos. I think the time has come.

Let me preface this by stating that these are MY favorite guitar solos. This is not a list in which I would purport to tell you that these are the all time best guitar solos, or these are the best guitarists, or anything like that. These are simply solos, in mostly mainstream pop/rock songs, that have caused a sensation on Planet Dave. Solos that give me goosebumps and I know full well that I may be the only person on Earth to get them from them. Many, many great, even legendary guitarists will not be represented here- many of whom I revere, but have just had the misfortune of not playing a solo that pushed all the right buttons in my brain.

Also, to those of you who are younger than, oh, 25 or so... there was a time, kids, when the lead guitar player of your favorite music group actually had a sound. A signature sound, unique and personal, totally unlike any other guitarist's. One could not under any circumstances (unless deaf or very, very high) mistake a Mick Ronson solo for a Jimmy Page solo, for example. Guitarists back then often took a lead role, even singing lead vocals on occasion. Today's lead guitarists, eager to avoid the taint of being associated with the genre that killed off the lead guitarists– 80s spandex hair metal, with a LOT of help from Punk Rock, Tom Verlaine notwithstanding– took to hiding in the background, determined to be as UN-flamboyant and undistinctive as possible. Otherwise excellent players such as Peter Buck of R.E.M., Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard, and Stone Temple Pilots' Dean Dileo preferred to crank out their riffs from relative anonymity, creating a tone and texture that frankly just doesn't sound unique to anything or anyone. I'm not saying this is bad, I'm just saying that this is the way it is. And I know that I'm omitting probably 300 other lead guitarists from the 3000 anonymous bands that play what passes for Rock and Roll these days. I apologize in advance, so don't come to me with "But what about Joe Blow from Whatever 87? He fucking rawks, man!" I don't want to hear it. OK. Here goes, in no particular order:

Robert Fripp, The Night Watch, from Starless and Bible Black.
Fripp's cerebral playing, at least in 1974 when this was recorded, was a combination of iciness, harshness, and distortion that was very beautiful in a strange way. Fripp is probably my favorite guitarist, a rare 70s legend that is still making vital music today. Other Fripp solos I love are found on the Roches' Hammond Song from their debut album, and Losing True from their third, and Bowie's "Heroes" and Fashion.

Frank Zappa, Muffin Man, from Bongo Fury.
Zappa recorded many, many outstanding solos, but this one pushed the right buttons for me. Honorable mentions include "Black Napkins" from Zoot Allures and the title cut from "Apostrophe (')".

Dave Gilmour, Time, from Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon
This one gives me chills every time I hear it. Gilmour's howling, echo-laden solo on Time is an amazing thing. I stopped caring about Floyd after Wish You Were Here, but I can always listen to Dark Side and its predecessor Echoes.

Chris Goss, V.H.V., from the Masters of Reality's Sunrise on the Sufferbus
Masters of Reality (actually pretty much Chris Goss and session musicians these days) made some intelligent hard rock in the late 80s and 90s, just not enough of it and much of it has been unavailable in the USA. This cut is a harsh, bluesy, Cream-inspired song (probably in no small part due to Ginger Baker's presence on drums), and when Goss rips into his solo at first he skips along with the odd, staggered blues beat until all of a sudden he steps on a pedal (or something) and sprays out nasty sheets of noise that struggle against the beat, finally culminating with a finger trill that goes back into the heavy main riff. This description doesn't do it justice, believe me.

Bill Nelson, Crying to the Sky, from Be-Bop Deluxe's Sunburst Finish
Even though Nelson spent most of the 80s and 90s playing synths, in his Be-Bop days he played some excellent guitar riffs and solos. he has recently returned to playing guitar, so hopefully there will be more to come...anyway, this grandose, stately song coasts along with a sad melody and regretful lyrics until Nelson cuts loose suddenly with a cascading series of notes that culminate in several howling, sustain-laden held-out notes. It's a beautiful, majestic solo, very Hendrix-inspired, and is one of the finest moments on an excellent, overlooked record.

Steve Hillage, It's All Too Much, from L
I wrote about this one the other day. Hillage could play solos like nobody else, full of dipsy doodle runs full of notes all over the place. This particular solo also features some nice effects.

Phil Manzanera, the title cut from Diamond Head
This song's an instrumental exercise, one of the few times on former Roxy Music guitarist Manzanera's first, Eno-influenced and song-structured solo album that he gets to cut loose and play and he makes the most of it. Again, the texture of Phil's solos back in those days was harsh and abrasive, with lots of drawn-out, sustained notes. This particular cut has a haunting melody that will stick with you.

