Monday, December 31, 2007


I don't know what the best film of the year is, but one of the funniest films, in a year filled with some damn funny films, is Juno.

One Hundred and Seventy-Five Days Later

I went to work today. It wasn't a full day, being New Years Eve we got off early. I actually arrived 45 minutes before the lobby to my office opened and still only worked six hours. It may not have been the most productive six hours, but it was the most satisfying. It's good to be gainfully employed once again.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Birthday to My Brother Jack

He rarely comes to this site, but Happy Birthday anyway bro!

The Tango

I needed to do a series of pieces for the class I was in this last semester and decided to make the piece I had done earlier this year, Festival, the first of a series on dance. This was the next piece I did, a watercolor under-painting with Nupastels and Unison pastels on top on a 12x16 Art Spectrum Colourfix Plein Air Board. There are also a few pastel pencils in this one. This was my first attempt on the Colourfix boards and I really liked the way they grab and hold the pastel.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dreadlock Holiday Revisited

I went to the movies yesterday with my brother Jack who is in town for the holidays. We saw National Treasure, Book of Secrets, which we both thought was not nearly as bad as the critics are saying. By no means a great movie, but it was a lot of fun in a mindless fun sort of way, much like the first National Treasure film.

After the movie we stopped by The Yard House for a couple of beers and some onion rings (this was real treat for me as for dietary reasons I don't drink beer at home anymore, only when I go out). They play the rock music pretty loud at The Yard House and while we were talking Dreadlock Holiday by 10CC was played. I have a CD with this song on it that I used to listen to almost every day, but rarely hear anymore since getting my Sirius radio two years ago.

Every time I hear the song I think back to about eight years ago when we took a cruise of the Caribbean, more precisely I think back to our day in Jamaica. The ship docked in Ocho Rios at what they call the 007 Dock (since it was used prominently in the film Dr. No) and we had no plans for the day. That ended up being a mistake.

My wife, son and I took a crowded van "taxi" to a nearby tourist trap shopping center, where after a few minutes perusing the exact same merchandise in one store after another, we decided to leave the relative comfort and security of the gated and guarded tourist trap shopping center for the winding streets of Ocho Rios. Outside we hailed a cab that wanted to take us to some waterfalls (we should have listened to the guy) but instead insisted on going down to the beach. This would be mistake number three by my counting.

Jamaica is not Mexico and a Jamaican beach in not like a Mexican beach. First, we were the only white people we saw on the beach. Second, not only was the smell of pot in the air, but most everyone we saw was openly smoking dope. Third, everything on the beach seemed rather "make shift," the boats there for charter seemed unprofessional and not very safe. Which, fourth, when taken together just made it clear that as they say in the song, "You'd better understand that you're alone. A long way from home."

My wife was really sort of freaked by the whole thing and felt intimidated by the people hawking their boats for charter. Maybe she inhaled too much of the pot smoke, 'cause she definitely became paranoid and once she did she spread that paranoia to me. In the end we just kept walking and eventually left the beach and started back on the main road out of town, beating a hasty retreat to the 007 Dock and the relative safety of the ship.

It was a few years later that I heard Dreadlock Holiday for the first time in years and unlike before, I listened to the words this time. I know exactly where 10CC was coming from with this song:

I was walkin' down the street
Concentratin' on truckin' right
I heard a dark voice beside of me
And I looked round in a state of fright
I saw four faces one mad
A brother from the gutter
They looked me up and down a bit
And turned to each other

I say
I don't like cricket oh no
I love it
I don't like cricket oh no
I love it
Don't you walk thru my words
You got to show some respect
Don't you walk thru my words
'Cause you ain't heard me out yet

Well he looked down at my silver chain
He said I'll give you one dollar
I said you've got to be jokin' man
It was a present from me Mother
He said I like it I want it
I'll take it off your hands
And you'll be sorry you crossed me
You'd better understand that you're alone
A long way from home

And I say
I don't like reggae no no
I love it
I don't like reggae oh no
I love it
Don't you cramp me style
Don't you queer on me pitch
Don't you walk thru my words
'Cause you ain't heard me out yet

I hurried back to the swimming pool
Sinkin' pina coladas
I heard a dark voice beside me say
Would you like something harder
She said I've got it you want it
My harvest is the best
And if you try it you'll like it
And wallow in a Dreadlock Holiday

And I say
Don't like Jamaica oh no
I love her
Don't like Jamaica oh no
I love her oh yea
Don't you walk thru her words
You got to show some respect
Don't you walk thru her words
'Cause you ain't heard her out yet

I don't like cricket
I love it (Dreadlock Holiday)
I don't like reggae
I love it (Dreadlock Holiday)
Don't like Jamaica
I love her (Dreadlock Holiday)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Strange Adventures #209

Strange Adventures #209 (On Sale: December 26, 1967) features just another wonderful Neal Adams Deadman cover.

"How Many Times Can a Guy Die?" is plotted by Carmine Infantino, scripted by Jack Miller and drawn by Neal Adams. Deadman suspects that the Eagle was responsible for his death. He takes over the body of a circus hand named Pete and leaves a note for the Eagle which claims that he knows about his crime. The Eagle brings the note to Vashnu who recognizes the handwriting as Boston Brand's.

Deadman then follows the Eagle and learns that the acrobat is really a thief. The Eagle and his gang steal some jewels, so Deadman attempts to gather evidence while in Pete's body. The Eagle catches Pete and tries to kill him. Deadman, still animating Pete, is able to stay alive until the police arrive. The cops take the Eagle into custody, but they also confirm that the Eagle was responsible for another theft elsewhere at the time of Boston's murder. This story was reprinted in Deadman #3.

The back-up story is "The Man with Four Minds" by Ed Hamilton and Carmine Infantino and is a reprint from Strange Adventures #69.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Christmas Present

When earlier this month a friend of mine asked the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" on a discussion board I frequent, I was the first to answer; I said simply, "A job." I was surprised to see how many other people on the board chimed in that they too wanted a job for Christmas; the economy seems to be much worse than Washington would like you to believe. Anyway, after our cruise, the complete disintegration of the deal that was in the works for a job with Countrywide, my Mom's stroke and my subsequent bout of pancreatitis, I finally started seriously looking for a job in mid-November. At my step-son John's suggestion I began using and found a number of jobs for which I was really a good match. One of them was with Corinthian Colleges. I got the call a few weeks ago for an interview and was called back a few days later for a second interview.

When they called me back for that second interview the man I met (my new boss) asked, "So, surprised that we called you back?"

"No. Not at all."

"Oh, cocky and confident, eh?"

"I saw the job specs. It's like you read my resume and then wrote up the job description. I'm the guy you are looking for."

"Well, we shall see about that." Five minutes in, I knew it was mine; I have never been so relaxed in an interview, ever. It's going to be a long drive in and out each day, but it will be to a job that's just what I was looking for and pretty darn close to the money I was looking for. And, best of all, it has nothing to do with the mortgage industry!

No, I take that back; best of all is that I will be working for a company that has as its core purpose, giving people access to a better life through education and training. I can't think of a better industry to be in than one that provides people a more enriching future.

I start December 31st and will be spending a few weeks in the January/February range in Florida learning the ins and outs of a new system the company has just purchased which we are going to be modifying for our specific use.

Friday, December 21, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #81

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #81 (On Sale: December 21, 1967) features a great Neal Adams cover. The second issue I bought and I was hooked I tell you, hooked!

"No Witnesses in Outer Space" by is by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger. Continuing from last issue, Lois has moved to Coral City and started a new life. Superman misses her and decides to go back in time to repair their relationship. He plans to arrive at the birthday party he missed, but circumstances cause him to be delayed again. After concluding once again that the past can't be changed, Superman returns to the present.

Lois, in her new job as a nurse, assists Dr. Culver with an experimental gas test performed on death row convicts. Some of the convicts break loose and take Lois as a hostage. Superman arrives to stop them, but Lois is exposed to the gas. The gas gives Lois limited E.S.P. and allows her to read Superman's mind. She finds out that he does love her, but his excuse that she would be a target if they married is a real fear he has.

Lois realizes that she can't marry Rand Kirby as she had planned, but also can't bear to hurt him. When her E.S.P. gives her a vision of the future in which Superman is trapped by Kryptonite in space, she sees Rand rescue him. However, her vision shows Rand dies in the process.

Lois stows away on Rand's rocket and saves Superman herself. When the Man of Steel is free of the Kryptonite, he snaps Lois's lifeline in space.

