Friday, July 30, 2010

video of the day

i know it's still early folks, but ... .

Saturday, July 24, 2010

love doesn't last forever

i've been feeling under the weather of late, so of course i'm reminded of this playful 1986 knockoff by soon-to-be comics-to-film crossover heavyweight alan moore and underground artist rick veitch (who was recently featured in my post "bp 2050"), which was originally printed in the farewell issue of marvel comics' first color magazine, the short-lived epic illustrated.

how veitch finagled auteur of the outré john waters into an uncredited feature role and tall thin duke david bowie for the musical arrangements, we can only guess ...

(story by alan moore and art by rick veitch)

Thursday, July 22, 2010


for as long and as often as we've heard ordinary folks dismiss political operators with a disgusted "a pox on both their houses!", it is still very easy to separate the democrats from the republicans, just by listening to their apologies. can you tell which is which?

1) tom vilsack:

... i started off by extending to her my personal and profound apologies for — for the pain and discomfort that has been caused to her and to her family over the course of the last several days.

... and then i asked if she would be interested in figuring out a way forward that would take advantage of the extraordinary life experiences that she's had ...

2) andrew breitbart:

[ ... crickets ... ]

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

lede of the day

via matt yglesias @ thinkprogress

it will come as no surprise to learn that las vegas, nevada is not a model of sustainable urban planning. after all, this is a giant city in the middle of the desert where nobody should have ever put a city.

a majority of one

and to think, come november, the playing field may never be this good for democrats for a long time after ...

from the booman:

there is a very narrow window in the senate where certain very limited things can be done. it is possible to pass bills on our most pressing issues when the democratic party is united and willing to settle for whatever it is that one republican will allow.

post of the day

i simply decided to steal this post outright since it hit exactly all the right notes — notes that need to be hit. will the white house hear them? more importantly, will obama deliver the much-needed coda? 1

vilsack will review decision to fire sherrod
by brooklynbadboy

MSNBC is reporting that agriculture secretary tom vilsack has now decided he wants to conduct a review of the facts with respect to ms. sherrod:

vilsack's statement came after the NAACP posted the full video of sherrod's comments tuesday night and retracted its earlier condemnation of her.

"i am of course willing and will conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts to ensure to the american people we are providing services in a fair and equitable manner," Vilsack said.

so, if i have this correctly, breitbart and fox news burps, she get's fired immediately. CNN and the NAACP release the undisputed facts, and now there must be a thorough review. (facepalm)

i want to return to something the white house keeps saying in response to ms. sherrod:

shirley sherrod, a former USDA employee who resigned after a controversial video surfaced, told CNN tuesday that members of the obama administration "harassed" her and demanded she resign her post immediately.

in an interview with CNN, sherrod said she repeatedly fielded calls on monday during a long car ride, during which officials insisted that she pull over to the side of the road and quit her post.

"they asked me to resign, and, in fact, they harassed me as i was driving back to the state office from west point, georgia yesterday," sherrod told CNN. "i had at least three calls telling me the white house wanted me to resign...and the last one asked me to pull over to the side of the road and do it."


sherrod said the final call came from cheryl cook, an undersecretary at the department of agriculture. sherrod said white house officials wanted her to quit immediately because the controversy was "going to be on glenn beck tonight."

"we did not pressure USDA or ms. sherrod," a white house official reportedly wrote in an email on tuesday to the washington Post.

i guess the buck stops somewhere else.

the white house needs to get off this stance and start showing some sympathy toward ms. sherrod. she has, clearly, been done terribly wrong by the white supremacist fringe of the republican party. the white house acts like they are afraid of a bunch of bigots.

martin luther king, jr. would be sickened by how this white house has behaved toward this woman.

some racist bigot makes an accusation against her and they don't even waste one minute before firing her without review. yet when the truth comes out, they don't re-hire her on the spot. then, and only then, are they willing to conduct a review. disgusting.

if they have the decency to offer her the job back, i hope she turns it down. i wouldn't want to work for people who were so easily pushed around by a by an internet skinhead like breitbart or a certified nutcase like beck.

the white house should at least apologize to ms. sherrod and accept responsibility for how this kind and lovely public servant has been treated. that would be the minimum of something to show breitbart and the rest of his skinhead crew that decent americans will not be intimidated by the likes of scum like them.

you know what is so pathetic about all this? now that the truth has come out, glenn beck, the same glenn back who had the administration cowering in fear, is attacking the administration over firing her in the first place:

how and why would you force the resignation of someone who is just relating a story of 24-year-old incident to make a point? how many times when a controversy comes up have we heard that someone was "misquoted" or they "misspoke" or we're told that "the only point they were simply making was that ..." and then some point that bears no resemblance to the one they made; or they were just "taken out of context?"

now here's a possible actual example of someone taken completely out of context and they immediately get rid of her.

can you believe this white house is being pushed around by these people?

update: it appears ms. sherrod sees the old boss in a different light:

the woman at the center of a racially tinged firestorm involving the obama administration and the NAACP said wednesday she doesn't know if she'd return to her job at the agriculture department, even if asked.

"i am just not sure how i would be treated there," shirley sherrod said in a nationally broadcast interview.

i agree. now get yourself a damn good attorney ms. sherrod.

1) face it, obama: breitbart and beck were aiming for you when they went after sherrod and they've so far won that much at least, since it's now squarely on you to snatch their victory from the jaws of your defeat — and on center stage where everyone can see.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

presidentin' made easy: palin 2012

so easy, in fact, a moose gal could do it:

her candidacy would require almost none of the usual time sinks that force politicians to jump in early: power-broker schmoozing, schedule-intensive fundraising, competitive recruitment of experienced strategists, careful policy development.

we should probably expect her to run again in 2014.

(hat tip to mistermix.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

in case you didn't know

for anyone just tuning in [1], this is the definition of a conspiracy theory constitutional crisis of biblical proportions:

former president bush knows his successor could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

former vp cheney knows his former boss' successor could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

former presidential hopeful mccain knows his former rival could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

former presidential hopeful clinton knows her former rival could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

former vp hopeful palin knows her former running-mate's rival could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

vp biden knows the only official ahead of him in the chain of succession could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

the republican national committee knows their rival party head could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

40 republican senators know the president could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

178 republican congresspersons know the president could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

173 electoral voters know the president could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

9 supreme court justices know the president could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

6 joint chiefs of staff know their commander-in-chief could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

ken starr and every 5-star conservative attorney in the country know the president could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

rush limbaugh, glenn beck and all the president's biggest critics in the media know the president could be an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it beside making jokes.

hawaii's health department knows the president IS IN FACT an illegal usurper and won't do anything about it.

hawaii's republican governor lingle knows about her health department and won't do anything about it.

BUT ...

... a ragtag assortment of mostly anonymous but scrappy self-proclaimed "patriots" of dubious qualifications and even more dubious personalities from across the internet not only know the president is in fact an illegal usurper, but, despite the combined apathy of everyone who matters and who should take action, CAN also do something about it.

well, either that, OR ...

barack hussein obama ii IS IN FACT the legitimate, fair-and-square resident of 1600 pennsylvania avenue and everyone who matters knows the birthers are all full of shit.

jeepers ...

... just how is a genuinely open-minded citizen supposed to know which is true?

for the sake of every real american and their children's children, we simply cannot afford to choose wrongly ...

1) because, i presume, you rightly have more important things to fret about ...

the soon-to-be-senator from minnesota

disclaimer: those who've known me for a long time would never accuse me of developing a mancrush on anybody (not that there's anything wrong with it ...), and really, it's not, but ... there's something about the way al carries his oddball pretend-irascibility (or is it an irascible pretend-oddballity?), even while working the audience to convince us he's no carpet-bagger, a performance that somehow cleverly morphs itself into something bordering on a kind of — dare i say itadorability?

(of course, smacking bush around does kinda help seal the deal and reminiscing about all the decider's unappreciated genius has become somewhat fashionable at the moment ...)

letterman: ladies and gentlemen ... al franken!
[franken walks onstage, bows, sits]

always a pleasure, al.

franken: always a pleasure for me.
letterman: so where do they tape your microphone?
franken: [bends to look at his crotch] well, dave ...
letterman: heh, heh, heh ...

well now, i don't wanna ... i don't wanna bore you, but you might find some of this tedious ...

franken: yeah ...
letterman: ... but i find it fascinating, ah, a while ago, six months ago? three months ago? a year ago ... you and your wife moved ...
together: to minneapolis ...
franken: ... that's right.
letterman: you're originally from minnesota. how's that goin'?
franken: ... great. great! great, i do my show from there. y'know, i'm the hardest working man in show biz politics, and uh ...
schaefer: [laughing] ... it's a new category to me! hahaha!
franken: yeah, yeah, and, in fact this thing i'm doing tomorrow night, the reason i brought it up, is it's a big fund-raiser for my group "midwest values PAC" ...
letterman: at the state theater ...
franken: yeah, and we're raising money for democrats, y'know, it's called "midwest values" because i feel, i, y'know, i lived here for a long time ...
letterman: thirty years or so in new york.
franken: yeah, and uh, but i always felt like a midwesterner, always felt like a minnesotan. you must feel like —
letterman: y'know, i do, and i feel like i'm at home. i love indiana and i feel that that's a great part of me.
franken: yeah, and that's ... your values are rooted there, and uh, that's what our PAC is about, and uh, that's because i think democrats win ... on values. we stand for things, for example: ah, accountability. like, uh, bush finally, like a couple weeks ago, uh, was with tony blair, admitted that he made some mistakes ... in iraq. right. [applause]

and all he said, he said "i said some things wrong. like, i shouldn't have said 'bring it on.'"

letterman: right.
franken: which is kinda common sense, another midwest value: don't goad the enemy to attack you. [laughter]
letterman: right.
franken: y'know, and it's all that swagger thing, like, at the ... remember at the republican convention he said: "some people see me, and, uh, [adopts bush drawl] they see a swagger, certain swagger. well, in texas we call that walkin'."

in minnesota we call that "being a jerk." [applause]

y'know. walk with, with uh ...

letterman: ... dignity ...
franken: ... some humility ...
letterman: yes, humility, right.
franken: ... humility. ah, bush, y'know, says like he's a big jesus guy. well, jesus didn't walk with a swagger. he didn't go like, [adopts bush drawl] "see that water i turned into wine?" [points to self] "me. that was me."
letterman: heh — not a show-off ...
franken: [still in character] "see that blind guy over there? that uh, he's not bumpin' into things any more? [points to self] jesus." [laughter]
letterman: wasn't a blowhard ...
franken: [still in character] "yeah. that big boulder i rolled, y'know, in front of, i rolled that outta the entrance to that cave where i was dead and now i'm alive? eh?" [puffs out chest] "bring it on!" [applause]

y'know, it's easy — that wasn't jesus. that was ... walk with some, some ... humility.

letterman: that's right.
franken: you can be strong, you can be courageous —
letterman: exactly.
franken: — it's not, that kind of bluster isn't strong. that's not strength.
letterman: now, uh, from where you sit, what are your other observations regarding, now we're nearly halfway through the second term of the bush administration. what are your observations generally of, about things now?
franken: he's ... he's in the toilet.

actually, lorne michaels said something very funny to me. he said that jee— uh, ah, that bush ... [laughter, applause]

... i had jesus on the brain!

letterman: we all do.
franken: great, great prophet, jesus.
letterman: yeah.
franken: as my rabbi told me, he had a lot of great ideas. none of them knew. s'what my rabbi used to tell me.

anyway, ah, bush. lorne michaels said to me, "looks like a, a guy whose show's just been cancelled, but he has nine more to do." [applause]

letterman: heh, i know that feeling.
franken: you know that feeling?
letterman: yeah, absolutely.
franken: like, i mean, obviously the war's just going terribly. uh, if he's going to admit those mistakes, he should have admitted a couple other things. for example, ah, when he said, y'know, that the war on terror is a crusade. that was stupid.
letterman: poor choice of words.
franken: it sent the wrong message to a lot of people. muslims, mainly.

and, uh, y'know the only defense i can thing of for him is that, um, y'know he didn't know there had been a "crusades". [laughter]

letterman: [unintelligible]
franken: y'know, he wasn't a great student. he's admitted he doesn't do a lot of reading.

so i think that the thing he needs to do is hold himself accountable. i think he needs to go on TV and admit the mistakes he made. that he kind of ... misled us ... into the war, didn't send enough troops, uh, disbanded the iraqi army by telling them, y'know, by telling 300,000 guys: "you're fired! we're not gonna pay you, get the hell outta here! and take your weapons with you!" [laughter]

and say: "i'm sorry i tortured — we tortured people." that turned out to be a mistake, because, y'know, their families don't like it. they get angry.

basically, this would be, this is the short version. it'd have to be a six-hour speech he'd have to tell, s'what i'm saying.

letterman: [laughing] ... six hours ...

now, i want to talk to you about your experience with the american military. and recently you gave the commencement at west point.

franken: it wasn't the commencement. it was just a ...
letterman: just a "how'ya doin'?" you just dropped in ... ?
franken: it was, it was sort of in-between.
letterman: OK. we'll be right back here with al franken, everybody.
[commercial break]
letterman: ... and i said, mistakenly, you'd given the commencement at west point, and i think, uh, president bush actually gave the commencement.
franken: yeah, they just ask him to do the commencement, i just ...
letterman: you were not there for the commencement.
franken: ... gave the sol feinstone lecture on the meaning of freedom. this is last — i had my book out at the time, "the truth, with jokes", this was, i was at west point. it was an audience not so different than this one. [laughter] uh, except, it was all cadets.
letterman: that's right. that would be the one small difference.
franken: yeah and i was supposed to talk about the meaning of freedom, and my book "the truth, with jokes" was out at the time and basically, after jollying them up with some jokes, um, i got them on my side, and i told them that the president had lied us into the war, and uh, i said you can't have freedom without the truth. you can have freedom without jokes, as the dutch and the swiss have proven. [laughter]

but, they um, gave me a standing ovation, and they —

letterman: really?
franken: yeah. i think that, i really admire them, as you said, i've gone over a number of times on USO trips and — a lotta people think that it's dangerous. it's not. i remember that — you're surrounded by the USO, by ...
letterman: the army.
franken: by the, yeah, by the ... you're embedded and they don't want anyone in the USO to get ...

a coupla years ago i'd done my first one in iraq. i was at a party in hollywood and there was all these celebrities there and i got a little bit overwhelmed and i went to sit in the library and i was — i thought i was alone and i hear this voice: [in deep low voice] "hey, al ..."

yeah, i looked around and it was sylvester stallone.

letterman: oh ...
franken: and i said, uh "hey ... uh ... sylvester." 'cause i didn't know ... [laughter]
letterman: riiight ...
franken: and he said, [in deep low voice] "i understand you went on one of them USO tours." i said "yeah it was great." he said [deep] "yah, well, i was supposed to go, but i didn't."

and i said "well, why didn't you go?" he said [deep] "well, i thought it might be too dangerous." i said "well, it's not really that dangerous ..." i said exactly just what i said to you and he said [deep]"yah well lemmee ask ya this: was there ever any moment when you felt in danger for your life?" [laughter]

and i said well, OK we did have one point where we took helicopters from baghdad to tikrit and then back again, and some ... had been shot down, so i thought maybe one-in-ten-thousand chance that — [deep] "yah well, that's why i didn't go." [laughter]

i said to him "weren't you, weren't you friggin' rambo?" [laughter, applause]

letterman: friggin' ... friggin' rambo ...
franken: i didn't say "friggin'", but ...
letterman: [unintelligible] rambo ...
franken: he was actually very honest and said [deep] "yah, but i like my life. i got a good life."

that's how i got the west point guys on my side. i told them that story.

letterman: yeah, that's a pretty good story ...
franken: true story.
letterman: what's he doin' in the library, fer god sakes ... ? [laughter]
franken: uh, i, ah ...
letterman: honestly, that's bizarre.
franken: he might've followed me in.
letterman: uh, just wanna quickly, ah, because we're all interested in your political future, if you have one, perhaps running for office, and i think the interesting thing, and important to point out, is you've been married for quite a few years and that's very important. you should use that in your campaign. people like, uh, marriage solidarity. and you certainly represent that, you and your wife have been married how, how long?
franken: um, thirty years, many of them happy. [laughter, applause]
letterman: that's good.
franken: thank you. thank you.
letterman: don't be afraid to use this, for your campaign.
franken: um, i credit fear.
letterman: hm.
franken: yes, i just, ah, am afraid of being alone. and uh, we have kids. that's —
letterman: that's good, sure.
franken: really ... i, uh, i find her incredibly annoying in a lotta ways. [laughter]
letterman: talkin' about your wife now?
franken: yah, um ...
letterman: you might wanna soft-pedal this out on the campaign trail ...
franken: yeah ...

well, it's little things! it's just always little things. she does a lot of like ... she decides to say stuff to me as soon as i've walked out of the room.

so i spend a lot of time saying: "i can't, i can't hear you!" [laughter]

but we ... "i'm in another room!" and um ...

y'know, but we, we met, uh, freshman — can i tell you the story of my, uh ... when my daughter was six years old — 'cause kira's segment was so lovely — i was at my daughter's teacher, when my daughter was six years old, asked her to write a story, asked every kid to write a story how their parents met. and, so, um, we told her: we met freshman year in college at a mixer, i said i saw your mom across the room gathering these, uh, other girls to leave. she was trying to get 'em to leave and i loved the way she like, was taking charge. in retrospect ... [waves hands dismissively] ... and anyway, um, i said — and she was beautiful! she was beautiful! y'know, beautiful, so i asked her to dance, then i, uh, bought her a, got her a ginger ale, and then i escorted her to her dorm and asked her for a date.

so my daughter wrote: "my dad asked my mom to dance, bought her a drink and took her home." [applause] and ...

letterman: hehhehheh, well ... nothin' wrong with that either!

tomorrow night at the state theater in minneapolis. i'm sure it'll be an enjoyable evening.

franken: it, um ... the website, just in case you wanted to get tickets in minneapolis,, and that, that is not to be confused with, which is where you get live organs ...
letterman: heh heh heh. alright ...
franken: ... live human organs, which is another one of my ...
letterman: no, you wouldn't wanna get those —
franken: our organs are human.
letterman: yeah, that's right. good.
letterman: thank you very much, al. always a pleasure. nice to see you.
franken: thanks.

(hat tip to one good move)

Friday, July 16, 2010

thanks, bp: oils well that ends well ... ?

until the stoppage has been independently confirmed, i'll keep my revised meter running.

BP says it has temporarily stopped oil flowing into the gulf of mexico from its leaking well.

it is the first time the flow has stopped since an explosion on the deepwater horizon rig on 20 april.

the well has been sealed with a cap as part of a test of its integrity that could last up to 48 hours.

US president barack obama said the development was a "positive sign" but noted that BP was still in the testing phase.

BP executive kent wells said the oil had been stopped at 1425 local time (1925 GMT) and he was "excited" by the progress.

no imagination needed

... to guess how a non-white version of a certain much-hyped vocal national "grass-roots" movement would go over with the mainstream media:

what if the tea party was black?
holding guns like the black panther party was back?
if al was rush limbaugh and jesse was sean hannity
and tavis was glenn beck
would they harm they families?
if sarah palin was suddenly sistah souljah
would they leave it with the votes
or go and get the soldiers?
y'all know if the tea party was black
the government would have been
had the army attack!

what if michael baisden was on ya FM dial
for 3 hours every day calling the president foul?
would they say free speech or find evidence how
to charge him with treason
like see he's unamerican now?
what if minister farrakhan prayed for the death
of the commander in chief that he be laid to rest?
would they treat it as the gravest threat
or never make an arrest
even today he's still hated for less?

what if president obama would have lost the election?
quit his job so he could go talk to the left and
bash the government for being off of direction
fraught with deception?
and told black people they want all of our weapons
and we want our own country and called for secession?
would he be arrested and tossed in corrections
for trying to foster aggression
against the people's lawful selection?
our question's ...

what if the tea party was black?
holding guns like the black panther party was back?
if al was rush limbaugh and jesse was sean hannity
and tavis was glenn beck
would they harm they families?
if sarah palin was suddenly sistah souljah
would they leave it with the votes
or go and get the soldiers?
y'all know if the tea party was black
the government would have been
had the army attack!

what if black people went on facebook and made a page
that for the death of the president-elect we prayed?
would the creators be tazed and thrown in a cage?
we know the page wouldn't have
been displayed all these days!
what if jeremiah wright said that everybody white
wasn't a real america
would you feel scared of him?
if he had a militia with pictures
that depict the president as hitler
they would kill and bury that
wait ...

what if cynthia mckinney lamented
the winning of the new president
and hinted he wasn't really a true resident
with no proof or evidence?
would the media treat it like a huge press event?
they would have attacked whatever group she represents!
they would have called her a kook on precedent
and any network that gave her due preference
would be the laughing stock of the news
so our question is ...

what if the tea party was black?
holding guns like the black panther party was back?
if al was rush limbaugh and jesse was sean hannity
and tavis was glenn beck
would they harm they families?
if sarah palin was suddenly sistah souljah
would they leave it with the votes
or go and get the soldiers?
y'all know if the tea party was black
the government would have been
had the army attack!

(hat tip to oliver willis)

Monday, July 12, 2010

quote of the day

from the booman:

i've never seen a fringe movement take control of a party's soul and mind like this before. i was hoping that the governance of dick cheney, george w. bush, and karl rove was the worst the right could offer, but it's not even close. the republicans have been cynical so long that they've been taken over by the duped.

... the republican party that impeached clinton was dangerously insane. they took it up several notches after 9/11. but what we're witnessing now is of a totally different scale. the parasite has taken over the host.

shoulda, woulda, coulda

s'funny how what sounded impossible a coupl'a years ago sounds like a slam-dunk today ...

nader: what about the more serious violations of habeas corpus. you know after 9-11 bush rounded up thousands of them, americans, many of them muslim americans or arabic americans and they were thrown in jail without charges, they didn't have lawyers, some of them were pretty mistreated in new york city. you know they were all released eventually.
napolitano: correct.
nader: is that what you mean also about throwing people in jail without charges violating habeas corpus?
napolitano: well that is so obviously a violation of the natural law, the natural right to be brought before a neutral arbiter within moments of the government taking your freedom away from you. and the constitution itself, as the supreme court in the boumediene case pretty much said, wherever the government goes, the constitution goes with it and wherever the constitution goes are the rights of the constitution as a guarantee and habeas corpus cannot be suspended by the president ever. it can only be suspended by the congress in times of rebellion which in read milligan says meaning rebellion of such magnitude that judges can't get into their court houses. that has not happened in american history.

so what president bush did with the suspension of habeas corpus, with the whole concept of guantanamo bay, with the whole idea that he could avoid and evade federal laws, treaties, federal judges and the constitution was blatantly unconstitutional and is some cases criminal.

nader: what's the sanction for president bush and vice president cheney?
napolitano: there's been no sanction except what history will say about them.
nader: what should be the sanctions?
napolitano: they should have been indicted. they absolutely should have been indicted for torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrants. i'd like to say they should be indicted for lying but believe it or not, unless you're under oath, lying is not a crime. at least not an indictable crime. it's a moral crime.
nader: so you think george w. bush and dick cheney should even though they've left office, they haven't escaped the criminal laws, they should be indicted and prosecuted?
napolitano: the evidence in this book and in others, our colleague the great vincent bugliosi has amassed an incredible amount of evidence. the purpose of this book was not to amass that evidence but i do discuss it, is overwhelming when you compare it to the level of evidence required for a normal indictment that george w. bush as president and dick cheney as vice president participated in criminal conspiracies to violate the federal law and the guaranteed civil liberties of hundreds, maybe thousands of human beings.

(hat tip to crooks and liars)

Monday, July 05, 2010

found: the lost surfer scripts

caution: this area reserved for fans of marvel comics' silver surfer. those at least familiar with the character might nonetheless find this post amusing ...

if you thought after the fantastic four had narrowly averted doomsday by turning back the cosmic threat of galactus that the big winners were earth's eight billion inhabitants, you might have been wrong, because marvel comics publisher stan lee knew better. marvel had a hot new property on its hands: the tortured, soul-searching oscar award lookalike, the silver surfer, who was himself awarded his own title.

looks turned out to be deceiving, however, and much to marvel's chagrin, the title was sadly put out to pasture without fanfare after only 18 issues.

though exiled on earth by his globe-gobbling overlord, the surfer was not without powerful friends, who soon piled stan lee's desk high with scripts from what seemed the entire pantheon of '70s pop lit: tom wolfe, charles bukowski, larry mcmurtry, sylvester stallone, james michener, hanna and barbera, erica jong and jerzy kosinski were among those attempting to resurrect icarus, but for one reason after another, their efforts languished and remained untouched by the light of day — that is, until now:

(art by bill sienkiewicz)

... of all the "mean streets"-type submissions, the most noteworthy was galaxy primeval: high noon in space, penned by then-obscure elmore leonard (who is now america's fastest-rising chronicler of the demimonde). a passage:
poke, in tan slacks and powder-blue shirt, sipping the salty dog, saying, "the fuck? bastard owes us ten grand. i earned that ten grand, man." think­ing, "this mother­fucker, shit, silver god­damn skin rid­ing a silver god­damn surf­board, shit, pick us out of a lineup in a minute."

the surfer, pushing off the little cross­bolt safety above the trigger, sliding it back and forward again, the beretta nine-millimeter parabellum dark against his silver skin, saying, "but why have fear and hostility so possessed the hearts of men?"

poke thinking, "this dude, fuck, man, dude's a fucking square. dude's ready for the psycho ward. the fuck i'm thinking, man, walk with this dude out on the streets? freakiest fucking dude in detroit. shit, man, freakier than deleon johnson and his .38 with the rubber god­damn bands wrapped around the handle." poke, earing back the hammer of his walther p-38, saying, "the fuck, ain't got no hostility, man. cock­sucker owe me ten grand, i'm gonna get it. don't care if the fucker eats planets, man."

the surfer, hands outstretched, fin­gers spread out be­seech­ing­ly, say­ing, "but you canst not under­stand. hu­man, how can one such as you com­pre­hend the li­mit­less po­wer of him whom men call galactus?"

"the fuck," poke saying. "don't give a shit what people call him. just stick this here gun in his fucking mouth, man, and ear back the hammer. fuckin' blow his brains all over outer space, man. like, no one will hear him scream."

the surfer, glanc­ing into the mirror behind poke, cock­ing his head like gary cooper in that movie, high noon, liking the way he looked in the o­rig­i­nal crested beaut american cowboy hat with the fun­nel­ed brim, the way it curved down over his eyes, say­ing, "per­haps, then, hu­man, it is de­sol­a­tion you seek, and per­haps, in that de­sol­a­tion, you will find the peace your heart desires. but as for where the silver surfer soars ... know you that he soars alone."

poke saying, "then fuck off, chickenfat."

lee liked the script, but cautioned that if the surfer appeared wearing a crested beaut american cowboy hat he might be confused with a marvel reprint standby, the rawhide kid. buscema argued, "yeah, but this hat has a funneled brim. the rawhide kid's doesn't have a funneled brim." arguments raged on for weeks ...
(original 1968 story by stan lee, art by john buscema and joe sinnott)

to savor other surfer stories in the voices of james michener, charles bukowski, jerzy kosinski, larry mcmurtry, eldridge cleaver, tom wolfe and j.g. ballard, download the complete article "the surfer scripts" (pdf).

Thursday, July 01, 2010

the hammer

when you have a hammer, people will bring you nails:

what’s the point of you saving this superb military for, colin, if we can't use it?

— former un ambassador madeleine albright