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November 22, 2004

On Vacation …

And business crap. And turkey.

Linda and I leave for Cleveland and Detroit and Chicago on Tuesday, November 23rd. We’ll be checking into our email on a timely basis, and there’s even a remote possibility I’ll be blogging around when I can. Since Linda and I both operate our businesses via computer and we’ve only got one PowerBook between us, though, “access” might be a problem from time to time.

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend. Don’t work too hard. Unless you’re an artist on deadline.

Posted by Mike Gold at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

On Comics Conventions …

I did the New York City National Convention this weekend, arguably the largest show in NYC. The first “big” comic book conventions were in New York, which is only fitting as that’s where the industry was conceived and where the majority of comics writers and artists live. I regret to say that despite my genuine affection for its promoter Mike Carbarnaro, New York City deserves a better run show than the National.

Admittedly, I’m long burned out on comic book conventions. I’ve been to more than 200 in the past 36 years, and I’ve run, helped run, or run panels at over 80 of them. So when it comes to running conventions, I think I know a couple of things. For example:

1) Find a venue that actually has oxygen. This is critical, unless you’re a plant. Having a choice between a room without oxygen (downstairs) and a room without oxygen but plenty of heat (upstairs) isn’t much of a choice, really.

2) Show your table set-up to the Fire Marshall, and if he just laughs at you, change it. Don’t set up the tables in such a way that if somebody bends over to hear what one of the 90 year old legend guest has to say or to look at a typical $12,500 golden age comic book, your ass shouldn’t knock over the stuff on the table on the other side of the aisle. You should be able to walk down the aisle naked without having to pivot for the naked person walking the other way. If you’ve been to a lot of comics shows, or have seen The Simpsons, I apologize for planting this disgusting image in your brain.

3) Tell the guests when (and if) their panels are before the show starts. Preferably before they leave for your show, so they can make certain they arrive in time for their panel. But, worst case scenario, if somebody shows up two hours before the show opens, have a flyer for him that details his commitments such as panels.

4) When out of town guests check in, make sure their promised room are both there AND are being charged to the convention account.

5) If you are going to make somebody put their room on their own credit card, make certain that person isn’t the most well-armed guy in the business. That’s what we call a “big mistake.”

6) Don’t set up crowd control in such a way that the fans, dealers and guests don’t feel that if a fire breaks out, they are all going to die a violent horrible death. I realize that because comics shows feature an enormous tonnage of very, very old and dry rotting paper, there should be very little risk of fire. And if there is, well, some of the folks probably hadn’t had their November baths yet.

7) The guests like seeing one another, so try to have them at least all on the same floor. Unless a few of them smell particularly bad – even by convention SweatCon standards. You can send those guys out to another room.

Despite all this, I had a wonderful time seeing old friends folks (to name but a few) Terry Austin, Nick Barrucci, Rick Bryant, Howard Chaykin, Ken Gale, Larry Hama, Irwin Hasen, Bob Kahan, Larry Shell, Walter Simonson, Bob Smith, David Spurlock, Jim Starlin, Joe Staton, Trevor Von Eeden, and Renee Witterstaeter… plus, of course, my partners-in-crime Mike Grell, Glenn Hauman John Ostrander, and John Workman. Meeting up with the fans is always a wonderful experience (well, almost always), and both GrimJack and Jon Sable Freelance were wonderfully received by fans and retailers alike. That was really great.

Posted by Mike Gold at 11:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 16, 2004

On Boycotts...

I love reading Don Wildmon’s bigoted rants the way some people love reading Stephen King or Clive Barker. Every once in a while (more frequently prior to elections), I receive an e-mail from him that is so mindless in its hatred that I often forget how much damage this sort of asswipe can cause.

I’m also beginning to feel sorry for Procter and Gamble. For almost an entire century, P&G had as their logo a design that incorporated the moon and the stars. About 20 years ago, the zealots started a campaign condemning P&G for their obviously satanic symbol. At first P&G laughed it off, but after a couple years of a mildly successful boycott, they caved in and changed their logo.

