UPCOMING COMIC CONVENTION: Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con!

UPCOMING COMIC CONVENTION: WIZARD WORLD Philadelphia Comic Con!

Join tens of thousands of fans as they converge on the Pennsylvania Convention Center at Philadelphia Comic Con Wizard World Convention to celebrate the best in pop culture. Philadelphia Comic Con brings it all – Movies, Comics, Toys, Video Gaming, Games, TV, Graphic Novels, Horror, Wrestling, MMA, Original Art, Collectibles, Anime, Manga & More! Philadelphia Comic Con is brought to you by the group who produces the most widely attended Comic Con tour!

“Bringing together the five Captains from the iconic ‘Star Trek’ series, capped with the addition of the legendary Sir Patrick Stewart, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our fans,” said John Macaluso, Wizard World CEO. “They and other standout guests like Chris Hemsworth, William Shatner and Stan Lee make Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con a can’t-miss event.”

A four day event that runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (31 May 2012 to 3 Jun 2012) at:

PENNSYLVANIA CONVENTION CENTER
1101 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107.

I’ll probably do Saturday, to catch all the actors panels, Q&As I’m interested.

View full list of programming here!

Why do you care if Avengers, or Dark Knight Rises, or Prometheus in Imax 3D makes a boat-load of Money?

As I’m wont to do, I tend to keep abreast of the entertainment news, specifically film. One thing I’ve been hearing quite a lot in the wake of the Avengers film is talk of it making over a billion dollars. And I listen to the fervor and sense of ownership all these writers and pod-casters are going on with about this financial mark. And I have to ask ‘Why’?

I mean I enjoy the Avengers movie, as much as anyone, arguably more than most people will in 6 months. By that I mean it’s an interesting hive mind approach that occurs in popular films as well as other things, where people’s steadfast belief in whether a movie is good and bad fluctuates with the slightest derision or the popular opinion of the day.

AVENGERS was and is a great movie full stop. Pacing wise, action, wise, story wise. But now barely two weeks into its release you hear a few people say, “oh well the first half was slow”, and people I heard broadcast not even a week ago how great the film was, begin to backpedal and parrot “Oh well the beginning was a little slow”. We live in a monopolized society where the individual is so scared to have an unpopular opinion, to the point that a lot of their opinions generally are not worth the breath they take to say it, or the paper they take to write it.

They have the spineless nature of slugs.

Same change of opinion (but to both a lesser and greater degree) happened to the Bryan Singer film SUPERMAN RETURNS. First week, people came out raving and loving that film. The Airplane scene, the bullet to the eye. It was a solid very good movie. But less than a week later, people began picking up the mantra of ‘why’s the kid there’ and ‘lex again’ and ‘Lois’. And you could see the ship of public opinion so to speak, turn. And people who initially were overjoyed about the film, started backpedaling, “Well, yeah I didn’t really say it was good.”. Until now a few years later people routinely call that movie awful and one of the worst.

It’s something I’ve noticed, Something that is not just American, because I’ve listened to enough British pod-casters do the same thing. So many are seemingly so afraid to hold an opinion derided or frowned upon or be seen cherishing something not embraced by their ‘friends’ or even their ‘enemies’.

It’s a lack of conviction, to anything you believe. Obvious symptoms of a propagandized population, so used to embracing any lie, that will keep it from having to alone, look at uncomfortable truths.

So yeah, when I say I enjoy the AVENGERS more than most people will in 6 months, that’s not me having you on, it’s just a fact. I’m not swayed by the mob.

I thought SUPERMAN RETURNS was a fun, solid B movie when I first saw it, and I still think so. I think AVENGERS is a brilliant, surprisingly so, Grade A movie today, and will think the same thing 5 years from today, when most of you have been pushed far afield of any opinion you may have had on the film.

I mean there’s nothing wrong with changing your opinion, if it’s your change, your growth, your adaptation. But that’s not what’s happening. What’s happening is a propagandized population taught by the media to have no constants, no ideals, no values, that will not be torn down; have learned to make their opinions on shifting sands, always ready to be remade at the slightest rise of the tide.

Superman Returns [Blu-ray] 2008 Remastered Version

Which brings us back to the original concern. Why are you celebrating or in any manner cheering the AVENGERS making over a Billion dollars?

Beyond just financial interest, I could care less if the movie breaks even, does 400 million, or does a billion. Honestly I don’t really have a stake in it if it loses money.

Of course liking the film, it’s nice if it doesn’t bomb, for the simple fact it would be nice to see more films by a competent director like Joss Whedon.

But it’s not a passion, I don’t have a dog in this fight. If I’m the studio, or someone with a percentage share in the film, hell yeah I’m celebrating every dime it makes. Or in the days when people from your neighborhood actually owned movie theaters and that blockbuster money actually cycled locally, rather than just getting funneled out of the community to make fat cats fatter, I might be happy.

But none of that is the case. I don’t personally know a single person who is in any way going to profit, by making a monopolized studio and theatrical system a billion dollars richer. All this did is take a billion dollars from a lot of little pockets, and put it into a very few big pockets.

Now I’m not making a deal on that. I went to see the movie like everyone else, but you can be damn sure I’m not celebrating this state of affairs either.

AVENGERS makes a billion dollars, okay. I accept it as a fact. But honestly, until such time as those funds and profits get distributed to real theaters and real people (a billion dollars, hell you can afford to hire real projectionists, pay the ushers, and ticket takers a real wage, get real popcorn and healthy drinks, etc, etc…but you’ll drop dead waiting for that money to trickle down. In fact all the studios can talk about is reducing costs at the local level and maximizing profits by digitizing everything), I have no interest in celebrating billionaires becoming bigger billionaires.

Beyond a movie breaking even to keep a good director or actor I like viable, that’s where my interest in what a film makes or does not make… ends. Some people were complaining because TRANSFORMERS:DARK OF THE MOON was a box office success. Who cares? I personally don’t get the Michael Bay hate, but as we’ve established I don’t follow the crowd.

