Wednesday, April 30, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Action Comics #364

Action Comics #364 (On Sale: April 30, 1968) has a really nice cover by Neal Adams; all those years on the Ben Casey strip set him in good stead on this cover.

"The Untouchable of Metropolis" is by Leo Dorfman, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. This story is the middle of a three-issue arc. Superman has been infected with Virus X, a Kryptonian form of leprosy. Criminals and police alike are afraid of being touched by the Man of Steel and catching the deadly virus. The greatest scientists on Earth are unable to cure him, but they do provide a fiberglass bodysuit to prevent the spread of the disease.

Supergirl comes up with a plan to send Superman into the Phantom Zone until a cure is found. However, the Phantom Zone criminals destroy the projector to keep the Man of Steel from entering the Zone. Superman then makes arrangements for his weapons and trophies and is sent into space aboard a rocket to die.

The back-up Supergirl story, "The Kiss of Death," is by Otto Binder and Kurt Schaffenberger. Professor Vandarr, a teacher at Stanhope, gets married to Count Durkla. Linda Danvers attends the wedding and witnesses her die just after kissing the groom. The dead woman also has a strange tattoo which emits x-rays.

Supergirl later saves the life of Dorah, a stunt diver. She has the same tattoo and Vandarr and is scheduled to marry Colonel Durkla. Supergirl keeps an eye on the couple, but again the bride dies after kissing the groom.

Supergirl suspects Durkla's kiss is poisoned. She finds a third woman with the same tattoo, Miss Jacquella. Supergirl gets her a job at Stanhope to replace Prof. Vandarr, then takes her place. Durkla approaches her and proposes. Supergirl then discovers that her wedding ring was poisoned.

Supergirl survives, then Durkla tells her that the three girls were escaped alien criminals. He had been sent to Earth to execute them. Jacquella claims to be innocent, so Supergirl leaves her at the Fortress. When the girl tries to steal some gems, Supergirl knows that she is lying. Jacquella tries to flee from the Girl of Steel, but falls into a vat of liquid helium. Durkla then takes the three dead bodies back to his own world as proof that the criminals are dead. This story was reprinted in Superman Family #172.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

The Wild Angels

As I wrote here a couple of years ago, I spent a few months TiVoing 1960's biker movies. Most, but not all, were the work of the great Roger Corman. I started off with The Wild Angels from 1966, a Corman flick starring Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd. It was during the filming of The Wild Angels that Laura Dern was conceived. The Wild Angels is not a great movie, but it is fun to watch and the theme song by Davie Allen and the Arrows is just amazing! A couple of days ago the opening sequence to the film, featuring that amazing theme song, appeared on YouTube. Take a look and a listen; this is Roger Corman and Davie Allen at their best. Peter Fonda is the consumate biker in this sequence.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bebe Barron, R.I.P.

Bebe Barron, along with her husband Louis, was the creator of the Forbidden Planet electronic score. She died this week in Los Angeles. Read the L.A. Times obit to get an idea of just how ground-breaking this score was.

Friday, April 25, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Justice League of America #63

Justice League of America #63 (On Sale: April 25, 1968) has a cover by Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos. There is just something about this cover that I have always loved and it must be the Superman figure that so dominates it.

"Time Signs a Death-Warrant for the Justice League" is by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos. In a gambit set in motion during his initial encounter with the Justice League, the Key gives the super-heroes an irresistible command not to leave their headquarters for one hour, and at the end of that time to kill each other. They find themselves unable to leave the Secret Sanctuary, until Superman finds a way out, by time-traveling three years into the past, thus catapulting his past self into the future to take his place. The Superman-of-three-years-past is unaffected by the Key's command, and so is able to extricate his fellow members from their predicament by overpowering them all and forcing them out of the meeting room.

The entire team then battles the Key and his men, but as the one-hour deadline draws near, Superman is again forced to battle and defeat the other members, knocking them unconscious before they can carry out the Key's deadly orders and kill each other. Reprinted in Justice League of America Archives Vol. 8 HC.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Terry McAuliffe: Whore

Terry McAuliffe: "I'm saying they've already voted, let's count the votes. I’m saying that the state parties in those states need to work with the national party and figure out how we count the votes that have already been voted."

Terry McAuliffe When He Wasn't a Clinton Whore

"I'm going outside the primary window," [Michigan Sen. Carl Levin] told me definitively.

"If I allow you to do that, the whole system collapses," I said. "We will have chaos. I let you make your case to the DNC, and we voted unanimously and you lost."

