Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Biggie Smalls, Biggie Smalls..."

My holiday video roundup has hit a few snags, not the least of which is the sudden disappearance of the vast majority of Freakazoid videos from YouTube. Damn it, now "FwF!" posts from as recently as two weeks ago are broken, and you guys won't get to see Candle Jack. Thanks a lot, GoogleTube. I'll see what I can do about this later...

And then I find out that Google Video wants to charge $1.99 to watch "Thriller." I believe I paraphrase St. Benjamin when I say "Wotta revoltin' development!"

But I'm not totally content-free for Samhain. As a little "screw you" to the King of Pop, here's "Thriller"...as performed by Legos.


Continuing the trials and tribulations of dating a werewolf (that's what Michael is in the beginning of that, right? Some sort of were-something, anyway), here's the crew of the Satellite of Love.

And since I can't hear that without thinking about the end credits, here are the end credits.

Crow T. Robot engages in some truly frightening Cryptozoology here.

And finally, here's The Cure, to ensure that you have pleasant dreams tonight.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

In honor of "Satan's holiday"...

Daimon is the #3 name for satanic progeny. #2 is Damien. #1? Greg.I joined NaNoWriMo because I'm a bandwagon whore. This will undoubtedly be the worst decision I have ever made, except perhaps my decision to use more instances of hyperbole than there are Hydrogen atoms in the universe. The book (if you can call it that) that I'm writing (read: never, ever coming close to finishing) will earn me a special spot in Hell, where demonic surgeons will turn me into a terrible copy of some hideous Rob Liefeld drawing. While singing "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing."

Anyway, I'm writing my take on the Apocalypse and the Antichrist and whatnot. Real light fare. If you've been paying attention, you'll know my feelings about pedestrian, run-of-the-mill, cliché Antichrist characters, and you'll know how much I dig Christ figures and Monomythic heroes and that sort of thing, so that should give you some idea of what to expect. It'll never be published, it'll probably lose me some friends, and it might just end up being one of the most blasphemous things ever written. You know those comic revamps that are built around "everything you know is wrong" (*cough*Martian Manhunter*cough*)? Yeah, it's kind of like that, but with the Bible.

It sounds like I'm really proud of this, but I'm not. I think I have a cool idea for a story, I just wish it weren't such a heretical idea. Hopefully there'll be a good story in there someplace.

And just to piss everyone off, the protagonist is female, and I'm writing in first person. Somehow, some masochistic part of me decided I actually possess that kind of audacity.

At this point, I call it Considering Lily. I'm sure I'll call it other names as the deadline approaches. Good thing it's an easy semester!

Someone, please, for the love of all that is holy, talk me out of this. I just know I'm going to lose what little respect and dignity I have left.

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It came from the planet Krypton!

I already tried my hand at the Six Word Stories over on my other blog, but I left out my comic-related one. After seeing the short comic stories at Kalinara's and Oddity Collector's, I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon too. The one I omitted from my original post is up first, with new ones following.

Batman: Finally, the Joker pulled a gun.

Animal Man: "We've met. You had hair then."

Green Lantern: The Guardians were wrong. About everything.

JLA: Without J'onn, the League couldn't exist.

The Question: "The Question? What's that?" asked Vic. (Or "asked Charlie," depending on when you're reading).

Seven Soldiers: The universe says "five more minutes."

Flash: Wally returns. "Thanks Bart. Now rest."

The Sandman: Neil awoke, took pen, and wrote.

Superboy: Brainy revived him. "Welcome back, Conner."

Supergirl: She wouldn't be his secret anymore.

Fantastic Four: Family that adventures together stays together.

Speedball: Top: rubber. Bottom: spring. Bouncy, trouncy...
and: Tigger plus Spider-Man equals superhero. Genius!

Spider-Man: Peter wakes. "The Other" = bad dream.
and: Great responsibility doesn't preclude great happiness.
and: Optimism is cracking jokes at Galactus.

And, of course, there's Superman. The first two I think are neat, but the other two are things that I think actually capture something about Superman.

"Maybe Luthor's right. Maybe I should."
For Jor-El so loved the world...
He smiled, then saved the world.
His greatest power was always love.
This is, I think, my favorite meme. Keep it going!

