Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sans Power

You can always count on it: Just when I have me a ton o' work to get done tonight, power is out all over Los Angeles, including at my house. Judging from the note of despair in the voice of the guy on the D.W.P. recorded announcement, it's gonna be a while before they figure out what caused it, let alone get the juice flowing again.

So what can I do with this time? I mean apart from lamenting that my TiVo is not recording Jerry.

Carolyn just suggested this might be a good time to do the laundry...since no one else is using power. I'm thinking about trying to figure out if I can use my new Blackberry to post to the Internet. This is how our ancestors used to blog in the days before electricity.

Posted at 10:25 PM · LINK

Another Lonely War

Charlton Comics was a low-low-budget firm that published comics from the mid-forties through the mid-eighties. They published a lot of ho-hum books produced on the cheap but there were occasional treasures...probably more than the company deserved, given how abominably they paid their talent. One fine (though brief) body of work emerged when a writer named Will Franz scripted (and occasionally co-drew) a combat series called "The Lonely War of Capt. Willy Schultz." An accomplished artist named Sam Glanzman was his collaborator and what they produced was several cuts above Charlton's usual war material, and probably as good as any such tales ever produced anywhere.

Mr. Franz didn't write many comics then. Truth to tell, I don't know much about him other than that he was responsible for a small number of gems. More recently, we're hearing that he is ill and in a bad way, financially. To help him out, Sam Glanzman is selling the original art for four of his collaborations with Franz. They're up on eBay — here's a link — and 100% of the proceeds will go to Willy Franz. As a sad indicator of how poorly guys like him were paid...if just one of these stories goes for the minimum bid, it will probably bring him more money than he grossed in his entire career writing comic books.

I expect the stories to go for way more than the minimums. First off, it's Sam Glanzman art. Sam has been a true professional in comics since 1939 and he has an awful lot of fans out there. Of all his many projects, none is loved more than the work he did in tandem with Willy Franz. In fact, I'd bet Sam has held onto these originals for some time, well aware of their value. Now, he's selflessly turning loose of them because someone is in trouble and that fact alone oughta prompt some of you to bid up the prices. Here's your chance to do a good turn AND (big "and" here) get yourself some fine and precious comic book art for your collection. Go for it.

Posted at 6:47 PM · LINK

Sunday Afternoon

Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to post much this weekend but that was before I read this. The following is a slightly-condensed version of this item I just noticed...

(CNN)–The ranking Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee says Idaho Senator Larry Craig should seek to withdraw his guilty plea, and possibly his resignation from the Senate. "I'd like to see Larry Craig go back to court, seek to withdraw his guilty plea and fight the case," Senator Arlen Specter said on 'Fox News Sunday'. Drawing on his earlier experience as District Attorney of Philadelphia, Specter said, "On the evidence Senator Craig wouldn't be convicted of anything. And he's got his life on the line and 27 years in the House and Senate, and I'd like to see him fight the case because I think he could be vindicated."

"Listen you can go to court and withdraw a guilty plea, of course disorderly conduct is not moral turpitude," Specter said. If he went to trial "he wouldn't be convicted of anything. And if he went to court, was acquitted, all of this hullabaloo would have no basis."

Speaking on the same show, Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Specter raised a good point. "From a legal point of view he makes a very good point," Leahy said. "Now from a political point of view I don't pretend to know what Idaho politics are or how they might be, but Senator Specter has laid out as strong a legal case as I've heard."

Specter is probably right that Craig could get the guilty plea withdrawn and the charges dropped. What he couldn't do is get all of America and particularly the voters in his state to believe he wasn't prowling for gay sex in that lavatory. His colleagues in the Senate have pretty much shown that they believe it by the rapidity with which they threw the senator from Idaho under the bus. At best, some people might just believe he got nabbed too early in the process and that slick lawyering had gotten the case dismissed. No one in this country confuses "the cops didn't prosecute" with "there was nothing to the allegation," especially with regard to the wealthy and powerful.

And of course, if it could ever be proven that Craig was completely innocent, then he'd still be a guy who was stupid enough (and/or afraid enough of having his sexuality examined in a courtroom) to plead guilty to a bogus sex crime arrest because he thought it would all go away. A lot of folks would still find that a perfectly fine reason for him not to be in the Senate.

So no, the hullabaloo would still have a lot of basis.

But the part I love is Patrick Leahy egging Craig on to remain in the Senate and fight the charges. If I were a prominent Democratic leader, I'd sure love to see what that would do to Republican solidarity and whatever anti-gay efforts the party might undertake. There's a reason the members of his party want him outta there a.s.a.p. and it isn't just because they're afraid to use the men's room when he's around.

Posted at 1:12 PM · LINK

Labor Day Weekend

My book on Jack Kirby (this one) will be going to press very soon so I have to spend some time on it this weekend. That's why you won't see a lot of posting here in the coming week. And that will also serve as this week's excuse for me not getting back to some of you who've e-mailed in this direction. I'll have a different excuse next week.

Posted at 11:48 AM · LINK

Today's Video Link

As noted here in the past, I am/was a big fan of the folk-singing group, The Limeliters. There's still a group touring by that name, and I'm sure they're quite good, but it's a new generation of Limeliters...not the ones I grew up listening to.

The trio originally consisted of Lou Gottlieb, Alex Hassilev and Glenn Yarbrough. Around 1965, they more or less disbanded but began getting back together for occasional reunion concerts in the seventies. Thereafter, there were occasional performances with other performers filling in here and there, especially for Yarbrough, who went off and pursued a rather successful career as a solo. Gottlieb passed away in 1996 and for a time, Hassilev anchored whatever appearances were made by a group under the Limeliter name. He recently retired, although I'm told he occasionally goes out with the current troupe and once in a while, they're booked in tandem with Yarbrough, I believe.

Anyway, this clip is from a 2002 PBS Special. That's Alex Hassilev introducing the song and performing, and this may be the last bit of video of the group with him in it.

Posted at 12:44 AM · LINK

Recommended Reading

If what George Packer is hearing is correct, we're about to get bombarded with arguments that the U.S. needs to be at war with Iran. And don't worry. It'll only last a few weeks, it'll pay for itself and we'll be greeted as liberators.

Posted at 12:41 AM · LINK

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