Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I ♥ Pro-Wrestling

Owen & Bret Hart. My Two Favorite Wrestlers

I can't when it happened, but I know how. Like many others I was stricken by an unexplained epidemic known as Hulkamania. It made me drink my milk, take my vitamins, and believe a balding man could surpass the most villainous of individuals. Pro-wrestling in the 1980s was like a comic book. Fancy spandex costumes, beautiful women, towering giants, ruthless villains, and patriotic heroes fighting for good. there were immovable objects, men who soared in the air, and musclebound individuals of unmeasured strength. It had comedy, drama, and tragedy. Wrestling was larger than life and that appealed to me as a kid.

Now I was an on again, off again fan. Tuning in, dropping out with the trends of World Wrestling Federation(now World Wrestling Entertainment). As with most wrestling fans in the USA WWE was the one option. There was World Championship Wrestling but it wouldn't be until the mid-90s when it would gain the same footing on television as WWE. Now, I watched in different periods of time and once I was hooked beyond just the story lines and characters, but with the talent and skill I was hooked in tight. This was in 1997 as I discovered wrestling was larger then the WWE.

In high school I had my eyes opened to the kind of talent outside WWEs walls. From the intensity, diversity, and craft that wrestlers applied to their work in WCW over to the underground. In the underground you had Paul E. Heyman take a small outfit called Extreme Championship Wrestling and radically inspire the larger promotions with more violence, serious story lines, and more adult themes. Also I was introduced to Japanese Wrestling, puroresu, which featured less story lines and gimmicks and more emphasis on the wrestling. Watching the likes of Kawada, Misawa, or Kobashi perform showcases wrestling as a sport. Not to be outdone the Japanese junior heavyweights like Jushin Thunder Liger and others could put on top quality pro-wrestling. They treated wrestling like a sport and the fans and critics acknowledge it as a sport in Japan.

Wrestling is both sport and theater. Yes, matches have pre-determined endings and portions are scripted, but these are athletes perfomring a physical exhibition. They had to train, hone their bodies, learn the skills to do what they do. A great wrestler is the kind who constantly improves and tries harder to top thier last performances and make themselves more noticed. This is where theater comes in, as ring persona, charisma, and even a gimmick make it theater. Watching a match is like reading a story, there is a beginning, middle, and an end. Building action, to a climax and a resolution. When the wrestlers click, and perform to their capabilities Smarks call it psychology, I call it good wrestling. However, wrestling mainly boils down to a number of athletes attempting to showcase a physical competition to entertain a live audience and hoping to keep them entertained and hopefully, excited throughout.

I like the promos, some story lines can really entrance me, and there are good gimmicks but I love the athleticism and action of pro-wrestling. Seeing these men and women go out and perform in the wrestling ring is why I tune in. I want to be gripped, thrilled, amazed, and have a reaction of joy, heartbreak, or anger. That's what makes a good wrestling match. Plus, the business side of wrestling and the dedication involved makes me admire anyone who would seek this as a profession. I guess in the end it might be a little hard for me to explain exactly why I love wrestling so I'll just quote Jesse Ventura here: Wrestling is a ballet with violence." Wrestling is my ballet.

Commonly Confused Words Test Score

English Genius

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You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

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Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Monday, November 27, 2006

RIP Dave Cockrum

On my birthday, yesterday, I swept online briefly and I read the sad news that one of the X-Men's biggest contributors, Dave Cockrum, passed away. Now, I love the X-Men but because of my relative youth I've only been able to really start with reading through older issues thanks in part to Marvels wonderful Essentials Collections. These black and white, phone book, cheap reprints allow simple Joe's like me to get a glimpse of how some of the masters worked.

Cockrum, in my eyes, is second only to Chris Claremont in terms of impact on X-Men. Cockrum created Nightcrawler, initially for Legion of Super-Heroes, as well as Mystique and the Starjammers. Not to mention having a hand in the creation of Storm and Colossus as I'm sure he's created many other characters in his career. Cockrum penciled the issue that would revitalize the X-Men, Giant Sized X-Men #1, which relaunched the book to success. He would work on the title for a few years around their period that John Byrne penciled.

I won't lie and say Cockrum was my favorite X-Men artist, but his work definitely grabbed me and dazzled me inside the pages of X-Men. I think his second stint on the title was his strongest. The first meeting between the "new" X-Men and Doctor Doom was a great story. The battle between Magneto on his island and the return of the Starjammers were to other stories I really enjoyed. I wish I could have seen more of his work and I hope that Marvel and DC do some reprints of this mans incredible work for the younger generation of comic readers can discover. I'd appreciate one of those Showcase volumes with his legion of Super-Heroes work. Make it happen DC!!!

I just want to give my condolences to all his family and friends. Cockrum was a great artist and its sad he had to go. But his work will live on to inspire future creators and fans like me.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Evil Music I Enjoy Part 1: Ministry


Brief History
In part one of a multi-part series looking at bands I love, or loved, and giving you my opinion on why I like their music and what it means to me I decided to start with a band that I am, as of right now, making a special three part Mix CD compilation to: Ministry.

