Archive for May, 2010

26
May
10

Glenn Beck made $32 Million Last Year!!!

There is an interesting article regarding Glenn Beck and his shilling for Goldline at Mother Jones. Com – http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/05/glenn-beck-goldline-weiner?page=1 – but the thing that shocked me was that Glenn made $32 Million last year! $32 Million!?? That is unbelievable. I say again (see Crazy Guilty Pleasure ) that he is Andy Griffith’s character in A Face In The Crowd. He is getting rich while pretending to be an everyman. He is profiting off of those that really believe him to be a newsman by selling them things they do not need.  Simply, he is gaining by selling fear.

25
May
10

Really Faux News

From Huff Post: Fox News video of President Obama’s speech this weekend at West Point omits cadets’ applause after the President discussed ending the Iraq War. “WestPt cadets applaud Obama, FoxNews alters tape 2 remove applause,” Michael Moore tweeted.

I watched the video from the White House site of the speech.  There is clearly sustained applause during this portion of the speech.  Huff Post allows that maybe Fox used a direct feed from the Presidents mic.  I will allow that all the cadets had on gloves and thus his mic might not have picked up the applause.  I think these are generous concessions if I say so myself.  Let me now note that on the White House video you do hear the cadets clapping with their gloves, but you also hear those on the dais clapping as well – without gloves and loudly.

All that said, this cannot be anything but Faux News.  This is pure spin for those who get their news from Fox.  It is nothing but an attempt to make it look like there was dead silence when he says our time in Iraq will end.  That is simply distorting facts.  If this was a one time event, you might just roll your eyes.  Unfortunately, this is consistent with the Fox News model.

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21
May
10

If God is Superman, Jesus is Spider-Man

Don’t know if there is an Emily Post rule about responding to a post with a post, but Prolix’s struck a chord. Before I spin off though, let me just say I met Greg Rucka and James Robinson at a comicon. Besides being great writers, they are both really cool humans!

At that same comicon, there was a geek band, Kirby Krackle, that did a song paying homage to Superman. “We’re counting on you to save us from a burning building. We’re counting on you to follow us into the night. We’re counting on you to pull us up when we are drowning.” That is the earworm that started playing in my head while reading Prolix’s piece. Musically, the song reminds me of the over-earnestness of “Christian pop” music. Maybe not that appealing, but it totally works. Superman is who you count on to take care of you in the DC universe. That is the role that God plays in many people’s lives in this universe. It is probably my biggest issue with organized religion, specifically Christianity. It makes life in this universe something to live through, not something to live. Going through hard times? Pray to God to make it better. Having health issues? Go down to the altar and be prayed over. “Hand it over to the Lord.” It makes it pretty darn easy, doesn’t it? You don’t have to start walking and eating vegetables to get your cholesterol down – just pray. If you have a heart attack and die? Well, it was the Lord’s will. He took you home because he couldn’t bear another day without you. You’re family that gets left behind? Well, if they are sad they should pray and they can be comforted knowing you are in a better place.

God is Superman. Swoop down. Fix this problem. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to try to make my situation better because God’s got my back.

If I understand Prolix’s post correctly, it seems he is saying Superman gets boring because he is perfect. God can have that problem too sometimes. I think that might be why the Old Testament sticks around. It gives you the mean side of God and everyone knows that villains can be so much more interesting than good guys. Even with the surge of prosperity preachers saying God wants you to be rich and all you have to do is give them money and believe to be rich, you still have to have a little hell fire and brimstone to make it exciting. God may want you to be rich, but the flip side is that he will also send you to hell if you don’t go along.

So for Superman to be a really good comic, he needs to show a little vengeance, deal out some retribution. Superman needs to go all Old Testament on Lex Luther. “You ate shellfish mother@$*ker! Die!!!”

As for religion, it needs to be more Marvel Universe than DC Universe. Marvel superheroes have angst and imperfections. Christianity needs to lose its DC editors (I’m thinking Paul here) and give their superhero, Jesus, a restart. Joe Quesada could help them with this as he dialed Spider-man back to the beginning like magic. Jesus is way more interesting than Paul lets him be. He talked about bucking the establishment, doing away with all the unnecessary and meaningless rules imposed by the church, and living in the moment. He hung out with the unpopular crowd, the misfits, the prostitutes and tax collectors. See doesn’t that sound way more interesting?

21
May
10

Superman Action!

Producing a monthly Superman comic may be the most difficult job in comics.  Superman is the icon of comic books and comic book characters.  He is the reason all the rest followed – and there’s the rub.

Nothing can change.  The basic premise must remain intact forever.  Given that you have a near-omnipotent hero, that doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room.  Granted, some pretty big changes HAVE been made: Clark married Lois and Pa Kent died.  Still, what’s next?  More of the same, most likely.

Having made all the excuses for the writers and editors that I can think of, I am now going to criticize them anyway.  Currently, Superman is in the most capable hands of James Robinson and Greg Rucka.  Frankly, you can’t do much better.  However, every time a decent artist comes along (Gary Frank), DC decides he’s too good for the regular series and shuffles him or her off to draw a limited series – which brings me to my next complaint: spin-off titles.

The editorial team at DC has a title that is impossible (or nearly so) to write and every time a decent storyline is dreamed up they, in their infinite wisdom, decide to spin it off into a miniseries, leaving the same old tired stuff in the regular series.  Stop it!  When you get a great idea, put it in Action and Superman!

Recent events will illustrate my point:  Robinson and Rucka free the bottled city of Kandor and a planet opposite the earth is created to house them (and yes, this is that wholly new and original idea that I said never happens).  So what’d the editors at DC decide?  To package it as a miniseries while Mon El (never mind who he is) protects Metropolis in the regular series.  Yawn.  Please understand that the Kandorian storyline was great.  I just don’t know why it couldn’t happen in the regular books.

Of course the answer is “more money”.  This way they can sell Superman and Action AND the minis to idiots like me and make more money.

So why do I buy Action and Superman?  See above.  Superman started it all.  Don’t get me wrong.  If I couldn’t afford it, I wouldn’t buy it.  But I can and I feel like I’m paying my dues.  I respect the medium and I respect Superman and all he represents – as icon, as founder, as hero.  It’s just too bad DC editorial doesn’t feel the same way.

18
May
10

When people treat their dogs like people…

I remember being a young girl and hearing my parents and older family members laugh and just being agog at a friend of a friend who dressed their poodle up in doll clothes and took pictures of him. They thought it was incredibly strange and that the person was just a little bit not normal. That was a long time ago. In the intervening years things have gotten stranger. Now people spend small fortunes on their pet and you can get dog clothes just about everywhere you go. Wal-mart has the typical sweaters and such, but the pet store down the road has a corner of the store dedicated to posh pooch couture. (It reminds me of the Barbie aisle at the toy store – bright pink and rhinestones everywhere.) Frankly, I think it is all ridiculous. I am an avowed non-pet person. If anyone remembers Sam Kinison, he did a bit about a pet psychiatrist who took the ailing dog into his office and said, “YOU’RE A F$%*KING DOG!” That’s me. But, if a person wants to waste their money on that stuff, then, it’s their business.

Unless you cross a line. And, I think this would qualify as crossing the line.

A co-worker told me this story this morning. His wife is an airline attendant and her co-workers told her she missed an incident on her day off. So, for what it is worth… if it is really true it definitely goes down as one of the craziest things I ever heard.

A woman about 50 boarded the plane wearing an infant carrier with a baby facing her chest. They could see the babies little hat – and then realized it was a dog. The woman was carrying her pet on board in a baby papoose. Ok. Strange. But, in flight, they became aware of the fact that the woman had proceeded to breast feed the dog. She made no attempt to conceal this fact. Not knowing exactly what to do, they gave her a blanket to cover the proceedings.

14
May
10

Going Bare

This morning I drove my boy to school.  It was “field day” where they will spend most of the day outside on inflatable slides and water games of various sorts.  He dressed in clothes that he didn’t care if they got wet or muddy and flip-flops.  Obviously, not his normal school clothes.  When we pulled into the school he said, “I don’t understand why the girls all wear their nice clothes and then have to change.  Like they have to look all cute.”  I told him that was a conversation that would take longer than just the time it took to drop him off, but basically blame it on society – girls are judged by how they look not the content of their character.  He got out and went inside and I came to work wondering if I try to indoctrinate him too much.

