Sunday, October 10, 2004

Mishmash: The inimitable Johnny B reminds us that were the world a kinder place, John Lennon would be turning 64 today.

Yesterday our local library was holding their occasional book sale -- usually these things offer just piles of old travel guides and westerns, but I found a real bonanza of cool stuff. For a mere 6 bucks I gathered up a novel by Jonathan Lethem; one of Roger Ebert's massive movie yearbooks; an old David Bowie biography I hadn't read, "Stardust"; the way-out-of-date but amusing "Rock Book Of Lists" (lots of Vanilla Ice jokes in it to give you an idea of its age); a book of Pauline Kael's film criticism, "Hooked," (they had several big hefty Kael books but I relented and only bought one) and a funny battered paperback called "The New Comics," dating from '88 or so, that turned out to be a nifty compendium of interviews from The Comics Journal with everyone from Eisner to Alan Moore to Bill Watterson to the Hernandez brothers. A nice snapshot of 1980s alterna-comics, with amusing jacket copy written around 1986 in the height of the Watchmen/Dark Knight wave of attention: "Bam! Pow! Zap! Comic books are on the rebound!" reads a quote from TIME on the cover. I'd never seen this book before, and it's well worth the buck I spent.

Debate #2: Well, Bush did better, in that he didn't make monkey faces, but he also came off very aggressive and still too defensive for my tastes. I felt like was shouting at the crowd much of the time. By comparison, Kerry still seems reasonable, intelligent and made his case like the former prosecutor he is. I'm still not getting my hopes up, because a lot of dirty tricks are likely in the next few weeks, but I kind of felt like Bush needed to knock this one out of the park and he didn't. As a debate, the town hall formats are always interesting, much less scripted than the other format, and it was good to see Bush get some real questions thrown at him. Both candidates did a little too much speechifying and avoided solid answers -- Bush STILL wasn't able to come up with "three mistakes" he'd made, Kerry's answer to the loaded abortion funding question sounded nice but it really didn't signify much. I admired Gibson's attempt to pin the candidates down once or twice, but knew that was probably not going to happen. I still feel Kerry is giving much more detail and planning than Bush is. Bush's rhetoric feels like "more of the same," the loaded combo of fear, slogans and tired labeling he's so good at. Enjoyed seeing Kerry try to slough off the relentless use of "liberal/conservative" labeling that turns most of us in the middle off; probably his best moment of the night.

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