Saturday, December 29, 2007
Egh, you'll get over it.
Anyway, I've been doing some top lists for 2007 and I figure now is the best time to debut some of them. (Mostly because I don't feel like writing that Hillary Clinton campaign ad article.) So, here is the first list:
Yeah, shitty graphic and all...the computer I'm doing this on isn't mine and doesn't have photoshop on it...fuck
5) Flight of the Conchords (HBO)
The awkwardness of this show turned off a lot of people. To me though, that was what made it near perfect. There was no laugh track, there was no conventions, hell, most of the time there was no plot. It's the same kind of experimenting with the sitcom genre that HBO did last year with "Lucky Louie", except more accessible....and not as much full frontal male nudity. Also the music parodies were spot on:
4) The Sopranos (HBO)
Everyone was talking about that final episode. Yes there's a lot to talk about in it, but even without that abrupt cut to blackness (which had me cursing my cable company...I admit it) the rest of the season was brilliant. Everything from AJ's suicide attempt to Christopher's murder. I think I was more entertained by this season that I was for any previous.
3)Pushing Daisies (ABC)
No, this show wasn't without it's faults (when it leaves it's little make-believe world and strikes pop culture references that are more recent than the works of A.A. Milne I kind of shudder...the Vertigo reference was alright, but the Star Wars reference was a little out of place). They're still trying to figure out the shows voice. But look past that...it's as if Tim Burton created a TV Show. It's incredibly enjoyable and it can only get better.
Remember that the end of season one was in 2007 as well, and I don't think anyone would argue about the quality of that. Yes, Volume Two took off very slowly. Tim Kring apologized for that. Anyway, Volume 2 did get better, and I still looked forward to it every week.
1)South Park (Comedy Central)
Wow, what a season. Think back to earlier this year with that infamous episode where Randy Marsh made it to the final round of Wheel of Fortune. That my friends was gold. What else happened this year...Randy Marsh played World of Warcraft, Randy Marsh took a huge shit...hey, I guess this has been Randy Marsh's year. Also 9/11 conspiracy theories, Lice in a Michael Bay movie, a bomb up Hillary Clinton's snatch, and the awesome Imagination Land Trilogy. South Park strikes gold again.
Also notable this year: The first 6 episodes of the Sarah Silverman Show (the second group of episodes, outside of the blackface one, were really weak), Colbert Report and Daily Show, Weeds, Mythbusters, Frisky Dingo and Robot Chicken. And before people tell me other wise, I work during 30 Rock and The Office so I never get to see it. I need a Tivo.
Next I'll either post the top movies of music, I'm not sure...and hopefully it won't be 3 weeks later.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
We've progressed a great bit in computers since the days of the Apple Lisa and "IBM Clones"...and that's a good thing. Still there's something...intriguing about this piece of outdated technology, and that's probably the reason we haven't forgotten about it, and fan sites for it flourish on the internet. For many people the C64 was their first personal computer, their first game system, and their first step towards the society we're living in today (not to mention the first step to the cyber-obsessed 80s.)
Sadly, many people my own age haven't even used a C64 before...we might be celebrating 25 years of the machine, but most didn't last more than ten years...unless of course you used the computer labs in my old high school. Honestly, up until I was in 9th grade (1998/1999) I had to use machines like the C64, the Apple 11e, and the Apple GS. The newest machine they had was the early 90s update of the Mac. Finally around 2000 (probably due to the Y2k scare) they updated all their machines...to first generation iMacs...I was happier with the retro-comps...
Man did I hate the first generation iMacs...
Anyway, happy birthday Commodore 64!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Instead, look at this:
Spinner has made a list of the top 20 songs about killing. Hey, pretty cool idea, sounds a little familiar though...hey, what the-- oh right, I did it already.
Ok, I'm being a little egotistical. I highly highly doubt Spinner looked at my list from a college newspaper 3 years ago. And I highly doubt I'm the first person to think of doing it (though I will say I had more balls than them because mine came out right around the anniversary of Columbine!). But just for shits and giggles, let's compare the lists.
Well, Spinner did 20 and I did 10. I had a hard time coming up with 10 songs that could fit the bill, so for 20...wow! And to boot, we only have 4 songs in common. (Stagger Lee, I Shot the Sheriff, Folsom Prison Blues, and Janie's Got a Gun). Spinner left some important ones off (see my list) and added a few that I either left off intentionally, (Stan, Maxwell's Silver Hammer) or completely forgot about and am hitting myself because of (Used to Love her, Nebraska)
And for God's sake why didn't I think of "Killing An Arab!" That song would have been perfect for my list...at the very least it would have been a better entry than "Janie's Got a Gun."
Well, no use crying about it now...at least I didn't forget the Boomtown Rats.
I still have bigger balls than them though
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Mike Huckabee has been a Blackhorse candidate in the Republican presidential race, but I think he’s finally latched onto something that can propel him to the top of the litter.
Take a look at his new campaign ad:
I’ll give you a minute to realize the awesomeness of that ad.
Now, Mr. Huckabee has been no stranger to comedy in the past; once telling a whole crowd in
The sad thing is, now the Chuck Norris joke generator is not funny anymore, because as Rob Haber has said “He’s become too self-aware of the joke.” The old rule of topical humor goes that if the subject has become a joke on Leno, Letterman, Conan and SNL already, it’s not funny anymore. Chuck Norris cracking jokes about how he has a fist under his beard is the equivalent to that. (Especially with the Writers Strike going on right now we have no other place to see topical humor. Just thinking about that is weird…on TV, it’s currently campaign ads that are the top medium for political jokes. Kinda reminds of during the 19th century when people went and watched a battle just for entertainment)
Anyway, the question is will Chuck Norris’ endorsement help Huckabee’s campaign. My answer: yes, as long as enough people see this ad. I guess it’s the frat boy demographic that really latched onto the Chuck Norris jokes. Yes, Hipsters did as well, but that was more in an ironic sense than an actual respect for Chuck Norris sense. If these ads are shown to the college crowd and the 17 through 35 demographic, then that’s it. It may not be as funny as say if one of Conan’s writers wrote the ad, but it does show that Huckabee has a sense of humor and at least some idea of what the current pop culture fixations are (even though the Chuck Norris gag is about 3 years old by now). Hillary Clinton is doing a similar thing in her campaign ads using the Sopranos and her husband, cultural icon Bill Clinton to attract votes (that’s for another post though.)
When a politician uses Pop Culture correctly it’s a surefire way for people to take notice and consider voting for them. Look at politicians in the past: Jimmie Davis used “You are my Sunshine” as his campaign song (even going so far as to buy the rights to the song so that he could claim he wrote it) in the 40s, from Kennedy on politicians cozy-ed up to pop culture icons to try and look hip (great examples include Nixon with The Carpenters and Elvis Presley), and Ronald Reagan, the former actor, used to include lines of dialogue from movies into speeches he made. On any given day Reagan could be given a speech as Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford or the Backman-Turner Overdrive.
The use of pop culture which stalls a politician’s campaign is usually if they try to create culture rather than just show they understand it. Usually this downfall occurs by participating in skits on Saturday Night Live. Every politician who has hosted SNL has lost the presidential election. George McGovern, Jesse Jackson, John McCain, Al Gore…and didn’t Barack Obama just appear? Uh oh. George H.W. Bush appeared on SNL back in 1992. I forget if it was right before or right after he had already lost his re-election bid. Either way, the winner doesn’t ever appear. The reason for this is not exactly clear, but it seems to be the same reason enough people didn’t watch “Arrested Development.” The American Public didn’t want their leaders to be creators, they wanted them to tread in the same old ideas that everyone before them treaded in. They want them to be safe. They want them to be predictable, they want them to be a line up of “Yes Dear”, “The King of Queens” and “Two and Half Men”. Originality is frowned upon, individuality is a big no-no. The monikers of Republican and Democrat are enough of a separation to the voters…any more individuality and they’ll need to start paying attention to other details…like the issues.
Now once again, I can think of exceptions…Nixon was on Laugh In before he was president and it helped him a great deal in the upcoming election (people said “He gets our culture!” all because he agreed to say “Sock it to me”), and of course Reagan added a great deal to our culture when he was a movie star, though none of it really has much value outside of “Win one for the Gipper”.
Pop culture acceptance is like walking a fine line. This ad could shot Huckabee in the foot, but I don’t think it will. People will look at the ad and probably think Chuck Norris is running as his vice-president, which even I have to admit would be awesome. Anyway, he’s not a bad candidate. I’d probably vote for him over Giuliani or McCain or Hillary or even Obama, so I wish him luck. Here’s hoping when the writers strike is over he doesn’t go on Saturday Night Live.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Just like the Fat Boys, I’m back.
That’s right, my self imposed hiatus is over, and Dante’s Infernal Racket has returned. And with a new website too!
As you can tell I’ve reposted many of my Myspace blog posts here, though somewhat arbitrarily. I tried to only take my best work from the old blog, and only the stuff that I believe people have an interest in (that’s why I’ve reprinted none of my irrelevant comic book reviews). Sadly, I was not able to transfer over the comments on my blog posts as well, so if anyone would like please go backwards and comment on my old posts. It would be most appreciated.
Anyway, one of the reasons for my hiatus from blogging back in June was I could not commit to doing a new blog post every few days. Now, while I still don’t believe I can be consistent with the output, I’m going to try my best. Here’s goals I’m setting for myself that I hope I can stand by:
I don’t promise to have a new blog post every day, but I do promise that whenever I can (which will at the very least be a new post every week, possibly more) I will post something.
I promise that I’m done trying to emulate other blogs. For short spans on the old Myspace blog I wasn’t sure where I wanted to take it. I tried to be Pop Candy, I tried to be The-isb, and I tried to be T-Sides. That’s in the past. Dante’s Infernal Racket is not about putting forth links to cool sites, and it’s not about only telling you what music you should look into or what comics came out this week. DIR will be a mixture of Pop Culture, Politics and Humor, mostly with analysis and in-depth critiquing. My opinion will be all over this blog, but I hope to both entertain and educate at the same time.
I promise this will not be a personal emo blog. While I have done my fair share of bragging and complaining before on my blog, I won’t post it here. I’ll probably leave it on the Myspace page.
When I can, I will link to it. I know in the earlier posts I hardly link. And even in the more recent ones some links are dead. I’ll try to remedy that.
I’ll try to keep it short (too late).
Alright, I’ll stop this post now. I hope I can achieve everything I just set forth, and I hope everyone will enjoy it. And leave comments! Please.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Yahoo News has an article on a speech Hillary Clinton gave to her supporters earlier today:
Within this speech,
"Somebody said to me the other day if there was ever a time for a woman president it's now because we're going to have to do a lot of cleaning."
"Grab your buckets, grab your brooms,"
The article offers no reactions from the 1,000 women of the 'Women for Hillary' organization that filled this fundraiser.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Free Comic Book Day (or FCBD) is normally considered the most important day to comic shops and comic book fans across the country. The point of the day is to try and attract new readers into comic shops with special books that the publishers release specifically for FCBD that are given out for free. The theory goes, that hopefully the new fans will pick up the free books, get interested in them, and come back for more. It's the same way crack dealers operate.
The other purpose of FCBD is for the already embedded fan of comics (i.e. myself) to possibly try out a few books that normally I wouldn't spend a cent on. The goal here is to empty my wallet even more.
Anyway, I know that the day isn't the most successful it could be. Many times people just come in for the free books and don't return for another year. But I'd argue that the day is still a success. Greg Hatcher over at Comic Book Resources 'Comics Should Be Good' blog disagrees. He's got a point, I'll give him that, but I think that most of his trouble lies in the shop rather than the objective of the event. Maybe it's cliché, but comic shops aren't exactly the most welcoming place to a newbie. And unless you're prepared to argue why Sue Richards having a miscarriage was perfectly fine, but Sue Dibney getting raped went too far, then I suggest that you don't open your mouth at all the first time you enter a shop.
