Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Emitt Rhodes and The Beatles

Through an e-mail from my friend Joe who lives in Prague, I was alerted to the existence of a musician named Emitt Rhodes. As much of a Beatlemaniac as I am, it's surprising that I have never heard of the man. Apparently, from what I've gathered from the Internet (greatest invention ever!) I have discovered that he put out a couple of albums with his group called The Merry-Go-Round, and then followed those up with a few solo albums before finally fading into obscurity. The first of those has been touted as a long lost Beatles album because of how it sounds. I downloaded a couple of tracks and although he does sound close to The Beatles, he really sounds closer to Badfinger, another group I happen to love.

Unfortunately, his LPs and later CD reissues are long out of print (and now very pricey), and since he has never sold very well, it is doubtful that they will reissue them again very soon. So downloading it is...sorry FBI.

Anyway, check him out. You may be surprised. I was.


Mark Arnold

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

So I saw the new "Pride and Prejudice" movie last night. It's only been made about 50 times before and has the most pedestrian and predictable love story in literature. Maybe it wasn't at the time of being published, but it is now. So, why would I see it? Well, it was a date and more importantly that Keira Knightly is very pretty, so for us males, there's a lot of visual eye candy.


Mark Arnold

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cds vs. DVDs

Why do CDs cost more than DVDs? I know there are exceptions to everything, but many new DVDs are coming out at approximately $15-$20 where as the list price for a new CD is $19! DVD contain more information usually 2-3x more and it is visual and there are more bonus features.

A good case in point is the new John Lennon reissues. "Walls and Bridges" from 1974 came out recently in a remastered version but the cost is $19 for a list price copy. The original album is about 40 minutes in length and with the extras it is probably no more than 50 minutes in length. The maximum time a CD can carry is 80 minutes.

I even saw "The Mad Show" (an obscure off-broadway show that premiered back in the 60s) CD soundtrack retail for the same $18. Who the hell cares about that?

Next is Disney's "Cinderella" (for lack of a better comparison) from 1950. The 2-DVD set retails at $30. Already a deal, but most stores sell it for around $20. I got mine for $15. Not only do you get the original movie which is aleady over an hour in length, but you get a bunch of bonus features since DVDs can carry between 2-6 hours of information, and you get to see it too.

I used to have "War of the Worlds" DVD. Then, Paramount reissued it with extras including the infamous radio broadcast from 1938. I used to have that on a separate CD. Now, they are together on the same piece of plastic.

My point is, the music industry continues to rip us off, while the movie industry is continually trying to get us more and more for the money. I tried to compare reissues of older material instead of the latest U2 album (which probably would retail for less than the reissued Lennon CD), but the result is just the same. DVDs are a much better bargain than a CD.

I would like to see the complete solo Lennon catalog issued on one or two DVDs and retail for $30 than these individual CDs for almost $20 a pop another time. I mean, how much money can you make on an old album. Most of the money for "Walls and Bridges" was made back in 1974, as it should have been, when Lennon was alive.

Or they could issue pre-programed IPODs with the complete Lennon catalog, Beatles material included.

No wonder people download things for free off of Napster-like websites.


Mark Arnold

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Looney Tunes Set 4

"Looney Tunes Golden Collection" Volume 3 came out recently with more great stuff. I just wish these Looney Tunes sets came out twice a year instead of once, and I really would like to see some or all of the following on Volume 4 which will probably come out at the end of 2006.

