March 28th, 2011


Ooo! Monblade's Gonna HATE Me For This!


Now that I have your attention....

Hello, and welcome to another installment of, "Peter G Drives Mornblade Crazy With Doctor Who Spoilers."  I'm sure some of you remember a while ago when I posted that picture of Neil Gaiman with Stephen Moffat, holding his script that he wrote for the current season of Doctor Who that is about to kick off.

The picture showed the script, with Gaiman holding it in a way that his finger hid the episode title.  Well, Gaiman himself let the cat out of the bag.

Episode title:  The Doctor's Wife.

Gaiman says Suranne Jones will play a character named Idris, who knew the Doctor but now has a different face.

And remember, Mornblade -- if I die, I forgive you.  If I live, we shall see.

How Did You Get This Number?

"Who's at the door?"
"The American Lung Association."
"Tell them to go away, we got plenty."

As I believe I've mentioned before, I don't smoke.  I can't stand it.  However, there is a difference between, I don't like something so I don't do it, and I don't like something so YOU can't do it.  I have a couple of friends who smoke.  I don't mind toughing it out for them.  And anti-smoking is a bunch of bullshit anyway, since cigarettes are the boogeyman but anything else that can be smoked (cigars, pipes, etc.) doesn't get focused on.  Just making sure we're on the same page of music.

I have never been to the ALA's web site at any point in my life.  I haven't even contacted them.  And those of you who read my posts and have been following the current Stress Puppy story "Keeping Up With The Jones" know how I feel about banning smoking.  So imagine my shock when I get an email with the header, "Illinois' Smoke-Free Air Is Threatened We Need Your Help."  Wow, they must really be desperate to be dragging me into this.

The email:


It’s not often we email our entire donor base but the severity of this matter demands it.

The smoke-free air law in Illinois is threatened by three bills in the Illinois House of Representatives and we need your help to make sure they don’t pass.  Passage of these bills could lead to smoking in bars, private clubs and gaming facilities and we can’t let Illinois take such a huge step backwards in protecting the health of its citizens.

Please use this link to send a quick email to your legislators and tell them to vote “NO” on House Bills 1965, 1310 & 171.  It takes less than a minute and will ensure the air in Illinois stays smoke-free.

 Thank You,

Kathy Drea
VP of Advocacy
American Lung Association in Illinois

Uh...when did I become a part of their donor base?!?  I give to only certain charities, and the ALA is NOT one of them.  (It also has a link in the lower corner to unsubscribe.  Done, and done.)

Bars and such in Illinois have lost customers because of the smoking ban (this is also why the riverboat gambling casinos are hurting so much around here -- people just pop over the border to Indiana where they can enjoy adult freedoms).  And it's been preposterous to boot.  During the blizzard we had here, I felt sorry for all the people who had to stand outside in that freezing cold.

The only people still smoking know it's bad for them but they do it anyway for whatever reason.  Banning smoking isn't going to change that.  Didn't you learn anything from Prohibition?  You can't legislate morality.  You really want to stop smoking?  Start kicking some of that money to helping people who want to quit kick the habit.  They'll appreciate your efforts.  Quit imposing your will on others.


Epic Fail

And They Say There Are No Happy Endings In This World

Rob GranitOVER!

I get home from work to check my email, and there's a message from one of the fine upstanding people on my f-list (not going to say which one, just to respect his privacy.  I'd rather err on the side of caution instead of him worrying that he'll become fodder for my posts).  It seems there was a sort of Marvel...excuse me, Marvelous Team-Up against Rob Granito at MegaCon.

The stars?

Ethan Van Sciver and Mark Waid.

Rob GranitOH SHIT!!!

And they claim Granito will never be able to attend another convention ever again.

