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Life? Don't talk to me about life!

Live long and prosper!
I am not going to be the first person to share thoughts on Leonard Nimoy's passing.

There's probably nothing I can add that hasn't been said. Though everyone is mentioning "Star Trek", surely his music career, Bilbo Baggins and "In Search Of" have been mentioned as well.

Indeed, Brad Meltzer has posted on social media his thanks for "in Search Of". Indeed, right now, History Channel is running a marathon of his shows, which are undoubtedly indebted to Nimoy's show, and have made this Meltzer's profile- that of TV host- probably more well known for that now than his books or comics.

Heresy, probably but I am not a huge "Star Trek" fan. I am a fan, but friends were way more into it than I was.

"In Search of.." however... wow.

What an amazing series. It reached me in the preteen years as it was usually ran on weekends. I found it fascinating.

"In Search of" was fascinating covering the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle (those big 70s obsessions), but also as seasons moved on, took on the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, nazi plunder, the mystery of Anastasia.  These things were new for me and really blew my mind.  The scenes from In Search of Wild Children is still imprinted in my brain.

I love these mysteries.  Time has not been kind, of course, to kind of this curiosity.  We have cameras everywhere and always on us, and hidden surveillance.  We have GPS and other science based inventions.  These have been detrimental to Nessie and some of our other all time greats.

Or has it?  Right now on TV, there is Meltzer's Decoded on one channel and a "Bigfoot" hunt show running on Destination America.  Maybe this stuff never goes away.  Maybe we still have mysteries in 2015 besides "What is the color of this gawddamn dress?"

But nobody does it much better than Nimoy does.  Not Meltzer (who tries) or Jesse Ventura or even Art Bell or the millions of imitators.  Indeed, I watched a show on the Big Muddy Monster a couple of weeks ago.  (The BMM, if you don't know resides in Murphysboro, IL and has surfaced twice in the last 40 years, originally scaring a married (but not to each other, if you know what I mean) couple in the 70s.  They had went to the river to make out unbeknownst to their spouses, but were so scared by the Monster that they went to police.  (This story has to be true, because by going to the police, it meant they would have to admit to their affair).

But no one could tell a story like that like Nimoy on In Search Of.

Even the Histroy Channel tried to bring back the series, but I did catch a few episodes and it could not capture the original's tone.

Many of the "In Search Of"s are online  and I have spent quite a few hours going back to revisit these in the YouTube years.

I wonder if I am too colored by the way this captured my imagination at a young age, but I don't think so.  I think they really hold up. 

Burroughs at 101
I was listening to NPR before it was cool.  Ok, there's some people that come here that also fall in the cateogry.


I caught a bit of "Burroughs at 100" playing on Public Radio.

It's a well done piece on William S Burroughs.

Burroughs is a bit divisive.  He was undoubtedly a genius, but he fits Warren Ellis's quote that writers are bastards to a T.

This radio documentary hits all of it, and has aan all star panel- John Waters, Will Self, Victor Bockris, and archive footage of Burroughs and Ginsberg; all narrated by Iggy Pop.

Which seems obvious, but is fantastic.  I ggy Pop should narrate your life.

Anyway, i couldn't tell myself away from it a couple of Saturdays ago when it was on.

I now see it is on the This American life website.

There's the transcript if you need it, and the audio if you have the opportunity and means.

Read my first words on the 2016 Election (Part 3 of 2)
This was supposed to be a 2 parter, but as the first real significant poll has come out, let's do this.

First, let's get the Dems out of the way.

Clinton 68%
Biden 12%
Bernie Sanders 7%
Jim Webb 1%

Nothing shovking here of course.  It's all about Hillary, and it's hard to imagine she will have much competition.  There may be an opponent, but it will be hard for them to get traction.  HRC may not run of course, but polling this high. it's hard to think she will.

Now, the GOP

Huckabee 17%
Bush 16%
Walker 15%
Christie 9%
Paul 7%
Rubio 6%
Carson 6%
Santorum 5%
Perry 4%
Cruz 2%
Lindsay Graham 1%

The GOP crowd seems different than the Dems situation, but I think it is Jeb's to win.  Marist/NBC polled the first three states to decide, and Jeb is near the top in all 3.  He is barely beating out Scott Walker in New Hampshire, and trails a point behind Graham, in Graham's home state of South Carolina.

Still, that Jeb doesn't have a commanding lead, might be a bad sign; or maybe it only means, he's splitting some mainstream Republican votes with Christie.

We don't know anything of course, but we have to consider Scott Walker a strong candidate (he pulls support here from being a Midwesterner, but polls well in all three states) and though I think he desperately wants it, we have to pretty much count Ted Cruz out.

I am also worried that the Far Right in Iowa will cost us our 'First in the Nation' status, as I think as in  the last couple of cycles, a very Conservative Republican will win.  I do think it quite probably Mike Huckabee wins here, and if he decides not to run, some version of him- Santorum or Carson will win here.

Still, if you are like me, you really got to keep youirself in check.  This time in the 2008 cycle, the poll front runners were John Edwards and Rudy Guilliani.

Read my first words on the 2016 Election (Part 2 of 2)
Well, I was taken in by a satire site, but I do feel i am justified in that it is hard to tell from the truth.  She believes the UN will take Iowans property, that states can nullify federal laws, and there were WMDs in Iraq.

So who can blame me.

In any case, I bring the 2016 Election up, as I had my first chance to experience it, though I did not.

You see Marco Rubio was at a Barnes & Noble I frequent.

I have met a couple of one-time Presidential contenders at this bookstore, and it's an unique chance to spend some time with someone who wants to be the Leader of the Free World.

i met Tim Pawlenty (too smart and too feeling to ever be President) and Newt Gingrich (too smart and too unfeeling to ever be President).

So, I didn't get the chance to meet Rubio.

That said, I was by there when he was inside.

I will say it was a win (newsreports say about 100 people were there), because it was a full parking lot, and the local news was represented as well.  The other win is that I spoke to at least two people I spoke to were aware of a 'guy running for President' being there.  They didn't know his name, but it's certainly a step up from most potential contenders.

Still, a full-ish parking lot could be misleading.  For a couple of reasons.  Sure, some of those in B&N could be last minute Valentine Day shoppers or certainly Friday lunch Starbucks consumers.

But mostly, because B&N is adjacent to a Twin Peaks.

I have talked about Twin Peaks before and it has certainly started to gain some nationwide name recognition, but long story short- Twin Peaks (on Valentine's week) features servers bringing you beer in their lingerie.

What women dressed in nightgowns might look like.

Twin Peaks had a 40 minute wait that day.  I don't think Rubio (at this point) is as near of a draw as near-naked women with beer.  Still, who is?

Read my first words on the 2016 Election (Part 1 of 2)
Not really, but I haven't spoken much on the election this time around.

There's a couple of reasons why.  One, has been the time crunch.  I haven't had much of a chance to blog and if I can't be timely, theres not much point.  Equally important though is that there is no new news.

We all know the main players and they have all been around.  From the obvious to those who woud make news if they ran, but are most likely here to sell their brand (Trump, Palin), they are all here From Christie to Pataki, Scott Walker to John Bolton, Ted Cruz to Carly Fiorna, Ben Carson to Rick Perry.  Every one was at Steve King's Freedom Summit, but Romney (who decided not to run) and Jeb Bush (who didn't need to and is still finding a way to come to Iowa).

In fact, all these Republicans have been here so much (as has Joe Biden and Martin O'Malley), that they can't possibly conceive why Hillary isn't here.

She must be hiding (

GOP billboard in Iowa (RNC)

They even bought a moving billboard.

Well, you have to spend money on something.

This seems ridiculous of course. We don't know that she's running and even then, is sayings she's running for Obama's 3rd term seems pointless. We know that Hil and Barry are not BFFs, and besi des, to a certain part of the population, that's
not an insult.

The GOPers always thought Hil was power mad and determined to be President, and can't imagine why she's not spending February in Iowa, like they are when of course, they could be in Florida or Texas or wherever they call home.  Besides, the last time they insulted HRC in Iowa, it only caused the Dems to wind up with a more electable candidate anyway.

But, the real story has been local.

Joni Ernst has been better for quotes than any of the others, and given her position in the Party, may end up a nominee when the next two years play out.

While I was writing about Ernst when she was trailing in the primary, most people got their taste of Joni with her State of the Union response.

There she said that like many Iowans she was porr and wore Bread Wrappers on her shoes to protect her favorite shoes.

More than a couple of people, say it's a good story but she's telling it the wrong way.  One opinion from the Des Moines Register said "Any self-respecting poor Iowa farm kid knows that one doesn't wear bread sacks over their shoes to protect thier good shoes.  You wear the bread sacks between your socks and shoes to keep your feet dry.  If (worn that way), a bread bag would be ripped and torn before a kid got out of the door.  Also a truly poor farm kid probably does not have a pair of good shoes worth protecting".

Joni is the news this month, because she believes vaccines manipulate brains

Shell, citing Ernst’s bachelor’s degree in psychology, asked his guest if she believed Rand Paul’s assessment of vaccinations were accurate. “I’m not a scientist. I’m not a practicing doctor. But I haven’t seen any evidence that shows vaccines make us healthier, and I haven’t seen proof that they don’t make us less healthier, less healthy, either,” Ernst replied. “All I can base my opinion on is my own observations, and in my view, Senator Paul is correct. Vaccines are dangerous. They manipulate brains. And I think Congress should investigate vaccines and outlaw them, because they definitely, you know, they make people vote a certain way, and that’s voter intimidation.”

Shell asked Ernst to clarify her statement, to which the Senator offered a lengthy reply. “When I was a kid, I didn’t have vaccinations. My parents couldn’t afford them. But one of my neighbors, his parents got him vaccinated. Now, we grew up in the same town, went to the same schools, attended the same church, we even served in the military together. We’re practically the same, right? But he’s a liberal democrat. He voted for Obama both times and he has a Hillary Clinton sticker on his pickup truck. He supports welfare and the gays. I’m not saying the vaccinations made him more liberal, but the vaccinations made him more liberal, do you get what I’m saying?”

She really believes this?

I mean I had my flu shot, and OMG I VOTED FOR OBAMA!!! IT"S ALL TRUE!!!!!

So there's that.  These are the times we live in.

New Music Initative 062: Springtime Carnivore
It has been almost six months since I put something out as a new artist for others to check out, so I am probably due.

You may have caught this artist on my year end Best Of list.

Springtime Carnivore is Greta Morgan. Allmusic calls her Lesley Gore in the modern age, with access to ProTools and doesn't have to play nice with boys.

It's a pretty good description. Certainly that time period hovers around SC's music.

It means that sometimes the music is pretty close to Belle & Sebastian territory (and their followers like Camera Obscura). At other times, because Greta is from the indie rock scene, it reminds me of some of the artists on the K Records label in the 90s.

Allmusic goes on to compare her to the Cardigans, which may not be an obvious comparison, but there are some similarities. In any case, it would be easy to see one of the singles catch on with a pop crossover, due to a soundtrack or something else.

Barring taking over the world mainstream success, it's a good album, and it's a very solid set of songs which should appeal to fans of any of the above bands I mentioned.

More comics reviews
They're Not Like Us (Image) written by Eric Stephenson- Stephenson, the publisher at Image currently made a splash with last year's "Nowhere Men".  With that comic (and this), there's probably not been a mainstream comics writer in the last 20 years that brought popular altmusic culture references into comics (maybe Brian Wood, but not too many since the days Morrison, Ennis and Ellis were writing for Vertigo).  It's hard not to draw comparisons between Morrison and Stephenson, who seem to be equally influenced by the NME as anything from DC or Marvel.

Indeed, this title has been called "Manic Street X-Men", and if you needed extra prodding, there's a Richey Edwards quote on the back.  Whereas Nowhere Men was equal style and substance and sometime more style than content in my opinion (a title on hiatus right now), this is a litle bit more accessible.  That title imagines the fab Four (in a way) as scientists.  This title is clearly more accessible to the average comc fan, though many will say they have seen every possible spin put on the X Men story.

That said, it generally works.  The X Men were always outsiders in a classic sense, so marrying it to the idea of Rimbaud-quoting Clash-listening teens is fairly obvious.  The lead character takes the code name Syd, which should make alt-culture fans happy.  Such is Stephenson's writing that it mirrors Morrison in its reverence for Britpop and associated culture.

It generally does work though.  The meme is a superteam, though the powers take a back seat to the teen angst.  Additonally, like a Mark Millar book, we are hinted that this superteam may not be working for good.  It's a failry strong book and I think Stephenson has something worthwhile here, though I am afriad with Image's marketing that this wil be lost to the sidelines.

The art of Simon Gane also echoes that of 80s/90s vertigo-ish alt-British comics-ness which seems appropriate here.

Tooth & Claw (Image) - written by Kurt Busiek - I really like Busiek, who has been long time writer for Astro City, and is still improbably hitting a lot of high notes 20 years later (I say improbably, because it's hard to imagine after all these years, anyone keeping things fresh), and this book has got rave reviews.

It is a anthropomorphic fantasy that Busiek intends to be Conan-meets-Game of Thrones.  It's a beautiful book drawn by Ben Dewey and colored by the excellent Jordie Bellaire (who did the same for "They're not like us" come to think of it, but also does a lot of great work for marvel like "Moon Knight").

The comic is ambitious in that it wants to build a world and tell a grand story, all admirable, and Busiek would be the one to do it.  It just doesn't work for me.There's elements of Tolkien, beast wizards, swordplay, etc., and it's beautifully rendered, but I am just not epic worldbuilding fantasy guy and I can't say i have a lot of patience for this book.

It seems like an easy enough of read, but just not my cup of tea.

Although, I do acknowledge that some people will really love this, so certainly if you are a fan of epic fantasy or Conan-type adventure, you may want to seek this out.

Comics First Issue Reviews
A bit behind, but not much.  Here's a couple to start and I will give you a couple more.  Do you even care?  We don't worry about that stuff.

Ant Man (Marvel)- written by Nick Spencer. You know I have been touting Spencer as one of the great newer talents in comics. His work on “Superior Foes of Spiderman” cemented that. Ant-Man looks to take that to the next level. Marvel is getting ready to push this character and this seems to be an inspired pairing like having Bendis write Guardians of the Galaxy. Issue 1 is just about perfect. Scott Lang is a loser (I like how Marvel promotes him- He's not even anyone's favorite Ant Man) , trying to be a good dad and trying to get a job with Tony Stark. The issue is memorable, it’s funny, it hits on emotion, dialogue is snappy. Could it be any better? I don’t know how. Artist Ramon Rosanas is relatively new I believe, but gives it a cinematic Marvel feel. It’s perfect for new readers as well as should be fine for experienced. Get this now.

Effigy (DC/Vertigo)- written by Tim Seeley. Seeley is another new-ish writer I like a lot, and Vertigo is giving him a chance for a title to add to their catalogue as Fables draws to an end. I am not sure what Effigy is going to be yet. I suspect it’s going to be a bit detective story, but the main character’s backstory is of Disney-ish child star Chondra Jackson (on a show called “Star Cops”) who hit all the failures that came with not making the jump to adult actor, which means now she is a cop in the town which she had badmouthed when stardom looked apparent. Seeley is definitely building a story here that is going to have a lot of layers. Marley Zarcone’s art and Ryan Hill’s colors really catch the right mood- the flashy TV world of “Star Cops” and a bright feel for everything else.   There’s a heavy Miley vibe here, but it works in a ‘winking’ way at stardom, but helps set a certain tone. In some ways, this reminds me of something Mark Millar might write, and I don’t think it would be so choppy if Millar was writing it.   That said, Seeley is generally putting something together that I think will be well worth the payoff.

(no subject)
I got a free subscription to St Louis magazine, because FREE.

I have spent a lot of the time in the city, though what are you going to write about in St Louis magazine? Nelly, amirite?


Anyway great article here by St Louis regular commentator Thom Hartmann on the price of hating Obamacare,

Missouri is one of the reddest states (This issue also has an article on the first legal gay marriage in the state) but this is an interesting article on how defiant Missouri has been (even more so than say, Wyoming) and how it is costing the state $18 billion in Federal Medicare funds.

Most Republican governors have come around, but Missouri seems to be sticking it out, because OBAMACARE

Music to blog about listening to music to
The latest installment of what is in the CD wallet- the unofficial soundtrack of Team Bedsitter

David Bowie
Barry Adamson
Nick Cave
Black Sabbath
Pet Shop Boys
Junior Brown
Cloud Nothings
Duran Duran
The Smiths
Jimi Hendrix
Killing Joke
John Lennon
Iggy Pop
The Stooges
Rolling Stones
Velvet Underground
The Who
Arcade Fire
Andrew Bird