2010 Favorite Comics

King City

Just dizzyingly masterful. Brandon Graham turns in an imaginative epic full of small moments, big monsters, great characters and just crazy, crazy stuff. The ever-reliable David Brothers does a much better analysis of what made it such a joy to read every time it showed up in my stack.

Uncanny X-Force
How did he do it? How did Rick Remender make me lovelovelove a book titled X-Force – a name that brings up images of saliva-mouthed, cross-hatched muscle-men toting ridiculously gigantic guns while garbed in a suit made entirely of pouches – featuring the already over-exposed Deadpool and Wolverine along with a bunch of other "kewl" characters (and the legitimately cool Fantomex) as the X-Men's black ops team? I don't know, but I'd be a liar if I said that this book didn't make the 13-year-old inside of me jump up and down and fist-pump forever and ever.

Dudes. Just buy it. It's beautiful, hilarious and it's by the guys who made Street Angel. You need to know nothing else beyond this.

Chris Roberson and Mike Allred have crafted the perfect weapon to do battle against the horribleness of the Twilight saga. Zombies, mummies, werewolves (well, were-terriers), vampires, and a talking chimp.'Nuff said.

The Bulletproof Coffin
This book is so weird. Like a dayglo David Lynch superhero fever dream, Hine and Kane take a long look at comics and all their idiosyncrasies and leave you with a feeling of hopelessness. It's the anti-Flex Mentallo.

Orc Stain
James Stokoe's kind-of-sort-of fantasy tale subverts all your expectations in a purple-ish, veiny wonderland full of thieves, Flintstones-ish contraptions, swamp witches, and orc-based genital mutilation/currency. The Mindless Ones did a great podcast on the subject. Go listen to that. Then go buy the trade of the first six issues. You won't regret it.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger
Yeah, I know. Another comics fan whining about the little book that couldn't. But when you have Roger Langridge writing an accessible, all-ages book about a character I could have cared less about and making me love him and his universe, and when you have Chris Samnee drawing the heck out of every singe panel in that book, you kind of have to bellyache a little when something this special gets snuffed out in the crib. I can't say I'm shocked that a well-drawn, well-written Marvel book got canceled due to low sales, (as my Nextwave collection will attest) but I am a little disappointed. But hey, good art doesn't always win. In fact, the instances where something that is actually excellent gets wide recognition are so rare that I can't think of any. When's the last time a legitimate, all-caps, GREAT film was #1 at the box office? Or a GREAT record/song was at the top of the Billboard charts? How about on the bestseller list?

You get the point.

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour
There's not a whole lot surprising in Bryan Lee O'Malley's final chapter in the Scott Pilgrim series. Like it's predecessors, it's funny, ridiculous and touching. It's beautifully rendered, well-written and populated with great characters doing really fun stuff and kissing and stuff. What more do you want in entertainment?

Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon's stunning mini-series about birth, death and the stuff in-between was just fantastic. It'll break you. In a good way.

Morrison's Batman books: Batman & Robin, Batman: the Return of Bruce Wayne, Batman: the Return, Batman Inc.
This run has been uneven as hell, but wowzers, it's been fun to read. Morrison manages to tie up his years-long Batman story (who knew that Final Crisis was really a Batman story?) while paving the way for the future of Batman all the while giving up some top-notch work from Frank Quitely, Frazier Irving, Chris Sprouse, and Yanick Paquette. (We won't discuss the attack of the Morrison Art Curse on ROBW and B&R) Morrison literally killed off the old, grim soldier of Frank Miller's Batman and replaced him with one poised to take over the 21st century. I, for one, welcome our new corporate Batman overlords.

Sweet Tooth
I wasn't too sure how I'd like this, a post-apocalyptic tale featuring an boy with antlers and his tough-as-nails guardian, all done up by Jeff Lemire. Yes, that Jeff Lemire, the guy who gave us sublime stories about people in small, rural Canadian towns in his Essex County books and Vertigo's The Nobody. I mean, the guy is obviously talented, but a Mad Max meets The Island of Dr. Moreau sci-fi-type book? Has he gone all Hollywood on us?

No. No he hasn't. Settle down, Dylan. Sweet Tooth is full of the same stuff that made Lemire's earlier books work so well: well-rounded characters stuck in situations they don't necessarily like or understand, making things work as best they can. Sorry I doubted you, Mr Lemire.

Jeff Parker & Gabriel Hardman on Hulk
Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. After the third cancellation of Parker's Atlas series (See my remarks on well-written, well-drawn series at Marvel in the Thor entry), the creative team shuffled over to the adjectiveless Hulk book to take over for Jeph Loeb after his two-year-ish run on the book detailing the exploits of the Red Hulk, an idea so stupid it could only come from Jeph "I Wrote Commando," Loeb.

And they knocked it out of the park. The set-up so far is reminiscent of Nextwave (the whole "gotta shut-down all these secret doomsday weapons" plot engine) and Thor: the Mighty Avenger (the whole "let's team Red Hulk up with another hero every issue to see what makes him different" thing), and it's so well-plotted and expertly drawn you forget just how dumb this whole thing started off as. In fact, in their hands, it makes perfect sense.


BRR Christmas Mixes


All remastered and ready to go! Enjoy!

A Big Red Christmas, Vol. 1: I Would Never Steal From Santa
A Big Red Christmas, Vol. 2: Sleigh Bells In the Air
A Big Red Christmas, Vol. 3: It's the Perfect Gift Idea
A Big Red Christmas, Vol. 4: You'd Better Watch Out
A Big Red Christmas, Vol. 5: K-Mart Is Closed
A Big Red Christmas, Vol. 6: My True Love Gave To Me
A Big Red Christmas, Vol. 7: To Heck With Ol’ Santa Claus
A Big Red Christmas, Vol. 8: We Dress Up Like Snowmen
A Big Red Christmas, Vol. 9: Got Something For You


Good Times

So I think I'm going to move a lot of my blogging over to my Tumblr, Big Red Tumblr. So you can follow me over there for the short bursts of static that comprise Tumblr blogging.

I'll still keep this live and update with posts here & there, but dang dudes, I feel guilty whenever I look at this thing, like it's looking back at me with these eyes that say, "Remember the good times, when you used to write stuff on me? Why can't we have those times back again?"

"But blog," I want to say, "those times are gone. The Internet has changed. I've changed. We can't go back to then. We can only have now. And now is … different."

But I just can't say it. Not yet.


Flying High Again

It all started with Nixon. Blame him. It's September's mix, A Beginner's Guide To Levitation. Featuring tracks from 13th Floor Elevators, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, R.E.M., The Monkees, Male Bonding, The Promise Ring, Modernettes, Best Coast, Lou Reed, The Killers, Serendipity, Band Of Horses, Radar Brothers, The Feelies, Andrew Bird, Nick Drake, The Bee Gees, The Cure, Ben Folds, and Club 8. Here's the cover:

Download it here. And you can get even more mixtapery goodness by checking out the Master List.

As usual, feel free to tweet this, share it on Facebook or just send the link to a friend. Sharing is caring. Oh, and if you do, let me know and you just might get some special surprise.

