Friday, October 26, 2007

Taking a break...

I'll be running around a good bit for the next few weeks, so posting will be limited or nonexistent here in PetesWorld. Do come back the week of November 12 and we'll see what trouble we can get into then. And in the meantime, why not order a copy of Living Loved? Thanks!


John Burdett's "Bangkok" crime novels - NYT Book Review

John Burdett - Bangkok - Books - New York Times: "Mr. Burdett, a 56-year-old former lawyer turned novelist, has spent the past seven years chatting up hundreds of bar girls as inspiration for his trilogy, soon to be a quartet, of detective thrillers set in Bangkok’s netherworld. “Bangkok 8,” published in 2003, has sold more than 100,000 copies in the United States in hardcover and paperback, according to Nielsen BookScan; rights to the novel have been bought by publishers in 19 other countries. The sequel, “Bangkok Tattoo,” was released two years later; “Bangkok Haunts,” the third in the series, was published in the United States this year and made it onto best-seller lists on the West Coast."

Just got the third one in this excellent series to read.

Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road reviewed in NYT Book Review

Gentlemen of the Road - Michael Chabon - Books - Review - New York Times: "In Michael Chabon’s gleeful new novel, a pair of 10th-century soldiers of fortune scramble up and down the trails and gorges of the Caucasus, engaging in a brawl or a boondoggle as regularly as they pause for a meal. Zelikman, a blond European scarecrow whose heart has “turned to stone,” and Amram, a towering African, are apt if unlikely companions on the Silk Road’s shifting social terrain. Each has his pet passions — Zelikman for his hat and his horse, Amram for a sword called Mother-Defiler — and they bicker like the two leads in a buddy film, in this case bound together by the accident of birth that made them both Jewish. But atypically for Jews of the medieval era, they look for the main chance while swinging their blades right and left."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Who Drew the Original Spider-Man?

Who Dre, by Matthias Wivel: "The week before last, I posted a link to Morten Sondergard’s article on the first Spider-Man stories and Jack Kirby’s possible involvement in them on the Comics Journal messageboard. This sparked an interesting debate about the validity of Morten’s hypothesis, involving some of the foremost specialists on Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and early Marvel. I figured I would save the best of it for posterity here."

As Apple Gains PC Market Share, Jobs Talks of a Decade of Upgrades - New York Times

As Apple Gains PC Market Share, Jobs Talks of a Decade of Upgrades - New York Times: "Driven in part by what analysts call a halo effect from the iPod and the iPhone, the market share of the company’s personal computers is surging. Two research firms that track the computer market said last week that Apple would move into third place in the United States behind Hewlett-Packard and Dell on Monday, when it reports product shipments in the fiscal fourth quarter as part of its earnings announcement. “The Macintosh has a lot of momentum now,” said Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, in a telephone interview last week. “It is outpacing the industry.” On Friday, Apple will start selling the new Leopard version of its OS X operating system, which has a range of features that in some cases match those in Windows Vista and in others surpass them. "

Saturday, October 20, 2007

With Democrats Like These ... - New York Times

With Democrats Like These ... - New York Times: "Every now and then, we are tempted to double-check that the Democrats actually won control of Congress last year. It was particularly hard to tell this week. Democratic leaders were cowed, once again, by propaganda from the White House and failed, once again, to modernize the law on electronic spying in a way that permits robust intelligence gathering on terrorists without undermining the Constitution."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mobilizing the Religious Left - NYT Book Review

Mobilizing the Religious Left - Books - Review - New York Times: "Rauschenbusch is today being rediscovered by those who, concerned about the success of the religious right, hope to make more visible the presence of a religious left in the United States. In a 100th-anniversary edition, published as “Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century: The Classic That Woke Up the Church” (HarperOne, $27.95), Paul Raushenbush, an associate dean of religious life at Princeton University and the author’s great-grandson, has reprinted the text with essays by Cornel West, the Rev. Jim Wallis and others who “represent the best of the Social Gospel tradition” to prove that one can be a dedicated Christian and a social reformer at the same time. Such claims, however, pay insufficient attention to Rauschenbusch’s flaws and to the dangers of mixing religion and politics, no matter who is doing the mixing." Guardian America site to launch FishbowlNY: "Good news for fans of The Guardian: The big day for the launch of The Guardian's new online American edition is Tuesday, October 23. The URL for the site will be, "

The Associated Press: Jon Stewart Re-Ups As `Daily Show' Host

The Associated Press: Jon Stewart Re-Ups As `Daily Show' Host: "You'll be seeing Jon Stewart on the air with 'The Daily Show' for at least three more years. And you can go online to see him on past episodes stretching back to 1999. Stewart has signed a two-year contract extension that keeps him in the anchor chair of his Comedy Central 'faux news' show through 2010, the network announced Thursday. His contract had been set to expire at the end of 2008."

DIAL B for BLOG: Dark Shadows on TV and in Comics!

DIAL B for BLOG - THE WORLD'S GREATEST COMIC BLOGAZINE has the whole scoop in this week's issue.

Treasures of the Old School: Valley of the Worm PULSE: Valley of the Worm in Supernatural Thrillers by Thomas and Kane... loved it!

"If there’s such a thing as a “perfect” comic book issue, this may be it. It’s also worth noting that the entire epic takes place in one 21-page tale. Today many creative teams shy away from self-contained, one-issue stories in favor of what’s been called “decompressed storytelling.” Many of those who can’t seem to tell a complete story in a single issue could really learn from Old-School Masters like Roy Thomas and Gil Kane."

iPhone excels in US customer satisfaction - iPod/iTunes - Macworld UK

iPhone excels in US customer satisfaction - iPod/iTunes - Macworld UK: "Alongside climbing sales, the iPhone is achieving record levels of customer satisfaction, new research reveals. A mobile phone customer survey conducted by ChangeWave Research earlier this month shows the iPhone now leads the pack in terms of customer satisfaction among its US customer base. An unprecedented 82 per cent of iPhone owners reported being Very Satisfied with their purchase, up five points since the previous survey in July and by far the highest rating of any mobile manufacturer."

iPhone excels in US customer satisfaction - iPod/iTunes - Macworld UK

iPhone excels in US customer satisfaction - iPod/iTunes - Macworld UK: "Alongside climbing sales, the iPhone is achieving record levels of customer satisfaction, new research reveals. A mobile phone customer survey conducted by ChangeWave Research earlier this month shows the iPhone now leads the pack in terms of customer satisfaction among its US customer base. An unprecedented 82 per cent of iPhone owners reported being Very Satisfied with their purchase, up five points since the previous survey in July and by far the highest rating of any mobile manufacturer."

Base Jump Video

Saw this referenced on CNN this morning... wouldn't I love to be able to do this!

Amazing Base Jump - Watch more free videos

Gone Baby Gone review in NYT

Gone Baby Gone - Movie - Review - New York Times : "For his first time behind the camera as a director, the actor Ben Affleck has chosen a brooding, serious drama about missing children, wayward parents and idealism lost and regained. “Gone Baby Gone” is based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, who wrote the similarly themed “Mystic River,” which Clint Eastwood turned into a modern classic. If Mr. Affleck hasn’t raised his material to that rarefied level, he has taken a satisfyingly tough look into conscience, to those dark places where some men also go astray."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

God's Politics: Gareth Higgins on "Into the Wild"

God's Politics has a review of "Into the Wild" by Gareth Higgins that I like. I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

AppleInsider: Road to Mac OS X Leopard: Safari 3.0

AppleInsider | Road to Mac OS X Leopard: Safari 3.0: "Apple has made significant changes to Safari in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, introducing integration with Dashboard, smart drag and drop of tabbed windows, full text searching of your web history, and more. Here's a look at the birth and maturity of the online web browser, as well as a look at what's new in Safari 3.0."

Interesting stroll through memory lane in the world of browsers, and what's coming next.

BBC: Democrats fail to beat Bush veto

BBC NEWS | Americas | Democrats fail to beat Bush veto: "The Democratic-led US House of Representatives has failed in a bid to overturn a presidential veto on an expanded child health insurance plan. The House voted 273 to 156 in favour of the bill, short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto."


Joey Bishop Dead at 89

Joey Bishop Dead at 89 | AccessAtlanta: "Joey Bishop, the stone-faced comedian who found success in nightclubs, television and movies but became most famous as a member of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack, has died at 89. He was the group's last surviving member. Peter Lawford died in 1984, Sammy Davis Jr. in 1990, Dean Martin in 1995, and Sinatra in 1998."

What's the future of iTunes? - Slate Magazine

What's the future of iTunes? - By Ivan Askwith - Slate Magazine: "Since the iTunes Store opened in 2003, Apple and the world's top media companies have happily shared the profits from consumers' increasing appetite for downloadable songs and videos. This summer, the four-year honeymoon ended. In July, Universal Music Group announced that it would be downgrading its licensing contract with iTunes. Universal then revealed late last week that it has been in negotiations with other major labels to launch a rival service. Two months ago, NBC announced it would be pulling the network's shows from iTunes and relocating to Amazon Unbox. And in the last two weeks, Radiohead sidestepped both iTunes and the major record labels by allowing fans to purchase its new album online for whatever price they choose. Does all this mean that Apple's dominance of online media is coming to an end?"

George Lucas planning 'Star Wars' TV series - Los Angeles Times

George Lucas planning 'Star Wars' TV series - Los Angeles Times: "Filmmaker George Lucas said Tuesday that he has 'just begun work' on a live-action television series rooted in the 'Star Wars' universe, which is huge news not just for fans of the science-fiction epic but also for networks looking for a piece of the Lucas magic that has grossed $4.3 billion in theaters worldwide.

There is a caveat, though: The proposed series doesn't have anyone named Luke or Anakin in it, a story path that Lucas concedes is "taking chances" as far as connecting with an audience expecting the familiar mythology.

"The Skywalkers aren't in it, and it's about minor characters," Lucas said in an interview. "It has nothing to do with Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader or any of those people. It's completely different. But it's a good idea, and it's going to be a lot of fun to do.""

Hear The Killers' new album online now

Hear The Killers' new album online now | News | NME.COM: "The Killers are set to release their new b-sides and rarities collection 'Sawdust' on November 12 - but you can get an idea of what the album will be like on NME.COM now."

Viacom Unveils New "Daily Show" Site

Viacom Unveils New "Daily Show" Site With 13,000 Video Clips - Business on The Huffington Post: "Media giant Viacom Inc. is suing YouTube Inc., but it's also taking lessons from the online video service. In the ongoing quest to make Internet popularity pay, Viacom's Comedy Central channel today will unveil a website for 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart' that's designed to satisfy the most avid fans of the mock-news show with oceans of free video clips."

Senate Deal on Immunity for Phone Companies - New York Times

Senate Deal on Immunity for Phone Companies - New York Times: "Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday with the Bush administration that would give telephone carriers legal immunity for any role they played in the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program approved by President Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a Congressional official said Wednesday. Senators this week began reviewing classified documents related to the participation of the telephone carriers in the security agency program and came away from that early review convinced that the companies had “acted in good faith” in cooperating with what they believed was a legal and presidentially authorized program and that they should not be punished through civil litigation for their roles, the official said."


BBC: Star Trek film names Kirk actor

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Star Trek film names Kirk actor: "Little-known actor Chris Pine has been chosen to play the young Captain Kirk in the new Star Trek movie. Pine had to turn down a role opposite George Clooney in the film White Jazz in order to play Kirk because of a clash of filming schedules. Lord of the Rings actor Karl Urban will play Leonard 'Bones' McCoy, the Starship Enterprise's medical officer. The film, which chronicles the early days of the Enterprise crew, will be released in the US on 25 December 2008. The movie will show the crew meeting at the Starfleet Academy and embarking on their first mission."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Raymond Carver's unedited stories - NYT

Raymond Carver - Books - New York Times: "Tess Gallagher, the widow of Raymond Carver, one of the most celebrated American short-story writers of the 20th century, is spearheading an effort to publish a volume of 17 original Carver stories whose highly edited versions were published in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” his breakout 1981 book. Largely as a result of that collection, which became a literary sensation, Carver was credited with popularizing a minimalist style. But many of his fans have been aware of reports that Gordon Lish, Carver’s first editor at Alfred A. Knopf, had heavily edited, and in many cases radically cut, the stories before publication to hone the author’s voice. At the time, Carver begged Mr. Lish to stop production of the book. But Knopf went ahead and published it, to much critical acclaim."

This is a fascinating look at what can happen with an overly zealous editor. Be sure to read the excerpts for comparisons. Astonishing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

BBC: Outsider Enright wins Booker race

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Outsider Enright wins Booker race: "Irish author Anne Enright has won this year's Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in literature. The novelist's family saga The Gathering beat bookmakers' favourites Ian McEwan and Lloyd Jones to be named the best novel of the past 12 months."

Evanier on The Spirit: Ploog is the artist

news from me - ARCHIVES: "DC Comics has announced that the first issue of The Spirit that is written by Sergio Aragon�s and Yours Truly will be #14, which goes on sale January 16. Mike Ploog is doing a spectacular job with the interior art, which I happen to have before me at the moment since I'm working on my end of things tonight and taking breaks to blog. Jordi Bernet did, as you can see here, a fine cover and I think we may get him to do an issue soon, as well."

First Look: Alan Moore's new graphic novel

First Look: Alan Moore's new graphic novel | Exclusive | News Notes | Entertainment Weekly: "Catch up with comic guru Alan Moore's literary heroes with this preview of Nov. 14's graphic novel ''Black Dossier''"

Marie Severin hospitalized

Fantagraphics Books: "legendary EC and Marvel Comics' cartoonist/colorist/designer Marie Severin suffered a stroke last Thursday. Direct your get-well cards to her at: Marie Severin, patient c/o Huntington Hospital 270 Park Ave. Huntington, NY 11743."

Brevoort on comic book covers Blogs - Blah Blah Blog by Tom Brevoort: "I've been thinking a little bit about covers and the role they serve in the modern comics marketplace over the last week or two. And so, I thought I'd try to do a week (or part of a week, depending on how much mileage I can get out of this) on the history of comic book covers and what that approach can tell us today. And as we go, if anybody out there has favorite covers of their own that fit the period being talked about, feel free to suggest them or point them out."

The Real Iraq We Knew -

The Real Iraq We Knew - Op-ed by 12 former Army captains at "Today marks five years since the authorization of military force in Iraq, setting Operation Iraqi Freedom in motion. Five years on, the Iraq war is as undermanned and under-resourced as it was from the start. And, five years on, Iraq is in shambles. As Army captains who served in Baghdad and beyond, we've seen the corruption and the sectarian division. We understand what it's like to be stretched too thin. And we know when it's time to get out."

Imus preps radio revival, eyes TV - Variety

Imus preps radio revival, eyes TV - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety: "Embattled radio jock Don Imus is close to inking a multimillion-dollar deal to return to radio with Citadel Broadcasting, owner of ABC Radio Networks. Deal, expected to be finalized this week, would put Imus back on the air on New York City's WABC-AM, the nation's largest talkradio station, as of Dec. 3. Imus is seeking a TV element to his radio deal similar to what he had at MSNBC when he was with CBS Radio. That would give him a national platform and, perhaps, the ability to regain some of the high-profile personalities on which he used to depend as guests."

So what does the Constitution say about religion? - Opinion -

So what does the Constitution say about religion? - Opinion - "Ask most Americans what the Constitution says about God, and their answers may surprise you.

'One nation under God?' Nope, that's the Pledge of Allegiance.

'Oh, yeah, right, right. How about, 'Endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights'?' Sorry, but that's the Declaration of Independence. 'Hmmmm.'

Mostly what you'll get is a lot of blank stares. Trust me. I've tried it in nearly 50 states. Fully 55% of the country, according to a recent survey by the First Amendment Center, believes that the U.S. Constitution establishes us as a 'Christian nation.' Worse still, while nearly all Americans say freedom of religion is important, only 56% think it should apply to all religious groups. The truth is that the Constitution says nothing about God. Not one word. And, you can bet that some of the local clergy back in the 1780s howled about it. Newspapers, pamphlets and sermons decried the drafters' failure to acknowledge God."

Signs of a truce in America's divisive culture war? |

Signs of a truce in America's divisive culture war? | "For far too long, say many Americans, extreme partisanship and polarization have stymied the country's political process. The chief culprits? Some blame the strident voices of the culture war. Now, calls for a truce are coming from a group of leaders from the Evangelical and progressive communities, long at odds with each other. They're pointing the way toward common ground on the most polarizing issues, with aims of a new civility and concrete progress. After more than six months of discussions involving dozens of people across the spectrum, the group released a joint report Wednesday – 'Come Let Us Reason Together.' "

Drought-Stricken South Facing Tough Choices - New York Times

Drought-Stricken South Facing Tough Choices - New York Times: "For the first time in more than 100 years, much of the Southeast has reached the most severe category of drought, climatologists said Monday, creating an emergency so serious that some cities are just months away from running out of water."

Monday, October 15, 2007

CBS' buried zombie necrophilia pilot unearthed

James Hibberd - 'Babylon Fields'—CBS’ Buried Zombie Necrophilia Pilot Unearthed - TVWeek - Blogs: "Zombie sex on CBS. That is what we missed this fall. During the development season, CBS’ “Babylon Fields” was considered an early front-runner for greenlight. Granted, “apocalyptic zombie drama” may have sounded like a strange premise for a TV series, but no more so than the rest of CBS’ slate of vampire detectives, kids in ghost towns, musical gamblers and swinger couples."

Check out the clips!

New Yorker: Now John Updike reviews "Sparky"

Sparky from St. Paul: Books: The New Yorker

Blog@Newsarama - Image to release 900-page Hembeck omnibus

Blog@Newsarama - Image to release 900-page Hembeck omnibus: "Fred Hembeck announces the February 2008 release of The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus, which features more than 900 pages of the cartoonist’s work from the past three decades."

AWTC: Rare Kirby 50s story online

Again With the Comics: "Enjoy 'I Found the City under the Sea,' a forgotten Kirby gem..."

Newsweek's new look - stealth redesign

NEWSWEEK GETS A NEW LOOK IN PRINT, ON WEB: "Newsweek on Monday will unveil a sweeping redesign of the magazine and its Web site while at the same time formally ending its seven-year distribution agreement with While some recent redesigns have been introduced with fanfare, such as BusinessWeek, whose new look hit newsstands yesterday, or Time, which was overhauled in March, Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham has consciously avoided publicizing Newsweek's revamping. 'It was stealth redesign,' Meacham said yesterday as he was getting ready to ship the first of the new-look pages to the printer."

Gore Derangement Syndrome - New York Times

Gore Derangement Syndrome - Paul Krugman in the New York Times: "What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane? Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Both the personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration. And now that Mr. Bush has proved himself utterly the wrong man for the job — to be, in fact, the best president Al Qaeda’s recruiters could have hoped for — the symptoms of Gore derangement syndrome have grown even more extreme. "

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Mock Columnist, Amok - New York Times

A Mock Columnist, Amok - New York Times: "I called Colbert with a dare: if he thought it was so easy to be a Times Op-Ed pundit, he should try it. He came right over. In a moment of weakness, I had staged a coup d’moi. I just hope he leaves at some point. He’s typing and drinking and threatening to “shave Paul Krugman with a broken bottle.”"

