Tagged: United States

Meet Jen Krueger

jen-krueger-headshot-123x225-2507518I’m guessing that throughout an average lifetime we meet approximately 25 billion people. I could be wrong, but that’s what it seems like. After all, not all of these folks are worth meeting – and more than a handful of them are truly disgusting.

Well, tomorrow morning ComicMix is going to do you a favor: we’re going to introduce you to a clever, funny, intelligent and knowledgeable person who is definitely worth meeting. This is because tomorrow morning, at 8 AM EST-USA, we’re happy to say you are going to meet our newest columnist, Jen Krueger.

I could say a lot about Jen, which is weird because I’ve yet to meet her. Outside of the fact that the entire continental United States separates us, it is clear to me that if we were to meet for an early dinner our conversation would last until closing time, and then continue in front of the restaurant. Okay, I’ll admit this is usually the case when two expatriated Chicagoans meet, but Jen is… amazing. I know this because I’ve read her first ComicMix column – the one you’ll be reading tomorrow morning – and I’ve seen some of her other work.

But given the fact that we have yet to meet, I’m going to let Jen describe herself. According to the official ComicMix Book of Rules and Regulations, she’s going to do this in the third-person.

Jen Krueger is a writer and improviser living in Los Angeles. Ask her and she’ll proudly tell you she hails from Chicago. Don’t ask her, and she’ll probably tell you anyway. Jen is the Associate Director of the L.A. Indie Improv Festival and runs Friday night indie improv show The Manifesto Show with her team Comrades. Jen also hosts PrePopCulture, a podcast about pop culture before it pops. She owns one Calvinball, two sonic screwdrivers, and has degrees in Curiosity and Advanced Curiosity.

You’ll get to know Jen better after you read her first ComicMix column, right here on this unique slice of ether, Tuesday morning.

Which calls up the need for a bit of housekeeping.

You might ask “Hey! What happened to Emily S. Whitten?” To which I respond: you didn’t read her November 26th column… so I’ll encapsulate. For the next six months, Emily will be deep in work so she’s shifting to a monthly posting schedule, on or about the 25th of each month. She will be back to her weekly posting schedule after May 2014… and we miss her already.

Now you may ask “Hey! What happened to Martin Pasko?” To which I respond: hmmm… maybe we’ll run a contest.


Mike Gold: Sex – Our Moral Dilemma

gold-art-131127-150x79-1347101Regular readers of this space may have discerned I have an absolutist attitude towards the First Amendment: freedom of expression must not be abridged in any way or form. That doesn’t mean people or corporations shouldn’t be held responsible for what they say, just that they can say it.

As A. J. Liebling said, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” That’s obviously true, although the Internet has expanded our deployment of these freedoms exponentially. But the same attitude probably should be expected of retailers: is your local mom’n’pop candy store (yeah, yeah; nostalgia) obligated to carry the latest issue of Steamy Dwarf Sex? Probably not.

But let’s take this one step further. Do corporations that are publicly traded – public corporations – have the right to decline to offer whatever publications they dislike? If Apple’s bookstore and magazine stand doesn’t like, say, Boy’s Life, do they have a right to prevent their customers from getting it through their facilities?

That’s not an easy question to answer. Setting aside the completely ridiculous fact that in the United States of America corporations are defined as human beings, where does one “person” get off deciding what you get to read on your tablet… or hear on your Internet radio station… or see online? The Internet’s success was spurred by the availability of free pornography. The entire home video business was founded on the availability of porn in the solitude of your own home. So have various On Demand services. And where would HBO be today if not for the availability of free tits for the past 41 years?

(Yes, Virginia, there was a time when nary a nipple was permitted on the boob tube.)

Today, there’s much controversy about Apple’s bookstore and magazine stand service setting arbitrary “standards” that, by their very definition, cannot be evenly enforced. This policy has kept Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky excellent (in my opinion; this is not a review, although the book does offer the best recap page I’ve ever read) series Sex Criminals from being listed in their service. This story rightfully has garnered a lot of publicity, so I’ll use that as my example while promoting a worthy book that may be hard to find in some venues.

