In the Stack - Wildstorm/ABC Edition
I've been an unabashed Marvel fan for years, rarely getting involved in mainstream DC titles, apparently unless Grant Morrison writes them (Animal Man and Doom Patrol many years ago). But some of the best books I'm reading currently are from DC-published Wildstorm and ABC Comics.
Howard Chaykin's City of Tomorrow just wrapped up as a 6-issue mini-series - I would expect to see a compendium coming out sometime soon. Cool artwork, timely story (you know, the idea of the US military planting WMDs in a country as a pretense to invasion doesn't seem all that far-fetched) - worth either finding the individual copies or looking for a collection.
When Alan Moore started the America's Best Comics imprint a few years ago, my immediate favorite was Top 10, set in a large city police precinct where ALL the citizens have some sort of superpower. The writing was tight but what blew me away was the artwork - one two-page spread in particular stood out where you were looking down on a transit station with 100s of characters, most of which were recognizable (many of them characters from other books and publishers). It only lasted about 10 issues, followed a couple of years later by Smax, a mini-series focused on one of the characters from Top 10 and including more little visual jokes and asides on each page than some 20-year series manage throughout their life. Now there's finally a new series - Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct set 10 years later and drawn by Jerry Ordway. Yay!
Finally, nearing completion is Wildstorm's Matador - another cop title but (mostly) without the superpowers. Isabel Cardona is a Miami detective from a family of cops that gets caught between the Cuban mafia and a corrupt group of cops, with a mysterious silent figure known only as the Matador showing up to save her from being shot down by her own department after she witnesses their execution of a Cuban crime boss. The writing by Devin Grayson is tight and the Brian Stelfreeze artwork is nicely stylized. Final issue is probably in my bag at Chapel Hill Comics as we speak.
All of these have been a welcome diversion from the silly Marvel House of M crap that's been clogging my bag this summer. Probably their stupidest idea since Secret Wars II. Thankfully the New Avengers hasn't been playing - the Brian Michael Bendis storyline of the Sentry has been pretty damn cool. And they've launched a follow-up to Grant Morrison's 1602 series - without him this time but so far it shows some promise. So much to read, so little time...
Chapel Hill Comics has a call for submissions for a fall art display titled "Grrruuuunh: Art of the Living Dead" because, of course, everybody loves zombies! I'd thought about Photoshopping something together but haven't really had time to do anything, but then remembered this picture of a well-known Greensboro blogger (and my best bud) that I could probably submit as is. What do you guys think?
Muuussst eeeaaaat braaaaiinnnnssss...
On the other hand (see previous post), the guv gets some love in the comments of Daily Kos. I've got to say that I've not been Governor Easley's biggest fan but he's pretty clearly got something on the ball. During the elections last year, he seemed to be doing his best to distance himself from the Democratic Party and guess what - Kerry/Edwards loses, Bowles loses and Easley wins going away. Since then his comments about "King of the Hill" Democrats have gotten him favorable national attention, he's finally gotten his pet project (a lottery for NC) passed, he got more national press in the aftermath of Katrina for having the absolute gall to suggest that we might want to stay home Labor Day and cut down on gas consumption (and he seemed in the loop and in control as Ophelia wandered around off the NC coast) while getting in a dig at the current administration
The question is - what's next? He can't run for governor again in 2008, he doesn't seem to have any national (i.e. presidential) aspirations and if he were to run for the Senate in 2008 it'd be for Liddy Dole's seat (which one assumes she'd be trying to defend). Of course, Liddy might just line herself up for a run at the Presidency - JS has opined for years that she had the best shot at being the first female POTUS (I agree that the first one will likely be a Republican - let's just hope it's not Condi or /* shudder */ Coulter). So there might be some opportunity there after all.
More than Easley, I'd love to see David Price either take on Liddy in 2008 or Burr in 2010. He's got a pretty safe seat in the House (I think he learned his lesson a few years ago about not bothering to campaign - I suspect his two-year hiatus won't be repeated) and at 65 he's probably more interested in a couple more House terms and then calling it quits, but he's a good guy and one that I think could do some good in the other chamber. On the other hand, Easley is 10 years younger and I can't see him retiring after his current term is over. We could certainly do (and have done) much worse.
