Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Don't Know a Whole Lot About FIOS...

...but if Time Warner drops Comedy Central at midnight, I am moving to FIOS the second it becomes available in my neighborhood (and they were laying new fiber-optic cable on my street just last week).


I'm reading John Lennon The Life by Philip Norman. Well, actually I have been flipping through the exhaustive index and then turning to a topic that interests me and so far the book has exceeded my expectations in that I have learned something new about Lennon or the Beatles on almost every page I have read, like this one from the height of Beatlemania:

John and Paul's extraordinary success rate as songwriters generated insecurities of its own...The pair spent hours trying to analyze just what had made their latest hit a hit...For a while, they believed the crucial ingredient was simply the word me or you, hence not only "Love Me Do," "Please Please Me," "From Me to You," and "She Loves You," but also "P.S. I Love You," "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" "Thank You Girl, "I'll Get You," "Bad To Me," and "Hold Me Tight."
So far the book is highly recommended. all 800+ pages.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

President Palin? Been There. Done That

From the Vanity Fair piece coming out on Wednesday we get this juicy quote of Bush as a Palin-like know-nothing having to be handled the whole way and easily manipulated by the evil that is Dick Cheney:

Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that as a new president, Bush was like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee whom critics said lacked knowledge about foreign affairs. When Bush first came into office, he was surrounded by experienced advisers like Vice President Dick Cheney and Powell, who Wilkerson said ended up playing damage control for the president.

"It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin-like president — because, let's face it, that's what he was — was going to be protected by this national-security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire," Wilkerson said, adding that he considered Cheney probably the "most astute, bureaucratic entrepreneur" he'd ever met.

"He became vice president well before George Bush picked him," Wilkerson said of Cheney. "And he began to manipulate things from that point on, knowing that he was going to be able to convince this guy to pick him, knowing that he was then going to be able to wade into the vacuums that existed around George Bush — personality vacuum, character vacuum, details vacuum, experience vacuum."

Your Daily Reason To Hate Republicans

Today's reason: Those pesky campaign finance regulations only apply to Democrats; Republican groups can break them with impunity:
For Republicans opposed to campaign finance regulations, it appears that enforcing the law is just so last year.
Bloomberg reports that the Federal Election Commission's three GOP members all voted against fining the Chamber of Commerce for illegally spending money in 2004 on attacks against John Edwards, that year's Democratic vice-presidential nominee. The 3-3 final vote tally meant the commission took the rare step of rejecting an FEC counsel recommendation to impose the fine.

The November Fund, a 527 group run by the Chamber, had been found to have broken campaign spending laws by using $3 million it received from the chamber to attack Edwards over his trial lawyer background. Bloomberg notes that 11 other 527s were accused of violating campaign spending laws, and all but the Chamber paid a fine.
One set of rules for Republicans; another set of rules for everyone else.

Friday, December 26, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Bat Lash #3

Bat Lash #3 (On Sale: December 26, 1968) has a cover by Nick Cardy.

"(Judge Nero)" is plotted and drawn by Nick Cardy and scripted by Denny O'Neil. This is the only issue of Bat Lash not plotted by Sergio Aragones. In Comic Book Artist #1, of this issue and Cardy's scripting Sergio said, "I was surprised, because he made Bat look like a clown. He drew all the characters so cartoony, falling in bathtubs, and hanging from roofs... It really hurt me a lot, because I didn't want anything like that. The humor should be the result of Bat Lash's action. I think that's the only issue that he's out of character."

Bat Lash is taken into a new town by a sheriff's wife. The sheriff tries to kill him, then makes him the new deputy after Bat Lash meets the pretty deputy Samantha Eggbert. When the sheriff is killed by crooked Judge Nero, Bat Lash is framed for the crime. He is convicted and sentenced to hang, but Samantha helps him escape. Bat Lash then leaves town, leaving Samantha behind to face the townspeople.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tragedy Up North!

This woman is just getting out of hand!

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Brave and the Bold #82

Brave and the Bold #82 (On Sale: December 24, 1968) has a beautiful Batman and Aquaman cover by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.

"The Sleepwalker from the Sea" is by Bob Haney, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. Batman witnesses the murder of Otto Chernak and is prevented from pursuing the killer by someone resembling Aquaman. As Bruce Wayne, he follows a lead on the case to Orm Marius, the man behind a new marine city project. Marius is actually Aquaman's half-brother Ocean Master.

Aquaman is under Ocean Master's hypnotic control and is ordered to kill Bruce. Batman brings him to police headquarters where Aquaman explains that he feels responsible for the death of a marine biologist. Batman helps to convince Aquaman that he was set up by his brother. Together the two heroes then shut down Orm's operations. The Ocean Master escapes because Aquaman did not want to see his brother harmed. This story has been reprinted in Best of the Brave and the Bold #3, Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1 HC and Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Droud

Anyone who ever read Larry Niven's The Ringworld Engineers knows that at the beginning of the book Louis Wu, the protagonist from Ringworld, has become a "current addict" or a "wirehead," he has become addicted to the Droud, a device that directs electrical current into his brain, stimulating the pleasure centers. Behold: the Droud!

Scientists are developing an electronic "sex chip" that can be implanted into the brain to stimulate pleasure.

The chip works by sending tiny shocks from implanted electrodes in the brain.

The technology has been used in the United States to treat Parkinson's disease.

But in recent months scientists have been focusing on the area of the brain just behind the eyes known as the orbitofrontal cortex - this is associated with feelings of pleasure derived from eating and sex.

A research survey conducted by Morten Kringelbach, senior fellow at Oxford University's department of psychiatry, found the orbitofrontal cortex could be a "new stimulation target" to help people suffering from anhedonia, an inability to experience pleasure from such activities. His findings are reported in the Nature Reviews Neuroscience journal.

Interestingly enough, this is not the only device of this type in development:
An electronic machine, named the Orgasmatron, taken from the 1973 Woody Allen film Sleeper, is already under development by a North Carolina doctor, who is modifying a spinal cord stimulator to produce pleasure in women.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Al Franken on the Uptake!

I've been watching the counting live in the Minnesota Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken on the Uptake for the past few days off and on and find it fascinating. As an exercise in governmental transparency it is a tremendous step forward and as pure theater it ain't half bad either. In fact, some of it has been very entertaining.

I loved the two ballots they discussed today. On one the person had voted for Al Franken, but then wrote in the write-in area the name: "Lizard People." The canvassing board then discussed if Lizard People was a real person, or a political statement. If a political statement, then the vote was for Franken; if a real person it was an over-vote. A woman on the board said how she once knew a person whose last name was People and another member asked her if their first name had been Lizard? That evoked a round of chuckles. Eventually they decided that Lizard People might be real and therefore it was an over-vote; Franken lost that one, but so did Coleman (though one might argue that Lizard People might be Coleman's species).

A few ballots later someone voted for Franken but altered his name to be Al Frankenstein. Coleman's attorney argued that this was not a vote for Al Franken and therefore should not be counted as such. Franken's attorney countered that it was obviously a vote for Franken but that the voter was just being "goofy." The board decided that they had voted for the person designated as the Democratic nominee for Senate and therefore Al Franken or Al Frankenstein were the same person.