Sex Criminals is not a salacious book – but that is not the issue. A book’s “redeemable qualities” are completely irrelevant: that’s a standard that obviates freedom of expression. And Apple – as well as sundry other “public” corporations – has declined to distribute the title.

Outside of expanding opportunities for letting corporations determine what we can and cannot read through their efforts, the problem here is that Apple has established a standard that they do not enforce evenly. Their music service distributes all kinds of “explicit” stuff. So does their movie and teevee service. Same thing with iBooks. Their newsstand service distributes material that is truly salacious. So why dump on Fraction and Zdarsky?

Let me pose this question a different way: If Image Comics’ Sex Criminals was written by, say, Stephen King, would Apple refuse to offer it?

What’s Valley-Speak for “no fucking way?”




Emily S. Whitten: Fandom Is Beautiful

whitten-art-131126-150x150-9221810I’ve seen fandom do beautiful things. In point of fact, I can see because fandom (and some great friends) did a beautiful thing. And as we approach Thanksgiving, I wanted to revisit the story of something I’m thankful for every day.

You see, I have a degenerative, incurable eye disease called keratoconus. It’s relatively rare, and the causes of it are still not known for sure. In brief, keratoconus causes a thinning, malformation, and scarring of the corneas, leading to not only the typical bad vision one might correct with glasses or contacts, but also wacky fun stuff like “monocular polyopia,” other streaking and flaring around light sources, and sensitivity to light. Due to the way keratoconus distorts the cornea, once it reaches a certain point vision is not correctable with glasses or soft contact lenses. Hard (rigid gas permeable) lenses are required to, essentially, provide the proper shape for the corneas.

For some people, the disease will plateau and they may not reach that point. Or they may reach that point and live with hard lenses. For others, like myself, the disease keeps going. It is at that time that options narrow dramatically.

In 2010, my quality of vision and ability to wear hard contact lenses with any degree of comfort had lessened (imagine weirdly blurred vision and sudden, random stabbing eye pains every day and you’ll have my daily life), to the point where my specialist and I were seriously discussing the possibility of corneal transplants.

As you can imagine, I was dreading the possible need for a transplant. The recovery time is over a year, results are not guaranteed, and there’s a 20% chance of rejection, along with risks of detachment, displacement, and infection. So imagine my excitement when my dad found another option.

Remember how I said the disease is incurable? It is. However, my dad had learned of an experimental procedure called corneal collagen cross-linking, which had been in trials for about two years in the United States – 12 years in other countries – at the time. This procedure is much less invasive that a transplant, with a shorter and less difficult recovery time, as well as being less risky. And while it doesn’t fix your vision, if successful it can halt the corneal degeneration, and, in some cases, improve eyesight slightly through rebuilding the bonds between the layers of the cornea.

We looked into it further, and were happy to learn that I was a candidate for the clinical trial. However, the big downside to this procedure was that, due to it still being in the trial stages (only about 300 people had been treated in the U.S. by 2010), my insurance wouldn’t cover it. I would have to pay all $8,000 of the cost of the procedure; not to mention the costs of the medications, lost income from missed work during the recovery periods, and special scleral contact lenses that I now wear (which are, incidentally, what they use in special effects for things like whited-out or black eyes). And the plain fact of the matter was that I did not have the money for the procedure.

Although I had been living with the diagnosis of the disease for several years at that time, I rarely mentioned it. However, this difficulty was so distressing that I wrote about it in my online journal. And then, wonderful things began to happen. The first was that several friends in the broader LiveJournal community of which I am a part through my various fandom interests, including those I knew in person and those I only knew online, asked if they could contribute funds for the surgery.

