Three games left.
The end of the pennant race.
Greatest rivalry in baseball.
And the Sox need to sweep the Bombers to win it.
They need to take two out of three to force a one game play-off.
The season on the line.
And who do I trust most to come through big in a situation like this?
And of course, my boy Jason Varitek.
Let's go Red Sox.
Friday, September 30, 2005
Three games left.
Posted by Benari at 7:05 PM
It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.
But one thing is for sure: many brave dolphins, sea lions, and assorted aquatic animals proudly serve our country every day, and have done so for over 40 years.
Learn more about the U.S. Navy's Marine Mammal Program.
And remember: freedom is on the ma...uh, swim.
Posted by Benari at 3:56 PM
So, over at Newsarama, I just saw the preview for the new ALL STAR SUPERMAN. And they have a bunch of insightful quotes from Grant Morrison...and this part in particular jumped out at me:
My first issue, for instance, has a new power for Superman and I thought I'd come up with something, well...not bad...then I just read - yesterday in fact - the story 'Superman's New Power' which appeared in Superman #125 from November 1958. And guess what Superman's new power was in the 'conservative' ‘50s. That's right - it's a teeny-tiny little Superman who shoots out from the palm of the big Superman's hand and does everything better than Superman himself, leaving the full-size Superman feeling redundant and worthless. Holy analysis, Batman! It's mindbending, brilliant and eerie work. This is what it would be like if Charlie Kaufmann wrote and directed the Superman movie and it's far from goofy or childish, it's genuinely affecting and slightly disturbing to read Superman saying stuff like 'Everyone's impressed except ME! Don't they understand how I feel -- playing second fiddle to a miniature duplicate of myself...a sort of SUPER-IMP?'
And people think I'M weird ? I %$%$^ wish I was weird like this! I wish pop comics today had the balls to be as poetic and poignant and truly 'all-ages' again, and a little less self-conscious. I feel a little ashamed for not even daring to think of a magnificent tiny Superman who makes the real Superman feel inadequate every time he springs from his hand. Those kinds of stories were like weird fever dreams and they sold millions and millions of copies every month.
Could. Not. Agree. More.
All Star Superman. November.
Posted by Benari at 1:38 PM
Fun show last night at the Telephone Bar - thanks to all involved.
For anyone who likes comedy in NYC and wants to keep up with what's goin' on, Rachel Kramer Bussel's comedy blog is must reading. She's the chronicler of all things comedic in New York City and you're guaranteed to find something to scratch your comedy itch there. It's the Time Out New York of the comedy blog world. But cuter.
So, yesterday afternoon, I swing by my favorite local comic book store, Rocketship, and in my search for more bang for my buck, I come across the latest push from DC, a collection of b&w reprints of vintage Silver Age stories which is DC's answer to Marvel's amazingly successful Essentials line. Specifically, I see Showcase Presents: Superman Volume 1. Reprints of late 50's Superman and Action Comics tales, presented chronologically. And it's under 10 bucks. A fact the cover proudly proclaims. OVERPOWERING...CAN'T...RESIST! MUST...BUY...
I adore these black and white reprints. I've actually read a good number of these Superman stories already in various other collections, reprints, or in their original forms. But seeing the pure, unadulterated zaniness of the 50's Silver Age Superman in stark black and white gives these stories an underground 'zine feel, like I'm reading some kind of bootleg, indie version of iconic stories.
And the stories themselves - the first thing that struck me was how many of these stories I've already seen reprinted in "best of" collections, further proof of how iconic these stories are. Short stories, crammed with action and characterization; self-contained and easily accessible, these stories taken individually entertain with jam-packed excitement and melodrama; while taken as a whole, they cleverly create, add to, and perpetuate the well-known Superman mythos. There's a brilliantly complex simplicity in these stories; many of them hinge upon Superman acting "out of character" until intrigued readers discover that it was all part of some super plan. Other stories revolve around Superman himself trying to figure out why the world as he knows it is out of whack, whether he's dealing with his friends and/or enemies acting "out of character" or dealing with transforming into a lion -
Yes. Superman ends up with a lion's head. Only in comic books could our hero suddenly find that he's a humanoid LION. I don't know what bizarre 50's trend this was, but it plays out in spectacular Silver Age melodramatic fashion, as Superman's main conflict is trying to fit into society with a LION'S HEAD!!! Oh, Silver Age. How unpretentious you truly were.
Now, I admit - when I was a kid, I never fully appreciated the sly wit and wacky inventiveness of Silver Age DC. But, man. Looking at it now, there was so much creative energy and imagination - despite the crushing restrictions of that era's Comics' Code, these guys managed to pack every story with subversive and mind-blowing concepts that could only be found in the 4-color world of comic books. It was escapism at its best and purest, in the hands of master craftsmen who truly knew how to exploit the potential of the medium.
