Come On Get Healthy : Frederick Noland’s “The Big Jab”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

It’s no secret that one of the things I pride myself on doing around here is reviewing stuff that no one else ever has or probably will, but in the case of Bay Area cartoonist Frederick Noland’s new Birdcage Bottom Books-published mini, The Big Jab, I think I may be taking things a step further by critiquing something the comic’s very creator probably never even intended to be reviewed.

I mean, for all intents and purposes what we have here is basically the comics equivalent of a PSA, and to top it all off, this thing isn’t even offered for sale anywhere! It is, however, easy enough to get your hands on a copy, as well you should — but we’ll get to all that at the end of this little write-up. First let’s deal with why I said you “should,” in fact, get it —

Okay, yes, the…

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Small Wonder : Rachelle Meyer’s “Holy Diver”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

While the more carnally-minded among us may disagree with the old adage that the best things often come in small packages, Rachelle Meyer is here to prove that some cliches are actually and absolutely true by means of her newly-released mini, Holy Diver, a perfect little slice of memoir published under the auspices of her very own Therewise Enterprises label that well and truly lays to rest any notions of autobio having “played itself out” over the course of 21 (the story concludes on the inside back cover) Chick tract-formatted pages. And talking of things playing themselves out —

So-called “backward masking” is the theme of the day here, a largely bogus urban legend which contended that rock groups — in particular those that plied their wares in the heavy metal genre — were “concealing secret messages” in the vinyl grooves of their records that could only be heard…

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Scenes That I Love: The Worst Play In Baseball History

Not all scene that we love come from the movies. Some of them come from real life!

Behold, from a Cubs/Pirates game, the worst play in the history of baseball!

It’s the top of the third. There’s a runner on second base. There are already two outs. All the Pirates have to do is get one more out and the inning ends. So, what happens? When Javy Baez gets a hit, the shortstop scoops up the ball and throws it to first baseman Will Craig. Instead of simply going back a few steps and stepping on first, Craig runs after Baez, trying to tag him with the ball. This gives the baserunner time to run from second base all the way to home., which he crosses safely because Craig is so busy chases Baez that he doesn’t throw the ball to the catcher in time. The catcher then makes a bad throw of his own that gives Baez time to then make it to the first base and then all the way around to second. (At first, it looked like he might even have been able make it to third.) That’s a run and a double on what should have been an easy out! At the end of the clip, you can see that not even Baez can believe that he’s actually safe on second.

It’s all so amazing that it is easy to overlook that Will Craig is not the only person who made a mistake. If second baseman Adam Frazier had gone over to cover first while Craig inexplicable took off after Baez, he would have been in a position to make the play when the catch threw the ball back to first.

It’s wild moments like this that make me love baseball!

The Bingo Longo Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976, dir. by John Badham)

Up until 1947, Major League Baseball was segregated. Though there was no written rule barring blacks from playing on major league teams, there was an agreement among the team owners that no blacks would be signed to a major or minor league contract. Instead, starting in the 1920s, black players could only play for the teams in the Negro League. It was in the Negro Leagues that future greats like Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays got their start. Josh Gibson, who spent his entire career playing in the Negro Leagues, is believed to have hit more home runs in a season than Babe Ruth ever did. For that reason, many baseball fans believe that any MLB records set before 1947 should come with an asterisk included. How can you determine who was the best when many of the best players in the game were never allowed to compete against each other?

The Bingo Longo Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings is a comedy that pays tribute to those players. Billy Dee Williams plays Bingo Longo, a charismatic pitcher who plays in the Negro Leagues but who, frustrated with the money that he’s earning and the owner’s callous attitude towards the players, breaks away and forms his own independent, barnstorming baseball team, the All-Stars Among the players that he recruits are catcher and power hitter Leon Carter (James Earl Jones) and Charlie Snow (Richard Pryor), who is constantly changing his name and lying about his background in an attempt to get signed to the major leagues. Bingo also steals a player named Esquire Joe (Stan Shaw) away from one of the teams that the All-Stars defeat.

Going across the country and playing other teams, the Bingo Longo Traveling All-Stars make a name for themselves as both players and showmen. Though Leon just wants to concentrate on playing the game, Bingo understands that importance of putting on a show for the people in the stands. They start out playing other independent black teams but soon, they’re even playing against amateur white teams. The games against the white teams are tense, as the All-Stars ever know how the people in the stands are going to react when the All-Stars win. The All-Stars usually do win, though. They’re the best and they’re not going to let the people watching forget it.

The Bing Longo Traveling All-Stars is a good film, especially if you’re interested in the history of baseball. It’s an episodic comedy with the emphasis on the various situations that the members of the All-Stars find themselves in as they travel from town to town but there’s also a serious subtext. The All-Stars are proving to a League that refuses to let them play that they are the best. At the same time, no matter how many games they win, the All-Stars still have to deal with living a society that treats them like second-class citizens. Even though they win on the field, they still have a hard time finding a hotel to stay at. It’s a movie that will make you laugh but it also makes you think. Billy Dee Williams is perfect in the role of Bingo Longo and James Earl Jones is the type of player that anyone would want on their team. The Bingo Longo Traveling All-Star & Motor Kings is a good film for both baseball fans and people who have never even heard of the designated hitter rule.

From Memorial Days Past

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I love vintage postcards. Below are a few that were designed to observe what would eventually become Memorial Day. The majority of these are from the early 1900s, when the day was still known as Decoration Day and was largely used as a time to honor those who lost their lives in their Civil War. These postcards were not only meant to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice but also to remind us that the promise of peace is the best way to honor their memories.

Have a look:

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Artwork of the Day: Flags

by Erin Nicole

There’s a church nearby that, every Memorial Day and 4th of July, plants little American flags all over the neighborhood. These four flags were placed a few blocks away from my house. On the day that I took the original photograph, the grass was actually very green but, for this picture, I wanted to emphasize the red, white, and blue.

Music Video of the Day: The Drowned Girl by David Bowie (1982, directed by David Mallet)

I was surprised to discover this when I went searching for David Bowie music videos. This is a video that Bowie did for his version of Kurt Weill’s The Drowned Girl. This was included as a part of the Baal EP, which was released to coincide with Bowie appearing in a BBC production of the Bertolt Brecht’s play of the same name. The play is about an irresponsible womanizer whose actions lead to all sorts of tragedy. In The Drowned Girl, the play’s main character (played, of course, by Bowie) sings about a former lover who committed suicide after her left her.

This video was directed by David Mallet and was filmed at the same time as the video for Bowie’s version of Wild Is The Wind. This video was apparently shot in Berlin and the black backdrop and stark lighting was meant to reflect the style of Bowie’s Isolar-1976 Tour.