Friday, September 30, 2005 

Get Your Geek On

I'm a geek. You're a geek. We're all geeks. Sure, maybe not of the dressing-in-elf-costumes-and-speaking-Klingon variety, but we've all got our pop culture obsessions that border on the disturbing. Really, how is a diehard Baaaahstan Red Sahhhx fan that different from a Star Wars geek? Both worship at the altar of media- or computer-generated gods, right? Both base their happiness on something that they have no control over, right? Both hope the good guys triumph over the Evil Empire and Darth Steinbrenner, right? I'll go toe-to-toe with anybody on this one; it's my way of helping out my geek brethren who tend to respond to assaults from the mainstream with nasal bleats or sniggering in-jokes ("Yeah, well...you're...you're too stupid to tell a Balrog from an Orc.").

That said....

..I thought I'd share with you a couple finds. First off, here is the post that Esquire dubbed "The Geekiest in the History of the Internet," a dissertation on the human-versus-elf percentage in the lineage of Arwen from the Lord of the Rings (Liv Tyler played her in the movie):

"...Arwen is actually less than 20% human. Rounding up her lineage is
Teleri 53%
Noldor 17% (all elves 78%)
Vanyar 8%
Edain 19%
Maia 3%
This assumes that Nerdanel was a Noldor, Turgon's wife was a Noldor, and Nimloth was a Teleri."

Got that? Good, 'cause this next one will make your head explode. These are the original lyrics to the Star Trek theme song (you know, the one with the ululating soprano who kicked in right after Kirk said, "Space...the final frontier..."). Why didn't we ever hear these lyrics, you ask? According to The Urban Legend Reference Pages (http://www.snopes.com), it's because Gene Roddenberry just wrote 'em up and tacked them onto the publishing rights of the original theme song in order to cut himself in for half the hefty financial pie of the original composer. Anyway, here are the lyrics...sing along at home:

Beyond
The rim of the star-light
My love Is wand'ring in star-flight
I know
He'll find in star-clustered reaches
Love,
Strange love a star woman teaches.
I know
His journey ends never
His star trek
Will go on forever.
But tell him
While he wanders his starry sea
Remember, remember me.

Ouch. Hurts just to READ it.

Sunday, September 25, 2005 

Meet Some O' Me Mates

So...got plenty afoot on the comics front here. Let me introduce you to a few folks whose stellar work will be gracing my words over the next year or so. To begin:

JASON OSSMAN, who's stepped in and done a kick-ass job on the last two issues of SUNDOWN: ARIZONA when our previous artist was unable to continue. Jason's got the kind of grit that brings S:A to creepy life...issue #2, his first, hits shelves real soon, and--sales willing--he'll be redrawing #1 for collection in a trade paperback.

JARED BIVENS, my old colleague from Western Tales of Terror #1, who's going to be starting up work on GAMBLING IN HAVANA--my rednecks-loose-in-Cuba crime/comedy--as soon as I can get him a script.

MAX VELATI, whose near-photorealistic style will--at long last--bring SUNSHINE STATE, my tale of a Florida vice cop in the 1980s and his detective son today, to lush pastel-and-neon life.

JEREMY BENNISON, whose ultradetailed work is going to be put to use destroying cities around the world in XL, my giant-monsters book. (Hook line: "The food chain just added a new link.")

MARTIN MORAZZO, who's going to be a big star one day, but hopefully before then he'll finish up the initial issues of THE NETWORK, my ESPN-for-superheroes tale.

JASON FLOWERS, who knocked out a kick-ass four-page story for a recent contest--if we win, I'll let you know; if we lose, I'll post the entry here. But I think we're gonna win. Now, though, he's going to be working on RIPPED, my time-travel/terrorist story. (So what would YOU do if you found yourself in Dallas on that fateful November afternoon as the motorcade was approaching?)

Not a bad lineup, huh? With any luck, this time next year I'll have a bookshelf of new work on the stands. Make your bets as to which one's gonna hit first. As always, you know where to look to track 'em all, don't you?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 

Horny Housewives and the Best Seat on the Street: Nola Recollections, Part II

Friends, when New Orleans reopens and you head to the bars of the French Quarter, find yourself a seat at one of the streetside windows. You couldn't go out and grab a greater cross-section of society than will present itself at your window--especially if there’s a good ballgame on.

I had been speaking at a conference in Lake Charles--located exactly where a bunion would be on Louisiana's bootheel--and a buddy and I stopped in New Orleans because, well, that's what you do when you're within 200 miles of the Big Sleazy. I don't know how things are now--well, I know how they are NOW, but I’m talking pre-flood--but this particular weekend, there were no direct routes (that we could see) from the highway into the Quarter. We drove off and boy, did we take a wrong turn. For about three blocks, I was certain we’d be dragged from our car or shot at any instant--and then we rounded a corner, saw a college-aged couple going at it against a building, and we knew we had arrived in Safe Tourist Land.