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday with Freakazoid!

Today, Freakazoid presents us with an important lesson about "the wrong crowd."

"Wanna go play a game or pretend we're kitties?"

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Snippets tend to be slightly bigger.

I planned on blogging the six-word stories here, but realized pretty quickly that I was going to break the family-friendly language rule I've got over here. So, I posted it over on my vulgar blog instead. Check it out, if you're interested.


I mentioned recently my deep love for all things He-Man. That definitely includes this. Funny, funny stuff. I found a YouTube version, so I'll even embed it, saving you the trouble of following pesky links.

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But...but Supergirl has a belly button! And a skirt!

You can make a hawk a dove / You can end a...wait, sorry, wrong songSo, this Supergirl sketch has been making the rounds lately, setting the feminists all a-twitter with its attention to realistic body types and its lack of cheesecake.

I'm gonna get hit for that "a-twitter" remark, I know it. It's okay, I was a-twitter too, but maybe not quite as much as Dawn was.

I haven't been able to see more of his work than what Dawn posted, since it's not showing up for me on the site she linked. And believe me, I think it's a huge step up from where we are now. The Batgirl design...not so much. But then, I don't think Babs's costume was very sexist to begin with. Barbara's usually shown to be built pretty reasonably; I can't think of any instances where she had huge breasts and the crazy arched back and all the other dumb things that are associated with comic women.

But I still have some problems with this Supergirl.

  1. Why is she just wearing Superman's costume? Yes, she has gloves, and her cape has a yellow lining, but otherwise it looks like she just raided Superman's closet. Isn't there a difference between "non-sexualized" costumes and "masculine" costumes? Can't a costume be feminine without being sexualized? I'm not saying Supergirl should have a skirt and bare legs and high heels and a midriff shirt. But can she at least not wear the superbriefs? Maybe bring back the pointed belt, maybe trade the gloves for some short sleeves, something to set her apart from Superman stylistically? The best thing about the four Supermen after the death was the way they each did new things with the costume. Can't Supergirl adapt something like that?
  2. She doesn't look much like a Supergirl, she looks like Superwoman. That's not a problem really, if we're talking about a grown woman. But this Supergirl looks less like a 16-year-old than the current one does. If these are stories about a 25-year-old superheroine, that body's a lot more believable.
  3. Hey wait, haven't I seen that look before? Right, I have: on Power Girl. Wide neckline, circular cape clasps, broad shoulders, gloves...she really looks like Power Girl after a breast reduction. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't seem like "Supergirl" to me.

Which isn't to say there aren't things I like. F'r instance:
  1. The ponytail. In this image, the hair is kind of funky looking, but check out the multiple-angle sketch on Dawn's page. I'm absolutely convinced that the ponytail is the perfect look for Supergirl now. It's feminine, it's practical, and bottom line, it looks great.
  2. The cape. Different artists choose to make Superman's cape anything from knee-length to long-enough-to-drape-over-things, so I'm not totally sure that this is an intentional departure from Superman's cape length-wise. But the yellow lining is a fantastic idea; it's a subtle change, but it emphasizes that most underused color of the costume, emphasizes her blond hair, displays something of a more jovial disposition than the current Supergirl, and goes a long way to giving this costume its own distinctive character.
  3. The clasps. They're just a good idea. Another little detail that sets this costume apart from Superman's, gives some color variation in the shoulders, and somewhat prevents the bunched-up look that people give Superman and the rest of the family when they try to make it look tucked-in.
  4. The gloves. Again, they set the costume apart from Superman's and give some color variation, besides being slightly practical (though how much protection an invincible person needs can be debated). They're a bit of a throwback to one of her '60s-'70s costumes, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
  5. Big feet, no high heels. While Linda's last costume also had some fairly practical shoes, it's nice to see that they didn't go with the stiletto-heel boots which are so popular with the superheroines these days. And actually paying enough attention to consider whether or not she should have little dainty feet? Wonderful.
  6. The figure & face. This is anything but waifish Supergirl. She may be a bit too "Superwoman," but there's no denying that she's got a far more believable body. But I love the attention the artist paid to her face. On the sketch mentions that her well-defined chin 'shows superness,' which is perfect.
So there's a lot to like about this design. I'd add a dash more femininity and stir in a little more youth, then bake it at a temperature of "distinct from Superman" before I'd call it perfect, though. Hopefully, hopefully, someone will take notice.