He kept insisting that they were going to move up Michigan on their own, even though if they did that, they would lose half their delegates. By that point Carl and I were leaning toward each other over a table in the middle of the room, shouting and dropping the occasional expletive.

"You won't deny us seats at the convention," he said.

"Carl, take it to the bank," I said. "They will not get a credential. The closest they'll get to Boston will be watching it on television. I will not let you break this entire nominating process for one state. The rules are the rules. If you want to call my bluff, Carl, you go ahead and do it."

We glared at each other some more, but there was nothing much left to say. I was holding all the cards and Levin knew it.

[Source: McAuliffe, Terry.
What A Party!, p. 325.]

The Headline Says it All!

Donny and Marie Osmond signed for Las Vegas Strip show

I believe I would pay to see Marie strip, but Donnie?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Showcase #75

Showcase #75 (On Sale: April 23, 1968) has a cover by Steve Ditko, who, like lightning, strikes again with The Hawk and the Dove.

"In the Beginning..." is scripted by Steve Skeates (in his first work for DC) and plotted and drawn by Steve Ditko. Even though Ditko would bail on this strip quickly, I loved the concept and in the turbulent radical 60s, the Hawk and the Dove was about as relevant as you could get. Of course Ditko only really cared about the Hawk and this strip was supposed to be a political statement by Ditko, one DC never really let reach where Steve wanted it to go.

Hank and Don Hall are brothers and high school students with radically different views of the world. Hank is aggressive and believes in using force to back up his beliefs. Don is passive and seeks negotiation and compromise over violence. The boys' father Irwin Hall is a judge at the Elmond County Courthouse. He tries to encourage the boys to use logic to form their beliefs.

When Irwin Hall sentences racket boss Dargo to prison, the mob strikes back with an attempt to kill the judge. They only succeed in injuring him, while Hank briefly glimpses the bomber. When Hanks sees the mobster later, he and Don follow the crook back to his hideout. They overhear the crooks plotting another assassination attempt on the judge, but are powerless to do anything.

When Don wishes for power to save their father, a disembodied voice grants them power to stop injustice. It transforms them into the costumed super-heroes Hawk and Dove. The boys then race to the hospital to save their dad from the killers. After the fight, they learn that Judge Hall considers them vigilantes and lawbreakers, so they don't reveal their true identities to him. Hard to believe that this strip has never been reprinted as it is classic Ditko.

Edited by Carmine Infantino.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bulgarian Idol

I can't tell the difference between this and the "American" version. Same crap, different language.

Blue Into the Twilight Zone

I was coming back to California on friday via JetBlue listening to their XM Classic Rock station and switching back and forth to the TV to watch VH1 do a Classic Rock Fest. Needless to say, I listened to some great music and saw some great videos on that flight. One video I saw was the produced Twilight Zone video by Golden Earring. This is the same amazing song only live. Man what a great song!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Rare Breed

As I have mentioned before, my drink of choice is bourbon and I have tasted quite a few. I have been staying in Florida off and on this year working and went to a local liquor store in search of a good bottle of the amber stuff and found Wild Turkey Rare Breed.

My preference is to drink bourbon neat and Rare Breed is smooth enough to stand by itself in the glass. Rare Breed is a blend of 6yr, 8yr and 12 yr old Wild Turkey, and is bottled uncut at barrel proof. I like to sip it slowly over a good deal of time, letting every caramel-maple sip work its way around my mouth and down my throat, where it then spreads out to the rest of my body, bringing a soothing warmth. And in between sips, I like to dig my nose into the glass and savor the aroma.

You have to search for Rare Breed, but the you will be well rewarded for the effort.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another Beautiful Day

Another favorite of mine from the It's a Beautiful Day album, Wasted Union Blues:

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Metal Men #32

Metal Men #32 (On Sale: April 16, 1968) has a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Mike Esposito.

"The Metal Women Blues" is by Otto Binder, Mike Sekowsky and Mike Esposito and would end Binder's three-issue run as writer of this book. Jealous of Tin's partnership with Nameless, the other Metal Men petition Doc Magnus to create female counterparts for them. Doc is hesitant at first, but decides to give in to their request when he thinks that a Platinum Man might get Tina to direct her romantic attention elsewhere. Doc then creates Mercury Girl, Lead Girl, Gold Girl, Iron Girl, and Platinum Man.

The newly created robot girls join the original Metal Men on a mission against an alien invasion machine. The boys act superior which upsets the girls and causes division between the robots. Nameless and Tina side with the girls.

