Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Stars at Night...

I think the record will one day show that McBone was hardly a shill for Obama.

Yeah, right.

Fine, but do allow me this one point in his favor.

It's difficult to imagine consecutive administrations more rabidly detested by the opposition than those of Bush and Obama.  However!  Lest there be any mistake about which presidency will prove more catastrophic in the eyes of future generations, let us always remember that the man pictured to the left today announced an end to the combat operations that the man on the right needlessly began in 2003.

Like it or not, this is the fulfillment of a campaign promise, and not a small one.  As someone who has ceaselessly criticized the Iraq war, I admit to breathing a small sigh of relief when I read this headline.  Then I started thinking about the 4,400 dead Americans and the 100,000 dead Iraqis and I got so hopping mad that only one thing could possibly douse the fury within.

I totally hated this part of Obama's address, by the way: It’s well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security.  This ever so diplomatic distancing is just a little too gushing for my taste.  I know it's not politically savvy to blame the failings of others, especially when your own ratings are sagging, but let's he honest: the dude deserves all the fingers pointing at him.

Anyway, America screwed this thing up so royally that we basically owe the Iraqis a country.  As a gesture of solidarity, I propose we offer them a consolation prize.

This vast chunk of the American southwest offers many advantages to beleaguered Mesopotamians.  Here is just a handful:

-Similar climate

-Plenty of oil

-Functioning infrastructure

-100,000 square miles of extra space

-Delicious Tex-Mex

You wanna set things right, Obama?  Don't rebuild, relocate.  It's worked for us before.  Surely it can work again.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

McBone Mini-Reviews; The McBone Week in Movies

Enter the Dragon (1973): I'm not going to say this is the one that started it all, not with decades of westerns, spy, gangster and kung fu flicks behind it.  Nor will I call it the end all, be all of its genre.  There have simply been too many great subsequent films.  Still, Enter the Dragon certainly helped transform our perceptions about martial arts movies.  No longer did we have to see them as grainy-looking imports.  Now they could operate on a big budget and be produced by American studios.  This is not to say American acceptance legitimized what the Asians had been doing perfectly well all along.  Rather it opened a broader market in the west, especially among fans who already liked spaghetti westerns, Bond movies and the like.

So, how does it rate as a movie?  E the D is nothing short of a masterpiece.  A Shaolin monk (Bruce Lee) is recruited by British intelligence to infiltrate the island of renegade monk, Han, who operates a heroin/prostitution ring.  Lee reluctantly accepts, but finds his own motivation when he learns that his sister was killed by some of Han's men (cue requisite revenge narrative).  His ticket to the island comes in the form of an invitation to Han's martial arts tournament, really a means for Han to import new talent to his crime empire.  Along the way, Lee meets fellow participants Roper (John Saxon, sporting a toupee for the ages) and Williams (Jim Kelly), ass kickers with hearts of gold.  Together they take on Han and his minions.

All right, so the acting is hammy, the dubbing is the worst since The Good the Bad and the Ugly and there is a definite pervasive camp factor.  None of that is bad.  All of it works.  And throughout, we have Bruce Lee, who performs an explosive two hour ballet in his rise to superstardom.  In a movie with much to recommend it, he is the gravitational center.  From his physique to his facial expressions to his epic battle against the island guard, you simply cannot take your eyes off of him.  Credit director Robert Clouse for pointing the camera at his star and letting it roll.  That Lee died before the film's release remains one of the great damnable shames in cinematic history.

I've watched E the D 20 times in my life at least.  It keeps getting better.  Official McBone Rating: 4.5 McBones (loses a half point for killing off the cool black character first).  Enter the Dragon is a certified McBone Must-See

Also seen

Cashback (2006): A young artist breaks up with his girlfriend and suddenly can't sleep...until he finds a shiny new girlfriend.  Along the way we learn of his obsession with the female form.  Oh, and he has the ability to stop time. If you're thinking that doesn't sound like much of a plot, I'm with you. There are some truly poetic moments in this movie, and some nice comedic touches.  Overall, Cashback is little more than a male fantasy and a thinly veiled excuse to denude women on screen, stop time and ogle.  2.5 McBones.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Seriously Trees?

I mean, are you for real?  You do know it's only August 26th, right?  You know you have at least a month before you have start thinking about this?

You're not listening to me, are you?


So it begins.



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hey Droopy

You are boring.  Your logos are boring.  Your story is boring.  Your inevitable 'redemption' promises to be so incredibly boring.

Kindly get lost.



PS: Take ESPN with you, please

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Look I'm Going For

Like any hopeless narcissist, I've spent years searching for the perfect 'look.'  How, I've wondered, can I best express my ambiguous sexuality and undiluted love of myself?  Recently I'd been plumbing my record collection for ideas.

But Lou Reed was too glam for my taste:

And Prince was just too purple:

Finally, I turned to master practitioner of salsa erotica, Eddie Santiago:

Part dandy, part douchebag, this is more or less the look I'm going for.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a back that needs waxing.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

McBone Mini-Reviews; The McBone Week in Movies

The Eyes of Tammy Faye - Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were hideous monsters who swindled their followers out of millions of dollars in the name of constructing a Christian resort empire called Heritage USA.  Jim Bakker went to prison for his crimes.  Tammy Faye eventually married the architect of Heritage USA, Roe Messner, who would serve a subsequent prison term of his own.  This documentary, directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato and narrated by RuPaul, offers some interesting glimpses into the rise and fall of these bloodsucking evangelists, but is far too sympathetic in painting Tammy Faye as a victim of an embezzling, adulterous husband.  We're to admire her, the film argues, because she's a survivor; she's forgiving; she's full of life; she's (imagine!) nice to gay people.  While it is fascinating to hear her talk about the makeup that has made her an icon in drag communities, The Eyes of Tammy Faye ultimately sputters.  Too many sympathetic talking heads want us to forget that she spent much of her life imploring people to write checks.  Finding a few critical voices would have served the filmmakers well.  Official McBone Rating: 2.5 McBones.

Also seen

Resident Evil: Apocalypse - Raccoon City is infested with zombies, but the exquisitely evil Umbrella Company (think Halliburton x10), which created the T-virus in its subterranean labs, has implemented a successful quarantine.  Unfortunately, that means locking residents in.  That leaves Alice (Milla Jovovich) to do what she does best: kick zombies in the head.  What she doesn't know is that the company has been experimenting on her.  She's infected!  And it's giving her super powers.  Good thing, because another zombie experiment is on the loose and making short work of the city's dwindling defenses.  In Apocalypse, director Alexander Witt and screenwriter Paul W. S. Anderson have fashioned 94 minutes of zombie nirvana.  Excessive without being insulting, graphic without feeling gratuitious, R.E. is to the zombie genre what Blade is to vampires.  That is high praise, and this is the finest installment to date.  3.5 McBones.

Resident Evil: Afterlife - OK, so maybe that quarantine wasn't so successful after all.  Zombies have escaped Raccoon city and overrun the world.  Survivors prowl a Mad Max style wasteland in search of gas, food and other survivors.  Milla Jovovich is back and the T-virus has given her supernatural powers.  Too bad for the zombies, and too bad for her that the Umbrella Company is still up to its old tricks.  This time they're cloning Alice (is this a bad thing?).  For what purpose?  I'm not sure I care.  I just love watching Milla kill all manner of zombies.  Zombie humans, zombie dogs, zombie crows...bring it on!  Though Anderson is back as screenwriter, Afterlife isn't quite as tight plotwise as its predecessors.  It also seems to ignore certain threads from where Apocalyspe left off (which really pissed off my sometimes popular wife).  Does that mean it's not freaking fun as hell to watch?  Hell freaking no!  2.5 McBones