Colbert takes over Mo's column and it's a hoot.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

BBC: US general damns Iraq 'nightmare'

BBC NEWS | Middle East | US general damns Iraq 'nightmare': "A former US military chief in Iraq has condemned the current strategy in the conflict, which he warned was 'a nightmare with no end in sight'. Retired Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez also labelled US political leaders as 'incompetent' and 'corrupted'. He said they would have faced courts martial for dereliction of duty had they been in the military. The best the US could manage under the current approach in Iraq was to 'stave off defeat', Gen Sanchez warned."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Right Brain v Left Brain Test

Right Brain v Left Brain | Herald Sun: "Right Brain vs Left Brain test ... do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?"

Wow, I cannot make myself see her moving counter clockwise. I must really be right brained!

Study: Youth see Christians as judgmental, anti-gay -

Study: Youth see Christians as judgmental, anti-gay - "Majorities of young people in America describe modern-day Christianity as judgmental, hypocritical and anti-gay. What's more, many Christians don't even want to call themselves 'Christian' because of the baggage that accompanies the label. A new book based on research by the California-based research firm The Barna Group found that church attitudes about people in general and gays in particular are driving a negative image of the Christian faith among people ages 16-29. 'The Christian community's ability to take the high road and help to deal with some of the challenges that this (anti-gay) perception represents may be the ... defining response of the Christian church in the next decade,' said David Kinnaman, Barna Group president and author of the book, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity."

Bill Watterson on the Schulz book

The WSJ has a review of the Schulz biography (see below) by Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson.

NYT's Michiko Kakutani on Schulz and Peanuts

Schulz and Peanuts - Book Review - New York Times

Mike Luckovich: Pulitzer winning political cartoonist interviewed

Mike Luckovich: Pulitzer winner and political cartoonist: Speakeasy with ...: Arts: Creative Loafing Atlanta: "Two-time Pulitzer winner and AJC political cartoonist Mike Luckovich has secured a berth as one of the country's most celebrated and widely syndicated commentators on the American scene. Luckovich's cartoons will enjoy a different venue Oct. 12-Nov. 6, when TEW Galleries features an exhibition of his drawings."

AWTC: A New Look for Captain America

Again With the Comics: A New Look for Captain America: Brian has more images of the new Cap. He likes it. I hate it. It looks like somoe strange shiny red-white-and-blue T-shirt over a black outfit. And a gun, utility belt, and even a canteen. Ehhh. But there's a rumor the "classic" will be back within a year or two. What do you think?

Sliming Graeme Frost - Krugman in New York Times

Sliming Graeme Frost - New York Times - Paul Krugman Op-Ed: "All in all, the Graeme Frost case is a perfect illustration of the modern right-wing political machine at work, and in particular its routine reliance on character assassination in place of honest debate. If service members oppose a Republican war, they’re “phony soldiers”; if Michael J. Fox opposes Bush policy on stem cells, he’s faking his Parkinson’s symptoms; if an injured 12-year-old child makes the case for a government health insurance program, he’s a fraud.

Meanwhile, leading conservative politicians, far from trying to distance themselves from these smears, rush to embrace them. And some people in the news media are still willing to be used as patsies."

BBC: Skies to be swept for alien life

BBC NEWS | Technology | Skies to be swept for alien life: "The switch has been thrown on a telescope specifically designed to seek out alien life. Funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen the finished array will have 350 6m antennas and will be one of the world's largest. The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) will be able to sweep more than one million star systems for radio signals generated by intelligent beings. Its creators hope it will help spot definite signs of alien life by 2025."

BBC: Gore and UN panel win Nobel prize

BBC NEWS | Europe | Gore and UN panel win Nobel prize: "Climate change campaigner Al Gore and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee cited 'their efforts to build up and disseminate knowledge about man-made climate change'."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ummm, he's all shiny...

THE BEAT �- New Cap, new clothes: "Six months after the death of Steve Rogers captured national attention, Marvel is proud to unveil the new Captain America as designed by renowned, award winning artist Alex Ross! This bold new look, seen here for the first time, also serves as the variant cover to January’s Captain America #34, featuring the first appearance of this new Captain America! After the death of Steve Rogers, and the climactic events of Captain America #33, there must be a new Sentinel of Liberty and now Ross, one of the industry’s most renowned artists, has created a dynamic new look for the seminal hero."

Brian McLaren: Who has betrayed us?

God's Politics - Jim Wallis blog, faith blog, religion, christian, christianity, politics, values: "I remember about eight years ago when then presidential candidate George W. Bush repeatedly claimed that he would restore honor to the presidency, soiled as it had been by our previous president's infamous affair. I remember hoping he would succeed. But a new kind of shame has come to the office and to our nation as reports surface about our government's secret authorization of torture. We all share in this shame. Conservative columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan expresses what many of us feel."

The New Republic: Why We Curse

Why We Curse: Steven Pinker has an interesting overview at the New Republic, but I can't quote from it because it's rife with bad words.

Lessing Wins Nobel Literature Prize - Entertainment on The Huffington Post

Lessing Wins Nobel Literature Prize - Entertainment on The Huffington Post: "Doris Lessing, author of dozens of works from short stories to science fiction, including the classic 'The Golden Notebook,' won the Nobel Prize for literature Thursday. She was praised by the judges for her 'skepticism, fire and visionary power.'"

Ann Coulter on CNBC Show: Jews Need 'Perfecting'

Ann Coulter on CNBC Show: Jews Need 'Perfecting': "Appearing on Donny Deutsch's CNBC show, 'The Big Idea,' on Monday night, columnist/author Ann Coulter suggested that the U.S. would be a better place if there weren't any Jewish people and that they had 'perfected' themselves into -- Christians. It led Deutsch to suggest that surely he couldn't mean that, and when she insisted she did, he said this sounded 'anti-Semitic.' Asked by Deutsch regarding whether she wanted to be like 'the head of Iran' and 'wipe Israel off the Earth,' Coulter stated: 'No, we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say. ... That's what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament.'"

Professors Sue Oral Roberts President - New York Times

Professors Sue Oral Roberts President - New York Times: "A suit filed by three former professors charges financial, political and personal irregularities by the president of Oral Roberts University, including a claim that he illegally mobilized students to campaign for a Republican mayoral candidate.

The president, Richard Roberts, the son of the university founder, the television evangelist Oral Roberts, has offered a series of denials. But he declined yesterday to respond in detail to the accusations in the suit.

The ex-professors, citing a secret internal report by an official of the Oral Roberts Ministries, linked to the university in Tulsa, Okla., sued on Oct. 2. They also contended that the Roberts house on the campus had been remodeled 11 times in 14 years, that the university jet took family members on trips and that the family’s university-paid cellphones sent text messages to “under-age males — often between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.”

The plaintiffs said “some of the more salacious entries” were omitted from the suit “to preserve, as much as possible, the remaining positive image of the university.”"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Ten Most Incomprehensible Bob Dylan Interviews of All Time

The Ten Most Incomprehensible Bob Dylan Interviews of All Time -- Vulture -- Entertainment & Culture Blog -- New York Magazine: "Todd Haynes's much-anticipated Bob Dylan biopic, I'm Not There — in which the legendary musician is played by Cate Blanchett and an 11-year old black kid — debuts this week at the New York Film Festival. Critics say the film 'jumps all over the place,' is 'densely idiosyncratic,' and lacks 'a thread of narrative coherence.' In other words, it's a fitting tribute to rock and roll's most iconic absurdist, a guy who hasn't made any literal sense since 1963. Dylan's made baffling music (Self Portrait), books (his 1966 novel, Tarantula), and films (1978's Renaldo and Clara, 2003's Masked and Anonymous), but he's never made less sense than when he was talking to reporters. Here's our list of the Top Ten Most Incomprehensible Bob Dylan Interviews of All Time."

National Book Awards finalists named

The National Book Foundation site has the lists.

Tom Breevort: Things I learned from Stan Lee Blogs - Blah Blah Blog by Tom Brevoort: "Or, rather, things I learned indirectly from Stan Lee. When I started working for Marvel at the end of 1989, I began to inherit an accumulation of knowledge about certain particulars of the comic book business, and about Marvel in general. Here are a few of these salient tidbits..."

David Crumm: A Conversation with Marcus Borg

Explore The Spirit: A Conversation with Marcus Borg

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pappy reviews a strange Jack Davis humor comic

Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine: "Yak Yak, published by Western Publishing under the Dell imprint in 1961, is one of those neither- fish-nor-fowl comic books/magazines. Is it a comic book? It's the same size, has a 15� price tag, and is part of the Dell Four Color series. It has unusual but attractive pastel coloring instead of the usual four color job. It's also typeset, not hand-lettered. In form it looks more like Humbug, which Davis worked on as part of a cooperative of artist-publishers." Check it out.

New Yorker Festival Spotlights Superheroes

New Yorker Festival Spotlights Superheroes - 10/9/2007 - Publishers Weekly: "On Saturday, October 6, the annual New Yorker Festival held a panel discussion titled “Superheroes” at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan. Panelists included Tim Kring, the creator and head writer/producer of the hit television series Heroes; author Jonathan Lethem, who titled one of his novels The Fortress of Solitude after Superman’s headquarters, and who is now writing Omega the Unknown for Marvel; writer/artist Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy; and Grant Morrison, whose work writing superhero comics ranges from Animal Man to JLA and X-Men."

Leak Severed a Link to Al-Qaeda's Secrets -

Leak Severed a Link to Al-Qaeda's Secrets - "A small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, it notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition. It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release. Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company's Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide."

White House leak destroyed a years-long surveillance operation... but they wanted to get the scary word out to the Fox News audience.

YouTube's casting directors

Monday, October 08, 2007

Pixar Confirms "Mars" Trilogy

Pixar Confirms "Mars" Trilogy (October 8th 2007): "The Pixar team has confirmed to EBZine that they recently made a trip to Edgar Rice Burroughs archives, doing research for a trilogy of John Carter of Mars films. Directors Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Pixar executive Jim Morris all attended and confirmed the first John Carter film, which will be part live-action, would hit theaters before 2012. The movie will follow Civil War vet John Carter, who is transplanted to Mars, where he discovers a lush, wildly diverse planet whose main inhabitants are 12-foot tall green barbarians."

C&L: Chevy Chase is 64 today...

...and he was a surprise political commentator on this weekend's SNL: Crooks and Liars - SNL Weekend Update: Politics As Usual

AP: Scandal Brewing at Oral Roberts U.

The Associated Press: Scandal Brewing at Oral Roberts U.: "Twenty years ago, televangelist Oral Roberts said he was reading a spy novel when God appeared to him and told him to raise $8 million for Roberts' university, or else he would be 'called home.' Now, his son, Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts, says God is speaking again, telling him to deny lurid allegations in a lawsuit that threatens to engulf this 44-year-old Bible Belt college in scandal. Richard Roberts is accused of illegal involvement in a local political campaign and lavish spending at donors' expense, including numerous home remodeling projects, use of the university jet for his daughter's senior trip to the Bahamas, and a red Mercedes convertible and a Lexus SUV for his wife, Lindsay. She is accused of dropping tens of thousands of dollars on clothes, awarding nonacademic scholarships to friends of her children and sending scores of text messages on university-issued cell phones to people described in the lawsuit as 'underage males.'"

New Yorker on Jenna Bush's new book

Ink: First Book: The Talk of the Town: The New Yorker:
The [president's daughter's] book has a spare, verging-on-hardboiled prose style ("'How did your parents die?' Ana asked. 'They were sick,' Berto said. 'Mine, too.'"), and suggests that Jenna may yet have a future following Margaret Truman and Susan Ford into the mystery-novel genre. She has a weakness for dubious ethnic analogies: "His eyes were wild, like those of the pumas that lived in the jungles."

Drew Carey's the big wheel at 'The Price Is Right' -

Drew Carey's the big wheel at 'The Price Is Right' - "Drew Carey is not out to reinvent the big wheel, though he is having fun tinkering with it. With an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' attitude, the 49-year-old funny guy assumes Bob Barker's hosting duties at The Price Is Right next week, when fresh episodes of CBS' long-running game show begin. On this particular afternoon, Carey is biding time in Barker's old dressing room before a taping. There will be about 30 shows in the can before Monday's premiere, a day Barker is dreading because, he kids, 'My reruns end, and I'll be another old man out of work with no income.'"

Fox Considers Joe Buck for Late-Night Show

Fox Considers Joe Buck for Late-Night Show - 10/8/2007 1:02:00 AM - Broadcasting & Cable: "Could Joe Buck be the next name to enter the late-night world? Fox is considering a weekly, half-hour late-night show hosted by its lead sports personality. The network's entertainment division just quietly completed a pilot for the show in New York. The format currently under consideration would include both interviews and comedy and be set in front of a small studio audience."

Heat Is On TV Nets, With Looming Writer Strike

Heat Is On TV Nets, With Looming Writer Strike - "As talk of a Hollywood writers’ strike continues to build momentum, broadcasters are gearing up for the worst. In fact, the conversation throughout much of the industry has turned from “if there’s a strike” to “when there’s a strike.” Most analysts had initially assumed that the writers, whose contract with the movie studios and TV networks expires Oct. 31, would hold off from striking, opting to later join forces with actors, whose contract is up in June. But several sources now suggest that writers could make a preemptive move, striking as early as November. A primary issue for TV writers is the streaming of scripted content over the Internet and how writers should be appropriately compensated for that. "

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Nation of Christians Is Not a Christian Nation - New York Times

A Nation of Christians Is Not a Christian Nation - New York Times op-ed by Jon Meacham: "In the 1790s, in the waters off Tripoli, pirates were making sport of American shipping near the Barbary Coast. Toward the end of his second term, Washington sent Joel Barlow, the diplomat-poet, to Tripoli to settle matters, and the resulting treaty, finished after Washington left office, bought a few years of peace. Article 11 of this long-ago document says that “as the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,” there should be no cause for conflict over differences of “religious opinion” between countries. The treaty passed the Senate unanimously. Mr. McCain is not the only American who would find it useful reading."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Spider-Man the Musical--book and lyrics finished!

Celebs The Hollywood Exclusive: "'Spider-Man the Musical' is looking for a place to hang its web, reports Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor. 'We want to open in New York, and there aren't enough Broadway houses,' says Taymor, adding that Bono and The Edge have finished the book and lyrics for the project. 'It's really tricky because ours is a big musical that's really unusual. It will have some fabulous things in it because it's got a very strong book.' She says, 'I'm very proud of the songs that Bono and Edge wrote. It's a real rock-and-roll musical, so we're not worried about that aspect. We just have to find where we're going to do it -- even if we have to do it in a tent, which we're looking into -- and when. It'll at least be a year away.'"

