Monday, December 29, 2008

Letter to The New York Times On Will Elder's Obit


Hadju gets some things right, but really, WTF is he doing at the paper of record slamming Elder in his obit as a closer? Here's my response.

Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2008 14:47:23 -0500 (EST)
To: letters@nytimes.com
Subject: Hadju on Elder

Whatever Hadju's critique of Little Annie Fanny (I agree that it was not Kurtzman & Elder's finest work) I don't think it appropriate to end his NYT year end obit on that negative note.

Elder's best work was genius and for that, and for him, we can be grateful.

The critique would be fine in the body of the article, but as the last word it is petty. Imagine ending Orson Welles' obit by savaging his crummy TV ad appearances instead of summing it up as a great, albeit flawed master director and creator.

Original article here.
A link to some Little Annie Fanny stuff, which is still pretty neat, here.

War in Gaza

Here are decent articles on the war in Gaza.

Halevi in TNR.

Halevi with Michael Oren in WSJ.

Tom Segev in Haaretz.

Charles Chuman on Michael Totten's site.

Considering the civil rights New Yorkers were willing to surrender to get rid of crackheads and muggings, I don't know what I would endorse if I lived in Sderot under constant threat of rocket attack.

If I were Palestinian I doubt that I would want to live under Hamas or the P.A. either.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thank You Comrade Nixon For My Glorious Childhood


What the two men said 36 years ago can be known with such precision today because they worked in what was, in retrospect, the golden age of White House taping. Both Nixon and Mr. Kissinger had given secret orders to record their calls, each evidently without the other’s knowledge.


Much like Komar and Melamid's series on Stalin, pictures of these dastardly fiends still invoke nostalgia for my childhood over which they presided. Nixon was a virtual muse for so many artists and comedians that he was a Vollard in the sense that "no beautiful woman has had his portrait painted as often". Plus they were nuts.

NYT link, Indexed Trove of Kissinger Phone Transcripts Is Completed.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hitchens, You Cantankerous Asshole, Correct AGAIN!

Hitchens nails the whole wacky Rick Warren horseshit perfectly:

"...if we must have an officiating priest, let it be some dignified old hypocrite with no factional allegiance and not a tree-shaking huckster and publicity seeker who believes that millions of his fellow citizens are hellbound because they do not meet his own low and vulgar standards."


I am way more optimistic railing against Obama's mistakes than those of the right wing. But this move, no matter how politically wise, is still repugnant.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shalom Auslander on Courage

Another good distraction from writing is reading about writing, and one thing nobody seems to discuss much is courage. Tone, character, structure, voice. But not courage. Maybe that’s why I also don’t read many books that seem all that courageous; on the contrary, most new books I read seem pandering, desperate for respect and admiration, but nothing that seems like a risk, nothing that seems like the author just went out there and said, “Fuck it, this is what I feel. Be it sick, be it wrong, be it contrary to everything I ever wrote before.” Maybe I’m reading the wrong books. Maybe we talk about plot and character because we can’t talk about courage, because there’s nothing we can do about it, because no amount of pages or instruction is going to help you when you sit down at the computer with all your pride and dreams and insecurities and fears, with all the faces of all the people you’ve ever met staring over your shoulder and waiting to see what you do. Because no book or article is going to get you to crawl out from under that bed, thin skin and all, and walk with your head up through this horrible shithole of a world.

The whole thing is here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

Forrest J Ackerman, RIP


Famous Monsters of Filmland cover gallery here.

Facebook: OMGWTFBBQ

I'm probably not the first person to notice this. But one big problem with Facebook (now that I am a veteran of several months standing) is that one disintegrates into the hive-mind even more quickly using it.

An individuated adult has more than one mode, and more than one persona. FB is like a hydrogenating agent in that it mixes all of one's disparate connections into an artery clogging, unified mess.

What did Allen Ginsberg say in America?

Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I'm obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.

Yeah, it's like that. For the moment I am staying in the hive, waiting to see what happens. But I am not so sure that being on the grid so much is good for anyone.

Another way to say it:

How Can I Miss You When You Wont Go Away - Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks

Links, The Meaning of Life, Etc.

It's not you, it's me.

Since I joined Facebook, my pointers have started to show up there. I am not sure where I want to "announce" the latest and greatest Lynda Barry interviews, all I know is that when I read anything by her I want to climb to the rooftops and announce its existence.

(Image of me, having given away all my worldly possessions and yelling a URL to the skies, waiting for
Shabbetai Zevi.)

My essential blog reads are pretty much Journalista, Comics Reporter, anything Merlin Mann or Paul Sas write. * That, and the version of the Sunday Times, which instead of arriving on my doorstep once a week, shows up in an RSS feed about 4 times an hour. Holy Gutenberg, Batman, am I fucked.

However, like St. Albert said, we are at least partially rational creatures. I know I am trying to sip from a firehose. I know the sugar water from said firehose is addictive as hell.

I have also likened my lot to that of an alcoholic sommelier. That is, my livelihood at least partially depends on being online but I have trouble with the dazzling ever evolving distraction that is the web. (See Paul Graham's excellent essay here.)