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Damn Right, I've Got the Blues

There was a time when all Rita Hayworth needed to do was bare her arms to get men snorting and slobbering like the great, greasy pigs that we are.  Modern cinema queens are no less beautiful, and yet it seems their power over the opposite sex has faded to a significant degree.  Overexposure, you say?  While it's true that you can barely get through a day without seeing an naked breast, I don't think that's quite the reason.  No, I believe the traditional beauties are being quickly, unceremoniously and irrevocably displaced.  For my money the sexiest screen sirens of today aren't white, black or any of the mundane shades to be found here on planet Earth.  Take a stroll through our gallery and I think you'll agree: blue makes short work of Penelope Cruz, Zooey Deschanel, Halle Berry and all the other trolls being passed off as starlets.

At a mere 6 feet tall, your average supermodel is not only ass-ugly by comparison, but roughly half the size of this leggy blue Na'vi goddess.  Her proficiency with a bow and arrow only doubles her appeal.

 The Diva
Though there appears to be rather more tentacles coming from her gourd-shaped dome than I generally care for, the Diva's singing voice and celestial skin make her among the most bewitching of blue beauties.

 Aayla Secura
When brandishing a light saber, this sexiest of blue warriors is both mystical and deadly.  Sadly, her commitment to the Jedi Order has taken her completely off the market.

Ok, she's technically an Earthling, but these genes have mutated to scaly blue perfection.  Mystique can assume any form she chooses, but why the hell would she want to?

 Ramona Flowers

Perhaps I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel now, but Ramona qualifies by virtue of her blue hair and the mastery with which she wields her abnormally large (blue!) hammer.  That she ultimately trades blue for green is food for another, later post:


Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome to Falling Rock National Park, Season 5!

At least 100 times a day I receive a nice compliment for the banner that adorns this very blog.  Those just passing through the McBoniverse like to congratulate me for its professional quality, its unique artistry and expert lettering.  Though I thrive on fawning attention, I don't hesitate to deflect that praise, preferring to give credit where credit is due.  Of course card-carrying McBoners know already that the Cleveland/Cat Power-themed header was fashioned by the one and only Kid Shay.

Well, friends, I've got good news for you.  After a summerlong hiatus from his cartooning duties,  McBone's partner blogger is back with the highly anticipated 5th season of Welcome to Falling Rock National Park.

All your favorite characters, Ernesto, Carver, Melissa, Pam, Ranger Dee and a host of others, will be there; join them for a daily romp through desert landscapes. We promise the journey will be edifying at the very least, and you just might laugh your ass off too.

And when you've got a second, check out some of the collections for sale.  Printed on recycled paper with soy based ink, these handsome chipboard volumes not only look great, they pass the rigorous environmental standards upheld at McBone.  Yes, friends, in an age when every decision has moral, spiritual and political consequences, Welcome to Falling Rock National Park comes to you virtually guilt free!

Serving suggestion

Welcome to Falling Rock National Park pairs wonderfully with Scotch.


McBone Mini-Reviews; The McBone Week in Movies

McBone Mini-Reviews are back!  Hopefully on a more permanent and regular basis. 

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - Anyone who has ever played too much Mario Bros. will revel in watching dweeby Michael Cera take on seven evil exes in the name of scoring a babe who is way (way!) out of his league.  In a character-driven tale, the acting is uniformly pretty awesome.  Cera is reliably awkward as the hero, but the real stars are the scene-chewing Kieran Culkin as his sage gay roommate, Jason Schwartzman as the seventh boyfriend and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who is merely the gorgeous, acid-tounged girlfriend with hair that is pink, then blue, then green (think Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine), until she pulls a sledgehammer out of her handbag and starts swinging.  

