Friday, October 01, 2010

Extreme awesomeness

In 1987, I was a big Walter Hill fan. At that time, this was based on three movies of his that I'd absolutely loved -- THE WARRIORS, 48 HRS, and STREETS OF FIRE -- and two more I'd had a lot of respect for -- THE LONG RIDERS and SOUTHERN COMFORT.

But somehow, the movie EXTREME PREJUDICE came out completely under my radar. I hadn't heard a thing about it when a buddy of mine and I, driving around on a Saturday when neither of us had a damn thing to do, saw a pretty cool movie poster... for this film outside a 4 screen multiplex in North Syracuse and decided, knowing absolutely nothing about the movie but the title, and that it had Nick Nolte in it, that, what the hell, we might as well kill an afternoon watching it.

So we're sitting in the theater and the lights go down and the grainy leader stock starts to flicker up on the screen and then that cheesy Carolco graphic goes up, and I get a little tingle. I don't know why, the graphic means nothing to me, but if linear time really is an illusion and we actually do know everything, we just can't remember it all at once, I can only assume that at that moment, my subconscious knew that sometime in the future, I'd be watching a lot of awesome films following that logo -- movies like ANGEL HEART and THEY LIVE; JOHNNY HANDSOME and THE TERMINATOR; MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON and BASIC INSTINCT.

And then the names Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna flashed up on the screen and now I'm definitely getting a real good feeling; I know those names but at that moment, I can't quite place them, and then, there it is:


And I looked over at my buddy, sitting a seat away from me (he was always a little homophobic that way) and I said "Oh, THIS is gonna be GOOD."

And I was right. In fact, of the Carolco cinematic firmament, I would say that EXTREME PREJUDICE is its brightest star. This movie has no pretensions whatsoever, no redeeming social value or meaningful commentary on anything, it's simply ...a balls to the wall all out action flick loaded to the cannon-mounts with the finest gunfights ever recorded on celluloid. Nick Nolte is the keystone in the casting arch but he's got some heavy duty company in Rip Torn, Powers Boothe, Michael Ironsides, Clancy Brown, William Forsythe, and Tommy "Tiny" Lister ("Remember him from Monday Night Football?").

As with another favorite film of mine, CONGO, this is an obscure little B movie gem, well written, beautifully directed with a fantastic cast (even Maria Conchita Alonso as the dumbass chick who has to be rescued from the bad guy can't manage to fuck it up, that's how good it is) that has never gotten the credit or the attention it deserves.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Good Ol' Daze

I'm not one of those guys who goes on and on about how much better the world was when I was a kid, or a teenager, or a young adult in my 20s. For the good and simple reason that it wasn't. We didn't have videotapes or DVDs, gays still stayed in the closet or got treated like shit by mainstream society, there were no cell phones, and, of course, there was no Internet. Hard though it may be for anyone born after 1990 to imagine THAT.

But in some odd ways, the world of my youth was a better place, too, or, at least, more tolerant. As examples, I give you a couple of pop culture artifacts that absolutely could not be duplicated in the modern marketplace:

Seriously. No shit. In the early to mid 70s, Marvel Comics published a title called SON OF SATAN. There was nothing particularly distinguished about it; some not particularly good Steve Gerber scripts and some reasonably humdrum Jim Mooney art, and some stories full of pretty typical 70s hippie/horror cliches. But it was right there, on the spinner racks at the five and dime, right next to SPIDER-MAN and BATMAN and all that Harvey and Archie shit.

Sometimes I just imagine the reaction if some comic shop owner tried to put out a couple of copies of something called SON OF SATAN on the same shelf as BETTY & VERONICA or CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST. I stop after a couple of seconds, though, because otherwise, my head would just explode.


ANIMAL HOUSE was outrageous for the mid 70s; that was the point, that's why it was so funny. But in the mid 70s, at least, you could joke about that kind of stuff. Nowadays, you suggest making a movie full of racist, homophobic, sexist jokes that ends with the destruction of the homecoming parade, the movie's nominal hero banging a 13 year old in an outdoor stadium, and John Belushi being elected Senator, and everybody else at the meeting will have simultaneous aneurysms.

Now, I do understand that many if not most people alive at this time would regard all this as progress. We can't expose our children to Satanism, our young adults to racist, sexist, homophobic vulgarity and violence and especially, we can't make any of it look comical! This stuff is deadly serious! And never, never to be discussed!

I don't miss much about my youth, other than a flat stomach, a cast iron digestive tract, and a general absence of aches and pains. But sometimes, I wish the world was still as open minded as it used to be about controversial subjects.


Some people found THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK to be a miraculous event, for probably a million different reasons. I liked EMPIRE, I think it's the best of all the STAR WARS movies, but, then, there are only two STAR WARS movies, and a short feature about 20 minutes long where the cast from the first two films rescues one of their member from a big gelatinous mass on a desert planet. So that's not as major a distinction as it could be.

