Thursday, June 29, 2006

Credits Due

I've got a great song in my head -- Warren Zevon's "Even a Dog Can Shake Hands" -- and it happens to be the perfectly suited theme song to the short-lived Jay Mohr Hollywood sitcom, Action. Here's a snatch of it, a twisted look at the art of the Deal:

All the worms and the gnomes are having lunch at Le Dome
They're all living off the fat of the land
Everbody's trying to be a friend of mine
Even a dog can shake hands

It sets exactly the right tone for the show, and there's nothing that I'd rather hum right now.

So what are your favorite TV theme songs? Lyrics and/or instrumental; I'm not picky.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sports? Me?

I'm not really sure how I got started watching the World Cup -- okay, that's not true, I started watching the Angola/Portugal match, because whenever a team faces their colonial oppressors on an international stage for the first time, it sounds like good TV. But I don't know why I've kept watching, me being not a sports person at all.

But this Australia/Italy game that I just watched (thanx Tivo!)... whoa. The Italians lost a man about halfway through due to a red card (which I take to be a really bad foul), although the announcers seemed to think it wasn't merited. Essentially, they had an 11-10 power play for 50 minutes of the game. And yet they never really pressed the advantage. While they seemed to have control most of the time, they weren't ferociously attacking. Which is a shame, because I was rooting for them.

And then, at the absolute last moment, an Italian player trips over an Aussie, causing a foul. Looking at the replays, it looks more like he steped over him and then decided to fall, to be honest. One slo-mo shot even showed him with what I'd call an excited smile as he dropped. But the refs call the foul, and Italy gets a penalty kick. Which, since things are tied 0-0, could decide the game.

And it does. Goes right in. So one guy's brainstorm to take a dive when the opportunity presents itself gets Italy into the final 8.

As much as I wanted Australia to win, my inner con man says that's pretty cool.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Revoke My Cinephile License

I caught Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows the other day, and I'm ashamed to say I didn't do right by it. I was a bit drowsy, and wasn't in the right state of consciousness to really appreciate a foreign film. (Sometimes I close my eyes and just listen, momentarily forgetting that a movie has subtitles; this doesn't work well for the film as a whole.)*

It was interesting, and at times very tense. But I'm certain I would have enjoyed it much, much more had I not drifted off in a couple of the early scenes. Reading this Roger Ebert review makes me want to watch it all over again, to make better sense of it all. If you miss a little of the intricacies of this thriller of small details, you miss a lot.


* I wouldn't have fared much better at my other option, the 1924 silent film Pandora's Box.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Meet the Meerkats

So, I posted that last piece just to reinforce the idea that I am a man, because this next one might shake that foundation a bit.

Kathy & I have gotten wrapped up in a little show on Animal Planet called Meerkat Manor. It follows the lives of the Whiskers family of meerkats in the Kalahari Desert. Narrated by Sean Astin (although the website says Bill Nighy), it’s practically a soap opera, with births, deaths, wars with rival families, and life and death struggles. And yes, I’m a big ol’ baby just for liking it, but I do.

What first caught my eye were the names of some of the meerkats. The dominant female’s mate is named Zaphod; his brother (and her former lover) is named Youssarian (who is royally pissing me off right now). As Kathy pointed out: “They’re part of a scientific study. Of course they were named by geeks.” There’s also Shakespeare and Mozart and Flower and others.

It’s a fun show, first airing Fridays at 8. I was hooked within three minutes. And I'm only a little ashamed of that.


Blue All Over, or Littleblackdress?

Had a good drink-up with Jim the Bastard & his brother Mofo last night at Doc Holliday’s on 9th & A. I was drinking Doc’s Amber Ale, which I liked quite a bit, but JtB said had an afterflavor of cat hair. So he wound up buying more expensive stuff.

We also got to see a little parade of draq queens & other assorted folks, including a jolly fellow who was blue from head to toe. I got in front of him and said, “You’re completely blue. Mind if I take your picture?” and he told me he’d love it and began bouncing around. Hence the blur.
Nothing against the place or the company, but the personal high point of the night was after I got off the train on my way home. It was 1:30 in the morning or so, and we weren’t the only partiers out late. A couple of girls, early 20s maybe, got off the train in front of me. One was wearing her littleblackdress, with a slit in the center of the back. And well, the thing just kept on creeping up.

