Tuesday, August 31, 2004

George W., You're Fired!

Not sure what I want to post about today, so I'll just let me fingers do the typing and ramble from subject to subject.

George W. Bush is our President. Not our King, not royalty. We supposedly hired him, I know that's still up to debate by some folks, but for sake of argument let's just say he did win by the slimmest margins ever known. All told, he works for us. Sure there's common respect we should show him, much like I would do for anyone be they trash disposal people, or bankers. However being President is a job, and Georgie is doing a crappy job of it. We hired him via election, and this November if all goes well we'll fire him too. Let me tell you why.

-> The Economy. He's had nearly four years in office and we've seen over a million jobs lost. He has had three years since 9/11, his chief excuse for the crappy economy, and only now are we slowly crawling out of the recession. Even more troubling is that we are having a jobless recovery. Those that are finding jobs often have to have two of them to make up for the lost pay of previous jobs and the increases in health care, gasoline, food, and living expenses. This administration thinks that outsourcing is a good thing but cuts money for the retraining of the people who have had their jobs taken out from under them and moved to India and other foreign countries.

-> War on Terror (part 1). Soon after 9/11 we attacked the Taliban controlled Afghanistan and the Al Queda they harbored. Most folks widely agree that that is the proper response for the heinous acts on September the 11th. That was in late 2001, now nearly three years later the chief suspect in the 9/11 planning is still at large. Osama's escape has been thought to been because of poor planning and stalling as we threw our lot in with the Northern Alliance. Bin Laden's continued evasion is excerbated by the loss of key personnel who were redirected to the War in Iraq. Afghanistan is now broken into tribal factions. The leader of Afghanistan has had multiple attempts on his life. The infastructure of Afghanistan remains in worse condition than it was when we arrived. We took the war to their doorstep and then when they most need our help in rebuilding and creating a better future we have closed the door on them.

-> War on Terror (part 2). Let me be clear, Iraq had no part in the events on September 11. They had no involvement with Al Queda, and even more damning they were not an growing threat to these United States. However, the country is now a breeding ground for terrorists in the radical Islam community and a rallying cry to so-called freedom fighters within its borders. This is a country that wants an Islamic government, and the United States will stop at nothing to deny them for fear that they will become another Afghanistan or Iran. This situation will set up decades of conflict, and the flames of hostility will grow and possibly inflame the region. This is far from the neoconservative dream that democracy will bear fruit in the Islamic world. I am angry that the United States I love instigated a needless war. I am furious that we sent our sons and daughters, our neighbors and friends, into a war without proper equipment, some without proper training, and sent some to do inhumane things to innocent people. I am angry that we didn't let the UN inspectors that were already in Iraq finish their job. I am upset that we bullied the various countries in the UN into allowing us to start a unjust war. And I fear that now that we have conquered Iraq we now are at greater risk around the world.

And there will be more reasons to come in future postings including: Science and the Environment, Leaving Education Behind, The War of Terrorizing Our Citizens, and In God We Trust. Stay Tuned.


You sir are no whatisname...your Dubya speak for today

DUBYA: It was my way to -- to help kick off the baseball season.
SPORTSCASTER: That's neat.
DUBYA: I, I really think it's, uhh -- an integral part of the -- fabric of our society, and, uhh -- I'm, I'm gonna try to do my part to make sure baseball gets the notoriety it deserves.

-St. Louis, Missouri, Apr. 5, 2004


Monday, August 30, 2004

Church marries State in Fresno, film at 11.

Yesterday our mayor in Fresno, Alan Autry held a "Marriage Commitment Day" at the steps of Fresno City Hall. The Fresno Bee reports that about 2,000 people showed up to take part, and about 250 protestors lined the streets outside of the event. Now as a happily married guy I am all for a commitment to marriage, however this event was for "traditional" marriages. In both a slap in the face of SF mayor Gavin Newsom and the large gay & lesbian community in Fresno, Autry and religious leaders blessed the marriages of those in attendance. Evidently this form of church and state is okay just as long as the state is the church's bitch. The church that my wife and I got married in had it's own re-dedication ceremony that welcomed both hetero and non-hetero couples.

Autry has received a lot of flak for this rally, and rightly so. In the past he has gotten praise from the gay & lesbian community in Fresno. Although he is a very vocal "Born Again" Christian, he didn't use his religion as a political card in his deck. His wife had spoken at the Fresno Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Reel Pride in the past, and reportedly she is upset with her husband over this rally. It's sad that Autry took this rally to city hall when it should have more appropriately been proclaimed in any of the hundreds of Fresno's churches. It's okay to have a difference of opinion, even if I feel that's its the wrong one to have, but having your opinion endorsed by our city leaders attached to a religious message IS divisive. I have a feeling that this decision may come back to haunt Autry and our oft-maligned city.


The Only Thing we have to fear is me...your Dubya quite for today

"When you're out there campaigning and talking to people, remind them what we have been through as a country. We've been through a recession -- that means we're going backwards."

Hudson, Wisconsin, Aug. 18, 2004


Friday, August 27, 2004

Lefty's Friday 3 Questions

If I have three questions then it must be friday. I'll post my answers in the comment section, feel free to leave your answers there as well.

1. The Republican Convention starts next week in New York City. Let's peer into our crystal ball and predict the highlight of next week's gathering.

2. If you had to, what reality show would you like to be on (it can be imagined or real)?

3. What's was the first concert you ever went to?


Read my lips, your Dubya quote for today.

"Border relations between Canada and Mexico have never been better."
-Sept. 24, 2001


Thursday, August 26, 2004

Lefty's Weekly Top Ten

Here's my list of Top Ten things that are holding my interest this week:

1. Rainbow 6: Black Arrow on Xbox Live I love this game. The maps on this game are huge, although I find myself liking the Cafe map the best. It's eaten up soooo much of my time.

2. Amazing Race (CBS) This is, hands down, the best season of the Amazing Race. I am rooting for Chip and Kim. This week's episode was an excellent example on the greatest opponent you have in the Race is yourself and your teammate. Great TV.

3. Astonishing X-Men (Marvel) Let me get my one complaint out of the way...this book needs thicker paper. Other than that this is a gorgeous book. Josh "Buffy" Whedon is writing 12 issues of this book and he is doing a great job. Rumor has it that Colossus is returning from the dead in a couple issues, which make me even more happy. Um, yeah I'm aware I'm happy about a fictional superhero that turns to metal.

4. Demo (Ati/PlanetLar) I can't wait to pick up issue #9, but bills gotta come first. I love this series, each issue resonates with me. I love reading the letters and especially what music and books influenced writer Brian Wood and artist Becky Cloonan. I even like the feel of the book in my hands. They used super-thick paper (which Astonishing SHOULD be using) that makes the comic feel heavy and the art just POP.

5. The Daily Show (Comedy Central) I'm still catching up on episodes that I recorded when we were on vacation. This morning I caught the Bill Clinton episode which was pretty good. Its truly sad that this "fake news show" is the only news outlet that sees through the bullshit that these Swift Boat Veterans for (un)Truth put out.

6. Javawava Now that I'm ridesharing with my friend, nearly everyday we stop at the best coffeshop in Fresno to get some coffee, read the paper, work on my blog, and dash off to work. Owners and nice guys, Dane and Anthony always offer a genuine hello and make a habit of making new customers feel welcome. Word to the wise, try the Javalanche.

7. Identity Crisis (DC Comics) I have to admit have the fun of this book is seeing as to how the readers/bloggers/fans react to each issue. The last issue had the death of another supporting character, which sent the comic community into a tizzy, again. Beyond the controversy, the Rag's art is fantastic, and Meltzer is crafting an absorbing mystery tale.

8. DC: The New Frontier (DC Comics) Just finished reading issue 5 this morning, and this miniseries is fantastic. Yeah, the cost is expensive per issue, but you get no ads, heavy paper, lots of lots of pages, and one of the best superhero books being published today. This look back at the 1960s and the rise of the Silver Age superheroes has the right balance of reality (the Red Scare, space exploration, etc) and fantasy. This is Darwyn Cooke's at his finest.

9. XM Satellite Radio It's the reason why the road trip was invented. But they do play Modest Mouse's "Float On" waaaaaaaaaaaay too much.

10. Prince Less than two weeks before I see Prince in Concert here in Fresno. I'm starting to get excited. His latest CD is decent, with only a couple hints at greatness, but I hard a ton of good things about his live shows.


Ask not what your country can do TO you...your daily Dubya soundbite.

"You're free. And freedom is beautiful. And, uhh, you know, it'll take time to restore chaos, and order, but we -- but we will."

Washington, D.C., Apr. 13, 2003


Just Passing Through

My boss passed away yesterday. I've known him for about twelve years, both as a student worker in the library and later as a member of the professional staff. About three years back he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he was expected to live at the most about a year. He lived for three. I know that no one escapes pancreatic cancer, and I that eventually we would lose him. However, we didn't know the time and place. I haven't seen him in a few months, but all the staff at the library knew that the disease was catching up with him. Just recently we all have been in a holding pattern waiting to see if he was going to retire, go on leave, or return. Yesterday his disease made the decision for him. We will all miss him. I am so thankfully that his pain is at an end, that he's found his way to the Promised Land, but my heart goes out to his family and the lives (including ours here at the library) that are left behind.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Speak Tall and Carry a small stick, your daily Dubya soundbite

Starting today until the day Bush is out of office, I'll be posting soundbites from the braintrust that is President George W. Bush. I'm getting these mostly from dubyaspeak.com. Here is your Dubya soundbite for Wednesday, August 25th:

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004


Ch-Ch-Check It Out!

Funny stuff can be found here. Watch the video, and remember vote in November.


Monday, August 23, 2004

I'm George W. and I approve this contest

Hi my name is Tex, and this here's muh story. Those liburals at Atomic Basement have written my true life adventures in a format that Condi doesn't have to read to me. However, they neglected to reveal my superpowers and those of my League of Astonishing Neocon Avengers. It's your job to detail their superpowers and mine, and also their superhero codenames. Lefty Brown, before we send him off to Gua-umm-Guatomi---uhhhh, Cuba, he'll pick the patriot who gives the best answers and you'll get this dandy signed comic book pictured above, along with the accompanying CD of music that music-lover Ashcroft says he can't pull out of his discman. Email your answers here.

While you're at it why not send give a big freeper hello to those guys at Atomic Basement. Why not buy all those copies of my new book Tex! and give them to all your pinko, terrorist-luvin' liburals. Visit them here and see the snazzy flash ad here.


Friday, August 20, 2004

Lefty's Friday 3 Questions

I have three questions, so it must be Friday. My answers will be in the comments section, where I'd love to see your answers as well. No math questions for me to mess up this week, I promise.

1. Guilty Pleasures: Your friends laugh at you, your receive ridicule, but you love it nonetheless, what are your "guilty pleasure" movie, TV show, music CD?

2. Name your Top Five "Hot" Actors or Actresses.

3. What books did you read this summer?


Musical Moods

For some strange reason I am suddenly on a Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots fix. Yeah I know, both sound similiar. I'm listening to what Pearl Jam stuff I have. I probably haven't listened to CDs in at least three or more years, but I've rediscovered what I used to like about them. I particularily like theit second CD the best. Sadly, I don't have any STP CDs, what I've heard has been songs that have popped up on XM Radio. I wonder if they have a Best of CD yet.

Here's what on my work playlist today:
Pearl Jam -Ten
Pearl Jam -Vs.
Pearl Jam -Vitalogy
Pearl Jam -Yield
Pearl Jam -Fresno, CA 10/27/2000
Pearl Jam -Covering Tem (bootleg)
Pearl Jam -The Verusus Sessions (bootleg)
Bonnie Riatt -The Best of...
U2 -The Best of 1990-2000 & B-Sides
Go-Gos -God Bless the Go-Gos
Loretta Lynn -Van Lear Rose

See what happens when I don't have any new Allman Brothers live shows to make my work week go quickly.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

No Fresnan Left Behind

This morning's Fresno Bee had a front page story stating that only 29% of households in Fresno can afford a median-priced home. Last year that number was 43%. At the same time, home prices in Fresno is some of the lowest in the state. Our unemployment has been in the double digits for over 20 years. Currently it stands at 12.0%. The state average is 6.5%, the national average is 5.7%. In Fresno County, 18% of children and adults are uninsured. The Central Valley ranks second in the nation in air pollution, and by some measures now has even tops LA county. Approximately 20 to 25% of adults in Fresno have less than a ninth grade education.

If we want to gauge how successful our nation is doing, look to Fresno. In this fertile valley, this fruit basket to the world, we are the seed of hope and change. Our potential, our opportunities have been deferred. Our dreams delayed. Like the rest of the nation under Bush, our essential services have been pruned back. Our hope for the brighter future has been grafted onto a tree that is bearing bitter fruit. It's time to grow a better tomorrow. A tomorrow that includes our migrant workers. Their sons and daughters are our future sons and daughters. We want a tomorrow that says that decades of regional double digit unemployment is a national tragedy. A future that says that a poor Hmong or Latino's education is just as important and necessary as the education of this country's white children. A future that sees the connection between a poor environment and poor health, and works to improve both. We are One Nation Under God.

One of the best speeches out of the DNC convention was from Barack Obama. In his speech he says:

"No, people don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice....It's that fundamental belief. I am my brother's keeper, I am my sisters' keeper, that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. E pluribus unum. Out of many, one."

Our nominee for President, Senator John Kerry in his speech at the DNC convention said:

"We can do better and we will. We're the optimists. For us, this is a country of the future. We're the can do people. And let's not forget what we did in the 1990s. We balanced the budget. We paid down the debt. We created 23 million new jobs. We lifted millions out of poverty and we lifted the standard of living for the middle class. We just need to believe in ourselves, and we can do it again."

Here we are Barack Obama. Senator John Kerry, you didn't leave any wounded men in Vietnam, please don't leave Fresno behind as President. Here in Fresno we know how to work hard. We value our family. We feed the nation. And we would love to sit at the table of America's bounty. We have been long absent from it, and we dying for a taste.


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

San Diego Comic Con 2004 sketches

Here's the sketches I got at this year's comic con in San Diego:

The fine folks at Atomic Basement lead off my convention with the quick sketch of their latest superhero, Tex!

Doug TenNapel did a sketch of the grandfather from Doug's great new graphic novel Tommysaurus Rex. I highly recommend the new book.

One of my favorite artists in the world, Steve Lieber did this great sketch of Hellboy. Man, when I can afford I would love to commission a sketch from Steve, hands down he is one of my favorite and nicest artists working in the industry.

Becky Cloonan did this great sketch even though up to that point I had no clue what the fantastic limited series, Demo, was about. I absolutely LOVE Demo, and the perhaps the best thing about the 2004 San Diego Comic Con for me was being able to find these books. I'll be reviewing issues 1-9 in a future post. Believe the hype, Demo is great. Oh, Becky's pencils were light on the pad, so I had to darken them a bit, so my apologies for the darker scan.

Tom Beland is THE reason my wife goes to cons with me, and she's always doubly excited when his wife Lili accompanies him. Tom was flying solo for this year's con, and he was more than gracious turning out this fantastic sketch of Tom and Lili in a classic Amazing Spider-man shot.

Michael Bair, who's work can now be seen on the DC book, Identity Crisis, did this quick sketch of Jean Grey as the Phoenix.

Rags Morales, one of my favorite pencillers is finally getting the recognition he deserves on the book Identity Crisis. He did a quick sketch for me of my favorite Green Lantern, Hal Jordan.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

No Comics. No Peace.

Calling all comic buffs, I need your help.

A co-worker of mine here at the library is trying to work on a bibliography of various anti-war, socially-minded books and media. She asked me if I knew of any graphic novels that are anti-war or are at least socially-minded (such as David Rees, Get Your War On). I could only name a few of Joe Sacco's graphic novels and also the two Maus books. What other graphic novels are out there? Please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment area. I will also update the list in a future post of two. Have at it.

Oh, while you're at it, how about some movies that are anti-war that are on DVD as well.

Thanks folks.


Political Vignettes

As I'm gearing up for another Liberal Coalition blogaround that I've been neglecting, I wanted to post a few political thoughts, rather mini-thoughts because I haven't the energy or time to write a huge-ass diatribe.

I still think that Kerry will win the election by a significant number of electoral votes, The popular votes will be a little closer. Although I don't give too much weight to polls until after the first debate, a great site to visit is here. This site gives a good read as to how the electoral votes might shake down. I have a feeling that Oregon will side up with Kerry, as will Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New Mexico. It looks good for us democrats, hopefully we can pick up a few more seats in the legislative branch, but I don't we won't win it back like Nancy Pelosi says we will.

California is once again safe from gay marriage which threatened my marriage to my wife and endangered livestock and somehow is responsible for the West Nile Virus that is scaring Southern Californians. The wheels of justice grind slow, and I do think there will be a day when our gay and lesbian citizens will get their rights that so richly deserve...I just hope it comes soon cause I have all these "Queer as Folk" DVD box sets to give out as wedding gifts.

Here's an idea. During the week of the repugnantlican CONvention, let's all take the Ws out of our posts, just like were gonna take him out of office in November.

Didja see just how many people have been coming out to see Kerry speak. Take a look at this pic. Now imagine if the Kerry campaign made each and every one of those folks sign loyalty oaths like the Bush camp does. See here in the other America we invite everyone to take part in the political process, not just the choir.


Monday, August 16, 2004

How I Spent My Summer Vacation Part 3 (Run DNC)

After the San Diego Comic Con, Kel and I spent a few days with her mother and father. During the evenings Kel, her mother and I watched the Democratic National Convention together. The first night of the convention had a great line-up of Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. Clinton speech was spectacular. He highlighted a lot of the reasons why I am a proud liberal. At times I felt like standing up and applauding, clapping, whooping it up, but I refrained out of difference to Kelly's mom who is quite conservative. The evening was going good until I asked a question of my mother-in-law. It was an innocent question just wondering what she thought about the U.S. not finding any WMDs in Iraq, and does that have any bearing on how she views our President. I was not prepared for her answer. It was one of those moments that has seemed to come up from time to time in our sometimes tedious relationship. She said, "Chris you are so political and liberal it makes you lazy. Why can't you get your Master's Degree so you can support your wife and my daughter."


My hands gripped the chair I was sitting in. I spent several moments composing myself, fighting the urge to fly into a cutting remark, but out of respect for my wife I didn't. She hasn't apologized for the remark, and somehow that moment has passed. Now I realize that my mother-in-law and I are quite different, and we both come from radically different worldviews. She doesn't seem to see that both my wife and I are doing what we love to do. She doesn't see that we aren't concerned about the out-dated traditional roles that she 's carved out for her life. Yeah, I still feel a little peeved about her comment, but in a way it has helped me and my wife view our relationship as ours and ours alone. We will decide what we want for our lives and what happiness we decide to pursue.

The next night was thankfully free of such exchanges, and I watched a rising star in the democratic party give one of the best speeches of the DNC convention. It's pretty hard to outdo Bill Clinton in speeches, but Barack Obama rose to the task. The next day as "pretty boy" John Edwards was giving his speech, Kelly and I were on our way towards our next leg of our vacation, Newark, DE and my Dad's home.


How I Spent My Summer Vacation Part II (San Diego)

Saturday at the San Diego Comic Con is known as media day at the Con. It's the also the day when EVERYONE comes to the con, thus making the day long and uncomfortable, the floor of the convention feeling like a gym in summer. In any event, on Saturday my wife Kelly joined me for the day. Our day started out right, when we caught the Lost panel. Lost is a new TV show coming out on ABC, it's from the Alias crew of J.J. Abrams and others. We saw the first episode and now we can't wait to see the rest of the season. After that I was off to the Lucasfilm presentation, and Kelly was off to the Smallville panel in hopes of winning Season 3 DVDs. The Lucasfilm panel was good, with plugs for the upcoming Star Wars Greedo shot first DVD set, a few video games, and then finally there was talk on Episode III. The audience saw some of the first shots of Hayden getting into the Darth Vader costume, and the "BIG" news was the name for the next movie will be Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith. And the t-shirts with the official name was now on sale at the Lucasfilm booth for $20...and yeah I bought one. It's was like going to a concert and buying the concert t-shirt...but only more nerdy.

My wife had a terrible time at the Smallville show, and evidently a great many were upset because the did not give away any of promised Season 3 DVDs. The rest of the day was spent diving into dollar bins for comics, trying to walk around in the sweatbox of the convention floor, and taking pics. We did manage to get to Marvel's Cup O' Joe panel, and heard much of the same info I heard the day before, with a few variations and updates. After that we headed back down to the floor and headed toward the ATI/PlanetLar booth to say hi to Tom Beland. Beland did a great sketch for us (I'll post the sketches later this week, when I get around to it), and shared with us his new purchase we all had to try on:

Tom Beland is Thor!

Kelly Brown is Thor?!

Lefty Brown is Thor!

After getting hammered (Thor joke, get it!) by the crowds we decided after meeting Beland and the fine folks at the Ati/PlanetLar booth to call it a day.

The next day I went solo to the Con, and spent the whole day on the floor of the convention. Most of my day was spent around the DC booth waiting in lines and taking pics. I spent the longest time waiting in line for Jim Lee. He started out doing sketches, and photos, and signing books....but by the time I got there I could only have two items signed and a quick photo.

My new best friend Jim "Bunny" Lee

I also got this great pic, when an actual Green Lantern showed up to keep the chaotic lines in order.

John Stewart to the rescue!

I did some more dollar bin diving, and hung out some more with the fine folks at the Atomic Basement booth. The Con was actually pretty busy for a Sunday, and heck even the big man himself showed up to check out the wares.

Jesus f'n Christ you look familiar!

All in all I had a good time, and look forward to next years, but I'm finding myself looking forward more to APE as I discover some great finds in the Indie comic world, without much fewer crowds to contend with.

Stay tuned for part III, the DNC convention under a RNC roof. It has chills and spills, but no pics. And after that we're off to the East Coast.


Friday, August 13, 2004

Lefty's Weekly Three Questions

Audience participation is required. Every week I ask three questions. Add your answers in the comment sections. My own answers to each week's three questions can also be found in the comment area. So without further ado, here's this week's Lefty's 3 Questions:

1. Your favorite director is filming your favorite comic book character with your favorite actor, and you get to choose them all. What are they?

2. Kerry chose to have Springsteen's song No Surrender playing at his entrance at the Democratic National Convention [I loved that song, and now when I come home from work I play that song as I mill through the crowd shaking hands with out two dogs and my wife who has think I've lost it]. Now you have the chance to pick out George W. Bush's song that "should" play when he accepts his party's nomination. What song do you pick?

3. 3x(4-2x)-15=27-x What is x? (This is an easy one)


Return of Lefty's Top Ten

I'm back in the saddle again. Look for more updates on my Summer Vacation in the next few days, pics too! For now, here's Lefty's Top Ten.

1. Rainbow 6: Black Arrow on Xbox Live The new version of Rainbow 6 is out, and it is HUGE. Man it lots of great features including leaving friends text or voice messages, and creating "clans" (aka teams) to compete against one another. I'll be playing this quite a bit until Halo 2 comes out in November.

2. Demo (Ati/PlanetLar) Wow! I pick up all the eight issues that were available at San Diego Comic Con. I heard a few good things about the book, but my local shop was out of all their issues. Now that I'm home, I've been reading them and they are just fantastic. Each book is self-contained, and sets up a world of superpowered young adults that are miles away from dressing up in tights. This series gets Lefty's Seal of Approval...go out and pick 'em up. Now.

3. Amazing Race (CBS) Once again, Amazing Race is my favorite show in TV. This installment has been particularly good, and the challenges a lot harder. My one complaint is that the teams are starting to get a little too snotty with one another. My favorites are the African-American couple from California.

4. Kill Bill vol. 2 DVD Yes I know a super-deluxe edition is coming next year, and I will pick that up as well..but the thrill of seeing both films put together and watching them this weekend is too much to resist. Time to turn the stereo waaaaay up and enjoy.

5. Hymns of the 49th Parallel by K.D.Lang I've always loved the sound of Lang's voice, but never have picked up any of her music. After seeing this "tribute" to other Canadian musicians, I knew this was going to be a winner. It's such a laid back CD, and it reminds me of Norah Jones a bit. She covers two great Neil Young songs, and her cover of Cohen's Hallelujah is angelic and tender.

6. The Best of Bonnie Riatt Our car rental had a CD player, and I hearing a Riatt song on the radio made me realize how much I enjoyed her music. This has all her "hits" and some other fantastic I never heard. Like K.D. Lang I never picked up any of her stuff, but I've been listening to this CD a lot here at work. It was always in the CD player in our trip to Baltimore and Amish Country.

7. Coupling Season 3 DVDs Finished watching season 3 on our flight back to California, now we'll have a long wait for season 4. Why is it that the BBC America stuff take sooooo long to reach our shores and DVD players. I'm still waiting to the next season of MI-5, Anyway, I really liked this season, now quite as good as season two...but still very funny.

8. Chapelle Show Season 1 DVDs Received this from my wife for my birthday, and I have been really enjoying it. This is definitely a DVD series that I can watch again and again, much like The Family Guy.

9. XM Radio Listening to The Al Franken show in my car is worth the $9.95 a month alone. But I get live shows, lots and lots of channels, and this weekend I can listen to Phish's last show ever. Now if there's some way I can use it like a walkman and take it to the gym with me.

10. Big Brother 5 (CBS) Yeah I'll put this on my top ten, only because as much as I hate the show, I still end up watching it. I don't watch it regularly, but mostly catch the Thursday night episode and read recaps over on Zap2It.com.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

The best damn coffeeshop in the nation...well Fresno anyway.

My favorite coffee shop in the whole wide world is on the web. Drop by Javawava on the web or IRL (in real life)...I know I'll be (in fact I'm here now). They have also been added to my Friends of Lefty List. Dane and Anthony just recently celebrated their first year of business, making new friends, and servings a real good cup o joe.


How I Spent My Summer Vacation Pt. 1 (San Diego)

My summer is usually spent working and somewhere I would take a week off to travel to Colorado to catch a show in Red Rocks, or wherever the Allman Brothers may happen to be playing. This year however my wife and I decided to take one of our longest vacations ever, close to three weeks! This is the vacation where nothing seemed to go as plan, but we ended up having a blast.

The first leg of our vacation took us to my staying with my in-laws down near San Diego and spending three days at THE CON, the San Diego Comic Convention. I was prepared. I had my itinerary all planned out, had written down where to go in Artist's Alley, and my list of stuff I wanted to look for in the land of dollar bins was good to go. My first day was Friday. I managed to find parking there at the Convention center, get in line for ten minutes and then was wisked into the con to wait another hour and a half to get in. My first stop was at the guys at the Atomic Basement booth to pick up their new book, Tex!, a strange almost ballywood send-up of George W. Bush which then turns into a great satire of the Bush White House and superheroes. [I'll be writing more about Tex!, the Atomic Basement guys, and an chance to win a free signed copy of Tex! Stay Tuned for it dropping next week.] The whole weekend I would drop by the booth to see how things were going, and it seems they were always a hotbed of discussion, and Tex! was as hot as my thighs in corduroys. This bodes well for the Atomic Basement crew, and Bush's ouster in November.

This day I would only make it to two out of the seven panels I wanted to see. I sat in on the Marvel Universes and the Avengers panels, because I just can't get enough Bendis in my comic diet. I won't bother rehashing the news, just check some of the comic links on the right hand side of this blog. However, I will saw I was giddy to finally hear the Warren Ellis will be writing Iron Man with some fantastic art by Adi Granov. Also Ed Brubaker will be writing a Captain America comic.

The remainder of my time on Friday was spent gawking at the booths in the convention hall, including the massive Lucasfilm booths. Here's a few pics from Friday:

A full size X-wing with a picture of Luke Skywalker looking like he just got out of a bar room brawl in the background.

MY first celeb sighting, it's comedians Patton Oswalt from The King of Queens and Brian Posehn from such things like Mr. Show and Just Shoot Me.

Stay Tuned for the Action Packed Saturday and Sunday commentary and pics, my DNC impressions, and our trip to Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Lefty's 11

Steve Lieber created a monster when he asked comic bloggers to post what they thought are 11 must have trades libraries should have in their collection. Check these sites for other blogger's suggestions, here and here. Here are Lefty's 11:

1. Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman. Make no mistake this is literature. Personally I was gripped more by these two books than Elie Wiesel's Night or Dawn.

2. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Alan Moore is probably best known for his great work The Watchman, but personally this body of work has greater resonance for me.

3. Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson. This trade is a monster collection, but the pages glide by and you get engrossed into Robinson's cast of characters. It wasn't the first of the more semi-biographical alt. comics, but in my opinion it's one of the best.

4. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. This book was such a mind-fuck for me. It blew my mind. Well written, well researched, and easy to understand, McCloud shows that comics are important to our culture and deserving of the title of "art" and "literature."

5. Fantastic Four Legends: Unstable Molecules by James Sturm. This often overlooked trade (now out of print, but can be found in many comic shops and in secondary markets) is a hidden treasure. This story of the "original" fantastic four that were rumored to be the source for the Marvel comic book characters are in fact just characters themselves, but dang it if Sturm doesn't breathe life into them. I love this book.

6. Justice League Adventures by Dan Slott and John Delaney. This trade isn't high art, but my wife has it in her sixth grade library and it is literally never on the shelf for more than five minutes, follow this trade up with some of the Justice League Scholastic books and this trade provides a spark to light the fire of a future reader.

7. The Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Just because I like V for Vendetta better, doesn't mean this tome should be left of this list. This is required reading in the craftsmanship of comic books.

8. Marvels by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross. Kurt has the "fly on the wall" stories about super-heroes market cornered. The wonderful Alex Ross painting make this sweeping story about the birth of the Marvel Universe a keeper.

9. Sandman Book 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman, Malcolm Jones III, Kelley Jones, Charles Vess, Steve Erickson. While I liked Doll's House probably the best out of the Sandman series, this book is my favorite read just for the vignettes. Single issues stories told by Gaiman, and illustrated by some of the best artists out there.

10. Ultimate Spider-man vol 1 (hardcover) by Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley. Yeah it's sacriledge to put Bendis' re-imagining of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's Spider-man and not the any of the original work, but this books it flat-out fun and engrossing. This trade will appeal to all ages children and adults alike. It's Spider-man set in the information age.

11. From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. First of all, Alan Moore is completely wrong on who Jack the Ripper could have been, but nonetheless this book is oh so much more than that. This is a book that can take ages to read, especially with the endnotes. It's is a gruesome and violent book, so be warned, but it is gripping.


Sunday, August 08, 2004

Please Standby...

I'll be back in a couple of days to finally start writing about my vacation. Let's just say what happens in Amish Country STAYS in Amish Country. Stay tuned to new content by Wednesday along with some SDCC pics and what not.