Sunday, July 30, 2006

Trivial Pursuit
Last night, my parents' friends Roz and Marty came over and after we played a game of Trivial Pursuit. The teams pitted the boys against the girls, Marty, my dad, and me against Roz and my mom. The girls jumped out to an early lead, claiming the first wedgie, but in the end we prevailed 6-3. The contest was of course lopsided before it even began, not because the gents outnumbered the ladies three to two, but because I was on the male team; had I been with Roz and Mom, they would have secured a similarly lopsided victory over Marty and Dad. My partisanship essentially determines the victor. Yes, folks, I'm that good.

I am the best Trivial Pursuit player I've ever seen. Arrogance? Not at all. You see, I've defeated The Professor in single combat. The Prof is so good at Trivial Pursuit that he once gave the correct answer before he was even given the question. And I beat him fair and square. I'm not the best Trivial Pursuit player in the world, but I am better than you. I'm better at Dance Dance Revolution than any of my friends, but I'm convinced this is due to their general crumminess (no offense, gang), not any extraordinary ability on my part. I'm pretty good at Risk, but I lose more often than I win. Trivial Pursuit, however, is another beast entirely.

Other people are good at Trivial Pursuit, but me? I'm great.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hitler's Victory
Hezbollah are terrorists. They deliberately target civilians and non-combatants. Why does the American press have such a problem with calling Hezbollah a terrorist organization? Admittedly, "militant" doesn't have exactly positive connotations, but it still gives Hezbollah's activities some sheen of legitimacy. Hezbollah is a criminal organization; everything it does is illegitimate.

As for the BBC's outright cheerleading for the Hezbollah cause, well, that's no surprise. It's sad, but not surprising. If there is one thing Europeans love doing, it's hating the Jews. I'm sure it would bring a smile to Hitler's lips to know that in what he would consider the most important way - encouraging the slaughter of every last Jewish man, woman, and child on Earth - his "Thousand-Year Reich" still holds absolute dominion over Europe.

Am I wrong? Do you disagree? Please, if I'm misreading the situation I would liek to be told. Is there more than good old-fashioned anti-Semitism behind the BBC's agenda?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

No Oracles at Delphi
My normal second shift shift is from 2:12pm to 10:42pm. We stop work at around 10:15, but for some odd (almost certainly meticulously negotiated by the UAW) reason, we can't actually clock out until precisely 10:42. Seriously, people stand by the timeclock waiting for it to flip from 22:41 to 22:42.

Anyway, I worked overtime yesterday, Monday, Friday, and Thursday, which means we work until 2:15am but don't clock out until 2:42am. Last night, some time after 1 o'clock, my fellows and I were getting a little punch drunk and we decided, "Wouldn't work be better with... ninjas?" The answer is yes. Everything is better with ninjas.

* * * * *

I would love to be descibed as "a gentle and genteel Gentile," but as you all know, only one out of those three is applicable to yours truly.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me
Well, now that I'm twenty-seven I'm officially in my late 20s. The Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, was already dead and immortalized by the time he was my age. And we all know the late 20s are just a gateway to thirty. And once you're thirty, you're what will seem like two weeks away from being forty, at which point you are well on the path to becoming a soul-sucking abomination, a.k.a. a senior citizen. (I only hate old people because they are terrible.) Before the Mountain overreacts, I know my life isn't over at twenty-seven (this isn't Logan's Run, thank Bog [on many different levels]), but now that I'm on the doorstep of being thirty there is a certain urgency to getting my arse in gear. If I am to strike down my enemies, if they are to rue the day they aroused my ire, I need to get to work. No more mucking about in the fool's paradise of youth.

Though the thing about a fool's paradise is that until the very last moment that it all comes crashing down about your ears, my friend, you've been living in paradise. And who doesn't like paradise?

I am not particularly fond of Wolverine, but now that he has two ongoing monthly books - Wolverine and Wolverine: Origins - it would be such a shame if Marvel never published a story titled "Logan's Run."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Good luck tomorrow, Skeeter, I know you'll perform magnificently.

