The Greatest Movie Never Made

Last week, De mentioned the hypothetical movie he'd most like to see. I just now thought of what mine would be:

Godzilla Vs. Evil Dead.

Ash is vacationing in Tokyo and runs afoul of a Japanese translation of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis. Just then, Godzilla attacks, and Ash's fumbling attempts to escape result in him accidentally raising Japanese Deadites. I'm imagining them as samurai*, because zombie samurai would be all kinds of awesome. So Tokyo's getting trashed by Godzilla on one end and these zombie samurai on the other. They meet in the middle, clash, and Godzilla is overcome, resulting in...

Wait for it...

ZOMBIE GODZILLA!

Ash is chosen as the only person capable of defeating this threat, despite his many attempts to either convince the locals of the contrary or outright turn tail and run. Finally and begrudginly acceptins his role, he arms himself for battle and gets himself a new chainsaw - except that since this is Japan, he can only find a pink one with Hello Kitty on it.

Hot damn, would that be a movie (or at least a bitchin' fanfic, though I'd be shocked if someone hadn't already done it by now). Someone get me Sam Raimi and Toho Ltd. on the phone. I've got a pitch to make!


*Is the plual of samurai "samurais," or just "samurai?" I'm assuming the latter, but I could be wrong.

It needed to be said.

Let's just cut to the chase here.

An open letter.

Dear Entertainment Journalists,

Please stop trying to convince me that Justin Timberlake is dangerous and/or sexy.

This was the guy that Ashton Kutcher made cry on that episode of Punk’d. His participation in Nipplegate helped speed along the blanding of American pop culture. He then let Janet Jackson take the fall alone and literally begged for forgiveness so he could still play at the Grammies or something. He has Muppet hair. He was once considered for the role of Jimmy Olsen. And if push came to shove, I’m reasonably certain he was probably the fifth toughest guy in N’Sync (I know, a lot of you are thinking that title probably belongs to Lance Bass, but that guy’s had astronaut training; I think that counts for something).

In other words, I don’t buy it.

Sure, he can dance, he may have a half-decent singing voice underneath all the electronic trickery pop music producers use to "enhance" the talent, and he got to nail Britney Spears back when that was something people still wanted to do, but none of that is enough to counteract the facts as I see them. I mean, the Jimmy Olsen thing alone pretty much kills any prospect of dangerous and sexy for all time. Ask Jack Larsen or Marc McClure. And again: Muppet hair. Looks good on Muppets; on people, not so much.

So seriously, just drop it. I know you’ve been scrambling for new material ever since Michael Jackson left the country, but this thing? It’s not working.

Thanks,
Bill

An Informal Poll

So which action figure do you hope to receive from Santa Claus or Hannukah Harry this holiday season:

Superboy Prime with Reality Changing Punch Action

or

Thor Clone with *NEW* Electronic Mjolnir*?


* *NEW* Electronic Mjolnir has 8 action sound effects... though 6 of 'em are the sort of squishy sounds an enchanted viking war hammer would make if it slammed through some dude's chest cavity at breakaway velocity.

A vastly entertaining wasteland.

Thanks to my odd work schedule, I don’t always get to watch a lot of TV, but I did get to check out some of the brand spanking new TV season last week, and here are some quick thoughts (there may be some spoilers, so, you know, look out):

The Amazing Race – Still the best reality show around, because A.) It’s an actual honest-to-God competition, so the schemes and machinations of the players both seem more real and make more sense, since they don’t seem like they’re specifically trying to scam more camera time so much as they actually want to cross the finish line first; and B.) it’s as much a travelogue as a game show, and they tend to visit some interesting places. So far, I only dislike two teams: the Single Moms, because they’re bitchy, and the Coal Miners, because their grey teeth frighten and confuse me. I hope the team from Rhode Island does well.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip – I enjoyed A Few Good Men and what little I saw of Sports Night (I really need to Netflix that). I accept that Aaron Sorkin is a scriptwriting genius. I never watched The West Wing, though, as good as it was always said to be. Presidential politics bore me. Behind-the-scenes looks at TV comedies don’t. I represent a lot of what’s wrong with America today. Sorry. Anyway, great start here: a huge and talented cast of interesting characters who say witty and intelligent things mixed with all of the backstage dealings that made “Live from New York” by James A. Miller and Tom Shales such an interesting read. Even if the rest of the season is only half as good as the pilot, I’ll be with this one for a while.

How I Met Your Mother – I expected nothing from this show last year, and it turned out to be one of the best. A good start for this season, too, though I think a title change to “How I Conspired to Bang the Woman You Kids Know As ‘Aunt Robin’” might be in order, at least for the time being. And yeah, telling the story of your love life to your kids in that much detail can be a little creepy, but if you just think about the narration parts as being told by the Bob Saget we’ve seen in Half-Baked, Entourage, and/or The Aristocrats as opposed to the older version of the Ted character, it does make a little more sense.

CSI: The Good One – Hey, Louise Lombard’s character Sofia Curtis is a regular now. Good for her. I always like it when recurring characters get bumped up to getting into the opening credits. Anyway, more of the same here… you either like this show or you don’t. I do, and I’m legitimately curious to see where this Grissom & Sara storyline goes. But I’m annoyed that The Committee to Get Marg Helgenberger an Emmy began its campaign so early this year… it’s usually at least mid-season before Catherine’s annual tragedy befalls her. This year (and here’s a BIG OL’ SPOILER) someone slips her a roofie in a club and she’s probably raped as a result, and it’s just as lazy an attempt at “serious character development” here as it is has been in your favorite DC and Marvel comic books for the last few years. But then again, CSI writers have a history of doling out severe consequences for anyone engaging in anything but strictly monogamous sexual relations between married men and women, so in their eyes, she’s probably had it coming for awhile. For a show set in Vegas, it’s almost disturbingly Puritanical at times.

Legion of Super Heroes – I was wary about this one, since the LSH is one of my favorite comic books and there are easily as many ways to do this concept – teenage super heroes from the future… in OUTER SPAAAAAACE! – wrong as there are to do it right. Also, this has to replace both Justice League Unlimited and Teen Titans in my viewing routine, so the bar is set pretty high. If the first episode is any indication, though, this may fit bill nicely. I think the basic idea of the show – a young Superman being shown the ropes by people inspired by his legend – is a fresh approach, which is kind of funny, when you think about it. In the comics, the Legion provided a place for Superboy to hang out with people similar to himself; here, there’s still that aspect, but they’re also role models to their role model, since thanks to history, they know more about what he’s capable of than he does himself. Neat. And as for the changes to the characters – Bouncing Boy’s increased malleability, Brainiac 5’s transforming abilities – I think those are mostly cosmetic changes designed to give the characters something else to do besides bouncing and being really smart, respectively. It’ll anger the purists, but it’ll give the writers more leeway down the road, so I think it’s a fair trade.


Now here are a few shows I'm still looking forward to:

Doctor Who – New season kicks off Friday. Woot! And besides the 5 minute Children in Need clip, I have yet to see any of the David Tennant episodes (I don’t know where you people find all this stuff on the internet), so this will all be brand new to me. And Sci-Fi wised up and is actually starting off with The Christmas Invasion (back to back with New Earth), so we get to see the season from its actual beginning. That sort of thing’s important to a nerd like me.

Heroes – I like the idea of everyone slowly developing their powers over time, though if it pulls a Lost – moving at a snail’s pace and only saving the important plot points for sweeps week stunts – it may lose me fast. I’m optimistic, though.

Smallville – Never been a big fan of the show – I need more Superman in my Superman shows – but I have sort of been following along with what’s been happening, and this whole thing with Green Arrow starting to show up in an attempt to join the various super characters that have appeared on the show so far into a proto-JLA sounds kind of interesting, so maybe I’ll give it another shot.

A True Life Adventure, Free Tunes, and Some Comics Stuff

So as it turns out, my oven’s heating element does a fantastic imitation of a sparkler. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t something it was designed to do, though.

I was going to heat up a quick lunch of leftover chicken fingers before getting ready for work this afternoon. I set the oven to 350 degrees, put the chicken on a baking sheet, put it in the oven, and started to get the trash ready to take out. Ten minutes later, I went back, opened the oven, and found that the oven is still mostly cold inside, and that heating element, instead of being a nice warm glowy red, was still black, except for the white part spitting out sparks. I turned off the oven, grabbed out my chicken, and… still sparks. I closed the door, let it be for a few minutes, went back, opened it up… still sparks. I waited a few more minutes, went back again… sparks. I figured now would be a good time to get the fire extinguisher, so I grabbed it, checked to make sure it’s multipurpose and therefore good for electrical fires, pulled the pin, opened the oven, pointed, squeezed, and… smoke. Lots of it. And still sparks. Didn’t go out at all, and if anything, the sparks now seemed to be laughing at me. And now everything smells of hot baking soda to boot.

(For the record, I had already dropped Liam off with my father-in-law about 15 minutes before all this began, so he was completely out of harm’s way, if there was to be any harm at all in the first place. In case you were wondering.)

I tried to unplug the oven, but the cord was wedged tight behind the fridge, and I could sort of reach it, but not quite. Seeing no other option – because as much as Erin and I hate where we live right now, we’d rather it didn’t burn down – I called the fire department, explained the situation, and they said they’d send someone over. While I was waiting for them, I gave the cord another try, and after a few minutes of creatively wedging myself into the tiny area between the oven and the immovable fridge, I finally pried the cord free.

And then I heard the sirens. I figured “we’ll send someone over to check it out” would mean maybe two guys in one of the smaller trucks. They sent two ladder trucks to deal with my little situation. I greeted the firemen in the yard and told them I doubted they’d need even one of the trucks, much less all their gear, but they told me this was pretty standard for even the simplest calls, just in case. So we went inside, I explained the situation, and we opened the oven to find that the sparks had finally gone out. Of course. They told me I did that unplugging the oven and calling them were exactly the two right things to do when the extinguisher didn’t work, but in that situation, you’re still gonna feel dumb no matter what.

But one of the firefighters offered to cut me a new window with his axe to help get rid of the smoke, so that was nice. As many times as we’ve wanted to take some sort of sharp object to the walls, though, I turned him down. We do rent, after all.

I just hope that it wasn’t a slow enough news day to end up making the paper.



Hey, if you're looking for freebie downloads of some particularly random They Might Be Giants material, check out this page here, which is part of TMBG's wiki site, This Might Be A Wiki. Right now, it's a collection of some old Dial-A-Song recordings, some radio ads for their albums, songs they've written for a few cable shows, some live stuff, and even the ads they did for Diet Dr. Pepper and Dunkin Donuts. Worth checking out if you're a fan (or if you've ever needed the "Swimming, Soccer, Ballet, Oboe, and last but not least, KARATAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!" ad on your iPod... you know who you are.)

(I didn't even know TMBG had a wiki site before, but I went to a wiki workshop for work the other day - I'm going to be working on creating wikis and a blog for the library in the next few months - and the teacher lady used that as an example. Pretty cool, I thought.)



Here's a comic I read recently, just to keep my Comics Blogger Union (Local 616) standing current:

Mutation (Vol. 2) #1 – If you’re looking for a superhero book but are tired of the incessantly dark stuff the Big 2 have been putting out lately, Mutation might be your cup of tea. It’s got that “Silver Age through a modern filter” thing going for it, and for the most part, it works pretty well. The artwork by Ethen Beavers (pencils & inks) and Anthony Lee (colors) pops right off the page and reaches just the right balance of action-oriented storytelling and cartoonishness. If you like the artwork in the DC animated universe books, or in Buzzboy, and in the works of folks like J. Bone or Darwyn Cooke, you’ll probably dig what Beavers and Lee bring to the party. The story by George T. Singley is very 60s Marvel, in a good way – dynamic fight scenes, purple prose spouting villain, girlfriend troubles, and angsty hero shtick. If you like that sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you’ll like. The story is also the source of the book’s main problem, though – it’s not terribly “new reader friendly.” The way the story begins, it seems to be assumed that we’ve read the original Mutation mini-series and already know who the characters are and how they relate to each other. I came in completely cold, so it was several pages before I could come up to speed. The book was over half-finished before I realized Mutation was the hero’s name – I figured the title was just a reference to his powers, which are sort of Plastic Man/Metamorpho/E-Man like. It’s not a huge problem, admittedly, but one that’s very easily taken care of with a “Story So Far” paragraph or cast listing/description on the first page or inside front cover, so there’s no real excuse for it. That aside, though, it’s Fun Comics, and therefore worth further investigation.



