30 June, 2009

Quoting Quotables

“We have to change the negative things into positive. In today’s Japanese film industry we always say we don’t have enough budget, that people don’t go to see the films. But we can think of it in a positive way, meaning that if audiences don’t go to the cinema we can make any movie we want. After all, no matter what kind of movie you make it’s never a hit, so we can make a really bold, daring movie. There are many talented actors and crew, but many Japanese movies aren’t interesting. Many films are made with the image of what a Japanese film should be like. Some films venture outside those expectations a little bit, but I feel we should break them.”
--Takashi Miike

(Quote stolen from here, which was likely stolen from somewhere else)

The Golden Age of Flight

I was looking at a blog called X-Planes and I realized that I love the thirty year period that sits between the Belle Epoque and WWII. It was a time when planes had class and dirigibles weren't only used to hock tires to sports fans. Maybe it was a bit more naive then, too. Sure people probably knew the world was fucked up, but back then I think they saw The Great War as a fluke more than the natural state of man.

Oh, and they had designers back then.





If the Golden Age of Flight didn't exist, we wouldn't have people like Hayao Miyazaki running around, making delightful films, either. . . Well, he still might be making films, but let's just pretend that they're all the more whimsical for having antiquated planes in them (maybe even an auto-gyro or two).



Then again, there's something about the 1960's too. Captains were treated like captains, stewardesses were called stewardesses, and you could smoke in a two-hundred mile and hour flying metal tube.



Just look at this suave mother fucker. I wonder how many Nazis this guy was responsible for hiring.

Yeah, anyways, the good old days.

Last Post/First Post of the Night/Morning

wingsuit base jumping from Ali on Vimeo.

29 June, 2009

I Hate Myself and I Want to Die



I first saw Memento around 2001 or 2002, right when it first came out on video. I must have been fourteen or fifteen at the time, because I remember watching it on video at my sister's apartment that isn't there anymore when she lived with Pat. When I watched it then I didn't like it. This happens sometimes. I think my problem with my inital viewing came out of literally half of the movie being Guy Pierce sitting in a motel room, talking on a phone. Now that I'm a bit wiser and bit more seasoned, I've come to the conclusion that this is perfectly fine.



Now that I watch it again for the first time in six or seven years, I realize that A) TV editing really takes the sting out of Trinity being a cunt, B) It isn't that long and it isn't that boring, and C) This is one of the most heart-breaking films that I have ever seen. If I ever have severe brain damage and accidentally kill one of the cute gals from CSI I want one of you to just put me down. There. Now it's in writing. It's legal.

In the forty-two minutes since re-watching it, I've changed my mind. It isn't that this movie isn't worth watching again, as I believed in 2001/2002, but I don't want to watch it ever again. It's about a mentally handicapped guy trying to find the guy who raped and killed his wife, but can't complete his quest because of the person he has become. It's tragic. It watches like Flowers For Algernon directed by Howard Hawks. To say the least I want nothing more of this movie-- at least as far as viewing it goes.



There's a lot of currs out there sucking on the marrow of Alfred Hitchcock's legacy-- Brian Di Palma, M. Night Shyamalan-- but it occurs to me that Christopher Nolan might actually be capable of continuing that legacy-- or continuing it as well as a man can continue a legend of 20th century art. Nolan since his first feature film (which is apparently a movie called Following, a movie I have never heard of until today) has been doing genre work. What's more is he's been doing solid genre work, some of the most impressive "low art" in quite some time. Memento was his second feature and even though I don't want to even hear about this movie ever again, it's an impressive piece of work. Insomnia and Batman Begins aren't perfect, but they're still quite good films. After that we have The Dark Knight and The Prestige, which are pretty wonderful. Nolan does genre work and he's really quite good at it.

Christopher Nolan isn't the best film maker alive, but I think in terms of talent to pretension ratio, he's probably one of our better ones. He might not make important movies, but he makes interesting ones, entertaining ones, even. He's also got enough clout to make a backwards movie that's half in black and white and to throw Wolverine into a magicians cape with David Bowie. If nothing, we have this to cling on to.

And here is my favorite scene from Memento:



I realize now that if Memento was filmed today it would have to be a period piece. Polaroid film is an endangered species and digital cameras can actually take a photo in less than five seconds now. If it was filmed today it'd be on an iPhone probably and that would be terrible. Terrible.

(Title grabbed from this Engrish t-shirt-- I'm not sure how this directly relates to the subject at hand, though.)

12 Things Woodie Allen Doesn't Get

I don't know. Sounds about right.

27 June, 2009

I DID IT

Photobucket

I managed to get a manatee into my story about Afghanistan. Suck it, haters. Suck it.

Tone and all that nonsense



So my script is about Afghanistan if you didn't know (or didn't care to know). It's about British soldiers in the Second Anglo-Afghan War, which as I carried on with the project realized was a blip on the radar in terms of Victorian Era Wars. If I was smart (or more of a hack) I'd have gone with the Crimean War or the Zulu Wars or even the Boer Wars if I was feeling cheeky (the Dutch don't make interesting antagonists, though).

Apparently history is far more concerned with what black people the British conquered than what Muslims the British tried to conquer. Whatever. The research material might be sparse (or redundant), but at least I can pretend to have an original story (but not that original).

Originally, the tone I had imagined would be like an amalgamation of Oscar Wilde and Sam Peckinpaugh. Witty and breezy when they're indoors and carnal and nihilistic the second their boots hit the dirt. It'd be a pseudo-western/war movie that would be rife with smartasses and glib remarks (which is about all I know how to do). It's a confused tone, though and obviously Peckinpaugh and Wilde (along with other writers I'm copying: Kipling, McCarthy, Cave, the Coens, to name a few) are far better writers than I am. It gets confusing to know what scene is supposed to look like what.

