Monday, December 29, 2014

On Writing

I never read enough.  I'll admit it.  I'm a pretty slow reader too, but I still enjoy books and some reading.  I admire those that are book worms and writers.  Echoing E. B. White, who famously scoffed that "a writer that waits for the right inspiration, will never put a word down on paper," and like Chuck Close, who declared that "inspiration is for amateurs--the rest of us just show up and get to work," and like Tchaikovsky, who admonished that "a self-respecting artist must not fold his hand on the pretext that he's just not in the mood," Neil Gaiman argues that the true muse of writing lies not in divine inspiration but in unrelenting persistence of effort and force of will.

My brother had a saying, which he kept on his desk around him for many years.  I'm not sure who said it, I may have to try and look it up later:  "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." This is not only good advice for artist, but for life in general. 

One of the better books I've read on writing, is Stephen King's book, On Writing.  It's one part memoir, and the other part, his advice--the nuts and bolts on writing.  Overall I found it very entertaining.  He's one of my favorite authors, so there's that too.  I don't have everything he's ever written, somewhere along the way, I stopped picking up his books, but I think when I run across them at a library or books sale cheap enough I'll continue to pick them up.  I'm a nerd that way.

I recently caught this interview and discussion with Stephen King on Youtube, which I though was interesting as well.  It's fairly recent evidently as he talks about his accident where he was hit by a car while walking, and I believe writing the fictional book surrounding JFK, among other topics.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Claus for Reflection & Happy SF New Year

Hope everyone's holidays are going well.  I got busy as Christmas got closer.  I don't have a lot of gifts and such to buy, but still I was getting over a headcold, which finally has subsided, but also just going to the store, doing chores around the house, and so forth kept me busy.  Yesterday was sunny so I got out and enjoyed the sun, did some chores, and I'm glad I did as already we are starting to get rain again, and the weather is supposed to get colder.  Oh well, I guess that's winter.

As I was outside one day last week, I noticed that someone had thrown an old tire into a drainage ditch in front of my house.  The ditch has water in it that allows it to drain off into a lake nearby, and I didn't want the tire to prohibit that, so...on the one sunny day, I put on some rubber boots, and get into the ditch to drag it out.  Ok, honesty time:  I HATE LITTERBUGS!  It's one thing to find a styrofoam cups, plastic Coke bottles, beer bottles, empty twelve pack beer cartons, and any manner of debris along side of my house.  I certainly don't like it either, and I certainly don't understand this Neanderthal, moronic behavior, but I have to clean up after these cretins, or allow the garbage to build up and collect.  What makes matters worse is, my house is right by a stop light, so whenever a litterbug pinhead stops at the light, they feel obligated to throw out everything in their car that they've accumulated for the past week right there.  Like I said, it's a big pet peeve, and I don't understand the behavior at all.  I mean, why not leave it in your car until you get home, and THEN you can dispose of it properly?  I guess it makes too much sense  for the people that have common sense, civic minded, etc., but for people that are braindead, it never occurs to them or THEY JUST DON"T FREAKIN' CARE.

And seriously, small garbage is one thing, and a huge annoyance, but seriously, A BIG FUCKING SNOW TIRE?  I know that didn't just fall out of the back of someone's truck.  Someone had to actually heave that out of their truck into the ditch.  It was bigger than a normal car or truck tire, along the lines of a snow tire or it was one of those tires that goes on one of those stupid redneck trucks you see driving around all jacked-up, getting 3 mpg, just because...these hillbillies can't increase their carbon footprint big enough.  Not only that, they have to foist their idiotic world upon the decent world at large.  Guess you are feeling my anger here...  It is this sort of nonsense that cause me to think the world is going to Hell in a hand basket, and you know what, we deserve it.  I took a psychology class in college one time, and early in the course the teacher told the class in one of his lectures, "Man is basically evil."   I thought, wow, man, that's harsh.  But the older I get, the more I feel that way.  I try to be a positive person too at times, but man it's hard.   I just don't understand some people's behavior.  It totally alludes me unless it just falls under, lazy and stupid.  End of rant.
Anyway since we've had our share of cold weather and I've had a headcold, I have caught a bunch of movies here and there.  Maybe I'll write more about some of them in some future posts.  The other night I caught the above movie off Youtube, so if it interest you, you can catch it there.  I seem to remember seeing it on HBO or Showtime a long time ago. It's odd to think that I would have caught it on one of those paid channels, but I know I didn't pay to rent it and I believe I saw it before the Syfy Channel was on TV, so that's about the only place I can imagine I may have seen it.  Hard to imagine, but yeah.