Many people were struck hard by a minor character in EMPIRE, a little throwaway part called Boba Fett. There was nothing at all to Fett; he had like six words of dialogue and that dialogue was undistinguished, to say the least. Those who eventually acquired lifelong obsessions with this character managed to grow their fanatical attachments from the tiniest and most minute of seeds... an interesting helmet design, or the fact that Fett's spaceship looked like a steam iron.

It's important, then, to keep in mind the facts of the case, and the facts of the case are this: Fett was an idiot, and an incompetent. His greatest accomplishment was handed to him in a block of carbonite. His gruesome death occurred when he fell off a sail barge into a monster's maw and was consumed, after being struck in his dimwitted armored noggin by a random swipe from a broomstick wielded by a blind man.

Fettishists like to tell each other stories about how Fett was the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy and they dwell on all the amazing and wonderful things that he did (which they just made up) before the STAR WARS equivalent of Helen Keller smacked him with a hoe handle and knocked him into a big toothy stomach where he died, and some of them even make up stories where Fett somehow got out of the big toothy stomach alive and continued his career.

But these are like the stories where Batman and Superman have sex together, often times dressed in cartoon animal costumes while Kirk and Spock join them for a big gay furry fourway.

They are not real stories. They are just sad, silly, idle daydreams, and while sometimes some of these stories are well written, nonetheless, there is nothing to them.

Just thought we should have that clear between us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ah, originality...

Somebody sent me this:

Subject: Novels "Transubstantiate" & "Trajan's Arch," and the "Kentucky Literary Newsletter"
Richard Thomas's newest novel, "Transubstantiate," is out.

The official website for the book is at; . Here you can fine a sample chapter, hear a podcast, read Richard's bio. Richard is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers.


“They say Jimmy made it out. But the postcards we get, well, they don’t seem…real.”

When an experiment with population control works too well, and the planet is decimated, seven broken people are united by a supernatural bond in a modern day Eden. Most on the island are fully aware of this prison disguised as an oasis. Unfortunately, Jimmy is on the mainland, desperate to get back, in a post-apocalyptic stand-off, fighting for his survival and that of his unborn child. Back on the island, Jacob stares at the ocean through his telescope and plots his escape, reluctant to aid the cause. Marcy tries to hide from her past, sexual escapades that may be her saving grace. X sits in his compound, a quiet, massive presence, trapped in his body by ancient utterings and yet free in spirit to visit other places and times. Roland, the angry, bitter son of Marcy is determined to leave, and sets out on his own. Watching over it all is Assigned, the ghost in the machine. And coming for them, to exact revenge, and finish the job that the virus started, is Gordon. He just landed on the island and he has help.

Transubstantiate is a neo-noir thriller, filled with uncertainty at every portal, and jungles overflowing with The Darkness. Vivid settings, lyrical language, and a slow reveal of plot, motivation, past crimes and future hope collide in a final showdown that keeps you guessing until the final haunting words.

My first, and, honestly, only real response?

Jesus Christ, dude, just how many times have you watched every single episode of LOST?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Brain spasm

Had one of those weird moments just a few minutes ago. I was thinking of the two issues of Moore's SWAMP THING where Swamp Thing ends up on Rann and meets Adam Strange (57 & 58). It occurred to me I hadn't reread them in a while and I'd like to, so, certain I had copies of them, I went to my bookshelves and thumbed along the shelf, past Superboy, Superboy and the Legion, Supergirl, Superman... to... Thor?

Wha'fuck? Where's SWAMP THING?

It was strange. Now, I knew I'd lost my original copies (the ones I'd bought off the stands back when they first came out) in the Comics Collection Catastrophe back in the late 90s. But in 2004-05, when I was living in Zephyrhills and had far more money than I could spend (due to cheap rents and a complete and utter lack of social opportunities), I put about a thousand bucks, maybe more, into rebuilding a lot of my lost collection... and I was absolutely sure I'd ordered new copies of several of my favorite Alan Moore SWAMP THING issues, including, of course, that 2 parter, which was the only readable part of a seemingly endless story arc where SWAMP THING went interplanetary and wandered from one solar system to another after being forcibly expelled from Earth's life force by a nefarious Lex Luthor death beam.

I mean, I was CERTAIN I'd done that. I had no specific memory, mind you, but it just seemed like I'd read that 2 part story relatively recently... much more recently than would be accounted for by my forcible separation from my previous collection in 1997.

But... no SWAMP THING on the shelves, none at all. And my middle daughter, who has explored my comics collection extensively since 2005, reports never having seen an issue of SWAMP THING on those shelves at all. (She likes Moore, so if I had any, she'd have spotted them.)

So I was absolutely certain I had a copy of those two issues, but, as it turns out, I do not. Which makes me sad, as I really enjoy them.

One wonders just how much one's mind would play tricks on one if one could live for centuries, instead of simply for decades.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Who watches the, you know...