Now the Zealots are at it again. I turn the following hunk of bandwidth over to Mr. Wildmon, unedited. This is in case you're having a hard time counting up to 51%.


Dear Michael,

Procter & Gamble, maker of Crest, Tide and Pampers, is the leading sponsor of two TV programs that continually push the homosexual agenda.

The sitcom “Will & Grace” regularly promotes homosexuality and explicit sex-talk with jokes about male and female genitalia, masturbation, oral sex and even anal sex. The series’ two male stars are both homosexual. From the beginning, the series has been about nothing but sex.

“Will & Grace” is the program that showed two men passionately kissing each other.

According to Broadcasting & Cable online magazine, P&G was the top sponsor of “Will & Grace” between September 2003 and February 2004. P&G spent an astonishing $8.2 in sponsorship of this program promoting the homosexual agenda. “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” depicts five homosexual men remaking the “cluttered, straight men of the world” so that they look, dress and act in the manner of the “cool” and, by implication, superior “gay” community. The program consistently seeks to validate and glorify the homosexual lifestyle.

Between September 2003 and February 2004, P&G spent $2,000,000 in sponsorship of this program promoting the homosexual agenda.

Remember that P&G pulled all their advertising support from Dr. Laura’s program after a complaint from the homosexual community. P&G will support programs that are pro-homosexual, but refuse to support programs that tell the truth about homosexuality!

Procter & Gamble has become a leading advocate for the homosexual lifestyle. For more information on P&G’s promotion of homosexuality, click here.

Please support the boycott of P&G, and ask others to do so.

To sign the Boycott P&G petition, click here.

American Family Association is asking individuals to:

1. Boycott three products of P&G — Crest toothpaste, Tide detergent, and Pampers diapers. (Some are boycotting all P&G products, which we encourage. To print out a list of P&G products, click here.)

2. Print out a Boycott Procter & Gamble petition and distribute among Sunday school and church members and with friends. Click here. (pdf version) (text version)

3. Please register your support for the boycott at

4. Call Chairman A.G. Lafley at 513-983-1100 and politely let him know that you are participating in the boycott and will ask others to do the same.

5. Help us spread the word by forwarding this to friends and family.



Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

Posted by Mike Gold at 02:08 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

On Progress...

The silver lining: A couple weeks ago, 51% of the electorate voted for Bush. A couple months ago, 70% of the electorate said they thought Saddam was behind 9-11. Well, that’s progress, isn’t it?

Posted by Mike Gold at 01:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 13, 2004

On Ray...

When President Idiot declared a national day of mourning I went along with his proclamation, but I gave his bad joke personal meaning by using the occasion to mourn the death of Ray Charles. A true genius, Charles was one of a handful of musicians whose work functioned on a spiritual level, reaching inside me and inspiring cosmic wonder and awe. Carlos Santana, Pete Townshend, Aretha Franklin and Odetta have done that on any sort of routine basis.

Charles’ story really isn’t unique – plenty of people are blinded at an early age and there are plenty of fantastic musicians out there, many of whom never get out of the garage. And, yeah, it’s tough being poor and it’s tough being black and it’s tough being a kid. Tens of millions of people fall into that broad category.

Ray Charles didn’t overcome those disadvantages; he used them and all other parts of his life in the creation of his music. That’s what any good communicator does. But Charles took 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 and got a whole lot more than four, and that’s what any great genius does.

I can now add my voice to the many who have praised the movie Ray. It was a great magic trick. Within minutes – seconds, actually, Jamie Foxx disappeared from the screen and the Ray Charles I had seen on concert so many times and on television so many times came forth and, on a gut level, I always felt I was seeing the real thing. There were quite a number amazing performances – Curtis Armstrong got a chance to play a straight role, and he did it quite well – but as amazing as Ray Charles was, Jamie Foxx was all the more amazing because he wasn’t born Ray Charles.