Imagine you have settled in to watch something called “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn.” Such a scenario may be difficult for you to conceive, but humor me here. Knowing nothing else about the film, what one thing would you expect to be featured in “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn”? The destruction of Jared-Syn, right? You would assume that at some point in “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn,” someone or something called Jared-Syn will be destroyed. You would allow for the possibility that this destruction will be metaphorical rather than physical — maybe Jared-Syn will only be destroyed emotionally, or financially — but you’d be disappointed if the movie were to end with Jared-Syn still undestroyed.

Well, you’d better put on your disappointment pants then, because “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn” intends to fill them — fill them with load after load of chunky, steaming disappointment. Whatever you’d want a movie like this to do, it doesn’t do it. Exciting action? Nope! Likable hero? Forget it! Original story? Get out of here. The destruction of Jared-Syn? Don’t make me laugh. Not only is Jared-Syn not destroyed, he actually escapes. The movie is about a hero who fails to do the one thing promised by the title. (I can’t rule on whether the movie contains a “metalstorm,” because I don’t know what that is, but it probably doesn’t.)

The film is set in an Earth-like fantasy realm, or maybe it’s the actual Earth after the apocalypse. Either way, it’s the kind of world that’s composed only of desert, and there’s magic, and people wear a lot of leather and have names like Hurok and Zax. The guy who is in the place in the story where the hero would be is Dogen. (Not too many heroes named Dogen.) Anyway Dogen (Jeffrey Byron), a hunky warrior with noble values and negligible charisma. When we meet him, he’s driving his laser-beam-equipped tank in the desert when he’s attacked by a small armored aircraft, which he eventually outmaneuvers so that it smashes into the side of a cliff. This serves as an indicator of how the rest of the movie will go: Dogen will be attacked at random intervals by anonymous opponents for unexplained reasons, and he will defeat them by making them drive into or over a cliff.

 Meanwhile, a lovely young woman named Dhyana (Kelly Preston) is helping her father mine for crystals in a cave. They find a big one, and then some guys come along and smash the crystal and kill the father. The main bad guy has a robot arm, but he doesn’t use it to do anything cool. (This is where the disappointment starts--well, actually it started long before this.) He doesn’t even kill the crystal-miner with it! For that he uses a special red crystal, which he holds against the man’s neck, and somehow it kills him, apparently. You know a movie’s bad when it can’t even murder someone coherently. I mean, if there’s ONE thing movies are good at…

So along comes Dogen, all Boy Scout-like, and he’s going to help Dhyana avenge her father’s death, yada yada. Robot-arm was named Baal (R. David Smith), and he’s the son of a fearsome villain named Jared-Syn (Mike Preston) who’s been stirring up the local nomadic tribes. Over at Jared-Syn headquarters (a different cave somewhere else in the desert), we learn that he is, unsurprisingly, campy and vaguely British, this being the standard for villains in cheap ’80s movies. He has a cigar box full of those special red crystals, which it turns out don’t “kill” people, exactly; they just take their souls, which are then transferred to a phone-booth-sized crystal that serves as the soul repository. Why Jared-Syn wants all these souls is not explained particularly well — what, you need a reason to collect souls in a big rock?? — but the gist is that somehow they’ll help him unleash the power of something, and he can enslave the locals and rule the world, or whatever, yada yada.

Dogen and Dhyana embark on their mission, being careful in their interactions to avoid anything like “banter” or “chemistry.” They drive Dogen’s armored SUV and are pursued by two other armored SUV’s, one of which goes over a cliff. The other contains Baal, who shoots Dogen with green ooze and scampers away. The reason he doesn’t just kill Dogen is [think of funny reason to put here since the movie didn't offer one]. But the green ooze makes Dogen pass out and have a vision where Jared-Syn threatens to take Dhyana away from him. When Dogen wakes up, Jared-Syn immediately teleports Dhyana away from him. Jared-Syn is a man of his word. Also, Jared-Syn can teleport people, I guess. Now Dhyana is in his clutches. The reason he doesn’t also teleport Dogen and get this over with is [think of funny reason to put here]

So: what we thought was going to be the story of a warrior helping his feisty love interest avenge her father’s death is now the story of a warrior having to do all the work himself AND rescue the love interest on top of it. Dogen’s day went from “No plans” to “Sure, I’ll help you out because you’re pretty” to “Oh, what, now this is MY problem??” This is why you should never stop to help people in the desert.