For those who may still care about this long dead horse, here's the book Moore ripped off large chunks of WATCHMEN's plot from:

Details vary, naturally, as Hawkey and Bingham were writing a science fiction political thriller, not a superhero comic. However, sequences such as the one detailing the murder of all the people working on the WILD CARD project (they're all on a plane, supposedly being sent to Bermuda for a vacation; the plane gets shot down by U.S. military aircraft) and, specifically, the ending (in which it is strongly hinted that word of the WILD CARD project will be released to the public, but not specifically stated) make it pretty clear that Moore had read this book prior to coming up with his WATCHMEN plot, and liked it enough to steal blatantly from it.

But you don't have to take my word for it. The book is out of print, but you can order copies pretty cheaply through the link above. Check it out for yourself.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


So I'm really enjoying Alastair Reynolds' REVELATION SPACE trilogy. I'm nearly done with the second book, REDEMPTION ARK and I'm very impressed with Reynolds' writing skills. The far future backdrop has a lot of scope to it and feels very credible to me, and I enjoy his characterizations.

Reynolds seems to stay away from the heavier emotions. Neither sex nor romance play much part in his characterizations - often times they're part of a particular individual's history, or a couple of characters may already have an established relationship - but Reynolds seems to have no interest in that soap opera staple, the romantic arc. Still, I like his characters enough that I don't feel they need that added level of intensity.

I am, however, completely disenchanted with one particular aspect of the Clavain/Felka interaction - this whole "is she or isn't she his daughter" mystery is just nonsense. This whole thing takes place 600 years in the future; technology has made HUGE advances, and both Clavain and Felka are Conjoiners - members of a cybernetically advanced human faction very similar to Star Trek's Borg. And we're supposed to accept that in three hundred years of wondering, Clavain has never had a fucking paternity test run? Please.

Other than that, though, I like the story a lot.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The critics speak!

One of them, anyway. I hadn't even looked at the Amazon Kindle pages for my various e-novels in a long time, but today I swung by each and was astonished to see the following reader review, on TIME WATCH:

Don't waste your time on "Time Watch"., February 11, 2010
By Kelly Abney (Bentonville, AR USA) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Time Watch (Kindle Edition)
A single, one-dimensional, unlikeable character who makes his way through a nearly incoherent plot. The author attempts to create a futuristic "slang" language that is periodically used to further confuse the reader. Throw in a little cyber-sex with a computer avatar and you start to understand where this review is headed. If the author had even started to develop our time traveling hero's character and then added a few plot lines to expand the story's basic premise, the book's hypothesis might have been more interesting.

Interestingly, TIME WATCH is pretty much my top seller, as such things go, and among my novels, probably my second favorite. I like the shifting narrative viewpoint and the relatively simple central story/character arc, and enjoy the (hopefully) unexpected romance that shows up in the story's third act.

However, I can't argue with anything Ms./Mr. Abney has said here. Presumably, he/she bought the book and are entitled to their opinion, as as TIME WATCH's protagonist is pretty much me, I certainly can't dispute the 'unlikeable' tag. Christ knows I am. As to one dimensional, well, I guess that's the risk you run when you essentially write about yourself. I chose to focus more on the story elements than developing 'Jim' overly, probably because I know Jim well and presumed the story of Jim getting hold of a time machine was more interesting than Jim himself. Which certainly could have been a mistake.

I will say that it seems Ms./Mr. Abney (Kelly is an indeterminate name; I'm not trying to be disrespectful) has some kind of personal issue with sexual depictions in their science fiction, and, well, I guess that happens. Sorry you didn't enjoy it, sir/ma'am. Maybe you'd like ZAP FORCE better.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And the beat goes on...

Just sent this to all the mods over at

These communications in the past have netted me little (except, when I'm communicating with Chris, a lot of insults - and, I know, I'm insulting with him, too, but I'm not trying to set any kind of example of civil behavior here, nor am I in any kind of self imposed position of authority/responsibility, so the burdens of presentation fall a little bit differently on him and I) but, what the hell:

I take some issue with the way this site is moderated, at least, in respect to my posts.

As a general issue, well, this is part of the Rulez:

"This site was founded on the principals of free speech. It will take a lot for us to warn you, let alone ban you.".

I call bullshit. It has taken very little for any of the mods to warn me, much less ban me.

I realize 'a lot' and 'very little' are both subjective terms, but, well, subjectively, I feel that my first two warnings were for, well, something falling short of 'a lot'. My third one... okay, I can see where that post might have come up to something approaching a reasonable standard of 'a lot'. But on the third one, I have two very specific objections:

(a) If I got warned, why didn't Cosmic J? His post prior to mine, to which I was responding, was as insulting as mine, and as specific in its intent.

(As a subheading of (a), CosmicJ has been pretty constant in his snarky sneering and pretty bold faced flame baiting, as can most recently be seen in response to my most recent Shouts. I realize he does his best to walk just this side of that fine line between, you know, being a just another fucking piece of shit douchebag and actually openly insulting anyone, but I would also like to say that if one is going to repress people on the grounds of uncivil behavior, as all of you are clearly enthusiastically on board for, he's earned some goddam repression. At least as much as I have. Probably more so.)

