Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
It is nice that he managed to put out his final album, received to such high acclaim (I was quite fond of the album myself), as his was a reputation that needed some restoration. But considering the magnitude of the impact of his televison show on country music, it was more than fair that he should go out on the top of his game.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Amazon has shipped the new biography to me, but I haven't yet received it. I don't want to comment too specifically without reading the book, but it seems strange that so much of the coverage of the biography has focused on the fact that he was unhappy, as though this was a revelation. Have the people covering the biography actually read the strip, or would they just skip the strips that didn't feature Snoopy? I actually found it more interesting, as discussed in Newsweek, that Schulz seemed to cultivate his depression, nursing imagined childhood slights. Perhaps he needed to feel like the tortured artist, as discussed in the New York Times (love the artwork that accompanies that article), or felt he needed a more tragic back story to lend gravitas to his art, in a field not generally taken seriously.
As far as Schulz's family's complaints about the biography, I would not question their perception of their own father, but I haven't heard anything substantial to cause me to question the accuracy of the biography. Schulz's son complains to Editor & Publisher that 28 pages are spent on Schulz's affair, claiming that to be excessive. 28 pages in a 650+ page book devoted to the affair that destroyed his first marriage certainly sounds reasonable to me. He also specifically claims that the author mentions Jeannie Schulz's trips without Sparky, but doesn't mention when he would travel with his wife; it seems to me a similar complaint could be directed to the family's own Charles Schulz museum, which portrays him as a creature of habit loath to travel any further than the Warm Puppy Cafe a block from his home. Again, my opinion will have more weight, I suppose, once I've actually read the book, but the portrait I'm getting from the reviews doesn't seem too terribly different from what I carried away from my trip to the museum. If anything, he's more well-rounded and human.
And kudos to the Wall Street Journal for getting Bill Waterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame to review the new biography.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
School's canceled for the week. Library reopened today, with limited hours, so I'm about to go in for my volunteer shift. My tutoring session this morning was canceled. No word yet on if work will be closed Friday; being part of the campus, it should be closed, but we'll see.
Felt absolutely awful yesterday, barely able to function, but today I don't feel too bad. Probably because I haven't been outside; we'll see how I feel after I head down to the library (I just heard on the news it's 100 degrees in El Cajon).
Monday, October 22, 2007
But yeah, the air is definitely bad. Even here in La Mesa, where the sky is still, inexplicably, blue, the air is deceptively poor. Just going out to breakfast, I found my eyes burning.
Fallbrook is under a mandatory evacuation, now, and parts of Chula Vista have a voluntary evacuation advisory. Solana Beach has been advised to prepare to evacuate. Still, very little can be done to directly fight the fire; the goal now just seems to keep the fire from reaching to the ocean. UCSD, like all schools in the county, will remain closed tomorrow, since it seems extremely inadvisable to leave your home if you don't have to.
The odd thing is, while there is definitely smoke here, the air quality in La Mesa isn't bad at all. Driving home from work yesterday, as I passed through Mission Valley, the sky was black to the north and west, but past there the sky suddenly turned clear blue. Things are a bit smokier today, but still fairly blue, though from my back yard I can see menacing smoke in the distance. But nothing like what I'm seeing on the news.
As for the music itself, one could live a full and complete life without hearing the two new songs on the Pipettes album (the less said about "Dance and Boogie," the better). As for McKay's album, I've only listened to it once, so I can't pass definitive judgement. I will say, her politics can get a bit tiresome, due to her tendency to create straw men arguments to attack in her lyrics (the fact that I share her politics only makes it more aggravating). But other than that, it's a very interesting album, and musically is quite compelling, obviously influenced from her experience on stage as Polly Peachum. Like her first album, it will no doubt take me many listens to digest. But it's quite an improvement from her last album (though to be fair, I only heard the leaked version, not what was ultimately released). I recommend it (and for those unfamiliar with her, I highly recommend Get Away From Me).
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
In my opinion, the new season sucks because Michael has been lobotomized the same way Dwight was last season. I'm waiting for the episode where Dwight falls down a well, and Michael waits up for the Great Pumpkin. Really, the whole driving-into-a-lake thing was just too much.
Get Fuzzy: perhaps the first time Satchel knew real fear.
Wondermark: Tomorrow's Memes, today. Of course, Bears in Ill-Fitting Hats never go out of style. The Russians knew this:
Okay, so the hat was on the human, I just wanted an excuse to share the video.
And, of course, I have to mention Slylock Fox and Cassandra Cat. I think Cassie looks quite fetching in her housekeeping garb. The Comics Curmudgeon has weighed in on her most recent appearance, as has Reynard Noir. I'll just add that, if it means more Cassandra Cat goodness, I whole-heartedly approve of the approach, evident in this strip, of depicting Cassandra flirting with various police personnel, while the crucial clues that prove her undoing are out-of-frame. It makes things easier on the eyes, and torments innocent children trained by the strip to look for hidden visual clues. A real win-win. Of course, it would be even better if the clue was out of sight because it was stuck to Cassie's ass, which would of course explain the glassy-eyed stares of Slylock and Max (at least Max has the decency to hold his hand to his chin, feigning thoughtfulness and concealing the drool). I'll gladly sit through weeks upon weeks of aliens as long as the strip keeps eventually giving up the goods. And that is all I will say about that, since I seem to have sceeved myself out a bit. But I'm sure that's nothing that can't be cured by watching the Russian magical realism bear video a few hundred times.
UPDATE: I got so flustered by that darn cat, I forgot to mention Gil Thorp: Turns out not only is the team's new quaterback unbearably lame, he also killed a guy. Gotta admit I didn't see that one coming. The story sort of lost steam after the big reveal, but the depiction of a (obviously drug-fueled) wrestling accident was pretty sweet. But please, if you decide to follow Gil Thorp, don't go it alone, go to This Week in Milford. That site somehow got me through the entire "Rock and Roll Carol King"-gets-threatening-or-at-the-least-rather-unpleastantly-negative-letters-from-a-young-Ben-Franklin storyline relatively unscathed, and I'm sure it can help you, too.
Did I mention how disappointed I was I didn't know about Ricky Jay's L.A. performances until after the fact? I did, of course. But I'll bitch about it again, since it still bums me out to no end. His collection of broadsides is on display in L.A., however, and I still have time to check it out.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
So I'm satisfied with the solution. I miss the convenience of the Brita water cooler, but filling up jugs every two weeks or so isn't so bad, and given that there is an improvement in water quality (it has got that oddly-too-clean, sterile quality to it, but that I don't mind so much), I don't mind a minor inconvenience.
In other water news, I got a notice in the mail that my water district will begin fluoridation next month, after having fought the move for years, going so far as requesting not to receive funding in order to avoid adapting fluoridation. But apparently Helix has given in, and the Communist attack on our precious bodily fluids takes another step forward.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I take no position on sex in public restrooms, but a Senator who thinks he can plead guilty to a sex-related crime and no one will ever hear about it lacks the judgement to be a Senator.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
And speaking of Atari anthologies, when are we going to see E.T. in one of those collections? That I would pay for. They could do a super-deluxe version, sort of like the Showgirls DVD. Can video games be so-bad-they're-good?