Saturday, February 28, 2009

McConnell gets taught a lesson

Oh god is this choice! The Republicans try to strong arm one of their own and get kicked in the stones for the effort.

In recent weeks, Senate Republican leaders have walked right up to the edge of declaring open war on (Sen. Jim) Bunning. Minority Leader (and fellow Kentucky senator) Mitch McConnell and others reportedly believe Bunning is likely to lose his reelection race in 2010, and so are trying to nudge him into retirement by sending signals that the party establishment will not back him.

Bunning has responded aggressively, threatening to sue the Senate Republicans' campaign arm if it doesn't fully back his reelection.

And now the latest: Bunning "reportedly said privately that if he is hindered in raising money for his re-election campaign he is ready with a response that would be politically devastating for Senate Republicans: his resignation."...

The implication, they said, was that Bunning would allow Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, to appoint his replacement -- a move that could give Democrats the 60 votes they need to block Republican filibusters in the Senate.

"I would get the last laugh. Don't forget Kentucky has a Democrat governor," one of the sources quoted Bunning as saying.

"The only logical extension of that comment is, '(Make me mad) ... enough and I'll resign, and then you've got 60 Democrats,' " said another source who was present at the event.

A Democratic Senate aide told the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim: "Bunning has always been a loose cannon. It's just surprising that Mitch McConnell decided to light a match so close to him. With only 41 Republicans left, you'd think they'd be a little more careful not to actively alienate members of the caucus."

Friday, February 27, 2009

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Adventure Comics #379

Adventure Comics #379 (On Sale: February 27, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

"Burial in Space" is by Jim Shooter, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel. Continuing from last issue, an alien arrives in Legion Headquarters to request aid. He finds five Legionnaires dying from poison and stops time to save them. He then meets seven other Legionnaires who are returning from another mission. To save their teammates the seven Legionnaires offer their assistance to the alien.

The Legionnaires return to the alien's home planet Seeris where an army of brutes is attacking. The people of Seeris have vast mental powers, but lack the physical force to repel the invaders. The Legionnaires attempt to defend the city, but their own power is not enough to repel the attackers. The Legion inspires the aliens to resume physical activity and defend themselves. Finding strength in numbers, the aliens are able to defeat the invaders.

The Legionnaires return to Headquarters after being told that the aliens have cured everyone there. Unfortunately they discover that Invisible Kid and Shrinking Violet found their apparently dead teammates and sent their bodies into space. Ultra Boy saves the Legionnaires by using the Miracle Machine to revive them. The identity of the man who poisoned them is then revealed as small-time crook Alek Korlo. Reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


One picture is worth a 1,000 words.

Jindal's Katrina Lesson

Bobby Jindal's folksy little tale of how he learned during Katrina that government is not the answer, which made no sense to me when he said it given that the lesson of Katrina is that a badly run, uncaring, Republican government will abandon poor people in an instant, turns out to be Bobby Jindal's folksy little lie. Yeah, he is the voice of the "new" Republican party!

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Hawk & the Dove #5

Hawk & the Dove #5 (On Sale: February 25, 1969) has a great cover by Gil Kane as The Dove gets all un-Dovey on us!.

"Death Has Taken My Hand" is written and drawn by Gil Kane. Sam Hodgins, a man who once saved Irwin Hall's life, is accused of robbery. Hawk and Dove discover that the two witnesses against him are members of a hot car ring. When Hawk is critically injured, Dove horrifies himself when he abandons his pacifism and beats the supposed killer unmercifully. Dove then sees that the killer is Hodgins.

After Hank Hall has made a full recovery, Hawk and Dove are back in action. They pursue an unnamed crook into a building where they encounter the Teen Titans. The story then continues in Teen Titans #21 in a neat Giordano crossover, one part written by artist Gil Kane, the other written by artist Neal Adams.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Fat Tuesday!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Failure IS an Option!

As someone who has money in AIG and would be personally screwed if they go under, this is, none-the-less, re-fucking-diculous! These people need to fail and the people who caused their failure need to be placed behind bars for gross financial negligence and out-and-out thievery. They have already squandered $85 billion of our money; it is time to bring out the thumbscrews and find an inventive place on the male body to attach them.

