Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I Love the 80s . . .

. . . not the decade. The temperature range. Come on, Summer!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

It may not be readily apparent in this picture, but I am actually – in a small way – striking a blow for freedom of speech and against fascism at home and abroad.
You see, a while back a newspaper in Denmark published some cartoons depicting Muslims and their prophet Muhammad in a not particularly flattering light. (Duh! Flattering cartoons ain’t funny.) It is taboo in Islam to depict Muhammad in any way, but evidently it’s really taboo to depict him with a bomb in his turban. A lot of American media outlets seem to be too scared to run these cartoons, so it’s possible that you’ve never seen them. Here they are.
Ever since then some people have been going nuts, killing people, burning embassies, issuing fatwas. You know the usual things extremists do when you hurt their feelings. Despite the fact that the cartoonists are not Muslim and live in a country where they have freedom of speech, so the whole thing makes as much sense as Hindus, who hold the cow in reverence, rioting and killing because some non-Hindu somewhere ate a cheeseburger.
The US government’s response shows without a doubt that Bush and Cheney and their minions never even got to the first amendment in their reading of the Constitution. They keep saying that free speech is a responsibility and that you should try hard not to offend anyone of differing beliefs.
Well, that’s a big steaming hot pile of B.S. Free Speech is guaranteed to offend people. The founding fathers knew that, that’s why they made the protection of it the first amendment, numero uno.
Anyway, one of the ways that the extremists are trying to punish the Danes is by boycotting their exports. So I have determined to do what I can to show the Danes that there are still some Americans who believe in free speech. According I have switched from Cabot to Danish cheeses (they make a great Havarti) and from Guinness to Tuborg or Carlsberg. I may even buy some LEGOs.
You can read more about the Buy Danish movement here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I'm a poet -- sorta

Once upon a time all comic books had letter pages where fans and readers held forth on what was going on in their favorite series. They had cool names like "Let's Rap With Cap" (Captain America) and "Greenskin's Grab Bag" (The Hulk). The Internet killed that (along with a lot of other cool stuff.) What with chat rooms and message boards and all that, most publishers began to think of letter pages as something of a dinosaur, so they got rid of them.
Big mistake. One enormous way that letter pages were superior to message boards is that the editor had weeded out all the redundancies and moronity that fill most message boards. (And naturally we did not get an extra page of story, we got an extra advertisement.)
Anyway, some comics are now realizing the error of their ways and are bringing back the letter pages. She-Hulk, already one of the coolest comics out there (thanks mostly to writer Dan Slott) got even cooler when they added a page of letters. They even gave it a cool name -- "Gamma Gamma Hey!" -- which, if you are not a fan of the Ramones and the Hulk family, is hilarious, take my word for it. Even without the letters I'd recommend this comic book. So many writers today just know how to write grim, hopeless ultra-violent stuff. Dan Slott is one of the few with a genuine sense of humor. Greg Horn does the covers and he is second only to the master of modern cheesecake Adam Hughes. (And he's better than Hughes at drawing funny horses.)
The latest issue (#5) has a letter from me in it. Naturally it's witty, charming and insightful, but it's also poetic as they published a limerick I wrote about Shulkie (as she is affectionately known.)
Check it out at your local comic shop. And when I say "check it out" I mean buy it, this ain't no library, bub.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Happy (some but not all of the) Presidents Day!

I know a courier who is a bitter whiny old hypochondriac. She's also a virulent racist. She refuses to take Martin Luther King Day off, even though most of the companies she delivers for are closed, because her late husband (who no doubt welcomed death as a way to get away from her) would come up out of the grave and get her if she ever did anything to honor a man of color and courage and integrity. So she runs her regular route taking nothing to nobody to prove some sort of point, I guess.
I would not want to be like her in any way, but I do want to make it clear that I am taking this day off to honor men like Lincoln and FDR and Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, but not men who disgraced the office of President like Warren Harding, Richard Nixon and the inarticulate, war-mongering liar currently residing in the White House.
All right?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Oh the Places You'll Go!!! (Well, maybe.)

There are a lot of places I want to go to: India (my spiritual home), Equador (just because -- although I know nothing about the place -- it seems so inviting. I hate cold weather, and Equador wants everyone to know that they are on the Equator; they even named their country after that wonderful imaginary line) The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, Fenway Park in Boston, Wrigley Field in Chicago, Mexico, Japan, the Emerald City of Oz, Metropolis, Illinois (for the annual Superman Festival) , Gilroy California (for the Garlic Festival) San Diego for the biggest baddest comic convention of all. I want to go to a nudist camp and let it all hang out for a while. I want to go to Mount Airy, North Carolina (cuz it's as close as one can get to Mayberry) and to Belize (which is my wife's dream but it sounds good to me too.) I've just recently added Denmark to the list (if it's ever warm in Denmark) cuz militant Muslims are boycotting Danish goods and services in a fit of pique over some cartoons defaming the prophet Muhammad, and as much as those guys love Muhammad I love free speech, so I'm drinking Tuborg beer and eating imported Danish Havarti cheese.
There are lots more places I want to go to, but probably none more than I want to go to
Stamford, Connecticut.
That's right: Connecticut. For the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament held every year there in March. I've wanted to go for years, planned to go, even paid my 185 dollar registration fee and reserved a room at the Stamford Marriott, but --
But it's in Connecticut. In March. And by the time March rolls around I am so sick of winter and cold weather that I am unable to force my body to go northward. And so every year we wind up going to Florida instead. (Last year in Florida I caught pnuemonia, which is ironic, I guess, in an extremely unfunny kind of way.) This year I was determined to make it, even if I had to drive through a dozen blizzards to get there. But once again the tournament will have to go on without me. I will be in -- where else? -- Florida, celebrating my mother's 70th birthday. And it should be fun, all the family there in the Ocala sunshine, but
I just hope I get to Stamford before I die.