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Saturday, September 29, 2007

It's a Joke, Son!


Chances are you've never heard of Kenny Delmar, even as big a nerd as you are. Kenny gained a degree of fame as a radio personality. He came to prominence on Fred Allen's show, based on a character he created: Senator Claghorn, a blusterous know-it-all who thought the sun rose and set on THE SOUTH.

They even made a 1947 movie featuring the character entitled "It's a Joke, Son," based on one of the senator's favorite phrases. In my opinion, it's a hilarious little piece of Americana, and it's currently in the public domain. You can watch the entire movie here.

video

During the 1950s, Kenny did a lot of TV work on shows such as Kraft Television Theater, Studio One, General Electric Theater, the Colgate Comedy Hour etc.

In later years, he became largely known for doing cartoon voices, including Commander McBragg on the Underdog and Tennessee Tuxedo shows, and Kit Coyote on Go Go Gophers.

Kenny Delmar passed away in 1984 at the age of 74, and the world lost an obscure but very talented entertainer.

As I said, you probably don't know Kenny Delmar. But I'll bet you know part of his legacy. Y'see, in 1946, the fine folks at Warner Brothers needed a character for a Henery Hawk cartoon, and they came up with a blusterous, know-it-all rooster named Foghorn Leghorn, a tribute to the talents of Mr. Kenny Delmar.


And now you know...the rest of the story. Good day!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Calling in sick

I'm not feeling well today.

I've been awake maybe 6 hours out of the past 24, and I'm probably going back to bed once this posts.

"Witch Children" deadline has been extended to Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bionic Wednesday

If you aren't watching Bionic Woman, start.

Right goddamn now.

Is it the best new show of the season? Maybe. There are other shows I need to see before I can make that judgement. It is, however, easily within the top five.

It is a dark, sexy re-imagining of the 1970s property, just as 2003's Battlestar Galactica miniseries breathed new life and vision into what was previously a corny sci-fi show.

I'm particularly impressed with their exploration of cyberpsychosis -- a affliction common in cyberpunk fiction wherein the removal of body parts and their subsequent replacement with prosthetics results in a perceived loss of humanity, with concomitant paranoia, loss of impulse control, and increasing aggression and violent tendencies.

Yes, there are about a million ways this show can go wrong and auger into the ground, but until and unless that happens, I will keep watching it.



WNW: Now with more Ninjas

This edition of WNW is brought to you courtesy of Pythagoras Switch, a children's television in Japan. I think the host looks an awful lot like Masi Oka, of Heroes fame.

Also, ninjas.

Monday, September 24, 2007

New TV Season: Monday Night

Normally I'm not a huge TV watcher, but this season looks like it'll have a good solid core of sci-fi and nerdery. Today I parked it on NBC for three hours and this is what I thought.

8 PM: Chuck
Executive Summary: Computer geek gets all the secrets and intel of both the CIA and NSA uploaded into his brain. Both agencies send agents to "acquire" him. Hijinks ensue.
What's it like:
Jake 2.0, but with more humor and less cheesy nanotech.
Did I like it: Look, it has Adam Baldwin in it, and any time there's a show featuring my go-to guy for guns, muscles, and thuggery, I watch. It's actually a lot better than I expected it would be.
Is it fun: Hell yes. I hope they put more nerd humor in, actually.
Is it sexy: It's an 8 pm show. Still, the female lead was shown in her underwear twice. (Sadly, no equal time for Adam Baldwin.)
Will I keep watching: Hell yes.

9 PM: Heroes
Executive Summary:If you haven't heard of Heroes yet, you've been living under a rock for the past year. Go away.
What's it like: The episode is called "Four Months Later." Guess what it's about?
Did I like it: For the season premiere, it was actually kind of flat. There was no sense of tension that carried the last half of season 1. I'll keep watching, of course, because it's goddamn Heroes.
Is it fun/sexy/exciting: Not this episode, because it lacked the heart and soul of season 1: Peter Petrelli. And there are lots of unanswered questions from last year that need resolving. I have high hopes for future episodes, though.
Will I keep watching: You betcha.

10 PM: Journeyman
Executive Summary: Newspaper guy travels into the past, and fixes things that went wrong.
What's it like: Quantum Leap, minus the science fiction and great acting.
Did I like it: It's... okay. I'll give it another few viewings to see if the series catches its stride.
Is it fun/sexy/exciting: Sadly, no. The first episode seemed to have too much gravitas and not enough adventure. It's basically a relationship drama with elements of time travel thrown in.
Will I keep watching: It has two more weeks to grab me.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hickman Breaks Kayfabe!