1. The Village Smithy
2. Egghead Rides Again
3. The Case of the Stuttering Pig
4. Porky's Hero Agency
5. Porky's Poppa
6. Cinderella Meets Fella
7. Hamateur Night
8. Porky's Picnic
9. Porky the Giant Killer
10. A Wild Hare
11. The Timid Toreador
12. Porky's Preview
13. Porky's Cafe
14. Conrad the Sailor
15. Horton Hatches the Egg
16. Fresh Hare
17. The Impatient Patient
18. Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs
19. Tick Tock Tuckered
20. The Old Grey Hare
21. Wagon Heels
22. Daffy Doodles
23. Birth of a Notion
24. Buccaneer Bunny
25. You Were Never Duckier
26. Hot Cross Bunny
27. Daffy Dilly
28. A Lad in His Lamp
29. The Bee-Deviled Bruin
30. A Ham in a Role
31. Rabbit Hood
32. Mutiny on the Bunny
33. It's Hummer Time
34. Hare We Go
35. Rabbit Every Monday
36. Chow Hound
37. Ballot Box Bunny
38. Operation: Rabbit
39. 14 Carrot Rabbit
40. Thumb Fun
41. The Hasty Hare
42. Fool Coverage
43. Southern Fried Rabbit
44. Hare Trimmed
45. I Gopher You
46. No Parking Hare
47. Bewitched Bunny
48. Beanstalk Bunny
49. Sahara Hare
50. Hare Brush
51. This is a Life?
52. Dime to Retire
53. Roman Legion Hare
54. The High and the Flighty
55. Rabbitson Crusoe
56. Stupor Duck
57. Ali Baba Bunny
58. Bedevilled Rabbit
59. Piker's Peak
60. Ducking the Devil
61. Hareway to the Stars
62. Knighty-Knight Bugs
63. Bonanza Bunny
64. From Hare to Heir
65. Wet Hare
66. Bill of Hare
67. Mad as a Mars Hare
68. Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare

Yeah I know there aren't any Tweety and Sylvester, Pepe Le Pew, or Road Runner, but it's my list...


Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Thanksgiving is one of those goofball holidays that lands on the last Thursday of November each year (unless you are in Canada where it is in October some time). It has definitely been eclipsed by Christmas in recent years where Holiday advertising and decorations start appearing the shops now as early as August each year, mainly due to our still lousy economy trying to get out of the doldrums.

Anyway, eat up and have a good day...


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

John Lennon, Rolling Stones and King Kong

They released some frustrating things today. Remember a few blogs ago I said that "Walls and Bridges" will finally receive the remastered upgrade. This was all well and good, but I didn't know that they would change the cover artwork. Previously, it was one of John's drawings, now it is one of those photos where John is wearing about six pairs of glasses.

I also found out that "Some Time in New York City" was also reissued, meaning that now all of John Lennon's albums released in his lifetime (minus "Shaved Fish" which was a compilation anyway) have been remastered and reissued. However, some of the extra crappy "Live Jam" tracks have been taken off in order to make this a single CD release. I have mixed feelings about this.

The Rolling Stones newest album "A Bigger Bang" was already reissued with some new tracks. Grrr! I hate it when artists do this. I have already purchased the new CD. Had I known that this expanded version would have come out, I would have bought this one instead.

The 1933 "King Kong" is one of those films that I have always wanted in my DVD collection. Unfortunately, it has been issued in two frustrating formats. The regular edition is in a box set with "Son of Kong" and "Mighty Joe Young", where as the deluxe edition comes in this stupid tin box, just to drive the price up. I just want the standard DVD without the other two films. Grrr again!


Monday, November 21, 2005

In God We Trust

You know that idiot out there that wanted to get "Under God" removed from the pledge of allegiance, now wants "In God We Trust" removed from the money. All I have to say to him or anyone who doesn't like that sentence on their bills and coinage, please send it all to me, as I will be happy to dispose all of that offending currency into my bank receptacle and keep it out of circulation. I am serious! Put your "In God We Trust" into my Trust, and we will both lives happier lives.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Batman Begins

Am I living on the wrong planet? Am I missing something? I just saw "Batman Begins" last night for the first time on DVD and was bored silly! Give me the Tim Burton or even the Adam West Batman anyday (and even THOSE movies are stupid).