You can't make this stuff up!

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Witching Hour #1

Witching Hour #1 (On Sale: December 19, 1968) has a very moody cover by Nick Cardy.

This was DC's second foray into horror/mystery titles giving the House of Mystery some competition. Editor Dick Giordano went with a trio of "hosts" for this book, two older witches (Mildred and Mordred) and a young, hip witch (Cynthia). I liked this book and Giordano got the most amazing artists for his horror stories. He also made the stories of the old vs. young witches and the bumbling Igor a lot of fun.

Like House of Mystery, the Witching Hour's hosts appeared in framing sequences around the actual stories, but in the Witching Hour they tended to be more of another story in themselves involving the interactions between the three witches. This first issue begins by introducing the hosts in "Let the Judge Be...You!!!" written and drawn by Alex Toth.

Next is "Save the Last Dance for Me" by Denny O'Neil and Pat Boyette. Trapley is rich and selfish and has a machine that has locked onto earth 100 years into the future. He wants all the benefits of traveling there for himself, and what he finds...well, you'll have to read the story. Reprinted in Witching Hour #38.

That is followed by "Eternal Hour" another tale with Alex Toth story and art. Terwit is dwarfish and is teased and ridiculed by the town's boys. Most adults do nothing to stop it. Terwit recluses himself in a clock tower and the clock from then on is stopped at midnight. Years later, many of those boys, now men, go to the tower to drive Terwit out and their screams cry out...Why? Reprinted in Witching Hour #38.

Next is "The Perfect Surf" drawn by Jack Sparling. Stanley is totally nuts about surfing. He really never even notices the total babe at his side. He is obsessed with finding the "perfect wave". He is afforded an opportunity to find that wave in the dead of night. Reprinted in Witching Hour #38.

The book ends with the Epilogue to "Let the Judge Be...You!!!" written by Alex Toth and drawn by Neal Adams.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Majel Barrett Rodenberry, R.I.P.

When I worked in Burbank at Disney around 1995-96 I was sitting at a stoplight on Riverside Drive one morning and I remember looking at the car across the street in the left-turn lane and noticing the licence plate: MAJEL. Behind the wheel, behind these large dark glasses was Nurse Christine Chapel. My only meeting with Majel Barrett Rodenberry.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Metal Men #36

Metal Men #36 (On Sale: December 17, 1968) has a strikingly creepy cover Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos. That clown is just amazing.

"The Cruel Clowns" is by Robert Kanigher, Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos. Seeking to earn the public trust, the Metal Men try to help people. When their efforts go horribly wrong, they decide to stage a circus. The circus crowd is not impressed with the show until a group of clowns show up and bring laughter.

After the show, the Metal Men thank the clowns. They discover that the clowns are really aliens who take them prisoner. The Metal Men are reduced to miniature size and taken offworld to perform for the alien clowns. After a struggle, the Metal Men escape and return to Earth where they will try again to make people like them.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Arena Football League Suspends Play For 2009 Season

God this is sad news...

LOS ANGELES -- The Arena Football League will suspend the 2009 season subject to agreement and cooperation with the AFL Players Association.

AFL executives and team leaders will develop an organization structure and financial plan that will seek to enhance league-wide revenues while generating cost efficiencies for the league and all its teams. The overriding goal of the league's restructuring is to create a business model that will provide long-term benefits to all current and future teams.

"It's important for the Arena Football League to think about the next 20 years," Avenger owner and chief executive officer Casey Wasserman said. "And the economic model, combined with the economic environment we're in currently doesn't allow us to take that perspective. Suspending play for the year -- in cooperation with our players and our partners -- allows us to get the perspective necessary to make the decisions that are in the best interest of the long-term viability of the league.

"All interested parties -- owners, players, partners and fans -- are committed to the sport," Wasserman added. "We're committed to do the work necessary to make this league have a long-term future together."

The Avengers will refund all season ticket accounts and all seat locations will be held until further notice.

"We have built an organization that prides itself on connecting with its fans and delivering value to its sponsors," Avenger president Matt Wikstrom said. "While I am saddened by today's announcement, our commitment to that vision grows stronger. We will work tirelessly to remain connected to the Avenger community throughout 2009."

Friday, December 12, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Showcase #80

Showcase #80 (On Sale: December 12, 1968) has a Phantom Stranger cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with the Phantom Stranger in "Men Call Me the Phantom Stranger" by Mike Friedrich, Jerry Grandenetti and Bill Draut. This was the first new Phantom Stranger story since The Phantom Stranger #6 in 1953. DC was looking for more mystery comics and found a winner in this long-forgotten character, revamped for the 1960s. This story was a framing sequence around the rest of the book which was reprints and was itself reprinted in Showcase Presents Phantom Stranger Vol. 1 TPB.

Next we have "The Three Signs of Evil" by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella and reprinted from Phantom Stranger #2. Artist Mark Davis strolls through Columbus Circle and happens upon a gathering. As he watches, he begins sketching a picture of some symbols the people are using. When the group notices him, they demand that he turn over the sketches. Davis refuses and leaves the scene.

The cult members follow Davis and attack him near Times Square. Mark is rescued by the Phantom Stranger who examines Mark's sketch. The Stranger deduces where the cult will be from the sketch. Mark offers his assistance in stopping the cult.

Following the third sign in his sketch, Mark is captured by the Moon Cult. They intend to sacrifice him to gain mystical power. The Phantom Stranger comes to the rescue again and knocks out the cult. Mark summons the police, while the Stranger disappears.

Lastly we have a reprint of the first Doctor 13 story, "I Talked with the Dead" from Star Spangled Comics #122 and drawn by the great Leonard Starr. DC took the mystical Stranger and added the supernatural hoax-breaker Terrance Thirteen as a foil for the Stranger's mystic adventures.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Indymac Makes the Big Time

When people would ask me where I worked and I would say, "Indymac Bank" I would always get a vacant stare back; no one had ever heard of us. Then after I was laid off and the company was seized by the Feds that all changed. Indymac became part of the lexicon. But it wasn't until today that it became part of the pop culture. We owe it all to Sally Forth:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Biblical Marriage

From a discussion on using the Bible as your source for how you live comes this comment by gladkov. In short, if we are to let the Bible define what "traditional marriage" should look like, then our marriage laws should be amended as such:
A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)

B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)

D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)

E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Our Army at War #203

Our Army at War #203 (On Sale: December 10, 1968) is an 80 Page giant issue and sports a nice Sgt. Rock cover by Joe Kubert.

We begin with Sgt. Rock in "Easy's Had It" by the standard team of Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. This very early Easy Co. story is from Our Army At War #103. Easy Company believes that Sgt. Rock is the core of the unit. If he dies, they don’t think Easy can go on. Rock tries to convince them that no soldier including him is irreplaceable. Rock's theory comes true when he is seriously wounded. Easy believes him dead. They fight on to avenge their leader's death. After the battle, Easy realizes Rock is still alive.

