Showing posts from 2006
Amway/Quixtar: The Dirt Beneath the "Diamonds"---

The recent failed Michigan gubernatorial campaign of the politically ambitious Dick Devos brought to light a number of different things- for one, Devos is the heir to the multi-billion-dollar Alticor corporation. In TV commercials, Devos infers that he single-handedly led renovation efforts in Grand Rapids, MI—near the company’s home HQ in small-town Ada, Mich.—but even Devos’ father said he was exaggerating facts. The roots of Alticor are in the Amway corporation—Alticor being the chosen name of the company since the late 1990’s. Several scandals and lawsuits involving the organization and affiliated people date back to the early 1980’s, which—unofficially—led to the eventual change of the company name, as well as a well-funded public relations campaign. It should be pointed out that there is yet another subdivision of Amway called Quixtar (pronounced quick-star), that sells some different products from Amway proper, but is …
Comics Review- Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider #2 (script- Daniel Way; art- Javier Saltares/Mark Texiera): The Ghost Rider has finally escaped his prison in Hell, but he has accidentally allowed the Devil and a hoary host of demons to follow him to the Earthly plane. The story opens up with Johnny Blaze on a desolate stretch of desert highway. His bike has long run out of gas. He gets picked up by a buxom lady truck driver named Dixie (if only they all looked like that), and while at a truck stop 90 miles away, guess who shows up... it’s Lucifer- who apparently has the power to inhabit the bodies of the dead-- he’s possessed a recently deceased grandfather, and has his mourning family trapped in a van at the truck stop, with gasoline overflowing from the tank.. The presence of evil lights Johnny’s fire, and he starts battling the horned one-- but he is now faced with a dilemma-- Lucifer now stands with a lit match in front of the van with his kidnapped victims inside, gasoline all over.. Doubl…
Bring that Beat Back!

"Bring that Beat Back" is a really good remix project, overseen by Chuck D and compiled by Impossebulls’ founding member Dave ‘C-Doc’ Snyder. Except for a "Public Enemy #1", all of the original songs remixed here are cherrypicked from 1999 to the present, covering the period since Public Enemy left Def Jam and went independent for all future LP releases. C-Doc is behind the boards on several of the remixes here, including the title track, "Gotta Give the Peeps", "Put it Up", and "Watch the Door". Longtime PE associate DJ Johnny Juice Rosado remixes the Moby collaboration "MKLVFKWR"; Bone Thugs-N-Harmony producer Mauly T gives a west-coast funk feel to "Superman’s Black in the Building", with wailing synthesizers and Roger Troutman-style voice-box backup vocals. Other remixes make diversions over jazz-like sonic terrain, as well as the band’s traditional noisy-uptempo rhythm tracks. This is only …
Spider-Man Family: Amazing Friends
A ‘one-shot’ issue from Marvel Comics; $4.99 U.S.

Many of today’s cartoon watchers will know this show from Toon Disney/Jetix, but I’m old enough to remember when Spider-Man & his Amazing Friends debuted on NBC in 1981. This was a blissfully pre-Internet, pre-mega-convention era, so there was no stir-up buzz a year before the show came out. About the only thing I noticed beforehand was a comic-book ad that showed all the planned NBC fall cartoon shows, a few months before (back then, I didn’t have access to comics on a regular basis, so even that was a treat). The show produced a total of 24 original episodes (running on NBC until ’86). No, most of the animation wasn’t groundbreaking (hey, what was in the early 80’s?), but the writing was top notch, as it captured the sometimes flirty, sometimes contentious relationship between three college-aged superheroes. At that time, I had never heard of Iceman, and my knowledge of the X-Men was fairly dim (N…
You Don't Tug on Superman's Cape...