The Pirates Have Learned of His Invisibility Device

It's MST3K Drink & Draw time again, so get your pencils ready for Manhunt In Space, another chapter in the adventures of Rocky Jones: Space Ranger.

Manhunt In Space
Movie-sign is tomorrow night, August 25th, beginning at 9 pm. Who's in?

Watch along on Netflix. Draw along with the movie. Follow along on Twitter with @theChrisHaley and @theJenya OR find all the great tweets using the hashtag #MST3kDandD. And there's always our Flickr pool for posting your drawerings.

A good time will be had by all.


15 Records & 15 More

So I got tagged on one of those Internet meme things on Facebook the other day. It was a thing where you were supposed to list 15 albums that stuck with you, which, c'mon, how am I supposed to pass that up? I've done something similar here on the blog ages ago with my Desert Island Disco series, and while both lists contain a lot of the same artists, for this one I included records that were more introductory and seminal as opposed to ones I'd listen to forever if necessary. So here's my list of 15 Albums:

1. Jonathan Richman - I, Jonathan
2. Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson
3. The Beatles - The Beatles
4. Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited
5. Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand
6. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
7. The Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?
8. Talking Heads - Remain In Light
9. The Beach Boys - Friends
10. The Clash - The Clash
11. Yo La Tengo - Electro-Pura
12. Sebadoh - Bakesale
13. Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
14. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
15. R.E.M. - Reckoning

And of course, as soon as I hit "Submit" on the Facebook note, I thought of another 15 or so records I could include. So here's another 15:

1. Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
2. The Dismemberment Plan - Change
3. Beck - Midnight Vultures
4. Spoon - Girls Can Tell
5. Ganglians - Monster Head Room
6. Tom Waits - Bone Machine
7. Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
8. Old 97's - Too Far To Care
9. Super Furry Animals - Rings Around the World
10. Halo Benders - God Don't Make No junk
11. Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
12. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
13. The B-52's - The B-52's
14. Neil Young - After the Gold Rush
15. They Might Be Giants - Apollo 18

What about you? What are some informative, keystone records from yr life? Ones that you heard and said to yourself, "Yeah, that's it right there."?


Seven Evil Exes

So, we saw Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World the night it opened and for some reason, I'm just getting around to blogging about it. It was really fantastic. Like, very, very, very good. Perfect, almost. Upon its completion, I immediately wanted to go watch it again. That's how good it is.

It has everything a movie should have: a great soundtrack, great cast, masterful direction, snappy dialogue, epic fights, and a cute love story. It looks great, it sounds great and it feels great. (It also includes the long-awaited fight between George Michael Bluth and Ann Veal that all you Arrested Development fanfic writers have been salivating over.*) And so far, it's not doing so great at the box office, with box office receipts totaling less than half of that steaming turd of a film Eat Pray love. This is terrible. I cannot let this act of aggression stand. As an enjoy-er of Things That Are Awesome, I must act.

So I am posting this in an effort to get you out of your house and into a theater to watch this movie. Because trust me, if you wait until it hits in DVD and you're watching it at home on your little TV you will be going, "Oh man! This movie's great! Why didn't I see this on the big screen? WHYYYY?!" And I will jump out from behind a plant and say, "I TOLD YOU!" And you will probably call the cops. But it will be worth it.

But yeah, go see Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. I loved it, and c'mon, my tastes are pretty impeccable, right? And if you're worried it's too dudical or if I'm already to biased about the source material (Seriously though, the comics are great, too. And yeah, I'm a pretty big sucker for Edgar Wright, but c'mon! Spaced? Shaun of the of Dead? Hot Fuzz? Spaaaaaaaaced? And yeah, I bought both the soundtrack and the score and will most likely download the game on Xbox and sure, I waited to buy the last volume at midnight at my local comic shop and I pretty much feel like if you don't like this movie you probably wouldn't like me because it's everything I think is great about movies/comics/video games all in one place…), I will point out that I saw it with my wife, who also enjoyed it lots and couldn't care less about comic book movies or martial arts movies, both of which this film shares DNA with. So there.

It's super-fun. Honest. And if you have seen it already, why not tell a friend. It pains me to see something this good and this fun and this well-made get passed over in favor of stuff like Vampires Suck or Eat Pray Love. We've got to fight for our right to awesome.

Here's the trailer.

* Is Arrested Development fanfic a thing? Initially I was joking, but now I kinda hope it is. I don't know that I want to live in a world where somebody isn't spending hours writing the further adventures of the Bluth family. It's gotta be out there somewhere, right? I mean, if people are writing Spin City or WKRP In Cincinnati fanfic, surely somebody somewhere's gotta writing the story of Carl Weathers and Tobias Fünke on a roadtrip across America to audition for the Spider-Man musical, right? Please tell me this is so, otherwise, well, you know what I'll be doing this weekend.


"Ooh-Oooooh Swamp Diamonds!"

It's MST3K Drink & Draw time again. This time, it's Swamp Diamonds, AKA Swamp Girls, a Roger Corman "girls on the lam in the bayou" schlock-fest.

Movie-sign is tomorrow night, August 25th, beginning at 9 pm. Who's in?

Watch along on Netflix. Draw along with the movie. Follow along on Twitter with @theChrisHaley and @theJenya (that's her face in that there diamond, lookin' all sultry & whatnot) OR find all the great tweets using the hashtag #MST3kDandD. And there's always our Flickr pool for posting your drawerings.



You Gotta Hear This

Tom Waits covering the legendary James Brown's classic, "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag." It's like if Albert Einstein decided to cover Isaac Newton. Or something. Anyway, it's glorious.

You're welcome.

America's Busybody

"Do I hear the sound of butting in? It's gotta be little Lisa Simpson, Springfield's answer to a QUESTION NO ONE ASKED!"

– Ned Flanders, losing his cool-a-roodily in
the Simpson's episode, "Hurricane Neddy."

So, yeah, Sarah Palin, America's Busybody. Since when did we need her to throw her two cents in Every. Single. Issue? First off, she decided that the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque," (pronounced: "It's a community center. You know, more like a YMCA, only the 'C' is a 'M'.") to be built on "hallowed ground," (pronounced: "A former Burlington Coat Factory") needed to be "refudiated," (pronounced: "Not a word, you dunderhead.") by peaceful Muslims &/or New Yorkers. Because, you know, as an Alaskan (and one whose husband was a member of a group who wanted Alaska to defect from the Unites States, no less…), this directly affects her.

Now I'm not going to debate about this community center, its placement, or whether it's a good idea or not. Opinions are obviously divided. My company line is that I don't live in New York. It's not my business. Buuuut, I like the Constitution. I like the freedom of being able to gather and worship in the manner I see fit without worry of hassle from the government. And, as a member of a vilified, misunderstood religious group who is always getting hassle for trying to build their weird, secretive buildings in myriad strategic locations, (and one whose history is rife with accusations of complicity in a secret plot by its members to overthrow the government and therefore should be shooed out of the country as quickly as possible, if not shot on sight) I stand by the First Amendment and well, if it's good enough for the neighbors and zoning boards in New York (or their mayor), let them build their community center in a shabby Burlington Coat Factory location a couple of blocks from the former World Trade Center. (By the way, with the way Manhattan is shaped, pretty much anything in the lower tip of the island is a couple of blocks from they World Trade Center. But maybe that's just The Elitist in me speaking.)