P.S.: You know what I really want to see? A picture of this Supergirl feeding the current Supergirl a hamburger or some chicken or something. Because damn it, that girl's in need of an intervention.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More things that bring you here

I got several hits looking for combinations of "George Lucas" and "Stephen Colbert," which is understandable.

Continuing that Star Wars thread are "luke skywalker as a Christ like figure" (you could make the argument, but he fits better in the broader Monomyth category) and the attack of "supergirls clones." And continuing the Supergirl thread is a search for "supergirl and captain boomerang." I hesitate to think at what fanfiction and disgusting fanart a search like that might turn up.

What exactly is "Kandor Scissor Talk"? Is this another one of those "things I'd rather not know" searches? I have similar trepidation regarding "bet drawn jack o lantern," though I'm not sure why.

I've mostly kept my deep love for all things He-Man off this blog, for no real reason except the usual He-Fan burnout (don't ask), so it surprises me to get a hit from "she-ra and he-man costumes." I really ought to do a post on He-Man stuff at some point, but it seems like if I start doing that sort of thing, I may never stop.

Somehow, over all the lyrics sites that litter the web, I'm on the first page of a Google search for "so i don't have to dream alone," because of this post. Looks like there really need to be more websites devoted to the songs of the '50s, even if they are essentially about wet dreams.

"Fan reaction to the death of Cyclops in X-Men: The Last Stand": It sucked.

"I hate Rob Liefeld": Join the club. You're in good company.

"Michael Turner sucks": Yes, we know.

"Batman vs scarecrow fear gas episode": 'Fraid you're going to have to narrow it down a bit.

On the Batman front, we have "Talia raped Batman," which is an interesting claim. Bruce implies it in one of the recent Morrison issues, but I haven't read Son of the Demon to see how well it holds up there. Of course, Superboy-Prime could have retroactively punched some rohypnol into Batman's drink.

In the same vein, someone wonders about "selina kyle's breasts." As long as Adam Hughes does the covers, the rest of us need not wonder.

Someone in Niceville, FL searched for "tom foss + criminal record." Whatever it is, I didn't do it. And whoever told you I did is a dirty liar.

Some poor schmuck is getting "peer pressure from the guys over being whipped by my girlfriend." Dude, unless "being whipped" actually destructive to your self-esteem and well-being, "the guys" need to shut the hell up. Either they're jealous that you're in a relationship, they're trying to mask the fact that they're just as "whipped," they're jerks, or they're actually concerned for your well-being. Evaluate which one it is, and then maybe evaluate your relationships.

In the 'Brilliant or Stupid' category, we have "Silence of the Lambs X-Men crossover." Given that one of the Hannibal Lecters and Dr. Chilton have both appeared in X-Men films, we're not too far off.

A reader from the UK asks this perennial question, "where superman keep his boots." Much like the sound of one hand clapping, or how many licks it takes to get to the center of Li'l Kim, the world may never know the answer.

Okay, I know Halloween's coming up, but why would you search for "dung costume"? That's a pretty crappy plan, if you ask me.

The award for best search goes to "el dorado and apache chief action figures," for combining obscure cartoon characters with action figures and unconventional use of the spacebar. I suspect there's some wishful thinking involved, too.

But my favorite search is "is harry potter a monomythic hero?" You betcha, buddy. We'll have to see in the next book if he goes through a literal death and resurrection, or if his descent into the underworld with Dumbledore in the last book was enough.

So...what brought you here?

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weaponblogging

Okay, so it's a fact of life that most weapons are somewhat phallic. Swords, guns, knives, missiles, even whips (gee Catwoman, what would Freud say?). Some of this is practical. After all, I don't know how you'd stab someone with something circular. Anyway, I read somewhere recently that a lasso could be read as a vaginal weapon. That got me thinking: what weapons aren't phallic, and what exactly do they represent?
So, here's my list of nonphallic weaponry. Feel free to add to it:
Vaginal
Lasso
Chakram (you know, that thing Xena had)

Scrotal/Testicular
Grenades
Bolo
Yo-Yo

???
Sling (testicular?)
Slingshot
Frisbee
Boomerang
Garotte/Razorwire
Shield

Boobular
Acid-squirting flower
2:50:

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday with the Supporting Cast!

