Nasty surprise this morning. I woke up, thinking, “Aw hell. It’s not Saturday after all. It’s goddamn Friday.”
Wasn’t more’n a minute after that I got my second nasty surprise.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Kathy & I went to a Rangers game last night. They were playing my hometown team, the Flyers, so the two of us had a good rivalry going. For a long while, the Rangers had the upper hand, scoring two goals to the Flyers zilch. Frankly, it was all Henrick Lovstuen – nothing was getting by him. And then, in the third period, the Flyers whizzed two by him – one right after a face-off. The game went into overtime, and popped another one into the goal in under two minutes. Final score? Flyers, 3-2.
Bottom line is, we both had a really good time. Kathy’s the hockey fan in the family, but I have to admit I had a blast. I’d love to do it again – maybe even watch a game where I can root for the Rangers. But not last night. I’ve never felt better watching a bunch of disgruntled fans shuffling from the arena as I did last night.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Well, today and yesterday, anyway. And many, many days before that. I'm hip-deep in my Angola book, but finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just type up my corrections for this draft, and then it's on to the backmatter.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Friday, January 27, 2006
And, as unexpectedly as it appeared, Handless Mutant-Retard Month ends. Not because I feel any less kinship with my handless mutant-retard brethren, but simply because it’s hard to post about anything else when my heart is drawn to these brave, brave, handless, brave, mutant-retard souls. I must close myself off a little bit, from the heroism of Chucky P. Sloan, the handless mutant-retard who saved six pigs (and a stuffed wallaby) in the Great Chicago Fire, or the abstract villainy of Huey Devlin, who painted all the Bibles in his church with clear nail polish, which he called “the devil’s pigment.”
Or Theresa Puttie, the handless mutant-retard mistress of Felix Mendelssohn, who inspired so many of his notebook doodles but not a note of music. Or my email correspondent who I only know as “JrRaindrop,” who uses voice recognition software to compose villanelles out of the numbers s/he can’t fit into his/her sudoku puzzles.
All of these people, and more have touched me. Their stumps are on my heart.
I look forward to the next handless mutant-retard month, however long it lasts, whenever it may come.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Oh, I'm sorry, I meant a Carnival! Which reminds me, the newest Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers is up, this time at The Center of NJ Life, where the latest fireworks went down (up?) and Handless Mutant-Retard Month was born. Take a stroll, peek in some tents, and don't gawk at the goat boy. As we all know, it could be worse.
The inclusion of Tom Bombadil in Peter Jackson’s movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, was squelched by a legal dispute. Jackson had cast handless mutant-retard heartthrob Neil Garvey as the legendary musician and nature spirit, but Garvey pulled out when he learned he would not be allowed to keep the CGI hands used to make him appear to play the lute. A sympathetic court ordered the footage—and “handage”—to be destroyed.
(What the %#$@% am I talking about? Lemme ’splain.)
Friday, January 20, 2006
It’s Handless Mutant-Retard Month here at Laughing at the Pieces. Sure, it started just two days ago, and God willing, I’ll tire of this joke before 30 days are up. But it’s still a “month.” What can I tell you? We’re handless mutant-retards. Coherence is not our strong suit. (Neither is piano.)
An explanation: I got involved in a bit of a flame war this week. Eventually, the anonymous poster I targeted called me (for reasons too complicated to get into here, but here’s a good place to start looking) a “handless, mutant-retard.”
Yeah, I know. I couldn’t believe it either. So I took it as a badge of honor. And started posting little-known facts about my handless mutant-retard brethren.
With the first three, I was just warming up:
After those, I started getting into the groove, fitting handless mutant-retards into odd nooks and crannies of history and pop culture. And generally making stuff up.
Fact One I Forgot
Fact Cicuenta y Dos
Fact Naomi told a FIB!
More tidbits of handless mutant-retard history may come to light. I’ll try to add them to the list. (In case I forget, click here to whisk yourself to the top o' the blog.)
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Members of HUMMER, a militant handless mutant-retard group, were prohibited from coming within 200 yards of the "Hands Across America" event in 1986 when the courts ruled that they intended their planned protests to erupt in violence.