She was aware of the creeping, because on several occasions her hand traveled back and pulled her skirt down a bit, but I don’t think she was quite clear on how much it was creeping. And it kept creeping. (And why not? There was no underwear friction to slow it down!) In the short walk to the parking lot, I think I saw about half of her butt.

Which half? The middle half.


(And no, I have no cameraphone pictures of her.)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Graham Parker Mad Libs!

One more reason why I love Graham Parker:

On his My Country album, he covers the Grateful Dead's "Sugaree" with a bit of a country twang. But he changes the original opening lines just a hair, from

When the come to take you down
When they bring that wagon round


When the come to take you down
When they bring that raygun round

It's an off-the-wall homophone that makes his version a little more special to me, setting it in an entirely different place by changing just one word.

Shake it...


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mad Libs Revealed!

I thought about asking you all to guess the text we were Mad Libbing, but Sharon let me know that I was insanre to think anyone was trying to suss that out. So without further ado:

HAMLET: To plagiarize, or not to plagiarize--that is the squid:
Whether 'tis skankier in the mind to suffer
The slings and bastards of saucy fortune
Or to take BRAINS! against a sea of Packers
And by opposing end them. To die, to grind--
No more--and by a grind to say we end
The TUSK!, and the thousand natural jugs
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a spork
Wryly to be wished. To die, to grind--
To grind--perchance to parrot: ay, there's the goblin,
For in that grind of death what parrots may come
When we have spewed off this slimy coil,
Must give us SAP. There's the respect
That makes billy club of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and squelchers of time,
Th' Austrian Gold Medal Winner's wrong, the proud man's cheese danish
The pangs of crispy love, the law's bush,
The tragedy of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a swollen bodkin? Who would hamdingers bear,
To grunt and debride under a voracious valium,
But that the noun of something after instructions,
The undiscovered spit bucket, from whose bourn
No traveller smurfs, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than rumple to others that we know not of?
Thus compulsiveness does make body shots of us all,
And thus the native hue of jagermeister
Is sicklied into with the pale cast of thought,
And the Heart of Gold of great pitch and moment
With this regard their skin tags turn awry
And lose the name of preposition. -- Soft you now,
The fair Mother! -- Nymph, in thy boudoir
Be all my lemmings remembered.

Thanks for playing, everyone!


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

She’s No Lady…

Last night my wife brushed a bug off of my shoulder. It was a round little brown bug with black spots. She called it a “faux ladybug.” But that seems a little longwinded to me. If it’s pretending to be a ladybug, let’s call a spade a spade: It’s a tranniebug!*


*Not to be confused with transsexual viper Ann Coulter.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mad Libs: The Final Votes

To wrap this up, I figure I’ll do this as a separate post (although I’ll include the any votes logged under the original post, too). So, without further ado, here are your choices:

Round 42: Choose from MOTHER, LUCINDA and FEMALÉ.
Round 43: Pick your fave from among MURDER, LAVATORIES and BOUDOIR
Round 44: Enjoy the dulcet tones of MAXIPADS, LUCITE LAMPS or LEMMINGS.

Voting will be open until Wednesday morning. I’ll tally it all and post the altered text then!


UPDATE: Voting is closed. MOTHER, BOUDOIR and LEMMINGS are the final winners!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Get Your Paws Off My PBJ, You Damn Dirty Ape!

On his blog, Mark Evanier's reminiscing about lunchbox culture at his elementary school. It got me to thinking about my own favorite lunchbox as a kid. And lucky me, I found an image of it, which I hereby share.

Gaze in awe and dread at the Lunchbox of the Planet of the Apes!


Friday, June 16, 2006

Mad Libs: The Final Rounds!

This is it: The moment before the moment before the moment you’ve all been waiting for. You’ve got all weekend to choose the last three words!

Round 43: PLURAL NOUN (a fancy word referring to common objects)
Round 44: PLURAL NOUN (just a plain ol’ plural noun, but it’s the last one, so get your ya-yas out)

Soon, all will be revealed!


P.S. Remember to vote in the previous round!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mad Libs, the Penultimate Rounds!

Yeah, you heard me. Let’s get to it:

Round 41: NOUN ending in –TION

We’re nearing the last big drop of the roller coaster, kiddies. Try not to barf.


UPDATE:Voting is now open for Rounds 40 and 41. For 40, your plural nouns are SKINTAGS and BALLS. For 41, your “-tion” choices are PREPOSITION and ERECTION.Make your voice heard!