The back-up story is "How Lois Lane Got Her Job" reprinted from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #17 and is by Otto Binder and Kurt Schaffenberger. During a celebration of her anniversary at the Daily Planet Lois tells Clark Kent how she got her job by getting three scoops without any help from Superman. Lois relates how she caught a safe company employee who was selling safe combinations, how she got a picture of a reclusive Rajah who was really a jewel thief, and how she beat a deadline by sending her story on an archeological find in a bottle to reach the Planet. Clark recalls the events surrounding each story and realizes that Superman’s actions nearby inadvertently helped Lois get each of the scoops, but Clark decides to keep the knowledge to himself.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Heart Throbs #112

Heart Throbs #112 (On Sale: December 19, 1967) sports a cover pencilled by Jay Scott Pike.

"Sweet Mystery of Love" is penciled by Howard Purcell (why do I keep thinking, " last I've found you!"?). This is followed by "Temporary Sweetheart," a reprint from Girls' Romances #69 and is drawn by Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs. Lastly we have "3 Girls -- Their Lives...Their Loves, Episode 11" penciled by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Barbara Frielander.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More From Dodd and Saying "Enough" to Bush

People you might like to thank:

Chris Dodd: (202) 224-2823
Barbara Boxer: (202) 224-3553
Sherrod Brown: (202) 224-2315
Russ Feingold: (202) 224-5323
Ted Kennedy: (202) 224-4543
Bill Nelson: (202) 224-5274
Ron Wyden: (202) 224-5244

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chris Dodd Stops Telecom Immunity

Senator Chris Dodd interrupted his long-shot presidential campaign to return to Washington to lead the charge against telecom immunity. Way to go Chris! I think they call this leadership.

Damn Liberal Necrophiliacs!

"It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations—from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia."

-Mike Huckabee

Kennedy on Telecom Immunity

"The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retro-active immunity. No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he's willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies."

-Sen. Ted Kennedy

Friday, December 14, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Superman #204

Superman #204 (On Sale: December 14, 1967) has another cool Neal Adams cover. This was the first issue of Superman that I purchased.

The issue begins with "The Case of the Lethal Letters" by Cary Bates, Rose Andru and Mike Esposito. Superman receives a warning that harm will befall his friends if he does not abandon his crime-fighting career. When Lana Lane and Lori Lemaris are both attacked and disappear, Superman suspects that Lois Lane will be the next target. Despite his efforts to protect her, Lois also disappears.

Superman announces that he will end his career and asks that his unknown opponent return the missing girls. Following his announcement, television reporter Lorraine Delon returns to her hideout in preparation to kill the kidnapped women. Superman follows her after picking up her excited heartbeat following his announcement.

Lorraine incapacitates Superman uses Q-Energy which originates from another universe. She explains that her real name is Lorraine Lewis, a brilliant female scientist. She holds a grudge against Superman because his girl friends with the same initials have upstaged her own achievements. Reprinted in Limited Collectors' Edition C-31.

Next is "The Duplicate Superman," reprinted from Acton Comics #222 and created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino. Superman is divided into two beings during an experimental Q-bomb test. One Superman does not possess X-ray vision, while the other is missing telescopic vision. Together the two Supermen take turns as Superman and Clark, appearing in the same place at the same time for Lois Lane.

Later, Superman-T turns criminal and steals a gold plated statue. Superman-X confronts him, but is forced away to deal with an emergency. Alone, Superman-T constructs a lead shield from the inside of the statue.

The final story is "The Fortress of Fear" by Cary Bates and Al Plastino. An alien life force takes control of Superman's Fortress of Solitude. The Fortress itself then attacks the Man of Steel and nearly defeats him.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From the Man Who Brought You "Compassionate Conservatism"

Bush vetoes kids health insurance bill

I think the headline says it all.

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Justice League of America #60

Justice League of America #60 (On Sale: December 12, 1967) has a Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson cover. This was the first issue of Justice League I purchased.

"Winged Warriors of the Immortal Queen" is by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene. Zazzala the Queen Bee again attempts to press the Justice League into her service, but only succeeds in paralyzing J'onn J'onzz, Hawkman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman. Succeeding in gaining control of the Atom, she reasons that she must reduce the other heroes in size in order to overpower their wills. She then changes Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Superman, and Batman into tiny winged thralls.

Having managed to open the vials of immortality elixir, Zazzala has gained immortality, but finds herself gradually becoming paralyzed as a side-effect. She therefore intends to send the League after the components of an antidote to the original serum.