Brief history tells the story of Al Jourgensen, a Cuban born American musician. In Chicago, Illinois, which was to be the spot where industrial music was to explode in the counter culture scene, he began Ministry as a New Wave band. First on the Wax Trax! label which was the top indy label for industrial music acts for a period of time and eventually he ended up at Arista records. Around this same time Al, along with members of EBM forefathers Front 242 were in a project called Revolting Cocks. But internal problems left Al by himself. Al hooked up with Paul Barker of a group called the Black Outs and the two, along with Bill Rieflin and Fini Tribes Chris Connelly took over the mantle. Revolting Cocks(RevCo for short) was hard industrial band with a tongue in cheek country music flair. Al invited Paul to be his chief co-writer for Ministry.

Ministry went from a new wave group to becoming the fathers of American industrial music. Mechanical drum beats, precision metal guitar, pulsating bass, and loud screams. Their first album from Warner Bros. owned Sire records was an album that rolling Stone included on its list of the top 500 albums of all time, "The Land of Rape & Honey." The two and their collaborators including Bill Rieflin, Chris Connelly, Duane Buford, and others would go on to work on both Ministry and RevCo. In 1992 Ministry achieved some level of mainstream success with "Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the way to Suck Eggs" thanks in part to their single Jesus Built My Hotrod with Butthole Surfers Gibby Haynes and a series of music videos that made it onto Mtv. The group also made an appearance into the Steven Spielberg movie AI in the Flesh Fest scene.

The band released a few more albums and Paul Barker left Ministry in 2003 leaving Jourgensen to develop an almost more hardcore/speed metal outfit.

My Interest In Ministry
I had heard of Ministry as I began my interest in industrial music. Growing up black I had R&B and some rap around but I wasn't able to connect as, I guess, I was an angst filled teenager. but Metal for the most part didn't work but industrial grabbed my attention. The factory sounds and ability to experiment without ever losing that distinguishable quality in their own sound helped.

Though I heard of Ministry it wasn't until a VH-1 program entitled Top 100 Bands of Hard Rock that I really heard them. Listening to the members of Green Day and Living Colour speak on the band, the images, and the clips of the music which were able to combiend heaviness and catchy rhythms without an element of pop caught my ear. My friend burnt me a CD including Jesus Built My Hotord and I was taken away by the tongue-in-cheek humor of the lyrics as well the aggression and craft that the song included. The entire album of Psalm 69 was brutal but lacked what I hated about Metal: the bloated pretentiousness. The excess darkness and humorless attitude. Ministry was band about the darker side but weren't afraid to throw in the dancier drum beats, keyboards, horns, and southern vocals.

Though I am a newer fan I feel a little sadden by Jourgensens current work. More straight forward but too hardcore for me. Still, as my friend says, bad Ministry is better then most music. If you're interested, check out Greatest Fits. A collection of singles including a song with NIN Trent Reznor from the 1000 Homo DJs side project. Al and Paul had many other projects besides Ministry and RevCo. Though I liked RevCo the best.

Favorite Albums from Ministry & RevCo

Ministry-Psalm 69

Minsitry-Filth Pig

Ministry-The Darkside of the Spoon

Revolting Cocks-Beers Steers & Queers

Revolting Cocks-Linger Fickin' Good

Videos For Your Amusement

Ministry-Jesus Built My Hotrod


Revolting Cocks-Crackin' Up

Friday, November 24, 2006

Marvel Comics Unresolved/Altered Storylines

There's a great thread over at the Newsarama forums about unresolved threads lingering about in the Marvel Universe. Being an X-Men fan there are some that do raise my eyebrow. So let me just quote a big section of them some posters mentioned.

Magneto and Exodus's parting of views.

Magneto fighting the Shadow King.

Sebastian Shaw disbands the Hellfire Club because a mysterious shadowy person told him so and that the time has come. Next time we see Shaw, the Hellfire Club is still around hunting Machine Man. What happened?

Sabra's quest to capture Magneto.

What the hell connection Astra had to Nightcrawler.

Who the hell brought Fabian Cortez back to life?

Who was the voice talking to Magneto during Magneto: Dark Seduction?

Mr. Sinister being infected with the Legacy Virus?

What the plan that Genoshan magistrate had for Magneto?

Was Adam X a Summers?

How in the hell Holocaust was turned back into his human form then when back appearing in Exiles couldn't do so?

What happened to Bastion or the mysterious Trask who helped run Operation Zero Tolerance from the shadows?

Why the hell this said Trask was so damn interested in Magneto er.. Joseph?

Was it ever explain how Rogue got her powers back?

Where is Destines Diary's?

Why did Marrow live the X-Men?

Makes me wonder, being an X-Fan. But having jumped around so much and now back tracking old stories through Essentials I hope, or not, to read the stories where these plot lines were first introduced.

There's also some about Spider-Man and the opening to New Avengers.

Also, over at Comics Should Be Good Blog, there's some information on the original intent behind the characters of Mr. Sinister and Gambit. The bits about Sinister are very intriguing and I wish it would have happened like originally planned but as for Gambit, eh, I could care less about that character.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


So I'm chillin' with old school KMFDM grooves playing, awaiting food and family. So, what am I thankful for?

My mom.

My bro.

My close family.

My friends. The few I have live in person, as well as my Internet buddies.

My comics.

My CD collection.

My fav wrestlers for keeping me entertained.

My job, even though I hate it, for keeping strapped with some cash.

What I'm not thankful for are idiots. On a recent article over at Newsarama spotlighting what comic artist Ethan Van Sciver, his wife Sharis, and kid do for charity an inconsiderate person said the following: "Charity is ok for me, but the most important thing is to make sure the comics arrive on time. Stop helping the poor and go back to your drawing table."

The selfishness of people sometime really annoys me.

Hmm... maybe I should update that wikipedia entry.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Comic Day 11/22/06

Today, comics were released.


I got the latest 52, Action Comics, and Runaways. Sadly, Diamond shorted my LCS copies of Wonder Woman. Moving the wait up to, what, even longer than necessary? I also received my package from Mail Order Comics. Gotham Central Vol. 4 as well as the latest issues of Checkmate, Dr. Stranges new mini, Green Arrow, American Virgin, and the first issue of Superman Confidential. I split costs to save money, picking up trades or certain books I like, but don't love, at a discount this way. Starting next month I'm sticking to monthly packages early and with my job I decided to cut some stuff right out before even sampling it. Oh well.

At the beginning of next month I'll put up a list of my favorite purchases from November. After I officially have everything.

Oh, and expect some decent posts soon. Reviews, thoughts, more incoherent ramblings.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Simple Introductions

My name is Carl Towns. This, is my blog. Why do I have a blog? Because I was informed that every ten people in the United States have a blog and it was my turn. That, and it gives me a reason to just ramble and rant on about trivial stuff only me and various geeks find important. Sadly, I'm sure those geeks go to better blogs than mine.

But enough of that, lets get down to some basics about me.

Q: Favorite Novel?
A: Enders Game by Orson Scott Card. I don't read too much outside comics so that wasn't a hard pick.

Q: Favorite Comic Book?
A: Teenagers From Mars by Rick Spears & Rob G. Great book, picked it up after a bad day of work and really made me feel good.

Q: Favorite Writer?
A: Grant Morrison.

Q: Favorite Artist?
A: For the record, I rarely buy comics for creators. But if JH Williams III, Frank Quitely, or Ross Campbell does art I'll take a glance.

Q: Favorite Movie?
A: I've probably seen the He-Man movie more than any other flick. but I'll go Clockwork Orange here.

Q: Favorite Director?
A: Easy, Akira Kurosawa.

Q: Favorite Actor? Actress?
A: Jackie Chan because that man has made more entertaining movies than any other actor as far as I'm concerned. As for actress... I'll go Kate Winselt because of Heavenly Creatures, Eternal Sunshine..., and Finding Neverland.

Q: Favorite TV Series?
A: Ooh, um... hmmmmm... South Park, Daria, and Invader Zim. I do like Sopranos, Scrubs, Shield, and a handful of others. Right now I'm enjoying Heroes, Ugly Betty, and Veronica Mars.

Q: Favorite Anime? Cartoon?
A: American made cartoon series would be either Daria, South Park, or Invader Zim(yep, those again). Movie wise Incredibles, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, and Heavy Metal. Anime series I like include Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Early Ranma ½, and Serial Experiments Lain. Movies range from Akira and Perfect Blue to Project A-Ko and Kikis Delivery Service.

Q: Favorite Band? Album?
A: PIG-Praise the Lard. Amazing project, unique album.

Q: Favorite Song?
A: I'll stick with PIG and Praise the Lard, the songs entitled Sweet Child.

Q: Favorite Wrestler? Tag Team? Match?
A: My all time fav is Owen Hart. I watched him as a kid and was so devastated when he died. His match against his brother Bret Hart at Wrestlemania X is my favorite match of all time. favorite tag team would go to the brief few months when Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit were beating people up.

Okay, hows that for an intro?

Friday, November 10, 2006

About Paris Hilton

Paris Whitney Hilton (born February 17, 1981) is an American socialite,
heiress, media personality, model, singer, author, fashion designer and actress.

Hilton is best known for her appearance on the television series The Simple Life, her several minor film roles (most notably her role in the horror film House of Wax in 2005), her 2004 tongue-in-cheek autobiography,[2] her 2006 music album Paris, and her work in modeling. As a result of several legal incidents, Hilton also served a widely publicized sentence in a Los Angeles County jail in 2007. She is also known for her controversial appearance in a sex tape in 2003.