The End of the Indie Comic Cries (or at least us listening to them)

Why so serious?

The evidence that the indie comic book scene was not redeemed by the bookstore flirtation with comics, which spiraled into a love affair, should silence the whining about the direct market that the indie scene has been repeating for years. It is time to stop the broken record from skipping and start making a new and better record that people might enjoy. The direct market will gladly sell it.

My opinion that the indie scene was not mainstream was shut down from the Warren Ellis forum in 2002. If we took the cries of the indie scene from days gone by seriously, we would have concluded that the direct market was directly responsible for holding the indie comic scene down. It was argued that retailer had some deep seeded hatred toward indie comics that prevented us from desiring to make money on those books. The bookstores, who would just listen to the numbers and not have any predispositions, would become the saviors of the indie comic scene through unleashing all the under-appreciated indie works on the masses. This would spiral the indie books into the mainstream where it was argued they belonged. The argument was that indie comics were just too mainstream to be successful in the subculture comic shops. We see that the prophecy of the masses loving indie comics just never actualized the way the "indie scene" predicted.

What time has shown is that superheroes are mainstream, Dark Tower and Buffy are mainstream, Sin City and 300 are mainstream, Watchmen is mainstream, Fruits Basket and Naruto are mainstream, and Bone is mainstream. Our Ft. Wayne store is about as mainstream as you can get by being in a mall. Despite loving the "indie" Percy Gloom and pushing it on everyone I think might like it, I sell only a few of that compared to The Killing Joke, Watchmen, or the latest volume of Naruto. Love and Rockets sits on my shelves while Buffy, Dresden Files, and Dark Tower sell ten to fifty times Love and Rockets' numbers.

I love the indie scene, but it was always ridiculous for them to argue that their work was mainstream and that it was the fault of the comic shops across this land that they didn't sell. I will sell any comic that is not pornography (a tough to define issue) to any customer that asks for it. Other comic shops share that sentiment without the prohibition against porn. It is not the retailers fault that indie books are not prospering; It is indie publishers' fault that people are not flocking into bookstores, comic shops, or on the internet to purchase their books. The publishers have failed to create for the works produced. I and my workers champion books here and there, but the indie marketing strategy of depending on the local retailers to champion their books (and blaming them for bad sales when they fail) has been proven to have never been a viable marketing strategy.

Robert Kirkman, creator of Walking Dead and recently promoted Image Comics partner proclaimed that the industry will be saved by more creator-owned work from publishers. Robert Scott, a retailer from San Diego and the founder of the Comic Book Industry Alliance, wrote a reply to that thought in which he argued that creator-owned work will not be the answer to the industry. I agree more with Kirkman with one major caveat: Top creators doing more creator-owned work will be beneficial to the industry if they are serious about producing comics on a timely schedule and continue to produce monthly books even after cashing in with Hollywood. Even books like Sin City, Hellboy, and Spawn that have not been produced on a timely schedule still bring in a lot of money. They could bring in much more if they were published in a timely fashion and perpetually like Marvel and DC do with their major properties. As a retailer, I have plenty of Batman, X-Men, and Spider-Man ongoing books to sell. They cash in when their properties are hot, continue to make books about those characters to keep them in the public spotlight, and have a decent level of quality when publishing. I do not have plenty of Hellboy, Sin City, or 300 books to sell. Purely as a businessman, I would love to have seen a monthly Sin City at the time of its peak. Dark Horse and Miller would have needed to take the professional monthly approach like DC takes on Batman for it to be successful, but it could have been done. I might still be selling plenty of that book today. Instead, the creator just rested on his laurels (a right that he has) and basked in the profits rather than creating more books to make more money and bring profit to the whole industry.

I also think that creator-owned work is better for creators than the industry-at-large. The creators are the ones who retire from the business when they land the big movie deal. The only bump we see from the big movie deal is increased sales in the collected editions of the work they completed years ago. We lose a great creator to retirement or intermittent publication because of the success of his creator-owned work in channels outside the industry. In the long run, it might have been better for the industry to have never lost a Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane, or Alan Moore to financial success. They bless us with their talents every once in a while but the comic industry would be much better off if they were blessing us monthly. I know it is too much to ask for, but it illustrates the idea that creator-owned success is better for the creator than it is for the industry.

Mainstream just means that the comic in question connects with an audience, has successful marketing, with sales to back it up. Indie usually implies that the creator just created the book he wanted to create without any target audience, any marketing plan, and the sales strategy of the book selling itself. One is commercial and one is artistic. There is nothing wrong with having both in our industry. It is just tiresome to continue hearing the artistic crowd complain about the failure to have success after success. I will continue to order indie books that I like and others that I don't like but think will sell. In the end, the "indie" publishers need to take seriously the business principle of marketing if they ever want to be successful in a economic sense rather than just a creative sense.

And one final quick note, the most mainstream comic that a publisher could publish right now would be a Harry Potter comic book. That would sell insane numbers. I wouldn't like the book because I do not like the novels, but it would be great for my business and for the industry.

Flashback - My Thoughts from 2002 on Superheroes being mainstream

***This was spurred on by some of the anti-superhero talk in the Crossgen discussion. It is also in response to all of the anti-superhero talk in this forum. I find it kind of funny that there is so much anti-superhero feelings when Warren Ellis has created Planetary and Authority, written Stormwatch, and been involved in various other superhero projects.****

Superheroes do have broad mainstream appeal. Look at the success of movies like Batman & Spider-Man and TV shows like Smallville. What did better, the movie adaptation of Tank Girl, From Hell, Mask, or Spider-Man.

The problem with the mainstream and comics is not superheroes. My non-comic book friends don't like the medium. They'll go and shell out $8 to watch a Spider-Man movie, but they won't buy a comic book or graphic novel.

The hatred, within certain comic circles, of superheroes seems kind of silly. People are free to like what they like and shouldn't be looked down on because of it. The elitist attitude of many on this board is very disturbing and is the reason, I feel, that many people stay away from comics. They are declared ignorant by the elitist comic reader for what they enjoy. Most people don't like being viewed as inferior by others.

I can see it now. A person is intrigued by the Spider-Man movie and visits a comic shop to buy a Spider-Man comic, but some superhero hating retailer or customer tries to convince them that they should be reading some better comic rather than the one they want to buy. Whether other comics are "better" or not is not the point, as a retailer, we just want to give the consumer what he/she wants and lead them on to areas of more enjoyment. We want someone to leave happy and come back for more. This usually happens by giving them what they want, not by trying to convince they want what we like.

This came up in a Smallville thread I posted in a while ago. I criticized the fact that DC didn't have anything that was Smallville related in the comic book medium. Others suggested I should try to get the people that come into our store into other titles that are similar. If someone wants Smallville; that's what they should be able to have. FYI, I will try to sell them something else since we do not have Smallville comics, but Smallville comics would be the easiest and the most appropriate push.

The movie industry has its finger on the pulse of what is popular in America. Within the movie industry, we can observe the same elitist attitude. The elitist movie crowd tears down the popular movies and all the people who enjoy them. However right their opinions may be, it is not the best attitude for the industry. They proclaim that people are not intellectual if they don't enjoy the obscure movies that they enjoy. The movie medium has reached a point where it can tear one another down and still survive. The comic industry is not there yet.

What are the comics that we are trying to promote as more appealing to the mainstream? Think about this. We think Vertigo is mainstream. I definitely don't. Movies of the Vertigo nature and style don't do all to well in the mainstream movie world. They're relegated to a few copies at the local Blockbuster and usually way below top 10 sales at the box office after the first week. Not at all what I would consider mainstream.

Comics need to reevaluate themselves. But I feel that what the elitist says is appealing to the mainstream really isn't. Rather, those comics would be appealing to their elitist movie buddies, not mainstream at all.

