Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Face it, there's no way that I could stomach watching the GOP convention. I'd put something or my fist through the television or just have my blood pressure (which is pretty good, thanks for asking!) go through the roof. Everything I read in the papers (For the benefit of non-NYC folks, AM New York and Metro, are two free daily newspapers generally distributed in or around the subway exits & entrances. I guess you could call them middle-of-the-road politically, although I get the impression that AMNY is a tad more liberal.) or listening to Air America and WBAI (99.5 FM, the local Pacifica station) seems to show that I'm right in not watching.

Apparently last night ex-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani indicated that we owe G.W. our vote. I don't see it that way and it seems that most 9/11 families feel the same way.

On a non-political (or perhaps not) matter: I don't know if folks outside the New York area have been bombarded with the Steve Maddon clothing line ads. It appears that just about every other bus shelter has one of the posters displayed. For those of you not familiar with them they show one or two waifish females, generally in tight jeans. It wouldn't be that different from the usual, except that these figures are photographically altered. The bodies seem like those of twelve year olds, while the poses are obviously sexual. The faces of the 'models' (I've only seen blondes, with remarkable likeness to the Olsen Twins.) have been changed so that they have these haunting Margaret Keane eyes (the big eyed kittens and orphan black-velvet painting type). They creep me out, both for the Keane effect and the knowledge that these waifs are supposed to be appealing in a sexual way. Can we say pedophilia, boys and girls? They make the Sailor Moon/manga gals looks positively matronly.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Had my first mass transit delay today. Around 11:30am the "R" was stopped and we all had to get off. An announcement was made of a police investigation taking place at Roosevelt. Don't know if this was typical subway crime or if something had been reported. Otherwise, my commute hasn't been effected. We'll see!
Finally had a chance to play around with Dish TV this past weekend.

I love having BOOMERANG, since it's been years since I've seen some of these shows. I think I enjoy THUNDARR & BIRDMAN more now than I did back when I first saw them. On the other hand, I still have problems with BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, and see even more how horribly edited and "Americanized" it is compared to the actual Japanese series "Science Ninja Team Gatchaman."

It seems that Sunday, at least this past Sunday, the network has hours of various 'super-hero/SF' related shows. I never get tired of Space Ghost, of course, but I swear I do not remember Kid Comet. He appears to be a recurring character from the way he was used in the one episode I happened to catch. It also made me wonder how good a guardian SG was if he was allowing Jan to head of to a 'resort planet' with the Kid, unchaperoned. Wasn't she supposed to be about 15 yrs old or something?

Oh, and is it just me or did the females in these shows all spend time in bondage at some point. There was a episode of the GALAXY TRIO where Gravity Girl has 'slave anklets' placed on her and goes around calling the villain "master". Is it my Dirty Old Man coming out, or did I just miss this stuff that the writers & artists (not to mention Network Standards & Practices) allowed to creep in?


Thursday, August 26, 2004

One of the nice things about my time spent in fandom, specifically comics fandom, was getting the chance to meet (and hang with) some of the writers and artists I’d been enjoying for years. Bob Ingersoll and Tony Isabella were two of the nicest. I’d been a fan of Tony’s since the 1970s when he was writing stories for DC and Marvel. His Luke Cage and Black Lightning were among my favorites. I became familiar with Bob via his regular (or semi-regular, considering the too few installments) “The Law is a Ass” column in CBG.

Bob & Tony have co-written a few comics and prose stories, including the CAPTAIN AMERICA novel “Liberty’s Torch”. Their take on Cap was everything a fan of the character could hope for. So it was great to hear that they were going to team-up again, this time to write a novel taking place in the Star Trek universe.

The Case of the Colonist’s Corpse: a Sam Cogley Mystery takes place during the period of the original Star Trek series. James T. Kirk is still the Enterprise’s captain, but he and his crew only appear briefly in the book. For those familiar with the first series you may recall that Sam Cogley (played by the wonderful character actor, Elisha Cook, Jr) defended Kirk when he was brought up on charges. Sam is back now, and this time he is defending a Klingon accused of killing the chief administrator of a Federation colony.

Bob & Tony present a mystery which takes its style from the Perry Mason novels of Erle Stanley Gardner. The planet Anerher II, lies in the Neutral Zone so is claimed by both the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Naturally, things aren’t always cordial between these two races, so when a spy is discovered among the colonists it’s not a surprise that tempers flare. The authors play fair and if you pay attention you can pretty much guess who the likely murderer is, especially if you’ve seen enough of the old Perry Mason episodes on television.