Zal Cleminson, Anthem, from the Sensational Alex Harvey Band's The Impossible Dream
To dress up in clown makeup onstage in those pre-KISS days, you had to be able to play your instrument, and Clemison certainly could. He didn't get too many chances to stand out in the theatrically oriented Harvey repertoire, but this track gave him an opportunity and he ran with it. Great example of playing against the beat and using dynamics.

Marc Bolan, Have You Seen My Baby (Hold On), from Ringo Starr's Ringo
Bolan played weird, atonal solos that often competed with, rather than complimented the melody and I for one always thought he was extremely underrated as a guitarist. There are several fine solos on almost any T.Rex album you care to name, but curiously this is the solo that I have always considered my favorite. He adds just the right touch to Ringo's fun cover of a Randy Newman song.

Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, Dominance & Submission from Blue Oyster Cult's Secret Treaties
Described by a Creem reviewer once as "faster than a shithouse mouse", Roeser could toss off amazing solos, crammed with multitudes of notes– each one in the proper place, and make it look as effortless as can be. This is one of many excellent solos he performed on the early Blue Oyster Cult albums, and is my favorite (obviously). It makes me sad that the BOC, once the thinking man's metal group, has been reduced to joke status thanks to several lame records late in their career and the asinine SNL cowbell skit. You know the one I'm referring to. I hate it.

Neil Young, the title track from On The Beach A bluesy, haunting solo from a haunted, sad album.

Tom Verlaine, Mary Marie, from Dreamtime
While Verlaine has squandered most of the promise of his Television days, this cut from (arguably) his best (second) solo LP rings and chimes and adds very much to this moody song from a moody album.

Ollie Halsall, on Kevin Ayers' May I, from June 1, 1974
Halsall, who was (if I recall correctly) a session guitarist for the most part here plays an amazing, light, jazzy solo in Ayers' breezy, clever track– adding to the appeal of one of the best live albums ever made in my own humble opinion.

Mick Ronson, White Light/White Heat, from Play Don't Worry
Even though Ronson played many awesome solos for David Bowie and Ian Hunter among others, this Velvet Underground cover from his second solo album boasts a nasty solo that really got in my head and wouldn't leave. If you've never heard either of Ronno's first two solo albums, I reccomend them highly.

Carlos Santana, Song of the Wind, from Caravanserai
The first overtly jazz-ish album Santana ever did, this 5 minute plus track is just an excuse for him to solo, with Neal Schon (pre-Journey) backing him up on rhythm. Santana really stretches out on this cut. He has done many fine records (although not too many in the last 20 years), and Caravanserai remains my favorite thanks to cuts like this one.

The Beatles, The End, from Abbey Road
You may remember these guys. Not only were the Lads genius songwriters and musicians, but the three non-drummers in that group were all excellent guitarists as well, and each had a distinctive sound. On this cut, the penultimate one in McCartney's little Abbey Road song suite, Paul, George, and John, in that order, take turns just cutting loose and playing guitar. It's exhilirating, and I have long wondered whether it was performed live in the studio, with each facing and feeding off of each other, or seperately, as they tended to do back then. Either way, it's an awesome finale to an era.

And appropriately enough, that's the end of my list. I know I have left off several greats. Hendrix, Page, Vai, Rory Gallagher, Ted Nugent (complete jerk but killer guitarist), Eddie Van Halen, Tony Iommi, Vernon Reid, Joe Perry, Billy Gibbons, and many others. Legends all, but they just didn't play a solo on any of their albums that made an impression on me to the extent that the above named did. I'm also sure I forgot many that I would have listed otherwise. That's life. And that's my list. Can you tell me any that you can't get out of your head?
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A happy Bacardi Show Birthday wish to Matt Groening, whom I'm sure needs no introduction. Without him television would be even duller than it is right now.
At the risk of becoming redundant, please indulge my Priscilla Lane obsession for a little while longer and check out this thorough biography page.

Haven't done this for a while, so here's a list of music listened to today:

Hothouse Flowers-Home, Peek-A-Boo: The Best of NRBQ, I Am Shelby Lynne, Continental Drifters-Vermillion.
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Finally, here are
What I bought and what I thought, week of February 12

1. DAREDEVIL 43 Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Fortunately, this is well written, interesting talk. All Alex Maleev is asked to do is provide talking heads, but he does so magnificently and is rewarded with a small action scene at the end which he handles with aplomb. Also, luckily we don't get his Owlverine in this issue. Maleev's stuff is beginning to remind me of Howard Chaykin, especially in the faces. A

2. POWERS 28 Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Fortunately, this is also well written, interesting talk. Think Bendis knows his strengths? Also, we get a new, interesting Jarvis-like character and the usual outstanding Avon Oeming graphics. A