The alien attackers are amazon robots, and they create a sexy female robot to lure the male Metal Men into a trap.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Monday, April 14, 2008


It used to be only NASA provided this type of thrill from outer space, but this photo was taken by a Japanese lunar probe, and isn't it a beauty!

Black is Definitely Beautiful

As I looked at the stunningly beautiful Crystle Stewart, Miss Texas, who won the Miss USA Pageant this weekend I couldn't help but wonder if some things in America might finally be changing? Are the old racial prejudices dying out? And by "dying out" I mean generationally, for I know what my wife's Uncle Buddy would say if he were still alive. It would be something to the effect of, "We got that god-damned nigger Miss USA now."

I remember when Uncle Buddy bemoaned that his beloved Houston Oilers were an almost perfect team if only "we didn't have that god-damned nigger quarterback," referring to, of course, Warren Moon, the only really great player on the team. That was the same evening he referred to Bishop Desmond Tutu as "a spear chucker" and mentioned to us in passing that our son Brian was a little too dark and look to him like a "little wetback."

Somehow I think Crystle Stewart's beauty would be missed by Uncle Buddy and many of his generation and sadly, maybe it is a good thing for America that so many of them are no longer with us.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day

I got an email yesterday morning from a friend telling me that it was a beautiful day in California and that made me think of, well, this...

I saw It's a Beautiful Day at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino, sometime between 1968 and 1972, they played with Lee Michaels, Three Dog Night and Jo Jo Gunne. It was another one of those $3.00 concerts of my youth of which I wish I had gone to a lot more.

Fifteen or so years later, my wife's brother would need some help from some friends bringing a chair over to our condo. This guy comes carrying this chair up the stairs of my condo and I grab an end to help. We get it down in the living room and he sticks out his hand and says, "Hi, I'm David LaFlamme and this is my wife Linda." I say, "It's a Beautiful Day?" and of course he says, "Yeah."

It ends up that my wife's brother has been friends with David and Linda LaFlamme for years. It was kinda cool cause I got to thank them for the wonderful music they provided over the years.

Friday, April 11, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Green Lantern #61

Green Lantern #61 (On Sale: April 11, 1968) has a very cool cover by Gil Kane and Sid Greene.

"Thoroughly Modern Mayhem" is by Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane and Sid Greene. After defeating Captain Challenge on Earth-1 with his Green Lantern counterpart Hal Jordan, Alan Scott returns home to Earth-2. He returns to work and breaks up a fight between two co-workers, Johnny Halliday and Tommy Saunders. Then he is called away to fight a seemingly endless wave of crime.

When Alan finally returns home he discovers that his own house was robbed. Tired and angry Alan wills his power ring to eliminate all evil on Earth. As a result everyone on the planet disappears including him.

On Earth-1, Hal Jordan returns to Earth after a space mission. He is shocked to find the entire population of Earth-2 in suspended animation in the desert of Utah. Hal revives Alan and learns what happened.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

No Buddy This Weekend

The Palm Beach Jazz Festival has been postponed due to severe weather damage and flooding to the festival site, so there is no Buddy Guy for me this weekend. So, I'm off to see my uncle this weekend instead. Maybe I will be here in Florida when they reschedule it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Price Was Really Right!

I don't have anything to say about this other than it is pretty cool to watch. Thanks to Mark Evanier for pointing me to this.

Hillary Clinton: Psychic!

"That's the choice. One candidate will continue the war and keep troops in Iraq indefinitely, one candidate only says he'll end the war," Clinton said at a high school in a Pittsburgh suburb.

"And one candidate is ready, willing and able to end the war and to rebuild our military while honoring our soldiers and our veterans," Clinton said of herself.
So is it that she can actually see the future or just read into the soul of another? It scares me that so many people actually fall for this crap.

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- G.I. Combat #130

G.I. Combat #130 (On Sale: April 9, 1968) has an absolutely gorgeous Haunted Tank cover by Russ Heath.

Inside the Haunted Tank stars in "Battle of the Generals" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. The back-up is "Landing Postponed" a reprint from Our Army at War #49 by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Dishonoring the Sacrifice

Bush once again proved what a cheap political hack he is by dishonoring the sacrifice of Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor, by turning his awarding of the Medal of Honor into hackneyed political pandering in support of the latest round of not at all surprising "stay the course" messages from Gen. Petraeus. Timing is everything and this was just sickening to watch.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Wright Stuff

The Chicago Tribune had an interesting article last week, one that everyone should read, particularly those of the right-wing persuasion. In went in part:
In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines.

In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)

The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery. For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation.

What is even more remarkable is that this man entered the Marines and Navy not many years after the two branches began to become integrated.

While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney, who was born the same year as the Marine/sailor, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections.

Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?

After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America's biggest cities.

This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, who has been in the news for comments he made over the last three decades.

My Cousin Rosé

Looking up Kellers a few weeks ago on the Internet I came across this website. I have no idea if the wine is any good, but I sure like the name.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hey McCain! What's Up With This?

Do you still think the surge is working? Is this your idea of working? The headline says it all:

Hundreds flee Baghdad fighting

Sunday, April 06, 2008

"No one has supported President Bush on Iraq more than I have"

When it comes time to vote in November, remember these words of John McCain, spoken this week on right-wing radio maven Mike Gallagher's show. If you follow that link you can even hear him say those words. They should be in every Democratic commercial in the Fall.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

"It simply was an aircraft..."

I never trusted this guy Issa and now I know why...

Without people like Olbermann, these creeps could say this stuff and nobody would know.

Damn Right He's Got The Blues!

If Buddy Guy has a signature song, this is it; damn can this man play guitar!

When I last saw Buddy it was in a small club in Hollywood and at one point Buddy connects to a wireless amp and jumps off the stage and for the next twenty minutes he walked around slowly from person to person and played in front of each of us, like a foot in front of your face. Holy crap was that an amazing experience, to see a legend performing his craft up close.

So I'm talking to my friend at work and I say, "Hey, Buddy is on tour almost constantly, you should see him the next time he is in town." So I go look up Buddy's schedule on-line and what do you know, he is the headliner on the final say of the Palm Beach Jazz Festival next weekend and I'm going to be in Boca Raton, just ten miles away. My uncle in Naples wants to see me during one of my stays in Florida, but if I can push that back to next month, I'll be plucking down my $45 to see Buddy once again next weekend. I mean, he is a legend folks!

I bought a CD burned in 1996, long before they were readily available, and could make music CDs long before anyone else I knew. The first one I did for family members was entitled "Damn Right Keller's Got the Blues" and was very heavy on the Buddy Guy tracks. Once you hear Buddy, you just have to spread the word.

Friday, April 04, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Superboy #148

Superboy #148 (On Sale: April 4, 1968) has a cover by Neal Adams.

"Superboy's Greatest Gamble" is written by Leo Dorfman, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Sheldon Moldoff and Jack Abel. Continuing from last issues, having left his foster parents, the Kents, Superboy goes to Casino City and assumes the identity of Chuck Kibbee. He searches a carnival until he finds a couple who are running a crooked game. He then reveals to them that he is Superboy and offers to become their son.

Working with his new parents, the Zeros, Chuck breaks the bank at an underworld casino. The racket boss Hal King realizes that Chuck is Superboy. He then threatens to kill the Kents. The Boy of Steel acts like he doesn't care.

The back-up story, "The Canine That Outclassed Krypto," is by Cary Bates, George Papp and Frank Springer. Superboy is called by an alien zookeeper to help track down a dangerous space bird that has escaped. The Boy of Steel recaptures the bird and saves a space dog in the process. The alien dog which possesses super powers follows Superboy back to Earth. The dog then tells Superboy telepathically that he is a Zkor and his originally family was recently killed. He requests that Superboy make him his new pet.

Zkor helps Superboy fight crime, but when Krypto returns to Earth he becomes jealous of the new pet. Zkor consistently outclasses Krypto.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.


I have a friend at work who told me he was leaving tonight for a Toronto for a friends wedding and that he had a two-hour stop over in Chicago. I said, "Two hours? That's almost long enough to go see if Buddy Guy is playing at Legends." He didn't know who Buddy was and that started a long conversation about Buddy and it also made me realize that I never talked about Buddy here.

Strangely for a guy in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Buddy Guy is just not that well known to the general public, but as one of the founders of the Chicago blues shound, Guy is an important piece of American musical history, one that is still alive and still performing and still making new music. I've seen Buddy twice live and really treasure both experiences. Like the title of his 1996 live CD, Buddy Guy is "The Real Deal," a living blues legend and one monsterous guitar player. Eric Clapton has called Buddy, "The greatest guitar player in the world" and you can see some of that in this five-minute, slightly out of sync video:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Our Army at War #194

Our Army at War #194 (On Sale: April 2, 1968) has a nice cover by new editor Joe Kubert.

The Sgt. Rock tale, "A Time for Vengeance, " is written and drawn by Joe Kubert. The back-up, "Second-Best Means Dead" is by Howard Liss and Jack Abel.

Edited by Joe Kubert.