 Jared-Syn’s lair is in a legendary lost city, and the only person who knows how to find the lost city is an ex-soldier named Rhodes (Tim Thomerson) who’s now a full-time alcoholic. It’s possible the movie told us why Rhodes would have this information, but not likely. When Dogen finds him and explains the quest, Rhodes refuses to help him because it’s too dangerous and the lost city is probably just a myth. But after a couple minutes he changes his mind and goes anyway. Why? Because we’re at the part of the story where he has to change his mind and go anyway.

So: our lone warrior has a partner again, only instead of an ineffectual blonde who brings nothing to the table it’s a cowardly drunk who brings nothing to the table.

They travel. They walk through sand. They have slow gun fights with enemies, and languid conversations with each other--more so than with the blonde, which is weird. They’re captured by a group of cyclops people — well, people whose right eyes are covered up by makeup — who say they’re trespassing on their land (which they are), and the cyclops leader, the mighty warrior Hurok (Richard Moll), agrees to let Dogen fight him for their freedom. He is very confident that Dogen cannot defeat him, so he’s pretty surprised when Dogen immediately defeats him.

Some more tanks chase Dogen and Rhodes, and some more of them drive over cliffs. Whether out of financial necessity or misguided charity, Jared-Syn hires only the worst drivers in the land. Rhodes is wounded by a henchman and can’t go any further, but Dogen is able to find Jared-Syn’s lair by following the trail of blood left by an injured Baal. So: Rhodes is never helpful even one time, and Baal leads Dogen right to his dad.

There’s a final showdown, sort of, and Jared-Syn gets to scream, “I have the power of the crystal!” That’s definitely the kind of thing you expect to hear screamed by a villain in a movie like this, so I guess that’s one instance of the movie not being disappointing. GOOD JOB, MOVIE! But then Jared-Syn runs away like a chicken, hops on his space-bike, and teleports into another dimension or something. “He tapped into the master crystal and created some sort of energy tunnel” is how the movie explains it, if that helps you understand any better. And thus ends “Metalstorm: The Promised Destruction, But Actually Just the Escape, of Jared-Syn.”

Whew, they don't make 'em like that anymore--well, actually they do, just with a bigger budget.  But that's another topic entirely.  Have a happy, healthy New Year.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Okay, Let's Smear Paint

This past week I made the above paper collage to submit to the current downtown gallery show, which is title, Remixed.   It's made from recycled materials keeping with the remixed theme.  Most of the paper is from junk mail, envelopes, and a few scraps I found from debris surrounding an old billboard.  The heart in the middle is from a piece of artwork that my niece's girls made some time back for my mom, so I included that, and it's mounted on a used cardboard album cover sleeve.  So I think at least, to my satisfaction, I  kept within the theme.  I like that it's brightly colored, balanced, and has a certain way that leads the eye around the work.  That said though, I can be critical of my own work, and feel a bit bashful or sheepish when saying I'm an artist, though I understand it's just a word to convey someone that puts together artwork.

I enjoy the world of art most of the time, more so than the actually making of art.  So I'm perhaps more of an art appreciator, although I enjoy trying my hand at it as well and being a little creative.  That said, however, I can be critical of it as well, perhaps not quite as critical of modern or contemporary art as Joe the Plumber or Joe Bob Sixpack, but still critical.  I read one critical person say that most modern art should be destroyed, and we should start all over again.  I have to admit, I feel that way at times.  Ever since the Abstract Expressionist movement that occurred in NYC with the action painters and the slap, spill, dash, and dab art that came out of that movement, anyone else wanting to mimic that style, can and does.  For me there's an over abundance of it, and I say that with some restraint, as I like a lot of that style of art.  I don't like all of it, and I think it's overdone, but yeah, I like some of it--quite a bit of it really.  I love modern art for the most part.

But having said all that, I'm still mystified by art, what makes it into galleries, what becomes hot art or artist, so is it any wonder that it's even more puzzling to the average person?  Probably not.  Though at the same time I cringe a little when I overhear someone in a show make a remark like, "Hell my pet monkey could paint that."  I guess consider the source, but at the same time I guess I can understand it.

