Sunday, October 30, 2005

Honolulu Blue Forever
My heart was full of glee this afternoon when Jeff Garcia's pass was intercepted and returned for a Bears' touchdown in overtime. It was an odd sensation. I feel no particular animus against Garcia, he's never done anything to me, but such is my resentment for the messianic way he was treated by the state media over the past week that I was truly pleased to see that he personally cost us today's game against the Bears. I learned something about myself today, I learned that I cannot cheer for the Detroit Lions as long as Jeff Garcia is the starting quarterback. I bear the man no individual ill will, I do not wish to see harm befall his person, but I loathe what he represents: Steve Mariucci's desire to blame all the Lions' shortcomings on Joey Harrington. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Joey Harrington will never be Joe Montana and he certainly deserves a healthy portion of the blame for the Lions' 2-3 record this season in games he started as QB. But what evidence is there that Mariucci is taking any person responsibility for the movable feast of ineptitude that is his football team? Instead, Mariucci is pathetically trying to recapture the "glory" of his years in San Francisco, bringing in such old chums as Garcia (thanks again for the overtime interception, that was beautiful) and Ted Tollner (an offensive coordinator so bad at his job as to make UM's Terry Malone look good). I cannot root for the Lions as long as Jeff Garcia is the starting quarterback, but nevertheless I will wear my Lions T-shirt tomorrow. Let's say I'm doing it for old times sake (it is, after all, old enough to give the Lions' division as the old NFC Central, not the modern NFC North).

The Living Daylights... Saving
My mom woke me up this morning at 9am, i.e. it felt like 10am. Dear Bog, woman, what is wrong with you? The whole beauty of the end of daylight saving time is that I can sleep in until what feels like 11am, but then pull a fast one on the universe by getting out of bed at the new 10am. If I get up at 9am, what feels like 10am (the time I usually arise on Sundays), I'm letting the universe get away with stealing an hour from me when DST began last spring. Only by spending that extra hour in bed can I balance the scales and restore justice. So, even though my eggs got cold, I struck a blow for justice and went back to sleep for an hour. Thanks to the modern marvel of the microwave oven, I was able to stick my tongue out at the universe and eat warm eggs, too. Victory for ZIM!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I was really hoping Minnesota would hang in there and pull at a win at the last second. Alas, 'twas not to be.

Also, I was watching C-SPAN during halftime of the Minnesota-Ohio State game and came across a meeting of a British foreign policy committee. Why can't we have politicians with names as cool as Jack Straw?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hyperlink. It's times like these that I'm really glad President Jimmy put pressure on our then-ally, the late Shah of Iran, to permit the Ayatollah Khomeini, may he burn in Hell, to return to Iran. That was a good move, Jimmy, a really good move.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Magic of Shazam!
I have recently learned that the classic DC villain Vandal Savage, a foe of heroes across the generations from the original Justice Society of America in the 1940s to an upcoming series of appearances in The Flash, was co-created by Alfred Bester, author of my favorite book of all time, The Stars My Destination. I had a germ of an idea about how to work Vandal Savage into The Magic of Shazam!, tying him into Shazam's early career as Champion (magic word: Vlarem) and possibly teaming him up with King Kull, but nothing definite. I still don't know how exactly, but now that I know he's a Bester creation I must work Savage into MoS! Vandal Savage is a 52,000-year-old immortal Cro-Magnon; so, compared to him even the approximately 8,000-year-old Wizard is a spring chicken.

I don't know if I'd use it or even for what I'd use it, but I came up with an alternative way of forming the Wizard's name, Shazam. The real S.H.A.Z.A.M.:

S = Wisdom of Solomon
H = Strength of Hercules
A = Stamina of Atlas
Z = Power of Zeus
A = Courage of Achilles
M = Speed of Mercury

Now, Black Adam's magic word "Shazam" is formed using the names of several Egyptian deities and in the Golden Age Mary Marvel's "Shazam" was formed using Greco-Roman goddesses; what I've come up with here is just an alternative Greco-Roman "Shazam," maybe for a still very vague and undefined villain Major Marvel:

S = Stamina of Sisyphus
H = Courage of Hector
A = Strength of Ajax
Z = Speed of Zephyr
A = Wisdom of Aesop
M = Power of Mars

I'm also thinking about reviving the villain Mr. Who, the principle difficulty being I know virtually nothing about the original character. The only idea I have about him is that his codename is a horrible pun on his name like Mr. Freeze (Victor Fries): Mr. Who (Mr. Hu). We all have good ideas and bad ideas; take a wild guess into which catagory the above falls. Then again, puns have been a part of comics for a very long time.

