Spam Poetry 2

Another email poem:

Subject: Save 82% Ambieen, U1tram, Va1iu*, Xana*, Levitr*, Viagr*, Cia111is & Many More arms

evil added might easy proud. met free am work dare meeting.

know mentioned bread shining knew, favorite forth planning how.

if supposedto happened.

whos night learned.

promised yellow rich benefit. gray tomorrow not i, number given hearing street fill?

Trippy, man!

Avery Brynn Riley

Avery in her crib
She arrived at 3:44pm on Tuesday, 13 December. She’s beautiful and healthy (7lbs 10oz, 21inches), and her mom’s doing fine too. Jenny did a fantastic job–what a strong woman I married. Damn.!

We go home from the hospital tomorrow and are parents all of a sudden. Wild.

Mack Bolan: Executioner

When I was in high school, my knowledge bowl team often traveled to “away” tournaments, sometimes hours away or even far enough that we had to stay overnight. When we did, I always enjoyed buying cheesy “men’s action” novels from gas stations along the way. One of the cheesiest was the Mack Bolan: Executioner series. Needless to say, it was fun to find an Executioner comic.


When I started reading the comic, though, I was appalled. Not only trite and cliche, the comic was downright offensive. It fulfills the worst stereotypes at every opportunity.

The storyline is also libelously close to that of Frank Castle’s (The Punisher). Namely, both are vietnam vets with special forces training who came home to find their family dead. In The Punisher’s case, his family was killed in cross-fire, I believe. In The Executioner’s case, his father got in debt to a loan shark, who captured Mack’s sister in some bizarre prostitution scheme. Both go on murderous rampages designed to clean up the mafia because the police can’t or won’t.

Here are a few more panels:


The worst-dressed gangsters ever:

This looks a bit like the villains are dancing as he shoots at them.

Alas, every woman in Don Pendleton’s world is sexxed up:

I can’t resist a bit more commentary, so read below the fold for more panels and grousing.

Continue reading Mack Bolan: Executioner

Non-gamers on games

So Roger Ebert is learning that gamers read. He wrote:

I believe books and films are better mediums, and better uses of my time. But how can I say that when I admit I am unfamiliar with video games? Because I have recently seen classic films by Fassbinder, Ozu, Herzog, Scorsese and Kurosawa, and have recently read novels by Dickens, Cormac McCarthy, Bellow, Nabokov and Hugo, and if there were video games in the same league, someone somewhere who was familiar with the best work in all three mediums would have made a convincing argument in their defense.

While some agree with Ebert, most find his comments either ignorant or offensive. Personally, I’m surprised at Ebert—what kind of arrogance does it take to say “I am unfamiliar with video games” but “someone somewhere who was familiar with the best work in all three mediums would have made a convincing argument in their defense”?

I see four useful rebuttals to Ebert’s comments (which I’m sure have been made in many places–I didn’t have time to follow all the links to folks writing about this issue).

Read the rest on Game Culture Watch

The First Christmas Carol of the Year

One of the other holiday movies that inevitably makes its way to our VCR (Yep, haven’t repurchased on DVD yet) each year is Bill Murray’s immortal classic, Scrooged. As with Miracle on 34th Street, I’ve seen this movie thoroughly enough that watching it has the same effect on me that Breton tried to achieve by holding his fingers over his eyes—namely, that my attention can wander to the tiny details of the story.

So here goes…

  • Early in the film, Frank Cross pleads to his cubist Picasso hanging on the office wall to help him. A few minutes later, he accosts his secretary about her child’s painting she’s hung in her workspace:

    Grace: That’s Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.

    Frank: How many fingers does Mrs. Claus have in this picture?

    Grace: Eleven.

    Frank: Exactly. It’s crap, I don’t want it on the walls.

  • When Cross and the Ghost of Christmas past spy on Claire in the bathtub, she’s smoking a joint. I realized that two of Karen Allen’s other memorable parts also feature substance (ab)use: dope smoking with Donald Sutherland in Animal House and drinking a hairy guy under the table in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Maybe she got typecast in the 80s. That’s why we don’t see her much anymore–she got pushed out by the Mary Steenbergens and the Andie Macdowells, who didn’t have the drug albatross hanging around their necks.
  • Another oddity. on returning to the present from his trip with Buster Poindexter (the G of CP), Cross hears Ebeneezer’s girlfriend say to him, “I hope you’re happy with the life you’ve chosen.” Frank responds thusly.

    Frank: Yes, I am happy with the choices I’ve made, thank you very much.

    Ebeneezer [angry at the ruined scene]: What are you, crazy?

    Frank: That’s right buddy, I’m crazy like a fox.

    Seems fine, right? But the weirdness is that the actor playing Ebeneezer is Buddy Hackett, and the Scrooge show is a show-within-the-movie. So B.H. is also playing himself. And Frank knows who he is (as the executive producer). Thus, the line could have been:

    Frank: That’s right Buddy, I’m crazy like a fox.

    I wonder whether the script made the distinction.

  • The film, made in 1988, uses a few detail shots in the control room to set the stage. One of the shots is a sign that says “Free South Africa.”
  • New favorite line. As Frank is telling the world about how to embody the spirit of the holidays, he talks about calling folks you haven’t seen in a while:

    You can call a college roommate or an old army buddy. You can call your personal banker.

  • The Ballbreaker Suite
    Finally, despite all the times I’ve seen the film, I never bothered to read this sign before. When the physically abusive Ghost of Christmas present shows up, she first appears at the far end of the room, standing by a sign, with “The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies” from The Nutcracker Suite playing in the background. This time around, I puzzled out what the sign says:

    The Ballbreaker Suite


In the limited experience I have with Macs, I’ve found that I hate not having a scroll wheel on the mouse. New use for the scroll wheel: when iTunes is selected, the scroll wheel will raise/lower the volume. In combination with Alt-Tab, I need not move the mouse around much. (Of course, I can also use the arrow keys and thus avoid the mouse altogether.)

Reading against the grain

iTunes shuffle just played “Outshined,” in which Chris Cornell sings that he’s:

I’m looking California

but feeling Minnesota

I read that as

I look like I’m a cool-as-can-be badass

but I’m actually quite friendly

That’s obviously what he meant.