03
Jan
15

New Year’s Readsolutions! Kurt Busiek’s Superman and Wolverine The Best There Is DECONSTRUCTED

First things first: Happy New Year!

As is obvious from my rigorous dedication to my craft – groundbreaking, conspiracy shattering, journalistic blogging which resonates like God’s Breath through 10 dimensions once read –  I’m the type triple-A-A-Alpha male who gets shit done. I set goals, handily beat those goals into submission, and briefly think about stealing those goals’ women before assessing them as Sub-Elevens and moving on.

This blog, and its blogger, are not so much about success as the literal translation of success – all its savory smells, pulsing tactility and liquid luxury – into the written word. Within these pages the simplest haiku transcends a mere verbatim description of the constant, grinding semi-sexual success you probably have only seen on TV or in your deepest comatose wet dreams. And I must, out of civic obligation, reserve essays and more scholarly think pieces to the “Saved but Unpublished Vaults.” Our world’s current disaster preparedness programs couldn’t handle the explosive forces of so many minds blown simultaneously. The dinosaurs, having mastered interstellar colonization, thought they could handle this type of stuff. All that’s left to show for that nonsense is a bunch of useless fossil fuels which, in reality, are just the transmogrified remains of their shocked and frightened souls.

You need welder’s goggles to read this blog.

And to write it I need balls the size of Jupiter with the density of neutron stars, a saddle forged of gleaming adamantium with sabre-toothed tiger fur padding, and a pair of spurs sculpted from Mt. Fuckin’ Everest in the mysterious shape of BLAZING NEURONS.

Check, check and check-fucking-mate.

So, as you can imagine, it’s a rare moment when I take time out of my busy schedule crushing life’s obstacles to really sit down and search my soul for possible shortcomings.  But even Superman needed a day job to force him to occasionally keep it real. He really didn’t need the gig as a cover – that was just comic book gobbledygook. What he really needed was the soulless grind of a 9 to 5 to interrupt his life’s journey to the top of Mount Par-Excellence. Walking into the office bathroom Monday morning, discovering Jimmy Olsen’s explosive, oil-painted homage to the weekend’s debauchery splattered across the linoleum prison-walls will make the greatest pause to reflect. Perry White pissed all over the toilet paper roll, Lois dumped her used tampons in the break room garbage can. X-Ray vision can not save you from these sordid surprises, and you don’t need super hearing to hear those wails of quiet desperation.

That’s what The Greats realize. Challenges hone our skills. And since the majority of our peers offer little more than window dressing in our personal, perpetual parade routes, we must challenge ourselves. That’s what makes The Greats the The Greats. That, and generations of unfettered Atlantean Eugenics.

New Year’s Resolutions are perfect for this. They only come around once a year, which is just about the frequency we ubermensch need to fiddle with our master plans. Plus, you create your own rules. Let’s be honest, who else is capable of doing a better job of creating a challenge for me? The barista at Starbucks? She never even realized that “dolphin” tattoo on her inner wrist is just a thinly disguise spurting penis, how’s she going to assess my glory?

Long story short – time is money – my New Year’s Resolution for 2015 is to read and review more comic books. Perfectly reasonable and plausible, given all I’ve just said. Yes, yes!

SUPERMAN: Back in Action (TPB) – Kurt Busiek and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. 2 out of 5 stars.

I’ve read and reviewed Busiek’s works before and it’s always been a pleasure. His style and substance is both wholly unique and rewarding. He’s a top notch story teller with a master’s touch in developing characters and theme. To quote The Bard “He doth polish yon turds.”

It’s more of the same with this sparse trade paperback. Sparse. Trade paperback. SPARSE. Busiek takes what should be a turd – Earth invaded by intergalactic Auctioneer who steals landmarks and superheroes with the standard impunity while spitting satirical jargon and interacting with slapstick cohorts – and turns it into a tropical smoothie. It’s not his standard gourmet meal but, hey, it’s pallatable, and it’s decent filler material which rises above the mediocrity it was destined for.

Busiek’s trademark inner monologues, realistic dialogues and sense of introspection add a touch of depth to what should have been a bland rock-em-sock-em frag fest. There wasn’t much space, not enough pages, to turn this into a proper Busiek masterpiece, but he salvages (pun!) what he can, and gets a high enough price for it.

As a standalone story, this arc would deserve a 3 out of 5 star rating as it borders just a notch above average and is ultimately enjoyable. However, the decision to make this into a deluxe TPB, and then pad out the length of the book with throwaway vintage Superman work (while gorgeous, it certainly not essential here, thematically or logically) was a poor move. The value for the dollar just isn’t here at all, and it’s existence is unjustified. Rent it from the library, borrow it from the internet, but don’t buy this book unless you’re an absolute completionist.

WOLVERINE: The Best There Is – The Complete Series (TPB) – Charlie Huston and Juan Jose Ryp. 1 out of 5 stars.

Wow, what a s###er this is! But in a way, I guess I’m OK with it.

At least this dredged offal has the courtesy to barf all over the reader in the first few pages. It saved me a couple hours of reading, and thankfully the book was a free rental (shout out to the wifey on the surprise gift, I owe you one!). It’s just garbage man. The publishers could have discovered a 1980’s preteen metal head’s collection of peachy-folder artwork and classroom doodles and released them interchangeably. This stuff reminds me of when a lot of comics were just DUMB stuff produced to fill slots on metal grocery racks and nothing more.  I’ve had a better time reading the backs of straight to VHS horror film boxes than this. Check out some photos:

wolverine the best there is

As grown men who wrote and drew this panel, the authors have much to be ashamed of…

wolverine the best there is

This beautiful piece gathers the Holy Trinity of shitty juvenilia in one panel: Sophisticated Takes on Alcohol Consumption, Severed Goblin Head and Swarm of Flesh Eating Mice-Rats. 

My back issues of Deadworld and Gore Shreik are ashamed for me.

06
Sep
14

DROPPINGS: Art Spiegelman’s Maus reviewed in 10 pictures, 30 words, and one emoticon.

 

 

 

 

——————————————————mausONE01

 

“Hiss!”

 

 

 

 

——————————————————

mausONE02

 

“Oh my…”

 

 

 

 

——————————————————

mausONE03

 

“Human greed…😦 “

 

 

 

 

——————————————————

mausONE04

 

“Look at me!”

 

 

 

 

——————————————————

 

mausONE05

 

“History’s POWERFUL histrionics!”

 

 

 

 

——————————————————

mausONE06

 

“I taste ham.”

 

 

 

 

——————————————————

mausTWO01

 

“Human beings defy easy stereotypes!”

 

 

 

 

——————————————————

mausTWO02

 

“Underground credibility.”

 

 

 

 

——————————————————

mausTWO03

 

“Look at me! PART TWO.”

 

 

 

 

——————————————————

mausTWO04

“Will we never learn???”

21
Aug
14

Review of Jorge Luis Borges – On Mysticism | The Philosophy of Self-Destructing Ideas

Xul Solar - Jorge Luis Borges artwork

Xul Solar – Jorge Luis Borges artwork

 

Jorge Luis Borges’ writing is single minded, driven, and uncompromising.   It is the fumbling of heightened senses, the near-mad scramble of an accomplished polymath demanding sacramental alchemy from his words. It is exacerbation, a skyward launch seeking the velocity to escape the jail of physics.  It is hot blood trapped in cold bodies, flight with clipped wings and sideways staircases.

All ideas are unsustainable, destroying themselves when expressed. One could go blind to see the sun but, most importantly, what is blindness? And, ultimately, what is the sun? Borges is enormously self-conscious of this dilemma, and these works are his attempts at taking the reins. It’s a tough problem, explaining the nature (and non-existence) of time! Intellect is an important tool for the task but, as Borges writings subtly express, a resigned sense of humor appears to be the only recourse. Man’s submission to his flawed insignificance is inescapable.

To summarize while introducing: man’s existence and biological reality can’t explicitly translate the ideals constituting reality. This is fact. This is our fundamental struggle, which permeates our essences.

Borges realizes he can’t jump over, sneak past, crawl under, wish-away, transmute, much less destroy, this hurdle. What can Borges do? Realizing the futility and imperfection of the solution, he nevertheless writes his way through the implications. This vigilance to craft, steeped in physicality, is our hope – our proxy to circumnavigate Nature.  He devises a diabolical solution, which is no solution at all: Time (thus our Reality) is both infinite and non-divisible – and thus non-existent. Enter the Paradoxes. Famous labyrinths, simultaneity, spherical spaces, gods made of birds made of gods made of birds, words made of TIGERS made of words, and even simple dusk-lit observations are his attempts to weaponize language. Then throw those words (or bang one’s head) against the wall which is the substantive. The words themselves aren’t real, but the hollow reverberation we hear from the wall IS real. It is not the object, but what the object displaces from Reality. This is the idea. This idea is the object. Behind this Idea is the indescribable Truth.

Pure Ideas (capital I) are destroyed by the chronological nature of their expression through language. Even pure Thought, inherently successive itself, must fail to imagine the Timeless. Ultimately, if one understands the noble failure implied by this situation, one has at least begun the journey. Paradoxically, the journey is then ended?

Borges conveys this better than most, but unfortunately relies on a rigid, academic narrative style out of necessity to his task. Another sardonic irony, perfectly apt in its existence: A nebulous, implied narrative could very well immerse the reader in the actual “reality” of timeless senses (an escape from time into the feeling of the text). But so could an ordinary dream, or even a serendipitous shimmer of light on glass when the mood is right. Although Borges does chase this aesthetic in some of his short fiction, he is too obsessed with the mechanics of the Idea to ever surrender the implied to the explicit. He refuses the role of sculpture directly helming the potter’s wheel. Still, what he accomplishes is something not duplicated elsewhere in literature. It is not a perfect beauty. But his hammering attempts at classifying the unclassifiable are as successful as he himself would have allowed possible.