3. ASTRO CITY: LOCAL HEROES 1 Talk, talk...oh, never mind. Kurt Busiek is the most maddening writer working today. When he writes standard superheroics like Thunderbolts and Avengers, he reads like any anonymous hack you can name from the last twenty years. But turn him loose in his own sandbox, and he's Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Pete Milligan and Mike Carey all wrapped up in one. Since there hasn't been an issue of Astro City to review since I started doing this, I'll let you know up front that I don't like Brent Anderson's grubby, bland, poorly proportioned art but in the service of Busiek and his Magic City, he is most functional and doesn't detract from the story. Much. All in all, a welcome return, although this issue's merely a getting (re)acquainted issue . A-

4. GOTHAM CENTRAL 4 Ed Brubaker is, I think much more suited to this down-to-earth kind of goings-on that Greg Rucka is. I'm at a loss to explain why I like his writing so much here, while getting deathly bored with Catwoman–guess it's that superheroics are the icing on the cake, rather than the cake itself as it is in the latter. Of course, Michael Lark is outstanding, messy inking notwithstanding. A-

5. FABLES 10 Somewhat anticlimactic, but still enjoyable with several blatant Kirby swipes from the heretofore non-Kirbyish team of Buckingham and Leialoha. Cleverly written as well, as always, although I am still a little dodgy about the notion of Fable-ish reicarnation Willingham presents to us. A-

6. JSA 45 While a lot happened in this issue, I was left cold by much of it despite the unexpected return of Eclipso, sort of, and the furtherance of the Doc Fate/Dove/Mordru subplot, which is what I'm sticking around for. "Doc Fate"'s line at the end about everybody's souls burning in hell struck me as unintentionally funny. Must have been the timing, I suppose. Kirk's art is better than it was when he started, but that just means it's competent. B

7. HELLBLAZER SPECIAL: LADY CONSTANTINE 3 Let's face it- no matter how hard they try to make her interesting, Johanna Constantine just isn't, and she's nowhere near as charismatic as her male descendent. The art is passable, if a bit stiff and sloppy. I won't be sad to see this end next month. B-

8. KILLRAVEN 5 I'm trying very hard not to compare Alan Davis' vanity project with the superior McGregor/Russell (and others) 70's incarnation...but it's difficult to do. Still, on its own terms, this book has been a well drawn, shallowly scripted time-passer. The original was so much more than that. Next issue is the last, thank God, and I for one hope that Marvel lets sleeping memories lie from now on...unless they're willing to bring McGregor back. C

9. TOM STRONG'S TERRIFIC TALES 6 Outside of a couple of nice art jobs by Jerry Ordway and Arthur Adams in service of a throwaway Alan Moore script and a totally thrownaway, gratuitous T&A fest by the lesser talented Moore, this book was a waste of the paper it was printed on. When this title was announced, I had my doubts about it– it seemed like there weren't enough stories for the main book, let alone a spin-off, and so far I'm being proved right. C-

Friday, February 14, 2003

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Apologies for the light blogging today and yesterday...that ol' debbil work (both jobs) is keeping me pretty much occupied. I'm working ten hour days right now at the day job! Hopefully, things will even out soon and I can get back to boring you with writing about comics and music and God knows what else. Maybe even politics, who can say.

Still, I had a couple of interesting things happen to me lately- first, I won two tickets to a Nashville Predators hockey game yesterday! A local sports radio station was giving them away and all you had to do was send them your name, address and so on. I did, and while I'm not sure that I wasn't the only one that entered, I got a phone call from the program director telling me I had won! Between this and the gift certificate I won recently, I'm thinking I had better play the lottery soon. Or maybe I've used up all my good luck, I don't know...anyway, they're playing the Boston Bruins, and I hope that the station doesn't expect me to sit in a special section or recognize me somehow– I might wear my Phoenix Coyotes jersey and piss somebody off! Gonna go drink some beer and watch some pucks, eh! Or y'all! Or whatever....

Significant occurrence number two was a phone message I received from Thriller writer and co-creator Robert Loren Fleming. You may recall that I've been in touch recently with the artist of that failed masterpiece, Trevor Von Eeden, and Trevor remarked (and so did Fleming, in our earlier conversations) that the two hadn't been in touch in almost twenty years, and if I got the chance, that I could pass his phone number on to RLF if I wanted to. I faxed it to him on Tuesday, and this afternoon Fleming called to let me know that he had called Von Eeden and they had a long conversation and had caught up on many things, and thanked me. I don't know if this will mean anything to anybody, but I got a great feeling knowing that I was actually able to play a part in getting these two back together, if only for a phone conversation. I stil have vivid memories of when I read those comics for the first time, and how amazed an excited I was by the experimentation and how unusual the Thriller comic was, and what kind of people Fleming and Von Eeden must be to be able to create this sort of thing...understand, comic creators are so much more accessable now than they were then, especially to a small town Kentucky boy like me. I never dreamed I'd ever get this kind of access to these people.