Yeesh, and people scream about the auto companies! Die AIG! DIE!!!!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Oscar Picks

Didn't have time to do this yesterday as we finished The Duchess just 15 minutes before the awards began. Had I a vote, this is how I would have done it:

Picture -- Milk (the close second would be Rachel Getting Married which wasn't even nominated)
Director -- Gus Van Sant, Milk
Actor -- Sean Penn, Milk (the close second would be Mickey Rourke)
Actress -- Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married (Kate Winslet had this in the bag till I saw Hathaway's remarkable performance yesterday morning)
Supporting Actor -- Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight (he made the picture)
Supporting Actress -- Viola Davis, Doubt (the best acting of the year, period.)
Animated Feature -- WALL-E (caveat: did not see Bolt)
Art Direction -- The Dark Knight (maybe the hardest category)
Cinematography -- Slumdog Millionaire
Costume Design -- The Duchess (caveat: did not see Australia)
Film Editing -- The Dark Knight
Makeup -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (caveat: did not see Hellboy II, though we have the DVD ready to play)
Original Score -- No winner, the worst list of nominees ever (caveat: did not see Defiance)
Original Song -- No winner, the best song being The Wrestler by Bruce Springsteen
Sound Editing -- The Dark Knight (another tough category)
Sound Mixing -- WALL-E (ditto)
Visual Effects -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (tri-itto. Anyone of these films could be declared the winner and I would have few qualms)
Adapted Screenplay -- Frost/Nixon (though The Curious Case of Benjamin Button the script is so much better than the short story of the same name)
Original Screenplay -- Milk ( with In Bruges and Frozen River in a close tie for second. Caveat: did not see Happy-Go-Lucky)

We saw 21 nominated films this year (our best year yet) and still so many caveats. Maybe trying to see all the nominees was a silly thing to attempt, but I got to tell you we saw a lot of great films we would never have seen otherwise. It was so enjoyable in fact that I am certain we will try it again next year.

Friday, February 20, 2009

We watched Frozen River tonight. What a great little film. So very surprising to say the least. I love watching a movie that I have no idea where it is going and this one is just full of surprises. Also, it is so very hard to pull off a film of all original characters, but Frozen River pretty much does just that. You have not seen these characters before in any other movie.

This makes the fourth Actress nominee we have seen (only Anne Hathaway is left) and the third Original Screenplay. When I see a few more films I will give my pick in those categories. Melissa Leo is wonderful though in this tiny film about what mothers will do for their family. I guarantee you have never seen a movie with this ending and, I'm not going to spoil it, but this is one of the few nominated films this year that, for me at least, had a happy ending.

Our yearly Oscar quest continues...

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Superboy #155

Superboy #155 (On Sale: February 20, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

"Revolt of the Teen-Age Robots" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Wally Wood. Superboy is called to an island in the South Pacific to stop an erupting volcano. He succeeds in stopping the eruption, but his actions open a series of fissures in the ocean floor that threaten the mainland. The Boy of Steel summons his robots to help seal the fissures, but one of the robots is hijacked when teenaged ham radio operator Mousey Malcolm accidentally stumbles upon a secret control frequency.

Malcolm uses the robot for selfish purposes such as impressing Lana Lang. Meanwhile Superboy is forced to clean up the damage caused when his robot didn't complete his assignment. Malcolm soon hijacks Superboy's other robots and sends them to attack the real Boy of Steel. Superboy is forced to destroy his own robots.

Superboy then pretends to be a robot under Malcolm's control. When Malcolm attempts to use him, Superboy fakes a malfunction leaving the hijacker to wish the real Superboy could rescue him. The Boy of Steel then reveals himself, and Malcolm apologizes for his misbehavior.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Visitor

I watched The Visitor tonight. My wife had seen it months ago, so it was me watching it alone. Good movie, great acting on Richard Jenkins' part. This rounds out the Actor nominees and I can now speak with some knowledge on the subject. You can't beat Sean Penn, period. However, I don't know how the Academy is going to vote. are they going to hold Penn's recent win for Mystic River against him? I hope not, but if they do then Mickey Rourke is the next best thing to a winner. Both actors were above and beyond the rest.

Our yearly Oscar quest continues...

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Star Spangled War Stories #144

Star Spangled War Stories #144 (On Sale: February 18, 1969) has a cover Joe Kubert.

Enemy Ace stars in "Death Takes No Holiday" by Robert Kanigher, Neal Adams and Joe Kubert. Alex Toth had asked to do an Enemy Ace story and Joe Kubert, being under the gun with his new editor duties on top of his existing artist duties readily agreed. Now Alex Toth had a reputation for taking liberties with scripts, so when Kubert gave Toth the Kanigher script, he instructed Toth not to change the story, which Kubert had already read and edited.