Surprisingly, I think one of my favorite stories here is the oddball tale of "Superman's NEW Power!", brilliantly scripted by Jerry Coleman and beautifully penciled by the legendary Wayne Boring. The cliff's notes version is that Superman loses his powers, but gains a new one: he can materialize a tiny Superman from his fingertips, complete with all his superpowers. The Last Son of Krypton watches glumly as his midget doppelganger carries out all his super feats, silently saving the day and then returning to Superman, ready to avert the next disaster when called upon. At one point, when trouble occurs, Superman flies to the rescue, sadly aware that his only power is sending out his tiny proxy; Kal-El is now feeling like a useless bystander while tiny Superman saves the day, leading to some amazingly moody reflections, such as Superman thinking: "This is a job for (sigh)...Superman's new power."
Superman feeling ineffectual next to his all-powerful, tiny counterpart?! He's got a new power that he hates, but he has to keep using it to help mankind!!! Great Caesar's Ghost, at one point, The Man of Tomorrow is even thinking about killing his midget proxy to regain his powers! And this is before the Marvel Age of the reluctant hero! Holy Sockamagee!
The story ends when the tiny Superman sacrifices himself to save the real Superman...and Superman magically regains his powers, left to wonder whether his mini-man of steel had his own heroic thoughts or whether he was merely carrying out Superman's commands.
What pathos! What drama! What comedy! Cheese and crackers, this 8-page story had more in it than 8 issues of Ultimate anything! Well worth the 10 bucks, pick up the Superman collection. There's also a Green Lantern collection out right now, where you can thrill to the beautiful line work of Gil Kane and the hipster-cool adventures of ace test pilot Hal Jordan, the most fearless man on earth with the universe's most powerful weapon. Holy High Concept, Batman. And over the next few months, there will be collections of JLA, Jonah Hex, and Metamorpho. I highly recommend these b&w reprints, as well as anything from Marvel's Essentials line. Because as simple as these tales seem, these bombastic and moody tales prove that comic books ain't so black white ...
Posted by Benari at 9:59 AM
Thursday, September 29, 2005
For just one lousy buck, you can see some comedy tonight at The Telephone Bar.
The $1 Room
Stand Up, Sketch and Video with Cassidy Henehan, Peter Kassnove and Brad Steuernagel
149 Second Ave. (between 9th and 10th) NYC
Swing on by for some good, cheap comedy. We'll grab a beer.
Posted by Benari at 4:34 PM
Oh, the rich people want what the poor people's got
And the poor people want what the rich people's got
And the skinny people want what the fat people's got
And the fat people want what the skinny people's got
You can never please anybody in this world
It doesn't matter what you do
It doesn't matter what you say
There will always be one who wants things the opposite way
We do our best, we try to please
But we're like the rest we're never at ease
You can never please
In this world
I saw The Shaggs last night, the musical based on the real-life actual band, The Shaggs, proof that if you're gonna be bad at something, it's best to be the absolute worst.
There's a purity in the awfulness that was The Shaggs' music, an intense honesty in their dissonant chords and monotone vocals, as well as a genuine eeriness in the way in which their blunt lyrics and discordant tunes haunt you long after you'd like to erase them from your memory.
At some point, it seemed hip to laud them for their sheer atrocity - a quality which ironically made them even more rock n' roll than the slickest of rock n' rollers! From Rolling Stone to Susan Orlean, critics began recognizing the deeper emotional truth in the Shaggs' music - an unpretentious truth that is actually transcendental in a way that the over-produced William Hung phenomenon could never capture.
Because, in the end, The Shaggs weren't the instruments they couldn't really play, nor were they the lyrics they couldn't really sing. They were just some girls from New Hampshire, trapped in their father's dream, trying to be the best they could be at something they never were. And in their failure, they managed to stumble upon the elusive magic of true art.
There are many things I wonder
There are many things I don't
It seems as though the things I wonder most
Are the things I never find out
Posted by Benari at 10:23 AM
Sunday, September 25, 2005
You're Classic Batman. You're the old school,
iconic Batman that everyone knows. Your
sidekick is Dick Grayson, the original Robin,
and you also team up with Batgirl alot. You're
the World's Greatest Detective, and also one of
the best fighters on the planet. You're against
guns and lethal force. Right now, you're pretty
much in the prime of your career, before you
become haunted by Dead Sidekicks and loved
What kind of Batman are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Posted by Benari at 10:27 PM
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Uh, okay. So being in the writing program at Tisch is a little like experiencing alcoholic blackouts. Next thing I know, it's Thursday. Of course, the actual drinking during all of this doesn't help much, either...
