My Own Comic Book Guy

I didn’t like Mission of Burma, and so was unworthy.

Jeff Albertson – “Comic Book Guy” – is one of the most beloved minor characters on The Simpsons. I think it’s because so many of us have known a “Comic Book Guy” in real life: a socially-awkward comic book or record shop owner who lords over his store as if it was his own little kingdom. While they might have incredible knowledge of the most obscure comics or musical genres, they are loathe to share their knowledge with anyone, and often answer honest questions with a roll of the eyes and a sarcastic rejoinder.

Comic Book Guy
“Worst… post… ever.”

I had a Comic Book Guy of my own. I think his name was Harry, but I never bothered to learn his name, because to me he was always just “the asshole at Wax N’ Facts”.

Wax N’ Facts is a record shop in the Little Five Points (L5P) neighborhood of Atlanta. Back in the 80s, L5P was the place for hipsters to hang out. Travel guides called the neighborhood “Bohemian” or “funky”, and Wax N’ Facts was where we all bought our music.

My troubles with the Wax N’ Facts Comic Book Guy (WNFCBG) started the day after I got my first car. I got the car in the late evening, and drove it to school for the first time the next morning. I went home and did my homework after school, then decided to drive to L5P… just because I could. And, of course, I went to Wax N’ Facts to see what was new. I saw a couple of records I was mildly interested in, but what really caught my eye was a Dead Can Dance t-shirt (they weren’t common back in the day). Since this was the 80s and teenagers didn’t really have credit cards back then, I decided to return a few days later, after payday, to get the shirt.

Continue reading “My Own Comic Book Guy”

Ashes to Ashes: Season 3, Episode 6

Episode 6 begins with Alex at home, asleep on the sofa. Haunting whistling is heard as she dreams of a soccer ball being kicked down the hall of the station. She picks up the ball and stares at it.

The next morning, she walks into the station… and looks confused. Police in riot gear are everywhere, and Viv is seen telling someone on the phone that all leave is canceled. When the person on the other end of the phone asks why, Viv tells him to “turn on your bloody television”.

Alex walks into the office, where the TV is reporting news of the riot and takeover of nearby Fenchurch Prison. It seems that ten prisoners jumped a guard patrol and the rest of the guards reacted with the “speed of a spastic tortoise” (Ray’s words). Alex asks if the wing held juveniles. Gene says that it does not, that it holds the worst prisoners: “You name it, they’ve raped it, robbed it, killed it.”

Gene says that their priority is a prisoner who escaped during the melee. Viv comes in and says he needs to have a word with Gene. But before they can talk, others join in the conversation and Viv gets lost in the shuffle. After Chris describes the escaped convict, Gene says that the gang can handle that by themselves, and that he’s going for a “quick refresher course” at the prison, which is only a couple minutes away. Alex, smiling, calls him “Braveheart in Paco Robanne”.


At the prison, all is chaos. The police are pelted with roof tiles, masonry, hammers and Molotov cocktails. Viv again tells Gene that he needs to talk to him, but Gene says there’s no time to chat… “it’s playtime”. We then see the scene inside the prison, and the advancing police officers are pelted with even more debris. Gene scans the prisoners and takes a long hard look at one in particular. The police advance with Hunt leading the charge. It’s like the biggest barroom brawl you’ve ever seen.

Continue reading “Ashes to Ashes: Season 3, Episode 6”

Lucky Rusty

Rusty TorresRusty Torres, a Puerto Rican-born baseball player, was one of the few baseball players in history to deal with not one, not two, but three baseball-related riots in his career.

22 year-old Rusty made his Major League debut on September 20, 1971 with the New York Yankees. Just a few days later, Torres was playing right field when the Yanks traveled to Washington to play the Senators’ final home games before moving to Texas and becoming the Rangers. It was the top of the 9th, with one out, and Torres was in the on-deck circle. Bobby Murcer hit a ground-out, and angry Washington fans, thinking it was the third out and the end of the game, stormed the field to protest their team’s move to Texas. Torres escaped without injury.

After the season was over, Torres was traded to the Cleveland Indians. Torres had a decent, but not spectacular, couple of seasons… and then June 4, 1974 rolled around… a date known in baseball history as Ten Cent Beer Night.

As the name suggests, fans were sold all the 8 oz. cups of Stroh’s beer they could drink for only 10¢ each. And the promotion worked: 25,134 fans showed up that night, compared to the 8,000 the team had been averaging.

