Saturday, October 23, 2010

Halloween: Boo Berry!

I like Franken Berry better, but what's the difference? It all makes me sick to my stomach if I have any.

If You Vote for Christine O'Donnell, You are Officially an Idiot

In a recent debate at Widener University Law School, Christine O'Donnell challenged her opponent, Chris Coons, to tell her where the Constitution calls for separation of church and state.

I have heard a lot of right wing idiots in my time declare, almost always in the following words, "Nowhere in the Constitution does it say there should be separation of church and state." It's pathetic that these people don't know how wrong they are. They have apparently never read the Bill of Rights, and if they have, they don't understand them. It's beyond sad that we have so many people in the US who are completely ignorant of the rights and privileges they are afforded under their own government.

When Coons explained to O'Donnell the important bit about the First Amendment, she responded "You're telling me that's in the First Amendment?"

I'm not even going to comment on her politics. I am going to say she knows nothing about the Constitution of the United States. And if you vote for someone who has no understanding of the rights she is going to take an oath to defend, you deserve everything that happens to you.

You are an idiot.

The Hangover 2 Boots Mel Gibson

I read this morning that Mel Gibson was supposed to cameo as himself in the sequel to The Hangover, but that the cast was uncomfortable letting this noted bigoted, homophobic, death-threat-making, anti-Semitic drunk into the movie. Zach Galifianakis apparently led the charge to have Mel Gibson booted from the flick, feeling it wasn't right to let Gibson come in and spoof his image.

But here's what I don't get.

I don't get why Zach, Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper McConaughey and whatever that short guy's name is were perfectly okay the first time around letting Mike Tyson do the same thing.

So, it's not cool for Mel Gibson to parody his recent stupidities, but it's perfectly alright for wife-beating convicted rapist Mike Tyson to play a cute version of himself? I mean, Tyson ended up joking around with the Jonas Brothers onstage at the Teen Choice Awards because of that movie. I wonder how Desiree Washington feels about that.

I just have a lot of mixed feelings here. I mean, I certainly don't want to see Crankypants Mel in another movie. I just don't. I'm done with him.

But I also believe that people deserve second chances.

But I also don't see the moral relativism in saying that a rapist who rips another boxer's ear off with his teeth is cute and funny (why, because he converted to Islam in prison?) and a guy who says Jews are responsible for all wars (a punchline go-to on Family Guy) is the scum of the Earth.

I'm not defending Mel Gibson here. I'm just... well, I just don't see why the moral stand is being taken against one and not the other.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween: Lego Skeletons

Full Season Order

Suck it.

Wednesday Comics

I finally managed to read the hardcover collection of DC's Wednesday Comics experiment. I was pretty skeptical--it seemed a little precious to me, trying so hard to replicate the old Sunday strip format with serialized stories--but I loved it. It's a wonderful thing, and I hope they do this again sometime.

As I get older, I find my patience for the soap operatic world of comic book universes getting shorter. This is why I've turned so much lately to older comics, especially comics for kids; they're funny, they're brief, they're enjoyable, and then they're over. Even a long serial, like the classic "Monster Society of Evil" story from Captain Marvel Adventures, is self-contained and fun. It's when the continuity-conscious come into comic books that I really don't care much anymore. To me, a story is a story. Sometimes, like with Bone or Sandman, it's a long story, but it's still a story. To look at Marvel or DC now, it seems like most readers don't or can't enjoy a story unless they know how it relates to every other story the company has ever told. So much so, that crap like Civil War and Final Crisis make continuity their chief concern, instead of the story itself.

Anyway, blah blah, you've heard me rant about this at length before, and I'm as sick of it as you. What I want to say here is that the wonderful thing about Wednesday Comics is that the main concern is telling fun, clever stories in a short amount of space. And for the most part, it really works. Several times while reading this, Becca told me if comics were like this all the time she'd read them more often. I have to agree with her.

For the hell of it, some breakdowns on the contents:

Batman by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso
Fun stuff; a moody callback to pulp detective/romance novels. I like the art. Bruce is a big guy; Batman is something of a thug. I give it 3 out of 5.

Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth by Dave Gibbons & Ryan Sook
One of my favorite stories in the whole thing. The art deserves special praise; the pages of Kamandi recall Hal Foster's Tarzan pages. The story recalls Raymond's Flash Gordon more than Kirby, but it's still incredible fun. The kind of adventure story I crave but almost never get. 5 out of 5.

Superman by John Arcudi & Lee Bermejo
Not bad; I always have fun with Arcudi's Superman, and I like all of the Smallville stuff. There are some twists I really enjoyed. 4 out of 5.

Deadman by Dave Bullock & Vinton T. Heuck
I'm not really the biggest Deadman fan in the world, but I loved a lot of the mystical ins and outs of this story, mixed with Boston Brand's typically no-nonsense attitude. At times, it felt like Bullock and Heuck were trying to write a cross between The Goon and Hellboy, but damned if I didn't enjoy it because of that. 3 out of 5.

Green Lantern by Kurt Busiek & Joe Quinones
What a pleasure to see Busiek just go all-out and write an unself-consciously Silver Age Green Lantern story. This was pure pleasure from start to finish. This is Green Lantern as I want to remember him, anyway: the space adventure, the science fiction, the strange creatures and the optimism. I've never seen Joe Quinones' artwork before, but I hope to see a lot more of it in the future. 5 out of 5.

Metamorpho, the Element Man by Neil Gaiman & Mike Allred
Gaiman & Allred make a great team; but where Green Lantern reveled in its Silver Age setting, Metamorpho is a little too self-conscious an attempt to replicate the feel of comic strips of the time. At first it was cute that they kept throwing in things like puzzles in the bottoms, but after a while, it was a chore to look at. The art is so creative, too, and you can tell Neil Gaiman really loves old comics, but it just wasn't as fun as the creators obviously thought it was. 3 out of 5.

Teen Titans by Eddie Berganza & Sean Galloway
This one was just all over the place and hard to follow; and it didn't really make following it worthwhile. It's not that I'm not a Teen Titans fan, but this one just seemed to be stuck in continuity and I couldn't really figure out after a while what I was supposed to be looking at. I admit, I didn't finish reading this story. 1 out of 5.

Strange Adventures by Paul Pope
Grand space opera the way it's supposed to be. 'Nuff said. 5 out of 5.

Supergirl by Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner
Wonderful. Totally wonderful. It begins with Supergirl trying to control Streaky and Krypto as they get out of hand, and just gets more and more beautiful from there. A perfect comic for kids, thoroughly enjoyable, and Amanda Conner's Supergirl is frankly definitive. Nice to see creators who actually understand what Supergirl should be. 5 out of 5.

Metal Men by Dan DiDio & Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
Great art, as if you needed to be told. I admit, I was kind of hoping to hate this one because I despise what Dan DiDio has done to the DC Universe, but it wasn't bad. He's got the characterizations of the Metal Men down. The only major problem I had with it was the episodic style of writing. It just piles on so much in one place: then this happens, and then these people happened to be there, and then this happened. But I admit, I enjoyed it. 3 out of 5.

Wonder Woman by Ben Caldwell
It's a neat story, but it's hard to read. The story involves a teenage Princess Diana--not yet gone to the outside world to be Wonder Woman--being charged with quests in her dreams to find different mythological artifacts. It's very dense with detail, and as a result, the pages are jampacked with tiny panels. It's difficult to look at because the length of the tale necessitates the look. I think this is the wrong format for this one; it would've been much more enjoyable as a special, where the story could've taken its time and given the art room to breathe. So, while the story's great, the limits of the format just hamper the whole thing. 2 out of 5.

Sgt. Rock and Easy Co. by Adam Kubert & Joe Kubert
Fantastic. Just fantastic. Always a fan of Sgt. Rock, and this is a great episode. 5 out of 5.

The Flash by Brendan Fletcher & Karl Kerschl
Another Silver Age tale, with Barry Allen facing off against Gorilla Grodd and time-traveling and dimension-hopping in the process. Like Green Lantern, very optimistic and fun and science fiction, but I think it unravels at the end. The final twist feels more like a cop-out, which mars what is otherwise a great story. 3 out of 5.

The Demon and Catwoman by Walter Simonson & Brian Stelfreeze
I expected not to like this much, to be honest, but it's really fun. Jason Blood and Selina Kyle make a surprisingly great pairing that I'd never considered before, and of course I usually enjoy the use of Arthurian myths. 4 out of 5.

Hawkman by Kyle Baker
I don't know what it is that didn't work here for me. One of my favorite comic book creators, and a great character, but there was something about the beautiful art and the dialogue that just didn't mesh together for me. 2 out of 5.

Plastic Man by Evan Dorkin & Stephen DeStefano
My biggest disappointment with this is that it turned out to be only one page. More, please. 5 out of 5.

The Creeper by Keith Giffen & Eric Canete
It was okay. Nothing more to say here. 2 out of 5.

Really, if you get a chance to, pick up the collection and check some of the stories out. There's a lot here to appeal to a wide array of readers. And as someone who misses fun in comics and latches onto it when I do see it, I highly recommend it. This is one of the few gems to come out of the Big Two in this swiftly-ending first decade of the 21st century.

Happy 18th Birthday, Sofia Vassilieva!

My goodness, I can't believe Eloise is all grown up now. It's getting to be that time of year, too, when I have to watch my DVDs of Eloise at the Plaza and Eloise at Christmastime. Yes, Christmas staples. And yes, I cry every time, because I'm apparently just that emotionally fragile. Or predictable. Whatever.

