September rambling: demand decency

“I Don’t Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing”

The Illegitimacy of a Conservative Supreme Court.

Demand decency.

Staying Sane in Anxious Times (without being useless).

A Catholic’s Case Against Amy Coney Barrett. Plus The Supreme Court: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Pasco’s sheriff created a futuristic program to stop crime before it happens. It monitors and harasses families across the county.

Uninsured up from last year and pandemic likely to exacerbate this trend.

Renewed calls for diversity and inclusion in ballet.

A Texas County Clerk’s Bold Crusade to Transform How We Vote.

The Twisted History of Cursive Writing.

How to Make Your Writing Funnier – Cheri Steinkellner.

NFL Legend Gale Sayers Dies at 77: CNN and NPR.

Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock has died at 81.

Secret ‘Man Cave’ Discovered in Room Beneath Grand Central Station.

NANCY is again a comic strip?

Ken Levine interviews Michael Uslan, The Man Who Saved Batman, Part One and Part Two.

Dick York After ‘Bewitched’.

The Judy Jetson controversy.

Tomato quick bread recipe.

Now I Know

The Original Scapegoat and The Final Frontier of Telemarketing and The Last Confederate POW and Why Roosters Don’t Deafen Themselves.

Antiracism Challenge

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman on race, injustice, and protest.

A series of short films about identity in America.

The Speak Up Handbook by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

What Is Privilege?

‘Intergroup anxiety’: Can you try too hard to be fair?

Racism is Trauma.

Allegories on race and racism – Camara Jones, TEDxEmory.

ALICE — Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

IMPOTUS

His Rage Is Worse Than You’ve Heard.

Every Lie Is a Confession.

He Fuels March Toward Fascism With “Anarchist Jurisdictions” Edict.

He Says Coronavirus ‘Affects Virtually Nobody,’ As U.S. Has World’s Highest Death Toll.

His HHS ad blitz raises alarms.

Blacks have themselves to blame for inequality, and Jews ‘are only in it for themselves’.

DOJ Unveils Proposal That Would Make It Harder for Twitter and Facebook to Block His Dangerous Posts.

He Is $1.1 Billion in Debt.

They got Al Capone for tax evasion, too…. cf I Found Joe Biden’s Tax Returns.

He celebrates violence against his enemies as recurring rally theme.

Shock (?) Over His Refusal To Promise ‘Peaceful Transfer Of Power’.

Barbara Walter Interview on ABC’s 20/20 – August 17, 1990.

I Won’t Vote Trump – Randy Rainbow.

MUSIC

RIP, Toots.Zooming in with Frederick Nathaniel “Toots” Hibbert — the Legend Who Literally Invented “Reggae”. Bam Bam and 54-46 Was My Number and Sweet and Dandy and Pressure Drop.

I Don’t Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door I’ll Get It Myself) – James Brown

I’d Rather Go Blind ~ Rebecca Jade at Spaghettini.

Tiny Desk (Home) Concert – Phoebe Bridgers.

With God On Our Side – NEVILLE BROTHERS.

We Have All The Time In The World – Louis Armstrong.

Virtual Sabbath Prayer.

Coverville 1324: Cover Stories for Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars and 1325: 50 Years After…After the Gold Rush (Album Cover) and 1326: Jimi Hendrix Cover Tribute.

Attention by Pamela Z.

4’33” by John Cage.

Without the Beatles.

June rambling #2: Sheila E. and Lynn Mabry

Adam west was one of “most accomplished and revered ‘B’ level actors of all time”

Rebecca Jade, Sheila E., Lynn Mabry

Three new discoveries in a month rock our African origins

THE ARCTIC DOOMSDAY SEED VAULT FLOODED. THANKS, GLOBAL WARMING

Left-lean faith leaders are hungry to break the right’s grip on setting the nation’s moral agenda

Amy Biancolli: I yam what I yam by the grace of God

Social Capital and Inequality

Time for equal media treatment of ‘political correctness’

The toddler defense

American Ex-Pats Explain Why They Quit America

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Brexit II

Dustbury has discovered not everyone he’s likely to meet is prepared to deal with someone who walks only with a bunch of equipment

The Short, Sad Tale of Allyn King of Albany

Arthur is 15 Years a Kiwi citizen

Baby boomers are downsizing — and the kids won’t take the family heirlooms

The Negro Motorist Green Book, which I wrote about here. Check out
the 1949 edition

The art of writing an obituary

An Interview With Author Kelly Sedinger

She returned from Iraq to a broken family. Then writing changed her life

Anne Lamott: 12 truths I learned from life and writing

Anita Pallenberg Passes Away at Age 73

In appreciation of an old-school journalist, the late Dan Lynch

HEATHER FAZIO: I spent two days with Dennis Rodman

The Tony Awards — rehearsals

Documentary producer Robert Weide interviewed Woody Allen live on Facebook

Gary Burghoff explains Radar

Bill Messner-Loebs and Jack Kirby to Receive 2017 Bill Finger Award

Night Court was the black sheep of NBC’s sitcom dynasty

Pete and Harry, two rabbits in commercials for Carnation Milk. I DO NOT remember this

Too Many People Still Think Chocolate Milk Comes from Brown Cows

Now I Know: Fighting North Korea in a Flash and The Counterfeit Money Which is Intentionally Worthless and The Green Versus the Eardrums and Why Mattresses Come With Warning Tags and There’s No Place Like 0,0

Adam West, star of the ‘Batman’ TV series, dies at 88. Here’s his Idaho phone listing. Some insights from Mark Evanier and reflections by Chuck Miller, plus Eddie’s elegy and Rob Hoffman calling him one of “most accomplished and revered ‘B’ level actors of all time”

MUSIC

The Absolute Authenticity of REBECCA JADE (niece #1) and CD REVIEW – PETER SPRAGUE & REBECCA JADE: Planet Cole Porter, available here. Recently, Rebecca has sung at least twice with percussionist Sheila E. and singer Lynn Mabry. Lynn, among many other things, sang backup on the Stop Making Sense tour, which I saw at SPAC in 1984

Coverville: Sgt.Pepper 50th anniversary plus Gregg Allman tribute and All 213 Beatles Songs, Ranked From Worst to Bestand The Final Beatles Concert

What is Life – Weird Al

K-Chuck Radio: The Mystery of Blueberry Hill

Bohemian Rhapsody – Vika Yermolyeva

Pieces about Bobby Vee and Brian Hyland, both apparently inspired by me

Wap Bap, the most hated song on YouTube

Song of the Volga Boatmen sung by the Red Army Chorus

Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens

Billy Joel on Self-Doubt and Finally Becoming Cool

Friday Funnies: The Black Comic Book, Pt. 3

I laughed out loud at this one, perhaps because of the linguistic parallel construction.

More on The Colored Negro Black Comic Book by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon.

Note: in the comic strip tradition all the words in the strip are in capitals, but for readability, I’ve deigned to write in standard English. Also the words that are in bold in the strip are in red in this text.

“Mother Eartha”, a 4 page response to “Mary Worth”

Page 1:

Page 2, Panel 1:
Young woman: Oh, Aunt Mother Eartha, my husband has been out of work for months – with no job in sight…
Page 2, Panel 2:
(Shot of the coffee pot, young woman’s hand pouring java into Eartha’s cup)
Young woman: – our unemployment checks stopped coming, the welfare payments are low, our bills keep climbing-

Page 3, Panel 1:
Young woman: -my son’s lost heart and is fighting the system – taking dope rioting….
Page 3, Panel 2:
Young woman (on sofa, in background): – my daughter’s pregnant again and her husband lost his job- oh – oh –ooh

Page 4

IS MISSING FROM THE BOOK! How does this end? I wish I knew! Anyone near the library at Michigan State University want to tell me how this concludes?

***

Dark Racey, a 4-page take on “Dick Tracy”.

There is no table of contents, or for that matter, pagination, the only reason I know the name of the next story is from the citation at MSU. Of course, page 1 of this story is missing as well.

Page 2:

Page 3, Panel 1:
Racy: -Perhaps you suspect someone on your own police force?
Sheriff: This boy’s seen too many movies?
Page 3, Panel 2
(Sheriff firing gun: Bam Wam Fam Jam

Page 4:
(Racy on the ground in a pool of blood, three holes in head and shoulder, word “holes” with arrows pointing to them. Another cop stands at attention.)
Sheriff: See that the murderer gets to the morgue…

This is obvious a take on “In the Heat of the Night”, yet another Sidney Poitier movie, but with a…different outcome. Disturbing, believable, but not particularly funny.

***

“King Coal”, a 4-page retort to The Little King.

Page 1

Page 2, Panel 1
The crowd: Long live the King of Liberalia!
The photographer (in foreground talking to a man in a hat): How magnificent! A black king!
Page 2, Panel 2:
Man in hat: That’s because Liberarians are a great liberal people!

Page 3, Panel 1:
Photographer: Where is the king of Liberalia’s castle?
Man in hat: Over yonder kill.
Page 3, Panel 2:
Photographer sweats up the hill.
Page 3, Panel 2:
Photographer: !

Page 4:
King entering decrepit castle with clotheslines running from crooked turrets to adjoining building and a couple with a baby in clothes with patches.

If you thought taking shots at liberals was a recent activity, think again. A real “gotcha” strip, which I liked all right.

***
“Charcoal Chin”, a 4 page reply to “Charlie Chan”. Was this ever a strip, or just a series of movies?

Page 1:

Page 2, Panel 1:
Charcoal (to son)” – And, as it is added in the great proverbs – “We are all blacks…”
Page 2, Panel 2:
Charcoal (looking at bullet):…we are all Orientals, we are all Eskimos…

Page 3, Panel 1:
Charcoal (to son):…we are all Parisians…we are all New Yorkers-
Page 3, Panel 2:
Page 3, Panel 2:
Son: -And, I suppose, Pop – we are all whites?
Charcoal: Taxi!

Page 4
Taxi driver gives Chins the raspberry. Logo- Bigot & Redneck Taxi Corp. Rates .45 ½ mile.
Charcoal: – To every rule, my son – there is an exception – and, like Confucius say, boy, have you found it!

As I recall, there was a feeling in 1970 that people of color were in the same boat. Don’t think that perception is nearly so true today.
The person cited in the first panel was JFK, of course. A number of comic book (and other) people nearly deified the martyred President, maybe not over who he was, but over who he might have become.
***
“Blackman and Crow”, a 4-page rendition of “Batman and Robin”

Page 1:

Page 2, Panel 1:
Minstrel: ‘Member? [Sings]Wayy down ‘pon the Swa-nee Ri-buh-
Crow: Let’s take him, Blackman!
Blackman: [hums] Hm-mm
Page 2, Panel 2:
Minstrel: ‘Member – [Sings] -in mah ol’ Kin-tucky hooome
Blackman (smiling, singing): La-de
Robin scowls.

Page 3, Panel 1:
Blackman and Minstrel [singing]: Oool’ Black Joooe-
Page 3, Panel 2:
Crow’s hand firing a gun
Gun noise: Crack! Ack! Tack! Lack

Page 4:
Blackman, Minstrel dead on the floor, four bullet holes in the back wall, which has a framed photo, signed Love, Stepin.
Crow: This damn generation gap is something else!!
A diminutive Pogo (looking at deceased): My!

This story seemed to be addressing the struggle in the civil rights movement at the time, between the NAACP/Urban League old-line organizations, and the Black Panthers and other more militant groups. The old-timers were still following the model of the late Martin Luther King, while the younger folks believed, “By any means necessary.”

For me, this was one of the most fully realized takes, possibly because of my deep awareness of the Batman mythos.

The reference of Stepin was to Stepin Fetchit, a controversial black actor known for his stereotypical portrayals of a black minstrel.

***

“Boll Weevil Barley”, a 4-page take on “Beetle Bailey”:

Page 1:
Boll Weevil (to no one in particular, though black versions of Zero and Killer are around): This is a mighty weird comic strip.

Page 2:

Page 3:
Killer-type (turns head): Oop! You had to open your big fat mouth!
Boll Weevil (thinking): ?

Page 4:
Boll Weevil and Killer-type are saluting white Sarge, while black cook looks on.

This again addresses the large percentage of blacks in the armed forces in Vietnam, usually at the lowest levels, as “grunts” rather than officers.

***

“Darkie”, a 4-page variation on “Archie”.

Page 1:
Jughead: Gee, it’s groovy having a new kid in town, Darkie-
Darkie: thanks- it’s groovy being here!

Page 2

Page 3, Panel 1:
Guys in silhouette.
Jughead: Where do you live, Darkie?
Page 3, Panel 2:
Darky: Just down the block, too.

Page 4:
Darky: -Mine’s the one with the white pickets!
Jughead (jaw dropping): !
Pickets holding signs that say:

Out! Out! Out!
Keep Out!
Live with your own kind
Leave white to white
Don’t let them besmirch our town

The use of the name “Darkie” must have been rather controversial at the time, for it was a term used as an insult to black people.

That said, I laughed out loud at this one, perhaps because of the linguistic parallel construction “White picket fence”/”White pickets”. I also love the word “besmirch” in this context, since it was the pickets who were doing the besmirching. Also, Darkie is quite matter-of-fact about the protest, unlike his new friend.

Compare and contrast, as my old English teacher used to say, Fred’s review of Little Archie.

Previously used on February 12 and 19, 2006.

Antics of comic books and film

Marvel can (and probably will) bring back the Fantastic Four, because, as someone who read the four-color items for three decades, almost nothing is permanent in the comic books.

FourEverI was, as noted, very happy that Jack Kirby, co-creator of the Marvel Universe (at worst) won his legal action with Marvel Comics. But it points out how much money must be involved, a rumored $30 million to the Kirby heirs.

It appears that Marvel Comics is canceling the Fantastic Four comic book, one of its flagship titles, and it’s likely it’s because of too little money, not from the comic book, but from the movies.

Before the superhero-movie renaissance, a struggling Marvel sold the FF’s film rights (along with those of the X-Men) to 20th Century Fox at terms very favorable to Fox. Fast-forward to now: Fox is rebooting the Fantastic Four film franchise and Marvel gets hardly any money out of the movie, unlike the insane cash it makes on flicks made by its own studio (Avengers, Captain America, and the other titles in that universe) and the Spider-Man franchise (owned by Sony, who cut a good bargain with Marvel a while back)…

So, it would seem, if Marvel cancels the comic book, the movies won’t do as well. If Fox stops making movies, the rights to the movie portrayals revert to Marvel. THEN Marvel can (and probably will) bring back the FF, because, as someone who read the four-color items for three decades, almost nothing is permanent in the comic books.

Now Marvel can’t very well dump the X-Men, their most successful comic book for decades. But they could, as noted X-Men scribe Chris Claremont wrote, forbid writers from creating new characters lest they become the property of Fox. This does not serve the comic book well, I believe.

My only horse in this race is that once upon a time, I edited magazines about the X-Men and the Fantastic Four (and Spider-Man), so I have a historical affection for the characters, though I haven’t read much of them in two decades.

As this infographic suggests, the movies of both Marvel and DC are very important.

John Green tells why he hates Batman. But if you’re in the Albany area, check out Batman’s 75th Anniversary Celebration at Albany Public Library branches this week.

It was a very Dark Knight

Maybe they would have stopped this guy, in a darkened room, after a gas canister had been set off, if they were Navy SEALS, or something.

 

I’ve never been to a midnight, opening night showing of a movie. I’ve gone to premieres, though, and I do know what cinematic anticipation feels like. There’s just something about seeing something before almost anyone else that provides an unusual sense of satisfaction. Your view of the film is not colored by what everyone else says.

If I were to have gone to a recent midnight showing, The Dark Knight Rises would not have been it.

While I’ve seen Batman movies starring Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and even Adam West, I passed on the George Clooney iteration, Batman and Robin, and I just haven’t seen any of the Christian Bale films, Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), or, obviously, the new one.

Of course, the shootings at the opening of TDKR in Aurora, Colorado were awful. I watched a bunch of news shows, trying, and failing, to make sense of it all. That often happens for me with tragedies, from the JFK assassination to 9/11. At some point, I find that I just had to stop. Not incidentally, read what Ken Levine wrote, especially about a movie trailer showing before the film; yikes.

Ideally, this would be an opportunity for people to come together in their common grief. Instead, and all you need to read is a half dozen comments on just about any news site, that devolve into a debate about something divisive and snarky; Thom Wade addresses this. So we need to ban guns. No, everyone should have been packing heat, and they would have stopped this guy, in a darkened room, after a gas canister had been set off; maybe they would have if they were Navy SEALS or something. The shootings are the President’s fault because the alleged shooter was apparently on the dole, and the Obama welfare state encourages crazy behavior; no, I couldn’t follow that one either. It’s a continuation of the attack on Judeo-Christian beliefs; what?

(And don’t get me started on the pre-tragedy Rush Limbaugh’s “connection” between the movie villain Bane, created in 1993, and Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, as some sort of liberal political plot; well, maybe retroactively.)

I think, though, that inappropriate fan response to negative reviews, which forced the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to disable user commentary for the film, is a form of the same maddening mindset I find so disturbing in this country. Some so-called fans threatened violence against movie critics who did not think the movie was a perfect 10, threatening to crash critics’ websites.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims, their community, and indeed, all of us.

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