Do we really want to be mainstream? Do we want to have to produce crap like Independence Day, Titanic, Free Willy, and the such. Do we want to see an enormous influx of adaptations of movies, novels, and anything else that is popular? Here is what is popular in the box office (top 10 list from right now: Minority Report, Lilo and Stitch, Scooby-Doo, The Bourne Identity, The Sum of All Fears, Windtalkers, Juwanna Mann, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Star Wars: Episode II, and Spider-Man. Do we want to have all this in comics? Will it make us better? As a retailer, I would like it because it would make sales much better. I already sell a lot of crap that I don't enjoy. As a fan, it would allow more stuff that I enjoy to be created. But we need to really know what we are saying when we want to be mainstream. We're saying, "Give us our Independence Day. Give us many unnecessary sequels that will make lots of money. Give us crappy love stories. Give us adaptations that lack of creativity but have broad appeal." And in all that crap, the elitist would have more comics to enjoy. And I bet they would still have a "better than thou" attitude, but we would be big enough to ignore them.

Superheroes are appealing to the mainstream, and the comic industry needs to figure out a way to bring the mainstream into the comic medium if it is to prosper. This would also be more beneficial to the elitist comic reader who hates superheroes because more money in the industry would mean more side projects and creator-owned projects.

We are all free to enjoy and read what we want. And I wish we all had the freedom to be free from ridicule for enjoying and reading what we want.


These were my thoughts that I posted on after that post was removed from the now infamous Warren Ellis forum.

Marcia, one of the moderators made this reply and then canceled the thread.

36707.2 in reply to 36707.1

"Give us our Independence Day. Give us many unnecessary sequels that will make lots of money. Give us crappy love stories. Give us adaptations that lack of creativity but have broad appeal."

You already have all that. Congratulations. You have what you want. What are you whinging about?

Marcia (Editor In Chief - Sequential Tart Webzine)
Sequential Tart Message Board
...if I thought the band were mad, I was then introduced to Tony Potts, the director of this bloody mess. He was sitting in a wicker basket on the floor, wrapped in a white sheet with a Christmas stocking on one foot. When I asked him why he was holding a mandolin, he screeched "Satan!", and hit me on the shins with it.

My reply to that post:

I thought I had posted a comment worth discussion, but it got shot down. I feel it was shot down because the person disagrees. If otherwise, then I am sorry. Rather than discuss, she just prohibited future posting. All I want is a discussion on the matter. "Why aren't comics mainstream?" and "Are superheroes really not mainstream?" are two subjects I thought worth discussion. If you felt my comments were so ignorant, then why would you prohibit people from posting and ripping me apart. My initial writing was in 36702.1

My reply to her comments in 36702.2 were the following:

If we have all of the things that the movie world has, then isn't the medium that is not popular?

I don't know of any comic that I would recommend to someone who loved You've Got Mail. I'm not a big fan of that movie, but what I was saying is that is mainstream whether you like it or not. If comics want to be mainstream, then they need to have crap like that.

The comic book adaptations that come to my mind are some Anne Rice novels, Hitchiker's Guide, Transformers, and G.I. Joe. I know the Transformers and G.I. Joe are some of the bestselling comics in our stores. They might be crap, but so are many of the movies that keep the movie industry open. We're located in malls so we encounter non-comic readers regularly.

The only gratuitous sequel I can think of is Dark Knight Strikes Back. If you can think of more, then please say them? I understand that the current comic book structure doesn't lead itself to sequels. That was what I was getting at.

I hope this doesn't get the prohibitted posting label, but if it does I won't let the door hit my @$$ on the way out. All I want is for the comic book industry to be successful. If a discussion on why comics aren't mainstream followed by our actions won't bring us there, then what will? And what do we mean by mainstream? And if the Warren Ellis forum isn't an appropriate place for this discussion, the where is?

Obama's Pick Shows Lack of Confidence?