There is a documentary called, My Kid Could Paint That, which is about a young girl who does some interesting abstracts similar to other artist like, Picasso or Jackson Pollock, and so forth.  If the movie is to be believed, and not a fake artifact or movie, it does tend to raise many questions:  Despite the fact that the artwork is made by a very young girl, without knowing anything about art history or even why she is creating the artwork or its intent-- is it any less viable than any other artwork?  Probably not, at least in my opinion.  But that's just another one of those mysteries that I find hard to wrap my head around when exploring the world of art.

There was another art documentary called Cutie and The Boxer, that came out not too long ago.  It's interesting and was about a NYC couple that were both artist, who are somewhat famous artist. It's certainly worth a look if you enjoy that sort of thing.  One of the issues the film raises is although you might be famous or noted within the art world, but you also might be living hand to mouth ie. starving artist. One of the type paintings that the male counterpart of the couple did was put on boxing gloves, dab them into paint buckets, and punch canvases in sort of a splattered manner, and then he'd title them something sort of ambiguous, etc.  I actually enjoyed watching him make his art, and I probably agree with his philosophy--art doesn't have to be complex to be art, but at the same time, I felt conflicting issues.  I feel at times, that all one really needs to do to be taken seriously as an artist is to do something on a grand scale.  In other words put it out there on a large canvas, then you are somewhat legitimized as a "real" artist.  Some might scoff at that assertion, but yeah, I do feel that way at times.  You certainly would be taken as a "real" artist quicker that way over say, painting on little 6 by 8 inch canvases, at least unless you are very very good at painting those small canvases, and some are.  So anyway, it's a head scratcher...

I ran into a couple more video on Youtube that I found pretentious so I won't post them here (and it would take too long to find them again), but both were more or less how these two artist created their art. One was a guy that happened to also be a musician.  He turned on some loud music and had a group of onlookers around him, and he first drew a human cartoon-y face on a canvas, and then a doggie, and some other stick figure, which was okay in a primitive, childlike manner, but then he goes on, and breaks out a mop bucket, and swabs the mop in it and covers up his previous figures, and steps back to look at it and goes back to attack the painting again flailing paint around as if possessed by the devil.  I saw a similar video posted by a woman, that again, had some loud techno music, and she starts shaking her rump, getting into the groove, and paints, and swabs, and comes back over and paints over what she did, and stands back, makes a quick judgement, and then paints over that in quick smearing fashion.  I don't know, it all seemed pretty pretentious to me.  I just felt, I hope neither of you are trying to live off this stuff as it's going to be a hungry future for you.  

I guess there's no brilliant take away here, just me thinking out loud mostly.  I'll end with a pretty neat video I watched on Youtube the other night taken at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).  I like how the guy presenting the video shoots and talks a bit about the paintings, evidently knowing a bit about art, the creators, and art history.  I wonder if he just shot these with a hand held phone, which seems he may have, but most museums won't allow cameras, so that's a bit odd.  At any rate, I did like most of the paintings in the show, except for the ones that looked like they were stick figures drawn by a six year old.  I just found them too pretentious.  If the artist that made those is making a living off that, I need to go buy and put some large canvases together and move to NYC.

Friday, December 12, 2014

RS Top Albums

I'm still struggling with a headcold, one of those that has mucous and a cough, all that.  I finally broke down and bought some Mucinex DM as I don't like coughing every minute, and it works pretty good too.  I'm fixing to go whip up a recipe I found on YT for a drink:

Half cup of water (or more)
Half  of a squeeze lemon
1/4 tsp. of grated ginger
1/4  tsp.  tumeric powder
1/4 tsp. basil leaves or 2 leaves
dab of honey
Boil or heat on stove and drink.  Sort of an Indian remedial drink to health.   We'll see.

Lemon and water are supposed to be good ways to start the day anyway.

Thought I'd post the Rolling Stones Top 50 Albums for 2014.  Usually one has to wait and buy their magazine to see that feature, but I see they have them online now along with their Top 10 movies of the year.  Since I don't buy as much music as I used to, and since I never can keep up with new releases or the newest films that are current, I'm always running behind.  I would like to hear the newest album by Sean Lennon--The Ghost and the Saber Tooth Tiger.  I saw a clip and YT and enjoyed what I heard.  I'd probably enjoy the Thom Yorke album too.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Small Faces

Ian McLagan passed away recently.  Here's a Rolling Stone article on him.   He's not exactly a well known name even to those of us that follow music pretty closely.  He was a keyboardist for the British band, The Small Faces.  There was also a Fresh Air  podcast interview with him done earlier in 2004 talking about growing up in England and how he came to join the band The Small Faces, which I thought was pretty interesting. 