Okay, just to make sure we're on the same page of music, Granito is a rip-off artist.  Now, before you say he's just a swipe artist, it's not that.  Swiping is actually pretty tolerated in the comic book industry (years ago, when Peter David blew the whistle on Rob Liefeld and his "tributes", I had considered doing a book that was nothing but Rob Liefeld swipes.  The kick?  They would all be swipes of art he swiped, and I would have a contest to see who could identify which Liefeld books I got them from and what books he got them from.  Ah, the good old days, when you could get 1000 comics printed for $200.  Good times, good times....).  Almost everybody fucking does it.  And I don't mean like the guy at Marvel who supposedly gets his poses from watching porn movies.  Technically, aside from really iconic images, that's referencing (and anybody who watches that much porn that they can identify what movies he got what poses from really needs a reality check).  The sin is making people aware of the swipe.  You know, that whole "Stop snitchin'" bullshit that says that people have a right to get away with unethical behavior because they've gotten away with it so far.

I want you to keep this in mind as you read the next paragraph.  This is so you can understand how the situation got this far out of control.

Granito, however, didn't just swipe.  He plagarized.  He's apparently been doing it since 2006.  And no one said shit.  Other artists for whatever reason (maybe because they didn't want to rock the boat, maybe because they were afraid their swipes and thefts would be uncovered in retribution, what-fucking-ever) would grumble as he got prime real estate at conventions when they KNEW he was ripping people off.  'Course, they did nothing to stop that....

On Thursday, Bleeding Cool ran a piece about Granito where he lied about working in the industry as a ghost artist for artists who don't use ghosts (Stellrfreeze?  Jurgens?  PEREZ?!?).  That jerked the stopper.  Suddenly, everybody in the industry was pointing out his swipes (better late than never, amiright?) and piling on.  And the fun was just beginning -- Granito was a guest of honor at MegaCon in Florida this past weekend.

Side note:  Granito has a bodyguard.  The guy claims to be strapped and supposedly once showed the pistol in his holster.  No one got a real good look at it, so it could have been Airshit Airsoft for all anyone knew.

So, the con starts, and Ethan Van Sciver has a little chat with Granito.

But that wasn't the end.

Mark Waid was also there.

You have to keep in mind what Mark Waid is like.  You think I'm a sarcastic jackass?  Check out Waid's run when he edited Amazing Heroes.  Not only was the snark ramped up to 11, but Waid called Jim Salicrup a Nazi in print (and Waid pointed this out to people, so it's not like he trying to hide it).  Waid seemed content to just let Granito be.  He felt Van Sciver had done enough to humilate him.  But while hanging out and talking with Van Sciver (Van Sciver and Waid are on polar opposite ends of the political spectrum.  Van Sciver is arch-conservative.  Waid is arch-liberal.  Finding out they talk casually was like finding out Alice Cooper and Glen Campbell are golf partners -- you never would have guessed if you hadn't seen it).  So if Waid is going to get mixed up in this, it's not going to be pretty.

Van Sciver told Waid about the Twitter post where Granito claimed to work with Dwayne McDuffie.

That did it.

Everyone LOVED Dwayne McDuffie.  In a way, he's like the Michael Turner of comic book writers -- you talk shit about him, you are pretty much signing your own death warrant.  Waid became enraged, Van Sciver became enraged again, and they returned to talk to Granito.  Trust me, you want to read that.  Granito's bodyguard saw them coming and stood up.  Van Sciver bellowed, "SIT THE FUCK DOWN!" and the guy dropped like a sack of flour.  I don't know how much Granito paid for his bodyguard, but I hope he kept the receipt.

Chiller Theater just tossed Granito off their guest list.  DragonCon is considering doing the same.  Wizard just banned him from their conventions.  Like Raff said in Stress Puppy, "Nothing inspires bonding like a common enemy."

It took two firebrands who are known in the industry for not keeping their mouths shut and being defiant to make action be taken against this guy.

How did he operate for so long?

He did it because we allowed him to.

He's been doing this for maybe five years.

I have long said, the longer the fuse, the bigger the explosion.

Silvertongue Strikes Again

My biggest problem with people who are down is that I don't know what to say.  I feel obligated to say something to make them feel better, or maybe have some information at my fingertips that can help them, or anything.  But when all I can think to say is some stupid, "I'm sorry to hear that" or something else that sounds like a dollar store greeting card, I shut up.  Because I don't want to sound dismissive or condescending.  After all, I'm not the one suffering, they are, and the fact that I can't do anything makes me feel like a dick.

(Side note:  a couple of friends of mine who knew a woman I was dating ran into me while I was out and about.  As we went our separate ways, I told them to tell her I said hi.  As I drove home, I was practically punching myself in the head.  I would clutch my head in my hands and scream, "Tell her I said hi?!?  You love this woman and THAT'S the best you can come up with?!?"  So those of you who think I'm a wonderfully poetic and expressive writer?  There are times when that's a bunch of crap.)

Thursday, I'm here at the lunch counter, grabbing dinner after a very busy day.  Everyone here knows me by sight.  I'm sitting here, and the manager is at the table to my left.

She's crying.

It seems they are cutting her hours again.  In the past four years, her income from the job has dropped by $10,000, and that's not adjusted for inflation.  They say they are cutting her hours because, even though she's a manager and the others are assistant managers or lower, they don't want to seem unfair and are splitting the time more evenly.  She's been working there for ten years.  And she can't get another job because she's near retirement age.  "Who's going to hire me?" she sniffles.  She starts going over all the things in her life that need her paycheck.  They take up most of it.  She'll never get ahead.  She's trapped.  Everyone else here is getting their hours cut, too.  Everyone feels like shit.

And there's nothing I can say or do.  Even if I could make them smile, it would be great.  But they are all focused on their misery.  And I'm powerless.

I go up to get a refill of iced tea before I go.  There are no customers there at that time, it's just me and the crew.  A couple of them are preparing tartar sauce because fish is such a big seller during Lent.  The people making it are just high schoolers, one guy, one girl.  One of them takes the tartar sauce dispenser and, without warning, shoots a glop onto her face.

I look at them and deadpan, That reminds me of the ending of all my favorite movies.

The place went NUTS!

Everyone's laughing.  Some are laughing so hard, they're on the floor.  The manager has tears streaming from her eyes, but for a different reason this time.  One of them can't believe how fast I think.  Rest assured, I wouldn't have made that joke if I didn't know them so well, I know better than that.  The mood lightened, I tip my hat and head on out.

Tonight, I hit the lunch counter.  The manager is here.  It seems that with the mood lightened, everyone started talking.  And they decided to mention the hours situation to the owner the following day.  The manager not only has her hours back, but a few more -- not much, but a few.  Purely symbolic, but proper, and every little bit helps.  And a couple of people got their hours back as well.  Not everyone, but a couple.

And they said it was because of my joke.  It snapped them out of it.

I'm not sure if I should take credit for that.  After all, they probably would have thought to complain on their own.

But if it gets positive results, let them think that.  I won't argue.
Sound Waves DUH

Numbers Racket

"Metallica sold out in fifteen minutes!"
"Yeah, I know. mean like for a concert, right?"
--from an IRC chat

Uh oh.  Someone decided to look into those awesome numbers Charlie Sheen's live show tour were pulling in.

Remember how those tickets just flew out, setting a record for Ticketmaster sales and such?  Well, Jane Wells of CNBC discovered that the tickets were snapped up by secondary ticket sellers (StubHub, Who Needs Two?, places like that).

And it seems they seriously overestimated demand.

For example, let's say you live in Detroit and want to see Sheen's show.  There are still 1,449 tickets available, about 28% of the total available.  And they are being sold for less than face value.  (I'm wondering about Chicago.  Illinois doesn't have ticket scalping laws.  In fact, every time the news shows people lining up to buy Cubs tickets before the season starts, you will see them interviewing one or two known scalpers.  I'm wondering if any scalpers bought the Charlie Sheen tickets in hopes of flipping them.)  If you're in New York, Boston, or Ontario and want to convince yourself that life is not worth living, they have "Meet & Greet" packages where you can bask in Sheen's aura offstage available.

Me?  I'd rather suffer through Sucker Punch again than try out a Charlie Sheen show.  I just find it interesting that the media juggernaut looks like a Range Rover powered by a flashlight battery.