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The boss of TigerBot Hesh

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Doing Whatever A Spider Comic Does [03 Jan 2008|12:18pm]
[ mood | amused ]

I seem to have somehow never posted about my love of Jay Pinkerton's fake Spider-Man comic strips. I imagine most of you who'd like them have already seen 'em, but if you haven't I recommend 'em. The humor is a bit one-note but they go by fast.

But what place is there for parody in a world where the real Spider-Man strip for 12/24/07 is this (found on my new favorite place: comicscurmudgeon.com):

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Not In A Mean Way - In A Nice Way [03 Jan 2008|02:28pm]
[ mood | blah ]

Watched Golden Compass last night. Speaking as someone who knew little about the book, I thought it was not bad. Adventure, travel, bonded animal friends, strong men in need of common-sense help. Wish fulfillment for 10 year-old girls and for the 10 year-old girl in all of us.

It did have a few plot flaws (why did the kidnappers give her to the bears?), and seemed to kind of go on and on in an abstruse, arbitrary, yet endlessly creative way I'd characterize as more like stories written by children than those written for them (see also Lady In The Water). And you know, where else are Castle Falkenstein fans going to go to see their dreams made real?

As far as the big controversy goes, I'm really ready to believe that they were counting on getting the religious right to denounce this for the publicity value. Clearly Catholic-like Institution - bad; Witches - good; people who try to remove demons from children - very very bad. The level of subtlety is about equal to (if in the opposite direction from) that in Horror Hotel.

And they took the bait, and deserve derision for doing so. Why? Not because of the very weak common defenses I've been reading, that "this overlooks the other qualities" of the film, or even less because "it's just a children's film and they won't understand what it means". Not even the irony of the Vatican trying to stop people from seeing a film because it criticizes them for trying to control what people think.

Much moreso, it is because the attacks are based on the idea that children will be "confused" by it (or gain interest in the books which they will in turn find confusing). That somehow one movie based on books that imply that there is no God will undo all the good that's been done by years of telling them there is one. Are we talking about God here or Santa Claus? A religion that can only exist in a vacuum of awareness of its alternatives is not worth believing in.

This infuriates me much as did the guy in Lake Of Fire who hoped the little girl would never learn about sex. How can anyone claim to love a child and never want them exposed to the variety of things that make life worth living? I'm sure that discussing sex with one's own children is a frequently uncomfortable experience, but doesn't that just demonstrate that the whole "protection of children" thing is more about "protecting the comfort of parents"?

Maybe there's an "appropriate age" to tell kids about these things. But when exactly is it the "appropriate age" to lie to them about it? And to try to stop them from seeing things that might lead them to question these lies?

On the other hand, Narnia was probably a slightly better movie. And apparently closer to the book. GC could have used some of Narnia's extra length. Which apparently it had, until scenes like this fairly disturbing one, now available on YouTube, got cut.

Perhaps they wanted movie 1 to have an innocence, so that they could then lose it in the sequels. A potentially good idea taken overboard, methinks, particularly if the sequels never get made. The first is "Announced" according to imdb, but one doesn't know if it'll get made. If not, maybe they can start over with the Tom Stoppard screenplay Chris Weitz reportedly rejected in favor of one by...why...himself! Surprise, surprise. The Narnians got at least three bites at the apple after all.



Addenda:

-Forgot to mention, amongst the right-bait, the blonde queen bitch named Coulter.

-Trying to think as a parent, the scene I'd have the most trouble with is probably also my favorite: Lyra outsmarting King Swearengen of the Polar Bears. Who wouldn't want their daughter to be so smart and brave? And yet, who would want her to have such facility with lies and emotional manipulation?

-Speaking of which, if the song "Lyra" bring Kate Bush to the Oscars then this whole exercise is worth it. It isn't her best song by a stretch, but its weak parts are weak in exactly the way the Academy seems to like. Though I might change my mind when I see the big modern dance number with gals dressed as witches and guys dressed as bears.
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Funny Things, Those [03 Jan 2008|04:56pm]
[ mood | amused ]

Lately have discovered a couple things amusing me in a format few things have in the past couple decades...serial comedy.

I caught an episode of 1999's animated series Mission Hill years ago, and remembered nothing from it except that it seemed amusing but surprisingly mature and sweet for an Adult Swim show. Mom chose it off my Amazon Wish List (probably do to the lack of cleavage, weapons, and blood on the cover) and gave it to me Christmas Eve. By the time I went to bed late Christmas Night I had watched all 13 episodes.

It's the story of three roommates living in an apartment in the trashy-but-trendy fictional Mission Hill neighborhood. I'd assumed based on the name that it was supposed to be in San Francisco, but the commentary says it's largely based on Chicago's Wicker Park. One of the roommates, a cartoonist, grew up the in the surrounding suburbs, and when his parents leave for Wyoming they leave his nerdy 17 year-old brother behind to live with them while he finishes high school. They have antics.

The first few episodes were a little clumsy, but the same sweetness and maturity that I'd noticed the first time got me to keep watching. And I'm glad I did, because they get much funnier and more elegant as time goes on, culminating in a few brilliant ideas that will keep me re-watching.

Apparently the show was made for the WB by some ex-Simpsons folk who "were tired of having almost no characters between 12 and 30". WB cancelled them after episode 2, Adult Swim picked them up, and the rest is I imagine a whole lot of repeat broadcasts. This explains the un-Cartoon Network-y tone and episode length (half-hour), as well as the Simpsons-esque crowded backgrounds and joke signs you almost can't catch without repeat viewing.

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The other funny thing, discovered much more recently, is 11 Central Ave, the "radio comic strip". A weekly 4-minute podcast (free at iTunes store) about the realtime goings-on of a family and their friends around the breakfast table. Thus far there've been more misses than hits, but their ratio has been getting slowly better and there's very little commitment required.

The best episode, BY FAR, has been #64, "A Stranger At The Door". Most of them are just kind of topical and sarcastic, but this one transcends that into the realm of existential/absurd-ist theater. "Full of TASTES!" Definitely listen to this and the following episode (#65) first.

Earlier episodes that particularly amused me, in a lower-key way: #26 (Clocky), 49 (Senior Charades), 30-34 (Bollywood, Crowdsourcing, Drinking & Cheney, Annelise is Grounded, Virtual Reality), 48 (Limerence).

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