(What the %#$& am I talking about? Lemme 'splain...)
Chris & Cecilia,
I know that you both use the anonymous option to post on my and other blogspot blogs, signing your posts in the text. And I always love hearing from both of you. But lately I've been involved in a dust-up with an anonymous poster, and in the end it turned so repugnant to me that I've decided to disable anonymous posting. I figure, if this guy's gonna come at me -- and there's been no indication that he even has the sense to follow my name to my blog -- he's gonna come at me with an honest-to-god made-up name.
I hope you both register with blogger and continue to post here, not just because I value your input, but because I miss you guys and like hearing from you. I'm truly sorry for the inconvenience. It's just that this guy went from being an amusing little idiot to someone whose behavior has made me sick to my stomach. They're just words, and I'm almost certainly overreacting, attributing malice to him where it's most likely simply a lack of imagination. But he's nameless, he's a creep, and he's local. And that combination, in my mind, makes him a problem.
So until further notice, I'm disabling anonymous comments. Anyone who can't bother to sign even a made-up name most likely isn't worth listening to anyhow.
Angus Nichols, a 22-year-old handless mutant-retard welder, worked on the Golden Gate Bridge. Wearing a special mask, he held the torch in his teeth.
Within six months of the bridge's completion, Nichols' teeth fell out and he was forced to wear dentures, ending his career.
(What the %#$& am I talking about? Lemme 'splain...)
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
In the Netherlands, handless mutant-retards are believed to be able to scratch the backs of the dead. People always invite handless mutant-retards to wakes, just to make the guest of honor comfy.
(What the %#$& am I talking about? Lemme 'splain...)
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Okay, maybe a little background is needed. Back in November, Sharon at The Center of NJ Life posted about NJ’s workplace smoking ban. And since it recently became law, she’s been getting a lot of hits and comments on this older post. When she noted this action with a more recent post, some new people chimed in, me being one of them.
And, long story short, I’ve been going back and forth with an anonymous poster for a while now. Debating him was a dead end, so I just started teasing him. Which, a few hours ago, led him to call me a “handless mutant-retard.” Which is awesome. I’m still a little dumbfounded.
Anyway, if you want to watch, the post is here. It’s like bear-baiting, except you don’t feel sorry for the bear.
P.S. And if you have any thoughts about the NJ smoking ban or smoking bans in general, please post, too. God knows, between him and me, we could use some adult voices in the room.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Friday, January 13, 2006
Just to follow up on the "Pat Robertson: What a dick" post, it seems he's written a letter of apology to Sharon's son and the people of Israel, asking for forgiveness.
God, of course, forgave him right away, knowing that the simpleminded and deranged can't really be held responsible for their outbursts. But the guy who lets him him keep his microphone? Not so much.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Just before our love got lost you said,
“I am as constant as the Northern Star,” and I said,
“Constantly in the darkness, where’s that at?
If you want me I’ll be in the bar.”
That’s the opening verse of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” and it’s one of my favorite opening verses of all time. It may be the bluntest presentation of an argument I’ve ever heard in a song, and – flowery North Star stuff aside – seems very real to me. Get a parting shot in, leave the room mad, and fume about it afterward.
The rest of the song’s just as good. And if you want to hear a new recording of it by one of this generation’s talented singer-songwriters, it’s this month’s free download at MarkErelli.com. After this month you’ll be able to find it in the archive, also at this link. Check it out.
(Frightened by the Devil, and drawn to those ones that ain’t afraid)
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
I read an article on Buzzscope last night that really got me angry. Ronee Garcia Bourgeois interviewed three women on sexual harassment in the comics industry. You can read it here. There’s no point summarizing it; the women talk about their experiences, and as expected, reading it made me angry. Angry that people treat other people this way, just because they’re women. Angry because I’m an outsider who likes to think that the comic book industry is better than that, even though I know it’s not. Angry because we’ve all still got a long way to go before we’re civilized.
You can read it for yourself. You’ll get angry too.
But underneath that anger is a real sense of disappointment. I’d heard one of these stories before, and I’d love to not believe it. The offender in question is a guy whose work I’ve admired since I could read the credits in comic books, even if I wasn’t quite sure what an “editor’ did. And it bothers me that he personally doesn’t live up to what I’d built him up to in my head, what even other anecdotes I’d hear about him billed him as. I met him briefly when I was in high school, and he was very nice to me and my friend, showing us a big wall of upcoming comics covers.
Then again, I was a teenage boy. I didn’t have anything to worry about.
This guy was, in my opinion, one of the best editors comics ever had. The comics he produced were exactly what the ten-year-old me craved. Certainly, he was one of the people who made the stories so compelling that they’re still my hobby, nearly 30 years later.
Everyone is entitled to feet of clay. No one is perfect. But in some people, that’s what you want from them. That’s what you expect, because you do idolize them, as silly as that sounds. They’re, in some way, your heroes. And when they fall short of that ideal—as this one certainly did—it hurts. This isn't simply a matter of a human failing. It's manipulative and it's mean and I don't have any sympathy for it. Everyone should be better than this.
Certainly, there’s more at stake here than my feelings. People have been hurt or traumatized in genuine, direct ways. I haven’t had that experience, and wouldn’t presume to speak for those who have.
But I have to ask: if you build your career spinning the adventures of true-blue superheroes, paragons of virtue and honor, shouldn’t that sense of right and wrong rub off on you? Because it rubbed off on me, and I just read the stuff.
(Via Johanna. Heidi at The Beat also has a thoughtful (and far less self-absorbed) perspective on the topic.)
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Another great Frank Rich column:
That the White House's over-the-top outrage about the Times scoop is a smokescreen contrived to cover up something else is only confirmed by Dick Cheney's disingenuousness. In last week's oration at a right-wing think tank, he defended warrant-free wiretapping by saying it could have prevented the 9/11 attacks. Really? Not with this administration in charge. On 9/10 the N.S.A. (lawfully) intercepted messages in Arabic saying, "The match is about to begin," and, "Tomorrow is zero hour." You know the rest. Like all the chatter our government picked up during the president's excellent brush-clearing Crawford vacation of 2001, it was relegated to mañana; the N.S.A. didn't rouse itself to translate those warnings until 9/12.It doesn't matter that Bush's ear is to the ground; chances are he wouldn't recognize an oncoming stampede. Bush can't keep us safe. He's already proven that, twice.
(Via Mark E.)
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Friday, January 06, 2006
And believe me, the only thing these two movies have in common is the decade in which they were released.
I was home sick today, under doctor’s orders not to do anything, so I took the opportunity to watch some movies. My first pick was Casablanca. I’d seen it a number of times before, and so have you, so I’m not going to bother to summarize the plot. Besides, if you haven’t seen it, go out, buy it on DVD, and watch it. Don’t bother renting it, it’s too good not to watch more than once.
This time, I watched it with Roger Ebert’s commentary on (rewatching some of my favorite scenes with the movie audio), and I learned a few things. The thing that probably sticks with me most is that very few of the actors were born in America. Most had fled Europe after Hitler came to power. Look at the IMDB bio of S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, who played Carl, the Maitre’D at Rick’s. German movies from 1917 to 1937, then a three-year gap, then American movies from 1940 onward. The extensively European cast gives the movie an extra stamp of authenticity.
Another thing I learned (and this wasn’t in the commentary) is that Claude Rains looks a lot like one of our ferrets, The Dude.
Later on, Kathy and I sat down to watch The Devil Bat, a 1941 horror movie in which Bela Lugosi plays a kindly doctor who secretly has been enlarging bats to enormous proportions, and training them to attack whoever wears a special shaving lotion he’s prepared. The great fun of the movie is watching him jump through hoops to get people to splash a bit of it on. Well, that and the giant rubber bat. There are no giant rubber bats in Casablanca. You’re looking for giant rubber bats, only Lugosi’s got you covered.
Everything else, though, I’d go with Bogart.