March 21st, 2003

flavored with age

How lame I really am: the awful truth

Last night, while watching CNN like a tool, I was working on a chapter in my crappy novel that is turning out to be particularly awful. So I took a break and did some reading, and then had a sandwich. While I was eating my sandwich, I did some thinking.

What did I think about, you ask? Was it literary theory? Philosophy? Politics? Religious conflicts? The social construction of our society? No, no. What was on my mind -- given the fact that I'd just been writing about superheroes and watching coverage of the war -- was comic books.

Specifically, I got to thinking about the old war comics, and how there was inevitably a group of American fightin' devil dogs in costume, and they would always pound on the Nazis. And of course, there had to be some explanation of why this didn't end the war in five minutes, so the Nazis always had a group of German fightin' devil dogs in costume, and they would always pound right back on the Americans. And I thought, boy, that's kind of a happy coincidence for both sides, isn't it? Because, you know, if one side had a superhero and the other didn't, you're stuck with a Dr. Manhattan scenario.

Which in turn led me to all sorts of digressive notions about a 'superhero gap', and how a whole subculture of black ops would arise to try and kidnap the superheroes' relatives or blackmail them or in some way severely compromise them, and how opposing nations would literally bankrupt themselves trying to develop a cape-and-cowler of their own a la the US/Soviet arms race, and how much of a temptation to use these people as an instrument of policy enforcement might be, and what might have happened if, say, baby Kal-el's rocket had happened to land in Okinawa or on a collective farm in Russia instead of Smallville. And I thought about how there have been some good stories written along these lines already (I'm thinking particularly of "Marshal Law"), but how there's a lot more good stories to be written about them, and I would write them myself if I wasn't lazy and could draw. And then I thought 'boy, Leonard, you've spent a couple of hours engaging in in-depth speculation about the geopolitical ramifications of the Fantastic Four. You really are a geek.'

Anyway, it was a good sandwich.
flavored with age

Man, Chamberlain, you are fortune's fool

Speaking of reading, I am enlivening my current trip through Shirer's classic "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by pretending that it's a novel. Of course, this is a little difficult, since I already know what happens, but I'm trying just the same. Anyway, I'm the reader, so I'm in charge, get off my back already.

Anyway, I'm just past the 500-page mark, and I'm afraid to say, things look bad for Poland.
flavored with age

Memories darken the cellars of my mind

Someday when I'm an old decaying crank living off Uncle Sucker in a rotten old folks' home, I will be sorry I didn't immerse myself in mainstream culture a bit more.

Me and all the other impoverished oldsters will be sitting around the "rec room", playing a game of gin rummy with a 62-year-old deck of paper cards in between sock beatings by the surly teenage attendants. And we'll all be talking, trying to pass the time, and everyone will talk about Celine Dion and 'Everybody Loves Raymond' and the Olive Garden and Tom Clancy and the films of Adam Sandler, and I will talk about how much I used to enjoy listening to Death Praxis and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. Or how I liked "Jim" a lot more than "Frank". Or the novels of B.S. Johnson.

And then everyone will stare at me and the surly teenage attendants will shove some Stop-O-Gloominex down my throat and no one will invite me to play gin rummy anymore.
flavored with age

Talkin' warball

CLCGamma: shock and awe day!
theludickid: Is it?
CLCGamma: yeah, baghdad's on fire
CLCGamma: We have, I think, sort of squandered our fearsomeness.
CLCGamma: what we should have done is invaded iraq with, like, fifty guys
CLCGamma: one tank, two apc, maybe an a-10
CLCGamma: like bobby fischer playing blindfolded
theludickid: Ha
theludickid: You know, as I said earlier today
theludickid: The fact that Iraq has caved like a bunker made of Fruit Roll-Ups sort of points up how ludicrous the whole notion that Iraq is a threat to the safety of the world really is.
CLCGamma: 50 guys, man
CLCGamma: cruise missiles: $1m/shot
CLCGamma: it's rummy now.
theludickid: I love Rummy
theludickid: What's he sayin'?
CLCGamma: oh, give up, do not shoot at us.
CLCGamma: do not damage any of the valuable oil
theludickid: Precious, precious oil
theludickid: It's not really helping the "it's not about oil" argument that they mention not damaging the oil wells every five minutes.
CLCGamma: yeah
CLCGamma: plus the fact that they stopped lobbying for anwr after the deadline was issued.
theludickid: Yah. "Fuck Alaska! Basra, here we come! WHOOO"
theludickid: Why are we even bothering with the shock and awe thing? I mean, didn't we already win the war?
CLCGamma: the tv hosts were whining
CLCGamma: it wasn't good tv
CLCGamma: they were LOSING PEORIA
theludickid: Yeah, true.
CLCGamma: they even showed basketball on cbs
theludickid: "General Franks, people aren't going to watch us at 2AM to see footage of American troops just driving around."
CLCGamma: oh my god
CLCGamma: we found LAND MINES
CLCGamma: they could have used land mines on us!
CLCGamma: let's send some more cruise missiles in to level their buildings.
theludickid: They could have tied us up and thrown us on top of the land mines.
theludickid: Obviously we must destroy their cities.
CLCGamma: do the honorable thing, stop fighting.
CLCGamma: jesus christ
theludickid: "Some demonstrators support military action. While many students at Brown University in Providence, R.I., held signs denouncing war, Alec O'Neill stood at the edge of the crowd in a T-shirt that read, 'I am threatened by Iraq.'"
theludickid: The United States military isn't even threatened by Iraq.
theludickid: But Alec O'Neill, of Brown University in Providence, RI, is the world's biggest pussy.
CLCGamma: they were doing equal time on sf news last night for a single guy standing on his car, holding up a "GO WAR" sign.
theludickid: He wants to take back the night from Saddam Hussein.
CLCGamma: the bombing is "terribly unpleasant" for the citizens of baghdad
CLCGamma: says rummy
theludickid: Ha.
theludickid: "Dreadful mess, this bombing, eh, Tariq?"
theludickid: "Frightful, Rajif. Simply a bother."
CLCGamma: they're torturing rummy to try to get him to talk about civilian casualties
theludickid: They need to get Ari out there.
theludickid: TAG OUT, RUMMY!
CLCGamma: heh
CLCGamma: i like rummy more than ari. he's evil, but he's not the least bit disingenuous about it
theludickid: Yeah, me too.
CLCGamma: he's like, yeah, i eat babies, and i do it for the forces of light.
CLCGamma: ari's all, "I have no information on baby-eating by anybody but Democrats."
theludickid: Rumsfeld is like Luthor.
theludickid: Speaking of evil, where's that ghoul Cheney?
theludickid: Is he "sequestered"?
CLCGamma: he's hands-on
CLCGamma: working with condi
theludickid: Shudder
theludickid: The two most Stalinist members of the administration
theludickid: Putting their heads know someone's gonna die when that happens.
CLCGamma: yeah
theludickid: Poor Colin Powell
theludickid: Sitting in his office eating flies like Renfield
theludickid: Do the neo-cons like him this week, or hate him?
CLCGamma: they like him as long as he's playing