Anyway, I wanted to mark Sofia Vassilieva's passage into adulthood because of the movie My Sister's Keeper, which was a predictably bad and overdramatic movie about cancer that she was actually quite excellent in and, nonetheless, helped me put some of my feelings about my sister's cancer death in perspective. First Eloise, then that. I hope Sofia does something else for me to love in the near future.

It's Still Halloween to Me

Sorry for being 9 in 1985. Couldn't help it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween: Fears of Zero

Classic Zero Mostel sketch from The Muppet Show.

Thanks for Nothing, Fox

No Hell's Kitchen until 10 November?

This kind of shit is why I still refuse to consider you a real network. And why I don't need you any time a Gordon Ramsey show isn't airing.

Happy 30th Birthday, Kim Kardashian!

And thank you for a truly astounding number of sexual fantasies.

TV Report: The Hub, G.I. Joe, and a Personal Moment

My TiVo knows that I love me some Family Ties. One of my favorite sitcoms of all time, it sometimes records it from a local channel on Saturdays, which was, until recently, the only time Family Ties was ever on.

I noticed a couple of nights ago that, in the evening, my cable box had turned to channel 130 and my TiVo was recording Family Ties. And not just Family Ties, but the two-part episode "The Fugitive," famously featuring Tom Hanks as Uncle Ned. That's about as classic as Family Ties gets.

I wasn't sure what channel 130 was, so I flipped over and checked it out. 130 used to be Discovery Kids, but is now calling itself The Hub and has re-branded itself as a channel for families featuring classic television. And though I'm not sure I ever need to see reruns of Happy Days or Laverne & Shirley ever again, the channel shows some classics I'm thrilled to get to see more often: Fraggle Rock, the 1965 Batman series, Transformers, and most importantly, G.I. Joe.

As most of you know, last year I watched the first season of G.I. Joe--including the first two miniseries--with Becca, rediscovering them for the first time since I was a kid. I expected they would be like a lot of programs I watched when I was a kid--I'd look at them and think, I can't believe how much I loved this when it's dated so poorly, and then never watch it again. But I really enjoyed them. A surprising amount. Not only that, but Becca, who had never seen them, really liked G.I. Joe.

So when she saw that The Hub was rerunning G.I. Joe at 11:30pm Mondays through Thursdays, she got really excited and asked if we could start recording it. They've started pretty recently, because last night's episode was the second part of the second miniseries, The Revenge of Cobra. So now I'm DVRing and watching G.I. Joe at the age of 34 with my enthusiastic wife.

I'm going to rehash an old, painful gripe of mine once again here. (This is the personal moment of the post title, obviously.)

In 1986, when Transformers: The Movie came out, I didn't go see it with my friends. That's because I didn't really have any that year. Besides gaining a bunch of weight, I was also still into cartoons, and everyone had just sort of decided in 6th grade that it was stupid to be 10 years old and still be into action figures and cartoons and comic books--which is, I maintain, why there are now industries devoted to remaking and repackaging the things you loved as kids and selling them back to you, because you gave them up too soon and now you miss them. Look how much money you could have saved if you just gave things up in your own time.

Anyway, suddenly--and it really was very, very sudden; I called my best friend Shane one morning and asked if he wanted to play, and he just coldly said "No thanks, Aaron, I'd rather not play with you" and was suddenly not just no longer a friend, but one of the people leading the charge to ridicule me, leading the pack of kids that beat me up and berated me all the way home one day--suddenly I was the only 10 year-old in the neighborhood who still played with his Legos and G.I. Joe figures and watched cartoons. So I was suddenly by myself for a long time, and being told repeatedly what a loser I was because I was "still acting like a kid." Almost no one wanted to be my friend if they could help it, and as I got older, no girl wanted to go out with me. I was, supposedly, destined to be alone.

So anyway, cut to 2010. I'm 34 years old, and I still love cartoons. And now I'm married to a beautiful, talented, silly, dorky, sexy, funny, artistic, smart, awesome, perfect woman. Who loves to watch G.I. Joe with me.

Fucking suck it, Shane. Suck it, everyone who told me what a loser I was simply for being myself and not caving in to the peer pressure to grow up too fast. Fuck every last one of you for being so, so stupid.

It's nice to get rid of that bit of lingering shitty memories.

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

Rod Steiger stars as a Confederate soldier who fires the last shot in the Civil War, then goes West to live among the Sioux. He never gets over his anger at the Yankees and feels like he's not really a part of the United States; after meeting a disgraced Sioux and surviving the Run of the Arrow, he is allowed to live as a Sioux but never entirely welcomed. The most interesting parts of the movie are the way he relates to his new tribe, and they way they relate to him. Though he thinks of himself as one of them, and is even called a Sioux, it's all too obvious to the viewer that they think of him as a visiting white man. It comes to a head when his loyalties are naturally tested by both his tribe and his country. Written and directed by the great Sam Fuller. ***1/2 stars.