I'm not going to say this one is especially profound or important.  I don't think it will change the course of cinema or make you rethink your life.  What it does is exhilirate.  Get your ass to a theater, nestle it comfortably into a seat and enjoy the ride.  Official McBone Rating: 4.0 McBones

Also seen

Resident Evil - Speaking of video games, who wouldn't want to see Milla Jovovich kick some zombie ass in an underground research facility nicknamed the Hive?  Best of all is the computer program who runs the place.  Bent on containing the virus and letting no one out alive, the Queen (voiced in the creepy, cherubic prepubescent voice of an English girl) is the most murderous disembodied voice since HAL.  This film is everything it should be, but most of all shameless.  3.0 McBones

Synecdoche, New York - Philip Seymour Hoffman is an anxiety-ridden playwright whose wife (the transcendent Catherine Keener) up and takes off with their daughter.  Subsequently, he earns a Macarthur Fellowship and begins work on his magnum opus. The work slowly consumes him and becomes a parable for the way we construct and reconstruct the story of our lives.  Watching Hoffman navigate his love affairs recalls Fellini and 8 1/2, but the ghostly dream state that our protagonist inhabits is all Charlie Kaufman, making his directorial debut.  While certainly intellectual, Kaufman and Synecdoche skirt pretension and always entertain.   4.5 McBones


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Semi-Connected Thoughts on a Mosque Near Ground Zero

As a registered atheist, I don't really 'get' any religion.  When it comes to embracing a god or a set of beliefs, I'd just as soon spend that time trolling baseball statistics.  But I do get why religious freedom is important.  I get why banning a mosque, not building a mosque, is fundamentally fucked up.

And I get why supporting the right to build this particular mosque, which is quickly becoming a symbol, is important, lest mosque-banning suddenly becomes OK in a country that loves to boast about its long list of freedoms.  That is a precedent we do not need.

People get hepped up on the constitution the same way they get high on the bible.  But there's good stuff in both.  Freedom of religion is a pretty sweet notion.  The bible tells us to judge not.  Those are closely related concepts in my mind.

Muslims did not bomb the World Trade Center; fringe lunatics did.  Those kinds of people are everywhere, and they do crazy things.

Invading Iraq was terrorism.  Let's call it like it is.  The act was perpetrated by a man who repeatedly insists he is guided above all by his faith.

Building a mosque near Ground Zero could have greater healing potential than bombing the living shit out of Baghdad, imo.

My cynical side sees any rhetoric by any president as cold, calculated and political.  But I really want to see this gesture of support by Obama as strong and just leadership in the face of sharp censure by the voting public.  I'm sure if the kitchen gets too hot, he'll qualify it somehow, but for now I'm giving him a pat on the back.

Speaking of rhetoric, in the wrong hands is there any more dangerous weapon on earth?  As the spouse of a rhetorician, I'm thankful that my wife is only a little bit evil.

Every time a president concludes a speech with '...and may God bless America,' I barf in my mouth.



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This Calls for Some Bubbly

I have decided that tomorrow shall be spent drinking Champagne.  Oh, I know what you're thinking, McBoners:  Champagne on a regular old, humdrum Thursday night?  I know it sounds crazy, and ordinarily it would be, but when you've officially been married to the greatest woman in the world for 10 years, no other beverage will suffice.

Though her popularity with you may ebb and flow, I have yet to see a shred of evidence that on August 12th, 2000, I made a hideous mistake.  That's why tomorrow will be a celebration, not just of one decade of spectacular matrimony, but of things to come, like the tiny egg that billions of my wriggling, squiggling sperm will soon be targeting.

I've selected a rosé Pol Roger for the occasion.  Yes, I purchased the wine from the Village Bottle Shoppe.  Yes, I was carded

Happy anniversary, babe.  Thanks for an awesome ten years.  Another 50 would be tight.  How about it?


Monday, August 9, 2010

Eat, Drink and be Merry, With the Proper Identification

Now let me preface this by saying that the following rant is in no way directed toward our local wine merchant, the always courteous and helpful staff or its excellent selection of wines, beers and liquors.  No, this one's for you, Indiana, so listen up!