Next is the Haunted Tank in "Trap of the Dragon's Teeth" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. This story is from G.I. Combat #98. Jeb and his team act as a scout for the larger Pershing tanks. Jeb finds anti-tank mines in a river and enemy tanks on the other side, but he can't warn the other tanks without alerting the enemy. When the other Allied tanks start across the river, Jeb is forced to open fire on the enemy tanks and shout a warning about the mines. The larger tanks are saved, but the Haunted Tank is heavily damaged by the battle.

While being towed, Jeb wishes that tanks had an early warning system. The ghost of General Stuart tells Jeb about Sam Simmons, a civil war soldier who sneezed whenever the enemy was near. Jeb suddenly develops physical ailments that act as an early warning system. A headache warns of an attack from above, while his foot pain indicates one from below. When Jeb's teeth begin to hurt, he is warned of Dragon's Teeth anti-tank traps. The warnings help the Haunted Tank survive several battles.

Mademoiselle Marie stars in "T.N.T. Spotlight" from Star Spangled War Stories #87 and is by Robert Kanigher and Mort Drucker. Mademoiselle Marie is contacted by the Allies to create a diversion, so that soldiers can get behind enemy lines on a recon mission. Marie's actions bring her to the attention of German Commandant Von Ekt. Von Ekt targets French citizens to lead Marie into a trap. Though she is momentarily captured, Marie successfully escapes and destroys her target, creating the diversion the Allied troops need.

Johnny Cloud is in "Battle Eagle" from All-American Men of War #85 and is by Robert Kanigher and Irv Novick. After returning from a mission, Johnny meets the family of one of his squadron, Sandy. Sandy's son Billy was expecting Johnny to be wearing traditional Indian garb and is disappointed by Johnny's normal appearance. When Billy is injured in a bombing raid, Johnny tries to please the boy by dressing up, but he can't find suitable apparel. Later, Johnny crashes his damaged fighter near the manor house of Lord Leslie. Leslie loans Johnny some traditional Indian battle gear. Johnny wears the outfit to the hospital to cheer the spirits of the injured boy.

Lastly Gunner and Sarge star in "Col. Hakawa's Birthday Party" from Our Fighting Forces #68 and is also by Robert Kanigher and Irv Novick. Gunner, Sarge, and a unit of marines defend an island position against repeated Japanese attacks. The Japanese commander Col. Hakawa is a practical joker and constantly plays booby-trap jokes on the marines. He sends an invitation to the marines for his birthday party hoping to lead them into a trap. Gunner and Sarge play their own joke by dropping dummy paratroopers on the enemy. Then they overrun the enemy position. Col. Hakawa escapes, but leaves another booby trap that the marines are barely able to avoid.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Monday, December 08, 2008

John Lennon, R.I.P.

It was 28 years ago tonight that Howard Cosell told me the horrible news.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Otis II!

About a year back or so I put up a video of the great Otis Redding doing Try a Little Tenderness and stated then that, growing up with the Three Dog Night version, I didn't even know Redding did the song till I saw Pretty In Pink and this scene:

Friday, December 05, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Atom & Hawkman #41

Atom & Hawkman #41 (On Sale: December 3, 1968) has another great cover by Joe Kubert. The book also has a new tweaked logo that will last till the book ends.

We begin with the Atom in "Return of the Seven-Year Dead Man" by Gardner Fox, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene. This book is Gardner Fox's last work on Atom and Hawkman as DC is about to squeeze him out of the business. Fox's career at DC began in 1937 with "The Mystery of San Jose Island," a Speed Saunders story in Detective #3.

Jason Madden, a former crook that has had amnesia, has been officially declared dead after being missing for seven years. When Madden sees the story in a newspaper, he recovers his memory. He expects his former partners to be attending his funeral, but neither man shows up. Madden learns that the Atom arrested Grabs Gannon, but Chuck Wheeler did not show up either.

Madden tracks down Wheeler, who has gone straight and is now a successful businessman. Madden tries to kill Wheeler, but the Atom intervenes. Atom then stops Madden from pulling the same robbery that Grabs Gannon had attempted. Wheeler turns himself over to the police for his old crimes. He is given a suspended sentence because of his charitable work and honest life.

We round out the book with Hawkman in "Yo-Yo Hangup in the Sky" by Gardner Fox, Joe Kubert and Murphy Anderson. Continuing from last issue, taking Harris back to his spaceship, Hawkman and his passenger encounter a gravity-defying car, which he rescues, despite being similarly affected. The car's passengers turn out to be bank robbers trying to make a getaway, and they try to shoot him, unsuccessfully.

Hawkman finally questions Harris, determining that his moonstone ring, bought that morning, is the teleportation device, and that the anti-gravity effect came from his own spaceship's grappler and repelling beams, accidentally activated by Harris when he was aboard. Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Hawkman Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Woody Allen I

When I was younger I had a friend named Tim Bean and one day Tim was selling a whole bunch of the "stuff" he had acquired over the years. One of the many wonders I bought that day was an album of Woody Allen's nightclub act from the 1960s. From time to time I'm going to share a favorite of mine from that album. This is the first:
When I was little boy, I wanted a dog desperately, and we had no money. I was a tiny kid, and my parents couldn't get me a dog, 'cause we just didn't have the money, so they got me, instead of a dog - they told me it was a dog - they got me an ant. And I didn't know any better, y'know, I thought it was a dog, I was a dumb kid. Called it 'Spot'. I trained it, y'know. Coming home late one night, Sheldon Finklestein tried to bully me. Spot was with me. And I said "Kill!", and Sheldon Finklestein stepped on my dog.

Friday, November 28, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Action Comics #371

Action Comics #371 (On Sale: November 28, 1968) has a fairly nice cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

We begin with "The President of Steel" by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. Continuing from last issues, while using an alien super-computer Clark Kent is attacked by a spy named Agent Zero-Zero. Clark must pretend to be unconscious to protect his secret identity, but a invisible ray from the computer wipes out his memory. The spy then places Clark in a helicopter which crashes. Upon impact Clark revives, but with no memory of either identity. His powers and super-costume soon convince him that he is Superman, but he does not remember that he is Clark Kent.

Superman tries to solve the puzzle of his other identity. When he tries to ask the President for help, he learns that he is missing. Superman assumes that he might be the President and soon takes his place. Superman then acts as leader of the country and as a super-hero.

Meanwhile, the spy Agent Zero-Zero has assumed Clark's identity. He meets the President at a press function and acts to protect the President to further his cover. Superman, as the President, awards Clark a medal. Soon thereafter Superman learns that the real President was at sea on a secret mission. He explains his mistake to the real President, then resumes his search for his own secret identity.

The back-up Supergirl story, "The Supergirl Best-Seller," is by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger. Librarian Hilda Powell publishes a book about Supergirl. The book contains many secrets that Hilda should not know about. Supergirl questions Hilda and tries to have the book recalled, but her efforts fail.

Supergirl tries to discover how Hilda possesses knowledge of her adventures. When Hilda claims that she plans to publish another book about Supergirl's future life, the Girl of Steel realizes where Hilda got her information. Supergirl briefly moved the library into the future to protect it from an alien attack. She hypothesizes that a person from the future left a biography of Supergirl's life in the library before she returned it to the present.

When Supergirl finds the book, she reads a small section detailing how she prevented a disaster from occurring. Supergirl then acts differently to prevent the disaster. As a result the book from the future ceases to exist, and the knowledge disappears from the memories of all involved.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Teen Titans #19

Teen Titans #19 (On Sale: November 26, 1968) has a nice cover by Nick Cardy.

"Stepping Stones for a Giant Killer" is by Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane and Wally Wood. This is Mike Friedrich's only Teen Titans story. His plans to defeat the Justice League mocked by Headmaster Mind, an old JLA foe, Punch, a teenage would-be-super-villain, vows to prove himself by destroying the Teen Titans first. Speedy rejoins the Titans, and he and Wonder Girl are captured by Punch when they investigate racial riots at a New England high school. At the same time, Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad are defeated by high-frequency sound and light devices while on a mission to a midwestern community.

Reunited as Punch's prisoners, the Titans use teamwork to escape his traps and overcome the youthful villain and his followers. Afterward, Aqualad returns to Atlantis for an extended leave, ostensibly in order to look after the infant Aquababy while Aquaman is involved in a quest for his missing wife, Mera. this kind of cross referencing of plots was unusual for DC at the time but something editor Dick Giordano would do often. Speedy becomes Aqualad's replacement among the Titans. Reprinted in Super-Team Family #1 and Showcase Presents: Teen Titans Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Are You Smarter Than An Elected Official?

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.

Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).

"It is disturbing enough that the general public failed ISI's civic literacy test, but when you consider the even more dismal scores of elected officials, you have to be concerned," said Josiah Bunting, chairman of the National Civic Literacy Board at ISI.

"How can political leaders make informed decisions if they don't understand the American experience?" he added.
Before you read the whole article, take the test and see how you do. Note that the article contains some of the answers, so to be fair take the test then read the article.

I did and I scored 81.82% or 27 out of 33, so at least I know that I am smarted than an elected official.

Friday, November 21, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Strange Adventures #216

Strange Adventures #216 (On Sale: November 14, 1968) ends Deadman's run with a wonderful cover by Neal Adams.

"But I Still Exist" is written and drawn by Neal Adams and it is a visual tour de force. Continuing from last issue, Deadman leaves the lair of the League of Assassins after he is unable to prevent Hook's death. He is surprised to find Vashnu waiting outside with a scroll that mentions the hidden land of Nanda Parbat. Deadman also watches the Sensei order Willie Smith to destroy it. Deadman decides to tag along with Willie to thwart his mission.

When over the appropriate airspace Deadman fights Willie using the body of a pilot. Willie falls from the plane, but uses a parachute to survive. Deadman floats down to the Earth, but becomes solid when he enters Nanda Parbat. No longer a ghost, Deadman meets Taj Ze and Lotus, residents of this strange land of peace.

Deadman learns that if he leaves the city he will become a ghost again. He confronts Rama Kushna who can be reached via a temple guarded by Taj Ze. Rama agrees to allow Deadman to remain on Earth as a force for good to achieve balance. Deadman then leaves Nanda Parbat and becomes a ghost once again. He is followed by Lotus, who is dragged outside by Willie Smith where she becomes evil again. Reprinted in Deadman #7 and continued in the Brave and the Bold #86.

This book is known though for Neal Adams' amazing pop art effects. My favorite was the page where if you look at the panels as a whole it is a giant face of Deadman.

Thanks to Robbie Reed over at Dial B for Blog for these crisp and clear shots of Neal's' Deadman work.

This book was meant to be the start of a new Deadman. With his killer found Rama Kushna gives Deadman a new mission, to ""balance the forces of good and evil" in the world. We only get a peek at this in the Brave and the Bold follow-up and that's too bad. I would have loved to see where Adams would have taken this character for which he obviously had so much affection.

The back-up story was "I Lost My Past," a reprint from Tales of the Unexpected #3 drawn by Mad Magazine's own Mort Drucker.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nano Obama

This is so very, very cool!

Microscopic faces of Barack Obama made using nanotechnology, and imaged using a scanning electron microscope. Each face consists of millions of vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes, grown by a high temperature chemical reaction.

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Spectre #8

Spectre #8 (On Sale: November 19, 1968) has a really cool cover by Nick Cardy.

"The Parchment of Power Perilous" is by Steve Skeates, Jerry Grandenetti and Murphy Anderson. This is Skeates' first work ad DC for someone other than Dick Giordano. An 18th century sorcerer attempts to open a doorway to unlimited power. He records the secret on parchment, then realizes that such power is evil. When he attempts to destroy the parchment, his apprentice Narkran kills him. Narkran then uses the parchment to gain limitless power and leaves the Earthly plane. Eventually he realizes that his body cannot contain such power. He must return to Earth and find the parchment which he believes contains additional secrets vital to his survival.

Meanwhile, the Spectre helps Jim Corrigan battle the Carstagg Mob. The Spectre acts recklessly and nearly kills an innocent bystander. The Spectre is punished for his actions and will be given a weakness when presented with stressful situations in the future.

Narkran returns to the Earthly plane after 200 years seeking the parchment. The Spectre goes to battle the supernatural foe. As the battle ensues, the Spectre's new weakness presents itself in the form of blindness. The Spectre then must overcome Narkran without his vision. He does so, then he also destroys the parchment. Narkran is destroyed, and the Spectre's eyesight returns. Reprinted in Adventure Comics #502.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hot and Ugly Weekend

The fires in southern California have been reeking havoc on the air quality. I drive by still smoldering brush on the way to and from work. Tonight I got hit by a sea of smoke drifting across the freeway in the Brea Canyon, reminding me that the fires are not out yet. But for my family it was not too bad. For my good friend Steve Caron, who I worked with at Indymac Bank, it was a lot more stressful.

He could not sleep Saturday night as the fire was over the hill by his house and moving rapidly. He sat outside and talked to his neighbors as the flames drew nearer.

Around 4:00 AM the flames crested the hill behind his subdivision and started down. Things began to look bad. The police came by and told him to pack. It was unnecessary; Steve and his family had been packed for hours.

As the flames drew in closer, the firemen went to work and battled back the fire. It was a long process, a long night, but by morning the fire had been stopped, his family and home were safe and Steve could finally get some sleep. Right on Steve, and nice pictures dude!

Carving The Bird

I've written before about the dry brining technique we have used for the past two years for our Thanksgiving turkey, which results in the best turkey you have ever tasted. I've also made some mention of the technique we use for carving the bird, which works wonders with the moist and flavorful dry brined turkey. Well, the Los Angeles Times website still has its carving technique on-line, illustrated step-by-step instructions for your ease of learning.

What I love about this carving technique is that it expertly handles each piece of the big bird and results in the most wonderful distribution of the golden brown skin. This is particularly the case with regards to the breast. You cleave each breast in whole from the bone, removing one gigantic piece of moist meat, wrapped in golden skin. Then you cut the breast crosswise, creating these luscious skin-wrapped medallions of white meat. When you cut a breast the normal way, along the side of the bird, you get one slice with a lot of skin and little meat and then a lot of slices with lots of meat and little skin; the cross-cut method distributes the skin evenly slice to slice.

My wife and I were talking about this this morning, it's almost time to buy our bird, and we both mentioned how we look so forward to cooking the Thanksgiving meal now because 1) the recipe is easy and foolproof, and 2) the carving method makes it even better.

If you are a sandwich kind of person, you might not like this carving method as it does not create those thin, dry tasteless slices you are used to eating the day after Thanksgiving. On the other hand, you may find that you can live without that just fine.

Friday, November 14, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Angel and the Ape #2

Angel and the Ape #2 (On Sale: November 14, 1968) has a cover by Bob Oksner.

"Most Fantastic Robbery in History" is co-written by Sergio Aragones, co-written and penciled by Bob Oksner and inked by Wally Wood. Angel is kidnapped by the Bikini Gang, a family of criminal circus performers. After quitting his job working for Stan Bragg, Sam Simeon tracks the gang to a run-down circus and rescues Angel. He then pursues work at D.Z. Comics, but Stan lures him back by faking his own death. Angel then lures the crooks to Brain-Pix Comics and calls the police. The cops apprehend the crooks, and Sam makes Stan look like a killer. Stan is arrested and vows vengeance.

The great EC science-fiction artist Wally Wood returned to DC Comics after a number of years two months prior, penciling and inking Captain Action #1. With the exception of a single story in Strange Adventures #154 in 1963 Wood had not worked at DC since he stopped inking Jack Kirby's Challengers of the Unknown pencils in 1959. With the demise of the Tower Comics Thunder Agents books, Wood needed work and found it mostly as an inker at DC.

He would ink Oksner's Angel and the Ape pencils for the rest of the series, displaying his humorous style he popularized at Mad Magazine and would soon begin a long stint on Superboy inking Bob Brown, drawing more on the realism of his EC work and his super-hero work at Tower.

Edited by Joe Orlando

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Excommunication Anyone?

This is about as un-Christian as you can get.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- House of Mystery #178

House of Mystery #178 (On Sale: November 12, 1968) has a gorgeous cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with a one-page intro by Joe Orlando. This is followed by the gem of the book, "The Game" written and drawn by Neal Adams. This is one of the most amazing Neal Adams stories ever. The artwork is just wonderful, employing a grease pencil on Bristol board technique that permeates the pages with this grainy feel. Young Jamie Markus is walking home from a birthday party where he won the door prize, a board game, when it begins to rain. A light sprinkle turns into a raging storm and Jaime frantically looks for shelter, finding it in the old Unger House. The house is empty except for a large four-poster bed, with curtained valance. When Jamie hears someone coming he hides under the bed. Feeling silly he comes out of hiding to find a young boy in the bed who looks exactly like Jamie.

Jamie's doppelganger tries to get him to leave but changes his mind when he sees the game. Enclosed in the curtained bed the two boys spend hours playing the game until finally Jamie wins. Just then the other boy dives under the covers as a hand comes through the curtains and grabs Jamie. And then...well, why spoil a great ending. This was Adams at his very best. Reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #17 and Deadman #1.

Next is "The Man Who Haunted a Ghost" from House of Mystery #35 and drawn by Jim Mooney. In the middle of this story is a Page 13 humor piece. Following it is a Cain's game Room page by Sergio Aragones. Lastly is "What's the Youth?" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Winslow Mortimer and George Roussos.

This entire book was reprinted in Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Friday, November 07, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Superman #213

Superman #213 (On Sale: November 7, 1968) has a cover by Carmine Infantino and Neal Adams.

We begin with "The Most Dangerous Door in the World" by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. Superman issues a statement to the public that a special vault with valuable contents will open when he dies. The vault is made of indestructible Supermanium and is kept under heavy guard. Luthor, provoked by articles in the Daily Planet, renews his efforts to kill the Man of Steel, who exhibits signs that he is weakened.

Luthor steals the vault uses a modified version of Brainiac's shrink ray. He then uses robots with Kryptonite inside to kill Superman. Thinking that he has finally succeeded in his goal, Luthor waits for the vault to open. When it doesn't, he uses every means necessary to break into the vault.

Luthor finally succeeds in opening the vault and discovers Superman inside. The Man of Steel apprehends Luthor, then explains that Mordru had magically imprisoned him in the vault. Supergirl and the adult Brainiac 5 then tricked Luthor into opening it by having the Legionnaire pose as the Man of Steel. Angry at being tricked, Luthor is nevertheless sent back to prison vowing vengeance. Reprinted in Best of DC #27.

The back up story is "The Orphans of Space," a reprint from Superman #144 by Jerry Siegel and Al Plastino. Superman, Supergirl, and Krypto are at the Fortress of Solitude when the Man of Steel notices a plane trying to land nearby. Superman uses the capes of the three heroes to make warning flags so the plane does not land and discover the Fortress. When the plane leaves Superman returns the capes and experiments with a machine he has found.

The machine causes a huge explosion that destroys Earth. The super-trio are the only survivors. Shortly, the Interstellar Council brings Superman up on charges for destroying the planet. All three are stripped of their powers and relocated to a primordial planet.

The three awaken to discover that it was a Red Kryptonite induced hallucination. Apparently their capes were exposed to a Red K mist while used as flags. Superman removes the dust and stores it in a lead container in the Fortress.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

How Do I Feel?

How do I feel about Obama's historic win?

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Aquaman #43

Aquaman #43 (On Sale: November 5, 1968) has another beautiful cover by Nick Cardy.

"To Win is to Lose" is by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo. Vulko counteracts the substance that has been infused into the dome surrounding Atlantis. He then restores the Atlantean water-breathing ability to the people. While Atlantis celebrates, Aquagirl discovers that the injured Aqualad has gone missing.

Aqualad's head injury has caused him partial amnesia. He still believes that Aquaman is trying to find Mera in the Sorcerers' city where Aqualad received his injuries. Seeking to help his mentor, Aqualad heads for the city and is captured by the men of Eldfur.

Meanwhile, Aquaman, still injured from his fight with Black Manta, finds a city inhabited by immobile giants. He meets an explorer from the surface Phil Darson who helps patch up Aquaman's injured arm. From information gathered from Darson, Aquaman begins to suspect that Mera was kidnapped by surface men.

Elsewhere, Aqualad is taken to the Eldfur arena and is forced to battle a Eldfur champion. He wins the fight and regains his full memories at the same time. The men of Eldfur celebrate his victory since they intend to use him to battle the Bugala, a monster that periodically attacks them.

Back in Atlantis, an earthquake rocks the city. Reprinted in Adventure Comics #494.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Guess Who Hasn't Had a "Town Hall Meeting" Since Oct. 10?

If you guessed "Mr. Town Hall Meeting" himself, John McCain, you win a cookie!*

The town hall format was supposed be the Republican nominee’s favorite campaign forum, highlighting his shoot-from-the-hip style, his broad knowledge on a slew of issues and his irreverent wit. He loved it so much that he challenged Obama to a string of town hall debates.

But with their potential for amplifying unscripted outbursts and attention-diverting disasters, the microphones at high school gymnasiums and basketball arenas across the swing states have gone silent during the final stretch of the presidential campaign. McCain, a man who has prided himself on discussions with the common man, has not entertained a single question from audience members since Oct. 10, when he faced a belligerent crowd in Lakeville, Minn., that at times turned against him.
(* Cookie not included)

Friday, October 31, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Brave and the Bold #81

Brave and the Bold #81 (On Sale: October 31, 1968) has a great Batman and Flash cover by Neal Adams.

"But Bork Can Hurt You" is by Bob Haney, Neal Adams and Vince Colletta. This is Colletta's first super-hero inking job for DC and boy did it cause a stink. Adams was infuriated when he saw what Colletta had done to his pencils, going back and inking over Colletta in places in an attempt to salvage his work. Some also say that Adams got some of the later pages back from Colletta and had Dick Giordano ink them. It's been so long since I looked at this book that I really don't remember, but if ever two artists styles clashed it was Adams and Colletta. Neal made sure that Colletta never inked his work again.

Small-time hood Carl Bork suddenly discovers that he is invulnerable to any physical harm. Using his new ability, Bork takes over a local gang and stymies police who cannot stop the bulletproof crook. Even Batman is unable to beat Bork, who begins raising a criminal army to take over Gotham City.

Batman and the police try to hold off Bork, while the Flash searches the world for the source of Bork's power. He discovers that a statue of Bork is responsible, and it shares a mystical connection to its subject. Flash locates the statue, but, like Bork, it too proves to be invulnerable. Flash is finally able to damage the hand slightly with a laser, but the laser is not powerful enough to harm the statue further.

Batman notices that Bork's hand is no longer invulnerable. He believes that Flash is working on the problem and is inspired by the progress. Rather than risk a war in the streets of Gotham, he challenges Bork to a one-on-one fight. Bork's invulnerability proves more than a match for Batman. However, the Caped Crusader holds on to hope that Flash will come up with the answer to defeat Bork. His hope is rewarded when Flash is able to drag the statue into the sun where it is consumed. Once the statue is destroyed, Bork loses his power and is defeated by Batman.

Bork would return years later in a mutated form as a reformed criminal and an associate member of The Power Company, even getting his own book at one time. Reprinted in Best of the Brave and the Bold #2, Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1 HC and Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

What Republicans Have Got to Answer For

This is some really sick stuff, some done with a crudeness that speak volumes regarding the perpetrator's intellect (and painfully obvious lack thereof), some a bit slicker, all of it disgusting. If you want to know why I will be rejoicing come November 5th, this is a good place to start. This party deserves to go away and never come back.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't Let This Be You!

Earlier this week over on the Tony Isabella Board friend and onetime intelligent person Jim Guida shocked all of his friends by announcing that he had voted for McCain:

I guess I am more superstitious than I thought and if I lived in a State where it mattered, I would have risked my life-long history of voting for the losing candidate (Kerry, Nader, Perot, Dukasis, Anderson, and Ford). And just to ensure a Democratic win, I marked my absentee ballot for McCain't. Fortunately, CA is a lock for JoeBama, but if, through some cruel twist of fate, Obama loses by one vote, I'll need a place to stay for awhile.
For a guy seeking a holy path in life we all found this pretty strange to say the least. Last night Scott Edwards posted this shocking video from the future:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Bat Lash #2

Bat Lash #2 (On Sale: October 29, 1968) has a truly wonderful cover by Nick Cardy.

(Melinda's Doll) is written by Denny O'Neil and plotted and drawn by Nick Cardy. While escaping from a wedding that he doesn't watch, Bat Lash discovers the body of a dead marshal in the snow. He takes the dead man's coat and boots, then finds his orphaned daughter Melinda nearby. The girl is confused from shock and believes Bat is her father.

Bat Lash takes the girl to the nearby town of Serenity. The crooks that murdered the marshal try to kill him too. He discovers that they are smuggling guns to indians inside coffins. Bat finds evidence against the local undertaker proving his involvement. He arrests the crooks, then leaves Melinda with a woman in town before leaving town. Reprinted in Super DC Giant S-22.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gerard Damiano, R.I.P.

This is a terrible article on Damiano, which doesn't even mention that he took his Deep Throat money and made the best porn film of all time, The Devil in Miss Jones. Memories Within Miss Aggie was also pretty good as Damiano attempted to push the realm of porn into something a little deeper.

I still remember scenes from The Devil in Miss Jones though I haven't seen the picture in thirty or so years. What is really surprising is that the scenes I remember are not overtly sexual, but more go to the torment of the Miss Jones's soul. I think it was a powerful film and a one of a kind in the world of porn.


How could anyone support a party that would stoop this low? The Republicans are a party of low-lifes who know they cannot win unless they cheat. Just despicable.

A phony State Board of Elections flier advising Republicans to vote on Nov. 4 and Democrats on Nov. 5 is being circulated in several Hampton Roads localities, according to state elections officials.

In fact, Election Day, for voters of all political stripes, remains Nov. 4.

The somewhat official-looking flier - it features the state board logo and the state seal - is dated Oct. 24 and indicates that "an emergency session of the General Assembly has adopted the follwing (sic) emergency regulations to ease the load on local electorial (sic) precincts and ensure a fair electorial process."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Keller Confession #163 Part Deux

When I posted my Keller Confession #163 item on the Tony Isabella board, my friend Dave Potts said the thought he owned that issue and posted this:

Pottts, you are a riot man!

Air Blade

I spent all of yesterday at the Learning & Product Expo: Art! in Pasadena at the newly built Pasadena Conference Center. It's actually newly half-built, as the major portion of it, a large conference/convention building is still under construction. The Conference Center doesn't quite still smell like fresh paint, but it's a pretty close call on that one. It is a nice, modern building, with poorly designed access to the attached parking structure and the most modern of public restrooms.

The mens room I ventured into had hands-free flush toilets, waterless, flushless urinals, hands-free soap dispensers, hands-free faucets and hands-free, motion-activated towel dispensers. If you were not interested in the towels though, they also had one of these:

I had to try it out, so by-passed the hands-free, motion-activated towel dispenser and gingerly placed my hands into the Dyson. As I slowly pull my hands back up past the air blades they scraped the water off of my hands. Once done my hands still felt a little wet to me and maybe I pulled them too fast through the blades. Or maybe it was because I knew I was about to get pastel dust all over my hands and knew they had to be completely dry.

Even so, I think it's a pretty cool invention, certainly much better than the common hot air drier you see in other restrooms.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Keller Confession #163

I have a confession to make. Sarah Palin never did anything for me (though oddly Tina Fey does), but Michele Bachmann, grrrrrr! Something about her eyes speak volumes to me.

(ashamed and slightly aroused in La Verne, Ca)

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Hawk & the Dove #3

Hawk & the Dove #3 (On Sale: October 24, 1968) has a nice action cover by Gil Kane.

"After the Cat" is by Steve Skeates, Gil Kane and Sal Trapani. Gone is series creator Steve Ditko, which must have made the writing a lot easier for Steve Skeates. Hank Hall hunts the streets for a notorious cat burglar known as the Cat. After days of searching he spots the crook during a burglary. Hawk tries to stop him, but his efforts only result in the destruction of property.

When Hank and others then accuse Don of cowardice, Dove goes in search of the Cat also. He finds the crook surrounded by police. Dove tries to stop the cops from firing on the Cat, only to learn that they were firing tear gas. This results in the police becoming victims of their own tactics, and the Cat flees. A cop then shoots and kills the burglar. Dove blames himself for causing the escalated level of violence. Reprinted in Teen Titans #39.

In "Twice Burned," also by Steve Skeates, Gil Kane and Sal Trapani, when Linda Kieves's father is beaten nearly to death by thugs, Hawk attempts to track down the perpetrators. Meanwhile Dove tries to stop Linda's brother from taking justice into his own hands by shooting the man who hired the thugs. Hawk succeeds in finding the thugs and beats a confession out of them. Dove also succeeds in stopping Mark Kieves, but only by nearly resorting to violence. Reprinted in 100-Page Super Spectacular DC-15.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

IndyMac Plan Could be Model for Recovery

The FDIC seems to be doing good by the customers of my old company:

Under the FDIC's orders, about 4,000 IndyMac borrowers have been given more affordable mortgages so far. By this weekend, the bank expects to have sent out more than 15,000 modification offers to borrowers, who are saving $430 a month on average.

IndyMac's efforts, which are designed to save the FDIC money by curbing losses on foreclosed homes, are being closely watched nationwide. In fact, Bank of America Corp. is taking a similar approach with newly acquired Countrywide Financial Corp. as part of an $8.4 billion, 12-state legal settlement reached this month.

And now some Congressional Democrats and state officials say the FDIC's approach should be replicated as the Treasury Department buys billions in troubled mortgage debt as part of a $700 billion financial industry bailout.

"The country is in crisis," said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. "This is something that everybody should do."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Don't Think This Is How This Is Done

I got a phone call this weekend from someone on Proposition 8, the "gay people don't have the same rights as me" initiative. It went something like this.

Ring! Ring!

Them: Hi, my name is blah de blah and I live in La Verne. Can I tell you why I'm voting for Proposition 8?

Me: No.


40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Showcase #79

Showcase #79 (On Sale: October 22, 1968) introduces us to Dolphin in a cover by romance artist Jay Scott Pike.

"The Fantasy at 14 Fathoms" is written and drawn by Jay Scott Pike. Not only is this Pike's only non-romance artwork for DC, this is his only writing. In this, the origin of Dolphin, Chief Petty Officer Chris Landau and his partner Ben Harkey are assigned the task of recovering documents from a sunken U.S. Navy ship that has been underwater twenty three years. During their search of the ship, they discover a girl who can breathe underwater. They bring her back to their ship and name her Dolphin. She has gills that allow her to breathe water, but her lungs cannot sustain her in air for long, so she returns to the water.

While Landau and his team work to open the safe containing the documents, a typhoon approaches. The seamen convince Dolphin to help them get the documents out of the sunken ship's safe. The typhoon strikes before she can finish the job and the wreck is pushed into a deep chasm. Landau returns to his ship believing Dolphin and the documents lost forever. He is surprised when the girl surfaces with the papers in hand.

As the ship leaves the area to avoid the harsh weather, Landau invites Dolphin to return to home with him. However, the girl indicates that she belongs at sea and dives back into the water. It would be ten years before Dolphin would appear again and then only in the character-packed pages of Showcase #100. Then in 1984 Dolphin would reappear as one of the Forgotten Heroes in the pages of Action Comics #552 and #553. Dolphin would last appear in Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985-1986.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Judge Rules Indiana Voting Centers to Remain Open

In yet another loss for the GOP "Keep out the vote" effort, Republican attemtps to shut down early voting centers in Indiana, have failed.

The Lake County Board of Elections and Registration is hereby enjoined from terminating the operation of in person absentee voting currently being conducted in the offices of the Clerk of the Lake Circuit Court in the courthouse buildings in Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago and the offices of the Lake County Board of Elections and Registration in Crown Point.

It is further ordered that all ballots that have already been cast at the early voting locations in Gary, Hammond, East Chicago, and Crown Point shall not be invalidated except for instances of voter fraud.
I guess real freedom-loving, American-loving Americans don't want other Americans to have the freedom to vote.

To Sir With Love

I was watching a British invasion revival on PBS last week and saw a modern Lulu sing To Sir With Love. Man, is her voice still great singing the theme to one of my favorite films of all time. Here is a clip of Lulu singing live from the late 1960s:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Speaking the Truth

"In the final days of campaigns, the say-anything, do-anything politics too often takes over. We've seen it before. And we're seeing it again today. The ugly phone calls. The misleading mail and TV ads. The careless, outrageous comments. All aimed at keeping us from working together, all aimed at stopping change.

It's getting so bad that even Senator McCain's running mate denounced his tactics last night. As you know, you really have to work hard to violate Governor Palin's standards on negative campaigning."

-Barack Obama

Ouch! That cuts deep!

I Don't Want to Reopen a Whole Can of Worms...

...really...but, why do you think that Sarah Palin has refused to make her medical records public? What can she be hiding? Nope, I'm not going to say it, but I am still thinking it.

Michigan Republicans Admit to Efforts to Illegally Disenfranchise Voters

Democrats and Republicans have settled the suit seeking to prevent Michigan Republicans from using foreclosure lists to challenge voters. The MDP statement on the settlement says:
An agreement announced today by Obama for America, the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, the Michigan Republican Party, the Michigan Democratic Party, the Macomb County Republican Party, the Macomb County Democratic Party, and plaintiffs Duane Maletski, Sharon Lopez, and Frances M. Zick protects the voting rights of foreclosure victims. The settlement acknowledges the existence of an illegal scheme by the Republicans to use mortgage foreclosure lists to deny foreclosure victims their right to vote. This settlement has the force of law behind it and ensures that Republicans cannot disenfranchise families facing foreclosure.
Is there anything else to be said here?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

50 Reasons to Vote Obama

This should be viral man, viral I tell you!

McCain's Adoring Throng

Remember how in the last debate McCain was insulted that anyone would say bad things about the great people who show up for his rallies? Yeah, who wouldn't just adore these brain surgeons. Warning: stomach-wretch inducing footage of loyal Republicans at their very best.

What Do You Do...

...when you are the party people are running away from? How do you stop the bleeding of members? You steal them from the other party!

Something to remember when you see any growth in the number of registered Republicans.
SACRAMENTO -- Dozens of newly minted Republican voters say they were duped into joining the party by a GOP contractor with a trail of fraud complaints stretching across the country.

Voters contacted by The Times said they were tricked into switching parties while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters. Some said they were told that they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Others had no idea their registration was being changed.
Just how many of the 70,000 Young Political Majors, or YPM, have registered this year as Republicans are actually people they duped into their registration?
The Times randomly interviewed 46 of the hundreds of voters whose election records show they were recently re-registered as Republicans by YPM, and 37 of them -- more than 80% -- said that they were misled into making the change or that it was done without their knowledge.
How pathetic the Republican party is that it has to trick people into registering as one of them.

This reminds me of 2004 when my son was registering for the first time. He registered on his college campus. The guy doing the registrations "suggested' that he register as a Republican, but he declined, saying he wasn't a "f***ing Republican." Unlike ACORN, who knows that is is a federal offense to not turn in a voter registration, even if you know it is bogus, this guy my son registered with threw away all of the Democratic registrations and only turned in the Republican ones. My son and all of his friends had to register at the last moment at the Post Office in order to vote.

Bottom line is you can not trust a Republican with your registration; they are the most cowardly and vile of thieves as they systematically attempt to steal your right as an American to vote. A pathetic excuse for a political party and one that deserves to go the way of the dodo.

Friday, October 17, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Flash #184

Flash #184 (On Sale: October 17, 1968) has a very dramatic cover by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

"Executioner of Central City" is by Frank Robbins, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Scientists at the Mt. Vista Ionospheric Observatory identify a burst of destructive energy headed for Central City. Iris Allen is able to contact her husband to warn him of the impending danger. Flash then tries to save the city by circling it at tremendous speed and setting up a repulsive shield. The energy burst is successfully deflected at the exact moment Flash's endurance gives out.

When Flash recovers from his exhaustive effort, he discovers that Central City is gone. A giant crater is all that remains. Flash believes his actions caused the destruction of the city, but he finds one survivor stuck in the mud. The survivor is a woman named Zoral, and she is actually from the future. She explains that she works for Dr. Yom, a future anthropologist who was conducting an experiment to bring a civilization from the past to his own time.

When Zoral returns to her time period, Flash hitches a ride. They discover that Central City has been transported intact into the future as a result of the freak circumstances involved with the energy burst. Dr. Yom wants sole credit for successfully bringing the city into the future and tries to eliminate Zoral and Flash when they learn the truth. Flash is able to defeat Dr. Yom and return Central City to its rightful place in time and space.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Green Lantern #65

Green Lantern #65 (On Sale: October 10, 1968) has a very effective and dramatic cover by Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella.

"Dry Up -- and Die" is by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella. While exploring the arctic looking for the magnetic north pole Neal Emerson falls into a crevasse. He becomes trapped near a glowing blue blob that is slowly dehydrating him and the entire planet. The blob combined with the magnetic properties of the north pole enable Emerson to issue a telepathic summons to Green Lantern.

In Evergreen City, Hal Jordan feels a compulsion to become Green Lantern. He encounters a gang of crooks, but the compulsion continues to pull him away making it difficult to stop them. Green Lantern finally defeats the crooks and overcomes the compulsion. He then continues on a date with Eve Doremus as Hal Jordan.

Emerson realizes his telepathic summons has failed, so he creates a mental duplicate of his evil personality, Doctor Polaris. The Polaris duplicate battles Green Lantern and temporarily stops him from using his power ring.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Does Anyone Else Think That...

...every time John McCain says, "I know how to do it," he really doesn't? I have no idea how many times he said it in the last debate, but my interest in the debate (if you could call it a debate) diminished every time he did say it 'cause he is always saying he knows how to do things he has never done: win a war, find Bin Laden, etc.

He said it almost as often as he said "my friends." What he didn't say, not even once, was "Sarah Palin" or, for the second debate in a row, "middle class." How can we be his "friend" when he doesn't even acknowledge that we exist?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Unexpected #110

Unexpected #110 (On Sale: October 8, 1968) has a new logo and one of the creepier Neal Adams covers amplified by some wonderful color work.

We begin with a Johnny Peril story "Death Town, USA" by George Kashdan and Jack Sparling. That is followed by "Half a Man is Better Than None" by Dave Wood and Bill Draut and "The Last Executioner" by Dave Wood, Jerry Grandenetti and Bill Draut.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

The Moment McCain Lost the Election

Watch the CNN Independent voter graph on this piece. Obama destroys McCain, neuters him on, his supposed area of expertise, foreign policy.

Put a fork in him, McCain is done. As Mark Stein of the National Review said tonight:

Well I have gone outside and pulled up my Mcain/Palin sign. This election is over. I will vote for Mcain but I know that come Nov. 5 Obama will be our president-elect.
I feel sorry for Sarah Palin. A once promising career will be permanently connected to the landside loss of John McCain.
Hey, me and the National Review agreeing on everything except the sorrow!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

That One!

Good Lord is This Debate a Bore!

Geeze, what is the point of having people sitting there if they have to act like mannequins? McCain seems to flatline the Independent voters on CNN every time he attacks Obama instead of answering the question.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Republicans Have to Change What They Know Again

John McCain -- "Worth Fighting For"
"I made the worst mistake of my life by attending two meetings, the first with the chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the government agency charged with regulating the practices of the nation’s savings and loans, and a week later with four bank examiners based in San Francisco who were at that time investigating the investment and lending practices of Lincoln Savings and Loan of Irvine, California, owned by my good friend and generous supporter Charles Keating."
John McCain -- Interview Mar. 1, 2007 The Arizona Republic

"I was judged eventually, after three years, of using, quote, poor judgment, and I agree with that assessment."
John Dowd, John McCain's Lawyer

"But you know, Sen. Mitchell was the majority leader, and Howell Heflin was his stooge...And he was doing what he was told because the rest were Democrats in the hearing. So it's sort of a classic political smear-job on John."
It must be difficult for Republicans to keep up with what they are supposed to believe when it keeps changing all the time.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

It's About Time

Thirteen years late, but as they say, better late than never.

Friday, October 03, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Superboy #152

Superboy #152 (On Sale: October 3, 1968) has another great cover by Neal Adams.

"The 2 Faces of Superboy" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Mike Esposito. Superboy stops a pair of thieves from stealing the art collection of Mrs. Malcolm-Malcolm. The Mighty Mahaguru, a criminal mystic, decides to take revenge on Superboy. Along with his accomplice Henri Labrush, they convince Mrs. Malcolm-Malcolm to commission artist Pierre Lavisage to paint Superboy's portrait. Henri then abducts the real Lavisage and takes his place.

Superboy knows that Mahaguru is a fake, but he plays along and agrees to pose for the portrait. While Labrush begins his painting, Mahaguru hypnotizes Superboy. The crooks then use him to rob a bank. Superboy then becomes wanted by the law.

When he recovers from the hypnosis, Superboy realizes what he has done. Instead of showing up for his next session with Labrush, Superboy sends a robot in his place. The crooks then attempt to use the robot in a gold robbery. Superboy allows the crooks to believe they have succeeded, so that he can publicly expose them during the unveiling of his portrait. Superboy has also altered the painting which Labrush had created to make the Boy of Steel appear to be a monster.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.