Continue reading “Lucky Rusty”

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-09

  • I'm finally caught up on the "Ashes" recaps… hallelujah! Too bad episode 6 is in two days! #
  • @chipvanalstyne Do you know the EXACT meaning behind the Brit slang "shirt-lifter"?? Thanks! #
  • Actual spam subject line: "Hat are your scruples to him, so long as you yourse". #
  • "I once woke up in the National Air and Space Museum with a revolver in the waistband of my jean shorts." #
  • The volume control on the BBC online video player goes to 11. AWESOME! #
  • TRIVIA: Tracey Ullman couldn't hit the "Baby!" note in her cover of "They Don't Know", so they left Kirsty McColl's original vocal in. #
  • I love how the Daily Mail's RSS thumbnails of Gordon Brown always show him eating a sandwich, sneezing, or smelling something bad. #

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I dunno if this picture is supposed to be the cover for Summer Starts Now, Katy Perry’s new album, or if it’s for the “California Gurls” single (I’ve seen different covers out there) or just a promo from her website or what, but… wowza!!

Katy Perry - California Girls cover
(Click to enlarge - ya know you want to!)

Securing Wi-Fi: What NOT to do

Quick: what do MAC filtering, disabling DHCP, and disabling SSID broadcasting all have in common? They’re all terrible ways of “securing” your Wi-Fi network. This article over at ZD Net explains:

These aren’t layered approaches; they’re more like buying overlapping warranty coverage, since any benefit against casual bandwidth thieves is already covered by real security measures. The harm is that people confuse these methods for the real thing, and they spend more money and resources on implementing the wrong security mechanisms and end up skimping on real security.

Amen! Preach it, brotha! As I’ve been trying to tell armchair security experts for years, things like MAC filtering and disabling DHCP only make hacking slightly more difficult for hackers and significantly more difficult for both guests and regular users.

Just use a long random password under WPA2-AES and you’ll be fine. I promise.

The History of the Restaurant

Inns have sold food to weary travelers for millennia. Pubs and other drinking establishments have sold munchies to drinkers for centuries. But the modern “restaurant” – a place people go to for a culinary experience, rather than out of necessity – dates back only to the French Revolution.

Like most upper classes in the rest of the world, the French aristocracy always ate only the best, and the French in particular developed high standards of quality and presentation for their food. But when the Revolution came, tens of thousands of highly trained chefs found themselves unemployed when their masters met the guillotine.

As this article at Mental Floss notes:

Aristocrats fled to the countryside, leaving behind their highly skilled chefs and the fine wines from their cellars. Suddenly, unemployed cooks and abandoned bottles found their way to the city’s eateries, and within a year, nearly 50 elegant restaurants had popped up in Paris. These epicurean temples catered to the new class of French deputies and businessmen and were featured in travelogues throughout Europe. As word of their deliciousness spread, Parisian restaurants became tourist attractions on par with Notre Dame.

The whole article is worth a read; check it out if you can!

Simm\Glenister Update

Well, there may only be three episodes of Ashes to Ashes left, but it might soften the blow to know that John Simm (Sam Tyler) and Philip Glenister (Gene Hunt) will be appearing in a new show next year:

Mad Dogs

Called Mad Dogs, the Sky series tells the story of four “fortysomethings” who go to Spain for the retirement party of an old school friend. However, as this press release notes, the party quickly devolves into a “labyrinthine nightmare of lies, deception and murder”. Another of my favorites, Max Beesley (Hotel Babylon, Survivors). also stars along with Marc Warren.

The four-part series is due to air spring 2011.

Poor Bobby!

Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox has been in baseball for almost 50 years. As you may know, Cox is planning to retire after this season, so senators Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia thought it would be nice to hold a party for him. Imagine their surprise when the caterer showed up with this:

Bobby Cocks

“Bobby Cocks”. Good job, folks!

Ya know, I can understand Shaquanda at Food Lion just not giving a damn, but you’d think that a professional caterer or independent baker would take thirty freakin’ seconds to verify the name of a guy who’s been in baseball since 1968, won the World Series, led his team to an unprecedented 14 consecutive division titles, been NL Manager of the Year three times, and holds the dubious MLB record of having been thrown out of 154 games.

Isakson’s staffers noted the error immediately, but there was not time for the cake to be “professionally” fixed. So one deft staffer cut slices out of the bottom row of the cake and deftly smeared the icing. Apparently Cox didn’t find out about it until yesterday, when the AJC ran an article about it.