The analysis is out all over the web that Obama's pick of Biden to be his VP shows his lack of confidence.

First, I must state that Biden did not increase my chances of voting for Obama. It might have actually push me even more toward McCain. Second, the Republicans had talking points against any of the possible VP candidates, so I take what they say with a grain a salt. People like Hannity and all of the other talking heads on the internet were already attacking Biden on Friday night before he was officially announced. I found it interesting that all of the attackers were saying the same thing.

What I find interesting about this pick is that Obama recognized his "weaknesses" and found somebody out there who would strengthen him in those areas. The Republicans claim that it shows a lack of confidence. If selecting someone that is strong in the areas you are weak in shows a lack of confidence, then all great leaders should have a lack of confidence. My problem is that I preferred Obama's "weakness" over Biden's "strength" when it comes to foreign policy.

If I have an area that I am weak in and could hire someone that is better than me in that area, I should hire the better person to help me out. That is what creates a successful business. If I was egotistical, I would hire someone inferior to me so I could feel good about myself all day. Good managers surround themselves with people better than themselves. This selection shows that Obama is wise and willing to listen to others for advice. He is not scared of surrounding himself with people that are better than him. That is an asset, not a weakness. There would not have been any VP that Obama could have selected that the Republican attack dogs would not have been unleashed on.

Blade Runner - A Movie Dialogue

As with all of my thoughts on movies, this one contains spoilers.

Blade Runner
gives us a Christ figure that pokes out someone's eyes to kill them; what a messed up movie. I really enjoyed the film until that scene: Roy, the head of the cyborgs, poked out the eyes of Tyrell, the creator of the cyborgs. From there, Blade Runner turned into a suspense thriller with a ham-fisted Christological figure shoved down our throats. Roy eventually sticks a nail through his hand, ala Jesus on the cross, to live a little longer and teach Rick about freedom. This happened during an overdrawn out chase sequence in which the superior Roy was violently playing around with Rick Deckard, the blade runner.

I guess I just missed the point of the movie or it did not connect with me. The story seemed to be about slavery in which the slave (or the robot) teaches Rick Deckard, the blade runner, how to be free. As Rick was hanging off of a ledge, Roy said, "Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? This is what it means to be a slave." Then Roy saves Rick from dying. How noble of Roy after he killed his creator by poking his eyes out.

Blade Runner, released in 1982, pictures a future set in 2019 that is far from what it will be, but movies about the future always tell us more about the present in which they were made rather than the future they show. The problem with this movie revealing anything about the 80s is that it was such a convoluted movie that I do not know what it was saying about anything. Who are the slaves? Am I a slave? Who were the slaves in the 80s? How do I help the slaves? Obviously, I shouldn't kill the slaves.

The ending was great for setting up a sequel that never happened. We do not know if Rick is a cyborg. We do not know whether he will be successful in saving Rachael, his new cyborg friend, from being killed by another blade runner.

The movie was entertaining but it did not provide any meat to chew on.

Entertaining: 4/5
Inspiring: 2/5
Ethical Thinking: 2/5

The Olympics I want to See - Swimming-inspired Track and Field

Last night I stayed up and watched Michael Phelps. Once again, he won a gold medal. In the end, he broke the Olympic record by winning eight gold medals. Very impressive.

Watching swimming made me think about the arbritrariness of these races. Years ago somebody no longer had to swim away from people killing him and had too much time on his hand. So he came up with decorative swimming like the breaststroke, the butterfly, and the backstroke and declared that he or she wanted to see who was the fastest swimmer using these methods. No longer was it important to just be the fastest swimmer from one point to another. Now the swimmer must do it in a unique way.

I thought I would try to spice up track and field by using the same approach to discovering the fastest people on land. Feel free to suggest better events.

First off is the worm crawl. Who is the fastest worm crawler on earth? Would could even spice this one up by having it done on different surfaces. We could have a worm crawl race in which they start out on dry ground, move to sand, then mud, and finish it up by falling off a ledge ten feet into a pool of water. I would love to watch it.