When Batgirl, who has followed Batman, invades her headquarters, Zazzala changes her into another thrall. Green Lantern and Atom procure a special urn from the planet Gram, Superman and Flash acquire a heat-globe from the planet Ishtan, and Batman, Batgirl, and Green Arrow bring back a liquid from Peremunda.

After taking her antidote, the Queen Bee intends to keep the heroes as her slaves. Reprinted in Justice League of America Archives Vol. 7 HC and Showcase Presents: Batgirl Vol. 1 TPB.

The back-up story is "The Seeing-Eye Humans" a Captain Comet reprint from Strange Adventures #38 by John Broome and Murphy Anderson.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Making That Bed

It's too bad that Ike Turner, a man central to so much influential music, should be remembered as the guy who beat his wife. Oh well, you make that bed, you lie in it.

(who thinks "River Deep, Mountain High" and "Proud Mary" were two of the best ever)

Monday, December 10, 2007

No Telecom Immunity!

There was a time, and it seem like so very long ago, when I could count on my senator, Dianne Feinstein, to act and vote like a Democrat. Back in those days I supported her reelection campaign financially, something I stopped when she voted to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq. After that I would tell her people when they called, to give my name to Senator Barbara Boxer's people, that since she still voted like a member of the party I was affiliated with, she could count on my money, but that Senator Feinstein's ride on my gravy train was over.

It really sickens me that Democrats have to call her up repeatedly to get her to vote like a Democrat and this FISA bill is just another example. Feinstein is becoming California's version of Joe Lieberman, not a title I would think she is interested in wearing, but, I tell you, the way she has been voting lately, with Bush and against the American people, who the hell knows anymore.

Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine

If you love old comic books, or are just interested in seeing what they were really like, check out Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine. Pappy reprints entire stores from the golden age of comics of all genres, including horror, crime, science fiction, funny animals and some super-heroes. I just discovered Pappy's this weekend and plan on spending a lot of time there going back through the 200+ entries in this blogzine. Why don't you join me?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bitch-Slapping Huckabee With His Own Words, Part II

In the same article where he called AIDS a "deadly disease for which there is no cure" and referenced here, Mike Huckabee said that "In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified...An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor (,) Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research."

Hey, I have an idea Mike, how about anyone who voted for Bush in either election get sent the bill for the Iraq war and the rest of us, the sane ones, not pay a penny? Or maybe Mike, the bill should only be paid by the multimillionaire Republicans, like yourself, who supported and aided and abetted the cause of Bush's personal war. Yeah, that seems fair to me.

I think this guy is just one loathsome idea after another. The Los Angeles Times did a front page story Saturday on how Huckabee has been unable to separate his personal belief system from governing and what problems that has caused in the past (more on this later). Some have noted that the AIDS quotes are from 1992 and so Huckabee should be given a pass on them, but that is a bunch of crap. It is absolutely irrelevant when the quotes were made since what he said is so repugnant.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

How Do You Spell Whitewash?

The Justice Department and CIA announced a joint inquiry Saturday into the spy agency's destruction of videotapes of interrogations of two suspected terrorists. I can see the future results now, "Well, we looked at it real closely and, by golly, we didn't do anything wrong after all! So, he-yuck, he-yuck, there is no reason for anyone else to bother looking into this."

How do you spell whitewash?

A Vote for AIDS Concentration Camps

"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague.

"It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."

-Mike Huckabee

Another Inconvenient Truth

"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

Alan Greenspan

Friday, December 07, 2007

Chilling CSI

Anyone else watch last night's episode of CSI, "Cockroaches," directed by William Friedkin? Superior television and something I would certainly like to see repeated in the future if Mr. Friedkin is available. I was never a big fan of Friedkin's The Exorcist, never really thought the film was all that scary, but "Cockroaches" was taut and suspenseful and had a dynamite ending.

"Sir, may I have some more?"

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Atom #35

Atom #35 (On Sale: December 7, 1967) has another cool Gil Kane and Sid Greene cover.

"Plight of the Pin-Up Atom" is by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene. Ray Palmer learns that the foster parents of his lab assistant Enrichetta Negrini were injured during a robbery at their home, he investigates as the Atom. The crooks return to the home to steal a collection American Primitive artwork. The Atom tries to stop them, but he is knocked out and taken prisoner. The gang leader tries to make the Atom a part of one of his other collections, but he fails to remove the Tiny Titan's size control belt.