However, Alex Toth being Alex Toth, when Kubert got the artwork, it bore little resemblance to the Kanigher script. In Bill Schelly's Kubert biography "Man of Rock" Kubert says he told Toth: "...beautiful story, but it's not the one that Bob wrote...I will not publish it." This caused a rift in the friendship Kubert and Toth had developed over the years. I have seen versions of this cover where the box in the lower right corner read "Special Issue Story Illustrated by Alex Toth."

As for the Alex Toth Enemy Ace artwork, it was destroyed by water damage after Toth kept it in the trunk of his car for months.

Like last month's Teen Titans book, this is another case where Neal Adams came in and saved an editor's butt. Also according to "Man of Rock", Adams offered to help Joe out saying "It would be a great honor for me if you would allow me to pencil this book. You have a very, very tight deadline, you have other stuff to do (and) my schedule is not bad." After seeing the finished result, Kubert said of Adams' work here "It was like somebody had crawled into my mind."

Thanks to Steve Rowe and Sharon for helping me out on this one. It really helps to have readers who know their comics! Reprinted in Sgt. Rock #14, Enemy Ace Archives Vol. 2 HC and Showcase Presents: Enemy Ace Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Monday, February 16, 2009


We saw Doubt today, one of the best films of the year by far and of course not nominated for Best Picture. They had to overlook some excellent films to make way for the only OK Slumdog Millionaire. This adds one more to the Actress nominations with Meryl Streep doing here expected great work. She is terrific as you would expect, but still not going to beat Kate Winslet in The Reader.

This also finishes out the Supporting Actor nominees with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is wonderful as usual, but not going to win when compared with Heath Ledger.

More importantly though, this finishes out the Supporting Actress nominees adding the sublimely cute Amy Adams and the amazing Viola Davis, who give the best acting performance of the year in any category. If she does not win it will be the biggest mistake of the Oscars. In about seven minutes on the screen she is absolutely riveting, stealing her one real scene from Meryl Streep. Watching it I was reminded of that video of Cass Elliot watching Janis Joplin sing Ball and Chain at the Monterey Pop Festival and her one-word response. "Wow!"

This movie is getting very little press, but man is this great acting all the way around. If you can;t find it at the theater, see it on video when it comes out. You will be amazed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Vicky Christina Barcelona

Well we watched Woody Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona tonight, which only has one nomination, but it is a big one: Penelope Cruz for Supporting Actress. We still have to see Doubt to have all the Supporting Actresses covered so I can't say who I would vote for yet. Cruz doesn't show up until about 40 minutes into the picture, which we really enjoyed. Maybe you have to be a Woody Allen fan to appreciate his writing and if you are this is vintage Allen, full of characters who spend their time on screen in self analysis of their lives and their loves and as that it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Having only seen Tariji Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler, I don't think Cruz's part was in the same league. Yeah, it was fun, but nothing like the work Tomei did. I'll have more to say after we see Doubt.

Our yearly Oscar quest continues...

Friday, February 13, 2009

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- G.I. Combat #135

G.I. Combat #135 (On Sale: February 13, 1969) has a Haunted Tank cover by Joe Kubert.

We begin with the Haunted Tank in "Death is the Joker" by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. This was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Haunted Tank Vol. 2 TPB. Back-up stories are "Kill the Green Beret" drawn by Ed Robbins and "The Hound and the Hare" drawn by George Evans.

Ed Robbins was a DC artist in the early 1950s working exclusively on the Gang Busters book. This was Robbins' first story for DC in 13 years. He would do five stories in all during 1969 before once again disappearing.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More Scum!

These people need to lose everything they have and spend the rest of their lives in prison, preferably a cold, dark, dank one. It's called justice and now that Gonzo and his ilk are history maybe we can get some in this country.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


As Sam Stein points out on the Huffington Post, two "Wall Street firms that received at least $60 billion in government bailout funds will be rewarding their financial advisers with controversial retention payments, the terms of which one senior executive described as "very generous" in audio obtained by the Huffington Post."
"There will be a retention award. Please do not call it a bonus," said James Gorman, co-president of Morgan Stanley. "It is not a bonus. It is an award. And it recognizes the importance of keeping our team in place as we go through this integration."
They take our money but they have no concept of "owing" the American people anything; it's still "party time" as far as this Wall Street scum is concerned. Someone needs a serious bitch-slapping!

