Author: Mike Gold

Brainiac On Banjo #094: Nyah Nyah, Nyah Nyah, Nyah Nyah!

Brainiac On Banjo #094: Nyah Nyah, Nyah Nyah, Nyah Nyah!

Well, I went to the doctor / I said, “I’m feeling kind of rough” / He said, “Let me break it to you, son / “Your shit’s fucked up.” / I said, “My shit’s fucked up? / “Well, I don’t see how / He said, “The shit that used to work / It won’t work now.” – Warren Zevon, My Shit’s Fucked Up, from the album Life’ll Kill Ya, 2000

This week we offer a three short subjects for our attention-span impaired friends…

ITEM 1: Beware of Falling Objects

A couple months ago, WarnerMedia announced HBOMax, the ultimate Warner Bros streaming service. And the most expensive, as I noted. They consumed their first Pac-Man, HBOGo. Go? Go know… I also noted, a few hours after the announcement, that there no longer was a way to keep their DC Universe going. I certainly wasn’t the only person who came up with this analysis — it was obvious, sorta like saying “that yellow thing in the sky is ‘the sun’” — but I blurted it out faster than a speeding bullet.

However, there was some significant collateral damage. The death of DCU (which, as predicted, will see its original programming going over to HBOMax) begat a very severe round of staff-hatcheting at DC comics. After moving 3,000 miles to new “state-of-the-art” facilities — they didn’t mention which art — their parking lot now can welcome more pigeons. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #094: Nyah Nyah, Nyah Nyah, Nyah Nyah!”

Weird Scenes #101 — Everyday Surrealism

Weird Scenes #101 — Everyday Surrealism

There’s danger on the edge of town / Ride the King’s highway, baby / Weird scenes inside the gold mine / Ride the highway west, baby — The End, written by The Doors, 1967

As I walked upstairs to my Scribbler’s Sanctorum to write these words, I noticed daughter was watching a hockey game. That’s hardly unusual in this house; both of us are hockey fans and unless otherwise occupied we will watch any game that has a puck and a dearth of New York Rangers fans. But instead of nodding my head in regret, I was thinking of how surreal our times have become.

I do not believe we have ever had the privilege of watching the Stanley Cup playoff games in the middle of a workday afternoon. I’m pretty damned certain we never had new playoff games aired live in August. Hockey in the height of summer just feels wrong. To be fair, so does a team in Las Vegas, where it is (as I type) 106°. And I know for a fact that the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who dress like Doctor Fate on stakes, beat the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday night. Las Vegas, very hot. Chicago, very cold. The only thing we’re missing here is Porky Pig’s landing at Wackyland. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #101 — Everyday Surrealism”

Weird Scenes #100: Black Like He?

Weird Scenes #100: Black Like He?

I miss the old Kanye, straight from the ‘Go Kanye / Chop up the soul Kanye, set on his goals Kanye / I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye / The always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye / I miss the sweet Kanye, chop up the beats Kanye / I gotta to say at that time I’d like to meet Kanye – I Love Kanye, written by Kanye West, 2016.

You may have heard of Kanye Omari West. He is a very successful rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and fashion designer… and now, he’s a presidential candidate.

When it comes to businessmen as presidential candidates, I will say this: he is far more qualified, experienced and successful then the current clown-in-chief, President Orangeface. But he’s probably no more qualified than, oh, let’s say, you are. Or either of my cats. I’m just playing the odds here.

Don’t matter none. Orangeface has set the presidential bar so low it doubles as a sewer pipe. Yeah, West has made it onto a couple state ballots and doubtlessly will do so in a couple more — mostly swing-states, and that is for a reason.

As it turns out, major Republican campaign operators have been “assisting” West’s efforts to become our next president. You’d think they would be working for the reelection of Orangeface. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #100: Black Like He?”

Brainiac On Banjo #093: “What the Hell Was That?”

Brainiac On Banjo #093: “What the Hell Was That?”

One day I feel so horny / Next night I feel so bleh / Guess well have to take the whoppee! / along with the bleh / Each night I ask the moon up above / Why must I be a septuagenerian in love? ––Tuli Kupferberg, “Septuagenerian in Love,” from The Fugs Final CD, Part 1, 2003.