So, number one, I have played it safe on this blog in some ways by linking my brains out. And number two, the linking game is a symptom of a 20th c. mind overwhelmed by the boundless
cornucopia of coprophilia. Welcome to the 21st c. Information wanted to be free, and now it's metastasized, choking off all other modes in its path. (Just speaking for myself, but if the goggles fit...)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*So, those links are now listed. I don't need to post, though sometimes I might.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tom Spurgeon on Kirby: Grrrreat!

This sentence (on The Demon Omnibus Collection) makes me happy:

"I'm not sure that $50 judiciously spent wouldn't get you the whole series in comic book form, but I enjoy those comics very much so I'm not going to quibble. It's sort of like The Demon doesn't have any of the quantifiable things that other series of that period offer -- it's not thematically ambitious, it's not the best written, it's not the most visually splendid -- but it's Kirby at that point in his career where if he stood up too quickly a planet fell out of his pocket, and that's more than enough."


Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

Comics, Not "Graphic Novels", Pud


Courtney Crumrin creator Ted Naifeh talks to Comic Book Resources about moving away from pamphlet comics toward longer, more durable publications.

via Heidi McDonald
This is based on a lame aesthetic. Show me one flabby "graphic novel" with the raw power of Zap #0. It's the same mindset that values concept albums over amazing singles, thinking that the longer form is "deeper".

Work in comics form which needs to be longer is another matter. I think that the challenge is to keep the energy extended over a longer work. Seth, Bros Hernandez, Satrapi all do this with great brio.

Measuring comics by the standards of other media is usually based on some fundamental fallacy. (Watchmen movie, I am looking at you!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prince Lets Us Down

So, Prince spouts Jehovah's Witless homophobic claptrap. Or he claims to have been misquoted. Whatever.

Trust the art, not the artist.

Prince's music is not homophobic or reactionary even though he might be as a person.

It is (at its best) polymorphously perverse. He is, alas, a fallible human who is not as good as his best work. But the work still speaks of liberation on so many levels. (Just the guitars,not even including the lyrics...)

I can listen to Public Enemy.
I can read Roald Dahl and Philip Larkin.

(among others)

This is not as bad as Cat Stevens...

Yes, still a bummer.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

More Documentary Footage of Union Square Obama Victory

I am sure I am not the only one posting this documentary video of the celebrations in NYC following Obama's decisive victory, but it's worth looking at in the calm of Sunday morning.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Yes.

Just joking around about choosing a family dog, here is the next President of The United States.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President Obama. Please.

Text by Paul Grieco, collage by me. Bobby Orr playing card mod.
I can't find the punk era song "Bobby Orr" but I always hear that name with a great wicked pissah accent.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sedaris on "Undecided Voters"

Self-Portrait Shit by Andres Serrano ©2008

Perfect.

"To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?"

The whole thing is here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hang In There Obama!

Here's today's mandala, courtesy of FiveThirtyEight.com.

I know that Obama has his grandmother to tend to this week. I can't imagine the pressures of public life. Today is Shemini Atzeret, and though I am not religious, I will be saying the Prayer for Rain.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Art Spiegelman Fills Out Questionnaire


Stuff he's been saying in one form or another for 30+ years in public. I was lucky enough to get turned on to the original Breakdowns via a review in The Comics Journal when I was in high school. Still the real deal, check it out here.
via The Comics Journal

Update: Bookworm podcast interview here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Martin Seligman on Happiness (TED talk video)

David Levine

Berry Gordy by David Levine
"Erica Jong, Woody Allen, Christopher Isherwood, and Sontag were all unhappy with Levine. So was Philip Roth, whom Levine encountered one day outside Bergdorf Goodman shortly after one of his nine caricatures of the author had appeared. “What did you do to my sweet little goyish shtik [Christian and small] nose?” Roth complained. Truman Capote also feigned indignation. “You’re the man who did my dewlaps like this!” he remonstrated, tugging at the excess skin around his neck. Levine says he may have saved Norman Mailer’s life, spotting and then restraining him when, engrossed in a conversation, he had been about to walk into traffic near his home in Brooklyn Heights. Afterward, though, Mailer apparently could think only about all the unflattering portraits Levine had done of him. “Oh. It’s you” was the only thanks Mailer could muster. Others, though, including Arthur Schlesinger Jr., actually appreciated what Levine had made of them. “He was a particularly homely man,” Levine recalls. “He must have expected something much worse.”"


David Levine is losing his eyesight. Vanity Fair has a really good article and interview with him here.
Amazing Levine gallery here.

Via The Comics Reporter

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ferran Adria in NYC

Just a note, saw Ferran Adria speak at the NYPL on Fri night. After a season of listening to politicians talking shit, listening to this chef (even through a translator) talk about his method and his goal was inspiring as hell. He was talking about something REAL and authentic from personal experience.

Harold McGee was also on the stage and he made a great point about what is called molecular gastronomy--controlled dependable production of ice cream is a relatively recent event. Why shouldn't freezing coconut or alcohol using nitrogen be part of cooking?

There is more to say about this and a lot more pondering about this... If and when the audiocast is posted I will link to it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bruce on Obama

The sun is setting, it's almost Yom Kippur. Here's Bruce on Obama. Text here.
Our sacred house of dreams has been abused, looted, and left in a terrible state of disrepair. It needs care; it needs saving, it needs defending against those who would sell it down the river for power or a quick buck. It needs strong arms, hearts, and minds. It needs someone with Senator Obama's understanding, temperateness, deliberativeness, maturity, compassion, toughness, and faith, to help us rebuild our house once again. But most importantly, it needs us. You and me. To build that house with the generosity that is at the heart of the American spirit. A house that is truer and big enough to contain the hopes and dreams of all of our fellow citizens. That is where our future lies. We will rise or fall as a people by our ability to accomplish this task. Now I don't know about you, but I want that dream back, I want my America back, I want my country back.

John McCain's health records must be released

Here is a video on McCain's medical records and chances of recurrence of cancer while in office.

I Rock, I Ran: Robert Baer's POV

I don't know what is really going on in this world or any other. But if nothing else, Robert Baer's take on Iran in this interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross is worth checking out for its level headedness. His position is that, messianic rhetoric aside, the Iranians are rational enough to engage in some form of detente.

Are they? Are we? (If "we" includes aerial wolf-hunting beauty contest psychobitches, "we" are soooo fucked ...)

The backers of the Buenos Aires bombing and the Sderot missiles are not nice guys, but neither were the Soviets or Mao and we found ways to engage and confront them simultaneously.

Baer has a different worldview from Robert Kaplan, who seems to drift further and further rightward nowadays. But Kaplan's Soldiers of God, especially the passages regarding Pakistan's ISI are still relevant today.

Kaplan's The Arabists is a good read with a critique of westerners who go native in the middle east.

If Baer and Kaplan debate somewhere, let me know.

UPDATE: Here's a link to General Petraeus at a news conference: "I Do Think You Have To Talk To Enemies"

ONE MORE UPDATE: Kaplan has weighed in on what a war in the Persian Gulf would look like here.
"Some of the promoters of a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities have sold the strike as a high-tech, airborne surgical attack. But a look at the naval environment indicates that like the Iraq invasion, what starts surgically could end very messily indeed."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Woody Allen on Psychoanalysis

"I’ve had a very productive life. I’ve worked very hard, I’ve never fallen prey to depression. I’m not sure I could have done all of that without being in psychoanalysis. People would say to me, oh, it’s just a crutch. And I would say, yes. It’s a crutch, and exactly what I need in this point in my life is a crutch."

Woody Allen

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

East Village Obama by MBW

I just happened upon these guys wheatpasting some new stuff and they were kind enough to give me a mini sticker version of this great Super Obama image. I will tuck it into my Siddur during the High Holy Days. Flickr page here.
----------------------------------------
Later: I found out that the artist is known as Mr. Brainwash and that he's done at least one big multimedia exhibit in L.A. The appearance of Super Obama (or the poster announcing his arrival) coincides with the final issue of the Grant Morrison All-Star version of the character.



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Barak Obama

"Obama is my candidate and he must be our president." - Hillary Clinton





Also:
Here is a link to a full transcript of Obama's speech on the economy at Cooper Union.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Please Baby, Please Baby, Please

Just seeing these 2 together gives me hope. Pitbulls, pigs, lipstick, trollops, idiots, please step aside.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

Ben Stein "She Should Have Henry Kissinger Babysitting Her"

Got to point to this lovely interview with Ben Stein on the subject of America's Favorite Pitbull with Lipstick. Hang on until about 1:41 when he starts referencing the Superman films...:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Talking Heads Quote of The Day

"At the end of ... (a NYT article on the band)... Mr. Rockwell asked the 'group' if they would be willing to compromise their music for commercial success: 'Mr. Byrne looks dubious.'

Miss Weymouth said, 'We think we're commercial just the way we are.'

According to Rockwell, the girl was smiling as she said it."

p.78 This Must Be The Place by David Bowman

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Merlin Mann, He's My Mann

From 43Folders:

The power of connecting with people in an authentic way (no, not in that cheesy, half-assed, internet “friends” way) falls apart at the point where its resource consumption curtails your ability to keep making new stuff. It’s a twisted paradox, for sure. But, in essence, it’d be a little like the Beatles skipping the writing and recording of Rubber Soul in order to catch up on 1964’s fan mail.

Put plainer, my sense is that western culture would be a damn sight poorer today if John Lennon had been forced to carry a goddamn BlackBerry.







Also, this.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Send a Condom to a Reactionary Asshole Today

Coincidentally, just got this email from Planned Parenthood:

Planned Parenthood: "Send a Condom to the Convention! Remind Republican delegates that prevention is a non-partisan issue!"

Yes, but how much extra to send an "ABC" one?

Glass Ceiling on Shotgun Marriages is Shattered

First our mantra:

"Obama is my candidate
and he must be our president"

"Obama is my candidate
and he must be our president"

"Obama is my candidate
and he must be our president"

"Obama is my candidate
and he must be our president"

"Obama is my candidate
and he must be our president"


Where to begin? The nuttiness of religious extremists always, always having the most wacked out personal lives is no surprise at all. A politician who is against sex ed & birth control in a breeding contest with her own 17 year old daughter, excellent family values. Shitheads.



Seriously, whoever the poor schmuck is who knocked up Trackmeet or Poohbear or whatever the fuck her daughter is named must be a complete moron given that his now future mother in law is bristling with guns and ammo! (But, pace Bill Maher, he may be dumb but he is not cowardly. Plus his name is Levi! Can't wait for the bris.) *

It's all fun and games so long as we get an Obama victory in the fall.


*Postscript: he's not that kind of Levi, as it turns out, but he's still one brave/horny/clueless/all of the above soul.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin, I Don't Think So

Good Quotes on the Palin mess from left and right:

A potential vice president with the ideology of Dick Cheney and fewer qualifications than Dan Quayle should send arctic shivers up our spines.


Vice presidents matter. In our history, nine have become president when the sitting commander in chief unexpectedly died or resigned. McCain, a 72-year-old cancer survivor, may be rolling the dice to grab a chunk of Hillary Clinton's voters, but he is asking all of us to gamble on Sarah Palin if she were to become president at a time of national crisis.


John Podesta
Chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund

So this is the future of the Republican party you are looking at: a future in which national security has bumped down the list of priorities behind abortion politics, gender politics, and energy politics. Ms. Palin is a bold pick, and probably a shrewd one. It's not nearly so clear that she is a responsible pick, or a wise one.

David Frum, former speechwriter for George W. Bush. Frum is widely cited as having authored the phrase "axis of evil". In fact, though, his original phrasing was "axis of hatred".

Monday, August 25, 2008

Don't Let Our Youth Go (to Waste)

I am rereading Dean Wareham's non fiction Black Postcards & thinking about Jonathan Lethem's novel, You Don't Love Me Yet.

Not ready to write a book review or an essay about the overlap between them... Maybe notes for a review, or just a late summer blog posting that both books have me digging back into Galaxie 500's catalog.

"My problem is that I don't know where the sentences come from anymore."

"The band's got something, and some of the something they've got is the allure of an enclave at odds within itself and yet impenetrable to others, its members exchanging small gestures of disaffection within their troupe that makes others crave to be included in the fond dissention"


Lethem

"Some of my best friends are crazy. But that's okay, because I don't have to ride in a van with them for five weeks."


Wareham

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bat Sorbet

Refreshing!


After the brief screening, which ended in roars and applause from the fans in attendance, Register commented upon the need to break away from recent animated versions of Batman. "We had seen Batman done really well -- I think B:TAS, best animated series ever," said Register. And he said, "I had a really scary lunch with Bruce Timm, and he said, 'Why don't you do a friendlier version of it?'" Register felt that Timm's comments gave him permission to bring a lighter, more upbeat tone to the series. It's in keeping with classic Batman stories from the comics, as Register explained. He said, "it's only in the last ten years that he's been, like, Dracula."


The creators of The Brave and The Bold cite Dick Sprang as inspiration.

via Comic Book Resources

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quote of The Summer

“Any artist should be grateful for a naïve grace which puts him beyond the need to reason elaborately.”

Saul Bellow

Monday, July 21, 2008

Perfect.

Links to this, but I'm kind of more into this.

Michael Lerner is More than A Useful Idiot?

Rabbi Lerner's attendance at the Saudi "World Conference on Dialogue" is something I would normally just make a snarky, cynical comment about in passing. But his account in the Huff Post is worth reading and thinking about. Check it here.

I am not crazy about alot of the positions he has taken over the years. I think he has often demonstrated a Jesse Jackson level of self promotion. (Writing fan letters to yourself in Tikkun? WTF?) But since the mainstream debate is on the issue of "when do we bomb Iran", it is worth thinking, THINKING about what's going ON.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Obama Campaign VS. Cartoonist? Ugh

Of/c I am still gonna vote for Obama, but the lame response to the New Yorker's dry and somewhat amusing cover nails it. Politicians are duchebags.

"The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in the statement.


What's offensive is the further dumbing down of discourse that this spokesman represents. How about "Right. It's a joke, man. And we get it." Now onto the business of saving our crumbling republic. People who care more about politics than cartoons will say that operating on this shithead level is politically necessary.

Of course, because they are shitheads and they not so secretly enjoy putting on their fucking flag pins anyway. I value cartoons and making jokes.

I'm hoping Obama shows up to laugh at this stupidity when asked directly about it, rather than letting his oh so offended spokesman have the last word.

In any case, I will vote for the least objectionable candidate. Let the nose holding begin!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

John Lennon animated interview from 1969

It's not like The New Yorker or Slate don't have good distribution, but this is just too sweet and inspirational not to cross post. The interview was originally made by the 14 year old Jerry Levitan.

Junot Diaz Video Interview

Monday, July 07, 2008

NO to FISA

Timothy Ferriss has posted a great entry on this one & given some concrete actions to take as well. Check here.

From his entry:

Ordinary citizens who want to live in a democracy — including those with nothing to hide — should be concerned about the ability of the government to use private, sensitive personal information to blackmail, manipulate, and intimidate their representatives, journalists and their sources, potential whistleblowers, and activists or dissenters of any sort
.

Interview with Daniel Ellsberg:


What Every American Needs to Know (and Do) About FISA Before Tuesday, July 8th from Tim Ferriss on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rocket to Russia $1.99, Today Only




This is the brave new world. I gotta link to this although the chance that the select few that even visit this site don't already have complete collections of The Ramones ALREADY is quite slim. Perhaps it's my own inability to adjust to the world of digital plenty that lays the ground for difficult to manage infohaulic behavior (my own and others). Irrational info hoarding is really a symptom of an inability to adjust to the "drinking just a sip of water from a firehose".

It may be preferable to treat interesting info less as something to be collected and ordered and more like manna in the desert. In shucking off the slave mentality*, the outmoded ways and embracing freedom in the hard knocks school of the desert it may be better to just experience the stream of music, pics, words than to try to recreate western culture in microcosm in our own heads. AH, so pace the Atlantic article, I am perhaps coming around to the point of view that in order to survive this wave of info, this surfable tower of babel that a means of managing it all is to at least partially embrace its superficial aspects.

As Merlin Mann said "organizing your email is like alphabetizing your recycling."

Anyway, Hey Ho, Let's Go, here's your link to Rocket to Russia for $1.99 from Amazon.
Today only. Info on this promo here.

(*or trying to & failing for a whole generation, which does not bode well for 46 year old ME, but let's just take this stuff metaphorically and instead interpret this to necessitate the death of a self)

Writer's Rooms

It's always interesting to see the workplaces of creative people. This is reminiscent of Terrence Conran's small room comments on a tiny, self contained hotel room that one "operated like a car". Here's a link to a series in The Guardian called Writer's Rooms.

Will Self's Incredible Wall of Post-Its! And look at the floorboards under the chair. Awesome.

I want to see Cartoonist's Rooms and Painter's Rooms as well of course.

(Via Andrew Sullivan)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fucking Supreme Court on a Rampage


Fuck the Supreme Court. Fuck those assholes. Fuck everyone screaming terrorism from the rooftops while restricting gun laws. Insane numbers of kids get killed by guns every year, look up the nauseating statistics, on The Children's Defense Fund site.

When 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech and five at Northern Illinois University, the public was outraged. Yet every four days we have the equivalent of a Virginia Tech tragedy that passes unnoticed. Our gun violence epidemic robs parents of their children, wastes our human potential, and drains resources from our health care system.

I know we are fucked up primates, and am often resigned to the suicidal stupidity of our race. But every once in awhile something fresh comes along to induce a fresh wave of puke.

The list of shame:
Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cassette From My Ex Website

There is something almost suffocatingly poignant about this site. I don't know if it's because of the weight of my own nostalgia for the suddenly faraway recent past (1987 was ... 20 years ago?) or the ghosts that linger in each of these accounts.

Cassette From My Ex is here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Public Service Announcement

There's really no point in repeating a popular internet meme. Unless it helps to destroy the GOP before they can finish the job on my country. Say it, "MY COUNTRY".

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Lynda Barry and Harlan Ellison

I saw Lynda Barry speak at The Strand bookstore tonight in support of her new book, "What It Is". I can't summarize it at the moment, it was inspirational and hilarious.

Updates: here's a link to an mp3 of Lynda Barry on the same tour in Philly.
And now a good interview with her via The Comics Reporter & Journalista.


Following that was the new Harlan Ellison documentary, which was also inspiring and hilarious, though in a different key altogether. I will try to write something about seeing these 2 luminous beings in the same night, but for the moment this blog is just pointing to them.

Update: Harlan Ellison interview mp3 on Salon.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Who-oooo's Got The Crack?

Moldy Peaches:



I wanna be a hippie
But I forgot how to love
It’s hard to be a garbage man
When a sailor stole my glove
I wanna be reckless
But I’m feeling so uptight
Put your mama in a headlock baby
And do it right
Who’s got the crack
Who’s got the crack
Who’s got the crack
Who’s got the crack
Who’s got the crack

Politics

Political life is retarded.

The most idealistic candidate will fly back to watch me, personally, get unjustly executed if it would win him/her a polling point. But still, my default position has been to pray for a total Clinton Restoration. Not Hillary, no, Classic Clinton. If only Joe Quesada or Marv Wolfman with George Perez could handle the time travel continuum issues necessary for this.

I mean, they brought back Norman Osborn, Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. All I want is pizza, thongs, interns and a Fat Elvis president that was an undisciplined genius instead of the mortifying mediocrities that are dragging us into the toilet bowl of history.

I will gladly vote for Obama, if only for his elbows out "Annie Oakley" crack at Hillary. My hope is that his unflappable style and toughness will triumph.

I would support any Dem. But this Vanity Fair article made me really wish I could just vote for Bill again & get it over with.

He was never, ever, on time. In Joe Klein’s roman à clef about the Clintons, Primary Colors, the Betsey Wright character accuses the Bill Clinton character of always skating by on charm and talent and need. “You have never paid the bill,” she tells him. “Never. And no one ever calls you on it. Because you’re so completely fucking special. Everyone was always so proud of you. And me, too. Me the worst.”

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Paul Graham on Disconnecting Distraction

Paul Graham writes great essays. I recommend one of his newest, Disconnecting Distraction.

I remember when computers were, for me at least, exclusively for work. I might occasionally dial up a server to get mail or ftp files, but most of the time I was offline. All I could do was write and program. Now I feel as if someone snuck a television onto my desk. Terribly addictive things are just a click away. Run into an obstacle in what you're working on? Hmm, I wonder what's new online. Better check.