Though a lot of folks will never understand why, professional wrestling is one of the joys of my life. I won't bother trying to explain about the morality play nature of it, or the pleasure from being part of "the work," or the fact that, for my son and I, it's always filled the slot that baseball or other sports might for other fathers/sons. The simple fact is, either you "get" wrestling, or you don't, and never the twain shall meet.

In my case, I like my wrestling as big and bold and goofy as possible. I know the trend in recent years has been for a more "real" type of character (a strange phrase when used to describe wrestling), but I've always been a fan of the BIG gimmick. Give me the wrestling fry cooks, the guys dressed in lobster costumes, the spacemen, the cowboys, the clowns.

Even I have to admit that sometimes it...well, it just ain't workin'. Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about:

Mantaur - In early 1995, the WWF debuted what wrestling had needed for years: a half man, half bull. For the next year or so, he basically charged people in the ring, made bovine noises, and generally stunk up the ring even more than actual cowflop could have. Played by lifetime jobber Mike Hallick, Mantaur failed to catch on with the fans, partially because the WWF missed the boat on the obvious with his character: a feud with El Matador, Tito Santana. Moooooo!


T.L. Hopper - Using professions as wrestling gimmicks is a staple of the form, and over the years we've seen dentists (Isaac Yankem), tax collectors (Irwin R. Schyster, aka IRS), repo men (The Repo Man!), prison guards (the Big Boss Man), and just about anything else you can imagine. T.L. Hopper, however, had 'em all beat. He was a PLUMBER, coming to the ring to the sound of a flushing toilet, his faithful plunger Betsy in hand. Portrayed by Tony Anthony, who'd become something of an institution in the southern feds as "Dirty White Boy," Hopper would show a lot of butt crack, but not much else.

Aldo Montoya, the Portuguese Man O' War - Peter Polaco would go on to greater fame as Justin Credible in ECW, but from 1995-1997 he was forced to wear a jock strap on his head and become a glorified jobber in the WWF. It was a shame, as he's a talented guy and frankly, I always enjoy a masked wrestler. Well, when that mask doesn't require an anti-fungal cream.

Oz - We all know Kevin Nash from his days as Diesel, or in the NWO, or maybe even his movie career (TMNT 3, The Punisher, The Longest Yard, etc.), but for about eight months back in 1991, he was a silver-haired, caped wrestler with a gimmick based on...well, the Wizard of Oz. Ostensibly it was because Turner Broadcasting, which also owned the promotion, had recently bought the rights to show the classic 1939 film, and this was a bit of cross-promotion. Fellow wrestler Kevin Sullivan put on a mask as Oz's manager, Merlin the Wizard (because what character from the Wizard of Oz is more beloved than...Merlin???). There were a lot of special effects and a lot of monkeys flying out of Nash's butt, but it just didn't work.

Seven - It was the gimmick TOO successful to work. In 1999, WCW decided to take Dustin Rhodes, who had done quite well in the WWF as Goldust, and give him another face-painted alter-ego. They filmed a series of video vignettes to launch the character, and boy, were they effective. Unfortunately, the Seven character, who was supposed to be creepy, was shown watching over small children in their sleep as he whispered eerily, and the Standards and Practices folks at Turner thought it made him seem like a child molester. They shelved the gimmick before he'd seen a single match. Eventually he returned and broke kayfabe, talking about all the stupid characters they'd made him portray over the years. But I thought Seven had great potential (I can just see him now, sitting in a kitchen drinking sweet tea and hearing "I'm Chris Hanson...").

More later, 'cause they're endless!

Friday, September 21, 2007

My toons -- let me show you them, part 1: Kenku

KENKU



Real Name:
Kasumi "Cassie" de Winter
Aliases: Michiyo Yamashita
Identity: Secret
Occupation: Instructor (yoga and meditation)
Citizenship: USA and Japan (dual citizenship)
Place of Birth: Baltimore, Maryland
Marital Status: Single
Martial Status: 7th degree black belt (shichidan) in Kenkujutsu
Known Relatives: Kintaro Moribatsu, aka the Obsidian Dragon (maternal grandfather)
Education: College equivalent
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 120 lbs
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

Powers: Mastery of the mystical martial art Kenkujutsu gives her the ability to channel yin and yang energy for various protective or destructive effects, including but not limited to: devastating martial arts strikes; leaps of incredible distance; invisibility; protection from thermal and kinetic energy; manipulation of life energy in self and others. In addition, she has the strength, speed and stamina of an Olympic-level athlete.