Need a better example? Think the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons. He sums up comic book shop attitudes perfectly. This is who Greg Hatcher met at this local Seattle comic book shop, he met an unnamed generic slob who gets annoyed that these people giving him money are interrupting his 'Aquaman supporting cast vs. Keith Giffen creations' heroclix game. Of course that's going to turn people off from the shop, and probably comics in general. And it's a damn shame.
What Greg has to do is find a shop where the guys running it are not like that. They do exist, believe me. My local shop, Time Warp, is amazing. It's a very welcoming place, and the guys that work there are very helpful and knowledgeable. For them, FCBD should be a success. I remember when I entered the shop last Saturday there were more kids in there than I ever saw visiting his shop before. And since Time Warp offers a nice selection of kids books, I'd hope that these kids will be back.
Anyway, I picked up 5 books on FCBD, most of which were stuff that I was sampling for the first time. Were they successful in getting me hooked? Let's see:
Bongo Sampler 2007—Bongo Comics—by Evan Dorkin, Eric Rogers, et al.
Bongo is the publisher that puts out the Simpsons and Futurama comics, and so this is a mix-match sampler of those two titles. Prior to this I had never read a Simpsons or Futurama comic, but I considered the Simpsons' first 11 seasons to be one of the best runs on television, and Futurama to be it's (albeit short-lived) successor. I figured maybe their comic still lives up to what the show used to be (and the fact that Evan Dorkin was writing some stories in it was definitely a push in the right direction).
Well, I'm sorry to say that I was very disappointed with this book. Not only was it not funny, but also at times it seemed like the writers didn't even have a good grasp on the characters that everyone should know by heart. Ok, maybe I've been watching too much of my Simpsons Season 5 DVDs and I'm demanding something that can't exist in that form anymore, but if I were trying to get into either Simpsons/Futurama comics, or their TV equivalents, this certainly wouldn't do it. Not recommended.
The Amazing Spider-Man—Marvel Comics—by Dan Slott and Phil Jimenez
Here is a book that I was very worried about. Over the last few years Spider-Man has become a perversion of the character we all used to love. Writers don't understand him, and try to make him darker than Daredevil. None of this ever works. I had heard that this was going to be an in continuity story where Mary Jane joins with the Initiative (don't ask) and becomes a superhero known as Jackpot. Thankfully most of that was very wrong. The story isn't in continuity, has no mention of Civil War or the Initiative, or even past continuity. A new villain is made for the main plot of the book (with a few old ones popping up in The Bar With No Name), and we are introduced to old characters as if a new reader could instantly understand their characterization. If I have never read a Spider-Man story before, after reading this I would know perfectly well who J. Jonah Jameson is, Aunt May, Spider-Man, Robbie Robertson, and even the New York City police. The only character who may not be explained fully well for newbies is Mary Jane Watson, who yes, is the "new superhero" Jackpot (at least we think). And as ridiculous that is, it works in the story.
This book is the perfect story to get people interested in Spider-Man. I feel bad for anyone who now goes to pick up the next issue of ASM though…it isn't anything like this. This is how a good Spidey story is suppose to be, the preview in the back for "One More Day" is exactly how it isn't. Recommended.
Gumby—Wildcard Inc—by Shannon Wheller, Rick Geary, Bob Burden, Mark Bode, Steve Oliff, and Mike Hersh.
I know you're all possibly calling me insane right now, but hear me out. This book was awesome.
For those that don't know, there has been a revival of the Gumby book going on recently written by Bob Burden and Rick Geary. Burden as you know (or should) was the guy who created The Flaming Carrot and the Mystery Men (yes, the guys in that Ben Stiller movie). And if you've ever read Flaming Carrot, you'll know that Burden is one sick motherfucker.
He takes his wacky vision to Gumby, and with it has created one of the most surrealistic mind trips I've read since Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol. In this story Gumby and Pokey visit an art museum. There, they witness the Blockheads trying to steal the Mona Lisa, so to thwart them, Gumby jumps into a bunch of paintings, and interacts with the works of Rembrandt, Munch, Van Goeh, R. Crumb and etc etc etc. It's fucking brilliant.
I haven't given this Gumby book the time of day prior to reading this, despite everyone telling me how good it is. Now, I must say, I'm hooked. I'll be picking up the next trade. Insanely recommended.
Nexus—Rude Dude Productions—by Mike Baron and Steve Rude.
Prior to reading this I had already preordered the new Nexus mini-series out of previews. I really didn't know that much about Baron and Rude's creation, but I figured I'd give it a try do to everyone's suggestions. This issue is basically a recap of Nexus' long publishing history. It's kind of useless though. Yes, it is full of nice artwork, and good writing, but I didn't get a feel for the character at all. He kills mass murders…ok, I already knew that. That seems to be the only information that this brief history gives. It was more along the lines of 'what are Mike Baron's favorite pieces of writing' rather than what do readers need to know about Nexus. I'm sure Nexus is a great series, but this book wouldn't make anyone interested in it. Not Recommended.
Unseen Peanuts—Fantagraphics Books –by Charles Schulz.
This is a collection of all the Peanuts strips that never made it into collections prior to the recent "Complete Peanuts" books. For most of these, there is a reason for it. Some are just plainly unfunny; others completely work counter to the characters, and yet others just don't make sense. Somehow though this is all a benefit for the book. Looking at the strips that Schulz pretended never existed is a fascinating study into his mind. Not everything I've ever read from Peanuts has been hysterical, but it really shows what type of man Schulz was that he'd print a strip with a bad pun as it's joke, but not a fairly clever strip making a dark joke about war. It's interesting. Recommended.
Monday, March 26, 2007
When you're sick, you do weird things. When it's your fifth day being sick, and no sign of any of the conditions letting up, you do even weirder things. Today, I spent Monday morning watching Fuse. For all those that don't know, Fuse is the music channel that used to be called MuchMusic, but was taken over by some other Canadian music like network and turned into Fuse. They pride themselves on being a different music channel than the likes of MTV or VH1, and claim that they actually show good music videos. I guess they mean in between reruns of "Pants-Off Dance-Off." Anyway, since graduating and leaving the Chronicle, I've kind of lost track of a lot of the new music scene, so I figured I'd tune in a see what the mainstream is ingesting these days. Here are my findings, ten songs Fuse thinks you should know:
Avril Lavigne- "Girlfriend":
Well, her lyrics haven't gotten any better since the last time I actually bothered to listen to them. She's still doing easy rhymes that remind me of a pre-school sing-a-long, or even worse like "Life's Been Good."
Anyway, I can't deny that this song is full of energy. Since she's finally embraced her bubblegum pop status, instead of the "Punk Rocker" image that she was given initially by her record label, she seems to be having a lot more fun doing the music. In the video, she's jumping around, strutting about, and basically, acting like a teenage girl going wild. And even though I'm pretty sure she's 22 and not a teenager anymore, that teenage girl energy is exactly what her music needed. It helps this song greatly.
And I might regret saying this, but the song's hook of "Hey (hey) You (you) I don't like your girlfriend" is decently catchy. I can't honestly recommend the song for people who want good pop music, but if she keeps this energy up, maybe in the future Avril will doing something that I won't be able to find fault in.
Mims- "This Is Why I'm Hot":
Now this is just complete trash. It's every rap cliché from the 90s thrown into one song, and it sounds like what happens when Pharrell falls asleep on his synthesizer. The pointless sample of "Jesus Walks" just made me hate this song even more, because how I interpret it, it implies that he's calling himself the savior of
Christina Aguilera- "Candyman":
Maybe I held her to too high a standard after the aural pleasure of "Ain't No Other Man", cause as much as I wanna like "Candyman", I just don't think it's that great. Yes, she does the Andrews Sisters vocal jazz style perfectly, but when I hear it, I can't help but think it's just filler. I mean, it's not bad, not by any means, and her "Back To Basics" albums (at least what I've heard from it) I've enjoyed more than I can say I've ever enjoyed anything she's done previously. I don't know, maybe I'm just being too hard on her. I should be giving her credit for holding out that note at the end of the song and NOT bouncing it annoyingly like she always does. I should also give her credit for the video. It's just a perfect counterpiece to the song, style, imagery and everything. I think she may have her eras mixed up though…that scene where she's in that pink dress dancing the jitterbug with those G.I.s and looking the happiest she is in the whole video? That's more fifties than forties, but minor error.
Diddy featuring Keyshia Cole- "Last Night":
No real surprise here. Nothing that amazing by any means…in all honesty, it was just a boring piece of music. Diddy's vocals in the chorus are kinda interesting, but past that, the song lags for too long just reiterating the same boring structure. It's like he dragged the length of the song out just so he could finish the plot in the video. Not recommended.
Pink- "U + UR Hand":
I've never liked Pink, but I've been waiting for her to make a musical resurgence, open to see if her songs have gone up in quality. Unfortunately, this is exactly the same Pink of old, and just like exactly the same Pink of old, the song is completely harmless, but also completely forgettable. There's nothing memorable about anything in this song at all. It's Pink by-the-numbers. Even right after the song ended, I had already forgotten how the melody went or what the song was even about. Not recommended.
Gym Class Heroes- "Cupid's Chokehold":
The use of Supertramp's "Breakfast In America" gave me the impression that I wasn't going to like the song initially. Thankfully, I was wrong there. The sample is used well, the tune (a variation of "Breakfast") is also done well. Add to that some pretty good lyrics, and a really funny video. My favorite lyric here: "If I had to choose between her or the sun, I'd be one nocturnal son-of-a-gun." The a capella stuck in the middle of the song for about three seconds (I don't mean the free style), was a nice little addition that pushed this song onto my favorite songs of the year so far list. Definitely recommended.
This is a case where the video adds another layer to the song. No, not in plot, the lyrics match up with the plot of the video quite fine, it's more like the meaning. In the first half of the video, Beyonce acts all smug, and holier-than-thou, kicking her boyfriend out of the house, straddling the car she just told him was hers and evilly seducing him again, all just to get the shirt off his back. If you just watch the first half of the video, you can't help but think "Beyonce is a huge bitch!" The diva dress-up scenes that follow it immediately don't help that image, as they just complete the theory that her old boyfriend is probably better off without having to deal with someone that diabolical. He's gone for 10 minutes and already she's getting all pretty for his replacement. Now this is all fine and good, it's a simple "you did something wrong, I'm kicking you out, you're not irreplaceable" meaning…but then Beyonce takes it a step in a different direction.
The second half of the video forms around what might at first seem like a big lesbian jam, but turns into instead a powerful statement about feminism. Beyonce is seen smiling, bouncing around, dancing and of course singing with her all female back-up band. The diva dress-up we just saw wasn't to go meet another guy, it was to look good for her all-girls jam session. In other words, women don't need guys to be happy, all they need is a bunch of other women playing instruments.
Of course the final scene in the video, which shows Beyonce opening her door to a new man, negates all this but I guess it can't all be perfect. Highly recommended.
Akon- "Don't Matter":
This is a nice smooth reggae song, that, yes maybe a little indebted to the past maste—hey! Wait a minute! That verse…I've heard that melody before. It sounds so familiar….Oh My God, it's R. Kelly! It's "Ignition (Remix)." Instead of the "nobody wanna see us together/nobody thought we'd last forever" at the 1:13 mark sing "It's the remix to Ignition/Hot and Fresh Out the Kitchen…" It's the same song!
Well, that took me out of the song, but I guess I can look past it. What made me enjoy the song though was the complete breakdown into the driving drumbeat around 3:12 and the instrumentation that followed it. I'll recommend the song, but beware of it's sampling.
Justin Timberlake- "What Goes Around…Comes Around":
Very nice song. Not the best Justin Timberlake's ever done, but a nice song still. The video is epic, at 9 minutes in length it tells a story of love, and deceit and jealously and insanity. Plus, Scarlett Johansson gives a much better performance here than she did in "The Island".