But, like I said, opinions differ. Whatever, because well, First Amendment. Which brings me to the latest bruhaha Sarah Barracuda/Quitter McGee decided to weigh in on: radio personality/advice diva/A.M. yenta Dr. Laura Schlesinger's recent flap for using the N-word numerous times (numerous times!) during a conversation with a caller on her show. Now her defense is that she was using it to make a philosophical point AND black comedians say it AND they say it on HBO, but still, the fact stands: she used a racially charged word over and over and over on her radio show. Also, for what it's worth, we're talking about a lady who looks like this, which is to say, pretty dang white:

Personally, I don't mind Dr. Laura. I used to work a construction job with a guy who listened to her semi-religiously and she was fun; doling out sound, common sense advice like a friendly mom who'll tell you how it really is, kid. Sure, she's a busybody, which is probably why Sarah decided she needed to defend her, I guess. It's part of the Busybody Sisterhood Bylaws or something. Look it up.

Anyway, because of the flap, Dr. Laura's gonna retire from her syndicated talk show, telling Larry King that she was looking forward to having her First Amendment rights back by being off the air. We'll get into why this is a stupid statement shortly.

Good old Sarah tweeted her two cents (because let's face it, she has a lot of free time on her hands ever since she quit her job and hired a ghostwriter to writer her books, Facebook page posts and, one assumes, those lists on her hands) thusly:

"Dr.Laura:don't retreat...reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence"isn't American,not fair")" (link)

And: "Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice,America." (link)

So, let's talk about why this is totally dumb. Let's start by refreshing ourselves with the First Amendment that's being bandied about so much here. From the National Archives website, the transcript of the Amendment reads like so:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Got it? Do you see the part where it says, "You can say whatever you want and nobody can say anything about it?" No? Whaaaa-? Surely it must be in there.

There seems to be this idea that the First Amendment means that you can say whatever dumb, insensitive or inaccurate thing you want without others saying, "You know, what you just said was dumb. Or insensitive. Or inaccurate. Or all three." This is not the case. If it were, then that means that Sarah Palin was obstructing the Constitutional rights of Rahm Emmanuel when she got all busybody-ish about a report of him saying that Congressional Democrats' objections to the (at the time) Health Care Bill were "retarded."

(It means "stunted." Again, look it up if you need to. It also has other connotations, namely an epithet towards the developmentally challenged. We can split hairs here and talk about usage and why when Emmanuel used it, he was referring to the Congress member's demands, and not a person, therefore the usage is obviously not intended to connote a mental handicap; whereas when Rush Limbaugh used the word to describe members of Congress themselves, he knew full well that that was what he was referring to, namely that the aforementioned Congress members were developmentally challenged. But we won't get into that. It's also interesting that when Dr. Laura gets in trouble for using the N-word, – repeatedly! – Sarah Palin's right there defending her civil liberties, but if somebody says "retarded," man, you better watch out. She will go all Mama Grizzly on you. But hypocrisy's always looked good on Palin.)

Another example: the former Miss California's sort-of-recent kerfuffle vis a vis: gay marriage versus "opposite marriage." Did she have the right to answer the question according to the dictates of her conscience and limited mental capabilities? Sure. Does that mean that her comments should have been uncontested or at the very least un-made-fun-of? Nope. Sorry. I mean, "opposite marriage"? Seriously? The Constitution doesn't cover against mean words or hurt feelings or reasoned rebuttal.

At least not until I get made President.

Look, if Dr. Laura is exercising her First amendment rights by using the N-word to try and make a philosophical point, well, okay then I guess. But it's A) a stupid thing to do, and B) others are just as protected under the First Amendment by "refudiating" those remarks. That's the cost of democracy. It's also the cost of being an adult. It's called accountability and responsibility. You know, the kind of stuff Dr. Laura's shoveling on a daily basis, but apparently won't eat herself, choosing instead to wallow in victimhood.

The bottom line is this: the First Amendment does not mean what Sarah Palin (and a lot of other people) thinks it means. The Amendment simply states that the government can't put limits on your speech (unless it's public or commercial or obscene or slanderous). It's not a free pass to shoot your mouth off whenever you get a microphone in front of your face with fear of reprisal. Welcome to America.

Also: white people should not be using the N-word. Ever. Never ever. Period. Full stop. Not for comedic purposes, not to make a philosophical point, not for any reason. Just don't do it. Cut it out of your brain if you have to. And if a white person does let it slip for whatever reason, they deserve all the backlash that comes their way.

The First Amendment does not protect you from the consequences of your speech, especially when it's done over public airwaves.

Sorry dudes.

Day Late/Dollar Short

Hey there. I didn't get around to it yesterday, but here's the latest MST3K Drink & Draw poster. This one's for the film Night of the Blood Beast, about an astronaut who comes back from the cosmos all knocked up with alien babies. Sexiness/hilarity ensues.

Go and check out the Flickr pool for more great stuff. Oh, and next week's film is the Roger Corman, "girls on the lam in the bayou," schlockfest that is Blood Diamond, so get ready for that.


The Cosmic String

It's Wednesday! Which of course means it's time for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Super Friends Club Drink & Draw event, featuring this week's presentation, 1965's Monster-A-Go-Go. Here's the poster.

Movie-sign is tonight, August 11th, beginning at 9 pm. Who's in?

Watch along on Netflix. Draw along with the movie. Follow along on Twitter with @theChrisHaley and @theJenya OR find all the great tweets using the hashtag #MST3kDandD. And there's always our Flickr pool for posting your drawerings.

Oh, and I'm still curious about your thoughts on printing these up and selling them in the Tuff Industries shop. Which ones should I offer? Would you buy one? Should it be specific for the event or be reworked to be just a movie poster? Let me know in the comments section, por favor.


These Are the Breaks

So like a million years ago, when the world was young and Triceratops was still a dinosaur, Chris Haley and I pinged together one of our legendary collaborative mixes.

Over the course of a few days we pulled together our tracks and Chris came up with a pretty baller title (Ping, vol. 6 – Dance Fighter 2: Electric Punch-A-Yoo! Just sorta rolls off the tongue, right?) and we were like, "Yay! This is great! Now let's do the cover art!" So Chris whipped up this great illustration of a guy with a fist for a head and I was like "Yeah! This mix is gonna be huuuuuuge!" and then I started to finish it off but then I lost my job last year and my world turned upside-down and I totally forgot about this poor mix as it sat in my iTunes, coverless, unshared and unloved.

Poor fella.

Well, no more! My life is now right-side-up and Chris has reminded me enough and I got it done and now you can download and enjoy the latest in Ping Mixtapery Saga by clicking this link right here. It's also available in the Master List, along with a bunch of other mixes from the BRR Mixtape Brigade.