Hollywood has a horrible track record when it comes to bio-pics. Generally, even the best of them fall in the hazy area between whitewash and complete bullshit. Perhaps the best of them, Yankee Doodle Dandy, was almost complete bullshit. Great performances, wonderful casting, and a swell story that couldn’t have been less accurate had they put George M. Cohan on horseback and sent him to Canada to chase bootleggers. In the madness of Hollywood, they would have given Ray a snappy ending, something more than just saying he got better and continued his amazing career to the love of all right up until he died a couple months before the movie was released. Nope, they gave us the story and when it was over they got off stage with remarkable self-restraint and a couple gallons of class.

Go see Ray.

Posted by Mike Gold at 04:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 12, 2004

On Atrocities…

Sometimes, we forget.

It’s easy to forget just how racist our society was when we focus on how racist it remains. I appreciate how people under about 45 look around them in anger, and that’s the appropriate response. But we need to remind ourselves of the victories and use that energy to move forward. It doesn’t hurt to look around and see the lack of “for whites only” signs.

Case in point: Our Justice Department, such as it is, has reopened the Emmett Till case.

If you don’t know about Emmett Till, Google the phrase and learn about one of the most significant stories of the latter half of the 20th Century. You need to know the details, but here’s the quick and short version, from

In 1954, Emmett Till, a fourteen year old African-American from Chicago was visiting his relatives in Mississippi. Not use to the Jim Crow South, to black subservience to whites, and wanting to impress his relatives white his "northern smoothness", Till spoke "out of place" to a white woman in a grocery store. Till's relatives claim he merely said hello or some other mundane nicety to a white woman, while others say he was much more "fresh" with her than that. Regardless, the next day, his body was found floating in the river, his face and head so badly beaten, he was hardly recognizable. He was taken back north to Chicago for his burial, which his mother demanded be open casket, so everyone could see what they had done to her son. JET magazine published his photograph on the front cover.
Down in Mississippi, the husband and brother in law of the woman Till "accosted" were arrested and put on trial for murder. In a segregated courtroom, with Till's mother present, an all white jury found both men not guilty of murder in less than one hour. Even thoug, Mose Wright, Till's uncle, risking his own life, stood before the courtroom and identified both as Till's killers.

I should add that once they had safely beaten the rap, the two killers proudly acknowledged their actions on a television interview.

Two or three times each year, Linda and I drive past the tribute to Emmett Till over on Stony Island Boulevard, as we’re completing our drive in to Chicago. Recently, PBS ran a good documentary about the subject, and when the Justice Department reopened the case (several accomplices, including the female “victim,” remain alive) 60 Minutes did a good piece as well. The Till case is actually trendy right now, and that’s fine. That’s how people learn.

So it was a bit of a shock when, last week, I came across the May 1956 issue of Confidential magazine. If you had never come across this thing, you’d have to see a couple of issues in order to fully appreciate its racket. They outed people. “Tells the facts and names the names” their slogan stated. The cover stories in this particular issue: How Sumner Wells, under secretary of state from 1937 to 1943 (again; this story was published in 1956) “had that lavender stripe even when he was second in command of the State Department.” Why Sinatra is the Tarzan of the boudoir. The Joe who said “no” to Jane Russell. And so on.

In that coveted space above Confidential’s massive logo – the one editorial space seen on the widest range of newsstand racks – was the following headline:


The story was an excerpt from William Bradford Huie’s forthcoming book, The Emmett Till Story. It turns out that, in the words of the author, both father and son had a certain passion for white women (Huie maintains 14 year old Emmett asked the white woman “for a date,” as though that justified his astonishingly brutal execution). I quote:

The sardonic twist is this: Young Till’s father, Private Louis Till, “lost his life” in Europe during the Second World War. Therefore, in the propaganda slugging set off by the homicide, the “anti-South” factions exploited this sire who “had made the supreme sacrifice on the alter of liberty.”
… One October 10, 1955, LIFE, in an editorial, said: “Emmett Till had only his life to lose, and many others have done that, including his soldier-father who was killed in France fighting for the American proposition that all men are equal.”
… The LIFE editorial was just enough to push Mississippi Senator James O. Eastland to the telephone. He called the Army’s Judge Advocate General and said: “Let me seethat ‘heroic’ Louis Till’s file!”
The Army record: “Private Till was hanged for the premeditated murder of Anna Zanchi, and the rape of Benni Lucretzia and Frieda Mari, all of Civitavecchia, Italy.”