After years of carefully avoiding classic time sinks like TV, games, and Usenet, I still managed to fall prey to distraction, because I didn't realize that it evolves. Something that used to be safe, using the Internet, gradually became more and more dangerous. Some days I'd wake up, get a cup of tea and check the news, then check email, then check the news again, then answer a few emails, then suddenly notice it was almost lunchtime and I hadn't gotten any real work done. And this started to happen more and more often.
Now, get off the internet!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

lowlywaiter: Don't Bug Me

Coming This Summer: Son of lowlywaiter or lowlywaiter Rides Again.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gene Colan


Gene Colan, genius penciller of the Silver Age, is in poor health right now. More info here.
(via Comics Journal)

Gene Colan! I only know the work and not the man, but in some ways I feel like I do know him via the humanity of those pages and pages of his art which I have pored over.

His women are among the least stereotyped, even when wearing an all black unitard like the Black Widow did. But they were often sexy as well. How did he do it?

And what about the shadows in Dr. Strange, Daredevil and Nathaniel Dusk for example? How were they all so atmospheric and yet different shadows?

Here is a man who can make a pencil sing.

So, I don't know Gene Colan. But man, do I know some things about Gene Colan.

My deepest heartfelt best wishes for the Genial One and his family.

PS: (quote from Comics Journal):
Tom Spurgeon alerts us to the fact that the family of Gene Colan are having immense difficulties paying his medical bills. Caring readers who would like to assist them have two ways to do so:

  1. You can bid in one of the Colans’ eBay auctions, which would not only put money in their hands but also net you a nice piece of art, to boot.
  2. Do as I did, and make a direct donation via Paypal, where the Colans are registered as genecolan@optonline.net — just log into your account, hit the “send money” button, and insert said email address and the amount you wish to donate into the appropriate boxes. Oh, and you might want to mention the word “donation” prominently in the comments box, so the Colans don’t have to sort through a bunch of listings to find the eBay payments.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

3 Cartoony Paintings for Stir Auction

Here are 3 cartoony paintings I did for the Stir Productions benefit auction. It's Monday, May 12th, 2008 at 6:30pm, Vig 27 119 E 27th Street Between Park and Lex.

Truffles + Cream, Come Back And Laugh, Jokes Make Life Worth
all 12" x 12" polymers on canvas.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

What Does Iron Man Mean To Me?

Yeah, the film was pretty neat. Lots of stuff for the fanboys, esp. the SHIELD references, the computer named Jarvis, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan etc. These films need to be faster, more like Hong Kong action films or the last Bourne thing. Less exposition and logic would be preferable. But the total 1960's Marvel irreverence was finally expressed with Robert fucking Downey Jr. ad-libbing his way through it in a way that is as joyful as Adam West.

Yeah, purists may disagree with me on this, but my gold standard is still Batman 1966, for the pure pleasure of being a human comic book. I can see RDJ saying "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb" and that is pretty cool.

Later: One reason that this film has a Marvel level of insouciance is that the script came after the art, in the old Marvel style. Favreau was smart to get this, so that after all the elaborate effects, the actors and dialogue are fresh and smartypants. (Well except for the B movie terrorist types.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

I am Iron Man... Or I am Monty

Dial B for BLOG, a great comics blog, has a series dedicated to Iron Man in advance of the film opening.


I wound up using Iron Man as an icon in some paintings 10 years ago as a stand in for myself for various reasons which I may write about at some point. I will post some of these when I can dig them up. It was the Don Heck version of the character that I somehow connected to in doing those things, and the way the black eye slits and blocks of color slipped so easily into the way that I was working.

It is a strange moment in the culture when these pulpy obsessions get exposed to the light of the mainstream. At the same time, I have more hope that this time they will get it right somehow. Favreau and Downey + Black Sabbath? Nerdcore, man.

No doubt it will all feel just right for at least the runtime of the film in the front row, I go for complete suspension of disbelief for at least the duration of the actual experience.

In other comics news, keep reading Monty! Jim Meddick has just hit his stride:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Have a Crush on Online Mixtapes! (Open Letter)

Dear Imeem, Muxtape, Mixwit,

It's an official crush... I can't stop thinking about all of you!

imeem
muxtape
mixwit

Maybe it's just the nice weather and the last mixes you let me make, but I just want to spend more and more time with you all and I am getting no work done. I mean, let's face it, this is not a recipe for "productivity" is it?

I can't embed you right now, I have to do some tshirt research...

Steven

Listening to Richard Pryor Can Help Sometimes

"Let me tell you what really happened... Every night before I go to bed, I have milk and cookies. One night I mixed some low-fat milk and some pasteurized, then I dipped my cookie in and the shit blew up."

Here is a link to a great routine. Not work safe? Depends on your job...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3 By Ian Dury

Click on the tape to hear Reasons and What A Waste


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fallows on "The" way vs "a" way (Japan v China dept)

"The" way vs "a" way (Japan v China dept) By James Fallows

Whether or not it even stands up as cultural anthropology, the improvised versus planned styles are worth pondering. Like most dichotomies, there is probably more of an organic relationship between the two approaches. Fallows' photo illustrations of plane refueling in Japan & China are great in almost a Mad magazine breakdown.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Obama vs. Condi in 2005

Here is a debate in the Senate featuring Rice & Obama that is much more convincing than Obamamania for me. As with Andrew Sullivan (whose site featured a link to this video) I personally believed in the progressive argument for getting rid of Saddam. The Paul Berman argument if you will. See this later Berman article in Dissent as well.

At the time I thought that doing the right thing for the wrong reasons (or straw man reasons) was OK.

I also thought that ideology did not affect competence. Where the fuck was my usual skepticism?

Monday, April 07, 2008

90 Day Wonder


Military officer whose source of commission is the 90-day OCS program. Characterized by feeling inferior to service academy grads. And rightly so.

I told that 90-day wonder that my socks have more time in service than he does.

From Urban Dictionary


No, Of Course Not.


A Chinese spokesman, Qu Yingpu, said Chinese officials were grateful to the police “for their efforts to keep order.” He added: “This is not the right time, the right platform, for any people to voice their political views.”

From the NYT today.

Right, douchebag. We will keep that in mind.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Goodbye Jim Mooney

Mark Evanier & Comics Journal have details, but Jim Mooney died this past week. It may be facile to note that this comes so close to Steve Gerber's death, and heaven knows I don't believe in an afterlife, but it is kind of nice to imagine that there are more issues of Man-Thing and that final issue of Omega The Unknown in heaven. And maybe a Supergirl story or two.

I met Gerber back in 1976 and I remember talking with him about how Mooney's art was perfect for the subversive Omega b/c it was so redolent of those innocent 1960's DC's. Nevermind some nice looking, slightly well-fed Peter Parkers. Yes, I am talking to you, James Michael Starling.

Thinking about those comics it is hard to believe in a way that the images beamed into my cerebral cortex were created by human beings. Man, Mooney drew alot of that stuff!

Rest in Really Well Drawn Peace(where you ink your own pencils), With No Short Cuts or Swipes, Jim Mooney.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Galaxie 500

Man, sometimes it takes me 17 years to catch up with a band's music. Definitely not a visionary in this dept, alas. Galaxie 500 's Today is an amazing record. I guess in 1988 I had other ideas & noises in my heads. Crackly. Pop.

It is a grey, almost fall like morning in Manhattan, that Today record sounds fucking tinglingly great, all the stuff I thought was too cerebral & ethereal sounds razor sharp today.

Coming to this blog in March, 2025: A reappraisal of Radiohead. Meanwhile I gotta go catch up with the Damon & Naomi stuff...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Well he was only 5'3"...

Well he was only 5'3"
But girls could not resist his stare
Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole
Not in New York

The opening sequence of Manhattan set to Richman instead of Gershwin.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Siegel and Schuster Created Superman in 1938, MF!


From Joe Schuster's wiki page

Neal Adams on the late-1970s settlement from DC Comics for which he and other comics creators fought: "Others made millions while Superman's creators lived in near-poverty. Jerry was a clerk and Joe was a legally blind man who lived in his brother's apartment, slept on a cot, and worked as a messenger. I met and fought for their small remaining rights when they both turned only 60 years old. Not 'old' by any definition. The battle took months and the settlement was meager, but it let the men live the remaining years of their lives with dignity. You know what they cared about most? They cared about having their names, once again, associated with their character, Superman! Why? Because it was what they were as people. They were their work."

When Jack Kirby went to DC, he actually called up the creators of Superman to get their blessings before doing his version of the character. (From Ronin Ro's Tales To Astonish.)

Court ruled finally in Siegel and Schuster's favor this week. More here. (Via Comics Journal)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

John Waters, Role Model

"Waters is unusually regimented. He wakes up at exactly 6:10 every morning and reads newspapers and drinks tea until 8. He starts writing 'right at eight o’clock—not 8:01, not 7:59,' and works until lunchtime. Waters is rigidly devoted to these morning sessions, and his hired wife plans his travel accordingly. He will go somewhere a day early or stay a day late rather than fly in the morning, even if it means staying at an airport hotel, 'because I need to write five days a week,” he says firmly. 'As far as I can remember I have done that, at least for 25 years. I most never miss a day. When I was young and went out every night—like during the days of Multiple Maniacs and Pink Flamingos—I don’t know how I did it. I took pills and smoked pot every day, but I still made those movies. I don’t think I was as stringent in my Swiss personality, as I call it, but I did make those movies.' "


NY Magazine

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Breeders New Album Coming Soon

There is just too much good stuff and bad stuff out there. It makes me question the whole idea of having a blog. I mean, if I am having a good day I might as well just have a webcam attached to my bike's handlebars and when things suck... Anyhow there is nothing like hearing new Breeders songs, here is the extended record release party:



Mountain Battles Record Release Party from The Breeders

Jobs on Paul Rand

Man, Fake Steve Jobs has nailed the wacked out quality of Spaceman Jobs (our hero), as seen in this half assed yet brilliant interview about designer Paul Rand. I can just hear RSJ saying "Sorry, the drugs wore off, Oops. Sorry. ...Will run out and refresh supplies and be back badder than ever. Peace."

Still a great take on a genius curmudgeon by another genius curmudgeon.




Check this great Rand essay to see how correct Jobs is about Rand. The whole fucking site is filled with razor sharp stuff by Rand. By the way, his birth name was the far juicier (or Jewcy-er) Peretz Rosenbaum. I totally prefer Peretz Rosenbaum, don't you?
(via Daring Fireball)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Buck's Worth & Crazy Glue

Here is a short film by Tatia Rosenthal and Etgar Keret, it is going to be part of a full-length film called 9.99.