And this kind of confusion leads to the fifth act being over half of the damn script. Goddamn. It really is that long, isn't it?

I think I might have finally found what I want this comic/movie/mess to look like and that would be exactly like an old adventure story. It would be something John Huston would make (if far less well made). So, while it'd be violent and funny in the same scene, it doesn't go one way or the other so severely that it seems schizophrenic. Ideally. It remains to be seen if I actually know how to write a story to completion.

Let's just hope I don't have to draw this fucking thing.

It is ridiculous for me to talk like this, though. Best case scenario: This project is a year away from being started and another six months from being finished (and then there would be the trade and such). The odds are good that this thing will be a completely different animal than what I planned it to be. Well, just as long as it's good. . .

(I don't remember where I grabbed the above image. Google, probably. The one thing that is good about writing about Afghanistan is that you've got Imperial Britain taking as many notes as they can and nowadays you have international media doing the same thing-- but with less quaint racism.)

Thinking Herzog Thoughts

My friend Sam called me up today out of the blue to tell me that Werner Herzog was on NPR right now talking about his new book of his old journals. Maybe that has something to do with me posting this:



I've slowed down in entries here in the past couple of days. There's a simple cause for this: I've simply been too tired, hot, or tipsy to do anything productive. I figure I'm allowed to do this for a day and a half. Now, with that said, I'm off to get tired, hot, and tipsy.

26 June, 2009

Our Citizen Kane



Perfect, perfect, perfect show.

Perfect!

I See No Contradictions



It is pictures of hamsters that make life worth living.

There is more hamsters in heaven and earth than are in your philosophies.

25 June, 2009

Of Dogs and Exploding



Last post today, I swear it. In posting this much I realize that there's a risk of becoming that guy who forwards your parents hilarious jokes and videos on a bi-hourly basis, except maybe with a hipper scarf. But life keeps on being interesting so I have to throw it up here before I forget about it and move on to something else.

Today I want to talk about mines or more specifically, things that send mines to try to kill other things. Things like the Goliath Mini-Tank. The Goliath Mini-Tank was an invention of the German army during WWII. It was a (relatively) small, (relatively) light remote-control tank that had a hundred pounds of explosives strapped to it. I don't need to spell out what the explosives were for, but it got me thinking about all kinds of other, wacky attempts at trying to kill each other that we've come up with as a species. Specifically, it made me think of how we try to kill each other with other species.

Naturally my mind wandered to the Soviet Union's Anti-Tank Dogs. The principle was simple: A vest was put on the dogs that was covered in explosives, when commanded the dogs would rush towards the enemy lines, and dive underneath German tanks, triggering the explosives that covered their bodies, puncturing the thin armor that covered the tank's underside.

What the Ruskies didn't take into account was that dog's aren't people, or in the immortal words of Mr. Burns, "Dogs are idiots!" When released it seems that the dogs were just as likely to burrow underneath Soviet tanks as they were German tanks. Kind of a shitty deal if you weren't all that into being blown up in your place of work. Then again, I don't know how Soviet conscripts felt about all that junk, so who am I to judge?



Of course strapping explosives to animals isn't exactly an isolated concept. For example: The Bat Bombs. Tales of the Bat Bombs have been floating around for a number of years, they're probably the best known use (at least theortectical use) of an animal-borne explosive on the planet-- which is good. I can sleep a little sounder at night knowing that blood-sucking flying rats can't also set me on fire.

The idea behind "Project X-Ray" was to attach small incendiary devices to the bat's legs (small enough to still allow the bat to fly, but large enough to start a fire). The bats would be released into Japanese territory where they would naturally nest in cool, dry places like a person's house. Most Japanese houses at the time were made out of wood (which is why fire bombing Tokyo was so effective), which would act as timber for the fire bombs. Though, obviously, the project was shut down and the military moved on to less silly sounding murder-machines.

WWII seems to have been a well-spring of death dealing animals-- or at least it was a boom industry to try to make them. Besides Bat Bombs, the Allied Powers tried to train a battalion of dogs that could be dropped on Japanese held islands by the thousands to kill the Japanese. And only, the Japanese, mind you.

The idea behind this program was that normal wardogs owned by the American Quartermaster's Corps could be trained to sniff out and attack people of Japanese descent just by their scent. They apparently went as far as taking Japanese-American recruits to the island with the specific purpose of being attacked by these Nip-seeking dogs. Obviously the project failed, but it's just one of the many zany concepts America (and other countries) were willing to try to win that damn war. This idea might have been what spurned Sam Fuller to make White Dog years later (I doubt it, but again, these ideas die-hard).

And where were the dog's trained? Cat Island. Reality it seems is sometimes blah blah blah that Will Ferrel movie is a delight.

Nowadays we work with dolphins. Dolphins, better known as "The Lassies of the Sea" are known to be one of the smartest animals on Earth (or its sea, at least) so it's only natural that we try to harness their talents to destroy the Russians (Writing this I realize that maybe we only think dolphins are smart because they're willing to work with us). Unfortunately these dolphins don't seem to do anything cool like jump under mines or attack people based solely on their race. Nope. Instead they're trained to detect mines, recover objects from the bottom of the sea, and locate enemy divers.