Also, just an observation. When you go out drinking with your class and one of your professors shows up blitzed, it can't be anything but AWESOME.
Here's where I'll be tonight:
Becky and Claudia's Supreme Offering--NOW THURSDAYS!!!
New night, same hilarious stand up, Teddy Grahams and liquor giveaway
at the end of the night
This week's comedians, as selected by God herself:
Jon Friedman (Rejection Show)
Christina McGrath (UCB NY, soon to be UCB LA)
Benari Poulten (The US Army & The Tank)
Adam Lowitt (The Daily Show)
Allison Castillo (VH1, Sweet Paprika)
Baron Vaughn (Galapagos, his one man show "Actor. Comedian. Negro.")
and your devoted co-hosts/roommates, Claudia Cogan and Becky Poole.
This Thursday, September 22nd
312 Graham Avenue--next to the Liquor Store
Between Devoe and Ainslie Streets
Take the L to Graham Ave (3rd stop in the BK) and walk a block and a half south
FREE; no minimum
Posted by Benari at 9:23 AM
Friday, September 16, 2005
The Comic Treadmill has an excellent summary of some good old-fashioned Aquaman goodness. Which is well worth a read. But for me, it once again shows why those grand ol' Silver Age comics are such classics. With their earnest exuberance and unabashed corniness, those comics offered pure escapism from all of reality. Oh, and the creators never passed up a chance for a dirty double entendre:
Posted by Benari at 6:15 PM
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Been a little too burned out to really post anything, so on this Geek Thursday, I present a gift to you fine folks out there in cyberspace-land.
In 1978, William Shatner infamously performed a rendition of Elton John's "Rocket Man." Over twenty years later, Stewie (he of Family Guy) recreated the performance, nailing the essence of it and parodying moments of it perfectly. It's funny on it's own; it's brilliantly hilarious if you've seen the original performance. And now you can. Back to back.
On this day, I give you all: Shatner vs. Stewie, thanks to GorillaMask.net.
Watch the Shatner version first - all 4 and 1/2 brilliant minutes of it. Then watch Stewie's version and bask in the glory that is Stewie doing Shatner. And then think of how our world is just a little more beautiful now.
And I think it's gonna be a long, long time....
Posted by Benari at 8:24 AM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Friday, September 09, 2005
After his massive incompetence and ineptitude contributed to the unconscionably slow FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina, FEMA's top big-wig has FINALLY been forced off the case.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown, the principal target of harsh criticism of the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, was relieved of his onsite relief command Friday.
He will be replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen, who was overseeing New Orleans relief, recovery and rescue efforts, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced.
Michael Brown, you've just been relieved of your command, what are you gonna do?
"I'm going to go home and walk my dog and hug my wife and, maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita and a full night's sleep. And then I'm going to go right back to FEMA and continue to do all I can to help these victims," Brown said.
WOW. I've got to help these poor victims - but first, enchilidas! Sounds a lot like what you were probably doing while Katrina was destroying the Gulf region.
Hm. I wonder what will be happening in good ol' New Orleans this weekend?
MORE than 25,000 body bags were sent to the New Orleans area as the city’s putrid, receding floodwaters began to give up their dead yesterday.
At the same time, police and National Guard forces armed with M16 automatic rifles moved from door to door to begin the forcible removal of up to 10,000 stragglers still in the devastated city.
That's almost as good as a nice, stiff Margarita.
Wait a minute, whined beaten-up Mikey Brown, right before he started crying for his momma.
"This story's not about me. This story's about the worst disaster of the history of our country that stretched every government to its limit and now we have to help these victims."
Too bad you already failed these victims, Brownie. Just like you failed at EVERYTHING else you've ever done in your life. And you would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those darned dead bodies. Enjoy your "full night's sleep." Because there's a special place in hell that's just opened up for li'l ol' you...
Posted by Benari at 3:30 PM
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Okay, so two days into my grad program and I'm already way behind. Excellent.
Meanwhile, let me pimp what is sure to be an awesome show for my lefty friends:
Tomorrow night at The Tank.
The Tank @ Chashama @ 208 West 37th Street (btwn 7th and 8th)
The always lovely Katie Halper provides the dirt:
…Come to Laughing Liberally: a night of political comedy
with special guest
Julie Goldman, just back from her hit summer in Provincetown and The Michigan Womyns Music Festival, and host of this year's LA Women's Fest.
Claudia Cogan, heard on Sirius Radio, seen at Caroline's, the UCB Theatre, and the PIT.
Benari Poulten, seen at Galapagos, Sweet Paprika, and Ars Nova
Baron Vaughn, seen at Stand-Up New York, Gotham Comedy Club, the Comedy Social and the Brooklyn Comedy Company and on VH1's "Awesomely Oversexed"
Mutha Nature's Grrrl, the band dedicated to "bridging the dangerously widening gap between folk and hip-hop one jam at a time."
and hosted by
Brought to you by the national political social network Drinking Liberally
And, as an added lazy bonus, since I have nothing new to say this week, I'll leave you with the latest and greatest Jon Stewart quote, via Daily Kos:
"Now, for you people who are saying, 'Well, stop pointing fingers at the president ... left-wing ... the media's being too hard: No. Shut up. No. This is inarguably -- inarguably -- a failure of leadership from the top of the federal government.
"Remember when Bill Clinton went out with Monica Lewinsky? That was inarguably a failure of judgment at the top. Democrats had to come out and risk losing credibility if they did not condemn Bill Clinton for his behavior. I believe Republicans are in the same position right now. And I will say this: Hurricane Katrina is George Bush's Monica Lewinsky. The only difference is this: Tens of thousands of people weren't stranded in Monica Lewinsky's vagina."
Posted by Benari at 3:29 PM
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Some people we lost in 1977:
January 2 - Errol Garner, American jazz musician (b. 1921)
January 14 - Anthony Eden, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom;
Peter Finch, actor;
Anaïs Nin, author
January 17 - Gary Gilmore, murderer (executed by firing squad)
January 19 - Yvonne Printemps, singer, actress
January 29 - Freddie Prinze, actor/comedian (b. 1954)
February 4 - Brett Halliday, American mystery writer (b. 1904)
February 11 - Louis Beel, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (1946-1948, 1958-1959) (b. 1902)
February 28 - Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, actor
March 4 - Andrés Caicedo, Colombian writer (b. 1951)
March 16 - Kamal Jumblatt, leader of the Lebanese Druze
March 18 - Marien Ngouabi, President of The Congo
April 21 - Gummo Marx, American actor and comedian (b. 1892)
May 5 - Ludwig Erhard, German chancellor (b. 1897)
May 10 - Joan Crawford, American actress (b. 1904)
June 16 - Werner von Braun, German-born rocket scientist (b. 1912)
June 19 - Lady Olave Baden-Powell, English Chief Girl Guide (b. 1889)
June 19 - Ali Shariati, Iranian sociologist (b. 1933)
July 2 - Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-born writer (b. 1899)
July 13 - Carl Gustav von Rosen, Swedish pilot (b. 1909)
July 23 - Arsenio Erico, Paraguayan footballer (b. 1915)
August 14 - Ron Haydock, American actor, writer, and musician (b. 1940)
August 16 - Elvis Presley, American singer and actor (b. 1935)
August 19 - Groucho Marx, American actor and comedian (b. 1890)
(I can't believe we lost Gummo AND Groucho in the same year!)
September 1 - Ethel Waters, singer (b. 1896)
September 6 - John Edensor Littlewood, British mathematician (b. 1885)
September 10 - Hamida Djandoubi, last guillotine execution in France
September 12 - Steve Biko, South African activist
September 13 - Leopold Stokowski, English conductor (b. 1882)
September 16 - Marc Bolan, musician
September 16 - Maria Callas, American soprano
October 14 - Bing Crosby, American singer and actor
November 5 - René Goscinny, French comic book writer (b. 1926)
November 8 - Bucky Harris, baseball player (b. 1896)
November 15 - Princess Charlotte of Monaco
November 25 - Tommy Prince, Canadian war hero
December 19 - Jacques Tourneur, director
December 25 - Charlie Chaplin, English-born comedian
Some people we gained in 1977:
January 7 - Dustin Diamond, actor (Saved by the Bell)
January 8 - Amber Benson, actress
January 13 - Orlando Bloom, actor (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Troy)
January 26 - Vince Carter, American basketball star
January 28 - Daunte Culpepper, American football quarterback
January 28 - Joey Fatone, musician
February 2 - Shakira, Colombian musician
February 8 - Yucef Merhi, Venezuelan artist
February 11 - Mike Shinoda, musician
February 11 - Randy Moss, NFL star
February 16 - Ian Clarke, Freenet creator
February 20 - Stephon Marbury, basketball player
February 21 - Kevin Rose, former co-host of Attack of the Show and The Screen Savers
March 5 - Wally Szczerbiak, NBA basketball player
March 14 - Mervyn Colley, British kabbalist and ceremonial magician
March 28 - Devon, erotic actress
April 9 - Gerard Way, vocalist, My Chemical Romance
April 14 - Sarah Michelle Gellar, actress