And (b) warning someone three weeks after the post goes up is just fucking bullshit, and while it's hard for any of you guys to surprise me with your behavior any more, well, that surprises me. No, the rules don't indicate there is any kind of statute of limitations, but jesus christ. Have some self respect. A warning coming in nearly a month after the fact is retarded.

Beyond all this, while all the Rulez are obnoxious in the extreme (and, given the level of snark Chris frequently indulges in with anyone who dares to disagree with him in a comment thread, extremely self serving to the point of hypocrisy, but, whatever, certainly I never expected anything else), this final one about how one cannot engage the mods in any kind of public debate in re: the Rulez, or the mods' often retarded, childish, biased, and self serving behavior, is egregiously so. If there is any one topic that should ALWAYS be germane on any moderated site, it is the behavior of the moderators, and the rules underlying the act of moderation. When you don't allow any kind of public debate on this stuff, you're truly setting yourself up as above and beyond any kind of repercussions.

You guys weren't elected and have not subjected yourself to ANY kind of limitations. You apparently serve for life, or until you feel like stepping down, there is no oversight, no one can appeal your often incredibly wrong headed and dumb ass rulings, and just to make sure you can do whatever you want without any consequences whatsoever, you make sure nobody can call you on any of your bullshit in any kind of forum where anyone else would see it.

I think at the very least, you should create a board where members can publicly post grievances and comments on how the mods behave and invite public debate. I also think all of you should be up for re-election after some set period. You can, and almost certainly will, discount everything I've said here. But if you're unwilling to subject your actions to public debate, and further unwilling to let the members of the site decide on whether or not they feel you're doing a good enough job to re-elect you to your positions, then, well, in addition to everything else you are, you're a bunch of gutless weenies, as well.


Your pal,


Having already been banned once, I have a feeling my account at the site is going to be disappearing permanently any time now. So, y'know... for the record, and all that.


Got these back. First is from Chris, the new (sociopathic) site owner:

We are above repercussions. We own the site.

No, we weren't elected. We own the site.

You continually seem to think this is a government of some sort. It isn't. This is our private residence. You're able to post on here because we say you can.

I hate to be like that. I really do. I hate submitting the site to the vagrancies of a single person's whim, including my own, which is why there's a committee of people chosen because they don't get along.

If this site were to become a primarily democratic forum, its first action would be to ban you.


AND, from CruelDespot, another mod:

Dear Doc,

I realize Cosmic J is also breaking the spirit of the rules, but frankly he is just better than you at skirting the limits without crossing the line.

This seems to be the pattern:
1) You make a snarky but legal comment
2) He makes a snarky but legal comment
3) You escalate into a rule-breaking insult, or back-seat mod comment
4) You get a warning.

This is probably annoying for you, but I'm not going to give him, or anyone, a warning unless they clearly violate the rules. You have clearly violated the rules 4 times that I know about, so you have gotten four warnings.

Your initial post of "I am that guy" was fine. Then Cosmic and team provoked you into explaining what you meant, which led you to complain about your mod warnings, which is a rule violation.

If I see Cosmic J or anyone else clearly violate the rules, I will warn them. Unless I'm not in the mood. Then I won't. I haven't taken any sort of sacred oath. It's a fucking website.

You seem to argue that our moderation of this site is not professional. You are correct. We are amateurs. Fortunately, we don't owe anything to you or any of the other site members. This is not a government entitlement. You don't have any rights here. Neither do I. Only Chris does, because he owns the site.

Since you don't mind spicing your PMs with personal insults, in conclusion, fuck you.

So here's what I said:

Okay, so I did what you wanted me to do: I complained through a PM. And, once again, what I got back was "Naaah naah naaah naaah, we can do whatever we want, so suck it".

For the record, any time you put yourself in a position of authority over others, you take on a responsibility to handle that authority fairly and well. Assuming, of course, that you are people with any pretensions towards civility and maturity, much less... to use a trite and near obsolete phrase that is probably meaningless to all of you except for CD... honor. Your excuses are childish and emotionally retarded, as well as, well, dishonorable and unjust. I suspect you all know that, except for Chris, who is apparently pathologically incapable of ANY level of self awareness that might include any sort of acknowledgment of error or imperfection.

Again, the stated rules are "It will take a lot for us to warn you, let alone ban you." I was warned for trivial, stupid shit that other members of this site would not have been warned for, and, following your rules, I have brought this up to you, as men of honor and good will, and your response is to tell me to fuck myself, because you aren't professional and you feel no obligation to be fair unless you're in the mood to be fair.

And you wonder why I think this is all futile.

This is not, in Chris' words, anyone's residence. It's a shared community and frankly, I don't give a fuck who 'owns' it. That's a child's argument. That's what the fat spoiled kid who owns the bat and ball says, when he insists that he always be allowed to get on base no matter how badly he whiffs. That's... well, it's actually pretty loathsome and despicable. If that's cool with you, well, rock on with your bad selves, I guess.

