Saturday, June 16, 2012

Build it now!

We now have our two candidates for president, and each is searching for their bumper sticker slogan to capture the voters' imagination.

I would like to offer the following suggestion to President Obama. Use the slogan, "Build it now!" Go to places where investment in infrastructure is needed, and tell us how many jobs would be created if congress would just follow his plan and "Build it now!"

For all the talk of how to get the economy going, there is one simple answer... People need to be working, so that the tax base can increase. If the private sector is not creating jobs, then the public sector must help. In the depression it was seen as beneficial to have one man dig a hole and another fill it back up. This was because the two would then be drawing a paycheck which would flow to the grocers and renters in the neighborhoods across the country.

Right now, there is no need to have the government employ people for the sake of employing them. Bridges, roads, telecommunication lines, and water systems (to name just some) all need to be updated/repaired/replaced, so the government putting people back to work would not just to be digging and filling the same hole over and over. Something of real value can be gained, if we just "Build it now!"

There are many that would ask how we pay for it, and I understand the concern, however this is one of the moments when the country should be taking out new loans. Aside from the fact that interest rates are incredibly low, right now, which makes the money inexpensive to borrow, it is common sense. This is how sensible debt is created in individuals' lives, as well. We borrow money when we need a new car, we borrow money when our house needs repair, and we borrow money to educate ourselves so that we can make more money in the future.

Debt spending in this case would give us the benefit of not only improving our country for the long run, but we would be able to put hundreds of thousands back to work, which would put more money in the hands of the grocers, and renters, and shopkeepers that provide goods and services to the people now drawing paychecks, and all because our country decided to "Build it now!"

Three little words are all it takes to let people know who is trying to improve the country. President Obama, "Build it now!"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Countdown to Relaunch

As it is now the start of August, we are less than one month away from DC's famous (or infamous) relaunch of the universe. As those of us that pay attention to comics know, Flash is going to fix everything... sort of...

Some of what we know and love about DC will stay the same, and a whole lot will change. Is this something to be angry about? No. Not at all. This happens to characters in varying degrees all the time. Let's just look at some of the characters and how they've changed:

Jon Stewart: He was a Vietnam vet, until that made him too old, so now he is a vet of the Iraq war (possibly the second one, by now).

Hal Jordan: His dad was a World War II pilot, once upon a time, but now his Dad was a Vietnam era pilot (perhaps Hal's updated father was friends with the original Jon Stewart).

Batman: The version of Zorro that Bruce was leaving with his parents has been updated several times (when he isn't coming out of the opera), and we aren't too far off from the point at which we need to update the version of Zorro to the Antonio Banderas "Mask of Zorro" from 1998.

Is it a big deal that they are doing it to all the characters all at once,? Yes. Is it worth getting angry over? No.

I will wait patiently until the 31st. At that time, I will start to read (yes, I have all 52 pre-ordered) and decide what of the relaunch works and what does not. There will be much to love, and much to not, I am sure.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Exiting the Maddness

It's Monday. The Monday after San Diego Comic Con. I am tired, sore and... pretty well content.

For those that have never gone to San Diego Comic Con, I give you this warning, "You will never find a more retched hive of hot chicks and nerds." And, they're both in costumes. (see below)

Each year, the Con grows. It fills up the convention center and spills out into San Diego's Gaslamp district. The mass of people trying to rush from one event to another, demanding that people give them free things (or demanding that people take the free things they have to give) is overwhelming. Every year I decide that it will be my last, yet every year for the last 5 I have returned. Why do I do it? It's a lot of fun

This year, as it has been for me, the fun comes from finding the people in the photos above. People put so much work into getting dressed as their heroes. Some can pull it off, and some have the courage not to care that they just can't, but all are in it for all the marbles, and they get to be celebrities for a day. I've done for a day, and it's great to be stopped for photos. These people make Con into a communal scavenger hunt. I can't tell you how many times I asked people if they had seen, "Man Leah".

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The true dawn of digital

Today, there was some very interesting news coming out of DC Comics. The DC Universe will be rebooted with 52 all new #1 issues, and all of those #1s will be available day and date with their print counterparts.

This development of hand in hand digital release is a smart and necessary adaptation by DC. Digital comics will be the way a lot of people digest the material, and making it easy and timely to get them will curb the piracy of new comics. Most people will do things the right way, if it is made simple enough to access.

The big question then becomes the fate of our local comic book shops. How do they survive in the world of digital comics?

