Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009

For all intents and purposes, 2009 was a damn good year. This year, I witnessed friends welcome their first children into the world, witnessed other friends getting married, and witnessing still other friends getting engaged.

This year also saw the inauguration of President Barack 'In over his head' Obama, and the start of major political annoyances brought on by the self-important hack and his dim-bulb democrat allies. But remember that God is still fully in control as always, and knowing this should give one hope that the next decade of this still-new century won't be all that bad.

2009 (for me) was the best year since 2005. All in all, it was a great year to end a decade with...

Until 2010, auf wiedersehen.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Message for America

To all you politically-correct, multicultural morons with a 'social conscience':



As this gutless country staggers towards oblivion, I will continue this year (and every year) to ignore every instance of 'Happy Holidays' that reaches my slightly mishapen ears, and tell the speaker in turn, a 'Merry Christmas'.

So ha! Choke on it!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent Rising

Today marks the first day of the Christian season of Advent. And now that Thanksgiving is over, the only remaining legitmate holidays in 2009 are Christmas and New Years. So you know what, America? You can shove your 'Happy Holidays' and your 'Seasons Greetings'. I have neither time or patience to shoehorn in any P.C. nonsense in my daily life. So if you say 'Happy Holidays' within a week of Christmas, I'll just nod in acknowledgement that I heard what you said and then take my leave. I don't want to dampen your 'holiday spirits', but if I happen to do just that, I'm not going to apologise.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A New Golden Age (VI)

Whoa, a double-header! I set a new record for myself that will be nigh-unbreakable! Two blog posts in one day, er, night (though it's more of a book review, as you'll find out)!

Continuing with the comic BOOK theme from the last post, this post is about a new compilation of children's comics during the golden age of comics (1939-1960) titled Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics, edited and selected by one of the modern cartooning greats, Art Spiegelman and his wife Francoise Mouly. (Note: I don't like Spiegelman and I don't care for most of his work, but just because I DON'T think he is great, does not mean that he is NOT. I hope things are clearer now.)

Anyway, this book was published in September and contains DOZENS of stories ranging from one-page gags to 20 page tales, and all are quite good. Several of the best craftsman of the golden age are represented in this tome--Sheldon Mayer, Walt Kelly, John Stanley, Carl Barks among others well-known and not-so-well-known.

The primary criterion for the selections (per the book's forward) were that each story were kid-friendly/appropriate. Having bought and just finished reading this book, I concur. It even contains short bios of each writer and artist, and is divided into five sections:
'Hey Kids!' (stories starring mischevious children); 'Funny Animals' (my favourite section, featuring Donald Duck, Screwball Squirrel, Pogo Possum and Albert Aligator, and others); 'Fantasyland' and 'Story Time' (involving new twists with familiar fairy tale characters and original, twisted tales involving oddballs like 'The Pied Prince of Pretzelburg'); and 'Wierd and Wacky', which in my opinion has very interesting though perhaps stories that are a little too bizarre for the littler young readers.

All in all, I believe this book was inspired in large part by the spate of golden-age comic strip reprint collections hitting the literary marketplace in recent years. And finally, I have to say that all prejudices aside, this is a most worthy book that could belong in pretty much anyone's library.

A New Golden Age (V)

Don't worry, I'll keep this feature going even though I'm the least prolific blogger in all of Western Civilisation. So here goes.

Due to specific request, and because it IS appropriate, I'm going to include certain select comic book series in the ANGA blog posts. First up is Tintin, the boy reporter and his appropriately-nomikered dog, Snowy. I first stumbled upon Tintin books in the local library in 1995 and became hooked. For me the summer of '95 was the summer of Tintin reading. (And POGs, but that's a different story...)

Tintin was created in serialised form by the Belgian cartoonist, Georges Remy--more commonly known by his nom de plume "Herge". (Pronounced 'Air-zhay', this word signifies his two initials, R and G, as they are pronounced in French.) Herge's first Tintin adventure, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets was published in 1929.

Over the next few decades, Herge would take readers around the world as they followed Tintin and Snowy (and later other regularly recurring supporting characters such as my personal favourites Captain Haddock and the bumbling look-a-like detectives--Thomson and Thompson) on several mysteries and through several perils. Locales included Scotland, Tibet, Egypt, beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, and even on the moon!