I'm also working on a couple more brand-new villains, King Celsius (all I have is a name and I desire to make him different than the other DC "ice" villains*) and Vainglorious (I have a costume and part of a motivation, I'm still playing with the name and the origin/motivation). Other possible names for Vainglorious include Excelsior, Exemplar, and The Perfect.

Lastly, I think I've nailed down the first year of The Magic of Shazam!:
No. 1 "Giant Atomic Robots, Part 1"
No. 2 "Giant Atomic Robots, Part 2"
No. 3 "Giant Atomic Robots, Part 3"
No. 4 "Giant Atomic Robots, Part 4"
No. 5 "Giant Atomic Robots, part 5"
No. 6 "Giant Atomic Robots, Part 6"
No. 7 "Faerie Tale, Part 1"
No. 8 "Faerie Tale, Part 2"
No. 9 "The Mechanical Man of Mystery"
No. 10 The Crocodile Mob in... "A Piece of the Action"
No. 11 "Kristallnacht, Part 1"
No. 12 "Kristallnacht, Part 2"

*Ice-themed villains I can think of off the top of my head (if there are others, they must be pretty obscure):

Mr. Freeze (foe of Batman)
Captain Cold (The Flash)
Killer Frost (Firestorm)
The Icicle (the JSA)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Honolulu Blue Forever
It's the damnest thing: for the first time in my life, I am actively rooting against the Detroit Lions. On every play, I want the Cleveland Browns to triumph. I hated Trent Dilfer's interception just as much as I enjoyed Detroit's missed field goal. Each time Steve Mariucci's face appears on screen, both of my middle fingers become erect and are aimed at the visage of Mooch. Acting on instinct, I was happy when Jeff Garcia scrambled in for Detroit's lone first-half score, but I immediately remembered myself and felt ashamed of my joyous outburst. Joey Harrington will never be Joe Montana, but fuck Steve Mariucci and Matt Millen for placing all the blame for the Lions' offensive ineptitude on Harrington. Never an unkind word for Roy Williams for his many drops nor Charles Rogers for being a whiny dope-fiend nor the offensive line for their sieve-like play nor offensive coordinator (and Mariucci crony) Ted Tollner for his massive incompetence, but Harrington gets benched. Today, I hate the Lions, though if they lose as I wish them to I will of course wear my Honolulu blue T-shirt tomorrow in solidarity. The Lions will always be my team, no matter how much I hate them. Let's go Browns! Win this one for Bernie!

No Joy
As you may recall, I was most displeased with the illegal touchdown scored by a Spartan defensive lineman in the Michigan-Michigan State game three weeks ago. The Guy referenced this play, an inexcusable violation of the rules of the game on the part of the game's officials, in an attempt at levity, assuming we all, no matter our allegiance, enjoyed the sight of a big lineman rumbling seventy yards for a touchdown. In this he was mistaken and his comment arosed my ire. K. Steeze then came to The Guy's defense, though The Guy himself took no offense, and said, "if you [me] don't change your ways soon, you won't have many BTW friends left. It's not a threat." I had no idea that my BTW friendships were so imperiled, that the bonds of our comradeship could be so easily sundered. I will never change. Ire/anger/wrath is one of the seven deadly sins and I embrace it at my soul's peril, but embrace it I do. So, though I love all of my fellow Blue Tree Whackers, it seems only a matter of time before I am expelled from that august brotherhood. With that in mind, it seems foolish to permanently brand my body with the mark of an organization that seems intent on being rid of me. So, I will not be getting the BTW Monkey tattooed on my right forearm in December, nor ever. If I decide to get a different tattoo placed opposite my skull-and-crossbones, I will have to be certain of the design and placement for at least six months; so, the soonest I may be getting a new tattoo is late April. I will keep you updated on any decisions.