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Leave It To Binky #66

Leave It To Binky #66 (On Sale: February 11, 1969) has a cover by Bob Oskner.

"(Binky, you don't mind carrying my compact...)" is a reprint from Leave It To Binky #33, "(Hello, Mrs. Baxter!)" is also reprinted from Leave It To Binky #33, "(Hi, Peggy! -- Oh, hello Binky!)" is a reprint from Leave It To Binky #34 and "(How do I know you're under ten?)" is a reprint from Leave It To Binky #33.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hello, My Name Is Granny Goose

Soap actor Philip Carey died last week in New York. I never watched the soaps so had not seen Carey since the 70s when I would watch reruns of of one of my favorite westerns, Laredo where Carey played Texas Ranger Captain Edward Parmalee. What I liked about Laredo, beside Carey were the stars, the great gravelly-voiced Neville Brand as Reese Bennett, Peter Brown as Chad Cooper and the tough and buff William Smith as Joe Riley. Tough guys doing a tough job in the old west.

But what I most remember Philip Carey for was a series of commercials he did for Granny Goose Potato Chips. Wearing his cowboy hat Carey would look at the camera and say, "Hello, I'm Granny Goose" and then hold up a bag of potato chips and continue his spiel. Cracked me up every time I saw it.

So long Granny.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Revolutionary Road

Another in a long line of downer films getting all the award heat, but man, what a excellently made movie. Kate Winslet may just be the finest actress alive right now. See this film and The Reader together and just be in awe of her range. Leonardo DiCaprio and third Titanic wheel Kathy Bates are also excellent. Michael Shannon is only on screen for a short while, but you see immediately why he is nominated for Best Supporting Actor. We are now only short Philip Seymour Hoffman's turn in Doubt to have all the Supporting Actor noms and then I can make my choice, though Heath Ledger will be wining.

Also very good is David Harbour as an infatuated neighbor, but everyone is out shined by Winslet, who won the Golden Globe here but is not even nominated for the Oscar on this fim.

This also brings us closer to having seen all of the Art Direction and Costume Design films,

Our yearly Oscar quest continues...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Wrestler

A happy-go-lucky film this is not but Mickey Rourke is simply brilliant as Randy 'The Ram' Robinson. A brutal film and Rourke give it a deserved brutally honest performance. You really have to see this one.

These things that have comforted me, I drive away
This place that is my home I cannot stay
My only faith's in the broken bones and bruises I display

Bruce Springsteen's title-track pretty much sums up 'The Ram' and Mickey Rourke's career and this close connection between the two is one of two reasons Rourke will not be gathering up an Oscar later this month.

The second, and more important reason, is that Sean Penn is absolutely mind-numbing brilliant as Harvey Milk in Milk (of course I have still not seen Richard Jenkins in The Visitor so I could be talking through my ass). It's a great year for moviegoers when there are so many amazing performances to watch and surly Rourke's tour-de-force deserves acknowledgment. Unfortunately for 'the Ram,' this is one match he is going to lose.

Marisa Tomei is also very good in this picture as a stripper 'The Ram' wants to have a relationship with. Only the second of the Best Supporting Actress nominations we have seen and I'll need to see more before I render a verdict on this category.

Our yearly Oscar quest continues...

Friday, February 06, 2009

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Unexpected #112

Unexpected #112 (On Sale: February 6, 1969) has a nice cover by Neal Adams.

Johnny Peril stars in "The Brain Robbers" by George Kashdan and Jack Sparling. "Burn, Match, Burn" is by Dave Wood and Artie Saaf and "The Corpse That Didn't Die" is by Dave Wood and Pat Boyette and was reprinted in Unexpected #162.

Dave Wood's (AKA D. W. Holtz and D. W. Holz) first writing for DC was in Big Town #1, January 1951. In the early '50s he also wrote a number of Strong Bow stories for All-Star Western and Foley of the Fighting Fifth for All-American Western and Western Comics. He wrote for numerous issues of Rex the Wonder Dog beginning with issue #1 and pulled a long stint on the DC war books, All-American Men of War, Our Army at War and Star Spangled War Stories.

For World's Finest Comics he wrote Green Arrow, Tomahawk and Batman/Superman stories. He also wrote Batman stories in Batman and Detective Comics and Superman stories in Superman. For Mystery In Space he wrote Adam Strange, Space Ranger and Ultra the Multi-Alien (Dave's creation) and for Strange Adventures he wrote Star Hawkins and Animal Man (Dave's creation). Dave Wood also wrote a number of Dial H for HERO stories for House of Mystery and the Martian Manhunter for House of Secrets.

In 1968 he made the rounds of the Mort Weisinger books doing Supergirl in Action Comics and the Superboy and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen features, but by 1969, Dave was relegated to this single Murray Boltinoff mystery title, where, except for a fill-in back-up story in the Boltinoff-edited Challengers of the Unknown (a story most likely written for the Unexpected), Dave would finish his career at DC.

Before coming to DC, Dave wrote Blackhawk stories for Quality from 1940-1949 and wrote Bombshell for Lev Gleason. During his time at DC Dave also wrote adventure stories for Harvey Comics and between 1958 and 1960 wrote the daily syndicated strip Sky Masters of the Space Force drawn by Jack Kirby and Wally Wood.

I don't know why Dave left DC or what happened to him after he left DC except for a single story he wrote that appeared in Creepy Magazine in 1971. This was the time when the old guard of writers were being pushed out and Dave Wood was most likely just part of that push. Dave's stories in Unexpected would appear regularly for the rest of 1969, then in three issues in 1970 then one issue in 1971, 1973, 1974 and finally in 1975.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Challengers of the Unknown #67

Challengers of the Unknown #67 (On Sale: February 4, 1969) has its first Neal Adams cover and it is a nice one.

"The Dream Killers" is by Robert Kanigher and Jack Sparling. Tino reports to the other Challengers that he is being chased in his dreams. They aren't worried until he begins bleeding in his sleep. Prof builds a machine that allows the team to view Tino's dream and allows them to see his pursuers.

While Prof works on another machine that will allow the team to enter Tino's dream, the Challengers learn that other people in the city are also plagued by the same dreams. When Prof's work is complete, the Challengers enter Tino's sleeping mind and discover that an alien brain is responsible for the nightmares. They destroy the brain allowing Tino and the other victims to sleep normally again.

The back-up is "Ace:The Beast in the Bomb" also by Robert Kanigher and Jack Sparling. The Challengers track a renegade scientist to an underground labyrinth of caverns. When they split up to search Ace is knocked out and a bomb is attached to his head. The other Challengers rush him back to the city only to discover that the bomb is linked to his heart. Ace is placed into an ice bath and his heart stops. The bomb is safely removed, and Ace is revived. The Challengers then return to the caverns with the bomb. The scientist accidentally triggers it, killing himself, but the Challengers aren't harmed.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Elevation and Milk

They latest ad for Milk in the Los Angeles Times has this quote from Roger Ebert:
A week ago I wrote a blog entry about the newly researched human emotion called Elevation. that describes a feeling of intense happiness, leading often to tears. It explains why I rarely cry at a "sad" movie, but am often deeply moved by a movie about goodness. I wondered how much Elevation influenced Academy voters when they marked their ballots.

Of course I can't know how deeply anyone else felt about this years nominees. I'm going to try predicting the winners entirely on the basis of my feelings. No "reasoning." No scuttlebutt. Not even any discussion of the other nominees. Just Elevation. Here goes:

Best film: "Milk." I was truly shaken by how deeply I was moved by the closing shot of the candlelight parade down San Francisco's Castro Street, the memorial to the murdered Harvey Milk, who had started here and become the nation's first openly gay public official.

I was touched first of all by the idea, the sight, of the parade. I assumed it was done with special effects. These days we have, sadly, learned to mistrust all unlikely events on the screen, assuming they're done digitally. Only gradually did I realize the shot was reality, film taken at the time. All those thousands, as far as the eye could see. That's when I lost it.

They were marching not only for the spirit of Harvey Milk. They were marching for all the lives he touched— including a closeted Mormon teenager named Dustin Lance Black, who later would write this screenplay. They were marching for pain in the past, and hope in the future.

Of the five nominees, "Milk" was far and away my personal leader in Elevation. I think it worked because Gus Van Sant's direction, Sean Penn's performance and Black's screenplay earned the right to that final shot. It didn't exploit it, it deserved it.

Oh Boy!

When I was a kid growing up my older brothers and my sister had a large stack of 45s that I would go through and play. There was one that I really liked but it was the only one by this artist who I had never heard of so I asked my brother who the Crickets were. That was when I first learned of Buddy Holly and the tragedy of Clear Lake, Iowa. This was the song I would listen to over and over.

The Day the Music Died

Fifty years ago today we lost Buddy Holly. What a shame.

Such a shame.