Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Talk about an oxymoron!

There's no such thing as Conservative Rock and Roll because rock and roll is about sex and drugs and change, and conservatism is about abstinence, sobriety and the status quo. But that didn't stop the morons at the National Review from listing what they consider the top "conservative rock tunes" You really need to read this:
Are they joking? I mean, the top, number 1 conservative rock and roll song (according to these idjits) is The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again", the one that starts out "We'll be fighting in the streets / With our children at our feet / And the morals that they worship will be gone." That is so far left it's anarchic. The Beatles' "Revolution"? Revolution is a conservative concept? I don't think so, repression, yeah, revolution no. And even the ones that don't directly contradict conservative principles, I think they read too much into. "Janie's Got a Gun" is not an advertisement for the NRA. In "Wouldn't it Be Nice" the Beach Boys are lamenting that they cannot get funky until after they get married, not praising the institution.
Oh, and "Stand By Your Man"? Not by any stretch of the imagination a rock song.
They really don't get it, do they. They never have -- that's why their great God Reagan co-opted The Boss's "Born in the USA" as his theme song. The crepuscular old fart thought it was a flag-waving my-country-right-or-wrong anthem.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Books I've read in 2007, part 1

I've had to cut down a lot on my reading now that my job actually requires my attention. When I was in the Port Police I did most of my reading at work. (And if that makes you nervous about maritime security, good, it should.) But I haven't given it up entirely, I just read more discriminately.
"Tuxedo Gin" is certainly no "War and Peace". It's not even "Maison Ikkoku" or "Oh My Goddess" (my two favorite mangas). But it is consistently funny. As soon as I hit one volume that doesn't make me laugh, I'll move it off the docket for something else.
"Tuxedo Gin" is the story of a young man in love with a beautiful girl, he's a boxer about to turn pro. Everything is going his way. Then he dies in a bicycle accident. But that's not the end -- some odd old Buddhist spirit-angel-monk dude descends and tells the guy he can have his body back if he lives out a normal lifespan as an animal. I guess he should have picked a fruit fly or something else that only lived a few days, but he is so besotted with the girl that he chooses to be reincarnated as her favorite animal --which is a penguin. Eventually he comes to be adopted by the girl and -- as they say -- wacky high jinks ensue. The fact that the boy still thinks he's a boxer and tries to fight everyone who menaces Minako (which happens with alarming frequency) is a running gag. And maybe it's just me, but seeing a penguin fighting a man is always funny. So are his attempts to stave off the attentions of lady penguins. Great stuff, highly recommended, especially if you're a fan of offbeat romantic comedies.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Julie!

On this date back in 1929, one of my favorite artists, Jules Feiffer, was born. Feiffer had a long-running and, as you can see in the above example, often timeless and prescient strip in the Village Voice called, appropriately enough, Feiffer. It ran for 42 years and won him a Pulitzer prize (then the ageist bastards at the Voice fired him cuz they thought he was too old, but we'll avoid discussing anything unpleasant on his birthday. )

In addition to his cartooning -- which was good enough to get him into the comic book hall of fame, he's also a screenwriter (Carnal Knowledge) playwright (Little Murders) illustrator (The Phantom Tollbooth) and he also has an Oscar to go next to that Pulitzer. And even though Will Eisner usually gets credit for the first graphic novel, I think you can make the case that that distinction belongs to Feiffer for his excellent book Tantrum. (Even though Eisner's A Contract With God was published in 1978 and Tantrum in 1979, A Contract With God is not a novel, I don't care the comic historians say, it's a collection of inter-related short stories.)
Tantrum is about a man who's tired of being a husband, tired of being a father, tired of being a man, who wills himself through a terrific tantrum to regress back to a two-year-old, and what happens after that, which is hilarious and heartbreaking and always thought-provoking.
Since the Voice silenced him, Feiffer has been busy doing childrens' books like The Man in the Ceiling and A Room With a Zoo, all of which I also highly recommend.
Happy 78th, Jules Feiffer, and many more!

G and R Lies

According to VH1, "November Rain" is one of the 20 best music videos ever.
(And in fact Guns and Roses are the only act to have more one video on the list and they have three.) Me, I think it's one of the worst. I've mentioned before how much I love this song, but as with a lot of songs I like, when I watch the video I wonder if the artists have ever read the lyrics. I mean, "November Rain" is about Spring and hope and renewal. The video is about death and loss. What the hell?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wow, I am fantastic

You know the Bible 98%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

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