Dick Giordano 1932-2010

Dick Giordano at DC in the 1980s

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The Key of F’d Up

My keyboard is freaking out again, so posts and comments may be sparse to nonexistent for a while. I hope this issue gets resolved soon, but while the laptop is working I’m updating this post with some more word-verification fun so that it’s more than just bad news.

brawlyst — n. A practitioner of the pugilistic arts.

coape — n. Your gorilla sweetheart.

Colognet — The first cable channel devoted exclusively to smellin’ good.

dehortic — adj. Of the removal of one’s encouragement.

distra — wd. frgmt. Expression often used by easily confused or inattentive people. ex. “Sorry I couldn’t talk before; I was distra... What’s that?”

Emusal — Do you resemble a large, flightless Australian bird more and more with each passing day? Emusal is guaranteed to not only halt but reverse this and other embarrassing avian transformations!

equit — v. To take a sabbatical from online activity.

Parodies Found

You can blame this one on kismet, my sister, and Tim Rice & Alan Menken, in no particular order.

'Aladdin' soundtrack CD art of the Genie rising from his lamp holding a picture of Jasmine and Aladdin on their magic carpet

In 1992, Disney’s creative rebirth continued with Aladdin. The Little Mermaid was
an unexpected animated delight, and Beauty and the Beast was romantic, funny, and just plain lovely — deserving of its Best Picture nomination — but for all its problems Aladdin may be my favorite Disney neo-classic.

Some time after it came out, I was moved to rewrite Tim Rice’s lyrics to “A Whole New World”, the romantic theme from the movie scored by Alan Menken, recorded for the pop charts by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, sung in the film by Brad Kane as Aladdin (in the guise of “Prince Ali”) and Lea Salonga as Jasmine. I’m pretty sure that
it all began with the first line.

The chorus of “Eyes of a Primate” that I came up with off the cuff and included in a
Lost post last month
, inspired by Claire’s squirrel-bones baby, got quite a reaction. My sister keeps telling me it’s genius, which is flattering if kind-of expected since our senses of humor are so in tune. Last weekend she brought it up again and added my “Whole New World” parody to the conversation; as fate would have it, I just recently uncovered a copy of my hand-written lyrics to that old thing while going through a box of random papers.

What should be posted here is a recording of the song that I made with a friend, but that tape got lost years ago. So to get the full effect you’ll have to find a karaoke version of the song online or just play the original softly. Note: While I’d briefly posted my lyrics as-is from 1993, they seemed out of date in referring to videotapes, so I took the liberty of also doing a slight polish on the lyrics to update them for the Age of DVDs
and Streaming Content.


Lost 6.07 Dr. Linus

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Off Color

The first time I saw a Charlton it totally freaked me out.

I was in the stockroom of my grandparents’ main store, circa 1976. Devoted mostly to supplies and inventory, the stockroom also included a private office and a small lunch/break area with countertop, seats, and refrigerator. My sister and I spent many hours being kids in that stockroom — great for climbing and hiding — as well as reading or drawing in the office.

On this day, forever etched in my cortex, a comic book appeared on the break table. I’m pretty sure that I saw it upon entering through the back door, which opened from a parking lot and delivery area into the stockroom with the break area immediately to the right. Everything slowed down as my mind excitedly registered “Whoa!” and then sped up a heartbeat later as the next visceral thought formed was “Yikes!”

This is what confronted me:

Ebert, &c.

Although The Oprah Winfrey Show isn’t usually my bag, I taped and caught up with
its pre-Oscars episode featuring Roger Ebert last week. Ebert and his wife, Chaz Hammel-Smith Ebert, visited to discuss his long battle with cancer and longer battle with that battle’s complications — and to debut a new computerized voice specifically designed for the now-mute Ebert using nearly 30 years of television appearances as reference.

When my health made it difficult for me to get out much and my finances were fairly literally nil (a set of circumstances that I can’t entirely relegate to the past tense) I frequented Borders. Sometimes I would arrange to meet friends there, it being a good destination for browsing on my part and theirs in case I was early, late, or unable to make it. Sometimes I would stop in for a respite among errands. Sometimes I would make it a destination unto itself, to soak in the social atmosphere and seasonal music
or decorations even if I wasn’t up to actual interaction; plus, of course, I enjoyed browsing the books.

As I said, I had no money to spare; I also had trouble reading. In my post “The Slog”
I wrote about how trouble concentrating made it hard to write. I had to all but re-learn how to read, as well, and if there was one thing that defined me in life more than writer it was reader. Short and simple nonfiction as in magazines was easiest, thankfully, so that I could keep up with news and reviews — the latter often, masochistically, purely for vicarious purposes.

Guerre des Noms

Oscar statuette next to Academy Awards title

So the ballyhooed face-off between Avatar and The Hurt Locker — two very different movies about soldiers dealing with crucial, only-man-for-the-job missions — finally came to a head last night at The 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

I’d been wondering if the Best Picture and Best Director prizes might be split between them, especially given the expanded roster of nominees. But the Academy members ranking their choices for Picture instead of choosing just one, and the way those picks were tallied, probably cut into that inclination. And beyond the fact that Hurt Locker was a gripping, well-acted, well-told story with immediacy and real-world resonance, I suspect the analysts who pointed out that the Oscars’ voting pool is overwhelmingly made up of actors were on the nose.

Not So Frabjous

'Alice in Wonderland' poster showing Alice under a giant toadstool, White Rabbit in front of her, long table set for tea behind

When I first saw the poster below left in a movie theater last summer, my reaction
was the same as many other folks’:

A, Plus

Cover to the 2000 Definitive Edition of 'The Annotated Alice'

I own more editions of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books than of any other book — not counting adaptations or excerpts, just the original texts of 1865’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and 1872’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.

Martin Gardner’s The Annotated Alice, which recently got referenced (again) on an episode of Lost to a hoot from me, could well be my favorite book ever. It’s not the sole or necessarily even the best way to experience Alice, but if you only know the Disney film by all means read Carroll and if you’ve enjoyed Carroll by all means plunge into Gardner’s exegesis and celebration of his work.

Case Closed

CGC slabbed copy of 'Action Comics' #1
Cover © 1938 DC. Photo © 2010 CGC.

You may have seen the news reports that Action Comics #1, dated June 1938 and featuring the first published appearance of Superman, was sold for $1 million at a Heritage auction last month.