Thanks also to those who were kind enough to go over to Blizg and give me positive votes! Words cannot express. I didn't mean to sound so whiny.

To give you an idea about how hectic it's been for me lately, I have only read two of Wednesday's new comics as of this writing. I'm gonna go sit down and read them in a few minutes, and I hope to post reviews no later than Saturday night...I have also failed to go out and get a valentine's gift for Mrs. Bacardi. I hope to rectify that early tomorrow. It's always something...

Oyasumi Nasai.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Over at Franklin's Findings, I found this link to Peter Bagge's clever cartoon commentary on the anti-war protests. It kinda echoes my own feelings somewhat.
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You can make your own virtual candy hearts over at Found this at Easy Bake Coven and stole it shamelessly so's I could pass it on to all of youse.

I have to go to the dentist now, so if you'll excuse me...

No, seriously.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

These are people who died, died, died...

I don't know whether it's in the best of taste, but when I checked out the link to Priscilla Lane's grave site, it took me to a site called Find A Grave. Thought what the hell, I'm here, why not look up some other celebrities while I'm having morbid fun– so I looked up Harry Nilsson's grave, located at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park & Mortuary in California. Turns out that not only is Harry interred in that particular boneyard, but so is the great Jack Kirby! And not only those two but also songwriter Hoyt Curtin, former Toto (eww) keyboardist Marty Paich, and alleged O.J. Simpson victim Ronald Goldman!

Maybe I should have saved this for Halloween, I don't know...but that kinda freaked me out a little that two people from two totally different walks of life that had such a huge influence on me in my formative years would be buried in the same cemetery. Just shows ta go ya- you never know.

If you'd like to go looking for dead celebrities' stones yourself, click on the link above... for the rest of you, I apologize for the subject matter and will strive to do better in the future.
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I was watching Turner Classic Movies last night, and caught the film Four Daughters. Daughters starred Claude (Invisible Man) Rains, one of my favorite classic horror movie actors, as the musician father of, that's right, four daughters- three of them played by the Lane, nee' Mullican, sisters. As films go, it was OK...a pretty standard Thirties Hollywood soaper, which, as I understand it, made a star out of John Garfield- but the reason I watched was not Rains (who gets to play a flute solo(!)), but the presence of the radiant youngest of the Mullican sisters, Priscilla Lane.

Some actors and actresses just grab my attention and won't let go. Lane was one of them. I first saw her in the 1944 version of the stage play Arsenic and Old Lace, a very funny and enjoyable film with Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, and Peter Lorre. But I was smitten with Priscilla, who played Grant's befuddled fiance. She was beautiful, but there was also a goofy quality about her that was very endearing and attractive. I spent the next few years keeping an eye out for her films, of which there weren't all that many...probably the most notable ones were Hitchcock's 1942 film Saboteur and the James Cagney gangster flick The Roaring Twenties. She just seemed like someone who you could have a good time with, and I don't mean that in a bad way. Unfortunately, by 1948, she was out of the movie business all together, quitting to be with her Air Force husband. She died in 1995 of lung cancer. I'm sure I noted her passing, but I don't remember hearing about it.

For a great picture gallery, go here. If you're morbidly curious, here's her gravesite.

I'll hoist a cold one in your honor, Mrs. Priscilla Lane Mullican may not have been as well-known or revered as some of your contemporaries, but I'll always have a place for ya in the Cinema Bacardi.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Just took a look at Diamond's shipping list for Wednesday, and here's my forthcoming haul:

FABLES #10 (MR) $2.50
JSA #45 $2.50
POWERS #28 (MR) $2.95
DAREDEVIL #43 $2.99
KILLRAVEN #5 (Of 6) $2.99

Oh, boy... The whining sound you hear is my beleaguered checkbook.
Went to see the much-hyped musical film Chicago on Saturday night. I think I had my expectations a bit too high for this one, though.

Oh, don't get me wrong-it's well acted and sung. Catherine Zeta-Jones and my beloved Renee Zellweger were great, and Queen Latifah and Richard Gere (especially) were surprisingly good, as well. It's energetically can tell the director was trying very hard to put that something extra into his film.