I remember hearing an urban legend that's been hovering around for years about Navy trained seals (no, seals, not SEALs) that were trained to attack and drown enemy divers that escaped from their pens and into the wild during, oh, I don't know, probably a hurricane. I think that was an Arrested Development episode, actually.


(Dolphin, Jackal, whatever)

A lot of people have problems with animals doing our fighting for us, but these people are clearly pussies and need to be shamed in public. Animals have been working with humans since somewhere near the dawn of time or at least shortly after we figured out that dogs are much too gamey. We've used dogs to hunt, carry messages, and sometimes kills things we don't like for country or profit. We've been using messenger pigeons for years, along with ferrets to do basically the same task (and to kill cobras). More recently donkeys and other herd animals have been used to clear landmine fields as well as (leading to that infamous and retarded protest by PETA-- apparently using children to clear landmines and people to blow up buses is alright but when you use a donkey. . . ) And what would this nation be without the horse?

Horses are cool. Fuck you PETA.

I don't know what I'm getting at. I think we should all just remember that dogs covered in explosives is what allows us to be who we are. A little perspective. That's all I ask.

And in other news:
A lot of folks have been dropping in the past couple of days, some of them being celebrities, even. I've already made my share of smart-ass remarks, but here is something genuinely interesting from an actual dead person.

R.I.P Michael Jackson

Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death

Another legendary photo by Robert Capa.



I'm not in a grim mood or anything, I just posted that one image and it made me think of this other one-- one of the most famous photographs of all time. So it isn't that weird for me to post two photos of guys getting shot in a row.

Well, okay, it is kind of weird.

Don't worry, I'll post some guinea pig pictures soon to balance this out.

D-Day Plus Nineteen



You know, in France they kill collaborators soooo much better than in America.

24 June, 2009

About Godamn Time

Eight months and tens of hours of work later I am done with the script.

It almost feels good.

Oh sure, t's too long, it makes no sense, the tone is all over the place, the fifth act is over half of the script, characters, themes, and ideas drop out as I lose patience, interest and ambition, and it's on a subject no one cares about, the title mostly sucks, and if I ever turn it into a comic book I'm without an artist and haven't even begun to break it into issues. But it's done.

And done is done. I'm almost proud of me. I owe myself a Coke.

Anarchy in the I.R.I.

What's wrong with this article?

I mean besides the fact that it's wishful thinking masquerading as journalism. Besides that it doesn't highlight the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran having a crisis of government would be an awful thing for the US, for world peace, and for the Iranian people. As much fun as anarchy is. . .

In general governments falling apart is a bad thing, at least in the short term, but with Iran you have to couple that with billions of dollars of oil and the possibility of anywhere from half a million to twenty million militia members running around with no guidance. The Basij (the militias) are horrible enough as it is, I can't imagine what it'd be like if someone let go of their leash. It'd make for a bad day at the Iranian office of the CIA, I can tell you that.

And let us not forget that Iran borders two US-led warzones right now and the last thing we need are any more unemployed assholes with a death wish showing up at our doorsteps with a bomb strapped to his chest. Or anyone, really.

Edit: Oh yeah, I forgot about the nuclear weapons program.

As It Was in the Beginning

23 June, 2009

Gun Dorks: Dorks' Revenge

The internet is a strange and nerdy place.

The link above is an entire wiki dedicated to guns fired in movies. That is all the website is. More guns than you can shake a stick at-- in fact there's probably an entry dedicated to movies where people just shake sticks at one another.

In other, less pedantic news, we need to clone Robert Ebert's brain. We need to make it into a pill you can take or a balm you rub into your scalp. The world would benefit from writers like him. Too bad critics like him are dying faster than the newspapers that carry them.

Sometimes the future is awful.

Because Normal Snakes Aren't Frightening Enough



DARPA and Raytheon decided to make them robotic. And then give them to the military and probably aviator wearing liars of all shapes and sizes. And allow them to travel every type of terrain and obstacle with ease. And then give them piston-powered molecular acid pumps. (That last bit might be conjecture)

The origins of the program were started with search and rescue in mind, but let's get real here, if you can get this thing to blow up Osama Bin Laden some how, they'll probably find a way. For the amount of money this bastard cost it better be able to blow someone up or at least set fire to something of value.

Though the program really isn't all that scary, at least no on the ground. All you have to do is watch a video of this damn thing move around to realize that we're safe from an invasion of robotic-hell-snakes sneaking up your stairs and through your windows to lie in wait for you to go to the bathroom and shoot molecular acid at your valuable bits-- At least for the time being, anyways. Just find a video of these stupid monsters. The things don't writhe so much as they wiggle like drunk, mildly handicapped, robot fishes. Or maybe that's just the controller. Who knows?

Let's figure out a way to get a Wii controller to work on it and watch it murder our enemies by the bucket load. Just you watch.

(And apparently Google Chrome thinks that "War is Boring" is a website is full of Malware? Huh? Maybe all those snake-robot pundits are watching us right now)

Wooooooooooooooooooo!



USA USA USA!

22 June, 2009

Because Life Isn't Always Terrible



It just usually is.

Conan on Graduation

Here's a graduation speech Conan O'Brien made in 2000. You should read it. You're welcome.

On a side note: Lousy Harvard pricks, they they're better than me! And they might be, but that's just rude!

Herzog



I go on a lot about Werner Herzog and there's a good reason. He's crazy and he makes crazy films.

He also gets shot during interviews and takes it in stride:



(Here's an interview where, lamentably, he does not get shot, nor does it have Mark Kermode freaking out.)