They survive, if publishers look at the retailer programs used by companies like Nintendo and Barnes and Noble use for video games and e-books. Both of these companies have affiliate programs through which customers may get exclusive previews of games/books by being at a brick and mortar store.

If a digital comics reader were to be able to go into their local comic book shop and view 5 pages from the coming big event a week early via a private ad hoc network supplied by the publisher, that would drive people toward stores. Once in the store, shop owners would have a chance to offer people physical product to augment the downloads they are interested in.

Is digital the end of the comic shop? No, it's only a new metamorphosis that stores and publishers will have to make work.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, May 23, 2011

Real people

As some of you may be aware, my grandfather died, recently. In reading through his amazing obituary, I was reminded of all the important things he did. In getting to hear excerpts from, and then reading the entirety of, a memo he wrote shortly before leaving the army in 1945, I was reminded of the person of my grandpa. Here is the memo:

_______ U. S. ARMY
APO 001 U. S. ARMY

SUBJECT: Indoctrination for Return to U. S.

TO: : All Units

1. In compliance with current policies of armed forces overseas it is directed that in order to maintain the high standard or character of the American soldier and to prevent any dishonor to reflect on the uniform, all individuals eligible for return to the US under current directives will undergo an indoctrination course of demilitarization prior to approval of his application for return.

2. The following points will be emphasized in the subject indoctrination course:

A. In America there area a remarkable number of beautiful girls. These young ladies have not been liberated and many are gainfully employed stenographers, sales ladies and beauty operators or welders. Contrary to current practices they should not be approached with "How much?" A proper greeting is "Isn't it a lovely day?" or "Have you ever been to Chicago?". Then say "How much?"

B. A guest in a private home is usually awakened in the morning by a light tapping on his door and an invitation to join the host for breakfast. It is proper to say "I'll be there shortly." DO NOT SAY "Blow it out your .....".

C. A typical American breakfast consists of such strange foods as cantelopes, fresh eggs, milk, ham, etc. Those are highly palatable and though strange in appearance are extremely tasty. Butter, made from cream, is frequently served. If you wish some butter, you turn to the person nearest it and say quietly "Please pass the butter". You DO NOT SAY "Throw me the goddam grease."

D. Very natural urges are apt to occur when in a crowd. If it is found necessary to defecate, one does not grab a shovel in one hand and paper in the other and run for the garden. At least, 90% of Americans have one room called the bathroom, i.e. a room that in most cases contains a bathtub, wash basin, medicine cabinet, and a toilet. It is the latter that you will use in this case. Instructors should make sure that all personnel understand the operation of a toilet particularly the lever or button arrangement that serves to prepare the device for reuse.

E. In the event that the Helmet is retained by the individual, he will refrain from using it as a chair, wash bowl, foot-bath, or bathtub. All these services are furnished in the average home. It is not considered good practice to squat Indian fashion in a corner in the event all chairs are occupied. The host will usually provide suitable seats.

F. Belching or passing wind in company is strictly frowned upon. If you should forget about it, however, and belch in the presence of others, a proper remark is "Excuse me". DO NOT SAY "It must be that lousy chow we've been getting".

G. American dinners, in most cases, consist of several items, each in a separate dish. The common practice of mixing various items, such as beef and pudding, or lima beans and peaches to make it more palatable will be refrained from. In time, the "Separate Dish" system will become enjoyable.

H. Americans have a strange taste for stimulants. The drinks in common usage on the continent such as underripe wine, alcohol and grapefruit juice, or gasoline bitters and water (commonly known by the French as "Cognac") are not ordinarily acceptable in civilian circles, these drinks should be served only to those who are definitely not within the inner circle of friends. A suitable use for such drinks is serving to one's landlord in order to break an undesirable lease.

I. The returning soldier is apt to often find his opinions differ from those of his civilian associates. One should call upon his reserve of etiquette and correct his acquaintances with such remarks as "I believe you have made a mistake" or "I am afraid you are in error on that". DO NOT SAY "Brother, you've really become fouled up". This is considered impolite.

J. Upon leaving a friend's home after a visit, one may find his hat misplaced. Frequently it has been placed in the closet. One should turn to one's host and say, "I don't seem to have my hat. Could you help me find it?" DO NOT SAY "Don't anybody leave this room, some SOB has stolen my hat".

