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July 6, 2003
[comedy] ‘It’s an act, innit’ — interview with comedian Bernard Manning …

‘…presumably, I say, you would no longer say things like “Give the coon a crack on the way out”? He looks baffled. “Course I would. Cos we’re all laughing, all enjoying ourselves.” He tries to explain why. “We’re all enjoying ourselves, and the coon wouldn’t be on his own … there’d be a party of black … whatever. I’d say: ‘Give the coon a crack on your way out, it’ll make you feel good.’ Well, it wouldn’t make you feel good. You wouldn’t dream of giving the coon a crack on the way out.” Eventually he gives up. “It’s a joke, you cunt.” “Cuckoo!” says the clock.’

July 7, 2003
[comics] The Underground War in Gaza [login as: linkmachinego/linkmachinego] — Joe Sacco (described as a “Comic Book Journalist” by the NYT) reports from Gaza. [thanks Kabir.]

panel from Joe Sacco's NYT slideshow

[blogs] MediaGuardian 100: #94. A Blogger‘Do bloggers add clarity to a situation, or do they serve only to only confuse it further? And – a subject closer to some hacks’ hearts – why the hell are these people writing for free, anyway?’
[comics] Baker’s Future In Plastic — interview with Kyle Baker about his update of Plastic Man for DC … Baker: ‘One of the reasons I don’t read a lot of comic books is that I try and can’t follow them. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I don’t know what the hell is going on in some of these books. Whenever you do one of these jobs, you have to read up on some of the older issues so you know what’s been going on, so for Plastic Man, I read a bunch of JLA issues. People show up and I have no idea who they are, and it’s done as a big reveal. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be happy that it’s the character or sad that it’s that character.’
July 9, 2003
[comics] Give me Moore — another interview with Alan Moore‘”The basic thing to remember,” growls Alan Moore “is that, eventually, I am always right.” And Lord knows, nobody is going to argue with the man. Moore looks intimidating enough in the few photos he has allowed to be taken — “I don’t do smiles. If I’m not actually glaring, that’s pretty good”. But meeting him in the flesh is even more scary. He’s a towering giant : the hair really is that bushy, the elaborate rings on his fingers chink as he moves, and the joints piled neatly beside his chair really are over 10cm long.’ [via The Copydesk]
July 10, 2003
[end-of-free] This is the Future of Online Newspapers — the Guardian will start charging for some online content‘The Guardian was at pains to point out that all the stories (including its archive) will remain free. It will charge annual subscriptions though for its email digests – one at the beginning of the day that cover the day’s papers and one at lunchtime that covers breaking news – as well as for crosswords, an ad-free version of the site and a new digital facsimile service.’
July 11, 2003
[blogs] ‘Joke’s on you,’ says the Westminster Blogger — BBC News covers Labour MP Tom Watson’s weblog‘Mr Watson, who believes weblogs can play a crucial role in politics, says he’s getting around 10,000 hits a week, while if you stick “Labour MP” into the Google search engine, it’s him – not Tony Blair – who comes out on top.’
July 13, 2003
[london] Going Underground’s Blog — weblog about the London Underground‘ Got rather trashed last night and had to put the auto tube pilot into gear. Got on at Leicester Square at about five to minight, then fell asleep. Did my auto wake up at Turnham Green and amazingly the next District Line was going to Richmond.’
July 14, 2003
[web] Simon Hoggart on Byliner — nice index tracking all Simon Hoggart’s recent columns. He recently encountered Margaret Thatcher: ‘At one point she began vigorously wiping down an occasional table for no apparent reason. This kind of thing used to be endearing or infuriating, according to your point of view. Now it looks sad, like an old lady not quite sure of what she should do with herself or her hands.’
[blogs] Wi-Fi toting bloggers invade Parliament — another predictably nasty commentary from Andrew Orlowski about blogs prompted by a meeting about blogs within the UK Parliament. ‘…evangelists for a specific mode or incarnation of a technology, or, if you like, fetishists for a particular kind of tool, usually get filed, quite rightly, alongside members of the tinfoil hat army. Sad, but true. If you can’t get laid without your ‘tool’ – and blog-lobbyists seem to be a bunch of people who can’t get laid without showing off their weblog credentials (perhaps they never meet other people except through weblogging?) then the scene does have a bit of a foul hum about it.’
July 15, 2003
[politics] Bloggers at Westminster:
  • Notes from Vox Politics Event‘[The] blogging ‘community’ are broadband users while the citizenry of the internet use dial-up… interested to see how this will develop. [I think this is total bollocks, personally]’
  • Euan Semple was blogging from the UK Houses of Parliament‘I’m sitting in the Grand Committee room in the Houses Of Parliament using the first ever wifi network allowed in the building.’
  • Sashinka: ‘What is The Palace of Westminster like inside? Quite a lot like a cross between an ever-so-slightly run down private school and the rather English headhunting firm I lasted at for less than a year: lots of green and cream paint, old oak, and the desire, if only the governors could raise the finance, to repurpose parts of the building in a more contemporary way. Lots of people in suits having conversations in corridors.’
  • Gavin’s Blog .com‘Packed room and lots of laptops with wifi!’
  • Blatant Optimism‘The most notable soundbite: Weblogs are going to be politicising rather than democratising.’
  • Parliament goes Wireless for Bloggers’ Summit‘[It is] believed to be the first time any national parliament has set up a wi-fi zone, although the security implications mean that the wireless internet zone will be dismantled after the meeting.’

July 16, 2003
[comics] The Comic Genius Who Made Superheroes Human — BBC News profiles Stan Lee … ‘Stan Lee maintains links with Marvel, even though he is involved in a “friendly” lawsuit with them over royalty payments. Marvel reportedly pays him $1 million a year for promotional work at lectures and conventions.’
July 17, 2003
[politics] Political blogs: a brief guide — a list of blogs about politics based in the UK … On Tom Watson’s Blog: ‘The Labour MP for West Bromwich made a New Year’s resolution to spend half an hour each day on online business, and has so far been doing well, updating the site every morning at the crack of dawn and often throughout the day as well.’ [via Slugger O’Toole]
July 18, 2003
[quote] ‘For today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology. Where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths.

image from apple's 1984 advert for macintosh


‘Our Unification of Thought is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!’
July 21, 2003
[comics] Grant Morrison at the San Diego Comic-Con:

  • Grant Morrison Exclusive To DC‘DC Comics has just announced that Grant Morrison has just signed a two-year exclusive contract with them. There is no news on how this affects his existing Marvel work. The superstar writer is supposed to be working on a Vertigo project with Frank Quitely which will be announced officially in Chicago. He’s also working on a DC Universe book…’
  • Comments at Morrison’s Panel from Comic Book Resources: ‘The conversation inevitably shifted to “New X-Men,” which Morrison will be leaving as of #154 and will be destroying the Marvel Universe in issue #150 and #151! He also says that his final issue can be seen as the end of the X-Men if one so wishes.’
  • Comments on Barbelith about GM’s Plans: ‘Marvel’s going quite rapidly to shit, innit?’

