Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Blogaround

I honestly thought I was going to get this done by (and in honor of) Steve's birthday, but that and so much else has gone by the wayside, so let's just get into our catch-up, shall we? Oh, but before we start, I'd like to pass along this joke my mom forwarded via email. Forgive the ethnic stereotypes, but I like the punchline.
The Italian says, 'I'm tired and thirsty. I must have wine.'
The Frenchwoman says, 'I'm tired and thirsty. I must have cognac.'
The Russian says, 'I'm tired and thirsty. I must have vodka.'
The German says, 'I'm tired and thirsty. I must have beer.'
The Mexican says, 'I'm tired and thirsty. I must have tequila.'
The Jew says, 'I'm tired and thirsty. I must have diabetes.'
And with that rimshot fading in the distance, on with the blogaround!

• Winter is rough on people. A lot of folks have shuffled off their mortal coil these last few weeks. I was struck by the relative press they got. Even women went on and on about the life of the now-departed '50s pinup gal Bettie Page, about whom I honestly couldn't get worked up one way or another, but that's kind of been balanced out by the lovely remembrances of Majel Barrett Roddenberry, one of my favorite celebs for a number of years now. But in among all this were the lesser known ladies who should have been better known, so I'm grateful to Sheila Lennon for talking about her friend Liz Donovan, to Susie for remembering Robin Toner, and to Heidi for the sad news of the death of Maddie Blaustein, with whom I lunched and corresponded back when she was still Addie (I was introduced to her via Christopher Priest-the-comics-writer-not-the-sf-writer whom I called "Jim" anyway, back in my Usenet days). On the famous-gentlemen-now-passed side, I shall miss Paul Benedict and Van Johnson, for very different reasons.

• The other big December death that still looms over our society is, of course, the assassination of John Lennon (which, together with Reagan having just been elected, signalled to me the beginning of the end of a progressive direction for this country, which I'm fairly certain Saint Obama won't reverse, given that he's always been a centrist politician and all). Over at HuffPo, Mike Ragogna takes another listen to Double Fantasy; Adam Koford gives us a nice Laugh Out Loud Cats tribute; and while Julian Lennon appreciates the condolences, it was 29 years ago after all, and "I don't Live & Breathe this date the same way many of you do," so we must each get on with the business of living.

• Back in my aforementioned Usenet days I was sometimes known as "Waid Girl" because I made no secret of my admiration for Mark Waid's writing. The man, quite simply, knows his craft, and even the 20% or so of the time when his work didn't grab me viscerally it was still well done. I'm delighted to find that Mark -- long known for his impatience with online fandom, message boards and the like -- is now blogging weekly over at John Rogers' Kung Fu Monkey. Here are the first two installments of what I hope are many Waid Wednesdays. See, people won't miss my Wednesday ComicMix columns at all now!

• Speaking of which, I may not be doing a weekly column at the moment (it's all I can do to update my blog daily!) but other ex-ComicMix columnists (Mike Gold and Martha Thomases, as well as Martha's son Arthur Tebbel) have now joined Michael Davis at his place, and a few new-to-me folks (Tatiana, Tony Price and Q. Reyes) have joined them. Great stuff, well worth reading!

• Meanwhile, other comic book buddies Gerard Jones and Will Jacobs are serializing a new story in blog form, called My Pal Splendid Man. Thanks for Facebooking me (or whatever the proper verb form is) about this, Gerry!

• Looks like the SAG strike is unlikely; the letter Wil Wheaton reproed on his blog explains a lot of good reasons why. I'm hopeful Robin can get another good assignment on the heels of his current one, in this economy it helps to stick with whatever you can get, particularly if you're a freelancer.

• Speaking of the economy, among my favorite current-events posts are Evan Robinson's big-picture wrap-up; eriposte's review of early Madoff warning signs that everyone chose to ignore (now that I'm employed in a company which has relationships with a number of Madoff clients, I've been reading up a lot, and was particularly enthralled by that old Barron's article -- "proprietary strategy" indeed!); Michael Moore on how to really save the Big 3 auto companies (it reads much better than it sounds when he goes on a cable chat show); two real good ones from News Writer, one about lame duckitude (oh yeah, Adam had something to say about that too) and about how we're all the victims of one big Ponzi scheme now (honestly, who couldn't see this coming considering everything else this administration has screwed up?); Paul Krugman agreeing that we've all gone quite Madoff; Frank Rich trying to see the silver lining of humor in the good ol' fashioned Blogojevich corruption; and Val's advice to the comics industry in this new not-so-great depression.

• I am aware of all internet traditions (oh, okay)! Such as LOL-everything and flowcharts about flowcharts about flowcharts...

• What's with the hair? Lance wonders about Blagojevich, and davenoon wants to bring back Presidential facial hair. I mean, look how long it's been since we've had a President with a hairy face...

(By the way... Ravel's Bolero? Really?)

• Good lord, again with Oprah lamenting another weight gain? Thank goodness this latest "tragedy" inspired some good blog posts, like this one from TWoP Fan at Shakesville and this from Lesley at Fatshionista. Along the same lines, Ampersand debunks the "fat people eat more at buffets" so-called study, and Melissa McEwen is as disgusted as me that the proposed NY tax on sodas with high-fructose corn syrup (because, face it, only the kosher-for-Passover ones still use sugar, and we'd be much healthier if the others went back to that and away from HFCS) is horribly mis-nicknamed an "obesity tax." But of course, this unhealthy obsession goes way deeper than fat-hatred -- or should I say, shallower? Willow lets loose with a marvelous essay on (un)reality-creation.

• Okay, some people can't deal with "reality" even when it obviously isn't real. For instance, I liked the latest adorably manipulative Top Chef episode where "just this once, everybody lives," but Mark Blankenship at HuffPo gets all pouty about it. It's like he just found out that these shows are ginned-up, it'd be cute if it weren't so, I dunno, pitiful. Also, Melissa gives props to my secret fave Top Chef contestant this season, Carla, who hasn't a hope in heck of winning but is just too much flaky fun.

• Val's kind of been waging a one-woman rhetorical battle regarding the lines drawn between the right to publish sexist stuff and trademark-violating simulated child porn. I tend to lean more towards Neil's side of the fence in this, but I can certainly understand Val's general disgust at the leeway given to stuff we'd rather not see shoved in our faces. Problem is, much of the stuff we do and believe might be considered by others to be shoved in their faces, so if I want the right to my beliefs I need to cede others the right to theirs (as long as nobody is harmed) even if it makes me queasy to think about it. I don't ever want folks telling me I can't read terrific posts like Heidi's about the still-dismal state women comics creators, or Cheryl Lynn's about same (thanks for looking into the industry again, CL, I know you've kind of given up on comics but I'm very glad when your writing returns to it, however briefly). And I never want to be told I can't do something because, for instance, some people believe I'm too old; Melissa Silverstein gives us a nice list of over-45 female rockers. In another life, with another talent, I might have been one of them.

• Randall Monroe, thank you for this:

• Lastly, I so totally agree with Augie about that stupid spider. I mean, really.

Not nearly done with blog-reading, but at least the checked-bookmarks are now dealt with. Now to get into a warmer room!