Although I was touched by the generosity, I was raised to believe I should make my own way in the world, and didn’t know that I could be comfortable accepting the offer. So I called up my wonderful friend Cleolinda to talk it over. As we talked, she wisely pointed out to me that this was an unusual medical situation, and that, basically, yes, if nice friends wanted to help, I should let them. After I agreed with her point, she then surprised me by posting about my situation on her journal, and asking if people might want to help me.

whitten-art-131126-150x150-9221810Cue wonderful thing number two. Immediately, people began to donate; and after Cleo posted, Heather, an online friend of Cleo’s who I did not know but have since become good friends with, understood my discomfort with just accepting straight funds and suggested a fandom auction on LiveJournal – in which people could donate fandom or handmade items, and others could bid, and the resulting funds would go towards the surgery, with the donators of funds getting some return value for their contribution. She offered to run the whole thing, and did so with great efficiency, jumping right in to get the ball rolling on setting up a community and spreading the word with Cleolinda.

The auction ran for a little over three months, and was a great success. Many cool items were offered and purchased, many kind good wishes came my way (which meant a lot to me as well!), and by the end of the auction, fandom, consisting of some people I knew but many I didn’t, had raised the entire $8,000. Add to that a few other generous donations from friends who had learned of the online fundraising secondhand (as I still hadn’t really felt comfortable mentioning it outside of the online forum), and my recovery and medication expenses were covered as well. I could hardly believe it, but there it was. This tremendous burden lifted from my life by the kindness of a community.

Seeing fandom come together to help me like that was, and to this day is, one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced. I can’t even begin to describe how much it means to me that both friends and total strangers banded together to make it possible for me to see.

I can, however, describe the results (and if you are really interested in the blow-by-blow saga of both surgeries and the results, start from the bottom of this and scroll up. Although Cleolinda’s recap of my first surgery is way more amusing than mine). Although of course the procedure was no picnic and the recovery time was over six months, by the end not only had the deterioration been halted (presumably for good), but vision in my right eye, which was 20/400 uncorrected, had been vastly improved, and vision in my left had improved slightly as well.

On top of this, after the procedure I was fitted for special scleral lenses, sometimes prescribed for cases of advanced or very irregular keratoconus. They are the most wonderful thing imaginable for a keratoconus patient like me. Yes, they are a real annoyance to get in and out, but with them, I am able to see better than I had for about six years prior to the surgery; and there is no pain. So although I still live with the disease (and its quirks, which still include occasional and unpredictable vision problems), this procedure vastly improved my quality of life; and it was all thanks to a group of people who were brought together primarily by their enjoyment of various sci-fi, fantasy, comics, or other genre fandoms, and by the online fandom community that resulted from that enjoyment.

Yes, fandom can be, and in this instance certainly was, a beautiful thing. Not only is my daily life improved thanks to fandom, but my fandom life is as well. As Marvel artist Reilly Brown pointed out when he generously donated a gorgeous Deadpool sketch to the auction, a comics fan no longer being able to see comics would be very sad. Now, not only can I continue to read comics, but I can also continue to pursue favorite hobbies like making tiny clay sculptures. And for those blessings and so many more, I am so, so thankful.

It’s been just over three years since my cross-linking procedures, and even if I don’t say it every day, I am constantly grateful for the help and kindness of those who contributed to those procedures; and I want each of you to know that through your caring, you touched a life forever. And I want everyone else who reads this to know what a great thing happened thanks to a bunch of awesome nerds and geeks and fans and friends caring enough about another one of their community to give something of themselves. I hope one day to be able to pay that forward in some manner. But until that time comes – a Happy Thanksgiving to all, and an eternal thank you to everyone who gave me such an amazing gift to be thankful for.

And until next time, Servo Lectio!

Editor’s Note: Due to other commitments, Emily will be shifting to a monthly posting schedule through May of 2014. So look for her column on a monthly basis, starting in December. Emily will be back to her weekly posting schedule after May of next year. And we can hardly wait to have her back fulltime.




Win a Copy of 2 Guns on Blu-ray as we celebrate Buddy Movies

2-Guns-DVD-CoverIn Universal Home Entertainment’s 2 Guns, when an attempt to take down a drug cartel blows up in their faces, two undercover operatives are forced to go on the run together, though neither knows that the other is a federal agent. Suddenly, everyone on both sides of the law wants them dead, and their only hope is to trust each other.  Featuring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, we celebrate the Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD release on November 19, by revisiting some of the most memorable buddies in blue.

Axel Foley & Detective Rosewood – Beverly Hills Cop

While Eddy Murphy and Judge Reinhold have made names for themselves in today’s pop culture, it’s easy to argue that Beverly Hills Cop launched their now successful film careers. With Axel as the mouth behind the duo, and Rosewood as the partner getting him out of trouble each time, there match up is as timeless as the film. The 1980s film proves itself to be a classic was slated to make its way to television this fall, as a series featuring Axel’s son, Aaron Foley (played by Brandon T. Jackson). While the pilot wasn’t picked up to series, both critics and fans excitedly welcomed it.

David Starsky & Ken Hutchinson – Starsky & Hutch

Starsky---Hutch-ben-stiller-171705_485_323Based on the popular 1970s series, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson hilariously star as two street-smart undercover cops that bust drug deals with the help of their connection with the underworld boss, Huggy Bear. Stiller and Wilson bring the classic back to life and add their own flavor with their comedic talent audiences have come to love them for. And who else is better matched to play the role of Huggy Bear today than the 1970s inspired pimp himself, Snoop Lion (aka Snoop Dog).

Mike Lowrey & Marcus Burnett – Bad Boys

‘Bad Boys,Bad Boys, what’cha gonna do, what’cha gonna do…’ you know the rest. While the film was not based on the addicting early 90’s show about real-life police busting drug deals and ordering donuts – it was the first film that arguably catapulted the then-television stars Martin Lawrence and Will Smith to movie stardom. Proving that they haven’t aged, Lawrence and Smith teamed up again for more action in Bad Boys II in 2003.

Lee & Carter – Rush Hour

What do you get when you cross a very loud-mouthed LAPD detective with a Martial Arts cop visiting on assignment from Hong Kong? You get an odd couple that works perfectly, when it is Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.  Directed by Brett Ratner, the hilarious combo go from battling a drug lord to save a little girl that rivals Chan’s karate skills, to fighting crime in Las Vegas in matching outfits.

Martin Riggs & Roger Murtaugh – Lethal Weapon

lethal_weaponMel Gibson and Danny Glover literally redefined the action genre with their roles as L.A.P.D. detectives Riggs and Murtaugh.  While there’s no 5th film in the works currently we still can’t get enough of the banter between the two of them and of course, Gary Busey aka Mr. Joshua.

Terry Hoitz & Allen Gamble – The Other Guys

Mark Wahlberg is tough and Will Farrell is funny, the perfect combination for a memorable buddy cop film, like The Other Guys.  They play the underdogs striving to gain respect from their precinct by solving a crime and bringing down a multi-billionaire, played by Steve Coogan.

Det. Alonzo Harris & Jake Hoyt – Training Day

training-day-2001-_143078-fli_1377010535Before he teamed up with Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns, Denzel Washington played crooked detective Alonzo Harris opposite rookie narcotics cop, Ethan Hawke in the Spike Lee directed project.  Known for his roles of the noble and good guy (think Remember the Titans) fans were shocked and impressed to see Denzel Washington do such a good job playing the bad guy.

In order to win your very own copy of 2 Guns on Blu-ray, simply answer the following question:

Which actor portrays Papi Greco in the film?

  • Edward James Olmos
  • Javier Bardem
  • Benicio Del Toro
  • Luis Guzmán

Send us your answer before 11:59 p.m., Thursday, November 21. The decision of ComicMix‘s judges will be final. The contest is open only to residents of the United States and Canada.

Mindy Newell: Computer Glitch

newell-art-131117-150x137-5821016“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’”

George Bernard Shaw

“Back to Methuselah” (1921)

President Barak Obama is a visionary. Which is great. It’s important for the President of the United States to be a visionary, to be able to inspire. That’s how Barak Obama became President in 2008.