Your Bonus "Sure to Be Unpopular Opinion" of the Day:

V for Vendetta was a better movie than a book. Everything that was cut, condensed, or outright changed was done so for the betterment of the story. I realize I'm in the vast minority on this one, but so be it.

"Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!"

Happy 78th birthday to the only Batman who ever actually mattered, Mr. Adam West!

(This isn't an autographed photo that I own, just one I found on the internet. I do have one, though - I got it when I met him at a car show when I was 5 or 6. I'm sure that period of his career isn't one he remembers very fondly. But for little Zips-wearing, Lucky Charms-eating, kindergartener me, getting to meet the real live Batman, get his autograph, and shake his hand - that was like touching God.)

I don't often type about politics here...

and I'm not going to now, either. Instead, I'm just going to provide another venue for Keith Olbermann's commentary piece from Ground Zero that aired on the 9/11/06 edition of his MSNBC show, Countdown. I think he says a lot of things that truly need to be said, but more importantly, need to be heard.

Yardsailing

We removed many boxes worth of crap from our lives, and it felt pretty damn good.

We were planning to have a yard sale for weeks now. We had gone through the house and filled many boxes full of stuff we no longer needed and/or wanted. Many, many boxes - two dozen easily, possibly even three. We stored them out on the sun porch as we filled them up, and the pile just kept getting larger each day. And we waited for a Saturday when time, opportunity, and not entirely crap weather all converged in just the right combination. For a little while, it looked as if this past Saturday was going to finally be the day. Signs were made; loose change and small bills were acquired for purpose of, well, making change; tables, blankets, and tarps (oh my) were located. We tried to place an ad in the newspaper, but the people at the Providence Journal classified department never could get their story straight as to when you had to place an ad to get the best price, so we said screw it. But we intended to, so I count it as part of the prep process. And then, of course, the forecast predicted an entire day of rain, so we went to bed thinking we’d be putting off until next weekend once again.

And of course, when we wake up at 6:45 on Saturday morning (which, when you have a toddler, is considered sleeping in), wouldn’t you just know it was the most beautiful day ever?

And so we scrambled trying to get everything set-up by 8 – Erin brought Liam over to her parents’ house so they could watch him for the day (they volunteered to do so earlier, so it’s not like we threw him at them at the last minute), and I went out to hang up signs and acquire us a much-needed morning caffeine boost from the mind-numbingly not-too-bright folks at Dunkin Donuts (much more time was spent in line at DD than in hanging the signs… they are dumb and slow at our local donut emporium; I should really consider going elsewhere, since this is Rhode Island and there’s a Dunkin Donuts every 500 feet). Then back to the house to drag everything out to the yard – clothes, books, unused/unwanted baby stuff, CDs that Newbury Comics and Strawberries weren’t interested in buying off of us, a few records, several boxes of discard comics, old kitchen stuff, board games we no longer played, about a gajillion candles, some weird exercise thing, Erin’s old basket chair… well, you get the point. A lot of stuff.

It was kind of slow at points, but there were a few periods when things were pretty hopping – as hopping as a yard sale can get, anyway. We noticed that more people tended to show up when I was in the house getting something, though, whereas a lot of people tended to only drive by when I was outside. So apparently I’m the Elephant Man. Good to know for future reference. But overall, I think we did pretty well. We’d have probably done better (or at least had more people stop by) if we had placed a classified ad or put up the signs more than an hour beforehand – I planned on putting them up Friday, but as it was raining all that day and was supposed to do so all Saturday, too, I didn’t see the point at the time – but we made a respectable showing of things. And we got to spend a beautiful day outdoors, so that was a plus. And even though one of the neighbor’s pit bulls managed to get loose at one point, the vile beast didn’t see fit to attack us or disrupt our sale in any manner, so I thought that worked out rather well.

As two o’clock rolled around, we packed everything back up and proceeded to haul it off to the local Salvation Army store. We seriously wanted this crap out of our lives post haste. We had a yard sale a while back, and brought the stuff that didn’t sell back inside with the intention of having a second sale later that summer; this, of course, never happened. We were determined not to repeat our mistake again. We allowed one storage tote worth of stuff back into the house, filled either with stuff we’d actually like to keep (Erin enjoys the game UpWords, for instance, and wasn’t terribly sad to see it not go) or stuff that may eventually go to eBay (my pile of Doc Savage books, for instance). But beyond that tote, the only things to come back inside were the things that wouldn’t fit into the car for this particular run to the Salvation Army (but are definitely headed there) and the comics that didn’t sell. I want to see if I can donate them to Hasbro Children’s Hospital; if not, they’re going to Sal’s, too (we don’t get enough Trick or Treaters to consider them as Halloween candy alternatives, and I’ve already picked out the stuff worth saving for Liam).

A lot of effort – most of it at the last minute – but it was all worth it, I think. It’s good to be rid of so much excess mess. Not that we don’t still have tons and tons of shit in our house even now. If anything, we’re sort of terrified of the prospect of moving now… as much stuff as we tossed, we still have so much more to potentially pack up and bring with us. Kinda scary, really.

Come for the sandwiches, stay for the rambling!

Wow, did I ever get a ton of hits off that sandwich post. Thanks for the link, Mike! Maybe I accidentally tapped into a previously underserved niche with that at-the-time throwaway post. Maybe I've somehow managed to invent the Sandwich Blogosphere, and the world is at last bowing down before my marvelousness!

Doubtful. Oh, well. Here are some thoughts on some comics (most of which may seem a bit old, since I get the bulk of my comics monthly from DCBS, but whatever, they're new to me), a book, and a movie:

Jonah Hex #10 – Practically the same story for the tenth time, and yeah, that’s getting a little old, but that Phil Noto artwork made it easy for me to forgive. And I hear he’s doing more down the line, so that’s something to look forward to.

Marvel Team Up #23 – The artwork in the first half of the book was kind of awful, but the Wolverine/May Parker scene was pretty funny, as was the punchline from Jarvis. The actual continuation of the Freedom Ring story felt kind of padded, though, just to keep the book moving until the series conclusion in issue 25. And now, knowing how issue 24 ends, I’m left liking this particular storyline even less. Just remember, Marvel isn’t afraid of gay characters, and they’ll kill ‘em off by the truckload just to prove it! Oy.

Nextwave: Agents of HATE #7 – Still the best book Marvel publishes by a factor of about 1 gajillion. A Dormammu stand-in (from the Dank Dimension, no less) working his magic in return for cash and a few of the Suicide Girls? That had me laughing out loud. And this book also shows the sort of clout Warren Ellis must have at the House of Ideas these days, since he can have characters talk about Captain America being a gay icon without someone else immediately killing off Cap as a result (see above). Although we don’t really know how Civil War ends yet, do we? Hmm…

Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule #1 – Exactly the same product as this year’s Buzzboy Free Comic Book Day issue, except with an awesome Mike Wieringo cover. But I like the Buzzboy comics a whole damn lot, so I’ll gladly throw down the money to support this. It helps that it’s a fun book, too. If mainstream superhero comics have you down, you’d do well to pick up this or either of the two trade paperback collections. Now if issue 2 would finally ship, I’d be a happy camper.

Agents of Atlas #1 – Ordered this on a whim (and because DCBS charged 75 cents for it), and I enjoyed it quite a bit. For one thing, that issue of What If with the 1950s Avengers always was one of my favorite issues of that series, so it was nice to see the band get back together. Also, talking gorilla with a machine gun. And a robot. I’m not made of stone. Fun read, though I’ll probably wait for the trade to read the rest.

