December 8th, 2005

good grief

Via oilyrags

Some squeaker in the Austin American Statesman complains that inappropriately sexual materials may appear on the recommended reading lists for 11th-graders in the local school district, and that will simply not do, because we can't have 17-year-olds exposed to sexual materials. Viz.:

Round Rock school board trustee Elizabeth Elleson brought to my attention "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle," which is on her daughter's 11th-grade reading list. Only seven pages into the book, I found a passage that begins with wet pubic hair and escalates into erotic detail. I'd offer quotations, but they wouldn't be appropriate for a community newspaper.

Gasp! That Haruki Murakami, why, he's nothing but a smut peddler. Teenagers should only encounter wet pubic hair in gym class, when they're showering together!

Although parents in the Round Rock school district can request that their children not read particular books, Elleson said the novel's description on the district's Web site ("From the minor event of a lost cat, the lives of a Tokyo couple unravels into a mystery") is woefully inadequate for parents to offer informed consent. She wants more accurate information and more parental input into book selections.

So, I guess a better description would be "From the minor event of a lost cat, the lives of a Tokyo couple unravels [nice copy-editing there] into a mystery which quickly descends into a morass of wet pubic hair and escalates into erotic detail." That way no one will ever have to read it!
bizarro am drunk motherfucker


Via thebitterguy, behold AK Comics, the first locally-produced Arabic superhero comics! Located in Egypt and with a touchingly sincere mission statement, AK has rolled out four titles so far and ambitiously projects six more by next year.

I honestly don't know what to think about this stuff. On the one hand, it's probably pretty bad (though I won't know until I get some, which I definitely intend to), and the English-language stuff on the website is written by someone whose grasp of English is not exceptionally refined (check out the character info for some fun, like Rakan's arch-enemy "Chest Master"), but, you know, their submission guidelines and company info page is about ten times more professional than that of most American comics companies, and the art, from what little I've seen, is no worse and maybe even a little better than plenty of people getting regular work for the Big Three over here.

Maybe I'm being overly charitable, since I've been so desperate the last, oh, 30 years or so for an Arabic character in comics who isn't a total stereotype. Anyway, AK COMICS! Right?
i got all the money

Love is all you need. Plus swag.

One of the nice things about being a semi-professional stuff-writin' guy is that people send you free things in the mail. I'm not much of a materialist, and as long as I have my awesome girlfriend and regular access to a hot shower, the only things I really need are food, books, movies, and music. Happily, I review all those things for money, and occassionally I will have a week like this one, when a whopping 14 (!) CDs showed up on my doorstep waiting to be reviewed.

I also get to go to movie screenings from time to time and occasionally receive DVD screeners in the mail (although these are sometimes sent for purposes of revenge, like when a publicist sent me Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle in the mail because I hated the first one so much). I review restaurants on a semi-regular basis, which means a free meal for two; I constantly get put on the guest list of concerts that I don't go to because I am an old man; and I'm never lacking for free music, even if it's not always good music (and it frequently is).

The one place I'm seriously lacking is books. Since I've done very few book reviews or comics reviews for money, publicists do not tend to include me on their swag list, and I am forced to pay for all of it like a chump. Luckily, however, there is calamityjon, who sent me a box chock-full of CD scans of about a kerjillion comics! Thanks, man, for completely destroying my productivity for the next several years. The box includes a bunch of classic Marvel and Golden Age DC stuff; a handful of new(ish) comics; and some noteworthy honkers which should be fun to revisit, including the abysmal "Obnoxio the Clown vs. the X-Men" one-shot, a whole slew of "Super-Villain Team-Up", some supremely dopey "Superman's Douchebag Pal, Jimmy Fucking Olsen", and the unspeakably deranged "Brother Power the Geek". There's also plenty of stuff I've wanted to get my hands on for a while, like some Steranko "Nick Fury"s, some "Doom Patrol"/"My Greatest Adventure" scans, some really choice Fred Hembeck material, some classic "Justice League", some prime "Heroes for Hire" stuff, and, yes, Virginia, there is a Giant-Size Man-Thing. There's a couple of Dell's "Peanuts" collections, at least one issue of "PREZ" (!), and, representing the definitive collection of second-rate Marvel super-teams, over 100 issues of "The Defenders" and "The Champions". (By the way, y'all need to check this.

Anyway, with that itch scratched, I now have to focus on getting paying gigs reviewing the following things so I can start getting them for free:

- Liquor
- Pants
- Baseball games
- Firearms
- Houses in the south of France
- Prescription drugs
- Robots