He's made some of the best films of the past forty years and a large portion of those have come about as a result of intense struggle both due to Herzog's obsessiveness and a capricious God that, I think, just likes to screw with the man. For example, one of his best regarded films, Fitzcarraldo is the story about a man who wants to build an opera house in the middle of the Amazon jungle, but first he must haul an entire steamship up the side of a mountain. So in order to film this, what does Herzog do? He hauls a steamship up a mountain-- the same thing that makes our hero look completely insane Herzog does because he feels he has to.

His journal entries during that time are being published and an excerpt can be found here. A lot of these stories are chronicles in two documentaries: The Burden of Dreams and My Best Fiend: Klaus Kinski (which you can watch for free on You Tube).

Here's got a new movie coming out, which is a remake of The Bad Lieutenant, but this time it stars Nicholas Cage and takes place in New Orleans. If you haven't seen the trailer already, you're missing out, because this one looks like. . . well, it looks absolutely insane. Herzog has never seen the original film but he said that he understands the first movie was about the burden of guilt and this one will be about "the ecstasy of evil."

Here it is:



Ah. . . it's going to take a while for that trailer to get old for me.

WERNER HERZOG BONUS: A while ago someone set up a fake blog for Werner called, what else but, " Werner Herzblog." Just imagine him reading out these entries outloud and try not to smile.

DOUBLE WERNER HERZOG BONUS: Here's a collection of photographs on Herzog's long time collaborator/arch-nemesis Kluas Kinski. (Yeah I just pulled it off of that Vice journal entry, but so what?)

21 June, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Welcome to Siberia #2

Where every ten year old learns the value of killing for survival.



(Via English Russia)

The Sand Pebbles



The Sand Pebbles is my kind of film. It's about men being men and people doing their duty and all of that time and effort doesn't get anyone anywhere. And then, at some point, things start blowing up. It's great. It's the kind of movie that doesn't ever seem to get made any more.

The film stars Steve McQueen as Jake Holman, an American sailor serving in China during the late 1920's. Holman is transferred to a rusty steam-powered gunboat, the SS San Pablo, that works out of a Chinese river. He starts butting heads early and often with the ship's leader, Lt. Collins (played by Richard Crenna), who doesn't run his vessel quite the way that the Navy intended it to be. Eventually the existence of the San Pablo comes under threat by the swirling nationalistic forces that are little by little taking hold of China. This leaves the Sand Pebble and its crew with a decision: Do they do what they want, what is easy, or do they try to fulfill their duty with honor and respect even if orders prevents this. Like I said, it's my kind of film.

While The Sand Pebbles isn't an action movie (especially not by today's standards of an action movie), it does have some wonderful scenes of violence, that while stimulating also doesn't play it as gung-ho or moralistic. Violence, to these sailors, is a duty, it's a fact of life and is more of a consequence of being soldiers than it is their job.

The Sand Pebbles is also the only movie I can think of that actually shows naval combat and boarding with any semblance of realism. Perhaps I'm repressed, since the only other film I can think of are the Pirates movies and I'm sure you can all guess what I think of those movies. Though as well as these scenes work, the tensest scene in the film has nothing to do with firing cannons, but of auctioning off a human being.

You could probably make an argument that The Sand Pebbles is full of ugly paternalism, racism, and makes heroes out of imperialist stooges. I think a person who comes to this conclusion is probably not a fan of fun and might have read too many theory books too close together. Racism is prevalent through out the course of the movie, but it's all a product of the time. Naturally a sailor serving in the Far East in the 1920's isn't exactly going to be a bastion of forward, liberal thinking. He's going to be more interested in getting drunk and getting laid than he is in taking in local culture or even doing his duty.

And demonstrates with Steve McQueen's Holman that racism isn't so much a product of hatred, but of a general ignorance, an unwillingness to get to know his fellow man (whatever his race may be). Luckily for the film it doesn't ply any lessons of racial tolerance to strongly and leaves the audience to conclude just what is right and what is wrong in a world where a land ruled by several Imperial powers suddenly erupts in a three-sided civil war. In the end, we probably come to the same conclusion that Steve McQueen does (and you'll have to watch it to find out what that is).

If this film couldn't be made anymore it's because it deals with race the same way it deals with violence, love, and duty: Ambiguously. The questions and ideas the film presents are a lot like the streets of China, there's just as much going on, half-hidden down its dark alleyways as there is going on in the foreground. The film doesn't seem to take very man easy roads and even when it does get hitched up by a cliche (like a sailor falling in love with a demure Asian girl), it plays off differently than, oh, say Oliver Stone or D.W. Griffith might play it (poorly, but for very different reasons).

Above all is The Sand Pebbles is a beautiful film about an ugly subject. So go see it, all three hours of it and maybe, just maybe they'll start making movies like this again.



(I just noticed that on the cover of the DVD release of the film the half-naked Chinese woman on the cover has been replaced with the mustachioed visage of Richard Attenborough-- make of that what you will.)

20 June, 2009

I Need a Masthead

I'm thinking something in the tone of this:



Or maybe this:



Any takers?

Now, while you think about it, I'm off to work on this goddamn never ending Afghanistan script. I swear on my ancestors' graves, this thing will bury me. One way or the other, my blood will be on it's hands. (Figuratively, mind you, a script cannot kill a man, that is silly).

(Unabashedly yanked off of The Constant Siege and something else, which escapes me)

Because I Was Prompted Pt. 2

So this is a fun one

While reading that Reverse Cowgirl blog entry on writing, one of the things she linked was this (among other things, including a Tim O'Brien short story). It's a Vanity Fair article about an off-the-rails story about a drug addicted ex-agent turned film maker and right-wing pundit who embeds himself with the United States Marine Corps during the height of the Iraq War.