Superman Returns movie review

Superman Returns. Okay, this is the movie that DC comics fans have been waiting for since.. Well, at least since Batman Begins in 2005. Of course, anticipation for this long-delayed project has been in effect since the mid-90’s initiative to bring the man of steel back to the big-screen. It’s taken just under 10 years at this point—so is it worth the wait?
Director Bryan Singer and his writing team use the first two Christopher Reeve Superman films as a loose template, and Returns opens on the premise that Superman has left the Earth for five years. Having explored what was left of his birth planet, Krypton, Superman is despondent that he truly is the last of his race. Comforted by his adoptive Kansas mother Martha, Superman returns to Metropolis and his life as Clark Kent, reporter for the Daily Planet newspaper. The old gang is still there—boss editor Perry White, photographer Jimmy Olsen, and Clark’s longtime se…
Working Girl vs. ‘The Devil’

For anyone who may think that photo-heavy glossy fashion magazines are just about "stuff", "The Devil Wears Prada" will dispel that notion. Also, for anyone who may think that the world of haute couture is fairly cutthroat—this film will likely confirm their contention, in the extreme. Adapted for the screen from a novel by Lauren Weisberger, it’s a comedy about the road to self-discovery—and the potholes encountered along the way.
Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries) plays the film’s heroine, Andrea ‘Andy’ Sachs. A recent Northwestern graduate now living in New York City, Andy dreams of a career as a hard-news journalist for a big newspaper. She also shares a modest apartment with her boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier), a chef at a local restaurant.
Unassuming and idealistic, Andy’s job search brings her to Runway Magazine, part of an international publishing conglomerate. When Andy arrives for her interview, she finds herself being openly d…
American Mule Entertainment
Public Enemy #0
words- Chuck D, Adam Wallenta
Art- Adam Wallenta

Great news people- the Enemy has arrived! in the planning stages for a few years now, Chuck D linked up with East Coast- indie creator/rap artist Adam Wallenta aka 'Illus', and his American Mule Entertainment, to develop a Public Enemy comic book series. Issue #0 is a 'preview' issue, and the plot finds a top-level exec of the National Security Agency poring over a Public Enemy dossier-- he is confused on how this 'rap group' manages to stay active while reputedly being involved in 'subversive' activities, with a network called 'the Underground Railroad'..

an NSA field agent reports his findings to his boss-- turns out, Public Enemy was present in New Orleans to deliver unsanctioned aid during the Hurricane Katrina disaster.. told in flashback, we see a shopkeeper confront a 'looter', and PE intervenes before things get ugly-- the current P.E. crew i…
X-Men: The Last Stand
Overview- Includes Spoilers for entire film:

X-Men the Last Stand looks to be the final chapter in the X-Men trilogy.
Mutants have become semi-mainstream, at least in the United States—Hank McCoy— a former X-Man code-named Beast—is Secretary for Mutant Affairs, and apparently the shape-shifting villainess Mystique has just been captured—or so it seems. Jimmy, aka ‘Leech’, is a mutant whose very presence cancels out the powers of nearby mutants, through pheromones. He has been somehow captured, his mutant-power harnessed and synthesized into a chemical ‘cure’ for mutants in society. The spearhead of this is business mogul Warren Worthington Jr., whose son, Warren III, has bird-like wings that allow him to fly. A press conference is announced regarding the cure, bringing both alarm and relief to the mutant community.
McCoy is apprised of the developments of Worthington Industries, and is sent by the President to investigate. In the meanwhile, the X-Men’s arch-foe…
Mission: Unlikely?
Ah. Looking at Tom Cruise's MI3- it’s a good-looking film, with lots of action and gadgets. I think the plot is mishandled, however. Keri Russell has a bit part as a protégé of Ethan Hunt, who ends up captured on her first field mission. Hunt and crew go to rescue her, but she ends up dying from a micro-bomb implanted up her nose. Hunt’s fiancee knows nothing about his life as a spy. Unfortunately, when the team ends up capturing arms dealer Davian, he ends up finding out information on Hunt. As it turns out, there’s a mole in the IMF organization. Evidence discovered by Keri points to boss Laurence Fishburne. Fiancee June is kidnapped by Davian’s followers, and Davian himself is freed in a daring highway escape. Ethan’s framed as the rogue agent, and breaks out of the IMF headquarters to go find the ‘rabbit’s foot’ and rescue June. His teammates are with him. They help Ethan break into the facility that has the Rabbit’s Foot, but Ethan ends up being captured. He…
Jazzy Jeff: Where Ya At?

DJ Jazzy Jeff is supposed to come out with a new studio album this year. According to the administrator of a Jazzy Jeff/Fresh Prince fan website, I may be ‘surprised’ when the album comes out this year. I was inquiring about Jazzy Jeff and KRS-One, and the fact that they’ve seemingly never collaborated over the years. Both artists spent several years on Jive Records, with not even a remix surfacing in public. I’d like to see them do an entire album together. "The Magnificent" is a tight album.. I'll have to check out the other records he's done for indie label BBE/Rapster.
I’m really looking forward to X-Men: The Last Stand, which comes out on May 26. Hopefully, it will open that Wednesday the 24th, so it will have an even bigger Memorial Day opening than it normally would. The basic plot is this: A ‘cure’ for the mutant condition has apparently been developed by a pharmaceutical company. The Angel’s father, Warren Worthington Sr., is a top executive there. He is spearheading the cure research to eventually take his son’s wings away. Meanwhile, there are psychic rumblings from Alkali Lake, where Jean Grey apparently died while saving the team at the end of X-Men II. It turns out, Jean has been resurrected—as (Dark) Phoenix. Magneto is appraised of the ‘solution’, and mounts what he feels is retaliation for a war being declared on mutants.
From what I see, there will be conflict between Iceman and Pyro. Multiple Man will join the Brotherhood, also Callisto will have a role. Juggernaut is on Magneto’s team as well. The X-Men squad have…
Doin’ the Ipod Shuffle
I got an Ipod Shuffle for a Christmas present last year, but I never bothered to activate it until now. This is pretty neat. About the size of a pack of chewing gum, it’s one of the smaller Ipods, so it doesn’t hold as many songs as the standard-sized ones. Still, better not to look a gift horse in the mouth—or a gift Ipod in the headphones port or whatever applies here.
So far, what I’ve got uploaded:

Lowdown- Ground Zero. Great, funky indie hip-hop from my peeps C-Doc and Tirade.

Booker T & the MG’s- Stax Profiles. Beyond their standards, a set of sides personally chosen by Elvis Costello.

Four Brothers soundtrack- 1970’s Motown tunes selected for the John Singleton action film.
More stupidity in the Shadow of Motown:
As many people know by now, rapper Proof, of D-12, was shot and killed at Club Triple-C on Detroit’s Northeast side. It happened Tuesday, April 11, 2006, around 4:00 a.m. Club Triple-C was an unsanctioned ‘after-hours’ nightclub- you know, the type where you have to have the ‘password’ to get through, plenty of baller/hustler types and there’s little professional security and little or no police presence—at least, no on-duty police presence. During the past couple of years, some other local rappers have been killed: Wipeout, and Blade-Icewood (of the Chedda Boyz). As recently as a few months ago, Obie Trice got tagged in the head during a highway shooting (!); there’s still a bullet lodged in his skull. At the moment, details are still sketchy as to exactly what happened that led to the shooting—early on, police were reporting that another man was killed along with proof—however, the hospital where the 2nd victim is at reports that he is in criti…
Hmm-- there was some hip-hop panel at Stanford University, and things got out of hand with two of the panelists- KRS-One and west coast hip-hop journalist Adisa Banjoko.. If memory serves, their initial 'conflict' involved Banjoko openly questioning KRS' "I Am Hip-Hop" philosophy--

I think that things could have been handled better here, but I'm down with the 'Teacha' regardless.. f*** whoever crosses him..
AUDIO: KRS-One Threatening Adisa Banjoko at Stanford University