The next event is heavily influenced by the backstroke - the backwards run. Who is the fastest backwards runner on earth? Now that is a slogan that would keep the viewers attention.

I'm am struggling to come up with a solid third one to create good relays like they have in swimming. All I can come up with is the one legged hopping race. This one could be done by people with just one leg or by people using only one leg.

With these three events, we could then do a relay. First leg could be the worm crawl, followed by the one legged hopping race, then the backwards run, followed by normal running as fast as you can. The track and field medley if you will.

On another note, one swimming event I would like to see that they do not currently do is to see how far someone could swim underwater while holding their breath. I bet you used to do that with friends when you were younger.

Finally, I cannot even believe that trampoline is an Olympic sport. Wow is all I can say to watching people jump up and down on a trampoline as sport. I thought about spicing that event up too. We could combine it with running. If we create a giant trampoline the size of a football field, line up 100 people on one end zone and have them race as fast as they can, at the same time, to the other end zone. They would be bouncing off one another in Olympic glory. It would be great. Did I mention that I would also like barrel-sized holes position frequently throughout the trampoline? That would be Olympic fun.

I'm looking forward to the next Olympics where they implement some of these new variations on the already existing sports. Remember, these might be unusual but I am sure the breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly were unusual when they first began.


You can read the true origin (as long as the person that put it on there wasn't lying) on Wikipedia.

Butterfly Stroke


No origin listed on freestyle or the backstroke.

A Brief Overview of Obama and McCain's Discussion with Rick Warren at Saddleback

I just finished listening to the discussion of Obama and McCain with Rick Warren at his church. What a great experience. American politics should always be framed in a format like this. These two hours left me with the feeling that either guy would make a good President. Sadly, the nature of American politics will attempt to destroy this feeling by the time I have to vote. At this point, I would be choosing between two candidates that I like. I have not had that experience since coming of age in this nation. I can't recall ever having a candidate to vote for that I liked. It has always been a vote for the one that stinks the least. Unfortunatley, they will both hammer on each other until I enter that election booth in November to make me dislike both of them. But I will try to remember this moment and focus on their positives rather than dwell on the negatives of each of them.

Obama's theme throughout the night was the verse that he quoted in which Jesus stated that what we do for the least of these we do to him. Obama said that he would lower the taxes of those who make $150,000 or less (obviously excluding those who do not pay taxes) and will "modestly" raise the taxes on those who make over $250,000. He emphasized this by stating that if we really believe in getting kids a better education, having good roads, helping people get college educations, and to stop going into debt, then we have a responsibility to pay for the expenses that we feel we must have. He shined the most when he shared that the moral failure of America has been that we have become selfish and do not bless others. His emphasis on us being selfless was very inspiring.

McCain was much more likable than he has been. For me, he hit a homerun. Depsite not having a consistent theme throughout his answers, he did give the answers I wanted to hear. He emphasized that he is pro-life. Although my research does not conclude that, I will take his word that he is now. We'll see by who he chooses for vice-president. His emphasis on school choice was refreshing. If federal policy pushes for vouchers, then many cities will see a vast improvement in their depressed educational situations. The most striking moment of his discussion was when he emphasized that Bush should not have told people after September 11th to go and consume. Instead, Bush should have told people to go and join the peace corps, be missionaries, and love the world. Great stuff.

Warren challenged each candidate to establish a fund to save the world's orphans by helping people who cannot afford adoptions to receive the money they need to adopt. What a great idea! Obama did not give a firm affirmative but it seemed like he was for it. He emphasized that we would have to link it to policies that would also help prevent situations that create orphans. McCain shared the story of how he has adopted a kid from overseas, also without giving a firm affirmative.

Warren irked me in phrasing his question about war in asking what is worth dying for because that was not he was really asking. He was being very Orwellian in asking what is worth killing for. There are many things worth dying for. As for killing, I will leave vengeance to God. I will focus on loving my enemies, loving my neighbors, and everyone in between. Some man wiser than me once said that.

He also emphasized throughout the night bringing civility into the political arena. We need to stop demonizing those we disagree with. This evening that he created was a great example of that. In the end, I hope this format catches on and replaces the ridiculous debates that have been central to campaigns in the past. This was a refreshing breath of fresh air in a putrid political environment.

Some Terrible Reporting

Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian throws away medal in Olympic hissy fit

A Swedish wrestler throws down his medal on the podium during the awards ceremony because he was upset about a decision that caused him to lose his match. True, it was bad sportsmanship, but I wondered throughout the article whether he was justifiably angry. The reporter never touched on that.

What the F...Fairness Doctrine?

The Fairness Doctrine is the dumbest idea ever. And this comes from a guy who thinks that Rush Limbaugh is one of the most illogical people on the radio and would not mind if he was off the air, so I am not arguing on behalf of right-wing talk radio hosts.

A recent survey shows that 47% of Americans are in favor of a fairness doctrine on the radio and on television. Unbelievable. The last thing I want is for the government to force constraints on commentators and have them decide what viewpoints are appropriate for me to hear. I cannot even believe that legislation like this is even debated in America. Nothing good could come of it, yet 47% of Americans think it is a good idea? Baffling.

What the Fairness Doctrine would mean is that we would have to hear both the Republican and Democratic side of every issue. How convenient for the establishment. If every show would have to be like Hannity and Colmes, it would help alleviate any third view from entering the public forum. The political debate would always be dictated by the two parties.

Take Michael Savage's recent fight against the government allowing a Dubai company to manage the American ports. His view would not have been allowed on the air because it was against both the Republican and Democratic position on the issue. Every view does not nicely fit in Republican or Democratic language. Some issues have three, four...fifty different viewpoints. It should not be up to the government to decide if a viewpoint was adquately represented on the air.

What would this mean to the internet? Would I have to find some fellow American to write opposing viewpoints to every political post I make? Would they silence me if I did not want to participate in their silly games?

Welcome to America, the home where they make us think we are free. We have a lot in common with the "free" people in China.

Begin to Pay at the Pump

My old routine of buying a donut and a coffee or beef jerky and a pop has been squelched by paying at the pump. With the increase in gas prices, gas stations saw an increase in drive-offs. This increase led to most gas stations making us pre-pay inside or use a credit card at the pump before pumping our gas. Now that I am forced to pay at the pump, I do not go inside and use my credit card for a measely additional purchase.

I have a solution to make everyone happy. It's what I call "begin to pay at the pump." This might need some new technology, but the reality is that gas station owners do not make much money (or any money) from selling gas. The oil companies make a good profit, but the local retailer does not get a cut of that. The retailer needs the additional purchases at their convenience store. By instituting pay at the pump to decrease drive-offs, they also decreased one of their most important revenue streams, the small impulse buy from the person paying for their gas.

With "begin to pay at the pump," I would be able to slide my credit card at the pump, then I could go in, pick out the items I want, and finish the purchase at the register. This way gas stations would sell more, and I would be able to waste money on my little treats once a week. Win-win for everyone.

Starting Facebook

Josh has been sending me emails and asking me to join Facebook for a while. I finally did. What a freaking waste of a lot of my time. I like it.

A Strange Bush Picture and Phelps' Diet

Wow, I just cannot believe that a man can consume 12,000 calories in one day if it isn't in liquids. Unbelievable. Phelps eats a whole pizza for dinner and a pound of pasta for lunch followed by another pound at dinner. That guy is amazing. After the Olympics are over, I want to see him take on that Japanese hot dog eating guy.

And this picture from the Olympics made me laugh.

Finally a quick thought on Georgia and Russia. I thought Russia said they would withdraw, but the invasion just keeps happening. Anyone know of a relief agency that is helping Georgia? I hate war.