I first became aware of The Small Faces with their Ogdens' Nuts Gone Flakes album.  I was attracted to it because when it was initially released, it came in an unusual album cover-- sort-of a gatefold, circular album cover shaped like a tobacco tin.  As you unfolded the album cover there were pictures of the band, and nice colorful psychedelic artwork, and the music inside was a bit strange, yet pretty accessible, and  just as inviting if not moreso.  It was a real underrated gem along the lines of the Rolling Stone's Beggars' Banquet, the Beatles' White Album and so forth.  It was also conceptual on the flip side of the album too, which told this odd fairytale-like story about "Happiness Stan." Another draw to the album was the vocals by guitarist, Steve Marriott, who could really belt out a song.  Previously Marriott also had some minor acting roles with a 18-month run in London's West End as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! before the Small Faces had gotten together.

They had a few hit singles starting out with "Here Come The Nice" and "Itchycoo Park," both great songs. But I think Ogdens' was the record that solidified their sound and provided their audience.  The band didn't last long, however, with that configuration as Marriott left and formed the band, Humble Pie, with guitarist, Peter Frampton.  The remaining members of The Small Faces, picked up a new front man and singer, Rod Stewart and Rod Wood as replacements.  That era of the Faces was okay, but something had changed, and I quit following them after they first couple of albums.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Comic Roundup

Sort a miscellaneous post today.  Not a lot going on today, but at least it's sunny.  I'll take that most any day.  I ran across the above comic on the website.  They have domain free comics to read or download.  The above comic is a #1 Amazing Adventures and has some neat content, like a young Wally Wood story "Winged Death on Venus", check around page 14 or so.  These early comics don't have a proper table of contents nor gave the artist and writers proper billing or credit the way modern comics do these days.  At any rate, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you can see the contents of the comic.  There's also a "The Asteroid Witch" by Murphy Anderson.  His more recent work can be seen in Astro City.

There's also a Ogden Whitney story, who also used to do an oddball comic called Herbie.  Herbie Popnecker was sort of a pudgy, lollipop licking, super hero character or a parody of the medium.  He could fly and talk to animals, among other strange powers. The story in Amazing Adventures, however, is more akin to SF. 

There's also a short five page story by Alex Schomburg called Trespasser in Time.  He went on to become a great illustrator for SF magazine and doing Marvel covers for early Captain American, the Human Torch, and Sub-Mariner, among others.

You can find a link to the comic here.   

While over at the site check out their fanzines.  I noticed they had the first ten issues to Roy Thomas's Alter Ego.  Who wrote many things for Marvel like Conan, the Avengers, and many other. There's an interview with Gil Kane in one of them.  I love looking through old fanzines like Alter Ego as they give you a look into what things were like among fans of comics and SF before the days of the internet. 

Also over there you'll find some Charlton issues of Tales of the Mysterious Traveler.  The #10 issue has some art by Steve Ditko, of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange acclaim.  The mysterious short stories based on the radio drama from the same name of the late 1950's were inventive in their design and draughtsmanship applied to eerie tales of a man who walks in the shadows of life.  Charlton paid their artist and writers pretty badly, or so it is said.  So it might be hard to understand why any of them would work for such a publication.  The answer is that they allowed their artist more leeway and freedom.  I believe these Mysterious Traveler tales predate his Dr. Strange stories for Marvel, and were books where Ditko honed and developed his unique style when conjuring up Dr. Strange's mystical, magical dimensions.  Others when working on the "magic parts" of the story would use a special effect like an op-art pastdown, or shattered glass panel shape, and the like.  Dikto did it however, with within conventional panel borders, achieving it all with imaginative design.  Mood is also achieved by the way people are posed and designed.  Perhaps by contemporary standards his designs might seem conservative, but in the fifties, they couldn't help but stand out.

And one to grow on--

I ran across this Nightmare Yearbook, published by Skywald comics over at  I was searching for some Tom Sutton comics, as I read an interview by him, and I know I have some comics that contain his artwork around here somewhere, but off the top of my head I couldn't remember what they might be.  At any rate, the Nightmare Yearbook has some cool art, and the last story has a story where Sutton does the artwork. 