The later adventures appeared further and further apart from each other; for instance the last three adventures were published in 1963, 1968 and 1976 respectively. In 1983, Herge passed away, leaving behind a solid position as one the premier European comic book writer/artists, and a superb collection of 23 books. The books themselves are still in print and are easily found in large bookstores and online.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wir feiert der Ende der berliner Mauer

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was yet another milestone in the breakdown of the Soviet Bloc in the years 1989-1991, but one of the most dramatic. The destruction of this wall symbolised what would soon become the latest incarnation of Germany--a single democratic nation instead of a European version of the Korean peninsula.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan admonished Soviet Premier Mikail Gorbachev to 'Tear down this wall'. And on 9th November 1989, the German people tore it down. I remember watching this event on the evening news while playing with my Ninja Turtles toys. (I was 7 then, so it was okay.) Within a year, Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and German Demokratic Republic (East Germany) united, ending 45 years of separation between two disparate economic regimes. So Germany left the 20th century the way it had entered--as one nation.

Yes, German Heritage Month has been over for nine days now, but this blog's author is compelled to applaud the Fatherland one last time as this decade limps to a close.

Einigheit und Recht und Freiheit (Unity and Justice and Freedom)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gumby toon

And now for something completely different (that I found on youtube):

For some reason I can't post the actual video here. Just copy and paste, it's easy enough...

[And by the way, Pokey, it's 'dove' not 'dived'. And yes, even Indians get lost sometimes...]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A 'nothing special' day of obligation

As assistant to the regional manager at ACNS's corporate headquarters, I'm obligated to wish Lucas a Happy Birthday today. There, it's been said. By the way, another thrilling (yawn...) installment of 'A new golden age' is forthcoming, so stay tun-

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A shout out to Shout! Factory

As I was visiting Lucas' blog, I happened to look up and notice the Crow T. Robot figurine that is permanently perched on my monitor since last November. This made me consider how fortunate fools like me are to have a great company like Shout! Factory allowing fine episodes of the late, great show Mystery Science Theater 3000 to see the light of DVD laser. Thanks Shout! Factory. Godspeed.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Cat Named Steve

I admit it: I sold out. What was once an independent property has now become a subsidiary of ACNS Enterprises Ltd. That said, my latest blog post (this one doesn't count) can be found on the aforementioned blog bearing the namesake of one of felinedom's more unhinged specimens.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A New 'Golden Age' (IV)

This is my first post in a while, and I noticed that some cobwebs have gathered on this blog. I left them alone on account of Halloween coming soon.

Anyway, in honor of National German Heritage Month, this special edition of ANGA will feature The Katzenjammer Kids. Wunderbar!

This comic is the oldest surviving comic strip, meaning that new strips are being produced. The comic was created in mid-December 1897 by German immigrant Rudolph Dirks. The principal characters included two misbehaving (and non-identical) twins Hans and Fritz; their rotund mother 'Mama'; der Kapitan (the Captain); and der Inspektor (the local truant officer). The Captain and the Inspektor were often the victims of the twins' malevolent pranks, and usually the comic ended with the twins in tears after a spanking. (Mama was usually oblivious to her sons' impudence.) But sometimes the twins put their cunning to practical use against actual antagonists who would bully the twins' foils--just to show that Hans and Fritz weren't beyond redemption, I'm guessing. That, or to provide a change of pace and a much-needed break for der Captain and der Inspektor.

In 1912, Dirks went on sabatical to pursue other hobbies for a time and returned to find that he had been replaced by another German-American cartoonist, Harold Knerr. William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate and Dirks' boss refused to give Dirks back his job, and a court battle ensued. The issue was settled where Hearst kept the strip (continued under the steady hand of Knerr), whilst Dirks kept the characters but had to use another title, The Captain and the Kids.

Thus in 1914, Hans and Fritz lived under two simultaneous incarnations for the next 65 years. Jeez.

World War I broke out and in 1917, all things German became verboten. (Stupid America.) As a result the Germans of the strip became Dutch until 1920, then reverted back to Deutsch.

Dirks continued to work on The Captain and the Kids with his son John, until Dirks' death in 1968. Knerr continued to work on The Katzenjammer Kids until his death in 1949, after which followed a succession of artist/writers up to the present day. Meanwhile, The Captain and the Kids lasted until the end of 1979.

Both are first-rate comics, and I'd like to point out that Harold Knerr to his credit (and through no fault of his own becoming Dirks' replacement) had superb talent and mimicked the style of Dirks admirably. He even introduced a mini-comic strip called Dinglehoofer und His Dog in 1926. But the dog was named Adolph (!) and was replaced by a dachshund named 'Schnappsie' in 1936. This was a good comic in and of itself and ran alongside Knerr's comic until 1953, a few years after his death.