A New Type of Internet Browser

In the world where Mozilla is making millions of dollars of profit through Google searches, I propose a change in the browser model. No longer should the company that provides the browser make exorbitant amounts of money off of the users using and buying off of the internet. Rather than just some company lke Mozilla, where the CEO makes $500,000/year, acquiring all of the profits, the profits would be shared among the programmers, users, testers, and charity. Despite the lack of evidence for any browser besides Firefox, I am sure that all of the other browsers out there are also pulling in the dough for providing those search boxes built into their browsers. It is evident that every time we buy through the search box or click on ads after a search, the browser manufacturer makes money.

I propose a shift from corporate browsers to a browser made by the people and paying the people. I am not the guy to bring this browser revolution about since my techie skills are about limited to me posting words on the internet, but it would be nice if I was actually profiting from my use of the internet rather than some company out there. There are a lot of bright techie guys who actually participate in coding Firefox and other browsers for free because they think they are doing the public a service when they are actually padding Mozilla's pocketbooks. In this new system, they would be compensated for their work. Instead of Mozilla making millions of dollars and not compenasating the open source community, coders would actually receive a portion of the company profits. 10% of the money earned would go to accounting to administrate the payouts, 10% to the programmers and testers, and 10% to charity. This would be an actual non-profit rather than a non-profit like Mozilla that squeaks by just to insure that they retain non-profit status.

What this browser would do is cut the user a check for 70% of the earnings made from them using the internet, a cut of the money that all of the browsers are already earning. The earnings would compile in an account until the payout was significant enough to warrant a payout. No longer would the money earned by us using the internet be given to some massive corporation; it would be given back to everyone who has earned it.

So someone, please start a people's browser. One that actually pays the open source community, cuts the user in on the profits made off of him using the internet, and makes the world a slightly better place.

News Roundup - Russia, Georgia, Obama, McCain

I find the different take on the Georgia-Russian war from Pravda to be an interesting take on the whole affair. Instead of Russia being the villain like our media portrays, the headline reads "Russia: Again Savior of Peace and Life." In a great example of unbiased reporting the article goes on to read: "After having offered a cease fire in hostilities, the back stabbing Georgians immediately violated the cease fire, invading South Ossetia and causing massive destruction and death among innocent civilians, among peacekeepers and also destroying a hospital." The leading opinion piece is entitled "The two-faced, underhanded foreign policy of Georgia." I love journalism that calls someone "back stabbing." If it wasn't so serious, I would have had a good chuckle. Okay, I had a good chuckle anyway.


I am confused by McCain's latest attack commercials. McCain fails to tell me why I should vote for him. All he is doing is trying to tell me why I should not vote for Obama. Is that all American politics have become? I need to vote for who I dislike the least.

Also, I do not know if I agree with the message in the latest attack ad. It says that Obama wants to raise taxes and increase government spending, which will lead to less jobs. I do not see the correlation. Maybe some economist will come along, or someone who wants to act like an economist on the internet, and explain this all to me. It makes me want to pursue a master's in economics next. It seems to me that the money the government would receive in taxes would be funneled back into the economy, which would create jobs. This seems especially true if the taxed money would have otherwise been spent on overseas products or used by a company to expand their business overseas. True, it might not be pure capitalism to tax more, but it also might produce more jobs. It just depends on how it will be spent.

I think my election decision might come down to who they decide to be their running mates. That is usually an insignificant decision, but I think it will tell a lot about how they will be as President. It will also show me what McCain's stance on abortion really is.


China does not have communism; they just have a dictatorship. One of the cheesy NBC stories that featured on Yao Ming just shared how he donated two million dollars to some Chinese charity. In true communism, no individual would have two million dollars to donate to anything. China has never experienced communism. They just have a socialistic system that produces wealth for certain groups of people.

Morgan Freeman's Top 15 Grossing Movies

Upon the recent news that Morgan Freeman was in a car wreck and in serious condition, I went and checked out all the movies he was in because he has starred in some of my favorites. I quickly discovered that he has also starred in some stinkers.