A unique read, to say the least.

Bonzai Dai Nippon!

Hope you have a pleasant stay!



(Via Vice Magazine)

19 June, 2009

18 June, 2009

No One Cares: An Autobiography in Ten Parts

I was talking with my friend Will and he confirmed something that I had long held to be true: That bragging about your screenplay is no lame, it is the lamest. Screenplays are like assholes, everyone's got one and they all suck. Except that most assholes don't have non-sensible fifth-act plot twists, unabashed sexism, or the f-word ad nauseam-- they're just assholes.

Which is why I say with no shortage of hesitancy: I might just be done with mine.

Or, almost. I think within the week-- if I keep working on it like this-- I'll be done with the first draft of a comic book script. It would be a five issue mini-series. If all goes according to plan, it'd be a trilogy of stories (graphic novels) on the same subject. Inshallah, it'll eventually be adapted into a film.

So I'm not technically talking about finishing my screenplay-- I'm talking about finishing my comic book script. How is that less pathetic? I'm not the man to ask in this case. I'm just glad I can soon put the biggest step behind me. All the rest is gravy. Agonizing, time-consuming, fever-dream, acid-reflux, knife-eye gravy.

On Ego Searching

I was reading this, when it occurred to me that if this girl can track down a person who sent her an e-mail in no-seconds flat, then I could do this to myself. This isn't anything new, mind you. I usually try to avoid this kind of thing. It's narcissistic and lame, but I was also kind of curious to see what the cold, unfeeling Internet thought of me as a writer. Because, you know, this matters.

This is also the best compromise I have of a more scientific solution-- one that I forgot the URL of while probably (well) drunk. As a poor man of little renown, one of the few I have access to is Googling-- the reflecting pool of the common man.

So I typed in "James Kislingbury."

I think I got what I deserved. It turns out I'm number seven on the list and even then it's only because of this blog. Presumably if I never made this thing, I'd be relegated somewhere on the rarely visited plain of shame, Page 2. What's most frustrating is that I've been writing for the Union for years and that doesn't show up until after a Facebook page.

But, when you type in "James Kislingbury Domestic Terrorist" into the search box, I'm result number one. So, chew on that, James Kislingbury of London, England and James Kislingbury who made one comment on a British tourism website about prisons, you bunch of limey fucks. And all the James Kislingbury's rotting in paupers' grave out in Windlesham, Surrey can stay there and bemoan the fact that someone built a frozen yogurt stand over your bony ass.

Addendum: Apparently I actually am the first result. I'm buried in the results of a website called "LookupAnyone.com," right next to a Joanne Kislingbury. Strangely neither my mother, my father, or either of my sisters are on this particular website, which is a frightening kind of flattery. Also, it bares remarking, but you can also buy an entire collection of public listings on me for a 39.95. So if you ever need to jerk off to a list of where I've paid my bills in the past four years, you can. I don't think I'm comfortable with this at all.

Welcome to Siberia #1

Where the living envy the dead.



(Image via English Russia)

Pulp




A pulp novel some British guy-- who's name escapes me-- found at a charity shop.

Screw Y'all

Here comes something adorable!


17 June, 2009

Hong Kong

(Photo by Michael Wolf)

Jack Kirby is in the Fucking Phonebook!



Jack Kirby is probably one of the most important artists in comic book history and the past fifty year of pop culture, I'd also consider him one of the people I look up to. In his 76 years he did a hell of a lot-- he helped create the X-Men, Thor, the Fantastic Four, he worked on Superman, created DC's The Fourth World, worked on various animation projects, and served in the Battle of the Bulge during WWII.

Kirby, most importantly, is a completely madcap artist. It'd be hard to imagine him doing anything else but comic book art, because he's so perfectly suited for the medium. Everything he does is big, exciting, and, most importantly, new (which is something of a lost art in the world of comics). Every bit of story and art that he worked on is full of the joy of creation. Even if it didn't make any sense, it was exciting to take it (and it often was bad-- but nobody makes bad dialogue like Kirby makes bad dialogue). Kirby's art embodies what comic books should be: Fun.

What's more interesting to me isn't his immense influences on popular culture, but because one of the main reasons he became the "King of Comics" was because he busted his ass every single day of his life, making comics, trying to take care of his family. Kirby never said no to a project and it wasn't underheard of for him to work 12 hour days drawing. By the time he went into (semi) retirement, he was one of the most prolific American comic book artists there ever was. It'll probably stay that way because the comic game pays much better now than it did back then (and lawyers are far more bloodthirsty.

There's an annecdote I've read on Kirby a few times. When he was finished working on Captain America and was handing over his art duties to a new team he told them make the comic "in the Jack Kirby tradition." Then he went on to say, "This kid doesn't get it. The Kirby tradition is to create a new comic."


So even if you don't like comic books (what's wrong with you, you think you're something special?) or Hannah-Barbara cartoons, give the man a chance, check him out. He's earned it. With the width and breadth of the work he's done, odds are you'll end up finding something you like.


Story of My Life



Now, if only they made a video like this to keep my friend Gay James from coming onto me every time we speak.

16 June, 2009

So, shit is STILL going down




I won't do the fifty different links that I did yesterday, instead, I'll just post a bunch of mostly out of context images here.

Because they're interesting, damnit.

Alright: My next step on this blog will be to figure out how to most large images in a way that show more than a half of the entire image. I mean, shouldn't thumbnails be accesible to even people like me by now?

I Don't Care if This Puts Me on a List

Look at this little girl ruin this breakdancer's day. That is adorable. That kid is the exact opposite of violent protests in Iran.

15 June, 2009

So, shit has been going down

If you hadn't noticed there's been a spot of trouble in the Middle East. I know-- I'm as shocked as you are. Shock. Lovely cultures. Lovely people.

(Check out these damn photos)

Now, first off, let's also keep in mind that Iran isn't a true democracy in the way we think of one (not that such a thing actually exists). In reality it is run by a series of complicated graphs and arrows (as seen here). A presidential candidate cannot run for office in Iran unless he has first been vetted by the Guardian Council-- which are twelve men appointed by the Supreme Leader. Even then, when in office, much of the nation's authority lies in the hands of-- you guessed it-- our good friend the Ayatollah AKA the Supreme Leader.

Basically, Iran's government comes off as a mix between a science fiction republic run by aliens and the Papal States of the middle ages-- So what does that round off to? Dune?

To Iran's credit, they have twice the turn-out rate for elections that we do. Then again, our president doesn't think that gay people are an urban legend. "Yeah, man, I don't know who told you that shit. We got no gays in Iran. We're all man here."

Oh, and then there's the whole Holocaust denial business (oh that old thing, you say). If good old Mahmoud didn't have that fine beard of his, I'd accuse him of not having any class.

It's also worth pointing out that Iran isn't even an entire generation removed from using child-soldiers to fight the Iraqis. These same (former) child-soldier militias are also the group that is responsible for beating down many of Iran's protesters.

Just this afternoon Barack Obama spoke out on the issue of the violence resulting from the elections and he had this to say: Not much. He kind of dances around the issue and really misses a chance to call the Islamic Republic of Iran on some of the more questionable things that have occurred in this election. As the BBC says, his response was "cautious." I understand it's a bit too soon to come down on a country like that off of simple rumors, but come on-- Are there any of you out there who don't want to see Barack get pissed and call motherfuckers out? No. Of course not. Because it'd be rad as fuck. So come on, Obama, let's see you bare some teeth.

I mean "odious?" That's as harsh as you're going to get? We're talking about Iran and election fraud, you're allowed to get lathered up over this. Though maybe odious is the right word for now since there's no hard proof of anything other than Iran's love of taking to the streets.

And for posterity: There are no gays in Iran. Once more, with feeling, there are no gays in Iran. If you say it enough times like this, it might end up being true.

Now: Enough of that sad and sorry shit, let's go feel good about life. Is it just me or does Eye of the Tiger and One Winged Dove have the same exact intro?

On Cult Cinema

British writer Andy Miller reviews Cult Cinema by Danny Peary and talks about, among other things, watching Star Wars for the first time, 2001, and, in general, loving the heck out of movies.

Go on, read it.

14 June, 2009

What was that Michael Caine?



You want us to sneak into the dark and unexplored corners of the earth and manipulate the locals into thinking we're gods?

But isn't that wrong?

It isn't? And our natural fortune of being born white gives us the right-- nay the duty to do so?

Really?

Alright, if you say so. But if this goes south, I'm putting the blame squarely on you.

Stuff That Gets Me Going

Tonight, for some reason listening to Robert Shaw demand a million dollars from Oscar Madison got me thinking about silent film. I don't know why, but it did. Anything that gets me thinking about pictures like this:



Is okay by me. There's a whole wealth of ideas and images to steal from that era. Enough of it has fallen into public domain that you don't have to worry about it, either.

And I don't know how it's 2009 and we still don't have a worthwhile repository of silent film images.

(Picture from the 1963 remake of the original Judex-- I'm cheating, but who cares, really?)

I Can Read Movies



I Can Read Movies.

Retro-awesome pulp books that are also tie ins to some classic and some not so classic movies.

13 June, 2009

Because I Was Prompted

Another Wonderful Day in the North-Western Frontier

This is the guy you've be sent to deal with.



His house is made out of rocks, half his children have died before the age of five, he eats sand for breakfast, he can't read, and he can shoot the Earl out of your Grey from up to 800 yards away. Welcome to his backyard, hope you have a good stay!

Sick Time Movie Blogging

Over the past week, I've watched the following films:
Metropolis
The Professionals
Raising Arizona
The Brothers Bloom
Sex and Lucia
The Mission

Looking at this list I probably couldn't come up with six more disparate movies than these.

Metropolis is a Japanese anime that is basically a throw-back not only to the Osama Tezuka cartoons and comics of the post-war era, but also to the kind of silent movies that Fritz Lang used to make. Metropolis is also the perfect example of what animation does better than live action. Every frame of the movie is stunning and professional and doesn't carry any of the crappy artifacts that prevent most people from watching anime in the first place.

The Professionals is one of the great 1960's western/adventure films, it's the kind of film that you don't ever see any more. It's the kind of movie that you probably couldn't make either since race and nationality are its primarily concerns-- that and Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster blowing shit up and shooting people. It's a fun movie and I think our society would be better served with more like it.

Raising Arizona is Raising Arizona. I don't need to go into details with this one, do I? It's early Coen Brothers, it's awesome.

I saw The Brothers Bloom at the Laemelle theater down the street and (naturally) it's an indy film. It's from the same writer and director who did Brick (another movie you should check out) and. . . it's okay. The film is, like his previous film is a tribute to film noir, The Brothers Bloom is a throw-back to kids adventure stories. It's a cute premise that runs on about thirty minutes too long, plus there's a bunch of cussing and one completely inappropriate plot twist that keeps it from being a better movie. Even though this sounds harsh, it's still worth seeing since there isn't anything else like it in theaters. Take a date. Have fun.

Okay, I'll come clean-- I haven't actually watched Sex and Lucia, I've only watched about the first twenty minutes. But that isn't going to get in the way of me writing. Spanish films are kind of a weird thing. They've got a completely different tone than American films (obviously). With American films, the movie usually hinges around some kind of violent or action-oriented climax, with Spanish films it just kind of rotates around getting certain characters naked. Or so is my understanding. Prove me wrong, dear reader. Anyways, besides the fact Sex and Lucia is gauranteed to have some sweet boob action, it's also supposed to be a good story. So, we'll see.

I've wanted to see The Mission for a while. The box art always interested me and ever since watching Aguirre: The Wrath of God in high school, I've always been mildly intrigued by conquistidors and European conquest in South America. The screenplay is by Robert Bolt (of A Man For All Seasons fame) and while the screenplay doesn't pop at you like, oh say a Tarantino script, it's still incredibly well put together. It's so well put together that you don't realize that you don't realize until later that Robert Dinero and Jeremy Irons just had a two minute conversation about forgiveness, law and order, and metaphysics. It doesn't hurt that the movie is also incredible looking. For my money, it's got the best looking waterfalls of the 1980's. Like The Brothers Bloom, it runs too long, but all of the useless, boring shit is on the front end of this movie, not the back end.

Anyways, thanks for putting up with this entry. Being sick sucks. Hopefully I'll have my shit back together by tomorrow. Maybe by then I'll be able to generate more than two coherent sentences in a row. We can always hope.

12 June, 2009

Alan Moore, more like Alan Boore



Alan Moore is a very private and very irritable old man. He also looks just like my dad, if my day were a snake-worshipping working-class comic-book genius. As it stands he is few of those things. There's a few stories about him floating around and I'll just bullet point the ones I've heard for those of you among the uninitiated:

* Alan Moore was born, lives, and will die in his home of Northhamptonshire England (two miles from where I take my surname)
* For a number of years Alan had a menage a trois with two ladies, who, rumor has it, split off with each other. He was recently married to an artist of one of his comics. In his words, "Entering into a seventeen-year long porn odyssey will do wonders for your relationship.
* Was busted for digging a secret tunnel underneath his house.
* Worships a snake-god with the head of a woman. The snake-god is named "Glycon."
* Stopped going to comic book conventions because he got tired of people following him to the bathroom (mind you this was years before Zack Snyder could read).
* Is a wizard.

Aim for the flat top

Young Kislingbury, Age 3 1/2

11 June, 2009

Welcome to Afghanistan



This is Buzkashi.

It's the closest thing Afghanistan has to a national sport. It isn't played anywhere else save, maybe, the Pashtun parts of Pakistan, but even so the game is distinctly Afghani. Why? Because they're a martial people. And I'm not saying that as the descendant of (mostly) white, English, protestants, I say this because it's true. How many other cultures don't have plumbing but will maintain blood feuds for decades and pass them off to their children, like fragile heirlooms. They've battled everyone and everything that has ever tried to take over their nation, including other Afghans. How many other cultures do you know battle with boiled eggs? It is who they are. It makes perfect sense that Buzkashi sits in the middle of all this.

Buzkashi is a version of polo played with a headless goat carcass. Two teams of riders race for the carcass, which is placed in the middle of the field. They then battle, like any other version of polo or rugby (ie: not politely) to control the carcass and place it in their side's goal, which is a circle on the other end of the field.

Aren't you glad you found out about this?

Warren Ellis says Hello, Fuck Off



Warren Ellis is a fine comic book writer and an entertaining speaker, but no he doesn't want to shake your hand. Or look at you. Or talk to you. Or be on the same fucking continent as you or anything you love.

You can talk the talk


But can you walk the walk?


This is a pretty amazing (if long) piece on John Wayne by Robert Ebert. I'd say more, but I don't think I could add anything that Mr. Ebert hasn't said already.

10 June, 2009

I Don't Believe in an Interventionist God



I think it bares pointing out that Cave's silhoutte is not un-Cro-Magnon in its appearance.

I've got a snarkier photo of Cave somewhere in the archives, but this one is new to me.

(Photo by Anton Corbijn)

09 June, 2009

D-Day Plus Three



Sure it's a shitty photo, sure it's out of focus and poorly developed and everything else, but it's also only one of about half a dozen photos that exist of D-Day. The rest were destroyed in a lab accident in England.

And that is how it could have been. One of the single greatest undertakings in human history-- Gone without a trace.

So while this photo is a lot of things, not all of them wonderful, it is an irreplaceable artifact of one of the great moments in history. That's pretty cool.

And while I'm at it. . .

On the forums we were having a discussion (not a discussion in human terms, but a discussion in internet terms) on North Korea (which spurned my previous post). There I put up Vice's Guide to North Korea, which a lot of people seemed to enjoy. You should check it out if you get a chance, but the real video I want to highlight is this one:

The Gun Markets of Pakistan.

The short video details this guy's travels through the Afghan/Pakistani border, which if you've been watching the news lately is one of the more deadly and hectic places on Earth. The short documents the thriving gun markets there that show a long standing tradition of gunsmithing that predates these people kicking the British in the ass by quite a few decades.

There's a whole bunch of other flicks like this on the website, but don't take my word for it, take the tongueless, cave-dwelling gun maker in the movie. This whole NoKo prison sentencing reminded me of that.