History/Origin:
Kenku's father was Simon de Winter, also known as the Raven, a Baltimore-based crimefighter of the 70s and 80s famous for his crafty intelligence and strange sense of humor. Her mother was Kumiko Moribatsu, the daughter of Kintaro Moribatsu and arch-nemesis of the Raven in his guise as the Obsidian Dragon. Upon the latter's apparent death in 1983, Simon and Kumiko retired from costumed life to raise their daughter, Kasumi, in relative normalcy.

All of this changed in 2002, when the Obsidian Dragon reappeared at Kasumi's 18th birthday party and, in the course of capturing his granddaughter, killed Simon and Kumiko as they attempted to prevent her abduction. Seeking to brainwash her into serving as his protege (and as a replacement for her "failed" mother) he took her with him back to his hidden base in Japan. However, Kasumi fled at an opportune moment and disappeared into the forests of Hokkaido.

After several weeks on her own, she discovered an enclave of Kenku: spirits in the form of raven-men who practiced their own forms of martial arts. Kasumi begged them to let her stay, citing her heritage as the daughter of the Raven as proof they were kindred. After proving her dedication and purity of spirit through the performance of several difficult tasks, she was accepted into their community and was taught the secrets of the mystic martial art kenkujutsu.


After several years, her grief and rage had been balanced with insight and discipline, and she was judged ready to return to the world. Adopting the new identity of Michiyo Yamashita, she returned to the United States to begin her dual careers as instructor and costumed crimefighter.

Personality: In her costumed identity, Kenku is extremely focused and exceedingly precise in her demolition of enemies. She will kill if necessary, but prefers to reduce her foes to quivering, whimpering piles of extreme pain from yang-powered strikes to nerve clusters and pressure points. (Nonlethal does not equal painless.) The intensity of this self-described "total war against crime" abates when out of costume, however; when in her Michiyo Yamashita persona she is mellow and balanced, teaching classes on yoga and meditation out of the local community center.


This is not, however, symptomatic of bipolar disorder or dissociative identity disorder; instead, Kasumi practices emotional balance in accordance with the principles of yin and yang. The restfulness of her Yamashita personality keeps her costumed identity from becoming too violent and consumed by thoughts of revenge, and allows her to give back to the community without having to be "on" all the time. In many ways, both Kenku and Michiyo Yamashita are halves of the greater whole which is Kasumi de Winter.


(Special thanks to: Doomslayer for taking the screenshots, Jo for asking the right questions, Nathan for helping me with names and Hickman for starting it all.)

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Now playing: VNV Nation - Darkangel (Apoc Mix - Das Ich)
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A New Literary Challenge

Quoting Jeff at Conditional Axe:
So I'm grading, and I read the following sentence. I swear on the grave of Henry Thoreau that I am not even embellishing this in the slightest.

Witch children fallow the elder's footsteps.

That's like a Led Zeppelin lyric.
It is indeed awesome, Jeff, and ripe with literary potential. I think I could write a short story based on the premise inherent in that sentence.

So, I think I will.

I encourage all of my literary-minded readers to make something out of this fantastic line -- short story, poem, screenplay, vulgar haiku -- and have it up on their blogs by Friday, 28 September, 2007. I will link to all participants, and those whom impress me will receive a patented Palette Gloom Cookie.

EDIT: The word is fallow, not follow.

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Now playing: E Nomine - Mitternacht
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Twitter Palette

No chocolate ice cream in the house.

Found sushi instead.

Life suddenly isn't all bad....

And now, the crash

After having woken up from a three-hour nap, the narcotic effects of my allergy medication has worn off, leaving me with an Antihistamine Hangover.

I've been reading Questionable Content for the past hour and while it's enjoyable, I am now slipping into the depressing realization that at thirty-four my life is still as meaningless and fucked-up as it was at twenty-four, only now I've lost ten years of my life in the process.

And just like that, Lurking Rhythmically goes from Blogger to LiveJournal in the course of a single sentence. I'm going to shove chocolate ice cream in my mouth until that feeling goes away.

Oh god, now it's a Twitter entry. :(

Whither Palette

It's ragweed season in Florida, and thus my allergies are killing me.

It's also hurricane season, which means there are frequent thunderstorms in the afternoon and evenings, and thus my sinuses are killing me.

This means I am in one of three states:
  1. Totally congested, gasping for air, and miserable.
  2. Sneezing, coughing, and blowing my nose, also totally miserable.
  3. Dosed to the gills on OTC allergy & sinus meds, and thus either drowsy or high. But dammit, I can breathe.
I'm currently at stage three, and my brain wants to write sentences like "chantilly strawberry siding." Wheee!

I'll be back with real writing once I've determined who replaced my muffins with cauliflower. I bet it's those damn idea gnomes. They've stopped crapping ideas into my skull, so clearly they stole my muffins and are now fornicating with them. Pretty stupid to think that I wouldn't notice a head of cauliflower in my muffin tin.

I'll cheese sauce those little bastards but good. You just wait.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Free Your Phalanx, and the Rest Will Follow

by Troy Hickman

Unlike some of the writers who worked on the City of Heroes comic book, I was not just a "hired gun" with no history in the game. Truth be told, I LOVE City of Heroes. Love it. I play whenever I get the chance, and I must have at least 80-90 characters on the various servers. Here are a handful of 'em:

Christmas N. July
- Santa's most "free-thinking" elf, she wears almost nothing but a Christmas hat
Luchadoris Day - A former actress turned Mexican wrestler turned crimefighter!
Hypothetical Cretin - Someone on the CoH boards said that unless you crafted your characters by the "numbers" rather than by a good character concept, you were a hypothetical cretin. So I came up with this character, who has one of the "worst" builds in CoH history, but is a hell of a lot of fun.
Kiltdozer - Giant earth-powered Scotsman (name inspired by the classic TV movie Killdozer, obviously)
Major Feminine Itching - Female army mastermind who uses poisons and such, and gets assistance from her minions Massengil and Guy Nalotrimin
Blastafarian - A ganja-smoking crimefighter with spiritual powers and an assault rifle

Magilla Oblongata - Giant ape with an exposed brain and mental powers
Insexxx - Radioactive alien bombshell here on earth looking to repopulate
Baby Gherkins - Infant with a big gun
Macin' Dixon - 9' southern boy with a magical club
Weed Witchards - Skeptical scientist who one day found himself with magical power over plants
Hugh Hephaestus - Publisher of risque magazines turned fire-powered crimefighter
Arrowspace - NASA-based archer
Shock Cousteau - Oceanographer trapped in a storm at sea gets lightning powers
Li'l Dead Riding Hood - Fairy tale based villainess, along with her zombie minions Rumplekillskin and the Gingerdead Man
Steel Cherry - Hardcore female wrestler with super strength
Auntie Up - Gravity-controlling baker of cookies!
Egg Fu Jung - Dark-powered martial artist who uses his knowledge of psychology

Evil Brawn - Formerly Hitler's mistress, now 8' of muscle and pulchritude!
Phantom of the Opry - Country singer who died and came back to fight evil
Caba-Rage - Torch singer who throws a mean spike
Clawed Reigns - Blade-handed martial artist who specializes in invisibility
Teleporter Wagoner - Phantom of the Opry's younger brother
Sweet Sassy Molassey - My homage to blaxploitation women
Old Yeller - Senior citizen with sonic powers
Crystal Blue Abrasion - Azure woman with a mace and icy powers
Sexcalibur - Kind of a joke based on the issues of Witchblade I wrote...hell of a fun character, though.
Fright Attendant - Undead stewardess on United 93 who came back for vengeance
Viva Zzzzzzzapata - Mexican revolutionary with electrical blasts
Bananas Froster - Half man/half chimp with cryogenic cold powers
Desolation Angel - Based not on Kerouac, but on the Bad Company album. A rocker with wings.
Hallow-Juan - Sort of an orange and black version of Viva Zzzzzzzapata I did for the holidays
Third Degree Byrne - A hot-headed comic book writer/artist
Milky Magnesium - Albino with explosive fire powers
Amperage Alaska - Arctic scientist who wears a special suit, giving him ice and electrical powers

NightNurse - My highest level hero (32). Big-time empath.
John DeConqueroo - Evil zombie-controller. His minions include Baba O'Reilly, Pompitus O'Love, and Rott the Hoople
Greco-Robot - Wrestling automaton
Disturbing Grandma - Senior citizen whose hot flashes became REALLY hot flashes.

I also have a number of Hickman-based heroes that I use when folks ask me to appear at their in-game events (weddings, anniversaries, talk shows, holiday events, etc.), including:

Hickman, USA-Hole - Patriotic version of me.
Hoosier Daddy - A fan submitted this to a contest I ran. He's an evil me, with mind/energy powers.
Troy's Pants - A mannequin animated by my mind-controlling pants!
Hickman, God of Pun-der - "I'm Thor." "Well, try using talcum powder, thilly."
Midwestern Sort - Earth/weather controller based on Wizard magazine's description of me as an "amiable, midwestern sort."
Hickmanimal - He's me, if I were scaly and hairy and...oh, wait...
Hickman in Spaaaaace - Kind of like Adam Strange, but even stranger

I know a number of you fine folks play CoH, so if you happen to see any of the above, give me a yell, or global me at CommonGrounds.

And now, I think I'll go put together a Frostfire PUG...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Color me Defused

Yes, yes, I know, I'm a week late on this. But as I've always said, "Better late than pregnant."

So, when last we left our intrepid band of Superhero Wannabes, they had been narrowed down to three contestants:
  1. Hyper-Strike, a rambunctious martial artist and circus performer who might well have sprung fully-formed from the pages of a Sh┼Źnen manga, and the odds-on favorite to win due to his winning smile and embodiment of goofy wholesomeness;
  2. Hygena, the zaftig domestic goddess who seemed to be there mostly to keep the finale from being a total sausage-fest (I mean, really: did anyone seriously think she ever stood a chance? Correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm keen to find out);
  3. and The Defuser: 6'4", 230 lbs of pure awesome. In addition to being a real-life police detective, he is also one of the biggest nerds out there (and I mean that in the best, most complimentary way possible, since I'm one too) -- he plays City of Heroes online, D&D on tabletop, and has ten thousand comic books polybagged in his garage. He also has a pretty kickin' MySpace page.
Gee, I wonder which one is Palette's favorite? Hmm, that's a toughie. ;)

Honestly, I expected Hyper-Strike to win. He has "Spider-Man" fanboy written all over him (again, I mean that in the best way possible) and just seemed to hit all the right qualifications without missing a stride. Defuser, on the other hand, was up on the red blocks quite a bit for being too bossy, not bossy enough, giving part of his costume to a child, etc etc etc, and since he's a police officer, I figured Stan would go the "You are a Super Hero in real life, you don't need to win this to prove it" route.

So when my boy from CoH actually won the dang thing... well, I think I peed myself a little.

I think his winning is due to three things:
  1. He actively listened to Stan's criticisms and modified his behavior along those lines. I don't think he was ever criticized for the same thing twice.
  2. He was there for his compatriots emotionally. Look at how he counseled Limelight, comforted Whip-Snap and confronted Mr. Mitzvah when everyone else thought he was the mole but didn't have the guts to say it.
  3. He had two attack dogs hanging onto him in one of the final challenges and still managed to stand up. Dayum!
Well played, Defuser. I just wish I could see the look on the face of the first criminal who recognizes you when you arrest him. That's an "oh shit" moment I'd love to see.

By the way, does anyone think Defuser happens to look like a much more in-shape Greg Grunberg, or is it just me?

And so ends this year's posting season of Who Wants To Be A Super Hero. Excelsior!

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Now playing: Juno Reactor - High Energy Photons
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 13, 2007

FYI

Since both Troy and I posted something on Wednesday, there will be no post (other than this one) today. In effect, Troy's post is "today's".

That is all.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

By All That's Holy, Don't Be This Guy

Y'know, I love comic book conventions. There are few places where I feel more genuinely at home. I love the people there (MY people), and the general atmosphere makes me almost giddy at times.

HOWEVER, over the course of a three day convention (Wizard World Chicago, let's say), there are about twelve times that THIS conversation happens:

TROY: Hey, how's it going?

COMIC GUY: Great! So you do this Common Grounds comic?

TROY: Yep, that's one of mine.

COMIC GUY: That's so cool. I think I might have heard of it or something. Hey, how does a person go about getting their stuff published?

TROY: Well, that's---

COMIC GUY: 'Cause I have this fantastic idea for a new comic. If I could just get it published, I KNOW it'd be the hottest thing on the shelves!

TROY: Really? Well, I---

COMIC GUY: Let me tell you about it. It's about this girl named Gabrielle Ravenstorm, and she's a stripper. But what she doesn't know is that she's also the daughter of both a demon and an archangel, see, and she gets mixed up with this evil coven of witches, but when she crosses them, they end up using her as a human sacrifice. So because of her heritage, her soul is unable to fully enter either Heaven or Hell, see, and so she's taken in by this mysterious being known only as The Other, right, and he trains her in every form of fighting arts, and he gives her this mystical sword, and if she strikes you with the sword, you end up going either to heaven or hell, depending on how it judges your soul...cause, see, the sword has it's own mentality and everything...and so The Other sends her out into the world to send souls on to their final destination...but what she doesn't know is that her father, the demon from Hell, hates her because of the angelic side of her nature, and so he keeps sending his hellspawn after her to bring her to Hell, see, and the only help she gets is from her boyfriend, Jake Blue, who's also a detective with the NYPD, but who doesn't know that he himself is also a fallen angel who has been charged, subconsciously, with protecting Gabrielle. Oh, and her sword can also teleport her anywhere on earth and it tells her when people are lying. And she has these big angel wings and can fly. Now, let me tell you what her first sixteen issues are like...that's all I've outlined so far...

TROY: I, uh, I've been sitting here for a good six hours now. I'd better hit the bathroom.

COMIC GUY: That's ok, I'll tell you about it on the way...

Wednesday Night Warfare

And on September 12th, America said, "Let there be an Asskicking," and Lo; it was so.







Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Here's the smell of the blood still

(Yes, I know this is late. I apologize. A thunderstorm knocked out my internet access for most of the afternoon and evening. Such things happen in Florida during the hurricane season.)

Six years ago, I became a racist.

No, really. It's true. I'm not proud to admit it, but it's the truth. On September 10th, my attitude was, "Well, Islam has its radicals, but you can't really blame the people or the religion for it. After all, it's not fair to assume all Christians are like Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson, now is it?"

But September 12th? "Animals. They're all fucking animals. We need to kill every last one of them, and mount their heads on pikes as a warning to the next ten generations that YOU DO NOT FUCK WITH AMERICA. And Osama bin Laden's skull will be turned into a festive chalice for the President to drink from at state functions."

Am I wrong to think this? Probably. I know that such hatred diminishes me as a human being. I know, logically, that I cannot and should not blame every single Arab and every single Muslim for the atrocity committed by a very small group of individuals. I know that I should forgive, and judge every man and woman on the basis of their character, not by what demographic they're in.

I know all this, and yet, I became a racist September 12th. Or creedist, or whatever the term is. And I don't really feel bad about this. Oddly, I feel bad about not feeling bad about it, if that makes any sense. Because here's the thing: those terrorists, and those who sympathize with them, feel exactly the same way about me, and it doesn't bother them at all. And I will be damned before I apologize for wanting to kill someone who wants me dead.

Of course, what I want and what I would do if given the opportunity are two different things. I like to think that I have enough of a conscience, that there is some small shred of humanity within me, that would keep me from committing mass murder as an act of revenge. Perhaps I'm delusional in that regard. I will never know, however, because I will never have that power, and in my more lucid moments I thank whatever Powers That Be that I will not. I don't want to be tested like that. I'd much rather wrap myself in my blanket of moral superiority and savor my smug hatred.

Fortunately, I have a proxy to act on my behalf: the United States Armed Forces. They kill with extreme precision, and so when I see Shit Getting Blown Up in Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever, I can shout "FUCK YEAH!" and not worry about if there were innocent people in that building.

You know, unlike the nearly three thousand innocent people killed on this day six years ago.

Whether or not you approve of America's actions abroad since 9/11, you have to admit one thing: We didn't react as nearly as strongly as we could have. We could have turned Afghanistan into a radioactive parking lot had we wanted. But we didn't, because we're the good guys. We don't target innocent civilians. We spend millions of dollars on smart bombs and missiles that will take out just one building on a city block just so we can minimize casualties. Shit, when we attacked Baghdad, the military took great pains to avoid destroying mosques and other sites of holy and cultural significance, when it would have been a whole lot easier and cheaper to just carpet bomb a grid square.

Because we are the Good Guys.

It has been six years, and I am still very fucking angry. If I am one of the Good Guys, why am I still so angry? Why do I still want to bathe in revenge? I have become Lady MacBeth in reverse, and all the blood of Arabia will not perfume my hand. I have become what I despise, and the irony is that I know how to escape this trap. I simply don't want to.

Your hell will be a long time in coming, Osama. And when it does, I wish you only the most exquisite of excruciating eternities.

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. -- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146



A warning for the easily offended

Today is 9/11.

I intend to talk about 9/11/01.

I will, in all likelihood, offend a hell of a lot of people.

It won't be my intention to do so (unless you're a terrorist), but it will probably happen anyway.

So if you're sensitive, easily angered, or feel America got what it deserved 6 years ago... just don't read today's post, mmkay?

I'm serious. This is my blog, and I can say whatever the hell I want. You may not agree with me -- and I will defend your right to do so -- but at least respect that I have the right to speak my mind.

Comments will be heavily moderated with the Stark Fist of Removal. I refuse to apologize for this, too.

So take care, have a good day, and don't be an ass.

Thank you.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Now the time is here (for Iron Man)

For those of you who did not follow my instructions here, or who would like to see a higher-quality and slightly longer trailer for Iron Man, are encouraged to go here.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The continuing evolution of Palette's pottymouth

Faithful readers will no doubt have noticed I have a tendency to drop the F-bomb. This is nothing when compared to how I am in real life.

It's not something I'm especially proud of, but I am who I am and I make no apologies for it. I grew up on military bases in Europe during the Cold War, and then for college I attended an engineering school. I have, for all intents and purposes, been around Men Who Curse pretty much all of my life, and as a result I have become quite proficient in salting my own vocabulary with profanity. In many ways this is kind of a survival skill, because in those environments I found I was not taken seriously -- or worse, was ignored -- if I didn't curse. Other cases were almost textbook examples of verbal abuse, and the only way I could defend myself was for me to engage in linguistic assault of my own.

But the other day I discovered I had created a new curse word, and it worried me. Have I turned my language skills to the dark side? Am I descending the slippery slope of obscenity in the wake of Lenny Bruce and Andrew "Dice" Clay? Will I one day end up in the fetal position, slowly rocking myself, as streams of filth disgorge themselves from my mouth like a highly literate Linda Blair?

Maybe I'll just go on to write for HBO.


The freshly-minted curse word, for those who are dying to know, is "Fuckity."

Usage:
  • "Sweet fuckity, this dog is heavy."
  • "Fuckity Ann and Andy, it's hot out here."
  • "Fuckity-wuckity-bobbitty-boo."
  • etc
Let me know if you start using it. I suspect it's mildly contagious and I want to track its memetic spread.

Pimp my Firefly

Thanks go out to regular reader and Palette fanboy Johnny Velocity, who kindly pointed out to me that the Firefly box set can be bought for $19.95 at Amazon.com.

Seriously, if you don't own it there is now no reason for you not to.

I'm looking specifically at you, Hickman.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Passing of Parthenon

(This post should have appeared September 30, but didn't for various reasons, chief of which was that I hadn't yet written it.)

So, Stan dismissed Parthenon today.

I have mixed feeling about this, actually. One the one hand, he did utterly botch the whole "be a role-model and relate to kids" test, and when commanded by Evil Clone Stan Lee (god, did I just write that?) not only took that woman's cane but also left it on the other side of the street.

On the other hand, this was his first time up on the blocks, ever, and until today was pretty much a paragon of superheroism (girlish shriek aside.)

Compare this to Hygena, who has been up on the blocks how many times now? Or even Hyper-Strike, who committed the nigh-unpardonable sin of revealing his secret identity to those schoolchildren.

I dunno. I guess I'm saying that while I understand why he was eliminated, I don't think it should have been today. Yes, he messed up, but so have Hyper-Strike and the Defuser, both of whom are strong contenders for winning.

I guess Stan wanted gender diversity in his final three? As others have speculated, I wonder if Stan really is making these eliminations, or if he's just a mouthpiece for the producers. I also wonder if the finalists haven't already been chosen, due to some of the spurious choices for elimination that have been made this season.

As always, the after show interview can be found here. You may not like him because of his sexuality, but you cannot deny the man knows how exit with style, grace and dignity.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

WNW: More Lame Photoshopping


My name is Vixen. When I'm not an international supermodel, I'm an Unlimited Superheroine. And whether it's spent posing on the catwalk or dropping a statue on Solomon Grundy, after a hard day's work I like to relax with the Captain.

No, not Captain Marvel. Captain Morgan's spiced rum!

It has a smooth, silky taste, and its golden color means my boyfriend, the Green Lantern, can't take it with his power ring.

So come on and get a little Captain in you!

Why I like Vixen

As you may have realized yesterday, I really like Vixen. She was one of the few good things to come out of the Justice League of America's Detroit era, served ably on the Suicide Squad for some time (she and Bronze Tiger kicked much ass together), and was voiced by Gina Torres, the actress who played Zoe on Firefly, in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon.

She is beautiful, elegant, and deadly, and is a black character who doesn't have "being black" a major portion of her character the way that Black Lightning does. She's an awesome, well-rounded character who just happens to be African-American, the same way that Batman is an awesome well-rounded character who just happens to be Caucasian.

Ironically, I also think she's much more approachable, comic-book-wise, than Animal Man, who had similar powers.

Plus there's that whole "Mass of an elephant Bum Rush" that is so freaking cool.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Skulk of Foxes

The Mightygodking hath issued a challenge: Do up a mock poster for the movie you wish DC would just make already.

I decided to go one better and create what might be called a miniature advertising campaign featuring a favorite character of mine, The Vixen:





More information about the lovely and talented Aisha Tyler may be found here.

EDIT: Some people have complained that the posters are too dark. That's just the image compression. I think they look fine full-size. Click the picture to expand it and see if that doesn't fix it for you.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Troy Hickman's Nocturnal Admissions

So, occasionally I need to sleep. And when I do, it greatly helps me fall into that state if I have something soothing running through a perpetual loop on the DVD player. By soothing, however, I don't mean pastoral scenes or something with a soundtrack by Brahms. No, I fall asleep best when accompanied by movies and TV shows that I know by rote, things that don't require me to keep my massive brain working, but rather allow it to blissfully turn itself off. Here, then, in no particular order, are the Top Five Things That Allow Me to Sleep:

* The Andy Griffith Show. TAGS (as we call it in the AG Rerun Watchers Club) is my favorite sitcom of all time, and probably nothing makes for a more restful sleep. Not only can I quote every line of dialogue verbatim, but what could be more soothing than having Mayberry gently piped into your dreams? Bear in mind, of course, that only episodes featuring Don Knotts will do the trick (first five seasons; a good rule of thumb is black & white episodes). Andy Griffith post-Knotts is watchable, I guess (if nothing else is available), but I think it would give me nightmares. Keep your Emmett the Fix-It Man and Sam Jones and cranky Andy and focus on Aunt Bee and (especially) Jack Burns as Warren. I'll take simple, slow-moving, black & white Mayberry from 1960-1965. That's what does the trick for me.

* The Beverly Hillbillies. I have a real love for CBS' "rural comedies" of the 60s, and the most soothing of them is BH. Again, I know the material like the back of my hand (oh my god, I never saw that wart before!!!), and there's something so restful about the country humor, and Buddy Ebsen's voice, and the incidental music. The other shows in the Paul Henning rural trilogy, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres, are also great shows, but while I've seen all the episodes of each, I don't know the lines quite as well (and I must say, Green Acres had some of the most clever and out-and-out funny writing of its time). The Hillbillies assure me a deep, pleasant sleep, however, and the chance to wake up with a head full of possum fat.

* Any Frank Capra film. I know Capra's work like I wrote it myself, and his uplifting tales are the perfect way to ease into slumber. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is my all-time favorite film, and I've drifted off to it probably 400 times. Coming in a close second as Morpheus-bait aree Meet John Doe or Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. And, of course, It's a Wonderful Life is the perfect sleep aid around Christmas time (and I used to love it when it was considered public domain and at any moment during December you could find a station showing it). Not as easy to sleep to are things like You Can't Take It With You or It Happened One Night, though they're sure as hell worth watching in the light of day.

* Other "old" movies. One great one is John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath. Yeah, I know theoretically it should make me dream of dust storms and Hoovervilles, but there's something very comforting about riding along with the Joad family as they make their way to...well, probably eventual starvation, but let's not think about that. Another fave is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of Elia Kazan's best, in my opinion.

Again, some might argue that it would have me REMing about turn of the century tenement life
and poverty, but I find myself pacified by Francie and her family's struggles to get by. Other good movies for sleeping, at least to me, are the Over The Hill Gang films, anything with Ma and Pa Kettle, and, strangely, In Cold Blood.

* To Catch a Predator. Yeah, I know it's weird, but there's just something about hearing "I'm Chris Hanson" and knowing that one more perve is being busted that helps me get to sleep. There are actually very few episodes of this show (and given the controversy lately, there may not be any more produced), so I've ended up pretty much memorizing all the "dialogue." I wish they'd run a comprehensive marathon of the show so I could consolidate all of 'em on to one disk.

So I guess, in conclusion, I'd have to say that...that......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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