Here is a list I compiled using an inflation calculator to find out the top fifteen grossing movies that Morgan Freeman has been in.

1. Dark Knight
2. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
3. Batman Begins
4. Driving Miss Daisy
5. Deep Impact
6. Sum of all Fears
7. Se7en
8. Wanted
9. Million Dollar Baby
10. Evan Almighty
11. Bruce Almighty
12. Unforgiven
13. Outbreak
14. The Bucket List
15. Along Came a Spider

Good movies that did not make this list:
Lean on Me
Shawshank Redemption

It is strange that Se7en is the seven highest grossing movie he has starred in. Shawshank Redemption is a must see for all of humanity.

My prayers go out to him for a quick recovery.

The Lack of Grace in Baseball - Guillen on ordering pitchers to hit batters

I just read the following story, Ozzie admits to ordering past retaliation, in which manager Ozzie Guillen admits the truth we all knew, managers order pitchers to hit batters.

All I see is a vicious cycle that needs some grace. One batter is hit, a manager orders a retaliation by one of his pitchers, the next manager orders a retaliation for the retailiation until pitchers are hitting batters every time certain teams meet.

Just play the game. Quit hitting each other with pitches on purpose. This is another case, although minor when compared to some of the ridiculous antics in other sports, of men acting like children. "You hit me so I am going to hit you" is so middle school.

This isn't the only time that baseball has behaved childish. It's just as ridiculous when managers charge the field and yell at the umpire. That behavior is not something I want my children to see, and no grown man should act that way. I teach my four and six-year-old to not behave that way; you would think a man of fifty years or so would have learned not to behave that way.

Thank God for the Tony Dungies and the other manly coaches who don't resort to yelling and violence. Just because these guys are blessed and get to play a childhood game for a living doesn't mean that have to behave like children.

Rainbow Light Disguising Aspartame in their Food-Based Protein Energizer

I just thought I would post a letter my wife wrote to Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems in regards to them disguising aspartame in their Food-Based Protein Energizer.

Here is her letter:

Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems
125 McPherson Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Attn: President

August 1, 2008

Dear President or CEO,

I recently purchased your Food-Based Protein Energizer. I was so excited to find a product with no dairy, soy, or sugar. It could have tasted like mud, and I would have still been thrilled. But better yet, it actually tasted pretty good. I had done what seemed like a considerable amount of research before finding this product. I was even more pleased that it contained not just protein, but also vegetable juices, healthful herbs, spirulina, and stevia.

After using about half a jar, I looked at the ingredients again. I noticed some of the amino acids (as increasing my amino acid intake is my most important goal) looked suspiciously like aspartame in disguise. After some more investigation, I have decided that even if these were not included in the form of aspartame or for the purpose of sweetening, they are not something that humans should be consuming. I am just very disappointed that I already have consumed them. And I am more disappointed that my initial hunt for a healthful, terrificly designed protein shake lead me to your product and your product only.

I have read other reviews of your products, and yours was a brand I trusted. I do not understand why a company who is apparently committed to helping others gain health would include massive amounts of excitotoxins in their products. I am sickened at the thought of it.

If you decide to revise your formula, please let me know so that I can consume and recommend your product with a clear conscience.

Thank you.


My wife

Here is a link of information on aspartame that she referred me to. The dilemma here is not that they included aspartame. It is that they included aspartame, tried to disguise it, and pass it off as a health product when most people in the health community would not knowingly ingest aspartame.

The latest McCain ad

No lengthy commentary to the latest McCain attack ad. I think the McCain camp is just slinging mud and seeing which theme sticks.

Personally, these ads are making me want to stop being undecided and vote for Obama, but I am going to wait to see who they choose as their VPs. Although, a continued barrage of attack ads might make me just dislike McCain so much that I will not want him to lead me no matter who is his VP.