[space] The Moon, July 21st. 1969

‘The lunar module curved gently down over the Sea of Tranquility, the drama heightened by the calm, almost casual voices of the astronauts and the mission controller at Houston.The casualness was deceptive: from 500 ft. above the surface and all too aware that an error could lead to irretrievable disaster, Aldrin brought the spacecraft down under Armstrong’s direction. At the moment of approach Armstrong’s heartbeat rose from its normal 70 to 156. Yet his voice was calm and flat: “Contact light: engines stopped? The Eagle has landed.” The landing was perfect.’

July 22, 2003
[bb4] Jon Tickle.com — the official website … One of Tickle’s most amusing moments: ‘…was during the Cub Scout task. As the camera focused on Jon, pottering round the cub scout tent, treble checking every guy rope and peg; Marcus Bentley’s voiceover drily commented: “One hour and thirty two minutes into the tent task. The task was successfully completed thirty minutes ago…”‘
[comics] Mobfraction Futurephone … [Related: Matt Fraction.com]

picture of a 'fuck team comics' badge

July 23, 2003
[comics] Wired has a couple of items about comics:

  • Reliving Comics’ Days of Infamy‘Sen. Estes Kefauver, the ambitious committee chairman, showed Gaines a cover of a comic book and threw this when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife-style comment hardball: “This seems to be a man with a bloody ax holding a woman’s head up, which has been severed from her body. Do you think that is in good taste?”‘
  • Coloring the Comic Books‘Women, meanwhile, ran the gamut from the masochistic 1940s-era Wonder Woman (who spent way too much time being tied up) to the vapid Invisible Girl of the Fantastic Four in the 1960s. In one early comic book, she chirped: “I can’t wait to surprise Reed with the new miniskirt costume I’ve been designing!” But Invisible Girl later morphed into Invisible Woman, a sharp character who now runs the Fantastic Four corporation…’

July 24, 2003
[comics] SDCC’S Grant Morrison Panel — fuller report from GM’s panel at the San Diego Comicon‘[Morrison] went on to talk about how he’s not entirely thrilled with realistic comics. Realistic characters, yes, but once you put superheroes in the real world; they seem more than a bit silly. Morrison said that you couldn’t drag the gods to Earth and keep them as gods. “Realistically, the Flash would be able to take care of every super-villain everywhere over his lunch break, but how much fun is that?”‘
July 25, 2003
[tv] The Princess and the Pea-Brain — Nancy Banks-Smith reviews Channel 4’s James Hewitt: Confessions of a Cad‘Charm is nature’s Teflon and Hewitt is very charming. It is quite easy to feel sorry for him and the pretty pickle he finds himself in. Emma Stewardson, a girlfriend he ran in tandem with Princess Diana, still looks after his old wolfhound, Tess. Hewitt keeps her picture in pride of place. Tess, that is, not Emma.’
[star wars kid] Star Wars Video Prompts Lawsuit — BBC News update on the Star Wars Kid‘Since the original was posted on the Kazaa file-sharing system, it has been downloaded and passed around to millions of people and Mr Raza’s story has been featured in newspapers all over the world. Now there are about 38 versions of the original video that add all kinds of effects to his stick twirling tricks or mock Mr Raza.’
July 28, 2003
[comedy] And For Your Encore, Mr Bin Laden? — Jon Ronson meets the Comedy Terrorist who gatecrashed Prince William’s 21st. Birthday Party‘…in the days after the hijack, he seemed to have vanished. So I called his friends. “What’s Aaron like?” I asked the comedy promoter Geoff Whiting. “I can’t lie,” said Geoff. “He’s – shall we say – complex. I don’t want to say more than that. There’s something of the David Icke and the Uri Geller about him. He works on a completely different level to most people. He’s always saying, ‘I’m going to revolutionise comedy.’ He’s a maverick.” “Is Aaron funny?” I asked Geoff. There was a silence…’
[flash mob] London Flash Mob — Where = Soho, When = August 7th … ‘Flash Mobs are seemingly unplanned gatherings of large groups of people that converge in public (or semipublic) places for brief periods of time. All members of a Flash Mob simultaneously converge to form the mob and then quickly disperse again at a given time, all members departing in different directions.’ [via Voidstar]
July 29, 2003
[comics] Batman: Dead End [Quicktime: Large File | Larger File] – a short Batman Movie …

image of the joker from Batman: Dead End


[Related: Ain’t it Cool News backgrounder on the Film | Barbelith Comments]
July 30, 2003
[comics] Grant Morrison at San Deigo Gossip from Rich Johson …

‘…the rumour, mentioned by a slew of people, over the shouting match that went down at San Diego Comic Con between Joe Quesada and Grant Morrison. Or rather from Joe to Grant, one phrase “You owe me!” being the most repeated on the convention floor the day after. Quesada had found out about the DC exclusive deal and he took it out on Grant with expletives that were definitely MAX labelled.

Reports indicate that Grant kind of shut down and went into a mini-coma, but did give out one response “Fuck You, Fuck your company, and Fuck your boss who’s the biggest arsehole I’ve ever met.”‘

[iraq] Salam Pax visits Saddam Hussein’s home town: ‘I can not really say it was very wise to go to Tikrit with foreigners two days after the death of Uday and Qusay was confirmed. They are not very friendly up there in Saddam’s home town at the best of times, and now they border on the hostile. I am now Salam “the spy” Pax in Aujah.’
July 31, 2003
[politics] Tony Blair for President! — Blair 2004! … ‘Between the babbling of George W. Bush on the right, the blathering of the anti-war left, and the cluck-clucking of media hens everywhere, stands Tony Blair, articulate and principled. Many Americans understand and support Iraqi Freedom because of the leadership provided by Mr. Blair, and many of us would feel much safer if Mr. Blair occupied the White House.’ [via Guardian Weblog]
[politics] Don’t Mention The Whatever-It-Is — Simon Hoggart sketch of the press conference Tony Blair gave yesterday … ‘Outside in Downing Street it was drizzling gently, but inside it was hot and sticky. My ideal “top-down incentivised improvement” would have been to take my shirt off. We began to nod gently.’ [Related: Simon Hoggart on Byliner]
August 1, 2003
[comics] Teaser Art from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. Three … Comments from Kevin O’Neill: ‘… the third volume will jump to the year 1920 and will feature new League members, although Mina will still be around. “We’ll also go back and jump forward as well, around the 1950s,” O’Neill said. “Alan has some dazzling ideas. It’s going to be sexier than earlier volumes.” O’Neill said there will be a break between the second and third volumes. “Alan’s promised to continue with the League,” O’Neill said.’ [Related: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Annotations | via Barbelith]
[film] Shinto Daydreams — Nick Park on Hayao Miyazaki and ‘Spirited Away’ … ‘Miyazaki’s work is reminiscent of Tintin. His simple graphic style and attention to detail reveal great imagination: the smallest movement on the girl’s face conveys a whole series of emotions. When Tintin creator Hergé drew cars, ships or planes, you could see a love for the subject itself. You see that with Spirited Away. There is a love of the process of animation. Each shot is composed and looks gorgeous.’ [Related: Official Site, Spirited Away Trailer]
August 2, 2003
[god] Over Three Hundred Proofs of God’s Existence … [via As Above]

‘305. ARGUMENT FROM MONTY PYTHON
(1) Graham Chapman appeared in a film that made fun of Jesus.
(2) Graham Chapman died of a horrible, incurable disease.
(3) Therefore, God exists.
(3a) And has no sense of humor.’

