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Thursday, February 23, 2006


Rat or Dog?

As I was plugging in my breast pump last night (the way all good stories start), I discovered that the electrical cord on our lava lamp had been severed near the base. The cord had also been destroyed on the space heater, which sits on the floor next to the lava lamp. Something (someone??) had chewed completely through both of these cords.

It was a mystery. The time had come to compile a list of suspects. The known residents of our house are:

1. Me
2. Dave
3. Our almost 6-month-old daughter
4. Our dog Cosmo

My husband and I both have jobs, and our daughter has no teeth, so all signs pointed to our neurotic dog. But what about the invisible residents of our house? I try to ignore the scrabbling in the walls late at night, but were the rodents stepping up their game?

Consider this. WHATever it was chewed through the only two cords in the house NOT plugged in. Dave feels that Cosmo knew which cords did not have electricity, and so wedged himself in a corner and carefully chewed through those, passing up the plugged-in cord for the lamp, which was right next to the space heater and lava lamp. However, this is a dog who shows almost no interest in chewing on things. When we first got him we went through almost every chewable item in the pet store until we found the one bone he likes to gnaw on. Also, I've seen him chew. He hunkers down and obsessively chews and chews. The cords were cut fairly cleanly, with no obvious bite marks. Our daughter's spit-up covered toys blanket the house, and he chooses an electrical cord?

So it's an electricity-savvy rodent? One who is roaming around the house destroying our infrequently-used appliances?

I can't decide which is worse. All I know is I'm afraid...very afraid...to go home tonight.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006



You can improve the quality of your entry into any room by yelling "Behold!" as you walk through the door. For further enhancement you may add, "It is I!"

Works every time.


Black Sweat

New Prince released yesterday at iTunes, yet another "return to form" but this time it really just might be despite all the CLEAN LYRICS logos all over the thing. The live instrumentation funk pop classisist Prince is thankfully absent on this track, replaced by the long-missing robot sex weirdo Prince we've all pined for. Yes, U pined 2, don't try 2 deny it. Not strong on melody, but sometimes melody just has to go CLEAN LYRICS itself. Whatever its merits, the song has generated the dumbest review ever:
Funky sound, but I'm not buying his whole James Brown impersonation. It is just a little too much and seems an easy rip off. But then again, the charismatic Prince has never had a real knack for innovation. (emphasis mine) Instead he has surrounded himself with quality musicians that have added a magic touch to his music, including Wendy & Lisa and Candy Dulfer.
Gold, that is. Watch the highly amusing video here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Holy Shit, Batman?

Frank Miller has divided comic fans since at least Ronin in 1983. The debate about Miller's latter day artistic worth and intent will probably never be resolved. Lazy, sexist hack cashing in? Bravely honest provocateur? Both? With each new project, including the current All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, Miller either descends further into self-parody or comes closer to perfecting his vision. Now (as Rich Johnston's column reminds us) Miller is almost ready to release Holy Terror, Batman, in which the Dark Knight takes on Osama Bin Laden himself. Miller openly calls the book "propaganda" and "a reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we're up against." While it's impossible to say what the finished book will be, we do know something about Miller's political state of mind as he completes the project. From his recent interview at the site Comicdom:
...9/11 did change everything: the West is confronted with a fascist, misogynist, homophobic, genocidal blood enemy that is dedicated to the annihilation of everything civilization has achieved in three millennia. At the very least, my idea of what makes a true villain has changed. An existential threat to everything in the world that's worth a damn clarifies the mind...Look at the world. Almost half my country equates flushing a Koran down a toilet with sawing the head off an innocent contractor, or using airplanes those barbarians could never have invented to slaughter thousands of my neighbors.
Boy, it's a good thing people this paranoid and intellectually dishonest aren't running the country. Oh, wait.

There's no question that Miller has been a hugely influential storyteller, and he did help pave the way for greater creator freedom and control in comics. But his Andrew Sullivan/Little Green Footballs routine here is simply pathetic. Bullshit of this caliber doesn't get a free pass just because I liked Daredevil when I was 10.

For a free-thinking iconoclast, Miller gets his talking points directly from Wingnut Command Central. The irony is inescapable--and no, not the easy (if debatable) irony of Frank Miller denouncing misogyny. Like every other wild-eyed "existential threat" couch warrior, Miller talks like a grizzled tough guy who's clear-eyed-Spartan-man enough to know when killin' needs doin', but can't see the inherent abject cowardice in his hyperbole. FDR, it turns out, was flat wrong: there is much in the world to fear, and we must be ruled by that fear. Miller's Limbaugh-like cheap shot at implied liberals ("almost half my country") who supposedly forgive barbarism and murder while whining about the symbolism of a flushed book reveals how profoundly unserious Miller is. He may or may not be a lazy artist, but he is most definitely a lazy thinker.

Miller's critique of his fellow Americans is based on a false contrast. By my count, the only person judging the relative acceptability of beheadings vs. Koran defacement is him. I'd be willing to bet that the percentage of Americans who condone beheadings by terrorists is close to zero. But it doesn't take a radical leftist to realize that defacing the religious texts of devoutly religious people--all as taunting psy-ops--might be, um, somewhat counter-productive. By linking the two, Miller seems to show his real target of scorn: Americans supposedly too weak to stand up to the potential "annihilation of everything" at the hands of subhumans too stupid to make their own airplanes, so they had to steal ours. It's a mighty short hop from Miller's construct to, say, condoning torture by US forces because hey, these slavering, fanged towelhead demons want to kill us for our Queer Eye and HBO. What, are you a spineless pussy?

Al Qaeda are indeed dangerous, fanatical assholes. But whatever Miller's book turns out to be, ultimately Batman is not going to kick their asses. And neither are we. If our success against terror continues to be measured by how many of them we kill before they kill us, we are utterly fucked. Miller's language romanticizes Armaggedon, perversely willing into being the clash of civilzations as an eager partner with Bin Laden. (but don't stop shopping--for expensive Frank Miller hardcovers--or the terrorists win!)

Yet strangely, in the months before 9/11 the Bush Administration was positively chummy with the Taliban--and they were no less homophobic, misogynist, fascist, etc. They were open about their intent. And we still ally ourselves with the terrorist-coddling Axis of Evil when they're fighting gay or womens' rights in the UN. So what really changed after that dark day? The red-blooded half of our country Miller with whom apparently aligns himself aren't likely to be in any gay rights parades; they just want to put down those scary Arabs--for revenge, for fun, for imperialism, out of a misguided sense of self-preservation, whatever. U.S. warmongers are pretty much down with the Al Queda social program, they just would prefer it to be administered by the holy trinity of baby Jesus, Dick Cheney and George W.

In the cartooning world, Frank Miller may be a shining star. In the real world, he's strictly comic book.

Monday, February 20, 2006


No, Thank You, Fred

Unlike many fans, I don't have a lot of original comic art--but the few pieces I do have I treasure. I already talked about my Joe Kubert sketch a few months back. Today it's cartoonist and ace #1 comic book fan Fred Hembeck. Like the Kubert (and my Chuck Jones Bugs Bunny) this sketch was unsolicited, which makes it cooler. A couple of years ago Fred mentioned on The Comic Treadmill that of all the DC comics collectibles he had, he had never heard the immortal Songs and Stories of the Justice League record. I sent him a copy, and a month or so later, he sent me this in return. It's awesome...( I particularly like the Flash and GL) and best of all it's ready for coloring!

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