K. In traveling in the US particularly in a strange city, it is often necessary to spend the night. Hotels are provided for this purpose and almost anyone can give directions to the nearest hotel. Here for a small sum, one can register and be shown to a room where he can sleep for the night. The present practice of entering the nearest house throwing the occupants into the yard and taking over the premises will cease.

L. Whiskey, a common drink, may be offered to the solider on social occasions. It is considered a reflection on the uniform to snatch the bottle from the hostess and drain the bottle, cork and all. All individuals are cautioned to exercise the extreme of control in these circumstances.

M. In Motion picture theaters seats are provided. Helmets are not required. It is not considered good form to whistle every time a female over 8 and under 80 crosses the screen. If vision is impaired by the person in the seat in front, there are plenty of other seats which can be occupied. DO NOT HIT him across the head and say "Move your head, Jerk, I can't see a dammed thing".

N. It is not proper to go around hitting everyone of draft age in civilian clothes. He might have been released from the service for medical reasons. Ask him for his credentials and if he can't show any, THEN go ahead and slug him.

O. Upon retiring, one will often find a pair of pajamas laid out on the bed. (Pajamas, it should be explained) are two piece garments which are donned after all clothing has been removed. The soldier, confronted by these garments, should assume an air of familiarity and act as though he were used to them. A casual remark such as "My what a delicate shade of blue" will usually suffice. Under no circumstances say "How in hell do you expect me to sleep in a getup like that?".

P. Natural functions will continue. It may be necessary frequently to urinate. DO NOT WALK behind the nearest tree or automobile you find to accomplish this. Toilets (see above) are provided in all public buildings for this purpose.

Q. Beer is sometimes served in bottles. A cap remover is usually available and it is not good form to open the bottle by the use of one's teeth.
R. Always tip your hat before striking a lady.

S. Air raids and enemy patrols are not encountered in America. Therefore, it is not necessary to wear the helmet in church or at social gatherings or to hold the weapon at the ready loaded and cocked when talking to civilians in the street.

T. Every American home and all hotels are equipped with bathing facilities. When it is desired to take a bath, it is not considered good form to find the nearest pool or stream, strip down and indulge in a bath. This particularly is true in heavily populated areas.

U. All individuals returning to the US will make every effort to conform to the customs and habits of the regions visited and to make themselves as inconspicuous as possible. Any actions which reflect on the honor of the uniform will be promptly dealt with.


A.J. Blank
Colonel, AGD
Adjunct General

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Digital comics

I'm a tech lover. I like the latest and greatest devices, a lot (in fact, I am writing this on my iPad 2).

I am also a comic book nerd. Every week, I pick up the new books on my list, (in fact, I am sitting in my favorite comic book shop as I write this on my shiny iPad 2).

So, obviously I am going to start reading digital comics, right? Nope. I just can't get into them, right now. It isn't out of a love for holding processed tree carcasses, it is because digital comics read poorly on tablets.

There are two ways to read a comic digitally:
1) View the full page, which involves zooming in and scrolling to read text that may end up too small.

2) View the comics in a panel by panel mode that decides how much of the page I look at at any one time, and leaves every comic paced as if the reader feeling as though they're hitting a stop light every ten seconds.

Both of these lead to a much less than fun reading experience.

In stark contrast, I have abandoned almost all paper "real" books for the eBook format. While I will admit that it is much easier to reformat the written word to the screen of my tablet, comic books won't win my digital viewing time until they find a way to format their stories in a way that can be read as fluidly as good old fashioned funny books. I have no doubt it is coming, but until it does...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lusting for tech

I want the iPad 2. I wanted an iPad 1, but never could find the reason to do it. I could not even give a good answer when asked why I wanted the thing. My response usually was reduced to comments on how well designed it was, and that I just really liked it.

I now have two or three good reasons why I want the iPad.

1) The script writing program I use will finally release its iPad app, this spring, making it simple for me to write on the go, and then transfer files which are fully formatted to my desktop.

2) consolidation of gadgets: I have a netbook, which I like. It does what it needs to do as a simple computer. I have a kindle, which I adore, it is a great machine for the one thing it does. With the iPad, both are merged into something that I can keep in one hand, and that dovetails nicely into point 3...

3) I am still recovering from my burst appendix, and it would be nice to have something more robust than my phone to use to surf the web, while resting in bed. At the moment, sitting up at a computer for long periods of time is just not an option, and probably won't be for a little while to come.

Is it still a luxury item? Heck, yeah. Would I get legitimate uses out of it? Yes. I still don't know if I will end up with one, but I would really, really like to. They're neat!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone