Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sarah Connor must die!

I've done a 180 on this show. I don’t know what happened, but I’m ready to take back everything nice I said at the start of season 2. This thing can’t get cancelled soon enough. Via iTunes, I’ve slogged my way trough the first half-dozen episodes of the second season and frankly, I’m amazed at how they managed to cram 15 minutes of story into six hours.

As an example: the season premiere introduced a T-1000 (the liquid-metal type of Terminator from T2) as a series regular. Six episodes later, I honestly don’t know if it has any special abilites apart from impersonating a urinal. I’m not even remotely kidding. If there’s anyone out there whom I somehow convinced to give this show a chance, I sincerely apologize.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Woah Black Betty, Bam-ba-lam

I don't actually have anything to say about the passing of pinup legend Bettie Page. It's pretty much an excuse to draw some tits. Okay, I admit that didn't quite cut it as a eulogy, but what am I, a priest? Let's just pretend I wrote something respectful and move on.

PRIMER (2004)

Think of what the word "scientist" usually means in the realm of movies. As often as not it's some cackling maniac in a lab coat, pissing in his pants and polishing his ultimate death ray. Now imagine a mad scientist movie that didn't feel like watching a movie at all--that feels like it could be happening right next door.

Our scientist character doesn't labor alone in some fortress, he works in an office park, maybe sidelines after hours in his garage. He doesn't mutter about how the establishment laughed at his brilliant theories, but he does sweat the fact that his engineering firm is likely going to put him out to pasture by age 40. He's not a megalomaniac, he's a bright guy with an ordinary level of vanity, an ordinary level of ethical blindness. He doesn't go around coldly stabbing his friends in the back to get what he wants, but he might experience a tragic failure to trust at a crucial moment. He's not out to conquer the world, he's someone who dreams of being a hero but looks in the mirror and sees an average schmuck. Then quite by accident he invents something that he could use to fix his life. And just like that he's on the road to hell.

First-timer Shane Carruth brought an engineer's merciless efficiency to writing and filming a sci-fi film for a mere $7000. His special effects amount to little more than some wonderfully believable technical dialogue. He refuses to spoon-feed you any exposition, he lets you listen in on scientists talking scientist stuff. The film starts out nearly impenetrable and only gets more so as events accelerate faster than the characters can understand them. But it's one of those films where the sense of disorientation it creates is part of the fun.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Chase

My daughter can chase me around the living room like this for hours on end. Just around and around and around. For maximum fun I have to stay about three feet ahead and act perpetually panicked. It's just as funny to her the 200th time around as it is the first. Eventually I have to call a halt because she will seriously never get tired of it.

Now before you think this is going to be some kind of tired Erma Bombeck horseshit about how my kid wears me out, and "where in the world do they get all the energy", it's not. For one thing, I don't believe for a second that a small child can actually "wear you out". The day a three year old can physically run me to the ground you may as well bury me there. Take a little kid and put them in any pick-up basketball game anywhere and see how long they last. I guarantee you that inside ten minutes they'll be either crying or taking a nap in mid-court.

So let's just put that one to rest right now: your kids don't tire you out because they have all this tremendous energy. They tire you out because they have all this energy for incredibly boring shit.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Powers Boothe

I'm loving this guy on season 6 of 24. I was always curious to check him out since the old Marvel days, when someone told me he was the model for Jim Lee's version of the Punisher. Take 20 years off and I can totally see it. He's one of those guys who could just flare his nostrils in your general direction and you'd say to yourself, oh shit, I must have fucked up this time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jay Leno

NBC took a giant stride into the future of prime time television this week.

The traditional TV networks are facing dwindling audience share and possible obsolescence. Their survival depends on throwing out the traditional models of programming and developing bold, fresh content that electrifies viewers and locks them in for a generation to come. Now more than ever, they need to focus on creative talent and innovation. To stay on top of a growing heap, they need to find and nurture the new Losts, the new Sopranos, the new Seinfelds. Jay Leno should be proud that in these exciting, uncertain times, the network of “Must-See TV” has tapped him as the man capable of taking the 10pm hour and delivering content that is definitely way, way cheaper to produce than any of those other shows.

It’s a bold statement, bringing Leno to prime time. And that statement is, “We give up.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Marisa Tomei

Lots of websites are probably running these hubba-hubba pics of Marisa Tomei from The Wrestler. Those other sites are just exploiting the prurient interest in seeing a famous woman naked. But this site? Art.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Caroline Kennedy

This face got overworked, and I think we're at a point where we're going to have to agree to disagree. It's so hard to caricature a woman without losing what makes her attractive. But the more you try to try to make it "right", you lose the creative expression of what your mind's eye is seeing. It's a high-wire act. Nothing to do but keep practicing.

Image from Leland.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Edie & Maggie

Irina (right) and her second cousin Maggie, playing with dollies at my Aunt Sue's house. Escanaba, MI 11/26/08.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


I stumbled across the most marvelous podcast the other day.

Somewhere in the woods of New Hampshire, an elderly gentleman named Sherwin Sleeves sits in a log cabin, murmuring ghost stories in a profoundly resonant, English-accented rumble. Sherwin himself may only be a story--or a ghost, of a kind. But after listening to his work you may find your notions of identity to be... temporarily more fluid.

Since joining the mp3 generation, I've never come across an audio download that held me so spellbound. You have to give Sherwin a little time to work his magic, but trust me, he delivers.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


A Victorian-inspired take on the Warren character from the '70's. (Or for you young bloods, make that Harris Comics from the '90's.)