Next is "Col. Blood Steals the Crown Jewels" also by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene. When Professor Hyatt pulls a strange jeweled object from the Time Pool, the Atom enters it to investigate. He discovers that the object is one of England's Crown Jewels. While in the past, the Atom stops an attempt by Colonel Tom Blood to steal the jewels. When he returns to the present, the Atom learns that Blood was later pardoned by King Charles, and he suspects that the attempted robbery may have taken place with the king's consent.

Lastly we have a "Demand Classic" reprint from Strange Adventures #41, "Last Day on Earth" by John Broome and Sy Barry.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mixed Feelings

I'm completely conflicted about the Sub-Prime Mortgage bailout. First, I don't trust Bush to not add in some provision that will siphon even more of the Nation treasure into the hands of his disgusting , thieving cronies. Second, though I understand the problems hundreds of thousands of foreclosures will have on the economy I 1), don't trust Bush to have even a clue of how to make the problem any better and 2), I was smart enough to not refinance to a sub-prime loan, you were smart enough to not refinance to a sub-prime loan and we get no assistance at all, but the really stupid people who refinanced to a sub-prime loan, knowing full well that they had a rats chance in hell of ever paying it off, are going to be, basically, let off of the hook for their bald-faced stupidity.

No one forced these morons to sign on the dotted line for a loan they could not afford, they did that all by their lonesome; these people are directly responsible for the financial mess they have made of their lives. What ever happened to making your bed and lying in it?

Pathological Liar or Idiot-In-Chief

Keith Olbermann lays it all on the table, the only two descriptions that can fit for George Bush, in his most biting commentary to date. Listen to it and weep for your country.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Batman #199

Batman #199 (On Sale: December 5, 1967) has a nifty Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson cover adorning what was the first issue of Batman that I purchased 40 years ago. The cover is a cool idea and puts into the reader's mind that Batman is a best seller and scarce and you better get your copy while you can. Great marketing idea by Schwartz.

"Peril of the Poison Rings" is by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella. The batman and Robin stop a robbery at the Norwood Estate, but while most of the gang are sent to prison, gang-leader Rembrandt Dickens escapes capture, Dickens then begins a career as a comic artist, writing true crime tales involving jobs that he planned.

When his gang is eventually released from prison, Dickens gives them poison rings. When they encounter Batman and Robin again, the Caped Crusader is scratched by one of the rings. Batman is then forced to track down the latest Batman comic book which contains a clue to Dickens's identity and location.

Next is "Seven Steps to Save Face" also by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella. When Batman and Robin stop a robbery in progress, the crooks capture Robin and substitute a midget in his place. Batman then sees the midget in a Robin costume knocked out, so he lets the crooks go to save his partner. He brings the impostor back to the Batcave before realizing his mistake. The midget then learns his secret identity and uses a belt radio to pass the information to his gang.

Finally there is also a solo Robin story this issue, "Operation 'Escape," drawn by Jim Mooney and reprinted from Star Spangled Comics #124.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Monday, December 03, 2007

What Were They Waiting For?

Sometimes an idea seems like such a "no-brainer" that you wonder what took them so long to actually perfect it. How many struggling musicians have not wondered, "Why can't they make a damn guitar that tunes itself?"

They finally have.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel, Dead at 69

I have been working on a couple of blog items on Evel Knievel for a while now and never thought he would be dead when I finished them, but time has finally caught up with America's last great daredevil.

I had the extreme pleasure and great thrill of seeing Knievel jump three times. How did he do? Well, you know the old Meatloaf song, "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad." The last time was the Snake River; I got a few stories to tell for sure as I was 18 at the time and things in Twin Falls were not quite the norm that week that the X2 Skycycle took to the sky.

Love him or hate him you could never deny that Evel was the real deal; no matter how outlandish or just plain crazy the statement, Knievel's word was as good as gold. "I'm gonna jump a motorcycle over a canyon," you'd have to be nuts to say something like that, and then actually attempt it. Nuts, or just pure Evel.

And man could he work up the crowd.

More in the next few days.

Seeing It In Black and White -- Part III

This is the third and last of the white on black drawings I did in my class this past week using a white charcoal pencil and a small bit of white Unison pastel on black Canson pastel paper. This was taken from a magazine ad for what product I don't recall. I was going to stop at the lapels, but the instructor said I should add in more of the leather jacket and turn the piece from a facial portrait to a character study. I think she was right and the piece is much more interesting for the effort.