Yeah, I know, it's been a busy week. Here are two videos to make up for it!



I've got a stitch in my side, and I've lost my freshness!

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Friday, October 13, 2006

I can't believe I didn't see this before

Okay, so Montoya and Question have tracked down Intergang to Khandaq, where they discover Whisper A'Daire leading a bunch of animal men. Animal men similar to the ones who are kidnapping the mad scientists and taking them to Oolong Island. Isis, who is clearly somehow connected to Intergang, and her brother Osiris, are named after gods from a culture who worshiped people with animal heads. Ralph Dibny was sent on his journey into the land of magic and make-believe by a sort of "animal-man," Detective Chimp, while the actual Animal Man accompanies Starfire, Adam Strange, and Lobo in their trek across the universe. At least one of Luthor's Infinity, Inc. is a sort of animal-man.

Meanwhile, look at all the robots. You've got the fusion of Mal Duncan with Red Tornado's voice box, the rebuilt Red Tornado in Australia, the Metal Men and faux-Metal-Men, evil Skeets, the Island of Misfit Scientists and all their robotic toys, and the distinct possibility that Supernova is a Superman robot. It's all so obvious.

Clearly, the robots have gone rogue (the robot rebellion mentioned in LSH), and have teamed up with the animal-men to take over the world, nay, the universe! And there's only one person devious enough, cunning enough, evil enough, to pull off such a dastardly, intricate plan. And that person is...

Rehehehehehe...RrI don't get it.
...Red Herring!

It was staring me in the face all along! Well, that's it folks. Sorry if I spoiled 52 for you. I mean, if they wanted to keep this mystery going the whole year, they really should have made it less obvious.

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Friday (the 13th!) with Freakazoid!

Here's a frightening glimpse into a mind gripped by madness, to fit with today's traditional theme. If you suffer from triskaidekaphobia or malameteophobia, look away now.


"There is no escape, no escaping the true horror."

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Snippet Squad 7: A Tek Jansen Adventure

So, how bad is it that when "George L." walked onto the set of the Colbert Report tonight, I thought it was just some guy in a comically-undersized George Lucas mask? The man's always had a weird-looking head and/or neck, but usually his beard gives him a veneer of normalcy.

Even so, very cool. Reminds me of the days when I was proud to be a Star Wars fan.


So, the line (from the same show) "No one expects dinosaurs in space!" has prompted me to finish my Adam Strange post that I started months ago. Expect it within a couple of days. Maybe even before the next Freakazoid.

Speaking of Freakazoid, anyone know a good free/very cheap video editing program? I'm not sure how many Fridays are left on YouTube, before I have to start cutting my own clips.

How about Dr. Strange: The Oath? I've never read a Dr. Strange solo comic before, though I love the character. I thought it was fantastic, and I'm really glad I decided to pick it up. Crazy fun stuff.

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive has two issues remaining to draw me in. It's looking pretty grim, folks. This'll be the first time I've not bought a Flash comic since #141 back in 1998. Sadly, it won't be the first time that the Flash comic has sucked in that period of time. What do you mean Barry Allen has an evil twin? Vandal Savage and superpowered children?

I kind of wish Supergirl had kept a secret identity, but Superboy went through at least one before he settled into Conner Kent (Carl Kent, as I recall, showed up in a Batgirl issue or two). I think I'll have a deeper commentary about #10 at some point, but I thought it was a really good issue. Two good Supergirl issues in a row? Is it 2003 again?

I want to read a Starfire story entitled "Waiting to X'Hal." That is all.

Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Why I love DC

Big Fat Idiot?Way back around the time that Superman went all electric, a blue alien from Kandor ended up in our world. Ceritak, who was called "Scorn" here, stole one of Superman's costumes for awhile and fought crime in Metropolis. Eventually, he dropped the outfit, and he befriended a young blind girl named Ashbury Armstrong.
Ashbury's father, Dirk Armstrong, was a columnist at the Daily Planet. A transparent pastiche of Rush Limbaugh, Dirk was a chubby loudmouthed conservative (who, in flashbacks, was just the sort of hippie who would name his daughter "Ashbury") who wrote a regular column about how terrible superheroes were. Clark and Lois didn't care for his politics, and his daughter didn't care for his overprotectiveness and distaste for her big blue buddy, but he developed into a fairly nice, if pompous and oblivious, guy, trying to be a good father in a crazy world.

I liked this little cast, enough that my first e-mail address was named after Scorn. I've often wondered what happened to Dirk and Ashbury and Metropolis's biggest bluest resident, since they've clearly been consigned to the section of Comic Book Limbo reserved for "supporting cast who didn't make an editorial transition."

Well, if the 52 website is any indication, at least Dirk hasn't fallen prey to Superboy-Prime's Retcon Punches.

A Steel Trap
by Dirk Armstrong, Daily Planet Columnist
METROPOLIS, September 20 —

Was it too much to hope, when Superman went missing five months ago, that his disappearance would signal the end of the Age of Super Heroes? Apparently, it was. There seems to be no end in sight to the stream of super-powered busybodies seeking to fill the void left by the "Man of Steel." Thus there is no hope for normal humans to regain control over our own destinies any time soon. You don't believe me? Just look at the recent actions of the man called Steel.
His involvement in fighting a blaze at a midtown Metropolis apartment building this week has been covered extensively. But let's look at it a little closer, shall we? Our ever brave-and very human-firefighters struggled valiantly to put out the fire and, thankfully, managed to evacuate everyone inside the building. Steel showed up, his presence neither expected nor requested, and proceeded to enter the building and hold up three stories in his bare hands, delaying its inevitable collapse. An impressive display of strength, to be sure, but was it truly necessary?
It is clear that Steel's refusal to leave the building after it had been evacuated nearly took the life of Metropolis Fire Department Lieutenant Dennis Caruso, who went back into the inferno to convince Steel to get out. Lieutenant Caruso escaped by the narrowest of margins.
We must ask ourselves: Can we be sure the firefighters would not have been able to get the job done without Steel's involvement? What happens next time? Should our firefighters simply wait for him to arrive and not even bother trying to complete the job themselves?
Super heroes answer to no one but themselves and are therefore unreliable. Overdependence on them can and will lead to disaster.
In the aftermath of the fire, Steel reportedly told Lieutenant Caruso, "Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, all of them gone. It's time all of us did our part."
You can do your part, Steel, by stepping back and letting us normal humans try to take care of ourselves. We may stumble here and there. But the only way we will grow as a species and as a civilization is if we don't have godlike beings stepping in to nursemaid us at their whim.
See, this is part of why DC is so awesome. Rather than creating a new character for their website's anti-superhero columns, they went and dug up someone who hasn't been seen in years. Things like that really serve to flesh out the universe. Kudos, DC.

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Reach out in the Darkness

I saw this on Pharyngula, and I'm enough of a sappy idealistic romantic peacenik that it touched me. Check it out, maybe give a couple away yourself.


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Saturday, October 07, 2006

"Burn it to ashes, then burn the ashes."

Apparently last week was Banned Books Week, and considering the fact that I was working on a censorship project as recently as the previous Monday, this shouldn't have come as a surprise to me. It did, and it's only because of Greg that I even knew about it. So, in honor of the week, I'm going to do a "Top Whatever" list, taken from the 100 most frequently challenged books of 1990-2000. Here 'tis, in no specifically particular order.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: I really ought to read this again. It's a touching and believable story, and much better than the other Steinbeck dreck that people usually read in high school (by which I mean The Pearl). Of course, I'm sure parents have a problem with the language, and the killing, and I'm pretty sure there's some sexual content in there too. Can't have our near-adult kids reading about adult themes; can't put any faith in their abilities whatsoever.
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling: I came late to the Harry Potter game, for whatever reason. I think I just kind of avoided it on principle. After seeing the second movie, though, I decided I'd go ahead and read 'em. It took me something like two weeks to make it through the whole series, including the fifth book, which was released just before I started my reading. I can't say much for the literary quality of the books, but they are fun to read, the characters are engrossing, the world is thoroughly developed, and anyone who thinks that reading about witches and wizards is going to turn their kids into Satanists is ignorant, deluded, and doesn't give their children enough credit.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: I made it to Chapter 10 in this a few years back, and I haven't managed to pick it up since then. Maybe if I'd read it when I was in my angsty years, this would have struck a chord in me, but instead I just found Holden annoying, whiny, and afflicted with a terrible case of ADD. I'll give it another try at some point, but there are a lot of books I'd much rather read.
The Giver by Lois Lowry: Somehow, I missed out on reading this in grade school. I moved around a bit, so there were a lot of things that I missed because one school hadn't gotten to them yet, and the other had already passed them by. Like cursive. My girlfriend made me read it Senior Year of High School, and I quite enjoyed it. I'm a big fan of dystopian literature, and I wish I had read this at a younger age, because it's a nice introduction to the genre. Reading it after Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and Brave New World kind of lessens its emotional impact. Still, other than being mildly depressing and critical of censorship and whatnot, I can't imagine why this would get challenged.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle: I read this in 6th grade, along with the next book or two in the series. I don't remember anything about it being challenge-able, but the plot is generally kind of fuzzy in my brain. I guess it had something to do with cults, which could be construed as being critical of Christianity? If that's the case, then it's really not a problem with this book, but with a religious organization that finds parallels to itself in evil fictional cults.
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard: Okay, these books are dumb, but they're harmless. Why would you ban them? Is the word "stupid" too offensive?
The Witches by Roald Dahl: I know I've read the book, but I don't remember much of it; the movie sticks out much more vividly in my memory. You'd think nutjobs would like a book that portrayed witches as evil, ugly creatures. I'd be willing to bet that most of the challenges to this are from people who've never read beyond the title.
That this would be on the list, and not Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is clearly an allegory for Dante's Inferno, boggles my mind.
What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras and What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras: Uh...right. So, instead of teaching kids that puberty is normal, we'll just let them wallow in hormone-driven anxiety, letting them become a bunch of careless, neurotic, anorexic, sexually-active, sexually-ignorant, near-adults. That's sure to build character and drive away sin, right?
Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford: Wait, what? People challenged the Where's Waldo books? On what grounds? I remember some teachers disliking the way kids got overexcited with the books, but being excited about a book seems like a poor reason to ban it. Can anyone shed some light on this idiocy?
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein: I read several of the poems in this on Saturday night, for the first time in years (though I admit, I know Where the Sidewalk Ends a lot better than this one, and The Giving Tree better than both combined).
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes: One of my favorite books ever. I read the short story in Junior High, and picked up the novel version the first time I saw it. I honestly can't imagine not having read it; it's a powerful examination of humanity, of Prometheus, and about sacrifice.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: Well, it's no wonder that this has been challenged. Huxley's hedonistic society provides a stark contrast to the repressed dystopia of Orwell's 1984, but is nearly as powerful. The casual discussions of drugs, sex, orgies, birth control, and abortion start almost immediately, and if that's not enough for ban-happy conservatives, babies are mass-produced and Henry Ford is worshipped as a prophet. Jesus doesn't fare much better, and our one would-be Christian doesn't make much of a hero or martyr. There's plenty to get upset about in this book, but that's the point of it, or any dystopian story. Of course, if there's anything that wingnuts are good at, it's completely and utterly missing the point.
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume: I read this two years ago as part of a project in my Children's Lit class, partially because Yorick referenced it over in Y: The Last Man. It's a surprisingly deep story about being different, growing up, peer pressure, and religion, and the only reason anyone would have for challenging it is its open, frank discussion of physical maturation and sex. Because, you know, if kids never talk or read about it, it won't happen.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: My favorite book ever. It's about race, identity, and injustice, and the greatest, most well-rounded hero ever to grace the written word, Atticus Finch. It's been attacked from the right for crazy ideas like "blacks are people too" and "the legal system in the South was rife with corruption and institutionalized racism," but also from the left, because it uses racial epithets and discusses some of the differences between black and white societies. Folks, the way to combat racism isn't by ignoring that it exists. It's through the sort of compassion and understanding that books like To Kill a Mockingbird promote.

And finally...
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: I just read this for the third time (and the first time since my Freshman year of High School), and I'd forgotten how good, how meaningful, how prophetic, and ultimately how hopeful it was. And in a case that will overload your irony meter, this book about book burning, with particular emphasis on how disgusting it is to burn the Bible and reduce Jesus to a corporate spokesperson, was challenged during Banned Books week by a concerned father who hadn't read it, except to go line by line finding things to which he was offended. Among them, the burning of the Bible, "downgrading Christians," and "talking about our firemen." If this troglodyte had actually read the damn book instead of trying to Bowdlerize it, he would have discovered that it actually does none of those things. Well, they do burn the Bible, but it's not advocated.

Man bans book about book banning during Banned Books week. Do they sell irony meters at Wal-Mart?

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday with Freakazoid!

It's Friday already? Man, I only made one post this week. How pathetic. There'll be at least one up this weekend, maybe even later today. In the meantime, here's your weekly dose of all things freaky!

It's what your dentist recommends!

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In Soviet Russia, Glass Walks on You!

Jesus Horatio Tap-Dancing Christ on a Pogo Stick.

I just slogged through this thread, which I found via Written World. Rather than force you to check it out (not for the faint of stomach), I'll summarize it in an appropriate fashion. One Neanderthal...

Clearly, the head of a modern stone-age family.
...started a thread entitled "As a MAN I refuse to..." and filled in his verboten actions:
I don't Vacuum, Iron, or Scrub toilet bowls. that's my lady's job!
A veritable tribe of Neanderthals chimed in with their own takes, most agreeing that housework and the purchasing of feminine hygiene products were strictly wooh-mahn doo-tees.
A few Cro-Magnon men...
Anyone remember that show 'Cro' from CBS in the early '90s? With the unfrozen mammoth narrator?
...joined the conversation. These slightly-more-evolved fellas took umbrage with outright refusals to do housework and buy tampons. After all, they reasoned with their noticeably larger brains, help wooh-mahn, get more nookie-nookie.
As a man there's very few things I won't do. Damn woman holds the keys to the vagina vault!
...and...
I love to cook, and I can influence the amount of crazy sex I have by what I cook for my wife. Trust me guys, its well worth it to be helpful.
Sure, these are simple syllogisms, rooted in self-serving carnal urges, but they clearly display the beginnings of what would become humans' much-vaunted ability to draw conclusions from and make predictions through empirical observation. To think that the scientific method has its roots in such a primitive stage of humankind boggles the mind.
As if to remind the world of its existence, some primordial ooze cultures...
Apparently this is a 'dog vomit slime mold,' but that seemed somehow appropriate.
...popped up to offer the following:
As a man Sunday is football day. Any previous business/conversation must be held off until Monday, or if completely urgent during halftime.

As a man I don't wash dishes, cook, or clean. I do however mow the lawn, fix up things around the house, pick up dog ____, etc. It's a tradeoff.

As a man I won't buy tampons. As stated before it's not because I'm embarrassed, it's because she needs to take care of her personal ____. I don't ask my wife to pick me up beer, chaw, comic books, and porno.
...and...
again, my wife has been having periods, oh, let's say every month for the last sixteen years. she knows when she's running out. she knows that having these things is a "necessity" (otherwise, it wouldn't be so important that i have to drop everything and run to the store). she is the designated grocery shopper. ergo, when she sees these things are running low she should know to go at her next earliest convenience. don't wait until you're out, go NOW. stock up. save us both the agony of arguing over it and/or the actual state of being out.

if it's ever an honest to God tampon emergency, yes i may go. but so far i've got her trained to realize it better by God be one, and it better not happen more than once or twice in my lifetime.
[And when asked to define "tampon emergency"}
i'm talking Biblical...floods, locusts, something of that nature.

And there was one particularly unevolved glob who had this to say (emphasis mine):
What can I say, they have a men's department at the lingerie website I most often visit, whilst perusing things to make my woman wear to pleasure me.

Now, in contrast to this, there were a few (very few) Men...
Ladies and gentlemen, the most oft-referenced image in history.
...who expressed the sort of rationality, compassion, and strength of character that we should expect from tens of thousands of years of evolution and civilization. Things like
As a MAN....I am secure enough in my manhood to have ZERO problems running out to pick up tampons and help my wife out when she's not feeling well. Besides, it's always nice when the girl behind the counter then mentions how she wishes her boy was man enough do that for her. Do you not understand the MONSTER appreciation your girl will shower upon you for something as minor as picking up a box of tampons?!?!?

As a MAN....I'm fully into actually pulling my own weight in the relationship, including doing chores around the house. I'm also smart enough to see that doing so benefits me greatly by keeping my wife from being overwhelmed or stressed out, thereby greatly increasing my chance for sex.

As a MAN....I realize what it actually means to be a man, which happens to not include idiot stereotypes fostered by teenage boys; drunk, overweight ex-high-shool football players; and the people behind MAXIM magazine....
Sadly, these men were met with comments about "buying purses," being "whipped," and having their testicles kept in a drawer, by the less-advanced participants in the thread.

I've already forwarded this thread to the National Science Foundation, figuring that they'll best be able to direct it to the appropriate parties. After all, this overturns some generally-accepted biological and anthropological facts, such as the extinction of Neanderthals and the inability of primordial ooze to use computers. I hesitate to think what this discovery might mean for the evolutionary sciences, and I hope I haven't given the Creationists any fodder.

In the interest of science, I thought I ought to draft my own answer to the question:
As a Man, I refuse to ask or expect my girlfriend to do anything that I wouldn't do in return. I do expect the same courtesy, but it seems to me that "treating other people as you'd like them to treat you" ought to be a given. They should make that a rule across the board, as a matter of fact.
As a Man, I like to cook. I make a mean chili, decent pancakes, good pasta, and any number of chicken dishes. Also, I consider myself a wizard of beef. The number of dishes I can make isn't very large, and I don't cook as often as I should, but I can follow a recipe well, and after the second time or so, things usually come out pretty darn good. I'm always looking to expand my repertoire, so if anyone knows any great recipes, feel free to share.
As a Man, I refuse to let my house get unsanitary. I don't mind clutter; a little clutter is actually kind of comforting. What I can't stand is mold, smells, bugs, and other assorted types of gunk. As a result of this, I actually kind of enjoy cleaning the bathroom (which, incidentally, I've been doing as I write this post). I'd rather clean the bathroom than any other room: it's small, it requires little to no vacuuming, and the results are clear and striking in a short amount of time. Contrast this with picking up a bedroom, where you might work for half an hour with no appreciable change. I'll take bathrooms any day of the week.
As a Man, I recognize that my girlfriend is an individual, and I have no right to control her or make decisions for her. Furthermore, I recognize that our relationship is an equal partnership, and that I ought to consult her about relationship matters. This follows from the first rule.
As a Man, I would buy feminine hygiene products for my girlfriend, if she requested them. I'd probably be a little embarrassed about it, but if I can't take a little embarrassment for the woman I love, then I must not have much of a relationship. I won't buy her clothes of any sort (with the exception of t-shirts, and maybe socks) without her present, because I don't want to get the wrong size or color or something. Now, if she were to give me detailed specifications on some clothing item, I'd gladly pick it up, but I still think it's better if the wearer is present to try stuff on. It's easier than trying to find the time to return things. This follows (less obviously) from the first rule.
As a Man, I recognize that stereotypes are often, if not always, harmful, even when employed as a joke. As a result, I try to avoid stereotyping, I try to judge people individually as fully-developed people, and I recognize that there are only some circumstances in which stereotypes can successfully be used for humor purposes. Newsarama threads, in my estimation, do not count among these circumstances.

Hm...you know, it seems to me that these really aren't Man-specific. I mean, the cooking and cleaning stuff is pretty particular to my own life, but the rest--courtesy, respect, and all that--seems like it should be common sense to any modern human, regardless of gender. It's really a shame that such sense is beyond the reach of our ancestral cousins on the Newsarama board. Perhaps in a few hundred thousand years, they'll catch up to us.

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