And this is relevant to the Emmett Till torture and slaying … how? What’s the connection here? Like father like son; of course Emmett was trying to rape and/or slaughter our white Southern flower – look at what his daddy did!” It’s all justifiable now, isn’t it?

This “mad cow disease” type of logic was commonplace not too long ago. It’s how we as a people justified our bigotry. And sold a lot of magazines, I might add.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. As we look to those 900 miles ahead of us, let us not forget the 100 miles we’ve walked.

Posted by Mike Gold at 02:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 09, 2004

On Blizten …

November 9, 2004

John Ashcroft resigned yesterday. The Justice flak says he’s been real sick. Yeah, but not as sick as the guy who beat Ashcroft for Missouri governor four years ago.

Do you think Arafat had a pre-nup?

Posted by Mike Gold at 06:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

On War…

November 9, 2004

I am not a pacifist, but I must admit I have adopted a unique form of pacifism.

I deeply believe that we, as individuals, have a right to defend ourselves. No question about it: you attack me, or my family, or my friends, and I am going to respond accordingly. But how far out does that circle go? Where does it stop?

Admittedly, I’ve lived in this New England neighborhood 16 years, and in the aggregate I’ve never seen a more irrelevant catch of cold fish in my life. Screw ‘em; I wouldn’t take a bullet for any of these stuck-up assholes. But that’s not the point.

My zone of defense stops where the government starts. I do not trust the government to make the decisions necessary to put lives at risk. Unless one is a direct beneficiary of such actions – the blood-soaked minions of Halliburton and the petty Oliver Warbucks wannabees raised on reality television and tales of Trump – I can not possibly understand why anyone with any sense of morality would feel otherwise. Certainly not the self-righteous self-obsessed followers of our Bigot in Chief, who obviously can bomb the heathens into oblivion and risk the lives of our noble youth because, fuck it, his Rapture is coming anyway and the heathens are just going to fry in hell anyway for eternity so what’s a few extra years?

As for our nation’s noble youth, well, if they believe in the right deity they are going to spend eternity singing praises to the great white CEO in the sky, so they should be happy to get a head start.

You know, if I were of warrior age and I was stopping for a religion, I’d pick Islam. At least I’d get to screw 72 virgins, which is not necessarily a good thing, and have 600 year long orgasms, which probably is.

So as long as our rootin’ tootin’ heathen-hatin’ ornery bastard, biggest dick west, east, north and south of the Pecos elected assholes like Lyndon Johnson and the Georges Bush get to call the shots, I’m a pacifist. But don’t mess with my family unless you really want to start singing those heavenly hymns.

– with a tip of the hat to that other Texan from Wyoming, Yosemite Sam

Posted by Mike Gold at 06:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

On America

November 9, 2004

Kerry was doomed. Not because of national security or the war or the economy or jobs, but because those of us who were greatly concerned about the Religious Right never stopped to do that most basic of political procedures: we didn’t take a nose count.

If you bother to look at “the numbers behind the numbers” one of the problems with the recent election polls is that too few of ‘em asked about moral values. If they did, it would have saved Democratic contributors a lot of time and money.

Hubris sucks. We were too self-righteous to even think that about a third of this nation is so fundamentalist that gay marriage, abortion, rap music, Howard Stern, teevee, and drug use would actually mobilize those who believe that the time has come once and for all to shove their Old Time Religion down our heathen throats.

We are no longer a nation that tolerates true freedom of religion; actually, we ever were.

The Religious Right started its own Jihad, and they’ve just begun. They’ve got their god on their side, and they know that the Rapture is just minutes away. Screw the environment, it doesn’t matter if everything is going to burn. Screw the national debt, it doesn’t matter if the bills won’t come due. Just smash the heathens – they’re all out to get us anyway, you know. If you don’t agree, you godless hump, then you’re simply too September 10th.