Here's a comparison of Dirks (below) and Knerr (also below, but then some):

It's comforting to think that the strip still lives on (if a little mediocre), but it's confounding that in the midst of this great era of comic strip reprint collections being steadily churned out by several publishers, that not one is reprinting (or has yet announced) any reprint at all of either The Katzenjammer Kids or The Captain and the Kids. I can only slowly shake my Teutonic head in annoyance and resignation...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tag der deutschen Einheit: 3. Oktober 2009

Today is the Day of German Unity, when everyone of German heritage is reminded of the Fatherland that is theirs.

I thought it best to include this 2001 song by the German group Die Prinzen. I don't like this band, so I made sure to find a video containing the music without the stupid images that accompany the original video.

[I couldn't post the video for some reason, so copy and paste the following address in your browser: ]

Thursday, October 1, 2009

German Heritage Month

Gruess Gott! Today marks the start of October, which marks the start of German Heritage Month. (It's also Italian Heritage Month, or so I'm led to believe. Which is awesome--that covers 2/3 of the Axis Powers! Right on, paisan! :] )

That said, this is the month where I will get anything German-related blog ideas out of my system. But note that not every post during this month will be German-related. This simply means that come November, there won't be much said about Germany or anything that smacks of German-ity posted on this sorry blog. Except for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9th November. I can't just let that go by unnoticed...

Bis dann!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Eine neuer Aera fuer Deutschland

Today has marked a great victory for the German people in their own country. This victory was not the struggle between Germany and the nation it has been antagonising (yes, that was a sarcastic comment), but rather the decent German voters over the idiotic German voters. For today, Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany and leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union, has claimed victory along with its brother party, the Christian Social Union, and its new coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party. The CDU/CSU's old coalition partner, the Social Democrat Party suffered a glorious defeat at the polls, indicating that Germans are wary of socialism--which we are in danger of having in the (not so) good old USA.

What makes this victory even greater is that the German people (by and large) refused to be intimidated by the warning it had received from Al Qaida, due to Germany's role in the Afghanistan War. By not changing governments, Germany has shown that it does has some backbone after all, unlike Spain, which caved in to terrorist threats during its 2004 general election.

Being of German lineage, I take pride in the old country today and pray for the success of Angela Merkel's new government, which I believe is well suited to lead Germany through the rest of 2009 and into the next decade. If only we were so fortunate to be rid of the leftist morons in our government, as well.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A new 'golden age' (III) (for realsies)

Alright, I've made up my limited mind and decided to go with Krazy Kat for this week's blog post on the comics of yore. Sorry to end the suspense.

Krazy Kat started as bit player as the family cat in George Herriman's zany strip 'The Family Upstairs'. (Sounds kinda creepy, now that I think of it.) The titular family was never shown, and always caused grief to the strip's protagonist, the head of the Dingbat family. Their cat appeared in a miniature strip at the bottom of the page, along with a prickly mouse named Ignatz (apparently the pet of the family that lived upstairs). In 1913, Krazy and Ignatz were given their own comic strip and The Family Upstairs faded into oblivion.

Krazy and Ignatz were joined by the new antagonist, 'Officer Bull Pupp, the constable. And a new, bizarre triangle was formed. For you see, Krazy was in love with Ignatz, who hated her; he often threw a brick at her head, which Krazy took as a sign of affection and always enjoyed getting hit with a brick now and then. But Officer Pupp was fond of Krazy, so he usually made life miserable for Ignatz by throwing him in jail at every opportunity. What kind of nutso world was this?! And the setting for all this was the southwestern American desert.

The American public didn't like it all that much, though the publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, who owned the syndicate, loved it. So it stayed until Herriman's death in April, 1944. History has been very kind to this comic strip, as several in the industry have regarded it as the greatest comic strip ever made. I disagree as it's not one of my favorites, but I do like it, still. And Fantagraphics (them again) has reprinted every Sunday page from 1925-1944, and is now preparing to publish three more volumes covering 1916-1924's Sunday pages (which were printed years back and now out of print).


Sunday, September 13, 2009

A new 'golden age' (III, sort of)

Readers, I haven't come up with a new post topic (but I guess THIS counts as a post), because I haven't decided to write about Krazy Kat next, or Gasoline Alley next, and the fact is that I'd rather listen to 80s music on iTunes right now (I don't have an iPod). I'll get to both eventually. But I thought I owed both of you an explanation.

[With that said, I'll retire this 'low readership' running joke. That kind of humor has been done time and again by the likes of Bob Hope and Jack Benny, et al. (Maybe some of you have heard of those guys...) And if such a joke rears its ugly head again in the future, I assure you it's because I will have forgotten about the pledge I made in this blog post.]


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Quick announcement

This just in-- I've decided to take a decidedly less cynical tack with the posts that I post and will only post positive things for a while, lest I become labeled as a curmudgeonly young man by all three of my readers.

That said, I would like to wish the Blessed Virgin Mary a belated yet reverent birthday greeting:
O most holy Mother of God, we offer unto you our thanks and devotion, in commemoration of the blessed day of your holy birth. We humbly ask you to wrap your mantle of protection around us, your unworthy children who are so prone to straying from your Son's flock. And we ask that you please intercede for us and our loved ones, so that we might all be united in God's divine Kingdom at the end of all things. Thank you, dear Mother. Amen.

Next, I would like to announce that the comic strip post series will continue. I will post the next blog entry this weekend, as I haven't decided which series yet to write about. So stay tuned.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

'Ad' Nauseum

The sickening hype that surrounded (and still does) our idiot president has been rubbing off on similarly disgusting trends as of late. Take, for instance,'s main web page:

Amazon's head honcho Jeff Bezos (more like 'Bozos') quaintly addresses Amazon visitors as "Dear Da Vinci Code fans". (More like "Dear moronic fans of crappy writing"--ok, I'll stop. Especially since my own writing frequently brushes up against that same level of quality and even strays into it.)

If you must read the tripe that is churned out by Dan Brown, consider reading it for free at your local library or at any bookstore. That way, Dan the blasphemer won't collect another royalty that he probably doesn't deserve.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A new 'golden age' (II)

Last time, I had discussed Prince 'Not so' Valiant. That didn't go over so well, so this time I'll discuss Popeye.

Popeye was created by cartoonist Elsie Crisler Segar and started as a bit character in the comic strip Thimble Theater in mid-January 1929. He was originally intended to be a briefly-important walk-on character, mostly amusing due to his deformed features. (First appearance shown here: )

What he did was take over the whole series by 1930. And in 1931, Segar created his next best character, J. Wellington Wimpy, who was well-spoken and polite yet shamelessly sponged off anyone for food. (I think everyone knows someone like this in their life.) Here's a particularly fine (and gruesome example):

During the 1930s, Thimble Theater became one of the finest newspaper comics due to its potent blend of bizarre characters, sharp writing, zany humor, quirky artwork, and often suspenseful plot threads. I can't think of any comic strip that has been like that, before or since. And I know enough about comics, so just take my word for it... And in addition to that, on Sundays, Segar wrote and drew a smaller companion strip to Popeye titled 'Sappo'. It was about a short guy with a fat wife who later acquired a mad scientist as a tenant. Here's a sample of that here:

Popeye's creator, E.C. Segar, died an early death in late 1938 of a liver disease. As such, his work didn't really have the chance to go into a period of decline, or 'jump the shark' as almost every other comic strip has. The Popeye comic strip eventually did decline years after Segar's death and still continues today under the mediocre hand of Hy Eisman (as you can see here: )

Fortunately, the best years of this comic have been preserved and resurrected. In late 2006, Fantagraphics published the first of a six-volume series that covers the complete run of Popeye as written and drawn by Segar. I've seen the first 3 volumes at Joseph Beth Bookstore. Check it out if any of you happen to drop by there. (... That's what I thought I heard...crickets. No really, I hear crickets chirping outside my office window...)

Popeye is better known for his cartoons, which can be acquired as public-domain released DVDs that one can pick up at almost any drugstore. But I'm not here to talk about cartoons. I'm here to talk about comic strips. There is a VAST difference...

And as far as I know, Popeye is not affiliated with Popeye's Chicken restaurant chain.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Fine, I'll write another damn post...

This post is about Ted Kennedy.

First off, I'm just going to say that I'm glad that he is gone. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say! And another thing, the fact that so many people--stupid garden-variety liberals and moronic Republican politicians among them--regard him as a tragic hero from a tragic family demonstrate how far into stupidity this once-great land has sunk. Senator Kennedy was a rabidly pro-abortion, tax-happy political hack and doesn't deserve mourning aside from his family.

And now he has faced, or is still facing, or has yet to face his judgment in the hands of a stern yet just God. I guess we'll find out where exactly he went after we enter the Gates of Heaven.

I just had to get that out of my system. The next post will be a little more light-hearted, if that helps.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The New Translation

Right. So I've heard on Sacred Heart Radio (740 AM) about the developments of the soon-to-be-revised English text in our missals. According to Rich Leonardi (I'm pretty sure it was him, but do correct if I'm wrong), these changes will be taking effect around 2011. I'd prefer it come NOW, but I should thank God and the Pope that it is coming at all.

This event appears to be part of a trend among Pope Benedikt's post-Vatican II reforms. (Vatican II needs reforms badly, but I won't get into that right now.) One such example to be revised in our regular mass is when the priest says: "The Lord be with you", and the pious(?) in the pews respond "And also with you". Only now--er, soon--the response will be 'And with thy spirit'. So it should more or less resemble the English translations that you will find in churches that offer Tridentine Latin masses.

Another correction that I look forward to is changing the Nicene Creed from 'We believe...' to 'I believe...' This is an important distinction. Granted, the present way makes logical sense, as we recite this Nicene Creed in unison with our Catholic brethren. BUT. It is vital for us to say such a creed on behalf of our respective selves, as forming a personal bond with Christ is of paramount importance to our spiritual evolution and our ultimate redemption. Community is important, and we are to support all of our fellow believers one way or another. But God does comes first in our lives as He should always. (Well said--I should really put that last sentence into daily practice in my own life, though all too often I don't...)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A new 'golden age' (Part I)

...of classic comic strip reprints. (Please be advised--This is serious Nerd Territory. I know I promised to discuss scooters in the last post, but that can wait until Fall.)

In 2007, many reviewers, bloggers, workers in the graphic arts industry, and simpletons came to the conclusion that a new era of comic strip reprints had arrived. By the dawn of that year, several classic comic strip reprint series were now beginning to see (re)print, joining some titles that had begun in the past 2 years; in addition, several new reprint titles were being announced, and continues today.

Now that you know the premise, in this new series of blog posts, I will discuss various different comic strip projects and explain the significance of the strip in question. Sure, the Sunday comics of today pretty much suck (except for Dilbert). Marmaduke is drawn with what seems to be a distressingly shaky hand, and the dialog is nothing to write home about either, unless it is about how much said dialog sucks. Even Garfield is but a shadow of his formerly cynical self. (Check out 'Garfield Minus Garfield' here-it's an improvement: )

So the first subject in this blog series is 'Prince Valiant'. Sounds like a goody-two-shoes loser, doesn't he? And he kinda looks like one, too--here's what he looks like most of the time:

But in Volume 1 of Fantagraphics' second go-around at reprinting the entire 45-year run of the comic, young Val (as the narrator refers to him) has been nothing short of ruthless in his adventures, killing his enemies outright and with a purpose. It's complete with grisly humor as Prince Valiant makes snarky remarks in the vein of James Bond, as he kills a particularly bothersome bad guy. I've only read the first complete year (1937), and I am hooked. Volume 2 comes out Spring 2010 with the years 1939 and 1940, so I'm pacing myself. But I read slow, so it kind of works itself out...

If you're curious, here's an example. (Pay particular attention to panels 3, 6 and 7 to get my drift.)


Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Idiot-in-Chief: Part I in a series

Good evening. After starting a blog a month and a half ago, it finally occurred to me to write a 2nd post. So, due to that, and in the meantime bowing to popular demand (okay, so someone asked a question about my blog), I've decided to post some posts about topics that will deal with religion, politics, cartoons and anything I find randomly amusing that most other people wouldn't.

So let's focus our attention on one Mr. Barack H. Obama. What a swell guy! He's going to fix our economy any day now... yep... Wait, what's that, Ohio? You say your unemployment rate is higher than the national average? And maybe you're a little bit jaded about economic recovery right now? In 2012, just be sure to make a RIGHT turn, and you might turn out better this time. If not, it's probably your own fault...

Anyway, I was reading the London Times Online and came upon the following bit of pseudo-news:

I couldn't help but laugh. That's our boy, Barack (er, Barry, rather). If you can't win by charm, try chutzpah. But it works better when you're leader of the free world. But not always, in some cases. (And what the hell constitutes the 'free world' today, anyway? The only 'free nation' is Somalia, apparently. And that's because it has no functioning government.) That's right, less government = greater freedoms.

Man, Barack. Even old G Dubs pulled better approval ratings in his first year in office, and wasn't he our worst president ever? Even when the Left wins, they end up as losers.

Well, if you read this far, thanks. If you're lucky, next time I'll write about scooters or something. You're welcome.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Finally entering the first decade of the 21 century

I won't bother with any pointless salutations at this point (though this would be THE most appropriate time to welcome all you cyber-saps to my first and last blog). That said, I welcome any criticism you might offer--be it of spelling errors, faulty grammar, lack of sensitivity or attempts at humour.

And some future blogs may or may not be in German.