Friday, September 30, 2005

SPX Report

Since I'd already submitted my NJ Carnival of Bloggers link, I included my SPX Con Report as a rather extended update in a previous entry. This one here, in fact.

Rob

Thursday, September 29, 2005

William Bennett Can Stick His Moral Compass Up His Ass

The radio host said: "You could abort every black baby in the country, and the crime rate would go down."

I know that they have to let him speak at the Gambler's Anonymous meetings ("Hi Bill!"), but do they have to give this holier-than-thou racist yahoo a radio show? I wonder how many Republican rallies this guy speaks at?

Rob

Serenity Now!

Thanks to an offer from Josh at Talking Points Memo, Kathy & I had a chance to see a preview of Joss Whedon's Serenity tonight.

I was floored.

This is good stuff. I don't say it as a fan of Firefly, the show it's based on; I've only seen one episode. But this was flat-out great. I don't want to say too much about it -- there's plenty to surprise you and get your pulse racing. But unlike a lot of action/adventure movies, there actually feels like there's something at stake. And unlike the staid SF of Star Trek, the people actually act like people, instead of uniforms with people in them. This is an awesomely entertaining movie, and you'll do yourself a favor if you don't read any reviews more detailed than that. Just go see it.

(Man, that Firefly DVD set is going to start flying off the shelves this Friday...)

Rob

The best thing about chickens...

...is that the come home to roost.

Tom Delay indicted, steps down as Majority Leader.

Rob

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hey! There I Am!

I haven't had time yet to post about this weekend (with the Small Press Expo, Jeff's wedding, and other events) but there's a good SPX review here at Mike Manley's blog. Mike's a Philly-area artist who's done a ton of comics work, both oncompany-owned characters like Captain Marvel and his own material like Monsterman. He's also the editor of Draw! magazine. But my main point is this: scroll about a third of the way down through his con report.Over a the caption "The Philly Crew" is a group of cartoonists sitting at a table. But in front of them, and actually facing the camera, are (leftto right) my wife Kathy, me, and my friends Jessica and Mike. It looks likeI'd just picked up my sample copies of the hurricane benefit anthology (from the Baton Rouge Cartoonists Society) that Mike (Bencik, not Manley) and I had a two-page story in.

And yeah, I'm psyched about it. But I also think it's damn cool that we're all in a photo on Mike Manley's blog.

Robert from the BRCS and Richard and the other guys at the Philly Cartoonists Society were very cool, by the way.

UPDATE:

Here’s a bit more about the Small Press Expo. It’s all bundled into this post since it’s the link I provided to the Carnival of NJ Bloggers this week. (Funny how delivery can drive content, innit?)

So Kathy & I headed south for the weekend, first to Bethesda, Md., then to Falls Church, Va, The only reason I’ve ever gone to Bethesda is this: Small Press Expo. It’s the comics convention that in many ways, doesn’t feel at all like a comics convention. There’s not Superman or Spider-Man, or even Hellboy or the Savage Dragon. There’s just a bunch of in independent creators selling the small-print-run books they’ve worked on, often by themselves.

There’s wonderful stuff here. Carla Speed McNeil’s Finder, for instance, is a terrific b/w comic set in a science-fiction world of nomads and clans. It’s wonderfully realized, and I won’t be able to do it justice. So go here. And here, where she discusses her new online plans for the comic. I had a chance to speak to her about it this weekend.

I picked up a bunch of anthologies, from the Hurricane Relief book put out by the Baton Rouge Cartoonists Society (It's the one that Mike & I have a two-page story in. You can order it here; all proceeds go to the Red Cross), to the Philadelphia Cartoonists Society Anthology. I also grabbed one put out by the con itself.

I had a good conversation with Don MacDonald, an amazing artist who’ll be publishing a book on Machiavelli in 2006, and I also spoke with one of the guys who publishes the playful and informative Action Philosphers comic. I’m waiting to have a decent chunk of time before I dig into Alex Robinson’s Box Office Poison, a hefty trade paperback I bought at the show, and I’m waiting for Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards, Jim Ottovani’s newest comic on paleontology to arrive in the mail (he’d sold out on the con floor).

