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Friday, December 29, 2006

Inappropriately intense

This post should have been about the new film Pan's Labyrinth; alas, Tampa isn't cool enough to get Mr del Toro's latest effort, so, instead you get The Top Five Stalker Anthems Yet Recorded. Oh yes! I'm not sure why famous people are allowed to be weird and unbalanced and obsessive and it counts as 'art' while the rest of us just get restraining orders, but the charts are full of stalkers. They're everywhere. They're on your radio. They're in your CD player. They're invading your personal space right now.

1. The Classic: "Every Breath You Take" by The Police. Duh! Maybe not the original (I believe that goes to "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" by Diana Ross), but certainly the best known. Could Sting get any creepier? The song tries to toe that slim line between sweet and sick, and ends up on the far side. Giveaway Lyric: "Every breath you take/every move you make/every bond you break/every step you take/I'll be watching you".

2. The Cute: "Always Be My Baby" by Mariah Carey. Man, if Mariah can't get her man to stay, what hope is there for the rest of us? This one almost sounds like an ode of devotion, but then you start to realize just exactly what your lips are synching. Giveaway Lyric: "Boy, don't you know you can't escape me?" and "No way you're ever gonna shake me/ooh darling, 'cause you'll always be my baby".

3. The Creep(y): "Creep" by Radiohead. Now, I'd believe it of Thom Yorke; he looks depressed and English enough to give stalking a try. This song is proof of it, all whisper-ranting about feeling out of control and how the narrator is going to make the intended notice when he's not around. Not that he's ever not around--that kind of screws with the aim of stalking. Giveaway Lyric: "She's running out again/she's running/she runs runs runs runs/runs..."

4. The Cover: "Gonna Get Close To You" by Queensryche (original by Lisa Dalbello). I was so hoping to give a spot to my favorite prog-metalheads. Why Geoff Tate and Co. saw fit to cover this one is beyond me; I suppose they were feeling especially perverse. Giveaway Lyric: "I wait by your door 'til you're asleep at night/and when you're alone I know when you turn out the light."

5. The Catchy: "One Way or Another" by Blondie. Debbie Harry takes stalking to startling heights with this one, spelling out exactly how she intends to snare her beloved. And oh, it sounds like a plan! Giveaway Lyric: "And if the lights are all out/I'll follow your bus downtown".

All in all, a good haul! There are oodles more, but these are, for my money, the cream of the crop. Although, I must say, honorable mentions go to "As Long As You Love Me" by The Backstreet Boys and "Stalker Song" by Danzig, the former for being utterly nasty and the latter for being utterly obvious. Keep stalking, guys and gals. Someday the object of your erotomania will reciprocate. Or not.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

For the boys

I have these friends, right, these two different sets of friends who, if they but knew each other, would become one larger mass of friends, because really, they're quite similar.

The main similarity is comic books. Videogames too, but right now we're talking about comic books.

Now then. I have addressed this issue in the past, but since then it's grown and mutated (ha, ha) and on the whole become confusing, difficult to explain, and not a little tiresome. The problem, then, was simple: I didn't read comic books. I had very little interest in reading comic books. However, because certain of my friends like to argue and talk and explain, I knew something about a few comic characters, which led certain of my other friends to believe that I was simply in denial.

Well, I'm not in denial anymore. I'm out. The closet door of comic fandom has been flung open, and look who was hiding in there--it's me! I have decided to embrace this, nerdiest of all fandoms barring Farscape. Well, and Star Trek (that's just a classic). I have decided to become, if not a hardcore comic fan, at least an admitted one. And I would like to thank Tamora Pierce, because it's mostly her fault.

Yes. Tamora Pierce. Not Stan Lee, not Frank Miller, not Neil Gaiman or even Michael Chabon--Tamora Pierce, that lovely authoress of young adult fiction generally skewed toward teenage girls. I love her. I love Tamora Pierce with an eternal passion, because she wrote some of my favorite books and birthed some of my very favorite characters and as soon as I have a black cat again I will name it Faithful and gauge potential friends by whether or not they know why the cat is so named (people who are friends with me already, no fear; you'll be grandfathered in). And now, Ms Pierce has been given her very own Marvel miniseries, White Tiger, which makes me love Marvel even more than I already did (which is to say, not very much).

Obviously, Marvel is cool because it's home to people like Deadpool and Wanda Maximoff. DC can hardly compare--they have Batman and Green Arrow and the Birds of Prey, and that's about it for me, and with Ms Pierce on board for White Tiger, DC is going to have to really hop to get my attention. They're going to have to revive George Orwell and let him write a new Batman or something. Anyway, the new White Tiger is cool. Very cool. It gets my stamp of not-very-knowledgeable approval, mostly because of its writer, but also because the characters are fun. I'd never even heard of Angela del Toro before a fellow Pierceaholic tipped me off to the series, but she's a ball of fire--and folks like Daredevil (and some other guy wearing the Daredevil suit), the Black Widow, and Spider-Man turn up too. What's not to love? A butt-kicking heroine, a shadowy criminal organization, and famous masks all over the place, all coupled with the author to whom I have already given more money than anyone else in the literary world.

Thanks, Marvel. Way to be a pal. Maybe I'll branch out. Maybe I'll delve. Maybe, someday, I'll be a REAL comic fan.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A blank shade of pencil-gray

I may be having a Claire Cooney moment. Is this or is this not the 'awkardest sentence alive'?

"Annan, who will be succeeded by South Korean Ban Ki-Moon, questions whether he has succeeded during his decade in the job in making human rights the "third pillar" of the United Nations, on a par with development and peace and security."

That's from a CNN article wherein Kofi Annan bashed...mm...the entire free world for doing nothing much about the troubles in Darfur. Well, I'm all for the UN Secretary opening up a can; that's not the point. The point is, the author clearly does not subscribe to rules of grammar or even logic. For one thing, if the "pillars" of the United Nations are development and peace and security, then wouldn't human rights be the FOURTH pillar? Furthermore, just look at that verb repetition: 'succeeded' TWICE in one sentence, just ten words apart! A clear-cut no-no; come on, people, that's what we have thesaurii for. Then there's the case of "on a par with"--no, not strictly against the rules, but a clinker all the same. Why's that "a" chilling there? No "a" is needed in that sentence; "on par with" makes just as much sense and flows even better.

The silly thing is, I'm not even good at grammar. I never learned my participles, complements, or the purpose of an auxiliary verb. I couldn't identify the subjunctive to save my life, and sentence-diagramming was the only English quiz I ever failed. But even I can see that CNN needs to buy a nice OED (unabridged, please) and head back to 9th grade Language Arts. Where do people get off teaching English like it doesn't matter, like it has no utility? Language is the basis of our society, whether we like it or not, and since we have to be able to communicate, would it kill us to communicate efficiently, fluidly, even elegantly? Why is there no longer any joy taken in the kick and flow of words?

Grammar, spelling, sentence construction, and even reading are all headed downhill in a greased handcart. Books are going the way of the Dodo. Ladies and gents, the Apocalypse of the literate will commence momentarily.
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