Well, this is goddamned strange. Not at all what I expected.

It’s not that I’m big on birthday celebrations. I have a hard time remembering such events; it’s an often embarrassing failing. The only reason I remember my own is because I’ve renewed my driver’s license approximately 18 times, thereby making it a habit. Well, I’ve just put my new driver’s license in my wallet – which was kinda fun because I didn’t have to break quarantine to get it — so unless something terminal happens in the next 24 hours, I turn 70 tomorrow. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #093: “What the Hell Was That?””

Weird Scenes #099: Attack of the Ninja Stormtroopers

Weird Scenes #099: Attack of the Ninja Stormtroopers

When der Führer says, “Dis war won’t last too long” / Ve HEIL! HEIL!, although he could be wrong / If you doubt der Führer, you won’t last for long / So, ve HEIL! HEIL!, still he could be wrong.” Der Führer’s Face, written by Oliver Wallace, 1942.

There’s this goosestepper in Washington, DC named Chad Wolf, who enjoys the title “acting head of Department of Homeland Security.” Some might think his job title implies he’s merely a placeholder, a guy who need not know his job because it’s only temporary. You know, just like our acting president.

Well, it’s possible that the longevity of all Trump appointments (except judges) might be only temporary. But until that magic day in January arrives, I think we’re stuck with this Wolf fool for the duration. This is because he has the only talent needed by a Trump appointee — in addition to a complete lack of morality, the law, and “knowledge,” Wolf certainly knows where to put his tongue. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #099: Attack of the Ninja Stormtroopers”

Brainiac On Banjo #092: John Lewis – The Great American Warrior

Brainiac On Banjo #092: John Lewis – The Great American Warrior

Hound dogs on my trail / School children sitting in jail / Black cat cross my path / I think every day’s gonna be my last / Lord have mercy on this land of mine / We all gonna get it in due time / I don’t belong here / I don’t belong there / I’ve even stopped believing in prayer — Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddam,” 1964

The first time I was able to have a conversation with the late Representative and true American hero John Lewis was about six years ago at the Baltimore Comic-Con. It was during set-up so the room was comparatively open and, as I was attempting to locate my booth I saw Representative Lewis behind a table. His name was on the sign behind his table — “Congressman John Lewis.” I did one of those patented Tex Avery eyeball takes.

I previously had been at the Heroes Convention at the Charlotte North Carolina Convention Center. A bunch of older white guys were walking around wearing suits that, each, could feed a family of four for three months. In the midst of that gaggle was Sarah Palin. I looked around to make sure I was at the right place because I could not believe these folks were there to add to their Funko Pops collections.

I was right; the state Republican Convention was upstairs and the comic-con was downstairs. The white men in their expensive suits looked disgusted but, to be fair, they always look that way. Sarah saw the cosplayers and beamed a megawatt smile. So you can’t say I’ve never said anything nice about Sarah Palin.

But this time, the statesman at hand was there for a comic book show. Considering he worked in Congress, seeing a couple thousand people dressed up as The Joker (including babies) was just another day at work. I approached him, he offered me a seat, and we chatted about the relationship between comic books and political organizing. It was one of those “holy crap” moments that make life wonderful.

Rep. Lewis did say I was the first to recognize him at the show. I laughed and said “Oh, just wait until the show starts.” He looked skeptical, but my prediction quickly came to pass: that was just about the only time during the show that I could see him clearly from the aisle. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #092: John Lewis – The Great American Warrior”

Weird Scenes #098: A Truly Honorable American

Weird Scenes #098: A Truly Honorable American

The goalie committed, Buddy picked his spot / Twenty years of waiting went into that shot / The fans jumped up, the Finn jumped too / And coldcocked Buddy on his follow through / The big man crumbled but he felt all right / ‘Cause the last thing he saw / was the flashing red light / He saw that heavenly light — Warren Zevon, Hit Somebody!, 2002

Statue of General Black Hawk

You may have heard that the Washington Redskins football team finally moved to change its name a mere 72 years after its founding as the Boston Braves. They played in the same park as the baseball team of the same name. When they moved to the hallowed confines of Fenway Park, they changed their name to the Boston Redskins and took that with them to Washington, DC four years later.

