Thursday, December 25, 2008


Until this morning, I'd intended to take a break from the in-laws on this Christmas day and visit the local theater complex to see Frank Miller's The Spirit. Alas, the dreadful reviews have finally overwhelmed even me, the biggest of Miller and Will Eisner fans. This one will be viewed on DVD sometime in the next 3-4 months. I may even wait for its debut on HBO next fall. Hell, maybe I'll never even see it at all.

Refocus on the comics, Frank. Please.

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Here comes Lysanta!

Thanks, BK!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have a Sci-Fi Christmas, Part 4

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Have a Sci-Fi Christmas, Part 3

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Have a Sci-Fi Christmas, Part 2

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Have a Sci-Fi Christmas, Part 1

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

RIP Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp)

When my friend Ray told me that Janet Van Dyne, aka The Wasp, was recently killed in the course of the foolish and unnecessary Secret Invasion "mega-event," I felt like I'd taken a brutal body blow. Jan was not only the finest leader the Avengers ever had, for 45 years, she was one of the hottest babes in the entire Marvel Universe. Damn you, Marvel Comics!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

RIP Majel Barrett Roddenberry (1932-2008)

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Just say movie remakes

It seems my buddy Tom Novak expects me to expose myself to the Day the Earth Stood Still remake and save him the heartache of having to do so. Alas, Tom, I will not be reporting here on TDTESS while it’s in theaters; my review will come, if indeed it ever does come, sometime after it’s gone to DVD or cable.

Generally, I avoid remakes. Sure, once in a very great while, a remake does the original proud; Phil Kaufman’s 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers immediately comes to mind. But more often than not, today’s remakes spring from movies that were so perfect the first time, there’s no need to re-do them at all. Groaners from the past few years include unnecessary new versions of The Manchurian Candidate, King Kong (1976 and 2005), Cape Fear, Breathless, The Ladykillers, Halloween, Psycho, and Planet of the Apes. And there are reports that we should expect do-overs of the sci-fi classics Robocop and Escape from New York. Why God oh why?

So, no, Tom, don’t expect a report on Keanu Reeves’ spin on Klaatu anytime soon. I’d much rather pop the 1951 masterpiece into my Blu-Ray and enjoy myself.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Welcome back, Frank!

I’ve really gotta wonder — why all the griping about Punisher: War Zone, the newest effort to launch a Punisher movie franchise? Not only do the mainstream critics hate it, as I’d expect, the online geekboys are piling on the shit as well. But as a longtime fan of the Punisher in most of his comic book versions, and a fan of 2004’s movie with Thomas Jane, I have to say that War Zone is just about everything I’ve wanted in a Punisher film. It’s over-the-top, it’s unrealistic (as it should be, right?), and it’s a veritable merry-go-round of blood-drenched kickass mayhem. The movie’s got Ray Stevenson doing a fine turn as Frank Castle, and it’s moved Frank to Manhattan (where he belongs), and it’s got hundreds and hundreds of mobsters and street punks ineffectually throwing themselves at Frank, and it’s got Dominic West playing Jigsaw fer crissakes. It’s got it all, and it’s all wrapped up into a balls-to-the-wall gangbuster of an action movie.

Unfortunately, Punisher: War Zone is tanking at the box office. But there is, after all, a long life promised in the DVD world. However, if you’re a fan of the character, you might want to run out immediately and see this new take on the Punisher while it’s still on the Big Screen.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Illinois politics in the Good Old Days

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

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RIP Bettie Page (1923-2008)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Note to the art world: it's a business

Marketing genius Denny Hatch has a solution for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, which is now in very deep financial doo-doo. His solution is freakin’ brilliant: stop being sanctimonious, treat your museum like a business, and do whatcha gotta do, no matter how “distasteful.” Denny shares his ideas this morning in his Common Sense web-letter. Take a look:

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles is broke, and a lot of folks are in high dudgeon.

Its profligate and irresponsible director, Jeremy Strick, classically trained and hired in 1999 out of the Art Institute of Chicago, has burned through $44 million of the museum’s endowment, leaving it with a paltry $6 million.

This is a major scandal.

Museum management is dithering over how to quickly raise the $25 million needed to keep the doors open and some of its programs going. Do they merge with another museum? Do they hit up some big donors? Do they hire Carl Bloom Associates to launch a direct mail campaign?

Uh-uh. No time.

The sentence that follows this one will be the most blasphemous concept that could ever be promulgated in the eyes of the ego-driven elitists who run art museums.

To get on its feet, MOCA needs only to sell two paintings from its permanent collection; fire the director; put some responsible, competent people on its board; suck it up and start over.

Sell two paintings out of its permanent collection?


Read the whole article here.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Will DOLLHOUSE be a stinker?

Word on the Internet is that Joss Whedon's new sci-fi TV series Dollhouse, set to debut on Fox next month, has "bad vibes" written all over it. But it looked good to me when I saw trailers at the Whedon/cast panel last July at Comic-Con. Besides, it stars Eliza Dushku, so how bad could it possibly be?

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Just in time for Christmas...

Old friend Vic Koman has finally published the late Samuel Edward Konkin III's An Agorist Primer. Many of us have been waiting for this book for more than 20 years. This first edition is in hardcover, it's reasonably priced, and it's the perfect gift for every Libertarian Leftist on your holiday gift-giving list!

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Better safe than sorry

Barack Obama said yesterday that gun-owning Americans needn't stock up on guns and ammo before he's sworn in next month.

I say, better safe than sorry.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Nipomo CA, 1934

I live just 135 miles south of Salinas, California, real Depression-era John Steinbeck country. But in 1934, right here in my own backyard, literally a mile or so away, the great photographer Dorothea Lange shot this classic photograph of a migrant mother and her kids for Life magazine. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

"Queen of the Black Coast"

BrokenSea Audio has just completed its 7-part audio dramatization of Robert E. Howard’s classic 1934 novella “The Queen of the Black Coast,” and it’s excellent. This story is seminal to the Conan saga, and I recommend it highly to any fans of fantasy, sword and sorcery, Howard, Conan, and radio-style drama. And the downloads are free!

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Reaching out to traditional leftists

Today at, comrade Anthony Gregory advises right-libertarians to wise up, drop their hypocrises, and reach out to the Left. Anthony's article is a pretty solid guide even for self-proclaimed Libertarian Leftists, who are often challenged by the difficulty of pulling more traditional lefties into the libertarian camp.

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