But once elected, it’s not enough to be a visionary. You need to know how to put that vision into effect.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy knew how to do that. Ronald Wilson Reagan knew how to do that.

President Barak Obama – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – does not.

The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, is in real trouble. The website is a disaster – where is Oracle when we need her? – and those who have been able to sign up are finding that their personal health care providers are not participating and that only a limited amount of hospitals are participants. A woman speaking to Brian Lehrer on NPR a couple days ago told him that the only hospital she can go to under the ACA is Lenox Hill in Manhattan, and while Lenox Hill is a very fine institution, the woman lives out on the Island, as in Long. (And for those of you not in the metropolitan New York City area, trust me, when you are sick enough to need hospital care, you do not want to drive on the Long Island Expressway as your life is ticking away and you are crawling along the asphalt at as much as 10 miles an hour.) Meanwhile insurance companies are happily cancelling policies because they don’t measure up to the ACA’s parameters because the premiums for ACA approved policies are more expensive.

(Once again the insurance companies have figured out how to make a buck off of people’s miseries – I can just hear the board of directors of Horizon, Aetna, Oxford, Cigna, and all the rest at their meetings: “Okay, no more lifetime caps, no more pre-existing condition bans, but here, look at Paragraph IV for example – everyone has to have maternity care in their plan, which means we can charge the client for that even if the client is male. And that’s just Paragraph IV. Yes, no worries, we can make up for any potential losses and we have the ACA and the President to thank for that.”) And the Repugnanticans are having a field day, gleefully attacking our Marxist, Maoist, Socialist, Kenyan Muslim President every which way they can. And though you, my faithful readers, know that I am a staunch Democrat and supporter of the man currently living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I gotta say…

What the fuck, man!

You go and approve the hiring of a Canadian tech company to build the web site? And to make matters even worse, it’s a company that has a botched record! To quote from the Washington Times (granted, a very conservative paper, but they are right in this):

Canadian provincial health officials last year fired the parent company of CGI Federal, the prime contractor for the problem-plagued Obamacare health exchange websites, the Washington Examiner has learned.

“CGI Federal’s parent company, Montreal-based CGI Group, was officially terminated in September 2012 by an Ontario government health agency after the firm missed three years of deadlines and failed to deliver the province’s flagship online medical registry.”

For someone who is about jobs, jobs, jobs for Americans, I just don’t get it. Why didn’t the President just go to Microsoft or Apple? Why didn’t he call up Bill Gates or Steve Jobs (before he died, of course) and ask them for advice, i.e., give me the names of the best and the brightest in the IT biz. I want them to build what I believe will be the most important website in American history.

That’s what I would have done.

Seriously, man, what the fuck?

Now I hate working for a micro-manager. You know the type – he or she has got his or her nose in your face every second of every hour of the workday, and just won’t leave you alone to get your job done.

But the President of the United States has to be, in so many ways, a micro-manager. A hands-on guy. He – or she? Go, Hillary!has to know what’s going on, has to have his – or her. Go, Hillary! – nose in your face every second of every hour of the workday. The President always has to be one step – or a hundred yards, or a million-zillion miles – in front of the crowd.

Because ultimately, as that plaque on Harry Truman’s desk read – The buck stops here.

And it doesn’t do any good to admit to that after the fact, as Obama did last Wednesday.

Oracle, we need you.




The Point Radio: Reelz Reveals New Evidence On The JFK Murder


This time of year, Americans are reminded of one of the most tragic events in our history – the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A new documentary on The Reelz Channel brings to light an older book that may have surprisingly new evidence to reveal. Plus your favorite new indy comic is probably sold out already, and we go behind the scenes of he new SyFy series, NAKED VEGAS (no, it isn’t about that!)

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Dennis O’Neil’s Gravity

oneil-art-131024-150x178-4099008Has Gravity pulled you in yet?

Okay, that was lame. But at least it served to usher us into the movie that provides this week’s blather. (Did I do it again? Oh, my!)

Gravity is, for the third straight week, the box office champ. Most people, including Mari and I, liked it. Most, but not all. I’m aware of two kinds of criticism, leveled at the film by two of the men I most respect, both of whom shall remain anonymous, not because I’m playing the “unnamed sources” game, but because I can’t quote them exactly.

First criticism was expressed last week by a much lauded novelist and critic.  He had compliments for the filmmaking, but mild complaints about the characters played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Old hat. Too clichéd. The kind of cardboard that the art of cinema should be past by now.

Point taken. But a placid defense: the movie isn’t about the characters; they are devices, vehicles to move the narrative forward, given just enough backstory to save them from being total ciphers. They’re like the characters in old-fashioned detective stories – the lounge lizard, the jealous husband, the kindly vicar, the shrewd amateur sleuth, the scarlet woman. They exist as elements in a puzzle, like the X’s and O’s in a game of tic tac toe. And if that’s the kind of pleasure you’re after, the puzzle solving kind, Mr. X and Miss O will do.

Gravity, I will claim, is about state-of-the-art space travel and filmmaking itself, about the spectacular illusions directors are capable of these days. The story gives them an excuse for being presented in pretty darn fancy theaters and even manages to generate a little suspense. It does its job, and so do Ms. Bullock and Mr. Clooney.

The second criticism, proffered by one of our best public intellectuals, is a bit thornier. Our critic finds fault with the science the movie offers as fact, and, given his credentials and track record, I do not doubt for a second that his disapproval is justified.

When I worked the superhero dodge, I had a rule of thumb: Any acknowledged, verifiable fact must be accurate. So you don’t call a solar system a galaxy or have guys schlep unshielded radioactive ore without suffering consequences, or populate Mars with green hotties who swim in the canals. The idea was to avoid adding to the planet’s burden of misinformation because some folk, somewhere, are likely to believe your nonsense. But made-up technology – time travel, faster-than-light drives – sure, have it do whatever your plot needs it to do. At least until somebody invents time travel or star drives.

A tiny caveat: it’s nice if even your fabricated science has at least a distant acquaintance with something genuine, and the farther shores of speculative physics might provide a writer with a lot of inspiration.

Gravity doesn’t pretend to be a lesson in astrophysics, any more than it pretends to be a probe of the human condition. So, it entertains, and it has done its work. And, arguably, just portraying brainy people as cool and making general audiences aware of physics are services, a task our schools don’t seem to be doing very well. In a recent survey, high schoolers in the United States ranked 25th in math and science among their peers in 34 other nations. Ouch!

So, can we agree? Gravity is good, which should be a load off Isaac Newton’s mind. But I can’t help wishing that they’d gotten their facts straight.


FRIDAY MORNING: Martha Thomases!


Mindy Newell: Not Such A Dark, Glittering Intelligence

Newell Art 131021What Spader’s Reddington demonstrates is a dark, glittering intelligence and that makes him a fascinating character,” wrote my pal and fellow columnist John Ostrander here on ComicMix yesterday, discussing James Spader’s work as the protagonist (antagonist?) on NBC’s The Blacklist (Mondays at 10 PM EDT USA).

I read John’s column after reading A House Divided: Extremism And The Lessons Of History by Sean Wilentz and its accompanying article, Inside The GOP’s Suicide Machine by Tom Dickinson in the National Affairs section of the current Rolling Stone Magazine.

Over the last decade, my imagination has sometimes taken me to sinister places when I have thought about the future of the United States of America. Since George W. Bush became President through the manipulation of the vote in Florida and the engineering of his election to office by the Supreme Court, it has seemed not unbelievable to me that a cabal, a HYDRA-like group, has been working to overthrow our Constitutional government. K-Street, the home of lobbyists and lawyers from which some of the worst decisions affecting this country have emanated, could be the address of the Washington, D.C. branch of Wolfram & Hart; wasn’t one of their clients was a presidential candidate who used the firm to mind-wipe the population into thinking her rival was a pedophile?

“Oh, Mindy,” I can hear the scoffers saying, “that was a TV show about a vampire and featured demons and other monsters. Get real, girl! A magical mind-wipe?”

Oh, yeah? What the hell do you think Fox News and Rush Limbaugh do every day? (As Mr. Wilentz states in his article, “The press has abandoned its responsibility, twisting objectivity into the craven idea of false equivalency, where falsehoods get reported as simply one side of the argument.”)

This past week saw the very real – and truly unbelievable – possibility that the United States would default on its debt obligations. (To quote Mr. Wilentz again, “Until now, no member of Congress has seriously entertained triggering a financial crisis, willfully damaging the economy of the most powerful nation on Earth.”)

Not even the Kingpin or Lex Luthor, malevolent corporatists and power-hungry capitalists – and comicdom’s equivalent of the Koch brothers – could envision, much less embrace, the financial fantasies of a cabal of Congressmen who do appear to be intent on destroying this country before it reaches its 238th birthday this July.

No, the Kingpin and Lex Luthor are smarter than David and Charles Koch. They would never risk their financial empires on a “confederacy of dunces” such as the Tea Party and their pols, men like Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who argues that the Dream Act would allow citizenship to drug mules – speaking about immigrants, he is on record as saying, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds, and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Men like Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida, who compares the Republicans who want to defund the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” to Rosa Parks, Lech Walesa, and Martin Luthor King. Said Yoho about the tax on tanning salons, “It’s a racist tax against white people.” Or Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas, who warns us that Jihadists are sending pregnant women here so that their “terror babies” will be American citizens, and who is against gay marriage because, “you say it’s not a man or woman anymore…why not, you know, somebody who has a love of animals?”

Or Rep. Dr. Paul Broun of Georgia, who sits on the House Science Committee and embraces creationism – “the Earth is 9,000 years old” – and says “all that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology (again, I stress, this guy went to medical school), the Big Bang theory…is lies, straight from the pits of hell.” Or Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan, who wants to assign his staff to investigate the theory that government aircraft are seeding the skies with mind-control chemicals and who says that “impeaching Obama would be a dream come true.” Or Rep. John Fleming, who not only believed a story from the satirical website The Onion which said that Planned Parenthood was opening an $8 billion “abortionplex,” but actually said “I don’t think we should run government based on economists’ predictions.” And, not to leave women out, there is Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, who believes that ending the minimum wage would end unemployment, that global warming is “voodoo and hokum,” and during last election cycle warned that us off the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) which causes genital warts and has been linked to the development of cervical cancer in women vaccine, saying that “little girls would be forced to have a government injection.” (HPV has been linked as a causative factor in cervical cancer, as well as other, rarer cancers such as cancer of the anus, penis, vagina, vulva, as well as oralpharyngal cancers – as Michael Douglas learned a few years ago.)

And then there is the junior Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, the biggest dunce of them all.

So maybe I shouldn’t be so worried about real life cabals and evil organizations. Maybe I’ll just stick to my Kingpins and Lex Luthors and Wolfram & Harts and HYDRAS and Dan Brown novels about the Illuminati and hope for the best, let the cards fall where they may, as the saying goes.

Yesterday I was at the beauty parlor when a discussion started about The Blacklist. I have got to start watching this show, especially when as disparate a group as can be found in a “beauty parlor” (senior citizens, hairstylists, manicurists, women and men of varying ages and interests) are “watercoolingering” about it.

Plus, I adore James Spader. I loved him in White Palace (with Susan Sarandon), I loved him in Stargate, I loved him in Sex, Lies, And Videotape, and I loved him in Boston Legal.

So maybe my assignment this week is to catch up on The Blacklist. I’d much rather watch a fictional show about a bad man bringing down still-worse men and women than watch the terrifying reality show that is the Republican/Tea Party.