Daughtry- "It's Not Over":
I had heard this song before, and I thought it was Nickelback. The fact that it sounds this bad and isn't Nickelback, but instead one of their neo-grunge copycat cohorts makes it even worse. We didn't need another radio-rock Xeroxed band again, and we especially didn't need another "Psuedo-Political/Social Commentary" video where there's a happy ending amidst all the problems, showing that through the bad times the good always pulls through. This is why I hate watching channels like this.
Alright, so I guess that was a mixed group. True, a bunch of these songs I had heard previous to this (I have the Beyonce and Timberlake songs on my itunes), but watching the video with them gives in a completely difference feel. Maybe I'll do this again soon. It feels good to analyze music again. Hope you enjoyed this.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Something very strange happened last week. Stand-up comedian Sinbad was reported dead. Here is the article via imdb. Read it. It's only like 30 words.
According to the article, some mystery editor over at wikipedia wrote on Sinbad's entry that the comedian had a heart attack last Saturday. Then suddenly, "hundreds" of people contacted Sinbad to make sure that he wasn't dead.
Did I read this right? This all started from a wikipedia entry? This means that on this particular Saturday at least one hundred people were viewing Sinbad's wikipedia page...somehow I don't believe that.
You know what I think? That mystery editor wasn't a mystery editor at all, but rather was the man in question himself. Yeah, I bet Sinbad edited his own page. Why? Well, what better way to get back in the media? I'd believe that more than people were reading about the influence of "Jingle All The Way".
Maybe Sinbad had recently caught a late night showing of "Pauly Shore Is Dead."
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
I just typed a whole long blog post only to lose it. I'm kinda pissed right now, so it might come out in this article that I now need to retype.
Anyway, if you haven’t heard already (and that means that you have been shunning every major news outlet) Captain
Now, I'm not pissed that Marvel killed off one of my favorite characters, no...I'm sure that Ed Brubaker (the current writer of Cap) will be able to make good stories surrounding this and make the title work just as well as he had in the past. (Brubaker is one of the best comic book writers out there today, so I don’t have any doubts).
No, what I'm pissed at is the media reaction to Cap's death. The CBS News at Noon put my contempt best when they introduced the article: "First it was Superman, and now, Captain
Yes, Superman...who died in the early 90s, and then came back less than a half a year later...I guess the media hasn't learned anything since those days...back then the New York Times was embarrassed when they placed this comic book event on their front page with the headline: "Superman Dead!". I quote DC Comics own Bob Rozakis on his reaction to seeing the Times: "I was looking at it thinking: Are they serious? Do they think this is real? Do they think we'd really permanently kill off our best selling character for good?" And sure enough, as was always the plan, Superman was back only a few issues later. I guess he wasn't quite dead yet.
No comic company would kill off their most popular characters (and even when they had the very misguided sense to even try this, it usually backfired with fans reacting in ways no one ever thought possible, i.e. The Spiderman Clone Saga). And yes, I know DC has killed off characters and replaced them many times before, but there is a major difference between killing permanently an icon like Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman, and making Rene Montoya the new Question. (and yes, I know that DC has successfully killed off and replaced popular characters such as Green Lantern, The Flash and Green Arrow, but there were different circumstances in place there: Barry's book was already cancelled, They always planned on bringing Hal back, and Ollie cheated on Black Canary, so no one cared). Captain
If the past jumping to conclusions with Superman wasn't good enough, here are some other reasons why thinking Cap is forever dead might not be a smart move:
Firstly, Marvel is making a movie of Captain
Here's another reason: Cap's book is still an ongoing. The book isn't over, Brubaker is still writing it, so, it's likely that he isn't dead. Now, I know this isn't as good a point as it could be...Green Arrow's book continued after Ollie died in issue 100...they just made his son the new Green Arrow (it would take quite a few years, and Kevin Smith with a good story, for Ollie to return from the dead), but more than likely, when an ongoing title goes on, the character is probably still around in some capacity...especially in Cap's case when they haven’t named any successors yet.
But lets go back to what exactly they said on the News At Noon. Just when you thought they couldn’t get any stupider, the anchors had to converse with one another: "Is there any word yet on why they did this?" "No, no one is saying any reasons why yet..." WHAT? Is the noon edition of the news too early to do any research? Ask anyone with even any fading knowledge of comic books today and they can tell you he died because of Marvel's "Universe Changing Event" Civil War. I mean, c’mon, even DC people know that one...but wait, it get's worse:
"No, No one is saying any reasons why yet. The creator of Captain
To CBS' credit, they did seem to get most of their facts straight for their five o'clock edition...even calling Marvel editors Tom Brevhort and Joe Quesada out on doing this just for the money. At least there's still some integrity in reporting. (and if anyone saw the CBS five o'clock news article, I did find it hysterical that reporter Pablo Guzman was dressed as incognito as he could in trench coat and fedora as he stood outside of Midtown Comics).
Anyway, I avoided talking about the ending to Marvel's Civil War because I didn't want to alienate the few readers I have of this blog (hey Steph and Carsi! lol), but since this is about my contempt for the news media, I figure I'll let it slide right now.
I was one of the few that actually thought the ending to Civil War was appropriate, and was not a cop out by Marvel. Yes, it was anti-climatic, and yes, in my opinion, the bad guys won, and yes, it certainly puts a twist on everything, but as Joss Whedon put it, it's basically the way it has to end. Cap's team had no real strategy other than round up all the cool heroes and fight all the heroes I don’t give a damn about. Which, yes, is pretty cool as it is, but it's not a plan. Now, I'm not defending the whole series of Civil War. I think there was more to be desired through much of the series. The fact that they didn’t have a clear plan is one of the biggest errors in the whole thing. Also the fact that no one questions how Mar-Vell is still alive, or why the prisoners in the negative zone were never taken out of their costumes.
But now I have another problem. If they were going to kill Cap as a result of Civil War, why wait till two weeks after the Civil War to do it. Wouldn't it have been a lot easier for him to die during the event, rather than in a book that maybe not everyone who read Civil War might buy? Maybe I answered my own question earlier when I said that he might be back...I think the fact that it's happening in Cap's own book is a clear sign that this isn't a death as much as a way to go underground.
I haven’t read the book yet (I wait for the trades when it comes to Captain
Originally I guessed that Cap, since he was arrested, might become the new leader of The Thunderbolts. That would have made for an interesting issue. But alas, I guess not. Another idea I had was that the government might do what they did so long ago and get another person to be Captain
Ok, I'm done ranting about this. Cap seems dead now, but I bet he isn't. No one ever stays dead in comics. Get back to your life.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Note, this should have gone up Saturday, but I was really tired after I came home, so it goes up now.
After waiting 3 months and regretting not going last year for even longer, today, Saturday the 24th, I finally made the trip to the New York Comic Con. Comic Con, while primarily a comic book convention, is a huge pop culture festival, with representatives from movies, TV, comics, video games, anime, manga, and more present. As far as I know this is one of the most important festivals in the field, only paling in comparison to the huge annual
The festival started at 10 AM today, with people being checked in as early as 9AM. Of course this means I rolled out of bed at 8:30, expecting to beat the early rising crowd (those fools). I unfortunately was going alone, because Pete DiSilvio made up some excuse about being broke…you know Pete, Oliver Queen was broke too, and did he give up? No, he dated Black Canary.
Anyway, I still had hope that at the festival I would run into one of the many Nonsensers that were also going, and hopefully I wouldn't be alone the whole time.
So, I arrive at the
So, finally I get into the building a little after 12. I'm not sure what the line was for exactly, since they didn't scan my ticket or anything, the security guard barely looked at it and sent me along. I hope the line out of the building isn't that long as well…
At first entrance onto the main floor, I'm completely overwhelmed by…everything. All around me are booths full of people who probably could tell me incredibly obscure facts about forgotten comics like the exact issue number that Beefeater first appeared in Giffen's JLE (it's #20, contrary to what is written on wikipedia. I have the damn issue). Not to mention the crowd. If there were at least 500 people on that line waiting, there was at least quadruple that inside the place. I felt like I was sleepwalking while shifting through the aisles and past the clusters of people with witty T-shirts. I pass at least 3 Stormtroopers and two Supergirls, one of which had no business being dressed up like Supergirl. Lines formed out of nowhere for artist and writer signings. I've never seen people rush to a line so quickly just to spend 2 minutes telling one man how much you loved their work and for them to hand you back your comic now officially unreadable because of a bunch of illegible big marker letters written across the front of it. I made my way to the back of the floor, staring at all the booths in front of me with disbelief. The number of independent retailers selling comics from "The Golden Age" or shitty copies of bootlegged videos astounded me. One seller had a bootleg DVD set of "Heroes" labeled "The Compete First Season." "But the first season isn't even over yet…" "Well, it's every episode up until the last one, and it's $60. I can bring it down to 50, but that's it." I could also watch all the episodes free online.
I started counting the number of girls I saw dressed like Harley Quinn. There had to be at least 7, including one girl who didn't look any older than 7. Harley was probably the second most popular costume there, only trumped by the aforementioned Supergirls. Wow were there a lot of Supergirls. If the past serves any purpose, it's that I've learned that there are a good number of girls who don't like comic books, and think conventions like this are only for geeky nerds, but honestly, at one point, I'm almost positive there were more girls than guys in the building. And I mean gorgeous girls…any stereotypes people had about girls that like comics could have been broken by just stepping foot in the place. Wow.
WARNING, Rant starting: Now, I'm not even counting the girls that were working booths, many of whom were clad in absolutely nothing. I'd never thought I'd say this, but that actually offended me…me! I mean, these girls are obviously trying to appeal to a stereotypical portrayal of the male comic book nerd, you know, the porn addict who melts at the sight of a pretty girl talking to him…and well, I thought it was a little wrong. The fact that some of these girls were walking around handing out fliers trying to convince people to buy stuff from their booth while only wearing what looked like body paint really pissed me off. I couldn't believe it. I mean, there was a Playboy playmate there at the convention signing autographs or something, and she was dressed quite well…much better than these girls. You know, I'm just going to stop complaining about this, because I'm probably just shooting myself in the foot here…either that or you're all going to think I'm gay. Rant over.
Anyway, after I found a bathroom, because I had drunk too much water, I started wandering through Artist Alley. In the booth marked "Jimmy Palmiotti" sat J.G. Jones. This was confusing to both myself and apparently him, since at times he was telling lesser-informed fans that he was Jimmy Palmiotti. Jones has been doing amazing work as the cover artist of 52, and well, I wanted to tell him that (and now I'm starting to understand those fanboys rushing for autographs earlier). So I approached him and said "Now what is JG Jones doing in the booth that is marked for Jimmy Palmiotti?" To which he replied by saying the exact thing back to me, in an exaggerated version of my voice "That's my best impression, sorry." Wow. J.G. Jones just mocked me. Anyway, this developed into a very interesting conversation about how I loved the 52 cover that was Batman fighting the dragon, and how apparently I'm the only one who understood that was a reference to the famous St. George fighting the dragon and was representing Batman fighting his inner-demons. (I don't believe I'm the only one who got this, but that's what he said.) I also asked him if that was a clue for upcoming issues of 52, if that means Batman will be fighting Richard Dragon? "No, but that's a good interpretation of that."
After J.G. Jones I found the creators of "Action Philosophers!" where I had another very interesting conversation, which resulted in me jokingly threatening to sue them if their comic wasn't good. I'm such a jokester me…
Wondering around trying to find some of the Nonsensers, I went through a bunch of the booths. The Cheerleader from "Heroes" was signing autographs, as was Gary Coleman. I got pictures with Kyle Baker and Chris Claremont(who I also managed to piss off), as well as tell Rags Morales that he draws a great Black Canary. Jimmy Palmiotti (finally at his booth) drew a quick sketch of Jonah Hex for me and signed it. That was cool. I stopped by the "Masters of Horror" booth, and had a poster signed by all 6 directors there, including John Landis. This was kinda funny because I told Landis that even though this was a Masters of Horror booth, I preferred his comedies like The Blues Brothers and Animal House, to which the director next to him (I'm sorry, but I don't know his name) said jokingly "Well, fuck you man" and signed the poster "Fuck You Billy". That was awesome.
Bill Plympton signed an autograph for me, and I had a fun conversation with one of his, I guess assistants about the costumes some people were wearing to the convention. "I'm shocked that I've only seen one Slave Leia" I said. "Yeah, and no Black Canarys." (I know, I know). Past the aforementioned top two costumes of Supergirl and Harley Quinn, there were quite a few assorted Jedi walking about, as well as an abundance of people dressed like Anime characters. It's interesting to try and comprehend the dedication some of these people have to Anime characters, and their desire to look exactly like them, no matter how unhuman the character might look. I mean some of them had white paint above their eyes just to make them look bigger; and the amount of gel and coloring in some peoples' hair… Honestly, humans don't look like that for a reason. Becoming a carbon copy of your character doesn't work. Though it does a certain surreal aspect to the whole thing…hell, looking at the crowd at an event like this is like getting a lesson in post-modernism.
Other than them there were some really cool costumed people wandering around. There was a Superman and Batman that looked like what would happen if Alex Ross drew real people (that's not a compliment by the way). There was a Blue Beatle, a Flash and a Green Lantern, all of which I got a picture with. At least three Spidermans, all in different versions of his costume. A really cool Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn combo. A 30-year-old man trying to be Aqualad, skin tight clothes and messed up wig and all. Honestly, he looked like a transvestite in that getup (and Aqualad's a guy!). There was also a skin tight Aquaman running around with very visual nipples. I wonder if it was Joel Schumacher. Boba Fett didn't seem out of place at all, and neither did an almost perfect looking Jean Grey/Phoenix. But the best costume there had to go to a man dressed as the Golden Age Vigilante. Now that's an original costume. Honestly, who would want to be the Vigilante? Who would think to be The Vigilante? That guy's officially entered my book of cool.
Oh, and there was also Skelator. An out-of-work Skelator. Awesome.
During my conversation with Bill Plympton's aide (and Plympton himself at intervals), another fan came up and asked if Plympton could draw him a picture of a man fighting a shark. Apparently, he's asked every artist there to draw a picture of a man fighting a shark, and he's trying to fill up a whole sketchbook of it. This man has just made my official cool list as well. Plympton's aide went on to tell us about how last year someone had every artist draw a picture of Marvel Comics Tigra (I assume even if they are from DC). I didn't even know there were Tigra fans. I didn't even know Tigra was still alive until I saw her used in "Civil War". That guys cool too, cause now he has a whole sketchbook of Tigra drawn by different artists.
I kept on checking Keith Giffen and Peter David's booths at Artist Alley, but they never showed up. I wanted to go meet Paul Dini but I never got around to it. I was really tempted to go up to Rob Liefeld and tell him that I love his work and I would love it if he drew me a picture of Captain America, you know, the one with the insanely large muscles, but I figured I wouldn't be able to keep a straight face while saying it, and the joke would be ruined. There was a table set up for Opie and Anthony and Ron and Fez, but none of them were at the table. That was disappointing. Jim Shooter had a table too…I'm not sure why.
After searching for him all day, I finally found the DC comics Sandwich board guy, and got my "Jimmy Olsen Must Die!" and "WWMMD?" pins. That being my final accomplishment of the day, I began to get ready to head home. As I'm walking out, I see Art Tebbel, Editor-In-Chief for Nonsense, (one of the Nonsensers I had been looking for all day.) Figures, I only find him as I'm leaving.
It was a fun day at the convention. I bought some nice comic books (I finally have every copy of "Chase"!), and I met some great comic book creators. Plus I have a picture with me and that guy dressed as Vigilante. That's so cool.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Hello and welcome to a new edition of "Let's Analyze Bad Lyrics" Today's bad lyric criminal is REO Speedwagon, and their "love" (?) song "Keep On Loving You".
I was listening to an oldies station today when I heard "Keep On Loving You" (sandwiched between Joan Jett's "I Love Rock n Roll" and Bryan Hyland's "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini"). Prior to this, I had heard the song numorous times before, but never did I really listen to the lyrics. Let's have a look, shall we? (My comments are in parentheses).
You should’ve seen by the look in my eyes, baby
There was something missing
You should’ve known by the tone of my voice, maybe
But you didn’t listen
(Uh oh, this looks like trouble! And by the fact that the main protagonist in this work, probably a male, is giving his female "baby" counterpart numerous warnings that she should have known better, I get the feeling that he is very angry at her, and worse things, like beatings, are soon to come. Also, by the use of "maybe" it appears that he's not even sure if "baby" should have known by the "tone of [his] voice". Well, let's see what happens next.)
You played dead
But you never bled
Instead you lay still in the grass
All coiled up and hissin
(OH MY GOD HE DID BEAT HER!!! He hit her, because she didn't understand what he was saying when he yelled at her...or looked in his eyes. She proceeded to pretend to be dead, but that didn't fool the main protagonist, he knew better because there was no blood. (There should always be blood). Also he compares her to a snake. I'm intrigued enough to go on and read why he's mad at her.)
And though I know all about those men
Still I don’t remember
(Ok, he knows that she cheated, but yet, doesn't remember? I get it now, he hit her because he's mentally unstable!)
Cause it was us baby, way before then
And we're still together
(I'd guess not for much longer.)
And I meant, every word I said
When I said that I love you I meant
That I love you forever
(He even tried to say it with his fist! How can you not believe that?)
And I’m gonna keep on lovin you
Cause its the only thing I wanna do
I don’t wanna sleep
I just wanna keep on lovin you
(Now he's raping her! Over and over again, even though his "baby" is begging him to go to sleep and get away from her. This isn't a love song, it's a song about an abusive relationship.)
And I meant every word I said
When I said that I love you I meant
That I love you forever
(So, to clarify, when he said he loved you forever, he meant he was going to rape you forever...and I'd presume that playing dead won't make any difference to him. It hurts? Well, you should have thought of that before cheating bitch...you should have seen the warnings when you looked in his eyes.)
And I’m gonna keep on lovin you
Cause its the only thing I wanna do
I don’t wanna sleep
I just wanna keep on lovin you
So as we see, "Keep On Loving You" is not a love song at all, but actually a song about a psychotic main protagonist that caught his female counterpart ("baby") cheating with MANY other men (note, he doesn't say just one, but ALL those men. She was a damn whore), and then beating and raping her as punishment. It's a song about revenge, not love.
What I find funny is that this song was played at my cousin's wedding a few years back. I guess no one looked at the lyrics before picking it out.
Ah, the joys of actually reading things...
Sunday, February 4, 2007
It was around 5 in the morning last night. Or is that early morning? Whatever. I was laying in my bed; I couldn't sleep again. I was spinning around the sheets, constantly staring at my alarm clock. "Maybe if I stare at my clock the time will go backwards." Alas, that did not work. In fact it did the complete opposite...talk about your bad luck.
I started flipping through channels on my TV, thinking that maybe there would be at least something interesting to watch during my insomnia. There was an episode of the X-Files on...no shock there, there was also some show where they were selling ten year old pennies at 35 dollars a piece. I wonder if I can do that. I mean, I have a whole jar full of change...who knows what I can sell that for...
Random thoughts shifted in and out of my head. "I was sleepy right before I got to bed, how am I not tired now?", "Just wait, right when I find something to watch, I'll fall asleep", "Which is the worst news of the week...Boston being full of idiots or Joss Weeden not doing the Wonder Woman movie anymore?
While in jail he hangs out with Todd Barry, Tommy Lee, Heidi Fleis and the ghost of Sam Kiniston...and I assume learns a valuable life lesson (ironically) and probably gets his "career" back...I'm not sure...I passed out around then...Believe me it was for the better, because if I had to hear one more "Heeeeeeeeey Budddddddddy" a blood vessel in my brain probably would have popped, and blood would have shot out of my ears.
The worse part was...this was a Pauly Shore movie, which with a little research I found out he directed...and featured cameos by the likes of Woopi Goldberg, Britney Spears, Kurt Loader, Matt Pinfield, Sugar Ray, Limp Bizqit, Tom Sizemore, Carson Daily, the aforementioned Carrot Top, Kato Kalin, and Ja Rule (none of which surprise me as they all suck), but also Bill Maher, Ellen Degenerous, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Dr Dre, and Snoop Dogg. Why guys, why?
Oh and he compares his own comedy lovingly to Sam Kiniston...either that or he really hates him.
Needless to say, this movie has scarred me for life. It was the equivalent of the Kent State Massacre on screen. They just kept on shooting at me for no reason at all. Over and over again. At the same time though, I couldn’t look away from it. I was amazed at
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
This year was probably the worst for me and movie theatres. I hardly went this year. I guess it was mostly due to lack of money, but there were so many movies I missed, and yet so many more that I had to finally watch on DVD.
So, this is hardly a complete list. If I saw some more of the "Critic Choice" movies that came out, maybe this list would reflect the years true outlook better, but for now, it's just my top 5 of movies I have seen that came out this year.
For the record I have yet to see: Borat, The Departed, Brick, Hard Candy, Full Nelson, The Good Sheppard, The Good German, The Science of Sleep, Stranger than Fiction, Searching for Comedy in the Muslim World, Factory Girl, plus many more essential movies of the year.
Here are my top 5:
2)Thank You For Smoking
3)Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
4)Little Miss Sunshine
3 of those five were adaptations from books (I don’t think Little miss Sunshine was a book first, right?) 3 are also technically comedies. 2 are sequels (or reboots), and 2 are foreign films (technically Casino Royale and Perfume). One is a film that most people addressed as simply "Not sucking" (Clerks 2).
These are the other films that I saw for 2006, and I'm gonna do an EW (Entertainment Weekly) letter grade and say a few words about each.
A Scanner Darkly
---It's a pretty intriguing movie and it almost made my top 5. The reason Clerk beat it out was because I enjoyed Clerks more. That and A Scanner Darkly could be kind of confusing for some. A-
---Funnier than I thought it would be, but still kind of stupid. It was trying to be Animal House when there was no need for a new Animal House. And I jokingly blame the fact that I've seen this, but not should-be-right-up-my-alley Brick on Steph and her unrequited love for Lewis Black. (It's all your fault!). B
---An attempt at satire that doesn't fall as flat on it's face as everyone says it does. Granted, it's no where near perfect, and does get somewhat stupid at a point, but I think it actually says some good things. I talk more about it in this article. B
---I called this movie D.O.A. meets Speed. That's really the perfect way to describe it. Well...that and add to it the fact that it's made for people who have no attention span and think The Fast and The Furious was the high point of American cinema. The only thing this movie has going for it is it's super fast pace. It makes it feel like it's only been 20 minutes you've wasted watching it, and not an hour and a half. C-
---Not the worst Spike Lee movie I've seen, and not even that controversial (ooh, they mention the Holocaust. Scandalous). But also not at all memorable. I guess it's an enjoyable, harmless movie. Spike Lee has made better work though. B-
Snakes on a Plane
---Forget about the movie. The thing everyone mentions with this is the internet hype and Samuel L. Jackson saying a line that will become the next "Get off My Plane!". (Or, as I said when I saw the trailer for that crappy Harrison Ford movie this year about criminals stealing money online: "Get off My Internet!"). Anyway, the hype wasn't all there, it's not as bad as it should have been, and if you see this movie without a large enthusiastic audience then you're stupid. C -
---Bryan Singer was trying to make Superman this operatic character. And yes, it certainly has that operatic feel to it. Unfortunately it's also pretty boring. I don’t know, it just seems like this movie could have been so much better than it was. B-
V for Vendetta
---Now this was a travesty. If you've ever read the awesome graphic novel then you know they got everything all wrong. The fact that Evey wasn't a prostitute in here just messes up her whole characterization. The only reason she would hang out with a person like V is because she's so desperate a person! And what the hell is all this blaming
X Men 3: The Last Stand
---Most of my feelings for this movie can be summed up here. B
I'm trying to catch up. I just added Idocracy to my Netflix queue.