Having now read four issues of Steve Ditko's amazing Beware the Creeper, I've got an idea for a story called "Yellow Journalism." Jack Ryder is a journalist and the Creeper has yellow skin and I really think superheroics provide an incredibly rich stage for commentary about the sorry state of American journalism (see: Spider-Man and the Daily Bugle). My thinking is of course influenced by Sam Kieth's recent miniseries Batman: Secrets. I may also work The Question into "Yellow Journalism," because Vic Sage is both Jack Ryder's politcal antithesis and an accomplished journalist in his own right.

And I have vague notions of a junior Creeper sidekick-cum-villain named the Yellow Kid.
I've nothing of consequence to say, or rather I have many things of consequence to say - and you all know that no one's thoughts and opinions are more interesting or more right than mine - but having just finished mowing the lawn I haven't the will to commit my oh so interesting thoughts to ye olde internet. I will commit a few uninteresting thoughts, though:

Good Vibrations
I have been thinking about ways to make Armando Ramone (known, though not widely, by the superheroic codenames Reverb and Hardline), the younger brother of the late, unlamented "Detroit League"-era JLA member Vibe (Paco Ramone), a viable character. Step 1: Change his codename to Vibe, in honor of his fallen hermano. (Zach Nie!, insert your own Arrested Development joke here.) Step 2: Have him lead his brother's old street gang, Los Lobos, now reformed as a kind of Guardian Angels-style community watch organization. Step 3: "reunite" the Detroit League of Vibe (now Armando instead of Paco), Vixen, Gypsy, and Steel (John Henry Irons, a character in no way related to Hank Heywood, the late, unlamented Steel of the Detroit League) in a story that could only be called "The Motor City Madman"!

Also, I need to figure out how to work in as many references as possible to the vastly underrated Dan Aykroyd movie Dr. Detroit.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Land of Milk and Honey
It is unfortunate that the people of Lebanon have to suffer the brunt of Israel's fury, but by the same token a shockingly large percentage of the Lebanese population supports Hezbollah's murderous campaign of terrorism; so, what other choice is available to the Israelis? If you believe in democracy, if you believe that terrorism is immoral, then you must stand with Israel. I stand with Israel.

No Oracles at Delphi
Yesterday, I was given my 30-Day Evaluation which, due to having a two week furlough for the annual summer shutdown, occured on only the second day of work after my 15-Day Evaluation. With common sense policies like that, it's hard to believe Delphi is going out of business.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

No Oracles at Delphi
Great googly moogly, I can't believe they pay me $14.70 an hour to sit on my arse and read. We had significant downtime this evening, repeatedly waiting on parts from another line, giving me the chance to give second reads to Eternals No. 1, Captain America No. 18, X-Men Nos. 186 and 187, Ultimate Extinction No. 5, and The Avengers and Power Pack Assemble! No. 2. I really enjoyed having two weeks off, but if you have to have a job (and everyone has to have a job), one could do a lot worse than being a "temporary employee"/"new hire" at good ol' Delphi (or AC Rochester, a flashback to the early '90s, according to a surprisingly large percentage of the signage throughout the plant).

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I, Fanboy
I am in the midst of reorganizing my comic book boxes, a task that must periodically be performed, but I am finding this go-around particularly satisfying as it has enabled me to put together a Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko DC box. Kirby was the father of damned near the whole Marvel Comics universe, co-creating with Stan Lee the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Avengers, et alii, in the 1960s and way back in Dubya-Dubya-Two co-creating Captain America with Joe Simon. Ditko was the co-creator (along with Stan Lee) of Spider-Man. Lots and lots of other writers and artists helped make Marvel what it is, but Kirby's, Ditko's and Lee's creations are the foundation upon which the rest is built.

Kirby and Ditko also did a lot of work for DC Comics, Kirby's most famous creations being the entire "Fourth World" of Darkseid, Orion, New Genesis, Apokolips, et alii, and The Demon (Jason Blood/Etrigan). Ditko's most notable DC characters are the second Blue Beetle (the late, lamented Ted Kord) and The Question (Vic Sage), both created for Charton Comics but later bought lock, stock, and barrel by DC and integrated into the DC Universe, and The Creeper (Jack Ryder), a DC original. In my new Kirby/Ditko box I've got the black and white trades of Kirby's The New Gods, Mister Miracle, and The Forever People; the two color trades of Kirby's time on Superman's Pal Jimmy Olson; the various New Gods revivals; Walt Simonson's brilliant Orion; John Byrne's Blood of the Demon; Denny O'Neil and Denys Cowan's The Question*; and Len Wein and Paris Cullen's Blue Beetle, among sundry others. Soon to be added to the Kirby/Ditko box, courtesy of my fat Delphi bank, are three vintage Silver Age issues of The Demon, written and drawn by Jack "King" Kirby himself, and four vintage Silver Age issues of Steve Ditko's Beware the Creeper. Woot!

And fear not, I'm not blowing all of my money on comic books when I should be saving up for the move to Texas, The Demon and Beware the Creeper were available at a crazy discount. I couldn't afford to not buy! So, hoo-rah for me.

*The Question by O'Neil and Cowan is an excellent series, the only problem being the complete abandonment of the Objectivist principles on which Ditko constructed The Question. You don't have to like or follow Objectivism to recognize that The Question was created as a character with a very clear and distinct moral point of view. Since Messrs. O'Neil and Cowan were unwilling to honor Ditko's, and thus The Question's, moral stance, I really wish they'd written and drawn a series just like The Question, but starring someone other than The Question. I'm no Objectivist, but I long to return The Question to his Randian roots.
Below is an excerpt from an article about Ben Roethlisberger than appeared in today's Flint Journal courtesy of the Associated Press:

Though Roethlisberger has parked his bike for the season, he said the accident hasn't changed his belief that people should make their own decision on whether to wear a helmet on a motorcycle. To that end, Roethlisberger said he doesn't plan on doing public safety announcements for motorcycle or helmet safety.

"I'm not going to be on billboards with words about helmets and stuff like that," he said.
On the one hand, their is some temptation to admire Roethlisberger's dedication to his convictions. The easiest thing in the world is to suffer the consequences of your own judgments and then say, "I was wrong and I've completely changed my mind." Roethlisberger was "nearly killed" while riding a motorcyle without a helmet, but apparently he had thoroughly thought through his position even before the accident and elected to make peace with the risk of grave injury.

On the other hand, people are mistake-prone creatures and often the most mature and proper response to suffering the consequences of your own judgments is to say, "I was wrong and I've completely changed my mind." Because people are often wrong and should completely change their minds. Ben Roethlisberger was wrong, is wrong, and is apparently committed to remaining wrong. Putz.

On the gripping hand... actually, there is no gripping hand position on this issue. Not wearing a helmet on a motorcyle is suicidally, intolerably dumb. Love liberty though I do, from time to time the people do need to be protected from themselves; thus, I am an enthusiastic supporter of both mandatory motorcyle helmet laws and automobile seatbelt laws.

If you hate the Art Modells and Mark Cubans of the sports world, you have to love the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bill Cowher is the longest serving coach in the NFL and only the fifth Steelers head coach in the forty-nine years, only the second head coach since 1969. Loyalty is the Rooney family's watchword, loyalty that has helped them win five Super Bowls (that's one-eighth of all Super Bowls, pretty impressive considering the League has thirty-two teams). I know it's trendy right now, but the fact remains that you have to love (or at least admire) the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That said, I wish Pittsburgh nothing but debacle, fiasco, and disgrace as long as that shiteater Roethlisberger is on their payroll. I sincerely wish he had died in that motorcycle accident. Christian duty be damned, if Ben Roethlisberger was on fire before me I would run to fetch not a fire extinguisher, but a can of gasoline and the ingredients necessary to the making of s'mores. If I did have a fire extiguisher, I'd use it to pound in his flaming skull. I want to desecrate his corpse, I want to vandalize his grave. I want to mock his grieving parents.

