Saturday, December 22, 2007

Gah! HE'S still around?!?

Once upon a time, I read X-Men comics.

Shaddap! It was the 1980s, before they were ever a franchise. There weren't any movies, cartoons, action figures, or slash fanfics. At least no slash fanfics that I know of.

So no, I wasn't geeky. I was cool, mmmmmm-kay?

Anyway, as I grew up and became more (AHEM!) sophisticated, I started reading stuff like Sandman and lost interest in following the ever-expanding X-Universe. This is probably a good thing, because just as I was getting into Sandman, Rob Liefeld was becoming le hot artist des comics and Marvel was starting to suck ass.

In retrospect, this was a good thing. For those unfamiliar with Liefeld: Ever wondered what would happen if a comics fanboy, addicted Punisher, Nick Fury, and other gun-totin' comic-book manly men, somehow landed an artist's gig without formal training or even a basic grasp of human anatomy? Well, you'd have Rob Liefeld. His artwork usually has lots of screaming, scowling, squinting superheroes brandishing large weapons. Within the comic book industry, he is generally considered to be a douchebag. Among other things, he has called Alan Moore "a whiner." People interested in further details (including his possible reliance on tracing paper) should just go to his Wikipedia entry.

Despite his controversial history and often prickly relationships with his colleagues, Liefeld continues to get work. And the fanboys and fangirls continue to mutter, "I/my brother/my friend/my goddamn cat could draw better than this hack!"

Meanwhile, one brave soul has managed to compile the very worst of Liefeld's work. It is a truly frightening list, but for some reason it omits the image below:

Of course, there could be a reason for this. Maybe it's part of a special issue on steroid abuse in the superhero community.

Liefeld, however, has decided to move on from superheroes to...drum roll please...the Bible.

Yes, the Bible. Only instead of wearing robes and sandals and stuff, Moses, David, Samson, and all their Biblical buddies have gotten the Liefeld treatment. They're heavily muscled, they wear a lot of outfits with pouches, and their adventures take place in a science fiction/comic book setting. See the concept art for more. Who but Rob Liefeld would reimagine King David as an extreme sports fanatic?

Paging Elayne Riggs! There's a ComicMix column in here somewhere.

Meanwhile, I can't help wondering: where's Bill Donahue and the Catholic League when you really need them?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Not that anyone noticed or cares...

...but Tom Tancredo is dropping out of the presidential race.

Awwwww. Poor widdle neocons

It's bad enough that their stupid foreign policies don't work. Now Time magazine doesn't want them anymore. Yes, the great Kristolhammer juggernaut is no more. In their place, the magazine has hired some tweek from the National Review who wrote a dumb book called The Party of Death that sold about 50 copies.

Says "Jim" in the comments section:

This action coming from the pile of crap magazine that named a commie "Person of the Year" as opposed to General Petraeus. I think enough is said about them right there...

"Jim" forgets 2004's Simian Man of the Year, George W. Bush. And its 2005 cover girl, Ann Coulter. My, these wingnuts are so sensitive, aren't they?

Just when you're getting into the holiday spirit...

...along comes James Pinkerton, the dumbest editorial columnist this side of Jonah Goldberg. Pinkerton, it seems, was hired to fill a Kool-Aid drinker quota at Newsday. Before Election Day, he was predicting that La Hill's ambiguous stance on licenses for illegal immigrants could sink her in 2008. Two days later, after the elections, it seemed that illegal immigration really wasn't the hot rod issue Pinkerton's and his GOP buddies thought it would be.


I mean, this guy is just fucking stupid. Recently, he's been channeling other people. Like German military generals. And now, the mayor of New York City.

He really needs to give this up.

Could the Democratic nomination really go to Barack Obama - you know, middle name Hussein?

And could the Republican nomination really go to Mike Huckleberry? I mean Huck Finn; I mean Huckabee. Whatever.

Woo hoo! Awesome parroting of wingnut cliches, dude! Islamophobia and class hatred in one fell swoop!

Pinkerton should consider scrapping this pundit gig and opening his own psychic hotline. It would enhance his credibility.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Torture: The nightmare scenario

Amidst the discussion of Geneva Conventions, waterboarding, Gitmo, and whether 'Merica really should be the "good guy" on the world stage, I have questions for the faux patriots and torture defenders:

Suppose an innocent person ends up in Gitmo?

Suppose this very person is subjected to--what's the right-wing PC term?--"advanced interrogation techniques"?

See, there's such a thing as mistaken identity. A perfectly innocent man may have the same name as, say, an al Qaeda operative. Or he may bear a close resemblance to said operative.

Obviously, these "advanced interrogation techniques" are woefully ineffective in this case. For one thing, the prisoner, being innocent, would have no information to provide in the war on terror. At what point do the interrogators realize that these techniques aren't working? Or that maybe they've got the wrong guy?

Imagine an innocent man being taken from his home country and spirited away to Gitmo. He's not allowed basic legal rights because, since he is a potential terrorist, he is not, after all, innocent until proven guilty the way most prisoners are. Imagine this innocent man subjected to "advanced interrogation techniques" like waterboarding.

Imagine if the story found its way into the national media. We're talking about Abu Ghraib times 100 here. We're talking about Osama and other demented fundie smirking gleefully as revulsion spreads throughout the Muslim world. We're talking about potential world pariah status here.

In this nightmare scenario, America's troops--the ones good, patriotic Americans support--are the first to suffer. What's to stop a foreign enemy from spitting on the Geneva Conventions, Bushco-style?

American foreign policy has a way of backfiring miserably. The US spent decades propping up scumbags like Batista the Shah of Iran. The result? Said scumbags were tossed out and replaced by unfriendly regimes. The US supported Saddam Hussein in the war against the unfriendly Iranians. You know what happened next. You also know what happened in Afghanistan.

The war on terror has similar potential. Only this time, instead of supporting torturers in Latin America and the Middle East, we'd be doing the torturing ourselves. Forget about the "slippery slope" of "advanced interrogation techniques." It's not a slope--it's a 500-foot plunge off a cliff.

Now do you see why your fellow Americans are so antsy about torture and the Geneva Conventions and all those other things that Fox News tells you not to worry about? It goes beyond good guys and bad guys. It really is in America's best interests not to torture.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Gee, I'm already feeling 1980s nostalgia

There's a tribute band for every act you can think of. Like Hair Supply, billed as "the greatest heavy metal tribute to Air Supply in the tri-state area!" They even have a MySpace page. And curiously enough, one of the band's Myspace friends is a metal Bee Gees tribute band. Both bands are currently without record deals, alas.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Some English Beat for the afternoon

Here's "Save It for Later," a kewl toon.

I have a question

Am I the only person in this country who really doesn't care that Mitt Romney is a Mormon?

"I tawt I taw a legal summons!"

And you thought our legal system was fucked.

Tweety may get a chance to take the witness stand and sing like a canary. An Italian court ordered the animated bird, along with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and his girlfriend Daisy, to testify in a counterfeiting case.

In what lawyers believe was a clerical error worthy of a Looney Tunes cartoon, a court in Naples sent a summons to the characters ordering them to appear Friday in a trial in the southern Italian city, officials said.

The court summons cites Titti, Paperino, Paperina, Topolino — the Italian names for the characters — as damaged parties in the criminal trial of a Chinese man accused of counterfeiting products of Disney and Warner Bros.

Instead of naming only the companies and their legal representatives, clerks also wrote in the witness list the names of the cartoons that decorated the toys and gadgets the man had reproduced, said Fiorenza Sorotto, vice president of Disney Company Italia.

"Unfortunately they cannot show up, as they are residents of Disneyland," Sorotto joked in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It certainly pleased us that the characters were considered real, because that's what we try to do."

The Naples court will have to rewrite the summons, although this will probably delay the trial, said Disney lawyer Cristina Ravelli.

"Let's hope the characters will not be prosecuted for failing to appear," Ravelli quipped.

Calls seeking comment from Warner Bros. in Milan were not immediately returned. Phones at the Naples court were not answered Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

When stupid people get too much authority

No, this post isn't about BushCo. It's about a bunch of cops in Wichita who tasered a hearing-impaired man wearing a towel and nothing else. Badtux has his own theories and wonders if this episode is a porn movie in the making.

Really, tasering a guy in a bath towel? Which Mensa candidate thinks this is a good idea?

"Today's word is...oxymoron!"

Something tells me this picture wasn't taken at a kosher deli.

(Originally found at Gothamist.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Gimme back my freaking money

Rudy Giuliani seems hell-bent on making certain nobody in NYC votes for him. So far, he's succeeding. Now, it turns out he billed NYC taxpayers for his extramarital canoodling.

Is Pat Robertson kicking himself yet? Or, you know, wishing he'd endorsed a nice, proper Christian like Huckabee or Thompson?

Meanwhile, where's Bloomberg? Wouldn't it be nice if Rudy repaid the city and the money were distributed as tax rebates? Yes, it would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Larry, give it up already

Senator Craig is going to wish he'd simply retired three months ago.

For over a year people have been telling me that Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman was working on a thorough investigative piece on a secret that had long been out in DC gay circles, that homophobic right-wing Republican Senator Larry Craig was addicted to sex with men. Some of the closeted gay Republicans on Capitol Hill occasionally-- rarely but occasionally-- get a pang of conscience about demonizing other gay people and will refrain from voting to destroy the lives of gay men and women and their families. But not Larry Craig. All the time he was out hunting for anonymous sex in toilets and gay bars he was part of the 100% crowd of hysterical anti-gay extremists. He strongly opposed prohibiting job discrimination against gays and lesbians. He strongly opposed expanding hate crimes legislation to include crimes perpetrated against gays and lesbians. He strongly supported legislation and even a constitutional amendment to prohibit same sex marriage. Every opportunity he's had to vote against gay people he's taken. And all the while, according to the "he-said, he-said" report in today's Idaho Statesman, he was sneaking around in the dark having sex with strange men.

It's kind of funny, isn't it? Craig's fellow GOPers Repubs Hagel, Warner, and Allard are choosing to retire with as much dignity as a rubber-stamper possibly can, while Craig insists on holding onto his job.

Doll blogging time!

This sweetie is a Madame Alexander Russian doll. I got her on eBay.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

"And Leon's getting LAAAAARRRRRGERRR!"

On this day--World AIDS Day--I've been thinking about my favorite movie of all time, Airplane! I know what you're thinking: "Okay, Truffle. Isn't this kind of a non sequitur?"

Let me explain.

Sometimes, a film has one actor who steals every scene he's in. In Airplane! that actor was Stephen Stucker, who played Johnny the flight controller. Everyone in that movie had great lines ("I am serious, and don't call me Shirley!"). But Stucker? He had the best ones.

"How about Mr. Rogers?"

"Johnny, what can you make of this?"
"Well, I can make a hat. Or a brooch! Or a pterodactyl.."

"The fog's getting thicker!"
"And Leon's getting laaaaaaaarrrrrrger!"

"The tower? Rapunzel! Rapunzel!"

"Oh, it's a big, pretty white plane with red stripes and curtains in the windows and wheels and it looks like a really big Tylenol."

Years later, I looked up Stucker's IMDB entry. I hoped to find that he was, at the very least, doing TV guest spots or maybe appearing stage or teaching drama at a university. Instead? He was one of the first actors to announce his HIV status, and he died of AIDS in 1986. Aside from his stint on Airplane! and its not-so-hot sequel, his screen credits were fairly small and insignificant.

My first thought? "Wah! No fair!" I laugh my ass off every time I watch Airplane! Especially Johnny.

I can't find much information about the guy. There's his Wikipedia entry and very little else. (Airplane's directors remember him as a scene-stealer even when he was an extra. Oh yeah, and those one-liners? He improvised a lot of them.)

I think Stucker is one of those actors who deserved a higher profile, a stronger career, and, of course, a longer life.

Thanks for the laughs, Mr. Stucker. Rest in peace.