Problem is, he doesn't have a clue what "something extra" is. I really hate to make comparisons to Moulin Rouge here...the only thing the two films have in common is that they're both musicals. While Rouge was a delirious explosion of color and sound, Chicago is more down-to-earth. Another thought I had was maybe this would be what it would look like if the Coen Brothers ever made a true musical...for some reason, I was constantly reminded of Cabaret, in the way all the songs were staged...and while Cabaret is a fine film, often excellent, for Chicago to emulate it, even unconsciously, is backwards-gazing...and that's something films that are trying to resuscitate a genre just shouldn't do.

So while I was entertained, I wasn't blown away and amazed like I constantly was during Moulin Rouge! (the only other recent musical I have to compare it to) which is my problem I suppose...but there you go. There were several outstanding scenes, like Gere's courtroom set complete with tap dance, and Zelleweger's mirrored room number, but the lack of "boom" was just something I couldn't get past. So do I recommend Chicago? Sure. But go to a matinee, or wait for the DVD to come out. It might actually play better on the small screen–better suited to its small ambition.

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My mother and I went out on Saturday. She had gotten the itch to buy a new love seat for her living room, and had found one in a closeout retailer. While she was writing the check and arranging to get it loaded into her truck, I went wandering around to see what I could see, and I soon found (as I am wont to do) their cutout CD section. It was there I spied about the only thing, IMO, worth picking up for five bucks, the 1992 Rhino compilation An Elpee's Worth of Productions.

An Elpee's Worth of Productions is a various artists-type collection which spotlights the long and varied production career of Mr. Todd Rundgren. I'm a fan of Todd, especially his pre-1975 output, and have always gone out of my way to pick up music projects he's involved in, whether it be as a session man or producer or what-have-you. I remember when this disc came out, and I'm not really sure why I didn't pick it up then; I suppose I thought I already had the best stuff on vinyl or disc or whatever...but now I'm happy to have many of these songs in one place.

I won't discuss my impressions of Todd's often spectacular but just as often disappointing career as a musician; this CD and this piece are just concerned with him as a studio guy. Todd has produced a hell of a lot of artists since the early 70s, from the overwrought schlock rock of Meat Loaf to the good-natured hippie vibe of Steve Hillage, and somehow not only managed to remain true to the artists, but true to those who expect a certain sound from the producer himself.

There are a few tracks from the likes of the Felix Cavalliere, the Rubinoos, Lords of the New Church, and Rick Derringer all of whom I've heard of but have never really cared for, and one from a group called "Hunter", whom I've never heard and based on the example given never want to again. But the good stuff, at least the good stuff in MY opinion, is good indeed. From the tumultous XTC/Rundgren sessions that gave us the amazing Skylarking album, "Dear God" Andy Partridge's scathing atheist plaint, is included. From the unfortunately short-lived Bourgeois Tagg we get their best song, the gorgeous "I Don't Mind At All". A great Tubes song from Remote Control, an interesting song from the obscure all-female 70s group Fanny, excellent tracks from outstanding songwriters like Jules Shear and Jill Sobule, and the funny, witty rocker "I'm An Adult Now" by the Pursuit of Happiness also grace the set. The song I love the most, however, is the aforementioned Steve Hillage's 1976 cover of George Harrison's "It's All Too Much" from Hillage's album "L". Hillage may have had his head in the clouds, but his hands were firmly on the fretboard. He is one of the most fearless and amazing guitarists I have ever heard, and "Much" features one of the best guitar solos that has ever graced my aural facilities.

When you add the great Grand Funk Railroad song "We're An American Band" (I always loved GFR, especially pre-1977), what you have is a pretty damn good sampler of music. It's like someone who had everything Todd has ever had a hand in decided to make you a mix CD. While it's not really current (and I don't have any idea, as I write, if Todd has produced anybody in the last 10 years), it was still well worth the five bucks I paid. Maybe you'll think so too, who knows?

Maybe I'll do a list one of these days. My ten favorite guitar solos of all time. You do remember guitar solos, right? From back when guitarists had a signature sound and didn't sound generically similar...
Just saw, over at Comic Book Resources an interview with the writer of that comic I raved so much about last week. You know, private eyes, Tiki torches and zombies. Ring a bell? Then you might want to go here and read it.
Beatlemania is alive and well over at Rolling Stone.

Besides the online text of the print article on the lost Let It Be tapes featured in the latest issue, there's also a portal to various articles written about the Fabs in RS at about that period in time.

I'm not a big fan of Rolling Stone these days, but this proves the old adage that even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.
Good morning.

Lots of stuff to write about, less than no time to do so.