Chris also advises that if the site became a democracy, the first thing the site would communally do is ban me. That's probably true. But he, and you, are frankly deranged if you think the list would stop with me.

I knew exactly where all this was going the instant I heard Chris had bought the site. Chris, who threw a monster hissy fit at being shown to be wrong about something in a thread, and deleted his account, and who refused to come back until he could be that fat kid who owned the bat and ball. None of this is any surprise to me.

Well, no. I honestly expected better from CD and CA. But people often disappoint me, so, whatever.

I'm pretty much done with this PM bullshit. It accomplishes absolutely nothing except, apparently, to aggrandize your already monstrous egos.

Thanks for all the fish.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Friday night's all right for... global domination

So, after a pretty lame start, last night took a pretty good bounce on me. Nate was asleep in the comfy chair and terminally uninterested in anything I suggested. Tammy was all like, 'Well, I'll do whatever everybody else wants to do', while not sounding excited about anything. So I suggested we go see a movie, but Nate didn't want to see CRAZY HEART, which is the only thing still playing that Tammy and I are interested, and the only new movie that started this week is DATE NIGHT, which is like, what? I mean, seriously. It's the weekend, I'm looking for something new and good to go see, I know KICK ASS and IRON MAN 2 are supposed to be opening sometime soon, I check new movies, and what do I get? Fucking DATE NIGHT. Say, Hollywood, blow me.

So then I'm all like, okay, let's go to ROLE OF THE DIE and play Magic. And they were like, nah, everybody at ROLE OF THE DIE hates us. Now, I don't think anybody at ROLE OF THE DIE hates us, but there are one or two people there who are not on our favorite person's list, but, still, we hadn't been to ROLE OF THE DIE in a long time, and the alternative seems to be, Nate goes home and goes to bed, and Tammy and I watch BUFFY DVDs all night, which is okay, but, you know, I was bored and looking for something a little more out of our standard activity stream. So then Tammy or Nate, I forget which, said "Let's get a new game", and the other one said "Where could we go to get a new game?" and I said "ROLE OF THE DIE, and hey, let's get FELLOWSHIP OF THE TALISMAN", which is this cool game that the one group of gamers I used to hang out with in Syracuse used to play all the time, except you have to get rid of the Prophetess, because everybody hates that little bitch. And they were like, blarg, okay, whatever.

So we rolled to ROLE OF THE DIE, with the back up plan being, if we couldn't find a good game, we'd head to Blockbuster and rent something. But first we hit the Smok Shop for Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and an energy drink for Nate to wake al our asses up.

At ROLE OF THE DIE we couldn't find FELLOWSHIP OF THE TALISMAN; in fact, most of their games seemed to be among the missing, which Brian's dad, who was apparently in charge for the night, told us was because Brian had taken nearly all of their stock off to ConGlomeration. But Nate spied ILLUMINATI and said "This sounds kinda cool" and I went totally apeshit, because ILLUMINATI is this game that I used to play all the time with the other clique I hung out with in Syracuse, my first gaming clique, the one with Jeff Webb and all the assholes that used to be my best friends for life and beyond and that I haven't heard a word from in twenty five years. But it's a really cool game, and I grabbed it and said "This is a really cool game, we have to buy it!" So we bought it and got it out of the box and played a game right there at ROLE OF THE DIE, which other than us and two guys playing D&D and Brian's dad, was totally empty all night. (I almost never see anyone in ROLE OF THE DIE buying much of anything; I'm convinced Brian is actually a covert billionaire who fights crime as a masked avenger most of the time, and the store is just a front hiding a secret entrance into his underground headquarters.)

And it was totally awesome. So Nate picked up the Y2K expansion, providing a lot more cards and two new Illuminati groups, which is also cool.

And then we were looking for a place to eat, and we tried Penn Station, but they were closed, so I suggested Spinelli's, which is this awesome local pizza place, so we went there and got a huge meat lover's pizza and I gorged myself, and then we came home, and eventually went to sleep, and now it's today.

Tammy totally kicked all our asses at ILLUMINATI, by the way. I had forgotten, over the last 25 years, that when someone is playing the Servants of Cthulhu, you need to kill them quickly, or they just roll right over you. I had also forgotten that the Network is about the weakest and most vulnerable group, and that was what I drew.

So how was everyone else's Friday night?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Interminable, my dear Watson

So, we found some Sherlock Holmes TV shows from the 50s on DVD the other day, and picked them up. This is the 1950s series, starring Ronald Howard (not RON Howard) as Sherlock Holmes and Howard Marion Crawford as Watson. I had the time to sit down and try to watch the first episode yesterday.

It was hard to get through the first episode, for two reasons: first, the soundtrack is pretty tinny, which makes a great deal of the dialogue all but impossible to discern. That's a real problem for someone like me, who loves dialogue and whose only real interest in Sherlock Holmes is the characterization and all those cool deductions Holmes does, which you won't ever know about without the dialogue.