I want a job with these people bad (Vice, not the gunsmiths).

Paul Pope is the Man



His blog can be found here.

(Check it out)

08 June, 2009

Shocking Shocker Shocks!

So if you didn't hear, North Korea (NoKo to the hip ones out there) went and did some stupid crap for no real reason. What I'm saying is that North Korea went and did exactly what you expect North Korea to do. Basically, they nabbed two American journalists (one of which is the sister of Lisa Ling of Channel 1 fame), charged, and convicted them for illegally crossing the border and "hostile actions" (which if I understand NoKo means that the two journalists didn't starve to death). The plot twist is that the pair might have been on Chinese soil at the time, which would turn this into a kidnapping case-- not something unprecedented in North Korean history.

This wouldn't be the first time that North Korea did some fucked up, repugnant, or batshit insane stuff for the simple pleasure of it-- Oh and the grotesque amounts of cash they convert directly into their solid gold shrines dedicated to their leader who has hit a perfect golf game, does not poop, and invented the cheeseburger. I'd make fun of their junk, but the whole missile launching fiasco seems to speak for itself.

To be fair, South Korea has its share of silliness. For example: Fan Death. Plus, they occasionally put journalists in jail for doing their job.

Once I was of the opinion that we should go the diplomatic route and try to coax the North Korean's out of their insane junta playground, but with this latest developement piled onto the years of bullshit they've been pulling, I say we just carpet bomb them. Take 'em out once and for all. Think about it. Iraq is tapering off, Afghanistan is kind of a problem, but it isn't the massive drain the other war is (was), so why don't we open a window before we shut the door. Let's just funnel one war-- which we're already paying for-- into another one! It'll be fun, too! No more insurgent bullshit, no more suicide bombs, burning hooches, no more of Tom Berringer telling you that if you were a real man you'd kill him right here and now-- but a real, honest to goodness, one-on-one, old fashioned battle of nation-states! We haven't done that since the last time we kicked the Bad Korea's head in. We could use this. Ruffle a few feathers, get the lead out, etc.

It's not like China will mind, right?

After all, are we not in the age of persistant conflict? We've already got a term for this! Let's sell this baby!

Let's get to it!

Charles Bronson is a Pakistani

You heard it here first.

07 June, 2009

D-Day Plus One

Propaganda

The fuck?

How do I post an image? I've got a Picasa album, how do I make this work? This shouldn't be hard, but it is. And I want to kill and die. And drink.

Oh Lord, I'm becoming my dad.

Appologies to Leo Hernandez

I made a mistake about the guy who was fucking with my head last night. It wasn't Leo Hernandez, but Leo Dominguez. I don't know how or why my mind rounded Dominguez off to Hernandez, but it did. And for that, I am sorry. All you Leo Hernandez's shouldn't suffer because of this one bad Leo Dominguez.

And when I returned the iPod to him, he was kind of a dillweed. What you want me to stash it in the bush next to the entrance? What? You can't take four seconds out of your day to take it from me in person and say "Thank you?" Are you in the middle of a movie you can't pause or something? Are you shooting Krauts online?

Whatever. I did my part.

Fucking Leo Hernandez

I don't even know who Leo Hernandez is, but I know I hate him.

This fucking guy is clearly just trying to screw with my head-- or someone's head anyways. His little trap-- his scheme-- is deceptively simple. There I was, walking a friend to their car, when right next to their Volkswagon's wheel I find it.

"Hey, is that your iPod?"

"Uh, no."

Sweet, a free iPod. It's a new one, too. It's a mini, as well, I think. Awesome.

Then by the time I get back to my porch, I realize that I have to do the Christian thing here. I have to make a token effort to get this thing back to its owner, otherwise I'm a dick and I am more or less stealing. Which is where Leo's snare gets me. He must have known that any excitement I would recieve from finding an iPod would be nullified by the fact that I have to spend time trying to be honest.

I putz around on the thing trying to find the settings, anything where I can find the owner's name. Not in the Settings, not in the Extras, not in the Contacts. You'd think that a 21st century consumer device would actually have the name of its owner saved on there somewhere, maybe between the Daft Punk and the Lenny Kravitz.

Right as I'm about to thank God for the free gutter iPod, I notice below the menu. "Leo Hernandez's iPod." That fucking dick. So, naturally, I search the white pages. And I find him. And he's on the first page. And he's a Hispanic guy. And he's in California. And he lives right next door. 

Now I have no excuse not to go over to the guy's house, knock on his door, and tell him to wear a hoodie with deeper pockets. He probably planned this all along when first planted the iPod in the street.

There's minutes-- minutes-- of my day I will never get back because of this. And not even an iPod to show for it. What a tease.

Fucking Leo Hernandez.

06 June, 2009

Blog Christening

So, despite my overall lack of talent, amibtion, and hygene, I've decided to go ahead and start up a blog. For those that know me, this is James Kislingbury of Pasadena.

More or less this is going to be where I dump things I find interesting, stuff I write (which I hope someone will find interesting), drawings, and general updates on what I'm doing with my life (which no one will find interesting). I've got a few things lined up that I want to do and I'll be tossing them onto here within the next few days. At the very least it'll keep me from going stir crazy this summer.

You can also find some of my previous work at the Long Beach Union Weekly here, but don't let that keep you from stopping by here once and a while.

Here is the inaugural entry for the blog no one wanted and with that said and done, I'm going to go take a shower. I've got a long night of mooching ahead of my and I want to look my best.