Editorially, this book is great. The introduction by Borges’ widow Maria Kodama is flawless. Aside from providing a framework for the reading, and the topic (Mysticism!) the nature of the relationship between author and editor is beautiful. Borges and Kodama must have shared a very special bond, for Kodama’s insights into the man’s ideas and work are concise, explanatory and effortless. It appears he, in his struggles with infinity, was blessed in this temporal existence.

11
Jun
13

START THE GEODESIC MOVEMENT

New Album to Drop 2008! Tape only! Let’s get Buckminster Fuller on this beyayotch.

Image

23
Oct
10

Zeroday Ascii #??? CRBS Nfo File

I’m not a huge fan of inversing (ctrl+i) the colors in photoshop to obtain the “notepad mode” (black text on white background) I achieved here, but I’m unsure how to do it otherwise. Pablodraw offers “notepad mode” to draw in, but not the option to save in high resolution. Acidview saves to png, but only in DOS mode (white on black). Hence, this kinda crappy conversion. It was a quick piece anyway, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

13
Jul
10

New Ascii: pLAN9 Mp3 NFO File

Well, it’s been awhile that’s for sure. I’ve been busy finishing up my degree and working my ass off being awesome. Here’s a new masterpiece. Enjoy, it’s a big-un.

20
Apr
09

HAPPY 4/20! A fundamental analysis of Smithfield Foods Inc (SFD)

I don’t smoke weed, but I am addicted to title-spam. So happy 4/20!

The following is a very simple fundamental analysis of Smithfield Foods (NYSE:SFD) I performed for a Fundamentals of Investments course. I’m posting it because I have nothing else to post. Also, maybe this will show up on some future education searches, and I’ll be plagiarized. That’s every blog owner’s dream.

Full disclosure: None.

“Any way you slice it (pun intended), Smithfield Foods appears a firm currently in bad financial shape. In the relatively low risk Meat Products industry, it is being hammered by its competition. With a negative ROE, SFD is seriously outperforming its industry. In fact, competitors within the industry are actually doing quite well, beating the S&P in both ROE and ROA. A small consolation for SFD is it’s lower margin of financial leverage than fellow industry partners. The industry is leveraged by a factor of 4, whereas SFD is only leveraged by a factor of ~3. The competition is using this leverage very profitably at the moment, whereas SFD is at least stemming the tide of blood in its losses. This lower level of financial leverage may allow SFD to turn profitable sooner, although it would also limit the levels of profits it could achieve due to leverage.
Fundamentally speaking, there may be a silver lining on the horizon. SFD’s DuPont system ratios (aside from Profit Margin) show SFD may be ready to jockey its way to greater profitability in the future. It is turning over inventory at a much higher rate than industry norms. This reflects on a higher than average ATO, and shows efficiency in production. Coupled with much higher than industry average Interest Coverage and Current Ratios SFD appears to at least have the assets it needs to operate. Perhaps underproduction is an issue the corporation needs to address.
Finally, it appears that although SFD has weak profitability (astoundingly high P/E ratio!) it’s low Market to Book makes it an attractively priced investment, if only with the possibility of liquidation. Earnings forecasts predict the entire industry will under perform the S&P during the coming years by a factor of more than 2. Given this forecasting, it is safe to say SFD is not “safe” at all, which is reflected by a very high Beta value.
So what would I recommend to an investor looking at SFD? As always it depends on situation. Should the investor be looking for the stability the industry normally affords, I would recommend they not hold positions in SFD. It is currently spectacularly under performing its peers. However, a more risk friendly investor might find SFD an intriguing option. It appears to be a company with a sound asset base and the means to grow. With it’s low market to book, it’s a particularly attractive investment that could produce substantial growth if the company “turns it around” or is taken over and liquidated.

Return on Equity (ROE) = -5.66 [Ind: 21.59, Sec: 29.29, S&P500: 18.97]
Return on Assets (ROA) = -2.02 [Ind: 5.35, Sec: 10.87, S&P500: 8.00]
DuPont System ratios:
Profit Margin: -1.30 [Ind: 4.92, Sec: 11.10, S&P500: 10.32]
Total Asset Turnover: 1.56 [Ind: 1.24, Sec: 1.07, S&P500: 1.02]
Interest Coverage Ratio: 3.11 [Ind: 0.06, Sec: 0.59, S&P500: 32.21]
Leverage Ratio: 1.11475 [Ind: 1.05168, Sec: 1.05474, SP: 1.11493]
Inventory Turnover Ratio: 5.52 [Ind: 0.94, Sec: 0.79, S&P500: 10.95]
Liquidity Ratios:
Current Ratio:2.08 [Industry: 1.33, Sector: 1.21, S&P500: 1.76]
Quick Ratio: 0.65 [Industry: 0.65, Sector: 0.65, S&P500: 1.24]
Market Ratios:
Market-to-Book Ratio: 0.56 [Ind: 1.28, Sec: 1.64, S&P500: 2.99]
Price-Earnings Ratio: 429.40 [Ind: 15.43, Sec: 15.26, S&P500: 15.66]
Earnings Yield: -10.1071 [Ind: 2.4765, Sec: 2.1098, S&P500: 8.0134]