The second problem is even more aggravating - as with most TV shows shot in the 50s, there are no close ups, and all the camera positions are entirely stationery. My guess would be that the less expensive cameras used for TV work in this era had no zoom lens capacity. But the result is, as you may recall from other TV shows you've watched that were made in this period, everything is presented in long or medium shot. And it's all black and white, badly washed out sepia tone black and white at that.

So what you end up with is a visual presentation that is pretty stultifying, especially to a modern audience, used to color, tracking shots, close ups, audible dialogue, and all the other aspects of modern film making directors use to convey emotion and other nuances of characterization and story.

It's tough to get through. Perhaps a really serious student of Holmes, or of 50s era television, could glean enough of interest from the material to stay focused, but me, I just mostly found myself constantly drifting away from the narrative.

It's a pity. But those of us who can read will always have the Conan Doyle originals.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Go, Go,!

auto usate milano !
vendita auto usate !
compro auto usate !

When you hear those ringing words, what does your mind automatically turn to?

Sell and buy car: has been in business since 1978 with experience and professionalism, always attentive to the needs and customer satisfaction. Efficiency, competence and thoroughness are our trump cards to continue to offer service and assistance, safe, guaranteed and worthy of trust. The website is in Italian if you can't read Italian here's the translated version -

At least, that's what I think of.

Check it out for yourself. Check out You'll find it's one hell of a webpage, representing one hell of a phrase in Italian.

When top scientists like my personal friend Jix Casey or Dr. Emilio Lizardo tour Europe, is their go to website for fast, furious, friendly, frantic, frenzied fun. When you’re being pursued up one side of the Swiss Alps and down the other by Red Lectroids or Satan worshipping bovine growth hormone cultists in flashy red Miatas with the tops down, it pays to have on your speed dial. One lucky shot with a .45 Beretta and you could seriously need a quick tire change. Otherwise, it’s don’t ask for whom the lunch bell tolls, because you’re the one bubbling in the ancient Lemurian serpent man stewpot.

A blast of high energy particles from your orbital quason cannon later, you may have the strength and speed of a few dozen South American jaguars. Or you may be goo. But latter day jungle god or amorphous, pulsating jelly, you’re still going to need the services of a talented mechanic to keep that chick magnet Ferrari on the road. And petrol? Forget about it. The best, quickest, most high octane and competitively priced petrol in the Western Hemisphere is right there, at . It rocks!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Way Things Ought To Be

It's clear to me that our Founding Fathers, in their haste to put together a final draft of a historically important document, left out a few key words. But it's an easy fix:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of any decent Christian religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech for right thinking decent American folk, or of the press for same; or the right of proper hardworking Godfearing American citizens peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of good God fearing law abiding Christians and other true Americans to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house owned by any right thinking God fearing Christian American, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

The right of decent God fearing Christian people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

No proper well behaved God fearing American person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any true right thinking American be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense, if the accused is a good God fearing patriotic American citizen and not some stupid wetback or dumbass liberal.

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted, on any decent right thinking American.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by proper decent hard working tax paying American folks.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the regular law abiding properly Christian folks who live in ‘em.

See? Add a few words here and there, and you can make it exactly the way those great American heroes no doubt intended it should be all along.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

From the Doonesbury website:

"What I dislike most about Obamacare though is this notion that the leftists in Washington think that they can pass this thing through, cram it through, with disregard to consider the will of the people, disregard of these constitutional legal traditional processes which have thus far been used in America's processes to allow policy to be adopted that do adhere to the will of the people."
-- Sarah Palin

Ah, the wit and wisdom of the right wing...

Monday, March 22, 2010

New story

Just finished a story I've been working at, on and off, for several months now. Maybe I'll send it to someone. Maybe not... hard to figure a market that would want to buy it.

Anyway, it's called THE LAST TRUMP, and it's another of my pulp pastiches. Read it, don't read it, comment, don't comment. Whatever.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Hub of London

A site I've recently become aware of is . It's a very useful resource if you're over in Great Britain and looking for restaurants, pubs, or any thing of that sort in London.

This site is very extensive. It provides information about events and occasions occurring all over the world. Whatever you're interested in, you can find it on this site.

What I hadn't realized until I found this site was that you can get Kentucky Fried Chicken in Great Britain. That's pretty awesome. And apparently you can also get Subway. Now, if they get a Jimmy Johns, they'll be all set.

So now I'm curious as to what British pizza is like. So I go over to this site and type 'pizza' into the search field. What do you know? They have Domino’s and Pizza Hut pizza in Britain, and some chain called Pizza Express, and even something called Clever Wally's Raw Pizza, which sounds more interesting than appetizing to me, but still, it’s knowledge I didn’t have before, which can’t be a bad thing.

Apparently they don’t have much barbecue, though. A search turned up only one place: I’m not sure I want spare ribs from a Jolly Hog. But then, I usually get them from a feed store (Mark’s, just down Bardstown Road from me) so maybe it wouldn’t be all that bad after all.

There are, however, 55 Latin American restaurants in London, which is about 55 too many, in my opinion.

But what do you know? I do a search on ‘steak’ and I come up with Bodean's Barbecue in Clapham. So maybe the barbecue places are just hiding.

Also, apparently a lot of places in London are called “Gaucho” something. My guess is, if you want to open a business there, you could make a killing selling sombreros.

Pubs London
Restaurants London

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I dare you to make less sense

Or, VENTURE BROTHERS, revisited:

My initial impression -- namely, that THE VENTURE BROTHERS were little more than THE TICK meets JONNY QUEST, and overall, the show was consistently only about half as funny as THE TICK, turns out to have been premature. As Mike Norton said in the only comment this blog has had in over a year (I think), you can't judge the series by the first seven episodes. It does, indeed, evolve over the first and second seasons into something that is far more complex and valuable than merely the sum of all its inadequate, badly damaged parts.

I kind of wish I'd watched the first two seasons without having the Big Secret About Hank And Dean pre-spoiled for me. As it was, I probably didn't get the full impact of the death scene at the end of Season 1, or the revised credit scroll at the start of Season 2.

Having said all that, and having watched with real pleasure as what at first seemed an extremely formulaic show did indeed develop into something with real depth and breadth, something that was both nuanced and rich, something that actually rose above the limitations of the genre and became a multifaceted and almost beautiful and moving ongoing story of one of the world's most tragically disfunctional extended emotional families, replete with some of the most bizarrely developed and unhealthy psychic symbioses imaginable... for all of that, I find myself, in the end, feeling disappointed.

I know where it came from. I went into the last two episodes of Season Two psyched, thinking "Okay, next paycheck I'm buying Season 3". I emerged on the other end of that particular 2 parter... deflated. It was a big grand superhero wedding story, and all my favorite VENTURE BROTHERS characters were there... and overall, I was just kind of bored and disappointed and depressed by it. Phantom Limb had been kind of cool, but now he was just another jerk. Dean's addled, delusional wanderings through the Monarch's engine room filled me with a burning desire to watch nearly anything else, even ROCK OF LOVE, while they were onscreen. The ongoing saga of the Monarch, Dr. Girlfriend/Fiance, the Monarch's two numerically-named henchmen, the revelation of the true identity of the Sovereign... nothing really seemed to work for me. The only thing that really worked for me was watching Brock lead the Monarch's horde of nearly worthless goons in an attack on Phantom Limb's forces... and Brock always works for me.

Which is yet another reason I'm disappointed... apparently, Brock leaves at the end of the third season, and is replaced as Dr. Venture's bodyguard by Sgt. Hatred. Yay.

So, yes, THE VENTURE BROTHERS did grow up to be something far more than it seemed like it could in those first seven episodes, and I did very much enjoy a lot of what I've seen much more than I expected to. But at this particular moment, I largely feel disappointed in the series, and have little interest in watching any more of it, knowing what I do of its future direction.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

For the exceptional mind...

...there is no greater validation than the misapprobation of the mediocre.

Heh. Indeed.

Here's a bunch of guys who, apparently, spend most of their time arguing about stuff like this:

semicolonsrock posted:

Jut switching in from 3.5 I am frustrated at not being able effortlessly whip up a min maxed character, and kind of annoyed that the fighter seems to have turned into a solely melee class (This kind of forced specialization is awful). Longbow wielding human fighters were pretty much my favorite character.

ManMythLegend posted:

Why don't people ever get this is meta gaming to the extreme? To the world in-game you are not a "Bow using fighter" you're "a guy who uses a bow". A ranger and fighter using a bow are, in-universe, no different in profession.

Yet, apparently, when they can't find enough jerk off fodder in their Monster Manuals to continue to fuel their massive mutual bukkake threads, they've decided to momentarily focus their miniscule attention spans on Your Humble Narrator, as per follows:

NorgLyle posted:

This guy is crazy for all kinds of reasons, but when he talks about gaming...

That whole blog is a peach - pure concentrated essence of grognard. He brags about the Kindle sales of his terrible, terrible books and repeatedly mentions how upset he is at the lack of comments on his blog. He also has the Angry Fanboy thing down perfectly (gently caress you, Neil Gaiman! gently caress you, Brian Michael Bendis! gently caress you, George R. R. Martin! gently caress you, John Rogers!) Dude's in his 40s and just starting training for a Call Center position. Not bad for a Master Class spouse/parent!

They keep using this word 'grognard'. I was pretty sure I knew what it was, but just to make sure, I looked it up:

Grognard is French for "grumbler".[1] It is not necessarily pejorative and is sometimes used as a compliment. Historically it meant a soldier in Napoleon's army, particularly a member of the Old Guard.[2]

"Grognard" came to mean a veteran wargamer in the early 1970s.[3] It was first used by John Young, at that time an employee of SPI, and subsequently popularised by Strategy & Tactics magazine.

Now, I suppose it's possible that I'm a soldier in Napoleon's army, particularly, a member of the Old Guard, and I just don't remember it... maybe I've been hypnotized into forgetting all that stuff, for the good of the timeline, or whatever. I can roll with that.

But I've never played a wargame in my life, other than some RISK when I was a kid.

They also seem to think the word is about the worst insult they can attach to someone. Apparently, it has become the new Cat Piss Man, which other frantically masturbating no life nerds have also attached to me in the past.

Do I really have to quote Inigo Montoya on semantics, here?

I have the love, respect, and admiration of my wife, my children, and some few friends. And that means a great deal to me.

Someday, the time may come when I begin to see some small or large professional success in the field of writing, when the eyes of the world turn to me and my work, and then, I may well know at least some small shreds of admiration from strangers whom are actually, well, admirable.

Until then, the continuing contempt of the weak, the stupid, the envious, the virginal, and the emotionally disfunctional will have to be enough for me.

I will say, it makes me sad that someone as cool as the original Invisible Kid has apparently come back to life as a D&D geek who mocks other people behind their backs. Bad form, Lyle. Mon-el and Ultra Boy would be ashamed of you.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Christmas, the aftermath

Christmas this year was pretty wonderful. After some past holiday debacles which need not be detailed here, the two oldest kids were trying hard to stay on their best behavior, and having learned some valuable lessons ourselves, SuperWife and I put on a show. All presents were eagerly fallen upon and appreciated, although the biggest hit was the gift Santa left for our entire family - a karaoke machine, along with 15 mixed karoake discs.

It wasn't such a nice gift for our new neighbors, I imagine, but when we originally decided to get the thing, the apartment immediately above ours was still empty. Ah, well.

Super Drama Adult was delighted to find the new Beatles version of ROCK BAND upon unwrapping a gigantic box to the rear of the tree; Super Dependable Teen was equally pleased to open a tiny, tiny giftbag and find within a new I-pod. And Super Adorable Kid was over the moon about her new American Girl doll and attendant paraphenelia, although Nate entirely stole the show with his gift to her of a 17" flat screen TV for the top of her bedroom dresser, which he then also installed for her using his Level 7 Tech Geek skills to hook it up to our existent cable line.

As for me, well, it wasn't about me, but thanks to a last minute, unanticipated Christmas bonus, SuperWife and I okayed each other to spend a relatively small amount of money on each other at the last minute... about five days to the Day, actually. So I ran around like a monkey on crack trying to spend my allotment, and SuperWife, naturally, deployed her assets far more wisely and strategically, with the end result that she wound up with a lot of crap she has no use for, while I got huge stacks of incredibly cool loot, including many, many books (deep breath: WHISKEY AND WATER and BLOOD AND IRON by Elizabeth Bear, THE GIVEN DAY by Dennis Lehane, THE SPIRAL LABYRINTH by Matthew Hughes, INSIDE STRAIGHT by George R.R. Martin, and THE PREFECT by Alastair Reynolds), a couple of hardcover comics collections (the second DC Archives Supergirl volume, and the latest Fantastic Four Treasury), a Tampa Bay Buccaneers Santa hat, an extra special Snuggie with pocketses, a fabulous t-shirt, a card shuffler, some comic book image imprinted undies, a lovely warm corduroy winter jacket, the Director's Cut of WATCHMEN on DVD, and, in my stocking, a booster of HAMMER OF THOR, just for nostalgia's sake, and what appeared to be a pack of DISSENSION Magic cards, but upon opening, proved to be a customized booster created by my wife full of amazingly cool and rare vampire cards, which have already energized my vampire deck to the point where everyone else at the table groans when they see me breaking it out of the box.

Then from other people:

Nate gave me an entire booster box of DISSENSION packs, which was awesome, Super Dependable Teen gave me QUANTUM OF SOLACE on DVD, Super Adorable Kid gave me one of the books listed above (the George R.R. Martin one), Super Drama Adult and her girlfriend gave me a much appreciated copy of THE MARVEL VAULT, which I had pined and moped over ever since we bought the last one off a Books-A-Million remaindered table and sent it to Mike Norton last year, and which, now that I own it, has proven to be a fabulous treasure trove of wonderful and beloved goodies indeed (although the interior text by Roy Thomas and Peter Sanderson is generic, boring, imprecise, all but useless as either a historical or journalistic document, and in short, not much more than a fairly tedious advertiser's puff piece), my mom and stepdad got me a movie trivia game, my in laws gave me a sweatsuit and some microfleece pajama pants and a Christmas ornament and some socks.

But far more important than that is the fact that my kids had a wonderful Christmas and my wife had a wonderful Christmas and I suspect even Nate had a wonderful Christmas.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas, too.

And for Mike Norton: Pluto, Fandral, an Asgardian Warrior, Malekith, and Mico Minoru. I'm a little shocked at how crappy most of the sculpts I got look; Pluto is especially disappointing, although Mico Minoru looks like her mutant ability is stretching her neck like a giraffe, or something. The Asgardian Warrior looks by far the best of the lot, although Fandral isn't all that shabby, either. I didn't get any kind of Feat or other sort of card, besides the power cards for the sculpts, so I don't know if I got a bad booster or if the new company isn't including cardboard components any more.