Oh, and why don't you just go ahead and download my monthly mix, Baby C'Mon while you're at it?


Tom Servo

Well, it's that time of week again, time for the MST3K Super Friends Club Drink & Draw event. This week, we're screening Santa Claus.You know, the one where he teams up with Merlin to defeat Satan. That one.

The action starts tomorrow night, August 4th, 2010, beginning at 9 pm Eastern time.

Watch along on Netflix. Draw along with the movie. Follow along on Twitter with @theChrisHaley and @theJenya OR find all the great tweets using the hashtag #MST3kDandD. And there's always our Flickr pool for posting your drawerings.

Oh, and as a bonus, here's the poster for last week's movie, First Spaceship On Venus.


And as long as we're on the subject, I'm thinking of offering prints of some of these in my Etsy shop, Tuff Industries, but I'm a little unsure of the specifics. What do you guys think? Which ones should I offer? (There's a Flickr set here. I'm thinking from Werewolf on.) Would you buy one? And if so, should it be for the event, or be reworked to be just a movie poster? Let me know in the comments section, por favor.


These Darned, Dirty Apes

Here's August's mix. Featuring tracks from: The Breeders, The Oranges Band, The Modern Lovers, Stephen Malkmus, Rogue Wave, Bob Dylan, T.Rex, Dr. Dog, Harry Nilsson, Phoenix, Guidance Counselor, Dirty Projectors, Built Like Alaska, The Smiths, The Mountain Goats, The Count Five, The Sunshine Fix, The Raincoats, Let's Active!, and Sparks. Lots of "The…" bands this month. Weird.

Download it here.

As always, there are more mixes over on the Master List. Feel free to share it with anyone and everyone. Sharing is caring.

And hey, have you made a mix that I should know about? Lemme know in the comments section.


"KILER BEES! You Forgot About Them, Didn't Ya?"

Oh man. So now we know where Glenn Beck got his shtick from.


Approaching Nugothotropolis

The freedom DC offers is something stranger, less commercial, but it still gives with possibilities. … If Marvel is the Communists, cutting off the intelligentsia and making all things mediocre and equal, DC is America, where it's every man for himself and this is a free country as long as you pledge allegiance to the flag.

It's the perfect place for Grant Morrison, whose comics "don't make sense" a lot anyway, who used to brag about using chaos to make magic. The editors have no time to wrangle a mind that big, in fact none of them have a mind that compares, and besides, he's Grant Morrison, and besides besides, our digital comics platform is coming soon, promise! Morrison can truly do whatever he wants at DC because he thrives on the continuity. He'd be doing it even if they didn't make him. It's his idea of fun to do a comic like Batman #700, where he pops out a Batman-TV-show-style villain team-up, makes Batman Beyond official continuity (brownie points!), creates some new characters for the next writer to degrade, and kills an old and useless one. DC loves it when their writers do that. They love this violent, past-obsessed kind of thing so much they let Morrison write out their future in big awesome-ugly Dave Finch pages, where Bruce Wayne lives to a ripe old post-DK2 age and the city of tomorrow is called "Nugothotropolis". There are new names, new visions, new ideas mixed in with the old ones, ideas from a yesterday and ideas for a tomorrow – unlike at Marvel where the idea is anathema and every day is the present. At DC, time and creativity flow like crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico, like blood from a Tony Daniel villain's mouth. That is to say, it's ugly and it's stupid and it's not something a lot of people want, but it's by-G** happening.


Matt Seneca of Death to the Universe on Batman, issue #700.

He's A Soul Man

Well, it's that time of week again, time for the MST3K Super Friends Club Drink & Draw event for the terrible film, Soultaker, starring the man among men, Joe Estevez.

The action starts tonight, July 14th, 2010, beginning at 9 pm Eastern time. Be there or be square.

Watch along on Netflix. Draw along with the movie. Follow along on Twitter with @theChrisHaley and @theJenya OR find all the great tweets using the hashtag #MST3kDandD. And there's always our Flickr pool for posting your drawerings.


Originally {or} The Ballad of Pablo Picasso

Candace has a great post up about inspiration, copycats and ethics on Etsy in light of our latest run-in with a plagiarist. You should go read it. She sums up a lot of what we discussed when this was all going down. I'm sure this won't be the last time we're ripped off. Our print has garnered enough popularity in the handmade and craft community that it's a sure target for sellers who want to make a buck without putting in the effort of creation. Which rankles, but hey, what can you do besides call them on it and hope they do the right thing? Thankfully, these people are in the minority in the community.

I mean, inspiration's one thing, and a very valuable thing at that, but wholesale plagiarism is another thing entirely. Picasso's quoted colloquially as saying that good artists copy and great ones steal, and that may be so, but when I read "steal," I think of it as a classy thing, you know? Like Danny Ocean and his boys knocking over a humongous, intricately-planned heist. Or David Niven in The Pink Panther. Artful stealing isn't looting, where you throw a brick and grab whatever you can without paying for it. A real thief, like a cat-burglar or a pick-pocket, steals with a style and effortlessness that leaves you, for a time, unaware that such theft has taken place. For a while, you don't even notice that the silverware drawer is emptied or the Ming vase is gone or your trouser pocket is one wallet lighter. And once the theft is realized, you're sort of amazed and a little envious that they pulled it off.

Like I said, inspiration is key when you're working creatively. But inspiration isn't appropriation. Inspiration is taking everything you experience – visually, psychologically and, yeah, spiritually – from the color of a traffic light in the afternoon or the composition of a comics page or a record in a thrift shop or the way you misread a word on a billboard or some TV show you remember from when you were a kid – and filtering that through your training and ability to best communicate what you're trying to say. Art, if you're doing it right, is communication. And if you're unwilling or unable to use your own words to communicate, well, that's just sad. This is why I don't use too much reference when I'm designing; it becomes a crutch that stands between you and real, honest-to-goodness inspiration. Which is not to say I haven't done an homage or utilized visual shorthand to get my point across. I have, (for example, my TARDIS poster is an obvious homage to the famous "Keep Calm & Carry On" posters of WW2 Britain. But for me, this made sense, as Doctor Who is another famous and instantly-recognizable British icon.) but most of the time, I prefer to arrive at my conclusions naturally.

One more apocryphal Picasso story and then we'll close. (Seriously, the dude's like the Buddha of Art with all these stories and sayings.) Legend has it that Pablo Picasso – who, I'm told, was never called an a**hole – was sitting in a café, just being all awesome and stuff, when somebody approached him for a portrait. He doodled for a second on a napkin and handed it to the person. Yay, Picasso! When the guy asked how much he owed Picasso, Picasso gave him an outrageous sum. The dude balked, saying "Look, I know you're Picasso and all that, but there's no way it's worth that much. It took you like 30 seconds, tops. And half of that time you spent looking at that lady's boobs."

"No, dude. It took me 40 years to make this." said Picasso. "You know, because I've been doing this for that long and so that's how I was able to do it so quickly. Get it? Also, I am Picasso and I an awesome. So, pay up."

Is the story true? Yes, it is. I know because I was there. But seriously, it makes a salient point as to what you're paying for when you pay for art. The physical act of creation (or copying) is not the sum of that creation. A lot of time is spent thinking, planning, wool-gathering, on top of the years of formal training and experience in order to produce a piece. Simply copying a term paper in one's own handwriting is still plagiarism – in fact it's the textbook definition of plagiarism. So, even though you spent the time and effort to rewrite every word from the original and even though you changed some words around and used a different colored pen, it's still a copy and a fraud. It's still devoid of original thought and feeling.

Bottom line: copying isn't cool. Don't do it.


Gas Up Your Supercycles

Tonight's the night. It's the Mystery Science Theater Drink & Draw, hosted by the fine folks at the MST3K Super Friends Club. The film we'll be watching is the post-apocalyptic stinker, Warrior of the Lost World.

The action gets revved up tonight, beginning at 9 pm Eastern time.

Watch along on Netflix. Draw along with the movie. Follow along on Twitter with @theChrisHaley and @theJenya OR find all the great tweets using the hashtag #MST3kDandD. And there's always our Flickr pool for posting your drawerings.

Nimoy vs. Shatner




Library Hijinx

So, here's why I can't go back to my local library branch.

Personally, I blame the Who. More specifically, I blame their 2006 rock opera, Endless Wire, which, although I have never heard it (a little more on this later), I can only imagine is pretty terrible. Seriously, there's no point in calling it a Who album if the band doesn't include Keith Moon or John Entwhistle. Duh. And Pete Townshend, enough with the rock operas. We get it, it's sort of your thing and they're all high-brown and stuff, but man, they suck. Okay, yeah Tommy's pretty widely enjoyed (even if I think it's sort of crap) and you've got me on Quadrophenia (it's a pretty great record), but Psychoderelict? The Iron Man? Lifehouse? White City? Nobody wants to hear that but old muso fogeys. It's boring.


It all started when I tried to renew David Byrne's Bicycle Diaries, which so far is pretty fantastic. I encountered an error on the Las Vegas Clark County Library District's newly-uglified website. Awesome. So, I figured there was some sort of error with the website transition and planned on dropping by my local branch to set it straight. So, while I was logged in, I looked into what books I still had checked out and saw that the system was showing me as having Travis' The Man Who record as well as the aforementioned Endless Wire still checked out, which was weird because, yeah, I'd never checked that out. I had checked out the Travis record in an effort to re-import it into my iTunes at a higher bitrate than what I had (256 kbps vs. the 128 kbps I had in there previously), but I remembered not needing to do so because, turns out, I had already re-ripped it. Awesome. But I'd returned The Man Who like a week and a half ago. Weird.

No worries, though. I was sure that the librarians could help me figure it out.

Big mistake.

First off, you guys know me. You know how I feel about libraries. If the Conservatives would chill out a little and let a brother live, I would marry libraries. Our babies would be books. Incredibly white books, but books nonetheless. And since returning to Vegas, I'd sort of grown to like my local library system, even though it treated me like both an employee and a criminal.

See, thanks to (I'm assuming) budget cuts and the relative inexpensiveness of RFID tags, most of the stuff that used to be handled by employees of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District – stuff like pulling held items and checking out those items – have now devolved onto the shoulders of the patrons. Which is kind of cool in a "pick your own strawberries," sort of way, I guess. I don't have to feel guilty about putting a bunch of stuff on hold or checking out a pile of DVDs or CDs, since I'm having to do all that work myself instead of a LVCCLD employee. This does, however lead to a few annoying moments, like, for instance, if the security device on one of your items decides not to deactivate no matter how many times you wave it across the pad in like a million directions and you and the always borderline psychopathic security guard are stuck trying to figure out which item is causing the doorway thingies to beep like you're stealing something.

And yeah, I can sort of understand why you won't give my kid a library card without me showing some sort of proof of residency even though I myself have a library card that I had to show proof of residency in order to procure. I mean, it seems a little extreme (we're not buying a car or applying for a credit card here, you know?) but there are enough charlatans in Vegas that I can see how you'd need to be a little more strict, I guess, even though I told the guy who told me so that I thought this was a "pretty dumb" policy before I stormed off with my sad kid.

So anyway, LVCCLD is sort of like a gulag, where you're forced to labor while being treated like criminals. (So I'm being dramatic. Sue me.) I should have known that I was in trouble when I moseyed up to the counter and got the same guy who rejected my kids' library card application without proof of residency and the same guy who had told me that he just couldn't bend the rules and let me check out this one extra held DVD because it would put me over the limit, thereby causing me to return the very next day to return one DVD and check out the other one. This guy's been here for years. I remember when he was a high-schooler re-shelving returns back in the good old days, where you'd find me sitting on one of those step-stools in front of the CDs or lurking in the section that held the same five graphic novels I'd read before. Aaaaah, memories. Based on my previous encounters with him, something told me that there would be "nothing he could do" to help me out with this The Man Who/Who snafu.

Sure enough, he was powerless in the face of bureaucracy. The Who CD belonged to another branch and I'd have to "go down there" and work it out with them.

"Um, no. I'm not 'going down there,' to fix this. That's crazy." I said. "Obviously, this is a mix-up of some sort, I never checked out this Who CD."

No, he assured me, I had checked it out. It was nigh impossible that it would show up as being checked out to me if it were not so, but since this belongs to ______ branch, they would have to fix it. There was, he informed me, "nothing he could do." Well, he could do one thing: he could renew Bicycle Diaries for me. Anything more than that was just too difficult. Gee, thanks. You're a pro and a bro.

(I should also add here that during this entire exchange, this dude's giving me the old "Oh man, not this a**hole again," look.)

So, I left frustrated and went about my business, too flustered and flummoxed by the Red Tape Tango to remember that I had the complete Twin Peaks on hold. Which is how I found myself totally sneaking in a few hours later to try and stealthily check it out without running into my nemesis. Except guess what? The self-service machine informs me that there's a "HOLD SHELF CONFLICT" and I can't check it out. So, it's back to the circulation desk. Yipee.

I see my nemesis shifting in his chair, but he's "helping" another customer, so I get a youngish woman who, apparently, is familiar enough with the situation (Hey, I've worked in this type pf atmosphere before. I'm sure he was commiserating with her about this guy who always gets mad when I just flat-out refuse to do anything for him.) to inform me that my account is on hold until I "go down there" to the other location and get this sorted out. She is equally ineffectual, unable to do anything beyond telling me that maybe I can call "down there" and see if they can fix it over the phone. But again, despite my insistence that I never checked out this Who CD, there's just nothing she or, apparently, anyone else can do to help me.

So, I call "down there" and proceed to vent on this poor lady who, again, can do nothing to help me other than calm me down a bit. She tells me I'd have to call first thing Monday morning and talk to their head of circulation and see if there was anything she could do. She did give me the bar-code for the Travis CD and gave me some tips for dealing with my local branch.

Only one problem; it's Saturday. This is gonna bug me all weekend if I have to wait until Monday. Maybe, just maybe there's *something" my local branch can do. Let's call them. Why not, right?

