Archive for the “meta” Category

Blame Sterling

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Dilbert and Garfield have a lot of things in common. They’re both massively successful comic strips. They’ve both been turned into animated series. They both have hugely profitable merchandising arms. They both found success through offering safe, relatively innocuous and uncontroversial humor keyed to appeal to as wide a demographic as possible.

So, really, there’s no need for newspapers to run both of them. There has to be a way to free up space in funny pages for something newer and more adventurous without alienating people who just want something to clip out and stick on their cubicle white-board. Which got me thinking…what if the cast of Dilbert were lazy, food-obsessed cats owned by a nerd?




Eh, that sort of works…but it still feels like there’s something missing from this equation…

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January 16, 2010 will be the 100th installment of the Paperback Book Club feature. Now, I could just rummage through my books until I found one with “century” in the title, but that’s really not fun.

So I’ve decided to ask for your favorite paperbacks to run instead.

Just send me a web-quality scan, between 400 and 450 pixels wide, along with the title, year of publication and author, along with a link to your preferred website (if any) and a brief statement about the book if you wish, at this address:
pmbpaperback@gmail.com
By midnight, Pacific time, Thursday January 14.

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Books for the pre-teen girl you don’t want confusing abusive relationships with romance.

Your best bet in this regard is going to be the Tiffany Aching series from Terry Pratchett. They start with The Wee Free Men, the story of a young girl who discovers her magical heritage when she’s got to go out and rescue some dumb boy because he went and did something stupid. The series continues with A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith, with Wintersmith being as strong an antidote to emotionally abusive supernatural boyfriends as you can get.

Video game for people who want to piss off the religious right.

It’s pretty much just going to be Dragon Age: Origins for the XBox 360. Not only can you have sex with a bisexual elf assassin, you can also have sex with a bisexual female spy. Hmmm…what, exactly, is Bioware implying about bisexuals, anyway? There’s also a Dragon Age: Origins PC version, which is the lead platform and probably plays better than the console version, unless you’re like me and are tired of having to reconfigure your PC rig every time a new game comes out.

For fans of over-wrought medical drama and snarky gay men.

Not long after they were the poncy yin to Rik Mayall’s and Ade Edmonson’s Bolshy yang, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie starred in Jeeves & Wooster: The Complete Series, a television adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster stories. They’ve got that arch, odd pace that British period shows all seem to require, so bear that in mind, but they’ve also got Fry and Laurie back when they were young and pretty.

For the person who likes Arthurian stuff but is getting a little tired of the usual tropes.

For younger readers, there is Gerald Morris’ The Squire’s Tale, a light-hearted take on the knights through the eyes of Gaiwain’s apprentice. For older readers, there’s Douglas Clegg’s Mordred, Bastard Son, about how Mordred and Lancelot became lovers. Yes, that’s right, gay Arthurian fantasy. And it’s about time.

For the animal lover.

WE3 Seriously. If the book doesn’t break your heart, Deckard needs to be alerted.

For the friend who likes comic books but doesn’t like like comic books.

Your best bet is All Star Superman, Vol. 1. Everything you need to know about the character, a story you can jump into even if you don’t know anything about the character, Morrison’s most humanistic story and the usually stellar Quitely art.

For a nerd.

I’d go with Castle: The Complete First Season. You’ve got Nathan Fillion, so while the ooh and aah because he’s one of the five actors they can remember the name of, they might actually end up watching a mystery show with some wit and clever writing.

For a mystery or horror fan frustrated with what passes for good in those genres.

I was getting really sick of mystery solving cats, mysteries that start with letters of the alphabet, yet another funny zombie novel and wimpy vampires. And then I found John Conolly’s Charlie Parker series. It starts with Every Dead Thing, but I recommend sticking with it for the next couple of books. The first book ups the gore, but the real meat of the series, and the overlap between the mystery and the supernatural elements come to the fore later. It’s also worth noting that Parker’s frequent partners in crime are Luis, a black gay Republican ex-assassin and his lover Angel. Multi-layered gay characters in a mystery/horror book that aren’t cartoonish victims? Amazing!

For a little kid you really like.

They totally deserve this totally kick-ass Playmobil Pyramid. You will win Christmas hands down.

For a little kid whose parents you don’t like.

There’s always healthy competition for this category, but this year I think the winner is the Fisher Price Splatster. It’s loud, it’s annoying, it takes up valuable TV time and it takes the place of actual artistic activity by turning it into a passive experience for the kid.

Music to Torment Customers and Coworkers Delight Friends and Family With.


Stirring and hauntingly beautiful songs.


Fantastic dance/r&b fusion.


Prog-rock that doesn’t suck.


A b-sides album. Yes, they still make those.

And, that’s about it for specific recommendations. Remember, anything you buy from here gives me a little bit of a kick-back to help me spread some joy to my friends and family, and it’s vastly appreciated by me. Thanks!

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