August 3, 2003
[blogs] The WeBLOG of Austin Mitchell — another politician has a weblog … ‘Kellyland is our Westland. Not the kiss of death (except for the Blair-Campbell marriage) but the knell of change, and like Westland, so complex it needs exegisis, barrister skills and the collective IQ of the columnist class, most of whom are now going abroad to rest overheated brains.’ [via Conservative Commentary]
August 4, 2003
[books] Something Might Plummet. Something Might Soar — an excerpt from Dave Egger’s new novella … ‘Mrs Gunderson. Whahaooaoooa. Mrs Gunderson. This is about Mrs Gunderson and it gets dirty. You know she’s got to be in her fifties but whahaooaoooa, what is it about her that’s got you thinking?’
August 5, 2003
[film] American Splendor Trailer — Quicktime Trailer for a film about comic-book writer Harvey Pekar‘Ordinary Life is pretty complex stuff!’ [Related: American Splendor Official Site]
August 6, 2003
[comics] Cerebus the Aardvark Radio Episodes — old episodes from a radio show based on Dave Sim’s Aardvark … ‘They’re a little rough and amateurish and I apologize for the iffy quality of the recordings. Still, these should be of interest to die-hard Cerebus fans. ‘ [via Pete’s Organic Link Farm]
August 7, 2003
[24] The Second Coming — a profile of Kiefer Sutherland. ‘…he met the actress Julia Roberts and they became engaged, but she jilted him shortly before their wedding and fled to Ireland with his best friend, Jason Patric. His life spiralled downwards, with rumours of bar fights and drinking bouts. Later his film career fell into the doldrums, with a string of instantly forgettable movies. So he made the radical decision to take time out and became a cowboy on the rodeo circuit. After a few years and several trophies (he won the United States Team Roping Championships twice), the allure of Hollywood drew him back to acting.’ [Related: BBC’s 24 Site | 24 Weblog]
[comics] Catching Up With Professor M: Talking With Grant Morrison — another interview with GM … [via Barbelith]

‘I think today’s comic books are perfect reflections of their times: conservative, unambitious and self-congratulatory. A howling lack of imagination or direction runs through the mainstream, but that’s about to change. It’s easy to sense the upcoming wave. Reading most comics today is like wearing dad’s slippers and smoking his pipe – it’s an illicit thrill to be sure but not much of one…’

August 8, 2003
[science] You Ask The Questions — Michael Crichton‘Q: In ER, what is wrong with Kerry Weaver’s leg? A: I’m sorry, but that’s confidential between doctor and patient.’
August 10, 2003
[spam] Swollen Orders Show Spam’s Allure — spam for $50 penis-enlargement pills WORKS?! … ‘Among the people who responded in July to Amazing’s spam, which bore the subject line, “Make your penis HUGE,” was the manager of a $6 billion mutual fund, who ordered two bottles of Pinacle to be shipped to his Park Avenue office in New York City. A restaurateur in Boulder, Colorado, requested four bottles. The president of a California firm that sells airplane parts and is active in the local Rotary Club gave out his American Express card number to pay for six bottles, or $300 worth, of Pinacle. The coach of an elementary school lacrosse club in Pennsylvania ordered four bottles of the pills.Other customers included the head of a credit-repair firm, a chiropractor, a veterinarian, a landscaper and several people from the military. Numerous women also were evidently among Amazing Internet’s customers.’
August 11, 2003
[size] Do Penis Enlargement Pills Work? — a brave blogger intends to find out and report back … ‘I took two pills yesterday (after lunch and after dinner). I noticed a “tingly” sensation in my penis when I got my first post-pill erection last night. It was quite strange, like I could feel the blood filling it up.’ [via Kottke’s Remaindered Links]
August 12, 2003
[comics] Inside Morrison’s Head — another interview with Grant Morrison concentrating on his new work from D.C.‘ I’m definitely much more interested in what’s happening on the fringe where comics cross over with general pop culture and I find myself resonating strongly with the super sci-fi, hyper-realist and fantastic elements which teenagers are absorbing again via comics and via artifacts which owe very little to the weird reiterations of the superhero books. My problem with manga is the slow, ponderous and decompressed nature of so many of the books, so I’m hoping We3 will do something about fixing that – part of what we’re attempting to create is a Western-manga fusion cuisine, which combines inspirational elements from eastern and western tastes in visual storytelling and uses them to make something new.’
[politics] A Sense Of History – So Take Off Your Jacket — Guardian Sketch of the first day of the Hutton Enquiry‘The British court system has always been a natural home for great rhetoricians – judges and barristers with the inspiring capability, when the moment requires it, of investing their words with a palpable sense of history being made. Lord Hutton is not one of them. “I hope the air-conditioning is going to work rather more effectively,” he said as he took his seat yesterday morning. “If anybody would like to take off a jacket, please feel entirely free to do so.” But no one did.’
August 13, 2003
[windows] Magic Number: 30 Billion — John Dvorak estimates the number of times Windows crashes in a year. ‘…the majority of legacy systems out there run Windows 98 with some Windows 95 holdouts and a few operating on Windows Me. These machines bomb more than XP — that’s for sure. Windows 98 represents about 25 percent of the market at this point. It has to crash 10 to 20 percent more often than XP. I think that when we put all the numbers together, we can estimate that there are a minimum of 30 billion Windows system crashes a year. To give you an idea of how ridiculous that number is, here are few comparisons. Thirty billion is the same as the estimated number of Earth-like planets in the Milky Way … ‘
August 14, 2003
[comics] Howard Chaykin Audio Interview — from 1988. Chaykin is interviewed by Kim Thompson … ‘What follows is a freewheeling, no-holds-barred conversation about Chaykin’s recent and forthcoming works, what went wrong with Flagg! after he left the series, the “creator’s revolt” following DC Comics’ attempt to impose a new ratings system on its comics, work-for-hire versus creator ownership, and the realities of the comics industry at the close of the 1980s. It’s an entertaining and illuminating discussion…’
August 15, 2003
[comics] Louis’ Toons — interview with Chester Brown as he wraps up his comic book biography of Louis Riel. ‘…is a comic book able to carry the complicated portrait of a life? Ultimately, yes. Brown has winnowed Riel’s story into a fast-paced tale that, despite its relatively slim page count, contains about the same amount of detail as one might find in a cinematic biopic. The result is a story that entertains as well as informs, and it would make an excellent addition to the curriculum of high-school history classes. Apart from its academic value, it’s a great read, an accessible pop work…’ [Related: Preview of Louis Riel | via Pete’s Organic Link Farm]
August 16, 2003
[obit] Some linkage concerning the death of Diana Mosley (wife of British Fascist leader Oswald Mosley):