Here's a link to tide us over: the 100 greatest music videos as collected by Slant magazine. Of course, I disagree with many of their selections, but that's par for the course for these sort of things. What do you think? Personally, I regret the omission of the Replacements' "Bastard of Young" and Peter Wolf's "Mars Needs Women" videos.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

I went to see Chicago tonight. I'll write about it later, it's past my theoretical bedtime.

I also picked up a cheap ($5) CD today, An Elpee's Worth of Productions-a collection of songs by artists produced by, and in some cases written and performed along with, Todd Rundgren. It's an eclectic and pretty good collection, and methinks I'll write about it later too.
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The first issue I ever owned

When I was a teenager, Creem magazine was my bible. It was where I developed a lot of the opinions about and attitudes toward music and musicians that I still hold today. Plus, it was funny as all get out most of the time. Although I don't think the magazine itself has been in print since the mid-90s, it is now online and is well worth checking out. I will of course be placing the link in the right hand section.

A million billion thanks to Susan for posting the link over at Easy Bake Coven!

Friday, February 07, 2003

While looking for something to link to by Richard Amsel, I happened upon the site of another great movie poster and album cover illustrator, Drew Struzan. Enjoy.
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Songs For The New Depression, a 1976 release, was the first album I ever heard by Bette Midler. I had heard her cover of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy on the radio from time to time, but I had never been all that curious. Something about the cover of this album caught my eye, though, plus I had read somewhere that Todd Rundgren, a longtime fave of mine, had played on it and produced a few cuts, so I picked it up. Don't really remember where. The inner sleeve was very nice, with illustrations by Richard Amsel of Bette as an mother and on the flip, as a daughter, surrounded with tiled borders depicting various fairytale scenarios surrounding the album credits. Damned if I know what it had to do with the rest of the album, but Amsel was an excellent illustrator and the sleeve was well done.

Basically a collection of songs that seemed to me to showcase Midler's goofy sense of humor and way with a ballad, Songs was not the hit record she felt that she needed at the time and the reviews were, to be honest, not kind.

Of course, I didn't read any of the notices (except the lukewarm Christgau capsule) until well after the album had gotten under my skin, so I was a bit nonplussed by the savaging Songs got. I found this record charming, touching, and well played, with the straight R & B/disco songs as tuneful as the retro novelty numbers. It is, I suppose, an example of the disconnect a young music fan gets when he doesn't live in one of the major media centers like NYC or LA. I had no expectations of Midler, so I wasn't disappointed. It was entirely consistent with what I had been conditioned to expect with Bugle Boy. A little later, I hunted down the two previous records she had made, the Divine Miss M and Bette Midler, and while I came to like them as well (especially the excellent Bette Midler), those efforts were a bit more straightforward and earnest (well, as earnest as Bette's wacky persona would let her be) and didn't engage me like Songs did.

In the interest of completeness, I'll run through the tracks: A disco-fied cover of Strangers In The Night, which kicked off the album, probably didn't endear her to those who revere Sinatra, but hey-I thought it was breezy and fun, even though Bette is a bit flat (how often would she be accused of that?). A nice, soulful cover of Phoebe Snow's I Don't Want The Night To End is next, and is a nice contrast to the hysterics of the Sinatra cover. Mr. Rockefeller is a charming phone call type song which she makes a bit poignant before it's over with sheer vocal chutzpah. Old Cape Cod sounds like a radio commercial, has a nice melody, and is the first time she does her nostalgia thing. It's short and sweet. An odd duet with Dylan on his Blood On The Tracks number Buckets of Rain, with some rewritten lyrics for the occasion is also light-hearted and while it's not better than the original, it's still listenable. Love Says It's Waiting is a inconsequential but pleasant enough orchestra-backed track which is over before you know it. I especially liked her cover of Tom Waits' Shiver Me Timbers, a nautical-themed song of goodbyes and regret which many thought was cheesy but pushed all the right buttons in my head. It's really quite touching and sad. It fades out into the goofiest song on the record, Samedi Et Vendredi, which cleverly mixes celebrity names and random French phrases. No Jestering, a Garland Jeffreys reggae tune which gets a lackadaisical performance, succeeds because of its strong melody and nice lyrics. Next up is the pining lost love song Tragedy featuring a echo-laden, orchestrated treatment accompanied by choral vocals. Some thought it overdone, I thought it was lovely and again, sad. Funny how I can get enjoyment from so many sad songs, isn't it. Kinda gives you some insight into what a drag I was at 16. Anyway, next up is the cute 30s styled novelty number Marihuana, which always sounded to me like something Leon Redbone should have covered. Finally, the album concludes with Let Me Just Follow Behind, another pining love song with generous help from Todd Rundgren's Utopia. Don't worry, the sound is more Something/Anything than Ra. It's a really nice song.

Bette never really stretched out like this again, most likely due to the reception this album received, which is a shame. She did some other fine records in the years to come before her acting career took off, most notably Bette Midler: Live at Last and No Frills, but Songs For The New Depression will always remain my favorite of her recorded efforts...maybe because of the period of my life when I first heard it, maybe because in spite of its critics these are great songs.
Well, even though interesting things to write about are becoming few and far between here at the Show, you can always count on one thing: Bacardi Show Birthdays.

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Belated wishes to Mr. Patrick Macnee, best known as John Steed of the Avengers. He celebrated his 81st birthday yesterday. The Avengers has always been one of my absolute favorite TV shows. I started watching it on PBS, I think, and then after that on ABC, when I was 8 or 9. My first crush was probably on Diana Rigg, aka Emma Peel. If I could afford it, I'd have the set on DVD...but I'd be really happy just to see it shown on TV again. A&E used to carry the Avengers, but by the time my sluggard cable company got it, they had stopped.

Also in line for a BSB is everybody's favorite transvestite comedian, Eddie Izzard. I wonder if they offered him cake...or death?

Maybe I should just change the title above to "Celebrity Birthday Blog".

Thursday, February 06, 2003

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Yes, it's that time once again:

what I bought and what I thought, week of February 5

1. HAWAIIAN DICK 2 Well, I guess it should come as no surprise, after yesterday's post. If you take away the novel setting, this book doesn't really break a lot of new ground...we've seen this sort of thing before in countless B movies and pulp novels. That being said, this mix of Raymond Chandler, Weird Tales magazine and Hawaiian folklore still comes across as fresh, clever and fun through and through, in no small part because they just don't make pulp novels and 40s style B movies anymore. I sincerely hope that Clay Moore and Steven Griffin can maintain this high quality level. If you'd like to sample before you buy, go here for some online HD strips. I recommend them, and this comic, very highly. A

2. BATGIRL YEAR ONE 3 By concentrating more on Barbara Gordon the person rather than Batgirl the character, and all the interconnected strands of the Batman family history, Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty have really come up with a winning storyline. And the art is flat out outstanding. Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez excel, especially when depicting the Caped Crusader himself. I hope to see more from this team; this is as high-quality as you can get from a mainstream super-hero book. A

3. JOHN CONSTANTINE, HELLBLAZER 180 Mike Carey, currently the best writer in comics not named Alan Moore, wraps up his first extended JC arc in smashing fashion, ably abetted by Marcelo Frusin, whose take on ol' Conjob is going down in my book as one of the very best ever. A

4. VERTIGO POP:LONDON 4 Well, in a week as outstanding as this one something had to be last, but not least. Milligan wrapped this up a bit neatly for my taste, and I'm not sure everybody got what they deserved at the end (especially Cassy), but it was still an enjoyable read...and I always am up for Warren Pleece and Philip Bond art, both together and seperately. A-

Seriously...go check out those online Hawaiian Dick previews. They're good. real good.
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Just in case you've been wondering what the heck I look like, here's a picture of me at work. Caution: may be frightening to small children.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

OK, OK, one post before I retire. Again, belatedly, here's this week's This-Or-That Tuesday questions. On Wednesday.

February 4, 2003: While You Were Sleeping

1. Morning or night person? night
2. Heavy or light sleeper? heavy, or so I'm told
3. Remember your dreams or not? rarely
4. Do you need a lot of sleep, or just a little? just a little, apparently
5. Do you need something like a nightlight or TV to sleep, or do you prefer complete darkness? darkness
6. Flannel sheets or some other kind? flannel. I hate static electricty.
7. One pillow, or more? one
8. Bedroom door opened or closed at night? open
9. Wrap yourself into blankets like a cocoon, or just cover yourself with them? just cover
10. Alarm clock: wake to music or buzzer? music

I'll be hearing that alarm soon enough. Oyasumi Nasai. Y'all.
Sorry, boys and girls, it's late, I'm tired, and I'm gonna take the night off from posting. I'll be back tomorrow with more (as Chuckie Barris would say)...stuff.

One thing I want to state for the record-Hawaiian Dick #2 kicked ass. Best new ongoing title I've read lately, I dare say.
They're called Comixpedia. They are, as they say in their tagline, "All About Webcomics". You can find it in the link section at right. Or click the link in the last sentence. Your choice. Also at right you can find John Allison's Scary-Go-Round, sort of a Friends-meets-the-Addams Family webcomic, faithfully updated Tuesday-Friday, and lots of fun...which is where I found the link in the first place.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Final new regular Tuesday Morning Quarterback column until August is available for our viewing pleasure.