Michael Bay is a talented director who puts bodies in seats. Some films of his I like, some I don’t. I loved his first film BAD BOYS, and loved his last film DARK OF THE MOON (which the end of the AVENGERS was more than a little like) and in-between like any other director he has been hit and miss. But even the movies I don’t like I don’t wish them ill at the box-office. What sense does that make?

If you don’t like a movie, does that mean everyone has to wish it ill and hate it as well? Does that mean you have to begrudge it its success?

I personally hated Nolan’s first Batman movie, and thought his DARK KNIGHT while better, was still flawed and over-hyped. So not really a Nolan fan, but I don’t begrudge his films their success. As stated, what Billionaires do or don’t make.. not concerned.

When some of that tremendous profit begins cycling back into the communities, well then that will be something to feel pride and ownership of.

PODCAST OF THE DAY: A Group Interview on A Wizard Of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

“So it came to my imagination, that Fantasy has been so lily-white, so northern European, let’s just turn it on its head. That’s the simplest way to reverse a train, turn it inside out…it’s only quite recently…that I’ve heard from people, some of them are just kids, some of them are remembering back to when they first read the Earth Sea Books. People of color telling me that was the first fantasy they ever felt included in, and what it meant to them. And I tell you, it moved me very much.” — Ursula K. Leguin

Podcast of the Day: National Endowment for the Arts Presents: Big Read: A Group Interview on A Wizard Of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

For more on the National Endowment of the Arts and EarthSea, go here!

“Earthsea is a creation of Ursula K. Le Guin. The original Trilogy was composed of A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), The Tombs of Atuan (1971), and The Farthest Shore (1972). The fourth book, Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea was published in 1990. A number of stories have now been published as Tales from Earthsea (2001) and a fifth novel, The Other Wind, also came out in late 2001. The first published story in the Earthsea world was The Word of Unbinding, which was originally published in Fantastic (1964) and later reprinted in The Wind’s Twelve Quarters (1975). The series has won a number of awards.”–scv.bu.edu

“It consists of three short novels, the longest just over 200 small pages in my old Puffin edition. And, though adults can read it without feeling at all out of place, it is written for children — “For readers of eleven and over” the covers say, though it could be read by, or to, very much younger children. But the Earthsea trilogy is still the first work that comes to mind when I’m asked “The Lord of the Rings, yes, but what then?”

A Taoist conception of “Balance” underlies Earthsea: the use of magic is dangerous, and can destabilise the natural order. And there are many patterns and parallels in the trilogy. A Wizard of Earthsea is about a young man’s coming of age, in which he attends an all-male school for wizards, and much of it is set at sea; The Tombs of Atuan is a young woman’s coming of age in an all-female temple complex, and much of it happens underground. And so forth. None of this is explicit, however, nor is conscious understanding of it at all necessary for appreciation of the novels. They are, first and foremost, spellbinding stories, with memorable characters.

There are now sequels to the Earthsea trilogy. Fifteen years later Le Guin wrote Tehanu, which is often coupled with these three novels to form an Earthsea “Quartet”. Tehanu is different in many ways, however — it is not a children’s book, for one thing — and I consider its inclusion in one volume with the trilogy to be misguided. More recently has come The Other Wind and a book of short stories, Tales From Earthsea.

I would not normally have considered reviewing the Earthsea books: they have received plenty of academic criticism and have been set texts in schools, so they should need no promotion. (Though the cynical might argue quite the opposite.) I keep running into people, however, who rave about Harry Potter and claim to be fantasy fanatics, but who haven’t heard of Earthsea.”— Danny Yee of Danny Reviews

“The Sci-Fi channel aired a 2-part, 4-hour miniseries based on the first two books in December, 2004… Ursula Le Guin… railed against it [Leguin discusses eloquently the whitewashing of her novel here] and I can not in any way recommend it… this is an absolute travesty against a wonderful piece of fantasy literature.” —scv.bu.edu

“I reread the whole thing once a year. Kid’s fantasy doesn’t get better than this. Actually, grownup fantasy doesn’t get better than this. The whole series is a virtuous performance from one of the greatest writers ever to work in the genre. The Tombs of Atuan (vol. 2) is probably my personal favorite; it has a special magic both because of the Borgesian labyrinth setting, and because it’s one of the first and greatest feminist subversions of epic fantasy. But A Wizard of Earthsea (vol 1) is probably the single most perfect fantasy book ever written. It distills the essence of epic fantasy into its purest form and restates it in deceptively simple prose that rises to the level of poetry.”— Chris Moriarty at GOOD READS.com

The Earthsea Quartet (Puffin Books)


So take a listen to the audio (don’t listen to the whole thing until after you read the books, you’ll know when to stop. Around the 17 minute mark), avoid the SciFi/SyFy channel series and all work by its director Robert Lieberman :), and pick up a copy of Ursula’s four book series here.

And generally just enjoy the source, the progenitor for later fictions such as HARRY POTTER and the MAGICIANS.

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WEDNESDAYS WORDS

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.

Robert S. Duncanson, 19th century Black romantic painter (The Sigma Pi Phi series)
Parks, James Dallas.
ROBERT S. DUNCANSON: 19th Century Black Romantic Painter.
Washington, DC: Associated Publishers, Inc., A Division of the Association For The Study of Afro-American Life and History, Inc., 1980.
x, 60 pp., 25 b&w illus., chronol., catalogue of works. Appendices include letters from Duncanson and note from Mrs. Ruth E. Showes, “A Relative”; letter concerning Duncanson’s illness from his wife Phoebe. 8vo (24 cm.), cloth.

When the Death-Bat Flies: The Detective Stories of Norvell Page

When the Death-Bat Flies: The Detective Stories of Norvell Page- Best known for his Spider pulp stories, scribe Norvell Page was a master mystery writer as well. This 800-page book collects over 30 of Page’s detective stories from the pages of DETECTIVE TALES, THE SPIDER, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY and STRANGE DETECTIVE MYSTERIES, most of which have never been reprinted before. Includes an all-new introduction by Will Murray.

Dead Dolls Don’t Talk / Hunt the Killer / Too Hold to Hold

Three short thrillers that offer variations on the theme of the innocent person caught up in murderous events. Dead Dolls Don t Talk (1959) allows a juror to find out what it s like to be on the other side of the law. Hunt the Killer (1951) is the story of a man just out from prison who is newly framed for a killing he didn t commit. And Too Hot to Hold (1959) is a case of mistaken identity that escalates when greed takes the place of common sense.


City of Corpses: The Weird Mysteries of Ken Carter

“Reading Page is like grabbing a live electrical wire. . . . Once you take hold, you can’t let go until the story comes to an end. Page paced his stories at one speed only-runaway locomotive.

“When it comes to writing grab-your-throat and hurtle-you-along at a hundred miles an hour fiction, there’s nobody better.”

—Robert Weinberg, from his introduction

From the author of The Spider, here are seven tales of weird mystery and strange crime. Follow Ken Carter as he unravels seven strange cases.

Bonus: Also included is a 1935 article by Norvell Page explaining his approach to writing.

With an introduction by Robert Weinberg.

Cover art by Walter M. Baumhofer.

Stories include:

Hell’s Music
City of Corpses
Statues of Horror
Gallows Ghost
The Devil’s Hoof
The Sinister Embrace
Satan’s Sideshow
“How I Write” by Norvell Page

Hank & Muddy


In steamy Shreveport, Louisiana, two musical legends-in-the-making come together: a whiskey-soaked country singer named Hank Williams and blues artist Muddy Waters. What they’ve got in common over several hectic days of drinking, singing and whoring is an interest in staying alive despite local mobsters, bent cops, and a truckload of Ku Klux Klansmen. Then there’s the bankrobber’s daughter.


The Spider VS. The Empire State: The Complete Black Police Trilogy [Paperback]
Norvell Page – THEY SAID IT COULDN’T HAPPEN HERE. THEN THEY SAID ONE MAN COULDN’T STOP IT! Richard Wentworth spent his vigilante career as The Spider always in the shadows. Now evil acted in broad daylight. The Party of Justice swept into office, rewriting the laws of New York state overnight to benefit their criminal backers and make slaves of its people. This American Reichstag gave itself sweeping powers and raised a private army to exert its malevolent will. How could The Spider hope to stop a criminal conspiracy as big as the state itself? This time The Master of Men would go beyond taking the lives of evildoers… by bringing Hope to the tyrannized citizens of the Empire State! The “Black Police Trilogy” is author Norvell Page’s classic pulp fiction Nazi allegory from 1938. Originally published in three consecutive months of The Spider Magazine, the novels “The City That Paid To Die”, “The Spider at Bay”, and “Scourge of the Black Legions” are collected in book form for the first time! The Spider VS. The Empire State: The Complete Black Police Trilogy


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

Sponsored by Ebay Store: Deals of the Day!

FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS Episode #2


Well the first episode of FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS was well received, so I thought it was worthwhile to kick out episode #… TWO!!!!

This new segment basically will select four or five followers of this blog (thanks to all of you who are now following this blog) and/or blogs I follow and just promote particularly interesting things I find on their pages:

Okay onto the promoting :):

Derrick Ferguson who is a fantastic pulp writer, a podcasting guru (I gave praise to his podcast BETTER IN THE DARK last time, you can subscribe to it here), as well as a great supporter of this blog, runs his own fun blog that covers flicks old and new. And even when I don’t share his enjoyment for certain movies (Ang Lee’s HULK,CLASH OF THE TITANS remake :)) his reviews are informed and fun reads. Great reviews on current flicks such as JOHN CARTER and classic flicks such as BUCK AND THE PREACHER. Take a gander here.

Jill of All Trades who writes the blog EXPERT OF NONE, has a really great blog post, that I think is applicable to a growing number of people in this economy. Namely, adults returning to school to advance their career or change their career path.

In my Dad’s day you got hired onto a job, and you stayed in it, till you retired with a pension and the thanks of a grateful company, or you dropped dead… whichever came first. But times have changed, corporate America has for the most part done away with the concept of pensions and indeed long term employees.

It’s a far more mercenary market today, where employers feel adversarial to employees and often to their customer base. So in this market, an employee has to expect to spend more time in job transition scenarios.

So Jill of All Trades really sums it up in one incredibly informative post. Her post was just what I needed to come across. Excellent job Jill of All Trades! And to those of you out there, like me, thinking of getting in some more education, whether for credit or just for life experience… swing by and check out her post here.

MesAyah- – Norwegian rapper does a writing a day, and also lists some of his favorite music. Swing by the blog and take a look here. Good stuff.

Brad runs the popular blog JIVIN ME TURKEY and on his site he picks out a movie and a quote from it, to highlight. Always fun stuff, the Mark Twain quote being a personal favorite. Swing by here and give a gander.

Jackie runs the site GET READING NOW. She has a fun review of several books. take a look here.

And last but certainly not least for this installment, Lesley and her husband run the hugely popular travel and adventure website BUCKET LIST PUBLICATIONS. One look at her site will either make you want to run out and jump out of perfectly good planes or seek medical attention. I’m leaning toward the latter. :) But in all seriousness it’s a great site for the travel and adventure minded!!

************

Thanks for looking and come back next time for more… FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS! :) . Oh and here’s the link to episode #1.

2012 MOVIE Review : THE Verdict is in! AVENGERS… Avenged!!! :)

You are reading this either because you saw the film and want to compare your experience with others, or haven’t seen the film, and want to get a general idea of what people thought of it. I’ll answer both demographics, without going into details about the film.

I think most of you coming to this blog know, my grumpy persona aside I’m not a contrarian. I’m not one of these IMDB idiots who rate all films either 1 or 5 (on a 5 star system, I use a 4 star system), the concept of grading and gradations seemingly lost on them.

That said neither am I a bandwagon jumper who is going to praise a film when it’s trendy to do so, and eviscerate it when it is trendy to do so.(SUPERMAN RETURNS and TITANIC being two movies with more than their share of flip-floppers).

I often listen to pod-casts, and it is amazing how often you can hear one person excited by a film, but then his friends don’t like the film, so you can hear the person backtrack from his/her position, so they can be in line with the likes of their ‘friends’.

An anthropologist might define it as a clannish race survival technique (“Bubba let’s go lynch that thar 12 year old boy, for looking at that thar white woman.” “Why Bubba Senior, that thar’s a fine idea. Hyuck. Hyuck. Hyuck.”), I’ve always just defined it as cowardice.

I’m saying my good opinion or my bad is not formed by the whims of the mob.

Never has been. Never will be.

So if I give you a review you can be sure it is my review, my considered opinion… and I stand behind it.

So my considered opinion on the AVENGERS movie?

Joss Whedon, whose other film this year CABIN IN THE WOODS I wasn’t a fan of (more due to the first time Director on that film, than to Whedon’s script), here in his role as Director and Writer, knocks this film out of the park.

THE AVENGERS is… I’m trying to avoid hyperbole here, leaving that to everyone else, but it has to be said… it is a FANTASTIC film.

It’s as smart as CABIN IN THE WOODS, but with Whedon behind the camera you also get characters and moments you really care about. You get the pathos to go with the pomp and circumstance.

I mean how do you pull this off? The culmination of all these films, all this planning, all these actors, how do you pull it together and make it work and make it live up to expectations? It is really an amazingly ambitious film, a daunting prospect, and Joss Whedon… does it.

It’s really rare for me to laugh out loud in a film, I laughed out loud numerous times in this film, just because it is so knowing, and so sharp, and so biting, and so friggin fun!!!

I’m so glad I went into this film without watching a bunch of trailers or features, or ruining any surprises because I just had a ball. And along with the fun, Whedon gave space and weight to the tragedy, something that is glossed over sometimes in epic films. The weight and cost of this battle. Whedon never loses sight of the street level view, the common men and women caught in the midst of a war of Gods and Monsters.

The humanity he imbues the attack scene with is reminiscent of Mimi Leder’s phenomenal direction in the criminally underrated Clooney action film PEACEMAKER. Where every loss and every life… was felt.


The Peacemaker (Widescreen Edition)

And going along with that, for a big, loud, blow stuff up action flick on par with Bay’s TRANSFORMERS:DARK OF THE MOON (which the battle scenes bear a resemblance to) everyone gets a chance to actually act and emote in this film. Whedon’s TV/Buffy dialog/experience serving the film well.

Every principal actor really gets a chance to shine, Scarlett Johanson, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo (Who I didn’t think could fill Ed Norton’s shoes, is phenomenal. Both as Banner and the Jade Giant he has some of the great scenes/lines in the film), Downey, they all bring it. And big kudos to Tom Hiddleston who plays Loki as more than one dimensional, but with charm and depth to match his machinations.

Anything more would be me… gushing. Suffice to say, if my math is correct this is the 6th Marvel Studios film, the culmination of half a dozen years, and their shared Universe experiment, and they pull it off. Creating a cinematic climax to this multi-year and multi-film storyline that is actually bigger and better than the films leading up to it.

I’m seldom the guy to tip my hat to MARVEL, but you have to give them their due. STAR WARS couldn’t do it (RETURN not quite living up to the greatness of EMPIRE), STAR TREK every other film is bad and they are all one off stories, BOND also is one off stories, INDIANA JONES no, MATRIX… no, LORD OF THE RINGS … no, but Marvel Studios managed to end their ambitious story… even stronger than they began it (Though it is worth noting that the heart of this whole AVENGERS cinematic concept, starts with one writer, Mark Millar of WANTED and KICK-ASS fame. His vision is what Marvel Studios followed from page to screen. And in the dozen years since his ULTIMATES comics, his involvement is perhaps not credited as much as it should be).

The AVENGERS storyline that began with the first IRON MAN, went out on a high-note with this film. Arguably only Harry Potter could claim to have as effectively told a story over multiple films. Plus they give us a great teaser at the end, can you say…. awww but that would be telling! :)

Go see the film. It’s earned its praise. Highest Recommendation A+.

And read more about the Avengers, here [Definite spoilers :)]:

The Ultimates: Ultimate Collection

The Ultimates 2: Ultimate Collection

Ultimate Comics Avengers by Mark Millar Omnibus

Avengers: Kree/Skrull War

And these books will get you up to speed with the teaser at the end of the film:

Essential Warlock – Volume 1

Essential Captain Marvel, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1)

Essential Captain Marvel, Vol. 2 (Marvel Essentials)

Infinity Gauntlet

AVENGERS vs PEPSI vs MICHAEL JACKSON?? Star forced to continue dancing after his death??!!

Okay so on this big AVENGERS day, what could bump the AVENGERS from the top spot on my blog? Would you believe a dead Michael Jackson?

Okay it has recently been announced that Pepsi bought the use of Michael Jackson’s image from his estate.

It reads:

“On Thursday [3 May 2012], Pepsi announced a deal with the late King of Pop’s estate that allows the brand to use his image for its new global marketing push.

READ: Will Michael Jackson Be Back in Hologram Form?

According to PepsiCo, the nature of the promotion will vary by country, but will include a TV ad, special-edition Pepsi cans featuring Jackson’s image and chances to download remixes of his biggest hits.

Pepsi’s chief creative officer, Brad Jakeman, said the broader Live for Now campaign took 10 months to develop and its aim is to amplify the company’s strong ties with pop culture.”— Eonline

I am not a fan of Pepsi to begin with, high-fructose corn syrup filled muck, but this… this is something scummy… even for them. It’s like the John Wayne and Fred Astaire commercials. Or the recent CASABLANCA footage, co-opted into an ad… it’s an abomination and a violation.

An image isn’t something like a car or a house, like talent it is not something that can or should be bequeathed from or to someone else, not something to be sold.

His estate sold his image???

An image, like talent, is not the estate’s to sell. And it is not Pepsi’s to buy.

If at any time you had called yourself a fan of Michael Jackson, either the boy star, or the teen phenomenon, or the young adult superstar, or even the confused/tragic/and beleaguered but no less talented Hughsian adult he left this world as, then honor him by letting Pepsi know your displeasure with their 21st century digital slavery plans.

How do you let a multi-billion dollar company know you’re not happy? You cut into their bottom line.

You stop giving them money.

In Pepsi’s case it means finding alternatives to the following:

Pepsi-co Assets:

Frito-Lay
Gatorade
Quaker Oats
Tropicana
Elma Chips (Brazil)

Products[1]

Breakfast Bars
Quaker Chewy Granola Bars
Quaker Chewy Granola Cocoa Bars
Quaker Dipps Granola Bars
Quaker Fruit & Oatmeal Bars
Quaker Life Bar
Quaker Oatmeal to Go Bars
Coffee Drinks
Seattle’s Best Coffee
Starbucks DoubleShot
Starbucks Frappuccino
Starbucks Iced Coffee
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group
Dr. Pepper
7up
Squirt
A&W Root Beer
Canada Dry
Crush
Hawaiian Punch
Deja Blue
Diet Rite
Country Time (Under license from Kraft Foods)
Gini
Hires
IBC Root Beer
Orangina (Only owned by Pepsico everywhere else Suntory owns it)
Welch’s (Under license from Welch’s)
Peñafiel
Margaritaville
Mistic
Mr. & Ms. T
Mott’s
Nantucket Nectars
Nehi
RC Cola
ReaLemon
Rose’s Lime Juice
Schweppes
Snapple
Stewart’s Fountain Classics
Sun Drop
Tahitian Treat
Venom Energy Drink
Vernors
Yoo-hoo
Energy Drinks
AMP Energy
No Fear Energy Drinks
Rockstar Energy
SoBe Energy Drinks
Cap’n Crunch Cereal
King Vitaman Cereal
Kretschmer Toasted Wheat Germ

Quaker Life Cereal

Mother’s Ready-to-Eat & Hot Cereals
Quaker Essentials
Quaker Grits
Quaker Instant Oatmeal
Quaker Natural Granola Cereal
Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
Quaker Oh!s Cereal
Quaker Puffed Rice
Quaker Shredded Wheat Cereal
Quaker Oatmeal Squares Cereal
Quisp Cereal
Other
AMP Energy Gum
Aunt Jemima Mixes & Syrups
Quaker Baking Mixes
Rice Snacks
Quaker Large Rice Cakes
Quaker Mini Delights
Quaker Quakes
Quaker Tortillaz
Side Dishes
Near East Side Dishes
Pasta Roni Side Dishes
Rice-A-Roni Side Dishes
Snacks
Baked! Cheetos Snacks
Baked! Doritos Tortilla Chips
Baked! Lay’s Potato Crisps
Baked! Ruffles Potato Chips
Baked! Tostitos Tortilla Chips
Baken-ets Pork Skins and Cracklins
Cheetos Cheese Flavored Snacks
Chester’s Flavored Fries
Chester’s Popcorn
Cracker Jack Candy Coated Popcorn
Doritos Tortilla Chips
El Isleno Plaintain CHips
Frito-Lay, Fritos, and Tostitos Dips & Salsas
Frito-Layngh Nuts & Seeds
Fritos Corn Chips
Funyons Onion Flavored Rings
Gamesa Cookies and Wafers
Grandma’s Cookies
Hickory Sticks
Hostess Potato Chips
Lay’s Kettle Cooked Potato Chips
Lay’s Potato Chips
Lay’s Stax Potato Crisps
Lay’s Wavy Potato Chips

Meat Snacks

Maui Style Potato Chips
Miss Vicky’s Potato Chips
Munchies Snack Crackers
Munchies Snack Mix
Munchos Potato Crisps
Natural Cheetos
Natural Lay’s
Natural Ruffles
Natural Tostitos
Nut Harvest Nuts
Rold Gold Pretzels
Ruffles Potato Chips
Sabritones Puffed Wheat Snacks
Santitas Tortille Chips
Smartfood Popcorn
Smartfood Popcorn Clusters
Spitz Seeds
Stacy’s Pita and Bagel Chips
SunChips Multigrain Snacks
Tostitos Artisan Recipes Tortilla Chips
Tostito’s Tortilla Chips
Soft Drinks (original Pepsi brands)
Diet Pepsi
Diet Mountain Dew
Diet Sierra Mist
Mountain Dew
Mug Soft Drinks
Pepsi
Pepsi Max
Mirinda
Sierra Mist Natural
Sports Nutrition
Gatorade G Series Prime 01
Gatorade Thirst Quencher – G Series Perform 02
Gatorade G Series Recover 03
Gatorade G2
Gatorade Natural
Gatoradgfne G2 Natural
Gatorade G Series FIT Prime 01 Pre-Workout Fuel
Gatorade G Series FIT Perform 02 Workout Hydration
Gatorade G Series FIT Recover 03 Post-Workout Recovery
Gatorade G Series PRO 01 Nutrition Shake
Gatorade G Series PRO 01 Nutrition Bar
Gatorade G Series PRO 01 Carbohydrate Energy Formula
Gatorade G Series PRO 02 Endurance Formula
Gatorade G Series PRO 02 Perform Gatorlytes
Gatorade G Series PRO 03 Protein Recovery Shake
Gatorade G Series PRO Prime +
Gatorade G Series PRO Recover +
Water Products
Aquafina
Aquafina FlavorSplash
Propel Zero
SoBe Lifewater

Long list, but considering I don’t eat corn chips or most corn based products or msg or any modified corn-starch laced products, or drink high-fructose filled beverages (ie stuff not known for its health benefits); it’s incredibly easy for me to avoid everything on this list.

Only stuff I was getting was occasionally Tropicana and Aquafina and now that I know they are owned by Pepsi, I can definitely do without them.

And no, I’m not suggesting this boycott of Pepsi because I’m a Michael Jackson fan. It’s about more than that.

I haven’t been a music follower for a while, or heard anything by Michael Jackson in a while, but I respect that a man’s image, not his likeness (ie caricature, or drawing, or performance) but a man’s actual image, is not something to be owned by another man. This country has an unresolved history with trying to own what is not theirs to own.

Utter nonsense, you say. Utter fiction.

Unfortunately we live in a time, where technology is every day making of our fiction… facts.

This precedent set, can affect any actor, any person. Robert Downey Jr or Jeremy Renner or Samuel L. Jackson sold by their estates after their deaths; to speak lines or support causes or candidates they would have never done in their life.

Isn’t that a violation, for anyone?

For you, and you, and you over in the corner?

And because they are actors it should be no less a violation. You offer not your soul, when you offer a performance.

You do not lose… the rights of man.

Except Pepsi says… perhaps you do.

So Pepsi should be reminded of the… tactlessness of their plan.

The products above… stop purchasing them.

Ingredients wise, you’re not going to be missing much, as they are labeled junk food for a reason.

And I would love to know the money grubbing member of Jackson’s estate who got rich, selling the image, and no doubt if they could, the soul of Michael Jackson to the highest bidder.

Send a message, that there is such a thing… as decency, as propriety.

Send a tweet, or email (or whatever you kids do) to Pepsi, saying…”boycotting you because of Michael Jackson ad plans.”

Let them know.

Let them all know.

That there is such a thing, as the rights of man.

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.


Sketchtravel [Hardcover]
Gerald Guerlais (Foreword), Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi (Foreword) Sketchtravel

The Sketchtravel is a unique international charity art project. This red sketchbook was passed from one artist’s hand to another like an Olympic torch in an artistic relay through 12 countries over 4 and half years.

A total of 71 artists, over the course of 4.5 years, contributed to this traveling museum, including Bill Plympton, Enrico Casarosa, John Howe, James Jean, Scott Campbell, Dice Tsutsumi, Peter de Seve, character designers Carter Goodrick and Nicolas Marlet, veteran animators like Glean Keane and even Koji Morimoto and Hayao Miyazaki.

Can you say “an easy and essential purchase at the price”? Something of a one of a kind collectible.

The Frazetta Sketchbook [Hardcover]
Frank Frazetta (Author), J. David Sopurlock (Author) The Frazetta Sketchbook

It’s Frazetta, and it’s an artbook. What more do you need?

Big John Buscema: Comics & Drawings [Hardcover]
Publication Date: July 3, 2012 Big John Buscema: Comics & Drawings

John Buscema has been called one of the finest comic artists who ever put pen to paper. His work for Marvel Comics on The Avengers, Thor, The Fantastic Four, and Silver Surfer are all classics, highly regarded by fans from around the world. The same is true for his definitive rendition of Conan the Barbarian – Buscema breathed life into Robert E. Howard’s legendary creation in a manner that has rarely been rivaled. IDW is proud to announce the first American publication of John Buscema: Comics & Drawings, a special edition of the fine art catalog created for the most extensive exhibition of Buscema’s art ever staged. Weighing in at nearly 300-pages, this gorgeous hardcover book is a dream come true for fans of the visual mastery of John Buscema, an artist who’s ilk we are unlikely to see again.


Prometheus: The Art of the Film [Hardcover]
Mark Salisbury (Author), Ridley Scott (Foreword)Prometheus: The Art of the Film

Visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott returns to the genre he helped define, creating an original science fiction epic set in the most dangerous corners of the universe. The movie takes a team of scientists and explorers on a thrilling journey that will test their physical and mental limits and strand them on a distant world, where they will discover the answers to our most profound questions and to life’s ultimate mystery.

With an introduction by Scott himself, this lavish book will be the only publication to accompany Prometheus. Stunning production art and behind the scenes photos will grant the reader a window on the process of creating this astounding new epic.

I’m not really a fan of movie art books. In fact I own a grand total of zero, but I am quite impressed by the visuals on this film. Enough to make this art-book a definite possibility.

Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth [Hardcover]Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth

Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell continue their comprehensive review of the life and art of Alex Toth in Genius, Illustrated. Covering the years from the 1960s to Toth”s poignant death in 2006, this oversized 9.5″ v 13″ book features artwork and complete stories from Toth”s latter-day work at Warren, DC Comics, Red Circle, Marvel, and his own creator-owned properties, plus samples of his animation work for Hanna-Barbera, Ruby-Spears, and others, as well as sketchbook pages, doodles, advertising art, and other rarities provided through the cooperation of Toth”s family and his legion of fans.

Two of Toth”s best stories are reproduced complete from the original artwork: “Burma Skies” and “White Devil… Yellow Devil.” A full-length text biography will chart the path from Toth”s increasingly-reclusive lifestyle to his touching re-connection to the world in his final years. Fans of comics, cartoons, and all-around great artwork revere Alex Toth. See why Genius, Illustrated – along with its companion volume, 2011”s Genius, Isolated – are being praised as the definitive examination of the life and art of The Master, Alex Toth. Volume 2 of a definitive three-volume series.

Graphistes World Artbook 01- This artbook (223 pages) edited by Oracom Editions is a fine selection of francophones digital artists! The book is available in a lot of bookstores and of course on line via Amazon or FNAC. This is a really handsome object full of inspirations and talented artists. French language book.

Listen to me. Listen to me as if I’m Cerberus, barking with all his heads. Buy this Book. If you love art. Specifically of the Beksinski/dark surrealism variety, this is an art-book for you! (And yes that opening line is from KISS ME DEADLY :). If you have issues finding this book leave me a comment and I can help you with that. )

The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!


Digital Revolution: Discussing the Greedy and the Ungoverned, And Entertainment as prelude to War!


I feel a rant a’ coming.

You new to the blog may want to skip this one. You old timers… jump in… the water is like you like it, deep and treacherous. :) .

Or be mollified by the following disclaimer:

This is an imaginary story. The following is all fiction except for the parts that are true… I leave you to determine the one from the other…

*********

There are a lot of great things about the digital revolution, not the least of which is the ubiquitousness of content. Which makes this sense of foreboding I have about the coming bad, a bit troubling.

I think you have… to have been around before cable, before on demand, before 500 channels, before DVD or CD, before Internet household presence, before even the home computer to truly appreciate just how amazing are the strides made in many areas, not least of which is the creation and dissemination… of entertainment and information.

If you are a movie fan you can, without leaving your house, have at your viewing pleasure just about every film made in the last 100+ years of cinema. More, you can have films from multiple nations, multiple languages easily subtitled into your language.

As a film fan who was around during the age of VHS, I remember that just locating a cult or foreign film was a HUGE production. You had to find those resellers/stores often in the back of magazines, send away for the catalog, then order the film.

And with the Internet it made that search a bit easier. Allowing you to stumble across someone’s site who had a VHS movie you were looking everywhere for. And you would get the VHS tape, and it would be a third generation, copy of a copy, really not good quality, but at the time— you were just elated to have it, and be able to see this film that you couldn’t find anywhere else.

It was that way with everything: Books, records, cassettes, lps, and then Laserdiscs DVDs and CDs. The Internet being a huge way for resellers to connect with buyers. And fly by night companies came and went.

But a few questionable startups, Ebay and Amazon among them, grew legs and found themselves not just a fad, but soon a fixture of this Internet phenomenon. And all these shaky startups, these microsofts and apples …these cowboys that proliferated in a time before software patents and lawsuits to stifle competition, began to thrive.

Suddenly content in digitized formats, and the explosion of storage capacity created an age of ready access, on demand availability, of almost everything.

Great. Wonderful. Beautiful. I mean this has allowed for the rise of podcasts, one of the greatest audio revivals since the dawn of radio. And if you’re an Itunes or Hulu or Archive.org patron, it’s just opened up the history of entertainment to anyone with an Internet connection and the desire to explore. That’s the great part, That’s the wonderful part of the digital revolution.

Here’s the bad part. The digital revolution is not being driven by quality concerns or for love of the medium, it is being embraced by decision makers because of two reasons 1/cost savings and 2/control.

I understand both those things in moderation, but moderation is a word that business doesn’t really practice. Cost savings has come to mean some suspect things, two of the most disturbing is the replacement of physical media, and part and parcel of that… is the elimination of the reseller.. the middleman.

I like resellers, I like mom and pop shops, I like middlemen, and I think gearing an economy to do away with that whole part of the conversation, is to gear the economy to in essence do away with a middle class of any kind. It is gearing an economy toward those who own and those who work and pay— landowners and serfs with no middle ground.

And a lot of people think nothing of it, because it’s just book stores, or comic stores, or DVD stores closing. But let’s extend the same thing to McDonald’s.

What if automation tomorrow allowed McDonald’s to do away with the middleman, the franchises?

What if they could get the food to you the consumer without going through a middleman? Say click a button on your laptop, and the food teleports into your hands, whatever. Stay with me here. Because technology gives you the ability to do something, should you do that thing? Is that thing necessarily the best thing for your company, your customer, your economy?

That’s a heck of a question, and I don’t pretend to have the answers. But what I’m saying when it comes to the digital revolution with books, dvd, cds, and the thousands of stores and businesses and millions of employees we are making obsolete, I feel as though no one is even asking the obvious questions, among them… ‘Should we do it this way?’

I feel big business is not looking beyond their own pockets, to see see what is best for their customers and their country. And that’s a very nationalistic thing to expect of a company, to think in terms of their country. But considering our congress in its infinite wisdom allows companies to actually have a say in drafting the laws of a country, ie basically gives to companies greater rights than citizens, I think it’s not too much to ask from those companies the loyalty of citizens.

And those companies that cannot, for whatever reason of conflict or commerce, think in terms of what is best for America— should not have the right to lobby our Congress and make laws for America.

So I view these companies making these grandiose and sweeping changes to America, without regard for the good or ill it will bring… as a great danger for our nation. For any nation. To have someone who has no concern for your nation, making policy in your nation… leads us to the world outside our door.

From gas at $4 a gallon to Americans struggling to keep their homes.

And entertainment is part of it as well.

The elimination of physical media plays into this, creating a market where there is nothing to resell, and worse… nothing to really own. So no need for your favorite DVD reseller, because DVDs are being prepared for the pasture.

You want to view this film, you buy it digitally from the studio for the price they set, and in the absence of any ability to resell– their price is unmoderated by a free market. In other words they can charge whatever they think the market can bear.

While a lot of people embrace this idiocy that a company’s only priority is to generate more income for their stockholders, that’s flawed thinking that led to our recent market melt-down. It comes back to what I said, about a company working withing a nation, has the same inherent priorities as a citizen within that nation…and that is to do no harm to that nation.

And more and more, the actions of companies working within sovereign shores is to do nothing but harm, is to shatter economies, devastate populations, victimize neighborhoods. Actions that if done by someone not hiding behind the mask of incorporation… we would call… acts of terror.

I’m saying that the joys of itunes today, and Amazon kindle today, and digital comics today, and Warner on Demand today, extrapolated on their 25 year plans into tomorrow… points the way to an America completely shorn of any gradations between the few ultra rich oligarchies and the masses of struggling poor.

I’m saying a war of economies, without fail… drives far more literal and bloody wars.

I’m saying don’t be so quick to jump on the bandwagon of eliminating DVDs, eliminating CDs, eliminating physical books, eliminating middle men— because you’re going to find that in a society shorn of middle men to moderate the greed and abuses of those on the top to those on the bottom, the joys of immediate gratification today, will spell the horrors of rampant price gouging, inflation, and poverty tomorrow.

And in the absence of true ownership (digital, in reality of how it is disseminated, being something that is rented… not owned), suddenly you may find those 99cent prices give way to $99 dollar prices, when you have allowed them to destroy or outlaw all other ways of you getting that product.

And how long before some products, are deemed unacceptable to make viewable via streaming or priced out of being readily available for viewing.

Historically, ethnically diverse items are oft at risk for obsolescence through marginalization. The most politically active films of Ousmane Sembene (CEDDO, CAMP DE THIAROYE, and GUELWAAR) never received DVD releases in his lifetime, and to this day are still not available on DVD (THIAROYE had a spotty release before disappearing).

Rather than freeing films and filmmakers from the tyranny of commerce (which digital has the potential to do), under the auspices of the greedy and the ungoverned you’ll see more marginalization and more control over the ideas disseminated to the masses.

So the lesson? Not to allow these companies, Itunes/Apple, Sony, Disney, Microsoft, Netflix, Time Warner, etc… to be ungoverned.

And how much is our entertainment a smokescreen for our aggressions? How much is our entertainment, the last, best drug, or the last, best cheerleader, for the aggressions of our time?

And how much do our aggressions allowed, ignored, take out of America?

The reports of America’s decline are rampant. They are in every aspect of our everyday life, the skyrocketing inflation that has destroyed many a nation before America, is all throughout America.

But our eyes in America, are filled and dazzled and misdirected… by such false fire, that the obvious becomes… indistinct. Almost invisible.

But not quite. If you take the time to look, the signs are there.

In-fact once you are looking in the right direction, (‘got my mind right boss’) the signs are clear and present. America is well on the way to becoming a third world nation, it is being pushed to these ends.

I said pushed.

With your tax dollars, and the blood of your children… the rich have just spent the last few decades pacifying (ie invading and toppling) African/Middle Eastern nations and carving a new western acceptable pleasure nation for themselves, an entertainment nation, where all the studios are in a hurry to setup shop, and a middle East Disney World and Marvel World and all the 3D rides and luxury and cinematic excess you can want is being built there. It is called Abu Dhabi, this paradise, and it is being built over the bodies of the massacred.

Infact, a cynical man might even say it’s very similar to the way, in the wake of World War II, the allied forces led by the US and Britain, set up the Israel state, by pretty much massacring the millions of Jews and Arabs and Nomads, who already lived in that region.

And yeah I did say Jews. We weren’t just killing Arabs to setup Israel. The region was already home to Jews, who lived without issue, for generations next door to Arabs. Unfortunately most of them weren’t Western acceptable Jews, they weren’t European Jews… that is to say they were Black.

So these Jews, and Arabs, and Nomads woke up one day to find the rest of the world was calling their home Israel, and they weren’t invited to the house warming. And then the missiles came.

So similarly the Middle East we’re bombing into existence today, is being done so, over blood both ancient and irreplaceable. All so that the rich have a place to vacation… while America burns.

I’m such a cheery, glass half full guy aren’t I?

But seriously, it begins simply. As all our falls do.

It begins with a laugh.

With you laughing with them. With the ones who will eviscerate you.

It begins with us rolling over the simple rights of the many for the grandiose greed of the few.

So… don’t make it easy.

Resist.

At every step, ask of them and ask of yourself… ‘Who profits from this and who loses?’. And by your answer to that question, will you know the nature of your nation and the nature of yourself.

And by your answer to that question… be ruled.

Here endeth the lesson.

******************

Woah! Only here on this blog, can you go from digital disenfranchisement to the fall of nations. :) And even crazier is— the line between the two should be ridiculous, it should feel far-fetched. It should feel… ludicrous.

But it doesn’t.

It should feel like a laugh. But it doesn’t.

It I have to be perfectly honest, it feels like…

It feels like we’re running out of time.


TRAILERS OF THE DAY

TRAILERS OF THE DAY

CITIZEN GANGSTER- is one of those trailers, like SAMARITAN that gives away too much of the film. Once you’ve seen the trailer there’s really no reason to see the film.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN- Saw the latest trailer, shows all kinds of stuff and still not remotely interested. The actor playing Peter Parker doesn’t interest me, none of the actors seem to have any personality, and the trailer is just… there.

FIRST WINTER- is a far better trailer, in that it gives you enough of the premise for you to be intrigued, but not so much that it lays bear the film’s secrets. A film that seemingly takes place in the wake of an apocalyptic situation and is about how a group of off the grid types in an artist colony/commune deals… in the face of truly being off the grid. Understated trailer has me interested. View here!

THE ROAD- Yam Laranas’ THE ROAD has me really intrigued. The trailer is very creepy and enthralling and mysterious, which are all good things. This doesn’t look to be a simple slasher flick. This one goes on my have to see list.View the trailer here!

GET THE GRINGO- Unlike many, I have no problem with Mel Gibson. I think he has proven himself to be a fine director and fine actor in the past, and whatever personal issues he has I’m content to keep it his personal business and none of mine.

My reason being as long as he doesn’t go out of his way to make his personal issues public, ala Michael Richards, I’m not really concerned. We all have our bad days and bad moments, moments that should belong to us and the people involved… not necessarily the world. So yeah I have no issues with Mel Gibson, so looking at GET THE GRINGO as just a film I have to say; there’s nothing of real interest in the whole trailer, except Mel Gibson and he just looks sad and tired throughout.

I think he’s trying to pick pseudo comedic films to get back in the graces of the audience, but his choices (BEAVER before GET THE GRINGO) have the problem of being a little too creepy and perhaps a little too sad and forced, and GET THE GRINGO seems to feel (from the trailer) like that. Busy and forced and sad.

I don’t dislike the trailer, it’s just nothing in it that motivates me to go out and see it or even rent it. I think Mel Gibson would be better, rather than starring in these films to attempt to ingratiate himself to the audience, embracing instead (to some extent) the tirades against him.

I could see MEL GIBSON playing a villain, an arched megalomaniac villain. Bondian villain, and that working to put him back as an actor. He needs a film and a role that won’t scream Mel Gibson first, and GET GRINGO doesn’t seem to be that film.

SWEENEY- I won’t waste words. Trailer did nothing for me.

SOUL MAN- The trailer for Guillaume Ivernel’s feature film SOUL MAN looks… AWESOME!!! Wonderful computer animated imagery. With dazzling camera scenes, and a kick ass protagonist. Not sure yet why the film is called SOUL MAN when the protagonist is a Soul Woman :), but that aside a fantastic trailer and definitely looking forward to it.

Come back next time for more trailer talk, and feel free to suggest your own favorite trailers. And you can view any trailers I haven’t posted links for… here.