Here's a good interview with Tom Sutton. 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Best Books of 2014

What was worth reading in 2014?  Well it probably comes down to your own personal taste.  I haven't read a lot this year to be honest, but I'm always curious as to what's available, and what others thought were worthwhile.  I did read some of the Fatale on going storyline, which is a graphic novel by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.  It is sort mixture of a hard boiled/crime/gangster story with elements of H. P. Lovecraft, and I  enjoyed the chapters or comics from that I did read.  I just haven't gotten around to finishing it yet. 

I have read some of Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo, the samurai rabbit in the past, and know him to be a great storyteller. The art is a bit deceiving due to it's simplicity, perhaps, and one might think it's similar to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it's a bit more sophisticated in its narrative. It is more similar to something like Kurosawa's  Yojimbo movies and Toshiro Mifune. He's also in the same league as other noteworthy cartoonist like Wally Wood, Charles Schultz, Will Eisner, and many others.

Also check out Saga in the graphic novels by Brain K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.  If you enjoy great art and interesting SF storytelling, space opera, and so forth--it's a fun, adult read.  I found the first two collected novels at our library, and read them that way.  

I read a synopsis on Andy Weir's new SF novel, The Martian, over at the Goodreads website, and it sounded interesting enough.  Of the SF novels that came out this past year, it won the top honors over there as well.  It's sort of a Robinson Crusoe tale on Mars or Apollo 13 meets Cast Away--pick your comparison.
You can find Goodreads 2014 selection of Best Of 2014 here.  

As far as the NPR selection of  Best of Books for 2014, there's a podcast here.  

There were something like 250 titles picked by NPR's staff and critics.  They have them sectioned into genre and you can see a fuller list with book covers, here.  

Other than the above, I've been messing around with artwork some.  I saw a MST3K movie called Teenagers From Outer Space and also one called Boggy Creek II.  Both were funny in places. I went by a couple of used, antique stores the other day, and may return, as I ran across a few things I might buy to try and turn into some assemblage-type art work.

I was also down at the library, and ran into a couple of young guys who, I thought at first were going to hit me up for spare change or whatever, as they both looked like street people,  homeless, on the dole, or gainfully unemployed, to be honest.  But one of them just wanted to chat I guess.  He was going on about how he had all these ideas about inventions, but couldn't find financial backer for them.  He had all these ideas for the internet, different inventions for cars and ways to reduce gas consumption, and who knows what else.  I just let him talk.  He finally asked me if I thought he was crazy to have such thoughts, and I just told him, hey, thoughts are free and nothing ventured nothing lost.   He seemed to appreciate that answer.   Though I have to admit somewhere in the middle of that conversation I did wonder about his sanity.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The Internet's Own Boy, Aaron Swartz

I watched an amazing documentary last night on an American programmer, internet prodigy, and political activist, Aaron Swartz.  It was one of the more riveting docs I've seen in a while.  Aaron Swartz, although unknown to me, was on the same level as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, etc.  Although I felt, he may have been smarter than either of them. Swartz, however, wasn't solely motivated by money, ego, and commercial success as I tend to think of Jobs and Gates.  I'm not saying that that is a bad thing, depending upon the circumstances, as I can appreciate and enjoy computers and how they've enhanced our lives, and so forth.  Yet at the same time I've read some things about Jobs, and I'd assume Gates as well, that would put them under some harsh lights as far as their personality, ego, and business dealings would go.  Being a outsider, it's hard to get a truthful picture of some of these things anyway.

Back to Aaron Swartz though.  The doc is pretty amazing in that I'm amazed at people with high IQs and how they apply them so well.  The thing I liked about Swartz also was that he wasn't totally motivated by money or greed.  He could see social injustices and tried to correct them, something that got him in trouble with the government.  The government eventually brought him up on charges, although it was not proven and an allegation, however, the money is always in their court, along with the law, so to speak, in some cases, you are guilty until proven innocent.  It's a shame.  It's a shame that our government can't think more outside the box, be more intelligent in their handling of matters, be less bureaucratic, more transparent, less corrupt, but I guess we are talking about the real world.  The film did make me angry in the end, and is one of the reasons I'm not always so quick to be so flag-wavingly patriotic about our nation.

On a lighter note, here's a long Jack Kirby interview conducted by The Comics Journal, Gary Groth.

You can read it here: