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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Attention Publicists -- Comic Book Galaxy has a strict policy of not promoting the work of known anti-gay rights creators. I bring this up because a publicist today got in touch asking me to provide coverage for a writer well-known for his anti-gay hate speech. Please don't waste my time or yours with press releases or other overtures involving known bigots. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hey There, Hi There, Ho There -- My sincere apologies for the scarcity of posting this month. I won't bother making excuses to you, but I did want to pop in and say that the next major post here should be my Best of 2008 feature, which is under construction and should appear by the end of the year, maybe even on New Year's Eve. Could be the start of a new annual tradition. Or something.

Hey, did you watch The Shield last night? Next-to-last episode, and it totally vindicated my feeling that the show has always been about just how much of a lowlife Vic really is, and that his first shocking offense on-screen would always feature prominently in his ultimate endgame. In fact, I think I noticed something about Vic's apparent get-out-of-jail-free efforts that may be what finally does him in. Next Tuesday can't arrive fast enough for me; last night was the most riveting episode of any TV show I've watched since maybe the Twin Peaks pilot.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The One and Only Susan Arbetter -- I don't think there's a broadcaster I've enjoyed working with more in my over 20 years in radio than Susan Arbetter.

If you live anywhere in New York State, chances are you know her as the host of New York Now, which airs on PBS stations statewide. Perhaps you've read her blog. Maybe you read about her amazing storybook wedding in the New York Times. For three years, I was privileged to work a couple of feet away from her in the WAMC newsroom in Albany, New York. WAMC is Albany's NPR affiliate, and Susan and I toiled together in the station's newsroom, she masterminding The Roundtable, a daily three-hour news and entertainment show, while I produced and hosted a comparitively paltry one-hour news show, Midday Magazine.

If you've seen or heard her work, you know Susan is a brilliant broadcast journalist, insightful, warm and as engaging a presence as you'll find on TV or radio. In the three years we worked together at WAMC, we had many amazing conversations that I'll never forget, and I learned a hell of a lot from her about intellectual honesty and just putting it out there. Knowing her helped me be a little less afraid to express myself, and it's safe to say I'll always cherish the many hours we batted ideas around, laughed at our stupid and brilliant in-jokes, or shared the many and varied treats that found their way into the newsroom, low-fat, low-carb and high-fiber, every last goddamn one of 'em. Right, Susan?

Anyways, these days I'm writing and producing commercials in the foothills of the Adirondacks, while Susan is a famous TV personality and blogger. But she still takes the time to answer my emails, and I stand amazed and honoured that she has the time to reminisce and laugh with me on a regular basis, even if these days it's only in email. I miss the hell out of working with her, it was truly a high point of my career. And like most high points, you don't really realize it until you're looking at it in the rearview mirror.

Anyway, today is Susan's birthday, and I wanted to take a minute to wish her a very happy birthday and many, many returns of the day. I'd share one of those private in-jokes to bring a smile to your face, but the first one I thought of, and one that's most appropriate to the year I've been having, is a dirty little ditty that begins with the words "Here comes..." and then ventures off into NC-17 territory. But Susan, I want you to know I think of that song often, and I always think of you when I do. I'm sure that's both hilarious and incredibly inappropriate, and I can't think of a more appropriate way to wish you a happy birthday. Give Bill a hug for me, and tell him to give you one right back, and from there, just go with wherever the moment takes you, 'kay?


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voted and Bloated -- Got the kids up at 5 AM and my wife and I arrived with them at our polling place about 5:45 AM. We were helpfully informed we couldn't vote until 6 ("Yep, we know.") and patiently waited while they prepped the machine and got out the voter rolls. My wife and I were voters #1 and 2 at our polling place, and then it was off to Denny's for a huge breakfast to celebrate our little contribution to democracy. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, toast, all of that was consumed at our table, and then my wife decided to go totally insane and top it off with a piece of turtle cheesecake. For breakfast. Let's hope that's the most egregious thing that happens this Election Day.

I've got my fingers crossed, America*. Do. Not. Let. Me. Down.

* Yes, my optimism, like the Olympics and Presidential elections, only comes once every four years.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Bitter End or New Beginning? -- Well, this is it. In a few hours, the citizens of Los Estados Unidos will begin casting their votes, then rigged voting machines will alter the tallies, and then there may be some doubt or even litigation, and within just a few short weeks we may never know who was actually elected president, but we'll know who will occupy the White House beginning on 20 January 2009.

If I sound fed up and cynical, well, I am. Most people with functioning brains and ethical systems are fed up at this point -- a point I reached sometime back in December of 2000, as I never seem to tire of ranting at anyone who will listen. I remember talking to a leftie friend of mine prior to the 2004 election and him, hopeful of a Kerry win (as we now know even Kerry was not), asking me what it would take to turn things around in our country. "Blood in the streets," I said, and sighed, knowing Americans were just too fat and happy to ever get worked up enough to actually resist the ongoing, lawless coup that began in December of 2000 and has resulted in the virtual destruction of our nation's reputation, decency and economy.

Bush and his gang of well-heeled thugs have quite literally brought the United States to the brink of its own end, and tomorrow night we'll see if enough people have seen through their apocalyptic scam or not, and if enough people get out and try to turn things around in numbers so huge that even the widespread attempts at voter suppression will be helpless in the face of the desire for change and a return to the rule of law and respect for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I would love to never feel the need to write about politics or the economy or any of these subjects again. I really don't know if Barack Obama will have the resources and will to turn this country around and make it great again, but one thing is for certain: If John McCain manages to get into the White House, by means fair or foul (and really, I'm being generous allowing that he could win fair and square), then the endgame of our civilization has begun, and sooner or later there really will be blood in the streets. This is a nation that can stand no further tearing down, and that is what McCain and his imbecile running mate represent. The stain and disgrace of a McCain/Palin win will make our country even more of a disgrace in the eyes of a world that, back on September 12th, 2001, had all the respect and love for us that it ever would have. In the past few years Bush and company have not only squandered the goodwill we bought in blood the day the towers fell, but they have cynically and blatantly defiled the memory of those who died on September 11th, and wantonly and with great contempt for every concept of ethics or morals ever conceived, they have gone on to commit more war crimes and atrocities than almost any other regime in human history. It is staggering to comprehend the murder and chaos of the Bush administration, but even more staggering -- almost impossible to believe, really -- that the people of the United States largely stood by and let it happen.

In less than 48 hours, the United States can send a signal to the world that we have seen the error of our ways and want to once again stand on the world stage with dignity and honour, committed to the justice, freedom and equality we have allowed to be suppressed in our grief and disbelief since 11 September, 2001. If Obama wins, we have sent that signal. If McCain wins, we can still send that signal, but it will take much more work, much more outrage, and it will require every decent human being living in this country to take a stand and say NO MORE.

Have you had enough yet? If not, how much further does your nation need to fall? If so, get out tomorrow and start working to make up for all that we've sat back and allowed to happen. If Barack Obama doesn't take possession of the White House on January 20th, then there really is no hope left for peaceful change in the United States, and nothing left to talk about. We can take action by voting tomorrow, or we can condemn ourselves to a much more violent and lengthy period of change, one from which there never will really be a hope of recovery. I'm hoping we can do it in a day, and my wife and I will be up before dawn to do our part.

How about you?


Saturday, November 01, 2008


Ivan Brunetti Audio Interview -- Here's a new interview with cartoonist Ivan Brunetti, conducted a few days ago, in which I talk to him about his new book, An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories Vol. 2, published by Yale University Press.

The book is a massive slab of good comics, wrapped up in a brilliant cover by cartoonist Dan Clowes. No one who loves comics will be disappointed in the bounty to be found in this second volume of Brunetti-selected comics.

The file is a 12MB MP3 download, and is about 13 minutes long.

My thanks to Ivan for taking the time to talk to me, especially when he was feeling a little under the weather; and thanks also to the folks at Yale University Press for helping set up the interview.






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