American Journalism Review: What's the -30- mean at the end of journalists' stories?

American Journalism Review: "Each October for the past eight years, students in Louise Reynolds' Introduction to Journalism class at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, have been offered extra credit if they can solve one of journalism's lingering mysteries: Why did reporters for years end their stories by writing '-30-'? 'Journalism is so full of funny phrases and traditions,' Reynolds says. 'I wanted the kids to know there was a long tradition behind each of these terms and style rules and know that it didn't come out of nowhere.'" Interview with NYT Design Director UnBeige: "We all know who Khoi Vinh is and we know he has the title of Design Director at the NY Times, but unless you've sat down and talked with him about it, do you really know what it is that he does? Well the gunslinging Jesse James Garrett over at Adaptive Path has put together a lengthy, really stellar interview with Vinh, getting to the bottom of not only that question, but others you might have about him or exactly how that design stuff works over at a place that handles all the news that's fit to print." Another spinoff from The Daily Show for Comedy Central FishbowlNY: "It's just been made official that Comedy Central has picked up Demetri Martin's new tv show for '08. Martin's a downtown standby and a featured contributor on The Daily Show — and his show will be produced by Jon Stewart's Busboy Productions. Important Things With Demetri Martin will be Busboy's second series for Comedy Central since they signed a deal in 2005; The Colbert Report was the first..."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

IMAGINE PEACE: A note from Yoko Ono


Dear Friends

Make sure you visit on October 9th, John Lennon's birthday, for the unveiling of the incredible IMAGINE PEACE TOWER on the isle of Videy, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Please visit the site, have a look around, IMAGINE PEACE and send your wishes to join over 495,000 others buried in capsules around the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER, dedicated to my late husband: musician, poet, artist and peace activist, John Lennon.

Please join us on October 9th at Wherever you are, we will all be together that day.

With the deepest love,

Yoko Ono

Superhot chili sauce sparks road closures, evacuations |

Superhot chili sauce sparks road closures, evacuations | "Super spicy chili sauce sparked road closures and evacuations in central London after passers-by complained that a chemical emanating from a Thai restaurant was burning their throats, police said Wednesday. Reports of a strong smell wafting from a restaurant in the heart of London's bustling Soho district prompted the London Fire Brigade to send a chemical response team, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Top 20 Most Frequently Performed Operas in America

OPERA America — The National Service Organization for Opera: "The Top 20 Most Fequently Performed Operas in North America"

This is a great resource. (Hat tip List of the Day!) I just caught No. 2 by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra the other night!

Two comic book greats shoot the bull

Amazing to watch John Romita Sr. and Joe Kubert collaborate on a convention sketch piece and share their thoughts.

Who's your candidate?

An interesting exercise

You answer a few questions then click the "find your candidate button" and the program ranks the candidate who's positions on the issues are most like your own...

Solomon's Q&A playing fast and loose? NY Press

New York Press - MATT ELZWEIG - Questions for the Questioner: "When I began my reporting three weeks ago, this story was slated to be a benign profile of an incisive, witty, cantankerous, high-profile-but-not-quite-famous, powerful, puzzling, playful, combative contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. Through Deborah Solomon’s weekly column, a Q-and-A interview that has become a popular staple of the Times’ Sunday magazine since its launch in 2003, the former art critic and author of two biographies has developed a voice easily as distinctive as the ones she features.

Most of my interviews with people in Solomon’s column over the years reflected positive overall experiences. (Several of those contacted either declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests for an interview.) But after conversations with two prominent Solomon Q-and-A subjects—Ira Glass, the popular host of NPR’s “This American Life,” and Amy Dickinson, the nationally-syndicated advice columnist who replaced Ann Landers in 2003—the story became more complicated. Both Glass and Dickinson, without any prompting and in significant detail, told me that in the published versions of their interviews, Solomon had made up questions, after the fact, to match answers that, at least in one instance, she had taken out of their original context."

Burma, where peace should be golden |

Burma, where peace should be golden - Rev. Patricia Templeton op-ed - "The golden spires of the Shwedagon Pagoda glimmered in the background of pictures from Burma in recent days, where thousands of monks dressed in saffron robes marched barefoot in the streets in the country's largest antigovernment demonstration in decades. I watched with sadness, remembering my own Burma days of a quarter-century ago, particularly one transcendent moment of peace and hope that stands in sharp contrast to the violence and fear that now pervade the country."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Living Loved - photo by M. Seufer

Michael Seufer, an accomplished amateur photographer in Germany, shot this photo of his copy of Living Loved when he spied an illuminating morning sun ray. Thanks, Michael!

Court turns down church cases |

Court turns down church cases | "The Supreme Court on Monday sidestepped two church-state cases that social conservatives had hoped the justices would use to chart a rightward course. The justices, returning to work after their summer break, decided not to consider a challenge by religious groups to a New York law requiring health plans to cover birth control pills, and a California case in which an evangelical group was denied use of a public library for religious services."