This being one of the weekends of the NCAA basketball tournament, we went back to Bourbon Street, staked out a streetside table in one of the bars, and proceeded to obliterate ourselves as we provided running commentary on every game, regardless of who was playing. (I remember UNC being on the screen, but that's it.) It was my mom's birthday, and I staggered down the street to find a pay phone, gave her a call, and apparently made her promise not to tell Annie how plastered I was. Saint that she is, my mother still has this call saved on her answering machine all these years later.

Anyway, at our table, we sat like kings, receiving a never-ending line of freaks, lunatics, and morals-ditching tourists. A crew of housewives from Ohio or somewhere, in town for the shopping and the Monet exhibit, came and shared a table with us for awhile, and these ladies were damn near begging for a little of the ol' Mrs. Robinson treatment. A few moments later, some guy staggered up to the window, wild-eyed and jittery like he'd been let out of a closet. And, in a way, he had--he had been let loose from prison just that very day. "Did six months for distribution," he said, and then, without any irony or a missed beat, asked, "Y'all wanna buy some weed?"

I vaguely remember a lot of images from then on out--New Orleans is kind of like a scrapbook of drunken memories even as you're experiencing it--like wandering in and out of voodoo shops, getting into an ugly shoving match with some guy over a woman I didn't even know--and who bolted as soon as things got ugly, throwing up within sight of Jackson Square, and somehow managing to drive across Lake Ponchartrain without plunging into the water.

Once again, New Orleans tattooed my brain.

And I am NEVER letting the kids go there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 

The Supreme Court Justice and the Wrong End of a Horse: Nola Recollections, Part I

New Orleans is that rarest of towns, the kind of city that imprints itself on you and doesn't allow itself to fit any mold (a word that's going to take on a whole new meaning soon) but its own. And while the French Quarter itself seems to be spared the worst of Katrina's effects, it's clear that the city has its own permanent stain, like New York and 9/11, Dallas and JFK, Memphis and Dr. King.

So here's the first of some recollections I have about the city. We start in 1994, when I was living in Memphis and Annie was still in D.C. A friend of hers--a former White House intern before that became shorthand for a kneepad joke--was getting married to the son of Supreme Court Justice Scalia. Now, Annie and I had a bit of experience with high-level Washington--remind me to tell you about the Dan Quayle Incident sometime--but this was a whole new phenomenon.

I picked up Annie just in time to head to Bourbon Street and Pat O'Brien's, where the wedding party had booked up the entire top floor for a rehearsal dinner party. The wedding party hadn't yet arrived, but we and a few other out-of-town guests proceeded to down Hurricane after Hurricane (there's an irony, huh?)

And then Justice Scalia and crew arrived, and brother, I don't care what your political affiliation is, this is a man who knows how to have a good time--and happily brings you along for the ride. We spent the next few hours drinking (a lot) and eating (not so much), leaning out over the balcony with that air of superiority that comes from knowing that the Little People down there on Bourbon Street are looking up at you and trying to place your face--'cause if you're in one of those exclusive rooms, you gotta be Somebody, right?

Then the justice and his wife left and, with a wave back at us up on the balcony, walked off down Rue de Bourbon. As we watched him plunge into the very depths of the kind of hedonism his supporters fear more than Hell itself, I started thinking--you know, unless his security guards are disguised as puking college students, empty cups, or strippers of dubious gender, there ain't NOBODY guarding that guy. And I started thinking about the perpetual razor-thin ideological margins on the Supreme Court, and, well...I wanted to save the rest for a book, but that friggin' Grisham beat me to it (see: Pelican Brief, The.)

So even though the celeb in attendance blew out, the party kept on keepin' on. As is usually the case when you've pickled your brain, the night became a disjointed series of short films. Here, we see Jay and Annie stumbling their way down the winding stairs of Pat O'Brien's. Whoops! Annie nearly stumbles into the flaming fountain. Bang—they're across the street, Jay's trying to buy a slice of pizza while Annie tugs on a guy's sleeve and says, "Y'know who was jus'here? Jussis Scalia! Inn'at cool?" Zip--it's twenty minutes or perhaps two hours later, and Annie's patting a horse's ass--no, not me, a REAL horse's ass--as she coos into what she thinks is its ear.

We made it back to our hotel, somehow, and managed to get to a majestic Catholic church carved out of the bayou in time for the wedding. The food was exceptional, but since we both felt like we'd gargled with swamp water, we stayed calm, and had a politely pleasant tourist evening in New Orleans. That's fine, though; the previous night was enough.

Bio

Jay Busbee runs Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR Blog From The Marbles, Atlanta Magazine's Atlanta sports blog Right Down Peachtree, and the Southern sports/humor blog Sports Gone South. He also writes for damn near anybody who'll throw him a buck and a byline, and he's at work on the books The Quiet Dynasty: The History Of The Atlanta Braves' Championship Run (2009, Sports Publishing LLC) and God Is A Bulldog: Georgia, Florida, And The Greatest Play In College Football History (2010, Sports Publishing LLC). Click below for more info on his novels, articles, and comics.
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