That would be 1937, so the response “Well, it’s about time” is way too late. The term “redskins” is and always has been an offensive term, particularly to those people who, quite frankly, should be America’s landlords.

This is going to upset some of my liberal friends, but I don’t feel the same way about the names “Indians,” “Braves,” or “Chiefs,” et al. These names are not inherently bigoted. Yes, it is a fact that there aren’t a hell of a lot of Indians employed by professional sports teams outside of India. Then again, there aren’t a lot of lions, tigers and bears earning their livings in such fashion either… any more. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #098: A Truly Honorable American”

Brainiac On Banjo #091: DC Universe … From Streaming To Sinking

Brainiac On Banjo #091: DC Universe … From Streaming To Sinking

As of this writing, which is 9 PM EDT Sunday July 12, the DC Universe streaming service is still alive. It’s home to some of the most entertaining superhero teevee programing around, in my opinion. I can’t speak for yours. But that thing coughing up blood all over your Wi-Fi is, sadly, the DC Universe streaming service. And it’s the fault of their own artistic success.

Aside from hospitals, the only place that has had a worse month than the DCU has been the White House. In fairly quick order, the service lost future first-run episodes of Stargirl to the CW, saw The Doom Patrol multicast on the pathetic HBO Max sinkhole, Harley Quinn also airing on Syfy and Canada’s Adult Swim, and is thought to be migrating to HBO Max as well. Titans remains, but might be severely undermined by DC’s new Gotham City Police show (not necessarily the final title) spinning out of The Batman movie the now filming in Europe.

Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #091: DC Universe … From Streaming To Sinking”

Weird Scenes #097: Liberals — Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em, They’re So Damn Cute!

Weird Scenes #097: Liberals — Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em, They’re So Damn Cute!

You’ll be all in clover, and when they look me over / You’ll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade / On the Avenue, Fifth Avenue… “Easter Parade,” written by Irving Berlin, 1933.

“Pull my finger…”

It’s likely that Donald Trump just had the worst June of his life. I could be wrong; we don’t know what happened to him in the summer of 1953. He could have fallen off of a runaway turnip truck. This would explain a lot of stuff that his psychologist niece didn’t write about.

The first nine days of July haven’t been any better. He was just scolded by the Supremes for arguing he was above the law. They upheld the rule of law 7 to 2, and both of his (actually Moscow Mitch’s) benchplants voted against him… again. In fact, all nine justices said the president is not above the law. I wish they were around for Nixon. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #097: Liberals — Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em, They’re So Damn Cute!”

Weird Scenes #096: The Great AMERICAN Virus

Weird Scenes #096: The Great AMERICAN Virus

We live in a political world / In the cities of lonesome fear / Little by little / You turn in the middle / But you’re never sure why you’re here — Bob Dylan, “Political World,” 1989.

I am about to propose a hypothetical. If you are the least bit uncertain about the definition of that word, or you are associated with the Department of Homeland Security or any official law enforcement agency, or if you are a knee-jerk right-winger who believes in magical thinking and that “Black Lives Matter” means you are in greater danger now than you were before police were called out for their unchallenged murder of Black people, please use this convenient link so you know what I mean by “hypothetical.”

O.K. And now for my hypothetical.

Let’s say a lone gunperson assassinates this president. Shoots him dead. I mean, red blood gushing from orange skin with a chunk of dyed-blonde hair flying into Mike Pence’s lap dead. Hypothetical, remember? The gunperson is arrested and stands trial for first-degree murder, as well as whatever other charges that give Attorney General Barr an erection.

The Accused enters a plea of self-defense.

I think that might work. There’s a logical case that can be made for self-defense. Now, I told you this is a hypothetical argument, and if you think my scenario is a good idea, I’ll add that despite the worthiness of that plea it will remain quite likely that the Accused will still get the Needle, if not the firing squad at dawn. But the self-defense argument, if made with precise, calm logic, is understandable. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #096: The Great AMERICAN Virus”