All Star Superman #5 – Not as good as the Jimmy Olsen story from last issue, but still pretty amazingly good. I thoroughly enjoyed Morrison’s very Maggin-esque take on Luthor – that he views himself as the universe’s equal-but-opposite reaction to Superman’s every action, and how as a result, he reflects this philosophy in every aspect of his life – and it just goes to further prove my theory that Morrison is the new Maggin (or that Maggin was the old Morrison… take your pick). Maybe this book isn’t the life-changing experience other bloggers claim it to be, but it’s still one of the two best takes on Superman in the last decade at least (the other being Kurt Busiek’s Superman: Secret Identity, for those of you playing along at home), and Fun Comics to boot. And I loves me some Fun Comics.

Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon #1 – Real Saturday matinee stuff here – female aviator becomes wrapped up in an adventure to prevent Nazis from getting a very familiar artifact that will allow them access to the secrets of the Hollow Earth and gain the upper hand in not only the coming second world war, but also in the war of black magic vs. white magic. Essentially Tomb Raiders of the Lost Maltese Falcon, complete with a Peter Lorre cameo. Won’t change your life, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Plus, you’re getting two issues for the price of one – the first issue, originally released by the failed Speakeasy Press, and what would have been the complete second issue.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #21 – Still my favorite DC book that isn’t All Star Superman. I don’t know what else I can say about this book that I haven’t said a billion times before, except that the Dream Girl story took a twist I wasn’t quite expecting in this issue. So I guess that’s something new, huh? Anyway, yeah, good book. Read it.

Trials of Shazam #1 – I actually didn’t hate this. I was kind of expecting to, and I didn’t, so I was pretty surprised by that. I still don’t know if this is going to end up being the Captain Marvel I’m going to want to read about, but at least the start wasn’t total crap. So, you know, there’s that. I don’t see myself picking this up monthly, though. But we’ll see.

Detective Comics #823 – I’ve liked the Paul Dini run so far, but I’m not exactly loving it. It’s growing on me, though. I think it’s the hint of a Riddler storyline running through these supposedly standalone issues that’s got me interested. Eddie always was my favorite Bat villain, and any decent use of him is okay by me. Anyway, a decent enough (if slight) Poison Ivy story here, if you can get past the rushed resolution and the 90s-flavored art that allowed Ivy to manage all those only-in-comics (and maybe adult entertainment) poses that somehow showcase her boobs and her ass at the same time. I wouldn’t blame you if you couldn’t.

"Step Right Up: I’m Gonna Scare the Pants Off America" by William Castle – The autobiography of one of Hollywood’s greatest showmen. Castle directed and/or produced some of the most famous horror films of the 50s and 60s, including The Tingler, The House on Haunted Hill, and Thirteen Ghosts, and would receive his greatest acclaim by producing Rosemary’s Baby (the film, not the actual baby). He’s probably best known for the gimmicks he used to promote his earlier films, though, including Emergo (a skeleton that flew from the screen and over the audience on a wire), the Punishment Poll (to determine the end of a movie), insurance policies against death by fright, and most famous of all, Percepto, a device wired to theater seats that gave small electric shocks to people’s backsides during The Tingler. A quick and fun read, as the bios of Hollywood’s more unusual and quirky players always tend to be. Castle truly loved working in the film industry (and his enthusiasm shows), and though he frequently admitted that he never understood why audiences would line up just to be scared on purpose, he always seemed to enjoy giving them exactly what they wanted.

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla – Pretty no-frills as movie titles go, even by Godzilla movie standards, but that’s exactly what you get here. Godzilla attacks Japan (shocking, I know), so the Japanese government sets out to create a weapon capable of actually defeating the beastie. Enter Kiryu, a giant robot version of Godzilla (only ever jokingly called Mechagodzilla in the movie) powered by the DNA of the original Godzilla (the one killed at the end of the 1954 movie… don’t ask me to explain the continuity, just accept it and move on). And, of course, they fight, and a lot of miniature buildings get smashed. But since this is 2002 movie, the effects are all pretty decent. All in all, it’s a good time – the parts with the human characters aren’t terribly boring, the monster fights are fun, and you don’t ever see the strings. So for a Godzilla movie, that’s a pretty optimal experience. Not as good as Godzilla: Final Wars (the Citizen Kane, or even the Grand Illusion, of Japanese monster films, I say), but still worth checking out.

Top 5 Tuesday (Or, It Has Come To This: Sandwich Blogging.)

In lieu of actual content, I proudly present the Top 5 Greatest Sandwiches of All Time. Because I like thinking about food.

Honorable Mention: The Fluffernutter - Peanut butter & marshmallow fluff, while incredibly tasty, isn't really much in the way of a sandwich. It's more like a candy bar on bread. And that's good, don't get me wrong. It's just more of a snack than a real meal.

5. PB & J - The classic. You love it. I love it. God loves it, I bet. Europeans seem to hate it, though. Go figure. So simple, so perfect. It bottoms out the list, though, because let's face it: you bring one of these to school nearly every day for years and years, and it's a little easy to get burnt out on it. But in the end, you always go back. You just can't turn away forever.

4. The sub/grinder/hoagie/Italian sandwich/fill-in-your-regional-name-variation-here: As many ways to prepare it as there are names for it, most of them damn fine. For me, though, every good Italian (as we called 'em back in Maine) needs the following: a salty pork-based meat (I prefer salami), cheese (your choice), onions, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, and an olive oil and vinegar dressing. You really don't need any more than that. Obviously, your mileage may vary. And with this sammich, that's not a problem.

3. The Thanksgiving sandwich - Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, maybe a little gravy if it's handy. It's an amazing combination. You can sometimes find a restaurant that'll make a decent one (a place down the street from us makes a damn fine Thanksgiving sandwich), but the best one you'll ever have is the one you make later on Thanksgiving night from the day's leftovers.

2. The grilled cheese - Nothing beats a grilled cheese sandwich on a cold day, my friends. Some people add a bowl of tomato soup on the side, but I've never been a fan of that. Butternut squash soup, though, works amazingly well for whatever reason. And Funyuns. Can't go wrong with Funyuns. Maybe different cheeses play better with different soups and/or crunchy snacks, though. There's no hard data to support any sort of conclusion here. Science has let us down in this particular regard, so you'll have to do the experimentation yourself. I don't think you're going to mind so much, though, because hey, grilled cheese.

1. Three letters: BLT - Well, bacon is always a good thing. Tomatoes are pretty tasty, especially when in season. Lettuce brings a nice crunch to the party. And mayonnaise keeps the whole thing from falling apart (though, admittedly, is optional). Honestly, it's kind of perfect. The only real question here is whether to toast the bread or not. I spend a lot of time thinking about BLTs, and they're moments well spent, each and every one. And I'm sure I'm not alone in this regard:


See? BLTs distract Patricia, too! (Sorry... couldn't help myself.)

Um... I think you have me confused with some other guy.

So I was Googling* my name at work tonight (Thursday nights are slow. DON'T YOU JUDGE ME!). I share a name with an 18th century British painter and a United States naval architect, which I already knew, but I also discovered I have the same name as a published writer of erotic fiction.

Can you be really amused and a little terrified at the same time? Because I think I am. (Although I have to admit that the plot synopsis of that last book sounds kind of hilarious.) But at least some of the rather odd search terms that have led to my blog over the past couple of years start to make some sense.

I think it's maybe time I reconsider my professional name in case I'm ever actually published some far off day.




*Yes, I'm using Google as a verb. Suck on that, Google!

I am Jack's shrinking comic book collection.

It was on the tip of everyone's tongue - Scipio just gave it a name.*

And then I changed that name, because frankly, Clean House is an annoying show. I much prefer Clean Sweep over on TLC. The host seems nice, the British guy is kind of funny, and they own up to the fact that there's actually a small army of folks doing these renovations, rather than pretend that everything's being done by a designer and two homeowners. I appreciate the honesty. Also, the mom of Goonie-turned-entertainment lawyer Jeff Cohen was on an episode one time, and great googly moogly, was that woman ever a packrat! But I digress.

Anyway, Comics Clean Sweep: Round 1! Over the course of a couple of nights last week, I poured over the contents of my collection - 11 short boxes and enough to fill a 12th and probably get a good start a 13th, neither of which I ever got around to buying - and was able to shrink it down to, well, 11 short boxes. Which doesn't sound like a lot, but at least there aren't excess piles sitting around waiting to be filed anymore, which actually makes this both a good start and a significant aesthetic improvement. So I've got that going for me, which is nice.**

Some of the pulls were astoundingly easy - those two issues of the 70's All-Star Comics run that were reprinted in that new Justice Society trade paperback? See ya. That one "Super Sons" issue of World's Finest? Pretty awful, when you get right down to it - past "so bad it's entertaining" and well into "I'm actually kind of mad someone got paid to write this" territory, so I doubt I'll miss that very much. Astro City? A great book in its day, but the only story I really even remember at this point was the one in the 1/2 issue - which, admittedly, is one of my favorite comic book stories ever - so that issue stays, while the rest of the entirety of volumes 1 & 2 and the few issues of the Local Heroes mini I picked up go into the discard pile without regrets.***

Marvel's Godzilla series? Great kitsch value, for sure, but here's a deep, dark secret most comics bloggers seem hesitant to reveal: it's really not very good, even for a silly 70s Marvel licensed book. A few issues hit "so bad it's good," but the rest are just bad. I may keep a few of the more blatant Marvel Universe tie-in issues - especially issue 20, the first comic book I remember truly coveting - but most of the nearly complete run I spent years saying I'd finish off (but never could be bothered to actually do so) head to the chopping block.****

The only really hard decision came over Uncle Scrooge #s 285 - 296, the "Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" storyline. The trade paperback from Gemstone came out recently, which I bought as soon as was humanly possible, so I didn't need the issues anymore, but I really enjoyed reading each issue as it came out, and had a hard time tracking down certain issues since my local comic shop at the time kept forgetting to order it for me (I think I was their only customer buying the book). And it ended up taking me 5 or 6 years to track down a copy of 285, so finally getting that felt like a particularly hard won victory at the time. But again, owning the book makes the issues kind of redundant, so off they go.

There were more culls in Round 1, but these were the ones that really stood out. And as hard as a few decisions were, the whole process felt kind of liberating, so I'm actually looking forward to Round 2, to the point where I already have my eye on some stuff. Any Uncle Scrooge issues covered by the new "Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Companion" book are ripe for the picking, as are other Don Rosa or Carl Barks stories I have reprinted a few times over (excepting foreign language editions, because those are just cool). I love the John Byrne run of Fantastic Four, but they aren't all gems, so some of those may be culled. Nexus issues drawn by anyone other than Steve Rude are contenders, too, as that's another book I keep claiming to want a complete run of but never actually manage to look for back issues when I get the chance. DC Who's Who? I love it, but how much do I really need character info that's now 20 years out of date?

I'm not sure of the eventual destination of these books - eBay, yard sale, donation, give 'em to Trick or Treaters - but make no mistake, one way or another, they will be heading out the door. Unless I decide to keep the Disney books for Liam.***** Let's see if I can weed things down to an even 10 boxes next.



* Second and final Fight Club reference of the post, I promise. I personally hated that movie, but every now and then, I'm forced to admit that it makes a handy pop cultural reference tool.
** Quite possibly the 5000th time I've referenced this line from Caddyshack here. Milestone or final clinching proof that no phrase I utter is ever original - you decide!

*** Funny thing, though - my copy of Vol. 1, Issue 3 is horribly misstapled, going through the front cover! Always meant to get around to replacing that, but apparently forgot about it altogether a while back. Not that it matters now.
**** And honestly, for whatever reason, as much as I enjoy the Godzilla movies, I've never liked his comic books that much. I always thought this one was pretty cool, but I suspect that's more because of the Art Adams artwork rather than anything to do with the story.
***** Which isn't a half-bad idea, actually.