Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One More Class

NKU's class is finished up and two of the Clermont classes. I have one more ENG 103 and it's off to grading final papers. It's been hectic but the students who actually show up for class have been pretty good.
Another Stupid Dragon Question

After the dragon/dinosaur issue from the new Scooby Doo DVD, we watched Rankin/Bass animated Hobbit. My stepdaughter asked about Smaug (if he looked that way in the book) and somehow we started talking about dragon books. She has the new Dragonology book and has read The Hobbit and Harry Potter.

Two questions: What would be your nomination for best dragon book overall? And what would be a good book for 12-year old girls? (She hasn't read Conan and I'm kinda happy to keep it that way. I was thinking the Dragon Riders series which I personally didn't like but has a strong female following.)
Devilboy's Kryptonite

(Set roughly 25 years in the future when I have enough energy to write a new Devilboy script)

Devilboy (growing to 75 feet tall a la Apache Chief from Superfriends): All mankind is doomed! Prepare for the portal of hell to be opened and Hell and Earth shall be one.

Person opposing DB, I don't know, let's say...Moe: This ought to stop ya! (throws object)

DB (screams, shrinking to microscopic size): My only weakness! Noooooooooo!!!

Moe (looking at spot where DB disappeared): Well, he's stopped for now. But if he ever returns, I'll have more of THIS waiting for him.

(Holds up a peanut butter jar as credits roll)

Yesterday I had to pick DB up from school because he'd broken out in a rash on his hands and face. I think it was from the peanut butter that he had on his toast (he smears it like crazy). Tomorrow he's getting tested for food allergies but he's never had a reaction to peanuts before.

Then I read about this. Great.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Had a rough, rough Thanksgiving. My wife is visiting her mother and left me with the kids but it's winding down. It was my first scheduled day off since September 23 (I missed a class at Clermont due to, ahem, problems but yesterday was the first legit full day off). I'm real thankful to be working.
Liberal Bias

A blow to objectivity even if it does sound funny.

I have no problem with teachers having strong views or talking about them when it's appropriate (which is a worthless word since no one can agree when something is appropriate) but this guy just gave his opponents more ammo.

Even though I don't think it should be in the classroom, I would like to see the whole quiz. It's sounds like the opposite of this which was defended by some of the people who will cry foul about the new one.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

"It Turns into Kim Cattrall When You're Not Here"

Is this guy really, really stupid or are bad 80s movies coming to life?

And is this guy just stupid or crazy?
Anyone From Mason?

According to Snopes, it's possible that someone in Mason, Ohio, has the most disturbing Christmas light display ever.

Has anyone seen this? Are there 12 people in the south-east Ohio area who would convict me if I shot this guy if he lived next to me?
Chasing the Wolf

I finished Nathan Singer's new novel Chasing the Wolf last night about 2:30. I'll say up-front that I know Nathan Singer but despite my high praise, he hasn't slipped me any payola (although I'm completely open to it).

It has a couple literary elements that I don't regularly care for but it all fits together like a surrealistic jigsaw puzzle. It's like the cyclone from The Wizard of Oz picks you up and you stare through your window at whirling faces who transform from the ordinary into nightmares. Only in this case the cyclone sets you down someplace much darker than Oz.

Although the plot involves time travel, it doesn't have a have a science fiction feel to it at all. Like Richard Matheson's Bid Time Return and Jack Finney's Time and Again, the focus is on the characters, not the mechanics of a time machine but this is far more dangerous. Octavia Butler's Kindred is the closest thing I've ever encountered: dealing with race relations and devotion beyond time.

I'm not normally the type who wants to read a happy-ending version of King Lear or hope for Lear II: Regan's Revenge but in this case I would love to see more of these characters and the world of this novel. Just the theories of Time-walking that one Walker develops are better than any hard-pseudo-science explanation. We get a glimpse of something incredibly intriguing and it ends before I was ready to let go. It's like watching a beautiful woman begin to undress but then she sees you and yanks shut the blinds.

I highly recommend Chasing the Wolf but don't start it at night if you have to wake up early in the morning.
Quick Class

Only about half my class showed up tonight but, being the day before Thanksgiving and after the snow we had earlier today, I wasn't expecting anyone. Naturally the students who came were not the ones who needed most of the lessons to begin with so I cut it criminally short. I've heard (possible urban legend) that this is the busiest bar night of the year so it's probably for the best that they get home before the drunks come out. I had a former student killed by a drunk driver and I'd rather let class out early than have another.

We read How to Give a Pill to a Cat and Dog for the Explaining Processes paper. It's probably the most popular reading assignment in any of my classes.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Science--A Major Disgrace

With everything else I should have read, I thumbed through John A. Keel's Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings. Compared to most of the paranormal crowd, I've always thought Keel was one of the sanest of the bunch. Then he goes and ruins it with:

believing in mass suicide by lemming (and here)and "boa constrictors crush all the bones of their victims before swallowing them whole."

"There has been much speculation since then [1760] that the plant was somehow introduced to our world by a crashing meteor."

"There are creatures which can fly on wings too short to support their bulbous bodies. We call them bumblebees."

"Most newspaper reports are very reliable."

"Science, by and large, is a lot of bull." "Science has become a major disgrace."

Keel classifies scientists as Type A who "works for a large corporation or an important government agency" and Type B "usually a teacher at some university or small college."

Type A: The scientist who works for a tobacco company and proves that smoking is unrelated to cancer.

Type B: Pharyngula.

Type A are trustworthy; "Much of the scientific rubbish you read in your daily newspapers comes from the mouths of Type B." (Okay, if newspapers are reliable, how can they also be full of rubbish? The sad thing is that he makes these statements just pages apart.)

He later chides Type B scientists for claiming that Bigfoot sightings are escaped apes. I can believe that someone has at one time or another claimed that Bigfoot was an escaped ape but most believe this, this, this, and this.

In fairness to Keel's, his claims are no more outlandish and his views on science no more hostile than 90% of the world's religions have been but, when I checked this book out, I really wanted to like it. Keel has a strong writing style and crams a lot of info on a page but attacking scientists doesn't make Mothman sound more credible.
I'll Pass on Russian Meat

You hear about mad cow disease and that dogs, cats, etc. are used in Chinese restaurants.

According to Polyansky, there has been no cannibalism cases in the Rostov region in more than 10 years.

Is it just me or does that remind you of a "No accidents for [blank] days"? I have heard that under Stalin, it was so bad that the government put up "Eating corpses is illegal" posters. Considerate guy, that Joey.
Turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!

Not exactly. But a bunch of them fell off a truck.
Thanks for the Dragons

A big 90210 thank you for everyone who helped think of dragon movies. (I don't know how I could forget Shrek--how'd my kids forget?

The animators who made The Hobbit and The Last Unicorn also made a movie based on The Dragon and the George called A Flight of Dragons. It's not spectacular but it does feature a boatload of dragons.

My new theory is that my kids didn't think the Scooby Doo dragon was a dinosaur because they don't recognize dragons but because the Scooby gang was vacationing in Scotland in that episode. That was probably the only time any toons have visited Scotland and not seen the dinosaur-like Nessie.

My five-year old is convinced that Nessie is real but Bigfoot is fake because Scooby Doo says so.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Movies with Dragons

The new Scooby Doo DVD has a dragon as one of the fake monsters and my kids initially thought it was a dinosaur. Sleeping Beauty and Sword in the Stone both have witches that turn into dragons but I can't think of many real dragon movies.

There's Dragon Slayer, The Hobbit cartoon, Mystery Science Theater 3000 fodder The Magic Sword (which was probably the best MST3K movie even if it was directed by Burt I. Gordon), the horrible Dungeons and Dragons movie, and a lot of low budget stuff. Am I missing anything or is there a serious lack of dragon movies available. I know Covington had a screen play about one--it could be Hollywood's next hot property.
Flying Machine Debunked

Via the Museum of Hoaxes, a website for disproving the myth that vehicles made of metal can fly.

It's almost too easy to say that's no dumber than Creationism but that was the first thought to come to mind.
Another Argument Against Having Kids

Daughter sells Mom's camera. Mom suddenly becomes popular.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

15-Inch Waist

I've seen this before and kept hoping it's fake. I guess everyone has the right to do whatever they want to their bodies, up to hacking off parts with a clipper.
Fan Cuts Off Own Testicles

I might get so excited over an unexpected sports victory that I'd trim my ear or nose hair. Maybe, if I told everyone that I'd shave my head if my team won, I'd go through with it. But this guy went a bit too far.

"I can't have kids now but still want a family - maybe I'll adopt."
Crisis of Infinite Earths

I got set off over at Walk in Brain about the state of DC Comics. Most of what I don't like about DC goes back to the mid-80s with a storyline called Crisis on Infinite Earths. Yes, I have nothing better to do but think about something that happened to Superman 20 years ago.

Superman, Batman, and a million other superheroes were created back in the 1940s. Max Gaines, father of Bill "Mad Magazine" Gaines, was one of the men who saw the potential in blatantly nonrealistic characters (as opposed to comics about pirates, cowboys, police, science fiction and fantasy [realistic in their own worlds], romance, etc.

During WWII, the public couldn't get enough superheroes. After the war, all but Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman faded away. Twenty-some years later, superheroes made a comeback and DC Comics found themselves with dozens of popular characters.

The trouble was that if Superman and crew had gone up against Hitler and Tojo, they'd start to gray in the 60s, so, starting with a story about the Flash, DC established that the new heroes were on Earth 1, the WWII vets were on Earth 2 in a different dimension. Given that most comic book geeks were also science fiction geeks, familiar with parallel world stories, this wasn't a problem.

Eventually more earths popped up--Earth 3, plagued by evil versions of Earth 1's good guys; Earth X, where the Nazis won; Earth S, where Captain Marvel and his family lived; and many more. One earth was exactly like Earth 1 but everyone's sex was switched (Superwoman, Wonder Man, Louis Lane, etc.). Another was full of talking animals, protected by Captain Carrot.

Eventually DC introduced Earth Prime, our earth, which was on the verge of seeing its first superhero (hey, no dumber an idea than the Rapture). For a while it looked like DC was going to switch focus from Earth 1 to Earth Prime and reboot. The heroes of Earth 1 were getting old and could use an update.

Instead DC destroyed most of the earths and combined the few survivors into one world. Okay, given the Quantum Mechanics suggests that there are multiple, if not an infinite, number of our own universe, this makes the DC Comics universe far less wondrous and interesting than our own.

Now when writers tell "what if" stories at DC, they have to label it "Elseworlds, imaginary stories" (as if any story about flying aliens and bat people isn't imaginary). This has affected the way cosmic events are treated (the ending of Mark Millar's Red Son and anything with Jack Kirby's Tomorrow People seems off).

DC execs have admitted that the whole event was to attract attention from Marvel Comic fans and to reboot their titles with a fresh start so new fans wouldn't feel left out.

Not that it's a pressing issue of today but they wiped out a world where Georgia Bush is president for a sales gimmick that could have been avoided with more imagination. Oh yeah, they also killed Flash and Supergirl but it was destroying that transsexual earth that still has me miffed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Rose for Bucca

My dog has a weird effect on reality. His enemies come to gruesome fates.

He was passed along as a puppy and one of his early "owners" kept him in the basement a minimum of 18 hours a day, rarely fed him, and let him run loose in Clifton Heights, eating food from garbage cans. That guy died in a boating accident on the Ohio River, literally losing his head.

On Sunday, three police cars and a coroner's van pulled up in front of our building. After a short while, a horrible stench oozed over the whole area. One of the neighbors, who lived two floors directly below me, had died sometime around Halloween. I don't have full details and don't particularly want them but I can't see how serial killers can stand it. Rotting bodies don't smell so much as old garbage but like old dishes that have sat in a sink full of water for a long, long time.

I feel sorry for the guy and have to wonder if he had any family at all for this to happen. He was relatively young (at least ten years younger than anyone else on his floor) and seemed healthy the last time I saw him. He was known for complaining about dogs (repeatedly about my dog Bucca) and children (repeatedly about Devilboy until I brought up the magic letters "ADA" to the condo association). He also stopped and confronted my stepdaughter when she was walking home from school about making too much noise. Afterwards, when I went down to talk to him afterwards, he was pretty contrite.

One of the neighbors made the comment, "On the bright side, I guess I won't get any more letters about my grandkids."

I don't know if Bucca put the hex on him but it tells me not to complain about everything in life (and, no, that doesn't mean I'm shutting down the blog). I doubt if anyone could have done something to save his life but I don't know of anyone else who could disappear for two weeks and not be noticed.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Human Upgrades

When gene splicing gets ugly. Via the Museum of Hoaxes.
Library List

I haven't done this for a while so here's what is currently checked out on my library card:

Kids’ Videos
The Wiggles. Toot Toot!
Miracle of Mozart: teaching your child-- ABCs (Good for inducing sleep)
Yu-gi-oh! (Wondering what makes Pokemon look good?)
Yu-gi-oh! Battle City duels

Kids' Books
A Cake all for me Beil, Karen Magnuson.
The Firefighters' Thanksgiving Boelts, Maribeth
What can Pinky hear? Cousins, Lucy.
Maisy goes to the library Cousins, Lucy.
Stop and go, Maisy Cousins, Lucy.
One big building : a counting book about construction Dahl, Michael.
We gather together-- now please get lost! De Groat, Diane.
Bart Simpson's treehouse of horror. Spine-tingling spooktacular Groening, Matt. (Yes, I read it too)
Mice squeak, we speak : a poem De Paola, Tomie.
Scooby Doo! and the rowdy rodeo Gelsey, James.
Scooby-Doo! and the caveman caper Gelsey, James.
Giant earthmovers Gould, Robert.
Toot & Puddle : Puddle's ABC Hobbie, Holly.
Picking apples & pumpkins Hutchings, Amy.
Hamsters today : a complete and up-to-date guide Kelsey-Wood, Dennis.
"Eat!" cried little pig London, Jonathan
Polar bear, polar bear, what do you hear? Martin, Bill
Scooby-doo! and the phantom cowboy McCann, Jesse Leon.
Scooby-doo! and the opera ogre McCann, Jesse Leon.
Ripley's believe it or not! Packard, Mary.
Red light, green light Suen, Anastasia.
Fox in Socks Seuss, Dr. (Possibly the best Dr. Seuss book after Green Eggs and Ham)
Buzzy's birthday Ziefert, Harriet.

Stepdaughter’s CDs
The lord of the rings, the fellowship of the ring
[sound recording] Shore, Howard.
Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban

My Books
Mythical and Fabulous Creatures : a source book and research guide
Gypsy Folk Tales
A Chinese Bestiary : strange creatures from the guideways through mountains and seas
The Superhero Book : the ultimate encyclopedia of comic-book icons and Hollywood heroes

The Beast Within Douglas, Adam. (That’s Adam Douglas, not the guy who wrote Hitchhikers)
The Dictionary of Misinformation Burnam, Tom.
Legends of Santería González-Wippler, Migene.
Greek myths Graves, Robert
The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings Keel, John A.
A Dictionary of Asian mythology Leeming, David Adams
Encyclopedia of legendary creatures McGowen, Tom.
The Beasts of Never : a history natural & un-natural of monsters mythical & magical McHargue, Georgess.
Penn & Teller's how to play in traffic Jillette, Penn.
"Mythopoeikon" : fantasies, monsters, nightmares, daydreams Woodroffe, Patrick
Killing Nessie

Actually, Nessie's hot Swedish cousin, Helga.

"We are not fanatics," said Christer Berko, of the Storsjo monster association. "We see this as very interesting phenomenon that we unfortunately have not been able to document."

I'm not insulting the monster crowd. Back when I was trying to write a book about this stuff, cryptozoologists, like Mr. Berko, as a rule were good-natured, helpful, intelligent, and considerate. UFOlogists ran from nuts to really nuts and psychics were either innocently crazy or blood-sucking leeches.
My Heart Will Go On

Tragedy struck moments ago when I tried to purchase a bag of Raisinets from the downstairs vending machine but accidentally pressed the number for a peanut granola bar. I'm trying to be strong but. . . God, how could you let this happen?

Actually the granola bar wasn't that bad. At least I didn't get a stinking Payday.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Pope Turns Back the Clock

A while back, it seemed that the church was making sensible statements about Intelligent Design. Just got cancelled out.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Teen Titans: Fear Itself

Do you know which superheroes are in the Teen Titans? Unless you're a kid or a comic book geek, here's the current WB cartoon lineup:

Robin: Batman's sidekick. Bats is never directly mentioned but Gotham City comes up a lot and supervillains rob Wayne Enterprises every other episode.

Beast Boy: Goofy green kid who can turn into any animal, including dinosaurs and whales. However, whatever the animal, his skin, hair, scales, etc. remain green. Like this.

Cyborg: Bionic man with the machinery on the outside. Some people have criticized the show because Cy is the only black character but one is orange and another green.

Raven: Half-demon Goth chick with magic powers. In the Breakfast Club standards of teen stereotypes, she is the bitter loner who only speaks in sarcasm.

Starfire: Orange alien with green eyes (not just the iris, the entire eye), capable of flight, super strength, and firing green energy bolts. My five-year old's favorite.

Teen Titans replaced Blue's Clues as Devilgirl and -boy's most requested show. It's not educational in the least bit but is far less annoying than Pokemon. The latest DVD, Fear Itself, has six episodes:

Fear Itself: The night after the team fights the uber-geek Control Freak (a sci-fi geek with a remote control that changes reality and a love for quoting George Lucas movies), they are attacked by an unstoppable monster out of a horror video. This episode causes the kids to scream a lot, especially when Starfire gets grabbed.

Every Dog Has His Day: A green alien dog runs away from its owner, a giant alien brat, and switches places with Beast Boy. Beast Boy is zapped repeatedly by the alien, causing his eyes to bulge out comically. Kids never get sick of this.

How Long Is Forever?: Starfire is thrown into the future, where the Teen Titans have become the Middle-Aged Losers. Much screaming when Starfire is blasted through time.

Only Human: Cyborg fights a robot-bigot who hates all humans (like an unfunny Bender). A very special episode indeed.

Terra: The Teen Titans meet another teenager with superpowers. Although they ask her to join, their arch-enemy, Slade, breaks them apart. Set up for a future episode where they wind up as enemies.

Date With Destiny: The episode for parents who shelled out the money for the stinking DVD in the first place. Killer Moth is on the verge of defeating the Titans and taking over the city when his bratty daughter demands that he find her a date to the prom. Setting his evil plans on hold, Moth forces Robin to take her. Poor Moth would have ruled the world if only he'd had the sense to stay single. Devilboy and crew don't seem to like this one as much as I do.
Update on the Cheerleader Sex Scandal

Hot denial

If this doesn't increase traffic, nothing will.
Husky Women and Strong Language

You read all sorts of articles, supposedly written about unfair practices of the past. Most are fakes.

Snopes says this isn't.

And this was intended to be helpful. You have to wonder what a smart-ass would have come up with.
I've Wasted My Life

You Should Get a MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)

You're a blooming artistic talent, even if you aren't quite convinced.
You'd make an incredible artist, photographer, or film maker.

Via Pseudojournalist

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

NFL Cheerleaders Sex Scandal

Now that ought to bring in some hits.

So, you're in a bar and two NFL cheerleaders go into the bathroom and start making love to each other. Isn't that one of the things you've always wanted to happen in a bar but it never did? I would have thought better of Tampa bar-goers. Couldn't just wait or use and empty mug, eh your highness?

Maybe it was because the two were from out of state but they should be used to that in Tampa.
Upside Down X-Mas Tree

I was in a creative writing seminar with a writer who used an upside down Christmas tree in a scene. Now available at Target.

If you're into upside down trees, go buy one. Just don't use it as proof that you're a daring nonconformist because you shop at a chain store.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Real Kong

They discovered the fossils of hobbits a while back--now we have giant apes and humans living together.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Which Evil California Proposition Are You?

You are Prop 78!

You are the proposition with a sense of humor.
Drug manufacturers pretending to care about the
sick and poor among us? Hysterical. Too bad
Prop 79 is going to kick your ass.

Which evil California proposition are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, November 05, 2005

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Man, I stink. And suicide booths won't be invented for another 1,000 years.
Godzilla Scandal

Everything you know is wrong--Godzilla only officially appeared in one movie (Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954)). Other than that (plus remakes like Godzilla 1985 and the stupid American version starring Ferris Buehler) Godzilla never appeared in another movie.

Godzilla never fought Mothra, Rodan, King Kong, Mechagodzilla, Ghidrah, Angilas, Spigas, the Smog Monster or anyone else.

In all those cases, the monster called Godzilla was really Gigantis.

Gigantis, the Fire Monster (1959) was sort of a sequel to Godzilla, with two mutant prehistoric monsters--Gigantis and Angilas-- awakened from the sea and brought havoc to modern Japan. At the end of the movie, Gigantis was buried in an avalanche and left under a mountain of ice. A few years later, he broke free and suddenly everyone called him Godzilla.

Gigantis came out a few years after the original Godzilla movie and bombed in both Japan and America. The monster was still a guy in a rubber suit that looked exactly like Godzilla except for slight modifications with the teeth and ears.

Toho Productions decided to go with name recognition so when the monster got loose again in 1962, it was King Kong vs. Godzilla. There's never been an official explanation--continuity doesn't matter a whole lot in giant monster movies.

It's not that Gigantis is known for his conversation so it doesn't really matter but the real Godzilla died at the end of his first movie (which most people have never seen) and most of his fame comes from an entirely different monster.
Jeff Rovin's The Encyclopedia of Monsters

Some factoids I picked up:

The movie The Beast from 20,000 Fanthoms was not based on the Ray Bradbury story by the same name (as is widely reported). Originally the movie was called Monster from the Sea but someone noticed a similarity between Bradbury's story and the movie before they began shooting (both monsters are prehistoric throw-backs from the days of the dinosaurs and both arrive at lighthouses). The monster in the movie was designed to look like the illustrations from the story but nothing else was changed in the working script. Bradbury changed the name of his story when it was reprinted.

Writer Edmond Hamilton brought up the issue of global warming in 1940 in his story "Liline, the Moon Girl," published in Amazing Stories but presented it as entirely positive.

William O. Douglas Jr., son of Supreme Court Justice, was a B-movie actor and appeared in the Outer Limits episode "The Galaxy Being" in 1963.

Some of the featured films included:

Cy Roth's Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1956)
Dan Milner's The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) (sea monster from 10,000 leagues down; 10,000 leagues equals 30,000 miles--the earth's diameter is only about 8,000 miles)
Dan Milner's Tabanga (1957) Movie about a killer, man-eating tree
Tom Graeff's Teenagers from Outer Space (1959)
Ray Kellogg's The Giant Gila Monster (1959) and The Killer Shrews (also 1959)
Bernard L. Kowalski's The Giant Leeches (1959)
Joseph Green's The Brain that Wouldn't Die (1962)
Jack Woods' Equinox (released on video as The Beast) (1971) Cameo by Fritz Leiber.
William F. Claxton's Night of the Lepus (1972)
Douglas Cheek's C.H.U.D. (1984)
Fred Dekker's Night of the Creeps (1986) featuring the canine that gave the name to Evil Dog magazine.
Plastic Man

Here's an abbreviated list of graphic novels I meant to write about but never got around to it:

Spider-Man: Blue
: Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale; Batman: Hush: Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee; JLA: Trial by Fire: Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke; JLA: New World Order: Grant Morrison; JLA: Another Nail. Alan Davis and Mark Farmer (containing every character in the Pre-Crisis DC universe--if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, you might want to sit this one out); Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth: Grant Morrison, illustrated by Dave McKean; The New Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Stories From Crumb to Clowes, edited by Bob Callahan.

The one that actually motivated me to write was Plastic Man: On the Lam, written by Kyle Baker (who recently worked with Aaron McGruder and Reginald Hudlin in Birth of a Nation).

Plastic Man was always one of the sillier superheroes ever since he was created back in the 1940s. His original artist even sold cartoons to Playboy of Plas doing such non-heroic acts as groping women from a block away (yeah, they could have done this with Superman's X-ray vision but they didn't even consider it). Baker's artwork matches the irreverent tone of some very funny situations:

FBI agent: "Uh, do you really think we should do this? I mean, we're the FBI! We can't just massacre civilians in a house of worship!"
CO: "You must be the new guy."

The story involves Plastic Man's struggle with his arch-enemy Eel O'Brian who was transformed from normal guy to superfreak almost exactly as the Joker.

The Joker was originally a villain called the Red Hood. While he was robbing a factory full of toxic goo, Batman surprised him, forcing him to swim through raw chemical run-off to make his escape. He got away but the chemicals mutated him into his present chalk white, green-haired Clown Prince of Crime.

Eel O'Brian was robbing the Crawford Chemical Works when a guard surprised and shot him, and caused him to be doused by a vat of acid. Abandoned by his gang, Eel crawled through chemical slop until he lost consciousness but was saved by the leader of a conveniently located monastery. Nursed back to health, Eel found that the chemicals transmogrified his body--he'd become plastic, capable of changing shape into anything he could imagine. Inspired by the monks, Eel turned from crime to become the world's goofiest superhero. Naturally the one criminal Plastic Man was never able to capture was the notorious Eel O'Brian.

In Baker's tale, when Plas is assigned to investigate a murder allegedly committed by Eel O'Brian, he winds up losing his secret identity, his status as a hero, and his even goofier sidekick, Woozy Winks.

In the early days of Mad Magazine, they ran a Plastic Man parody that tried to be sillier than the original. Baker must have read that issue because some of his scenes are dead-on imitations of Mad's treatment; Plastic Man parodies the parody and the story moves along without losing speed. The solution to the murder is unexpected but obvious in hindsight and manages to be as subversive and sweet as a good Simpsons episode.

Flipping through, I stopped at random on a page with lines like "It's a good thing fish have no civil rights" and "Eeew! You melted my butt." What's not to like?
Hung Like a Whale

Is the elusive sea serpent some unknown species of marine life? Or is it a giant whale penis? You make the call.
Driving in the Car Pool Lane

Dr. Nick used cadavers but this guy got caught with a kick-boxing dummy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Good News From the Vatican

Cardinal to World: We're Smarter than Protestants.

I'd like to become Pope (technically I could--the requirements are that 1. You're Catholic (and even bad Catholics who haven't been to mass in years and disagree with official policy count--hell, standards are so broad that they'd lump Covington and Nathan Singer in the "yes" column), 2. You're male (again, the way the rules are written, a transexual would still count, 3. You're alive (this is the most stringently enforced.)

Anyway I'd make about ten wide-spanning reforms (one of which would involve requirement #2) and resign.

Martin Sheen once worked on a documentary about the Vatican. He'd make a helluva Pope. Charlie could be Cardinal of Partying Down.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Godel's Mathematical Proof of God's Existence

Godel was a brilliant mathematician at Princeton and a close friend of Einstein (he only ate food prepared by his wife or Albert). Among his more unusual theories was a design for a time machine that Einstein agreed would allow travel backwards. . . if certain physical properties of the universe exist (and most scientist now believe they don't).

He developed a mathematical proof of God which reads as follows:

Axiom 1. (Dichotomy) A property positive if and only if its negation is negative.
Axiom 2. (Closure) A property is positive if it necessarily contains positive property.
Theorem 1. A positive property is logically consistent (i.e., possibly it has some instance).
Definition. Something is God-like if and only if it possesses all positive properties.
Axiom 3. Being God-like is a positive property.
Axiom 4. Being a positive property is (logical, hence) necessary.
Definition. A property P is the essence of x if and only if x has P and P is necessarily minimal.
Theorem 2. If x is God-like, then being God-like is the essence of x.
Definition. NE(x): necessarily exists if it has an essential property.
Axiom 5. Being NE is God-like.
Theorem 3. Necessarily there is some x such that x is God-like.

Maybe it's just me but it doesn't seem overly convincing, but, then again, I majored in English.
Disturbing Bible Quotes

You can probably find these all over the Internet but here's a few quotes that stick with you:

"When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai. For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai. But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the Lord had instructed Joshua. So Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day. He hung the king of Ai on a tree and left him there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take his body from the tree and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate.” (Joshua 8:24-30)

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations. . . then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. . . Break down their altars. . . You must destroy all the peoples the Lord your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity. . . You must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock.”

“Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” I Samuel 15:3-4

“I will smash them one against the other, fathers and sons alike. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them” Jeremiah 13:14

“The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:6-7)

“And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the earth, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth; and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. (Genesis 7:23)

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations--the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you--and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.” (Deuteronomy 7:1,2)

“At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them [the Canaanites]--men, women, and children. We left no survivors.” (Deuteronomy 2:34)

“A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to the tenth generation shall he not enter.” Deuteronomy 23:2

“For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. No descendants of Aaron the priest who has any defects is to come near to present the offering made to the Lord by fire. (Leviticus 21:21)

“At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown in the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.” Daniel 6:24

“If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.” Exodus 21:20-21

“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.” Deuteronomy 22:28-29

“Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses. The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys, and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man. . . And the half, the portion of those who had gone out to war was 16,000, of which the tribute for the Lord was 32.” Numbers 31:31-40
(The soldiers were given 16,000 virgins; God was given 32. It's unclear what God did with the virgins)

Body Count by Book
Numbers 16:21-49 (God creates a plague that kills 14,700)
Numbers 25:1-9 (God kills 24,000 Jews for sleeping with Moabite women)
Numbers 25:16-17 and 31:7-8 (All men and king of Middianites killed; women and children sold into slavery)

Joshua 6: “Utterly destroyed all the city [of Jericho], man and woman, youn and old, and ox. . . with the edge of the sword.”
Joshua 8:1-30: 12,000 people of city of Ai, men, women, and children

Judges 1:4: 10,000 Perizzites and Canaanites
Judges 3:20: 10,000 Moabites
Judges 8:10: 120,000 Midianites

1 Samuel 6:19: 50,070 people, in part for looking inside the Ark
2 Samuel 24:15: 70,000 from a plague, Â&#Israel the Lord sent a plague on Isreal”

2 Kings 19:35: 185,000 Assyrians, killed by an angel of the Lord