There is plenty of evidence that the power amassed by the Religious Right during this election is the cause of great concern by old-line Republicans (including bible-thumper Bill Buckley) and by a growing number of neo-Cons. The funny thing is, if the Republicans were to have stuck with its “mind your own business” philosophy, I’d consider signing up. But these days I’d have to run the gauntlet of well-dressed Klansmen to register.

Sure, it’s oil. Sure, it’s big business. But if those guys didn’t know how to use the Religious Right to further its agenda, they’d be a fart in a storm. Christ Uber Alles, and anybody who thinks otherwise, anybody who believes in science or the First Amendment, will be marginalized as “anti-Christian.” As if all Christians were believers in the Religious Right. As if Christianity was the majority religion on this planet.

But, of course, there’s always an amusing element in every sociological chemistry set. There are idiot Jews out there like Joe Lieberman who are so ignorant of history that they actually feel some kinship with these bigots. These Jews are the true Fools For Jesus. The Religious Right needs Israel to get off their Rapture, and there’s no seat for Jews or Catholics or anybody but the most fundamentalist of fundamentalist Christians on the rocket to the real promised land. You’ve already been tattooed, Lieberman, and the number is 666.

– with a tip of the hat to George Carlin.

Posted by Mike Gold at 06:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

On A Short Count

November 9, 2004

Right now, a whole lotta people are taking a good hard look at the numbers from the recent Presidential election. They don’t think it was a fair count, and they’re right, and they don’t think the numbers add up, and they’re right.

But – surprise – there’s a historical reason why I don’t care.

Back in 1960 we had a similar neck-and-necker, and John Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon by a sneeze. It was thought that one state, my home state of Illinois, was stolen because a whole lot of dead people in my beloved Chicago found their way to the polls and, coincidentally, voted Democratic. To a corpse.

Republicans loudly demanded a recount, a canvas, a re-do, or something that would flip the results. But Dick Nixon waived them off saying internal peace was for the good of the country. He went down as a classy loser.

Well, as Lily Von Schtup once said, bullshit. Nixon knew something his buddies didn’t. He knew Richard J. Daley wasn’t bluffing.

Richard J. Daley, head of the city of Chicago for so long an entire generation of youth were raised believing Daley’s first name was “Mayor,” said he was in favor of a recount. He would be happy to cooperate – as long as the recount was statewide. What Daley knew, and Nixon understood, was that more votes were stolen for the Republicans “downstate” (which, in Illinois politics, means “every place outside of Cook County”) then were swiped for Kennedy in the city of broad shoulders.

Politics is like sausage – you don’t want to look too closely at the ingredients. It has always been the dirtiest of businesses, and always will be. There’s one simple reason – too much money is at stake. There are more complex reasons having to do with ego and, certainly this year, religion, but when it comes to the firmament of the political process, money dwarfs ‘em all.

People want to change that, and while I’ve seen good plans that would make our Alpine playing field slightly more level, those plans do nothing to change the fundamental financial imperative. You can’t run a country without a ton of bucks, and the guy who’s hand is on the driver’s wheel has his other hand in the till.

– with a tip of the hat (the first of a great many) to Mike Royko

Posted by Mike Gold at 06:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

On Ego

November 9, 2004

It seems to me that keeping a blog is just about the most egotistical thing I can do. Just throwing my opinions out into the ether under the assumption that anybody really cares or should care – well, that does take some ego. From reading certain other blogs, having something actually worth saying seems secondary, but I’ve never been short of opinions.

Well, I’m as egotistical as the next person, and I’m up for the challenge.

Whereas my initial posts are of a political and social nature – and the majority will likely to be in the future – I’ll also be touching on all the other stuff I’m involved in, from our culture to the comics world to the social service and advocacy communications stuff I’ve been doing. And I’ll certainly be sharing a lot of stories, as I do in real life. Such as it is.

Please respond, provoke, start a fight, make yourself known, tell your friends, and amaze your enemies. Here I go, tits to the wind. With thanks to the late great Jim “He’s Hot, He’s Sexy, He’s Dead” Morrison, welcome to Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind.


– with a tip of the hat to webwizard Glenn Hauman

Posted by Mike Gold at 06:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack