MOVIE REVIEW: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Grand_Budapest_HotelIn the first scene of The Grand Budapest Hotel, a young woman or girl walks through a cemetery, and I realize “She looks like a Wes Anderson character.” Is it the sensible shoes, or the way she walked? Not sure. Strange, because I had only seen two earlier Anderson films, The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), which I did not love, and Moonrise Kingdom (2012), which I enjoyed greatly.

This is “The adventures of Gustave H [Ralph Fiennes] , a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero [newcomer Tony Revolori], the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend” Continue reading

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March Rambling: mostly about me

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My old buddy Augustus (who you FantaCo customers might have known as Matt), put this together for my birthday. Pic on the left is from the cover of the FantaCon 1988 convention program, drawn by the late Chas Balun. The image is on the right was John Hebert’s rendition from Sold Out #1, c. 1986.
This is about me because: It was so cool. And he wrote: “Thank you for turning me on to a world of literature far beyond science fiction and fantasy. Your are still an influence on this boychik. Long may you arrange. (books in order).” And you thought I couldn’t blush.

Now Jaquandor KNOWS how to celebrate my birthday. He added me to his sentential links here. He answered my question about football.
This is about me, obviously. (Sidebar: some highly educated person wrote “As is my want” recently in a mass e-mail I received. You have NO idea how difficult it was for me NOT to correct him. Jaquandor would NOT make this misteak, er, mistake.)

Tom Skulan of FantaCo is being interviewed for Theater of Guts.
This is about me because: I worked at FantaCo for over eight years I took the photo of Tom, and also the pic of the late Chas Balun looking towards the ceiling. I find it interesting that my photos of the store Continue reading

October Rambling: artist Indigo Anderson; Arthur and Nigel get married


Amen, 39.
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The Perfect Epitaph for Establishment Journalism: “In other words, if the government tells me I shouldn’t publish something, who I am as a journalist to disobey? Put that on the tombstone of western establishment journalism.”
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I just don’t have the energy to blast the jerks responsible for the 16-day US federal government partial shutdown. Fortunately, Dan is both willing and able to do so.
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Reader Wil: After our time as p.o.w.’s in Japanese concentration camps, we were liberated by the British. Two months after the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki we could escape a new danger.
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Arthur and Nigel got married today. Or yesterday – that New Zealand time zone stuff always confounds me. Arthur’s observations before the big day. (I still think it’s because of the broken stemware.) Congratulations!
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Amy’s Sharp Little Pencil wrote The Migraine Speaks (much to my dismay) and In the Palm of God’s Hand.
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Mark Evanier’s Tales of My Childhood #3, which made me cry.
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Leslie on setting boundaries as a teacher.
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Steve ponders The Things We Say When Drunk.
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Young Indigo Anderson is passionate about manga, anime, cosplay and making comics. “That is why when her tenth grade AP World History teacher asked for a paper about the relationship between North and South Korea, she requested to do it as a comic.
Continue reading

Halloween 2013

via Aaron Paul's Instagram

Each year, I just post seasonal links. I used to post them on the 31st, but then you wouldn’t have time to make use of those costume design ideas. Here’s a terrible joke I saw: A skeleton walks into a bar and says “I’d like a beer and a mop.”

Census: Halloween Facts for Features
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IBISWorld:
Halloween Sales to Grow a Slow 3.0 Percent in 2013
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All month, there are Pagan Scares from Postmodern Barney
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The A to Z of Stephen King Cinema, a comic of greatness
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Listing Toward Forty is Listing Toward Halloween
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Stephen R. Bissette’s WE ARE GOING TO EAT YOU!
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The work of the devil…
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11 Halloween Freebies: Where to Eat Free for Wearing Costumes
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Transforming black-light Bride of Frankenstein makeup
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Hauntbox: open-source hardware box for controlling your automated, electronic haunted house
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This Family Wins All Costume Contests For Forever Continue reading

Talk Like a Pirate, but don’t walk the plank

It suddenly occurred to me a while back that all these deals whereby you get something, and you are required to pay for it over and over (and over and over) again through mandated leases, such as Software as a Service (SaaS), are forms of corporate piracy. As my buddy Steve Bissette ranted – I think it was regarding a policy by Adobe or Microsoft: “We can afford them once and that’s what we can afford. We want to own almost all things we buy. With few exceptions, we don’t wish to buy or support those things which do not wish to be purchased outright. We do not need more monthly bills. We do not wish to interact with you regularly for permission to be permitted to use what we purchase to use.”

Did you know you can’t buy an electronic copy of the Oxford English Dictionary? It is “only available Continue reading

FantaCon 2013 is coming soon!

As I have noted, I’m not one much for nostalgia. I don’t long for the “good old days.”

Also, I used to think in terms of time being linear. You do this; this is over. You do that; that passes. On to the next thing. I’m more likely now to see things as parabolic, with events somehow coming back to re-inform one’s life periodically.

I do have a sense of history, though. That is why my friend Steve Bissette and I tried to fix some of the more egregious errors on the FantaCo Wikipedia page a few years ago. I worked at the comic book and film paraphernalia store/publisher/mail order/convention place at 21 Central Avenue in Albany from 1980-1988 Continue reading

June Rambling: an atheist’s prayers, and stillness of the soul

Useful phrases for the surveillance state.

Long-lost diary of Nazi racial theorist and Hitler confidant recovered.

George Takei remember the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, which included himself.

Why three states dumped major private prison company in one month. I’ve long been suspicious private prisons with them “extracting guarantees of 100 percent occupancy.”

Cereal bigotry Continue reading

The Tom Skulan FantaCon interview

FantaCon, once an Albany tradition for fans of comic book, fantasy, and in its latter incarnations, horror films, is returning after a brief, two-decade hiatus. FantaCon 2013, operated by its original creator, Tom Skulan, will be held Saturday September 14 and Sunday September 15 at the Marriott Hotel on Wolf Road in Albany. Ticket for the related Three Nights of Horror at the Palace Theatre on September 11-13 in Albany, will be available from the Palace Theatre box office, starting on February 13.

FantaCo, the store/mail order company Tom started, operated from 1978 through 1998 at 21 Central Avenue, Albany, NY. I worked there from May 1980 to November 1988, worked at the first five FantaCons and attended the sixth.

Incidentally, Skulan is pronounced like the third word in Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love.
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Tom, when you owned FantaCo, you ran seven FantaCons, in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1988, 1989, and 1990. But you had a store, and often, publications to use in cross promotions. You have a FantaCon planned for September of 2013, after a twenty-year hiatus. Why FantaCon, why now?

There are three reasons that come to mind. First, I have always wanted to do another FantaCon when I wasn’t preoccupied with the store, the publishing and the mail order. I have always wanted to see what that would be like!
Second, time is creeping up on me and these old bones have only so much time left where I can handle the demands of the show. And finally I like the numbers of doing the show the weekend of Friday the 13th in 2013.

What is the theme of the upcoming convention? What guests have you lined up so far?

The theme for this show is to try and recreate all the FantaCons all at once. Some shows were strongly comic-oriented and some shows were strongly horror-oriented. This show will be both at once. I want to create a party atmosphere for all the original attendees AND the new attendees too.

The guest line up confirmed at this time is Continue reading

March Rambling, about ME – oh, and other things

I may have mentioned (once or twice?) that it was my birthday this month. Thank you for the 70-odd comments (some VERY odd) on Facebook, and a couple tweets, not to mention comments at this blog. Dustbury cited my March 8, day after my birthday, post.

I won second prize in Pret-A-Vivre’s Oscar game. Thanks!

But the person who best got into the “celebrate Roger” spirit has to be Continue reading

February Rambling about comic book issues, and music

Local judge removes 5-year-old from grandparents to live with mom and known child abuser. “Local” being in Michigan, with the child being moved to Utah with a mother who had never been part of her life. This particular case involves Troy, the grandfather in question, who’s contributed the ABC Wednesday team. He’s not thrilled with the way the actual story came out – I’ve seldom liked stories I’ve appeared in myself – but the “justice system” is SO wrongheaded in this case, which, as I’ve linked to before, is not an isolated incident.

KunstlerCast #215: Nicole Foss Interview. Economic contraction and the fate of the nation.

Mad props for Anita Hill.

Blogger Alvin McEwen has published a booklet called How They See Us: Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America, which deftly exposes the most common anti-gay propaganda. Also, conservatives file amicus brief in a case before the Supreme Court; they are supporting the plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California’s anti-gay marriage referendum.

How Joe E. Ross (of Car 54) is NOT like Donald Trump or Michele Bachmann.

I mentioned Melanie LAST month; I COULD mention her weekly. This month, she talks about 17 years of defying death and fulfilling longed-for dreams, and for futures that are better than what we have known.

Jaquandor: On Snark and his eleven years (!) in Blogistan. Not only that, he answered some of my questions!

Amy’s 600th post is about Frickin’ Frackers.

Euthanizing gay dogs for Jesus.

Arthur remembers C. Everett Koop, the former Surgeon General, “an unlikely ally in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

Shooting Parrots, on juries: “Has it come to the point where a group of citizens have failed to grasp the basics of the legal system or even a working understanding of the English language?”

Roger Ebert “took after” his aunt Martha.

Recovered suitcases from an insane asylum; this is a Kickstarter project I backed.

Why does bottled water have an expiration date? We HAVE some 2007 water in our emergency kit. Hmm.

I want THESE people to move my stuff; too bad they are in Japan.

One of many reasons why people hate Disney: Disney Refuses To Allow Epilogue To Appear In The Don Rosa Collection. You may not know the name, but if you ever read the Disney ducks, you’ve probably seen his work. The publisher Egmont has agreed to publish a link to career-end.donrosa.de in the final volume, which leads to the now unpublished text, a scathing indictment of compensation practices. (Mark Evanier clarifies this, but does not dispute, in Rosa’s case.)

A fine letter to DC Comics objecting to the hiring of hatemonger Orson Scott Card to write some Superman comics.

Eddie Campbell’s Rules of Comic Book Comprehension.

Colleen Doran, comic artist, says: Fandom, You Deserve Better Friends.

Library prof bops doc who K.O.’d comic book industry.

You can NOW hear my buddy, comic book artist Steve Bissette blather [his word] with Robin at Inkstuds: PART 1 and PART 2. Steve also noted on Facebook: “Note to self: NEVER FORGET Continue reading