If you are expecting a ‘typical’ ST novel, you may be disappointed, but if you’re willing to take the book at face value, knowing that it will not be Kirk & Co. filling the pages, I think you will find the book as enjoyable as I did. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that sales of the book will make further Sam Cogley stories possible. Sam, although created as a one-time character for the old TV show, is given by Tony & Bob enough depth to carry the story. Along with his assistants they certainly have enough potential for a good half dozen books or more. I’m giving the book a solid three stars.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The current issue of the New York Press has an article by Paul Krassner (brilliant as always) talking about Woodstock. He also mentions how at the time the Nixon White House was rumored to be considering halting the 1972 elections because of "internal civil unrest" (then due to the Vietnam War). Amazing how things have come around once again, huh?

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Mark Evanier pointed out this article http://http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/state/colorado/2004-08-16-colo-electoral_x.htm in USA TODAY, which talks about Colorado trying to change their electoral votes are distributed. It would make a difference in the up-coming Presidential election, if passed.

Mark is right that there would likely be a Supreme Court challenge by the loser, but I think that some changes should have been made nationally. Of course, the GOP is happy with how things stand and the Republican led Congress certainly wouldn't want to do anything which might infranchise Americans.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Marvel Super Heroes' Guide to New York City, premiered on the TRAVEL CHANNEL last night. I enjoyed and was glad I popped in a tape.

Probably a great thing for Marvel to show at conventions or to make available to comic shops. Nice seeing Stan Lee, Joe Simon (talking about Captain America and the Golden Age), and the Romitas (father & son). Even though I spent over sixteen years living in Brooklyn, I never had a chance to actually check out all the places I read about as a kid growing up. I never knew that the Baxter Building & Avenger's Mansion were based on real places in the city.

I'll also never forget the first time I was up-close to one of those rooftop water towers, I'd always seen in the Ditko SPIDER-MAN panels. I was attending a party given by Ken Gale and Mercy van Vlack, way back in mid-1980s. Some of us were taking a breather from the overcrowding in the apartment and were up on the roof chatting. Elayne and I had were dating, and I was talking to our friend The Dude (names changed to protect the innocent). I happened to be glancing around and there was one of those towers on the building across the street. I almost expected to see Spidey, swinging by on his way cross town.

Hat's off to the folks at Marvel and the Travel Channel for putting together a nice tribute, including a very good section on how the comics industry reacted to 9/11.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Sorry to hear this morning of the passing of Julia Child. A number of comedians made fun of her, but she certainly was one never to take herself seriously. A grand lady, from what I have heard and read.

I'm sure her books will remain in print and her various TV programs will probably be visible for years. Rest in Peace, dear lady!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

I was just checking out some of the other blogs I link to and caught a bit on TALKING POINTS MEMO on New Jersey's governor. A quick peek at CNN.com revealed this headline: New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey resigns his post, citing an extramarital homosexual affair.

For those outside the New York/New Jersey area you might have missed all the commercials for NJ tourism with the Governor and his wife strolling the beach.


Donna and I decided to spring for DirectTV,which was installed yesterday morning. The commercials on cable turned out to be right and we had some problems last night with the thunder storms. The interference seemed to be when the storm was heading in our direction, but stopped once it actually began raining. Picture quality is as good or better than with Time-Warner Cable.

We've barely begun checking things out, so I don't have much to report. We actually ended up watching the same stations we had been viewing with basic cable (Bravo, ComedyCentral & Channel 2 (the CBS flag station in NYC). I'll probably have more to say when I've had the chance to check things out. We went with the basic package, with the 'local station' option, so we don't have HBO, Showtime or the sports fanatic stuff. Frankly, most of the stuff we watch are on the major networks anyway.

It is nice to have some of the stations we've missed since moving back to Brooklyn, as the Time-Warner package we had didn't include two of our favorites. Donna and I both love ANIMAL PLANET, and enjoyed some of the shows on GAME SHOW NETWORK (now called simply, GSN). I had been looking forward to checking out TRIO, but according to Mark Evanier we won't be having it for long. When Donna isn't around (since she's not a fan of animation), I'll probably check out the various cartoon stations. She's more into Discovery Health, since her background is in the medical field.

I expect to have some time to play around this coming weekend, so I'll let you know if anything catches my eye.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Just completed another review for Joe Bob Briggs, so as usual, I'm posting the first draft here. The last few reviews haven't had too many edits, so I must be getting the hang of this.

Oh, anybody familiar with Rego Park, Queens? I may be working in the area soon.

*******************
Rage by Steve Gerlach; reviewed by Steve Chaput
Leisure Books; ISBN – 084395311X

Well, this was a pretty unpleasant read! There is nothing like reading about some guy who gets off on snuff films to pass the time. I actually had to put the book down a few times, as it was just a bit too disturbing.

Ben Jackson is attending college simply for lack of anything better to do with his life. Having demonstrated early in his childhood that he troubled, Ben has grown up to be that guy you used to see on campus. You barely remember him and don’t know anybody who hung out with him. If you did try to make conversation, he probably blew you off, leaving you wondering why you bothered. Not anyone’s idea of a BMOC.

Like many loners, Ben blames his problems on everyone from his parents, to his teachers to any female who gave him the brush off. Naturally, as his own self-pity and bitterness increases, so does his hatred of those he blames for his problems. It’s also only natural, at least in this type of book that things are finally going to come to a violent conclusion.

Gerlach demonstrates early on that Ben is not your regular loser; this is a guy with some very serious anti-social issues. After the usual childish games of ‘playing doctor’ with school mates, Ben’s only actual sexual encounter is with a fellow male student at the boarding school to which he is sent. Now in his early twenties, Ben’s sexual frustration is beginning to show itself in some unhealthy ways. When he does finally meet Christine, the “love of his life”, you know that it is going to end badly. Ben has already made plans for his ultimate revenge and his relationship with Christine only temporarily keeps things from boiling over.

Gerlach spends so much time showing us how creepy and anti-social Ben is and how he became that way, that there is little room for any of the other characters in the novel to be any more than ciphers. Sadly, so much of the book seems like padding until the final chapters when Ben finally snaps. Perhaps with more to work with Gerlach might have produced an entertaining read. In this novel, he simply tosses in the clich├ęs we’ve seen in numerous films and televisions shows, so there are few if any surprises.

Two stars.



Friday, August 06, 2004

There's really not much I can add to what others have said about G.W.'s great verbal gaff the other day. It does remind me of another famous quote though:

"The police are not here to create disorder. The police are here to preserve disorder." Mayor Richard Daley during the 1968 Democratic Convention.

Damn! If only Abbie was still here.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

According to their 'official' website, http://www.nyisbookcountry.com/ New York is Book Country is no longer being held on Fifth Avenue. My guess is that it became too expensive or inconvenient for the city to reroute everything in that area for a good part of a Sunday. Then again, it will be nice to head down to an area that I am very familiar with.


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I was listening to Al Franken at lunch and enjoyed, among other bits, how he points out that Tom Ridge has indeed politicized the Dept. of Homeland Security. How can anyone take Ridge and his pronouncements seriously any longer? "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" and all that. If they announced that planes were inbound at this point I doubt if most Americans would even look up! The "Oy, Oy, Oy Show" is always worth a listen.

Could someone explain to me how G.W. can remain so popular with a large segment of the American people? I'm not saying that I'm overjoyed with Kerry, but he is certainly preferable to another four years of the borderline incompetents in the Administration.

On a non-political/personal note: Don't you think that fitness centers, especially those where most if not all of the members are female would have curtains or blinds on the windows? Not that I'm really complaining, mind you, but it is distracting when I sit here at the Reference Desk and see the ladies working out. :-)

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

For those who care I'm now working for the Queens Borough Public Library. The folks have been very nice the past couple of days, but I won't have a permanent assignment for a few weeks yet. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Boy, I don't even now if I remember how to do this blogging stuff after being away. I just haven't felt like joining in on anything lately and probably wouldn't have had anything worth adding if I had.

Tomorrow (8/2), I'll be heading to Queens to begin my new job. Well, to be honest I'm going to spend the day at the Queens Borough Central Library filling out forms and going through orientation. They won't even tell me where I'll be assigned until later, so my first actual work day will probably be Tuesday. I'll keep you updated on where they have me.

I have mixed feelings, naturally, since I have already worked in a public library and it would not have been my first choice. Still, I do know the job and shouldn't have much difficulty getting back into the routine.

The benefits are pretty good and I'll be back in the New York State pension system, in which I'm already vested.

Hopefully, with a 'normal' routine beginning again I may be able to once again start posting on a regular basis. It will be interesting to toss in a thing or two about the coming election, that is unless the Adminstration decides that national security would be harmed by such a shift in power and aborts (pardon the expression) the voting.

Oh, it should be a fun few months!