Plus, I had a great time hanging out with friends Mike and Jessica. Mike and I really have to work on more comics stuff together. He has half a script of mine, and hasn’t done much with it beyond character design. But I can’t really harp on him for not getting any further into it, since, as I said, he has half a script.

After the con we stopped off at a New Orleans-style restaurant, where I had some terrific seafood jambalaya and a bottle of what may be my favorite southern beer, Abita Turbodog. TURBO!

Rob

An Astounding Coincidence

Surprise, surprise.

Rob

Friday, September 23, 2005

Overheard on the Train

"Yeah, he's fucking me, but I don't know why. What's his motivation to fuck me?"

That's an honest-to-god quote from a woman sitting across the aisle from me on thetrain, talking on her cell phone at around 10:30 tonight.

If I can add my two cents, it's this: His motivation to fuck you? It's fucking you. I've been married for a little over two years, but I haven't been out of the game that long. Believe me: We're not that complex.

Froma completely objective point of view, the woman on the phone was... well...plain. Which is fine. Plain has never been a serious obstacle to any guy's libido. Not a big secret.

What may be a big secret? Plain has never really been a serious impediment to any woman'slibido, either. Trust me; I'm a plain guy. And--once I found some self-confidence--I did just fine. It's the confidence that's the key, not the looks.

Testify, my semi-attractive bruthas.

Rob

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bzzzzzraaoooommmmmmmowowowowowwww

One of the reasons I like my electric toothbrush is that, by simply opening and closing my mouth slightly during its operation, I can change the pitch, creating a didgeridoo-like effect while I brush.

It's the yuppie-harp.

Rob

Monday, September 19, 2005

Okay, heroes...

Check out Alien Loves Predator. How did this escape my notice for so long?

(Thanx, Alan M.)

Rob

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bush Tease

The President comes off like a callous, indifferent asswipe in Brian Williams' blog. There's probably a reason for that.

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

Rob

Got Plans Sunday Night?

I'll be participating in Freshly Squeezed II, a play reading this Sunday, organized by Jason Green for Wild Child Productions. It's at the Theatre for the New City, and there will be short plays read from Jason, Mac Rogers, James Contois and myself.

The plays will be performed by Brian Luna, Tiffany Clementi, Jennifer Moses (who was in my most recent Spontaneous Combustion play), Gerry Lehane, Jennifer Terpak, David Ian Lee, Anne Johnson and Laura Benson.

My plays are short vignettes I wrote about a trip to New Orleans I took with my buddy Chris way back when. Yeah, Chris; the time-share of the damned.

It should be a fun night. Admission is free, but no one would object if you want to throw a couple bucks toward the theatre space.

Here are the details:

THEATRE for the NEW CITY
155 1st Avenue, New York, NY
Sunday, September 18, 7:00pm
Phone: 917-854-6493

The closest Subway Stops to THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
are:

6 at Astor Place & Lafayette Street - Walk 3 blocks East to 1st Avenue.

L Train at 1st Avenue and 14th Street.

N,R,W Train at 8th Street and Broadway.

F,V Train at 2nd Avenue and Houston Street.

Hope to see you there!

Rob

Thursday, September 15, 2005

More than 50% of U.S. Teens Have Had Oral Sex

According to a the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The 54-55% figure may be a little off, but it's certainly more than a handful. So to speak.

Reuters has more.

Rob

Rove's in Charge of Katrina

Shameless.

Rob

Another Music Smackdown

Sploid reports that cops in Los Angeles busted a rap concert to benefit Katrina victims. We'll probably hear more about this.

Rob
(I'll have an update on the developments in the Utah rave raid soon, promise.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Kyle Baker fans, take heart

Although it looks like Plastic Man has been cancelled, the Beat has the goods on a hot new exclusive.

Rob

Justice at Home (Plate)

In his opening statement of his confirmation hearings, John Roberts used a baseball analogy (a pretty good one, in my estimation) to explain how he saw his role as Chief Justice: he's like a baseball umpire. "It's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat." It's a simple explanation, and one that will certainly play well over TV and radio.

Ed Kilgore at Newdonkey.com takes it further (on a handy double-play from Armando at dailykos.)