Indiewire says, "Rosenthal and Keret's '9.99' is described in a release as ' a stop-motion animated feature-film project, which gives less than ten bucks worth of insight into the human condition.' " If you like this one, I also recommend Crazy Glue:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Social Program: Cappuccino and A Newspaper

"Give people a newspaper and cappuccino to create the feeling they are not second-class citizens.”

That has to be the best line I have heard all week!

From a NYT article about emerging competing bus services, but who cares, the line itself is genius.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jack LaLanne

My reach is far less than Mark Frauenfelder's at BoingBoing, but it can't hurt to replicate their posting here:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Love Me For My Mind

(As seen at the book fair at the 23rd st armory earlier this year.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nerdtastic: The Nerd Handbook

"At some point, you, the nerd’s companion, were the project. You were showered with the fire hose of attention because you were the bright and shiny new development in your nerd’s life. There is also a chance that you’re lucky and you are currently your nerd’s project. Congrats. Don’t get too comfortable because he’ll move on, and, when that happens, you’ll be wondering what happened to all the attention. This handbook might help."

Link (via Mike Monteiro's blog)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Something About Giotto (Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi)

The work reminded me of early Marvel, particularly Steve Ditko. And maybe a little of Mark Alan Stamaty's old work for the Village Voice. Maybe a little Curt Swan... There is too much to say, time is flying by so I at least want to do a quick post that I can return to about his paintings.

I know he is widely regarded as one of the early Renaissance painters, but it is his role as a bridge from iconic pattern making to a western pictoral space that is so exciting to me. The figures convey some true quality, maybe it's their gestures... but at the same time the spaces they occupy are just crazy, filled with loopy architecture and layers of patterned flat planes.


Plus, yeah, the whole Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi is kind of a wraparound comic book. So, in material terms, any painter is gonna look at it and say, "man, when did you start this job?" I think he did the frescoes in chronological order, it just reminds me of early Ditko Spider-Man covers.

Oh, and yes, we don't know if Giotto did the job, or if it's school of Giotto, but whatever, these paintings are great, as is the whole building.

Next Up: Caravaggio, The Neal Adams of the 1600's or what...?

WTF is wrong with this picture?



What The Fuck is this? A purple san-serif "5" on the 5 dollar bill? Who said that aesthetics precede ethics? Well, they do a complicated fandango anyhow. This is a visual argument that we are utterly lost as a culture.

How ugly and shitty can they make things that look just fine the way they are? Do the shit designers and the retards that commissioned this abortion think this money will be harder to counterfeit? 10th graders with photoshop are trembling before our mighty lack of taste. The mighty North Koreans, apparently the masters of modern counterfeiting, will vomit when they see the utter shite they are now expected to copy.

The euro replaced the cool money of europe (give me a Delacroix and some full frontal nudity, America!), so what, we have to beat the euros at making our money look like shit?

Delacroix and Lincoln, men of that caliber would never approve of such ugliness.
Link to wiki on the ugly fin here.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Back from Rome, winelists hitting the blogs, too much to write about

Hey, that's my winelist Ma! Terroir winebar finally opened last night, and the blogs actually wrote about the winelist concept that I created in collaboration with Paul Grieco. Neat!

I need to blog up my first trip to the european continent in eons, there's alot of notes and snapshots of Roman graffiti & stickers to post as well but at this second, the lists hitting and the t-shirts that we did getting some play--that feels good.

Links: photostream of winelists, stickers
Grub St, Dr. Vino, Terroir winebar homepage

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blogleave

Going to Rome, to roam. Back in a while.



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Steve Gerber Rest In Pissed-Offness

Steve Gerber, who died at 60 this past Sunday, went out with his writing boots on. Check his blog for some of his last entries.

He affected many of us at an impressionable age, with stories like "The Kid's Night Out" in Giant Size Man-Thing #4. Here is a link to The Comics Journal coverage.

From the Wiki: "Gerber initially penned standard superhero stories for titles such as Daredevil and Sub-Mariner, but soon developed an individual voice that mixed adventure with social satire and absurdist humor. In one issue of The Defenders, for example, a group of supervillains, tired of always being beaten by the good guys, seeks out a self-help guru for motivation."

More:
I keep thinking about "The Kid's Night Out" when I try to think of what it meant to be reading Steve's stuff as a kid. But it's more than that and it's part of my life. What a great gift those comics were. I remember being bugged by my hebrew school teacher b/c I was reading a copy of Man-Thing instead of studying my Bar-Mitzvah material. HA! That mediocre teacher didn't impart a fraction of the morality, humor, meaning and even, yes, Jewish values that Gerber's comics did in those days.

Here is a link to The Comics Journal's interview with Steve Gerber in the late 70's.

"They dig a hole. And they put you in it." Ah, we will miss you, Steve.

Rest in peace.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Hayoung Shin's Yokocho Illustrations Now Online


Hayoung Shin does these illustrations at Village Yokocho. She has finally posted a bunch of these and other drawings online. Check it out.

I always like the disgruntled or terrified foodstuffs, animals and veggies on her menus.