So my number 1 gal and I swung by the Village Bottle Shoppe yesterday to pick up a couple of items and I was rather surprised to have been asked to present a photo ID.  I wasn't surprised because I shop there every week and am becoming a familiar sight wandering the isles in search good wine bargains.  Nor was I surprised because I am pretty clearly over 21 years of age.  Hey, I get it; this is a college town and the store has to watch its ass.  There's a perfectly clear sign at the register explaining that they card everyone.  In other words, my 65-year-old dad, who on his best day couldn't pass for 40, isn't getting any gin without some proof that he was born before August 1989.  I do find it a bit much that one is required to provide TWO forms of ID, but all right: college town, fake IDs, fine.

No, what really gets me is being carded considering the nature of the items in question:

A jar of maraschino cherries
A jar of anchovy-stuffed olives

To be fair, the clerk was a bit embarrassed, even letting me forego the second ID.  But what the fuck!?  The only thing I could think of was that there must have been trace amounts of alcohol in one of the jars.  Some olives are packed with vermouth for explicit use in martinis.  The cherries too could be pickling in some sort of cordial.  Alas, Alex read aloud the ingredients as the McBonemobile sped away:

Cherries: cherries, water, corn syrup, sugar, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, preserved with sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, red 40, sulfur dioxide

Olives: Manzanilla olives, water, minced anchovy* (anchovy, sodium alginate, guar gum, calcium chloride, citric acid), salt, monosodium glutemate and lactic acid.  Notice: olives may contain pits

Not a drop of alcohol to be found.  So, Indiana is not only carding geriatrics, requiring two IDs and, goddammit, not selling on Sundays, the Hoosier State is also requiring an ID for FOOD.  Obviously these particular foods items are marketed toward drinkers, but they are, nonetheless, food.  Still, I  have to conclude that I would have been denied these mostly innocuous items if I happened to be a 20-year-old.  I wonder, would I have received the same treatment for some of their other offerings? A bag of chips?  A Slim Jim?  What about a copy of this month's Wine Spectator?

Such is the legacy of Prohibition.  Few are those who remember that dark time in our nation's history, but these endangered ancients, without the proper ID, would be stonewalled at the Village Bottle Shoppe, even if all they wanted was a measly cocktail onion.

Christ, Indiana.  Get a life.


*To which Alex exclaimed: ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Comic Con 2010!

Having found a safe haven in San Diego, I gathered up my number 1 gal and together we strolled over to the convention center.  It wasn't hard to find.  You just follow the walking dead:

I wasn't sure what to expect going into our first Comic Con.  I had heard the stories and I was excited to be sure, but I was also a bit intimidated.  I knew there would be countless tables to navigate while fighting a current of fellow nerds, geeks, dorks and encountering the occasional Booth Babe:

 Luckily I had a wily veteran in Kid Shay to lead the way:

And we brought along a couple of our own babes to escort us through pop culture paradise...

The ladies conceded a few photographs and then ditched us in rapid fashion. That left the two of us to wander the convention floor and slaver over piles and piles of comics.  It was awesome watching Josh work the room, handing out copies of his latest book and rubbing elbows with the likes of Bill Amend, Keith Knight, Stephen Notley and Kevin McShane.  

And there were certainly way more hightlights...

-Hilarious panels by cartoonists Jeff Smith, Keith Knight, Berkeley Breathed, Nicholas Gurewitch and zombie writer Max Brooks.

-Berkeley Breathed sharing letters with never before seen drawings by Bill Watterson.

-Josh handing a book to Nicholas Gurewitch, who responded by saying that he kept the previous Falling Rock book in his desk and used it as a reference for drawing desertscapes.  How cool is that?  Totally effing cool!

-Max Brooks, author of World War Z, explaining that he liked his zombies 'relentless and dumb, just like the Tea Party.' 

-Picking up my very own copy of Incredible Change-Bots! and getting it signed by creator Jeffrey Brown.

-Having a chat with artist Nate Powell and getting a signed copy of his beautiful comic book, Swallow me Whole.

-David Hasselhoff on top of a bus singing 'Hooked on a Feeling.'  Bad photo, but yes, that is him:

-Our waitress going absolutely apeshit over seeing Eric Estrada walk by.

-Getting caught up in Green Lantern hype.  Seriously was that staged?

-Ray Bradbury's hard-on for Bo Derek.

-Meeting up with old Ohio U friend, Anne, who wrote for Battlestar Galactica and 24 and produces Smallville:

-Chatting with Anne's husband, Phil, who only designed Iron Man's suit:

-Carla Gugino!

...than there were lowlights:

-Ray Bradbury's hard-on for Ronald Reagan.

-Having an extremely lucid dream at 4 AM about having my flesh chewed off by zombies and not being able to fall back asleep.

-The sorriest gathering of Jesus freaks I've ever seen:

-Accidentally booking our return flight on Saturday instead of Sunday and having to cough up $150 for the switch.

More Comic Con 2010 in pictures

I have no idea what these things are, but I like them

Audrey Hepburn, totally stacked and in a catsuit

Hit-Girl about to kick some douchebag ass

Um, damn

Helen Mirren, by any measure the smartest, sexiest woman at the Con and who I did not actually see, dammit

Yes, I said Helen Mirren was the sexiest


Yarr!  Blarrr!  Zombie pirates!

By the Power of Grayskull!

Friends reunited

A nerd rejected

This post is dedicated to the one of the great Clevelanders and comic writers, the late Harvey Pekar.


Photos by Alex

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


McBone would like to thank Judge Vaughn R. Walker for declaring that California's Prop 8 unfairly discriminates against homosexuals, which it does.

The case is far from settled, but the tides are turning.  Gay marriage in inevitable.  We hope Judge Walker's ruling will help speed up the process.

Oh, and to all those crying about the will of the people, where were you in 2000?


Monday, August 2, 2010

What Gives, South Dakota?

What's up, South Dakota?  How ya doing over there?  Everything all right?  Are you keeping it real in So-Dak?  I'm only checking in because according to Google Analytics, y'all still havn't gotten the message.

Did you know that North Dakota has registered a hit on McBone?  In fact, all of the other 49 states have.  So has D.C.  Hell, even the ever mysterious "not set" has stopped by McBone three times.  But let's forget about the US for a second.  How does it feel to be lagging behind:

Latvia, where the people mostly speak not English (the official language of South Dakota and McBone) but Latvian

Qatar, which forgot that a Q must always be followed by U

Bahrain has registered two hits

So has Saudia Arabia, where it is forbidden to McBone

Georgia the state - 52 hits

Georgia the nation - 2 hits

You've got miles to go before you can match the United Arab Emirates (6 hits)

The island nation of Mauritius (pop. 137) is positively kicking your ass

As is the island nation of Fiji

And don't even think of trying to catch up to the island nation of Malaysia (according to Google Analytics, McBone is the 73rd most popular Ohio-based blog among island nations) and its 8 hits

You know who else, like you, has NO hits?

North Korea


Planet X

I don't know what it's gonna take to get you with the program.  Perhaps this entreaty will suffice.  Or maybe you're just pissed cause McBone's never visited South Dakota.  Aha!  That's it, isn't it?  Now I'm beginning to get it.  Yes, I think I understand.  McBone's only been around since 2007.  You've been a state since, what?  1890?  1889, you say?  Impressive.  Ok, ok, you win. I'm on my way.  Get Mount Rushmore ready while I fuel up the McBonemobile.  Prepare whatever other sights you have.  McBone is South Dakota bound!


PS: This post, like so many before it, was ripped off.