Western NC Representin'
Mom and Dad have never made any secret of their disdain for their House rep, Charlie Taylor. Here's a good reason why:
Suspension of Davis-Bacon to facilitate the rebuilding of the devastated Gulf Coast was the right judgment call. Hurricane Katrina stands as the worst natural disaster in our nation's history. As public and private resources are marshalled at unprecedented levels to assist its victims, now is the time to put aside matters of political self-interest and instead focus on rebuilding as a nation. No one could rationally argue that the victims of hurricane should be forced to wait for months, if not years, in temporary shelters while the Washington labor union bosses flex their special interest muscles. Congress built into the Davis-Bacon Act the power to set aside its prevailing wage provisions at times of the most dire of national emergencies -- even the most selfish union apologists must agree that the victims of Hurricane Katrina deserve such consideration at this moment. [emphasis added by me]Oh my fucking God. If I ever had any doubt that Taylor was as much of an asshat as my folks have made him out to be, it is firmly laid to rest. Karl Rove is running the show and Halliburton is getting the choice bids and this motherfucker is worried about unions? In Mississippi? That's so incredibly off-yer-ass that I'm almost speechless. If he came right out and said "everybody in my district is either a toothless inbred yokel or a stoned Asheville hippy so I can say whatever the fuck I want to say" it would be no more ballsy than that.
Carrboro Music Festival
While I'm talking about music, just a reminder that the Carrboro Music Festival is this Sunday. Y'all come! J will probably be home studying, leaving me clear to bike in, listen to a bunch of bands, try not to drink to much and then ride home in the dark hoping not to bust my ass like I did riding back after the National Championship. Can't wait!!!!Seriously, there's like a zillion bands of every type of music ever thought of playing all afternoon and into the evening and it's free, dammit! So git yer ass on over here and let's party!
We didn't make it over to the gala UNC Memorial Hall re-opening a couple of weeks ago, despite the draw of Tony Bennett and Perlman/Zukerman. Okay, Bennett's not really that much of a draw but I would certainly have liked to see Perlman and Zukerman. There are some other great shows coming up, like Ralph Stanley with the Red Clay Ramblers and a number of shows featuring the NC Jazz Rep Orchestra and I'm anxious to go and see what they've done to the place (the main new feature that I'm looking forward to is air conditioning!).All the news about Memorial got JennySlash and I discussing some of the shows we'd seen there and unsurprisingly we saw many of the same shows before we got together (our pre-relationship is remarkable for the number of near-misses). I knew we'd both been at the Chuck Mangione show (she remembered seeing some guy sitting on the edge of the stage afterwards talking to Grant Geissner while everyone else was lined up for Chuck's autograph - that was of course me). I also knew we'd both been at a benefit MCed by Mike Cross with Touchstone and Si Kahn. I didn't realize that we'd also both been at the Arlo Guthrie/Shenandoah concert and were quite likely both at the Dixie Dregs show (we both saw them there - just not sure it was the same show). For all that, I think the only time we've seen a show there together was the Violent Femmes with the Indigo Girls (one of the oddest pairings I can remember).I'm pretty sure she was NOT at the two best shows I saw there - the English Beat with the Murmur-era R.E.M. opening for them and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, who put on one of the rocking-est shows I've ever seen. But I could be wrong...
Free Marketing Idea!!
JennySlash and I came up with a great idea for a restaurant Saturday that we have no money to pursue, so feel free to steal this idea and make a million dollars from it. We thought it'd be great to open a place that serves the kind of things you eat at 3am when you haven't been to the store in a couple of weeks and you're too messed up to drive down to the convenience store. So the menu would look something like:
ketchup sandwich ($1.99)
bottle of Log Cabin syrup ($2.79)
pizza (white bread, ketchup and American processed cheese food) ($3.99)
Tony's frozen pizza ($5.99)
Call it "Munchies" and I think you'll have a hit on your hands.
Oh and Too
I take back 80% of the nice things I finally said about John Bunting last year. It's not just that we're 0-2 - those were some good teams we played and we were not favored in either game. It's the WAY we lost them. I always thought Bunting was all about discipline and about defense. Yet we were penalized 147 times for 3,000 yards against Wisconsin. Those are just not mistakes that I would expect a Bunting team to make. Now, I'll give the defense credit - they played 3 good quarters against GT and 3 VERY good quarters against Wisconsin and were on the field way too long in both games, but they gave out in the 4th quarter of both games. While they just absolutely sucked last year (bottom 10 of division 1-A) they seem to have a spark this year if the offense can manage to get them some rest.
I think Matt Baker's got potential, but he's a senior for heaven's sake and he's got no credible backup. If we don't develop a running game, he's going to get creamed every game and there's no way he'll last the season. He had to be one sore sonofagun this morning with some of the shots he took Saturday.
I'm afraid we're in for a long season.
Another Greenville, Another Majic Mart
I didn't see the thread on Ed Cone's blog last Thursday about the best REM album until too late to comment meaningfully, but it did get me to listen to Life's Rich Pageant for the first time in awhile and I can definitely make a case for it being the best. However, I'll stick with Murmur personally with a honorable mention to Reckoning if for no other reason than it was a major part of the soundtrack of my courtin' days with JennySlash in suburban Maryland. Don't Go Back To Rockville, indeed...