For months, friends have been clamoring for me to see this "Batman" because it was very WELL-WRITTEN and EXCITING! I was intrigued by these comments because I usually find most Superhero-based movies (or action movies, in general) of recent vintage awful, with poor writing, poor acting, and an overabundance of computer effects. (Before you go writing me tons of hate mail, I am a fan of the two "X-Men" movies, and of the two "Spider-Man" movies among others, and felt that the Tim Burton "Batman" movies had their moments, so even though I am not a huge superhero fan, I can appreciate the genre and be entertained by them.)

Some may say that I should have seen it in the theater. Perhaps. But if you have to depend upon a movie to be in the theater to be good, there's something wrong. I saw the 2nd "Spider-Man" and "X-Men" on TV first, and I already claimed that I liked them, so phooey! The movie experience is one of imagination, so I can easily imagine that I am in a huge googolplex when I watch a DVD. I just crank up the speakers, sit close to the set, and throw a $10 bill into the toilet!

The only positive thing I can say about it is that the whole "Batman" thing was treated seriously, which is probably what true fans have always asked for, instead of just silly like in the Adam West days. It's still no "Batman Adventures" cartoon series, which is what I feel was the best representation of Batman on screen ever. And who said serious has to mean DULL?!


Friday, November 18, 2005

Best of the Beatles

Here is a CD I made of my favorite Beatles tunes. I'll pass it on to you if you
want to do the same:

1. She's a Woman
2. Leave My Kitten Alone
3. I'm Down
4. If I Needed Someone
5. You Won't See Me
6. Think For Yourself
7. Taxman
8. Good Day Sunshine
9. I Want to Tell You
10. Got To Get You Into My Life
11. Good Morning, Good Morning
12. A Day in the Life
13. Magical Mystery Tour
14. I Am The Walrus
15. Lady Madonna
16. Hey Bulldog
17. Back in the USSR
18. Birthday
19. Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
20. Savoy Truffle
21. I Dig a Pony
22. One After 909
23. Old Brown Shoe
24. Octopus's Garden
25. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Starbucks and Lewis Black

Lewis Black is a very funny topical comedian who rants and raves about
everything. One of his comedy albums is about "The End of the Universe" in which
he explains that the end of the universe must be in Houston, Texas, where they
have a Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks.

This overpopulation of certain franchises is not uncommon. For instance, about
40 miles away from my house in Northern California is a McDonald's next to a McDonald's.

Not only are there better fast foods than McDonald's, there are better coffee houses than Starbucks, so it's strange that there is apparently no saturation point for either chain.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mad Kids

"Mad Kids" #1 came out today. Does this mean that the original "Mad" was designed for adults? Hmmmm. Anyway, some of the humor is actually pretty good basically because it is more gentler than regular "Mad". Regular "Mad" has kind of veered into "National Lampoon" territory, while "Mad Kids" seems to be more like the classic "Mad" of yore (60s and 70s) where the humor was somewhat juvenile at times, but no so sophisticated that even some adults couldn't get it. It may be a hit.

Since there is no more "Cracked", I'll take anything...


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ultimate Casper Comics Collection

The "Ultimate Casper Comics Collection" is here! The "Ultimate Casper Comics Collection" is here! After a false start availability date of September 1, 2005, I finally received the collection in the mail yesterday and it is beautiful. The original black and white artwork was scanned and newly colored, giving the stories a better look than they did when they appeared originally. The era of the reprints are from "Friendly Ghost Casper" #11 through #48 or roughly 1959-1962, which is when the transition from the "It's a g-g-g-ghost!" Casper to the Enchanted Forest and his friends Casper was complete. It's a very good collection and kudos go to Sid Jacobson for actually choosing some worthy tales instead of the same over-reprinted stories from 1972-1973. Not that those later tales are bad, it's just that they have been printed over and over and over, while these earlier tales have virtually been ignored.

Looking forward to the "Ultimate Hot Stuff" and possible "Richie Rich" collections.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Upcoming McCartney, Lennon and Stones Releases

Some interesting releases are on the horizon if you are a Beatles and or Stones fan. First up is "Jenny Wren", the second single from the boring "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" album. This song is one of the better ones on the album along with "Fine Line" and "English Tea". Is it worth buying, only for being a McCartney completist as the CD single will have three previously unreleased tracks: "I Want You to Fly", "This Loving Game" and "Summer of 59".

For John Lennon, there is the 37th Lennon greatest hits compilation "Working Class Hero" (out now) for those who haven't bought these same tracks at least 12 times previously and the welcome reissue of "Walls and Bridges", leaving "Some Time in New York City" as the final unremastered studio LP to be given the upgrade, but you can buy "Working Class Hero" to get the better tracks from that LP upgraded already.

The Rolling Stones surprised me by releasing "Rarities '71-'03" in the same year they have an album of new material. You would think they would have release this in an "off" year, but hey, this is better than never. Most of the tracks were CD single bonus tracks and it is nice to finally have them on one CD. "Through the Lonely Nights", the long-missing b-side from "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" and "Let it Rock" the import only b-side from "Brown Sugar" are the true not-on-CD-at-all rarities. Too bad it isn't a double as many more hard-to-find and unreleased tracks are out there.


Friday, November 11, 2005

War of the Worlds

Paramount updated the original 1953 George Pal "War of the Worlds" DVD by adding more bonus features. This was very welcome as the previous edition only had the original trailer as an extra. Now, there were a couple of new documentaries and a couple of commentaries, as well as the infamous Orson Welles "Mercury Theatre of the Air" radio broadcast from October 1938. What's amusing is the commentary by Anne Robinson and Gene Barry. Anne just can't stop talking and Gene seems like he sporadically speaks before nodding off for a nap. I guess this is Anne's shining hour as it will probably be the only DVD commentary she'll ever record (unless they decided to do one for the 1954 "Dragnet" movie).


Thursday, November 10, 2005

History of Violence

I saw a movie last night that I would highly recommend that I honestly knew nothing about called "The History of Violence". It has Ed Harris and William Hurt in it, but they are not the main characters. Unfortunately, if I say too much about it, it gives away most of the plot, but I'll just say that it is about this man who kills these killers in his diner, is hailed a hero, but may have a secret past life that he has kept from everyone including his wife. Very intriguing and very graphic.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ringo's Greatest Hits

This one is a little trickier. I did a George Harrison career-spanning greatest hits yesterday. Problem is, for poor old Ringo, he has had a lot of good tunes, but many people haven't heard any of them since 1974 since his career took a late 70s slump and has never fully recovered as far as new recordings go. His latest album "Choose Love" released earlier this year, came and went without a trace. Liking Ringo albums is akin to liking Yoko albums in most Beatlefan's respect. Too bad. So, to remedy this, I incorporated a lot of Ringo's best-known Beatles tunes too to round out the package. Granted, every track after #15 was a "should have been" hit. Again, this all fits nicely on an 80-minute CD.

1. Boys
2. I Wanna Be Your Man
3. Act Naturally
4. Yellow Submarine
5. With a Little Help From My Friends
6. Octopus's Garden
7. It Don't Come Easy
8. Back Off Boogaloo
9. Photograph
10. You're Sixteen
11. Oh My My
12. I'm the Greatest
13. Only You
14. No No Song
15. Goodnight Vienna
16. Private Property
17. Wrack My Brain
18. Weight of the World
19. Vertical Man
20. Christmas Dance
21. Eye to Eye
22. Instant Amnesia
23. Elizabeth Reigns
24. Don't Hang Up


Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Today is Election Day here in California. Governor Schwarzenegger created a special election to get some of his initiatives passed. Since it cost a huge amount of money to get these initiatives on the ballot in the first place, I am going to vote no on everything just on principle. I feel that this is totally irresponsible handling of funds, so regardless if each proposition promised free chocolate and comic books for life for every resident of California, I still would vote no.


Monday, November 07, 2005

George Harrison's Greatest Hits

Olivia Harrison (George's widow) is really missing the boat. By this time, I fully expected a career-spanning greatest hits collection for George Harrison. Especially since all of George's stuff is now on Capitol Records. Anyway, I don't know the reasoning, so if you want to give yourself a Christmas gift, download the following tracks and make your own collection. This collection fits nicely onto a single 80-minute disc:

1. My Sweet Lord
2. What is Life?
3. Bangla Desh
4. Give Me Love
5. Dark Horse
6. You
7. This Song
8. Crackerbox Palace
9. Blow Away
10. All Those Years Ago
11. Wake Up My Love
12. I Don't Want to Do it
13. Got My Mind Set on You
14. When We Was Fab
15. Handle With Care
16. Cheer Down
17. My Sweet Lord (2000)
18. Horse to the Water
19. Any Road

Friday, November 04, 2005

Disney's "Chicken Little" and Good Writing

Glenn Whipp of "New York Times News Service" had this to say about the new Disney "Chicken Little":

"Following the commercial and critical disappointments of 'Treasure Planet', 'Brother Bear' and 'Home on the Range', Disney Animation announced that it would no longer make movies in the traditional, hand-drawn way. The way of the future was computer-generated animation.

But with its first film in the new format, the shockingly mediocre 'Chicken Little', Disney has just again proved what animators have been saying all along -- it's not the format, it's the story, stupid."

Note that last statement: IT'S THE STORY, STUPID! This is true for EVERY MEDIUM, be it comic books, novels, movies, TV shows, etc. As a writer, it disappoints me highly that people are always putting out crap that may LOOK good, but isn't written well. So, if this is the case, I'd like to volunteer my services (not for free, of course) to write for Disney Animation. Using Brad Bird (writer and director for "The Incredibles") as a quality gauge, I would like to elevate the standards of quality at Disney Animation to the golden age of Disney.

I'll be standing by my e-mail awaiting your response:


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Peanuts 1957-1958

I just purchased Fantagraphic Books' "Peanuts 1957-1958" and am as usual very impressed. If you haven't started reading this series, then what are you waiting for? The entire series of 25 books is supposed to take 12 1/2 years to issue and this is the fourth one.

I just want to say here that I would like to write the introduction to the upcoming "1967-1968" book which is due to come out in about four years. Hopefully, Gary Groth will get this message and invite me to do so. This is my favorite two year period of the strip with my favorite "Peanuts" strip of all time: the one that has the punchline "Never cry over sludged milk!"


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Paul McCartney (Again!) Return to Pepperland

I've been downloading a lot of unreleased McCartney tunes lately and had a realization about them. Admittedly, a lot of unreleased McCartney was unreleased for a reason, but there are more than a handful of good tunes that exist in finished form that are as good or better than most or all of the tracks on McCartney's latest "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard".

One of these is a tune called "Return to Pepperland" which was originally recorded around 1987. I find myself humming and singing this tune to myself over and over and wondered why doesn't he release this now? McCartney is always concerned about having yet another hit album and this one would be an obvious choice.

Who cares if it was recorded almost 20 years ago? No one would no the difference if it wasn't told to them. Besides, McCartney could start playing it now in concerts and act like it was a new tune.

McCartney once toyed with the idea of releasing an album of unreleased songs called "Hot Hits and Cold Cuts", but even that was never released. Perhaps McCartney has forgotten about these recordings or more likely doesn't care. He seems to be more interested in getting down any sort of noodling on his guitar before he runs out of steam, but if the "Chaos" tunes are any indication, he might be better off reevaluating and releasing the wealth of his unreleased tunes.

Another great unreleased tune is "Cage" and still another is "Waterspout". I would pay real money for an official release, but since there isn't one, I resort to illegal downloads. So Mr. McCartney if you want more billions, how about a box set of the best of the rest???