So, back into it. I call my local branch and talk to the same lady I spoke with like a half-hour earlier. I try and find out how this might have happened and she's totally not helpful, bordering on hostile. It's decided: I checked both of them out and must have switched them, despite the fact that I'm sitting here, telling her, "No. I never checked out that Who CD. Why would I? It's probably terrible!"

"I don't know, but that's the only solution." So, could they have been mixed up before I checked them out? Because I don't think I even opened that one. "I don't know. The other branch will have to answer that for you because that Travis CD isn't here. You must still have it." Um, I don't have it. I returned it. "Well, did you keep the receipt?" No. It gave me the option to print my receipt and I pressed "No." Thought I'd save a receipt tree. "Well, you'll probably have to pay to replace the Travis CD, then. Maybe the other one, too, the Endless Wire one. You should always keep your receipts." Then why not just make the receipts mandatory, if they're your only recourse in a situation like this? Why give me the option? "Well, some people don't want them." Yeah, uh, like me. But can't you check and see that I returned this or, I mean, if it came from another branch, wouldn't I have had to request it? Can you look that up and see that I never requested it? "No, we don't keep those records." Really? "Really."


"So," I ask, "let me get this straight, if I can't get this other branch to fix this, I'm going to have to pay for this CD I know I returned as well as this other one I never checked out."


"This is bordering on Kafka-esque here, m'am." I chuckle in frustration, half-expecting to sprout cockroach wings at any moment. "Can you see why this is very frustrating?"

"I guess so, yes. But, like I said," say it with me, kids, "there's nothing we can do on this end."

"Alright. Thanks." And I hang up, defeated. But no sooner have I hung up and start to explain the conversation to Candace – who has already figured it all out and is just being nice at this point, pitying her poor, "special needs" husband who has to somehow beat the system to feel sort of like he isn't insignificant in a world that has rendered him neutral – that I think of another angle to try and weasel myself between the bureaucracy and what I want. To the Dolt-Phone!

So I call back. I know, I know. I'm "That Guy." But this time I end up getting the reference desk somehow. I can sort of picture the guy I'm talking to because I mean, there are like a half dozen people working there and I'm there like once a week. So I explain to him my situation. He pulls up my account and goes to see if he can figure out what's going on.

I'm on hold and it's playing "On Hold," music which, who makes this stuff? I wonder if it's "the Overture," from the Who's epic Endless Wire opus and start to cry on the inside. The music plays on, some weird mixture of easy listening and ambient noise. Tuneless, formless. Audio ficusses dotting the landscape of waiting.

Aaand, just when I think he's forgotten about me, the Reference Dude is back. I brace myself for the lament of impotence; the inevitable, "There's nothing we can do, but maybe if you call this person 'down there' they can help you, even though I know dang well they can't."

Instead, I'm met with a, "Well, okay. I think we figured this out. It looks like the CDs were mixed up when you checked them out." Lo & behold! "Why couldn't this have been figured out the first time?" I wonder to myself, but keep it there for fear of angering the Library Gods. Reference Dude tells me that they'll take care of it. The other stuff has been taken off my account and I should be good to go. I refresh my browser window and KA-BLAM! he's right. Justice – like lightning!

"Are you serious?!" I exclaim, "This is great! You're the fourth person I've spoken to and none of them could help me." I am overflowing with love for Reference Dude.

"Okay." he retorts, probably wanting to be rid of This Dude Who Just Won't Stop.

Not one to know when to stop, I say, "Thank you. You are an incredible person. If I were standing in front of you, I would hug you." Yeah, I did. This is almost an exact quote. Sensing that I have crossed some sort of line because I am totally socially retarded, and, well, I totally have, I say thanks again, get an "Okay, okay," in return and hang up.

And that, ladies and gentlemen of the Internet, is why I can never go into that library branch again, at least not without some sort of disguise. Does anybody know where a fella can get a decent fake mustache in Las Vegas?

"Home Is Where I Wanna Be"

In case you missed it, we've added a new poster to the Sparkle Power stable with the new "Home Sweet Home," series. Six colors, one happy house. Head over to the shop and pick one up. They make a great housewarming gift. Buy ten of them.


That's America … To Me

Another Bruce monologue. Have a safe and sane Independence Day, kids.

Also, don't forget that if you share my latest mix, I'll send you a bonus mix, which could come in handy this weekend.

Have fun. Don't blow off any digits.


Take Me Back To Wondaland

Hey hey hey. July is here and so is the newest mix. Also, it is hot as the center of Hell in Vegas right now. But this mix, this mix is cool. You can download it here. Featuring songs from The Shins, Vampire Weekend (yeah, again), Wilco, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings (yay!), The Dutch Rhythm Steel & Show Band, Paul Simon, Jan & Dean (I've been waiting to work this track in for a while now), Elliott Smith, Graham Nash, Frank Black, Esquivel, Janelle Monáe (you should really check out her new album The ArchAndroid, it's really pretty great), Jens Lekman (of course), The Beatles, Bruce & Terry, The Ventures, Hanoi Janes, The Tammys, Gnarls Barkley and The Drums. It's Hammock Rock, basically.

There are more mixes over on the Master List. Feel free to share it with anyone and everyone. In fact, if you do share it (on Facebook, Twitter or on your blog), drop a link or comment and I will send you a very special Independence Day mix. For realsies.

Let me repeat: If you share this mix, I will send you a special mix.

That is all. Enjoy.


"Pruppets Are Little People Who Can Talk."

"It’s as if it’s 4:30 in the morning he had snuck into the studio to make this show without getting permission. It’s bare bones. Lots of technical problems. Just a mess. The whole thing is a big mess. A big beautiful mess." – Tim Heidecker to Entertainment Weekly

You wanna know what show I love to bits? Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule, that's what. It's like the most bizarre, depressing and hilarious thing ever. For example, here's the good doctor interviewing his "brother," Stan Brule, who loves "preetzas," and has 500 skateboards:

And is also just a fantasy because Dr. Brule always wanted to know what it would be like to have a brother. Funny and kinda dark, right?

This show, it speaks to some sick part of me. I love it like a lot. You should too. It's a lot more focused than it's parent show, Tim & Eric: Awesome Show, Great Job! which started off as bizarre/kinda wrong/hilarious and then ventured off into bizarre/makes you wanna barf/is unwatchable. You can watch all six episodes of Check It Out! over at the adult swim site. You won't be sorry, you dingus.


Fine Pewter Portraits of General Apathy

Matt Taibbi on CBS's Lara Logan and the Rolling Stone/McChrystal debacle:

True, the Pentagon does have perhaps the single largest public relations apparatus on earth – spending $4.7 billion on P.R. in 2009 alone and employing 27,000 people, a staff nearly as large as the 30,000-person State Department – but is that really enough to ensure positive coverage in a society with armed with a constitutionally-guaranteed free press?

And true, most of the major TV outlets are completely in the bag for the Pentagon, with two of them (NBC/GE and Logan's own CBS, until recently owned by Westinghouse, one of the world's largest nuclear weapons manufacturers) having operated for years as leaders in both the broadcast media and weapons-making businesses.

But is that enough to guarantee a level playing field? Can a general really feel safe that Americans will get the right message when the only tools he has at his disposal are a $5 billion P.R. budget and the near-total acquiescence of all the major media companies, some of whom happen to be the Pentagon's biggest contractors?

Does the fact that the country is basically barred from seeing dead bodies on TV, or the fact that an embedded reporter in a war zone literally cannot take a s*** without a military attaché at his side (I'm not joking: while embedded at Camp Liberty in Iraq, I had to be escorted from my bunk to the latrine) really provide the working general with the security and peace of mind he needs to do his job effectively?

Apparently not, according to Lara Logan. Apparently in addition to all of this, reporters must also help out these poor public relations underdogs in the Pentagon by adhering to an "unspoken agreement" not to embarrass the brass, should they tilt back a few and jam their feet into their own mouths in front of a reporter holding a microphone in front of their faces.

Go. Read.

Here's A Non-Bruce One

"So it's uh, it's uh, in no way poo-based?"
"So there's no reason to see a doctor!"

I think I could just post a Kids In the Hall sketch every day and be satisfied. But I won't. Probably.

Completely Losing It

You see this online:

You read the lineup and your jaw drops, your mouth goes dry and your hands start sweating. This cannot be real. You read that lineup again. And again, trying to make your brain make sense of the band names that seem to blur together. That is pretty much every great band you have ever loved or at least liked. Then you read it again and you are sure it's some sort of dream or trick or hallucination. Then you pinch yourself and when you're still staring at the screen you realize THIS IS HAPPENING THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING AND IT'S HAPPENING IN LAS VEGAS WHERE YOU ARE LIVING, DUDE! and you officially start freaking out. You're going to have to write that out so it can seem real.


Still doesn't seem real.

Is it July 5th yet?


Soft-Boiled Wonderland & the End of Lost

First off, this is a long one. Also, it's about Lost. And S*P*O*I*L*E*R*S, too. You have been warned.

Okay, so I had this thing written about the finale of Lost and it was gonna be all about misplaced expectations and letting it end on its own without getting in its way and how Lost was a drama with mysterious elements and not a mystery with dramatic elements and all this stuff. I had extended and shaky metaphors about apples and oranges and answers and questions and all this stuff. It was pretty highbrow ish.

And then I read Geoff Klock's post on his problems with the finale and man, this dude is totally right. You should really go read it. I'll wait.


His theory that the endgame of Lost was retooled (and eventually shunted into the Sideways World/Afterlife Construct/Purgatory we've seen over the last season) once the show became popular and their rather intelligent and rabid fanbase pegged the ending pretty early on totally explains some of the more nagging problems people have had in getting everything to lay down just right. And I can understand their frustration with its inability to do so. Human beings like order. But by its nature as a televisions series – as art in service of commerce and tight deadlines – Lost just isn't going to come out perfectly no matter how much we'd like it to.

As I said in the comments thread on the post, TV is a messy medium, especially network TV. When all is said and done, a network television show is a work of art created as a shell for advertising and, hopefully, syndication. It's created solely to make money. If some art sneaks in with that money-making; fine. Whatever. But let's not kid ourselves. The fact that any of these dollar-vessels achieve any sort of success beyond that purpose (and I think we can all agree that a lot of TV shows don't) is a small miracle. The ambition of Damon, Carlton and their production and writing staff is to be applauded. They took a fairly disposable, unappreciated medium – the television drama – and set out to say something about humanity. Now, whether you feel that they were successful or not is another thing entirely and that's between you and the universe. As I said, I think they were successful, despite the best efforts of fate.

Being as this is a serialized drama with real actors and real-life constrictions, both monetary and otherwise (for example: Walt having to leave the Island because the actor playing him hit puberty, Ana Lucia/Libby being killed off because of DUI charges, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's Mr. Eko character being killed because he was bored with the show, large swaths of the third season that exist solely to kill time while the show was retooled to work for another three seasons), sometimes stuff gets tossed out. Sometimes bad ideas find their way into the mix and end up forgotten once calmer heads prevail. ("Stranger In A Strange Land," anyone?) Sometimes opportunities get missed. Somebody somewhere in the Internet said, derisively, that Lost was just a glorified soap opera and yesyesyes, it totally is, but does that mean it's devoid of worth? Like I said, it's messy and the fact that this show managed to pull this much off while still remaining fairly popular is a small miracle.

Which is why I am prone to cut this show some major slack. Its ambition overpowers its shortcomings, in my opinion, but then again, I really respect ambition. I'm more inclined to overlook little incongruities and misfires if the artist/author/et cetera aims high and falls short. It's like this guy says about an even more flawed series and finale – Grant Morrison's noddle-cooking ending to Final Crisis – it's flawed, but still ultimately succeeds solely because it's trying so hard. Does everything about Lost fit together like some Swiss grandfather clock, immaculately designed and constructed and built to run for lifetimes? No. Is it still one of my favorite TV series and, in my opinion, one of the better ones in recent memory? Absolutely.

Because where else are you going to see a TV drama focusing on the debate between free will and predestination? Or if we can ever overcome our past? Or the importance of community and living together? I know it's sort of a cop-out to say "Lost has always been about the characters, not about Jacob and his brother or time travel or whatever so shut up, dude on the Internet." I know that it's a cop-out, but it's also sort of true. I was always more invested in whether Jack could overcome his need to control Every. Little. Thing. or if Locke could stop being angry with his dad or if Kate could stop running from catastrophe to catastrophe or if Hurley would embrace his destiny or if Ben could really not be a creepy, manipulative creepoid.

So here we are. A month or so later. Everything that happened, happened. And it only ends once. Everything else is progress. Our Castaways found some sort of peace in a non-/multi-denominational afterlife (the Sideways World) after struggling through their problems on the Island. It was pretty beautiful, when all was said and done and all those unanswered questions, they don't matter so much any more. And besides, we all knew they weren't going to be answered to our satisfaction, which is why a lot of them were left dangling. Because a lot of Lost's appeal has been sussing out just what the heck is going on and now we can debate this stuff forever if we're some sort of weird shut-in or something.

Sure, it seems slapped together in retrospect. Because it was. Sure, the Final Boss Battle™ between Jack and Flocke was really uninspired and sort of hackneyed. But it's a TV finale. And the giant magic plug is a little silly, but when we're talking about a show whose main conceit is it's a magic, time-tripping island, well, you don't really get to pull the "Silly Card." Sorry, them's the rules.

In the end, we got a dramatically satisfying, happy-ish ending for all the people we've watched for the last six years. And that final scene with Jack stumbling wounded through the bamboo field, his side pierced like another Shepherd, laying down in the same spot he awoke in the pilot as he traced the path of the Ajira plane as it finally, *finally* escaped the Island? That was pretty dang perfect.


And now, your questions: (did you think I forgot?)

Dave asks:

So, were they all dead when the plane first crashed? I don't know if I was just so wound up in it being the end that I didn't understand it well or what. If they were all dead from the start I don't understand the significance of the no-crash dual story line this season.

Also, what about when Jacob touched them all way earlier in life. How does that work?

Yeah, that was a bit of a problem. ABC has since clarified the reasoning for the Oceanic crash set playing through the finale credits. You can read their reasoning here. Kind of dumb, but there you have it.

As for the Jacob-touch, well, we now know that that happened earlier in their "afterlife," as the Flash-Sideways all took place in a kind of Spirit Prison/Purgatory mental construct.

Chanel asks:

1. How would you think the Hurley as "#1" thing plays out?
We'll find out when ABC releases the Complete Series boxed set later this year which contains a 12-minute vignette, according to Entertainment Weekly.

2. Did the plane make it from the island?
I think so, yeah.

3. Why were certain people like the pilot not there at the end? I mean I get the whole being ready to move on, but that guy seemed just totally left out for having such a big role in the end.
I'd imagine after all the trouble the Castaways caused him, the last thing Frank Lapidus wanted to do was hang out in the afterlife with them.

4. My take on the end, on my blog, if you get a chance to read, I am "getting it" right? I mean it is actually really deep stuff, which I am DYING to hear you GO INTO DETAIL on how you see it all.
Hopefully this is "in detail" enough. Cuz I don't think I can say anything else about this show. Oh, who am I kidding? I could keep going, but man, who's even reading this?

Until next time, kids.

This One's A Close Second

Why are they all weirdo-surrealist Bruce McCulloch sketches? I have no idea.


Is This My Favorite Kids In the Hall Sketch?

Yeah, probably.


PS: Yeah, I know I haven't blogged in like forever.



Possible side effects may include:

• Sleeplessness.
• Genital purpling.
• Red, swollen ear-holes.
• Unexpected, explosive, mind-melting diarrhea.
• Vomiting things you know for a fact that you never ate.
• Your bones slowly turning into caramel.
• Believing that you are a reincarnated Egyptian god.
• Terminally itchy leg-pits.
• Believing in mermaids.
• Bowel movements that smell like corn dogs and Mountain Dew.
• Cotton candy teeth.
• Feeling like there is a little person living inside of you who can only scream horrible things like all of the time as loud as he can.
• Lady Gaga-itis.
• Inability to call people by their real names, insisting instead to call them by the names of characters from the show Taxi.
• Farts from Hell.

If your erection lasts for more than 4 days, please consult your physician, guru or witch doctor. Also, you are probably dead.


A Suntan On Their Buns

June's mix is live. You can download it here. Featuring songs from Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, Chuck Berry, The Cyrke, Adam Green, The Clash, Herman Düne, Ed's Redeeming Qualities, Canary, Elf Power, Yo La Tengo, The Specials, Darwin Deez, Bodies Of Water, No Kids, The Art Museums, 1910 Fruitgum Company, Gilberto Gil, Sly & the Family Stone, The Beach Boys and The Apples In Stereo. It's like a suntan for your ears.

There are more mixes over on the Master List. Feel free to share it with anyone and everyone.


Decade of Us

Ten years ago, Candace and I got married. It was awesome. She's the best. I am lucky. That is all.


There's A City In My Mind

Yesterday on Facebook, I linked to a Pitchfork story about David Byrne suing Florida Governor Charlie Crist over the unauthorized use of a Talking Heads song in Crist's campaign. Today, he blogged about it. I won't comment on it; Byrne does a better job than I could. Read Byrne's entry below, or you can click here to read the entry on his blog, which I heartily recommend you follow.

05.25.10: Yours Truly vs. the Governor of Florida

I am bringing a lawsuit against the Governor of Florida.

A while back a friend told me that the Republican Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, was using the Talking Heads song “Road to Nowhere” in a campaign ad. He’s running for Senate.

Well, using a recording of a song, or even just using that song and not the original recording, in an advertisement without permission is illegal, unless the composition has gone into the public domain. It’s not just illegal because one is supposed to pay for such use and not paying is, well, theft — it’s also illegal because one has to ask permission, and that permission can be turned down.

Besides being theft, use of the song and my voice in a campaign ad implies that I, as writer and singer of the song, might have granted Crist permission to use it, and that I therefore endorse him and/or the Republican Party, of which he was a member until very, very recently. The general public might also think I simply license the use of my songs to anyone who will pay the going rate, but that’s not true either, as I have never licensed a song for use in an ad. I do license songs to commercial films and TV shows (if they pay the going rate), and to dance companies and student filmmakers mostly for free. But not to ads.

I’m a bit of a throwback that way, as I still believe songs occasionally mean something to people — they obviously mean something personal to the writer, and often to the listener as well. A personal and social meaning is diluted when that same song is used to sell a product (or a politician). If Crist and his campaign folks had asked to use the song, I would have said no — even if they had offered a lot of money, such as I have been offered in the past for ad use (though I’ve always turned these offers down).

I believe my audience is aware of this no-ad use policy of mine, and part of the respect I am accorded as an artist is due to my maintaining this policy. Needless to say, if they thought I’d licensed a song to a political campaign they might not respect me as much in the morning.

It might be pointed out that Republican campaign organizations have done this kind of thing before. John McCain’s campaign used the Jackson Browne song “Running on Empty” and Reagan’s folks used Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Both were used illegally without permission, and in the case of the Jackson Browne song a lawsuit was brought. After the Republicans lost several motions attempting to dismiss Browne’s complaint, they settled with him. Part of the settlement said that the Republican National Committee promised to respect artists’ rights and to obtain licenses for the use of copyrighted works in the future. So, it’s not like they weren’t warned, or hadn’t been burned before.

Now, there is such a thing as fair use. Typically the type of free use that doesn’t require a permission might be a student quoting a passage in a book to make a point in a graduate paper, or someone using part (not all) of “Road to Nowhere” to identify, say, the marching groove in that song as a metaphor for the inexorable forward momentum of time, or some such notion. These uses are typically exempt from licensing, permission and fees. In this case, however, the use was not to comment on or explain something about “Road to Nowhere,” ’80s music in general, Talking Heads or Cajun accordion riffs — it was used solely to further Governor Crist’s advertising strategy in his Senate primary campaign… a campaign that has nothing to do with me or my music.

Another tactic the Republicans have used to justify this kind of thing is the right to political free speech. Their argument is that the song is integral to making a political point, and therefore falls under free speech. Well, that’s just crazy talk — the song has nothing to do with Crist’s political views. It simply has a title that is a handy catchphrase, as does the Jackson Browne song — but the content of the song itself doesn’t have any connection with the politician’s campaign or agenda.

So, my lawyers and I have filed a lawsuit — and we also hope the Republicans might not engage (again) in this kind of illegal behavior in the future.


So yeah, suck it, Charlie Crist.

Anyway, here's the video for the song in question, which I totally love. It's quintessential Talking Heads: equal parts profundity and ridiculousness; part artsy and part, well, fartsy. They're my favorite band.


The End

So … that's it. The end. Aaaaaand I loved it. But what did you all think? Any questions? Now's the time to ask 'em.