Win a Copy of Vikings Season 1 on Blu-ray

Viking_BD_ProductShotsVikings Season 1 delivers a visceral journey to a thrilling ancient world in this epic new series about history’s bravest and most brutally fearsome warriors.

Vikings follows the adventures of the great hero Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), a Viking chieftain seeking to fulfill his destiny as a conqueror, alongside his ambitious brother Rollo (Clive Standen) and loyal wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick).  Throughout his quest, Ragnar faces a path of betrayals and temptations to protect his freedom, family, and life.  When Ragnar teams up with his boat builder friend Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) to craft a new generation of intrepid ships capable of conquering the rough northern seas, the stage is set for conflict.

Exclusively featured on the Blu-ray™ and DVD, “Birth of the Vikings” looks at the creator’s approach to, the series challenge in re-creating the period, and the wonders of shooting the series in Ireland’s beautiful, Wicklow mountains.  “Birth of the Vikings,” is an all-access look at the creation of VIKINGS.

For a chance to win your copy of the Blu-ray just answer this  question: Which Viking discovered North America before Columbus?

Have your answer posted by 11:59 p.m.  Saturday, October 19. The decision of the ComicMix judges will be final and this contest is open only to readers in the United States and Canada.

Win a Copy of The Internship

TheInternship_BD_O-Sleeve[1]The comedy will be available on Blu-ray and DVD October 22 , but our friends at 20th Century Home Entertainment have a copy available to give away to one of our readers. All you need to do is tell us which of the following is your favorite of the following films and why. Tell us no later than 11:59 p.m. Monday, October 14. The decision of the ComicMix judges will be final and the contest is open only to United States and Canadian readers only.

The Internship reunited two of the central members of the frat pack, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. The guys from the frat pack have been creating comedic gold for years now. In honor of the home entertainment release of the newest frat pack film, let’s take a look back at some of the greatest moments from the pack.

In The Internship, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson team up to crash the digital world in this laugh-out-loud buddy comedy you’ve been searching for! Trying to reboot their obsolete careers, old-school salesmen Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) talk their way into an internship program at the state-of-the-art Google campus, vying for a handful of spots among tech-savvy college students who are half their age and twice as smart. The competition is fiercely funny as Billy and Nick break all the rules in a hilarious quest to land their dream jobs!

Wedding Crashers

wedding_crashers_2005_692_wallpaperWedding Crashers, the film that proved Wilson and Vaughn had perfect comedic chemistry, brought the laughter and good times. To this day, men still dream of crashing a wedding with John and Jeremy. Maybe they can’t fulfill their dreams, but everyone can rest assured knowing the rules of wedding crashing; “blend in by standing out” to “be gone by the sunrise.”


Zoolander is certainly one of the most memorable frat pack movies with Will Ferrell playing a crazed fashion designer and Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller taking on the role of two pretty boys. The Blue Steel look developed by Derek Zoolander will go down in movie history. Wilson and Stiller were hilarious as they portrayed self-centered models obsessed with perfecting their hair and their runway walk.


Ron Burgundy is arguably the best character that Will Ferrell has ever played. He is a legend, a ladies man, and a role model for friends like Brick and Champ. In a moment of sheer brilliance, Anchorman brought together six members of the frat pack for a street fight between anchormen. Five of the frat pack guys were representing various news channels and carrying weapons such as a trident, a wooden post, and a chain.

Old School 

will-ferrell-old-school2Many people consider Old School to be the golden ticket that brought the frat pack together and placed them on the map as the big names in comedy. Ferrell, Vaughn, and Wilson were hilarious as they went back to their glory days and reminded the audience why college is exactly where you want to be. This classic comedy is one that can be enjoyed for generations to come.


Who doesn’t love the idea of watching grown men and women dressed in uniforms and playing intense games of dodgeball? (Especially if two of those men are Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller.) In the movie that taught us the five D’s of dodgeball: dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge, we got to witness another perfect moment between members of the frat pack. Dodgeball may have only had two members of the pack, but it definitely makes the list of the greatest frat pack movies!