Oh, shut up, you stupid, jerk-off movie. No stars.

ONE LAST THING... (2006)
Michael Angarano is decent as a dying boy whose last wish is to date a supermodel. Painfully over-earnest, and its sincerity comes across as smarm after a while. * star.

MIRRORS (2008)
Alexandre Aja's film about things in the mirrors attacking Keifer Sutherland just... happens. There's no real emotional attachment, so it relies more on its situation, which it kind of drags out. Meh. It's there, and then it's gone. ** stars.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No More

RIP Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas.

Homosexuality and suicide are not life choices. Hate and bigotry are.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween: The Olsen Twins?

Apparently one of the things to do right now on YouTube is to take songs from those detestable Olsen Twins videos that used to play on a loop in the mid-nineties when I worked at Target, and slow them down. And it makes them really, really creepy. Or... I like to think it's more accurate to say that slowing the speed just brings out the creepiness that's already inherent in those Olsen Twins videos. Here they are on Halloween, invoking Pazuzu or something, and generally making Satan wet his bed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween: So close...

I'm jolly, all right.

The Meme with the Red Tattoo

I got this off Tumblr. It's supposed to be a 30 Day Challenge, but I decided to do it as a meme. (Also, there aren't 30 here; I cut a few out because they were basically repetitions of earlier questions on the same meme.)

1. First album you bought: I bought four albums in 1986, and I can't remember which came first--Weird Al's Dare to Be Stupid; the Transformers: The Movie soundtrack; Then and Now: The Best of the Monkees; and the Labyrinth soundtrack.

2. Last album you bought: I think the last one I actually bought was... I can't remember.

3. Favorite debut album: Man, I could make a whole list out of just this entry. Limiting myself to just one, I think I'd pick Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell.

4. First album you listened to all the way through: I heard lots of albums as a kid, but the first album I really sat with and listened to was Cat Stevens' Tea for the Tillerman. On vinyl.

5. Last album you listened to: I've been listening to singles and my iPod lately. I think the album I listened to most recently was the Runaways' Live in Japan.

6. Favorite album of the 1960s: Pet Sounds.

7. Favorite album artwork: I love the cover of Rubber Soul.

8. Most underrated album: Bob Catley's Middle-Earth. It's a metal exploration of Tolkien, and it's awesome.

9. Worst album you own: I love David Bowie, but Never Let Me Down is pretty terrible. So is Tin Machine II, except for "Amlapura."

10. Best album to dance to: I don't know, I'm not a dance guy.

11. Favorite album of the 1970s: Bat Out of Hell.

12. Album you like, but you never thought you would: I never thought I'd like a U2 album all the way through, but Boy is great.

13. Most overrated album: OK Computer. I just don't like Radiohead.

14. Best album to cheer you up: Willie Nelson's Stardust. Or Bat Out of Hell. Or Pet Sounds.

15. Most disappointing follow-up album: Dead Ringer is certainly no Bat Out of Hell. I don't think it's as terrible as a lot of people have said over the years, but Bat was EPIC, and Dead Ringer is... well, it's just there, with a couple of decent tracks and some really bad shit. Meat and Steinman should never have ditched Todd Rundgren as producer.

16. Favorite album of the 1980s: Violent Femmes.

17. Favorite second album: This Year's Model.

18. Most listened to album: I couldn't tell you for certain. But it could easily be Bat Out of Hell. Or The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.

19. Favorite album of the 1990s: Live Through This.

20. Last album you recommended to somebody: Can't remember; I don't recommend music to people too often anymore, since everyone thinks my taste sucks.

21. Last album you downloaded: The new Selena Gomez & the Scene album. I got an iTunes gift card for my birthday.

22. Favorite album of the 2000s: Brian Wilson Presents: SMiLE.

23. Favorite third album: Hunky Dory, David Bowie.

24. Favorite fourth album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.

25. Favorite album of the 2010s (so far): I'll let you know when they start. (A decade does not start with the number 10, people.)

26. Favorite album of all-time: Pet Sounds.

Kristen Bell Mondays

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Carl!

Long, long time readers may remember that my friend Carl is the one who told me, back in the beginning, that my blog needed "more ass." Which was perfect for my obnoxious sense of humor, since I know he looks at my blog at work. Of course, today he gets out of it because his birthday's on a Sunday this year, but still, here's some NSFW birthday ass for my pal.

Halloween: Muppets Haunted House

I used to buy Muppet Magazine all the time...

Song of the Week: "All I Want"

I watched Foxes this morning, and now all I want is Cherie Currie. This her and her twin sister, Marie, from their 1980 album Messin' with the Boys. It sounds very much like 1980 to me, but in a very good way.