Easterbrook screwed up last week when he correctly chastised John Madden for saying that when he coached he would never go for a two-point conversion. Of course he wouldn't-they didn't have the two point conversion when he coached, from 1969-1978. Problem is that Easterbrook incorrectly stated in the item named "And in my memories...", that the NFL-AFL merger occurred in 1967; it actually occurred in 1970. Convienently, there is no email link provided to let Mr. Easterbrook know about his gaffe. Oh well. He knows and I know. And it's still one of the best sports columns I've ever read.

If they told you I'm mad, then they lied.
I'm odd, but it isn't compulsive.
I'm the triolet, bursting with pride;
If they told you I'm mad, then they lied.
No, it isn't obsessive. Now hide
All the spoons or I might get convulsive.
If they told you I'm mad then they lied.
I'm odd, but it isn't compulsive.
What Poetry Form Are You?

I have no idea what a triolet is, but if I were a poetry form, that's what I'd be! Found at the Hestia Chronicles.
Just in case somebody cares, I have been burning the candle at both ends lately and in the middle as well.

My day job, the graphic design slash prepress one, has been insanely busy for months now, with few signs of slowing down anytime soon. I've got two kids living in the same town in which I work-which is almost forty miles from where I live-one in school trying to learn the ropes, both without cars (my daughter has hers out of the shop by now, and my son's getting one soon), and I'm running a constant Horse Cave-to-Bowling Green shuttle of goods and services right now. Not to complain-it's part of it and I know they'd do the same for me, if they had transportation...also, like an idiot I signed up to work the board (play commercials, etc.) for the live broadcast of a high school basketball game at the radio station where I work part-time, not realizing that the new Buffy came on tonight. There's a TV there, so I was able to kind of half-assed watch it, but I have to keep one ear on the game and I miss a lot. Too bad, it looked like an interesting episode...oh well, I have a general idea about what happened, and I'm sure my good bud Chris (Alyson Hannigan's Love Slave) Tabor will let me know about what I missed. If I ever get to talk to him anytime soon!

I still have this blogging compulsion, though, so I've made time to write a little tonight. I hope I can continue to do so in the near future!

According to Diamond's new shipping list, I'm getting the following tomorrow:

Hawaiian Dick 2
Batgirl: Year One 3
Hellblazer 180
Vertigo Pop: London 4

I'm especially looking forward to Hawaiian Dick. Boy, that sounds nice, doesn't it? From now on I refer to the book as HD.

And uf cuss I will write a paragraph or two about them.
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The latest recipient of the coveted (albeit belated) Bacardi Show Birthday greeting is good ol' Vincent Furnier, AKA Alice Cooper.

When I was a teenager, I worshipped the Alice Cooper Group. There was just something about their combination of horror movie cliches, social satire, weird humor, orchestral bombast (courtesy of that bombasticator par excellance Bob Ezrin) and plain ol' rock n' roll that captivated me. The Alice Cooper Group in all their glory was a hell of a thing. Sadly, I never got to see the Group perform live, I had to settle for an amazing episode of ABC's "In Concert" show in 1973 (I did see Alice, but in 1975 on his first solo tour. I was somewhat let down). Hell, I even did my Research Methods term paper in my Senior year in high school on the history of the Alice Cooper band. Got an A- on it, too. After the band broke up in 1974, Alice went on as a solo act, and few people noticed...but not me.

Cooper was occasionally interesting after that, but soon devolved into self-parody, in a way making him a parody of a parody, which isn't much at all in my book. He dabbled in new wave synth-rock (Flush The Fashion, actually a not-bad album) and eventually re-connected with Ezrin and made an interesting album in the mid 80s which absolutely nobody heard and even less cared about. Hey! That might be a future column! Anyway, he's had his up and downs, battled alcoholism, resurrected his career at least twice and now is perceived as something of an elder statesman in the Metal crowd. So here's to ya, Alice. I miss your band.

Monday, February 03, 2003

I've added a link in the creators/webcomics section to the blog published by Mr. Bill Willingham, writer of Fables, a clever update of Fractured Fairy Tales for the Aughts. It promises to be interesting reading...we shall see.
Mr. Christgau has once again submitted another installment of his Consumer Guide. Read and be enlightened, oh my droogies. I found his brief comments on Coldplay's Rush of Blood CD amusing.
Speaking of Phil Spector, and I was the other day, here's a dismaying news item. I suppose, given his eccentric behavior since the early 70's, that it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. Just sad all around.