UPDATE 2:SKIN TAGS and PREPOSITION takes it. Which begs the question: What the hell are skin tags?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Mad Libs, Rounds 38 & 39

I'll be away from the computer until Wednesday afternoon, so this one will have to hold you till at least then:




UPDATE: Voting is open, my lovelies. Your prepositions: THROUGH, INTO, BEYOND and UPON. As for the Spaceship, choose from the HEART OF GOLD, the ZNUTAR and the H.M.S. BLUMPKIN (since the Cleveland Steamer sounds more like it should be cruising through Lake Erie).

UPDATE 2: Our winners are INTO and HEART OF GOLD. Onward!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The DC List Returns!

Maybe I look like a spider man
But just say the word and I'll learn to fly

Like Ralph Dibny, the list streches on and on. You didn’t think I’d forget about them, didja? I mean, it’s a list, for chrissakes. A list. Let's think about what that means and hop on down to 31.

31. The Question:The star of one of the most remarkable books of the eighties, Vic Sage (aka Charles Victor Szasz, aka No-face guy—no one ever called him the Question in the book, although he tended to respond to “Who the hell are you?” with “Good question”) was motivated more by curiosity than justice – a very odd motivation for a super hero. It was a curiosity directed both outward and inward. In a demonstration of how cerebral the book could be, there was a two-issue story where Vic was buried up to his neck, motionless.
32. Deadshot: The best marksman in the world, and an assassin for hire. Yet for some reason, he never hits Batman. But those are just the rules of comics, right? Wrong. When Batman tells him to his face, “You’ve been pulling your shots around me,” it opened up a new avenue of character: Why would the world’s best marksman subconsciously keep himself from killing Batman?
33. Bat Lash: Essentially Maverick to Jonah Hex’s Man With No Name. A fun-lovin’ sweet-talkin’, card-cheatin’ cowboy, and a breath of fresh air in the midst of the grittier tales of the Old West.
34. Detective Chimp: A talking chimp who solves crimes in a deerstalker cap. Or at least, that’s what he did in the 50s. After a 50-year bender (and what’s funnier than a drunk monkey?) this ball-busting primate has taken up leadership of a bunch of DC’s “magic” heroes in the lacklusterly-named “Shadowpact.” (Lacklusterly? Ah, whatever. This is late enough as it is.)
35. Dian Belmont: As Greg predicted, Wes “Sandman” Dodds’s better half is here. The daughter of a D.A. in 1930s New York, Dian completes one of the best love stories in comics. Slowly evolving from a somewhat spoiled party girl with a good head on her shoulders to a concerned citizen of the world, she pushes Wes through as many changes as he inspires in her. What’s even sweeter is that, years later, when Jack Knight finally meets them, it’s Dian he’s awed by. She is, after all, one of his favorite writers.
36. Johnny Thunder: He’s always played for laughs, and appropriately so. I’ve always thought that a teenager (well, he was created in the 40s, before teenagers had any cultural identity of their own) with a Badhnesian Hex-bolt (read: genie) that would do his bidding was a great, kid-friendly idea. The fact that he didn’t know the Thunderbolt’s activation words for so long was the icing on the cake.
37. Braniac 5: Surprisingly, the only member of the Legion of Super-Heroes on my list, and I’ve never even really considered him a favorite. But as the arrogant scientist, he’s got a personality strong enough to take him consistently through the group’s many iterations. The idea that he’s the descendant (sort of) of one of the 21st centuries’ greatest villains is another plus.
38. Cyborg: One of a long tradition of superheroes “turned into a monster,” spearheaded, of course, by Marvel’s the Thing (and followed by DC’s Robotman). But what Cliff Stone, turned into a half-robot as the result of an accident in his father’s lab, was able to do that most similar heroes haven’t? He got over himself. It started in New Teen Titans #8, when he is confronted by a group of kids playing baseball in a park, who, like him, all have prosthetic limbs. Except they can’t turn their arms into sonic cannons. Eventually – and it was a long, slow process – he came to terms with his condition. And the happy-go-lucky cartoon version is always a joy to watch. Boo-YAH!
39. Crazy Jane: A multiple personality superhero, with a different power for each personality. Not the most reliable person to have on your team, but one of the most entertaining.
40. Enemy Ace: How DC ever had the chutzpah to make a recurring antihero out of a German World War I flying ace (the second most famous WWI airman in comics, and the first is a dog!), I’ll never know. But there’s something about Baron Hans von Hammer’s melancholy and skill that are compelling. The Hammer of Hell does three things well: fly, shoot, and brood.