  • Independent Obituary: ‘…she certainly did not mind discussing with me her relations with Hitler and his various henchmen, and her time in prison. She knew Hitler intimately as a friend, describing him, almost with tears in the eyes, as a man of unusual sensitivity and tenderness (“You should have seen his hands, the delicacy, the beauty of them, and, oh Jim, his blue eyes . . .”), who hated cruelty (“He cannot have known what went on in the concentration camps” and “I know for an absolute fact that he never watched the films taken of the deaths by hanging with piano wire of the abortive putsch on his life in 1944”).’
  • Diana Mosley, Unrepentantly Nazi and Effortlessly Charming‘The death of Diana Mosley brings to an end one of the most curious questions of British upper-class etiquette: how does one deal socially with an unrepentant Nazi?’
  • The Myth of the Mitfords‘A starring appearance at a Nazi rally might be thought a difficult thing to live down, but Lady Mosley – or “Lady Diana Mosley”, as she somewhat oddly insisted on calling herself – contrived to manage it. Much of her later life, in fact, consisted of a stalwart defence of the indefensible – or rather not, as she seemed never to have experienced the slightest qualm that she had anything to be ashamed of.’

August 18, 2003
[moon] Neil Armstrong – The Awful Truth — Blogjam presents what Armstrong really said when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon … ‘This is Tranquility Base. The Eagle has landed. Jesus H. Christ, Houston. We’re on the fucking Moon. Over.’ [Related: Onion – Holy Shit. Man Walks on Fucking Moon | via Sore Eyes]
[blogger] Review of Blogger — from PC Mag … ‘Although Blogger may regain the crown soon, it’s not currently a versatile or powerful tool.’ [via phil ringnalda dot com]
August 19, 2003
[distraction] Find the Man’s Head in the Beans — and you’re a genius… ‘If you can find the Man’s Head within 1-3 mintues, your right brain is slow in reacting, you should eat more meat protein. If you can find the Man’s Head in 3 minutes or more, your right brain is a disaster… extremely slow in reacting, the only suggeestion is please watch cartoons to help normally develop your right brain.’ [via Beatniksalad]
[comics] Humdrum Hero — preview of American Splendor – the film about Harvey Pekar‘The beauty of the comics and the movie lies in the mundanity of Harvey’s life. He worries he doesn’t meet any women, moans about his job, turns his co-workers into characters and chronicles the ups and downs of life with his third wife Joyce, who evinces none of the quality spelt out in the first three letters of her name, only an almost luminous drabness. But as one fan notices: “This is great, man! There’s NO idealised shit in here!”‘
August 20, 2003
[comics] No Sweat — interview with Peter Bagge. On writing a novel: ‘When I was younger I tried writing a novel, and now I couldn’t imagine anything more boring. I like stuff immediate and accessible, and really all I want to do is make comic books with funny pictures. That’s part of why I like the idea of TV or the internet, that immediacy.’ [via ¡Journalista!]
August 21, 2003
[quote] Charlie Kaufman: ‘Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head? Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn’t be falling out. Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life… I’m a walking cliche. I really need to go to a doctor and have my leg checked. There’s something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I’m way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn’t fat, I’d be happier. I wouldn’t have to wear shirts with the tails out all the time. Like that’s fooling anyone. Fat-ass! I should start jogging again. Five miles a day. Really do it this time. Maybe rock climbing. I need to turn my life around. What do I need to do? I need to fall in love. I need a girlfriend. I need to read more, improve myself. What if I learn Russian or something? Or took up an instrument? I could speak Chinese. I would be the screenwriter who speaks Chinese…and plays the oboe. That would be cool. I should get my hair cut short. Stop trying to fool myself and everyone else into thinking I have a full head of hair. How pathetic is that? Just be real. Confident. Isn’t that what women are attracted to? Men don’t have to be attractive. But that’s not true, especially these days. Almost as much pressure on men as these is on women these days. Why should I be made to feel I have to apologize for my existence? Maybe it’s my brain chemistry. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me — bad chemistry. All my problems and anxiety can be reduced to a chemical imbalance or some kind of misfiring synapses. I need to get help for that. But I’ll still be ugly, though. Nothing’s gonna change that.’ [via Linkworthy]
August 22, 2003
[comics] Comic Book Guy Soundboard‘Inspired by the most logical race in the galaxy, the Vulcans, breeding will be permitted once every seven years. For many of you this will mean much less breeding, for me, much much more.’
August 23, 2003
[comics] The Graphic Truth — Julie Burchill on comics. ‘…a lot of the time, I was just being intolerant of perfectly harmless, inoffensive people and the stuff they liked, whose only sin was that I just didn’t get it for reasons to do with my own impatience and literal-mindedness. Adults who read comics was a big one with me. I didn’t just believe that anyone over the age of 15 who read comics should have their voting rights removed (even if they didn’t have them yet), I also believed that they shouldn’t be allowed access to further education or to adopt small children. But thankfully, I have become a lot more open-minded in my old age and now enjoy the works of Daniel Clowes and Terry Moore on a regular basis.’
August 24, 2003
[language] Doctor Slang is a Dying Art — Amusing article about the acronyms doctors use to describe their patients … ‘The increasing rate of litigation means that there is a far higher chance that doctors will be asked in court to explain the exact meaning of NFN (Normal for Norfolk), FLK (Funny looking kid) or GROLIES (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt).’ [via My 2p]
[internet] Dyke to open up BBC Archive‘Mr Dyke said on Sunday that everyone would in future be able to download BBC radio and TV programmes from the internet. The service, the BBC Creative Archive, would be free and available to everyone, as long as they were not intending to use the material for commercial purposes, Mr Dyke added. ‘ [Comment from: Metafilter, Slashdot, Oblomovka]
August 25, 2003
[comics] Dave Sim on the Regency Elf: ‘The look of the Regency Elf was my shameless peroxide tribute to Blondie lead singer Deborah Harry whom I adored at the time with a passion that surpasseth human understanding. A condition dramatically worsened by the acquiring of our first VCR (Beta, which I was assured was the format of the future) and a commercial tape which collected all the videos from the Eat to the Beat album (at a time when commercial videotapes retailed for around $90 each). “Dreaming” “Eat to the Beat” “In the Flesh”. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.’ [via The Tomb of Horrors]
August 26, 2003
[book] Neal Stephenson Rewrites History — brief Wired interview. ‘…for a while, information technology was incredibly important, yet it had been ignored or gotten wrong by science fiction. There was this vast terrain of virgin territory, and there was a land rush. Now the revolutionary nature of that technology has become familiar. To make the obligatory social criticism kind of comment here, the bursting of the Internet bubble has proven that information technology is just another technology’ [Related: Preview of Quicksilver | Stephenson’s Home Page]
[192] Diamond Geezer’s consumer guide to 118 Numbers‘The one number to avoid: 118 118 (49p + 9p per minute), the one with the 70s hairstyled runners. Probably the most successful ad campaign, but worst value on all calls up to 1 minute 9 seconds.’
August 27, 2003
[books] Close to the Edge — Interview with Douglas Coupland‘I remember growing up, the stories in which they live happily ever after, and the only part that I was interested was, like, after that. Well it was fun for a while then they broke up and she got into crystal meth, found religion and turned into a lesbian. That’s the part I wanted to know. That’s far more interesting to me.’ [Related: Excerpt from ‘Hey, Nostradamus!’]
August 28, 2003
[blogs] Richard Allan on Blogs: ‘…a blog is like a dog… It needs a certain amount of care every day. This is time consuming and can feel like a bit of a drag when you are busy. But you know that without the regular walks and feeding then the dog/blog will become unhealthy. And for all that you occasionally moan about the demands of your faithful friend, you become so attached that you would not enjoy life without half so much without it.’ [Related: Richard Allan’s Weblog | via plasticbag.org]
August 29, 2003
[comics] The Influence of the Flagg! — Stuart Moore on Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! …

‘[Flagg!] succeeded because it was worth the work. The complex subplots involving Brazil, Chicago, and Mars built to a series of meaningful major storylines, which drove home the moral points of the series. The characters were interesting, layered, and mostly likable, even if they were hard to keep straight sometimes. And the whole series added up to a complex commentary on patriotism, greed, and the flawed nature of heroic human beings, all of which became clearer the more you read (and reread). The first year, in particular, still functions as a terrific novel when read in one gulp — all the plot threads build to a harsh, violent climax.’

[politics] Forever a dull moment in the very busy life of Honest Tony — Simon Hoggart on Tony Blair at the Hutton Enquiry‘What did the rest of us expect? That he would break down? “I killed Dr Kelly as surely as if it had been my hand on the knife!” But Tony Blair doesn’t do sobbing, or rueful contrition. What he does well is calm, factual, reasonable. This week we heard that Dr Kelly had been greatly stressed by the oral exam for his PhD. Tony Blair would have turned up with a ring binder, a Caffe Nero and a welcoming smile for the examiners.’
August 30, 2003
[spam] Turn Back the Spam of Time — Wired meets the Time Travel Spammer‘Todino believes that if it hadn’t been for an intervention by “the conspiracy,” he might finally have laid his hands on a time-travel machine.’ [Related: Time Travel Spam Example]
September 1, 2003
[comics] Gallery of Pages from Big Numbers #3 — pages from Moore and Sienkiewicz’s unpublished graphic novel …

panels from Big Numbers 3


Related: Alan Moore discusses the plot to Big Numbers. [Part One] [Part Two] … ‘The mall is going to change everything, everything will continue to change, but now CHRISTINE has got a handle on it, she’s been through all of these mad events, she’s had this illusory love affair, she’s seen what’s happened to her sister and dad, her mother, sort of, all of this stuff and it’s been a lesson and she’s got the metaphor to hang it all on this past thing so she goes off to write Big Numbers basically, she goes off to write a book about chaos and small towns. And that’s her story. ‘
September 2, 2003
[potus] So George, How do you Feel about your Mom and Dad? — Oliver James on George W. Bush … ‘As the name suggests, authoritarians impose the strictest possible discipline on themselves and others – the sort of regime found in today’s White House, where prayers precede daily business, appointments are scheduled in five-minute blocks, women’s skirts must be below the knee and Bush rises at 5.45am, invariably fitting in a 21-minute, three-mile jog before lunch. Authoritarian personalities are organised around rabid hostility to “legitimate” targets, often ones nominated by their parents’ prejudices. Intensely moralistic, they direct it towards despised social groups. As people, they avoid introspection or loving displays, preferring toughness and cynicism. They regard others with suspicion, attributing ulterior motives to the most innocent behaviour. They are liable to be superstitious. All these traits have been described in Bush many times, by friends or colleagues.’ [Related: Mefi Thread]
September 3, 2003
[comics] The New Comic Book Releases List Web Site — very useful on New Comics Day. Morrison’s New X-Men #145 is out this week…[Related: Barbelith discussion on #145]
September 4, 2003
[comics] DC Confirms Lapham & Sienkiewicz Working On Batman‘Bill Sienkiewicz stated at this past weekend’s Dragon*Con in Atlanta that he and David (Stray Bullets) would follow the creative team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso on Batman following the former’s arc, which begins with issue #620 in October.’ [via Barbelith]
[web] The Internet Archive has developed a beta full text search of 11 billion webpages dating back to 1996. [via Scripting News]
September 5, 2003
[film] Joey Pants.com — Joe Pantoliano’s Website. [via Die Puny Humans]
September 8, 2003
[distraction] Web Keepy-Uppy — keep the football in the air using your mouse. [via Bloggerheads]
September 9, 2003
[web] Latest Episode of Get Your War on

Panel from Get You War On

[blogs] Salam Pax is on the promotion trail for his new book [Buy: UK | US] …

  • How I became the Baghdad blogger‘I spent a couple of days searching for Arabs blogging and finding mostly religious blogs. I thought the Arab world deserved a fair representation in the blogsphere, and decided that I would be the profane pervert Arab blogger just in case someone was looking.’
  • Salam Pax on the BBC’s Today Programme — requires Real Player.
  • Webchat with Pax … On the Internet in Iraq: ‘…the US would use the internet for email attacks: everyone who had an email in Iraq got an email telling you to cooperate with the coalition forces, to stay at home. All the military commanders got their phone numbers changed because for hours when they picked up their receivers they’d get a voice message saying “don’t fight, go home” from the coalition. ‘

September 10, 2003
[comics] Warren Ellis on Cerebus: ‘Over the course of many thousands of pages, it’s also been a detailed political novel, a comedy of the court, a drama of the church, a vision quest, a biography of the last days of Oscar Wilde, several deeply strange attacks on feminism and women in general, and an exegesis of Sim’s own bizarre personal take on religion. It fascinates because Sim is an absolutely brilliant maker of pages, a sublime cartoonist with total control of the form… and because, during the progression of the work, you can clearly see his mind crumbling under the pressure of his immense undertaking and twenty-five years of increasing solitude in which he can only express himself to the world through the agency of a talking anteater.’ [via ¡Journalista!]
September 11, 2003
[9/11] The Falling Man — long, moving essay by Tom Junod about the photo of a man jumping from the World Trade Center on 9/11 [Article in Plain Text] …

‘Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else — something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. There is something almost rebellious in the man’s posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death, he decided to get on with it; as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end.’

‘…the only certainty we have is the certainty we had at the start: At fifteen seconds after 9:41 a.m., on September 11, 2001, a photographer named Richard Drew took a picture of a man falling through the sky — falling through time as well as through space. The picture went all around the world, and then disappeared, as if we willed it away. One of the most famous photographs in human history became an unmarked grave, and the man buried inside its frame — the Falling Man — became the Unknown Soldier in a war whose end we have not yet seen. Richard Drew’s photograph is all we know of him, and yet all we know of him becomes a measure of what we know of ourselves.’

September 12, 2003
[comics] Voice in the Wilderness — profile of Art Spiegelman‘In the decade since the publication of the two Maus books – graphic novels about the Holocaust in which Jewish mice are persecuted by Nazi cats – Spiegelman had drifted away from cartoons in favour of illustration and design. Some feared that his genius had become blocked; or that, in one rival’s dismissive words, he was just “a guy with one great book in him”. Now, finally, the proximity of death refired his enthusiasm for the calling that made his name. He realised, he says, that “there is something I can do in comics that I cannot do in other ways.” He began to make notes for a post-September 11 cartoon strip…’
September 13, 2003
[mp3] MusicBrainz Tagger — useful utility that correctly tags and renames MP3 files. [via Dutchbint]
September 14, 2003
[books] Under the Skin — interview with Eric Schlosser author of Fast Food Nation‘Fast Food Nation captured, and intensified, a mood of visceral disgust with tainted and tasteless branded fodder. The backlash has forced McDonald’s itself to raise its PR game through the pursuit of cattle-friendly ranches and organic milk suppliers. Schlosser suspects this greener-than-thou campaign might be too little, too late: “I really do believe that this industry and this phenomenon has peaked and is in decline.”‘
September 15, 2003
[comics] Not Quite As Unhappy — another interview with Harvey Pekar‘I think there are a lot of very common events that take place in people’s lives that are paradoxically not written about very often. The so-called mundane quotidian experience. I try to write about these things because an accumulation of those experiences can have a terrific effect on your life. Most writers, especially in movies which cost a lot of money, try to go for more sensational stuff like bank robberies and single life changing events.’
[comics] Magneto was Right T-Shirts — as modeled by the late Quentin Quire … [via Barbelith]
September 16, 2003
[spam] So Far, So Good — article about the current state of Bayesian Spam Filtering‘If the only way to get past Bayesian filters is to write spams more cleverly, we’ve made spamming a lot harder, because we’ve shifted the burden of cleverness from the few comparatively smart people who write spamware to the large number of stupider people who write the spams.’ [Related: Mefi on Bayesian Filtering]
September 18, 2003
[quote] Memorable Book Openings (#1): Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney …

‘You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head. The club is either Heartbreak or the Lizard Lounge. All might come clear if you could just slip into the bathroom and do a little more Bolivian Marching Powder. Then, again, it might not.’

[blogs] Baghdad blogger at the Hutton inquiry‘I also went to the House of Commons a couple of days ago to watch the debate on the role of the UN in Iraq, and I can tell you: that being an Iraqi and seeing that and the bit of the Hutton Inquiry yesterday, is quite strange. It is like listening to your parents discuss how they should bring you up; it is your life, but you are not making the decisions.’
[comics] Bagge Make Hulk Smash! — brief interview with Peter Bagge about The Incorrigable Hulk. Bagge on working with the Hulk and Spider-man: ‘I like being able to take advantage of the publics near-universal familiarity with characters like Spider-Man and The Hulk. It saves me from having to do a lot of ‘splainin!’
September 19, 2003
[film] Tarantino Assessement — update on Quentin Tarantino‘It’s that kind of careful attention to the quotidian and the banal that led critic Ron Rosenbaum, in a 1997 Esquire article, to herald Tarantino as a 1990s F. Scott Fitzgerald. “His tough-guy act, his tough-guy actors, and his blam-blam moments may disguise it, but Tarantino is an aesthete, a Fitzgeraldian observer of the delicate dance of social interaction,” Rosenbaum wrote. “Because, at his best, in the interludes between the blam-blam, he’s a genuinely curious philosophic investigator of manners and morals, more akin to a novelist of manners such as Jane Austen, say, than even to Fitzgerald.” But Jane Austen never made a kung fu movie.’ [Related: Kill Bill Trailer]
[comics] Metacommentary (f) — Extracts from Warren Ellis’ new novel … ‘I sat down and basically wrote the first thing that entered my head. Mostly in the pub. Got to 50 pages, stopped and handed it over to Lydia. “Go on then,” I laughed, “do something with that., It’s got a Godzilla bukkake scene. You’re doomed.” Lydia sold the book to HarperCollins in New York within a couple of weeks.’
September 20, 2003
[quote] Memorable Book Openings (#2): One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey …

‘They’re out there. Black boys in white suits up before me to commit sex acts in the hall and get it mopped up before I can catch them. They’re mopping when I come out the dorm, all three of them sulky and hating everything, the time of day, the place they’re at here, the people they got to work around. When they hate like this, better if they don’t see me. I creep along the wall, quiet as dust in my canvas shoes, but they got special sensitive equipment detects my fear and they all look up, all three at once, eyes glittering out of the black faces like the hard glitter of radio tubes out of the back of an old radio.’

September 21, 2003
[comics] Japan’s Madness for Manga — BBC News on Manga and Spirited Away … ‘Modern manga burgeoned in Japan’s post-war years, when television was still not affordable. When TV did become more common, anime provided a cheap alternative to live drama. Both genres hooked the 1960s baby boom generation and have since become well-established Japanese media. Relatively low production costs are still part of their attraction. “One person with a pen and piece of paper can do something on the scale of Star Wars,” said Matt Thorn, from Kyoto Seika University’s Department of Comic Art. ‘
September 22, 2003
[size] Some ‘Enlargement’ Pills Pack Impurities — Another link indicating my obsession with penis-enlargement … ‘Flora Research, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., conducted an independent laboratory analysis of a composite sample of 10 Performance Marketing pills and turned up significant levels of E. coli, yeast, mold, lead and pesticide residues. The amount of E. coli bacteria – 16,300 colony-forming units per gram – appears to be particularly high, experts say. “I think it’s safe to say it has heavy fecal contamination,” says Michael Donnenberg, head of the infectious-diseases department at the University of Maryland.’ [via Follow Me Here]
September 23, 2003
[film] So Has Quentin Just Shot Himself In The Foot? — another Tarantino Updater from the Observer … On Kill Bill: ‘It means samurai warriors who can balance on the blade of a sword despite the distraction of a thunderously intrusive soundtrack. It means a thin plot line that follows faithfully the honour-through-revenge motif central to the martial arts genre, and features Uma Thurman as an unlikely ninja, who awakens from a four-year coma, dons a nifty brown and yellow tracksuit, borrows a samurai sword, and sets out to dispatch the former friends who betrayed her. Imagine Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon made by Scorsese during his cocaine phase, and you’re halfway there.’ [Related: Kill Bill Website | via I Love Everything]
[quote] Memorable Book Openings (#3): White Teeth by Zadie Smith …

‘Early in the morning, late in the century, Cricklewood Broadway. At 06.27 hours on 1 January 1975, Alfred Archibald Jones was dressed in corduroy and sat in a fume-filled Cavalier Musketeer Estate face down on the steering wheel, hoping the judgement would not be too heavy upon him. He lay forward in a prostrate cross, jaw slack, arms splayed either side like some fallen angel; scrunched up in each fist he held his army service medals (left) and his marriage license (right), for he had decided to take his mistakes with him. A little green light flashed in his eye, signaling a right turn he had resolved never to make.’

September 24, 2003
[alcohol] Never Again — anatomy of a hangover … ‘Alcohol is an evil blunderbuss of a drug. Any other drug, like frusemide, or amphetamine, is taken in a teeny pill, where each molecule runs to its little receptor to exert its effect. Which is not to say that either of them are safer. But when you drink, as I did last night, a 40% alcohol drink such as whisky, then 40% of what you ingest is pure drug. In the case of a litre bottle, which two of us unwisely made a pretty good stab at polishing off between us, that’s more than a Coke can of pure drug. It doesn’t go to a neat little receptor site. It enters every cell in your body and stops it working properly, and just happens to hit the GABA cells in your brain first, rendering the subject, for want of a better word, pissed.’ [Related: Hangover Cures from H2G2]
[comics] Tapestry — RSS Feeds for Popular Online Comics.
September 25, 2003
[quote] Memorable Book Openings (#4): Something Happened by Joseph Heller …

‘I get the willies when I see closed doors. Even at work, where I am doing so well now, the sight of a closed door is sometimes enough to make me dread that something horrible is happening behind it, something that is going to affect me adversely; if I am tired and dejected from a night of lies or booze or sex or just plain nerves and insomnia, I can almost smell the disaster mounting invisibly and flooding out towards me through the frosted glass panes. My hands may perspire, and my voice may come out strange. I wonder why. Something must have happened to me sometime.’

September 26, 2003
[comics] Web comics via RSS — a short lesson from Bugpowder.
[comics] The End Of An X-Era — Yet another link to a Grant Morrison interview — on the conclusion of the New X-Men, Sex and DC Comics … New Projects: ‘I have three new ‘creator’ projects already underway and due for release early 2004 – ‘creator’ meaning that the artist and writer own the damn thing and it’s a totally new story, not some old superhero reheat of what your dad was reading while the thought of you boiled in his testes – “Vimanarama!” with Philip Bond. “We3” with Frank Quitely and “Seaguy” with Cameron Stewart will all be out next year. These books all written and I’m already prepping loads more new stuff for next year. I’m deep into a massive DC universe project (something completely new, and not the defunct ‘hypercrisis’ notion) which involves at least seven new series so far. I’ve written 28 plots in a week of activity and it’s been the biggest damburst of creativity I’ve ever known.’ [Preview: New X-Men #147 | via Barbelith]
September 28, 2003
[comics] Studio sued over superhero movie — 20th Century Fox sued for stealing the idea for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from two Hollywood insiders. ‘…the lawsuit alleges that Mr Cohen and Mr Poll pitched the idea to Fox several times between 1993 and 1996, under the name the Cast of Characters. It goes on to allege that Fox commissioned Mr Moore to create the comic book as “smokescreen” for poaching the idea, and cutting the pair out of the production.’
[internet] I Have Seen the Future and We Are It: The Past, Present and Future of Information Security — notes from a talk by Robert X. Cringely. ‘…today’s news is a cypherpunk nightmare. Information turns out not to be power, after all: Power is power. Joe user doesn’t want to encrypt email. Anonymity is overwritten by court-order. The Great Firewall of China keeps a billion people from communicating, from knowing what’s going on. In 1997, in Hong Kong, I spoke to the China-Internet people and said, “How do you proxy an entire Internet?” They said, “Well, it might not work, but we’ll just throw all our resources at it until it does.”‘ [via Sore Eyes]
September 29, 2003
[quote] Memorable Book Openings (#5): The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes …

‘In London, where Southampton Row passes Russell Square, across from the British Museum in Bloomsbury, Leo Szilard waited irritably one gray Depression morning for the stoplight to change. A trace of rain had fallen during the night; Tuesday, September 12, 1933, dawned cool, humid and dull. Drizzling rain would begin in early afternoon. When Szilard told the story later he never mentioned his destination that morning. He may have had none; he often walked to think. In any case another destination intervened. The stoplight changed to green. Szilard stepped off the curb. As he crossed the street time cracked open before him and he saw a way to the future, death into the world and all our woe, the shape of things to come.’

[books] The World Outside the Web — a review of Quicksilver – Neal Stephenson’s new book … ‘Quicksilver infuses old-school science and engineering with a badly needed dose of swashbuckling adventure, complete with a professor-versus-the-pirates battle at sea. Who knew the Natural Philosophers were so cool?’ [Related: Preview of Quicksilver | Stephenson’s Home Page]
September 30, 2003
[politics] The Bush Regime Card Deck‘The 52 Most Dangerous American Dignitaries’ [via Fimoculous]

image of Henry Kissinger's playing cardimage of Donald Rumsfeld's playing card
October 1, 2003
[fruit] Yes – In 10 Years We May Have No Bananas — been meaning to post this one for ages … ‘It is a freakish, doped-up, mutant clone which hasn’t had sex for thousands of years – and the strain may be about to tell on the nation’s fruitbowl favourite. Scientists based in France have warned that, without radical and swift action, in 10 years’ time we really could have no bananas.’
October 2, 2003
[quote] Memorable Book Openings (#6): The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker …

‘At almost one o’clock I entered the lobby of the building where I worked and turned toward the escalators, carrying a black Penguin paperback and a small white CVS bag, its receipt stapled over the top. The escalators rose toward the mezzanine, where my office was. They were the free-standing kind: a pair of integral signs swooping upward between the two floors they served without struts or piers to bear any intermediate weight. On sunny days like this one, a temporary, steeper escalator of daylight, formed by intersections of the lobby’s towering volumes of marble and glass, met the real escalators just above their middle point, spreading into a needly area of shine where it fell against their brushed-steel side-panels, and adding long glossy highlights to each of the black rubber handrails which wavered slightly as the handrails slid on their tracks, like the radians of black luster that ride the undulating outer edge of an LP.’

October 3, 2003
[fruit] Banana Peal — Bananas may not be extinct in 10 years according to Snopes.com‘Bananas aren’t about to be swept from the face of the earth by a deadly pestilence poised to wipe them out. There are about 300 varieties of the fruit, and the current fear applies to only one of them, the Cavendish. Granted, the Cavendish is our banana of choice, but it isn’t the only banana out there.’ [thanks Steve]
[tv] Bill’s Blog — the comedian Bill Bailey has a blog … ‘Got the new website up and running – I trust it will delight and inform. Quite flash what with ringtones and all… last one only had a link to a gardening centre… though quite a nice one.’ [via Neil’s World]
October 5, 2003
[quote] Memorable Book Openings (#7): The Eye in the Pyramid by Shea and Wilson …

‘It was the year when they finally immanentized the Eschaton. On April 1, the world’s great powers came closer to nuclear war than ever before, all because of an obscure island named Fernando Poo. By the time international affairs returned to their normal cold-war level, some wits were calling it the most tasteless April Fool’s joke in history. I happen to know all the details about what happened, but I have no idea how to recount them in a manner that will make sense to most readers. For instance, I am not even sure who I am, and my embarrassment on that matter mates me wonder if you will believe anything I reveal. Worse yet, I am at the moment very conscious of a squirrel – in Central Park, just off Sixty-eighth Street, in New York City – that is leaping from one tree to another, and I think that happens on the night of April 23 (or is it the morning of April 24?), but fitting the squirrel together with Fernando Poo is, for the present, beyond my powers. I beg your tolerance.’

October 7, 2003
[comics] Grant Morrison’s Favourite Superheroes [published in The Face | via Barbelith]

1. The Flash
2. Superman
3. Paradax (Strange Days)
4. Diabolik
5. New Gods (by Jack Kirby)
6. Flex Mentallo, Man of Muscle Mystery
7. Emma Frost, The White Queen (X-Men)
8. Cyclops (X-Men)
9. Billy the Cat (and Katie) (DC Thompson)
10. Marvelman (by Alan Moore)

October 8, 2003
[film] Tarantino on Comic Fans‘The reason I’ll never do a comic-book movie with, like, The Flash or something like that is fuck those comic-book geeks, man. You can’t please them. I might do a comic-book movie, but I’d come up with my own characters where I’m God and I’m the expert and not you guys’ [via Neilalien]
October 9, 2003
[books] The Source of the Modern World — Glenn Reynolds interviews Neal Stephenson … ‘I do think that society has a craving, hardwired in somehow, to have a few people, no more than a couple of dozen maybe, who are universally famous, people like J. Lo or Britney Spears. However, once you get beyond that level, I think it is going to be a kind of highly fragmented, focused kind of fame. It makes for interesting situations. I’m sitting in a Marriott outside of Ypsilanti right now, and there’s a dental convention here. I’m totally anonymous. I can get a drink in the bar, go down to the restaurant, whatever and nobody will recognize me. But if I went to a science fiction convention, I’d be famous in those confines and I’d probably be recognized if I went anywhere.’ [via Fimoculous]
October 10, 2003
[books] Thomas Pynchon to do a guest voice in the Simpsons … [via Boing Boing]

‘Al Jean: We have a show coming up where Marge writes a novel and gets endorsements from writers playing themselves, including Tom Clancy, Thomas Pynchon-

IGN DVD: How did you get him?

Al Jean: We got him. (laughs) He was really nice.

IGN DVD: Oh well of course, he’s not seen, right?

Al Jean: He’s wearing a paper bag over his head, but it is his voice.’

October 13, 2003
[comics] Brian Bolland cover for the latest Animal Man Reprint Graphic Novel … [via plasticbag.org]

Cover to Deus Ex Machina (Animal Man Book 3)

‘I’ve seen more death and pain than you could ever dream of. Fifty thousand years of it. Dying on sharpened stakes, on torture racks and fires. Cut to bits by English bullets and American bullets and Nazi bullets. Life goes on! “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” It’ll only happen when people stop being afraid. Your family’s gone. You can’t help them by dying inside. Life needs you to go on fighting and not sit back while they build more bombs and bulldoze more trees. Either you’re on the side of Life or you’re on the side of Death. Which is it going to be?’
[POW! ZAP!] Car Owners’ Hero Dresses for the Job — a real-life UK Super-Hero – Angle-Grinder Man – makes the the New York Times … ‘After the interview was over, Angle-Grinder Man strode into the street in full regalia, wheeling the suitcase full of civilian clothes he planned to wear on the train home later. Watching his gold cape glitter and swirl heroically in the afternoon light, Judith Smith, a sales clerk who said she had been following Angle-Grinder Man’s exploits on his Web site, pronounced herself a big fan. “I think he’s extraordinarily attractive,” Ms. Smith said. “Especially the golden knickers.”‘ [thanks Kabir]
[magazines] Letting Go is Hard to Do — Charlie Stross writes about resigning as a Freelance Tech Writer for Computer Shopper. ‘…I was forced to confront an unpleasant conviction that the computer magazine biz has turned to shit. From being the banner-carriers of the revolution, we’ve ended up as pigs at a trough fed from the sump of corporate public relations. The industry is a treadmill, dominated by risk-averse multinationals turning out one bland plastic box after another. The software biz is dominated by the Evil Empire. The revolution hasn’t changed anything fundamental about human power relationships — in fact, inappropriate use of email and web facilities at work are now cited as the #1 cause for dismissal of office staff in the UK. The wild sense of excitement and potential that computers brought in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s has evaporated.’ [via 2lmc spool]
October 14, 2003
[comics] It Came From The Quarter Bin: The Question #1 — Newsarama looks back at Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan’s late-80’s revamp of The Question … ‘I found this first issue with a few dozen of the Question’s comics for a quarter a piece. Yes, I bought nearly the whole Question run for a mere bag of quarters. Sacrilege? Quite possibly, but as its always fun to take advantage of those who know not what is in their quarter bins, buying this issue (along with any other Question comics) you come across is nothing short of a phenomenal buy.’ [via Neilalien]
[web] The Register — Danny O’Brien on Orlowski, ‘wiki-fiddlers’ and the tenor of conversation on Weblogs … ‘My God, people say, how can Livejournallers be so self-obsessed? Oh, Christ, is Xeni talking about LA art again? Why won’t they all shut up? The answer why they won’t shut up is – they’re not talking to you. They’re talking in the private register of blogs, that confidential style between secret-and-public. And you found them via Google. They’re having a bad day. They’re writing for friends who are interested in their hobbies and their life. Meanwhile, you’re standing fifty yards away with a sneer, a telephoto lens and a directional microphone. Who’s obsessed now?’ [via 2lmc Spool]
October 15, 2003
[comics] Captain America Wins Superhero Networking Crown — Spanish scientists have looked at the interconnection and social networks of the fictional Marvel Universe … ‘The researchers used the shape of the network to deduce the best connected character of the Marvel Universe – the Kevin Bacon of superheroes, if you will. Aptly enough, it is Captain America, a veteran of the 1940s Timely Comics era.’ [via overstated.net]
[blog] Feeling Listless — Unmemorable Book Openings (#1): Star Fighters by Robert E. Miles‘The forces of the Dark Empire seemed to be irresistible: its black star fleets ranged far and wide, extinguishing the light of freedom in galaxy after galaxy, creating in this manner the mightiest empire ever known among the stars.’
October 16, 2003
[politics] When the Plot Thickens Turn to the Beano — another parliamentary sketch from Simon Hoggart‘David Atkinson, the Tory member for Bournemouth East, reminded us that the former Europe minister Keith Vaz had declared that the European charter of fundamental rights would have no more legal significance than a copy of the Beano. At which he waved a copy of the Beano at us, as if we were too stupid to know to what he referred. Denis MacShane, the present European minister, drifted off down memory lane, to childhood days curled up with Dennis the Menace and Desperate Dan. (Did you know that DD’s home in the wild west town of Cactusville was actually modelled on Dundee?) You might think it pathetic that grown men should wave comics at each other in the course of a debate. But that, I fear, is politics as well.’
October 17, 2003
[comics] Heroes of the Blues — a set of trading cards from R. Crumb … ‘Here are his portraits of the many extraordinary country blues artists whose work can be heard primarily on the Yazoo label. Based on photographs, they originally appeared in 1980 as a set of trading cards.’