December 16th, 2011

Peter G

Joe Simon, Rest In Piece

Joe Simon died yesterday.  He was 98.

Simon is the co-creator, along with Jack "King" Kirby, of Captain America (read that:  Stan Lee can't mooch credit for it.  Seriously.  In the recent solicitation for Stan Lee's Mighty 7 comic, it describes him as "the creator of Spider-Man and the X-Men."  Then again, Lee might reel it in with him, since it was Simon who first hired him and got him into comics).  But Simon did a lot more than that.  Along with Kirby, he created the Boy Commandos, the Newsboy Legion, Manhunter, and a shitload of romance comics.  A little less noteworthy to others was his alignment with the counterculture movement of the 60's that gave us Prez (I have a complete run) and Brother Power, The Geek (I'm sorry, but the missile-making hippies always makes me laugh).

The bright side, such as it is, is that, unlike Martin Nodell, he lived long enough to see his creation made into a movie.  A great movie, not counting the Albert Pyun misfire from the 90's (I'm not mentioning the TV movies because I remember totally loving them when I was a kid).

Rest well, Simon.  You have inspired millions, and have earned your reward.
Peter G

Big Time! I'm On My Way, I'm Making It

I meant to write this up yesterday, but couldn't get around to it.  But you should be able to find it on the Chicago Tribune website.

The Trib did a write-up on Allegra Rosenberg, who is 16 years old and lives in Skokie.  She is one of the leading names in trock.

What is trock, you ask?  Well, you know how there's the whole filk scene, folk music about sci-fi/fantasy, right?  And this begat wizard rock.  Well, trock is a subset of filk.  It is specifically songs about Doctor Who (time lord rock), such as the band Chameleon Circuit.

I'm taking a huge risk posting this here.  Because it is common knowledge that I'm an amateur drummer with his own electronic drum kit.  And mornblade and clionona are Whovians.

Who like music.

And are probably looking at me and thinking, "You know, every band needs a good rhythm section...."

Stop me before I say, "No brown M&M's."

Finally! Some Representative Government!

Oh, hi!  I'm Peter G, owner, operator, and grand poobah of Sine Timore Industries.  We are aware that we take a LOT of cheap shots at politicians and treat them like dirt.  In our defense, it IS company policy.  However, this also means that, when the politicians actually do something right and do their jobs looking out for the interests of their constituents, we are obligated to point it out and give them the snaps they deserve.

(Note:  if this sounds a little forced, it's because we haven't genuinely praised a politician in a while.  We're a little out of practice.)

Back when people were learning about new technology, a machine was invented referred to as the autodialer.  It dialed phone numbers automatically and allowed either a person or a prerecorded message to be played.  We ALL know what these are like.  Some of them can handle 10,000 phone numbers a minute.  With the advent of mobile phones, people realized it was only a question of when before autodialers started calling them.  And these things were super expensive.  In 1991, autodialers calling mobile phones were essentially outlawed.  Good, right?

Well, last September, a bill was introduced to the House Energy And Commerce Committee by Reps Lee Terry (R-Neb) and Ed Towns (D-NY), would have lifted that.  Keep in mind, some phone plans are still expensive, and if you have a Pay As You Go, you're really looking at getting fucked.

Well, this week, Terry and Towns sent a leter that asked the chairman of the HECC to stop the bill's progress through the committee.  Basically, they killed it.  "What we have learned is there is no hope for this legislation.  We have heard from our constituents (yeah, I'll bet they did.  -- G).  They are concerned about what they believe will happen should this legislation become law."

So, there you go.  Two politicians who actually listened to the will of the people!

Maybe this is a trend!


Epic Fail

Well, The Chicago Bears Did Say They Were Looking For Someone Who Could Make A Big Score

The National Football League had a lockout this year.  The sides haggled, a new deal was reached, and the lockout ended on July 25th.  Teams started looking to fill their rosters, including the Chicago Bears.  They wound up shopping at the Dallas Cowboys Outlet Mall, picking up three players -- Marion Barber, Roy Williams, and Sam Hurd.

The Bears spent a lot of time trying to say they were doing background checks and looking for people of good moral character.  Tim Ruskell, the assistant general manager, told scouts in 2010 they had to stay away from prospects with questionable pasts.  They were still dealing with the fallout of Tank Johnson, who was arrested three times in an 18 month period starting in 2006 and had guns and drugs just laying around his house where his kids could get to them.  Hurd was praised for his maturity, has a wife and kids, came from Northern Illinois University, sang hymns in the locker room, and in 2010, received the Ed Block Courage Award, which is given to one player on each team for setting a good example of courage and sportsmanship.  The Bears signed him up on July 29th.

It's a safe bet the Bears didn't really do a background check.  If they had, they would have seen that, the day before, July 28th, Hurd had been grilled by Homeland Security for drug trafficking.  He was pulled over driving a vehicle that carried his friend, $88,000 in cash, and pot plants.  (He later tried to get the money back but said the plants were his buddy's.)  And, in addition to, on top of that, he allegedly tried to arrange the purchase of $50,000 worth of cocaine in Texas on September 9 this year, two days before the season opener.

On Thursday, there was team practice to get ready for the game this Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.  Everyone noticed Hurd wasn't there.  They didn't know what happened to him.  They eventually found out that, on Wednesday night, he got busted in a federal sting operation for drug trafficking.  Hurd had negotiated to spend $70,000 a week to get 5 to 10 kilos of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of weed a week.  Hurd was apparently dealing to some of his NFL buddies -- according to WSCR-AM 670, the feds got a list of players Hurd sold to, and it was in "the double digits."  Of course, Lovie Smith, the coach of the Bears, said, "I just know that no one else would be involved [from the Bears]."  News reports didn't say if Smith was waving his hand as he said that.

Now, the Bears are a stupid organization, it's just that the fans don't know it or don't care.  The Bears are still doing business with the memorabilia dealer who was convicted of selling false merch and forged signatures.  When Jay Cutler got injured, he went to his own choice in medical care instead of the Bears' own respected medical team.  Barber blew the game last week and would only speak to two hand-picked reporters who didn't ask follow-ups.  And, oh yeah, Tank Johnson.  It doesn't help that your player gets busted in a fed operation and you don't even know until it starts turning up in the local media.  But God forbid you say anything against their precious Bears.

I've complained about the lack of ethics in the world in general and sports in particular.  And I know there's plenty of cheating already in games.  Floyd Landis, Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, Barry Bonds, these are just the people that stupid enough to get caught.  The criminals with real talent don't get found out. this is how Diogenes felt, huh?

Welcome To Comics, Mister Mathews. Hope You Survive The Experience

His name is Michael Mathews.  He is the new CEO of Wizard after Gareb Shamus flew the coop.

In the days since Shamus left, people have been expecting Wizard World to go tits up and file bankruptcy.  Mathews, apparently, is not ready to let that happen.  He's been saying for a while now that big changes are coming to Wizard (I think it's likely Shamus getting out of the way was the first step to rebuilding bridges).  He also did an interview with The Beat where he did not mince words about how Shamus ran things.

One of the longtime problems was the Wizard Subscription Money fiasco.  To the very end, when Shamus was followed around a WW convention by a web reporter calling himself White Lando Calrissian (yes, a white guy dressed as Lando), Shamus refused to acknowledge what happened over a year ago.

Today, Mathews took his next step with this letter to people at the center of the WSM fiasco:

Now, this is hardly perfect.  There's people who don't live near a WW convention or maybe just don't want to go to one, who don't want a $100 voucher and become an "ambassador" but just want their $20 back.

But at least he's trying to make things up.  That already puts him ahead of Shamus.