Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What I really want to do is direct . . .

The dream, of course, is to own a comic shop. The problem, or rather the main problem, is that there isn't a ton of money in owning a comic shop.

But Newsarama has a piece by the owner of A Comic Shop in Orlando explaining some of the things he's done right in making his business a success. He does some gonzo marketing and whatnot. But his stroke of genius is so obvious I can't believe no one else ever thought of it:

That's right: Pretty girls. In costumes. In the comic book shop.

It's like printing money.

Dark Knight Day

Today is the day Batman dies. Go buy a bunch of copies and then burn them while cursing Dan DiDio.

Update: Well, that was ridiculous. I picked up a copy (or two) of the final "Batman R.I.P." chapter and I have no idea what happens. It's unintelligible, like watching a movie with a couple reels missing.

There's an impulse to blame DiDio for this--rumors were that he had Morrison re-write the end. But I find nearly all of Morrison's writing disconnected and lazy to the point of meaninglessness. Final Crisis, his old New X-Men--even All-Star Superman gets jumpy and discombobulated towards the end, like Morrison couldn't be bothered to fill in the plot-points needed to get from Point A to Point D.

So is Batman dead? Who knows. The entire episode is so ambiguous--and not in the artly way--that DC can go any way they want with it. Which ultimately makes it meaningless. It's bad enough when a publisher lurches from event to event without ever pausing to simply tell good stores. It's worse when the events no longer hold any meaning.

Fracking Gints

For the Giants hater in all of us.

Oh, and read the comments.

Michael Lewis on the Financial Meltdown

I've always been of two minds on Michael Lewis. On the one hand, he's a great writer. A really great writer. And to make it even better, he's a great writer who's also a good reporter. You can't ask for more than that, really.

On the other hand, there's something a little infuriating about someone who willingly takes advantage of a situation which he knows full well is crazy. Liar's Poker was a great book, but there's a weird smugness about someone trying to tell people how stupid and corrupt the financial brokerage system is after he takes several hundred thousand dollars from that system.

But ultimately, this seems a small quibble. Lewis is the real deal. And here he is revisiting Wall Street at the end times. It's pretty great.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Frack Me

The trailer for the final BSG season is here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

And About that Blu-ray . . .

Galley Friend S.B. sends in this update on Sony's attempt to kill the PS3 just in time for me to buy one:

So here we are, sitting smack dab in the middle of the worst economy since Jimmy Carter; salaries are cratering, unemployment is spiking, deflation plagues the land, business are worried that a poor Christmas is going to sink them. . . so what does Sony do?

Check out your Best Buy circular (you can find it on the Best Buy website). They unveil a new version of the PS3 . . . that's $100 more expensive! Oh sure, it comes with "Uncharted: Drake's Magically Gay Adventure" or whatever that game is called, and 80 GB more hard drive space. Because I'm pretty sure that's what's keeping people away from the PS3: "Not enough hard drive space!" I hear the masses cry.

Seriously: I'm halfway convinced that Sony wants Blu-ray to fail at this point. XBox 360 drops their price by $100, the Nintendo Wii remains the most popular system in the land, and PS3 jacks up their price for the holidays? Jesus Christ.

Dark Knight Blu-ray Watch

A reliable source tells me that the Imax sequences on the Blu-ray edition are presented in 1.78:1 and the rest of the film is presented in 2.4:1.

Just in case you were curious.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Andy Reid, Franchise Killer--
or, How I learned to get over the World Series and be a Philly fan again.

So Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb at half today against Baltimore. After the game, he refused to name the next game's starter. These are acts of coaching malpractice and Reid should lose his job--perhaps tomorrow, but certainly at the end of the season. Let's give a quick rundown:

* McNabb was having a hideous game. He threw 2 int's and coughed up a fumble. Yet the Eagles trailed only 10-7. McNabb's replacement, Kevin Kolb, threw a couple picks of his own and didn't add any points to the scoreboard.

* Let's grant some premises that I don't think are necessarily true, but we'll do them just for argument's sake. Let's say that McNabb is done, that he either can't play anymore or can't play effectively as an Eagle. Let's say that Kolb is a promising young QB. Let's say that the Eagles are scrapping to get a playoff spot.

Even if you grant all of that, the decision to bench McNabb is still insane. You don't destroy the value of a franchise player by publicly benching him in the middle of a game. You don't start a new young quarterback in the middle of a game against a defense as vicious as the Ravens. And you don't switch horses on a four-day week--the Eagles have to play Arizona on Thursday.

* But of course, most of those assumptions are ridiculous. Kolb is not a starting NFL quarterback. He's a young Doug Pederson. And the Eagles have no chance--zero--of making the playoffs this season.

* Which leaves McNabb. Is he no longer able to be effective? I don't know. I suspect that no matter what, he'd be more effective than Kolb. What I do know is that by benching McNabb you assure that he can't come back as a permanent fixture on the team and that he'll have no value whatsoever on the trading block at the end of the season.

* So why in the world would Reid bench McNabb? Simple: Because it's now clear that Reid desperately wants to keep his job. If he's going to convince Jeff Lurie to keep him despite the team's recent poor campaigns, he has to have a scapegoat. And that's what today's benching of McNabb was, pure and simple: A blatant, pathetic attempt to blame a player for the team's failure in order to hold on to his own job. It would be bad enough, except that in so doing, Reid also showed that he's willing to hurt the medium-term future of the franchise in order to cling to his post.

Reid, it's now clear, is a cancer. The Eagles will never win a championship with him at the helm. He must go.

PS: For whatever it's worth, the great Phil Sheridan makes a persuasive case that whatever is wrong with McNabb is Reid's fault to begin with:

Anyone could see McNabb played poorly in this game. What is debatable is how this very talented, very successful quarterback got to this point. The short answer from here: He has been ground down by a coach who refuses to run the ball, who seldom keeps extra blockers in to protect him the way other elite quarterbacks are protected and who, with one notable exception, has insisted upon stocking his team with the most mediocre receivers available.

The offensive line is in marked decline. Brian Westbrook is at half speed due to injury. The play calling is hilariously bad. The tight end situation is incomprehensible.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It seems the Guns n' Roses album Chinese Democracy is finally going to come out, first on myspace, then at Best Buy on November 23. But if none of the musicians, other than Axl Rose, are in the band, can it still really be Guns n' Roses? When the remnants of Talking Heads reformed without David Byrne, they could not call themselves Talking Heads. When Robert Plant and Jimmy Page performed, weren't they the Honeydrippers (2 out of 4)? Yet INXS and Van Halen went on (though not successfully) without their lead singers and they didn't change their names. So how is it that GNR is still GNR?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sony = Slightly Evil

So the xBox 360 unveils its new OS, which includes Netflix streaming HD movies. And suddenly Sony films are no longer available for streaming on Netflix--at least to the xBox.

Feed Rinse

Galley Friend A.W. just turned me on to a pretty neat new site called Feed Rinse. If you're into RSS feeds, Feed Rinse allows you to filter your feeds out, by keyword or author. It would allow you, for instance, to get only Jenny posts from IDLYTW. Perhaps there are other group blogs you might want to filter.

I'll just leave it at that. Enjoy.

X-Men First Class

So Fox is going to do another X-Men installment, but not with the mutants we know and love. They've hired Josh Schwartz of Gossip Girl to write X-Men First Class.

All the kids love Gossip Girl, but I'm afraid I've never caught the show. Is it Dawson's or The OC or Veronica Mars, or something else altogether?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Automatic Baby Walker

From Galley Friend B.W. How much would you pay for one of these?

Star Trek, JJ Abrams, etc.

So here's the link to the first full trailer of the JJ Abrams Star Trek. There's also some talk over at AICN about some scenes which were recently screened in full.

Some thoughts: Frankly, I don't know that the world needed another Star Trek movie. For my money, Undiscovered Country stands as the perfect capstone to the franchise. (In my mind, First Contact, Nemesis, and Insurrection never really happened.) I can't find it online for free, but Paul Cantor's "Shakespeare in the Original Klingon" is a cogent exploration of how Star Trek was grounded in Cold War Kennedy-era Democratic principles. (You can also find the essay in Cantor's seriously wonderful Gilligan Unbound. With the Cold War over and the Big-D Democratic consensus about American exceptionalism now a thing of the past, I'm not sure that Star Trek has anything meaningful to say to us today.

Of course, we aren't quite at the end of history yet. And it's possible that Star Trek could be adapted as a vehicle for talking about our latest twilight struggle. But somehow I doubt that anyone outside of Chris Nolan has the stomach to take part in that conversation.

All of that said, the new trailer looks vaguely promising as an earthy space opera. The shot I find most compelling is actually the opening with the kid. There's dust and dirt and the world is not totally unrecognizable from ours. And the defiant way the kid says "James Tiberius Kirk" is kind of perfectly in character.

And truth be told, maybe the world needs well-made space opera even more than it needs a Star Trek commentary for the 21st century.

Update: I don't mean to say that all of the Trek movies before Undiscovered Country were better than all of the ones which came after. It is, objectively true, that First Contact is a better movie than San Fran Whale Watch. Or Search for Spock. Or even Original Motion Picture, for that matter.

What I mean is that Undiscovered Country is such a perfect endpoint that for me, the series ends there.

Monday, November 10, 2008

War Child News

Galley Friend and movie producer U.G. is involved with a really interesting documentary called War Child. It's a film about the life of Emanuel Jai, a Sudanese child soldier turned rapper. After doing very well on the festival circuit, War Child is nearly a theatrical release and has a new website up now.

Keep your eyes peeled for it at your local art house in the next couple months.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


The first look at the new Whedon series is here.

Update: Never mind.

Geek Alert

So Battlestar Galactica is auctioning off all the props from the show.

Do with that what you will.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Dark Knight Production

Not since the amazing first reading of New Warden have young actors been so moving:

In Other News

The conclusion of Batman R.I.P. comes out today, and the general consensus seems to be that one way or another, Bruce Wayne is going to be retired as Batman in the DC universe.

More later.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

More Election Day Thoughts

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Election Day Thoughts

MacBook Notes

I got the new, terrifyingly fast MacBrook Pro yesterday and have three thoughts:

(1) There is a toggle function embedded in the F5 and F6 keys which I can't actually figure out what it does.

(2) The trackpad gestures really are quite nice.

(3) In a sop to PC converts, Jobs has removed the Apple from the Command key. It's a shattering loss.