April 14 - Chandra Levy, intern at the Bureau of Prisons in Washington, DC (d. 2001)
April 21 - Jamie Salé, figure skater
April 22 - Andruw Jones, Major League Baseball All-Star
April 24 - Carlos Beltrán, baseball player
April 25 - Kim Jong Kook, Korean musician
May 13 - Samantha Morton, actress
May 14 - Ada Nicodemou, Australian actress
May 14 - Roy Halladay, baseball pitcher
May 23 - Ilia Kulik, Russian figure skating champion
June 1 - Danielle Harris, voice actress
June 8 - Kanye West, rapper, producer
June 9 - Peja Stojakovic, Serbian NBA star
June 14 - Chris McAlister, American football player
June 16 - Kerry Wood, baseball pitcher
June 19 - Peter Warrick, American football player
June 27 - Raúl, Spanish international football star
July 1 - Jarome Iginla, NHL hockey player
July 1 - Liv Tyler, actress
July 8 - Wang Zhizhi, Chinese basketball player
July 14 - Victoria, Princess of Sweden - Crown Princess of Sweden from 1980
July 27 - Martha Anne Madison, actress
July 28 - Emanuel Ginóbili, Argentine basketball player
July 31 - Tim Couch, American football quarterback
August 3 - Angela Beesley, British Internet entrepreneur
August 3 - Tom Brady, American football player
August 9 - Chamique Holdsclaw, WNBA basketball player
August 12 - Plaxico Burress, American football player
August 15 - Igor Cassina, Italian gymnast
August 17 - Thierry Henry, French international football player
August 27 - Deco, Portuguese international football player
September 1 - Aaron Schobel, American football player
September 11 - Ludacris, rapper
September 13 - Fiona Apple, musician
September 28 - Se Ri Pak, Korean golfer
October 7 - Meighan Desmond, actress
October 11 - Claudia Palacios, Colombian journalist and newsreader.
October 14 - Kelly Schumacher, Canadian WNBA Basketball Player
October 25 - Birgit Prinz, German women' international football player
November 2 - Randy Harrison, actor
November 3 - Aria Giovanni, model and actress
November 10 - Brittany Murphy, actress
November 13 - Chanel Cole, singer
November 16 - Oksana Baiul, figure skater
November 19 - Kerri Strug, gymnast
November 21 - Jonas Jennings, American football player
December - Ahmed al-Nami, suspected terrorist
December 3 - Adam Malysz, Polish ski jumper
December 7 - Fernando Vargas, boxer
December 12 - Dahm triplets - Nicole, Erica, and Jaclyn Dahm, Playmates of the Month for December 1998
December 23 - Alge Crumpler, American football player
December 30 - Laila Ali, boxer, daughter of Muhammad Ali
And on this day in 1977 - me.
Posted by Benari at 9:24 AM
Friday, September 02, 2005
"I've been out there man. I flew in these helicopters, been in the crowds talking to people crying, don't know where their relatives are. I've done it all man, and I'll tell you man, I keep hearing that it's coming. This is coming, that is coming. And my answer to that today is BS, where is the beef? Because there is no beef in this city. "
"Get every Greyhound bus in the country and get them moving."
"I don't know whether it's the governor's problem, or it's the president's problem, but somebody needs to get ... on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now."
"They thinking small, man, and this is a major, major deal."
"Get off your asses and let's do something."
Posted by Benari at 11:01 AM
Thursday, September 01, 2005
by Charles Bukowski
Young in New Orleans
starving there, sitting around the bars,
and at night walking the streets for
the moonlight always seemed fake
to me, maybe it was,
and in the French Quarter I watched
the horses and buggies going by,
everybody sitting high in the open
carriages, the black driver, and in
back the man and the woman,
usually young and always white.
and I was always white.
and hardly charmed by the
New Orleans was a place to
I could piss away my life,
except for the rats.
the rats in my dark small room
very much resented sharing it
they were large and fearless
and stared at me with eyes
women were beyond me.
they saw something
there was one waitress
a little older than
I, she rather smiled,
lingered when she
that was plenty for
me, that was
there was something about
that city, though
it didn't let me feel guilty
that I had no feeling for the
things so many others
it let me alone.
sitting up in my bed
the llights out,
hearing the outside
lifting my cheap
bottle of wine,
letting the warmth of
as I heard the rats
moving about the
I preferred them
being crazy maybe
is not so bad
if you can be
New Orleans gave me
nobody ever called
me and the
and my youth,
even through the
it was a
of something not to
Posted by Benari at 10:47 AM