Monthly Archives: March 2011

I hope NPR does lose its federal funding by Kicknz

Before I get too far into this, I would like to point out that the only radio station I listen to with any regularity is my local public radio station, WUFT.  So, I’m not writing this article as someone that knows nothing of public radio.  Also, my problems with it are not political, as I am not some wild rightwinger.  No, here are my reasons.

I don’t know what public radio’s mission is and I’m not going to look it up.  What I will say is that, having listened to a great deal of it in the car with my dad as a kid, I got the impression that there was supposed to be some sort of commitment to the fine arts, or culturally relevant arts that might not be widely disseminated in a commercial capacity (largely, (Western) classical music and jazz).  Well, if that’s the case, then public radio in Florida has completely fallen off the boat, as my station no longer PLAYS ANY GODDAMN MUSIC.  Except for a few weekly specialty shows, classical and jazz music have been removed and we’ve been left with an all-talk format.

And what a bunch of piece of crap talk-based shows.  Granted, it’s not all bad, but a lot of it is.  Diane Rehm is awful – a terrible, underinformed interviewer that I imagine thinks of herself as a radio Larry King.  This American Life is grating.  Ira Glass should not be allowed anywhere near a microphone and the pettiness of the topics that his show covers is unforgivable, even if it is intentional.  Additionally, it should be called This New York Life, as an inordinate number of the lame stories originate there.

I’m forever annoyed by the sad and constant attempts to be politically correct, like correspondents going waaaayyyy out of their way to pronounce a name “correctly” within the context of some language, especially if it’s Spanish.  But in their ignorance or perhaps arrogance, they pronounce Portuguese names as if they were Spanish, even though the pronunciation rules are very different.  Also, can someone please explain to me why everyone that works for NPR news and “story” programs is either Jewish or Hispanic?  I’m sure that some will find that question to be racist but I’m simply asking a reasonable question based on the large number of members of those groups that work for Fresh Air and Morning Edition, etc.  Are they racially and ethnically profiling?  Are they using quotas?  Are they attempting to hire people that would not find a job in the private sector?  If you are offended by this line of questions, then you are being dishonest with yourself and non-pragmatic.

And, yes, NPR is definitely very left-leaning.  Inskeep and Gross give it away with their inflections in practically every statement.  If you listen to NPR and don’t hear this, then again, you are deluding yourself.

Now, as I said before, I listen to NPR.  It offers the least worst news on the radio that I’m aware of.  There are many good programs that avoid a lot of the biases, PC nonsense, and amateurishness.  My complaints stem from the fact that NPR receives federal assistance.  This is nonsense.  There is no reason the government should be paying for a radio network.

The fact is, if funding were pulled today, NPR (after a name change) would get along just fine as a commercial network.  According to Arbitron ratings, Morning Edition is the SECOND MOST LISTENED TO national radio show.  So, clearly something is being done right.  It just shouldn’t be done with taxpayer’s money.

70 Aspects of Batman: 34

JOHN ROMITA JR.

From Wikipedia:

John Salvatore Romita, Jr. (born August 17, 1956) is an American comic book artist best known for his extensive work for Marvel Comics from the 1970s to the 2000s.

Romita was born in New York City, the son of John Romita, Sr., co-creator of several notable Spider-Man stories in the 1960s and 1970s.

He began his career at Marvel UK, doing sketches for covers of reprints. His American debut was with a six page story entitled “Chaos at the Coffee Bean!” in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #11 (1977).

Romita’s early popularity began with his run on Iron Man with writer David Michelinie and artist Bob Layton which began in 1978. In the early 1980s, he had his first regular run on the Amazing Spider-Man series and also was the artist for the launch of the Dazzler series. Working with writer Roger Stern on Amazing Spider-Man, he co created the character Hobgoblin. From 1983 to 1986 he had a run on the popular Uncanny X-Men with Dan Green and author Chris Claremont which was well-received. He would return for a second well-received run on Uncanny X-Men in 1993.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Romita enjoyed an extended stint on Daredevil with writer Ann Nocenti and Eisner Award-winning inker Al Williamson, noted for its creation of long-running Daredevil nemesis Typhoid Mary. His work on Daredevil was well-received, with Romita Jr. further refining his style.

Romita later collaborated with Frank Miller on a Daredevil origin story entitled Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, a revisiting of the character’s origin. He worked on a host of Marvel titles during the 1990s, including The Punisher War Zone, the Hulk, the Cable mini-series, The Mighty Thor, a return to Iron Man for the second Armor Wars written by John Byrne, and the Punisher/Batman cross-over. Klaus Janson was a frequent inker.

In the 2000s, Romita had a well-received return to The Amazing Spider-Man with writer J. Michael Straczynski. He drew Marvel’s Wolverine with author Mark Millar as part of the character’s thirtieth-anniversary celebration. In 2004, Romita’s creator-owned project The Gray Area was published by Image Comics. Romita’s art has since appeared in Black Panther, The Sentry and Ultimate Vision, a backup story featured in the Ultimate line, written by author Mark Millar.

In 2006, Romita collaborated with writer Neil Gaiman on the reinterpretation of Jack Kirby‘s The Eternals in the form of a seven-issue limited series. Romita worked with Greg Pak on the five issue main comic of Marvel’s 2007 crossover event, World War Hulk.

In 2008, Romita again returned to Amazing Spider-Man. He is also collaborating once more with Mark Millar, for a creator-owned series, Kick-Ass, published by Marvel’s Icon imprint. The Filming of the Movie: Kick-Ass, began in September 2008. Romita, one of the producers, made his directorial debut by directing an animated flashback sequence in the film.

Romita is the regular artist for Avengers, which relaunched the franchise in May 2010.

John Romita Jr. may be the best pure superhero artist working in comics today. Over the course of his over 30 year career he has worked almost exclusively for Marvel Comics, so any images of characters from other companies by him. Fortunately, in the mid-90s before Marvel and DC became parts of huge conglomerates and were still open to crossovers, Romita Jr. drew a Batman/Punisher one-shot. For a reader used to Romita’s work only appearing in Marvel comics, seeing the denizens of Gotham City drawn in his style creates a certain cognitive dissonance…but once the brain adjusts, it’s a great visual experience. To date, apart from a sketch or two, Romita Jr. hasn’t drawn Batman since, which is a shame as his style has become more stripped down and direct as time’s gone on…kind of like this sketch below, done years after the one-shot:

I love this sequence from Batman/Punisher…it’s a well drawn sequence that flows and says a lot about the characters portrayed in it:

G.

Audio Recommendations 3

BraidsNative Speaker (2o11).

Saw these dudettes and dudes last month with Baths. They put on a great show. And the album is great too. Kinda like a better version of Yeasayer.

This is the first song on the album. It’s called “Lemonade”

here they are performing it live:

 

 

Next up, David Sandstrom’s 2000 album, Om Det Inte Hander Nat Innan Imorgon Sa Kommer Jag. I had a hard time choosing a song to share, cuz they’re all epic. Seriously.

This is “Nar Hjartat Svider”

Here’s David and Frida Hyvonen performing some songs from a different album:

 

 

Trans Am’s Thing, from 2010. Listen to it. Fabulous album. Dirty. Dancey. Noisy.

This song is called “Naked Singularity”

Here they are destroying some shit live:

 

 

And finally…

I’ve been listening to Second Coming by The Stone Roses quite a bit. Like Trans Am, these are some sexy songs. However, they’re actually nothing like Trans Am.

This was their comeback single, “Love Spreads”. The guitar is brutal.

and I couldn’t find a good version of this live, so here’s the video:

 

-Scott

ps- parts 1 and 2. and other recommendations.

70 Aspects of Batman: 33

WALT SIMONSON


From Wikipedia:

Walter “Walt” Simonson (born September 2, 1946) is an American comic book writer and artist.

Simonson’s breakthrough illustration job was Manhunter, a backup feature in DC’s Detective Comics written by Archie Goodwin. In a 2000 interview, Simonson recalled that “What Manhunter did was to establish me professionally. Before Manhunter, I was one more guy doing comics; after Manhunter, people in the field knew who I was. It’d won a bunch of awards the year that it ran, and after that, I really had no trouble finding work.”

Simonson is best known for his work on Marvel Comics’ The Mighty Thor and X-Factor (the latter being a collaboration with his wife Louise Simonson). Simonson took nearly complete control of Thor, during which he transformed Thor into a frog for three issues and introduced the supporting character Beta Ray Bill, an alien warrior who unexpectedly proved worthy to wield Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. He started as writer & artist with issue #337 (Nov. 1983) and continued until #367 (May 1986). Sal Buscema became the artist on the title with #368 but Simonson continued to write the book until issue #382 (Aug. 1987).

Simonson became writer of the Fantastic Four with issue #334 (Dec. 1989), and three issues later began penciling and inking as well (#337, coincidentally the same issue number he started as writer & artist of Thor).

From 2003 to 2006, he drew the four issue prestige mini-series Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer, written by Elric‘s creator, Michael Moorcock. This series was collected as a 192 page graphic novel in 2007 by DC. He continued to work for DC in 2006 writing Hawkgirl, with pencillers Howard Chaykin, Joe Bennett, and Renato Arlem.

Recent work includes cover artwork for a Bat Lash mini-series and the ongoing series Vigilante, as well as writing a Wildstorm comic book series based on the online role-playing game World of Warcraft for Wildstorm. The Warcraft series ran 25 issues and was co-written with his wife, Louise Simonson.

Walt Simonson first drew Batman during his acclaimed Manhunter stories with Archie Goodwin; he also drew a handful of issues of both Batman and Detective Comics in the late 70s and early 80s. His last Batman comic art to date was, as far as I can tell, a Batman Black & White story in 1996.

However, he’s found time to do numerous covers and sketches of the Dark Knight over the years in between his legendary runs on The Mighty Thor, Fantastic Four and Orion, to name a few.

 

 

Walt Simonson is one of comic’s true originals in my opinion. Though his debt to Kirby is apparent, he takes that influence and, like John Romita Jr., makes his work unmistakeably his own.

G.

Audio Recommendations 2

Struggling to keep my new year’s resolution.

Part 1  is HERE.

Okay. I promise to put at least one 2011 album in each of these recommendation posts. Here it is:

Jonathan Richman’s O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth. More of the same from this beautiful man. Which is a good thing. What else would you want?

Here’s a song about poseurs. It’s called “My Affected Accent”.

and here he is performing it live:

 

 

You guys have listened to The xx’s self-titled album, right? Well I hadn’t. Whoops. It’s good.

This is “Basic Space”. Love the rhythms.

 

 

Here’s a classic that I’d never listened to. Nina Simone’s Finest Hour.

Although it sounds like a musical at times, “Mississippi Goddam” is brutal. So much passion/emotion. Very real.

 

 

And I’m gonna throw in a classic that’s been getting a lot of play. Lifter Puller’s Soft Rock [disc 1]. This is a collection of everything except their last album.

The song’s called “Viceburgh”…

tiger can’t talk he’s got shoes to shine, said it’s pretty dry
we could try the guy up on first and fifty-ninth if he’s still alive
the callgirl stalls and lets her voicemail take it
she says hey i ain’t here besides i quit that business
the door was locked so we knocked on the next one
and here’s this guy he’s got a bullet-proof vest on
said you guys look desparate,Ill give you an address
said you guys look gorgeous, dig all that blistex

-Scott

ps- for other recommendations, check out the features: Canon Sonique and Stuck on Repeat.