Yesterday was a blur and I didn’t have a chance to even see what was happening in the world, so I looked to see what the headlines were on Huffington Post.  After the conversation with my boy, three things caught my eye.  “Hoda and Kathie Lee go make-up free on ‘Today Show’, Pregnant Claudia Schiffer poses topless, and Young Girls Do Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’.  (Not to say there weren’t other nude celebrities and such, this was HuffPost after all.)  They all seemed to go with my line of thought, that if you define prejudice as judging a person by their physical appearance and not by the ‘content of their character’, sexism is definitely the most difficult ‘ism’ to overcome.  The three stories/videos cover the full spectrum.  It took nerve for middle aged women to go on camera with no makeup.  It was interesting to hear most of the other anchors that showed their bare faces say that they normally went without.  Not sure I buy that, but still.  Hoda owned up to what I think is closer to the truth.  She confessed vulnerability without makeup.  Most women spend most of their lives behind a veil of makeup.  It is scary to be out in the open, exposed.  (We could go into a long discussion of societal pressures that we find abhorrent (burqa) vs. societal pressures of beauty and how they are kin to one another, but I would be digressing.) 

I just saw the headline about Pregnant Claudia; I really had no inclination to see the photos.  While the middle aged women embraced their vulnerability for a day, Claudia is an aging supermodel.  Not that she looks it.  The Vanity Faire issue in which she is nude and pregnant is supposed to celebrate womanhood.  Ok, whatever.  Claudia is nearing 40 and is pregnant, you can’t tell me there’s not a lot of airbrushing going on.  It is the exact opposite of the Today Show bit which owed up to what is real – no one looks perfect and certainly no one looks perfect without a lot of work.  The Vanity Faire cover holds up a picture of what women feel they need to be – beautiful even when you are huge, sexy even when you’re a mom.  It is simply impossible.  Yet it is a constant race against time to always look younger and better and live up to those standards.

All of this starts so young.  As evidence, the young girls dancing to Beyonce.  My god.  The girls were 7 years old.  They were dressed in… well, to me they looked like saloon-girl-bikinis, red with black fringe.  That was bad enough, but the choreography was definitely more suitable for older performers.   Dancing to the song is one thing, having a 7-year-old squat with her legs apart and thrust her hips is simply disgusting.  Why would anyone think that would be a good idea?  Obviously the dance coach and the parents went along with it.  Because that’s what we expect of girls, right?  To look pretty and dance?  It is the same as the baby beauty pageants where parents parade their daughters like prized pets that they paint and dress like prostitutes.  Obviously, these are extreme examples but, in general, we expect our sons to tear their jeans and have dirt in their hair from climbing trees and playing hard and we expect our daughters to be pretty.

This is nothing new and lord knows we’ve come a long way, baby.  The glass ceiling has all those cracks in it, after all.  Yet, it doesn’t change the fact that the double standard still exists.  Women have to work harder and look good doing it to get to, and break through, all those glass ceilings.  Hoda and Kathie Lee will have their makeup on tomorrow morning.  Frankly, they took a risk.  It is hard to be a middle aged woman on television, always worrying if they will look for someone younger.  The cliché that gray hair makes a man look distinguished and a woman look old holds true in TV more than anywhere.  Tomorrow I will have my makeup on too.  I resent it.  I don’t wear a lot, yet my insecurities will lend me to try and cover up my imperfections – and trust me that is impossible.  It is hard to break free of all the programming.

12
May
10

Beatrice and Virgil

I love this book by Yann Martel! I loved Life of Pi so I knew I would love it, but it was better than expected.

Normally, I don’t read book reviews – at least not in their entirety because I don’t want to know too much about the story. So, how do I recommend a book without revealing anything that might take away from the experience? How do you talk about something you cannot talk about? Which if you read the book, well, you’ll see.

Actually, I listened to the book. So let me review the narrator, Mark Bramhall. Great. He manages to capture the voices of the two main characters without doing anything so over the top that you are distracted by thinking about him doing a voice or an accent. He pronounced “about” as “aboot” signaling Canadian, but it was mostly subtle.. The other character was older, deeper voice. Old world. Both characters I could see clearly based on his reading regardless of any description in the book. The reading made the book… do I dare say better? Perhaps not, I have not read it. But, it was so enjoyable, I think I will listen to it again, something I rarely do – and never right after I finish.

Oh, but how I want to talk about pears and shirts and black cats!