More soon!


Friday, June 09, 2006

Mad Libs, Rounds 36 & 37

Hella busy today. Let's get right to it.


What more need be said?


UPDATE: Voting is open. Round 36’s candidates are ANTIOXIDANTS and BODY SHOTS; Round 37’s are JAGERMEISTER and ANALGESIC.

UPDATE 2:Victory for Drunken Combo (aren't they Jet Li and Jackie Chan?)! BODY SHOTS of JAGERMEISTER for everyone!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Mad Libs, Rounds 34 & 35

We really are entering the final stretch.

Round 34: VERB
Round 35: PERSONALITY TRAIT (a noun, such as GIDDINESS)

Make those nominations!


UPDATE: Time to vote! For the verb in Round 34, it's RUMPLE or BLUDGEON. For the noun in Round 35, it's GULLIBILITY and COMPULSIVENESS (I changed it a bit to make it work within the text, JtB).


Full O' Whiz

Sploid has an article up about the owner of Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia, and his policy of refusing service to anyone who doesn't speak English. The story makes it seem like the signs are fairly recent, but they've been around for about a year, at least.

Put simply: I'm a Pat's guy. Always have been. I expect I always will be. But I know some people prefer the neon scream of Geno's across the street, so one day last summer I decided I couldn'tr know for sure until I tried a Geno's steak at least once. Kathy and I wandered past Pat's (my cheeze-whiz-clogged heart breaking just a bit with each step) and went to stand in line at Geno's. It would be a new experience, I told myself. And hey, it's a Philly cheesesteak, so it can't be that bad.

So we took our place in line, and I saw the sign: "This is America. When Ordering, Speak English." And frankly, I lost my appetite.

Kathy and I left without ordering, and luckily our appetites returned once we neared the greasy gravitational field of Pat's.

Now, the owner of Geno's (Joseph Vento) can run his business however he wants. But he's not going to get any money from me until I can order in Spanish.

"Querría un filete queso con cebollas fritas, por favor." Until that gets me a cheesesteak and a gracias, Make Mine Pat's.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Just in case you missed these comments by Jon Stewart: Freakin' Ow!


Monday, June 05, 2006

Mad Libs, Round 32 & 33

What I need:

Round 32: Yet another NOUN.
Round 33: A VERB signifying a recurring action (for a singular subject). (Basically, this a present tense verb ending in S. In the time-honored tradition of the Smurfs, I provide this example: “He SMURFS so much I had to smurf a window just to get the smurfing smell out of the cushions.” (The capitalized “smurfs” is the word to watch.)


UPDATE: Just one nomination for these round, so no voiting. SPIT BUCKET's our noun; SMURFS is our verb.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Every tool is a weapon...


I just read about the lead story of Flash #144 an old Flash lettercol, and a quick check of the Grand Comic Book Database reveals that yes, its rather shocking title did appear on the cover:

"Menace of the Man-Missle." Yow.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Mad Libs, Rounds 30 & 31

Noun, noun, get a noun, I need a noun (yeaaaah!)
Get a noun, noun noun, I need a noun
I need a NOUN…
on the town…
I’ll be your lifelong friend…
A mariachi band…

(Seriously, I’ve never had any idea what those last two falsetto lines are.)

And more important: Round 30 and Round 31 each call for a NOUN.


UPDATE:Another either/or pick. Round 30 choices are NOUN and SUNDIAL. Round 31 choicesare INSTRUCTIONS and SLAVE NAME. Vote, me hearties! Cast yer ballots to thefour winds of th'Internet!

UPDATE 2:One vote tips the scales for NOUN and INSTRUCTIONS.

Switched Counters

A little housekeeping... I switched counters over to Sitetracker because.. well, because I forgot my blogpatrol password. And when they send you a new one, they send it to you as an email.

But they never sent the email. So when I got into work and found my actual password, it wouldn't work. Their program had already changed it. But time after time, I tried to get an email from them, to no avail. I wrote to their admin and it bounced.

So fuck 'em. Sitetracker's in the corner now...until they piss me off and feel my wrath.

Count's the same, though.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Flour Power: A New Orleans Moment

It’s late at night, early May. Jay and I are walking back on Decatur after a night in the bars of Frenchmen Street (where we caught what were supposed to be the last few minutes of Christian Scott’s jazz combo, which kept on getting extended as more and more musicians—including Jason Marsalis and Terrence Blanchard—wound up sitting in. A guy leaned over to Jay and said, “We sure got our five dollars’ worth!” Which would be an awesome deal, but ours was even better; we came in so late they just waved us in without a cover).

Anyway. So, on Decatur. Jay and I, walking a little drunkenly. There’s a guy on the sidewalk, on his hands and knees, kinda sprawled actually. He’s looking like his mental state has been significantly altered from how he’s accustomed to it – his brain cells aren’t marching in line anymore. A girl is down on the sidewalk with him, pressing her palm gently against his chest, almost to reassure him that she is real and she is there.

And did I mention? He’s covered head to toe in baking flour.

He’s got two friends (friends?) sitting in a doorway, announcing like carnival barkers: “Amazing! Astounding! Come one, come all! See the man covered in flour! An actual human being, my friends, completely engulfed in flour! Only two dollars to see this amazing sight!”

Needless to say, we kept our money to ourselves. But we couldn’t help talking about this guy for the rest of the way home. I figured all we had to do was dip him in an egg wash and then some spicy bread crumbs and then we could pan-fry him. Jay was more philosophical about the whole thing:

“You’ve gotta think – at one point, he had a plan for all that flour. And if it had worked, it mighta been awesome. All his friends were behind him, they were probably all for it. But then something went horribly, horribly wrong. And they turned on him.”

“One minute you’re the man of the hour, then next minute you’re the man covered in flour.”

Truer words were never spoken.


Mad Libs, Rounds 28 & 29

For Round 28, I need an ADJECTIVE.

For Round 29, a NOUN's what the doctor ordered.


UPDATE: Voting is open. Your choices for Round 28’s adjective are VORACIOUS and DOPE. Round 29’s noun will be either VALIUM or JERK. Get those ballots in!


Another Chunk o' DC Goodness

"I--I wish you could swim...Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing will keep us together
We can beat them for ever and ever
Oh we can be heroes just for one day"

21. Aquaman:
Yeah, he’s usually the butt of jokes. But he’s the king of an undersea kingdom, and that’s gotta count for something. And he swims... like dolphins can swim.
22. Starman (Jack Knight):A reluctant “legacy” hero, the youngest son of the Golden Age Starman. Jack’s brother was killed trying to follow in his father’s footsteps – and despite his best efforts, Jack managed to uphold the tradition, too.
23. John Constantine: A combination of Faust and Tom Regan from Miller’s Crossing. Plus he smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish and looks like a rock star.
24. The Red Tornado (Ma Hunkle): One of my absolute favorites. Ma Hunkle didn’t want her kids getting into trouble in the rough neighborhood they lived in – so she pulled on some longjohns, threw a saucepan over her head and foiled mischief as the Red Tornado. Mother of the Year.
25. Gorilla Grodd: A psychic gorilla. He has two ways to pop your skull like a grape. Because he has amazing mental powers. And he’s a gorilla.
26. Ra’s al Ghul: Because he got all Woodward and Bernstein on Batman – instead of trying to unmask him, he simply followed the money, figuring out who in Gotham City could afford a Batmobile. Nothing he’s done since has ever compared to that one moment.
27. The Spectre: God’s Old Testament vengeance given form. And on his coffee break, he’s the ghost of a hardnosed cop. Ostrander and Mandrake performed an amazing feat in their 1990s series, saddling him with enough ethical and philosophical dilemmas to make someone so powerful a plausible protagonist. Plus, I love when people look in his face and they see skulls where his eyes should be. That shook me to my core as a little kid, and I still love it today.
28. Mr. Mxyzptlk: Superman can do pretty much anything. So to pit him against a foe who can do anything is a great idea – particularly since it forces Superman to resort to trickery rather than overwhelming force. And getting him to say his nearly unspellable name backward? Genius.
29. Hitman (Tommy Monaghan): Okay, so he kills people for money. He and his pal Nat the Hat still had one of the best friendships in comics. And he cheered Superman up once, so he can’t be all bad.
30. Alfred: The Man behind the Bat – and one of the few people willing to call Batman to the carpet for a bad decision. Scipio at The Absorbascon has a good post on Alfred; I think he’s 100 percent right.