Thursday, June 7, 2012

Read this: "Darth Vader and Son"

I recently had the opportunity to read the pseudo (?) children's book Darth Vader and Son, from Chronicle Books. I have the question mark after the "pseudo" there because this is the type of book that should appeal to folks of just about any age. Yes, a passing familiarity with Star Wars is kinda required, but who the hell doesn't have a passing familiarity with Star Wars? It's been freaking everywhere over the last few decades (to the tune of about $22 billion).

But I digress. Darth Vader and Son was written and illustrated by Jeffrey Brown, one of my favorite comics creators working today. You'll read this one quickly for a $14.95 book (although that's MSRP, which no one pays anymore), but return to it time and again.

A sample:
Cute, right? Brown incorporates all sorts of Vader one-liners -- removed completely from their original context -- into some pretty hilarious situations.

If you want more Jeffrey Brown, check out his website. I'll warn you, though: he does some pretty grown-up work, too, so don't order Be a Man expecting more cuteness. It's frankly pretty dirty.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gina McKee's on TV again

Gina McKee is a favorite of mine, and she can apparently be seen currently on a Showtime program called The Borgias. Unfortunately I don't get Showtime, but if you do, check it out.

You know what I'd like? I'd like a sequel to Notting Hill that features everyone EXCEPT the High Grant and Julia Roberts characters. No slight to those actors (well, maybe a little to one of them), but the supporting cast in that film was outstanding. Sure, we're getting Rhys Ifans as the Lizard real soon here, but I don't think that's going to quite do it for me.

"There's something wrong with this yogurt."

Ray Bradbury passes away

Sad news.

This sentence from the story at HuffPost stood out to me:

He was most widely known for his novels “The Martian Chronicles,” Dandelion Wine," “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and his classic dystopian novel "Fahrenheit 451," which has been a contested staple of school reading lists since its publication in 1953.

"Since its publication in 1953." Over half-a-century ago (and still relevant today, BTW). That, ladies and gentlemen, is a full life of letters.

A tip of the hat to Mr. Bradbury. Farewell, sir.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Short(er) "Men"

Yes, I'm kind of late with this one, but still: Comic Book Men is coming back, though at 30 minutes rather than 60.

Shades of ... well, me. Yours truly, from an earlier post:

"Why in God's name is this show 60 minutes long? There may very well be an entertaining 22 minutes in each episode; wouldn't it be better to strive for 'good' rather than 'it fills the time slot'?"

Good news, everybody ...

"Upon which show's legacy shall I shat next?"
Catherine Tate, who plays Nellie in The Office, will apparently be sticking around for a bit longer. This is distressing news for those of us holding out hope that this program will see one final return to glory before ending its once-exemplary run.

Nellie had the opportunity to be a perfect foil for the show's eighth-season "Florida" storyline, but overstayed her welcome* in what turned into just an absolute car wreck of a storyline that featured one utterly implausible turn after another, even for a sitcom. Sad, considering that the show once presented some genuinely poignant slice-of-life moments.

I'll admit that I cannot speak as authoritatively as I'd like on the matter, because I stopped watching the show. Ten minutes of Nellie is just about my limit.

Of course, Tate isn't helped by truly dreadful writing. (We won't even get into Andy Bernard's "performance issues" episode.) To that end, please check out some The Office fan fiction, which I am fairly certain is better than much of the last quarter of last season. And, no, that isn't a joke. I genuinely believe there's better writing at that link than on this program.

Too bad. There's a lot of good TV out there, but it's still a bummer to watch a show spiral southward like this.

* Kinda like herpes.


This is simultaneously funny and alarming. What possesses a company to make a decision like this? Who is the genius that decided this would be a good idea?

(I decided to check if Kindle Fire for Dummies was available for the Nook; thankfully, it isn't. Can you imagine the "Find and Replace" nightmare that would present?)