Rob

Monday, September 12, 2005

Snakes Aloft!

Doc at the Comics Cave brought this brief Samuel L. Jackson interview to my attention. It's the pause for emphasis that gets me.

Rob

I'm never more nervous...

...than when I'm driving a tank of propane for the grill back from the hardware store. I'm on high, extra-jumpy alert for any little bump or jostle. It's like driving all night, hopped up on crystal meth with two dead hookers in the trunk and a busted tail light.

Maybe I've said too much.

Rob

Recovery

Mike Parnell is a pastor with experience in flood relief. He'll be traveling from Virginia to Mississippi to help with recovery efforts there...and blogging about it.

Go see what he's doing. It's on-the-ground coverage from someone who's unquestionably one of the good guys.

Rob

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Freedom's Just Another Word...

...for doing things our way or else.

As Yakov Smirnoff used to say, "What a country!"

Rob

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Dog of Netflix

Woody: "I thought I was one step ahead of her the whole time, but she played me like Chinese chess."
Gina: "Checkers."


One great thing about Netflix is that, since you're paying for a service and not for each particular film, you get to see some movies that you wouldn't necessarily pay for. Sometimes they're better than you might think.

And then there's Palmetto, easily the worst film we've ever gotten in the mail. Easy phony kidnapping plot turns real, with all the fingers pointing at the patsy. Starring Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Shue and Gina Gershon, this movie wants to be noir in the worst way. Which is exactly how it goes about everything.

Confession time: I rented this primarily to see Elizabeth Shue play a femme fatale. I've liked her in other movies -- Adventures in Babysitting always springs to mind, but I liked her in The Saint, too -- and I've always found her very easy to look at. But man oh man is she lousy in this. Clumsy double entendres, clumsy seductions -- it's almost like she's acting in a porn movie, without any of the nudey bits. I think she's supposed to be insane, but I'm not quite sure. That isn't a good sign.

And Harrelson, I know, is capable of much more than he shows here. Here, he's supposed to be a former reporter, an innocent man released from two years of wrongful imprisonment, but he comes off as a dimbulb without a shred of competence in anything he tries. He can't even lie well. It's like he's playing Woody from Cheers, but in way over his head and without the least glimmer of charm.

Gershon is pretty much wasted as the nice girl staying at home while Harrelson screws everything up. Her first scene is a ham-handed smouldering reunion on the street after he's released, but after that, she's whitebread. Why hire Gina Gershon to be so bland?

With so much bad acting, much of the blame has to fall on the director... um.. looking it up... Volker Schlondorff. IMDB says that most of his films (with the exception of The Handmaid's Tale, which I liked -- although I wonder how much I'd like it after having read the book, but at the very least, introduced me to Margaret Atwood) aren't in English. Suddenly everything falls into place.

Well, I've rambled on long enough, and you've probably gotten my point: Palmetto sucks. And you'll giggle during the steamy parts because it's so damn stupid.

Rob

Twirlie-whirlies

Via ktbuffy, here's a short imagined monologue in McSweeney's: Trent from Swingers (the Vince Vaughn character) performs an exorcism. Go forth and read.

Rob

Anti-Looting Sign Updated

Since I posted this last week, I thought you'd like to know things were progressing. Via warrenellis.com.









Rob

Friday, September 09, 2005

Horrifying.

The government of Jefferson Parrish was keeping people from walking across the Crescent City Connection bridge away from New Orleans.

Kevin Drum has details.

Rob

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Eleven days

The countdown begins.

Rob

Operation CYA

The Repugs see "this whole hurricane thing" as just another image problem for their beloved chimp of a president. So naturally, steps are being taken to keep the truth away from the voters. Steps like keeping reporters away from rescue efforts, as Josh Marshall details.

And stuff like avoiding an independent investigation like the 9/11 committee in favor of a Republican-run one.

It's the usual Republican fuckery, only more urgent now, as their feet seem to finally be held to the fire. Hide the bodies, hide the mistakes, cover up and whitewash and hope everyone forgets.

It's all a result of the negligence on the part of our leaders. People should have been evacuated sooner. FEMA should have responded more quickly. The President shouldn't have gutted the funds New Orleans needed to keep itself safe. Time and time again, the chimp and his handlers have swept mistake after mistake under the rug. He's a hideous president. He's a god-awful embarassment. I am ashamed that our country elected him, and hope to god that nothing else this bad happens on his watch.

Because he's not equipped to handle it in any way, shape or form.

I can't convey how angry I am, and how let down I feel by the whole electoral process that would let this ape become president. Better we let the cast of Survivor decide than the American people. Better we leave it to chance, a big game of keno with 100 people picked at random from all walks of life. Better we get an infant, because at least a baby will cry when he shits himself. Better we pick our leaders with pie-eating contests or spelling bees or mumblety-peg. Better we all hang ourselves, and whoever dies last gets America.

Better no one than him.

Rob

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Bruuuuuce!

Paul Harris, ofKMOX in St. Louis, is one of my favorite raido talk show hosts -- and withoutthe internet, I'd never have heard of him. Check out his interview with B-movie legend (and zombie-slayer) Bruce Campbell -- there are a couple great stories about Sam Raimi's The Quick and the Dead (which he wasn't even in!), as well as other goodies.

Also, Harris (via his Picture of the Day feature) links to this great anti-looting sign in New Orleans. The city ain't dead when its spirit lives on.

Rob

Presidential Incomptence

As always, read Frank Rich:

Most of all, we're going to have to face the reality that with this disaster, the administration has again increased our vulnerability to the terrorists we were supposed to be fighting after 9/11. As Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar, pointed out to The Washington Post last week in talking about the fallout from the war in Iraq, there have been twice as many terrorist attacks outside Iraq in the three years after 9/11 than in the three years before. Now, thanks to Mr. Bush's variously incompetent, diffident and hubristic mismanagement of the attack by Katrina, he has sent the entire world a simple and unambiguous message: whatever the explanation, the United States is unable to fight its current war and protect homeland security at the same time.
And here's this gem from Avedon Carol:
Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
That, as they say, is the shoe that fits.

Rob

Hear Ye

The Times Picayune has posted an open letter to the President.

Rob

On Beyond Rehnquist

A few months ago, when Justice O'Connor retired, I wrote:

I hope Rehnquist retires soon. It's a given that Bush will try send one ultraconservative to the Supreme Court. But it'll be more difficult to send two up at the same time than it would be to get one approved, then another 6 months or a year later.

I know some folks disagreed with me about this (although not in the comments, so I can't remember who it was), saying Bush will nominate ultraconservative after ultraconservative, no matter how many positions are open. They may be right. It looks like we'll have a chance to see, for better or worse. But I think it'll be a little while before the Supreme Court speculation game steals the front page away from Katrina's destruction and the aftermath.

Rob

Disgusted

Our response time to Katrina is appalling. We're the greatest nation in the world, and we can't do better than this? It's stupefying.

Here are some links, all adding up to an appalling lack of leadership, from the President on down.

On the late arrival of the National Guard: Yahoo! News

On halting the Superdome evacuation to clear the nearby Hyatt (where people were clean and dry and not killing each other): Assiciated Press

On Michale D. Brown, the head of FEMA, being the former commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association (before he was, y'know, fired). Cronysim at its worst, courtesy of Knight-Ridder.

Here's Editor and Publisher on Bush's cuts to the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA). This is what conservatism brings -- the idea that states and cities should be able to raise the money for these sorts of things themselves. It works wonders, doesn't it?

And finally, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) account of yesterday's presidential appearance at the efforts to restore the 17th Street levee. Turns out that most of the machinery and equipment was pulled in just for another one of his increasingly transparent its-all-under-control photo-ops. And here's more, from Laura Rozen: Apparently the food distribution point Bush was photographed in front of was torn down immediately after the shoot. My stomach turns just thinking about it.

But at least Halliburton will make some money! (Houston Chronicle)

You know, there were times prayed that the rest of the country would see this president as I do: an inept thug who puts this country in more and more danger every day he's in office. But I'd rather have 52% of the country think he's perfect than to have something like this happen. This is awful.

And it wouldn't have been half as bad with competent leadership.

Rob

UPDATE: Noah Diamond comes to the same conclusions, only citing a lot more evidence to back him up.