As for BTW, I love all my fellow Whackers and I sincerely hope that our splendid association will continue for all our lives despite Steeze's dire prognostication.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tony Blair seems like a good chap and for a European leftist (though solidly center-left) politician he has conducted a brilliant and bold foreign policy, but still, he's Labour. What Britain needs is a return of the Tories. Bring back the Iron Lady! Failing that, how about these guys?
At the Show
Sweet fancy Moses, MxPx is awesome! This week, I've been rediscovering the myriad glories of Life in General and Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo. Also, MxPx is playing three times in Michigan next month. Methinks I'll be going to the Novermber 5 show at the State in Detroit rather than either of the shows in East Lansing (the air there reeks of impending doom!) and Big Rapids.

MxPx: because only losers write songs longer than 1:59.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
Hyperlink. No one, save a few far right-wing Japanese nutjobs, can dispute the horrors visited upon the Chinese and Korean peoples by the Imperial Japanese Army between 1895 and 1945. And there is room for legitimate disagreement about visits to the Yasukuni Shrine by prominent Japanese politicians, especially Prime Minister Koizumi. But I have to laugh whenever the Chinese government makes a fuss about the shrine. After all, Mao Zedong killed a hell of a lot more Chinese between 1949 and 1976 than the Japanese did between 1931 and 1945, and yet the Chinese Communist Party actively encourages pilgrimages to view Mao's corpse, preserved and displayed a la Lenin, in its shrine off Tiananmen Square, in the very heart of Beijing. The Japanese occupation was monstrous; the crimes committed in the Emperor's name rival those of the Nazis in Russia. But more Chinese died - broken, starving, humiliated, and alone - from the Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution than from anything the Japanese did. The People's Republic of China will have every right to complain about Japanese officials visiting the Yasukuni Shrine the day after Mao's bloated corpse is finally put in the ground in an unmarked grave alongside his millions of victims.

The South Koreans, on the other hand, make a strong case about the offensiveness of the Yasukuni Shrine.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

In addition to The Magic of Shazam!, I'm developing a couple of Elseworlds ideas for Superman and Batman. Quoting, "In Elseworlds, heroes are taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places - some that have existed and others that can't, couldn't, or shouldn't exist. The result is stories that make characters who are as familiar as yesterday seem as fresh as tomorrow." The very nature of comics, the slow, sequential ways stories are told over the course of months, promotes stability (some, not I, would say stagnation). This is as it should be, I think. Comics starring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have been in continuous publication for nearly seventy years; on the theory that if it isn't broke don't fix it, radical changes, no matter how highly touted, might damage or remove some of the very elements that have made the characters' popularity so durable. That's why I really like Elseworlds stories, because they allow the writer to go that extra distance, telling a story at the boundaries of creativity without killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. (Resistant to change as I am, classifying a story as an Elseworlds tale gives me a needed safety blanket.)

{Superman: Empire of Krypton}
Instead of Kal-El being the last son of Krypton, the scientist Jor-El and the general Dru-Zod were able to gather the resources to construct a starship to evacuate one thousand Kryptonians prior to the doomed planet's explosion. Kal-El, the eldest son of Jor-El, and a horde of robot servants are sent ahead of the starship Kandor as a scout. Kal-El's rocket lands in a field on the Kansas farm of Jonathan and Martha Kent. The Kents investigate the crash and discover the smoking rocket; Kal-El emerges from the rocket, informs the Kents in Kryptonese that he is very sorry they saw him, and promptly disintegrates them with a ray gun. (That scene was the first idea I had and inspired everything else.)

Kal-El and his robots quickly establish a hidden listening post in the Arctic and begin monitoring all Earth broadcats, eventually translating Earth's languages and collecting data useful to the coming Kryptonian invasion. The rocket is reconfigured into a cloaked spy satellite. Tiring of living in isolation in his self-dubbed Fortress of Solitude, Kal-El manipulates records to create for himself the identity of Clark Kent from Smallville, Kansas. "Kent" begins work as a mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, the Daily Planet (Lois Lane, Perry White, Jimmy Olson, et cetera). Kal-El acquires an apartment in Metropolis, but frequently journeys back to the Fortress.

In time, he discovers that the radiation from Earth's yellow sun has imbued him with powers beyond those of mortal men. Jor-El had anticipated improvements to Kryptonian physiology under the yellow sun (the doomed planet Krypton orbited a red sun), and in fact that had been one of the reasons he and Dru-Zod has selcted Earth to be their "New Krypton," but Kal-El's abilities far exceeded his father's predictions. Kal-El considers becoming a superhero in order to infiltrate the Justice League of America (the "magnificent seven": Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, Green Lantern [Rayner], The Flash [West], Captain Atom, and Firestorm), but elects to remain hidden according to Jor-El's original plan, albeit in the guise of Clark Kent.

Then of course comes the fighting. The Kandor arrives in orbit, her Kryptonian crew revived from their long cryogenic sleep. Jor-El offers the people of Earth the opportunity to surrender; believing in the inherent superiority of Kryptonian culture, he assumes that humans will welcome the chance to have their lives improved by the technology of the new Kryptonian ruling class. By contrast, General Zod wishes to wipe out the human race in order to make New Krypton purely Kryptonian. The people of Earth refuse Jor-El's "generous" offer and Kryptonian warsuits descend to subdue the planet. The JLA and the world's other superheroes fight back, but suffer horrific casualties and slowly lose ground until Batman calls in the JLA's secret weapon, Captain Marvel.

Kal-El had wanted to use his powers in the invasion, but Jor-El had insisted that superior Kryptonian technology would carry the day. However, when Cap disables the warsuit piloted by Kal-El's cousin, Kara Zor-El, Kal-El leaves his post aboard the Kandor and assaults the World's Mightest Mortal mano a mano. Kal-El kills Cap, though not without taking a savage beating. With both Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel dead, Batman orders a general retreat and Earth's heroes go to ground.

While Kal-El, referred to by the terrified human press as "The Superman," leads the Kryptonian forces, including Kara and Kal-El's younger brother Kon-El, on a hunt for the remaining heroes, Dru-Zod grows envious of Kal-El's powers. Zod has himself thrown out an airlock perilously close to the Sun, betting that his close proximity to the star with quickly saturate his cells with yellow solar radiation, granting him powers comparable to Kal-El's and enabling him to survive the hard vacuum of space. Zod's gamble pays off. Returning to the Kandor under his own steam, Zod murders Kal-El's parents, Jor-El and Lara, and Kara's parents, Zor-El and Alura, and unleashes an ancient Kryptonian weapon, the Eradicator, to cleanse the earth of non-Kryptonian "impurities." Because he's Superman, Kal-El triumphs over both the Eradicator and Zod, though not before the former recites Terence Stamp's classic line, "Come, son of Jor-El, kneel before Zod."

* * * * *

I still have a lot of things to work out. I'm not including the Martian Manhunter in the JLA because I have an idea for a sequel, Empire of Krypton II: The War of the Worlds, involving an attack on New Krypton (formerly Earth) by the forces of Mars and Rann, and possibly other planets, too. I have a nagging feeling that I should find a way to make Luthor a more prominent character in Empire of Krypton, but really what I want to do is save him, too, for the sequel. This isn't just the hubris of thinking there will be a sequel, I honestly think that with the modified origin story, the invasion, and the battles with the Eradicator and Zod Empire of Krypton is already quite busy. Of course, if I could pitch it as a 12-issue maxiseries (most Elsewords tales are only two or three issues long) there would be time to work in Luthor, Batman's chief ally in the resistance after the Kryptonian victory, and his superweapon against the Superman, the flawed clone Bizarro.

Instead of being a half-human/half-Kryptonian clone of Superman, I've made Kon-El (Superboy) Kal-El's younger brother. I haven't decided if Kal-El will try to establish the Clark Kent identity in Smallville, perhaps befriending Lana Lang and Pete Ross, or only create that persona as an adult when he decides to work at the Planet to do first-hand reconnaissance about Earth. I also haven't decided what to do about Lois Lane: do I make her a collaborator, in love with the Kryptonian Superman, or does she remain loyal to Earth? Which element is more important, her historical relationship to Superman or her reputation as a hard-nosed (and thus presumably loyal to Mankind) journalist? Like I said, lots to work out.

I also have an idea for Batman, called Batman: The Dark Night, but I don't feel like describing it now. In a way, it is the reverse of Superman: Empire of Krypton, I have the characters and motivations all worked out, but I don't have a plot yet.
Hail to the Losers
The danger following Michigan's victory of Penn State is that Lloyd's boys are going to make the mistake of thinking they're good and that the losses to Wisconsin and Minnesota were flukes. This is not the case. Considerable peril lies ahead, especially since the Iowa and Northwestern games are on the road. Still, 4-3 (2-3 against real competition) is better than 3-4. If we are to have a chance moving forward, though, Coach Carr must make some significant changes among his assistants. Go Blue!

The hated Irish of hated Notre Dame came within a single play of defeating the vaunted Trojans of Southern Cal. I fear for the future, a future full of sickening glories for hated Notre Dame, while at the same moment I remember fondly the recent past when those bastards were brought low and yet still refused to learn the very Catholic virtue of humility. Since at least the Roman Republic there has been a terrible tendency to idealize the past as a means of condemning the present. I have never had any use for such nonsense, but I will say this: I miss Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Last Best Hope
One of the most endearing things about Sarah Vowell is her near-worship of Abraham Lincoln. But, that's neither here nor there. Hyperlink.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Ocean Blue
Happy Columbus Day, everybody! Sure, sure, those lazy bums in the federal government had a three-day weekend because Monday was Columbus Day (observed), but today is the real anniversary of Christopher Columbus's discovery of America. No disputes will be entertained:

Columbus didn't really discover anything, since the Indians had been in the Americas for millennia. Humbug. Western civilization is at present the dominant cultural, political, and economic force in the world, and Columbus's journey is what introduced the New World to the crowned heads and huddled masses of Europe, cradle of western civilization. Rightly or wrongly, the Indians are mostly gone, there impact on these paired continents wiped away by the ascension of the Europeans and us, their successors.

What about the Vikings? They called Newfoundland Vineland. Again, so what? Yes, hooray, good for Lief Ericsson, but in the end what did his discovery of Vineland reveal? The great navigtors of Portugal and the Muslim empires had no idea there was a continent blocking the westward passage between Europe and Cathay; so, what did Ericsson's discovery matter? A discovery no one knows about might as well not have happened.

Columbis didn't discover anything. The idiot thought he was in India or Cathay, and anyway on that first voyage he only explored the Caribbean, not either of the continents. Again, so what? No matter how wrong he was about where he was, his journey prompted others to make further explorations. The exploration of the New World was so important that today the efforts of the great navigators of Portugal, who favored reaching the Far East by sailing down around Africa, are all but forgotten. Even the lonely outpopst of Macao has reverted back to China.

Without Columbus, the New World might never have been discovered. No Pilgrims. No thirteen colonies. No Revolutionary War. No Declaration of Independence. No Constitution of the United States. Hell, no United States. No Gettysburg Address. No crusade to eradicate the Third Reich. No NATO to oppose Stalin. No World Bank, United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Health Organization. If you love America, take a moment to appreciate that without the Admiral of the Seas, mistaken fool that he was, our great republic might never have come into being. The world might have been denied its "last best hope," in the words of President Lincoln. Happy Columbus Day!

Thirteen Days in October
I meant to post this yesterday, when there would have been exactly a fortnight remaining. All Christmas lists must be finished and distributed by October 25, two months before the big day. This is only fair as it will give yourfamily and friends plenty of time to purchase the gifts you know you (or at least I) so richly deserve. Less than two weeks now to decided what you really want. Don't delay!

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Magic of Shazam!
Good things happen late at night while half-watching episodes of Dog: The Bounty Hunter (on A&E). Last week, I had Dog on while I was rereading all the notes I'd made in my The Magic of Shazam! notebook. (A converted day planner, it's not dedicated to that topic alone. It also contains all my notes for a proposed but rejected expansion of the Smith and Winkler universe, background information on In Search of the Perfect Lesbian, and lots and lots of other stuff.) Suddenly, like a of lighting from a clear blue sky, the title of the first MoS! story arc came to me:

"Giant Atomic Robots"
Nos. 1-6
There will be lots of introduction and expository dialogue because this arc has to set the tone for my take on Fawcett City. Dr. Sivana is behind a series of thefts at university research labs and high tech companies around Fawcett, as usual using proxies, this time Ibac and a new villain, Xenophon. Setting the stage for the future, Ibac is dragging into the bowels of Heck by his demonic master and Cap meets Professor Timothy Tinkle, his doctoral student Ivan Derook, and their invention "Timmy" or the T.M.I. (Tinkle Machine Intelligence). Billy meets Veronica Deng (sorry, Kiel) while hosting W.H.I.Z.'s "Battle of the Bands," Nick and Nora Bromfield depart for Europe seeking treatment for a rare disease afflicting Nick, Uncle Ebenezer schemes to throw Billy and Mary out on the streets, and neo-Nazi vandalism and intimidation mare the tranquility of Beck Memorial High School. The thefts have been to gather materials for Dr. Sivana's latest attempt to destroy the Marvel Family, the nuclear-powered robot Mr. Atom. Captain Marvel and Mr. Atom slug it out over Fawcett City, with Cap forced to restrain himself for fear of causing a thermonulcear detonation in the heart of the city.

Fairly early, I decided that the first big story had to feature Dr. Sivana and not Black Adam. This was due in part to my dislike for the current hero worship of Black Adam happening in the DCU, but mostly because when all is said and done Dr. Sivana is Captain Marvel's first and greatest enemy. Throughout the Golden Age the Marvel Family battled one insane Sivana scheme after another; Black Adam appeared in only one Golden Age story. Okay; so, a Dr. Sivana story, but what? I had the idea that Sivana would steal the power of Shazam for himself and weaponize it, but I'd already reserved that idea for the No. 25 extravaganza, the conclusion of "Man of Science." I also wanted to introduce a new, independent Mr. Atom, as opposed to the automaton seen in The Power of Shazam! It took me way to long to realize that I could kill two birds with one stone by having the first arc be about Dr. Sivana's invention of Mr. Atom. Duh. As soon as I thought of it I wondered why it hadn't occured to me sooner. Such is life.

Now that I had a story, gradually working in Ibac, Xenophon, Nick's illness, the villainy of Uncle Ebenezer and the like, I still needed a title. Early ideas included "Present at the Creation" and "The Nuclear Option." I didn't know what I wanted, but I knew it wasn't either of those. Actually, I quite like "Present at the Creation," but it just didn't seem right for this story, even though it is about creation, or at the least invention. Then, while staring at Dog's horrific yet wonderful hair, it struck me. "Giant Atomic Robots." Of course. What had I been thinking? I want The Magic of Shazam! to give Captain Marvel some street cred by allowing him to fight truly frightening and malevolent villains, but at the same time I want it to be a lot of fun. And what, my friends, is more fun that giant atomic robots? Nothing, that's what.

The Magic of Shazam! "Giant Atomic Robots." Look for it in a comic shop near you not any time soon.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Saturday, October 8, 2005

I like Joe Pa's answer to the question, Is Penn State back?: "I'm not sure we ever left." Penn State is back. This week, that is a glorious thing. Next week, well, 3-3 against 6-0. What do you think is going to happen? Still, any given team can beat any other given team on any given Saturday; that's why they play the games.

For now, congratulations to the Nittany Lions, and thank you, Mr. Paterno, for beating the hated Buckeyes. That helped redeem today. The Happy Valley is happy tonight.
Hail to the Losers - Second Attempt
I lost my first attempt at this post to a malfunction at Blogger. It was the first post I've lost in months. How utterly appropriate. It doesn't rain but it pours.

At the end of regulation in the Michigan State game, I said that Rivas should lose his scholarship. After he kicked the game-winner in overtime, my father asked me if I'd reconsidered; I didn't answer one way or the other. It now seems clear that my first instinct, rash as it was, was nevertheless correct. Today, Rivas cost us the game.

That said, there is plenty of blame to spread around. Ecker missed two easy catches and after that wasn't thrown to again. Despite Massaquoi's injury, I feel this was the right decision; it was only a matter of time before one of Ecker's drops turned into an interception. How many times was Hart hit at or behind the line of scrimmage? Another truly offensive performance by our offensive line. Henne, proving that last week was a fluke, missed Avant in the endzone at least three times, throwing the ball where no one could have caught it. Way to go, Froshie, way to show that your worst critics, myself included, we right in calling you overrated. Bog, I wanted so much to believe in Chad Henne....

Moving on, it is imperative that Terry Malone's reign of ineptitude be ended immediately. But, we all know Carr won't make any changes until after the end of this year's sorry campaign; I will be pacified as long as Malone has been replaced as offensive coordinator by the start of next season. And here we encounter a real problem: Lloyd Carr will not fire Terry Malone, no matter how incompetent he may be. So, what are we to do? The rest of this season does not matter. It does not matter. What matters is that Lloyd Carr may be too stubborn to do what is necessary for the good of the program. I hope that he is not, but as I said, it is imperative that Terry Malone's reign as offensive coordinator comes to an end. If Coach Carr is not willing to replace Malone, he should himself be fired. Carr should be made to choose: to whom is he loyal, Terry Malone or Michigan? Michigan cannot prosper with Malone is charge of the offense; so, whom does Carr choose? Michigan or Malone? If he chooses Malone, his tenure at Michigan must end. No man is more important than Michigan, not Terry Malone and not Lloyd Carr. If Lloyd Carr will not fire Terry Malone, Michigan must fire Lloyd Carr.

After the loss to hated Notre Dame, I guaranteed three Michigasn losses. I never thought that we would suffer three defeats in only six games. This is a disaster without precedent. I'm almost used to a 2-2 record, but to be 3-3 two games into the Big Ten schedule? Not even at the zenith of the dark bastard's influence did I imagine such a horror. I guaranteed three loses, but said that I was personally inclined to four. In all truth, at this moment in time we will be lucky to make it to the end of the year without only four losses. Of our remaining five regular season games, we have the potential to lose to Penn State, Northwestern, Iowa, and Ohio State. It is impossible that we will lose all four of those contests, but the potential exists to lose to any of those opponents. I mean no offense to Indiana's fans, but we all know that even in our present state of wretchness we are not going to lose to Indiana. Sweet fancy Moses, how did it all go so wrong?

I said last week that we aren't a very good football team, but I never imagined that we were this bad.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

The Madness of Hate
The Goldbricker hates Muslims - all Muslims - so much that today he said that in Bosnia and Kosovo the Serbs had the right idea, they just went about it in a ham-handed way. Srebrenica was a ham-handed stab at doing the right thing? You sick fuck.

The really sickening part is that last week I actually felt a twang of sympathy for my father. He is a deeply unhappy, self-hating man. I thought about the character of Captain Qweeg in the movie The Caine Mutiny. Qweeg is cowardly, domineering, and abusive towards his men, very possibly as a result of war stress from his tours in the US Navy during the Battle of the Atlantic. After one incident, a repentant Qweeg assembles his officers and while he cannot bring himself to actually apologize for his actions, he does say that the officers and crew of a ship are like a family, and so they need to lean on each other and depend on each other in moments of failure and weakness. The officers of the Caine eventually unseat Qweeg citing his mental instability and are acquitted by a court martial. After the court martial, their own military attorney denounces them for their ingratitude to Qweeg; yes, Qweeg was a bastard, but he had served in the Navy long before Pearl Harbor, putting himself in harm's way to protect his officers, then civilians. For his pre-war service, the officers should have helped Qweeg when he asked them to.

So, I thought about the Goldbricker as if he were Qweeg. My father hates his job, but is terrified at the prospect of losing it because he has not managed his money particularly well. His career has been a pathetic failure compared to that of his father, a brillaint but unforgiving man, a self-made man, who died a millionaire. He has a wife and son living in his home who try to speak to him as little as possible, in his mind because we don't want to hear the truth he speaks. He is a lonely, unhappy man; so, perhaps, I thought, I should extend a helping hand, aid him in his time of need as Qweeg's officers didn't. Fortunately, he then praised Slobodan Milosevic's policies, if not the man himself; my father is no Captain Qweeg, my father is Martin Bormann.

My father obsessively reads every obscure medical newsletter he can get his hands on and believes that snake-oil salesmen hold the key to longevity. He thinks he's going to live to be a hundred. I hope his does, because he will spend the last forty years in isolation after his wife divorces him and his children cut off all contact. Rot in Hell, you miserable filth.
So, who do you think did it? The Joker? Two-Face? Arson seems a little obvious for Firefly. Bane?

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Which name do we like best for Billy Batson's girlfriend in The Magic of Shazam!:

Jessica Deng

Veronica Deng

Jessica Zhou

Veronica Zhou

She for certain has an uncle named Joe Zhou (host of W.H.I.Z.'s The Joe Zhou Show), but up until this point he's been her mother's brother. Neither changing him to her father's brother or keeping him as he is will cause me any consternation.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Proud Europa
The talks regarding Turkey's accession into the European Union are a farce. Turkey will never be admitted to the EU, or rather it will never achieve full membership. The Europeans will propose all manner of options for second-class and at some date in the future some Turkish government might agree to that condescending indignity. Why won't Turkey be admitted? Because Turks are not white. Sure, the Europeans will cite economic and political reasons, but those will be but smoke and mirrors. Turkey was a stalwart ally of the West all through the Cold War, even as East Germany, Poland, and the former Czechoslovakia supplied men for the Communist war machine; today, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia are all full EU members. The former East Germany automatically rated all the Union's advantages as soon as it was folded into the Federal Republic. Okay, it could be argued that all the Eastern Bloc states were mere pawns to their Soviet masters, but what about the damn dirty neutrals like Austria and Ireland? While the Red Army crushed rebellions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia and while Alexander Solzhenitsyn rotted in the Gulag, Eire and the Osterreich couldn't even be bother to breath a word of protest. Yet they are most welcome at the EU's banquet table while steadfast Turkey is left on the outside looking in. Yes, the Austrians are shrill xenophobes, but at least they are relatively honest about their xenophobia.

If you take a different view, I'd be happy to discuss it in the comments. In fact, I would be in your debt.

Meanwhile, the Croatians shouldn't have any further problems joining the Euroclub. Sure, during the Bosnian War their armies slaughtered Bosniak and Serb civilians by the boatload, but Croatia is a good Catholic, white country. Welcome aboard!

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Avery Brooks. Happy birthday, sir, and thank you for being the greatest of all the captains courageous.
I mowed the lawn this afternoon after the Lions game (I blame Roy Williams and Charles Rogers, both of whom dropped at least two passes). The afternoon high was around 80 F. There was a definite July-esque quality to the atmosphere, between the Sun and the humidity and the sound of neighbors' lawnmowers. Man alive, the Sunday after the Michigan-Michigan State game should be spent wearing a sweatshirt and raking leaves, not sweating your sack off in shorts behind the blasted mower.

In a related item, Indian summer can kiss my assballs.

I'm listening to Mustard Plug's Skapocalypse Now. The Plug has never been my favorite band, but I tell ya, there's just nothing better than third wave ska. Nothing.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Between the Michigan-Michigan State game and the ongoing Purdue-Notre Dame game, I'm not sure I've ever seen two separate Big Ten games officiated so poorly on the same day. What the hell happened? With rare exceptions like the "phantom second" debacle of 2001, Big Ten officiating used to be something to be proud of. What did it all go so wrong? The way the two games cited were and are being officiated, the Big Ten might as well bring in NBA referees. They would probably know more about the rules of football than the current zebras. This is a disgrace.

China Has Stood Up
Hyperlink. Fifty-six years ago today, on October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, stood atop the Gate of Heavenly Peace in Beijing and declared that after centuries of intimidation and humiliation by the Western powers, China had stood up. So began the People's Republic of China, a ruthless and mercurial dictatorship that has been, sadly, the best government the Middle Kingdom has had since the fall of the Ming Dynasty in the mid-seventeenth century. These are interesting times that prompt myriad questions. How long will the CCP be able to maintain it's unchallenged dominion over the people of the PRC? How many more Tiananmen Square Massacres will there be between now and the establishment of a government truly of, for, and by the people in China? Will the fear and loathing in the Strait of Taiwan escalate into full-scale war?
Hail to the Losers
My postgame analysis: The Wolverines aren't a very good football team, but they're better than the Spartans. (Michigan is "we" in defeat and "they" in victory.) How about those daunting three second half points by Stanton's offense? Hail to the victors, baby, the leaders and best.