Roethlisberger is free to possess and articulate his asinine opinion on motorcycle helmets. Just as I am free to wish him ill. Die, you horror, suffer and die.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

"No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater than central air." It took from just after noon until damned near six o'clock, but the technicians from Terry Allen finally got our new air conditioner installed and operating. The house is very nearly back to the lovely temperature at which it is generally maintained, or at least the air inside the house is at just about the proper temp. One more victory, my friends, in the war of Man versus Nature. Screw you, prevailing atmospheric conditions, you're not the boss of me! My house will be as warm or as cool as I see fit. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

And of what is air conditioning a product? That's right: science. Science!

Friday, July 14, 2006

The War for Civilization
Say a prayer for our brethren in Bombay (a name I much prefer to Mumbai), for death to swiftly find the animals who planned this atrocity and for the souls of the murdered innocents to find eternal peace. We live in a savage age, when traitors to their own faith murder in the name of the God on Whom they have turned their backs. No one ever said building a just world would be easy, but there are days when the senseless violence grows so very tiresome.

But take heart, the Republic of India is strong. The Republic of India will endure. The Republic of India will prevail.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Deep in the Heart of Darkness... er, Texas
I am moving to Fort Worth, Texas in August.

Boy howdy, it would have been hi-fucking-larious to have simply left it at that, but, as I discovered in an early convo with Skeeter, leaving it at "I'm moving to Texas" is much funnier to me than to the person on the other side of the discussion. Hee hee.

The Mountain of Love has accepted a Young Artist apprenticeship with the Forth Worth Opera, an apprenticeship lasting from August to June 2007. Now that I am (once again) done with school, I couldn't think of a good reason to not move to Texas once the Mountain asked me. For years, I've said that I live my life by the code "I'll do anything unless I can think of a good reason not to." This seemed an ideal opportunity to discover if I am the cowardly blowhard the Dark Bastard insistently whispers that I am or if I'm truly willing to put my money where my mouth is. Has my ego been writing checks my body can't cash?

There will be much more commentary on the move in the remaining five/six weeks until it happens.

Blind, Stinking, Run Around with Your Pants Around Your Ankles Panic
The air conditioner, like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, is dead. The new one will not be delivered/installed until tomorrow afternoon. Gee, there's nothing I love quite as much as sleeping in a pool of my own sweat; so, tonight should be a gay old time.

Have I mentioned how much I hate being doomed?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I was right the first time, I am doomed, though not for the reason I thought. Hyperlink! "Demon duck of doom"? Don't mind if I do. If only I could harness the power of this creature and unleash it upon my unwitting enemies.... It would spell their doom. DOOOOOOOOOOM!

Still, being devoured by a demon duck of doom is better than meeting a moosey fate.
If even there was a time for panic, this is it: I believe our air conditioner is failing. It's supposed to be hot as balls tomorrow and muggy enough for fish to survive far from their native ponds and streams. And the thought of facing this hot and muggy (cue "Hi-Five City!") nightmare without proper AC... Heaven help us. Why do I think the AC is broken? Because the temperature inside the house is a persistant 74 F, even though it's supposed to be 71 F. If the unit cannot cope with the relatively cooler nighttime temperatures, we'll be broiled alive inside the house in the full fury of tomorrow's afternoon high. We're doomed, I tell you, doomed! Doooooooooomed!

I hate being doomed.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Queue
Gerald Green, The Last Angry Man ***in progress***
Sarah Vowell, Radio On: A Listener's Diary ***in progress***
Natan Sharansky with Ron Dermer, The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror
Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation
Daniel Dafoe, Robinson Crusoe
Baroness Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel
Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story

In addition, my birthday is in two weeks and I expect to receive several books as gifts. I will buy A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby is no one gives it to me.

The Netflix Queue
The Dead Zone
A Bronx Tale
The Devil's Brigade
To Hell and Back
The Red Badge of Courage
E.T.: The Extraterrestrial
Birdman of Alcatraz

I am particularly looking forward to Orlando; I find Tilda Swinton's bizareness absolutely fascinating.
Lies, Injustice, and the Anti-American Way
In the film Superman Returns (which is really awful, by the way, just total drek), Perry White, editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet, says that Superman stands for "truth, justice, and all that stuff." Traditionally, Superman is said to stand for truth, justice, and the American Way. Michael Dougherty, co-writer of Superman Returns sez:

"We were always hesitant to include the term 'American Way.' I think when people say 'American Way' they're actually talking about what the 'American Way' meant back in the '40s and '50s, which was something more noble and idealistic."

You heard it here first, folks, in the opinion of Michael Dougherty "White Only" drinking fountains, movie theaters, bus seating, and other forms of legal public discrimination against minorities, common sights throughout America in the 1940s and 1950s, were both noble and ideal.
My dentist, the venerable Dr. Bowles, has retired. He left his practice and his patients to his slovenly son, who wore black jeans and a scrub shirt as opposed to the elder Dr. Bowles's slacks and tie. Now, in a bit of shadiness with which I am not at all comfortable, the son has seemingly passed the practice on to someone completely new, who has given the practice a name beyond his own, "Parkside Dental." No, sir, I don't like it.

I had an appointment scheduled for this afternoon (scheduled six months ago) which I will be unable to keep. Moments ago, I called to impart this information... and had to leave a message! What? High and mighty Parkside Bullshit doesn't open until 9:00am. No fan of early rising am I, but dental office are supposed to be open before the rooster crows. Back in middle school, on many a morning did I fall asleep in the dental chair while Dr. Bowles adjusted my braces, as often as not while he was actually working on my mouth. Oh, the halcyon days of youth.... Dentist offices are supposed to be open early so that people may get their teeth cleaned without having to take time off of work; such is the natural order of things. Like almost everything mentioned or alluded to in Leviticus, Parkside Dental is an abomination.

Friday, July 7, 2006

London Can Take It
One year ago today, the war against civilization came to Great Britain, the birthplace of liberal democracy. Al Qaeda miscalculated the psychological impact of the 9/11 attacks, rousing the fury of the United States rather than cowing the American people as intended; similarly, while the 7/7 suicide bombings were horrific, in the nearly thousand years to have passed since the Battle of Hastings the British people have never retreated from horror. America's terrible wrath, the monstrous and remorseless violence were are willing to unleash in reprisal, is, I believe, part of the cultural legacy left to us by the mother country, Great Britain. Prime Minister Blair was correct, the purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, but Britain has overcome terror before and revisited that terror upon her enemies a thousandfold; Hell hath no fury like the bastard English. London was bloodied, but not nearly conquered. As during the Blitz, London can take it. Dieu et mon droit.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Raise high the jolly roger, ye scurvy sea dogs, there's piracy afoot.

Also, I owe you, my dear readers, an apology. I've been misspelling my late Great Granny Gray's, may she rest in peace, maiden name as "Pudaphott." In actuality, her maiden name is properly spelled Puddephatt (pud-uh-foot). If we bring to fruition the BTW plan of pillaging up and down the Los Angeles seaboard in an honest-to-Bog pirate ship, I want to be known as the Dread Pirate Puddephatt.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Independence Day!
"Today is our Independence Day!" Happy birthday, America! On this date two hundred thiry years ago, the Continental Congress spoke for all Mankind in rejecting the absolute despotism of Parliament just as Parliament had itself rejected the absolute despotism of the Crown during the English Civil War. The essense of the American Revolution, a revolution that continues to this day, is that all men must be free; the bondage of any man mars the freedom of every man. America has not always lived up to her own ideals, but as a nation we have done more to advance the cause of human freedom than every other force in history combined. Take a moment today, my friends, to appreciate just how extraordinarily fortunate we are to have been born Americans. In all the millennia that the earth has spun through the nigh-endless void, we were blessed enough to have been born here, now, in a world increasingly under the liberatign sway of the American ideals of freedom and free enterprise. In the immortal words of Jasper, "What a time to be alive!" Happy birthday to the United States of America, and many happy returns.

I am also fond of the dancing Uncle Sams from Futurama's Freedom Day, "Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Oy!" Perhaps now I'll go watch Independence Day....

Monday, July 3, 2006

If you were a guest in someone's house and you knew there were other people in the house with you and you encountered a bathroom with a closed door and you could clearly hear the fan turning, would you casually open the door or, pausing to consider the factors in play and deducing that there might be someone within, would you at least knock before utilizing the doorknob? Uncle Fred chose the former option this morning, opening the bathroom door to find me sitting on the porcelain throne. *sigh* At least that brain donor isn't a blood relative. I cannot wait until these people are out of my house.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Memory is a tricky thing. For years, I could never remember the name of Clytemnestra's lover, yet each time I'd look it up I'd smack myself on the forehead and exclaim, "Aegisthus! Of course!" I knew that, I really did, I just could never recall the name Aegisthus on command. (How often did this come up? More often than you'd think. I find my thoughts dwelling on the House of Atreus and its affiliates with some regularity.) Then one day, I IMed my habitual question to Skeeter, "Who was Clytemnestra's lover?," and she wrote back immediately, "Aegisthus." Since then, the name is stuck and I am now able to readily recall Aegisthus. I knew Aegisthus before, I simply had difficulty accessing that nugget of information. How was Skeeter's response able to break down that barrier? I have no idea. Like I said, memory is a trickerous thing.

No Oracles at Delphi
I had my 15 Day Evaluation at Delphi on Friday. I wasn't evaluated after fifteen days on the job (that would make too much sense), but fifteen calender days, including weekends, from the date I was hired. Anywho, my supervisor, Denny (a salaried), checked all the "Satisfactory" boxes and utilized only two of the remarks sections, both times writing, "Quick learner! Good mechanical attitude!" In most instances, people are said to possess good mechanical aptitude, but I guess at Delphi attitude is everything.

What does that mean, though, good mechanical attitude? Do I have a robotic demeaner? Am I a machine? You guys would tell me if I was a clockwork man, robot, droid, cyborg, Replicant, android, Terminator, or any other kind of mechanical contrivance, right? Right?

I should have business cards made: "Michael P. Wilson - Freelance Antikythera Mechanism."

Saturday, July 1, 2006

These People Do Not Speak For Me Or My Beliefs
The vast right-wing conspiracy has arrived at my house in the persons of my Aunt Meg, the Goldbricker's little sister, and Uncle Fred. Meg is an oddity, a neo-conservative hippie and an old-school feminist; so, after decades of marriage her name and title are still Ms. Wilson. I have no patience for Meg, Fred, and Dad's certainty about the inevitable defeat of Western civilization at the hands of radical Islam. For Bog's sake people, did liberal democracy not defeat monarchist despotism? Fascism? Communism? Just as Hitler and his ilk believed that the "weak" Western democracies could never defeat Marxism-Leninism, my aunt, uncle, father, and their peculiar strain of conservatism believe that America and the West have been fatally undermined by "liberalism," leaving us defenseless in the face of the Wahhabi perversion of Islam. They are spineless cowards, appeasers even as they denounce "modern-day Chamberlains," defeatists even as they insist that we are fighting for nothing less than the fate of human civilzation.

I'll be spending most of the next several days in my room as this seems the best way to avoid the whole lot of them. I pity my mother, who as a dutiful hostess will feel compelled to spend time with her guests no matter how much she might despise their conversational topics. Be strong, Mom.

O Canada
Happy Dominion Day to our friends in the Great White North! Sure, sure, the Canucks like to pretend that they're an independent country, even calling July 1 "Canada Day," but last time I checked Elizabeth II was still featured on the Monopoly money used as legal tender north of the border, she was still Queen of Canada, and of paramount importance to our purpose Elizabeth II was still British. How sovereign can a nation claim to be when it still owes fealty to the British monarch? We fought the Revolutionary War specifically so we could tell the British Crown where to shove it. No matter what legal mumbo jumbo is enshrined in the Statute of Westminster, our Maple Leaf-ed friends are still reigned over by the hoity-toity Queen. But I like them all the same. 'Tis true, I tease as a sign of affection.

Thank you, Canada, for William Shatner, Bob and Doug McKenzie, Barenaked Ladies, Steve Yzerman, and so much more! Happy Canada Day, you hosers!