Those of you who lived or worked in Albany from 1978 to 1998 might remember this sign, created by the late Raoul Vezina in the window of FantaCo Enterprises, the comic book store/mail order house/publisher/convention organizer at 21 Central Avenue; the sign has been digitally enhanced from the original by artist Bill Anderson. Raoul drew the logo rat for the store, the character eventually dubbed Smilin’ Ed Smiley.

A couple years later, Smilin’ Ed became the star of some comic books published by FantaCo, as well as in strips in Albany’s Metroland magazine and the Comics Buyers Guide. Read the rest of this entry »

voter_IDI’ve been pondering this topic pretty much since I got booted from jury duty on a trial for a police officer who had allegedly been assaulted.

Yes, I DO think being part of the police is inherently much more dangerous than what I do, what most people do. And it’s not just going after the bad guys, such as when two Los Angeles cops were killed during a shooting spree. I found recent cases where they were targeted rather disturbing, such as the New York City cops assaulted by a hatchet-wielding man.

You may have heard about Eric Frein, a survivalist who is accused of shooting and killing a Pennsylvania State Police officer, Bryon Dickson, and wounding Trooper Alex Douglass in an ambush September 12 outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks in Pike County, PA. He has fortunately been captured, seven weeks later. What you may not have read about is the man who was repeatedly mistaken for Frein. His allegation of rough treatment, unfortunately, rang true with me.

I was oddly happy to see a local cop acting badly, and the citizen involved being white. That’s because it removes the racial stereotypes; you’ll still see them in the comments to the video. That cop has resigned. Saratoga County, BTW, is one of the more well-to-do counties in the state, certainly in the Albany metro area.

This will tie in, eventually: a friend sent me an article Texans Slam Voter ID Law: ‘Now That It’s Happened To Me, I’m Devastated’. An “84-year-old grandmother who lives in an assisted-living facility in Austin, Texas, has voted in every major election in her life since she became eligible. But ..she couldn’t get the right identification…” Women who have ID under different names are particularly vulnerable.

“Critics of the law estimated that up to 750,000 people in Texas wouldn’t have sufficient ID and would need to get an election certificate to vote. Yet between June 2013 and the week leading up to Tuesday’s midterms, only 371 certificates had been issued…” Since these IDs are expensive, the purchase of same would amount to a poll tax, which is in violation of the 24th Amendment to the US Constitution.

The linkage here is that people often are oblivious to the wrongs that take place, sometimes under the presumption of legal authority, and believe it’s no big deal, until it affects them personally. My friend was really ticked about this in the voter ID case. I tend to think that it’s just human nature to think a problem is “theirs”, until it becomes “yours.”

Jeopardy!_Season_21There has been some interdepartmental game of the TV show Jeopardy going on around here. I was invited to join by this guy, not in my department, who told the organizer “Alex” that I’m really smart; thanks for the pressure. I wonder if “Alex” knows I was was once on the real JEOPARDY?

Here are some of the rules.
* All the answers and questions come from the Jeopardy Desk calendar of the current date.
* Don’t cheat. NO looking at the desk calendar, NO looking up the answer anywhere (i.e. internet, dictionary, etc), NO discussing or giving it away with anyone.
* The Answer must be in the form of a question or you will lose points
* Don’t argue the answer. “Alex” will go only by what is on the desk calendar. If you have a problem with that, write the desk calendar people.
* Results are posted each day so that you know your standing. Read the rest of this entry »

compassionSomehow, I have received in the (snail) mail the current (October 2014) issue of Imprimis. The article, The Case Against Liberal Compassion by William Voegeli, the Senior Editor of Claremont Review of Books, arrived right after the 2014 midterm elections. He attacks “the five big program areas that make up our welfare state.”

Basically, it’s the same old trope about liberals using other people’s money to do good. He uses the Affordable Care Act, and specifically the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website as “proof”, ignoring the value of the actual program to the previously unemployed.

Of course, he does not once mention the major “welfare state,” corporate welfare. Read the rest of this entry »

above-the-dreamless-dead-1I was reading about World War I trench poetry remembered in comics anthology, and it hit me how relatively little most Americans know about the first World War (1914-1918), the “War to end all wars,” as someone put it, terribly incorrectly.

And it’s not its remoteness in time Read the rest of this entry »

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