1 November 2002
[comics] Geek Chic — vaguely annoying profile of Adrian Tomine‘It was lunch hour and all manner of awkward-looking males were standing quietly around the [comic book] store, hardly looking up from their reading to see who was passing. Tomine headed straight to the back where the new releases are shelved. He browsed through a couple items, but quickly put them back where he found them, unimpressed. “It’s pretty rare that I actually buy comics now,” he says. Alternative cartoonists are a lot like music snobs that way. To be a high-caliber geek means maintaining high standards and discriminating tastes, and Tomine is of the highest caliber.’ [via Bugpowder]
2 November 2002
[holiday] Happy Campers — Johnny Vegas on his childhood memories of Butlins

“…the real beauty of [Butlins] was parents being able to go, ‘Right, you’re not really mine. From a certain time in the morning to a certain time at night, I don’t really care. Unless it’s something really serious, and the matron calls us.’ Because, really, there’s nothing worse than going on a family holiday, and your parents are finding things to do in the day that they think’ll be fun for you; they’re miserable, because they’d much rather be in the pub. You’re miserable, because you’re not really that arsed about castles. It was the entertain-yourselves thing at Butlin’s, while your parents were off doing their Paxo-sponsored chicken dance.” Paxo-sponsored chicken dance? “It was like the conga meets the chicken dance.”

3 November 2002
[books] Why He Died Before He Got Old — Pete Townshend reviews Kurt Cobain’s Journals … ‘The entries are not uninteresting. It is simply that they are devastatingly hard to contemplate. They actually hurt. These are the scribblings of a once beautiful, angry, petulant, spoiled, drug-addled middle-class white boy from a divorced family who just happened, with the help of two of his slightly more stable peers, to make an album hailed as one of the best rock records ever. I sometimes get letters from people who write and draw like Cobain. I put them in a file marked ‘Loonies’, just in case they try to sue me in the future for stealing their ideas.’
4 November 2002
[comics] Unseen Artwork from Big Numbers … [via Egon]

Sienkiewicz Mandlebrot Set

‘…with the world political situation as it is at the moment the political radical is put in a difficult position because, hum, how do you rebel against chaos? You know, much as political conspiracy theorists would like to think otherwise, the brutal truth of the thing is nobody’s in control, this is a runaway train. Nobody’s in control, there’s not some big conspiracy in control, whether it’s Jewish bankers or nazis or CIA spooks, the simple truth is that the world is a complex storm of mathematics, basically… Very complicated mathematics that is beyond human comprehension.’Alan Moore.
5 November 2002
[tv] Stick It Up Your Chuffer! — a memorial page for Edmund Trebus … ‘He reached the public consciousness in the BBC documentary A Life Of Grime which showed his heroic determination to hoard what most people call rubbish in his house and garden.’
6 November 2002
[wtf?] Superhero for Single Girls — a real life superheroine in NYC … ‘For the past seven years Terrifica has been patrolling New York’s party and bar scene, looking out for women who have had a little too much to drink and are in danger of being taken advantage of by men. She says she has saved several women from both themselves and predators who would prey upon their weaknesses — both from alcohol and a misguided notion that they have to go out drinking to find a companion. “I protect the single girl living in the big city,” says Terrifica, sporting blond Brunhild wig with a golden mask and a matching Valkyrie bra.’ [via Boing Boing]
[magazines] Dennis The Menace — an interview / profile of Felix Dennis … [via Kookymojo]

‘Issue 28 of Oz was edited and written by schoolchildren. It was probably the montage of the cartoon characters Rupert the Bear and Gipsy Granny having sex that led to Dennis, Neville and Jim Anderson being prosecuted in 1971 for obscenity and conspiracy to corrupt the morals of young children. The case pitted Establishment against counterculture as squarely as Punch versus Judy. Judge Michael Argyle, QC, MC was a Cambridge-educated racing and boxing enthusiast known for the severity of his sentencing, and an almost comic disconnection with the modern world. He’d described one gay victim of a street attack as a ‘little sodomite from Glasgow’. Argyle said Dennis was ‘very much less intelligent than his fellow defendants’ and sentenced him to nine months, which was quashed within a week by appeal judges who identified 78 misdirections to the jury.’

[russian proverb] ‘The situation is hopeless, but not yet desperate.’
7 November 2002
[comics] Big Mouth Types Again — Evan Dorkin has a web journal … [via Egon]

Milk and Cheese -- BANZAI!

‘…I realized that I’ve allowed many stupid things I’ve said or thought to be printed in comics and magazines, and I’ve regretted them and lived, so what the heck, I’ll give this here journal thing a whack and see what happens.’
[life] The Cost of Reunion — True life story which combines Friends Reunited, internet romance, sex and death … ‘Married for 22 years with a 12-year-old son, Joanne registers with Friends Reunited in January; her former fiance Tim responds in March; they meet up again for the first time in April, have sex once, and in June move in together, having seen each other only about a dozen times. The whole extraordinary process of getting to know a person – even if it is for the second time – flirting with them, falling for them and wanting them forever is concertinaed into just a few dizzying weeks – thanks to emails and mobile phones. In one four-week period they exchanged over 30,000 words in emails.’ [Related: Spouses Disunited]
8 November 2002
[comics] Moore The Merrier — yet another interview with Alan Moore‘This planet has a physical geography with which we have already familiarised ourselves. But since the dawn of the first stories, there is a fictional geography, where the gods and demons live. We have created this big imaginary planet that is a counterpart to our own; and in some cases these places are more familiar to us than the real ones.’ [via Bullets]
11 November 2002
[movies] Focus Puller — interview with Paul Schrader about his film Auto Focus … Schrader: ‘With Raging Bull, the fights were accurate, but the arguments between the brothers were completely imagined. Of course, Jake LaMotta liked those scenes so much that he started believing they actually happened. My intent with Auto Focus is not to be true or definitive. People’s actual lives are not really that interesting. And with [Bob] Crane I wanted to get at something meaty. Otherwise, who cares?’ [Related: Auto Focus Trailer]
[comics] Get Your Brain on with Cartoonist David Rees — an interview with the creator of Get Your War On‘He wishes the media, the Bush administration, and the American people would admit the truth about the devastating consequences of war — in both the Middle East and in our own country. He’s not opposed to fighting terrorism, he says: “It’s okay to be against dictators. What you want is for people to be free.”‘ [via ¡Journalista!]
12 November 2002
[mobiles] ‘Hi, I’m in G2’ — a look at how the mobile phone has changed the world …

‘A friend described how she had accidentally locked herself in the bedroom after her partner had gone to work. Without a mobile, she would have been trapped in there all day. Doors slam. Buildings collapse. Far worse things happen. You go to the office, as you do every day, Monday to Friday, and one morning, an airliner intersects with your life, and you realise immediately that you are very likely to die. If there were a God, he would have noticed by now that things have become quieter, no matter how bad it gets down there; given a choice between praying, and talking to the people we love, we are bound to choose the people every time.’

[quote] ‘But I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she’s, there’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead anymore! It’s stupid! It’s mortal and stupid! And, and Xander’s crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.’
13 November 2002
[tech] Making the Macintosh — a website documenting the creation of the Macintosh‘The exhibit features primary documents, such as memos tracing the evolution of the Macintosh mouse; images, such as technical drawings, stills from commercials, notes from user tests; and interviews with members of the Macintosh development team, technical writers, and founders of user groups.’ [via Red Rock Eater Digest]
14 November 2002
[tech] How al Qaeda put Internet to use — article looking at al Qaeda’s use of computers and the internet … [via Guardian Weblog]

‘Al Qaeda operatives struggled with some of the same tech headaches as ordinary people: servers that crashed, outdated software and files that wouldn’t open. Their Web venture followed a classic dot-com trajectory. It began with excitement, faced a cash crunch, had trouble with accountants and ultimately fizzled.’

‘While fiercely hostile to any religious or social norms tinged by modernity, Islamists “have no problems with technology,” says Omar Bakri, a radical cleric from Syria who lives in Britain. “Other people use the Web for stupid reasons, to waste time. We use it for serious things.” (U.S. officials say Islamists weren’t always so earnest: Many computers the CIA recovered from suspected al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan and elsewhere contained pornographic material.)’

[war] ‘Saddam, tell me about your mum’ — interview with the CIA psychiatrist who studied Saddam Hussein‘”It all goes back to his mother’s womb,” Post declares with some professional satisfaction. “During the mother’s pregnancy with Saddam Hussein, his father died, and another son died when he was only 12 years old. She both tried to commit suicide and to have an abortion.” As the story goes, Saddam’s mother, Subha, was prevented from killing herself and her unborn child by a compassionate family of Iraqi Jews. That family is now reported to be living in Israel, where it may think itself the tool of some huge cosmic joke.’
15 November 2002

  • It’s official: Stan Lee sues Marvel / Stan Lee Damage Report: Day Two — loads of coverage from ¡Journalista!‘Every time I think I’m done with the bastards, Marvel Comics finds a fascinating new way to wind up with egg on their faces. From trying to decide whether female comics fans are whores or sluts, to generating friendly waves of love from comics retailers, Marvel has finally scored the public-relations anti-coup for which they’ve been aiming: yesterday Stan Lee filed his lawsuit against Marvel.’
  • Neilalien also has extensive links and commentary‘The way Neilalien sees it, both Lee and Ditko created Spider-Man. 50% each. Or, 100% each. Both men were critical to the success of the character- one designed and defined the character re: the costume, the angles, the poses, the shadows- while the other one huckstered books off the shelves, and wrote those defining Peter Parker monologues and themes. Both men are deified on this website re: Doctor Strange and Spider-Man. And both men are probably difficult to work with- the working relationship was doomed, as most great ones are.’
  • Warren Ellis on Stan Lee: ‘… his position as Publisher Emeritus makes him a million dollars a year, just for the use of his name. The co-creator of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko, is the invisible man. No money, no participation, no mention. Perhaps he doesn’t care. Like Stan Lee didn’t seem to care, until a few weeks ago. I mean, a million dollars a year is pretty good. Until an American news program asked him how he felt about earning and owning nothing of last year’s cinema phenomenon and this year’s DVD phenomenon. I saw the clip. 30-odd years of media savvy choked. Hesitation is fatal in a medium like TV. He choked and burned and suddenly he couldn’t be 100% positive. Suddenly he was Jack Kirby.’

16 November 2002
[tv] Over on Sore Eyes, John wonders what a UK Version of Buffy would be like… ‘I doubt I’d like an ITV version of Buffy much. Just imagine: Robson Greene as Angel. Ross Kemp as Spike. Denise Van Outen as Buffy. How terrifying is that?’
17 November 2002
[murder] The Face of Human Evil — a summing up after the death of Myra Hindley

‘The Catholic religion teaches us that redemption is possible, that even the greatest sinner – even someone who has tortured and killed children for the obscene pleasure of it – can be washed clean of their guilt. Evil is a noun, something like dirt inside you. But for most of us, evil is more like a verb: something you do, not something you are. This is the more modern and more terrifying view of our moral universe – because, instead of regarding Hindley as simply monstrous or aberrant, ‘possessed’, as it were, by evil, we have to start seeing her as not so very different from all of us, just someone who made different choices. She is not alien, but human. This is what humans can do, if they take the hellish road and step by step go down it.’

[books] Swaggering genius — more Sunday reading… a profile of Dave Eggers‘His attitude towards publicity is certainly contradictory; having written a candid memoir about his family and friends, he then retreated into Salinger-like reclusiveness and reportedly dismissed his US agent, bizarrely accusing her of wanting to make money out of his family’s story. Others have pointed out that although Simon and Schuster paid $100,000 for the manuscript of AHWOSG, he later accepted a $1.4 million advance for US paperback rights, and that in spite of early news stories (which Eggers later denied) claiming he had refused to sell the film rights because he felt a cinema version would surrender the book’s integrity, the rights were nevertheless sold to New Line for a weighty $2m.’
18 November 2002
[xmas] Secret Santa is Back‘The idea of Secret Santa is very simple – you pull a name out of a hat and buy that person a present. Your name is in the hat as well, so someone buys you a present too! Everyone gets a present! Everyone’s happy!’
19 November 2002
[distraction] Buffy Cult Trumps — Buffy Top Trumps from BBC Cult‘Ever wanted to find out what would happen if Buffy fought Giles? Or wondered if Xander or Oz is the cutest? Now you can find out with our fun card game. Pit yourself against the computer, and find out if you know your Buffy well enough to win.’ [via Bullets]
[comics] Searching For The Invisible Man — Ninth Art discuss Grant Morrison … [via ¡Journalista!]

‘WHEELER: I think the difference between someone like Morrison and Moore is that at 7:30 on a Friday night, Moore is probably out covering himself with goose fat and chanting to the moon, whereas Morrison is probably watching Top Of The Pops.

JOHNSTON: I actually think Moore is more likely to be down the pub.

WHEELER: Possibly. But communing. He’s communing with his Gods, and Grant Morrison’s communing with his. And I suspect that among Grant Morrison’s gods are S Club 7.’

20 November 2002
[universe] God Is the Machine — Kevin Kelly wonders if the Universe is a computer … ‘If the universe is a computer, where is it running? Fredkin says that all this work happens on the “Other.” The Other, he says, could be another universe, another dimension, another something. It’s just not in this universe, and so he doesn’t care too much about it. In other words, he punts. David Deutsch has a different theory. “The universality of computation is the most profound thing in the universe,” he says. Since computation is absolutely independent of the “hardware” it runs on, studying it can tell us nothing about the nature or existence of that platform. Deutsch concludes it does not exist: “The universe is not a program running somewhere else. It is a universal computer, and there is nothing outside of it.”‘ [via Haddock]
21 November 2002
[comics] Worth a Thousand Words — Salon on Dan Clowes and Adrian Tomine … On Twentieth Century Eightball: ‘The best are easily as testily thoughtful and revealing as Clowes’ works of fiction. And if they aren’t concerned with creating sustained narrative story lines, taken together they do tell us a lot about character — though the character revealed most is Daniel Clowes (represented either as himself or via a “transparent stand-in” in roughly half of the pieces). In contrast to his graphic novels, these strips resemble a Clowes manifesto, or perhaps the notes scrawled by his psychoanalyst. (Said analyst would probably have much to say about “The Happy Fisherman,” about a guy who walks around with a frozen fish stuck to his dick, “Ink Studs,” in which a penis serves as a paintbrush, and “Needledick, the Bug Fucker,” which is exactly what it sounds like.)’ [via Boing Boing]
22 November 2002
[food] Not So Big, Mac — a look at the problems McDonalds are currently facing. ‘…the all-American fast-food chain, the symbol of US-driven trade liberalisation and peace through commerce is, in certain key ways, a bizarrely un-American phenomenon. In a culture that champions entrepreneurialism, the corporation is now a vast, unwieldy bureaucracy; in a culture that thrives on innovation, it has been selling the fast-food treat of the American working-classes of the Eisenhower era for decades since Eisenhower. And in an economy where unlimited choice – or at least the appearance of choice – is the main selling point of every food store, deli or coffee shop, McDonald’s has, from the beginning, adhered to the alternative philosophy of You’ll Eat What You’re Given.’
24 November 2002
[comics] Nowhere Girl — beautifully put-together online comic. ‘…too much information for you?’
25 November 2002
[conspiracy] Conspiracy Weary — the problem with conspiracy theories … Neil Burger: ‘The Kennedy assassination is this unsolved, confounding mystery of American history. You delve into it because you can’t believe that this public event has so many unanswered questions. There isn’t any definitive, conclusive evidence on anything. You follow these trails of evidence. They are so tantalising, but you never have the answer. It’s enough to keep you looking for more. It’s enough to drive you insane.’ [Related: Interview with the Assasin Trailer and Official Site]
[comics] Recommended Graphic Novels for Public Libraries‘ I’m a librarian at the Greene County Public Library in Xenia, Ohio, and for the past few years I’ve been buying graphic novels (comic books, that is) for my library system. They’ve proven very popular at our libraries…’
26 November 2002
[music] ‘We’ve had it large’ — New Order discuss their career and the new box-set they are bringing out for Christmas … ‘Sumner’s eyes light up. “What do you collect?” “Cars,” says Hooky. “Model cars.” Sumner arches an eyebrow. “Oh.” “Well, I like collecting,” continues Hooky, furiously scratching his stubble. “I collect everything.” “Then we’re different,” notes Sumner. “I like to get a skip and throw everything away. A clean slate, that’s what I like.” In the future, when looking to remake The Last of the Summer Wine, the BBC should consider New Order as ripping new cast members.’
[distraction] Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire in Flash … [Related: The History Behind Billy Joel’s Song]

‘Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio, Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television, North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe, Rosenbergs, H Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom, Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye, Eisenhower, Vaccine, England’s got a new queen, Maciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye, Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev, Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc, Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dancron, Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock, Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team, Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland, Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev, Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez, Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac, Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge On The River Kwai, Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball, Starkwether, Homicide, Children of Thalidomide, Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia, Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go, U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy, Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo, Hemingway, Eichman, Stranger in a Strange Land, Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion, Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania, Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson, Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician sex, J.F.K. blown away, Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again, Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock, Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline, Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan, Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide, Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz, Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law, Rock and Roller cola wars…’

27 November 2002
[comics] Geek Poet — yet another interview with Dan Clowes‘One person unimpressed with Clowes’s celebrity is Enid Coleslaw, the caustic, adorable 18-year-old heroine of Ghost World. In the book — published as a piecework between 1993 and 1997, then in one volume in 1998 — Enid attends a signing given by Clowes in her local comic-book store. She imagines a rugged, hard-bitten Bogart type, but Clowes — self-deprecating to a fault — depicts himself as a shabby, leering loser, sitting alone in a corner.”There was ‘nobody” there and he was like this old “perv’,” Enid tells her best friend Rebecca later. However, it’s worth noting that her name is an anagram of her creator’s. Indeed, Clowes has said that Enid and Rebecca represent two sides of his own nature.’ [via Egon]
28 November 2002
[film] Solaris, Rediscovered — backgrounder on Stanislaw Lem and Solaris‘…this is the source of Lem’s uneasy relationship with American science fiction, and of his inevitable misalliance with Hollywood. Lem’s stories are about humanity in general. Movies – at least popular ones – are about characters. Moreover, when confronted with a beautiful woman who may be a phantom, an alien, or some kind of machine, Hollywood is more or less required to put one question ahead of all others: Can you have sex with it? This is what Soderbergh refers to when he says the movie will be a cross between 2001 and Last Tango in Paris.’
[comics] Great Comic Panels #2, from Ghost World [Buy: UK | US] by Dan Clowes …

Panel from Ghost World

30 November 2002
[film] Truly, a class act. Not a lot of people know that — profile of Michael Caine‘There’s a crack in the Caine façade, I think, and you see it in that very cool comic line he couldn’t deny himself. When someone remonstrated with him about having made Jaws: The Revenge, he answered, “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” Now, that is a knock-out line, and characteristic of Caine’s wit (more or less impromptu) at awards evenings. But it is very much the kind of thing that Alfie, or Harry Palmer (from the Ipcress films) or even Carter might have uttered: cynical, knowing, an outsider’s jab at the system, its hypocrisy and foolishness.’